Title: Smile: Picture Me
Genre: Angstish, bit of drama… um… yeah
Pairing: Kinda sorta almost TezxFuji
Summary: What’s behind a smile…?
Dedication: to yuki_scorpio and she knows why...and much thanks to scimitarsmile for being her usual self
Warning: Shonen ai, Cuteness, um… more cuteness, fun, and more analogies!
Despite all good intentions, it was still difficult to push away inbred reactions. When Fuji woke his first reaction was panic, and his body stiffened. Tezuka’s arms were wrapped around him, both of them, and he lay angled a little towards Fuji. Try as he might, Fuji couldn’t get the tension to ease out of his body. His mind screamed at him for letting someone get close, close enough to touch. Sleep fogged his brain so much that he almost gave in to the panic.
But he did push the fog away in time to avoid that. He’d made the decision. Close friendship was something he wasn’t used to. If he couldn’t even bring himself to hug the friend that tried so hard to put up with him and his moods, who somehow just knew how to be around Fuji… then he didn’t think he could call himself much of a friend anyway.
So he fought his impulses, pushing past them, ignoring them, and thought things through in his head. Tezuka offered to see him, and so, Fuji had begun to let down his defences. Time after time Tezuka proved his willingness to try and understand Fuji and his idiosyncrasies. But when Fuji really thought about it, Tezuka was still hidden to him. Although he could read most of the body language of the other boy, and although he could usually tell the little things, there were still so many untranslated pages.
Lying there, slowing his breathing, and forcing himself to relax with the unfamiliar lying arrangement, Fuji smiled. It seemed that although the road to Rome was a two way street, one side had potholes, and the other was apparently still under construction.
Tezuka stirred, arms tightening their hold briefly, and tension screamed through Fuji’s senses. Biting his lip he waited for Tezuka to wake up properly. One arm slid away, leaving room for Fuji to move. With a sigh the prodigy sat up, the fingers around his waist still a stark reminder of how much he’d let his friend in.
“Did you sleep well?”
Although he had a sense of Déjà vu, Fuji could still hear a slight uncertainty in his friend’s voice. It told the prodigy that Tezuka knew what Fuji had done, that he knew the part of him that Fuji had just revealed. Idly wondering how Tezuka always managed to be either awake or asleep and never actually sleepy or anything like that, Fuji answered in the same vein. “Yes… I did.”
A slight hint of a smile ghosted Tezuka’s face. “Comfortable?”
Fuji just smiled, one of those genuine content smiles he rarely used. It might have been a little uncomfortable for him, it might take a heap of effort for him to push away those instincts that told him to back away, but overall, it was a sacrifice Fuji was prepared to make. He reasoned that he couldn’t just keep taking and taking, he didn’t want there to be a time when Tezuka might not have anything left to give.
He moved off the bed and stood at the door. “We need to leave soon.” It was all he said, but he knew it was enough.
While Tezuka got ready, Fuji packed what they would need that day. He picked up a backpack and stuffed a blanket, a couple of books, and two of his cameras inside it. Making his way down to the kitchen, he made a couple of lunch boxes, and stowed it into the bag as well. He was a little nervous about taking Tezuka with him that day, but he reasoned that it might be something nice to share with a friend.
Fuji locked the door behind them as they left the house, idly wondering where it was that his sister had gone that weekend. He dismissed the thought though, and focused on the path in front of them. Glancing at his watch, he noted that they had about ten minutes to make it to the bus stop. That was plenty of time.
“Where are we going, Fuji?” There was real curiosity in Tezuka’s voice, at least, Fuji could hear it.
Smiling eyes turned towards Tezuka. “My Grandfathers, I need to pick up something.”
“We’re not staying then?” There was relief in that voice, relief that Fuji knew came from Tezuka’s wish to get what he claimed when he won the bet.
“No… I just need to pick up something.”
The bus ride, as is the nature of bus rides, was uneventful, and spent in easy silence as they rode to the outskirts of Tokyo. Tezuka decided to wait outside while Fuji went in to pick up what he needed, leaving the bag with the other boy.
The photo studio was old, but had a good reputation, and wasn’t usually open on a Sunday, but Fuji had connections to the owner. His Grandfather greeted him at the door and allowed him entrance into the shop. It was one of Fuji’s favourite places to come when he needed to think, relax…or if he just wanted to pick up supplies, and one of his regular Sunday haunts.
His Grandfather had everything imaginable to do with old fashioned photography. The shop smelled as if it held a thousand musty secrets. Tripods, cameras, different film sorts, lenses, lighting equipment… everything was there. He had to remind himself not to dwell in there for too long, so he didn’t even contemplate going to the darkroom until later.
Weaving his way between the shelves, he plucked out the things he’d need. The bulkier black and white film for his Rollei , as well as its colour film. He frowned and retrieved some normal 35mm film as well. He had brought the Canon with them as well, since he wanted to try something and didn’t think the Rollei would be appropriate for it.
He emerged from the sales room and thanked his Grandfather. “Is it still all right if we come back in a few hours and use the darkroom?”
The old man locked the door, and turned round to face his grandson, handing Fuji the key. “Of course it is, Syusuke. We may be out though, sooo…”
“Thank you.” Fuji headed back to Tezuka, bag in hand, keys slipped into his pocket. He waved a hand at the taller boy motioning him to follow and began the rather long walk they’d need to take.
He could feel Tezuka next to him, as if the older boy wanted to ask something, but didn’t quite know how to phrase it. The silence they walked in wasn’t as easy as that on the bus had been, but it also wasn’t hostile. So, after a while, Fuji thought he’d spare the other boy some misery. “Ne, Tezuka?”
“What are you doing?” The voice was lightly frustrated, and every bit curious.
Fuji flashed a smile at his friend. “I’m going to show you how to make a second last for as close to eternity as possible.”
“You’ve discovered time travel?” The droll question belied the fact that Tezuka was obviously trying hard not to smile. Amusement sparked behind those brown eyes as he watched Fuji.
Fuji did laugh as they walked up the hill and finally came to rest where he wanted to be. He smiled, taking in the view of Tokyo before them. “No, it’s something far more simple than that.”
He turned to see Tezuka watching him thoughtfully, and Fuji chuckled once more as he knelt in front of the bags now situated on the ground. Rumaging through them he pulled out the blanket first and set it down, followed quickly by the lunch boxes he’d packed. With great care he then took out two leather cases. The smaller one was set easily on the blanket, the second one stayed in his hands.
“Have you ever taken a photo before, Tezuka?” smiling cerulean eyes watched the taller boy. Out here they were alone, there was no reason for him to hide. Not reason for him not to smile either, not when it concerned one of his passions.
“Of course I have. You know I have a camera.” Tezuka seemed a little confused by the question.
Fuji snickered a little at the indignation in his friend’s voice. “No, I mean have you ever taken a photo. Not your camera… have you ever seriously been the one who did all the work?”
Tezuka blinked and shook his head, eyes thoughtful. He squatted down so that he was opposite Fuji, and looked at the prodigy seriously. “Work? No…what do you mean…work?”
The shorter boy moved so that he sat down next to the other camera he’d placed there. Resting the case he had in his hands gently next to him, he picked up the smaller one and undid it. He pulled out a sleek black and silver camera, checking over a few things before nodding slightly and fishing one of the films out of the other bag. Looking up at Tezuka, he ignored the question for the moment. “Black and white or colour?”
The taller boy looked slightly puzzled. “Colour…”
With a nod, Fuji began threading the appropriate film into the camera. He stood up and walked over to the edge of the area they were in. Hand to his eyes he looked out over the cityscape and smiled. Looking back at Tezuka, Fuji motioned for the older boy to join him, waiting to speak until he did. “You see that?”
Tezuka’s brow furrowed in what seemed to be slight annoyance. “Of course I see that.”
Fuji shook his head. “Ahh, but Tezuka, do you really see? It’s a moment that’s already gone, already passed, a moment that will never exist again. And you missed it.” Syusuke grinned impishly and raised the camera to his eyes, sighting it on the scene before him, locking it, adjusting the focus, speed and light. Stopping down the shutter, he evaluated, accepted and clicked once…… and he did it all in the blink of an eye.
He turned back to Tezuka, waving the camera under the other boy’s nose. “And that moment… just then, I now have… captured on film until the end of time… or the paper gets burned.” Fuji chuckled. It was the perfect day for this, and he felt strangely happy for having thought to bring Tezuka with him.
Tezuka stood with his arms crossed, a slight frown marring his face. “It’s a camera, Fuji. It takes a picture. Anyone can take a picture, all you do is press a button.”
“But that takes all the fun out of it! You need to feel what you’re seeing, you need to understand what you’re photographing…or else you can’t interpret how you should ultimately develop the picture.” Seeing Tezuka’s face still not comprehending, Fuji tried a different tactic. “Anyone can hit a tennis ball, yes?”
“But it takes knowledge and ability to be able to appreciate the game and wring the most from it, ne?”
Tezuka smiled slightly. “Ah, now I see.”
Still smiling, genuinely smiling, Fuji offered something he’d never offered before. “Want me to show you?”
The taller boy just nodded. Fuji walked the small distance to the other boy and held out the camera. “It’s a Canon Rebel, fairly new model considering what I prefer to use, but it’s quite good. You can set it on automatic or manual, but the automatic setting is no fun.” His fingers glossed over the smooth surface, smile still tugging at his lips as he continued. “Here… you focus with this, and here you can adjust the range…to help you set just what you’re focusing on.” He pointed to a small switch on the front of the camera. “That is what you can press to make sure you are going to get what you want to get. It’s always a good idea to take a second picture if you’re not sure you got what you needed the first time. And remember, that you need to do it as fast and be as steady as possible. Every second is different, the light, the air, the shadows…maybe not much, but it is different.” He gave Tezuka a gentle push. “Go take a picture of something.”
Tezuka’s only response was to turn to Fuji with a question in his eyes, which the prodigy laughed at before answering. “It’s easy to use Tezuka, trial and error. I’ve made sure we have enough film. So just look around, listen to the sounds, let the surroundings affect you. Take pictures of whatever appeals to you.”
If Tezuka was put off by an extremely talkative Fuji, he didn’t show it. All he did was nod his head and move away, actually making the effort to look at things.
Fuji turned his attention to the other case. Kneeling on the blanket, he lifted the small, heavy object in his hands and uncovered it. It was his pride and joy, had been his grandfathers years and years ago. He’d been given it on his twelfth birthday, after having shown a huge interest in Photography. Reaching into the bag he’d gotten from the studio, he pulled out a rather large roll of film.
Just as he was about to open the bottom of the camera, Tezuka’s shadow fell over him again. “Mmm?” he murmured looking up and squinting because of the sunlight behind Tezuka. He noted that the Canon was safely tucked in the other boy’s hands.
“What sort of camera is that?” There was genuine curiosity in the taller boy’s voice.
“Rollei 2.8 TX GLR.” Fuji said, and smiled, knowing that Tezuka would be groaning inwardly with that answer, but the younger boy was in a good mood, and he felt like playing.
And as usual, Tezuka bit. “Why does it look… so different?”
“Because it’s viewfinder is at the top! See…” Holding out the camera with both hands, because of the weight, Fuji knew that Tezuka couldn’t help but see where the viewfinder was. “It’s a little different than most, but if you take the time to learn how to use it properly, you can almost work magic with it.” He chuckled. “ It’s amazing what an eighty year old design can do… it’s amazing what you can do with something you understand.”
“I know…” Tezuka’s voice was soft and thoughtful, and his meaning had nothing to do with photography.
With a brighter smile, Fuji set about putting the film in his camera. He opened the bottom, took out the film holder, inserted the roll and unwound the paper and film to thread it through. Then he rolled it up until he could see the first arrow, before slapping the camera closed and letting it wind itself from there. As he watched it’s old mechanism’s work, he heard a click and looked up… to see a camera pointed at him, and then heard another click.
Slight surprise registered on his face. “Tezuka?”
The older boy smirked, a slight upturn of lips. “I’m taking pictures…”
Fuji raised an eyebrow, smiling once again. “I noticed that.”
“… of what appeals to me…” and with that Tezuka walked over to the edge and could be seen trying to focus the camera on something over the side.
Chuckling, Fuji stood up. He decided that sometimes…sharing could be nice. Both of them took photo’s, Fuji having to change rolls more often than Tezuka because his camera only took on rolls of 16, and because Fuji was a far more adept at his hobby. The prodigy could feel his friend’s eyes on him occasionally, as well as hear the shutter click in his direction sometimes, but he chose to ignore it.
Fuji loved the feel of controlling the image. Years of practice, of sharing a hobby with his grandfather, made his movements as smooth as if he’d been born with the Rollei in his hands. Holding it at waist height he looked through the finder, wound it on, adjusted the focus, the speed and the light and anything else that was currently lacking, before clicking the shutter to capture the moment.
Every time he clicked the shutter, he got a tiny thrill, just knowing that he’d have that moment, that instant all to himself for as long as he cared to … well, care. An idea struck him, perhaps not overly original, but an idea nevertheless. He turned to face Tezuka, watching how the other boy concentrated on a group of trees, lightly tsking under his breath when he couldn’t get the focus right. Fuji had to keep himself from laughing and remind himself that Tezuka was still learning.
Setting the camera in place, Fuji lined everything up that needed to be and gently called Tezuka’s name. The taller boy turned his head, camera held out to the side of him, a slight smile on his otherwise stern features, hair swaying in the force the movement created…and Fuji flicked the shutter, freezing that moment forever.
The prodigy smiled as Tezuka approached, cradling his prized Rollei in his arms. “Don’t even think it, my grandfather gave this to me.”
“Fuji…” Tezuka made a grab for the smaller boy, but Fuji danced out of the way, laughing.
“Come on, Captain…take some of your own medicine! Or are you afraid I’ll use this to blackmail you?” Fuji’s voice was teasingly light. “Trust me… this is nothing compared to what I could blackmail you with” He winked at Tezuka.
Tezuka blinked. “You have more?”
“Maybe I do… Maybe I don’t.” Fuji was in an amazingly good mood, and he took a second to feel sorry for Tezuka, but only a second. “Anyway, we’re about done here…we should be getting back, or I won’t have the time to show you how to preserve the moments you’ve captured.”
Still looking slightly disgruntled, all Tezuka did was raise an eyebrow and follow Fuji’s lead.
Not much later they were standing inside Fuji’s Grandfather’s studio. The lighting inside was dim, and Fuji set down their things on the counter, removing the last film from the cameras before turning to face his friend. “Which film of yours first?”
Tezuka looked thoughtful. “The third.”
Fuji nodded, picking up the right one in the hand already holding his own. “When we go into the darkroom, just stay at the door and turn the light on when I tell you to. I have some things I need to do before the light can be turned back on.”
Making his way to the back of the studio, Fuji heard Tezuka fall into step behind him. He opened the door to the darkroom, and made his way to where he needed to be. He stopped next to a few film canisters that sat on the bench, and turned to nod to Tezuka. “Ok, now would be good.” The lights flicked off, plunging the room into darkness.
There was a slight gasp from Tezuka and Fuji chuckled at it. His fingers deftly placed the 35mm film on the reel before dropping it into a canister, and at the same time absently spoke. “Mmm, Tezuka?”
“It’s pitch black.”
“What didn’t you understand when I said darkroom?” Slender fingers worked at the paper backing to the film for his Rollei. It was the only drawback Fuji saw to his favourite camera, the task of peeling the paper off while he was trying to thread the film onto the reel, in the darkness…was never easy. But it was so definitely worth it.
“Very droll, Fuji.” Tezuka sounded annoyed. “I didn’t expect there to be no light at all.”
“Ahh,” said Fuji, finally having the second film loaded he dropped it into the other canister and popped the lid closed. “Well, it’s over now. You can turn them back on.” The light switched on, making Fuji blink at the brightness for a second. He bent down and picked up two bottles of fluid as Tezuka approached. Handing one to his friend he spoke softly, as if halfway lost in thought. “Do what I do…but do it twice more than me. Your film is a different type.”
Fuji lifted the bottle, pouring in through a slit in the container, and saw Tezuka doing the same. “This is the developer. You can stop yours now… start timing thirty second intervals and tap your canister three times.” Fuji stopped pouring his only shortly afterwards. “After thirty seconds, flip the canister. You need to make sure that you’ve covered everything and not neglected even one part of the film inside.” Fuji flipped his seven times before walking to the sink and emptying the contents, reminding Tezuka briefly. “You still have another turn left. When you’re done, empty the liquid out.”
Tezuka did as he was told, and when he was finished a different bottle was held out to him. Fuji smiled. “This is a neutraliser. And here we go again. Make sure you have enough in there to cover the film up, and then you begin with the tap, turn again.” They repeated the process, a thoughtful look on Tezuka’s face.
Once again the liquid was emptied down the sink when they were done. Tezuka’s eyes were glued to the way Fuji worked, and the prodigy could feel it, but he was too busy concentrating… trying to show… hoping he could. “You chose colour film, which is a little… petulant.” Fuji snickered. “It has to have a particular temperature, and my Grandfather is nice enough to have a tap set to nineteen degrees Celsius, which is really making this easier on you.”
He indicates for Tezuka to hold the canister in the right position so that a tap next to the sinks can run water into it, and then does the same for his own. “Now we swish the water around for a good while.”
“You used black and white?”
Fuji nods. “It’s more…it’s… so many shadows, so many different hidden things it can pick up that colour can’t. There are so many shades of grey, Tezuka.” The last is said wistfully, and cerulean eyes look up to meet brown.
“I know, Fuji.” It’s all the taller boy said, but if made Fuji think that he might be getting his point across after all.
“We have to make sure that all of the other solution is off, so it’s better to rinse a little longer than to not rinse enough.”
“Ahh,” Tezuka grew thoughtful. “So you do all of this to prepare the film, before washing it clean… so that it can become something else?”
Fuji smiled softly, a slight sigh of something close to satisfaction. “Yes…exactly.” Tipping out the water he murmured softly, knowing that Tezuka could hear anyway. “It can become that perfection in time, which you sought to capture… if you take enough care.”
“Ahh, I see.” Was the response Tezuka gave, yet again.
But this time Fuji knew it was true.
GAH… I have to stop it with the analogies, because that one almost killed me! The build up… LORD the build up *groans* and the research and the MUST GLOMP sol for that
I hope that chapter was okay… um yeah… Feedback is appreciated majorly and I’m sure I have an anime somewhere that would love rotten tomatoes sooooo I’ll accept those too
The skyline they’re looking at is that one from that episode where they all go to watch the sun rise because Oishi is such a sap /snicker… that’s the kind of vantage point I had in mind… just so you know.