Fandom: Prince of Tennis
Type: Shounen ai
Time: More than 75 min. *wince* On the other hand, it's the first time I've completed a fic in less than a day, so that's progress, right?
Disclaimer: If I owned them, Tezuka wouldn't be off in Germany.
Notes: My first post here and first attempt at an improv; hopefully not the last. Happy belated birthday, Fuji. Feedback welcome and doted on.
It was raining the day Fuji asked Tezuka to go out with him, a light and unexpected drizzle that turned into a shower, then a deluge. The rest of the tennis club scattered like scalded cats, hiding under coats or the flimsy shelter of textbooks, but Fuji stayed behind to help Tezuka clean up, gathering tennis balls back to the crate, mopping up the soaking floor of the locker room. In high school they were no longer the Buchou and number two star player, just first year students like the rest, and Tezuka's fame ensured him all the dirty jobs.
Fuji waited until Tezuka closed and locked the door to the equipment shed before saying, "Tezuka, I rather think I'm in love with you. Would you like to give it a shot?"
It took a while for Tezuka to understand what he was talking about, and even longer to consider it anything more than a joke.
They stood by the Seigaku tennis courts without umbrellas, the trees above and grassy field around them bowed down by rain, and Tezuka thought that only Fuji, Fuji of all the people he knew, would think that being cold and wet and miserable was the kind of condition in which to make a confession of love.
There were a hundred and one reasons to decline, including but not confined to Fuji's mercuriality, Tezuka's plans for a pro tennis career, his need for focus, the way Fuji could distract a freight train from its course, and, of course, the fact that although Tezuka was unable to describe with certainty the nature of his relationship with Fuji, the possibility of turning it into a romantic one had never occured to him.
As Fuji waited patiently for a response, lips still tugged up by the hints of a smile, he found himself thinking of the Matterhorn photograph on his bedroom wall, its white and deadly slopes, and how it had felt to stand shivering in the snow, alone at the top of the world, with all the kingdoms in the land laid out at his feet. Fuji would never understand that passion, the uncontrollable thrill and desire to soar above; Fuji shared names with a mountain, but he was more like the quiet, twisting streams that cut mountains into ribbons.
He tried to make the refusal as gentle as possible, because as unflappable as Fuji usually was, being turned down seemed unlikely to pass even him by without hurt. Tezuka didn't want to be the one to remove that mask of happy unconcern by smashing it apart. Something like "I'm very flattered, but..." or "You've been a special presence in my life since junior high, but..." was still being composed when a droplet of rain slid down Fuji's cheek to nestle in the curve of his hidden smile, and suddenly Tezuka saw a flash of pink tongue, bright and startling against Fuji's skin that never tanned.
Tezuka thought it was the rain that made him say yes.
Perhaps visual stimulation was a poor way to start off a relationship, because they began sleeping together two weeks into it, four years before Tezuka had originally planned to give up chastity. He doubted this was normal, but it wasn't something he could ask Inui for statistics on, and in any case a relationship between two boys surely wasn't normal by definition.
It was probably silly to expect normal in a relationship with Fuji Syuusuke, anyway.
They kept the relationship itself a secret from everyone by tacit agreement, even Oishi, who was in general unnervingly perceptive regarding all things Tezuka, and Eiji, who still stuck to Fuji's side like a burr during school hours because they were lucky enough to be assigned again as classmates. Tezuka's parents were so firmly convinced of their son's pure and upright morality that he found himself being extra conscientious on all other matters as penance.
Inui might have suspected, but Inui could be trusted to keep his mouth shut, both to outsiders and to the subjects of his investigations themselves. As a matter of fact, Tezuka would have to look up to him with a great deal of awe if he did suspect anything, because as far as Tezuka himself could tell, there was nothing to suspect. They treated each other as always in school, walked home separately, exchanging neither gifts nor the terms of endearment that Tezuka had supposed customary to couples. Girls still inundated both with presents and pet names enough to spare.
His own feelings for Fuji didn't appear to have changed much, either, still tumbled together in some combination of respect, asperity, the bafflement with which birds regarded fins, and a bit of apprehension as well, because he was fully aware of how easily and deeply Fuji's smooth, almost imperceptible edges could cut. If Fuji had been expecting anything more, he certainly didn't show it; if he felt anything more, he didn't show that, either.
The only evidence Tezuka could grasp upon as proof that he was no longer single was in the now common visits to each other's homes. Tezuka-kun was a great help with homework, Fuji told Tezuka's parents, who smiled back graciously in their ignorance of Fuji's grades, which needed lifting as much as the hemlines of the Seigaku girl's uniforms. Fuji's house was almost always empty, though they came upon Fuji Yumiko on her way to a date a few times, and once upon Fuji Yuuta, who stared at them with such frank curiousity that Fuji waited for the sound of the front door slamming shut before pulling Tezuka down onto the bed.
That was where their visits invariably ended up.
Tezuka supposed that by the standard of his peers, he was one very lucky guy; he wondered sometimes if he ought to be feeling luckier than he did. Sex was heaven, he heard his classmates telling one another. Sex was incredible and mind-blowing. Sex was the world opening up to infinity. Sex was riding the curve of the highest wave; it was burning up in a forest wildfire.
Sex with Fuji was like drowning. Not in river rapids or a stormy ocean, but in the liquid placidity of a mirror-surfaced lake, a cool and implacable embrace. Fuji was there, everywhere, enveloping him with hands and mouth, with smooth, smooth skin and soft sighs interspersed with silence. Fuji never sounded desperate. He was vocal in his appreciation, unstinting with sensual praise, but when Tezuka brushed a hand across his lips as he shuddered in the midst of orgasm, he could feel Fuji's teeth clenching down, no quarter given to passion even then. Words of like or love hadn't passed between them since that confession in the rain; instead, Fuji told him "yes," "right there," and "smile, Tezuka, smile."
In response, Tezuka tried not to make any noise at all.
In their last semester of high school, he realized it was time to call a stop.
He invited Fuji into his room, waiting for Fuji to bounce a few times on the bed, disturbing the perfect square of his quilt, before announcing his intention to accept the American scholarship without any expectations of a scene.
Fuji, as always, didn't disappoint. He smiled and shrugged, tilted his head to one side so that his hair fell across his eyes and he had to brush it aside, and said "Maa, I didn't think it would be so soon. I suppose this would be a good time for you to return that Wagner CD you borrowed last year?"
Tezuka handed over the CD in question without speaking, watching as Fuji exclaimed cheerfully over its perfect condition and stowed it away. He remembered how he'd tried to spare Fuji pain, back in the beginning, as if it had even been a concern; you couldn't cut a stream, you couldn't harm a lake.
Later he concluded it was this unexpected edge of bitterness that goaded him past rationality into breaking the 'don't ask, never explain' rule of their recently expired relationship. "I've always wondered why you chose to ask me in such lousy weather."
Fuji glanced at him curiously, but didn't bother to ask for clarification. One of the reasons they had been able to jog on together for so long without meaningful communication was that it was rarely necessary; Tezuka didn't understand Fuji and Fuji didn't understand Tezuka, but they were skilled at predicting each other's reactions, the habits and rules that governed each other's handling of the world.
It was a surprise, then, when Fuji didn't answer right away with some flippant and entirely unbelievable response. He fiddled with his bag, ran a finger along the surface of the bed's headboard as if checking for dust, and screwed up his lips in an expression so unfamiliar that Tezuka almost asked to borrow a camera.
"Yuuta called me nosy and provoking at breakfast that morning," he said finally, "and I knocked two of my prize cacti out the second story window while getting ready for school. Eiji stole half of my lunch, Momoshiro's serve caught me in the shin at practice, and then, when it started to rain, I realized that I'd forgotten to bring an umbrella." He shrugged again, and Tezuka discovered that he'd wanted Fuji's honesty but never encouraged it, he'd wanted honesty but helped to keep the mask in place, because he didn't want to know what Fuji looked like when hurt. "I'd been afraid to tell you, but I was so miserable that afternoon that I figured being rejected couldn't make it any worse."
Fuji's persistent smile, his perfect and unshakeable complacency. He was giving them up as a gift, Tezuka realized, one that Tezuka had never asked for, because if he had, he thought, he would care about it all -- whether Fuji was on outs with his brother, if he'd accidentally murdered cacti, if he was hungry or hurt or apt to catch cold in the rain -- and it was dangerous to care about someone like Fuji, who lived by whimsy and could metamorphose at any moment, regardless of what certainties you'd built upon his previous incarnation.
He looked over at the wall where the Matterhorn stared back at him, cold, serene, untouchable. It wouldn't care about the streams winding at its feet; only about their ability to damage itself.
"I'm going to America," he said. "I'm going to the top."
"You'll get there," Fuji pronounced with the air of a prophet, looking for a moment uncannily like his sister making one of those predictions that were never wrong. "Fame, wealth, the world at your feet...all those will be yours." He pointed a finger at Tezuka, the imperious posture belied by his impish grin. "One day in the future, Tezuka Kunimitsu will have everything."
"Not everything," he said, feeling Fuji's quizzical gaze sweep his face. "There are some people who don't care about any of those things," and though he still didn't understand Fuji and Fuji still didn't understand him, he trusted that Fuji knew him well enough to understand what he was saying.
Three years into their possibly not-yet-expired relationship, Tezuka had the satisfaction of seeing calm, imperturbable Fuji Syuusuke stare at him, eyes opened wide, off balance for once, before blossoming startlingly into a smile so warm he could feel his cheeks wanting to crimson in response. "Everything," he repeated, starting to giggle, "because there are some people who just care about Tezuka Kunimitsu."
As Tezuka pressed Fuji back against the bedspread, still giggling in what might almost have been relief, he could see in his mind's eye the snow on the Matterhorn's peak melting, melting away.