Disclaimer: No one belongs to me. I am just a fan obsessed with Fuji and Tezuka.
A/N: Gosh, it's been over a year, I wonder if anyone even remember that this fic exists or is even interested in it anymore? Although this is supposed to be the last chapter, as usual, I have too many things to write about so cough there will have to be a Chapter 8 after all.
Before the story, I'll like to thank the following reviewers who have been so kind and encouraging, and who always offer constructive comments and criticisms. Thank you for all your help and support: Mercury Angel II, Tora Macaw, loneranger, hakkai-san, Nekocin, Espy, blue , Ivory Fox, Mahon, kikumarustarr, Suke-san, chii-san , wadeva , hikaruchi, ruri, Ryomasamafan, AndyJune, tezuka eiri, and last but certainly not the least, Cheeseburger of Doom
Fuji smiled as he watched the crust of the pie turned a golden hue and the delicious aroma of warmed spiced apples and cinnamon wafted from the oven. Humming tunelessly, he gathered the pots and pans and filled the sink with running water. Contrary to popular misperception: one which he had never bothered to correct and had in fact gleefully encouraged, Fuji Syusuke was an excellent cook.
Given his friends' morbid fascination with, and macabre speculations about his taste-buds and cooking skills, Fuji did not quite have the heart to shatter their rabid fantasies. Not that Fuji did not enjoy watching his friends turned green and squirmed with trepidation whenever he downed another glass of Inui's juice or readily demolished a plate of wasabe sushi: he did have a sadistic streak after all.
Chuckling huskily, Fuji remembered the first time he had made Tezuka tried his cooking. Though Tezuka's face had been expressionless, the set of his shoulders had been a tad too stiff for him to be nonchalant as he sat at the table; and only because he had been observing him so closely, Fuji noticed the slight hesitation before Tezuka placed the spoon of pudding into his mouth. Even now, Fuji remembered with mirth at the way Tezuka's brows had twitched in surprise when he realized that the pudding rivaled that of any chef's.
"I should have expected this," was Tezuka's sardonic response as Fuji broke into peals of delighted laughter.
Fuji frowned as he slowly dried the pans. Tezuka had not been himself for the past three months: he had never been the most verbose of people, but he had became withdrawn lately. As if to compensate for speaking less and for not answering the concerned questions that Fuji directed at him, Tezuka took every opportunity to touch and hold him.
The heated caresses, the bone-numbing kisses...they were like opium that drugged his senses. Which was why Fuji had not been able to question Tezuka about the shadow his eyes as they held each other every night. Tonight, Fuji told himself, I will get the answers from him.
At the sound of keys opening the door, Fuji broke out of his reverie. Quickly wiping his hands with his apron, he hurried towards the front door, "Tezuka, why are you back so early? Is something..."
Puzzlement turned to shock as he stared at the figure standing next to Tezuka.
"Yuuta!" For a moment, he stood frozen as his eyes tried to reconcile what he was seeing. Then, he was running forward and enveloping his otouto in a bone-crushing hug. "I can't believe you've woken! I can't believe this," Fuji whispered as he wound his arms tightly against the warm body, feeling the steady and resounding beat of Yuuta's heart against his chest, and inhaling the familiar citrusy scent of Yuuta's favourite shampoo, "You're not a mirage...I am so happy. God, I am so happy."
Loosening his grip on his otouto, Fuji smiled as words tumbled out of his mouth, "When did you wake up? You should have waited in Tokyo, I would have flown back immediately to see you! I can't believe nee-san and kaa-san didn't mention a word of this to me! You shouldn't have flown here! You should be recuperating!"
"Three months ago."
"What?" Fuji stared at his otouto in confusion.
"I woke up three months ago." Yuuta's voice was steady as he continued, "I recovered pretty quickly and returned home two weeks after I woke up from my coma."
"Three months ago." Fuji's hands dropped to his sides as understanding dawned. Staring at Tezuka, Fuji was expressionless, but his voice had turned brittle, "You knew this."
"Yes." Tezuka's face was a mirror of Fuji's.
There was a silence as Tezuka watched Fuji's eyes turned into shards of ice. Ignoring the painful constriction in his chest, Tezuka forced himself to speak, " I'll leave you both to have a good talk." With a polite bow, he left his apartment.
"Yuuta, you must be thirsty, I'll make you some tea." Fuji turned towards the kitchen. Hastily, he tried to fill the teapot with hot water that he had boiled earlier, but his hands were so unsteady from trembling that the water sloshed all over the counter. Muttering a curse, Fuji clenched the counter tightly in a bid to stop his shaking.
"Aniki." Yuuta was standing beside him.
Staring at the woodgrains of the wet counter, his hands still gripping the surface, Fuji said quietly, "Do you really hate me that much, Yuuta?"
Yuuta didn't reply, instead he reached out to cover Fuji's right hand with his own. Startled, Fuji looked at his otouto.
"I want to see your hand, Aniki." For a moment, his grip tightened before his fingers finally loosened to allow Yuuta to flip his palm over.
For a long while, Yuuta stared at Fuji's hand. The swellings and discoloration were finally gone, only a mass of healed flesh and ridges of raised tissue remained. The scars had finally healed, but they still bore a brutal testament to the injury inflicted: there was not a shadow of the elegant and sensitive fingers that Fuji once possessed.
"Does it still hurt?" Yuuta asked softly.
"Sometimes, especially when the weather changes." Fuji's voice was a matter of fact. "But the pain doesn't really bother me, I have grown accustomed to it."
"Can you still play?" Yuuta's voice was low.
"Yes, though not with this hand anymore. I can use it for day to day activities, but using it to play tennis the way I used to is impossible and far too dangerous." Fuji smiled, "I have been discovering the virtues of using my left hand..." His voice trailed off when he realized that the hand holding his was shaking, "Yuuta..."
"My God...I'm a great otouto aren't I?" Yuuta laughed mirthlessly, "An absolute peach. First class. Grade A."
"How can you even stand to be in the same room as I am?" Yuuta demanded as he let go of Fuji's hand, his voice agitated. "After all that I've done. After all the cold shoulders and abuses that I had thrown at you. After what happened to your hand!"
"What happened to my hand is not your fault." Fuji replied evenly, "If you feel even an ounce of guilt, or think that I am bitter about anything, perish the thought."
"How can I?" There was disbelief in Yuuta's voice. "How many times have I stood by while people like Mizuki-san taunted you? How many times have I rejected you and your help?" His voice broke as he laughed weakly, "How many times have I hurt you? I think I have lost count."
"Yuuta..." Fuji reached out to comfort Yuuta, but the latter flinched and stepped backward.
"Don't touch me." Yuuta whispered, "Tell me the truth, Aniki. I have hurt you, haven't I? I have made you suffer."
"But don't you blame me for anything?"
"Because you are my otouto, Yuuta. Because I am your Aniki." Fuji continued softly, "Because I love you."
Yuuta sank to his knees.
"Yuuta! What's wrong? Are you alright?" Fuji kneeled beside Yuuta, staring at his bowed head.
"I have been a coward, Aniki." Yuuta lifted his face. For the first time, Fuji could see the unshed tears shimmering in his eyes, "I've been lying to myself for my entire life."
End Chapter 7.
Perhaps this is short, I apologise for the length. Part of the reason I took so long is because writing about the relationship between Yuuta and Fuji does not come easily to me...LOL. Next chapter (the last) – What happened when Yuuta woke up? Will Yuuta and Fuji resolve their issues? And what about our favourite buchou, Tezuka? Plus, Mizuki makes a special appearance. (Ha, ha..that twerp.) )