Disclaimer: Prince of Tennis was created by Konomi Takeshi. No copyright infringement is intended and no money is being made from this creative venture.

Lost Time

By Gen X

It was so easy to slip back into old routines, and it only took a tournament to reunite them. Perhaps there should have been an awkward tension between them, but there wasn't. Their conversation never lulled and never felt strained. They didn't hurry to rush and recap everything about their life that the other had missed.

They both understood that change was gradual, and that no matter what life brought, they still had the bond that they had built before. There would always be a place for their friendship that they didn't need to scramble after missed time.

With the talent of long time friends, they simply picked up where they had left off. They opted to make the most of the present. It didn't matter that it had been months since they had last spoken. To observe them, one might have guessed it had only been days, if not hours.

They talked of tennis, both listening and asking questions at exactly the right points. They were not indulging small talk, but genuinely listening to events had affected each other. It didn't matter if the names were entirely unfamiliar. If it was important to one, then it was important to both.

It was starting to get dark as they left the restaurant. With take out bags in hand, they headed to Fuji's house. No invitation was necessary and neither bristled the intrusion. In fact, an objection would have seemed absurd.

"And how is Yuuta?" Saeki asked, his own judgment-- be it positive or negative-- kept from his voice.

"He's doing well. He's gotten a bit stronger."

Saeki frowned. Fuji was hedging the question. However, that wasn't entirely unexpected. "And outside of tennis? How are you two doing?"

"We're okay. I don't see him much since he's always at school."

"No fights?" Saeki pushed, digging and sifting between Fuji's words and refusing to accept avoidance as an answer.

Fuji looked at him flatly. He was not amused with his friend's persistence. "No. Not recently. Although, we haven't had the opportunity to."

Saeki nodded, finally content with the answer. "Ah, he'll come around eventually. You know that."

Fuji laughed lightly. "You always say that."

Saeki returned with a smile. "Well, yeah..."

"You've been saying that for years." Fuji continued.

"That means I'm bound to be right sometime, ne?"

"For years," Fuji reiterated.

"Hey!" Saeki swung his take-out bag in Fuji's direction, in place of a light slap. The bag didn't have enough to force to make contact, and Fuji didn't even bother to move. "I'll just keep saying it-"

"For years," Fuji interjected, swinging his own take out bag out.

"For years," Saeki amended good naturedly as he slapped the bag away. "Until it's true. Seriously, though, he'll get past it. Of course..." and his voice rose slightly, in a teasing tone letting the conversation shift once again. "In Yuuta's defense, it's not going to help things if you keep taunting him."

"But he's so precious to taunt. He's so cute, Yuuta-kun is." Fuji smiled innocently.

"You remember that time when you teased him on the courts and he was so upset that he went to kick his book bag, but it--"

"And it wasn't his book bag, and--"

"His expression was--"

"That girl was so upset--"

"He didn't go back there for days--"

Shared memories have the unique (and irritating) talent of not needing to make sense to anyone save who was there.

"It seems so long ago." Fuji sighed. He turned, following as Saeki turned up the walkway to his house.

"Not terribly." Saeki moved out of the way, letting Fuji unlock the door and led the way inside. The furnishings were more or less the same. There was new bauble here or new adornment there, just enough difference to feel the passage of time, but not enough to feel foreign. "I mean, long ago would have been when you still used an oversized racket."

Fuji continued walking, heading for the kitchen. Fuji held out his hand for Saeki's bag, placing both containers of take out into the refrigerator. "Do you want a drink? Glass of water?"

"No, I'm fine. Thanks."

Fuji stood, closing the door. He smiled. "I believe I graduated to a standard size before you."

"Well, of course. I don't contest that, but that was a long time ago. The Yuuta humiliation is fairly recent, you see?"

Fuji nodded, and headed to his room. He switched on his stereo as he made his way in. "Yuuta teasing is an ongoing event."

"I thought you considered it a sport?" Saeki entered the room, it hadn't changed much. The blues and whites of Seigaku clothing probably the only definitive change. Even the cacti were the same, then again those tended to live for a long time.

They sat on the floor. Fuji tossed up a tennis ball, spinning it idly in the air.

"Did you ever wonder what it would have been liked going to the same school?" Saeki asked, inclining his head towards Fuji's tennis bag.


"Honestly, me neither. It'd be odd not playing for Rokkaku."

"Heh." Fuji caught the ball, and pretended to throw it towards Saeki, who didn't flinch, nor move. The other boy simply knew his movements too well. "You were seduced by the jungle gym."

"Guilty as charged," Saeki admitted. He reached under Fuji's bed, fingers barely touching a tennis ball. He made contact and pulled firmly downwards. The ball skittered forward from the force, then spun backwards heading towards his open palm.

"Odd," Fuji cocked his head. "I thought I cleaned up under there."

Saeki spun the ball up in the air. "You missed one."

"I see."

Conversation stalled. The music filled the silence. The monotony of spinning tennis balls began to seem like avoidance. They were alone in Fuji's room, and for the first time, both realized that old routine might not be appropriate or even welcome anymore. They had lost direction.

Saeki was staring at him. The tennis ball still twirled in the air, but he was looking directly at Fuji.

Fuji noted the stare in his peripheral and returned with one of his own. Each knew the other shared their thoughts. Blue eyes met blue. Asking was the only way to get an answer.

At one time, they wouldn't have needed to ask.

"Fuji." Saeki set down the tennis ball, "Are you..."

"Seeing anyone?" Fuji shook his head, smile upon his face.

"Do you...?"

"What about you?" Fuji's eyes were open, and his voice dipped low.

And Saeki knew a challenge when he saw one.

He reached out, brushing Fuji's hair from his face. Saeki's gaze was intent as he watched for a sign to stop. Instead, Fuji met his gaze evenly. He was the first to break eye contact, looking away to watch as Saeki's fingers traced the side of his face, and lifted his chin. Fuji didn't respond, but he never did in the beginning.

Saeki waited. With his other hand, he removed the tennis ball Fuji was still holding and grabbed his hand firmly. He moved his hand from Fuji's chin, tracing downwards and back, trailing small circles on the other boy's neck. Fuji was being willful, and refused to arc into the touch, although Saeki could see the control. He framed his face again, fingers brushing over Fuji's lips.

Imperceptivity, Fuji leaned into the touch, kissing at his fingers, and with that, their roles had been established.

The first kiss started soft, and technically didn't end. They broke for a moment now and again, but rejoined each time more spirited than the last. Whenever Fuji tried to dominate the kiss, Saeki pulled just far enough away to be out of reach. Then he would wait, letting Fuji come to him. It never took long.

Soon, there was no distance between them. Each move they made apart was for the sake of balance, or necessity, and even those were rare. It might have been slightly awkward and taken more time than necessary, but Saeki managed to undo the buttons to Fuji's shirt with one hand. That accomplished, they broke apart, letting even the handholding cease. Fuji shrugged out of his shirt, as Saeki drew his own over his head.

Saeki had little time to react as Fuji kissed him again, bringing his weight to bear and pushing them down to the floor lest they collapse against it. The carpet was rough on Saeki's skin but not uncomfortably so. Besides, this was the fun part. He panted as Fuji did his best to unnerve his control. Fingers and tongue traced skin in teasing trails. Saeki closed his eyes, it was good to be indulged and pampered sometimes.

As if sensing that his ministrations weren't enough Fuji traced the band of Saeki's pants. His fingers barely brushed the zipper, when Saeki caught his hand. Fuji's blue eyes opened, objecting but Saeki met his gaze evenly. He returned with another kiss, holding Fuji's hand firm. His other hand pressed against Fuji's pants, and he waited for the sensations to overtake the smaller boy.

Foreplay with Fuji was always a competition, but a wonderful tantalizing competition. Fuji's reactions were always subtle, but so obvious to the other boy, and they never needed any words to guide them. In little time, Saeki had flipped them. Fuji's bare back was against the carpet, his pants undone sometime during the distracting touch.

"Fuji, do you still..."

Fuji nodded his head towards the closet. He fell back against the carpet as Saeki stood. His suit jacket was in the back of his closet just where it had always been. The pockets were the safest place to keep things. Sock drawers and under mattress weren't nearly as good hiding places than a jacket that was cleaned twice a year and worn even less. Breathing under control, Fuji pushed himself up and leaned against his bed.

He stood, taking the items from Saeki's hand and watching him intently for a reaction. Saeki seemed more amused than annoyed. With another kiss, they fell back upon the bed, not in a careful arc, but swiftly enough that the mattress bounced slightly. The necessities rolled on the bed, cast aside, as Fuji pulled Saeki down.

There was no room to maneuver now. If Fuji was going to be pinned, it was going to be on his own terms. Saeki's hair tickled at his forehead as he arced up to claim his mouth. He'd never been passive, at least not overly so, and he didn't feel like breaking the tradition.

Their remaining clothes fell absently to the floor, and the touches came harder and faster. Skin beaded with sweat dampening the comforter as they panted and breathed against each other. They alternated from light touches to teasing motions and tried to see just how much stimulation they could accomplish at one time, before they went further.

"Fuji," Saeki paused, momentarily hesitant, and wanted a more definitive assertion from Fuji.

Of all the timing... Fuji arced into his touch. His blue eyes opening again to give him an even glare. "Stop and I'll hurt you."

Saeki laughed breathlessly, amused. "God, I love your eyes." He moved, then paused.

Fuji let out a sated sigh in response. For a moment, he stared as Saeki moved, then pulled him closer. Pads of fingers digging into his back, feeling his heart race, and absently hearing the headboard squeak. At least Yuuta wasn't home. Then again, he never complained, so the noise couldn't have been as loud. Fuji could feel the sweat dripping from his face, and there were times he felt he was clinging, merely holding on for the ride.

There was, Fuji admitted, a lot to be said for submission. Especially since Saeki happened to be multi-tasking at the moment. Thus Fuji also had quite a bit of enjoyment and indulgence as well. He arced forward into Saeki's hand, then fell heavily against the mattress, even as Saeki moved against him. It seemed so quick, but at the same time felt as if it took them ages to reach the end.

Their afterglow lasted only long enough for them to stop panting. They held each other lightly, not wanting to move, but no longer finding the position comfortable in the least. Sloppy kisses were lazily bestowed as their hearts stopped pounding.

Afterwards it was always the same routine. The radio continued as they went about it. The trashcan was under the desk like always, a facecloth retrieved from the closet, and the window opened, letting the fresh night air into the room. They smoothed their clothes as best they could. Saeki frowned at the comforter, that had been overlooked, but Fuji merely turned it down. He wasn't concerned. It would wash; his sheets always had.

"Care for a drink?" Fuji asked, running his hand through his hair, shaking out a bit of sweat.

"That would be great and the takeout as well?" Saeki finished tucking his shirt into his pants.

Fuji nodded. "We seemed to have worked up an appetite again. Is water fine?"

"Whatever you're having is fine."

Fuji smiled at the typical answer. "Okay."

Some things would never change.