Title: Smile: See Me

Author: Arithion

Rating: G

Genre: Angstish, bit of drama... um... yeah

Pairing: None really, heavy Fuji/Tez friendship

Chapter: One Shot (I think)

Summary: Just why does Fuji smile the way he does?

See Me

A hand reached out, gently restraining Fuji by the shoulder. Curious, the prodigy looked up to see Tezuka's eyes asking him silently... to stay. Interest piqued, Fuji acquiesced.

Tezuka's expression seemed somehow sterner once they were alone in the locker room. "I've seen your eyes, Fuji."

Fuji blinked slightly, not knowing what to think... and yet his smile widened.

Tezuka moved half a step closer. "Why do you hide them behind a fake smile... even around me?"

Fuji was taken back by the question. Direct as Tezuka was, Fuji had never expected him to be that blunt. It was a deciding moment, a moment he could come clean... a moment when the one person he cared for, was reaching out to him despite Tezuka's own rigid misgivings. But accepting that... would mean Fuji had to admit someone past that smile...

And that was something he couldn't do. So he smiled even more brilliantly. "Whatever do you mean, Tezuka?" And he shut out the pain that stabbed through him, when he saw Tezuka's carefully lowered walls come slamming back up into place, leaving him the implacable Captain that he was once more.

A part of Fuji mourned what he'd done. It mourned the fact that he'd probably caused irreparable damage, but another part of him simply accepted it as something he shouldn't change...whether he wanted to or not.

Tezuka's words sounded harsh in comparison to their previous counterparts, and it took a lot of effort for Fuji to resist flinching at the sound. "As you wish."

The captain picked up his own bags, leaving Fuji's immediate space, and made his way to the door, motioning Fuji past him. The prodigy could feel the heat emanating from Tezuka's body as he passed, and banished the unbidden feelings of confusion that rose within him.

Fuji shielded his eyes from the last of the days dying rays. For some reason it looked like the sky was weeping... weeping rivers of blood. He cocked his head...almost laughing at his brain waxing poetic when his heart felt like it was in a knot. Tezuka moved out of the corner of Fuji's eye, regaining the prodigy's attention as the captain locked the door.

Without turning, Tezuka spoke... in that way that made Fuji listen... in that way that only Tezuka could.

"I know more than you'd like."

Fuji was only too happy to counter. "But no more than I allow."

Tezuka turned then, and looked directly at the prodigy, brown eyes serious, lips down turned in a slight frown of thought, before bowing his head briefly. "And yet, more than you realise."

Fuji's eyes widened slightly, slivers of cerulean poking through...trained on the departing form of his captain. There was no comeback for him to utter...the ace was had, and he couldn't help but wonder at the truth of those words.


Fuji Syusuke didn't pay much attention to his surroundings as he walked into his house. He took off his shoes, before trudging up to his bedroom. His tennis bag fell with a soft thud next to his closet, resting in its habitual place. The school jacket ended up on a hanger in said wardrobe, before he took a couple of steps over and let himself fall almost bonelessly onto his bed.

It was a routine, his routine; a familiarity it was far too easy to fall into... and lately he'd found himself collapsing into it with something akin to relief.

He rubbed his temples, trying to ease the dull ache that was almost a constant these days. His attention wandered to his environment... briefly scanning over the area. There were no noises that he could discern anywhere near his room. With Yuuta at boarding school and his parents away as usual, only Fuji and his sister were left in the house...and she had other things to do.

Safe within his sanctuary, Fuji's smile receded. Cerulean eyes opened wide, fixating on the ceiling with a sigh. Emotions clashed in them, they always had...but Fuji didn't trust people to see them...

He didn't trust people to see him.

Rolling onto his side, he narrowed his eyes just a little and stared at the row of cacti on his bookshelf. Cacti. So deceptive. They needed so little care, but just the right amount. Unremarkable to look at and yet they held an innermost beauty that would jump out when it bloomed, as a permanent reminder to never judge a book by it's cover. Fuji felt a strange sort of kinship with the plants.

The conversation that sparked his mood earlier that day sprang unbidden and unwelcome to mind, and the closest that Fuji ever came to a scowl crossed his face. He still didn't know how he'd managed to keep smiling ... but he had.

Fuji sighed again; thoughts flitting through his mind nineteen to the dozen. Sometimes he hated having an overactive brain...especially when it was harping on something. The thing was, Fuji was trying to remember when the smile had first emerged. It wasn't something he'd ever thought of before... at least not consciously. But when Tezuka brought it up earlier that day...

He mused, falling deep into thought, ignoring the outside world in every way possible...


If he was correct... it'd started almost as early as he could remember.

Fuji was the middle child. Not the eldest and not the youngest, but exactly that; a middle child. But he wasn't the typical middle child, which was probably where most of his troubles had started.

They'd identified him as a 'gifted' child very early on, so he was definitely not afforded the inadvertent lack of attention that was so often associated with the middle child. Sometimes, later in his life, he wished he had been.

As a child Fuji hadn't been just cute...the slightly delicate lines that leant him somewhat effeminate features as a teenager, had been more pronounced when he was smaller. He'd often been mistaken for a girl alongside his siblings. Huge cerulean eyes hadn't helped his situation in the slightest. People tended to look at him and ooo and ahh over his eyes. And even as a child it had... annoyed him.

There were a couple of other things about his eyes that Fuji discovered as time went on. The first was that people really considered them startlingly stunning... vivid as they were. The second was quite irritating. It seemed his eyes showed every level of emotion that he was feeling, and he couldn't think of any way to shut that out.

If he was asked to do something, no matter how pleasantly he answered, the adult could tell what he really felt... and got annoyed. If his parents asked him how he was feeling, on the rare occasion they might not be busy, and he answered that he was fine ... he would get scolded for lying.

When they went somewhere, he got chastised for not showing appreciation. When they met someone new, he got told off for not showing proper respect to his elders. It didn't matter what he said or how sincere he acted... his eyes always gave him away. Really, it was all very frustrating for a young boy.

And then, on his fifth birthday, he stumbled across the solution quite by accident. They'd gone to one of his aunties to celebrate. She was hosting a dinner for the family and using his birthday as an excuse. It meant that Fuji had to put up with his two older cousins, and fend them off picking on Yuuta for the duration of their stay. Since the time Fuji happily ate the wasabi the two had tried to feed him as a cruel joke... his cousins were a little more wary of the older sibling, which was good because it afforded him the ability to protect Yuuta without having to think about it.

His sister, as usual, was off with one of their older cousins. At least someone got on well with their other relatives. The upside was that Fuji's aunt had a cat. It was quite an ugly cat... there was no fur, which Fuji found quite silly really. What was the point of a cat without fur? It looked like it had been skinned, which Fuji found delightful in many ways. The cat always made him wonder.

And so it was that he'd been playing with the cat, idly listening to Yuuta argue with his cousins that his car was faster because it was red, when his mother came over to him.

She knelt down next to him and rested a hand lightly on his small shoulder. He looked up at her and smiled slightly, eyes wide. Her face creased in a frown and she asked him the inevitable question. "Are you enjoying yourself, Syusuke?"

Fuji hated those questions; they always got him in trouble no matter how he answered, because his eyes always spoke the truth. Just as he was about to answer, the now neglected cat... licked his foot.

Syusuke laughed, eyes crinkling up and face spreading in a big smile. He answered his mother's question. "Yes... of course I am."

And he was pleasantly shocked when no rebuke followed. She seemed satisfied with his answer, stood, absently patting him on the head before leaving.

All traces of laughter disappeared from Fuji's face as he followed his mother's form, thoughtfully. He ran over the entire interaction in his young mind and it made him think.

And so he decided to try out what he thought he'd found. It proved to be more right than he could have hoped. Not only could he make people believe that he was perfectly fine all of the time, but he could convince them of absolutely anything ... just as long as he smiled

Just as long as he didn't show his eyes.

Years past and his personality manifested with his concealing smile. He found he enjoyed shocking other people, found himself taking pleasure in watching other's discomfort, and found himself revelling in the fact that no one ever suspected him of anything until it was too late... if at all.

So it was that he earned his reputation: the smiling prodigy.

So it was that people learned to keep their distance, because rumour had it, Fuji was nothing like he seemed.

A smile could hide a lot of things... even from oneself.


Fuji blinked, eyes refocusing on his ceiling, he realised it had grown pitch black outside. When he really thought about it... Fuji wasn't sure he liked what he'd become... or what he might still become.

He stood, feeling his way in the dark and finding the light switch. If he didn't act straight away, he wouldn't act at all. Right then, Fuji felt reckless. It was a feeling so foreign to him that he tingled with anticipation.

He slid out of his uniform and into loose jeans and a soft beige shirt. His mind had clicked over, made a decision, and he didn't want to leave his resolve for the next morning when he might have pushed it to the back of his mind.

There was one choice that he could see, a choice that stood out brightly from a myriad of others. He'd be stupid not to take it... because the chance might not rise again... if indeed it was still there.

The smile rose involuntarily to his lips, settling into a pattern that was as familiar as breathing. It was going to be very difficult to break a habit honed by almost ten years of necessity. Still, necessity was dictated by circumstance, and Fuji was determined to alter his own.

He left the house, glancing at his watch as he did so... the time not in the least a deterrent for him. Deep down he knew the time wouldn't matter. The night breeze was light and steady. Fuji's smile lessened a little as he let the wind pour over his body, relaxing, rejuvenating, and reinventing him.

It seemed to be a night for that.

Sooner than expected, Fuji found himself looking up at a familiar window. The smile on his face felt more genuine than he remembered in a long time. Sure enough, there was a shadow on the other side of the curtain. It moved away, and Fuji knew, without a doubt, that the door to the house would be opened any minute.

They'd been this way for as long as he could remember. It wasn't supernatural, and it wasn't undying love. They had a silent friendship, a silent communication, and a common understanding. There was nothing secretive about them; they simply respected each other from what they gave to the other.

That afternoon, Tezuka had crossed a line Fuji hadn't known was there. He had reached out... albeit tentatively. It had startled Fuji, who hadn't thought that he'd let the other boy in so close. When he thought about what Tezuka had said, Syusuke realised that the captain had done the same in return.

They were more than friends, and yet less than most people would assume. They were simply... comfortable.

Fuji didn't want them to get uncomfortable...

He raised his eyes as the door in front of him opened and took a step closer to stand on the threshold. Brown eyes studied him, silently asking questions that Fuji could hear all too well.

The smile melted off the prodigy's face, and he opened his eyes... studying the ground intently as he spoke. "You would know me?" And he looked into Tezuka's eyes, truly, for the first time. No smile, no protection...just those same eyes that had condemned him so many times as a child, roiling with all the emotions running through his system right then. It was as if he was waiting for the same old reaction. Trepidation, uncharacteristic to his usual self bubbled along the surface... all in the split second it took Tezuka to respond.

"I could." It was all the brown-eyed boy said, and yet it was more than he needed to.

Fuji's shoulders relaxed, and he smiled his first true smile in longer than he cared to remember, as Tezuka inclined his head. The prodigy acknowledged Tezuka's invitation into the house, pushing past the other boy lightly.

Fuji thought it might actually be nice ... for someone to see him.