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Word Association

It was raining outside.

Tezuka gazed thoughtfully out the window. Lightning was flashing; the rain poured. Practice would probably be canceled.

He sighed, turning his attention back to the board. After absentmindedly pointing out that integrals could be split up into two groups, and that definite and indefinite integrals were definitely not the same, the captain waited for the bell to ring.

Tezuka considered running. The thought that he could probably make it to the window flitted across his mind. Unfortunately, the tensai grabbed his elbow before he could move, and calmly steered him towards the tennis courts.

"We don't have practice," the captain pointed out.

"Actually, we do." Fuji continued tugging at the stubborn boy. "We're doing a team activity today. A kind of game, you know. And everyone's participating." He smiled sweetly – 'sweet' being a term that could also be used to describe poisoned honey – and pushed Tezuka into the clubroom, where the others were waiting. "Winner gets to run practice for a day."

"…what?"

Inui glanced up. "Ah, Tezuka. We're going to be playing word association."

There was a short pause as the captain blinked.

"It's based on trust," the data specialist explained. "After all, the reaction should be instantaneous, so everyone could blurt out their hidden secrets at some point…" His glasses flashed. "Ii data."

"The rules," Fuji explained, "are simple. No pausing more than two seconds between people or you're out; no repeating words that have been said before, either. The object is to be the last person." He smiled. "The winner runs practice for a day with no interference from anyone."

Tezuka shuddered, and silently vowed to win. If Fuji wins…

"Shall we start?" Fuji grabbed the captain's wrist and dragged him into a chair, seating himself next to him. On Tezuka's other side, Kikumaru sat, accompanied by Oishi; Ryoma and Momo were next, Taka, Inui, and Kaidoh following.

Inui smirked. "I'll give the first word. Snake."

"Wasabi," Fuji chirped.

"Fish!" Kikumaru squeaked. He was much too excited, and practically toppled off his chair.

Oishi reached out a hand to steady his doubles partner. "Ocean."

"Squid," Ryoma replied calmly.

"Pen," Taka said shyly.

"Paper."

"Tree."

"Flower," Fuji remarked, absently winding his fingers through Tezuka's.

The captain frowned, but didn't pull away. "Narcissus."

"Atobe," Kikumaru snickered.

"Hyoutei."

"Kabaji…"

"Ohtori…"

"Shishido."

"Jirou…"

"Sleep…"

"Bed…"

"Sex," Fuji said, smiling innocently.

Without thinking, Tezuka replied, "Fuji."

Kikumaru and Oishi both choked, thus ensuring in their disqualification. Looking a bit confused – Ryoma's definition of sex was probably 'gender' – the freshman muttered, "Evil."

"Thief."

"Crime."

"Police."

"Handcuffs."

"Kinky," Fuji replied, his eyes darting to Tezuka's wrists.

"Idiotic," was the captain's prompt reply.

The tensai raised an eyebrow. "You never complain," he murmured.

Ryoma, suddenly realizing what the phrases 'sex', 'Fuji', 'handcuffs', and 'kinky' had to do with each other, turned pale and stuttered for a few seconds before disqualifying himself. Momo followed suit, except instead of walking out of the circle, he fainted and had to be dragged out.

"School," Taka mumbled.

Inui frowned. "Homework."

"House."

"Bedroom!" the sadist caroled, still looking perfectly innocuous.

Tezuka refused to take the hint. "Window."

"Glass."

"Light…"

"Dark."

"Nighttime," said Fuji.

Tezuka let out a long sigh. "Rest."

"Dreams."

"Fantasies."

"Ah-" Kaidoh had been in the process of saying 'Inui', before realizing that that would be Extremely Stupid, and was subsequently kicked out.

"Begging," the tensai replied.

Tezuka blinked. "Poor…" He hissed, as quietly as possible, "I do not."

"Saa, that's why it's a 'fantasy', Mitsu." Fuji didn't bother keeping his voice down.

"Rich," Taka muttered.

Inui, scribbling something frantically in his notebook, managed to blurt out 'Atobe'.

"It's been used before," Oishi pointed out. Inui sighed as he was pulled out of the circle.

"Satisfied," Fuji said calmly.

"Happy?" Taka asked, a bit uncomfortable, now that he was the only one left who wasn't in some sort of very warped love affair.

The tensai smirked. "Cacti," he replied, a completely random response.

Tezuka glared before snapping, "Sharp." Can't let him win...can't let him win...

"Soft," Taka mumbled, backing a few inches away from the other two.

Blue eyes gleamed like sapphires. "Tezuka's blankets."

"Mine," Tezuka snapped.

Taka decided that he needed to stop trying and backed out of the circle.

"Like," said the tensai.

"Love."

"Kunimitsu…" Fuji leaned forward and gently kissed the other boy.

Two seconds later, the prodigy pulled away, grinning. "I win."

On Monday, Tezuka was conspicuously absent, and Fuji sauntered out onto the courts.

Not surprisingly, the Regulars were hiding in various places.

"Let's start off with a hundred laps, followed by a sampling of Inui juice and wasabi sushi!" the tensai called brightly.

Half an hour later, the tennis courts were filled with unconscious boys. Fuji blinked at them all. "…I didn't know my training was that exhausting…"

Tezuka, spying on the practice from the small copse of trees by the courts, merely sighed.

And promised himself never to let Fuji run practice again.

Um. blink That's what happens when Song is verrrry tired. Yep.