Smile for the Camera
Disclaimer: I don't own Prince of Tennis.
Thank you Black Hikari, bittersweetdreams, ki-ku-maru BEAM, Aisaki Sumi, and RuByMoOn17 for reviewing the last chapter.
ki-ku-maru BEAM hopefully this is a little longer for you this time and I'm sorry for the evil cliffhanger- hmm does this chapter have one? (Goes off to ponder it)
Black Hikari oh yeah Fuji is very protective of his brother and that usually means a lot of pain for Mizuki, except in this chapter he gets a little distracted...
bittersweetdreams Well you'll get your answer for what Ryoma does afterwards in the second half of the chapter (yeah I know Ryoma can be way too thick sometimes when he deals with emotions)
Ah Kevin- I'm not sure if he's coming back, I'm trying to put in new characters now- we'll see.
Anyways so sorry that it took so long for me to update but at least this time you get a longer chapter. So enjoy reading and tell me what you think afterwards!
"Saa you two make a cute couple." Three pairs of eyes looked up to stare at the smiling tensai all with different reactions.
"Aniki?" Yuuta stuttered, unsure of how to take this sudden statement from the brother who refused to acknowledge his lover's existence up til now.
Said lover however was having no such qualms about the comment. "Nfu, so the great Fuji Syusuke has finally accepted the truth." Mizuki's soft snickering was rather disturbing to any onlookers.
Atobe merely picked up his wine glass and gently swirled the liquid around before taking a sip. The diva ended up spitting that mouthful out a second later when Fuji decided that his earlier comment needed further clarification.
"Atobe, you and Mizuki-kun here should have told me you were dating. Now I want to hear everything. When was your first date, your first kiss, the first time you had sex," Fuji sat back for a moment as if in thought then chuckled softly as the tiny glint of sapphire showing in his eyes caught the flickering light of the candle at their table, giving his face a mischievous expression, "Saa for that matter Mizuki-kun, which one of you tops?"
"Fuji Syusuke how dare you cause Ore-sama to perform ungraceful actions. And you should know that Ore-sama is always the one in control of any relationship." the diva frowned at his chuckling date as he attempted to ignore the strange behavior of the other occupants of the table.
Mizuki was actually harshly yanking at strands of his hair at the moment, but the action seemed to be a poor substitute for attacking the smiling brunette across the table. Of course Mizuki could never sink so low as to physical violence. Definitely not. That might cause blood to spill. He could not fathom the results of getting anything that dirty on his hands, or worse his clothing. Instead he closed his eyes and visualized a happy fantasy of Yuuta, naked and aroused on their bed. Relaxing slightly, he couldn't prevent the soft snicker when his thoughts supplied a broken Fuji begging at his feet.
Yuuta never even glanced at his lover after his aniki had said such a horrible thing. "Aniki how could you?" Yuuta whispered, fighting the sting of tears at his eyes, waiting to be released. His brother looked at him then in a serious expression, his perpetual smile fading away as he realized that he had perhaps gone too far.
"Yuuta, I," Syusuke started, before he was interrupted by Mizuki.
"How dare you Fuji Syusuke treat your own brother like that. It's one thing if you can't remember my name but to suggest that I would cheat on your brother, well that is too much." the former manager now had his eyes firmly open at the sound of his lover's pain and was trying to comfort the younger boy. While he may not have been the most respectable person in the world, he truly cared for the younger Fuji and was not going to let anyone make his lover miserable- not even his own brother. Fuji Syusuke was about to learn how vindictive Mizuki Hajime really was.
"So Syusuke-kun I heard the most delicious rumor the other day from Keigo when we went shoe shopping," Mizuki somehow managed to lean over the table and smirk at Fuji while at the same time leaving both his hands to wander over his lover's body for 'comfort'. "It was all about your ex-lover, you know the one who left the country to get away from you?"
If looks could kill, Mizuki would just be a small pile of ashes (smelling of lilac naturally) on the dining room chair. Of course, this was Fuji Syusuke we're talking about so anything was possible. Mizuki made a mental note to buy a pair of violet-tinted sunglasses to wear whenever in the other boy's presence so that perhaps the glass would refract the horrible effects of the former tensai's sapphire eye glare. "It seems your former buchou has found himself a nice girl to settle down with. I suppose he got tired of meaningless relationships with pretty boys. He proposed to her several weeks ago I hear. Nfu. Keigo and I were making bets about the wedding- I bet that Tezuka is such an honorable man that he'll actually send you an invitation. Keigo believes he won't even tell you about it. You wouldn't mind, would you Syusuke-kun, telling us if he does contact you so we can settle this? I know this is asking a lot but, well, seeing as how we're almost family..." Mizuki trailed off with another snicker and wrapped his arms around Yuuta, eager to see Fuji Syusuke lose it in front of them.
Fuji's reaction was disappointing then, to say the least. "Saa how nice for Tezuka, hmm I'll have to send him a card," Fuji actually smiled genuinely at Mizuki before turning to Yuuta, "Maa isn't this wonderful news Yuuta? It means that your blind date has a small hope, no matter how minuscule, of getting over his phase of meaningless relationships. Maybe he'll actually settle down as well. Although he definitely needs to get help about that gambling problem of his..."
Mizuki let out a screech and leapt across the table, dirt be damned (that's what scented soap was for anyways). Yuuta quickly grabbed hold of his lover's waist, yanking firmly on Mizuki's pants to try and pull him back into his chair.
"Aniki didn't mean anything by it Mizuki. He's just teasing you, please sit down, we're in a restaurant." Yuuta pleaded. Mizuki didn't listen to any of this, instead locking his furious glaze on Fuji and reaching out to grab that pale slender neck and choke it into submission. Atobe had been sitting back sipping wine as he enjoyed watching the evening entertainment, but now he leaned forward to grab his glass before the scuffle could upset his meal in any way. Syusuke merely kept the serene expression on his face as he calmly observed Mizuki getting closer and closer, at the last moment he tilted back slightly, causing the former data collector to miss. That would not have been so bad but Yuuta wasn't paying attention and gave a particularly hard yank on his lover's waist, causing the boy to pull back, losing his balance and falling onto the table, straight into Syusuke's entree.
"Why Miyucki, I had no idea you wanted a taste of my meal. You should have just asked, there was no need to climb over the table." Fuji lightly scolded as Mizuki let out a moan of frustration while lifting his face off the plate of food. Sauce dripped off his nose and down the strands of hair across his forehead. Pieces of vegetable were stuck to his cheeks, and several noodles were trailing off his chin. The diva at their table didn't even attempt to hide his laughter at the sight but Yuuta was horrified.
"I'm so sorry Mizuki but you couldn't start a fight, not with my brother and certainly not in a public place like this. Here, why don't we go get you cleaned up in the washroom alright?" Yuuta babbled as he gently pulled his lover off the table and steered him in the direction of the restroom. Mizuki kept his angry glare on a certain tensai the entire time until they could no longer see each other.
It took several minutes for Yuuta to calm down his enraged lover and clean off his face. Once he had gotten a solemn swear that the boy would not attempt any more violence towards his aniki and once Mizuki had washed his face several times until not a speck of food showed and his hair stopped smelling like garlic, the two made their way back out to their table where a restless diva was sitting alone.
"Where's my brother?" were the first words out of Yuuta's mouth.
"Fuji made apologizes about some work he had to finish before tomorrow's photo shoot. He left Ore-sama sitting here without anyone to compliment him. What rude behavior." Atobe scoffed, frowning at Yuuta as if by being Syusuke's brother he was somehow responsible as well.
Beside him, Mizuki chuckled as he took his seat again. "Syusuke-kun must have realized that my revenge would be terrifying and humiliating for him and fled in fear. I suppose one can't blame him for being afraid of someone of my intellect. Nfu."
Atobe snorted softly into his hand and returned to ignoring Mizuki's babbling, a trait he found quite handy every time the two went shopping together.
Yuuta sighed as he returned to his seat. He would tell his lover to stop bragging, but at least he wasn't whining anymore. A pleased smug Mizuki was always far better than one who had just been severely humiliated. So Yuuta nodded his head in agreement to his lover's babbling and pondered how much longer it would be before they could finish dinner, get rid of the diva, and finally get back to having some alone time. A small part of him wondered what happened to his brother to be willing to leave Yuuta alone with Mizuki but that part died down when Mizuki turned to him and smiled, letting one of his hands rest on Yuuta's left thigh.
Yuuta firmly told himself to call his brother to make sure he was alright later that night. Much later. Like after he'd had sex later.
Syusuke held up the umbrella he had brought with him as he wandered through the pouring rain to the bus stop. He didn't notice any of the people he accidently bumped into, instead he kept up his brisk pace as his mind wandered over past memories he had thought were best left buried.
Tezuka was getting married.
He was settling down and moving on with his life.
He wanted Syusuke to call him.
And what was Fuji doing with his life? "What do I want?" the former tensai whispered to himself as he leaned against one of the walls of the stop. If anyone had asked him a couple weeks ago, Fuji would have known exactly what he wanted. Now however...
In a snap judgement Fuji flung his umbrella onto the seat at the stop and skipped out into the pouring rain, holding his hands up as the falling raindrops quickly soaked him to the skin. He had always loved the rain so much. "At least I know nothing I could possible want is in Germany." Fuji yelled to the sky, hoping he was loud enough for a certain emotionless tennis star to hear. He decided to casually walk back to his apartment so he could enjoy the rain tonight.
He also decided to ignore the small pang in his heart which called him a lier.
It was pouring rain outside. Ryoma had always loved playing tennis in the rain. There was an excitement to the new possibilities this opened, there was now danger on the court. At any moment a player could slip on the rain splattered clay and fall, missing a shot and losing a game. Perhaps even more permanent consequences could occur.
At the moment, Echizen was trying his best to test his luck, as he quickly stepped from side to side, slamming a tennis ball against a stationary wall, wishing he could try it with a real person.
It happened quickly without any warning, his knee buckled as his fragile grip on the slick court failed, and he dropped to the ground in a wet heap. His knee angrily protested the activity that he should not have placed on it, but Ryoma ignored it to stare up at the blackened sky, silently watching the raindrops fall down on his face. He could feel the rain soaking into his clothes and the firm gritty clay ground pressing into his back. Looking across to the net, and the stands in the distance Echizen couldn't stop the wave of longing from overtaking him. This is where he belonged. His knee gave a particular harsh throb to remind him that sometimes mind and body don't share the same thoughts.
He couldn't prevent himself from coming here though, just like he couldn't prevent Fuji's words from echoing in his ears. Did it really matter to him if he was second-best in his employer's eyes? Really, he was obsessing over a job. It wasn't like he had never been rejected before either- while his tennis career might have been perfect, Ryoma had spent the first few months in Japan getting door after door slammed in his face. Maybe that's why this job meant so much to him- it was the first 'yes' in a long time. The young model closed his eyes as the raindrops slid into his golden orbs, blurring his vision. Without a tennis court in front of his eyes, he could clearly see the fond look on Fuji-san's face as he talked about the adorable scowling boy.
No, there was definitely more to it than that.
With his eyes closed and his mind distracted, it took him several moments before he realized that there were voices on the court.
"Oi what's this I hear about you and Ann-chan going out on a date last night baka?" one loud angry voice called out.
"It wasn't a date rhythm-boy. We just happened to be at the same café together and then she dragged me to go see some movie she's been obsessing over." the other voice was even louder and Ryoma winced at the volume. Couldn't they keep it down? He was trying to be depressed right now.
"You went to the movies with her? You were in a dark theater all alone with her for two hours? How dare you! I bet you took advantage of poor innocent Ann-chan and tried to kiss her!" the first voice again, only louder this time. They seemed to be coming closer.
"Baka, of course not! I, unlike some people, am a true gentleman. I just watched the movie, you idiot. For your information there was no touching of any kind until I kissed her goodnight."
"You did what?" this time the yell was right at his ear, the two boys must have walked onto the clay court which he was lying on, but Ryoma ignored them. Or did until the one in trouble choose him for a convenient distraction.
"Wait up Kamio, do you see someone lying on the ground?"
"Don't you dare try and change the subject Momoshiro. I demand full details on what you did with Ann-chan now. Oh you're right, there is a kid lying on the ground." Kamio quickly changed his tone when he realized this was not totally a distraction.
Ryoma then heard the rush of footsteps heading towards him and one of the boys swore quietly under his breathe. Then he got the distinct impression that there was someone leaning over him.
There was a gentle shake on his shoulders and one of the boys, Momoshiro he thought, called softly to him. "Oi kid, are you alright? Wake up and stop scaring us."
Ryoma cracked open one eye to glare up into concerned violet eyes. "I'm fine. Leave me alone."
The bristled haired boy turned to a redheaded boy next to him and they exchanged looks. Then Momoshiro turned back and carefully gathered the other boy into his arms. "Look kid, it's pouring rain in the middle of the night and you're passed out on the ground of a tennis court. That doesn't sound fine to us. So come on, let's get you someplace dry."
"Yadda." Echizen refused, trying to pull out of the grip as he glared at the two boys. Belatedly he realized being dropped back to the ground with his bum knee was not the smartest of ideas. He collapsed back to the ground, holding his leg and attempted to keep in the pain-filled moans that threatened to come out.
"Your leg, did you just injure that tonight?" Kamio demanded, leaning down to see how badly he was injured.
"No this happened several years ago. I just aggravated the injury by playing tonight." Ryoma admitted through gritted teeth.
"How bad is it?" Momoshiro asked as he stood over both of them.
"His knee is badly swollen right now. I doubt he'll be able to put any pressure on it for a day or so." Kamio evaluated before turning to look seriously at the young model. "Look kid, the only way you're getting off this court tonight is if one of us carries you. I doubt you want to sit here in the rain all night long."
Echizen stubbornly refused to answer. There was no way anyone was going to carry him like some weakling. Besides, he didn't even know these boys- for all he knew this was their idea of a pick-up line. Unfortunately for him, these two didn't take no for an answer. Echizen soon found himself carefully lifted back into the air, his head pressed against Momoshiro's warm chest. The tall man gazed down at him with a confused expression on his face.
"Oi kiddo, do I know you? You look familiar somehow."
Echizen shook his head, glaring at the boys who had gone against his wishes. "I only moved to Japan a couple months back. And I certainly don't remember you."
"What's your name kid?" Kamio suddenly asked as he bent down to pick up Ryoma's tennis racquet and bag he had left on the ground.
"Ah that's it," Momoshiro announced abruptly, with a goofy grin on his face. "You're the boy in that picture Eiji-sempai showed us."
"Excuse me?" Ryoma and Kamio asked in the same breathe.
"Oh Fuji-sempai's picture. You're a model, right? Fuji-sempai's model." Momo modified.
"Right. How do you know Fuji-san?" Ryoma asked curiously.
"I went to school with him. Say, how'd you like to meet some other friends of Fuji-sempai? I know everyone was eager to meet you as soon as we heard about you." Momoshiro asked eagerly.
"Why would they?" Echizen was suspicious about this whole concept. Why did one of Fuji's friends have his picture? Why was anyone eager to meet him? He was just a model for a showcase. Could it be possible he meant more to Fuji than a model? No. That couldn't be it.
The redhead standing next them started shifting from foot to foot restlessly. Finally he spoke up, "Momo, I have no idea what you're talking about but I have an 8'oclock class tomorrow morning. So you'll have to finish this up by yourself." When the taller boy nodded his agreement, Kamio handed him the bag he was holding and turned to leave. He stopped for a moment without turning back and yelled behind him. "I expect you to call me early tomorrow with a detailed account of your date last night baka. And don't you dare leave out one single piece of information or I'll tell Ann-chan exactly what kind of a jerk you really are."
With that Kamio darted down the street, leaving Momoshiro yelling after him. The two left behind stared at each other for a moment before Momo got another of those goofy grins on his face and hoisted Echizen a little higher in his arms.
"Well kiddo, are you ready to go met your fans?"
"Yadda." Echizen grumbled, but seeing as he was being carried found little say in the matter. 'I should have never said I was fine.' he told himself.
Ok so um yeah double date over but now we're moving to Ryoma's social night out. I do want to get back to putting the thrill pair together again but- I can't help myself from letting some of the other Seigaku regulars have a spot in my story.
Oh yeah and I apologize to any fans of Tezuka who are upset that I turned him straight. (Evil laugh).