Notes: This was written as a request fic from Lonelymaiden on Livejournal and I'm not overly happy with it since my Tez and Sae muses don't like each other. It probably still needs some fiddling with but I decided to be nice and stop teasing her and just give her the fic.
Disclaimer: Prince of Tennis and all the characters belong to Konomi.
Tezuka had heard his name before; it would have been a miracle if he hadn't given the circumstances. But somehow, they had never met. Last training camp he had declined, he didn't play against Rokkaku last year and this year when Seigaku played them, he was away healing. Still, he had to admit to some curiosity over the face that would go with the name.
Especially when Fuji would call and have conversations with him that seemed to have the only purpose of talking about Saeki. "Oishi arranged for us to go visit Rokkaku and we ended up playing volleyball." Fuji had started out innocently enough, though that statement had made him ask just how that would help them win Nationals. This of course caused Fuji to laugh lightly and quietly explain Inui's reasoning and all Tezuka could do was agree. Fuji then went on with his story, "I was partnered with Saeki... it was nice to play on the same side as him again." Tezuka knew that the smiling prodigy could be wistful but he was usually not as obvious at that. But before he could comment, Fuji had said something that had completely derailed that thought. Fuji's soft lilting voice went through the phone line and into Tezuka's head with the simple sentence of "He reminds me of you."
Tezuka had asked how, because everything he had ever heard of Saeki seemed in contrast of himself. Fuji had chuckled and told Tezuka, "One day, find Saeki and look into his eyes." And shortly after had hung up citing that lunch was over and he had to get to class. Tezuka hadn't heard the bell through Fuji's phone and wondered just what his friend was up to. Hopefully it wouldn't lead to the usual chaos.
He had not known he would meet Saeki on his arrival back to the tennis world. He should have though, Fuji and the others had mentioned he was captain – or was it vice – often enough.
As he made his way down the steps to draw Seigaku's playing number he looked at all the other captains and vice-captains gathered at the meeting. He saw Atobe in all his arrogance and nodded his appreciation to him for his kind words. He proceeded to hop over an ill-wisher's leg and that's when his eyes picked up a flash of silvery white. He looked over and directly at the two-toned haired boy. He only knew of one tennis player who would have hair like that – Saeki. The Rokkaku student was smiling and looking excited and Tezuka had expected to see the same happy-go-lucky attitude reflected in the other's eyes, much like the expression of the nearly bald player beside him.
Instead, he stared into fiery golden eyes that challenged his very soul and dared him to bring his best. He could feel his breath catch in his lungs and he could feel himself respond to the pull of his gaze. But he forced himself to break it and the room that he didn't even notice was so noisy, came back into sharp focus.
He drew his lot number and sat beside Oishi and for rest of the meeting, Saeki and him took turns staring at each other in a rude way, but they were careful to never make eye contact again. It was as if they had secretly agreed that it was ok to look, but not to connect as they had on the stairs with their eyes.
Fuji's words came back to haunt him while he sat there, all but blatantly staring at Saeki, and he found himself agreeing with the prodigy. There were so many outside differences that it would be so easy to miss, but Tezuka had seen it. His own drive, determination and passion reflected right back at him in Saeki's tiger-eyes.
It was surprisingly easy to dismiss Oishi, telling him he would be at practice later. But right now, there was something he had to do – someone he had to speak with. If he didn't do it now, he would find reasons and obligations to not do it later. And right now, with his team far away from the Rikkaidai university, the situation was nearly ideal. If only he could get Saeki away from Fudomine and the other Rokkaku student. Aoi – his mind helpfully supplied the name.
Somehow, the fates must have been on his side and if he wasn't who he was and was more like the Yamabuki vice-captain he might have released a happy 'Lucky!' as he saw Saeki break away from the group. The Rokkaku tennis player headed towards him and Tezuka found it momentarily difficult to breathe and berated himself for it. Not that it mattered because after one long challenging and knowing look, that inflamed Tezuka's pride, Saeki veered to the side and headed towards the auditorium's washrooms.
By the time he entered it Saeki was already in there, sitting on the sink counter, his feet swinging idly, "I knew you'd follow." He said confidently, as if nobody had never not followed him before. It irked Tezuka slightly but he realized that there was no reason to be upset. He was the one who all but asked to speak with him alone.
Tezuka didn't respond but he allowed the door to shut behind him and debated for a fleeting moment what to do next. "You're shorter than I'd thought you'd be." Saeki commented again watching Tezuka intensely at the door. Was he encouraging Tezuka in what he was about to do, or wondering why he was still lingering at the exit. Deciding that he wasn't going to risk interruptions, he flicked the lock and heard it swiftly click shut. The soft noise echoing in the cool tiled room.
"Most people say I'm rather tall." Tezuka said stepping from the door towards the sinks. They hadn't yet looked directly at each other's faces. As if it would be too much too soon when alone in such a small space.
"Well sure, but with all those stories, I was sort of expecting a giant. Though you're exactly as Fuji describes you." Tezuka should have been prepared for a sense of humour similar to Fuji's, they were childhood friends, but someone who had eyes that stopped his mind dead in its tracks, he hadn't quite expected it. It wasn't unexpected that the other had heard about him though. There was never a week that he didn't have at least one random tennis player challenging him because of what was said of his skill on the court. He just hadn't realized that the stories about him had been so blown out of proportion. He blamed Atobe, because the captain of Hyotei would never be satisfied beating a mere injured mortal when instead he could get greater glory by conquering a legendary giant.
Still, those thoughts had nothing to do with what was going on now. "Fuji told me you and I were alike." He said moving so that he was standing in front of Saeki, seeing himself reflected in the mirror behind the other boy's head.
"Yeah, he said that to me too. I wanted to know what part of me was a piece of toast." Saeki chuckled, and ran a hand through two-toned strands.
"Toast?" Tezuka was baffled, what did toast have to do with any of this. And just how much time and money went in to keeping Saeki's hair styled like that, yet still healthy looking.
Saeki looked at him as if he was waiting for a punch line before a slow smile snuck back onto his face. Tezuka wasn't sure if he trusted it. "…Never mind." He trusted those words even less. Still, he could always ask Fuji about it later or perhaps Inui. "It wasn't a bad thing, being compared to you I mean, you are Nationally ranked, and what is it, 'the pillar of Seigaku'. Being compared to anyone Fuji likes is never a bad thing." Saeki smiled softly at the end of it, as if remembering precious moments, probably shared on a warm sandy beach with an ocean backdrop. Not a cool linoleum tiled bathroom with the sound of water running through pipes and a drippy sink surrounding them.
"No, it's not that bad." Tezuka agreed, stepping closer to Saeki so that he was nearly between his legs, "But I do see what he saw." He looked directly into Saeki's eyes and was instantly drowning again. He wondered if Saeki felt it too, but if it really was just a reflection of his own, then he had to.
"He's a sharp guy." Saeki murmured, reaching out a hand to snake around Tezuka's waist, closing that final distance between them.
The next thing Tezuka knew was that his lips were on Saeki's, both of them staring into each other's eyes as if afraid to break the connection. Eventually, the kiss deepened and their eyes drifted closed, finding a new connection with dancing tongues and wandering hands.
They were forced to break apart to breathe, Saeki leaning forward to rest his head against Tezuka's chest as he breathed, Tezuka's arms wrapped around him shaking slightly with barely contained lust.
"When does your ride leave?" He finally asked after their pulses had evened out and their breathing had slowed.
Saeki looked up with a chuckle. "Now." Was all he said before pulling back and jumping off the sink ledge. "I should get going. I wouldn't want Aoi to get lost." He laughed again, whether at the thought of Aoi being lost or Tezuka's expression of loss was unknown.
Composing himself quickly, Tezuka straightened his tracksuit and glasses, watching Saeki move in the reflection of the background mirror before turning to face him directly. "Then I'll see you at Nationals."
"At Nationals." Was all that needed to be said in reply, a challenging look in Saeki's eyes and a mischievous smile. Once Saeki had left the bathroom, Tezuka looked again in to the mirror at his own eyes and could see the same challenging look reflected back at him. Sometimes, just sometimes, he actually found himself understanding exactly what Fuji was talking about. He'd always considered those to be good days, and this one was no exception.
Adjusting his glasses again, Tezuka left the bathroom and then the Rikkai grounds, heading back home to Seigaku and then to the Nationals.