Hi! This is my first Tennis No Ohjisama fic. Since Fuji's birthday is coming, I decided to give him a birthday gift. Though I'm not sure if he would like it since I made him so miserable in this story. It seems that I have a tendency to make my favourite characters suffer ne?

There's no pairings yet decided for this fic. Maybe later in the next chapters.

Thanks to Ishka-chan for beta it so the fic is more readable than the original was.

Disclamer : I don't own Tennis No Ohjisama. It's all Konomi Takeshi's. TT

Words in /….: someone's thoughts

Words in Italic : flashback

A Half-Second Dream

Chapter 1 : When Is Fuji's Birthday?

Prologue

There were two little boys standing at the side of a walkway lined with withered cherry trees. Everything they could see was covered in white. In front of them was a wooden box, and on top of it were Snow Drops flowers. At the very center of the box, the little pots of flowers surrounded a cake.

The boy with a dark brown hair kneeled and a candle shaped like the number seven in the middle of the cake and lit it. He then stood and looked seriously to the other boy that had a lighter brown hair.

"Now, Shuu, the twenty-ninth of February is magical. People who are born on that day are rare and special. Only the chosen ones. Because of it's magical power, the door to that date couldn't be opened every year. It would only be opened every 4 years."

"But…!" the dark brown hair boy raised his voice. "Every year between those 4 years, the door to the twenty-ninth of February would crack open a little. It is between the midnight and a second after midnight, when the 28th of February would shift to the first of March."

The boy took a deep breath and said, "Tonight we will try to sneak into the twenty-ninth of February together. Are you ready?"

Shuu looked at the boy with eyes wide, innocent and eager. He seemed hypnotized by the words. He nodded solemnly. The other boy took his stopwatch from his pocket and looked at the time.

"Get ready!"

Shuu kneeled closer to the candle.

"In 5… 5, 4, 3, 2, ONE!"

Shuu quickly blew the candle. The other boy clicked his stopwatch to halt it and cheered.

"You did it! That was close. Look!"

The time showed 00:00:00:55. And for the first time since they came to the place Shuu smiled. He smiled softly, tears threatening to fall from his eyes.

"Otanjobi omedetou, Shuu."

"Thank you. It is the best birthday I've ever had."

The other boy smiled tenderly while his finger brushed the tears that escaped to Shuu's face.

"Let do this again next year. And the years after. Even if there is a February 29 at that year, I want to be the first person who say happy birthday to you."

Shuu could only nod since he couldn't trust himself to speak.

---

Fuji Shuusuke had just entered the clubroom with Kikumaru Eiji, chatting amiably. He placed his bag down and unzipped it, then pulled out his Seigaku jersey and racket to get ready for practice. When he glanced at the notice board inside the clubroom, he noticed that it was already the first day of February.

'Oh… so it's this time of the year again.'

"NYA! Were you listening to me, Fuji?"

Fuji was startled by Eiji's yelling at his ear.

"Uhm, sure. You were talking about the presents that your cousin got for his birthday right?"

Eiji frowned and scrutinized him, making the latter shift uncomfortably in his seat. Finally the energetic red head gave up and smiled again. Fuji sighed in relief.

"By the way, what do you want for a birthday present?" Eiji asked, looking more excited than Fuji himself.

Fuji was caught off guard by the question and answered it almost immediately. "A half-second dream."

He cursed himself upon realizing that he accidentally let the words slip. Eiji just blinked at him.

"Huh? What?" Eiji asked, tilting his head to the side.

"Never mind, Eiji. Just kidding." Fuji gave the best smile that he could flash, trying to cover his inner turmoil.

"Seriously, what do you want for your birthday? And when is your birthday?"

"Why, Eiji, I'm hurt." Fuji pouted theatrically. "You don't know when my birthday is?"

"I would know if you told me!" Eiji said defensively. "I asked you two years ago, remember? But you said it already passed. And then I asked you again last year, but you said it's still too early."

Fuji chuckled. "And you forgot to ask me again?"

Eiji opened his mouth, about to speak, but closed it again.

"I'm a bad best friend am I?" Eiji blushed, looking somewhat hurt.

"No, of course not." Fuji said soothingly. "Don't think too much about it, Eiji. "

"If you really want to make me feel better, then tell me!" Eiji looked at him with puppy eyes.

"Oh alright." Fuji sighed and said. "My birthday is…"

Eiji eagerly put his ear close to Fuji's mouth.

"Hi. Mi. Tsu." Fuji smiled pleasantly.

"NYAA!" Eiji yelled frustrated when he realized his most deadly strategies to pretend guilty and put on his most adorable puppy eyes both failed.

Fuji just laughed.

"Gomen ne, Eiji. I can't help it. You should see your face."

Eiji pouted cutely as Fuji continued to laugh.

"But seriously, thanks Eiji. I'm really touched. But you know, it's not a tradition to celebrate birthday in my family. Last time we celebrated my birthday was 8 years ago. I'm used to it. It would just make me feel awkward to celebrate it now."

Eiji looked at him with wide eyes.

"But… But… You never have birthday presents anymore since your sixth birthday? That's awful!"

Fuji inwardly cursed again, realizing that his attempt to make Eiji let go of the matter only backfired.

"It's okay, really. I already have everything that I want. Um, Eiji, I have something for you."

Fuji quickly opened his bag and took a toothpaste. Eiji's face brightened considerably.

"Yay! Toothpaste! I don't have this brand yet!" Eiji started bouncing around. "Where did you get it? Oh, it's melon flavour too. I haven't tried this flavor before. Wow…!"

Fuji sighed silently in relief when he finally managed to distract Eiji. He knew it was a smart and cautious action to always put some things that Eiji liked a lot- like toothpaste, a key holder shaped like a cute bear, and so on. But he realized it just kept getting harder and harder each year. Maybe it was a mistake to let someone become so close to him. He knew that each time people became attached to each other they would always want to know everything about one another. And he was still not quite ready to open up yet.

---

It was just like any other days. The other tennis club members went home after a tiring practice session except for the regulars. But maybe Oishi was wrong. Somehow he could feel that his partner would drop the bomb anytime. How he could know it he didn't quite sure himself. Maybe it was what made them the Golden Pair?

As soon as Fuji left the club house, Kikumaru suddenly blurted.

"Nya, does anyone know when Fuji's birthday is?"

That simple question caught everyone off guard. The regulars looked at each other. Even Tezuka, who had already mastered the art of hiding all his emotions behind his façade of stone, seemed distracted by the question.

Oishi then broke the uncomfortable silence, knowing that, judging from the looks of their faces, no one knew the answer.

"Um, Eiji, we don't know. Sorry. Please tell us." Oishi grinned at his partner sheepishly.

What Oishi wanted to say next didn't come out when he saw his partner's crestfallen expression.

"Eiji, you do know when is Fuji's birthday… right?" Oishi said carefully.

"I don't know! He wouldn't tell me!" Eiji yelled, upset.

"Why don't you push him to tell you, Kikumaru-sempai? I remember that you kept nagging at Mamushi until he told you what his favourite food is."

Kaidoh hissed when Momoshiro reminded him about that incident. But nonetheless he was curious too. True to what Baka said, Kikumaru Eiji was a persistent guy who would never accept 'no' for an answer. And he could be so annoying (though he would never say it out loud because it would be disrespectful to his senpai). And all his victims always relented to what his want.

"I tried!" Eiji said defensively. "I even cornered him more than once. But then…" Eiji looked down and started pressing the tips of his index fingers together.

"But then…?" Oishi pressed.

"Etoo… Um… he gave me a brand new toothpaste this time. And and… A key holder with a very cute bear shape last year… And a higuma plushie, and…"

Eiji's voice softened until it became a whisper.

"In other words, you've been bailed." Ryoma smirked, earning a murderous glare from Eiji in return.

"Um, if Fuji doesn't want to talk about it, maybe we shouldn't push him." Oishi said carefully while scratching his head.

"Nya, you're wrong, Oishi!" Eiji answered, looking determined. "You don't know anything. Fuji said it was not a tradition in his family to celebrate birthday. He never celebrates his birthday anymore since 8 years ago!" He took a deep breathe before he continue.

"You see? He never has birthday presents anymore since 8 years ago. Can you imagine it? That's so sad!"

Everyone except Tezuka and Inui looked at Eiji with wide eyes. The glasses concealed well what they had in mind. No birthday presents? Well, it would be hard for them. It would seem like no one cared for them, right?

"I had cornered him today. I think I caught him off guard when I asked what he wanted for his birthday. He accidentally said he wanted a half second dream for his birthday present."

"Huh? What kind of present is that?" Momoshiro asked confused.

"I don't know! He immediately covered his slip and said it was just a joke." Then Eiji added in a small voice, looking thoroughly embarrassed. "And that was when he distracted me."

"Hmm, it is not a one-hundred percent assumption, and maybe it's even all wrong since Fuji is never one to shows his true self… But there's something that bothers me about his data."

Everyone took their attention to Seigaku's data play specialist.

"Well, it's…"

Tsuzuku…(To Be Continue...)

A cliffhanger. Sorry about it. So what do you think? Should I continue it? Any flames or suggestions would be accepted. I know I still need a lot to learn.

Snow Drops : it means hope in flower language. Their blossom at the winter.

Otanjobi omedetou : happy birthday

Himitsu : secret