Title: Fate

Author: Jasmine Starlight

Word Count: 1416

Universe: Tennis No Ohjisama

Theme: Oishi angst

Disclaimer: mur.

Warnings: yaoi. Spoilers until 27

Pairings: Oishi/Tezuka, implied Tezuka/Ryoma

Rating: PG-13

TimeCompleted: 11:09 AM 4/14/06

A/N: …

Before when they'd been children, Tezuka used to be less guarded, more honest, at least around Oishi. That'd been the start of their friendship, prior to tennis.

Those days had gone by with the childish ease of that age.

When Tezuka had become Captain and Oishi Vice-Captain—everything changed. Their relationship—the closeness that Oishi held dear morphed—into something different.

Spending all that time together alone and unsupervised in the clubroom lead to something Oishi had only dreamed about in his most embarrassing wet dreams.

The first two years had passed by faster than Oishi could have fathomed and already they're going into their senior year as Regulars—if Oishi could pinpoint the moment his life started to suck he would point out the moment Echizen Ryoma stepped onto their courts and forever diverted his Buchou's attention and time.

In the beginning Oishi hadn't realized why Tezuka's—Kunimitsu-san's attention wandered—wandered whenever they were alone.

When Tezuka and Echizen first played a match Oishi could feel his heart breaking into a million tiny pieces that would never be found or repaired.

Neither of them seemed to care or notice, whenever Tezuka deemed that he had time for Oishi, which was almost never nowadays; in bed there was no longer any fire.

When Oishi's breath was heavy and hot and the room was muggy Tezuka would climb off of him and go to sleep. Tezuka stayed on his side of the bed and Oishi on his and this was how it was. Oishi could no longer sleep; tears were almost always burning in his green eyes, after they did that.

But he held them back and tried to erase the feeling of his Buchou's hands on his neck and chest and face. When his Buchou seemed to be going through the motions when he was with Oishi and Oishi wondered if this was what if felt like to be an unloved housewife, playing substitute for someone your significant other cannot be with at the moment.

Oishi wanted for all the world to get up and leave—to be the one breaking the heart instead of the one with the broken heart. But he couldn't, he wouldn't—never to do that to someone even if someone was doing that to him.

Oishi felt used and dirty—like the old unstylish pair of jeans that hangs in the back of the closet only moved from its place for a perfunctory wash.

Most of all—Oishi felt betrayed by his own Buchou who should have known better—damnit should have known not to stop what he'd started.

But the only way he'd care if his tennis became affected—poisoned like their friendship and their secret relationship with a tumor that was slowly killing off any joy. No that tumor was not Echizen; even so it was hard not to blame the oblivious freshman who seemed to get better and better in tennis, so Tezuka was more and more enraptured in his potential and kept on forgetting Oishi.

Forgetting their anniversary, their three year anniversary passed with little fanfare—Oishi is sitting alone at the noodle stand where they had their first date picking at a bowl of beef ramen alone. His present for Tezuka lurks in the back of his closet in the fear that if he finally plucked up the courage to give the gift he would be shot down. Again.

Oishi's tennis was not affected so therefore he was not in trouble. What a crock. Oishi was getting to the point where he despised tennis and its false promises.

One day, Oishi stumbles across an old photo album of the two of them. It reminds him of his promise to himself to cure all of Tezuka's ailments and maladies. The memory sends Oishi to throw the musty book across the room; it hits the wall with a satisfying thump. Shuuchiroh feels like crying.

But boys don't cry.

Finally Oishi becomes so despondent that he stops mothering (smothering) his other teammates. When he enters the clubroom he can feel their worried glances boring holes in his back—he can't tell them. Not one of them.

Well maybe he can tell Eiji, but he's been avoiding his best friend in fear of his disappointment. Disappointing people seems to be the only Oishi can do right these days.

Eventually his moping garners Fuji's righteous anger—so Syuusuke takes him to Kawamura's Sushi where Taka-san sympathetically slips him sake when his father is distracted.

The sake only makes him uncomfortably hot and Oishi presses his head on the cool glass of the counter, dimly he notes that Fuji and Taka-san seem to be conversing about him. Oishi didn't know that Taka-san and Fuji were an item.

Then again he hasn't been the Vice-Captain Seigaku deserves.

Quietly he leaves, knowing that Fuji let him escape out of respect.

Without even knowing it he finds himself walking in the direction of Tezuka's house before he remembers himself and walks in any direction but that one. He ends up at Eiji's house—a place he hasn't visited in months so it seems like Eiji might not remember him.

Before he can stop himself he's knocking and he can hear footsteps coming to answer the door and he wonders if this was a mistake. Eiji answers and the surprised look on his face is almost enough to make Oishi laugh.

Eiji worriedly ushers him in and he sits at the kitchen table while Eiji serves him tea in mugs shaped like kittens that Oishi got Eiji for his birthday one year.

Kikumaru sits across from him and Oishi can read the concern on his face.

"Oishi, nya—are you alright?"

With that one question Oishi breaks down and all the things that he's been holding back rush forward through the floodgates.

His best friend listens with an open ear and comforting shoulder as Oishi tells all that's happened when no one was looking. He confesses that: "I wish I could go back to the days when my biggest competitors for Buchou's attention were Tachibana or Atobe."

When he is done Eiji hands him a box of tissues and Oishi wipes away his tears.

It is awhile before anyone speaks, but Eiji is the one who breaks the silence, "Oishi—I think you should kill him." He says with wisdom more than his years.

"Eiji—that's not funny."

"What he did—what he's doing to you isn't funny either. But he doesn't seem to take anyone but Echizen seriously anymore! Being captain does not give you the right to hurt people!" Eiji slams his fist on the kitchen table which makes the empty mugs and used tissues jump.

Oishi feels ashamed and used again and looks down at his feet.

"Oishi—you should stay here tonight, nya—I don't want my one and only Oishi to go home and brood. Hoi, hoi—come upstairs I'll sleep on the floor and you can have my bed."

Then next morning he wakes up to the sound of Eiji explaining to his sister that Oishi and he we were working on a project late into the night and that's why Oishi stayed over.

Oishi feels oddly refreshed as he adjusts his crinkled school uniform and brushes his teeth with Eiji's toothpaste. He goes through his school day like he'd been before. At practice he smiles more and corrects Kaidoh's incorrect form when he misses Momo's Dunk Smash with his new version of the Boomerang Snake.

He even advises Inui on his method of data collection. Things seem like normal he even feels well enough to mother Echizen who seems shocked at the very notion.

"You should be more careful when you use the Twist Serve—it wouldn't be good if you got a case of tennis elbow."

Oishi studiously ignores Tezuka's burning stare at his back and heads to the clubroom to change.

Slowly Oishi begins to heal with the help of his teammates, even if they know it or not.

Yet Oishi can't stop himself from following Tezuka to his duel with Echizen, where Tezuka risks everything.

At that moment Oishi stops feeling angry and betrayed.

At that moment, Oishi lets go.

And at that moment he envies Echizen's singular determination.