For ozzypoos... the very verrry belated promised present... (sweatdrops)
Things like words are unnecessary
This throbbing beat cannot be stopped
A pleasant feeling that's only here
I'm happy that I met you (1)
The snow just wouldn't stop falling. The layer of white on the pavement would probably be twice as thick on the way back. A small clump of snow flakes fell from a leafless branch and Ryoma wrinkled his face when it landed right on the tip of his nose. He shivered.
'Really...' He sighed. It was the last day of the year, and yet, Fuji was still as busy as a single cashier serving customers during a big sale. Today in particular, he was asked to feature the park in winter, which meant he'd be outdoors, all day, in this freezing weather. Ryoma almost felt sorry for the prodigy.
'Almost', he thought dryly.
He still clearly remembered what had happened that morning. He woke up late and by then Fuji was already off to work. Consequently, he had to take the subway to school.
When he left the house, Ryoma felt as if something was amiss. He wondered if it was because he forgot to replace the catnip that had been missing since yesterday. When he gave Karupin a ball of yarn to play with instead, the feline just gave him a Look. It gracefully walked away and jumped onto his bed then started pawing on his white Fila cap.
On the train, he felt awkward for some reason. When he looked around, he understood why. The eyes of the other passengers were all on him. Maybe there was something on his face. The staring, and the giggling and pointing that followed, was more annoying than embarrassing and he suddenly felt the urge to pull his cap down. He reached up and…
So it wasn't because there was something on his face. It was because there was something not on top of his head to cover it.
As soon as the train stopped and the doors parted, the little prince swiftly got off and ran for his life. He decided it was better to take three buses and walk thirty minutes from the bus stop to school.
It's not like he had never thought of getting a new car. In fact, he had already suggested it. (He was more than capable of buying one anyway.) They both needed that. Fuji's work as a freelance photographer demanded him to be everywhere, and the university Ryoma chose- of all the schools he passed the qualifying exams for- just had to be the one farthest from their house. But when he brought up the topic, Fuji plainly refused. Ryoma asked why, but regretted it the moment he heard the tensai's answer.
// "Because with two cars, there'd be no competition anymore. That would be boring." //
Their little contest was silly, really. If not downright unfair. The rule was simple. The first person to wake up in the morning gets to use the car for the day. Ryoma rolled his eyes. Right. Simple rule. And totally to Fuji-senpai's advantage. They'd been together for years and the bastard knew perfectly well that mornings were his weakness.
At times like this Ryoma would ask himself why he ever agreed to date Fuji Syuusuke.
Speak of the devil.
The smooth voice snapped him out of his thoughts and brought him back to reality- to the blinding whiteness of the surroundings and how insanely cold it was. Ryoma looked up and saw Fuji on the other side of an arch bridge. When they met in the middle, Fuji promptly bent down and kissed Ryoma's cheek. "Sorry to keep you waiting."
Ryoma shook his head dismissively. "Don't worry about it. I just got here."
He looked up and studied the older boy's face. He noticed that, though Fuji was smiling, he was hugging himself, shivering slightly.
"How long have you been out here?" Ryoma reached out and touched Fuji's cheeks. They were cold as ice.
"Since this morning." Fuji replied, grinning.
"Really…" Ryoma sighed.
He took his scarf off and wrapped it around Fuji's freezing neck. The older boy then took his hand and led him to where the car was parked.
He must've fallen asleep, because the next thing he knew, someone was already gently shaking his shoulders.
"Ryoma." The all too familiar voice called. "Wake up. We're home."
The one calling him was close enough he could already feel that person's breath carressing his ears.
His eyes felt too heavy. He didn't want to open them yet. Just five more mi…
Something wet slid across his lips.
Golden eyes snapped open.
"Syuusuke!" Ryoma scowled. "That was sly." He followed with a pout.
"Saa…" Fuji chuckled. "It always works."
'That's it.' Ryoma felt an eyebrow twitch.
He got out of the car, then tugged on the prodigy's collar. He tiptoed and wrapped his arms around the taller one's slender neck before drawing his lips closer to the other's until they were just an inch apart.
Fuji closed his eyes and bent down to close the gap.
But Ryoma ducked and swiftly sneaked behind Fuji before pushing the latter into the passenger seat.
"Mada mada da ne, Fuji-senpai." He walked towards the front door, wearing a triumphant smirk.
"Cute…" Fuji chuckled, as he tailed behind the shorter boy.
As soon as Ryoma turned the knob and pushed the wooden door open, his cat jumped into his arms. He gracefully caught the warm bundle of white fur, as though it happened far too often that he had already expected it.
Fuji grinned, scratching the back of the cat's ears. "Tadaima, Karupin."
Karupin 'meowed', looking straight into Fuji's eyes as if saying 'Okaeri'. (2)
Ryoma flopped down on the couch. He extended his arms and lightly stretched. Karupin did the same. After stretching, it started clawing on Ryoma's pants before promptly making itself comfortable on the boy's lap.
'Really, those two are so much alike.' Fuji chuckled. "I'll go make hot chocolate." Then he sauntered to the kitchen.
When Fuji left, Ryoma's gaze travelled around the living room. There was a Christmas tree, cactus, the center table, cactus, the TV and dvd player, cactus, the radio and cd rack, cactus, a piano with pictures displayed on top, catus, cactus and more pots of cactii. And that was just the living room.
Ryoma shivered. With those green monsters scattered all around the house, it was probably just dumb luck that he had managed to avoid getting pricked. Or worse.
His gaze then trailed back to the piano, which Fuji insisted on buying despite not knowing how to play said istrument. When Ryoma asked him what was the point, Fuji answered it was precisely because there was no point in buying one that made him decide to buy it. He just liked the feeling of having one in the living room.
On top of the piano were pictures. The most recent pictures of him, of Fuji, and there was even one of Karupin. To the left of his piture were those of his mom, his cousin, Nanako, who moved in with his parents not so long ago, and- for the hell of it- his dad. To the right of Fuji's pictures were those of his own family as well. Behind all of it was a much bigger picture of their tennis club from his freshman year in junior high.
At the back were Kaidoh-senpai and Tezuka-buchou who looked reluctant to join in the picture, Inui-senpai with… whatever expession he had behind those thick glasses, Oishi-senpai with his kind smile, and Taka-san with his boyish grin. In the middle were Fuji-sen… old habit… Syuusuke, who had to rush into position before the camera automatically clicked, himself and Kikumaru-senpai with one hand on his shoulder and the other waving to the camera. In front was Momo-senpai squatting, a goofy grin on his face and hand formed into a 'V' sign.
'I wonder how those guys are doing now…'
"You miss them?"
Ryoma snapped out of his thoughts when he heard Fuji's voice from behind.
"Careful, it's hot." Fuji handed a steaming mug of hot chocolate then sat down beside him. Ryoma accepted, softly mumbling "Thanks" before blowing on his drink.
As soon as Ryoma took a sip, he frowned.
"The taste… It's a little different from what you usually make."
"Really? So you noticed." Fuji grinned.
That smile looked innocent. Far too innocent.
In seconds, Ryoma's eyes narrowed suspiciously on the older boy. "What did you put in?"
"Espresso!" Fuji chuckled.
Ryoma inwardly sighed. 'At least it's not wasabi.' Looking at Fuji with a genuinely curious expression, he asked. "What for?"
"Well, since you don't like coffee, I figured this might do." With opened eyes, Fuji smirked. "Because I intend to keep you up all night."
"We got pretty far tonight."
With a loving gaze in his eyes, Fuji caressed Ryoma's cheek with the back of his fingers. The boy was leaning on his shoulder, fast asleep.
"But you slept on me again." He sighed. "Maybe I should punish you a little…"
With a sweet smile on his face, he swiftly kissed the younger boy's forehead before gently pushing the weight off his shoulders. Looking at the clock on the dashboard, his grin widened. "It's almost time."
He unlocked the door and stepped out of the car. After stretching a bit, he walked towards the other side and, with a smile so bright it could almost light up the dark surroundings, he opened the door.
The moment he did so, Ryoma shivered violently.
"C… Cold…" Golden eyes snapped open and immediately glared at Fuji. "What'd you do that for?" He chided through gritted (and shuddering) teeth.
"Rise and shine, Princess." He pulled Ryoma out of the car and happily dragged him to who knew where.
Ryoma could only wonder how someone can be so lively at a time when one should normally be sleeping.
'Come to think of it… Did he really sleep? After we finished the hot chocolate, he suddenly bundled me up warmly and dragged me to the car. Then in the middle of the trip I fell asleep.' He mused, looking at Fuji, who looked far too awake for someone who apparently didn't sleep.
Ryoma's train of thought halted when he started to hear something from the distance.
"Mm." Fuji replied enthusiastically. "We're going to the beach!"
"Syuusuke, people normally go to the beach during summer. Not at this time of the year."
Ryoma mentally kicked himself. This was Fuji Syuusuke. And Fuji Syuusuke never do things the normal way.
After walking a little further, Fuji finally flopped down on the sand. "I think this is a good sopt."
He tugged on Ryoma's sleeve, beckoning the latter to sit down. As soon as Ryoma did so, he wrapped his arms around the younger boy.
"Cold? Sorry… Just bear with it a little longer, okay?" Though he couldn't see his face clearly because it was still dark, Ryoma could easily picture Fuji's sheepish grin. "The sun will be up soon. When it does, let's make a wish."
Fuji chuckled. "Never heard of it? It's called 'Hatsuhinode'. Some people think of the sun as a god. So they stay up on New Year's eve and wait for the first dawn. When the sun rises, they make a wish."
Not long after, the first rays appeared, illuminating the horizon.
"Here it comes." Fuji looked ahead, his face relaxed into a smile.
When he glanced beside him, he noticed Ryoma was also looking at the same unfolding scenery, bright eyes gleaming with awe.
He waited a little longer until the sun started to peek from the ocean. Then, closing his eyes as if saying a prayer, he fervently uttered his wish.
"I wish… for Ryoma's happiness."
"You… Why'd you waste your wish on me?"
Fuji looked into his eyes, smile never wavering. "If it's for you, it's never a waste. As long as you're happy, I know I will be too."
Though the older boy had said it casually, it caught Ryoma off guard. The weather was far too cold, but somehow, his cheeks felt a little warm. Pouting, he mumbled. "You stayed up so late, and this chance comes only once a year, right? You should've wished something for yourself. Besides…"
It was only by sheer reflex that Ryoma was able to bite back what he was about to say.
'You just wished for something I already have right in front of my eyes.'
'No way. Like I'd ever tell him something like that… But I wonder what kind of face he'll have if I did.'
Looking at Fuji's puzzled expression, Ryoma felt satisfied.
"Mada mada da ne, Syuusuke."
"Really… Sometimes I don't understand you at all."
"That's my line."
Ryoma briefly looked at the sun again then closed his eyes. "Right. My turn."
He stayed quiet for a moment. After looking back at the things that happened in the past, and picturing the things that he wanted to happen in the future, Ryoma made up his mind.
"I wish this year would be as good as last year."
On the ride back home, Ryoma gazed at Fuji's face while the other's eyes were fixed on the road.
Looking out the window, a small smile crept on his lips as he thought back on his wish.
'Because, really, there's nothing more I can ask for.'
(1) Quoted from Fuji's song (that just reeks of FujiRyo) "Feel My Soul- tatakai no naka de"; translations credited to moonsalute
(2) Tadaima means "I'm home."; its counterpart, Okaeri, means "Welcome home."
Disclaimers: Tennis no Oujisama belongs to Konomi-sensei. Not and never will to me (goes off to a corner and sulks)
Please send your thanks to forochel for beta reading the first half of this fic which i actually wrote last Christmas... 2005. yup. you read that right. i started this Christmas 2005. it takes me that long to write a oneshot, yo. XDDD
Happy New Year peoples! ... Err, as usual, belated? (ducks flying tomatoes)