wingless crimson presents
Category: Prince of Tennis/Tennis no Oujisama (belongs to Konomi)
Type: Alternative Universe
Summary: When a disgraced, naïve angel is rescued by an arrogant, worldly vampire, an unlikely road to redemption begins.
Freaky plot, freaky pairings, go easy on me, please and thank you.
Fuji realized suddenly that it wasn't in him to beg, even now, when an icy mask unlike any that he had ever seen adorned Tezuka's features. He wanted to beg, but it was like his voice had a mind of its own, rendering him silent.
Please, give me another chance! I won't ever fail ever again…I promise you! Tezuka…no, lover, Kunimitsu…please, I beg of you.
If Fuji had been alone with Tezuka, then those were the words that would have spilled out of his lips without hesitation. But--
They were not alone.
"Raise your eyes." This command was given in a voice yet to lose its feminine wont, it would have been a voice of an innocent child, but Fuji knew better. He raised his head up to meet the just as piercing gaze of Yukimura Seiichi.
Fuji drew a sharp breath, "Yukimura." It took all he had to keep the spite out of his voice. He wished that Tezuka would say something…anything. "…I…"
"Failed." Yukimura supplied with a gentle smile. "Yet again." He made his way down the alabaster-carved steps without help, though his slender fingers curved tightly around the crystal railing as he descended, Tezuka stood still. "…Stand up."
Fuji complied, and directed his eyes towards Tezuka, determined not to look at Yukimura. But Tezuka seemed just as determined not to look at him.
"…So I did." The words tasted like acid on his tongue.
"…Do you think you should be forgiven, Syusuke?" It was Tezuka that spoke this time, he had not moved from his post.
Syusuke. Tezuka still consented to calling him Syusuke. That was enough. Fuji bit his lip and looked down. "…Yes," A short bitter laugh followed his reply, something he had not intended to let slip, "If only by you, Tezuka." He was about to lose everything…he couldn't bring himself to say Kunimitsu, to say lover…
"…How about yourself?" Tezuka walked down the steps and stopped at arm's length in front of him, "Do you think you deserve your own forgiveness?"
Fuji was at last able to look him in the eyes, he felt almost at ease again, "…No, I don't. And I don't think you should forgive me either. But I humbly ask your forgiveness."
Tezuka took him in his arms and held him, for a long moment, "…Then I give it. I give you my forgiveness freely. But…"
Fuji crushed the other's wings in his fingers, savoring the warmth that he too often took for granted. "I know. Do it quickly." He pulled away.
"…I can't watch." Tezuka said simply and released him.
"…It's all right, don't." Fuji smiled faintly, "…Don't watch. And—and don't be sad, I'll be back."
Tezuka opened his mouth, as if to say something else, but he only shook his head and turned to the white steps, disappearing in a silvery mist, leaving Fuji utterly alone.
Yukimura stepped forward now, the same gentle smile playing about his lips. "…I'm sorry, Fuji."
"You are not." Fuji said, just almost just as lightly, though only his eyes told the truth. "You're happy."
Yukimura stiffened visibly, though his expression remained unchanged, "…I don't think it hurts that much."
Fuji bent down, still not wanting to give Yukimura the satisfaction of seeing him break. "…Just do it. I don't need your condolences."
"Kunimitsu will miss you." Yukimura threaded his fingers through Fuji's wings, plucking out the ivory feathers one by one, they turned to ash when the floated down.
It didn't hurt, having his wings plucked, Yukimura was least to say, kind to not lie to him, though it was the strangest feeling. "…I will miss him too." Fuji wanted to demand why his lover was Kunimitsu to Yukimura. But didn't dare.
"…I'm sure you will." Yukimura backed off just a few delicate steps. "…The falling part will hurt though."
"What will hurt?" Fuji felt very naked without his wings, he despised Yukimura more than ever.
"…Your eyes, your heart, everything else." Yukimura's voice seemed so far away, "Good bye, Fuji Syusuke."
"Yukimura I hate--" But he never did get to finish, the final word was lost in a sea of dark anguish as he fell.
"Tough day?" Oshitari held the umbrella over both of their heads as they proceeded down the dismal water-abundant sidewalk. "…You sure picked a hell of a day to wear leather."
"…I happen to like myself in wet leather. I turn more heads that way, don't you know?" Atobe returned tolerantly, "…Although being wet is annoying. How far did you park?"
"…Well, someone wanted to oversleep today, so quite a ways. I won't say who." Oshitari replied smoothly, "…You want to wait at that bus stop over there? I'll walk the rest of the way by myself."
"Bus stops are disgusting." Atobe made a face.
Oshitari shrugged, "…No more than ruined brand-new boots." He gestured downwards to his companion's drenched footwear. "…They are new, aren't they?"
"Well, of course they are." Atobe was officially irritated, "…Fine, I will. Just hurry up then." He stalked the rest of the way without the cover of the umbrella and sat down on the empty shaded bench.
Oshitari shifted the umbrella over to his other hand, "You'll get sick."
"…No, I won't, don't be ridiculous."
Oshitari paused, "…Right. Well, I'll be just a few minutes then, sit tight."
Atobe watched as Oshitari waved a hand and melted away into the murky crowd.
He was halfway through trying to shake water droplets out of his hair as inconspicuously as he could manage, since the said activity was a disgrace to observe, even for someone like him, when he felt someone staring at him.
A pale, almost sickly figure, though the first thought that Atobe had was that he was beautiful. Like an overgrown child.
"…Do you know where the buses go?"
The stranger's voice reminded him of bells, Atobe blinked, "…I don't ride buses." He said bluntly, "…I'm just waiting for someone."
But resuming his study of this stranger, Atobe realized that the other's apparel wasn't at all suited to a rainy day like this one. Wearing only a thin water-silk looking shirt and dark trousers (the shirt was only silk looking, because Atobe could bet millions that it wasn't), "…Aren't you cold?"
"Freezing. I forgot how cold it was." He agreed quietly.
Atobe was about to tell him just how stupid he was, but then he remembered that this person was a complete alien to him and it wouldn't do at all. "…Come sit down, you'll get colder if you keep standing there getting drenched."
"…Aah, all right." He took a seat beside him, careful to sit just so, that there was enough space. "…Do you really don't know where the buses go?" He asked again, though his tone was not at all mocking, just hopeful.
Atobe glanced up at the post, where the metal billboard listed the bus numbers and their destinations. "Look there." He pointed, "There are a lot of buses, where are you going?"
"I don't know." Came the reply.
"How can you not know?" Atobe questioned, slightly exasperated, "You must know, else I can't really help you. There are a lot of buses and they all go to different places."
The stranger had the bluest eyes he had ever seen. They were tainted with a glassy hue, as if he was trying not to cry. "…I want to go somewhere warm, does that help?"
Atobe looked towards the post again, "…It's raining everywhere," He said finally, "Has been, for the past week. And it's been freezing cold all week also. So no, not really. You don't like the cold?"
"I told you, I just forgot how cold it was."
Atobe sighed, "…Bus 43 will take you to the train station, and the trains can take you out of the city, if that helps."
The gray sedan that Atobe (unfortunately) shared with Oshitari sloshed to a stop in front of the two of them, and whatever the stranger might of said was lost, even though Atobe was pretty sure the other didn't say anything.
"…Is that who you are waiting for?"
"Yeah." Atobe heard himself say as he got up, "…I have to go."
He looked wistful, a beautifully broken expression and he stood up too. "…Are you going someplace warm?"
Atobe stiffened, afraid that the stranger was going to ask. He wasn't in the habit of picking up random people off the streets, but he answered, "…Yes, I'm going home."
"That's good." He sat down again, "Good for you. Good bye, it was nice to meet you…" He trailed off, as if he wanted a name.
Atobe didn't hesitate to give him one, "Atobe." He waited to see if the stranger would give him a name too, he found himself hoping affirmative. He also wanted to see whether or not his name would ring a bell.
"Atobe." He nodded, "It was nice to meet you, Atobe." Obviously not.
The words slipped before he could help them, "…And who are you?"
"I?" The cerulean eyes blinked in mild surprise, "Oh, I'm Fuji."
"Fuji." Atobe gave Fuji one last once-over and realized that he really did hope that the other man had someplace warm to go to, since it seemed to be so important to him, '…Well, I hope you find your someplace warm."
"I hope so too."
"Did you know him?" Oshitari wanted to know as they drove towards the school in otherwise silence.
"Don't play dumb, Atobe, the person you were talking to, at the bus stop." Oshitari looked just mildly amused.
"What makes you say that?" Atobe was much too spent to argue the fact that he wasn't dumb, and he knew that Oshitari knew that a chance like this happened once in a blue moon.
"You don't talk to strangers, for one. And he looked beautiful enough to know you." Oshitari sounded smug.
"You make me sound so narcissistic, must I be acquainted everyone beautiful?" Atobe turned from studying the rain-soaked scene whizzing past them to Oshitari, "How do you even know if I found him beautiful?"
"Then you're telling me that he's not beautiful, am I wrong?" Oshitari looked at him out of the corner of his eyes. "We've had a long history together, Atobe. You can't lie to me anymore."
"He wanted to find a warm place." Atobe offered, at length, choosing not to answer to the comments that came after the question, answering them would be more than self-incriminating. "But no, I didn't know him. Fuji and I are strangers."
"…Do you pity him?"
"How is that relevant to anything?" He closed his eyes, "There wasn't much not to pity. He said he was freezing, and that he forgot it was cold." When the car jerked to a stop, he didn't even bother to scold Oshitari for being a horrible driver.
"I want to go somewhere warm, does that help?"
"…Where's the umbrella?" Atobe roused himself. "I'll go."
"…In the back—" Oshitari cut himself off, fixing his friend with a strange look, "…why so charitable all of the sudden? Aren't your boots going to get even more messed up?"
Atobe ignored him, opening the umbrella; he stepped outside and headed towards the school.
He took to peeking into each lighted classroom, because Atobe had never done this before, and he was ticked enough at Oshitari to forget to ask which classroom she was usually in.
When he glanced into Classroom 3-4, Atobe heaved a sigh of relief, but when he spoke her name, he immediately wished he hadn't. "Sakuno, let's go."
The beauty of the whole damn thing was that when Sakuno glanced up, the whole room (mostly girls, it might be very well to mention) did too, her "…Oh, Keigo-san." Was piteously mild compared to—
"Oh my gosh, Sakuno, you weren't lying! You do live with Atobe Keigo??"
"Atobe-sama! Can I please, please, please have an autograph?? Please?"
She was kind enough to rescue from all of those asinine requests, though, when she gathered up her things and mumbled a quick farewell to the gawking crowd and shot out of the room, Atobe was much inclined to follow. Sometimes, though he loathed admitting so, an excess amount of attention did annoy him.
"…Why did you come get me today, Keigo-san?" She wanted to know as he put a protective arm around her shoulders, "Where's Yuushi?"
"…I just felt like it." Atobe replied, glancing at her, "Oshitari's in the car, did you seriously tell everyone that you were living with Atobe Keigo? That's not like you."
Sakuno's face blushed a slight crimson, "…I didn't want to lie, people were asking." She trained her gaze on the mud-coated ground and then snapped up, as if she had suddenly thought of something. "Are you and Yuushi fighting?"
"Oshitari and I don't fight." He replied, perhaps a bit harsher than he had first intended.
"Why do you still call him Oshitari? Don't you two know each other from way back?" She questioned.
"It feels strange when I call him Yuushi, Sakuno. Heavens forbid, that's Mukahi's job." Atobe laughed lightly and opened the car for her.
"…Do you two have a habit of talking about me behind my back now?"
The brown-haired girl at once looked stricken, "No, Yuushi, it's not like that! Keigo-san and I were just--"
Atobe slammed the door, "…Talking about what an absolute bastard you are." He finished, almost gleefully.
"I'm a bastard, I admit that freely."
"Yuushi--" Sakuno looked distressed, "Keigo-san, you too, you know I hate it when you talk like that."
The two of them exchanged a look, "Sorry."
"You put it in a mug?"
"Couldn't find the glass." Oshitari shoved the cup into his hands, "…You look like you need it; don't complain."
Atobe sipped and dabbed his mouth with a napkin, "…Yours?"
"…Both." Oshitari wouldn't look at him, "I think it was her way of thanking you."
Atobe's mind's eye saw the classroom and the girls, he laughed, "…Tell her no for next time, not on a school night."
"Why do you like pitiful people?" Oshitari sat down on his bed, watching him intently. "Myself, Sakuno, and that guy at the bus stop …I'm beginning to think you are deranged."
"I am deranged, I admit that freely." Atobe said, for the sake of not answering, he drained the mug and put it down, quoting the other from earlier, "…Why do you keep harping on about him? I talked to him because he talked to me first; it'd been rude for me to ignore him." He held up the stained cup.
"…I don't get it." Oshitari took the cup. "You never had qualms about being rude before."
"This was...different. And if you really did understand the reasons for my being deranged...I would be concerned." Atobe lay back on his bed, hastily changing the subject. "…Do you want to sleep with me tonight?" He expected no, he wanted no. But he had fallen into the habit of asking.
"Not particularly, good night."
Atobe slept, and dreamed of eyes just as sparkling and otherworldly as the unfathomable sea.