A/N: I'm so sorry that some of you have to see the unedited version of the chapter 8. I actually wanted to look through it again before posting it up. But somehow, it appeared together with chapter 7. :D So here is the finalized version.
CHAPTER 8 - THE CONFESSION
Tezuka's grandmother came to see them off the next day. She gave each of them a hug, her eyes misting over. "I'm going to miss having you children around. Do come and visit this old lady again soon."
As they settled in the bus for the journey home, Fuji's mind wandered back to Tezuka's grandmother parting remark to him. The old lady had pulled him aside and winked conspiratorially. "Kunimitsu is a fine young man, even if I, as his grandmother, say so." She looked at Fuji directly. "As long as he's happy, I don't mind who or what kind of person he's with. Take good care of him now, Fuji-chan."
What did Tezuka's grandmother mean by that? Did she know? Fuji bit his lip, troubled.
Thinking about the old lady brought another thing to mind.
Fuji gingerly fished out the pendant that Tezuka's grandmother had given him. "Tezuka, I think you should have this back. Your grandmother gave it to me, but I don't think I could accept such an expensive gift." He handed it to Tezuka but the other boy didn't make any effort to take it.
"Keep it," Tezuka told him. "If she wanted you to have it, you should just keep it. Treat it as a memento of the time we spent there. It's not an heirloom or anything like that, so don't worry about it," he added.
Fuji nodded, letting that issue go, but there was still something troubling him. Now that the vacation was over, they had to come back and face reality. "What happened….now, Tezuka?" he asked tentatively.
Tezuka looked at him. "What do you mean?"
Tezuka glanced away. "Oh, I guess you are free to do as you like after this," he said evenly.
Tezuka really meant to keep his promise? Fuji didn't know how he felt. "And the tape…"
Tezuka gave a laugh, but there was no joy in it. "There never was any tape in the beginning, Fuji."
Tezuka wouldn't meet his gaze. "I guess I'd better confessed everything now, seeing that…." he trailed off, as if he had come to terms with something and was going to give up on it. "I didn't record anything, Fuji. If you were smart enough, you would've demanded to see the tape first before giving in to my demands."
Fuji felt as if he had been slapped. "Why the hell did you do that then?!" he asked furiously.
"I did it because I wanted you to stay with me." Tezuka looked down at his hands. "I have liked you ever since the first year of high school, Fuji. But you were so popular and always surrounded by your friends and admirers. You probably didn't even know that I was alive. So it was quite a pleasant surprise when you approached me the other day and asked for my help. I thought that I could use this opportunity to get you to like me."
He shook his head. "I…I thought that you were growing to like me as well. And then you started avoiding me. All I could think of was that I had scared you away with...my unbridled passion. But then I found out that you were with me because of a bet. I got angry, but still, I wanted you. So, I came up with the tape threat to keep you by my side."
He looked at Fuji now, as if expecting the other boy to hit him or something. "This trip was supposed to be my final attempt to get you to fall in love with me, but it obviously didn't work." He laughed bitterly at himself. "You still couldn't wait to get away from me, could you? I am such a pathetic fool….."
Fuji was stunned silent by Tezuka's confession. He didn't know how to react. This is too sudden. Tezuka loves me all along? But how could he? We are both guys…..
What should I do? Fuji couldn't seem to find the right words to say to Tezuka. In the end, they parted without saying anything at all.
"Ne Syusuke, why are you so moody nowadays?" Saeki asked his friend one day while they were hanging out in Fuji's room.
Fuji was absently picking at the lint on his blanket.
Saeki waved a hand in front of him. "Heavens to Syusuke! Did you hear me? If you are not going to talk, I might as well go back," he grumbled.
Fuji gave him an apologetic grin. "I'm sorry, Kojirou. I am not feeling well today."
"You have been feeling under the weather everyday since you came back from that onsen trip," Saeki sighed exasperatedly. "You always keep to yourself and you don't even go out with us anymore."
There was genuine concern in his voice now. "Syusuke, I am really worried about you. This cannot go on indefinitely. Have you even been eating these days? You seem to be getting thinner and thinner. Pleasetell me what is bothering you."
Fuji had never seen his friend so serious before. He was touched, and made up his mind to tell him everything. Saeki probably might not be able to help much, but at least there was someone to share his problems with now.
Saeki was silent for a moment after Fuji finished telling him about Tezuka's confession. Then he laughed. "You dolt, you are in love with him! I already had my suspicion of it since the beginning." He added in a self-congratulatory tone to himself.
Fuji wanted to deny but found it to be useless. Saeki knew him too well.
"But that is good right?" Saeki asked then. "Now all you have to do is to confess to him too, and," he snapped his finger, "happily ever after for both of you."
Fuji resumed his picking on the lint. "It's easier said than done, Kojirou. In case you failed to notice, we are both guys…."
"What does that have to do with anything?" Saeki asked, perplexed. "Isn't what is important is that you both love each other? Or are you so superficial that you would let something like other people's opinion to get in the way of your love….."
Fuji mulled over Saeki's words. His friend was right. He shouldn't let what other people might think of him to snatch his happiness away….Loving someone, even though he was of the same gender, was not wrong….how could something as pure as love ever be wrong, no matter what form it took?
Right now, the most important thing was that Fuji had found somebody he really loved.
He smiled gratefully at Saeki. "Thank you, Kojirou. You've somehow managed to knock some sense into me. "
Fuji turned his thoughts towards the task in front of him. And now, if only I wasn't too late to patch things up with Tezuka..….
Tezuka felt somebody standing in front of his desk and looked up to find a smiling Fuji there. He blinked several times, to ascertain that he wasn't hallucinating. Tezuka had thought that Fuji would never want to speak to him again after the way they parted three weeks ago.
Fuji was leaning towards him, so close that Tezuka's entire vision was filled with the unearthly blue of the other boy's eyes. "Tezuka, I need your help."
"What…can I do for you?" Tezuka tried to sound as cool as possible.
"I am hopelessly failing at this lesson called love. Would you be so kind as to be my partner and helped me to study for it?" Fuji's eyes were shining with hope.
As the implication of Fuji's words sank in, Tezuka's face broke into the most beautiful smile Fuji had ever seen. "It would be my pleasure."
A/N: Yay, yay! I finally finished my story! I am so very proud of myself this moment! Thank you, thank you for your continuing supports! You are all such sweeties. Well, I hope you enjoyed the ending. I am planning to start another story (TezuFuji based, of course), but it would depend on how the reviews of my first completed fic goes. So be kind, OK? XD