Beta: pinksnow
Pairing: TezuFuji
Disclaimers: PoT belongs to me, but only in my dreams... Yadda, yadda, yadda... you guys know the drill
Author's Notes:
1. As this piece of work is my first ever PoT fic (Yay! My first contribution to the PoT fandom!), I lovingly dedicate this to pinksnow, the best beta reader in the world! Thanks for all the help, support, and encouragement Snow-chan!
2. Two verses of poetry included in the fic was borrowed (and slightly modified) from an unknown poet.
3. Comments are MUCH loved and would go a LOOOOOONG way in helping me finish other fics I'm currently working on!

Make Believe

It had been one of those rare days when we both decided to forgo the usual lunch break practices in favor of having a normal, unhurried lunch period.

Perhaps it was the fact that he had looked so relaxed, so unguarded. Or perhaps it was me who had been too careless; lulled by the even cadence of his voice, I let my recklessness get the better of me.

He is a beautiful man to begin with - a cascade of sandy brown hair falling in such a way that just begs me to brush back his bangs to reveal more of his arresting face, an aristocratic nose, a sinfully delicious mouth that he rarely ever uses to smile, and the most striking shade of chocolate brown eyes you would ever see on a human being - doe eyes, I think they are called.

And in that rooftop, with the wind playfully tossing his hair about, perhaps it would be understandable why, in an unprecedented moment where my mouth kicked into gear without engaging my brain, I interrupted him mid-sentence and blurted out the words that had me instantly wishing I could take them back the second they passed my lips.

'I love you, Tezuka.'

What possessed me to finally do such a thing is something I have yet to figure out. But since my epic Freudian slip has laid me open and vulnerable anyway, I waited… I hoped…

I remember Eiji moodily declaring (after being subjected to 30 laps around the court for teasing the team captain once too many times) that Tezuka made a block of ice seem extremely friendly in comparison. But then, Tezuka Kunimitsu can't be as unfeeling as all that, right? His whole range of emotions cannot be comprised of just contentment, dissatisfaction, and annoyance… right? And here I've gone and done something that would prove that there IS more to him than just cold detachment…

… A few more heartbeats pass…

… Or perhaps not.

He spared me a sideways glance, an eyebrow raised—as though trying to decide if I had just delivered a joke in extremely bad taste or if I was finally ending the intricate psychological dance I have drawn him into.

In the end, my shoulders slumped in defeat when it seems as though he has decided not to have to deal with me at all.

He walked away without a word, leaving me to follow him with my eyes.

He slowed imperceptibly as he reached the door that would take him back into the building. With his hand on the doorknob, and in a voice so flat you could have used it as an ironing board, he said, "I'll talk to you after classes. You know where." And without even a glance back at me, he was gone.

I vaguely heard the rumble of a thunder in the distance. It sounded ominous. Forbidding.

Mocking.

Promptly after classes, I found him where I knew he would be waiting for me. He was standing by the window of the now-deserted classroom, looking down intently at the tennis courts below, seeming to all the world as if he was considering the deepest mysteries of the universe.

I secretly watched him from the relative safety of the partially open classroom door. He stood rigid and tall, with his back turned to me. He exuded supreme calm and self-confidence. Minutes ticked by and I felt like a fiend just quietly watching from my vantage point, waiting for him to give me an opening, to show me some sign of weakness, though I know that he would give me none.

I breathed out a silent sigh and decided that I have procrastinated long enough.

I knew that I had to talk to him, but by all that's holy, I wish that we were going to talk about anything other than what we were about to talk of. I shook my head and gave myself a wry little smile. If I continue along the path that my thoughts had taken, I was pretty sure that I'd have myself confused and in knots faster than Horio-kun could wring a 'Mada mada da ne' from Echizen. So I crossed the short distance separating me from the man I've taken to dreaming about. I stood at about an arm's length behind him and reached out an uncertain hand to his sleeve.

He turned around at my touch and I felt my knees go weak when I became the sole recipient of his piercing gaze. His eyeglasses do nothing to diminish the effect they have on me. I can feel his eyes trying to delve beneath what my cerulean gaze reveals to him, he wanted to see right into my soul and I let him. But his eyes clouded over, as if he encountered something within me that he just could not understand.

Then he opened his mouth to say the words that made me feel as though my innards had all been taken out and then plunged in icy waters, "I just don't know what you want from me, Fuji."

Just make believe you love me

Just make believe you care

Just make believe you need me

Just make believe you're there

I shook my head at him and gave him one of my smiles meant to reassure. The close-eyed kind that ensured the few errant tears that sprung up would not fall. My heart was breaking and all I could think of was to try and reassure the person who was doing the breaking that I am perfectly alright. God, why did I get myself into this mess?

"Don't worry about it, Tezuka. I told you I love you and I mean it. But of course, I never implied that you were expected to reciprocate in kind." Another careless shrug and an overly bright smile, "I just wanted you to know."

He was giving me that look; the one that says he isn't buying into the 'I don't expect anything in return' spiel that I just gave, but he gave me an uncertain nod just the same.

"You caught me off-guard, Syuusuke."

There it was again. Every now and then, whenever we find ourselves alone in each other's company, there is that oh-so-casual use of my given name that, for some reason, sounds like a maddeningly sweet endearment when it comes from him.

And he walked even closer to me until we were mere inches apart. He reached out his hand to tenderly stroke my face. I looked up at him in surprise even as my head tilted a little to lean into the caress, seeking the warmth his hand offered.

"I am truly very fond of you, Fuji," Ah, so we were back to 'Fuji' again, "but I do not know if that equates to love. The one thing I am sure I can offer you now is my friendship; I honestly do not know if I am capable of offering anything more," he heaved a sigh before adding softly, "I do not want to be the cause for your sadness."

At his words, a resurgence of hopefulness burst within my chest. A hope that I may yet be able to hold this man's heart in my hands as he now holds mine. Others might say it is a foolish hope, and in part, I am inclined to agree with them. An even greater part of me, however, simply refuses to give up without seeing this through to the end - I know that my heart will not stop loving this taciturn young man until he tells me directly that he does not and can not love me… But then again, maybe not even then.

They did say that hope springs eternal, sometimes even foolishly so.

I gave Tezuka a genuinely brilliant smile and buried my face into his chest. I felt his arms loosely wrap around me and for the moment, I was content.

Most people would probably wonder why I would be satisfied with something so uncertain, so undecided. But they do not understand. They do not know that as long as he was willing to take me into his arms, there is still always that hope that the next time I say "I love you", he would be there to say "I love you, too."

Until then, I am willing to make believe that he already does love me. He just does not want to say it out loud yet. For the moment, that is enough.

I am willing to believe you

I am willing to be deceived

Even if you don't say you love me

As long as you make believe

Owari

La Fuego 3/2007