if I could live with you

for: sai

pairing: tezukafuji

done for 31days at lj, January 31st 06

I'm slowly moving my stuff over.

summary: post series. Fate favors them, Tezuka thinks. Or they somehow can't bear to let go, making excuses and attributing it to chance, calling it blind luck. TezukaFuji.

Fuji seems to always smell of chemicals, it clings to him like stale cigarette smoke, smells of days spent in the darkroom salvaging pictures from film in aquariums filled with multi-colored chemicals that glow red in the dim light. His gloved hand presses through the iridescent liquid leaving ripples that spiral outward. Several pictures are hung in a haphazard manner around the small confines of the makeshift darkroom.

Digital cameras are easier, more convenient, but Fuji still prefers the palpable feel of actual photographs in his hands, he still prefers to do them himself, developing each one with tender fingers shaking the moisture free and watching the picture blossom from the darkness.

"Photography is an addiction, not a profession." Fuji likes to say, with a wry grin and then add "but there's no known cure for it"

Fuji doesn't like models, for they fail to capture the life in a picture. They never portray the unmasked feelings of someone who thinks they aren't being watched, the beauty of something caught in action, as if paused in motion. (A chrysalis slowly moving, about to open any second, the butterfly's wet wings shaking with hesitance.)

Fuji is a staple in Tezuka's life.

Somehow they bridge whatever distances appear, somehow fate brings them into close proximity, even when there's oceans of distance and overwhelming odds against them.

They met in middle school, two people who couldn't be more different somehow found a common ground and kept their almost-friendship, intermixed with bits of light rivalry and mingled understanding.

In high school they stayed in touch, each taking different classes, separate paths, yet they still talked occasionally, still kept the routine of weekend tennis games.

In college, they lived less than an hour away from each other and often dined and studied together. Tezuka spent more time with Fuji than his own roommate, something Fuji never fails to remind him of.

Fate favors them, Tezuka thinks. Or they somehow can't bear to let go, making excuses and attributing it to chance, calling it blind luck.

Today one of Fuji's works is located at a nearby art gallery, and Tezuka visits as always does. Not what you would call 'casual', but something very close to it. Their relationship continually redefines words, always fails the exact definition, always becoming some enigmatic variation.

Fuji rarely poses for his own work, so this is a rarity among seascapes and sports photography, sunsets and snowy tennis courts. The scene is decidedly traditional with bare wood floors, shoji screens, a side door open enough to peak into a living room. A small table, tatami mats, one lonely pair of shoes at the corner of the entranceway.

In the center of it all is Fuji, hakama is loose enough to show a glimpse of his bare chest,

his head is tilted to the side and looking as if waiting for a lover to return, waiting for a certain shadow to cross his doorstep, for a hand to waver, then knock on the door.

Shadows rest and creep in the photo, curling into corners for summer naps, resting on windowpanes with unfurled tails of shade swishing down the walls.

It's impossible to see how long he's waited, how many seasons have passed with no sign of whom he is waiting for, and yet Fuji's still waiting, looking towards the door.

His expression is obscured, but Tezuka thinks it must be one of yearning, soft and aching, slowly dissolving into a veiled calmness.

Tezuka feels entranced by the atmosphere in the photo, to him it contains a thousand unsaid words, each one carefully picked and placed in the shadows, in the twist of Fuji's torso, how his hands seem tensed from apprehension, gripping the floor for support.

"What do you think?" Fuji asks, pressing the frame back into perfect alignment.

"Interesting photo" Tezuka murmurs, only taking his eyes away for a second, lest he miss some hidden message by taking his gaze away. "What is it called?"

"If I could live with you." Fuji says. "I'm fond of this one."

Fuji hums as he straightens and rearranges the assorted collection of photos, later, Tezuka finds that tune stuck in his head.

They've known each other for years, have become reasonably comfortable in each other's presence, have settled into a certain routine together, weaving in and out of each other's life. Chance is kind to them, and they constantly find each other a common factor of each other's life.

They aren't lovers, but they aren't just friends, bridging it in some lost definition, some wordless in-between that they've perfected twicefold.

Tezuka visits the gallery again. Earlier this time, the sun still rising with sleepy eyes. Fuji hasn't even arrived yet to oversee things.

He buys the photo. (The cashier notes that Fuji won't be in today, something to the extent of a personal photoshoot )

The ride home and picking out the exact spot to hang it seem momentary in retrospect,

It isn't until he turns it over and finds writing scrawled on the back that he understands.

Tezuka knocks.

There's so many things that need to be said, but they're forgotten the minute the door opens. Fuji answers dressed in the same loose Hakama as the photo, his expression is soft, and he smiles. (The mystery is solved as to what Fuji's expression would be in the picture)

There's a million things Tezuka needs to say, but instead, he calmly closes the door behind him and does what he should've done years ago.

"I understand" he breathes, and pulls Fuji to him, close enough until the distance is gone.