for: 31days at lj, done for February 26th, and a giftfic for Sai
summary: for these are the stories of what was, what is and what might've been. some TezukaFuji.
i. (what never happened)
In another world they might've switched places, met face to face only with a net between them and rumors of rumors wafting on the salty air.
Fuji sometimes wonders about this, if he'd stayed through the summer heat and gone onto the courts of Rokkaku-chu, gone back to his childhood and went back to his home away from home of tricksters and foxes with masks of smiles which never seem quite true.
He flicks through names and dates, whoever his successor would be, probably someone straight-laced and just as enigmatic as Tezuka himself. The thought amuses him.
But no, fire would not give way to fire as this. It would have to be this way, Fuji thinks. There would have to be variance, the push and pull of the sheer amount of their differences, the polar opposites, the magnetism.
Fuji thinks of what would happen with that first meeting, the eventually collision of two objects of near-equal mass.
"Have we met before?"
The sea would hurl itself at the nearby beaches and gulls would call in the nearby landscape, a place seeming worlds away from this one all encompassing match.
Yet, it never happened that way.
ii. (sometimes she thinks she knows)
While Ayana knew that her son had friends, he never talked about them except perhaps an explanation for lateness before dinner. She knew of Oishi, and had talked to him a few times when chancing upon him during discussions at school with teachers and coaches, she'd met others, a passing casual acquaintance here, a fellow student council member there, but there was an unspoken rule, and that was that Kunimitsu never brought anyone home. It was one of the strange things about her son, something she accepted. Perhaps his lines of territory were more tightly wound than most, she thought.
The boy was small in stature, a soft fringe of hair covering his ears and falling over his face.
He gave a certain presence, serene but just as easily turned, as water with a typhoon or any sea tempest.
He seemed very aware of his surroundings, drinking in the details with slowness. He was exactly a hands breadth away from Kunimitsu, it seemed more calculated than any accident.
She nodded towards the new boy, who was polite to her, exchanging greetings, soft banter, they stayed this for a time until Kunimitsu cleared his throat, and they left to study.
She began the nightly ritual of dinner, boil the water for rice, while waiting, cutting each vegetable with care and precision.
"He must be an important friend indeed" she murmured.
She didn't need to ask her son, his silence spoke far louder than any words.
iii. (growing up.)
Fuji has always loved to capture. When he was five he received a net, white and gauzy, he'd put his fingers just to feel the softness.
Every day he'd come back with Yuuta, collecting shells and bringing home bugs in his own plastic green container.
He brought home butterflies for Yumiko, just to watch her ooh and ah over them, turning the container this way or that to watch each flutter of wings.
One year he was given a camera, and he captured bits and pieces of people's soul with each photograph. He always wanted his captured stills unaware, for he knows a posed facade far too well to find it interesting.
Even at young age he'd put on a disguise, large fake glasses and bike to a part town where Syuusuke Fuji, child genius was just a legend on the wind, as lasting as dandelion seeds.
He'd photograph sunlight and children's smiles, the unposed, unfettered beauty of someone not knowing they were being captured, this was the glory of photography, the bits of so many lives held together like a mosaic of different color glass.
Fuji loved the chase but not the mundane in-between moments, and it was the same with tennis.
What kept him from drifting to another hobby, another interest, another life was simply he could not capture it this time.
(The light reflected off of Tezuka's glasses is iridescent, it reminds him of camera flares that ruin almost perfect pictures, and white butterflies that just escaped his net)
iv. (just a reminder)
The day she came to visit – manager of the girl's tennis team, liked by his family, lives just down the road, said to be 'quite marriageable' by his grandfather – By pure coincidence, a bright red apple appears in his locker, as if some ghost had put it there, slipping it past walls to remind him where his loyalty should lie.
They line the sides of Fuji's darkroom, a slip of shoulder, the line of neck and chin, abstract photography that make up a whole. There is the scenery, all which happen to contain one thing in common, in each, if you look closely, even out of focus or on the sidelines, through the crowds you can see in every picture is a bit of one tennis player.
("You told me to photograph what I love, neesan, and that's what I do")