Walking Down the Road Twice
finished: September 25th, 05, for 31days at LJ.
Character/ Pairing: Tezuka, Fuji, TezuFuji.
Ten years can change everything.
It was an unexpected reunion, just a passing by in a bustling coffee shop, breathing on hands before another flight out to warm the encroaching lilt of frostbite against ungloved hands.
"Tezuka..?" his voice held a trace of surprise, desperation, longing. Just a hint, it was easily hidden again with pleasant conversation.
"Fuji." A statement, not a question.
"Will you stay a while?" Fuji queries, as if life is a joke only to humor him. But there is a jaded edge, as if he's forgotten how to truly laugh.
"Yes." Tezuka answers in return, mentally calculating the countdown of hours until each flight, each zigzag touch down to each destination.
"I still live rather close to where I did before, only five miles out."
"Aa. I was just about to ask."
Fuji beams, and Tezuka has a sneaking suspicion that Fuji is reading his mind. Or just enjoying the mimicking of it.
He reschedules his flights, exchanges his tickets for a one-way ticket back to his homeland. Back to courts which have become worn and faded with time. Yet the memories are still clear.
"Life can be so fleeting... It seems like it was just yesterday that we were pushing our way to the nationals. Life's like that, I suppose." Fuji says, his cup halfway to his mouth, paused in motion.
Tezuka doesn't reply, the silence is no longer comfortable between them, no longer the knowing
distance or quiet acceptance. He cannot guess Fuji's meanings anymore, they have grown apart.
Fuji's smile– or half-smile as it is now, not sly and knowing, just accepting. It's the smile of someone sentenced on the gallows, almost laughing to prevent breaking into tears.
It is Tezuka who breaks the silence.
"We all die someday. We can only hold onto the knowing that we have lived well."
Tezuka steers the conversation to calmer, more mundane topics, something safer, easier on the mind, easier to roll of the tongue.
"And how have you been..?"
Fuji takes a long time sipping his coffee before replying. Tezuka waits, knowing the look on Fuji's face, the inner struggle which is being settled, sorted.
"Fine. Yourself? I haven't heard anything from you in years, I'm curious about your studies. Your family?"
Dodge, counter. Fuji's specialty, Tezuka thinks wryly.
Fuji's not quite ready yet, so he obliges. He does not ask more, just explains the last few years, putting them in concise, summary in between the casual taste of coffee.
"I'm going home after this." Another sip.
"Really... How long are you here for?" Fuji's cup tilts just so, it almost tips, but he catches it.
"As long as I need to be." Indefinite, yet blunt.
"Tezuka you've not changed much." Fuji's laugh is slow and soft, almost melodic, but Tezuka would never call it so.
"I have an important appointment soon. So I have to leave soon." Last sip, the cup is drained.
"I'll see you again?" Fuji tilts his head, slightly, his lips forming a small space between lip and teeth long after the forming of syllables finished.
"I'd like that ."
"So would I."
Tezuka has never been able to put a name to Fuji's expressions, emotions, but he thinks that at the moment, it can best be described as "wistful".
They meet again ten miles from the courts where they spent three years building strength, comradery, and determination.
The tree are bare of leaves, children surround him, run past him and all he can do is attempt to move out of the way, and look somewhat disturbed by the encounter.
One child in particular passed him, looking like Fuji must have at age five. Tezuka can only guess.
"He's my nephew." and Fuji laughs, for Tezuka would never ask.
"Yumiko's, though Yuuta's been married for five years now, he's not had any children yet."
"I'm surprised you're not married yet." Tezuka says, offhand, attention somewhat jarred by a passing child yelling incoherent things.
"You're not married either." And Fuji chuckles, before motioning to a park bench away from the bustle, yet enough to keep a watch on his young charge.
They both take untold relief in that.
The next week is much of the usual for Fuji, spent in the close surrounds of his assorted family. He always seems to be the center of attention, without trying or meaning to. Yuuta has come to terms with this, yet still will grit his teeth at times.
They still talk, but never have been able to fix the bond that time erased, smashed to pieces.
His parents again ask why he hasn't gotten married, this time Fuji replies that it is because he is a secret agent for the government, and doesn't wish to bring anyone into this – but if the word ever got out, he'd fear for his life. His finger is extenuated over his lips as he caricatures each movement, forming each sentance of "hi–mi–tsu–" and watches his younger nieces and nephews mime with wide innocent eyes.
Fuji gives a different reason every time, it's become a game more than an annoyance.
The family plays along, his mother is the only one who still holds any sense of serious in the question.
Yumiko smiles knowingly, a tarot card pressed to her lips. Only the back is visible.
"He loves someone. The cards don't lie." And she turns it around. Two lovers are entwined.
"Oh dear, It seems I've been found out." Fuji says, laughing along with his family at the recent development.
Weeks pass, and they fall into a routine, meeting once each week in a coffee shop to talk about inconsequential (and on the occasion, deeper) things.
Tezuka takes his coffee black, but Fuji has managed to get him to drink some of the more exotic confections, with much amusement.
"We've become strangers, don't you think?" Fuji's tone seems to fade into the scenery which he has suddenly taken such an interest to.
"There is only one way to fix that..."
"I suppose. But re-attachments are always harder than the initial time."
"You're strong enough to make it."
Fuji only catches a faint twitch of at the edge of Tezuka's lips before he downs the last cup of coffee.
"One more thing... You've been here a long time. Have you found what you're looking for?" It is as if Fuji is holding his breath in anticipation of Tezuka's response.
"It's coming along." he says while taking his coat to leave.
It is not long after when Fuji finds Tezuka at his doorstep an hour before dark.
"Will you walk with me?" Tezuka's words always seem to have sublime, deeper meanings.
Fuji has re-learned the language, and understands.
And they set off through almost-melted snow towards the future.
They walked down this road long ago, and now they walk it again.