Title: In Silence.
Fandom: Prince of Tennis
Character(s) or Pairing: Sanada/Tezuka, mentions of Atobe
Warnings: Angst. Crack pairing.
Word Count: 1100 words
Summary: Tezuka thinks he is crazy.
A/N: Written for a friend, in response to the following challenge: Sanada/Tezuka. Angst. Tezuka can no longer listen or hear.
Tezuka thinks he is loosing his mind when his doctors tell him they can discover nothing wrong with his hearing. Beyond the fact that he can not hear.
There is no reason, no excuse. No cause. He goes to sleep one evening and wakes up the next day, with Sanada looming over him, shaking his shoulder. Tezuka knows his boyfriend is saying something, for he sees Sanada's lips moving, but he can not hear anything.
All of that day, he is disorientated; he can not think, can not concentrate, can not do anything. The sounds that normally comfort him bring no joy: he can no longer hear the smack of a tennis ball against the ground, the thud of the ball against the strings.
The doctors tell him it is a mental problem and ask questions, deep, probing questions that Tezuka does not like because they are too personal and too much to handle. He shakes his head and refuses to write down the answers when they push paper towards him.
He is thankful his handwriting has always been neat: he takes to writing everything else down. He communicates with his coach, with his manager, with his friends, with his family, via paper and pen, and they all accept it. They worry, he knows, for he sees the fear in their eyes, but there is nothing he can do.
He tries to get his tongue to work, to try to form words, but he does not, can not: he can not hear his own voice so why bother? He grows deaf and he grows silent, and his friends and family watch him with cautious eyes and sad smiles.
Sanada's smiles are the worst, he thinks, one day. They are forced and strained.
The two of them are together at a party: it is most of their old friends, from middle school and high school and the entire room knows, if not likes, one another. Sanada is a corner, talking to Atobe, and Tezuka knows they are talking about him; they keep looking at him, surreptitiously.
And it hits Tezuka then: why he can no longer hear.
It has been months since Tezuka woke up unable to hear. But not as long as he thinks it has been, he realizes, thinking back. It has only been two, for his birthday is approaching and he remembers hearing his birthday mentioned that night.
Sanada was on the phone when he fell asleep, with someone unknown; Tezuka remembers this, because it struck him as odd that Sanada refused to mention the caller. He talked in low whispers, in the living room to avoid bothering Tezuka. But he had returned to the room, before hanging up, because Tezuka remembers hearing a few whispered sentences.
"It'll be after his birthday; to do so now would cause too many problems," and "Thank you for understanding," and "I'll see you soon, Keigo."
He remembers those, as he watches Sanada and Atobe talk, and his hand tightens around his glass until he thinks he might break it. Something twists in his stomach and he wonders if his body is going to break even more.
He still can not hear and he is not sure if he wants to, as his birthday approaches. There is a forced gaiety about everyone, for they can feel the tension that is lurking inside of Tezuka. Oftentimes he feels Sanada's hands on his shoulders, the brush of Sanada's jet black hair against his cheek, but brushes them off.
He and Sanada have not had sex since before his hearing loss. He wonders if Sanada is seeking escape in Atobe's arms, even though Sanada is home every night and does not give any excuses that a man having an affair normally gives.
His coach tells him to take a month off, two days before his birthday. Tezuka's game is affected by his damaged hearing, and he hates it; he agrees, readily, because he thinks it will be the best, and if Sanada is going to break up with him, a respite will be necessary.
Tezuka wonders if his hearing will come back when Sanada leaves him, or if he will be deaf for the rest of his life. He worries that it will be the end of his tennis career, and his future, and his worry manifests itself in his irritableness in the days before his birthday.
There is a surprise party, the evening before his birthday. Tezuka really is surprised, for he does not expect such a thing, not now. But his friends are there, and Atobe, and Sanada was the one who dragged him to Atobe's mansion, on the pretext of going to dinner.
Tezuka relaxes, a little, for the evening, and tries to enjoy himself, although he keeps a close eye on Sanada and Atobe and bristles when he sees an envelope exchange hands. He wonders what is in it, but says nothing: he can't, after all.
Sanada takes him home before it is too late, but after Tezuka receives presents and hugs and a thousand and one pieces of paper with birthday wishes on it.
He wants to take them home and burn them, because he is 26 and deaf and about to face life alone.
Sanada gives him his present at the exact moment Tezuka was born. He wakes Tezuka up and hands him an envelope, the same envelope Atobe had handed Sanada earlier. It is too early and Tezuka has to wonder at the timing. He forgets, for a moment, that Sanada is a romantic at heart.
His hands are trembling when he opens the envelope, and pulls out two plane tickets, to Tanzania, and he does not understand. A note flutters from the envelope and lands on his lap, and Tezuka finds he has trouble picking that up.
It's short and simple, written in Sanada's strong hand, and it makes Tezuka rethink everything he has been thinking.
'Atobe has recently bought a cottage in Tanzania; he's offered us the use of it. Kilimanjaro is there.'
Tezuka feels a lump in his throat, a knot of tears, but he does not cry. Instead he pulls Sanada to him, who has been watching him with faint worry, like the worry that Tezuka used to see in his eyes when they were in middle school and Yukimura was sick. He clings to Sanada, because there is nothing else to do.
He wakes up in the morning to Sanada's hands on his shoulders and jet black hair brushing his cheek and the softly whispered words of "I love you."