Blooming BlossomsFuji Syuusuke

Sequel to Frozen Carnation

Tezuka was surprised, although his cool composure didn't change much.

"I'm sorry?" he asked politely.

"Tezuka," Kaho Rei looked incredulously at the tennis captain, "You heard me."

He gave her a blank look. "I don't think I'd like to share my private life," he replied shortly.

"Come on, Tezuka, I don't know anyone else to write about, I mean, entering this contest was your idea, wasn't it?" she asked, exasperated.

"This has something to do with me, how?" he asked.

"Because," she waved her paper in front of him, "The theme is about a love story! You know, this week's Valentines week… to match the lovey-dovey spirit. I know you love Saeki Lili," she have an invisible twitch as she mentioned the girl Tezuka had fallen for, "I just wanted some ideas to write about."

"You're going to tell me you're out of ideas," he replied drily. "Go ask Fuji, he'd be more than glad to answer your questions. Besides," his eyes narrowed slightly, "I'm sure you already wrote about my relationship last time."

"I did, that's why I need to write about it again, it's like a sequel."

"I think you should branch in a different direction," Tezuka deadpanned.

Rei sighed in defeat, allowing her notebook to drop down into her hand, which she clutched not-too-tightly.

"Fine. I don't know how I'm going to come up with this story in week," she shook her head, "I'll go find Saeki, maybe she'll tell a bit."

He gave her a reprimanding look, and she returned it with a smile. "I was kidding, Jeez, loosen up a little Tezuka, I haven't gone around the whole school telling them you got a girlfriend."

Tezuka made a noise sounding like a snort, but with his mouth closed, the noise was closer to a sick cow trying to sing.

"You didn't, I'm sure," his eyes flickered towards the brown-haired tensai approaching. "But someone did."

"Hello, Tezuka, Rei-chan," Fuji greeted them with a honey-sweet smile.

"'Morning," she greeted as Tezuka nodded in acknowledgement.

"We were going to class together Rei," Fuji grabbed her hand lightly, tugging her along.

"H-Hey, Syuusuke!"

Stumbling into step with the tensai, she waved quickly at Tezuka, who merely raised an eyebrow. Turning back Fuji, she gave him a weird look. "What was that for?"

He made no comment, smiling merrily as he continued to drag her along the way towards her classroom. When they reached a less dense area, Rei frowned, she found his smile a little strained.

"Syuu…"

"Your still not yourself," he stated, not facing her but at the wall in which was in front of him.

She adverted her eyes to the ground. No comment was made.

"You still haven't forgotten Tezuka."

He turned around quickly, his eyes opening.

Her breath hitched as she looked into cerulean orbs.

"I…" She didn't –couldn't-- reply, instead, she nodded. "I can't. I mean, I know I love you-"

"No you don't," he wasn't glaring at her, but she felt as if his eyes were burning through her own. "You don't love me." His eyes closed again into a bitter, thin smile. "Please don't tell yourself that."

"Syuusuke, what are you-"

"I'll wait," he interrupted, his smile not wavering. "I can wait."

She quieted down. "I'm sorry… I don't want to be hurt –I don't want to hurt you-… I'm scared."

He took a step forwards, placing her hand on her head, giving her a small pat as his eyes opened slightly again. "I love you."

Her mouth opened, then closed. She stood dumbly as he turned to walk back to class. She was barely aware that the bell had rung.

-----------------------

Fuji kept his smiling façade easily through the day. Kaho wasn't so lucky.

She had stumbled, quite unintentionally, into ten people in the hallway, tripped during her favorite sport, gymnastics, and was not able to add one word to her short introduction to her essay.

Today was not a good day.

"Kaho," Oishi fussed around his classmate as she plopped down into her seat, "Are you ok? Should I bring you to the nurse? You look a little flustered, do you need anything?"

She gave him a weak smile. "I'm fine, Oishi-san, just a little tired… probably from studying for the exams."

Oishi frowned. "You should watch your heath, Kaho, you already have the second best marks; you'll do fine."

"Yes sir," she grinned at him as he let out a breath of relief and retired to his seat next to her.

Tezuka's eyes flickered towards her, and she avoided them, turning to face the front of the classroom.

Class drone on and Rei's attention drifted elsewhere.

"How can he say he loves me? How does he-"

"Kaho!"

Snapping back to reality, she found herself blushing in embarrassment when her sensei was looking at her with a raised eyebrow.

"I'm sorry, I'll pay attention," she gave an awkward smile.

Lunch took too long to come, but when the bell did ring, Rei stepped warily out the classroom door. She passed Fuji, who gave her another masked smile as he brushed past her, and decided she would do something.

"Oi, Tezuka," she shouted, running up to the taller male.

The tennis captain turned around.

"Do you have time? I mean, to speak privately…?"

Finding her unusual request somewhat amiss the regular Rei he had known, he quietly withdrew himself from the group of Regulars bombarding him with questions ["about his girlfriend," Kikumaru had informed her importantly later.

"Kaho?" he questioned.

"Syuusuke's ignoring me," she stated bluntly, and she saw his eyebrows furrowed together.

"Why do you need me?" he asked.

"Because of you," she tried again, "Syuusuke's ignoring me."

Tezuka's eyebrow rose higher.

Rei sighed. "What I mean is…" she paused, not quite sure how to continue. "I was going to say that," she took a deep breath, "I used to love you but I don't now but Syuusuke thinks I do and I think he might be right because… because, I'm still not me around you but I kinda love Syuusuke now but I don't know how to tell me." she spit out quickly.

Tezuka's eyes reflected something close to amusement. "I know."

For the second time in the same day, Rei gapped, dumbfounded.

Tezuka looked the girl before him, eyes softening. "I knew."

Rei found her ability to talk again. "All of that?" she asked in astonishment.

"Most," Tezuka truthfully admitted.

"You idiot!" she slapped his shoulder playfully, "You made me say all that out loud and then you tell me this?"

"You said you loved Syuusuke, that's all I needed," he answered simply. "You should tell him that."

He gave her as close to a smile as the edges of his lips would ever curve before returning to his lunching group.

Rei stared blankly at the area in which he stood not too long ago. "What kind of advice was that?"

"Nicely put, I would say," came a familiar voice, soon to be followed by a chuckle.

"Syuu!" she turned around quickly. "You…you heard that!" she accused.

He laughed lightly. "Maybe, but just in case I didn't, would you mind stating that again?"

"Syuusuke!" Kaho blushed as she muttered the phrase quietly. "I love you."

"What?" he leaned closer pretending he didn't catch her words.

Fuji was all-too-pleased at her reaction, and even more delighted as her blush darkened.

"I said I love you," she muttered, only slightly louder than previously.

He laughed lightly, deciding he would cut her some slack for the day as he ruffled the girl's hair.

"I love you too, Rei."

"As the ice of winter thaws, a beautiful blossom blooms throughout the lands, representing the beginning of a new Spring."