Kaze no Tabibito
Fic: vierblith
Art: moehoshi/sempai-sama
Pairing: Pillar Pair (yes, the world has come to an end... XD)
Rating: G
Genre: FLUFF
Disclaimer: No. We don't own them. If we did… well, Yukimura would win over Echizen. Oh, and it'd be shounen-ai. nods

Notes: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Fuji!!! This is from Tezuka, with lots and lots of love. A song fic/art, apparently, of their duet: Kaze no Tabibito. It follows the manga's timeline. I'll post a link to the full fic/art version at my profile page (probably tomorrow, afternoon of Feb 29, because the link doesn't exist yet at the moment).

Kaze no Tabibito

Little by little, the days past have changed you
Memories will envelop you gently

The smile on Fuji's face quirks up in his amusement as the tiny sugar crystals glitter, trickle and melt in the froth. Fuji takes the teaspoon and stirs the cappuccino, mentally congratulating himself (in advance) for a job well done. He lifts the mug to his lips, letting the pungently sweet scent of cinnamon waft to his nose. He then takes a small sip and licks the tiny white speck at the corner of his lips.

Coffee has a soothing (mainly psychological) effect on him. He now feels a tad bit calmer amidst his excitement.

Fuji raises his cup to take one more sip. His smile widens and his eyes glitter as he catches sight of the figure that pushes the café door open, causing the chimes to clang. The figure stops, a hardly discernable frown mars his face – almost as though he suspects something amiss. But the light frown drops and the figure heads to the farthest corner of the coffee shop.

Fuji doesn't do anything, he doesn't hide behind a newspaper, nor does he look away. He only smiles, watches, smiles and watches some more. The figure he's been watching no longer places an order; instead, the waitress carries a tray of a porcelain teapot and a single teacup. The figure adds a bit of sugar and a bit of milk to his tea. Meanwhile, Fuji finishes his coffee and gets to his feet.

"An autograph would be nice," Fuji says casually as he stands behind the figure.

The figure's back goes rigid for a second or two, but the figure doesn't turn around. "Fuji, take a seat."

"You've bulked up a bit," Fuji points out with an appreciative smile.

The figure nods and, if Fuji is right, the figure's lips forms a smile.

As I hide my unconveyed feelings in my heart,
I grasp ahold of your small hand.

"You hardly ask for help, Tezuka," Fuji says as he steps up beside Tezuka. He finds himself inordinately pleased that Tezuka has called him for help in stocking up tennis supplies.

"Hn," Tezuka says, looking straight at the road. He pushes his hands deep into his pockets. "I need several things."

Fuji nods. "Grip tapes, tennis balls… are you going to buy new shoes, rackets as well?"

"Ahh," Tezuka replies quietly, heading to the sports-supplies store. He checks his list, asking Fuji's opinion occasionally. In thirty minutes, he is done and is already lugging around the shopping bags out of the store.

"You didn't need much help," Fuji says quickly. His smile widens in part amusement and part puzzlement.

"Am I wasting your time?" Tezuka asks. His façade is a blank mask and his voice is deep, as always.

Fuji shakes his head and smiles questioningly. "Not at all," he answers in reassurance. "Anyway, you're going to Germany soon so I don't mind."

Tezuka nods curtly. He walks slightly ahead of Fuji and stops in front of a noodle-house. "Order what you want, I'll pay," he says briefly as a waiter ushers them toward a table.

Fuji tilts his head in inquiry and tries to catch Tezuka's eyes. But Tezuka doesn't return the gaze. Fuji begins to wonder if Tezuka just doesn't want to or if Tezuka is merely occupied. Fuji hears Tezuka sigh and then he feels warm fingertips at the back of his hand. He realizes that Tezuka looks intent yet uncertain. Fuji lets out a chuckle. Then, he curls his fingers a little. Finally, he smiles.

You're searching for a shadow, in the sky that you look up to
I feel your kindness that I've noticed from being hurt.

Fists clenched around the racket handle, Fuji shuts his eyes. A mixture of pain and joy wrings his heart and it shows in the grim smile on his face. The feeling of losing stings his body but the fact that he lost to Tezuka tells him something else.

"It was a good game."

A voice cuts through Fuji's thoughts and Fuji looks up. He sees Tezuka, shirt drenched with water and sweat. Fuji doesn't move, but Tezuka still chooses to slump down beside Fuji and leans his back against the tree trunk.

"It was a good game."

Tezuka never repeats himself unless necessary and Fuji takes this as a cue to respond, albeit quietly. "It was?"

Tezuka ignores Fuji's disheartened tone. Instead, he says, "Yes. We both have many things to improve on, but it was great." He tilts his head so he could see the sky through the thick patches of leaves. "Losing shouldn't matter. At least, you played with your heart."

This time, the pain flutters away from Fuji's smile. "Does that mean we can play again?"

"Of course," Tezuka replies.

If Kikumaru weren't loud enough to wake him up, or if Momo weren't complaining about hunger, Fuji wouldn't have realized that he had fallen asleep. He turns to his side and sees Tezuka rubbing his eyes. Tezuka stares back blankly at him and says, "Fuji, twenty laps for sleeping during practice."

So that we will be reborn powerfully in the blue sunlight
So that we won't be lost in tomorrow

Not a lot of people, not even Inui, notice that Tezuka's brows are closer to each other by 3-and-a-half millimeters. Only Fuji realizes this and he trails behind Tezuka silently after training. He doesn't underestimate Tezuka's sharp mind so he doesn't even bother to hide or conceal his purpose. He merely walks a yard or so behind Tezuka, waiting till Tezuka stops or addresses him.

"Fuji."

"Finally," Fuji says, smiling a grin of relief as he steps beside Tezuka. "Are you bothered by your coming match with Sanada?" He asks curiously.

"Not quite," Tezuka answers briefly. He takes more strides before saying, "I'm going to Germany."

"You decided to play pro?" Fuji inquires. When he hears Tezuka's "Hn", Fuji continues, "If you think it's going to be good for your tennis… why not? We'll be right here, supporting you." He smiles reassuringly and pats Tezuka's shoulder.

Tezuka watches Fuji closely and Fuji admits that he doesn't understand the way Tezuka peers at him at the moment.

"Aren't you even considering playing pro?" Tezuka asks.

"I have. I am," Fuji answers truthfully. "I do love tennis, but, I don't mean to offend you," he says with a small laugh, "I just can't see myself playing tennis for the rest of my life."

"I see." Tezuka pauses to think. "You see yourself more as a photographer?"

"Yes," Fuji replies eagerly. "Don't worry." He pats Tezuka's shoulder again. "I can take your pictures while you take over the tennis world." He can't be sure but he thinks he sees a twinkle at the corner of Tezuka's brown eyes.

You ran far away with the wind at your back
So that you won't forget your endless journey
The traveler of the wind will always carry your heart to a new world
To sparkling days

Reaching out for the cup of tea in front of Tezuka, Fuji moves the porcelain container and watches as the dark (but creamy) tea swirls and hit the sides of the cup. He can smell the strong scent of the tea leaves and he wonders why he is the one always being pointed as the person with strange taste. He knows for one that Tezuka's tea can be even bitterer than some of Inui's juices and he suspects that it is the reason Tezuka never fainted after drinking the potent beverages.

He waits silently, stirring and stirring the tea, as Tezuka looks at the photographs at hand. At last, when Tezuka raises his hand to get his tea and Fuji hands it over, Fuji asks, "What do you think?"

Tezuka takes a short sip before he answers. "You've improved," he says tonelessly.

A grin crosses Fuji's face. He says, "I'm glad you think so." He waves at the pictures in Tezuka's hands and adds, "You can keep the one that you like most."

As Tezuka gets back to the photos, Fuji watches and chuckles. "Tezuka," Fuji starts. "You owe me one for surprising you in Germany on mybirthday."

Tezuka pauses for a moment, his left hand holding a black and white photo of Japan's famous composite volcano. A brooding expression crosses his face. He throws a quick glance at the picture of Mt. Fuji. "Hn."

You change so that you can be as you are
The warm wind tells me that it's the beginning of a journey

Tezuka's phone rings the long, ordinary tone and he frowns a little at it. He throws a side-glance at the wallclock and realizes that it's a bit too early for his mother to be calling from Tokyo. He reaches for his phone with his right hand and sees the caller's contact name.

"Tezuka!"

As Tezuka hears Fuji's voice, he notes the innate, sincere cheerfulness that others consider hypocrisy. "Did you win?"

"Yes!" Fuji's answer is quick and sure. "Didn't I tell you that we will?"

"You don't seem to need me in the team," Tezuka says, trying his best to sound serious.

But Fuji laughs from the other end of the line. "That's not a very nice joke, Tezuka," Fuji scolds. "Besides, don't you want to win the Nationals with us?"

Tezuka smiles though he knows that Fuji can't see it. "I do."

"And we do need you in the team, Tezuka," Fuji starts. "Soon," Fuji adds. Before Tezuka even contemplates on asking how so, Fuji is already continuing. "On my game against Kirihara… I think you helped."

Pressing his phone closer to his ears, Tezuka blinks. "I'm in Kyushuu, Fuji," Tezuka reminds his teammate.

"Oh?" Fuji says, feigning surprise. "I might have seen your ghost then."

Tezuka's brows twitch. "I'm still alive."

Fuji chuckles softly and throws away the playful air. "You did help me," he insists.

Tezuka cranes his head to the billowing curtain and sees the red-orange setting sun. "I'm glad I did," he tells Fuji. "But you've always been made to win."

Searching for the pieces of you that are tumbling away to somewhere
I dream of the tomorrow that I imagine

Fuji stuffs his mouth with the wasabi rolls and Tezuka watches in slight awe and in slight puzzlement. This isn't the first time that Fuji is seen eating the spiciest dish in sight. But he seems to be using his birthday as an excuse to eat more than usual. Tezuka wonders if Fuji's lips and tongue still taste or feel anything afterwards.

"You're going to be team captain in third year," Fuji says gleefully.

"Yes," Tezuka replies quickly.

Fuji stops and knits his brows, calculating Tezuka's stoic countenance. "But you're excited, aren't you?"

"Ahh."

Popping another roll of sushi in his mouth, Fuji grins at the lack of expression on Tezuka's face. "You'll make a good leader."

"I always do my best," Tezuka says calmly. He casts his eyes on Fuji. "You should, too."

Fuji, seemingly uncaring, continues to eat.

"That way, we can win the National tournament together."

The smile on Fuji's face widens. "You should help me."

Tezuka only nods. He bends down to his side and grabs the paper bag that leans against his tennis bag. "Happy birthday," he says as he hands it to Fuji.

Raising his brows, Fuji peeks at the bag in curiosity. He sees a globular cactus planted on a pot. Its green spines and small pink flowers make him smile brightly. When the cactus' shape registers on his mind, he laughs. "You're all about tennis, aren't you, Tezuka?"

You ran far away with the wind at your back
So that you won't forget your endless journey
The traveler of the wind will always carry your heart to a new world
To sparkling days

The cold wind hits Fuji's face, gaining Fuji a pinkish color as he and Tezuka leave the coffee shop for a short, morning walk to Tezuka's flat. Fuji digs his hands deeper into the pockets of his coat and strides alongside Tezuka. "I watched your last game on TV… you've gotten even better," Fuji comments as they stroll down a sloping street.

"I always do my best," Tezuka replies quietly.

"No. You always better your best," Fuji corrects.

Tezuka regards Fuji for a moment, slowing his pace down and finally halting at the corner of the street. Fuji tilts his head in question, wondering if anything bothers Tezuka at the moment. "I'm glad you think so."

"Ahh…" Fuji says with a chuckle. "But it's true." He begins to stroll again, but Tezuka doesn't follow. "Is something wrong?"

"Fuji," Tezuka calls. He takes something from his pocket and reveals a tiny velvet blue box in his palm. "Happy birthday," he says simply as he picks up pace beside Fuji again.

With a quiet, but undeniably joyful enthusiasm, Fuji opens the box. His blue eyes open and dance in surprise. "It's a ring," he points out as if Tezuka doesn't already know. The silver band is etched with simple carvings of soft, curved lines – "Like the wind," Fuji murmurs.

"I got it from an antique store," Tezuka starts to explain. He unbuttons the top of his coat and indicates a similar ring that hangs on a plain, silver necklace. "The owner told me that it's a lucky charm. It makes your dreams come true."

"I never knew you believe in luck," Fuji teases. He pulls his left-hand glove away, and slips the band around his ring finger.

"A person can't reach his dreams on his own."

At this, Fuji pulls a wide, genuine smile and whispers so only Tezuka can hear, "Thanks."

You ran far away with the wind at your back
So that you won't forget your endless journey
The traveler of the wind will always carry your heart to a new world
To sparkling days

-End-

Notes: Fuji likes to drink coffee every morning, by the way. Yes, Tezuka knew that Fuji was coming and they are each other's wind. I'll be updating stuff by the end of March - I hope.