General Disclaimer: Prince of Tennis belongs to the almighty Konomi-sensei. Not moi. Fortunately. I don't even own the title.

A/N: So I probably have too many fics out all at once, but they keep popping up like bunnies! (no puns intended.) This one was taken from my list of bunnies, and though it's not the most popular one, it's one that got inspired first. So. yeah. And I won't have time to update much after August, so I'm putting up enough stuff so that you guys won't miss me too much. xD.

Birthday!: Dedicated to Se-No-News For her Birthday!! Happy 19th, oneesan!! And Happy Taiwanese Father's Day just because hehe.


Chapter 1


If you set foot on the Seishun University campus, and randomly stop a passerby to ask who Fuji Syusuke was, you'd get a funny look. Fuji Syusuke was a legend on campus, even the people who didn't know any better could tell you that Fuji was a senior, a photography major, with a minor in almost everything else. And then they'd probably tell you other things too, but that depended on who you asked.

Ask any professor, Fuji Syusuke was the perfect student, he got every assignment in on time, and though he never went out of his way to turn anything in early, everything was on time. If anything was late, he usually had a damned good reason.

Ask anyone in the nerd/geek clique, they would have told you that Fuji was a prodigy, one of those kinds that came along in twenty years. Any girl, Fuji was an idol to them with that gorgeous smile, he dressed in the latest fashions and looked good in whatever he put on, he probably looked just as good naked.

But very few girls ever saw Fuji Syusuke naked. So they continued dreaming.

Ask anyone who liked to party, and they would have told you that Fuji Syusuke threw the best parties. In fact, he was having one tonight, come along and see.

But if you were to ask them who Tezuka Kunimitsu was, they would have rolled their eyes.

Oh, him.

They would have smiled at you because you were misguided and that couldn't be helped.

He's no one.

-

Fuji Syusuke was twenty-three, he would have been more accurate and said seven and three quarters, but that just confused everybody. Not that he didn't like confusing everyone but explaining the precise reason of why he was seven and three quarters was always blown out of proportion, even though the answer was beyond simple. So he simply made everyone's life easier and said 23.

But Fuji honestly preferred being seven and three quarters, when you were that old, you were just starting to wean off of Santa Clause. Though Fuji never believed in Santa because he had caught his sister putting presents under the tree when he was just three. Yumiko had been young too, and she hadn't been inconspicuous enough.

Fuji did not believe in Santa Clause, but he believed in karma, for every good, there was a bad. Somewhere, probably not nearby, but it was there. Fuji considered himself to be an extraordinarily lucky person, and he considered his current state of popularity to be a parasitic virus. It infected anyone and everyone who dared to follow him. He had quite a large following, and Fuji was sure he could have started his own cult if he wished.

Of course he had no such wish.

But everyone who stayed close to him did tend to suffer strange misfortunes, like it was a curse. Bad luck always missed him by a mere inch and went onto torment someone else.

Nowadays, that someone else seemed to be his roommate, Tezuka Kunimitsu. Tezuka never smiled, ever, and Fuji always wondered if it was the lack of luck that made Tezuka refuse to smile. If it was, Fuji was sorry. He would have liked to see Tezuka smile.

They'd been roommates for all four years of university, and acquaintances for even longer before that. Fuji hesitated to use the word 'friend' because it seemed that Tezuka wouldn't approve of such a casual title. For all the years he had known Tezuka, Fuji had known him to have plenty of acquaintances, no friends. None whatsoever.

Maybe this was what made Tezuka immensely unpopular among his peers on campus. Everyone wanted to be everyone else's friend, and then you had Tezuka. Who always managed to be alone somehow, no matter where he was. in class, in the middle of one of Fuji's legendary parties, no matter where, Tezuka stood alone. (Actually the latter was easy to do, All Tezuka had to do was lock himself in his room and not come out, which he did.)

Honestly, this didn't make any sense to Fuji. He couldn't understand why Tezuka didn't want to be popular, if anyone was in the position to be popular and well-liked, it was Tezuka, he was Fuji Syusuke's roommate after all.

But to have Fuji Syusuke and Tezuka Kunimitsu under the same roof did not seem to help the latter's social standings. It only served to heighten the differences between them, Fuji was the social elitist, Tezuka was just a hopelessly anti-social guy. That was all. In fact, for all of Fuji's efforts to bring his roommate out into the limelight, all of it ended in failure.

Some of his more daring disciples had even asked him why he was rooming with such a geek.

For such transgressions, Fuji's smile wasn't quite so beautiful.

Besides, he liked Tezuka. True, the guy was anti-social to a fault and honestly, if you wanted to have a conversation with him, you were better off talking to a wall, at least a wall didn't offer you a silence that was so deadly awkward. His roommate was responsible, never late on rent, and unlike a wall, he listened, he made little nods and twitches and things so that you knew he was listening.

Perhaps this was why no one ever ventured to talk to Tezuka. Fuji liked it, this time, he could keep Tezuka to himself. Tezuka was actually quite good looking when he cared to let his guard down, when he was without his glasses, or when he was shirtless after a shower. Fuji considered both a privilege.

"Party tonight?"

Fuji paused, he was unwrapping a stack of napkins. Napkins, beer, and a good host were all you needed for a party, he was glad that he had all three. Oh, and a crowd of people to attend, but that was never a problem. He turned to face Tezuka, who looked fresh from a shower. Fuji let himself look before turning back to the napkins.

"Yeah, party tonight." Fuji confirmed with a casual shrug. "Will you be around?"

"I think I'll go to the library." Tezuka said, "I have a research paper due soon, it's best to get it done."

"And not let your guard down." Fuji finished with a smile.

Tezuka paused. "Yes. That." He paused again, "Will you promise to leave my room alone?"

Fuji considered, the last party had left Tezuka's room in shambles, it wasn't exactly his doing, it was just, too many people got drunk that night, Fuji himself had gotten a little too tipsy, and things had obviously gone out of hand.

"Saa, I don't know. Lock your door, I'll make sure they don't break it down. It's the least I can do."

"Fair enough, I"ll remember to do that when I leave. When does the party start?"

Fuji shrugged again. "I don't know, they start showing up anytime they feel like." It was true, Fuji's parties never started and never ended with a set time, it was just whatever the people felt like coming and leaving, he ran a loose democracy, as far as parties went. "Around eight, maybe."

It was barely six, Tezuka relaxed visibly and put down his bag.

"Then I think I'll eat before I go."

Fuji smiled at his friend and shook his head, "I'll make you something." he put the stack of napkins down and turned toward the refrigerator "What would you like?"

He heard footsteps, and when Fuji took in a deep breath, he breathed in the faint scent of lotion.

"Something with no hot sauce."

Fuji smiled, he took another deep breath, the lotion smelled familiar. "My lotion?" He inquired without turning around.

"Aa."

"Smells good on you." And Fuji meant it, the lotion did smell good on Tezuka surprisingly. "Would you mind yesterday's leftovers? I promise I won't douse anything with hot sauce."

It was an amused little growl that finally released from Tezuka's throat. Perhaps it wasn't a growl, but Tezuka wasn't the type of man to be elegant when it came to something like this. Tezuka said, "...I don't mind hot sauce, I mind it in excess."

"Of course you do."

There was an awkward silence. More awkward than ones they usually shared. Such moments reminded Fuji in the worst way that he was really out of Tezuka's league.

At last, Fuji put a bowl of rice on the table. He left the silence well alone, Tezuka would break it on his own when he was ready. He poured curry over the rice and got a pair of chopsticks from the drawer.

And then he set the bowl in front of Tezuka with his usual smile and sat. Still, Tezuka did not say anything. Fuji didn't mind though, when it came to a relationship with Tezuka Kunimitsu, one needed lots of patience.

Then, "Thank you, Fuji."

"You're welcome. Want anything to drink?"

"It's all right."

Fuji went back to arranging his napkins and said, before the silence could collect dust again, "You should stay for the party today. It's small, and you know everyone. Think of it as a time to relax before taking the exams."

"With the exams so close, don't you think studying is a better way to pass time?"

Fuji smiled, "Are you implying that I need to study?"

Tezuka looked, "Everyone needs to study sometimes. Even people like us."

It was useless to argue with Tezuka on a subject matter like this. Fuji gave a little smile this time with a helpless edge. "Like I said...it's a small party. Loosen up once in a while. I only invited people I know that won't fail exams."

"Will Oshitari be here?"

Oshitari Yuushi was Fuji's boyfriend, he was probably popular enough in his own right, and his parties were almost as good as Fuji's, except not quite. Tezuka had never liked Oshitari, and Fuji wondered why. He nodded. "Yeah, he will, but it's not like he'll bring his own friends over. I stressed that point this time."

"Well, I'll think about it." Tezuka said vaguely.

"Ryoma will be here too. Actually."

At the mention of Ryoma, Tezuka looked up, a mild expression mixed with both horror and amusement panned across his face for a few seconds. And then it was gone and he turned back to his food, "You do realize that Echizen's coming will further strengthen my resolve to go to the library?"

Fuji shook his head, "Just because he likes you doesn't mean you have to keep avoiding him like the plague..."

"I really would not rather him like me. I told you before, Fuji." Tezuka said sharply as he stood up. "You should tell him to get that ridiculous idea out of his head. Stop encouraging him."

"Why is it ridiculous? Ryoma is good for you." Fuji looked at him, "You'll officially become a socialite if you two start going together. I think you'd be a happier person for it."

Tezuka was silent. And this silence was heavy. "Fuji." He said, the single word sounding altogether resigned. "Let me ask you something. Do you like Oshitari?"

"Of course I do, he's my boyfriend." Fuji answered easily, "Why?"

"If...if you had feelings for someone that was not Oshitari and you were forced to date Oshitari anyway, would you want that?"

"Well...I guess I wouldn't then. If you really put it like that." Fuji gave in after a moment of thought, "What's with you all of the sudden? Getting all philosophical on me?"

"Nothing." Tezuka said, "Nothing, I think I"ll go to the library." He picked up his bag and slung it over one shoulder. "Have a fun party."

"For some reason, you sound so enthusiastic about a damned research paper.." Fuji sighed, "I'll convince you one day. Remember to lock your door before you leave."