A/N: Gah, I haven't been on here for so long. Sorry for the wait! T.T At least AP's are over... This story takes place after the Nationals.
Disclaimer: I don't own Prince of Tennis.
The air hummed pleasantly, with snippets of conversations floating around as the members of Seigaku's boys' tennis team prepared to go home after tennis practice and continue with the rest of their tennis-filled day. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that their lives revolved around tennis. They woke up in their tennis-decorated rooms; ate some breakfast to give them energy to play tennis; attended morning tennis practice; went to school to keep up their grades in order to stay on the tennis team; had tennis practice; went home by some means as to improve their stamina or physical condition; played some more tennis at home, on the street courts, or at some indoor courts; had dinner to replace the tennis-burned calories, did their homework for the aforementioned keeping up of grades to stay in tennis; played tennis video or computer games; watched tennis on TV; went to bed dreaming tennis dreams, and began the whole process again the next day. Such a tennis-oriented life was only naturally expected of a tennis player, even if said tennis player wasn't even in high school yet (though some looked old enough to be out of college). However, just because they were all very passionate (AKA obsessed and one step short of crazy) about the most wonderful, gravity-defying sport of all time, it did not mean that they were not entitled to have a normal social life (anything related to tennis did not count, sadly), as Tezuka was about to find out.(1)
Rubbing a white fuzzy towel through his damp locks, Tezuka mentally steeled himself for the great battle before him- moving from the showers to his locker. This was, by no means, an easy feat, nor was it one to be mocked. The dangers were perilous and plentiful- boys flung themselves into the air, barreled after each other, flung projectiles with deadly precision, etc. Tezuka took a deep breath and decisively charged (he actually walked, but never mind that) directly into the line of fire. He nimbly weaved his way around thrashing bodies, expertly dodged flying objects, and after a long hard fight, made it successfully to the hollow metal sanctuary called his locker.
It was ordinarily his duty to ensure that the club behaved in an orderly conduct, but at times like this, Tezuka believed that it would be better to let his fellow teammates go wild and burn off whatever energy they had left after practice. A captain he might be, but Tezuka was neither fool nor dictator. He knew very well the potential consequences of constantly restraining all that unbridled liveliness- one day, at the most inconvenient time, all hell could break loose. That was why he allowed them to run amok. Indeed, if one wanted some hands-on experience before exploring say a jungle or such, one needed only to pay the locker room a visit- it was full of animals (the ones that skipped lunch were particularly vicious) and certainly precarious enough.
Removing the towel from his hair, Tezuka reached into the locker and pulled out various articles of clothing. He could see, out of the corner of his eye, Fuji and Inui at the far end of the row chuckling as they pored over a very suspicious neon purple notebook. Tezuka made a mental note to refuse any drinks or food from either of them for the next couple of weeks. He now worked on auto-pilot: yanking on his pants, buttoning up his short-sleeve uniform shirt, raking a comb carelessly through his hair, bending down to tie his shoes, and groping around blindly in search of his glasses. Tezuka affixed the familiar frame upon the bridge of his nose. Reaching into the narrow dark spaces of the cubicle, Tezuka hauled out his bag and tennis racquet and slung them over his shoulders. He swung the locker door shut with a rusty squeak… and found Fuji's smiling face right next to his.
A normal person, upon suddenly seeing the tensai pop up seemingly out of thin air, would have, under ordinary circumstances: (A) screamed like a little girl, (B) passed out (in the cases of the faint of heart), or (C) A and then B. But Tezuka was Tezuka, so he made up and went with answer choice (D) none of the above. He was quite used to Fuji's amazing appearing and disappearing acts, which would put any blond, orange-clad, wannabe Hokage to shame.(2) As a result, Tezuka was able to get away with just a mild heart attack which he hid quite skillfully (one could never be totally immune to Fuji's antics).
"Fuji," he said tonelessly, inclining his head in acknowledgement. 'Is there something you need?'
"Tezuka." Fuji smiled charmingly. "I have a favor to ask." 'Ne, you know me too well.'
Tezuka let out a noncommittal "Hnn." Anyone else would have taken the response (or lack of, depending on how you looked at it) as a negative; however, in TeFu telepathy, that somehow translated into a "Continue" or a "Go on." Either way, Fuji got the message loud and clear.
"I need some advice," Fuji requested earnestly, lacing his fingers behind his back. Somewhere a few rows down, there was a loud smack, swiftly accompanied by loud swearing and pounding footsteps. Several shouts also arose from that general area.
Raising an eyebrow, Tezuka pondered Fuji's latest request. It seemed harmless enough, giving advice, but since when did Fuji, Seigaku's tensai, need advice? Tezuka had heard that the last time someone offered to give Fuji advice, that person ended up receiving advice from Fuji instead.(3) The natural instinct to help out kicked in though, and Tezuka berated himself for being even remotely suspicious as to Fuji's intentions. Still, this was Fuji he was dealing with. "Advice?" he repeated, just to make sure he hadn't misheard.
Fuji's lips quirked up, clearly amused by the indecision running rampant around Tezuka's head. 'Yes, advice,' he confirmed by a slight nod of his head. Fuji bit his lips in order to muffle his chuckles. He could see it all in Tezuka's sharp hazel eyes- the vicious internal debate as whether to agree to give Fuji advice or to politely decline. The smart choice, for anyone who valued their current mental state, would be, of course, to decline, and Tezuka was a smart person who valued his current mental (albeit highly stressed) state. But Fuji knew what Tezuka would choose; Fuji nearly always knew what Tezuka would choose. Tezuka might be cold and aloof, but he never ever shied away from his responsibilities and duties as a friend. And besides, who could ever say no to Fuji, no matter how shady his demands might sound? So Fuji waited patiently, hands clasped behind his back, for Tezuka to say yes.
"What kind of advice?" Tezuka finally asked warily. If it had to do with tennis, then that was definitely doable. He prayed that it would be tennis-related. Perhaps it had to do with school? He could do that too, though it was highly unlikely that the tensai needed any help regarding school. If Fuji ever did have trouble, he could always charm his way through with that sweet, angelic smile of his (or resort to blackmail in times of dire need). Maybe Fuji needed some help dealing with Yuuta? No, Fuji handled things in that aspect quite well (even if Yuuta stubbornly refused to admit it), and Yumiko would be a much better source of help. Whatever it was, Tezuka was fine with it just as long as it wasn't…
"Love advice," said Fuji offhandedly, adjusting the straps of his bag. He gleefully watched as Tezuka's eyes twitched and the pupils dilated in response to the blunt answer. Now wasn't that cute? Tezuka fixed his eyes upon Fuji, with 'Are you serious?' written all over his stoic face. Fuji knew perfectly well that Tezuka Kunimitsu did not give out love advice. Tezuka knew that Fuji knew, and Fuji knew that Tezuka knew that Fuji knew, and Tezuka knew that Fuji knew that Tezuka that Fuji knew, and Fuji knew that Tezuka knew that Fuji knew that Tezuka knew that Fuji knew… or something like that.
"Shouldn't you ask Kikumaru instead?" Tezuka asked, spying a tiny ray of hope for escape tantalizingly within reach. He spotted the energetic redhead tackling his vice-captain a few meters away. "Oishi could do it too," Tezuka added upon second thought. However, Tezuka was subconsciously aware that if he had intended to, then Fuji would've asked the Golden Pair already. There was no avoiding this. Sure enough, Fuji shook his head, adopting a mixed expression of amusement and pity.
"No, you're the only one that can help me," Fuji confirmed, sealing Tezuka's fate. He smirked inwardly- it was his win.
Tezuka groaned inwardly- it was his loss. "Let's go," Tezuka grudgingly stated, resigning to the inevitable.
"Okay," Fuji said cheerfully (or evilly).
Tezuka and Fuji found themselves at a quaint little café that had just opened a few weeks ago near the school. Why they needed to be at a café, Tezuka did not know. He had pointed out that they could talk while walking home (they could get some exercise and they wouldn't need to spend any money), but Fuji had adamantly insisted on coming here, something about trying out the cakes (which was even more of a reason for them not to go since cakes were sickeningly sweet and had no nutritional value whatsoever). However, Fuji had said that the café served tea as well. Tezuka finally gave in only after Fuji solemnly swore not to tamper with Tezuka's drink in any way or force him to eat anything against his own will. His suspicions slightly assuaged, Tezuka had allowed Fuji to lead the way.
To Tezuka's intense displeasure, he found out that the café was swamped with a tsunami of girls- screaming, squealing, shoujo girls- the annoying ones that cooed over everything, cried out "Kyaa! Kyaa! Kyaa!" every few seconds, and blushed over the smallest of remarks. And their giggles? Hands down the most irritating sound on the planet. If everyone were to donate a roll of duct tape (and Tezuka was acquainted with a few girls who would require more than one roll), then the world would be a much better and quieter place without all the shallow, high-pitched conversations. And if everyone also donated a coil of rope, then all of those whiny, easily-reduced-to-tears girls could be tied up and shipped somewhere far far away (Antarctica, maybe?). Tezuka knew, from first-hand experience, that many of those girls were especially clingy, so rope would definitely be necessary. Ah, if only they could get rid of all them. Tennis practice would run so much more smoothly without any interruptions or distractions (how some of his players could be infatuated by those vexatious creatures was a complete mystery to Tezuka).
"You are sure that Kikumaru can't help you?" asked Tezuka wearily. This was a one-time thing, he told himself, only a one-time thing. After today, he was never going to give out love advice again. If it got out that he, Tezuka, Mr. I-have-the-emotional-range-of-a-teaspoon, was giving out love advice, he would never hear the end of it.(4) Never again would he do this. Well, if Fuji asked, he might reconsider doing it…just once more.
"Yes, I'm sure," Fuji said firmly. Using his thumb and index finger, Fuji plucked up the shiny silver spoon resting on the white cotton napkin lying on the table at his right. He held it up, under the pretense of examining his reflection on the back side of the polished surface. He was actually looking at the strange trio seated at the table for six behind him. Since he was waiting for his food with nothing else to do, he might as well watch the other customers.
They were a peculiar group. The person seated closest to the wall (and leaning on it) had black hair and a black leather jacket. His eyes were concealed by a pair of expensive looking sunglasses, and he emitted a very powerful and fascinating aura even though he appeared to be asleep at the moment. From the sunglasses and the cane the man clutched in his hand, Fuji deduced that the man was blind. Next to him was another man with glasses, a baggy graphic tee, multiple piercing, and an odd short braided hairstyle. He was talking, leaning forward and waving his fork around to make his point. Sitting across from those two was a young girl about 12 years old. Although he could only see the back of her blond head and straightened back, he could tell from her arm movements that she, like the guy talking was also eating something, probably a slice from the cake on the table. (5)
Tezuka could tell that Fuji was doing anything but checking his reflection in the spoon. Fuji's eyes remained firmly affixed upon one spot, and he didn't move the spoon around either to check the view from various angles. More likely, he was observing the three people at the table behind him, if the twitching at the corners of his mouth was any indication. "What do you need advice on?" Tezuka inquired, slightly louder than he usually spoke to regain Fuji's attention.
"Hmm?" A slightly distracted Fuji tore his eyes away from his shiny spoon to blink at Tezuka. He replaced the spoon back on the napkin as carefully as he had picked it up. "Oh, it's not for me," Fuji assured Tezuka. Fuji fingered a corner of the napkin. "It's for…" Fuji paused for a bit. He pursed his lips as though in concentration, trying to figure out how to best word this. If he wasn't careful, he might end up revealing too much information. Now he could not have that happening. Fuji gave the napkin a tiny tug. "…a friend," he finished lamely. Great, Tezuka would surely figure it out somehow.
"Hnn." Tezuka stared straight at Fuji's eyelids. Fuji shifted in his seat and turned his head away. A friend indeed, Tezuka thought wryly. He wasn't sure if he was to be insulted that Fuji used such a hackneyed statement on him. Tezuka was also highly disappointed that Fuji chose not to openly admit that he was the one in need of advice. One day, Tezuka vowed to himself, he would get Fuji to always show his true self. In the mean time, two could play at Fuji's game. "What does your… friend need advice on?"
Fuji refrained from answering as the waiter set down a delicate china plate in front of him and a pot of tea complete with cups in front of Tezuka. Leaning forward, Fuji inhaled the deliciously sweet aroma wafting up from the thick slice of green tea cake sitting before him. Ahhh… "Would you like some?" Fuji offered politely. Tezuka replied in the negative, so Fuji happily pulled the plate closer to himself.
"My, ah, friend," Fuji started, eying his cake hungrily, "has a crush on someone." A break was necessary. With an impressive display of self-control, Fuji cut off a small portion of the cake (too small, in his humble opinion) and ate it. Instantly, a burst of flavor exploded in his mouth. The moist cake and the smooth icing melted on his tongue, spreading the moderately sweet, cool taste. Fuji hummed with pleasure. He snuck a peek at Tezuka. Tezuka's eyes were starting to glaze over, and they darted briefly to somewhere behind Fuji. Ah, so Tezuka thought that the friend had a crush on that type of girl. "He has a crush on a guy," Fuji corrected Tezuka's unspoken assumption.
Though taken aback, Tezuka managed to conceal his surprise by busying himself with the teapot and teacups. Wasn't this a shocker? Not really. Tezuka knew for a fact that the majority of his players weren't exactly taking the straight road (in addition to being the battlefront of a never-ending war, the locker room also served as an unofficial make-out site for those few bold couples, but Tezuka absolutely drew the line at anything more). Plus, with Fuji's effeminate, bishounen features, it would actually make sense for him to go for a guy (come to think of it, he'd never seen Fuji go out with a girl though there had been plenty of confessions). As Tezuka thought over the new bit of information, he became acutely aware of Fuji's intense gaze, so he chose his next words cautiously. "I… don't see anything wrong with that," he uttered slowly.
Breathing out a sigh of relief, Fuji broke out into a huge smile. "Oh, that's good then," he said brightly. Fuji forked off another section of his cake and delicately devoured it. "I just wanted to make sure that you're okay with it," he explained, using the tip of his tongue to lick off a bit of icing at the corner of his lips as he spoke. Fuji relaxed now, relieved that Tezuka, whose family was extremely conservative, had nothing against the matter. Fuji nudged his plate forward again. "Are you certain you don't want some? It's really good," Fuji tempted. He offered his fork to Tezuka, handle first.
"I'm fine." Tezuka reached over and gently pushed the plate back. 'You enjoy it.' Fuji flashed him another brilliant smile. Tezuka felt his heart beat slightly faster at the sight, and it had nothing to do with what he assumed was a sugary bomb of a cake. Tezuka had heard rumors (gleaned from the various chatty girls in his classes) that Fuji's infamous angel's smile fluttered pulses, and as far as he could see, it was true.(6) "What's your…friend's problem?"
"Let's see." Fuji fiddled with his napkin for a while, bringing it to his lips to wipe away a few crumbs. "I suppose," he began slowly, "that the easiest way to say this is that my… friend has a crush on a guy, but he doesn't really know what to do." Tezuka gave him a look. Fuji read it (correctly) as a "That's it?" expression. Fuji shrugged as he picked up his fork again to go for another round at his cake. 'Saa, what can I say?' There was laughter in his smile. 'At least it's a pretty standard dilemma.' Fuji took another bite of his cake, closing his eyes (in his case, keeping them closed) in appreciation.
Tezuka was deep in thought. How odd. He was sure that a problem of such simplicity would be no trouble for Seigaku's tensai. No, this was much too easy. There had to be a catch somewhere. However, that would take some time figuring out, not to mention he hadn't found out why Fuji specifically asked for his advice. So for now, Tezuka would pretend like they were talking about Fuji's "friend". "I think that it would depend on what your… friend is like."
"What he's like?" Fuji cocked his head to the side, nibbling on the prongs of his fork.
"Yes. His personality."
Fuji slowly brought another piece of cake into his mouth. "I guess…well… he's a bit hard to understand." Fuji toyed with his fork, balancing the prongs on his plate and twirling the handle with his right hand as he leaned his cheek against the palm of his left. "People generally think that he's a good person since he acts nice around them." Fuji gave out a sudden chuckle as he ceased his twirling and the fork fell onto the plate with a tiny clatter. "Of course," he added, eyes shining with mischief, "regular people don't get to see his real personality." He smiled angelically (to Tezuka, the smile seemed devilish).
Giving out a miniscule, knowing smile that only Fuji could see, Tezuka reached over to nab the gleaming teapot to pour out a cup of steaming hot tea. He asked if Fuji wanted a cup, but Fuji declined. Tezuka held the cup under his nose, breathing in the warm, soothing fragrance, feeling relaxation course through his veins. Fuji automatically passed the stout jar of sugar in Tezuka's direction. Nodding his thanks, Tezuka sprinkled in a bit of sugar, adding the faintest amount of sweetness to his drink, a habit that he had picked up from hanging out with Fuji.(7) Fuji had described himself quite well, Tezuka thought, slightly bemused. "Have they known each other for long?" he inquired, playing along. He stirred his tea with Fuji's spoon (because Fuji did not need a spoon to eat cake).
"They've known each other for a few years," Fuji answered absently, taking another bite of the heavenly cake. Yummm… Tezuka was really missing out.
"Are they close?" Tezuka knew what Fuji was up to with all those unnecessarily happy sighs and hums, and Tezuka was not going to give in. He would not be tempted, not one bit, by that small slice of delicious, heaven-on-a-plate goodness…darn. Iron will, iron will, iron will…
Hmph, so Tezuka didn't fall for his act after all. No matter. Fuji rolled the green tea flavor over his tongue, savoring the sweetness. "Actually, they're really close," Fuji confided. "I think that's why they would make a great couple- they understand each other so well." A shrill giggle sounded somewhere behind Fuji, and annoyance streaked through him (though he continued to maintain his smiling mask). Seriously, those girls were so infuriating. It was bad enough that he had to deal with their never-ending confessions and mannerisms day after day, and now they continued to plague him outside of school? He had to admit; perhaps always being cheerful wasn't such a good thing. Those girls never learned to give up. Something had to be done with them. Could he try to ship them to Hyoutei? Yes, that would be an excellent idea! Atobe owed him after all, for injuring his Tezuka's arm (despite how many times Tezuka insisted that it wasn't Atobe's fault). Besides, that diva could never resist a few more fans, and the school definitely had room for them (considering how rich Hyoutei was, they could make more room if necessary). Perfect! Now where could he find a box big enough…?
From the excited way that Fuji suddenly clutched his fork, Tezuka figured out that the tensai was up to no good. It probably had something to do with those annoying girls sitting in the middle of the café (did one of them just faint?). Speaking of which, how exactly had Fuji managed to get such a good spot near the back of the café? He could venture a guess as to how the group behind Fuji got their seats- the blind guy just stood there and scared the waiter senseless with his menacing aura. And just why did that one waiter keep on coming over? He was getting to be annoying as well. Back to the advice for now. "I think he should confess," Tezuka said truthfully. "If they are close, then your…friend's crush might feel the same. If not then they could still be friends." But who (single or not) wouldn't fall for Fuji? He had the looks, the brains, the personality, everything.
Uh oh, that pesky waiter was coming back for the umpteenth time to ask if everything was alright, and to give Fuji a very suggestive wink. Maybe flirting with the waiter to get a good seat had given Fuji more than he had bargained for. Time to take some drastic action. He reached over the table to grab Tezuka's hand, which was in the process of bringing his teacup to his mouth. Fuji leaned as far as the table would allow, lips nearly brushing Tezuka's and whispered. "Saa, that's some very good advice. Thank you, Tezuka." Fuji turned his head in order to peck Tezuka on the cheek. He glanced swiftly out of the corner of his eye. Mission accomplished. The waiter was scurrying away as though his pants were on fire. Fuji settled back in his chair and proceeded to finish up the remainder of his cake. "My, ah, friend was thinking of confessing, but he wanted to get a second opinion." Fuji's fork scraped the plate as he polished off the last bit. He put his fork down sadly. That had been a very good cake. It was such a shame to have finished it off.
"Hnn." So that was how Fuji got the seats, by seducing that unfortunate misguided waiter. That also explained Fuji's little stint (which was totally uncalled for) of kissing Tezuka's cheek. At least they got rid of the waiter. Tezuka blew on the surface of his second cup of tea to cool it down a bit. He was glad this was over with. Now Fuji could confess to his crush and they would be happily ever… Tezuka set his cup down abruptly. Just exactly who was Fuji planning to confess to? Tezuka knew most of Fuji's friends, but he wouldn't exactly label them as crush-worthy material (not that he was one to judge). Since Tezuka was acquainted with the majority of Seigaku's population, being the student council president and all, there was a big chance that he knew who this guy was… Tezuka drained the cup. "I think that it would also depend on your… friend's crush." Tezuka chose his words carefully as to not give away his ulterior motives.
"Ah, that's right." Fuji sat up straighter. "I forgot to tell you about him." He eyed his empty plate briefly, regretful that the precious cake was no more. Just because he liked wasabi and Inui juice (with the exception of the nasty Aozu) did not mean that he could not enjoy normal food around Tezuka. "His crush is a bit on the quiet side," Fuji started. "Well, he's more stoic than quiet." Fuji nodded, satisfied with his amendment. "He doesn't say much, but he gets his point across. Everyone really looks up to him." Fuji paused for a bit. Were those crumbs on his plate? Why, yes they were. Feeling slightly happier, Fuji continued his description. "Saa, he can be pretty scary and mean sometimes, but people respect him." Fuji's eyes shone with admiration. "You can say that he's a…" Fuji stopped, apparently at a loss for words. He frowned slightly, his gesturing hands falling down onto his lap. "He's a…a…"
"A leader?" Tezuka suggested, picking up the teapot to pour out his third cup.
"Yes, a leader." Fuji smiled gratefully. "He's a leader…" Fuji's voice trailed off and he stared into space, taking on an almost nostalgic expression. He remembered that match so vividly…(8) He trailed his finger across the plate and delicately sucked his finger, licking off the crumbs.
Tezuka ran what information he'd gathered through his head while he grabbed the jar of sugar and poured a miniscule amount into his cup. He took the spoon and dipped it into the cup, stirring counterclockwise. Stirring, stirring, stirring. So Fuji's crush was someone that Fuji knew well and possibly Tezuka knew well too. Stir once, stir twice. Already, that narrowed the list down since Fuji had few friends he was really close with even though he was basically friends with everyone. Tezuka set the spoon aside and picked up the cup, methodically blowing on the surface of the liquid. The crush didn't speak much, so that eliminated even more people. Tezuka took a hesitant sip and continued blowing lightly. A leader, huh? Someone like a president or a captain of some club? Fuji respected this person as well, and that was saying something. If Tezuka combined all of the requirements, then the person who fit the most would be… himself.
Tezuka stopped mid-sip. Himself?! Fuji had a crush on him?! Tezuka pushed that thought out of his head immediately. No, that wasn't possible. It could be someone else, like the president of the photography club or something. But just in case… "Does your…your friend's crush play tennis?" Tezuka asked suspiciously, cup of tea still hovering below his mouth.
Fuji seemed surprised that Tezuka had brought up such a random question. "He is," Fuji said nonchalantly. "As a matter of fact, my…friend and his crush both play tennis." His smile widened. "They're both third years as well." Now that he had completely finished off his cake, Fuji helped himself to a cup of Tezuka's tea, knowing that Tezuka wouldn't mind. He poured himself a steaming cup and dumped in a heaping spoonful of sugar. He used his spoon, which Tezuka had also used, to stir vigorously, dissolving the sugar as fast as he could. "That's why I wanted your advice. You and my…friend's crush are very similar."
Needless to say, Tezuka was speechless (though he merely appeared to be his usual silent self). So Fuji really had a crush on him? Tezuka had to admit that he felt quite…flattered. After all, it wasn't everyday that Seigaku's tensai confessed to you. However, it was because of that fact that Tezuka still clung to his suspicions. One could never be sure around Fuji. "Why are you… why is your friend confessing now?" He deemed himself calm enough to drink his tea.
Fuji averted his gaze. He folded his hands across his lap, staring downwards. "My…friend's crush has been showing some signs of interest in him-" Fuji's words were suddenly cut off by a peculiar spluttering noise from across the table. Jerking his head back up, Fuji was greeted by the sight of Tezuka quietly (as quietly as possible) choking on his tea. "Ne, Tezuka, are you alright?" Fuji asked, greatly alarmed. He rose out of his chair, concern evident in his face, and made to come to Tezuka's aid.
"I'm fine," coughed Tezuka, setting his cup down onto the table with a rattle. He waved a hand at Fuji to sit back down, the other covering his mouth. Tezuka breathed in deeply and fought back his instincts to choke. He shakily brought the cup to his lips to gulp down a mouthful of tea. Fuji patted his free hand comfortingly. Interest?! When did he do that?! "Are you sure?"
"Sure about what?" asked Fuji, perplexed and worried that Tezuka might choke again.
"Are you sure that I…your friend's crush has shown interest?" Tezuka pressed.
Fuji replied, "Yes, I'm sure. He's gotten really protective ever since this school year started." Fuji leaned towards Tezuka, hands griping the table. "Saa, are you saying that my friend shouldn't confess after all?"
"I… don't know." Tezuka drank the last of his tea. What Fuji said was true- he had been feeling rather protective of Fuji this year. He knew that deep down inside, Fuji still felt guilty over Yuuta leaving Seigaku for St. Rudolph (although that had happened a long time ago). Also, having seen how hard Fuji took his only defeat in a singles match, Tezuka never wanted to see Fuji go through that again.(9) "Let me think about it," he said finally. Tezuka laid some money down on the table and stood up to leave.
Wiping his mouth with a napkin, Fuji stood up as well, also leaving money on the table. He grabbed his bags and racquet and followed Tezuka past the odd trio still sitting at the table behind him with a few minor changes. Three more people had joined them- a tall, blonde woman with watchful eyes and two men, one with short red hair, clothed in jeans and a layered t-shirt and a dark-haired foreign-looking one with some bandages on his face (the two men sat very close to each other).(5) The blind (?) man had woken up and was polishing off the majority of what was left of the cake with great gusto. How interesting. Fuji hadn't pegged him to be one with a sweet tooth.
Speaking of sweet tooth, there was someone at the counter buying what seemed like a month's supply of cakes and pastries. The person stood out a lot in the café with a long black trench coat, gloves, and a hat. The face was hidden in the shadows of the hat. The person turned around suddenly, and Fuji realized that he had been caught staring. The mysterious figure turned out, surprisingly, to be an elderly man with a kind face, round glasses perched on his nose, and a white moustache. Fuji thought to himself that the man looked like some kind of butler. The man, eyes closed and crinkled due to a huge smile, lowered his head and tipped his hat at Fuji. Fuji smiled in return and the old man turned back to the cashier to pay for the mountain of cake boxes sitting patiently on the counter, waiting to be bought. Fuji wondered how the elderly man would carry all of those boxes since he was also carrying what appeared to be a laptop case slash briefcase.(10)
"Fuji," called Tezuka, propping the door open with his foot. Some girls came in, blushing, misguidedly thinking that Tezuka was holding the door open for them. Poor things. Fuji hurried to Tezuka and they walked out together.
Tezuka was very quiet on the way home, and that worried Fuji a bit. He knew it meant that Tezuka was thinking very hard about things, but did it really take that long to come up with an answer? Tezuka had said earlier that his "friend" should confess, but it looked as though Tezuka had changed his mind. Fuji hoped that he hadn't offended Tezuka in any way. He ran their entire conversation through his head. He didn't remember saying anything wrong, and Tezuka had no problems with it…or did he? Tezuka was an honest person, but he could also be tactful at times. Maybe he only said he had nothing against the matter because he was being nice to Fuji. Or did Tezuka figure who Fuji's "friend" was? Fuji started feeling a lot more apprehensive, but there wasn't really anything he could do except stroll silently alongside Tezuka. Was Tezuka going to give him an answer?
They arrived at Fuji's house, and Tezuka walked Fuji to the door. Fuji unlocked the door with his key, but didn't enter immediately. He spun around and leaned his back against the sturdy wood, right hand resting lightly on the doorknob. He lowered his head and peered up at Tezuka playfully through his lashes despite his growing anxiety. "Ne, Tezuka, so should my… friend confess?" Instead of replying, Tezuka stepped forward, effectively trapping Fuji between his body and the door. "Tezuka?" Ignoring a confused Fuji, Tezuka bent down a bit, placing his left palm against the door at a spot right next to Fuji's head. "Tezuka?" Tezuka leaned in and covered Fuji's soft lips with his own. Fuji emitted a surprised noise that was muffled by their joined lips. Tezuka slid closer so that their bodies were pressed together, keeping his lips locked against Fuji's the whole time. Fuji's hand flew up to instinctively shove Tezuka away, but Tezuka caught the slender hand before it hit him. Tezuka's left hand slid from the door to cup the back of Fuji's head, threading his fingers through the silky strands. Tezuka deepened the kiss and Fuji's tense hand eventually relaxed. Running his tongue over Fuji's lips, Tezuka could taste the remaining sweetness of the green tea cake. Fuji made a content sound and sucked gently on the tip of Tezuka's tongue, unconsciously leaning into Tezuka's body. Kissing Fuji one last time, Tezuka pulled back, breathing harder than before. "I'll see you tomorrow," he stated simply as he turned away to go home.
Fuji stared at Tezuka's retreating back and touched his tingling lips. He stood there for a moment, giddiness slowly creeping through his body, and he bounded into his house with a big smile upon his face. Fuji was now in the mood to share his glee, and he was pretty sure that a certain someone was home today with nothing to do. "Yuuta!"
A few days later at a fairly new café near Seigaku, two boys sat at a table near the back of the café, away from the main mob of girls. One of them had a thick slice of cake in front of him, and the other had a pot of tea and teacups by his side. The one eating cake picked up his fork and carefully cut off a piece of cake to eat. At the moment that the cake touched his tongue, he made a noise of delight, approval written all over his effeminate face. His companion poured out a cup of tea and sat there, waiting for the steaming hot liquid to cool down before adding sugar. After exchanging polite inquiries about the other's day, the two of them got down to business.
"Did Tezuka have anything to say?" questioned Yukimura. His bluish, wavy hair gleamed in the fluorescent lights. He drew many curious stares from the customers and staff, nearly all of whom were from Seigaku. Yukimura remained calm even under the scrutiny of possible admirers, an ethereal smile upon his face. The Child of God emitted grace from his every movement, even when eating cake (a truly remarkable accomplishment indeed).
"Ah, not really," Fuji admitted. He looked down at his tea almost guiltily. "He didn't say much." He stirred in some sugar into his tea.
"I see," The tip of Yukimura's fork drooped with disappointment, and he sat back in his chair.
Fuji covered Yukimura's slim hand. "It's alright though," Fuji comforted him. "I think that you should still confess."
Yukimura tilted his head to the side, making no effort to remove his hand from under Fuji's. "Do you really believe so?" he asked, keeping a discreet eye on the red-faced waiter (another one) sneaking glances at them.
Nodding, Fuji kept his hand over Yukimura's, likewise observing the waiter. "Sanada likes you a lot. I'm sure of it," Fuji said firmly. "He will definitely accept if you confess." Fuji took his had off to pick up his teacup.
"Very well then." Yukimura continued to nibble thoughtfully at his cake. "Fuji," he said suddenly. "May I ask why you are only drinking tea? You normally eat something whenever we meet up."
"Ah." Fuji set down his teacup. "I have a date with Tezuka later." His smile contained the smallest hint of sheepishness.
"Is that so?" Yukimura placed his fork down and leaned forward, genuinely interested. "Were you the one to confess?"
Fuji let out a tinkling laugh. "No, actually," he revealed. "I was discussing you and Sanada with him a few days ago and he just kissed me all of a sudden on the way home." Fuji shrugged. "We kind of got together the next day."
"Really?" Yukimura's eyes twinkled, and he smiled gently. "Well, I'm very happy for the two of you."
Fuji smiled back sweetly. "I'm sure that you and Sanada will be fine too. Don't worry, I didn't tell Tezuka that it was you we were talking about."
Forking another piece of cake into his mouth, Yukimura commented, "The cake here is very good."
"It is, agreed Fuji, spying the waiter come near. "May I have some?"
"Of course," Yukimura consented graciously, also noticing the waiter's presence. Fuji helped himself to some of Yukimura's cake and munched on it serenely. The waiter was drawing closer. "Fuji, you have something on your lips," Yukimura pointed out kindly. He reached over the table and used his thumb to slowly and deliberately wipe off the bit of icing clinging to the corner of Fuji's lips. Fuji caught Yukimura's wrist and sensually licked the icing off of Yukimura's thumb.
"Thank you," he purred. The girls nearby swooned at the sight of the two beautiful boys and their respective signature smiles. There was a very loud crash as the flustered waiter dropped his tray. The two fellow members (the only members) of the Smiling Sadists Club smiled pleasantly at each other.(11) Their sadistic deed for the day was completed.
xXx Owari xXx
A/N: And that concludes the longest story I've ever written. Hopefully this made up for the very long wait (sorry!!!). Please review!
(1), (2), (4), (5), (6), (10): I do not own these either. (2) is pretty easy, and I'll be interested to see if anyone gets the rest.
(3): I haven't really watched the anime, but I think this is when Oishi takes over and he's asking the members individually if they have any problems that he could help with.
(7): Not mine. I borrowed the idea from the sixth story of a1y-puff's "Stories Between Us".
(8): Tezuka and Sanada's match during Nationals. Of course, Fuji's thinking about Tezuka.
(9): Fuji's match against Shiraishi.
(11): I'm pretty sure that I did not come up with the idea for the Smiling Sadists Club, but I don't know where I got it .
*sigh* Finals are coming up, and I look forward to catching up on at least three months worth of fanfic... Until next time, and thanks for reading!