A/N: as usual, angst from me. Hope you like it.
Disclaimer: PoT isn't mine. I'm making no money from making this up.
The first eleven years of Tezuka's life was peaceful and orderly. Everything was planned carefully before him; the school he'd go to, the club he'd join, his goals, and even his dreams. He knew what he wanted to be. He knew what he wanted to do. He knew how to achieve his goals.
He didn't know how a simple 'hello' could change him forever.
The dance began slowly, subtly. Both of them took turn in taking one step forward and two steps back, creating some kind of sync and harmony.
Tezuka didn't know how, why, or when it started. But before he realized it, it was the natural thing to do. The smile on Fuji's face when they once again began their dance told him that he felt the same.
He didn't know what it was, but he knew he enjoyed it, wanted it, and even longed for it. It scared him how much it meant for him. Tezuka took three steps back one time, disrupting their dance. The next day, Fuji gazed at him from across the tennis court and then looked away.
The pain in his heart gave him the courage to ask to walk Fuji home after practice.
Their third year brought many changes. They were both getting so busy that there were days when they could only met during practice.
Echizen's arrival changed things even more. Tezuka knew he could do better than to order laps for giving the boy such sharp, though hidden, gazes. But he wouldn't do more because he had come to long to see that familiar figure waiting for him near the school gate by the end of the day.
As Tezuka slowly associated Echizen with the heavy title of Seigaku's Pillar of Strength, he began to drift away from Fuji. He remained a constant presence beside him. Silently he calmed him and tempered his pain with secret touches nobody noticed. Tezuka paid him little heed. He ignored the warning of a person who knew him almost as well as himself.
As he clutched his aching arm, he contemplated to ask for forgiveness later. But he pushed the thought away, knowing that Fuji understood, and stubbornly continued the game.
When he told Fuji about his plan to do rehabilitation, Fuji merely smiled and nodded, saying that he understood and wished Tezuka a quick recovery.
Tezuka really thought that everything would be all right. But he found himself gazing at the empty spot beside him regularly on the first day of rehabilitation. That night, he called Fuji.
He called Fuji almost daily. He liked to hear the most regular things told in a new exciting way from the tensai's point of view. Fuji told him many things in school he missed but mostly he told him about tennis. He did more than simply saying that they won the matches; he made Tezuka feel as if he were there, watching the matches directly, among his teammates. There were other things Fuji told him, like the personal affairs of the people around them.
One day he excitedly told Tezuka, "Eiji and Oishi are going out now!" After telling Tezuka how that happened and how everyone (but Tezuka apparently) had expected it, he suddenly became silent for a moment. "Tezuka, do you think we…" he didn't continue.
After several nights without phone call, one day Oishi called him to inform him of Fuji's injury that led to temporary blindness. Tezuka felt a sudden rush of chill ran down his spine and was nearly overcame by the urge to simply run form the rehab centre and take the first flight back to Tokyo.
Fuji called him that night, complaining of headaches. Tezuka was so relieved he nearly cried.
His return wasn't very eventful. He was easily accepted back into the team as if nothing had happened, nothing had changed. But he had changed and he returned as a different person with new consciousness though not everyone seemed to notice it. He was sure though, that Inui realized something when he witnessed the look he shared with Fuji on the day of his return.
As they neared their graduation, they spoke more of their future plans and exams. During a lunch they discussed where they'd go after graduating from Seigaku. Inui would go to the best school in the region. Kawamura didn't have any particular destination as he would learn to succeed his father's restaurant. Eiji and Oishi shared a look and said that they'd go anywhere as long as they could be together. Tezuka wanted to go to a school with a solid tennis team. Fuji never said anything, dodging the question when asked. Tezuka sensed that something wasn't right but forgot to ask when Eiji kissed Oishi in public.
Graduation came too early, it seemed. Tezuka and Fuji sat at one corner, listening to the headmaster's speech. When Tezuka looked around, he saw many couples quietly conveyed their loves and fidelity though they'd soon be parted. He looked at Fuji and made up his mind. He took Fuji to the clubhouse after the speech was done.
Before Fuji could say a word when they're at the clubhouse, Tezuka pinned him to the lockers and kissed him.
As he touched Fuji's bare skin for the very first time, he couldn't remember why he held back all this time. He was so lost in passion, exploring and worshiping the other's body with his hands and lips and tongue. Tezuka was sure now what he really wanted, what he really needed, what he really felt for Fuji. Then suddenly Fuji held his hands as he tried to undo their final barrier.
"Tezuka, I have to tell you something." He said breathlessly. His eyes were glassy, his lips swollen, his skin flushed from Tezuka's caresses and kisses. Tezuka wanted to hold him again but he could sense the seriousness in Fuji. He stopped and waited for Fuji to sit up and took a deep breath. "I'm dying."
"When I went to the hospital after Kirihara-kun injured me the doctor found something." He stopped and looked at Tezuka. "I'm leaving for America tomorrow."
His heart clenched painfully in his chest. Was this what Fuji felt when he left him? Tezuka wondered how he dealt with it because this pain going through his body, centering in his heart, was more painful than any physical injury he had ever got. He stood up, trying to regain his bearing but failed. His legs ceased to support him and slowly he sank down. His hands on the locker on either side of Fuji's head were his only support. For the first time since Tezuka could remember he felt vulnerable, weak, powerless, hopeless… and he cried.
Fuji pulled his head down so that he could rest his forehead on his, as if trying to absorb his pain. He said nothing, only letting Tezuka poured out his emotion.
"Will you return?" Tezuka asked softly between his tears.
"I don't know." Fuji answered truthfully. And then he pulled him into his embrace as Tezuka's body shook harder.
No promises. Tezuka watched quietly as the plane that took Fuji and his family rose to the clear blue sky, slowly turning into tiny dark spot as it left for a distant continent before disappearing from view completely.
You don't have to wait for me, Fuji's eyes had said as they parted earlier. But Tezuka would wait, even if forever.
Tezuka didn't change his cell phone number or his email address. Even after high school, he stayed in his parents' house. He wanted Fuji to be able to find him easily when he returned.
Though no news ever came from Fuji, he preserved. Tezuka remained faithful. He knew Fuji would return.
Sometimes Tezuka found it difficult to not go in search of Fuji. His longing for Fuji often became too unbearable. He wanted to throw away his responsibilities and duties and heed to his heart's command.
At times like that, he took a picture of himself and Fuji. Fuji's smile on the photograph reminded him of his promise to wait for Fuji's return. Then he pushed down his longing and returned to his regular life once more.
Maybe the most frightening thing Tezuka experienced while waiting for Fuji was doubt, his doubt that Fuji would return. As once angrily stated by a broken hearted tennis player, "What makes you think he's waiting for you there?"
Fuji might not wait for him but Tezuka would wait for Fuji. He brushed off any attempt to make him stray. How could he when he could not remotely feel for anyone else what he felt for Fuji?
One night Tezuka woke up sobbing and panting from a nightmare. His dream had seemed so real. The blue sky, the grey tomb and the red chrysanthemums seemed so real. It broke his heart when he read Fuji's name engraved on the cold grey stone. The thought that Fuji no longer exist in this world shattered him. He had cried all night, feeling the world was breaking down all around him.
The dream never really left his mind. It haunted him forever. The fear gripped his heart but didn't deter him. He had promised to wait.
"You should move on." Momoshiro said, earning a glare from Tezuka and a hard nudge on the ribs from Oishi.
Echizen sighed in boredom as Tezuka radiated his wordless annoyance. The other occupants of the table squirmed uncomfortably, even Inui stopped taking data. "He will return. And by then he will still come to you. You're not an easy person to forget."
Slowly, Tezuka's lips curled upward. He nodded. "I know."
Every night, before he went to sleep, Tezuka opened his windows and gazed at the stars above. He would pick one and pray to it for Fuji's return.
His mother was the first to realize this new habit and what it meant. She taught Tezuka to fold a thousand paper cranes to wish for health. After five years Tezuka had made four sets of them. Fuji still hadn't returned.
He never lost hope. But he was too used to this feeling of longing and loneliness. He expected nothing when his mother called him downstairs one night. Then he saw the person standing in the living room, smiling softly to him.
Words died in his throat. But it's all right because Fuji understood.
He embraced Fuji tightly that night. Wordlessly he rained kisses upon kisses on his face to make sure that this wasn't a fragment of his dream. Fuji smiled and returned his embrace. Tezuka didn't sleep that night, fearing that he would wake up to an empty cold bed once more. Few minutes past midnight, Fuji woke up, smiled, kissed his eyelids and whispered words of reassurance to bring him to sleep.
Waking up to see Fuji's smiling face right before him was the most wonderful feeling Tezuka had ever experienced yet. He sighed softly into the passionate kiss he shared with Fuji then. The wait was finally over.
"They took it out." Fuji told him. "I was in recovery. I return as soon as I could. I didn't think you'd wait."
"Of course I waited." Tezuka said, kissing Fuji's forehead. "I love you. How could I not wait?"
Fuji's smile when he said that was the most beautiful he had ever seen.
Years later and they were still together. Nothing came easily for the two of them. Blessings came slowly, acceptance was difficult to achieve. But by every second they're together Tezuka knew Fuji worth it all; the pain, the wait, the longing, the fear. Love worth it all
A/N: I don't know what to call this. This isn't a collection of drabbles. Some of those are even taken from the same scene but are separated. Call it whatever you like but you definitely have to review.