A/N: Love Scale actually exist. It's a psychological scale made by Pam, Plutchik, and Conte in 1975 to measure 5 points in any relationship. I got the inspiration while studying and doing an exam about three weeks ago XD
Disclaimer: neither PoT or the Love Scale belongs to me.
Fuji watched with a smile as the freshmen –with very notable exception of Echizen-scampered off the moment Tezuka stepped into the court. The regulars, despite being used to their captain's powerful presence, were still affected by his arrival and immediately practiced harder. Chatters were turned into whispers as the Seigaku tennis team trained under the watchful eyes of Tezuka.
Though at first glance it seemed like a normal practice day, something was different today. Fuji observed quietly as Tezuka began barking orders and assigning laps. The change was so subtle even Inui couldn't detect it. But somehow, Fuji could sense the roughness of voice, the flush of skin, and the change of the amount of perspiration. Carefully, as to not rouse attention from his teammates, Fuji picked up two items from his bag and approached Tezuka.
Tezuka frowned when he felt Fuji's presence near him. He fought the dizziness to glare menacingly at the tensai. He was preparing to order him to run some laps when Fuji handed him a bottle of water and aspirin.
"I know an important match is coming up but you shouldn't overwork yourself for us." Fuji smiled softly at the taller boy. "Get some rest at the club house. I'll deal with everyone."
Tezuka opened his mouth to protest but Fuji had already shoved the bottle of water and aspirin to his chest. Grudgingly he accepted them and watched as Fuji approached Oishi with a bright smile. Lies about how Tezuka needed to do some assignment from Ryuzaki-sensei came smoothly and after throwing another look at him, Fuji came to Eiji to request a match. With a sigh of relief and exhaustion, Tezuka went to the clubroom to take a short nap and relieve his light fever.
Seigaku tennis team trained in suffocating tension. None could tell what exactly was happening, but something was definitely not right. They looked at each other as Tezuka assigned laps after laps to the members and Fuji played even crueler tricks to anyone who had the misfortune of crossing his path. Inui would gladly give them some predictions, but he too was ordered to run thirty laps after Tezuka caught him speaking one sentence too long to Kaido.
"Is there anything wrong with you and Tezuka?" Eiji whispered to Fuji who was stretching beside him. He threw worried glances to Tezuka every now and then, not wanting to warrant himself more laps than he already did.
"No." Fuji answered indifferently. To expert eyes though, his smile was a little strained, lacking the glee and serenity usually present.
"You two seemed a little weird since this morning, nya!"
Fuji shrugged nonchalantly. "Really? I didn't notice."
Eiji pouted and whined about Fuji's lack of disclosure, but Fuji was adamant. Eventually, Oishi came to drag his red headed partner away before Tezuka noticed. His intervention came slightly too late however, and Tezuka's voice boomed from across the courts to order them ten laps.
Fuji ignored the familiar voice and looked away. He schooled his expression into that of calmness, not wanting to reveal more of the emotion that was already palpable in his silence. He heard a tiny sigh but still refused to look despite his own concern that the sigh might contain a hint of pain.
"There's a new tennis court near my house."
Fuji resisted the urge to scoff. How could Tezuka hope to regain his favor with the method Fuji himself had practically started? "I'm sure Atobe wouldn't mind playing in a commoner's court every now and then."
"I do think he would mind having tea in my house afterward."
For the first time that day, Fuji's lips curved into a natural smile. He turned to meet Tezuka's calm face with his cheerful one. "How about a match for warm-up, then?"
Fuji never liked taking public transportation. He would either walk or ask his sister to drive him wherever he had to go. There were several reasons why he disliked it. First, was the obvious lack of private space. He wondered how some people like Tezuka managed to survive taking this means of transportation everyday without driving themselves out of their minds. In fact, perhaps that's why Tezuka assigned so many laps on their morning practices. Fuji knew he couldn't blame him for the frustration he must've felt.
Then there were the perverts. Fuji was considered a pretty boy. It wasn't very rare for him to be groped when he went on a crowded public transportation. The most annoying part was that he couldn't retaliate because he could barely move in a packed subway in a rush hour such as this. He could only hope that he could move away from the pervert once he was able to move or that he would arrive at his station soon. Both hopes were unfortunately unlikely to happen anytime soon this time.
Fuji frowned as the man behind him got bolder in his fondling. He tried to move away only to bumped into Tezuka's unyielding chest. He and Tezuka had been separated from their friends when they got on the train and they had stayed together since then. Tezuka, despite his coolness, was uncomfortable by the proximity of strangers around him and remained close to Fuji. Fuji felt slight envy for the bespectacled boy. Tezuka would never be groped on public transportation as he did due to his looks.
Realizing his distress, Tezuka cleared his throat sharply and glared at the person behind Fuji. Then he pulled Fuji closer to the door, he placed his hand on the metal pole next to Fuji's head, and leaned forward slightly, effectively preventing anyone to come near Fuji.
"Tezuka?" Fuji asked, not expecting such protective act.
"It's all right." Tezuka murmured in a low, kind voice.
Fuji stared at Tezuka for a moment before he smiled and turned to watch the passing scenery. This was going to be his favorite train ride.
Tezuka frowned as he watched Fuji climb the slope with much difficulty. Beads of perspiration covered the shorter boy's flushed skin and Tezuka could clearly hear his harsh breathing. He had offered him assistance before, but Fuji had refused. He doubted the result would be any different if he were to ask again.
Though Fuji's stamina wasn't to be underestimated, the mountain had defeated him. An hour into their trek towards the river, Fuji was already reduced to light panting. He had assured Tezuka earlier that it wasn't his first trip to the mountain, but apparently his experience wasn't quite as much as Tezuka's. Thankfully, the riverbed wasn't that far away. Tezuka could already hear the calming sound of running water in the distance. He considered slowing down, but knew Fuji would take it as an insult. So he kept his steady pace toward their destination with Fuji following him closely with considerable amount of difficulty.
Fuji's breath of relief when they arrived nearly brought a smile to Tezuka's face. But instead of giving him the chance to recover from the tiresome walk, he ordered Fuji to gather some wooden sticks. The brunette didn't complain, despite his exhaustion, and left to perform his duty as Tezuka knew he would. Fuji was always eager to prove his power and independence after all.
Promising himself a short rest while Tezuka fished, Fuji ignored his slightly aching legs and heaving chest and collected the woods. He had wanted to take some pictures while they were on the mountain, but doubted he had enough energy left. Perhaps after a nap he could find something interesting to photograph, or he could always do it tomorrow before they returned home. The thought brightened him a little and he sped up. Once he had gathered enough, he returned to the riverbed to discover Tezuka had already set their camp and was setting their sleeping bags inside it.
"I thought you want to fish." Fuji asked when Tezuka took a book from the bag he carried, clearly intending to read it instead of fishing.
"I could fish in the afternoon." Tezuka answered while searching for a certain page he had left the previous night.
Fuji noticed that Tezuka had placed the flasks of water near his sleeping bag and smiled. He lied on the soft bedding with a sigh after taking a few much-needed gulps of water. He tried to at least keep Tezuka company as he read but failed. Within minutes, he was fast asleep, the sound of running water and opening pages lulling him to sleep.
Winter was probably Tezuka's least favorite season. It was when he was deprived of his favorite activity, playing tennis. Not just tennis though, he couldn't go fishing or hiking during winter. His life now mostly revolved around school works when the season came around and having little options of activity other than studying and reading quickly bored him. Besides, though it was rather difficult to admit, he began to miss his friends' companionship. Perhaps, it was desperation that drove him to agree when Eiji enthusiastically suggested a karaoke party one particularly cold day. Tezuka nearly regretted his decision and changed his mind but his friends' enthusiasm made him relent.
Still, it was probably the worst decision Tezuka had ever made. In the end, he only drove himself mad by listening to his teammates' attempt at singing. Unfortunately, only few of his friends had talent in this particular form of art. The rest, much to his mild dismay, had little to no ability at all. Tezuka himself had enough conscience to refuse to sing. He knew from a few occasions in the past that his voice was nothing to boast about and that Inui would probably use that opportunity to collect his data to create insane tennis predictions.
Fuji, who was one of the few who could really sing, only sang several times before retiring beside Tezuka. While Tezuka would actually prefer him to keep singing, he didn't refuse his quiet company either. Tezuka felt strangely relaxed soon, despite having to push down the urge to make certain people run laps across the club several times. The party came to a momentary halt however, when Fuji excused himself to go home early after receiving a call from home. Apparently, his father had returned home unexpectedly from his business trip overseas and wanted to see him.
"But Fuji, this party was your idea!" Eiji whined loudly into the microphone.
Fuji chuckled lightly as he threw a quick glance to Tezuka. "I'm sorry. But I really have to go."
"I'll walk you home." Tezuka offered suddenly amongst the loud whines from Eiji and Momoshiro.
"Why, thank you." Fuji said, looking startled by the sudden offer. He couldn't refuse however, because with the captain's company no one dared to stop him. Momoshiro and Eiji could only grudgingly accept as he prepared to leave, though not without making him promise to attend another karaoke night. Soon, they were waving their goodbyes to their friends as they exited the club.
"You planned that." Tezuka stated quietly as they walked through the chilly evening air.
Fuji smiled lightly. "You seemed to be in need of company." He answered, sounding a little apologetic.
They walked together in silence for a while. Fuji knew from the lack of tension in Tezuka's shoulders the latter wasn't upset and Tezuka knew from the freezing smile on Fuji's lips he was pleased with himself. A smile tugged on his lips when Fuji moved just a little bit closer to him. Quietly, he reached out for Fuji's cold hand and held it in his own. After a brief pause of surprise, he felt Fuji squeeze his hand and Tezuka let his smile widened slightly as warmth spread through his body. Together, hand in hand, they braced the cold, dark winter night, and Tezuka found he didn't mind the season anymore.
A/N: I failed at fluff! I'm not romantic or funny enough. My angst muse really dominate the rest of the muses. I think it could've been better but... Anyway in love relation, attraction and attachment are the dominant factors. In dating relationship, congeniality and attraction are strongest. While in friendship, congeniality and respect are strongest. But what if they're strong in all factors? That, my friend, is a Perfect Relationship! XDD