Title: Once Again, We'll Take the Chance
Author: a1y-puff
Fandom: Prince of Tennis
Pairing: Tezuka/Fuji
Genre: Err... fluffy angst or angsty fluff with some failed attempts at humor.

Word Count: 2534

Rating: PG
Summary: It was one uneventful day when Lady Fate decided to give them a second chance… in the most ordinary way. (my, that sounds lame… *headdesks*)

Warnings: Might have sudden turn into Fuji's mind, and beware of instant foods. LOL.
Disclaimer: Me owns nothing but the chibi figurines of Tezuka and Fuji. Nyahahahaha~.

A/N: Special thanks to my dear wife, Vierblith for beta-ing this. For La Fuego, as a belaaaated b'day fic. Rei-san, I think I'm being weird here, though it got my wife's thumbs up so it's supposed to be good enough… I think XD

I'm really sorry for the lame titling, but all in all, I hope this would be enjoyable. :D


- ONCE AGAIN, WE'LL TAKE THE CHANCE -



It was a normal winter day for Fuji. The morning weather news anchor said it would snow since morning and it didn't look like it was going to stop. Yuuta said he would go out with Mituli – no, it was Miruki… or was it Miyabi? No, it's the name of that pretty porn star… Anyway, Fuji could only force a smile for the sake of his beloved brother even though he didn't approve of that purple, oh-so-gay Hawaiian floweryshirt that his self-proclaimedultimate-destined-rival wore when he arrived to pick Yuuta up.

Other than that, today could pass as an uneventful, boring day for one Fuji Shuusuke who had submitted his photographs to the magazine he worked for just five minutes before the deadline. He had wished to spend more time with his family when he showed up on the Fujis' doorstep last night, but apparently, the rest of the family had their own plans. Still, it was good to enjoy his old room, which had felt both familiar and foreign compared to his rented room. And, last night, he got to have decent dinner with his whole family too.

Thinking that he had nothing better to do, Fuji then decided to do his grocery shopping before going back to his own apartment. Said grocery shopping would consist mostly of the practical, easy-to-serve instant ramen and canned foods. Of course, Fuji shouldn't forget to buy a generous amount of wasabi to give more taste to his meals.

With that thought in mind, Fuji walked out of the house, bearing only a backpack which Yumiko had commented to be in thorough need of retirement. Fuji had brushed off the comment with a smile, saying that his favorite indigo backpack was a hard-worker and refused to retire at such a young age. After all, he had just bought the backpack around a year ago.

Fuji took his time walking to the train station, occasionally snapping a picture or two of the neighborhood. He was admittedly feeling rather nostalgic as he walked along the streets. He glanced at a corner and remembered that was where he usually parted ways with Tezuka every time they walked home together during their middle school – which was like, what, seven years ago? Fuji remembered that the house on that corner was a simple one-story Japanese house, but now a grand two-story modern house stood graciously instead. The big tree that had been there ever since Fuji moved into this neighborhood was still there though.

Over time, so much had changed yet some things remained the same, Fuji mused.

Like their friendship.

The three years they had spent in Seigaku had at least done some changes on his side. His feelings towards the bespectacled boy had developed from mere interest into something more than interest. Fuji had never minded the fact that he might have turned gay at such an early age.

Until they separated after graduation, however, they remained as friends.

Right.

Never mind those stolen glances, accidental touches and spontaneous kisses especially during their third year. But of course, Tezuka being Tezuka remained straight even after all those. They parted ways upon graduation, promising to keep in touch just for the sake of promising, and said goodbye.

Fuji blinked when he suddenly realized he was already at the train station. He hadn't been aware since he had activated the autopilot on his legs. Fuji shrugged lightly and proceeded to buy his ticket for the train to his apartment. He would just do the shopping at a supermarket near his place later.

-oOo-

Fuji randomly picked some instant cup ramen, instant noodles, and some canned food - oh the canned crab's still so expensive. He then glanced at his basket and frowned slightly. Maybe he needed some natural food, but he didn't want to risk blowing up his kitchen. The clean-up afterwards would be such a pain too.

On second thought, he could at least try making some simple dishes. Like some soup, perhaps? He would just have to put everything into a pot and boil them, right?

Of course not.

Fuji wondered why he had never attempted to learn cooking before. Granted, his roommate had just moved out last week to live with his girlfriend and said roommate had been the one to take care of the food, since apparently, his prodigiouslabel didn't apply to the culinary field.

Deciding that he would buy some easycookbook later, Fuji thought to just eat some instant food today and tomorrow. He then turned right, meaning to go to the cashier and pay when he bumped into someone around a corner, and his grip on the basket loosened, causing it to fall to the ground.

Oh. Darn.

"I'm sorry," said the man he bumped into before kneeling down, meaning to help Fuji gather his things.

"It's okay," Fuji replied, his tone was perfectly flat, restraining the urge to add the word 'not'before 'okay.' Fuji didn't know why but he seemed to be in a bad mood today. He blamed it on Mizuki - oh darn, I said it correctly - who had taken his beloved Yuuta this morning.

There were three seconds of silence before the man across him - whom Fuji didn't bother to look at - suddenly let out an unsure "Fuji…?"

Blinking at the mention of his name, Fuji then raised his gaze to meet the man's face and blinked, again.

You're kidding.

The minute he registered those dark brown locks, the stern-looking face and those hazel orbs, Fuji immediately decided that Lady Fate was rather unromantic. An encounter with a long-lost love should have been more dramatic than bumping against said long-lost love in a 24-hour convenient store, surrounded by scattered instant food on the floor as a result of the collision.

An awkward silence followed as the two men stared at each other, faces perfectly unreadable but the glimmers in their eyes said so much more.

What are you doing here?

When did you get back to Japan?

How have you been?

What do you do now?

do you miss me…?

So many questions were revolving inside Fuji's head, but none of them morphed into words. Fuji just felt his throat was dry and he was literally paralyzed. His lips couldn't even move to form his trademark smile. To his surprise, however, Tezuka was the one to break the silence.

"Are you going on a trip?"

Huh?

Fuji then followed the other's gaze to the pile of instant food now neatly placed in his basket, and an "oh" escaped his lips. "I'm not," he answered.

"You're… eating these?" Tezuka asked again, his voice conceived what Fuji believed as a half-surprised and half-disapproving tone.

Picking up his basket as he stood up straight, Fuji replied in a nonchalant manner, "They're practical."

"I thought being practical was my part," Tezuka stated calmly, and Fuji blinked at him, before chuckling lightly.

"Was that a joke?"

'How much have you changed?'

Tezuka didn't answer and merely looked at Fuji's face. For a moment, Fuji felt that the silence they shared was kind of uncomfortable. There was a mixed feeling inside him, and it triggered certain nervousness. Fuji was sure the tension was not only from the span of time they hadn't seen each other.

"You need to eat some decent food," Tezuka suddenly started.

'Come to my place.'

A nice way to break the silence, Fuji thought. "Maybe I do," he replied, plastering his smiling façade once more.

As he trudged behind Tezuka towards the cashier, a lot of things were going on in his head. It has gotten too much that he no longer knew what to think of. He shrugged to himself and decided to just let his fate lead him and worry later.

-oOo-

"So you cook," the words were recited more of a statement of discovery rather than a question.

"I live alone, so I have to," Tezuka curtly replied. Fuji somehow knew it was his way of saying that yes, he was currently single, and he was rather surprised that the bespectacled young man volunteered that information to him.

Fuji hummed to let the other know he had absorbed the information but he had no intention of returning the favor. However, he knew Tezuka might have figured out he had no lover to fuss about him eating instant food.

"You know," Fuji began. His strides got smaller since he was watching his shoes leave footprints on the snow-carpeted road. "I never thought I'd get to eat your cooking," he continued, a barely noticeable wistful smile was forming on his face.

'I never thought we'd ever meet again.'

Fuji never expected Tezuka to comment on it, and he was oddly delighted when the taller man predictably said nothing; it was somehow good to know that Tezuka hadn't changed much. Fuji noticed Tezuka was slowing down his pace to match his own smaller strides, and he smiled at that. Tezuka used to do that in their junior high days, and having him do that now, after several years of being apart, had made him feel nostalgic. It was as if nothing had changed between them.

Like the fact that Fuji still loved him and Tezuka seemed to be as oblivious to it as ever.

Or not.

He noticed that every now and then, Tezuka would spare him a glance, after which, whenever Fuji caught it, Tezuka would merely stare into his eyes to the point that Fuji would feel uncomfortable and throw his gaze elsewhere. Now this was rather the opposite of how they used to be.

"We're here," Tezuka informed once they stepped into an apartment complex which was just a few blocks away from Fuji's place.

Whatever deities were responsible for their lives seemed to have quite a sense of humor; they lived so ridiculously close to each other and yet they never crossed paths.

Fuji silently followed Tezuka inside the building and into the one-bedroom apartment, which was bigger than his own. He took a quick look on the surroundings and found a cabinet that contained many trophies and medals which Fuji believed came from the days when Tezuka was still a professional tennis player. He remembered hearing the news of Tezuka retiring around a year ago because of an old injury.

Seeing those trophies standing proudly in his closet, Fuji believed that Tezuka had gracefully accepted defeat to his arm's injury and retired without regrets.

Tezuka motioned Fuji to sit down in the living room while he placed his grocery in the kitchen and a few minutes later emerged with two cups of hot chocolate. After Fuji accepted the mug, Tezuka settled himself beside Fuji and sipped his beverage quietly.

Fuji wondered why Silence seemed to be really fond of hanging around them.

He decided that it might be a good idea to start a conversation. They hadn't met for years so it was only normal for old friends to have a friendly chit-chat to catch up with each other. Besides, there was so much Fuji wanted to hear from his companion.

Among the many things Fuji wanted to ask Tezuka, was… what was I to you?

What am I to you?

"Ne Tezuka," Fuji started as he turned his head to face Tezuka, and then he paused, blinked, and chuckled.

Tezuka glanced questioningly at him. That was when Fuji teased, "You've let your guard down," and reached out a hand to brush a speck of chocolate from a corner of Tezuka's lips with a slender finger.

Tezuka didn't mind the invasion of his personal space, and instead, he retorted, "Probably because you're here."

Fuji's hand hovered near Tezuka's lips as he was taken aback by the statement and was still trying to process it in his brain. The Tezuka he remembered had always been a straightforward person, but neverwith this kind of… stuff.

And, just now, it was so damn obvious Tezuka was courting him.

Automatically, the question he had been contemplating began resurfacing, and it seemed it was reflected in his eyes, as he could see the softening of Tezuka's eyes.

The next thing he knew, his hand was on Tezuka's slightly bigger one, and a pair of lips was pressed against his.

This kiss was different compared to all the kisses he could recall from their junior high days. For one, Fuji was the one who usually initiated the kiss. Back then, he always felt doubts, a bit of curiosity, certain longing, a tad of desire, and then the guilt that overshadowed everything else from Tezuka's kiss.

The way Tezuka coaxed Fuji to part his lips right now was… well, coaxing. It was gentle yet uncertain. The doubts were there, but not the kind of doubts of whether he wanted to kiss Fuji or not. Rather, it was the worry of whether Fuji would allow him to do this, if Fuji would accept him. This time, though, Fuji didn't feel the guilt, the 'this-is-wrong' kind of feeling he used to sense from the other. Also, there was this inexplicable longing flowing into him through the kiss.

Finally giving in, Fuji raised his free hand and twined his fingers between the dark brown locks and pulled the other closer to deepen the kiss. He could sense the relief flowing from Tezuka as he gave his 'acceptance.'

Fuji couldn't help but smile into the kiss.

It wasn't really long after when they were both flushed to the ears, panting heavily with Fuji laid on the sofa toppled over by Tezuka. They stared into each other's eyes for a moment, doubts and questions lingering in those two pairs of eyes. Tezuka then removed himself and sat up straight. He threw a hesitant glance at Fuji, and Fuji just stared back.

That moment felt really awkward, as if the kiss was their first. The fact that it wasn't really their first made Fuji chuckle lightly, and he somehow wasn't surprised anymore when Tezuka smiled with him.

"You know, I'm kinda hungry," Fuji started, "I'll help you cook so we can get the food done soon," he announced as he raised an arm, silently asking the taller man to pull him up to his feet.

Tezuka stood up and took Fuji's hand, gently pulling the other and replied, "Just don't blow my kitchen up."

Fuji just playfully kicked Tezuka on the shin and proceeded to trail behind the bespectacled man into the kitchen.

There were still so much Fuji wanted to ask, so much he wanted to hear and so much he wanted to tell. But at this moment, he let them slip and just enjoyed the time they shared together, slowly filling up the hole created by the absence of Tezuka in his life for the past seven years.

Fuji didn't know if the hole would finally be fully closed. He didn't know whether the kiss would have any follow up or if things would be left hanging just like it had been seven years ago. The only thing he knew was that he would worry about that later because now, at this moment, Tezuka was with him.

And for now, it was all that mattered.

-NeverEnding-



OMAKE:

"People have their weaknesses, Tezuka," Fuji said in a defensive manner as Tezuka just stared at him with a 'what am I gonna do with you' kind of look.

Instead of helping, Fuji had been successfully destroying Tezuka's kitchen - now he remembered why he had never attempted to learn cooking - and since they were too hungry to do the clean up, the two men ended up eating Fuji's cup ramens before cleaning up the mess.

"I've never expected you to be… this bad," was the dry response he received as the other sighed and started wolfing his curry ramen.

Fuji let out a small laugh at the comment. "But wouldn't I be a boring person if I were able to do just everything perfectly? And besides, with me being so good in almost everything, it's only fair to have something or two in which I'm so bad at."

"That might be true," Tezuka replied, "but you're hopeless at this."

"I know, I know," Fuji waved his chopsticks in a dismissive manner, "I'll learn cooking, okay? I have to or I'll die of instant foods."

"No, you don't have to," Tezuka suddenly said, and Fuji raised an eyebrow. "I'll do the cooking. You take care of the cleaning," he continued in a merely informing tone, as if it was only natural for them to divide the chores.

Fuji blinked, and looking into Tezuka's eyes, a genuine smile sneaked its way to his beautiful features.

"Okay, deal."

Tezuka smiled back at him.

.END.



A/N: Oh yes, a (kinda) roundabout proposal while having instant ramen… I'm sooo romantic, aren't I? *is shot*

Rei-san, this is, once again, turned out really different than what we've talked about before… I still hope you enjoyed it, though ^^;;

Reviews would be loved, thank you~!