Pairing: Not really a pairing but kinda a more than friendship Tezuka/Fuji and the whole Seigaku regulars.
Rating: G for gen-leaning-shippy.
Summary: The whole Seigaku went for a trip to a snowy mountain, and they met Hyoutei there. You know what happen when a bunch of rowdy boys gathered together.
Warnings: In the tenipuri world, nothing is impossible *nods*. A hell bunch of rowdy middle school kids ahead.
Disclaimer: No matter how I wish and beg, Konomi still owns this bunch of adorable boys.
A/N: Originally written for christmas_cacti. Special thanks to the ladies that helped me with this fic: Tacuma, Speadee and Neerod. You three are awesome. also special thanks to kuro_wolf in LJ who pointed out I left out Momo in the gift-giving part. I've edited it XD;;
"A trip," Tezuka repeated what he had just heard from his friend as if asking for a confirmation to make sure he didn't hear something wrong.
"Yes, Tezuka, a trip this winter holiday, which means next week," Fuji explained calmly. "It's for all our team members who participated in the Nationals. Wouldn't it be fun?"
"What for?" was the former captain's shorter version of his real question of, 'Why should we have a trip with the team? For one, we, the third years have officially resigned from the team for the preparation of our finals and graduation. Then, rather than lazing around, wouldn't it be better for them to…'
"Would 'training camp' work better for you?" Fuji suddenly asked, and Tezuka wondered if the other could read his mind.
He put on a straight face, and answered, "That would be more reasonable, but…"
"Then, a training camp it is," the smiling prodigy simply decided.
"But Fuji, we are no longer…" Tezuka's words died in his throat as he tried to say 'we are no longer part of the team.'
For a split-second, a wistful smile crossed Fuji's beautiful feature. "Take it as our chance to make memories together as a team? And besides, the principal would pay for our trip. He said it's a thank-you gift for winning the Nationals and making Seigaku proud."
Tezuka noticed the usual smile was back in place.
Silently, he wondered if the principal's generous offer had anything to do with Fuji visiting his office just some days ago.
* * *
The bus ride—as typical for Seigaku's tennis club members—was pretty much rowdy, not to mention with the absence of their coach since Ryuuzaki-sensei had gone to the villa ahead of them to make preparations. It started with Kaidoh's comment on how Momo was already eating his snacks just five minutes after the bus had begun moving, which had been a start for their usual oh-so-loud bickering. Oishi had tried to stop them from making loud noises, but Kikumaru had somehow given them a better suggestion.
"Let's have an eating contest, nya!"
Oishi's eyes widened at the idea. "But Eiji, we're on a bus," said the mother hen as he tried to put some common sense into his redheaded partner.
"So what? Isn't it more interesting?" Kikumaru replied, then turned to the general direction of his teammates and shouted, "Hoi, everyone! Bring out any snacks you have!"
"Don't wanna," Echizen muttered while pulling down the brim of his cap. No way would he waste his snacks for this stupid little game.
The acrobat pouted, hurdled the only first year, and pulled him into a bone-crushing hug. "Ochibi you're soooo NOT cute! I know you hid a lot of snacks inside that bag!"
"Ouch… let me go, senpai!" Echizen complained as he tried to push his catlike senior away, but failed miserably.
A chuckle was heard and some packs of snacks were shoved in front of Kikumaru's nose. "You can have them. I still have plenty," Fuji smiled at his best friend.
Staring at the various kinds of wasabi-flavored snacks, the red-haired boy grinned mischievously. He snagged the snacks and put them on both Momoshiro's and Kaidoh's laps, while jovially announcing and provoking, "The one who eats more of these will be the winner!" deliberately forgetting to mention the wasabi-flavored part.
Too busy glaring at each other, both of them grabbed the nearest packs without a second glance, and started stuffing them into their mouths. Not even aware that all the snacks Fuji prepared were all extra-strong wasabi flavored, their eyes widened at the burning sensations on their tongues, and screamed, "WAAAAAAAAATEEEEEEEEEEER!!!"
A bottle of drink was offered to the snake shot player, and without much thinking, he gulped down the content and his eyes widened even more, if that was possible. Momo immediately snatched the bottle from his rival's hand and immediately downed the beverage, and his face turned purple.
The formerly not-so-quiet bus turned into a total chaos as Momo kept screaming and Kaidoh kept hissing, while both Fuji and Inui urged the others to try the latest Inui Deluxe Aurora Juice Ver. 13, which was frantically rejected and caused even more loud noises with Kikumaru "NYAAA"-ing so loud and jumping on Oishi, and Echizen somehow slipping a tennis racket into Kawamura's hand, which made him swing the racket to keep the evil-looking concoction away from him.
Tezuka rubbed his temple as a headache started coming. He wondered if he should assign all of his teammates to run alongside the bus until they reach the villa.
* * *
"There are five rooms in this villa. But since I will obviously have my own room, one room will be used by three people. Now, to be fair, you guys pick a paper from here. It will have your room numbers," Ryuuzaki-sensei explained as she placed a jar filled with folded papers.
One by one, the boys picked a paper. As Fuji had a glimpse on Echizen's number, he tugged on the first year's sleeve and whispered something. Tezuka could see the little argument though he couldn't really hear what it was about. However, he then saw the prodigy come out victorious as he patted the younger boy's head with a smile on his face.
"Those with number three on their papers, go to room number three. It's the biggest one, but that is why it will be taken by three people," Ryuuzaki-sensei said. A groan was heard and Echizen was seen to be cursing silently as Fuji just patted his shoulder again.
"Now, now, you'll have fun with your new captain and vice-captain. Wouldn't it be nice?" Fuji said as he grinned at the scowling-to-each-other Momo and Kaidoh.
Tezuka kinda felt sorry for his junior.
"Nyaaaah~! Why must I room with Inui?" the sudden scream took everyone's attention to the redhead who was clinging to his doubles partner, afraid of the bottle of drink Inui had in his hand with his glasses glinting dangerously.
"I think Kawamura and Oishi would be the least troublesome pairing," Ryuuzaki-sensei muttered as she watched the fuss Kikumaru was making.
"So that means…" Fuji glanced at the number '4' on his hand, and then peered over Tezuka's shoulder to find that he had the same number. At that, he grinned.
"What?" Tezuka asked.
Shaking his head calmly, the smiling boy walked to Tezuka's side and said, "Yumiko-neesan was right. Four is indeed my lucky number today."
* * *
"Aaah, the air is so fresh, ne, Eiji-senpai?"
"It is, Momo! And the mountain looks beautiful, nya!"
"Yes, yes… and the snow feels soft under our feet too, right?"
"Hoi, hoi! Such a perfect atmosphere for a holiday riiiight?
"Exactly, senpai! But…"
"Why are we running laps? Isn't this supposed to be a trip? A vacation?" Kikumaru wailed, as his legs started to feel heavy from running on the snowy grounds.
"Riiiiiight!!!" Momo whined as he kept himself next to his hyper senior and stared ahead at the tall figure of his ex-captain who was running not far ahead of them.
Fuji chuckled a bit as he turned his head to face his best friend and junior, and said, "Now, now. We're running laps because Tezuka said so."
"Buuut! Nee, Kaidoh! Aren't you the captain now?" Kikumaru turned his head a little to the left to face Kaidoh who was running just a little ahead of him.
"Fsssh… exercising is good for our bodies, senpai," the new captain replied simply, and Fuji chuckled some more.
"UNYAAAAAA~!! You captains are sooo frustrating!"
"Mada mada dane. Seigaku's captains tend to have fixation on running laps… I'll remember that," Echizen sarcastically remarked, earning him a ruffle on his hair from a laughing Oishi.
* * *
"She shows up on nights like this, when it's cold and snowing…" Fuji began suddenly just after they finished dinner.
"Huh? What's this, we're having a ghost-story-telling session?" Momo inquired with interest, while Kaidoh suddenly stood up from his chair, attempting to leave, but a hand grabbed his wrist.
"If I say you were scared, there is a one hundred percent chance that you would deny it, but according to my previous data, you do not take ghost stories too well," Inui stated calmly, but from the flash on his glasses, the bandanna boy knew he couldn't leave.
"It's not really a ghost story, Kaidoh." Fuji smiled reassuringly. "It's actually only one of the legends we have here, in Japan."
"Yuki-onna," Tezuka blurted out suddenly.
"Oh? So buchou loves this kind of tale?" Echizen asked, smirking.
Keeping his stoic façade, the bespectacled boy calmly answered, "I just heard about it from my mother when I was young."
"Really? So you did have a bedtime story," Fuji stated with an amused smile plastered on his face.
"Bedtime stories are normal for children," Tezuka stoically replied.
And Fuji's smile grew wider. "My point exactly."
The stoic teen just glared at his friend.
"But Yuki-onna is said to like killing people… right?" asked Kikumaru with a pout on his face. "My sisters always said Yuki-onna would come and freeze me to death if I didn't sleep like a good boy in winter."
Oishi smiled at his double partner and patted his shoulder affably. "Don't worry Eiji, it's just a legend. Yuki-onna doesn't really exist."
Hearing this, Kaidoh's shoulders noticeably relaxed until Fuji lowered his voice to only a notch above a whisper and spoke very carefully, "I wonder about that though. Yuki-onna might actually exist." Then he made a dramatic glance at Inui, and all heads turned to the data collector.
Fixing his glasses with a middle finger, Inui started his tale. "I had heard about this when Fuji and I were visiting the headmaster in his office…"
"Ah, excuse me, I need to use the bathroom," the prodigy interrupted, but everyone barely paid attention as they were absorbed in the mysterious tone Inui used to deliver his tale.
"… The principal said that when he was young, he had come here several times. But that night, when he was, say, fourteen…" Inui paused to give a dramatic effect, then continued in a low, whispered voice, "…she came…"
"What? Who came?" Momo asked, feeling both excited and scared.
"Is it Yuki-onna?" Kikumaru asked disbelievingly, his arms encircled tightly around Oishi's neck, suffocating the dark haired boy.
Inui fixed his glasses in such a way that they glinted, causing the others to gulp in anticipation of what he was going to say. "There were a few signs of the arrival of Yuki-onna," the data collector stated in a matter-of-fact manner, but somehow managing to sound scary at the same time.
"What are the signs?" Kawamura asked, leaning closer to the table so that he could hear Inui more clearly.
The data player didn't answer outright. He seemed to be waiting for something, and the silence made the atmosphere in the room much more intense. "At first, the electricity died out…"
Click. The light went dead.
"HUNYAAAAAAAAA!! The electricity's off??"
In the darkness, no one could clearly make out each other's figure. Only a little light managed to penetrate from the window, which didn't help much. Tezuka stayed still in his seat with his back facing the said window, thinking that it wouldn't be wise to move while his eyes hadn't adjusted to the darkness.
"… It was the sign that Yuki-onna had infiltrated the house," Inui continued his tale. "She was said to be wearing a white kimono. Her long, black hair and the hem of her kimono dragged across the floor…"
"W-w-what is that sound?" Momo interrupted as he inched closer to Echizen who was sitting next to him.
There was a sound of a door closing, but no footsteps were heard.
"…and then she would quietly approach her target, usually young men whom she thought to have a refreshing life force, and with her icy hands, she…"
"Stop it, Inui-senpai!" Kaidoh suddenly stood up, causing his chair to make a screeching sound that made Kawamura, who sat next to him, yelp.
"Sssssh! Do you guys hear that?" Oishi asked when he heard the sound of a fabric brushing against the floor.
"Oh, I hate it when I can't see anything," Kikumaru whined.
Then, the light from the window behind Tezuka was blocked. Everyone immediately held their breath as they saw a figure eerily looking like a woman with long hair standing behind the former captain's chair. The figure raised its arms, and just when Tezuka about to turn his head, pale, white hands touched his cheeks and he froze.
"SHEEEEE CAAAAAAAAAAAMEEEEEE!!! UGYAAAAAAAAA!! HELP ME OISHIII! OOOIIISSSHIIIII!!!"
"No, don't hurt us, don't hurt us, don't hurt us…"
"GET OFF ME, MOMO-SENPAI! I CAN'T RUN AWAY!"
"FFSSS… FFSSSH…fsssssh… ssssh…"
"Kaidoh? Oh no KAIDOH FAINTED!!"
"Hmm… ii data…"
* * *
Tezuka slowly pulled the freezing hands from his cheeks and tilted his head upwards. He took a good look at the figure's face, scrutinizing as much as the dim light could allow him, and calmly said, "Fuji, that's enough."
"Oh my, I got busted," came the familiar voice from the figure, and everyone quieted down immediately.
"YOU TOTALLY SCARED ME, YOU MEANIE!" Kikumaru was now clinging to his best friend who was clad in a white kimono and long black wig.
"You'll give me a heart attack, Fuji," Oishi complained.
"I'm really sorry," the prodigy's smile was nowhere near 'sorry', "but I've always wanted to do that," Fuji replied lightly, patting Kikumaru's head. "Inui helped me," he added, grinning.
"No problem, Fuji. I got very good data, though as expected, Tezuka didn't get affected."
"No, he did get affected. He froze on my touch," Fuji informed proudly with a triumphant smile that everyone could still make out, even in the dark. "Having an icy touch after standing outside just for a few minutes, I'm really the freezing type," he mumbled to himself. "But this icy touch could scare that Tezuka…"
"I froze only because your hands were so cold to my cheeks."
"Oh? So it was only because of the cold?"
Despite the darkness, Tezuka could see the challenging glint on the other boy's eyes, and refused to fall into one of Fuji's games. Deciding not to answer, the stoic teen took Fuji's hands in his and rubbed them together. "You should warm them up. You'll get cold."
Satisfied that the smaller boy was rendered speechless by his action, Tezuka let go of the prodigy's hands and stood up to go turn on the electricity, but someone then appeared at the entrance of the dining room. Everyone froze.
"You all seem to be having fun, nee…" the hoarse and somewhat chilly voice said. The woman held the candle under her face, creating scary shades in it.
"UWAAAA~!! THE REAL YUKI-ONNA IS HERE!!" Momo suddenly shouted and once again there was chaos in the room. This time, even Inui and Fuji seemed to be freaked out as the data collector jumped backwards, backing away from the entrance, and the prodigy hid behind Tezuka while the others had scrambled madly across the room, under the table, and into any nook and cranny they could find.
Raising the candle in front of her face, the woman who turned out to be their coach smirked in amusement and said, "My, my, you are all only middle school kids after all…"
* * *
"Tezuka, the sun is barely up there," Fuji commented, eyes half-opened.
"Why are we running laps again?"
"You said this is a training camp."
"We both know I said that only to get your okay," the tensai mumbled, annoyance evident in his exposed cerulean orbs.
"My point exactly," he replied matter-of-factly, and Fuji grumbled some more. Glancing to his side, Tezuka made a comment, "You are surprisingly grumpy in the early morning."
The light brown-haired boy turned his head to face him, eyes sliding close in a sweet, sweet smile, and said, "You. Dragged. Me. Out. Of. Bed." Fuji's tone was dangerously even, which only added to the amusement the former captain had from seeing his grouchy-yet-smiling roommate.
"You just love your blanket too much," Tezuka replied, his tone and face dead serious that Fuji gave up on his fight against the urge to let out a chuckle.
"Mooou, it's soooo cold, nyaaa—aa—CHOO!!"
"Hang in there, Eiji, one last lap."
"As usual, the last lap decides everything," Inui suddenly announced. "The last one would have to drink…" he trailed off as he scrutinized the plastic cup he held, and frowned.
"What is it?" Taka-san asked spontaneously, though he knew he would regret it when he saw the grin on the Juice fiend's face.
"Correction, the last one would have to eat my Hyper Ultra Snow White, Trial version."
"Eat?" Momo asked as he peered curiously at the cup. "Uwaaa, it's frozen!"
"Frozen Inui Juice? Nyaaah~! That doesn't sound good!" Kikumaru shuddered.
That was when Fuji walked calmly to Inui, deliberately forgetting about his laps, and took the plastic cup from him. "Snow White… is it milk?" the prodigy asked, eyeing the frozen white concoction.
"Part of it, yes, but the milk is not why I call it snow white. There are also some other ingredients…"
"I don't want to know what the 'other ingredients' are," the acrobat interrupted.
"… I left it out in the open last night when it was snowing, so there's really snow in there. It is supposed to look like ice cream, but apparently, it froze," Inui continued.
"'Supposed to' is not really your words, senpai," Echizen remarked off-handedly.
"I don't want to eat it even more now. Let's just run, Echizen!"
"Spoon," Fuji requested, and Inui gave a spoon he took out of nowhere. The smiling boy started to hit the frozen surface repeatedly until it broke. Then he scooped some of the fragments of the frozen liquid and munched on them, creating crunchy sounds in his mouth.
"YOU ACTUALLY EAT IT?!" Kikumaru shouted in disbelief.
Fuji kept on munching, breaking the iced whatever-it-was with his teeth, and inside he enjoyed the horrified looks of his teammates. He caught a glimpse of Tezuka's face and smirked inwardly as he deliberately made more crunchy noises.
"Aaah, it tastes good," he commented before scooping more of the frozen Snow White and crunching again.
The look of utter horror Tezuka Kunimitsu could ever allow on his face had made Fuji forgot how weird the actual taste of the ice was.
* * *
After some persuading, begging, and pleading from his teammates—plus that one sweet, sweet, coercing and unbeatable smile—Tezuka finally agreed on the idea of a normal vacation, without any laps involved, that is. Currently, the team was having some fun in the snow.
"Woohooo, watch out, watch out!" Kikumaru shouted as he glided smoothly along the snowy grounds, and then he jumped and did a somersault mid-air, and landed smoothly again. "Acrobatic ski, nyah!"
"Ooooh, that was impressive, Eiji-senpai!" Momo clapped his hands as he watch the acrobatic player continuing to do rather dangerous moves while skiing, like flipping mid-air, rolling forward and backward, practicing the 'Kikumaru beeeaaam!' with throwing snowballs at random directions…
…and hit a certain redhead that looked pretty much familiar, too.
"Ouch! Who threw a snowball at me? It's cold, damn it! Shishido, was that you?"
"The hell should I throw a snowball at you? I'd smack that head of yours with my own hand if I want to!"
"Ah, Shishido-san, please calm down…"
"Then Hiyoshi! That's gotta be you!" The redhead turned his head to his right, and only received one dull "Gekkokujou…" before the other boy continued skiing and totally ignoring his senior.
Gakuto then glared at Taki, who immediately shook his head defensively.
"Actually, Gakuto, I think the snowball came from that direction," Oshitari informed calmly while pointing to the direction behind his doubles partner, where Kikumaru was standing on a steep slope.
"NYAAAAAH! It's you!!" the Seigaku acrobat suddenly shouted, and the boy who happened to be Mukahi Gakuto shouted back, "YOOOOOU!!"
Kikumaru slid over with his ski boards and approached his acrobatic rival in an acrobatic movement as well. "What are you guys doing here?" he asked once he landed in front of Gakuto.
"Vacation, of course! Really, I never thought I'd see you here, Kikumaru Eiji," said the Hyoutei acrobat, his eyes throwing out a challenge that was immediately caught by his rival.
"Neither did I, nyah!" Kikumaru smirked, accepting the challenge.
Soon, they were already racing down the steep slope, doing some acrobatic moves every now and then. Sometimes they would jump, crouch, somersault, flipping over—all the while still skiing. How both of them could perform such acrobatic moves remained a mystery that no one bothered to unravel.
"I wonder if they're skiing or playing circus," Echizen commented while calmly gulping down his grape ponta, acting like he was enjoying a show or something.
"But they sure have good balances, na. I don't think I could do that, ever." Momo added.
Tezuka stood still while leaning against the tree just next to his two juniors. He had to admit those acrobatic moves were something he could never do—not that he wanted to anyway. Then, from the corner of his eyes, he caught a graceful movement of someone snowboarding, and when he turned his head, he saw Fuji.
"Aah, there's another one with a good balance," Echizen remarked as he saw the tensai snowboarding graciously, while taking pictures with his camera.
Tezuka wondered how Fuji did that.
* * *
"So Seigaku's tensai is also a prodigy in snowboarding, eh?" Oshtari suddenly approached Tezuka in a greeting manner, while the two juniors who had been there earlier had decided to hit on some burger shop nearby.
Tezuka nodded his head in acknowledgement.
"Tomorrow we'll have a Christmas party at Atobe's mansion. He said you all should come."
"Sure. Where is he now?"
"He doesn't want to get his skin dried from the weather, so he went back to the mansion a while ago with Kabaji and a sleeping Jiroh." Oshitari shrugged. "I just called him to let him know we met Seigaku here."
"We thought it would be fun if you guys came to our party too. Well, basically we'll just mess around, though," he smirked.
Tezuka just nodded to let Oshitari know he was listening, though the words 'mess around' bothered him a bit. He somehow had the feeling that his team members and the Hyoutei regulars would make a really good team in creating one big chaos.
He just wished Atobe's mansion would still be in full shape after the party.
* * *
"Hello, Oshitari," Fuji greeted the other tensai casually as he glided on his snowboard and stopped right in front of him after his friendly talk with Tezuka.
"Care to teach me how to snowboard while taking pictures?" Oshitari asked by the way of starting a conversation.
"Wouldn't all the pictures be blurry?" Tezuka voiced his curiosity.
"Aah, this camera could catch moving objects rather nicely. I'm just testing it out," Fuji replied lightly. "And Oshitari, maybe you should ask your doubles partner to teach you how to flip backwards while skiing instead. It looks rather interesting."
"No way, I'll break a bone or two if I were to even try," the navy-haired boy laughed.
The two tensais from the rivaling teams started to have a rather casual conversation from how beautiful the mountain was to how interesting Atobe's collection of mirrors in his mansion was, when Tezuka kept staring at the snowboard Fuji currently stood on.
"What is it, Tezuka?" Fuji asked as he caught the interest in his friend's hazel orbs, which were staring at his snowboard like those of a five-year-old at a lollipop.
"Hn, nothing," answered the stoic youth as he folded his arms and leaned against a dried tree trunk.
"You want to try snowboarding?" Fuji smiled sweetly, imagining himself talking to a six-year-old Yuuta who seemed to want to grip a racket.
"I'm just a little… curious," Tezuka admitted.
With his smile wider, Fuji then proudly offered, "I'll teach you then. I'm pretty good at this."
"I figured as much," Tezuka replied dryly, eyeing the camera in the tensai's hand.
The prodigy just smiled. "Could you hold this for me?" he asked, entrusting his beloved camera to Oshitari's hands, then he led Tezuka to a more open and narrow steep slope area. After fixing his friend's feet correctly on the snowboard, Fuji stood up, eyeing Tezuka's stiff figure.
"You know it's important to gain your balance and folding your arms like that wouldn't help," the light haired youth commented, mirroring his friend's action by folding his own arms.
Awkwardly, Tezuka unfolded his arms and tried to spread them. Deciding to help his friend, Fuji approached Tezuka's back and spread the former captain's arms wider with his hands.
"See, this is how you do it. And then…"
"NYAAAAAA~!! WATCH OOOUUUUT!!" A sudden scream was heard, and just as Fuji turned his head—hands still holding Tezuka's arm—something hit his back really hard and he tumbled forward on the stoic teen's back, and the snowboard started sliding down on it's own.
Fuji tried to hold Tezuka's body back while Tezuka tried to get off the snowboard, but their legs somehow got tangled together. Then Kikumaru clinging onto Fuji, and they ended up falling down the steep slope, their limbs knotted with one another's. They rolled forward with an incoherent groan, an "Aw-aw-aw-aw-waaa~" and some "Nyaa, nyaaaaa~!!" carrying the snow with them. Oshitari couldn't help but to be amused at the sight of the two strongest players on Seigaku—plus their pet cat—falling forward like a rolling stone, until they finally hit an unsuspecting Shishido—who made a rather ungracious yelping sound—in the process and proceeded to roll forward…
…until a snap of fingers and a "Kabaji!" was heard, followed with a certain "Usu!" Then there stood the super-big middle school boy, ready to catch the giant ball of snow with his two hands.
"Nnnuuuuaarrggghhh!" With whatever strength hidden in that enormous body of his, Kabaji managed to put a stop to the rolling ball of tennis boys, before he finally tumbled backward with the four other boys sprawled around him, buried in snow.
"Bhuaaah!" A redhead appeared from under the snow. He wriggled his head from side to side so that the pile of snow on top of his head was gone bits by bits. "NYAAAAH! That was scary!!"
"Damn it, why did you guys have to take me down with your fall!" Shishido harshly complained as he struggled to get up still with his ski boards attached to his feet.
Patting the snow off his head, Fuji lightly remarked, "That was quite a fall. I felt like a rolling stone."
"A rolling snowball would be more correct," Tezuka responded dryly as he tried to gather whatever dignity left in him.
"Oh my, you have a pile of snow on your head," the smiling boy just had to state the obvious while laughing heartily. "What a un-Tezuka sight to see," he commented as he inched closer to brush the snow from his ex-captain's head away.
"Fuji, I can—a—CHOO!"
"Get a good shot, ahn?" Atobe asked as he noticed the tensai of his team with a camera on hand.
"Yes. I got to capture a sneezing Tezuka with a pile of snow on his head." Oshitari replied, grinning.
Hearing that, Tezuka scowled deeper as he wiped his nose with a handkerchief Fuji handed him, while the cerulean-eyed boys continued laughing and said, "Nice shot, Oshitari!"
Tezuka wondered if Atobe would let him assigned Oshitari some laps.
* * *
"Today was fun, wasn't it?
"I never thought we'd meet Hyoutei here. Tomorrow's party would be fun, ne?"
"They even treated us to their Christmas Eve banquet today. Too bad there wasn't any wasabi in sight…"
"… Ne, Tezuka, have you seen your sneezing pic? It's pretty cute, you know. I'm sure the girls at school would pay for a high price to get their hands on it—well, even though I was caught in the frame too—but maybe I should make some copies…"
"Fuji!" Tezuka hissed; his voice dangerously low.
The tensai chuckled and lightly commented, "Oh, so you are listening to me."
Closing his book, the former captain leaned against the headboard of his bed and replied, "Of course."
A soft smile was the only response he got.
"Ah, it's snowing again," Fuji suddenly said as he walked towards the window and sat on the windowsill. "Shirahime must be really sad these days."
"It's another name—or form—of Yuki-onna, I guess. I read this manga—it's my sister's, don't give me that look—and it is said that when it snows, it means that Shirahime is crying."
"Maybe she's been lonely," was an offhand reply Tezuka threw just for the sake of commenting on a friend's story, but it seemed to have put his friend into another session of musings.
"I might be lonely too after our graduation," Fuji suddenly said. "I mean, everyone would be drifting apart, wouldn't they? That's why we should make a lot of memories while we're still together."
The sudden turn in the conversation had caught the bespectacled teen off-guard. He was not at all prepared for a sentimental prodigy talking about separation and loneliness.
"You could always meet up with them," Tezuka stated matter-of-factly, failing to sound sympathetic. He knew that Fuji knew he cared, though.
"That's true," the prodigy smiled slightly. "You'll be so far away, though," he continued, fixing his gaze on the falling snowflakes.
"There are technologies called phones and emails," Tezuka replied quietly as he stood from his bed and walked towards the window. The silent promise to keep in contact was left unsaid. He settled next to the sitting lithe boy and added, "And I'll come back once in a while."
"I'll visit you there, too. You'd accommodate me, wouldn't you?" Fuji inquired, his smile had gotten a few millimeters wider as Tezuka noted.
"Only for meals and a place to sleep," the taller boy replied coolly.
"That would be enough. I could save up quite a lot of money rather than staying in a hotel."
"Only to waste it again on souvenirs?" the bespectacled boy asked dryly.
"Oh, come on. If I go all the way to Germany people would not stop asking me to get them something."
"Good luck, then."
Outside the window, the snowflakes kept slowly descending from the sky above, silently watching the two teenagers who went on chattering warmly on the other side of the window.
* * *
"Aaah, a morning without running laps sure is great, na!" Momo stretched his arms above his head as he talked to no one in particular.
"You're just being a lazy ass, you baka-momo," Kaidoh snorted as he was jogging not far from him.
"Shut up, mamushi! You're just a work-out junkie!"
"What did you say? Are you looking for a fight?" Kaidoh was now stomping over his spiky head rival.
"And what if I am, huh?"
Suddenly, something soft and cold hit both of their heads, and they both jerked in surprise. They turned to the direction where the ball came from and found Kikumaru grinning ear-to-ear. "Hoi, hoi! You both need to cool your heads down, nyah!"
"Mou, Eiji-senpai!" Momo bent forward, gathering just enough snow for him to turn into a fist-size snowball, then, "Take this!" He threw the snowball wholeheartedly.
But Kikumaru was known for his fast reflexes. He ducked quickly and saved his face from the darting snowball, and said white object had successfully hit the left-side of the only freshmen.
"…cold…" Echizen commented. A vein popped on his forehead.
"Uwaaa, sorry Echizen!" Momo grinned as he shouted a loud apology, though the tone he used was nowhere near 'sorry'.
The first year said nothing and started scooping the snow in his hands, fisting it into a ball, and… threw. Kikumaru jumped aside, Momo barely ducked, and the white object smoothly landed on Kaidoh's bandana-less head.
Kaidoh made another snowball and threw it with all his might. Momo wisely stepped aside, Kikumaru ducked, Echizen ducked, and Inui's green data book was the poor object to cushion the said snowball, wetting whatever scribbles it had on its pages.
"… My data…"
Within mere seconds, the boys were throwing snowballs at one another. The sounds of snowballs landing on various parts of the bodies were heard here and there. No one knew when Taka-san came or who handed him a racket—most probably Echizen or Kikumaru—and he started swinging his racket to defend himself from the coming snowballs while occasionally fisting rather big snowballs with his other hand and throwing them wildly with a loud, "COOL, BABY, FREEZIIIIIING!!!"
When Oishi tried to stop the war, he became a victim of three snowballs at once: one on his face, another on his chest, and the third on the back of his head. The mother hen decided to let go of his mothering role for a while and teach those noisy brats some lessons by throwing each and every one of them a snowball. But of course, the boys threw more snowballs back at him.
"My, my, they sure seem to be having fun, aren't they," Fuji commented. Then, he squatted and made a number of snowballs, gathered them in one arm, and stood.
"What are you going to do?" asked Tezuka who stood next to him, eyeing the pile of snowballs in the tensai's arm.
Fuji tilted his head, smiled that sweet, sweet, evil smile and replied, "Join the fun, of course."
Then, in a fast and swift movement, Fuji threw some snowballs in various directions, hitting his teammates square in their faces. The boys yelped, and glared at Fuji.
"YEAH BABY, TAKE THIIIIS!!!"
A platoon of snowballs immediately zoomed in the tensai's direction. Fuji grinned and swiftly ducked…
…and all the snowballs successfully hit Tezuka on the face, head, and chest.
All of the boys fell silent at the sight of their almighty ex-captain being hit by the snowballs in stead of the tensai, and how he silently wiped the snow off his face and brushed the white powder off his head. All snowballs in their hands were dropped—except for Fuji's—even the racket in Taka-san's hand. They all gulped, waiting for the doom that was sure to come soon.
"Oh my," Fuji chuckled, breaking the silence. "That did look like you were using Tezuka zone. All the balls got attracted to you," he commented lightly, with his friends' faces getting paler in the background.
"All of you," Tezuka started, his voice was dangerously low, and everyone started to mentally prepare themselves for whatever was coming, and… "Twenty laps around the villa. Now!"
"Me too?" Fuji asked innocently.
A vein popped on Tezuka's forehead. "Yes, you especially," he replied coldly, eyes glaring pointedly at the seemingly-innocent smiling face of the person who was actually the cause of his 'Tezuka Zone' earlier.
"Oh well," Fuji said lightly, dropping the remaining snowballs in his arm, and started to jog out, followed by the others.
Not far from there, the Hyoutei boys stood on a hill where Atobe's mansion was, and thought that Seigaku was really a laps-obsessed team.
* * *
They had quite a bit of spare time before the Christmas party started, so they decided to spend the time productively by having a "Snow-shaping competition".
"Making snowmen? That's sooo lame!" Shishido snorted.
"Eeeh? But it sounds fun, Shishido-san!"
"Nooo it doesn't have to be snowmen. Just shape anything up!" Kikumaru explained.
"Count me out," Echizen walked away while sipping his Ponta.
"Ore-sama doesn't want his hands to get cold by the snow," the diva commented haughtily. "And what a childish activity you are proposing."
"But we are just a bunch of kids," Taki commented.
"You don't say anything else, do you," Gakuto remarked sarcastically, earning a glare from his junior.
"C'mon, you guys should join! The more the merrier," Momo insisted.
"And besides," Inui intruded, "Those who refuse to participate would have to taste my latest creation, the Inui Juice Redux Special Flavor. As its name states, it has a special flavor that your tongue would never forget."
Immediately, the boys fell silent. For the Seigaku boys, Inui juice was a regular terror but even though they were so used to those vile beverages, it was still nothing to look forward to. As for the Hyoutei boys, the horrible taste they had faced during the eating contest at that yakiniku restaurant was enough to traumatize them for life.
"I'll… participate then…" Echizen agreed reluctantly.
"Ore-sama has a delicate palate, so ore-sama will also participate," Atobe stated, refusing to sound defeated at all.
"Anyone wants to not participate?" Inui asked lifting the big glass of his latest concoctions so high that the others could see the bubbling greenish brown liquid that they decided they would rather play with the snow.
"What do you say, Tezuka?" Fuji asked when he saw the disinterest behind those rimless glasses.
Atobe stepped forward to his forever rival with that smug face of his and said, "You couldn't possibly be scared of that bizarre beverage, ahn? But even so, ore-sama suggests you to participate and we can prove who is better between us."
"…in shaping up snow?" Tezuka supplied dryly.
"Wouldn't it be fun, though," Fuji's voice chimed in. "Or, you couldn't be scared of being beaten by Atobe, do you?"
'I don't even care,' was what Tezuka wanted to say, but then again, he didn't want to be subjected to Atobe's never-ending boasting if he resigned from this little competition. So, despite himself, Tezuka replied, "Fine, I will."
"Fsssh… who'll judge?" Kaidoh asked, and everyone fell silent again.
"Good point," Oshitari pointed out. "Let our sensei judge then."
* * *
"My, my, they sure look like normal middle school kids this way, huh?" Ryuuzaki-sensei commented to Sakaki-sensei as he observed the snowy grounds in front of her with the boys scattered here and there building various figures from the snow.
"And they're rather… creative," Ryuuzaki-sensei added as she glanced at the shapes of what these creative tennis boys had built.
On Hyoutei's side, there was Kabaji who built what looked like a totem-pole, and then Hiyoshi who seemed to be disinterested in the competition and making a normal snowman… save for that flat face instead of the usual smiling one. And was it bangs that he was carving on its forehead?
Ohtori was seen building a snow castle and getting commented that they weren't on a beach by his doubles partner, who just made a really ordinary looking snowman with his blue cap sitting nicely on its huge head. Gakuto made what looked like a giant bowl and carved the word 'Miso' on it, and Jiroh was soundly sleeping on what looked like a snow bed, a huge one at that, while Taki was busy building up snow rabbits around him.
Oshitari had ingeniously shaped out a pair of nice and beautiful legs, which no one bothered to ask how he did that simply because he was a tensai—his doubles partner had commented on him being pervy, though. As for Atobe… the diva had made something that looked like a huge face, which wasn't done yet, but everyone had a fairly good guess on what the final result would be.
The Seigaku side had the only first year trying to make a duplicate of his Himalayan cat—which didn't turn out really successful, it seems—and a huge can of Ponta. Next to him was Momoshiro who was attempting a huge hamburger, which only looked like a not-so-round ball. Not so far from him, Kaidoh tried to make a snake, but one comment from Momo that it looked like shit instead had brought them into a loud round of bickering.
Kawamura made a set of sushi—a practice to become a sushi chef, he said. Kikumaru shaped up what he claimed was a toothpaste tube with a huge strawberry scribbling—he gave up halfway on making the toothbrush as well—and next to him, Oishi was trying hard to make a chicken nest—because Eiji said to, though really it was only to tease him for being the 'Mother Hen'.
Nobody commented on Inui treating the snowy ground as a data book and jotting down the 'who-making-what'.
"Fuji!" Tezuka hissed as he saw his friend creating a standing object with a rounded edge. "What are you making?"
The lithe boy blinked innocently at him and answered, "A cactus. Why?"
Feeling his cheeks warming up, Tezuka threw his gaze to his own work and replied, "Nothing. It looks like… something else…"
Fuji tilted his head to one side, then he turned to see his own creation… and realization dawned on him of what Tezuka might see in it. Grinning mischievously Fuji patted the former captain's shoulder and shook his head while saying, "Oh my, I never knew you were such an imaginative person, Tezuka."
Tezuka said nothing and only stole a glance at his friend's grinning face before retuning his attention to his own creation to hide his reddening face.
"You know Tezuka," Inui suddenly showed up from behind him, "I wouldn't blame you. Because without the thorns, Fuji's 'cactus' does look like that 'something else'." The data player smirked knowingly, and Fuji practically grinned ear-to-ear seeing the stoic-yet-beet red face.
The tensai then glanced at Tezuka's work and chuckled. "So much for an imaginative person," he commented.
Tezuka made a giant tennis ball.
* * *
Since Atobe came out as a winner—for he had perfectly carved his awesome face—he seemed to be in a good mood, and thus ordered various expensive dishes for the party, which the boys happily pigged out on. They were eating and playing and eating some more and playing some more…
After having an arcade on DDR (which ended up in another acrobatic contest between Kikumaru and Gakuto), playing some board games (Oishi was such a difficult opponent to beat in Monopoly, by the way), card games (Tezuka, Fuji, Oshitari, and Inui were quite dominating in playing bullshit) and such, they were starting to get tired—Echizen and Jiroh had even fallen asleep on the couch. Ryuuzaki-sensei decided that it was time for them to go back to their villa because the Hyoutei boys must have been tired too.
It was after midnight when they arrived back at their villa, which fortunately not really far for walking distance. Echizen wouldn't wake up so Momo—who had been the biggest glutton—had to piggy-back the first year. The third years then gave their Christmas present to their beloved coach: a pair of new, rather expensive jersey—since really, they had nothing better in mind—as a token of their gratitude because Ryuuzaki-sensei had taken care of them ever since they were freshmen.
"You boys really have a looong way to go to be a romantic boyfriend," was the comment they received, but they could almost swear Ryuuzaki-sensei nearly shed her tears, and all the third years were glad that their coach seemed happy with their gift.
After that, they held some kind of gifts-exchange session with one another. Each person prepared a gift to be numbered. After that, just like how they were assigned their rooms, they had to pick a number from a jar, and that would be the gift. If anyone got their own gift, he could exchange his number with anyone willing.
Kawamura got a pair of bear slippers from Kikumaru, Inui got a Santa-shaped cellphone holder from Kawamura, Oishi got a new electronic dictionary from Inui, Kaidoh got a nice black and white scarf from Oishi, Echizen got a white woolen hat from Kaidoh, Tezuka got a pair of indigo gloves from Echizen, Fuji got a mini racket and tennis ball phone strap from Tezuka, Momo got a mini cactus from Fuji, and Kikumaru got a burger-shaped keychain from Momo.
Satisfied with their gifts, the boys retreated to their rooms as Ryuuzaki-sensei had instructed, because in the morning, they would be back to Tokyo, so they would need a good night's sleep.
When they were finally alone in their room, Fuji nudged Tezuka with a paper bag and smiled.
"My Christmas present for you," was the blue-eyed boy's answer when the stoic teen just looked questioningly at him.
"We just had our gift-exchange session," Tezuka said hesitantly.
Fuji kept on smiling as he replied, "I know. But I want to give you something too, just a remembrance so you won't forget me even when you get to Germany." For a split-second, a wistful smile crossed Fuji's face.
"The image of you as Yuki-onna is hardly forgettable," the former captain stated stoically, and the prodigy spontaneously laughed.
"And that was hardly a joke, Tezuka," he said in the middle of his mirth. "Anyway just accept this, okay?" he added, shoving the gift at Tezuka's chest.
Gently taking the present, the stoic teen muttered a soft, "Thank you. I'm sorry I have nothing for you…"
"Don't worry, I got this cute phone strap already," Fuji assured as he showed the phone strap already attached to his cellphone.
"But it's nothing… personal…"
"Oh? You want to give me something personal?" Fuji asked; an obvious teasing tone could be heard on his melodious voice. "Come here then," he dragged the taller boy to the window after grabbing his camera on the bedside drawer.
The smiling boy settled himself next to Tezuka and pulled the taller youth closer by snaking his arm on the other boy's shoulder, aimed his camera at them, and…
"There. Thank you for the picture," Fuji said, smiling as he was satisfied with the result.
Tezuka took a peek on Fuji's digital camera screen and found that Fuji had let his eyes show earlier. "You only want a photo?" the dark haired youth asked.
Smiling, the tensai scrolled through all the pictures of the team he had taken during their trip. "I want a memory," he answered rather wistfully.
Tezuka glanced at his right side, not really sure of what to say. He didn't know whether Fuji said that on a whim, or if the words actually had some depths and hidden meanings.
"If it's memories that you wanted," the ex-captain blurted out suddenly, and the prodigy tilted his head to face his friend, "I can give you more even after today."
For a second, Fuji merely looked at Tezuka with his exposed cerulean orbs. Then, he chuckled lightly as he responded, "Of course."
Seeing the smile on Fuji's face, Tezuka knew he had said the right thing.
* * *
"All right boys, check all of your belongings! Don't leave anything behind! Check your rooms, under your beds, in the bathrooms… everywhere!" Ryuuzaki-sensei commanded as the boys were hurrying here and there, trying to pack all of their stuff.
"The bus has arrived. Hurry up, guys!" Oishi reminded.
After some rather rowdy pack-ups and preparations, the Seigaku regulars were now dumping their bags in the bus, making sure nothing was left behind in the villa.
Ryuuzaki-sensei bowed to the villa-keeper, thanking him for all his help during the days they stayed there when Kikumaru shouted loudly, "Let's have a group pic, nyaaah!"
"Ooooh, that's a good idea, senpai! We haven't taken any pictures as a complete team!" Momo seconded the idea.
Smiling, Fuji took out his camera. "Go pose, then. I'll take the pic…" the tensai trailed off when someone took his camera over.
"You join them, I'll take the picture," said Ryuuzaki-sensei while smiling gently.
"Thank you, sensei!"
Fuji ran a little to join the others who positioned themselves for the shoot. He found that there was a space beside Tezuka, and he immediately settled himself there.
"Are you ready? One… two…"
"Aaah, hang on sensei! Hey, get that racket away from Taka-san! Who gave him a racket at a time like this anyway?"
"UOOOOOOOOOH BUUURNIIIING!! C'MON POSE!!"
"Nyaaah! I don't know, Oishi… hey Taka-san! Watch where you're swinging!"
"Oi, Mamushi! You're too close, get away a little, na!"
"Fsssh! That's my line! You go over there a little!
"Hey, hey don't push… ouch! Momo-senpai you hit me!"
"There is one hundred percent chance that the picture wouldn't be too neat…"
"Maa, it's kinda interesting this way. Ne, Tezuka?"
"There, the picture has been taken! Now go inside the bus, you bunch of rowdy kids!"
"Eeeeeeeeeeeeh? But we haven't even posed, nyah!"
"We're going now! Now get inside the bus, all of you!" Ryuuzaki-sensei's tone was final, and the boys obliged after Fuji had somehow approached Kawamura and taken the racket away.
"I think it's Hyoutei's…" the prodigy mumbled as he examined the rather unfamiliar racket. Not far from there, Gakuto was giggling with his team smirking in the background.
"We're just saying goodbye," Oshitari spoke. "Have a safe trip back…"
After some cursing, laughing, and waving with the Hyoutei boys, the Seigaku regulars finally settled in the bus. Fuji took his camera and checked the group picture they had just taken. Tezuka peeked on the screen from the seat next to him.
"Well, not so organized, but I think it's a good photo," the smiling boy said, and the others started demanding to see and gathered around Fuji's seat.
"Mada mada dane," Echizen commented upon seeing said picture. "So typically Seigaku," he said in a rather sarcastic tone, but everyone had to agree as they were laughing with each other.
The screen of Fuji's digital camera showed all the nine boys in a rather chaotic manner: the expression on their faces looked nicely natural, and each of them could feel this certain warmth radiating from the photo.
It was a form of memory for every one of them about how Seigaku was a big, happy family for them.
* * *
It was midnight in Germany. Tezuka sat on his chair, closing a thick book and removing his glasses to rest his eyes for a bit. He wiped his glasses with a tissue and slipped them on again, then put his pen back into his pencil case. He then glanced down to his right wrist; there was a black wristwatch which was a gift from Fuji.
Then he stared at a wooden board on his wall, where there were photos from his Seigaku days. His eyes caught a glimpse of a few pictures taken on their Christmas trip two years ago, and a small smile crept up his face. Their group picture that was taken on the last day of the trip never failed to lift his mood whenever he felt tired or alone.
It was his 'home'.
His eyes traveled down a little and caught a photo of him with Fuji, when suddenly his laptop dinged: an e-mail had just arrived. Clicking his mouse, Tezuka found Fuji's name in his inbox. Speak of the devil…
How have you been? Anyway since I'm such a diligent student, my summer homework is all done. That means I'll go there ahead of the others. I'll be coming this weekend. Yes, in five days, so you better be prepared, ne?
Oishi is still helping Eiji finish his homework so that they can go by next weekend as planned. Taka-san can't come though, because he can't leave the restaurant. Kaidoh isn't coming either because his brother just got in a little accident, but it's nothing serious, so don't worry. Inui and Momo are coming as planned. I got an e-mail from Echizen too—but he had probably sent it to you too—that he can't stay too long since he has to prepare for a tournament. Oh by the way, he has gotten snarkier since he moved to the U.S, eh? Still cute though.
Anyway, since we're coming in a group, Atobe is kindly going to lend us one of his mansions in Germany, so you don't have to worry about us cramping up your apartment. But since I'm going ahead of the others, I'll be staying at your place until they come. I hope you have a space for me? I won't mind sleeping on the couch. ^___^
Well then, I'm just writing to let you know of my early arrival. See you soon!
Just when Tezuka was about to click the reply button, his cell phone rang. Fuji's name flashed on the screen.
"Have you gotten my email?" asked the cheerful voice from the other side of the line.
"Yes. I was about to reply…"
"Aah. By the way, you don't mind me coming earlier, do you?" Fuji's voice sounded a little hesitant.
"No, you can come anytime," he assured.
A chuckle was heard. "Thank you. That's a relief. Well then, see you in five days."
There was a pause, before Fuji spoke again in a softer tone of voice, "Looking forward to make more memories with you."
Tezuka smiled into the phone.
-T H E * E N D –
-Yuki-onna literally means Snow Lady. It's a well-known ghost in Japan.
-The manga Fuji talked about was Shirahime-shou by CLAMP.
-There's an accompanying art here: http: / /pics. livejournal. com / a1y_puff / pic / 00005red (Please remove the spaces, thanks)
-Reviews would be much loved!