A/N: The long, loooong overdue gift fic for Ryu-reikai-akuma. Yes, I'm writing for Pron-sama, thus the rating. I feel obliged to give at least some lime :P (Don't expect for a too graphic smex though.)

Anyway this is a SONG FIC. Go here to download the song: http:/ /www. mediafire. com/ download. php? 5mh1wtnyjym (remove the spaces,please. Thanks.) It may help the atmosphere.

Much thanks to my beloved beta La Fuego. And last but not least, please enjoy, and Ryu, I hope you'll like this ^^.

Warnings: Mentioning anime canon. And even though I said it's M-rated, I have little imagination on smut, so please go easy on me, yeah?

Disclaimer: You do know Tezuka and Fuji belong to each other, as much as I want to keep them for myself :P. Oh, and I definitely do not own either the song "Romantic" by Rie Fu, and I got the translated lyrics after googling, so I take no credits.


* ROMANTIC *

*



- Phase One –

* * *

I'm thinking of you who I miss, and yet I can't put it into words
It's heart-breakingly painful but I want to be close to you, still want you by my side

* * *

It was one fine night—the sky was a dark velvety blue, adorned by scattered stars. Fuji gazed outside of his window and marveled at the twinkling stars above. He wondered what Tezuka was doing at the moment. It should still be daytime in Germany, and Tezuka was probably busy with the treatment of his arm.

But…

Fuji reached for his cell phone and opened his contact list. He scrolled down until he found a familiar name with a rather unfamiliar number. That number hadn't been long sitting in Fuji's cell phone. It was the number Tezuka used while he stayed in Germany.

The blue-eyed boy toyed with his cell phone—opening and closing it again and again, while his head contemplated whether to press the dial button or not.

Reflex worked faster than brain, they say. And so, before Fuji knew it, his thumb had traced the little button and pressed it. The next thing he knew, Tezuka's voice sounded in his right ear.

"Yes, Fuji?"

It wasn't a particularly friendly tone, but then again, the words 'Tezuka' and 'friendly' didn't belong in the same sentence. Stilling himself, Fuji's lips started forming a smiling mask purely by reflex, and his voice was steady and smooth as he asked, "Are you busy?"

"Not really. I've just finished my lunch." There were some noises in the background, indicating the other boy was in some public area. "What is it?"

Fuji's lips were opened, but he was just in time to stop himself from saying 'I miss you'. Instead, he took a deep breath and in the most carefree tone he could muster, he said, "Inui has improved, you know."

There was a pause, and Fuji imagined the captain raising a brow. Inui, of all people. Perhaps, that was what ran through Tezuka's mind, Fuji mused. "His tennis?" Tezuka clarified.

"Nope. His concoctions. You know his beverages never affected me, right? Well, today he invented Aozu—yes, it's vinegar—and I passed out," the prodigy chuckled, trying to amplify the cheerful tone he was adapting.

Fuji heard a soft sigh from the receiver and he was feeling somewhat rejected, until the uttered question of "Are you feeling alright now?" turned his smile from a mere façade into a genuine one.

"Yeah. Though I would rather not drink that thing anymore," the light haired youth let out a silvery laugh, and somehow, even though it was probably only in his head, he felt like Tezuka smiled at that.

"I'm sorry Fuji, but I need to go soon," said the deep voice over the phone. "Is there anything else you need to say?"

'I miss you, I miss you…' Fuji's heart chanted, but his head ignored it and wouldn't let those words escape his lips. Instead, the standard "Good luck with everything" reply flowed smoothly into the other side of the phone.

Long after the phone call ended, Fuji was still leaning against his windowsill, and his gaze strayed outside to the dark night without focus. It had been quite a while since Tezuka left for Germany, hadn't it? Was it so weird if he missed Tezuka?

It shouldn't be weird. After all, it's only natural for friends to miss each other. Fuji knew that in every email Oishi sent to Tezuka, the vice captain never failed to add 'We miss you' by the end of the emails.

Yes, it was only natural for friends. And yet, Fuji knew that if he were to say those words, if he were to try to let Tezuka knew how he missed the stoic teen, they both would know that it would mean much more than what it should between friends.

He didn't want to risk their friendship—their fragile bond labeled as close friends might shatter altogether. And so, even though it hurt to keep his feelings to himself, Fuji did so, if only to keep Tezuka close to him.

* * *

My bewildered heart, trembling feelings – only friendship is not excessively painful,
because that time when we were always together was fun

* * *

It was really a surprise to see Tezuka there, at the junior senbatsu camp. When Ryuuzaki-sensei collapsed, he didn't expect it would be Tezuka to take over her place. When Fuji saw Tezuka stepping closer to the other coaches, he was somewhat happy and disappointed. Happy to see Tezuka was there, right in front of his eyes, and yet disappointed because the captain hadn't said anything about returning, even if it was only temporarily.

He had always thought that maybe, he was just a little bit special to Tezuka. Though it seemed he wasn't special enough that Tezuka didn't share the news of his return.

Plastering his smile firmly in place, Fuji spared a glance at Tezuka before turning on his heel and got back to his training, while his mind had gone into another session of musings.

When did these feelings start to exist, exactly? He hadn't been attracted to Tezuka from the very start. After all, he had been a normal boy, and normal boys don't get attracted to other boys. Of course he had known Tezuka was good looking, but he wasn't so bad himself, right?

It was just, one day, just like that, Fuji woke up and found himself craving for Tezuka; his body, his heart, his love.

Fourteen-year-olds are not supposed to know what love really is yet, but Fuji couldn't find a better term to describe his feelings. He knew what a mere attraction, a puppy love, and a crush felt like—he had been there a few times—but this, what he had for Tezuka, was different, deeper.

As time passed, his feelings kept growing. The time they shared together outside the courts in the name of study session, the short emails they exchanged every now and then, and the random phone calls he often made to Tezuka only gave his feelings the nutrition they needed to grow faster and root deeper.

And he just couldn't help it.

Fuji breezed through the practice that day. Not quite focusing on what he was doing, but just paying enough attention to not mess up during practice. It wasn't his fault, his mind had told him defensively, that he could barely keep his focus with Tezuka nearby, throwing him short glances every once in a while.

They hadn't had the chance to really talk, though. Not even during the party the boys held in order to welcome Tezuka back to Japan. They didn't get to sit close to each other, and the boys had been so noisy. So here he was now, in front of Tezuka's room in the middle of the night.

He mildly knocked at the door twice, and waited.

Tezuka's face showed no sign of surprise when he opened the door, and Fuji merely smiled up at his friend. The taller teen stepped aside as an unspoken invitation, and Fuji quietly slipped into the room and waited until Tezuka closed the door behind him.

"What brings you here?" Tezuka asked as he walked across the room to sit in his desk, and Fuji settled himself on Tezuka's bed.

"Nothing. I just thought it would be nice to have a small talk? How have you been?" Fuji offered a smile that betrayed no emotion.

Tezuka might move away—that much, Fuji had always known. So he did the most obvious thing he could do: sealing his feelings inside a box and pushed it far, far away to the back of his head.

"I'm fine." Tezuka leaned into the backrest of his chair and took off his glasses. "And it's late," he stated in a neutral tone as he wiped his glasses with the hem of his pajama.

"I know. I just…" Fuji paused, looking for words he could use to make up some reasons for his late night visit, but he found none. Maybe because it was nighttime that he was feeling sentimental, and maybe it was because he had finally got to see Tezuka after some time, but he found himself blurting out, "I missed you."

The look Tezuka gave him almost made him regret saying it. Tezuka might be stoic but he wasn't dumb, nor was he dense. Fuji knew Tezuka could read way beyond those words could carry.

"Fuji… that's…" the bespectacled boy looked like he didn't know what to say, while his hazel eyes showed a rare display of uncertainties.

If he could just tell himself, to convince his heart to stop yearning for the impossible, he could've been happier. Things would've been much easier.

"Don't worry," Fuji found himself saying before Tezuka could utter any more words. He glanced up with a firm smile, and continued, "It was just a word from a friend."

A lie.

Sighing softly, Tezuka put his glasses back on and in an uncharacteristically gentle tone, he replied, "I see. I've also missed… everyone."

Fuji's smile didn't budge.

By keeping a fine border of friendship, they could stay close to each other; he could keep Tezuka by his side.

It was better this way, right?

* * *

But I can't always be close to you, huh? If I'm not your number one
And yet I care for you a lot – you stay in my heart

* * *

What made Tezuka so different than kids at their age was probably how he could maintain his priorities and didn't get them all jumbled up. He was, sometimes, too responsible for his own good. Tennis came first and foremost in Tezuka's priority list. It was his passion, after all. Then, there was the fact that he was the Tennis Club's captain—he had responsibilities towards his teammates, his coach, Seigaku. All these, he shouldered by himself without complaint, all because he truly loved Tennis.

Now that he was back from Germany, there were a lot of things Tezuka needed to catch up with. His studies, for one. Tezuka was a smart student, but he was no prodigy. He still needed to work hard on catching up on what he had missed while he was away.

And then Seigaku was one step closer to the National Championship. One step closer for Tezuka to reach his dream. This was, of course the thing that took most of the space in Tezuka's mind.

All that they got to talk about was either tennis, or their academics. It was either when Fuji was helping Tezuka catching up with his studies, or when the Captain asked the Prodigy to be always giving his best in each and every match.

"Don't let your guard down," was what Fuji almost always heard whenever he tried to approach the bespectacled boy.

Fuji had understood that, that whatever it was existed between them would never be number one in Tezuka's priority list.

What Tezuka needed now was not Fuji Shuusuke. The person Tezuka needed was the Prodigy in Fuji.

If that was what Tezuka wanted from him, then so be it. For now, Fuji would give in.

All because he cared for Tezuka.

* * *

One of these days I'll tell you that I've always loved you
Burning that time that makes you smile onto my heart

* * *

Fuji never thought the day where they would face each other across the net would come so soon. It looked like not only Tezuka needed the prodigy in him, the stoic youth also desired to see the real him, albeit in Tennis. Fuji could feel it through every serve, every return Tezuka sent the ball with. That he was trying his best to get the 'real' Fuji out.

Fuji served and ran and countered with everything he had, not wanting to have regrets of disappointing Tezuka and himself. In the end, however, he had lost.

There was a sense of disappointment at himself, that even when he had played seriously, Tezuka was still better than him. Now that Tezuka had beaten him, what was left in him for Tezuka? It was an unreasonable fear, perhaps, but he still dreaded the possibility of being unneeded, unwanted.

And his tears fell before he could stop them.

"I didn't know that losing a match could be such a horrible thing," he said with a smile, and he meant it in more than one way.

But then, even when he had lost, there was this indescribable sense of contentment, having exposed his true self to Tezuka through tennis, which happened to be the said boy's passion.

"But…"

Maybe, this was a start. Maybe, having shown each other's self in tennis, they could start to bring the change into their lives. And these hopeful feelings inside Fuji felt both bitter and sweet, and yet…

"It's the best feeling," he continued.

Then, that little twitch on Tezuka's lips, the warmth emanating from him as they joined their hands, and that small, content smile on Tezuka's face as they slung their arms around each other… those were all the reassurance Fuji needed that everything was okay.

That maybe, it was okay to hope.

Perhaps, he could finally tell Tezuka about how he really felt. He was sure Tezuka had always known that there was something more in their friendship that neither of them dared to explore. But maybe, if he were to start…

Fuji glanced at the boy next to him, still having their arm snaked around each other. He glanced up at the soft, rare smile and wondered if the smile would disappear if he were to take both of them out of this comfort zone of friendship.

Then maybe, for now, he'd just satisfy himself by immortalizing the memory of Tezuka's smile into his heart. Maybe one of these days, when he would be sure that both of them were ready, he'd finally confess.

Yes, one of these days, Fuji had thought over and over again.

And yet a few months after, even until they parted ways upon graduation, nothing was ever said.


- Phase Two -

* * *

A connection only from passing right by one another in town; this scenery of overlapping colors spreads out
I'm searching for a special encounter, throwing around words like "fate"

* * *

Fuji Shuusuke was now twenty eight year old—or just seven, if one would count the leap-year joke in. He had quite a successful career in photography and journalism, and was still single. His life had been rather normal all these years, even without Tezuka by his side. They had been barely in contact after graduation, and one day, the infrequent emails faded bit by bit into the background as life was getting busier, before they finally ceased altogether.

His life was good so far. He graduated from a prestigious university in Tokyo and had found himself a job that fell within his range of interest. And yet at times, he'd feel a certain sense of emptiness inside him that he couldn't really pinpoint. Yumiko had labeled it as 'loneliness', because his soul craved for its other half. Fuji had just laughed it off.

That night was snowy, when Fuji walked down the street to the train station. Another big job was done, so he took his time enjoying the sight of the city on a winter night. The bright, colorful lamps spread throughout his field of vision contrasting with the dark night sky, adorned by the occasional falling snow created a rather serene and melancholic atmosphere to Fuji.

Absently, he observed the people walking past for a familiar face. He didn't know why, but he just thought that it would be funny to meet someone he knew at such random moment like now.

Between faceless crowds a familiar feature with a certain stoic expression caught his eyes, and Fuji's eyelids fluttered open. Taking in the sight of that person, Fuji was sure that it was indeed, Tezuka. Clad in a black leather coat, the figure stood tall among the crowds, emitting that aura that, even after all this years, still demanded attention.

Taking a deep breath, Fuji hastened his pace and approached the old friend he hadn't seen for years. When he got close enough to get caught in the other's field of vision, Fuji could see those hazel orbs widening slightly, and in return, Fuji's smile grew broader too.

"Hello, Tezuka. Fancy meeting you here," Fuji started, and he could see the other's eyes softened as he nodded in response.

Fate sure is a funny thing, Fuji thought.

* * *

I had thought loneliness was natural, I confessed to a friend
When I was resting, I'm certain a kind person was by my side

* * *

They ended up on a bench at a nearby park with two hot canned coffees, catching up on general things in their lives without getting too personal with each other. They had learned about each other's occupation—Fuji as a journalist and a freelance photographer, while Tezuka worked as a General Manager in one of Atobe's trading companies—but none of them volunteered more personal information.

"It's kind of lonely, isn't it," Fuji mused out loud.

Putting his canned coffee on a space next to him, Tezuka turned his head and eyed the other man carefully. "What is?"

"Us," Fuji paused to sip his beverage. Still holding the canned coffee before his lips, Fuji's cerulean orbs revealed themselves, only to gaze at their fading footprints on the snow-covered grounds ahead of them, "We used to be really close, and now we're almost strangers. Don't you think it's lonely?"

Tezuka bent a little forward, eyes focusing on his linked hands on his lap. "It is," he finally responded. There was a wistful quality to the tone he used that made Fuji smile a bitter smile.

For a moment, silence was their best companion. Fuji was content to just sit quietly, sipping his coffee while enjoying Tezuka's presence next to him. It felt awkwardly comfortable, if that made sense.

Leaning against the backrest, Fuji looked up and watched as snowflakes gracefully descended from the dark night sky. Maybe it was the cold, or maybe he was carried away by the nostalgic atmosphere they were currently in, but Fuji found himself inching closer to Tezuka on the bench, and let his head drop onto the taller man's left shoulder.

When Tezuka neither said anything nor pushed him away, Fuji let a genuine smile grace his lips.

* * *

One of these days I'll tell you what hurts me, without fear
Because having met you will heal any injury

* * *

Fuji's mind leapt back to Yumiko's comment about him being lonely because his soul was craving for its other half.

Maybe, it was craving for Tezuka's.

Because right now, as he felt warmth flowing from the man next to him, he felt that something inside him was slowly becoming whole. Should he tell Tezuka about this, he wondered, and he let out a chuckle as he imagined what Tezuka's reaction would be if ever he said something along the line of 'soulmate'. The bespectacled man might dismiss him as being silly.

"Is there something funny?"

At the question, Fuji raised his head from Tezuka's shoulder and faced him with a questioning smile. "Hm?"

"You were chuckling," Tezuka informed.

"Oh, that," Fuji diverted his gaze up to the sky once more. "Nothing. It's just that…" he paused, and looking into Tezuka's eyes, the soulmate joke he was about to throw died in his throat.

For a moment, he didn't take his eyes off of Tezuka's, as something inside him was suddenly stirring awake.

"I want you," he blurted out at last.

There was no response for three seconds, before a hesitant "Pardon?" escaped Tezuka's lips.

Instead of answering, Fuji gently raised his left hand to cover Tezuka's right cheek. For a moment, he let his cerulean eyes meet Tezuka's hazel ones, baring his feelings, his desires, his soul, for the other to see. As realization dawned in those golden brown eyes, Fuji leaned forward to land his lips on Tezuka's.

The kiss was brief; Fuji pulled away as soon as their lips touched, then he gazed at Tezuka's eyes, searching for any kind of reaction, whether it was rejection or acceptance.

He found neither.

Uncertainties were the only thing he could see in Tezuka's eyes. Fuji leaned closer once again, his cerulean eyes searched further into the hazel orbs, looking desperately for any signs that he was, maybe, wanted.

He got his answer when, after a brief moment of hesitancy, Tezuka gently pulled Fuji's hand which was resting on his cheek. Linking their hands together, the older man landed his lips on Fuji's.

'Ah', Fuji thought, how long had he been waiting for this moment to come? How long had he been wishing for his feelings to be answered? How long had he been hurting himself over and over by keeping on hoping and getting that hope crushed, again and again until his heart was numbed he could barely realize he was suffering?

Somehow, none of those mattered at this moment. Right now, Tezuka was here, answering his feelings with the same amount of passion and desire.

He was, after all, wanted.

That single thought sent warmth throughout his body, seeping into his heart and slowly fixing the cracks in it.

* * *

I just wanna be with you tonight, I just wanna be the one to shine
I just wanna be with you tonight in your arms, oh can you hold me tight?

* * *

How they ended up in Fuji's apartment was something Fuji didn't particularly care to remember. All that he cared about now was how to properly open his door without breaking the kiss. Somehow, he managed to insert the right key into the keyhole and opened the door to his apartment.

They carefully made their way into the house, with Fuji leading the way. Not even for a second since after they got out of the elevator into the empty hallway of the apartment building had they pulled away from each other. Or maybe, it was more like Fuji clinging desperately to Tezuka, fearing the taller man would change his mind if he were to let go.

It wasn't long before they both stumbled onto Fuji's Queen-sized bed, with Tezuka toppled over by the honey-haired man. Not even giving a chance for Tezuka to take off his coat, Fuji once again claimed Tezuka's lips with his. His right hand found Tezuka's left hand, and he promptly laced his fingers with those of Tezuka's. Briefly, Fuji glanced at their intertwined hands when he felt something hard and cold around Tezuka's finger, and he saw a gold band encircling his partner's ring finger. His advance ceased abruptly as he realized what it meant, but then Fuji decided that he didn't want to care. He continued kissing the bespectacled man while his right hand gently pulled out the golden ring—that one symbol of possession he opted not to care about—and stored it away on the nightstand.

The thought that Tezuka belonged to someone else stubbornly etched on his mind, and the fear of rejection came uninvited. He had gotten this far, Fuji thought, so he needed to make Tezuka want him even more.

Fuji pulled his lips away from Tezuka's and crawled back, before swiftly undoing the other man's belt and unzipped his pants. He could feel with his hand, the bulge caused by his earlier advances. He was about to take out the straining erection and take it between his lips, when a hand held his shoulder in place and kept his mouth at bay.

"Fuji, hold on," he heard the slightly reprimanding voice.

The lithe man looked up to face his partner, afraid to find any signs of rejection. Tezuka propped himself up on his right elbow, while his left hand gently finding its way to Fuji's cheek.

"Slow down," he began, hazel eyes looking straight into cerulean ones, and as if understanding Fuji's anxiety, Tezuka continued, "It's okay. I'm not going anywhere."

It was all Fuji needed to hear to wash away his worries. Slowly, he nodded and a smile was the only response he could give Tezuka. This time, he let Tezuka kiss him, he let the hazel-eyed man return the favor as he was slowly being toppled over in his own bed.

Unlike his earlier frenzied ministrations, Tezuka was gentle. The way he nibbled on Fuji's earlobe and neck, how Tezuka slowly unbuttoned the latter's shirt before trailing kisses down his chest; they were so gentle that somehow, it was almost painful. Each feather-light touch and caress slowly driving Fuji over the edge with need. Fuji could barely register when they had somehow gotten rid of their clothing, and all he could feel was the heat that was slowly building up upon the friction of bare skin going against bare skin.

Their chests were touching, and Fuji couldn't hold back a moan when their erections brushed against each other. He reached a hand out to the back of Tezuka's neck and pulled him down into a pleading kiss. The heated kiss was enough to intensify their need for each other; both of them could feel it. Tezuka pulled away just slightly to look at Fuji in the eye, asking for his permission to go further. Fuji nodded and reached out his hand to take Tezuka's, bringing it close to his lips. He licked a finger of Tezuka's hand, from the tip to the base and back again. Taking two more fingers in, Fuji tried his best to mimic what Tezuka did to his private lower area to three of the older man's fingers, and when he though he couldn't take anymore, he let go of Tezuka's hand and barely gasped the word "Please."

The dark haired man smiled down at him before kissing his forehead and proceeded to crawl backwards and started preparing hi ex-teammate with his wet fingers. The process of stretching was filled with pain and pleasure, and the feeling that it was Tezuka doing this for him excited Fuji even more. It wasn't long before words of plea fell out of his lips. Fuji tightened his arms around the taller man as they became one, and at that moment, as he huskily whispered Tezuka's name again and again, he completely surrendered himself to Tezuka.

The soft gasps and restrained moans filled the room as fingers danced across bare skin and hips pushed against one another. For now, Fuji felt like he was completely owned by Tezuka, that they belonged solely to each other. For now, Fuji didn't want to think about anything else but be drowned in this heat, this feeling, this sensation that was Tezuka.

Fuji could feel heat was building up in the pit of his stomach. He knew he was close, and maybe, so was Tezuka. He could feel the other's hand stroking faster while pushing deeper into him with a sense of urgency. At the final moments before Fuji could lose himself, he pulled the taller man down into a series of tentative kisses, while whispering between the kisses those words he had longed to say. And then they came, calling out each other's names again and again.

They just lay there in each other's arms, sated and content. Feeling too lethargic to clean up the mess they had made in Fuji's bed, they decided to surrender to slumber. With a nervous smile on his face, Fuji looked up to the dark haired man and said, "I love you."

Tezuka pulled Fuji closer into his arms, preventing the smaller man from seeing his face, and then he whispered, "thank you."

Fuji's smiled turned bitter. It wasn't the answer he needed.

* * *

Every time I close my eyes I see you reflecting through my memory
I just wanna be with you tonight in your arms, oh can you hold me tight?

* * *

Had they gone back to square one, Fuji wondered, as he absently drank his fourth cup of coffee for the night. He glanced at the standing calendar on his table and sighed; it had been almost a month since their last rendezvous. Fuji started to wonder if that was, after all, a one night stand.

That morning, when he had woken up, Tezuka hadn't been there. He hadn't been surprised though the disappointment was still there, stubbornly taking up a space in his hollowed heart. The moment Fuji noticed that golden ring, he had known he couldn't expect much of Tezuka. He was married, he belonged to someone else.

But at least, just that one night, even for only a brief moment, Tezuka was his, right? He had never owned Tezuka to begin with, and might never will, so wasn't it enough that he had once embraced him? Wasn't it enough to for him to be Tezuka's even for just one night? Wasn't it enough to own Tezuka even for only a short while?

No.

When it concerned Tezuka, Fuji could never get enough. Even after that night, every time he closed his eyes Fuji could still vividly see how Tezuka had embraced him gently. And he wished that he could have more of Tezuka, that he could be the only one for Tezuka, and that Tezuka would be only his. Was he selfish to feel that way?

Fuji sighed and put down his cup of coffee, trying to get his focus back to the screen of his laptop. Yet his gaze strayed to the small piece of paper pinned by a pot of cactus to his desk. It was the note Tezuka had left behind after that night. Nothing was written but a simple 'Thank you' and a series of numbers. Tezuka's cell phone's number, Fuji would guess. Fuji had never tried calling that number before.

Taking the piece of paper, Fuji mused to himself that at least, Tezuka left him with a number and didn't just dispose of him after using. Fuji then wondered if he was that bitter to have thought of such rude words. Before he knew it, his hand grabbed hold of his cell phone from his desk, and Fuji toyed with the idea of trying to call Tezuka.

So he did.

"Yes, Fuji," came the tired voice over the other line, and Fuji glanced at the clock hanging on his wall. It was around 2 a.m. in the morning already.

"I'm sorry, did I wake you up?" Fuji was genuinely felt guilty and he mentally chided himself for not thinking before taking actions.

"No, it's alright. Just hold on a second," he heard Tezuka replied. Then, Fuji heard a muffled conversation, and he ignored the persistent poking on his heart as he vaguely heard a woman's voice.

The conversation was brief, and then there was a few seconds of pause, before Tezuka's voice was back on the phone. "Did you need, something, Fuji?"

Fuji idly wondered if Tezuka had moved to another place as to not disturb his wife. "Sorry, did I wake your wife too?" Fuji asked again, ignoring how bitter the word 'wife' tasted on his tongue.

There was a brief pause, before Tezuka replied, "She has gone back to sleep."

"I see," Fuji absently replied.

The former tennis prodigy knew he had to say something, but… now why was he calling again? He really didn't have any significant reason to call at this ungodly hour, did he? It was just his whims… no, it was because Fuji missed him. But still, it was no valid reason to disturb someone in their sleep.

"I'm sorry Tezuka, I was just… I'll just call you again later, ne?" he tried to smile to the phone, as if Tezuka would be able to see his smile.

"No, Fuji, it's okay," Tezuka said again, his one of voice turned even softer when he asked, "What is it?"

Fuji stood up from his chair and proceeded to open the window behind him, feeling the cold early spring night breeze embrace his body. "I love you," he blurted out.

Again, there was a pause, before Tezuka finally replied, "thank you."

"You're very welcome, but you do know it's not the respond I expected," Fuji sighed to the phone. Then, in a more desperate, almost inaudible voice, the blue-eyed man asked, "Do you love me too or not?"

Tezuka didn't immediately answer, and as a cold breeze passed him by, Fuji hugged himself with his free arm. It wasn't really because of the cold for Fuji was particularly fond of cold weather. It was the fear that he wouldn't get the response he wanted, and so he felt the need to brace himself for the worst possible answer.

"I love you too…"

Fuji could feel a smile automatically formed on his lips as he said, "Thank you."

Warmth spread all over his body as if Tezuka's words alone could embrace him, and he tightened his arm around his body, pretending it was Tezuka's.

* * *

One of these days, that I've always
Burning that time that makes you smile onto my heart

* * *

They had met once more to talk things over. Tezuka had a wife to care for, a reputation to uphold, a responsibility he couldn't neglect… Fuji understood that. Fuji himself had his own reputation and responsibility he had to uphold. Both of them were now adults, it was time for them to start following their heads instead of their hearts.

But hadn't they been doing that? All these years, hadn't they been holding back? Was it okay to part just like that? Just after their love could finally reach an understanding, was it okay just to let it go?

"What we did that night was wrong," Tezuka had said. "But I don't regret it."

Funny, Fuji thought, how honest Tezuka had become over these years.

"The only thing I regret is if what I did hurt you, Fuji."

So Tezuka wasn't hurting? That would be a lie. Fuji had seen it in his hazel eyes, the longing that he stubbornly held back, and the emotions he refused to let out.

"It would be unfair for you…"

Because Tezuka couldn't just leave his wife to be with him. He didn't want to 'use' Fuji like that, treating Fuji like some mistress.

"I'm sorry."

What was he sorry for? For being unable to leave his wife? For being unable to be with Fuji? For having embraced him at all?

No. Fuji knew Tezuka wanted him. That night, and even long before that, he was sure of it. Even until now, Fuji knew from the way Tezuka smiled at him during their tryst, from the pained tone Tezuka spoke with when he could only say 'thank you', from the gentle voice Tezuka used when he finally said 'I love you'. Tezuka wanted him, needed him, loved him.

He only didn't want to hurt Fuji.

But it hurt Fuji more when he couldn't be with him. Especially when he finally knew his feelings weren't one-sided, when Tezuka finally embraced him. If they were to part now, it was as if what Fuji could finally have after waiting so long was taken away just as soon as it was given, and it hurt him more.

Fuji closed his eyes, remembering how Tezuka's smile was content when those hazel eyes met his own cerulean ones, and, so long as he could own that smile, then he could bear the consequences. He needed neither status nor promises. Even though it hurt, as long as he could own Tezuka's heart…

Fuji didn't say anything after Tezuka said what he had to say, he hadn't had the chance to. Tezuka needed to leave soon, and Fuji just smiled, sending him off. Now, he regretted for not asking him to stay.

Fuji reached down for his pant's pocket and fished out his cell phone. His thumb had automatically speed-dialed the number that had become so familiar for the past month. The lithe man leaned against the windowsill, accompanied by the dial tone. He looked outside of the window, to the beautiful sight of Tokyo at spring, as he waited for that deep and stern voice to answer.

"Yes, Fuji?"

Their spring might be still far away, but he would still ask him to stay anyway.

"Ne Tezuka, can we meet? I have something to tell you…"

* * *

I'm thinking of you who I miss, and yet I can't put it into words
It's heart-breakingly painful but I want to be close to you, still want you by my side

* * *

~NeverEnding~



A/N: Honestly, this kind of plot (either one of them if not both got married to someone else) isn't my thing, but the muse called for it.. so yeah, I'm sorry. And the lime was killing meh!! TT_TT

Anyway, please drop me your reviews. I'd like to know what you think of this since it's kind of my first time wriing something like this. ^^

P.S: there might be a sequel, since I absolutely do NOT want Fuji to date Atobe at Ryu-rekai-akuma's An Engaging Situation. So yeah, since Ryu has threatened me (that's not fair, Ryu~), I'll do a sequel... one of these days... not soon though, I'm still trying to get my writing mood and muse back.