Just a quick little foreword: Sugar Sweet is the sequel to Shine, so I recommend that you read Shine first as there are some incidents which happened in the former are mentioned in Sugar Sweet (as is with mose sequels. XD). And that is all I have to say in this small spot up here. =(^_^)=


Sugar Sweet
By Sileny

Prologue

Asa let out a soft sigh as she continued her trip down the busy street. She had just finished a hospital checkup and had decided to do a bit of window-shopping before she headed home. Or… maybe she'd actually do some shopping, since she would be the only one home tonight and the fridge was empty.

Again.

I guess that means grocery shopping for me, she thought, shouldering her purse to a steadier position on her shoulder as she walked. But that didn't mean that she wasn't going to check out a few of the other shops. Seika needs some more cat food, too, now that I think about it, she said to herself, pausing in front of the pet store with one finger to her chin as she thought.

"Cat food, cat food," she murmured to herself as she made her way to the food section upon deciding that Seika's current supply of food needed to be replenished. "Ah… here it is," she murmured, reaching up to take them off the shelf when her cell phone rang. "Hmm? That's funny…" she murmured, taking out the communication device and flipping it open.

"Moshimoshi?" she asked, picking out the cat food that she wanted and making her way to the counter. "This is Ijuuin Asa speaking. Can I help you?" She paid for her purchases and headed outside with her bag.

"My, my, so formal, are you?" Oshitari's voice drawled into her ear through the phone. "Are you busy this afternoon?"

"Eh…? Not quite…"

"Good. Come over to the Atobe mansion; Seigaku is over as well. We're holding high tea and expect that you be over soon. See you then." The line went dead, leaving one puzzled Asa to contemplate what she had just been told. Well… I don't have anything to lose, do I? I might as well see what it is. Atobe's mansion, was it?

Now there was only one problem…

Where the heck is Atobe's mansion supposed to be?!

***

Atobe was in his element as host for his high tea. "This tea is of highest quality," he was boasting as his butler set down a tray laden with delicate porcelain teacups and a matching teapot besides another tray laden with beautifully decorated cakes. "Enjoy Ore-sama's expertise in selecting high quality tea. This is Ceylon tea; try it alone first in order to taste the flavor and aroma. Of course, it's served in Wedgwood dishes."

Fuji looked curiously at the delicate cup he held in his hand. Trust Atobe to have china from expensive English chinaware companies ready to use at his disposal. He sipped slowly in an attempt to follow the offered advice of savoring the aroma and flavor, but in truth, it really just tasted like tea to him. It did have a nice smell, though…

"Master Keigo. The last of your guests have arrived." Atobe nodded briefly as Asa was ushered into the spacious room and shown to a seat on the sofa. "Would you care for a cup of tea?" She had just set down her shopping bag when a teacup filled with the warm, dark amber liquid was handed to her.

"Thank you," she murmured when the butler moved off to stand to the side, ready to serve every need of his master's should the need arise. "Hmm… this scent is almost like citrus to a certain degree. Is it Ceylon, by any chance?"

Eiji looked startled. "No way! Aa-chan can tell?"

"Um… only a few kinds…"

"Maa, maa… it's still impressive," Fuji said brightly. "We're glad you came to high tea." Asa glanced around at the Seigaku regulars who were there. Of all nine of them, only Tezuka looked truly comfortable in this atmosphere as he sipped away at his tea, looking as if he was contemplating which cake to take from the cake tray. The Hyotei regulars were perfectly at home with something like this; as expected of people who were rich.

Miho grinned at her friend from over her teacup. "What do you think?" she asked cheekily. "This is your first time attending high tea, right? Atobe-kun serves the best; it's always fun when he invites everyone."

Atobe frowned into his cup, setting it down and motioning for it to be refilled. It was done promptly. "Fun? Ore-sama considers it a sophisticated way of relaxing." But he looked quite happy with the compliment, and for the briefest of moments, Asa couldn't detect any hint of pride on his face. Atobe Keigo is a surprising person, at times, she decided. He puts on a strong outer image but inside he's really a nice person. "Try a cake. They'll be disgusting if they grow stale. The decorations are made of candy, a feat that is the masterwork of a professional pastry chef."

Eiji was ecstatic at the array of sweets. "They look delicious!" he said happily. "Which one do I want, nya…? They all look too cute to eat!"

Gakuto scolded him. "Cakes were made to be eaten, you know."

"Of course I know that!" Eiji replied heatedly, and before they knew it the two acrobatic players were holding a lively argument. They were soon joined by Momo and Kaidoh with Hiyoshi. Shisido even graced them with his arguing skills, when he got too annoyed with the loud voices around him. This dragged Oishi and Choutarou into the fray as well, when they tried, their efforts in vain, to calm everyone down.

"My, my… everyone's getting so fired up," Oshitari said, selecting a cake and breaking off one of the fragile candy petals of a blossom it sported. "Mmm… very sweet," he muttered as he popped the petal into his mouth and sucked on the candy.

"I think it's perfect," Fuji said cheerfully, biting into his own cake with a satisfied expression on his face. "The sweetness is just right. What if I were to put wasabi on it…?"

"Don't even try; you'd ruin the cake right then and there."

Fuji pouted before turning to Asa, who was holding a cake in her hands and staring at it. Doing nothing but staring at it. "What's wrong?" he asked, cocking his head to one side.

"It's nothing… but it would be a shame to eat such a pretty and perfect cake, wouldn't it?"

Of to the side, Gakuto was getting fired up as he defended his case. "CAKES ARE MEANT TO BE EATEN! IT DOESN'T MATTER HOW THEY LOOK!"

Eiji's annoyed voice snapped back at him. "AND I TOLD YOU I KNOW THAT ALREADY!"

Who said rich and sophisticated go hand in hand?

"So loud…" Oshitari, and Fuji offered as one, Fuji reaching over and breaking off a leaf from Asa's cake as he spoke. She blinked and then looked at him with a sullen expression on her face. "Now it's not so perfect and you can eat it," the genius said helpfully, sucking contentedly on the candy leaf. "Aren't I right?" She chose not to answer him.

Tea ended an hour later with the argument finally being broken up. Eiji and Gakuto complained that their throats hurt as they were shown to the door, with Miho grinning behind them as she popped the last bite of her cake into her mouth, licking sticky fingers. "Thank you for the invite!" she said cheerfully as she headed off for her own house with Oshitari in tow.

Atobe smirked as his guests left his sight before turning his attention to Fuji. "Be awed by Ore-sama's generosity."

"Oh, I'm utterly stunned speechless, Atobe-kun." He grinned mischievously at his puzzled expression, watching as Atobe wondered whether or not that was a direct insult to his hospitality. "But really, thank you for the invitation. It was really fun." He gave a nod to the diva as he began to drag Asa away on their own walk towards their homes, leaving Atobe standing in his doorway.

"Che… Seigaku," he said softly. "Always full of surprises, they are, even outside of the courts; how interesting." His sharp eyes focused on Fuji's back as the boy chattered to Asa (they were out of his hearing range but still within sight). The genius seemed rather happy and more playful than usual, as seen from his light teasings sprinkled all throughout the tea (most directed towards the members of his own team; it looked like Fuji had grown tired of only teasing his own teammates). Atobe had noticed as he watched his assembled guests over his own cup of tea. Atobe noticed all that went around his residence. "Fuji is an interesting character, na, Kabaji? He's almost like candy; the perfect blend of sweetness."

And the huge boy who stood besides him gave a slow nod and spoke only one word, as was his norm. "Usu."


A/N: It's a... rather longish prologue. And it rambles. Whoops. But I do like the idea of Fuji being compared to candy. You know... if it's too sweet it makes you blanch, but if it's not sweet enough it wouldn't be called candy anymore.

Please read and review (like always!) (I hope...)!