Title: Masquerade
Series: Tenipuri
Character/Pairing: various. Assorted hints of Tezuka/Fuji, Inui/Kaidoh, OshiEiji, MomoAnn, Kamio/Ann, Echizen/Tennis/Ponta, and Takasan/random female classmate.
Rating: PG-13 thereabouts.
Summary: This was the kind of idea that only Fuji could come up with. Tezuka/Fuji
Word count: 2,122
A/N: springkink / June 2nd - Prince of Tennis, Tezuka/Fuji: costume ball, masks for both, semi-public place, role play - You're my sugar rush.

.

This was the kind of idea that only Fuji could come up with. To be precise, it was the kind of idea that only Fuji could come up with and could convince Eiji, who would make such noise that Oishi would give in almost immediately. Convincing everyone else wasn't too hard either. A sly whisper to Inui ("It could be excellent data. Also, I do have a premonition that Kaidoh will come late, leaving him only the dress from the costume trunk") to Momo ("I'm sure it will attract other teams. Perhaps even Ann-chan will come. Also, there will be free food.") to Echizen "There will be free food. Also, there's bound to be tennis matches breaking out on the dance floor. This is ius/I after all.") to Takasan ("You could make excellent business for your restaurant. I'm sure your father would approve. Also, that one girl from the girl's tennis team – Reika was it? I do think she'd definitely be there")

It was Tezuka he didn't attempt artifice with. He simply smiled and said "You know you won't win this one, Tezuka."

Tezuka said nothing. He grimaced because he knew Fuji was right. He may have had an advantage on the tennis courts, but when it came to games of manners, Fuji always won.

Fuji leaned in closer, if it was at all possible. "I, for one, think you would look lovely in a mask, Tezuka. I've got just the perfect one set aside..."

He didn't stroke Tezuka's face, though he might as well have done so. He was close enough that his warm breath ghosted over Tezuka's cheek, his ear, caught in his hair. The minute Fuji realized that Tezuka had issues with personal space, he set on a war of closeness that had lasted years. Tezuka fully expected Fuji to be invading his personal space well into his fifties. Fuji would probably be invading his space until the day they both died, and if Fuji died first, he'd haunt Tezuka from beyond the grave.

Tezuka simply took it, a longsuffering way of taking it for the team. If Fuji didn't busy himself with Tezuka, who knew what kind of things he might devise?

.

Fuji could work magic – or something very close to it. When the school gym had been deemed unavailable he'd not been deterred. He'd talked to a relative who'd talked to a friend who'd talked to a past lover of a friend of a cousin all the way down the line until an alternate course opened up. In the end, they'd fittingly rented a tennis court, although for once, tennis wasn't the point of this endeavor.

Fuji and Eiji (and Oishi, via pleading) were left with decorating the outdoor tennis courts. They chatted and laughed and as usual, Oishi did most of the actual work. Oishi was so used to this routine and so intrinsically good-natured that he didn't even seem to mind doing the brunt of the work. That was just the kind of person Oishi was.

Trellises were erected in the wake of walls to decorate. Stars and sequins were slipped through the white mesh until every light made it sparkle. Sakuno and Tomoka along with Horio and the other first years helped along, though their version of 'helping' came off as more slipshod than the regulars. Decorations were applied crookedly, and streamers dragged along behind them as they walked Echizen was supposed to help, but predictably, he shirked it as soon as possible to drink Ponta in a corner and doze.

Fuji didn't bother him, though he did smile at the thought of later telling Tezuka how careless their young star was being...

.

The finished result was not period in the least, yet it was still something surreal, dreamlike and lovely. Fuji had given up on his dream of a true masquerade with period accents and perhaps a murder mystery and had settled for the equivalent of a summer Halloween party. The courts were arrayed in bright colors over the false walls. Streamers and stars seemed to float down from secret high places and artfully placed drapings added a touch of the fey to the dull grey concrete.

It did little to evoke eighteenth-century parties of the opulent, but Fuji still deemed it a success.

The costumes were a strange lot. Some stayed true to Fuji's original idea, some took a more modern approach, while others looked more like a very bad drag queen show. All wore their own varieties of masks. There were sequined masks with feathers in all kinds of colors, from teal to aquamarine to silver and black. There were animal masks, and ceremonial Japanese masks (foxes and birds and mice) as well as more western attire. There was no rhyme or reason to it. Princesses mingled with pirates while knights and starship captains danced together.

Inui was there early as could be to get as much data as possible. He was a mad scientist (or to be precise, Dr. Horrible, though not everyone got the joke.)

"You're supposed to come in costume," Fuji admonished.

Kaidoh did in fact come late, considering an 'accidental mistake involving directions given by Fuji.'. Fuji smirked almost as much as Inui did. His fairy queen outfit was certainly smile worthy. Inui certainly did.

Eiji came in a black catsuit and mask, and Oishi was a brown, plain and loyal dog. Momo was Zorro (the Spanish hero, not the One Piece character) spent his time between the Sushi trays and heckling Echizen. Takasan was Zoro (the One Piece character not the Spanish hero) if only because he'd been Lupin the third last year and Fuji had dissuaded him from doing it again.

Echizen wasn't anything but bored.

And Tezuka was a prince, complete with crown, waistcoat and britches which ended just below his knees. His mask was black, simple and regal.

Fuji stood a moment to admire before he began his commentary.

"How fitting. I see Ayana-san was enthused about your costume. I admire her handiwork."

Fuji was a noble, lesser than a prince, perhaps. A duke or lord of marquis – or simply the dandy courtesan lover of one of these. (He'd almost gone in drag, but he didn't want to steal Kaidoh's spot as the belle of the ball.)

He too wore a waistcoat, but in lighter shades of blue rather than Tezuka's dun colored ones. His mask was a feathered one of blues and whites. Even with it, he was unmistakable.

They were akin, two alike, a matching set.

"May I have this dance, princess?" Fuji bowed so low as to be a parody.

"Fuji."

Fuji laughed, high and light. Around them a few people stared, but Fuji ignored them. His gaze was for Tezuka alone.

"Nice tights," Fuji said. "They fit you well."

"They should be. You picked them out," Tezuka said. There was an edge to his voice, but it left Fuji only amused.

"Oh? I only helped a little, Ayana-san did the rest."

"You really should dance with me. I want to see if I'm right in assuming you have two left feet."

Tezuka exhaled sharply, annoyed. Fuji chuckled again.

Fuji took the initiative and offered his own delicate hand. Tezuka took it.

All the pirates, cats and dogs and fairy queens swirled about in their own worlds, separate from them. They fit together like doubles partner, each turn taken evenly, slowly in the right rhythm. Their steps were even and neither tangles in each other's limbs.

Fuji seemed to dare Tezuka on with his open-eyed gaze, but Tezuka was hardly daunted. He matched every move and their sterile country waltzing had all the passion of a tango.

"My predictions seem entirely wrong for once," Fuji said. "You're an excellent dancer."

"My mother liked ballroom dancing," Tezuka said flatly.

"What a surprise," Fuji said. "You never stop surprising me, you know."

"I try my best," Tezuka said drily.

Fuji laughed again.

When the music turned to a harder dance beat, they left the dance floor. Not even grave anachronism could atone for a pair of 18th century nobility grinding to something by Hard Gay.

Instead, they opted for refreshment. A glass of punch, two – they'd have even had more if it hadn't have had such mysterious origins. The drinks were reddish in color and smelled sweet, though there was no knowing the taste. While Inui offered to bring his own special brand, it was Oishi who brought it in the end.

That didn't make Tezuka any less suspicious about the punch being secretly switched. Whether tinged with alcohol by some troublemaker to 'make it more interesting' or if the case that Oishi had forgotten the punch and Inui had gleefully obliged to help, Tezuka wasn't taking a chance.

"Oh, I have something to show you.." Fuji took Tezuka's hand and lead him from the crowd. He gave a surreptitious and even smug glance to the girls beyond who were so hoping to get a dance with a prince.

Tezuka and Fuji walked, two nobles away from the sea of costumes to the farther, undecorated courts. They were unlit, empty save for nets and plain in comparison.

Fuji leaned up and slipped his fingers under the mask. He lifted it until it was

"Contacts?" Fuji said. "I was wondering how your glasses were hiding in there or if you were simply stumbling about blind."

"I have a spare pair for emergencies."

"I'm glad you consider my party and emergency. Hmm, I wonder which look is best, the megane type fits you..." Fuji trailed off. Tezuka didn't answer.

"Your turn," Fuji said. He held Tezuka's mask up as if it were stolen goods to leave no question as to what he meant.

Tezuka touched the mask. It was not a mere cheap costume store fair, but a fine one of real feathers that had been dyed in indigo. As he gently lifted it, Fuji's cerulean eyes regarded him with amusement.

"Kiss me, prince," Fuji said. His voice was husky, like the smoky sound of a jazz singer.

"Fuji..."

Tezuka took Fuji's hand. He pressed a chaste, courtly kiss to the back of the palm.

Fuji raised an eyebrow. "Clever, but it doesn't count. Now try again, or I'll take you out to the dance floor and kiss you in front of everyon–"

Fuji's sentence was lost as Tezuka kissed him.

"You're a surprisingly good kisser too. Who'd have thought? I'm jealous, here I thought you'd be some perfect virgin who I'd teach everything too..."

"Fuji–!"

"So you did save yourself for me?" Fuji said sweetly

Tezuka kissed him again, for the same reason: to shut him up.

Fuji clung to Tezuka's collar and pulled him down to meet. Even their kissing was one of wills. Fuji bit at Tezuka's lips as he kissed, a trait Tezuka hadn't thought of but one that was unsurprising. Fuji would probably leave marks all over him if Tezuka ever let him.

A sound broke them apart, but when both scanned the area, there was no disturbance to be found.

"I bet Momo and Echizen are kicking pebbles..." Fuji said. "Really, though I didn't realize this would be so effective. I'll have to keep trying." `

Fuji peered at him, sly, through his lashes. The next kiss was Tezuka's doing completely and in no way coerced, or as passionate as the first few. It was like a trying out of words, a repeating of a foreign last name that was to become Tezuka's own. Fuji sighed appreciatively and lingered clutched to Tezuka's elaborate collar.

"My, my, Tezuka. Could you be falling for me?" Fuji whispered.

Being with Fuji was something completely unique. There was no rush like this, the dappled mix of fascination, a hint of danger and unknown. It was a rush Tezuka could never replicate, and had only found in tennis itself in the purest form of a match of equals.

"Fuji, you're..."

"Fascinating? Infuriating? Alluring? Irresistible? Drop dead gorgeous and the best kisser you've ever met?"

"Yes."

"Yes, what?"

"Yes," Tezuka simply said.

"So I'm all of the above and more?"

Tezuka nodded.

Fuji chuckled and leaned on Tezuka, clutching his good, uninjured arm as they walked.

"It's good to know that I'm your sugar rush."

"I wouldn't put it that way," Tezuka said.

"No, you wouldn't," Fuji said thoughtfully. "That's why I put it in words for you. You can thank me later."

Tezuka made a sound like a strangled cough. Fuji blinked twice and pressed his hand to Tezuka's ribcage to feel the compressed rhythm there, as if undeniable evidence.

"Tezuka, are you laughing?" Fuji said in mock horror.

"No," Tezuka said.

"You were, weren't you? You really are surprising. I wonder if you're secretly ticklish..."

On the far side of the courts to the lit, decorated places, the party continued, unheeded by them.