Ryoma found himself outside the Fuji residence; standing before the door. Every once in awhile, he reached his arm up but never dared to make contact with the door. In his mind, Ryoma continued to question how it was his feet managed to get here on this sunny morning. He didn't remember having any will to be there nor could he get himself to leave. It was on these front steps that the door was shut on him and the love he thought was shared between him and Fuji was lost. As he remained there thinking about everything, the door cracked open; startling Ryoma.
"How long do you plan on loitering there, Echizen?"
"Uh!" Ryoma quickly looked up into Fuji's glowing blue eyes before shifting his vision away.
"Echizen, what are you doing here?" the question pierced through Ryoma's heart.
"Do you expect me to ask the same things as before?" he bit his lower lip and shook his head. "Do you want me to ask why you didn't tell me you were leaving? Do you expect me to allow myself to fall to pieces like I did before?"
"There's nothing to talk about. I'm leaving like you want me to… and I won't return. I won't bother you or try to change your life anymore," Fuji turned himself around. He could feel his heart breaking but knew that there was nothing more he could do.
Ryoma pulled his hands up and clung onto the back of Fuji's white shirt; forcing him to stop. "Tell me!"
"Echizen, you look best with that cute smile."
"Tell me why! Why did you leave me?"
"Forever is a long time, don't you think, Echizen?"
"Don't just close the door again on me!"
"I really do like you, Echizen. It pleases me to be with you."
"I'm sick of crying over you and wondering what I did wrong!"
"How long, I wonder, do you think we'll be able to hold each other's hand? Echizen, what do you think? Can you commit yourself to one person forever?"
"Tell me! Release me from this cage you placed me in!"
Fuji tore away from Ryoma's grasp and swiftly returned to looking at him. His pale hands cupped under Ryoma's chin and pulled him closer in order for their lips to meet. As they parted, Fuji put his mouth to Ryoma's left ear and barely uttered, "No matter which way, I just continue to hurt you." Stepping forward, he caused Ryoma to move back and out of the way of the door that slammed closed.
"Fuji-senpai! Senpai!" Ryoma pounded his fists against the door. "Don't do this! Senpai! Teach me! Teach me what love really is! I don't… I just… I hate it… everything…"
Why? Why must we hold onto such fragile things that break so easily? This life… this precious life I've been given is torturing me. Is love nothing more than a selfish wanting for someone to be near to you? Even so, more than anything, this is a wanting I can't shake. To love and be loved… that special bond between two people… I want it. To be freed from this cage and be able to live without hate is something I've been wishing for lately. No matter how much I deny it, in the end, I truly, truly have a desire to be with you more than anyone else. Despite the pain you've placed in my heart… I still want you. Even if the feelings were bore at that time were premature, I want to continue to nurture those emotions and allow them to develop correctly. Why must we push each other away when we have finally realized the truth? Call me naïve and stubborn… it doesn't matter anymore. I just want to return to how things were before that door was closed and our unripe love departed.
In a fit of anger, Ryoma took his cell phone from his pocket and raced down the road. His fingers furiously dialed number after number as he demanded each person he spoke with to meet him at the hotel in the same room as usual. Coming into the hotel, he threw money at the woman at the front desk and snatched the key; quickly going up the elevator and to the room. Noting that no one had made it yet, he kept the door unlocked and stripped off his clothes with no hesitation. Climbing under the covers, he waited for the first person to walk in.
Though, outside in the hall, Niou, Atobe, and Momoshiro stood staring at each other. They were all confused as to why Ryoma would call them all together at one time. It was obvious that he was up to something, but they couldn't figure out his reasoning. Seeing Horio rushing through the hall and yelling for them not to do anything, they all were shocked to see the taller man running along side him.
"Tezuka," the three voices echoed together.
Tezuka scanned those who stood in front of him. He shook his head disappointingly when his sight reached Momoshiro. "I don't know if I should be ashamed of you or pity you. To come here at the wishes of Echizen only to defile his body… have you no honor?"
"Ah, then what are you doing here, Tezuka?" Atobe snickered.
"To put a stop to this since no one else will," Tezuka took a few steps forward and pushed the door open; leaving the others outside.
"He takes all the fun out of these games," Niou sighed and threw his hands up. "Seems like my turn always gets ruined."
"Tezuka-sama is right though!" Horio growled. "Maybe you were too busy placing yourself on him to notice what was really happening to Echizen. Allowing ourselves to continue to give into his calls… it was all wrong of us!"
"Horio…" Momoshiro felt his body slightly shiver. He slowly turned himself to Atobe and Niou; clearing his throat. "I don't know about you two, but I'm out of here. I've had enough of this fooling around and ruining friendships that should have never turned this way. Whoever comes with me now, I'll treat to hamburgers."
"That Tezuka can handle things from here. Lets leave Echizen in his hands," Atobe agreed; following behind the already leaving Momoshiro.
"Hamburgers," Niou's lips curled up as he pulled the sleeve of Horio's shirt; jogging in order to catch up with the others. "Puri."
I could have handled anything you would have given me if you would have stayed a bit longer. If this door has truly closed, then I too am closing the door… the door to my heart. In order to free myself from this pain, I will continue to be used. If I am to be cursed to this bed for all eternity, it no longer matters. To be broken into and freed of these feelings… it's now all I ask for. There is no such thing as love.
As the door creaked open, Ryoma let out a gasp as he noticed Tezuka walking in. Though, he quickly got his act together and crawled out from under the covers; inching his way towards the edge of the bed with every step Tezuka took. When they were face to face, Ryoma noticed that the older boy had his eyes fixed to the ground.
"You don't want to look at me?" Ryoma reached out his hand only to have it stopped. "What? You came here which means you want to use me. Don't smack me away."
"I didn't come here for those reasons," Tezuka kept his composure as Ryoma went after the buttons on his pants.
"Then what do you want? If you have no interest in this, get out."
"What are you doing?"
Ryoma continued to tug at Tezuka's pants until they fell down. "What does it look like? I'm obviously going to pleasure you."
"This person you've become isn't very likable," the older boy didn't even flinch as Ryoma's mouth wrapped around him. "Is this what you want? For me to give in just like everyone else? Would it please you if I allowed myself to use you for pleasure I don't wish to have?"
Ryoma pulled himself away. "I just want you to help break me. Despite your expression, it looks like you're enjoying yourself."
"I came here because it was asked of me," Tezuka's strong arms pinned Ryoma's frail body onto the bed without the young boy even realizing it. Holding him down with one hand, he used the other to pull his pants back up. Returning to the younger boy, he stared deep into his honey eyes. "Your eyes show something different from what you're doing, Echizen. This isn't what you want. What you want is answers."
"I…" Ryoma could feel himself shaking; trying his hardest to push away thoughts that were flowing into his mind. "Just go. If you… if you don't want me… leave…"
Tezuka released him and allowed himself to swiftly turn away. "Fuji didn't tell you."
"I don't want to talk about him!"
"You went to see him, Echizen. Couldn't you see that he still loves you? Seeing you like this… knowing that it was his doing that place you in this position is killing him!" Tezuka yelled. "This isn't some game, Echizen, this is life! He came he in order to fix the mistakes he made, but you wouldn't even allow him to explain. Now, Fuji has given up just as you have. The reason why he left…"
"He left because he regretted everything he had done to you!"
Ryoma didn't overly understand what Tezuka meant, but his body still reacted to the words. He took the blankets and wrapped them around his bare body; waiting to hear what was next.
Tezuka returned to Ryoma; their eyes meeting. It could be seen in his movement that it was taking everything in Tezuka to keep himself from becoming completely flustered. "To allow himself to get carried away when you said you loved him was something he couldn't shake. That day you went to confront him about him leaving, instead of answering his calls when he tried to reach you, you instead ignored him. Fuji had to leave for college, but he never once wanted to leave you behind. For the almost two years that he'd been gone, he continued to try to talk with you and explain things, but you were too stubborn to take the time to listen. Fuji knew that you were too young to understand what love was or the acts that you were doing, but he continued to do things with you because he was foolish. He believes that if you never shared those intimate moments that you would have never became this way. It was for the best… that's what he thought. To let you go would help you grow. To leave you would cast away the pain he was placing on you. Fuji didn't realize that the night he took that innocence from you that he also took away your freedom. Don't you understand, Echizen? Can't you see that Fuji can't help but feel that no matter what he does, he only continues to hurt you?"
"If this… if this…" Ryoma choked on his words as tears swelled in his eyes and fell down his cheeks. "If this isn't love… then what is? I want to be loved! I want… I want… I-I… I hate myself…"
Grabbing for his phone, Tezuka quickly called someone. Stating where he was and to hurry there, he hung up and returned the device to his pocket. "Put your clothes on, Echizen. This is the last chance you'll be given. I'll wait until Fuji gets here."
To love and to be loved. To make mistakes and to regret your actions. This world… it continues to become even more confusing. I want the flowers in my heart to bloom open again and to feel what is real. If love was meant to be a part of my life, it will be. The money was never enough and neither was the touch. Nothing could make up for what I had lost. This void in my heart… it can not be filled by actions of being violated night after night. All I ever truly wanted was you to take my hand once again. As you said, forever is a long time, but I… I'm willing to commit myself. Please, water the flowers in my heart and let them blossom anew.
"Echizen," as Fuji entered the room, Tezuka made his way to the door; leaving. "You've become prisoner to this room… I'm sorry."
"You knew you were going to leave… you knew that if you continued to push into me that I would become hurt… yet you continued. Why?" Ryoma found it hard to look at the taller boy.
"I believed that as long as I did those acts that you would stay mine forever. I failed to realize that I had trapped you in my arms and was hurting you each step of the way. When you said you loved me, I knew you couldn't possibly understand what you were saying. Though, in my heart, I did love you. My foolish actions are to blame, and I regret allowing myself to do such things," moving forward, he touched his fingers gently against Ryoma's wet cheeks. "No matter what I did, if I stayed or left, I was going to hurt you. And then to force myself on you when you were most vulnerable…"
The younger boy shifted his eyes left and right before lifting his head up and stared up at Fuji. "Even if we were to make up and things are better, you would just leave me again."
"I can't stay here forever, Echizen. You, too, will graduate soon and see that you'll leave this place for college."
"I… Fuji-senpai… even when you left… I still thought of you and only you…" biting his lower lip, Ryoma felt another set of tears streaming down his eyes. "No matter how many different guys came and went… I continued to pretend they were you. I always hoped that I'd wake up to see you next to me!"
"Tezuka… Tezuka said that friendships break because both sides give up on staying in contact. If we… if we stayed in contact… if we continued to talk and stay with each other while even far away, would you…" Ryoma jumped off of the bed and into Fuji's arms. "Would you please teach me? I want to know… I want to understand… the true meaning of love…"
"The true meaning of love…" Fuji blinked a few times as a sad smile formed on his face. "That's something that I'm not even sure about."
Ryoma squeezed his arms tightly around Fuji's frame. "Then, let this be it. Let the true meaning of love be us here together like this… with the hurt finally subsiding and mistakes put aside…"
"This time, Fuji-senpai, I will say it and know what it means," Ryoma got onto his toes and barely pressed his lips onto Fuji's cheek. "I love you."
"I love you too, Echizen."
If life could be as simple as people say it is, we would live in a perfect world living perfect lives. Things that are meant to be will be. To love and to be loved is such an odd feeling that I wouldn't dare try to explain. I would have continued to lie to myself in order to forget what had happened, but now I have no regrets. If it's possible, no matter the distance, I wish to continue to have you hold my hand. Letting it go would be nearly impossible for me to do. I love you. Never would I have guessed they would be such painful words to say. An attraction between two people and the friction it will create… it's scary. More than anything… I want to wake up with you next to me. I want this warmth to never leave me.
As the sun rose once again over the horizon, Ryoma turned to his right; still in the hotel room. Seeing Fuji sleeping next to him eased his heart. Carefully, he cuddled up against his warm body and shut his eyes once again. Fuji, barely awake, pulled his long arm up and over him and lovingly kissed his cheek as if knowing exactly what the young boy wanted at that moment.
The curse that was once placed upon me had been lifted. I'm no longer a prisoner to this bed. Even if the true meaning of love is still a mystery… to be here with you… that is more than enough for me. Together, we'll cherish this fragile love and allow it to mature…
NOTE: Oops. Did I forget to mention that this would be the last chapter? Yeah, that's probably because I wasn't even aware that chapter 10 would conclude this fic. Knowing my luck, I forgot to clear something up and mention things, but you all usually tell me about those things. Heh~ Anyways, yes, this fic is complete… eleven months and ten days after it was first published. I would like to take a moment to thank EchizenRyomaLover for helping to inspire this fic, and thank you all who have continued to come back and read this fic. I hope that this ending was able to please all of you. I wonder, are we all satisfied with this?
Quick last minutes things that will not make sense to most people reading this note in the future. First, April 17th, 2011 will be when my next FujiXRyoma fic will be uploaded ("Unconscious Love" ― A remake of "The Fallen Prince"). Second, if anyone is interested, my profile has a link to my original fiction story that I'm working on. Third, despite it saying that this fic is not complete, it is. I'm still having issues getting to the "property" portion of the story sections along with uploading. I will change this to complete as soon as I'm able to.
No more chattering because this note has become way too long. Though, I better not hear complaints about chapter length… this is the longest chapter, I believe. Thank you for reading this fic and enjoying it if you did. It was an honor to be able to write this fic for all of you to read. Until next fic, bye bye!