A Special Kind of Love
by Calator (formerly lustbader064)
Disclaimer: I don't own Prince of Tennis.
A/N: And here's the long awaited, Chapter 5! I hope you enjoy it because I enjoyed writing it!
Chapter 5- Art Class
Endo Tetsuya had the rewarding job of being Seishun Gakuen's Art teacher. Being the art fanatic that he was, he immediately accepted the job as soon it was offered to him, thinking that it was a great opportunity to mold younger talents to their full potential.
Sadly, he was mistaken. Well, not entirely, but on some fronts, yes, he was utterly mistaken.
While there were some talented students that he had taken under his wing and taught them all they needed to know to improve their own styles of art, the other students that he had in his class were safe to say, impossible to be saved from their dooms. Even if he had found diamonds and a few other precious gems, there would always be some lump of useless rocks among the bunch.
The worst of them all was Tezuka Kunimitsu, someone who supposedly held the brunt of the usually mild Endo-sensei's anger. Staff and students didn't know what to make of it since Tezuka NEVER got in trouble with teachers. When asked, the art teacher would explain that, quote, "That brat is the most insufferable student I have ever had in my few years of teaching! He doesn't know how it is to express oneself in art and I am starting to wonder if he will turn worse than Fujiwara-san! Honestly! His art is lifeless! It has no feelings or emotions whatsoever!" unquote.
Tezuka was strict on punctuality and was usually the first one to arrive in most of his classes if he didn't have particular duties to take care of. Endo-sensei seethed at another thought of the boy.
"Top student… hah!" he grumbled under his breath. "If it wasn't for the fact that he can make decent work from time to time, I would've made sure that his grades are failing in my subject!"
He ran a hand through his shoulder-length blond hair in exasperation then placed down his mug on the table and fixed the messy stacks of papers on his desk. He caught sight of the small notification letter sent out to every teacher and staff in the school. It was about the blind new student. He grabbed his glasses from where it hung on his shirt and placed it on. When Endo first read it, his chest tightened at the thought of someone blind, not being able to see the beauty of the world.
This morning when he went in the teacher's lounge, he caught sight of a small crowd of his co-workers around Nakamura, all of them listening as the eccentric teacher told them about the new student in her class.
"Oh he's a darling! Such a cute boy, Echizen Ryoma is, you're all gonna love him," she said, gushing in delight as she thought once again of the new student.
"I really wanna see him now," another female teacher, Tsuyuri Natsumi of Home Economics was blushing, obviously caught up with the new student like Nakamura was. "A pity he's blind though."
"Oh you shouldn't be saying that, Ryoma-kun can handle himself pretty well, only now and I can already tell. At least he has Tezuka-kun to help him out!"
"You should really stop it with the boy, Nakamura-kun," Fujiwara Ryotarou, the demon of Japanese History, as he was called by his students. His dark as midnight hair and eyes on pale skin made him all the more creepy despite his tasteful features."Tezuka-kun has enough duties as he is, that boy. You should lay off him. It wouldn't be good for his health."
"Just let Nakamura do what she wants. It's her class anyway," Endo finally decided to add his own two cents in. "It's really a treasure to hear you worry about one student when you don't give a damn about the others. You're obvious favoritism on that Tezuka-boy is uncalled for."
"Well you're obvious dislike for him is also uncalled for," the stern teacher in retaliation. "All I hear is you ranting about him not having enough feelings in his work when the boy is clearly an intelligent lad! He doesn't need your crackpot subject, you—"
"And that's enough you two! No more hissing at each other like scorned PMS-ing women would over their lovers," Nakamura went between the two of them and pushed them apart, effectively stopping their fight. "No need to fight over my dear Tezuka-kun."
The small crowd of teachers had dispersed somewhere in the middle of their fight, not wanting to see another Endo-Fujiwara argument over Tezuka Kunimitsu, the prized honor student of Seigaku. Now the two teachers were glaring quite venomously at each other, ignoring Nakamura who stayed between them, acting peacemaker.
Finally, Fujiwara, stating that he was being the better man ("You are not!" Endo protested.), stopped their childish glaring and packed the materials he needed for his next class. "I'll see you later, Nakamura," he gave her a curt nod and turned cold eyes at Endo. "Rot in hell," he said before leaving the room.
"Why that—" Endo was supposed to follow him and give him a piece of his mind but Nakamura grabbed the back of his shirt to prevent him from doing so.
"Woah, hold your horses there, tiger."
Endo did as he was told, not because he was accepting the fact that he was a tiger. Because he was not. At all.
"Can't you two stop it already? You've been arguing since we were children. Don't tell me you're still angry he stuffed onigiri down your pants when we were seven?"
Endo blushed when a few other teachers heard that and started snickering. He grabbed Nakamura and dragged her outside where he hissed at her, "Could you please not say that while there are other people in the room? The memory is embarrassing enough as it is."
"Oh come on! The three of us have been together through elementary, middle school, high school, and hell, even the same college! And you still haven't gotten along well… If I didn't know better, this is an advanced case of denial."
"Would you please stop saying that! You're making it sound like me and that demon is a couple!"
"Are you?" she asked with a raised brow.
"Of course not!" Endo denied with absolute abhorrence on his face.
Nakamura said something under her breath that suspiciously sounded like, "This is one tough couple to match make. To be able to elude my skills for so long… no wonder they're my best friends," made Endo wonder once again why he stayed friends with her.
But a sudden smile overtook her features. "Anyway, you should really stop arguing with Fujiwara-kun, it's not really good for your health. You should also stop it with my beloved student unless you want to wake up in the middle of nowhere. I take good care of each of my student, you know!"
"Gotcha…" he couldn't say anymore.
"Good!" she chirped cheerfully.
Endo looked at his watch and told his friend since forever, "I have to go now. I still have to prepare the Art room for my next class."
"You do that," Nakamura said to him, making shooing motions with her hand as she herself went back to the teacher's lounge.
The Art teacher shook his head and started walking away but Nakamura's head popped out from the room and called to him, "You're gonna love my new baby!"
"Your new baby?" he asked, confused.
"Ryoma-chan, of course! He's my new baby and you should expect him in your Art class. I'm sure you'll be taken with him like the others will be."
He smirked at her, "Only if he ensnares the demon Fujiwara."
"Oh, I'm sure my baby will do just that. But don't be jealous when it actually happens okay? I'm sure Ryoma-chan never would mean to get in between the two of you."
"Fujiwara and I are not lovers!" he shrieked so loud that other teachers peeked out of their classrooms, along with some students to see the commotion that was happening in the hallway.
Nakamura's mad cackles followed his red face all the way to the Art room.
Endo sighed. All this excitement was not good for his heart. One of these days, Nakamura would be the death of him with all her eccentricity.
He heard a knock on the door and his features morphed into a scowl as he remembered who he was thinking about just a while ago. 'It's probably the damn brat.'
"The door's open," he managed to say without contempt.
"We're coming in."
And the door opened to reveal his most hated student of all. It took all of Endo's willpower not to seethe at the boy every time he saw his emotionless face.
Tezuka bowed at the waist, greeting him politely. Well, if the boy was polite then Endo would be a jerk to be impolite in return. "Just pick whatever sit you like, Tezuka-kun," he said, motioning to the many empty chairs scattered around the room.
But the boy just stood there. He was about to ask if the boy wanted something when he finally noticed the other smaller boy beside the honor student. 'Is he… Echizen Ryoma-kun?'
"Uhm… I-I'm…" the boy stuttered, his undeniably beautiful face reddening in embarrassment.
Endo decided to save the boy from anymore of it and stood up to move to Ryoma. "You must be the new student." Ryoma nodded in confirmation. "Everybody's been talking about you. You've turned into quite the celebrity in such a short time." The art teacher ruffled his soft, ebony hair as the boy blushed even further.
"Aa," Tezuka said softly beside them.
Endo would have usually ignored the brown-haired student but the softness he heard in his voice was unusual and raised his head to look at Tezuka's face. What he saw was something he never expected to see on this particular person's face. It was a smile. Although small and barely noticeable, there was the existence of a smile on the hailed expressionless student. The art teacher turned to the little blind boy before him. 'Could it be… because of Ryoma-kun?'
Looking between the two boys, he thought to himself, 'Maybe this year will be different.'
For whatever reason Tezuka didn't know, Endo-sensei was being nice to him.
Since his first year, he had the man as his Art teacher without fail. And without fail, Endo-sensei would keep his end of the deal: to criticize his art works. Of course, no other teacher had done it to him since he had done well in all their subjects. But Endo-sensei was different. He told him all his faults and shortcomings in Art class, without any hesitation and second-thoughts.
And it was in the spring of his first year in middle school that Tezuka Kunimitsu decided that even though History (with Fujiwara-sensei) was his favorite subject, Endo Tetsuya (teaching Art) was his favorite teacher. He was his role model. Just like Yamato-buchou. And even though sometimes Endo-sensei would look at him distastefully or tell something scathing about his work, he would take it all in and admire the man even more than before. It was all because of Endo-sensei that he was able to become the stoic, hard-willed, strong-faced Tezuka that everybody knew today. All his harsh words were good for building character!
And he wasn't masochistic to say the least.
Please note the sarcasm.
And that was where their weird relationship of admiration-and-despise started. Tezuka didn't mind it all but now, he thought, as Endo-sensei finally treated him like he would the rest of the class, he might've improved. And the thought brought great joy to him to finally be able to do something right in the eyes of his idol after two years of scorn.
Endo-sensei greeted all of them cheerfully and Tezuka thought that there was an extra cheerful grin sent in his and Ryoma's direction. What was supposed to be, 'It's nice to finally see some smiles on your face, Tezuka-kun,' was translated by Tezuka's poor idol-distraught mind as, 'You've finally improved past your limits. I'm very, very proud of you, Tezuka-kun.'
It made Tezuka feel as if he was the same, naïve first year student with the doe eyes and the is-it-there-because-I-can't-see-the-damn-lenses-unlike-what-that-creepy-data-collecting-kid-has glasses (which he still wore) that he was before.
He was brought out of his musings when the class started shouting. He was about to reprimand them for misconduct during class hours (and during his favorite teacher's class too!) when his mind finally processed what it was they were shouting about.
"Ryoma-chan says that he can sculpt, sensei!" a boy at the back said, his passé echoing his claim.
"Do you really?" Endo-sensei asked, directing his question to Ryoma who sat beside Tezuka.
"Yes, sir," he said demurely.
The blonde teacher seemed to think about his decision for a moment before shrugging, "Since we're doing portraits of each other… why not?"
Everybody in the room either cheered or giggled at the opportunity to finally be able to witness one of Ryoma's talents at work and even Tezuka himself gave a small, unnoticeable whoop of 'yes!'
"All of you will be paired up with another classmate but since we have an uneven number, Kenichi, I expect you to behave with your passé," the art teacher stopped to hear the loud 'yes' from his basketball-playing student before continuing. "You will draw your partner… well, sculpt your partner, for Ryoma's case." He smiled at the blind boy as he said so. "And when the bell rings, I expect all your works on my desk by then. If it's not finished, we'll continue it next week but under no circumstances will I see a face of a horned devil when I wanted you to draw your classmates. Okay class?"
"But sensei, what if they look like a horned devil?" Kenichi asked from the back. He was giggling madly on his seat and one of his friends elbowed him on the side jokingly.
"What? I never knew that someone looked like Fujiwara-sensei here. Is there really?"
All of the class laughed hysterically while the blonde art teacher smiled good-naturedly at them.
Amidst it all, Ryoma was confused and asked Tezuka, "Why is Endo-sensei being mean to Fujiwara-sensei? Did something happen between them?"
"Endo-sensei and Fujiwara-sensei have always fought with each other but I think it's all in good will. They've been at it for as long as I remember," Tezuka explained calmly.
When the class settled, Endo-sensei grouped all of them into pairs and kept Echizen and Tezuka together, despite the class's protest that they wanted to be paired with Ryoma.
"Now, now, class. You're making Tezuka-kun jealous, asking to have Ryoma for yourselves!"
As a whole, everybody looked at Tezuka just to see his reaction but was met with a closed stare and a raised eyebrow. There was silence for a few moments before everyone burst into unexplainable laughter.
Ryoma asked Tezuka between giggles, "Are you?"
The stoic boy looked at his companion before leaning in to whisper into his ear, "Maybe a little bit."
To which Ryoma laughed even more.
After their laughing fiasco was over, Endo-sensei gave Ryoma a big lump of modeling clay and a small round desk to work on. "Here you go. Hope you make one wonderful work of art!"
"Arigatou, sensei!" Ryoma smiled widely at where he heard Endo-sensei's voice and the teacher smiled back in return before sending Tezuka another one of his 'misinterpreted' smiles and returning to his seat.
"So," Tezuka started, "How do you sculpt?"
Ryoma, who was in the process of examining his clay with his hands, told his seatmate, "Since it's your sculpture I'm making, I think it's fair to tell you what I'll do.
"I'm going to use my hands to see you."
All Tezuka could do was raise his eyebrows in confusion and surprise. "I don't follow."
"Since I can't very well use my eyes, I'm going to use my hands to see what I can't. With my hands, I'll be able to get a feel of what you look like then I'm going to shape the clay into what I felt. Got it?"
"I think so."
"Are we ready to get started?"
Almost immediately, one of Ryoma's hands flew up to, dare I say it, caress Tezuka's face. His soft, rose-scented hands touched Tezuka's face with such gentleness that Tezuka found it hard to fight the blush that was creeping up his neck and spreading on his cheeks.
"Kunimitsu, you're heating up!" this caught the attention of some of his eavesdropping classmates, their ears leaning in to hear more. 'Those busybodies,' Tezuka thought as he glared at them with the best of his abilities without moving his head. He was successful since most of them cowed and returned to drawing.
"Are you alright, Kunimitsu?" Ryoma's worried voice floated over the angry haze in his mind.
Tezuka turned his eyes to him and relaxed in Ryoma's hands, as both had found their way to both his cheeks and his lips upturned into a smile. "I'm alright, it's nothing really. Let's just continue or we might not finish our works."
"You're right. I really hope it's not bothering you. Me touching your face like this."
"It's not a problem, really."
When Ryoma smiled at him again and started caressing his face in that manner again, Tezuka wondered to himself if he could finish his own portrait of Ryoma.
He thought to himself, no. He wouldn't.
A/N: I'm baaaack! From the dead! No, I'm just joking. But I am back my dear readers and under the new name, Calator! Hope you don't expect me to be more punctual because I won't be! BEWARE! I'm still as lazy as ever. But I am trying to keep everything good. And will never post a half-baked story. Promise. Everything has gone through 12-hours in the oven, seriously.