It was a warm day that afternoon in Seigaku. Two weeks had passed by since the interschool festival, and the students had all returned to their normal routine of classes, club activities, and homework. A few of the students had retained items and decorations left from their booths at the festival, storing them away in club rooms' shelves and lockers as memorabilia. Others continued to chatter about their time at the event, already missing the fun and the opportunities to make new friends from other schools. But in another few weeks, the interschool festival will just be another faint memory in the back of the minds of these students.
That is, except for two unique individuals in particular.
Tezuka stared at the ring on his hand, noting its polished silvery surface as the sun shined down on it. He was never one to wear any jewelry at all, especially a ring. But that was because it would be rather inconvenient given that he plays tennis on a daily basis. In fact, wearing any forms of jewelry would be highly discouraged during tennis practice and matches.
However, he will make an exception for this one.
"Tezuka, the regulars finished their training regimen. What would you like them to do next?"
The Seigaku Buchou looked up at his best friend. "Aa, Oishi. Tell them to gather their things for a last meeting before they are released."
Oishi nodded. "I understand. Also," he looked off to the side. "Don't you think those two are punished enough?"
About a hundred feet away, Echizen and Momoshiro were running past the third court, their faces completely flushed, their shirts drenched in sweat, and their limbs ready to give out from lack of energy.
Tezuka felt a nerve pop. "They still have one more day."
The vice captain let out a sigh, knowing very well that his best friend was not one to budge and back out of anything he had firmly instilled. "I'll go get the rest of the regulars then."
By the time practice was over and the regulars were on their way home, the sun was slowly inching towards the horizon before the early evening would arrive. Tezuka tightened the strap on his tennis bag, checking that he had everything with him, before closing his locker.
"You ready?" Fuji smiled.
The two exited the clubhouse, locking the door behind them as they were the last ones to leave, and walked off the school grounds. By then, the streets were rather empty, as most of everyone had headed home just before dinner. The Seigaku captain and tensai walked next to each other in silence, their strides peaceful and quiet as they crossed an intersection and turned a corner.
"I can't believe the interschool festival was two weeks ago. Time really flies by," Fuji started first.
"You and the student council must feel relieved when it was over. I'm sure your responsibilities have lightened up by a lot since then."
At this, Tezuka didn't answer. Truth was, their responsibilities were still heavy even after the festival. There was a list of complaints they still had to go through involving club members who accused other clubs of either stealing their tools (most likely it was because the other club had simply forgotten to return the items) or disrupting their booths. For a second, Tezuka entertained the idea of limiting the number of clubs on campus since fewer clubs would mean fewer complaints.
The bespectacled third year shook out of his reverie. "Aa."
"We have come a long way, haven't we?"
Tezuka blinked and turned to look at the road.
Fuji smiled, looking straight ahead now as well. "To think that we came this far after everything. It's been a rather bumpy ride, hasn't it?" He chuckled slightly. "I'm really happy that I met you our freshman year, Tezuka."
Tezuka avoided looking at the tensai, his stoic face firmly rooted on the road ahead, but barely masking the slight tint of pink appearing on his cheeks.
Fuji grinned wider, knowing that the serious man could only hide so much of himself. To others, he was just a stern, stoic, disciplinary man incapable of emotions. But to the tensai, he was his shy Buchou too embarrassed to show anything of that sort. And Fuji preferred it that way – only he can see that side of Tezuka. And he often does when they're in bed…
The bespectacled man turned his attention to the tensai.
"Do you want to…come over tonight?"
Tezuka paused, slightly startled. He looked straight ahead. "I forgot my cell phone today. I'll need to borrow your phone to call home."
Fuji smiled. Oh yes, he will be doing lots of delicious things to Tezuka tonight.
The two continued to walk in silence, passing by neighborhood after neighborhood. They ran into a cat, which had stopped and purred and begged to be pet. They saw the same woman they had met a few weeks ago in her garden, tending to the beautiful roses that had fully blossomed around her. They saw the lights inside houses begin to turn on along the streets as they passed by, indicating that dinnertime was fast approaching.
The large firey ball above blanketed the sky with its colorful warm hues as the air began to cool.
"Tezuka, what do you think will happen in the future?"
"I'm not sure what you're asking."
Fuji let out a half disappointed sigh. "I mean, about us?"
At this, Tezuka stopped and faced the tensai. He seemed visibly confused by the question, but upon seeing the look on Fuji's face, he softened his eyes and said, "Shuusuke."
Fuji nearly jumped, not expecting to suddenly be addressed by his name.
"No one can ever know what will happen in the future." Brown orbs looked straight into blue ones. "But all I know for sure is that I want to be with you, now...and then."
Fuji's heart fluttered as he felt the air slowly leave his chest. Breathing out, he blinked and looked at strong but kind brown eyes that glanced down gently at him. Lips curving into a smile, he beamed brightly and nodded his head. "Hm, I feel the same."
By now, the sun was rapidly making its descent, and the sky turned a darker shade of orange as golden hues now washed over the faces of the two Seigaku boys standing on the sidewalk.
Tezuka and Fuji turned in their steps and continued walking, the air around them leaving them with its last bit of warmness before the night sky would appear.
Fuji stole a peak at Tezuka and noted the serious man's ears, which were flushed red. Chuckling quietly in amusement, he said playfully, "Ne, say it again."
"What you just said."
Tezuka paused for a moment. "No."
"Oi, Tezuka!" Fuji pouted. "You finally said something romantic, and on your own. If only you spoke like that in the play, my Romeo."
"Fuji, I am not in the mood to be reminded of that!"
Fuji laughed. "Ne, at least let me hear it again."
"Tezuka, you're no fun!"
"Fuji, you're acting childish."
"Ah…" Fuji turned away, pouting. He finally got to see hints of a small romantic side of Tezuka, and already, the stubborn bespectacled man recoiled back to his usual self. Seriously, why must he be so difficult? The tensai sighed. And then, with a coy grin, Fuji said, "It's okay. With what I'm going to do to you tonight, I'll make sure you say it again."
Tezuka stiffened, face flushed as he shot Fuji a warning glare. "Fuji, we're in public!"
But the tensai only smiled back widely and innocently.
Sighing and groaning quietly in defeat, Tezuka straightened himself as they continued walking. He didn't even want to think too much about what the tensai had in mind for tonight's…activities.
Now it was the bespectacled boy's turn to be surprised. "Aa."
"I have leftover eel rice. Do you want to eat that for dinner?"
Tezuka blinked. "Aa, that sounds good."
A car passed by on the road, one of the last few of the day in that small stretch of neighborhood. A few children across the street quickly ran into their homes, ready to eat the dinner their mothers had prepared. Meanwhile, two or three individuals had just stepped out of their cars and walked up their driveways, finally having gotten off work to enjoy some quality time with their families.
Out on the sidewalk over a small hill in the road of that quiet neighborhood, the last streetlamp turned on to light the path, just as the Seigaku Buchou and smiling tensai passed by it, the pair walking side by side with their tennis bags hanging over their shoulders as they headed towards the last bit of the sunset.
Thank you everyone for reading this story and the stories before that. It has been a long journey since the very first part of this series, and I'm surprised that it has been practically 3 years already since the first one was released in November of 2008! Thank you for all the comments and reviews. I read them all, and was surprised at times at how some of you were getting pretty close to the answers to the mystery. It was fun watching you all discuss the story and write your guesses. I had to refrain from commenting on any of them in order to not give the story away.
As you all know, this is the final chapter to "The Harassment of Buchou" series. I had never expected the story to become so popular and expand into a three-part series. What started out as originally just a few short chapters ended up becoming more than I had anticipated.
Thank you all for reading and showing such enthusiasm. Your comments really encouraged me to continue to write, and I am deeply grateful for that.
I may write one shots in the future on these two, but at this point in time, I plan on moving on to continue my Zelda stories. I hope some of you will check those out as well!
Again, thank you all for your support, and for being there every step of the way during Tezuka's and Fuji's journey!