Whether they liked it or not, they were interlocked. Their lives were entwined, and instead of bringing them happiness, it only brought them sorrow.
It's another evening in the locker room. Rain patters against the roof, and it fills the empty silence that has fallen among Fuji and Tezuka. They are fighting again, quietly, but harshly – and Fuji hates the fights. It is always him who is in pain, never his counterpart.
"Fuji, we have to stop this."
Or, perhaps, he is in pain as well. Tezuka's shoulders slump further, and his grip is painfully tight around his racket. Deep circles surround his eyes.
Fuji doesn't care. He stands straight. His blue eyes are hot and smoldering, and they pierce into Tezuka's back. "I can't stop. Not until you stop thinking about him. Not until you love me back."
Tezuka inhales. "Fuji, I do love you, I just can't-"
Fuji moves closer. His smile twists. "What? You can't love me the way you love him? It was never like this before. You used to love me," his calm voice goes up a pitch, "What's so good about him?"
"I don't love him. I love you."
The lie hangs clear in the empty change room. The thudding of rain gets impossibly louder. Fuji, in the back of his mind, wills himself to hate Ryoma. He can't. The boy is just too innocent.
"Fuji," Tezuka sounds exhausted. "I'm sorry."
"You're mine, though. You agreed. You told me you loved me," Fuji stays deathly calm. He sits down slowly beside Tezuka, and presses his thighs against his. Tezuka breathes deeply, as if he's trying not to move away.
Fuji isn't stupid. He sees the tense muscles, and his heart breaks a little bit harder. He knows that all Tezuka wants is Ryoma, but all Fuji wants is his Tezuka. It's a simple desire, one he knows he will never get.
Tezuka's brown eyes mirror with guilt.
"Fuji, I love you."
His words are firm but he swallows hard and Fuji instantly defies believing him. The bench underneath them is rough, but Fuji likes the time alone with Tezuka. They barely have it anymore. It's like Tezuka's been avoiding him.
Fuji ignores the pain stabbing at his heart. Instead, he reaches over and wraps a slender arm around Tezuka. He doesn't know how to explain how much he loves him, so his only hope is showing him.
He leans towards his face.
Tezuka moves back. "Fuji-"
"Hush. You love me, don't you?" Fuji smiles bitterly, almost deceivingly, before closing the gap between them with a heavy kiss. Tezuka goes as still as frigid air, and doesn't reciprocate. Fuji kisses, still. He tries to be brave and relishes the taste of Tezuka's sweet lips even though he feels like he will throw up.
Tezuka is not returning the kiss. That's the first time he's ever done that.
A few moments later, Fuji pulls back, the ringing in his ears louder and the rain quieter. His eyes are dull. "I'm…" he pauses, and his voice shakes slightly when he continues.
"I'm losing you, aren't I?"
There is a long pause. Then:
"I love you, Fuji," Tezuka repeats this like a mantra, his gaze focused on the bare wall in front of him. As if saying it enough will make it come true. Meanwhile, Fuji wonders why his heart still jumps at the sentence, even though he knows well that it's fake. There's a sting behind Fuji's eyes, but he doesn't cry. He never cries, and he won't start now.
"If you love me," Fuji says, "Do you want to watch a movie tonight?"
Fuji's face is straight and the tense smile is still there, but it's only hiding his anguish and pain. He thinks he should consider himself lucky – he is beautiful and flawless. And yet, even though he has everything a boy could want, he just wants a yes today, to his question. A yes.
Tezuka looks straight at him, and his glasses shine. "Yes, Fuji, because I love you."
More lies. And yet, Fuji can't help but blindly buy them.
"I hate you."
Fuji corners Ryoma on the way home from practice the next day. The weather is still rainy and gray, but Fuji doesn't care. He lets the wetness seep through his pale skin and drench his clothes. He simply has one goal – to confront Ryoma and get him out of the way.
When he says the three words he's wanted to say, he expects Ryoma to be startled by the sting. Instead, the boy smiles, bittersweet.
"I hate you, too."
Fuji stares at him, and his sharp eyes take in the sad smirk and lost confidence. The rain has made his school uniform cling to his fragile body. In that moment, in that tiny split second, Fuji realizes something. He and Ryoma are one. Ryoma wants what Fuji has, and yet Fuji yearns desperately for what Ryoma carries.
"You want him, don't you?" Fuji whispers. The words sound foreign in his mouth.
"He has you," Ryoma replies. The boy's voice cuts like a razor.
"Yes," Fuji nods. But he wants you. "Stay away from him."
The threat is met with an empty, defiant smirk. Ryoma shivers. The loneliness in his eyes is so clear that, for a second, Fuji almost doesn't hate him. But then, he never truly did. Ryoma tilts his head up towards the pale sky.
"I gave up on him a long time ago, Fuji-senpai."
A moment passes. Fuji's blue eyes burn into Ryoma's face. Something takes over his control.
"Leave," Fuji says suddenly, when the pressure in his heart is finally too strong. He grabs Ryoma's wrist tightly. "I can't look at you anymore. I – I wish I could hate you."
Ryoma stares at the nimble hand wrapped around his wrist. Golden eyes soften.
"Take care of him, Fuji-senpai."
Fuji trembles, and lets go. When he speaks, his voice is a mere whisper.
"Leave, before I do something I regret."
Ryoma nods, once. He leaves. Fuji wishes he had hurt him.
On the night of the movie, the air is foggy and the lampposts flicker rapidly in the distance. There are clusters of people, faceless masks that mean nothing to Fuji – and they irritate him. He knows none of them are in as much pain as he is.
Tezuka is by his side.
"Don't you think it's a nice night?" Fuji curls up against Tezuka's shoulder for warmth. He gets no response, just a pained smile and eyes that have lost their power. If Tezuka is hurting, Fuji hopes he knows that he is hurting triple times more. But deep inside, Fuji knows the one hurting the most is neither of them.
Ryoma's face flashes in his mind.
"I spoke to Ryoma today," The words fly out of his mouth before he can stop them. They hang in the air like dead weight. Fuji feels like he has to elaborate. "I said some stuff."
Tezuka breathes sharply. In that instant, he pushes Fuji away. His face his dark. "Did you hurt him?" he accuses, so harshly, that Fuji's blood runs cold.
He studies Tezuka's grim face. Out of nowhere, a hollow laugh escapes Fuji's mouth.
"No," he smiles, deadly. "For you, I left him alone."
"You better have. If you ever hurt him, I don't think I can forgive you."
Fuji keeps smiling, but his fingers clench and unclench at his sides. A shake runs through his body, and suddenly it's so hard to smile. He tries desperately, but his resolve breaks and the solemn grin disappears. In the dark, only icy blue eyes remain.
Tezuka takes a deep breath. He realizes what he has said. "I'm sorry," he whispers, voice strained. He takes Fuji's hand into his, and it is as cold as ice.
"Let's watch the movie. I'll pay."
As Tezuka leads Fuji towards the entrance, Fuji catches a glimpse of something – a small figure standing amongst the crowd of people, invisible as he stares out into the sky with not a single trace of hope on his face. The figure has black hair that glints green in the moonlight.
Fuji stares for a moment, then turns his head and keeps walking. He pretends he doesn't see.
The movie is every bit as painful as his life. The sticky heat intensifies as bodies press against each other, excited murmurs running through the dark. Fuji feels Tezuka holding his hand tightly, and leans back with closed eyes. Fuji knows he won't watch the movie. He never does. He just likes sitting there, beside Tezuka, feeling like maybe things will change.
They never do change. Fuji thinks back, and it's hard to remember a time when Tezuka wasn't focused on Ryoma. There was a time, he knows. It seems too far away to be real.
"This is a boring movie," Fuji says.
Tezuka simply nods. They sit in silence, like the rest of the theatre, and Fuji feels a weird melodramatic worry inch into his heart. A sudden dread fills his stomach.
"Fuji," Tezuka whispers. There's something different about his voice. A warning flashes in Fuji's mind.
"Fuji, I want you to know, that-" his voice cracks. "I love you."
Fuji feels the hand slip away, and horror creeps into his stomach.
Tezuka continues. "I really, really do love you. But I can't do this anymore. I love someone else more."
Fuji's heart rings in his ears. This isn't happening, not to him. Tezuka isn't shattering him in a movie theatre, with a million oblivious people around them. Fuji isn't sure he can feel anything anymore. He wonders if he is dying. He feels like he is. Tezuka's dark brown eyes pierce in through the darkness, and Fuji realizes how much lighter he looks after saying that.
For him, Fuji swallows hard. I will do something right, for a change. For him.
"Tezuka, Ryoma is outside the movie theatre."
Tezuka stays where he is. The world suffocates in on Fuji. He can't believe he says what he says next.
"He loves you, Tezuka."
For a split second, Tezuka is frozen. Then, Fuji sees something in his expression that has been missing for years. Determination – a fire, burning bright and hopeful. He stands up, and Fuji feels colder and colder. He smiles to break the pain. It doesn't work.
"Thank you," Tezuka says lowly.
Fuji doesn't respond. Tezuka is slipping away from him, far away. As he watches the boy he loves slither out of the movie theatre, something flickers in his mind. A realization clicks among the masses of people and the flashing screen.
I didn't do the right thing for Tezuka. I did it for me.
Eventually, Fuji can't breathe anymore. The air in the cramped room is stifling, and he stands up. He is surprised when his knees buckle down on him. It takes a minute for him to stand up again, and when he walks, he can't see. The entire room has blurred.
He walks blindly out into the lobby. For a moment, he thinks he has lost his eyesight. Then, he realizes he is crying. Fuji touches his wet cheeks, fascinated – he has never cried before, and the feeling is odd. It hurts him more, for some reason. He doesn't even have control over his emotions anymore. He doesn't have control over anything.
When he steps outside for fresh air, he wishes he hadn't. The scene before him is so touching that it rips his brain into pieces.
Tezuka and Ryoma stand by the railing of the theatre. Ryoma is small compared to Tezuka, but Tezuka has his arm around him protectively. Ryoma fits perfectly, like the missing piece to Tezuka's side. They are hesitant – Fuji can feel it. But they are at peace. Fuji knows that it has been a long time since either of them have relaxed.
They both stare at the moon above them. Then, Tezuka leans down and whispers something into Ryoma's ear. Fuji recognizes the side of Tezuka's jaw, the one he has touched so many times.
Ryoma tilts his head up, and smiles. He says something back.
They look perfect together. Fuji fumbles for his cell phone, and flips it open. His hands tremble, and more tears spill onto the screen, but he manages to find the camera. He holds it up, and clicks to capture. When he checks the picture he has taken, he sees a special moment. He realizes Tezuka was never his to keep in the first place.
Fuji doesn't join them, but he stares at the same moon that they are staring at. And somehow, he manages to feel even lonelier.
A/N Poor Fuji. Even though it was TezuRyo in the end, I myself felt bad for making Fuji suffer so much. This was based on a TezuRyo challenge of LiveJournal and the prompt was: Fuji. So, it had to be done. I'm sorry Fuji *sniffles* I should have gave you a happy ending with Taka-san or someone. Maybe Yukimura. But I didn't...