-Taken [NEW PRINCE OF TENNIS] after Tezuka left for Germany to become a pro!
I seriously couldn't get Atobe and Fuji outta my head after that!
Cheers to this little fanfic!-
The sun was high up the sky with its beam gracing the ground before it with its blinding light.
Keigo Atobe, the handsome and charismatic Hyotei captain tried to look up the blue sky but only managed to shield his eyes with his right hand. He was in the middle of a green forest where only the rustling of the tree leaves and the chirping of the birds were around him. He watched the birds fly away freely above and had to smile to himself.
Then it turned upside down into a curve of dissatisfaction.
"Son of a…" he nearly cursed himself.
He couldn't believe it.
He, the most famous, respected and not to mention— the coolest captain of the Hyotei Academy was in the middle of the forest and watching birds fly. Watching it. What in the world was he doing there? Surely his life has more to do than to spend it watching some animals fly?
It was completely ridiculous.
So Atobe continued walking with his hands jammed deeply in his long, luxurious pants. No one was with him, not even his faithful teammate, Kabaji. The guy was off with his training on the other courts. Atobe thought of his circumstance and had to lift his nose up in his most sophisticated manner.
If it wasn't for his sports he wouldn't be there. But the fact was he was. He remembered the reason why he was in such a forest in the first place and the idea slightly made a difference to his annoyance.
The reason he was there was because he was invited in the Japanese High School Representatives Selection Camp to undergo a special program. It was a program made to make strong players, like him, go stronger. Atobe would never count himself weak. Not in a life time. But he knew he needed to get stronger… he can't lose his touch anymore…not after how that arrogant boy from Seigaku defeated him last year. Not to mention—his rival was there.
Remembering that he wasn't alone in the camp, Atobe's thoughts made him feel suddenly challenged. What was he doing sulking now when all the strongest players in Japan were with him in the camp? He should feel lucky and privileged and not otherwise. Though being there with the other players won't make him change his mind about his status. He was still above them no matter. He was the King.
The thought made Atobe grin.
So feeling that it was all worth it, Atobe continued crossing the path in the forest.
He had been walking around the forest for quite some time now when he noticed two people standing on his right side just beyond the bushes. Atobe was about to ignore them when he realized the two people's voices were familiar. Stopping and raising his head a little, he noticed that it was Seigaku's captain, Kinumitsu Tezuka and his co-Seigaku member, the genius, Fuji Syusuke.
These two… he thought quietly. Seeing the two there standing facing each other made Atobe thought of interrupting them by a flashy entrance. Nothing would satisfy him now than to have a little sarcastic exchange with his favourite rival—Tezuka. But the air around the two was something that made Atobe hesitate. Tezuka looked more serious than usual… Fuji-kun wasn't moving at all.
Not wanting to eavesdrop and barge in any longer, Atobe tried to continue on his way, but the gentle voice of Fuji Syusuke suddenly made him stop on his tracks.
"Tezuka… you're going to Germany today, aren't you?"
Atobe froze in bafflement. He shot Tezuka a long look from where he was standing and saw the Seigaku team captain's serious expression.
No way… Tezuka?
Tezuka did not answer but his face confirmed it all. Atobe's fists closed as the silent confirmation was made clear and for a few seconds there, his mind was blank. He couldn't think of anything else except what he heard and it troubled his mind for a certain time.
Tezuka is going to Germany… he's already going to that place… leaving everything behind…
Atobe knew this information would make him restless that day, but everything was pushed away suddenly when Fuji spoke again next.
"I know you've already made up your mind, Tezuka and there's nothing I can say to stop you but…"
Atobe's eyes lingered on Fuji whose back was turned against him.
"If I stopped you… would you listen?"
Both Tezuka and Atobe gave the genius a surprised look.
This guy… Atobe thought, his eyes focused on Fuji.
"Fuji?" Tezuka's voice was low but it was still as serious as ever. Fuji raised his head and it made Tezuka's eyes go round. Atobe suddenly felt like seeing Fuji's expression… what sort of expression was that genius giving Tezuka now?
"I," Fuji hesitated as Tezuka remained looking at him, "Tezuka… we got little time to play with the others now that we're about to graduate… and with that little time… I still want to find it… my true self… my tennis…"
Tezuka stared at Fuji while Atobe lingered by. The genius hesitated again but he continued on as slowly as he could.
"I still haven't found my tennis… but if I am going to find it… I want you to be there…I know it's possible if you're around me Tezuka so please— for just a short time—won't you stay longer? I…"
Fuji's words hung like a thread in the air… but in the final seconds he finished it with a determined voice.
"I don't know tennis without you, Tezuka… I don't want to separate from you yet so please…"
Atobe stared at Fuji hard and long.
Fuji Syusuke… you…
Tezuka too, seemed too surprise by Fuji's words that he only managed to stare at his friend. Then Atobe saw it— a sudden expressive emotion that he has not seen in Tezuka's face before and it startled him.
For Tezuka to make such a face…?
And at that moment—Atobe saw it. The bond that held the two together both in friendship or perhaps more… a bond that was being tested by their dreams…. How will you answer to that, Tezuka?
But Atobe knew the answer, and conceivably, Fuji too.
"Fuji…" the Seigaku's captain's voice was gentle and his eyes too soft and reflecting his important companion with expressive eyes that encompasses his real feelings. There was a very timid pause. Then Tezuka raised his hand a little but Fuji suddenly shook his head.
"Well, that's what I wanted to say anyway but I know it's selfish too and it's impossible…"
Tezuka seemed a little taken aback by this but he was able to regain his composure and pulled his hand back.
Fuji looked up at him and said, "I know your dream… it's my dream too…but if there is a chance that we can still be together…I would want that."
Fuji bowed his head.
Silence kept the two at bay. At that moment Atobe was waiting too, for Tezuka to say anything but the Seigaku captain seemed lost for words. In fact— Tezuka seemed uncertain for the first time in his life that made Atobe felt like he was seeing a side of his rival that he hasn't seen before.
What are you doing, Tezuka? Answer him, dammit!
"Fuji…" Tezuka's voice was low and his eyes were sad. Somehow, the answer was apparent.
Atobe saw Fuji's shoulder fall a centimetre and felt sorry for the guy.
"W-well… I'm sorry I had to say it— anyway— you don't need to worry about what I said, Tezuka…"
Fuji turned in a hurry, making Tezuka follow him still looking uncertain.
"Let's go," Fuji called on, not stopping for a second, "you have a match with Yamato-san…"
Atobe watched with knowing eyes as Tezuka's composure returned. The man followed Fuji out of the forest, leaving the Hyotei captain to ponder over what he had witnessed.
So it was like that after all, Atobe thought as he sat on one of the benches in the court with his hands on his face in a familiar manner. His eyes were on Tezuka who was standing in the middle of the court with his racket. It was time for his match. On the stands with the other Seigaku members but still looking as if he was alone, was Fuji Syusuke. Atobe had observed him since he arrived at the court and knew the genius's eyes were only at that man alone standing in the court. An hour had already passed by since the encounter at the forest but Atobe never lost interest with the issue at hand.
For Syusuke Fuji was in love with Tezuka Kinumitsu… and was denied.
Atobe wasn't an emotional person… but he knew sincerity deep enough and respected it so he kept his eyes to Fuji Syusuke. That was when he noticed a group of three high school tennis players standing a few steps behind Fuji. They had their eyes on the genius's back and were whispering. Atobe's eyes narrowed.
Then Tezuka's match begun and ended with the Seigaku captain defeating his former senior. It was an end worthy of the Tezuka Kinumitsu that Atobe had known all his life.
He saw Tezuka grasp hand with his defeated opponent. And Atobe decided he wouldn't let Tezuka go away abroad without a word.
"Are you sure you will leave him behind?"
Tezuka Kinumitsu stopped on his tracks and glanced toward his known rival, Atobe. He has just finished his match with his old senpai, Yamato with an outstanding victory, and was now on the verge of leaving the whole camp to reach his ambition to be a professional tennis player in Germany.
At that particular moment of triumph, Atobe was standing on his way out of the court with one leg raised. Atobe's look was meaningful as Tezuka caught it and as the Hyotei Captain spoke, he nodded his head toward the stands. Tezuka followed his gesture and saw that he was pointing at a particular brown haired Seigaku tennis player that was standing and watching them. Tezuka's eyes lingered at the figure and then looked at Atobe again.
"I don't understand what you mean, Atobe." He managed to say.
Atobe stood straight and jammed both hands on his pockets. He had his eyes closed as he turned his back to the Seigaku tennis captain.
"I know you understood me… but if that is your answer then…"
Tezuka watched as Atobe went away with a final gesture of his hand. The Seigaku captain watched him go and then looked back at the figure standing quietly on the stands. The two looked at each other as if communicating without the need to talk.
And Tezuka knew exactly what Atobe meant.
"Ehh? You're going to Germany now, as in now? Tezuka?" Kikumaru Eiji blurted out as he, Fuji and Tezuka stood face to face outside the court. "But Oishi's not even here!"
Tezuka's eyes sobered but he did not say anything. Fuji's eyes lingered on him before turning to his friend.
"Eiji… it's also difficult for Tezuka… but his decision is final."
Kikumaru hesitated for a moment, and then decided to give it up with a sigh. Fuji, however, was looking at Tezuka who was clutching his bag behind him.
"Tezuka," he said after a moment, "I have a favor to ask you… for the last time…"
Tezuka gave Fuji a surprised look. His friend who was the genius of his team was asking him that again… and he knew it was also his final time to face this skill full player. It was his last time to play with Fuji… Tezuka suddenly realized it.
The last time with Fuji.
He gave his friend a nod.
Eiji Kikumaru watched as his two best team mates face each other off in the court for the last time. The red head Seigaku player bit his lip nervously as he watched them fight each other with a different level of tennis he hasn't seen for quite some time… but somehow the winner was already apparent…
"Fuji…" he whispered with a sad note in his voice, "why do you have to challenge him again… you know it already…"
Inside his mind, Fuji was asking the same as he played on the court. He watched Tezuka play beautifully and somehow he couldn't get over the idea that he was leaving.
I needed this game... I don't want to lose... Tezuka
Fuji thought of this hard and lost a point because of it. Tezuka looked at him expressionlessly, like how he would look his opponent opposite his court. And Fuji felt a sad tingle in his heart.
Is this all am I to you? Another opponent in the court?
He served the ball and Tezuka returned it quite sharply as if telling him to focus. He returned it aggressively as if all the pain inside him was there. Tezuka received it and perfectly returned it again, and as the captain's face flooded his vision, Fuji couldn't help biting his lower lip as he answered the serve.
You're so unfair… Tezuka… he thought with aching heart.
The ball kept on returning to him with difficult swings…
Why must I be the only one suffering?
He lobbed the ball.
Why must I be the only one hurting? Aren't you leaving?
The ball bounced on the left but Tezuka was more than prepared.
And… am I really the only one who cares?
Tezuka mercilessly returned the ball that sent Fuji to stare in the space where the ball shot out of nowhere. And it was over for him.
The reason I really wanted to surpass you was because…
"Fuji," Tezuka's voice was gentle, "its over."
Fuji stood still on his ground, unable to recover from what he heard. He stared blankly at Tezuka who was looking at him meaningfully and sadly and… no, it couldn't be possible so Fuji dismissed the thought the Tezuka looked lost for a moment as if he also realized the meaning of their final play.
Tezuka was still staring at him but after a moment, the captain started moving towards his things. He packed his racket and swung his bag on his shoulder.
"I'm going." Tezuka said quietly, "thank you for everything and take care of the rest… Fuji."
Fuji heard his steps go but he couldn't move. He knew Tezuka was going but his mind was blank. He couldn't comprehend it after all… couldn't accept it… even though Tezuka has told him many times about it, he still couldn't comprehend the fact that he was leaving…
I wanted to surpass you because…
Tezuka stopped on his tracks as Fuji found his voice. He looked behind him and was surprised to see his friend's eyes swimming with tears.
"Are you really…?" the genius's voice was trembling and his hold on his racket tightened,
Going to leave me like this? Fuji wasn't sure if he wanted to say it… he didn't want to stop Tezuka's ambition but… what else can he say?
And his voice refused another word.
Tezuka stared at Fuji's profile with confused emotions.
"I need to go," he said abruptly as if saying otherwise would make him change his mind in a way he couldn't understand.
Fuji stared at Tezuka who turned his back and started walking away. His friend… the very friend he cherished and hold dear in his heart was finally walking away… he knew it would happen the moment Tezuka's arm was healed but he didn't think it would affect him too much… he didn't know but the turbulence in his heart was making him tremble… his pillar was walking away… the only pillar…
His racket slipped away from his hand and then together with his racket, he also knelt down and lay defeated on the ground with one arm shielding his wet eyes.
That was Tezuka's answer.
In the end it was only him who had that special feeling. In the end it only caused him this heartache… because Tezuka was always one step ahead… and now he was gone…
I wanted to surpass you so that you would look at me equally… and stay with me…
Fuji cried silent while Kikumaru watched him from afar with a very concerned look.
Tezuka walked away without any intention to stop. He didn't even want to look back because he was afraid that looking back would make him have a change of heart.
He did not question why Fuji was acting that way. He knows Fuji quite well and knows deep in his heart, Fuji was seeking him. It was more than he could give however and Fuji was well aware of that…
Yet, why was he afraid to turn?
Why was he uncertain when Fuji asked him for a final battle?
And why… didn't he want to face Fuji after the game?
Was it because of what Atobe implied?
Tezuka nearly stopped on his tracks as he remembered Atobe. What did Atobe meant by his words?
Confusion filled Tezuka again but he kept his steps forward.
Whatever Atobe meant, he knew only the future can unfold it… for now he would focus on his goal and maybe someday, he and Fuji's way would meet… and by then maybe, he would have his answer.
Fuji… until the next time we meet.
A/N: 'King's Apple' is dedicated to Atobe and Fuji!
And Tezuka though he'll not stick around much!
Fair warning for future explicit content and rough language!
Atobe's gonna be in a pinch most of the time hahaha!
Thanks for Reading!