Title: Ouroboros (1/5)
Theme: Desire (Five Stages of Sexual Response)
Notes: Because the Power Triangle has been eating my thoughts lately. XD
o n e
Ryoma is no longer twelve. More than one person has realised this.
Tezuka stiffens when he realises that Fuji is standing beside him, but he doesn’t look up from his book, still scratching out notes slowly and evenly. “Fuji,” he says at last, when Fuji shows no sign of speaking anytime soon, and immediately regrets making the first move.
“Tezuka,” Fuji returns, sliding into the seat opposite him. From the upper edge of his vision, Tezuka can see him smile, his eyes still closed. Fuji takes out his own books, pretending to be as absorbed in his work as Tezuka is, though Tezuka knows he doesn’t need to be. Fuji excels with very little effort, which is good because when he becomes serious, he is lethal.
Fuji takes his time, but Tezuka’s shoulders still stiffen so quickly that they strain and ache when Fuji knocks his ankle with his own.
“It’s nice having Echizen back, isn’t it?” Fuji remarks, glancing up briefly before returning to his physics textbook.
Tezuka takes several moments to reply. “Aa.”
Fuji chuckles. “Eloquent as ever,” he says, the barb gentle and only half-joking.
Tezuka pauses over his work; he’s made mistakes in the last three sentences. He frowns, neatly scratches the sentences out, and rewrites them.
“Three years and he still looks up to you,” Fuji muses. “He won’t stop until he’s dragged you up with him. When he’s surpassed you, he’ll be waiting for you to go higher, so he can do it again.”
Tezuka shifts in his seat, trying to keep his mind on his history notes. He’s forgotten how much he hates Fuji’s uncanny insight. He tries not to think about the way Echizen looks at him, or the way his voice sounds when he asks him for a match.
In fact, he tries not to really think about Echizen at all.
“He watches you a lot,” Fuji goes on, seemingly oblivious to Tezuka’s discomfort. “It’s like he’s waiting for something.”
“Really?” Tezuka says, freezing when Fuji’s fingers, long and cool, trail over his hand. Tezuka clenches his hand and then slowly pulls it away. “This is not the place,” he says quietly.
Fuji’s eyes open. “You also watch him like you’re waiting for something,” he says, his gaze hard and merciless.
Tezuka meets his gaze, his lips pressed together. “He’s only fifteen.”
“But no longer twelve,” Fuji purrs. He laughs as Tezuka’s eyes widen, rising and walking over to his side. Pressing his fingers against the back of Tezuka’s hand, he breathes into his ear, “You’d best hurry, Tezuka. Echizen won’t be fifteen forever.”
He kisses Tezuka on the cheek, the barest movement, and adds, “After all, we both want him.”
After he leaves, Tezuka gives up on studying.
Title: Where the Mountains Meet the Heavens (1/5)
Theme: Sight (Exploration of a Relationship Through The Five Senses)
Notes: Specific spoilers for Episode 3 of the anime, as well as Tezuka's backstory concerning his elbow injury and his freshman year.
Where the Mountains Meet the Heavens
o n e
Tezuka has never been one for talking since his first year in junior high. Well, to be fair, he hadn’t been much of a talker before then, either, but Oishi sometimes teases that back then at least he had said more than two words per sentence. Of course, he usually apologies profusely the moment he’s spoken, ruining any attempt at humour.
After the accident, when playing tennis was constantly shadowed by ever-increasing pain and Tezuka knew for certain what his senpai in the club were like, all traces of friendliness and inner respect disappeared. The only exception to this was Oishi, who still stood by him. Tezuka now only focused on what was important, what was necessary: being Seigaku’s Pillar and getting the team to the Nationals.
Now Buchou, he has become adept at observation. He has learned to watch matches, keeping a keen eye out for mistakes, techniques that need to be improved, and dormant talent. Everyone is given a chance, but they must work for it.
Tezuka is used to watching. Those that don’t talk much are usually good listeners.
He stands by the window, watching a twelve year old serve with an old racquet. This twelve year is like none of the other freshman – he could probably make many of the Regulars work for their places, in fact – but Tezuka is eerily reminded of himself back in freshman year.
But there are differences. Tezuka did not play with his left hand out of respect for his senpai; Echizen Ryoma uses it as a trap. Tezuka had too much respect for his senpai; Echizen Ryoma has none and wears arrogance like a shield.
He thinks about the ranking matches he’s just grouped and blocked. He thinks about the year ahead.
The boy is talented… he just needs to be carefully nurtured. He could be what Seigaku has been missing.
“See something you like, Tezuka?” Ryuzaki-sensai asks, gently goading him. He glances at her and suddenly realises how old she has become, how deeply the lines have etched into her face. There isn’t much time left for any of them.
“Not really,” he says, turning away from the window and the kind, knowing smile on Oishi’s face.
This year, Tezuka thinks, they’ll take the Nationals.