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They don't meet especially frequently, sports photography not being Fuji's specialty, but it's more often than Tezuka is comfortable with. They always end up at the same hotel, because nearly everyone involved in whichever tournament it is stays at the same hotel, unless they happen to live in the area, and it feels like every second of every minute of every day of those few times they happen to meet are just filled with Fuji. Fuji eating pancakes for breakfast, Fuji talking to groups of people and smiling genuinely, Fuji adjusting his camera and taking pictures with a degree of seriousness Tezuka had believed there was a small chance he might never see. He overheard a conversation once, where Fuji admitted he had played tennis in school and been in a team that had taken the Nationals, and saw him play a practice game for the first time in years.

It was almost like stepping back in time.

"You don't play anymore, and yet you've still managed to improve." Tezuka says when Fuji steps out of the light and into the shadows he has been watching from. Fuji smiles as he picks up a towel.

"I watch though," he replies, "frequently. I have many moves perfected in my head, I just don't have many opportunities to try them out."

"Play me." Tezuka says, and it never comes out phrased as a request. "As a warm up for my match." Fuji smiles more.

"I think perhaps you should be directing that suggestion to your wife." He says, and it's the first time Tezuka realises Fuji keeps up with the gossip. He is gone before Tezuka can claim back control of the conversation.

Tezuka married two years ago, another Pro tennis player. When he had gone to invite Oishi and Eiji, Oishi had just smiled pityingly, and Eiji had rolled his eyes. It was what was expected; it was a sensible career move for them both, and what with their schedules, unless a tournament involved them both, they did not actually have to spend much time together at all. It was an arrangement Tezuka could be satisfied with, because it kept enquiries and open flirtations off of his back. Not all flirtations though, even now.

Although, he had to admit, this time he had been the aggressor, in his way.


"May I join you?" He asks Fuji, sat alone at his table, sipping his drink as he browses the match listings for the next day. Fuji looks up, smiles, and nods to the seat opposite him.

"You are deciding which matches to watch tomorrow?" Tezuka asks, trying to catch Fuji's eye and make him aware of the real question he was asking. That he can recall, even when they had been in the same place at the same, Fuji had never turned up to take pictures of one of his matches. Not that there was a shortage of photographers for a Tezuka Kunimitsu match. Perhaps it was as simple as not wanting to knock elbows with forty other people for the sake of capturing the same shot. But Tezuka did not think so.

"I'm exploring my options, yes." Fuji replies. If he senses the real question, which he almost definitely does, he is not biting.

"Who is currently on your agenda?" What motives are you looking for in a match you wish to record?, he really asks. What could I do to convince you to watch me?

"I may perhaps watch the fifth match of this round." Fuji replies, laying the time-table down. "Though the matchings are random, it will be interesting to see of what comes of power versus power." He smiles. "Perhaps I'm searching for a sense of nostalgia."

Fuji's memory reaches back far; though Tezuka immerses himself in tennis daily it does not often remind him of the team they had in junior high. He knows in this instance what Fuji is referring to, though. Or whom. And memories are perhaps what he is seeking also. It is his opening.

"If nostalgia is what you aim to capture, perhaps there are other matches you should consider." He cannot be more open than that, it will leave him wide for a brush-off, which Fuji will respond with no matter whether he truly feels that way or not. That is the way the game is played.

"Echizen would be the obvious choice." Fuji smiles. "But he will fall in the third round. He is fueled by frustration and still not good enough."

"I know." Tezuka says, because it is all he can say. Sometimes he feels like he failed everyone he knew, and has to remind himself that people choose their own paths, and that just because they are still not in tennis, does not mean they count themselves as failures. Some things are too much for the world to see.

"But, that is not what you meant, of course." Fuji cups both hands around his drink and considers it for a while. Tezuka's breath hangs in the balance. "Does it matter so much to you, Tezuka? I was under the impression that you were more concerned with keeping up appearances. People will make note of us together, twice in one day. If they dig a little deeper... Who knows what will come out of the woodwork. There are probably a few people back home who will gossip about the past for payment so meagre that it does not even register on our wage scales."

Tezuka grits his teeth. It's true enough, but until now he had forgotten about it.

"And how is your wife anyway?" Fuji asks, smiling brightly. "I've yet to see her, though I've been told she accompanied you to this tournament."

"She's fine." Tezuka says flatly. "I assume she is fine, anyway. She is off doing what she wishes to be doing, which involves not being in my company if she does not have to be."

"Wonderful." Fuji replies, and his voice is so warm, it's hard to tell if he's feeling pity, triumph or has not listened to Tezuka's reply at all. It would be like him to keep up with small talk without even listening, picking at holes to expose the wound and not keeping track of his success.

"To be honest," Tezuka says, sighing a little, "she is probably having yet another dalliance." He does not know if he's trying to draw Fuji in with sympathy, only that nothing else seems to be working.

"You don't sound worried." Fuji says, peering up at Tezuka with critical eyes. He feels as though he's being inspected deep down inside, and swallows.

"It's a business arrangement, really." Tezuka says, wanting to be able to laugh it off like any other person would, but laughter does not come easily to him. He leans forward a little, conspiratorially. "I think she may even prefer women."

Fuji laughs this time, not loud, but scathingly. He quirks his head. "Do you think that's what she says about you when she is questioned by her flings? 'It's okay, Tezuka prefers men'?"

It has been a long time, a very long time, since anyone has thrown that reality in his face. Perhaps if he and his wife cared enough about each other to have arguments, it would have been used against him in a screaming match. Not even Oishi or Eiji had said a word about it when he had made his decision. Perhaps they knew it would be no use. Only one person would ever make an impact on his decisions, and that person would do it with his poignant words.

"I suppose you'll join me tomorrow evening to watch me drink coffee then, too." Fuji says, rising up out of his chair. "I'll see you then, Tezuka."

Tezuka knows before his match starts that he will not see Fuji and his camera there watching.


"Take any good pictures today?" Tezuka asked as Fuji sat down, having reached the table first that night. He had nothing in front of him to occupy his mind, no book, magazine, or even a snack or drink to hold. Fuji still had his camera in hand, which had prompted Tezuka to ask. He was much like a child in that respect; he could make conversation if there was an obvious object or feeling to act as catalyst. But otherwise he was rather hopeless with speech.

"Have a look." Fuji shrugged, offering out his camera to Tezuka before sitting down. He spoke quietly of which buttons to press to bring up the photo archives, and Tezuka thumbed his way through as Fuji watched him. He had seen many shots of action-tennis in his time, been featured in many, and they looked as the others did. And then he came to the last picture, obviously taken a minute or two before; himself sat at the table, hands laced together in front of him on the table, back straight. Waiting patiently.

"What is this?" He asked, not even having to show Fuji the image of which he spoke. Fuji sniggered and slouched back in his chair, using his thumbs and forefingers to create a box shape around Tezuka's face.

"I thought I might call it 'A Little Slice of Desperation'." He said. "What do you think?"

Tezuka opened his mouth to answer, and scowled. Fuji sat up properly again, and looked very tired all of a sudden.

"What do you want, Tezuka?" He asked. "Pity sex for the shambles you've let your personal life become, or just a lusty fuck against a wall? As much as I'm sure we'd both enjoy it, I don't know if I can condone either one."

"I-" Tezuka closed his mouth again, unwilling to look completely out of his depth.

"Unless you were already on the verge of making the end of your marriage publicly known?" Fuji asks, lips curling into a knowing smile. "And you were coming to tell me you wanted me for me, and not because you are sexually frustrated and just want to relieve it with a familiar face. Because if that were the case, I'm sure Echizen would make an exception for you; he always seemed far more obsessed with you than was appropriate."

"Fuji!" Of all the things he could reply, deny, or affirm even, Tezuka manages only that one word. Fuji sighs in response.

"Tezuka," he says, laying a hand on top of Tezuka's, "do not discard your vows so easily. You must have had some shred of feeling for this woman to be bold enough to make them, for business or no. You could not make them for someone you had unlimited feeling for, after all."

"Have." Tezuka insists, trying to grasp Fuji's hand, but his is still trapped beneath and he can't move it. Fuji smiles sadly, but at least now he knows, Tezuka thinks to himself, whether he chooses to believe it or not.

"Yes, well. It doesn't change anything, does it?"

"What if I did end my marriage?" Tezuka insists, feeling Fuji's grip loosen; he is leaving. He gets up, plucks his camera from Tezuka's other hand, and glances back as he walks away.

"What if I said I wasn't waiting for you to?"

"Then you'd be a liar." Tezuka says firmly to himself as he watches Fuji slip gracefully between the groups of people and out of the door.


He watches Echizen's match the next day, flawless and unsatisfying to see as usual. Tezuka sighs. If only the boy had found a passion for the game, instead of burying himself in promises of beating his father, being better than his father. A flash goes off beside him.

"Thinking about following through on my suggestion?" Fuji asks, and the smile tugging at his lips suggests if it were so he wouldn't actually care. And the only way he can pull that off is because he knows it is not so at all.

"Fuji." Tezuka says, and that's enough.

"He may as well enjoy this," Fuji says, glancing at Echizen as he serves, "it's going to be his last win this tournament."

"You say that with such certainty." Tezuka chides.

"Oh, so you disagree?" Tezuka does not reply to that. Fuji puts a hand on his shoulder. "Don't worry, Tezuka, I won't be saying it about you. You'll probably win this one too."

"I don't always win." Tezuka says stiffly, wanting to shrug off the touch and embrace it all at once. Fuji's fingers squeeze harder for a moment before they let go.

"No," he replies softly, making to leave because he knows the match is not worth watching, "you don't."


It's getting harder to see Tezuka every day, now that words have been exchanged they'd never dared before. Tezuka had always pretended everything was okay up until now. Fuji would like to wonder what has changed, but really he already knows the answer; nothing at all.

He smiles ironically to himself every morning when he wakes with the sunrise, and wanders through the hallways until he finds the corridor window overlooking the practice courts. This hotel in particular has been accomodating professionals for decades. As the days pass he still manages to wake at the same time, but more and more he's accompanied on his walk by a hangover the size of Paris. When he drinks, he can pass out and escape his dreams. They are easier to bear when Tezuka is not one floor down in a lonely hotel room while his fake-wife is having sex with other men, or women. Not that either of them care about that point.

Well, Fuji cares enough to convince himself it's an important reason he is not giving in to Tezuka. He cannot just run to Tezuka because he knows Tezuka wants him. He will not use Tezuka as an ego-booster, and he refuses to take what he also wants when he knows it will not last. It was not for forever the first time, and so why would it be now? Nothing has changed, after all.

He avoids the restaurant in the evenings, switching his coffee for a seat at the bar and a steady flow of alcohol in his hand. His thoughts start to betray him, his conscience flees and the devil on his shoulder begins to whisper that he can get a measure of what he wants, and blame it all on Tezuka still, if he approaches him drunk. Drunk enough to be convincing, not too drunk to have sex, of course.

He hears himself thinking it, he knows how stupid it is. It doesn't stop him entertaining the idea for three nights in a row. He knows Tezuka is probably looking for him, desperate for another confrontation that he knows will ultimately get him nothing. Though if he knew the kinds of thoughts that were floating around Fuji's head, maybe his desperation would be well-founded.

By the end of the third night, he finds himself in front of Tezuka's hotel room door. When he knocks, he uses the glass in his hand to do so, and is hanging onto the door frame when Tezuka answers.

"You're drunk?" Tezuka looks surprised. Never would've expected it of Fuji, but that was then and this is now, Fuji thinks to himself.

"Aren't you going to invite me in?" He asks, letting his voice decide for itself if it's going to slur or not. He will not pretend, he will just let Tezuka jump to conclusions.

Tezuka does not reply, just steps back a pace to allow enough room for Fuji to walk in. Fuji swans over to Tezuka's bed, having zoned in on it, and flops down on his back, letting the empty glass in his hand fall to the carpet and rest there.

"Three nights in a row I've been doing this." He says, laughing to himself. Tezuka is still stood near the door, arms folded and scowling beautifully.

"Drinking yourself into a stupor?" He asks. Fuji nods.

"That's why you haven't been able to find me." He says. Tezuka does not even bother to open his mouth and feign a protest. Fuji waits until a certain amount of silence has spread between the two of them. "Shall we have sex now?" He pulls himself up into a sitting position and begins to unbutton his shirt. Tezuka's eyes widen in realisation and horror both.

"So what, you've been drinking to make you brave enough to do this?"

Fuji laughs. "Alcohol is not a drink of courage." He says, looking up at Tezuka. "It's a drink to make me forget all my morals. Don't you want to take advantage? If you can push me off to my room before morning, I probably won't even remember it happening. And then, if you're lucky, I'll just do the same thing tomorrow night, thinking I haven't done so yet."

"Sounds tempting." Tezuka says, pursing his lips. "I believe I get your point. Are you even that drunk?"

"My mind is aware but my body is starting to fail me." Fuji admits, his slowing hands finally coming to a stop. "If you want me to leave you're going to have to help me up."

"Oh, just go to sleep." Tezuka says irritably. His eyes refuse to look anywhere else but at Fuji, flopping back onto the bed with his shirt open and loose around him.

"I'm not tired." He breathes just as Tezuka thinks he is settling into sleep. He pats the bed half-heartedly. "Come and talk to me."

"About what?" Tezuka asks, moving forward despite himself. He perches on the very edge of the bed, and Fuji doesn't so much as look his way.

"It doesn't matter, I won't remember in the morning." Fuji insists. "Be as serious as you like. Talk about the past, the present. Why do you want me now?"

"There is no 'now'." Tezuka says, lifting a hand to rub one of his temples. "I always wanted you. Our paths just diverged, we drifted apart."

"So it was beyond our control?" Fuji's smile seemed fuzzy around the edges. Tezuka wondered if he would fall asleep soon. "We couldn't have tried to work it out, made more of an effort?"

A question that had haunted the both of them ever since. Tezuka did not know if he could answer it in one simple sentence. It was against his nature to think on what might have been, and that question was the only thing in his life he'd ever indulged himself in thinking about in that respect.

He chose not to answer at all. He liked to believe in a coward's way, that if he was quiet for long enough, Fuji truly might drift off into sleep. It was wishful thinking.

"You don't know either, huh?" Fuji's voice sounded amused, though thick with sleepiness. "So you have to accept it, we have to go from where we are now. And you..." He said, rolling over onto his side and away from Tezuka, yawning. "Are married."


Tezuka is lacing up his shoes for his morning training when Fuji wakes. It is sunrise.

"Have a good practice." He mumbles. "Sorry I won't be able to watch."

Tezuka freezes in the middle of picking up his kit bag.

"Are you making a joke?" He asks coldly. "You never watch me play."

Fuji rolls over, to face him this time, and smiles.

"I never watch your matches, no." He admits. "That would be a little too dangerous. But I always watch you train."

Tezuka pauses. "I'll wait for you then." He says eventually. "This time. You can help me train."

"And I suppose my 'I don't have a racket' excuse won't work, will it." Fuji says, sitting up and running a hand through his hair. "Because you saw me play the other day, for fun."

Tezuka shrugs. "You could have always borrowed one of mine."

"Never takes no for an answer." Fuji mumbles to himself. "Wait here for me, I won't be long."

"Show me what you know now." Tezuka demands on the court. The look on Fuji's face is too reminiscent of days gone by, when he would never play seriously.

"Give me a good reason to." Fuji replies, and Tezuka almost stammers out that he is one of the top players in the world, compared to Fuji who only plays for fun now, of course his skill is going to be enough to give him a good reason to show off his new counter-attacks.

Only after the match is over, as usual, does Tezuka realise Fuji wasn't talking about tennis at all.


"I thought I'd better make a showing for your match." She says, smiling distractedly in a way she never has for him, and he has never wanted her to. "Sorry I haven't been around."

"It's fine." Tezuka replies, holding a hand up in dismissal. "I'll only ask one thing of you; I need to talk to you later if possible."

"Sounds ominous." His wife says, blinking. In times like that, if only she were smiling and teasing still, she'd remind him of Fuji. No matter.

She sits in the first row, like a good for-the-cameras wife, smiling and clapping all the way. He can't help but sneak glances at her, realise Fuji is right, there is something about her that bound them together in the first place beyond obligation. Perhaps it's the way she seems so happy, until a tennis racket is in her hands, and on the court she turns deadly serious. And yet he can see just from a glance that while that face is on she's having a better time than ever, much better than when she is smiling. They are alike in that respect, but for the fact that he never smiles much at all. She is like Fuji in that she smiles all the time, except that he never developed that passion on the court.

His parting shot to the loser is faster than he anticipated, having realised the connection at the same moment. It makes him hunger for the conversation even more.

"Let's go to dinner." He says, taking her lightly by the arm before even thinking of getting changed. "Somewhere small and quiet."

"I know just the place." She replies, and he doesn't think about who she may or may not have met there with. He focuses on the matter at hand.

"What are you saying?" She asks. "I thought we had a deal, I thought it was okay that I-"

"It's fine." Tezuka says, waving his hand to silence her. "It's not about your... Extra activities."

"So then you believe this is no longer beneficial to you in a business sense?" She narrows her eyes, disbelieving. It would be so easy to lie.

"Not that either." He admits. Easy as it would be, he will not do it. "It's personal."

"Do I get to hear what this personal reason is?" She asks. "Or am I just supposed to accept all the gossip and hassle that comes with breaking up a marriage without an excuse?"

"There's someone else I want to be with." Tezuka says, and she shakes her head and laughs.

"So?" She says. "I feel that way all the time, no offence. Do what you want, I can hardly argue in my position."

"Ah, no." Tezuka pauses. "It's not that simple. He would not have less than all of me, I think. And well, I'd rather not give less than everything to him even if it was not the case. I can't be married to someone else."

"He. I knew it." She is smug, and Tezuka does not care. "You will be careful, Tezuka? This could ruin your career you know."

Somehow that thought had never come into the equation.

"I've always cautioned others to carefulness." He replies. "I know well how to follow it."

It is perhaps the only response he can give that is truly honest.


"The paparazzi are out in full force." Fuji mumbles beside him as his soon to be ex-wife steps into a car, scarf clutched around her face, and leaves. He holds his camera in front of his face so that no-one will question his prescence here. "You've created terrible waves now."

"Aren't you missing some match or another?" Tezuka asks. If Fuji meant what he said about not waiting then he should not be here the second she is gone.

"Whoever wins shall be your next opponent." Fuji replies. "I won't be watching it anyway. Waste of my time."

"And so you are here." Tezuka says pointedly. Fuji glances sideways and smiles.

"The magazine who asked for this favour would kill me if I reported solely on the tennis and let the juiciest piece of gossip all tournament pass me by."

"You haven't taken any pictures of it." Tezuka turns away; the car is gone, the rats are thinning out. They have not noticed him on the sidelines; why would they expect him to have seen her off if they were parting ways?

"Did you tell her she could make up the story?" Fuji asks. "And you would just stay silent as usual? She tells a good one, you know."

"She gave you an interview?" Tezuka does not know whether to believe it or not.

"I still have my charms." Fuji smiles. "They just don't seem to work on you."

"So you stumbled over to her drunk and slurred your way into getting an interview?" Tezuka sneered. "Or you pried secrets out of her while you drowned your false sorrows together?"

"They aren't secrets when I already know them." Fuji points out. "And this is really no way to speak to the person you dissolved your fake marriage for."

As is customary for Fuji when he feels he has won an argument indefinitely, he leaves then. Tezuka tries to swear to himself he did not feel fingers ghosting over his neck as Fuji left.


He goes to Fuji's room that night; his fingers hover over the door, not knowing whether to knock or not. He turns away and turns back what feels like fifty times. This looks desperate, but if he waits, does it show he really is not serious?

He will never know if this time he would have knocked, because Fuji opens the door and finds him standing there looking a little gormless.

"I feel like going out." He declares, as though it is perfectly normal for Tezuka to be hanging around outside his hotel room door. "Want to go dancing?"

Tezuka doesn't recall answering, too busy looking at Fuji in his tight, black leather pants and oversized white shirt. He would feel underdressed in his dark jeans and blue t-shirt, but compared to Fuji in next-to-nothing he feels highly overdressed instead. He must have murmured some kind of assent because he finds Fuji's fingers holding his wrist and urging him along like a lost child. Just in a daze, too busy analysing the way the leather clings to Fuji's muscles and hugs his backside like there is no fabric there at all.

"Are you listening to me?" Fuji asks, mouth quirking in amusment. He must know what he is doing, Tezuka thinks to himself. Is he so quick to forgive? It seems unlikely.

"No." Tezuka admits. "I wasn't listening, sorry."

"Luckily it wasn't important, I was only talking about your ass in those jeans." Tezuka stares. "Ah, so you are listening now? I was kidding, Tezuka. Come on."

He finds himself pulled into a club, and it dawns on him that Fuji wanted to go dancing. Meaning he is expected to dance too. Suddenly the bar looks most comfortable, and that says a lot considering alcohol has never really appealed to him, for the sake of his training or not.

"I'm going to get a drink." He insists, and Fuji knows what he really means.

"That's fine," he replies. "I'm going to dance."

And so Tezuka spends a good portion of the night nursing a beer he has no intention of sipping more than twice, and watching Fuji weave his way into a sea of bodies and sway against them. It's incredibly hypnotic, and Tezuka is more than happy to spectate, until the other single people amongst the dancers begin to realise Fuji is alone. And then comes the grinding, and the hands touching. Sliding over Fuji's skin, hips pressing against him. Tezuka is glad this club doesn't serve up their drinks in plastic cups, or else he would've crushed his completely. He charges into the crowd and singles out Fuji, touching his arm and whispering in his ear.

"Fuji, I want to dance now."

Fuji smiles, and turns to look at him, disregarding the girl who has been rubbing up against him.

"Sooner or later, I thought you might." He murmurs, winding his arms around Tezuka's neck and rocking his hips from side to side. And immediately Tezuka realises its been far too long since anyone has been this close to him, this intimate. There are hands brushing against his shoulders, and his hands on Fuji's waist feel clammy and likely to start shaking at any moment. There are lips against his ear, and a warm breath against his skin.

"I used to make you go out and dance a lot," Fuji murmurs into his ear. "When I was at university, and you were making your way up the tennis ranks... Have you ever been back? Did you dance with anyone else but me?"

There are shivers running up and down Tezuka's spine like they are competing in a race to see which can turn his legs to jelly the quickest. He swallows before he replies.

"No-one but you," he whispers hastily. He can feel Fuji's lips against his neck curve into a smile.

"It's been a while, Tezuka." He nearly sighs. "For you especially, I should imagine. Did you stay faithful all the way through your marriage? Did you even consummate it?"

"It doesn't matter," Tezuka replies, the words sticking in his throat, "but yes to the first, and no to the second. It was a sham marriage."

Fuji's hands are on the move, his fingers find their way into Tezuka's hair and start threading it through slowly. "So you haven't had sex for quite a while..." Fuji says directly into his ear. "Not for lack of wanting it though, hmm?" His hands are suddenly on Tezuka's hips, encouraging them downwards. And then Fuji's leg is between Tezuka's thighs and he realises why.


"So if someone were to single you out tonight, on your first night of freedom, what would you do?" One of Fuji's hands is trailing its way down Tezuka's chest, which is heaving with the force of having to remember to breathe properly. "Would you lay down on your back and spread your legs for them, or would you push them down and pound them into your mattress? Tell me, Tezuka. What would you do?"

His grip on Fuji's waist tightens as the leg between his thighs rubs against him more persistently.

"If you don't tell me..." Fuji says, lips as close as they can be to Tezuka's without actually touching. "I'm going to have to try and guess. Shall I guess?"


"I'll take that as a yes." Fuji says. "I think it would depend who came along. I think for the majority of people who came along you would be happy to take your usual position flat out on the bed, or perhaps begging on your hands and knees. But if it were someone a little too overconfident, it would irritate you, in this place with too many people, and too much noise, and lots of smoke, and you would end up fucking them instead." Tezuka is glad for the loud music at this moment in time, in fact, because he knows that no-one else can hear the conversation being had, and for that he is truly grateful. Fuji voice drops even lower, the words swimming into his ear. "It would be fast, and rough and it'd hurt for both of you, and you wouldn't even care, you'd just do it all over again."

"Fuji," Tezuka says, clearing his throat as forcefully as possible to ensure his words will come out in tact. "We have to go now."

Fuji smirks and follows him out of the door.


It is when they reach Tezuka's door that the hands which have been feeling their way up the back of his shirt stop, and remove themselves. It's both warmer now that the air can't reach up to his shoulders, and colder without Fuji's soft hands on his skin. He feels Fuji take a step away as he fumbles to open his door.

"What are you doing?" He asks, not daring to look around. Except when Fuji starts speaking he can't help but turn to see him.

"Tezuka, you may be separated, but until the divorce is finalised, you are still married." Fuji smirks cruelly. "I still refuse to be your bit on the side."

He thinks if he did not have his glasses acting like a shield surely his eyeballs would've fallen out ofthe sockets from opening them so wide in disbelief. "You're teasing me." He stutters eventually. Fuji shrugs, and smiles.

"It's one of the things you miss most about me, think about it." He says. "In school I made you suffer it for nearly two years, this time I promise it won't be so long."

"When will it be?" Tezuka asks. He tells himself he is not pleading.

"I suppose you can give me a call when your divorce has gone through?" Fuji suggests, his wide-eyes giving off innocence, and his smile suggesting he doesn't mean the words at all.


Of course Tezuka could not have let things end like that, not after an evening of sweaty, dancing Fuji whispering animatedly about sex right into his ear. Whether Fuji agrees to it or not, he is pulled into the hotel room and Tezuka locks the door behind them. At least he can have Fuji in the same room for a few more hours, there is no need to deny himself that just because he got frustrated enough to want to leave the club early.

Speaking of frustration, it was starting to get a little painful.

"I know you have no shame from experience," Tezuka says, Fuji watching him suspiciously as he sits down on the edge of his bed, "and it's been so long I've become much the same way too. I don't know how this affects you from a moral standpoint, but you're quite welcome not to watch." He unzips his pants as he speaks, sees Fuji's eyes narrow into slits as he watches. Perhaps waiting to see if Tezuka really will follow through on this dare. And he will.

"I haven't really got much choice considering you locked the door." Fuji says, twisting the doorknob to prove his point, and then leaning up against it, wrapping his arms around himself.

"There's a bathroom over there." Tezuka says, squeezing his eyes shut and pushing his boxers out of the way as much as possible.

"Yes, I should be the one relegated to the bathroom." Fuji replies sarcastically, and then promptly shuts up. Tezuka rests his free hand behind him a little on the bed and arches his back just a little. His neck falls back to expose his throat, and his chest rises and falls in time with his strokes, as though dictating the rhythm. "Oh good God." Fuji breathes just barely, pushing himself even harder back into the door as though he can escape through it, though in all truth he does not want to. Tezuka has had enough practice now to know how to make this quick and efficient, but that is not what he wants tonight.

"I hope it's okay if I imagine it's your hand on my cock." Tezuka says all of a sudden, his voice low, almost like humming in pleasure. "I hope that doesn't impede on your morals at all."

"I, uh..." It's Fuji's turn to be dumbstruck and lost for words, and he sees Tezuka's response to that instantly; a smile from him is so rare, after all.

"I still remember how it felt," he continues, "the way you'd always use your left hand, because I'm left-handed, and how that put you on completely the other side I was used to and turned everything backwards. You always turned everything in my life back-to-front and upsidedown. But anyway-"

"Yes?" Fuji asks. His voice sounds a little like pleading now. Urgent.

"-you would always use your thumb more than the rest of your fingers, I remember that." Tezuka smiles a little. "Always trying to make use of it wherever you could. And your other hand, no matter whether it was in my hair, or on a nipple beforehand, it would always find its way down here, to-"

And at that point he sits up straighter again to make use of his right hand, slipping it between his legs to carress his own balls. It seemed like he could no longer form words to commentate, deep moans rising up from his throat instead. Fuji's eyes were wide and he was just barely aware of himself and the fact that he'd plunged a hand into his own boxers and was touching himself without restraint. To hell with morals. Perhaps as long as they weren't touching one another, it did not really count.


Fuji wakes up and finds himself curled up on the floor in front of Tezuka's door. His fly is still unzipped, and for once it is sunrise and Tezuka is not ready to watch it come up over the courts, but only just waking.

"I have to train." He says to the air in front of him. He has managed to pull himself further up on the bed during the night, but not changed nor attempted to get under the covers. "I also have to shower."

"Yes, me too." Fuji says, picking himself up off the floor and tidying himself as best he can before Tezuka notices him properly. "So I'm afraid I won't join you in your training today, I wouldn't want to delay you any further." He scans the room for the door keys, remembering how it had been locked last night, and plucks them from the bedside table. He tries hard not to look over at Tezuka, really hard. "I'll see you three days from now." He says softly as he opens the door. Tezuka glances up.

"Three days?" He asks, confused. Fuji smiles.

"That's when your match will be," he says. "The Final."

Tezuka gets up after Fuji has gone to lock the door behind him and head for the shower. He is kicking off his jeans when his brain catches up to the conversation and he realises Fuji has just said he will be at Tezuka's match.


Tezuka breaks out in a terrible sweat five minutes before the final. It's nothing to do with the match or his opponent, and he feels slightly guilty for that, as though it will keep him from putting in one hundred percent, or put him off his game. It's because he has looked in every direction he can think to look, even to the sky, and he still hasn't seen Fuji anywhere. The past three days had been suspicious and hellish the way Fuji had managed to make himself completely absent from all court events. Perhaps he was claiming a stomach bug, some kind of slight illness. Though Fuji would still appear for this match, wouldn't he?

He shuffles ever so slightly from one foot to the other, watching them as he does so and even though Tezuka is aware of what he is doing, he cannot stop it. As his name and his opponents name are announced he looks up one last time, and Fuji is standing at the end of the front row, beside the exit, with a large envelope in his hand. His is reading the papers from inside, and smiling. His camera is nowhere to be seen.

Tezuka resolves to unravel the mysteries after the match, and stores them away in the small part of his brain that will not be used during this match. That part is called 'Outside Distractions'. Fuji is there watching, and to know that is enough. He does not need to go glancing over every five seconds to check he is still watching; he simply has to play a match worthy of attention. No trouble there.

His tennis is a thing of awe; you don't get this far unless you have that something special. Enough people have told him this that he knows it is a simple fact, and even if they hadn't, he was aware enough, and humble enough to understand the scope of his own talent. Though he had never watched himself play, content to listen to tips of improvement from others who had watched in the flesh. There hadn't been overly many.

Everything is gone from his mind as he adjusts to the court around him, and squares his stance to receive the first serve. There are court lines, and his opponent, and the ball, and he sees no further than that. It is enough alone to consume him.


Fuji takes a deep breath, and a large space of time passes by before he remembers to repeat the action again. If someone were to offer him a fortune in his hands right then just to look away from the match, he would not even flinch to listen to the bribe. All the reasons he had banned himself from spectating on Tezuka's matches are flaunting themselves in front of him, his shirt dancing around his waist as he chases the ball revealing flesh, his leg muscles twitching as he is about to make a move to return the next shot, his hair whipping about against the breeze. But these are all shallow things.

It is the aura he radiates no matter the importance of the match he is playing. The way he draws people in and makes them want to watch, makes them care. Tezuka's passion for the game amplifies when he plays, and tennis enthusiast or not, watching makes everyone cry out approval. Though his expression never changes, Fuji can feel the warmth of Tezuka's smile at times like this.

He inches his way closer to the barrier, feeling himself draw like a moth to the flames. It is also an unconsidered, but incredibly useful way to hide his growing erection. This is why it is so dangerous to watch one of Tezuka's matches, to be immersed in everything he is and believes in.
He gives off that air of no-emotion the rest of the time, only to reveal so much brilliance for a short amount of time during a match. It would be impossible to shine so much if he let a little out every moment of every day; he has to keep it well buried and hidden, preserved for when it matters most.

It is not Tezuka's match to take, not so easily, but it is still obvious to Fuji's eyes that he will not ultimately lose. That does not make it any less wonderful to watch, already sensing the outcome. To ride upon that wave and follow it to it's breaking point is a rush almost beyond compare. Almost.

Fuji cannot take his eyes off of Tezuka, not even during game breaks for water and rest. He knows Tezuka can probably feel the stare burning a hole in his back, and wonders if it is making him smile internally. One more set, and the game is his. Fuji slips his hands down the barrier to press against the front of his jeans and wonders if it's possible for him to come just from watching a damn tennis match. And decides quickly he does not want to know.


Somehow, winning is an anti-climax. Tezuka should want to yell, jump and laugh, but he can't even bring himself to smile easily when he wins. He misses the fact that he is no longer playing the game; the rush disappears all too quickly, not unlike sex. Thinking in that respect, the first place he turns his head after they have shaken hands is to where Fuji was last stood. Tezuka can feel the electricity all the way from where he stands, and will never stop to wonder if he is the cause of it.

He has to deal with accepting his trophy, shaking various hands and answering the same mundane questions over and over until the stands are almost empty. Fuji still remains, and now that Tezuka looks more closely, he can see Fuji's hands holding tightly to the railing. When he graciously makes his exit, he glides by Fuji, barely looking his way, possibly just redirecting his chin by an inch. Fuji notes it, and follows him subtly back to the locker rooms. Tezuka has always made sure to get himself absolute privacy there.

There is no way to determine who kisses who first; there is an open door, and then it is shut, and their mouths are fixed together, fighting for more of what they already have. Tezuka is loathe to stop, but his mind brakes all of a sudden.

"I thought you said-"

Fuji shoves the envelope and papers into his waiting hands.

"Apparently when you are a professional tennis player, and your wife is a professional tennis player, things like divorce can be pushed through pretty quickly." Fuji says, smirking. "Who knew?"

"You probably did." Tezuka says, though he smiles a little as he reads over the letter. "Should I be thanking you for opening my mail?"

"Oh, your copy is probably waiting for you at reception." Fuji shrugs. "I asked to be informed; your wife was more than willing to comply when she discovered exactly who I was. Something about letting me know when I could have all of you."

"She told you what I said." Tezuka says blankly. "I should have known."

"It probably would have been better if you had told me yourself." Fuji points out. "You haven't once said outright that you wanted me back." Tezuka blinks in surprise.

"I do." He insists sincerely.

"Do what?" Fuji asks, his wicked smile extending all the way to his eyes. Tezuka kisses him again to erase it, but it only makes Fuji smile wider.