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Home for the Holidays

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When Tezuka awoke in his room after the surgery, anesthesia mostly worn off, it was to an odd sight. Ryoma was standing on a chair, facing the wall, and surrounded by something sparkly. Well, maybe the anesthesia was not as warn off as he thought. Or maybe it was the pain killers because if Tezuka did not know any better, he’d say he did not have a left shoulder at all with how numb the localizing agents had left him. His head was swimming a bit from the general ones, as well. Tezuka rubbed at his eyes with a groggy groan only to slam them back open at the sound of a cry of surprise. Ryoma was still teetering on the chair, only now he was trying to shove shiny red and green garland out of sight.

“Ryo-ma?” he asked, clearing his throat after his voice broke and looking around to find water on his right.

“Let me help!” Ryoma called out as he let the half-hung garland fall, jumped from the chair and rushed to the bedside. He handed Tezuka the bed’s controls and helped him prop the head of his mattress into a sitting position before Ryoma handed the water over for him to drink.

“How are you feeling?” Ryoma asked the moment Tezuka set the empty glass down. “Confused,” Tezuka answered as he looked around the room, finally a bit more awake. Red and green garland hung around the room along with paper cut-out snowflakes taped to his window. Tezuka did not mind the blocked view of the city skyscrapers and traffic. Added in with the cloudy weather, it meant the only reprieve he had from hospital white was cityscape grey. Neither were the most inviting. At the foot of his bed, something green peeked over the top and while he could tell it was fake, he could also tell it was supposed to be pine. A wreath, then? None of this had been here when he had gone in to surgery for his torn rotator cuff, though.

“Well, you’re stuck in here through the weekend, at least, and I know you like all the traditional holiday stuff,” Ryoma shrugged and pieces started to come together in Tezuka’s mind. “You decorated for Christmas?” he realized, suddenly taking the decor in once more before smiling at Ryoma’s flustered half-nod in his drug-induced state. Tezuka reached out for his boyfriend’s hand, giving it a squeeze before threading their fingers together. “Thank you,” he smiled tiredly once more, considering drifting back off to sleep until the door slid open.

“Ah, Tezuka, you’re awake.”

Tezuka’s eyes were wide awake at that point. He had learned back in his second year of junior high, on the bus on the way back from a tournament, not to fall asleep around Fuji Syusuke. Ten years had not tamed the man of his tendency to play games, though it appeared he had come this time in good tidings. Kawamura stood behind him holding a miniature Christmas tree and a bag.

“I’ll let the others know, Echizen,” Fuji grinned and Tezuka suddenly had a very bad feeling. “It wasn’t my idea,” Ryoma apologized before standing to help Kawamura put the tree down on his bedside table and pull a tray of sushi out of the bag.

Within fifteen minutes, his room was packed with family and friends and Tezuka, still under the fading effects of the anesthesia, was overwhelmed. “Ryoma wanted to keep it small,” his mother told him as she poured him another glass of water and handed him a plate of nigiri sushi he could use his hands to eat, “but since you could not be home for Christmas, this year, he wanted to bring Christmas to you.”

“And no one thought to question hospital policy about this?” Tezuka asked only to watch his mother laugh. “It’s the holidays and it seems to make you happy,” she whispered, “If the hospital needs a scapegoat, I’ll take that place.” It was then she set a wrapped gift on the bed. “Just make sure this gets to Ryoma for me,” she winked before slipping away to keep the orderlies occupied with mindless chatter at the other end of the hall.

But distractions could only last so long and the moment the nurses found out about the party going on under their noses, they moved to break it up. “No more than three people at a time,” the charge nurse scolded as she sent the majority of the group packing, “The patient needs time and quiet to recuperate.”

Fuji and Kawamura remained to clean up the aftermath of disposable plates left abandoned and crumpled wrapping paper from exchanged gifts while Ryoma collapsed into the chair next to Tezuka’s bed. “My mother wanted to give you this,” Tezuka took the chance to finally say, his hand resting on top of the wrapped gift and Ryoma eyed it in surprise and curiosity. “I wasn’t expecting…” he started but picked the gift up all the same, picking at one of the taped edges until Tezuka pressed him to open it.

It was a jumper. Ryoma hummed as he pulled the pine green item from the box, letting it fall open to reveal- “Is that Karupin?”

Tezuka leaned over to look at the sweater only to shake his head as he barely managed to hold back laughter. “I saw her working with yarn,” he admitted, “but I didn’t realize this was what it was for.”

“You mean…your mom made this?” Ryoma asked eyes wide as he continued to study the jumper and its perfectly spaced stitches with far more interest than Tezuka would have expected. “Heeh,” Ryoma suddenly grinned before shoving it over his head and pulling it in place before tugging a bit to make sure Karupin’s face laid flat, “Your mom’s pretty cool, Kunimitsu.” Neither paid attention to the camera shutter that went off as Tezuka reached out to tug at the sweater, as well, Ryoma taking joy in having a clothing item with Karupin’s face on it while Tezuka realized he would likely have to literally tear the item off his boyfriend to wash it. Ryoma had the oddest taste in clothing.

As Ryoma leaned down to kiss his boyfriend, neither noticed Fuji and Kawamura leaving, either.


“I think Tezuka enjoyed that,” Kawamura spoke as he stepped outside, momentarily buffeted by a flurry of snow kicked up by a dry winter wind. “I imagine it helped the time pass at least a little bit faster,” Fuji agreed, “at least for Echizen.” “He’s been pretty worried since the injury happened,” Kawamura nodded, thinking back to that fateful day at the Davis cup.

“Tezuka won’t let this hold him back,” Fuji pointed out, “He never has.”

“But sometimes injuries really can be the end for an athlete,” Kawamura pointed out, looking at Fuji in concern as the ex-sportsman rolled his wrist thoughtfully.

“Taka-san, you worry too much,” Fuji smiled, reaching out to grab the end of Kawamura’s scarf and rolling it around his hand.

Like a fish on a line, Kawamura stepped closer and closer as Fuji shortened the length of the scarf, leaning down with a question on his face.


“Takashi, you really do worry to much,” Fuji answered with a smile before leaning up the rest of the way and pressing his lips against the sushi chef’s. He was happy just like this.