Learning to Fall. 
by Suteishichic

Chapter Thirty Six ~ Fuji

Warnings: Yaoi, Love, Angst, Fluff, and Lots of Sex. Some kink. You've been warned ;)

Disclaimer: Nope not mine. Still in my dreams. ;)

"Ne, Eiji, how...personal, do you mean?" Even as Fuji said it he knew, knew that Eiji had caught him in his trap. Drawn him in as if Eiji was a hungry spider and Fuji a helpless fly. The tensai mused again to himself that he really should teach Eiji to play chess or go, with his unconventional methods and logic he would be a master in no time, looking sweet and adorable while he destroyed his competition.

Fuji sighed and waited for Eiji's next move. Eiji knew Fuji enjoyed games and manipulating others. So did Eiji. Fuji loved playing with the mind and Eiji the heart.

It was what at one time made Fuji consider taking Eiji to his bed. That adorable face, plus his beautiful body, and then add to that his quick mercurial mind; Eiji was a work of art and a master manipulator all in one, only tempered by his loving heart. Fuji wondered if Oishi even knew what he had gotten himself into, and strangely enough, the tensai believed that Oishi did. Somehow, always in control Oishi, probably let Eiji wrap him around his little finger and loved him all the more for it.

Fuji had noticed to his shock though that Eiji gave more than he took, but only to Oishi. With Oishi, Eiji was unselfish and giving first. Somehow Eiji and Oishi worked. Probably because Oishi took little, and gave Eiji even more back. They really brought out the best in each other. It was fascinating to watch. The tensai knew he would puzzle over his two seemingly mismatched friends for a long, long time, wondering how the two of them ever came together.

And regarding being shocked, Oishi had shocked the tensai to his very core earlier when he confessed to Fuji that something had happened to him in his past too.

Fuji knew how to read people. The tensai had been through a lot of pain in his life and usually knew how to spot other people who survived similar experiences. Yet Oishi buried what happened to him so deep, covered it up so thoroughly, that no one would have suspected. Not even Fuji.

Fuji never had any sense that anything like that had happened to Oishi, but when the tensai put the rumors of the many girls Oishi had dated, together with his personality, then it made perfect sense. Oishi's over-active dating life was him acting out because he was in pain over something bad that happened. Something he blamed himself for. A near textbook example that Fuji had never even seen right in front of him.

Fuji had a feeling as Oishi told him, still completely embarrassed, that even talking about this was new to Oishi. Fuji believed that he was maybe the second person ever to hear anything about it. Most likely, even Tezuka had no idea.

Fuji mused that even Eiji must have been surprised by that one.

But Oishi had told Eiji. He was clearly the first one Oishi had ever told. Somehow, Oishi had entrusted his darkest secret, his deepest hurt to him and Eiji loved him regardless. How incredible that Oishi had loved and trusted enough to let go and Eiji had repaid that trust with nothing less than unconditional love. Eiji by listening and accepting had helped heal Oishi. Even without any experience, Eiji knew enough, loved Oishi enough, to say and do the right things to help Oishi. It was rather remarkable.

Fuji wondered, envious for a moment, what that must feel like. To be loved completely, unconditionally, and to love another person back in the same way. It must be scary and thrilling at the same time. That kind of openness, that kind of honesty, that kind of trust, it attracted and repelled the tensai all at once. Experience had taught Fuji a hard lesson. Fuji too well knew the consequences of trusting and telling someone everything. The tensai was aware of what a soul wounding heartbreaking disaster it could be to entrust and tell the wrong person, doubly disastrous when the wrong person was the person you had also given your heart to.

Fuji did not know if he could or would ever be capable of being like that with anyone ever again. Of loving someone that much that you wanted him to know anything. Ever. It took so much love and so much trust to let go so completely and love. If Fuji had a phobia, that was it. Having his history repeat itself. Telling someone you loved and being rejected for it.

Fuji honestly did not think he would survive it again.

How remarkable that his two friends found their way with nearly no one to help them.

Eiji had had some unlikely help though, Fuji was dumbfounded to discover that Eiji's mother knew about his feelings for Oishi. That week when Eiji was not speaking to Oishi, Fuji saw a very different Eiji than the strong, even though apparently upset, Eiji standing with his back towards him now. That Eiji was in love, hard, for the first time in his life and was devastated that it wasn't instantly and completely returned in full. Fuji was there when Oishi brought the homework by that first night.

Eiji had called Fuji right before practice extremely upset. He begged Fuji two favors. One that Fuji come over immediately after practice because he needed his friend to talk to. And two, that if Oishi asks to help Eiji in any way, then Fuji has Oishi bring Eiji's homework over.

Fuji arrived to find Eiji a mess. He was crying so hard he was nearly sobbing. His leg was not broken but his heart was. Fuji sat on his bed, Eiji was crying, whispering in between tears to Fuji, and asking a million questions about Oishi. How he seemed all day, how he played, exactly what did he say to the tensai...

Eiji's mom came in just before Oishi arrived, and asked Eiji how he was doing. Eiji burst into renewed tears. Fuji even got up to leave but Eiji gripped Fuji's hand hard and held tight as he hugged his mom. Eiji was so overly dramatic sometimes Fuji thought then and now, but that time was not for effect, attention, or sympathy. Eiji's heart was broken then for real.

Eiji's mom asked Eiji if he loved Oishi. If Eiji was in love with him.

Fuji felt his jaw drop open. He knew Eiji had a rather unorthodox and very close family, but this seemed...excessive, even by liberal standards.

Eiji's had sobbed yes. He thought he did have feelings for him. He might. And now he was hurt. Very, very hurt.

His mom asked Eiji point blank if Eiji believed or had any reason to believe Oishi might have feelings for him too. Love feelings. In that way she had specifically said. Fuji felt his jaw still hanging open. Eiji said he was not sure, not certain, but he thought he might.

Then Fuji said, because it had to be said, that he did not believe Oishi was gay or even bisexual. Fuji did not believe entirely that Eiji was gay or bi.

Not too long before, there was that one night when Eiji slept over Fuji's, and well, Eiji was such a loving guy, and you never knew until you tried, and one kiss on his soft, full mouth couldn't hurt. Okay, so Fuji was wrong again when Eiji did not kiss him back but instead rather, froze. Froze completely like a deer lit up by a car's headlights on the highway. Ouch. That hurt.

Eiji had been kind enough to be a good friend to the tensai instead that night. Giving Fuji attention and affection he was not even aware he was missing or needed at that moment. But he never kissed Fuji back. He never responded other than a smile and a hug and he did not seem to want to talk about it the next day.

So what in the world could possibly have happened between a deer in the headlights Eiji and painfully proper Oishi?

Eiji tearfully explained that neither of them was gay, nya, but they had feelings for each other. Eiji's mom nodded as if she understood. Fuji was a bit lost feeling he was missing pieces to the puzzle in front of him.

Eiji never said what happened to make him believe Oishi might have feelings for him. He actually nicely refused to say, though Fuji asked, and asked, and even tried to ask a million different ways to get Eiji to talk. The tensai found to his surprise, he was dying to know. Eiji held fast and never even hinted.

Instead Eiji's mom had said to Eiji, "Eiji, what do you want to do? What do you think you should do?"

Eiji had turned to Fuji. His face was puffy from crying but his eyes now were clear. He said calmly, thinking, detaching himself like Fuji had taught him, "Hoi. A hypothetical." Fuji nodded waiting for him to proceed. "Two guys, best friends, have feelings for each other." Eiji paused waiting to see if Fuji again corrected him or interrupted.

Fuji didn't so Eiji went on. "Hoi. One is not sure if he does have feeling for the other because they are both guys, and he is afraid. The other one is hurt by this, hurt by him. What should the hurt one do? Three possibilities, let the one who is not sure see him, talk to the one who is not sure, or give him space?"

He looked away making those leaping jumps in intuition and insight that Fuji had come to respect. Eiji turned to his mom. "You always say to my sisters that men fall in love in the spaces, in the pauses." Eiji's Mom nodded. Fuji had never heard that expression before.

Eiji continued having made his decision. "Nya. Oishi needs a pause. He needs to miss me. I can't see him or talk to him until he earns it."

Eiji's mom said "Eiji are you sure? You can't give in if you decide this. You can't call him. You can't see him. Not at all. Not even once. No contact. And if he doesn't come through by the time your well enough to go back to school, then you'll be just his friend like before?"

"Hoi." Eiji said with tears again in his eyes. Just because he decided, it didn't mean he liked his choice or what he felt he had to do. "But he'll come Mom, he will."

"Eiji," his mom said hugging him and just to be sure, "Oishi is a boy who needs a lot of love. The first time I saw him I thought he needed a big hug and to hear someone tell him that they loved him. Once he falls in love with someone he will give his whole heart to them. You need to be really, really sure you feel this way about your friend because if you care about him truly, if you have feelings for him, then you also do not want to hurt him. You can't love him like a cat one day and ignore him the rest. You can't hurt him. You must be sure."

Fuji thought that was also an appropriate description for Eiji and why Fuji backed off.

Eiji never paused a second, he never hesitated, instead he said quietly, "Hoi, I'm sure."

Eiji's mother then went downstairs to wait for Oishi and turn him away.

Fuji finally remembered to close his mouth after she left the room. "Ne, Eiji I really think he's straight." Really, really straight...really, really, really straight. The tensai added to himself in his head.

"Nya. Fujiko, wouldn't you say that you're mostly straight? If someone asked you? Nya, you told me it was about loving the person, not their gender. Its like that."

Fuji blinked twice. "Eiji, what happened between you and Oishi that makes you so sure?"

"Nothing happened Fuji-senpai, I just know." Eiji would say no more. Except to beg Fuji not to let on to Oishi that the tensai had any inkling about anything and not to tell another soul.

Fuji, as his friend, agreed and if nothing else expected to only be there for him to pick up the pieces of Eiji's heart as his first boy-crush rejected him. But Fuji, as usual lately, was completely wrong.

The tensai heard a little while later Oishi downstairs. He was asking, pleading with Eiji's mother to let him see Eiji for just a minute. Please?

Eiji just hugged Fuji close, crying again silently. Fuji had a sense that Eiji was wishing Fuji could somehow transform into Oishi.

In the end it was Fuji who came up with the plan to see if Oishi could beat him. Fuji was sure he never could. Oishi was good but had been playing terrible all week. Fuji thought he would be doing Eiji a kindness, getting this over with so Eiji could move on. Fuji every night went to Eiji's house and had to tell Eiji everything Oishi did, said, ate, the score of every match he played, how he looked, what girls talked to him, and what he wore. All the while Eiji cried in Fuji's arms, or looked so sad, missing his friend Oishi terribly. If men fall in love in the spaces, then Eiji was falling as hard in this pause as Oishi.

The night Oishi sweetly, desperately, brought the photos from the pet store, an idea that completely surprised Fuji who thought straight-laced, reserved Oishi would never do anything like that, Eiji was in bad shape. He had listened to the most recent pleading phone messages Oishi left him. He missed Oishi terribly and wanted to call him. Eiji's mom convinced him, just barely, to hold out one more day, to just wait a little longer.

The tensai found himself asking Eiji's mom why she was so accepting of all this. He understood that she loved her only son, but, this seemed extraordinary.

His mom then told Fuji, that she and Eiji's father believed that love was love. She explained to him that back when she was in college, she fell in love with her best friend and roommate. Her roommate's family was well off and the two girls, Eiji's bohemian mother and the straight laced girl looking for fun, first became fast friends. During a summer break they bummed around Europe, having a blast. At some point Eiji's mom fell in love, at some point the other girl did too, and at some point they slept together.

The next morning her best friend was gone, missing, leaving all her things behind, everything.

Eiji's mom searched everywhere for her, thinking something terrible happened. But the girl had returned home on the next flight leaving no note. She would not return any calls. Her family pulled her from school and her things were packed for her. Eiji's mom, grief stricken, unable to comprehend what had gone wrong, spent all the money she had saved and went to find her. She had not been strong enough to withdraw or wait, instead she ran to her. The girl's family lived in a little town outside the city of Chicago in a gigantic mansion on a sprawling estate. The girl refused to see his mom day after day. Eventually the girl did agree to meet his mom for 5 minutes at a train station. She never showed up. Instead her father did with a large check and a handwritten note saying only. 'Sorry...'

The girls father informed Eiji's mom that she was never to contact her again and that she was getting married in two weeks to her former high school sweetheart. Eiji's mom was devastated. She could not go back to school because every space, every place, everything, haunted her. So she went back to traveling around with no destination, lost. About 10 months later, his mom met his dad. He was also traveling around, experiencing life, just taking a semester off. They became good friends, she eventually told him all about her lost love, and cried on his shoulder. About a year later they fell in love and a little over a year after that, they were married. She had always wanted a large family and explained that they were happy and now had many kids.

Eiji's mom told Fuji that Eiji was her joyful child. The doctors told her not to get pregnant anymore for her health. In fact when they discovered she was pregnant with Eiji they urged her to terminate the pregnancy for her health. She refused. She knew her husband wanted a son even if he did adore all their daughters. She just somehow knew he was a boy. It was while carrying Eiji, bedridden in a hospital, depressed, that her lost love contacted her again. She sent her a blank birthday card.

Eiji's mom never responded but to this day, she gets blank birthday cards, blank post cards, and blank holiday cards. There is no return address but she knows who its from. Eiji, she said was her worst pregnancy and a tough child to raise because he rarely ever slept. Even as an infant you could give him attention 25 hours a day, seven days a week and he still needed more. But then in those rare moments, when he finally did fall asleep, he looked blissful. And while he was demanding, at the same time, his entire being was loving. He always smiled. He was always happy. Even in his terrible twos, five minutes after throwing a fit for a piece of candy, he was loving and smiling again. He was her joyful child. His birth healed any of the left over hurt from her friend of long ago.

Eiji, hearing his Mom's story again, was able to hold out calling Oishi. He waited for Oishi and truly believed he would come. Eiji was determined again.

Fuji discovered he felt a little protective of Eiji now. So he challenged Oishi to see Eiji when Oishi asked Fuji. Oishi was upset, so upset that he said he would do anything to see Eiji. Nearly begging. Fuji had to put a stop to this. It wasn't healthy for either of them.

Then to the tensai's shock and amazement, Oishi...won.

Fuji liked Oishi, he genuinely did. He had watched him a great deal as Oishi was a close friend of Tezuka's. Oishi, though, up until recently, was kind of two dimensional somehow. He was flat. He liked to help others, he was kind, he was nice, he was handsome, he was hardworking, and that was really all there seemed to be to him.

Yet, Fuji remembers being amused at the rumors he kept hearing about Oishi with this girl or that girl. Oishi as a lothario sounded absurd but something about him Fuji realized, made girls crazy for him. Fuji had girls who liked him, Tezuka had girls who insisted they were in love with him, but Oishi, quiet, gentle Oishi, had nice girls acting crazy for him.

Fuji, having now seen Oishi's controlling father, submissive mother, and finding out about Oishi being hurt in his past, now understood why he had been acting out. Fuji now completely understood why Oishi would become infatuated with a girl, date her once or twice and then drop her like a hot rock whenever he felt any emotion or was scared by the girl wanting and needing too much from him.

Girls, women, Fuji had long known, often saw what men did not. Before Eiji, when a girl would come to Fuji upset, asking the tensai how to get close to Oishi, Fuji always said, just ask to study with him, or watch him play tennis, that's all he does. But the girls would always tell Fuji that Oishi was sad. Lonely. Deep. Mysterious. Like Eiji's mom, they sensed that when he did fall in love, it would be forever and they wanted that. That forever kind of love from Oishi for themselves.

Somehow, Oishi beat an astonished Fuji. And he did come for Eiji. Just like Eiji knew he would.

Somehow after that, Eiji helped and healed Oishi.

Fuji now knew, having sorted through all this, that whatever it was Eiji wanted to know, Fuji would tell him. Even if it was about Tezuka, which Fuji doubted, but even if it was, Fuji would tell him everything. Anything he wanted to know. Even if it was about Fuji's own secrets and demons. Eiji might be one person that someday Fuji could trust to tell his secrets to and not be rejected by. Not that Fuji thought Eiji would ever want to know them. Knowing this would be their first night, Eiji would only ask like this if it was important to him and the only thing on Eiji's mind was Oishi.

"Ne, Eiji, how...personal, do you mean?"

Fuji ran through all of this as Eiji stood there, his back to Fuji dramatically, waiting to answer Fuji's question.

"Hoi. Fujiko-chan, I...I don't want to embarrass you in any way but I have questions and I...I need a friend."

"Ah. Eiji, I am your friend, what do you want to ask me?"

Eiji paused again enticing Fuji with one word, "Any...anything?"

The tensai braced for the questions because anything with Eiji could really mean anything. "Anything, my friend. If I can help you or tell you I will."

Fuji saw Eiji's shoulders relax slightly as if in relief. Fuji was not certain if he was still putting on his show or if this was real. The tensai was starting to suspect the latter. "Hoi. Thank you Fujiko." Eiji took a breath in and then said in a surprisingly quiet voice, "Hoi. I need to know...does it hurt?"

Eiji turned looking earnestly at Fuji. Fuji's mind raced to catch up with where Eiji's was. "Ne? Does what hurt Eiji?" Eiji said nothing but looked down blushing. Oh. "Ah. Sex? Making love?" Eiji nodded his adorable face flaming a surprising shade of crimson that nearly matched his hair. He really is so cute... Fuji thought. "You mean between two men?"

Eiji looked miserable. "Nya. I think I need to know everything."

Fuji had to keep from laughing. Everything? "Men and women too?" Eiji nodded looking despondent and Fuji had no idea why he was asking now. The tensai decided to answer his questions and see where Eiji really wanted to go. He trusted Eiji more than almost anyone and knew his friend would not mislead or misdirect him. "Mn. All right, straight sex with a man and a woman usually does not hurt. Though the first time does. Anal intercourse between two men or a man and a woman can hurt. Is that what you mean? Here, Eiji, sit down." Eiji looked surprised and so upset that the tensai was totally perplexed.

Fuji poured them tea which had boiled some minutes ago. He set the cups down and lit a candle, a soothing meditative one, and then turned out the lights in the kitchen. It felt more intimate and relaxing. Fuji waited for Eiji to sip his tea, to relax, or say anything, but he wouldn't. He finally sat, but with his head in his hands, upset. Fuji was at once both seriously concerned and seriously amused. With Eiji it could be that the two had only kissed or that they had done everything but sex.

Fuji doubted the everything except sex but you never knew, especially with Eiji. Fuji pictured him enjoying sexual pleasure like he ate ice cream, ravenous and always hungry for more. It was a thought that brought a selfish pang of regret because it could have been Fuji teaching Eiji all this. Fuji dismissed the notion immediately.

Fuji leaned in and put a hand on Eiji's arm. The tensai waited for him to relax even slightly. Eiji took a deep breath and started again, "Nya. I need to know how much it hurts Fuji." He paused and licked his lips, he went on but would not meet Fuji's eyes. "I'm fine if it hurts, but Oishi, Oishi can never, ever know that it hurts me. Ever." Eiji had tears in his eyes and looked at Fuji. His voice went to a whisper, "I want Oishi to enjoy it Fuji and never, ever know it hurts. But I need to know how much it will first so he never knows."

Whatever Fuji expected it wasn't that. Why was Eiji this upset? Had he read something about it hurting that upset him? Fuji then thought back to what Oishi told Fuji and started to understand. "Eiji, Oishi told me today that something like what happened to me, with the senpai, but worse, happened to him. He was hurt and it had to do with sex?"

Eiji said nothing but had one tear trickling down his cheek. "He...he can't ever know it hurts, Fuji. He wont hurt me and I want him to enjoy it. So I need to know, everything." Fuji's jaw again dropped. It was the most incredible thing Fuji had ever seen. The biggest showing of love, naive as it was, he had ever seen.

Fuji put his arms around Eiji. You had to love him, you just had to. "Eiji, you love Oishi very much don't you?" Eiji nodded not saying a word letting Fuji hug him.

Fuji fought to find a place to start. "I understand. You don't want Oishi to hurt or know he hurt you so that its not like last time for him?" Eiji nodded again "Eiji, you and Oishi have done, other things right?" Eiji nodded. Fuji felt awkward with this hinting around. "Like most everything...else?"

"Hoi. Everything else."

"You...you have?" Fuji was having trouble believing him and was not sure why. "How did you...know? Not the book I lent you?" Fuji was a bit horrified.

Eiji smiled, a little, "Nya Fuji, before, I looked it up." Fuji must have looked confused, Eiji said, "Online."

"But, Eiji, online isn't..."

"Fujiko, everything else." Eiji said it exasperatedly. He saw Fuji still did not believe him. "Everything. Really. A spot too."


"Hoi." Eiji said it both embarrassed and with a little smile remembering. That smile seemed to indicate it went rather well.

Fuji blinked. "Ne, Eiji, there isn't much more than that to, know. It is just like that but a bit, larger. Oishi will be really gentle, he'll take his time and go slow. It will be fine. Use a lot of lube or a condom if you want. Have fun. Eiji...you do...know that it feels really good for you too right? Especially when the person you are with loves you." Fuji had a flash of last night and Tezuka and almost shuddered in pleasure, remembering.

"Wasn't sure." Eiji was biting his lower lip.

"It does feel good. Oishi won't hurt you. The next day you'll be a bit sore, but its kind of a good sore because it makes you remember the night before all day. Just go slow and, enjoy each other." Fuji took a sip of his tea to wash the thoughts and lingering fantasies of his friend's first time out of his head.

"Hoi. Fujiko, do I need to know anything to not hurt Oishi?"

Fuji almost spit out his tea. "Oishi is the uke...?"

Eiji laughed. Actually laughed. "Nya, Fuji! Uke, seme, top, bottom, those are all just words. If Oishi sees me enjoying it, if he knows it feels good, then he will want to try it too." Eiji being Eiji was sure of this, Fuji realized. Fuji found himself blinking again as Eiji continued, "Oishi likes to be in control and I like when he is," Eiji gave another little smile remembering, and then looked mischievous as hell as he said, "but sometimes, its nice when I am too. Oishi lets me. Its just love, Fujiko." Eiji paused and then looked a little worried again, "Is that wrong?"

It was like a corner piece of a puzzle Fuji never could solve being handed to him by Eiji of all people. Somehow, Oishi and Eiji worked out their control problems in a matter of weeks, days, moments, in a way Fuji and Tezuka had been unable to in months. "No, Eiji." Fuji said as much to himself as his friend. "Its not wrong if you both love and trust each other. Its not if you both are happy and it feels good. Its not wrong at all. Any other questions?"

"Hoi." Eiji got quiet again, Fuji found himself bracing his hands on the table waiting for the next bombshell to fall. "What's the difference between making love to a man and making love to a woman?"

Oh good, the tensai thought amused, a nice easy one, again!

Fuji sighed, "I would have to say that in general, women are soft where men are hard. Women are subtle where men are obvious, men are easier to please but women are more...sensitive."

"Nya, sex with a woman doesn't hurt?" Eiji looked upset at this and Fuji had no idea why.

"Ne. That isn't true. It can hurt for a woman. It will the first time, and it can hurt if she isn't turned on or wet." Eiji looked confused, "You know how sometimes on a man when he is turned on there's a drop or two of liquid at the tip when he is hard?" Eiji nodded "Women get wet like that, but more, when you touch them in a way that pleases them, they make their own...lubrication, but some don't make enough so if they don't use lubrication it can hurt. Or sometimes the lubrication the woman makes is itchy, or smelly or sometimes the woman is not relaxed and is tight so it can hurt but it mostly hurts the woman. But it can hurt the man too." Eiji looked very lost and upset. Fuji sighed, "It would be like sex with men with no lubrication. It would hurt and be sore for both but more for the one on the bottom."

"Fuji, what if he had on a condom?"

"Some condoms are lubricated and others aren't." Fuji really had no idea where this was going or why.

"And if the woman was on top?"

"Eiji, did you have sex with a woman on top while you were wearing a condom?" Fuji could think of no other possible explanation and was getting frustrated. It was like playing clue sometimes with Eiji.

"N...Nya!" Eiji then said small and quiet again, "Nya...me." Fuji watched Eiji as another tear trickled down his face. "Not me." He whispered.

Fuji realized, or at least he thought he did, what Eiji was saying. The person who hurt Oishi was not a man like Fuji assumed, it was a woman. And apparently a condom and her on top was involved. Fuji thought a moment about all this, included what Oishi said, and it came to him what may have happened. "But he didn't want to, did he Eiji?"

Eiji shook his head no and said quietly, "Fuji, please, just tell me how not to hurt him, I need to be sure. Please..."

Fuji took his dear, sweet-hearted friend in a big hug again. "Eiji do you know what Oishi told me today on the roof?" Eiji shook his head no. "He told me that a long time ago someone hurt him, like I was hurt, but worse. And that he never told anyone for a long time. That he blamed himself. But someone else showed him that what happened was not his fault. That he did nothing wrong. I asked Oishi who helped him and do you know who he said Eiji?"

"Me?" Eiji said still in a quiet voice.

"Yes, you. You helped him. You healed him. You love him. You won't hurt him. I promise you. Oishi loves you, Eiji. He wants to be with you. He chose you as much as you chose him. You wont hurt him Eiji, because you love him. And he won't hurt you because he loves you. See?"

Eiji was still a moment, lost in thought, and then smiled beaming, happy once again, a joyful child. He wailed "Thank you Fujiko!" and threw his arms around the tensai.

Fuji sucked in his breath in surprise and pain as Eiji slammed into every bruise Fuji had. Then Eiji looked at Fuji in horror, eyes wide at having caused Fuji pain. "I'm so sorry Fuji-senpai!" he breathed making Fuji laugh despite the pain. Fuji laughing made Eiji laugh even as he started sneakily checking Fuji's neck and back for damage before Fuji gently took his hands away.

They took their tea and the candle to the couch to keep talking. As they sat Eiji lay his head in Fuji's lap in perfect trust of his friend. Fuji smoothed his fine silky hair and for once Eiji let it be messed with. "Fujiko?" Fuji looked at him "You love him don't you?"

Fuji worried about where this was going. "What do you mean Eiji, who?"

"Fujiko-chan, you love him, you're in love with him. So why doesn't...the person you love, love you?"

Fuji froze. Fuji almost stormed away. Fuji almost threw Eiji out of his house. But then Fuji saw Eiji honestly was confused why anyone would not adore his good friend as he did. Fuji sighed in the end and tried to just say, "Ah. Its complicated, Eiji."


"Mn. Consider this." Fuji said thinking, "You know how you and Oishi figured out who is in control. You let him be in control but sometimes he lets you be in control? This person and I, we, never figured it out. We both want to be in control and it gets, complicated."

"Why? Nya. The submissive has all the power so how is it complicated?"

Fuji almost yanked Eiji's hair as he lay there to get Eiji to face him. "Why do you say that?"

Eiji laughed, "Nya Fuji, its true. You can't be in control if the other person isn't willing to let you. If you're both in control and no one will let the other then its just...a mess."

"Ah. See? Complicated."

"Hoi. Do you not want to be the one in control?"

"Ah. That is the problem, I want to be the one in power, the dominant one."

"Nya Fuji! Nya. The submissive has all the power, not the dominant one." Eiji sat up to explain, "Fujiko look at Oishi and me. Oishi is in control because I let him be. I give him that power because I love and trust him and if I choose I can take it back. He is in control because I let him. I let him because I love him and it makes me happy. He knows that and loves me more for it making me happy, but its my power, not his. The stronger person is the submissive because they can bend and not break. They are the one who sets the rules. See?"

"Ne Eiji I really don't." Fuji was lost.

"Hypothetical okay?" Eiji said and Fuji nodded, "You and this man are in a relationship and have feelings for each other. He is set in his ways and wants to control things. You let him. You are the one in power when you let go and let him be in control. When you let him be dominant. The submissive has the power."

Fuji interrupted, "And if he is angry at me?"

Eiji cocked his head to the side considering. "He is either angry that you are in control or he is angry that you aren't. If you don't submit or don't trust him then he can't love you and that might be making him angry. If you aren't submitting then you're afraid to trust him. It doesn't work if you don't trust each other." Eiji looked at him, "Fuji you have to only let him to love you and he will."

Fuji considered this. Really considered this frightening as it was. The tensai sat with his thoughts for a while and Eiji, for once, seemed to instinctively let him.

"Eiji? How do you know how to fall without getting hurt? How did Oishi learn?"

"Hoi?" Eiji laughed a little but seamlessly followed the jump in conversations and thoughts, "Nya Fujiko, always it hurts when I fall. It hurts all the time. I know how to fall so I don't get anything broken but it still hurts." Fuji again felt his jaw drop. "It always hurts a little to fall. Sometimes you land wrong and you get bruised. But you tuck and roll when you hit the ground and nothing will break. You let go and relax right before you hit the ground and it keeps it from really hurting you. Then you get up, brush yourself off, and do it again." Eiji smiled. "Fujiko, Oishi had to learn how to let go, to trust me, to let me love him. He needed me to love him and believe in him. That's what he had to learn." Eiji paused, "I learned from him too." He smiled brightly.

All those nights of hurtful behavior and angry, passionate sex were to make Fuji let go? It was closer but something was still missing. A puzzle piece that wasn't in the box. "Ne, Eiji, what if he's angry at himself for wanting me? What if he just doesn't...what if he doesn't love me?" Fuji felt hot tears stinging his eyes. That was Fuji's second biggest fear. And after last night and barely seeing Tezuka all day, not having him even say hello, Fuji was just confused, tired, sore, and heartbroken now. The intoxicating joy of last night had now left Fuji feeling hungover. Shaky, upset, queasy, and wondering what he did the night before.

"Nya, Fujiko...you have to let go and trust. You have to just relax before you hit the ground and you'll be fine. You'll be fine." Eiji whispered it as he hugged his friend gently. "Fujiko, you're my second best friend. I love you. Please don't cry." Which actually made Fuji cry harder.

"Nya, how come every time I tell someone not to cry they always cry harder?" Eiji asked it rhetorically but Fuji laughed anyway.

Fuji cried a little longer but soon calmed down. He felt calmer than he had today, somehow, cleansed. He even wiped his eyes on a certain handkerchief that had been in his pocket like a talisman all day. Now put to its proper good use. "Ah, thank you Eiji. You come to get my advice and you end up giving me more than I gave you."

Eiji kissed Fuji on his forehead, "Nya Fuji, you helped me a lot. I was very worried but now I feel good. Thank you." Eiji smiled and winked.

"I'm glad Eiji, I really am." Fuji wiped the last of his tears feeling better than he had in a long while. He knew he would be up late pondering what Eiji had said. "I'm going to go up and wash my face before Oishi gets here. I wonder where my sister is too. Its getting late. If Oishi knocks just let him in."

Fuji gave Eiji one last hug, on impulse kissing him on his cheek, and went upstairs, smiling, sincerely happy for his friends.

On to Chapter 37!!