Learning to Fall. 
by Suteishichic

Chapter Forty

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

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

Oishi was out the door of Fuji's and on his bike before he had a chance to really process everything. Somehow Fuji had talked Oishi from total despair and wanting to die to realizing what an stupid ass he was to understanding that Eiji needed Oishi to find him in the span of under 15 minutes.

Oishi knew he had been an idiot.

He really never, ever meant to hurt Eiji. That was the truth.

He really loved Eiji. More than anything in the world. He just prayed that he would be able to tell him that again soon. Hopefully with Eiji wrapped safely in Oishi's arms saying he loved him too. But Oishi was realistic, too. That may not ever happen for a long time, if ever. He had hurt Eiji. Badly.

And it was so stupid. He hurt him because he loved him too much to allow him to be hurt.

Loved him enough to let him go when Tezuka explained, pointedly, that this was not what every guy dealt with. There would be things Eiji would miss out on if they were together. First dates, school dances, notes in the hallway, kisses before classes, and pretty much all the things that guys and girls did freely that guys and guys really never could. Oishi did not want to keep Eiji from ever experiencing and enjoying all those things, all those possibilities and potentialities in his life to the fullest. Eiji, like Oishi, was his parents only son. If he was with Oishi, they could never get married, have children, he could never carry on his family's name, and just do all the things normal couples did. Worst of all would be if Eiji lost his loving family because of them. Oishi could not allow that. He wouldn't.

Oishi had already long ago considered that if his father ever found out about them that he would pretty much make Oishi's life a nightmare. When he would not stop seeing Eiji after his father would insist, his father would probably completely disown him. He would never forgive him or have anything else to do with him.

Oishi knew that even the first time he told Eiji he loved him. There were going to be costs. He knew that loving Eiji was worth any cost to himself. But not to Eiji. He never wanted Eiji to be hurt or sacrifice because of him.

So stupidly, Oishi went and hurt him.

The sound of Eiji yelling at Oishi to stop as he tried to let him go still reverberated in Oishi's ears. It tore at Oishi's heart. In that moment, all Oishi wanted to do was take Eiji in his arms and love him, protect him, and cherish him. He didn't want to let him go. He wanted to tell him that he was wrong, that Oishi didn't mean it, that he loved him and only him. But at that moment, it was Tezuka's voice in Oishi's head rattling around, telling Oishi that if he really loved Eiji to let him go.

And Oishi really, really loved him, so he did. Even though Oishi knew while he was saying it, that he himself might not even survive letting him go. He certainly could not imagine ever being happy without Eiji. Oishi knew even while doing it, that he would never be able to let Eiji go in his heart even if he could struggle to force himself to spit out the words to cut Eiji loose and free. It tore Oishi up inside even thinking about it again.

Then when you added Eiji's reactions to the words Oishi forced himself to say, the lies he somehow spit out, Oishi was in agony. Self-caused agony and heartache. He knew Eiji would not make it easy. Or that Eiji might not allow himself to be let go very easily, even if Oishi thought it was for his own good. He thought Eiji would yell, scream, cry, maybe even hit him. Oishi was ready for all that.

But Eiji saying he knew Oishi was lying and then just, sadly, heartbroken, devastated, turning and quietly walking away, crushed Oishi. He had never planned for that and had no defense to Eiji being that hurt.

And being hurt by Oishi who he loved and who loved him.

Oishi was aware enough to know the entire time they were together that what they had was not what anyone else had, yet it was something everyone else always wanted. It was the kind of amazing unique thing that came maybe once in a lifetime if you were lucky.

And Oishi had stupidly thrown it away.

Or at the very least made a huge mess of things.

But still, even now, he remembered what Eiji had said to him. That there would be times to come when they would fight, argue, and hurt each others feelings. That it didn't mean they didn't love each other. And Oishi felt a glimmer of hope in the midst of his heartache. Oishi realized he had to start believing in them again. He knew he loved Eiji. He knew Eiji loved him. Maybe it was time Oishi let go and trusted in that, in himself, in Eiji, in their feelings for each other. In them.

It was Fuji who showed Oishi that not only was Oishi an idiot, but that Tezuka, of all people, mislead Oishi.

Oishi knew that Fuji had feelings for Tezuka. He even strongly suspected that Tezuka cared for Fuji. But Oishi never in a million years would believe they spent the night before together making love. Oishi would admit to being a bit naive about things, but Tezuka was so closed off about Fuji that it was hard to know that things with them had been going on at all let alone all that time.

There really were no signs Oishi realized looking back, no real hints, no major clues. There were no long lingering glances or smiles between the Vice-Captain and the tensai. There were no moments of affection. The only sign Oishi could see, was occasionally Fuji dared to confront Tezuka when he demanded the team ran laps especially when Eiji was the primary cause. But until Fuji was attacked by the senpai, there were no other hints.

Oishi knew how hard it was to get to know Tezuka. He had recently found out how hard it was to get to know Fuji. They each enjoyed being complex and different. Oil and acid like he had said to Eiji. Yet now, looking back, it was so simple to Oishi on how to get together and make things work; because of how he and Eiji had done it.

If only Oishi had not been an idiot and thrown it away.

The only thing to overcome fear was love and trust in equal doses. Fuji feared trusting and Tezuka feared love. Fuji was afraid to trust Tezuka because of whatever pain and secrets were in the tensai's past. Tezuka was afraid to love Fuji because he was afraid of losing Fuji. What a mess.

Basically, Tezuka mislead Oishi. Oishi realized he was able to do this only because Tezuka was already misleading himself and because Oishi had a moment of weakness. Tezuka found a crack, that crack was Oishi worrying about hurting Eiji. About Eiji losing his family as Oishi certainly would. Oishi had not even talked to Eiji about it yet, it bothered him too much to and they were worried about other things, Fuji, Saint Rudolph's, other things.

Tezuka hit right on that crack with pinpoint accuracy honed over years of knowing Oishi. Oishi knew he only did it out of misplaced concern and that Oishi reacting as he did was his own fault. Tezuka mislead Oishi but Oishi allowed him to. There were a hundred different ways Oishi could and should have reacted. He didn't. He was upset with Tezuka, but the fault of hurting Eiji and them was entirely Oishi's fault.

Oishi also knew that he was so concerned about hurting Eiji and Oishi's own family issues that he in turn was not able to be a good friend to Tezuka. In that moment, while Tezuka was talking about Eiji, what he wanted and needed to talk about was Fuji.

Oishi missed it completely, being too wrapped up in his own love life to be a friend. Tezuka apparently thought that if he just waited long enough the tensai would come to him. Fuji was waiting for Tezuka to come to him. Neither one would yield. It was a recipe for heartbreak.

Which was all brought to a boil when Fuji was attacked by the senpai. Now Oishi understood it broke both Fuji and Tezuka's waiting patterns. Tezuka apparently reached for Fuji finally and Fuji relaxed enough to let him. But then all day the two must have been in agony havering between wanting to continue things as they had last night and again being too afraid to love and trust. Reverting back to their old pattern. Not comfortable but familiar.

All the good their both being open and needing each other in that moment was over once the moment was. They were probably both upset, both hurt, and both not going to even talk about it.

Tezuka would never do anything to hurt Oishi, not intentionally. He really thought he was helping his friend, his teammate, and knowing Kunimitsu, probably the tennis club along with it. Tezuka had no idea that Eiji's family knew. Oishi had no idea until Fuji told him. But then when Oishi thought about it, it was even possible that Oishi's mother knew also. That all the little things, like his laundry and keeping his father calm, were perhaps her subtle ways of telling Oishi she approved.

Tezuka was wrong.

He was wrong about a lot of things. He had a terrible time relating to most people and an even harder time relating to Fuji who he clearly had serious feelings for.

Oishi was wrong.

He was wrong to listen to Tezuka. He was wrong to doubt him and Eiji. He was wrong to not be able to figure out this was more about Tezuka and Fuji than it ever was about him and Eiji. True, what Tezuka said about Oishi's father was dead on. His father would never, ever accept him and Eiji. But what he would gain from being with Eiji was worth any cost. Oishi loved him.

And he was even more wrong to hurt Eiji even if it was well intentioned. He should have never listened to Tezuka. He should have talked to Eiji about all this and his father instead of acting first. And now Oishi only prayed it wasn't too late.

Oishi already knew and had already decided when he told Eiji he loved him that very first time, that he would probably lose his family. He knew his father would never accept or understand and would cut Oishi off as he had his own sister years ago. Oishi in that moment made a huge decision and simply chose Eiji over them. Oishi knew his father would never allow their relationship and he was more than prepared to face that.

Oishi had lived his life in a strange state of fear of his father while at the same time desperately needing his approval and wanting his affection. His father would never be happy with Oishi, he would never approve, he would never be affectionate, and so all that remained for years was the fear and the longing for love. Oishi was not sure why his father was incapable of love and affection only that it was getting worse as he grew older. His father was highly competitive even with Oishi and as Oishi accomplished more and more it seemed his father was more and more annoyed at Oishi. His father also looked for flaws and seemed to revel in pointing them out to Oishi when he found them.

Oishi discovered the more Eiji loved him, the more he loved Eiji, the farther away and the less important his father's approval seemed until it ceased to really matter. True, it would be nice if his father loved and approved of him, of them, certainly, but Oishi by now understood, he never would. His father was simply not capable of it. Oishi now felt like it was his father's loss. It was only with Eiji, only because he was really loved, that he finally understood what that felt like. What real love was like. Unconditional love. It was very sad that his father was not capable of it but Oishi would choose to be happy, to love and be loved, over his father and knew he would never regret his choice.

Oishi's only remaining fear in the world was that he would lose Eiji. Now he quite possibly had. There was a very realistic chance now that Eiji would ever speak to him again let alone forgive him. It could happen. However, Oishi loved Eiji. And he believed in him. In them. He was really stupid to ever stop believing, even for that moment.

Oishi also decided that even if Eiji never spoke to him again, Oishi would make sure he was safe, comforted, loved, and cared for by his family and friends. True friends, friends unlike him who never hurt him. Even if well intentioned. Then Oishi would go away. He had no idea how or where, only that he could not conceive of a way to live without him. Actually if he could have anything in the world right now, one wish, he would be holding Eiji while Eiji held him. But Oishi didn't have the luxury of thinking what he wanted. What he needed to do now was find Eiji.

He figured Eiji had a fifteen to twenty minute lead on him and he could have gone anywhere. Eiji probably ran and was fast but his leg was still hurt even if Eiji insisted it wasn't. Oishi had a small advantage by being on his bike but it only helped if he could figure out which way and where Eiji would go. Oishi first went by his own house. He wasn't sure why, because he thought that logically would be the last place Eiji would go, but he felt he should, so he went by anyway. Oishi could not stop thinking that they were supposed to be there together tonight, right now, for their first time. He had tears stinging his eyes as he went by and shook them off. Now was not the time to be upset. He had to find Eiji.

He also rode past the apartment building where they kissed that one morning talking about feelings and making love. A memory to treasure but one that just hurt now.

Oishi was aware that he was near crying still as he looked but simply could not afford to get upset. He tried to keep calm and just find Eiji. He had to.

He rode past some places he knew he and Eiji liked to go but it was night, most stores were closed, even the pet store was, and Eiji was not answering his phone. He almost rode up towards their school and then turned around feeling Eiji would not be there. He headed towards Eiji's house. Oishi was trying to think what Eiji did when he was upset. After the movies, when they had gone to eat, he had eaten like a robot or like he had been starving. Now Oishi knew he was upset back then, but Oishi didn't think he was going to be in a public place eating. Eiji would be crying, upset, hurt, angry, and need to move.

He thought better when he was moving.

Eiji would need to move.

Oishi had a feeling of where he was.

Oishi raced to the tennis courts by Eiji's house. Where they had all played the day before.

He had a feeling he was there. He prayed he was right.

But he was wrong!

He got there and as it was late, there was no one on the courts. The lights were out and Oishi felt his heart pounding as he saw a flash of red on the ground lit by the streetlights far away. He thought for a second it might be Eiji and turned on the court lights. He saw a red sweatshirt crumpled in a ball on the ground.

Someone must have left it behind. There was no one there. Oishi had no idea where he could be. He tried calling him again. He heard Eiji's phone ringing far off in the distance. Eiji had downloaded this high pitched ring that was from a song he liked while over Oishi's house. He was nearby. But where?

The swings!

Had to be!

He went to find him listening to his phone ringing sounding very far away.

And then Eiji answered his phone making Oishi stop dead in his tracks. He had no idea what to say to him just that he wanted to go to him, help him, be with him, tell him how sorry he was, tell him he loved him, make sure he was safe, anything. "Eiji, I...." Oishi said when he answered his phone.

"Oishi! Where the hell have you been?!" A girl answered, sounding angry. "We've been waiting for you!"

What was going on? "We?" Oishi started walking over towards the swings, the direction he had heard the ring from, looking.

"Me and Kikumaru, beloved." Oishi knew who it was. He felt the hair on the back of his neck stand up in alarm. He felt sick. Oh god. What had he done?

"Ki...Kiko, where's Eiji!?"

"Oishi, he's here, with me. Where are you? We've been waiting! I told you its time to choose. Him or me?!"

"When...when did you tell me? Where are you?"

"In the park, by where you played tennis with your friends last night, by the trees, past the swings. I called your phone and left you a message. Oishi, you have less than five minutes left to get here or he's dead."

On to Chapter 41!!