Learning to Fall. 
by Suteishichic

Chapter Forty Seven ~ Fuji

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

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

Tezuka looked surprised and was quiet a long time. Fuji was just about to tell him to never mind the question, that Fuji just needed some sleep, he was sorry, he was stressed.

But then Tezuka said, "Fuji, I said those things to Oishi because I believed that he and Eiji would have been happier as friends. Oishi's family, his father, will never accept them. I was wrong. I didn't know all the facts or how close they were, they are. I worried for Oishi. I thought you had set it up, made it happen, and then it was getting out of control. I'm sorry."

"Ne? Why would I do that to my friends?" Fuji was surprised and disappointed as someone else didn't understand him.

"I'm sorry. I only saw the games you played with me and was upset. I was jealous of your attention to others. I was jealous of Eiji. I was jealous of that girl, so jealous I begged you to stop." Tezuka paused and took a deep breath as if this was hard for him. "Fuji, you don't know this but I've been watching you longer than you have been watching me. I saw you play when we were both young. One of your first tennis tournaments. Before I came to Seigaku I watched tapes of your matches. I heard rumors of the camp and you for a long time. I thought I knew you. When you played games with me, when you teased me, when we were together, I thought I knew you. I thought that was how you were. Teasings and mind games only. I was wrong." Tezuka paused and he took off his glasses which he had automatically put on after their bath, "I'm sorry, Fuji."

Fuji was now surprised. "Human psychology fascinates me. Yes, I initially got interested in it because of what happened with my....in my past. I was trying to make sense of it all, but then I found the more I looked into it the more interested I became. Yes, I played games with you. I am sure on some level acting out what happened to me in my past and trying to resolve it. But its the past. I want someone to love me like you did after I was hurt. I could make love with him. I could believe in him. I could maybe even fall in love with him." Fuji said the last part with tears in his eyes. He was extremely upset and mortified after confessing his feelings.

Tezuka to Fuji's surprise, took his face in his hands and then kissed him. Slowly, gently, touching him so soft it was like a whisper and then deepening the kiss so it became a little more passionate but still so sweet and gentle it made Fuji's senses reel. "Could you beat him in tennis?" He said with a wry smile.

"Never." Fuji smiled. "But I still love to play with him."

"He loves to play with you too." Fuji froze, and suddenly it didn't feel like they were talking about tennis anymore. Tezuka kissed him again for a long time as if he enjoyed the feel of Fuji's mouth and tongue on his. Fuji started to relax into his kiss and his touch. Then Tezuka said touching his face gently and looking at him as if in awe of the tensai, "Did you know that when you sleep, even after you've been crying, when your face is relaxed and peaceful, you look like an angel?"

Fuji froze. He felt terrified. It was all he ever wanted and it would kill him if he lost it. "I'm scared." Fuji suddenly found himself whispering.

Tezuka kissed him, held him, smiled at him, touched his hair, his face, held his hand, "Syusuke...you know where I live, you know where I go to school, we're on the same team, and you have all my phone numbers. I won't abandon you. I care about you. I think about you all the time. I can't stop thinking about you. I may even love you, in fact, I think I do. I want to get to know you, really know you, and I want you to get to know me. I want to know everything about you."

Fuji stayed frozen. "You don't, you really don't want to know everything about me, Tezuka. You don't. You can't. There are things...." It came out in a whisper and Fuji found himself trembling. It was his worst fear come to haunt him. The person who held his heart said he might love him and wanted to know everything about him. Just like last time.

If Fuji told him, Tezuka would leave him. It was as simple and as complex as that.

"Yuuta?" Tezuka wrongly guessed. Fuji stayed frozen. Tezuka held him closely and reviewed what Fuji had said. "It wasn't your first time, he wasn't your first time as the uke was it? It was your first time as seme but not as the uke. Neither was your brother was he?" Fuji did not move. Tezuka guessed correctly this time.

"How old were you?" He held Fuji as tears slowly fell from Fuji's eyes. Fuji heard his heart pounding in his ears and he felt sick. Someone knew. Someone else knew. It wasn't Fuji's fault but it was his shame still. Someone knew. Someone Fuji cared about, loved, and he would leave Fuji now that he knew. Just like before, but worse because whatever feelings he had for his first, he felt a hundred times or more for Tezuka.

Fuji hadn't expected the question of how old he was. No one had ever asked him that before. No one had ever guessed or known. Only the one person he told and he had left him after he knew.

"As long as I can remember, but the first time for, that, I think I was five." Fuji whispered and waited for Tezuka to leave him too. Or he waited for Tezuka to pity him, say he felt sorry for him, or respond in some other insincere manner.

And then it hit Fuji. Just what Tezuka had asked him, not the words, but how Tezuka had asked him. He had not said, 'How old were you?' but 'How old were you?'

No. There was no way. It was not possible that was what Tezuka meant. Tezuka just said it calmly like he said everything else. He just emphasized the wrong word. He was in no way indicating what the wrongly emphasized word implied. Impossible. Unthinkable. No.

"How did it start?" Another question Fuji did not expect. Another question someone would only ask if they knew. If they knew also.

"Touches, baths, hugs, kisses, promises, threats, bribes. The usual." Fuji whispered and as he said it, he looked at Tezuka alarmed now. He suddenly understood what no one else probably ever had. He repeated Tezuka's question back to him shaking with surprise, horror, and shock. "How old were you?"

"Around seven. My uncle." Tezuka said casually as if to explain. Fuji looked shocked at him. Tezuka smiled slightly, "You're the only one I've ever told. Do you want to hear the rest of it?"

Fuji nodded not trusting his voice. He had no sense of this at all from Tezuka. None. Even less than he had with Oishi. Fuji was in shock and his mind raced to keep up with this. "My father went to climb Everest the first time and I was too young to go. I had school. I stayed with my aunt and uncle for several months while he was away. He liked to play tennis with me. It started slowly and he made me promise not to tell or else. It went on each time my father was away." Tezuka shrugged. "He tried to do it again on my father's last trip and I told him to get away from me or else."

"Ah." Fuji wished he could have gotten away so easily. He admired Tezuka for standing up to him. "Its why...its why Yuuta really hates me. At first he was jealous of the attention he gave me. Then when they went away overseas for their trip, he started with Yuuta somehow. I wasn't there to protect Yuuta, to stop him, but I had the sense that it never really went too far. That he preferred me. But, when I came back and was sick, Yuuta, he...he went in my place. To protect me because I was too sick, too far gone, I just couldn't...I should have and I didn't...." Fuji's throat tightened up remembering.

Tezuka held him and let Fuji think. The tensai needed to process all this new information. "Does he still?" Tezuka asked.

"Me? No. He hasn't tried for a while. He has been busy traveling also. I haven't seen him in a while. Yuuta and him? I don't think so, but Yuuta did move out to get away from him or me, or both of us or probably everyone. Yuuta and me? No. Not really. He has taken to hitting me and being cruel instead of touching me. Probably since I did not protect him back then. Its almost like Yuuta wanted and wants me to take him, to have him be the uke which I would never do. He's been through enough and he is just acting out. If I ever did, it might shatter him. He needs to find his own way in life, I only wish now I had been able to take better care of him, to protect him, to be strong enough...I regret it so much...I'd do anything to help him...."

"It might have happened anyway."

"Mn. I've often thought that but it sounds like a wish and not what really happened. I may have been able to protect him had I not been so lost in grief but as my grief was primarily caused by what I grew up with, so which came first?"

"You told the guy from the camp that night and he left the next day."

"Yes...." It still hurt Fuji remembering.

"Did you ever think that maybe he had gone through a similar thing?"

"Ne. He was probably just completely upset and disgusted. That's how most people would react."

"That's not what you said. You said you fell asleep touching and wearing his jacket." Tezuka sounded jealous.

"Mn." Fuji paused. He was aware that Tezuka handed him another corner piece to the puzzle. "Ah. I never really considered it. Maybe he did and that was what upset him so much. I...I'm not sure. I....never thought about it." Fuji paused and then had to know, worried he said, "Did you know?"

"About you? What you went though?" Tezuka thought about it, "No. You hide it very well. No one would know. I thought it was just your brother possibly and that is only because you have talked to me about him before. I never considered it was more or worse. I'm sorry." Fuji looked confused as if Tezuka was mistakenly pitying him. "No, I'm sorry that I was so rough with you, back then. I'm sorry I hurt you when all I wanted to do is love you. I'm sorry I didn't know how. I am sorry that I was wrong tonight. I am sorry that I was such a jerk to you in the past and I'm sorry that I thought I knew everything about you when I really didn't. I don't have all the answers all the time despite everyone thinking that I do. I want things to be different. Between us. Syusuke, I'm sorry. If you can find it in your heart to forgive me and if you have feelings for me also, then will you put your arms around me and kiss me?"

Fuji had taken his arms away and wrapped them tightly around himself as he braced a few moments ago for Tezuka to leave him. Before Tezuka confessed to him too. He looked at Tezuka for a long time. He looked vulnerable as Fuji well understood. They each held the other's darkest secret in their hands. The tensai thought about everything and surprised himself when he slid his arms around Tezuka, feeling him, touching him, kissing him. He found he was lost in the feel of his lips, the taste of his tongue, and the sound of his moan when their tongues slid past each other. Fuji was afraid. Fuji felt afraid. For the first time in a long, long time, Fuji felt something other than numb. When the kiss ended, Fuji said, "I feel scared. I feel afraid." But he did not say it in a scared whisper this time, this time it sounded even to himself as if he marveled at it. "I feel." He said again just to test it out.

"Maybe pain is like habanero peppers." Fuji looked to Tezuka who was slightly smiling to explain what he meant. "Perhaps all you can taste and feel after a while is the burning until you feel nothing but numb. When it stops being numb, or painful, you feel afraid because you are used to the pain and the burn." Tezuka held Fuji a little tighter and brushed his hand across his hair and his cheek. "I was wrong Fuji. I thought that how things were then were how you wanted them to be. That how I treated you was how you wanted to be treated and that was all you had to give. I'm sorry that I hurt you, but I thought that you liked being hurt and hurting me. All you responded to was pain and I didn't understand why I could never seem to touch you, to reach you, to please you in any other way. I'm...sorry."

Fuji touched his face. "I'm sorry too. I never gave you any other choice. There was no other way to reach me." Fuji thought about it and found it was true. "It is because I was numb from the burning. From the pain. It became, comfortable. If I was hurt then no one and nothing could hurt me anymore. Not my family. Not my brother. Not my father. Not even you. So I wrapped myself up into it and held on to it as close as I could for as long as I can remember. I want to stop it. I need to stop it. But...."

"But you don't know how?" Tezuka filled in for him.

"No, its just, I don't know what else to hold on to." Fuji felt embarrassed admitting it.

"Then hold on to me." He said it as if it was elementary. Fuji was stunned and found he had shut his eyes without thinking reaching inside himself for the constant ache that was always there and now did not feel it. It must have been far, far away. In its place, was an unfamiliar spark of warmth, of hope, of happiness. Fuji did not know how long he and Tezuka would be together. He was not even sure Tezuka would stay the night let alone be there in the morning. But for right now, for this moment, it was enough.

Fuji fixed his eyes on Tezuka and smiled. "Ah. But what will you hold on to?" He was genuinely curious. Tezuka had an incredible force of will. A strength of resolve Fuji had seen in few others. He didn't need anyone or anything. He was fine on his own. He seemed happiest alone. Perhaps though, that was how Fuji seemed when the opposite for him, also was true.

Tezuka smiled gently, "You, Syusuke, you."

Fuji kissed him as the last syllable fell from his lips. Somehow he found that his hands had laced with Tezuka's and he was on top of him kissing him smiling. Their kiss turned a little more passionate and Fuji braced for the anger from Tezuka that usually followed it only to realize it was time to let go of what happened before. To all of it and to learn everything all over again. It was scary. It was exciting. Fuji felt it. Fuji felt it all and it felt very good.

Fuji was kissing him and starting to tease him with his tongue and then hesitated. Maybe Tezuka never liked that as he seemed to. Maybe he just thought that was all Fuji knew how to do. Fuji even thought for a moment that maybe what Tezuka really wanted was for Fuji to take him. To make love to him. Fuji knew he wanted to. He wanted it for so long it had become an unfulfilled wish, an unsated desire, a dream. Fuji knew he was not ready though, not nearly confident enough to even begin, let alone to fail to please him. Or to hurt him.

When Fuji hesitated, Tezuka did not. He kept kissing Fuji, he rolled the both of them on their sides. He slowly undressed Fuji kissing him everywhere. He checked his bruises and then kissed them softly. He removed his shirt and kissed and caressed him. He slid off the pants he had put on Fuji and touched him gently, slowly with his hands, his lips, and his tongue as he did. He took Fuji first in his hand and then in his mouth making Fuji stop hesitating, stop being afraid, and feel. Fuji moaned softly at the sensations and put his hands to Tezuka's hair.

Tezuka came up and met his mouth in a kiss. It was still gentle, as if they had all the time in the world, as if Tezuka did not hear the soft moans of need and want Fuji was making. As if they were not turning his blood to fire too.

Fuji realized he may not have known everything about Tezuka, but he knew him enough to know he was not as calm and relaxed as he seemed right now. He might be able to hide his feelings and desires from others but not from Fuji. For the first time Fuji was not passive. He met Tezuka's kiss hard, needy, wanting him, wanting to feel him, hear him. Tezuka seemed surprised and when Fuji did not stop as always, did not pull back as usual, did not hesitate as he normally did, Tezuka moaned as Fuji kept kissing him, touching him, and undressed him in return. Fuji moved swiftly, pulling his clothes off him, even hearing something tear, making both of them smile. "I want to feel you..." Fuji said and took Tezuka in his mouth. This was the first time Fuji did so without Tezuka asking or gently nudging his head down. Fuji did it because he really wanted to and him wanting to must have turned Tezuka on tremendously. Fuji had barely taken him in his mouth when Tezuka whispered "Syusuke..." and came in Fuji's mouth.

Fuji felt good and powerful.

Fuji felt wanted.

Tezuka pulled Fuji up to his mouth and kissed him. They both had learned over time all the places that made each other respond with a moan or a sigh and he touched and teased them all now. Tezuka took his time making thorough and gentle a new kind of teasing torture. He took Fuji in his mouth and then licked further down him. He licked inside him while he stroked Fuji with his hand. He got out the lube, knowing by now where Fuji kept it and gently used his fingers inside him, pleasing him, stretching him, making Fuji moan. When Tezuka was ready he asked Fuji one question, "Yes?"

"Yes." Fuji replied wanting him, now.

Tezuka entered him slowly, he kissed his mouth and took his time. The slow pace was agony to Fuji who wanted it faster, stronger, harder, anything but this slow gentle barely moving rhythm. Tezuka smiled as he saw Fuji filled with lust and getting impatient. He stroked Fuji's well lubricated erection in his hand even lighter in response.

Suddenly Fuji knew what he was waiting for. He was waiting for Fuji to stop being so passive. Maybe he was waiting for that all this time. Fuji made a decision. He waited frustrated until Tezuka, whispering his name in pleasure, was all the way inside him. The moment he was, he stopped as Fuji suspected he would. Tezuka was shaking with the feelings, the sensations, the pleasure, the emotions he felt. Fuji wrapped his legs around him and turned them both over so he was on top.

Fuji smiled. Then he rode Tezuka. Tezuka moaned loudly at this sudden change in Fuji. As if it was all he ever wanted and was finally given it.

Fuji did start out very slowly, agonizingly slowly, just to torture him back. Tezuka knew and smiled, which made Fuji laugh. Fuji thought for a moment about what Eiji had said, that it was all just love and Fuji laughed again. He rode Tezuka harder, feeling Tezuka meet his downward rocking with upward thrusts, kissing his mouth, moaning his name, and Fuji found he was shaking. Just like Tezuka. Tezuka's tennis callused hands were on Fuji, one slick with lube and matching their speed on Fuji's erection, the other pulling Fuji closer to him feeling his naked skin.

Tezuka was soon so close, Fuji was also close. Fuji knew how close Tezuka was from his sounds, his familiar feel, and his touch. They were in rhythm together for what felt like the first time. Fuji smiled, still kissing him, as he felt himself come. He felt Tezuka coming in him at the same time hearing Tezuka cry out his name in a loud moan instead of his usual whisper and Fuji to his surprise heard himself crying out in a loud, long moan "Ah....Kunimitsu....!"

A first for Fuji who usually made little or no noise. He wondered at it as Tezuka kept kissing him, even after he was done, even after they were done. Tezuka took Fuji in his arms and held him close while he kissed him. He smiled as Fuji found himself laughing. Absurdly laughing at a time like this.

"You can feel?" Tezuka asked him amused.

"Mn. Its like having a cold and not being able to smell for a long time and then one day you can. Everything smells strong and new."

"Good." Tezuka kissed him. "Syusuke? Are you hungry?"

Fuji found to his surprise he was. "Starving." He kissed Tezuka just because he could and one hunger nearly replaced another.

"Come." Tezuka pulled him to standing while he still kissed him and lead him back into the shower. They washed each other and kissed some more until they were clean. They dressed, sort of. Tezuka wore only Fuji's pajama bottoms as Fuji tore his own shirt pulling it off him. Fuji wore his black silk robe. Tezuka cooked for them while Fuji watched him move. He enjoyed how his muscles moved so sleek under his skin. Usually Tezuka was so covered, closed, but here, in Fuji's kitchen, still without his glasses, in someone else's pants a bit too small and too short for him, he looked more naked than if he had nothing on. More open. More animated. He even talked. About school. Tennis. Asking Fuji questions to draw him into the conversation. Imagine, Fuji mused, Tezuka starting conversations.

Fuji was amazed. Once again he thought who are you and what did you do to Tezuka? He smiled and ate what Tezuka made without drowning it in sauce. Although chili sauce would have made it a tiny little bit better.

"Do you have plans on Friday?" Tezuka asked him.

"Mn. I am not sure. My brother might be home this weekend, why?" Fuji saw it was the wrong thing to say. Tezuka's walls came up and Fuji was shocked to see the difference. And the distance that suddenly gaped between them so fast it was like a slap across his face. Fuji put his hand to his mouth in surprise. "Tezuka...I...."

"Fuji." Fuji closed his eyes. They were back to formal names suddenly. It hurt. It really hurt. Fuji found he had put his fingertips to his eyes and was pressing hard, trying not to cry. "Syusuke?" Tezuka pulled him over onto his lap and held him. "Syusuke, I'm sorry. This is going to take both of us some time to undo some damage. All right?" Fuji felt like he had his answer. It would take time and Tezuka would withdraw again. All grounds gained lost. Two steps forward four back. "But, Syusuke, I want this. I want you. I want to try. Syusuke?" Fuji found he could only nod. He didn't trust his voice. "I get jealous. I'm sorry. I want you all to myself."

"You have that. You already have that. You have since I saw you back then." Fuji heard his voice sound tight and small with tears unshed. This at least, pain, he was familiar with.

"What about your brother? You asked me how I felt about you, how do you feel about me?"

Fuji looked at him. Not judging. It amazed Fuji but he had to be honest. "I love my brother, but only as a brother. I....I'm scared because I...." Fuji could not say it. He could not tell Tezuka he was already in love with him. That he was falling in love with him even harder. That he loved him more and more. He could not tell him this was all he ever wanted. That Tezuka was all he ever wanted. He could not tell him that he already loved him for so long it was already too late for him to worry or be scared although he still was.


"Yes." Fuji braced himself. Mistakenly thinking Tezuka would ask Fuji again, insist that he tell him.

"Since that guy, then, have you made love to anyone? I don't mean sex, I mean making love." Tezuka waited.

Fuji thought, going over his list of passions and finding his answer surprised even him. "No, the closest I've come is with you." He saw that was a surprising answer to Tezuka but not the one he wanted Fuji to answer, "Ah. If you mean me, as seme, with a man, then the answer is the same, no. I've had sex but haven't made love. I've thought about it of course." Fuji smiled, "Thought about it with you, quite often. I think that was my attraction to Eiji that he seemed so warm, loving, and willing."

"Why didn't you?"

"With Eiji? Because he needed more than I had to give him. He needs so much attention and affection, nearly constantly, and I can only give him some of that as his friend. I really love and care about him, but only as a friend. I kissed him did you know?" Tezuka shook his head no. "He slept over one night, Yuuta was home and was terribly jealous. Eiji was there, and he was so sweet, so loving, I kissed him."

"What happened." It was not really a question this time so much as an accusation.

Fuji smiled. "He froze like an animal caught by a car's headlights on the highway. I could tell he physically liked it, I knew he liked me as a person, and I could tell he was curious as if no one had kissed him quite like that before. I thought that no one kissing him like that before could not be true, maybe he is just in shock because I am the one kissing him. Then I thought maybe he had only kissed girls. So I kissed him a little more. Its the only time I think I've ever seen him completely still. Not move anything, I don't even think he breathed. Then I had the sudden sense of what it would be like, or so I thought back then, to date him, to be with him. How needy he would be. How hungry for constant time, affection, and attention. Still kissing him, still without him kissing me back, I felt overwhelmed. I backed off. I thought as we went to sleep that he would be upset or say something but he said nothing. He just acted the same as always so I did also. He even insisted that we sleep next to each other. It was very cute. Like he felt that because he didn't kiss me back, I would now reject him as a friend or stop caring about him. That night Yuuta was at his worst. I got upset, probably a mixture of everything, Yuuta, and then Eiji basically rejecting me. I cried a bit and Eiji held me like you would a brother, like how you're supposed to hold a brother. I then thought that maybe Eiji had never really kissed anyone. Maybe he was scared. In my being upset, I gave him one more chaste kiss before we went to sleep and he again did not respond as anything other than a brother."

Fuji smiled remembering, "I'm not telling you this to make you jealous or stir anything up. I'm telling you because that happening between us brought us closer as friends. It made me closer to him actually, it gave me a better sense of who he is and his big heart. He was still a good friend to me, even after, he never changed. I know you think I set him and Oishi up but I swear I never did. I did tell Eiji that I thought Oishi was deep and a person well worth getting to know. I had noticed Oishi watching Eiji at school and at practice. I never thought he was attracted to Eiji or the other way around. I would not have even bet on that. I also have always thought Oishi was a little sad. A little lonely. Eiji works well with lonely and sad. I thought at most they would be friends. I've heard about Oishi's Casanova love them and leave them reputation but never thought much about it. I'm sure you've heard about it too. I did ask Eiji if he had ever heard that rumor about Oishi. He had. I joked that Oishi is supposed to be the best at kissing in Seigaku. Everyone says that. I did it more to make Eiji laugh, and to dispel any tension from my kissing him the night before, than to pique his interest."

"And Oishi?"

Fuji felt mortified. "When I kissed him?"

Tezuka looked shocked, "I meant what you told Oishi about Eiji."

Fuji sighed. "I merely pointed out how Eiji always seems to cheer people and pull everyone together. How he is people smart. They took the rest on their own. I did kiss Oishi too. It was when he came to save me, when I was, hurt, I was upset," Fuji put his head down, "I wanted you to be there. I was angry. I was scared. And suddenly Oishi was there and caring for me. I did it out of need as much as to hurt someone who had hurt me. I kissed him."

"Naked. In the shower."

"We were all naked. Oishi froze much like Eiji did. It reminded me of Tachiba....of my first love for some reason. I felt like I was kissing him goodbye and not even kissing Oishi. The next thing I knew, Eiji made a terrible sound near me. He had seen and was standing right there. I was numb and miserable. I felt terrible. Oishi stayed with me even though Eiji ran out. Oishi stayed with me. He helped me to get dressed and to the nurse."

"Eiji forgave Oishi?"

"Remember Oishi didn't kiss me, I kissed him, but yes. Eiji also forgave me. They stayed at my house that night remember? They showed me nothing but friendship and caring. Oishi had a hard time between what he went through with his father and that crazy girl and helping me. Eiji stayed by his side the entire time. And mine though I really didn't deserve it. They love each other, truly. Do you know that Eiji told me right after it happened, the night Oishi's father said he would send Oishi away, that if Oishi was sent to St Rudolph's he was going to go too? Even if they were just good friends Eiji wouldn't leave him. Oishi is good for Eiji. And Eiji is good for Oishi. He even helped Oishi heal from something that happened to him before he was even at Seigaku or right after he started here. Something many people would never get over. Something like we went through. Eiji probably told Oishi that I had kissed him too but Oishi has shown me nothing but kindness and friendship. I really thought even that after tonight, what Oishi did and said, Eiji might not forgive him. But Eiji is smart and truly loves him. He knew he was lying and once he put together why, I guess he forgave him. He will help Oishi forgive himself. And you. And probably me also."


Fuji gave a small sarcastic laugh, "I'm sure I've done tons of other things wrong hurting people I care about and making more messes of people's lives as I go. Its what I seem to do best, hurt the people I love."

"You can't blame yourself for how people react or respond. If you could predict everything then nothing would be interesting. Its like tennis, you can know all the rules and how to play better than your opponent but never know who will win or what might happen. Look at Oishi and Kikumaru, neither you nor I would have predicted it. I made a big mistake in talking to my friend, also thinking I knew what was best for him when I was clearly wrong."

"Ah. But haven't you heard? I'm supposed to know all that. I am supposed to be able to predict everything. I am a tensai after all."

"Syusuke, I've watched you for years and while you are brilliant, a genius even, a tensai can't know everything. Even a tensai is human. I am also. Even I don't have all the answers. You're human. Just like everyone else. You learn when you lose and then you use it when you play the next game. You evolve and grow."

Fuji smiled despite himself, "I'm just like everyone else?"

Tezuka mirrored his smile, "You are like no one I have ever known or met. You are unique in all the world. But yes, deep down, you are human. Just like everyone else. You have the same wants and needs like the rest of us."

"Ah. No wonder I get confused so easily. What a strange dichotomy I am."

Tezuka smiled again, "Not strange. Unique, intriguing, beguiling, frustrating," At this he kissed Fuji once gently on his lips, "beautiful, alluring," He kissed him again, "inspiring, captivating, seductive," He kissed him a little longer, "tempting, fascinating, and extraordinary, but not strange." He rested his forehead on Fuji's. "Are you done?"

Fuji was lost in the swirl of adjectives. He had committed them to memory and was already placing them in alphabetical order to sort out later. He heard what Tezuka said and Fuji wondered for a moment if he meant if Fuji was done talking, and then realized he meant eating. "Mn."

"Good. Its late." Tezuka kissed him again. "Lets go to bed. We have practice in the morning."

Fuji before he could stop himself said, "Ne, Tezuka, it will be canceled because of the rain." Fuji smiled and looked down, feeling embarrassed.

"The sky looked clear the entire night and no rain is predicted." He held Fuji's face in his hand and brought his chin up so their eyes met. He kissed him. "Just in case then, let's go to bed?"

Fuji smiled, "All right." They cleared the dishes and cleaned up. They went upstairs and brushed their teeth. Fuji handing Tezuka a new toothbrush to use. Tezuka surprised Fuji by placing it next to his in the cup he used. As if he would use it again. As if he meant to stay often.

They walked down the hall and Tezuka held Fuji close as they walked. Fuji held him back amazed at this change in him, in both of them. Fuji smoothed out the bed and they climbed back in it. Tezuka kissed Fuji and gently removed his robe. Fuji heard it drop on the floor in a sigh of silk. He kissed him for a long time. "What do you usually wear to sleep?" He asked him as if intrigued.

"Mn. Depends. If I am home alone or if my brother is home I wear pajamas. If my mom or my sister is home I might just wear underwear if its warm or bottoms. A shirt if its cold. What do you wear?"

"Something like this. Do you want me to get you anything? Are you cold?"

"Ne," Fuji suddenly felt silly being so naked and exposed when Tezuka was not, "Maybe just my pants from earlier?"

Tezuka gave them to him and watched as he put them on. He climbed back into bed and again took him into his arms. "How do you sleep? What side?"

"It depends." Fuji was a little charmed now by the questioning. As if these things were things Tezuka had always wanted to know and never asked. "I usually put a pillow on the side where you are and sleep wrapped around it."

"You sleep away from the door?"

"Usually. Sometimes I wake up in a different position. You?"

"Usually on my back, but sometimes on my side, if I am camping or climbing I usually wake up on my side if its cold and the ground is frozen."

"What's it like?"

"Camping? Climbing?" Fuji nodded. Tezuka absently kissed Fuji's mouth and forehead as he talked. Fuji found himself curling up with Tezuka as if he was a pillow. He wrapped himself around him, feeling his skin and his warmth. He lay his head on his chest hearing his voice against his ear reverberate. Fuji kissed his skin and Tezuka rewarded him with a caress of his arm wrapped around him and a kiss in Fuji's hair. He held Fuji's upper arm with his other hand securely, lovingly and talked. He told him about the first time he ever went with his father. He talked in great detail of the beauty and the peace. The smells and sounds. Fuji could see photographing it in his mind's eye and thought how nice that would be. Fuji wanted to stay awake and listen to everything he said but found he was lulled by his lover's strong voice now talking soft and almost poetically about things he had done and places he had seen. Fuji tightened his arms around him as it grew a little colder. Tezuka pulled up the blanket over them and caressed Fuji's back, warming him with his arms and hands. He kept talking and Fuji fell asleep smiling, wondering if he was really there or if all this was a dream.

A unique, intriguing, beguiling, frustrating, beautiful, alluring, inspiring, captivating, seductive, tempting, fascinating, and extraordinary, but not strange dream. Fuji smiled again and thought to himself, He said I'm beautiful.

With that thought Fuji drifted into a peaceful sleep lulled by Tezuka's voice, still talking of beautiful things and places he had loved, trying with his voice to take Fuji now, back there with him. Fuji half awakened when he heard Tezuka stop talking some time later, he felt him kiss his hair again and heard him whisper, "Syusuke?"


"Sleep well." He sounded like he was smiling. He kissed his hair again and wrapped his arms tighter around Fuji.

"Mnn." Fuji tucked himself closer, kissed his chest again, and went back to sleep, smiling.

On to Chapter 48!!