Beyond was darkness. Beside was a haze. In the middle was the otherworldly. [Slight TezukaFuji but may be taken as Gen]
This takes place on the year after the show, making it the year Tezuka and Fuji are back to being freshmen. According to a very trustworthy source, farsighted people see things close to them as blurry items and things in the periphery as bright ones. I don't know which defect Tezuka's eyes have but for this fic he's farsighted. Also walking in a line means you're very close like family. I am taking it to a higher level, and hope Tezuka and Fuji both understood XD.
This may be taken as light shounen ai or gen. You decide.
Please drop a line if you liked it. :)
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters and the series. This is not done for monetary gain.
Tezuka was running twenty laps for staring into space and stopping in his duties. He was in the seventeenth when Yamato had called club practice to an end. His fellow freshmen started collecting the scattered balls, and the other older members headed for the lockers as fast as they could. He felt someone fall into step slightly behind him. It was Fuji.
"Yo! How many?" Fuji asked. His voice carried over like a string of carefully orchestrated notes. He was the same as always, smiling as if he knew something you didn't, but that smile didn't mean to make you inferior either.
They passed by the club room. "Two more." Tezuka felt reluctant a bit then picked up the pace. So did Fuji.
"So what was the great Tezuka doing that incurred Yamato-Buchou's wrath?"
Tezuka didn't have to look to know Fuji was smiling like a cat. Teasing was a hobby that the tensai would never tire of, but he felt inclined to humor him. He weighed the possible results of this talk and concluded nothing would endanger his family lineage in the near future. "Thinking about Yamato-Buchou and you."
They passed by the club room again, this time with their captain watching over them. It just affirmed Tezuka's musings all the more. Those eyes following them were pleased to say the least. "Aa. Thinking about how similar you two are."
There was a pause, and Tezuka was tempted to take a peek at Fuji's expression. "Hmm. I never realized." Then that happy aura returned, and Tezuka swore if he turned now he'd see ray beams coming from the smaller boy. "I'm flattered."
He gazed at the people in the clubroom and studied his captain from faraway. As soon as he did that Yamato waved, grinning; with his raised hand, he cupped his mouth and yelled, ordering them to hurry up. Tezuka nearly had a heart-attack when the idea he would be given more laps came across his mind.
"Scary being a freshman, isn't it?" Fuji said good-naturedly. They were breathing heavily for some time now. Both of them were just as tired. Fuji had been left alone at the court they were serving minutes ago. They rounded another corner, and he greeted their captain as they passed him by.
There was no way to disprove that, but as long as their goals weren't blown away he'd keep following that man. He checked if their captain was looking and risked stopping for a few seconds. He waited for Fuji to form a line with him. When Fuji didn't, he stepped back and nudged him to continue running. He caught up afterwards and made sure to be exactly beside each other.
Retracing his earlier thoughts, Tezuka glanced at his companion. Fuji and their captain had similar sentiments on many things. Though Yamato wasn't nearly as sadistic or wasabi-crazy, he was as curious as Fuji. Fuji on the other hand wasn't the strong pillar their captain was, but he was the gentle warmth many sought for. Both had a ready smile for everyone, and both somehow knew what everyone needed. There was just one big difference.
They stopped and leaned against the walls of the clubroom. As soon as they were done running Yamato left the building, joking that they should run an extra lap for stopping. The fukubuchou urged them to hurry so the he may lock the door already. When they finished, the sun had set and nearly everybody was gone. Oishi, Eiji and Inui had already went ahead of them. It was going to be a quiet walk home, but neither minded.
Passing under a street light, Fuji halted, and Tezuka followed suit. He faced him and quickly took off Tezuka's glasses. "Are you farsighted or nearsighted?"
"Far." After much consideration he added, "Please give them back." Tezuka wondered what expression adorned Fuji's face. He tried grabbing for the spectacles but only caught air. He tried again, but instead of catching his companion's hands, Fuji caught his. He felt him inch closer and was shocked to realize how much space they really had in between them.
"Look only at me and trust me." Fuji whispered to his ear. The wind picked up, and there was a certain chill that was left when Fuji drew away. But he didn't release his hold on Tezuka's left hand.
Tezuka squinted, but the blurry mass didn't change in form or feature and sighed inwardly. He saw it rotating then walking away. Soon the finer details that made up Fuji were visible to him. The night left him more impaired than normal and made him rely completely on Fuji. The outlying horizon was a black entity, and his immediate sides were blurry silhouettes that moved every time the air did. The only thing that his brain registered as completely solid was his friend who was two arms length from him, tugging at his left arm as they went. Fuji seemed brighter to him than normal, in every sense of the word.
Fuji spoke softly. "I'm not like Yamato-Buchou at all." They turned right at a corner, and he kindly waited for Tezuka to make it safely before moving on. "I couldn't devote that much time to everyone." Fuji called for him to step to the left twice.
"That's you're only difference." Tezuka stated as if there was no refuting the matter. He tried his best to keep his eyes trained on his companion. "It makes your devotion to your friends even more precious."
Fuji tensed. His grip on Tezuka tightened the slightest, and Tezuka wondered if he offended him with that comment earlier in the day. "I see. So I can switch with Yamato-Buchou anytime then. We're interchangeable after all."
It was idiotic. Tezuka wanted to slap the man to his senses, but decided to use the handicap Fuji shackled him with. He pulled hard and caught the bundle hurling towards him. He regretted not being able to see anything except for a vague impression. "I didn't say that." He mulled over how to elucidate and with what could have been mistaken for a smile, he explained. "You're irreplaceable. You both have entirely different roles in everyone's lives."
The breeze was getting warm, and Tezuka knew without seeing or hearing that Fuji understood. They parted and proceeded with Fuji leading him by the hand. It was unfair Tezuka deemed much later. He could only see Fuji's back.
There was an indescribable sadness in Fuji's voice. Fuji himself seemed reluctant to have addressed the matter. "We're not ready to walk in a line yet, Tezuka."
They stopped. It was the intersection where they parted. Fuji wore the spectacles on him slowly, and Tezuka murmured his gratitude. Peering at Fuji, he saw him looking up expectantly, waiting for an answer. The taller boy couldn't do anything but nod. He fixed his glasses and did it slowly.
Fuji reached out and patted his left hand again. "Thank you for understanding." He beamed at him then turned around. "Also, this is just a small portion of the payback for making me admire your retreating figure every time you walked to the courts." He appeared smug for a second as he gave him a second glance. "See you tomorrow."
The sound of the footsteps echoed into the night. Tezuka couldn't suppress the chuckle that came out. He wouldn't mind walking like this every so often. Weeks later they repeated the whole event when their three batch mates went ahead of them again. Soon they made it a routine and a commitment, and always, for the remainder of Tezuka's trip home, his thoughts were of how admirable Fuji's back was and how he was ethereal each night.