Tezuka/Ryoma New Years fic.
Tonight, he doesn't fall asleep soon after his head hits his pillow. Usually, his schedule is enough to exhaust him sufficiently, but class is out for the holidays, and the owners of the small bookstore where Tezuka works part-time are going back home to Hokkaido for the week. His Todai teammates are home with their families, with their friends and lovers. Tennis matches aren't for New Year's eve.
That morning, he'd declined Fuji's invitation to a bonenkai party, alluding to other plans -- no, Fuji didn't know them, no, he wouldn't know where. Fuji had laughed lightly at that and told Tezuka that he hoped that he'd have fun.
Instead, he'd watched the news while eating cup ramen (it isn't soba, but the noodles are long enough, probably), balanced his checkbook, completed a dozen Sudoku puzzles and brushed his teeth.
It's not that he couldn't go home if he wanted to, it's not that he couldn't make plans. Instead, he makes excuses, twists words until everyone thinks he's spending the New Year with someone else. The reason, he supposes, that he is still awake is the fact that he isn't sure why he's done this. It could be due to the stress of his final year of university. He wills this to be the reason, but his mind refuses to relax, even as the minutes of staring at the back of his eyelids slip past.
Just as exhaustion is about to sink him to slumbering, a branch taps against the window. Tezuka shifts to his other side, and blearily glares at the offending tree until he remembers that there is no tree by the window, and it is the bulky outline of a human that is tapping on the glass.
Tezuka fumbles for his glasses. He always puts them on the left bed stand, on top of his book, but he can barely manage to shove them over his nose. As soon as he does, his mouth drops open.
Echizen Ryoma is outside his window. It doesn't matter than he's bundled under a fat, orange parka or that his scarf and hat only allow his bright eyes to show. Echizen awkwardly mimes opening the window with mittened hands, and eventually, Tezuka realizes that he's not dancing, and opens the window up.
After several attempts to fit into the cruel rectangle of space, Echizen shrugs off his parka and tosses in into the room before slipping in easily.
Echizen peels off his mittens, scarf and hat, laying them on Tezuka's desk chair before taking a seat in it to toe off his shoes while Tezuka hovers by his bed. "Your landlady wouldn't let me in. Said you were sick and didn't want visitors -- you don't look very ill."
Belatedly, Tezuka makes a pathetic attempt at coughing.
This makes Echizen smile. "It's alright. I don't blame you for not wanting to hang out with stupid people."
Echizen stretches, and Tezuka definitely not-looking at the tanned line of stomach revealed when Echizen's turtleneck is scrunched up. He's not-looking so hard that he does, on accident, mouth drying like it always does when Echizen shows up in the sporadic way that he does, making each occasion a holiday, though Tezuka cannot say whether it's one celebrating a triumph or a tragedy.
Tezuka only notices that he's been holding his breath when he exhales loudly. Quickly, as though to make it less noticeable, he says, "Would you like some tea," before exiting his bedroom to busy himself in the kitchen.
He doesn't need to be there to know Echizen is smirking. Echizen is still smirking when he starts wandering around Tezuka's small room, opening drawers, and poking at the contents he finds inside. Pens, pencils, paper -- his desk is filled with what Echizen thinks of as "office supplies", and the bottom drawer is all file folders with bills and purchase warranties and boring documents with little, barely legible typed font.
His closet isn't much better. Everything is color coordinated, though there are only four colors Echizen can see: black, white, blue and lavender. His sock drawer is the same way, and Echizen reaches in and steals the pair to a sock, stuffing it deep into his pocket. He can imagine Tezuka looking for it, and telling him just before he breaks down that he hasn't looked everywhere in the tone of voice that made a faint color rise in Tezuka's cheeks.
When he retreats from Tezuka's closet, he's wearing one of Tezuka's shirts, and though he's grown a lot in the time Tezuka has known him, the sleeves still dangle past his fingers. Tezuka is standing outside the closet door with a tea tray, watching him intently.
"My shirt got wet," he says instead of asking how long Tezuka has been staring, because Echizen likes to think he'd never left. He walks over to the mat Teuzka's set on the ground and sits down cross-legged, waiting for Tezuka to join him.
"Hmm," Tezuka murmurs as he pours the tea.
They drink silently, and not once does Echizen wince at the taste of the tea. Perhaps he has been practicing, Tezuka thinks wildly, or perhaps he's just grown up. Tezuka isn't sure which is the more attractive option. Perhaps they both have, for a long time now, even, but Echizen is still crawling through windows and Tezuka is still letting him in.
Echizen keeps looking at his watch as they talk about things that Tezuka suspects bores Echizen: his thesis, his professors, the rude, careless customers he has to deal with at work, and things that churn Tezuka's stomach with jealousy, or maybe longing: Wimbledon, what a jackass Federer was, how much he hated French people, the idiocy of the paparazzi. The whole time, Echizen keeps glancing at his watch, as though he has somewhere important to be -- perhaps a party with people that Tezuka hears about on TV, perhaps a girlfriend waiting at his hotel.
Tezuka counts nine glances to the watch, and vows that if Echizen looks at it again, he's going to rip it off of his wrist so that Echizen will look at him, and only him.
Echizen's eyes flit down again.
They both begin to move at the same time, succeeding in banging their foreheads together, and knocking down the tea. It drenches his knees, but Tezuka makes no move to do anything about that. Echizen tilts his head to the left, whispering, "Happy New Year, Buchou," before Tezuka cuts him off with his lips.
Tezuka can hear the faint peals of bells sounding in the distance. Long after the last ring echoes into silence, Ryoma is still in his arms, mouth moving both idly and knowingly against Tezuka's as though they have years for this.
And perhaps they do.