title: Sweeter
fandom: Prince of Tennis
characters/pairings: Oishi/Tezuka, implied Oishi/Eiji, implied Tezuka/Fuji
rating: G/Teen
warnings: sexiness, blood sucking
summary: Oishi is worried about Tezuka
notes: this is for genX, my pusher, a pseudo Bloody Kisses ficlet. she didn't actually request one, but she wanted to, and that should count for something, right? i didn't know how she feels about this pairing... but apparently i picked well. ^_~

It was a pitch-black night, the streets singing like locusts. In the distance, he could smell the fleeting scent of cherry blossoms, though he could not recall there being any cherry trees around. Punctuating the quiet was the gentle thwacking of ball against a wall.

Oishi felt nervous inexplicably, like he needed to creep in the shadows to avoid detection, but there was no one around to detect him, anyway. The only person he had to worry about was the one he had come to track down.

Seigaku's empty windows looked down on him blankly, offering no assistance, no guidance. Oishi had never been here so late before. He wondered if it was against the rules.

He didn't trust his uncle's word, and he didn't trust his own eyes. Somehow, he felt that there was something wrong, and it was his duty as a friend to find out what. He didn't know why his duty as a friend made him feel guilty when he looked at Eiji, but he felt as if he had no choice in the matter. It had occurred to him to talk to Fuji about it, but something about that just didn't sit right with him. Anyway, he would never know for sure until he saw for himself.

Only the south courts were lit up. A person would have needed to use the keys to the main office to flip that switch. The thwacking sound was getting louder and faster. Oishi shook his head. He must have been at this for hours now.

Here, Oishi felt more at ease. This was his home, really, these courts were his sanctuary, as they were for everyone in the club. He knew this place and these sounds, and whether it was dark or light or pouring rain or even snowing, he would always be at home here. He went to the gate to the south courts, completely ready to deal with what he saw.

Or so he thought.

Tezuka was facing the wall, playing a lazy match against himself. It was clear that he wasn't working on his form or his strength so much as his endurance, and little wonder, given how unreliable his elbow had been for so long. Oishi would be tempted to test his endurance himself, but he still didn't understand how Tezuka had recovered from tennis elbow so completely, so quickly.

Or why he was playing wearing nothing but his small, white tennis shorts. No shirt, no socks, no shoes... He had his glasses on, else Oishi would surely have believed he saw a vision.

A vision that was doing something to his body, to the air that touched his skin. Tezuka was never the type to be an exhibitionist; he played matches in the same uniform as everyone else, of course, but he never showered with the team, or lounged in the locker room. Oishi had never seen Tezuka's bare chest before.

He felt his throat go dry and his stomach flip.

Tezuka slammed the ball as hard as he could, sending it careening off the wall and straight for Oishi. Anyone else, save perhaps Ryoma, Oishi would have just assumed bad luck, but there was a deliberateness in the trajectory, and he barely had time to react.

Someone else might have pulled out his racket and caught the ball, but Oishi ducked. Everyone had their own strengths.

"Late, isn't it?"

Oishi swallowed hard. Had Tezuka's voice always been that deep and rich? Their captain was the type to command with just a single syllable, but Oishi felt cut off at the knees. "That would apply to you as well, would it not?"

Tezuka prowled toward him, casually picking up a ball as he walked past, bouncing it on his racket. "Have you come to check up on me, Oishi?"

Tezuka was getting closer now. Oishi could see the droplets of sweat precariously clinging to the tips of Tezuka's messy hair. "Yes."

For a second, Tezuka did not react, and then he smiled in just the very corner of his mouth. "Play me."

"E-excuse me?"

"Play me," Tezuka purred. "A single match. You brought your racket. If you win, I'll let you coddle me. If I win..." He trailed off, scratching the space on his belly just below his belly button.

Oishi licked his lips. "Yes?"

Tezuka turned away. "You'll have to play me to find out."

This was absurd. He knew it. Tezuka knew it. There was no way Oishi could beat Tezuka under even the best of circumstances, and these circumstances didn't seem like the best. But he took out his racket and took his position on the court, anyway.

Tezuka had told him to.

Oishi had watched Tezuka play for a long time, now. He had seen all of Tezuka's best matches, including the one against Ryoma, where Tezuka was both going all out and trying to teach Ryoma a lesson. He had witnessed Tezuka's greatest plays, and stood on the sidelines and cheered while Tezuka did things no one believed someone his age could do.

He had never seen Tezuka playing like this. It was like feral tennis. And the power of his shots! Oishi sometimes was able to hit the ball, but he had no control. His moon volley was a complete waste of time. The only chance he had to hit the ball to Tezuka was when he was serving, and Tezuka was returning faster that Oishi could respond. It wasn't a match; it was a slaughter.

But Oishi kept trying. He kept running after each drive, even after he'd had to shuck off his jacket and untuck his shirt, even as the sweat was pouring into his eyes. It was getting hotter under those inadequate lights, and the scent of cherry blossoms was stifling.

When it was over, he just dropped his racket where he stood, and remained motionless, waiting for his Captain's instructions.

Tezuka strolled over, picking up stray balls as he did. He sighed, shaking his head at Oishi. "What do I want from you, what do I want, what do I want... Oishi. You have to stop worrying about me. I'm fine. Better than ever."

Oishi blinked. "But, Tezuka...!"

"Oishi! You are a man of honor, are you not?"

Tezuka was close, but still so far away. His eyes were flinty and hard, and his body was hot from the exertion of annihilating Oishi. The air was thick and it was hard to think straight. "Tezuka, I... I can't help it. You're a friend."

Tezuka strode determinedly closer, closer, until he was right in front of Oishi, and he put his hand on Oishi's neck, his fingers gripping tightly as his thumb reached up to trace Oishi's jaw. "Then as a friend, understand that I would not mislead you. I am fine."

"How can that be?" Oishi sighed. "Your elbow..."

For a moment, the ground tilted, and Tezuka's eyes gleamed blood red. "Let me show you," he whispered, and then Tezuka's mouth was on Oishi, biting into the flesh of his neck to suckle at Oishi's veins.

It hurt, of course, it hurt like a son of a bitch, but Oishi submitted to it, regardless. He was so close to Tezuka, and he could touch Tezuka's skin, hold him, be close to him, if he could only gather the strength to lift his arms...

Tezuka lowered him to the ground with care, straddling him as they slipped down. With half-lidded eyes, Oishi blinked up at Tezuka, grinning like a drunkard. Tezuka's lips were covered in his blood, and it dribbled down his chin, filling Oishi with the insane thought that he should lick it clean. "What are we going to tell Eiji and Fuji?"

Tezuka tilted his head to the side, his eyes sparkling with a lack of comprehension. "About what?"

"About... us?"

Tezuka licked his lips, covering his tongue in the thick blood. "Us? Fuji is... accommodating to alternatives in my diet. I can't imagine Eiji having a problem with us eating together."

Oishi blinked up at Tezuka, confused, but Tezuka only got further away as he stood up, taking a step back.

"In fact... we should do this again. You're sweeter than Fuji."

Oishi stared up at the sky as streaks of blue filtered into the black. He couldn't help but feel pleased with himself.

He was sweeter.