title: Chocolate Hearts
fandom: Prince of Tennis
characters/pairings: Tezuka/Fuji, Tezuka & OFC, all of Seigaku
rating: G
warnings: none
summary: It's Valentines Day at Seigaku, and some people like it more than others.
notes: um. a bit late, but who cares? shoulda prolly written something for ryou and choutarou, but... *shrugs* also, most likely mucking up valentines traditions in japan, but let's overlook that, ok? thanks.

It was probably too chilly to walk to school, but Fuji didn't mind. He tied a scarf around his neck, but he left his coat open. He liked the chill. Today, he was feeling uncommonly cheerful, so he left for school early, and walked the whole way. His gait was slow and steady, and took the time to enjoy every aspect of this time.

Stores had red hearts plastered over their windows, and there were girls crowding every counter, buying baskets of chocolates and pretty bags. Of course, these were the stragglers; the truly dedicated had already finished their preparations long in advance.

Fuji loved Valentines Day. What was there not to love about free chocolate? He even liked White Day. Sometimes, to be honest, he toyed with the girls who had crushes on him, unless he felt like their feelings were genuine, and then he was always careful. He liked it, either way, though.

He had just turned the corner to approach Seigaku when he was leaped upon from behind.

"Fujiko! It's Chocolate Day! Chocolate Day!" Eiji laughed into Fuji's ear as he hugged Fuji's neck tight enough to make Fuji cringe.

He winked conspiratorially. "Do you think you'll get chocolate this year, Eiji? What about Oishi? He'll get a lot, I bet."

"I don't care," Eiji giggled. "He always shares with me. But you'll get tons more."

Fuji smiled serenely. "Ah, but Tezuka will get the most, don't you think?"

Eiji doubled up with laughter, holding his hand over his face as if he was trying to hold it in. "Yeah, if they can pin him down. Bet he's already holed up somewhere, hiding. Remember last year, when that Amiko chick waited outside the bathroom until they were both late for class."

Fuji narrowed his eyes marginally. "Yes. But he still refused her gift."

"Tezuka is just no fun," Eiji complained, stretching out. "He should just take it all! It's free chocolate."

Watching his friend closely, Fuji smiled in such a way as to leave the impression that he agreed. Of course, Tezuka took Valentines Day too seriously, like he took everything. He wouldn't accept something from someone for whom he had no feelings. Fuji had considered making something for Tezuka himself, but there were pluses and minuses to that plan, not the least of which was that if Tezuka actually did eat whatever Fuji made, it would probably kill him. It would be better if Tezuka made something for him, but that was unlikely.

"Here we go!" Eiji bounced on his feet, grinning from ear to ear. Already, there were a few blushing girls waving to them.

Fuji smiled. He liked chocolate.

Tezuka stood at the top of the courts, his arms crossed over his chest. They were just warming up, but somehow, Tezuka had gotten to the courts before anyone else, so he was already warmed up. Most of the team was out there, but a few of the regulars were straggling behind. The freshman were scurrying to set up the nets and get all the baskets of balls out for their seniors when the time came, because their captain's glare seemed to be aimed at anyone who wasn't hurrying.

Eiji slouched beside Oishi. "Wah, I ate too much! I feel like I have a brick in my stomach!"

Oishi kept a wary eye on Tezuka. "I told you to wait until after practice to eat!"

"But cherry cordials are my favoritest of all!" Eiji sniffled.

Oishi spared a second to smile affectionately at Eiji. "I know. I still can't believe you ate them all so fast!"

"They were soooo good! Hey, Fuji, didn't you get chocolate from Himiko, too?" Eiji poked Fuji in the thigh with his shoe.

Fuji smiled distractedly at Eiji. "I can't remember."

"I'm so jealous," Taka sighed, blushing slightly. "Fujiko got so much chocolate!"

Taka had been staring at Fuji's haul in the clubhouse with something more than just the average jealousy. Fuji smiled brightly at Taka. "Well, most of mine were store-bought, though. Didn't you get a few handmade gifts?"

Taka blushed bright red. "Eheheh, where did you hear that, Fujiko?"

Eiji started to sing 'Taka's got a girlfriend' when Tezuka leveled his glare on the regulars. "I want everyone on the courts in five minutes! No exceptions! Where's Echizen?!"

Momo ran up behind them, trying to slip in as if he had been there all along. "Eh, he'll be here in a minute Captain. He, um, had class duty."

Tezuka narrowed his eyes, and Momo ducked his head and started to stretch out. Everyone knew that Echizen had class duty last week, but they all also knew what sort of 'duty' their popular freshman star might have to endure before practice, so they swallowed their snickers and tried not to incur their captain's wrath.

As they were about to go to their assigned courts, Eiji poked Fuji, pointing over toward Tezuka. "Hey, hey, did you warn the freshies?"

"Warn them?" Fuji blinked innocently. He smiled. Horio was approaching Tezuka apprehensively, carrying a rather cute pink gift bag with white lace glued to the top. "Warn them about what?"

Eiji threw his arms around Fuji, and watched the scene eagerly. "Fuji, you are evil."

"What?" Fuji asked calmly. "You didn't say anything either."

Horio sidled up to Tezuka's elbow, and cleared his throat nervously. "Ah, Captain? A girl in my class asked me to give this to you." He held out the bag as if it might explode.

Tezuka stared down at the offering with pure disgust. "Did you bring chocolate onto the court?! Twenty-five laps! Now! And don't let me see that again!" Horio scurried off faster than a mouse fleeing a cat's claws.

Eiji collapsed into laughter on Fuji. When Tezuka glared at them, he slapped Fuji's shoulder. "Fuji! We're supposed to be practicing! Stop telling jokes!" He ran off gleefully to his court, just barely managing to keep from laughing out loud as he did.

Fuji smiled cheerfully at Tezuka as he sauntered past. Tezuka was watching him warily, but he wasn't saying anything. "Hope you've had a good day, Captain."

Tezuka looked away. "Get to your court."

"But aren't you playing?" Fuji asked with well-affected innocence.

Tezuka narrowed his eyes. The crowds of fangirls were edging their way to the fence. "I have to see to some paperwork first." He turned and left the courts, calling out to Oishi that he had command of the practice.

Fuji smirked.

Kaidou approached him. "Fuji-senpai, we're supposed to play on court A?"

Fuji nodded without looking at him. "Play with Inui for a bit. I have something I have to see."

Fuji followed Tezuka slowly, biting his lip to keep from laughing. He was surprised there was a freshman girl who was bold enough to try to give Tezuka a gift, but then, he'd gotten more than a few gifts from some freshman, so it wasn't too surprising. Still, most girls knew better than to try to get to Tezuka through the tennis team. Only Horio would be foolish enough to try to be helpful like that.

Most girls knew that there was only one person who could help them at all. Oishi would never presume to impose on Tezuka, not even on the behalf of a sweet young lady. But Fuji could sometimes be prevailed upon, if they made it interesting enough.

Sato Ami was in D class, and she had the reputation of being a bit of a tough chick. They said that she was in a gang in middle school, but no one had proof of that. She wasn't at all Tezuka's type, not that Fuji knew for sure that Tezuka had a type. But she was very insistent that she had to get Tezuka to take her gift.

Fuji really hadn't done anything to help her at all. Just told her where she was likely to be able to ambush Tezuka. That was no real help, was it?

He turned the corner, and stopped dead in his tracks. Ami-chan was already there, holding out her plain, white bakery box of homemade chocolate muffins.

"But they're not really that sweet! I used wheat, and just a bit of unsweetened cocoa powder! And... And I really like you, Tezuka-san! I mean... I know you must hear that all the time, but... Before I came to Seigaku, I was in a rough crowd. I didn't care about school or anything. And then one day, outside the gym, there were these third years, and they were picking on a first year. Everyone was walking by, but you just marched right up to them, and stood between them and the first year, and you glared at them and told them off... You were so cool, and I thought, that boy doesn't need to fight to make people respect him. It... it changed me." She turned bright red, and shut her eyes tightly, shoving the box into Tezuka's chest. "Please! You don't have to reciprocate... I'd rather you didn't if you really don't care about me at all. But please, take them, and, and, eat them, and maybe, you know, just think about me a little bit, please?"

Fuji frowned.

Tezuka adjusted his glasses, and stepped back. "I am honored by your regard, Sato-chan, but it would be dishonest of me to accept such a thoughtful gift. Please forgive me, but I don't think it would be right to give you false hope."

Slowly, she lowered her hands, and her head. Her bottom lip was quivering. "B-but... you don't have a girlfriend, do you? Why can't you just take it?"

"I don't have a girlfriend, Sato-chan, but I have someone I care a great deal for," Tezuka bowed respectfully. "Please forgive me."

She sniffled a few time, and then ran away. Tezuka straightened up wearily, and then stepped back, leaning against the brick wall of the clubhouse. Fuji approached slowly, his hands balled into fists.

Tezuka looked up at him as he got closer, but he said nothing. The way he was looking at him, though, Fuji could tell that Tezuka understood everything that had happened.

Fuji sighed. "I... saw that going differently."

Tezuka looked away.

Fuji inched a bit closer. "I didn't realize she was so serious about you, or else I would have..."

"I probably acted wrongly," Tezuka sighed. "I never know how to respond, exactly. It's easier for someone like you; you're friends with everyone, so if a girl confesses her love for you, you can reject her without upsetting her. I get embarrassed, and then I end up hurting her feelings. I wish..."

Fuji knew the end of that sentence. He inched a bit closer to Tezuka. "It'd be easier if you were involved with someone, and people knew about it." He reached out and pulled on the fabric of Tezuka's jacket sleeve with his fingers.

Tezuka sighed. "In some ways. In some ways... it might be harder."

Fuji inched a bit closer, and now they were practically nose to nose. "Is there really someone you care for, Tezuka? 'A great deal?'"

Tezuka lowered his chin to his chest, almost hiding his faint blush. "There is."

Fuji smiled. He put his hand on Tezuka's arm. "Hey, Captain, come home with me today? I have some math I'm having trouble with."

Tezuka looked Fuji in the eye, just gauging him. Fuji didn't hide his expression at all. It was like a test, really. He would let Tezuka see what there was to see, no matter what.

After a minute, Tezuka smiled softly. "You don't... have to have math you're having trouble with. If you want to invite me over."

Fuji blinked, honestly surprised. He laughed, and impulsively leaned in to hug Tezuka, to just... press his cheek against Tezuka's shoulder. "So, you'll come? Sis will be so pleased. She's making dinner so mom and dad can go out to dinner. You'll stay to eat, right?"

Tezuka blushed softly, and Fuji wished he had a camera. "Yes, I'll stay."

Fuji beamed. "Good! That's the best Valentines present ever, then."

"But Fuji..." Tezuka frowned.

"Yes?" Fuji asked.

"Aren't you supposed to be playing on court A?" Tezuka's frown deepened.

Fuji blinked several time, and then he laughed, jogging off. "Oops, you're right! I'd better get out there before my captain catches me!"

He was still laughing when he got back to the courts, which both Eiji and Inui misinterpreted. But then, it was probably best that they did.