title: chronize
fandom: Prince of Tennis
characters/pairings: Tezuka/Fuji
rating: G
warnings: none
summary: from the other side of the lens, the other side of the story
notes: this is based on the doujinshi by Akira Hojo called Syn, a translation of which can be found on this site. i would highly recommend purchasing Syn if you can, as it is, IMHO, the very best PoT doujinshi out there. one of the best m/m comics out there, period. i have it, and i have scanned it, but i used the translation i linked to make a scanalation for my own personal use, since it is soooo much easier to 'read' it with the translation actually on the image. however, the translator specifically asked that no scanalations be made of her translation, so i can't mass-release it. still, I'd recommend reading the translation, as it is damned good stuff, and this story will be assuming a knowledge of Syn. title comes from the other side of 'synchronize' as this is from tezzie's pov. ^_~ (and assuming that's what syn is short for...) let's see. i'm sure i can make this author's note longer. um. um.
any quotes from the translation that appear here will be in italics, and in [brackets] and are the intellectual property of the translator, not mine.

[ Things move; become past tense. It feels like a waste. ]

He finished his circuit of the court, stopping just short of the water fountains to catch his breath. It was going to rain today. It would be the first rain he'd seen since coming to California. He had started to believe the things people said about the land of eternal sunshine. The sky today, though, was heavy and dark. He tipped his head back, and watched the sky, wishing for the rain.


His coach didn't quite pronounce his name correctly, but he was getting used to it. He wasn't the only Japanese athlete at the school, though all the others were baseball players. He was getting used to it all.

"Good practice today. You'd better get home before it starts to rain. Do you want a ride?" The coach smiled, and Tezuka felt obligated to smile back. The man felt that since he had taken Tezuka so far away from his family, he needed to play the role of father, but it was one thing that Tezuka could never get used to; his own father was never like that.

"I'm fine. Thank you."

He gathered up his things. He rarely bothered to shower at school, since American students were so different than Japanese students, and he rode his bike home, anyway. Students weren't required to wear uniforms outside of the school, and it would be unusual to see someone his age in something other than casual sports wear, anyway.

He was getting used to it.

He got on his bike, and started to ride, waiting for the rain.

[ I had a dream. A dream of old times, for no reason at all... ]

He couldn't say why he began to play tennis. It was probably one of the millions of things his mother had signed him up for when he was the right age. He was the type to want to always be his best, at everything, but there was something about tennis that was different. Perhaps it was that first class he took, where he met Yukimura and Sanada. They were both good, and they were both competitive, and it was fun, playing with them.

He didn't have a lot of fun.

He wasn't sure why that boy's words affected him so much. Just a word, really. Beautiful. His world was beautiful to this outsider. Because Fuji found his world beautiful, it became so, just like that.

One word magic.

He couldn't say why he began hanging out with Fuji. It just happened. It was, most likely, Fuji's choice, but it was acceptable to him. He adjusted to Fuji's moods quickly, and got used to things like stopping after practice for sweet drinks, and having his picture taken.

They talked.

He couldn't remember once having a conversation about clouds and snow and dreams with Yukimura and Sanada. He couldn't remember talking with them about anything. He took it for granted.

It was too easy to take for granted.

[ ...Back then, we were always together, we're we? Couldn't imagine the world differently. ]

He parked his bike in front of their building, and locked it up. He traded in the last bike he'd had after 14A moved out; after that, his bike was the best one on the rack. Now, 17C had the best bike. He didn't care so much, but public transportation in LA was nonexistent. Even biking was odd. Everyone had a car. Even Fuji did, though Tezuka was afraid to drive with him. He hadn't gotten a California license yet. It seemed so final. Even though it was his choice to move out here, he still carried a lot of Japan inside.

He wasn't ready yet to make it all final.

He jogged up the steps to their floor. Somehow, he knew that Fuji would have people over. Actually, that wasn't so intuitive. Fuji always had people over. Friends from class and friends from clubs and friends he'd made in various places... Fuji was the type that never needed to be alone.

Tezuka was glad, because he didn't like to think of Fuji alone.

He unlocked their apartment door, and stepped inside, scuffing his shoes off immediately. Their apartment was a tiny haven of home. At the door, there were about a dozen pairs of shoes piled up. Tezuka pushed his aside, and stepped in.

Fuji and his friends had the living room. They had a movie on, and popcorn on the low coffee table, and they covered the floor and couch. There were photographs strewn all over the place.

"Ah, Tezuka, welcome home!"

He nodded to Fuji. That friend of his was at his elbow again. He always was. Fuji said it was all right, though. That girl who had a crush on him was there, too. She sat up and smiled at him. He ignored her.

"I'm going to shower."

"Sorry, we're all over the place," Fuji said, shrugging.

Tezuka just turned to the bedroom. "It's fine."

[ And I think, so much better if one could cut it out for saving... ]

It hadn't been purposeful, or malicious. It wasn't as if he intended to destroy his elbow. That wasn't a plan. That would have been destructive, and malicious.

He just wanted to take advantage of what had happened.

He could see the wall building between them. Unlike Fuji, he had seen it for a while. The friend that walked right by his side was going to be leaving him. The inevitability of it was crushing. In this way, he could keep Fuji at his side.

That was what he had thought.

To be wrong was a terrible thing. It hurt when it was something simple. It was embarrassing. It was damaging.

He spent more and more time on his own, considering. The wall... he thought it had begun when Fuji's skills started to challenge him. Why was it that he was so sure... if he lost to Fuji, he'd lose his fighting spirit? If he lost to Fuji...

Then Fuji would have attained the beauty of his world. And he wouldn't need Tezuka anymore.

The wall began with that first whirl of the shutter. Fuji on one side of the camera. Tezuka on the other. They existed in their own worlds, just overlapping.

And he came to realize, that no matter how he bound Fuji to himself, he could not keep him.

It was selfish of him, and he was realizing more and more that he would have to let Fuji go. But.

He would still take with him the memory of Fuji's kiss. And. Perhaps. Perhaps, even if he couldn't keep Fuji bound to him, there would always be something of Fuji inside of him.

Perhaps this was what growing up meant.

[ But once again, in anticipation of the next moment, we step forward... ]

He started the shower. He was getting used to taking showers only. They didn't have a bath, per se, just a stall. But it was nice, sometimes, to let cool water flow over his body.

Someday, though, they'd have a shower big enough for the two of them.

"Hey. How are you?"

Fuji snuck in, and shut the door behind him. Tezuka looked around him. He never much liked the idea of strangers left to their own devices in their apartment, and Fuji's friends were always strangers to him.

"Don't worry. I just wanted to check on you." He reached out and took Tezuka's arm. Tezuka let him prod and poke as he liked.

"We were doing strength exercises today. My arm is fine." He leaned in and kissed Fuji's forehead.

He... had a ways to go to get used to that casual intimacy, but he was working on it. Fuji made it easy.

Beaming, Fuji leaned in and kissed Tezuka's lips. "I have to worry about you. You don't worry about yourself. And you're going to New York in a month! You might have a dalliance with some ball boy and leave me heartbroken and alone." Fuji pouted, and slipped his arms around Tezuka's waist, pushing his body against Tezuka's sweaty skin.

Grinning, Tezuka pushed Fuji's bangs out of his face. He was letting his hair get long. "Don't be silly. You're more likely to have a fling with that cinematography boy."

"Never in a million years," Fuji laughed, kissing Tezuka again. "Didn't you know? I'm really shallow." He leaned back, and looked Tezuka's body over. "I can only have the best."

"I know you're a brat," Tezuka teased, tapping Fuji on the nose. "Go on. I'll be out soon."

"I'll get rid of the nasty people." Fuji winked.

"Thanks," Tezuka said, pulling away to slip into the shower.

More and more, he was becoming used to the idea that he could hope to share all of his life with the person that meant the most to him.