title: Coffee Habit
fandom: Prince of Tennis
characters/pairings: Tezuka/Fuji
rating: G
warnings: none
summary: Tezuka and Fuji discuss literature over coffee
notes: for Don Amoeba, as a companion to their white day art, Coffee. ♥

click to see full sized version

art by Don Amoeba

The couch in front of the fire was open, but Fuji preferred to read with his book on the table. Tezuka reclined on the easy chair, though his back was still stiff and straight. It was a quiet Friday morning, surprisingly. Usually, there were many more people, and it was hard to hear each other, even from across a small table. It wasn't like that, though. It was comfortable, and peaceful.

Tezuka sipped his coffee. The location of the meetings was so infuriatingly Fuji. A coffeehouse, of all places, and an international chain, at that. Tezuka thought he'd never get adjusted to it, but he'd found a coffee that was adequate to his taste. A triple espresso, half caf, with a shot of amaretto. Fuji always had different drinks. He chose a latte that day, after much deliberation and some suggestive comments about the brownies.

Tezuka may have quit playing tennis formally, but that was no reason to abandon fitness.

Over the edge of his book, he watched Fuji as he read. Of course, Fuji was intent upon his own book. If they didn't share this class, English Literature, they might not have had a reason to meet every week. He thought most likely they'd find a reason, but their schedules were tight, they had family obligations, they weren't children anymore... He was grateful for the class.

He was less grateful for the book he was reading. The assignment was to choose a contemporary text and write a focused essay based on contrasting it with a similar contemporary Japanese text. He'd chosen Death of a Salesman, because it seemed it would lend itself to the essay. Fuji had teased him about choosing such a depressing story, but he'd chosen The Snows of Kilimanjaro, so, though Tezuka refrained from commenting, he thought Fuji had no room to tease.

Despite the fact that they were reading different texts, and they were sitting across from each other, drinking different drinks, not really speaking, there was a something entirely pleasant about sharing the time with Fuji, like the atmosphere helped him to immerse himself in the novel, because he was anchored.

The further he read, though, the more sneaking glances he took at Fuji. The protagonist was elusive to Tezuka. Even as his world was crumbling around him, he delighted in delusion. Tezuka was self-aware enough to know that he had no access to a character who shunned reality to that degree, but he was further unable to comprehend how persistent the escapism was for Willy Loman. Shouldn't he have been more concerned with his family?

He thought perhaps that Fuji might understand. He even considered asking him, but the way Fuji was holding his coffee cup, the way his eyes were turned down to his book, his hair, getting a bit long, was reflecting the light, his fingers, elegantly tapered, traced the rim of the cup... whatever he was reading, it must have been intriguing to him, because his smile was unconscious and slightly amused. He was beautiful, and Tezuka was loath to break the spell of the moment.

Fuji put his cup down, though, and Tezuka blinked.

"Close to the western summit there is the dried and frozen carcass of a leopard. No one has explained what the leopard was seeking at that altitude. Mm, Tezuka, do you know what the leopard was doing?"

Fuji spoke softly, musically, almost, so Tezuka knew he was being teased, but he didn't really understand how. "Why should I know? I don't even know what leopard you're referring to."

"Ah. It just seemed like you would." Fuji looked up at him, his eyes dancing with mirth, and then he picked up his cup again.

Tezuka shook his head, and returned his attention to Loman's disintegration. "Is there a reason he should have stayed down below?" he murmured, knowing the obvious answer and knowing that Fuji would know, if not understand, his disdain for it.

Indeed, Fuji did chuckle. Tezuka thought perhaps they should trade books, but then.

It was easier to see across the table than in the seat they each occupied.