title: Favoritism
fandom: Prince of Tennis
characters/pairings: Tezuka/Fuji, Seigaku
rating: G
warnings: kissing
summary: It's Fuji's birthday, but does that merit special treatment from his captain?
notes: Fuji doesn't really have a birthday this year, so i can't be late... *coughs* annnnnd, i swear, seigaku is a high school, so everyone involved herein is 18. *thinks* also, not sure where they would be in the tennis schedule in February, so... we'll just pretend. ^_~

"Everyone on the courts, let's go!"

All the first years went scampering at Tezuka's command, but the regulars hung back to enter more sedately. Taka tugged on Eiji's elbow, and whispered, "Hey, where's Fuji?"

Eiji snickered, and winked back at Taka. "He had so many girls lined up between class and the clubhouse, I don't think he's gonna make it on time."

No one else said a word about Fuji's tardiness, but Tezuka's narrowed eyes clearly had taken roll. They were already in their practice matches when Fuji strolled out into the courts, holding his racquet behind his back. He walked casually up to Tezuka's side. "Ah, Captain, sorry I'm late. I don't really have an excuse." Fuji smiled at Tezuka brightly.

Tezuka didn't look at Fuji. "Ten laps, and hurry."

Fuji chuckled, and placed his racquet against the fence behind Tezuka. "Of course, Captain."

Looks were exchanged, and Inui took a moment to make a notation in his notebook, but Arai was the only one foolish enough to comment, albeit in a loud whisper. "Ten laps? That's nothing! I had detention last week, and I got fifteen laps."

"No chatter during practice," Tezuka glared. "Ten laps."

Arai just barely managed not to groan, and he went to chase after Fuji.

Eiji sniggered loudly as he took a drink of water, but he was smart enough not to be heard by anyone.

They reentered the clubhouse in pairs and trios, slowed down by fatigue. The line of lockers reserved for the regulars was a mess of brightly colored bags and packages tied off with ribbons. Fuji's locker door had opened during practice, and all of the gifts that had caused his late arrival had spilled out over the clubhouse floor. Fuji and Eiji were the second to last to enter, followed shortly by Tezuka. Fuji sighed at the sight of his mess.

Eiji slapped Fuji on the back and laughed. "Wah, look at all the gifts! You're so popular with the girls, Fuji! I'm jealous..." Eiji crouched down to start going through Fuji's spoils. "Look, you got one from that shy librarian girl! Wow, I can't believe she worked up the courage to talk to you!"

Fuji shrugged, and shoved the gifts into a pile, out of the way of everyone. "She didn't. Her friend, the blonde, gave it to me."

Eiji laughed, "Ooh, Fujiko, you're so scary! Aaah, and you got a gift from Class Secretary-chan! Soooo lucky! She's hot! And stacked! But I thought she had a crush on Tezuka! Isn't that why she ran for office?"

Fuji pulled off his regular's jersey, and shrugged. "Maybe he broke her heart when he refused her Valentine's chocolate."

Eiji made a face at Tezuka, who was calmly recording the club notes as if the clubhouse was perfectly quiet. "Tezuka, that's mean! You shouldn't break a hot girl's heart unless you've already gotten her to..."

"Eiji!" Oishi interrupted, nervously watching Tezuka. "Don't say something like that about Ayaka-chan! She's a very respectable and intelligent young lady."

Eiji turned his back to Oishi so he could roll his eyes to a smirking Fuji. "Yes, yes, sorry... Ooh, you got one from that scary horror film girl?"

"Eh?" Fuji leaned over, and stripped off his shorts and boxers. "Nadoka-chan? Eiji, she's not scary..."

Eiji shuddered, and looked Fuji over twice. "Whatever, she scares me... Fuji, how did you carry all this stuff in here?"

Fuji grabbed his towel and soap, and smiled. "Well, I got help... I was late anyway, so I had Risa-chan help me."

"That softball chick?" Eiji snickered. "She could probably carry you!"

Fuji just winked, and headed for the showers. Tezuka sighed, and stood up, putting the notes away carefully in their folder, and the folder in his locker. "Kikumaru, try not to dawdle. I'm locking up in fifteen minutes whether you are ready or not." He proceeded to strip to his skin and grab a towel, too. He left his glasses in his locker and went to the showers.

Eiji saluted to Tezuka as he walked back, and then nearly fell over laughing. Taka gave Eiji a weird look as he slipped a small green envelope into Fuji's pile. "Eiji, what's gotten into you?"

"Hey, what's that?" Eiji pointed the envelope, making Taka's face turn red. "Are you giving Fujiko a gift? That's not a gift certificate to Kawamaru sushi, is it? No fair! You didn't get me anything for my birthday!"

Taka just shrugged. "I like Fujiko better than you. Anyway, why are you laughing so much?"

Eiji stuck his tongue out at Taka, and then laughed some more. "Well, it's not usual for our Captain to shower here after practice, is it? Makes you wonder... maybe he's gonna help Fuji wash his back, eh, whaddya think?"

Taka paled, and then blushed. "Eh, Eiji, I think you should get changed before Tezuka locks you in here."

The clubhouse cleared out pretty quickly, since most of the team was generally hungry after practice. Eiji wanted to sneak into the shower, but Oishi dragged him off by the collar, with halfhearted promises of taking Eiji to the sports store to mollify him. There were still a few stragglers when Tezuka and Fuji left the showers, together, but the sight of their Captain got them into motion.

Tezuka and Fuji were alone by the time they were dressed again.

Tezuka buttoned up his jacket perfectly, but he left his collar loose on his shirt. He gathered his things, and then turned to Fuji. "Would you like some help home?"

Fuji smiled somewhat sheepishly, but there was a definite gleam in his eyes. "Are you sure you don't mind? I don't want to impose on you."

Tezuka shrugged nonchalantly. "You helped me home in October."

"Ah, and turnabout is fair play, mm?" Fuji shoved over some of the gifts. "Do you have room in your bag?"

"Yes," Tezuka kneeled down, and opened his bag, neatly placing each package inside.

Fuji chuckled to himself, and shoved his half of the gifts into his bag.

They walked to Fuji's house, which was a slightly long walk, but they avoided the streets that had buses or trains convenient to where they were going. They didn't speak much, but it was companionable.

When they got to Fuji's house, Yumiko opened the door before Fuji could even pull out his keys. She cried out, "Happy Birthday!" and pulled her brother into a tight hug. She looked at Tezuka over Fuji's shoulder, and smirked at him in a way that was far too similar to the way her brother smirked for Tezuka's tastes. "Ah, and you have company! How nice! You are staying for dinner, right, Tezuka-san?"

There was no way to refuse that.

Fuji's parents were still at work, but Yumiko was finishing up the preparations for dinner. She told them that they had twenty minutes, and not a second longer. Fuji's mother should be home in about a half an hour.

They went up to Fuji's bedroom, and Fuji closed the door behind Tezuka soundly.

Fuji opened his bag, and dumped the contents onto the floor in front of his desk. He then tossed his school jacket over his desk chair, and jumped onto the bed. Tezuka kneeled down, and slowly removed each package, placing it neatly in a stack. Fuji watched Tezuka for a few moments, just enjoying the view. "Mm, you know, Tezuka, I don't feel guilty about abusing your kindness."

"Nor should you," Tezuka replied calmly.

Fuji smirked. "You know that I've always had somewhat ambivalent feelings about these nonbirthdays of mine, anyway, but such as it is, today is my birthday, and you didn't wish me well once, plus you made me run laps."

Tezuka shrugged, and zipped up his bag, turning to face Fuji. "You were late."

"But it wasn't my fault," Fuji whined, with a smile. "It's not like I asked these girls to give me presents. I had some boys, too, you know."

Tezuka did not react. "I can't show favoritism."

"Oh, you can't show it? Does that mean you have a favorite? Captain?" Fuji leaned forward, his hand slipping over the edge of the bed, gripping it.

Tezuka said nothing, just stood up and came to sit on the edge of the bed. "Sit up."

"Why?" Fuji smiled, remaining motionless.

"I have to give you your present," Tezuka replied matter-of-factly.

Fuji's eyes widened slightly, and then he sighed, and sat up.

Tezuka put his hand on Fuji's cheek, and kissed him, slowly, thoroughly, completely.

When Tezuka pulled away, Fuji's eyes were still closed, and he licked his lips. "Mm, that was nice, Captain, but not really something I can cherish..."

"You can have another whenever you like," Tezuka promised, his voice low. "Look down."

Fuji blinked, and did as he was told. There, hanging from a gold chain, was a charm, for good fortune, a match for the one Tezuka always wore. Tezuka had slipped it on his during the kiss. Fuji smiled, genuinely. "'Mitsu... Thank you."

Tezuka reached out, and ran his fingers through Fuji's hair. "You are welcome, Syuusuke."

Impulsively, Fuji threw his arms around Tezuka's neck. "It's not my birthday today, you know. Will you celebrate my nonbirthday tomorrow, too?"

Tezuka smiled, and tightened his arms around Fuji. "If you like."

"And the day after that?" Fuji asked hopefully.

Chuckling, Tezuka pulled away to kiss Fuji's lips chastely. "I told you, whenever you want."

Fuji rubbed his nose against Tezuka's. "I want."

Tezuka kissed Fuji, taking his time to make sure he was getting it all exactly right.

Yumiko knocked loudly, and called out, "Mom's home early, Syuusuke, so come downstairs, ok?"

Fuji didn't let go right away. He sighed softly, and brushed his lips over Tezuka's. "I still want... So remember, you owe me. And Tezuka..." He held onto Tezuka's hands as he stood up, but he let them fall from his grip.

Tezuka waited patiently for whatever Fuji had to say.

"I hate running laps, especially when no one else is running with me," he sighed, looking disapprovingly at Tezuka.

Tezuka stood up and shrugged. "Then don't be late."

Fuji laughed, holding the door open for Tezuka. "So strict!" He smiled at Tezuka as Tezuka passed him, and then he slipped his charm under his shirt.

This was his and his alone.