title: Games People Play
fandom: Prince of Tennis
characters/pairings: Fuji/Tezuka, Fuji/Atobe, then Fuji/Tezuka again, Oishi/Eiji, Yumiko, Yuuta/OFC, some Yuuta/Mizuki, Inui, Taka, Yuushi/Gakuto, Saeki/Ann, Yukimura/Sanada, Momoshiro, Kaidou, Echizen
rating: M
warnings: me pretending to know things about actual tennis, vicious flirting, sex (many kinds), one rough non-con scene, emotional pain
summary: Misunderstanding, hurt emotions, pain, sex, love... all tools in the game.
notes: takes place post-series, much post series... there is Atobe/Fuji. And Fuji/Tezuka. ultimately, and initially, fuji/tezzie, but there will be a great deal of fuji/atobe in the meanwhile.

He had heard the knocking, but it wasn't his room, so he clearly didn't need to worry about it. He heard the voices, too, and though he knew that Yuuta didn't know anyone up here, he still didn't want to wake up. He knew, though, that it was only a matter of time before Yuuta came to get him.

"Aniki?" Yuuta gently prodded him, acting as if he was afraid to touch his own brother. "Aniki, there's a problem."

Fuji sighed, and pushed back the covers. He smiled genially at his brother, and went to the door. A small man, looking rather embarrassed, fidgeted back and forth from foot to foot. Fuji crossed his arms over his chest and smiled. "What's the matter, now?"

"Eh," the small man's fidgeting got worse. "I'm sorry, sir, but the reservations for this room and room 18 have been canceled. We have no other reservations, so we can certainly allow you to continue here, but we will need a credit card to confirm..."

This was not entirely unexpected, although it was extremely bothersome. "Not a problem." Fuji turned to get his wallet, and then remembered. "Ah, my bags... I was in suite 1, but I suppose that has been cleared out by now, hm? Do you know if Keigo took everything with him?"

The small man turned bright red, and examined the polish on his black, shining shoes carefully. "Ah, I believe your bags were delivered to suite 8, sir."

Fuji smiled brightly. "I will get dressed and meet you in the lobby, then. Thank you very much." He closed the door a bit more forcefully than he needed to; honestly, was this all necessary?

"Aniki." Yuuta's voice was tight and low. Fuji smiled encouragingly. "You and Atobe-san had a suite, and neesan and I were stuck in rooms?"

It was good to laugh after the rude awakening.

Sweaty palms just weren't his style. He would have preferred, though, not to be seeing Tezuka under these circumstances. Still. He wasn't entirely opposed to seeing Tezuka, so there was no reason to be nervous.

He knocked politely, and wasn't at all surprised to find that Tezuka opened the door rather quickly, as if he had been waiting for Fuji. Considering the small stack of luggage tucked neatly inside the door, Fuji was sure Tezuka had been waiting. "Sorry for the inconvenience. Those are mine, I think." He would have liked to just slip in and get his bags, maybe take a quick look around before leaving, but Tezuka was standing right in the middle of the doorway, not moving an inch to let him by.

"Is everything all right?" The concern in Tezuka's voice, eyes, it was razor-sharp, and Fuji looked away, the corners of his mouth curling up with bitterness.

"All right? Of course it is. How are you, Tezuka?" Fuji kept his voice light, unconcerned.

"I'm... Did you end things with Atobe?" Tezuka's eyes narrowed marginally.

Fuji took a moment to respond. This was so like Tezuka. Sometimes, Fuji wished that things could be so simple for him. "End things? Actually, I haven't seen Keigo since dinner. Do you mind if I get my bags?"

Tezuka stepped aside, lowering his gaze. As Fuji was slinging his camera case over his shoulder, Tezuka closed the door. Fuji straightened up, and looked Tezuka in the eye.

"Is there something else you wanted?"

Tezuka leaned against the door, looking into the distance, his gaze as sharp as it was when he was troubled. Fuji wondered if he really did know Tezuka as well as he thought he did. "Do you plan to end your relationship with Atobe?"

Fuji bit back a sigh. "Ah, this was supposed to be a relaxing weekend. I don't want to think about difficult things now."

"It would be difficult to break up with Atobe?" Tezuka asked, bitterly.

Fuji almost laughed. "Well, it's not simple. We live together. Are you offering me a place to live?"

Tezuka blushed, and it was beautiful, a moment so fast he couldn't even pull out a camera in time to catch it. "Syuusuke..."

Fuji picked up the last of his bags. "Have you fired your publicist?" The pause was tiring. Fuji shrugged, and squeezed Tezuka away from the door. "Things are complicated, aren't they?"

This was all just far too much considering he hadn't even had breakfast yet. He hoped they were serving something good for all the trouble he'd had.

Yumiko and Yuuta had a whole list of activities they deeply wanted to do, all of which were suspiciously far away from the tennis courts and the resort. Fuji was in the mood to be accommodating. They walked to a small lake where they could swim, Yumiko teasing Yuuta jovially the whole way.

Fuji stayed a bit behind them, mulling. Every time his thoughts strayed to Tezuka, he started to feel tight in his chest and his stomach ached, so he thought about Atobe instead.

He knew he was making Atobe angry last night, but that was just part of the game, wasn't it? To just leave like that, it was so dramatic. Not that Atobe wasn't given to dramatics, but it was irritating. Fuji would have much preferred a long, loud fight. That would have been much more fun.

They had a picnic lunch by the lake, and then went horseback riding along the mountain trails. The horse was smelly, and he made the most unpleasant noises frequently. The highlight for Fuji was when his cell phone rang, scaring the horse. It gave him an excuse to dismount mid-trail, leaving the reigns with the guide, so he could talk, walking back.

He had slipped his cell phone into his pocket expecting Atobe to call, but that wasn't who was on the other end of the phone.

"Inui. It's been a while. You're in Japan?" It was really much better, now that he was off the horse, away from the smell, off the trail, away from people... Inui was always on his team, so it was pleasant, easy.

"Aa, yes. Sorry for disturbing your vacation, Fuji, but I have some interesting news for you."

Inui was as Inui always was. Just a half step behind him. "Mm, I wonder. Are you in Tokyo?"

"Yes. Shall we meet for breakfast tomorrow? You will be back, won't you?"

Fuji wondered if he should tell him that he had more interesting news. "Lunch might be better. And Inui... You know you can't surprise me, don't you?"

"We shall see. Sushi, then? Noon?"

"Sure," Fuji agreed. "Feeling nostalgic, Inui?"

"Old friends make for the best friends, hm?" Inui disconnected.

Fuji sighed, and put his cell phone away. He sat down on a tree stump, and put his face in his hands. There were about fifty beautiful things he could photograph, but he wasn't in the mood. He wasn't sure what he was supposed to do now. He had wanted to spend time with his family, with Yuuta and Yumiko. He had been happy to see Tezuka, but now that time had passed and he was distanced from Tezuka a bit, old feelings were starting to surface.

It was complicated.

He made his way down the hill, following the trail once he got back to the walking path. He found the resort easily again, purposefully walking past the tennis courts. There was Tezuka, just as Fuji would have expected, but today, he wasn't inspired to try to take any pictures. He nodded to Tezuka as he passed, because Tezuka was watching him. "Practicing hard, mm? Sure that's the best way to tend to your arm?"

Tezuka was still just watching him, but his publicist got in the way. "Please do not interrupt Tezuka-san's practice!" Her nostrils were flaring in a manner that would be called cute by someone who was fucking her.

This was a game that amused Fuji, finally. He smiled genially. "Ah, you know, I've forgotten your name."

She glared at him, obviously seething. "It's..."

"Oh, I wasn't asking for it..." He grinned, and continued on to the resort. "I'm going for a soak. It's been a long day already! See you at dinner, Tezuka?" He smiled over his shoulder, and went on inside.

He was going to enjoy himself.

Sunset that night was beautiful. Fuji held his cup of tea close to his face, watching the light, the colors blackening the trees, painting a scene of indescribable beauty before him.

The dinner table was tense, and that was his fault. Yuuta was practically sitting with his back to Tezuka, and Yumiko was doing her best to cut him out of the conversation entirely. Yet, still, Fuji liked this. Eating with his sister and brother, and Tezuka. He put his teacup down, stretching out, letting his fingers brush against Tezuka's.

Tezuka would look at him with troubled eyes. Fuji wanted to kiss him, quite a lot, but lethargy and some sense of his siblings' modesty kept him motionless.

He hadn't been following the conversation, so he might have been cutting someone off mid-sentence, but it was all right. They would forgive him. "Mm, Tezuka, when are you leaving for England?"

The table seemed really quiet, then, and Tezuka shifted a bit. "Ah, I plan to get there right before the tournament begins, so I'll have two more weeks in Japan."

"Are you spending all that time up here?" Fuji raised his eyebrows and put his face on his joined hands.

Tezuka flushed slightly. "No, just this weekend. I will be going to Tokyo tomorrow."

"How coincidental," Fuji yawned. "Where are you staying in Tokyo?"

"I'm looking for an apartment," Tezuka informed them, his eyes lowered. "I should be able to get set up quickly."

"Such a pity you let go of that beautiful home you had," Yumiko drawled. "I spent so much time arranging the furniture, too! Keigo is more accommodating about that sort of thing, though. You never had a properly arranged kitchen."

"Neesan," Fuji laughed. "You just like ordering Keigo around."

Yumiko shrugged. "Like you don't."

Fuji winked at his sister. "I'm sure Tezuka wouldn't want to move back to that old place now, anyway. He'll probably be spending much of his time in America, right?"

Tezuka very stiffly raised his teacup. "I intend to retire to Tokyo, actually."

"Mm, is that because of your arm, Tezuka?" Fuji reached out and grabbed Tezuka's shoulder roughly. Tezuka bucked back, spilling tea on himself. Fuji laughed lightly. "So jumpy! It's hard to think of tennis without Tezuka, or Tezuka without tennis. What will you do now?"

Yumiko laughed, hiding behind her hand coquettishly. Tezuka blushed, scowling and looking at the ground, away from Fuji. "Mm, Syuusuke, you shouldn't be so forward. You've made the poor boy feel badly, see? Not everyone is as well rounded as you are. This is probably very difficult for Tezuka-kun."

Yuuta snorted, but Fuji just smiled. "Ah, neesan, you don't give me or Tezuka enough credit. I'm sure he's thought about what he wants to do with his retirement."

"I've had more time to plan it than you had," Tezuka replied coldly, softly.

"Don't be absurd," Yumiko bristled. "Syuusuke always knew what he would do."

"Oh?" Tezuka looked up at Fuji, who just shrugged.

"I wouldn't say I planned anything. I just want to do things I enjoy doing." Fuji smiled enigmatically.

"What do you do now?" Tezuka inquired.

"You don't know?" Yumiko sounded offended. "Syuusuke is a photographer, Tezuka. He even has his own studio. He's quite well respected."

Fuji shrugged. "It's just something that happened. It's fun. You should come by sometime."

"I'd like that," Tezuka replied seriously.

"So you'll be back in Tokyo tomorrow? Let's have lunch. Oh, wait, no, that doesn't work... dinner? Anything but sushi." Fuji sat up straight, smiling.

Tezuka looked pleased in a way that only someone who knew Tezuka could interpret as such. "Sounds good."

"Syuusuke!" Yumiko poked him, not bothering with discretion. "I'm sure you'll be busy. After all, you have a show next weekend, and Keigo..."

Fuji brushed aside his sister's concerns. "Don't be silly. It's been so long... If you don't mind, though, I think I'd like to take a nap before we leave. You were serious about taking the midnight train, weren't you, neesan?"

Yumiko smiled at him brightly. "Have to be home in time to see Ryo off."

Fuji stood up. "So, should definitely get some sleep now..."

"In my room?" Yuuta asked, looking horrified.

Tezuka stood up. "I'll walk with you to your room."

"My room," Yuuta huffed.

It was quiet in the hallways, quiet except for their soft footfalls on the tatami mats. Fuji was smiling, his hands held together behind his back. He walked in front of Tezuka, but he was very aware of Tezuka walking behind him, and the quiet that surrounded them.

It was odd to be so comfortable like this with Tezuka, odd and disquieting, given that there was much that he wasn't comfortable with, but he still enjoyed it.

"You want to see me?" Tezuka's voice was low and soft, so unlike the Tezuka that most people knew. There was uncertainty there, too, and it made Fuji smile more wickedly.

"Do you want to see me, Tezuka?" Fuji looked over his shoulder at Tezuka.

Tezuka regarded him objectively. "Always."

Fuji stopped in his tracks, lowering his chin. He flexed his toes, wiggling them. "You shouldn't say things like that. You were the one who left. You should be more apologetic."

"Is that what you want? An apology?" It wasn't clear from the way the question was asked if one would be offered if the answer were affirmative.

Fuji scowled just a bit. "Did you really miss me, Tezuka?"

"Every day; every minute of every day." There was no hesitation in Tezuka's answer. He stepped forward, half reaching out to Fuji, each word colored with passion.

Cocking his head to the side, Fuji shrugged. "You didn't have to." He turned, and walked off toward Yuuta's room. He wasn't going to sleep, but he would enjoy being alone for a bit.

Kawamura sushi was the same as it always was, although Taka was now behind the counter, smiling nervously as his hands moved fast with the knife. Fuji waved at him absently as he headed upstairs to the private room.

Inui was already there, but Fuji had known that Inui would already be there; his manager was always prepared for every eventuality. Fuji nodded at Inui, who bowed shortly, and he sat down on the floor opposite Inui.

"You look well. Was your vacation restful?" Inui adjusted his glasses, his fingers itching to take notes.

Fuji smiled tiredly. "No, not really. How are you, Inui? Who do you have entering Wimbledon this year?"

Inui waved his hand dismissively. "Sullivan, but he will be eliminated in the third round. I won't delay you with niceties. I have news."

Fuji poured himself some tea. "Tezuka is in Japan."

Inui made his flustered face. Fuji smirked. "Ah... you know? You've been in contact with him?"

"I ran into him at the spa," Fuji shrugged casually.

"I calculated the odds of that happening as being very, very low. Hm," Inui scowled at the table. "So, you spoke to him?"

"It would have been rude to ignore him," Fuji replied, unhelpfully.

Inui nodded seriously, reading more into what Fuji said. "Do you know about his arm?"

Fuji scowled. "Something is wrong with it, yes."

"It's destroyed."

Fuji nearly dropped his cup.

Inui leaned back, returned to his position of knowledge. "The tendons in his shoulder are completely destroyed. He requires surgery, but the results won't be promising. To be completely accurate, the tendons are near the breaking point. With some careful training, he might be able to avoid further damage, but he definitely should not be playing."

"Wait," Fuji narrowed his eyes. "He's playing in that condition? What treatment has he sought?"

"None," Inui sighed with frustration. "It's clear what he is doing. He is ending his career on the greens of Wimbledon."

"I don't understand," Fuji leaned forward, his fists balling up reflexively. "What is he doing?"

"He's passing on the torch," Inui replied enigmatically.

When it was clear that Fuji was not going to ask anything further, Inui continued.

"He's never lost to Echizen. Did you know that? In the past few years, they have either just missed each other, or Tezuka has managed to pull off a win. Even though Echizen is ranked much higher than Tezuka, he has never beaten Tezuka, in any match."

Fuji scowled. "What does that have to do with anything?"

"Based on their ranking, they will be in the same bracket. They will face each other. Tezuka is planning to lose his very last match to Echizen. I suppose being a pillar of strength is a full-time job." Inui smirked.

Highly annoyed, Fuji finished off his tea, even if it was too hot. "You know this for a fact? You've spoken to him about it?"

"I've seen his medical records," Inui smiled. "I've calculated all the probabilities. I am quite certain I know his intentions."

Fuji looked away. "You haven't always been right about him."

"He's retiring to Tokyo, you know." Inui pushed his glasses up on his nose, and leaned forward. "It was always a misunderstanding, Fuji."

Fuji put his chin on his fist. "A misunderstanding buried under five years. That... complicates things."

"Are you in love with Atobe?" The question was so clinical. Fuji wondered if Inui had quantified love in his calculations.

"In love?" Fuji smiled. "That's not the point at all, is it?"

"You will be happier with Tezuka." There was such rock-solid certainty in Inui's voice.

"You are sure of this?" Fuji smiled.

"One hundred percent," Inui declared affirmatively. "It is just a question of pride."

"Pride?" Fuji raised his eyebrow.

"His pride in admitting his errors. Your pride is accepting his apology." Inui looked up just as the waitress brought in their platters.

Of course, Inui had ordered all of Fuji's favorites, and no one rolled a wasabi sushi roll like Taka.

"You are both my friends, Fuji, and he is still my captain, in many ways. But more important than any of that... I am still your manager. I came all this way because it's important. Don't you want him back?" Inui spoke quietly, with a fervency that made Fuji look away.

"What I want... Shouldn't you know that better than anyone?" Fuji smiled, and picked up a piece of sushi.

"I do," Inui nodded. "I wanted to make sure that you knew."

Fuji chewed his sushi thoughtfully, his mouth burning pleasantly. "There is a gulf, however, between desire and need, and between need and practicality. I can't just go back to him, Inui."

Inui lowered his chopsticks sadly. "And if he comes to you?"

Fuji closed his eyes. "I'm so tired of complications. Will you be in town long enough for my show?"

"Friday, correct?" Inui inquired, and then continued. "I will have to leave before then, I'm afraid. But Fuji..."

Fuji waved his hand, smiling. "You shouldn't worry yourself so much over trivialities, Inui. It's just not logical."

"No one ever said love was logical," Inui intoned seriously.

Fuji laughed. "Love hurts, that's what they say. Let's forget about love. I think I prefer sex to love, anyway. Sex is so much simpler." He took a decadent bite into his sushi, reveling in the flavor.

"You don't really believe that," Inui shook his head.

"And what are the odds that I do?" Fuji winked. "I can believe whatever I choose to."

Inui sighed. "You two always have to make things more difficult than they need to be, leaving the rest of the world at your feet. This time, it's simple. He loves you, Syuusuke."

It always bothered Fuji when Inui used his given name, because he only did so when he felt Fuji was in need of correction.

"His love doesn't keep me warm at night, Inui," Fuji replied, keeping the sadness out of his voice. "I know what's best for me."

"Are you afraid of being hurt again?"

Fuji smiled, more at Inui's soft tone than what he said. "Isn't everyone? Isn't that what pain is? A teacher? Touch the fire once, so you don't have to touch it twice."

Inui nodded slowly, lifting his chopsticks. "Pain is an obstacle. You've gotten complacent. In sports, we say, no pain, no gain."

"And what should I gain?" Fuji shrugged. "He doesn't have anything that I need anymore."

"Lies don't work on me," Inui warned. "And more importantly, if you don't believe it yourself, you shouldn't say it."

"I believe that what will be, will be," Fuji smiled. "It's ok, Inui. You shouldn't have come all this way for this."

Inui sighed. "It was no trouble, if it was for the two of you."

Fuji shook his head. "Whatever did we do to earn such loyalty from you, Inui?"

Fuji had been teasing, but Inui's smile was serious. "You both have something that I want but can never have. I would rather see what is precious to me in the hands of people I trust."

"Inui..." Fuji was honestly shocked, his chopsticks wavering in his hand.

Inui grinned. "And you said I couldn't surprise you." He paused, his smile fading. "Give him a chance, Syuusuke. Even the best of us make mistakes."

Fuji didn't respond, out of respect more than anything else, though he honestly didn't know what to say to that.

He was in the center of his own universe, exactly where he wanted to be. In his most comfortable jeans and shirt, on his knees, surrounded by tiny scraps of paper with windows showing the world as he alone could see it. It was an odd collection this time. He was having a show to display a particular set of photos, but they would just barely cover one wall of the gallery. For the rest of the walls, he needed something thematically linked to his showcase series, that wouldn't detract from the centerpiece, but at the same time, would be fresh and exciting.

He always waited until the last minute to do this, and he always loved it, every second of it.

He turned in place, fingering an old photo speculatively. Every time he had a show, he considered this piece. It was definitely one of his better photos, but it was... personal? It was older, too, from before he considered this to be his 'profession,' so it was probably not up to the standard of the rest. And, he didn't technically have the permission of the subject. And yet, there was definitely no denying that it had raw beauty.

Then again, Fuji had always loved Tezuka's blush, and he had washed out the color in this print, so that it appeared to be in a dry, pale sepia tone, with only the tiniest hint of color over the cheekbones. It was a good print.

It was his.

He put the photo down, and sighed to himself.


He didn't look up, but he smiled. That would be enough.

Atobe dropped a bouquet with a dozen roses on the floor, outside the circle of photographs. "I know you love this."

"Are you done being dramatic, then?" Fuji pushed around the pictures, looking for the right ones.

"I should apologize," Atobe shrugged, stepping carefully into the circle, his bare feet not touching even the edge of a single picture. "I was angry, but I shouldn't have left like that." He stepped closer and closer to Fuji, walking in a wide circle around him. "Did you sleep with him?"

"With who?" Fuji picked up a photo of Eiji and Oishi. He smiled; they were so... alive. Something in the one brought out the other's verve.

"I hate it when you wear that shirt."

Fuji smirked. The shirt was poured over him, hanging off his shoulders, and even with the sleeves rolled up four times, they were still long on him. But then, this shirt had been big on its original owner as well. "It's comfortable."

"I like it when you wear my clothes better," Atobe sighed.

Fuji shrugged. "I thought you hated it when I stole from your closet."

"Only when you keep what you take," Atobe smiled.

Looking over his shoulder at Atobe, Fuji smiled. "I always keep what I take, Keigo."

Atobe's smile faded. "I know that." He continued to circle Fuji. "Are you leaving me, Syuusuke?"

"Why do you ask?" Fuji returned his attention to the photos before him, though he wasn't really seeing them anymore.

Atobe was right behind him, was kneeling behind him, had his hands on him, was pressed against his back. "I'm not giving you up so easily."

Fuji half closed his eyes, and leaned back against Atobe. "It's not really your choice, is it?"

Atobe's fingers dug into Fuji's flesh. "I can't understand it. Why would you go crawling back to him? You are so much better than him..." His hands snaked down Fuji's body, finding the holes in Fuji's jeans to slither over Syuusuke's bare legs. "He left you. He never tried to contact you... if you hadn't run into him at that resort, there's no way to know when he would have contacted you. And you are going to go running back to him the moment you see him?" Atobe pressed his mouth under Fuji's ear, licking the exact spot that made Fuji's spine tingle. His hands poured over his body, sliding up and down in just the right ways.

Fuji put his hands on Atobe's knees, and leaned back against him. "It's not..."

Atobe put a hand on Fuji's neck, holding his head in place. "We're good together, aren't we, Syuusuke? I can make you scream, I can make you cry, I can make you laugh... I know you, inside and out. He may have known you longer, but I know you better. I know the man that you are, now. Can you honestly tell me that he can satisfy you the way I can?" Atobe turned Syuusuke's face to kiss him, roughly, powerfully, savagely.

Fuji dug his nails in. "Keigo... not here, we'll ruin the pictures..."

Atobe grinned, and looked across the room at the futon. He stood up, pulling Fuji up with him. "We live in the same world, you and I. A world of culture and art." He drew Fuji along, leading him to the futon. "We are stars in the same sky. It's a different sky than you used to orbit in; it's a different world than the one you shared with him. You're a different person now. Syuusuke..." He pulled Fuji up to his body, and wrapped his arms around him. "Syuusuke, stay with me."

"Keigo..." Fuji laughed, turning his head away.

Atobe pushed Fuji down onto the futon, kissing his mouth, kissing his cheeks, his chin, his neck, anywhere. "I excite you, Syuusuke." His hand slid down, slipped under Fuji's shirt, lifted it up, slid it off of Fuji's skin. "I challenge you. What more can you want?"

"Want?" Fuji echoed weakly, allowing himself to be drawn into Atobe's passion, but his mind was lagging behind, circling around questions that he knew the answers to; he could hear Inui's voice from lunch mixing with Atobe's voice above him.

Atobe put his hands on Fuji, applied his mouth to Fuji's bare skin, bared more skin. "Want, Syuusuke. Tell me that you don't want me anymore. Tell me that you're done with me, that you have no more use for me." He slipped his hand into Fuji's pants.

Fuji tilted his head back, groaning, clinging to Atobe.

Smirking, Atobe slipped off Fuji's jeans entirely. "I know this body. I know your habits. I know what jeans you wear boxers with, and which you wear briefs with, and which you wear nothing at all with. I know where you liked to be touched, and what drinks you want to go with your moods, and I can tell when you want to go out and get drunk, and when you want to stay in, and when you want to be ravaged, and when you want to be adored."

"What do I want, Keigo?" Fuji grabbed a hold of Atobe's shirt, clawing at it. "Tell me what I want."

Atobe licked his way up Fuji's neck, and took possession of Fuji's mouth. "You want what everyone wants, baby. You want your cake, and to eat it, too." He slid his hand up the inside of Fuji's thigh. "Let me give you the world, gorgeous. Let me put the stars on a platter for you."

Fuji put his hands in Atobe's hair, felt the fine, perfectly black strands slip through his fingers, like silk, like the finest silk in the world. He tore Atobe's tie off, and opened his shirt. "Tell me... that you want me. That you want to fuck me."

Atobe laughed, and opened his pants. "Damn it, Syuusuke, can't you tell? Want you, yes, want to fuck you blind, want to set your skin on fire. Tell you? Let me show you."

Fuji didn't want to wait. He slid his arms in under Atobe's shirt, and spread his legs out, hooking them over Atobe's hip. He rolled his head back as Atobe crashed into him, again and again. He kept his arms around Atobe, and his head back, so Atobe could taste his neck, but he couldn't see his eyes.

Right before he hit his climax, he thought, how perfectly their bodies fit together.

It wasn't the norm for Atobe to cling to him after sex, but it wasn't unusual, either, and this time, he didn't mind. He didn't mind the way Atobe kissed him, and brushed his hand through his hair, either. He kept his eyes closed, and held on, opening his mouth for Atobe, responding to his touch, just being with him.

"Stay with me, Syuusuke." Atobe's whisper shivered across his skin. Fuji smiled softly, and stretched out. He wriggled around, blinking owlishly as he searched for the clock on the wall.

"I have a dinner appointment."

Atobe pulled away slightly. "With whom?"

Fuji sat up, stretching out his back and neck as he did. "Can I borrow your shirt? I don't want to wear this one."

Atobe watched him carefully, and then slid out of his shirt. "You are coming home tonight."

It wasn't quite a question, and it wasn't quite not a question, either. Fuji slipped into Atobe's shirt. "I don't think I'll be late, anyway, but if you get tired, go on to bed." He stood up, and found his jeans.

Atobe stretched out on the futon. "Do you know what you are doing, Syuusuke? You might lose this game if you aren't careful."

Fuji grinned at Atobe as he buttoned his jeans. "I don't lose, Keigo. You know that." He kissed Atobe's forehead before slouching off.

The restaurant was darkly lit, with candles floating in small bowls of water at each table. Tezuka was wearing a suit, and he always looked so damned good in a suit. Fuji was definitely under dressed in a silk shirt and torn jeans, but he didn't mind at all. He smiled as he sat down opposite Tezuka. "I'm sorry, did I keep you waiting?"

Tezuka shook his head once. "It was nothing. Working late?"

Fuji laughed, picking up the water goblet to slack his thirst. "I was having sex with Keigo." It wasn't funny, really, but, in a way, that look on Tezuka's face was making him laugh.

He saw the dark something inside of his heart inspiring this. It surprised him, a little, but he couldn't deny his feelings.

"I'm sorry. That was probably hurtful, just saying it like that, wasn't it?" Fuji smiled and sighed, resting his cheek on his hand. In truth, he was tired. He felt like he hadn't slept in days.

Tezuka looked away. "You don't need to concern yourself with my feelings. They obviously aren't a priority to you."

"Are you playing so you could lose to Echizen?" Fuji asked abruptly.

Blinking, Tezuka looked at Fuji.

Fuji smiled, looking away to hide his bitterness. "You could just retire now. Have the surgery, fix your shoulder, and... let it go. I don't want to bruise your ego, but I doubt Echizen is as eager to play you as you are to play him. In the condition you are in now, the victory would be meaningless to him."

"You seem to know a lot about my condition now." Tezuka wasn't trying at all to hide his bitterness.

"Well, I have sources." Fuji yawned. "This is complicated, isn't it?"

"Too complicated to even try?" Tezuka asked, sounding petulant.

Fuji reached across the table, sliding his hand over Tezuka's. "Too complicated to deal with in one night, or even two. I'm tired, Tezuka."

Tezuka turned his hand over, and held onto Fuji's hand. "It could be so easy, Syuusuke. Come back to me."

"Stay with me. Come back to me. Everyone knows what I want," Fuji sighed, pulling his hand away. He finished his water. "This isn't a good idea, Tezuka. I'm not in the right mood." He stood up.

Tezuka stood up, too, unmindful of the watchful eyes around them. "Don't leave, Syuusuke. Please."

"Please." Fuji echoed as he smiled halfheartedly, shaking his head. "Come to my gallery on Friday, Tezuka. I'll be in the right frame of mind then." He shrugged, perhaps in apology, perhaps in disinterest. He left the restaurant, left Tezuka behind, and stepped out onto the street.

He needed to hail a cab, but he wasn't in the mood to speak to anyone, not even to just give his address. It was a long walk back, and even though it was summer, he felt cold, and tired, and hungry, too. He stopped at a vending machine, but didn't end up buying anything, because there was nothing there he wanted.

The elevator up to their apartment was always blessedly quiet, completely silent. He leaned against the back of the car, and closed his eyes.

He walked up the stairs to their bedroom slowly, his feet heavy. Atobe was stretched out in bed, reading some file. Work. Atobe hated doing work at home, but he often read work papers when he was annoyed. Fuji smiled at him softly. He knew Atobe far too well.

Atobe watched him carefully. "That was quick."

Fuji shrugged, stripping. "I'm going to take a shower."

Atobe nodded, and made no move to get up.

Their shower was a work of art. There were six shower heads, all of which poured steaming hot water over his body like a heavy rainstorm. He stayed in the shower until his skin was pink, and every muscle in his body was relaxed. He wrapped himself up in a thick, white terry cloth robe, and walked back out to the bedroom, leaving his hair wet.

Atobe was sitting on the bed in his pajama bottoms, a tray of warm cookies on the bed. He didn't say a word, but he had a towel ready to dry Fuji's hair as he ate. There was a glass of milk on the bedside table next to Fuji.

Atobe got the lights as Fuji slipped under the covers, pulling the blanket up to his chin, even though it was too warm for it. Atobe slipped into bed next to him, gathering Fuji into his arms, and kissing Fuji goodnight softly on his forehead.

Fuji slept so soundly, Atobe couldn't even wake him to say goodbye in the morning.

ProloguePart OnePart Two • Part Three • Part FourPart FivePart SixPart SevenPart EightEpilogue