title: Heartless
fandom: Prince of Tennis
characters/pairings: Tezuka/Fuji, Seigaku
rating: G
warnings: none
summary: Tezuka ponders.
notes: came about because i was thinking about Things, and that's never good... also, i'm a little confused on some of the continuity, but i'm assuming Tezuka was a regular for part of his freshman year, at least.
also, most of my PoT ficlets belong in the same ficlet universe, and in that universe, Seigaku is a high school, making the third years during the show 17/18. ^_~

He stopped his cool down run beside the water fountain, and took a drink. He hoped his senpai's match hadn't started already.

"Wow, did you see Seigaku's freshman? He's scary!"

"Yeah, I know! I'm not even sure he's human. Maybe he's some sort of tennis cyborg."


He watched them walk past dispassionately.

Captain Yamato was laughing again. Generally, this was not unusual, as Captain Yamato laughed almost all the time. But sometimes, Tezuka really didn't see what was so funny.

"Tezuka-kun, in all seriousness, you really should loosen up some. People think you are so cold and unfeeling! That's no way to be. Tennis is fun, isn't it?"

He stared blankly up at his idol. "Of course it is. There's nothing as fun as playing."

Captain Yamato sighed. "We need to work on your sense of humor, I'm afraid."

"Ah man, these ranking matches are brutal!"

"At least you aren't facing Tezuka. He's heartless!"

"You're in B block? My sympathies. No quarter there..."

"Little prick is so damned superior... I'd love to see someone take that brat and teach him a lesson."

"Or at least shake up his perfect calm. I swear, that guy is cut out of rock..."

Tezuka stayed behind the fence until his senpais walked by. No point in a confrontation.

"My data on you is almost complete."

"Mm." He took a drink of water, letting the water pour over his hands.

"Next ranking match, I should be able to beat you."

"If you are in the same block as I am," Tezuka reminded calmly.

"Nothing ever bothers you, does it?" Inui mused. "And people think I'm detached. You need to work on that hard expression, Tezuka. You can't intimidate opponents with a blank expression."

Tezuka looked at Inui, considering. "I'll just play my tennis."

Inui smirked. "I suppose that will be intimidating enough."

He kept his arms folded over his chest as he watched his team running. Oishi was biting back a smile, he could tell. He knew what was coming.

"Do you think that... maybe... you were a little too hard on them? I mean, I agree that we can't disrupt practice, but they were just excited about how well we are doing."

He said nothing.

Oishi sighed. "They will think you are heartless if you don't enjoy our victories just a little. Oh, I know, 'We can't get careless,' but what's the point of winning if we can't enjoy it?"

He swallowed. "You don't think I'm enjoying our success?"

Oishi turned red. "Oh! I mean, I know you are, but... Well, to others, especially the younger players, well, things don't come as easily to them as they do to you, and it may seem like you are being harsh. Just a suggestion."

He took a breath. "I won't tolerate anyone breaking the rules."

Oishi sighed. "Yes, Tezuka."

His German was, finally, after nearly a month, getting slightly better. Sometimes, he wished it wasn't.

"Ah, that Japanese boy is so handsome! Isn't he?"

"Him? Oh, he's gorgeous... but he has no personality."

"No? Ah, well, does he need one?"

"Slut! Ha! But seriously, he's totally heartless. The only thing he ever thinks about is tennis. You'd be wasting your time."

He walked past the nurses, not giving away he understood them at all. He walked slowly up the stairs to his room. It shouldn't bother him. He'd heard things like that his whole life. He'd been teased about his demeanor for as long as he could remember. He'd been mistaken for a teacher even in junior high.

It shouldn't bother him anymore.

When he got back to his room, he stared at his clock until he was sure he knew what time it was in Japan. He picked up the phone, and dialed the long set of numbers quickly, from memory.

He waited to hear the familiar greeting, feeling disproportionately nervous. He answered back quickly, hoping that he wouldn't get disconnected. "Syuusuke?"

"Kunimitsu?" He sounded genuinely pleased to hear from him, which had to mean that he was alone. "What's going on? Are you all right?"

"I'm fine. Thank you."

"Any reason for the call, not that I'm not happy to hear from you, of course...?"

He took a moment before he spoke, uncertain of the words, uncertain of everything, and absolutely sure he shouldn't show any of it. "Do you think that I am... heartless?"

"What?" Syuusuke laughed. "What brought this on? Have they put you on some weird drugs?"

He lowered his eyes, and shook his head. "...Forget it. Just... It's good to hear your voice. How is everything?"

"...Kunimitsu, you are the most passionate person I know."

He flushed. Someday, he would have to tell Syuusuke what affect his voice had on him. Someday, he would have to tell him how much his opinion meant to him. Someday, when he could look him in the eye, and maybe touch him... "Thank you."

"...You're working too hard, Kunimitsu. Speaking of which, I'm going to be late for morning practice if I don't hurry. You're still planning on joining us for Nationals, right?"

"Of course."

He could head Syuusuke's smile. "So unfair, leave us to do all the work, and then plan on swooping back to grab the glory. I better not find out that's a spa you're staying at..."

He hoped Syuusuke could hear his smile, because he wasn't sure he was even showing it. "It's not. Miss you."

"Sure you do. You're having fun, I know it. Talk to you later, Kunimitsu."

He held the phone to his ear long after Syuusuke had disconnected.

He knew he couldn't be heartless. It hurt too much to be nonexistent.