title: Hobbyist
fandom: Prince of Tennis
characters/pairings: implied Tezuka/Fuji
rating: G
warnings: none
summary: Fuji interviews for college.
notes: for shin_e, for their white day.

[Photograph 1: Afterglow]

classroom at sunset, focus on desk, with school jacket slung over back colors are saturated, angle is at the level of the desk surface, facing the windows outside the only evidence of a human is the jacket

Her lips twitched. He had to repress a grin, because it was clear that she hadn't been expecting that for the first photo. It was awkward, though, watching her looking. She was probably deconstructing the photograph as her coffee cooled.

How utterly boring.

He turned to look out the window, to watch the sheets of rain pouring down. She hadn't dressed for Tokyo rain. Her expensive and tailored suit looked a bit drabber than it should have.

"You said this was a hobby for you?"

"Mm," he smiled brightly, returning his attention to her. "Is it all right?"

She frowned.

[Photograph 2: Lure]

fishing lures spread out over canvas sepia toned, lighting from the top left, long shadows, some development aberrations fishing line tangles in and out of the hooks haphazardly

She looked, he decided, disgustingly American, which wasn't to say that she wasn't pretty. However, her hair was not naturally red, her skin was not naturally that tanned, and her lipstick was too dark to look very good on a human. She had pretty eyes, though, and her makeup there was done very well, her lashes distinctly shaped. Her gaze was sharp, and watching her, he had a feeling that she saw things. His fingers itched a bit to pull out his camera and photograph her looking at his photographs, but that seemed absurdly egotistical.

Possibly not the best move for an interview.

"Do you like it?"

"That picture?" he asked, leaning forward as if to remind himself of which one she was contemplating.

"Photography."

"Oh," he leaned back, affecting relief. "Of course. Well, I got a camera as a gift from my aunt when I was seven. People said I was good at it, so..."

She narrowed her eyes and looked at him a bit too sharply, like he had been printed on matte paper. "Is that the reason you do it? Because you're good at it?"

He cocked his head to the side. "Should I do it because I'm bad at it?"

The corner of her lip twitched. "Do you develop yourself?"

"Ah, I've never really had the space," he shrugged. "I have a good printer now," he added. "There is a lab at school. I borrowed the space to play around, but I can't say I really knew what I was doing."

She frowned, looking at the aberrations in development. "It just happens that you're good at it, mm?"

"Am I?" he asked, managing to sound both humble and pleased.

[Photograph 3: Water]

close up shot of a river edge, grasses poking through, stones visible undersaturated, making the lighting difficult to discern, a digital print in the upper left corner, a blur that could be the tail of a fish

She put the portfolio down, and picked up her coffee, sipping it primly. He folded his arms across his chest, and repressed a grin. Really, having a college interview in a coffee shop like this... it wasn't how he had expected it to go. He wondered if it had been the same for Tezuka, when that coach came to see him...

But of course, that was different. It was a different thing entirely. The coach wanted to see Tezuka play, not talk to him about his tennis philosophy. How would Tezuka have reacted to an interview like this, something so casual that would determine his fate?

"Well, I can't say you don't have talent. Did you print variations of this one?"

He looked at it disaffectedly. "Ah, that. No, I forgot to save any other version. Mm. But that one's the best, anyway."

She shook her head, looking annoyed, amused. "Most would, I think, be tempted to supersaturate this, make the colors warm and soften the lightening. Produce a nostalgic tribute to the beauty of nature. This is... cold. A bit judgmental. Unsentimental. And still beautiful."

"Really? All that?" he asked, aloof.

She smirked.

[Photograph 4: Rival]

picture of a tennis court before a match, the opponents on their benches, each alone slightly out of focus, with warm, hazy lightening, too much sunlight the dark haired player on the left is looking at his opponent, who is looking solely at his racquet

She was now spending as much time looking at him as she was at the photo. He wondered if all interviews went like this. Were his manners part of the decision, too? Was his choice of drink going to be factored in? It was almost funny. Like playing a game.

Of course, anything could be made into a game, so.

She surprised him, though, by chewing on her thumbnail. He wasn't sure what to make of that; was she nervous? Upset? Displeased?

He didn't think there was anything in the portfolio he put together that would be displeasing...

"This is a candid shot?" she asked, but it sounded more like a statement.

He didn't know what he could say, so he just nodded. "Is that bad?"

"No," she shook her head, frowning. "I just can't quite get a handle on your talent. Each photograph is wonderful, but it's like they could have been taken by four different photographers. And this is just a hobby to you?" She gave him a piercing look.

He really had nothing at all to say to that, so he just smiled brightly.

"You definitely have skill. But I wonder. Will you really get serious about this?" That was a significant question, to be sure.

"I'm completely serious about going to the Brooks Institute of Photography," he replied calmly.

"There are art colleges in Japan," she said reasonably. "Very good programs, where you can study photography here. Are you interested in film, as well? Is that why? You want to be closer to Hollywood?"

He seemed to consider that for a moment. "I can't really say if I'm interested in film at this point, since I've never done it."

She set his portfolio down, and leaned forward, narrowing her eyes. "There are plenty of students with good portfolios who get rejected each year at Brooks. It's our mission not just to train but also to shape the next generation of photographers, to really challenge ourselves and them to push the envelope of their creativity. I'll be honest with you, as good as you are, and you're clearly damned good at anything you try, I'm not going to offer you a space in the next class unless I'm sure you intend to be part of the next generation of photographers."

He nodded. He wondered if she had been dishonest before, to phrase it that way. "I have no intention of doing anything I'm not good at, and of all the things I'm good at that I could feasibly do for a living... photography interests me the most."

She considered that for a moment, and then picked up his portfolio.

[Photograph 5: Sex]

close up of a boy's chest, uniform jacket and shirt open, focus on throat colors muted but warm, lighting sufficient to show a bead of sweat on the throat, focus blurs moving away from the throat fingers are barely discernable at the placard of the jacket

He wondered what she would think of that one. Would she want to know about the model? He perhaps should have gotten Tezuka's permission first, but it hardly seemed necessary. It wasn't recognizable as anyone, really. Just a beautiful chest.

Tezuka was all too aware that he had been taking pictures. Really, he was generous in just using that one. He had better ones.

That had been... the last night he saw Tezuka. He left for America the next day.

She chuckled. "Beautiful."

Fuji beamed. "He is."

[Photograph 6: Communication]

fingers on a keyboard, everything is askew, but sharply focused color is normal, lighting is pale, almost lifeless the fingers aren't on keys, and appear slack

She put the portfolio down and leaned back, taking a deep breath. She gave him an appraising look, quietly just...

Judging him.

"You have talent, and a point of view. I think you lack discipline, but you seem motivated; after all, you didn't need to apply to our school, so far away. I'm not sure why you chose Brooks... but I'm sure you won't tell me."

He beamed. "Am I being difficult?"

Her lips quirked. "No, I wouldn't say that. Well, I can't promise anything, but I'm going to recommend you to the Dean. I'll be clear, though... the only reason I am recommending you is because I want to see more of your work. A lot more. You really could do... anything you wanted at this point. I want to see what you will do."

He reached out and offered his hand. "Thank you."

She shook it, and then stood up, sighing. "You're lucky I was in Asia, anyway. This is much further than our usual interviews. I'll be seeing you, Mr. Fuji."

He stood up and bowed to her slightly. He watched her leave, amused by how she clung to her briefcase but didn't button up her jacket. She was going to get soaked.

He sat back down again, and pulled out his cell phone. He didn't like to use it to send email. It was too taxing to type on a number pad, and there was never anything so urgent that he couldn't wait to send the email when he got home, or to school. Normally, that would be how he felt.

He sat in the café, and methodically typed it out as he finished his coffee. He wasn't sure about the time difference. He might have to learn to make the adjustment, if he was moving to California. Neither Yumiko nor Yuuta would appreciate telephone calls at three in the morning. He didn't know when Tezuka would be able to check his email, even. Still.

As soon as he could, he'd have a message from Fuji. He would definitely want to know right away.








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