title: Negatives
fandom: Prince of Tennis
characters/pairings: Tezuka/Fuji, Tezuka's family, Eiji
rating: G
warnings: none
summary: Tezuka wakes up alone, and waits.
notes: a companion piece to my darling Bryan's Photographs, which can be found here. specifically, takes place between/during parts 8 and 9. written at Bryan's bequest, though his fic is WAY better, so, *prods you to go read*

He woke up alone. He always did, but today, he shouldn't have. He didn't go to sleep alone. He went to sleep with his back to Fuji. It had been warm, to the point of being hot, and Tezuka had fallen asleep with strange images lulling him into dreams. When his eyes opened, these images were still pressing against his eyelids, but they dissolved in the sunlight.

Fuji was gone. His bag was gone. His body was gone. But his camera was here.

Patiently, Tezuka waited for Fuji to call, certain that he would. Tezuka had his camera, after all.

He did chores around the house, and he did his homework, and he trained his body, and he went to the tennis pavilion to practice, and he had tea with his grandfather, and for every minute of the long, too long, never ending day, he waited, and he expected Fuji's call.

That night, he stayed up late, and he held Fuji's camera in his hand. Fuji loved this camera. The first time he saw Fuji, it was with this camera in his hands, and it was indelibly linked in Tezuka's mind, Fuji and the sound of the camera.

He went to sleep, and he dreamed of nothing at all.

In the morning, he was still alone, and he was still waiting. His homework was finished, and he had done all the chores his parents or grandfather had asked of him. Today was set aside for training, but he felt oddly out of place. He picked up Fuji's camera again, and it struck him as sad, that wherever Fuji left for in the middle of the night, it was so urgent that he left his camera behind.

Tezuka took the camera with him on his run, and he was a bit surprised that he was passing by places that he and Fuji had been together. He pulled out the camera, and held it to his eye, looking through the viewfinder to see the world that Fuji made when he pressed the shutter. It was a violation of sorts, but Fuji had entered his world, had joined him on the courts, so Tezuka entered Fuji's world.

He snapped a picture.

He ran from place to place, and took pictures of where he and Fuji had been together. Fuji had only left a few pictures on the roll. How many pictures had Fuji taken in Tezuka's bedroom that night?

And... why had he left?

It preyed upon Tezuka's mind.

He went back to the tennis pavilion, and spent all afternoon hitting the tennis ball, focusing on precision. Across the net, he imagined his opponent was Fuji. He imagined that he was fighting against Fuji, struggling for every point.

Not that Fuji would show him his true strength.

That night, his arm ached, from shoulder to wrist. He sat down on his bed, and used the last picture on Fuji's camera to photograph Fuji's math book on his bed. On this bed... Fuji had... They had kissed, and Fuji had touched him, and they had slept, back to back.

And then Fuji had left.

On the excuse that he needed some supplies for tennis tomorrow, he went out, and got the film in the camera developed at a one-hour place. Tomorrow, there was school, and even if Fuji didn't want to, he would be able to see him.

Perhaps... to say goodbye?

Tezuka didn't understand, so he didn't dwell on it.

Again, he went to sleep, and in his dreams, Fuji had come back, and he smiled, and crawled into bed with Tezuka, and their bodies had gotten very, very hot.

In the morning, he woke up early, and went to school early. He waited outside of Fuji's classroom, ignoring all the stares and giggles of the girls in Fuji's class. He didn't know them, and it wasn't important for him to know them. Kikumaru came to class, and Tezuka approached him. Kikumaru treated him like he was a senpai, but Tezuka was used to that. He asked Kikumaru about Fuji, but Kikumaru just said that Fuji went to Chiba for the weekend, to be with a friend, so maybe he wasn't going to be in class today.

Tezuka tasted jealousy for the first time in his life, and it was so bitter, he was ready to vomit. He told his homeroom teacher he had to make some copies for the student council. He went outside the school, and down the row of cherry trees, and stood outside the school gate, and he called Fuji's house.

Fuji's sister answered the phone, and managed to tell him nothing at all about Fuji, leaving him feeling abandoned. He told her that he had something for Fuji, and he went back inside to class, but he wasn't able to pay attention.

He didn't know what sort of friend Fuji was with.

He pushed his food around his plate. His mother had cooked, and his grandfather was there tonight as well. It was a quiet, formal dinner, and he hadn't realized that he had stopped waiting for the phone to ring, but when it did, he didn't get up.

"It's your friend, Kunimitsu."

His grandfather was amused, deeply so, and his mother even smiled at him. He didn't have many friends. He didn't have the skill of making people at ease in his presence. That was Fuji's skill.

He didn't know why, but he smiled as soon as he heard Fuji's voice.

"Then come over and find out for yourself, okay?"

Tezuka had no choice. Whatever this was between them, it was Fuji's game, and Fuji's rules, and Fuji's timeline. Going over on command was admitting defeat, but it was worth it, if he could be with Fuji again.

He didn't think about it, because he couldn't. He didn't understand it yet.

But he would do anything to be with Fuji again.

When he was without Fuji, he felt submerged, isolated, lost. So he had already lost to Fuji.

Somehow, that didn't bother him like it should, but he didn't think about that, either.

Fuji was home, and he was wearing Tezuka's shirt.