title: Never Surrender
fandom: Prince of Tennis
characters/pairings: Tezuka/Atobe, Tezuka/Fuji-ish, Oishi
rating: M
warnings: sex, drinking, some language
summary: Tezuka is distracted.
notes: um. purr? also, made up tennis stuff.... post series.

The flight to Hong Kong was overbooked with small, greasy businessmen in nearly identical suits. Tezuka waited by the coffee stand until the last call was made for his flight. He hated airports, and he hated being surrounded by the soulless drones that trudged through life like rats through a maze. He couldn't imagine living his life like that; thank the gods he had tennis.

He waited in line, hefting his tennis bag up nervously, and then waited in the skyway as everyone shuffled onto the plane. He never even thought to look at his boarding pass until he stepped past the first class seats. It was a 777, with two window seats on either side, and five seats in the middle. He had to go down the right side the plane to find his seat, fifteen rows back. He had his tennis bag above his head already when his seatmate greeted him.

"Tezuka, how good to see you again."

His heart sank. Fate could be cruel. He lifted his eyes, and saw Atobe Keigo smirking up at him. "Atobe. I'm surprised to see you back here with the commoners."

Atobe shrugged, and leaned his elbow on the armrest, holding his face in his hand. "The university booked the flight. It doesn't matter so much to me. I am glad to see, though, that I will have such a pleasant traveling companion. What luck, really, since I'm sure we're going to the same place."

Of course they were. The Asian Amateur Tennis Tournament was in Hong Kong this year, beginning at the end of the week. Why else would they both be on the same plane? The same overbooked plane... no chance of getting a seat reassignment.

The businessman behind Tezuka shoved him forward unceremoniously, grumbling about loitering youths.

Atobe clucked his tongue against the roof of his mouth. "Tezuka, Tezuka, stow your bag and sit down already. You're causing a disturbance."

He did not sigh or in any way express his exasperation. That would have been rude. He simply stowed his bag, and sat down quickly. With even the smallest amount of luck, it would be a quiet, short flight.

Atobe leaned over, and poked Tezuka in the lap. "Don't forget to buckle up. Safety is the number one priority."

Tezuka glared at Atobe. "I know."

Smirking, Atobe sat back in his seat. "I'm so glad to have someone I know as a seatmate. The last flight I was on, I was seated next to this obnoxious woman who would not stop talking, or touching me." Atobe put his hand on Tezuka's arm. "Can you imagine how irritating that was? And it was a trans-Pacific flight. Too long!"

Tezuka stared straight ahead, and took slow, even breaths. Fortunately, it wasn't long before the flight attendants were walking up and down the aisles, closing the overhead bins, and reminding passengers to buckle up. They had to wait on the tarmac for nearly an hour, during which time, Tezuka was brought up to speed on Atobe's great struggle with the servants over the redecoration of the summer home. It was a truly epic story, Atobe assured him, and Tezuka endured it with all due patience once Atobe took away his mp3 player.

There wasn't anything Atobe could dish out that Tezuka couldn't take. It was just a matter of resolve. He was resolved not to react when Atobe reached down to test his seatbelt before take off. He resolved not to react when Atobe ordered dinner for both of them, because 'his friend wasn't very social.' He resolved not to react when Atobe flicked him in the cheek because he wasn't paying attention to Atobe's complaints against his hairdresser.

He closed his eyes, and eventually, Atobe's constant one-sided banter petered out. There were a few blissful moments of quiet, and then Atobe was poking him in the side again.

"Ne, did you see this? He looks good, doesn't he?" Atobe sighed, elbowing Tezuka in the side as he shoved the magazine in front of him. "Everyone thought you would be the first one to go pro, didn't they? But instead, you finished high school, and college, and now look. Fuji has placed in his first major tournament."

Tezuka's eyes opened on their own, immediately inundated by a full page spread on Syuusuke. The article spelled out how he had placed second in the TD Waterhouse Cup, complete with pictures of him in action. Resolve wasn't prepared for that, apparently.

Atobe leaned over, so that his hair was brushing against Tezuka's cheek. "He's grown up a lot, hasn't he? I had no idea he had such... potential. I should have paid more attention when I had the chance."

Tezuka felt his skin crawl, and his blood go cold. Atobe was laughing at him, barely swallowing his chuckles, his lips practically against Tezuka's skin. His vision swam. He knew, of course, that Syuusuke was competing at that level, but... There was a reason he had canceled his tennis magazine subscriptions.

"It's been a while since you've seen him, right? Do you keep in touch?"

Touch... He's like to have kept in touch... Tezuka turned to face the other way, making a dismissive noise.

Atobe chuckled, low and deep in his chest. "A pity you didn't follow him into the circuit. I wonder why you keep putting off the inevitable... Are you really so proud that you won't go until you can be sure you'll be strong enough? Keep waiting, Tezuka, and your day will never come. You have to seize it."

"And why haven't you seized 'it,' then?" Tezuka asked, sighing.

"Well, before I chase after fame," Atobe leaned all the way over, his elbows on the armrest between them. He tapped Tezuka's nose with his forefinger. "I thought I would chase after you for a bit. After all, I haven't caught you yet."

"Technically, you have beaten me." Tezuka leaned back as far as he could without actually hanging out of his seat.

"Technically?" Atobe scoffed. "You can't technically win, Tezuka. A win is a win, and a loss is a loss. But that's not quite what I meant, you know."

Tezuka grunted, and shifted in his seat so he was giving Atobe more of his shoulder.

Atobe smirked, and sat back in his seat. "You will see, Tezuka. About time, too.

"Ready to dance with me again?"

Tezuka's serve had improved considerably in the past year. It had power and speed now that most pros didn't have. In fact, most of the players were grumbling that Tezuka was just 'slumming' in the amateur circuit when he should be a pro. Atobe leaned forward in his seat and shut out all the hissing whispers around him.

Tezuka was gorgeous. His form, his posture, his intensity... The only way this could be better would be if Atobe were the one opposite him on the court. To face that passion shot for shot... It was what tennis was all about.

Unfortunately, Atobe had run into some bad luck, and he'd had to settle for the bronze medal. Still, it gave him the rare chance to actually watch Tezuka go all out. Atobe didn't understand how all these poseurs could sit here and gripe about some of the most beautiful tennis they would ever experience first-hand. Tezuka brought nobility to the sport, elegance... and these fools were griping because he was better than them.

Atobe bit his lip, and watched as Tezuka set up his serve. He wanted to receive that serve, wanted to go game after game with Tezuka, dancing the dance as only the best could. The player from China who was Tezuka's opponent was determined, but clearly flagging in the third set. Tezuka would win. It was a forgone conclusion.

He ran his hands over his thighs, his eyes flicking back and forth as Tezuka ran his opponent into the ground. Oh, yes, Atobe would get his chance to dance that dance again... One way or another, he would taste Tezuka's passion again.

Atobe ran his fingers through his perfect hair. He knocked heavily on the thick hotel door room. Tezuka had tried to be coy, but he was inherently too polite to actually snub anyone, and therefore it had been easy to find out which room was Tezuka's. During the week of the tourney, he'd gone to visit Tezuka a few times, but there had always been a good reason to cut the visit short when there were matches in the morning.

Tezuka would be Atobe's tonight.

The door opened a crack. Tezuka peered out from behind, looking rather suspicious. "Yes?"

Atobe rolled his eyes dramatically. "I'm kidnapping you and forcing you to have 'fun.' I realize it's a foreign concept to you, so I'll explain it using very small words. Now let me in." He pushed on the door, forcing his way in against Tezuka's minimal resistance.

Tezuka sighed and gave up, walking in to stand next to the bed, and his nearly packed duffel bag. "What do you want, Atobe?"

"So sour, Tezuka," Atobe sighed. "You'd think you'd be happier having just won the championship." He invaded Tezuka's personal space, and sat down on his bed, looking into his duffel curiously. "Now, we're going out tonight to celebrate your victory, even if I would have beaten you if I hadn't been eliminated by accident."

"As you say," Tezuka sighed. "But I'm not going out."

"Yes, you are," Atobe contradicted patiently. "Everyone in the tournament is going out to celebrate. This is about the community of Asian tennis players, Tezuka. It's not the popular sport it is in Europe or America. We have to support our fellow players and foster a feeling of camaraderie. Not everyone has the glorious future ahead of them as you do, which means that you, more than anyone, need to be a pillar for all Asian tennis players, both on and off the court. What kid of celebration would it be if the leader of the tournament was too busy sulking in his room to bother to attend?"

Tezuka blinked, and then sighed. "Fine."

Smirking, Atobe leaned back. "Do you need clothes? I think we are close enough to the same size."

"I can clothe myself," Tezuka disdainfully stated. "Would you like to wait in the lobby?"

"I'm fine where I am," Atobe smiled.

Tezuka rolled his eyes, and took his duffel bag to the bathroom. Atobe chuckled quietly to himself, and leaned back on his elbows. The room was as neat as when Tezuka first checked in, he was sure. Only a tennis bag propped up under a jacket hanging from the rack evidenced that the room was occupied. Atobe's fingers spread out over the nasty hotel bedspread. He dipped his head back and closed his eyes. He would enjoy messing up Tezuka's bed tonight.

The bathroom door opened, and Tezuka dropped his duffel bag on the floor next to his tennis bag. "I presume this is suitable?"

He was wearing tight, black jeans, a white shirt buttoned only in the middle, his usual charm at his neck, and shining black boots. As he walked past Atobe to get his wallet from the bedside table, Atobe slapped him on the ass. His outfit wasn't quite up to Atobe's leather and silk standards, but it was certainly workable. "Very nice. You do have some style after all."

Tezuka glared at him. "Could you try to keep your hands to yourself for one night?"

Atobe laughed and stood up. "I could try, but what fun would that be? Now let's go. We don't want to keep everyone waiting."

The hands moving up and down his body were certainly very nice hands, and the lips trailing over his skin were rather skilled, but the time had come to put plans into action, so Atobe disengaged himself from his dance partner, and moved with sinuous grace to the dark corner Tezuka had holed himself up in.

He had to admit, the other man had bourn himself up well. He had verged on being chatty on their walk to the club, and he had put up only minimal resistance to doing a few shots with the group. He had accepted congratulations with humility, of course, and had been polite about refusing to dance.

Atobe had watched Tezuka have a drink with two other players, and he didn't immediately escape the first chance he got. All good signs.

Still, Atobe had bigger and better things in mind for the rest of the night's entertainment, and there was no time like the present to get it underway.

He detoured after he got to the end of the dance floor, and went to the bar, getting the bartender's immediate attention thanks to previous generous tips. He got two drinks, simple gin and tonics, and went to chase Tezuka. He stuck to the wall, so he was able to come up behind Tezuka, putting his arms around him and taking a quick nip at Tezuka's ear.

Tezuka tried to spin around, but Atobe moved with him. "Tezuka, so jumpy! Here, I brought you something to drink."

Sighing, Tezuka gave up trying to disengage himself from Atobe's loose grip. He took one of the drinks, and glared at it. "I'm not thirsty."

"No, but you are uptight. Go ahead, loosen up, it won't kill you." Atobe took a sip from his glass, and perched his chin on Tezuka's shoulder.

He could practically feel Tezuka scowling. "Alcohol is bad for the body, particularly in excess."

"How old are you, really? 50? 60? Relax, Tezuka, you are only young once. Don't want to miss it while you still have it." Atobe pushed his body closer to Tezuka's, griping on Tezuka's hip, and just brushing his lips over Tezuka's neck. "Dance with me, Tezuka."

"No," Tezuka replied, a bit too forcefully. "Would you mind please giving me some space here?"

"It's a dance club, Tezuka," Atobe replied coolly. "You're supposed to be close to other people. And I do mind backing off. You are so cold... You only show your passion on the court. I want to see your blood boil."

"Not everything in life is about what you want," Tezuka replied, sneering just a little.

Atobe smirked. "No, but you'd be surprised how many things are." He licked Tezuka neck from where it met his shoulder to just under his ear.

Tezuka tried to jerk away, but Atobe used his grip on him to keep him close. "What the hell?! What are you thinking? This isn't going to go anywhere."

"Yes, it is," Atobe purred, his gaze burning into Tezuka. "My god, you are so damned tight. Look around, Tezuka. There are no parents or teachers here to impress. There are no classmates to suck up to you. There are no devious, enigmatic geniuses to take my place. This is just you and me. And you can't tell me you aren't a little bit curious." He moved so he could put his hand between Tezuka's legs, massaging the heavy lump roughly.

Tezuka growled, and turned quickly, shoving Atobe into the wall. "There is nothing between us, Atobe. It's just another of your delusions of grandeur. You could do us both a favor and leave me alone." His hands were digging into Atobe's shoulder and side, and he was close enough for Atobe to smell his breath and aftershave.

"Gods above and below, you are so exciting," Atobe murmured, putting his hands on Tezuka's face so he could kiss him sloppily. "Delusion, hm?" Atobe was practically cackling, his eyes open and piercing. "Then why are you holding onto me, Tezuka? Admit it." He pushed his leg between Tezuka's legs. "There is something about me you can't ignore."

Tezuka groaned, involuntarily pushing himself against Atobe's leg. "You are irritating. And arrogant. And if you weren't so damned good at tennis, I'd have no use for you at all." He thrust himself against Atobe, and kissed him, sucking on Atobe's bottom lip.

"Fuck..." Atobe whimpered. He clawed at Tezuka's skin, ripping open the two infuriating buttons of his shirt so he could run his hands over Tezuka's chest, so he could put his arms around Tezuka and pull him closer, so he could taste Tezuka's flesh, finally, because this was right, damn it, this was how it was supposed to be... "What use do you have for me, Tezuka?"

Tezuka's hand cupped Atobe's ass, and he pushed them closer together, such maddening friction dulled by layers of denim and leather, too much heat and sweat and noise and need, and he could feel Tezuka's mouth on his neck, but it was distant, because there was too much sensation, too much of it localized in his cock, and he needed...

He put his hands into Tezuka's thick, wild hair, and dragged his head up to kiss his mouth, famished. "What do you want, Tezuka?"

Their eyes were inches apart, so close, and, gods, the passion, like tennis, this was like playing tennis with Tezuka, only there was no need for a racquet or a net, just them... "I want you to shut up."

Atobe was laughing as Tezuka kissed him, laughing as Tezuka clawed at him, hands finding flesh, fingers driving into skin, the taste of cinnamon and ginger like an aftertaste, a reminder that they needed to breathe, that they still needed air. "Do you want to fuck right here, or should we go back to the hotel?"

There was a light in Tezuka's eyes, and Atobe was laughing again, because he nearly agreed to have sex right there in public, but then he was dragging Atobe off, out of the club, where the air hit them like a polar blast, and suddenly they could see things more clearly, like their fingers intertwined as they held onto each other. Everything was muffled as their eardrums adjusted to the quiet, and neither spoke, almost as if the air would crack and break around them, and the thin filaments that were holding them together would disintegrate, and it would seem absurd to be going back to the hotel together, absurd to continue what they were doing...

The lobby seemed to go on for ages. They waited for an elevator next to an elderly couple, who thankfully were only going to the second floor. As the numbers dinged for each floor they swept past, Atobe moved his hand back and forth over Tezuka's back. Tezuka stared straight ahead, but he didn't flinch from Atobe's touch, and he didn't call it off.

Just to be sure, though, Atobe leaned over and kissed him as Tezuka unlocked the door to his hotel room. Just to see if he still could... Tezuka kissed him back, biting on his lips, and he pushed Atobe into the room.

Atobe didn't usually laugh this much, but this was fun, damn it, more fun than he'd expected. He hadn't expected Tezuka to be so... easy, hadn't expected him to be so rough, hadn't expected him to peel off Atobe's leather pants with his teeth, or be so eager to suck cock, or make that noise when Atobe grabbed his balls, or for him to be pliable or for that place just above his groin to be so sexy or for his fingers to be so damned good at making Atobe purr...

They wrestled each other, and somehow, it became a play of dominance. Serve and volley, smashes and quick returns, back and forth over the plain white sheets, the bedspread tossed aside as part of their play, like their clothes and shoes had been tossed aside, like Tezuka's glasses had been tossed on the bedside table, and it was dizzying and fast, but it was exactly this sort of play that Atobe had been planning for ages, so every time Tezuka got him on his back, Atobe managed to flip them back over, until finally, Tezuka hooked his arm under Atobe's leg and flipped them forcefully, driving him down into the mattress and following it up with a hard, wet kiss.

"Damn it all, do you want me to fuck you or not?" The fire in Tezuka's eyes was enough to put the sun to shame, and Atobe wanted to bath in those flames.

"Fuck me, then, Tezuka," Atobe panted, and it wasn't submission if he grabbed Tezuka's head to kiss him hard enough to bruise, wasn't submission if he worked Tezuka's fingers until he was ready to weep, wasn't submission if he spread his legs out and commanded Tezuka to get inside of him, wasn't a submission when he was bucking against Tezuka for all he was worth, and each thrust sent shockwaves of pleasure through every nerve in his body, driving him relentlessly closer and closer to that point where nothing mattered for one sweet second, and he was drenched in the sensation of it, drowned in the fury of Tezuka's passion, this dance that was better than tennis, because he could taste it, and when their bodies went cool, their vision and their thoughts cleared, and they were clinging to each other, their noses rubbing against each other, their lips so close together, Tezuka's arms around him, his hands clinging to Tezuka, it wasn't like a submission at all because they had done this together.

Atobe smiled, and closed his eyes. "Kunimitsu."

He was folding Atobe's leather pants. It was a strange thing to be doing, and he oddly found himself admiring the workmanship of their construction. It was a strange night.

Atobe was still asleep in the bed. His bed. Their bed? The bed. He actually looked rather sweet when he was asleep, his hair in disarray. Tezuka watched him sleep, and felt a momentary impulse to run his fingers over Atobe's cheek, to touch his mole...

He turned away, and left all of Atobe's clothes in a neat pile in the chair. He was all packed. His mouth felt dirty and he felt dirty, but he wanted to get home, to really scrub himself clean in his own shower, to get out of these clothes and into something fresh and clean, to sleep in his own bed.

He contemplated leaving a note, not sure exactly what he should say. There really wasn't anything to say, was there? He went to the bathroom to make sure he had everything for the third time. When he got out, Atobe was leaning up on his elbow. "Eh, Tezuka? What are you doing?"

He looked down at Atobe. The other man really was attractive. He wished that he had been more drunk tonight, so he could blame it on that. "I'm leaving."

"What?" Atobe sat up, his eyes darting all over the place until he saw the clock. "Tezuka, it's 4 am. Come back to bed."

He unconsciously took a step back. Go back to bed... No, he couldn't do that. "No, I need to leave now."

Atobe threw off the covers, and Tezuka averted his eyes, even though he felt foolish doing so. "Well, wait a minute, all right, and I'll go with you. Damn, so pesty! Can't you wait until morning for your scheduled flight?"

"No!" Tezuka sighed, and picked up his duffel. "No, that's not necessary. Just... go back to sleep, and in the morning, you can check us both out."

"Why are you being so impatient? Just get some sleep, and we can go home together." Atobe glared up at Tezuka, clearly trying to force Tezuka to look at him in his full glory.

"I'm trying to get away from you, Keigo. Just let me go."

Atobe didn't say anything, and he didn't look at him again, he just picked up his tennis bag and walked out of the room, out of the elevator, out of the hotel, out of the cab, out of the plane, out of the cab, again, finally, home.

It felt like it had taken weeks to get here, but he as soon as he got inside, he dropped his bags, leaned back on the door of his modest apartment, and he closed his eyes. He was so tired. Drained, like he had never been before in his life. Weak in every joint and every muscle and every bone.

He wanted to just fall into bed, but he needed to shower first, needed to brush his teeth, needed to change his clothes... He stumbled over to his computer, and flicked it on, staring at the monitor blankly until it was fully booted up. He opened his email, and hit 'compose', and he stared at the blank email.

He only had to type a few characters before the program filled in the rest of Syuusuke's address. He didn't put in a subject line, and he stared at the blank space for a moment before typing.

I had sex with Atobe last night. I wasn't drunk. I don't know why it happened. Sorry.

He hit send, and shucked off his clothes, practically sleepwalking to the shower.

"Mm, Tezuka, do you have sunscreen?"

Tezuka looked over his shoulder at Oishi packing the world's largest beach bag. "It's in the bathroom. There is such a thing as being too prepared."

"Oh ho," Oishi smiled. "I had this one tennis captain who was always telling me 'Don't get careless,' so it's become habit." He winked at Tezuka as he walked past. He started to shuffle through Tezuka's bathroom cabinet. "It's been so long since we got together, though. This is going to be great! I'm so glad you could take the time off to relax for a day. We never even got to celebrate your win at the Asia Amateur Tourney."

Tezuka grunted, sending off his report to his Modern Japanese History professor. This was his last school obligation, and then he was free for a whole week.

"Eiji is so excited, trust me. He might be a little hard to control, actually." Oishi chuckled. "But we can always pretend we don't know him if he gets too out of hand."

Tezuka hid his soft smile behind his hand. He missed spending time with his friends. He was a little surprised that they even remembered him, at this point. The computer dinged; a new email just came in from America. He put his hands flat on his thighs. It had been three weeks since he had sent that email, but with his schedule in constant flux, Syuusuke didn't often get a chance to check his email. Or so Tezuka chose to believe.

He opened it, not really sure what he was hoping to see. He didn't even know if Oishi was still in the apartment or not. He stared at the characters on the screen, feeling utterly blank.

Was he any good?

Oishi came back into the bedroom, chatting and making some noise, but Tezuka couldn't make out the words. He felt his heart pounding in his chest.

"Tezuka? What is it?" Oishi put his hand on Tezuka's shoulder.

Tezuka hit the keys to quit the program, and flicked his monitor off. "Nothing. Let's go."

Oishi looked from the computer to Tezuka. "Are you sure? Was that from Fuji?"

Tezuka picked up the beach bag. He was sure there were small cars that weighed less. "Isn't Kikumaru waiting?"

Oishi trailed after him slowly, not that Tezuka wasn't sure that he would be. Right now, he just needed to get away.