title: the Apartment: Book Shop
fandom: Prince of Tennis
characters/pairings: Tezuka/Fuji, Yumiko & Atobe
rating: G
warnings: Atobe being a brat
summary: Yumiko deals with a difficult customer...
notes: fourth in the Apartment series, first with the other pairing of focus for this series... ^_~

He put his hand on the glass, letting the chill of it soak into his flesh. He looked down onto the city street, so much more yellow than he was used to. He had turned the television on as soon as he'd woken up, even though the uneven squalling of the people on the set was jarring to him. He knew it would wake Tezuka up.

So, he expected the arms that came around his waist, and he expected the mouth at his neck. He ran his hands over Tezuka's arms, and sighed.

"I didn't think you'd bulk up this fast," he complained softly. He pressed his thumbs into Tezuka's forearms, a bit annoyed because he was used to encountering more give.

Tezuka leaned in closer, and rubbed his teeth over Fuji's ear. "I've been training nonstop for six weeks. It isn't that much bulk, though, is it?"

Fuji turned, and let Tezuka press his bare back against the glass. He looked over his shoulder, at the dirty street below. This was supposed to be a city of love, anyway. He ran his hands up Tezuka's sides, tracing his fingers over the bevels of Tezuka's muscles. "This body is mine," Fuji pouted. "You don't have the right to change it so much when I'm not around to see... and touch..."

Tezuka's mouth covered his. He had arrived in Paris the night before, and Tezuka had been ravenous. He felt the same way, since it had been almost two months since they'd last seen each other, but he hadn't changed at all in that time. He didn't like to think that Tezuka was changing without him.

He spread his legs out, and moaned softly, letting Tezuka lift him up a bit. He dug his fingers into Tezuka's neck, and sighed. Tezuka had put his mouth on Fuji's shoulder, and he wasn't letting go. Fuji smiled absently.

"Are you putting your mark on me? Is this a badge of ownership?" His voice sounded airy and foreign to his ears, and he was sick of being in a foreign place already. On the television, the anchors of the morning show were doing a cooking bit. Outside, it started to rain.

He ran his hand down Tezuka's skin; he wanted to mark Tezuka just like Tezuka was marking him.

She put down the tall stack of books, and took a deep breath. She was sure that she should have been getting more help... she looked around the stock room, frowning.

Kana was sitting down next to Keiko, rubbing her back. Yumiko narrowed her eyes, and went over to them, her hands on her hips. Keiko was sobbing quietly.

Worried, Yumiko leaned on the table next to Keiko. "What's wrong?"

Kana looked up apologetically. "Ah, Yumiko-chan, sorry, sorry, but there's this horrible young man Keiko was helping. He was really condescending and arrogant, and..." She looked down at Keiko apologetically.

"Hmph!" Yumiko smiled, patting Keiko's shoulder. "That's fine. Wash your face and freshen up. Is he still out there?"

Keiko hiccuped, and blushed. She picked up a book in English, her hand shaking. "He's in the foreign language literature section. B-but..."

Yumiko took the book, and winked. "D~on't worry. I have a knack for dealing with bratty boys." She winked, and got up, going out to the store, swinging her hips a bit as she walked. Behind her, Kana giggled, and Keiko exhaled sharply in admiration.

Smirking, Yumiko went over to find her customer. There was only one person in the foreign language literature section, a man about the same age as her brothers. He was fairly tall, and nicely slim, wearing an extremely expensive suit. His hair was long enough to be stylish, but very neatly arranged, and his skin looked as smooth as silk. Everything about him screamed wealth and prestige, right down to the bored, almost disgusted look on his face.

She licked her lips, and walked over to him. "Excuse me, sir. I believe this is the book you were looking for?" She held it up to about the level of her chest, and smiled at him sweetly. He turned to look at her, and she noticed that he had a small beauty mark under his eye. She wondered if it was natural or not. He looked her over appraisingly, and then the corner of his mouth turned up into an arrogant sneer.

"Eh? I'd think I'd remember if you'd been helping me before. Don't tell me that other girl ran off in a fit? My, my. How disappointing." He reached out to take the book, but she wasn't letting go yet.

"Don't tell me you were hoping that you'd reduced her to tears. Kids these days. You can dress them up, but maybe it's true. There is no such thing as breeding anymore." She winked at him, and let go of the book. His eyes flashed, and his nostrils flared.

She was so entirely amused.

"Well, it was past time for Keiko-chan's break, so I took over for her. That's acceptable, isn't it? Do you want to buy the book?" She pointed at it, frowning.

He narrowed his eyes at her. "You have an odd notion of customer service."

"You may have a mistaken notion of the nature of our relationship," she offered cheerfully, leaning in closer to him. "You see, to me, you are... just one of many." She winked at him, and stepped back.

He gritted his teeth, and smiled like a panther on the prowl.

This was really too much fun...

"Shall I... check you out, sir?" she asked innocently.

"No, I think I'll just pay and be done with this," he said dryly. She laughed, and turned to head for the register. It wasn't going to be any good if he just gave up, but she didn't think he was a quitter.

She turned quickly on her heel, letting her skirt swirl a bit around her, and she indicated to him that he follow her. She went to the register, and waited patiently for him to give her the book. He came up to the counter reluctantly, seemingly, and pushed the book over to her. "For an unmarried woman of your age, you certainly have a sharp tongue. Every rose has its thorns, mm?"

"I'm shocked," Yumiko pouted. "You think I look old? What a brat you are."

"Is that something you should say to a grown man?" he asked, taken aback.

"What part of you is grown?" she laughed, scanning the back of the book. She gave him the price, still chuckling to herself.

He scowled, and passed her his debit card. "I'm definitely never shopping here again. I can't believe a shop girl could be so rude."

She swiped the card, and then looked at it. The name was familiar. "I thought I might know you. Let me see... you must have played tennis with my little brother. Of course you'd remember. Fuji Syuusuke?"

His eyes widened, and then he started to chuckle. "Ah, I see. Well, that makes sense. If you're his sister... I should apologize for that comment about you being unmarried. The papers have practically settled the matter between you and Tezuka, am I right?"

She tilted her head to the side and smiled. "Is that so? I never read tabloids."

He chuckled, and she had to admit, it was a nice, rich sound. "How is Tezuka?" He leaned over, folding his arms on the counter, his smile perfectly rakish.

She grinned. "Did you have a crush on Tezuka-kun? How cute! Unrequited love is so sweet, don't you think?"

He narrowed his eyes, and his grin tightened a bit. "Tezuka was a hard person to get close to. It's surprising that he and your brother have remained friends for so long."

"Do you think so?" She tore off the receipt for him. "It seems quite natural to me."

He shook his head, and stuck his receipt into his wallet. "I'm sure it does. So, how is Tezuka's health? Is his arm... strong, still, or does he have problems with pain?"

She slipped his book into the bag. "You seem awfully concerned with Tezuka-kun," she said, yawning. She passed the bag to him. "Well, thank you for shopping with us." She let the sentence trail off, inviting him to finish it with his own farewell.

He just smirked, though. "Are you done with me, then?"

"Completely," she replied cheerfully.

"You and your brother are a lot alike," he said, shaking his head.

"Thank you!"

He came back the next day, though. For over an hour, he had her looking for a book. He remembered a passage from it, but nothing else. She wasn't sure if they were flirting with each other or sparring contentedly with words. He continued to ask her about Tezuka, and she continued to evade.

He finally bought something, and left. She had kept up her smile while they chatted, but she felt unexpectedly tired as soon as he was gone. She leaned over the counter and sighed, closing her eyes for a moment.

"I was surprised, Yumiko-chan," Kana said. "You always flirt with the customers, but I've never heard you give one your schedule before. Do you like that brat?"

"I wonder..." she sighed, and she bit her lip.

Why had she done that?

Fuji leaned back in the wrought iron chair, stretching his legs out. Croissants and cheese actually made for a pleasant breakfast, and in the morning, the air was clear and it smelled good. Tezuka had gone down to the corner to get a paper. Apparently, his French was good enough now that he could read it, mostly. Fuji refused to pick up even enough to talk to the waitress. He just smiled at her, and let Tezuka place the orders. He didn't know what Tezuka ordered until she delivered it.

There was something wrong, he thought.

Tezuka came and sat down next to him, stretching his legs out so his feet were under Fuji's legs. It was close and it was comfortable. Fuji smiled, and tore off a piece of croissant.

"You didn't order anything for yourself?"

"Mm," Tezuka murmured as he flipped through the pages of the paper. "I'm on a special diet. Training."

Fuji frowned slightly. "You're bulking up... and eating differently. Are you sure you're getting enough nutrients?"

Tezuka looked at Fuji for just a moment, the suggestion of a smile gracing his face. "Don't worry, my program was designed by a doctor. The new diet is to assist in gaining muscle mass, that's all. Very little fat, very high in protein..." He looked at the bread and cheese on the table a bit sheepishly. "This country isn't well suited to it, I'm afraid."

Chuckling, Fuji moved his leg a bit, so he was touching Tezuka more. "You could be bad... just a little bit. And share this with me."

Tezuka just shook his head, though. "Have to stick to the program."

"Why?" Fuji twitched his nose in irritation. "Why are you pushing so hard?"

Tezuka's gaze flicked over to Fuji long enough for them maintain eye contact for a heartbeat. He then buried his face back in the newspaper. "What do you mean? There's only so much time left..."

That made Fuji's blood freeze. "Only so much...?" he laughed. "We're not that old yet. You still have plenty of time to build up your legend."

Tezuka looked at him from the corner of his eye, and then nodded once.

Fuji chewed on his croissant slowly.

She smiled sweetly at him as she walked through the store, heading to the back room to punch in. Of course he was there, and of course he was waiting for her.

She was a bit surprised to discover that she was pleased to see him, and that her heart jumped when he winked at her.

It was foolish and stupid to become infatuated with a boy her brother's age, even if she did enjoy teasing Tezuka-kun. And this boy was also infatuated or obsessed with Tezuka-kun, and she was relatively certain that her brother didn't care for him. She certainly couldn't blame him for his fixation on Tezuka, but the other point...

She breezed out into the store, and Keiko subtly pointed to where Atobe was waiting, patiently, for her. Keiko was still a little afraid of him, but more than that, she was impressed by his wealth and his beauty, and she was sure that Yumiko was just the person to tame him.

Plastering on the fakest and the sunniest smile she could, she went over to the boy. "Hello, sir. Is there something I can help you with?"

He didn't bother to mask his annoyance at her for treating him so blandly, but it didn't show up in his voice. "I'm looking for a gift for a woman. I'm... at a bit of a loss, however. She's a difficult person to pin down."

"Oh, you're looking to pin her down?" Yumiko asked, shrugging. Completely blasé, she looked around the store vaguely. "Are you sure she would like a book? Don't most women get pinned down with jewelry or perfume?"

He chuckled, and she had to admit, it was a nice sound. "Well, this particular woman is a rare find. Her scent..." He looked up, as if trying to think of the exact right word, and he leaned in closer, inhaling. "I can't quite describe it. I don't think she wears much perfume, and if she does, I don't know it. Since she smells... so beautiful, I wouldn't want to interfere. As for jewelry... well, I'm afraid she'd just laugh at me if I offered her a lavish gift." He lowered his chin sheepishly, and batted his long eyelashes at her.

And damn it, she did get a little flushed. "My, my, what a rare woman this is, indeed. You sound utterly infatuated."

He put his hand on the shelf behind him, and grinned his most charming smile. She was sure he had a catalog of smiles at least as long as her own. "Oh, believe me, there is no one who could be equal to her."

"Not even you?" Yumiko asked sympathetically, giving him a bit of a pout.

He laughed. "I'm afraid not. That's why I need the perfect gift."

She shook her head. "Even with it... you've already set yourself up for disaster. This woman is only human, after all. You either have her up on a pedestal, or you really are out of her league." She clucked her tongue, and looked around again, as if thinking. "Do you even know what sort of book she likes?"

He has narrowed his eyes. "Well, I've discovered that she's interested in the occult. She's even written some... very interesting... books herself."

"We have a rather good occult section," she supplied cheerfully, quickly walking over to that section of the store to mask her own pleasure at his words. Did that mean that he'd actually read her books? He'd at least looked them up... "Though, it may be difficult to pick something that she doesn't already have, if she's as into it as you say." She brushed her fingers over the spines of the books closest to her. She selected each title for them to carry in this section. She didn't like or agree with all of them, but they represented the breadth and scope of spiritual and occult literature.

She was proud of her work. Did he appreciate it?

His arms came around her, his cheek brushing against hers, and he presented to her a slim wooden box. "I agree. So I got her these."

He brushed his lips over the shell of her ear. She was breathless... she ran her hand over the top of the box, her skin tingling. Something very old, something... alluring... was inside. Almost fearfully, she opened the box, and her eyes widened. "These..."

"They were originally painted circa 1770, and they were given as a gift to Antoine Court de Gébelin," he whispered into her ear, his breath sultry. "They've been passed down, generation from generation, and held by many famous seers since that time. So tell me. Yumiko-chan. Will she like them?"

She felt dizzy. She brushed her fingers over the tarot cards, and she wanted them, as palpably as he wanted to touch her, touch her skin. She licked her lips slowly, but her heart was racing.

How did he manage to...?

"There's a decent chance. You sure don't do things halfway, mm?" she turned her head just enough to smirk for him.

His eyes were gleaming with what she feared was victory, and that helped to snap her back to her senses. "I'm used to going after what I want with all that I am."

She leaned over and whispered into his ear, "Truly, the catchphrase of the quintessential spoiled brat." She carefully put the cover back on the cards, and repressed a shiver.

He chuckled. "So be it. Just tell me. Do you think she'll agree to meet me for coffee after her shift?"

She narrowed her eyes. Even with such temptation surrounding her, she couldn't surrender so easily. "Hm. That's hard to say. She might have plans. She might not want to be bought."

"Might, you say," he replied sharply. "Speculation is all you can offer?"

She pulled out of his arms, not letting them tighten around her any more. She looked at her watch breezily. "Everything outside the ever present now is speculation. Unless you want me to do a reading for you?"

"Maybe after your shift?" he offered cagily. "We could meet in a coffee shop..."

She wanted to laugh out loud.

She almost switched on the lights as she entered the apartment, but she noticed the suitcase dropped just inside the door. She locked up, and pushed the suitcase aside. Her brother was stretched out on the couch with his back to the door, but she could tell he wasn't asleep.

Shaking her head, she went to his side. "Hey. Syuusuke. Don't be so lazy! Go to your own bed to sleep, if you don't have the strength to unpack, at least."

He sighed. "Staying here."

"My goodness, that was barely a sentence," she chastised him, but he didn't react. She sat down on the coffee table, and reached out to touch his shoulder. "Don't tell me your trip to Paris didn't go well? Didn't Tezuka-kun treat you well?"

He looked over his shoulder at her, his expression disbelieving. "Don't try to be funny."

She winked at him. "Well, well. Why don't I make you some cocoa, and I can do a reading for you. I have some new cards; they'll definitely be able to see into your future, and put your mind at ease."

He just huddled up more into himself, though. "I can see my future. I just want to sleep."

She watched him for a moment, biting her lip. He didn't want to talk about whatever he was worried about, and he probably never would, so she wasn't left with many options. She leaned over, and kissed his cheek.

"Close your eyes, then, and let go." She stood up, and got the throw, spreading it over him. She decided to skip eating just yet, to give him a chance to fall asleep. She went to her bedroom, and put her hand over the wooden box on her dresser, letting the feeling of the cards seep into her body.

She really didn't know at all how she'd explain that to him.