title: the Apartment: Tears in the Fabric
fandom: Prince of Tennis
characters/pairings: Tezuka/Fuji, Yumiko/Atobe
rating: Teen
warnings: sex
summary: Tezuka and Fuji have time at home, but it's not for all happy reasons.
notes: er, now, this is... sixth in this Apartment series. will definitely make more sense if you've read the previous ones.

Fuji crinkled the page of the magazine, staring off into space. He wasn't sure what magazine it was, anyway, but he turned the page every few minutes. It was what people did.

The procedure should have been finished an hour ago. He was mildly annoyed that Tezuka's manager was back there with him, but Fuji was out in the waiting room. Tezuka's mother was with him, too, which Fuji thought was somewhat laughable. He wouldn't say that to Tezuka, but.

He was sure Tezuka's mother loved him, but she wasn't a part of Tezuka's life. She didn't go to his matches, she had never been to their apartment, and while she would smile politely at Fuji, she wouldn't call him by name. It must have been disappointing to her; she had such a fine, handsome son, and he was so successful.

If it were his sister, Tezuka's mother would probably be thrilled. Yumiko could have gone back with them, and she would be embraced by Tezuka's mother, and called daughter. But he was just that friend of yours.

Fuji turned a page.

He shouldn't let it bother him. Tezuka had explained the situation to his parents, which was actually more than Fuji had done, although he was sure his parents knew. He had no doubt of Tezuka's feelings, and it wasn't like there was anything either of them could do. It was just the way things were.

He wondered if Tezuka's mother thought that he wasn't worried at all.

He started to crinkle the page again.

He got through that magazine, and halfway through the next one before Tezuka came out, flanked by his doctor, a nurse, his manager, and his mother. Fuji jumped to his feet, and dropped the magazine on the floor. They walked past him, as if he wasn't even there.

He wasn't a part of their group.

Just as they got to the door, Tezuka stopped, and half turned. He looked over at Fuji, and held out his hand, but he wasn't able to extend his arm at all, because it was the arm they had just procedured. Fuji quickly caught up, slipping past the nurse, and Tezuka's mother. He went to Tezuka's side, and put his arm around Tezuka's waist. He was perhaps just being a burden to Tezuka; a public display like this might be exactly what Tezuka didn't want.

Tezuka kissed his forehead. "It went well. Let's go home, mm?"

He smiled up at Tezuka, relieved. "All right."

Yumiko stood in the doorway to their bedroom, smiling wryly at him, but he was ignoring her. "Can I make you something? Soup, perhaps, or some gelatin?"

Tezuka rolled his eyes, and shifted away from Fuji's hands as Fuji tried to tuck him into the bed more securely. Fuji scowled, but Tezuka was ignoring him. "I can eat normally. It was a simple procedure. They do it all the time!"

Fuji bopped Tezuka on the nose. "Oh, yes, everyone I know has had it done. And it was a surgery. Please stop calling it a procedure. I'm growing to hate that word."

Tezuka sighed heavily in an uncharacteristically bratty manner. "Most people in my field have had similar surgeries. I'm fine, really!"

"Of course you're fine!" Fuji snapped. "You just can't move your arm for a week!"

"I'm going to make curry," Yumiko declared thoughtfully, and then she came into the room, right up to Fuji, and she swacked the back of his head. "Your bedside manner sucks, little bro," under her breath, and then she turned and went out to the kitchen.

"I really am fine," Tezuka murmured softly.

Fuji sighed, exhausted, and he put his head down on Tezuka's chest. "You're not fine. You had to have your tendons cut so you could hope to have normal function of your arm. That's not normal."

Tezuka's good hand came up to stroke Fuji's hair. "I can't change what is. Looking at the bright side, I have a few weeks now with little to do except be with you."

Fuji leaned up and looked into Tezuka's eyes. He leaned forward, and kissed Tezuka, letting it deepen, letting it heat up slowly, naturally. The kiss ended, but their lips were still touching, their noses, their foreheads, and they breathed the same air. "A little preview of your retirement, mm? Right down to the part where your arm will be useless and I'll be taking care of you."

Tezuka looked pained, in a way that Fuji had not intended. Sighing, Fuji slipped his arms around Tezuka's neck.

"I guess sis is right. My bedside manner needs work."

"I've never had any reason to complain," Tezuka stiffly suggested.

Fuji laughed quietly, happy for even that much release. He looked Tezuka in the eye, and tapped his nose. "Was that a sexual reference? Captain! I'm shocked!"

Tezuka smirked. Actually smirked. "Maybe now would be a bad time to confess that I liked to assign you laps because of how your ass looked while you ran, then?"

That time, Fuji really laughed. Although, he already knew that, and he told Tezuka as much, which earned him a rare laugh from Tezuka in return.

Tezuka stepped out of the shower, making sure, first, that his robe was tightly cinched. However, the days of Yumiko lying in wait to pounce on him were in the past.

Now, it was Fuji who was waiting outside the door. Glaring. "Why did you lock the door?"

Tezuka sighed, and walked past his lover. "I'm capable of bathing myself."

"But if something had happened, what would you have done? You would have been trapped in there and I would have had to break down the door to get to you and I might not have been able to break the door down!" Fuji angrily shot back.

Tezuka squeezed his eyes shut. "Do you mind closing the door?" he wearily requested. Reluctantly, Fuji closed the bedroom door, so Tezuka stripped off his robe. "I'm not sure what you are envisioning happening to me in the shower that would require that sort of heroic rescue, but as I keep telling you, I'm fine. I'll be starting up training again soon..."

"I'm not sure that's a good idea," Fuji hedged.

Tezuka reared around, holding his underwear. "Syuusuke, let me just remind you before I say this that I am, in fact, passionately in love with you. I would have to be, to put up with the way you've hovered over me these past few weeks. But you need to back off." He winced at the sight of Fuji's pained expression, and he pulled on his boxers quickly. "I'm not fragile. I'm not helpless. I've been through worse. And I've always known I'd face these problems. This is just the obstacle I need to overcome in order to play my tennis."

"Have you ever considered that you don't need to play tennis?" Fuji spat out, his words drenched in venom. The sheer bitterness of his voice froze Tezuka to the spot. Fuji couldn't look at him, but his eyes were narrowed, and he was practically shaking with rage. "Because you don't. If this is what you need to go through to play, it's not worth it. It's just a game."

Fuji expected Tezuka to retort quickly, so when the silence stretched out, he had to turn to look at Tezuka. He lost his breath when he saw Tezuka's stony face. He hadn't seen such a hard, impassive expression from Tezuka since they were in school together. "I'm well aware that it is a game," he said, making game sound like a dirty word. "This is who I am. And you've known that since we first met."

Tezuka turned, and started to mechanically go through the motions of getting dressed. Fuji's chest felt like there was a vice wrapped around it, preventing him from breathing easily. He stared at Tezuka's back, eyes wide. There was nothing precisely in the words that Tezuka said, but left in the space at the end of them was a threat that Fuji wasn't prepared to deal with; it was perhaps because Tezuka knew Fuji too well that he hadn't voiced it. If he'd said something like If you don't like it, I can leave, Fuji would have been forced to let Tezuka go through with it.

It hadn't once occurred to Fuji that they wouldn't be spending their lives together. They went to great pains to be able to share as much of their lives as they could, while at the same time, following their own paths. He thought their relationship was hard, maybe, but it was also perfect.

He didn't like this conversation at all.

Tezuka finished dressing himself, and he went out to the kitchen. Fuji got up after him, following him. He moved slowly, calculating his next, his best move, but he didn't like any of the ugly paths his thoughts were taking.

There was such a thing as too much risk.

Tezuka pulled out the wok, and he insisted on picking it up with his bad arm. Fuji stepped forward to intercept him, but Tezuka looked over his shoulder, glaring, which stopped Fuji cold.

"You're an idiot," Fuji sneered.

Tezuka opened his mouth to reply, but the door swept open, and Yumiko called out, "I'm home!" She came in, beaming brightly. "Ah, good, you're both here," which was at least a little ironic, since Fuji had done his best to keep them both in and secure so Tezuka could convalesce. "I have good news!"

They both just stared at her blankly, but that didn't deter her in the least.

She pulled something out of her purse, and proudly slammed it down on the counter before them. "Tickets! Tickets to see Buck-Tick. You like them, right Syuusuke?" She looked expectantly at her brother, clearly very pleased with herself. Tezuka leaned over to look at the tickets speculatively.

Fuji bit his lip. "Ah, sis, that's really nice, but there's no way, with Tezuka's shoulder..."

Tezuka reached out and took the tickets. He bowed to Yumiko formally. "Thank you, Yumiko-neesan. We'll make sure to enjoy these."

"Kunimitsu!" Fuji objected.

Tezuka turned and narrowed his eyes. "We're going, Syuusuke."

"It's best to just go with it," Yumiko sighed, coming around to take her brother by the arm, and lead him away from the kitchen. "You're making enough for all of us, right, Tezuka-kun?" She chuckled, and pulled Syuusuke away.

"Sis!" Fuji angrily hissed. "We can't go to a concert! What if someone bumps Tezuka in the shoulder?"

"What do you think you can do, Syuu-chan?" she asked, tired. "Do you think you can wrap him up in bubble wrap and keep him safe forever?"

"Not forever, but..." he started, but his sister cut him off.

"Whether you like it or not, in a few weeks, he'll be back to pushing that arm beyond normal human endurance. And when he does, he'll win. You can either accept it... or you can drive him away," she said quietly.

Again, with that threat. Fuji's belly felt chilled. He hated it.

"Stop being an ass, Syuusuke," she said, sitting down, and pulling him down with her. "He's who he is. You love him for who he is. It must hurt like hell to watch someone you love hurt himself... but you aren't being given a choice. So. Just. Deal with it."

He closed his eyes, and put his head down on her shoulder. Deal with it, she said. Go to a concert, she ordered. And risk injuring Tezuka, until he couldn't move at all.

At least then he couldn't play.

"So, this is where Tezuka has breakfast," Atobe mused, opening the refrigerator and peering inside for secrets.

She laughed at him. "I see now. I always suspected, but here's proof. Our relationship is entirely based on your lust for Tezuka."

He looked over at her and winked. "And how much of that precious body have you seen, mm?"

Laughing, she winked at him while she set the table. "What happens between roommates is really no one else's business."

He narrowed his eyes, grinning. "You've seen something, but not the full deal. Good work."

"Well, he installed locks," she sighed dramatically.

Atobe laughed.

"Dinner will be ready in just a few. I'll let you open the wine, all right?" She set the bottle on the counter, with the corkscrew.

Gallantly, he picked up both, and winked at her. "Naturally. You know, I'm surprised. I didn't think you'd ever invite me to your home. This feels like a step forward. Not quite to the point where you'd want to introduce me to your family..." He pulled the cork out neatly, and set the bottle down to breathe. "Still. This is nice."

She gave him a dirty look. "You're hoping I'll let you go through Tezuka's underwear drawer, aren't you?"

"I thought I'd look through your brother's photo collections. He must have some naked pictures of his lover, don't you think?" he asked, winking devilishly.

"He does," Yumiko laughed. "But he has them locked up, the little brat!"

Atobe laughed out loud. "I'm sensing a lack of trust here. Your roommates need to learn to be more open with their big sister."

"I keep saying that," Yumiko sighed dramatically. "Well, dinner is ready."

He looked over the table, and picked up the wine bottle to pour their drinks. "Curry on rice. Field greens salad. And apple pie for dessert. Is this what they call home cooking, then?" He examined his plate with some interest, and clearly some trepidation.

"I tried to squeeze a foie gras course in, but it just doesn't go well with curry. Now, sit down, brat, and eat your meal appreciatively," she teased, swatting his shoulder.

He quickly slipped his hands around her waist, and pulled her in for a kiss. "No delicacy that could be concocted by the most ingenious chef could compare to the one in my arms right now," he swore smoothly.

She rolled her eyes, but she slipped her hands around his neck. "I wonder if you'll ever run out of lines to use on me."

"You'll have to stick with me for a long time to determine that," he promised, winking.

She laughed, and pulled out of his arms. "Sit down and behave. We can discuss dessert if you finish your meal."

"Yes, ma'am," he laughed, and sat down primly.

Yumiko was an exceptionally good cook, though she wasn't about to start a five star restaurant. Still, Atobe had never eaten food prepared by someone who was cooking for him out of affection rather than as a paid duty, so he was in the mood, after only a few mouthfuls, to be exaggeratedly appreciative and playful. Their usual pastime of barbs and banter therefore ceded to a more pleasant and romantic atmosphere, topped off by feeding each other mouthfuls of apple pie at the end.

Atobe insisted on clearing the table but, of course, he just left the dishes piled in the sink. Yumiko ignored it, though, because they were on their fourth glass of wine, and flirting with Atobe was more fun than contemplating dishes. They put on some music, one of Syuusuke's cds, and sat down on the couch.

He leaned in, and nuzzled her under her ear. "Do you think... your brother and his lover have had sex on this couch?"

She smiled, because his fascination with Tezuka's sex life could only be matched by her own. She slipped two fingers in between the buttons of his shirt. "I'd be very disappointed if they haven't, though unfortunately, I've never come home to find them."

His hand went to her knee, but it didn't stay there. She parted her legs a bit to let him caress the inside of her thigh. "I don't want to think that a Fuji is a prude," he whispered huskily.

She looked at the clock on the wall. The concert only began about a half hour ago. There was an opening band, too. She caressed his cheek, and slipped her fingers into his silky hair. "Do you mean to tell me that you have impure thoughts about my little Yuuta? Keigo, I don't think I approve of that at all."

He chuckled deeply, and his mouth was on her neck, and his fingers moved all the way up, pushing aside the tiny bit of fabric that was attempting to preserve her chastity. She moaned unconsciously as he gently probed. She had to readjust herself on the couch so he could have room...

She ended up on her back. Her underwear, having failed in its hopeless task, had been sent away. She opened his shirt, and looked at the clock again. He nipped at the inside of her thigh, and asked her if she was ashamed of him. He then put his lips to better use.

Her skirt got bunched up around her waist, and she still had her bra on. She did a fairly good job of getting him mostly naked, though. His shirt was still on, but it was open, and she could get her hands on him, get her nails into him. She loved the way his eyes looked when he was losing control. She loved to curl her fingers up in his hair. She loved how gently he got her excited, and she loved the first hard thrust.

She loved the breathless way he cried out her name in desperation.

The bastard elevator wasn't working, as usual. Tezuka was walking ahead of him, his back very straight. Fuji had always liked this view of him. His ass might have been a bit on the flat side, but his shoulders were amazingly sexy, and so was the back of his head, and his ears. Fuji loved Tezuka's ears.

Tezuka hadn't said a word since they had left the concert. Fuji had tried three times to start a conversation. Even if Tezuka wanted to yell at him at the top of his lungs, Fuji would prefer that. Silence was impossible to argue against.

There were too many drunk teenagers around. He did feel old. There was too much smoke. The opening band was all right, but it was just going to be too long to wait for the main act. Something might happen.

Fuji reached out, but he stopped short of putting his hand on Tezuka's back. The thing he always hated about this view of Tezuka was the feeling that Tezuka could get out of his reach in the blink of an eye.

"If you leave me," he said quietly, "I won't ever forgive you. I'll get married and start having babies right away. So, just think about it."

Tezuka looked over his shoulder, giving Fuji an odd look. "No one said anything about leaving, Syuusuke."

Fuji narrowed his eyes. "Yeah," he muttered. "It's the things no one said anything about that usually end up being the most damaging."

Tezuka sighed heavily, and stepped onto their floor. Their apartment was just at the right of the head of the stairs. "Syuusuke, I don't know how to respond to an irrational fear. Which is not to say that I don't worry that you might decide to leave me someday." He pulled out his keys, and looked Fuji in the eye. "I'm not running away from anything, though. But you have to stop babying me. I'm fine."

"If I could trust your definition of that word, I might believe you," Fuji replied sullenly. He was put in the unpleasant position of being the childish and difficult one, and he resented it.

Tezuka sighed again, and opened the door.

Fuji stepped past Tezuka, not noticing at all that he seemed to be frozen. He turned on the lights, because it was too damned dark in the apartment.

He stopped cold.

Vital portions of his brain refused to continue to function. What he was seeing... he couldn't process it. He hadn't thought about Atobe in years. There was no reason for him to suddenly reappear. On top of his sister.

"Syuusuke!" Yumiko stammered, grabbing at Atobe's shirt to cover herself up a bit, but it didn't really help.

The fucking bastard actually thrust again, and his eyes seemed to be looking past Fuji. Growling, Fuji took a step forward, but he didn't get the chance to say anything. The door behind him slammed shut, and the lock was quickly thrown. Tezuka grabbed him by the neck.

"Excuse us," he said, in the same damned tone of voice he would use if he were in a library, scooting past someone in an aisle. He dragged Fuji off to their bedroom, where he locked the door behind them as well. He then leaned back against the door and closed his eyes, and shuddered.

"That was Atobe," Fuji informed Tezuka, in case he hadn't noticed.

"Let's try to pretend we didn't see that," Tezuka uselessly suggested.

"That was Atobe, on my sister!" Fuji yelled, pointing toward the living room.

Tezuka made a face, and crossed his arms over his chest. "Apparently."

Fuji lost his temper. He never lost his temper, but this was one shock too much. He slapped Tezuka as hard as he could on the shoulder. "Stop being so fucking calm! That was Atobe, and he was fucking my sister!"

"I don't see what panicking will do to change that," Tezuka said dryly.

"I'll tell you," Fuji snarled. "I'm going out there and tossing him out on his pampered ass! Get out of my way!"

"No," Tezuka replied coolly.

"Yes, damn you, yes!" Fuji snapped. "He's on top of her! I have to get rid of him!"

"Syuusuke, stop it," Tezuka testily shot back. "It hardly seemed like he had forced himself on her. The only thing we need to do is burn that image out of our minds and try to forget about it." He looked away, his expression similar to what it might be if he had just been violently ill.

"What in the world are you talking about?" Fuji grabbed the front of his shirt. "Are you not getting that my sister has Atobe inside of her right now?" Tezuka paled a bit more. "Atobe... the same fucking bastard who is responsible for your injury, and he's trying to poison my sister and make her pregnant with his vile, alien babies right now!"

Tezuka just stared at Fuji for a moment.

Fuji cried out in exasperation. "Get out of my way! I have to stop him!"

"Syuusuke, you're insane. I'm not letting you go back out there. Your sister is a grown woman. She can decide for herself who she involves herself with," Tezuka replied with far too much presence of mind.

Fuji started to pummel Tezuka, just too damned frustrated and shocked and miserable to be rational at all about what he was doing. "Not if she's going to have sex with Atobe! From now on, I need to clear anyone who wants access to her vagina!" He pounded Tezuka's shoulder, tears forming in his eyes. "Atobe, 'Mitsu! She has Atobe inside of her! That's just... sickening! How can you not be disgusted!?" He looked up at Tezuka, but Tezuka was actually chuckling. Fuji hit him as hard as he could. "What are you laughing about, you bastard?"

Tezuka caught Fuji's arms, but he wasn't able to stop the blows entirely. "You just made me leave a concert you really wanted to see because you thought my arm would fall off, and now you're hitting my bad shoulder."

Fuji's blood went cold, and he went still, staring at disbelief at Tezuka. "'Mitsu..." he moaned. He tried to back off, but Tezuka's arms quickly enveloped him.

"Stop it, Syuusuke," Tezuka smiled affectionately. "I'm fine, as I keep telling you. It doesn't hurt. It doesn't hurt at all. And your sister is in control of her own... choices. If you go out there and make a scene, you'll just end up angering her, which might just drive her even more toward Atobe. If you want to voice an objection, now is not the time."

Fuji deflated and clung to Tezuka. Pouting, he huffed. "This is so unfair. On the couch, 'Mitsu! We have sex on that couch!"

"I'll call to have it cleaned in the morning," Tezuka grimaced. He lifted Fuji's chin, and smiled. "I'd very much like to stop thinking about your sister and Atobe, now, Syuusuke. Can I... distract you?"

Fuji was being kissed, and that was damned distracting. He broke away, and slapped Tezuka's bad shoulder out of spite. "How can you even think about being so sexy and distracting now? Don't tell me you got turned on by me beating you?"

Tezuka slipped his glasses off, and looked at Fuji through his bangs. "What can I say? Even I can be kinky if you're the one who is delivering the punishment."

There was no way for Fuji to resist that.

Atobe curled up to her side. They mostly had their clothes on again; at least, enough for decency. He was having trouble, though, keeping his eyes open. "Surely it's all right for me to spend the night now?" he yawned.

She shivered, because his breath was hot, and against her skin. "Just a few moments more. You'll get to see something good if you're patient."

He was about to ask her what the hell she was talking about when the door to Tezuka and Fuji's bedroom opened. He could hear the soft footfalls of a barefoot person, but even knowing that one of them was coming out wasn't enough to prepare him.

Tezuka Kunimitsu made a beeline for the refrigerator wearing nothing at all but a pair of sleeping pants that were tied improperly, so they hung damned low on his hips. He pulled out a bottle of water, and popped it open, guzzling it down with his head thrown back. The light from inside the refrigerator did its best to highlight his body, which was flushed from exertion still.

Atobe thought he might possibly swallow his tongue.

Tezuka put the bottle back, and then turned, realizing for the first time that they were on the couch. He didn't have his glasses on, and Atobe wasn't sure he'd ever seen Tezuka's face without them.

That Fuji brat was a damned lucky little prick.

Tezuka nodded stiffly to them. Yumiko sat up a bit more and smiled. "Tezuka-kun, is Syuusuke all right?"

He looked from her to Atobe and back to her again. "I suspect he'll want to have a private conversation with you in the morning, but it's safe to say he's all right now."

"Thank you for taking care of him," she replied sincerely.

"Please don't mention it," Tezuka replied, and went back to bed.

"If I'd had a big sister like you to take care of me," Atobe mused, "I might not have turned out to be the scoundrel I am today." He slipped his arms around her and kissed the corner of her mouth.

"Ah, but I wouldn't like it nearly so much if you weren't a scoundrel," she winked at him.

"Does this show play every night?" he asked, his voice practically a purr.

She laughed. "Well. Apparently, sex leaves Tezuka-kun rather parched. So, nearly every night. And sometimes during the day, when he's around."

"This is a truly excellent apartment," he cooed in admiration.

"Of course," she laughed, standing up.

He followed her to the bedroom. Perhaps he could have a chance to get her parched before she had to have this 'private' conversation in the morning.