And it turned into this. I'm interested to hear what you think.
TezuRyo. PG13. 1900 words.
Tezuka. Ryoma. Bench. Adolescence.
Disclaimer: Konomi, not me.
Timeline: early in the series, before their match.
Crossposted, like I do.
Tezuka is restless. After school, after club, instead of taking the train home, he puts his bag on his shoulder and starts to walk, without even planning where he's going.
He can't remember the last time he deviated from his routine. Tezuka likes routine. He lives by calendars and file folders and waking five minutes before his alarm goes off. His father jokes that he should have his son come into his office and organize him. Tezuka knows that his father would never stay with any system he set up for more than a week, but he can't quite understand why.
There is a park not far from the school, and when Tezuka finds himself beside it, he turns in and walks over the grass until he comes to a bench under the trees.
It's a cool day, but Tezuka sits. The wind stirs his hair. He isn't entirely sure why he's come here. To think, maybe, but Tezuka already knows what is making him restless.
Nobody knows Tezuka better than himself. Tezuka knows that the more you show, the more you share, the less there is left of yourself. So he's careful with himself, cautious about how much he gives away.
He's careful with the girls who write him notes and smile hopefully at him in the halls at school. He's careful with the boys in the tennis club who look up to him and hang on every word he says. Even his friends he keeps at arm's length. He watches them with one another and can't understand how they can let themselves get so close to each other, to let themselves bleed out and merge until their lives are smudged together.
He's careful with his schoolwork, with his tennis, with his health. Everything is fine for Tezuka, with his schedules and his tidy boxes and himself. School is fine, tennis is fine, life is fine. Or it used to be.
The sun is in Tezuka's eyes now and he shuts them to block out the glare. Inside his head, he can see Ryoma playing tennis, that first game with the broken racquet. Tezuka was impressed -- everyone was -- but there was something more too. A dart, a hook that got into Tezuka and kept dragging his eyes after Ryoma like a fish on a line.
He knows what people say: Ryoma must remind Tezuka of himself. But Tezuka doesn't think that he and Ryoma are much alike. Both talented, certainly. But Ryoma is impulsive where Tezuka is calculating, provocative where Tezuka is circumspect. If Ryoma keeps apart, Tezuka thinks, it's because there isn't anyone he likes better than himself.
People say that Tezuka gave Ryoma a chance in the ranking matches because he had been deprived of that chance himself, as a first year. That he had done it to be fair. And maybe he had. But what Tezuka remembers is that Ryoma is the one who made him break the rules.
Ryoma is the one who still drags Tezuka's gaze around after him, so much so that people remark on it. Does Tezuka see Ryoma as his rival? they say. Or as his successor? But what Tezuka sees is much more complicated than that and there isn't a file folder in his system that can categorize it.
Lately, Ryoma's eyes have been following Tezuka too.
The air is warmer now. Tezuka looks up and there is Ryoma, standing on the path. Tezuka doesn't know how long he's been there. Ryoma crosses the grass and Tezuka watches him. He stops in front of the bench.
"Buchou," Ryoma says. Tezuka just nods. They look at each other for a moment. Then Ryoma joins him on the bench. Tezuka doesn't ask him why he's here. Ryoma doesn't offer. They just sit.
They don't speak. There are distant voices on the air, the whirr of an insect flying by. Tezuka looks straight ahead. But he sees Ryoma out of the corner of his eye. His peripheral vision is blurred, but he can see the black of Ryoma's uniform, the white of his shoes.
The wind picks up and a few leaves blow down onto the grass. The sun warms Tezuka's knees. There is half a metre of space between him and Ryoma, but it is far from empty. Their silence settles there, and everywhere it touches Tezuka, it sends another hook into him, wraps another line around him.
After half an hour, Tezuka stands. Ryoma stands too and together they walk to the station. Ryoma waits until Tezuka gets on the train. Tezuka stands at the back of the car and doesn't look out.
The next day at morning practice, Tezuka makes the whole tennis club run laps.
After school, Tezuka is still restless. He walks to the park and sits on the bench. This time he keeps his eyes open and so he sees Ryoma as he walks across the grass to Tezuka. Ryoma looks at him and then he sits, the same half-metre away, and they let the silence surround them.
The day is hot and Ryoma has unbuttoned his jacket. Tezuka tries to remember the work he has to do today, but those thoughts slip out of his mind, out of his grasp. He is here, with Ryoma, and there is no more room in his head for anything else.
It's an hour before Tezuka can make himself stand. Ryoma walks with him to the train. Tezuka is almost late for dinner and he stays up late finishing his homework.
Tezuka knows that he shouldn't, but he goes to the park again. He wants to tell himself that there's nothing wrong with just sitting on a bench, and who would say any different? But Tezuka isn't in the habit of lying to himself. He shouldn't be in this ... this complicated situation with a first year student, with a club member under his supervision. It's not right. And it's not careful.
But for once in his life, he can't seem to make himself be careful. Today, he doesn't look straight ahead, he looks at Ryoma and thinks about closing the space between them. Ryoma looks back and Tezuka thinks, You have to make the first move, Ryoma, it has to be you. Deep down, though, Tezuka knows that whatever the first move was, he was the one who made it, long ago.
When Ryoma slowly reaches out his hand and places it on top of Tezuka's, Tezuka isn't sure which is stronger: the rush of warmth at Ryoma's touch or the rush of guilt when Tezuka can't make himself pull away. Ryoma's eyes are open wide, he is smiling up at Tezuka. "Echizen," Tezuka says and he is sure that what he feels is obvious in his voice.
It must be so, because Ryoma is climbing to his knees on the bench and his face is level with Tezuka's, moving in slowly, slowly.
"No," Tezuka says, and that's the right thing to say. "Not here." And that's very wrong.
"Where?" Ryoma says. Tezuka stands and they walk and this time Ryoma gets on the train with him. Ryoma sits and Tezuka stands and they don't look at each other during the trip.
At home, Tezuka lies to his mother and says that he has agreed to tutor Ryoma for an important exam. She smiles and puts dinner for them on a tray while Ryoma calls his parents. Tezuka takes the tray and Ryoma follows him up to Tezuka's bedroom.
They sit on the floor, with their backs against the bed. "Eat," Tezuka says and Ryoma eats. Tezuka tries to, but each mouthful tastes like cardboard to him. When Ryoma finishes, he pushes the tray away. Then he looks up at Tezuka.
Tezuka touches the back of his hand to Ryoma's cheek. It's soft and warm. He brushes Ryoma's hair with his fingers, runs his thumb along Ryoma's jawline.
"Buchou," Ryoma says and Tezuka leans down and kisses him.
Tezuka has never done this before, kissing has never been on his schedule. Their lips cling together for a moment, then slip free. Ryoma has a spicy taste left over from dinner.
"Again," Ryoma says and Tezuka complies. This time, their mouths open a little, fit together better. Ryoma takes Tezuka's hand and their fingers link. Tezuka pulls his glasses off and puts them on the table beside his bed. They kiss again, longer this time, and it's starting to feel natural now.
Warmth, pressure, pleasure is building in Tezuka, from the kiss, from the touch. There's no more room for wrong or right, just how good it feels to have Ryoma's mouth moving under his, Ryoma's fingers tight around his own.
They shift and Tezuka puts his arm around Ryoma's shoulders. Ryoma's hand is on Tezuka's thigh and they both lean into the kiss, whichever kiss it is by now. There are many of them: some short and teasing, some long and deep. Kissing is wetter than Tezuka had imagined it to be but he doesn't mind that. He wonders what Ryoma thinks of it. He wonders if Ryoma feels the same hot wires coiling in his belly, the same electricity under his skin.
After a while, this is getting to be too much for Tezuka, there's a part of him that still knows that, and makes him pull his mouth away. He presses a kiss onto Ryoma's cheek, another onto his temple, then takes Ryoma into his arms. Ryoma settles himself against Tezuka's chest and they sit together like that for a long time, breathing softly.
It's getting late and finally Tezuka notices. He has to get Ryoma on the train. He pushes Ryoma gently and makes him sit up. When he sees Ryoma's sleepy face, it hits Tezuka again how wrong this is. How could he let himself become so entangled? How could he do this to Ryoma?
"You have to go," he says and puts his glasses on.
"I want to stay," Ryoma says and reaches over to take Tezuka's hand. Tezuka moves out of the way.
"No," he says and tries to stop there. But he can't. "Not this time."
"Okay," Ryoma says and smiles. Tezuka feels all the hooks in him jerk at once and it hurts him.
He walks Ryoma to the train. They are nearly late. Ryoma looks out the window at him and Tezuka waits until the train is out of sight before returning home.
Tezuka goes up to his room and sits down on the bed. He takes his glasses off again and puts his hands over his face. He has broken all the rules for Ryoma. He wonders what else he will break before he can bring this to an end. He wonders what he'll say the next time Ryoma asks and he's afraid he already knows.
I'm sorry, he thinks, and wishes that Ryoma could hear it.
Then he wipes his face, sits down at his desk, and starts his homework.