No Matter What by Halrloprillalar / prillalar
Prince of Tennis, Tezuka/Oishi, R, 1600 words.
What friends do.
Tezuka is out of the room when Oishi finds it. His pen rolls under the bed and when he reaches for it, his fingers close over the magazine. He pulls it out and it's not Pro Tennis Monthly, it's one of those magazines, the ones Eiji keeps in his closet and gets out when he wants to see Oishi blush.
Except that this magazine is full of men.
Oishi drops it on the floor. There are footsteps in the hall and he shoves it back under the bed. He's bending over his homework when the door slides open.
"Are you okay?" Tezuka sits on the floor, folding his legs over each other. He sounds the same, but he looks wrong, like an out-of-focus picture.
"I'm fine," Oishi says. His face is hot. His pulse is jumping. Tezuka has a magazine under his bed with pictures of men in it. "I'm supposed to be home early." He gathers his things and dumps them into his bag.
"Good night," Tezuka says.
Oishi doesn't have the nerve to buy his own magazines like Eiji does. At night in bed, his memory and imagination have to do. But tonight his dick is limp in his hand and he can't stop thinking about Tezuka.
Tezuka thinking about men, looking at men, doing it with men. Oishi isn't sure just what they do, men with men. And he doesn't know why they would want to.
He can't sleep without getting off first. He's awake until four.
On the way to school, Oishi presses the wrong button on the vending machine and his coffee is black and bitter. He drinks it anyway. At practice, he tells Tezuka good morning. Tezuka nods, as though he's just the same, and Oishi gets everyone started on their drills.
His eyes are full of sand and he can't stop yawning. He goes to the girls' courts. Reiko from his class is there and she waves at him. Her hair swirls over her shoulders when she serves, her skirt rides up her thighs. Oishi watches, his fingers hooked through the wire of the fence, until practice is over and he has to leave.
An internet search shows Oishi what men do with men. He closes the browser window quick as he can. Another opens up and another, faster than he can close them, a cascade of cocksucking, a waterfall of assfucking. He has to reinstall the operating system to make them go away.
Oishi stares at Tezuka when Tezuka isn't looking. Does Tezuka do those things? Or does he just think about them when he jerks off in his room? Does he look at his opponent across the court and imagine him naked? Does he watch boys in the clubhouse while they change?
Tezuka looks over and Oishi drops his eyes. He practices formations with Eiji until they're sweating and laughing and satisfied. "Let's go for food after," Eiji says and does a handstand on the court. His shirt falls down around his shoulders and Oishi reaches out to poke him in the belly. But he thinks of Tezuka and stops.
"Yes, let's," he says and gathers up his things. When practice is over, he follows Tezuka into the clubhouse.
Tezuka changes with his back to the room.
"Do you want to study tonight?" Tezuka says, just as though he weren't a homosexual, and Oishi gets tangled in the shirt he's pulling over his head.
"No," he says, truth first off the mark while the lies stumble to catch up. "I mean...I'm busy. Already."
Tezuka just nods and and picks up his bag.
"Eiji and I." Oishi holds his shirt in front of him. "Going over some doubles strategy."
Tezuka leaves and Oishi pulls out his mobile. "I'm busy," Eiji says, "with Fuji," and Oishi wonders if Tezuka already knew that.
"I made enough for two," Reiko says and moves her desk next to Oishi's. The food is delicious and so is the way Reiko's hair falls across her cheek, the way she looks sideways at him and smiles. If he were standing up, his knees would shake. He wants to touch her hand. He wants to kiss her mouth and press against her. He wants to go somewhere with her, buy her things and hear her laugh.
But he can't even think of anything to say that won't sound lame. And, anyway, they're not allowed to date.
"Do you want to study tonight?" Oishi says, because Tezuka is still his friend, after all, and it's been two weeks already.
"Can you come over?" Tezuka says and Oishi's heart sinks before he can catch it.
"I'll be there at six." It's okay, Oishi is okay. He hitches himself up onto Tezuka's desk. "About practice this afternoon."
"Oishi-kun." It's Reiko, standing in the classroom door. "Can you review those problems with me before class starts?"
Oishi stands up. "I'll see you later," he says to Tezuka.
Tezuka nods, with no expression at all on his face.
"It's not that hard," Oishi says and shows Tezuka how to use similar triangles to work out the polynomial.
Oishi nods. He moves away, his back against Tezuka's bed, and works on his own homework. He can hear the rustle of papers. He can hear Tezuka breathing. He wonders if the magazine is still there, behind him. He reads the same sentence three times. He looks up.
Tezuka blushes and looks away.
Oishi's skin turns cold. His book slides from his fingers. Tezuka stares down at his own notebook, knuckles white around it, and Oishi has never seen this face on Tezuka before.
"It's okay," Oishi says, because he doesn't want Tezuka to look like that. "Tezuka." Tezuka looks up, at Oishi. "It's okay," Oishi says again.
Tezuka goes very still. Oishi reaches for his book, he'll read the sentence thirty more times, then he'll go. He has to go.
Tezuka puts down his notebook. He comes over, crouches beside Oishi, too close. Oishi can feel the heat of Tezuka's body against his skin, Tezuka's breath against his face. Tezuka leans in. He presses his lips to Oishi's, once, twice.
"Oishi," Tezuka says and this is not okay but Oishi doesn't know what else to do and so he lets Tezuka kiss him, lets Tezuka pluck at the buttons of Oishi's shirt, slide his tongue inside Oishi's mouth. Oishi keeps his hands at his sides, his fingernails digging into the tatami.
"Um," Oishi says, when Tezuka sits back on his heels. "I should..." He scrabbles for his book. "You understand the homework now, right?"
Tezuka nods. Oishi stands, trips over his bag, picks it up. He opens the door. "Good night," he says. He doesn't look back.
"Good night," Tezuka says.
Oishi stops at the first bookstore he comes to and buys a magazine, girls, all girls, the filthiest he can find. He doesn't even care that he's in his school uniform.
"What about this one, Inui?" Eiji points at the notebook they're sharing.
"21 out of 25 for physical appearance, 18 for athletic ability, 19 for academic achievement and 22 for personality," Inui says. "For an overall score of 80."
"Your system is too complicated," Eiji says. "What do you think, Oishi?" He grabs Oishi's arm and pulls him over.
The notebook is full of snapshots, girls from their school. "The volleyball club," Inui says.
"This one." Oishi points. She's not as pretty as Reiko but she looks nice. "She's smiling. I like cheerful girls." He pulls his jacket on. "I need to lock up."
He shoos Inui and Eiji out the door, then looks back to see if anyone is left in the clubhouse.
And there is Tezuka. Oishi's gut clenches. He wants to turn and run. But he should say something, clear the air between them.
"Tezuka," he begins. His throat is dry and he swallows. Tezuka is completely still, his arms at his sides. He seems exposed, torn open. Oishi's chest aches. He swallows again.
Oishi takes a deep breath and crosses the room. Tezuka looks at him. "It's okay," Oishi says and lets Tezuka pull him into the back, lets Tezuka bury his face in Oishi's neck, lets Tezuka sink to the floor and suck him off.
Oishi tries to think about Reiko, about the girl from the volleyball club, but in the end, he thinks about nothing at all, clenching his fists and watching the lights behind his closed eyelids.
"Can you give me some help with my form, Oishi-kun?" Reiko smiles and swings her tennis bag, her ponytail swinging too.
"I'm...I'm sorry," Oishi says. "We're concentrating on our training and I can't spare the time."
The smile flickers on her face. The bag drops to the end of her arm. "It's okay," she says. "Work hard.
Oishi watches her walk away. He digs his fingernails into his palm to keep from running after her.
Oishi finds Tezuka working out the blocks for the ranking matches in his classroom. He looks up when Oishi comes in.
"Have you got everyone sorted?" Oishi says. "We need our best members for the tournament." He stands behind Tezuka and reads over his shoulder. Tezuka tenses, the tiniest bit, but Oishi can feel it.
"We're going to Nationals," Tezuka says, his voice loud in the empty room. "No matter what."
Oishi looks at Tezuka's left arm, the pencil in his hand, his writing on the page. He bites his lip and takes a breath.
Then he puts his hand on Tezuka's shoulder. "No matter what," he says.
Comments of any kind are always welcome.