I started to write this one day because I missed them and then it went
nowhere because I couldn't figure out how to end it. *shrugs* I really
do suck at writing drabbles. Putting it here just to get rid of it.
Lately Echizen has been looking at him.
is used to being looked at: by members of his team wanting guidance, by
members of the student council expecting leadership, by teachers
expecting answers. For the most part, Tezuka bears their expectations
casually. They are manageable and predictable, neither of which
Echizen, with his wide eyes and artless expression, have ever been.
Their stares are largely impersonal; Echizen's stare is not. Tezuka
wishes this bothered him more. Lately, though, 'bothered' is not the
word he wishes to use.
Lately Tezuka feels Echizen's gaze upon
him, lingering and taut and quivering with emotions Tezuka is not yet
ready to have torn loose inside of him, long after practice has ended.
Lately he wakes in the morning with the impression of Echizen's eyes
boring into him: into his skin, into his subconscious where there is
little room for avoidance. Tezuka's weekly fishing and hiking trips are
full of Echizen's face in his head, as if Echizen has transcended time
and space and found a way to follow Tezuka with his eyes when he isn't
They have practice one morning before school, when
the air is clean and crisp and their trainers keep slipping in the dew
on the grass, and Echizen keeps faulting on his serve. Tezuka observes
this with his hands thrust uncomfortably into the pockets of his
jersey, until Fuji stands quietly beside him and says, "Echizen's
racket needs adjusting. He's outgrowing his own reach."
watches the way Echizen's shadow, blunt and oblong in the morning sun,
hesitates against the clay before expanding out for the serve. "His
form is careless," he says, and the ball lands squarely in the net as
if it agrees with him.
Echizen looks up as if he knows what
Tezuka is thinking. Their eyes meet across the court for a moment
before Echizen lowers his cap and takes his stance.
"He's distracted," Fuji says, as Echizen shakes off Tezuka's gaze and returns to the baseline.
"He shouldn't let anything interfere with his tennis," says Tezuka.
"Perhaps," Fuji says as Echizen serves cleanly, "his distraction keeps interfering with him."
Tezuka is silent, his eyes following Echizen's net dash.
"It takes two, Tezuka," says Fuji after another moment. "One to serve and one to return."
looks over at Tezuka, who doesn't look back. Echizen serves a no-touch
ace on Kaidoh and changes court. As he passes them, he adjusts his cap
and looks at his feet, and Tezuka feels suddenly embarrassed as if…
well, as if he has been caught staring.
“Fuji,” he says. “Five laps.”
“Aa,” Fuji says, and then pauses. “Would you care to join me, Tezuka? You seem tense.”
“Ten laps,” Tezuka snaps. Fuji smiles and turns away.