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.

Tezuka 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 even there.

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."

Tezuka 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."

He 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.

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