when the gales of November come early (kishmet) wrote,
when the gales of November come early
kishmet

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Fic: Call Me [TezuRyo]


Title: Call Me
Author: Kish
Pairing: Tezuka/Ryoma
Rating: PG
Note: This is my second real attempt at TezuRyo. It's quite long and quite random. Comments and constructive criticism are highly appreciated!!
Summary: Somebody has to take the initiative. Ryoma does so.



“Buchou, you haven’t visited in weeks.” Ryoma pushed his desk chair away from the desk and from Karupin, who was trying to bat at the phone.

“I know.” There was silence as Ryoma waited stubbornly for Tezuka to say something first. Eventually, Tezuka went on, “I am not Seigaku’s buchou anymore.”

Ryoma snorted into the phone and drummed his fingers impatiently on the arm of the chair. He made sure that his tone emanated disdain as he told Tezuka, “I’m definitely not going to start calling Momo-senpai ‘buchou.’ Horio still calls him Momo-chan-senpai.” It was left unsaid that Ryoma certainly wasn’t going to revere Momoshiro more than Horio did.

“Momoshiro is doing an excellent job.”

“But you don’t know that. You haven’t come back,” Ryoma argued. “Buchou…”

“Echizen…” There was another pause, and then Ryoma could just barely hear Tezuka exhale softly into the receiver. “I’ve been busy with my studies.”

“I know,” Ryoma said, watching Karupin swish his tail back and forth, annoyed that he couldn’t reach the phone. “You haven’t called or emailed, either.”

“I asked Oishi to send out a note via email. Didn’t you receive it?”

Ryoma scowled to himself. “…yes.” But it hadn’t been typed by Tezuka, and it hadn’t been Tezuka’s words; it had been Oishi’s, reminding them all to wear their jackets because of the recent cold front. “Buchou, are you busy tomorrow? It’s the weekend.”

A fraction of a second’s hesitation, then Tezuka replied, “I promised several members of the high school tennis team that I would join them at the park courts near the school.”

“Che.”

“Echizen.”

“Good night, buchou.”

“Good night, Echizen.”

As soon as Ryoma heard the dial tone, he wheeled his chair back to the desk, plucked a complaining Karupin off of the computer keyboard, and looked up the shortest route to Tezuka’s high school.

***

Tezuka demonstrated another backhand stroke to one of the less experienced players. The boy clapped enthusiastically. “That was great, Tezuka-senpai,” he said admiringly.

Tezuka shot a glance at Oishi, who went to the same high school. Oishi shrugged and smiled apologetically. It was Oishi who had promised that they would practice with some of the other freshmen. Tezuka preferred to avoid them, if possible. Almost none of them would stop calling Tezuka “senpai,” although he was no older than most of them. His reputation had preceded him to this new school, unfortunately.

“Hey, who’s that kid?” one of the other freshmen asked, pointing, then he cursed as he lost a point to the boy he was playing against. The other freshmen either groaned or cheered, paying attention to the game between their peers, but Tezuka and Oishi both turned to look in the direction the now-losing player had indicated.

“Is that Echizen?” Oishi asked, sounding surprised. He turned to Tezuka, looking puzzled. “It is Echizen. Did you tell him we would be here today?”

“Aa,” Tezuka responded, not focusing on what Oishi had said.

Echizen stood, testing the tension of his racket strings with one hand. He glanced up and sent his trademark smirk directly at Tezuka, who felt its effects as keenly as if it had been a bullet.

Echizen sauntered over, twirling his racket. “Buchou. Oishi-senpai,” he said, with a cool nod, eyes partly hidden beneath the brim of his cap. Echizen, Tezuka noted, still had not gained much height. He would probably never be very tall.

“You know him?” the freshman Tezuka had been helping, a brown-haired boy named Kazuo, asked curiously.

“This is Echizen Ryoma,” Oishi explained, saving Tezuka the trouble. “He was a regular on the Seigaku tennis team with us.”

“Oh, okay.” Kazuo turned back to his practice swings, bored already.

Echizen adjusted his cap. “Buchou,” he said, his eyes challenging. “Want to play?”

Kazuo laughed, looking over again. “That’s Tezuka-senpai. There’s no way a kid like you can play on his level. It wouldn’t be fair.”

“Oh?” Echizen inquired, sounding like a cat that was being vaguely annoyed by a mouse. Oishi started to look worried. “Then do you want to play…whatever your name is?”

“Kazuo-san,” Kazuo said, almost imperiously, certain that he could beat this little junior high kid. Tezuka knew he shouldn’t let this continue, but some part of him didn’t want to stop it. It had been a while since he’d seen Echizen play.

Echizen had first serve, and he smashed a Twist Serve ace past a gaping Kazuo, brandished his racket, and flashed a brilliant, cocky grin at Tezuka. Tezuka almost felt an answering smile tug at the corners of his mouth.

***

“Buchou?”

“Echizen.”

Ryoma grinned, even though Tezuka couldn’t see him through the phone. “You should get some better teammates. Those ones were too easy to beat.”

“Those were freshmen, whom I had agreed to help with their tennis.”

“So?” Ryoma asked, leaning an elbow on his pillow. “The freshmen at Seigaku are better.”

“…some of the freshmen at Seigaku.”

Ryoma felt a little surge of triumph at that statement. “Last year, especially, I hear there was a really good freshman.” Then, before Tezuka could say anything else, Ryoma added, “Horio-kun, with his two years of tennis experience.”

Ryoma listened intently, and sure enough, there was a very quiet sound that may have been startled, masked laughter. “Buchou, you really have to come and visit soon.”

Tezuka avoided answering directly, to Ryoma’s disappointment. “You shouldn’t call me buchou. You should accord Momoshiro that respect.”

Ryoma rolled his eyes. “I can beat Momo-senpai, easy.” It was true. Momo didn’t hold the respect of the team in the same way Tezuka had. He relied on his way with people and his charisma, as opposed to his tennis skills.

“You should be careful. Momoshiro will continue to improve.”

“I’m always careful.”

In the silence that followed, Ryoma rolled over on the bed so that he was looking up at the ceiling. “Buchou, what are you doing tomorrow?”

“Are you going to follow me again?”

“Well, what are you doing?”

“I’m having lunch with the team coach and the captain. They want to discuss our strategy.” Tezuka neglected to say where, exactly, he would be having lunch, but Ryoma didn’t care.

“Have fun at lunch, then,” Ryoma said, very nonchalant. “Bye, buchou.”

“Goodbye, Echizen.”

Ryoma hung up the phone, stared at the ceiling for another minute, then dialed Oishi’s cell phone number.

***

“…and our number two doubles pair is still weaker than I would like. Tezuka-kun, what do you think?”

Tezuka’s gaze snapped to the tennis coach. “Yes, I agree. I think that we should try pairing Saito with Kawabata. They work well together.”

“Hm, that’s an interesting thought.” The coach leaned back in his chair and took a sip of his tea. “Hashimoto, note that down, please.”
The captain of the high school team dutifully made a note of the suggested doubles pair. Tezuka’s eyes started to wander again. Echizen grinned cheekily at him from one of the high stools at the café counter and picked up his milkshake.

Echizen remained in place for the remainder of the meeting. Tezuka forced himself to concentrate on his coach and captain, but it was difficult. At one point Echizen was almost kicked out because he hadn’t ordered anything besides the milkshake. At that point, Echizen pointed to Tezuka, and the waitress nodded and let him stay.

Tezuka got up to leave and pulled on his jacket. Luckily Oishi had reminded him to bring one; there was a definite chill in the air. Tezuka’s gaze swept the café, looking for Echizen, but Echizen, it seemed, had disappeared.

***

To: Tezuka Kunimitsu [tezukakunimitsu@webmail.co.jp]
From: Echizen Ryoma [echizenprodigy@email.co.jp]

Buchou,

I saw you at the café today. It was funny that we both ended up eating lunch at the same place. Your coach and captain must be smart, if they know they should ask you for advice. I bet that you can beat both of them as easy as I can beat Momo-senpai.

I almost got kicked out, but I told the waitress that I was your little brother. I think she thought that you were cute, and that’s why she let me stay.

-Echizen Ryoma

P.S. Are you busy tomorrow?

---

To: Echizen Ryoma [echizenprodigy@email.co.jp]
From: Tezuka Kunimitsu [tezukakunimitsu@webmail.co.jp]

Echizen-

Oishi informs me that you called him in order to ask where I would be eating lunch. Don’t do that.

I’m sure the waitress did not think I was “cute.”

-Tezuka Kunimitsu

P.S. Yes.

---

To: Tezuka Kunimitsu [tezukakunimitsu@webmail.co.jp]
From: Echizen Ryoma [echizenprodigy@email.co.jp]

Buchou,

So next time I should just call and ask you, instead?

---

To: Echizen Ryoma [echizenprodigy@email.co.jp]
From: Tezuka Kunimitsu [tezukakunimitsu@webmail.co.jp]

Echizen-

If you feel that it’s necessary, yes.

***

“Buchou?”

“Echizen.”

“What are you going to be doing tomorrow?”

“Attending school, as I believe you will be doing as well.” Tezuka’s tone was overly dry, but not actually irritated. Ryoma gave Karupin a pat, well-satisfied with himself. The Himalayan purred.

“I mean after school, buchou,” Ryoma pressed. “You said you were busy tomorrow.”

“I will be studying in the school library,” Tezuka replied, without even pausing this time. “I have chemistry homework to complete.”

“All right,” Ryoma said, as though he wasn’t prepared to follow Tezuka there, too. At least this time he already knew how to get to the school, and he didn’t have to call anyone.

***

During the next two weeks, they continued to play the game that they both knew wasn’t really a game at all. Ryoma was Tezuka’s constant shadow, showing up at tennis practices (where the high school freshmen now treated him with wary respect), at meals with Oishi or with the coach and captain, and at the library where Tezuka studied regularly.

Both of them ignored the whispers and the gossip that were spreading throughout the high school campus, and those that were spreading throughout Seigaku as well, with Ryoma’s mysterious departures after tennis practice. For the most part, the two seemed to ignore each other, too. But both of them were always watching each other, even if no one else could see it.

***

“Are you busy today, buchou?” Ryoma twisted a cat toy around one of his fingers. By now he knew that the answer would always be “yes”…and also that Tezuka didn’t mind telling him where he was going anymore.

“Yes. I’ll be going out to dinner this evening.” Tezuka then named a higher-end, fancy restaurant that Ryoma had never been to. He’d heard the food was good, though, and it was within easy walking distance of Ryoma’s house. Ryoma wondered what his stupid father would think when he walked out of the house in a tie. He could tell Nanjiroh that he was going out on a date with a girl, or something.

“Formal attire is required; I’ll be wearing a jacket and tie,” Tezuka continued. Ryoma almost laughed. That was Tezuka’s way of telling him to wear a jacket and tie. Well, he could manage that, even if he had to steal some of Nanjiroh’s old, musty fancy clothes.

“Sounds good,” Ryoma said flippantly. “Good night, buchou.”

“Good night, Echizen.”

***

“Where are you going?” Nanjiroh asked, lounging on the porch, as usual. Karupin was stalking Nanjiroh’s foot, but Ryoma certainly wasn’t going to tell his father about that. Pity he’d miss the ensuing scene of chaos, though.

“Practice,” Ryoma said, even though it was way later than he usually practiced.

“You’ve been practicing a lot,” Nanjiroh commented. “Suddenly turned diligent, son? Or…” His smile turned to a rather knowing smirk. “Is there something else going on?”

Idiot, Ryoma thought to himself with an inner sigh. It was pretty obvious that he wouldn’t be going to tennis practice in these clothes. “Fine. I’m going out to dinner with someone,” Ryoma replied, opening the front door. Let the old man draw his own conclusions from that.

“Well, good!” Nanjiroh said with a cackle of glee. “Finally, my son is-”

Ryoma let the door click shut, making the rest of his father’s words inaudible.

***

Tezuka studied the dinner menu. This restaurant served mostly French cuisine, but it had other European, and some Japanese dishes as well.

He heard the footsteps coming toward him, and he looked up, setting his menu on the table. Echizen appeared more mature than he was in the black jacket and tie. He wasn’t wearing his cap, and his hair was neatly combed, which was a good thing. This restaurant would not approve of anyone not dressed properly. Tezuka took a deep breath.

Echizen paused, his eyes narrowing. “Buchou, there’s no one else here.”

Tezuka said calmly, “No. There isn’t.”

“Is Oishi-senpai coming?” Echizen asked suspiciously, then answered his own question. “No, he can’t be. He’s never late like this. That coach?”

“No.” Tezuka looked Echizen squarely in the eye. “No one else is coming.”

“…Oh.” For once, it was Echizen who was at a loss for words. Tezuka watched him regain his composure. Finally, Echizen pulled out the chair and sat in it, gazing curiously at Tezuka.

Tezuka didn’t react, merely picked up his menu again. He heard a rustle that likely meant Echizen was following his example. Tezuka had to take another deep, calming breath before he could read the drink choices properly.

“Would you two gentlemen like something to drink?” The waiter had approached almost silently, and now held a pad of paper and a pencil at the ready.

Tezuka glanced at Ryoma and nodded to say that he should go first. Echizen asked, “Do you have Grape Ponta?” He’d said it just to be difficult, Tezuka could tell. But Echizen was in for a surprise. Tezuka had done a bit of checking before choosing this restaurant.

“Yes we do, sir,” the waiter said, and scribbled something on the paper. Echizen looked startled again. Tezuka smiled just a little, and Echizen eyed him from across the table. “And you, sir?” the waiter asked.

“Water, please,” Tezuka said. The waiter wrote that down, too, then bowed and left to get their drinks.

“They have Ponta here?” Echizen asked pointedly. “They never have it at these fancy restaurants.”

Tezuka managed to keep a straight face. “Well, they do at this one.”

“Che.” That was Echizen’s only comment, but he looked pleased.

***

“You didn’t have to pay, buchou.” Ryoma played with his tie, picking at it with his fingers. Tezuka had offered to walk him home because it was late, and Ryoma had accepted. Nanjiroh would throw a fit when he found out that Ryoma had been out with another boy, but that was okay. At least it was Tezuka, not some terrible tennis player.

“I know,” Tezuka replied.

“It was really good. Thank you.” Ryoma surprised himself by being sincere again, with no trace of his usual snark. Tezuka always brought out the best in him, tennis and personality too, he mused. “Buchou, why were we the only ones there?”

Tezuka glanced over at Ryoma and raised an eyebrow. “Do you object?”

“No.” Ryoma fell silent. All through dinner he’d been thinking through the same list of things. Tezuka had said he was busy tonight...but clearly he’d been busy having dinner with Ryoma. A slow, smug smile played its way across Ryoma’s features. Being persistent won out in arenas besides tennis, it seemed.

Ryoma stopped in the middle of the sidewalk, just a block or so away from his house. “Buchou?”

Tezuka’s footsteps slowed to a standstill too. He looked down at Ryoma, his expression serious. “Echizen?”

Ryoma took hold of Tezuka’s tie and pulled lightly on it. Tezuka leaned down at the same moment that Ryoma stood on the tips of his toes. Their lips brushed gently against each other. Neither one of them closed their eyes. Tezuka looked at Ryoma over the rims of his glasses, the light from the street lamp shining on the lenses.

“Thank you for dinner, buchou,” Ryoma said quietly. He rested back on his heels, but he kept a hold on Tezuka’s tie, keeping him close. Tezuka didn’t seem at all inclined to move, anyway.

***

Half an hour after he got home, Ryoma sat on his desk chair again, spinning it slowly. Karupin meowed at him plaintively from the desk, but Ryoma hardly even noticed. Tezuka would be getting home soon, too. Ryoma, for once, was unsure what to do. He wanted to call Tezuka, or to email him, or something, but was that right? He’d picked up his cell phone and put it back down twice. He’d begun typing out an email, but it was still sitting unfinished on the screen.

Then a message flashed in the bottom right-hand corner of the computer screen. It told him that he had a new piece of mail.

Ryoma instantly reached over to the computer mouse and clicked on the message. He had to read the email twice to be sure of what it said, even though it was only three lines long. Then that same slow grin spread across his face again.

To: Echizen Ryoma [echizenprodigy@email.co.jp]
From: Tezuka Kunimitsu [tezukakunimitsu@webmail.co.jp]

Echizen-

Are you busy tomorrow?

-Buchou

Tags: fics, tezuryo
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