A/n: Letters written, never sent… But very much acknowledged.
(AU, Fuji. Atobe, Ryoma, Tezuka)
It was early in the day, just an hour or so after breakfast, the typical time for housewives to recuperate whilst their husbands ploughed their way through traffic off to work, and their children made a wild dash for the school gates. A time of blessed silence in the home, a comfortable silence while hassled women caught their breaths and reflected upon their schedule for the day.
Fuji was in the garden, cutting some flowers to use for an ikebana session he’d been looking forward to, when out of the blue, he found himself sitting in his room and staring blankly (and admittedly, somewhat apprehensively) at a recently received envelope, presented to him by one of the maids.
The chrysanthemums lay forgotten in a basket, left along the hallway for the cleaning lady.
He had every right to be apprehensive: the return address on the envelope was achingly familiar, the very same one he had written at least a hundred times. Simply to check, to assure himself that he wasn’t hallucinating, unusually rushed movements brought a traditional writing-box out of his escritoire’s bottom drawer, one he took pains to keep plain and unnoticeable.
The moment he opened the box, and stared at the topmost envelope’s address, Fuji’s eyes widened and he let out a whooshing breath.
He couldn’t believe it.
Staring in trepidation at the source of his distress, he contemplated its fate. He could just leave it… It would, undoubtedly, be the easiest way out; the address itself didn’t specify the sender’s name. He could simply pretend it didn’t exist, and get on with his life.
Pretend that Tezuka didn’t exist? He scoffed at his own idea.
Instead, he took a deep breath and picked himself up from the floor, smoothing his kimono* and reaching out for the clean envelope, still warm from spending it’s time on the sun-warmed wood of the corridor, where he’d spent at least half and hour contemplating.
He sat himself properly on the veranda’s warmed wood, and opened the flap with pale hands, noticing the trembling and doing his best to will it away. The moment he unfolded the papers, though, any hesitance disappeared as he took in every character greedily.
Ryoma wasn’t stupid. He normally could care less about others, and couldn’t about his co-workers, but looking at the absence of a smile on Fuji’s lips, and the way his (What, mentor? Friend? Parental-substitute? …Lover? –He decided to continue the thought and peruse that long-disputed term aside) pecked on his food, barely even consuming half his rice bowl, he cleared his throat to signify the start of a conversation and set his chopsticks down.
“What’s wrong, Syuusuke?” He asked, taking a drink before making eye contact.
…Or at least trying to.
Syuusuke hadn’t looked up from whatever he found so interesting with the half-eaten meal, and was now wearing a wholly transparent half-smile that pulled at his stomach, now knotted in worry.
Ryoma was aware when there was something troubling Syuusuke, despite the older man’s infallible smile and generally poised disposition. It may be little nuances in behaviour, or his habit of not speaking when disturbed; generally, very subtle differences that he managed to catch.
But if it was this obvious, he had every right to be worried.
“-It’s really nothing, I’ll just excuse myself now. I apologize for wasting the food.” Syuusuke had finally looked up, smiling with an undercurrent of something Ryoma couldn’t place, and stood up from the table, very much the figure of perfect etiquette.
He watched as the slim man (made to look even slimmer in the kimono he wore) opened the door and stepped out. Before closing the shoji, however, he called out a faint “See you in the morning” over his shoulder, almost as an afterthought.
Ryoma sat there for a good while, before turning to the remnants of his (cold) dinner, and finally leaving the dining room himself.
Fuji had no idea what to make of the situation. Totally nothing. He was stuck in between the letter, the fact that one of his own letters had been sent (and received) and the news that he had just gotten.
In the end, he simply sat on the tatami floor, leaning against the shoji that opened out into the garden, staring at something, seeing as if he closed his eyes, he was sure, so sure, that he would feel everything so much more accurately, and tears would fall.
Which led to him wondering why he wouldn’t let the tears fall.
It was, after all, natural to cry when you were mourning, was it not?
He laughed, a sound so devoid of humour and so dry, he thought his voice would crack. It was an ugly sound, loud enough so that Ryoma, behind the door, heard it and hesitated before knocking on the frame, and entering.
He froze as he found himself pinned by a pair of blue eyes, startlingly bright against the dim light from outside, and in the shadowy confines of the room. Then he noticed how those eyes stared past him, not seeing him, not seeing anything. Syuusuke was somewhere else right then.
“Syuusuke?” He knelt beside the pale man, raising a hand to cup his cheek, just to force the man to look at him, to focus on something- dammit, he was frightened. His skin was cool to the touch, and slight shivers shook the already slight frame.
Ryoma frowned, and shook Fuji a bit. “Syuusuke!”
It didn’t surprise Ryoma when those blue eyes closed, and Fuji slumped down on his shoulder. What surprised him was the presence of that smile, despite the tears that rolled down pale cheeks.
Ryoma looked down upon the pale, tear-stained face that lay facing the garden, on his lap. It troubled him that Fuji was so distressed, and the fact that he didn’t know what to do to deal with the situation.
”Ryoma, Kunimitsu’s gone, he’s gone, and I—“
He frowned at the memory and bit his lip, looking down resolutely and tracing fine-boned features with his free hand’s fingers. Fuji clung to the other one with a death grip, and wouldn’t let go, even in his sleep.
He couldn’t replace Tezuka, and he knew it. After all, he was the one who helped bring Ryoma where he was now… But with Syuusuke on the line, and Tezuka gone… He couldn’t simply stand by the sidelines. Even if he was just being used now, he trusted that things would change later. He would make things change.
I was not completely sure of how to react to this surprise that came with today’s morning mail. So here I am, writing to you in a completely informal manner, wishing that I wouldn’t cause anything horrible to happen. I warn you now, that unless you have kept up with recent affairs, that this may be upsetting.
But reading your letter, I doubt that you know that Kunimitsu is (several ink stains marked trouble here) not with us anymore, at least, not physically.
He (again, several blotches here, and shaky lines for the subsequent characters) died two years ago, doing what he loved. There was an accident involving several others during a climb up a mountain** and it was his life or four others.
I think it’s safe to presume that you knew him well, if not intimately; you know how he is, and can probably guess what happened next.
He was a hero, Fuji-san, however much I hate it. I apologise for my bluntness, but I feel that you can understand me when I say that no title, no medal—nothing will bring him back. I don’t know why I’m telling you this, but there’s something that tells me you knew him well, and you’re important to him.
If you are, then I completely trust you, and hope that I can be of some help.
12th June 2005
* I mean a man’s kimono here, but that’s just my preference, if you want to imagine Fuji wearing a female kimono, be my guest. XD *is being obsessive*
** Can anyone give me a mountain’s name to use? ><
I hide. Hopefully, people won’t kill me for this. Ultimately, it’s still TezuFuji, with Ryoma breaking it (or trying to)—but I shan’t say anymore unless you wish to be spoiled. XP
moonraven_croft, Hopefully, you haven’t died yet!! I’ll have something for you next week. Took me all night thinking about TezuFuji and how to apologise. ^^;;