Chapter 19

Fuji settled into his spot amongst the regulars as the match between Ryoma and Kentarou began. Honestly, the enthusiasm of the Rokkaku captain was irritating, but there was something there. Perhaps this tennis player’s love for the sport would rub off on Ryoma. It would be difficult to find another way to expose Ryoma to a match where he wouldn’t feel obligated to win.

Sure, there was pressure here but if Ryoma lost this match, there were still two more singles games for Seigaku to play. So the pressure wasn’t there. Not really. No, the pressure here would be only the strain Ryoma put on himself. He hated disappointing anyone, even if he did come off as a brat the majority of the time. Fuji grinned. He loved having such insight into Ryoma’s psyche.

The memory of Ryoma worrying about Fuji keeping his past a too tightly guarded secret surfaced. Fuji grimaced. There was so much pain in his past he didn’t want to expose Ryoma to. And wouldn’t, unless it was vital to keeping Ryoma safe. No, the past would stay buried for as long as he could keep it that way.

He chanced a look across the court and met Saeki’s eyes. Some of his past could be shared, even cherished. Saeki could understand the horrors he’d faced, as he was a sadist himself. But Sae was dealing with his own demons. Namely, coming to terms with his own darkness. Fuji would teach him the best he could, but whether he was consumed by his need or learned to harness it was up to Sae. It was his strength of character that would decide the path he chose.

Saeki inclined his head in both acknowledgment and respect. Others wouldn’t notice, but the angle of the inclination was a few centimeters lower than the casual nod. So it seemed Sae was taking their arrangement seriously.

Fuji smirked to himself. He had been afraid that having two lovers to contend with would be difficult even for him, but maybe it was the challenge he needed to keep his own dark demons at bay. There were days he woke up and itched to hurt someone the way he’d hurt Jason—those were the days he kept Ryoma close at hand, to remind him of the love he felt for another human being. Love that stayed his hand, lest he get too lost in his own dark need.

He brought his attention back to the tennis match and frowned. While he understood that Kentarou was hitting the ball to the same place every time in order to frustrate his lover and get Ryoma to play seriously, Fuji had to quell the instincts that were screaming at him to go over to the Rokkaku captain and break him in half for aggravating his lover. His protective instincts were getting stronger every day, harder to control.

This wasn’t good. He’d gone too long without breaking anyone mentally. He hadn’t had a good reason. If he didn’t find a victim soon, someone close to him would end up paying the price. And he didn’t want to be that man.

He’d have to talk to his friends later, figure out what stranger was hanging around and causing problems. Maybe he could find some relief that way. At least it would calm the rage inside him. The last man he’d broken had been the guy who’d taught Yuuta that horrible technique. And that hadn’t taken much. He needed a challenge.

Fuji shook his head. Now was not the time to be thinking about that. Right now, it was all about Ryoma. About his need to play a game where he could learn whether he loved or hated tennis. And the match with Kentarou might prove to be that game.

He focused on the match in front of him, surprised to see a smile on Ryoma’s face. Normally the only expression the freshman wore during a game was one of intense concentration. Kentarou was awakening something inside Ryoma and Fuji smiled. It seemed his instincts had steered him right in regard to this match.

Hours passed and the match was postponed until the following day. That the two of them could play such a long game without collapsing was impressive. Fuji knew that Ryoma had amazing stamina, but to see it firsthand sent a shiver down his spine.

Fuji stood with the other regulars as Ryoma packed his bags.

“It’s a shame they called the game,” Momo said.

“Mm,” Fuji said, agreeing. “Ryoma was getting a nice, excited condition.” Which, in turn, had gotten Fuji to an excited condition of his own. He wanted to take Ryoma home, but doubted that would be the best thing for his lover. Ryoma needed to stay tense in order to keep the momentum from the match going.

The other regulars trickled away until only Fuji and Ryoma were left on the court.

“Syuusuke, can I come over tonight?” Ryoma asked.

Fuji pulled Ryoma into a tight hug and planted a kiss on the top of his head. “As much as I want you to,” he said, “you can’t. I don’t want you to relax.”

Ryoma swallowed. “But if I promise to—

Fuji placed a finger over his lips, silencing the freshman. “This isn’t up for debate. You’ll go home tonight. Besides, the only thing in your head right now is the match you just played. You can’t tell me you’re not frustrated to have it end like this.”

“Of course I’m frustrated,” Ryoma said. “It’s why I want to come over. I want to put it out of my mind.”

 

“And that’s exactly what I don’t want,” Fuji said. “You need to be ready to resume the match tomorrow and you can’t do that if you’re relaxed. In fact, I’ll be surprised if you sleep much at all tonight. So go home and do something to keep you alert.”

“You don’t want me to sleep?” Ryoma asked. “But I’ll not be able to—

Fuji shushed him again. “By all means, sleep. But be ready for a long game tomorrow. I won’t accept anything less than your best performance in anything, you know that.”

Ryoma blushed and ducked his head as best he could, held in Fuji’s tight grasp. “I know, Syuusuke. I just want to be with you.” He grimaced as Fuji’s arms tightened in warning. “I’m not complaining, Syu. I’ll go home. I just wanted you to know.”

Fuji smiled and leaned down as Ryoma turned in his arms, tilting his head up for the searing kiss Fuji engaged him in. When the tensai pulled back, Ryoma was panting, eyes glazed over. “I love you, Ryoma. Now go home.” He loosened his arms, letting the freshman pull out of his grasp.

“I love you too, Syuusuke,” Ryoma said. “I’ll see you in the morning.”

Fuji nodded and headed towards his own house after Ryoma had disappeared into the darkness. His need to be protective was kicking into overdrive and it took all of his willpower not to walk his lover home. Ryoma was safe in town. He’d walked to and from school by himself in America, which was a much more dangerous country than Japan was. Fuji really needed to get a hold on himself.

As he started his walk, he was barely startled when Saeki slid into step beside him. “Sae, your house is in the opposite direction.”

“I know,” Saeki said. “I wanted to speak with you.”

Fuji stayed silent, waiting for Saeki to continue.

“I want to know what we’re doing,” he said. “I mean, Ryoma explained how everything works with him and me. But Syu, what about you and me. How do we work? I don’t understand that.”

“It’s easy enough,” Fuji said. “You do what I tell you to when I tell you to do it. If you don’t, I punish you.”

Saeki missed a step, recovered, and said, “I understood that part of it, Syuusuke. I mean, are we sexual with each other too or is that reserved for Ryoma? I just… I don’t get it.”

Fuji frowned. He thought he’d made everything clear the other day. Apparently, he hadn’t. “We’re lovers, Saeki. All of us.”

“Oh. Does that mean me and you—

“Will have sex, yeah. I thought you understood that when you agreed to our arrangement.”

“I thought that was what was implied, but I wanted to double check. I just. I don’t want to get anything wrong with you, Syu. Not after…”

Fuji sighed. “Don’t worry so much about the past, Sae. You let it go, didn’t you? So you can safely assume I’ve let it go as well. I’ll be careful with you because I know there are still fears there, but I’m not going to break you and you can’t break me. Just be yourself.”

“Okay.”

Silence stretched between them.

“Do you want to be alone tonight, Syuusuke?”

“No, but I sent Ryoma home.”

Saeki coughed. “I, um. I was sorta hoping you might want to spend time with me. If that’s alright with you.”

Fuji grinned. “I’d forgotten how uncertain you were about stuff like this, Sae. But yes, I’d like the company. Do you need to let anyone know where you are?”

Saeki raised an eyebrow, accented by the light of the streetlamp. “Syu, if I tell my parents I’m spending time with you, they’ll kill me.”

“Won’t they be expecting you home?”

Saeki grinned. “Nope. I told them I was staying over at a friend’s. They trust me enough not to ask which friend.”

Fuji cracked an eye open and smiled at his friend-turned-lover. “Well then,” he said. “Let’s go to my house.”

Saeki slipped an arm around Fuji’s waist, careful not to move too fast so that the tensai didn’t see the motion as too aggressive. In turn, Fuji draped an arm over Saeki’s shoulder. It seemed he could relieve some of his own tension tonight. Having two lovers definitely had its benefits.

Chapter 18     Chapter Index     Chapter 20

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