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05 September 2006 @ 01:08 pm
PoT Fic: Big In Japan (TezRyo, R) 1/2  
Big in Japan
Tezuka/Ryoma, R
Konomi's, not mine

a/n: Warnings for angst that may also be unintentional crack, dubious practices and a Tezuka and a Ryoma who are so far off the mark they're hitting the Atlantic Ocean. All in all a masterpiece of pointlessness and possible canon inconsistency.

Tezuka considered it somewhat ironic that he was doing a cigarette commercial when he didn't smoke. He considered it the definition of ironic to be promoting lung disease when he was a professional sports player. But Sumisu, his publicist-slash-agent-slash-resident-lunatic, didn't see it that way. Sumisu was a walking slot machine; when he sniffed out a deal, his eyes flashed yen signs. He would have Tezuka underwater, swimming with sharks in the Tokyo Bay for the promotion of Japanese tourism, if he thought there would be a pay-off when Tezuka was floating on the polluted tides with both his legs chewed off.

In vain, Tezuka pleaded for a more logical promotion -- something from Puma or Adidas, perhaps.

"You don't understand, Tezuka-chan." Sumisu waved a cigar the size of a small pony. Every instinct in Tezuka screamed for him to cough and wave the acrid smoke away, but he resisted. Just like he'd stopped asking Sumisu not to call him Tezuka-chan like he was a friend of the family. "For straight advertising, big brand companies like to use more high-profile sports. Like soccer. Soccer is all about sex -- take that David Beckham, fr'instance."

"Yes, which one is he?" Tezuka strove for politeness and made it as far as cold.

"Besides, they all want English-speakers," added Sumisu. "Your English isn't bad, Tezuka-chan, but it's very stilted. You're well-known in Japan, which is why Seven Star is willing to use you as their front man despite your appalling lack of acting ability."

"Sumisu-sama." Tezuka fixed Sumisu with a frosty glare. Sumisu's smile remained irrepressibly sunny. "I play tennis for a living. I am not an actor. If you want an actor, go hire a Kabuki troupe. Now if you don't mind, I'm late for practice."

"You're going to be in the Roppongi Prince Hotel in November." Sumisu's voice floated out after Tezuka, carried by the smoke. "Make sure you book some time off from tennis."

That was Sumisu's worst trait. He didn't understand the first thing about dedication.

He didn't understand the first thing about tennis, either. He'd come to one of Tezuka's games and got up to leave after the first match, assuming it was over. He cheered on Tezuka's opponent -- loudly -- and threw popcorn at the umpire when he called the ball out. Tezuka didn't want to know where he'd found popcorn in Wimbledon. Sumisu had been categorically banned from attending any more games on the premises, which was a relief for all concerned.

When Tezuka had met him -- at a party celebration for Tezuka's first Grand Slam title -- Sumisu had seemed totally normal. Granted, he had been wearing a waistcoat printed with the Union Jack and more wax per square centimetre of hair than Tezuka had seen since Momoshiro Takeshi, but he was an adept salesman when he put his mind to it. To give credit where credit was due, he'd done far more than Tezuka's tennis skills had in making Tezuka a very rich man.

Sumisu's numerous eccentricities -- and they were numerous, in a grains of sand on a beach sort of calculation -- had only become apparent when Tezuka had signed his name to all the contracts. The fact that Sumisu was a raging Anglophile who fancied himself the Japanese version of Prince Philip and kept six corgi dogs -- all named Lizzie, in honour of the Queen -- was the least of them. They had worked together for two years. Being signed by Sumisu to rhapsodise on camera about cancer sticks was, by now, far from a unique experience for Tezuka.

Now, Tezuka sat stewing under the hot studio lights. He refused to let his agitation be seen, smiling and sitting and saying his parroted lines over and over again until his brain was screaming on his behalf. Tezuka hadn't been brought up to make a fuss. Despite that, he mentally murdered Sumisu in a new and inventive way every time the director said "Take four ... hundred ... million."

"I think that's it," said the director's assistant's assistant's coffee maker's clip-board-holder. "Thank you very much, Tezuka-san. That will be all."

Tezuka bowed and nodded to the crew as he left. Even if he'd been inclined to talk with people who were paid to make his life hell, he couldn't have. His mouth was as dry as sandpaper from endlessly repeating lines.

Three days. Three days in which he'd been rousted from pillar to post, his hair prodded and coiffed, his face dabbed with shiny concoctions made from whale embryos and panda sperm, all to sit in front of a huge blue screen and say "Real stars smoke Seven Stars -- so should you" and pretend to light a cigarette. It wasn't the first commercial Tezuka had made and the way Sumisu carried on it wouldn't be the last, but Tezuka had begun to fear for the sanity of those who actually did this on purpose.

Given the lateness of the hour, Tezuka debated whether or not to go home to his apartment in Yanaka or stay the night in the hotel. The room was paid for, Sumisu had left him the usual message about helping himself to the mini-bar, and putting all his expenses on tab. Tezuka wondered if Sumisu would be so generous if Tezuka ever took up this offer. As it was, Tezuka ate frugally and paid for it out of his own wallet. He didn't know why he did that, given that the expenses Sumisu funded were in turn taken from Tezuka's earnings. He supposed he just didn't want to give Sumisu the satisfaction of knowing about the odd bottle of sake he consumed in private or exactly what type of porn he liked to watch.

Especially not what type of porn, because that was something Tezuka could barely acknowledge to himself. Even while he was watching it.

Tezuka checked his watch. It was heading for midnight. His apartment would be cold and musty. The hotel room had fresh mints on the pillow every time he returned to it. There was no comparison.

As he neared the main door of the studios, a commotion further down the hallway caught his eye. Tezuka wasn't surprised to see that another commercial or film scene was being filmed in the middle of the night. Sumisu didn't sleep and he didn't understand why anyone else had to. The studio magnates obviously shared his work ethic.

"Piss off!" someone screamed. "Just fucking well leave me alone, you morons."

Tezuka snorted lightly. Obviously, some minor star with an inflated sense of his own worth had fluffed his lines one too many times. Tezuka felt a dart of pride at his own impeccable delivery. There were few things Tezuka hated more than being forced to act, but he felt that was no reason to do it badly.

The screamer stumbled out through the studio one door, leaking light and the sound of raised and placating voices on to the hallway. He shook off a harassed-looking individual in a director's cap and stomped past Tezuka.

Tezuka couldn't blame the man for being annoyed. Someone had decided it would be a very good idea to to stick his hair full of feathers, like an Indian brave from a spaghetti Western. The director disappeared back inside the studio, so Tezuka gathered that the Indian wasn't a vital part of the filming.

There was still a lot of yelling going on, so Tezuka barely heard the Indian mutter, "Mada mada dane."

Tezuka knew only two people in the world who said that, and one of them was dead. Tezuka started forward. "Echizen-kun?"

Ryoma paused with his hand on the open door. A sliver of moonlight broke through the smog, framing the large eyes and ever-present scowl. "You can tell him to shove it. I don't care about his stupid commercial. If I have to say how much I love Coke one more time I'm going to go insane. I don't even like Coke!"

Tezuka shrugged. "And I don't smoke cigarettes, Ochibi, but I don't think that's the point."

"Ochi --" Ryoma let the door bang closed again. "Who are you?"

"A former member of Seigaku tennis club."

The feathers nodded as Ryoma took a step closer. "T-Tezuka-buchou?"

"It's been a long time since anyone called me buchou."

"You'll always be buchou to me." Ryoma's hand went to his head, with the same gesture he'd once used to adjust his cap. This time his hand met only feathers. With a growl, he tore off the headpiece and stood on it. "What are you doing here?"

"Much the same thing as you, although they didn't think of these." Tezuka plucked a stray feather out of the air. "Fortunately."

The door to studio one creaked open slowly, with as much creepy innuendo as a gate stolen from Dracula's castle. "Shit," muttered Ryoma, "they're coming back. I've got to split."

"Where are you staying?" asked Tezuka on impulse. If he knew anything about people who made commercials for a living, they'd be after Ryoma with pitchforks and flaming torches when they discovered he'd given them the slip. Tezuka didn't want to be embroiled in one of the famous Echizen scandals. Even apart from that consideration, he wasn't sure he wanted to socialise with Echizen Ryoma.

Yet when Ryoma said, "Grand Hyatt Tokyo -- I've got a car waiting," Tezuka realised that he was going to anyway.


They sat in the hotel bar. In deference to his surroundings, Tezuka had assented to Ryoma's offer of a drink 'with actual alcohol in it,' and chosen a cold shot of sake. Ryoma was stirring an olive around the largest martini glass Tezuka had seen that didn't automatically qualify as a bucket. A singer, dressed in a glittery red sheath that reminded Tezuka of the risqué sections in his mother's lingerie catalogues, crooned in the background.

Ryoma followed Tezuka's gaze. "Didn't think slutty girls were your type, buchou."

"What would you know about my type, Echizen?" Tezuka narrowed his eyes.

Ryoma let out a startled laugh. "Do you know how long it's been since someone's dared to take a disapproving tone with me?"

"Too long, I'd wager." Tezuka plinked his glass with a fingernail, reluctant to put it to his lips. Ryoma was already on his second martini, but Tezuka didn't intend to linger beyond one drink. One drink that was taking quite a while for him to drink.

Ryoma ate his olive with a disgusting squelching noise. Tezuka stiffened further, sitting up as straight as he could without actually bowing backwards. This was in strict contrast to Ryoma, who slumped against the bar as though it was a pillow.

Tezuka, who usually could hold up his end of the conversation with someone else who played tennis, found that he had nothing to say. He had no questions to ask, because he knew all the answers already.

It was natural that he'd taken an interest in Ryoma's career after their paths had diverged. In any case, it was hard to ignore it. Ryoma was a legend. He'd achieved a level of fame and fortune that equalled that of Tiger Woods or England's ambassador to Japan, David Beckham. Somehow his insolence, his annoying habit of winning against any odds, and his sullen refusal to be anything other than the brat he always had been caught the attention of the world. Even people who couldn't have told you the difference between badminton and tennis or where Japan was on a map knew the name Echizen Ryoma. In the eyes of the world, Echizen Ryoma was tennis.

Tezuka had achieved a respectable notoriety in tennis circles. Certainly, his name was often mentioned in the same sentence as Andy Roddick, John McEnroe or Andre Agassi. But respect was all it was.

Tezuka had read every the breathless article informing him that Ryoma had more fansites than Harry Potter and about the legions of fans who camped out to buy tickets to his matches like they were pop concerts. He knew the more mundane facts, too: exactly when Ryoma had surpassed his father's skill, and all about his relationship with a supermodel that had led to a whirlwind marriage and acrimonious divorce in the space of six months.

Oddly enough, they had never once crossed paths -- not in tournaments or outside them -- before now. If it wasn't Tezuka's old injuries flaring up it was Ryoma having to stand trial for drunk driving. If it wasn't Ryoma forfeiting because one of his spurned girlfriends had stormed into his private tennis club and knocked him unconscious with a racquet, it was Tezuka forfeiting because of his father's funeral. And so it went.

"Do you know what happened to the Seigaku team?" asked Ryoma abruptly. "I wrote down everyone's email address, but my father chucked it out by mistake. Or on purpose, probably, knowing the old bastard."

"I wondered why you never kept in touch -- at least with Momoshiro-kun," said Tezuka. "He said he sent you a couple of emails, but they all bounced."

"Heh." Ryoma didn't offer any explanation, which Tezuka found typical but nonetheless aggravating. "Where is he now, then?"

"Momoshiro ..." Tezuka closed his eyes in thought. "Well, like the rest of the team, he played in high school tournaments, but once he started dating his focus slipped. He's vice president of some electronic company now -- like Kaidoh, who happens to be vice president of Momoshiro's biggest rival company. If that's not poetic justice, I don't know what is."

"I guess Kawamura went into the fish trade."

"He took over his father's sushi business, yes," replied Tezuka, emphasising the correction. "He started a chain of kanten-zushi cum delicatessens. They're all over the place now -- Burning Bentou?"

Ryoma made a face. "I went into one of those once. The food is crap."

"It's cheap and you get a lot of it." Tezuka shrugged. "Therein lies the basis of its appeal, I believe."

"Did Eiji and Oishi keep playing doubles?" Ryoma slurped down the rest of his martini and signalled for another.

"Yes. They run a tennis club together now. Fuji gave up tennis after a year of high school; he studied philosophy at university for a while, but he ended up becoming a monk."

"A monk?" Ryoma spat out his mouthful of drink, splattering Tezuka's knee with a mist of drops. Compressing his lips, Tezuka dabbed at the stains with a napkin and passed it over to Ryoma, whose chin was wet.

"He's very happy." Tezuka's voice was sharp, because he'd detected the note of derision in Ryoma's tone. "I've been to visit him at the monastery a few times. He said he finally felt at peace."

Ryoma made a sound that sounded like 'Loser.' Tezuka chose to ignore it.

"And what about Inui? Don't tell me -- he's a computer programmer or a data analyst or something really incredibly boring like that."

Tezuka tossed back the last of his sake, finally coming to the end of his patience. "No. I'm sure you'll be pleased to hear that the Coca-Cola Company patented his Special Juice. He's a multi-millionaire. Last I heard of him, he was living in Palm Beach and writing computer manuals for fun." He slipped off his stool and bowed to Ryoma. When he straightened, he could feel his face setting like concrete. "It was lovely catching up with you, Echizen-san. I must be going."

He turned away, seething. He could hear the tinkle of liquid against glass -- Ryoma's third martini. The singer's voice sounded discordant; Tezuka wished he could mute the sound with a remote.

All at once, cool fingers closed around his arm, their strength wrenching him to a halt.

"I'm sorry, Tezuka-buchou." Ryoma's voice was subdued.

"What for?" snapped Tezuka. Without quite meaning to, he swivelled back to face Ryoma.

Ryoma carded a hand through his hair. It was laden down with gel and bits of feathers, and parts of it were sticking up at strange angles. Tezuka could take a photograph and make a fortune, if he didn't already have one.

"I'm stressed," confessed Ryoma. "My agent has lined up all these ads and appearances and signings ..." His face wrinkled in distaste. "Do you know how hard it is to sign a tennis ball with a marker pen? Who the hell wants a signed tennis ball anyway?"

"Horio-kun used to write his name on his balls, so that no one would steal them," offered Tezuka.

The look on Ryoma's face suggested he didn't know who Tezuka was talking about. Tezuka himself was wondering how he'd managed to remember a ballboy, given that he struggled to recall the names of the -- very few -- women he'd slept with. Then again, that was a reason in itself.

Then Ryoma's expression cleared. "Horio-kun, with his two years tennis experience! Why would anyone want to steal his balls?" Tezuka opened his mouth to relate many incidents of equipment snatching when Ryoma stole his breath with, "I don't think they ever dropped."


Ryoma's smile was like spilt milk. "Ah, now that I remember." His voice changed, deepening a little. "Please, Tezuka-sama. Stay a little while longer. It's ... weird. People just nod and smile when I say things. They agree. I'm not used to people getting angry at me anymore."

Tezuka didn't want to remain a minute longer. But Ryoma was frowning. It was the most becoming expression he'd worn all evening, differing as it did from criminal levels of supercilious amusement.

"We can move to my suite if you'd feel more comfortable," added Ryoma. "I brought my racquets with me."

"So did I," admitted Tezuka.

"C'mon, buchou." Ryoma smiled disarmingly and threaded his arm through Tezuka's. His body was warm and limpet-like, his breath heavy with gin. "Subjecting me to a few more glares of doom is the closest you'll get to assigning me fifty laps, so make the most of it."

Tezuka found that his mouth had decided to act without the permission of his brain. "All right," it was saying. "I will."


Tezuka had thought his hotel room was nice, but the difference between it and Ryoma's presidential suite was that separating a fashionable house in Ginza from the Emperor's throne room. Tezuka could have fit his apartment into the living area with room to spare.

While Ryoma mixed his own martini at a bar the size of a dolphin's swim-tank, Tezuka wandered around. He touched the cream leather sofas, ran his hand along the oak panelling, and inspected the small but heavy jade ornaments dotted around the room. The room had been designed to cater for Westerners who thought they wanted a taste of the real Japan -- Tezuka could see that there was a four-poster bed in the next room, not a futon. All the same, it was undeniably sumptuous.

Tezuka wasn't jealous, exactly. His ambitions in life did not include staying in hotel rooms that had chandeliers made from Swartz crystal and private swimming pools. Still, he marvelled.

"I forgot to ask what you were having," called Ryoma. He was surreptitiously swiping at his mouth, as if Tezuka wouldn't have spotted that he'd been swigging from the gin bottle as often as he dribbled it into the glass.

"I'm fine for now, thank you." Tezuka sat down on a sofa.

"You sure?" Ryoma flopped down next to Tezuka and licked off some gin that had slopped over his wrist.

"Yes. I think you're drinking quite enough for the both of us." Tezuka looked away.

Ryoma's hands hadn't changed. Perhaps they were a little longer, a little broader than before, but Tezuka couldn't see it. As far as he was concerned, they were the same hands that he'd observed endlessly as they curled around the handle of a racquet. Before Tezuka had known even what erotic stimuli were, he'd been obsessed with Ryoma's hands. He was still glad he hadn't realised exactly why until years later.

There was a clank as Ryoma set his glass down on the mahogany coffee table. He didn't heed the droplets that were soaking into what had to be hours of polishing work, but Tezuka did.

"Trust you to make me feel guilty about relaxing," complained Ryoma. "Hey, what are you doing? I thought you didn't want a drink."

"I don't." Tezuka located what he was searching for under the bar. He brought the folded linen napkin over to the table and swabbed gently at Ryoma's mess. Then he tossed a couple of coasters into Ryoma's lap.

"There are people who are paid to clean hotels, you know." Ryoma's condescension was back in full force.

"And there are people who are paid to play tennis," said Tezuka, "but their job isn't half so useful to society."

Ryoma lazed back, his dirty sneakers edging into the space where Tezuka had been sitting. "You should have been born in China. That's where the Communists are."

Tezuka didn't rise to the bait. He looked meaningfully at Ryoma's shoes. It took longer than it once would have, and Ryoma's face was disgruntled by the end of it, but eventually he did move his feet so Tezuka could sit back down.

"Your company is so delightful," Tezuka informed him. "I wondered why you had so many adoring fans when I knew you used to be a cocky little jerk, but now I've solved the mystery."

"H-hey!" protested Ryoma. "You're supposed to be the polite one here, remember?"

"That was polite. If you knew what I was actually thinking, you'd see exactly how polite it was."

"Ah, Tezuka-chan, loosen up a bit." Ryoma's leg brushed against Tezuka's thigh; his lips were curling, his eyes hooded.

Tezuka turned a glacial gaze on Ryoma -- even Sumisu had only ever merited a frosty one -- and said, "Please do not call me Tezuka-chan."

"I know what you need!" exclaimed Ryoma. He jumped up and rummaged a tiny mobile phone out of the jacket he'd dumped on the floor. He pressed one key -- a speed-dial, Tezuka surmised.

"Hey, Miki-chan, it's Echizen." There was a pause. Ryoma wandered over and perched on the sofa arm, almost flattening Tezuka's fingers. Tezuka snatched them away just in time. "You read my mind, darling. As many as you can spare."

"What are you doing?" asked Tezuka suspiciously. Ryoma lobbed the phone carelessly back at his jacket, but it hit the skirting board instead.

"Oops," he snickered.

"You probably broke it!"

"So? I'll get another." Ryoma shrugged. "I asked Miki-chan to send over some of her girls. She charges like a Yakuza, but they are the best. Discreet, too."

Tezuka stifled a gasp, aware that it was hardly the most sophisticated of reactions. But he couldn't help biting out, "You hired prostitutes?"

"What? No." Ryoma dive-bombed the other sofa and rolled around so that he was facing Tezuka. "They're called escorts or something."

"What's the difference?"

"They don't have to have sex with you unless they want to." Ryoma rolled his eyes. "You pay for the 'pleasure of their company.' But don't worry -- they won't turn you down."

"Trust me, I wasn't worried."

"That's what I like about Japan," Ryoma was musing. "In American you can get laid easy, for sure, but the girls all want to be taken to heaven and back in one night. Or worse, they demand commitment. I find it simplifies things when you pay for it."

"I can ... see how that works," murmured Tezuka, who couldn't.

It wasn't like Tezuka hadn't encountered soap girls before. Sumisu had insisted on organising a huge bash for Tezuka's twenty-first birthday. Being fond of the traditional approach, he'd held it in a strip joint. Tezuka had had an excruciating time in more ways than one. Fuji, who hadn't yet donned orange robes at that point, had sent Tezuka a whole boxful of pornographic DVDs that he'd specially selected on the internet. Although Tezuka had enjoyed them quite a lot -- Fuji was the only one who knew about Tezuka's tastes, and then only because he'd guessed -- the contrast between them and the shimmering, writhing and scantily clad women rubbing against items of furniture and clients couldn't have been more pointed.

"You're embarrassed, aren't you?" Ryoma held Tezuka's gaze for an unnervingly long time -- unnerving because Tezuka couldn't bring himself to look away. "They like guys who blush, though. They think it's cute. See, this is why you should have a drink -- it'll calm you down."

"Echizen," said Tezuka firmly, "I am calm."

"Really? You're drumming your fingers," noted Ryoma. "Hang on a sec." He disappeared into the bedroom. Tezuka waited apprehensively, wondering what Ryoma would return with -- sex toys? A dwarf in bondage? A clutch of geisha?

His thoughts dropped away as Ryoma carried a tennis racquet over to him. "That isn't --"

"Yup." Ryoma gently transferred the racquet into Tezuka's waiting hands. "The one I played with in Seigaku -- the one I played with against you the first time. It's useless now, of course, but I like to bring it with me on trips."

"A lucky charm?" Tezuka closed his fingers around the fraying plastic grip. He wondered whether to tell Ryoma that the racquet Tezuka brought everywhere was the one he'd used in Seigaku as well.

"I don't need luck," snorted Ryoma. Tezuka bit his tongue and decided Not.

Tezuka went back to inspecting the racquet in silence. There was something reassuring about the shape, the weight of it in his hands. And Tezuka needed reassurance right now.

He'd all but given up on women after the last disastrous coupling. Despite Yumi's -- no, it was Yuzuki, wasn't it? -- extremely talented mouth and hands, Tezuka couldn't even get it up. He only wished his impotence was ubiquitous, because then he could take a pill or a potion for it. Unfortunately, you couldn't go to the doctor and say, 'I can't get an erection with women but I can't stop getting them with men,' because there were some things that were beyond even the skills of medical science to change.

He didn't notice that Ryoma had been fiddling around with the television until it blared into life, flooding the room with harsh grunts and gasps.

"Pay-per-view," explained Ryoma at Tezuka's raised eyebrows. "To get us in the mood."

Tezuka shook his head. Simulated sex to get him in the mood for paid sex. It even made a kind of awful sense.

"I've shocked you again, haven't I?" said Ryoma smugly. His leg was back against Tezuka's.

"Not in the least. I've probably watched more porn than you have."

"Oh." Tezuka thought Ryoma sounded disappointed.

The only conversation after that was supplied by the actors onscreen, and that was mainly delivered in a manner that would be more understandable to cave dwellers than anyone else. Tezuka propped his chin in his hand, watching the two female leads frolic on a lacy bed with about as much interest as a stick insect had in astrophysics.

He couldn't be sure, because he couldn't bring himself to move his head, but he thought Ryoma was doing the same thing at his end of the sofa.

With the usual innate disappointment, Tezuka felt his body perk up when the male actor appeared. He was hardly Tezuka's type, being composed of squared-off blocks of muscle without any neck. All the same, the fact that he was naked -- enormously so -- and male was enough. With an inaudible sigh, Tezuka adjusted the front of his trousers.

This time he could have sworn that Ryoma shifted a bit too.

It was surreal. If Tezuka had thought that morning that he'd be spending the night watching porn with Echizen Ryoma he'd have dismissed the notion out of hand, and not just because of how slim were the chances of his randomly meeting Ryoma.

He supposed he could still get up and leave. It would be an amazingly good idea given that his predilections did not and never would encompass female genitalia. But he didn't. He sat there with his face heating up and his trousers growing tighter by the minute.

Ryoma had propped his feet on the coffee table, hiding his lap from view. Tezuka thought that odd -- after all, Ryoma had instigated the proceedings, the point of which was to get off. Maybe he just didn't want to in front of Tezuka, which was fine. Tezuka had thought that the daily torture of self-denial in high school changing rooms was bad, but it was nothing compared to this.

His thoughts were put to the lie when Ryoma emitted a little sigh and slipped his hand between his legs. Tezuka caught the movement at the edge of his eye as Ryoma rubbed through the cloth -- not frantically, but with a steady determination that made heat rush to Tezuka's belly.

He only realised that he was staring at Ryoma when Ryoma caught his eye and grinned. "I was so surprised to find that there was something better than winning at tennis. Weren't you? The one thing my dad actually got right."

Tezuka made a non-committal noise. He couldn't share in Ryoma's honest delight, because he'd never felt it -- every time he touched himself, he was swamped with guilt about what exactly caused the need. It had abated in recent years, but never receded entirely.

All the while, his eyes soaked up Ryoma's face -- the high colour in his cheeks, the way he caught his lower lip between his teeth, how it kept slipping out again wetter than before. Ryoma had inadvertently supplied him with jacking off material for the next ten years, but right now Tezuka felt nothing but how his trousers had shrunk and the inevitable shame.

Ryoma's eyes went wide in time to the clamorous orgasm of the man on the television. Tezuka wasn't going to look -- he wasn't -- he wasn't --

A knock sounded on the door.

"I'll get it!" Tezuka's voice broke with relief. He crossed to the door, thinking as hard as he could about cold showers and lesbian orgies to will away his erection.

"Hello," said a voice. It was seductive enough to earn a fortune in phone sex, even had its owner looked like the back end of a bus. "Is this Echizen-san's suite? I'm Miki-chan, we got a call --"

"Yes, it is the right suite," said Tezuka, his speech racing along in time to his heart. "Please come in."

Miki stepped gracefully past where Tezuka was gripping the door handle like a Zimmer frame. She beckoned in four girls so glossy and beautiful they could have been auctioned at Sotheby's.

"Look at this, Miki-chan!" one of them purred. "Isn't he darling?" She pinched Tezuka's cheek, giggling when he jerked away.

"Hello, Echizen-san." Miki stooped to brush dry kisses on to both of Ryoma's cheeks. Tezuka felt the heat in his belly flare into a dull burn.

"Yo, Miki-chan." Ryoma punched the off-button on the television remote. "This is my friend, Tezuka-san."

"Oh, Echizen-san, can I have him first?" begged the girl who had pinched Tezuka's cheek. She was small and voluptuous, her dyed-blonde hair shining like spun flax. Tezuka felt a sting of repulsion.

"He's certainly the nicest present you've brought us," observed another, in a husky smoker's voice.

"Stop teasing him -- he doesn't like it." Ryoma sounded amused.

"Have you ever been with an escort before?" whispered the blonde one. At Tezuka's tight headshake, her eyelashes fluttered. Tezuka thought uncharitably that the effect was similar to the dying throes of a tarantula. "But how sweet! You're in for a good time, then."

Tezuka flicked his gaze to Ryoma. Miki was on her knees before him, removing his sneakers with as much care as if they'd been crusted with diamonds. Ryoma put his arms behind his head, stretching like a cat.

"I see you got started without us, Echizen-san," reproved the smoker. She sashayed over and dropped to the floor beside Miki. She placed her hand over the damp patch on the front of Ryoma's jeans and gave him an arch look.

"Impatient as ever." Miki put her hand over the smoker's. "May I, Echizen-san?"

"Be my guest," said Ryoma, and together the two girls removed Ryoma's jeans. They didn't spare a chance to touch or stroke as they did so. Tezuka felt angry, and then confused as to why he was angry. Ryoma very clearly didn't mind their attentions, so why should Tezuka?

"Shiyori-chan, why don't you make Tezuka-san a little more comfortable?" suggested Miki. The smoker, whose name appeared to be Kozue, was unbuttoning Ryoma's shirt.

"With pleasure," said Shiyori, smirking.

Tezuka stared down at the dark roots of her hair as she guided him to the sofa nearest the bedroom. The fourth escort, who was so tall and slender that she appeared to have been made from triangles of bone, sat down on the other side of Tezuka. He tried not to feel like a rabbit caught in a snare, but when Shiyori put her small plump hand on his thigh the trapped feeling only intensified.

"My name is Akiko-chan," breathed the other escort, her flowery perfume making Tezuka retch silently. "I hope we can entertain you."

"Hmm," managed Tezuka. He'd never experienced less control over a situation than he did right now, and he didn't like the sensation. His head began to spin.

Akiko and Shiyori were burrowing under his clothes. A hand strummed his ribs like a guitar. Soft, wet lips pressed a trail of kisses along his jaw. His shirt was half-off. Akiko was sucking at his collarbone. He wanted to shout at her to stop, but was afraid he'd appear ungrateful. Shiyori was kneading his crotch like dough. Tezuka arched, which she seemed to take as encouragement, but he was actually hoping to dislodge her hand.

His eyes, which he'd been keeping squeezed shut, jerked open at Ryoma's moan. The occupants of the other sofa had far fewer clothes between them than Tezuka's did. For a moment, Tezuka's vision was obscured by breasts and feminine curves, and he nearly closed his eyes again.

Then Yozue rocked back on her heels, flicking shining hair out of her face as she bent to lick her way up Ryoma's thigh. Miki was on Ryoma's other side, red talons cruelly pinching Ryoma's nipples. Ryoma had his head thrown back and his teeth tightly clenched. Tezuka could see every ridge of cartilage standing out in his throat.

Yozue moved between Ryoma's legs, her hair slithering all over his thighs as she took him in her mouth. Shiyori had her hand in Tezuka's pants now, the moisturised squeeze of her hand one step away from being genuinely unpleasant. Tezuka couldn't stop looking at Ryoma, blanking out Miki's hands rippling across his skin and the tongue with which she was bathing his ear. They came at the same time -- Ryoma's hands tangled in Yozue's hair in a way that had to be painful, and Tezuka's crossed over his chest as though it would hold him together.

Tezuka suffered through the aftershocks with Akiko's naked breast in his hand -- she'd put it there while he was too lax to protest. Ryoma recovered remarkably quickly. He had Yozue on her hands and knees and giggling while Tezuka was still seeing black sparkles on the edge of his vision.

"Tezuka-san?" Shiyori was whispering into his ear. He wished she'd stop kissing his cheek -- or maybe it was Akiko doing that. "Are you all right?"

Tezuka looked at her blearily. When had she taken her top off, and why hadn't he managed to stop her? Her generous assets were jiggling against his shoulder. Tezuka was sure that any normal, heterosexual man would have been in seventh heaven in Tezuka's place.

Ryoma was certainly having fun. Tezuka could hardly bear to look at what he was doing: the taut curve of his body, the pistoning of his hips, the curiously blank expression on his face. Tezuka had never seen Ryoma less animated. He didn't want to be seeing him at all.

"I need -- bathroom," he mumbled, pushing his way through bare flesh as if through a hedge. It gave way as reluctantly as a tangle of thorns, but at last he was sitting on the toilet seat and resting his head against the aching coolness of the hand basin.

His only clear thought was about how much he owed Ryoma for Akiko and Shiyori's services. As far as Tezuka was any judge they were the highest of high class call-girls, but Tezuka had never had occasion to avail of the services of their ilk. Would thirty thousand yen be too much? Too little?

It also struck him that, yet again, Ryoma had surpassed his father. Echizen Nanjiroh had read porn magazines; Ryoma acted them out. It was painful to dwell on that thought. Tezuka sank his teeth into the web of his thumb, viciously emptying his mind of anything but currency and mathematics.

He was still slumped on the toilet seat when Miki entered, walking lightly as a cat in defiance of her skyscraper heels. Despite wearing nothing but a lacy red G-string, she exuded poise and confidence. She was carrying a miniscule Dolce and Gabbana handbag, from which she withdrew a shell-shaped compact.

"I hope I'm not disturbing you, Tezuka-san?" Her well-modulated voice broke through the neuronal swamp masquerading as Tezuka's brain. "I would just like to freshen up. If you need anything, I will only be a moment."

"No! No, I --" Tezuka closed his mouth, aware that he'd been overly vehement. Miki merely inclined her head and snapped open the compact.

Tezuka watched in sick fascination as she laid out two neat, one-inch lines of cocaine on the mirror of the compact. With expert fingers, she rolled up a one-thousand yen note and snorted the drug. The two congested, porcine sounds were at odds with her elegant demeanour. Straightening up, she patted her nostrils clean with the edge of a towel and inspected her eye makeup.

"I'm terribly rude." She turned to him with a smile. "Would you like some charlie?"

"No, thank you." Tezuka's lips were squeezed together so tightly that his voice came out sounding squashed.

Miki didn't appear to notice. She leaned into the mirror over the sink and ran a careful finger along her perfect eyebrows, her small breasts bouncing.

"He never kisses, you know that?"

Miki was still looking in the mirror. Tezuka would have asked her who she was talking to, if they weren't both shut in a hotel bathroom.

"He'll go down on the girls no problem, and there aren't many johns who'd do that, I can tell you," continued Miki. She popped open an eyeliner and pulled down her eyelid to apply it. It was a faintly disgusting process. "But he specified no kissing the very first time. I've stopped asking him now. No mouths touching mouths at all."

"Oh?" said Tezuka. He'd suddenly realised that his fly was open and his boxers were wet.

Miki dropped her makeup back into the bag. Tezuka got a brief, amazed glimpse of the well-packed interior before she zipped it closed. "How long?"

"How long what?"

"You and Echizen Ryoma-san?"

"Oh -- how long have we known each other?" Tezuka frowned. "We went to middle school together for a year, but this is the first time I've seen him since."

"You misunderstand me." Miki crouched down beside him, her face surprisingly kind under the mask of makeup. "How long have you loved him?"

"I don't -- what?" Tezuka nearly fell off the toilet seat.

Miki smiled. "There's a separate exit through the bedroom."

Tezuka didn't understand for a moment. "You mean --"

"I'll tell him you had to go," said Miki. "Not the first time this sort of thing has happened -- although never with Echizen-san. I didn't think he had it in him to love anyone."

"Miki-sama," said Tezuka quietly, "I don't think he does."

He paused at the bathroom door to let her go through first. She watched him quietly open the outer door in the bedroom. The faint snicking of the lock was more than camouflaged by the screams and giggles from the next room.

"Miki-sama," called Tezuka.

She turned on one heel, the kinder light of the living room gilding her half-smile.

"Thank you," said Tezuka, and left.


Go on if you think you're hard enough.
Current Location: in my pjs
Current Mood: bitchybitchy
Current Music: Singing In My Sleep (Semisonic)
JRevalangui on September 5th, 2006 12:09 pm (UTC)
Mmm... I think you forgot the lj-cut :p
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Dane Danescoradh on September 5th, 2006 12:12 pm (UTC)
I did indeed! Thanks love.
(Deleted comment)
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on September 10th, 2006 10:24 pm (UTC)

I love that, like, you have perfectly captured the essential contradictions and complexities of Tezuka's character in this fic, the parts that make him SO HORRIBLE to write because he is an IDIOT AND A MARTYR - only instead of taking those traits and pushing them in the typical EmoAngstRidden!Tezuka direction you have given them a completely new life by imbuing them with humor and what I think is a completely canonical representation of Tezuka's tongue-in-cheek awareness of his own faults.

Like, phew? Because you are the metre stick for this pairing; you are the one that loves them the most and thus would be most annoyed if they were wrong. I still think I'm mada mada dane with Tezuka's characterisation, and Ryoma's too -- I could probably write from here until 2010 and still get them wrong. BUT. I'm so, so pleased that they worked well enough for you to enjoy the fic.

And also that no one really minds that I made Fuji a monk.

You need some kind of reward or prize for your feedback. You were afraid of this: to click because I fear the second half will be able to live up to the TREMENDOUS EXPECTATION OF AWESOME that you have built for yourself with this first half ... but I'm afraid no other feedback will ever live up to this. :( But the adrenaline rush will keep me going for quite a while, I reckon.

let's get the seven lines.: such great heights.bookshop on September 10th, 2006 11:49 pm (UTC)
I am reposting to spare you the pain of seeing all that horrid code should you ever reread this.
Three days. Three days in which he'd been rousted from pillar to post

HAHAHAHA. I love your Tezuka - I love how stoically long-suffering and slightly crotchety at the edges he is. His dry (wooden?) humor. It's so perfectly him, and so endearing and fabulous.


All at once, cool fingers closed around his arm, their strength wrenching him to a halt.

GOD YES. OH PARALLELISM, I ADORE YOU. :(( Gosh I love this fic so much already. Tezuka can always snap Ryoma out of his bratty modes, even after all this time, and it's so beautiful to watch. Gosh. This moment made me all breathy.

Tezuka opened his mouth to relate many incidents of equipment snatching when Ryoma stole his breath with, "I don't think they ever dropped."


Ryoma's smile was like spilt milk.


....... Tezuka. Has memorized. Ryoma's hands. Oh. And the contrast between that and the fact that Ryoma doesn't even recognize him at first (I'm assuming it was really dark and he had feathers in his eyes!!!!!) is so telling, and yet so ironic - because it's really Ryoma who's never forgotten Tezuka's influence over him, and not the other way around. Oh, oh, oh.

asj;fasdljlkdaskl god this nightcap. Most awkward social situation ever. Poor Ryoma - still caught between his current mode of life and the tossed-off shallowness that he's used to impressing people with, and his knowledge that Tezuka expects and deserves/requires something deeper from him. And Tezuka. Ahahahaha. His discomfort and disappointment should NOT BE SO HILARIOUS AND YET IT IS. AHAHAHA. STARING AT RYOMA'S SHOES TO GET HIM TO MOVE. ASDJKFL. Still the same Buchou, aren't you, Tezuka-chan.

Fuji, who hadn't yet donned orange robes at that point, had sent Tezuka a whole boxful of pornographic DVDs

Tezuka waited apprehensively, wondering what Ryoma would return with -- sex toys? A dwarf in bondage? A clutch of geisha?



With the usual innate disappointment, Tezuka felt his body perk up

I love that, like, you have perfectly captured the essential contradictions and complexities of Tezuka's character in this fic, the parts that make him SO HORRIBLE to write because he is an IDIOT AND A MARTYR - only instead of taking those traits and pushing them in the typical EmoAngstRidden!Tezuka direction you have given them a completely new life by imbuing them with humor and what I think is a completely canonical representation of Tezuka's tongue-in-cheek awareness of his own faults. All of which is to say that this line is golden.

okay, Miki is my new favorite slasher ever. And I obviously stopped stopping in mid-fic to review because my eyes got stuck to the monitor and I had to summon firefighters with a hose full of cold water in order to unglue them.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT. :(( POOR RYOMA. :(( POOR TEZUKA. :(((((((((( I love the way he just quietly accepts the statement after his initial shocked reaction. So that immediately the issue isn't that Tezuka loves Ryoma; it's that Ryoma doesn't love Tezuka. :( Except clearly Ryoma does. :(((((((

I am almost afraid to click because I fear the second half will be able to live up to the TREMENDOUS EXPECTATION OF AWESOME that you have built for yourself with this first half.


[And, like. I came back to try and :x at you some more for such lovely responses, and wound up rereading the entire fic. Again. :)) So, you know. :x]
iff_u_loved_meiff_u_loved_me on December 2nd, 2007 04:52 am (UTC)
I love this, can't even begin to tell you how much I love this. ^_^ jaded!Ryoma wins oh so much
animeshon on April 21st, 2008 12:00 am (UTC)
This is fantastic. I love all corrupted Echizen. I admit I'm very very new to the fandom. I've only watch about 20 episodes, but I decided last night that Tezuka & Echizen were so right for each other and then had to spend ages trying to find some fic that had the two of them. Surprisingly hard to do. Anyway just wanted to say this was awesome before I move onto the next part.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: CS+TAI: toothbrush Gabescoradh on April 21st, 2008 10:59 am (UTC)
Thank you!