Already Are

Atobe watches Tezuka, and reflects. Drama, I-3

Pairing(s): Tezuka/Atobe

Keigo folded his arms on the edge of his couch and rested his chin on them to regard the occupant. Kunimitsu seemed to be well and truly asleep, one hand holding his half-folded glasses against his chest, Keigo’s copy of Faust falling out of the other. His eyes were relaxed, though his mouth wasn’t, particularly.

Keigo didn’t have a great many examples to work from, yet, but he had come to the conclusion that Tezuka Kunimitsu never relaxed completely, even in sleep.

There were reasons, of course. Tezuka had at least as many responsibilities as Keigo, and was quite serious and dedicated about fulfilling them. In addition to the general run of Student Leader Responsibilities, such as keeping the photography club from getting into fist fights with the chemistry club over who got to use the well-plumbed and windowless lab room, there was the stress of keeping the tennis club in line and the team in trim. Keigo entirely sympathized, though it had been a bit hard to convince Kunimitsu of that the time he burst out laughing over Kunimitsu’s description of the taste of an accidental slug of Inui Juice. Keigo knew that Kunimitsu identified far more strongly with his individual team members than Keigo allowed himself to do, and that their advances, or lack of the same, just added to the strain.

But surely, he mused, sleep was the one place none of that could follow. Or should be.

Not, he had to admit, that Kunimitsu hadn’t woken Keigo from a nightmare once or twice when his waking troubles had followed him down to dreams. He had refused to say what it was about, last time, and Tezuka hadn’t pressed him. The memory of walking across a frozen lake, and looking down to see his team, trapped under the clear ice, of reaching down, only to find that he was reaching up, that he was trapped, too… He shuddered and pushed it away. It wasn’t even the images, really, it was the remembered feeling of panic and then helplessness that made his stomach twist. It had happened the evening after they played Seigaku at Prefecturals.

Keigo sighed to himself. All right, so perhaps he was more bound up with his team than it was entirely a good idea for him to be. He was even fairly sure when it had started.

It almost had to have been the day Tezuka had taken his world and tilted it up on one corner, proven to him that he had missed something about an opponent, that he hadn’t seen everything.

Keigo knew his coach was still dubious about the resulting change in Keigo’s approach to his team. A loss was a loss, in Kantoku’s eyes. Keigo insisted, though, that he never defended any player whose failure had not driven him to such improvement that it would not happen again. He had never been wrong about that, and so Sakaki permitted Keigo’s judgment to prevail. He had no doubts about what would happen if he ever were wrong. The rule of Hyoutei still held, albeit modified. The weight of it now rested on Keigo, should he chose to absolve one of his players of a loss.

How, after all, could he still believe that a loss was a loss after that first game? He had won… but he hadn’t. Tezuka had lost, and yet…

And that was what had brought Keigo to take such foolish personal risks on behalf of his team members. Looking at it objectively, he could only shake his head at himself. But it was also undeniable that his team had responded more willingly to his hand, after. Shishido even called him Buchou without it sounding like an insult, every now and then. He smiled, a bit wryly, at the man sleeping under his gaze, and recited, quietly, in German.

My eyes already touch the sunny hill,
Going far ahead of the road I have begun.
So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp;
It has its inner light, even from a distance –

And changes us, even if we do not reach it,
Into something else, which, hardly sensing it,
we already are.

Keigo raised his head and lifted one hand to brush Kunimitsu’s hair back. “One match, Kunimitsu,” he murmured. “Maybe some day I’ll ask you if you knew what you were doing.” And then he chuckled to himself. “Quoting poetry over my sleeping lover, yet. One of these days I’ll lose my mind completely and actually write poetry for you, I have no doubt.”

He leaned down and kissed Kunimitsu, softly. Drawing back, he was pleased to see that Kunimitsu’s mouth had finally relaxed.


A/N: The poem is most of “A Walk” by Rilke, trns. Robert Bly.

Last Modified: May 08, 12
Posted: Apr 28, 04
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  1. anruik

    And here I thought it’d be hard for me to love you anymore than I already do. I’m happy to say I’ve been proven wrong ^_____^ *showers with truffles* Atobe getting sappy in his own particular way; I love it.

    1. branchandroot Post author

      *scarfs up truffles* Thank you, my dear! I decided I needed something to balance Tezuka’s introspection that starts the arc off. Atobe sent me out to find him poetry; such the Romantic.

  2. meph-kurama

    There is a part of me that swoons every time Tezuka Kunimitsu is even vaguely mentioned… And there’s another part of me that just swoons when a person looks down at his/her sleeping lover and pulls up some scrap of truth wrapped up in words.

    One hopes that love- no matter how it changes- will inspire Keigo!

    *Happy hugs and coo-ing!*

    1. branchandroot Post author

      *snuggles* Surely, Tezuka can hardly help but inspire him. ^_^ And, hopefully, vice versa. Some day I really will get back to their story. The next bit involves parents. Whether Tezuka or Kirihara will win the tug-of-author is very much up in the air, though. *sighs* This show just has too many good characters; something I never thought I’d say!

  3. aishuu

    Love this one.

    The day Tezuka had taken his world and tilted it up on one corner, proven to him that he had missed something about an opponent, that he hadn’t seen everything.

    This is the BEST justification for AtoTezu I’ve seen. It’s why I rather like the pairing – Atobe comes to a realization that his vaunted Insight isn’t as perfect… and Tezuka won.

    Really nice, comfortable character piece. I like these reflective things when set within an established universe.

  4. written-in-blue

    [swoons for romantic, poetry-quoting Atobe]

    [swoons all over the place]

    Atobe: Lord, woman, you’re embarrassing yourself.

    Sorry, sorry, couldn’t help it.

    And there is one small, evil part of me that is convinced that maybe Tezuka isn’t all the way asleep. ^^;;;;;;

    Mweheheheheh. [snuggles and gives homemade cookies]

    1. branchandroot Post author

      *offers smelling salts*

      Ah, you only think Tezuka might be a little awake because you have a low and evil mind just like mine. *coughs* Yes, he might just be. I was originally planning to wake him up, but Atobe said I wasn’t allowed to embarass him like that.

      *cuddles and nibbles*

      *…on the cookies, that is*

  5. naanima

    oh. wow. gods.

    *huggle you*

    Love, this is so beautiful. I always like your pieces, but ohhh, the Captains and their team, and you know this piece isn’t so much an Atobe/Tezuka pice so much as a Atobe the Captain and his responsibilities.

    lovely. and the poem. The poem. SQUEE!

    1. branchandroot Post author


      I was going to use Goethe, but I stumbled across this one and it just shrieked Atobe-and-Tezuka, to me.

      Atobe-as-captain is fun to play with, because the anime does seem to show his team having respect for him and I have to wonder where it came from considering how harsh his early interactions with them are. Tezuka seems like a good answer. ^_^

  6. beckymarie

    ….dammit, okay. I may not have had the time to catch up on everything else, but TezuAto fic from an author I really like… well, like I’m able to resist shoving everything else aside for that.

    …………..poetry. Atobe reciting poetry to a sleeping Tezuka. There is no way that should have worked. And yet… and yet it was so perfectly in tune with Atobe’s character that I fell in absolute love. The image of him murmuring the question of whether or not Tezuka knew what he was doing is just absolutely wonderful, because… well, hell, I wonder sometimes, too. And it gets at the heart of what makes me love this pairing so much. (The entire second-to-last paragraph just sent me into flailing fangirl mode, just… the right tone and pitch that I wanted for them.)

    Plus, the images of the dream, vague but still carrying power to them, the little details of the differences and similarities of their approaches to their lives (which is REALLY fascinating to me, something I’ve loved about them since I started liking them–Tezuka and Atobe aren’t exact copies of personalities, they’re not even that similiar underneath, but… in certain slants, they have a lot in common, especially the way they keep themselves out and in front of their team, untouchable in their own ways, both leaders of their teams, all that) were really nicely worked into the prose, rather than the awkward infodump. I could see Atobe musing to himself as he watches Tezuka sleep like this.

    I feel like saying, “Thank you for writing a Tezuka/Atobe fic!” is such a cliche thing to say, but… well, yes, this started my day out nicely, so thank you, no matter how cheesy that sounds. *grin* (Plus, OMG, explaining the Inui juice. Bwahahaha. ♥♥♥)

    1. branchandroot Post author

      *beams* Thank you!

      And you’re very welcome, too.

      *nods* That untouchability really is one of the reasons I think they could be good for each other. When I put them next to each other, the similarity of the problem and the difference of the coping mechanism jars each of them in… progressive ways, I suppose.

      You know Atobe would die laughing over Inui Juice, evil creature that he is. ^_^


  7. lady-readwolf

    I love you.
    Words just… don’t do the emotion justice.
    That said, everything else I would have said has pretty much already been said, so I’ll just say,


      1. lady-readwolf

        I feel guilty—I should say more stuff about the fic. But whenever I start to think about your fics in gerneral I get all mushy and terribly campy-fangirly, and if I should happen to think of a particular fic I tend to melt with gooeyness and… yeah, you get the picture. ^___^

  8. soloproject

    …this makes my heart ‘urt, Emiwwy…;__;

    ’cause who is my Atobe OTP now? I can’t make up my mind and…and…


    I wuv you. ♥ *__*

    Ahem. Your fic made me degenerate into a baby-talkin’ fool. >3

      1. surefall

        Yes. I just had never had that problem BEFORE I started writing “Paved with Good Intentions” with Aishuu. =/ It irks!

        Thank you kindly! I think I will! ::snatches!::