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The Power of Gossip, Chapter Two

Title: The Power of Gossip
Rating: T
SummaryIn Tezuka’s defence, it had been a moment of panic at the end of a very stressful day. Now everyone thinks he and Ryoma are dating.
Author’s Notes:  Is there any community etiquette I should be aware of for posting multi-parters?  It's mostly one-shots on here these days.
The Power of Gossip
Chapter 2 – This Is How Rumours Get Started
By Sinnatious
Kawamura Sushi Kyoto looked remarkably similar to the one they were all familiar with, as though the room had perhaps simply been rotated ninety degrees, a new door added, and a few decorations changed. It seemed as though Taka really was treating it more like a franchise store. Tezuka welcomed the familiarity, and was looking forward to tasting some of his old friend's sushi. The food was one thing he relished during his increasingly rare visits to his home country. They eagerly gathered around at a reserved table while Kawamura opened the shop.
"I wanted to reserve the restaurant just for you guys," he apologised, "But since I'll be taking a fortnight off soon, I figured I ought to be open as much as possible."
"Are you certain you should be taking a holiday so soon after opening?" Oishi asked worriedly.
Taka waved him off. "It's actually probably the best time. This month has just been setting up the store and getting used to managing on my own.   I'll need a holiday after that, so that when I return I can start up properly. Besides, I wouldn't miss your international doubles debut for the world."
"That's right, Taka HAS to come, nya!" Eiji announced. "Everyone else is coming! It's going to be a great reunion!"
"Yes, it will be the first time in a while that we've managed to get everyone in the same place," Oishi mused.
"19 months," Inui cut in, adjusting his glasses. "We have managed to get most of the former team together a number of times, but typically missing both Tezuka and Echizen, or myself and Fuji. Kaido has also been extremely difficult to get a hold of recently."
Had it really been that long? He supposed it had. Tezuka hadn't seen either Kaido or Kawamura for quite some time now that he thought about it, though he always managed to catch up with his former classmates on an individual basis whenever he was in the country. As far as he knew whenever Echizen was in Japan he'd end up visiting Momoshiro and Kikumaru, but no one else, though when he thought about it he was pretty sure that the younger pro had mentioned seeing the Viper a few times as well. 
It would be good to have the old team together again. Everyone had a circle of people they remembered most fondly from their school days, and for Tezuka it was the team of regulars he had led to the Nationals. Tennis had always been his entire world, and even now, he'd ignore the social invitations of other pros in preference to maintaining those old friendships. At least now that Oishi and Kikumaru were entering the pro ranks in earnest he'd be more likely to see them at events.
Chatter dissolved into the usual catch-up fare, with Kawamura disappearing after a few minutes to the kitchen. After about twenty minutes, though, when Inui had finished grilling them on the tournament, the data-gatherer turned on the tennis pros and asked, "So, would you be forthcoming with more details about your relationship? How long has it been going on? Who confessed first? What are your future plans? How serious is it?"
Tezuka was momentarily gob-smacked, having temporarily forgotten about his blunder earlier in the day amidst all of the other news. "I already explained that it was merely a ruse to discourage an enthusiastic fan. Laugh if you must, but I’m sure you would have done the same."
The doubles pair sent him sly grins. "So not ready to come out yet, huh? What about you Ochibi?" the red head cajoled.
"Buchou owes me a game and a Ponta," was the droll reply.
"Oh, I understand you must be a bit embarrassed, having us find out like that," Oishi soothed. "You really don't have to talk about it if you're uncomfortable. We're all just very curious. And don't worry, everyone's happy for you."
Tezuka could feel the stress that had been mounting earlier in the day starting to return like an invisible pressure on the back of his head. "Really, Oishi, I wouldn't lie to any of you about such a matter." He had never expected his oldest friend to get in on it too.
"I can't believe Ochibi got hooked up! He grew up so fast!" Eiji suddenly wailed, draping himself all over the smaller boy.
"Stop calling me that. And get off of me."
"But Ochibi is still smaller than me, so you're still Ochibi!" Eiji remarked with a zany grin.
"Kikumaru," Tezuka chided, when it looked like the youth was starting to choke.
The hyper acrobat practically dropped the younger boy, a look of realisation passing over his face. Tezuka didn’t even want to know what it meant by now. 
“Oh, I have to tell Fuji!” Eiji squealed, immediately running for his bag. “He’ll be so excited!”
“I’ve already done the honours, Kikumaru,” Inui reported. “He was quite regretful to not be present for the revelation.”
Grand, so now everyone would be in on the joke. Well, he supposed he didn’t typically give his friends much fodder to work with, so he could put up with it for a change. He could take the brunt of his mistake. Mostly he was starting to feel guilty for dragging Echizen into it. 
Something about the entire exchange nagged at the back of his mind, though. It was hard to put his finger on it, but Tezuka definitely felt like he was missing something.
Takashi arrived with the food then, thankfully distracting his friends before they could start calling everyone they knew to spread his embarrassing tale. For a couple of minutes pleasant silence reigned at the table, save for a slew of compliments for the chef’s cooking. Kawamura really had improved a lot from his days when he tested his skills out on them. 
Partway through his second helping, he spied some girls at the entrance, peering in. His eyes widened and he nearly choked. Not more fans!
After a moment, he realised that one of them was pointing not at him, but at the teen sitting next to him. Oh. Echizen’s fans. That was a relief. After the day he had, he didn’t think he’d be able to handle another round. He truly appreciated his fans, and he always liked to try and be polite… but not when he’d had such a long day. Especially not when they randomly tried to date him, either. Something about just a little bit of fame seemed to short out the brains of a small sect of the population. That was the one good thing about their overseas travelling – fewer people recognised them outside of their home country.
The pair of girls scurried over, tittering between themselves. Tezuka subtly nudged his companion to warn him of their approach. Echizen just sighed before turning around, as though he already knew the fate waiting for him. 
“Echizen Ryoma, right?” the taller of the two asked. They looked to be high school freshmen. 
“No,” Echizen blandly replied. “I think I saw him leave from the back entrance.”
They laughed loudly at that, before the other started bubbling, “It’s such a pleasure to meet you! I’m your biggest fan! I’ve been watching all of your matches ever since you became a pro!”
The young tennis pro didn’t respond. It seemed that he didn’t even need to, as she barrelled on, “I got front row seats to yesterday’s final, and it was such a fantastic game! Congratulations on your win! That drop shot in the last point was amazing!”
Her friend nodded vigorously. “It was so close, I was gripping my seat the whole time!”
They’d started crowding in as they heaped adulation upon the clearly uncaring teen, when Eiji leant back from his meal, grinning at the pair of fans. "Hoi, don't get too close! He and Tezuka are an item now! He's off limits, girls!"
Tezuka resisted the urge to groan and bury his head in his hands.
“Eh, Tezuka?” They glanced around the table and then looked closer at him, realisation dawning on their faces after a long moment. “Oh, Tezuka Kunimitsu as well! We’re very sorry, you look so different wearing glasses!”
“Quite alright,” he replied, though secretly wishing that the glasses had been enough to completely hide his identity.
They spent a moment looking back and forth between himself and Ryoma before blushing dark red. The shorter girl bowed deeply and blurted, "We're sorry! We didn't mean to interrupt! Could we just get your autographs, please? "
"Che, fine," Echizen condescended, snatching a pen from the hands of the waiting girls and scrawling his name on the proffered tennis ball. What they were doing carrying tennis balls around was anyone’s guess. At least this pair seemed vaguely interested in tennis.
“Um, could you also…,” she asked, shyly holding out the same tennis ball. Tezuka made to write, but she stopped him. “No, right there,” she insisted, pointing to the spot directly above Echizen’s messy signature. He carefully wrote out his own signature and handed the ball and pen back to them. 
"Thank you very much!" they said in unison. "And congratulations!" Giggling, they ran from the restaurant.
“They could have at least ordered something,” Taka commented good-naturedly. Even though it was open, the shop was still empty save for them – a pair of businessmen had come and gone in the time they were there, but that was it. 
“Kikumaru,” Tezuka said, exasperated, “Was that really necessary?” This was taking the whole joke way too far. Didn’t his friends understand that he and Echizen were practically famous now? It would turn into an out-of-control rumour at this rate!
“Was what necessary? I didn’t want you getting jealous,” the doubles-player teased with a wink.
“Tezuka’s fans seem unable to recognize him while wearing glasses. Interesting data,” Inui murmured, opening his notebook and making an brief notation. 
“Well, technically they were Echizen’s fans,” Oishi said hurriedly, as though sensing his friend’s irritation. 
“Who cares? They’re gone,” Echizen announced, reaching for another piece of sushi. “Your idea really works, buchou. Normally they’d be harassing me until I left.”
Tezuka didn’t have a response for that. Fortunately, a family of four entered the restaurant then, causing Taka to leave the table and temporarily distracting the rest of the group. 
When a lone businessman and a couple came in a few minutes later, Tezuka stood to leave. “I’ve had a long day, and Kawamura really ought to concentrate on his customers. I’ll be heading off. It was good to see you all again.”
“Hmm, yes, Eiji and I should be leaving soon too if we want to make it to the train on time,” Oishi observed, standing with him, prompting the rest to leave the table as well. “Oh, Inui and Echizen too?”
“I’m staying at the same hotel as Buchou. We can share the cab fare,” Echizen explained distractedly. 
“And there’s little point in my remaining if everyone else is gone. Tezuka is right – we really should leave Kawamura to his work,” Inui added.
“Mou, I was having so much fun too,” Eiji complained, but latched on to Oishi’s arm all the same. “We’re leaving, Taka!”
“Eh?” The sushi chef glanced over at them. “Leaving already?”
“We shan’t keep you from your work any longer. Thank you for your hospitality,” Tezuka said. “The food was delicious. I’m sure that Kawamura Sushi Kyoto will be a huge success.”
“Oh, thanks. Well, I guess I’ll see all of you guys again in two weeks anyway, huh? Ah, but I drove here-”
“We’ll take a cab, don’t concern yourself,” the tennis pro interrupted.
“See you, Taka!” Eiji called as he bounced out of the restaurant, dragging his doubles partner with him. Inui and Echizen nodded and left also.
They exchanged brief goodbyes outside, and Tezuka flagged down a cab. “Sorry about today,” he apologised again to Ryoma as the car started the journey back to the hotel. They’d spent quite a while at Kawamura Sushi – it was already getting dark. 
“Che, I should thank you. Got rid of the fangirls really quick…. Doesn’t mean you don’t still owe me the game and the Ponta, though.”
Tezuka sent the younger pro a brief disapproving glance, before deciding that any sort of admonishment on his part would be highly hypocritical. Still, something about the entire evening bothered him. He really wished he could figure out what it was. Instead, he asked, "When are you leaving the hotel? Are you going to catch up with your family?"
Echizen shook his head. "My manager has me booked for a bunch of things here in Kyoto this week, then Osaka after that.”
“You’re not going back at all?” He was aware that the other pro didn’t get along terribly well with his family – having never really been close to his mother and apparently outright embarrassed of his father – but they were so rarely in Japan…
“…I'll spend the last couple of days at the shrine when I'm doing all of the Kanto stuff, before everyone heads off to America. I guess. I wanted to book a hotel that was closer to the city, but my manager didn’t get around to it. Too busy scheduling commercials and guest appearances."
He raised his eyebrows, impressed at the schedule. "That is quite a lot."
Echizen just crossed his legs and stared out the window. "Che," he scoffed. "That woman is so annoying. What about you, buchou?"
"I'm checking out tomorrow morning," he replied. "I was planning on visiting my parent's house for the duration of the two weeks, to get some more training in."
"Still mada mada dane," the teen commented with a smirk.
"Indeed. I don't intend to lose the next final," Tezuka remarked gravely.
"Me neither."
The rest of the cab ride was silent, and they didn’t exchange anything more than a nod when they headed to their separate rooms at the hotel. 


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 5th, 2007 11:36 am (UTC)
I was so pleased to see part two of this story. I really enjoyed the first part, and it's clear that Tezuka's attempt to make this all "just a joke" it's never going to work (not with all the Seigaku regulars working against him anyway :-). I look forward to seeing where you go with this.
Sep. 5th, 2007 02:25 pm (UTC)
You updated ! HoYAY ! Sugoi, you update fast ! Thanks for writing this chapter. It was amusing to see (read) Tezuka having trouble convincing his old team mates that there was nothing going on between Ryoma and him. Of course, nobody is going to believe him (except Ryoma, duh).
Are you sure, there wasn't a reporter following them ? That's probably way Tezuka was feeling like he missed something.
And Ryoma, always so blunt. A game and ponta ? *sigh*
Are you going to make a oneside FujiTez or AtoTez ? Or maybe a oneside FujiRyo or AtoRyo. It would be fun for Tezuka to struggle with jealousy without knowing he was actually jealous. But that's just me ! Don't mind insane yaoi fan girl. ^.-

Mimikitty -HUGS-
Sep. 5th, 2007 09:15 pm (UTC)
You updated! :D
Lovely chap, I'm curious to see where you're heading with this... Will it be TezuRyo in the end?

I love how oblivious Tezuka is and how completely unconcerned Ryoma is XD

Can't wait for more!
Sep. 6th, 2007 10:35 am (UTC)
Definitely TezRyo in the end. I wouldn't have posted it in the community otherwise. :) Heck, that's the whole point of the fic! :D

I aim to please. Should have the next chapter out on the weekend, provided no natural disasters occur between now and then (touch wood).
Sep. 6th, 2007 02:01 am (UTC)
i am so happy there is a second chapter. I like how Tezuka is having trouble to convince the team that it is only a *joke*. Now i am so curious how his *joke* will develop. Even more that two fans know about it. Looking forward for the next chapter
Sep. 6th, 2007 01:18 pm (UTC)
Dedication ? More like to encourage you to write more (or type more to be precise). Hehehe ! I told you, I'm greedy. I would prefer longer chapters and quicker updates. But we can't get everything we want, ne ? Through I wouldn't say for Atobe. XDD

I know, I did a 'survey' for an old fic, and people do prefer quicker updates and shorter chapters. But if you want me to choose, I think that I'll ask for longer chapters. And I'll just bug you to update... Hehehe !
Sep. 7th, 2007 08:23 pm (UTC)
You're still making me smile with your little chapters - although this one I found too short! Well, short, but good, so everything is fine. You gave us a great line here:

“Echizen Ryoma, right?” the taller of the two asked. They looked to be high school freshmen.
“No,” Echizen blandly replied. “I think I saw him leave from the back entrance.”

=D=D=D=D the silly grin on my face becomes bigger and bigger every time I read that, it's so very like Echizen! I'll wait anxiously for the next chapter =D
Sep. 8th, 2007 01:17 pm (UTC)
Aww, thank you! Echizen is oodles of fun to write.

In regards to length, I'm going with slightly shorter chapters but quicker updates in general. Oh yes, I am indeed from the MTV generation. ;)
Sep. 8th, 2007 02:56 am (UTC)
The only etiquette I'm aware of for multichapter fics is to provide a link to the previous chapters, etc. That way navigation is easier, and doesn't drive the reader insane trying to search for earlier chapters. Usually you can just stick links to the chapters at the end/top/wherever you please, or you can link it to an index post.

And now onto the review: WONDERING HOW I COULD HAVE MISSED THIS. asjghlkjsdh. Your frequent updates make me so unbelievably happy, and I'm going to be tagging your journal for updates. You make me tempted to break my LJ-weekend policy just to check when you update. ♥

As can be predicted, I love it. It's so cute and hilariously funny.

Tezuka, the poor guy, so misunderstood. I'm enjoying how he's so conflicted with the misunderstanding while Ryoma couldn't care less.

"Buchou owes me a game and a Ponta," was the droll reply. Oh Echizen, ever nonchalant and detached. I love him like this, I love how you write him. Throwing in fangirls only makes their difference in character all the more startling, but I adore it so so much. Hee. Those girls getting him to sign the ball with his name above Ryoma's. ♥ I THINK I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT GOES BETWEEN THEIR NAMES. 83

AND. Tezuka playing tennis wearing contacts. *_________* It's not something ever done before, I don't think, but ksdjag;kadfh. *melts* This mental image is all I can think about.

And you know, I think what I like about this most is that Fuji has not made an appearance. So many people in fics immediately stick him in, and make him know everything first. It's biased on my part, but how you've made him not take a bigger role than any of the other regulars is a tick on my part. :____)

Excitedly waiting for the next chapter! ♥
Sep. 8th, 2007 01:14 pm (UTC)
Awesome, thanks for the info, I shall dutifully include the links to previous chapters now (under the fake cut, anyway).

You're kidding, nobody has ever had Tezuka wear contacts while playing?! No way! I think I've read a dozen fics at least where he's not wearing glasses. Though I personally prefer Tezuka with glasses. ;) It's just not quite 100% Tezuka otherwise.

Ha ha ha, someone noticed that little subtlety with the fangirls arranging the names. I like that I can write subtle stuff and let your imagination run with it. This is fun!

Fuji will have a large role later (hopefully not to your disappointment - just wanted to warn you), but he's not that important for the first half at least.

New chapter is out by the way. Whee! This fic is already all sorts of fun to write. I better hope I don't get distracted by enjoyable tangents. O___o. <- I cannot compete with your crazy awesome emoticons. It is like ASCII art never died.
Sep. 8th, 2007 01:31 pm (UTC)
Hee, no problem!

Well, it's certainly not done a lot in the TezuRyo fandom, that's for sure. Tezuka and his glasses are too big a plot factor in their relationship that usually he's always got his glasses on. I'm quite sure. Um. ksdghka;ld Probably though, there are a few here and there.

That's the beauty of writing. You stick in these cute little things and then people get the same idea (if, perhaps, they're obsessive enough). Those that don't, well, can always try again next time!

So long as Fuji isn't sticking to it immediately from start to finish I think I'll be fine. In so many fics he's always just there and makes me want to pull my hair out. With your talent, though, I think I'll survive. I'll stick to this fic anyway, so long as it's TezuRyo. :3

♥ And to think, I'm trying to cut down on all those expressions. |D;
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )