Chapter Five: Chasing the Dragon

Author's Note: Another chapter for you. Warning, shameless smut ahead. I blushed writing this chapter. Also, just because someone asked why I ship Thrill Pair: it's right there in the name. Pillar Pair makes sense. Perfect Pair makes sense. But my God...are they boring. Enjoy the chapter.

When all the tears are rolling down your face

And it feels like yours is the only heart to break

When you come back home and all the lights are out

And you're getting used to no one else being around

Tezuka told himself it would only be for one night. He'd made himself swear. When Ryoma sulked through dinner, Tezuka told himself he was doing the right thing.

He was helping a friend in need. Really. Honest intentions.

He'd provided fresh towels and a change of clothes, like any good host. And when Ryoma said he'd wanted to go to sleep, Tezuka had excused himself.

He took a long, cold shower and slept with his hands firmly pinned beneath his chest. There was never any question of sleep with the object of his all consuming desire just down the hall.

Ryoma sleeping was heart stoppingly adorable.

Tezuka forced himself to think of something else.

Only one other regular had slept in this house before.

Their first year, almost every night. Fuji.

Tezuka nipped the inside of his cheek. He wanted to hate him. But it wasn't that simple. Nothing between them was ever simple.

He had always cared about Fuji. And he'd be lying if he said that it had never crossed his mind. It was just so easy with the two of them. Maybe a small part of had loved Fuji. He just didn't...need him.

They used to play tennis on the court out back. Fuji never really tried—it was almost as if he was afraid to reach his full potential, it was easier to skirt around it and keep everyone guessing. Including himself.

But when they were done, they'd sprawl out on the grass and look up at the stars. Neither of them said much. Anyone expecting a deep conversation between the two of them would have been disappointed. Sometimes their fingers would graze against each other's. Just that and just for a moment.

For Tezuka, it had been warm, peaceful. Content. Safe.

He knew now that for Fuji, it had been something else entirely.

He rolled over and clutched his pillow.

Fuji…you piece of shit.

He rolled over again to face the other wall.

Don't be dead.

Oh, oh I'll be there

When you need a little love

I've got a little love to share

Eiji was not known for his observational skills. He had sharp eyes, but he had always left it others to put together the puzzle pieces. Tezuka or Fuji or Ochibi.

Anyway, not him.

But this time he has no one to rely on but himself.

Oishi was passed out beneath the sheets beside him. Eiji had made sure to drain every last bit of his energy the night before.

It was the only way to keep him quiet so that Eiji could do what he needed to. Fucking Oishi into temporary submission was the best that could be hoped for right now.

Think. What do you know?

He rubbed his temples as if that would stimulate his foggy brain.

You know that Fuji is still in Japan

You know that he's been hurt...he had bruises.

You know that he's terrified

And Fuji is never afraid...

Eiji nipped his lower lip. Whatever it was, it was scaring him too.

Fuji had been cryptic, but it was clear that he was in an arrangement with some very bad people. He'd kept insisting it was the only way to protect "him". But he'd never said who "him" was.

Goddamn you and your pronoun game, Fuji.

Still, it was not that difficult.

There were only three people Fuji really cared about.

Him, of course—Eiji has been mercilessly hazed by the sadist but he'd also been deeply loved.

Ryoma. Fuji would never admit it, but that cocky brat had been so much more than a thrill.

And Tezuka.

Fuji would never admit to that one, either. And as far as Eiji could tell, all three of them were fine. Well...mostly fine.

He fought back tears. He wasn't the right person for this. He was too stupid, too naive, too slow. He needed someone smarter.

But he'd promised not tell. And he knew that lives depended on it.

What if he's protecting someone who doesn't know they need it?

Eiji crept out of bed as carefully as he could. He had snuck in the window last night and would sneak out again when the sun was a bit higher in the sky.

Oishi's homophobic father was away, but there was no need to give his poor, conservative mother a heart attack.

Even if she knew, she didn't need to see her son tangled up with his "doubles partner".

He tried to find his clothes, which had been torn off in such a frenzy that they were all over the room.

He caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror and winced. He was going to need a scarf. Oishi had marked him with the ferocity of an animal.

Ordinarily, Eiji would have liked it but this was no more than insecurity manifest.

I don't want Fuji, he grumbled inside his head. He found his boxers on the lampshade and his shirt underneath the bed.

Eiji was sure of that. Well, he was mostly sure.

At least 70% percent sure.


It was something he didn't like admit to himself. But he'd always been deeply physically attracted to Fuji. And he'd always enjoyed his company.

But that didn't mean love. Just...curiosity. Their kisses had started sweet and grown increasingly frantic over the years. In the hotel room..he'd been able to feel beneath the sheets that neither of them were...ahem...disinterested.

Eiji wouldn't act on it. He loved Oishi. And he loved Ryoma—he would never do anything to hurt him.

So it didn't matter. If he ignored it...well, he'd ignore it. He decided to leave it at that.

He was not the only person who'd ignored an attraction to the tensai. The list of people who didn't want to fuck Fuji was much shorter than the list of people who did. Not that Fuji would bother with someone he couldn't screw with.

. Wait. That's it.

He got dressed as quickly as he could. Usually, he'd stay and cuddle with Oishi a while longer but a sense of urgency had overtaken him. He put on his shoes and opened the window, as he'd done so many times before.

But he was not going home.

Maybe there was someone who could help him after all.

Oh, oh I'm gonna

I'm gonna

I'm gonna come through

When you need a little love

I'll be there for you

Okay, so it had been a week.

But it wasn't Tezuka's fault if Ryoma didn't want to go home. Really. What was he supposed to do it about it? Throw a vulnerable boy out on the street?

He couldn't do that. And it wasn't as if they were doing anything indecent. It was just tennis.

They spent all day, everyday, playing tennis.

And it wasn't as if tennis was this deeply sensual thing for the two of them, fraught with emotion and unspoken words. It wasn't as of this had always been their method of communication. Their challenge, their ambition, their…

Damn. Tezuka lost focus and Ryoma took the point with a perfect smash. He'd gotten better...much better.

Ryoma smirked and hopped from foot to foot.

"Che. You're getting rusty, old man."

Tezuka adjusted his glasses. "Still too arrogant."

Ryoma laughed and it almost broke Tezuka's heart to hear that perfect sound.

"I'm winning now. Do you want to just call it a day and concede?"

"I will destroy you, you know that right?"

Ryoma's eyes blazed with that fire that Tezuka has fallen so madly in love with.

"Show me."

Tezuka really couldn't stand it anymore.

This want was all consuming. He wanted to leap across the net, take Ryoma in his hands and kiss him to the point of suffocation. He wanted to push the younger boy down and ravage him like a starving animal.

But he didn't do any of those things. He gripped his racket in sweaty palms and said, "Your serve, Echizen."

In the end, Tezuka took the game. But it wasn't by as much as he would have liked.

They walked back to the house, sweaty and exhausted. Ryoma's face was tinted with a slight flush that matched the color of the setting sun.

Do not. Touch him.

Years of self control, of disciplined were all that held him back.

"Now I'm hungry. You going to cook for me again, buchou?"

"If by cook you mean order from the same place we ordered from last night then yes."

Ryoma tugged on his cap. "Hm. That will do I suppose. When are you going to learn to keep house? What will your husband say?"

"I'm warning you, Echizen."

"You'll never make a pretty wife."

"I will murder you."

"You're so touchy today."

Tezuka took a deep breath. "Why do you provoke me?"

Ryoma stopped walking. He looked Tezuka dead in the eye.

"Because," he said, his voice low. "I want to."

Tezuka tried his best to keep his face impassive.

"Well. Don't. Come on, I want to shower before dinner."

He sped up his walk, refusing to look back.

When they got back to the house, he entrusted Ryoma with ordering the food and retreated into his room.

He almost didn't make it.

The door was barely shut behind him before he was slumped against it, hating himself. He was panting, not from the physical exertion, but from the effort of wrestling with his desire. It was like trying to force a lion back into a cage.

You are so weak.

Twice a day. He found himself like this twice a day. Being in Ryoma's presence was like placing a junkie in an opium den. The smell of his skin, the way he smirked. The look in those eyes…

He pressed his palm against his mouth to suppress a groan.

There was no rehab for lust.

He picked himself up from the floor. Just as he was about to make his way into the adjoining bath suite, there was a knock on the door.

Tezuka froze.

It was a moment before he could speak.


"Buchou...can I come in?"

Tezuka clutched his chest. "I'm...just about to shower. Can it wait?"

"I...I really need to speak to you."

"Echizen," he mumbled through gritted teeth.

I can't control myself right now. I need to breathe some air without your scent on it. I need to…


"Go away."

It was quiet on the other side of the door for a moment. Tezuka could hear his heartbeat screaming in his ears.



"Let me in."

"I said go away!"

He was surprised at the hurt in his voice. Up until now, he'd been doing surprisingly well in the face of this torture.

He could hear Ryoma suck in a breath.


Tezuka didn't say anything else. He waited with baited breath.

"I want…"

The screaming had reached a fever pitch.


Oh my god.

"Don't you...want me?"

Tezuka lost it. He ripped open the door and just like that, he was on him. He pulled Ryoma towards him and, before Ryoma could even breathe, covered the young prodigy's mouth with his own.

Oh my god.

He swept Ryoma's mouth with his tongue, moaning into the kiss with everything he had held back for all of these years.

And, incredibly, Ryoma kissed him back.

His arms came up to wrap around Tezuka's neck and then Tezuka was lifting him up, pressing him against the wall, grinding into him with all his strength.

He was almost certain that neither of them could breathe but it didn't matter.

Ryoma broke the kiss, his face flushed hot. And he moaned.

Tezuka nuzzled Ryoma's neck. "Ryoma," he breathed. "Of course I want you. I want you so fucking much. I can't breathe for wanting you."

Ryoma threw his head back, yielding to Tezuka's lips.

"I want you too," he whispered, his voice raspy.

That was all he needed to hear. That, right there, was all he'd ever wanted.

"Take me to bed," Ryoma whispered and Tezuka almost lost it right that second.

"I won' able to stop...Ryoma…"

Ryoma leaned up and nipped Tezuka's ear.

"Buchou...nobody is asking you to stop."

And that was the moment Tezuka gave up on making it to the bed at all.

He pushed Ryoma down onto the floor. He could not keep track of who, how or when the clothing came off but he did know that the next moment, Ryoma was beneath him, bare as the day he was born.

The conditioning showed. His abs were clearly defined, Tezuka could trace them like a stencil. And then...lower still.

"Ryoma…" Tezuka moaned. "You're already so hard."

Ryoma squeaked. "Don't look. Don't…"

Tezuka trailed his hand down to the secret place between Ryoma's legs. The moment his hand curled around the length and Ryoma gasped, he knew he wanted to do so much more than look.

"God, you're leaking."

"N-no, don't look!"

He trailed kisses all the way from Ryoma's neck, down his chest, down his belly, savoring the way the boy's body quivered beneath him.

"When did this happen?" Tezuka whispered, nuzzling his nose against Ryoma's length.

Ryoma bucked his hips. "Don'…"

"Don't do what?" This time, he flicked out his tongue, swiping off the first drops of fluid that had accumulated at the tip.


"How long have you been like this?"

Ryoma's eyes were only half open. The look on his face was absolutely delicious.



"All day…"

Tezuka took him in, in one smooth motion.

Ryoma's moans grew louder.


Tezuka paid him no mind. He had wanted to do this for years. Even more than he wanted to feel Ryoma's touch, he wanted the youngest regular to feel his. He wanted to make him wild, desperate, a pool of nerves and sinew panting on the floor.

Right now, he was doing a good job of that. And this high was better than any fantasy.

Ryoma's hips were grinding uncontrollably.

"Oh, God," he gasped. "I…"

Tezuka wasn't listening anymore. He placed both his hands on Ryoma's belly to feel the spasms. His mouth did not stop moving, his tongue did not stop trying to find every inch.

"I...can't...I'm going to…"

Ryoma sucked in a high, thin breath. His hands twisted in Tezuka's hair.


And then Ryoma made the most beautiful sound he'd ever heard.

Tezuka lifted his head, licking his lips. He breathed in the scent of Ryoma's essence.

"Fuck," he whispered. "I want to do that everyday for the rest of my life."

Ryoma reached down to pull him upwards and their lips met again. Ryoma was no less hungry, as if he'd had no relief at all. He wanted more.

"Buchou," he moaned. "Don't say things like that."

"I can't wait anymore. I need you."

Ryoma's face was burning. His skin was hot as an open flame. " mean…"

"I want all of you."

"I c..can't."

Tezuka froze. "Are you…?"

Ryoma looked away. "No. Fuji had me."

Tezuka's rage flashed hot and quick. The thought of Fuji touching this beautiful creature pinned beneath him made him want to kill someone.

"So you didn't like it then? We don't have to do it this way."

Ryoma looked away. But the quiver of his lower lip revealed the answer.

He had liked it. He had liked it very, very much.

Tezuka swallowed. "I've done it before, you know. I won't hurt you."

Ryoma's nostrils flared. Was that...jealousy?


It was Tezuka's turn to blush. "Atobe."

"You fucked the monkey king?"


Ryoma propped himself up on his elbows. "More than once?"

Tezuka did not want to go down this road. "Yes."

"I didn't know you had feelings for Atobe."

"I don't have feelings for Atobe. I wanted you. I wanted you so fucking badly that I couldn't think about anything else. I was drowning. And he was...there for me."

Ryoma snorted. "Yes, I bet he was. I'm sure you didn't even mind that he cried his own name."

Atobe actually did cry his own name but Tezuka wasn't going to mention that part. He was still a bit traumatized by it.

"You weren't here," Tezuka said, trying to keep the bitterness from his voice. "You didn't choose me."

Ryoma went pale. "I know. I didn't mean...I'm sorry."

"It's okay," Tezuka soothed, kissing Ryoma tenderly on the mouth. "We're here now."

Ryoma's eyes filled with quick tears. He tried to wipe them away at once but Tezuka had already seen.


"N-no, it's nothing," he said but his voice broke.

"You're crying."

"It's nothing. It's fine. Just do it."

Tezuka winced. "I can't do it like this."

Ryoma's face was wet with the tears and he was trying and failing to hold them back.

"Please just do it. I want you to."

Tezuka sat up. His lust had vanished and in its place was a sick realization. This had never been about him at all.

"If you want me to, why are you crying?"

Ryoma began to sob and without clothes, it was obvious just how small and slight he was. He drew his knees up to his chest.

"I don't want to be his anymore," he sobbed. "Please, Tezuka. It hurts too much. I don't want…"

Tezuka felt his whole body go cold.

This...everything that's just happened…

Was all about Fuji.


It's always been Fuji.

And it always will be.

He stood up. "Leave."

Ryoma looked up at him with bloodshot eyes.


Tezuka couldn't even look at him. "I'm going into the bathroom and when I get back you won't be here. You'll be gone."

"B...Buchou please…"

Tezuka turned away. "Just go, Echizen. I don't want to see you. I don't want to see you, anywhere, anymore. Ever."

He went into the bathroom and shut the door. He stood there, not moving, not even blinking until the sounds of sobbing grew softer and softer.

The sound of crying rang in his ears long after Ryoma had left.

It took him a long time to realize that the one crying was him.

When you're lost down the river bank

I'll be there

When you're lost in the darkness

I'll be there

You'll never be alone

Cause I'll be there for you

St. Rudolph's wasn't huge but it wasn't small either. It took Eiji a while to find someone who could point him in the right direction.

By the time he pounded on the right door, he was panting.

When Mizuki opened it, Eiji almost punched him in the face.

"Where's Yuuta?"

Mizuki blinked. "What are you doing here?"

"Where is he?!"

Mizuki looked as if he were considering being difficult but the thunderous look on Eiji's face must have stopped him.

"Yuuta," he called over his shoulder. "Your brother's boyfriend is here with his panties in a big twist."

Eiji shoved Mizuki out of the way. Yuuta was sitting on the bed with a comic book in his lap.

Eiji slammed the door in a startled Mizuki's face.

"Oi! Let me in! This is my damn room!"

Yuuta just gaped at him. "Kikumaru-san? What are you doing here?"

"Have you seen Fuji?"

Yuuta frowned. "Aniki is in Switzerland. I spoke to him last week. Is there something going on?"


"Yuuta, I need to know what you do for fun. I don't mean tennis. I mean...other things. Things you aren't supposed to do."

Yuuta flushed. "I don't know what you're talking about. And who do you think you are barging in here like this?"

"I don't mean fucking Mitsuki," he said dryly. "I mean dangerous things."

Yuuta's eyes went wide. "I'm not fucking Mitsuki!"

"Right. That's why I saw you two dry humping in the park six months ago."

"That...we...just the once…"

Eiji waved a hand. "I don't care. Tennis is, apparently, the gayest sport on planet earth. Everyone is fucking everyone. I didn't come here for that."

Yuuta stood up.

"I don't do anything bad."




"Wh-no, gross! What is this? Did aniki put you up to this?"


Yuuta's lips said no but the way his eyes slipped to one side said something else entirely.

Eiji gasped. "Oh, God."

"I'm not going to be interrogated by…"

"What kind of drugs?"

Yuuta scratched his arms and Eiji knew.

"Heroin. Fucking heroin Yuuta?"

Yuuta turned scarlet. "This is none of your business."

"How do you pay for your drugs?"

Yuuta looked at the floor. "Money. Well. I ran out...a while back. Then..I was a bit behind. They kept giving me the drugs because I promised to pay later."

"And then what?"

"I didn't."

Eiji could hear a ringing in his ears.

"And then what?"

Yuuta's face went dark. "Then they threatened to break my neck and burn my house down. But a few months ago they said it was okay." He tried and failed to smile. "They said I could have all the drugs I wanted. Someone took pity on me."

Eiji just looked at him. Then he balled his hands up into fists. It took everything in him not to throttle Yuuta right then and there.

"And you didn't think that was strange? You never questioned why a drug lord decided to just let you off the hook?"

Yuuta frowned. He had dark shadows under his eyes and all the oblivious narcissism of an addict. All he'd heard was "free drugs". He'd never even thought about the rest.

"I guess someone decided to cut me a break."

Eiji bit his lip so hard that he could taste blood.


There was no point. This boy was seriously ill. He needed help that Eiji couldn't give him. And to say anything else, to an unstable drug user, was too risky. Fuji had made him swear. And now Eiji understood that they were all in very real danger.

Eiji drew in a deep, shuddering breath. He had part of his answer now. It was worse than his deepest fear. But it was a place to begin.

A spark to light the way to bringing Fuji home.

He turned to leave.

Yuuta started after him. "Is that it? Why do you care what I do?"

Eiji shut his eyes to hold back tears.

"Someone loves you. Very, very much. Don't ever forget that."

Yuuta's mouth opened and shut. " Syusuke..okay?"

Eiji could no longer fight the tears. They rolled down his face, one after the other and he didn't even try to stop them.

"I don't..I don't think he is. I really don't think he is."

Oh, I'll be there

When you need a little love

I've got a little love to share

Oh I swear I've got enough love for two

You'll never be alone

I'll be there for you