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- Prince of Tennis - Telephone by Katharos - This was a fun little fic that answered the "intimacy without smut" challenge in a way that really amused me. The majority of the fic was cute, rolled along smoothly, but it was the ending that finally got you to the point of it and just hit me absolutely perfectly, the way the author intended. LOVED this. XD (Tezuka/Fuji in the background, but could almost have been gen.)

- Prince of Tennis - Intimacy -1 by Katharos - You know, for all that I rarely read outside my set pairings these days, I started reading Katharos' fic for the gen, which is something I'd been craving lately. Yet, I will always come back for my beloved pairing and this was a genuinely sparkling, clever fic that just... oh, god, it was clever! Fuji and Eiji's friendship was beautiful, there were so many lines that had me rolling around with utter glee and amusement, and all that their time apart, the way they dealt with it, the way they came back to each other in the end, it was something I'd dearly been missing about the Perfect Pair pairing--a sense of brilliant humor and something I'd never quite seen before. It was fresh and new, but without straying too far, still recognizably the characters. I love the idea that this is how they would deal with their fights. XD XD XD (Tezuka/Fuji, Oishi/Eiji.)

- Prince of Tennis - Arrythmia by W175N57 - Tezuka does not give Fuji advice, whether because Fuji's nature does not allow for commentary or Tezuka's does not grant it. Their conversation, Fuji reflects, is more one you hold with yourself: thoughts rather than words that fly like tennis balls and are felt more than heard, silent conversations where Fuji trusts Tezuka to understand and Tezuka trusts Fuji, but no one ever thinks to check. What hits me hardest about this fic is that there are so many lines I itch to quote, that I feel could encapsulate what the story is about, this particular take on Tezuka and Fuji, yet it doesn't feel like I'm being bombarded with an essay or an information dump. Instead, the writing manages to absolutely work for this pairing, creating a sort of style for them that gets a subtle sense of what they're like across to the reader.

Each little example gives further insight into what they're like and, oh, oh, this is Tezuka and I've missed him so much in fandom, because so few write him properly, but this is Tezuka and, oh, god, Fuji is so perfect and why, why, why can't I force this author to write more for them? Because this is so brilliantly them, actually them and I'm going to abuse the italics and bold tags until I get the squee out of my system. As well as go on for two paragraphs when I should probably only be writing one. It's just... I've missed this kind of sharp, genuinely clever, genuinely right sort of take on the characters so badly that you have no idea. This soothed me more than I can express, it was a gorgeous fic. (Tezuka/Fuji.)

- Prince of Tennis - Rain by thisissong - I admit, I sort of fear clicking on stories that contain Tezuka, Fuji, umbrellas, and rain, because--as with most of the TezuFuji fans out there--I've had bad experiences with such. But Hana pointed this one out to me the other day and it was short enough for me to read easily and awwww! Okay, sure, it was fluffy, but it was fluffy in a way that I could believe, because Tezuka was still Tezuka and Fuji was still Fuji and it wasn't saccharine at all. Instead, it was nice, Tezuka always having an umbrella, Fuji asking if it wouldn't be more fun to walk in the rain, and Tezuka covering them both with the umbrella anyway. It was perfect and made me melt into a gooey puddle over here. This is my kind of TezuFuji sweetness. (Tezuka/Fuji.)

- Prince of Tennis - His by trixie_chick - This is my second time trying to write this rec because I want to do it properly, as I've sort of been falling down on that aspect lately. It's difficult to put into words why I liked this story, because just simplying saying that it had a lot of little details of the Japanese festival clothing or the charms or the snacks Fuji would buy, but it all fit together wonderfully so that I got this three-dimensional sense to the story. There was a background fully formed in my head. But it was also that I loved, loved, loved her take on Yumiko, the way you can feel her emotions as she watches her little brother with Tezuka without having to actually specifically state them. I also love trixie's style of writing, it almost reminds me of music somehow. Everything has this lovely smooth quality to it, even in such a short little piece, I get a sense of real satisfaction. I mean, I was predisposed to like this fic, it has two of my favorite pairings in it, but... yeah, trixie did a lovely job here. And this rec still didn't quite hit the notes I wanted. Boo. Just go read. (Tezuka/Fuji, one-sided Tezuka/Yumiko.)

- Prince of Tennis - Trinity of Lights by Katharos - *squeaks* Oh, good god, everyone cover your ears now, okay? (Well, eyes.) For my sake, so I don't lose what last shred of dignity I may still have in the eyes of other people. Because! Tezuka/Fuji/Atobe threesome fic. And it was good, genuinely clever, and had a squeak-inducing ending. You have no idea. NO IDEA. How badly I wanted this fic. The characterization was fabulous, the way Atobe and Fuji played off each other, the way they get so insane around each other while not being over the top or cliche about it here, the way Tezuka has to very carefully not massage his forehead or look for the bottle of aspirin around these two. The little details of the Christmas theme were brilliant, the characterization was brilliant, the whole thing was just.... eeeee, omg, LOVE. ♥ And I mentioned the ending had me in a gooey fangirl pile, yes? Because yeah. Especially because this worked here and I was beginning to despair that it could not be done. (Tezuka/Fuji/Atobe.)

- Prince of Tennis - Physical Therapy by trixie - *giggles* Okay, this was just fun. trixie does a really fantastic job with the fun characters of the sort that the anime gave us. Normally, I'd be a little wary of inflicting a silly physical therapist on a character like Tezuka, but trixie does make it genuinely entertaining, the right kind of light-hearted (Meaning, it's not exactly crack, but it's not serious, either, you know? I miss that in this fandom.), and it sparkles. <3 (Very light Tezuka/Fuji.)

- Prince of Tennis - Healing by Ilana - I liked this fic from the beginning, the way there's that certain, odd communication-except-not between Tezuka and Fuji that seemed to hit their dynamic really well. And then the whole fic was just... it had this very nice flow to it, these little details that brought the fic into sharp detail for me, but it was the ending that sent me over the moon finally. Because those last two paragraphs are perfect for these characters. Utterly wonderful. (A little Tezuka/Fuji, but could be gen, too.)

- Prince of Tennis - Genius by Kentra Shinataku - I'm not sure I'd be able to put into words why I read and liked this fic, because it's something in the flow of the fic, the crisp, clean feel to the words that I find so soothing to read. Plus, it was an interesting take on Fuji, on a potential situation that Fuji's "genius" might land him in, and... it's not something I would read from a lot of authors and it's definitely something I'm having trouble groping around to find the right words to describe, so instead, I'll just say that I really do ♥ the author's writing style and that I think this was interesting as a Tenipuri read. And, hell, I'm horribly picky about the TezuFuji I read lately, yet this kept my interest. So! (Tezuka/Fuji.)

- Prince of Tennis - coffee pot by Bing - Dude, why have I never gotten around to reading Bing's Tenipuri fic before? I have no idea. Because this was really... I mean, I hesitate to use the word "adorable", because Tezuka and Fuji are rarely that, but it was... a TezuFuji sort of fluff. If you can call it that. Plus, I just really sort of like the way she presented Tezuka's structured life, the way it naturally falls into patterns, the way Fuji slid right into a small piece of it, never being a big deal. It seemed so... like them. (Tezuka/Fuji.)

- Prince of Tennis - drabbles by Bing - Admittedly, the Tezuka/Fuji one of these drabbles was my favorite, but I don't think it's just my favoritism showing through... well, okay, maybe it's a little of my favoritism showing through, because the MomoKai one was actually pretty cool. Uh, anyway. Drabble one is Fuji and Yuuta being adorable together and my love for Yuuta knows know bounds here. Drabble two is Tezuka and Fuji and I lovelovelove this one because it subtly approaches the relationship and Tezuka's dedication to tennis and Fuji's lack of dedication and how they're too smart to not know how that would be troublesome, yet it's not cliche at all, it worked for me here and made me pine for a full-fledged version of this pairing. Drabble three was cute because I like Eiji. And drabble four was a startlingly interesting and clever (in the sense that I am not usually attracted to MomoKai fics through no fault of the authors) Momoshiro and Kaidoh interaction piece that seemed so... in character and made so much sense for explaining their relationship. Very interesting drabbles, all of these. (Gen, hints of Tezuka/Fuji, hints of Oishi/Eiji and Tezuka/Ryoma, hints of Momoshiro/Kaidoh.)

- Prince of Tennis - The Uncertainty Principle by Sai - Did I never finish writing up the recs for Sai's arc here? Shame on me, because I absolutely adored this arc. I've rec'd parts of this storyline before, so if you're new to the story and looking for what order to read everything in, there's a good index here. Anyway. I adore this fic, because somehow this is my Fuji, the one that presents himself in these subtle images that may mean something more or they may just be an overexposed picture of the sun, you never really know with the character. The fic is written in my favorite style for these two, the kind where it's not vague, but it's like water, it's difficult to grasp in one's hands without everything slipping between your fingers, but you can still feel the coolness of it on your skin. I know that's a painfully cliche metaphor to use, but that's how I feel after reading Sai's Fuji here. Plus, I have mad, mad envy for her use of details in this fic. *__* (Tezuka/Fuji.)

- Prince of Tennis - Ramta Jogi by Sai - Much of what I said about the previous fic of Sai's applies to this one as well, there's a certain way she writes Fuji's character, telling him through the use of images that should seem pretentious, that might have been in another author's hands, but somehow hers feel utterly brilliant to me. They speak of deeper meanings that you can never quite find because they may not actually be there or they may mean more than one will ever know. The dynamic between Tezuka and Fuji here is brilliant as well, just so layered and something like whimsy, only it's much more serious than that, both characters so... recognizable as themselves. Plus, Sai is one of the few authors who can use sakura petals and snow on the ground and make me coo and flail over the imagery, rather than wince for what they did to my favorite pairing here--she makes them not just work, but seem utterly natural. And, oh, my, that classroom scene was just... it was perfect. Those are my babies. (Tezuka/Fuji.)

- Prince of Tennis - Polarity by aki_omoi - Oh, oh. TezuFuji that uses imagery of magnets and it works, it lacks pretention (or at least the bad kind) and is something that I could recognize coming from Fuji and just works for this story. There's a subtleness to the writing, the way so many things are said with the description of not-quite-brittle smile instead of having to be directly said, the way there is a feel to this piece that doesn't have to be entirely remarked on, but I couldn't have escaped it if I had wanted to. It's just... there's a certain style to this fic that sent me over the moon, a certain sense that I've come to associate with Weekly JUMP fandoms that is so rarely applied to Prince of Tennis, much less TezuFuji fic, but that I'd been craving more than I knew. But it's also that I believe this Tezuka and this Fuji and I love that whatever it is between them is never remarked on, it's never lingered over, it's just simply there and I'm explaining this so, so badly. It's... all the little touches, that Tezuka is Tezuka, that Fuji is Fuji, that there's a delicate elegance (you'll hear me use that phrase a lot these days, I suspect) to the sheer style of this fic that puts stars in my eyes. Maybe it's just that I really am, at heart, a fan of a certain style, but whatever the reason... this author hit my buttons just right. (Tezuka/Fuji.)

- Prince of Tennis - Byzantine by aki_omoi - I should probably put this in with the drabbles, it's very short, but... I include it here instead because there's something very perfect and complete about the way it is, about Tezuka and Fuji's converation, the brilliant use of the theme around that moment in the series when Fuji approaches Tezuka. But it's also included here because the characterization is beautiful, all subtle and the ending somehow just... perfect. It reminds me why I stay in this fandom. (Not Tezuka/Fuji, it's gen, but I'll stick it in that section anyway.)

- Prince of Tennis - Lessons Well Learned by aki_omoi - I admit, I usually hesitate over anything labelled with multiple pairings (I'm such a dippy fangirl), but I enjoyed the two previous fics by the author, I found her style to be a really refreshing fit with the series from as of late in the fandom, so I gave this one a shot. I'm very glad I did, because I get such a strong sense of... there's something to this writing, a fluidity or an understanding of the characters, a certain style that melts away all my frustration with the fandom because, yes, this is what I wanted to read. It's subtle and has this delicate elegancy to the writing that I've been seeing for many fandoms lately (Bleach has been getting a good amount of it, honestly), something that just hits me. Each scene with Tezuka fits with the depth of his character, of even those small little meaningful moments with Fuji or Ryoma, it's... I mean, what sends me into a flailing fit is that this is the Tezuka I recognize and you have no idea how rare that is in fandom. How could I not be happy with a story that starts out like this? Things Tezuka has learned, he passes on. Not vocally, for he’s always felt words are cheap and superfluous things, that a thousand pretty words can’t quite compare with one successful action - so he teaches through each every carefully planned movement. Within each serve and step, he places what words could not say, these precious lessons, these things he’s learned. I know it's a lot to quote but... yes. This is the fic I wanted to read. (Gen. But hints of Tezuka/Fuji and Tezuka/Ryoma if you want to see them.)

- Prince of Tennis - A Picture Says A Thousand Words by aki_omoi - Uh, no, seriously, you have no idea how much fic like this affects me, how much it hits those notes I've been so badly pining for in this fandom, the sense of subtlty and deftness and elegance and quietness and something between Tezuka and Fuji as they move through the rest of their lives. Because there's something so perfect about a story that shows glimpses of how Tezuka and Fuji's lives intertwined around each other without having to force them into the mold of a traditional couple. The touches of this story are so light that I might have labelled this gen if there hadn't also been this beautiful atmosphere to the piece, this beautiful something between Tezuka and Fuji that seemed undeniable to me. But what I really love about this fic is the amazing characterization, the kind that I can't even describe, because it makes it sound so cliche or trite when I try to find the words. Simple things, such as the use of photography or Fuji asking Tezuka if he believes in forever or the way they move in together or even just Fuji making a meal, they become these gorgeous layered things, meaning and undercurrents running beneath everything while they're each so brilliantly themselves. I think that's probably what makes me nearly run into the wall with flailing happiness, that I actually recognize the surprisingly (given that it's a silly sports manga from Weekly JUMP, much as I love it ♥) depthful characters in their brilliance here. (Tezuka/Fuji.)

- Prince of Tennis - untilted by Chrissie - So, I should probably put this in with the drabbles. Enh. I do what I want. Besides, OMG, Sakurazukamori!Fuji should not work so well and yet it does. If I hadn't been convinced of Chrissie's genius before this, I certainly would be now. The sakura petals were a beautiful, beautiful touch. (Tezuka/Fuji.)

- Prince of Tennis - ontogeny by aki_omoi - The author has this lovely way of... there are these little flahes of moments that are so subtle and elegantly written and it makes her Tenipuri fic just glow to my eyes somehow (<---my fangirlishness talking, perhaps it is me who glows after reading the fic), when when it's a scene with something so simple as the way the Fuji family fights With false smiles and doors shut too softly. With empty hallways and pretend smiles and biting words which almost pass for civil conversation. The way the author deals with Fuji's reaction to Yuuta's depature that is felt more than seen, because you can't always put your finger on it, but it's always there, just like Fuji himself is. And the ending is just... it's perfect and lovely and I wish I could sing the praises of it better. (Hints of TezuFuji, but it's not really about that.)

- Prince of Tennis - pathways by aki_omoi - Oh. Hello. This fic sort of reminds me of my evolving take on TezuFuji and intimacy/sex--for all that my mind is so often in the gutter, for all that I enjoy the hell out of smutty doujinshi, I rarely initate dragging Tezuka and Fuji down into the gutter on my own and I think this fic sort of hits on why. It's so difficult and so incredibly rare to find smut (or even just hints of smut) that manages to capture the intimacy and intensity and complicated, layered, subtle dynamic that they have. Yet, keep it so incredibly passionate at the same time. But this fic... I think I must have been beaming after I finished reading it because it is what I was craving far more than I knew. It's less than a page long and, yet, somehow it's more satisfying to me than most graphic fics I've read. And, oh, the imagery is just beautiful. I'm floating in fangirl bliss over here, don't mind me. (Tezuka/Fuji.)

- Prince of Tennis - The Meaning Behind Tenacity by Tari Gwaemir - I suspect I shall not do this fic justice in this rec, much as I wish I could, because it has a beautiful, beautiful use of language and there's this tone to it that's just... it's all these things about ambition and determination and brilliance and it never says any of this, but I feel it in the same way that I feel the ache of muscles against the sharp, chill air as they have climbed the mountain. I love this fic because it's Tezuka and Fuji, all the things unsaid but understood, all the elegance and strong lines of shoulders and connection without being remarked on that makes this my favorite pairing in the series. I love this fic because the ending is just... there are so many beautiful moments of imagery, the kind that are almost painfully crystal clear in my head with the sharpness of them (I love that about this fic, the way it's almost too in focus in my mind) and the ending hits the exact perfect note and I'm trying not to remain coherent here. It's very difficult. ♥ (Tezuka/Fuji.)

- Prince of Tennis - Youthful Days by Mei - I'm always of two minds when I'm about to rec an flocked fic, because I generally don't like to do so, but... Mei friends anyone who asks, so I'll make the exception. The second thing that had me hesitating over the rec is the amount of anti-TezuFuji sentiment in the comments, knowing that it's not Mei's favorite pairing and I usually try to run away screaming from that much TezuFuji hate. However, what turned me around is knowing that Mei isn't as serious about it as her jesting may make her seem (which I can handle just fine, I hiss and spit in jest at a lot of pairings, too) and that I really did like the fic. A lot of it was the opening line Tezuka always knew Fuji would come back to him. It isn’t arrogance, because few could accuse the quiet boy of such a fault, but rather something almost akin to—well, destiny, if he believed in such a thing., which just... yeah, that hit the right spot for me. Mei does really well with the characters, the way there's this something between them that's like water, inexorable and irresistable, but if you try to capture it with your hands, it slips through your fingers. ....oh, man, forgive the metaphor on my part there? Because there's a certain subtlty here that works so well with the characters, the way nothing is hammered into your head, it's touched lightly on, but you get it. And I really, really liked the ending and, omg, I have to admit, even I was a little "....." over the way the RyoSaku pairing didn't raise my hackles. Also Mei totally needs to do FujiRyo/TezuSaku pairing no matter what the rest of the fandom says! (Tezuka/Fuji, references to Ryoma/Sakuno.)

- Prince of Tennis - Thermos by aki_omoi - You know, I know I'm rather in love with an author when I don't just read through as fast as I can, that instead I hit the little down arrow button one line at a time so that I force myself to read each line without skipping ahead. Because I don't want to miss a single word of a story like this, that captures the subtlty of the pairing so well, the beautiful, beautiful way it uses the snowy imagery to highlight the Tezuka/Fuji relationship, to provide insights into both characters, imagery that is also beautiful just for its own sake. I just... I don't even have to try, I can just picture this Tezuka and Fuji and every little detail of how they stand or how they look at each other and I fall yet another bit more deliriously in love. ♥ (Tezuka/Fuji.)

- Prince of Tennis - Cheshire by aki_omoi - So, you know that rec I wrote above for another TezuFuji fic, where I use the water metaphor? I swear, I wrote that before I read this fic and you have no idea how much it made me squee to see these lines: For Fuji wasn’t a puzzle, for puzzles have complete pieces and a solvable method - no, Fuji was something else, something unreachable and insurmountable. Like trying to hold onto water and having it slip from your hands. and it smiling all the way. Because this fic, like the one that follows it, "Perpetual Motion", explains the characters by not explaining them, by not trying to fill in the spaces of the characters that cannot be defined. That is TezuFuji to me, the beautiful language and the acceptance that there are certain things that cannot be placed into words, that they must be figured out in a way that's a little bit like trying to gauge the shape of a large object rising to the surface of the sea, you only have a vague sense of the size and depth of it, but you somehow know before you can find the words. Such lovely fic. (Tezuka/Fuji.)

- Prince of Tennis - Perpetual Motion by aki_omoi - Honestly, I keep expecting the other shoe to drop, that something will come along and tear me away from these stories and the author's view of them, because I have not the luck to find someone who sees and writes TezuFuji this beautifully in the fandom. I fear that I'm just a little too in love and soon it will be shattered, because these fics are just... everything I've said about them so far continues to hold true every time. How can I not love a story that starts out with Tezuka walks with slow, controlled steps that speak words of the dedication, passion and caring hidden behind terse vowels and evenly conjugated verbs.? How can I not love a fic that does a breathtaking job of writing the subtle and so-difficult-to-define relationship these two have with each other? It's such a complicated pairing that it's difficult to get into words, you could write essays upon essays and still not touch on the indefinable quality of how they are drawn to each other, how they know each other, but how they only have begun to know each other and there is a... shape of the person that they can almost reach, but not quite yet and... just, wow, this fic leaves me feeling like I would hold it up as the way to describe how I see these characters, that complicated, twisting, spiraling, invisible force that draws them together, yet cannot be explained, but instead must be felt. Or. In other words. "Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! ♥" (Tezuka/Fuji.)

- Prince of Tennis - ongaeshi by metempsychosis - I picked this link up from tin awhile back and it's been on my To Read list forever and I'm not sure why I didn't get around to it earlier, because it is exactly the kind of TezuFuji that makes me hum and sparkle. There's an intangible quality to the pairing that's beautifully represented here, a beautiful quality that's almost like a fable being told (which is something I often associate with Fuji), but not quite. The use of old stories in this fic is just absolutely lovely, of the woman who collected feathers or the boy with the crane with the broken wing, the way there's a deliberate obliqueness to the relationship between the characters that just nails what I love about them. It's like trying to capture water between your hands, it's cool and fluid and graceful, but cannot be held. Just... so lovely and elegant, and, god, the writing is beautiful. ♥ (Tezuka/Fuji.)

- Prince of Tennis - and He Said by spilche - I actually read this story about a year ago and, back then, it didn't really sink into me, but I've been going through my backlog a bit recently and I figured, what the hell, I'll give it a chance again. And I think my tastes for the pairing have settled a bit, I've gotten accustomed to the oblique sort of style that so often comes with this pairing, because there's something really lovely about how Tezuka and Fuji work within this kind of style. The opening paragraphs have this really gorgeous quality as Fuji's mind wanders, while you get a vague sense of the world speeding by him, there's this really cool sense of... weightlessnes that's right before you get sucked into a whirlwind, like that moment where everything slows down in a crash right before you hit the wall. It's not a style I could read for most pairings, but with TezuFuji... somehow I like it here. <3 (Tezuka/Fuji.)

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