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FIC: After a fistful of near misses
inukai hands
prillalar wrote in inukai_exchange
Title: After a fistful of near misses
Author: alestar
Recipient: aunt_agatha
Rating: R
Wordcount: 4432
Summary: Prompts: awkwardness, real tennis, staying over, rain. Or, Five Things that totally did actually happen to Kaidoh Kaoru.

Author's notes: (1) aunt_agatha, your prompts were stirring enough to wake me from my Sherlock Holmes coma! I didn't quite make it to NC-17 on paper, but I totally did in my head, and I hope you can, too. :D (2) Unending gratitude to poilass and bookshop, who read the same 4000 words over & over again, who freaking nurture me and prevent me from writing crazy things; thank you to prillalar for both organizing this festival and reacting with grace to my lack of organizational skillz. (3) For extra imaginings, please see a photo of Inui's dorm room here (http://park.itc.u-tokyo.ac.jp/aikom/eng/images/mitaka_img_01.jpg), although certainly Inui's room has more posters and writing on the wall, and consider enjoying this song by Elton John, which seems to be about dope but is actually about Inui and Kaidoh.



1.

After a fistful of near misses, Inui tilted forward on the park bench and kissed Kaidoh Kaoru right on the mouth. Kaidoh's hand shot out to catch Inui in the chin, and then they stared at each other across the suddenly wide space between them, expressions shocked. It was the first time Inui had ever been hit in the face. He was fifteen, six feet tall, good-humored.

Birds kept singing, the sun kept shining.

Kaidoh was silent and stone-faced with shame for nearly a week, until he bowed deeply to Inui in the clubhouse and apologized. Inui apologized, as well, but then he smiled, and they didn't talk about it again for nearly four years; all that mess sank into new training menus, new video games, doubles matches and trigonometry homework, like sugar disappearing into tea, like salt into water.


2.

The morning of Hazue's first tournament match Kaidoh Kaoru threw up in an alley, although to Inui's knowledge he'd never been that nervous before any of his own games. Inui got a soda and a handful of napkins from a street stall up the road; when he got back Kaidoh was leaning against the wall at the mouth of the alley. Inui handed him the napkins without a word, then opened the soda and held it.

"There's a 90% chance that Hazue will do fine," said Inui. Kaidoh nodded. He looked tired and worried, but not embarrassed. He held out his hand for the soda. "Thank you, senpai."

When they got to the grounds, the Seishun Gakuen Regulars were gathered on the court around Rei Fujiki, their captain, looking strong and calm. Kaidoh touched the backs of his fingers to Inui's arm, and when Inui glanced over Kaidoh nodded to Echizen, who was sitting at the very top of the stands with the brim of his ballcap pulled down.

They sat a few rows below him and watched the 2nd year players take even breaths, putting their hands in the pockets of their Seigaku jerseys and pulling them out again. Inui took out a notebook. "What did Hazue have for breakfast this morning?"

"Rice, yogurt and juice," Kaidoh answered, watching Inui's pen move. He always responded diffidently to Inui's data-taking where Hazue was concerned. He nodded at all the things that Inui suggested-- and he seemed to be communicating them to Hazue, whose game improved week by week-- but it made him quiet and serious, even more quiet and serious than usual.

At first, Inui had thought maybe he didn't like it, maybe it was invasive and unwelcome, maybe he wanted to distance himself from Hazue's tennis so that what had happened to Fuji and his brother never happened to him-- but they continued to sometimes find themselves at middle school practice, and Hazue started joining them sometimes at the clay courts on weekends. For Inui, it was habitual. Then one day, after months of offering training suggestions, Kaidoh had caught Inui's wrist as Inui was flipping through Hazue's notebook and said, "Thank you."

Hazue did play well-- he was still working to perfect his Dragon Shot, a powerful can opener shot titled by Echizen, and it worked 70% of the time. When it didn't, he faulted, and each time Inui could see Kaidoh Kaoru's determination in Hazue's frame pulling loose the spasm of disappointment. Again and again, he lined up on the deuce court with his right foot against the tramline. He cut his hair shorter than Kaidoh ever did, but his face looked so much like his brother's face: strong as a reed, deadly serious.

Seigaku lost, but they all played well, and Fujiki-buchou gathered them up on the sidelines with the same pacific expression he'd had at the start of the tournament. Hazue listened to whatever his captain was telling them, staring down at the ground, and then walked off alone.

"Do you want to go talk to him?" asked Inui.

"No," said Kaidoh. They watched Echizen lope off after him.

Instead they took the train back to Inui's house, Kaidoh looking pensively out the window.

Inside Inui's door, they put their shoes in the same places as always, hung their jackets on the same hooks. Kaidoh took Inui's bag without a word and headed up to his bedroom while Inui went to the kitchen for glasses of Inui Juice. Nearly a year ago, Kaidoh had asked Inui if he could make a drink that tasted good-- and Inui had done it, as though it were a revelation, although it might have been an indulgence. Kaidoh had spent a whole evening at the table in Inui's apartment with a line of tiny paper cups and a notebook; Inui had sat across from him, frowning down at his cutting board, smears of strawberry pulp at the corner of his mouth and on the backs of his hands.

When Inui got to the bedroom, Kaidoh was sitting at his computer, clicking through the spreadsheet of Hazue's data. He had pulled off his bandana, and it sat crumpled in his lap; his hair lay flat over his forehead, threads curling over and behind his ears.

"He's strong," said Inui easily, setting down the plate of ohagi.

"I know," said Kaidoh. He moved to take a glass from Inui's hand, but his elbow caught the corner of a folder on Inui's desk, and pamphlets scattered across the floor. Inui's eyebrows lifted, and Kaidoh knelt to scoop them up: ETH Zurich, MIT, the University of Tokyo, Chalmers University of Technology.

"What is this?" Kaidoh asked. He stood up with the literature in his hands, frowning.

"I'm preparing a college list," said Inui. "I'm-- it's a list of prominent research universities from the Global Top 100."

Kaidoh nodded and flipped through the stack, brow creased, while Inui watched his face. "I've been to the courts at Tokyo University," he said slowly, after a moment. And those were all the words they exchanged on the matter.


3.

By seventeen, Kaidoh Kaoru was five feet and eight inches tall and 153 pounds. He was polite and reserved, violent, intelligent, sardonic; he loved animals and his family. By seventeen, he had developed some patience for the lowerclassmen, and the savage defensiveness of his youth had calmed into steadfastness. His tennis was powerful like Momo's, calculating like Inui's, supple like Echizen's.

Inui hadn't mentioned it after that one time, but by the time Kaidoh was seventeen, Inui had wanted him for a long time. He'd thought for years that he was also in love with Kaidoh, by virtue of his want, because he didn't know any better. He'd had nothing to compare the feeling with until Echizen's 17th birthday, when Momoshiro threw a giant party with everyone: the members of the high school team who all called Tezuka buchou, slipping thoughtlessly into it even before he was the captain again; Hazue and other younger members, who called Echizen buchou with uniform expressions of cheerful fascination; and the handful of players who still called Kaidoh buchou, including Momo, who had taken to Kaidoh's title with so much wry delight that it stuck into high school, replacing mamushi in his lexicon. They were gathered with beers in Echizen's back yard.

Momo made a joke about having so many captains in one place, and many people laughed. Kaidoh glanced over at Inui, who was standing apart so that he could watch Fuji and Echizen's father on the tennis court; Inui lifted his head in time to catch Kaidoh's tight, brief grin of joy, and then it was over, done, finished, decided, complete.


4.

The train ride from Kaidoh Kaoru's house to the Mitaka Residence Hall took 30 minutes, plus 15 minutes by bicycle from the Mitakadai station, so Kaidoh came out early in the morning on Saturday. He and Inui played tennis in the chill November air and then took turns showering in Inui's dorm room. They ate lunch, then Kaidoh sat on Inui's small bed with Inui's laptop on his knees, typing emails while Inui studied. During breaks, Inui talked about a project he was doing for his chemical engineering circle; in the evening, they went back out to the well-lit courts. They'd had the same day twenty times before.

They pulled off their sweaters and left them folded on a bench, despite the chill. They rallied unaggressively for nearly 5 minutes before Inui adjusted his swing, added topspin and sent the ball sailing into the sky.

Kaidoh took five short, controlled steps backward and sent the ball sailing back in a graceful arc, a small smile on his face. Inui returned the ball, and then Kaidoh gave it his own spin, slicing it into Inui's space. They'd had the same game two hundred times before.

Kaidoh had won that morning in a long, hard fight, but now they were leisurely; pushing forward, reacting, volleying, withdrawing. They were both strong, and for years they'd been in a feedback loop of familiarity. Inui had recorded and memorized everything about Kaidoh, and Kaidoh knew it, and Inui knew that he knew it. Kaidoh's job was to move his body in ways that didn't telegraph, and Inui's job was to tease out new reactions: Inui's engine of discovery versus Kaidoh's engine of surprise. Every set was an experiment.

Inui hit three drop shots in a row, and each time Kaidoh ran to the net to return it, twice with a lob and the third time by nudging it just over the lip of the net. Inui took a single step forward before calculating that he couldn't make it in time, and the ball rolled to his feet. It started to rain.

"0-15," he said.

Inui picked up the ball, and Kaidoh went back to center court. He bent forward, weight evenly distributed, gazing at Inui, mouth a soft downward curve. He was ready to move in any direction-- was he running mentally through Inui's gamut, as Inui did with his? Inui thought there was hardly anything he didn't know about Kaidoh. His moves, his resting heart rate, how his classes were going, what he thought about his parents, his smell, his blood type, his concerns. It was possible that Kaidoh thought that, too, about Inui-- but by now there was more to know than the tennis and the chemical engineering, more than just the data and the subjugated nervous desire and the notebooks.

Inui hit a Waterfall serve across the net. Kaidoh jumped backwards, face set, and slammed the ball forward with a backhand.

Kaidoh volleyed, and Inui lobbed, then Kaidoh lobbed. Fat pearls of rain were cracking open on the court, and Kaidoh's grey t-shirt stuck to his skin in dark splotches; he watched the ball move through the air, blinking water off his eyelashes. Inui jumped only a few steps forward and caught the lob, smashing the ball into the baseline. It bounced back three times before hitting the net.

"15-all," Inui said. He pushed the wet spikes of hair off of his forehead.

"Senpai," said Kaidoh, and he nodded past Inui. Inui followed his gaze and saw the glittering cobweb of sheet lightning. Inui looked back at Kaidoh, breathing hard, waiting for his heart rate to slow. After a moment, he nodded.

Kaidoh picked up their sweaters, but they were already soaked. They ran together back to Inui's building and exchanged wry grins with the student working the front desk, who gave Inui some extra towels. They walked toward Inui's room in silence, and Kaidoh's gait was quick and a little uneven, not with eagerness but with adrenalin.

"Kaidoh," said Inui, and Kaidoh stopped in the long, white hallway to look at him. Inui pressed two fingers against his throat and counted out his pulse. Kaidoh stood still, expression placid, blinking away the rain that fell from the long stands of his hair.

"Your heart-rate is 15% faster than normal."

Kaidoh brought his eyes up to meet Inui's but didn't offer an explanation. "Are you hungry?" asked Inui without dropping his hand. Kaidoh nodded.

Inui had juice with protein and gyoza in his kitchenette, and so he changed into dry clothes, pulling the nearly translucent white t-shirt off over his head, then set about making dinner while Kaidoh was in the shower. The dumplings were almost ready when Kaidoh emerged from the washroom wearing one of Inui's sweaters with the sleeves rucked up and a pair of his track pants.

Kaidoh had gotten a little taller over the years, and Inui hadn't, but the hem of the pants still pooled around his bare feet and the sweater was for a broader frame, however powerful Kaidoh's own frame was. Inui looked away into the pan of dumplings on the stove, mouth dry. Kaidoh in ill-fitting clothes with wet hair framing his face seemed more intimate than any of the countless other times Inui had seen Kaidoh freshly-showered. In the Seigaku clubhouse, at the gym, at tennis camp, at Kaidoh's house, at Inui's parent's house, in Inui's dorm room just this morning.

Inui poured a small bowl of chili pepper sesame oil and handed it to Kaidoh, who nodded and said, "Thank you, senpai." He sat down at Inui's desk, carefully pushing aside the stacks of books and paper with his forearm.

Inui gave him a glass of mango-flavored Inui Juice and a bowl of gyoza, and he ate his own standing up across from Kaidoh, leaned against the kitchenette counter.

He told a story about the kitchen training he'd received from his aunt the summer before moving into the dorms. He was 88% certain he'd told Kaidoh the story before, but Kaidoh listened while he ate, looking pleased and interested and warm and like the food was good. By the time Inui finished with a second helping of dumplings, Kaidoh had shared a couple of his own stories about learning to cook, one of which Inui hadn't heard before, and the rain didn't show any sign of letting up.

"You won't be able to go home in this," said Inui, running his bowl under water and looking at the window. "You should call home and see if you can stay."

When Kaidoh didn't answer, Inui glanced over his shoulder at him. He was chewing close-mouthed on a dumpling and watching Inui.

Kaidoh swallowed and said, "Is that okay?"

Inui hesitated briefly before nodding. There was only the one small bed, and it would be a tight fit, but they'd been in close quarters before. And it had been a long time since any indiscretion. He and Kaidoh were friends, maybe best friends, and old doubles partners; that his kouhai had been harboring a secret nervousness about Inui all these years was impossible. Unthinkable.

It wasn't a problem for either of them.

"If it's fine with you," said Inui, although it seemed like a weird thing to say as soon as it was out of his mouth. Kaidoh nodded slowly. He leaned across the narrow space of the room and handed Inui his bowl.

"I need to shower and check my email," Inui added, as though Kaidoh didn't normally just hang out while Inui did his thing.

"I have homework," said Kaidoh.

"Maybe I can help?" Throughout the day Kaidoh had been working on an assignment about bushido in Japanese film. Inui didn't know much about either bushido or film, but Kaidoh had the grace to shrug genially.

He got out Inui's laptop; Inui finished cleaning the dishes then ducked into the shower. Kaidoh's wet clothes were hanging over the wall of the shower, and Inui looked at them, feeling again the special ephemeral strangeness of the evening, even though everything was fine. He gingerly moved Kaidoh's t-shirt and shorts and underwear to the sink, and it occurred to Inui that he hadn't thought to give Kaidoh any underwear-- suggesting that Kaidoh currently wore none. Inui grimaced at the train of thought, but with a deep breath into the damp air, it was gone.

Inui took a long shower and let the water run tepid over his shoulders and face before stepping into dry clothes once more. He came out of the washroom with a towel around his shoulders and his folded glasses in his hand, feeling oddly self-conscious. Kaidoh glanced up from Inui's computer and watched him fill a glass with water from the sink. The digital clock on the stove said 11:48.

"Do you need the computer?" asked Kaidoh.

"No," said Inui, leaning again against the kitchenette counter. The room felt smaller than it usually did. "If you're tired, we can go to bed."

Kaidoh nodded. He closed the laptop, and Inui drained his water and switched off the overhead light, then the light over the stove, until the only light in the room was from the quad lights outside, the slow blue pulse of Inui's cellphone, an occasional flash of lightning and the tiny beads of light on each droplet on the window pane.

Inui threw back the blue bedspread and slid into bed until he hit the wall, then turned on his side. Kaidoh slid in after him and lay on his back. There was a half a foot of space between them.

"Do you need anything?" Inui asked belatedly. By accident he thought again of the underwear drying in his washroom sink.

"I'm fine, thank you, senpai." Kaidoh turned his head to look at Inui; his dark hair fanned out on the white pillowcase. Inui's head rested on his own folded arm. "Do you have enough room?"

"Yes, I'm fine." Inui smiled, though he wasn't sure Kaidoh could see it. "Good night."

Inui shut his eyes and hoped that Kaidoh was doing the same. He took a breath and released it silently to the count of five, then did the same thing again five times. A sharp itch bit suddenly at the back of one of Inui's knees, and Inui grimaced; his back was pressed against the wall, so there was no way for him to scratch his leg without sitting up. He shifted minutely, trying to scratch the back of one knee with the front of another without kicking Kaidoh. He cracked open an eye and saw that Kaidoh's head was still turned toward him, though he couldn't tell if his eyes were open. He took another slow breath.

Kaidoh sat up.

"You can't be comfortable," he said. He was looking down at Inui, and his expression was blurred in the darkness, but Inui thought he was frowning. "You can..."

Inui pushed himself up. "Are you uncomfortable?"

Closer, Inui could tell Kaidoh was scowling faintly at Inui's face. Kaidoh nodded, and Inui felt a knot of ice form in his stomach.

"I'm sorry--"

"Just lay down," Kaidoh said, and then he caught Inui off-guard by tugging his left arm and shoving at his right shoulder-- startlingly tactile for Kaidoh, who rarely willingly touched anyone else with anything but the back of his fist. Inui ended up on his back covering most of the narrow bed. Kaidoh looked down at him, and again the details of his face were obscured.

"But--"

Kaidoh lifted Inui's left arm and then startled Inui further by lowering himself into the hollow of Inui's side, resting his head on the soft plane near Inui's shoulder and settling a long, muscled arm across Inui's chest. Inui's left hand hung suspended in the air, orphaned by Kaidoh-- until finally it settled with no other options on Kaidoh's warm back, near his side, at the loose waist of Inui's track pants.

"Are you comfortable?" asked Kaidoh, voice low.

"I-- yes," Inui answered, while inwardly he struggled to acclimate; he concentrated on keeping his hand still against Kaidoh's back. What was happening? He wasn't sure whose heartbeat he was feeling or what of his heartbeat Kaidoh could feel with his head resting so near its origin. Kaidoh's hair was damp against Inui's collar and jaw. The fingers of Kaidoh's left hand curved over Inui's bicep. "Are you comfortable?"

Kaidoh braced a hand on Inui's chest and pushed himself up. "I'm a little warm," he said, and then he pulled his sweater off and threw it onto the shelf at the foot of the bed. He lay back down, Inui's hand settling against the warm bare skin of his latissimus dorsi, fingertips at the small of his back.

"Kaidoh," said Inui, possibly having a heart attack.

"Do you want me to stop?" asked Kaidoh.

It seemed like a strange question since he wasn't actively doing anything to Inui, but just as Inui opened his mouth, Kaidoh pushed a hand under the hem of Inui's sweater, pressing his palm to Inui's stomach, then up to his chest, fingers spreading out over the valley between Inui's pectoral muscles, near his heart.

"Kaidoh," Inui said again.

"Do you want me to stop?" he repeated. Maybe they would cycle through that exchange indefinitely. What were the variables? Maybe they had been cycling through it for longer than Inui knew.

There was a long, still silence until Inui said, "No," lowly, left hand rubbing up the smooth expanse of Kaidoh's back. "I don't want you to stop."

Kaidoh lifted himself up again, then down again, and he pressed his open mouth to Inui's; all of Inui's whole life quaked, backwards and forwards, and he held Kaidoh's head with both hands while they kissed. Kaidoh threw a leg over Inui's waist. Suddenly Inui could feel against his stomach the outline of Kaidoh's hard cock through the thin fabric of Inui's track pants. Inui gasped, and Kaidoh took the opportunity to lick at the slick space of Inui's open mouth, arching his back until he found Inui's own outline, arching forward against him.

"Kaidoh," Inui said again.

Kaidoh nuzzled Inui's cheek before returning to his mouth. "Inui-senpai."

Inui moved his hands from Kaidoh's hair to his waist, then he tore his mouth away from Kaidoh's, tilting his chin back, hands gripping spasmodically at the fabric of his pants.

Kaidoh leaned back and sat down on Inui's hips, pressing their erections together, maybe deliberately, though otherwise he just looked down at Inui, breathing hard.

Inui ran his hands up Kaidoh's thighs, which tightened in response on either side of Inui's hips. His heart was punching hard against his chest.

"What is this?" he asked.

Inui could see Kaidoh's jaw clench even in the dimness, even without his glasses. He shifted on Inui's hips-- it was definitely deliberate. "I want you," he said quietly.

Inui exhaled in a rush. "Since when?"

Kaidoh hissed and looked away. He pulled his hand out from under Inui's shirt, but Inui caught it in his own. "Kaidoh-- since when?"

Kaidoh frowned, watching Inui's hand on his own hand on Inui's pale stomach. He lifted his eyes back to Inui's face. "Always."

"No, but you--" Maybe Kaidoh was cracking from the strain of studying for entrance exams. Inui was his smart, accomplished gay best friend who attended a prestigious college. Inui shook his head, baffled. "Why now?"

"I didn't know," said Kaidoh, voice strained. His gaze slid away again. "We were riding the train to Shibuya, it wasn't. A year ago." Kaidoh shook his head, and the savage scowl on his face looked disconcertingly familiar, so like Kaidoh, even though Kaidoh was straddling Inui's hips, glaring in the direction of Inui's beating heart, long muscled chest lit in yellow from the street light, and Inui had been wanting to touch him forever.

Kaidoh knotted a hand in the long strands of his own hair-- Inui was suddenly struck by terror that Kaidoh would leave, give up and swing his leg over Inui and run away, maybe punch him again-- but by now they had known each other for a long time. Where would he run to? Kaidoh was eighteen; he'd recovered from a thousand losses and a thousand wins; he was a handsome gay tennis star on the brink of adulthood. He let go of his hair. He bowed his head and said, "I realized. I don't know why not before. I love you."

"Oh," said Inui. So much for his engine of discovery.

Kaidoh leaned forward over Inui's stomach and moved their entwined hands to the pillow next to Inui's wet head. With his other hand, he pushed up the hem of Inui's sweater to the armpits, nearly to his collar bone, and leaned forward. He was looking at Inui's naked face, but what he saw there, Inui had no idea. Kaidoh's knees spread out on either side of him, digging into the bedspread. Inui clearly did not know everything about Kaidoh, but he knew he was-- flexible.


5.

Keio University hosts the 152nd Keio Challenger International Tennis Tournament the following November, and Inui takes the train over with a whole group of University of Tokyo students. It's a big game, and it's the first time Inui has seen Kaidoh in three weeks, though they've talked by phone and texted.

The Keio team is gathered in the sidelines in red crew-neck tops under solid white jerseys. Kaidoh leans against the wall with his hands in his pockets looking calm and attentive, and people in the stands around Inui wave giant Keio flags.

Kaidoh only plays one match before he's rotated out, but that's more than most Freshmen get, and he wins; for a moment before hitting an ace Kaidoh is standing with bent knees, hair falling forward, ball resting lightly against the throat of his racket, and everyone is watching.

Inui meets him afterwards outside the gate. Kaidoh greets him with a flat hand against his waist, and Inui gives him a bottle of water, grinning.

"Thank you, senpai."

"You played well." Inui watches the muscles of Kaidoh's throat as he swallows. Kaidoh hands the water back to Inui, then pulls a bandana out of the pocket of his jersey and wipes tiredly at his face.

"How long do you have for lunch," Inui asks.

"An hour."

"It's 2.8 minutes to Mitarashi." They usually go to the Mitarashi dango stand, but it's on the opposite side of the campus from the tennis courts, further away than the cafeteria. The estimated travel time accounts for several shortcuts, the average length of their strides, probable energy levels, Kaidoh's adrenalin and campus traffic. There is always new data.

"It's 5.7 minutes to my room," says Kaidoh, a corner of his mouth twisting up.

Inui nods, and his smile shines. It's true.

  • 1
I very much enjoyed this. It's lovely.

I'm so glad you did, thank you. :D

I. Oh. God. I have this stupid grin on my face and am sitting here thinking to myself how bizarre it is that the day I tell myself I need to catch up on the exchange is the day that this shows up. I am indescribably happy and think it's really hilarious that it turned out to be you writing for me. I'm just lucky, I guess!

I don't know how any comment can do this justice, so I'M JUST GOING TO RAMBLE. Things I loved about this were the inclusion of Hazue (which I have discovered I'm unexpectedly fond of in the days since my signup), Kaidoh's solemn thank you, the fact that he hit Inui and then apologized ♥__♥, the revelation that perhaps juice could taste good(!), Inui not even being certain for a while if what he felt was love (why is he so adorable?), their quietly domestic routines together, Kaidoh taking the initiative after all that time WAHHHH, 5.7 MINUTES TO MY ROOM GSDJHGSKJGJSK. And GOD, I just wanted to wrap Inui up when he was about to have a heart attack. Kaidoh is so quietly seductive and only he can get away with being that adorably earnest about how he feels! There are just no characters like them, and you flipping nailed it right up. The vibe of this was utterly perfect and completely IC and HOW MUCH DO I LOVE THAT KAIDOH GOES TO KEIO. I think that's unbearably cute for some reason. Sigh.

To sum it all up, THANK YOU SO INCREDIBLY MUCH AND YOU HAVE MADE MY WEEKEND AND BEYOND. ♥ to the 99th, my friend.

Ahahah, yes!! You liked it even though there was no explicit rimming!! I'm so glad-- I'm also glad that it's out there, and now I can friend you without fear of revealing myself as your writer-person; your lj banner and title have become, like, hypnotic to me. ♥

Lol thanks!! If that's a good thing, I mean. Heh. Man, I'm so sorry I didn't friend you sooner for easier stalking!

God, this fic was perfect for me. I cannot thank you enough!!!

This is just wonderful! I really, really enjoyed reading this :)

Thank you so much! I really enjoying writing it, especially the adjectives. Also your icon is adorable. :)

This is lovely -- the slow progression and the way they always fit into each other's lives. The UST was delicious and of course Kaidoh knows what he wants. And the description of the tennis was *fantastic*.

I enjoyed reading this so much! ♥

Thank you, friend! I'm so glad! It turns out it's really hard to write tennis without being repetitive and using the words hit and return and ball over and over again. and it's hard to write Inukai without using the words frown and hands and strong over and over again. So hottt.

Ohhhhhh man this was AWESOME! I've been behind on this fest all week but when I saw this one posted today I knew I'd have to start with it and work my way backwards. Brilliant, brilliant; I love fics that explore what happens when one of them figures things out before the other one, and you developed that really well. I especially liked how Inui was just willing to suffer and keep being Kaidoh's best friend and actively WOULDN'T LET HIMSELF think maybe Kaidoh reciprocated the feelings, even after Kaidoh was probably making it super obvious. Also, this:

Maybe they would cycle through that exchange indefinitely. What were the variables? Maybe they had been cycling through it for longer than Inui knew.

It's so them, it just sums up their whole relationship perfectly. Loved it! ♥

I loved the degree of intimacy developed between them even before when the "real" intimacy began.
Written with a nice pace and it's been a while I've seen detailed tennis gaming.
Of course, Hazue's inclusion was enjoyable as well, as your future setting.
Thanks a lot for sharing your work!

I love the sense of time passed in this - the way they've grown into themselves and each other.

Oh, this was lovely (and hot!), how Inui always knew and Kaidoh didn't until suddenly he did. ♥

Very enjoyable story! Thank you for posting. :)

I haven't had time all weekend to read this, so I am finally reading it after finishing all my homework. Awesome fic to reward myself with.

Oddly enough, when I reached the part where Inui saw it was 11:48, it was 11:59 on my end and I was crazily thinking how "OMG THIS JUST HAPPENED". (Ignore me for I'm insane.) What happened after that... I felt like I was having a heart attack too. Kaidoh making the first move... fdklfl;kdjlfkj! *heart was about to explode*

I love how their relationship is here, when they just sort of mention something but don't bring anything up for years and year and before they knew it, it just hits them so hard. YES.

Much love to you and this fic.

"It's 5.7 minutes to my room," says Kaidoh, a corner of his mouth twisting up.

KAIDOH IS SO HOT.

:::beams at you:::

There's so many reasons I love this fic -- from the clear, easy writing to the subtle and masterful characterization, to the way they don't really talk about their feelings just like boys really don't. I have to tell you, I really want to see the waterfall serve and Hazue's dragon shot now. :-D The fumbling awkwardness in bed... just perfect. And Kaidoh, at the end, saying it was 5.7 minutes from his house? *dies dies dies* That's a genius move better than anything Marui has to offer. :-D It's a well done, beautiful fic!

This is awesome and beautiful. I love, love the slow progression, how neither of them were really certain until they were. The tennis was great, and the whole bed scene was perfect (and maybe the hottest thing I've ever read). I'm not sure I can really get across how much I love this fic - it just captures Inui and Kaidoh, this is absolutely how they should be. I love this. Love it.

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