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FIC: Like, So Mature
inukai hands
prillalar wrote in inukai_exchange
Title: Like, So Mature
Author: marksykins
Recipient: venivincere
Rating: G
Wordcount: 5465
Summary: Kaidoh goes on a double date, and he's not that thrilled with it.

Author's notes: This is the G-est of G-rated fics. I hope you like your gift, Veni!


"You're going down, Mamushi, just you watch!"

Kaidoh smashed the ball back over the net, not exactly aiming for Momoshiro's face but figuring if it hit his fat mouth that was a bonus. But Momoshiro just jumped back and returned it. They'd been rallying back and forth for awhile now, enough that a small crowd had started gathering around them, but they had to play on the public courts if they wanted to play at all. It was strange being a first year all over again and having to collect balls and run sprints and not get the same court time that they used to get in middle school. Kaidoh had been captain last year and now he had to pay his dues all over again. But he was willing because he knew that if he kept it up he'd make the regulars soon. None of the third years really gave him much competition. Not him or Momoshiro really, as Momoshiro returned another shot.

But when they got to 4-all, Momoshiro's phone started ringing. At first, Kaidoh didn't even realize it was his phone because his ringtone was some shoujo anime theme, something about love and flowers and peaches. Momoshiro went red when the song got louder, but he still ran over to answer it and let Kaidoh have the point.

Momoshiro never let Kaidoh have the point. Something was weird. Kaidoh jogged over to the other side of the court.

"No, Riko-chan, of course I didn't forget! I was just finishing up a game," Momoshiro said. "Yes, I know that our three-and-a-half week anniversary is important, really important. I'm on my way, I swear." He paused. "Fine, I'll shower first." Then he hung up, and rolled his eyes up at Kaidoh and shrugged, like what are you going to do?

Kaidoh raised his eyebrows.

"That was my girlfriend," Momoshiro said needlessly. "I was supposed to meet up with her a half hour ago."

"Then why are you still here?"

Momoshiro laughed. "Because you're harder to beat than I expected. Asshole."

"You're the asshole," Kaidoh said. He wasn't the one who'd stood up a girl for tennis.

"Just you wait," Momoshiro said, like he was reading Kaidoh's thoughts. He picked up his bag and slung a friendly arm around Kaidoh's shoulders. "When you have a girlfriend, you'll see."

Kaidoh could feel his face getting hot, but he just shrugged Momoshiro off.

"Oh come on, don't be like that. It's high school! Everyone dates around in high school, it's not my fault you're too immature to realize that."

"Did you just call me immature?" Kaidoh asked.

"Uh, which one of us has the girlfriend?" Momoshiro pointed out. "Yeah, thought so. Though Riko-chan has a ton of cute friends. Maybe she could set you up with one of them."

"No."

"Aw, but it's a genius idea, totally genius. Riko and I are going out on Saturday night already. She can invite one of her cute friends, and you get a girlfriend like a normal guy."

Kaidoh didn't think he wasn't a normal guy just because he didn't have a girlfriend. Most of his time was already taken up with school and tennis and training, and besides he'd never given girls serious thought before. Of course, what Momoshiro thought was normal was almost definitely wrong because the idiot was wrong about everything. But before Kaidoh could say all of that, Momoshiro was jogging away and calling over his shoulder, "Saturday, Mamushi! You're going on a double date and you're going to like it. Kissing is so great!"

Kaidoh nearly tripped over his own feet.

+

The next day Kaidoh managed to not see Momoshiro for most of the day and he'd nearly forgotten the entire date threat by the time tennis practice rolled around. However, Momoshiro apparently hadn't.

"It's all arranged," Momoshiro said, plopping down on a bench next to where Kaidoh was tying his shoes.

Kaidoh straightened up after he was finished messing with his laces and asked, "What's all arranged?"

"The date!"

"Date?" someone else asked.

Kaidoh closed his eyes and shook his head. It was like Inui had some sixth sense that told him whenever there was dating gossip.

"Oh hey, Inui-senpai," Momoshiro said. "Where did you come from?"

"I've been here the entire time," Inui said, pushing up his glasses.

Momoshiro shrunk away in fear.

"Momoshiro is an idiot," Kaidoh explained. He wasn't really scared by Inui just appearing places anymore; he had three years experience with it now, which lessened the impact.

"Hey, I am not!" Momoshiro protested. "Inui-senpai, I'm doing Mamushi a favor and this is how he repays me! We're in high school now and he doesn't have a girlfriend, so I set him up with one of my girlfriend's cute friends. And trust me, Ami-chan is really cute." He held out his hands about a foot from his chest. Kaidoh wanted to die. "If I didn't already have Riko, I'd ask Ami-chan out in a second, no hesitation at all."

"Are you done now?" Kaidoh asked.

Momoshiro glanced from Kaidoh to Inui and nodded earnestly. "Saturday, 7:30pm in front of the dessert place that sells the good milk tea with the jelly stuff." Kaidoh shot him a confused look and Momoshiro sighed heavily. "Hopeless. I'll text you the address, okay? And wear something nice and take your dumb bandana off. Girls don't like that stuff." He ran off before Kaidoh could ask him what that was supposed to mean.

"Are you all right?" Inui asked, sitting down next to Kaidoh. Their knees bumped together.

Kaidoh nodded, then shook his head.

Inui laughed. "Well, that's certainly definitive."

"Momoshiro's stupid," Kaidoh grumbled. "I don't even want to go to this, but it would be rude to cancel now that his girlfriend arranged everything. It's not her fault she's dating an idiot."

"Well," Inui said, "it's not like you have to think of it as a double date if you don't want to."

Kaidoh raised his eyebrows.

"Not that I'd consider myself an expert in male-female relations, but boys and girls can just be friends. Maybe you can think of Riko-chan's friend as your friend and then just have fun together. I know you know how to have fun."

"Yeah," Kaidoh agreed, nodding slowly. "That's good advice, senpai." He smiled a little. "Then maybe Momoshiro will forget I'm the only freak in high school who hasn't had a girlfriend."

"You're certainly not alone there."

"No?"

Inui knocked his shoulder against Kaidoh's. With other people, Kaidoh might be tempted to punch them for being so familiar, but when it came to Inui, he just wanted to lean closer. It was weird. "Well, last I checked, I was in high school," Inui said, getting to his feet again. "I know it's hard to remember sometimes."

Kaidoh stared. "I'm sorry, senpai, I didn't--"

"You don't need to apologize," he said, offering Kaidoh a hand up. "Maybe I could let Momoshiro set me up with one of his girlfriend's friends, too."

"Don't do that," Kaidoh replied, alarmed.

Inui laughed again. "Okay, then let's go practice instead. If we go now, it will take eighteen minutes for the third years to notice that I'm playing a first year."

Play time on the high school courts? Kaidoh was halfway to the door before he realized it and he even smiled at Inui before they went outside.

+

The night of the date (or friend thing that Momoshiro set up, not that he was Kaidoh's friend) Kaidoh tried to dress nicely, but he was still messing with his hair as he was getting ready to leave. He thought he probably needed a haircut because it kept falling into his eyes, but it wasn't like he had time for that now. Kaidoh pulled uselessly at the ends of his hair.

His mother walked into the front hall and smiled widely at him. She was clutching a camera; Kaidoh eyed it warily. She knew where he was going, of course, and he knew she only brought that out when she wanted to fill up their scrapbooks with things like Kaoru's first haircut and Hazue's first day at school. "My baby's grown into such a handsome young man," she said, and Kaidoh could feel himself blushing.

"It's nothing," he said, telling his mother the same thing he'd been telling himself all day. "It's just a bunch of friends hanging out."

"Girl friends," his mother insisted. Kaidoh really didn't see the big deal. Girls were all right and Kaidoh didn't mind the idea of being friends with them, but everyone acted like it was such a huge deal and it made Kaidoh really nervous. It shouldn't be a big deal. People were people.

"It's nothing," he repeated, leaning in to kiss his mother's cheek. "I won't be back too late." He managed to grab his jacket and jam his feet into his shoes just in time to escape his mother's camera.

+

Kaidoh got lost twice trying to follow Momoshiro's garbled text messages directing him to their meeting place and vowed to look things up on his own if this ever happened again (not that it would ever happen again), but he still arrived on time. Momoshiro and Riko were already standing outside, and Momoshiro waved as soon as he spotted Kaidoh.

"Hey, Mamushi."

"Don't call me that," Kaidoh said automatically. It was probably rude since he'd never formally met Momoshiro's girlfriend before, but he didn't want anyone new thinking that was his nickname.

Momoshiro slung an arm around Riko's shoulders, like he always did after practice. Kaidoh thought he was too familiar with everyone. "This is my Riko-chan. Isn't she beautiful? I'm the luckiest guy in the world!"

Riko laughed and rolled her eyes. "You're embarrassing me. It's nice to meet you, Kaidoh-kun."

"You, too," Kaidoh grunted feeling awkward and awful. They were obviously still waiting for Riko's friend, but Kaidoh had no idea what they should talk about in the meantime. He and Momoshiro mostly talked about tennis, though sometimes they talked about those rescue dog television shows. Kaidoh liked those because the animals were cute and brave. Maybe Riko liked them, too. Just as he was about to open his mouth to ask, Riko's phone jangled in her hand.

"Oh, it's Ami," she said, looking at her screen. "Maybe she's lost. I don't know why you picked this place, Takeshi. It's in the middle of nowhere. Everyone always gets lost." Kaidoh liked her more already.

"Because the drinks are delicious and they have huge desserts!" Momoshiro said, but Riko had already walked a little bit away and was talking too low for Kaidoh to make out. "Isn't she the cutest?" asked Momoshiro.

"She seems nice," Kaidoh said truthfully.

Riko came back a minute later, a regretful expression on her face. "Ami-chan's not lost," she said. "Her grandfather is in the hospital and she can't make it tonight."

"Oh, that's too bad," said Kaidoh, instantly relieved. Not that Ami's grandfather was in the hospital, of course, but that the date-not-date-friend-thing wasn't happening. "It's all right, though; I don't want to be a bother. You guys have fun on your date and we'll do this some other time." He turned to walk away but Momoshiro caught him by the shirt sleeve. "What?"

Riko was watching him with big eyes. "We made you come out all this way. It wouldn't be fair just to send you home! You should come out with us anyway. It'll be fun, won't it, Takeshi?" She nudged Momoshiro in the ribs.

Momoshiro was glancing from Kaidoh to Riko like he knew exactly what each of them was thinking, and knew that it wasn't the same thing. In the end, love won out. "It'll be a ton of fun, Mamushi. You don't want to go back yet."

"It's really not that far," Kaidoh insisted. Momoshiro knew how much Kaidoh ran every day. Walking back home was nothing. Still, Riko kept shaking her head and Momoshiro wouldn't let go of Kaidoh's sleeve, and Kaidoh started to see why Momoshiro was so quick to give into his girlfriend's demands. She was very persuasive and saying no to her made him feel bad in the guilty way that usually meant he had to miss a family member's birthday for a tennis match. Kaidoh's shoulders slumped. He didn't give up easily, but he knew when he was beaten even if he didn't really know the rules to this game.

"I'll buy you a milk tea," Momoshiro said by way of apology. Kaidoh didn't really like sweet drinks much.

When they went inside and got a table, Kaidoh sitting awkwardly alone across from Momoshiro and Riko, his phone started ringing. He privately wished for his own family emergency -- nothing major, maybe a tiny fire in the kitchen or a little flood in the bathroom. But it was just Inui.

"Senpai?"

"Hello, Kaidoh," Inui said. "Did I call at a bad time?"

"No," Kaidoh said, twisting in his chair so he didn't have to talk with Momoshiro and Riko staring at him. "Did you need something?" Not that Kaidoh wasn't grateful for the distraction, but he knew that Inui knew about the double date he was going on and it wasn't like he had any way of knowing about Ami-chan's emergency. Maybe Inui had just gotten the dates mixed up, no matter how unlikely Kaidoh thought that was.

"Nothing, actually." Inui laughed a little. "You don't have to pretend you're not busy. I know that you're out with Momoshiro's friends right now, but I thought I would provide a convenient excuse just in case you wanted to make up a reason to leave."

Kaidoh smiled a little. "That wouldn't be very like me."

"No, I suppose not," Inui said. "I'll let you go then."

"Don't," Kaidoh blurted. "Uhm. One of the girls couldn't make it, so there are only three of us here."

Inui made a humming noise into the phone. "Not Momoshiro's girlfriend, I take it."

"No, senpai."

"Are you sure you don't need rescuing?"

"Yeah. I mean, it's fine. Everything's good."

"You're at the restaurant that specializes in the big desserts, aren't you? The tucked out of the way place where Momoshiro spends at least half of his allowance?"

Kaidoh wasn't sure how Inui knew that. He didn't remember saying that's where they were going, but Inui had a way of knowing that kind of thing. Inui also had a way of keeping tabs on the places where Kaidoh would be.

Inui also just walked through the door. Kaidoh heard a click of the call disconnecting just as he watched Inui tuck his phone into his back pocket. He looked at his own phone in befuddlement.

"Ah, Kaidoh, Momoshiro," Inui said, walking right up to their table like he hadn't just been talking on the phone to Kaidoh, something that didn't go unnoticed by Momoshiro, who pointed from Kaidoh to Inui and then back again, spluttering, "I thought you were just talking to him!"

Kaidoh shrugged.

Inui said, "I see you only have three people to your party. Odd numbers are bad luck. Who knows what kind of devastation this could cause? War, famine, pollution, maybe even death."

"Inui-senpai," Momoshiro said slowly, "would you, uh, want to join us?"

"Oh, what a wonderful idea," Inui said. He took the seat next to Kaidoh and smiled across the table. "I know Momoshiro and Kaidoh, of course," he said, peering over the top of his glasses, "but I don't think I've ever had the pleasure of meeting this lovely young lady."

Riko giggled and shoved Momoshiro's shoulder. "Introduce us, Takeshi."

The expression on Momoshiro's face almost made Kaidoh burst out laughing, but he settled for biting his lip and looking down at his lap. Momoshiro looked torn between fear of Inui and jealousy at his girlfriend's reaction. "This is my girlfriend, Riko-chan," he said with considerably less enthusiasm than when he'd introduced her to Kaidoh. "My girlfriend," he stressed. "And this is Inui-senpai. He makes weird juices -- uh, great juices," he corrected hastily, "and he helps us a lot with our tennis. Especially Mamushi."

Kaidoh blushed a little at that. He hated how quickly his face always heated up, especially once he caught Riko giving him a considering look.

"I do play favorites a little," Inui admitted. "Not that I don't believe Momoshiro shows promise, but his training methods aren't quite in line with mine. Kaidoh and I get along a lot more easily. We're both committed to relentlessly pursuing what we want."

Kaidoh made the mistake of glancing Inui's way at that, only to find Inui looking back at him. He didn't know why he was so surprised to find that to be the case. Inui was always looking at him and Kaidoh had caught him at it more times than he could count.

Inui tilted his head and gestured at Kaidoh's drink. "What's that you're drinking?"

"Green tea and tapioca," Kaidoh said, cringing at the expected lecture about needing more vitamins and protein powder and potentially Inui breaking out a blender from somewhere, but all Inui said was, "Can I have a sip?" Kaidoh was too surprised to do anything but nod and agree, even though that meant Inui was sharing Kaidoh's straw.

After they finished up their drinks, and Momoshiro ate more sugar than any one person should in a lifetime, they decided to play miniature golf because there was a rooftop course nearby and they could walk pretty easily. When Momoshiro and Riko walked ahead, Kaidoh hung back and walked with Inui. He knew there was something a little weird about him tagging along on the date still, but it didn't feel quite as awkward with Inui there, too. Though that was a little weird, too, just in a different way.

"We should split into teams for mini-golf," Inui said. "I've been working on an algorithm that's ninety-eight percent unbeatable. I'll be sure to get a hole-in-one every time."

"Is this like your bowling data?" Kaidoh asked. "I remember you saying that was foolproof, too."

Inui sniffed disdainfully. "That's nothing like this."

"Sure, senpai," Kaidoh said. "Maybe I should ask Riko-chan to team up with me and leave you with Momoshiro. I feel more secure in her abilities."

"Don't do that," Inui said. He just barely touched Kaidoh's elbow and didn't say anything else.

Kaidoh shrugged. "Okay. I wouldn't want to saddle you with Momoshiro anyway. She's the one who decided to date the idiot, and now she'll have to live with her choices."

"Momoshiro isn't an idiot," Inui said, but he was laughing anyway.

The course was set up like any other miniature golf course Kaidoh had seen, which admittedly wasn't too many. But there were eighteen holes and a whole lot of different traps. The man working behind the counter seemed pretty bored when he gave them their balls and clubs, but he did let Inui change to a green ball when he said it was his lucky color.

They split into teams, like Inui had suggested, and two things became immediately apparent: one, Inui's golf algorithm worked about as well as his bowling algorithm and two, Riko was some sort of miniature golf ringer. It kind of sucked since that meant Inui and Kaidoh kept getting way higher scores than Momoshiro and Riko, and the one thing Kaidoh always hated was losing to Momoshiro, if only because he'd be bragging about it for a month, but Inui was relaxed and chatty, and he kept leaning into speak into Kaidoh's ear to make him laugh. It didn't really matter that his team was about twenty strokes above par all through the game; he was having ten times more fun than he'd expected to have that night.

Right after they'd played through the last hole and watched their balls disappear into the return, Riko's phone started to ring again.

"Oh, it's Ami-chan again!" she said and walked away a few steps to answer.

"That's the other girl who was supposed to come with us tonight," Kaidoh told Inui. "Something happened with her grandfather." Inui nodded.

When Riko returned a few minutes later, she was all smiles and she squeezed Momoshiro's hand excitedly. "Ami's grandfather is fine. He just fell outside of her grandparents' house and he's in his seventies so they wanted to make sure everything was okay. He's bruised but not badly hurt."

"That's great news!" Momoshiro said.

"Isn't it?" Riko agreed. "Kaidoh-kun, she wanted me to apologize to you, too, and says she'd be happy to reschedule tonight sometime soon."

"That's sounds great," Kaidoh gritted out, the worry and embarrassment that he'd had earlier flooding back to him in an instant. The more he thought about it, the less he wanted to do this, single date or double date or two-hundred people date. Maybe he just wasn't ready, no matter how stupid Momoshiro thought that was.

"Next week, just you wait," Momoshiro said, punching Kaidoh's arm. Kaidoh punched him back harder than he usually would have. "Ow!" Momoshiro complained. "That hurt."

Inui gripped Kaidoh's shoulder. "Come on, I'll walk you home."

Kaidoh was pretty grumpy on the walk back, which Inui seemed to pick up on because he didn't really rattle on the way he normally did when they were alone together, instead just shoving his hands into his jeans' pockets and walking side-by-side with Kaidoh. It was kind of nice that Inui didn't press him to tell him what was wrong, even if that was probably because Inui had already halfway guessed. When they got back to Kaidoh's house, Inui just patted him on the arm.

"I'm sorry for being so quiet on the walk home," Kaidoh said just before he headed inside. "Thanks for coming out tonight, senpai. It wouldn't have been as nice a night without you there."

Inui smiled a little at that. "I could say the same for any event that you attend," he said, and Kaidoh wondered why his stomach went a little fuzzy at that. That couldn't possibly be a normal reaction. "I'll speak to you soon?"

"Sure, senpai," Kaidoh said and went inside.

+

Kaidoh didn't really stop to talk to his family when he got inside, especially since both of his parents were looking at him with knowing expressions. His dad even wiggled his eyebrows at him, though suggesting what, Kaidoh wasn't sure. Instead, he went straight up to his room and then into bed, where he spent a very long time tossing and turning and getting tangled up in his blankets while staring up at the ceiling.

He wasn't sure why he was still so jumbled up. He'd gone out, he'd even had a good time, but the second he realized that the double date was still on, he froze up. Kaidoh growled to himself and flipped over to punch his pillow. It would be so much easier if he were just normal and excited about things like dates with girls. Momoshiro made it look so easy, with his arm around Riko-chan and his excitement over her phone calls and visits. Kaidoh didn't really get like that over anything other than tennis.

But that was something to look forward to; usually on Sundays, Inui would call him up for a run and then they'd go and play a match or two. Inui even did that the entire year he was in high school while Kaidoh was still in middle school, and Sunday became Kaidoh's favorite day of the week when he realized that Inui wasn't about to stop helping Kaidoh just because he was older and went to another school. It made Kaidoh feel relaxed in a way that he usually didn't, knowing there was someone to depend on. It was like how he'd relaxed as soon as Inui showed up that night, and that didn't even have anything to do with tennis. It was just nice how Inui could be counted on, and it was really nice that Inui seemed as interested in Kaidoh as Kaidoh was in him. The warm, fuzzy feeling in Kaidoh's stomach came back the more he thought about Inui.

Kaidoh sat up in bed. "Oh," he said out loud, like one word was the only thing that could properly convey the weight of his revelation. "Oh," he said again. Then, "Shit."

Okay, maybe two words could get the point across.

"Shit, shit, shit."

Kaidoh didn't think he'd be getting to sleep too easily that night.

+

Kaidoh did nod off eventually, though that was only after a lot of time spent blinking into the darkness and freaking out. In the end, it was only because he absolutely couldn't keep his eyes open anymore that he slept.

Now that he'd figured it out, though, a lot of things started to make sense. Like how he never seemed to notice the girls in his class. Like how he never noticed anyone if Inui was around. Before he'd thought maybe that it was just how Inui was, that anyone around him would just get sucked up into his orbit, like tiny little planets circling a juice-bearing sun, but the more Kaidoh thought about it, the more he realized that not everyone reacted like that to Inui. Momoshiro didn't. Tezuka definitely didn't. Fuji acted like Inui was a particularly interesting curiosity sometimes, but he reacted to everyone that way.

It was just Kaidoh who was the weirdo then. But the more he thought about how he was caught up in Inui's gravitational pull, the more he realized he wasn't alone. Kaidoh wasn't stupid. It wasn't Kaidoh who came after Inui first. It wasn't Kaidoh who offered to help Inui, who tried to train Inui to surpass him, who kept his relationship with Inui up after school separated them.

So. Maybe it wasn't hopeless. Or maybe Kaidoh was just so hopeful that what he felt was returned that he was making something from nothing. But then he thought about how Inui had called just to check in, how he'd shown up minutes after Kaidoh told him how the date-or-whatever wasn't going well, and how Inui had turned something awkward into something that wasn't, not even a little bit. Kaidoh thought about how happy Inui got whenever Kaidoh was happy and felt very sure that whatever it was that he was feeling, he wasn't alone. And that thought made him brave.

+

At ten o'clock, just after Kaidoh's family had finished breakfast and had spent time together as a family, the phone started ringing. Like clockwork. All of Kaidoh's family looked at him, and he went into the other room to answer it.

"Hello?" Kaidoh said.

"Good morning, Kaidoh," Inui said, his voice warm. Kaidoh felt this weird shiver run from his shoulders all the way down his spine, until he was sure it was zipping out through his toes.

"Senpai," he replied, very proud that his voice didn't shake at all.

"I know we were out somewhat late yesterday evening, but I was hoping that wouldn't put you off from our usual run and game," Inui said. Kaidoh wasn't sure about it, but he thought he could detect some nervousness in Inui's voice. Inui was as nervous as he was! He didn't know why he didn't notice it before; maybe it was just that he didn't know to look for it, like when you learn a new song and suddenly you hear that song everywhere.

"I'm not busy, senpai."

"Good!" Inui sounded relieved, and that made Kaidoh feel relieved. It was one big circle of relief, or maybe it couldn't be a circle with only two people. A line of relief.

"Should I meet you at the park?" Kaidoh prompted a few seconds later when Inui didn't say anything more. He was humming a little, though, which Kaidoh took as a good sign.

"Oh! Yes, the park. I'll meet you at our usual place at our usual time."

"It's a date," Kaidoh said, and hung up immediately. He stared at the phone in its receiver for a moment, disbelieving that those words had actually come out of his mouth.

+

Inui was already stretching by a tree when Kaidoh showed up. He smiled widely at Kaidoh, and Kaidoh felt himself smile back. All the muscles in his face felt weirdly stretched; Kaidoh didn't smile much but when he did, a lot of it was directed at Inui.

"Do you want to run first or play a match first?" Inui asked.

Of course Kaidoh wanted to play first. Tennis was always fun; jogging was just a means to an end. "Run."

They did their run together, Inui deliberately keeping the same pace even when Kaidoh wanted to speed things up. Inui always did that, saying speeding up might make them get to their destination faster, but it could wind up hurting more than helping. Kaidoh always kept that in mind when he ran by himself. After, they played their match, and Kaidoh felt fast and light on his feet. Their games were always close, and this was no different. Inui also seemed really happy about something, and he kept smiling and mumbling to himself whenever he took a point. Hell, he was even smiling and mumbling to himself whenever Kaidoh took a point. In the end, Kaidoh wound up winning, 7-6, but it was a pretty hard match just for a Sunday practice.

Inui walked up to the net and held out his hand to shake. That was too serious, too, but Inui waited there so Kaidoh went up and took his hand. "You'll be a regular in no time," Inui said. His glasses had slipped down his nose from the sweat of their game, and Kaidoh could see Inui's eyes. "I have no doubt about that in my mind."

"Thank you, senpai," Kaidoh said. He felt himself blush. It was embarrassing.

After they gathered up all their gear, Kaidoh realized he didn't want to leave. It made no sense; he was hot and tired and really needed a shower, but he just wanted to spend more time with Inui. It didn't even matter that they'd seen each other so often.

"Senpai?" Kaidoh said, just as Inui finished zipping up his racquet.

"Yes, Kaidoh?"

"Last night." Kaidoh paused, searching for the right words. "Did you have fun?" When he looked over, Inui was looking back at him, but he didn't answer right away. Maybe he was searching for the right words, too.

Eventually, Inui said, "I always have a good time when we spend time together."

Kaidoh looked down. He didn't think he'd have the courage to say the next part while Inui was looking at him, and even while staring hard at his bag sitting on the bench, he still said all in a rush, "Would you like to do that again sometime, only without Momoshiro and his girlfriend?"

Inui took a long time to answer again. In fact, Inui took long enough to answer that Kaidoh managed to gather enough courage to look at him again. At least, he didn't think Inui would be mean when he turned Kaidoh down and it'd be polite to face him when he did it. But Inui was just staring at him, his mouth a little bit open, like he couldn't believe what Kaidoh had just said.

"Yes," Inui blurted suddenly, the word spitting out on an exhalation of air. "Yes, I'd love that."

Kaidoh bit his lip and looked down at his feet. He felt warm all over in a way that had nothing to do with the sun or their game. "Good," he said.

+

Momoshiro came up to Kaidoh in the halls after classes on Monday, clapping him hard on the back and rubbing Kaidoh's hair. Jerk.

"So, Riko-chan and I were talking about our next double date with you, and I think we should go to the skating rink. We can race on the ice! I'll beat you, I totally will."

"No, thanks," Kaidoh said.

Momoshiro made a surprised noise. "No skating? Well, how about go-karts? But no crashing your car into mine!"

Kaidoh shook his head. "No double dates at all. I don't want to. Stop being annoying." Then he shook Momoshiro off and started walking away.

"God, you can be such a baby, Mamushi! So immature."

Kaidoh ignored him. He could have stayed and fought, but he was supposed to meet Inui in front of the second-years' building and that seemed more important.

Inui grinned and waved when he spotted Kaidoh, and Kaidoh's stomach flipped at the sight of him and he sped up so he could get there faster. He wasn't sure, but he thought that meant he was growing up.

  • 1
That was so adorable! Most of the time, I read it with a big wide smile :D

Thank you! That's what I was aiming for. :D

This fic is so amazingly adorable, made me all warm and fuzzy inside :') ♥

InuKai is pretty much the big old teddy bear of Tenipuri ships. ♥

AHHHH MY HEART JUST SHATTERED FROM CUTENESS. ♥

So in love with this. And it had me loling throughout, god.


"I've been here the entire time," Inui said, pushing up his glasses.

OH INUI.

"Well, last I checked, I was in high school," Inui said, getting to his feet again. "I know it's hard to remember sometimes."

Oh my god adorable. ♥

I love how Inui just SHOWS UP AT THE DATE (oh my god such a creep Inui) and TAKES A SIP OF KAIDOH'S BUBBLE TEA and plays mini-golf with him and makes it so that Kaidoh doesn't even mind losing because he's so in love. Oh oh oh. And then KAIDOH BEING THE ONE TO KIND OF ASK INUI ON A DATE. Too perfect, you rock. :)

OK, yeah, what she said, too, because I could go on and on about how there's something wonderful and awesome in each paragraph, but I really am at work and I'll get fired if I don't actually do any of it and keymash, instead. ♥

YOU KNOW HE'S GOING TO DO THAT. The whole time, I was like, oh god it's good Kaidoh likes Inui so much because no matter what he does in his life, Inui's going to be right there. Hovering.

I love you, Linds. :DDDDD

Marks, why, why, why do I have to be at work right now??? Well, never mind, I'm just going to have to take some time to tell you how much I am in love with this fic! Total keymashy love !!!!111!!11!1!!! :-D

First, Momoshiro. He's such a jerk. :-p In that adorable really-big-older-puppy-who-still-thinks-he's-small-and-cute-if-he's-even-thinking-about-it-at-all kind of way. I think Riko's the perfect person to be holding his collar. :-D

Oh, Inui. So conciliatory. So touchy-feely. When he grabbed Kaidoh's shoulder to walk him home, I almost swooned. He's always looking out for Kaidoh, isn't he? *floats* And it's so obvious that he adores Kaidoh. It's really very sweet. :-)

And Kaidoh! I love the way he works out in bits and pieces how Inui must feel about him, and how he gradually comes to terms with his feelings, and how "gradual" becomes exponentially quicker the closer he gets to understanding. His reaction is priceless, too. I can just see him sitting there, so buoyant with wonder that all he can say is "Oh," then boom! The bubble bursts and we see him recogize what a terrifying drop it is: "shit." Ahaha. I'll say. :-D

I love that, after his realization about Inui, he's suddenly stronger. Strong enough to tell Momo to take a hike, anyway, even if he isn't strong enough to avoid Inui's gravitational pull. :-D

Marks, this whole fic... it's just perfect. I love it to smithereens. Thank you so much!!! :-D


Momo's my favorite jerk. :D

Avoiding Inui's gravitational pull is, like, impossible. It's like the earth trying to run away from the sun.

YOU'RE WELCOME. It was a joy getting to write for someone I like so much. :DDD

So awesome :). Kaidoh's realization was adorable, and oh, Inui: "Yes," Inui blurted suddenly, the word spitting out on an exhalation of air. "Yes, I'd love that." ♥♥

And I love it when Momo gets a girlfriend :).

Thank you!! They're my favorites ever, especially when they're a bit clueless.

Ugh, me too. Momo would be the best boyfriend to any girl with a sense of humor. And who doesn't want to ever finish her food.

Awesome with a side of awesomesauce! They are just so cute and sweet I almost can't deal. I loved the double-date plot and I am always, always filled with joy when there are side-pairings with girls. I loved the mutual nervousness and the way they came together without having to really say anything about it. Oh, boys!


Thank you!! :DDD They always bring out the cavity-inducing sweetness in me. And I love writing girls into side pairings so much.

♥!

I love this so much! I caught myself smiling at certain places, especially when it involved Inui showing up all of a sudden. XD It's just so like him. I loved how Kaidoh had a kind of epiphany regarding his feelings about Inui and he asked Inui out on a date in a roundabout way. T-T And I could feel how tense Inui seemed to be, and it was especially awesome that we don't really feel that until after Kaidoh realized his feelings and started to notice Inui more. *flails*

Thank you~!

:D Inui is such a precious weirdo, no one can resist him. Thank you for reading. ♥

You write the sweetest InuKai dates! And I love how Kaidoh says "It's a date" right before hanging the phone, very much like Inui did in JH.

Momo was kind of lame (perhaps due to teenage love?), but I enjoyed the double-date plot all the same, and was happy with how everything developed and turned out, and so many, many little details. :D

("War, famine, pollution, maybe even death." ...Riding motorbikes on the way to apocalypse? :D)

Hee, thank you. ♥ Like I told Hal, they bring out the sugary-sweetness in me.

Momo will wise up in a couple of months once he realizes he likes being under his lady's thumb, and he'll stop thinking everyone needs that.

(EXACTLY.)

Thanks, sweetie! :D I love that Fuji icon, so I'm glad I gave you an excuse to use it. ♥

Oh, my goodness. This was ADORABLE.

Oh so cute :) Very good story. Thank you for sharing!

Thank you for reading! ♥

"Yes, I know that our three-and-a-half week anniversary is important, really important.

Yeah, that relationship is gonna last (but god, I love how Momo seems to creep into every InuKai story ;}).

It was like Inui had some sixth sense that told him whenever there was dating gossip.

I am prepared to believe this is true! *Of course* Inui is a huge gossip, and calls it 'collecting data'. But he is still the best senpai! He gives good advice and makes things better and is generally adorable and lovely. I love that he doesn't get jealous of Kaidoh's attempts at 'dating', either.

He wasn't really scared by Inui just appearing places anymore; he had three years experience with it now

Was that a deliberate Horio reference? Because I giggled madly.

Momoshiro was glancing from Kaidoh to Riko like he knew exactly what each of them was thinking, and knew that it wasn't the same thing.

It was one big circle of relief, or maybe it couldn't be a circle with only two people. A line of relief.


OK I'm sorry, I have to go to bed and stop quoting every line in the story. But I just about *could*! I enjoyed this immensely.

Three years' lurking experience!

Hee, yes, deliberate Horio reference. :D

I'm love when people pick out the quotes they like, so don't apologize! Thank you for reading. I'm really glad you liked it. ♥

Oh my gosh, this is so adorable and good. Their love is natural and easy and soothing and nice. :) I had so many favorite lines, but poilass already quoted them all, and her comment is right above mine, so it would be weird if I requoted them. See above for details.

Heee, duly noted. I'm really glad you liked it, though! Thanks for reading and commenting. ♥

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