In Your Shoes
Prince of Tennis, InuKai, PG, 360 words.
Written in a leisurely 50 minutes for the temps_mort Feet, Socks, Shoes challenge.
In Your Shoes
"Why don't you wear socks, Kaidoh?" Inui says one day at practice. He already has all the facts on Kaidoh; lately he's been trying find out the reasons.
"My shoes fit better," Kaidoh says and Inui thinks the question amuses him, though Inui has asked him stranger things. "With socks, they slide around on my feet."
Inui nods and for the rest of the afternoon, he watches Kaidoh's feet as they move across the courts: starting, stopping, running, twisting. Can he feel the court better without an extra layer of material in the way? Are his arches getting enough support like this? Does it make his calves look bigger to have his ankles bare?
Later, in the park, Inui looks again. He takes Kaidoh's ankles in his hands and his fingers wrap all the way around. "Your shoes will rub against your toenails," he says.
"They don't," Kaidoh says and a breeze blows a leaf down into his lap. He brushes it away.
"You'll get blisters."
"I have calluses." Kaidoh is watching Inui like a cat watches another cat, still and attentive from his heavy-lidded eyes.
"Let me see," Inui says and he unlaces Kaidoh's shoe. Kaidoh leans forward and unties the other one and they pull them off together.
Inui has Kaidoh's foot in his hand and he traces the tanline, curving below the ankle like a thin, pale slipper. He touches the calluses on the sole, the heel, the toes. And, oh god, he smells the smell.
There must be quite the look on Inui's face, because it makes Kaidoh laugh, a low, rumbling chuckle, and that doesn't happen very often.
"Yes," Inui says, "that's another reason you should wear socks."
"My mother won't let me keep my tennis shoes inside the house," Kaidoh says. Then he kisses Inui and that doesn't happen very often either. Inui still has Kaidoh's foot in his hand, but it slips from his grasp as Kaidoh pulls him down to lie on the grass.
Inui puts his arms around Kaidoh and opens his mouth under the kiss. They are stretched out together, Kaidoh's leg across Inui's, and Inui wishes now his own feet were bare.