MomoKai, PG13, 1500 words.
How to succeed at doubles.
Previous sections: One
Disclaimer: Konomi, not me.
More fic: http://prillalar.com
Thanks to kestrelsan for beta, encouragment, and sports advice.
NB: This story is completed. As it is long, I'm posting it in five chapters on successive days.
Crossposted like never before.
"Good, good," Oishi yelled across the court. "Today you're doing much--"
Momo stepped back and collided with Kaidoh.
"Watch where you're going, dumbass," Kaidoh said and shoved Momo away.
"The one who's going forward should watch out for the one who's going back," Momo said. He stepped closer to Kaidoh. The viper should be careful who he was shoving.
"Look, Oishi," Eiji said. "A walrus dominance display."
"If you weren't in the wrong place, this wouldn't happen." Kaidoh turned his back on Momo and walked to the end of the court.
"Aaagh." Momo clutched his head. "How do you remember all of this?"
"It just takes practice," Oishi said. "You two can do this. Just...well, instead of assuming that your partner is going to mess up, you should trust that he'll be in the right place."
"Sure," Momo said. Well, it wasn't like either of them were messing up on purpose. And if there was one thing he couldn't fault Kaidoh on, it was working hard. Except that Kaidoh worked too damn hard.
Momo stepped into position. All right, he couldn't let the snake show him up. He was going to get this, if it killed him.
They did a little better after that, at least well enough to stop most of Eiji's wisecracks. But Momo still felt awkward and slow. He wanted his body to just react, not to wait for his brain to work out where he was supposed to go.
"Good job, you two," Oishi said when they were done. "Keep it up and you'll get there."
"I hope so," Momo said.
"Just don't slack off," Kaidoh said, walking past.
"Hey, Mamushi," Momo said. "I'm going to slaughter you today." At least with basketball, there was no pressure to play nice with Kaidoh.
"I don't have time for that stupid game," Kaidoh said.
"Excuses, excuses," Momo said. "You can't just take one win and then quit. That's not fair."
"You're just scared you'll lose."
"Shut up!" Kaidoh pushed past Momo. "You're the one that's going to lose."
They argued all the way to the basketball courts.
The game was heated from the start. Momo got the first three baskets. Then Kaidoh made a run of five. Momo stole the ball and sank a shot from outside the three-point line. Yes! He punched the air. No way Kaidoh could top that. "I should get at least two points for that one," he said.
"You can't change the rules now," Kaidoh said. "Just because you can't win any other way." He took the ball and headed for the basket.
"Bastard," Momo said and moved in to guard him. He tried to slap the ball away, but got Kaidoh's arm instead. He moved back and jumped to take the ball out of the air when Kaidoh shot.
Momo landed with the ball and went for a bank shot. It missed and he leapt to tip it in. Kaidoh slammed into him, but Momo had already made the basket.
It ended twenty-one - eighteen for Momo. "That's more like it," Momo said. "Yesterday was just a fluke."
Kaidoh didn't answer. He was already picking up his bag, getting ready to run off. Still trying to show Momo up. Well, Momo wasn't going to let Kaidoh do that any more.
"Wait," Momo said and Kaidoh looked up. "I'm coming with you."
"You?" Kaidoh stared.
"Can't let you get ahead of me," Momo said. He tossed the ball to another group of boys and grabbed his bag. "Ready."
"You won't last," Kaidoh said. He clicked his stopwatch and started to jog. Momo caught up and they ran side by side.
After a few minutes, Momo asked, "How far are we going?"
"I'm running ten kilometres," Kaidoh said. "I don't know about you."
Ten kilometres, after a hard practice and then a basketball game. Not to mention carrying the weight of his bag. Momo wondered if this had been a good idea. Not that it was even an idea, as such. More like a whim. Or a challenge.
"If you're doing it, I'm doing it," Momo said and then he saved his breath for running. The pace wasn't too bad, he could definitely do this.
After half an hour, Momo's legs felt like limp noodles. His chest ached and his shoulder was sore from his bag. He wasn't going to give up, though. He panted, open mouthed. He thought he had a bottle of water in his bag, but he didn't know if he had the energy to get it out while they were still running.
No matter. The most important thing was that he stick it out and not let Kaidoh know how much he was suffering. It couldn't be that much longer. He could make it. He was just as tough as Kaidoh.
"How much longer?" Momo heard himself say and he could have bitten the tongue right out of his mouth. A drop of sweat rolled down between his shoulderblades.
Kaidoh looked over. "Weakling," he said. "This way." He turned a corner and in five minutes they were at the park. "Slow down," Kaidoh said and they jogged a while, then walked, then stopped.
Momo dropped onto the grass. "Stretch, you fool," Kaidoh said. Momo dragged himself to his feet and stretched. The muscles in his calves burned as he pulled them. He rummaged in his bag and found the water. He drank half of it in one long gulp.
"That wasn't so bad," Momo said. Not exactly a graceful performance on his part, but he made it. That should show Kaidoh that Momo could take just as much as Kaidoh could.
"Are you done?" Kaidoh said. "Because I'm not." He took his racquet out of his bag and began to swing it, over and over.
There was nothing for it. Momo got out his racquet and practised his swings. He could do just as many as Kaidoh. Even if his arm dropped off afterwards.
After a while, he thought it would. But Momo just kept going, breathing out a loud "ha!" with every stroke. When Kaidoh finished, Momo made himself keep going for a few more strokes, to make up for the ones he'd missed at the beginning.
Next was crunches, so many that Momo could hear his abs screaming. Then push-ups until his arms and back were ready to move on to the afterlife all on their own.
"Done?" Momo asked, without too much hope.
"Almost," Kaidoh said. Momo wondered what could possibly be left. "Shuttle runs. Three sets of fifty. Between that bench and the bush. Make sure you touch the ground at each end."
Momo groaned. He stood beside the bush. "Ready," he said. Kaidoh clicked his stopwatch and they were off.
Momo thought he was going to die. They were sprinting back and forth, bending down to the ground at either end. He had a stitch in his side, he could hardly get air into his lungs. But he couldn't stop, not in front of Kaidoh.
Kaidoh finished first. He stood and watched Momo do the last few legs, drinking water from a bottle. When Momo was done, he finished up his own water. He needed more, a lot more, but he needed to rest before he went and found some. Kaidoh sat under a tree and Momo flopped down beside him.
"So tired," Momo said. "This is it, right?"
Kaidoh pulled out his cell phone and dialed. "Inui-senpai," he said. "It's Kaidoh." Kaidoh started to read a list of times off to Inui.
Jeez, Momo thought. Maybe Inui has to get fed data every few hours or he wastes away to nothing. "Let me talk to him," he said and plucked the phone out of Kaidoh's hand.
"Hey," Kaidoh said, but it was too late.
"Inui-senpai," Momo said. "Your training menu is harsh, so harsh."
"Momoshiro?" Inui said. "What are you doing there?"
"Doubles partners always train together," Momo said.
There was silence for a moment. "I see," Inui said. "Can I talk to Kaidoh again?"
Momo passed the phone back. He put his arms behind his head and closed his eyes.
"No, senpai," Kaidoh said. "Only seven kilometers...yes, that's right."
Only seven kilometres? Kaidoh had cut the run short without saying anything? Momo felt -- Momo didn't know how to feel about that. It was odd for Kaidoh to do that, but with all the thirst and hunger and fatigue, it was difficult for Momo to make sense of anything right now.
"Tonight? Probably. I'll call you." Kaidoh put his phone away.
Momo stood up. "Water," he said.
"There's a fountain over that way." Kaidoh pointed.
"Come on, then," Momo said. He held his hand out to help Kaidoh up. Kaidoh stared at it. Momo realised what he was doing and pulled it back.
They drank water and filled their bottles and Momo let the water run over his head and neck. His hair was going to look pretty strange, but he'd have to bathe as soon as he got home anyhow.
Kaidoh picked up his bag. "Later," he said.
"Later." Momo watched him walk away. Tomorrow, Momo would run the full ten kilometers. For now, though, he was done.
Then he realised he still had to get home and his bicycle was back at school. At least Kaidoh wasn't there to hear him swear.