MomoKai, PG13, 1800 words.
How to succeed at doubles.
Previous sections: One, Two
Disclaimer: Konomi, not me.
More fic: http://prillalar.com
NB: This story is completed. As it is long, I'm posting it in five chapters on successive days.
Crossposted like a virgin.
Doubles practice went better over the next few days. Momo still had to think about the formations, but it was starting to make sense to him, at least. And, it seemed, to Kaidoh as well.
They kept playing basketball every day. Momo was learning Kaidoh's moves, making it more and more difficult for Kaidoh to score. But that cut both ways and the games were long and hard, impossible to predict who would win.
By Friday, Momo was up one game. "I'll win tomorrow too," he said. "And then you'll never catch me."
"You'll have to be faster for that to happen." Kaidoh got out his stopwatch. "Ready?"
"Ready," Momo said and they started their run. After that first day, Momo made sure Kaidoh took them on the full ten kilometres. He wasn't going to be coddled by Kaidoh, even though he still felt like he was going to choke and die at the seven kilometre mark.
Keep going, Momo told himself, one foot, one foot, one foot. Did Kaidoh ever feel like that? Or was this all easy for him? But if it were easy, then Kaidoh would be doing twice as much.
Momo had to admit Kaidoh's determination was admirable. If he was suffering, he never let it show on his face, not during the jog, not during the exercises, or the shuttle runs. Momo tried to be just as stoic, but it was hard for him not to just let out what he was feeling.
They finished up the last set of shuttle runs. It was a hot day and Momo felt like a scorched plant, wilting under the summer sun. "The heat makes me so tired," he said. Kaidoh was sitting under their usual tree, drinking water. Momo lay down on the grass and put his head in Kaidoh's lap.
"What are you doing?" Kaidoh said.
"Napping, napping," Momo said. He stared up through the branches of the tree. He was a bit surprised at himself -- he usually avoided being too familiar with Kaidoh.
"Lazy ass," Kaidoh said. Momo thought Kaidoh would jerk his leg away and dump Momo onto the ground, but he didn't. So Momo turned his head so he was looking out into the park, his cheek half on Kaidoh's shorts, half on Kaidoh's bare thigh. He closed his eyes.
Kaidoh's cellphone rang and Momo's head moved a bit as Kaidoh shifted to pull it out of his pocket. "This is Kaidoh...Inui-senpai...sorry, I forgot." He gave Inui the usual boring numbers. Momo yawned. "I'm sorry," Kaidoh said. "I can't. But thank you."
There was quiet for a while. An insect whined near Momo's ear. He felt Kaidoh's fingers touch his temple briefly and then the insect was gone.
"Momoshiro," Kaidoh said. "I have..." He stopped and hissed softly.
"Mmm?" Momo said. He was getting drowsy now. He wondered what Kaidoh could have. A bottle of Inui's horrible juice? A lucky charm? An incurable disease?
"I have some notes on doubles formations. I thought maybe we should go over them."
Momo yawned again. "Okay." He wondered why Kaidoh had taken so long to bring this up. Surely it would have been more helpful to read them before they spent the week practising.
"You could...come over after this."
"Okay," Momo said. "After my nap." He wondered what Kaidoh's house would be like. And how many notes there would be. And why he could see such pretty patterns on the inside of his eyelids...
Momo didn't realise he had fallen asleep until he woke up. He was still lying on the grass, still using Kaidoh's leg as his pillow. Something brushed against the back of his neck, between his collar and his hair. Maybe Kaidoh was chasing away another insect for him. But then Momo felt it again, the tips of Kaidoh's fingers stroking lightly against his skin.
It gave him a strange feeling, like the sunlight was running inside his veins now, heating his body from the inside, like there were a hundred tiny frogs in his stomach, jumping and croaking.
It made Momo want to roll over, roll up, and put his head against Kaidoh's chest and his arms around Kaidoh's waist, to hold on to him until Kaidoh put his arm around Momo's shoulders and his fingers back on Momo's neck.
It scared Momo. But even more frightening was that somehow, now, Momo had wanted to do these things to Kaidoh yesterday. And the day before. And before that. Could remember wanting to, even though he had never thought of such a thing until just now.
Momo waited, his heart thudding in his chest, until he was sure Kaidoh had taken his hand away. Then he yawned loudly and sat up, stretching. "Was I asleep long?"
"We should go," Kaidoh said. He didn't look at Momo, just pushed his things into his bag.
It wasn't far to Kaidoh's house. They didn't speak as they walked, they didn't look at each other. Except for when Momo looked at Kaidoh and Kaidoh looked away so quickly that the frogs in Momo's stomach leapt twice as high.
Kaidoh's mother told Momo he was a nice boy and asked him to stay for supper. "You and Kaoru have been working so hard," she said and smiled at him.
"Thank you," Momo said and smiled back. "I'm sorry to impose on you."
"Come on," Kaidoh said to Momo and started upstairs. "You can bathe in here. My room is over here when you're done." Kaidoh still wasn't really looking at Momo. Momo still wasn't really looking back.
When he was clean and dressed in his school uniform, Momo found his way to Kaidoh's room. "Here," Kaidoh said and handed him a glass of juice. "The notes are there." He pointed to a stack of paper on the desk, then left the room.
Momo stood in front of the mirror and messed with his hair. He kept a jar of gel in his bag, but his hair was still too wet to stand up like it was supposed to and he couldn't see anything like a hair dryer around. He combed it up with his fingers and added more gel. Not great, but it would have to do.
He picked up the notes. There were about ten pages, printed, with annotations in pen along the sides. Momo stared at the first page, but he couldn't really concentrate. Not when he was standing in Kaidoh's bedroom with frogs jumping in his stomach.
What was he going to do? Maybe he had sunstroke or something, some temporary delusion. Maybe tomorrow morning he would wake up and things would be completely back to normal. Momo took a deep breath. He just had to get through the evening looking like everything was the same as always. Just act natural, that was all.
Kaidoh came back in. He was dressed in jeans now and a green sleeveless shirt. There was a towel around his neck. He pulled it off and draped it over a chair back.
"Did you have a look?" Kaidoh said.
Momo looked at Kaidoh, at the chain around his throat, at the damp hair curling over his forehead and around his ears. Then he took two steps, wound his arm around Kaidoh's neck, and kissed him.
Kaidoh's mouth was warm, softer than Momo would have expected. His shoulders were rigid under Momo's arm. Kaidoh's lips parted slightly and now there was a cold taste of toothpaste. Momo's heart was throbbing, pumping the sunlight all through his body, down to his fingertips, down to his toes.
Then Kaidoh pushed him away. There was a smack and Momo's face was stinging.
"What are you doing?" Kaidoh said.
"Can't you tell?" Momo said. He looked in the mirror. There was a red mark on his cheek.
"How could you do that?" Kaidoh's hands were balled into fists. If they had been anywhere else, Momo knew they would have been fighting by now.
"You wanted me to do it," Momo said. Stupid jerk Kaidoh, making Momo feel this way and then pushing him away.
Kaidoh hissed at Momo. "You're sick."
"So are you."
They stared at each other and Momo didn't know if he wanted to kiss Kaidoh again or smash his face in. Neither was really an option. He picked up his bag and headed downstairs. He apologized to Kaidoh's mother and told her that his uncle and aunt had shown up unexpectedly and so his mother had called him to come home.
He wondered if she would ask Kaidoh about the mark on Momo's face after he left.
When Momo stopped to put his shoes on, he realised he still had the notes clutched in his hand. He shoved them in his bag and went home.
After supper, he lay on his bed and stared at the ceiling. He had a poster of an idol group above his bed and one corner was starting to come away. His stomach hurt now and he was madder at Kaidoh than ever. This was all his fault. Kaidoh was the one who was mauling Momo in the park.
Momo could still feel Kaidoh's fingers on the back of his neck and it made him feel funny all over again. Momo didn't think now that this was all going to be normal in the morning. Not after that kiss.
He put his arm over his eyes. Why had he done that? He hadn't meant to, his body had just moved on its own. Not that he didn't like it while he was doing it. But still. And his first kiss, too, thrown away on that damn snake.
And they still had to play doubles together. There was really no way out of that, not if Tezuka wanted them to be paired. No way short of quitting the club and Momo couldn't let Kaidoh drive him away. There was no way Momo wasn't playing tennis.
Momo took the notes out of his bag and flipped through them. The pages were dogeared and there were annotations from more than one person. Maybe these were from when Kaidoh was playing doubles with Inui.
The notes covered the basic doubles formations and some variations. Momo started reading more closely. It helped a lot to see everything laid out like this; he started to understand some things Oishi had been trying to teach them all week.
Then he came to a note in the margin that said, "Read this, Momoshiro". Beside it, the name of a variation was circled in red. Momo read it. And he started to think. This move could really work for them. Maybe they could try it tomorrow.
If Kaidoh would even talk to him. Momo turned off the lights and lay in the dark, confused and angry, until he dropped off and dreamed about frogs and walruses and a hamburger he could never quite get a bite of.