Journeys End by Halrloprillalar
Prince of Tennis. MomoKai. Futurefic, NC17, 1300 words.
Some things are never over.
Classes are over for the day. Kaidoh sits down on a bench in the courtyard and organizes his notes. He doesn't look up when someone sits down next to him. There is so much he has to memorize, he doesn't know when he will get it all done.
"Kaidoh." And then Kaidoh does look up.
"Momoshiro." It has been at least five years since they last met, at some high school tennis tournament, but Kaidoh would have known Momoshiro anywhere. He still has the same spiky hair, the same dumb grin.
"Aren't you going to say more than that?" Momoshiro claps Kaidoh on the shoulder.
"How have you been?" It's an odd feeling, seeing Momoshiro again like this. In junior high, they fought a lot and fooled around a little. It's hard to know what they could have to say to one another now.
"Good, good. I've been working in Yokohama for the last few years, but I got promoted and I'm back in Tokyo now. So I thought I'd look you up. Your mother told me where to find you." Momoshiro's eyes are opened wide and he hasn't stopped smiling.
"Congratulations on your promotion."
"I'm sure I'll screw up soon," Momoshiro says and his grin gets even wider. "And how about you? What are you studying?"
"Pre-med. My third year."
Momoshiro laughs. "It's hard to imagine you doing something so studious."
Sometimes it's difficult for Kaidoh to imagine it too, even now. For so long, he thought he would be playing tennis, would become a pro. An injury in his second year of high school made that impossible. So he got over the disappointment and switched into the track club and made other plans for his life. Good plans.
But even now he can feel the moment when the muscles tore, the pain so intense he swayed and fell to the ground. Nobody had to tell him. He knew then that it was over.
"I know," Kaidoh says. "But I like it."
"Do you still play?"
"A little," Kaidoh says. "For fun." He looks at Momoshiro and it's like he's being pulled back in time, to all the games they played. The ones against each other, where they pushed each other as far as they could go and fought for every point like two dogs over a bone. And the ones where they were on the same side of the court, still pushing each other to be stronger, to be better.
"Do you want to play now?" Momoshiro says.
Twenty minutes later, they are in a hotel room and Kaidoh is pulling Momoshiro's shirt over his head. They roll around the bed, still half-dressed, losing a belt, a sock with every kiss.
Kaidoh has been with a few people over the years. A girlfriend for four months in high school, until he had to admit to himself that girls were just not an option for him. A classmate in his first year of university, not a relationship as such, but sex now and again, when they could find the time. A friend of a friend, an older man who got far too attached to Kaidoh and still calls him sometimes, late at night and drunk.
Right now, though, it's like none of that ever happened. It's like he and Momoshiro are hiding in a utility room at school or behind some trees in the park at night, sucking face and pawing at each other. That same frightened insistence of adolescence, that shocking realization that they could feel that good.
Only now they know what they're doing.
Momoshiro runs his hand through Kaidoh's hair. "Your hair is still too long," he says. "You look like a girl."
And Kaidoh hisses, a habit he thought was long broken. "Shut up," he says. "You're the girl." And he rolls Momoshiro beneath him.
"Mamushi," Momoshiro says and laughs. Kaidoh kisses him to shut him up. They are naked now, finally, and Momoshiro's hands are on Kaidoh's arms, his back, his buttocks, pressing their bodies closer together.
It's impossible to shut Momoshiro up for long. Kaidoh bends over him and sucks him off. Kaidoh shouldn't, not without a condom, but he does, and Momoshiro makes so much noise that Kaidoh thinks someone will complain.
"Shut up," he says when he's done and Momoshiro just laughs at him some more.
Kaidoh is surprised how happy that makes him. He lies down on top of Momoshiro and presses his cock tight against Momoshiro's hipbone. He starts to thrust. Momoshiro kisses him, fucking Kaidoh's mouth with his tongue.
Now Kaidoh can feel the cord that joins them chest to chest, stretched out so thin for years that it was hardly there, but now thick and strong and pulling them even closer. Now Kaidoh is thinking about him and Momoshiro together in a tiny flat, barely enough room to turn around in, arguing because Kaidoh has to study biochemistry and Momoshiro wants to watch TV. And then lying down together, Kaidoh holding his hand over Momoshiro's mouth so the neighbours can't hear him when he comes.
Kaidoh is about to come. He thrusts harder, it's a little sore, but not too much. He reaches out, finds Momoshiro's hand. He links their fingers together.
That's when he feels it, just as he's coming, just as he's turning inside out and sideways, there on Momoshiro's finger. The ring.
He rolls off of Momoshiro and curls up on his side. Momoshiro spoons up behind him, the jizz on his belly smearing onto Kaidoh's back. He puts his arm around Kaidoh's chest and, for a moment, Kaidoh lets him, lets Momoshiro nuzzle Kaidoh's hair and lick his earlobe.
"Ten minutes," Momoshiro says. "Let's go again."
Kaidoh pushes Momoshiro off and sits up. He grabs Momoshiro's wrist. "This," he says, holding up Momoshiro's hand. "What is this?"
"Oh," Momoshiro says and looks down for a moment. "Mariko," he says. "I work for her father." He looks at Kaidoh and, for once, he's not grinning like a fool. "You'd like her, she's really nice and fun. Come over for dinner next week, after we're settled in."
"Get out," Kaidoh says. He feels dizzy now, like he's going to black out.
"It's all right," Momoshiro says. He touches Kaidoh's arm. "It won't be a problem."
Kaidoh shakes him off. "Get out," he says again. If Momoshiro doesn't get away from him soon, Kaidoh is going to hit him.
Momoshiro climbs out of bed, wiping at his stomach with the sheet. "I should have known you'd be this way," he says, pulling on his clothes. Kaidoh watches him. There's a long scratch on Momoshiro's thigh that wasn't there before. Kaidoh wonders if Mariko is really as understanding as Momoshiro seems to think. "You always were unreasonable," Momoshiro says.
Kaidoh doesn't take the bait. He's learned some self-control, at least.
Momoshiro takes a card out of his pocket and writes something on it. "Really," he says, and looks at Kaidoh. "It's fine."
There's a long moment when neither of them can seem to look away. Then Momoshiro leaves and Kaidoh is alone.
He punches the pillow. Then he gets up and picks up the card. It's Momoshiro's business card. On the back is scrawled his private mobile number and a sketch of something Kaidoh can't identify.
There's an ashtray and a pack of matches on the table. Kaidoh lights a match and watches it burn away, dropping it just as the flame reaches his fingers. He lights another one and sets the card on fire, watching the numbers, the drawing blacken and curl, then disappear entirely.
Kaidoh lies back on the bed. He has hours of studying ahead of him. He needs to get dressed and go home, open his books, start working. But he just lies there. He can remember every digit of the phone number.
His arm starts to hurt.
ETA: I've written up some of my thoughts about the characterization in this story.