Sitting On A Log
InuKai, PG13, 1100 words.
Inui, Kaidoh, moon, and stars.
NB: I couldn't figure out if there was a particular Japanese idiom for earthshine so I just went with the one I knew.
Sitting On A Log
Inui needed more time. The training camp was generating so much new data on all the regulars, he was having trouble keeping up with his analyses. And when there was a free moment, the noise of so many boys at close quarters made it hard to think.
So he had gone outside, behind the cabin, and found a log to sit on. He balanced his notebook on his knee and scribbled figures and graphs while he tried to remember everything about the day. It was difficult to observe properly while participating.
Kawamura had made some gains in muscle strength. Inui flipped to the notes he had made earlier in the week and estimated the difference between then and now.
Oishi's overall confidence about the team had improved. That was harder to fit into Inui's calculations than physical data, but it was still important to consider. Morale would always affect the odds of winning.
Fuji's data were always hard to capture, but he was definitely working on both strength and dexterity.
Someone touched Inui's shoulder and Inui looked up. Kaidoh.
"Senpai, it's too dark out here to write."
Inui looked back down at the page and suddenly it was. He didn't know how he could see so clearly one moment and the next strain to read the letters on the page. "You're right," he said. The sun was gone and the sky was fading into purple.
Kaidoh sat down beside him and the log rocked a little. Inui reached into his pocket and pulled out a penlight. He switched it on and kept working on his entry. But now he needed a third hand to keep the notebook still.
"Will you hold this?" he said to Kaidoh and handed him the light.
Kaidoh took it and switched it off. Inui stared at him. He could still make out Kaidoh's features, but the colour was leaching from the world now, and it gave Kaidoh a muddy look. "You should take a break," Kaidoh said and rolled the penlight between his palms.
"This from you," Inui said and smiled. "You would never stop training if I didn't make you."
"But I listen to your advice," Kaidoh said. "You should do the same."
"We're not training now," Inui said. "So I am resting."
"Your brain needs rest too," Kaidoh said.
"As your senpai, I suppose it's my duty to obey you," Inui said.
"I didn't mean--"
"No, you're right." Inui took the light from Kaidoh and put it back in his jacket pocket, along with his pen. He stowed his notebook as well. "I should relax a little. Sometimes it's hard for me to sleep at night when I've got data on my mind."
Kaidoh didn't answer and Inui fell silent. The sky was almost black now. Away from the city lights, the stars were like a spill of dust on a dark cloth. It made Inui wish he could come back with a telescope, to take a closer look, to chart the constellations and learn their names.
For now, though, it was fine to just sit here with Kaidoh, listening to each other's breathing and the sounds of the night. They hadn't been able to spend much time together at the camp and none alone.
Inui hadn't quite realised how much he missed it.
It hadn't been that long since they had progressed to this particular stage of intimacy. Four weeks next Tuesday, to be precise. Inui still wasn't sure just exactly how to classify their situation. There were no confessions or protestations on either side, no talk of feelings, almost no acknowledgement that there even was a situation. There were touches though, and embraces, and kisses. Every time, Inui wanted more and more.
He supposed it could just be that, an adolescent physical thing. And there was nothing wrong with that. But Inui sensed that there was something else beneath it all, at least for him, something that could be messy and turbulent and exciting. He didn't have time to think about that right now.
Right now he wasn't supposed to be thinking at all.
The crescent moon was high in the sky and earthshine faintly illuminated the rest of its face, like the new moon was cradling the old moon in his arms. Right now it was hard to believe it was a ball of rock like this one, that men had walked there. It seemed so far away.
Inui wasn't sitting very near to Kaidoh and he wondered if he should move over. Before he could, the log shifted and Kaidoh's hand closed over his own. Inui was surprised. This was the first time Kaidoh had done that. He always responded to Inui's touches. When kissed, he would kiss back, often enthusiastically. But he had never reached out on his own. Inui turned his hand and linked their fingers together.
He stroked his thumb along Kaidoh's. "Do you know any of the stars, Kaidoh?" he said. "I've never had a chance to learn them."
"No," Kaidoh said. "I don't. Not in summer."
"That's unfortunate," Inui said. "I was hoping you could instruct me."
"I'm sorry," Kaidoh muttered and Inui wished he could see Kaidoh's face.
"Another time, then," Inui said. "We can learn them together." He squeezed Kaidoh's hand and Kaidoh squeezed back. It sent a little thrill rippling through Inui.
Inui wanted to be closer to Kaidoh now, to kiss his temple, to touch his hair, to slide a hand up the back of his shirt and count the vertebrae one by one. But they weren't really alone, not here. Someone could come around the corner with a flashlight or a lamp. And while Inui thought he wouldn't care if anyone knew, he didn't think it was the same for Kaidoh.
So he just held Kaidoh's hand and looked at the moon and the stars.
"Inui-senpai," Kaidoh said, then stopped.
"What is it?"
"Do you want to ... go for a walk?"
Inui smiled to himself. They wouldn't have to go very far before they were a lot more alone than they were here on this log. But it was probably late. He checked his watch. The face glowed in the darkness, a small full moon.
"We have time," Inui said.
"Thank you, senpai." Kaidoh stood. Inui let Kaidoh pull him to his feet. They stood close to each other and, for a moment, Inui thought he would kiss Kaidoh right there. But he didn't.
"You lead," Inui said. "I'll follow."
"All right," Kaidoh said.
And they walked off hand in hand, into the night.