Prince of Tennis, various and sundry pairings, PG, 2200 words.
People are behaving oddly and Momo can't figure out why.
[ also posted to tenipuri_yaoi ]
"So you're a tennis player?" Momoshiro's mother's friend said. "So is my nephew."
"I'm sure he's a good player," Momo said politely. His mother's friend had brought over a box of tasty manju for them. Also, she was hot, at least for someone old.
"I know you would get along really well." She rummaged in her purse for her mobile and read off the nephew's number to Momo.
He wrote it down and put the paper into his wallet. To be polite. Then he ate the last three manju.
"Thank you so much," the cute girl said, smoothing her long hair back over her shoulders. "I thought I would never get Tama-chan down from the tree."
"No problem." Momo grinned. "No problem at all."
"You're from Seigaku, right?" the cuter girl said. Her hair was short and bouncy and swung around her face as she talked.
"Sure am." This was going so well. Climb a tree, save a cat, meet some girls. Momo wondered if he had enough money to treat them to ice cream or something. Or maybe they would offer to treat him, since he had saved the cat and all. In fact, there was a crepe stand just down the block.
"You're so strong." The cute girl felt Momo's biceps and Momo flexed for her. "You must be on a sports team."
"Basketball, I bet," the cuter girl said. "Or football."
"Tennis," Momo said. "I'm a tournament player too."
"Oh, tennis." The cute girl let go Momo's arm. "Well, work hard." She scooped up her cat. "I have to take Tama-chan home."
Momo thought maybe the cuter girl would stay, but they both waved at him and left. They bent their heads together as they walked and Momo just barely heard the cuter one say, "He doesn't look like a tennis player."
What was that supposed to mean?
"The tennis club party is Saturday evening, so keep yourselves free," Oishi said. "You should bring a partner, from Seigaku or another school."
Momo loved parties. He figured he would ask Noriko from his class to go with him.
"Your partner should be a tennis player--"
Not Noriko, then. But Tachibana Ann was a tennis player and really cute. She would go with him. Probably.
"--and, of course, a boy. All right, dismissed."
Okay, not Ann then. Who could he-- Momo stopped walking just before he smacked into the gate. A boy? What was that all about?
Maybe they couldn't get permission for a mixed party. Lack of chaperons or something. It was kind of weird.
"I hope everyone has their partners fixed up for tomorrow." Oishi smiled. "I know the evening will be a big success."
Partners! Momo smacked his fist into his palm. He had forgotten all about it. He was still hazy on why he needed one. Probably there were competitions, like a three-legged race or ping-pong or something.
If there was a competition, Momo wanted to win. "Hey, Echizen." He threw Echizen's jacket and hit him in the head. "Let's team up for the party. I'll give you a ride."
Echizen pulled the jacket off his face. "I'm going with buchou," he said. "Don't throw things at me."
There went first place. Well, it wasn't that important to win as long as he had fun, right? And what if there were a strength contest, like who could lift the heaviest boxes? Echizen was a shrimp and Tezuka had skinny arms.
Momo caught Kawamura by the elbow as he was leaving the court. "Taka-san, do you want to be my partner for this thing on Saturday?"
Kawamura frowned. "Oh, Momo. I'm really sorry. I'm already going with Fuji." He put his hand on Momo's shoulder. "Are you going to be okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine." Was he looking pale or something? He went into the club room and checked himself in the mirror. A little sweaty, but not pale or sick.
But he still had to find a partner for this stupid party.
Maybe Eiji-senpai. But when Momo turned around, Eiji was hugging Oishi around the neck and suggesting they wear matching outfits on Saturday. "But we don't have matching outfits," Oishi said.
"Then we'll go shopping now!"
Momo got changed and jogged out to his bicycle. He'd forgotten to see if Echizen wanted to go get a snack, but it wouldn't take long to catch up with him. He rounded the corner and smacked right into someone who was rounding in the opposite direction. Momo bounced back and fell on his ass.
"Watch out, idiot." Kaidoh loomed over Momo.
"Watch out yourself, you stupid snake." Why was Momo the only one to fall? He jumped to his feet. "You're always in my way."
"You're the one in my way." Kaidoh glared. "I can't believe I have to play doubles with you."
"Well, I can't believe I have to play doubles with you." Momo glared back. Stupid Kaidoh always ragging on Momo.
"I don't have time to argue with a dumbass." Kaidoh turned to leave.
Still, they were a really good doubles pair. Even Tezuka said so. "Hey, Mamushi."
Kaidoh spun around. "What do you want now?"
On the other hand, Kaidoh was a jerk. "Nothing."
"There must be something. Or are you just being an idiot?"
"Asshole." Why was Kaidoh always so damn annoying? "I just thought...we could go to that party together." And now Kaidoh would yell at Momo and Momo would yell at Kaidoh and maybe they would fight and Momo would miss Echizen altogether.
Kaidoh didn't yell. His mouth opened a little, but no sound came out, not even a hiss. And his face got red, like he had a fever. Momo wondered what Kawamura would say if he saw him. It must be shock. "Are you okay?"
"I--" Kaidoh swallowed. "I can't." He looked down and hissed. "I--" Then he ran, leaving Momo to wonder what the hell that was all about.
This party had everyone acting really strange.
Momo waited by the school gates, looking at everyone who went past.
After an hour on the phone, he had ruled out Arai, Ikeda, and the rest of the second years. Even Horio was already going with someone.
In the end, Momo had fished out the number of his mother's friend's nephew and invited him. Hopefully, he would turn out to be a cool guy. "I'll wear a pink rose," the boy had said. "So you'll recognize me."
A rose seemed odd, but at least it would stand out. Though Momo had already seen a few guys wearing flowers on their lapels. It seemed overly dressy for a sports party, but Momo was beginning to wish he had spent more time on his own outfit.
It was fifteen minutes before a pink rose floated into view. "Am I late?" a voice purred and Momo looked up into a face he knew.
"I thought I recognized your voice on the phone, Momoshiro-kun." Mizuki smoothed the lapels of his dark blue jacket. "I'm so pleased that you invited me."
"My pleasure," Momo mumbled. Mizuki. Of all the guys Momo would have picked to hang out with, well, Mizuki wasn't really on the list. But he did have a lot of data on the Seigaku players and he was a skilled athlete. So at least they'd have a good chance at winning the contests.
"Shall we go in?" Mizuki took hold of Momo's arm, which was also odd. Maybe he was worried about tripping over something in the dark.
As they got closer to the gym, Momo could hear music, muted, then louder. Karaoke would be fun, Momo thought, and he opened the door.
There was no ping pong. There was no three-legged race. There was no karaoke.
People were dancing.
Boys were dancing. Boys were dancing with other boys.
Kawamura and Fuji were dancing, Fuji well and Kawamura badly. Oishi and Eiji were dancing. With their arms around each other. And Horio and that little kid from Yamabuki. Horio!
Echizen wasn't dancing, but he and Tezuka were sitting together and Tezuka had his hand on Echizen's back. Echizen leaned up and whispered something into Tezuka's ear. Whatever it was, it made Tezuka smile.
The room was spinning around Momo, the music, the boys, the utter insane freakiness, and he was rooted to the floor, dizzy and unbelieving. Maybe this wasn't real. Maybe he was dreaming.
"Shall we dance?" Mizuki said and grabbed Momo's ass.
Momo yelled. People turned to stare. He yelled again. He wasn't sure he would be able to stop yelling. Then somebody hit him across the face and he managed it.
"Get Inui." Oishi took Momo's shoulders and steered him to a chair. Momo sat down hard. "He'll know what to do."
They were in a circle around him, Oishi and Eiji, Fuji and Kawamura, Tezuka and Echizen. Somebody was missing. Momo couldn't figure out who.
"What's the matter?" The circle parted to let in Inui. Who was holding hands. With Kaidoh.
Momo yelled again.
"Momoshiro!" Inui shook him. "What is it? What's wrong?"
"You...all of you." Momo waved his hands in the air. "You're all...you're all gay!"
"Of course," Inui said.
"But how can you all be gay? Everybody can't be gay." Even Inui wasn't making any sense. This was like that movie where aliens took over people one by one until only one real person was left. And then they all came after him.
"Momo," Oishi said. "Do you mean you're not gay?"
"Why would I be gay? Why would all of you be gay?" Momo felt like he might yell again.
"While only 8.2% of the general population are gay," Inui said, "100% of tennis players are gay. Therefore, you are gay."
"I'm not gay! I like women! You know, women, with the boobs and the--"
"Say, Inui," Fuji said. "If Momo isn't gay, why didn't you know about it?"
Inui looked embarrassed. "I just assumed. There was no reason to suppose otherwise."
Gay. All the tennis players were gay. It did explain a few things, like why Kawamura had been so concerned when he turned Momo down and why Atobe had tried to kiss Momo that time in his limo. And why Kaidoh... Momo looked over at him. Kaidoh got red in the face and turned away.
"Oishi," Tezuka said. "What do the rules say about this?"
"Well..." Oishi glanced at Momo, then looked away. "He'll probably be disqualified."
"What?" Momo screamed.
"I think he might need a bit of time," Fuji said. Everyone moved away, whispering to each other, and Momo sat alone, staring out at the gay tennis player dance party.
Mizuki was across the room, chatting up Arai.
Momo went outside. The night air was cool and there weren't any dancing couples to confuse him. What was he going to do? There wasn't anything really wrong with being gay, but this seemed excessive. And Momo wasn't gay.
"Here." Fuji sat down and handed Momo a glass of punch. "It's a big shock for you."
Momo nodded and drank. The punch was sweet and fizzy and he drained the glass quickly. "I guess I'll have to join another club."
"Do you want to do that?"
Momo imagined himself playing basketball or soccer. He would enjoy that. But then he thought about never playing tennis again. He loved the feel of the racquet in his hand, the tension when he hit the ball, the rush of a match. He loved to run, to jump, to smash.
"I want to play tennis." Maybe he could just play at street tennis. But when word got around, would anyone play with him? "I could, I don't know, dress like a girl and join their team. Since they probably like girls."
Fuji chuckled. "I think they'd notice." He stood. "Just listen to your heart. I think you'll find the answer."
Momo put his head in his hands. He thought about all the matches he had played, the wins, the losses. The way it felt to stand on the court, opponent across from him. The way a good game could make him so happy that he had to shout.
He loved tennis. More than anything. And if he couldn't play, he'd die.
When he came back into the gym, people stared. Momo ignored them. He marched up to Mizuki, who had Kachiro backed into a corner. "Let's dance," he said, and pulled Mizuki out onto the floor.
Everyone clapped. Fuji caught his eye and smiled. And Momo danced.
It wasn't so bad. Dancing was fun. Mizuki was good at it. And he was kind of cute, even if he didn't have boobs. Other boys asked Momo to dance and he stayed on the floor most of the night. Even the slow dances went okay, although Oishi looked put out when Eiji stole a kiss.
Momo relaxed. He could do this. And he could keep playing tennis. Everything was all right now, everything was good.
Except for the way Inui kept looking at Kaidoh.