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You can call me Hal.

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PoT Fic: Up (Data Pair)
data pair
The first line of this story is a prompt someone gave me so long ago I can't remember who it was. Mystery person, thank you very much. :)

Up by Halrloprillalar / prillalar
Prince of Tennis, Inui/Yanagi, 1000 words, PG13.
Future fic. The next stage.

As ever, thanks tokestrelsan.


The first night in the new house, Renji can't sleep. He gets up and stands by the window, looking out into the unfamiliar street, watching a cat playing underneath the street light.

He's already planned his outfit for the first day, dark suit, dark tie, plain blue shirt hanging on the closet door, even though Sadaharu said the pinstripe was better.

Sadaharu turns over and the bed creaks. He curls his arm around his pillow and sucks in his breath with half a snore. Renji goes into the kitchen and makes their lunches for the next day.


"The kids are great," Sadaharu says. He eats too fast, dropping grains of rice onto the table, catching a piece of chicken just before it falls. "They're unruly but I've been reading some books on animal training."

"They're not animals." Renji loosens his tie and takes a second helping. Sadaharu's cooking is erratic. Tonight it's excellent, next week it will be terrible.

"Human beings are animals." There's a spatter of sauce on Sadaharu's shirt. "I'm going to try classical conditioning on my first class and operant conditioning on my second."

"Let me know which one works best. I'll use it on my subordinates at work." Renji says that to make Sadaharu smile. His subordinates are already well-behaved.


Renji wakes at five am. The house is grey and quiet. He makes tea and stands by the window as he drinks it. When he goes back into the bedroom to dress, Sadaharu is still asleep, the blankets twisted around him and his arm flung out over Renji's side of the bed.

Renji gets his camera and takes a picture. He prints it out and leaves it, folded, inside Sadaharu's lunch box.

He's at his desk by seven. At noon, Sadaharu emails him. Are you studying me?

Someone interrupts Renji before he can reply.


The product launch is gruelling. It's after ten before Renji makes it home. Sadaharu follows him into the bedroom.

"Was it a success?"

Renji nods. More than a success, a triumph. No less than he expects from himself. His superiors are beginning to expect the same. He hangs his suit jacket in the closet, coils his tie.

"I'm glad." Sadaharu smiles. "My day was also eventful. I'm the new advisor for the baseball club."

"Not tennis?" Renji takes off his shirt and puts it in the laundry.

"The tennis club already has an advisor. The sport isn't important. I've been researching some theories about mental preparation. That should give them an edge."

Renji crosses the room to Sadaharu. "Aim for Koushien?"

Sadaharu laughs. "I'll make you some supper."

"No," Renji says. He puts his hand on the back of Sadaharu's neck and kisses him. Sadaharu comes alive, pushes Renji back into the room, onto the bed.

They make love slowly, their bare skin sticking, pulling apart. Renji closes his eyes, arches against Sadaharu, gasps, comes. The aircon rattles and whines.

"I thought I'd fixed that," Sadaharu says.


When Renji gets back from his business trip, the house is filled with charts and papers -- baseball statistics, training plans, jotted notations -- the walls, the table, the countertop. Renji hangs his jacket on the back of a chair and washes the dishes.

There's no food, but he's not hungry. He makes a cup of tea and thinks back through his meetings until the door bangs.

"I missed you." Sadaharu smiles and adds fresh paper to the stacks. "Did the deal go through all right?"

There's a smudge of dirt on Sadaharu's face. Renji takes out his handkerchief and wipes it off. "I thought you were the advisor, not the lead-off hitter."

"These kids suck at baseball," Sadaharu says. "But they've got a lot of heart."


The laundry is just closing when Renji gets there. They don't have his order. He's about to argue when he thinks to check his messages. Sadaharu picked it up three hours ago.

The street lamp flickers beside the bar on the corner. Two crows are sitting on the roof, keeping watch. Renji takes their picture with his phone. He emails it to Sadaharu and goes inside.

Renji is on his second beer when Sadaharu arrives. "What's the occasion?"

"Laundry day," Renji says and pours out Sadaharu's beer. "How are your classes?"

"Operant conditioning is definitely the most effective technique," Sadaharu says. "And their marks are all improving."

"Cheers," Renji says and they drink until the moon rises behind the laundry.

When they come outside, the crows are on the sidewalk, fighting over a plastic bag. "Does operant conditioning work on crows?" Renji says and bumps against Sadaharu's shoulder.

"Renji." Sadaharu stops and Renji stops too, hands in his coat pockets.

"You'll never advance there, Sadaharu." The crows scream at each other and Renji wishes he had a rock to throw. "There's nowhere to go." He laughs and it sounds far away. "Not even Koushien."

Sadaharu puts his hand on Renji's back, starts them both walking again. "Up isn't the only direction," he says.


Renji has his things in the hall when Sadaharu gets home. "It's an important promotion." Renji looks Sadaharu in the eye.

"I know" is all Sadaharu says. A pen has leaked green ink onto his white shirt. He's standing very still.

"I could come up next weekend," Renji says. "No, the weekend after."

"I have a training camp."

"Sadaharu, there are other schools."

"Renji." The corners of Sadaharu's mouth twist up. "People don't change."

"Not without operant conditioning," Renji says and they stand apart, looking at each other, until Sadaharu picks up Renji's suitcase.

"Come on," he says. "You'll miss your train."


Comments of any kind are always welcome.

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Thank you so much! I think Inui will just throw himself into whatever he does, no matter what it is.

ahhhhhh domestic data pair! my life is complete!! <3<3<3 but why did that ending still make me all heart-tuggy. with the green pen and the trains and "people don't change" :( boys.

Sometimes I think they understand each other too well to be truly happy. :(

Man, it just hit me that Inui's going to be so laid-back as an adult. I mean, not that he isn't as a teenager, but even more.

This is wonderful. Kind of hurty, but not, I don't know. I have no doubt Inui's going to get those kids to Koushien.

So true! Thinking it about it makes me want Inui/Tezuka now.

Thank you. :) They'll go to Koushien and lose in the first round and Inui will take the kids out for supper after and they'll all be so psyched that they even got that far.

I am 100% supportive of your Inui/Tezuka impulses.

Man, it just hit me that Inui's going to be so laid-back as an adult.

That is an excellent observation!

HUGE Oofuri vibes from this! And I liked how you showed the differences between Inui and Renji. Oh Inui. *sighs*

Oofuri vibes of a criminal level. :) I'm glad you enjoyed it! Inui will never not be amazing.

;___; Can't these boys ever STAY together happily? (Wait, considering what I was working on today, I'm being a bit hypocritical...umm...yeah, anyway...)

It's still a good fic :)

They must be star-crossed lovers. :D


A-awwwwwwwwwww. This was...

Really, it's so very them.

Oh Inui. XD :( Oh Yanagi.

I kind of wanted to hug them both. Thank you!

Ouch. That stung. It was beautiful, but it stung. These two are just so hopeless, yet perfect at the same time. I don't know how they manage it.

Thank you so much! Maybe they're both too smart for their own good.

I still want to be optimistic. There's always a later time.

And despite the briefness, you always build your atmospheres so spot on.

Thanks for sharing this piece!

Yeah, it's not necessarily the end. I'm glad you enjoyed the story. :)

I saw Drew Barrymore on television today when she won something on the Golden Globes and thought of you (I had read your past entries about her). Then I come back and see Data Pair fic from you and it delights me immensely. Still, your Yanagi makes me sad ): Did he move away at the end of the fic? I am a little lost. Won't you ever write something happy about them?

She was gorgeous, wasn't she? :)

I'm glad you enjoyed the story, thank you! Yes, Yanagi did move away at the end.

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I want to write them more this year -- I do love them so much, poor boys.


oh ...
That was so wonderful, and a little bittersweet...
Yanagi. Inui. *hugs them both*
Why is it they can never be (and stay) happily together... *pouts*
Oh the ending ... With the green ink, and the train ...
"Renji." The corners of Sadaharu's mouth twist up. "People don't change."
"Not without operant conditioning," Renji says and they stand apart, looking at each other, until Sadaharu picks up Renji's suitcase.
Ow ... *hugs them*

Thank you so much! They are a difficult pair, I think.

Oh! My heart breaks! This was lovely. I never used to like angst before PoT, you know.

(go find Kaidoh's phone number, Inui, stat)

I'm glad you liked it! These two always seem a little sad to me, even when they're happy.

(But when he calls, Fuji picks up. *g*)

This is lovely in a invisible cracks kind of way. I hope they work it out. <3

You might be able to tell I'm catching up on my fic to-read list. Sorry about the comment spam! But this was so, so lovely; Data Pair always makes me hurt a little bit, and this did that, but it also made me so happy sometimes! Like Renji analyzing Inui's cooking habits and taking pictures of him sleeping, agh. ♥ God, Inui would be such a great, eager teacher, wouldn't he. And DON'T THINK I DIDN'T NOTICE/LOVE THE OOFURI REFERENCE! Inui could absolutely just turn into Shiga in 20 years, hahahaha.

When it's feedback, it's not spam. :)

So glad you liked this! I kind of feel like these two will always be able to just pick up their relationship, no matter how much time has passed. But that relationship won't really evolve much either, no matter how much time they spend together.

The instant I saw Shiga, I knew he was really future!Inui. ♥

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