たとえ離れても 心はそばにいるよ (happiestwhen) wrote in balloonstrings,
たとえ離れても 心はそばにいるよ
happiestwhen
balloonstrings

Maybe All Rivals Do [Prince of Tennis ; MomoKai]

Title: Maybe All Rivals Do
Pairing: Momoshiro/Kaidoh
Rating: this is surprisingly pretty PG-ish
Summary: Momo spends a lot of time not thinking about Kaidoh.
Word Count: ~6600
A/N: MomoKai is the best. The end.

Momo can picture it clearly even without closing his eyes: the perfect double cheeseburger -- ketchup oozing out of the sides of a bun piled high with pickles and onions and cheese and the most magnificently juicy beef in existence. He licks his lips, imagining the taste.

"Momo-senpai." Momo is jolted from his thoughts by the voice. He turns and looks down and meets Echizen's unimpressed gaze. He is bouncing a ball effortlessly on the edge of his racket. Momo wonders how long he's been standing there. Had he heard Momo's amorous stomach growls?

"We're supposed to be playing a match," Echizen continues, tone edged with impatience. "Why are you staring at Kaidoh-senpai?"

"I-- what? I'm not staring at that snake!" Momo starts to protest, but when he turns back, he realizes that the spot in his vision previously occupied by a mirage of heavenly grilled meat is now filled with Kaidoh Kaoru's grumpy face. Of course, Momo thinks, Mamushi would find a way to ruin even his most delicious of daydreams.

Oishi later points out that Momo is playing more aggressively than usual, and worries that Momo is feeling overly stressed over their upcoming ranking matches. Momo just laughs. He doesn't get stressed.

But after practice when Kaidoh bumps into him as they pass each other in the clubroom doorway, Momo feels the skin on his arm flare up like a burn.

*

Kaidoh's been weird lately, Momo thinks to himself.

He's in math class, snacking on strawberry cream bread behind his book and not paying attention to anything the teacher is saying. Math isn't really his thing. There are too many numbers up on the board for him to focus. Food, however, is his thing. Usually he spends the entire class eating and thinking about the cute girl who sits in front of him. She always wears a bracelet on her right wrist that jingles as she writes. Momo can't help but be distracted. It's not his fault. But she's absent today, so Momo's mind has to find a new distraction. And it's blatantly obvious that something's up with Kaidoh. It isn't that Momo particularly cares about Kaidoh or what he does or where he goes, but it might affect the team and that would just not be cool at all.

Kaidoh skipped practice twice last week. Kaidoh Kaoru never skips practices. When he does come to practice, he acts really weird, picking fights with Momo but then dropping them abruptly the second Momo gets physical. And then there was the game where they played doubles against Taka-san and Fuji-senpai and they'd bumped into each other diving for a ball and Kaidoh had grabbed for Momo's hand instead of his shirt collar. It had been sweaty and Momo's racket had fallen to the court with a noisy clatter.

Yesterday, Kaidoh even left school after lunch and went who knows where, not that Momo had been paying particular attention. It's just that Kaidoh's stupid, ugly bandanna is hard to miss, and left a conspicuous absence. Momo thought about following him but then remembered the curry bread he had in his desk and decided that tastiness outweighed curiosity.

Come to think of it, Inui-senpai has been acting strange too. Stranger than usual, that is, Momo corrects. Inui-senpai has always been weird. Lately he does things like show up to the tennis clubroom with bouquets of lavender, or stand outside the school in the mornings making mysterious phone calls. Does he have a girlfriend? Is he a double agent for a rival team? Is the lavender laced with some new performance enhancer he's developed in his creepy lab?

No one else seems to notice that anything is out of the ordinary. Tezuka-buchou seemed angry about Kaidoh at first but now he just seems stoic as ever, although Momo thought his face looked red two days ago before practice, the same day Inui had shown up with those dumb flowers.

At least Momo can count on Echizen to still be normal. Echizen never really changes.

He still hasn't grown any taller either, but Momo's sure that'll happen eventually, because Momo's friends should always be tall and awesome like him.

*

After lunch, Momo passes by the science lab on his way back to class. He's juggling two drinks and three cups of pudding and he practically drops all of it when he hears cackling coming from inside the room.

Cackling that sounds distinctly like Inui-senpai.

Momo pokes his head in and sees Inui hovered over the table with something Momo is sure says, "Love Potion #3.14159".

Then suddenly Momo puts it all together: The flowers, the phone calls, Kaidoh acting weird, missing practice and class. What if Inui-senpai had confessed to him? What if Inui didn't have a girlfriend but had a... a... boyfriend? Momo crinkles up his nose. If he were going to date a guy it wouldn't be a loser like Kaidoh. It would be someone really awesome. Just like Momo. He catches his reflection in the window and winks at himself. Yeah, he's a total stud.

But that's not the point. The point is that two of his teammates are obviously having a weird romantic entanglement. Just like Kamio and the mumbly guy from Fudomine. And those two guys from Rikkai. And... come to think of it, a lot of the tennis players Momo knows seem to be gay. He isn't sure why he didn't notice before. Momo isn't sure why the discovery bothers him as much as it does. He doesn't really care who Inui-senpai dates, and he definitely doesn't care who Kaidoh dates. He tells himself it's just frustrating to have two team members so obviously distracted from the game and the team's preparation for competition.

It's simply unacceptable.

He thinks about Kaidoh all through Japanese history and into his English lesson too, which is more than a little awkward since today they have to make sentences with "I like" and Momo definitely doesn't want to associate that sentiment with Kaidoh.

*

Over the next couple of days, Momo starts to piece together all the clues and hints that Inui-senpai and Kaidoh have been leaving. He's even started taking it all down in a notebook; his own special kind of data. He wonders if it will help him get a better grade in his math class, but thinks maybe he isn't doing it correctly, just scribbling down random percentages in the margins alongside doodles of snakes getting their necks strangled and eyes punched all black and blue by a super awesome ninja with cool hair. Momo feels like he's being productive, anyhow. He thinks that Inui-senpai probably makes up half his statistics anyway. No one could be that smart.

99% chance that Kaidoh and Inui-senpai are one of those super gross sticky-sweet couples, Momo writes.

Earlier this week, Inui-senpai brought Kaidoh a present wrapped up in tissue paper. Momo snuck it out of Kaidoh's locker when he was busy changing and discovered it was a stuffed mouse. What a weird gift, he'd thought, but maybe Inui-senpai and Kaidoh just had a weird relationship like that. Maybe Kaidoh was secretly really into mice. After all, Momo didn't know much about him. He didn't care to learn anything about him either. Kaidoh was his rival and he hated him and he obviously didn't care what he liked or didn't like or whether or not he liked mice.

Mice are stupid, he writes, ignoring the time he'd seen one down between the train tracks at the station by his house and had shrieked like a girl.

Another time at practice, Inui-senpai and Kaidoh had been whispering in a corner and Momo swore he heard his own name. Maybe they were on to him, he'd thought, and stealthily snuck away, using his expert ninja skills. He couldn't let on that he knew about them. Their obvious paranoia just makes them look even more suspicious, he thinks.

And just now, as Momo is walking to class, drawing a particularly awesome doodle on the cover of his notebook of Kaidoh getting buried under a pile of gigantic, rabid mice, he bumps into both Inui-senpai and Kaidoh looking suspicious in the hallway. He quickly hides his data notebook behind his back just as Inui scribbles something down on a piece of paper, folds it up, and passes it to Kaidoh. "My data is never wrong," Inui-senpai says, glasses glinting. Momo looks between the two of them and then at the paper that Kaidoh is now clutching in his hand. Kaidoh looks at Momo and ducks his head. His cheeks turn pink.

Now they're passing love notes right out here in the open, Momo thinks with disgust.

He swipes the note from Kaidoh's desk during lunch but it seems to be completely encoded, or else Inui-senpai has terrible taste in romance. At the top it says, "For Kitten".

What a gross pet name, Momo thinks. Mamushi is a viper and will never be anything but a viper. People don’t get to have more than one nickname. Not to mention thinking about Kaidoh as a kitten makes Momo feel really weird inside. In his inner mind theater, Kaidoh cocks his head to the side and mews at him, eyes big and glossy. Momo shivers. His face feels really warm. The whole situation is obviously giving him a fever. If he doesn't put a stop to it, it will probably spread to the entire tennis team.

*

In order to gather more information, Momo follows Kaidoh on his training schedule after school. He runs behind him not because he can't keep up, because Momo is awesome and could totally beat that snake if he wanted, but because he doesn't want to give himself away. Inui-senpai is there too, and Momo is sure they won't do anything suspicious if they know he's watching, and Momo needs proof that he's right.

But the weird thing is, before Momo can get any data of his own, Inui suddenly makes an excuse to leave and dashes off, mumbling something about needing to buy tea, and Kaidoh stops running.

He stops so quickly that Momo practically plows right into him.

"What the hell," Kaidoh growls, spinning around to face him. His eyes go wide and then his face gets even angrier. "Momoshiro? What the hell?!"

"Oh," Momo replies, trying to be casual. He scratches the back of his head. "You're running here too?"

"I always run here, loser."

"Oh," Momo repeats. "I guess I've never noticed since I'm always so far ahead." Yeah, he's an awesome liar.

Kaidoh hisses, "You wish."

"You spend too much time with Inui-senpai," Momo says, changing the subject. He wonders if this is the right way to bring it up. Does it sound too obvious? He hasn't even mentioned dating.

Kaidoh frowns. "What do you care about who I spend time with? What are you, my mother?"

Momo scrunches up his face in disgust. God, he doesn't want to think about Kaidoh being related to him in any way. Besides, Momo is way too manly to be anyone's mom.

"I just think it might not be good for the team," Momo says with a shrug. Right, exactly. Because that's the only reason he cares about any of this at all. Momo is a good team player. Kaidoh is just a dumbass with a freak for a boyfriend.

Kaidoh's eyes narrow the way they do right before he starts a fight. "How is me training not good for the team?"

"Uh... Well..." Momo scrambles for an answer, but he can't get one out before Kaidoh takes off again, running at double speed this time.

*

Momo finally catches up with him twenty minutes later, where the path opens into a small clearing with some trees and picnic benches. Kaidoh is lying on the grass stretching his quads. Momo sits down next to him and tries to pretend he isn't completely out of breath.

"You should train more," Kaidoh says, sounding impossibly calm even though his forehead and arms are beaded with sweat, "if you want to know what's really good for the team."

Momo presses his elbows into the grass and props himself up into a reclining position. He thinks Kaidoh should really wipe his face with a towel -- it's distracting -- and wonders if he looks just as gross when he's all sweaty. He runs the back of his hand over his forehead and replies, "Only losers need to train as much as you do."

"Play a game with me and I'll show you who the real loser is," Kaidoh replies, but there's no threat to his words. He's too busy doing his stupid stretches. Right now he has his knee up to his chest, his leg in the air, and he looks completely ridiculous, Momo thinks, and so he says it: "You look ridiculous."

"It's called stretching," Kaidoh grinds out. "You should do it too or you'll probably get a muscle cramp."

Momo doesn't want to admit that Kaidoh's probably right. It's been a while since Momo ran that much, that fast. He's in good shape, probably awesome shape, but Kaidoh is like a creepy training machine.

"At least drink some water," Kaidoh continues, passing Momo his bottle.

Momo takes it and is about to drink from it before he catches a glimpse of Kaidoh's mouth, his lips looking full and wet. "I don't want your germs," he says quickly, shifting his gaze to a particularly long blade of grass.

"I don't have any germs," Kaidoh replies tersely, but he's blushing again. He does that a lot lately, Momo thinks. He's sure Inui-senpai could provide the statistics.

"Why do you always train with Inui-senpai?" Momo asks.

Kaidoh shrugs and lets go of his legs, lying down flat on his back. "Well, for one, he's not an asshole like some people." His foot kicks into Momo's calf and it stings more than it should.

"You should train with someone more awesome," Momo says, resting his head back against the ground. The grass tickles the back of his neck.

Kaidoh laughs. "Like who? You? Yeah right. I like Inui-senpai just fine."

Momo grins. "I know you do," he sing-songs. He makes a mental note to put it in his data book.

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Oh, nothing," Momo replies, still smiling. "Hey, that cloud looks like a pile of french fries!"

"You would say that. Are you always hungry?"

"No, I'm serious!" Momo argues. "Look at it." He leans in and raises his hand to guide Kaidoh's gaze with his finger. Their cheeks are nearly touching. Momo can feel Kaidoh emanating warmth.

"Huh, you might be right," Kaidoh says quietly. He squirms in the grass.

"I'm always right," Momo replies simply.

"You're always an idiot," Kaidoh says, punching Momo in the arm. "You should stretch."

Momo pulls one leg up to his chest and feels it burn. "Okay, you can help me."

Kaidoh's body tenses. "What?"

"Well, you're the expert, right?" Momo delights in the way he can twist Kaidoh's facial expression with a sentence. Right now it's somewhere between horror and disgust.

"Fine," Kaidoh replies, face smoothing out into a mask. He gets up and crouches in front of Momo, lifts Momo's leg, bends it, and pushes it toward Momo's chest. His touch is weirdly tentative, like he's scared of what will happen, like he thinks he'll break Momo if he puts too much pressure.

Momo lets out a breath and loosens his shoulders. "You can push harder, you know," he says, facing pulling into a grin.

Kaidoh jerks back at that, dropping Momo's leg. "You can stretch on your own," he says. "I have to go." He gets up and leaves before Momo can even get out a retort. Maybe there really was something to Kaidoh's training menu. He sure could move fast.

*

The next day, Momo has a leg cramp from all the running and lack of stretching and Inui-senpai keeps sending weird text messages full of animated emoticons. Momo's pretty sure they're to Kaidoh but it's hard to tell from across the clubroom. All he can see are dumb dancing smilies and hearts and each time he hears Inui's phone beep, Momo feels a sting of irritation. Later when he looks through it, while Inui is busy running through possible line-ups with Oishi and Tezuka, all the messages are password-locked and the only recent calls seem to be to Tezuka-buchou and some "Professor" whose number is in Kanagawa. Inui must be on to Momo and is trying to delete the evidence. Either that or Kaidoh's number is encoded too. Momo quickly scrolls through to see if there's anyone listed as "Kitten", but comes up empty-handed. He feels sort of satisfied knowing the nickname didn't stick.

Momo thinks this case might be harder to crack than he thought. He's used to conspiracies and mysteries but most of those involved tennis. He's not sure what to do with ones that don't.

*

After practice, Momo sees Inui-senpai standing by the school gate. He's talking to someone on his phone, and Momo creeps closer to try to hear.

"Come to my house at seven o'clock. I've prepared a special meal and I--" He stops, then pulls the phone away from his ear. "He hung up," he says to himself, but looks more perplexed than angry.

Stupid Mamushi, Momo thinks, he's even rude to the guy he's dating.

Inui turns to leave and Momo waits a moment before coming out from behind the hedge. A second later, he sees Kaidoh emerge from the clubhouse, looking grumpy as usual. Momo wonders why he's looking so pissed off when he has a dinner date. Maybe their relationship is on the rocks. Maybe they'll break up soon and the Seigaku tennis team disaster will have been averted. Momo smiles to himself at the thought.

If they really are going to break up then Momo wants to be there to see it go down. Quietly, with his expertly mastered ninja stealth, and accompanying theme music, he follows Kaidoh but strangely, Kaidoh doesn't seem to be going towards Inui-senpai's house. Instead he just seems to be going home. Momo stops humming his super awesome secret agent theme-song and wonders if Kaidoh's going home to change into a fancy outfit for his date. He tries to imagine Kaidoh getting dressed up, but it just ends up getting distorted into an image of Kaidoh in a dress.

Gross.

*

As Momo nears Kaidoh's house, he realizes that Kaidoh is slowing down. If he isn't careful, he'll run into him again like he did when they were training. Momo takes slower strides and tries to soften his footfalls, but soon Kaidoh stops, right outside the front of his house, and turns around. Momo looks for something to hide behind, but there's nothing but Kaidoh's mailbox.

"Why are you following me?" Kaidoh asks, tone accusatory.

"I'm not," Momo replies, quickly and coolly. "I was just in the neighborhood."

Kaidoh hisses. "You're a terrible liar. I could hear you humming the whole way home."

Shit. Momo doesn't really have a lie for that so he decides to be direct. "I know you're up to something," he says.

Kaidoh blushes. "Who told you?"

"A-ha!" Momo exclaims, raising a triumphant fist. He feels like a super hero calling out a villain. "I knew it!"

Kaidoh toes the ground and adjusts his tennis bag on his shoulder. "I guess you can come inside and see her, then."

"I knew you were--" Momo stops. "Wait... What? Her?"

*

They're in Kaidoh's bedroom, surrounded by several trays of snacks that Kaidoh's mother has brought up for them, and Momo is staring stunned at the kitten in Kaidoh's arms. A kitten that is purring and contentedly chewing on a stuffed mouse toy.

"I found her a couple weeks ago," Kaidoh explains. His face looks weird, Momo thinks, and it takes a moment for him to put his finger on what it is. Then it hits him. Kaidoh doesn't look grumpy, or annoyed, or like he's about to punch someone. In fact, he's kind of smiling. It's so strange, Momo almost wants to pull his phone out and snap a picture of it to save for posterity. Kaidoh Kaoru -- looking happy and normal. Who'd have thought?

"So, what's her name?" Momo asks, reaching out to stroke her head. The cat's eyes flick open and she looks up at Momo and lets out a tiny, high-pitched meow.

Kaidoh's face goes suddenly red. Momo wonders if he's sick. Did Inui make him drink some new juice? Is Kaidoh allergic to cats? That would be appropriately dumb and stubborn of him, Momo thinks, to have a cat allergy and still try to keep one for a pet. "Her name..." Kaidoh starts. "Uh, her name is..."

"Well?" Momo prompts. What's Kaidoh's problem? Did he forget the cat's name? He's a bigger moron than Momo had previously thought.

"Her name is Lemon," Kaidoh says finally, looking down at his feet.

Momo grins. "What a fruity name," he says.

"Says the guy named Momoshiro."

Momo reaches for a cookie and stuffs it into his mouth. "My name is awesome. You only wish your cat could have such a cool name." He sits down on Kaidoh's bed and grabs another handful of snacks.

"You aren't staying," Kaidoh says gruffly. He looks grouchy again, and Momo thinks that balance has been restored to earth.

The cat still looks happy as ever. "Lemon wants me to stay," Momo says, and the cat mews in agreement.

He reaches out to pet her again at the same time Kaidoh does and their fingers brush each other's over the fur. They both pull back. Momo's palms suddenly feel really sweaty and something in his chest constricts with confusion. The kitten looks between them and mews louder.

"I have to go," Momo says, just as Kaidoh says, "Maybe you should leave." His cheeks are pink. The doorknob gives Momo an electric shock on his way out.

*

The next day, Eiji-senpai catches Momo in the lunch line and swings his arm over his shoulders.

"So I heard you met Momo-chan yesterday," he says, grinning.

"Huh?"

Eiji bounces in place. "Kaidoh's kitten! Isn't she cute? Oishi and I had a playdate with her last Saturday."

Momo nearly drops his lunch tray. "He told me her name was Lemon..."

"But-- it's not! He-- OH." Eiji freezes, his eyes going wide. "Whoops..."

"What do you mean, 'whoops'?!" Momo demands.

"Well, gotta run!" Eiji says, patting Momo on the back before dashing off.

*

Momo waits all through practice to confront Kaidoh. He feels like a ball of impatience and annoyance and his tennis is all over the place. He plays Echizen but can't return a single point. He plays Fuji and nearly hits him in the head with a dunk smash. He plays Kaidoh and wants to grab him by the collar and scream in his face.

As soon as everyone else has left the clubroom to go shower, Momo stomps over to Kaidoh. "You stupid lying viper," he says. His palms feel super sweaty again.

"What?"

"You told me your cat’s name was Lemon and it’s not, is it? Eiji-senpai told me the truth."

Kaidoh shoves his fists into the pockets of his jacket. "Um..."

"Why would you name your cat after me when you're dating Inui-senpai?" Momo demands. "Why not name her Creepy Mad Scientist Cat instead?"

Kaidoh's eyes go wide. "I'm not dating Inui-senpai!"

"Sure you are," Momo replies smugly. "I know all your secrets... Inui-senpai's creepy love potion, the note, the mouse, the flowers, all those phone calls and texts, your dinner date last night, the--"

"I like you, you jackass!" Kaidoh interrupts, voice coming out in a high squeak.

Momo freezes. Kaidoh freezes too. A moment of silence falls between them and Kaidoh's gaze darts around the room like he's searching for an escape route.

"Stop lying," Momo says, his voice cracking with uncertainty. "There's no way you--"

Kaidoh doesn't wait for Momo to finish his sentence and grabs Momo's collar, pulling him closer until their lips meet. Momo suddenly feels Kaidoh's mouth, warm and wet against his. There's a hiss of air between his lips and then Momo can feel Kaidoh's tongue and it is immediate and demanding and just like every fight they ever had. It is also terrifying, and Momo doesn't know what to do. He doesn't want to lose, so he fights back, pressing his mouth hard against Kaidoh's and forcing his tongue between Kaidoh's lips, into his mouth. It's new but at the same time, not weird, and that makes it scarier than anything. Momo feels light-headed and he tears Kaidoh's hand away from his jacket and leaps back.

"What the hell?" he explodes. "What are you doing?!"

Kaidoh's face looks weird again, but in a different way. Momo's never seen him look this way before.

"I wanted you to understand," Kaidoh says.

Momo rubs his knuckles over his lips. "Understand what? That you're a kissing monster?"

"That I like you," Kaidoh replies, voice low and quiet. His lips look red like a girl's. Momo doesn't know what to do. He wants to fight Kaidoh, because he feels hot and frustrated, but everything has suddenly changed, and isn't sure what fighting Kaidoh means now.

"I thought you liked me too," Kaidoh adds. "I mean, you did follow me around for a week..."

Momo grabs Kaidoh by the collar and pushes him back up against the locker. "I wasn't following you! I don't like--" he starts to argue, but stops when he's aware of how close they are now.

"You kissed me back," Kaidoh says plainly. Momo can feel Kaidoh's breath against his face when he speaks, and he can see Kaidoh's tongue through his parted lips.

"No I didn't," Momo retorts.

"You didn't..." Kaidoh repeats, voice incredulous.

"That's right," Momo says firmly.

"Then what was the part where your tongue was--" The corner of Kaidoh's mouth quirks up and Momo wants to punch him, wants to shut him up. Fuck it, he thinks, feeling stupid and brave at the same time as he leans forward and presses his mouth against Kaidoh's.

"Mmmf," says Kaidoh, which Momo takes as him admitting defeat. He pushes against Kaidoh until he can feel all of him, and it sends electric shocks through his arms and legs and other places too. Kaidoh's kissing is addictive, and Momo wonders if he's any good at it himself, wants to be just as good or better, but somehow this doesn't seem like the kind of fight where there's only one winner.

Momo pulls Kaidoh off the locker and against him and just as Kaidoh lets out a long, low growl, Momo trips over a racket and they both crash backwards over a basket of a tennis balls.

It doesn't do much to discourage them though, because soon Kaidoh is on top of Momo, kissing him again, hands trying to pull his shirt off and it feels amazing and--

--suddenly Momo hears the door open. They both pull away and freeze. Momo sees Echizen standing in the doorway, looking confused.

"What are you doing?" he asks.

"We were just... uh... fighting," Momo says, and thinks it isn't entirely a lie.

"Fighting?" Echizen asks. His eyes flick to Momo's shirt which is pulled halfway up his chest.

"Yes," Kaidoh replies.

"In a manly way," Momo adds.

"Your lips are really red," Echizen says. Momo thinks he sees him smirking.

*

Kaidoh acts really weird the next day, which is annoying because Momo kind of just wants to make out with him again, an impulse Momo doesn't even want to begin to analyze, an impulse he didn't even know he had before yesterday. It's probably normal, right? Maybe fights just naturally escalate to kissing. Maybe all rivals do it. But whatever the explanation, Momo isn't getting anywhere with Kaidoh because he is being weird. He doesn't try to fight with Momo during lunch hour, or before practice, and during practice he volunteers to play against Horio of all people the second Momo so much as glances at him. It's like he's trying to pretend the whole thing never happened. Momo grumbles as he zips up his jacket. Stupid snake. He was the one who started it and now Momo's the one stuck with all the feelings.

*

Momo wears a mask to school the next day to keep Kaidoh from kissing him, because, fine then, if Kaidoh wants to be a jerk about it and not even care or acknowledge that it happened then Momo will just not care either. He won't lose to Kaidoh at not caring.

"Dumbass," Kaidoh says, when he passes Momo in the hallway.

Momo smirks back at him from under his mask. Sure took him long enough to notice. "I’m not the one who goes around forcing himself on dudes."

"Say that again, asshole..."

"I said--"

"Shut up," Kaidoh replies, storming off.

*

Momo is unable to sleep that night. He wonders if maybe he's actually coming down with something. His palms were sweaty all day and he couldn't concentrate on anything but Kaidoh. He doesn't care, of course. He was perfectly awesome before Kaidoh kissed him so why can't he just continue to be perfectly awesome now that it happened.

Momo isn't sure why, but all he can think about is whether or not it will happen again.

Around 10:30, he's had enough with the frustration and calls Kaidoh up and demands that he meet him at the burger place near his house.

"Fsshuuu," is Kaidoh's reply, but he doesn't say he won't come.

"You owe me. You know why," Momo says before hanging up, with a tone to tell Kaidoh that what he wants isn't a burger. Well, that's not true. Momo could really go for a burger right now too. He didn't eat a second helping for dinner because he was too preoccupied with how Kaidoh hadn't picked a fight with him at all in two days. His stomach growls and it reminds him of how Kaidoh had growled at him in the locker room. He swipes his tongue over his lips but that just reminds him of Kaidoh too.

He'd better meet him tonight, Momo thinks.

*

The burger place is practically deserted, so Momo doesn't need to worry about people seeing them together, but he grabs a booth in the back corner all the same, just in case Kaidoh is feeling like kissing, because Momo sure is. But he still totally isn't caring, and doesn't want to have to be the one to make the first move, so just to articulate the point, when Kaidoh leans in, Momo stuffs a hamburger into his mouth to keep Kaidoh from kissing him.

He wasn't going to, as it turns out, he was just reaching for a napkin.

"That's disgusting," Kaidoh says, as Momo tries to chew through an entire burger.

"You're disgusting," Momo grinds out, words muffled from the bun and meat. "Kissing freak."

Kaidoh pulls a face. "Like I even want to right now."

"You don't?" Momo raises an eyebrow.

Kaidoh blushes and Momo feels smug. "Your breath smells like hamburger," Kaidoh says.

Momo finally swallows the burger. "You say that like it's a bad thing," he replies. "You said you liked me. Doesn't that mean you even like my breath?" Momo breathes out audibly to demonstrate.

"You're gross," Kaidoh says. He kicks Momo's foot under the table.

"Your cat is named after me," Momo replies, holding in the urge to grin.

"Asshole." Kaidoh is blushing fiercely now. His mouth pulls apart as he lets out a soft hiss, with no malice or bite behind it. His lips are glossy and red and look so soft. Momo wonders what would happen if he just leaned across the table and kissed him...

"Is there something on my face?" Kaidoh asks, looking horrified. It takes Momo a moment to realize that he's been staring at Kaidoh's mouth for who knows how long now. Shit. Kaidoh's going to think he's a pervert.

"No, I just..." Momo trails off and waves his arm around in the air.

Kaidoh covers his mouth instinctively.

"No! I--" Momo starts, feeling defensive.

"I'm leaving," Kaidoh says, and he does.

*

The next day, they go for burgers again on the way home from school. Momo isn't even sure how it happens. Neither one suggests it, but they're both not so subtly trying to edge into each other's personal space, while blatantly avoiding talking about it. The whole way there, Kaidoh keeps bumping into Momo and it seems to be on purpose, or else he really is just that clumsy.

Momo is midway through his third burger, which Kaidoh paid for, when he realizes he's been completely slacking off on his data. He'd been so distracted what with the kissing and all. "Wait, so Inui-senpai…?" he starts.

"--has been calling Tezuka-buchou," Kaidoh finishes flatly, as though everyone knew this but Momo.

"You're not dating him?" Momo asks to clarify.

"I already said I wasn't!" Kaidoh shouts defensively. "He's Inui-senpai! Why would I date him!"

"You're dating me…" Momo says slowly, feeling proud at the realization.

Kaidoh hisses. "This isn't a date."

"You bought me a burger," Momo points out. Kaidoh hangs his head, but Momo can see his face turning red. Momo wants to kiss him again, but the restaurant is crowded today and Momo can see other kids with Seigaku uniforms sitting just a few tables away and the last thing he wants is for everyone in school to know that he's going around kissing Kaidoh fucking Kaoru. He wants it to just be him and Kaidoh so Kaidoh will stop being so scared and weird and he can shove Kaidoh up against the wall and smash their lips together. He isn't sure when his body became such a hormonal monster but it's probably Kaidoh's fault.

"I was so sure Inui-senpai had a crush on you," Momo says through bites of french fry. "I mean, all those weird gifts and notes...."

Kaidoh rolls his eyes at him. "They were about my cat, idiot. Inui-senpai doesn't have a crush on me."

"How do you know?"

"Because he likes Tezuka-buchou. And I would punch him if he did."

"You aren't punching me."

"Do you want me to?" Kaidoh balls his hand into a fist. Momo has to admit he kind of does. Does that make him even more of a freak?

"No, just. Well, we do a lot of stuff together, right?" Momo starts. "Like doubles and..."

"Where is this going?" Kaidoh asks skeptically.

"I mean it would only make sense for us to date," Momo mumbles quickly into his hand. Instead he blurts loudly, "We saved a puppy together!!"

"So, what? Now we should get married or something?" Kaidoh bites back. Momo can feel himself blushing.

"No! What? No! Not yet! I mean, not ever!"

"Now who likes who?" Kaidoh says with a smirk.

"I don't like you, asshole," Momo says, as his fingers reach for Kaidoh's hand under the table.

*

The next day at school, Momo makes every excuse he can to touch Kaidoh more than usual. He's frustrated. They've been for burgers twice, which surely counts for something, but each time Kaidoh came up with some reason to leave without any kissing or even any fighting, or any, well, anything.

"You two seem different," Fuji says, eyes twinkling, as Momo and Kaidoh pass each other, changing courts during a practice game, deliberately looking anywhere but at each other's mouths.

Is it that obvious? Momo wonders. He feels the same as before. Kaidoh still gets him heated when they're playing, when they're doing anything, but now instead of wanting to punch him, he just wants to put his mouth all over his skin. He almost does do that, right in the middle of the game too. Kaidoh has just taken the match point and Momo leaps over the net and grabs him by the collar, pulling and pulling him until his face is just inches away. And then Momo realizes that everyone is watching him, and, What has gotten into him? Does Inui-senpai's love potion actually work and was it slipped into his water bottle by accident?

*

Momo just can't take it anymore, so after practice is finished he follows Kaidoh home. Actually, he tries to walk home with Kaidoh, but Kaidoh's running like he does when he's training, like he doesn't want to be caught, and Momo has to hurry to keep up.

"Why are you following me?" Kaidoh snaps when they reach a stoplight. "That thing that happened... isn't going to happen again, you know."

"Su~ure it isn't," Momo replies smugly, and he can see in the way that Kaidoh's expression changes that he's right. "I'm just going to see my good friend Momo-chan."

Kaidoh shoves him into a fence. "You can't come to my house."

Momo smirks and grabs Kaidoh's collar. "Why not?"

"Because we aren't friends."

"But I got a present for you!" Momo says, suddenly remembering.

Kaidoh's eyes narrow. "What kind of present?"

"Like as a thank you for the burger yesterday." Momo reaches into his bag and pulls something out.

"What is this supposed to be?" Kaidoh turns it over and looks at it suspiciously.

"It's a bandanna. You know, like you always wear. Only this one has cooler colors." It is covered in red and blue rocket ships. Really cool, manly rocket ships. Not lame, kiddie ones. Obviously.

Kaidoh's mouth twists. "Didn't you just use this to wrap your lunch earlier?"

"No…" Momo lies. "What are you talking about? I got it at the bandanna store."

"There is no bandanna store," Kaidoh says flatly, and his fingers twist into the zipper of Momo's jacket.

"How would you know?" Momo replies, pulling on Kaidoh's shirt.

Kaidoh hisses. "You are such a dumbass."

"So you're not going to wear it?" Momo runs a finger down the side of Kaidoh's neck. He feels Kaidoh's pulse leaping under it.

Kaidoh shakes the cloth. "It still has food on it," he says, arching his hips up into the curve of Momo's body.

Momo lets out a sigh. "You could wash it," he says quietly.

"Don't give someone a dirty present!!" Kaidoh growls, pulling Momo closer.

"Well, fine then," Momo says dramatically, starting to pull away. "If you don't want it, I'll just take it back."

Kaidoh growls. "No, I want it," he says, and then blushes at how the words sound coming out.

"Well, then. I have something else for you, too," Momo says, and moves closer again, kissing Kaidoh on the mouth, putting all of his impatience and frustration into it, his lips and tongue both urgent and needy. Kaidoh's shirt rides up as Momo pins him against the fence, and Momo tries to tug on the hem to pull him closer but grabs bare skin instead and the touch sends shockwaves through his fingertips.

"Sure took you long enough," Kaidoh breathes when they pull apart. "You are such a moron."

"Yeah, well you were such an asshole, always running away," Momo replies, volleying the insult back. "I really--" he says, breathing heavily. "I really hate you sometimes."

"No, you don't," Kaidoh replies, and pulls Momo back for another kiss.

No, I don't, Momo concedes. He can't even hide the smile spreading across his face. Don't at all.

Tags: characters: kaidoh, characters: momoshiro, fandom: prince of tennis, pairing: momokai
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