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

Defining Relationships [Prince of Tennis ; MomoKai]

Title: Defining Relationships
Pairing: Momoshiro/Kaidoh
Rating: PG
Summary: Momo and Kaidoh have to share a room. (~4100 words)
A/N: written for celianna who wanted more MomoKai, and for spurious who is the best person to ship things with. :D

When Kaidoh gets to the room, he sees another duffel bag already dumped on the floor at the foot of the beds. He'd recognize that bag anywhere. It's sort of hard to miss the idiotically bright red stars on the sides.

"Stupid Momoshiro," Kaidoh grumbles, and as if summoned, Momoshiro emerges from the bathroom, flicking his hands dry.

"Oi, Mamushi!" he yells, slinging an arm around Kaidoh's neck. His voice is annoyingly loud as ever. "Sure took you long enough to find the room! It's so big, right? I feel like I'm on vacation."

Kaidoh hisses and jerks away from Momoshiro's touch. "I was helping unload bags," he says, eyes narrowing, "instead of running straight up here like a selfish asshole."

Momoshiro just shrugs. "I had to pee," he says matter-of-factly.

"Don't tell me that!" Kaidoh yells. He feels his heart rate quicken, like even his body is itching for a fight, but he doesn't want to disappoint Inui-senpai and Tezuka-buchou by fighting on the first day of camp, so he tries to calm down and unclench his fists.

Momoshiro wipes his hands on the front of his shirt and walks over to the two beds. "I call the one by the window!" he crows, and flops down on top of it like a ragdoll.

"Wait a minute!" Kaidoh growls out and stomps over to the bed. He towers above Momoshiro, who looks like he couldn't care less. "I want the window."

"Well, I already called dibs," Momoshiro says plainly. He wriggles on the bed, messing up the comforter in the process. "There. See. It's my bed."

Kaidoh lets out a long, impatient hiss. He slowly counts to three in his head. "Fine. See if I care."

Momoshiro beams. "You can sleep in it with me if you like."

"Gross!" Kaidoh's face scrunches up in horror and Momoshiro grins even harder at that. "Asshole!" Kaidoh kicks the foot of the bed, but only ends up stubbing his toe. "I'm going to go train," he says gruffly. "Don't touch my stuff."

"Like I'd want to!" Momoshiro calls after him.

*

When Kaidoh gets back two hours later, Momoshiro seems to have not moved an inch. He's still sprawled out on the bed, face smashed against the pillow. Lazy moron, Kaidoh thinks, but moves quietly so as not to wake him.

Turns out, he isn't even asleep, as Kaidoh discovers a moment later when Momoshiro rolls over and looks him up and down. "What did you do, Mamushi? Run a marathon? You're covered in sweat."

"It's called exercise," Kaidoh replies flatly. He gives Momoshiro a similar once over. "Obviously it's a new concept to you."

Momoshiro scratches his stomach. "Why are you so serious all the time? I exercise plenty and you know it," he says, flexing a bicep. "We're here to have fun! Relax!"

"We're here to strengthen the team," Kaidoh replies, and disappears into the bathroom to shower.

*

That night, Kaidoh feels, for the first time in his life, what homicidal mania must feel like.

He's been trying to sleep for the past half hour, but Momoshiro has turned into a snoring pig and Kaidoh forgot to pack earplugs. He'd assumed he would share a room with someone normal, anyone but Momoshiro, really.

He clamps his pillow over his ears and tries to relax, but even then he can hear Momoshiro's snores. Kaidoh wonders if he's doing it on purpose to get a rise out of him, but after staring at his rising and falling chest for a full minute, Kaidoh decides that the idiot is actually asleep. No wonder Echizen had always turned up at breakfast with dark circles under his eyes, Kaidoh thinks. Having to put up with this dumbass sure would take its toll.

Kaidoh shifts on the bed, trying to get comfortable, which is hard when his ears are being assaulted, when suddenly Momoshiro snorts, his breath hitches, and he stirs on the bed, snoring coming to a halt.

"Stupid Mamushi," Kaidoh hears him murmur. He sits up in bed and looks at Momoshiro, who still looks fast asleep.

"Momoshiro?" Kaidoh tests. No response. "Moron?" Nothing. "Hey asshole!" Momoshiro's fingers clutch at the corners of his pillow and pull it closer to him.

What a loser, Kaidoh thinks. Talking in his sleep.

But at least he's stopped snoring.

*

Kaidoh wakes up early the next morning to go for a run. He feels off from not sleeping well, and glares daggers at Momoshiro as he leaves because of course, Momoshiro looks perfectly content in his bed, not realizing that he made Kaidoh lose a precious hour of sleep.

Kaidoh thinks about waking Momoshiro up by chucking a tennis ball at his head but hey, even he isn't that mean.

Instead he slams the door really hard on his way out and listens with satisfaction to the yelling that follows.

*

When he comes back, feeling refreshed from the solitude, his muscles burning, Momoshiro is sitting on his bed watching some cartoon. His blanket is still wrapped around him and his hair is disheveled. Kaidoh wants to laugh, because he looks pretty silly, but he's still supposed to be angry at Momoshiro for ruining his night with his snoring, so he settles for a hiss.

"You are one sweaty snake," Momoshiro says, not even looking up from the TV screen.

Kaidoh wipes his hand over his forehead. Well, the idiot is perceptive, but that's not saying much. He goes into the bathroom to wash his face, splashing cold water over his cheeks. When he looks up into the mirror, Momoshiro is standing right behind him.

"What the hell?" Kaidoh growls. "Can't you give me some privacy?"

"I didn't realize you were doing anything super private," Momoshiro replies with a smirk, and he's got his hand on Kaidoh's shoulder again. That idiot just loves invading Kaidoh's personal space. He must know how much it ticks Kaidoh off.

Kaidoh turns around and hisses at him, face still dripping with water. "I'm not! But it's really annoying having you constantly in my face!"

Momoshiro edges closer, as if Kaidoh's words are a challenge rather than a warning. "Well, then I guess the next few days will be tough for you, Mamushi," he says, and his breath whispers over Kaidoh's cheek. "You can't get rid of me."

Kaidoh shivers involuntarily and Momoshiro's eyebrow shoots up. Shit, Kaidoh thinks. He noticed. It's not his fault Momoshiro is totally crowding him, breathing his stinky morning breath all over his face. Anyone would react the way he did.

"Brush your teeth," Kaidoh snaps. "We're supposed to meet in the lounge in twenty minutes."

Momoshiro makes a big show of reaching over and around Kaidoh's body to get to his toothbrush and Kaidoh can't do anything but stand there, stunned. This asshole, he thinks, and shoves past him out of the bathroom. Then he realizes that he needs to brush his teeth as well.

Fine, he'll wait.

Of course, Momoshiro ends up taking much longer than necessary in the bathroom. He must spend at least five minutes brushing his teeth, and then he spends another fifteen putting that stupid gunk in his hair. Kaidoh grows increasingly agitated, but he doesn't want to pick a fight with Momoshiro, not now, not right before they have to go practice with their team. He needs to be calm and collected.

When Momoshiro comes out, his hair is slicked up into that stupid style he loves so much and he's grinning. "Well, I guess it's time to go," he says cheerfully.

Stupid Momoshiro, Kaidoh thinks. He knew he was going to use up all the time on himself. Kaidoh has all of thirty seconds to get to the bathroom and brush his teeth before they have to go.

*

The whole day at practice, Kaidoh feels like he has a second shadow. Every time he turns around, Momoshiro is there, smiling at him like he knows some secret. Kaidoh checks his shirt four times to see if Momoshiro has stuck a note to his back, but there's nothing there, and there's nothing on his bandanna or in his hair, and, What the hell is Momoshiro staring at anyway? Does he want to go at it or something?

They run with ankle weights and do jumping exercises with cones as hurdles. Their coach has really gone all out with an obstacle course of tennis balls and tires that they have to navigate their way through quickly. They do lunges with stretch bands around their legs for resistance, and practice hitting balls into buckets, baskets, and other targets. Kaidoh feels invigorated.

But he also wishes he could just play a real game.

Momoshiro seems to be thinking the same thing, because during lunch, he challenges Kaidoh to a match.

"Is that why you wouldn't stop looking at me?" Kaidoh demands, as Momoshiro shovels food into his mouth like a pig. He takes a delicate bite of his own rice and breathes in and out.

Momoshiro opens his mouth and food comes flying out when he speaks. "No, I was just looking at you, loser."

"What were you doing that for?!" Kaidoh shouts.

"To make you mad," Momoshiro replies plainly, words muffled by bits of meatball.

"Asshole," Kaidoh hisses, and turns his attention back to his lunch. He can tell Momoshiro is grinning at him even without looking up. He can always tell. It makes his face heat up and he quickly excuses himself and goes to sit next to Kikumaru-senpai instead.

Which turns out to be a terrible idea, because Kikumaru immediately notices his blush and starts interrogating him about it.

"Fsshuu," Kaidoh breathes, feeling agitated and jumpy. He'll go run after lunch. That'll help.

*

He's midway through a run around the court grounds when Momoshiro catches up with him.

"You didn't give me an answer," he says.

Kaidoh keeps running, subtly quickening his pace. He hears Momoshiro's breath hitch with strain and feels smug. Maybe if that moron spent more time concentrating on exercises and less time following him around like a creep, he wouldn’t be so out of shape.

"Hey, are you even listening to me?"

"No one ever listens to you, moron. Can't you see I'm running here?"

"Answer me!" Momoshiro demands, his voice suddenly very loud. It causes Kaidoh to slow to a stop. He turns around, feeling heat rising in his face again.

"Fine," he says tightly. "Fine. Let's get it over with then."

Momoshiro looks satisfied and Kaidoh hates admitting that he won this round. No matter how much Kaidoh tries to be stubborn, Momoshiro has a weird way of breaking down his defenses in the end.

*

They set the match for after dinner, since Momoshiro has a boundless appetite and has to stuff himself with pork and rice and peach jelly before he can play. Kaidoh thinks he's just stalling, putting off his inevitable defeat.

The game starts and they rally back and forth, matching each other, point for point. Momoshiro returns Kaidoh's snake shot, and Kaidoh slices back Momoshiro's dunk smash, and each game ties up the one before.

Five games in, Kaidoh can feel a smile pulling at the corners of his mouth, but he suppresses it.

It's still meant to be a secret how much he enjoys playing Momoshiro. Sure, Kaidoh likes playing anyone at tennis, but Momoshiro is a special kind of opponent. His level is so close to Kaidoh's that the game could go on forever and it often feels like it does.

It's never an easy win, and that's what makes it so satisfying.

*

Kaidoh doesn't win this game, though, and try as he might, Kaidoh will always be a bit of a sore loser. Especially since he was training his ass off while Momoshiro was sitting around their room watching cartoons.

As soon as Momoshiro has taken match point, Kaidoh clenches his fist around his racket and stalks off the court. He isn't sure where he's planning to go, because he knows he'll just have to see Momoshiro's smug face again once they get back to the room.

*

And god, is Momoshiro ever smug. When Kaidoh finally arrives back after walking in circles around the camp lobby, Momoshiro has fashioned himself a crown out of notebook paper and greets Kaidoh with a surly, "Hey loser!"

Kaidoh feels the blood heat up and rush faster through his veins. "Don't you dare," he starts, voice testy and thick. Sometimes he feels like a jack-in-the-box that Momoshiro keeps winding and winding until he's pulled so taut that it would take almost nothing to make him burst.

"I'm just calling it like I see it," Momoshiro says, his whole face seeming to mock Kaidoh.

The lid on the jack-in-the-box pops open and Kaidoh growls and launches himself onto Momoshiro's bed, tackling Momoshiro and shoving him back against his pillow. "Play me again and then we'll see who's a loser!" he hisses, low and dangerous. Momoshiro looks completely caught off guard, his paper crown askew and his eyes wide.

"Lighten up, Mamushi," Momoshiro protests. "It was just a joke!"

"Tennis isn't a joke," Kaidoh replies, but he lets up on his grip and climbs off of Momoshiro, feeling him exhale a breath of relief as he does.

Momoshiro's facial expression flattens out and he says, quietly, "You played really well, Kaidoh. It could have gone either way."

Kaidoh lets air hiss out between his lips because he doesn't know how to respond. He knows Momoshiro is right. The game was really close. But a loss is a loss and it still stings.

"Let's play again," Momoshiro adds. "I'm sure you'll win next time."

"You're my rival, you're not supposed to say that," Kaidoh replies, giving Momoshiro a confused look. If he didn't know better he'd think the idiot was actually rooting for him.

"We're teammates first," Momoshiro says, and his mouth parts into a smile.

Kaidoh growls. "Yeah, whatever," he says, but he feels somehow calmer now.

*

That night, Kaidoh falls asleep first, but is awoken around one in the morning by Momoshiro's violent snoring. His whole bed seems to be vibrating with the sound. Kaidoh rolls over and stares at Momoshiro, who is rolled onto his side facing Kaidoh. His face looks impossibly calm. Kaidoh doesn't understand how Momoshiro is able to sleep through the ungodly noises he's making, and, feeling annoyed that Momoshiro gets to sleep when he doesn't, yanks off his shirt, balls it up, and pitches it at Momoshiro's face.

Momoshiro doesn't wake up. He doesn't even stop snoring. Instead he grabs Kaidoh's shirt with both hands and tugs it into the crook of his neck, inhaling deeply.

Is that asshole smelling my shirt?, Kaidoh thinks. Momoshiro snorts loudly as if in response and rolls over onto Kaidoh's shirt so that it's pinned under his cheek. His snores get louder.

Kaidoh calmly gets out of bed, feeling the cool air nip at his bare skin, and walks over to where Momoshiro is sleeping.

"Mamushi…" Momoshiro groans, voice low and guttural. Kaidoh freezes.

"Momoshiro?" Kaidoh asks, feeling like he's having déjà vu. Momoshiro doesn't reply, just burrows his face more deeply into Kaidoh's shirt. Kaidoh takes another step forward, and then another until he's standing right in front of Momoshiro's face. Then he reaches and out and plugs his nose between his thumb and index finger.

Momoshiro gargles, coughs, and then jolts upright in bed.

"What the hell?!" he splutters, blinking his eyes to adjust to the darkness.

Kaidoh glares down at him. "You're keeping me awake."

"Where the hell is your shirt?" Momoshiro demands. Kaidoh points silently at the green tank top lying next to Momoshiro's shoulder. Momoshiro's eyes go wide and he flings it at Kaidoh as though it's contaminated. "Did you do something to me in my sleep?!"

"God no!" Kaidoh throws back, eyebrows pulling together. "You were snoring like a pig and I couldn't sleep so I threw my shirt at you. But then you grabbed it and moaned my name and…"

"I'm sure I did not," Momoshiro interrupts, but his voice cracks when he says it and he isn't looking Kaidoh in the eye anymore.

"Stop keeping me up," Kaidoh hisses, and stalks back over to his own bed.

"Stop taking your shirt off," Momoshiro replies, and rolls over to face the window. When he falls back asleep this time, he doesn't snore.

*

The next morning, Kaidoh meets up with Inui at the gym to do weight training. He's midway through his third set of bench presses, when Inui asks him, "How are things with Momoshiro working out?"

Kaidoh tenses and nearly drops the barbell on himself. "I don't want to talk about him," he says. "Add more weight." Inui obliges, and then starts writing something in his notebook. Kaidoh raises an eyebrow before continuing with the set. He's probably just making a note of the weight, he thinks.

"I was noting the weight," Inui says, as if he can read Kaidoh's mind. "But I'm also writing that the rooming arrangement with you and Momoshiro is working out with 87% success. He's really pushing you. It was a rather impressive suggestion on his part to share a room with you in the first place."

Kaidoh stops and drops the bar back into its rest. "What do you mean on his part? It wasn't like it was his idea to share a room with me or anything…"

Inui pushes his glasses up on his nose.

"Inui-senpai?" Kaidoh breathes, and feels something flip-flop in his chest.

The lenses of Inui's glasses glint mysteriously.

"I should go," Kaidoh says, grabbing for his towel. He runs.

*

When he gets back to the room, Momoshiro is there doing push ups against the wall. So he does exercise after all, Kaidoh thinks, but he doesn't want to get distracted from the reason he came back.

"I got some interesting data from Inui-senpai," Kaidoh says, and, when Momoshiro doesn't bother to stop or turn to look at him, continues with, "He told me it was your idea for us to share a room."

Momoshiro stops and rubs the back of his neck nervously. "Yeah, about that…"

"Why?" Kaidoh asks plainly. "To piss me off even more? Do you want a fight that badly?"

"No, idiot," Momoshiro replies, sitting down on the edge of the bed. "Because we're friends and I knew it wouldn't be boring if I was with you. You have no idea how boring hanging out with Echizen all the time can be. I usually feel like I'm the only one talking…"

"You're always the only one talking, loud-mouth moron. And we're not friends. We're rivals." It's a very important distinction, Kaidoh thinks. Momoshiro is his rival and that's not allowed to change. It's how things are supposed to be.

"We can be both," Momoshiro offers.

Kaidoh hisses. "But I don't like you."

"Well that's too bad, then," Momoshiro says, and starts to smile, "because I'm pretty awesome. And… I like you." Kaidoh feels heat rising in his cheeks and he wonders if he can dash into the bathroom before Momoshiro notices. Stupid smiley Momoshiro… liking Kaidoh and wanting to be friends and doing things like hugging his shirt while he sleeps.

"Is it too hot in here?" Momoshiro asks, raising an eyebrow suggestively.

"Shut up. I'm going to—"

"Run?" Momoshiro finishes. "No, you're not."

"I'm not?"

"No," Momoshiro takes a step forward, and then another, and Kaidoh is frozen in place and feels like his heart is beating so fast that it's about to follow the jack-in-the-box and tear its way out through his chest.

Suddenly Momoshiro is way too close. The air crackles with electricity, or maybe that's the sound of the candy wrapper Momoshiro is stepping on, and suddenly Momoshiro is kissing Kaidoh and Kaidoh has no idea why but he's kissing him back. He feels embarrassed and awkward and is glad Momoshiro's eyes are closed so he can't see just how terribly he's blushing right now.

When Momoshiro pulls away, his face is red too, but he's smiling and Kaidoh feels strangely like he's about to smile, too. That was weird, he thinks, and now he needs to go for a run more than ever, because if he stays in this room with Momoshiro much longer, he isn't sure what might happen.

Momoshiro seems to be thinking the same thing, because he says, "So about that run?"

Thank god, Kaidoh thinks. "Yeah, I'll just be going," he says. He turns to leave but feels a hand on his wrist.

"Can I come too?" Momoshiro's voice is cracking again, and Kaidoh is scared because Momoshiro is touching him again, and he just did that already, with his mouth, and it is way, way too confusing for Kaidoh to process. But when he looks into Momoshiro's eyes, he sees his own fear reflected in them, and so he shrugs, not knowing what else to do. Is this what friends do? Is this what Momoshiro meant when he said he wanted to be friends?

"No," he says finally, and leaves.

*

He throws himself into the run and goes until he's tired and sweaty. He pushes himself more than he did all month. He runs until he's so far from the camp that it's only a distant light in his peripheral vision and drags his feet on the way back, trying to stretch out time for as long as he can. Maybe Momoshiro will have switched rooms when they get back. Maybe Momoshiro was possessed by a demon and the real Momoshiro will return and none of that will have even happened.

Kaidoh doesn't know what to do. He paces back and forth in front of the door to their room. He doesn't want to fight Momoshiro and that's the strangest thing, because that's an instinct he thought he could always count on. He just feels confused and nervous.

He almost can't turn the door handle, his palm is so sweaty.

Inside, Momoshiro is waiting. Kaidoh looks at him nervously but Momoshiro isn't looking at him. The room is completely silent except for their breathing, and it sounds like thunder when Kaidoh shuts the door behind him.

"Do you think we should—" he starts, just as Momoshiro says, "I'm sorry about the—" They both trail off mid-sentence.

Kaidoh doesn't know what to say. He goes into the bathroom and washes his face. He splashes far more water on than is necessary and lingers for as long as he thinks he can get away with. When he comes out, Momoshiro is lying back against his pillow, looking at the ceiling. He looks just as terrified as Kaidoh feels. And that's the only feeling Kaidoh can really name at this point. There are a bunch of other emotions swirling around inside of him but the only one he can identify is fear. He is so scared of what happened and what might happen and what he and Momoshiro are now, because it's certainly not rivals anymore and it's probably not friends either, but Kaidoh doesn't have many friends so he could be wrong.

"Why did you kiss me?" he asks finally, and thinks to himself, Why did I kiss him back?

Momoshiro rolls over onto his side, facing away from Kaidoh. "I told you I liked you," he says. "It was really stupid though. I'm sorry. I messed everything up."

"No!" Kaidoh blurts, without being able to stop himself. "I mean, you didn't mess everything up. I just… wasn't expecting it and…"

"And?"

One of the emotions that Kaidoh can't find a name for seems to take hold of his voice and he finds himself saying, "I guess we could try again."

Momoshiro's body stills. He rolls back over and then sits up on the bed, a smile playing at the corner of his mouth. "Play a game with me first," he says.

*

This time, Kaidoh wins the game and when they get back to the room, he kisses Momoshiro first, before he has a chance to freeze up and second guess what he's doing. It feels good, just like their tennis, just like their run, just like everything they do together. He's still confused, and he wonders if it's okay to be more than rivals with Momoshiro. Momoshiro said they could be both rivals and friends but can they be rivals, friends and whatever they are now all at the same time?

He realizes that maybe he puts too much stock in labels when Momoshiro decides to stick his tongue in Kaidoh's mouth, because suddenly they are the furthest thing from his mind.

Yeah, he thinks, he and Momoshiro can be anything, and pushes Momoshiro back onto the bed, nudging his knee between Momoshiro's legs.

They can be everything.
Tags: characters: kaidoh, characters: momoshiro, fandom: prince of tennis, pairing: momokai
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