Gentlemen Prefer Blonds

BY : CrunchySalad
Category: Prince of Tennis/Tennis no Ohjisama > Yaoi - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 1285
Disclaimer: I do not own Prince of Tennis or its characters. I am not making any money from this fanfiction.

Oshitari Kenya had never really liked family functions, especially ones that took place outside of his realm of familiarity. Of course, a city like Tokyo qualified as entirely too unfamiliar, with its strange non-Kansai accents and heavy regional dishes. The parties were awkward enough even without all that... adults sipping champagne and eating hors d'oeuvres while discussing politics and gossip, stiff suits that felt suffocating on his skin... he didn't know why his family couldn't just leave him at home. It's not as though any one would have missed him; there were much more important topics at hand.

Kenya made his way past some distant uncle as the old man made some comment on the state of the stock exchange... apparently what he said was rather witty, as the cluster of people around him broke out into wry laughter. Two of the waitresses were heading towards him now, one on each side, and he deftly lifted a sushi roll from one tray while plucking a small piece of bruschetta from the other. A tray of champagne slipped by as well, though he let that be. He couldn't stand the taste of the stuff.

"My darling Kenya, just look at how you've grown!"

Kenya's face shot up at the lofty, high voice, but it was by far too late to make his getaway, and he felt several perfectly manicured fingers squeezing his cheeks as his aunts descended on him.

"Look at what a handsome boy he's become... he takes after his father so. A spitting image, really."

"And he wears his suit so well, it's absolutely precious. Why, Kenya, it seems like only yesterday you came up to my knees. You were such a darling little boy. How are your studies coming along? Are you still playing tennis?"

"I seem to recall that Yuushi plays tennis as well, doesn't he?"

"Yes, he's apparently some sort of a prodigy at the sport."

Yes, obaasan, fine, obaasan, and as quickly as they had appeared they grew tired of his curt replies. They left him then, leaving lipstick smears on his cheeks and the heavy scent of Chanel in the air, a herd of wild ponies come to trample and disappear. Kenya found a convenient mirror (not so hard a task, as the silk upholstered walls in this room were decorated with a magnificent array of gold framed photographs and mirrors) and made a quick check of himself... he wiped the lipstick from his face, adjusted the collar of his dress shirt, and combed down his short, white-blond hair with quick movements of his fingers. He wasn't usually so vain, but his mother had stressed the importance of appearances so frequently during the plane trip up.

Satisfied, he turned, and spotted the long, shaggy hair of one particular cousin. Of course, Yuushi looked completely natural in his suit, and the fabric of it fit him like a very elegant, very expensively tailored second skin. He had a champagne flute in one hand, half empty, and that stupid sardonic half smile on his lips. Probably in the midst of making one of his jokes. There were adults around him, but Yuushi had always seemed like an adult himself, and they seemed to be making rather pleasant conversation. His older sister was on his arm, beautiful as always and dressed in the traditional little black dress, perfectly accentuated with simple strands of white pearls. Classic. Kenya decided to head in the opposite direction of his cousins, but he proved once again that he was just too slow. Yuushi looked up, saw Kenya through the crowd, and excused himself before making his way towards him.

Nothing for it, Kenya decided, but he wasn't going to make Yuushi's trek any easier. Instead, he leaned against the wall, and took some small delight in the few times that Yuushi managed to stumble in the crowd.

"Kenya, and here I was thinking you were avoiding me." Yuushi's breath smelled of sugar and alcohol, and the scent of it was enough to make Kenya dizzy.

"Don't flatter yourself," Kenya responded, crossing his arms across his chest. "As if I would trouble myself over something to do with you."

Yuushi chuckled as though Kenya had said something just slightly funny. "Now, now, Kenya. Do behave. I do so hate when we argue. Why don't you come keep company with me?"

"I wouldn't want to impose."

"Quite the contrary... as a host I'd be much amiss to leave you standing here alone, and besides, itís been too long since we've had a worthwhile conversation."

Kenya felt Yuushi's large palm on the small of his back, and he let himself be led to some far corner of the room, though when Yuushi's hand slipped a few inches too low he was quick to push it away.

"Terribly sorry," Yuushi muttered, the amused tone of his voice saying he was anything but.

They walked away from the main room, into one of the antechambers that dotted its perimeter. It was just as lavishly decorated, all silk and satin, with low sofas and chaises strewn across the plush carpet. But unlike the main room it was empty, and Kenya made his way towards one of the couches as Yuushi shut the door. He tripped over something on the way, catching himself just as he fell, and realized that the room wasn't as empty as he previously thought.

"Ah. Kenya, you know Atobe Keigo."

"Every one knows Atobe Keigo," Atobe corrected, and somehow he managed to seem haughty and arrogant even from his position on hands and knees on the floor.

"Atobe, you know my cousin Kenya."

"I know of him." Atobe sat up a little, leaning back onto his hands, legs sprawled in front of him. A position that would have looked much less elegant on any one else. His tie was undone and slightly askew, and Kenya noticed the rich red of his cheeks and the slight glaze of his eyes just as he noticed the half empty martini glass in his hand. "As much as any one in our little community is supposed to know another."

"Atobe is utterly incapable of holding his alcohol," Yuushi whispered as he took his seat, sinking deep down into the soft cushion.

"There is nothing I am incapable of doing," Atobe reprimanded, though there was a slight slur to his voice. He managed somehow to pick himself off the floor and stumble into repose on a velvet chaise, taking another sip of his drink with flourish. "Now, what are you two doing here, sneaking away from the festivities?"

"I think the more fitting question is why some one of Atobe Keigo's stature is crawling around on the floor," Yuushi returned, and Atobe seemed to contemplate it for a moment.

"Hmm... well, if you must know, and I see why you must, as I'm sure my life holds nothing but the highest fascination to mere mortals..."

Kenya rolled his eyes, but he noted that Yuushi seemed used to Atobe's self-flattering speech, and only nodded as the other boy went on.

"It so happens that my affection for the aperitif has led to a certain amorous disposition, and as I was in the mood for something cute and blond, I thought I would seek out Jirou. Unfortunately, our little narcoleptic is nowhere to be found, though I'm quite sure I've searched under every couch and bed in your lovely home."

"I believe my sister sent Jirou home hours ago... after he fell asleep in the middle of Mother's custom ordered five-tier cake."

"Now, how could that have slipped my mind... I hope your mother doesn't think badly of Jirou because of it."

"Oh, no, my mother adores him as much as any one else is apt to."

Feeling very much like the third wheel, Kenya decided that a little alcohol wouldn't do much harm. There were discarded glasses of liqueur strewn about the room, and one cherry red concoction was looking terribly inviting; why, it even looked semi-clean. One tentative sip and he decided it was safe, and before he knew it he was clasping an empty martini glass and realizing that Atobe was staring at him with a vaguely interested look that Kenya was (almost) sure he didn't like.

"You know," Atobe drawled, his drink swirling with an elegant turn of his wrist, rich greens mixing together and spilling, just slightly, over beveled glass edges. "You're cute and blond."

It took a few moments for the words to make their way through the cloud of inebriation that had formed in his head, as Kenya never could hold his liquor, but soon enough his daze gave way to gentle shock. Yuushi snickered from beside him for a few moments, before deciding to do the chivalrous thing and interject on his behalf.

"Don't bother, Atobe. Kenya's perfectly virginal. Really, half his personality problems probably stem from the fact that he hasn't had sex yet."

Oh, right. Chivalry wasn't a word that existed in Yuushi's dictionary.

"C'est dommage." Atobe breathed the words rather than said them, his voice a light, airy sigh. And yes, Kenya supposed, Atobe Keigo was exactly the sort of person to use random foreign phrases in conversation, if only to show off the fact that he knew how.

"It's not as though I'm a sworn virgin," Kenya felt the need to interject, though he wasn't sure why he even bothered. He blamed it on the alcohol. "It's more that I haven't bothered with having sex yet."

"Haven't... bothered?" Atobe had the most quizzical expression on his face... really, there could have been a question mark over his head at the moment.

"See?" Yuushi asked. "Perfectly virginal. He's even turned down my overtures, and God knows how charming I am."

Kenya bristled. "Charming in what way, Yuushi? Because the last time I checked, perverse and slightly delusional don't exactly comprise the definition of charming."

"Oh, Kenya, you're so defiant," Yuushi laughed, serving only to infuriate Kenya just that little bit more. "You were so much more agreeable when we were children. How fun it was, playing doctor while our parents were safely away... I could get away with so much more back then..."

Kenya turned a light, subtle shade of pink, one that very much complimented his overall bone structure. He was about to say something when Atobe interjected, a content, contemplative expression on his face.

"I remember the days when we used to play doctor."

"Of course you do, Atobe," Yuushi returned. "We last did it not four days ago."

"Ah. So we did. How young and innocent we were."

Yuushi turned to Kenya them, giving him a few pats on his head. "Don't worry, Kenya. One day you'll lose your virginity and become a man."

And Kenya, his mouth a small 'o', could only gape indignantly as he realized that, yes, Yuushi had just patted him on the head like a child.

They took a plane ride home the next morning, most of which Kenya slept through, as he had gotten less than a luxurious night's sleep in the hotel suite just hours before. He was looking to get a more lasting rest when he got home, but alas, it wasn't meant to be. He hadn't made it two steps into the bedroom when his cell phone, forgotten on the plush leather of his desk chair, started ringing. He ignored it, stumbling into the suede and cotton sheets of his bed. It was Saturday, he deserved to sleep in... but no, minutes later and the phone was as incessant as ever, and he couldn't get back to sleep. An arm reached out, fumbling, and the sound of a cell phone snapping open filled the air.

"What is it?" Kenya asked after checking the screen to make sure it was only one of his friends who was calling... at least with one of them, he had the privilege of being a little rude.

"Kenya, where have you been?" Came the familiar voice of his captain. "I've been calling you all morning."

"Away," Kenya mumbled, nuzzling into his favorite pillow. Maybe he could sleep and engage in a telephone conversation at the same time.

"Whatever, man. Look, did the coach give you some paperwork to bring to me?"

Kenya cast a glance towards his bookshelf, where a large manilla envelope was perched amidst Hemingway and Sartre. "Yeah."

"I really need it now, because I have to be somewhere by noon, so could you bring it to campus? Thanks."

Dial tone, and Kenya groaned into his pillow even as he dragged his feet out of bed. He supposed a late morning in was too much to ask for. He grabbed the envelope, grabbed his jacket and a sliver of tartan plaid, and then he was ready to go.

The Shitenhouji campus was a ten minute walk from Kenya's house. It was a short stroll down his driveway, past large black gates, and then through a path in the neighborhood park. It was a wide, dirt path, framed on either side by large willowy trees, their branches forming a canopy overhead. The park was designed in a European style, the trees more indigenous to England then to Japan. He walked by them, the sounds of birds fluttering all around him, then past a humble fountain that was turned off for the winter. The cherub portrayed in the plaster seemed to watch him as he passed, arms outstretched and waiting for the rainfall that would not come until next spring. The sound of children drifted in from some unseen distance, words muffled and changed by the filter of the woods.

Then, a few steps, and he was out of the park. There was a street, and then the school, built not unlike many other schools in Japan. He made his way past the campus and towards the dormitories, simple yet stately affairs that more than adequately met the demands of boarding students.

Kenya came upon Shiraishi's room shortly, though a few knocks and a turn of the doorknob were all he needed to discover that Shiraishi wasn't there. Now what... Kenya looked down the hall, considering. He left a message on Shiraishi's door, black marker scrawled on a plastic board, then made his way towards another familiar door. He knocked, heard a groan in reply, and let himself in.

Of course, Chitose would still be asleep at this hour. Kenya could see the back of his head amidst the blankets, a mass of wild, short strands of hair that stuck out in about every direction. There was an entirely inappropriate aroma in the room, and Kenya could hazard a guess as to what it was.

"I'm leaving something here for Shiraishi," he said, dropping the envelope on Chitose's desk, "he'll probably pick it up soon."

Chitose mumbled something that Kenya couldn't make out, still half asleep in his bed. Kenya stood there, considering, before closing the door. He unbuttoned his wool coat, laying it neatly over Chitose's desk chair, and placed his scarf in a neat rectangle over that.

The previous conversation with Atobe and Oshitari lingered in his mind, and Kenya thought, Chitose was what most people considered very good looking. Chitose was also most definitely willing, if not a bit of a slut. And Chitose was, for once, about to be very useful.

Kenya slid onto that small twin bed, graceful movements of long limbs, legs falling on either side of Chitose's waist. He leaned down, chest to chest now, and Chitose's hands moved to his waist even as he blinked open blurry eyes.

"Huh?" He half asked, half yawned, and then, in mumbled tones, "What's going on?"

"I thought," Kenya said, his voice a husky whisper, because even if he had never taken part in it he knew what seduction was, "maybe we could fool around a little."

Chitose made a strange gurgling sound, mumbled something that sounded a little like 'thank you, God', and proceeded to flip them over so that Kenya's back was now on the bed. Chitose was a heavy weight above him, but it was far from uncomfortable, and his lips were wet and insistent presses against Kenya's own. He could feel Chitose through the fabric against his thigh, long and stiff from sleep and morning.

Chitose was, Kenya decided, as good at kissing as he was at tennis. His kisses were so heated, so urgent, and it was so easy for Kenya to let himself get swept up in them... he reached out, burying fingers in messy, coarse hair, arched upwards... and froze, as he heard the sound of the door opening.

"Oh, hey, Kenya," came Shiraishi's voice, as he took one look at the bed and then casually made his way to sit down at the computer desk, "I didn't know you were still here. Do you guys mind if I use the computer?"

The sound of fingers hitting computer keys filled the air, along with Chitose's inquiry of "Hey, Kenya, why'd you stop?", before the boy leaned down for another kiss. Kenya, a small frown on his lips and a flush on his cheeks, promptly hit Chitose over with a pillow before rolling out of the bed.

"Baka," he said, standing up, "I'm going home."

"Hey, wait up," Chitose said, trying to get out of bed himself. Unfortunately he got caught in his own blankets and stumbled, right into a big tangle on the floor. By this time Kenya had already gotten out into the hallway, well on his way out of the building. The last thing he heard from Chitose's room was Shiraishi's neutral voice, saying something to the effect of, "Shouldn't you put on pants first, Chitose? You're tenting through your boxers."

He got a text message as he was walking home, worded in typical Chitose fashion. "Sorry about that, Shiraishi's an idiot. Wanna try again later?" He had to smile a little at that... sometimes Chitose's complete and utter lack of shame could be amusing.

"Sure," Kenya texted back, "I'm not busy."

"Sweet. I'll be at your house at eight."

Kenya remembered the first time he had met Chitose, in the middle of their second school year. It had been right after summer break had ended, at the start of the fall term. Chitose had just transferred from Kyuushuu, and Kenya knew him solely because he was supposedly that region's best junior high tennis player. So it was to no small surprise to actually meet the boy, as unlike as Chitose was from any tennis player Kenya knew. There was the messy hair, the constant click clack of geta sandals, and the musky cologne that may or may not have masked barely there traces of cannabis.

Kenya swore that Chitose's eyes were glazed over the first time they had met, when Chitose had started some random conversation and then proceeded to flirt madly with him. But then, he would later find out that Chitose flirted with most things on two legs. Really, by now he must have slept with a good number of the girls in their class, and not a few boys as well. But that facet of Chitose's personality was, of course, very convenient for Kenya right now.

The next several hours passed rather quickly, in between all the errands he had to run and all the schoolwork he had to do. He saw his parents off, as they were leaving on yet another business trip, and turned to the English project he had due on Monday, something to do with translating a newspaper article. By the time eight o'clock rolled around he was still rather engrossed in the assignment, and so almost didn't notice the doorbell ringing. He made his way downstairs, opening the door to find Chitose standing there, wrapped up in a thick Northface jacket but still wearing those geta sandals.

"Hey." Chitose grinned, holding up to small pieces of semi-glossy paper. "I hope you don't mind, I bought movie tickets. You like action movies, right?"

Kenya blinked. Had there been some kind of communication error? Kenya was so certain that Chitose had asked him if he wanted to try to have sex again, but had he really asked if he wanted to hang out and see a movie? Or maybe the two things were one and the same, and Chitose was just into exhibitionism?

"Oh. Do you not like action? We could always go see something else."

Well... Kenya supposed there was nothing wrong with seeing one movie. "No, that's fine."

As Chitose smiled idiotically from his front step, Kenya took the opportunity to go grab his own coat. Soon enough he was closing and locking the door, and fell into step beside Chitose as they started to walk towards the theater. As they walked their hands brushed, brief meetings of knuckles and skin, and Kenya could feel the fleece of Chitose's coat sleeve against the back of his hand. It was a pleasant walk, and they chatted amiably about tennis and school and everything else they tended to discuss when they were hanging out together. It wasn't long until they were inside the theater, Kenya looking into a glass display full of candy as Chitose ordered popcorn.

"Do you want some jelly beans?" Chitose asked, following Kenya's gaze.

"No, that's okay-"

"Can we have a pack of jelly beans, too?" Chitose asked the cashier, leading to a minor scowl of irritation on Kenya's part, though it didn't stop the blond from taking the proffered candy.

"You know," Chitose said, as Kenya munched on a few candies (mmm... was this one cherry flavor?) and they both walked towards the theater, "I'm really glad we could hang out like this..."

But didn't they always hang out like this? Kenya must have spent one day a week at least just hanging out with Chitose and his other teammates.

"... to tell you the truth, I never thought you were interested in me-"

"Jelly bean?" Kenya asked, holding out the box, prompting Chitose to scrunch up his face in disgust.

"Dude, no."

Oh, right. Chitose didn't like jelly candies.

"But like I was saying-"

Whatever Chitose had to say had to wait though, as at that moment two girls from their school ran up and glomped themselves onto Chitose's arms.

"Chitose!" One of them squealed. "What are you doing here?"

"It must be fate, running into you like this," said the other, her eyelashes fluttering with practiced demureness.

Chitose tried to (politely) shake the girls off of him, sneaking glances at Kenya all the while. "Look, sorry, but I'm kind of with some one now."

"It's okay," Kenya said, shaking the rest of the beans out into his palm. Had he really eaten so many already? "You can talk to your girlfriends, I'll go save us seats."

If Kenya had looked up at that moment he would have seen a small frown cross Chitose's face, but as it was he only turned and walked into the theater. He managed to get them choice seats almost in the exact middle of the room, surprised when only a few moments later Chitose joined him.

"Hey," Chitose greeted again, sitting down and settling the popcorn in between them. "Miss me?"

"I'm sure," Kenya played along, smiling. He leaned forward, reaching for the popcorn, only Chitose was leaning forward too. Their lips met, one kiss, two kisses, three kisses, and then a whispered observance before the movie started.

"Ewww. You taste like jelly beans."

Kenya had to laugh at that, just a little, as they settled back into their seats and watched the previews.

After the movie they walked home arguing over the impossibility of loud explosions in space (Kenya found it ridiculous) versus the audience's duty to suspend their disbelief (Chitose found it vital). They had a fun time, but then they always had a fun time, and at any rate it was the end of the evening that Kenya had been waiting for. Chitose didn't disappoint, and somehow Kenya found his back pressed against his front door, Chitose pressed against him, and their tongues clashing against one another's. One of Chitose's hands were on his waist, one in his hair, and he drew back for a moment, resting their foreheads together.

"Ne, you know," Chitose mumbled, almost against his lips, "I really like blonds."

"You told me that when we first met."

"Did I?"

"Yeah. Right after you told me you could eat fifteen tacos in a row."

"... Hey, you know, I could really go for some tacos right now."

Kenya snickered before pushing Chitose away. "Shut up."

He fumbled at the lock, but before he had even turned the key all the way the door opened, and he blinked up at the familiar face of his older brother, who as of that afternoon was off in college.

"Nii-san? What are you doing here?"

"What kind of greeting is that? After I took the trouble of coming down to visit you!"

Kenya found himself swept into a very awkward hug (well, awkward on his side, anyway). He wasn't sure how his brother had become so affectionate, when nobody else in their family was at all, though he attributed it to that year abroad in America when Kouji had been a high school student.

"It's so nice to see my adorable little brother again!"

Kenya somehow managed to pry Kouji off of him, though not without some great effort on his part. Not a second after that Kouji was moving on to his next target, shaking Chitose's hands so hard Kenya thought it a wonder that the surprised boy wasn't bouncing with the movements.

"You must be Kenya's friend; it's always so nice to meet one of his friends. Are you in the tennis club with him?"

Somehow Kenya found himself closing and locking the door behind them as Kouji swept Chitose into the room and further into the house. He was rather annoyed at the fact that Chitose looked to be more than happy to be following his rather simple-minded older brother, but it's not like he could interrupt. He could only half hear the conversation between the two other boys, as they seemed to be speaking both at the same time and very rapidly at that, though some of the words he could make out were deeply disconcerting. Words along the lines of "home videos" and "popcorn".

"Ummm... nii-san, actually, we have to study."

"Huh?" Chitose asked, turned his head back for a moment. "What are you talking about?"

"Oh, don't mind him," Kouji said to Chitose as he led him into the family room, "Kenya's always been a party pooper."

Kenya pouted slightly (though if you had asked him, he would have called it a frown) at the comment, and grew even more annoyed as he happened to glance at the television screen. A picture of him at age two, fudge smeared all over his face, was staring down at them from pause on the plasma screen, and a row of several videotapes was lined up chronologically on the coffee table. Why on Earth was his brother such a sentimental sap?

And here they were, Chitose and Kouji, settling in on the couch with the popcorn bowl between them, leaving Kenya with no option but to plop down and watch as well. As annoyed as he was with his brother for spoiling his plans, he was even more annoyed (and not a little insulted) that Chitose would rather watch home videos than have sex. Really, Chitose was not living up to his reputation at all.

"Isn't Kenya the cutest?" came Kouji's voice. "He went through a whole year where he'd refuse to wear clothes at home, he hated them so."

Kenya watched as a naked three-year-old butt ran away from the camera, rolled his eyes, and sunk deeper into the couch.

It had already been late when they had gotten to the Oshitari household, and watching videos after watching a two-hour movie wasn't exactly conducive to staying awake. Added to that the fact that Kenya didn't really like home videos, as he had been forced to watch them multiple times before with his brother, and it wasn't a surprise that he fell asleep sometime during the second tape. The last thing he remembered was his sister crying because she couldn't blow out the trick candles on her birthday cake, and then there was gentle blackness.

Kenya woke up amidst blankets and pillow, and as he blinked open his eyes he started to make out the familiar shapes and furnishings of his room. The LED display on his alarm clock informed him that it was four am, and the silence of the house told him that every one was either gone or asleep. He rolled over, burrowing into a more comfortable position. Some one must have moved him up here, and Chitose must have gone home already.

What a pity.

The next week was the week of finals... the end of the school year, and Kenya, not the most studious student but definitely not the least either, spent what time he wasn't playing tennis at the country club immersed in books instead. His friends, in general, were doing the same, so their time together was limited to those previously mentioned tennis outings and snippets of conversation in the hallways between classes. He saw Chitose a few times for a few moments, but Chitose was being surprisingly studious for once as well, so Kenya didn't foresee spending any real time with him until exams were over.

At any rate, with his mind focused on his studies, Kenya all but forgot about his conversation with Yuushi and Atobe and the fact that he had wanted to lose his virginity. It seemed a senseless point at the moment, but then, it always had to him, which was why he never bothered with something like sex to began with.

Kenya's exams passed without incident, and he thought that it was safe to say that he had done well enough on all of them. But of course, there was never any fear of him failing.

It was a few hours after his last exam when Kenya got his first text message from Chitose in about a week, a simple two word request, if it could be called a request.

"Come over," it said, and Kenya typed in an even simpler response.

"Why?"

A few moments, and his cell beeped in that familiar tone again. "Because I want to see you before I go home for break. Besides, you know you miss me."

"Yeah. I've been counting the minutes until I can see you again," Kenya typed back, smiling a little.

"See? What did I tell you? You totally miss me."

Well, he had nothing better to do. And he really should say goodbye before Chitose headed back to Kyushuu... after all, he was going to be gone for a good week or two before he came back. "Be there in a few."

When he got to the school dormitory he saw that Chitose had already moved most of his things out of the building, and they were now waiting in boxes at the front of the parking lot, a moving company only starting to pile them into a truck. Kenya had heard that Chitose was going to stay at Shitenhouji for high school, and that his parents had already rented him an apartment off campus to live in. Chitose himself came out a few moments later, carrying only a duffel bag, assumedly all the luggage he needed to go home with.

"Yo," Chitose greeted as he walked out, "what happened to 'be there in a few'? My cab's gonna be here any minute now."

Kenya shrugged. "Things came up."

"Yeah, well, I'm glad you made it." Chitose let go of his duffel bag, and it swung in an awkward lunge onto the asphalt at his feet. As for Chitose himself, he seemed to be... more fidgety, a little, then Kenya had ever seen him, maybe, though there weren't any singular motions he could point out to give credence to the observance. "I mean, like, we already went on that date-"

Date? What date? Oh, the movies... Kenya supposed that could be considered a date.

"-but we never really talked about it, so I just wanted to ask, officially, I mean... would you want to go out with me? But, like, don't think you have to say yes or anything-"

"That's fine," Kenya interrupted, not used to Chitose rambling on, nor pleased to see he was possibly starting such a habit. "It's not like I'm with anybody right now."

There was a strange silence that followed, Chitose looking at him with a slightly puzzled reaction. "That's fine? ... ... You know... ... Kenya, you're pretty cold."

Kenya frowned at the statement, a little annoyed. "What do you want me to say, Chitose? It's not like I rejected you. You shouldn't be upset."

"Upset?" And really, Chitose, normally so easygoing and blasť, did seem to be just a little upset. "You know... I never questioned it, probably because I never wanted to, but why did you come on to me that first time anyway?"

"Why? It's because I felt like it, and you just happened to be there."

Chitose looked a little shocked for a moment, and when he spoke he seemed more than just a little upset. "You know, Kenya, you're really something."

Kenya was about to say something else, because he was mad that Chitose seemed mad at him, and he didn't understand what was going on (after all, it's not like Chitose hadn't casually slept with tens of girls and boys himself, that hypocrite), but then Chitose's taxi was here and he was throwing his bag into it.

"Whatever. See you in two weeks," Chitose bit out, and then he was driving off, leaving Kenya to sort things out in his departure.

Really, Kenya didn't know what Chitose was so bothered about, so he pushed it to the back of his mind. Instead, he contented himself with spending time with his family and friends. Tennis, movies, restaurants, and it was nice just to be able to have free time without worrying about school or competitions. He didn't even really think about Chitose until a shopping trip with Shiraishi one day, as they were shopping for birthday presents for mutual and not so mutual friends... really, so many people seemed to have been born in January.

The mall wasn't too crowded, but it wasn't at all empty either, so Kenya and Shiraishi found themselves being bumped and jostled from one store to the next, accumulating shopping bags with each stop. They ran into Kintarou outside the arcade, who talked them into playing a few rounds, but ultimately their journey led them to the food court, where Shiraishi grabbed some McDonalds while Kenya sipped on noodle soup.

"I hate shopping," Shiraishi uttered, right after he had finished drinking every sip of his extra large coca cola. And then, right after that proclamation, "What's going on with you and Chitose?"

Kenya might have choked on his noodles if he had less dignity and composure than he did. "What do you mean?"

"It's kind of mean of you to be jerking him around like this."

Kenya frowned. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"Man, for some one with such good grades, you're kind of stupid. Chitose likes you."

This time Kenya did choke on his noodles, just a little bit, though he cleverly disguised it under the guise of a small cough. "No. He doesn't."

Shiraishi was looking at him like he was just the most incredibly stupid person he had ever seen. "Yeah. He does. He's liked you ever since he met you. He told me he was so embarrassed when he first spoke to you that he couldn't think of what to talk about. Which probably means he started talking about everything... well, you know how Chitose's kind of an idiot."

Oh. Actually... this kind of explained a lot. All those silly little things Kenya had always brushed off before as gestures of friendship made more sense now... like how Chitose always gave him chocolates on Valentines Day. Okay, so maybe that one should have been obvious. Was he really that oblivious?

"Yes," Shiraishi said, now apparently a mind reader in addition to being a stellar tennis player and student, "you really are that oblivious."

So... okay. Maybe he owed Chitose an apology, Kenya thought, even though he still felt he hadn't done anything wrong. After all, he didn't know that there were emotions involved... Chitose had always seemed like too much of the consummate bachelor (or "player", Kenya supposed, was what people were calling those types today) to be emotionally attached to any one person. There were still several days before Chitose got back to Kansai though... any discussions would have to wait until then.

That night he settled into the family room to watch the evening news, his family once again absent for the most part. His sister was home but upstairs in her own room, either sleeping or on the phone with her friends, Kenya didn't really know. The news program was rather boring, though Kenya supposed that was a good thing, as exciting news stories more often than not dealt with something on the more tragic side of life. The phone in the hallway rang, loud through the doorway of the family room, but he decided to either let his sister or the machine answer it. After all, he had already nestled himself into several of the chenille throws his mother liked to scatter around the room, and was loath to give up the comfortable position.

"You've reached the Oshitari residence..." came his father's voice from the machine, and the simple, concise message played out before the sound of a beep. The voice that followed was most definitely not as composed... in fact, the voice, most certainly belonging to none other than Chitose, seemed also to belong to someone who was quite inebriated.

"Keeeenya! Keeenya, are you there?"

"Aniki, what are you doing now?" came a distant, feminine voice, and Kenya rolled his eyes to think of the behavior Chitose indulged in with his little sister in the same house. But then again, Miyuki always was the voice of reason when it came to those two, despite her age, and more often that not was the one telling Chitose what to do.

"Keeeenya, I'm so sorry I got mad at you, it's not your fault you're so cold and unfeeling."

Kenya frowned a little.

"It's so okay, because you're totally hot, so you're allowed to have a few personality defects."

Kenya frowned some more.

"Who are you talking to?" came a third, deeper voice, somewhat monotonous and slightly slurred. A friend, most likely, and one that wasn't quite as drunk as Chitose.

"My boyfriend! I'm talking to my boyfriend, and he's like, totally hotter than your boyfriend!" Chitose's voice was a little more distant, as if turned away from the phone, but then he was back and as loud as ever. "Kenya, I totally love you, even if you're kind of grumpy when you wake up, and when you're tired, and when you don't get your way, because it's really kinda cute, and even if you wear that ugly green argyle sweater that I hate-"

What was wrong with that sweater? It was one of Kenya's favorites. But Chitose's voice was getting dimmer, and then there was a scuffle, and probably some one had managed to wrestle the phone away from him.

"Kippei-" came Chitose's now very distant voice, "give me back the phone."

Ah. So he was with Tachibana.

"Sorry," Tachibana said, his voice clear over Kenya's answering machine, "he's drunk."

And then he hung up. Really, though, Kenya smiled... he couldn't help but be a little flattered through all of this.

A few days later Kenya found himself at the train station, waiting in the cold for a certain arrival. He didn't have to wait long though, and soon enough he could hear a surprised yet pleased voice cutting through the crowd.

"Kenya? Hey, Kenya, what are you doing here?"

Kenya turned to see Chitose running up to him, duffel bag slung onto his shoulder.

"Happened to be in the area," Kenya replied, a small smirk on the edges of his mouth.

"Sure you did."

"Do you want to take a taxi or bus?" Kenya asked, as they stepped out of the station and into the busy street.

"Let's walk; my new place is pretty close by, and you haven't seen it, have you?"

Kenya felt something warm at his hand, and then he felt Chitose's fingers closing around his. Perhaps casual spectators might have been a little surprised to see two boys walking down the street holding hands, but as it was no one seemed to see or care, and Kenya had to admit that there was a certain pleasantness to having Chitose's palm against his.

"So did you get my message?" Chitose chuckled a little. "If I could remember what I said, I'd probably be a little embarrassed right now."

"I'm sure you would be. Really, you're a horrible influence on Miyuki."

"Ah, no, Miyuki's got her head on a lot straighter than I do," Chitose laughed. "I don't need to worry about her."

"I hope you didn't give Tachibana much trouble."

"Oh, his life wouldn't be half as fun if I wasn't there to give him trouble."

A comfortable silence, for a little while, some talk of their upcoming high school orientation, some talk of playing on the tennis club. Kenya barely noticed as they stepped inside a building, somewhat boldly furnished, and started walking down a hallway.

"You know," Chitose was saying, "I was thinking about it, about us, and I figured for you to have gone along with everything so far, you must like me on some level."

"Maybe," Kenya said, coy, but then he didn't want to commit to anything big at this point either. After all, until recently, he had never thought about Chitose in a romantic way. "I don't want to lead you on or anything."

"I know. Don't worry about that, any way. I'm confident that I'll be able to make you fall in love with me."

Kenya usually hated when Chitose was overly smug. It reminded him of Yuushi, and he couldn't stand Yuushi... the whole family acted like he was so great, but the only thing he was really good at was molesting people (innocent young cousins included). This time, though... it was kind of cute.

Chitose unlocked a door, leading Kenya into his apartment. That's when Kenya became aware of his surroundings, and he wondered how on Earth he hadn't noticed that they were walking towards this kind of district to began with. "This isn't your apartment."

"How do you know?"

"First of all, the bed sheets are red and satin with animal print trim. Second of all, there's a vending machine selling... ahem... 'assorted sexual toys' right there."

"Oh, so there is. Why don't you go make yourself comfortable on that red, satiny bed while I buy some extra-jumbo-large condoms."

"Yeah, right," Kenya snickered, making his way towards that tacky monstrosity. Haha, Yuushi, he thought, you can't patronize me now. No sooner had he thought that, though, did he hear a rather foreboding crash. He looked up to see Chitose in a pain-filled puddle on the floor, grabbing at his crotch.

"I tripped," Chitose explained, and Kenya put two and two together.

"And hit your cock on the coffee table?" Really, who did that?

"Sorry, Kenya. It looks like I won't be able to screw you tonight."

Kenya sighed. He guessed his virginity was going to have to wait. "I'll go get some ice."

.end.


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