FANDOM: Prince of Tennis
CHARACTERS: Inui Sadaharu and Kikumaru Eiji
SUMMARY: Eiji needs a little help with some wooing, and Inui has, suffice to say, all the answers. (1200+ words)
NOTES: Inspired by a prompt from prompt_in_a_box Round 18, "Well, you were right about this being a bad idea." (Firefly)
"Inui, you're a practical guy, right?" That was, Inui supposed, probably the understatement of the century. The data specialist turned to the boy beside him, brow pointedly raised and finger itching to tap impatiently against his desk - though propriety would not allow him to do so. And Eiji, with his soft blue eyes and upturned mouth, stared right back, matching the glint of the sun on Inui's glasses with the glimmer of a challenge in his tone.
"It's not so much something that I would doubt, nya. Just a confirmation," he continued broadly, reaching for his bag, whilst a myriad of afternoon colors danced across Inui's bedroom walls, his phone blinking on the bedside table to confirm a newly received message and research papers flying to the ground in heaps. All this remained forgotten, however, as the brunette nodded his undivided attention, allowing a barely audible 'mmph' of irritation to escape his lips, urging the other boy on.
"Why do you ask then, Kikumaru?"
There were those days when he simply could not tell what the redhead was thinking, no matter how well he seemed to be able to read into Eiji's posture, the way he gestured whenever he was particularly excited, or the probability of his acrobatic movements. And what could have been a sound estimation of the boy's reaction on one day could not always - rather, never - be true for the next. As if a blur after a camera shot, it was time to reset and try again. Hope against hope that he would get it right this time around.
Now, this should have frustrated Inui, and to an extent, yes, he was damn frustrated, pride injured, precious data strewn upon metaphorical sand dunes. But he was, just as well and on the contrary, all the more interested (curiosity effectively piqued) - a dangerous combination, a small voice whispered in his ear. Nevertheless, this was the thrill of the chase. If Eiji's answering grin was any vague indication.
"I think I need your help."
"Kikumaru, this is highly inappropriate," Inui sighed, hand then itching to tip the frame of his glasses up the bridge of his nose, maybe to massage his temple a bit, maybe to swat the redhead's arm away. But it was no use, they were linked, absolutely and for as long as it would take. He could almost imagine the boy bouncing with each quick step, with each tousle of hair - although, of course, this may have been a slight exaggeration. For upon closer inspection, Kikumaru Eiji did not bounce. Rather, he skipped like a child having his first look at snow. Ii data.
"Hoi? How is it inappropriate? I have your consent," Eiji volleyed back as if on cue, dragging his other arm up to drape it across Inui's, giving him a firm pat. He evidently would not get away that easily. Birds gamely chirping, sky blue and grass greener than green, shackles in place, the clink of a key getting tossed off a cliff. There was also probably a wicked witch cackling somewhere in the distance, he almost smiled, almost. (Eiji did not fail to notice.)
"Having my consent does not directly make it felicitous. There is a 86.9% probability that if noticed, we will be labeled of the homosexual orientation accordingly." He was supposed to sound miffed while having pointed that out, he told himself, rightfully and irrevocably so. However, when around the particular specimen that was Kikumaru Eiji, things did not seem to go his way.
"Eh? So are you saying you're not gay to begin with?" If pigs could fly, he mused, now would be the perfect time. Eiji blinked, seemingly innocent and unknowing... but Inui knew better. He'd had enough practice to be able to tell. There was just something off about the tilt of the acrobat's head, something off about the way he was half-smiling and half-pouting, something off about the general tone of his voice. He was a force to be reckoned with, that was for sure.
"Kikumaru, you must have me confused with someone else. Fuji perhaps?" Touché.
"So this restaurant would be...?"
"A fine choice," Inui replied, flipping through his notes one more time, one last time, "Oishi would enjoy the ambiance as I have calculated that he is 94.6% a hopeless romantic." It would have helped to mention that their vice-captain was not openly romantic though, given to embarrassment if presented with the situation straight out. But Inui was no longer feeling quite as generous, his head throbbing with a kind of pain different from that of a fever. It might have been the flu. He shook his head as Eiji glanced away.
"Really? I'd always thought that Oishi was a lot less superficial."
"Being romantic does not constitute being superficial. I'm surprised you think so," he mused, allowing his curiosity to show for once. He did not want to admit that he had initially calculated the redhead to be quite the starry-eyed idealist as well, the other half of the Golden Pair. And truthfully, he felt a great bit disillusioned.
"Well, I've never been a fan of moonlit walks and candlelit dinners, nya. Most people assume that I am but I'm really more for..." Eiji trailed off, his cheeks pinkish, his tongue darting out to swipe a glistening trail across his bottom lip. Inui felt himself lean in to be able to hear the other boy better.
"...sex," Eiji finished with barely as much as a choke, if not a whisper, bristling as if it should have been obvious and disappointed that Inui hadn't been able to guess. "I mean, the intimacy of chest against chest, breaths hitching, that sort of thing. Wouldn't you prefer it that way?"
Put into the stand himself, Inui was not sure how to respond. He settled for nodding, humming his low baritone of a voice and appearing as if he were, this time, in deep thought, contemplating the idea of such madness, such impossibility leaving the redhead's lips. And why couldn't it be possible? They were in high school and one of them was defiantly heterosexual. Defiantly, of course, but nonetheless.
"Anyway, Inui, I'd really like to thank you for this. I would have never thought this date through if it weren't for your help, nya," Eiji waved him off, smiling that smile of his, eyes warm and welcoming. "I'd probably go as far as trying your latest Inui Juice if you wanted me to. But, um, just once, all right? Even I have my limits - you know that better than anyone else."
The brunette found himself smiling back, the suggestion taking shape within his mind, then warping itself into something a little less proper and a little more complicated. As long as he got some obstacles out of the way.
"Another date," he answered, catching the redhead completely off-guard.
"I have come to the conclusion that these excursions should merit further research. Perhaps in the future, you may even find use for my observations again," Inui explained, ready to accentuate with chart descriptions and timetables if need be. The other boy did not need that much convincing though. And oh, was that not being practical or what?