30_kisses theme: #13, "excessive chain"
Note: Somehow this started as a smutfic, but turned into this. I have no idea why or how this particular transmutation occurred. Oh well.
“Inui-senpai...” Kaidoh sounded very tentative, nineteen percent more so than usual.
Inui looked at him curiously. “What is it, Kaidoh?”
Kaidoh held up an envelope. Inui reached out for it, but Kaidoh snatched it away, looking panicked. “No, don’t touch it!”
Now Inui was really confused. “Kaidoh, what’s wrong?”
“It’s...” Kaidoh lowered his voice until he was whispering. “It’s a chain letter, senpai.”
“Oh.” Inui blinked, slightly dumbfounded. “A chain letter? One of those pranks?”
“Well...yes,” Kaidoh said slowly. “But it says...it says that if you don’t send it to five more people, you’ll be cursed.”
“Cursed?” Ah yes. Inui had heard about that aspect of the letters, he’d just forgotten it because it was so impractical.
“Yes.” Kaidoh nodded earnestly. “I was just wondering...is that true? Will I be cursed?”
“Of course not,” was the first response that came into Inui head. Then he reconsidered. Perhaps there was a more...well...productive way to handle the situation. “Hmm...perhaps,” said Inui thoughtfully.
“Really?” Kaidoh asked fearfully. He glanced around himself, wide-eyed, as though he’d be stricken by lightning that very second. “But senpai, my mother says it’s silly, and that I shouldn’t waste stamps on it...”
“Wait, wait.” Inui held up a hand. “There is another method with which to rid yourself of this curse, or so I have heard.”
“There is?” Kaidoh’s tone was hopeful now. “What is it?”
“You can give five kisses instead.” Inui said it with a straight face. He was proud of himself.
“...oh.” Kaidoh looked utterly bewildered. “All right.” And he wandered disconsolately away, leaving Inui to wonder how on earth Kaidoh hadn’t gotten the point.
Kaidoh walked home after tennis practice. He wasn’t quite sure what he was going to do. Five kisses instead of five letters? It sounded easy enough.
He opened the door of his house. His mother greeted him with a smile. “Hello, Kaoru. How was your day?”
Kaidoh realized that this was a perfect opportunity. He gave his mother a little peck on the cheek and said, “It was fine.”
His mother looked pleased. She hugged him and said, “Well, that’s good. You seem happy today, did anything particularly good happen?”
Kaidoh shrugged. He made a mental note to hug or kiss his mother whenever he got home. She seemed to like it. “Oh...I don’t know. Nothing much.”
“So you’re not worried about that chain letter anymore?” She smiled when he shook his head. “I’m glad. You know, those things are so ridiculous.”
One down, four to go.
“Kaoru, can I borrow a pencil?” Hazue peered through Kaidoh’s doorway.
“Yeah, hang on.” Kaidoh looked through them to see which one was the sharpest. Then he stood up and held it out to Hazue.
“Thanks, bro,” said Hazue.
“You’re welcome,” Kaidoh said. Then he had an idea that seemed stupid when he thought about it later. He ruffled Hazue’s hair, a typical big brother to little brother gesture, then very, very quickly bent down and kissed the top of Hazue’s head.
“What the-” Hazue looked up at him suspiciously. “What did you just do to my hair?”
“I was just wondering what kind of shampoo you used. It smells different,” said Kaidoh, lying through his teeth.
“Oh...okay.” Hazue still looked doubtful as he left the room.
Two down, three to go.
“Kai~doh!” Kikumaru practically tackled Kaidoh as he walked out of the locker room.
“Eiji-senpai...” Kaidoh said, desperately trying to figure out how to get away.
Kikumaru laughed. “Guess what? You and Momo are playing me and Oishi today!”
This was bad news on both counts. Kaidoh scowled. Doubles with that idiot...and against the Golden Pair? And of course, Kaidoh still had three kisses left to give so as to avoid the curse.
Kikumaru examined Kaidoh’s face closely, then laughed again. “What, you’re not happy? Come on, it’ll be fun!”
Kaidoh suddenly realized that Kikumaru was very close to him...close enough, probably, for what he was planning to look like an accident. Kaidoh faked a stumble, which wasn’t hard, because Kikumaru was holding onto him.
“Whoa! Kaidoh!” Kikumaru caught him before he could fall...but after Kaidoh had managed to brush his lips against Kikumaru’s cheek. “Are you okay?” He giggled. “Are you that scared to play us?”
“No, I’m fine, senpai. I’m sorry,” Kaidoh apologized, honestly remorseful for deceiving a senpai. Especially when that senpai was dating Oishi-senpai.
Three down, two to go.
Inui watched the entire exchange between Kikumaru and Kaidoh. He began to despair. That was one kiss, and he guessed that Kaidoh had certainly kissed his mother and perhaps his brother as well. That left two, and with Kaidoh behaving as he was, it seemed all-too-likely that Kaidoh was going to waste the last two, as well.
So Inui followed along after Kaidoh, watching and waiting and hoping that Kaidoh wouldn’t do anything rash.
“Dammit, you could have gotten that one!” Momoshiro rolled his eyes skyward. He and Kaidoh followed the Golden Pair off of the court. “Knew I shouldn’t leave it to you.”
Kaidoh hissed. “You lost just as many points as I did!” He swung his racket in an angry arc. They couldn’t beat Oishi and Kikumaru no matter how they tried. At least they’d won two games of the match, which was better than usual.
“I did not!” Momo swung around to face Kaidoh. He looked indignant. He grabbed Kaidoh by the shirt. “Don’t lie!”
“I’m not!” Kaidoh snapped back. “You hit one all the way over the fence, you idiot.”
“That was one time. One!” Momo argued.
Kaidoh swallowed. Momo was just as close as Kikumaru had been earlier. Maybe he should...?
No! No, definitely not. He yanked away from Momo, pulling his shirt out of Momo’s grasp. “You did lose just as many points,” he muttered as he stalked away towards the clubroom.
Inui let out a breath. Kaidoh had gotten the same bizarre look on his face that he’d gotten with Kikumaru. That would not have turned out well, if Kaidoh had kissed Momoshiro. Definitely not well at all...
Inui felt as though he was safe for the moment.
Then he saw who was moving to intercept Kaidoh. He cursed to himself and hurried to catch up with his kouhai.
Kaidoh whirled, surprised. “Oh...Fuji-senpai.” He lowered his racket.
Fuji smiled in the way that made Kaidoh feel like a mouse being hunted by Echizen’s cat. “I noticed that you seem...hm...tense. Am I right?”
“U-um,” Kaidoh stammered, not exactly lending credibility to his next words. “No, I’m fine.”
“Oh really?” Fuji took another step toward him. They were less than half a meter away from each other now. “Are you sure there’s nothing I can do to help?”
It had never even occurred to Kaidoh to try to kiss Fuji. It just didn’t seem like a good idea. Kaidoh took a step back. “No...no, thank you, Fuji-senpai.”
“Hmm,” Fuji said, the smile never leaving his face as he moved gracefully forward again.
Kaidoh stepped back again. His heels bumped into brick, and he glanced behind him. He saw, to his dismay, that he’d run into the clubroom wall. There was nothing he could do, except possibly to shove Fuji out of the way and run, but that would be rude to a senpai.
“Fuji!” Inui snapped the name more harshly than he’d intended.
“Yes, Inui?” Fuji asked, smiling sweetly.
“Eiji is looking for you.” Inui glared as best he could through his glasses. He crossed his arms. Fuji made no move to step away from Kaidoh. Kaidoh stared pleadingly at Inui.
“He can find me on his own, I’m sure,” Fuji said lightly. “Don’t you think, Kaidoh?”
“Uh...” Kaidoh managed. “Maybe not, Fuji-senpai. I mean, we’re all the way...back here...” he trailed off.
“Well, all right then,” said Fuji cheerily. “If you say so.” He turned to walk away, then paused to say, “Inui, you know, you really ought to plan these things more efficiently.” He had the temerity to give Inui a wink before leaving.
Inui started toward Kaidoh. “Kaidoh, are you all right?”
“I’m fine,” Kaidoh mumbled. “I just...Inui-senpai, isn’t there any other way?” he asked hurriedly. “I could only give three. It’s harder than it sounds!”
“I may be able to help you with that,” Inui said, almost grinning. He held out a hand to Kaidoh. He didn’t want to back him against the wall the way Fuji had. There would be time for that later.
Kaidoh eyed Inui’s hand. Then he hesitantly took it in his own. Inui could feel Kaidoh’s pulse beneath his fingers. It was faster than usual, and speeding up instead of slowing.
“Kaidoh...I was hoping you would seek my help with this problem of yours,” Inui confided truthfully.
“You were?” Kaidoh looked absolutely shocked.
“Oh. Oh!” Kaidoh seemed to realize what Inui was talking about. And before Inui could react or say anything at all, Kaidoh was the one to instigate their first kiss.
It wasn’t very neat, or very graceful, or very long, either. Kaidoh looked anxiously at Inui as he rocked back onto his heels, instead of standing on tiptoe as he’d had to do to reach Inui.
“There’s something else I didn’t tell you,” Inui murmured. “You can kiss the same person more than once...”
And Kaidoh gladly did so, without even asking why he couldn’t just have kissed his mother again.
“Kaidoh, what is this?” Inui asked, holding up an envelope. It was addressed to Inui. Kaidoh’s was listed as the return address. “I thought we’d taken care of the chain letter you received.”
“...we did,” said Kaidoh. Then he ducked his head, a blush spreading across his cheeks. “I started a new one.”
“Ah, I see...” said Inui, not understanding. Then he really did see, and he asked, surprised, “Kaidoh, do you mean...”
Kaidoh nodded, looking up to see if Inui minded.
Inui smiled. “Then we should make sure that I’m freed of any curse as quickly as possible, don’t you think?”
Kaidoh nodded again. “Yes, senpai.” And they did.