Note: My (possible) entry for the tenipuri Valentine's Day contest. ^_^
Momo didn’t think much of Valentine’s Day. Yeah, it was okay in some ways. A lot of girls gave him chocolate (although they gave Fuji more, and he didn’t even eat it without dipping it in wasabi or something weird like that). It always made the whole day weird, though. Tennis practice got interrupted all the time, and then of course all the girls who gave out chocolate and flowers expected presents back on White Day, and Momo had to be nice and spend his hamburger money on that...
Actually, that wasn’t the reason Momo didn’t think much of the holiday. At least not this year.
He paced back and forth in front of the Valentine’s Day cards. He looked at them, with their hearts and flowers and whatever all over the colorful paper. They seemed to be more intimidating with every pass.
He’d found the perfect card. On the front, it said You’re as good as a triple fudge layer cake with chocolate frosting, whipped cream, and a cherry on top Then on the inside, it said, ...Almost. Happy Valentine’s Day from someone who thinks you’re sweet.
The problem was, girls gave presents on Valentine’s Day. Boys didn’t. Momo was pretty sure that if he gave someone something, even a card, then he automatically became more feminine.
That wasn’t really the problem either.
The problem was the person he wanted to give the card to. Well, the person that he didn’t really want to give the card to but was the perfect person to get a card like that one.
Momo told himself that it wasn’t even a romantic card. If he’d seen a romantic card and thought of Kaidoh, it would have been even creepier. This one was almost an insult. In fact, it was an insult, except for the “sweet” part, which he could cross out with a marker anyway.
Momo then told himself that he was doing a favor for Kaidoh. The mamushi didn’t get nearly as many Valentine’s Day presents as Fuji, or Tezuka, or even Momo himself. He got some, but those were mostly from the tomboy-type girls, or (Momo suspected) from Inui or Fuji.
He picked up the card again. He licked his lips as he stared at the picture on the front, then looked around nervously. He put the card back and walked halfway down the aisle toward the front of the store. Then he came back and made a show of looking at different cards.
When he finally left the store, he had the card and its envelope shoved deep in his backpack. where no one could possibly see it. He also had two other cards and a bag of candy because he thought it would look weird to buy just one card. People might think that he had a girlfriend. (Or a boyfriend? It was Valentine’s Day, not White Day. If he looked at it that way, it was weird no matter what.)
He shrugged to himself and set out to his favorite cake shop to buy a slice of triple fudge layer cake with chocolate frosting, whipped cream, and a cherry on top.
Momo and Kaidoh played a doubles match together the next day, against a couple of other second years. Momo grumbled because it was going to be too easy. Kaidoh shut up about it even though he was annoyed too, Momo could tell. Kaidoh’s eyebrows raised in a particular way when he wasn’t happy about something, and his eyes narrowed. Momo had a lot of practice with that look of Kaidoh’s.
“This is stupid,” Momo complained, getting ready for the serve. “We shouldn’t be playing these guys, we should be playing Oishi-senpai and Eiji-senpai, or Fuji-senpai and-”
“Shut it,” Kaidoh snapped back at him. “If you don’t shut up, we’ll lose and it’ll be your fault.”
“Against these guys? No!” Momo scoffed at that idea. He decided that Kaidoh didn’t deserve a Valentine’s Day card, or any card, for that matter. He’d burn the damn thing when he got home and write a post-it reminding himself not to send Kaidoh a birthday card.
They won, of course, 6 games to 1. They lost one game because Momo accidentally hit Kaidoh with the ball once, not even in the head, and Kaidoh spent the rest of the time trying to take revenge.
“Hey. Good match,” said Momo, ready to be charitable. It had been a good match, except for that one game. Momo even held up his hand for a high five. And evidently Kaidoh wasn’t angry anymore either, because he actually slapped Momo’s hand.
“Just don’t hit me next time,” Kaidoh warned.
“Yeah, whatever.” They locked challenging stares. They both looked away at exactly the same second and walked off the court. They were careful not to look at each other so that no one else knew they were walking together on purpose.
Momo thought that maybe Kaidoh deserved a card after all.
Valentine’s Day went pretty much the way Momo thought it would. He got fewer chocolates than usual, though, because all of the first year girls spent all of their money on Echizen. He consoled himself by thinking that at least now he wouldn’t have to spend a lot on White Day. Then again, this way Echizen wouldn’t have any money left after White Day and Momo would have to treat him. Or maybe he could get Eiji to buy them food. That, Momo decided, was basically the best course of action no matter what.
“You’re thinking about food, aren’t you.” Kaidoh elbowed him in the side.
“I don’t know why the hell we have gym class together,” Momo said, dodging the question.
Kaidoh snorted and jostled past him to get into the gymnasium first. Momo thought of the card in his locker, already signed and in the envelope with the words about being sweet crossed out in thick black marker. Kaidoh definitely didn’t deserve it.
Kaidoh slammed a perfect Snake across the court. Momo grinned as their opponent raced to hit it back, caught it on the edge of his racket.
“Ha!” Momo exulted, pulling off a flawless smash in exactly the place where neither of their opponents could get to it. The girls standing around the court all squealed and cheered.
“That was great!” Oishi called from across the net, breathing a little heavily but smiling.
“Yeah!” Eiji agreed, bouncing in place. “That one’s hard even for the Golden Pair to counter!”
Momo was flying high on the two games they’d won against Oishi and Eiji, and even more on the fact that the Golden Pair was only leading by one game. He laughed and spun the racket in his hand.
“Stay focused, idiot,” Kaidoh commanded. He smacked Momo on the back of the head, but very gently.
“Okay,” Momo said, grinning at him. “But you’d better, too.”
He was going to give Kaidoh that card, for sure.
“Here, Momo-chan!” It was a girl from his class, either Yumiko or Aya, he couldn’t remember which. She was waiting with a friend at the entrance to the court.
“Thanks,” he said with a smile, accepting the box of chocolates.
Her friend (either Yumiko or Aya again) boldly held out another box to Kaidoh, blocking his way when it became apparent that he was just going to walk on through. “One for you too, Kaidoh-chan.”
Kaidoh blinked at her, looking shocked. Momo glared at her without realizing what he was doing. Kaidoh-chan? “Uh...thanks,” said Kaidoh, taking the box and staring at it as though it was some foreign object that he’d never seen before.
“Why’d you take that?” Momo demanded once they were out of sight and hearing range, walking back to the clubroom.
“What?” Kaidoh looked at him blankly, then he looked down at the box of chocolates like he’d forgotten that it was there. “You took one too!”
“That’s not the same!” Momo exclaimed. “Not the same thing at all She called you Kaidoh-chan.”
“Her friend called you Momo-chan,” Kaidoh said, sounding disgusted. “It’s the same thing, you moron.”
“It’s not,” Momo huffed. Then he stayed silent because he couldn’t think of why it was different. It just was; why couldn’t the stupid mamushi understand that? Well, because he was stupid, of course. Momo was mad now, but for some reason he suddenly wanted very badly to give Kaidoh the card that was stuffed into the pocket of his jacket.
“Hey,” he said, stopping. But Kaidoh had already stopped a pace behind him.
“Here,” Kaidoh mumbled. He was holding out a white envelope.
“Huh?” Momo took it without thinking. He turned it over and over, having momentarily forgotten how to open an envelope. “What’s this?”
“It’s for you.” Then Kaidoh added, “It just reminded me of you, that’s all.” He crossed his arms and glared defiantly at Momo.
“Oh.” Momo was at a loss for words, so he tore open the envelope instead of saying anything. And there in his hands...
...was the exact same card he’d bought for Kaidoh. He opened it. On the inside it said, Idiot, in Kaidoh’s handwriting, and then ...Almost. Underneath that were some other words, but they’d been covered with white-out.
Momo burst out laughing. “Oh my god! Mamushi, you bought me a Valentine’s Day card! I can’t believe it!” He dissolved into absolute hysterics. “I bet you stood in the store forever trying to decide whether to buy it or not! Ha, does this mean that you’re a gi-”
Kaidoh punched him, not exactly an unexpected move. He punched pretty hard though, which Momo knew he deserved but had been hoping wouldn’t happen quite so violently.
Momo sprawled back onto the grass, catching himself with one hand. “Ouch.” He felt his mouth and wiped away the bit of blood. He’d cut his lip on his teeth. He’d dropped his box of chocolates, but not the card from Kaidoh. He ignored the box, even though his stomach was telling him to pick it up.
Kaidoh was stalking away already. “Hey,” Momo called, then louder, “Hey!” He scrounged around in his jacket pocket and pulled out his card. It was slightly squashed and bent. Probably one of the freshmen had sat on it.
Kaidoh didn’t turn back. Momo scrambled to his feet, stumbled a couple of rushed steps, then lunged and latched onto the back of Kaidoh’s jacket with one fist.
Kaidoh whirled, ready to punch him again.
“Wait, wait!” Momo said, using the envelope as a shield. That made Kaidoh pause long enough for Momo to thrust the card at him and say, “Here.”
“Wha-” Kaidoh pulled the envelope open, being surprisingly careful not to rip what was inside. He looked at the card and didn’t react at first. He opened the card, and Momo knew he was reading the part that said Mamushi, and then ...Almost, and then the part that Momo had scrawled over with the black marker.
Kaidoh closed the card. He tucked it back into the envelope. Then he said, “You idiot.”
Momo didn’t have time to protest because then Kaidoh was kissing him. His mind couldn’t react except to think that his lip hurt. “Ow,” he mumbled against Kaidoh’s mouth, kissing back anyway.
“Sorry,” Kaidoh mumbled back, but didn’t stop kissing.
“Hey,” Momo said breathlessly when they finally stopped. “Does this mean we’re both girls?”
“Moron,” said Kaidoh, rolling his eyes. He grabbed Momo by the arm and started stalking off towards the clubroom again. But at some point his hand slipped down so that they were almost hand-in-hand. Not quite, because his hand was only on Kaidoh’s wrist. But almost.
Momo thought that getting a Valentine’s Day card for Kaidoh was the best idea he’d ever had.