when the gales of November come early (kishmet) wrote,
when the gales of November come early
kishmet

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Ficlet...thing


Title: Routine
Author: Kish
Rating: G
Note: Okay, fine, here's something I just randomly wrote a while ago. It might be a 30_kisses fic, or it might not. I don't like it. Just...read it, I guess.


~~Routine~~

Inui and Kaidoh had made a habit of running together after school. Kaidoh wasn’t completely sure when it had begun. It just seemed like a sensible thing to do; Inui liked to take his pulse before and after exercise and make sure he stretched properly, and Kaidoh…didn’t mind.

They followed such a consistent schedule that Kaidoh didn’t even think about it anymore. They would walk home separately to unload their schoolbooks and tennis equipment, then Kaidoh would jog over to Inui’s house. His senpai was always waiting for him and would offer him a drink. Kaidoh would always refuse because of his deeply ingrained fear of Inui Juice.

They always went through the same pre-run routine. Kaidoh would sit and blush and look generally uncomfortable as Inui measured his respiration and heart rate and took notes about it. Then they would warm up together using whatever stretches Inui had deemed most effective.

They would run together down the sidewalk at a fairly easy pace, going down Inui’s street and then into the park. They always took the exact same route along the stream that was too small to be called a river and through a copse of trees that was too thin to be called a forest. Then they would take the long way through the rest of the park, going up a hill and through several ornamental gardens.

They always ran in silence by unspoken mutual agreement. Kaidoh found running very relaxing and preferred to simply take in the noise that was ambient, and Inui seemed to know that. Once in a while Inui would speak if he noticed something wrong with Kaidoh’s breathing or saw him limping slightly, but those occasions were few and far between. They would usually just run beside each other, quiet in a companionable way.

After the park they would cut through an offshoot of the commercial district, passing an ice cream parlor, a music store, a ramen shop, and a small family-owned grocery. Sometimes they would stop in the grocery store because Kaidoh’s parents were friends with the owners. Now they knew Kaidoh’s Inui-senpai as well as they knew Kaidoh himself. Inui always bought two cartons of milk if they stopped in the store and would make Kaidoh finish one. Kaidoh always hissed but didn’t protest further.

They would run through a couple miles of neighborhood (2.13 miles, according to Inui) before reaching Inui’s house again. Inui would check Kaidoh’s pulse again, make a note of it, then always smiled and said good night. Kaidoh always muttered a “Good night senpai” in reply. Then they would part ways, Inui going into his house and Kaidoh taking the rest of the way home at a light jog.

With this routine so firmly in place it was little wonder that Kaidoh was shocked when Inui decided to make a change. On a night like any other, a Wednesday, everything seemed exactly as it had ever been.. School was normal, tennis practice was normal, their pre-run routine was normal, they route they took was normal. They were as silent as ever, and Inui bought two cartons of milk when they stopped and insisted that Kaidoh drink it.

But when it came time for them to go their separate ways Inui smiled and said, “Good night, Kaidoh,” and then leaned in and kissed Kaidoh gently on the lips. Kaidoh was absolutely floored, unable even to mumble his customary “Good night senpai.” By the time he had recovered somewhat Inui was already going in his front door.

Kaidoh was not at all sure what to do. He just stood there debating in his head for a full five minutes. Then he started off for his own house at an unsteady walk, more than a little dazed. Did that really happen? he wondered. Why would Inui-senpai do something like that? Of course he didn’t see Inui watching him out his front window and he couldn’t hear when Inui murmured, “First experiment a success.”

By the time Kaidoh had arrived at school the next morning he had uneasily decided to do nothing. He couldn’t manage quite nothing, of course, and blushed whenever he saw Inui even in passing. Momoshiro commented that he was quieter than usual. Kaidoh just hissed at him and glared, surprising them both. Generally that would have been enough to start a full-blown fight. Fortunately Echizen dragged Momo away before he could say anything even stupider.

Kaidoh tried hard not to show that he was in emotional turmoil, but when it came time to meet Inui for their run, Kaidoh had a difficult time of it. He knew that he was blushing pretty much constantly, and couldn’t stop even when Inui inquired, “Do you have a fever, Kaidoh? You look flushed.”

He muttered a “No, senpai,” and stared at the ground, missing the hint of a smile on Inui’s face.

The rest of their run was quite normal, as it had been the day before. Kaidoh even relaxed a little as they ran through the park. Surely Inui-senpai would have said something if he intended to kiss Kaidoh again. Kaidoh was ready to write the previous night’s incident off as a fluke, or perhaps an experiment that was now concluded.

But when it came time for them to go home Inui repeated the other evening’s performance. He smiled and said “Good night, Kaidoh,” again, and again he kissed Kaidoh very gently.

Giving Kaidoh no time to reply, he turned and strode away down his driveway to his front door. It didn’t matter; Kaidoh was in no state to respond anyway. He was frozen to the spot once more. Clearly, the kiss last night had not been a random occurrence.

Again, Kaidoh did not see Inui standing in the front window smiling. He could not hear Inui say, “Second experiment also a success.”

He made his way back to his house, walking slowly so that he could think. What could he do about this strange new farewell Inui-senpai had decided upon? Should he stop training with Inui every day?

No, his psyche replied firmly. No, that is definitely not an option. He didn’t want to ruin...whatever it was that he and Inui had. Were they friends? When had that happened? He wasn’t sure.

Kaidoh’s mind asked him a new question: did he mind Inui-senpai kissing him? To his surprise, the answer to that was also “no.” The kisses didn’t irritate him as his tennis opponents sometimes did, and certainly didn’t anger him as Momoshiro so often did. They just confused him more than anything.

He was still thinking about it as he lay down in bed to sleep. He spent half of the night staring up at the ceiling, deep in thought.

The next week passed uneventfully, except that Inui still kissed him good night every evening. Aside from the fact that Kaidoh blushed and looked embarrassed more often than usual (and the fact that Inui looked even more smug than usual) there were no obvious side effects. Kaidoh got used to it faster than he thought he would, and actually kind of missed running with his senpai over the weekend. He looked forward to Monday with equal parts anxiety and unexplainable happiness.

Then Monday actually came, and Inui accosted him as they were walking to the courts. Kaidoh’s adrenaline raced as he worried that Inui was going to do something...strange, but he only said, “Kaidoh, I won’t be able to run with you this evening.”

Kaidoh blinked up at his senpai in confusion. “Why not? Are you feeling all right, Inui-senpai?”

Inui grinned, making Kaidoh blush and look down. “Yes, I’m fine, Kaidoh. Thank you for your concern.”

Kaidoh hissed faintly as Inui continued, “I am staying home to look after the house while my parents go out for the evening. I hope my absence does not cause you any inconvenience.”

“Of course not,” Kaidoh muttered, scuffing the ground with his foot. “But...senpai, you...” He wanted to ask if Inui would be available the next day but cut himself off in the middle of the question.

Inui was still looking at him expectantly, so Kaidoh said, “Never mind.” He hissed again as Inui continued to the courts. Why couldn’t he ask such a simple question of his senpai?

After Kaidoh got home and put his things away, he started to do his stretches. He wasn’t sure how to feel about warming up without his senpai. On the one hand, Inui made him stammer and blush far more than he liked. On the other hand...Kaidoh decided not to consider the other hand, given that it made him feel as embarrassed as Inui-senpai did.

He set off on his run, following the usual route for lack of a better option. Instinctively he started to jog up to Inui’s house as he passed it. He remembered just in time and hissed, shook his head, and continued.

For some reason, the park felt empty without another set of footsteps beside him. He ran through more quickly than he usually did, even though Inui advised him to pace himself. He didn’t even look at the lovely gardens that were in full bloom along the path.

Kaidoh stopped in the grocery store and exchanged a few friendly words with the owner. Then, on a whim he bought a carton of whole milk. He swallowed it all in one gulp but somehow it didn’t taste as good without someone standing there persuading him to drink.

Kaidoh ran into the residential area, slowing his pace a little bit. He was in front of Inui’s house after about seven minutes. He stopped to consider the house, looking at it as though he’d never seen it before and a sudden thought struck him.

Kaidoh started to turn down the driveway and hesitated, turned around, then hissed softly and turned again. Before he could change his mind his body seemed to be moving itself toward his senpai’s door. He rang the doorbell, starting when he heard the harsh buzzing sound it made.

Less than five seconds later the door opened. Inui stood there, looking oddly unsurprised to see him. Then again, he’d learned to expect anything from his data collecting senpai. “Ah, Kaidoh.”

Kaidoh glanced down at the doormat, which was a plain blue, and could feel his face burning. “I-Inui-senpai...”

“Yes, Kaidoh?” The barest hint of a smile quirked the edges of Inui’s mouth upwards.

Kaidoh abruptly came to a decision. He raised his head and, his heart pounding and adrenaline racing, stood on tiptoe and kissed Inui very, very quickly. He pulled back almost right away and turned even redder. “Good night senpai,” he muttered.

A pleased grin spread across Inui’s features. “Good night, Kaidoh,” he replied.

Kaidoh hissed, obviously embarrassed, and turned to leave. Inui watched his running partner’s retreating form until Kaidoh disappeared from sight.

Inui was still smiling like the cat that got the canary. “So...experiment one hundred percent successful.”

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