Disclaimer: Prince of Tennis = not mine

Broken Pair.

Both panting from their lovemaking, they immediately sought each other's embrace again. Oishi turned around and let Eiji rest his head against his chest, while he idly stroked his damp hair. It was not often that the redhead took the lead in their lovemaking. Most of the time he liked to be pampered and spoiled. Something Oishi didn't mind; he loved pampering people and he had never met someone who so craved this from him. Still it was heaven to just lie back and enjoy being given pleasure, like now.

They had started to live together in a suburb a few months ago. He had just turned seventeen then; Eiji had still been sixteen. But the situation had turned too inconvenient for both their parents and themselves. They had practically been living as a couple anyway, going to the Oishi's one week and to the Kikumaru's the next. They never really had room for themselves and their parents began to become annoyed by the way they disrupted the former regularity of a steady life. Now both their families gave them some support, but it was not enough to pay for all the extra expenses. Oishi happily worked in a supermarket after practices and in the weekend so that he could come home to his little kitten. He only called him that in his mind, for he knew Eiji wouldn't exactly appreciate it.

Eiji was asleep now, his breathing having gained a steadier pace. Oishi glanced at the alarm and knew he was going to be tired again the next day. It was already 3: 37 in the morning and they would have to get up at half past six to be on time for morning practice. As freshmen in high school, people had continued calling them the Golden Pair. Now that they were in their second year they were regulars again, usually playing doubles 2. But it was still strange not being in the same team anymore with everyone else from the Seigaku team.

Tezuka was a professional player already and he sometimes spoke to Oishi on the phone, though quite rarely. Taka-san had stopped playing tennis and was following courses in book keeping so he could later start his own restaurant. Inui was already hired as a manager of a high profile women's team and was planning to apply for a physics course at Todai University. Momoshiro was the only one who had gone to the same high school as them, only a year later. Fuji had enrolled in St Rudolph's high and was honing his skills in a remarkable way. Scouts were swarming all around him and it wouldn't surprise Oishi if he would soon follow in Tezuka's footsteps. Kaidoh was there as well and he had heard he had just become a regular. Echizen was now, unsurprisingly, the captain of the tennis team at Seigaku.

Sometimes he missed them a lot, especially that strong connection between teammates, which he had never quite felt at his high school. But at least Eiji was still with him. The way their combination had evolved both off and on the courts made up for that most of the time. 

"Shu-Shu! Wake up!"

Oishi groaned and turned around, not wanting to stand up for at least four more hours, but Eiji pulled his pillow away from him and threw it on the floor.

Now that the tempting pillow was out of his reach Oishi slowly sat up, rubbing his eyes. "Ugg, Whatsthetime?"

"Only ten minutes till we have to leave!"

The redhead was already in his uniform and Oishi could hear the coffee prattling in their kitchen. He got up with Eiji bouncing around him. Where the boy got all that energy from Oishi would never know. When he brushed his teeth he was careful not to touch Eiji's toothpaste, even though it been him who had bought it yesterday. He got dressed and was handed a cup of coffee while he was combing his hair.

As soon as Oishi had closed the door behind him, Eiji was already pulling him by his arm.

"Hurry, hurry!"

Oishi smiled at the back of the bouncing boy. Despite all his responsibilities and the little spare time he had, Eiji could make him feel completely alive with his energy. Despite everything, he was happy.

"Shall we go do our homework in the ice cream parlor today? We'll ask Momo too."

But Oishi shook his head.

"I have to work longer on Thursdays, remember?"

Eiji turned around and cocked his head to the side.

"But what about your history paper? It's due tomorrow!"

Frustrated Oishi sighed, he had forgotten about that.

"I'll do it tonight."

At least it was going to be weekend soon and he could catch up with some sleep then.

When they reached the playing grounds most of their team mates were already standing on the courts or just coming out of the dressing rooms. When Oishi opened it Momo came running past them, only stopping to say a hello and then continuing. Oishi knew they were going to have to run laps again. Like Tezuka their captain was stern. But he was far less introverted and more openly enthusiastic. About Kimura, the vice captain, Oishi was less enthusiastic. There was something about him that ruffled his feathers. The robust guy, with his brown hair tied loosely in his neck, was waiting for them near the fences.

"Late again?"

"My apologies," said Oishi and the guy frowned. Eiji was less polite and darted towards him.

"Sorryyyyyy! It'll not happen again!"

To Oishi's dismay the guy now smiled. It was in part this that annoyed him, the fact that he never seemed to be so hard on Eiji as on the rest.

"That'll be twenty laps around the court for the both of you," he said, but without anger.

They started their running calmly, both knowing they had deserved it. However after only six laps, Kimura's voice resounded over the court again.

"Kikumaru, come."

"Okay!"

It was clear the redhead was glad he could get away with his laps so easily.

"See you, Oishi!" he said and winked. But unlike most of the time, Oishi wasn't charmed by his teasing at all.

As he continued running he saw the two of them discussing something. A few minutes later they went to a court together and started playing a third year and Ibu Shinji, who had come to Sansen High like Momo. When he was finished with his laps he returned to court and went to his captain.

"Anyone I can play?"

The older boy looked up from his notes and smiled.

"Can you help me with these freshmen? They don't seem to have enough Sansen spirit in them."

Even though he felt a little frustrated, he nodded. He had wanted to practice with Eiji this morning, instead, he could only watch him play from the corner of his eyes. As always, he was jumping around and swinging his racket enthusiastically, his net play being complemented by Kimura. He had to concede Eiji and Kimura worked well as a double pair.

It was already half past ten when he finally came home from his job. His hands still smelled of the vinegar he had had to put on the shelves. Opening the door he saw light burning in the living room and Eiji running towards him. The long hours and worries about his schoolwork were forgotten when the redhead swung his arms around him and gave him a kiss on his cheek.

"I didn't think you'd still be up," Oishi said, smiling.

"Aww, just not sleepy yet," Eiji replied, as he pulled him to the living room.

"You want some cakes? I could save a few since that pig Momo left early."

Oishi nodded. "Thanks."

As he started pricking the strawberry on top of it with a fork, he saw his boyfriend glancing at him with a particular look, as if he was seeking courage to speak up about something.

"You can tell me, Eiji."

The redhead licked his lips unconsciously and Oishi had to concentrate to ignore the upcoming desire in his stomach when he saw this. It was hard after such a stressful day not to jump the handsome boy.

"In the prefectorial tournament I'm going to play doubles with Kimura. I'd rather do it with you, but he said like that we'll have an element of surprise like this."

Oishi nodded. He had already expected this, but it was still a disappointment. Only on rare occasions hadn't they been teamed up together. This was going to take all the fun away from the tournament from him.

"Did he tell you this morning?" asked Oishi.

"No, in the ice cream parlor. I tried to talk him out of it, but he was pretty sure of his case. Oh, did you know he likes strawberry flavor best too?"

It was just like him to abruptly change topics like that and Oishi's head was spinning. While he had been working his ass off, Kimura had spent time with Eiji that was actually supposed to be his. No doubt he had given him one of those softened glances and paid for the ice cream.

"No, I didn't," he said curtly and turned around. Didn't Eiji understand he didn't want to hear about the great time they had together?

"Yes, he's kind of funny actually. You know his brother is at Yamabuki right now? He told me the funniest stories, that school's still wack."

Oishi nodded absently, while Eiji continued rattling, "he asked me if I'd come by his house tomorrow to discuss tactics. Maybe he's got some new stuff, he knows so much about tennis."

Having enough of Kimura being the topic of conversation, Oishi turned around abruptly and faced Eiji with a burning desire to shut him up. The redhead opened his mouth in surprise, but Oishi had already pushed him back against the wall. He grabbed his ass and pulled him up a little, then kissed him hard. With possessive lust he moved his hands under the back of his shirt and his hands over the soft skin beneath. Eiji moaning against his lips enflamed him even more and he pulled him to the old couch, immediately climbing on top of him. Papers would have to wait until the morning.

After his work on Friday he immediately went to sleep. At the beginning of that day he had gotten up at half past four in the morning to finish his paper, but he had finished it so quickly that he doubted he would get a good or even an okay grade. Eiji had continued to sleep until the alarm went off. He had jumped up and out of the bed immediately, ready for another day of practicing with their wonderfully witty and strawberry-liking vice-captain.

Waking up a little before ten in the evening, there was still no Eiji. Not wanting to give jealousy a chance, he started feeding the fish in his aquarium to distract himself. After having watched them for a while, he decided to start doing his homework for the next week, to have a head start. Only past midnight the front door opened he got up from his desk to greet Eiji. But when he stumbled in, it was immediately clear he was tipsy. Because Eiji had never been one to stand alcohol very well, Oishi kept it out of his reach most of the time. Apparently Kimura hadn't taken the same precaution. 

"Shu-Shu, I'm so tireeeed," Eiji said, hanging his arms around his shoulder. Usually such embraces would result in sex. But Oishi didn't want to have him drunk, even though his body rubbing against his own affected him. Gently he led Eiji to the bed, took off his shoes and socks and helped him with his shirt and pants. Then he gave him one of his own T-shirts to sleep in.

Sitting there in only his underwear, fumbling with the T-shirt, made him look quite enticing and Oishi quickly looked away. It was only torture to watch Eiji like this without being able to touch him. Minutes later, light snoring told him the other boy was asleep. But Oishi couldn't follow suit for a long time after, wondering what more Kimura was going to make him endure in the future.

The next two weeks Oishi saw little of his young lover. While he was working, Eiji did his homework and when he came home, Eiji was often training with Kimura at the street courts. At practice, Oishi trained for singles now, though he wouldn't be surprised if he would not even play at the tournament.

The strength of the new doubles team evolved. They weren't as tuned in at each other as he and Eiji, but he wouldn't be surprised if that day would come soon.

Eiji did snuggle up against him in bed, seeking his touch, but Oishi missed his little encouragements, their teamwork and companionship. In short: everything that kept him going while having so many responsibilities. But the worst part was the suppressed fear of losing him to that guy. It was easy to tell Kimura liked Eiji. The burning look in his eyes betrayed him, if not the way his lips parted sometimes when he stared at him secretly.

He started to wonder if the redhead was bored with the life they were leading. After all Eiji and he had been together since the last months they had spent at Seigaku. Eiji was so adventurous, so up to new things always, while he liked stability. Earlier that day, when he had been summoned to run laps for no particular reason, he had seen Eiji trying different angles for his jumps, adjusting to the way Kimura played. The challenge of having to change moves that had been part of his routine for as long as they had played together had clearly pleased him. Even Momo had made a comment on how enthusiastic he had seemed. Enthusiastic even for Eiji.

The phone ringing made him break out of his thoughts and he stood up to pick it up. It was Inui.

"How're you doing, Oishi?"

"I'm fine," he replied. "You?"

"Yes, yes. I'm busy with some interesting stuff right now. The Telophase, you know."

"Uh huh."

Actually he had no idea what Inui was talking about, but it had probably something to do with physics or maybe biology.

"I'm glad you're okay. You have someone new as well?" Inui asked.

Oishi stared at the phone as if Inui had said he had gone to the moon to get substances for a new juice.

"What?"

"Well you know. I don't think it's easy to see Kikumaru with someone else so soon after you've broken up. Or were you apart for a while now?"

The phone almost dropped out of his hand. Had Inui gone mad?

"What are you talking about!!?? We still live together!"

He heard Inui click his pen nervously and Oishi had to keep himself from screaming at him. Was he writing this down as data!?

"I made a mistake then. Sorry to have bothered you."

Oishi squeezed the phone as if it was Inui himself.

"Wait! What made you think we're apart!?"

There was a moment of silence in which Oishi bit his lip, then Inui spoke again.

"Well I always see him practice with this other guy in the courts adjacent to my team. It's nothing probably." A silence. "The women all pamper Eiji and buy him sweets. You should come some time and... "

"Don't change the subject! You don't think he has some other guy just because they play together. What else do they do?!"

"Nothing, they just hang around a lot. Like I said, my mistake."

Oishi hung up without a further response. He ran to the door, grabbed his coat and took out his bike. He was going to have to see for himself what was happening there. Never had he cycled this quickly, not even when he worried about his teammates of Seigaku at important times. Inui's call had merely confirmed his suspicions and he felt deeply betrayed and angry. He was going to kill them. Kimura for touching Eiji and Eiji for letting him.

He threw his bike away carelessly when he had reached the courts and ran up the stairs. With a quick look he realized Eiji was not there. There were some junior high kids playing on one court and Kimura was watching them without much interest while packing up his bag. With big steps he walked towards him and his anger grew when a mocking smile started to play on his vice captain's lips.

"You must be looking for Eiji," he said, gliding his hand through his smooth hair. Oishi was too far-gone to even notice he had called Eiji by his first name.

"Where is he?" he said, anger sounding in his voice.

"Crashing at your place I guess, how nice of you to let him stay over so often."

Kimura looked at his bag again and continued putting stuff in it.

"It's his house too," Oishi said dangerously.

Fake surprise came to Kimura's face.

"Is it? He never told me. If I'd known that...."

He trailed of, smiling again. Oishi's eyes narrowed.

"If you'd known that...?"

The guy waved his words away with his hand and grinned.

"Oh, nothing. He's a nice guy, ah? Eiji I mean?" When Oishi didn't reply Kimura continued.

"He tastes good as well. I thought he'd think he'd be very sweet, but his skin is more like vanilla, don't you think? Or have you never tasted him?"

Oishi exploded at this obvious provocation and grabbed him by his collar. Kimura gritted his teeth and narrowed his eyes.

"What's your problem? Want to hit me? If you're cross with anyone it should be with him, not me. I'm not your sweetheart," he sneered. Oishi squeezed him by his throat and Kimura seemed to be a little taken aback by his vehement reaction, unfortunately it didn't seem to stop his intention to hurt Oishi.

"You didn't really believe someone like Eiji was going to stay with you forever, did you? You and your sad little life, you bore him to death."

For a moment he felt like beating the crap out of him. But there were children watching anxiously. He couldn't do that in front of them. They would never feel safe at these courts again if he did. Besides, that bastard was right. Kimura was not his boyfriend, Eiji was. Oishi threw him back roughly, making him stumble to stay upright. The result was a stream of curses from Kimura, but he didn't care, was already running down the stairs again and jumping on his bike.

He was home even quicker than he had reached the tennis courts. Eiji's bike was standing against the wall and Oishi angrily took his keys and opened the front door. As soon as he was in, the redhead leaped from the couch and looked at him with weary eyes. If there had been any doubt of his guilt it was gone now.

"Shuuichiroh, there's something...."

But Oishi waved his words away with an angry gesture.

"Save it. I already now."

Eiji's eyes widened.

"Oh?"

Just a moment there was a heavy silence in which they stared at each other. Only the light on the table and that of the aquarium gave them the opportunity to see.

"How could you do that to me!?" Oishi screamed.

Eiji looked taken aback.

"Eh?! But I didn't do anything! I mean I pushed him away as soon as he tried to..."

But Oishi cut in, tiredness and stress combined with jealousy and a deep sense of betrayal were all fighting for dominance inside him. And the one to blame was standing right in front of him.

"Did you laugh at me? Did you!? Why do you even bother with such a boring guy like me?"

Eiji stepped forward but hesitated to touch him.

"Shu! What are you talking about? I didn't laugh about…."

But Oishi didn't listen, didn't want to hear anymore of those lies and run the risk of believing them again. Eiji had been so glad with Kimura's company, had never even protested against the breaking up of their team. He would have…

"I work myself almost to a break down and you just play the field. What do you think I am? A handy tool that makes money for you?"

The scowl on Eiji's face meant the redhead was now angry as well.

"No fair! You turn everything around! Oishi was going to take care of dumb little Eiji, who needed all his time for homework. Remember? You were the one insisting I shouldn't take a job!"

A little surprised by his reaction, Oishi nevertheless felt the anger surge through him again. 

"Oh, and that gives you the right to do as you please? Was it good letting him taste you? Or have you already gone further than that?"

The amount of jealousy Oishi felt was unbelievable as he stared at his red lips and that crazy hair. He had wanted to keep all that for himself forever.

"He tried to kiss me and I pushed him away, that's what happened! But instead of asking what happened you come screaming at me. What kind of crap is that?"

"I don't believe you," Oishi hissed.

Eiji turned around and started walking to the hall.

"Fine! You know what!? You're right! We screw each other, every evening when you're working and sometimes in the weekend as well! In fact I think I'll go to him now for a quick fu~~~"

Before either could think, Oishi had clenched his hand to a fist and swung it at Eiji's face. Unprepared for the attack, the redhead flew backwards right through the aquarium. Glass broke and water splashed to the ground, taking the fish with them. Eiji landed on his back in the mess and blood started to stream from his face.

Completely mortified, Oishi ran to him. Eiji's hands were on the floor, supporting him just enough to be able to sit forward. He seemed stunned and kept his head down.

"Eiji! God, Eiji!"

To Oishi's dismay the smaller boy flinched as he tried to get closer. When Eiji looked up he saw a few tears from the shock and a splinter of glass in his cheek, instead of a more vital area. But Oishi didn't sigh relieved. Eiji was never going to forgive him.

"I'm sorry! I'm so sorry! I got carried away. I just couldn't stand thinking you... Eiji..."

But the other boy got up without his help.

"You promised... You PROMISED me you'd never do that again, EVER!"

Ashamed, Oishi looked down.

"I know, I know. But I... I..."

Eiji glared at him angrily, but he was also trembling a little.

"I'm going back to my parents, Oishi. You… I don't want to see you."

The fact that he used his last name made Oishi feel a cold tremble go through him. Desperately he grabbed Eiji's arm, but it was shrugged of.

"Don't touch me."

And with that Eiji was gone.

TBC.