Chapter 3.

Eiji's lips tightened, his hands fumbling with his bag as he walked towards the tennis courts. He hadn't been to morning practice and there were undoubtedly laps to be ran. But this was not what he dreaded. Furious and confused he had been the day before, but now he was just angry with his vice-captain.

Fuji was the first person he had thought of calling after Oishi's mother had practically slammed the door in his face. Of course the prodigy had been delighted to think up some giant master plan to pay Kimura back. But that was not what Eiji had in mind. He wanted no more tricks and misunderstandings and make clear he no longer considered him a friend. Fuji had sighed disappointed when he realized he could not convince him and given just one advice:

Stay calm.

It had sounded reasonable then, but as he was stepping onto the court it didn't seem so easy. He had trusted this guy, enjoyed spending time with him and had started to consider him as a cool friend. But Kimura had purposely made Oishi so angry with him that he had thrown him through his own aquarium. Oishi only got like that when he felt like he was being driven into a corner. Eiji had seen him change from the nice guy he felt so at ease with only a few times and though he would never admit it, it scared him when Oishi suddenly lashed out like that.

Momo looked at him curiously while playing with his racket. "Eiji-senpai! Why are you still in uniform?"

But the redhead was too concentrated on what was going to happen and waved at him absently, his gaze already focused on the vice-captain.

Kimura was leaning against the fence, talking to one of the seniors, but his eyes were already on him, lightening up just a bit. Eiji took a deep breath and walked towards him.

"Yes? Kikumaru?" he said in a business-like tone, after he had finished talking to his teammate.

"I need to talk to you," he said, keeping his voice steady.

"Well?"

"I'm not playing doubles with you." A few boys behind him gasped, but Kimura managed to hide his surprise and looked at him expressionless.

"Why is that?" It was infuriating that Kimura played dumb, but he decided not to let it get to him.

"Doubles players should trust each other and I don't trust you." More people stopped warming-up to join the circle that was forming around them. Kimura seemed a little taken aback and his eyes narrowed.

Kimura seemed to have lost something of his confident attitude now. "It's too late to change, the line-up is already fixed," he said.

"It wouldn't be good for the team if we lost," Eiji said, returning his gaze unwavering. "And without trust we will lose."

Now Kimura seemed to get angry and he took a step forward. "If you can't even trust your own teammates you might not be fit to be part of this club."

Eiji bit his lip to force back the anger, now it was like this was his fault!

Stay calm.

He took a deep breath and glanced at him murderously. "I guess you're right, I quit."

Kimura gasped and took another step in his direction. "That's not what I meant. you don't have to." But Eiji had already turned around and bowed at his captain, who was looking startled at the both of them.

"Thanks for having me," he said and then laid his hand on Momo's shoulder. "I'm sorry, Momo."

The freshman's eyes had widened and he stared from him to his vice-captain baffled. "Eiji-senpai.you.what?."

Eiji started walking away. Damned Kimura! This was all because of him. "I'll call you later to explain."

He swung his bag over his shoulder and left the tennis courts, feeling quite empty. The only thing that pleased him was that he had staid calm, like Fuji advised him. He hadn't created a scene or started a fight. His first instinct was to tell Oishi about what had happened, but he knew he had no way of reaching him. And of course he should not forget he was still angry with him. .

There were ducks in the pond in the park and he remembered how he and Oishi often came here to feed them. He had liked throwing the bread to all kinds of different directions to see the birds hover over the water, while Oishi enjoyed just walking in the sun and make sure the smaller and weaker ducks also got something to eat. Eiji took of the bag from his shoulder and took out his lunch-box to see if there was still some bread left in it. When he was about to open it, he felt a firm hand on his shoulder.

Startled, he turned around and stared right at Kimura's face. Immediately he took a step back, almost dropping the lunch-box out of his hands.

"Shouldn't you be at practice?" he asked after a moment. Kimura dropped his arm and looked at him imploringly.

"Eiji, why do you act like this?" he asked softly. That was it. The hypocrisy of this guy was beyond description. Not this jerk should be with him now, being in the park. No! Practicing tennis.

"'You ask why!?" Eiji yelled, pointing his finger at him. "I'll tell you! You were the one telling Oishi I was kissing or doing whatever with you! And now he's gone!"

Kimura's lips tightened, his eyes spitting fire. "Be grateful! What the hell were you doing with that dork anyway? Don't you see? Eiji!? Someone like you, so." He paused for a moment. "So full of life. He would bore you to death within a year. With me you'd never." He ceased when Eiji scowled, his expression totally different from what he was used to seeing on the redhead's face.

"I have been with him for more than a year!" For a moment he counted back in his head and then triumphantly added: ".more than two years even! And I was happy with him until you ruined it!" Then, remembering how stamping his feet on the stairs had always made him feel a lot better when arguing with his parents when he was younger, Eiji turned around abruptly and started pacing away. He thought that was the end of it, but less than a few seconds later, he was embraced from behind, lips latching onto his neck and hands pulling him back against the taller boy behind him.

"Let go!" Oishi had occasionally held him like this and he remembered feeling relaxed and loved in his arms. But now he felt only disgust.

"Eiji. we were getting along so well, do you want to throw all that away?" An elderly couple out for a walk appeared from behind the trees about fifty yards away from them and eyes them curiously.

So much for not making a scene.

Firmly Eiji took the hands of his waist and stepped away from him.

"It was because of Oishi that I learned to believe people could be so nice. If I had never met him, I would have never believed you could be so nice as I thought you were. So it was his fault I was dumb enough to trust you." Kimura gasped at those words and looked down. He probably couldn't have said something that would have destroyed Kimura's feeling of superiority towards Oishi any more thoroughly. Eiji turned around again without feeling remorse. The things this guy had just said, he must have said to Oishi as well. And now Oishi probably believed he was dull and uninspiring to him.

"Bye." He didn't expect a reply and neither did he get one. Quickly he started walking away, Kimura didn't follow him anymore.

"Heheh," he let out. Stupid Oishi. It was because of him that he had started playing doubles all that time ago, the last thing he was, was uninspiring. He now wanted to talk to him a lot and see what would happen. Being able to handle Kimura, made him feel able to take on the world. After all, he had not fought with him, had not been suspended and had gained the victory by using only words.

Fuji would be very proud of him.

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His parents had helped Oishi move some of his stuff to their basement. But he had gone to Kyoto by himself. It had been a rainy morning when he had taken the train with just a suitcase and a backpack. He had taken a cab to the small house on the edge of the city.

It hadn't changed much from when he had been there as a child. A black front door had replaced the brown one, but that was about all he found different. There was a high school a few blocks away and he registered there the day after his arrival. It was a week later that he started to attend classes, but he didn't talk much with the other students. Most of them now either thought he was weird or a mysterious loner. There was a tennis club, but he didn't become a member. There was no way he wanted to be teamed up with anyone but Eiji.

He never asked for him whenever he called his parents and neither did they mention him. In the evenings he often thought of him. But his thoughts often turned bitter. It was probably convenient for Eiji he didn't have to see him at school. Maybe he was already involved with that slime ball Kimura now that he was gone. Them going to the bedroom together after a nice afternoon of playing doubles and eating out was an idea that drove him crazy. But there was nothing he could do about it. After all, Eiji had been pretty clear when he had taken all his stuff out of the house within a day.

A restaurant nearby still needed another waiter and he was glad to have found a job. His uncle and aunt didn't want him to pay for anything, but he insisted on giving them some money anyway. He also planned to send something to Eiji later to help pay for his college. Sometimes he wondered whether he would still have a scar from the glass and felt guilty. It had been one nasty wound, after all.

When he was writing an essay for English one afternoon, the kids from next door called at his door. They had been playing badminton and one of them had hit the shuttle on the roof. He went through the window at the attic and threw it back at them. They thanked him and he showed them some techniques for holding the racquet.

One time Arita-san watched him play with her children for a while. She asked him some questions and was pleasantly surprised when she heard about his tennis experience. At junior high school she had also played and the girls' team had made it to the nationals then, but lost at the quarterfinals. She started inviting him for coffee from time to time and he noticed she and her husband were curious about why he had left Tokyo so abruptly. He only hinted it was because of a broken relationship but therefore she had grown more fond of him, thinking it cute someone his age could be so upset over that. Oishi was glad for the distractions they provided, but when he was home alone he was still often unhappy with the thought he might never see Eiji again.

"But I really, really, really need to talk to him!" The doctor seemed taken aback by his persistence and fumbled with his white jacket. "I understand, Kikumaru-kun. But I'm not sure if I." Eiji grabbed his sleeve to make sure he was not going to shift away any further.

"Please! I haven't seen him for soooo long! If you just give it to me, I will never bother you again. I just need to see him once. pleaaaaase!"

He had been pestering Oishi's uncle for the last 15 minutes. The man had seemed unyielding in the beginning, refusing to give Oishi's address. But Eiji knew he needed just a few more minutes before he would give it to him.

And indeed, five minutes later he walked out of the hospital with a piece of paper safely tucked away in his pocket.

Oishi was about to go to bed early when the phone rang. He picked it up, thinking it was someone from his work who wanted to ask him to come tomorrow as well or something like that.

"Hello? This is Oishi."

"Hey, Oishi-kun. This is Arita Hariko."

"Oh, good evening." He fumbled with the telephone wire. She never before called him at such a time.

"Is something the matter, Arita-san?" he asked concerned when she paused for a moment.

"Do you know someone named Kikumaru Eiji?" Adrenaline surged through his body once she mentioned that name and he swallowed.

"Eiji. you know him?"

"No, but he's standing on my porch." Oishi let go of the phone immediately, not even bothering to hang up properly. He sprinted to the door, threw it open and stared right into familiar eyes. Eiji was standing next to Arita-san, holding a plastic bag with his stuff in it. His eyes widened and they just stared at each other for a moment.

"Eiji..." he finally managed to say, trying to stay calm, but not succeeding.

"Eiji, I." But he trailed of when the redhead ran towards him, jumped over the hag separating his porch from that of the Arita's and stopped right before him. Having him so close made his stomach twist into a knot, but he dared not to hope too much.

"How did you get here?" he muttered, just to break the silence.

"Taka-san suggested I'd ask your uncle if he knew something. He had treated him once after an injury." Eiji was not looking away, though it was clear he was a little nervous.

"Oh. Didn't you go to my parents?" he asked automatically, still not knowing what he was doing here.

Eiji looked down and shuffled his foot. "They didn't want to tell me where you were."

Oishi looked at him perplexed. "What!? Why?" he exclaimed.

"They told me it was best if I never saw you again." Eiji looked up and smiled bravely, but Oishi knew he was hurt by how his parents had treated him. Some time soon he was going to have a serious talk with them. If they had just given it to Eiji, he might have been able to talk to him sooner.

"They are just concerned for me, I think. It's not like they don't like you," Oishi said, feeling sorry for him. What had happened hadn't even been his fault.

"I. know," Eiji said, but clearly not believing his words. The instinct to soothe him made Oishi brush a lock of that red hair behind his ear. Then he realized what he was doing and stepped back.

"I'm sorry. I. you don't have to think. but I." He trailed off and looked at the ground. Eiji had probably only come to hear his apologies and he could not touch him again like they were still together.

"Shu. I'm still angry," Eiji cut in.

"I know! And I'm sorry!."

Eiji sighed and Oishi could feel his breath on his chin, warm and familiar. He took a step back and bit his lip.

"I know you probably don't want to see me any more, but if you ever have any problems, you can always.." He stopped abruptly when the smaller boy jumped into his arms and lay his face in his neck.

"Idiot!" Oishi immediately laid his arms around him, rested his cheek against red hair and caressed his back.

"Eiji..." Moments ago he didn't think he'd see him again and now he was against him again, still angry, but needing him. After all the hurt and guilt he had felt since they broke apart, it would be an understatement to say Oishi felt happy now.

"Eiji," he sighed once more, tightening the embrace and closing his eyes.

Only after a long time, he realized Arita-san was watching them. Reluctantly he stepped back, wondering if she would be shocked finding out his "lost love" was a boy. But she only looked mildly surprised as she stared from one to the other.

"I should have known, you're far too well mannered to be straight," she said and walked back into the house. Shocked Oishi stared at the door closing behind her and then at Eiji, who send him his cute I-am-amused-at- your-expense-smirk. There had been times when Eiji's teasing annoyed him, but now he could only enjoy it.

"Let's go inside," the redhead said, pulling him in by his sleeve A little awkward Eiji glanced around and sat down on the couch in the living room. Oishi went to the kitchen to get the box of cookies and when he came back Eiji was touching the old leather on the couch.

"It's small here," he said. "This house, I mean."

".Yes," Oishi replied, not knowing what else to say.

He placed the box on the table in front of the couch, knowing it was going to be empty well before their conversation would be over. Indeed a hand already reached out to grab the first two cookies. Oishi sat down next to him and hesitated for a moment. But then he remembered their hug of a few minutes ago and dared to lay his arm around Eiji's shoulder. He sent him a glance, but Eiji didn't seem to mind and even moved a little closer against him.

"You're a moron," Eiji started. "Why did you leave?" Oishi sighed; it was just like him to start with the hard questions first.

"When you took away your stuff, I thought you never wanted to speak to me again and I didn't want to see either you or Kimura at school," he said honestly. Within a single movement, Eiji suddenly jumped on top of the couch, making Oishi look up startled.

"You still think I was interested in him?"

Oishi looked down and shook his head after a moment. "No."

"Good!" The redhead let himself fall next to him again.

"Fuji told me what that jerk said to you. The stupid thing was that I trusted him, but he was just like some devilish mastermind kinda guy." Oishi sighed.

"I think he just liked you."

Eiji hit his fist on the couch. "But look at what he did!"

"Yes, you're right." People might consider him to nice for his own good sometimes, but Oishi did not plan on defending someone who had willingly driven them apart.

Eiji took a few cookies again and stuffed them in his mouth.

"It's not like I still wasn't angry with you then, but Fuji told me you had a burn-out or something and that's why you acted so maniacal."

"Maniacal..." Oishi repeated, considering the word while Eiji pointed at his face suddenly.

"And I'm still mad with you, Shu. You should have come to apologize a thousand times and buy me lots of ice creams. But instead you went out of town without telling me. What were you thinking?" Oishi looked at the ground.

"You didn't want to see me anymore."

"Yeah, well, but it's still mean," Eiji said, pouting. Oishi suppressed a smile and moved his hand over Eiji's cheek soothingly. His skin was warm and he let his fingers linger there for a moment. Then he suddenly felt a roughness with his thumb that hadn't been there before. It was a faint scar from a glass-splinter and he pulled his hand back immediately.

"I'm sorry, Eiji," he said softly.

For a moment he feared Eiji would realize he didn't want to be with him again after all, but the other boy remained where he was, not even noticing his anxiety.

"You should have told me you were feeling that bad," Eiji said. "Then this might not have happened. Oishi nodded while Eiji stuffed more cookies in his mouth. Then he suddenly laid his head against Oishi's chest.

"I missed you, Shu-Shu." Then, almost as if he was embarrassed by what he had said, he bent forward to pick a few more cookies. He didn't look at Oishi while he started munching them down. But he was still close to him, his thigh warm against him. The silence that followed was tense and remained when Eiji had finished eating. Red locks of hair tickled his neck while they just sat close together without saying anything. Having to go without having sex for such a long time after having it almost every day, had been frustrating, something he had never felt more obvious now Eiji was close again, his face so near his own.

Slowly Oishi moved closer, giving him the change to move away if he wanted to. Eiji's eyes widened a little when he realized what was happening, but instead of refusing him, he leaned in to meet his lips. It was a careful kiss at first, but grew more heated after mere moments. Eiji lay back on the couch and pulled him with him. Oishi tilted his chin up and then moved his hand down to fumble with the highest button on his shirt.

"Shu-Shu," Eiji whispered. Both were breathing more heavily and he felt the urge to kiss him again. Before he could do anything, however, Eiji bit his lip and made his eyes widen, looking at him with the same innocent expression that had always driven Oishi wild.

Turned on even more, he crawled on top of him, undoing more of the buttons. Eiji, at the same time, sat up a little, placed his hands on his stomach and pulled his sweater up a little. With a mischievous smile, he licked the exposed skin. Oishi sighed deeply when Eiji moved his tongue over his navel.

Eiji pulled his sweater it up even more and He began to trail a path over his chest, just barely touching his nipples before moving on.

Oishi sat back now, placing his hands behind him for support. "Eiji..."

Suddenly Eiji bit one gently, making Oishi gasp and close his eyes. When he opened them again he saw the smaller boy look at through half lidded eyes, his lips still swollen from the kissing and he could no longer control himself. He pushed him down against the leather and placed a knee between his legs. They kissed again and began to rub their bodies against each other. Already very aroused, Oishi was pleased to feel he was not the only one. He wanted nothing more than to be inside the handsome boy beneath him again, but was not sure if that was already what Eiji wanted. He wanted to ask him when Eiji moved his face close to his ear and slid his arms around his neck, moving his knees up automatically.

Oishi didn't need to be encouraged anymore and began to pull at his clothes; a button flew through the air and Eiji almost tore his pants when he was pulling them off. Not seeming to care about this in the least, he was already moving his hand over Oishi's boxers. But Oishi then realized something. Frustrated he moved away from the enticing boy, panting heavily beneath him and looked at the floor.

"What is.it?" Eiji asked concerned.

"I don't have anything," he managed to whisper.

"Wha.? Oh!" Eiji seductively pushed his almost naked body against his own.

"My bag," he said simply.

"Your. bag?" Oishi let out.

"Was kinda hoping. we were going to need it," Eiji said softly. The sound of Eiji's breathy voice so near his ear made him leap up from the couch quickly and he grabbed the plastic bag from the floor. He rummaged through it impatiently, until his fingers finally closed around a little tube and took it out.

Oishi was too interested in the warm body on the couch to give it any further inspection. Kneeling between Eiji's legs, he smeared some liquid on his fingers. The redhead closed his eyes and put his arms around his shoulders as he was prepared, letting out soft little moans every now and then. Hearing him like that made Oishi bit his lip, trying to force back some of the lust he felt before Eiji was really ready. But the other boy had never been very patient in the bedroom, or particularly shy for that matter.

"Hurry, Shu. It's been so long," he whispered.

From the moment he was inside him, all memories of a time without the redhead faded to the background. At first he moved slow, teasing the smaller boy as he done often before, but he quickly gave that up. Eiji stopped demanding for more soon after that, no longer able to really speak. Oishi could not see his face, as it was buried in his neck, so close to his ears that he could hear every sigh and moan. Eiji was so hot and tight around him, meeting his every movement and Oishi pressed his fingers in the damp skin of his back even more. The thought that someone else wanted Eiji like this as well, made him kiss his neck possessively. This boy was his and if Kimura would ever get near him again, he would kill him. When Eiji came, he moaned deeply, dragging him with him soon after.

Moments later they were still panting against each other and he left his body gently. Oishi shifted slightly, so they could lie next to Eiji, idly twisting a lock of the damp red hair around his finger.

"So you missed me?" he said.

"Nah, I just said that to get laid," Eiji replied with a smirk. Oishi squeezed him in his side and smiled when the redhead let out a yelp.

"Ey!"

"Shhh." They lay like that for a few more minutes, naked against each other. Their fingers idly caressing each other's skin, both enjoying the regained intimacy. But it was not particularly warm and Eiji reached for his T-shirt when he began to feel cold. They both put on some clothes and then Oishi turned the heater on.

"We're going to stay here, ah? At least for the remainder of the year?" Eiji asked. Oishi walked back to the couch and sat down.

"If that's what you want." Sure, he could have started about his old school, his parents and siblings, but he was secretly glad to have him near and away from a certain vice- captain.

Eiji gave a nod and sat up again. "Good, then I'll go to your school. And I am going to take a job as well, I saw a candy store when I got of the metro, maybe they need someone?"

Oishi smiled at his choice of an occupation. "Perhaps, but you don't need to. I already have a job and I don't have to pay for rent any."

Eiji laid a finger on his lips and shook his head.

"You were accusing me of just living of your expenses before. I don't want you to think that," he said softly.

Oishi sighed and folded his hands together. "That was only because I thought. because I believed you abandoned me."

Eiji stubbornly folded his arms and looked away. "I won't change my mind. I can do my homework even if I work from time to time."

Oishi sighed, remembering the last conversation they had had before they broke up all too well.

"I don't think you're dumb, Eiji." Instinctively, the redhead put his arms around his knees and looked at him a little shy..

"Really?"

Oishi smiled softened. Eiji could be so vulnerable sometimes, when there was no one else around.

"Really. Remember how you have helped me with math a few times? And Fuji once you're your classmates you had small pocks so none of them would ask you for a joint history project, remember? It was because I knew how much you disliked doing homework and therefore it costs you more time to do it, that I didn't want you to work."

Eiji nodded and began looked at him with a serious expression. "But you must not spoil me and be unhappy yourself, Shu." Oishi had thought about this over and over when they had been apart and recognized it as one of the main reasons for his sudden outburst. Therefore he no real reason to argue this with him.

".Okay," he said.

But Eiji frowned at him, clearly not too pleased with how easily he agreed. "That doesn't mean I don't want you to do that at all. Only when you're really tired you should stop, but it's okay when you feel fine, eh! "

Oishi laughed aloud at Eiji's concern for his candies, toothpastes and hugs. "Sure, sure."

The boy sent him one suspicious look and then yawned. "Agreed then."

Oishi looked on as he took out some gum from the pocket of his trousers and put it in his mouth. Suddenly he felt the need to ask Eiji something.

"Were you bored?"

Eiji looked at him surprised, his hand still near his mouth. "What do you mean?"

"With our life. with me?" He bit his lip when Eiji started laughing, his gum falling out of his mouth, before he had had the chance to even chew it.

"I'm serious, you know," Oishi said, a little hurt. Eiji gave him a kiss on his cheek and smiled mischievously.

"Sweet, responsible Oishi, former mother of Seigaku, who suddenly begins to throw people through aquariums. who would call you boring? It'd sooner call you twisted. or insane," Eiji let out and continued laughing when he saw the starting blush on Oishi's cheek.

"You're funny!" he said between giggles. Oishi bowed his head. There were going to be many times in the future when Eiji was going to be making fun of him because of what he had done. It would also most likely be thrown at him in their next argument. But if that was the price he had to pay for getting Eiji back, it was certainly worth it.

The end.

Heheh, the end finally. Hope you enjoyed it. I want to thank you for your reviews, they have really inspired me to write on (and edit and edit and edit once again). I'm glad I read chapter 203 of the manga before putting this up, since it had a wonderful flashback that fitted this story quite well. I might put up an epilogue later, for now thanks for reading and have a nice day.