Disclaimer: Prince of Tennis was created by Konomi Takeshi. No copyright infringement is intended and no money is being made from this creative venture.

Note: This story is the epitome of cliche, but I think it's cute.


By Gen X

Sometimes the only way to get Shinji to stop mumbling was to kiss him.

As much as Kamio didn't mind, it did get old after a while.

Somewhere along the way, it had gone from actual desire to something that was merely routine. It just seemed to be expected, a light peck when they met in the morning before school... the whole... emotion behind it seemed to have faded with time. The only impulsive moments seemed to happen when Shinji would mumble, and those even seemed to be clockwork now.

It happened so frequently, that if Kamio actually put thought into it, he might have come to the conclusion that Shinji may have been doing it on purpose. As if in some odd way, the mumbling seemed to automatically constitute a kiss and Shinji was merely taking advantage of this notion. To Kamio, it felt as if he was simply expected to follow through, even if he didn't feel like it.

It shouldn't have bothered him, but somewhere along the line it started to feel like obligation.

There were times when he felt like he was the other boy's keeper, steering him through life, directing him this way or that. Kamio would often remind him about things, homework or assignments, that Shinji couldn't be bothered to remember. It was really boring to have to be responsible, especially when Shinji never seemed to stray from his apathetic state.

The entire day had not gone smoothly. Once Kamio had pinned down the oddity, he didn't seem able to ignore it. He bristled at one innocuous thing or another, even more so when he was doing something responsible. He was tired of being active and frustrated with Shinji's passivity. The more he dwelled on the situation, the more it angered him. Why didn't Shinji ever kiss him first?

He scowled, avoiding the looks at the lunch table. Shinji was talking about vegetables-- had been for a good ten minutes. (Kamio knew of no sane people that talked about such things... then again Shinji did often defy description.) Tachibana didn't seem to care, but the same couldn't be said for the rest of their teammates. They were edgy and shooting looks which alternated between pleading and annoyance at Kamio. He glared back. It wasn't his fault Shinji was rambling, or that no one felt strong enough to start a light conversation over his mumblings.

If anything, they should have been staring at Shinji. That went doubly so when Uchimura none-too-lightly kicked Kamio in the leg, a beseeching look upon his face. That was it. Kamio kicked back in annoyance then stood. "Why don't you kick him? He's the one that won't shut up! I don't even like carrots!"

The tennis team blinked at him, save for Shinji who was waxing poetic currently discussing the offending vegetable. Kamio stared at him for a moment, shook his head in frustration, then pushed his way out of the room.

"Er..." Ishida started.

Tachibana frowned. "Shinji."

Shinji stopped talking, looked at the table and noticed the empty chair.

"Shinji," Tachibana repeated, nodding in the direction Kamio had gone.

"Oh. I suppose I should go after him." Shinji remarked but made no effort to move.

Tachibana gave another pointed look at the door, then back to Shinji

Shinji stood obligingly, pushing his chair back. "Yes, Tachibana-san." He was outside in less than a minute, pushing open the fire door and shooing away the stray cats. Kamio wasn't hard to spot, glowering as he leaned against the court fence, a visage of frustration. Shinji paused and waited. He could almost see the twitching from there.

Kamio met his eye and glared evenly.

A cat mewed softly.

Shinji stared back, nonplused.

He wasn't fazed. Few things intimidated him and he'd known Kamio for too long to be put off. He closed the distance between them.

"What's wrong with you today? You've been moody all day. Everyone has said something about it. Everyone's told me about it, as if they think I can do something about it. Not every problem you have is my problem."

"You are my problem!" Kamio exploded.

"Oh," Shinji deadpanned. He looked upwards speculatively. "Well, I could probably do something about that," he admitted.

"That's what I'm talking about! That! The stupid 'I'm just going to stand here and mumble to myself' thing you do! Do you know how often you give me a headache, but I'm used to that."

"I get bored watching you rant," Shinji confessed. "It's so annoying and you never stop..."

Kamio wasn't listening, his words flying loudly over Shinji's. "I get that. It's just you. That doesn't even bug me anymore."

"... and you're loud and it hurts my ears. Now I know why you wear your headphones, maybe I should get some..."

"I'm sick of kissing you because I feel like that's all I do, and if feels like you don't even do anything."

"And you never listen to me... except when you do listen to me... but you're not listening to me now. Not that I'm listening to you, but it's not like I do this on purpose..."

"That's the real problem. This whole lethargic state you have going, don't you ever want to move?"

"... why should I bother trying to keep up when you're not going to stay still... at least this way you have to wait for me... " Shinji closed the distance between them as he spoke.

"You just sit there, you stare at me and you blink at me sometimes you'll even talk to you."

"And you do enough talking for both of us..."

"Would it kill you to kiss me back, I mean don't you ever get bored just watching? Seriously Shinji, you need to be more active. It's not going to kill you to take the damn initiative sometime!"

That was, of course, when Shinji kissed him.

Kamio's eyes widened, and for a moment, stood there stiffly in shock. However, that didn't last long and Kamio merely indulged, letting himself be kissed. It was good to be catered to every once in a while. His eyes shut and the tension left his body.

Shinji was annoyed with at the predictability of it all.

It had only been a matter of time.

After all, it was the only way to get Kamio to stop yelling.