"Kaidoh, are you cooled down?" Inui asked and Kaidoh stretched a few more times and then he was. "We're going to do a relaxation exercise. Lie down on the grass." And Kaidoh lay down on the grass.

"Close your eyes," Inui said and Kaidoh closed his eyes. It was a bright day and light streamed down through the trees and seeped through his eyelids -- red, orange, yellow. He could feel the burn still in his muscles, the rush he got from working out that was almost like being happy. A chemical reaction, Inui told him and there was never any reason to doubt what Inui told him.

"Clear your mind, Kaidoh," Inui said and Kaidoh tried to clear his mind. Normally he used his downtime for visualization. Over and over, he practiced different shots in his mind -- the swing, the follow-through. Mental practice was almost as good as the real thing and Kaidoh had already known that before Inui told him about it.

"Think about your muscle groups now, start with your feet," Inui said and his voice was close to Kaidoh's head. Lying down beside him, maybe, flat on his back on the fresh-smelling grass. "Tense them up, then relax them." Kaidoh pulled his toes in towards the balls of his feet, then stretched them out. "Again," said Inui. "Again."

Slowly, they moved up the body: calves, thighs, belly, hands, arms, shoulders. The grass was cool on Kaidoh's neck and the world began to spin. He was limp now, boneless, lying lightly on the Earth as it went around and around, and only gravity held him down.

"Kaidoh, I'm going to take your pulse," Inui said and Kaidoh felt Inui's hand on his wrist, fingers pressing slightly. Inui's stopwatch shrilled. "Fifty-one beats per minute," Inui said. "That's good." He let go Kaidoh's wrist and Kaidoh could hear the quiet scritch scritch as Inui wrote the figure down.

Kaidoh supposed the exercise was over now and he could get up and make his way home. But he found he didn't really want to. It was pleasant to lie in the grass, to feel the sun on his face, the ground beneath him, body and mind at rest. Five minutes, he told himself. He could take five minutes more.

He heard Inui beside him again, felt the push in the air as Inui stretched out nearby. "Kaidoh," Inui said, so close to Kaidoh's ear that Inui's breath blew on Kaidoh's face. This was not usual. Kaidoh opened his eyes and there was Inui, lying on his side, propped up on one elbow. Inui's glasses were off and his eyes were dark, pupils dilated.

This was not usual at all. Forget five minutes. Kaidoh shifted and started to sit up. But Inui took him by the wrist again, this time with a firmer grip. "Wait," Inui said and leaned in closer.

"Why?" Kaidoh tried to move away without looking obvious about it, although the chances of Inui not noticing were slim. Inui was looming over Kaidoh now and all the calm spilled out of Kaidoh like water pouring down a drain. What could Inui want and why had he taken his glasses off and why was Kaidoh's stomach lurching as Inui moved further and further in?

"Because," Inui said, with a smile that made Kaidoh shiver, "I'm going to kiss you."

Kiss him? Panic jolted through Kaidoh and he thought his hair must be standing on end. What should he do? He couldn't shove Inui away, could he? Maybe if he just...asked him not to. "Senpai--" Kaidoh began, but it was too late. Inui rolled over, arms on either side of Kaidoh's head, and lowered his mouth to Kaidoh's.

So this was kissing. It was warm and a little wet. And very, very intimate. Kaidoh still had his eyes open and so did Inui and Kaidoh just couldn't deal with any of this, but it seemed like it would be easier with his eyes shut. Inui slid his hand up Kaidoh's palm until the fingers uncurled and he linked their hands together and pressed them down onto the grass.

Inui moved his lips against Kaidoh's mouth and it felt like Inui was trying to coax it open. Kaidoh remembered that he should be breathing and sucked in air through his nose.

And then it started to feel different. Something began to flutter just beneath his skin and warmth spread out from the kiss to fill him deep in his belly. He was trembling slightly. Maybe it was another chemical reaction. But that didn't matter. Right now he just wanted more of this.

Kaidoh tightened his fingers around Inui's and kissed him back. He didn't know if he was doing it right, but surely it couldn't be too hard. Their mouths moved together over and over and Inui stroked Kaidoh's thumb with his own. When Inui touched his tongue to the corner of Kaidoh's mouth, it sent a shock all down Kaidoh's left side and his leg jerked of its own accord.

It felt good, really good, and everything was spinning again.

When Inui pulled away, Kaidoh wanted to grab him and yank him back down. Instead, he opened his eyes and stared at Inui. Inui looked back, half a smile on his face and his hand on Kaidoh's wrist. "One-hundred three beats per minute," Inui said. "Please remember that so I can write it down later."

"Later?" Kaidoh said.

"I'm going to kiss you again," Inui said. And then he did.

Ten minutes, Kaidoh thought and put his arm around Inui's shoulders. He could take ten minutes more.