title - The Side-Effects of Alcohol
author -
pseudonym
rating - PG
genre - drama/romance
challenge - Eiji/Oishi
disclaimer - This story is based upon characters and situations created and owned by Konomi Takeshi. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

summary -Eiji/Oishi ... and alcohol, though the alcohol only plays a minor part at the beginning.
After accepting a mysterious drink from Fuji, Oishi soon finds his emotions spiraling out of control. What started out to be a fun and care-free night quickly turns out to be one of the worst nights of his life... and he's dragging Eiji down with him.

author's notes -
My first time writing the Golden Pair. Originally I had planned on this being a short drabble... and it's now sitting at 3000 words... and only being half-way done. I have had to split this into two parts, the second half which will be posted within a few days. This was also supposed to be a humourous fic, but Fuji got ahold of my muse and brainwashed her into turning this into a crazy sad and slightly depressing fic. Seriously, the ending of the first part made my heart hurt... it's sad. Actually, anytime Eiji's sad... it makes me want to cry. Anyways, yeah....

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The Side-Effects of Alcohol
Oishi/Eiji, alcohol
(1/2)

The beginnings of dawn filtered through the gauzy curtain fabric, giving the room a warm glow. The bedroom was mostly silent save for the deep, rhythmic breathing of a red headed individual, whose body was sprawled out across the bed, covers strewn about. However, the owner of said bed was not the one currently occupying it.

The energy Eiji exhausted seemed to be endless. After a full day of classes, an extra-long match against Momo and Echizen (who lost), and a trip to the sushi restaurant afterward, Oishi had found it a little more difficult to keep up with his friend. Even though it was the weekend, and it was supposed to be a time to relax, the ex-fuku-buchou had a lot of studying to do.

The end of the school year was fast approaching and he was studying like mad for the university-entrance exams coming up. The stress over his marks was beginning to run him haggard and after a lot of begging and pleading, Eiji finally had convinced the other half of the Golden Pair to just forget about his worries for one night and to just enjoy himself.

While Oishi was incredibly stressed out over the future, Eiji was someone who lived very much in the present. While he was slightly worried about the entrance exams, he knew that he had studied as much as he could, and that whatever would happen, would happen. It was one thing to take control while on the tennis court… to be able to lead the match and end it whenever he (well, Oishi and him) saw fit, but the same did not ring true for life outside of tennis.

Eiji was someone who wanted to… needed to embrace everything that life had to offer. He had an insatiable thirst to experience everything that surrounded him. That was what drew Oishi to Eiji, the first time he had met the acrobatic tennis player. The contrast between the two of them was why their friendship was so strong. While both of them each had their own way of handling situations, they thought along the same lines and used that compatibility to flatten the competition with gravity defying moves, swiftly, fiercely, and all without having to say a word.

Eiji talked enough for the both of them combined when off the court, which was another thing that drew Oishi to his red-headed friend. While Oishi was a rather quiet and private person, Eiji let everyone know what he was thinking… said what he was feeling, and he was always the person to voice what others did not want to say aloud. Kikumaru's curious nature was almost to the point of naivety. A lot of the time, he just blurted out the first thing that came to his mind, usually without tact and always with an innocent smile. That was where the trouble had all begun the previous night….

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"Nyah, Oishi!" A bouncing Eiji had attached himself to his partner's arm, and before Oishi could say anything, he had been dragged on to the dance floor.

"Ne… Oishi?" Eiji paused after several moments, letting his arms fall from the air where they had been waving around in a sporadical manner. "Why aren't you dancing?" The exuberant red-head cocked his head questioningly and stared at his friend who was frozen, staring right at him.

Maybe it was because Oishi was running on a few hours sleep, or perhaps because he had such a long day, or maybe even it was a result of having that weird drink at the Kawamura Sushi House, which Fuji had kindly nudged his way in an opaque cup. At the time he thought nothing of it, and the drink had tasted so good that he ended up having three of them, but now he couldn't help but wonder if Inui had managed to get Fuji to test out his new concoctions… on poor, unsuspecting individuals. He mentally cursed himself for letting his guard down, especially when Inui had been at the table as well.

Well, whatever it was… it certainly was beginning to take its toll on the poor boy. His mouth had run dry and he knew that was gawking in an immature manner, but he couldn't help it. Once Eiji had begun dancing, albeit rather oddly, in his own unique way, and waving his hands through the air to a beat of his own, the bottom of his shirt had ridden up, revealing a patch of smooth, pale skin.

Oishi had to suppress a small shudder at the sight of his friend, and attempted to pull his gaze away from his friend's stomach. However, it was a futile attempt, for every time that Eiji would jump into the air or wave his arms, the shirt would ride up once more. Oishi gulped and blinked rapidly a few times, trying to clear his brain of the lust-ridden fog that had clouded his mind.

"OISHI!" A very loud yell close to his ear startled Oishi, and it vaguely registered in his mind that Eiji had been calling his name and trying to get his attention for a little while now. The thought only half-way made it to his brain, before the aforementioned fog returned and he could only feel his best friend's breath, hot against his face, and his curious violet eyes, peering with concern at his own.

Eiji was standing so close that Oishi could feel the pleasant warmth radiating from his body. He swallowed hard again, watching as his cat-like friend raised his hand to flick his forehead before moving to grasp his shoulders. Kikumaru gave the other half of the Golden Team a good shake.

What on earth was this feeling? Sure, he could attribute it to lust, but when Eiji's hands touched his shoulder; he couldn't help but let out a small shiver. The contact was in no way uncomfortable; it was more like coming home. It felt good when Eiji touched him, whether it was a high-five after winning a match, or him grabbing his arm to drag him off somewhere, or when the hyper red-head glomped him from behind and they teetered to the ground. Any contact from Eiji was a good thing, and he was very lucky in that Eiji was a very tactile sort of person.

Oishi jumped a little when he felt a cool hand press against his forehead and he thought it would be best to respond before Eiji began to worry. "What," he asked, attempting to keep his voice as steady as possible. His stomach gave a little flutter when the crease in Eiji's forehead smoothed out and he let out a little laugh. That look on Eiji's face there was the reason why he worried so much.

"I asked if you were feeling alright; your cheeks are red."

Oishi shook his head, "I'm fine; it's really warm in here, that's all."

Eiji let go of his should and grabbed his hand instead. Oishi could feel the blush burn his cheeks again as he let himself be led out of the clue and into the cool night.

The wind blew softly against his face and Oishi let out a deep breath. The club had been so packed that is was almost suffocating. However, now that they had left, what were they going to do? There was a long line up to get back in and he did not feel all that much up to venturing into the club once again. There was barely a moment to ponder about the situation as Eiji, who he noticed was still holding his hand, had begun to walk once more.

"Where are we going now," he asked the red-head while trying to keep himself from thinking about how his best friends hand seemed to fit perfectly within his own.

"Home, I'm taking you home."

Oishi protested, "But, I said I was fine! You don't have to worry about me." He was beginning to feel bad for ruining Eiji's night.

Letting go of Oishi's hand, Eiji continued down the street in a brisk pace, his serious gait only serving to further worry the other teen. "Well Oishi," the red-head shoved his hands into his pockets, "that's too bad because I'm already worrying about you. Someone has to…"

Tonight, even though Eiji was walking at a considerably quicker pace than he would if he were walking normally; it still was no match for the taller boy's strides. It didn't take much for Oishi to catch up to his friend. Usually the energetic teen would be bouncing his way down the street, hopping and skipping and tumbling. When he was like that, even Oishi's longer strides had trouble keeping up with the acrobatic player.

When he caught up, he clamped a hand onto the smaller boy's shoulder to stop him, "What do you mean," he questioned, wincing a little at the heat that was radiating from his palms and fingertips. Hopefully Eiji wouldn't notice.

There was a pause before Eiji responded, not even bothering to turn around, not even acknowledging where his hand was. "How can you even ask me that?" His shoulders seemed to slump a little and there was a tinge of… hurt and anger in his tone.

Again, Oishi felt bad, though this time, he didn't know why he was feeling so guilty. Somehow, in the past few minutes, something had changed. Eiji was not acting like himself. There was a brief moment where he wondered if it was because they had held hands… out in public… for others to see, but he quickly dismissed the idea seeing as it was the red-head who had grabbed his hand first and it was not the red-head who became embarrassed easily. However, if that wasn't it… what had happened in the past minutes that he wasn't aware of?

"Well," he began, using his free hand to scratch the back of his neck while he thought of a way to explain what he had meant without hurting his friend's feelings. It wasn't as though he didn't want Eiji to care; it was more along the lines that he wasn't sure whether he was ready for that sort of commitment from his best-friend. "Aren't I supposed to be the one who worries about everyone?"

Sure, he was known as a motherly sort of person at school, and had been dubbed 'Mama' while a member of the Seigaku Tennis Club, but it was a different sort of worrying that Eiji was doing. The members of the tennis club had just been friends or acquaintances. There was a sort of… professionalism that marked the boundaries of those relationships, however, with Eiji, it was different.

Eiji had been and still was, his first and only best friend. The only other person who had ever come close had been Tezuka, but the cold distance that junior high buchou had put between them as they grew older, had finally severed itself a few months previous. By the time he had realized that several months had passed since he had last talked to or emailed Tezuka, he found that he was not as shaken up over the loss as he thought he would be. In fact, it had been slightly expected. Throughout the years that he had known the stoic man-child, he had watched as Tezuka shut people out, one by one; it was something that he had comes to terms with a while ago… that their friendship would most likely dissolve once they had gone their separate ways… his always leading to tennis, and Oishi's to something he had yet to discover.

Perhaps it had been easier to accept this about Tezuka because it had been Eiji who was there to comfort him when he was feeling down, and to try and cheer him up. When Oishi had first met Kikumaru, back in their freshman year of junior high, he knew that there was something special about the very hyper boy. Kikumaru Eiji was a selfless, compassionate, and loving boy, who was kind to everyone and didn't like to see people upset or sad.

Oishi had always had a bit of trouble when it came to making friends. He was a rather shy boy and was very focused on his studies. While he knew that his parents cared for him in some way, it was not an emotion that was liberally expressed in their household. There were rules and guidelines and everything was dealt with in a mature, quick manner. He had to learn to not let his emotions show, no matter the situation.

When he met Eiji, the complete opposite of him, Oishi had realized on how much he had missed out on. And with Eiji, he didn't even have to try very hard for him to become his friend. It was as though they were stuck together with glue once they had met the other… inseparable, the 'golden pair' from their first meeting. They complimented each other so well, that Oishi knew that if he and Eiji were to lose contact with other, such as he and Tezuka had, he wouldn't be able to function.

Eiji had taught him how to laugh again and how to cherish the little moments in life, even if they seemed so insignificant at the time. It was Eiji who had taught him how to interact with people in a way that wouldn't scare them off. It had been Eiji who had suggested that they try out together in a doubles match. And again, it was Eiji who had accepted Oishi for who he was and showed him how much potential he had, if only he would decide whether to chase after it or not.

This was where he had learned how to mother other people. The idea of getting to know himself better was a scary one, and to distract himself from worrying, he in turn, applied that to concerning himself with others and their wellbeing. If he didn't have time to think about himself, then he wouldn't have time to wonder about how his life would have been like should he have never met Eiji.

Movement under his hand brought Oishi back from reminiscing. Eiji had turned to face him and was now curiously searching his face. "This is what I'm talking about, Oishi. You do worry about other people, but when you do that, you forget to worry about yourself. What's wrong with you today?"

"Nothing…" he replied automatically and a little too quickly, for Eiji narrowed his eyes and glared at him in a very cat-like manner.

"You're lying!" Eiji accused, his hands fisting into balls. "You're my best friend, Oishi!" Eiji's voice had cracked a little, and the taller boy knew that his friend was on the verge of tears. "I know you better than myself… and you're not telling me the truth!"

Of course. Did he really think he could pull the wool over Eiji's eyes with the way he had been acting? Or, ever at all? He hadn't meant to insult his friend, but at the moment he was just very confused. And for once, this was something that he couldn't talk to Eiji about because it concerned him. The line that defined a friendship and a relationship was beginning to blur, and he wasn't sure what to do. Maybe he cared about Eiji in a more-than-friends manner, or maybe he was confusing it for something else. What, he didn't know… but he wasn't sure whether he wanted to know at this moment quite yet.

When he didn't say anything, Eiji grabbed him by the shoulders once more. "Why aren't you talking to me? What is it that you can't say?"

He couldn't bear to look at Eiji at that moment, so he turned his face away, and kept it there, even as Eiji tried to pull his chin to face him.

"I…" he began, moving to push Eiji's hands away from himself. It was probably for the best this way… to keep the red-head at arm's length for a little while. His shoulders ached from the loss of warmth Eiji's hands had provided, though Oishi tried to push that feeling aside.

"Ne, Oishi?" Eiji asked, his eyes beginning to reflect the low glow of the street lamp they were standing near by. "What did I do?"

"Nothing." He was surprised at how cool his voice came out and guilt clutched at his heart once more as the tears that had welled up in his friend's eyes, sprung loose, and slid silently down one pale cheek, and then the other, which was covered with a white bandage.

"Is this about the club?" Eiji asked meekly, not moving to wipe off his face. His voice was uncharacteristically small. "I'm sorry for dragging you out… but it looked like you just needed to let loose for a bit."

Oishi shook his head, keeping his gaze from the smaller boy's and his hands shoved deeply in his pockets to keep from reaching out and gather Eiji into his arms for a hug. It hurt Oishi a lot to see his friend in this state… and know that he was the one who had put him there, but he couldn't touch the red-head at the moment. When he did, his body reacted in a way that frightened him.

The two of them stood there for what seemed like hours before Oishi finally couldn't stand to hear the small sobs and hiccups that were coming from his friend. Somehow he had managed to complicate things even more tonight… and he didn't even know where things had begun to tumble downhill. Both of their emotions were running at a high right now, and even though he had made a lot of progress with Eiji, in letting others know how he was feeling, he just couldn't open up to Eiji at the moment.

So, he did the one thing that he had not done since meeting the other half of the Golden Pair… he turned and he ran. He ran and didn't look back even as he heard Eiji's startled gasp. He kept his head forward as Eiji fingers grazed his arm in an attempt to grab his sleeve. He forced his legs to keep moving him forward as an anguished yell echoed down the nearly empty street. He ran and ran until he was back at home, in his room with the door shut and a chair under the handle.

And it was then, when he was alone, that he let himself release the tears that had been building up since Eiji had begun to question him.