Renshuu

Everyone knows the only way to become skilled at something is to practice.

The first time it is brought up, the tone is offhand and half-joking. Daisuke follows it with a chuckle, just to be sure he won't be embarrassed. But Ken tilts his head softly, his hair brushing his cheeks so fetchingly, and nods, half lost in the thought.

It could be a good idea, after all. Neither wants to be humiliated when their time finally does come. And when it comes down to it, who could they possibly learn this with, besides each other? Anyone else might laugh! But they won't laugh at one another, right?

Right.

So Daisuke bites his lip, and moves down his bed, closer to Ken. Ken studies the other boy's features, so close now, and nervously runs a hand through his hair in another newly-acquired body signal.

So...

What do they do now? Is it kind of...

Daisuke, licking his lips and oh so bewildered now, rests his trembling hands on either side of Ken's head.

...like this? Okay. ...Okay. Ready?

He barely waits for the slight nod his best friend gives. He thinks he probably would have gone ahead no matter what, by this point. Now, he brings his lips so daringly close to Ken's, pausing for a minute to prepare himself. Ken does so too, his eyes already half-closed from the feel of Daisuke's gentle breathing against his mouth. And then Daisuke forges ahead, for better or for worse, and briefly, tenderly, touches their lips together.

That wasn't so bad, then, was it? They blush madly and agree, it's about as good as either had hoped it would be, and considering the hopes of youth, that's saying something.

But that wasn't that much of a kiss, either. So Ken suggests they try kissing a little bit more strongly. And they do; Daisuke again hovers close, and this time Ken brings his arms loosely around his friend's neck. Their lips meet hesistantly, but both boys grow a little more bold and soon the kiss strengthens, though it is still chaste.

And so it proceeds. They agree it's not so difficult, and it's pretty nice, too. But they hear Ken's mother begin to run the vacuum outside Ken's room, and suddenly reminded of where they are, who they are exactly, and what they should and should not be doing, they look away from each other with bright red faces. Then, they share a meal, and it's like nothing ever happened.

It's three weeks later when the subject somehow comes up again, and Ken is staying over at Daisuke's house this time, so it will be hard to run away from it now.

Was it okay for them to practice a little more? Of course, everyone knows the only way you get any good at things is by practicing! And kisses are such complicated things...

Things that so often escalate. And somehow before they know it Ken finds himself half in Daisuke's lap, and Daisuke's tongue coaxing and pressing against his own, and his own fingers somehow curling into his very best friend's hair. This is when Ken realizes how his confused body is reacting to all this, and suddenly he pulls away.

Daisuke asks him what's wrong. Nothing. Everything. Of course! Ken can only conclude that he is confused, and he thinks maybe they should stop. Surely they have grown skilled enough to not be laughed at when their first romantic kiss happens, so Daisuke had better save his kisses for the person he'll really care about.

But Daisuke shakes his head and asks if they don't really care about each other. Oh, they do, but it's different, kisses like these will be saved for someone they want to love and someone they feel passionately attracted to.

Ken finds the words hard to say and regrets losing his chance to kiss someone, but he can't deal with what looks eerily like a sexual attraction to his best friend. He doesn't look Daisuke in the eye while he recites his reasons for breaking this fun pattern of theirs. Daisuke sighs inwardly and tells him not to worry, and they don't mention it again for a week.

Ken finds himself fidgeting around Daisuke now. It's strange, the contrast between this openly nervous state and his usual outward calm. Another exception made for a boy who gets far too many as it is. This irritates Ken only because Daisuke seems to behave no differently and he feels a bit slighted for it. But it only proves his point -- to Daisuke, it was only casual practice, easily put behind him.

Sometimes Ken hates knowing he's right.

Daisuke finds that days pass too slowly now. It's only been a week since Ken suddenly broke away from their kiss, and it seems like months. He still feels funny inside, as weird as he did when he first cautiously asked Ken what was wrong. There are tumbling feelings in his stomach that he doesn't understand. He's pretty sure, however, that they all stem from a sincere desire to kiss his best friend again and again and maybe even forever till the warmth that starts in his tummy spreads everywhere.

If that happened, he could die at that very moment, but he knows he would never feel luckier.

Though they laugh and joke together, there is still an awkwardness between the two boys. It hurts them both to notice it, and to know it's not dissolving. Daisuke feels terrible, feels personally responsible for this changed circumstance. Clumsily, as they sit in Ken's living room watching television, he tells Ken this.

Ken shakes his head and tells Daisuke he's sorry, it's really more his fault, and that Daisuke shouldn't worry. He doesn't mention his truth, that it's truly all his own fault because he had hormones and feelings and that's what was getting in the way.

The other boy is unsatisfied with his answer. He studies Ken for a few moments, unsure of what he can ever do to fix things. Ken asks nervously what he's staring at. Daisuke answers that he doesn't know, and bites his lip. He tries to contemplate, but he can't when Ken is looking at him like that, so shy and differently than he did just weeks before. He wants Ken to be happy and comfortable. He wants so many things that he thinks he might burst and he feels kind of like crying or screaming but those would not show his heart, his good intentions.

So he does the only thing he can do, an action that he hopes will speak words he can't come up with and arrange on his own. He puts his hands on Ken's shoulders, oddly satisfied by the little gasp that results, yet annoyed by his own stomach seeming to bounce and turn inside. He leans a little closer because Ken would understand the jumble of thoughts and feelings that Daisuke cannot, and maybe in this he can communicate all his wishes for both Ken and himself.

He brushes their lips together, and he hopes for the best.

Ken just looks at Daisuke as he leans back. Why.

Daisuke can only say it's because. He needed to.

Ken doesn't want to play and doesn't think that practice is necessary anymore. He shrugs and looks away then, but Daisuke catches his face as gently as he can when everything feels so urgent to him. Then Daisuke whispers that he didn't mean for it to be practice this time or any time from now on.

Ken stares wide-eyed at him. And finally, finally, he smiles, though he looks like he's trying to hide it. His best friend grins in response and suddenly, they both feel like everything is right and perfect and whole. And Daisuke kisses Ken again and again and feels like forever, and the warmth that starts in his tummy spreads everywhere and mingles with Ken's.


Author's Note: I feel like this is a little cheesy – okay, I know it is. But I still enjoyed it because I think they are an adorable pair. It was challenging to write this way, with the dialogue sewn into the story, but challenges are good, of course! Please let me know what you thought of this.