Momoshiro can't wait. He ought to wait until Kaidoh calls him, or, failing that, at least until tomorrow afternoon. Because if he doesn't, Kaidoh will know that Momo can't wait and that's a point to Kaidoh. Or maybe minus one point to Momo. But Momo can't wait and so he doesn't.

He's waited two weeks already.

Two hot, boring weeks. Momo's parents are always talking about where they'll go on vacation, but when it comes time to actually make plans, they're too busy or too broke or too unreasonable. So Momo is always stuck in the city when everyone else is away. And this year, everyone else includes Kaidoh.

Kaidoh is still carrying in bags when Momo arrives. Momo's probably lost two points for being so early. Kaidoh gives him a look of disgust, or Momo assumes it's disgust. Kaidoh is wearing sunglasses so Momo can't really tell. Kaidoh is wearing sandals and shorts and a sleeveless vest zipped up the front. Momo wants to take hold of the zipper and pull. He swallows. Two hot, boring, frustrating weeks.

Momo has to do something, even if it's not that, so he steps up to Kaidoh. "Think you're so cool," he says and twitches the sunglasses off Kaidoh's face.

"Give me those," Kaidoh says and grabs at them. He gets Momo's wrist instead, fingers tight and hard. A look flickers in Kaidoh's eyes, not so much like disgust, and Momo thinks maybe he hasn't lost that much face after all.

Momo puts on the sunglasses and grabs a suitcase in each hand. "Don't just stand there," he says and carries them into the house. The sooner they're done, they sooner they can, well, do. And Momo can't wait.

It's not long before everything is carried inside and piled in the front hall. Momo kicks his shoes off and looks over the bags. "Is this one yours?" he says and pulls out a likely candidate. "We should probably take it up."

"Idiot," Kaidoh says. "This one, and this one." He shoves two cases at Momo and slings another one over his shoulder.

"Jeez, how much stuff do you need for two weeks? You're like a girl." Momo picks up the suitcases and starts up the stairs. Up the stairs. And Kaidoh follows him. Momo can't wait, can't wait, he's ready now, and he forgets to complain about carrying two bags when Kaidoh only has one.

They're halfway up when Kaidoh's mother comes into the hall. "Momoshiro-kun," she says. "It's so good of you to help out."

"It's nothing," Momo says. "I hope you had a good holiday."

"We did," she says and smiles at him. "I hope you'll stay for supper."

"I don't want to put you to any trouble." Momo is always glad to stay for supper. And they are always glad to have him. Kaidoh's family loves Momo, really loves him. Kaidoh's father talks to Momo about sports and tells him what to take when he has a cold. Kaidoh's brother begs Momo to play catch with him and help him get onto the baseball team next year when he starts middle school. His mother sends treats along to school with Kaidoh and Kaidoh has to find Momo at lunch hour to deliver them. Momo likes to be liked and so it makes him happy. The fact that it makes Kaidoh cranky is just a bonus.

"It's no trouble," she says.

"Thank you," Momo says. "Then I will."

"You boys just have time to wash your hands," she says.

And that's a problem. Because Momo can't wait.

Kaidoh jabs him in the back. "Are you just going to stand there?"

"That hurt, dumbass." Momo starts climbing again. In Kaidoh's room, he drops the bags on the floor. His skin is pricking now, his mouth is watering. He's going to push Kaidoh up against the wall and kiss him, just once, to tide them over. They have time for that if they don't wash their hands.

But Kaidoh is back out the door before Momo can grab him. "Jerk," Momo says. He drops the sunglasses onto the dresser and follows Kaidoh. Now Momo is stuck until supper is over. At least he came prepared: not one, but two pairs of snug underwear and dark, baggy pants. Not the most comfortable, but it works for camouflage.

One way or another, it seems like the last eight months or so have been one long inappropriate erection, with brief intervals of respite induced by sports, cold water, and orgasm. Sometimes Momo wonders if this is how it will be for the rest of his life.

Supper is delicious but difficult. The conversation is about the weather: the weather today, the weather over the last two weeks, at the beach and in the city, the long-range forecast. Momo eats and looks across at Kaidoh. He wants to pass something over so their fingers can brush together, he wants to stretch his leg out under the table and press his calf against Kaidoh's, anything to touch right now.

Kaidoh won't look at Momo, except to scowl once when Momo gives the details of the mini-heatwave they had last weekend. Momo figures that's a good sign. The more irritated Kaidoh is, the more fun he'll be.

Finally, they get up from the table. Momo stands beside Kaidoh, keeps his hands at his sides through sheer force of will. "We should talk," he says. "You know, about tennis, about the practice schedule next week." And they probably should, afterwards. Nationals are right after the break and after losing to Fudomine in the Kantou finals, they need to work harder than ever. But first things first.

"The practice schedule?" Kaidoh says. His hair is in his eyes and there's a fleck of something dark beside his mouth. Momo wants to brush it away. "I already did it. You never want to plan that stuff."

Now Momo is irritated too. Is Kaidoh being deliberately dense? "Can I see it then?"

"Momoshiro-kun." It's Kaidoh's father. "Come look at our vacation album."

Kaidoh shrugs at Momo and Momo isn't sure, but the corners of his mouth might just be turning up a little.

Momo turns around, because what else can he do? "Of course, Kaidoh-san," he says and follows him into the other room. "But how do you have the album done so soon? You just got back today."

"It's a special service," Kaidoh's father says. "I just uploaded the pictures from my camera before we left the hotel and they sent them to a shop that printed the album. We picked it up when we got back into the city."

"Amazing," Momo says and they settle in to look at the pictures. There are a lot of them. Pictures of the beach and the ocean and the sky. Pictures of people, many people, that Momo doesn't know. Pictures of shells and stores and insects and birds and a giant plastic snow-cone. Pictures of the family. Momo smiles and makes polite comments about them all and inside he seethes and churns and twists.

Kaidoh is in the room too, sitting on a cushion, playing a hand-held video game. Momo looks over at him with every page turn, but Kaidoh doesn't look up, just frowns and works his thumbs on the controls.

"Here we are on Tuesday, no, Monday," Kaidoh's father says. "At the beach. That's my new folding chair. Kaoru wasn't with us. He kept going off on his own."

"Mmm hmm," Momo says.

"There were a lot of pretty girls at the beach, maybe he met someone. He won't tell us though, will you, Kaoru?"

Kaidoh doesn't answer. He drops the game on the floor and leaves the room.

"You see?" Kaidoh's father says. "If you can find anything out, be sure to tell us."

"Of course," Momo says. And his gut is still twisting, twisting tight. What if it's true? What if Kaidoh met someone and that's why he's brushing Momo off? Momo has no idea what Kaidoh was doing on his vacation. He only heard from him once, a short text message of congratulation on Momo's birthday. Which was more than Momo expected, actually.

Momo doesn't see the rest of the photos, though he hopes he's saying appropriate things about them. It can't be true, though. Kaidoh wouldn't meet someone at the beach. Would he?

The album is closed. "Thank you for showing it to me," Momo says and gets up. He has to find Kaidoh now. Now. He has to know if it's true.

Hazue grabs Momo's arm. "Momo-niisan!" he says and Momo wonders if he's going to have to sit through a collection of interesting seaweeds now. "Come out and play with me."

Momo ruffles Hazue's hair. He can't let himself get entangled again. "Tomorrow," he says. "Now I have to talk to your brother about tennis."

"No." Kaidoh appears in the doorway. No? This really is a brush-off then. "Come on, Momoshiro," Kaidoh continues. "We have to practise." He's not in his workout clothes, but he's got a bandana tied over his head now, a dark red one that Momo has never seen before. Probably a souvenir of the beach.

Momo doesn't want to practise. Momo wants to grab Kaidoh by the shoulders and shake him, shake him until the answers come out. And then Momo wants to throw Kaidoh down, on the bed or on the floor, and do things to him. With him. Now.

"I don't have my racquet," Momo says.

"Then go get it." Kaidoh hoists his bag over his shoulder.

Whatever. Momo isn't going to get what he wants now, so he might as well get out of here. He thanks Kaidoh's parents for their hospitality, then shoves his feet into his shoes.

Kaidoh follows him out the door and they walk to Momo's house. On the way, Kaidoh tells Momo about the practice schedule and Momo absorbs about as much of that as he did of the vacation photos. He wonders if he should just tell Kaidoh to forget it, to leave him alone. But Momo's got to do something now, he's far too wound up to just go home and watch TV.

When they get there, Momo goes up to his room to get his things. Kaidoh follows him. Momo picks up his bag. Then he drops it back on the floor. "You are such an asshole," he says to Kaidoh.

"So are you." Kaidoh drops his bag too.

"All you ever want to do is practise."

"All you ever want to do is slack off."

And that's it. Momo doesn't want to practise. Momo doesn't want to slack off. Momo can't wait and so he doesn't. He crosses the room, pushes Kaidoh up against the wall, and kisses him.

It's been two long weeks but now they're over. Momo's hands are on Kaidoh's arms and his skin feels warm, almost hot. Kaidoh tastes a little like the curry they had for supper. His mouth is open under Momo's, his hands are on Momo's back. Momo kisses like he's hungry, like he wants to eat Kaidoh alive. And he does, he does.

Kaidoh slides his hands down and grabs Momo's ass, pulling Momo up against him. Momo gasps a little, even though he's trying to be quiet. Kaidoh is just as hard as Momo is and as they rock against each other, Momo knows that whatever Kaidoh was doing at the beach, he wasn't getting off, not with someone else.

Jacking off is never like this, never a tongue inside his mouth and fingers on his skin and a body under his hands. Never another cock rubbing tight against his own, never a fire in his belly and a ringing in his ears.

Momo is melting now, all his bone and gut and muscle turning into water. His skin can't contain it all, the pressure is too great, too much. There's a throb, a pulse, like the pull of the tide, and Momo comes in his pants.

That's embarrassing. "You missed me," Kaidoh says.

"The hell I did," Momo says, when he's got his breath back. He pulls Kaidoh down to sit on the floor. They kiss again and Momo pulls off Kaidoh's bandana, gets his hands in Kaidoh's hair. Kaidoh's hands are under Momo's shirt, on his back, his sides.

Momo does what he's been wanting to do all night: pulls down the zipper of Kaidoh's vest and slides his mouth down Kaidoh's chest from collarbone to navel. And then he sucks Kaidoh off.

It still feels strange to do this, to open his mouth so wide around another guy's cock. He's only done it a few times now. Momo wouldn't say that he enjoys it, exactly. But he enjoys what it does to Kaidoh.

Momo doesn't even have to look up to know that Kaidoh's eyes are closed, his face is flushed. His hands are clenched into fists. His mouth is open and his chest is heaving. And Momo has the upper hand, utterly and completely, more than any time they have ever fought, any time they have ever played.

Kaidoh comes quickly, breath hissing out between his teeth, and Momo isn't fast enough to avoid a mouthful of jizz. He spits into a tissue while Kaidoh hides his face in his hands. He always does that for a few moments afterwards. Momo can't figure out why.

They're slumped against the wall now, shoulder to shoulder. Momo is feeling much better, now that he doesn't have to wait anymore. "Hey, Mamushi," he says. "Are you going to tell me about your girlfriend?"

Kaidoh punches Momo in the leg. "Moron. I don't have a girlfriend."

"No summer romance at the beach?" Momo punches Kaidoh back. "Then what were you doing off by yourself all the time?"

"Practising. Unlike you, I'm not a slacker."

"I practised a lot," Momo said. "You'll see when we play." Momo has been wondering what they'll do after Nationals. Win or lose, they'll have to retire from the club. Momo doesn't want to stop playing. And he doesn't want to stop doing this.

Kaidoh's bandana is on the floor, half under Momo's knee, and he picks it up, unties the knot, smooths it out. "Give me that," Kaidoh says and yanks it away. Then he reaches for his bag.

"No," Momo says and pulls Kaidoh back. He can't face getting up and going out now. "Call home and say you're staying over. We'll practise in the morning." And that way, they can do this again, maybe even twice more.

Kaidoh shrugs Momo off and drags his bag over to him. He doesn't get up, though, he just opens the bag and takes something out of it, something he holds clenched in the palm of his hand.

This is odd. Kaidoh seems a little weird too. He's looking down, his jaw is showing through his cheek. He stretches his hand out. "Here," he says. He's still not looking at Momo. Momo puts his hand under Kaidoh's and Kaidoh drops something into Momo's palm. "For your birthday," Kaidoh says.

It's a souvenir keychain, with the name of a resort and an ugly pink and yellow plastic fish. It's the worst gift ever. Momo opens his mouth to tell Kaidoh that, but what he actually says is "Thank you." He thinks he'll hang it on his tennis bag.

Kaidoh's bag is still open and when Momo looks at it, something inside catches his eye. He leans over and pulls it out. Kaidoh's toothbrush. "You bastard," Momo says. "You were planning to stay over all along."

"That's for after practice," Kaidoh says.

"Sure it is." Momo opens the plastic case and holds up the toothbrush. He sticks his tongue out to lick it.

"That's disgusting," Kaidoh says and snatches it away before he can.

So instead, Momo kisses Kaidoh. That's got to be at least as disgusting, under the circumstances, but Kaidoh doesn't act like it is. Kaidoh puts his arms around Momo and kisses him back. It's different than before. The kisses are slow, lingering, like they're eating something so sweet and rich, they can only take small bites.

Their lips pull apart, Kaidoh kisses the corner of Momo's mouth, his cheek, his temple. Momo has one hand on the small of Kaidoh's back, where the skin is bare, the other at the nape of his neck. The hair there is soft, so soft, and Momo's fingers slide through it again and again.

They rub their faces together, Momo kisses Kaidoh's cheek, then his mouth again. There's a strange tension between them now, a strange tightness in Momo's chest. It frightens him but he doesn't want to lose it. He kisses Kaidoh again.

Kaidoh pulls back from the kiss and presses his forehead against Momo's. They are looking into each other's eyes, they are breathing in each other's breath. Kaidoh is holding Momo's face in both his hands, stroking Momo's cheeks with his thumbs. Momo is almost dizzy now, he moves his head so their noses bump together.

"Momoshiro," Kaidoh says, almost whispers, "I..." He stops talking and closes his eyes.

"You missed me," Momo says and touches his tongue to the corner of Kaidoh's mouth.

"The hell I did," Kaidoh says and pulls Momo down onto the floor.

They roll together until they hit the side of the bed and then they laugh and then they start all over again.

Momo can't wait.