Disclaimer: Sadly, I do not own Prince of Tennis or any of its characters. Don't sue! XD

Author's Notes: I never thought I'd write an InuKai fic, much less a long one or one which I thought had any merit. Since I've been watching Prince of Tennis, I've kind of struggled with the whole concept of InuKai. I could always see where people got it, but I wasn't exactly eager to dwell on it. I blame my own prejudice. I'm more a fan of "pretty people looking pretty together" sort of writing, and that's the kind of writing I've always done in the past (GP forever! XD). And let's be honest, one can easily find both Inui and Kaidoh a little… well, creepy. So, originally, I took up this fanfic as a sort of challenge. I wanted to see if I could make them really work. And the more I write it, the more I'm sort of falling in love with them both. O.o It's maybe a little disturbing. But now I'm really glad I'm writing this.

I also originally intended for this to be a one-shot. I don't know how in the heck I thought I could ever make it a one-shot. But it's going to be a multi-chapter thing. I'm not even exactly sure how long it will be. I guess we'll find out.

I wrote this in third-person, but keep in mind that it's basically from Inui's perspective. I decided early on that I was going to avoid delving into Kaidoh's psyche, simply because I like it better this way. It keeps the reader right where Inui is: guessing. But maybe I'll write another fic sometime from Kaidoh's perspective. Because that would be fun too.

Please, PLEASE review! I'd really like feedback from you guys… What do you think? Feel free to tell me if you think it's bad; just be nice. cries I'm very sensitive.


They say if you make 1,000 paper cranes…

your wish will come true…

Inui Sadaharu sat at his desk, trying to focus on the task at hand.

1.3 percent finished.

Five more minutes of folding.

1.4 percent finished.

This could take a while.

The four-eyed seventh grader leaned back against his chair. Folding paper cranes wasn't going to make him any less nervous about the coming day. It was getting late, and he just couldn't sleep. He was too excited for tomorrow…


The day of the inter-school tournament. On this unprecedented occasion, the first-years were going to be allowed to play. The rumors were that Tezuka Kunimitsu had something to do with the strange exception to school tradition. Granted, the seventh graders were only matched with seventh graders in the first round, and were placed in such a way that it would be nearly impossible to advance very far at all. But it was a chance.

Inui didn't expect much from this tournament. He didn't expect to become a regular member, or even advance to the third round. It would completely defy his data, since his training was nowhere near completion. There was still so much that needed refining… No, this was only a chance to show the other first-years what he had done so far. Intimidation was part of the plan.

What was this plan?

Well, for the relatively short-term, it was to become a regular at Seigaku by the end of his second year. But ultimately…

It was to be the best in the world.

That was his wish. And that was why he decided, tonight, to make a thousand paper cranes.

The notion that one would get a wish by magic, Inui thought, is stupid. The rationale for the myth, however, is logical. Anyone who would have the dedication and the patience to make a thousand of these paper birds would invariably have the dedication to make their own wish come true by way of hard effort.

Take for example, a sick person. If they wanted so badly to get well that they folded a paper crane 1,000 times, it would show the strength of their will to live. Therefore, their odds of survival would increase greatly.

1.5 percent finished.

Inui grabbed another square of paper, knowing he'd be doing this all night.

I will have that dedication. I will show that I'm willing to work to be the best. And by folding these cranes, I'm going to prove to myself that I have the patience to do what it takes.

And so he did, from that night forward. With the rigorous training schedule he quickly developed, Inui hardly had time to fold any paper cranes. The process went very slowly. Sometimes it would take him a month to find time for just five cranes… but he pressed on. He promised himself that he wouldn't stop until he'd made 1,000.

There were many times, though, when he'd wanted to give up his dream. No, he'd never admit it to anyone, but over and over again he saw that there were hurdles he couldn't seem to pass. Every person's body had its limits. And he was getting very frustrated with his own.

Because of this, his dream faltered. It began to shrink. By the end of his first year, he'd decided to shoot for being the best in Japan, as opposed to the entire world. By the middle of his second year, he just wanted to be the best in the Kanto region, for his age. But even there, the goal was unattainable.

By the end of his second year, he just wanted to be the best in his school.

With Tezuka around, this was going to be a problem in and of itself. Inui suspected that any hurdles beyond beating his fellow bespectacled classmate would seem easy. But for now, he felt he had reached an impasse.

One night he came home and began folding another crane. In the middle of his precise movements, though, he stopped.


That's what it seemed. Simply hopeless. According to his data, he wouldn't be reaching his goal anytime soon. And the hurdle always seemed to get higher.

They say if you make 1,000 paper cranes…

Inui crumpled his half-folded foil square.

What if the wish is impossible?

He removed his glasses and massaged his eyelids. Upon replacing his spectacles, he glanced at his clock.

Might as well get some sleep.

He tossed the crumpled paper to the floor. It glittered slightly gold in a strip of moonlight coming from the window.