Disclaimer: the original manga Tennis no Oujisama is the work of Konomi Takeshi. Characters and settings have been adapted without authorization or approval, and I am making no profit from their use.


Rules

Oshitari Yuushi was having an interesting day. And not entirely because of the goodwill games against these chosen Americans. There were reasons that people stuck with their own teams on their own schools, and one of those reasons was so that you wouldn't have to hear your competitors' commentary on your actual teammates. He had to grant Echizen's estimation of his captain; 'that freaking diva' was an accurate way to refer to Atobe under most circumstances, especially when he was standing on a tennis court. However, he most certainly did not need to hear Fuji Syuusuke leaning over to tease the brat by saying, "But he is attractive..."

"And he knows it," had been Echizen's reply. It was true, of course. But that didn't mean he wanted to hear about it from Seigaku.

He was still wrapping his brain around the idea when Atobe stepped off the court, toweling his hair dry with that same stupid smirk as always on his face. It was just too tempting to resist mentioning. "Apparently," Oshitari said as he tracked the Seigaku freshman walking away, "Echizen Ryoma thinks you're attractive."

He had expected perhaps a laugh, some friendly commentary about how ridiculous it was. Certainly he had not expected Atobe to stop, blink, and ask, "Really?" Oshitari raised a disbelieving eyebrow as his captain did his best impression of subtlety, sidestepping about two feet and turning his head practically ninety degrees to get a better look at Echizen patronizing a soda machine. Atobe was skilled in many things, but subtlety was not among them.

"Oi, Atobe. Are you seriously checking out a twelve-year-old's ass?" Keeping the incredulous tone out of his voice was a bit too much effort for too little worth.

"...No."

He rolled his eyes and started walking away with a wave. "Okay. I'm going over here -- where the not-pedophiles live -- if you want to visit."

Atobe pointed a finger at him without looking away from the Ponta-swilling brat. "Heliophile," he said decisively.

"Pervert," Oshitari replied. "And no, that's not actually heliophilia."

At last his captain turned around. With that broad smile, however, there was no way this was going to end well. "You're right. Because I'm only fourteen myself. A mere two years his senior."

"Atobe..." He paused, practically cringing. "Atobe, I want you to divide your age in half."

With a confused expression, he gave the answer. "...Seven."

Oshitari crossed his arms, giving his teammate an almost stern look. It was rare that he of all people had to play the voice of reason or decency, but he knew perfectly well that Atobe was prone to taking his whims to ridiculous extremes if he was allowed to think for himself. "Now add seven to that."

"...Fourteen." Atobe shrugged, confusion mounting. "I'm not sure I see where you're going with this."

"Fourteen..." he said, slowly so that Atobe would understand, "is the age of the youngest person you could date without being a pervert. So drop it, he's too young for you."

He left his friend to ponder that while he grabbed he racket and waited for the announcers to call the next round. Theoretically, none of them knew who would be playing until the names were called... Unlike most of the team (apparently) he'd taken a look at the lineup and done the math... he was going to be up next, probably with Kikumaru from Seigaku. The rest of them were singles players. Wouldn't that piss off Gakuto...

~\\~

"So what you're saying," Atobe said, ambushing him on his way out of the showers after the match, "is that I have to wait three years."

Oshitari blinked. Was there some reason this couldn't wait until he'd found clothes more substantial than a towel? "Excuse me?"

"Echizen. He's twelve now, but when I'm seventeen, he'll be fifteen... and seventeen divided by two plus seven is fifteen and a half, and the half doesn't count..." Atobe paused, looking with some disdain at the shock on Oshitari's face. "I did my math properly. When he's fifteen, there's no problem."

"Fifteen and a half."

"That's not a real age!"

He scowled at his captain, heading for his locker with no more thought for the subject. "I'm not having this conversation, Atobe. I know you, and you're not going to stick to some half-assed scheme to date Echizen Ryoma three years from now."

"Care to wager on that?" He turned slowly to look at the ever more infuriating Atobe, standing in the corner full of baseless confidence.

This wasn't something to wager on. Even if Oshitari was the type to make bets, and he never did (though he occasionally booked them for a reasonable fee), he certainly wasn't going to make a bet about Echizen Ryoma or his willingness to date Atobe Keigo. The image was... all right, less ridiculous than he would have expected... but still ridiculous. "No."

True to form, Atobe wasn't actually listening to his answer. "If Echizen Ryoma agrees to be my special someone in three years time, you'll shave off all that hair. And I will perform one humiliating act of your choice if he won't be mine by the time of his sixteenth birthday."

"How about if he dates you, I only make fun of you for a month instead of your whole damn life?" he shot back.

When Atobe smiled like that, Oshitari knew there was trouble. More trouble than usual. "Done," he said, and started for the door.

He straightened up and put on his glasses... they didn't actually help him see better, but the action always had such an impact on... well, on Gakuto. Most others didn't particularly care. "Are you serious?" Atobe didn't seem to have heard, but he was in the middle of a dramatic exit and even if he had heard Oshitari doubted his captain would have let that affect the situation. "Someone is very confused..." he muttered to himself, hoping that the person who would come to his senses first was Atobe. But that wasn't very likely. It was possible he should warn Echizen... but there was no way in hell the brat would listen. Those two had that much in common.