“Ninety-five percent chance of....” Inui mumbled to himself as he walked into the locker room after classes ended for afternoon practice. He had his head down, looking in his notebook, so it took him a moment to realize that the room, full of people, was virtually silent...except for Fuji who was moaning in pleasure. He looked up to see a room full of blushing boys, all facing their lockers, in varying stages of undress. Fuji himself was sitting, in his tennis uniform, on a bench in the center of the room with a blissful expression on his face, licking his fingers. Inui's mind immediately joined the others in the gutter even as he turned to the person nearest him, Kachiro, “What is going on?”
“F-Fuji-sempai is...enjoying a piece of chocolate,” the red-faced freshman replied as he attempted to make his escape.
“Someone finally managed to corner him?” Inui asked, pushing up his glasses. “Interesting.”
Kachiro paused in the doorway, shaking his head. “Nope, secret admirer. Apparently they left the chocolate in the photography room for him.”
Inui set his tennis bag down and pulled out his pen. “That is even more interesting. Do you have any other information, Kachiro? ...Kachiro?” He turned, but the other boy had fled. He smiled slightly and moved further into the locker room.
Several other boys were breaking records in getting changed. Inui couldn't help but smirk at their uncomfortable expressions. He picked his bag up and walked over to his own locker, near to where Fuji was sitting. “Good afternoon, Fuji. Did you bring enough to share with everyone? You know how Coach Ryuzaki is about that,” he said as he opened his bag and removed his school uniform shirt.
“Mm...apparently I did,” said the tensai. “I offered, but it seems my fondness for wasabi is not shared by my teammates.”
Inui paused as he was removing the weight vest he wore under his uniform. “The chocolate has wasabi in it? Not your average fangirl then. Your admirer sounds slightly above the rest.” Seeing that the other boys had all taken advantage of Fuji's distraction and fled, Inui quickly stripped off his undershirt and put his tennis polo on. He turned to pick his vest up again and caught the other looking at him, his eyes partially open. “...what?”
Fuji's eyes slid closed again and he smiled. “Nothing.” The other stood up then and put away the rest of his chocolates, picking up his racket. “See you outside!” he called out, leaving the locker room.
At the meeting after practice, Inui stood at the whiteboard and started writing. “The School Festival is almost here. We need to decide on what the Tennis Club will be doing. Now, since there is a less than 3% chance any of you would agree to an Inui Juice Bar after refusing for each of our previous School Festivals, I have prepared a list of alternatives.”
The regulars were gathered to discuss the upcoming School Festival. Inui had put pressure on Tezuka, in the form of several dozen 30 second phone calls, to let him come up with some ideas. Inui, being a member of the executive committee for the School Festival wanted his club to excel, rather than simply play it safe as they had in the past. He had access to what all the other clubs and classes were doing; for example the Sewing Club was making little outfits for bears so they'd look like tennis team regulars, Kaidou's class was having a Bake Sale and at least two groups were doing plays. The Tennis Club would have to do something special this year.
“Kissing Booth!” Kikumaru yelled, pumping his fist in the air and jumping.
“Yes!” Momo and Horio both chimed in.
“No.” Tezuka's look quelled the sudden exuberance instantly.
“Taken already, actually,” Inui said, looking at his notebook and pushing up his glasses. “One of the classes will be running one.” Besides, he had already calculated the chances of Tezuka agreeing to that to be zero. He turned to the gathered regulars, plus their usual immediate hangers on and tapped what he had just written on the whiteboard. “After some deliberation and calculations I am suggesting we do a Dunk Tank this year.”
“Someone throws a ball at a target and one of us falls into a tank of water, Inui?” Taka-san asked. “You think that would be popular?”
“Among the other sports clubs definitely,” Fuji pointed out. “We did win Nationals after all.”
“Exactly,” Inui said. “There are other factors, of course. For one, it is usually quite warm on the day of the School Festival, so there should be no hardship for the boys being dunked. Second, if the participants have to hit the target with a tennis ball and racket, we might find some new talent for next year, something that concerns us seniors as we start looking forward to graduation at the end of the year.” The first part was geared toward getting volunteers to participate, the second was calculated to convince Tezuka of the merits of Inui's plan. He figured that the members of other clubs, especially the sporting clubs, would pay a lot to try to dunk the members of a club that not only went to Nationals, but won, and the girls not in sporting clubs would egg the others on in order to see the tennis team in wet shirts. Making their booth exceptionally popular. His glasses gleamed a bit in the light.
Tezuka's glasses had an answering gleam, Inui must have found just the right combination to spark the other's interest. “That sounds acceptable,” their captain said. “All team regulars will take turns. I will draw up a schedule.”
Oishi looked worried, as he was wont to do. “Is a dunk tank safe, Inui? We'll need to have a pile of dry towels available, plus a first aid kit, just in case....” His voice drifted off as he started making his own plans for what would be necessary.
Katsuo raised his hand. “Excuse me, Captain Tezuka? Will there be something that the rest of us can do?”
Inui answered for him. “With the regulars acting as bait in the tank,” 97% chance that Tezuka would order that, confirmed, “we will need other members of the Tennis Club to handle taking the tickets, showing the participants how to properly hold a racket, serve, etc, plus we will need people out drumming up more business for us.”
Tezuka nodded to confirm what Inui had just said. It was easier for him to be a man of few words when he had the taller megane around to talk for him.
Momo jumped to his feet. “I can do that! Drum up business, show people how to hit the ball, I can do that!”
“Fssssh.” Kaidou glared at the bouncing boy. “Idiot, you'll be in the tank, too.”
“Nuh uh. Captain Tezuka said Regulars, and I,” Momo was clearly ignoring the jersey he was wearing, “am not a Regular. Inui beat me out, remember?” he said, far more cheerful about it now than he had been at the time.
Once Nationals had started, a lot of the usual club etiquette had gone out the window for a period of time, including the month ranking tournaments. Tezuka had been off recuperating, so Momo had stepped in, but then Tezuka came back, then Oishi had been out for a while, then he came back and now Echizen was off, back to the States. The Tennis Club was back on their usual schedule now...but the next ranking tournament would be three days after the School Festival. Until then...how many Regulars did Seigaku have?
Tezuka pushed up his own glasses. “Until the next ranking tournament, anyone who played in the Nationals for our team is considered a member of the Regulars. That includes Momo, Oishi and myself.”
“Saa, works for me,” Fuji said. “I will be teaching the Yearbook staff how to give tarot readings, fun ones, but I won't be doing any myself. Just in case, you understand. So I'm available to take pictures and take my turn in the tank,” he said with a nasty sunny smile.
“You're going to try to get a picture of us as we're falling, with our mouths and eyes open in surprise, aren't you, Fujiko?” Kikumaru asked. “Nya, so mean!”
“I like to get a wide range of pictures,” Fuji said, neither confirming nor denying.
Inui listened to them and the others chatting as he handed Tezuka the paperwork he had prepared: The forms to submit to the Exec Committee, needing only his and Coach Ryuzaki's signatures, the list of positions needing filled and the best places to rent a dunk tank from, the ones that delivered and picked up being highlighted.
His ears caught Momo talking to Arai, “...totally think I'm gay. No, don't laugh, it's perfect! It's perfect, because I get asked out all the time, they pay for their own meals and then they not-so-subtly try to convert me!” Inui frowned as he looked over at the two younger boys. Momo was waving his hands and grinning, while Arai looked confused and embarrassed. Apparently they were discussing girls?
“But, what if they try to set you up with another guy, Momo-chan?” Arai asked.
“I've already got that covered,” Momo boasted. “Fuji-sempai said to tell them that I was, 'suffering from an unrequested love.'”
Inui moved over to where the underclassmen were standing. “That is unrequited, not unrequested, Momo. There is a very big difference between the two, try not to get them confused. And considering the emotional makeup of the girls at our school, they will undoubtedly vow to find out who you are in love with and set you up with him. You might be better off telling them that your crush is either straight or dead. Oh, and please note that our shorts become see-through when wet. I recommend wearing opaque boxers on the day of the Festival.” With an only slightly sinister smile, Inui left the two gaping after him as he went back to respond to Tezuka's question about timing issues.
The day of the School Festival dawned bright and clear and everything ran as smoothly as an anal-retentive Festival Exec Committee could have hoped for, thanks in no small part to Inui's involvement.
Inui sat, cross-legged, on a bench, under a tree behind the rows of booths, writing in his notebook when Fuji, in fresh clothes but his hair still wet, came by to pick up his camera.
“Inui, do you have any more of that juice from yesterday?” he asked, picking up his camera and sitting next to the taller teen. “I'm done with my shift in the Dunk Tank and thought a drink sounded refreshing,” he said with a sunny smile. “Thank you for taking pictures while I was busy.”
A loud, “BURNING!” came from the direction of the Dunk Tank.
“Ah, I see Taka-san has started his shift,” Inui said, looking up from his notebook. He was just in time to see Fuji drinking from the bottle he had just handed the other, holding it with both hands in a rather suggestive fashion. Inui smiled slightly as the action drew a couple of giggles from girls passing by. “You can bring the bottle back when you are done,” he said. “Oh, wait, you don't have to run off, Yuuta returned to the dorms last night, didn't he?”
Fuji very nearly pouted. “Yes. I wanted him to stay and perhaps try his luck at dunking me, but that Miasaki fellow said they had practice today.” Looking over Inui's arm, he changed the subject. “Writing up a new training menu for Kaidou?”
“Sort of. He actually asked me for a favor,” Inui said.
“Oh? What kind of, 'favor,' hm?” Fuji asked, making it sound suggestive. Which wasn't difficult for him, Inui reflected.
Turning his head to look at the honey-haired tensai, Inui smiled at him. “Kaidou wants to spend more time with his girlfriend, so I'm...”
“Kaidou has a girlfriend?” Fuji asked, his eyes open in shock.
“Sh.” Inui looked around to be sure they hadn't been overheard. “Yes. But he isn't ready to introduce her to everyone yet. She's rather shy.”
Scooting closer, Fuji asked in a quieter voice, “Who is she? Where did they meet? Has he introduced her to you yet? What data do you have on her? Is she worthy of our kouhai?”
Inui sighed and put down his pen. “Masaya Kaoru, Home Ec class, yes, but only briefly, quite a bit and yes, I think she is,” he said, ticking each answer off on his fingers.
“Kaoru?” Fuji repeated. His smile lit up his entire face. “They have the same first name! That's just adorable! Oh, I want pictures!”
“They'll be at Kaidou's class booth later. She helped him make some of the baked goods for their Bake Sale. If you behave, I'm sure you can sneak a couple of pictures before Kaidou freaks out,” Inui said, adjusting his glasses. Noticing the time, he put his notebook and pen away. “I was about to go see one of the plays, would you care to join me?”
“That sounds fun,” Fuji said, his eyes safely shut again, his smile back to its usual serene mischief.
Inui stood up and slung a bag over his shoulder. He was about to say something to Fuji when he just happened to overhear a couple of girls discussing the sad tale of a friend of theirs who had been unlucky in love. “If I may, the best way to recover from losing out on love is to get right back into the dating pool. I understand that there is a boy in class 2F, at the Kissing Booth, that might suit your needs,” he told them as he and Fuji passed by.
After the play, Fuji went to get some shots of the cast backstage, so Inui wandered over to where the Yearbook Committee had their Fortune Telling booth. “May I get my fortune told,” he asked, handing over the appropriate number of tickets.
The girl at the desk looked up at him with a slightly awed expression. “Actually...no. Fuji told us that your future was not for our eyes, so he left this sealed envelope in case you came by.”
Inui's eyebrows rose as he accepted the envelope and walked away. A special fortune, eh? He slid the seal open and pulled out the piece of paper to read.
Blushing slightly, he slid the paper back into the envelope. Well, those were some interesting possibilities. Fuji was...definitely a genius, to say the least.
Inui walked around for a few moments before heading over to Kaidou's class booth, to give himself a chance to regain his composure. He got in the long line and waited his turn to purchase one of Kaidou's cookies, giving the younger boy a nod to let him know that he wanted to talk to him. Kaidou wasn't on the sales line, so he was free to step behind the booth and talk.
“Kaidou. Kaoru-chan,” Inui said, greeting them both. Masaya Kaoru was behind the booth arranging more of the cookies on a tray for sale. She blushed and gave Inui a small smile and a nod. It was a wonder those two had ever gotten past the blushing at each other stage, Inui thought with a small smile of his own.
“Inui-sempai,” Kaidou responded.
Inui pulled the sheets out of his notebook and handed them to his kouhai. “I see that your baking is going over really well. I really enjoyed my cookie.”
Kaidou hissed, turning away as he blushed.
Fuji was hovering a couple of booths away, taking pictures of them, Inui noticed. He distracted Kaidou by explaining what the pages were. “I tailored your training menu to include Kaoru-chan. I know that she is an athletic girl, though not up to your level. As yet,” he said with a smile to her. “So I marked the spots where she might join you and where she can increase as she feels up to it. This should give the two of you the kind of quality time together, aside from baking under your mother's doting eyes, that you are looking for.” Kaidou-san apparently kept peeking into the kitchen and giggling while they were preparing for the bake sale. The two were not yet ready for more than the occasional hand holding. This would give them time together where they were not under any kind of pressure.
Another pair of blushes was his only response, causing Inui to smile again and Fuji's camera to click repeatedly. Inui was about to invite them both to come to his own shift at the Dunk Tank, immediately following Tezuka, when they were interrupted by a loud yell.
“No! No! It's okay! I don't want to go!” Momo said as the small mob of girls dragged him past. If Inui was correct, that way lay the Kissing Booth. “Let me be miserable, I'm good!”
Kaidou snorted loudly. “Serves the peach right. Lying like that. Fsssh.”
Inui exchanged a smirk with Fuji who followed behind the little gaggle. “I'm off to see Tezuka and get ready for my own shift. I hope the rest of your bake sale goes well, Kaidou. Kaoru-chan, it was nice seeing you again.
Whistling the tune to a popular love song, Inui headed off toward the Dunk Tank.
Once Inui's shift was over, he headed off to get dry. He peeled out of his wet clothing, glad that he had heeded his own advice about the opaque boxers and headed into the showers. It might have been warm out, but that water wasn't.
“Inui, are you decent?” Fuji asked, coming into the locker room several minutes later.
Inui, standing by his locker in nothing but a towel, looked over at him. “When am I not?” he asked with a small smirk. He continued rubbing his hair dry.
Fuji's smile got a little brighter. “True enough.”
“Have you been getting any good pictures today?” Inui asked, knowing that he definitely had.
“Absolutely. I was there when Tezuka went into the water,” Fuji replied smugly.
Inui sat down and slid into a fresh pair of boxers and shorts. “As was I. He simply closed his eyes and fell. How does that make for a good picture?”
“Not of Tezuka,” Fuji said, dismissing their friend and captain's lack of amusing response with a wave of his hand. “I was there for the crowd shots. All those astonished faces!” he said with a laugh. “And Horio, standing there, racket still in hand, mouth agape, a look of disbelief etched into every line of his body.” He laughed again. “I think he's still apologizing to Tezuka!”
Inui smiled also as he reached for a dry shirt and pulled it on over his head. As the shirt cleared his glasses he was only a little surprised to see Fuji mere centimeters away.
“Did I ever thank you for those chocolates you left for me, Sadaharu?” the tensai purred.
“N-no,” Inui said. “We've both been busy this last week.” He licked his suddenly dry lips.
Fuji pressed closer, then threaded his fingers into Inui's still unspiked hair. “Well, we finally have a little alone time now...” He leaned down and kissed Inui.
He didn't love Fuji simply because the other boy liked his Juice, really he didn't. Fuji was also highly intelligent, an excellent tennis player and constantly defied his data...which made him utterly fascinating and a mystery that Inui just could not put down. When the other boy had made his move on Inui immediately after Nationals...well, Inui would have to have been an idiot not to accept. And Inui was not an idiot.
“Mm, did you get that fortune I left for you?” Fuji asked.
“Oh, that was only one?” Inui's eyes widened, which Fuji could see as his glasses were on the bench next to him now.
“Mm hm,” Fuji said, his smile coming back. “Like you pointed out, Yuuta went back to school. I have all sorts of free time now.” He resumed kissing Inui.
Their moment of privacy however, did not last long.
“Nya! Oishi! Fujiko is kissing Inui!” The sound of the door opening had escaped both of them, but Kikumaru's yelling was impossible to miss.
“Saa, Eiji,” Fuji said, lifting his head, but not moving his fingers. “Is there a problem with that?” He made a slight face at Inui who slid his glasses back on.
Kikumaru put his hands on his hips. “Of course there is! Oishi! Tell them why kissing is bad!” he demanded of his doubles partner.
“Er, ehm...germs?” Oishi offered. He shrugged at Fuji and Inui from behind his partner's back, obviously bemused by Kikumaru's reaction.
“Ew...okay, three reasons!” Kikumaru amended. “One germs. Two, Fujiko, you're my best friend and you didn't tell me you were dating!”
“I'm sorry, Eiji,” Fuji said. He stroked Inui's hair as he spoke, short circuiting Inui's brain for a moment. “We weren't sure how people would react, so we've been keeping it quiet. Tezuka and Oishi knew just in case it affected the team. Well, Tezuka knew also because Inui likes to call him and give him data dumps,” he said, looking at Inui with a fond smile.
As Kikumaru, smiling again after making a face at his partner who hadn't shared, started bouncing over to hug Fuji, Inui drew his brain back together and asked, “What was the third reason, Kikumaru?”
“Huh? Oh, right!” Kikumaru stopped to put his hands on his hips again and half-glared, half-pouted at them. “It's bad enough that we have the school's two biggest sadists on our team...and now you're dating? That's just not fair!”
Oishi stared at his partner, his hand rising to rub awkwardly at the back of his neck. “Eiji....”