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Various Kisses

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It starts with an air kiss.

Momoshiro is being stupidly happy after winning an important tennis match in the nationals. When he spots Ryoma standing on the sidelines, he gives him a slightly proud smile, kisses the palm of his hand and flings the airborne kiss at him. At the time, he didn't think much of it; Momoshiro was simply being Momoshiro.

It continues with a kissy face.

That's what Ryoma calls it, a 'kissy face'. He invites his senpai over at his home, and Momoshiro is completely infatuated with his cat, and keeps pursing his lips at him as if he were going to kiss it, but doesn't. It's annoying. Why would he make kissy faces to his cat? Ryoma calls him out on it, and Momoshiro turns and makes a kissy face at him, asking if he's feeling left out. Suddenly, he doesn't mind it anymore.

Then it's a 'good luck' kiss.

Ryoma lost his sweat band, and even though he hasn't told anyone, or even complained about it, a week later, he gets a new one from Momoshiro. Before handing it over to him, Momoshiro kisses the fabric and smiles at him, saying that the sweat band is now infused with his good luck, and it has now become a charm. Ryoma wears it every day.

Ryoma doesn't know what an indirect kiss is.

But he does know that it takes him a moment to consider putting his lips around the same straw that Momoshiro used only moments ago. He looks at the soda cup with a blank expression, until Momoshiro nudges him in the side, and jokes about being scared of an 'indirect kiss'. Ryoma promptly sucks on the straw.

It's followed by a kiss on paper.

It's Momoshiro's birthday and Ryoma being Ryoma, doesn't know what to get him, besides a simple birthday card, in which he hastily scribbles down 'mada mada dane' and wishes him a happy birthday. He catches Momoshiro alone in the hallway, who thinks no one's there but him. He's holding the card open in front of his face, until he draws it closer and presses his lips against the spot where he wrote his catchphrase. Looking around to see if anyone saw him, Momoshiro happily carries on with his usual birthday celebrations, acting as if nothing happened. Ryoma, in turn, wonders if the card smelled like hamburgers.

And then there's the kiss to 'make it feel better'.

During tennis practice, Ryoma falls and skins his knees against the ground. Momoshiro picks him up before Oishi can even fret, and he drags him towards the nurse's clinic. They must have one incompetent nurse at school, because she's never actually there, so it's Momoshiro who disinfects his skinned knee, and his touches feel as light as a feather. Then with a broad grin, he blows against the red marks, before puckering his lips and softly kisses his knee. To make you feel better, he says, pulling away with a bashful smile. Ryoma doesn't say out loud that both his knees are skinned.

After that, there's the 'princess kiss'.

Ryoma calls it the princess kiss, because he's dressed up as Cinderella for some stupid school play, and Momoshiro is the prince, and he's holding his slender hand in his own bigger one. With one knee on the ground, staring up at him with violet eyes, he then bends his head down to Ryoma's hand, and kisses the top of it. Despite wearing a ridiculously long white glove, Ryoma can still feel the warmth spread out from where Momoshiro kissed him. Fuji gleefully notes that he took a picture of that moment, and gives him a copy. At night, in bed, he's holding the picture in his hands and stares at it. Slowly, he starts to understand why Momoshiro might have kissed his birthday card.

Not soon after, he gets the protector's kiss.

Ryoma doesn't like bullies, and he certainly doesn't like it when they're bullying people in front of him. How was he supposed to know that they had back-up, and they were seven years older than him? But then Momoshiro appears, along with Kaidoh, and they heroically save him and while they do get beaten up themselves, the bullies have gotten their fare share of punches as well and finally leave them alone. As Kaidoh hurries off to buy some bandages, Momoshiro leans his body against Ryoma for support, he's breathing hard and uneven, and it's sending chills over his back. His hand slides up his entire arm, until it cups his cheek, and Momoshiro presses his lips against his hair, right on his temple. I'll protect you, he says, his voice sounds hitched, and Ryoma can feel him shaking. Ryoma simply nods his head.

Momoshiro starts giving him good night kisses.

He stays over at Ryoma's place a lot of the time now, sleeping in a futon right next to his bed. It started after he almost got beaten up by bullies, and Ryoma vaguely assumes it's because Momoshiro is worried. But he doesn't mind, even when he snores really loudly or talks in his sleep, he feels ... safe. Before they go to sleep, Ryoma sits on the edge of the bed, feet planted on top of the futon, and Momoshiro stands in front of him. He bends down, one hand on his shoulder, and presses his lips against his forehead, and tells him good night. Ryoma hopes that Momoshiro won't find the picture of the Cinderella play underneath his pillow.

And who could forget the dare kiss?

While Ryoma figures that it would probably happen sometime in the future, he didn't expect it to be forced. He's sitting with Eiji and Momoshiro in Momoshiro's room, and Eiji is extremely hyper, and tells everyone to play truth or dare. When it's Momoshiro's turn, Eiji giggles and tells him to kiss Ryoma. Ryoma stares blankly at his senpai, and then he turns to look at Momoshiro who has this angry expression on his face and starts talking back to Eiji. They argue for a bit, with Ryoma quietly sitting in the middle, until Momoshiro whips his face around to look at him, and he simply raises his eyebrows in return. In a swift motion, he's pulled towards Momoshiro, and he plants his warm lips on his left cheek, before hastily breaking it off and shuffling away from Ryoma. Eiji is cheering for him to do it again, and Ryoma walks away to open up a window.

There was no kiss this time.

The following day, Momoshiro pulls Ryoma aside alone in a hallway. He apologizes for kissing him yesterday based on Eiji's dare. He says he probably should have asked before doing it. Ryoma simply shoves his hands in his pockets, and looks down at the floor. I don't care, is what he says—and it's probably the worst choice of words he could have picked out, because after that day, Momoshiro gives him no more kisses. Not a single one out of the various ones he's given.

Ryoma learns why kissing a piece of paper isn't so stupid anymore.

Momoshiro doesn't sleep over anymore, in fact, you could say that his senpai was avoiding him. Ryoma can barely remember the last time they went out to eat burgers, or when he was on the back of Momoshiro's bike. He can't simply walk up to him, and ask what's wrong—he doesn't know how to start his sentence, and it's usually Momoshiro who fixes everything. He's never been forced to fix anything, he's always been going with Momoshiro's flow, and now that it's gone ... Ryoma doesn't know what to do anymore.

Time passes by in a blink of an eye.

It's months later, and it's Ryoma's birthday, which also means it's Christmas. He hates his birthday, especially since it falls on Christmas, but he hates it even more because he's not spending it with his best friend, Momoshiro. People always flock to him, he's never had to lift a finger or put in any kind of effort to get people to come to him. Which is why Ryoma feels weird when he picks up his phone and he calls his senpai for the first time. He says it's his birthday, and he's home alone.

Momoshiro shows up on his doorstep, out of breath.

They sit in silence around the small table in his bedroom. Momoshiro apologizes for not giving him a gift. And while Ryoma is secretly bummed out about not getting a card, he says it's alright. They're quiet once more. Ryoma fiddles around with his Ponta, and he stares at everything besides his senpai. It's awkward, it's been a while since they were alone, and Ryoma feels as if they're starting all over again, from the bottom up. It almost feels like they're strangers. But they're not—they're supposed to be best friends. Ryoma doesn't know how to fix this awkwardness. He's never had to fix friendships. Isn't that what this is supposed to be? A friendship?

"Do you want anything for your birthday ... ?"

Ryoma lowers his head down and he stares at his Ponta. Yeah, there's a lot of things he wants, but he doesn't quite know how to say it. He doesn't quite know how to express his feelings, something which Momoshiro has always made seem like it took no effort. Yet for him, it's hard—he doesn't want to mess it up even further. All he really wants is for things between them to go back to normal. To get back on track ... to ...

"Momo-senpai, I want a kiss," he says after a while of contemplation.

Momoshiro takes a moment before replying. "What kind of kiss?"

Ryoma looks up from his Ponta, and then he leans all the way over the table, and kisses Momoshiro on the lips. Momoshiro looks at him with wide eyes, and he feels his heart sink to his feet; did he mess it up for good? But it's been on his mind for months, and it's been keeping him awake at night, and kissing Momoshiro's picture didn't help—not when the real thing was right in front of him.

"I've been trying so hard not to give you that kind of kiss," says Momoshiro, his cheeks dipped in red.

Ryoma leans back and plays with his Ponta once more. "I know."

"You said you didn't care."

"I meant I didn't mind if it was you who kissed me, Momo-senpai."

"Oh." Momoshiro looks down at his hands. "So ..."

"So ..."

"... Does this only count for your birthday?" he asks sheepishly.

Ryoma gazes up at him with a grin. "Ah, who knows?"

"Echizen!" protests Momoshiro.

"Mada mada dane, Momo-senpai."

But then Momoshiro leans over the table as well, and kisses him on the lips. He doesn't mind the various kind of kisses Momoshiro gives him, but he'll have to admit, that's the one he wanted the most.