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Not Cute

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There was nothing cute about Echizen Ryoma.

On the court, he tore down his opponents like a bulldozer to a brick structure. He was more pretentious than a lavish Atobe Keigo surrounded by reporters. He muttered various insults in English whenever he felt like it. And, of course, he gave Kaidoh this strange, sickly taken aback look the moment he discovered the viper-like boy playing with his cat.

Kaidoh's hand was frozen in Karupin's cinnamon colored fur for a split second, until the large cat hoped into his owner's arms. A huge, angry streak of pink flooded across the second year's face as Ryoma glanced at Karupin, then him, back and forth-

"Quit it! The cat was bugging me okay," Kaidoh managed to murmur whilst gathering his tennis gear from the ground. Ryoma just continued to stare at him, bemused, and maybe a little amused.

"If you want to play with him so badly then just do it. Make sure you drop him off at my place when you're done."

He placed Karupin on the ground and walked away, doing everything in his power to avoid cracking a smirk. Even the toughest of his senpai couldn't resist his cat. Interesting.

Kaidoh watched him walk off, still embarrassed beyond all reason, especially since he'd been caught right in the middle of... that. Stupid brat. There was absolutely nothing cute about him.

Karupin, on the other hand...

---

Kaidoh sat on the ground and played with Karupin.

Back and forth he whipped about the plant he used as a makeshift cat toy. He vaguely wondered if the young freshman ever gave his cat this much attention. The first time he and Karupin met was in the school clubhouse. Echizen was being irresponsible, as usual. He didn't even show up for practice that day, for who really knows why.

It wasn't fair, how lax pests like him got to keep a pet, where his own parents wouldn't trust him with one. All his life, he would've given a limb or three just to have his own puppy or something. Then, he sees people lose their own puppies. One almost drowned because of it! How was it that these kinds of people got to have pets? They were too careless.

After Karupin became uninterested in the toy, he curled up on Kaidoh's lap and purred himself to sleep. The viper blushed lightly and started to stroke the large feline's hair. If nothing else, he could enjoy small moments like these.

 

---

Ryoma sat on his bedroom floor, playing a video game.

Today's game was a racing one; he was getting tired of all the crappy tennis ones. None of the players did any good moves. He attempted some of Kikumaru's acrobatics but only got crappy jumps and diagonal side steps. He attempted Tezuka's Zero-shiki but couldn't even manage a regular drop shot, let alone THAT. Oishi's moon volley always went out. Momo's dunk smash wasn't powerful enough. Kawamura's hadoukyu sapped too much of the player's HP and always went out.

He managed a buggy whip shot or two, which seemed to be the most effective. That reminded him of Kaidoh and Karupin, and he started grinning just enough that he couldn't concentrate, so he shut the game off and started another one.

Damn senpai. Ryoma never thought he'd think it, but the viper looked uncharacteristically whimsical back there; almost cute.

He was ready to laugh at himself. Kaidoh-senpai wasn't cute. He just wasn't. Karupin was, but not Kaidoh.

Speak of the devil, there goes a tapping at the door. And out calls Nanako, "Ryoma-san. A boy from your team is here with Karupin."

Ryoma shut off his game and headed downstairs, banishing all thoughts of Kaidoh being cute on the way down.

---

"Sankyuu," says Ryoma, collecting Karupin from Kaidoh's grasp as the second year continues to look embarrassed as all hell. Geez. He was already caught playing with Karupin. What was there left to be embarrassed about?

"I'd better go," murmurs Kaidoh, looking toward the street that lead to his house but not really moving. He hates it how Ryoma just stands there and stares at him. Is his face some kind of damn circus or something? Kaidoh let rip one disgusted hiss as he turned heal.

"What was that for?"

"You're annoying!" Kaidoh says half-heartedly. When he wasn't looking at the freshman, he wasn't quite as annoyed, so it was harder to say it and mean it. So, he turned around and said it again.

"If you say so." Ryoma yawned, his long, thin finger tips tracing the outline of his upper lip. Damn, his lips suddenly looked chubbier, and his face more radiant with the setting sun. Kaidoh swallowed. Okay, so Ryoma was a little cute... when he yawned, but not when he... well... maybe he was kinda cute.

It was because he was holding Karupin. Yes, it was Karupin, and nothing more. Nothing more at all.

Ryoma rolled his eyes. "Since you're still standing there, you may as well come in."

Forget it. He wasn't cute, Karupin or not. But Kaidoh went in anyway, and gave his kouhai yet another disgusted hiss. Despite that, it'd be rude to turn down an invite, and unlike Ryoma, he wasn't rude.

---

Kaidoh would never live this down. Never in a million... no, a billion years.

It started as they awaited dinner in Ryoma's bedroom. The freshman sat there and played some video game. He offered Kaidoh a controller, but the viper declined. Ryoma was tempted to shoot a challenging remark at his senpai, but the viper was too preoccupied by Karupin at the moment. It wouldn't be very nice to disturb them.

Wait. Since when was Ryoma nice? The short boy coughed and lost his spot at first. In fact, he somehow wound up in a lava pit in 30th place. Whoa, his concentration must've shot straight to hell for a moment there. His guy just died. Weird.

"Your focus sucks, Echizen."

The freshman snorted as he paused the game. "I could say the same for you. You've been dazed ever since you stopped by, senpai."

"Shut up! Who asked you?"

"Do you have a problem with me?"

Kaidoh thought before he said yes, and sighed. "... No."

"Then what's your problem?"

"... You."

Ryoma blinked. Didn't he just say... oh whatever. He wasn't going to interrogate Kaidoh's strange behavior any farther. He may end up learning something he didn't want to know. Maybe Karupin was screwing with his mind or something.

What was he thinking? Kaidoh-senpai was the weird one. Karupin didn't do anything wrong.

"What's your fascination with my cat?" Ryoma suddenly asked.

Kaidoh looked clearly affronted, and ended up clutching Karupin so hard he startled the poor thing. When the cat leaped forcefully from Kaidoh's grasp, he fell back against Ryoma's chest.

Wha... how did he get there?? Damn his lips are even fatter from this angle. Kiss... wait, what?

"You're not cute," Kaidoh murmured, regaining his posture as he forced back another blush.

"Neither are you."

But that didn't stop them from charging into a rough kiss a few seconds prior anyway. Kaidoh would never live this down. Never ever. Especially not if anybody found out. Not if rumors about him being weird started to spread, or if they already were spreading. This was all his fault. Ryoma made him weird.

That's right, he was just weird. So was Ryoma. But he was definitely not cute. Or was he? He didn't know or care anymore. It hurt to think now, and he couldn't breathe.

Karupin meowed loudly, but trotted off once he realized he was no longer the center of attention. He couldn't be the cute one if he was being ignored, after all.

[END]