Kunimitsu stood at the back of the humming spectators and observed the various recriminations and celebrations of Rikkai’s and Seigaku’s teams with some amusement. He had company, as he always did when he came to watch matches between these teams. Both Sanada and Yukimura had come, today.
What amused Kunimitsu most was watching Echizen and Kirihara, engaged in a discussion as vigorous as their just finished match, climbing the stands toward their respective seniors without paying the slightest attention to anyone else. This included several of the scouts who made bids for Kirihara’s attention, only to bounce off his impenetrable focus on Echizen.
“…supposed to be two years ahead of me, not two behind!” Ryouma was saying, in an aggrieved tone, as they came into earshot.
“I don’t know what you’re complaining about,” Kirihara told him. “I’m going to be the one bored out of my mind for a year, until you catch up.”
Ryouma waved a dismissive hand. “No you won’t. Momo-senpai is going straight on. And,” in the tone of someone being fair against his every inclination, “Atobe-san is already in the pro circuit.”
Kirihara made a face. “This is supposed to be encouraging?”
“He’s a good opponent,” Ryouma said, “and it’s the best we’ll get until they graduate. Two years!” he glared impartially at Kunimitsu, Sanada and Yukimura all.
Sanada declined to comment, merely giving Kunimitsu a look that asked him to control his unruly kouhai. Yukimura, though, smiled.
“Well, after all, university is where we’ll find the majority of our favorite opponents, isn’t it?” he teased, gently.
Ryouma eyed him dourly before giving Kirihara a look remarkably similar to the one Sanada had directed at Kunimitsu. Kirihara snorted and stepped around Ryouma to place himself between Echizen and Kirihara’s erstwhile captain. Ryouma’s mouth quirked, and he abandoned that front, apparently satisfied, to saunter over and stand inside Kunimitsu’s personal space, gazing up from under his cap with a gleam in his eye. Kunimitsu stood his ground and looked back with, he hoped, sufficient coolness to indicate that he had no intention whatsoever of being tempted into a public display and Echizen could just put a leash on his mischief right now. Judging from Ryouma’s grin, at least the basic idea got through.
Yukimura had a hand over his mouth.
“Your team is getting ready to leave,” Kunimitsu pointed out to Ryouma. “You should join them. I’ll see you later.”
That promise seemed enough to placate Ryouma. “Sure thing,” he agreed, easily, turning back toward the stands. Kunimitsu was under no illusions that Echizen had actually chosen to shelve his mischief; the bright look he tossed over his shoulder was enough to prove otherwise. Kunimitsu couldn’t quite keep an eyebrow from twitching up with rueful resignation.
“Okay, now I’m really impressed,” Kirihara declared. A glance showed him watching the two of them, wide eyed.
“Akaya!” Sanada rapped out. Kirihara directed an obvious Well, aren’t you? expression up at him.
Yukimura appeared to be having a coughing fit, which was almost convincing, but his sparkling eyes gave away his amusement.
Echizen grinned at Kirihara and strolled down to the Seigaku team. Kunimitsu shook his head. It should be an interesting evening. “Sanada. Yukimura,” he nodded to them. Sanada nodded back, and Yukimura recovered enough to bid him a goodbye that wasn’t too very choked.
As he walked away, Kunimitsu heard Yukimura chiding Kirihara, in his soft “social voice”, for the breach of manners.
“Yes, Yukimura-san,” Kirihara said, tone repentant. “But, really! I never thought, in a hundred years, Echizen would actually catch him…”
Kunimitsu chuckled to himself. That made two of them.
He remembered the comment, later, though, as he lay on the floor of his unlighted living room, reclining on one of his two floor pillows, and stroked Ryouma’s bare shoulder. Ryouma purred and settled closer against his side, tucking his head down against Kunimitsu’s chest.
He had been more or less pounced on, as soon as the door was closed, and clothing was strewn haphazardly around the room. In fact, if he wasn’t mistaken, that was a sock hanging from the jade plant. Not that Kunimitsu had been at all a reluctant participant. But it reminded him.
“Were you chasing me, all that time, Ryouma?” he asked, ruffling his fingers through the sleek, dark hair under his cheek.
Ryouma shrugged, and twined himself still more closely around Kunimitsu. “Not really,” he answered. And then he lifted his head to give Kunimitsu an impish look. “Not any more than you were chasing me,” he added.
Kunimitsu chuckled out loud. “Fair enough.”
Which meant, he reflected, gathering Ryouma just a bit tighter against him, that they had been heading toward this more or less since they set eyes on each other.