For: Tormalyne, who made me a pretty, pretty webpage which I really DO need to get around to updating, one day...

Warning: ehehehehe.... this is crack. Yes, it is. Not as much crack as the fairy tales, but still. ^^; So there is much spastic ridiculousness. Luckily edited by the lovely Mari. ^_^



Nekokaburi
by Monnie


Ootori was laughing. Which was nice. Sort of. Ootori just didn't laugh enough most days—well, okay, this wasn't quite laughing. It was the kind of thing that tweaked at his partner's blushing cheeks, and crinkled at the corners of those chocolate eyes, but never actually got out—sexy as Hell when it caught up to those lips and got him a dimple just beside the right side…

Of course, maybe that was because Jirou was purring at him. Wasn't that cute? Drowsy little guy, those blonde curls, those hands so small that he could pretty much paw at someone…

The way he was… pawing at Shishido's partner.

Shishido had to admit—most days, he was actually pretty fond of Jirou.

Well, as far as Shishido Ryou actually admitted to being fond of anyone.

He definitely liked the sleepy fellow more than some—okay, okay, most—of the other members of the tennis club, Regulars or nonregulars—Hell, probably better than almost anyone except for maybe Ootori. There was just something about watching him play, maybe, because the little guy was just so goofy, and it was pretty obvious just how much he loved the game—Shishido knew it made even Atobe at his most diva crack a smile. Or made I-Am-Perfect-sama look like he wanted to bang his head against the bleacher partition, which was pretty damned funny, too, if Shishido did say so himself.

In a school of show-offs and brats, well, not only was it a rarity, but, Hell, if Ootori wasn't around, and the rest of the team was being a bratty, self-centred, two-hundred headed monster, watching Jirou sleep was about the only thing that kept Shishido from tossing a shoe at Mukahi's head, or something. He might've called it a kind of meditation if that just hadn't sounded a little too fruity.

Shishido heard his own teeth grinding when Ootori—damn it, was his partner giggling?!

And then there were the times when Shishido just wanted to chuck that little blonde boy off the top of the bleachers.

Sure, they weren't frequent—Jirou sleeping had really just become something like getting the Hell out of the way whenever someone was dumb enough to give Mukahi coffee: just one of those weird and random things that you plain had to accept about the Hyotei Regulars if you wanted to keep sane. So it was kind of pointless to get annoyed at Jirou when he wasn't quite awake for one of his matches, 'cause while yelling was so much more satisfying, calling Kabaji over to shake Jirou out by the ankles was a lot less of a waste of energy. Or, if someone was feeling really kindly towards the Singles Two player at the moment, they could get Atobe over to pet him awake.

Funny how Atobe did that, kind of—just smirked, a little, and ran a hand over Jirou's shoulder until Jirou moved, and stretched out, blinking up at him… which left Atobe's hand sliding with the motion to rest on the line of Jirou's hip.

Hey, it worked. Shishido knew better than to comment on it—the last time something had come out of Mukahi's mouth about the petting (something to the effect of where else Atobe probably petted Jirou) Mukahi had been stuck waking Jirou up all on his own for a week.

Considering Shishido had been thinking pretty much the same thing, there really were times Shishido was damned glad that Mukahi's mouth was faster than his.

But where the Hell did Jirou think he got off on sleeping on Ootori's lap?

Okay, it wasn't quite that Jirou was sleeping in Ootori's lap. 'Cause Jirou did that to pretty much everyone (Hell, he flopped down in Shishido's lap, sometimes, and would just crawl right back on if he got pushed off, without so much as opening his eyes.) It was the fact that… well, it looked like Jirou had asked Ootori if he could sleep in his lap.

It probably just looked that way. Why the Hell would Jirou be asking, right? He never asked. On the other hand, what else could it have been? Jirou had plopped down beside Shishido's doubles partner, his eyes wide and excited after his game with Atobe, and then leaned over to whisper something in Ootori's ear—cupping his little hand over that delicate pink arc, its colour deepening with Ootori's blush as Jirou's lips came suspiciously close…

But of course it couldn't have been anything weird, because Ootori's eyes had widened, sure—but he'd nodded.

Okay, it wasn't that Shishido was nosy (he really didn't give much of a damn what most of the tennis team talked about, since it was kind of rare that any of them said anything that was worth hearing) but that had just… started some very weird bells going off behind his ears.

The bells had started turning into New Year's gongs being banged against the inside of his head when Jirou had… he hadn't flopped down in Ootori's lap. Flopping was normal. The little 'oof' when he went 'plop' down onto someone's legs was almost cute.

But Jirou had stretched out onto Ootori's lap, draping himself over Ootori's thighs like he was curling up on a sun-warmed patch of grass. And sure, Ootori's lap was damned comfortable—Shishido would know. The kid was just… too damned nice, seriously, to offer his lap every time he found Shishido trying to take a nap under a tree between classes—and Shishido wasn't going to say that feeling his partner's muscles moving slowly under his cheek when Ootori shifted wasn't just about the best feeling in the world.

Especially when he'd realised those long fingers were resting just lightly in his hair and that his partner had leaned back against the tree and closed his eyes, so damned at peace it had made his chest hurt… except there'd been just the faintest touch of a flush, subtle as the way Ootori smiled, sometimes, riding high on his cheekbones…

…Right. Enough. He wasn't on Ootori's lap, Jirou was, that wasn't too much of a big deal. He was… right, fine, he was fucking jealous of the way there was that hint of a blush just starting to fade on Ootori's cheeks, because… because… maybe Ootori's eyes brightened just a little whenever Shishido let his cap fall to the ground to put his head down on Ootori's thigh. But. But. Ootori had never blushed when Jirou'd just flopped down on him before, had he…?

No. He hadn't. But then again, Jirou hadn't… stretched out like that before, his jersey riding up until the folds trailed upwards over the calves of Ootori's crossed legs, and his little tuck of a stomach was practically draped over Shishido's partner's hip.

Okay, yeah. That was… weird. Jirou really didn't make much of a big deal about the stretching, lying out and occupying other people's personal space, which was why the rest of them didn't make too huge a deal about it. No point in yelling at someone when a second later they'd wake up and go 'Huh? Did you say something?"

At the same time, though, Shishido was pretty sure that even Jirou knew that there was some kind of a difference between, say, putting his head down for a nap—and draping his entire slim body over someone's crossed legs, until he was just about hugging Ootori's knee.

The bells turned into a full-blown fire-alarm for the fire blazing behind his eyeballs when Jirou pillowed his head on his hands—which were, if Shishido wasn't mistaken… Hell, no. Oh, Hell, no. Ootori wasn't a pillow to be patted into shape, and that especially applied to the tanned skin that showed from under those damned Regulars shorts they all had to wear on the courts. Shishido didn't care just how sleepy Jirou was, or how little of a clue Ootori had about how Shishido felt for him, there was no way that anyone was getting away with those little hands stroking, gently, at his partner's thigh, dancing those long fingers' tips gently over Ootori's tanned skin. "Is this okay, 'Tori?" their teammate asked, eyes still closed. "You don't mind? S'not uncomfortable?"

No. No, it wasn't 'okay.' No. Fucking. Way.

Shishido was about to march over there and snatch Ootori out from under Jirou's wayward hands—geez, the way his partner was starting to blush again; sure, it was cute, but poor kid must've been uncomfortable as Hell. Right? They could go over to the side courts for some extra training, and Jirou could just damned well inch his way over to Mukahi, or something, and risk catching some STD if he stuck his head where it didn't belong…

Then Ootori made a little noise low in his throat and murmured, "Mmm. That's fine, Jirou-san, I don't mind… but it…" something that was half a chuckle burst from between those full lips, and… "It tickles!"

Shishido felt his shoulders relax, and the prickling hair on the back of his neck start to settle when he turned away. Smiling a little, even, because Ootori was just so ticklish. Yeah, okay. He could deal with this. So Jirou was being a little freak. But whatever, Ootori liked the little guy, Shishido liked the little guy (most of the time) Jirou didn't mean anything by it… and if he could make Ootori laugh, well, he didn't really laugh all too often…

"Maybe… maybe a little more of a caress, Jirou-san? Like this?"

…or not. Shishido's eyes shot wide, wide open, and his head whipped around so fast that he felt his neck crick. No. Nuh-uh, not cool, his partner had definitely not said that.

Sure, Shishido'd commit hara-kiri with a tennis racquet before he ever told his partner how he felt about him—but what the Hell, it wasn't even possible that Ootori had just told their sleepy little Jirou to pet his leg. They'd be playing tennis on broomsticks before Ootori would reach down, take Jirou's hand in his, and press it deeper into the pale, pale skin of his own thigh, Jirou's slim golden fingers all the darker smoothing across that white, white skin.

"Oh. Yes, that's nice, Jirou-san," Ootori murmured, nodding approval.

Shishido pinched himself. Hard.

YOW.

Nope. Not dreaming. Jirou's hand was still pressed firmly on Ootori's thigh. So that meant he didn't even have the pleasure of thinking that this was even a nightmare. Except it had to be, because what the Hell, his partner and that little blonde runt were smiling at each other, and—

Geez, he needed a stick of gum. Or something to bite before he bit off his lower lip or something trying not to yell at—someone, anyone—

Shishido turned back to his tennis bag, unzipping it with one sharp snap of his wrist.

But the sharp metal rip of the zipper couldn't hide Mukahi's insanely cheerful voice—and there just had to be a maniacal twinge to that, because Mukahi just loved to make him suffer, not that he'd been obvious about how he felt for Ootori, so of course it couldn't be intentional—"'Tori! Jirou! Oh, hey. I brought the massage lotion. Here, put a little bit on your hands, Jirou, it'll make it feel really good…"

Ah, fuck. No, the universe was just out to get him today. No, he wasn't going to look, no he wasn't—

Was Ootori purring?!

With just a touch of confusion, Shishido looked down. The stick of gum he'd picked up had, somehow, managed to twist itself in half between his hands, pathetic little frayed bits of paper and foil and torn green-white gum poking mournfully from the ripped edge.

Ah. Hell.

*_*_*_*

'Tori-chu really was so damned cute, letting Jirou practice on his lap.

Gakuto would've offered—Hell, he had—but, well, his legs just weren't as long as 'Tori's. Besides, Jirou—ungrateful little beast that he was—had complained that his knees were bony. Hmph. Bony. Well, Yuushi liked his legs, and sure as Hell Gakuto liked them, so Jirou could just damned well say whatever he wanted. Gakuto wasn't a pillow anyhow.

Well, he sort of got why Jirou was going about this whole roundabout way of seducing Atobe—'cause really, buchou's head was to rock as tennis ball was to bounce; Yuushi'd said something like that  And it was kind of cute how Jirou was being so sweet and tentative, wanting to practice beforehand to get it perfect before actually trying out his new techniques on Atobe's lap. It definitely wasn't what Gakuto would have done—but then again, he knew he had the common sense that the gods had given a horsefly, and even he knew better than to fall for Atobe.

So when he'd mentioned to Jirou that he might just want to take a nap on Atobe's lap and give his thigh a nice little stroking to push him on his way down that denial road of his… well, Yuushi would never have fallen for it in a billion years, because Yuushi was just so damned smart like that, but Atobe wasn't even close to Gakuto's partner's level in brains. Or sheer hotness, come to think.

Then again, apparently Ootori's partner looked fit to turn into a spiky little ball of porcupine if Jirou's fingers went any further up the… whoa. Wait. Were Jirou's fingers under the hem of Ootori's shorts?!

Well, okay. Maybe Shishido did have the right to be just a little peeved.

Still. Good practice. It wasn't hard to seduce someone that way, stroking and squeezing his leg, if you did it right—really, it'd been one of his better ideas to mention it to Jirou, just so the two idiots could get it over with and Atobe would stop making them run laps whenever he got sexually frustrated—but you just couldn't be tentative about it.

'Specially since Atobe was more ticklish than he let himself believe anyone knew, and got so cranky about being tickled… if those hands had made 'Tori squirm and giggle, well, Gakuto didn't think Jirou wanted laps for making buchou-sama laugh and squiggle around hysterically.

Well, the massage lotion would help; that way, Jirou's fingers would glide, not tickle, even if he was being a bit of a 'fraidy-cat.

Not to mention it'd been damned hilarious to watch all the short hair at the back of Shishido's neck visibly bristle when Ootori had started making happy little 'yes, that's right, Jirou-san, I'm being an encouraging kouhai' noises low in his throat. Seriously. It was so funny how Shishido thought he was being so damned subtle about how he felt about Ootori, when he just about melted into a great big puddle of smoosh every time Ootori smiled at him—or, Hell, whenever Ootori patted his lap so Shishido could.flip off his cap and put that very, very hard head onto his partner's thigh.

Subtle? Hah.

One of these days, Shishido was going to figure out that Ootori didn't do that for just anyone. Sure, he wouldn't say 'no' if he was asked—but Hell, 'Tori was big on personal space. It'd taken a bit before he'd stopped yelping and jumping whenever Gakuto pounced on him. He wouldn't offer to let Shishido lie on him if he didn't want that awful hair—and yeah, the Doubles One player it was attached to—resting on his thigh.

But Gakuto wasn't going to be the one to tell Shishido that.

Honestly. Couldn't the idiot see 'Tori sitting under that damned tree of theirs, just waiting for him—so pretty with those hopeful eyes and that soft mouth, fresh as a present all wrapped in silver and blue: just sparkling and new and just waiting for Shishido to… er, open him up. Ri-ight. Okay, it'd been way too long since he'd gotten some.

Sure, Shishido was dense, but they'd get where they were going eventually. And considering that Gakuto liked his food to stay where it was, thank you very much, and didn't really want to hurl over all the sugar and love and kissy-poo those two were going to be showering over each other… it could wait. At least until after he'd had his afternoon snack with Yuushi. Or of Yuushi. He'd be feeling lots more mellow after that. Geez, no wonder he was feeling all wound up, he hadn't gotten any from Yuushi since this morning.

Though, really, considering that even Ootori was just about as dense as Jirou sleeping, sometimes… Yuushi could probably screw him into next week, and when he came out of it… he was willing to bet Shishido and Ootori would still be making big sad cow eyes at each other.

'Cause, really, if he'd been in Ootori's position—if Yuushi'd been watching, sure as Hell he wouldn't have been purring and laughing approval when Jirou's hands pressed into his thigh. Even if Jirou's eyes were cheerful little chocolate slits when he asked, "Z'at good?"

So Shishido's snarl rumbling across the bleachers, loudly enough that Atobe's partner looked up from the courts, wasn't all that unexpected. Neither was Ootori jumping, a little, head jerking up to meet his partner's eyes, or Jirou not even blinking when his pillow twitched.

"Fuck it, can you guys please keep your fucking foreplay off the courts? Come on, Ootori," Shishido's voice was low enough to make Gakuto blink when it whipped over the bleachers, and Shishido stuffed his hands back into his pockets, shoulders hunched in far enough and chin so defiantly far out he should have keeled over. "That's just…"

…okay. Gakuto blinked again. That was… a little harsh.

Shishido choked off, and started stomping down the bleachers. With a flip of hair he just didn't have to flip anymore. And geez, had he been swallowing tennis balls, or something…?

And he didn't think there was a person around who'd missed the way that Shishido'd said 'Ootori.' Well, spat it, almost—definitely not the way Shishido's mouth normally tasted over Ootori's first name, like 'Choutarou,' was the prettiest thing he'd ever said.

That familiar crimson stained Ootori's cheeks in a wash of bright, bright blush before it started making his way down its neck, slowing somewhere in the vicinity of his cross when his soft little mouth formed the words 'Shishido-san…?'

Of course, the jealous Doubles One dash idiot who, despite his claim of perfect eyesight, apparently couldn't see the way Ootori looked like someone had slapped him (and hard) was already storming off towards the clubroom.

Ah, bloody Hell.

Okay, that wasn't cool. Shishido could knot his tightie whities up until he sang soprano, for all Gakuto cared, but that was just so Not Cool. Him having a temper tantrum at his doubles partner was definitely going to be a problem for the rest of the team—it always was. Plus Ootori was going to be all full of big-eyed regret and fretfulness, which was always so sad and pathetic that it made Gakuto want to feed him a cookie or something. Then Sakaki was going to have one of those annoyingly cold fits of his and make them all run laps if Shishido didn't pull his head out of his arse in time for cool-downs—and Ootori was just not going to get his cute, dense little mind around the fact that Shishido-san had the hots for him and just did not want Jirou feeling him up. At least, until Shishido told him so.

The rest of them had tried. Informing Ootori that Shishido wanted to fuck the brains out of him had just made him blush about ten shades of purple and gasp aghast things about how Shishido-san would be so upset if he heard Mukahi-senpai say such things…

Well, yeah, he would, but that was because they were true.

"Mukahi-san? Jirou-san?" Ootori's lower lip trembled in the single most pathetic little wobble Gakuto had ever seen before it firmed, and he straightened, eyes wide. "Is… did I do something?" Ah, the confusion in those sweet-puppy brown eyes before he glanced down at the boy on his lap. Who'd apparently had the common sense to flip on his back, because Gakuto suspected that if Jirou had still been playing the 'I'm asleep, really, my hands just happen to be stroking your thigh' game when Shishido'd gone off his rocker, they'd be mopping splattered Singles Two off the courts. "I… Shishido-san's angry at me?"

Yep. Dense. Very. Cute, but one big, big brick of dense.

Jirou blinked right back up at him, arching his head backwards—Ootori twitched, just a little; those blonde curls must have tickled off the tops of his thighs. "Why would Shishido be mad at you, Ootori-kun?"

Because Shishido was an irrational, jealous dork who couldn't have seen how Ootori looked at him if Ootori had written it on a tennis ball and Scud Served it straight at his head.

Gakuto closed his mouth. Nope. Too easy. Way, way too easy.

Well, okay. So it really had looked like Jirou was hitting on Ootori…'s leg.

Or molesting, more like. Gakuto had to wonder if even Atobe was dense enough not to get the message, when Jirou tried it on him…

Oh, he so was not getting into this. Nope. The massage lotion was the last of it. No more commenting on just how Atobe petted—Hell, stroked—Jirou, or the way shivers visibly went down Ootori's back whenever Shishido growled just under his breath at whoever they were playing. The last time he'd opened his mouth to say something about anyone's (okay, okay, a certain Doubles player's) dysfunctional relationship, it'd ended with Oshitari having to get him out of a tree. What had happened after, 'cause he'd had to thank his partner for calming down the psycho drama queen—fun, yes. Being stuck in the tree in the first place because the psycho drama queen was coming after him with a racquet in hand, no, not so much.

Hey. No-one could ever say that Gakuto didn't learn.

Ootori worried his lower lip between white, white teeth, and his brows crinkled together. "Did I… did I do something? I know I wasn't concentrating on the game, but… but why did he… what's foreplay, Jirou-san?"

Ow. Hitting his own forehead didn't hurt any less, no matter how much Gakuto'd felt he needed to. Right. Thirteen-year-old 'Tori. Very, very sheltered thirteen-year-old 'Tori.

Well, he definitely hoped for both their sakes that Shishido liked the virgin type.

And there was no way he was going to keep from dying laughing if Jirou actually answered that question. Of course, considering that the sleepy looked like he really had gone to sleep… no, wait, he was cracking an eye open again. "Mmmmh? Huh? Mmm. Dunno why Shishido's being weird, Ootori-kun. Mmmwaaaah," Jirou had the habit of forgetting to cover his mouth when he yawned. Good thing Ootori was there to cover it for him. Better thing Shishido wasn't around to see it. "You think Atobe will like it?"

Ootori sighed—well, deflated, more like, lifting his hand away and his shoulders moving in something that was almost a shrug. Poor popped 'Tori. "I think so, Jirou-san."

Damned sleepy. Jirou wasn't being helpful. And sure as Hell Gakuto wasn't going into that clubroom on his own…

…Damn it, okay, Ootori had damned well better be grateful for Gakuto going into that damned lion's den to explain the whole dumb misunderstanding (so okay, it hadn't totally been a misunderstanding, 'cause it had been all funny before Shishido'd so completely overreacted and actually hurt his partner's feelings… but he definitely wasn't saying that.) Ootori was going to owe him lunch. And cake. And—

"Oooootoriii… if Shishido's being weird… shouldn't you talk to him?" Jirou's eyes were the merest little slits—but Gakuto could have sworn that there was a sudden little flicker of a smile under those thin golden lashes. "I mean… he likes you best, right? You're partners."

Well. Okay, maybe Jirou could say the right things, sometimes. Because that curled the steel right back into Ootori's spine when he straightened, looking down. "But…"

Jirou just made little shooing motions with both hands. Never mind that his head was still firmly resting on Ootori's lap. "Atobe's game just finished. Go, go, Ootori. Shishido's just weird sometimes, and you can make him less weird. Right?" Jirou yawned—and actually lifted his head off Ootori's lap. Gakuto blinked. Well, that was a first—Jirou leaving his pillow behind before someone forcibly had to remove him from it. "So you can ask him why he's mad, and then you can ask him what foreplay is."

Oh. Wow. Geez, Jirou had so not just said that. Maybe their little blonde Singles Two wasn't as oblivious as they thought he was… oh, wait, who was he kidding, this was the same Singles Two who'd been practicing how to seduce Atobe. Duh, Jirou wasn't as innocent as he looked, sometimes.

Gakuto clapped both hands over his mouth to hide his grin as Ootori blinked—petted Jirou once, probably for luck; he said Jirou's hair was lucky—and slipped to standing. Not bad, Jirou. Not bad at all.

"Ootori-kuuun?" Jirou'd flopped back onto his stomach after Ootori had risen to his feet; in Gakuto's opinion, he really did look like nothing more than a blonde-capped enourmous pancake.

"Yes, Jirou-san?" Ootori glanced over his shoulder.

Yes, there definitely was some kind of a twinkle going on in Jirou's eyes—even if they were only half-open. "Bring the massage lotion with you."

Any moment, any moment now Gakuto was going to die laughing.

And then it occurred to him just… what exactly had happened.

Yes, Jirou'd been practicing on Ootori's leg. Just enough to send Shishido over the deep end into big bad rabid ol' jealousy. Just in good time for Atobe to finish his game. Which meant that it was just about the right time, too, for all the rest of the slackers who weren't Regulars to have headed home already…

Gakuto stared at a certain little blonde conniption lying curled up into a happy ball on the bleachers. With a tiny little smile on those sleepy lips as Atobe started strolling off the courts, fingers flinging back his brown hair, and Ootori, bottle of massage lotion in hand—such a good kouhai he was: he'd given his Jirou-senpai a weird look, but he'd picked it up anyway—trotted towards a suspiciously quiet clubhouse that didn't… look like it had any pre-regulars putzing around it. Just… Shishido. Oh, God, none of them were going to be able to go in there for awhile, were they…? "Jirou?"

"Mmmph?" Jirou's eyes were closed, and wasn't it annoying to have his mouth on the wood of the bleachers like that…?

It really was impossible to tell whether or not Jirou was actually dozing off or not. He definitely looked like it. Well, he always looked like it. Still… "Please tell me you didn't plan all that."

But Jirou, for all he could tell, was already asleep.



The meaning of the title, lovingly provided by the lovely Mari, is 'nekokaburi'—'pretending to wear a cat skin,' otherwise known as "A wolf in sheep's clothing." *GRIN*


The End

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