The subway car was packed with people; they'd been late leaving school that day due to a game that neither of them had wanted to end even after tennis practice was officially over. Sanada had somehow maneuvered the two of them until Yukimura was pressed against the wall, with Sanada standing in front of him like some sort of human shield.
The train swayed as it rushed through the tunnel. Sanada placed one hand against the wall to brace himself, but there was barely any space between Yukimura and the woman next to him, and his hand brushed against Yukimura's waist. "Sorry," he muttered, and started to shift away again, but Yukimura shook his head.
Sanada ducked his head a little, though Yukimura wasn't sure why; his face was as expressionless as always. Still, he left his hand where it was.
He pulled away slightly when the train stopped and the woman on Yukimura's right exited, but then a new wave of people got on, pushing the two of them even more closely together. Their thighs pressed together, and one of Sanada's hips jabbed Yukimura in the side. Yukimura breathed in the scent of clean sweat; they hadn't had time to shower after practice for fear of missing the bus to the subway station.
A hand slid carefully onto his hip, and Yukimura's heart jumped a little, but then he realized that he could still feel Sanada's hand, four inches higher at the curve of his waist. The other hand slipped back to brush against his ass, and Yukimura took hold of it and bent back the middle finger sharply.
The offending hand disappeared and the man on his right made a choked sound; Sanada looked over at him suspiciously.
"The next stop is mine," Yukimura said.
Sanada's eyes turned back in his direction. "I know."
Yukimura tilted his head curiously; his family had moved recently, and this was the first time he'd invited Sanada to their new apartment. Sanada blushed.
"Have you been coming around to spy on me, Genichirou?" Yukimura asked lightly.
"No!" Sanada said, and Yukimura believed him. Still, something had inspired him to learn Yukimura's new address. Perhaps he had asked Yanagi for it...
"You'd make a very bad spy," he said abruptly. Sanada's eyes narrowed, and Yukimura gave him an innocent smile. "Most people would wear a hat as a disguise, but you'd have to take yours off, instead." He reached up to pull Sanada's cap off, avoiding the hand Sanada raised to block him. "And, see, I still recognize you like this."
Sanada smoothed his hair quickly, and Yukimura's smile widened, even as his insides felt suddenly hollow. They didn't share any classes this year, and he'd almost forgotten how Sanada looked bareheaded. "Not a very good disguise," he said.
"It's not a disguise at all," Sanada said, sounding disgruntled.
"Still, you look handsome without it."
Sanada turned bright red, and he opened his mouth to reply, when the train stopped and they both had to get off. Yukimura slung his tennis bag more securely over his shoulder and put Sanada's cap on his own head.
"What do you think? Does it suit me?"
Sanada looked him over, and then said, "No," in a very flat tone.
Yukimura laughed. "I suppose I'd better give it back, then." He tossed the hat to Sanada, who put it on the second he had it in his hands. "You'll just have to take it off again in a few minutes when we eat dinner, though."
Sanada shrugged. "That doesn't mean I shouldn't wear it while I can."
As expected, Yukimura's mother fussed over Sanada outrageously, and Sanada responded with stiff smiles and perfect courtesy.
"Do you have to get home, or could you stay a bit longer?" Yukimura asked after dinner, when his mother had gone into the kitchen to wash the dishes.
"I can stay," Sanada said, so Yukimura led him to his bedroom. Sanada looked around and then said, "It looks almost exactly like your old room." He sounded obscurely satisfied by this fact.
Yukimura nodded. "It's the same size. The only real reason to change anything would be that the sun shines through the window earlier in the morning, but that doesn't bother me too much."
"Probably because you keep scheduling tennis practices at the break of dawn," Sanada pointed out.
"Yes, I imagine that that might have something to do with it," Yukimura said, smiling.
Sanada smiled back, not stiffly at all, and Yukimura's breath caught in his throat. "Do you want to...play a video game?" he asked.
"All right," Sanada said, and began to set it up just as Yukimura's phone rang.
"How did the match go?" Yanagi asked the moment Yukimura answered his phone, not even bothering to say "hello" first.
"It went well."
Sanada, sprawled on the floor, turned to look at him, and Yukimura held up a finger and mouthed One minute.
"And Genichirou's with you right now?"
Yukimura hid his surprise, conscious of Sanada's eyes still on him. "Yes. How did you know?"
"Usually, you'd tell me what the score was right away. Of course, most of the time you wouldn't bother trying to protect Genichirou's feelings by not talking about the score, which makes me think that either you don't want him to know who's on the phone, or you're trying to put him in a good mood. Do you want to tell me which of those it is?"
"No," Yukimura said, "I don't," and did his best to ignore Yanagi's subsequent laughter.
"Well, I'll let you get back to him. See you tomorrow in class, Seiichi."
"Good night," Yukimura said, and turned off his phone.
Sanada passed a controller to him. "You can have the first turn. It's been too long since I played--I want to watch you, first."
It had been a while since Yukimura had played, as well, but he didn't tell Sanada that. Besides, it wasn't as though it mattered. It was just a video game. For a moment, Yukimura imagined what would happen if he dropped the controller and took Sanada's hand in his, kissed the serious line of his mouth.
It wasn't impossible--it was even likely--that Sanada might kiss back. Yukimura could ask Yanagi for the probability. And then he could weigh the percentage, like balancing a heart on a scale: an 85% chance that Sanada was attracted to him and a 15% chance that kissing him would destroy their friendship and tear the tennis team apart. Even if there were a 99% chance that Sanada would reciprocate his feelings, he wasn't sure that it would be worth the risk.
Yukimura thumbed the Start button and began the game.
The following morning, Yanagi watched the two of them carefully in the locker room. His eyes lingered with particular sharpness on their necks, and Yukimura didn't know whether to be amused or offended. As if they didn't know enough to avoid leaving marks on each other, even if they had been doing what Yanagi suspected of them the previous night.
Despite his preoccupation, Yanagi was one of the first dressed, which was a shame. It would have been very satisfying to give him laps for tardiness. Instead, Yukimura assigned him to play doubles with Kirihara, who was terrible at remembering that he even had a partner at times, let alone attempting to coordinate with him properly.
Yanagi shot him a dark look, and Yukimura smiled sweetly at him.
"Yagyuu, you're playing against Sanada today," Yukimura called at the beginning of practice. Yagyuu only nodded, but Niou turned to look at him with a surprised expression on his face. "Niou, you're playing against Yanagi. Kirihara, with me." He nodded towards one of the courts and let Sanada divvy up the rest of the team.
Kirihara's face lit up with excitement and a growing determination. A recent growth spurt had increased his reach, but he hadn't yet grown accustomed to his new height; it was a relatively easy matter for Yukimura to play him and to keep an eye on the games on either side of him.
Niou and Yanagi were playing a surprisingly even game, though it was obvious that Niou's greatest skills lay as a doubles player. Still, the idea of using the two of them as a doubles team had quite a bit of potential.
Yagyuu, on the other hand, was being slaughtered. His form was excellent, and his laser beam shot was only increasing in velocity. None of that mattered against Sanada's speed and reflexes, and Yagyuu lost point after point until finally Sanada won the match 6-0.
Yukimura finished his own game with Kirihara, losing just one point to his distraction...and even then, Kirihara shot him a shrewd glance that said that he knew exactly why that point had gone in his favor.
He crossed over to stand by the other court. "Yagyuu!"
"Yes, Yukimura-buchou." Sweat was dripping down Yagyuu's face, but he didn't seem to notice.
"You can't play to your greatest potential if your partner's the only one willing to take risks," Yukimura snapped. "Five laps, and then you're playing a doubles game. You and Yanagi against Jackal and Marui."
The five laps were a gift, and both of them knew it. Yagyuu could take them at any easy pace and be more ready for the next game than if Yukimura made him play again immediately. The fact that most of the team would consider them a punishment was simply a perquisite.
"My mother wants to know when you're coming to dinner, since you invited me home last week," Sanada said in the locker room later that afternoon.
Yukimura shrugged, ignoring Yanagi's sudden and obvious interest in their conversation. "Anytime that's convenient for your family is fine."
"Tomorrow?" Sanada asked, and Yukimura nodded his agreement.
Dinner the following night was much quieter than any at the Yukimura residence. Still, Sanada's mother was an even better cook than his own mother was, and it wasn't hard to see the light of approval in her eyes when she mentioned that Sanada was applying to three schools in the Kanto region.
Sanada walked him to the door after Yukimura had thanked his family for the meal. Before he could leave, though, Sanada said, "Do you have a minute? I wanted to talk to you about something."
Yukimura frowned slightly, but he nodded. "Of course." He followed Sanada to his room, and Sanada closed the door behind them before taking his hand in a curiously formal gesture. Yukimura looked down at their entwined fingers. "Genichirou..." he began, only to be interrupted by a gentle kiss.
It barely lasted a moment before Sanada pulled away, looking more nervous than Yukimura had ever seen him. He licked his lips and opened his mouth to speak, but, whatever he intended to say, Yukimura didn't need to hear it.
"Yes," he whispered fiercely, and pulled Sanada down for another kiss. They opened their mouths, licking and biting each other with a sudden desperation. Eventually, they stumbled over to the bed, still kissing, and tumbled down onto it with just enough care that nobody got kneed in an uncomfortable place.
Yukimura wrapped his arms around Sanada's shoulders, but their next kiss was cut off when Sanada pulled away abruptly.
"Sorry," he breathed, and rolled them over until Yukimura was on top of him...which made no sense at all until Yukimura remembered telling Sanada how he couldn't sleep on his back anymore, after days and days in which he couldn't get his muscles to move the way he wanted, and had been trapped in that position unwillingly.
Yukimura almost laughed, there was such a world of difference between lying helpless and still on a hospital bed and lying on Sanada's neatly-made futon with the warm, breathing weight of Sanada himself pressing heavily against him. Laughter would require an explanation, though, and it was easier just to bend down for another kiss while Sanada's hands traced obscure patterns on his back.
One of Sanada's hands crept beneath his shirt, and when Yukimura didn't object, he slid the other hand under, as well.
"You can take it off, if you like," Yukimura said, and Sanada took the hem of his shirt in both hands, and then froze when Yukimura added, "But--
"--only if you take yours off, too."
"All right," Sanada said, and pulled Yukimura's shirt over his head, then helped get his own off.
Yukimura traced the firm muscles of Sanada's chest and shoulders while Sanada stroked his back, still trading kisses with occasional detours to lick Sanada's jawline or to let Sanada bite his earlobe with gentle teeth. Neither of them suggested removing any more clothing than they already had. It was a little strange, pretending that all they were doing was kissing, when Yukimura was hard and when an unfortunate shift to one side made Sanada yelp and tug Yukimura into a position that was hopefully less painful than their last one.
It became even stranger when the slow curl of arousal in the pit of Yukimura's stomach suddenly sharpened and he clutched Sanada's shoulders and came inside his pants with a low moan. There was barely time to feel embarrassed, though, before Sanada pulled him into another kiss and rubbed up against him, and then he was gasping Yukimura's name and shaking with his own orgasm.
After that, they seemed to pass through the weirdness and come out on some other side where it ceased to matter. They were sated and sticky--and Yukimura really hoped that Sanada would lend him some clean pants for the walk home--but they kept kissing each other with as much interest as before.
Sanada brushed kisses against Yukimura's closed eyelids and nuzzled his cheek, and Yukimura pulled back a little to stare at his face and decide which part of Sanada he wanted to kiss next.
"Oh, damn," he said suddenly.
"What?" Sanada said, an uneasy note in his voice, and Yukimura kissed him quickly on the mouth as reassurance.
Then he traced the small, purple bitemark on Sanada's neck with his fingertips. "Renji's going to enjoy making fun of us tomorrow."
Sanada just shrugged. "Let him. He's not likely to say anything that isn't true." The expression on his face suggested that he wasn't entirely comfortable with the idea, but Yukimura trusted that their next kiss was more than sufficient to distract them both.