Learning to Fall
by Suteishichic

Oishi finished dinner, helped with the dishes, and then went to do some student government work. He thought of calling Eiji but decided to wait. He went to shower. Then he thought of touching himself in the shower, the same shower he and Eiji were in earlier that day. He was hard and it was tempting, but he remembered the 'wait for me' text so he held off that too. He put off calling as long as he possibly could. Oishi was a very patient person, normally. An hour and a half after walking in the house, Oishi called Eiji.
"Hoi, where've you been!" Eiji said picking up on the first ring.

Oishi laughed. "I wanted to call you when I walked in the door but they were sitting down to dinner, then I wanted to call you after texting you but couldn't. I saw you took a shower so after dinner I did too. I just got out."

"Hoi, so you're all wet still?" Eiji sounded very interested. "I could lick the water off you?" He suggested.

Oishi felt a little tingle thinking about that and Eiji's clever tongue, "I'm dressed. I put on my sleep clothes."

"Nya." Eiji sounded very discouraged making Oishi laugh. "Just bottoms right?"

"Yeah. What about you?" Oishi said laying on his bed.

"My usual. T-shirt, underwear. Blue T-shirt," Eiji chuckled, "Pink underwear."


"Hoi." Eiji sounded less than thrilled. "One of my sisters put a red shirt in with my clothes a while ago so now I have lots of pink socks and underwear."

Oishi laughed. "I've done it too. I know a way to get most of that out. I can show you the next time I'm at your house."

"Hoi. Good. I keep wearing the same few that weren't turned pink."

"I was just going to tell you I'd never seen anything of yours pink."

"Nya. I try not to wear them!"

"Around me?" Oishi thought this was cute.

"Nya. Around anyone! Hoi? Think Tezuka ever turned his laundry pink?"

Oishi didn't even need to think about it, "Not a chance." They both laughed in agreement.

"Hoi. Oishi, let me call you back from my house phone so I can charge this one."

"Call me back on my phone. You have the number?"

"Hoi. Call you back in five."

Oishi had his own phone line in his room. He rarely used it because he used his cell phone. It was a gift from his parents when he had turned 12. He got the cordless phone and moved it closer to his bed. He noticed that he had not erased their texting from before on his cell phone and so he did. Imagine him losing his phone and someone seeing him sending 'want you' to someone else? To Eiji? Yikes.

Oishi also noticed that girl Kiko called several more times. He listened to his messages for a moment and then deleted all twelve of the ones from her. Then his phone rang.

"Yah-hoi. Sorry, had to put the ice cream away." Eiji explained the delay.

"What flavor?"


"You didn't finish it?"

"Nya. You weren't here to help me." Oishi laughed wondering if Eiji knew that he ate most of it every time Oishi had it with him. Oishi put his cell phone in the charger and went to lay back on his bed. "Hoi what did you do?"

"Charging my cell phone. That girl called again and left more messages. I erased them all. Its really annoying."

"How many messages? What did she say?"

"Twelve! It was all stuff about she did not care if I was dating someone else, she still wanted to date me. I mean its not like she even knows me to say that or that she and I ever were dating. I saw her once with you and Fuji-senpai."

"Hoi. Why did she think you were dating someone else?"

"No idea. I haven't talked to her after I told her with you I wasn't interested. Maybe she just made it up in her head. I don't know. Maybe I should talk to her again and try to reason with her."

"Nya. Both she and Kiku left me messages tonight too. Saying why don't the four of us get together. You don't think they'd call me during school do you?"

"I don't know but I think I'll leave my ringer off just in case. Maybe you should too."

"Hoi. Are girls always crazy like this?"

"They can be, I guess, not all, of course."

"Hoi." Eiji then jumped lines of thought totally, "Do you miss going to see your grandparents?"

"Hmm? Oh, I guess. I don't really think about it much. I mean I should go see them. I spent nearly every summer there when I was growing up. Its really pretty there. You'd like it too."


"There is a gigantic playground there with everything imaginable to do. Swings, slides, a jungle gym, everything. And down by the river there is a great place to go swimming with a rope over a tree that you can swing into the water off of. Maybe we can go sometime? After practice on a Saturday if you want. We could take the train, stay overnight, and drive back with my family."

"Hoi. Sounds fun. But what about that girl?"

"I really haven't seen her in a while. She might not even be there anymore. Maybe they moved. But, if you were there with me it would be all right."

"Hoi." Eiji paused a moment then said with a smile in his voice, "Hoi, did you ever get into trouble as a kid?"

They talked and laughed for a long time. They covered their favorite things to eat, their favorite colors, their favorite teachers, sports teams, and favorite things to do. They talked about trouble they had gotten into, vacations with their families they had taken, and places in the world they wanted to visit. They also talked about their favorite memories, their first memories, about fireflies on lazy hot summer nights, and snowmen in the winter.

"Eiji, do you know we've been talking for over four hours?"

"Hoi? Doesn't seem that long."

"That's because you like to talk on the phone. I never talk on the phone. I don't think I've ever talked on the phone this long in my life!" Eiji laughed and Oishi did too. Oishi had turned out his light hours ago and lay in bed enjoying their conversation. He had just caught the clock reflection in the aquarium 1:14 am.

"Hoi. Did you fix your grip?"

"Not yet, I'll do it tomorrow."

"Nya, Oishi!"

"I will, I promise. You're the only person who has ever gotten on me to do anything. Remember me? The boring guy who does his homework for the week the day its given? The guy who writes the paper the same day its assigned?"

Eiji laughed and said, "Nya. You're not boring."

"Says you." Oishi remained unconvinced.

"Nya. You're boring like I'm stupid!"

"You are not stupid Eiji, you're very smart."

"Hoi. Says you." Oishi gave a little chuckle. "Don't talk about my best friend Oishi that way. He is not boring. Believe me, I couldn't be best friends with someone boring."

"Hey don't talk about my friend Eiji that way, he is not stupid. Believe me I couldn't be best friends with someone stupid."

Eiji laughed and Oishi did too. Eiji then said, "Hoi what do you want to do?"

"For a career? Hmm. I'm not sure. Help people somehow."

"Hoi? You don't want to be a pro tennis player?"

"I don't see that happening, I mean, I'm not Tezuka or Fuji."

"Nnn, but you're good."

"So are you. Is that what you want to be? A pro player?"

"Hoi? I don't know. I want to be famous."

"As a tennis player?"

"Nya. Tennis, actor, movie star, something, just, famous."

Oishi laughed, "Being famous isn't a job Eiji. Although you would be a good actor. You're very funny. Everyone says so."

"Hoi! And it is a job being famous, its what you do everyday."

Oishi laughed and said, "Will you still be my friend when you're famous?"

"Hoi. Your best friend still."

"Good. But then people will follow you around taking your picture saying, who is that boring guy with Kikumaru? His accountant?"

Eiji laughed and said, "Nya! And then they'll say, well at least stupid Eiji was smart enough to get a very good accountant."

They both laughed. "Hoi? What is your most embarrassing moment ever?"

"Oh I don't know, pick one. I get embarrassed all the time. I do dumb things when I get stressed like forget things, leave things out that I need, say dumb things. Oh, I know one, once when I was little I couldn't find my mom. I though I found her and grabbed her hand, scared after getting lost. But it wasn't my mom. I'd grabbed a strange woman's hand thinking it was my Mom. They had the same type of red coat on. The woman looked at me and screamed."

Eiji cracked up laughing. "She screamed?"

Oishi felt the heat still climbing to his face. "Yes. I guess I had on a blue coat. The woman had a daughter about my age who had long hair and the same colored blue coat so when the woman looked at me holding her hand she thought for a second I was her daughter and I'd cut off all my hair." Eiji screamed with laughter. Oishi actually had to hold the phone away from his ear.

"Nya! Nya! She...she....thought.....you...were......she thought you were a girl!" He howled laughing again. Oishi was crimson now.

"I shouldn't have told you." Oishi said hotly. He considered hanging up the phone.

Eiji fought to get control, failed once, and finally did on the second time. "Hoi, hoi, Oishi, I'm sorry. It was just so funny. And you told it really funny too. Hoi? I'll tell you my most embarrassing time...... Oishi?"

"Yes." Oishi's voice was flat.

"Hoi Oishi, "Eiji said softly, "I'm sorry. You know I get that way. I'm sorry. I don't mean to be like that. Thank you for telling me." Oishi said nothing so Eiji must have known it was serious, "Nya, Oishi. I wish I was there laying next to you. I can see you there, you have that crease in your forehead, your hands are clenched into fists, and your lips are tight because I've been stupid and made you angry. I'm sorry. If I was there I would curl up with you. I'd kiss the crease in your forehead and unclench your hands. I'd put your hands on me and kiss you on your lips until they soften and I can feel your tongue in my mouth....Nya, Oishi....Stay with me." Eiji paused to listen.

"Then what would you do?" Oishi's voice was still a little cold, but also a little husky thinking about Eiji really kissing him.

"Hmm. Kiss your mouth, taste you, and tease you with my tongue like you showed me. Kiss your neck, play with your ear like you like. Touch your skin on your back, your chest. Undo the string on your pants and put my hand on you there feeling you get hard while I kiss you some more." He paused then said softer, "Are you touching yourself, Oishi?"

Oishi actually was through his pants picturing it was Eiji, but he decided not to admit it, a little in awe of the power his friend had over him. He had gone from being furious and embarrassed to rock hard in less than a minute just listening to Eiji's voice and thinking about him doing those things and more to him. "No, not yet."

"Why?" Eiji said in a surprised little voice, like he was disappointed.

"Because you haven't asked me to yet."

Oishi could hear the smile in Eiji's voice. "Hmm. Will you touch yourself for me Oishi, please?"

Oishi closed his eyes and suppressed a moan as those words went through him in a heady rush. "Yes." His voice sounded hoarse to him.

"Hmm, did you touch yourself in the shower thinking of me Oishi?"

"No, I was hard, thinking about you, and I wanted to but you texted me to wait. Did you?"

"Nya, I was thinking about you, and hard too, but wanted to wait for you."

"Will you touch yourself for me now, Eiji?"

Oishi could tell Eiji was smiling by his voice, "I already am, thinking about kissing and touching you...."He added by way of explanation. "but.....nya, my clothes are still on."

"Take your clothes off, Eiji."

"Hoi hold on." Oishi heard Eiji pick the phone back up a few seconds later. "Hoi. Are your clothes off Oishi?"

"No." Oishi was already kicking his pants down.

"Hmm, take them off for me Oishi so I can feel your skin." Eiji said it husky and Oishi pictured Eiji having his eyes closed laying on his back feeling Oishi. Oishi gave a quiet moan in the darkness. Eiji heard, Oishi knew he'd heard and would like it. "Hmm. Tell me what you're doing to me Oishi, tell me...."

"I'm there with you. I'm on top holding you, kissing you and tasting you." Oishi could picture it as if it was really happening, Eiji he knew, could too. "I'm kissing your neck and your ear right where you like it."

"Hmm. You have to show me that spot Oishi so I can touch it when I'm alone thinking about you."

"Nope. That's my spot."

"On me?"

"Yep, that spot is just for me."

"Hoi, what is my spot on you?"

Oishi thought about it and decided to make Eiji laugh, "What isn't?" Eiji laughed which made Oishi laugh. Oishi then asked, "Do you have your lube?"

"Nya, not out yet."

"Get yours and I'll get mine."

"Hoi." Oishi reached his and settled back down, Eiji was there a few seconds later. "I want you here with me..." Eiji was pouting Oishi could tell. He wished he was there too kissing that adorable little pout away.

"I am there with you. Is your light on?"

"Night light we used."

"Turn it out okay?"

Eiji came back a moment later, "Hoi."

"Lay down and think of me. I'm right there with you just like right now you're right here with me."

"Two places?"

"Yes. Now close your eyes and feel my hand on you while I am kissing you. Are you getting hard again?"

"How did you....?"

"Because I know you, Eiji." It was a fact, Oishi did know him, he knew that when Eiji pouted sincerely he could not stay fully hard, "Now touch yourself like I touch you when I'm kissing you. I'm going to put some lube on and touch myself like you touch me."

"Want to use a finger inside me." Eiji said softly, surprising him. Oishi was not even sure if it was possible to do on yourself. Eiji must have done it that week he was out of school though.

The thought of Eiji touching him self all that week thinking of him made Oishi feel a little swell of hunger. He moaned a little, softly, at the thought. "You do, I will too."

"You will?" Eiji sounded honestly surprised.

"I'll try. I've never done it on myself."

Eiji gave a little purring moan, "Hmm. You did it on me."

"Mmm, I like doing it on you. I like making you feel good. Are you yet?"

"Nya. Waiting."

"Sorry give me a minute to do this. Talk to me for a minute?" Oishi put more lube on his finger and started stroking himself a bit more in preparation. It felt totally different doing it on himself than when Eiji did it to him for some reason.

While he got ready, Eiji said, "I liked having both of us in my hands. I liked when we came together and you thrusted on top of me, into my hand, kissing me." Oh god Oishi thought and stroked himself more remembering, "I liked you licking me there. I liked you putting your fingers deep inside me and kissing me."

Oishi moaned a little whimper and Eiji said a grin in his voice, "Ready now?"

"Yeah," Oishi said voice lusty with want, laughing a little, "put your finger inside you slowly."

"You too?"

"Yeah. And I'm stroking myself, I'm thinking of your mouth on me...." Eiji gave a little moan at that thought, at his finger, or at both. "Shhh," Oishi said, "relax, its me touching you, its me kissing you, its me inside you...." Oishi said as much to himself as to Eiji who gave a little whimper of pleasure. Oishi was turning himself on enough without Eiji and his whimpers. That noise almost made Oishi come right there. "Not yet, love, wait for me okay?"

"...Oishi...." Eiji sighed in pleasure and agreement. Oishi had reached that spot in himself but was enjoying listening to Eiji pleasure himself. "Oishi, I want you...." Eiji moaned softly.

"I want you too, Eiji." Oishi was so close, so very close, he stroked himself a little more, right on the edge.

"Oishi....." Eiji sounded very, very close too. "...need you...Shuuichirou..." That did it.

"Eiji...I'm......Eiji." Oishi said nearly in a whisper, he pressed at the same time lightly and his hips bucked up into a thrust. He came hard, very hard, he pushed his own finger out of him much like Eiji had the night before. He'd heard Eiji say "Oishi." at the same time Oishi called Eiji's name. It reminded Oishi that Eiji was not even there.

They lay quiet for a while each listening to the other breathing. "Hmm. I want to kiss you." Eiji's pout was back.

Oishi smiled. "Me too." Oishi figured Eiji would want to go to sleep right after as he always was so adorably exhausted after being sated.

"Better when you're here." Eiji said still pouting.

"I was there Eiji, and you were here." Oishi smiled because for a minute it really did feel like it.

Eiji chuckled, "You came when I said your name, Shuuichirou."

Oishi smiled, "I did. You made me come when you said it."

Eiji laughed his evil laugh, "Shuuichirou, Shuuichirou, Shuuichirou....."

Oishi laughed, "No. Its not going to work every time!" Thank god Oishi thought, Eiji had enough power over him without that!

Eiji laughed. "Nya. I had to try." Eiji being Eiji, he did.

Oishi said, "Can you hang on a minute, you made me make a mess."

Eiji laughed at that and said, "Hoi, I'll clean up too, you hold on too...."

Oishi cleaned and then decided to use the washroom. He listened for Eiji first who was not back on the line and then decided to just go down the hall and go.

When he came back Eiji was on the line singing quietly some song. Oishi laughed as he picked up the phone and said "What are you doing?"

"Hoi. When?"

"What were you singing?"

"The Oishi song."

"I have a song?"


"How does it go?"


"Sing it to me."

"Nya. Can't sing."

"You can sing, you were just singing, sing it to me."

"Then you heard it."

"No, I came back and you stopped. Sing it to me please?"


"At least tell me the words."

Eiji considered. "Nya Oishi. Ask me something else." Oishi realized he was not going to win this one.

"All right, most embarrassing moment, yours."

"Hoi. Could you hold, on I have to use the washroom."

"Sure, but what were you doing so long when we cleaned up? I went to use the washroom because you weren't back yet."

"Tried. Couldn't after coming. Hold on."

Oishi made sure everything was ready for school the next day. He considered his racket and decided to wrap the tape then, never liking to put things off after all.


"Took you a long time."


"Oh. Eiji are you all right?"


"You're giving me one word answers, are you tired? Do you want to go to sleep?"

"Nya. Story for you." Eiji must have heard Oishi and realized what the noise was he said, "My grip tape?"


"Naked still?"

Oishi wasn't but he decided to make Eiji laugh. "Yes."

Eiji did laugh. "Hoi! Okay, story while you work even though I know you have clothes on."

"You do? No you don't. How would you know?" He laughed.

"Hoi. You would not walk through your house naked when we were alone. Your family is home. You are dressed. You probably wear clothes even when no one else is home all weekend."

"You caught me. I just wanted to make you laugh."

"You did make me laugh because I caught you lying." Eiji laughed and Oishi did too. "Don't lie, you're not good at it. I can always tell."

"I'm sorry, I know I'm terrible at it. I won't. Your story."

"Hoi. I sometimes have a terrible temper." Eiji waited as if waiting for Oishi to react.

"Really?" Oishi said trying to keep the smile on his face from his voice.

Eiji laughed a little, "You know I do."

Oishi considered, "Actually that isn't true. You can get mad easy, but you don't have a terrible temper. I know that because, I actually do."

"Nya. No you don't! I've never even seen you get mad before!" Eiji says this as if sure he is catching Oishi lying again.

"Good thing." Oishi says and means it. "I'm sorry for interrupting your story but this is something I do want you to know." Oishi says and then asks himself why. Its not like they are dating and Eiji is his girlfriend or worse yet, boyfriend. But then he considers it and realizes it is something he wants to tell Eiji regardless of why. "I work very hard to try to control it. It takes a lot to make me angry so it doesn't happen often but when it does its terrible."

"Hoi? When? Like when you got mad before? Sorry I laughed but it was funny."

"That's a good example. I get embarrassed or frustrated or stressed and then I get angry and react. When I was little it was really bad. If my sister or a kid at school would tease me I would hit them. When I get mad I actually see red so I try to control it and not get mad. I would see a bully picking on a kid and I would hit the bully. I try really hard to stop it. That is how Tezuka and I became friends. When the upper classmen were mean to someone our freshman year I wanted to fight them. I wanted to. But with just his voice, with just words, Tezuka shamed them and stopped me. I....I admire that about him. He controls his temper. I try but sometimes I can't."

Oishi said this realizing he had never said it to anyone before. It was his biggest shame about himself. His worst flaw he felt. Now that Eiji had heard what he said, Oishi would not blame him if he did not even want to be his friend, let alone anything else. And then Oishi thought else? What am I doing? What else?

Oishi felt this terrible sinking in his heart as Eiji did not respond. Oishi wondered if Eiji would even talk to him again. And here Oishi was beating himself up over else when there was no friendship anymore, let alone else. He didn't know what his feelings for Eiji were, other than he desired him and cared about him, cared about him a lot, but he felt like they were just all broken. He felt his heart break a little and he waited for the bottom to drop out.

Oishi realized right then that he had some feelings of much more than a friend or even a best friend when it came to Eiji. Right then, when it was too late. Oishi didn't know whether to cry or laugh or both. So he just sat there and waited. His half wrapped racked, wrapped with Eiji's tape, in his hands. He clenched it in his fist and tried not to cry.

"Hoi." Eiji said softly, "Are you done?"

"Done?" Oishi asked his voice barely a whisper.

"Hoi. Are you back now?"

"Back?" Oishi asked lamely, totally confused. Did Eiji not hear what he just said?

"Hoi. When you say something like that, something important, that you don't say to other people, just to me, you go away. To that place." Oishi knew it was the place where he creased his brows and if Eiji was here he would flick it to show him. "So serious." Eiji sighed, "I gave you time to go away and wanted to know if you're back yet."

"Did you hear what I said?" Oishi was lost still.

"Hoi. Every word. Can I talk now?"

"Yes." Oishi half closed his eyes waiting for Eiji to tell him that this, whatever this was, is over, and that Oishi should have told Eiji he could be like that a long time ago.

"Good. Oishi, Shuuichirou, you're a good person. You're my best friend. You won't hurt me or let me get hurt. I am not afraid of you or your temper. I'm not afraid. I'm not going to stop being your best friend or caring about you because you get angry sometimes. You're human. Like everyone else. Even Tezuka is human. And even Tezuka is your friend as much as you are his, because he knows you. I know you. No one is perfect. Not even you. You think I'm perfect? Nya." Eiji laughed at the thought, "Flaws are what make people beautiful. Didn't you know? You have no idea why so many people like you, do you Oishi? Why so many girls have crushes on you? Why so many people are happy to call you their friend? Why I am? That is so cute and so sad at the same time. Oishi stop being so mean to my best friend. I like him just how he is."

Oishi just sat there stunned. He opened his mouth to say something and closed it again. Finally he said, "Eiji, I...." and trailed off.

"Hoi? Are you going away again?"

"No. I'm here."

"With me?"

"With you."

"Good. Now do you want to hear MY story or should we talk about you some more?" Eiji said with a laugh.

"I...I'm sorry. Please, tell me your story."

"Hoi! I sometimes have a terrible temper," Eiji began and paused as if waiting for Oishi to interrupt again. As the pause stretched out, Oishi laughed with tears stinging his eyes. He laughed with relief flooding through him and in delight of his friend and his big heart.

"Better." Eiji coached, hearing him laugh. "Hoi. When I was little I used to throw terrible temper tantrums. The kind you see brats laying on the ground kicking and screaming over nothing. That kind. Oishi, you'd better not tell that to anyone!" Eiji suddenly said.

Oishi said the words from his heart before they were filtered by his over-active brain censors. "Who would I tell? You're my best friend." And then he smiled.

Eiji laughed, "Good. My family was going on vacation somewhere, I was very young and all excited about flying on a plane. I had this teddy bear I liked and carried everywhere with me. In my excitement about flying, I lost my bear in the airport. I didn't remember until the plane was moving back from the gate. I threw a fit. A huge fit. My father and mother could not stop me or control me. Oishi, they made us get off the plane and take the next one--9 hours later."

Oishi could easily see an adorable young monster version of Eiji throwing such a temper tantrum over a lost toy and Eiji's poor parents and sisters all having to get off the plane. He laughed.

"Hoi. My parents were so mad! We lost all our luggage and didn't get it until two days later. We lost our hotel reservation and had to stay in this seedy place because everything else was booked. It was a disaster!" Oishi laughed harder. Eiji knew when he was working his favorite audience so he waited, baiting him for the kill.

"What happened to the bear? Did you ever find him?" Oishi laughed walking right into it, unable to stop.

"Nya. My Mom had packed him in my suitcase. I forgot about him completely about an hour later." Oishi cracked up laughing. "Don't you tell anyone Oishi! You promised! My parents still bring it up!"

"Is that why they didn't have any more kids after you?"

"Hoi. Probably." Eiji admitted laughing.

They talked and gossiped for a long time. Oishi was amazed at how many girls Eiji knew well and how they told Eiji everything. Oishi even felt a little jealous about these girls hanging around Eiji, many he was sure were hoping to be Eiji's good friend, and then possibly a little more. He told Eiji so.

Eiji laughed at him. "Hoi you're the one who is a heart breaker. How many girls have you kissed?"

"Not sure, a few." Oishi said vaguely.

"Nya. Who that I know?" Eiji demanded.

"Please don't ask me to tell you that. I....I would feel bad. Its stuff that happened," and Oishi realized he almost said before you. He wondered a little bit about that. "...some time ago. Its in the past. I can say that I've always tried to date girls from other schools. It hasn't always worked out that way but I've always preferred it like that. Then you have some space."

Oishi wondered again what was going on with he and Eiji, for a guy who claimed to like space, Eiji was in his school, his grade, and tennis with him. Also he realized he was quite a bit sad that he had less extra time to spend with Eiji because of his family and school when normally he liked it that way. Oishi realized that before Eiji, even dating people off and on, he was, unhappy, even lonely. He was busy and had a ton of friends and people he cared about but something about Eiji made him happy. He remembered very well how devistated he felt only a short time ago when he thought he scared Eiji away with his temper, and the elation he felt when that didn't happen.

"Space?" Eiji asked.

"Well girls usually talk all the time." Oishi heard Eiji saying, but I talk most of the time. "And they want to do everything with you all the time." But we do everything together. On the next thing at least Oishi thought he had solid ground to stand on. "And they want you to date them, and only them, to be with only them, and be their boyfriend." So what are we doing? the Eiji in his head asked.

Oishi had no answer for either of them so he asked instead, "What about you? Why haven't you been dating girls left and right? I know a lot of them like you."

"Hoi. I guess when its been a girl I thought I liked, but I didn't like her really when I got to know her. And then the girls who like me, like you said, they don't really know me, they see me and think they know me but they don't. I can't like a girl who doesn't like tennis, or laughing, or sports, or is creepy like my sister's friend, or calls all the time like those girls calling us, or who tries to be funnier than I am, or can only be serious, or thinks she is smarter than me, or is smarter than me, or the girls who stand there watching us play but never playing themselves, or girls who want to change me into their perfect guy. You can't change someone and a lot of these girls see me and want me to be the class clown reformed into their boyfriend. You know?"

Oishi did. "What about that girl with the red ribbon who is always coming up to you in school? She's cute." Oishi felt weird the minute it was out of his mouth. He felt jealous again.

"Hoi? The freshman? She is a pain, she is always bugging me. She slips me notes all the time. She talks bad about other people too. I try to be nice to her but I really don't like her. And she is smelly."


"Nya! She wears this perfume, its really strong like an old lady. Her shoes smell too. And she has bad breath after lunch. Nya! Its terrible when she wants to talk to me after lunch! All her smells are bad!"

"All her smells are bad?"

"Hoi. Its important."

"You're that sensitive to smells?"

"Hoi. Smells and tastes." Eiji paused as if thinking, "I like your smells."

"My smells? How do I smell?" Oishi was curious.

"Hmm. You smell good like soap, but its not your soap, its you. After tennis you smell like you, sun, outside, and like sweat but good sweat not bad sweat."

"Sun and outside have smells?"

"Hoi. Sun smells yellow and outside smells like silver green."

"There is good sweat and bad sweat?"

"Nya! You know what bad sweat smells like! Good sweat is clean."

"Hm. What else do you like?"

"About your smells?"

"I have more?"

"Hoi. Lots. I didn't like the cologne you used when we went to the movies. It was too....sharp and was musky. It was brown. You sometimes wear a different one after tennis. I like that one better. Its soft. Blue."

Oishi was amazed. "Why didn't you tell me?" He did, if he had to tutor someone after afternoon practice, or if he was meeting a girl, or going somewhere, put on a quick half spray of something his parents gave him for his birthday from a small sample bottle. He never knew Eiji or anyone else noticed.

"Nya. Thought you liked it, it was your date. She didn't seem to be able to smell anything with those mints. Do you want to know more?"


"Your soap at home wears off of you by the time you get to school. The soap you use after tennis smells very green. It lasts a little longer but its a little too green and sharp. I like your home soap better because its softer. Your deodorant has no smell, you use the same shampoo at home and school which smells also green but more orange so its better, and you use the same laundry soap we do. I like your smell better than the soap smells though."

"What does my smell smell like?"

"Hmm. You smell clean like a soap smell, green but a nice green, a little bit blue, and gold too."

"How do you put colors to smells?"

Eiji paused, Oishi could almost see him shrug, "Just do."

"What do you smell like? What colors."

"Hoi. You tell me."

"I wish you were here so I could smell you," Oishi thought, "wait, let me smell my pillow that you used, hold on." Oishi held it up to his nose. It just smelled like Eiji. It just made Oishi miss him. "It just smells like, you."

"Nya Oishi! Try! What does the smell make you think about?"

"You. It makes me wish you here."

"Nya, just the smell, what does it make you think about me?"

Oishi smelled, "Your smile, your laugh, your hands, your mouth," Oishi realized the mouth part sounded a little like he was growling but went on, "your arms, your body, you flying, you surprising me, you making me laugh, your will, and your heart."


"Yes, you have a very big heart." Oishi smiled.

"Hoi, what colors do I smell like?"

Oishi smelled again, thought of Eiji, the smell now not as strong as his nose had adjusted already. He closed his eyes and guessed smelling and thinking about his friend, laughing in the sun, playing tennis. His hair shining, his eyes alight, as he flew though the air with no fear of falling. He guessed, thinking about if he had to put colors to Eiji. "Purple? Dark red and purple? And a bit of gold?"

"Nya. You guessed!"

Oishi knew. "I'm right! Aren't I?"

"You guessed." Eiji was insisting.

"No, I just know you. Just like I know that you have the cutest pout on your mouth right now and I would love to kiss it away." Eiji made a noise that was half a laugh behind a pout still annoyed at Oishi getting it right. "Don't be mad. No one has ever taught me to color smells before."

"Hoi. Someone else." Ah! A test, Oishi thought.

"Okay, who?"

"Fuji." Oishi knew Eiji said him, out of everyone they knew, just to make Oishi jealous, and try as he could it was hard not to rise to the bait.

"I don't remember what Fuji smells like." Oishi tried to keep his voice from showing any emotion and failed terribly. Eiji knew he had hit a sore spot on Oishi and kept pressing.

"Hoi. Fujiko wears cologne that confuses me."

"How so?" Grrrrr.

"Nya. It makes my head feel funny, light, sometimes, like when you kiss me."

"He is probably wearing a cologne with pheromones in it. They make you feel attracted to people you aren't attracted to without it." Oishi had enough and could not resist the half truth, but then he softened. "I'm sorry, I get jealous over Fuji. I don't know why. I know he's your friend. Maybe because he kissed you first."

"Nya. He kissed me but I kissed you first. You were my first kiss." He said it dismissively as if Oishi should know better. Then he said when he got no reaction from a surprised Oishi, "Tell me more about veremoans..."

"Eiji...."Oishi said it in a kidding, warning way, making Eiji laugh, "Pheromones, they are human sexual.....attractants. Everyone has them naturally but some are made in a lab and supposed to attract people. They are odorless so you never know who is wearing them but your nose smells them and your body reacts."

"Hoi, how do you know this?" Eiji sounded convinced Oishi was fooling him.

"I had to buy my sister a pheromone perfume for her birthday."

"Oh. Hoi? The cologne you wore to the movies doesn't have those in it does it?"

"No, and I thought you didn't like it?"

"I don't but I thought maybe it'd have the opposite effect on guys."

Oishi thought it over, "Then what would Fuji be using?"

"Something scary smart. The cologne Fuji uses at first smells like nothing and then when you notice it, it smells strongly yellow and white. It makes his own smells, change."

Oishi thought about it. About Fuji's cool presence and thought about his bruised back and them playing together. He thought about Fuji saying nice things about Oishi to Eiji the night after Eiji basically rejected him by not kissing him back and yet holding him when he was upset. He thought about Fuji, hiding his feelings, being sad behind a constant smile. About him kissing Eve in public and making the pretty and cocky girl reel from the effects of his kiss followed up by his cool dismissal. He thought about Fuji playing him to see Eiji, protecting him, and caring about his best friend. He thought about him giving Oishi that quick strong hug and releasing him, and his being there for both Eiji and Oishi when they weren't speaking. Oishi remembered, faintly, how he smelled. "Fuji is green and purple but the cologne makes him smell blue?"

"Hoi!" Eiji was thrilled, Oishi had gotten it right."Fuji is silver too but the cologne covers that up."

"You taught me well. I was remembering his smell in the locker room from when he hugged me."

"Hoi. You smelling Fujiko now?"

"Oh? Jealous?"

Eiji laughed a little and made a little growl. "Enough of Fujiko, one more to see if you've got it. Tezuka."

Oishi thought about his stoic friend. His quiet calm even in a storm, his surprise when Oishi reached out to him in loyal friendship, his passion, his commitment, his drive, and how he always seemed to set himself apart and yet, if someone reached for him in friendship, he was always there when they did. "He's green, no wait, he isn't green, the green on him is from him loving to be outside. He wears the outside and the sun like a cologne. He is purple and blue and maybe silver."

"Hoi! Very good! You learn good!"

"You teach good." Oishi joked back.

Eiji laughed and then said, "Nya, no more smelling Fujiko though."

"No?" Oishi said, "Then who can I smell?"

"Me!" Eiji said with a laugh.

Oishi was laughing too, "And who will you smell?"

"You! Just you."

"Fine, I guess, if I have to." He said with a smile still laughing a bit. "Oh no Eiji, its after 4 in the morning! Why did you keep me up so late! And with the rankings tomorrow!" Oishi gave a groan, "I have to go and get some sleep and so do you."

"Nya. Stay with me, Oishi."

"Stay? You mean sleep? On the phone?"

"Hoi." It came out in a yawn.

"Eiji, that's just....." Oishi was going to say silly but realized that if he wanted to get to sleep, he was going to have to say yes, besides he could hang up when Eiji fell asleep. "Will you be able to fall asleep?"


"And if you can't sleep what will you do?"

"Listen to you breathe and breathe like you until I fall asleep."

"You do that?" Oishi had caught Eiji's earlier yawn. "I do that when you're sleeping too."

Eiji chuckled a little. "Hoi. How are you laying so I can cuddle with you?"

Oishi smiled. "On my back in the middle. Which side do you want?"

"The wall."

"Do you always sleep on that side?" Oishi just realized their beds faced the same way with the door.

"Nya when alone. Just with you."


"Oishi," Eiji said ignoring him, "Did you finish your racket earlier?

"Yes, a long time ago."

"Good. Shhh. Sleep."

Oishi smiled, still with questions. "Good night Eiji."

"Good night Oishi."

Oishi lay there listening to Eiji breathing softly. He thought about what they'd talked about but then chastised himself. Eiji was right. He should go to sleep. Now. He put the pillow that had Eiji's smell back to his nose, inhaling quietly so Eiji would not hear. Then he settled it on his chest where Eiji's head would normally fall. Oishi pondered the words normally and usually while quietly arranging his blankets so they fell heavier where Eiji would have been laying in one of his outrageous positions curling his limbs around Oishi. Oishi then switched ears so that his ear on that side was the one he heard Eiji with. He knew all this was really stupid and probably would not have admitted it even if Eiji asked what he was doing. But Eiji brought cuddling up and he found himself hoping Eiji was sleeping on his belly on a pillow that smelled like him curled up on the right next to his wall with his phone next to his ear too. SO stupid Oishi knew, and he still wanted it. And he fell asleep pondering what exactly it was he wanted.

Just before sleep washed over him totally, when he had heard Eiji's soft relaxed breathing for a long time, Oishi heard a sound from far away, so soft and far he might have dreamed it. It sounded like a whispered, "I love you." For all he knew he did dream it, or maybe he said it, or maybe he heard wrong, or maybe it was something Eiji said in his sleep or maybe even Oishi did.

But it made Oishi fall asleep smiling, feeling warm and home.

On to Chapter 15!!