They walked, not hand-in-hand, but close enough that their fingers would sometimes brush against each other. Their conversation was quiet, pleasant, and both wore a smile. They were happy like this, spending time alone together; a time without the pressures of family and jr. high school and tennis teams, a time for them to focus completely on each other without having to worry about what others would think.

As they passed a darkened side-street, empty of any of the bustle of people loitering about the city, Yanagi Renji pulled his boyfriend where they couldn't be readily seen. With his back to the wall of a building, he held Tachibana Kippei's arms, and grinned at him mysteriously.

"What are you up to?" Tachibana asked, trying to sound serious.

"Nothing special," Yanagi replied with a smile. "I just wanted to do this..." And then he took the other's face in his hands and led him into a gentle kiss.

And that was how it all began.

 

 

Another pair were out and about, a dark-skinned Brazilian boy and his pink-haired partner. Jackal Kuwahara was making good on his promise to treat Marui Bunta to cake, and this shoppe had the best on this side of Japan.

Now if only a certain someone hadn't tagged along.

"Oh my..." Kirihara Akaya stopped dead in his tracks and pointed to a place somewhere across and a bit down the street.

Marui looked and saw another teammate of his...with his lips entwined with those of another boy. "Heeeh," he smirked. "looks like Yanagi and that Tachibana really are an item."

"Let's tease him!"

Jackel raised an arm to stop the younger teen, but was too late. The other was already off. "Akaya!" As though Kirihara would actually listen to him.

Grabbing the Brazilian's arm to drag along, Marui started after their wayward kouhai. "Come on!"

 

 

Yanagi broke the kiss and looked up when he heard familiar voices, and groaned.

"What is it?" Tachibana turned, and saw what his boyfriend was displeased with. Three members of the Rikkai Dai Fuzoku tennis team - headed straight for them. "Oh..."

Pulling the other's jacket to follow, Yanagi began rushing down the street. "Quickly."

"What?"

"Tonight is my night with you. I'll deal with them later, but for now...don't let them catch up."

 

 

He stopped when he saw the two he was heading toward take off, and after a second it dawned on him what was going on. "They're...running from us!" This would not do, and without another thought the second-year gave chase.

With a "ha!" Marui ran too, and a scowling Jackal was close behind.

 

 

"Your teammates are crazy!" Tachibana huffed as they continued to run down the street. Somehow, this was not how he envisioned spending the evening.

"That they are," Yanagi agreed. He was smiling though.

 

 

Stretching as they exited the arcade, Kamio Akira looked over at his best friend. "That new DDR is way fun, huh?"

Ibu Shinji just shrugged, then looked to the side as movement caught his eye. And then he saw who it was running in their direction. "Tachibana...." He pointed as the pair ran by them.

But Kamio's attention was directed elsewhere. His temper flared when he saw just who was giving chase to their captain and...that other guy. "You!" he growled.

"No time for you losers!" Kirihara called out as he rushed by.

That only served to enrage the red-head even more, and with a "get back here!" he joined in the chase.

Shinji blinked, then shrugged again and followed.

 

 

"Think they saw us?" Yanagi smiled.

Tachibana smacked himself in the forehead.

 

 

Yukimura Seiichi smiled at the small potted plant he held, then put it back down. "I just don't know which one to get. They're all so lovely." He turned to the other teen. "What do you think, Genichirou?"

Sanada resisted the urge to say 'none are as lovely as you', and settled with "Get whichever one you want." He tried making himself look stern by crossing his arms over his chest, but really, watching the beautiful boy among the flowers almost melted his heart on the spot.

"You're no help."

The taller teen looked back at the plants, still convinced that none of them were anywhere near as beautiful as his captain. But when he heard Yukimura call his name, he turned and saw half his team, and several members of the Fudomine tennis team running toward, then past him. "What the...?"

"Genichirou, let's follow them!"

"Let's not..." But it was too late; once Yukimura grabbed his hand he was helpless to do anything but run after.

 

 

"Does your team have tracking devices on you or something!?"

"Actually, I'm the one who has tracking devices on them. .... I suppose I should have seen this coming."

".... You're kidding, right?"

Yanagi only chuckled in response.

 

 

They were a bit out of the way, but the two boys generally preferred these street courts to those in Tokyo. They were less crowded, and there wasn't as much of a chance of them running into someone they knew, so they didn't have to feel as self-conscious if a mistake was made.

Well, that was what they thought, anyway, but when Mori Tatsunori suddenly stopped playing, Uchimura Kyosuke also stopped and followed his shocked gaze. So much for not seeing anyone you knew, when your team captain and other team members, plus half of a rival team went running by in some kind of bizarre race.

The two looked at each other, then wordlessly ran and grabbed their bags, putting away their rackets on the go as they joined the chase.

 

 

Really, this was getting quite ridiculous. "This is all your fault, you know."

"Oh?" Yanagi questioned innocently.

"You just had to kiss me then, didn't you?"

"You weren't resisting."

".... It's still your fault."

 

 

Most people would think it a bit rude to answer one's cell phone in the middle of a date. Yagyuu Hiroshi certainly made sure his own PHS was on silent mode so the evening could go uninterrupted. It was the gentlemanly thing to do, after all.

Which was, of course, probably the very reason Niou Masaharu chose to not only have his phone on loud, but had answered it before the first ring was even finished.

"Yes," he was saying into to receiver. "Yes. We're right near there. .... How long? ... Ok, we'll be right there." And then he hung up.

"Masa-" Yagyuu cut off what he was going to say when Niou stood up, throwing several yen bills on the table and snatching up his jacket.

"Come on. Something fun is happening."

 

 

Kirihara cackled as he slipped his phone back into his pocket.

 

 

He had taken Tachibana's hand, helping pull him along as they ran from their pursuers. But he could tell the other's leg was bothering him. The limp was becoming more prominent, and he caught him wincing in pain a few times. No doubt, they would have to stop before too long, or else there could be some serious damage.

When a pair of figures stepped into their path on the sidewalk, he slowed their pace. He knew that rat-tail, and those glinting glasses. Niou and Yagyuu had cut them off.

Thinking quickly, Yanagi lead Tachibana down an alleyway, where he grabbed a door at random and went in. They found themselves in the kitchen of some restaurant, which they quickly made their way through until they'd found and exited through the front door. A glance back confirmed it had worked, they'd thrown the others off their scent...for now.

They ducked into a coffee shoppe, grabbing a seat in a booth near the back of the place. Yanagi fetched them both some water, then came and kneeled by Tachibana's leg. "Does it hurt?" he asked as he began to massage his boyfriend's lower leg and ankle.

"Just a little," the other teen answered, then winced again.

Until all of a sudden Yanagi paused, then jumped back into the booth, pulling Tachibana down so they were hidden by the back of the seat. They both peeked over, seeing those they were running from pass by the shoppe's window. "They're searching for us."

Well, really it looked more like Bunta, Yukimura, and Kirihara were looking for them. Kamio was bitching at Kirihara, who wasn't really listening, and everyone else was pretty much just there for the ride. But, strangely, they were for the most part all getting along and even having a good time.

It made Yanagi chuckle.

"You're enjoying this, aren't you?"

"Well, it is a bit fun."

Tachibana didn't respond, but turned back around in the seat, sinking low, and pulled out his cell phone. Speed dial number 6 - he would take care of this.

With a tilt of the head, the other teen questioned, "Who are you calling?"

"Backup."

 

 

Though they were quite a bit down the street, Jackal heard the door of the coffee shoppe they'd passed a ways back open slowly - far too slowly to be just a casual customer exiting. A look back confirmed it was Yanagi and his friend coming out tentatively. They paused when they saw they'd been spotted, and the Brazilian teen waved them off, trying to communicate to the pair that he wouldn't rat them out, but they had to get going before-

"There they are!"

-they were spotted.

Jackal hung his head and said a little prayer for the couple as they again took off running down the street. And as the rest of his and Fudomine's teammates ran by him, he heaved a sigh, then followed behind.

This time, though, Tachibana seemed to be the one leading the way. Darting down alleyways and hiding behind things and people. They'd almost lost their pursuers a few times, but with so many pairs of eyes on the lookout, it was hard to be obscure for long.

They eventually found themselves on the town's main street, and the chasers caught sight of a human silhouette just beyond the chasees. It was definitely a person, and a tall one at that, and Tachibana clapped him a high-five as the couple ran by.

The Fudomine students quickly recognized the figure as their own Ishida Tetsu, the tallest and physically strongest on their team. He stood in their path, stretching out his long arms, daring anyone to try to continue the pursuit of his captain. Not far behind him was Sakurai Masaya, standing by as backup.

This was how they worked; the members of Fudomine would do anything Tachibana asked of them, and if it meant fighting for him, as he always did for them, then so be it.

Not that that was the case here. The chase was a fun game, but nobody really felt like taking it that far. Half of the teens were there just because their friends were anyway. So that's where it ended. Kirihara playfully snapped his fingers in defeat, and Kamio continued to yell at him, even as they all went for a bit to eat at Yukimura's suggestion.

The two rival school teams got to know each other a little better, all because of a kiss.

 

 

The pair stopped running when they saw Tachibana's plan had worked and the pursuit had ended. Finally they were able to continue the night alone together.

"Thank goodness that's over." Tachibana sighed, but couldn't hide a chuckle as he looked up at the other.

And Yanagi smiled back, then pulled his boyfriend to him, bringing their faces close. "Now, where were we?"

"After all that, you still want..."

"I do." Then he chuckled. "Besides, there's only a...well, 14% chance of something similar happening again."

"I suppose it's worth the risk." Tachibana grinned, then leaned in to complete the interrupted kiss.

 

 

"Na, Oishi! Isn't that Tachibana from Fudomine and Rikkai's Yanagi!?"