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The Probability of Dating - Chapter 2

Title: The Probability of Dating

Author:
Sinnatious

Summary: InuiRyo.  Inui calculates that there is only a 0.02% chance that Echizen Ryoma would be willing to date him.  Fortunately, data can be changed.

Rating: PGish.  Rating for shonen ai and innuendo.

Author’s Note:  Cheers to all the people who aren't even InuiRyo fans but are giving the fic a chance anyway!  :D


 _____________________________

The Probability of Dating

Chapter 2


By Sinnatious
_____________________________

Before Inui could begin creating any plans, he needed data. Most of his information on Echizen was woefully out of date, as during the two years before the team was reunited most news on the young tennis star came through Kikumaru and Momoshiro, and was thus unreliable. 
 
To acquire more data, he needed to talk to the freshman. This worked out rather well, as by Inui’s reckoning conversation was an important step along the path to dating. At least, that was what was stated in the three different relationship advice books he’d read in preparation for this endeavour.
 
To instigate conversation, the senior needed a safe topic on which to launch. Fortunately he already possessed an appropriate platform. He bade his time, waiting for a moment when Echizen was alone and unlikely to be dragged away by Momoshiro or Kikumaru for at least a few minutes. An opportunity arrived when the freshman finished his drills early in morning practice. Inui pounced.
 
Echizen saw him coming of course, watching his approach with a wary eye. When he was only a few feet away, Inui halted and cleared his throat. This was the first step of many. It would be unfortunate if he were to mess it up.
 
"Echizen. If you have a moment, I was wondering if you could fill me in on the tournament details of your last year at Seigaku middle school."
 
The first year seemed surprised - or at least, Inui interpreted the small pause as one signifying surprise. "Maa, senpai, you mean you don't know already?"
 
"I am aware that you did not make it past the second match in the Kantou playoffs, but I am afraid that both tournaments coincided with our own club events so I was unable to attend and gather data as I planned."
 
"Che, that's the problem with your data-gathering, senpai. There are only so many places you can be at once."
 
"A shortcoming I am well aware of. Humour me?"
 
Shrugging, Echizen replied, "It's as you said. We only made it to the second match of the Kantou Tournament.”
 
"I am surprised to hear that, given your performance the previous two years."
 
Echizen was silent for a moment, and Inui worried that he was going to have to drag the report out one sentence at a time. After a moment, however, his kouhai started relaying the story in a suffering tone.
 
"My second year I was first singles, Kaidoh-senpai second and Momoshiro-senpai third. We had Arai and Kachirou in first doubles – they turned out to be a pretty good match - and a solid singles line-up. Last year was a different story. Arai-senpai had left, and alone Kachirou wasn’t strong enough for anything other than third singles. There were a couple of decent junior players, but none that were balanced - pit them against a countering specialist or a strong all-rounder, and they usually crumbled. Ryuuzaki-sensei got around that for the first few matches by putting me in third singles and all of the remaining strongest in doubles, like Fudomine did to Hyotei, but the other schools eventually figured out what we were doing and that was the end of that plan.” Ryoma paused, tugging on his cap. “Heh, never thought I'd be playing against other captains in third singles."
 
"You won, of course," Inui prompted.
 
"Of course I won, but one strong player can't take a team to the Nationals, Inui-senpai. Tezuka-buchou has already proven that. It was a miracle we made it to the Kantou tournament at all with that team of regulars.” He yawned. “Ryuuzaki-sensei complained a lot about how it was such a letdown after the Nationals three years ago. She thought we'd draw a whole lot of strong players to the school after that."
 
Inui nodded. Honestly, this was all information he already knew – Horio had been willing to talk about the tournament in lengthy detail as soon as he was asked. It exceeded his expectations that they'd made it even that far - Echizen had done a lot with the very little he'd been given. That was a problem with many clubs who had too much of their talent weighted in their senior year - sometimes it stagnated the development of the freshmen and juniors, so the school would wind up in a cycle of having a strong club every three years. Fudomine's middle school tennis club was suffering a similar cycle at the moment.
 
“Do you have any plans now that you’re on the high school team?” Inui asked. It would be difficult to segue into more personal conversation, so he would have to settle for keeping close to tennis for the time being.
 
“Nothing in particular. We’re going to the Nationals, right?” Ryoma replied with a lopsided smirk.
 
Inui found himself smiling in response. “I suppose we are.”
 
It was a start, at least.
 
………………………………………………………
 
 
Over the course of several days, Inui constructed various excuses to talk to Echizen several more times. While the freshman didn’t seem to think that there was anything odd about Inui fishing for information – he was famed for it, after all – it didn’t mean that his kouhai was at all willing to share. His lack of progress was slightly distressing. Inui tried to approach Momoshiro and the other freshmen for information as well, but they were even less help. They could give him vague factoids – ‘Echizen likes Japanese food’ or ‘Echizen shops at this sports store’ or ‘Echizen drinks a lot of Ponta’ – but Inui was already quite aware of these vague facts. He needed details. Which Japanese foods were Echizen’s favourites, did he still buy the same brands as he did in junior high, and exactly how much Ponta did he drink per day? They couldn’t answer these questions.
 
Echizen was apparently a tough nut to crack. Inui was finding himself enjoying the challenge, but was starting to worry that he might provide the same sort of data gathering troubles as Tezuka and Fuji. Collecting data on his tennis alone was already a difficult task with his perpetually ridiculous rate of improvement, and it didn’t appear that gathering personal data was going to be any easier. The first year was not forthcoming on much with his life – most everything the senior discovered came as a surprise. And just when he thought he knew all of the most important facts something would completely blindside him. 
 
His personality was full of mysteries and inconsistencies, too. He’d already noted his teammate's natural reticence some time ago, but Inui became curious when he observed the unusual sorts of friendships Echizen had formed with the rest of the team in closer detail. He was outwardly antisocial, but the mere fact that he succeeded in mooching burgers from Momoshiro and Kikumaru on such a regular basis was proof of some sort of consciously exploited social skill. 
 
Yes, socially he was an enigma. It was a fascinating exercise – the likes of which he’d not undertaken since his one-sided rivalry with Tezuka in junior high. But Inui recognised that he’d reached an impasse. He wasn’t going to be able to gather more data as things currently stood. 
 
It was time to start the courting process. 
 
Seigaku’s data master was not labouring under any misconceptions of gifts and sweet talk. His task was far more difficult. There were already plenty of girls who tried such tactics and were met with a blank stare when they tried to confess their feelings. And even if he could get Echizen thinking romantically the odds of the freshman even considering him were phenomenally low.
 
It was going to have to be a slow, carefully balanced process. The first step was to spend time in Echizen’s presence.
 
“Echizen! Want to come for burgers?” Momoshiro called, slapping his friend on the back so hard that he stumbled forward.
 
Adjusting his cap, Echizen agreed, “Sure, Momo-senpai. If you’re paying.”
 
“You’re going to eat through my entire allowance!” Momoshiro complained. “Hey, I know – Kikumaru-senpai! Come for burgers with us!”
 
The acrobat hopped on one foot while doing up the buttons on his school uniform. “Unyaaa, I don’t think I have enough for all of us, Momo!”
 
Inui stepped up. “Do you mind if I accompany you?”
 
The three of them froze simultaneously. Momoshiro in particular looked as though he’d seen a ghost. “Eh? You want to come with us, Inui-senpai?”
 
He nodded, adjusting his glasses nervously. “I have errands to run in the area, and was planning to eat first.” It was the truth, albeit slightly twisted to give a different meaning. His errand was spending more time in Echizen’s company, and he was planning to join them for burgers to that end. 
 
They accepted it easily enough, though there was 70 percent chance it was mostly out of politeness. “Sure, you can come along.” Sensing an opportunity, Momoshiro called out, “Anyone else want to join us?”
 
It turned into something of a team gathering after that, as Oishi and Fuji decided to join them also. Kikumaru was suitably delighted to have his doubles partner accompany them, and Inui was similarly pleased as the extra numbers acted as camouflage. He managed to secure a seat diagonal to Echizen’s, and gathered some excellent data. The nutritional value of the food was less than stellar, but he’d been expecting that much.
 
Three days later, he joined them again. They didn’t think anything unusual about it this time, though he took a backseat in most of the conversations, not wanting to make things awkward by intruding. 
 
After he’d gone out to burgers with them several times, Inui was confident that he had enough data to proceed with the next stage of his plan. On a day when he knew that both Momoshiro and Kikumaru would be otherwise occupied, Inui approached his quarry.
 
"Echizen, do you have some time?"
 
The freshman didn't pause in packing his racquet bag. "What for?"
 
"Your training menu. I'd like to monitor it for one day to better adjust it for your needs."
 
"You want to gather data, you mean," Echizen stated bluntly.
 
That was true, but it wasn't the sort of data the young regular thought it was. "I don't expect that any data I do gather would be useful in the ranking matches, if that's what you’re worried about. I simply thought - after witnessing your last few matches - that your training menu could use some changes to prevent you becoming unbalanced."
 
When Echizen still didn't look convinced, he continued, "I did a similar thing for Kaidoh. His game improved dramatically as a result."
 
The first year wavered a little at that. Tezuka had shown an abrupt improvement in his game recently as well, and it was plainly obvious to anyone with eyes that the team’s youngest member was worried about the captain outpacing him again. Inui wasn't above utilising that tiny insecurity for his own benefit.
 
“…Okay then,” he relented. “Normally I go out with Momo-senpai first, but since he’s busy today…”
 
Inui resisted the urge to grin madly. “After you, then.”
 
So the afternoon was spent watching Echizen run through his personal training menu – most of it involved hitting a ball against a wall while wearing weights. Inui mentally adjusted his data, knowing that his subject was probably doing more exercises than normal simply because he was being observed.
 
They didn’t talk for the most part. It was a comfortable sort of silence, punctuated only by Echizen’s light breathing and the scribble of pen across paper. At some point the freshman tired of repetitive hitting and started jogging around the block. Echizen had very nice legs, Inui noted dispassionately. 
 
After a lengthy jog and a round of sit-ups, the freshman flopped back against the grass. “I’m done for today.”
 
Inui nodded. He suspected that the first year was also planning on playing against his father later in the evening, but had no way of confirming that suspicion. “Very good. I already have several ideas to balance out your menu nicely.” He cleared his throat. “Are you still drinking two glasses of milk a day?”
 
He was met with a vaguely guilty expression.
 
“I take it you haven’t been keeping to it regularly, then.” Inui made a note in his book.
 
Echizen frowned. “It’s not like I’m that short.”
 
“You’ve only put on five inches over the past three years, bringing your height to… five feet four inches.”
 
The frown transformed into a scowl.
 
“The milk will help,” Inui assured. “Trust me.”
 
The freshman sighed, shoulders slumping. “Che. Fine.”
 
“I’ll leave you to it, then,” Inui announced, shutting his notebook with a snap. “I’ll review the data tonight, and have a revised training schedule for you tomorrow.”
 
Echizen stared at him. In the setting sun, his eyes took on a golden hue. Inui was intrigued by the observation. “Ok. Thanks, senpai.”
 

Comments

( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Feb. 11th, 2009 10:40 am (UTC)
ohaithar
err. first comment poster? :D


with you writing it, seems like InuRyo is made of WIN. Then again, I guess any pairing that you'd write would be made of win as well. xD


and by the way, am lurker who is too lazy to make an LJ, but would spend a sleepless night waiting for the next installment of whatever ficcy you're writing.


...and there are prolly more people out there like me. :))


I love the way Inui isn't OOC at this. most of the time at InuRyo ficcies he becomes extremely un-Inui.
sinnatious
Feb. 11th, 2009 10:56 am (UTC)
Re: ohaithar
*waves* Greetings lurker!

:P Lucky I don't friends lock too many things then I guess! And you don't need to lose sleep - I normally update on Wednesdays and Sundays (maybe Tuesdays and Saturdays if you're in the States) for longfics, and will normally say so if there's something that will prevent this. ^__^

Such kind words, thank you very much! Hopefully future chapters can keep the characterisation on track. Inui's a slippery fish. (OVA reference totally intended).
(Anonymous)
Feb. 11th, 2009 01:56 pm (UTC)
Re: ohaithar
lol@fish.

kind words? not really... you deserve it :)

oh look~ another lurker posted a comment! XD we're starting to show up now, ahaha.
sinnatious
Feb. 12th, 2009 11:05 am (UTC)
Re: ohaithar
Hmm, I don't know. I have no way of knowing that it's not just the same person trying to prove a point! ;)

But then, by that logic, I have no proof that every other comment isn't the sockpuppet of one very talented roleplayer, either.

...I'm not paranoid. Really. :D
superultragddya
Feb. 24th, 2009 07:29 pm (UTC)
Re: ohaithar
My father agrees.
ankoku_tenshi
Feb. 11th, 2009 02:31 pm (UTC)
It's really cute. I didn't think I'd ever see it that way, but it's really cute.
shiluette
Feb. 11th, 2009 10:47 am (UTC)
I did not know that Inui and Ryoma could be this cute together.
Inui resisted the urge to grin madly. “After you, then.”

YES, I just squeed so loudly at that part.
You just convinced me that this is a pairing that could actually work :DDDDD WINWINWIN
sinnatious
Feb. 11th, 2009 11:56 am (UTC)
ME NEITHER. We are forging new frontiers! :3
agentlerain
Feb. 11th, 2009 01:09 pm (UTC)
I just find it hilarious! The image of Inui looking at Ryoma's legs and going, "Not bad, not bad at all." keeps running through my head. *rolls on the floor with laughter*

:3 Inui is such <3. He's hilariously canon and sweet and cunning, and figures out ways to get closer to Ryoma like any girl who was trying to get closer to the boy she liked. :D I can't wait until Ryoma reveals he knows what Inui is trying to do. :P

Tezuka! :D :D Power-UP!
sinnatious
Feb. 12th, 2009 11:03 am (UTC)
XD Indeed, not bad at all. XDDD Oh god, now I wish I'd written that instead. How do you keep doing that?!
agentlerain
Feb. 12th, 2009 02:15 pm (UTC)
.. IT IS ALL CRACK IDEAS. >:D
(Anonymous)
Feb. 11th, 2009 01:14 pm (UTC)
Another lurker
Oh yes, I'm commenting now to confirm that INDEED there are more lurkers out there who count the days till you update (yoohoo, one here XD). Everything you write makes so much sense that it's hard to believe otherwise! Now that's a sign of a brilliant writer, other than your unbelievably brilliant plots and awesome writing style.

TezuRyo is my OTP forever, but I'll read anything you write. ;P Keep them coming!
sinnatious
Feb. 12th, 2009 11:16 am (UTC)
Re: Another lurker
:O You're multiplying! I am in denial. It's just someone not logging in and playing mind games with me... and winning. Diabolical.

Eh, I wouldn't call it a writing style - it's been very dry and utalitarian lately, something which I'm working on. But I'm glad that the believability factor is up! Thank you for your kind words. ^__^

<3 TezRyo forever, definitely.

Edited at 2009-02-12 11:18 am (UTC)
superultragddya
Feb. 24th, 2009 07:33 pm (UTC)
Re: Another lurker
WHAT'S WRONG WITH DRY AND UTALITARIAN HUH
argentum_luna
Feb. 11th, 2009 01:53 pm (UTC)
YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS GO INUI
umarekawareru
Feb. 11th, 2009 03:31 pm (UTC)
I'm cheering for you, Inui ♥ Also, nice layout, Sin ^_^
sinnatious
Feb. 12th, 2009 11:08 am (UTC)
Thanks! It only took me two years to do it! XD

(omg your icon XD)
umarekawareru
Feb. 12th, 2009 03:36 pm (UTC)
(Ahahaha I love this icon. It was love at first sight.)

♥ Your icon is pure genius as well, but I've said that many times before XD
jade_peace
Feb. 11th, 2009 11:34 pm (UTC)
YAY INUI ;3

Inui resisted the urge to grin madly. “After you, then.”

I am starting to think they are a totally cohesive pairing. =|
sinnatious
Feb. 12th, 2009 11:09 am (UTC)
Awesome. Now to make the illusion hold. :)
firedraygon97
Feb. 12th, 2009 12:38 am (UTC)
Very smooth, Inui. Very smooth. XD

I like how he's attacking this issue like an intense tennis match instead of a lovely courting. And of course, this is one way of wooing Ryoma! So cute. The milk comment at the end made my day. I wish I'd drunk more milk when I was still growing...5'3", haha. D:

Fantastic characterization. I just love how you always stay true to their characterizations, even in the most bizarre situations. Hope to see more soon!
sinnatious
Feb. 12th, 2009 11:11 am (UTC)
XD You're so tiny! I did drink a lot of milk while growing (5'9"ish), but if I'd known back then the awesome powers of milk...

Fingers crossed the characterisation doesn't stray. Glad you like it so far! ^__^
crysaliz
Feb. 12th, 2009 04:40 am (UTC)
*cues the MILK song*
superultragddya
Feb. 24th, 2009 07:41 pm (UTC)
“You’ve only put on five inches over the past three years, bringing your height to… five feet four inches.”

I LOVE THEE TO DEPTH AND BREADTH AND HEIGHT

(also man ryouma's tall D:)
sinnatious
Feb. 25th, 2009 10:45 am (UTC)
But you have to remember that Inui's 6ft/2m!

(5'4" isn't that tall! D: I'm way taller than that, and I'm hardly abnormal!)
roseofthine
Feb. 25th, 2009 04:12 pm (UTC)
HE STILL LOVES HIM TO HIS DEPTH AND BREADTH AND HEIGHT? :D

(IT IS IN CHINA OHMIGOD I AM NORMAL HEIGHT THERE HALLELUJAH *__________________*)
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )