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The Probability of Dating - Chapter 11

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:   Only one chapter left!  \o/ Expect it Saturday/Sunday.
 

_________________________

The Probability of Dating

Chapter 11

By Sinnatious
_________________________

It just kept getting worse. And for the past three days, Inui had been powerless to stop it. He was outclassed. He didn’t have the experience to go up against someone like Fuji – and especially not when it concerned someone as notoriously difficult as Echizen.
 
“Inui. Inui,” Tezuka repeated patiently.
 
Inui blinked, snapping his attention back to the captain. “Sorry Tezuka, I was just thinking.”
 
“The ranking matches,” he prompted.
 
“Right.” The data-gatherer adjusted his glasses and shuffled through his notebook for a moment.
 
Fuji and Echizen were over by the water fountain. Fuji was saying something, but it didn’t look like Echizen was really listening.
 
“Inui.”
 
“I think that line-up will be fine. Unless there are some dark horses we don’t know about, it will be fair.” At this point, he’d probably say that simply to get Tezuka to leave him alone so he could go over there and find out what was going on.
 
“What about Inohiko? The junior who was a regular before Echizen arrived.”
 
“He’s in the block with Momoshiro and Kikumaru. There’s been a 15 percent drop in Momoshiro’s performance lately – my information suggests he’s been slacking again.”
 
Tezuka nodded. “I’ll post these next week then. Thank you for your help.”
 
“It’s fine,” Inui replied distractedly. 
 
“…Inui, is something the matter?”
 
It took him a second to remember to respond. Fuji had just placed a friendly hand on the freshman’s shoulder. “…Sorry?”
 
Tezuka studied him, brows slightly knitted. “You’ve seemed preoccupied lately.”
 
“I have been a little, yes,” he admitted absently. Echizen’s eyebrows rose slightly in response to something his senpai said. Inui still couldn’t find a good excuse to go over there and interrupt.
 
“Is it anything I can help with?”
 
“What?” He finally managed to drag his attention back to the captain. Was his distraction so obvious that even Tezuka felt compelled to offer assistance? “…You could give Fuji laps,” he suggested after a moment’s consideration.
 
That befuddled the captain briefly. “What for?” He looked mystified.
 
“Never mind,” Inui said hurriedly. The last thing he wanted was for Tezuka to get involved too. If he were to catch wind of either his or Fuji’s intentions, a ban on intra-team relationships was almost inevitable. The Golden Pair would never forgive him.
 
At least the captain wasn’t one to press issues. He just excused himself and headed to the clubhouse, while Inui turned back around to check on what was happening while his attention was diverted.
 
That was when he realised that Fuji and Echizen weren’t there anymore, and nearly panicked.
 
He took a deep breath. It was bad, certainly, but not unexpected. Fuji had been all but monopolising the freshman’s attention the past few days – Inui hadn’t even been able to get in a trip to the arcade or a tagalong to McDonalds. He was almost desperate enough to destroy his wallet for sushi again, but wasn’t even given the opportunity to ask.
 
They couldn’t have gone far. Inui headed back to the clubhouse, skipped the shower, and got changed in precisely 17 seconds – record time. He snatched up his racquet bag and notebook and left without remembering to say goodbye to anyone. 
 
There was no white cap visible near the school gates – and not on any of the roads near it, either. Inui paused at an intersection and thought for a moment. There was a set number of destinations they were likely to have gone – he would have to rank them by their probability and visit them in turn.   
 
He set out at a run.
 
Inui couldn’t explain his anxiety. Perhaps it was because it had been so many days since he’d managed to exchange more than a few words with Echizen. Perhaps it was that his chances of success were being slowly chipped away with every passing day. Perhaps it was because Echizen had looked as though he wanted to talk to him at the start of practice, before the coach had separated them all into group exercises. Perhaps it was because Fuji was looking ready to take things to the next level. All he knew was that he was gripped by an irrational sense of urgency.
 
Two and a half hours later, he was forced to conceded defeat. 
 
The street courts were empty. McDonalds was empty. The arcade was empty. The sports store Echizen normally frequented was empty. Kawamura Sushi was empty. Short of Echizen or Fuji’s homes, there wasn’t anywhere else Inui could imagine they might have gone.
 
He was exhausted from all the searching, and despondent at the loss of another day. The festival was coming so soon. Inui couldn’t afford to delay his plans much longer. If Fuji asked first and Echizen agreed to go, it was game over, and all of his effort would be for naught. Whatever chances he had remaining would instantly become zero.
 
He trudged home alone, gloomily contemplating the slow downward spiral in the probabilities that he’d worked so hard to build. The sky was painted an array of stunning oranges and pinks – on a normal day it would have been an idyllic sunset, but in his current state of mind only served to sour his mood. Inui was frustrated, and couldn’t see any rational solution to his problem.
 
Once more, he cursed his inexperience. To think that the whole affair started as an exercise in curing his ‘late bloomer’ status, only for that same inexperience to stymie him when it counted! It was a perfect cyclic dilemma. Any other time, he might have marvelled at the mathematical beauty of it.
 
He was dragging his feet past the convenience store when a flash of white caught the corner of his eye. At first he dismissed it as the flickering of the bright signs turning on as twilight began to fall, but when he heard those familiar deadpan tones his head snapped around so fast he almost got whiplash.
 
There, in the alcove between the convenience store and the closed stationery shop. The pair he’d been searching for all afternoon.
 
Echizen was leaning against the wall, Ponta in hand and looking bored. Nothing was wrong with that picture. The problem was Fuji, an arm braced against said wall, moving in. Close. Much too close
 
“Say, Ryoma – I can call you Ryoma, right?”
 
Echizen was just staring at his senpai, looking perplexed but not particularly bothered. Didn’t he realise what Fuji was planning? Or did he not care? Had Inui already lost? “It doesn’t really matter.”
 
Fuji’s smile widened. “I suppose you’re right. You know, I might have told you this before, but you really are quite amazing.”
 
Echizen smirked. “Heh, you’re not too bad yourself, senpai.”
 
“Oh?”
 
The freshman shrugged with one shoulder. “It would be better if you played seriously more often, though.”
 
“Saa, that wasn’t really what I was talking about.” He leaned in a little more.
 
“Fuji-senpai, you’re too close,” Echizen said impatiently.
 
It was the words Inui had been waiting for.
 
“But Ryoma-”
 
Fuji paused and glanced down at his wrist, caught millimetres from Echizen’s thigh. Inui tightened his grip, and the prodigy winced slightly. “Inui! I didn’t expect to see you here.”
 
Echizen seemed surprised too. “Inui-senpai?” He paused, thinking. “Oh yeah. You live around here, don’t you?”
 
Fuji should have known that too. Was he so confident that he’d already won that he would try and show off like that? Did he really expect that after all the effort Inui had put in that he’d just sit back and jealously watch as his classmate tried to steal Echizen away just for the thrill of the chase?
 
What might have happened if he didn’t turn up then? What did Fuji think he was doing, trying to seduce Echizen in such a seedy and obvious fashion? 
 
“Inui, my wrist-”
 
He dropped it, and the prodigy stepped back, rubbing it briefly. “That training menu has really been paying off for you, hasn’t it?”
 
“Fuji,” Inui warned. It was the only word he felt capable of saying.
 
“Is something the matter?” he asked innocently. 
 
Inui pressed his mouth into a thin line. “Nothing in my data ever suggested that you would seriously-”
 
“Saa, but following the data isn’t any fun, is it Inui?” The prodigy commented with a smile. Echizen watched their exchange silently, eyes bright.
 
“Unless you can prove to me that you’re-” No, not even then. Changing tack, Inui instead asked, “What were you doing?” The words were calm, certainly calmer than he felt, but he was confident that his classmate could discern the accusation in the words.
 
“Just before? We were talking about the fest-” Fuji’s phone chose that inopportune moment to ring. Appearing delighted at the distraction, he flipped it open. “Hello?” His smile brightened, and for one moment actually looked genuine and not conniving. “Yuuta! No, I hadn’t forgotten. I’m just on my way.” The prodigy snapped his phone shut. “It looks like I have to be off, Ryoma, Inui. Perhaps we can continue this another time.”
 
Not if Inui had anything to say about it.
 
“See you, Fuji-senpai,” Echizen replied in a bored tone.
 
Fuji retreated with a serene expression and an airy wave. Inui didn’t look away until he turned the corner and was out of sight. Only once he was sure the prodigy was truly gone did he switch the entirety of his attention back to the freshman still leaning against the convenience store wall.
 
"Echizen, are you okay?"

He tilted his head.  "Yeah, of course. Why wouldn't I be?"

Inui let out a sigh of relief, and patted the freshman’s hair – more to reassure himself, as he knew that his kouhai wasn’t very fond of the gesture.  That was far too close.  At least Echizen was oblivious.  Though in this case the data-gatherer was having difficulty deciding if that was a good or bad thing.  If Echizen were a little more aware Fuji might have snagged him already, but his complete lack of awareness presented dangers of its own. 
 
"Hey Inui-senpai... are you okay?"

That was a surprise.  Echizen didn't usually enquire after other people's well being.  "Why do you ask?"

The freshman shrugged, not meeting his eyes.  "You've just been... acting a bit weird, the last few days.  Never mind." He polished off the rest of his Ponta and chucked it in the nearest trashcan.
 
“You’re heading home?”
 
Golden-brown eyes checked the sky, considering. The sight briefly captivated the data gatherer. He’d missed it so much the past few days that it left him strangely emotional, seeing it again. “I guess. It looks like it’s getting late.”
 
“I’ll walk you,” he offered, falling into step beside the freshman.
 
“Weren’t you on your way home, Inui-senpai?”
 
“I feel like walking a little longer. And we haven’t spoken much this week. I hope you don’t mind my company.”
 
It was a flimsy excuse, especially considering that Echizen lived a decent distance in the other direction, but Inui couldn’t deal with even the infinitesimally small probability that Fuji might be waiting around a corner on the freshman’s route home, ready to pounce again. Even if he knew the fear was irrational – as deviant as Fuji’s habits might be, he wasn’t in the practice of molesting people without their consent. For more than a minute, anyway.
 
He revised his initial stance; he was walking the freshman to his door.
 
For his part, Echizen raised an eyebrow, but didn’t protest. 
 
They headed back under the dusky sky. Normally Inui would fill the silence with anecdotes from the past few days and an array of questions, but he wasn’t much in the mood after everything that happened. He consciously kept his pace slow enough that freshman could keep up with his longer stride – 1.3 steps for Echizen’s every one – but his mind was otherwise occupied with heavy matters.
 
All too soon, they arrived at the temple. It was almost dark. Echizen hopped up on the front step and turned around. The warm light from the house framed him, and for a second all the probabilities and percentages stopped running through Inui’s head. Not much of anything was going through it at all, actually.
 
“This is it, senpai,” Echizen said when he didn’t move. After a pause, he added, somewhat begrudgingly, “Thanks for walking me home.”
 
“It was no problem,” the senior replied quickly. His heart thudded loudly in his chest. An odd time for an increase in heart rate – the walk hadn’t been particularly strenuous.
 
The silence stretched awkwardly. Inui had the weird feeling he was supposed to do something, but didn’t know what. He didn’t have any data on what to do in this situation yet – it wasn’t something he’d foreseen.
 
In the end, he just cleared his throat. “Goodnight then. Don’t forget to drink your two glasses of milk before going to bed. The tryptophan should help relax you for a good night’s sleep and-”

Echizen just rolled his eyes.  "'Night senpai."  Then headed inside and slammed the door shut behind him.
  

Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Mar. 4th, 2009 12:30 pm (UTC)
SparklyFish
“Goodnight then. Don’t forget to drink your two glasses of milk before going to bed. The tryptophan should help relax you for a good night’s sleep and-”

Echizen just rolled his eyes. "'Night senpai." Then headed inside and slammed the door shut behind him.


LOL at Inui ruining the moment by being a geek. geek geek geek. awww and Ryoma rolled his eyes , does that mean he was expecting somthing other than that and became irritated but later amused at Inui's geekiness? or something |D

ooh love this chapter so much. And Fuji! being Fuji! oh much luffles. I have the weirdest feeling that Fuji was doing that on purpose so that he could set off Inui's wheels for action. :))

just. just. pretty. can't wait for the final chapter. *___*
sinnatious
Mar. 5th, 2009 12:32 pm (UTC)
Re: SparklyFish
<3
gayroadtrip
Mar. 4th, 2009 01:10 pm (UTC)
Jealous!Inui is such a love. But really, he can't escape being a nerd, can he? XD
sinnatious
Mar. 5th, 2009 12:32 pm (UTC)
It's in his DeoxyriboNucleic Acid. ;)
gayroadtrip
Mar. 6th, 2009 12:38 am (UTC)
Poor boy :'<
(Anonymous)
Mar. 4th, 2009 01:17 pm (UTC)
Purple Crow
You have a way of making me feel mada mada dane, like there's still a long way to go, and then suddenly -- it's the end!!! Shocker!

"The Golden Pair would never forgive him." LOL, no, they won't. XD

"It was a perfect cyclic dilemma. Any other time, he might have marvelled at the mathematical beauty of it." Oh, Inui.

"In the end, he just cleared his throat. “Goodnight then. Don’t forget to drink your two glasses of milk before going to bed. The tryptophan should help relax you for a good night’s sleep and-”" Ohhhh, Inui~

Fuji's ssoooo baiting him, and he's so oblivious. XD I never thought Inui could be this adorably dense!

All in all, a perfectly wonderful chappie, coupled with Shin Tennis no Oujisama (SO AWESOME), and my day has been made! My fever doesn't even matter anymore! Your writing is better than any medicine ever!
sinnatious
Mar. 5th, 2009 12:31 pm (UTC)
Re: Purple Crow
Yes. Apologies. Abrupt Endings seem to have become part of my writing style? I just can't stand climaxes that drag.

:O A fever? Get better soon!

(AND OMG YES SHINPURI WOOOOOOOOOOOOW *___* I THINK MY HEAD MAY EXPLODE.)
(Anonymous)
Mar. 5th, 2009 01:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Purple Crow
I <3 RYOMA'S WASABI SUSHI NECKLACE. At least... that was what it looked like to me.
umarekawareru
Mar. 4th, 2009 01:31 pm (UTC)
Eeh, Inui's getting jealous! *approves* I loved this chapter, although I'm sad that Fuji seems to be coming off as the bad guy. =(

I love that all Inui can think of doing while standing on Echizen's doorstep is to remind him to drink his milk before going to bed. *laughs* Oh Inui you awkward dork how I love you. ♥

I can't wait for the last chapter :D
sinnatious
Mar. 5th, 2009 12:28 pm (UTC)
At least Fuji is an awesome bad guy? <- always wanted to play the villain as a kid.
umarekawareru
Mar. 5th, 2009 03:32 pm (UTC)
Quite right ^^ Ah, villain roles are the best! I once got to play a character that cackled evilly at one point; it was absolutely awesome. *____*
agentlerain
Mar. 4th, 2009 03:01 pm (UTC)
I recently re-watched that Will Smith love comedy, Hitch. Have you seen it, Sin? There's a scene in it that discusses on-the-doorstep-kisses. The mathematics of it all just reminds me of Inui taking Ryoma home. XD

Possesive!Inui makes me grin all the time. Heh. Giving Fuji laps. :3 :3

Tezuka shows up briefly! :D :D :D The OTP strikes again. :P

Echizen just makes me :3 all the time because he's watching Inui-sempai get all worked up and wants to talk to him but Fuji gets in the way and heh, there's that sadistic part in him that probably sorta likes to see Inui-sempai all ruffled up like that.

<3
sinnatious
Mar. 5th, 2009 12:27 pm (UTC)
Hitch! I haven't ever seen it actually, but you make me think that maybe I should? :3

aslfjsakjf He couldn't be a COMPLETE no-show. That would be... a crime or something.
ii_crack
Mar. 4th, 2009 03:39 pm (UTC)
Oh, Inui. Makes me wonder when Echizen'll lose his patience with him -___-"

Fuji'd drop anything for Yuuta, wouldn't he? ^^
edit: What happened when Yuuta refused to go on a date with his brother but ended up going anyway?

Edited at 2009-03-04 03:40 pm (UTC)
sinnatious
Mar. 5th, 2009 12:26 pm (UTC)
asldfjlskjfsljal WHY ARE YOU LINKING ME TO AWESOME THINGS ON A WEEKNIGHT WHEN I SHOULD BE SLEEPING?
ii_crack
Mar. 5th, 2009 02:04 pm (UTC)
BLAME ME NOT BLAME YOUR TIMEZONE. IT WAS A PERFECTLY CIVIL TIME.

If I actually lived in Hawaii. I want to.
pat_ace87
Mar. 4th, 2009 03:47 pm (UTC)
INUIIIIIII XXXOOO!!!!!!!!!!!! **sigh** oblivious ~.~ ......
jade_peace
Mar. 8th, 2009 12:58 am (UTC)
JEALOUS!INUI IS HILARIOUS. 8D

<333
yumecita
Mar. 20th, 2009 10:27 pm (UTC)
i agree
haha, it mre fun like that
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )