Rating/Warnings: PG-13 for the battle of the (same) sexes.
Summary: Shige gives Kazamatsuri some advice about love and polyphonic ring tones.
AN: Kazamatsuri is a bitch to spell this many times. Set sometime during episode 24, before the match with Hiba Chuu (that's their name, isn't it? I am much with the fail tonight).
Kick Him When He's Down
"…so much fun!" Kazamatsuri was gushing as he untied his cleats. "Have you ever played minisoccer, Fuwa-kun?"
Fuwa, fingers stilled halfway through untying his own shoes and eyes tracking Kazamatsuri's gestures, gave a noncommittal grunt.
"Oi oi," Shige hissed, glancing over to make sure Mizuno was paying attention. "Look, Tatsu-bon! Springtime romance!"
"Stop causing trouble," Mizuno replied, taking a split-second glance at Kazamatsuri and Fuwa, then tugging his shirt over his head; Shige took the opportunity to reflect that it was a good thing Mizuno had such a nice body and didn't have to depend on his personality so much.
"But, Tatsu-bon," Shige gave Mizuno a pout and dropped his own jersey on Mizuno's head as soon as it was free, "the sakura are falling and everything!"
"Could you be just a little more unsanita—oof!" Mizuno's cute little frown bowed into a surprised 'O' when Fuwa shouldered past him from behind and stomped out the door.
"Interesting." Without taking his eyes off Mizuno checking his bare back for damage, Shige stuck a hand out and caught the back of Kazamatsuri's shirt as he rushed by, apparently about to chase Fuwa down still in his uniform. "Yo, pochi, what was that all about?"
"And finish changing," Mizuno admonished. Shige blew his bangs out of his eyes, because as usual their great and wise leader was missing the most important point.
"I don't know what got into Fuwa-kun," Kazamatsuri sighed, reluctantly setting his bag back down on the bench. "I was just talking about playing Hiba Chuu at minisoccer, but when I mentioned Tenjou, he got this funny look on his face…Tenjou's thinking about quitting soccer again, and I really don't want him to, so I was thinking about calling him or maybe going back over to see him, and he made this amazing kick, he's so powerful…"
"Uh-hunnn," Shige said, giving Mizuno a raised eyebrow that Mizuno completely missed because he was so engrossed in banging his cleats against the side of the bench.
"He was supposed to come over today," Kazamatsuri finished, shoulders slumping a little as he pulled his jersey off, making Shige's ears perk. "But I guess he forgot."
Shige patted Kazamatsuri on the shoulder and assured him that that probably wasn't it, and Kazamatsuri at least had a small smile to throw over his shoulder at them when he was finally dressed and going out the door.
"Oh, by the way," Kazamatsuri paused just in the doorway. "That Inoue guy said you should wash yourself, or something, before you meet again. He seemed like he was really looking forward to it. He was amazing! I can't believe you kept him a secret even from Mizuno-kun."
"Heh heh," Shige rubbed the back of his neck as Kazamatsuri gave them a last wave and bounced out the door, then turned back to Mizuno. "Trouble in paradise already, hunh, Tatsu-bon?"
"Don't call me that," Mizuno snapped, staring off to the side with his hands jammed in his pockets. "Coach wants to see us."
"Uh, yeah, okay." Shige blinked, but Mizuno was already turning on his heel.
Shige took a moment on the Kazamatsuri's doorstep to get a smile much brighter than he felt firmly affixed on his face before ringing the bell.
"Ah, you're a bit early, but if you just give me a…" Kazamatsuri's brother flung the door open with wet hair, a shirt buttoned one button wrong, and a slightly panicked expression. He was halfway through a very deep bow before he lifted his head, blinking. "…Shige-kun?"
"Hot date, Kazamatsuri-san?" Shige inquired, fighting down snickers, and Kazamatsuri-san ran a hand through hair and sheepishly invited Shige inside.
"To tell you the truth, I'm glad you came over," Kazamatsuri-san explained quietly as Shige kicked off his sneakers. Behind him the sound of the TV blaring echoed down the hall. "Shou seems a bit down about something, and I was thinking about canceling my date so he wouldn't be alone, but he says it's nothing. Maybe you can…"
"Say no more!" Shige brandished the plastic bag dangling from his wrist and jabbed himself in the chest with his thumb. "I have just the thing. You go on your date and leave the kid to Shige-sama."
Kazamatsuri did seem in low spirits when Shige entered the living room, sprawled on his stomach in front of the television with his chin propped up on his hands. Shige cleared his throat, making Kazamatsuri scramble to a sitting position with an exclaimed "Shige-san!"
"Yo, pochi." Shige dropped to the floor next to Kazamatsuri and gave him the biggest grin he could manage. "I thought you could use some cheering up after your fight with Fuwa, so I brought some kung-fu and horror movies over."
"It wasn't really a fight," Kazamatsuri was twisting the toe of his sock between two fingers, "and I don't really like those kinds of movies, Shige-san."
"I thought that might be the case," Shige sighed, rifling through the bag, and pulling out a PS2 game case. "So I brought this too."
"World Cup Extreme Melee!" Kazamatsuri exclaimed, eyes wide as Shige dropped it into his hands. "I've been looking for this everywhere!"
"Yeah, well," Shige put on his nonchalant face and waved a hand, "I know a guy who knows a guy who does some illegal thing or other…oh come on, I'm just kidding! Are you gonna put that thing in the playstation or what?"
"I heard if you go to PKs on Insane Mode and make the first four shots, you get to kick Beckham's head instead of a ball," Kazamatsuri exclaimed as he was scrambling forward to pop open the console and untangle the controllers.
Shige chuckled at Kazamatsuri rambling on about several other rather far-fetched game rumors and dug an enormous bag of wasabi-flavored cheese puffs out of the convenience store sack and tossed the emtpy sack aside. He tore the cheese puff bag open and popped a few in his mouth, then shook the bag at Kazamatsuri when he scooted back and tossed Shige a controller.
"How'd you know these were my favorite flavor?" Kazamatsuri asked as he breezed past the start screens.
"Best thing for a broken heart," Shige replied, snickering when Kazamatsuri jerked his head up in surprise and accidentally selected France. Shige took pity on the poor kid and hit the back button, smiling knowingly.
"Shige-san!" Kazamatsuri protested, blushing furiously while he turned back to the screen. "Fuwa-kun and I aren't like you and Mi—" Kazamatsuri interrupted himself suddenly by shoving a handful of cheese puffs in his mouth.
Shige's jaw dangled for a second, then he burst out laughing. "Pochi, you dog! There's no getting past a forward's sense, I guess!"
"Sowy," Kazamatsuri apologized through his full mouth.
"We haven't been as careful around corners as we could have, hmm?" Shige laughed again when Kazamatsuri nodded, face now beet red, and ruffled his hair. "Just do me a favor and keep it on the downlow, okay? If Mizuno hears about this, I'll never get any play."
Shige grinned to himself and kept his eyes on the screen for the next few minutes, letting Kazamatsuri stew in silence until Italy was up 2-1.
"Shige-san," Kazamatsuri cleared his throat, "you don't think Fuwa-kun…"
"Aha!" Shige dropped his controller and flung an arm around Kazamatsuri's neck to knuckle his hair. "Don't you worry, pochi, I'll teach you everything I know!"
"Everything you know about what?" Kazamatsuri asked, trying to shake off Shige and using the opportunity to tie the score.
"About the game of course!" Shige let go of Kazamatsuri and made a moue of distaste at the Japanese soccer player on the screen doing the obscene victory dance. "Love is a game, just like soccer!"
"Shige-san," Kazamatsuri protested, scrounging a few more cheese puffs out of the bag, "I don't think…"
"The first rule," Shige plowed right through both Kazamatsuri's objections and his shoddy defensive line, "is that you never answer the phone during a fight."
"We aren't fighting," Kazamatsuri gave up on the actual play and started just hitting the X button as fast as he could, "and Fuwa-kun wouldn't call me! Fuwa-kun doesn’t even know my…"
The shrill of the phone made Kazamatsuri yelp and slam a random combination of shoulder and front buttons, causing his goalie to make a spectacular save. Shige squinted at the screen in disgust before pausing the game. Kazamatsuri was already scrambling off the floor, and Shige shouted at him not to answer it.
"I'm just seeing who it…" Kazamatsuri skidded to a halt in front of the table with the phone on it. "…it's Fuwa-kun."
"Oh-ho!" Shige heaved himself to his feet and trotted after Kazamatsuri, peering down at the number on the phone's digital screen. "So Fuwa-kun doesn't know your number, hmm? And you just happen to know his?"
"I had to call him about practice," Kazamatsuri mumbled. Shige rolled his eyes and slapped away the hand Kazamatsuri was inching towards the phone.
"Don't answer it!" he repeated. "You can't give in! This is the battle of the sexes here!"
"We're the same sex, Shige-san," Kazamatsuri pointed out, eyes flickering towards the phone and back again, cheeks pinking adorably when he uttered the word 'sex.'
"All the more reason to get the upper hand now," Shige assured him, ushering him away from the still-chirping handset. "Why don't you go get us some sodas, hmm, and then I can finish kicking your ass already."
Shige had to give Kazamatsuri credit, he kept quiet for two and a half more sets of rings, which was far more than Shige had thought he could withstand, before finally exploding during the fourth call, which was coincidentally interrupting overtime.
"It might be important!" Kazamatsuri wailed when Shige hooked an elbow around Kazamatsuri's ankle and sent him crashing back to the floor in the middle of his hop to his feet.
"Then he'll leave a message," Shige said, not taking his eyes off the screen. "Besides, do you want to kick Beckham's head or what?"
"I didn't know the Prince of Tennis theme was unlockable in this game." Kazamatsuri furrowed his brow and twisted to peer at the television.
"The--oh!" Shige slapped the pause button and dug around in his pockets. "That's not the game, you idiot, that's my cell phone." Freeing the phone from his pocket, Shige peered at the number for a second, then dropped it on the floor with a sniff.
"Who is it?" Kazamatsuri wanted to know around a mouthful of cheese puffs, having retrieved the bag.
"Nobody, some jerk," Shige grumbled, reaching over to snatch the bag out of Kazamatsuri's hands. Kazamatsuri leaned over the phone, and Shige remembered too late that his phone showed the caller's listing in the display.
"Tatsu-bon?" Kazamatsuri read, and Shige hunched his shoulders and grunted. "Are you and Mizuno-kun having a fight too?"
"Thought you weren't having a fight." Shige shoved some cheese puffs into his mouth and crunched with deep disdain.
"Shige-san." Kazamatsuri gave Shige a hurt look, and Shige cursed his own idiocy for surrounding himself with cute people. "Oh! Was it because I said you were keeping secrets from him? I'm sorry, Shige-san!"
"Aw, don't worry about it, pochi," Shige relented, pushing the bag back across the floor. "I said some other stuff after that…I may or may not have called that Tsubasa kid cuter than Mizuno…look," Shige stretched out his hand towards the phone, "I better…"
"Ah ah ah!" Kazamatsuri snatched up the phone and held it over his head, leaning way back. "Don't give in, Shige-san! Hang in there!"
Shige pounced on Kazamatsuri, but Kazamatsuri waved the phone further away, giggling and kicking, while Shige howled indignantly that Kazamatsuri was an ungrateful bastard and Kimeru continued wailing polyphonically in the background.
They were interrupted by the front door slamming, and both of them scrambled back to a sitting position, faces red and chests heaving. Shige snatched his phone out of Kazamatsuri's hand victoriously, then heaved a sigh when he saw that it had already shunted Mizuno to voice mail, and shoved it back in his pocket.
"Yo," Kazamatsuri-san said forlornly, shuffling into the room and flopping down on the couch. "Looks like you're feeling better, Shou."
"How did your date…" Kazamatsuri exchanged a look with Shige when his brother let his head clunk against the back of the couch, "…I mean, you're home kind of…uh…"
"Enjoy your youth!" Kazamatsuri-san exclaimed, making both boys jump. "It's a cold, cruel world, Shou-chan, and women are the enemy! It's the battle of the sexes!"
Expression sympathetic, Kazamatsuri reached up to hand his brother the bag of cheese puffs and his controller, while Shige looked on with proud eyes.
" 'Ey," Kazamatsuri-san asked through a full mouth a little while later, "Zat th' tel'phone?"
"Don't answer it!" Kazamatsuri and Shige chorused.
"Also," Kazamatsuri-san swallowed, "why does the ball look like David Beckham's head?"
"I see him," Shige said out of the corner of his mouth to Kazamatsuri, who was reaching up to yank on Shige's sleeve. "Just wait for it…wait…oh, good morning, Mizuno-kun."
"Shige…kun…" Mizuno's eyebrow twitched a little, but then he held out a brightly-colored can towards Shige with a small bow. His other hand had an opened can of the same flavor. "The vending machine out the east doors gave me two cans of energy drink this morning, so I thought you might…"
"Wait." Shige held up a hand, making Mizuno's jaw drop just a little. "Good morning, Fuwa-kun."
"Morning," Fuwa, who had just strode up the walk, said gruffly, then turned to Kazamatsuri. "Kazamatsuri-kun, I…about yesterday…" Fuwa's lips twisted a little more tightly, then he abruptly gave a deep bow.
Kazamatsuri blinked, then looked up at Shige; Shige shrugged and waved a hand to say it was up to him.
"Don't worry about it Fuwa-kun!" Kazamatsuri said brightly, seizing Fuwa's arm and hauling him upright, then dragging him off at a pace that nearly had Fuwa tripping over his own feet. "Want to come over today instead? Shige-san leant me this great game where you can kick Beckham's head instead of a ball in the PKs!"
"Okay," Shige turned back to Mizuno, whose jaw was still dangling, as Kazamatsuri led Fuwa out of earshot. "Now, are you going to actually apologize or are you just going to feed me pathetic lines about malfunctioning vending machines?"
"It's not a line," Mizuno grumbled, straightening up, shoulders stiff.
"We both know," Shige folded his arms patiently, "that even if there were a vending machine at the east entrance, that the only place that sells that flavor of energy drink, which you know very well is my favorite and I know very well that you hate, is a convenience store four kilometers from here."
Shige met Mizuno's eyes steadily, one eyebrow raised, until Mizuno scowled and bowed again.
"I'm very sorry I called you an attention-deficit cockwhore," Mizuno said through gritted teeth.
"Thank you, apology accepted," Shige said graciously, then as Mizuno was straightening up, added, "and I'm sorry I called you a grasping, high-strung, sexually-repressed Daddy's boy."
"You called me a what?!"
Smiling, Shige reached out while Mizuno was still spluttering and slid the open can out of his hands. A slight blush crossed Mizuno's cheeks when Shige put his lips over the smudges from Mizuno's and took a long drink, but he did return a micro-version of Shige's smile when Shige tucked the opened can back into Mizuno's hand and the unopened one into his own bag.
Mizuno's smile got a little bigger when Shige suggested they visit this east entrance vending machine of his after all, but as they neared the corner, Shige heard a high-pitched "Fuwa-kun!" drifting out of the niche he'd been thinking of and had to drag a scandalized Mizuno back in the other direction while muffling proud snickers.