Fandom: Prince of Tennis
Rating/Warnings: PG-13 because there's not enough for a full grip.
Summary: Grip tape.
AN: Mousapelli's Birthday Theme 3: Abuse of sports equipment is a punishable offence
In a Tight Spot
"Come on, come on!" Kamio tapped his feet impatiently on the locker room floor and watched Shinji tuck things into his tennis bag with a ridiculous amount of deliberation. "If we miss the five o'clock bus, the first press of Bad Luck's new cd might be sold out!"
It took Kamio a full three seconds to realize that Shinji was actually not going to say anything else, and that was almost more shocking than the fact that Shinji didn't want to come along with him.
"What do you mean, can't?" he demanded, sneakers skidding to a halt on the concrete floor. "I don't want to go by myself! You have to!"
"Can't," Shinji shrugged, finally zipping his tennis bag and hefting it onto his shoulder. "Have to do something."
"What is wrong with you?" Kamio said, peering at him.
"Geez," Uchimura said from the other side of the bench, "does there have to be something wrong with him because he doesn't want to spend every waking moment with you? I mean, god, could you two girls just…"
"Cool it," Mori said, shoving Uchimura's cap onto his head with his palm so that it came down over his eyes, making the smaller boy splutter. He shared an amused glance with Ishida, who was tying his bandana back on nearby.
"Nothing's wrong," Shinji insisted, staring at the floor, hands wrapped around his tennis bag's strap. "I'm just meeting someone."
"M-meeting…" Kamio's eyes went even wider, and then he grabbed the front of Shinji's jacket with both hands. "Who?! Where?!"
"It's not important!" Shinji tried to push him off, but Kamio shoved harder, knocking Shinji back into the lockers with a bang.
"What is going on?" Tachibana demanded from the doorway, and Kamio sprang back guiltily as everyone else looked up. "I'm trying to make the roster for the next tournament out here! Kamio, what are you yelling about?"
"Shinji's sneaking off somewhere," Kamio reported sulkily, folding his arms. "It sounds shady."
"I'm not sneaking off!" Shinji answered, tilting his nose up. "I'm going to Seigaku to meet Echizen and there's nothing shady about that at all and I don't see why you're getting so worked up about it and Mori and Sakurai can go to the mall with you just as easily because Sakurai likes J-pop even more than you do and Mori has this weird fetish for…"
"OI!" Mori exclaimed, cutting Shinji off. Uchimura was snickering so hard he had to lean against Ishida, who was holding up a hand in surrender to Sakurai's glare.
"Seigaku's Echizen?" Tachibana raised an eyebrow. "Why?"
"He asked me to." Shinji was back to looking at the floor.
"Is this about that stupid grip tape again?" Kamio demanded. "Because I am so sick of hearing you blather on about that damned tape, that I would buy you a million rolls of it if I never had to hear about it again!"
"Good," Shinji lifted his head to give Kamio a glare that would have peeled paint, "because after this you won't have to."
He stomped towards the door, shouldering past Tachibana, and was gone, leaving Kamio standing in the middle of the locker room with his jaw dangling.
"Would you guys get out already," Tachibana said, rolling his eyes. "Go to the mall or whatever so I can get some work done."
"You coming?" Mori asked Kamio, who had slumped back down on the bench with a scowl.
"No! I'm not in the…" the others started snickering, and Kamio scowled harder, "mood, you assholes, I'm not in the mood."
"Fudomine's Shinji." Echizen had nodded, coming out from around the corner of the clubhouse. He'd told Shinji to meet him at one of the back courts, and nobody else seemed to be around.
"Seigaku's Echizen," Shinji greeted in return. "It wasn't easy to get here, you know, it took me two bus transfers, and my teammates weren't too happy about me coming, they said it sounded shady and I couldn't really argue with them because you didn't say what you wanted to see me about, but I assumed it had to do with the grip tape because we don't really have anything else in common…"
"Yes," Echizen said. "Hold out your hands."
"You mean like this? I really don't see what that has to do with anything and, ah, you did bring the tape, but there's not really enough to do a full grip and you just taped my wrists together and I really don't see why the referee's chair has to be involved and you know this is a bit shady after all."
"Yes," Echizen said again, wrapping a last piece of tape over Shinji's wrists and around the bar of the ref's chair. He made a noise of satisfaction when Shinji tugged on the tape and it barely gave at all.
They stared at each other for a second, then Echizen smirked and dropped to his knees.
"That looked like it hurt, Echizen," Shinji spluttered when Echizen's hand slipped inside his workout pants, "the ground is really hard out here and there's all those little rocks, and you know this tape is sticking to those little hairs on my wrists in a kind of annoying way and my fingers are kind of tingly because you wrapped it too tightly and the ref chair is probably going to give me splinters and you know what you're doing down there isn't exactly hygienic—ah! Echizen!"
"Spoto," Echizen mumbled to himself with a smirk.
"There he is!" Kamio exclaimed, and Shinji peeled open an eye to see his teammates rushing across the court to him. The streetlights had come on a little while ago, glaring uglily off Kamio's bright hair.
"What took you guys so long?" Shinji started, scowling at them and tugging at the grip tape anew. "I've been stuck here for hours and hours and my fingers are all asleep and this light isn't very flattering on your hair…"
"Shut UP!" Kamio snapped, tugging uselessly on the grip tape. "I told you this was shady, but you never listen to me! Maybe if you had real sense instead of just the tennis kind!" Kamio froze, rant cutting off, when he noticed that Shinji's fly was down. He was still staring when Uchimura pushed him out of the way and went at the grip tape with his pocket knife.
"Ouch!" Shinji said when Ichida ripped him free of the tape with one good pull. "You just ripped out all the hairs on my hand, you know, but I suppose I should say thanks for freeing me, it wasn't very comfortable here and how did you find me anyway?"
"I've put tracking devices in all your phones," Tachibana said blandly.
All six second years pulled out their phones and looked at them.
"It's just like Tachibana-san to take care of us!" Sakurai grinned.
"Speaking of phones," Shinji said, "who called me forty-seven times earlier? I had it on vibrate in my pocket and it was really irritating at first but then it kept going and going and you know Echizen was taking advantage of me anyway, so I thought I might as well just enjoy it and then…"
"Will you just zip yourself up!" Kamio yelled miserably.