Prince of Tennis, Best Laid (The Easy as Pi Remix)

Title: Best Laid (The Easy as Pi Remix) [Inui/Kaidoh]
Rating/Warnings: PG-13 for obsessive list-making.
Summary: Inui needs a plan.
AN: Written for the 2006 Remix Redux exchange. Original story According To… by Halrloprillalar

Best Laid (The Easy as Pi Remix)

“Inui.” Tezuka loomed suddenly over the table Inui was working at outside, blocking the sun. Inui didn’t look up, just rounded the y-axis of the graph to an exact five inches with a smooth stroke of pen. He hadn’t anticipated Fuji’s improvement at deck-building to be quite so drastic, and had consequently lost four straight Pokemon games.

Damn tensai. And his Holographic Raichu.

“Tezuka. I don’t have the roster suggestions with me.”

“It’s not about that.” Inui heard Tezuka fold his arms, the stiff fabric of his uniform rustling. “What is your interest in Kaidoh?”

Inui finally did look up, blinking, and hoping that the glare of the sun off his lenses would keep his surprise from showing. “I’m improving his menu.”

“No,” Tezuka’s face was immobile, but a light breeze was making his hair appear as if it was twitching in discomfort, “I mean, what are your plans for him?”

Inui frowned. He didn’t have a plan for Kaidoh, outside of the training. And Tezuka was acting very strangely. There was a 3% chance that Tezuka was just jealous of Inui’s focus shifting away from him however briefly, but Inui didn’t…

“Fuji says you’ve spent all your free time this week with him.”

Ah, Fuji again, and Inui relaxed a little, because clearly this was just a reaction to Inui canceling their usual Golden Pair Surveillance time in order to make sure Kaidoh was adjusting to his menu smoothly.

“And Momoshiro was bragging that he beat Kaidoh by three points on their last exam.”

The frown returned. Inui had anticipated Kaidoh spending some extra time training outside of when the two of them met, but not so much that it affected his studies.

“Ah, I hadn’t realized,” he said into Tezuka’s silence. Tezuka looked mildly appeased that Inui’s attention was on him now, making Inui adjust the odds to 5%, but still very suspicious.

“Whatever your intentions are,” Tezuka said, raising an eyebrow, “I won’t have it affecting a regular’s grades.”

“I understand,” Inui said automatically, even though he really, really didn’t. Tezuka nodded curtly, his hair gave a final twitch, and he turned to go. Without thinking about it, Inui found himself calling Tezuka’s name.

“Yes?” Tezuka glanced back over his shoulder.

Inui tapped his fingers against the tabletop. “What makes you think my interest in Kaidoh extends beyond training?”

“He’s got his own notebook,” Tezuka said blandly, then turned away to return to his classroom.

7%, and what was strange about that? Inui thought to himself as closed the book in front of him and reached into his bag to pull out Kaidoh’s. He laid it down in front of him and peered at the cover for a moment.

Which was neatly labeled, “Kaidoh Kaoru, Volume 3.” Inui drummed his fingers on the table some more.

He needed a plan for Kaidoh.

******

“Inui-sempai?” Inui looked up immediately and found Kaidoh standing in front of his library table, holding up a folded rectangle of notebook paper. “I got your note.”

“Ah, good. Sit down.” Inui watched as Kaidoh set his bag on the table and slid himself into the stiff-backed library chair, and tried not to smile at the way Kaidoh kept shooting glances left and right as if they were doing something illicit. “I understand you’re having some trouble with your science class?”

“Oh,” Kaidoh’s cheeks tinted pink and he scowled at the table, “it’s nothing, sempai, I just…”

“I am a bit behind in my science as well,” Inui said, and it wasn’t even a lie because he had really spent far more time with Fuji than he had planned on after they had reviewed the backlog of surveillance footage, “so I need to work on my homework here for a little while. If you wish to do yours as well, I would be available for any questions you might have.”

“That’s really not necessary,” Kaidoh grumbled, but he didn’t get up, and after Inui had scratched down some more notes on his own paper, he heard the rustle of Kaidoh digging around in his bag and the thump of his book hitting the table.

He calculated it would take Kaidoh seven minutes to get mentally invested in his homework, but waited nine just be sure. It was worth it, because Kaidoh didn’t notice when Inui lifted his head from his work just enough to observe Kaidoh thoroughly.

Kaidoh looked exactly like 78% of the student population at Seigaku, especially in the black uniform buttoned the whole way up. His hair was a bit long and looked strange without his bandana, his eyes were brown and narrowed in concentration. His fingers were strong as they gripped the pen, but otherwise unnotable, and his penmanship was neat to the point of being utterly unaesthetic.

None of this explained why Inui’s pulse was thudding between his wrist and the table 83 times a minute. His heart stopped entirely when Kaidoh looked up and stared him in the eye.

“Is there a question you would like to ask me about your homework, sempai?”

Having no data on the subject, Inui did not feel comfortable at all making a judgment about whether Kaidoh had just made a joke, so instead he asked if Kaidoh had a spare piece of scratch paper. Kaidoh furrowed his brow a little, but handed over the folded rectangle Inui had written the note on.

The science homework could wait, Inui decided as he unfolded the page to the blank side and flattened out the crease with his thumb. This was clearly a matter of pressing importance, since it was detracting from his concentration, and Tezuka had said that he didn’t want to see any flux in a regular’s grades.

A quick glance confirmed that Kaidoh’s attention was firmly on his book. Inui jotted Plan to Win Kaidoh’s Affections at the top of the page. He felt better already.

Until he tried to come up with a step one.

*****

Inui leaned back in his desk chair and cracked his neck, then just let his head dangle there, staring at the ceiling. There was a spiral right above his head, drawn with thick black marker on the white paint, that Inui used as a visual focus when he got himself too entangled in his mental calculations to properly judge outcomes.

Tonight he just scowled at it.

On the one hand, his plan was complete. He had originally had nine steps, but knowing that genius often lies in simplicity, he managed to whittle it down to six without eliminating any possible contingencies.

There had been a step ten at one point as well, but Inui had erased it thoroughly because he felt the outcome went without saying, and also because close contact with Fuji meant writing ‘anal intercourse’ on anything connected to Inui would surely come back to bite him in the aforementioned erogenous zone.

On the other hand, to keep the success rate of the plan above 90%, Inui calculated that he could not reduce the time to anything less than 3.8 weeks. It wasn’t that Inui wasn’t willing to invest that much time in the situation, but Inui wasn’t comfortable with the amount of variables such a long-term timetable would introduce. There would be matches, rival schools, team outings…and any plan longer than 9.7 days had a 98% chance of Fuji figuring it out.

±2% for error.

Inui’s phone shrilled, interrupting his thoughts, and he reached into his pocket to get it without taking his eyes away from the spiral, then clicked it on and held it to his ear.

“It’s Inui.”

“Sempai?” Kaidoh sounded unsure, and Inui’s spine shot straight, banging his kneed hard into the underside of his desk and wrenching a curse from Inui. “Never mind…”

“Kaidoh, wait!” Inui rubbed his knee with a palm and tried to force his voice even. “I just…nothing. Is there something I can do for you?”

There was a long moment of silence in which Inui held his breath and waited for the inevitable click. When Kaidoh let out a soft hiss, Inui was so startled that he nearly hung on up him anyway.

“Are you caught up with your science, sempai?” he asked. Inui blinked.

And then it finally caught up with him that somebody had called him on the phone, and not just anybody, Kaidoh, and Inui reached into his pocket to get his phone out to call Tezuka, frowning when he found it empty.

“Sempai?”

Oh, yes. Already on the phone. With Kaidoh. A slow smile curled Inui’s lip as he realized that perhaps the time table could be shortened after all.

“Yes,” Inui said firmly, and then finally remembered what the question had been. “I am caught up. Thank you for your concern.”

“It isn’t concern!” Kaidoh barked, and Inui nearly rubbed his hands in glee at the amount of fluster in Kaidoh’s voice. “It’s just…Tezuka-buchou approached me about my grades.”

“Did he now.” Inui felt his stomach and jaw clench, and made a mental note to check the expiration date on the Juice in the fridge.

“I was wondering if you had some time.” Kaidoh’s words were halting, like they were being dragged from his lungs one syllable at a time. “For tutoring.”

Kaidoh wanted to spend with him outside of tennis. Regularly scheduled time. Inui reached down and underneath Plan to Win Kaidoh’s Affections wrote Within Two Weeks.

“I would pay you of course,” Kaidoh hurried on through Inui’s silence, “since I’d be taking up even more of your time.”

Inui underlined it.

“If it’s inconvenient to go back to school, I could come over to your house after training.”

Twice.

“Never…” Kaidoh started, just as Inui blurted “Yes!”

“I mean,” Inui cleared his throat, definitely planning to throw out that batch of Juice, “I would be happy to tutor you. It’s no trouble at all. Shall we meet tomorrow during lunch to work out the details?”

*******

The sun was warm on Inui’s neck, he had a whole page of Geometry to do, Kaidoh was coming to meet him, and Inui had a plan.

It just really couldn’t get any better, and he smiled to himself as he smoothed the paper against the table. He was going to start step one this afternoon, during practice, so he needed to make any last second revisions now.

It was going to work. Inui felt it in the tips of his fingers as he ran them over the slight indents his pencil had left in the page, saw it in the decisiveness of his strokes. It would work.

“Sempai?”

Jumping just a teensy bit, Inui quickly folded the paper in half and dropped his Geometry book on top of it, then turned to give Kaidoh an innocent smile.

“Why are you smirking like that?” Kaidoh asked, brow furrowed, but he seemed to take it at face value when Inui said that he just really liked graphing.

They spent the rest of the lunch period working out the tutoring arrangement to fit in alongside Kaidoh’s training regimen, and when the bell rang, Inui looked up in surprise. He had to run to make it the whole way to Classroom 11 in time, so he apologized quickly to a startled Kaidoh and snatched his Geometry book off the table before sprinting off.

He grinned at the memory of Kaidoh’s momentary irritation at the bell the whole way to class, even when he missed a step on the fourth staircase and went down like a ton of bricks and slammed his shoulder into the railing.

This afternoon. It was going to work.

******

Kaidoh looked away from Inui-sempai’s swiftly retreating back, and a folded piece of paper on the table caught his eye. He was reaching for it, intending to tuck it into his bag to give back to Inui-sempai later, when he noticed his name printed neatly on it.

Frowning, he picked it up and flipped it over, then relaxed when he realized it was the note asking him to meet with Inui from a few days ago. Then he saw that there was more writing on the inside and slid his thumb in between the halves of the smooth paper.

He paused there for a second; it felt a bit like spying on Inui-sempai. Kaidoh glanced to the right, then to the left, but nobody was around and it was probably just scrap paper. And anyway, it had his name on it! It had been addressed to him, hadn’t it?

Kaidoh’s eyebrows shot up when he saw the header on the inside and the two thick underlines. He slammed the paper shut again and glanced around wildly, cheeks burning.

Nobody was watching him. Class was going to start in a few minutes. Kaidoh flipped the note open again and held it close to him while he scanned the contents.

Inui-sempai certainly was thorough. The six steps on the page listed every eventuality Kaidoh could think of, and two that he would never dream of involving himself in. He rubbed his finger along the back of the page thoughtfully for a moment before realizing there were raised marks on the bottom of the page where no pencil marks were on the front.

Kaidoh glanced around again. Nobody. He was already late. It couldn’t be spying if it was addressed to him.

Kaidoh sat down at the table and pulled another piece of paper and a pencil out of his bag, then laid the second paper over top the note and began shading graphite over it with the flat of the pencil until the erased words started taking shape.

There was a moment where Kaidoh’s brain refused to process what he was seeing, then he jumped up with a yelp and shoved everything in his bag and ran to class like he could outpace his brain.

“Kaidoh-kun!” his English teacher yelled when he burst into the room, breathing hard and bowing his apologies. He was fairly sure his cheeks would never cool. “Since you can’t be punctual, you will do number 10 on the board for the class!”

*******

“I’m really fine,” Kaidoh insisted to the school nurse when he’d regained consciousness. Which, he added mentally, was more than Inui-sempai would be after practice.

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