Kaidoh didn't stop for just every adorable kitty that crossed his path. After all, if he did that, he would never complete his daily training menu, which he had just increased, again. Kaidoh took his training very seriously.

This cat, though. It accosted him in the sidewalk and mewed at him, brushing tantalizingly up against his ankles. Kaidoh decided that it couldn't hurt to follow it into the yard. It stared at him with round blue eyes as he inched closer, down on his knees, holding out one hand and making enticing little sounds with his tongue. He was within a whisker's length of being able to stroke it when, abruptly, the cat turned and bounded away from him. It made Kaidoh sad.

"Karupin! There you are!"

Kaidoh recognized the voice. He looked up to see the kitty he had been courting perched in the arms of a familiar boy wearing a cap who was looking down on him.

"I didn't know you liked cats, Kaidoh-sempai," Echizen added. He sounded amused.

"Uh ... fshuu!" Kaidoh stood up, a little too late, and expelled an angry breath. Echizen didn't look the least bit intimidated. Kaidoh balled his hands into fists, fingernails chewing at his palms, but he couldn't slam his fists into Echizen. The kitty might get hurt.

He turned around like he didn't even care and kept running.

The next day, Kaidoh decided that he needed a new route for his evening run. This new route just happened to take him through the Echizens' neighborhood three or four times, but that was just a coincidence and had nothing whatsoever to do with him looking for a certain fluffy Himalayan that might be roaming the sidewalks.

He spotted the cat in question when he swung by for a fifth time, just in case. "Here, Karupin," he crooned. He took off the bandana he was wearing and held it out enticingly. "Here, kitty, kitty, kitty." He figured he was pretty safe from being caught by anyone he knew. After all, he was in the courtyard of a temple and he didn't exactly see Echizen spending a lot of time around temples.

"You should scratch him behind his ears, Kaidoh-sempai. He likes that."

Kaidoh started and almost dumped the kitty off of his lap in his embarrassment. "Shut up," he said instead. He didn't need any stupid freshman to tell him how to pet cats. He was an expert on the subject.

Echizen was smirking at him again. Kaidoh was ready to set Karupin down -- very carefully, of course -- so he could smash Echizen's stupid face in the way he smashed his own knee with his racket after their match, but then Echizen came closer and knelt beside him and buried his face in Karupin's fur.

Kaidoh wondered if Echizen realized how he was breathing right there, warm against Kaidoh's arm, which had gone all shivery and gooseflesh on him. Karupin began to purr blissfully, rubbing his head along the curve of Echizen's neck. "See?" Echizen murmured cheekily. "Mada mada dane, Kaidoh-senpai."

Kaidoh's hiss turned into a gasp. Echizen was running his hand along Kaidoh's jaw, fluffing his fingers though Kaidoh's sweaty matted hair. They were pressed together close with Karupin's warmth between them, and Kaidoh didn't know what to do, how to breathe. He was hot and shaky.

The brim of Echizen's cap bumped up against his chin and he tore it off and threw it away. Echizen looked up at him and his eyes were wide and he didn't look so sure of himself any more. Karupin dug his claws into Kaidoh's shorts to keep his place as Kaidoh mashed his lips up against Echizen's mouth and started kissing him.

It was warm and wet and Echizen was making frantic little sounds and Kaidoh kind of liked it. He only stopped because Karupin, trapped between them, was meowing loudly for their attention. He dropped Echizen, who fell back on his elbows in the grass, and began to stroke Karupin reassuringly. Karupin settled onto his chest and started purring again.

"I think he likes you, senpai," Echizen said weakly.

The next day at practice Kaidoh showed up at practice wearing a purple bandana.

"Oi, look at mamushi!" that stupid Momoshiro shouted at everyone when he saw it. "What's the special occasion? Got a date?"

"Shut up, moron!" Kaidoh roared, tackling him.

In the ensuing chaos, Echizen slipped Kaidoh's orange bandana into his racket bag. It was partially shredded and no longer wearable, but Kaidoh hung onto it anyway.

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