It was a typical summer's day, hot and sunny and almost pleasant if it hadn't been for the stifling humidity. Afternoon tennis practice hadn't made it any more bearable... the sweat was slow to evaporate from their skin, so they were sticky in addition to being just intolerably hot. It was times like this that made Hiyoshi long for the cool, fanned space of his family's dojo. If he was focusing on just martial arts instead, like his father wanted him to... but no, those were idle thoughts and this was tennis.
It was oddly silent, just the sounds of summer (birds, far off children at play, etc.) and the noise of dozens of balls being hit back and forth on the asphalt courts. Kantouku was there to bark out commands, and every now and then Atobe would interject as well, though he was just as busy practicing as the rest of them. Two hours later they were being sent off to the showers, practice done for the day, though the regulars would all surely train some more on their own time. After all, Nationals was coming up.
Hiyoshi skipped the showers. He had been one of the team members who had lost during Kantou. As a sort of personal penance and way to regain his pride, he would be off to the country club instead, to train there until his mother would call his cell late into the night and force him to come home. His mind was going over training routines in his head when his foot caught on something large and heavy, and he stumbled a few steps before righting himself. He turned, hearing finally the sound of soft snores, and saw on the ground the only regular who could actually get out of missing practice without anything more than a gentle reprimand.
It wasn't strange that Jirou was sprawled out in the shade of several trees, taking a nap. What was strange (though not entirely shocking) was that Gakuto was right there with him, his head on Jirou's stomach and his hand sprayed on Jirou's face, the pinky of which was dangerously close to being covered in drool. Gakuto wasn't the type to skip out on practice, but right now he was completely oblivious to both tennis and the outside world.
Hiyoshi stepped forward, back towards the sleeping pair, and froze for one second as Gakuto shifted. His lips parted in a sigh, and short strands of red hair fluttered over his cheeks. But then he was still, and Hiyoshi leaned down, just inches away.
"Sempai," he whispered, before realizing that a more normal tone of voice would be more apt to wake him up. "Mukahi-sempai."
But Gakuto didn't move, and Hiyoshi looked around, not sure of what to do. The courts were already empty, and there was no Kabaji to wake Gakuto and carry Jirou inside. He tried again, placing a hand on Gakuto's shoulder to shake him, but drawing it away just as quickly... it made him feel self-conscious, somehow, touching his sempai like that. But Gakuto really did look so pretty, and it was with a flush on Hiyoshi's rather irritable features that he hesitantly reached out again, fingers brushing over Gakuto's hair. It felt just as silky as it had always looked, a rich scarlet against his skin, and Hiyoshi thought for a moment that Gakuto's skin and lips must also be this soft. Maybe it was the heat that emboldened him, maybe it was his fatigue, but Hiyoshi found himself leaning down, until there was only an inch between them and he could smell the vanilla of Gakuto's lip balm.
Hiyoshi turned at the familiar voice, and as soon as he saw Oshitari looking down at them from a few yards away he stood up and backed away, hoping that he didn't look anything out of the ordinary. He walked by Oshitari as though nothing had happened, eyes resolutely pointed ahead of him, but he couldn't help but notice Oshitari's knowing smirk on him as he walked by.
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