With Ootori, it was never just a kiss.
He'd been so tired, really, of watching his teammate being so damned quiet--all the kouhai, and everyone who hadn't been on the Regulars with them all these years, thought that it was simply because Ootori just was quiet, and Hiyoshi would never say that it wasn't the truth--because, well, it would have been stupid to say that they were wrong. They weren't.
From their freshman year together in junior high, no matter how tall Ootori had always been, no matter how much his serve or his height or the rare, rare smile made him stand out, Ootori had never been one of those irritating creatures who pranced and posed, or made a fuss--he just was, and he rarely said anything unless it needed saying, and only ever showed off on the tennis court when showing off made a shot from just good to the best. He wasn't merely quiet, he was focused--intense--one of the few Regulars who Hiyoshi had felt was worth more than just what he could do on a tennis court. (Well, actually, one of the few people he actually felt was worth the air he breathed.) They didn't share a lot of classes, but from what he'd heard, Ootori wasn't any different in them as out of them.
But the Ootori Choutarou who stood across the court from him, day after hot, sticky day, had been merely quiet, not focused, his eyes not infused with silken chocolate determination, but somewhere dreamy and distant that wasn't a tennis court--since Shishido had graduated from Hyotei Gakuen and gone on to college.
Shishido had broken up with Ootori before he'd left--one of the few things that the senior had ever done that Hiyoshi had ever approved of, because honestly, Shishido had done a number of things that had dug at the very core of what the Hyotei tennis club was about. Getting back onto the team after he'd not just lost, but been dropped--Hiyoshi hadn't ever forgotten that. It didn't matter if it had paved the way for Hiyoshi to stay on, after he'd lost--if he'd been dropped, he'd have taken it at his due, not gone skittering after Sakaki with his long hair flashing behind him. Shishido had always been... unsightly, emotional.
The reasons that Hiyoshi had always disliked Shishido hadn't had anything to do with his sempai's effortless charisma that made everyone, even those who didn't like Shishido Ryou, respect him, or the way the long hair had looked tangled dark through Ootori's fingertips after Shishido'd grown it out again, or the way Ootori had always smiled when Shishido tugged the dark locks out of his fingers with a flick of his head, or the way the quirk of his lips had always made Ootori laugh. The racquet-twirling, the loud voice and vanity, all those sharp edges... it had been a miracle that Ootori hadn't cut himself on them.
At least, he hadn't until Shishido had cut him free, and then Hiyoshi had had to wonder if maybe Ootori wasn't bleeding, slowly, to death inside.
Hiyoshi was so tired of watching such lackluster tennis, Ootori in the Singles Three spot and winning his games easily just because there were no more Atobes in the tennis circuit, no more Mukahi and Oshitaris, no more doubles partners who moved across the court like every shot was a fight... rather than because there was anything even resembling spirit, or in Ootori's case, heart, in the way he played.
Hiyoshi had never realised how much passion his classmate had always put into his game until Shishido had taken all of Ootori's passion with him.
He was tired of the way those silken chocolate eyes were always drifting, far away in Waseda, and if Ootori needed something to root him in the now to stop the bleeding...
But Hiyoshi didn't taste blood when he finally grabbed Ootori by the lapels after a too-short match (he won, by a wide margin, and there wasn't even disappointment in Ootori's eyes over the way he'd lost, not just the way he'd played) and pulled him down to kiss him. He tasted shock; he tasted the quick shy motion of a mouth that he had always known was shy but never realised was quite so soft; he tasted a quiet sound that might have been a sob.
And, for the first time in a long time, he tasted the beginning of a smile on Ootori's lips.
When he pulled away, realising that he was crumpling the pressed collar of Ootori's uniform between his hands and not particularly caring, Ootori was almost--almost, like the faintest touch of the dawn that woke Hiyoshi every morning--smiling down at him, and his eyes were soft and bright and here, quiet with surprise and something that, if he'd not been Hiyoshi Wakashi, he would have called wonder.
"Be serious when you play," Hiyoshi hissed before Ootori could say anything, wondering why his breath felt like it had been stolen totally from his throat even though the match hadn't really been much of anything. "It's not worth doing if you aren't."
But... but Hiyoshi was almost smiling, too, almost, he could feel it tugging like a laugh, like a leap of joy if he'd ever done that kind of thing, and that night when he picked up his bo to do a kata and stepped onto the dojo's stretched, well-loved wood, warm beneath his callused soles, his grandfather said, softly, that he was flying on his feet.
Hiyoshi took it as he had always taken it: he accepted it, and didn't think.
He was buchou of Hyotei's tennis team, now, and maybe that was why his heart was in his throat, pushing him full like an explosion of something that wasn't relief that the now-senior was back to himself, when Ootori beat him at a one-set match the next week, and smiled at him, a silver touch of sweetness across the net, even though Hiyoshi still hadn't heard him laugh. There wasn't a chance of Hiyoshi being dropped from the team for it. The rules had changed, since Shishido. All of them had changed.
It was gekokujou at its best, and brightest, because Hiyoshi was the buchou of Hyotei Gakuen's high school team, and it was strange to be on the top, and not have anyone to overcome except, at the end, himself--or the ghosts that he wanted to cut from the memory of that faint touch of happiness that Ootori offered him so carelessly, because that little smile was his, not Shishido Ryou's.
Maybe it wasn't because he'd thought of the way Ootori's laughter had made heads turn all over the court whenever Shishido had coaxed it from him. Maybe it was because Hiyoshi had certainly heard the ripple of sighs and giggles from the bleachers at that small flushed smile, the fangirls who had moved on from Atobe to someone that Hiyoshi felt was, despite being less of a tennis player than their buchou had been, significantly less of a waste of ego that... in the empty clubroom as they closed up together for the day (Ootori stayed to help, because Ootori was so responsible) Hiyoshi pressed Ootori against the wall and dragged that mouth down to his again.
And again, the next day.
Once, twice, to bring a smile back to Ootori's face, passion back to those eyes--
Then too many times, drugging, and the excuses were the last thing on his mind.
With Ootori, it was never just a kiss, not when Ootori's hands always drifted--into Hiyoshi's hair, warm on his hips, tucked slow and smooth along the line of his back no matter how Hiyoshi always tried to keep his own arms clenched to his side to keep his traitorous hands from running up that sleek spine or tangling into short silver curls, because wasn't that just too needy for anyone?
And maybe it was, but he found his hands there anyway, pulling Ootori to him, too tightly, sliding underneath that jersey and printing his fingers along that smooth, damp spine, and he'd never realised that skin could be so soft and so hot until he had to feel it against his own, and he always got what he wanted.
Hiyoshi had always been blunt, and there was never any need to dance around Ootori--it wasn't his way to dance when he could face any opponent, any stance.
Any tenderness, when he pulled Ootori down onto the bed on top of him.
Ootori had done this before--there wasn't any other explanation for it, not for the way Ootori stretched out beside him and had hands that knew too much, holding him in long fingers before a smile tucked them lower. Hiyoshi rarely touched himself--ah, hah, gods, that felt so strange--not when a kata could purge him of the sour-edged electricity of... that, and he rarely thought of doing this (a lie) and never thought of it being Ootori Choutarou (a bigger lie, the clash of sweat down a face taut in concentration on the court brightening the memory of dreams of silver hair glistening with sweat in the moonlight as Hiyoshi tasted that innocence...)
But innocence had fingers that were callused with the violin against his skin, playing against him until his body sang a sonata, a measured kata, against his nerves, and they moved inside him so knowingly, until Hiyoshi's back arched and he clawed for his sanity against an unresisting bedspread, mouth open in a silent scream as he found out those lips were even more knowing, wrapped around him in slow, loving strokes, Ootori's fingers coaxing him open.
He'd learned this from somewhere, from someone, and Hiyoshi's eyes were closed to the sound of Ootori murmuring, "Are you okay? Is this all right, Hiyoshi?" because it was too familiar to hear the way it lilted, but the hoarse rasp in it wasn't the same at all, and suddenly Ootori was a stranger that he knew too well... because was he supposed to want the only one he'd ever been able to call a best friend, even if the title weren't returned, like this?
Since when had he ever tried to care about what he was supposed to do?
Hiyoshi made a noise that, even to his own ears, sounded too much like a whimper when he pulled Ootori up, over him, his fingers digging into shoulders that were surprisingly, unsurprisingly, taut and powerful under his pressing hands, and there was nothing soft about Ootori's body, toned and sleek and slick with the sound of breathing, salt with sweat against Hiyoshi's tongue, when Hiyoshi reached down to wrap his own practice-scarred hand around Ootori's cock and reached for the bottle of oil scented with pressed mint leaves with the other.
It hurt--ah, gods, it hurt to have Ootori sliding into him like this, but Hiyoshi had never cared about pain before--Ootori's eyes were pressing into his soul, hands and gaze and cock reaching where no-one had ever dared touch him, and Ootori's chocolate gaze was wide and filled with tears that shone but didn't fall until... until they were nestled together, two weapons sharing the same case, and then they were the sweat beaded in his hair.
He hadn't expected Ootori's soft, soft, "Hiyoshi? You're okay, right?" to which there was only one response, a growled affirmation that punctuated a nod--and most of all, he hadn't expected it to be so... so gentle, tiny little motions into him, nothing that roared the pain up his body to make it an inferno--just a slow, easy burn under which something--something--quivered in contentment, like the way his hands clenched in the bedsheets were shaking.
Then again, it was Ootori, and he couldn't be anything but gentle, could he...?
And maybe it was being so close to Ootori that made him, softer, too, gentler around the weight of that body pushing, easing into him until he could take more of his teammate, take into himself all of Ootori that had been lost when someone with blue eyes had moved away, and then give it back. He could take it without losing himself, and then maybe when they broke away, Ootori would be able to smile again, the way he'd used to... but then, he'd never smiled all that much before--before--no.
But there was passion that was still in his friend, it wasn't all ashes, and Hiyoshi heard himself gasping for breath, gasping as the contentment died a fiery death in pleasure when Ootori slid slowly across something so good within him that his mind howled with it--anything to pull the fullness deeper, his nerves shining with silver and gold and scarlet deeper than any pain when Ootori rocked against him after too long a wait, his face unsmiling but a soft, almost animal little keening sound on his lips, and for an instant, Hiyoshi realised that he wasn't wearing his cross, there was no delicate pointed weight that would have fallen to his cheek like a brand.
He'd always thought (except he didn't think about it) that it would be like a fight, clawing and slick and jagged grace and the taste of pleasure and triumph as Ootori cried his name, his, finally, and the empty weight of the air near his cheek punctuated it as Hiyoshi almost smiled. No memories, not here.
But then Ootori slid out of him, balanced at his entrance, and to fill the sudden emptiness HIyoshi's hands were gripping the bedspread, twisting the sensations of cloth and skin around him like chains to his wrists--but--but the next moment he found that his fingers were gripping sleek shoulders that tasted of sweat, and there was only skin, and the hot slick slide of Ootori against him, chest to chest and pulse to pulse that beat into him, thrusts that started slow but raced with his heartbeat towards something, something that tasted like Ootori's mouth against his, bruisingly gentle, but then Ootori tore his lips away and Hiyoshi wondered which of them was the one bleeding when the flavour of iron ran over his tongue.
He was, he'd bitten too hard, too deeply, but against the sensation of Ootori pounding into him like they were running together for the same goal, and this time, they were, thank the gods they were, the brief sting was nothing but a ricocheting pinpoint of pressure that melted under sweat, under heat, under--oh gods to swallow the instant of pain, there was the one within him that raced liquid ecstasy down his veins. And Hiyoshi's arms were over Ootori's shoulders, vista washed to silver with silk-damp hair as Ootori buried his head deep in the crook of his neck, and... and moaned, wordless. Then more, too much, that familiar sweet voice coarse as the violinist's fingers that gripped his hip and played across him in a single trembling stroke with Ootori's fingertip dipping lightly into his slit, tracing underneath the ridge of him. "Please," his teammate's voice shattered in his ears.
Hiyoshi shuddered with triumph, and Ootori's name was a gasp on his lips when the world washed white and hot, intensity that could have been pain to match that of his lip--for real, this time, oh gods he'd wanted this so much, oh gods--
Ootori didn't say anything at all, but the shudders of his body were as sweet as sobs.
It wasn't quite what he'd expected--dreamed--but it was enough, and when Ootori's head hung downwards, their foreheads brushing, the lack of a smile was only to be expected, wasn't it? Hiyoshi wasn't expecting him to smile--wasn't expecting more than the slow, heavy ache of Ootori slipping out of him and tumbling to the bed beside him. Truly.
But the soft, soughing silence of breathing was strange and heavy, and Hiyoshi wondered, idly, crazily, if he could truly give back what he'd had every intention of giving back. He was slick and empty and aching, damn it, his lip hurt, and wasn't Ootori supposed to want to cuddle and be soothed or something like that? Wasn't he supposed to smile?
The silence clawed at him, Ootori's eyes were closed and his lips parted, and past him, Hiyoshi realised that a silver cross lay tangled in the gleaming reflection of its own chain on the bedside table. When had...?
Stillness had never bothered him before, when he'd never spoken unless he needed to, but he broke it because he could. Only because he could. "Hey, Ootori? We're..." but they weren't friends, not quite, something less or something more, now, and he let that fall away. "You never call me Wakashi." Not even when Ootori was moaning, murmuring nothing or something, against Hiyoshi's throat when Hiyoshi arched up against him, so full it ached, so good, but... Ootori hadn't said his name. Any name. "You don't have to be so formal."
"...ah, no," he watched as Ootori blinked himself awake, just an edge of almost-gold against the thick dark of his lashes, before he reached out to take the cross in hand, bringing it to his chest in a motion so smooth that Hiyoshi half-expected him to put it on one-handed, as fine a trick as that would have been.
Hiyoshi shifted, a little, and turned to face his teammate, but... but Ootori was asleep again, or at least, he looked it, his necklace in a fist pressed to his heart, and Hiyoshi nudged him. He liked the look of sleep on Ootori's face, actually, but... "Then how come?"
"Because..." Ootori's eyes drifted open, and they were very, very still, so dreamy, somewhere so far, far away that Hiyoshi wondered if even he knew what he was saying when his lips nudged gently against Hiyoshi's temple, pushing hair away in a quiet goodnight kiss. "Because only one person calls me Choutarou."
Hiyoshi was awake, worrying at the bite on his lip until it filled his mouth with the oily flavour of his own blood, for long, long after Ootori had drifted off.
Maybe there was nothing to stop the bleeding.
With Ootori, it was never as easy as a kiss.
Archivist's note: This story has a sequel, Geshi (Solstice). The pairing is Ohtori/Shishido, with implied past Ohtori/Hiyoshi.
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