With a sigh, Ohtori lifted the reading glasses from their slipping perch on Shishido's nose, pausing mid-movement when he feared he would wake the sleeper. Shishido didn't stir, so comfortably ensconced in the layers of his sleeping bag that the book on his chest, opened to the same page since the beginning of their trip, barely moved with his shallow breaths. His lips were cracked and the air left his mouth with a soft wheeze. How many years of intense training did it take to conquer childhood asthma, to compete like he'd never needed an inhaler in his life? Everyone on the team had sacrificed something to get this far, Ohtori supposed, but Shishido-san had given tennis his all. If the high altitude and the damp chill were bothering Shishido, he'd probably never admit it.
Ohtori unzipped his own sleeping bag and maneuvered himself silently, careful of his steps in the waning light, to the only window of the cabin. He had closed it tightly earlier, but the force of the blizzard managed to breach its way through the gaps. As he applied more of the weatherproofing sealant (not too clumsily, he hoped), he wondered when Shishido might wake from his nap. They should put the chopped logs to good use in the fireplace. That would bring the temperature up.
Satisfied with the repair work, he settled back down on his couch and contemplated the reading glasses he'd taken from Shishido. The sharp angles of the frame, the smudged fingerprint near the bottom of one lens, these made Shishido appear older, more somber. Ohtori put them on, squinted, and saw the wooden rafts of the ceiling appear only slightly distorted to his perfect vision. He doesn't need them to read, Ohtori guessed. Primary purpose: Chick Magnet. Shishido had his quirks, but sometimes he wasn't as unpredictable as he'd like to be. Or perhaps Ohtori just knew him too well.
He drifted off to sleep with an expression halfway between a knowing smile and a frown.
* * * * *
It was the silence, of all things, that woke Shishido. The cabin had gone completely dark; outside, the shrieking wind had stilled and no longer rattled the door. He fumbled with a match before finally lighting a kerosene lamp--he thought they were only made for pirate movies, but obviously he was wrong. Now, where was Choutarou, the genius nutcase who had suggested this spontaneous trip "to clear the mind," but who had forgotten to pack the batteries? And where the heck were his glasses?
A soft stirring in the corner of his vision drew his attention to the body asleep beneath the mound of ski jackets and a layer of sleeping bag. Ohtori slept like the dead, the lamplight playing in the shadows of his hair the only movement.
Shishido stepped over him, an immovable bundle on a shabby couch, to look out of the window. All was dark. The world, with its harsh elements, was deeply asleep. He unlocked and, after several attempts, managed to gracelessly pry the window open. Freezing was freezing, with or without the centimeter of glass, so his philosophy was that they might as well get the fresh mountain air they came here for. Though upon closer inspection, somebody had gone through the trouble to seal it shut ... and not for the first time.
He let the cold air in.
Sock-clad feet starting to freeze to the spot, he fairly leaped his way back to the sleeping bag and dragged it across the space that separated them. He didn't mind the floor if it meant huddling near the heat generator that was Ohtori. For the briefest second, before he reined in his impulses, even before he was aware of them, he pressed his nose into the palm of a gloved hand snaking out from beneath the weight of insulating layers, and inhaled the woodsy scent of fir. Underneath, the slumbering warmth of Choutarou himself.
Those were his glasses, clutched in a loose, woolen grip. He put them back on, leaned on one elbow and watched Choutarou sleep until the light burned out.
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