Shishido stood above the bleachers and watched the match with more intensity than was his norm. This was Hyotei's first tournament of the year. The first since Shishido had graduated.
And considering he had graduated he wouldn't even be here, except for one junior-now-senior. Maybe it was a little masochistic of him, but he had heard that Choutarou was playing doubles again this year and, well… he had to know.
The match began and Shishido felt the lump in his stomach grow more pronounced as he watched Choutarou and his partner move on the court. They played really, really well.
Really well. Shishido didn't like him. He knew why that was, and it was rather 'unkind' of him, but Shishido wasn't a nice guy.
They won the match, six games to none.
Shishido was about to turn away, Choutarou had obviously replaced him and Shishido wasn't going to hang around where he wasn't wanted.
But then, out of the corner of his eye, Shishido saw Choutarou hand his partner a water bottle, and hold out his hand for the towel he expected to be there. Choutarou glanced to the side when the expected towel wasn't there. Then his hand clenched and dropped to one side as he looked away.
And Shishido, no matter how much he wanted for Choutarou to be happy, couldn't help but feel glad that he hadn't been completely replaced.
Then, after the coach had finished talking to Choutarou, the tall boy looked up at the stands and looked through the crowds, as if he were searching for someone. Shishido frowned slightly, had Choutarou gotten a girlfriend and not told him? Shishido felt his heart constrict, of course Choutarou had a girlfriend, he was handsome, kind, athletic, thoughtful, the list went on and on.
And Shishido… Well, Shishido was petty, mean and not very attractive now that his hair was in the in-between stage of growing.
Even as Shishido watched, Choutarou found the person he'd been looking for and his entire face brightened. He absentmindedly accepted the comments of his buchou and as soon as he'd been 'released' so to say, Choutarou took off up the stairs, big smile on his face.
A smile came to Shishido's face, reflexive after all the times that smile had been aimed at him, and maybe he could pretend for just a few minutes that that smile had been aimed at him.
Then, when Choutarou was nearly at the top of the stairs, and Shishido was seriously starting to wonder who he was coming to greet so enthusiastically, because none of the girls hanging around the court were moving to greet him.
Then Choutarou gathered his breath and exclaimed, "Shishido!" and a jolt of warmth spread through Shishido's body, both at the lack of honorific and the fact that it was him that Choutarou was running to greet, "I can't believe you came!"
"Che," Shishido said, as Choutarou came to a stop in front of him, "Why wouldn't I?"
Choutarou bit his lip slightly, "Well, we're not partners anymore… and you've got high school and your own tennis team and—"
"Choutarou," Shishido said simply, cutting him off, "We're always partners, even if we don't play doubles anymore."
Choutarou's posture took on what Shishido called his 'melted posture', "Shishido…"
"'Bout time you stopped calling me 'Shishido-san'," Shishido grumbled, "Now how 'bout you call me Ryou?"
Choutarou smiled slightly, "Shishido…"
The two boys smiled at each other for a long moment before the Hyotei crowd behind Choutarou burst into cheers. "Singles 3 won. Congrats, it's a sweep," Shishido muttered.
"Eh… Shishido-san…" Choutarou murmured.
"Hey! I thought you got off that!"
"Sorry," Choutarou said, looking down, "Meet any nice girls at high school?"
Shishido blinked at the vaguer undertones he thought he heard in that question, "Not particularly," he said casually, not as nice as you, anyway. "They're all grabby, and squeally and not any better than the girls in junior high."
"And I know how you felt about them," Choutarou said with a small smile.
Shishido smiled slightly, "Yeah, well," he said, recalling the time he'd sent a girl running off the courts crying. "What about you? Anyone admit their undying love to you recently?"
Choutarou sighed in a long-suffering manner, "One or two," he said vaguely.
Shishido blinked, "You going out with any of them?"
Choutarou gave him a funny look, "Of course not, Shishido," like it should be obvious.
"Well why not?" Shishido snapped back, "Nice guy like you shouldn't—"
"Shishido-san!" Choutarou exclaimed, exasperated. And then, before Shishido could protest the honorific or continue in the same vein or something equally annoying Choutarou leaned forward and kissed him, just a brief—very brief—touch of lips and then he was straightening again.
"Of course I'm not going out with any of them," Choutarou repeated, smallest touch of a smile on his face.
Shishido grinned, "Good. Means I don't have to kill anyone."
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