Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
by Simply Kim
Shishido was puzzled.
Never had he seen Ohtori staring at the mirror with much gusto as he did now. Gazing at the younger boy thoughtfully, he tried to remember, even for a single unguarded moment, when his doubles partner had given much attention to his looks.
It took him quite a long time…
But he did not come up with even one.
"Choutarou…" He started, gently placing a hand on a suddenly tense shoulder. Shishido frowned. "What are you doing?"
Ohtori's eyes met his through the looking glass.
"Isn't it obvious?"
Shishido took a hasty step back.
Did Ohtori just snap at him? He did not know for absolute sure… after all, he had never heard such forceful tone coming out of the younger boy's mouth since he had known him.
He cleared his throat, determined to get to the bottom of this mystery, his brain working ceaselessly as he thought of plausible reasons why Ohtori was cranky today…
Not to mention snappy.
"You are looking at the mirror." Shishido answered intelligently enough that his feet ached to kick him right on the head. Duh… of course he's looking at the mirror, stupid. He berated himself, noticing the frown that marred his kouhai's forehead.
"Shishido-san." Ohtori said almost cuttingly, with his back still facing the older boy. "There's nothing wrong about this, isn't it?"
Shishido glared at the other's reflection. "Ohtori… you're not just looking like how most people do. You are staring at yourself in the mirror."
"Is anything wrong with that?"
"For thirty minutes already."
Ohtori's brow flattened out to its usual planes, and a blush stained his cheeks. He looked away from Shishido's preening stare reflected on the shiny surface of the mirror and stared at his shoes. "Shishido-san…?"
Shishido raised a brow in astonishment. "Yes, Choutarou?" He answered carefully, minding the unusual forlorn tone of the younger boy.
Ohtori fidgeted, his hands unconsciously wringing the end of his khaki-coloured shirt. "Am I unattractive?" He looked up, rubbing the back of his head sheepishly, a hesitant smile turning up once-frowning lips.
Unattractive? Shishido regarded the boy with a contemplative stare. What part of him is unattractive?
His eyes leisurely scrutinised every plane and crevice visible, noticing, not for the first time definitely, the adorably dishevelled greyish locks and soulful chocolate eyes that reminded him too much of an infant's. His gaze travelled downward, surveying with muted fascination the broad shoulders and lean frame encased in unblemished pallid skin… his eyes straying admiringly as they encountered the shapely athletic limbs connected to perfectly sized feet.
And the hands… God, the hands…
He could almost feel their softness… their warmth. With fingers sliding down, even unintentionally, his own skin. Shishido stared at the slender artistic fingers still actively wringing the poor piece of crinkled cloth.
He knew the answer.
Shishido had always known.
With a wry smile, he stepped forward, his eyes dancing in amusement as Ohtori involuntarily stepped back. I must have been looking too predatory. He thought, laughing inwardly. With renewed purpose, he grasped his partner's shoulders and turned him around, both of them staring at their reflections.
"What do you see?" Shishido asked, cocking his head to one side, his eyes meeting with Ohtori's for a brief moment before the younger boy turned back and stared at his own image. "Choutarou… what do you see?" He poked his ribs encouragingly.
"Myself… my plain old self…" Ohtori said quietly, eyes turning almost watery that if Shishido did not know the younger boy as much as he did, he would have sworn he was about to burst into tears.
He smiled. "Do you want to know what I see, na, Choutarou?"
Slowly, Ohtori nodded… eyes boring into his through the mirror.
"I see someone who has the ability to become the greatest tennis player there is… someone who has the guts to stand up to what he thinks is right, even if it means defying the whole wide world." He started, awe tangling with his appreciative tone. "I see someone who has the talent in artistic endeavours and passion in playing excellent music…"
"I see someone worthwhile… someone who would never, ever be an unpleasant type of company. I see someone who has the power to change those around him with gentle words and a sincere smile…"
"Shishido-san…I don't know what to…"
Shishido held up a hand, cutting off the younger boy's flustered words, his smile turning up a notch brighter.
"And I see someone attractive enough to steal anyone's breath away."
"Shishido-san… I…" Ohtori started, turning to face him, eyes brimming with tears. "What you've just said… they're all…"
Shishido nodded, gazing back at the stupefied boy. "Did I ever lie to you, Choutarou?"
Ohtori chuckled, shaking his head, a single tear cascading down a smoothly curved cheek. Almost automatically, his partner's fingers reached out and wiped it away, touching him quite longer than necessary before dropping back to the side.
"Shishido-san… I… thank you…" He whispered, his heart feeling lighter than it ever had in such a long time.
Reluctantly, Shishido broke away from him, stepping away and turning back to what he had been doing before with a reassuring smile. He quickly stuffed his tennis racket in his gym bag and zipped it close, fiddling with the lock just to make sure that it wouldn't spring open easily, before slipping the strap onto his shoulder and straightening up.
Noticing the unusual silence, he sneaked a glance at his partner.
Ohtori was looking at his reflection again… but this time, there was a happy smile on his face, eyes bright as if in contentment.
Shishido smiled to himself.
And whispering a quiet word of goodbye, he slipped out of the clubhouse door.
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