The Mix-up
by Wai


When Atobe was inevitably chosen to be Hyotei's captain, he accepted the position by rolling his eyes heavenwards and sighing. One would think that he had just been given the burden of playing every single match himself by the way he was acting. Of course if you asked Atobe, he would probably try to convince you that he practically did, really.

And that's if you're lucky.

He might start ranting about ungrateful teammates and such, which isn't necessarily true. Of course, Atobe would deny that he would stoop so low as to rant about anything. But we'll leave it at that.

When Ohtori had approached him with the task of planning Shishido's birthday party, he nearly refused. He should have refused. Unfortunately, no one can refuse Ohtori Choutarou, unless you were deaf, blind and dumb. And even then, you would hesitate for the briefest moment.

The sincerity in his eyes is touching, really. But Atobe couldn't help but wonder if he should have made the high-speed server run laps for blinding him with that brilliant smile of his. Atobe was used to people being grateful towards him, but he had never received such a blinding smile in gratitude before.

If he had known that he would be punished that way, he would have dismissed Ohtori on sight. At least then, he'd still be able to see.

Atobe wasn't in a bad mood, not really. He just hated the fact that his plans were being carried out so poorly by a bunch of underlings who really should know better.

"Correct me if I'm wrong," Atobe began, voice completely calm as he tried, somewhat unsuccessfully, to not glare at his current subordinates. "But did I not give you specific orders?"

Nod.

"Did I not tell you how to execute them perfectly? Flawlessly?"

Nod.

"So how, pray tell, did you manage to lose a gigantic, purple box?" He purred dangerously. His eye was starting to twitch.

"Luck?" Taki offered.

"Talent." Gakuto replied, shrugging. He really didn't want to be there in the first place. Besides, who cared about stupid Shishido and his stupid birthday anyway? He had more important things to do.

Correction, he had more important people to do. Or vice versa.

No one had ever seen Atobe furious before. And no one ever will, because the fool who would one day make Atobe so angry that he would actually do something without Kabaji's aid--or at least without Kabaji to bury the body--would be erased from existence so quickly, it would be as if they were never born in the first place.

Or something like that.

"FIND it." Atobe said, with as much control as he could muster, gritting his teeth. They scrambled to find it, but only when Atobe took out his racket and a seemingly endless supply of tennis balls and began to practice his serves. On them.


Shishido probably would have admitted that the sight of him with eyes opened wide and jaw somewhere between his shoulders and his feet was unflattering. But he really didn't have the brain capacity to do that at that particular moment. Because when he heard his doorbell ring and shuffled to the door, grumbling all the way, to open it, he was expecting to see some distant uncle or aunt hell-bent on tormenting him. His birthday is a once in a year event after all and it seemed as if every single year all of his cursed relatives gather together somewhere to plot and then drop by, one-by-one, just to wish him a happy birthday and make his life hell.

He was lucky this time around, because his parents had some urgent business to attend to so he was left on his own. And although spending your birthday alone was hardly something to be happy about, Shishido was completely content. Or at least, as close to content as possible, given the situation.

He would admit, albeit begrudgingly, that he would rather spend the day with his freaky teammates and his partner rather than sit around and watch TV. The doorbell broke his train of thoughts and even though he was somewhat glad and somewhat pissed at the intrusion--he was getting bored--he still managed to curse all the way to the door.

The gigantic monstrosity was enough to make him want to slam his door and rush back inside. The fact that it was purple made him wince. But he did, however, notice the big white card stuck on the side of the box, which had "happy birthday" written in red ink in Oshitari's meticulous handwriting.

"What the hell?" He muttered to himself, stepping back for a moment to really look at the box. He scratched his head, wondering how the hell he was suppose to fit the damn thing through the door. Upon closer inspection, he noticed that it fit through his doorway perfectly.

So about fifteen minutes later, he collapsed, heaving and panting on his living room floor. Shishido cast a glance at the box, shivering slightly at the ominous aura that seemed to be radiating from it. He hesitated for a moment or two and then got on his feet, approaching the box carefully. He half-expected Atobe, decked in purple, to jump out of the box at any given moment.

Or a purple thong.

Shishido shivered, he really didn't need that mental image. Still, he braved himself to slide the lock, hearing it click open. Slowly he opened the top and received the shock of his life.


"Yuushi." Whined Gakuto, tugging at Oshitari's sleeve and coming to a stop. "I don't want to look for that damn thing. I'm tired!"

"You know what Atobe said, Gakuto. Besides, do you really want to go back there and tell Atobe you're not going to look?"

Oshitari paused, raising an eyebrow at his partner. "With that temper of his?"

"Damn it. Stupid Shishido and his stupid birthday." Muttered Gakuto. "Why are we even celebrating his birthday? I mean, I'm not going to celebrate the fact that he exists in this world to make MY life miserable!" He complained loudly. Oshitari chuckled, slipping an arm around his partner's shoulders.

Gakuto tried half-heartedly to shove him away. "Stop laughing you bastard!" Oshitari stopped mid-step, looking at the other side of the street.

"Hey Yuushi? I was only kidding you know." Gakuto said, mistakenly interpreting Oshitari's behavior as anger. He immediately stopped talking when he saw that Oshitari was smiling at something. "Yuushi what the hell are you-"

"I think I know what happened to Shishido's present." Oshitari said slowly, pointing at the sight that had him grinning with amusement. Gakuto frowned, looking at the direction his partner indicated and his eyes widened.

"What the hell is Ohtori doing with that guy from Rokkaku?"


Shishido's eyes widened as a redheaded stranger popped out of the humongous box currently taking half the space in his living room. It was fortunate that Shishido recognized him straight away because the redhead was looking around the room and it had dawned on him that he wasn't where he was supposed to be.

The moment he opened his mouth, Shishido clamped a hand over it, shoving him back into the box and slamming the lid down shut, panting. And with the strength of ten Kabaji, he shoved the box effortlessly out of his house.

As he leaned against his closed door, heartbeat starting to slow back down to a normal rate, he wondered why the hell would Atobe send him Amane Hikaru of Rokkaku to him in a damn box?


Two hours later, someone knocked on Shishido's door. Warily, he went to open it. He was very, very glad to see that it wasn't Amane or even worse, Kurobane. He grinned at Ohtori, stepping aside to usher the taller boy inside.

"Sit down, Choutarou." Shishido said, heading for the kitchen. "Want something to drink?"

"No, it's fine, Shishido-san." Ohtori said, sitting down on the couch.

"Well I want some juice and I'm bringing a glass for you too." Shishido called out from the kitchen. Ohtori smiled ruefully, nodding his head. It was a habit, really, this little exchange. Every time Ohtori would come over, Shishido would offer him something to drink. Ohtori would decline, but Shishido would always serve him something anyway.

"What brings you here?" Shishido asked, setting the glass down in front of Ohtori, who thanked him for his troubles.

"Ah. Happy birthday."

"Oh yeah. I forgot." Shishido said, laughing. "Thanks, Choutarou."

"The team actually had something else planned for you but," Ohtori paused, blushing slightly. "There were complications, so your birthday party has been postponed to this weekend I'm afraid." Shishido rolled his eyes, waving his hand dismissively.

"Let me guess, Atobe's brilliant birthday party schemes again?"

"Something like that." Ohtori said, chuckling. He really didn't need to explain to Shishido that he was supposed to receive another purple box earlier that afternoon. One that contained Ohtori and not Amane-san of Rokkaku. But the story was rather embarrassing, especially after seeing Kurobane-san's reaction as to why his teammate would give him a Hyotei player as his birthday present.

Luckily for him Kurobane-san was nice enough to come along with him to search for his teammate. Of course, he also wanted to find his real present, which happened to be one Amane Hikaru who had apparently stopped by some ramen place and didn't even bother calling.

Ohtori had to chuckle when the one nicknamed Bane-chan kicked his teammate even as Dabide greeted him with one of his bad puns. And then he left to give Shishido his birthday present, feeling just a little nervous.

"Uh, this birthday scheme..." Shishido began, causing Ohtori to snap out of his thoughts. "It didn't happen to include a box turning up on my front porch, right?"

"Ah no, Shishido-san." Ohtori said, laughing nervously. "What are you talking about?" Shishido sighed in relief, happily accepting the lie. "Oh, I nearly forgot." Ohtori pulled out a slim black case. It looked like a pen case, but it felt too light to be one.

"You shouldn't have Choutarou." Shishido said with a grin, opening it. He paused, blinking at the content. It was a dark blue ribbon. It reminded him of the red ribbon that the guy from St. Rudolph wears around his head. But that wasn't the source of his surprise. It was the hair tie that came with it. It wasn't the kind of hair tie that girls wear, it wasn't even fancy but the meaning behind them...there must be a reason why Ohtori had given him this present. He looked at his partner curiously, not even bothering to voice his question, knowing that Ohtori knew what he wanted to ask.

"Sorry Shishido-san." The younger man apologized, blushing profusely. "I noticed that your hair is getting longer, so I thought you might need it."

Shishido stared at him for the longest time, realizing that indeed his hair was longer than before. Not long enough to be a bother, but it certainly wouldn't be too long now. Of course, Shishido could just cut it again. But with this gift, did it mean...

"You want me to grow my hair out again?" He asked, carefully watching Ohtori's every move. From the way he fidgeted under that gaze and the way he looked into Shishido's eyes, nodding with determination.

His eyes softened when he smiled and replied, "Yes, Shishido-san. I know that it's your birthday and I really shouldn't ask for anything but...I miss you with long hair." A hesitant hand reached out slowly to touch Shishido's hair. He really shouldn't be surprised that Shishido didn't pull back, because they are partners and they are teammates and first and foremost, they are friends. But the touch is different than an encouraging pat on the back, an elbow in the ribs or even one of those big, clumsy hugs of theirs. It was softer and it had a different meaning.

But Ohtori could see the answer in Shishido's eyes and in the curve of his lips as he grinned at him.

"Anything for you, Choutarou." And Ohtori wondered for a moment if Shishido was still talking about his hair or something else altogether. That is until Shishido added, "And I don't mean just this. I mean absolutely anything."

The brilliant smile on Ohtori's face made Shishido forget how to talk altogether. But it didn't matter anyway, because when you're kissing someone, talking is rather difficult, right?



Happy Birthday Shishido! Have fun with Ohtori. *wink* By the way, the box I'm talking about is kind of like a gigantic jack-in-the-box...box. ^^;



O M A K E

Oshitari raised an eyebrow at Atobe and then looked at his current practicing partner, one very hyper Akutagawa Jiroh. "I still don't understand why I have to do this."

"YOU were the one who switched the boxes." Atobe pointed out.

"By accident." Oshitari corrected. "I was helping Dabide out. It was a favor. I didn't expect the two boxes to be mixed up, besides, Kabaji was the one who brought the wrong box to Shishido's place anyway."

"I don't care. You've ruined my plans and made me look all over for a gigantic purple box. You will play Akutagawa for the whole day today."

Oshitari could have pointed out that no, Atobe certainly did not look all over for the box. All he did was sit and fume silently while his team searched high and low for a big purple box. Asking people if they've seen a big purple box had not been a very pleasant experience. It was bad enough that they were getting looks for running around the city, but to have people openly question their sanity...not something he wished to repeat.

Maybe he can talk Amane into letting him transfer to Rokkaku.


Notes:
Oshitari knows Amane because he played doubles with him in the Senbatsu Arc in the anime. Even though it's not likely, he and Amane became friends after this event and kept in touch, occasionally.

Dabide needed someone who wasn't from school to help him with Bane's birthday so he asked Oshitari to help. But somehow the presents got mixed up. So...yeah.




The End

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