Inspired by Veatariel's pic. ToriShi. And owch. I've heard of it happening in real life, by the way. X_X

Dignity Be Damned
by Burnein

Yet another night, and yet another practice. Ohtori Choutaro was by no means a violent person, so to have to serve two-hundred-km-per-hour tennis balls into his favourite sempai's face was not on his Top Ten Things To Do To Keep Yourself Occupied On A Cool Thursday Night list. Most of the items on that list had something to do with said sempai and, occasionally, balls... but that was not the point.

"Choutaro, concentrate." Shishido Ryou was glaring at his kouhai, baseball cap carelessly hanging off one finger. "You'll never be able to perfect your Scud Serve this way." Shishido then scrubbed at his sweaty forehead with the cap and tossed the now-damp cap away. It fell to the floor with a soft sound.

Ohtori heaved a sigh, careful to hide the sound of rushing air from Shishido. The latter was kind enough to stay back late every night, getting hit by Ohtori's wayward serves, just to help improve Ohtori's game. He was sacrificing so much here; Ohtori had to improve.

Also, Ohtori would give up his universe for another of those smiles that Shishido seemed to reserve especially for the times when Ohtori managed to hit the little plastic cone.

Rising back to his feet and straightening his shoulders, Ohtori pulled another ball out of his pocket and prepared to serve.

"Ik... kyu... nyu... KON!" He let fly.

Ohtori felt his racket collide with the ball, and watched as the fuzzy yellow sphere whizzed down the court, past the net... and right into Shishido.

Well, to be precise...

Ohtori didn't realise he had flung down his racket and was rushing to Shishido till he actually reached his sempai's side. "Oh, God. Oh, my God. Shishido-san, I am so, so sorry! Are you OK?"

Shishido's face was a strange shade of pale green, and his eyes were watering. Ohtori leaned over him, mumbling apologies. Shishido wanted Ohtori to just shut up and let him writhe in agony in peace. Having the person you were trying to impress lean over you and apologise for doing something that was, in fact, inevitable, in your most unimpressive moment... it was not on his list of Top Ten Things To Do To Keep Yourself Occupied On A Cool Thursday Night. Of course, had it been a different situation with the same people and same body parts involved, then that would be another story.

"Chou... Choutaro," Shishido ground out, knees bent right up to his chest and stomach attempting to force that night's dinner out onto the court. "I... I'm fine."

Ohtori just gave him a Look, and, of all things, picked Shishido up. As if Shishido was a child in need of coddling! Well, yes, he needed painkillers, and being coddled by Ohtori was Very Good, but... no. He still had his dignity.

"Shishido-san," Ohtori murmured, heading for the benches. "You are in no condition to be worrying about your dignity."

Shishido opened one tearing eye to stare at Ohtori, then decided that even that hurt too much. He leaned against his kouhai's chest and waited for the pain to subside.

The End

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