by Andrea Readwolf

Shishido found him in the chaos of the first and second years preparing to go enjoy their free afternoon and the third years getting ready for their afternoon celebration. The third years would be returning home that evening, their dorm rooms already cleared out and empty shells.

"Chotaroh! Wait up?"


"Here," Shishido said a little breathlessly, thrusting something small, light, and hard into the second year's hands before, with a grin, turning back towards the school and running off. "See you!" he called over his shoulder with a little wave.

Slightly confused and bewildered, Otori stared down at the hard piece of plastic biting into his fingers--- Shishido's name tag--- and felt tears sting his eyes.

"Thank you, sempai," he whispered, turning away to find Hiyoshi standing a few feet away, watching him. "How about a game before we get some lunch, Buchou," he suggested after clearing his suspiciously tight throat.

Hiyoshi's lips twitched, and he turned to walk with Otori. "Sounds good."

Otori slid the former-senior's name tag into his pocket before turning and launching into a spirited debate with Hiyoshi and some other second year tennis club members who were vying for their captain's recognition.

Around them, a breeze whipped up some dust from the playing fields, and Otori smiled, squinting up at the sunny, clear sky. It was still chilly today, but Spring was fast approaching, and with it, their senior year. Squeezing the piece of plastic in his pocket, Otori had a feeling it would be a very good year.

The End

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