It was a warm day, near the beginning of the spring season. Outside on the boundaries of Hyotei Junior High School a small forest laid, each tree filled with green leaves. Sitting beneath one of these large and lush trees at the moment were two of the tennis team's talented Regulars, Shishido Ryou and Ootori Choutarou. They were sitting side-by-side, leaning against the tree with their legs stretched out before them. A light breeze was blowing, causing their hair and the tree above them to sway gently.
The bigger Ootori was slouched down a bit so that he could rest his head on Shishido's shoulder, which he did happily, closing his eyes and going into a state of light slumber. He had been staying up late each night of the past week practicing with his violin for a big recital coming up soon and thus was reasonably fatigued.
Shishido, on the other hand, was only too happy to act as a living pillow for his partner, roommate, and boyfriend. Leaning back against the coarse tree trunk with his head of scraggily short hair tilted so that he was able to look down at the other's peaceful (and tired) face, he smiled to himself, it being one of the rare times when he felt that all was right in the world. And more and more lately, those times and feelings had been brought on by Ootori.
Shishido's own eyes were beginning to drift shut when he heard a branch snap a little ways off, accompanied by footsteps and feminine voices. He cursed to himself, resenting the fact that their relationship had to be kept such a secret, and reached his calloused hand up from where it rested on the grass to shake Ootori lightly.
"Oi, Choutarou," he said softly, but sternly. "Someone's coming, wake up."
In response, Ootori gradually opened his chocolate colored eyes and jumped to sit up straighter so that he wasn't leaning on Shishido anymore, then blinked slowly a few times, trying to figure out what was going on.
A moment later, three girls that they didn't know wearing the Hyotei uniform came into an area where the two tennis players could see them and, spotting the two sitting there, smiled and rushed up to them excitedly.
"Oh, Ootori-kun, we're so glad we found you!" one exclaimed as soon as they reached them.
Ootori blinked up at her, still slightly drowsy. "You are?"
The three girls nodded vigorously. "Yes!" another said. "We have to talk to you about something very important." All three of them shifted their eyes to glare mildly at Shishido. "Alone."
Shishido stood up, followed by Ootori. "Hey, whatever you need to say to Choutarou can be said in front of me, too."
They all huffed at that and the one standing in the middle said, "This is about a private matter!"
Looking between both the girls and Shishido, Ootori quickly decided to jump in before it got any worse and said, "It's fine, Shishido-san!" Everyone turned to look at him. "I'll just go hear what they have to say and then I'll come back soon, ok?"
The girls' faces quickly dissolved into bright smiles and they said happily, "Thank you, Ootori-kun!"
Shishido merely grunted and looked miffed but agreed reluctantly. "Fine, go."
As the girls started walking away, after motioning for him to follow, Ootori gave Shishido an apologetic smile before hurrying after them.
After the four disappeared from sight, Shishido stood where he was for a few moments. Then he thought to himself that there was no way he was just going to leave Ootori alone with a group of girls who wanted to talk about 'private matters' and instantly rushed off after them.
He found them a little ways off in another small clearing in the forest. Hiding behind a tree off to the side but close enough so that he could hear what they were saying, he listened in.
"She's too shy to tell you herself, Ootori-kun," one of the girls was saying. Ah, what are they talking about?! Shishido thought to himself.
"Yeah, otherwise Keiko-chan would be out here telling you herself!" another added. "She's a really sweet and pretty girl. Please say you'll go out with her!"
It was like something cracked, Shishido could almost hear the sound. Those girls were trying to get Ootori (his Choutarou!) to go out with one of their stupid friends! He gritted his teeth and his hands tightened almost painfully into fists.
How dare they?! his mind screamed. He moved one leg, prepared to step out into the open and tell them off, before his common sense caught up with his heart. If he went out there all furious like this, Ootori would get angry with him. Shishido's mind flashed back to the all too clear image of the taller boy's disappointed face when he got into another argument over nothing with someone.
But this wasn't over nothing, part of him argued. They're trying to steal your Choutarou from you and you have to go stop them! He's too nice and sweet and might say yes just to please them and make their friend, this Keiko girl, happy!
He was still debating with himself when he heard an apologetic, "I'm sorry," and quickly focused on the others again.
"I'm sorry," Ootori said again, blushing slightly, "but there's already someone I like. Please tell Keiko-san that I'm very sorry but I can't."
One of the girls took a step forward and cried out, "But she'll be heartbroken, Ootori-kun!"
"I'm sure there's someone else much more deserving of her," he replied politely. Then he bowed to them before turning and walking away.
When he walked past the tree that Shishido was hiding behind, he found the other standing there with a big smile lighting up his normally stern face. Ootori stopped and blinked in surprise, saying, "Shishido-san!"
The next day during lunch, Shishido made his way through the crowded hallways to meet up with Ootori at the other boy's class.
He stepped into the room, receiving calls of "Hi, Shishido-senpai!" from many of the other students in the room (he was becoming a regular there by now), and glanced around until he spotted Ootori at the side of the room, looking out a window to the courtyard below and leaning on the windowsill. He smiled and proceeded to make his way over to the silver-haired boy, stepping around desks and students alike.
He came up behind the younger boy (though, going by height, some might think that Shishido was the younger one) and tapped him on the shoulder. The boy's head turned and Shishido was rewarded with a bright smile and a softly spoken, "Shishido-san."
In reply Shishido held up the plastic bag he was carrying in one hand. "I got us some food. Let's go eat."
Ootori nodded and turned away from the view beyond the window. And suddenly, those three girls from yesterday were there, as if by magic, almost causing Ootori to jump in surprise.
Shishido managed to contain an exasperated groan and compromised with a sigh before asking, though it came out more like a demand, "Ok, what do you want now?"
Seemingly ignoring Shishido, one spoke up in a voice that sounded frantic. "Oh, Ootori-kun, it's terrible! Keiko-chan was so heartbroken about you turning her down that she just kept crying and crying, and even mentioned suicide!"
"Suicide?!" Ootori practically yelped, getting a few curious glances from other students in the room.
"Yes!" another said now. "She was just so terribly upset, you see." She shook her head in misery and then looked up at Ootori with a trembling bottom lip. "What do we do now? We're all just so worried about her!"
Realizing where this was heading, Shishido growled out, "Now wait just a second! You're--" he was interrupted by a hand on his shoulder and he quickly turned and looked up, not letting go of his anger even as he made contact with the chocolate colored eyes he had come to love so much.
But as he gazed into the pleading wide eyes filled with concern and worry (which made Shishido once again curse this girl he had yet to meet), he felt himself giving in. He hated how weak Ootori could make him sometimes.
Leaning in a little and speaking quietly so that only Shishido could hear him, Ootori said, "Please, Shishido-san. It'll be ok, I promise." I'll always come back to you.
Shishido closed his eyes for a moment, and then sighed in resignation. "Fine." he murmured.
Ootori gave him an apologetic but grateful smile and turned back to the girls, who were looking on curiously and immediately resumed their glistening eyes and trembling lips.
"I'll go on one date with her. If you think it'll make her feel better," he added.
"Oh, it will!" they assured him. "She'll be so happy! We're sure you'll love her!" they said before rushing out of the classroom, after giving him instructions to be outside the nearby movie theater after school the next day.
Shishido dropped the bag of food on a desk and stalked out of the room into the now mostly empty hallway. He made it through the door leading outside at the secluded back of the school before feeling something against his back and two arms wrap around him.
He leaned back into the familiar hold, glad that they were at least lucky enough to have no one around right now.
"It's just this once, Shishido-san," Ootori said softly, "I just don't want anyone to do something like that because of me…"
Shishido sighed again. "I know, I know. But I still don't like it." He moved away from the other and turned around so that he could look at him. "Swear only this once?"
Ootori smiled, "I swear it."
Shishido grunted. "You better. Even if it's just a pity date, I don't like it," he said, crossing his arms and looking away from Ootori. "You're just too nice for your own good."
The taller boy's eyes softened. "I know, I'm sorry."
"Hn, whatever." Shishido looked back at him and grinned, lightening the atmosphere, "Let's go back and eat before lunch is over."
Ootori nodded, glad that the other at least seemed to be ok, and followed him back into the school, hoping that things really would turn out fine.
Ootori had told and begged him not to follow until Shishido had reluctantly agreed. But there was no way in hell Shishido was about to let his boyfriend go on a date, even if it was just one granted from pity and guilt, without being there to look out for him. Which was why he was currently stalking Ootori.
He had first hidden around the corner of a nearby building to watch the other boy meet up with this Keiko girl. They had only to wait a moment before a smiling girl walked up to Ootori and spoke to him (Shishido wishing he could be a fly on the wall behind them. Or maybe a mosquito, then he could bite the girl).
With light brown hair that reached to her shoulders and wearing a jean skirt and blue shirt, she was fairly good looking, he had to grudgingly admit. All the more reason to stalk them.
Ootori smiled at her (making Shishido grit his teeth) and nodded his head to something she had said. Then the two turned and went to buy tickets. Hiding behind some people in the ticket line, he was close enough to hear which movie they were going to and had to also admit that at least she had good taste in films. As they walked off into the building, Shishido quickly bought his own ticket, then rushed in after them.
They bought popcorn, Ootori insisting on buying, to Shishido's further annoyance, and then went into the not yet dark theater. Seeing the two choose seats in a middle row, Shishido sat a few rows behind them in the slightly elevated balcony type seating area. This particular part of the theater had long ago made it his favorite one in town.
Sitting down where he had a clear view of the pair, yet where he wouldn't easily be spotted by them himself, he watched and waited for the movie to begin. Though the movie was a good one, he knew because he had seen it already, most of the city had already seen it as well and therefore the theater was mostly empty except for them.
At that thought, Shishido's mind jumped a mile and his hand tightened on the arm rests of his seat as he glared down at the girl casually talking to his Choutarou.
Movies were dark, dark meant privacy, this theater was mostly empty, and empty meant even more privacy. Privacy plus his Choutarou and the girl crushing hard on him did not equal something that Shishido liked. At this conclusion, he glared down even harder at them. Seeming to feel the piercing look on his back, Ootori turned and glanced back, causing Shishido to duck down out of sight until the other boy shrugged and turned back to the screen as the lights around them dimmed.
Taking a deep breath to calm himself down, Shishido hauled himself back into his seat. Relax a little, he told himself. Nothing is going to happen. It's Choutarou and he said himself he was just doing this so that the girl wouldn't hurt herself and you can trust him. Just get ready to run down there and tell that girl off if she makes any move on him!
Satisfied with this thought, Shishido resumed his watch as the movie played in front of them. It was going to be a long two hours.
The movie finally over, Shishido allowed himself to sit back in his seat and relax for a moment. Luckily for everyone, she hadn't done anything other than make some comment or other that Shishido couldn't hear to Ootori every once in awhile, but Shishido had still been on edge the entire time. The few people in the theater were streaming out now and, realizing, he rushed to the exit on the opposite side of the one the other two were going out of.
Outside the sun was setting and people were heading home from work. He followed the pair to the outside, in front and to the side a bit of the theater, from a distance and remained out of sight. It was almost over, just a bit more, he told himself. The two spoke for a moment, before the girl leaned towards Ootori, causing Shishido's eyes to widen and his jaw to fall open.
This was too much for him to take. Yes, Ootori had promised it would just be this once and, yes, he did trust him, and his heart, but letting her kiss him was just going too far! He rushed out and practically pounced on Ootori, grabbing the boy and pulling him back, causing the startled girl to back up again and blink at him in surprise.
Ootori let out a yelp before realizing who it was. "Shishido-san?" he asked in surprise and confusion. Shishido merely glared around him at the girl and tightened his arms around the taller boy's waist. He said to her, though it came out more like a growl, "No way, he's mine."
She blinked at him again. "You're Shishido-senpai right? Ootori-kun's doubles partner? What do you mean 'mine'?"
"I mean exactly that!" he said, ignoring Ootori's attempts to calm him down and only focusing on the enemy in front of him. "Do I have to spell it out for you? Choutarou's taken, ok? I. Am. His. Boyfriend!" He loosened his grip around Ootori and raised one hand to point his index finger at her. "So you can't date him or kiss him or anything!"
Ootori stopped whatever he was trying to say to calm Shishido down and joined Keiko in merely blinking at him. Then he got it and laughed, causing Shishido to switch his glare to him. "She wasn't kissing me, Shishido-san! She was just brushing a piece of popcorn off of my shirt!" he said, laughing some more.
It was Shishido's turn now to look confused. He let go of Ootori. "Oh." He heard a muffled sound and looked back to Keiko, who was trying hard not to laugh.
When she had managed to stop, she smiled at them and said, "You're really going out with him, Ootori-kun?"
Ootori blushed and looked away. "Y-yeah. I'm sorry."
She waved it off, to both boys' astonishment. "It's ok, no big deal."
"You're really ok with it?" Ootori asked her in an incredulous voice. "Even though...we're both boys?"
She shrugged. "Sure, as long as you really like each other. Plus, it's none of my business or decision anyway, even if I did have a problem with it."
Shishido muttered a, "That's damn right," but felt some of his hostility towards her evaporating.
"I do have one question, though," she said. "Why did you go out with me if you were already with someone else?"
"Oh, your three friends came up to me and said you liked me a couple days ago, but I told them I already liked someone else. Then, the next day, they came back and said that you had been heartbroken and even talking about suicide," Ootori explained, remembering as he said this just why he had agreed to go out with her and starting to worry that maybe she wasn't as fine inside about this as she seemed. "So I agreed since they said it would make you feel better."
Keiko stared at him for a moment before throwing her hands up in the air and shouting, "Those idiots!" She turned back to the two of them and calmly explained, "Yes, I did have a small crush on you, I guess. But I was ok and I told them that but they just kept insisting I talk to you. So when I refused I guess they got it into their heads to do it for me. They came and told me that you had declined and they all patted me on the back and said how sorry they were and, yes, I was a bit sad, but it wasn't too bad and I was over it by the next day." She shook her head. "Then yesterday after school they said that you had changed your mind and had set this up."
Looking back at them, she added, "They really aren't bad people, they just wanted me to be happy. Not to mention they read too much shoujo manga."
Shishido snorted at that, but didn't argue. "Well, fine then, glad to know you're ok." He looked her in the eye. "Don't go telling anyone about this though, we don't want any trouble."
"Fine, fine," she said, again waving them off. Then with a glint in her eye, she grinned at them and added, "But you really shouldn't worry too much about it. Sure, some of the girls in your fan clubs will be depressed for a bit, but then even more will probably start supporting you." She winked at them before turning and giving them a final wave over her shoulder and walking off.
"What a weird girl," Shishido commented, watching her go. Realizing how quiet his partner was being, he looked up to see him looking down at him.
"Were you jealous, Shishido-san?" he asked softly. Shishido didn't answer but looked away. He felt strong arms surround him and heard, "You shouldn't be. I told you it didn't mean anything to me and I meant it."
Shishido remained uncharacteristically silent and the two of them stayed like that for a few minutes before he pulled away, grinning again now. "Tomorrow we're going on our own date! She wasn't too bad in the end, but I still have to erase that girl from your memory."
Ootori smiled at him and nodded.
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