*Takes a deep breath* All right, so I was watching episode 138 and a tiny exchange between Ootori and Shishido had me squeeing with delight ... so much so that I ended up writing a ficlet. I'm still trying to get a feel for these two so I hope it's all right, but they're such a sweet couple that I really wanted to give this a try. Here goes...

by Michalyn

"Che!" Choutaro heard a familiar voice swear behind him. He turned to see Shishido struggling to peer over the wall of Inui's and Sanada's shoulders as the two taller boys skimmed the room assignment list. They had just arrived at the preparation camp for the Junior Invitationals and after coaches Ryuzaki, Sakaki and Hanamura had divided the different school teams into groups, the boys were all referred to their room assignments which had been posted on the nearby bulletin board. Shishido, still blocked by Sanada and Inui was scowling.

"How the hell am I supposed to find my room like this?"

"Shishido-san," Choutaro smiled, waving his friend over, "You're in 343. It looks like we'll be roommates."

"Ah." Shishido shoved his hands deep into his pockets and followed Choutaro down the hall. Their room was a neat, two bed affair with a large window facing the tennis courts. Shishido went to the window and gazed outside for a moment before rocking back on his heels. He gave Choutaro a lopsided smile. "That was good luck on our part, eh?" he said gruffly, indicating the beds.

Choutaro looked up in surprise, warmed by the admission. "Yes, I thought so as well."

"Yeah?" Shishido asked softly, his burning look causing Choutaro to flush.

"Yeah." Choutaro swallowed. He had been so excited about training for the Junior Invitationals that he'd forgotten everything beyond tennis. It hadn't occurred to him that he would also have the chance to be alone with Shishido, without the worry of being interrupted at inopportune moments by parents. Choutaro stared at the beds, positioned so close together that when Shishido sat facing Choutaro on the edge of the other mattress, their knees bumped as they leaned forward to kiss.

The exchange was as searching and tentative as the other few kisses stolen between them. Shishido's lips were soft, but behind their gentleness, Choutaro sensed a tension barely restrained that mirrored the nameless frustration within him. Choutaro loved Shishido's scent and the way the heat of the other boy's body seemed to meld with his, but recently, their kisses left him restless--hungering for something ... something ... more. Shishido's hand rested on his knee and Choutaro inhaled a sharp breath. He spread his legs a little, and began inching forward to touch Shishido, when he was startled by a ruckus in the hallway. The moment was lost. Choutaro pulled back sharply as Seigaku's Momoshiro and Eiji came thundering down the hall, Eiji's giggling and Momoshiro's wallop annoucing that dinner was ready echoing beyond even Choutaro's and Shishido's closed door. Choutaro sighed. They had been so close.

Shishido's expression as he ran a rough hand through his hair seemed to indicate that he was feeling equally thwarted, but his expression was tender as he turned to Choutarou. "I guess we should go for dinner, huh?"

Choutaro's irritation melted in the warmth of that glance. It seemed enough then to simply be held in Shishido's gaze. Smiling, he rose to join his partner. "Yes."


"What's the matter, Choutaro? You don't look happy."

"Ah..." Choutaro met Shishido's concerned look with a sigh. "I just can't sleep well in a different bed," he complained as they moved to take their seats for breakfast.

"Is that what it is?" Shishido asked.

Choutaro nodded. He was the type to put down roots. The nurturing type, as Atobe always joked in that ambiguous tone of his, so that Choutarou never knew if his team captain meant it as a jibe or a compliment. Whatever the case, Choutaro couldn't deny that home was very important to him. Being separated from the familiar places and faces he loved always left him a bit anxious. He hadn't been able to sleep at all last night, even with Shishido so close by. Choutaro bit his lip. Well ... perhaps because of that as well. It was hard to drift off into harmless dreams with Shishido's soft breathing filling the darkness and the memory of his kisses still fresh on Choutaro's lips. Still, it would be bad if he wasn't at his best because of tiredness. Besides, he'd seen Shishido's frown at the sight of the dark circles under his eyes and the last thing Choutaro wanted to do was worry his friend. He was so determined to protect Shishido that Choutaro sometimes forgot that Shishido was always looking out for his best interest as well. The thought warmed Choutaro a little and despite his fatigue, he found himself feeling more energized than ever to meet the day.

By the time they returned to their room in the evening though, the narrow single beds had never looked so good. Choutaro immediately slipped beneath the covers, determined to get a full night's rest. Yet, when the lights were turned out, he found himself once again tossing and turning-- unable to get comfortable yet hesistant to move around too much lest he wake Shishido. An exasperated gust escaped Choutaro's lips. This wouldn't do at all. He squeezed his eyes shut, willing sleep to overtake him.

"Geez, I guess this is the only way then."

"Eh?" Choutaro stared as Shishido lifted the covers.

"Stop gawking and move over," Shishido growled, pulling the covers around them and spooning tight behind Choutaro. "We came here to win. I won't have you collapsing on the court when it's our turn to play doubles." Shishido's warm breath bathed Choutaro's neck as he wrapped an arm about his waist. It was a tight fit--but a good one. Shishido was so close that the the hair on his legs tickled the backs of Choutaro's calves and Choutaro could feel the faint roughness of the other boy's heels as their legs tangled together. He was also acutely aware of the way Shishido's pelvis pressed against his buttocks. A little closer and ... and ... Choutaro's heart thudded.

"Sh...Shishido ... ah ... maybe we shouldn't..."

"Hmm?" Shishido mumbled sleepily, his lips brushing the nape of Choutaro's neck in a way that made him shiver all the way down to his toes.

"This is really comfortable but I was thinking... maybe we shouldn't ... shouldn't ... you know ... that is..."



"Go to sleep." Shishido tightened his arm about Choutaro's waist, placed an open-mouthed kiss against the side of his throat and promptly dozed off, his soft snores echoing in the silence.

Choutaro blinked in the darkness, stunned for a moment as Shishodo's warmth surrounded him on all sides like a living blanket. After a while, he gave a little laugh and snuggled deeper within the other boy's arms. He guessed there was no helping it. He had found a piece of home here after all.

The End

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