by Tayles

Ohtori Choutarou was a relatively calm and easy-going type of person. The smile on his face was usually genuine, and directed at all without reservation. He took both praise and criticism from teachers, coach, tutor and parents with the same smile and thoughtful nod of his silver head, and dutifully worked harder until the criticism was weaned out to leave nothing but praise. To ask any member of student body, tennis team, or even faculty at Hyotei Gakuen what they thought of Ohtori Choutarou would invite the response that he was a pleasant, peaceful boy, with nothing but his next exam or recital or game on his mind.

But the days Shishido Ryou returned to his shared dorm rooms to hear furiously paced Paganini filling the corridor from behind one slammed door cemented his belief that the people who thought such bland thoughts about the Junior were just plain stupid.

When Ohtori was worked up, stressed out, wound tight enough to snap… he turned to his violin. He'd been known – if only to Shishido – to play for hours, eyes closed and brows furrowed, scowling until he was playing Moto Perpetuo at twice the speed it was intended, and the frantic sounds filled their tiny apartment. He'd play until his hands cramped and his head hurt and his neck muscles were tighter than his bowstrings. And by then his stomach would be rumbling, and he'd sheepishly search out Shishido (sat in his room with his back to the wall that separated his bed from Ohtori's, head buried in a comic and pretending not to be absorbed by the beauty of stress-fuelled music) in time for dinner. The violin would express his frustration, give it voice and let it remain silent for a while afterwards… but it would not purge it. He could deal with it through his violin, and get on with his life smiling and nodding, but purging came instead in the form of an explosive-

"Fuck, Choutarou, what did you do to yourself?!"

-and thumbs digging into the area between his shoulder blades even before Shishido had manoeuvred him into a kitchen chair, kneading and coaxing until Shishido had him reduced to a boneless heap, barely keeping from toppling into his senpai's lap. His hands would be ordered to not touch anything until they'd calmed from their violent red colour through the calluses, and their meal would be simple those nights as a result. Shishido would refrain from his usual expletive-filled recounting of his day, murmuring instead in low tones about Atobe's latest idiocy and coercing a surprised chuckle from Ohtori. Only then would he feel relaxed enough to meet the other boy's eyes as he smiled and thanked Shishido-san, and drew his strength from the fierce protection so freely offered to him.

Notes: Second place winner for pot_challenge week 13, theme 'music'

The End

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