Notes: I sort of wrote this with Sharon in mind, becasue she mentioned she'd like to see me write Ohtori. ^^

The Best
by Orphen Eritus

'I don't know how you stand it, Ohtori.' Mukahi huffed and tossed his Hyoutei jersey down on the bench.

'Stand what?' he replied absently, having become used to Mukahi's penchant for over exaggeration.

'Shishido,' he drawled as if his topic of conversation had been completely obvious. 'That boy just can't take a joke,' he threw up his arms in exasperation.

Ohtori nodded politely concealing an amused grin. 'Well, your jokes aren't always that funny, Mukahi.'

'What? My jokes are hysterical,' the red haired boy flopped down to the bench in exaggerated disbelief. 'Jirou thinks so anyway,' he grinned. 'But Shishido, he's just unreasonably angry all the time.'

'The time you put baking soda and lemon juice in his water bottle wasn't really that funny.'

Mukahi frowned. 'Well I didn't expect him to be holding it when the top blew. My plan didn't involve a black eye. Still most of the time Shishido's a real grump. The guy has something against fun. I mean what do you two do together anyway?'

'Do?' Ohtori questioned hoisting his tennis bag onto his shoulder.

'For fun…'

Ohtori thought for a moment. He always had fun. 'We play tennis at the street courts, that's always fun. Shishido likes to win.'

'Besides tennis, Ohtori… don't you two do anything else together?' Mukahi shoved his tennis uniform into his bag.

Ohtori shrugged. 'What do you and Oshitari do?'

Mukahi grinned. 'Everything. The arcade, take out, movies, we hang out all the time. Laugh, have fun and just generally talk about shit.'

'S-shit?' Ohtori stumbled feeling self conscious.

'Tennis, music, movies, love… sex. Everything. There's no one Yuushi likes to be with more than me. Can you say the same thing about Shishido?' Mukahi arched an eyebrow at him, his eyes narrowing in doubt.

'I don't know… I guess we don't really talk that much.' And they didn't. Even their discussions about tennis were brief. Ohtori had never really thought about what it meant to be close friends with someone.

He was well liked by everyone, but he wanted to be more than well liked by Shishido.

'Ohtori?' Mukahi touched him gently on the arm. 'I didn't mean to make you sad.'

'You didn't,' he replied forcing a small smile and zipping his tennis bag closed.

Mukahi nodded, his mouth tightly pursed. 'It's just that he doesn't seem to be that nice to you.'

'It's okay, Mukahi. I'm going. You waiting for Oshitari?' he asked. Mukahi nodded and squeezed his arm.

'I'm sorry.'

Ohtori heard the whispered apology, but didn't acknowledge it.

'Eh, Ohtori, what took you so long?' Shishido called out to him as he left the clubhouse with a casual wave.

'Ah, Shishido-sempai,' he blushed, cursing himself for his own embarrassment. 'I was talking to Mukahi-kun.'

Shishido's face instantly darkened, his eyes narrowing menacingly. 'That little shit,' he muttered darkly. 'One day—' Shishido unclenched his fists and took a calming breath.

Ohtori tried not to smile, with reasonable success. 'What happened?' he asked already having a fair idea of what sort of prank would've occurred. He just didn't understand why Mukahi had to constantly choose Shishido to play his jokes on.

'He greased the handle of my racquet. I almost seriously injured a first year. He just never thinks about anything, his jokes are stupid and dangerous. I'll have to talk to Oshitari about keeping his little—' Shishido stopped suddenly and turned away from Ohtori.

'His little what?' he asked confused by Shishido's behavior.

'Nothing,' he replied darkly.

Ohtori recoiled from his dark mood. Shishido was often moody, but it wasn't usually directed at him. It was obvious that Shishido didn't want to share his thoughts and usually Ohtori respected his wishes. He was a private person… but surely if they were truly good friends they could talk about it. Maybe even laugh about it together. There were so many things he wanted to laugh about with Shishido, but he didn't want to take advantage.

They walked alongside each other their silence becoming strained and uncomfortable. Ohtori was pulled of balance when Shishido grabbed his arm and pulled him up to the vending machine. 'What do you want?' he asked scrounging around in his pocket for change.

'Oh,' Ohtori looked sidelong at his scowling face. 'Nothing, I'm fine,' he replied.

Shishido squeezed his eyes shut with a grunt and Ohtori was pretty sure he could hear him grinding his teeth. 'Just pick something,' he yelled angrily, hands fisting at his side.

Ohtori jumped in surprise. 'Shi—'

Shishido held up his hand to stop him. 'Ohtori,' he took a deep breath. 'I'm your sempai and I'm trying to buy you a drink… So just pick something already.'

'Melon, please,' he replied quickly, feeling that his response had to exceed the speed of his scud serve.

'Hai, Melon. Good. You like Melon it's your favorite.'

Ohtori smiled widely. It was his favorite. Shishido turned in time to catch his smile and grunted in response.

'So, do you want to head out to the courts for a game?' Shishido tugged his cap a little lower and hitched his bag up on his shoulder as they walked along the path.

Ohtori frowned a little. Mukahi was right about some things. Tennis was the only thing they did together. 'Sure, let's go to the courts.'

Shishido glanced up from under the peak of his cap, with a sharp gaze. 'You don't want to go,' he stated with a slightly accusatory tone.

'No. No, of course I want to… I just thought that maybe we could do something else.' Ohtori took a sip of his soda.

'Something else? Like what?'

Ohtori thought of all the things Mukahi had mentioned trying to think of one that Shishido might like to do. 'Um… we could go to a movie?' he ventured.

Ohtori almost walked right into Shishido as he stepped in front of him, blocking his way. Even though Ohtori was at least a foot taller than his doubles partner, Shishido had a physical presence that was so intense, he had actually backed up a few steps without noticing.

'Is something wrong?' he asked advancing further on Ohtori. 'Is there somewhere that you need to be? I don't want to keep you if you have to go, Ohtori.'

'No, Shishido-san,' he protested violently.

'There's no one I'd rather be with than you,' he blurted.

Shishido shifted his weight uncomfortably. 'Oh,' Shishido turned awkwardly pulling the cap from his head and brushing a hand through his hair.

'S-so a… we can go to the courts then,' Ohtori stuttered as Shishido pulled his cap back on.

He switched his bag to his other shoulder and started walking towards the courts, hoping that Shishido would follow.

'Ohtori.' He could hear the footsteps catching up to him. 'Choutarou,' Shishido's arm gripped him by the elbow and he stopped. Maybe more from the use of his first name than the grip on his arm.

'You're the person I like to be with too,' he mumbled quietly. 'So maybe you could come round after tennis and we could watch a movie or something.'

The End

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