"Choutarou," Shishido took his kouhai's hands in his own and stared at them, "your hands… the calluses are weird."
"How so?" Ohtori inquired. He had always found them quite normal.
"Well," he held up his own right hand, "see, I have these on my right hand. They're from gripping the tennis racquet. They cover my entire hand."
"I have those, too," and Ohtori opened his right hand. Callused pads gained from years of tennis proved his hard effort to control the scud serve.
"Yeah, those are normal for a tennis player. But what about your left hand? The skin on your palm and fingers are mostly soft, but your fingertips are hard. Mine aren't like that."
Ohtori took Shishido's left hand in his own right and whispered a kiss across his fingers and knuckles. "That, Shishido-san, is because of the violin."
The look on Shishido's face begged explanation, or just expressed disbelief.
Ohtori turned his head to the left and held out his arm in imitation of holding a violin there. His fingers were curled over an invisible neck. "The strings press into your fingertips when you play them. The E string—the really thin one," he clarified, since he knew that Shishido didn't know an E from a G, "is very sharp to touch at first. I remember that when I first started playing and practiced very hard, my fingers would start bleeding sometimes." He returned to looking into Shishido's eyes.
"Why did you start playing, then?"
"Because it's a beautiful and complex art. Plus," he smiled, "getting hurt never stopped me from playing tennis, did it?"
Shishido smiled in a half-grin. "I suppose it didn't."
Ohtori paused. "Do my hands bother you?"
"No, no," he shook his head, "I was just curious. I like your hands." There was a slight silence. "Choutarou, do you think that I could hear you play sometime?"
"Sure. I'm free right now, so why not?" He laced their fingers together and they walked to the dorms hand in hand. Ohtori was already trying to pick out which song—A sonata? A minuet? Or perhaps a waltz? Bach, Vivaldi, Pachelbel?—he wanted Shishido to hear him play.
"At least you don't try to cover them up with lotion like Taki." Shishido scrunched his nose. "You can smell the lotion sometimes."
"Yeah," Ohtori agreed, "Hiyoshi was complaining about that. Some abstract part of my mind thought that it could have been an invitation that he was missing."
Shishido decided that he shouldn't inquire.
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