Hyotei and the Happy Panda

Epilogue: In which Ohtori gets some things off his chest and much fluff is delivered for all

A/N: Yay! It's done! I can feel--if not proud of how I choose to spend my free time-- at least accomplished. Thanks to all my reviewers for cheering me on and to Microgirl for indulging my shounen-ai fangirl without complaint and for baking me cookies.

Anou... if you're wondering what I'm doing next (and my ego is big enough to allow me to say that even though my slippery foundation in reality tells me it's silly), I'm working on a crossover piece with Microgirl. It's an alt. universe, crackparody/fangirl goof that will be combining Tenipuri and C.S.I. If you watch both shows (how many people watch both? It's all a part of the experiment), you'll enjoy it a lot. If you watch one, we're attempting to fill it with service so everyone can enjoy. No idea when we'll start posting the monster, but it will be under the name pen name TrozInc.

Okay, plug's over. Enjoy the Epilogue.


Three Weeks Later

Ohtori kept his posture straight, his pace dignified as he walked down the music department's hall after tennis practice. Eventually, he located an empty practice room, and stepped calmly inside. Locking the door, he sat down on the piano bench, took a deep breath, and at the top of his lungs, shouted, "Damn it! Damn it! Damn it ! Damn it!!!"

Another deep breath later, Ohtori felt a little better, at least until he heard a sleepy voice from behind the piano mumble, "Huh? Ohtori-kun, was that you?"

Ohtori leapt to his feet. "J-Jirou-senpai?"

Jirou stumbled up to sit on the bench. "You curse? I didn't know you could curse."

"Excuse me, senpai," Ohtori bowed hurriedly. "I didn't know you were using this room. I'll go."

"Stay," Jirou said pleasantly, halting Ohtori at the door. "I didn't reserve it or anything. I just like these rooms cuz they're soundproof. And I wasn't making fun of you or anything, just surprised. Besides, from what I hear you've got a couple reasons to curse today." He patted the seat next to him. Ohtori kept his groan to himself as he slumped onto the bench.

"I did warn you," Jirou shrugged. "Atobe gets a little petty sometimes."

Ohtori refrained from commenting on either the word 'little' or the word 'sometimes.'

Jirou continued. "And you got what you wanted, right? I mean, Shishido's back on the team. Who knows, maybe he'll play better now that his hair isn't blocking his vision all the time."

Ohtori felt his shoulders slump even further. It had been so much work. So much harder than even he predicted. They'd gone home every night, hours after the regulars had left, bruised and disheveled, Ohtori's arm aching from the amoung of scud serves he'd had to fire off. And after all that ... "He didn't tell me. He had the scissors with him the whole time, and he didn't tell me."

"Would you have let him?"

"Of course not. I could have figured out something else." Anything else. The image of Shishido-san's tresses falling to the pavement would haunt Ohtori's nightmares for years, he was sure.

"Guys like Shishido and Atobe, you have to let them do things their own way sometimes. Besides, Atobe would've known if it was your idea," Jirou pointed out. "This way, he's not mad at either of you anymore. And you get a doubles partner you can actually synch with. Speaking of doubles, anybody heard from Taki yet?"

"Mukahi-senpai said he went to the hospital to make sure he hadn't permanently damaged something."

Jirou snickered. "Poor guy. But you and Shishido are gonna be a good team. I can tell."

"Thank you, senpai."

"Where is he, anyway? Shouldn't you two be out celebrating or buying hats or some combination of the two?"

"He's meeting with Atobe-san and Sakaki-sensei. Then we were going to--"

A knock on the door stopped him. Ohtori saw Shishido's face under a blue baseball cap appear in the small window. He ignored Jirou's smirk as he opened the door.

"Hey," said Shishido, attempting to fidget with his ponytail and frowning as he realized he couldn't. "Ready?"

"Hai, senpai," Ohtori began.

"Don't forget you both have practice in the morning," Jirou warned, beaming.

Shishido started, as if noticing the volley specialist for the first time. "What are you doing here?"

"Ohtori-kun's teaching me to play piano," Jirou sang without skipping a beat, he then turned and began playing a heartfelt rendition of "Chopsticks."

Atobe appeared in the doorway, arms folded across his chest, "Jirou, you've been taking piano lessons since you were six. You have the same instructor as ore-sama."

Jirou shrugged, pausing his beat. "Ohtori-kun is a better teacher." He paused to stretch before adding, "I'm hungry. Ne, Keigo, want to get some ice cream wih me?"

Atobe sighed. "Very well." As Jirou bounced over, the buchou appraised Shishido and Ohtori for a moment. "Though he is right. You do both have practice in the morning. Ore-sama would hate to see either of you dropped now."

"Whatever," Shishido huffed. Atobe ignored him as Jirou grabbed the buchou's elbow and dragged him down the hall.

For a moment, the doubles partners stared awkwardly not at each other.

"So..." Shishido began. "You still want to go?"

"Of course," Ohtori forced a smile on his face. "Why wouldn't I?"

Shishido pulled the hat off his head, running his fingers through the short spikes of hair. "I thought you might be mad or something."
Ohtori shook his head, tentatively reaching out to touch the side of Shishido's hair. Shishido held his breath, making Ohtori smile a little more naturally. "You did what you had to. Are you okay with it?"

"It's just hair," Shishido lied, tugging his cap back on.

Ohtori nodded. "Please don't think I'm weird or anything, Shishido-san, but after you left, I..." Ohtori fished in his pocket and pulled out a hastily tied braid of long, sable hair. "I thought you might want it."

Shishido touched the braid, smiling a little. "Thanks." He tucked it into his jersey pocket. "So, I owe you a date, I guess. Any place you had in mind?"

"Actually," Ohtori smiled, "There's a new Chinese place that opened up down the street I've wanted to try."

Shishido scowled. "Any place that isn't called the Hungry Panda Cafe?"

"My treat."

Another sigh. "Fine."


SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT: I miss Shishido's hair. I miss it so. And Genius 305 just makes me miss it more. Will somebody please take the scissors away from Hyotei! If you don't get what I'm talking about, I won't spoil it for you, but be grateful.