Choutarou finally got a grip on himself and pushed Gakuto away.
"Please excuse me senpai. Etto...thanks f-for the g-gift." He stood up and awkwardly bowed as he rushed off to find Shishido.
Gakuto stood there and gawked.
He hadn't expected Shishido to see anything. He just wanted to do that as a practical joke.
"Im so sorry." He whispered to himself. He had to find Atobe before Shishido went to him. And if Choutarou found them, thats when something horrible would happen.
Atobe walked into the clubhouse, and his eyes widened at the sounds of sobs filling the room. Obviously, the other hadn't noticed he was here. Shishido sat in front of the locker holding something to his chest. It looked like it was a racket.
"Choutarou." He whimpered softly, rocking back and forth softly. His sobs had turned into little sniffs here and there. Atobe closed the door but it creaked.
Shishido's head shot up and wiped his eyes.
"Who's there?" He said nervously.
"Relax Ryou," Only one person called him Ryou. "Its just me."
"Keigo?" His eyes started to water, and he dropped his racket and fell onto his knees. Atobe immediately rushed to his side.
"Shh, calm down. What happened?" Shishido balled his fists up in Atobe's regular jacket and tried to get out the words. It hurt to think that Choutarou didn't really like him. He was so sure. Maybe he was overreacting, but there was nothing else that could explain it. Damn that Gakuto for taking his partner. He had Yuushi. Maybe it was Choutarou's personality. The boy was like an angel. Completely polite and innocent. Everyone was drawn to him. He was too nice for his own good sometimes.
All the while, Atobe kept on thinking 'Gakuto, that moron!' He knew it was one of Mukahi's pranks, just to see the boy flustered. Or it was some part of a horrible plan to get them together.
He started rubbing Shishido's back in soothing circles, trying to get him to start crying. Watching Shishido, one of the strongest players, break down because of what Atobe assumed to be a misunderstanding. It was a heart-breaking sight. He was reduced to a puddle, shivering in Atobe's arms. His pride got to him.
"Thanks Kei-Atobe buchou. Im going to go hit a few balls now." He opened his locker and took out his own racket. He headed onto the courts, while Atobe watched him with caring eyes.
He turned and went into the hallway, only to bump into the silver haired second year his teammate was mourning over.
'Shish-Ryou, Im sorry. It's not what you think. I don't like him. I like you! I've always liked you! Please, just hold me.'
How desperately did Shishido want to hear those words uttered by Ohtori Choutarou himself. He knew that would happen. The tennis player wouldn't go as low as to beg for Shishido to take him back. Not as if he had him in the first place.
He smashed the ball into the wall, and pounded it when it came back.
It was a never ending cycle.
It was almost therapeutic for him. The constant sound of the tennis ball hitting the racket, the wall, the ground and then the racket again.
How could he face his parter again?
All he would see is probably pity. He hated being pitied. He didn't want anyone's sympathy, especially his.
The ball flew harder and faster at the wall. His breathing rate increased, and his heart pumping furiously.
'Choutarou, I love you dammit. I dont care if you dont love me back. I just wanted you to know.'
The wall broke under the ball pressure, and Shishido slumped to the ground.
Choutarou bowed in front of Atobe, apologizing for running into him. He was about to head into the clubhouse to check if his blue capped partner was there, but he felt a vice-like grip on his arm.
"We, need to talk." Atobe said calmly through clenched teeth.
Choutarou simply nodded and allowed himself to be pulled away.
He sat down on a bench while watching Atobe pace around in front of him before he finally snapped.
"What did you do?!" He yelled. It was wounding Atobe's dignity and pride by resulting to this, but he was furious. Choutarou cowered under Atobe's hard, cold glare, and he whimpered.
"SPIT IT OUT!"
"He kissed me! Mukahi-senpai kissed me! He told me it was my Valentine's Gift from him because he never gave me anything! And then Shishido-san came in and saw it! I swear, it meant nothing! I really do like him, and I hope he would forgive me." He said, eyes clenching together.
"Dont tell me that. Tell him." Atobe said quietly.
"It hurt him. It hurt him enough to cry. Loud, and for a long time."
'He really likes you. You better not hurt him again.'
Choutarou's delicate heart cracked at those words.
"He's at the tennis court, working himself to exhaustion to forget the pain you and Gakuto have caused him."
'Go find him, and heal him. I will take care of Gakuto.'
He nodded at Atobe in a silent agreement. He had understood the meaning being the words, and he took them to heart.
"Hurt him again, and you're off the tennis team."
'Please take care of him in the way I couldn't.'
Choutarou ran to the single-practice courts to find Shishido lying on the ground, breathing softly, and a cracked dent in the wall.
"Shishido-san! It's not what you think!" He said, shaking him lightly. Unbeknownst to him, Shishido was awake, but just resting his eyes from mere exhaustion.
"Then what is it that I do not think?" He asked bitterly.
"Gaku-Mukahi-senpai was just giving me a valentine's day present. He said he hadn't given me one, and you showed up at the wrong time. Im sorry if I hurt you." Choutarou tried wrap his arms around the older one, but his arms were shoved away.
Shishido struggled to stand up, and Choutarou tried to help him, only to have his arms batted away yet again.
"Im fine on my own." Shishido brushed the imaginary dust off his pants and turned to look at Choutarou in the eye. He set him with a hard stare. It wasn't cold, he could see that there was love and hurt in his eyes, but still it made Ohtori shiver.
"Why should I forgive you?" He asked.
"Because it's by birthday, and I dont think its fair to me that I have to be sad. I like you. I really do. Im sorry I dont believe in Valentine's enough to give you anything, but I really do. Please...please forgive me." Choutarou bowed his head and stared at his Adidas shoes. A tear fell from his eye and onto the ground. It didn't go unnoticed by Shishido.
Before Choutarou could comprehend what was going on, Shishido had hugged him.
"Choutarou, I will be with you as long as you want me to."
The younger one looked up with hopeful eyes. He wrapped his arms around Shishido's waist and whispered in his ear a quiet 'Thank you'. Shishido removed one of his hands and placed it one Choutarou's chin, gently lifting it up to meet his eyes. He could see love in Choutarou's eyes and he smiled lightly. He gently pressed his lips against the others. It was just a gentle fleeting touch, and Choutarou's eyes fluttered closed.
As soon as they pulled apart, they heard an arrogent voice.
"Finally! Ore-sama was growing tired of waiting when you two would get together!"
The doubles one pair blushed and pulled apart.
"Oh no, just walking by, don't mind me." He said in a sing-song voice.
The when Choutarou turned around to face Shishido again, he smiled.
Little did he know, Atobe was smirking right behind him. Shishido did, but before he got to say anything, Choutarou's lips crashed against his, and if it weren't for Choutarou's hand wrapped around his waist, he would have tumbled backwards at the impact.
Atobe wistuflly smiled and walked out of the room, brushing his hands together in a job well done.