Theme 20 – Gray
Pairing: OishiEiji [Golden Pair]

Notes: Sequel to Theme 6: Break Away

There were times when Eiji annoyed Oishi so much that the black-haired boy wanted to tell the other to leave him alone, to find someone else to bother, to give his troubles and his triumphs to someone else so that they could carry it upon their shoulders, and he could walk straight for a day. There were times when, when their combinations in tennis failed or when they weren't communicating well like they normally did, Oishi really wanted to ignore the redhead, using his angered mind to try to wish away his very presence. These moments, few and far between but there nonetheless, were the ragged slopes in their friendship, the mountains that were impossible to climb when they were breached, and the pits that they fell in when they hit the mark. Neither of them liked it; perhaps that was why they were always so quick to apologize to each other for the various wrongs that they witnessed throughout the years that they were friends. They were always eager to make up, always one of them at any given time, and this was an obviously noticed trait that the two of them possessed that was seen by all of their teammates and close friends.

Oishi shut his laptop, pushing the computer away from him and leaning back tiredly on his chair. If he saw another word of his report he would go crazy; he was sure of it. Being a medical student at a prestigious school was difficult, and even though Oishi was a straight-A honors student back in middle school and managed to maintain that all throughout high school, he was beginning to find it getting more and more difficult to hit those high expectations that he set for himself now that he was in college. Of course, he strove hard to achieve those goals that he set for himself, and as a result was the top of his class, but it was steadily taking its toll on him. Long hours in the library, reading up on the topics that he had not fully understood from the textbook and the teacher's lectures, researching on any available computer for a good amount of time when he was in his one-room apartment after classes, arranging meetings with a few professors to discuss various articles that he found interesting and wanted input on in an effort to further his understand… he willingly placed hours and hours of his time when he could have been enjoying other things (like sleeping, most of the time) into his studies, striving for that day when he graduated and he could say proudly, with confidence:

'Konichiwa. I am Oishi Shuichiro, a doctor. Please rest assured that I will do all in my ability to ensure you a safe recovery so that you can return to your daily life with as much ease as possible.'

To be a doctor, to ensure that those who were injured could return to their lives and the things that they loved doing the best… that was his dream. He nurtured it like it was a precious treasure. He supposed that it was, in a way.

"Attention all visitors," came on a voice over the announcement system. "The library will be closing in twenty minutes. Please pick up all your belongings, check out anything you would like to borrow, and have a safe trip back home. We hope to see you again tomorrow when we open at ten."

Massaging his forehead tiredly, he let out a soft groan and stood up, transferring the laptop from the table to its bag and gathering his papers and writing utensils. The empty cup that once held piping hot coffee was tossed away in the trash, his coat was buttoned and the bag was slung over his shoulder. He gave a nod and a smile to the people who were behind the front desk, who returned the gesture, having now become fairly familiar with the young man who constantly came to the library, before pushing open the heavy doors and stepping outside.

It was snowing; the sky above his head was overcast, covered by a thick layer of clouds in varying shades of gray. Tilting his head back, the young man stared at the falling flakes of cold as they landed on his forehead, his cheeks, drifting around him before settling on different objects, giving them a cold powdery coat. Faintly, he remembered that Eiji hated the color gray. When Oishi had asked the acrobatic boy why exactly he disliked it, he had gotten an answer of:

'But Oishi! Gray is such a boring color! It's not bright, it's not cheery, it's not even dark or evil. It's just… gray… and it's plain and dreary and no fun to look at at all.'

Somehow, when the boy had put it like that, it had made lots of sense. In fact, Oishi swore he could hear the other's voice in his ear right at that moment, complaining in that childish whine that Oishi would never forget, no matter how many years they hadn't seen each other.

Something suddenly landed squarely on his shoulders, and Oishi stumbled forward with an uncharacteristic yelp, staggering under the sudden weight. Two arms snaked around his neck and someone cried out excitedly, "I found you!"

"Did you?" Oishi gasped out, somehow managing to regain his balance. "Did you need—ow!" His unwanted guest had flicked him on the cheek, and Oishi quietly asked himself what he had done to deserve a stinging cheek.

"Nya… Oishi doesn't remember me!"

Green eyes blinked in surprise, and he turned his head slightly to the side. "Eiji?" he asked, and the person dangling around his neck grinned, laughing with that bright laugh that he hadn't heard in what seemed like ages.

"The one and only!" his former doubles partner piped up, finally letting go of Oishi's neck. "I was looking for research materials, but the library near my school didn't have it, so I decided to go to the next library. Unfortunately, I got a bit sidetracked on the way and happened to get here right at closing time." A sheepish smile crossed his face. "How's studying to be a doctor going?" he asked cheerily. "I hope Oishi is getting enough sleep and the studies aren't stressing him out!"

Oishi was silent, simply drinking in the fact that Eiji happened to be standing right next to him, before finally shaking his head and saying, "It's going alright." A lie. "I get plenty of sleep." Another lie.

Eiji seemed to notice this, because he frowned and flicked him on the forehead. "Liar. Every time Oishi complains his left eyebrow always twitches just the smallest bit downwards." Feigning pushing up imaginary glasses, he said, "If it's about Oishi, than Kikumaru Eiji is the expert."

"Hm…" Oishi murmured, not quite agreeing but not exactly denying it, either.

Eiji nodded importantly, before grabbing his hand and beginning to drag him forward. "Tomorrow is Sunday, so you can relax a bit today!" he piped up. "You should always use Saturday night to get back all the sleep you lost over the week and then use Sunday to kick back and relax!" The redhead tossed back his head and walked energetically in front of Oishi.

Eiji might have thought that gray was a boring color, but Oishi loved it. Because it was on a day covered with nothing but gray clouds that he found Eiji again.

A/N: Another very slow update. I'm sorry. Until next time, leave a review? That would make me a very happy person amidst all this white snow that is covering my yard.