Title: Oblivious

Rating: PG

Author: Liz

Pairing: Ibu Shinji/??? (I don't want to spoil the surprise!)

Author's Notes: This began from a dream I had (Liz and migraine meds do not mix, it seems), and it just kinda…grew from there. This is unabashed, unapologetic crack, by the way.

It was going to be an epic match.

On one side of the court, Tachibana Kippei. On the other side, Echizen Ryoma. Both glaring daggers at each other, focused with the intensity of a Nationals final match, not an afternoon game on the street courts.

The prize at stake? One Ibu Shinji. Oblivious, adorable (in their minds) Ibu Shinji.

It was no secret that they both wanted Shinji for their very own. Tachibana had the distinct advantage, seeing as he spent so much time with Shinji. But, Echizen had an advantage, too, in that Shinji spent a lot of time thinking about Echizen. (Of course, the thoughts were all tennis-related, but Shinji was thinking about him. Echizen was willing to take his victories where he could.) Wherever Shinji went, Tachibana and Echizen were sure to follow, hovering like faithful shadows, glaring at each other all the while.

It had become obvious to them that they were at a stalemate. Neither could attempt to make a move without the other managing to block it in some way or form. (Yeah, maybe Tachibana could've won, if he had attempted to jump Shinji after practice or something, but Tachibana was too noble for that.) And, for as obvious as they were both being about their affections, Shinji didn't seem to notice a thing. So relying on him to just choose one and end the debate was pointless.

And so, all that was left was tennis. Tachibana on one side of the net, Echizen on the other. The winner would get full rights to pursue Shinji (and, in theory, to flaunt his winning in front of the other), and the loser would have to agree to back off. Unless, of course, Shinji started showing a sudden preference for the loser. Then all bets were off.

Serves flew with the force of bullets. Tezuka zone was employed, and broken. Shots that would've had Chitose whimpering in recalled terror were returned as if they were nothing. Tennis was now a war, and both generals were waging a scorched earth campaign. All for the hand of someone who was watching the spectacle with dispassionate eyes.

"Hey, Shin, what's going on?"

Shinji blinked at the person who had joined him. "I'm not sure. They just…challenged each other and went at it. Maybe they're bored with the tennis they've been playing, or maybe it's sexual tension, because I've been noticing them looking at each other a lot, and they like putting me between them, maybe so they won't give into the passion…."

Shinji's companion wrapped his arm around Shinji's waist almost protectively. He'd picked up on the tension, alright, and it wasn't that Tachibana and Echizen wanted each other. How Shinji could be so oblivious (and adorable) was a total mystery to him. "Did you forget that we have a date this afternoon?"

Looking at his watch, Shinji winced. "I'm sorry…I got wrapped up in watching them." His eyes followed the ball. "I think Tachibana-san will win in the end. I can see it in his eyes."

"I think they will both lose," his companion said cryptically. "Let's go." He paused. "Or…we can make out for awhile, then have our date." So he had an evil streak. He was supposed to be evil.

"Making out is nice. Let's do that first." Shinji nodded and let his boyfriend lead him off into the bushes.

The byplay went unnoticed by the competitors, who at that moment only had eyes for each other, not wanting to give the other an opening into winning.

Eventually, though, all things must end, and so did this match, with Tachibana standing, albeit shakily, as the victor. He even managed to shake Echizen's hand with a minimum of gloating before looking around for his prize. "Ummm…where did Shinji go?" He caught sight of Kamio. "Akira! Did you see where Shinji went?"

Kamio didn't even look up from his magazine. "Shinji? He's over there?" He gestured over to the bushes. "He's been making out for, like, an hour now."

"Making…out?" Tachibana blinked, and he knew that, next to him, Echizen was doing the same. "Akira, are you on drugs? Shinji's not the type to just…randomly do that!"

"No, he's not." Sighing, Akira actually looked up from his magazine. "He is the type to do it with his boyfriend, though."

"Boy…boyfriend?" Echizen sounded almost stricken. "He has a boyfriend?"

"Umm, yeah. Shinji's been seeing Higa's captain since Nationals last year. Didn't you wonder why most of that team suddenly needed to come to Tokyo for high school?" Kamio shook his head. "Damn, how oblivious can someone get? It's not like Shinji's kept it a secret." He shoved his magazine into his tennis bag. "And speaking of, Rin gets very upset when I'm late. See ya."

Tachibana and Echizen didn't even notice Kamio leave, they were so busy staring at each other in shock. "Shinji…he…."

"He has a…."

"Boyfriend," they finished together.

In the bushes nearby, Kite smirked as he shoved Shinji's shirt up. He did so love the moment when the pieces came together…. And if it kept them from perving on his boyfriend, so much the better. Oh, sure, he could've said something a few months ago…but this had been so much more fun. Nobody lusted after his boyfriend without paying in the end.

And since Kite was the one who currently had Shinji squirming and whimpering under him, victory was doubly sweet.

--The End--