This is the second part of the fic, as promised. I would recommend listening to Yiruma's River Flows in You at one point in this story, as to where, well, you could see it for yourself.
Silver Pair ahead. Some typos and maybe OOC.
Shishido walked quickly, trying as much as possible not to attract any attention to himself as he twisted this way and that, trying to find a suitable location. And he found it at last, in the park, where people were scarce and the lighting was dim. Perfect.
"There's no one to stop us here, so come out, you dirty little bastards!"
One by one they did come out, their faces the mask of terrible jealousy and hate as they slowly advanced on the Hyotei regular, who was taking his outer coat off, disgust clearly shown on his face.
"So, after tasting you defeat in tennis, you decide to settle the score this way instead. Assholes." Shishido snarled, pushing up his sleeves. "You don't have any pride as men, don't you?"
"Shishido Ryou…" One of them sneered, flipping the switchblade open, the metallic sheen glinting in the dull moonlight. "After this, you won't be able to step into another tennis court ever again."
"You could take your offer and fuck it to hell." Shishido started to adopt a defensive stance, a smirk highlighting his features.
"Sorry boys, but we'll have to make this quick. I have a date to go to and I really don't want to stand him up just because of some worthless pieces of shit who can't even back themselves up with a tennis racket."
They lunged at him, and the fight began.
"Ore-sama demands that the recital be halted for another fifteen minutes." A voice reached his ears and he looked up, blinking back the tears that were in danger of falling from his face. He gave a little gasp of surprise as three people entered through the back door of the stage, making most of the crew jump back as the foremost of the three strutted inside as if he owned the place.
"A-Atobe-san! Oshitari-san! Jirou-san! What are you doing here?" He asked, completely befuddled.
"Good evening, Ootori-kun." The bespectacled teen greeted him smoothly, taking a side glace towards the female crew who immediately blushed and fainted. "Sorry for intruding."
"Atobe-sama!" The organizer gaped as the diva turned to stare at her with his ice blue eyes, making her feel like jelly inside. "W-What can I do for you?" She asked, a bit breathless.
"Postpone Ootori's performance." Atobe ordered coolly.
"B-But, Atobe-sama, we can't!" She protested, despite the fact that this was the literal King of Hyotei Gakuen she was going up against. "The people are–!"
"The people can wait. There is still one guest that hasn't arrived."
"Um… Atobe-san…" Choutarou just had to interrupt the growing argument. "Do you know where Shishido-san is–"
"Don't worry your pretty silver head, Ootori-kun." Oshitari cut in smoothly. "I brought a message from your Shishido-san."
Choutarou blushed at the older teen's words. "O-Oshitari-san!"
Oshitari smirked and decided to slightly alter the dash specialist's words. After all, he has 'matchmaker' as part of his part-time jobs. "He said: 'I'll be late, but I'll definitely come to see your performance. This is a selfish request but please wait for me.'" Well, reading those romance novels certainly paid off now.
Wait for him? So… Shishido-san didn't stand me up?
Choutarou really didn't think that he could get more flushed or very indescribably happy than he was now.
A couple of them were down, but he was nowhere near done.
Shishido swore, flexing his aching fists as he looked left and right, anticipating the next person/s who would try to take him down. Despite the fact that he was all alone and they were a sizable group, he was able to hold his own ground, quickly punching the lights out of the first two who dared try to come to him. The numbers were decreased but the situation was still dangerous. He can't run away. If he did they might follow him again and they might see Choutarou. He doubted that they could establish the connection between the teen and him, with their not so brilliant minds, but they might be seen together, and someone who has a few neurons could eventually make out their ties.
Who knows what they would do to his angelic kouhai just to get back at him, and that was an option Shishido was NOT willing to take.
He had to take of these guys. Right now.
"Now, come! Come and get me! Or are you scared?!" He wasn't the one to goad his opponents, especially in a potentially life and death situation, but he was running out of time, and he really wanted to get this over with. He was unkempt and ruffled from all the fighting, the silver dress shirt Jirou got for him was visibly smudged and dirtied in places, his hair that was forcefully styled by Oshitari was already matted down with sweat (which he was internally thankful about) and he needed to be somewhat presentable at the recital or Atobe would have his ass for being an ungrateful bastard.
"You cocky bastard!" Their leader, Shishido assumed, has finally had enough of him and decided to become serious. "Guys, get him!"
"Not again…!" Shishido weaved through the charging bodies, fists and feet flying, managing to take one out using an upper-cut and another with a well-timed clothesline from hell. He buried his elbow into a gut when one managed to get behind him, hearing him grunt, and stopping a charge with a sideways kick, twisting around to meet a guy with a punch to the face, hearing the gyrating sound of a breaking nose, sending the other man flying.
It's been a while since he's been involved in a brawl, since he promised Choutarou that he wouldn't fight unless completely necessary, but damn, it felt good.
Sending another three of four guys to the ground, he faced the rest, curling his finger into the 'come hither' gesture, which he knew would royally piss off the guys who were after him.
"Son of a bitch!"
Shishido's eyes narrowed when he saw the weapons. Shit, this could be bad. While he had escaped with only a few scratches and bruises up to this moment, he knew he was going to be in for it now.
"Shishido-san!" The tall teen stood and looked up towards the curtains, anxiety starting to build up in him. His maestro heard the exclamation and moved toward the teen, worry the main expression on the student's face.
"Choutarou? What's wrong?"
"Maestro…" Choutarou looked into the questioning gaze of his teacher and shook his head. "No, it's nothing."
As his teacher seemed to accept that and leave him to his devices, Choutarou could not help but bite his lip in vexation and concern.
I could almost swear that I heard Shishido-san calling me just now…
"Ootori-kun, we really can't delay it anymore. You have to come out on the stage."
As he nodded and finally went out, receiving the customary applause, he saw that the chair directly in front of him was still empty. Fighting the disappointed feeling in his chest, he exhaled deeply and sat on the piano bench, fingers directly poised on the black and white keys, his thoughts went back on his estranged doubles partner, the ominous feeling never disappearing.
Shishido-san… please be okay… He wished fervently, starting the first movement, the melody completely in discord with his emotions.
"Damn it!" Shishido knew he was starting to bleed. Spitting out the coppery, metallic taste of blood in his mouth he wiped the corner of his lips with his sleeve, finally straightening out as he surveyed his handiwork. Most of them were laying face down, completely out cold and the ones that remained conscious decided to spare their bodies another beating and quickly scampered off. Sore, bruised, and wounded to boot, Shishido knew, without looking at his watch, that he had completely missed the recital.
… Shit. Choutarou's gonna kill me.
With that thought, he wordlessly collected his outer clothes and slowly exited the park, wincing as the pain in his body doubled every now and then. While getting into fights was fun enough for him, the aftermath was definitely not worth it. He saw the stares of the people he passed by and completely ignored them, only intent on getting home so he could apologize to Choutarou through a phone call and somehow make it up for him in the future. He knew that he looked like a complete wreck anyway.
Finally arriving at the steps of his home, he unlocked the front door and entered without so much as a greeting, making his way through the foyer to grab the phone that was just below the staircase. Punching in the numbers that he committed to memory, he waited, hearing the three ringing chimes before the phone was picked up from the other line.
'Good evening, this is the Ootori residence. How may I help you?'
Steeling himself, Shishido let out a breath before speaking. "G-Good evening. This is Shishido, Choutarou-kun's," He winced when he almost slipped and forgot the honorific. "Teammate."
'Oh, Ryou-kun?' The woman on the other side asked, surprised. There was only one person in Choutarou's family that called him that, and frankly, he was glad that it was Choutarou's older sister who picked up the phone. The older teen was the female version of Choutarou: gentle, kind and nothing but nice to him whenever he would go visit his kouhai's home, and for that he felt nothing but the deepest respect for her.
"Good evening, Chiko-san. Is Choutarou there?"
The next words stopped him cold.
'What are you talking about, Ryou-kun? Isn't Choutarou with you?'
"Choutarou… isn't home?!" A thousand possibilities ran though his head. Why isn't Choutarou at home yet?! The recital ended hours ago! Unless…!
That bastards! Don't tell me they tailed Choutarou as well...!
'Ryou-kun, is everything all right?'Choutarou's sister asked; worry starting to emanate from her voice. 'Is there something I need to know?'
"Ah, no–" Immediately he assured her that everything's all right, all the while thinking about just where the tall silveret may be. His mind scanned infinite possibilities: the tennis courts, the music room, just anywhere he could think about that his kouhai may be.
He said his goodbyes and hung up, taking his coat and was about to leave the house again to search when something in his memory bubbled to the surface, a fleeting scene, a promise made and was waiting to be kept…
Don't tell me…!
He was out of the house in a flash, flurrying through the streets like a tornado, his unhealed body screaming in pain, but he paid it no heed. He just remembered… how could he have forgotten about that?!
It's a promise, then! I'll wait for you to arrive there then!
Choutarou, you… Shishido didn't even finish his thoughts as he breezed through the corner, the exhaustion taking its toll on him as he finally entered the Hyotei Gakuen campus grounds. With only adrenaline pushing him further, he looked left and right, he finally found the building he was looking for and dashed towards it, pushing his body to the limit as he pushed the double doors open.
His loud voice echoed through the empty auditorium.
Choutarou patiently sat on the edge of the stage the moment he knew that everyone was gone. His teacher asked him if he wanted to celebrate but he declined, saying that he had something to do. The recital was already over, and yet he knew he can't leave yet. Not until his guest arrived.
The disquieting feeling in his heart stayed. Thankfully it didn't show up in his playing, but his teacher seemed to know just how out of balance he was. And he was still feeling it now, but to a lesser degree.
Shishido-san asked him to wait, and so he would wait. Rarely did Shishido-san ask him to do something, and when he did, it's something of great importance. No matter how long it takes, he would wait. The older teen never broke his promises to him, and he was sure that even at this time, Shishido-san would not fail him. He trusted the older teen completely, and has never found any reason to doubt that he wouldn't come.
Shishido-san would arrive. He's sure of it.
The sound of his name startled him and he looked up to the origin of the voice. And there he was, leaning against the doorframe, looking terribly disheveled and exhausted.
Choutarou was unable to move, his stare fixated on the person above the auditorium, his lips parted in a gasp. He knew it was his senpai. No one could be loud enough to scream his name like that without any honorific and, even though he was against the shadow, Choutarou could see, with his experienced eyes, the lean frame, the strong shoulders, and the dark, soulful eyes that were looking straight at him.
He had come.
Shishido slumped in obvious relief, seeing his kouhai below, looking bewildered.
"Thank god… so you were here all along…" With great effort he pushed himself off the wall and staggered, trying to keep himself upright. He started down the long flight of stairs, only to realize that he had pushed himself too much.
Shit… He was starting to black out. I must've fought harder than I thought…
"Shishido-san!" Dimly he heard his name being called, and he reached out in front of him, tripping on his own feet, blackness starting to overtake him as he knew that it was going to be a very painful way down…
"Shishido-san!" He jumped off the stage the moment his senpai started moving. The older teen was swaying, unstable, and deeply hurt, as Choutarou came to see the bruises and the blood stained clothes illuminated by the stage light. Eyes widening, he started up the stairs, meeting his senpai halfway, who was already falling down, half-conscious.
Everything was in slow motion. He knew he was moving, and at a fast pace at that, but it seemed to him that he would never reach the older teen, who has his arm stretched out as if to grab hold of something in front of him.
Let me… make it!
But finally, a warm body collided with his own, and he quickly wrapped his arms around the warm but limp body, steadying himself as he kept his balance on the stairs, his eyes roaming around worriedly over the older teen's beaten form.
"Shishido-san! Are you all right?! You're hurt! What happened?"
The older teen steadied himself, grasping the tall teen's arms to prop himself up to look at his worried kouhai's face. "I'm fine… don't worry about this…"
"I told you, Choutarou… that… I'll come to see your recital… I promised you…" He looked straight at Choutarou's brown eyes. "And…"
"I never go back on my word."
The way the older teen stared at him left him breathless. It was so intense, so soul searching that it made him feel vulnerable. He blushed at their close proximity, but nodded in understanding.
"I get it, Shishido-san." He smiled softly.
"Now, Shishido-san, please listen."
"Please listen… to my recital."
Shishido settled comfortably into his seat, despite the various aches that occurred in his body. He watched his kouhai come up the stage and arrive at the grand piano, his fingers just lightly touching the keys. With a side glance and a smile, Choutarou once again sat down on the bench, poised and ready to play.
"Shishido-san, please listen to my song."
He started off slowly, pausing, leaving the melody hanging, before repeating it again.
Shishido gaped, his mouth hanging as he listened to the first movement. It wasn't just a jumble of notes. He felt as if he was detached from the reality, entering a dream like world where Choutarou was the one leading him, putting him under a spell, listening to a tale that was so familiar to him…
His eyes widened. It was their story, their ups and downs, their struggles and hardships, their victories and triumphs, all weaved into one melody, harmonious and united, different and the same all at once. Raw emotion gripped his heart tightly, heart thudding loudly in his chest as the song questioned and probed gently into his core. Choutarou was playing with his eyes closed, letting his fingers weave through the black and white keys like silk. No words were said; rather, the younger teen let the music instrument speak the words for him, telling Shishido of their history together as teammates and friends.
As the music rose up to a glistening crescendo, it revealed untold feelings, with confessions that can't be said verbally spilling out into the melody.
Shishido-san, I love you. So much that I don't know that to do with myself anymore. But… do you feel the same way for me too?
The song alternated between their past and their possible future. Again and again Choutarou asked him the same question through the piano keys, from allegretto to andante, as he showed the older teen nothing but the inner depths of his soul, the sound echoing all throughout the empty auditorium.
He can't move. The sound was engulfing him, swallowing him whole as he drowned in his myriad of emotions, seeing nothing, feeling nothing, only hearing the sweet, melodious music that seemed to tear his heart in two, but at the time, complete it fully.
It was as confusing as hell. But he understood it perfectly.
The melody slowed, and with it, came back reality, and Shishido blinked, starting to be aware of the clear liquid pooling in his eyes. Tentatively he touched his cheek, finding it wet and tear streaked.
When did I… start crying…?
Choutarou was still playing, but the spell was ending, and Shishido found himself standing up, jumping on to the platform, standing in front of his kouhai, who was finishing the mast movement, looking like an angel in disguise. Finally the last tone melted away, leaving an almost intangible silence between them.
Choutarou sighed, finally opening his eyes. It was his final piece, the only composition he never played except for this moment. For him, it was a very special melody, one that immediately captured his heart the moment he heard of it. It reminded him of Shishido-san, his kindness, his strength, his… his everything.
He looked up to the audience and smiled. "What do you think, Shishido-sa–"
He never fully finished that sentence. His brown eyes widened, shock evident on his features as lips descended down and met his own in a kiss. Large, warm hands cupped his face, never breaking its gentle hold on him. But soon he got over his initial reaction, curling his fingers around the silver dress shirt, pulling the older teen with him as he pressed his back against the edge of the grand piano, accidentally pushing against the keys, making a dissonant sound the lingered in the air as lips and hands became more passionate.
But they really couldn't care less at that moment. There was something much more important things to focus their attentions on, mainly each other.
Reviews and constructive criticism appreciated.