Disclaimer : I do not own Prince of Tennis & the hot tennis princes inside, although like everyone else out there, I really wish I did.
Summary : This is an AU (Alternate Universe) Silver-pair story, rated T for chapters to come. There was a pattern to life, he had always believed, a pattern everyone follows unconsciously without questioning it. Years ago he had thrown away the key to his heart; however, when he finally answered the knock on the door to his heart.. It was too late for him to question the lack of pattern he had to follow.
Note to all : Not too good with my summaries yet, pardon me for that.. This story's rated T for a slight bit of sweet silver pair action. I know I'm probably in no position to say this, but this fanfic is dedicated to . Purple . Chocolate . Stars . for all those many times she's brightened up my days and made me smile, even up till now. Thanks, and hope you'll enjoy!
The next time he saw Ootori-kun- eh, Ootori-san, was a good three days later. Three days hadn't been enough for him to forget about his interesting encounter with this strange, silver-haired men. Three days were definitely not enough for him to stop glancing towards the door everytime the bells chimed.
During this three days, Ryou found himself doing research on how better to present purple flowers in a bouquet. He'd learnt plenty from browsing the net, and even more so by experimenting with almost half the purple flowers available in the shop. Noeru-san kept shooting him suspicious grins, which he ignored readily, giving her no signs that he'd notice, other than the occasional blush that flushes past his cheeks everytime Ootori's smile popped into his mind.
After all, he had never show this much interest in flowers in general, let alone bouquet wrapping.
He kept denying the fact that he might indeed be missing this Ootori guy, whom he'd only met for one night. He didn't even know much about him - All he knew was his full name, and that Ootori-san was merely three years older than him.
On the fourth day, Ryou strolled towards the florist shop at his own relaxed pace, knowing that there was no point for him to head there early anymore. He was sure this Ootori Choutarou wouldn't drop by like he'd previously promised.
However, as he took the turn towards the lane where the florist shop was located on, he saw Ootori-san waiting outside the florist shop, his hands buried in his pockets, a frown on his face as he appeared to be deep in thoughts. Upon noticing Ryou, though, a smile appeared on the silver-haired man's face, and he waved at Ryou cheerfully.
Ryou's brows were raised so high they could've disappeared into his fringe, which said something, because even though his fringe was long, it was usually swept to the side and would rarely fall onto his face. "What?" He asked, sounding much more distant than he had expected himself to be.
"I'm sorry I haven't been around these few days.. I was caught up with something.."
"Come on, Ryou-chan.."
"Don't call me that, I hardly know you." Which was actually true, so at this moment he hoped that the message will get through this guy's thick brain.
Ootori's face fell for a moment, but he managed to cheer up in the next instant; Ryou assumed this was just part of his character, to not be able to stay gloomy for long.
"It's okay, we'll have lots more chances to get to know each other-" It was that gentle, comfortting tone that made Ryou feel like he was being talked to like a little boy who had gotten himself into trouble; it just made him feel the need to interrupt-
"Don't be lame, why would I want to get to know you?" His amber irises were shining with amusement, not that he would know himself. Ootori-san took this in with surprise, and continued in the same tone-
"Well, because I-"
"Whatever, I have work to do. Move." Ryou had already reached past Ootori-san for the door.
"I'll be here the whole day-"
Ryou ended up holding the door open to let Ootori-san in.
Work with Ootori-san around was interestingly entertaining, not to mention the fact that this silver-haired man had the strangest ability to keep all his fan-girls ogling outside the florist shop without having them flood into the shop to surround the both of them.
Ryou concluded that the 'mysterious aura' Ootori-san gives off was both attractive but dangerous at the same time, but he still couldn't understand why he couldn't feel this for himself.
"Ryou-chan, are you okay?"
Looking up to find Ootori-san's face a couple of inches away from his own, Ryou jerked away quickly, blushing as a look of total shock arranged his features. He'd thought.. At that distance..
They could've been about to kiss.
And it disturbed him to know that he was thinking along those lines.
"Woah, relax! Are you okay?
"Er, yeah.." Ryou replied, steadying himself with the table while bending down to pick up his toppled-over chair. "Uhm, where were we again?"
"We were talking about birthdays," Ootori-san reminded him gently, his brows furrowed with worry and concern. "Maybe you should take the other half of the evening off? You don't seem to be too well, you're flushed."
"Huh? Er, no, I think I'm fine.." Ryou murmured, dropping the stalk of flowers in his hand and lifting his fingers to his forehead. "I'm not having a fever, I'm fine."
Upon noticing that Ootori-san's frown hasn't faded, Ryou reached over the table and jabbed him in the cheek, forcing him to loosen up. "Don't worry, I'm fine, I swear. Uhm, so, you were asking me-"
"When's your birthday?" Ootori-san inserted appropriately, and for some reason he appeared to be blushing, blinking furiously as he looked at Ryou, then away at the table.
"Twenty-ninth of August," Ryou replied, stiffling a yawn. "Don't bother, no one else does anyway."
He hadn't realise the silent, calculating look in Ootori's eyes as the older man smiled and pet him on the head, which he reacted to by pushing away Ootori-san's hand and yelling, "Stop treating me like a bloody kid when I'm not one!".
As both males burst out laughing, however, they've failed to notice the dark figure stalking outside of the florist shop, a storming look on his features as his hand balled into a tight fist against the glass doors of the shop. Inside the shop, the second hand of the wall clock shifted to the twelve mark, bringing the hour hand to the seven mark.
The figure held a plastic bag in his other hand, the packet it contained still steaming slightly because of the fresh dinner that he had just prepared..
Ootori-san had kept his promise since that day onwards. Everyday after school, he'd find Ootori-san waiting for him outside he florist shop, a gentle smile on his face when he approached. Now, there was something more for him to look forward to everyday at work, apart from the joy of working with flowers, which was something he had only developed after meeting Ootori-san too.
Besides, Ootori-san was good at warding his fan-girls away, and he was also good at attractive other customers, mostly older females, into the shop. To put it in Ootori-san's way, he was just like a lucky charm for him and for the shop.
To this, Noeru-san kept her mysteriously smirk-like grin every single time she strolled past the both of them seated in the middle of the florist shop at the table. She had also taken to commenting that Ryou's bouquets were 'improving drastically', attributing it to what she called 'the purest of first love'. In return, Ryou tried to stuff a bunch of chrysanthemums into her bags that evening, but didn't because Ootori-san insisted that it was too mean to curse her to die at such a 'young' age.
Ryou was glad that he now had Ootori-san around; They could talk about each and everything, ranging from flowers to food to pets and anything else. They've shared most of their preferences and dislikes, talked about their ambition and goal in life, even about relationships.. Though when asked if he had a partner, or someone in mind, Ootori-san only replied him,
"I do, but I'm waiting for that special person to catch the cupid arrows of love from me."
"Disgusting," he remembered his reply to that, and they burst out laughing again.
Ootori-san had this special ability to make him laugh, or at least smile every other second.
He said his smile was contagious, and Ryou couldn't argue with that.
Days past quickly, and so did weeks. Within a month or so, he had gotten awfully familiar and at ease with Ootori-san around. The sales at the florist shop were increasing, no doubt because customers were more willing to come back for more flowers now that there was Ootori-san around, and that Ryou was much less icy (and smiling more) than before.
Also, he hadn't noticed until the change has been almost permanant, but it was no longer his close friend, Taki-kun, who would bring him his dinner in the evening. Ootori-san took the job over easily, and he would often bring along a set for himself and Noeru-san too; On the days where she wasn't as busy, the three of them would sit at the table in the middle of the florist shop to have dinner together.
Before he had realised, Ryou had been spending way too much time at school thinking about the shop, flowers, and Ootori-san; his grades in school had started to fall, not that he could properly concentrate on school work even from before.
Ryou was sure this was the fourth or fifth time he was being called. Being jerked out of his daydream in such an annoying way, Ryou couldn't help but want to glare at the teacher calling his name that way, only to realise that the classroom has been emptied after he had raised his head; the only ones left in the room were him, and Taki Haginosuke, his only supposedly close friend in school.
"Oh. Hey, Taki-kun. What's with that address?"
"I tried every other variation, but you refused to react to anything else."
"Oh, really? Uh, haha.."
An awkward silence fell, with Ryou looking away at the floor while Taki stared hard at Ryou. Feeling the boring glare on himself, Ryou raised his head once more, and gave a dry smile.
"Uh, so, I haven't seen you around much these days.."
"I know. I noticed the silver-haired man around, and realised I wasn't needed anymore."
"... Taki, don't say that."
"Then at least call me by my given name?"
An uncomfortable silence fell, with Ryou staring at Taki with a stun-shocked expression, with Taki fixing his eyes on the tiled floor. Finally, their gaze broke at the same time as the blonde boy shuffled on the spot.
"Nevermind. I'll be leaving you alone now."
"No, wait- Taki!"
Ryou found himself standing, yelling at no one but the classroom door, which had swung open as Taki-kun left in haste. Slumping back into his seat, Ryou sighed, and dropped his head onto the table before him. Somehow, even though he had never really felt he was any close to Taki-kun emotionally, he still felt rather horrible seeing how he's been treating his only close friend in school..