Disclaimer: Nope, I don't own Whistle! If I did, this fic would not even be possible.

A/N: My farewell to this fandom... And sorry if this sucks. I could not read and revise this without feeling kind of depressed. Ugh, what have I written?

Please put on Owl City's "The Saltwater Room" when you read this.

WARNINGS: Future fic. Unreciprocated feelings.


The Glacial Room

Night.

J-League Training Camp Dormitory.

He awoke.

The room was completely dark except for the streaks of light that slipped through the window from the field outside.

The first thing his vision made contact with was the time printed in fluorescent numbers on his bedside digital clock.

Eleven thirty.

Then he remembered he had retired to bed early that night.

Sitting up slowly on the hard mattress that he never got used to, his eyes wandered instinctively to his roommate's bed a few feet away from his.

It was empty.

The other must be out practicing late again. He walked up to the window overlooking the field to see.

Sure enough, he saw two figures chasing the black and white sphere on the green grass. One was, of course, his roommate, and the other, he observed, from his head of ridiculous blond hair, was Shige.

He decided to join them. He pulled on a sweatshirt.

Even when he was merely a few distances away, the two did not notice his arrival on the field.

The other's full concentration had been on the ball, and Shige's full focus was on the opponent before him.

Secretly, he knew Shige, like him, enjoyed watching the other's brilliant fervor and passion for soccer. Yet, a deeper part of him feared that other people will come to know that same brilliance. When that happens, he knew the other would no longer belong to him. The other would no longer belong to Shige. The other would no longer belong to them.

His thoughts amused him. He found the whole situation to be ironic, for the other did not belong to them, even now.

"Tatsu-bon!"

Shige's voice called him back to reality.

Their activity stopped altogether when Shou peered up and smiled at him.

"Tatsuya!"

He spoke to them in a tone of mock-displeasure.

"What are you two doing up so late? We have practice early tomorrow morning."

Guilt darkened the other's bright eyes.

"I'm sorry, Tatsuya… It's just that…"

'…you were thinking of her again…' He finished for the other mentally. He was just too predictable sometimes.

Or perhaps, he just knew him too well. He sighed inwardly.

There was an awkward silence. Just the sound of his own heart battling against the all-too-potent jealousy. The sound of a blade stabbing into flesh internally announced the victory of jealousy.

His punishment was pain.

Luckily, Shige's voice saved him from further mental torture. "Since you're here already, Tatsu-bon, why don't you join us?"

He felt himself secretly smile in irony.

Just when did soccer become an escape from reality for the three of them? Just when did Shou start using soccer as a way to distract himself from his yearn to see Irene? Just when did he and Shige start using soccer as a way to deter themselves from thinking of the other?

How ironic it was for their perfect trio to be broken after so many years. How was it that the U-14 maintained their companionship even till this day?

After their small game, the three of them laid down side by side on the grass, sweating and panting heavily.

He felt completely at peace with the three of them staring up at the dark skies.

Everything was still. Everything was silent. Nothing mattered. Nothing was important. Not even their early morning practice tomorrow.

All that mattered was the moment now.

And, as clichéd as it was going to sound, it felt like eternity. It felt as if they existed inside some sort of room, where time froze and happiness was preserved forever. It was as if they were inside some sort of glacial room.

He turned to look at the other beside him. Shou was looking up at the sky in some sort of daze. One of his eyes met with one of Shige's eyes; Shige was still watching the other.

They were both watching the other.

Yet, the other's eyes were only set on the sky, where Irene's plane had disappeared off to two years ago.

Without taking his eyes off the sky, the other asked suddenly, "Ne, Tatsuya, Shige-san… Do you know why sparrows love the snow? Irene keeps on asking me...but I don't think I can give her an answer."

He did not know the answer either.

But he did not even care for the answer. For he had his own question he wanted to ask the other.

"Do you wish we would fall in love?"

And the only answer he obtained was his own. For him, it was, "All the time."

A few days later, on the day before the week vacation from training, Shou made an announcement that surprised the both of them.

"I'm going to see Irene in Germany."

He and Shige had planned meticulously the previous week of the places they would go over the short break. Just the three of them.

They had been careful to keep this planning a secret. They wanted it to be a surprise for the other.

What would they do now?

Sure, he and Shige could just adhere to their previous plans. But, they both knew, something would not feel right, it would not feel complete, because the other would not be there with them.

Yet, Shou seemed excited about the trip, and they had no desire to keep him from his happiness.

So, they pretended they were happy for him and said, "That's great."

He thought. It was easy for Irene to see Shou, because she was the other's girlfriend, which was to evolve into a significant other who Shou would start a family with in the future.

When that time comes, he wondered, would he and Shige still have the right to the other's time and energy? If the other was to quit soccer, would they have the right to ask him to stay?

It just seemed that their role as his "friends" was just not enough. All they needed was a bit more time. Then, they can get the message across. They can make the hint of something beyond friendship known to the other.

All they need is time…

Yet, it seemed, there was just not enough time…

The next day.

Narita International Airport.

Boarding gate.

The other thanked them for seeing him off.

Then, the three of them stepped toward each other and engaged in a group hug. It was what they did after scoring a goal they worked together for each time.

The little moment made him feel whole, as if they were back in that glacial room, where time stopped and nothing mattered.

But then, the other pulled away and shattered their sanctuary into pieces when he asked again, "Ne, Tatsuya, Shige-san… Do you know why sparrows love the snow?"

He smiled apologetically at the other.

"Sorry, Shou. I guess we'll never know."

He watched Shige ruffle the other's brown hair. The other approached the boarding gate.

As he watched his back, he still wanted to ask him, "Hey, do you wish we'd fall in love?"

He knew his own answer. It was, all the time.

But he did not get a reply from the oblivious boy. All he got was a comforting hand on his shoulder to relief him of loneliness's temporary symptoms.

He and Shige remained in the glacial room when the other left.

Yet, this time, the other's absence from the glacial room chilled and froze them completely.


NOTES:

In the extended version of the Whistle! manga, Shou and Irene, Tenjou's sister, are dating.

I don't know why, but I really just prefer the original Whistle! manga that was without all the side stories and the after stories. It just sucks when all the things that happen are so different from your expections... I don't know, it might just be because I'm a fangirl and I have my tendencies... Whatever.

Anyway, I had this fanfic planned a long time ago. But I only waited till now to write it and post it. Maybe I am getting sensitive at the stuff I write now... I just find it so sad that ideality and reality must sometimes differ so much...

And yes, I did use some lyrics from "The Saltwater Room."