Disclaimer: The characters of Prince of Tennis belong to Konomi.
Notes: Written as a request from Jen.
Shishido opened his locker and sighed, he didn't realize just how much stuff he had collected in his locker until he had to clean it out. He'd earn this locker halfway through his first year and had managed to hold on to it since. First as a doubles partner with Oshitari and then later with Ohtori. But now it was time to move on again and this time there would be no more picking up where they left off, no more fights for the nationals and no more doubles with Ohtori at the national level.
University was a whole new level and he knew he couldn't compete in singles by himself and he didn't know anyone he'd be willing to play doubles with. At least there was always recreational tennis, he wasn't about to give it up completely after all. Not after it had been such a large part of his life.
He grumbled and let his tennis bag fall to the floor, opening it up to start shoving things into it that he wanted to salvage. Photos, books, a Nintendo DS game, a few spare shirts, shorts, shower stuff, extra grip tape and so on were all dug out and tossed and stuffed into his bag. The rest was tossed in the direction of the already full trash bin. It looked like he was the last one of the seniors to clean out their locker, something he was thankful for.
When all that was left in his locker was a few stray papers (most likely old homework assignments and scribbled notes about Gakuto's bad hair), some stickers and a few photos stuck on the door he sighed and took a look around the room. Atobe had helped pay for the new locker room to be built in high school much like he had in junior high. Except this one was even more luxurious and ridiculous, with a shower room added on and a larger gym at the back. Though he never did understand the point of having a royal purple couch with leopard print pillows in the middle of a boys locker room once again but he was wise enough to not get caught making fun of it.
For nearly 3 years he had had to look at that thing, and just because he could and with nobody around to witness it, he gave the hideous couch a good glare.
And was caught acting childish.
"Trying to glare things to death again Shishido?" Oshitari drawled, making Shishido jump around to glare at him instead. Unfortunately Oshitari seemed as resistant to the glare of death as the couch.
Oshitari Yuushi. He'd grown a lot closer to him since first year when they were forced to work together as a doubles pair. Mukahi having left on a school exchange and Ohtori still finishing junior high it was a logical choice and he was surprised at how well they had worked. That didn't mean he wanted to be caught making a fool of himself in front of him though.
"It deserves it." He said with a shrug, turning back to his locker to look at his reflection and smooth out his growing hair to give him something to do. "I thought you already cleared out of here." He pulled off the magnetic mirror on his door and shoved it in his bag, sneaking glances at the other.
"It's a couch, the only thing it deserves is a thorough cleaning." They both looked over at it and Shishido had to agree, couches and tennis locker rooms really didn't mix. Seriously, who puts in a fancy couch instead of a proper bench? "Maybe new pillows too. The leopard is a bit tacky..."
Shishido watched Oshitari casually pluck one up into his hands and twirl it around a bit as he perched comfortably on to the arm of the garish purple thing. "Definitely new pillows. And you still haven't explained why you're here."
"Can't a man visit his boyfriend without being given the inquisition?" Oshitari asked a sly smile forming on his lips as he placed the pillow back down.
"You're not visiting, you're stalking, and Choutarou's supposed to be meeting me after I'm done to get ice cream and go over tennis stuff." Visiting someone implied going to one of their houses, not stalking him at school or following him around. He also didn't see how pointing out they were dating proved Oshitari's point as it really only made him seem more stalkerish in his opinion.
"'Choutarou' again?" Oshitari drawled as he lifted himself off of the couch and moved to Shishido's locker where a few pictures were posted. Most of them were him with Ohtori and a few group photos.
Shishido watched as Oshitari plucked one up and held it in front of his face. "Hmmm you do realize that things won't be the same after this right?" Oshitari said moving to adjust glasses that weren't there. He had stopped wearing them over a year ago and he still hadn't fully broken the habit, it sort of amused Shishido most days. But right now he just gave Oshitari a blank look and thought that if he wanted to make a point he better be more specific.
That just caused Oshitari to give one of his 'I'm a genius and I suffer so much by putting up with all of you' sighs.
"The differences between University and high school are a greater than those between high school and junior high." Oshitari finally clarified, Shishido suspected it had more to do with not wanting to get involved in a childish staring contest than with actually wanting to be more specific.
"Yeah, I know that. But Choutarou's still a friend." Just because they wouldn't have the same touchstones or see each other everyday didn't mean they couldn't go for a bite to eat and talk about the latest on the tennis circuits. Though he supposed Choutarou would be busy with the tennis team and then with preparing for entrance exams while he'd be trying to settle into university and maybe even a part time job if his parents were cruel. Still, they'd make time. They wouldn't let one year rip them apart, that would be lame.
"Is that all he is Ryou?" Oshitari asked looking back at the photo in his hand before handing it back to Shishido who was staring at him incredulously.
What kind of question was that for his boyfriend to his ask? Oshitari knew exactly who he was and wasn't making out with on a regular basis. "He's my friend and partner. You know that better than most."
Most of the school thought he and Choutarou were involved in some weird partnership on and off the courts that equated to being married, very few knew that he was just friends with Ohtori, was dating Oshitari and that Choutarou had a horrible crush on Tachibana's sister. Something Shishido decided he would never fully understand and it was better off not to. Especially since every time he tried to get more info out of Choutarou he'd just start apologizing for being interested in the enemy's sister.
Shishido had gotten over the whole 'Tachibana kicking his ass and handing it to him' thing years ago so he wasn't sure why Choutarou still considered him an enemy but at least it was amusing to watch Choutarou get all flustered about it.
Thinking about all of that made him smile slightly until he looked over at Oshitari and realized one of those 'patient' looks were being sent his way.
He frowned. "What now?"
"You're doing that thing you do again. Where you go all spacey because you're thinking of some inside joke or conversation you had with him." Oshitari sighed melodramatically before slumping against the locker. "What is your boyfriend supposed to think when you keep doing such things... Am I not enough for you Ryou?"
Shishido rolled his eyes and wished that Oshitari would have flopped back against the lockers a little closer to him so he could have banged his head with his door.
"Trust me, you're more than enough. I don't think I could handle anymore of you than I already have." Shishido sometimes didn't know where Oshitari got these strange ideas about him and Choutarou, it's not as if he was harbouring some secret longing for his partner. Besides, only an idiot would want to date someone else on top of Oshitari, the guy had enough random date ideas to keep him busy as well as fairly poor.
"Again you wound me so." Oshitari replied before reaching out to grab Shishido's arm and tugging him against him.
Shishido protested the move but didn't try to break away, instead he just looked up and waited. He'd learned that sometimes it was better to just do nothing than to fight.
"I'm sure you'll live," Shishido said after he noticed the silence stretching on around them.
"Maybe, or maybe I'll need you to help comfort me in my hour of need." Oshitari pulled Shishido tight against him and leaned down to capture his mouth in a kiss.
Having been on the receiving end of these kisses many times before, Shishido thought it was unfair that they could still disarm and distract him the way they did. He felt his body responding to it before his mind had even registered the press of lips.
As Oshitari finally pulled away, both of them breathless, Shishido realized that he'd also be rather disappointed if Oshitari's kisses stopped making him feel as if he had just won the Nationals after a hard and satisfying game of tennis.
And thinking of tennis, Shishido took a step back, Oshitari's arms still around him, and looked at the clock. "I need to finish up, Choutarou will be here soon. Wouldn't want to give him nightmares." He gave Oshitari a quick kiss and a wink before moving back towards his bag.
He only got a step away before arms were once again around him. "I wouldn't worry about Choutarou if I were you," Oshitari whispered against the back of his neck, slowly moving Shishido up against the lockers.
Shishido blinked as he felt the cool metal of the lockers, "And why not?"
"Because he's not coming. Got a text from one An Tachibana. Was terribly sorry, wanted to know if I wouldn't mind passing along a message to you."
"Seriously? From An?"
Yuushi gave a soft chuckle against his neck that sent shivers down his spine, "Yes."
"Well, good for him. But I still have to finish up here." He batted Oshitari away, breaking from his hold and pushing him aside to give him space to work. He didn't have much to do but he still had to focus if he wanted to sort through the remaining bits.
"You're not going to sulk are you?"
"I don't sulk." For how much Oshitari liked people to think he was the intelligent and patient man who loved romance Shishido knew that he was incredibly impatient about certain things and hated waiting in silence. He had hoped that Oshitari would have lasted more than 30 seconds though.
"Of course not. You just get ridiculously huffy and storm about." Yuushi pointed out as he leaned against the arm of the hideous couch.
"Geeze give me a break Yuushi." He threw a scrap paper ball at Oshitari's head who easily caught it. "I'm not going to throw a temper tantrum because my best friend has a date. I'm not that lame." And he wasn't. He certainly wasn't feeling betrayed or upset that Choutarou wasn't going to be at his beck and call forever. They were friends, he was happy for him, if he could date so could Choutarou. It's not like they'd be able to spend all that much time together in the new year anyway, it was good to have outside projects.
Oh hell, he was going to end up sulking about this, and then he'd never hear the end of it.
Shishido stared into his now empty locker and took a deep breath. It wasn't like it was the end of everything. It was just a stupid locker, not some metaphor for his life, tennis and his friendship with Choutarou.
Absorbed in his thoughts he didn't notice that Oshitari had moved until arms had snaked around his chest again, pulling him against Oshitari's body. "It's okay to be sad you know, things change and it's tough," Oshitari whispered the words against the back of his neck and Shishido let out the breath he was holding.
"And change doesn't always mean bad." Oshitari cajoled and shifted them until he was sitting on the arm of the couch with Shishido held between his legs. "I'm sure Ohtori will still need you in the future and still plenty of chances to play tennis." Shishido nodded to Oshitari's reasoning, resting his hands on Oshitari's shoulders.
"And my favourite thing about change," Oshitari lowered his voice to that gravelly whisper that never failed to make Shishido's mind slide into the gutter and start him imagining him all sorts of dirty and enjoyable things. "We'll have more freedom, more chances for alone time, and less sneaking around locker rooms." Oshitari gave a rumbling chuckle at that and Shishido gave in.
He cupped Oshitari's face with his hands and leaned down to kiss him, softly but in such a manner that there was no mistaking the need and desire he felt. They weren't at the point yet where Shishido was comfortable calling what between them as love but the feelings were there and as the kiss deepened he tried to show in actions that he couldn't yet say in words.
After a while the kiss broke, Oshitari rubbing the back of his neck for holding it at an odd angle for so long and Shishido his back, they really were getting old if they got muscle cramps from a long make out session.
Putting it out of his mind along with his body's pressing need to do more than kiss, Shishido glanced at the clock and cursed. "We need to get going." He pointed out, stretching luxuriously in the locker room for the last time before grabbing his bag and heading out without a backwards look.
Things were changing and he wasn't going to dwell in the past. He had things to do and dreams to fight for. He couldn't do that by lingering around a smelly old locker room.
When Oshitari came out, they walked side by side across the school grounds and through the gate, enjoying each other's company, determined to hold on to what they wanted and ready for whatever the future held.