This sucks. Shishido Ryou grunted, and snapped his gum loudly against his teeth -- narrowed cobalt eyes watched his upper classmen flock like insects to their assigned friends that week. It was the same every damn year. They all stood around, and spoke about what crap their parents had bought them over the summer.
"Ne, ne Shishido-dear, don't you think that's nice?" Seeming to have forgotten that a second year was addressing him -- all he did was nod mutely. "Right." Before he was swept into a powerful embrace that nearly crushed every bone in his body. "AH! You fuckin' moron!! I'm not your toy!!"
Before he knew it, he was the center of second year giggling amid boys -and- girls as he yelled to be released. "First years are so cuuute!" Prying himself away from the boy, he staggered forward, spitting his gum on the ground carelessly. Who cared right now?
Atobe Keigo watched the scene from across the lawn, shaking his head. The former junior high tennis club captain had been silent and uncharacteristically broody all day. Moving up to the Hyoutei high school had not been a pleasant experience for the popular boy. Thankfully, he had made careful preparation all through the previous year to make sure his fame and importance would carry over and his place in the social ladder of the high school was secure, but that didn't change the fact that as soon as he stepped from his limo this morning, he was a freshman again.
Shouts rang out across the campus, and Atobe started toward his friend's rescue with a labored sigh. He hoped his influence really did transcend; He hadn't tested it yet, but he considered it a good sign that he had not been subject to the taunting the others seemed to be suffering thus far.
"Hey, Shishido, what class are you headed to?" Atobe asked as he approached, ignoring all the other people around.
The shouts of the Hyotei Prince's name seemed to briefly deafen Shishido, since he had been standing next to a slightly taller blonde girl. How cruel. A girl had managed to grow taller than he was. Sigh. "All heil. All heil." The brunette muttered flatly, watching as Atobe seemed to glide through the crowd and over in his direction. He carried the same air he always seemed to carry, and it naturally suffocated Shishido. Nobility.
"Uhm, hey." He greeted with a half wave, a stray short hair sweeping over his brow. Turning away, and expecting to be followed by the other boy -- the youth's uniform sloppily adorned. Shishido always managed to look like he had just rolled out of bed. "... I left my schedule inside. I have to go get it."
Atobe waved his hand in a familiar dismissive gesture and quieted the crowd. He was rather torn between being annoyed at the crowds of people and having a sick sense of satisfaction because he was apparently still adored. Taking a moment to indulge the ego, Atobe gave the tall girl next to Shishido a wink and watched her run off to her friends shrieking.
Pulling his bag higher on his shoulder, Atobe turned back to the brunette boy. "Ah, well, I'll accompany you then." Atobe normally wouldn't have taken the time out of his day for such an errand. but in all honesty, he was feeling rather out of place here and after spending his time so far avoiding people, the prospect of walking with someone he knew was well, a little less intimidating. Not that he would tell Shishido anything of the sort.
There was silence drawn from the brunette for a time -- listening to the screams of adoration fade away into casual chatter. Somehow, the prince had a lot more on his mind then just locating his schedule. "So cheer up already, will ya?" Shishido said suddenly. "You'll be showered with praise and shit in a few weeks. You'll have third years bowing to you before you even know it." You won't need us around you anyway.
"...Atobe--" Halfway towards the entrance way door, there was a sudden, cheerful yell of his first name. Shishido Daisuke, third year student seemed to merge out of nowhere. Bright eyed, and beaming with excitement. He canted his body to the side, and waved eagerly to Atobe. "Hello Atobe-san! Happy new school year!" Daisuke was also dangling his schedule in front of a disgruntled Shishido. Typical. Brothers and nothing like each other.
Frowning, Atobe started to inform Shishido that he was entirely wrong, and that he was enjoying the much quieter high school campus to the constant hoard of fans he had to wade through before. However, before he could get that out, he turned just in time to see the older Shishido bounding toward them waving a handful of paper.
Well, Daisuke certainly seemed...in high spirits. "Thank you Shishido-san, the same to you," Atobe replied politely, finding it strange to follow 'Shishido' with 'san'.
"Gimme that!" The youngest Shishido snarled, looking rather cranky as he snatched his scheduling away from his elder brother -- Daisuke only grinned, and winked in the quiet blonde's direction. "Please take care of Ryou this year! He's going to need some male guidance. After all, he is a little mama's boy---"
"... SHUT THE HELL UP!" There was a faint trace of a blush within his cheeks as his facial expression hardened. With a kiss to his brother's temple, the elder boy bounced off with a prompt wave (to keep living). Silent for a moment, and studying the room numbers on his schedule, a rather fierce glare was turned on Atobe. "..Forget everything you just heard, or I'll kill you!"
Atobe rolled his eyes, unintimidated. "Your worry is misplaced," he said, looking in the general direction Daisuke had bounded off in with a look of vague worry. Shrugging, Atobe peered over Shishido's shoulder to glace over his schedule.
"Oh fuck you. If you didn't look so distracted today, I'd slap you. Hard. Oh what the hell. Classes are longer!" He shook his head, and raised a brow. "I have an advanced World History class, and uhm. A high placement Math class. Eve---WHAT?! Home Economics?!" Somehow the idea of wearing an apron didn't seem too appealing to the young brunette, who glowered and realized this was not going to be his day.
"What's wrong with you, anyway? You haven't snapped at me once today. You're actually makin gme worry. That's not a good thing." Shishido was lowering his schedule, not finding it important. Their friendship was more important.
Obviously avoiding the subject and Shishido's questions, Atobe pulled his schedule from his pocket and unfolded it. "Hm, I've got Physics, Business Law, then...hm, Home Ec." Atobe wrinkled his nose. "Must be a required?"
That was the first thing he came to notice, and a deepened frown spread across his face. He said nothing at first, but Shishido was very well going to persist. "What the hell is going on with you." The boy prodded at the subject with an intent eye on his former captain. Lightly reaching up and giving his right shoulder a small tug off to the side, he spoke again. "C'mon, tell me."
Looking slightly annoyed by Shishido's persistence, Atobe swatted his hand away. "Nothing, I'm just concerned that I may have purchased the wrong book for Physics," he lied, not sure he could explain exactly what was bothering him even if he wanted to. Which he didn't. "Not a problem though, as I'm sure most of my class will be more than willing to share a textbook with Atobe Keigo." Atobe flashed Shishido a grin, and tossed his hair with a familiar shake of his head.
Shishido drew his hand back as if he had been burnt, and muffled his inner want to protest. That wasn't it! Yet Atobe just didn't want to talk about it, since when was that his problem?
"Uh hum. Bigi ni something." With a sigh, he turned his eyes on a fellow first year boy who was walking by. One that he had never seen before, and eyed him for a minute, especially his lower backside. What a distraction to get his mind off Atobe, that was for sure. "DAMN this year might be good after all."
Ignoring the rather weak jab, Atobe continued to study his schedule until Shishido called his attention to the freshman passing by. "Eh," he said noncommittally. "He could use a couple hours in the gym." It took quite a bit to impress someone as obsessed with perfection as Atobe.
I was expecting a comment like that. "Like you don't. You ass." He snapped, prodding at the other boy's side. "Still gotta work off that baby fat, 'Tobe." Rolling his eyes, he took it upon himself to snatch away Atobe's schedule. Right out of his hands.
"C'mon! Twenty laps!" Backing up on his heel, and waving the piece of paper. Without waiting for a reaction, the brunette took off into a light sprint -- straight for the main entrance.
"Me? If I recall, I'm not the mama's boy," Atobe called after him before sighing in the manor of one who possessed great patience though they were weighted with heavy burden and taking off in a brisk stride after the other boy. "Shishido, I NEED that."
Growling as he heard several giggles erupted at the comment, he didn't slow down. "Now you're NOT getting it back!" Though Shishido was not too lucky. Managing to lightly trip over a loose rock in his path he stumbled forward and slowed down. "God damnit!" A small paper slid out of the fold of his schedule, landing at his feet.
Pausing and bending down to pick it up, he inspected it promptly before stiffening and stuffing it in his pocket. "..Atobe. Sorry." Shishido called, holding up the boy's schedule over his shoulder. "I love being an ass on the first day."
Catching up to Shishido enough to put himself in speaking range, Atobe scowled. "Only on the first day?" Readjusting his bag, Atobe shot Shishido another glare. He didn't have time to run all over campus chasing his schedule. Plus, if he got sweaty...well, that just would not do. "Hand it over. Now."
He oddly did not choose to reply. Merely took to staring at him -- blankly for a moment, before handing his schedule back over to him. "Here. Take it back." Shishido looked over his shoulder, and suddenly everything seemed too ... big. In the past, he hadn't really cared about moving on up the ladder into high school -- but.. what if I can't make it here? I already struggled back in middle school.. Inhaling roughly, his next few words sounded almost nervous. Was Shishido Ryou actually --- well, scared? "Argh, forget it. I can't do this." He begun to back away, not willing to allow everything to settle in. "Maybe I'll come back in uhm.. a day."
Looking incredibly taken back, Atobe's mild irritation faded to a look of confusion. "What the hell are you talking about? You can't just...leave!" Atobe took a step foward. His own inhibitions that he'd been privately struggling with were momentarily forgotten and replaced with the shock from Shishido's sudden change in mood and the idea that he might be abandoning him here alone. Alright, so maybe Atobe hadn't been able to confess his anxiety, but he had been right about it helping to be around someone he knew. Their familiar squabbling had been in some strange way soothing.
The brunette froze completely, looking flabbergast at Atobe's reaction. Eyeing his expression carefully, eyebrows were perked in surprise as he took another step farther back. "What are you talking about? What does it matter if I vanish for a while? Atobe, you won't friggin' be alone for long." What the fuck just happened?
What he had just seen thoroughly did boggle him. Standing there was a narrow, sour expression in cobalt eyes, he waited. Wasn't that what they usually did? Walked away from each other?
Shishido's reaction to his own caused Atobe to feel instantly embarrassed about his own. Shishido was right, he was being dumb. If he couldn't even get through one freaking day by himself, then he certainly wasn't worthy of the reputation he held for always being confident and in control. It was just that even when he handled things 'himself', he was never actually alone. This was the first time in years that he hadn't even had Kabaji's silent and looming presence to back him up.
Pursing his lips and training his face back into it's proper blank and slightly bored expression, Atobe regarded Shishido for a moment before nodding firmly. "Nothing. Nevermind," he said. "You shouldn't skip class on your first day, it's bad practice."
That wasn't the reply he had been hoping for. Just for once, he was almost hoping that Atobe would admit that he as a little bit frightened too. Yet his pride would never allow him to acknowledge that fact.
"Well..." Calming his nerves, his free hand swept through his hair before it fell limply against his side. "Right. I might as well get goin'. I got shit to do." There was a pause, before he studied Atobe for a short time. "Hey, do you wanna do something after classes end? Maybe bitch about what nut cases are teaching us this year?" Shishido shrugged a shoulder. It was just a question.
Remaining guarded, Atobe nodded and shifted his stance. After a moment, he seemed to actually consider, and smiled honestly. "Actually, yeah, I'd like that a lot. I'll meet you out front after last period?"
For some reason Atobe didn't connect and identify their like feelings of apprehension previously. Or at least, was too busy worrying about himself to figure out that Shishido's words a moment ago had intoned just that. Either way, the brunette boy's offer was appreciated, and giving Atobe something to look toward at the end of the day helped a good deal.
Opening his mouth, most likely to exclaim his surprise ("What? No meeting?" "No fanclub tour?"), he quickly silenced himself. Instead, he would go with it -- since Atobe seemed to sincerely enjoy the idea of friendly company after the first blistering day of their high school lifestyle.
"Okay. So I'll see you in a few hours." Holding the side of his schedule between two fingers, he waved it and smirked. "Don't die before we hang out. That would so suck Atobe." Chuckling lightly to himself, he turned away and continued on. By himself. Without the shadow of Choutarou in his wake. Without any of his former classmates trailing behind him. He was alone today, and the rest of the former third years were definitely feeling that way.
The end of the day would come fast, as the morning already seemed blurry.
The latter half of Atobe's day did in fact sweep by quickly. He'd hardly had a chance to sit down and eat his food during his lunch hour, due to a queue that formed at his table. It seemed everyone in high school wanted the famous Atobe Keigo to join their club or support their cause. Again, Atobe found himself strangely missing his fanclub. At least most of this sort of thing had been handled by the girl who had acted as President and filtered the many of the requests for his time. After lunch, his classes came and went without incident. Greek III seemed like it was going to be a piece of cake, as he was far ahead of the class agenda, probably by several years.
Sighing in relief when the last bell rang, Atobe made his way through the mass of people and burst through the front doors, where he surveyed for Shishido.
Amid the middle of the day, Shishido had come to the conclusion that most of his upper classmen were ...perverted. They took pleasure in chasing the new bunch of first year females -- trying to sweep them off their feet while staring at their chests. He found it... repulsive.
An Advil, classes, lunch, and more classes later -- the brunette had found himself considering joining another after school activity in addition to tennis. He'd think on it later. For now, he was standing against the side of far wall just a short distance away from the front entrance. Staring intently at a fellow first year girl who seemed to be asking him for directions. Scribbling a room number, and floor number on her palm -- he pointed her off. There. Atobe caught the corner of his eye over her head, and he picked up his hand to wave. "Hey, idiot!"
Turning in Shishido's direction, Atobe waved away a freshman boy who was gushing on about how glad he was to see Atobe and how he'd never had the nerve to speak to him the year before. Descending the stairs and making his way over to Shishido, Atobe greeted him with a wave. "Don't call Ore-sama an idiot," he said rather good naturedly. Having survived the day thus far, he was in a much better mood.
Shishido stepped forward mockingly, and offered the other boy an almost delicate bow. "Yes, Sir Arrogance. Anything you say." With a smirk on his lips, cobalt eyes seemed bright. Indeed, it was one of those rare, confusing but better days. Raising back to his full height and loosening his tie, he shook the hair out of his eyes. "So where does thou wish to depart to?"
"Good question," Atobe replied normally, ignoring Shishido's mocking tone. "Would you rather hang out here or migrate elsewhere?" Smoothing his shirt, Atobe mentally made sure he had all the books he would need with him and wouldn't have to make a trip back to his locker.
"Mi..grate. Who the hell says that? Yeah, let's migrate. I don't care where we go, just as long as I don't go home, and as long as I get off campus. School is okay during the hours it's in session, but I've had enough for one day." He didn't want to spend even more time in Hyotei's looming presence.
Within his right hand, Shishido was clenching the handle of his bag, which seemed a little heavier than normal. His hand lightly shook, but he didn't acknowledge it.
Shrugging, Atobe suggested his house. He'd had about enough of school as well, and it had been a very long time since he'd left school to go home without being retained for hours with meetings, practice, or clubs. "I am in the mood to walk, I think. Is that ok, or should I call the car?"
His house. Hn. He had been there numerous times in the past, but it had been a long time since his last visit took place. Shishido ran silent for a moment, actually turning over the idea in his head.
"...What?" The brunette said suddenly, snapping back into focus. "Oh, right. Walking. I don't care. If you want to walk, let's walk then. I'm surprised you don't want me to carry you to not strain your precious feet." Another grin.
It was a rather rare and noteworthy occasion that Atobe felt like walking instead of taking the limo, probably caused by the fact that tennis practice didn't start for a few more days and his normal practice time at home just wasn't enough to keep him from feeling idle. "Well, you know, my bag is a little heavy..." he smirked over his shoulder, beginning to head in the direction of his house.
Not to mention that the weather seemed to be looking good. Neither hot, nor cold and the lack of tennis practice was not yet straining the brunette thoroughly. He enjoyed days like this. They were calming to his fiery demeanor.
Shishido raised a sudden brow at the implied hint that Atobe made within his comment. "...NO way. Carry your own damn bag." Following beside him while keeping a short distance, there was a pause before he spoke up. "...You do know, that Sengoku Kiyosumi is in our school."
Atobe chuckled, but he really had been serious about the bag. It was going to be a loong year without Kabaji. Maybe he could hold interviews or take applications for a new assistant. Oh well, he'd think on that later. The news about Sengoku wasn't new, even with his newfound 'freshman' status, he was still on top of everything that went on at Hyoutei. Continued contact with Sakaki had made sure of that. "So I hear. I haven't seen him as of yet though, have you? I'm quite interested as to how he's getting along."
A sigh escaped him, as his eyes fell to the sky. "I shouldn't be surprised. Nothing is new to you." Shishido trailed off flatly, before he shifted his bag from one hand to the other. "He's pretty awesome. I spoke with him a while ago. Showed him around a bit." Remembering the conversation, which indeed was.. quite interesting. "He still complains about the pants, but who doesn't. He'll get used to it."
"Oh? Well, that was considerate of you," Atobe said, keeping a steady pace. He remembered Sengoku to be a fairly talented player, and wondered if he'd be trying out for the team. It was likely, he decided. Looking down at his pants, Atobe frowned. "I like our pants. They're flattering."
"Your taste in pants sucks." He echoed plainly, half giving him a disinterested stare. "As for Sengoku, well we sorta knew each other priour. I mean he bumped into me during the summer." Shrugging a shoulder, Shishido came to pause at a street corner just as a car screeched dangerously close to the edge. Instinctively, an arm shot up in front of the boy beside him as he took a step back.
In the middle of explaining exactly why his taste in pants is highly superior to that of any one else at Hyoutei, Atobe was cut off as an arm flung out and stopped him from walking into oncoming traffic. Looking rightfully startled, Atobe threw Shishido a wide-eyed glance. "Th-thanks. I didn't even see it."
A sharp glare was thrown in the direction of the driver, who seemed irritated with the fact that teenagers had begun to cross into his lane. Angrily, dropping his hand, a finger pointed towards the light. "Pay attention, you moron! You don't go that friggin' fast around here!" His only response was quite a rude gesture, to which Shishido hastily returned.
Turning his attention towards the startled looking blonde, he shook his head. "Pay attention too. It's cool, didn't want you killed on the first day."
Looking thoroughly offended by the audacity the man must have to first of all nearly run down Atobe Keigo, and then have the nerve to make such a gesture back at them. Scoffing, Atobe mumbled something about rudeness and how some people should not be permitted to drive. "I mean, really," he finished, with a scowl.
Somehow, he wondered if he should've just let him hit Atobe. After all, it would shut him up. No, that's low. Shaking the thought out of his head -- he leaned over to see if any other cars decided to run the red light. "Just hurry up and cross. I'm tired of walking now, after having that pissant nearly hit us." The cranky mood had newly settled right back in, and he made his way across the intersection wearing a sour expression.
Following Shishido across the street, Atobe sprinted across, still feeling a little paranoid after almost having been killed. Most of the rest of the walk was rather uneventful, both boys seeming to be a little more grumpy and disinclined to talk. By the time they rounded the corner that lead into Atobe's neighboorhood, he'd started to complain idly about the weight of his bag.
Already long over his placid mood, the moment the other boy started to complain about the weight of his bag as they slid into the neighbourhood that was practically Atobe's entire block, his arm shot out. "All right you fucking whiner." Punching him lightly in the shoulder, he upturned his palm. "Give me your damn bag and shut the hell up already or I WILL knock you in the street!"
Atobe handed his bag over happily, with the smugness of one who just got what he wanted without actually having to ask for it directly. Luckily for Shishido, and for Atobe's personal safety, his monstrous house came into view almost immediately after entering the neighborhood.
Great. Now the idiot is having me acting like his damn servant. I'm not Kabaji, damnit! He said nothing as the Kingdom came looming into focus, with the ability to swallow his own house with just one room! "...God, this place.." He took a moment to stare. "So where are you dumping me. In a quiet room and then telling everyone I mysteriously disappeared?"
Raising a confused eyebrow, Atobe opened the front door to his sprawling house and ushered them inside. The foyer was empty, and the house was quiet. "I thought we'd just hang out upstairs or something," he said, taking his bag from Shishido and shouldering it again. "Unless you have a better idea?"
"...God, nothing amuses you." There was a moment of silence once more as he followed him off into the main foyer of the household. This place alone has always been bigger than my and Daisuke's rooms combined. "Whatever. Just pick a spot and kick me in it." Looking oddly out of place, Shishido strangely begun to feel self-conscious he followed closely behind the other boy. Though, he couldn't help himself from examining just about ... everything.
Waving a hand airily, Atobe rolled his eyes and started up to his room. Halfway up the stairs, he paused and looked back at Shishido. "Hungry? We could have someome send up food."
.... Send up food? Looking bewildered for a moment, Shishido was way too used to having to actually go get his own food. No, no remember where the hell you are. "Eh." He murmured, looking a little awkward. Hand lounging on the railing, he shook his head. "That's fine. I'm good. Not hungry. Besides, I'm gonna have dinner later."
"Ah." Atobe continued the journey up the stairs and to his room. He sighed inaudibly as he pushed open the door, not sure what had happened in the last hour to bring the slightly awkward mood. Flopping down on his bed, Atobe kicked off his shoes and let his bag fall down beside him. Now what?
Politely, since this wasn't his house at all -- he removed his shoes carefully and stepped in -- unsure of where to put himself. So he remained standing for a moment, before he dropped his bag down at his feet.
Not wanting to stand, he settled down on the floor and threw himself back. Sighing with comfort, the brunette stretched out lazily as if he was some type of feline. "How's the classes, got a shit load of homework?"
Pulling his bag over to him and unzipping it, Atobe peered in at the mass of books and papers. 'shit load' was right. "Yes. I can't believe they assigned this much on the first day. Homework in every class, I believe. Did you get this much?"
Sitting up and unbuttoning the top button of his shirt -- his eyebrow twitched in irritation at how much work his math teacher has assigned him for just one night. "Yeah I got a heap of Math on my plate. Don't get me wrong, I am a closet number nerd. A quite handsome one." He grinned, and unzipped his bag as well -- pulling out what looked to be double the size of a normal textbook. "I hate this fucking thing. It cost way too much."
Shifting his position, Atobe pulled out his Physics book and flipped through it. It was the wrong book. Damn, he'd have to return it. How annoying. "At least it's a subject you enjoy," he said lightly. "Unfortunately, being the best at everything equally isn't going to decrease this load any...whoa, that book is rather ...large."
"Yeah, because it has Calculus shit in it." Flipping through the pages, it looked like it was going to be a straining year. "I'm here on Scholarship, you know. Our school is a bitch with money." He smirked. For a tight budget was something that Atobe Keigo did not understand. "So.. I got to stay on top of this...IF I wanna stay there. My scores were really good on the placement exam." It seemed that he was quite proud of himself.
Scooting forward to look over the edge of the bed, Atobe glanced at the page Shishido had turned to in his textbook. Numbers and formulas sprawled across the surface in rather intimidating rows. "You'll do fine, you're always pretty good at exams, and there's always tutoring."
"No, it's not a matter of doing fine. I have to do great." Eyes narrowed dangerously for a moment, before his expression softened in the slightest. "Oh the hell with this. I'll do it at home." With a rough slam, the textbook was heaved back into his bag. "I don't need tutouring! Ew, my father would kick my ass." Wrinkling his nose in distaste, he leaned forward on his palms.
"I didn't say you needed it, I said the option is there," Atobe replied shortly, not liking Shishido's show of temper. "It was only a suggestion." Sighing heavily, Atobe leaned his head on his hand and closed his book quietly, shoving it away.
Forcing himself to shut his mouth before he spoke too much out of line, he exhaled sharply and shifted his weight as if he was uncomfortable. "Yeah." The idea seemed foolish, and he seemed to be smiling almost darkly with his next statement. "Help is always there."
Returning to his sober, bored expression he perked up and eyed Atobe expectantly. "Well, I'm your guest. Entertain me." Reaching into his pocket, he withdrew a single yen and begun to wave it mockingly in front of him.
"I asked you if there was anything you wanted to do..." Sitting up, Atobe pulled his knees to his chest and looked at the other boy swinging the coin. Shishido was acting strangely, and it was making Atobe slightly uncomfortable. "I don't know, if you don't want to do homework, what is there to do?"
"Hn." Looking distracted for a moment as his gaze drifted towards the ceiling, the yen coin was tossed up into the air -- caught and slid back into his pocket. "You and I don't hang out too much, so. I usually spend the afternoons with Choutarou and his sister." Atobe wasn't the type to want to race around the City and hit arcades. He'd probably complain about dirt.
He made no more mention of his studies. In fact, he buried the subject all together.
"Oh," was all Atobe responded with, feeling oddly left out. He had no idea what Shishido did when he hung out with Ohtori, as most of his own afternoons had previously been spent at school in meetings or at home studying alone. It was strange not to have schedules to write or training menus to prepare for an entire team. In fact, thinking about it gave Atobe a sinking feeling which he tried to push away. No use thinking about it, hopefully if all went well, he'd be captain again before his second year was out. However, even that seemed depressingly far off.
"We could swim, or play a match," he suggested, not sounding nearly as energetic as he'd meant to.
A steady frown had been tugging at the corner of his lips following Atobe's vague response. Why did he suddenly feel bad? The other boy had always been thoroughly busy while they were in middle school. Truthfully, they had drifted away right after he had lost his regular's seat. Having done nothing to reestablish a connection, well that was a fault on both ends.
"....You have an extra pair of swim trunks? I think swimming would be more refreshing right now." Shishido rose to his feet, and pointed at him. "C'mon. I'm yours this entire afternoon." He owed it to his friend. He didn't particularly enjoy that Atobe had become a stranger.
Atobe's feelings concerning Shishido were along similar lines. He was finding that it bothered him that he could no longer read the other's moods and wondered when that had happened. Probably once he had become Hyoutei's captain and the demand for his time rose.
"Of course," Atobe said, getting up and disappearing into his gigantic walk-in closet. A moment later, he returned with two pairs of shorts in hand. Figuring Shishido would prefer the solid black to the leopard print, he held them out. "I bet we're about the same size, so they should fit."
Watching him lazily as he stalked across the room and was briefly swallowed by his closet. He took this time to loosen his tie completely, and slip it off from around his neck. Good thing too. Shishido had always hated the damn tie part of the uniform.
Arching an eyebrow at the choice of swim trunks -- he was half tempted to laugh. Quite hard at the leopard print pair. Snorting, and reaching forward before he lost it -- indeed he snatched away the solid black pair. "All right then tiger." Snort. "Where do I change and all?"
Making a face at the nickname, Atobe eyed his shorts. He'd known Shishido would tease, but he liked leopard print. "You may have the bathroom or the closet, whichever," he said, motioning toward the bathroom. "I'll take the one you don't."
"Uhm." Looking between the two rooms, he shook his head and went for the walk-in closet. "I'll go in here. No peeking. You can't touch." Waving a finger at him, he hurried his way into the ridiculously too-large closet (he wanted to mock Atobe's wardrobe too) and nudged it shut.
... But, the thought of Atobe seeing him in swim trunks made him feel overly self-conscious again...Shit, that's stupid!! He muttered to himself, as he begun to shed his uniform.
After Shishido had shut the closet door, Atobe took his shorts and closed himself in his absurdly luxurious bathroom. Changing quickly, he flung the door open and struck a pose in his swim trunks. Hm. It seemed the other boy was not done changing and thus missed out on his impromptu modeling. Oh well. Flinging himself into a chair, Atobe pulled his Palm Pilot out of his bag and began prodding it with the stylus.
Finally convincing himself that he had nothing to really worry about, a hand reached out and opened the closet door -- having his uniform folded over his arm. Sharp eyes drifted towards the other boy, reflective cobalt studying him for a moment.
"Could you stop scheduling in dates for one second, and remember that I'm still here." Shishido snapped teasingly with a tinge of an arrogant drawl.
Looking up from his Palm, Atobe studied Shishido. "I didn't forget, you were just taking a long time," he drawled, clicking the small electronic device off and placing it on the floor beside him. Pulling himself out of the chair, he held up a finger and went back to the bathroom, returning a second later with two towels. "Ready?"
"Yeah, yeah Shut up." Casting eyes towards the ceiling, expression hinting at boredom -- he folded his clothes and placed them near his bag. He'd collect them later on.
Turning, and stretching his arms over his head -- Shishido rubbed at his wrists and grinned at the other. "Sure thing. Let's go then." Tugging at the rim of his trunks, he pulled them up a bit more. They were just a little big around the waist.
Sauntering across the carpet to the door, Atobe turned and tossed Shishido his towel. "Let's go then."
It took several minutes to navigate the Atobe palace, but they eventually emerged at one of the doors leading outside to the back of the house. "Indoor or Outdoor?" Atobe asked, reaching out to push open the large glass door.
Catching his towel, and folding it under his arm -- he yawned as he followed him out the door of his bedroom and through the maze that was the Atobe palace.
God this place makes my feet hurt. It always has. Having taken up humming a tune that only made sense in his head -- the brunette perked up at the question of whether to swim indoors or outdoors. "--Outdoor. God, I hate indoor pools."
"How can you hate indoor pools? They make it possible to swim all year round," Atobe said with a quirked eyebrow. "But yes, I agree outdoors is much nicer if the weather is pleasant." Setting off across the grounds, Atobe led them past tennis courts and gardens and finally stopped in front of the pool.
Shishido wrinkled his nose, recalling an indoor pool he had been forced to swim in while on vacation. Never again. Saying nothing about it, he instead followed him off across the grounds toward sthe edge of the pool, where the afternoon sun made the clear water seemed appealing.
"Hn.. hey, Atobe.." Snaking a hand around the other boy, he snatched his towel abruptly. "You first." With that, he shoved him over the edge and into the water.
The world became incredibly clear for a split second, and Atobe knew he was about to get shoved into the pool. Unfortunately, it was way too late to do a damned thing about it, and he flailed for a moment and landed in the water with a splash.
"Oh. my. god.!" He gasped, reemerging. He had not expected the water to be so cold. "Shishido, towel!"
Atobe currently resembled some sort of flailing fish bobbing awkwardly at the surface of the water -- which brought the brunette to loud laughter. "Shit, that was awesome! I wish I had a camera." Shaking his head, and taking a step away from the edge, he didn't look ready to give up the other towel when demanded to. Instead, he begun to walk around the side of the pool towards the step ladder.
"Suck it up, you baby. Or you're gunna ask me nicely." He shot back, waving a finger in his direction as if he was scolding a child.
Ore-sama was not amused. "You shoved me! It's the least you could do." Making a frustrated noise, he whipped his wet hair out of his eyes and made his way to the shallower end of the pool. He'd adjusted to the temperature by now, but was still cranky about having been so unceremoniously dumped into the pool instead of getting to show off one of his more impressive dives.
Ignoring his whining for a few seconds, he came to settle down on the step ladder -- dipping his feet first into the water. Shivering slightly as it indeed was a little on the chilly side, Shishido surmerged only up to his knees.
"Here." Holding up the cranky boy's towel in one hand, he wasn't going to move to give it to him. If Atobe wanted his towel, he was going to come over to him and get it himself.
Stalking over as best one can stalk while in water, Atobe snatched the towel and rubbed his face. "Thanks," he said sarcastically, tossing the towel back onto the dry tile. "Oh come on, I may have not have gotten in willingly, but I'm in. Hurry up."
Silence washed itself over the brunette, as he lounged with his legs left lukewarm and his hands crossed over his lap once the towel was snatched from his hands. Are you listening? A stubborn voice tugged at the back of his mind.
Hurry up. "Hurry up." He murmured lowly, his left eye stinging as if something had newly irritated it. Shaking his head, he hoisted himself forward and begun to climb down. Jumping off the last step once he was waist deep -- he paused to grow used to the chilly water. "Right." Shishido said once, not approaching Atobe. "Right.." Was repeated, as a hand slid wet fingers along the side of his neck.
Atobe eyed Shishido for a moment, and once satisfied that the brunette was actually in the water, he took off for a fast lap across the length of the pool. Coming back up a little closer to Shishido than he had been before, he took a breath and ran his hands back over his hair again. "It's actually rather nice, now."
Watching him blankly out of the corner of his eye, Shishido inched away from the other boy as he approached, pressing his back against the side of the pool. Waving an arm underwater for his own amusement, water now pretty much warm.
Submerging quickly, only to re-surface and shake out newly soaked hair -- he sighed. "Yeah it does feel good now. Relaxing." His tone sounded vaguely flat.
"I always forget how much I like swimming until I'm actually in the pool," Atobe said, moving his hand across the surface to send a light splash Shishido's way. "It is relaxing."
The brunette moved as if the water was acid, and frowned darkly. "Do me a favour, don't do that." Being around him had triggered a fierce sense of nostalgia that he thought he could ignore. The familiar setting did relax him, but the new beginning greatly secretly scared him.
Once again, he slid across the water very carefully, keeping his eyes focused skyward rather then looking at the other boy. Shishido was never good in hiding that his thoughts were someplace else.
Taking slight offense to Shishido's tone, Atobe scowled. "I didn't splash you hard, and it's not like a little water's going to mess up your hair." Unaware of the irony of that sentence, Atobe rolled his eyes. Moving a little deeper, he treaded water and watched the other boy. "What's gotten into you anyway? I thought you wanted to swim?"
"Look who's talking." He sighed, and hiked his voice. "Oh. my. God! Shishido, towel!" The brunette joined in rolling his eyes, and looking overly sour for a second -- before his expression softened.
Shishido slouched, leaving one shoulder underwater, and one clinging to the surface. "I do, it's not that I don't want to." He sighed, irritated with himself and how his moods fluctuated at the worst times. "I'm just being an idiot and thinking about things."
Backing against the wall and hooking his arms over the side, Atobe sighed and continued to watch him carefully. He didn't appreciate the mocking, but Shishido's face seemed to change before he could retort sharply. "Oh. Well stop then. You're supposed to be swimming." Atobe said, not sure what to say and never good at dealing with other people's feelings.
Well, that was one way to approach it. He stared blankly in the other boy's direction, wondering when he stopped being able to talk to him.
Oh well. It doesn't matter. A lopsided grin spread across his lips -- and he begun to chuckle. "I guess so, thanks?" Somehow it wasn't dismissed. He couldn't just stop thinking. Skimming the surface with his fingers -- he disappeared from view for a couple of moments. Afterall, if he swam, he enjoyed swimming underwater most of all.
Actually feeling a bit bad about telling Shishido to totally forget his problem, Atobe kicked languidly under the water and looked up at the afternoon sky. He didn't know how to approach the subject and didn't figure Shishido would tell him if he did. When had things changed so much?
Surfacing at the opposite end, a sharp gasp escaped him as he inhaled deeply. "Fuck my luuuungs." Whatever Atobe used to clean the damn pool was STRONG. His elbows prodded against the pool's edge -- he arched his head back and allowed beads of water to race down his back.
"Hey Atobe, you think you'll stay here? All through high school?" The question came before he could stop it.
Opening his eyes and looking over at Shishido, Atobe was taken back by the spontaneous question. "Through high school? Yes, I plan to. One cannot become captain of a tennis club for a school he does not attend." Not going to Hyoutei had honestly never entered Atobe's mind. His father had gone there, and a large percentage of his extended family too. "Why?"
He kept his back to the other boy, a palm resting under his chin -- before he fell back and kicked himself off the ledge. "Hyotei can't really breathe without you as a captain. I ain't going to lie about that." He seemed to edit out the question of 'why' he had asked such a thing. Instead he continued on: "The school needs you. You'll do well these years." Shishido shook his wet bangs out of his eyes, still not addressing him properly.
Shamefully distracted from his original question by conversation involving himself, Atobe nodded. "I know I'm a good captain. I like doing it." Pausing to push away from the wall and duck his head under water, Atobe grabbed the wall againg facing the same direction as Shishido. "I was welcoming the break and having time to pursue other interests...but I miss it already."
A little thankful that Atobe had swayed the conversation entirely to himself -- Shishido did not try and say anything more concerning himself. Instead, he raised a hand to the sky and begun to trace the light through his fingers. It had been a habit of his since he was a child. "Well shit. There's no doubt you'd become a captain next year. You're a strong leader. I wouldn't be comfortable with any of these clowns walking around with your rank." This would probably be the best compliment Atobe would get out of one, Shishido Ryou.
Knowing that, Atobe rewarded him with a smile. "Thank you. It's not going to be easy, but it will be..fun." Considering another lap across the pool, Atobe decided against it. As much as he was enjoying the water, he really wasn't much in the mood to make it a work out. Instead, he leaned backward to wet his hair again.
"Fun. Ha. You only say that because you have your own chant."
Watching him for a few fleeting seconds, Shishido backed up against the ledge -- and rammed his hip a little too sharply. Now, it wouldn't hurt as much as it did.. since the boy did have a healing bruise against his lower hip. Thank goodness though, it was unseen. SHIT! Unable to contain a sharp sweat from escaping him, he forcefully hoisted himself up out of the water. Pressing a hand over his right hip, he chose not to examine it while outside. In front of Atobe none the less. Although, bruises were common for him. But he had not been training for a while.
"I've got to make a run to the bathroom."
Lost in his own thoughts about reclaiming his Buchou title and leading the Hyoutei high school team to Nationals victory, Atobe took a moment to respond. "Right. Ah, do you know where it is?"
His heart had nearly stopped at the thought of being questioned -- yet when he hadn't, there was a wash of relief over the youth. "Sure thing. I memorize shit like that." Walking around the pool side, slow at first .. Shishido picked up his towel and proceeded to vanish off inside of the maze again.
All he had to do was re-trace his steps, but it still took him a good ten minutes.
Atobe did notice the bruise. He noticed almost everything. However, he chose not to broach the subject, knowing that Shishido was already in a touchy mood. Anyway, for all he knew he could have gotten it practicing at the street courts or running into a table at school. Pointing Shishido vaguely in the right direction, Atobe sighed and pulled himself out of the pool. It took him a moment to find his towel, which he slung around his hips loosely and laid himself down in a poolside lounger.
It was some twenty minutes, before the brunette's voice could be heard faintly.. before it grew even more audible. Towel loosely wrapped around his waist, his cellphone was glued to one ear. "Well that's really stupid." Pause. "No, I'm not dealing with that. YOU take care of it on your own." Pause. "No. No. No. I'm at a friend's house. Calm down." Looking towards the pool at first, before noticing the other boy had taken up the art of sun bathing? Heading over towards him, he hung up in mid-sentence on the other line.
Now lying on his stomach after having flipped ten minutes into his tanning, Atobe looked over his shoulder as he heard Shishido approach. The other boy had snapped his phone shut by the time he walked over, and Atobe turned back onto his back with a sigh. "Who was that?" he asked, more trying to make conversation than actually being curious.
About to answer sincerely, the boy paused and resorted to having quite the bit of fun. "My long lost lover, who called me from the airport in Italy. He wants us to get back together." Shishido heaved a sigh, sounding quite serious. "I think I'll have to send the bill for that call to him. I can't believe I accepted long distance." He paused, and dramatically turned his head away. "Giovanni, why did you have to leave me so soon!"
Not believing that for a second, Atobe gave him a look. "I was just asking," he said flatly. "Found the restroom alright, I assume?" Picking up his cell phone from the table nearby, Atobe held up a hand to for Shishido to momentarily hold his reply. After calling his own house and requesting a bottle of sunscreen, he closed the phone and turned back to Shishido expectantly.
Chuckling, openly amused, he silenced himself once the other boy picked up his own phone -- before perking up once he was off it. "It was only my brother. He goes fucking nuts if I don't check in with him. He was freaking out because Okaa-san is a bit under the weather, so we all have to fix our own dinner. He was worried I wouldn't eat." Shrugging a shoulder, Shishido insisted on watching him while standing, rather then taking a seat. "..Yeah. Bathroom. Found it all right. You know what water does to you."
"I see," Atobe said, folding his arms behind his head in the chair. "If you'd like I could have some food prepared and you could take it back with you. It wouldn't be trouble." Squinting up at Shishido, Atobe wished he'd asked for sunglasses too. Oh well, they probably wouldn't be out here all that much longer anyway. "That's good. Want to swim again?"
Looking awkwardly surprised for a moment, the brunette lowered the phone away from him -- and flushed lightly. "I-It's not a big deal! I'll just pick up some take-out when I go home today." Shishido absolutely hated when people did things for him. Even the smallest of things like offer him a meal. Pausing, he shifted from right to left. "...Thanks anyway though."
Lowering himself down on the lone parallel lounger, the boy shook his head after a long moment. "It's cool, I'd like to sit for a while. I'm sore as shit! All the running around I did today kicked my ass."
Atobe shrugged. "I said it was no big deal." But he didn't press. He was glad when Shishido sat down, he hated sitting when other people weren't, it made him anxious. "Yes, I'm rather tired as well. Ah, good." Looking up, held out his hand to take the sunscreen from the maid who had just scurried across the lawn and over to where they sat. When she didn't leave right away, Atobe gave her a dismissive wave. "That will be all." She left.
"Sunscreen?" he offered, moving the bottle from one hand to the other and extending it towards Shishido.
Pausing when the young maid seemed to scurry up towards the duo with the prized bottle of sunsceen -- cobalt eyes lingered for a moment, studying her form more than he meant to. Faintly whistling, he winked at her before she was dismissed.
"What? Oh." Clearing his throat at the offer for sunscreen. "Sure." Reaching out and taking the bottle from him, massaging a small portion into the centre of his palm.
Not paying any attention to Shishido's little...display with the maid; Atobe released the bottle and stretched indulgently, arching his back and curling his toes before settling back down onto his lounger. "This is nice," he said simply, closing his eyes again against the sun.
"If you like sunbathing. I feel like such a girl." Beginning to lotion his arms, he leaned back and hiked up a leg -- knee poking from within his towel. "But I have to admit, I have much better legs then most girls. Some chicks really let themselves go." He flexed the fingers of his right hand and pressed it against his knee. "When are you throwing me out?"
"Sunbathing is not just for girls," Atobe informed him. "It's good for your skin." Cracking one eye to judge Shishido's legs for himself, Atobe found he had to agree. "That's because you play sports. Most girls don't," he said, thinking of all the girls at school that wore the super short skirts when they just..shouldn't. Ew. Shaking his head, Atobe held his hand out for the lotion. "I'm throwing you out whenever you want to leave."
"Most girls usually have to keep their legs in good working order though." Shishido said fleetingly, and tilted his head - judging how nice it would be to stay forever -- anywhere, as long as it did not involve his household. Then again, his mother always enjoyed having dinner as a family and the time he could spare out was thinning. "Changed my mind." He shook his head, and waved his hand off before he straightened. "I might as well get going soon as it is. 'Kaa-san gets angry if I miss dinner. I don't feel like getting chased with a broom."
Making a noncommital noise in reply, Atobe held out his hand for Shishido to pass him the sunscreen. He liked having someone over, it had been a long time since anyone from school had visited and just...hung out. In fact, he wasn't sure he could recall the actual last time at all. "I see. It's not much longer until we lose the daylight, so I'll see you out when you have to go."
Lazily, the brunette tossed the small bottle towards the relaxing boy. Stretching his arms up over his head and heaving an awkward sigh, he mused over what else he could say to him. Somehow, speaking to Atobe wasn't as easy as it once was. "Thanks. I should go get ready and shit then. I think I'll walk home from here too." He felt odd, hitching a ride by himself in a limo. That was, IF the other offered. "But hell, a nice dip felt great. Don't get me wrong."
Covering vague disappointment that he was going right away, Atobe pulled himself up from the chair with another indulgent stretch and dropped the lotion in the seat he'd just vacated. Also not really knowing what else to say, Atobe did in fact offer him a ride. It was just polite, afterall, and he didn't think it was safe for anyone to ever walk alone. "Let my driver drop you off. It'll be faster."
Running a hand through damp bangs, he bowed his head. "Hn. I knew you were gunna say that." True it was getting late, it was a fair distance--not too far, but still a good distance. About to protest, he realised that he didn't want to argue with the other boy at the given moment. "Er. I know you'll badger me until I accept, so fine." As embarrassed as he was about it--it was much better than walking. Stepping forward, and rubbing at his right arm -- Shishido begun back inside allowing the irritating silence to fall once again. This is stupid. Say something else. "A lot of people looked good today." Ass.
Giving Shishido a nod that carried good-humored smugness, Atobe was glad he didn't have to fight for his point. It really was no trouble, and he always felt better knowing his guests had been delivered home safely. Giving his towel a look and deciding to leave it outside, Atobe walked with him toward the house. His hair was pretty much dry now but he was definitely going to have to wash the chlorine out right away. "People always look good on the first day. They think they're making impressions. The real test will be how they look tomorrow," he said, opening the door for both of them.
Plucking the towel from his waist, and also deciding to indulge in his farther laziness and leave it outside as well. "Eh? Well that's true. Some people just naturally dress to impress. Others look good on the first day and then it all goes to hell." Like him. He was going to be back to wearing his uniform quite sloppily next week. Allowing a faint yawn to escape him, he walked on inside with a slight nod of his head towards Atobe. "Oh but of course you'll look good. That depends on whether or not your hair turns green." His walking became brisk, just wanting to avoid the glare he was bound to receive.
And recieve quite a glare he did indeed. "I'm about to go rinse it," Atobe informed him, catching up and taking the lead in guiding them through his expansive house. "And of course I will. I believe in looking one's best at all times." Even if that required getting up an hour early every day and spending five minutes of his lunch break using the mini iron in Sakaki's office. "You still have stuff in my room, right?"
Shishido could definitely feel that glare, and he couldn't help but grin. Only he could ever make Atobe Keigo glare and crease his pretty face like that. Somehow, it made the boy proud. "Just for that, I should throw my lunch on you one day. It would be funny to hear you scream like a girl and cry about how my bento stained your hair." He knew better than to do that since it would bring about a harsh bout of revenge. Sticking close to him as he was guided onward, he nodded. "Yeah all of it. By the way are you going to talk to me tomorrow, or was this a one time deal?"
"It might be worth the mess to see the fangirls maul you alive," Atobe said with an ironic grin. "But don't you dare." Taking a turn through a seemingly random hallway, they eded up in front of the stairs to the second floor. Stopping and looking back at him seriously, Atobe frowned. "You would really think that?" he asked, reentering his stride and climbing the stairs.
The thought of even being touched by girls caused the brunette to cringe slightly. "That's gross. Now I'm definitely never doing that." Turning with him at the corner into the new hallway (that he had never seen before) all of a sudden they were back at the stairs. "...Eh?" Raising a thin brow, eyes shone with surprise when he stopped and addressed him quite seriously. "Well... duh. That's been how it is since middle school." A small chuckle followed his words. "So why should I be surprised?" Shishido slipped ahead of him, hand on the stairs' railing. Was he joking. . .or was he truly serious? Shishido wasn't hinting at either one.
Shrugging and moving to one side as Shishido passed him, Atobe now wished he'd brought his towel. Being damp and having high air conditioning was not a great combination. At least they were almost upstairs. "No it hasn't. We used to talk all the time. Then we just...didn't." Reaching for the doorknob once they were outside his room, Atobe paused. "It wasn't just me you know."
Shishido deep down hated the fact that he couldn't talk to him anymore. He would sooner run to Choutarou, or even now--Lucky--and that really bothered him. The other boy, who had been his companion for so long was now a walking stranger. "True..." His tone wavered among distant. "We both suck. So let's just face reality. Now move, I'm fucking freezing." Skin prickled with small goosebumps before he nudged him off to the side, and shoving the door open.
Feeling overly awkward, Shishido quickly made sure he had all of his belongings first --before gathering his uniform. "I'm going straight home as soon as I change."
Entering his room after Shishido, Atobe grabbed a white bathrobe that was slung over a chair and wrapped himself up in it. He didn't know how to respond to what had been said, and was fighting a mental battle of justifying his actions and telling himself that it probably was mostly his fault. He'd gotten too busy for his friends and now he was paying for it. "I'll go ahead and call you a ride then," he said, snapping open his cell and making the call downstairs.
Once again, he was back in the walk-in closet--pausing reluctantly and thinking over the last few minutes of their conversation. Things had...just seemed to leave him heavy-hearted. Oh well. Can't do shit about the past.
It only took him a few minutes to put his uniform back on, and he emerged--looking flustered. Shirt wrinkled and half unbottomed, pants loose and rolled up. Indeed, he looked like he had just woken up. "All right. Well.. I'm going ahead then."
Atobe's mood was also a bit darker than it had been before, but he smiled at Shishido anyway and informed him his ride was downstairs. He would have offered to see him out, but he really did need to rinse out his hair... "Na, Shishido," he said before the other boy could make it out the door. "I'll see you tomorrow."
Bending to pick up his bag, he swung it neatly over his shoulder, and took the effort to smooth out his shirt. Nodding at the news that his ride had arrived -- Shishido was about to walk out of the room, when he paused at the sound of his name.
Turning his head, and offering a small smirk in the other boy's direction, he playfully winked at him. "Yeah, sure. Talk to ya tomorrow then." He opened the door, and stepped out. "Bye Atobe." The door shut behind him -- as the brunette departed for the evening.