ENTER! THE BIRTH OF A NEW PAIRING!
A blue-clad teen flew across the crisp green grass of the field, feathery brown hair swaying messily in the wind, and large brown eyes bright with excitement. The traditional white and black ball was controlled within the confines of the player’s feet gracefully, but still lacking the skill he hoped to achieve. He then kicked it away suddenly to another of his teammates, receiving a slight nod of thanks for his accurate pass.
He was in his eleventh year now, and doing surprisingly well in his studies compared to his junior high years thanks to the help of his friends. His football skills had improved immensely as well, and he had been representing
He was, unfortunately, still rather short -- a fact that a few of his friend’s liked to point out, unnecessarily, in good humor.
He was engaged in a practice match with
A hot-headed blond flew past him, and he was left puzzled for a moment as to what was happening.
“Kaza, get your head back in the game!”
Kazamatsuri Shou blinked. The heat must have been harsher than he thought if he was daydreaming during a match, and he was thankful for the momentary reprieve from the sun due to a well-placed cloud.
Shaking his head briskly he turned and chased after the ball. Shiina-san’s team was commencing a counter, and his team’s defense wasn’t in top condition today as a nasty flu had been slowly working its way throughout his school.
Shou saw the ball, picturing in his mind where it would complete its graceful arch. He darted after it, speeding up as he realized it was heading out of bounds and knowing that if Shiina-san’s team received a corner kick they had a high chance of scoring. He smiled fleetingly at the thought. Fuwa-kun must have rubbed off on him more than he thought.
His breath was coming in sharp gasps, and there was a suspiciously painful stitch in the side by the time he caught up with the ball. He leapt towards it, noting a flash of magenta to his side signaling that Shiina-san had caught up to him. Not that he expected any less from his friend.
The sun chose that instant to re-emerge from behind its cloudy veil and beamed brightly in their eyes.
Their resulting crash came at the exact moment as the end-game whistle.
He woke up with a heavy head and an ankle he knew was twisted, if the searing pain was anything to go by. He kept his eyes clenched shut, wincing slightly as his head pounded, opting for opening them slowly so he could adjust to the light comfortably.
A pair of half-lidded mahogany eyes stared blearily back at him.
Their limbs were tangled together from the fall that had happened only a few seconds earlier, and had left the both of them dazed. Judging by the weight on his injured ankle, he guessed that they had tripped each other by accident and then smashed their foreheads together.
“Are you okay, Shiina-san?” he asked softly. He didn’t want to speak to loudly for fear of worsening his own headache as well as the one he assumed Shiina-san must have as well. He was rewarded by a flick to the nose.
“I thought I told you to call me Tsubasa.”
Shou was going to respond when he found a pair of soft lips covering his own. He had always thought people were exaggerating when they claimed to have ‘melted’ into kisses before, but now he couldn’t help but believe them. He hummed softly and the gentle press of his friend’s lips left, consequentially leaving him feeling a bit empty.
They stared at each other for a second.
“So, umm…are you okay…Tsubasa-san?”
Then he blacked out, still entangled in the other’s limbs and far too tired to care.
Shou’s first thought when he regained consciousness was, predictably, to open his eyes and inspect his surroundings once he felt himself lying in an unfamiliar bed. His second thought was, also predictably, to shoot up into a sitting position in mild alarm once he realized that he had no idea where he was.
His second thought was, ultimately, not a very good one as the throbbing in his head let itself be known once again. He quickly flopped back down into the soft pillow on the bed and gave a small moan of pain, wondering if Shiina-san was faring better than he was. This led to his third -- completely understandable -- thought.
“Where’s Shiina-san?” He question to the room.
“Right here,” replied a familiar voice to his left. “You’re at my house. You passed out and my house was the closest to the field.”
Shou gasped. “Shiina-san! You surprised me!”
His voice was rather raspy, he noted with surprise, and he toyed with the idea that maybe he had caught the flu that had been rampaging throughout his school. If that was the case he would have to get his brother to rent him some new football tapes to amuse himself with. He also made a mental note to buy some more Wada Calcium CD3 pills.
He had heard once that calcium is responsible for about fifteen percent of your total growth overall, and he sincerely hoped this was true. He didn’t want all of his suffering to go to waste.
He never knew calcium pills could taste so bitter.
“I thought I told you to call me ‘Tsubasa’.”
Brought back to reality once again, he turned his head and came face-to-face with a pair of deep, mahogany eyes for the second time that day. He blushed, recalling what had happened before he had oh-so-conveniently passed out, and quickly uttered an apology to his friend. Tsubasa-san waved it off casually, instead choosing to inquire as to his health.
Shou shook his head, withholding a cringe as best he could. “I’m fine Shiina... err… Tsubasa-san.” He said, managing to correct himself with only a slight frown from his friend. “How are you feeling?”
He received another customary flick on his nose for his trouble. “I am fine.” Tsubasa-san gave him a superior smirk and slapped him on the back companionably. “I didn’t receive as much of the impact as you. I guess it’s because I’m taller.” He grinned. “You’d better catch up soon, Shou!”
There was an awkward silence after that. Tsubasa-san was staring at him intently, and Shou was beginning to feel uncomfortable under the intense scrutiny.
The stillness was broken by the door slamming wide open, and a small number of people filed in – two of them quietly, and one of them not-so-much.
“Yo! Puppy! How’re you feeling?”
Shou smiled at his blond friend. “I’m feeling fine, Shige-san.” His throat was still hurting, as well as his head, but he really didn’t want anyone to fret over his health. He was grateful his voice sounded normal again, as the hoarse tone he had moments ago would have given him away immediately. “Don’t worry.”
Tsubasa-san, however, gave him a knowing look from the corner of his eyes. Mizuno-kun looked doubtful and Fuwa-kun was watching everything transpire from a safe distance away.
Shige-san frowned at him before flashing him a grin. “We’ll always worry about you, Kaza!” He ruffled Shou’s already wind-blown hair. “’Cause if we didn’t, we wouldn’t know where you were, and then we might step on you. That would be an awfully hard mess to clean off your cleats!”
He was given a glare from Mizuno-kun that he chose to ignore and continued, “Besides,” he said. “You’re our friend. It’s our job to be worried!”
Mizuno-kun seemed to agree with this and gave him a weak smile. Shou just wanted to tell him he should get some rest.
“Mizuno, you should rest. You look exhausted.”
Shou looked at his red-headed friend questioningly. Tsubasa-san glanced at him and he nodded his thanks, wondering how come the other teen always seemed to know exactly what he was thinking.
Glancing at the clock, Mizuno-kun conceded. “I suppose you’re right Shiina-san. It is getting late…” he looked at Shou, who just remembered he was still lying in bed and offered an embarrassed smile. “Are you sure you can handle looking after him yourself until Kazamatsuri-san arrives?”
“I think he handled him pretty well by himself earlier, don’t you think, Tatsu-bon?”
Shige-san was rewarded with a seething glare from the brunet, and a rather large blush from Shou. Fuwa-kun kept a stoic appearance as he added in one of his observations; his own way of trying to ease their captain’s fears, he supposed.
“He did manage to carry Kazamatsuri here fairly well on his own despite his own injury, and then proceeded to tend to him sufficiently enough by himself.” He stated, and then paused, looking somewhat uncomfortable and uncertain to Shou who was listening intently. Fuwa-kun continued.
“And Kazamatsuri-san did say he would arrive here at approximately , which is only two hours away,” Fuwa-kun nodded self-assuringly. Shou smiled to himself, happy with the progress that his socially inadept friend had made if he was trying to comfort people of his own accord --even if he was going about it in quite a strange way.
He paused his thoughts and then replayed the information given once more in his head, smile slowly slipping from his face. His teammates had gone while he sat there, leaving him and Tsubasa-san alone together. Fuwa-kun was silent, and Mizuno-kun shot him worried looks as he left. Shige-san was just grinning like a mad-man.
The blond called out something to Tsubasa-san as he left, bringing the boy’s thoughts back to the present. Frowning, he turned to his friend.
The center-back looked at him questioningly. Shou continued.
“…What time is it?”
“It’s almost .”
“Oh.” His mind blanked out for a moment. The game was scheduled to end just before lunch. If it was now, that would mean he had been out cold for…
“…Half the day?” He swallowed thickly. He didn’t think he had been out for that long…
Tsubasa-san put a comforting hand on his shoulder. His hand was warm, and he knew it must have been soft as well. His skin tingled where it rested. He ignored the feeling.
“You had a fever as well, Shou.” His voice had a tinge of accusation in it. “You shouldn’t have been playing with a fever.”
“I didn’t know I had one.” Shou answered honestly. Tsubasa-san sat down next to him on the bed and sighed, a fond smile on his lips. Shou never really noticed how red they looked before…
He slapped his cheeks with his hands to help him wake up and pay attention, something he did quite often, and directed his thoughts to more pressing matters. He fretted over how much of an inconvenience he must be to his friend and the nearly overwhelming pain radiating from his head.
He winced. Tsubasa-san pushed him back onto the bed.
“Go back to sleep, Shou. I would make you eat, but there isn’t anything here that your stomach would be able to keep down…” he frowned. “I’ll go get some acetaminophen for your headache. I’ll be right back.”
Shou relaxed into the softness of the pillows after Tsubasa-san left, burying his face into them and trying to distract himself from the pain in his head. It had been a difficult ordeal trying to act as normal as possible in front of his friends despite how he was feeling… and then there was that kiss…
He blushed deeply as he recalled the experience. He had enjoyed it, yes -- but it was Tsubasa-san! He couldn’t possibly like his friend like that could he? They had grown very close in the three years since they met, and Shou couldn’t imagine life without the sharp-tongued red-head, but that didn’t mean he liked him.
… Did it?
Shiina Tsubasa had always prided himself on his ability to know just what to do in a stressful situation. He was intelligent and athletic, was well-liked by his peers despite his bluntness, and always, always managed to find a solution to a problem. He kept his calm and never lost his temper – unless someone took a shot at something he loved.
This however, left him in a panic. He wasn’t accustomed to being panicked, and sincerely hoped he would never have to be as it was a horrible, gut-wrenching experience.
He was a bit dazed from the impact, and it took his eyes a moment to focus again. He opened his eyes blearily and was met with twin pools of amber. He blinked when he realized just how compromising their situation was, and he could hear Satou laughing at them while Mizuno chastised him.
“Oh, my God. That was hilarious!”
“Quiet, Shige! They could be hurt, you know!”
Satou seemed to ignore his captain’s efforts to get him to close his mouth and continued laughing, “Ha! ‘When Midgets Unite’!”
Mizuno smacked him. “Now is not the time, Shigeki.”
They were like an old married couple, he thought decidedly and stopped listening in when he saw Shou open his eyes hesitantly and wince.
“Are you okay, Shiina-san?” he asked softly. Tsubasa cringed inwardly, wondering how many times he had asked the other teen to call him by his name. He reminded him again, out of habit.
“I thought I told you to call me ‘Tsubasa’.”
And then he kissed him.
Shou’s lips were soft, supple, and surprisingly willing. He breathed in the scent of the other boy. He smelt of grass and dirt and sweat, but there were undertones of something sweeter he couldn’t quite place. Shou hummed and Tsubasa quickly pulled away in shock.
What on earth had possessed him to do that?
“So, umm…are you okay…Tsubasa-san?”
Tsubasa would have flashed him a smile had the boy not lost consciousness at that moment. He shook him – gently at first, and then a bit rougher when he received no response.
“…Shou? Shou! Wake up!”
Satou and Mizuno, who had both been standing nearby, rushed towards them worriedly. Tsubasa sat up, now painfully aware of the sting from his ankle, and pulled Shou up with him. He saw the flushed look on his friend’s face, and how pallid his normally tanned skin was. He wondered how no one took notice of it before and checked him for a fever.
“What’s wrong, Shiina-san?” demanded Mizuno. They had left the two alone to sort themselves out while they shooed away curious spectators, deeming them capable of taking care of themselves. They were confident Shou would ask for help if they needed it. The thought that Shou might not have been capable of doing so never crossed their minds.
“Shit! He’s got a fever!”
“What?” cried Mizuno, obviously outraged at the thought of one of his teammates playing whilst they were sick. “He should know better!”
“Aye, aye, Tatsu-bon,” Shige said, waving a hand and attempting to placate the seething midfielder, “But this is Kaza we’re talking about. Besides, what’s done is done.”
Mizuno sighed. “You’re right.” Shige grinned and Mizuno glared at him. “We should get him home now…Where’s Kazamatsuri-san?”
“He’s working until eleven,” supplied Tsubasa, shifting Shou around to a more comfortable position in his arms. “We shouldn’t leave him alone. My house is nearby. We can take him there.”
Mizuno and Shige both stepped forward, each offering to carry Shou for him. Tsubasa shook his head, “I can do it.”
Tsubasa shot Mizuno a glare. “I said I’ll do it! Sheesh!”
“Better watch out, Tatsu-bon!” Satou said in a decidedly sing-song voice. “That guy’s got one heck of a temper!”
Tsubasa ignored him and shifted Shou so his weight was spread evenly across his back before he stood up. He saw his team lingering around them and he dismissed them.
“You guys are allowed to go, you know! Don’t forget that there’s practice on Tuesday!”
No one moved.
“What? Are you just gonna stand there like zombies? Go home! Git! Scram!” Tsubasa was seething. “Naoki! Rokusuke! Gosuke! Masaki! Go home! I’m fine!”
Reluctantly his team departed and only the members of Sakura Josui High remained, but Mizuno promptly dismissed them as well. They obeyed very reluctantly; all of them keen on staying in the hopes of helping their friend, but they knew better than to disobey their captain.
Only he, Satou, Mizuno, Fuwa and Shou were remaining on the field. Tsubasa motioned at them to follow him. They all stayed close enough to catch them if he fell. By the time they reached his house his legs felt like jelly and he was dying for a nice, hot shower.