Also, join the comm Zoe actually created when I thought she was kidding. gongshowtime! Not much there yet, but it's basically a comm where I (or anyone) can post their ridiculous conversations with zoesque. My current project for the community is finding each and every time Zoe told me she'd made a new Atobe icon, and compiling these quotes into one post. It's going to be beautiful. Meanwhile, ficlet time.
Floral Analysis, by kishmet. Atobe/Ryoma, PG, 700 words. In which Shishido is very annoyed. Written for hikaridonya a few days ago, when I should have posted this.
Atobe spends the better part of an hour deliberating over the selections presented to him by the florist. White for purity, he thinks, remembering the few months in England when he'd been singularly absorbed by the art of flower arranging, the Western way, flowers with simple meanings, not the full histories and spatial complexities denoted by a single ikebana piece. Yellow for friendship, red for passion, and he can't remember what pink is supposed to mean.
"How should I know?" Shishido asks irritably, swatting at a balloon arrangement held by a smiling bear plushie.
For one wild moment, Atobe considers calling Tezuka on his mobile phone, consulting that fount of all wisdom, tennis and otherwise. But then he realizes he would have to admit his attraction to Echizen, and the thought horrifies him more than the notion of confessing the same to a priest, or perhaps to his mother.
He phones Oshitari instead, and regrets the call the instant he hears the lazy Kansai drawl. "Just ask so we can get out of here," says Shishido, ignoring the clerk who's been eying both of them with suspicion for the last fifteen minutes or so. Shishido flicks at some silk foliage and wanders off to examine the chocolates by the front counter. The clerk hesitates and follows, more willing to take her eyes off the boy who's dressed in khakis and a button-down shirt than the one who wears a t-shirt, shorts, and a battered baseball cap.
Atobe steels himself in the face of Oshitari's amused silence on the other end of the line, and says, "Not that it's a pressing matter, but do you happen to recall what pink flowers signify?"
"You're in the florist right now, aren't you," Oshitari guesses, accurately, and Atobe scowls. "Shut up."
"Love, Keigo," says Oshitari. "Or gratitude. Either would probably suit your purpose."
"Thank you, Yuushi," Atobe says haughtily, and hangs up in order to salvage what's left of his dignity. He can't give Echizen a pink bouquet, no matter how appropriate the significance, and so he holds up a few sprigs of baby's breath, some yellow carnations, a bit of greenery to see if they match well enough.
Shishido's arguing with the clerk by the time Atobe approaches the register with his selections. "I did not stuff anything into my shorts," says Shishido angrily.
"Wrap these up for me," Atobe commands, forestalling the clerk's retort by placing the bunch of flowers on the counter in front of her.
"Yes, sir," she says, glaring at Shishido, and she takes a bit of ribbon, some tissue paper, and a minute later they're leaving, Shishido sulking as he carries both of their tennis bags, Atobe's arms occupied with the bunch of many-colored flowers, sure to appeal to any potential mate who's not Echizen. With Echizen, he's not so certain, and uncertainty simultaneously intrigues and annoys him, makes him snippy enough to tell Shishido, "You shouldn't shoplift, it's bad for the team's image."
Shishido flips him off and glowers at the sidewalk all the way to the street courts. Atobe barely notices, looking over the stargazer lilies for ambition, the gladiolus for strength of personality, delphinium for a bold nature, and the tiny pink filler flowers whose names, Latin or otherwise, he doesn't know; his one concession to the true intent of the arrangement.
"They don't match," Shishido mutters, and Atobe grits his teeth against the riposte fighting for freedom on his tongue.
Echizen and Momoshiro are on the court warming up, and they bat the ball back and forth another time or two before Echizen catches it and slips it into his pocket. Momoshiro trots over to greet them, with Echizen strolling behind, supremely unconcerned about forcing them to wait for the pleasure of his company. "Shishido," he says, with a nod approaching courtesy, then he locks eyes with Atobe, gaze lingering for only a fraction of a second on the flowers. "Monkey King," he says, with a slow grin that pours into Atobe like a mug of something warm and familiar. "Let's play."
"Let's play," Atobe replies, and shoves the bouquet into a startled Shishido's arms.
"I'm serving," says Echizen, his expression daring Atobe to question his authority.
"And I'm winning," Atobe shoots back, air virtually crackling with the sudden heat between them.
"God," Shishido growls, behind them. "A whole freaking hour."