This follows All That Glitters, Tanoshimi, and Forgiveness.
Disclaimer: Konomi's boys, not mine
Warnings: Angst in buckets, BL, probably a bad word or two. Oishi is still being a douche.
Author's Note: Sorry this took forever. Hopefully I'll get my ass in gear and start putting these out more often...
Tennis is painful now, nothing but painful. There's no way he can avoid Oishi at practice, not now that Tezuka's gone pro and Oishi's captain of the team, and though it's not so bad when they're doing drills or singles practice, when they have to team up in doubles, Eiji's pretty sure he's rather be dead than be standing right there on the court with his now-ex-boyfriend (and oh, god, does it hurt to think about it that way.) He does his best not to look at Oishi, and Oishi does him the same favour, but that makes it awfully difficult to actually play together when they're not even speaking. They lose consecutively, day after day, to the most obscure of pairs. Oishi tries to pretend it's nothing at first, but, while they can write off Inui and Kaidoh, they can't write off Momo and Echizen nearly as easily, and they really can't write off Arai and Ikeda at all. Every time they lose, scores abysmal and embarrassing at the very least, Eiji feels the strong, stabbing, burning urge to apologize in hopes that Oishi will smile and say "Don't mind," and then everything will go back to normal, but he knows it's not possible, can't bear to face the fact that Oishi might actually meet his gaze at most and would more probably ignore him as if he hadn't heard. Oishi, on the other hand, seems to pretend like it doesn't happen, and Eiji can't decide whether he's sickened or relieved to realize he's scheduling doubles practice less and less until they barely practice together at all.
It's not until there's the threat of a tournament on the horizon that Oishi comes to an abrupt decision. Eiji shudders when Oishi announces that they'll practice doubles again today; they haven't been through this torture in a few days, now, and he slumps his shoulders, shoves his hands in his pockets as he scuffs his way towards A-court when Oishi stops him with another announcement: for the upcoming tournament, Inui and Kaidoh will be playing first doubles and he'll be looking for a new second doubles today.
Eiji can't believe it. He gapes at Oishi in pure shock, doesn't even know what to think now. Sure, it's been terribly painful to play doubles with Oishi now that they're broken up, but... is Golden Pair really done for good? The thought of it, the realization that the most revered, respected doubles pair in the Kantou region and possibly all of Japanese high school tennis has crumbled has a terrible finality to it, it almost too much to bear, and before he can even think about it, Eiji bolts from the tennis courts, holding back tears.
When he doesn't return the next day, people don't think much of it. When he doesn't return the day after, people begin to wonder if he's all right. When he doesn't return by the end of the week, no one is sure what to think but there's suddenly a certain irrevocability that hangs heavy in the air and makes practicing just that little bit more difficult.
Sengoku has to admit, hearing about the problems with the former Golden Pair at Seigaku makes him feel as if his life is plain and boring. He has been playing tennis with Momoshiro every Sunday for a few weeks now, and, much to his surprise, life isn't looking so bad at all. He still gets around a bit, hangs out with various people, but he isn't doing anything irresponsible, and besides, it's probably good for him to practice outside of school. And Momoshiro is cool to hang out with; Sengoku got to catch up on all the gossip from Seigaku and spread everything he had heard at other schools... talking with Momoshiro is fun, and Momoshiro never pesters him or wants to spend more time together than is necessary. It's an ideal situation, Sengoku decides as he heads to the street courts that Sunday for the usual meeting.
To Sengoku's surprise, however, the courts are crowded today, and there's a queue for the next open singles court. From a bench off to the side, Momoshiro grins sheepishly and waves, and when Sengoku joins him, he explains with a half-laugh, "Don't know what's up, it's crazy here today! Doubles courts are the only thing open."
"Unlucky!" Sengoku responds characteristically, running a hand through his hair and looking around. "So, what do you want to do?" The thought of doubles reminds him of Golden Pair again, and he almost laughs at how glad he is that his current biggest problem is no open singles courts. This, he tells himself, was why he doesn't want to get attached. To be together for so many years and then abruptly severed like that... it's something Sengoku assures himself would never happen to him. Though it isn't like he really needs convincing at this point; playing tennis really is, in many ways, favorable to partying.
Momoshiro shrugs, glancing around again as if somehow the situation might have changed in the past few seconds, before turning back to Sengoku. "I don't really mind playing doubles, but whatever you want..."
Sengoku shrugs and chuckles, good sport that he is. "Sure, let's play doubles. If we embarrass ourselves, we have the excuse that we've never played together before, right?"
And so they do play doubles, but they don't embarrass themselves. They surprise themselves, and everyone else on the courts, instead, by winning six games and a tiebreaker against a more experienced doubles pair. They're both confused but happy, and decided to treat themselves to burgers together afterwards to celebrate their victory, and end up deciding, late into the evening, that they're definitely going to play doubles more often.