A/N: My friend and I were talking and she was saying how she wanted some slow build fluff and romance. That's not really my thing you will know if you have read any of my other stuff. But, I have been trying to work on my WIPs since Friday and nothing has come out so I thought what the hell, I will give it a try. And the ending sequence in the first season seemed perfect for it. So here goes nothing.
How it started…
Riko looked over at her beeping phone, sighing in disgust when she saw the name flashing on the tiny screen.
"What do you want, Boobzilla?"
"Eeee! So mean, Riko-senpai," a girlish voice squealed in her ear. "Just because looking at you reminds people of the ironing they need to do doesn't mean you have to take it out on everyone else."
"I'm hanging up now." Eyes snapping, Riko's finger hovered over the disconnect button.
"Wait! Don't hang up yet, I wanted to talk to you about something."
"Something stupid I bet." Still, Riko grudgingly removed her finger. For now.
"Geez, I see your impersonality hasn't improved any."
That made Riko sit up straight in her bed. "Hey, I'm all sunshine and rainbows, girlie. Just ask my boys."
"I did," Momoi giggled, "they're the ones who told me what a demon you are."
Making a mental note to triple next week's training menu, Riko grabbed a pillow and stuffed it into her lap so she could lean on it. "So, really, what do you want? It's not like I have all night to sit here and listen to your babbling."
"But I like talking to you, senpai."
"Whatever," Riko ignored the fact that those words might have made her slightly happy, "just get on with it."
Momoi sighed. "You're no fun at all. Anyway, I have this idea that even for me is pretty amazing."
"Don't feel you have to be modest on my account," Riko murmured dryly, not wanting to admit she might be having a tiny bit of fun. Because of her family's business and her personality, she didn't have many "girl" friends. It was kind of refreshing, even if Momoi was an irritating brat at times.
"So, my idea," Momoi continued as if Riko's sarcasm had just sailed over her head. And maybe it had. "I was thinking Touou and Seirin should have joint practice together, but just regular ol' practice isn't fun. That's why we should schedule the practices at the street court and play three-on-three matches. It'll help both of our teams."
"That's not a," Riko stopped and thought for a moment, the wheels turning. "That's actually not a bad idea. But," her voice turned suspicious, "why would you be willing to help Seirin out? We get stronger by playing strong opponents, y'know."
For a moment, all Riko heard was static. Then Momoi inhaled deeply.
"It's for Dai-c—er I mean Aomine-kun. I just," she seem to struggled for a moment, "I just want to help him find the person he used to be."
Now it was Riko's turn to be silent.
"Riko-senpai, still there?"
"Yeah," Riko stirred, fingers plucking at her pillow. "You really must love Aomine-kun to go to such trouble like this."
"Ewww, gross! I don't love him! He's an ear scratching, nose picking, bad-tempered pervert. I mean, I do love him because we have always been together but I don't love love him. Besides, there's someone else I like."
"Kuroko-kun, right?" The memory of the two times Momoi had shown up to their practices and latched onto Kuroko flashed through Riko's mind.
"Mmm," was all Momoi said, neither confirming or denying it, surprising Riko. "Anyway, why don't we start next Saturday? I'll text all my boys and you can text yours. It'll be so much fun."
Fun wasn't exactly the word Riko was thinking of but her mind worked frantically, already coming up with plans to use the joint practice to their advantage. There was just one thing though.
"How are you going to get Aomine-kun to show up? He's not exactly um sociable." That was the nicest word she could come up with for the self-centered, arrogant ass.
"Leave him to me." A thread of steel ran through the other girl's voice. "I'll just hide all of his porn until he agrees."
Riko burst into laughter, finding the image of Momoi sneaking through Aomine-kun's room and snatching up all his girly mags unbearably amusing for some reason.
"You should laugh more often," Momoi said softly once Riko was finished, "it suits you."
She didn't know what to say, the compliment making her fidget, so she ignored it. "Alright, I'll let my team know. We can talk more during the week to finalize the arrangements."
"Sounds good. I'll be off then. Have a good night, senpai."
Feeling a bit off, Riko mumbled her good night and hung up. Something had been weird about Momoi, something she couldn't quite put her finger on. It didn't matter, she decided after a few seconds. She had to notify the team about their good fortune. Extraneous thoughts were for another time.
The text blast went out ten minutes later. Responses were almost immediate and predictable. Kiyoshi was pleased. Hyuuga had the nerve to ask what she was plotting (his menu was going to be quadrupled she swore inwardly). Izuki made some pun about being to(ou)tally ready to face Touou, which she promptly deleted. Kagami, of course, replied with a curt ,"I'm not going." Riko didn't have to worry, however, because Kuroko's text followed right after. "Please don't worry about Kagami-kun. I will make sure he shows up."
Feeling happy and somewhat excited, Riko fell back into the bed, dropping her phone by her head. If things went well next week, maybe they could make it a regular event and wouldn't that really help the team evolve. Not just Aomine, but all of Touou was amazing. Seirin could do nothing but get better playing against them.
Finally, exhausted after running all the possible scenarios in her mind, she started to drift off to sleep only to have her eyes fly open as her phone beeped again. Frowning, she reached for it. She didn't recognize the number on the screen but the message gave away the sender's identity.
Aida-san, Kurokocchi said he couldn't go out with me next Sat b/c he's playing with Aominecchi. No fair! .·´¯`(▂)´¯`·. I want to play with Kurokocchi too. I'm coming.
Right on the heels of Kise's text came another.
Ah, this is Seirin's coach, right? I got the number from Kuroko. Anyway, heard about your streetball game next week. Shin-chan and I are sad (っ˘̩╭╮˘̩)っcuz we weren't invited.
Takao is a fool. I'm not in the least bit sad. However, I am willing to help teach Seirin another lesson. We'll join in this little practice, though I can't see much good it will do that loud idiot on your side.
She waited, but no more messages came through and it didn't seem like she needed to respond. The aces from Kaijou and Shuutoku, in addition to Aomine and the rest of Touou. It was like a dream come true. Riko fell asleep that night with a smile on her face, though she filed away punishment for Kuroko for giving out her number so easily.
Kagami threw the door open with a frown. "Kuroko, I told you not to wait for me, dam—"
He bit off the curse when he saw tiny brats milling around Kuroko, fawning over the little dog at his feet.
Adjusting his bag, he moved down the steps, careful to avoid the kids and Nigou. It wasn't just dogs he couldn't handle.
"I said I would go and I meant it," he continued in a more reasonable tone. "I don't need you to hold my hand."
Kuroko picked up Nigou, waving at the children who scuttled over to their school bus. "Be that as it may, Kagami-kun, but I promised Coach I would make sure you arrived on time. I'll even use my 'guns' if I have to." He shuffled Nigou to one arm and curled the bicep in his other.
"And I keep telling you don't have any!" Kagami ground his palm on the top Kuroko's head. "Fine, whatever," he dropped his hand with a sigh, "I don't care anymore. Let's just get this over with. I want to see that bastard's face when I kick his ass all over the court."
He started walking and Kuroko fell in step beside him.
"I thought you were mad that Coach arranged this practice."
"I was because I didn't want to see that jerk's face again so soon, but then," Kagami bared his teeth in a hard grin, "when I thought about making him cry as I beat him down I got excited."
"I can tell by the bags under your eyes," Kuroko observed mildly. "You really are like a kid who can't sleep before a big day."
"Shut up!" Kagami flushed a little and walked faster. "And try to keep up. I'm not going to wait for you if you fall behind."
Kuroko's lips curved in a smile that Kagami didn't see, but he dutifully picked up his pace.
Not far away, Riko was staring down at her watch, slowly getting angry. A quick look at Hyuuga showed he had left anger behind some time ago if the muscle ticking in his cheek was any indication. That big, overgrown idiot! Where was he? They had told him be there at nine on the dot. Knowing him, he probably ran across a pregnant woman going into labor or something and had to help her to the hospital.
"I'm going to kill him," Hyuuga raged, hand on his hip as he glared around.
"Well, I'm sure he has a good excuse," Riko smiled weakly, trying to placate him even when she wanted to curse herself.
Hyuuga didn't say anything else, just continued to glower at a man who wasn't even there.
Riko looked behind her to check on Izuki, who had been suspiciously quiet this whole time, but flinched when she saw her stupid father plastered against the window of their gym, giving both of her boys the evil eye.
"Quit reading that book of puns and get up, Izuki! We're leaving. That idiot can just meet us at the court."
Her father looked at her with tears in his eyes but she just shot him a dark look and gave him her shoulder. She could hear his sobs all the way outside.
The three of them started down the sidewalk, Hyuuga muttering about all the things he was going to do to their missing member. They didn't see the rickshaw pass them, or the cart's rather flashy occupant.
"Dammit, Shin-chan," the driver of the antique contraption huffed as he peddled by, "that stupid penguin has added like a hundred tons to the weight of this thing. I think my legs are going to fall off."
"Don't be ridiculous, Takao," Midorima pulled today's lucky item closer, ignoring the herd of children running next to the cart, laughing and pointing.
"Then you pedal," Takao wheezed, feeling the burn in his calves all the way to the bone.
"When you can beat me at Rock-Paper-Scissors then we will discuss it." Pushing up his sunglasses, Midorima ran a hand through his hair. The wind was a little strong today and it was blowing his bangs all over the place, even with Takao's slow pedaling.
Takao glanced back, thinking that the dorky sunglasses and giant penguin nestled against Midorima's side were hysterical but he had no breath to spare for laughter, so he faced the front again and put his feet back to work. He hoped the street court wasn't much further because he didn't know how much longer he could hold out.
He didn't hear his phone ringing over the wind and the pounding of his heart, and after about ten rings it stopped.
"No one's answering, senpai," Kise pouted as he hung up his cell. "Takao was the last one."
"We wouldn't need to call anyone if you hadn't gotten lost, dumbass!" Kasamatsu pivoted to kick Kise in the butt.
"Waaah!" Kise teetered on the stairs but managed to keep his balance. "It's alright. I printed out the map Aida-san sent me." He rummaged in his bag until he found the paper.
Kasamatsu's dark eyebrows drew together and he kicked Kise again. "If you had the map, why didn't you bring it out in the first place?!"
Kise rubbed his head and smiled crookedly. "I forgot I had it."
"I should hit you again."
"Please don't!" Kise lifted his hands protectively in front of him. "Besides, senpai didn't have to come along."
"Hmpf, as if I could just let you go alone after finding out you invited yourself to Seirin and Touou's practice. Someone needs to make sure you aren't a nuisance to the others, and as your Captain that duty falls to me."
"Senpai is so manly," Kise looked at the older boy admiringly.
"Shut up!" The tips of Kasamatsu's ears turned pink. "And give me that damn map. I don't want to be wandering around the city all day."
Kise handed it over with a smile, but his thoughts were on the upcoming game. They were playing three-on-three and no matter what it took, he was going to make sure he was on Kuroko's team. Even if he had to play dirty to do it.
Playing dirty was exactly what another man was contemplating right at that moment. Imayoshi had arrived with Momoi and Sakurai at the street court minutes earlier. Wakamatsu had a family thing so he couldn't come but Aomine was supposed to have met them at Sakurai's house to help carry all of the food he had demanded. He hadn't shown up and no matter how many times Momoi called him Aomine simply wouldn't answer.
"I'm sorry, it's all my fault," Sakurai apologized profusely as he put the big ice chest down.
Imayoshi sighed. "How is it your fault, Sakurai? We all know this is just how Aomine is."
"I'm sorry!" The retiring young man repeated.
Imayoshi just sighed again, but his patience was reaching its limits. Aomine needed to be taught a lesson and a wonderful, evil idea popped into his head. He'd heard from Momoi that she and Seirin's coach had decided to draw lots to see who would be on each three-man team. He looked over, watching Kagami run from that small dog of theirs and a wicked smirk twisted his lips. All he had to do was make sure he was in charge of the lots. It was perfect.
"Sakurai, come here," he grabbed his younger teammate and hauled him away.
Not knowing what Imayoshi was plotting, everyone else chatted and sized each other up while they waited for their two missing members, Shuutoku's and Kaijou's players having arrived right after Seirin.
Kise latched onto Kuroko, cooing over Nigou and laughing as Kagami turned tail and ran from the tiny animal. His eyes, however, were fixed solely on the pale-haired man in front of him.
Riko, Momoi and Hyuuga stood together, complaining about their respective no-shows. Imayoshi eventually let Sakurai go and the trembling teen made his way over to the chest he'd packed. It seemed to be getting some attention so he opened it, showing the small crowd gathering around it the food inside. Midorima looked on, appearing bored, but his eyes were trained on the sole can of red bean drink buried in the ice.
Takao surveyed the entire motley crew with amusement, an amusement that turned into full body laughter when the final two of their group showed up.
"Kiyoshi, you bastard!" Hyuuga yelled just as Momoi shouted, "Stupid, Aomine-kun, you're late again."
Kiyoshi smiled and waved, seeming like he didn't have a care in the world. Aomine, on the other hand, just tskd and looked away, the very picture of bored disinterest. Riko exhaled, hoping this didn't turn out to be a fubar after all.
"It'll be okay," Momoi nudged her shoulder, drawing her attention.
"How did you know what I was thinking?" Riko glanced over at the other girl.
"Because of the expression on your face."
"I always look like this."
"No you don't," Momoi smiled, a small secretive smile, "sometimes you look much cuter." Her hand came up to her mouth, covering a giggle as Riko's eyes widened.
Flinging out her own hand, Riko tried to come up with an appropriate response but nothing came to mind so she just growled a little, not understanding Momoi at all. Her pulse picked up, too, and she didn't understand that either.
Because she was so flustered, she missed Imayoshi setting up the lots she and Momoi had created. He forced the color-tipped slips onto Sakurai, who didn't have any problems passing them out until he came to the last three awaiting their turn to draw.
Kise looked down at his red lot, stared over at Kuroko's green one, and sulked. Until he saw Midorima's strip out of the corner of his eye. Takao might as well have been invisible. Kise rolled over him, squashing the much smaller man between him and his target, and grabbed Midorima's wrist.
"Midorimacchi!" He cried out, voice loud enough to draw the gazes of Hyuuga and Izuki behind them. "Give that to me. Give it! Give it! Give it! I have to be on Kurokocchi's team. That's the only reason I came today."
"Can't breathe," Takao gasped, trying to squirm out of the sudden sandwich he found himself in.
Midorima eyed his lot impassively. Today's lucky item was red, but he didn't know if he liked the idea of helping Kise out since he was being so annoying.
As he contemplated his dilemma, Sakurai moved on shaking legs over to the final two. Following Imayoshi's orders, he had kept his thumb on the last two strips, pulling them down slightly and moving them around when everyone else drew. It was the scariest thing he had ever done and if he didn't faint before the whole thing was over it would be a miracle.
Kagami, finally having got away from Kuroko and that damn dog, reached out to draw his lot. A heavy weight falling on his shoulder stopped him.
"Hurry up, Bakagami. You're too freaking slow."
Eye twitching, Kagami turned his head. Aomine's arm was resting on him and he was half tempted to bite the damn thing.
"Piss off! I'm trying to pick the one that won't put me on your team." Kagami snarled at the man he both hated and admired.
"Well I don't want to be on your team, either, dumbass. The only reason I came today was to put you in your place again."
"I heard from Kuroko the only reason you came was because that chick hid your porn." Kagami sneered and then added, "Pervert."
"Um, p-p-please just draw your lot," Sakurai squeaked, not sure how much more he could take.
Kagami yanked one of the strips out of Sakurai's hand, blazing gaze never leaving Aomine's.
Aomine took the last one, also staring back at Kagami.
Sakurai didn't stick around to see how they would react when they saw both of their strips were blue. He'd already drawn his and the other yellow team members didn't seem so bad. That's what he thought until he had the jersey on and Kasamatsu and Kiyoshi grabbed his shoulders.
"Alright, we're going to beat everyone else. Get ready to sweat and bleed for victory!" Kasamatsu clenched his fist.
Kiyoshi chuckled. "Now, now. We're just here to have fun, but I don't mind going all out. We can win, right, Sakurai-kun?"
"Yes, I'm sorry!" Sakurai was too freaked out to say anything else, feeling crushed under the pressure of the older teens.
The two senpai weren't the only ones fired up. Once his team had slipped on their green jerseys, Kise had grabbed the ball, golden eyes glowing and a fierce smile blossoming across his face.
"I'm on Kurokocchi's team. There's no way I could lose. I'm all pumped up! And after we win I'll take Kurokocchi out on a date for a celebratory vanilla shake."
Kuroko let the date part slip. "I want a vanilla shake no matter what," he replied serenely as he stretched.
Izuki shook his head, almost certain he could see ears and a tail pop out on Kise's body. He definitely hadn't expected the basketball star and famous model to have this kind of personality when he read that article on the Generation of Miracles all those months ago.
Finishing his stretches, Kuroko glanced over to where the red team were all cleaning their glasses.
"Ah, it's an all megane team," he circled his eyes with both thumbs and forefingers. "All because Kise-kun cheated."
Kise flinched but Izuki just laughed.
Midorima harrumphed loudly, rubbing his glasses a little more vigorously. Hyuuga pretended not to hear but planned on making Kuroko pay for that little jibe later. Imayoshi heard everything, as well as Momoi and Riko shouting encouragement at them from the sideline. He just didn't care. Putting his glasses back on, he focused on his selfish ace.
Once everyone was situated on their teams, Midorima started shooting because he could. Kise took up adoring Kuroko and Nigou again, and Kiyoshi forced candy on his teammates. Front and center, however, Aomine and Kagami were bickering like an old married couple. Just as Imayoshi had planned.
"You better not get in my way, dickhead." Aomine crossed his arms, lips peeled back over his teeth.
"Hah?!" Kagami balled his hands into fists, leaning into the other man's space. "That's my line, retard. If you slow me down, I'll—"
Aomine laughed. "You'll what? Cry? Don't worry, I'll be scoring all on my own. You can just stick your thumbs up your ass and watch."
Kagami flushed, furious and irritated and wanting nothing more than to take that arrogant jackass down a peg or two. "I'll stick something up your ass," he growled threateningly taking another step forward.
"If that's a come on, I've heard better," Aomine copied his movement until they were mere inches apart.
Takao stood in front of them, spinning a ball and wondering if the two aces knew neither of them would be scoring if he didn't pass the ball to them. Probably not, they were too engrossed in each other, and he knew exactly what that meant even if they didn't.
In fact every single person on that court realized at the same moment what the sparks flying between Kagami and Aomine signified. Again all part of Imayoshi's machinations.
"Alright, everyone," he clapped his hands, pulling all eyes to him, "we should get started. Kagami, Aomine, please save your flirting for after the match."
A few giggles followed his statement. The two aces, though, turned to stone. The expressions on their faces were priceless, especially Aomine who looked like he'd just been punched in the stomach.
"Ah, so it's like that," Kiyoshi came up and patted Kagami on the back. "I thought you and Kuroko were a couple, but it's you and Aomine, huh? Good for you."
"Hey, Kurokocchi is mine!" Kise's screech echoed through the court, but nobody paid him any mind, except for Kuroko who elbowed him in the side.
Kagami tried to talk but could only emit a choking, strangled sound. The sound pulled Aomine out of his stupor and he swung around to look at Kagami's face, taking in the wild eyes and fire-red cheeks.
"D-don't be full of yourself, Kagami. There's no way in hell I would like you. You don't even have boobs."
His contemptuous words unfroze Kagami's tongue. "Well, who would like such a rude, ungentle person like you?! I don't like you, I hate you."
"I hate you more."
They glared once more at each other and turned away. Imayoshi's evil smile returned. He'd been right. This was the best way to fuck with Aomine without getting his hands dirty. Now all he had to do was let nature take its course. With a little help he thought, meeting Momoi's eyes. She seemed to have figured out what he'd done and shot a surreptitious thumbs-up his way.
The people on the court smothered grins and got ready for the game, leaving the two aces alone with their thoughts. And they were riotous, turbulent thoughts indeed.