A/N: I know, it's been foreeeeever. If you have read anything else of mine, you know I got really sick and then had surgery. The past year and a half have been hell but I am slowly getting better. Also, since this was my first every KnB fic and I started it when I only shipped KagaKuro, I had the ending planned out one way but once the anime came out and I started watching it as well as reading the manga, I changed to a multi-shipper and didn't want to hurt any of my babies. That made it hard to continue the way I wanted. Now, I am just writing what comes to me and hope I can make a HEA for everyone when it's don
If you enjoy it, please drop me a comment. I'll do my best to reply now that I am back on my feet. And a reminder, my more mature stories (ie the 18+ stuff that can't be posted here since someone threatened to report me) can be found on AO3 and tumblr under the same name - links also on my profile.
"Quit touching me!"
"Your elbow is poking me."
"Ugh, I'm sweating my balls off."
Isaki stared at three men in front of him in disgust. Well, there were really four of them but the smallest of the foursome stood there silently in his exquisitely tailored outfit. The seamstress they kept on set had to work double time to make the black suit fit Kuroko's small frame. Not only had she managed, Isaki thought, but Nana had knocked it right out of the park, to quote a baseball metaphor. He made a mental note to see she got a raise later, because the dark, crisp lines of the ensemble hugged the young man's body like he had been born to wear it, and the sable color accentuated his pale hair and skin, making them glow almost silver under the glaring studio lights.
The three loudmouths were just as arresting, and he congratulated himself for the choice of their outfits. They formed a striking and eye-catching contrast to Kuroko, with their long limbs and muscled figures clad all in white. Kise with his shirt opened just enough to flash a glimpse of smooth, gold skin; Aomine with his top sexily rumpled, tie loosened and jacket thrown over his shoulder; and Kagami with his jacket and shirt sleeves rolled up to the elbows while the front lay unbuttoned and spread wide to reveal his muscled chest. If they all kept their mouths shut, they would be any woman's (or man's) fantasy come true.
So far, he had managed to keep them in line, through the flower holding and seductive poses and smiling and arm linking, though he thought there would a riot when he made Kuroko hold an apple and the three pretend to take a bit of it. Kise had shot him a dirty look, as if he realized what Isaki was up to, but the photographer just gave a trilling laugh and kept shooting.
But now, their irritability was starting to show, and it was making him cranky in return.
"Gentlemen, and I use that term sparingly," he called out, finally having enough of their melodrama. They might be the most delicious eye-candy he had seen in a while, but they still had work to do. "Kindly shut your mouths and get back into position."
Three handsome faces turned his way and at least Kise had the grace to look embarrassed.
"I'm sorry, Isaki-san," he replied contritely. "We always seem to argue like this when we get together."
Sighing, Isaki picked up his camera and looked through it at various angles until he found one that satisfied him. "I thought you guys were friends."
"We are," Kise and Kuroko said while Aomine and Kagami instantly denied it with a loud, "We aren't!"
They turned to glare at each other, and Isaki started to reprimand them again but then he stopped. Faces mere inches apart, eyes flashing in challenge, the duo were the picture of prime, masculine beauty. He lifted the camera and snapped off a few shots, making sure the Bengal logo in the background was quite visible.
Kise noticed the photographer's actions and his pride as a model stung, just a little. Grabbing Kuroko by the waist, he picked the smaller man up and hoisted him into a one-armed carry.
"Here, Isaki-san. Don't forget about me."
The photographer didn't blink an eye, shifting angles just in time to capture a shot of Kuroko's hair fluttering as he settled down into Kise's embrace. The startled look on Kuroko's face and the hungry, sensual one on Kise's made a damn good shot. It got even better when Kagami and Aomine saw what Kise had done and both unconsciously reached out to pluck Kuroko from the blond's grasp.
Isaki's camera fired rapidly, eating the scene up.
"That's it! Wonderful, Ryo-chan! Now put your other hand on his chest."
Kise began to follow is instructions, but Aomine's own hand flashed out and batted Kise's away.
"Dammit, Kise! Don't even think about it." He was already riled up from heat of the lights and the scratchiness of the clothes and the way the stupid photographer had arranged them, so close he could smell the soap Kagami had used, the cologne Kise wore, and that soft vanilla-like scent that always clung to Kuroko. They looked like a damn idol group, though he figured that's what Isaki was going for. He hated every damn minute of it.
"I'm just trying to do my job, Aominecchi," Kise smiled sweetly, all angelic innocence, when Aomine knew the devil that really lurked below the surface,
"Trying to cop a feel is more like it," Aomine snorted darkly just loud enough for Kise to hear, neatly removing Kuroko from his grasp and setting the shorter man down out of his reach. "Don't think I'll let you get away with that so easily." Kuroko only blinked, blue eyes unreadble.
Unfortunately, Kagami heard him, as well, and suddenly two plus two finally equaled four. The feeling that had been riding him all morning, through their fake basketball game to this dumb pageant they were putting on for the photographer, came into blinding, blaring focus. Aomine and Kise both liked Kuroko. All the little nuances he had missed before, the longing looks, the casual and not so casual touches, the words with all their double meanings, he got it now. Maybe because this was the first occasion in which he had spent so much time, in such close quarters, with only the other three present.
"Kagami-kun, what's wrong?" Kuroko tugged on his shirt, drawing his attention. He looked down at that small, pixyish face, eyes meeting that guileless blue gaze, and another realization slammed into him with all the weight of ten ton wrecking ball.
God, he liked Kuroko, too. The way Kuroko tried even if he failed a hundred times before. His polite way of speaking. The passes he so readily threw Kagami's way, absolute trust that his partner would catch it. Small back that was somehow wide enough to carry the weight of everyone else's hopes and dreams on it. His rare smiles and big eyes and adorable yet masculine face. Kagami liked it all, everything about Kuroko. How could he have not known and yet what could knowing help anyway, especially when Aomine and Kise were right there, probably feeling the same way.
His fingers reflexively closed over Kuroko's and he opened his mouth, only to slam it shut in horror when it dawned on him what he was about to say. Letting go of Kuroko like his hand was on fire, Kagami stumbled back and shook his head.
"I," he swallowed loudly, eyes darting rapidly from Kuroko's concerned face to Aomine and Kise who were now giving him hard, searching looks. "I have to get out of here," he blurted out and spun around, heading for the changing room where his regular clothes were.
"Kagami-kun!" Kuroko called after him and started to follow, but Kise's hand on his arm stopped him.
"Wait, Kurokocchi!" Kise was frantic. He'd known what that look in Kagami's eyes had meant, had known what it meant and understood they were suddenly in dangerous territory.
"Something's wrong with Kagami-kun," Kuroko gently pulled his arm away. "I need to go check on him."
"Please don't, I …," Kise struggled with something, anything that would keep Kuroko there instead of chasing after Kagami. It felt like if he let Kuroko go now, then it would be all over.
A large hand came down on his shoulder. "Let him go, Kise." Aomine's voice was quiet, quieter than Kise had ever heard it, but when he glanced up into the other's dark blue eyes he saw the same raw emotion he felt reflected there.
He dropped his hand and managed a wobbly smile. "Alright, Kurokocchi. Go ahead. I'll talk to Isaki-san and then we'll be right there."
Kuroko stared at him for a moment and then nodded. He left them behind and hurried off in Kagami's direction. Once he was gone, Kise rounded on Aomine.
"Aominecchi! Why did you let him go like that? You know Kagamacchi finally—."
"Finally figured out with that tiny pea-brain of his that he was in love with Tetsu," Aomine cut him off, yanking at the tie around his neck until the knot came completely loose. "Yeah, I know."
"Because being subtle just ain't my style, Kise." The taller man threw his jacket and tie on the floor, and cracked the bones his neck. "It's better this way. Now that the idiot knows, I can go all out." He smiled, something that was really more of a baring of teeth, a smile that intimidated almost everyone who saw it.
"So you are going to confess to Kurokocchi, just like that? What if he rejects you?"
"It'll fucking hurt," Aomine admitted bluntly, "but Tetsu isn't the kind of guy who would stop being my friend just because I confessed. If he was, I wouldn't have fallen for him in the first place."
Kise lowered his head, a dry chuckle on his lips. "Ehh, you're really strong aren't you, Aominecchi? It makes me, who has been so scared to say anything, look like an idiot."
"Whatever," Aomine stared at the hallway Kuroko had went down. He meant it. If nothing else, this morning had shown him that he couldn't afford to just stand by any longer. Kise had already been a threat, but now that it looked like Kagami had finally entered the race, he wasn't going to wait around any longer. It might make things awkward between him and Kuroko, but what he said was the truth. His old partner wasn't a person who would shut someone out so easily, no matter the reason.
"Then I guess I need to up my game then," Kise spoke again and his voice held a steely resolve. He looked up and their eyes, no their very wills clashed, just like they had so many times on the basketball court. "I won't lose to you, Aominecchi, and I won't lose to Kagamicchi either."
Before Aomine knew what was happening, Kise lashed his leg out and knocked the bigger man off his feet. He fell to the floor, cursing, while Kise pivoted. "Then, I'm going first. Sorry, Isaki-san, but it looks like the shoot is done for the day," he called out to the photographer.
Aomine lay there stunned, for all of half a second, before he surged to his feet with a loud epithet. "Dammit, Kise, I'm not going to be left behind. Not again." Quicker than should be humanly possible, Aomine sprinted after the blond.
Isaki had been watching the entire scene with avid, wide-eyed interest. He knew he should call the model back, but frankly he found the whole thing marvelously exciting. Humming to himself, he began to look through the pictures on his camera, knowing he had some killer shots in there, and wondering if he could get even more once the boys' little love square was all worked out.