Disclaimer: The only thing I own is the story idea and only some of the witty remarks. I own so little; so please don't steal.

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[=]

you're my black swan

"It's hard being with you. Let's break up." This isn't the first time Aomine's heard these words. He must have watched them fall from over a dozen girls' mouths before, girls he disinterestedly agreed to dating before days later when they realize he only has room in his heart for the mistress, basketball. It never fazes him, because they're usually annoying, giggly girls, and his clear indifference has made several of them cry. Normally, he shrugs and says, do what you want, but today those words start an angry flare within him, because they've come from Kise's mouth.

Aomine doesn't like refusing people when they confess, because it makes things messy and then he has to explain why even if he doesn't have a reason or they won't take no for an answer, so he always says yes. It doesn't matter, because no girl can handle him for more than a few days, if his record is to be trusted. When Kise pulls him aside after practice once, blushed and stammering out his feelings, Aomine scratches his ear and shrugs and says why not?

In Kise's defense, he's lasted the longest, probably because they're almost always together anyway and they both love basketball with all of their being. In fact, Aomine had only just recently resigned to the fact that perhaps he would have to deal with Kise's blubbering and clinginess forever when the blonde decides to break up with him.

"Why?" he yells, not caring if the entire school can hear them behind the science wing outside after school. He feels strange, suddenly caring about someone breaking up with him. It's Kise, anyway. "We were fine yesterday!"

Kise looks at him, a look that says no we weren't, and Aomine looks away angrily, searching, wracking for any indication that this was coming, but yesterday Kise had told him good night as sweetly as he always had when they walked home together and kissed him on the cheek. This isn't anything to do with pride, he knows, or else he'd feel embarrassed over his numerous previous heartbreaks; he doesn't give a damn if Kise is a model and he lost his chance at that. It's different, but he can't figure out why.

"That's it," Kise says softly, looking down and gripping at his shirt. "That's all I wanted to say. Um. See you at practice, then." It insults Aomine, to know that Kise thinks he can just bring him out back, break up with him, and then go to club activities like nothing's wrong. He wants to grab Kise and shove him against the wall and ask where in that useless head of fluff did Kise get the idea that this was acceptable, but his preference toward staying stony stops him and he lets Kise walk away.

Practice goes by like always, and Aomine wonders if he's made up the whole breakup since Kise smiles at him and plays like nothing's wrong. By the end, he's convinced himself that he had a bad trip and waits at the door for Kise, but the boy merely breezes past him and trots away without looking back.

"Did something happen?" Momoi asks when he asks her if she wants to go home with him. She hasn't gone home with him for the weeks that he's been dating Kise, and this breaks her daily chance to walk home with Kuroko. She accepts, of course, because she knows how to deal with Aomine, and when he's scowling like that, he's a big baby she needs to soothe and talk sense into.

"No," Aomine says, and grumbles the entire way home.

[=]

Aomine goes over to Kise and Kuroko's homeroom during lunch period and at the doorway, sees Kise practically climbing over the unassuming boy. If Kise isn't hanging off Aomine rattling off questions about basketball and how Aomine is so amazing at it, he's with Kuroko badgering him and sharing facts about his life Kuroko does not want to know about. The thing is, Kise likes small things, as Aomine found out when they were dating and Kise had the annoying habit of stopping at any vender that sold small trinkets and cooing at them girlishly for ages. Truth is, Kise would probably hang all over Akashi too, if Akashi did not threaten bodily harm and have the disposition to follow through on his threats.

When Aomine comes closer, Kise practically clutches at Kuroko like a shield. "Excuse me, Tetsu," Aomine says gruffly. "I need to borrow Kise for a bit."

"That's fine," Kuroko says, looking blankly up at him.

"I don't want to talk to you," Kise blubbers, cowering behind Kuroko. It annoys him, this cutesy weak act Kise does. He's seen it on girls, who pretend to be stupid and useless in order to appear more endearing, and it is unattractive on them and horrendous on Kise. Aomine struggles to stay composed.

"We need to talk," he grounds out. He knows they're making a scene, like they always do when they interact at school. The basketball team has a reputation and as the star members, they're at the center of attention. He reaches out and grabs Kise and makes to pull him out of the classroom, but surprisingly, Kise pulls away with more force than Aomine expects.

"I said, I don't want to talk to you," Kise says, his voice suddenly sharp. Kuroko turns to look at him. "There's nothing to talk to you about, Aominecchi." The way he spits out the nickname tells Aomine that there was a close chance that Kise probably intended not to use it but had a change of heart as it left his lips. Aomine glares at Kuroko, who shrugs and says nothing. Aomine storms out of the classroom.

"Can't you apologize already?" Kuroko asks him during stretches and Kise is determinedly on the other side of the gym with Midorima. He says it without a trace of emotion either way on his face, but his voice sounds slightly exasperated. Aomine mentally apologizes for dumping Kise on Kuroko, who has probably had to deal with Kise since the breakup.

"I don't even know what I did wrong," Aomine says heatedly. Kuroko glances back at him. Aomine makes a face and looks away. He's known of Kuroko's crush on him for a while now and has tactfully tried to deal with it. He would have agreed if Kuroko had confessed, and Kuroko knows this too, which is probably why he has not uttered a word about it at all. Aomine knows Kuroko has pure feelings toward him and has realized them, in contrast to Kise who hid everything behind admiration and naïve longing. This would be a chance for Kuroko to take, with Kise out of the picture, but Aomine knows that Kuroko – the shadow he is – works only for the smooth sailing of others before himself and would never sabotage anyone else. Aomine can only imagine how Kuroko feels, putting on a friendly face and working to get over him.

"You must have done something," Kuroko says, knowing Aomine well, and looks across the gym at Kise, who's griping and whining as Midorima barks at him. "You two should fix it soon. It's annoying."

"Sorry, Tetsu, I'll try and get Kise away from you…"

"It's annoying," Kuroko clarified, shooting Aomine the first irritated look about the subject. Not Kise, he means, but the entire separation thing. "Akashi wouldn't like to hear about it," he continues. The other members have done their best to keep their romances secret from the captain and his minion, Murasakabara. While Murasakabara's silence is easily bought, Akashi's retribution breaks shivers to all their spines.

"Are you threatening me, Tetsu?"

"Maybe." Aomine presses down on Kuroko's back harder, making the boy grunt from the sudden strain. Kise rushes over and pulls Kuroko out of Aomine's grasp.

"Don't go around hurting Kurokocchi!" he cries dramatically, smoothing Kuroko's hair and asking a million questions at once. Aomine scowls.

"Why don't you go out with Tetsu if you worry about him so much," he spits. Kise gives him a dark look. Kuroko does not struggle in Kise's arms, and when the blonde turns away, he makes eye contact with Aomine and mouths, it's not you he's jealous about. Aomine ignores him, hearing Kise's voice in his head, saying you and Kurokocchi are so close…so I always thought…

Akashi makes him do extra laps after hearing him say the line about Kuroko and Kise together, and as Akashi throws an arm around Kuroko's shoulders and leads him away leeringly as Aomine begins his laps, Aomine thinks Akashi might have a hidden motive behind the team romance rule.

[=]

Kise was surprisingly shy about the whole dating thing, despite being a model and being comfortable with the public eye, and often walking around with a crowd of girls following him. When he called Aomine out after practice that day, he had been avoiding eye contact and flustered around until Aomine yelled at him to either say what he wanted to say or get beaten up. "The thing is," Kise had mumbled, his face flushed bright pink. "How I feel toward you, Aominecchi…I mean…when it comes to you, I…" Aomine remembers thinking vaguely that the vulnerable side Kise showed him made his carnivorous instincts roar. "I mean…to you, I…I like Aominecchi, okay!"

"Yes, yes," Aomine had said, rolling his eyes. There was no way he could not have known; ever since the beginning, Kise's eyes had always glittered when it came to him, shining in admiration and approval and interest, prattling on about basketball and ability, though it had only been recently that Kise's eyes betrayed anything more than platonic awe. "Yes, and you want to go out with me, is that it?"

"Is…is that okay?" Kise had shrieked, and without receiving a negative response – all Aomine did was grunt – flung his arms around Aomine and started promising all sorts of ditzy, flowery stuff.

They fucked after the third date. Aomine was afraid Kise was going to whine and whimper the entire time, in which case it would be great luck for him to get it up, but for a virgin (self-proclaimed, though Aomine had no reason to believe Kise would lie to him at this point), Kise was appropriately sexual, twisting hotly under Aomine and letting out his voice at just the right places that drove him absolutely wild. Girls were always concerned with how they felt during sex and often were disappointingly bad lays; Kise ground back, and the progress of his tongue techniques was nothing to frown at. Kise knew him, and knew what he wanted.

[=]

Although it's vulgar and weak-spirited, Aomine feels sexually frustrated after a week without Kise and he invites a girl to come with him to an empty classroom during last period study hall. Of course, someone sees them, so the air is tense during practice and Kise shoots him more than one hurt look.

"Why do you have to treat the people you care about like this?" Momoi shouts when they walk home, and Aomine knows by the way she is shrieking that Kise probably went to her in tears when he wasn't looking. Momoi knows him best, truthfully, so well that when they were going out, Aomine could tell before that they probably weren't suited to be more than bosom buddies and broke it off, to which Momoi had agreed and nodded. She is probably the first and only girl he would ever care enough about to break things off with. He likes that she knows his mannerisms so that sometimes they don't have to talk and she understands; but when she can hit him where it counts, he wishes they weren't childhood friends. "You always push away the people you like. Why can't you just admit it?" He's done it to Momoi countless numbers of times, but after years and years of experience, a brushed off meeting or a thoughtless remark merely bounces off her thick skin.

"Are you willing to say that Kise meant nothing to you?" Momoi accuses. This is what he hates about dating and what makes him consider again and again not being interested at all.

"What does it matter now?" he yells back at her. He can't remember how many times he and Momoi have shouted at each other in the street. "He's not going to take me back and it's his problem, not mine! I don't know what I did!"

"You don't?" Momoi says, her voice suddenly dropping and sending chills through Aomine's spine. "You really don't know what you did wrong?"

He thinks he does. Kise's always been shit at telling lies.

[=]

"I love you," Kise whispers, half sitting on his lap in the corner of the neighborhood basketball court in the dark, where they had a one-on-one after a game, ignoring Akashi's instructions to go straight home and rest. Aomine feels Kise's hand, barely touching his neck. The cicadas buzz in the evening. A car drives past, lighting the darkened court, but they're too deep in the shadows for the light to reach.

The silence stretches thin, and Aomine thinks vaguely of that great shot he pulled off today.

He knows Kise is talking to him, but Kise talks at him all the time, and it isn't the first time Kise's confessed to him, not to mention almost everyone who treats him well. So Aomine's thoughts are still elsewhere when Kise says again, "Daichi…I love you…"

"Yeah," Aomine says, and gets up and starts dribbling again. Kise doesn't get up and follow him immediately and he figures the idiot is sitting there pouting about getting ignored. He's been shooting by himself for a while in the white glow of the motion-activated light in the court before Kise appears and steals the ball, laughing confidently. They play another round, which Aomine wins, naturally.

Kise grips his arm a little harder than usual on the walk home, even when Aomine makes tired promises that if someone were to mug him, he'd of course protect Kise's face so quit the trembling. Kise mumbles shakingly he isn't scared. He isn't scared of anything. Aomine sees real fear in his eyes a few days later when he says it's hard to be with you.

[=]

Aomine corners Kise in a deserted hallway and kisses him so hard the blonde gasps for breath. It's only way to really make him listen and it makes Aomine annoyed at himself for actually going that far. He's a lazy, go-with-the-flow kind of guy and it's not like his normal pace to do this kind of thing. It's working, probably, because Kise is clutching at his collar desperately, keeping them close, out of prying eyes.

"Aomine," Kise gasps, too caught up to use nicknames as Aomine slides a hand down to his crotch, palming the heat that's pooled there. Kise's hand grips weakly at his sleeve, shivering. "Stop. Don't."

"Don't?" Aomine asks, squeezing, and Kise moans softly in his ear.

"Don't," Kise repeats. He forcibly moves Aomine's hand away. "We're not together anymore. Don't do this."

Aomine shoves him into the wall again, knocking the wind out of him for a moment. "We're not together, you say," he snarls, "but you still obviously feel this way…what do you want from me?" His voice slips into an urban drawl as he backs away from Kise, scowling. Kise is trembling in front of him, rubbing his lips from the rough kiss.

"I just wanted you to say it," Kise whispers after a while. "I just felt…I thought…you were just going along with it and you didn't actually…feel…"

There's a heavy silence between them and Aomine clears his throat. It's a harsh sound. "I won't say something like that," he grumbles.

"Won't?" Kise asks. "Or can't?" It's a revolting thing to say, to spread out your feelings like that in the open for everyone to see your cards. He knows those words will make Kise flush and run back to him, and he knows he doesn't even have to mean them, he can just say them offhandedly, but it just doesn't feel comfortable in his mouth. It feels like he's in way too deep, way over his head.

He sees Kise looking at him hopefully, still cowering a little against the wall. He realizes with sick horror that Kise can see the indecisiveness in his face, and further – that Aomine didn't want – whatever they were – to end. He looks back, a little fascinated. Here is Kise, the little puppy destined to trail behind others and be shadowed. Yet strangely, it seemed that this would be one battle where he would come out on top.

Aomine runs.

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Note: o t p