Author's Note: This was written for the kurobasanonmeme. The prompt was "Post Winter Cup Double Date featuring Aomine/Kuroko & Kagmi/Kise." Well, it became Kagami/Kise with Aomine/Kuroko. I have determined Kagami must be the character I identify most with in Kurobas because I find I lean toward his POV in my fics. I think its because we have the red hair and temper in common. Definitely. No beta as always, so mistakes likely. Will fix as I find.
Sunset moved across the sky, painting the horizon in vivid swipes of violet, orange, and scarlet. A single star was already visible, twinkling brightly just on the edge where the vibrant colors faded to blue. Not that Kagami cared. He was waiting for his own star, one that shined more brightly, sparkled more brilliantly than any far away object in the sky. He stopped walking, shivering at his own unbelievably sappy thoughts, and resisted the urge to tuck tail and run. Shoving his hands in the pockets of the thickly padded Lakers track jacket he wore, he hunched his shoulders and took a deep breath. He could do this. It was just a movie. They had already gone to a couple of professional basketball games together, had dinner several times, and had even been to each other's homes.
Oh, yeah, that had made him sweat, having that long, lean, toned body mere centimeters from him. His couch suddenly too small and cramped for his comfort. Those dazzlingly eyes peeking up at him through pale lashes. Mischief, humor, and knowledge of exactly what his close proximity was doing to Kagami gleaming in those burnished depths. It was strange to think that just a month before they had been rivals at the Winter Cup, only one able to move on to the finals after their decisive game. Somehow the heat and passion of competition had turned into a fire of a different kind. Kagami didn't understand it, but there it was just the same.
Aagh! There was no use continuing to tumble this over and over in his mind. Whatever happened would happen. Taking one hand out of his pocket, he scratched his head, turning to look at the people shuffling by him. The movie theatre was starting to fill up. Where was that fool at? Granted, Kagami had arrived about forty minutes early (not that he would admit to being nervous or anything), but the movie started in fifteen. He had already bought their tickets, but there wouldn't be any good seats left if they didn't hurry. His eyes passed over a man in a black jacket standing nearby, and then jerked back in horror as recognition set in. There was only one person he knew with skin that dark and hair that odd blackish-blue like a raven's wing. Aomine Daiki. Shit! Of all the movie theatres around, why did he have to come to this one? Tonight of all nights?
Spinning around, Kagami ducked his head and tried to huddle in on himself, hoping he could make himself less noticeable. It didn't work. Not only did he stand head and shoulders above just about everyone else around him, his shock of red hair was visible a kilometer away.
"Kagami?" he flinched at Aomine's surprised exhalation of his name.
Knowing it was futile to pretend he didn't hear, he turned back and fixed a blustery glare on Aomine to hide his agitation.
"What are you doing here?" Aomine stepped closer, peering around, obviously looking for Kagami's movie companion.
"That's what I should be asking you, dumbass," Kagami grumbled. "You don't even live around here."
"Ah," Aomine looked flustered for a moment, a wholly out of place expression on his usually confident, arrogant face, but he quickly masked it and shrugged. "I'm here with Tetsu. We hang out sometimes now. It's not a big deal."
"Kuroko? He's here?" Kagami's voice cracked, head twisting violently around as he searched for his teammate, expecting him to do his mysterious pop-up act. "Where?"
"He had to go to the bathroom before the movie started," Aomine drew back a little, eyeing Kagami with a look that said he clearly thought there was something wrong with the other man.
Kagami's tense expression relaxed a little. Forcing a smile, that looked more like a grimace, he patted Aomine hard on the shoulder. "Well, you probably want to go wait for him, then. You know how easily he gets lost. Don't want to lose track of the little guy, do you?"
Aomine glanced at the hand on his shoulder and then back at Kagami. "Are you feeling okay?" he probed in the quiet almost sing-song tone one usually saves for children, or crazy people.
"What?" Kagami managed a watery chuckle. "Of course I'm fine. So, you should just run along and—."
"Kagemicchi! Sorry I'm late. The photo shoot ran over!" someone yelled from behind him, stopping his rather pathetic attempt to drive Aomine away. Ah, it was over. Aomine would recognize that voice immediately. The two of them had been part of the Generation of Miracles together after all.
"Kise?" Aomine appeared sufficiently surprised. "You're seeing a movie with Kise?"
Hackles raised, partly due to his embarrassment and partly due to Aomine's response, Kagami became a little hostile. "Can't I?" he asked belligerently. He didn't have time to say more. Kise drew up beside him, taking notice of Aomine in the process.
"Huh? Why is Aominecchi here?" he sounded confused.
"It's coincidence," Kagami explained, turning to glance Kise's way. "He's here with Kuroko appare—what the hell are you wearing?" He was screeching by the time he finished.
"It's the last outfit I was wearing at the shoot," Kise replied innocently. "Because I was running late, they let me leave with it on so I wouldn't have to waste time changing. Well, it took a bit of cajoling, but I'm pretty good at … begging."
Kagami froze, damned sure there were other meanings in Kise's words. A quick look into those cat-like golden eyes confirmed it. They were watching him with lazy and flirtatious temptation. Kagami's own eyes narrowed into smoldering crimson slits, causing the corner of Kise's mouth to kick up in amusement.
"Aw, c'mon, Kagamicchi," Kise pouted, stepping away to pirouette gaily, giving everyone a three-hundred and sixty degree view of his ensemble, "doesn't it suit me?"
The knee-length carmine coat flared out, revealing tight, low slung black pants and nothing else. Made of crushed velvet, the long frock sported plush black fur at the wrists and collar, even running down the lapels. An Ushanka made of the same black fur sat atop his head, hiding much of his blonde hair from view. The coat was open low at the chest, showing the smooth expanse of his sun-kissed skin. It was also belted high above the waist, each movement he made allowing the hard plane of his stomach to peek through the long slit up the middle. Mouth dry, pulse drumming a mad cadence in his ears, Kagami was transfixed by the sight. Who knows how long he might have stayed there, mesmerized like a besotted buffoon, if he hadn't heard the swell of whispers, giggles, and squeals around him.
"Oh my God, it's him, right?"
"Yes, it's Kise Ryouta. Kyaaah!"
"Kise Ryouta." "That model." "Famous." "Basketball star." All of these penetrated the fog of temporary insanity that had gripped Kagami, releasing him from Kise's spell. Kise, the bastard, was smiling and waving at the adoring (and rapidly multiplying) girls, carefree and happy. Kagami's left eyebrow twitched. Thrusting one large hand out, he circled Kise's arm and yanked the other man toward him.
"Get over here you idiot, you're causing a scene!" Kagami hissed.
"Wah, I'm sorry," Kise cried, stumbling until he almost fell into Kagami's body. Kagami had to let go of his arm, shifting his hands to Kise's waist in order to steady him. Their heights were almost identical, a mere centimeter apart, and Kagami found himself staring into eyes the color of wild honey. "But Kagamicchi is too mean," Kise began to fuss. "Calling me an idiot, yelling at me, ignoring my question."
"What question?" Kagami asked in exasperation.
"Whether these clothes suit me or not." Kise slanted a look up at him through gold-tipped lashes, tongue flicking out to wet his bottom lip.
Kagami's nose flared, eyes following the movement. His hands tightened on Kise's waist. "Of course it looks good on you. You're a freaking model. Everything looks good on you for fuck's sake," he growled.
Kise grinned impishly. Raising his arms, he rubbed the fur cuffs of his coat on either side of Kagami's face. "See, now, that wasn't so hard, was it?"
Seizing his wrists, Kagami scowled darkly. "You did that on purpose."
"Maybe," Kise's smirk widened.
"I suddenly understand why that sempai of yours has the urge to hit you all of the time."
"Is that the only urge you have?" Kise's upbeat, cheerful voice dropped a notch, taking on a smoky quality that sent shivers down Kagami's spine.
"Uh, should we leave you two alone?" Aomine broke in, the tone of his voice making it very clear he would rather be anywhere else but there.
Shit! Kagami had completely forgotten about Aomine. And, the jerk had just witnessed that entire embarrassing display. Dammit dammit dammit! Wait, Aomine had said "we." With no small amount of trepidation, Kagami peered around Kise's head. His worst fears were confirmed. Kuroko was standing beside Aomine, bundled up in a light blue sweater that matched his eyes.
Dropping his hands from Kise's waist, he stepped hastily in front of the blonde, as if he could magically hide him somehow. "H-hey, Kuroko," he ran an agitated hand through his hair, "how long have you been here?"
"Since Kagami-kun called Kise-kun an idiot and grabbed him," Kuroko answered bluntly before taking a sip of the frozen drink in his hand. A vanilla shake probably, Kagami absently thought, not really caring what Kuroko was drinking. He was too busy trying to stamp down the blush heating his cheeks.
"Yay! It's Kurokocchi!" Kise had turned around and now leapt at Kuroko, hugging the smaller man to him in an exuberant embrace.
Kagami stiffened, liking neither the sight of Kise's arms around Kuroko nor the look of pure happiness on his face. Twenty seconds was all he could stand. Fisting his hand in the furry collar of Kise's coat, he hauled the blonde away with a stern, "That's enough!" Apparently, Aomine, for whatever reasons, had similar problems with the hug because just as Kagami was grabbing Kise he had latched onto Kuroko's arm and pulled, bringing Kuroko back to his side.
"Dammit, quit clinging to Tetsu all the time, Kise. Can't you see it annoys him?" Aomine raged at Kise. They all looked at Kuroko, who was calmly sipping his shake, not looking the least bit upset. Aomine, on the other hand, was the one who looked about ready to punch someone.
The whispers around them started up again. This was seriously the biggest commotion of Kagami's life. Why had he thought asking Kise to the movies would be a simple, uncomplicated endeavor? Even if he hadn't counted on Aomine and Kuroko, Kise and his flashy, revealing outfit would have been enough to throw the night off course.
"Alright, we've wasted enough time out here," Kagami straightened his shoulders. "The movie is about to start and we haven't even bought our drinks or popcorn yet." Digging in his jacket pocket, he pulled out the tickets and passed one to Kise. "Here, go find us seats and I'll go to the concession stand."
"But you bought the tickets, let me buy the drinks and stuff," Kise protested.
Popping him on his fur covered head, Kagami shooed him away. "Don't worry about it. Just go and get us a seat or we'll end up in the very front row, craning our necks the entire time."
"Fine," Kise grumbled.
"Tetsu, you go on ahead, too, and find us a seat as well," Aomine touched Kuroko's shoulder. "We got that shake earlier, but I'm thirsty now and I think I want some popcorn, too. Maybe even some candy. You like Gummy Bears, don't you?"
Kuroko gave Aomine a long, searching look before nodding. "Alright, Aomine-kun. And, yes, Gummy Bears are good."
Kagami and Aomine watched the pair walk away, Aomine hollering "And, Kise, keep your hands to yourself," after them. They walked in silence to the concession stand. Kagami knew it wouldn't last. He was right. They had both ordered and were waiting on their items when Aomine glanced over at him. Rocking back on his heels, he stuffed his hands in the pockets of his black jacket and casually said, "So, you and Kise, huh?"
"Shut up," Kagami refused to look at him, knowing even the tips of his ears were probably red.
"No, hey, I think it's great," Aomine continued blithely. "Weird, but great."
"Shut … the … hell … up," Kagami repeated, this time through clenched teeth. "No one asked your opinion."
"Sorry, just making conversation," Aomine turned back, giving the girl who handed him his popcorn a half smile. She blinked several times, staring at him and not noticing the drink she was pouring had started running over.
"Whatever," Kagami all but yanked his popcorn from the poor boy serving him, the black glower on his face causing the young man to tremble.
They paid and headed toward the theatre. Kagami did his damndest to ignore the pain in the ass at his side, and focused on the knowledge that he and Kise had been found out. So what if Aomine knew, it wasn't a big deal, right? Wrong! he screamed at himself, it was a big freaking deal!
"So, how far have you gotten? You know, with Kise?" Aomine asked abruptly, causing Kagami to choke on the big drink he had just taken from his cup.
Sputtering, he wiped the soda off his face and pierced the dark-haired man with a glare, "What the fuck, Aomine? That's not something you just ask someone."
"So you haven't done it yet," Aomine nodded wisely.
"Bastard!" Kagami itched with the need to pound the other man's face in. He stopped, and on a hunch tried a different approach. "What about you and Kuroko? Now that you've gotten your head out of your ass, have you picked back up where you left off in middle school?"
It was Aomine's turn to choke, coughing around the mouthful of popcorn he had shoved in his mouth. He swallowed, flicking a quick look at Kagami. "I don't know what you mean."
"Please," Kagami snorted, "I may not be a rocket scientist, but I'm certainly not blind. You always show up where he is, plus you get mad whenever Kise hangs on him. You are either in a relationship, or you are a creepy, jealous stalker."
"Bastard," Aomine echoed Kagami's previous retort.
"Yeah, not fun having someone pry in your personal crap is it?" They had reached the theatre doors. Kagami gave Aomine one last warning. "Don't say any of that junk to Kise that you said to me, understand?"
"I won't," Aomine grouched. "Besides, I've known him longer than you have."
He bristled at that statement, possessiveness rising up in him. "That may be," he admitted, pushing the door open, "you may have known him longer, but I will know him better, much better than any of you ever did."
Not waiting for a response, he stepped inside the theatre and looked around. As he had feared, it was pretty packed. He finally found that shining blonde head, in a seat on the left side and near the middle of the theatre. Thankfully Kise had taken his hat off. Kagami's eyes narrowed at the other pale, silver-blue head beside Kise.
"Why are they sitting next to each other?" Aomine demanded, having come up alongside Kagami.
"That's what I want to know," Kagami said. "I'm not okay with those seating arrangements. Not one little bit."
"Me either," Aomine concurred.
They looked at each and by silent agreement headed up the stairs to where their partners waited.
"Oi, Kise, why are you sitting by Kuroko?" Kagami whispered fiercely when he reached them.
Kise blinked in surprise at the abrupt, aggressive question. "Well, the rest of the seats were in bad locations. Besides, Kurokocchi and I decided it would be nice for the four of us to sit together since we are all here anyway."
Kagami quickly perused the theatre, coming to the unfortunate conclusion that Kise was right.
"Fine," he gave in ungraciously, "but you're not sitting there. Get up."
"Wh-what?" confusion colored Kise's voice as Kagami pulled him to his feet. Aomine slid in, taking the seat on Kuroko's other side, next to the wall. Kagami sat down in the seat Kise previously occupied and pulled Kise into the seat beside him on the aisle.
"There, that's better," he hummed in satisfaction, handing over the drinks and popcorn.
"Kagami-kun is acting childish," Kuroko murmured quietly.
"Don't you start with me, too, Kuroko," Kagami snapped. "I blame you for this whole entire thing anyway. You're the one who gave Kise my email in the first place. If you hadn't then, we would never have—." He broke off, alarmed at what he had almost let slip.
"Never have what?" Kise's tone had cooled considerably. Kagami wanted to bang his head on the hard plastic back of the chair in front of him.
"Look, Kise, I didn't mean," he faced the man he was kind of dating with an apologetic grimace, but Kise just shoved something on his face and the room got a little darker. "Huh?" he touched the object in confusion.
"It's your 3-D glasses," Kise explained, still sounding perturbed.
"3-D glasses? This movie is in 3-D?" Kagami lifted his eyebrows in surprise.
"Didn't you even read the movie info when you bought the tickets, dumbass?" this came from Aomine, who had evidently been listening to their conversation.
"Of course I read it!" Kagami whipped his head around to glare at the unwelcome baggage he had somehow gotten stuck with on this date. "The name of the movie is Satan's Hell something or other." He mumbled the last part, causing Aomine to snicker. "Shut up, bastard!" he had to physically restrain himself from jumping over Kuroko to strangle Aomine. "It doesn't matter. Kise said he wanted to see this movie, so I bought the tickets. I don't care what it is or what it's about as long as he's happy."
"Aw, Kagamicchi, that's so sweet," Kise bumped his shoulder, his playful teasing aura back. "I'll forgive you, just a little bit, for that other comment."
Aomine made gagging noises. Kagami hoped a black hole would open up under his seat. Or, maybe one of Kuroko's meteorites could strike the theatre instead. Yeah, strike him right in the head and put him out of his misery. The lights dimmed, signaling the movie was finally, finally about to start and Kuroko tugged on Kagami's sleeve.
"What?" he sighed, exhausted already and the night hadn't even really begun yet.
"Kagami-kun," Kuroko's whisper was so faint he had to lean down to hear it, "the name of the movie is Satan's Hellhound. It's a movie about a giant dog that gets possessed by Satan."
Kagami straightened, the color draining from his face and a queasy feeling beginning to roll around in his stomach. He would be fine, he frantically attempted to assure himself. It was just a movie. It wasn't like it was a real animal. No worries at all. There was a sudden explosion of sound, and a snarling, drooling, fanged beast with mangled fur and blood dripping from its mouth leapt from the screen and snapped its massive jaws not two centimeters from his face.
"Gyaaah, it's Cujo!" he jumped and screamed for all he was worth, garnering a chorus of irritated Shhs from the theatre's other occupants.
"Be quiet you idiot!" Aomine hissed vehemently.
Kise leaned close to murmur in his ear, "Who's Cujo?"
The warm, damp tickle of Kise's breath teasing his ear momentarily distracted him, but then the monster on the screen ripped a wayward pedestrian's head off and swallowed it in one grotesque motion.
"Eeek!" Kagami squeaked and hid his face against Kise's shoulder, the lush fabric of the coat cushioning his nose.
"Kagamicchi?" his name was whispered in soft, questioning concern.
"I'm alright," Kagami replied, words muffled against Kise's body. "Just let me stay like this for a minute, okay."
Kise chuckled gently, shifting slightly in his seat. Kagami didn't know what he was about until he felt Kise's hand start petting his head. Soothing him like a frightened animal. "You have an unexpectedly cute side," Kise declared quietly so that only Kagami could hear him, appearing both pleased and amused by the revelation. Kagami wanted to object, but screams from the screen and the audience stopped him. Dammit, he was never letting Kise pick the movie again!
The rest of the movie was spent with Kagami either covering his eyes, gasping in sheer unmitigated terror, or occasionally burying his head against Kise when he experienced a particularly bad fright. He hadn't even been able to eat the popcorn, he of the much vaunted and inexhaustible appetite. The ball of nausea in his stomach had prevented it. Not Kise, though. He scarfed the buttery snack down with enthusiasm, not distressed at all with the gore and body parts flying across the screen.
A nasty, violent scene occurred when the movie was reaching its climax. The hellhound was eating through a man's stomach. It tore out the entrails and then began playing with them, batting them through the air, slinging blood and muck every which way. Due to the 3-D effect, it all seemed to be happening right in Kagami's lap. He felt like he was seconds away from dying himself! He turned, ready to hide away against Kise's shoulder again, but there Kise was staring at him, only a sliver of space separating them.
"Kagamicchi, should I give you something to take your mind off the big, scary monster?" the hushed, husky question made Kagami's heart race for a different reason than the splatterfest on the screen.
"Wh-what do you mean?" he stammered, knowing their relationship was irrevocably about to change and not sure he was ready for it. Kise didn't give him time to object.
"This," Kise whispered, and kissed him. It was their first kiss, Kagami never having working up the nerve to initiate one before, and it tasted like popcorn. Popcorn, and butter, and some other spicy-sweet flavor that must belong uniquely to Kise. They were in a crowded movie theatre. Two people they knew beside them. Mayhem, monsters, and murder on the big screen in front of them. And, here they were, sharing their first kiss ever. It was awkward, their 3-D glasses knocking into each other, but when Kise lapped at his bottom lip and traced the seam, an entreaty for him to open his mouth, Kagami forgot about it all. Parting his lips, he allowed Kise's nimble tongue inside. It was a gentle exploration, Kise licking and probing, learning Kagami's taste and texture. His caresses were smooth and sophisticated, the clear movements of someone who had plenty of experience not only in the act itself but in coaxing a response from his partner. Kagami didn't like the idea. Not Kise with the faceless, nameless hordes of past girlfriends, and definitely not allowing Kise to think he would be able to take and keep the lead.
Kagami didn't have as much experience as Kise (not nearly as much, that damn playboy!), but he hadn't lived in America without learning a thing or two. He sucked lightly on Kise's tongue, running his own along the sensitive underside. He was rewarded with a small, almost imperceptible shiver, but he felt it. Feeling an odd sense of masculine satisfaction, he pushed into Kise's mouth. Where Kise had been soft and tender, Kagami was assertive and bold. He delved into the hot, wet depths, flicking over the roof of Kise's mouth, rubbing along his teeth. When he twined their tongues together, a ragged groan puffed out between them. They both froze. Kagami wasn't sure which of them made the sound, but it cleared his mind in an instant.
"We can't do this here," he exhaled roughly, easing back.
"Uh, yeah, sorry," Kise sounded just as affected, his voice a little shaky.
"Oh, geez, get a fucking room already," Aomine whispered severely, not even trying to hide his irritation and disgust.
They both stiffened, hastily facing forward. Kagami knew he was blushing fiercely and was just glad the darkened theatre hid it. Kise's shoulders quivering rather oddly, though, made him immediately glance back. The blonde head was lowered, chin resting on his chest. Kise's hands were clenched in his lap, and even as Kagami watched what appeared to be a tear leaked out from beneath his glasses and trailed down his cheek. Was … was Kise crying? Was he that upset that Aomine had seen or heard them kissing? Kagami started to panic. Leaning down, he peered up into Kise's face. He saw Kise biting his lower lip. The glasses had slid down his nose some, and their gazes met over the black rims. Kise made a strangled sound and his shoulders shook harder. Kagami's crimson eyes narrowed at the undisguised mirth he could now clearly see there. Kise wasn't crying. The punk was trying to keep from laughing his ass off!
Feeling much aggrieved, Kagami whipped back around. However, it didn't take five seconds before his lips twitched and a chuckle began worming its way up his chest. He swallowed, and then coughed, forcing it back down. A snicker escaped Kise, but he quickly brought his hand to his mouth to cover it up. Kagami made a concerted effort not to look over in Kise's direction, but it didn't help. For the last ten minutes of the movie, they quietly tittered and giggled like a couple of ten-year old boys in a school classroom. The credits had barely started rolling and the two of them were up, dashing out into the hall where they exploded into riotous, full-belly laughter. They were leaning heavily on each other, wiping the tears of amusement away from their eyes when Aomine and Kuroko strolled out.
Rolling his eyes at their stupidity, Aomine shook his head and emphatically swore, "I am never, ever going into a movie theatre with the two of you again."
Jaw aching from laughing so much, Kagami pulled away from Kise but stayed close enough that their shoulders were still touching. "That's fine by me. Nobody asked you along in the first place."
"Whatever, man," Aomine turned his back on Kagami, looking down at Kuroko. "I need to run to the bathroom real quick and then we can go, alright, Tetsu?"
Kuroko nodded. Aomine smiled and touched his chin before stepping away.
"Ah, I gotta' go, too," Kagami flashed Kise an apologetic grin.
"Alright," Kise laughed, "Kurokocchi and I will wait here for the both of you."
"Shit, I don't need you following me to the bathroom," Aomine barked testily.
"I'm not following you, asswipe," Kagami growled.
"Well, just make sure to keep your eyes off my dick. I catch you looking and you are going to be wearing your balls around your neck."
There was nobody on earth that could piss him off as much as Aomine Daiki, Kagami had come to that realization. Seeing red, his mouth spoke before his brain could catch up. "Why the hell would I want to look at your nasty dick? Who do you think I am, Kuroko?"
The air turned winter cold in an instant. He could actually feel the chill.
Kise let out a low whistle. "Ooo, I don't think you should have said that, Kagamicchi."
Like one of those victims in the horror movie they had just watched, Kagami slowly inched his head around. Kuroko was staring at him, those round, blue eyes icy, accusing, and subtly threatening. Kagami felt he should get on his knees and beg for forgiveness right then and there. He did swiftly open his mouth and apologize.
"I'm sorry, Kuroko, I shouldn't have said that. I was mad at Aomine and just let my mouth run away with me. "
Kuroko was silent for a moment. Just when Kagami started to sweat, he nodded. "I understand better than anyone how Kagami-kun's temper gets the better of him. I will forgive your ill-mannered and crude words this time."
Relief washed over Kagami and he smiled, but it was too soon to relax. "By the way, did I tell you about the new pass I was working on, Kagami-kun?" Kuroko continued calmly, but the look in his eyes was not calm at all. Kagami gulped and shook his head. "I call it the Ignite Kai Bazooka. Hopefully there won't be any … complications when we try it out."
Eeee! Kagami had sudden visions of being decapitated by a basketball, and it wasn't a pretty picture. Aomine sniggered, and just like that Kuroko's wrath fell on him.
"Aomine-kun, why did you tell Kagami-kun about us?" There was anger and a hint of hurt feelings in Kuroko's voice.
Aomine had the stunned, pained, bewildered expression of a man who had upset his significant other and didn't know how to fix it. Moving back to stand in front of Kuroko, he gazed down at the smaller man and raised his hands in supplication. Though just seconds ago Kagami had been fearing for his own life, he was now holding back a laugh at the sight of a big, strapping man like Aomine fluttering his hands about in a panic.
"No, it's not like that, Tetsu," he protested. "I didn't tell him anything. He just figured it out on his own."
"Hn, but Kagami-kun is an idiot," Kuroko gazed up at Aomine, ignoring Kagami's annoyed "Hey!" and searching his boyfriend's(?) dark, midnight blue eyes. "He wouldn't have figured it out unless you said something."
"What? No, all I did was tease him a little about Kise. I didn't say anything about us. I promise."
"Hey, that's not nice, Aominecchi," Kise interjected.
"I see, so you provoked him," Kuroko sighed. "Oh, well, he would have figured it out eventually."
Anybody could figure it out! Kagami wanted to yell at them. Dudes didn't go around caressing each other on the chin! He kept quiet, not feeling exactly magnanimous toward either of them at the moment.
"This is giving me a headache," he murmured to Kise. "I'm going to the bathroom. I'll be right back."
Kise flashed him a smile. He really liked it, that smile. It was so damned charming. Shaking his head at his own lame romanticism, he trotted off to the bathroom. Aomine came in soon after. He made a pointed effort not to look in the other's direction, not wanting to be accused of staring at another guy's junk and all. He was washing his hands when Aomine spoke.
"Um, so how long have you and Kise been, you know, together?" the question sounded as awkward for Aomine to ask as it did for Kagami to hear.
Placing his palms on the counter, he let his head droop and his shoulders slump. "Man, what's with you? I didn't figure you for the kind of person who was so interested in other people." He lifted his eyes and their gazes met in the mirror. He could see Aomine was completely serious. Shoving away from the sink, he leaned against the wall and crossed his arms. "Since just after the Winter Cup. He had emailed me occasionally before then, but after that, after our game, he emailed me ALL the time. It just sort of … happened. I'm still trying to figure it out myself. Now, you tell me, why do you want to know our business so damned bad?"
"Because I always thought Kise had a thing for Tetsu," Aomine answered simply, shocking Kagami. Then again, Kagami thought back over his initial meeting with Kise and all the times since then. How Kise had hovered around Kuroko like an excited puppy.
"Yeah, I can see that," he muttered darkly. Aomine gave a curt nod, and they stood in silence for a moment. "I don't think it's an issue," Kagami said after the moment passed. "Kise just really respects and admires Kuroko, though I do think he considers him a friend as well. My turn. How long have you and Kuroko been back together?" Not that Kagami was overly curious, but Aomine deserved to be put on the spot, too.
"It's … complicated," Aomine looked away.
"What's complicated about it? You like him, and he likes you. Hell, he even took a gamble on me and a little known school in order to make you love basketball again. That's some amazing devotion."
"That's why it's complicated!" Aomine burst out, threading an agitated hand through his dark hair. "I hurt him terribly at Teiko, yet Tetsu never gave up on me. I can never repay the gift he's given me, and I haven't even been able to find the balls to say thank you yet! We've fallen back into our old patterns and habits, but I haven't had the courage to even hold his hand, let alone kiss or hold him. How could I, when I can't utter those two measly words?"
Oookaaay, that was way more information than Kagami expected. Aomine must have thought so, too. Scrubbing a hand over his face, he laughed harshly. "Dammit, I don't know why I'm even telling you this."
Kagami actually felt a stab of pity for the other man. "Yeah, I'm not the one you need to be saying this to," he headed for the exit. "You've got to talk to Kuroko, tell him what you just said to me. He'll understand. That small back is a lot stronger than you think. He's saved me, too, you know."
He walked out, rounding the corner only to stop short in his tracks. Kise was surrounded by a group of girls, chatting easily and signing autographs for them. Right eye twitching, he stomped over and plunged a long, muscled arm into the throng.
"Sorry, ladies, but you will have to excuse him. He has a prior engagement," he said briskly, snagging Kise's wrist and tugging hard.
Kise's eyes widened and his mouth rounded in surprise as he almost flew through the tentacled mass of humanity enveloping him. "Wah, Kagamicchi!" he cried out.
"Be quiet and get over," Kagami pulled him to a secluded corner. Dropping Kise's wrist, he put his hands on his hips and scowled. "I can't leave you alone for five freaking minutes. You're like the blonde Japanese Casanova or something. And here, put this back on so that shining head of yours doesn't act like a beacon drawing every star-crazed eye in the room." He jerked out the fur cap Kise had tucked under his other arm, and plopped it on his head.
Chuckling, Kise sidled closer to ask in a teasing whisper, "What, are you jealous, Kagamicchi?"
"So what if I am?" he replied belligerently, knowing there was nothing he could do about the color once again staining his face.
Kise blinked, probably not expecting that response, but then he smiled. A wicked, tempting smile. Those burnished cat-eyes of his becoming slumberous, languid, sensual. He leaned in, lifting his arms to tickle the cuff of his coat across Kagami's neck. "Then, maybe you should do something so that you will feel more at ease. Something that will make you feel like I belong only to you. Hmm, Kagamicchi?"
He trailed his fur covered wrist further down, sliding over the zipper of the yellow jacket Kagami wore, and there was no mistaking his intention. Kagami reached for Kise, his mind blank, heat and want and sheer animal craving compelling him. There's no telling what he would have done there, in the public lobby of the movie theatre, if someone hadn't chosen that moment to loudly and forcefully take a long, slurping drink next to them. Dropping his hand like snake bit, Kagami turned his head and almost fell over at what he saw.
"Geh, Kuroko!" he squawked. "H-how long were you standing there?"
Taking his mouth off the red and white straw, Kuroko flitted a look at Kise before resting his eyes back on Kagami's face. "I was here when Kagami-kun dragged Kise-kun over."
Kagami blanched. Kuroko had heard their whole conversation then. His jealous tirade and Kise's provocative response. Wonderful. Kise shifted, curving that tall, lean body into his, and he suddenly didn't care so much. A scent drifted up to him. Kise's cologne, he guessed. It was something clean and woodsy, but edged with an elegant sweetness. Sandlewood. Kagami had smelled it before, in some store Alex had dragged him into back in America. He hadn't given it much thought back then, but on Kise the scent was almost intoxicating.
"Where's Aomine-kun?" Kuroko asked, interrupting the dangerous turn his thoughts were once again taking.
"Diarrhea," he replied succinctly, not feeling the bit guilty about telling such a disgusting lie. In his opinion, Aomine deserved it. Kuroko looked at him blankly while Kise stifled a laugh.
"I don't have diarrhea, you fucking moron," Aomine popped him on the back of the head, walking by to reach Kuroko.
"Ouch," Kagami massaged his head and glared at Aomine, who just treated him like he was air.
"You ready to go, Tetsu?" he smiled at Kuroko. "That popcorn and candy wasn't filling at all. How about we go get some real food, okay?"
"Actually," Kise chimed in, "Kurokocchi and I were talking while you two were in the bathroom and we thought it would fun if we all had dinner together."
"What?" Kagami and Aomine roared simultaneously. They glowered at each other. Kagami crossed his arms out in front of him in the universal "X" sign and shook his head emphatically. "No way, absolutely not. Having dinner with Aomine sounds about as much fun as having my legs waxed."
"Oh, oh, I've done that before," Kise perked up enthusiastically. "It hurts pretty bad at first, but after a while you actually kind of start liking it." Three pairs of eyes shot to him in disbelief. Even Kuroko, the master of unreadable expressions, was looking at him like he was a few screws shy of a toolbox. "What? It was for a magazine shoot I had to do once. No body hair allowed. It's not like it's my hobby or anything!" There was a note of desperation in his voice now.
"Oh my God!" Kagami slapped his forehead with the palm of his head and closed his eyes. Kise tugged on his sleeve, crying in his ear, "You believe me don't you, Kagamicchi? I'm not a pervert!"
Over on his other side, Aomine was trying to lay down the law to Kuroko. "Seriously, Tetsu, let's just go by ourselves. My food won't digest if I have to look at that idiot's face while I eat."
Kagami shot him the finger with the hand not currently trying to pull Kise's wailing, clinging body off of his.
"No, Aomine-kun. Kise-kun has a private room reserved at the five-star Italian restaurant in the best hotel in the city. He was kind enough to invite us along. It would be rude not to accept," Kuroko never raised his voice, but his words were like soft steel.
There was no graceful way the one and ninety-two centimeter tall Aomine could give in to the man who didn't even pass his chin. "Fine," he pouted, actually pouted, "but don't expect me to talk to them, or be nice to them."
"When are you ever nice?" Kagami snorted.
"I'm always nice, you bastard!" Aomine shouted, causing more than one head to turn their way.
"Ah, and on that note, I think we should go," Kise murmured, his crying jag miraculously evaporated. His moods changed like quicksilver, Kagami thought not for the first time. It made him unpredictable.
They all assented, and filed out of the movie theatre. Kagami hung back a little so Aomine and Kuroko ended up a few meters in front of them.
Capturing Kise's hand, he drew the other man aside. "Alright, tell me what's really going on here," he whispered, casting a furtive glance at the two walking in front to ensure they weren't paying attention. "I'm starting to think it wasn't just coincidence after all that they were at the same theatre as us. And now, the whole dinner thing. What gives, Kise?"
Kise had the grace to look guilty. "Ah, Kagamicchi, you're so suspicious. That's no way to live." Kagami gave him a warning look and he sighed, lifting his shoulders in a gesture of defeat. "Alright, alright, you caught us. Kurokocchi and I planned this whole thing. The movie, dinner, everything. It was … what is the phrase that anime uses … Equivalent Exchange? Though maybe I'm not using it correctly," he touched his finger to his chin thoughtfully.
"Exchange? What the hell does that mean?" Kagami's eyebrows snapped together.
"It means," Kise explained patiently, "that Kurokocchi told me about your fear of dogs and suggested we go to this movie and, in exchange, I told him we could have dinner at the hotel where I keep a suite booked for when I have to work late nights in the city. After dinner, he'll find some excuse to get Aomine to take him to the room and, well, the rest is their business."
Kagami's head was spinning. He didn't know what part of Kise's confession to address first.
"Why would you deliberately want to take me to a movie with a giant evil dog if you knew I was scared of them?" he finally erupted, angered and indignant by Kise's apparent callous actions.
Kise smirked, his eyes dancing, limpid pools of gold as he cut a sideways glance at Kagami. "Because I was betting on you acting exactly as you did. I wanted to have you clinging to me for the whole two hours of the movie. Not only did I get to see you acting cute, but you actually touched me. It was the first time. Who knows how long I would have had to wait otherwise."
"You don't know—," Kagami instinctively began to protest, but Kise swinging his head to stare him straight in the face dried his objections right up.
"Uh huh, and when would you have ever gotten around to kissing me?" Kise arched one honeyed eyebrow. "And here I thought Americans were supposed to be bold and adventurous."
Feeling the back of his neck heat up, Kagami mumbled, "I'm not American. I just lived there for a while."
"Hmm," was all Kise said, and then he turned his head back to face the pair in front of them. "Kurokocchi is in similar circumstances. Aominecchi hasn't done anything since they have gotten back together."
"You knew about them?" Kagami asked, grateful to move the topic away from himself.
Kise threw back his head and laughed, a bright, vivacious melody that attracted the attention of several passersby. "Everyone in the Generation of Miracles knew about them. It was so totally obvious. I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who ever actually walked in on them though. I never sat on that bench again."
"Ugh, Kise, no visuals, please," he went to cover his ears, and that's when he noticed he was still holding Kise's hand. Their gazes clashed over the top of their clasped hands. Kagami spread his fingers, on the verge of letting go, but Kise weaved his fingers between Kagami's open ones and locked them together.
"It's fine like this, isn't it?" he asked, the lilting tenor of his voice taking on a deeper, throaty quality.
Kise's hand felt warm in his. Strong, and yet his skin felt strangely soft and smooth. He probably had some regimen he had to follow to keep his skin clear and healthy for his modeling career. That brought to mind Kise's earlier words of having his legs waxed, and an image of the blonde with pink goo being ripped off his legs flashed before Kagami's eyes. A laugh was startled out of him.
"What?" Kise looked at Kagami quizzically.
"Nothing," Kagami smiled. Squeezing the hand in his, he said, "Yes, this is fine, as long as I do this so nobody sees. I'm not quite as brave and as flamboyant as you are. Even if I am from America." He finished by putting their joined hands in the pocket of Kise's big, red coat.
Kise quickly looked around, and then gave Kagami a hard, swift kiss on the lips. Kagami couldn't even yell at him, because Kise was suddenly skipping, pulling him forward. "Come, Kagamicchi, let's catch up to them before Aominecchi gets sneaky and runs off!"
"Yes, yes," Kagami muttered, but his grin stayed in place as he let himself be dragged along.
The restaurant really was seriously, ridiculously, mega fancy. Kagami felt one hundred percent out of place. A glimpse of Aomine's face had shown the same uneasiness registered there. Kise just laughed their misgivings off. It didn't matter how they were dressed. His room was private. Kagami didn't relax, however, until he ordered and the food came.
The table groaned, actually groaned, under the weight of the food the waiters brought out. Kise sat to Kagami's left, and just watched with amused amazement. Kuroko was directly opposite. As usual, his face was tranquil and composed, not batting an eyelash at Kagami's feast. Aomine was the one who could be counted on to make a snarky comment.
Sitting across from Kise, he observed Kagami's gluttonous binge with mild revulsion. "Damn, I thought I ate a lot, but I don't have anything on you. You have a tape worm or something?"
Swallowing the mouthful of food he was chewing, Kagami smirked, "I thought you weren't going to talk to us."
Aomine's hand tightened around the stem of the water glass he was holding. Kagami figured he was contemplating throwing it. Kuroko's softly spoken, "Aomine-kun, will you pass me the bread, please?" diverted his attention.
Kagami tuned them out, lifting the silver lid off another dish. Eyes lighting up, he almost drooled. "Whoa, spaghetti! I haven't had this since I was in Los Angeles." He scooped up five massive spoonfuls onto his plate.
Placing his chin on one palm, Kise idly rubbed the rim of his glass with the fingers of his other hand. "So, you like the food?"
"Oh, yeah, it's awesome!" Kagami slurped a large helping of the spicy marinara and noodles,
"That's good," Kise laughed. His eyes focused on a point near Kagami's mouth. "Er, you have a little something there."
"Huh?" Kagami halted the bite he was about to take.
"Ah, let me," leaning in, Kise rubbed his thumb near the corner of Kagami's mouth. He held it up as he pulled it away, showing the red sauce on it.
"Thank you," the words were an embarrassed strangle.
"No problem," Kise smiled and flicked his tongue out, licking the speck away. "Mmm, yeah, that does taste good."
Kagami's breath caught in his throat, both at Kise's actions and words. He had the feeling the other man wasn't just talking about the spaghetti. Feeling uncomfortably hot, he bowed his head back over his plate, shoveling food in his mouth and attempting to calm his erratic thoughts.
"Yeah, if I'm going to have to listen to you two flirt all night and watch you make googly eyes at each other, I think I'm going to hurl," Aomine grunted.
"Just shut up and eat," Kagami snarled at him.
"Aomine-kun, Kagami-kun, stop hissing at each other like a couple of tom cats marking their territory, please," Kuroko reprimanded them, his quiet voice ringing with authority.
They both cringed at the rebuke. Kise, however, burst into laughter.
Kagami glanced at his date. "What's so funny?"
Eyes sparking, Kise giggled. "I was just imagining Kagamicchi and Aominecchi with furry cat ears and long fluffy tails."
Kuroko's lips twitched, and then curved in a smile. "I can imagine that, too."
"Right, Kurokocchi?" Kise nodded excitedly. "Kagamicchi would have glossy black and orange stripes like a tiger, and Aominecchi would be all black and sleek like a panther."
Kagami blushed, and even Aomine's dusky cheeks pinkened. Darting a hand out, Kagami grabbed Kise's ear right above his earring. He twisted his fingers. "Don't go thinking weird things like that, Kise!"
"Ouch! That hurts, Kagamicchi," Kise sobbed, raising his hand to cover Kagami's.
Rolling his eyes at Kise's hysterics, Kagami stopped exerting the pressure, and began rubbing his thumb over the soft flesh he had just abused. "Don't be such a drama queen. There's no way that little squeeze warranted this level of caterwauling."
"And if it did," the waterworks turned off and Kise fluttered his eyes so that he was peering up at Kagami through those golden lashes, "would you kiss it and make it feel better?"
Geh! Kise could flip the switch into seduction mode without missing a beat. It was definitely bad for Kagami's heart. Instead of responding to the provocation, he put his thumb and index finger together and thumped Kise on the ear.
He went back to his food. It was quiet for a bit. Kagami was chewing another scrumptious mound of spaghetti, thinking things had calmed down. Yet again, he was wrong.
"You know, I was thinking," Aomine said thoughtfully, "doesn't that spaghetti look an awful lot like those intestines that devil dog was tossing around all over the screen back at the movie?"
Kagami looked down at his noodles in their rich, red sauce and suddenly all he could see were those gory, slimy guts. Feeling ill, he pushed his plate away.
"You suck so much," he gave Aomine a withering, hateful look. Aomine returned his look with a smile of smug satisfaction.
"You've gotten a lot grumpier as you've gotten older, Aominecchi," Kise declared. "Not getting enough calcium in your diet?"
"Oh, piss off, Kise," Aomine huffed.
"No, Kise-kun is right," Kuroko placed his hand on Aomine's arm, "I like the Aomine-kun who used to laugh and smile more. Now, your temper snaps faster than Kagami-kun's."
"Don't bring me into this, Kuroko you bastard," Kagami glared at Kuroko, earning him a "Hush, Kagamicchi," from Kise.
"Well, I'm sorry I'm such an asshole," Aomine hit his fist on the table. "If you don't like me, then why do you keep asking me out? Just leave me the fuck alone if you hate being around me so much."
Kuroko flinched, blue eyes going opaque with pain. Kagami wanted to punch Aomine in the face, but Kise's hand on his stopped him. Yeah, Kise was right. It wasn't his place to interfere.
"I don't hate being around you at all," Kuroko responded, a slight tremor to his otherwise quiet voice. "And, I don't think you are an asshole. I just think Aomine-kun was happier before and I wish there was something I could do to help you get back to that place."
Aomine looked at Kuroko, really looked at him, and his face crumpled. Kagami wanted to turn away, feeling they shouldn't be privy to such raw, exposed emotion. "I am … happy. When I'm with you, Tetsu, I am unbelievably happy. The rest of it is just habit, I guess. I got so used to being a disinterested, arrogant bastard that it's hard to stop."
"So he admits it," Kagami muttered, prompting Kise to elbow him hard in the side.
"Then why haven't you touched me?" the question erupted from Kuroko's lips, surprising them all by its ferociousness.
"Wh-what?" Aomine jerked, looking like he had been hit.
"This whole time since we have reunited, you haven't kissed or hugged me. You haven't even held my hand! Do you not want to be with me that way again?"
"No!" the denial was swift and vehement. Aomine placed his hands on the side of Kuroko's face, tilting his head up so he could meet that wide, clear gaze. "No, of course I want to be with you! I just … I haven't said thank you yet." The last sentence was tiny, so faint they all had to strain to hear it.
"What do you mean?" Kuroko asked softly.
Clearly embarrassed, Aomine inhaled deeply. "For giving me back my love of basketball. I never said thank you. I didn't know how, and then it seemed too late, and I felt like I didn't have the right to touch you if I couldn't even offer you a meager little show of gratitude."
His words ran together, but they all heard and understood them. Kagami really, really wanted to be anywhere else but there. Kuroko stared at Aomine silently. The whole room seemed to hold its breath with hushed expectation, and then his fist shot out and punched Aomine in the stomach.
"That's what was holding you back?" He stood up, chair sliding back from the force of his sudden action. He was angry. Kagami had only seen Kuroko mad a few times, and in each instance he had felt intimidated. "You are an idiot, Aomine-kun."
Holding his belly, Aomine wheezed, "What was that for, Tetsu?"
"Because you are an idiot," Kuroko repeated. "You don't have to say the words. I already know. "
The last word had scarcely left his mouth and he was grabbing Aomine's head, leaning down and kissing the other man for all he was worth. Watching two other guys kiss was definitely way over Kagami's comfort zone. Pushing back his chair, he threw his napkin on the table.
"Well, that's great. Everything looks A-Okay between you two, so I'm just going to scoot on out and give you some privacy," he didn't even look at them as he spoke, his eyes on the door and glorious escape.
"Wah, don't leave me behind, Kagamicchi!" Kise wailed, snagging the back of his jacket and abruptly stopping his progress. He turned to lambast the other man for ruining his retreat, but Kise was thrusting a white, plastic card at Kuroko who had (thankfully) stopped kissing Aomine. "Here is the room key I promised. It's number 1205. Checkout is at noon."
Kuroko took it and bowed. "Thank you, Kise-kun."
"Hey, it's fine. Thank you for your help earlier. We'll definitely have to do this again," Kise smiled.
"Like hell!" Kagami and Aomine roared together. Kagami grabbed Kise's hand and yanked him out the door. It was closing just as he heard Aomine ask Kuroko, "What did Kise mean about 'checkout', and what was that thing he handed you?"
Kagami didn't slow down until they were out on the street. Once they were, he squatted and plunged his hands in his hair, tugging on the dark, red strands. "This night was insane. Everyone is insane. All you Generation of Miracles are insane."
Kise ducked down next to him. He folded his arms over his knees and laid his cheek on them. "It wasn't that bad, Kagamicchi. I had fun. Admit it, you did, too."
Kagami let go of his hair and looked at Kise. He was struck again by the masculine beauty of the face in front of him. It really wasn't fair for someone to be that good-looking and talented, as his sempai had once stated. "Maybe," he grudgingly admitted, "but I definitely didn't need to witness Kuroko's and Aomine's love troubles. And, I sure as hell didn't need to see them playing tonsil hockey! I need bleach for my brain now."
Chuckling, Kise reached out and touched his chin. "Then, should I replace the image with something else."
"Hmm, that might be a good idea," Kagami nodded gravely. Kise leaned in, his warm breath misting over Kagami's lips. Then they were kissing. It was hot, wet, needy. When they pulled apart, both of them were panting slightly.
"Well, did it work?" Kise asked huskily.
"A little," Kagami confirmed, "but I think I will need a lot more like those to wipe the image out completely."
Kise pretended to ponder that statement for a moment. "I don't know, Kagamicchi, we're in the middle of a public road. Doesn't seem like the right place to work on cleaning your poor, tortured mind. What if someone sees us?"
Kagami stood up and held out his hand. "Then, let's go somewhere where there's nobody else around. My apartment's not far from here." Crimson met gold, and the intent smoldering in his eyes was unmistakable.
There was no hesitation. Kise's hand curled around Kagami's, and he allowed the other man to pull him to his feet.
"You didn't leave your dirty underwear lying around did you?" Kise said once they started walking.
"No, I didn't," Kagami lifted his foot sideways and kicked Kise in the butt.
"Ouch," Kise grumbled and patted his rear. They walked a little further and Kise spoke again. "Did I tell you that you look really good in yellow?"
Kagami smiled, understanding the real meaning behind his words. "No, but thanks. I think red looks really good on you, too."
"Thank you," the other man grinned as well.
Not content to leave it at that, Kagami tilted his head to whisper in Kise's ear. "You'll look even better out of it, though" He then broke into a fast jog, pulling Kise with him, the shocked "Kagamicciiiii!" the other man wailed echoing through still night air as they ran.