Author's Notes: So, I have wanted to do a Kise x Kuroko FOREVER and tried 3 different attempts, but nothing worked. I just couldn't "get" them. I went to tumblr and asked for prompts, hoping maybe something would light a spark. A very awesome person I talk to alot, and who has helped me alot said, she would like to see Kuroko confessing to Kise, instead of the usual Kise chasing Kuroko Whoah! Okay, I will give it a go! I ended up adding Aomine, Kagami, and Midorima for lols and some minor drama.

They huddle behind the embankment, guns at the ready. The trees littering the landscape provide scant cover. They are scraggly, leafless. Their barren branches appearing like bleached, jagged bones reaching in silent, agonizing appeal toward the sky. The skeletal woods fit the somber mood of the men taking refuge there. Running on fumes, aching, and sweaty, with two of their ranks already lost to them, no one speaks. More than one is preparing for the inevitable, thinking this grass and twig covered slope will be their last stand.

Into the hushed silence, a voice arises. He speaks softly, so as not to give away their position, but the lilting tenor of his words carry through the group. All eyes turn to him, for in this he is a natural. A professional at using his golden beauty to attract, eyes the color of wild mountain honey to mesmerize, and sweet, musical voice to seduce. He is a spellbinder, and he turns that gift on his weary, demoralized companions now.

"Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,

But he'll remember, with advantages,

What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,

Familiar in his mouth as household words-

Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,

Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-

Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.

This story shall the good man teach his son;

And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,

From this day to the ending of the world,

But we in it shall be remembered-

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

For he to-day that sheds his blood with me

Shall be my bro—agh!"

He is reaching the climax, voice vibrating with emotional appeal when a large, blunt hand snakes around his left side and smacks him violently in the ear.

"It's only paintball, dumbass! We aren't wading into Dan no Ura here, Kise!"

Kise grabs his ear, tears winking like diamonds in his cat shaped eyes, and sobs. "That hurts! Aominecchi is so mean! I was just trying to lift everyone's spirits."

"The only things you were lifting are our gag reflexes, so shut the hell up," Aomine barks back.

Meanwhile, Kagami turns to the person next to him. "Dan no Ura, really?"

"It's probably the only battle Aomine remembers," Midorima pushes his glasses up, barely sparing the rest of them a glance. He's looking around, a combination of mild disgust and what the hell am I doing here? on his face. "Who's asinine idea was this anyway?" he asks, placing his gun in his lap to inspect the bandages wrapped around his left hand.

"Eh, wasn't it Kagamicchi's?" Kise's tears dry up like a river in a desert.

"No it the hell wasn't!" Kagami hisses, red eyebrows drawing together menacingly. "Why would I want to spend my off day with you bastards, playing paintball of all things?"

"That's rather rude," Midorima looks up from his bandages, green eyes glinting behind his lenses.

"I don't want to hear that from you!" Because, really, Midorima is just about the rudest man on the planet, in Kagami's opinion. He flits a sideways look at Aomine and corrects himself. Second rudest person on the plant.

"Well, it certainly wasn't my idea," Aomine lazily scratches his stomach. He is reclining on the earthen ramp now, his other arm above his head and carelessly twirling his compact rifle around one long, lean finger. "I only came because I saw Tetsu's text on Kagami's phone. I thought it would be fun to annoy all of you."

"When did you look at my phone?" Kagami stares at him.

He smiles. It is chocolate and cake and whipped cream on strawberries and every decadent, sinful, wicked pleasure known to man, that smile. "Mmm, last night after you fell asleep."

Just like that, the color on Kagami's face is indistinguishable from the vivid red of his hair.

Kise's gaze bounces back and forth between them like the basketball they all love, his perfect lips forming an "o" of surprise. "Eh, Kagemicchi and Aominecchi are—."

Kagami picks up a nearby stick and throws it at him, bouncing it off his flighty, blonde head. "Shut up!" Aomine chuckles. A mistake. Kagami's wrath changes focus. Thrusting out a hand, he circles Aomine's ankle and – yank! Aomine loses his balance, sliding down the embankment with a startled yelp. The gun he's been spinning around drops like a stone weight, pinging him right between the eyes with a glorious thump.

"Ow, fuck!" the explicative rings out, echoing through the sparse trees.

"Why don't you idiots just paint a sign above our heads and let the enemy team know where we are?" Midorima glares at them.

"Uh, we kind of have one of those already, Midorimacchi," Kise's eyes move to the top of Midorima's head.

Kagami, who is now pinning an apologizing Aomine to the ground in a half-nelson, looks up as well. "Yeah, I've been meaning to ask. What the hell is that thing on your head, Midorima?"

"Today's lucky item. What do think it is?" He says it just like that, like it is just so obvious, that of course it could only be the Oha-Asa approved lucky item.

"You're lucky item is a pink, tutu-wearing hippopotamus?" Aomine joins the conversation. Kagami is so caught up in Midorima's bizarre Midorima-ness that he's not trying to punish Aomine anymore, he's just kind of holding him now. Which is perfectly fine by Aomine.

"Yes, it is," Midorima answers somewhat arrogantly, well as arrogantly as a man with a pink, tutu-wearing hippopotamus strapped to his head can be.

"But why do you have it on your head?" Kagami asks the question all three of them are thinking.

"Where else would I put it? I don't have any pockets big enough and I need my hands free to shoot." Again, he speaks down to them like an adult talking to a dim-witted child. It's like he's really saying: Duh, anyone should be able to figure this out. Oh, wait I forgot I was dealing with you three morons.

"I give up." Kagami drops his head onto Aomine's back with a groan. "He's obviously insane. I think we should take his gun away before he hurts himself, or us."

Reaching behind, Aomine gives his head a comforting pat. "It's alright. You'll get used to it once you are around him long enough."

"I don't want to get used to this. Nothing good comes from being around you Generation of Miracles bastards."

The earth and sky abruptly change places, and Kagami is suddenly on his back, Aomine looming over him. Toned and sleek and darkly handsome, Aomine captures his gaze with those deep, twilight blue eyes. "That's not what you said last night. I think it was more, 'Good, so good, Aomine! There, right there!' wasn't it?"

Kagami slaps a hand over his mouth to stop the flow of sensual words, but he can't stem the influx of erotic images from pouring into his mind. "I really hate you." It's a lie, and they both know it, but it's one he makes at least a half a dozen times a day.

"Gross, I don't want to watch or listen to Kagamicchi and Aominecchi make kissy faces at each other," Kise cries, hating everything about today. The stark landscape, the ugly blue jumpsuit they are all forced to wear, running around and getting shot at. Now, Aomine and Kagami being all lovey-dovey. It is just too much. "Why did Kasamatsu-sempai have to get taken out right off the bat? At least then I would have someone to talk to."

"Hmpf, that's what I should be saying. That fool Takao drags me out of bed for this farce and then doesn't even last ten minutes? I'll think of an appropriate punishment later." Midorima's deep voice turns menacing.

Kise shivers, glad he's not Takao, but a memory surfaces. "Um, Midorimacchi, you say that, but it's your fault Takao got hit."


Kagami and Aomine have apparently had enough of flirting because they roll into a sitting position and simultaneously whisper-yell "Really!"

They all remember it. Their group making a mad dash from their starting point. Enemy fire all around them. A sniper in the trees. Midorima reaching out, pulling Takao in front of him, the shorter male's body jerking from the impact of the paintballs striking him in the chest and leg. Takao's pathetic, keening wail of "Shin-chaaaan!" as they leave him behind, hand raised in pleading supplication.

"Ah, well, it was a noble sacrifice." A small, definitely evil grin curves Midorima's lips.

He didn't sacrifice himself at all, you used him as a shield! The three are thinking, but that demonic grin worn so casually under the pink monstrosity on his head holds their tongue.

Coughing, Kise changes the subject, sort of. "Well, thanks to that and Kasamatsu-sempai's falling into that one trap, we are down to five people while the other team still has all seven. We still have our flag, but hanging around on this hill with no cover, it's only a matter of time before they destroy us."

"Five?" Midorima looks around. "Has all the running and paint fumes addled your brain, Kise? There are only four of us."

"Four, but there should be—aahhh! Kurokocchi!" Kise slaps his palms to his face in horror. "We've lost Kurokocchi. Ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod! What if he got hit? What if he was taken prisoner? What if he fainted? What if he's alone and scared and cry—"

"I'm right here."

The softly spoken words, murmured right next to Kise's ear, are unexpected and scare the living daylights out of him. He shrieks, scrambling madly forward, clawing at the ground as he tries to get away. At a safe distance, he flips around, heart pounding. His eyes widen.

"Kurokocchi?!" he screeches.

Kuroko raises a finger to his lips in the universal sign for Shh. "Kise-kun, please don't yell. We don't want the other team to find us."

"Kurokocchi, what, where have you—." Kise is incoherent.

Kagami isn't. Leaping over both Midorima and Kise, he grabs Kuroko and puts him in a headlock. "Oi, Kuroko you bastard, where the hell have you been?!"

"Kagami-kun, that hurts," Kuroko protests mildly.

"It's supposed to, idiot," Kagami growls, but he eases up a little just the same. "So, where were you?"

"I found the enemy's base."

They all look at him in surprise.

"You went off by yourself to look for the other team's location?" It's Aomine that asks. Kuroko nods.

Kagami tightens his hold again. "Why would you do something like that, stupid?"

"Because I'm a ninja. No one can see me." Aomine's the only one who gets Kuroko's deadpanned declaration. He laughs, eyes meeting Kuroko's, whose mouth quirks up in the tiniest of smiles.

"Nooo, that was too dangerous, Kurokocchi!" Kise laments, dashing over to wrest Kuroko from Kagami's clutches. He hugs the smaller male to him. Kuroko doesn't object, by now used to Kise's displays of fraternal skinship. What he does do is lean in, inhaling that unique scent that is leather and vanilla and Kise, and wonders why, for someone so smart, his old friend can actually be so, so dense.

"It was fine, Kise-kun," he says, voice muffled against Kise's chest. "Besides, I took out three of their players."

Kise pushes him back, and he regrets the loss of all that tall, lean warmth. "Ehhh?! You took out three of them by yourself?" He nods again.

Midorima moves in, looking skeptical. "Even if it's you, Kuroko, I don't see how you could bring down three of them by yourself."

Kuroko looks up at him, way up, at the pink stuffed toy on his head, and maybe the wide arctic blue eyes are a shade warmer than normal. "It's the truth, Midorima-kun. They were, ah, distracted when I snuck up on them so I guess it wasn't entirely fair, but the other team is truly down to four now."

"Distracted how?" Kagami, of course it's Kagami, demands.

Though his face remains composed, a faint hint of pink brightens his fair skin, the only indication he is uncomfortable with the conversation. "I followed them away from their camp when they had to … heed the call of nature."

Dead silence. Then Aomine erupts into deep-bellied, body-shaking laughter. "They were taking a piss? You shot them while they were taking a piss?!"

"Must you always be so crude, Aomine?" Midorima huffs, but tiny specks of color highlight his cheeks as well.

Kagami is laughing, too, leaning against Aomine and covering his mouth to mute the sounds. Kise looks horrified. He seizes Kuroko's hands and squeezes them tightly.

"Poor, Kurokocchi! You had to see something so terrible and disgusting. That's why shouldn't wander off by yourself."

Anger, swift and righteous, blows through him. "I'm not a child, Kise-kun."

"But, Kurokocchi, you shou—."

"I'm not a child," he repeats quietly, staring deeply into those honey shaded eyes.

Kise chuckles uneasily. He is confused by the tone in Kuroko's voice, and the expression he sees reflected back in that normally unreadable gaze. "I don't think of you as a child."

"Don't you? I know you don't see me as a man."

There is no time for Kise to dissect that cryptic statement. Aomine comes up and throws his arm casually over Kuroko's shoulder, dispelling the tension.

"Well, Tetsu, why didn't you go back and try to get more of them, since, y'know, you're a ninja and all?"

"Ah," Kuroko scratches his cheek and actually looks embarrassed, "I lost my gun."

"What?!" Aomine, Kagami, and Midorima explode.

Pushing Aomine out of the way, Kagami grinds his knuckles into Kuroko's temples. "How could you lose your gun, you dumbass?!"

"I'd rather not say," Kuroko reaches up, trying to dislodge his tormenter's hand. Because, really, even he would likely die of shame if he has to tell them how one of the guys he shot had turned around in shock and almost peed on him, a bright, arching stream of urine splashing a mere centimeter from his foot, causing him to drop the gun. No, that is a story he will never, ever let pass his lips.

"Just let him be," Aomine thumps Kagami in the back of the head. "It doesn't matter how he lost it. What matters is that, even if we out-number them, we don't out-gun them now. Ahh, I want to be back in bed eating bread." He drops to the ground with a groan.

Kagami releases Kuroko, stomping over to Aomine, whom he kicks in the foot. "Hey, don't just hit me in the head and then whine that you want to stuff your face!"

"I see Kagami-kun and Aomine-kun are still flirting happily," Kuroko remarks, gently amused at their bickering exchange.

Kise has shaken off his ennui at Kuroko's odd behavior, and now gapes at the pale-haired man. "Waah?! You knew about Aominecchi and Kagamicchi?"

"Yes, didn't everyone? I thought it was pretty obvious from the first time they met."

He is so sure, so serene, so accepting, that Kise can't think of anything to say back. Too bad Midorima isn't the same.

"Well, it's disgusting." There is just the slightest of sneers on his mouth.

Kuroko hits him with those glacier blue eyes. "Why is it disgusting? Because they are both basketball players? Because they are both tall? Or, wait, is it because they are both men?" His small body is fairly vibrating by the time he is finished. He is very protective of the people he cares about.

Midorima's eyes go wide, and for a moment he is at a loss. He knows he is not the most open or expressive person, something a certain someone has repeatedly bugged him to work on, but he doesn't think he would be misunderstood like this.

"That's … not what I meant," he finally says, reflexively pushing up his glasses as he looks away. "Whom a person falls in love with is their business. Gender is irrelevant. Anyone who says otherwise is a coward. I just meant all that fooling around in public is disgraceful. Lovers should keep their private business private. That is all."

"Like you and Takao-kun?" It's a suspicion, one he's harbored for a while, and normally Kuroko would never bring it up, but he decides Midorima needs a little punishment even as his anger fades.

"Yes, just like Takao and I, we—." Midorima stops, mouth snapping shut.

"Ehh?! Midorimacchi and that point guard of his?" Kise thrusts his hands into his hair, throwing the shining blonde strands into disarray. "Everybody's a homo. It's a homo invasion!"

Eyes boiling like some green tropical sea in a tempest, Midorima reaches out his taped hand ominously toward Kise. "Shall I show you a homo invasion, Kise?"

"Eek! Midorimacchi is scary! Save me Kurokkocchi!" He dashes behind Kuroko, fisting his hands in the other teen's blue jumper, and hunches down. It is a rather ridiculous sight, Kise with his tall, lean, muscular body cowering behind Kuroko's smaller, slender frame.

Kuroko knows Kise holds no prejudices. His soul is simply too beautiful to harbor something so dark and ugly. It is just the shock of it all (and wouldn't he be even more shocked to know the person he's currently hiding behind is completely, hopelessly homo for him, too) that is causing his freak out. Sighing, he reaches behind and gently disentangles Kise's fingers.

"Midorima-kun, stop terrorizing Kise-kun please. Kise-kun, please do not provoke Midorima-kun again." He raises his voice, drawing in the other two idiots who are still off in their own little world. "Aomine-kun, Kagami-kun, please save your hormonal frolicking for when you are alone. We need to devise a plan. The other team will come looking for us again soon. We should strike them now, while they are still at their base. When I was there, I saw the one who had the flag."

Kagami and Aomine come lumbering over. Aomine wears an amused smile at Kuroko's frolicking comment. Kagami, an embarrassed one. "Seriously, whose stupid idea was this? I'm never fucking playing paintball again." He is grumbling.

Aomine shrugs. "Beats me."

"Takao forced me along, but he didn't tell me who organized it either." Midorima is calm now.

"Takao-kun emailed me about it, too" Kuroko admits, "and then I contacted Kagami-kun."

"Why does Takao have your email?" Midorima doesn't sound pleased.

"Why did you ask Kagamicchi to come and not me?!" Neither does Kise.

Kuroko feels a headache coming on. "Takao-kun forced me to exchange addresses with him when we met at the restaurant that time. He said, and I quote, I want to give you updates on how tsun-tsun Shin-chan is doing." It sounds funny, in his matter-of-fact, well-mannered voice. Midorima harrumphs, but the tips of his ears turn red. "Kise-kun," Kuroko turns to his other friend, "when Takao-kun emailed me last night, he said he had already spoken to your sempai and that you were both coming. That is the only reason I said yes in the first place."

"Kurokocchi." It's as if all the happiness in the world is gathered in one place, and it's in the smile Kise shines at Kuroko. He leaps, attaching himself to Kuroko like a Japanese creeper vine. "I love you, Kurokocchi!" He tosses the words out. Teasing, joking, thoughtless. Time ceases to exist. Kuroko's breath halts, rattling to a pained stop in his chest like the last gasp of a dying man. If only Kise actually means those words the way he desperately wants.

"So, we know who's responsible for this stupid crap," Aomine yawns, pulling the fractured pieces of Kuroko's self back to reality. "And, that means we know whose ass to beat later."

"Get in line," Midorima clenches and unclenches his fists.

Kise is still clinging, and really why can't he understand what having all that long, hard, masculine heat enveloping him is doing to Kuroko? But, he doesn't understand, just like he doesn't understand how casual, offhand words can make or break someone. Right then, Kuroko decides it is time Kise does understand. Kise, who is like bubbles made of liquid sunshine; effervescent, shimmering, but unattainable. Kise, who flutters about like a vibrant, enchanting butterfly. Smiling, laughing, enjoying life. Maybe some of his effervescence will fade, maybe those wings won't fly as high, when Kuroko is finished, but that's a risk he has to take.

So he pulls away, hoping no one notices that he trembles just a little, but his words are as staid and polite as ever as he outlines the plan to them, the plan for capturing the prize, i.e. the other team's flag. Something he cares not a whit for. All the while he is internally going over THE PLAN, the plan to hopefully capture the biggest prize of all: Kise himself.