There were times when Midorima thinks that he's like a shadow- no, more like a cowardly snail- who does not dare to touch his object of desire for fear of getting hurt. Because the one he did want to touch were covered in the plethora of thorns. He once believed that roses are beautiful because it has thorns- because the pain itself was beautiful. Yet- for the love of roses- he felt numb when he saw Akashi's depressed face- he felt as if his life-force had been sucked with it, leaving him nothing but an excuse of an empty shell.

He's not stupid enough to see- that Akashi would never looked at him with so much longing, that no matter how much he tried, those eyes would never became so empty because of him.

And Akashi's pain was not beautiful, it was divine. Divine because its crushing him inside. Divine because it was something that could not be caused by him.

His lips had felt the salty taste of metal when Akashi had forced Kise to sleep with him, and- he didn't know whether it was blood or tears that had caused it to be so salty.

But more than Akashi's pain- more than the way his eyes would lost its valor when he's depressed- was the beauty of Akashi's smile.

So unbearably dazzling it is that he felt he could die happy seeing it.

And maybe because it was also something that doesn't belong to him.

So when Kise- Akashi's brother whom he hated- started saying that he would give Akashi a chance- Midorima didn't know if his smile was genuine. Because Akashi is smiling and Midorima is trying to burn it in his mind.

It was a smile that could never be directed to him.

Aomine saw the way Kise looked so thin and worn- the way he seemed to age considerably for the time they had been separated, and he felt the urge to hug those slender body in his arms, with a bone-crushing squeeze and a promise that he would never let go.

But the golden eyed prince was staring at him- his face deadpan. The golden eyes not fluttering anywhere- yet he can spot the pain even from where he stands.

"Aominecch- Aomine san." The correction of the name bothers him, but not as much as how Kise says it. "I'm sorry- it was just a game."


"The whole thing. I just want to play around." A laugh- ringing false on his ears. "I'm glad it didn't get too far. Or it would have been troublesome."

"Ryou...ta?" Aomine seriously feel like shaking the blond's body- raking him to consciousness. But then Kise bit his lips.

Was it doubt? But it was gone in a fraction of second- as soon as he blinked, it disappeared.

"Please don't call me by my name anymore." It was a stranger's voice- hollow and strong.

From the corner of the room- someone was watching. It was a redheaded man with eyes of alternating color- golden at the left and red at the right- the person was small- yet his presence seemed to dominate the whole room. Those eyes were staring at him- full of hatred and a sense of satisfaction.

The trigger suddenly started to click something in his mind.

He laughed- a laugh of relief and soberity. "So that's how it is? I get it."

Kise glared at him, yet his voice seemed to falter a bit. "That's good." A ring of regret and caution.

"Sure, sure. I am also playing around too. A fun game, isn't it? My prince?"

The hurt was apparent no matter how much Kise tried to conceal it. It's much too obvious.

"Yes." All remnants of a smile was gone from the lips he once kissed. "It was quite fun, Aomine san. Now's the time to end this."

"Oh, I don't really mind." Aomine shrugged. But inside the anger crept inside him- fine, if this is how you want to play it- you red-headed sly bastard. Ryouta is mine and mine alone. "Can I have one last kiss though? For auld lang syne? The fireworks resounding in our ears- that one was memorable wasn't it?"

That's when his suspicions was confirmed. Golden eyes flickered- to the pair of scarlet and golden. The question hangs in the room whose aura began to darken.

And when the red-headed nods, Aomine slid his tongue inside Kise's mouth- that's when he knew that Kise- despite everything he said still loves him. Because he looked as if he had just seen fireworks.

"A-ao-" Aomine wanted to kiss him again- but they need to wait till the next time. So he whispered,

"Goodbye." When what he means is- "You're mine."

Akashi was filled with murderous instinct- how dare that commoner touch his brother. Kise had not said anything ever since Aomine's left the room.

"Its done." Kise said-tired. "What you wanted, Akashi."

Yes, its done. But why isn't he happy?

"Brother, thank you. I love you." He said, he felt no guilt- but unease was climbing up his heart.

"I love you too." Kise said, Akashi never knew love could feel so empty.

Akashi leaves the room and tried to not hear the sobbing that emanated from the room. Hitting the wall- his rage unexpressed- he thought- why does he feel this empty? Because his brother never loved him?

Then Midorima appeared. And suddenly he felt like laughing aloud.