Story: The Tyrant Who Played Cupid

Author: animeg

Rating: T. Might go up in the future.

Disclaimer: I do not own Kuroko no Basuke. If I did, then I wouldn't be on fanfiction, now would I?

WARNING: This story contains yaoi, i.e. MaleXMale. Don't like it, don't read.

'What am I doing?'

Midorima Shintarou had lost count of how many times he had repeated that question in his head, in the last five minutes.

His indecisiveness itself was odd considering the fact that he was a person who never acted without thinking about the consequences of his actions. It was the only way he could make sure that he would have an unregretful future.

Like in basketball, he never made a shot until and unless he was a hundred percent sure that it would go in the basket; thus adding to his credibility as the 'Number One Shooter' of the Generation of Miracle.

Most people would call it being paranoid and unreasonable; he called it being careful.

So, all in all, he could only blame himself for ending up in a precarious situation like this in the first place.

Seriously, he blamed his curiosity for all this; his curiosity and his cowardice of not being able to say 'no' to his captain.

Although saying 'no' to Akashi would fall more in the category of stupidity since anyone who denied the redhead was in for Hell; nonetheless, it was at times like this that Midorima wished that his knees wouldn't tremble in fear whenever his captain looked at him with that pointed gaze and pursed lips, as if silently saying 'if-you-say-no-you-will-regret-it-deeply'. He cursed his own weakness, and though he would never admit it out loud; he often found himself too intimidated by his captain to voice out his retaliation.

He just simply nodded his head; tried not to look like he wanted to run away and get Akashi's orders over with.

Through the time he had spent with Akashi; playing basketball, playing Shogi; Midorima had developed a weird sort of respect for the redhead. He respected the man's foresight, his confidence, his ability to lead such a dysfunctional team to victory and his undeniable talent of plotting strategies against his opponents.

However, all too often, Midorima found himself getting apprehensive of the captain's ideas. Though he never doubted Akashi's ability to perfectly execute his plans; he questioned the captain's approach when the redhead made him a guinea pig to carry out his ideas.

Like right now.

"Ryouta's closest to you in the team, next to Tetsuya and Daiki. And since he won't talk to either one of them, it's your job to make him feel better. Make him open up to you; he needs some emotional support right now."

Whenever he recalled the conversation that led to him being stuck as acting like a pillar of comfort for the blonde; he would be tempted to face palm at his own fearfulness in saying 'no' to his captain.

In all honesty, the bespectacled teen was sure that there was more to those words than what met the eye.

The seemingly innocent smile on his face when Akashi said those words had sent shivers down Midorima's spine, and it was a gut feeling that told him that he wasn't going to come out this unscathed.

When he had heard about the rejection; the whole story, he swore his jaw had dropped so low that it would have hit the floor had it not been attached to his skull. It had shaken up Midorima; because really, he hadn't even seen it coming.

Not that he was against homosexuals in any way (he could care less, really); but he never viewed Kise as one despite the blonde's tendency to be overly touchy feely with everyone who was close to him. Besides, he got confessed to by girls on a daily bases, so one wouldn't even consider doubting his sexual orientation in the first place.

Regardless, what's done was done and now it was better for Midorima to pay attention to the job at hand; to try cheer up the idiot blonde no matter what.

He had seen Kise discreetly heading for the roof that morning, but he hadn't been able to catch up with the teen due to some tasks his teacher had put him up for. And since he hadn't seen the model at all afterwards, he was pretty sure the small forward must have been cooped up here all alone; wallowing in self-pity.

He wasn't really sure what he would see though. What if Kise was sitting in a corner, crying his eyes out? What would Midorima do then? Comfort him? How the Hell was he supposed to comfort him anyway? He'd read those stories in which people would 'comfort' each other by being intimate all of a sudden.

Would he have to do that?

He physically shuddered at the thought, and was almost tempted to abandon his mission before Akashi's words ricocheted in his mind once more;

'I'm counting on you, Shintarou. Don't mess up.'

Taking a deep breath, and a moment to gather his bearings, he reached out to the cool knob of the roof door and turned it, pushing the door open. Unsurprisingly, the door wasn't locked, and its wooden frame easily slid open at the force.

The bespectacled teen steeled himself for anything he might have to face as he hesitantly stepped inside; the cold air caressing against his skin and making him shiver slightly.

For all his pondering and worrying, what he hadn't really expected to see was the blonde in such a vulnerable position.

Kise was sprawled a few feet away across the floor like a dead weight; with his sweater folded neatly and placed under his head to give his skull some comfort from the hard bricks.

He was sleeping. Not lamenting in his pain, not wailing or crying or sobbing; just peacefully sleeping; like a feline who was tired after a hard day of prowling.

He looked uncomfortable though; curled up in on himself like that, with his legs closed tight and an arm draped over his eyes to shadow them from the piercing light of the afternoon sun.

So this was his solace; Midorima thought; sleeping on the ground, under the open sky with birds chirping and hovering around him. This was his genius method of dealing with a heart breaking rejection.

Well…it could have been worse…

After all, Midorima hadn't seen much of Kise in the past two days, even though both of them attended the same class.

At first, he thought Kise was taking a holiday and staying at home since he'd been skipping practices too; but then during a lecture, his eyes had darted towards the door when a certain blonde had passed by and Midorima had discovered that the model was attending school; just not attending classes.

Undoubtedly, this pissed him off to no end.

Sure Kise was having an emotional breakdown and an identity crisis and all; but that didn't give him an excuse to skip lectures whenever he felt like it.

By the end of the term, he would have a failing grade and once again, Midorima would be stuck tutoring him instead of enjoying his winter break on Akashi's orders just like last year.

Akashi; that man was going to be the death of him one day. Why the Hell was he always stuck babying Kise whenever such circumstances transpired?

Akashi probably had something up his devious little sleeve again; something in which Midorima would probably regret getting mixed up in later.

But for now, there was no other choice. He had to follow his captain's orders no matter what.

So it was, with a deep breath to calm his nerves that he sauntered towards the snoozing blonde,

"Oi, Kise, wake up."

He prodded the blonde's motionless body with his foot, trying to get the boy to wake up without having to go through the trouble of bending down and shaking him awake like some house wife sweetly waking up her husband in the morning.

Midorima almost gagged at the thought.

When Kise didn't show any intelligible response, didn't even freggin' flinch; Midorima's mind, for some odd reason (probably because of the soap opera he was watching last night), abruptly came to only one possible reason.

Kise had committed suicide.

He had probably ingested a whole bottle of sleeping pills and had chosen the roof as his death bed. There was probably even a will written somewhere in his bag.

It could be possible…

Besides, Kise had always been a sucker for those tragic love stories in which the man would kill his mistress and then kill himself. Did Kise try to reenact one of those? So that Aomine would be consumed with everlasting guilt for playing a role in forcing his good friend to take his own life out of melancholy.

Was Kise really seeking vengeance like this? Was he really idiotic enough to kill himself? End his life just because of a little draw back?

The roof after all was a perfect place to commit such a heinous act. If Midorima recalled correctly, there were even rumors floating around about a girl who slit her wrists on this very roof top because of parent's divorce a few years ago.

Though she survived, and got out of the hospital a few days later, her spirit is said to have haunted it since then; and she is said to possess the people who have suicidal tendencies and make them, jump off from the railings, for example.

This roof was known to cause people to do stupid, pathetic things.

And Kise was the king of pathetic-ness, in general.

Midorima wasn't panicking. Of course he wasn't; the reason his hands were sweating was because it was too hot, not because he was having a near heart attack and a steady incline in blood pressure.

Oh crap, if Kise had killed himself, then Akashi would blame Midorima for not being better emotional support. Midorima would probably have his practice menu tripled, or God forbid, quadrupled even, for the rest of his middle school life…No! He wouldn't be able to live through that!

So it was out of fear for his own being that Midorima jabbed his foot into Kise's ribcage with all his might.

To his pleasant surprise, his action resulted in a painful groan as the blonde sputtered, shaken by surprise and finally rolled to his side, arms clutching at the abused body part in an attempt to alleviate the pain.

"Midorima-cchi! What did you do that for?"

That high pitched whine was music to the bespectacled teen's ears as he let out an inaudible sigh of relief; his heart rate calming down considerably.

The dumbass was still alive. Thank God. Midorima was saved.

'That was for trying to give me a heart attack at such a young age.'

However, he wisely didn't say that out loud. After all, Kise would have a field day if he found out that Midorima was actually worried for his safety.

Now that he got a good look at the model, at his weary expression, at his pale skin, at his dark-rimmed, swollen eyes; the green-haired teen could actually feel something akin to guilt fan to life in his being.

Kise looked like shit. He looked worn-out, exhausted, and just plain pitiful.

He could imagine why Akashi sent him to the blonde's aid. Despite acting like a ruthless person, Akashi was quite caring when it came to his teammates. However, that still didn't justify was Midorima was the one who had ended up trying to make the blonde feel better. If anything, he would probably make the blonde even more depressed than before.

After all, he wasn't good with dealing with the complexity of other people's feelings or sympathizing with their pain.

Akashi should have done this himself.

"I think you deserve that much for skipping classes all morning," Midorima stated blatantly, as he came up with the excuse, "-sensei asked me to locate your whereabouts and inform you that you missed the test that was going to make twenty percent of your grade in Maths," the green-haired teen sat down, glaring balefully at the model, "-are you deliberately trying to fail this time around? I won't tutor you, you know. You can just go to Hell if you think I'm going to spend my winter vacations with you!"

And…Maybe that came out a little harsher than Midorima had intended it to, because Kise visibly flinched at that comment.

"So mean, Midorima-cchi," He complained, before leaning back against the wall, his hands crossed behind his head, "I'm not trying to fail. I just couldn't study last night. I opened the book, stared at the first page for two hours; couldn't get anything written on it, so I gave up and ate ice cream instead."

He said that in a rather cheerful voice; so jovial that Midorima had to momentarily contemplate whether there was something wrong with him at all or not. He seemed all right; whiny, cheeky, like he usually was; unaffected by the world or the severity of that fact that he had skipped classes three consecutive days in one week.

His parents were probably going to hear from the teachers.

"Aren't model's supposed to go on a calorie restricted diet? The only thing good about you is your looks. If you loose those you'll end on the street; homeless because you would have no other potential career options."

Instead of getting angry or retorting back nastily, like a normal person would, Kise just smirked at that, looking at Midorima with playful eyes. Midorima liked that about him; that he never took anything to heart.

"Well then, I'll just stick around at your place then. Mooch off you as much as I can-" The model trailed off, looking thoughtful, as if he had already planned to do that from the very beginning.

"No way, I'm not letting you anywhere near my place when we grow up." Midorima denied immediately.

"Aw, don't be so stingy. I can make a mean Hotpot you know? It'll be good for parties."

"You haven't even moved into my place, and you're already thinking of wrecking it with your vandalism behavior."

"Aw, don't worry, we'll clean up before the kids get home, you know." Kise patted Midorima on the back, making the latter cringe.

"Another words about kids, and I will throw you off this roof, just you see."

"Then Midorima-cchi will be in jail for murder. How do you think that would make our kids will feel? That their daddy went on a rampage and killed mommy?"


"Haha! I'm just joking. Our kids will forgive you, don't worry. That is if they inherit that quality from me!~"



"Yes, honey?"

"Shut up."

And with that Midorima sat down beside him, opened his book and pretended to read, trying to hide the obvious blush working its way on his face, as the blonde tried to control his peals of laughter.

Of course during that time, he was actually coming up with a plan; wondering how to get the blonde to talk about the matter with Aomine.

On first appearances, to everyone, Kise seemed like the type of person who was as easy to read as an open book. But experience with being so close to him; being with him on the same team; spending countless hours after school and occasionally walking home together had taught Midorima otherwise.

Kise was one of those people who are never what they seem.

Despite always having a smile on his face and playing around every now and then; Midorima had first hand experience of what lay beyond that jubilant exterior; the rage and the bitterness that Kise always hid from other people.

Midorima still shuddered when he recalled those third years that had pushed Kise around on one of his bad days a few months ago.

It was a disaster. There would probably have been broken bones had Aomine not intervened and dragged the blonde off before any more damage could be done.

Kise, when the situation called for it, could be as ruthless and detached as they came.

The horoscope was right when it said that Gemini's were double faced.

And sometimes it was so prominent that Midorima actually had to wonder whether Kise an evil twin that just wanted to watch the world burn.

And just as they lapsed in an eerie silence, Midorima felt more uncomfortable by the second.

He wasn't used to taking the initiative in starting a conversation about a certain topic since usually, Kise did all the talking. Midorima just had to go along with the flow, pretend he was listening until he had had enough and barked at Kise to 'shut the hell up and go die!'.

Then again, Kise could never remain silent for long intervals of time, so he just had to speak up.

"I wonder what could have been so bad that Midorima-cchi felt the need to check up on me."

The sudden mischievous grin covering blonde's face made Midorima's eyebrow twitch.

"Don't get in over your head-," he pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose by the back of his bandaged hand before continuing, "-I was merely passing by, and saw you lying down. I was hoping you had died."

Kise put a hand on his heart, dramatically gasping before putting on a pout.

"Aw, Midorima-cchi's so cruel to me."

"Idiots like you who take life so lightly and get everything they want should be treated as such."

It was rather cold, Midorima admitted. However, he had no idea how cheer Kise up (did he even need cheering up? He seemed perfectly fine!), or encourage him. Neither of them had 'heart-to-heart' conversations before, and Midorima was cursing Akashi to the depths of Hell to give him such a tedious task.

He was just doing this on Akashi's orders; otherwise he would have never gone out of his way to console that idiotic blonde when he was moping…right?


"-get everything they want, eh?"

The bitter, cold chuckle that followed cut through the thick atmosphere like a sharp blade.

"You give me to much credit Midorima-cchi," And with that Kise reached out to his bag, stuffing all the books that were scattered around, back inside, "-I don't always get what I want, quite the contrary-," He smiled acrimoniously as he broke off, looking for the right words to say to his bespectacled partner, "-I often find myself to be too much of a coward to pursue what I really desire."

It was weird to see such words followed by a grin but Midorima knew better than to question it. Kise had always been like that; self-sufficient and independent. He never trusted people enough to let them know what was really going on in his mind.

Or maybe it wasn't about trust at all. Maybe he just felt that it was useless to talk about his problems to people who could do nothing about it.

Midorima could relate to that. The reason he was always so reserved was because he never wanted anyone to be too involved in his life, enough that he would actually start to miss them if they ever actually disappeared.

"Well, I'd better let you have some private time with your book."

And with that he strapped his bag on his shoulder as he got up, dusting his clothes free from all the dirt on them. "Later Midorima-cchi," He sang, raising a hand up in farewell.

Maybe Midorima was just dwelling too much on it. Maybe there was nothing deeper behind those words;

"What exactly do you mean by that?" He finally decided to ask.

Kise paused at the door, turning as he looked back.

He pondered over it for a few moments before his lips curled up in an enigmatic smile.

"It means that, sometimes, it's better to give up like a coward and quietly turn away instead of trying to pursue something you don't have a chance of attaining."

As the door smacked shut Midorima couldn't help but think that Kise was definitely more complicated than he pretended to be.

He felt dead.

His heart felt dead.

It felt like someone had hollowed out his insides, leaving behind a mere empty shell in its place.

'You always play around, Ryouta. I wonder what would happen if you actually fell for someone…'

These were the words of an old friend of his. At that time, Kise believed that 'falling for someone' was out of the realm of possibility for him.

No one had ever caught his attention; no one had ever made him want to be with them.

No one had ever made him trail after him like this.

No one had ever broken his heart like this either.

That man was a lot of firsts for Kise.

His first idol, his first crush, his first love, his first kiss.

There were so many people around him all the time, wanting him, desiring him;

His mother had told him that once; that he was too obsessive and tenacious about some matters. That he would poke and probe at anything that he found intriguing, keep at it insistently, like a small boy scratching a scab over and over again just to see if blood would come out again; and then he ended up reopening that healing wound all over again.

He was tired really. Tired of smiling all the time, tired of keeping up this façade. But if he didn't, people around him would get worried; like Midorima-cchi a while ago.

While he may deny it all he wants, it was obvious, he was there to try and comfort the blonde.

And it worked a little bit too; Kise felt in a better mood after teasing him like that. Midorima's expressions were always so funny, especially when he got flustered like that. Sometimes he even started stuttering, and at that point Kise would have hit the jackpot.

He was selfish.

He realized that now.

He had people around him who were worried for him, yet he wasn't giving a damn and making them worry even more. Even with Kuroko-cchi, innocent Kuroko-cchi, who had never done anything to hurt him and had always helped him especially when he first came into this school; instead of being obliged of having such a person by his side, Kise was avoiding him, silently feeling animosity towards him.

He thought, every now and then that Aomine would never reject Kuroko so instantaneously, that he would never sever their relationship of Light and Shadow no matter how bad things got.

And just that thought made him fell so bitter. And then Kise hated himself for being so malicious in the first place.

He felt like there was a hole inside of him; hole that he desperately needed to fill with something or that abyss would swallow him whole.

He needed to move on, focus his feelings on something else, console himself, because this was bound to happen from the beginning; he had just been too optimistic, too fucking hopeful to see it. He should probably go up to Aomine, pretend like it was a joke, and maybe they could retain some of their friendship instead of just ending it like this.

But did he really want to play this game of 'Let's Pretend', knowing that he would be the one getting hurt by the end of it?

'No, it's better if he knows. It's better that everything is out in the open. It's better that I don't have to hide it anymore.'

But in the end, the thought didn't make anything better…

Akashi Seijuro prided himself in being a wise and formidable leader.

Another thing he was exceptionally good at was being stubbornly persistent. The reason for many of his victories was because he never gave up, rather he persevered until and unless everything had been laid out according to his plan.

That little rejection issue had been nothing more than an unexpected set back, nothing more; nothing less. Something as trivial as that was not going to stop him from achieving his ultimate goal;

Getting Ryouta and Daiki together.

Through careful consideration, Akashi had finally realized where he had gone wrong.

His strategy had been a risky one. Of course Daiki would have responded in such a negative way considering the fact that he had been running after breasts for the better part of his life after puberty; obviously, the idea of liking something that was lean, muscular, tall and as manly as him would be rather alarming for him to consider.

And then the confession itself was rather sudden and unexpected. It must have shocked the Hell out of him; resulting in that insensitive response.

All hope was not lost. All Akashi had to do was conjure up a new plan wherein he could get those two to spend some private time together, figure out their feelings and finally come to an agreement that would be good for the whole team.

'The team.'

Akashi's clicked his tongue in annoyance at the thought.

His team, his perfectly organized, inseparable, incomparable unit was now starting to loose it's defined edge.

Usually they played in a synchronized manner; with perfection that showed countless hours of hard, intense training that would leave all of them sore by the end of the day. Being the captain; being the point guard; it was his responsibility to make sure that the team performed their absolute best.

If they were lacking, it was his fault. If they were uncoordinated, it was his fault. And if they were unorganized; the blame still fell on his shoulders.

Normal people would try to worm out of such a huge responsibility. However, there was a reason Akashi was made the captain of such an extraordinary team. He, himself, was no ordinary person who would back out just when things got intense.

So now it was his job to return things to normal. To restore harmony between that idiotic couple would be a feat; but Akashi wasn't one to turn away from a challenge. He would face everything head on.

So, here he was, sitting in the library, reading a dating magazine.

Don't get him wrong. The only reason his last plan back fired was because he did not have enough knowledge about how relationships worked. Hence, the solution laid, therein him getting more educated on the matter.

"Tip number thirteen; the best way to consummate your relationship with your partner is to spend some quality time together. Talking to each other; sharing your feelings and thoughts will also avoid many oncoming misconceptions."

'Talk about your feelings?'

What a load of bull.

These were guys, manly guys who reveled in their masculinity. Talking about their 'sentiments' and 'insecurities' over dinner wasn't the way men handled situations. The way men handled situations was bonding over a good game of basketball; screaming profanities at whosoever was lacking and then having a burger on the way back.

Obviously, he couldn't expect Daiki and Ryouta to have a heart-to-heart while doing each others nails.

Just-no. The image itself was scarring.

Regardless, Akashi was finding himself in a pinch.

Sighing, he sank into his seat, pursing his lips at the absurdity of it all.

The best way would be to be direct, order them both to stay back after practice and figure it out.

However, Akashi considered himself to have more finesse than that. Besides, it was fun to manipulate people. It made him feel in control.

So instead of going with the direct approach, he was going to figure out a way to get them together without them ever figuring it out. It was for the best; and would prevent things from getting too awkward in the team.

"Akashi-cchi? What're you doing here?"

On hearing the familiar voice, Akashi froze momentarily before his body relaxed and he took a deep breath; craning his head back with a slight swivel of his chair he acknowledge the source of his problems itself;

"Ryouta," Akashi supposed that he should be offended by the amount of surprise in Kise's voice. Obviously, people came to the library to study, "-if it isn't obvious enough yet, I'm doing some research. What about you? Shouldn't you be shooting hoops right about now?"

Usually Kise would be practicing in the courts in his free time, always practicing to beat Aomine. Right about now, both of them would normally be having a one-on-one in the gym.

"Well, I wanted to, but the second strings players were already having a match and I didn't want to intrude."

'Liar. You just saw Daiki there and didn't have the courage to face him and decided to hide instead.'

"They're not letting you play?" Akashi smirked a little as he got up from his seat, an insidious look in his eye, "-I shall accompany you; give them a little piece of my mind as to what I think about them sending off a starter when he wants to practice."

"No-no! No need! Please Akashi-cchi, sit down! I wanted to read-a-a book anyway! Kuroko-cchi recommended it to me!"

'Lies again. You're not talking to Tetsuya at all these days, are you?'

But the read haired captain wisely chose not to comment and, instead, merely shook his head at his underling's dishonesty as he sat down once again.

Kise gave him a shaky smile, taking the seat across him before his eyes fell on the books lying haphazardly across table between;

"Woah!" Kise exclaimed exaggeratedly, earning him a sharp "shush!" and a disapproving glare from the librarian taking rounds to make sure there was absolute silence. With a soft apology and a sheepish grin; Kise turned his attention back to the matter at hand. "Dating magazines? What are you doing with these?" Kise held one up, skimming through the pages until he was satisfied that the content inside was, indeed, about how to 'woo your boo'. "Don't tell me Akashi-cchi likes someone?" The model leaned in closer to his captain, eyes wide and expectant and lips curled in a small smile. "-tell me who it is!"

Maybe Akashi was just a little amused by Ryouta's child-like curiosity. The boy was endearing, to say the least and maybe it was unfair of Daiki not to give him a chance. The blonde would definitely fulfill his prerequisites for a lover better than any other girl could. Besides, his blind love and admiration for the ace made him more suitable to put up with the tanned teen's intolerable nature which would leave any girl frustrated within a mere few days of dating him.

Getting them together would be the best for both of them.

"It's nothing like that. This research was being done to help a friend."

"Akashi-cchi has friends?"

The blonde actually had the audacity to chuckle at the exasperated, annoyed expression the captain made.

"Haha, sorry sorry, I was just kidding." The blonde continued between giggles.

Akashi sighed. Well, if he got mad over every little thing his teammates said, then he might as well have kissed his sanity good bye a long time ago. These guys had really taught him how to be patient.

"So what, you're friend's having love problems?"

Ryouta placed his chin on his fist, his elbow resting on the table as he peered at the captain curiously.

"Yes. Poor thing just got rejected a few days ago."

And if Akashi wasn't as observant as he was, he probably would have missed the way the blonde teen tensed momentarily, his spine straightening from the sudden jolt that ran through his body.

'How very perceptive of you, Ryouta.'

However Kise did what he did best; he smiled to hide his discomfort.

He could feel unease growing inside of him, his mind screaming at him to run away, because really, he did not want to talk about this with his captain of all people. He might have been able to avoid the topic of conversation as far as Midorima was concerned; but he couldn't up and leave Akashi of all people in the middle of a conversation.

He didn't know if he would have his head still intact by the end of it.

And then there was this small part of him, this tiny part of him that was just tired of holding up the burden all by himself and was just dying to spill it all out to someone; someone he trusted, someone he knew wouldn't take advantage of his feelings.

He just wanted to vent out all his frustrations; all his sadness all the sentiments that had been plaguing him ever since the man he loved broke his heart. He wanted good advice, he wanted to be consoled, he wanted someone to come over and give him a hug and tell him everything will be fine by the end of it.

But he didn't have someone like that by his side.

He didn't want to trouble people with his problems.

He was so angry at everything; but first and foremost at himself; because he was stupid enough to confess in the first place.

Now the man he loved was probably disgusted by him. And what was worse that while he was slowly becoming an emotional wreck, Aomine didn't seem affected by it at all. In fact the teen had kept at his daily routine; playing basketball all the freggin' time.

They hadn't seen each other at all during these few days, and Kise had realized that he had always went out of his way to find Aomine; spend time with him, talk to him; make him aware of his existence.

But it was all vain in the end…because Aomine wasn't really affected at all by Kise absence…

He was probably happy…that he didn't have to meet with the blonde and get things awkward all over again.

Akashi pursed his lips as he saw different emotions flicker over Kise's face, and he sat patiently, waiting for the blonde to reorganize his thoughts and finally come to his senses.

He almost regretted bringing it up now. The moisture accumulating at the corner of Kise's eyes clearly signaled that the blonde obviously hadn't come to terms with the rejection.

Regardless, he had to proceed.

"My friend is an idiot-" Akashi continued, looking as stoic as he normally would, "-he complicates things more than they should be complicated-"; the redhead was happy when the blonde looked up from his lap, face contorted in pain and beautiful hazel eyes watering with the tell tale signs of tears. Good, he was finally throwing off his mask and being truthful for once, "-the solution to the problem merely lies in him talking to his partner. They're good friends. They'll figure something out."

"What if he doesn't want friendship anymore? What if being friends just hurts him now?"

Kise had diverted his eyes once again, suddenly finding the bookshelf beside him of massive interest.

'Whatever, he's comfortable with.'

Maybe it was wrong on many levels; but Akashi was finding Ryouta rather endearing right now. This awkwardly honest, insecure Ryouta in front of him, who was indirectly asking for his assistance, fidgeting in his place and not meeting his eyes, was far more adorable then the confident, cocky Ryouta he saw everyday.

"Friendship eventually escalates into love-" This time Akashi leaned in, eyeing up the blonde with a predatory grin, "-all they have to do is reconcile; and I'm sure that eventually my friend will make the person he loves fall for him. My friend is rather charming, you see. Besides, even you have to admit, a confession out of the blue can only end in disaster-" Akashi paused, pondering over the right words to use, "-especially when the person you're trying to woo is a dense idiot who has nothing on his mind but basketball."

In all honesty, Akashi was relieved that the conversation had gone smoothly so far. By now he half-expected the blonde get up and runaway. After all, the redhead had driven him into a corner and laid all the feelings he usually hid so well across the table for the whole world to see. However, he was pleasantly surprised to see the blonde's eyes light up at his words, a small smile on his face.

"He really is. Isn't he?" The way Kise's expression softened on mentioning Aomine left Akashi a bit unsettled at how much the ace had control over the blonde's delicate feelings. He ignored it nonetheless. "-but what if he hates me Akashi-cchi? He's probably disgusted by me now." The blonde finally turned to look the captain in the eye.

Akashi had come to the conclusion that Ryouta, when depressed, had a knack for getting his own hopes and dreams down and wailing in self-pity. The masochistic idiot probably liked all the pain he bottled up from such redundant thoughts.

"If he hated you, he wouldn't have come to me seventeen times to ask whether if I knew where you were. He's been wanting to talk to you. You're the one who's been avoiding it."

Since they shared the same class, Aomine had been taking every opportunity he could find to ask the captain the model's whereabouts. He'd been even more worried when Akashi had announced that Kise had been exempted from practice for three days.

"B-but-" Kise stuttered, obviously dumbfounded by the revelation, "-he didn't come to look for me even once."

"Apparently, you are really good at playing hide and seek. Even I wouldn't expect to find you hiding at the library," If anything, Akashi felt rather accomplished as he got up when the bell rang.

With a smug smile, he walked towards the entrance, feeling satisfied that he was still right; and that he won against Ryouta's indecisive feelings.

Pausing mid-step, he turned around, "-oh, and Ryouta, you're three days of exemption are over. If you are not present for practice today, I will have your head on a stick."

Hearing the small squeak of fear from behind him, Akashi smiled smugly and he continued on walking.

Fuck dating magazines. He could handle relationships just as well.

Kise Ryouta was nervous.

No he wasn't just nervous, he was a nervous wreck.

Sure talking to Akashi-cchi had let up his mood considerably and he was feeling confident with what he had to say (after all he had spent rest of the day writing it all down on paper and practicing it repeatedly); however the moment he stepped into the gym, all that confidence flew out the window.

Now he was all shaky in the knees. Not only would he have to confront Aomine-cchi, he would have to talk to Kuroko-cchi as well!

And he had purposely been avoiding Kuroko so much lately that he felt like an ass now. It was even more nerve wrecking than taking a Mathematics exam!

'Breath Ryouta. Breath. Everything will be all right. You can do this. You can get yourself out of the mess you've gotten yourself into. No sweat. No sweat. Just breath. Everything will be fine'.


Apparently, all that 'mentally bucking yourself up' didn't work as well as Kise thought it would because as soon as he heard that familiar voice, he jumped a foot or three into the air.

"Aomine-cchi!" That came out in a rather uncharacteristic, breathy tone. And as soon as he looked at the ace, he really wished he hadn't because Aomine looked absolutely ready to fucking murder him.

He gulped down the lump in his throat.

He so wasn't prepared for this.

Author's Ramble: Terribly late, I know. I apologize orz. But seriously, I was having such a hard time with Midorima! I lost count of how many times I re-wrote his and Kise's conversation on the roof; then I reconsidered just cutting it out and leaving it for another day. But I need Midorima eventually so might as well tackle his character right now. If you haven't realized it yet, yes, there are subtle hints of AkaKise in this fic. Because, I really like that as well.

More importantly, thank you for all the reviews and the favorites! I was so overwhelmed by all the support and I felt incredibly guilty that I couldn't update it sooner. I'm so sorry everyone. (;_;) But I hope you liked this chapter, and expect more Aokise interactions soon…:D

I apologize for any grammatical errors as well since this is, as usual, self-edited.

Anyhoo, the next update should be in about a month (during winter break) because I have Mid-terms and my scholarship depends on my grades. If I don't get three "A's", I can kiss my scholarship goodbye. And A Level in no joke, especially Chemistry and Physics. And then there is SAT prep as well...*sigh* The things I do in hopes of getting into a good University…

Do leave a review guys, it makes me happy to see what you think of this story!

Well, until the next update, ciao! ^.^