Disclaimer: Kuroko no Basuke © Tadatoshi Fujimaki

Warning: lots of absurdities, language, oOC-ness, shounen ai, unbeta-ed, etc…

A/N: I… seriously overestimate myself too much… (|||-︵-;) I know, I told you guys that I'd post something for KagaKuro day, and I thought I could finish this chapter yesterday so I could post the KagaKuro story today, but it's actually impossible because it took me so freaking LONG to finish this chapter (-̩̩̩-̩̩̩-̩̩̩-̩̩̩-̩̩̩_-̩̩̩-̩̩̩-̩̩̩-̩̩̩-̩̩̩) (don't forget the checking thing… it takes so much time it's ridiculous!) I'm sorry… because I really want to update this story first no matter what! (ᗒᗣᗕ)՞

Ahem, well… so please do and enjoy this update first. I hope I still have enough time to make and post the KagaKuro story that I want to make to celebrate KagaKuro day…


Chapter 17: The Love Game (Part 3)


For the first time in his life, Akashi Seijuurou was in dilemma.

No, really… Akashi was a very rational and composed person. He was smart and calculative, so there was hardly anything that could confuse or surprise him. Truthfully, even though he was aware that he was the subject of admiration and adoration from a lot of people since he was a toddler (for more reasons than one), never had he expected to receive an exceedingly public love confession from a very male person. Furthermore, that guy was a guy he barely knew, an ordinary teenager with average social status and standard appearance.

Well, everyone had to admit that Furihata Kouki didn't possess anything special that could remotely make Akashi Seijuurou look at his direction. Let's face it. Everything about the brunet was totally typical and ordinary. There was just no way that Akashi would have any interest in knowing that kind of individual in more personal level normally, judging from Akashi's character. And yet…

"I really do want to know you better. Even though it's just a little bit, I want to be closer to you… as a person, as a… 'friend', though you probably already guessed that I want more than that."

Akashi couldn't help raising his hand to cover his mouth with the back of his palm. For some reason he felt warm when he remembered the brunet's words. He didn't anticipate that those lines were directed to him. People tended to keep their distance after getting a glimpse of Akashi's cold personality, so why the hell did Furihata want to know him more instead?

I was so sure that he wasn't talking to me just then… but he did call my name earlier, so… did he mean everything he said?—Akashi mulled over the possibility that he was just being played. But, from the air around Furihata when he caught his gaze for a brief second earlier, he didn't seem to be kidding.

I can't stay silent forever here. A mistake or not, the game has to continue. Kouki really did call my name, so I at least has to answer, right?—Akashi knew he didn't have much time to ponder the pros and cons before he had to get out of the chamber and faced the confession head on, so he decided to play along and questioned Furihata's motive later.

#

"Ooh! Furihata-san already called out the name of his sweetheart!" Hazuki exclaimed.

"But… the name sounds rather different from the name of his right partner…" Ryo looked at his note and tilted his head aside slightly, looking mildly confused.

"Who cares?! He already called the name, so the person inside the secret chamber has to answer!" Hazuki cackled, apparently very pleased at the prospect of getting a good laugh if Furihata made a terrible mistake there.

"You… that's rather mean of you…" Ryo shook his head, a bead of sweat rolling down his cheek as he stared at Hazuki's eagerness to embarrass his senior.

Meanwhile, Furihata was very pale. Cold sweat trickled down his face and body. He couldn't move even a finger and his wide eyes were glued on the curtain, the only thing that separated him from his impending doom.

I'm gonna die…! I'm gonna die! I'm sooo going to DIE by the hand of Akashi Seijuurou!—yeah, he was actually panicking on the inside because Furihata realized that he had made a fatal blunder by imagining about his encounter with Akashi before accidentally calling his name. Akashi wouldn't forgive him for embarrassing the proud emperor in front of other people. Furihata was DEAD!

Furihata flinched badly as the curtain fluttered slightly. Oh no! Akashi is going to come out!—and he shut his eyes in fright hearing the sound of curtain gradually sliding open.

There was a brief silence in the room as everyone seemed to hold their breath waiting for Akashi's response. Even Furihata couldn't hear any movement, as if the time itself had been frozen before Akashi Seijuurou's gorgeous form…

Gaaah! Why the hell am I even thinking like that about Akashi in this enormously degrading situation?!—Furihata began to think that he had finally lost it. My sanity, that is.

"Furihata Kouki," upon hearing Akashi's smooth, silky voice, Furihata jerked in response and-

"Yes!" –straightened his body as if he was being addressed by his superior in military institution.

"About what you said to me earlier… were you really serious?"

There was a hint of hesitation in Akashi's usually confident tone, something that Furihata never expected to hear, especially from Akashi. For some reason, none of the spectators commented on this. Even Ryo and Hazuki were quiet as if they tried to give time and space exclusively for Akashi and Furihata to communicate and discuss this absolutely outrageous episode.

Curiosity won over his fear as Furihata slowly opened his eyes to look at Akashi's expression. The red haired boy were eyeing him expectantly, silently demanding explanation in the most subtle way, and yet his red and golden orbs glinted dangerously, seeming to penetrate Furihata's head and see his soul through his dark chocolate spheres, seeking for something, answers… lies… Furihata wasn't exactly sure. But, Furihata also could see the glimmer in those beautiful mismatched orbs. Some feelings lurked inside… yearning, hoping… even though he doubted that Akashi realized what he was showing, Furihata thought that Akashi in that moment was rather vulnerable. The Absolute King actually looked very human with all the insecurities of a teenage boy.

Furihata was totally stunned as the thought about all of those bizarre feelings were raging inside him. He was captivated, for him actually catching a glimpse of Akashi's side that probably had never surfaced, something that no one had ever seen before. And 'that Akashi', the mighty Rakuzan captain, is asking whether I was serious with my confession…

Furihata knew he should just tell the truth that it was a mistake. That he had made an error by calling Akashi's name instead of Akari. But… he indeed thought about Akashi when he recited those cheesy lines. They were something that might actually come out of Furihata's mouth if he wasn't so scared of Akashi's persona.

Maybe it's fate…—Furihata's insane part of the brain concluded. And usually, the lucid and the cautious part would immediately deny and push that nutty thought out of his mind, far and far away. However, at this jiffy, that rational part was numb because Akashi was still staring into his eyes, so deeply… so intensely such that Furihata decided he really wanted to take that chance.

"Yes," he said, the rare determination shining inside his usually fragile heart.

Akashi was silent with his eyes widening slightly as Hazuki started to make a groaning noise that sounded very-very keen. Ryo apparently tried to quiet him down, but it was futile because Hazuki looked very- and he meant very excited about this turn of event.

"Oh, my goodness, you two~! Just say it outright already! Stop creating such suspense!" Hazuki grinned like a Cheshire cat and Furihata immediately gasped while blushing madly as he realized that many pairs of eyes were staring at him and Akashi on tenterhooks.

Akashi sent a warning glare at Hazuki and Ryo, but it worked for almost everyone in the area around Furihata and Akashi, who immediately stepped back in pale faces, sans Aomine and Midorima who stared at them ridiculously and Murasakibara who only looked mildly interested.

Oh my God! What did I just say to Akashi again?!—Furihata once again panicked, excessive cold sweat running down his face as he stared frightfully at the red haired beauty… NO! Stop thinking about Akashi like that, you STUPID brain!—the more he tried to calm himself, the more he dreaded the outcome of his folly. Why did he even attempt to take such fatal risk in the first place again?

"…were you really serious?"

However, remembering Akashi's words and expression earlier… Furihata once again felt that he didn't want to disappoint the red head. He didn't know why, but if he turned tail here, he got a feeling that he would definitely regret it for the rest of his life.

Aaaaargh! I don't know anymore! If I'm going to die today, I'll die fighting till the last drop of my blood!—Furihata strived to forget his surrounding (read: his shame) and to wake his audacity to open his damn mouth and call Akashi's name once again.

"Akashi-kun," surprisingly Furihata even changed the suffix of Akashi's name. Gone was the timid way and the keigo, as he gazed upward at Akashi surely, and then he reached out his slightly sweaty, shaky hand to hold Akashi's idle one. "Being only a friend is alright. I… really do want to know more about you."

Akashi widened his eyes once again, this time visibly surprised, while Hazuki squealed hard. "Ooooh! It's here! Furihata-san once again asked for Akashi-san's approval!"

"B-but, the partner is wrong…!" Ryo apparently tried to take control of the situation, still… it was kind of futile because no one gave a damn about such detail at that moment.

Akashi was still silent for a few more seconds, most likely still contemplating his response before he seemed to make up his mind, and then softened his expression a little. "Alright then," he answered, to Furihata and everyone's surprise.

"Eh, Sei-chan?!" Mibuchi squawked, looking very shocked with eyes widening like a pair of saucers, but Akashi didn't seem to mind him and continued his words.

"It's been awhile since someone asked me for something like that. Being friends or more… Why don't we try, Kouki?" A gentle smile blossomed on Akashi's expression and Furihata couldn't help his face reddening again seeing such gorgeous look, totally spellbound.

"Akashi-kun…" Furihata was very blessed that he could see such view. He bet it was very rare… except to the GoM members, Akashi probably had never shown such tender smile to anyone else.

"Let's go, Kouki. It's probably our time to retreat and go to somewhere… quieter," Akashi pulled Furihata's hand and he was still too dazed to really pay attention to his surrounding as he moved closer to Akashi, not even realizing that there were some small stairs near his foot that he tripped on those.

"Ah!" But before Furihata could fall down, Akashi caught him in his hug and Furihata's face felt like furnace then, because he was so embarrassed for being totally clumsy even though he knew he should have made an impression for the attractive red head in front of him.

Akashi chuckled slightly. "Kouki is all thumbs, huh?"

"I-I'm sorry…" Furihata must have been flushing so much because he was so close with Akashi right now and the deafening squeals from the girls around him didn't help the situation despite Furihata's forced ignorance.

"W-wait a second!"

Suddenly, a uniformed girl came out from chamber number six, right beside Akashi's chamber earlier. She also had red hair, even though it wasn't as stunning as Akashi's. It looked more like dark brown reddish instead of red. Her eyes were also rather red, but apparently, she was wearing contacts in red color.

Geh! Akari-san?!—Furihata went rigid and paled as the girl pouted and pointed at him with index finger, while her other hand nestled on her waist.

"That guy over there is my partner," Akari said, protesting at Akashi who only stared her down while raising his eyebrows.

"Oh my God! The right partner suddenly came out to straighten the grave mistake and reclaim her man!" Hazuki shouted like a sport commentator and the audiences gasped in horror at the ruined lovely scene.

"Ah! Don't just suddenly come out like that! You're disturbing the awesome moment here!" Some of the annoyed fan girls yelled at the girl on the stage.

"Yeah! Yeah! Back off!"

"But he's supposed to be my partner!" Akari insisted, puckering her mouth even more, while further unsatisfied noises came from the spectators in retort.

"Whoa… this will become ugly very fast…!" Ryo seemed to pray that this wouldn't turn out to be a bloodshed. Cat-fight could be very terrifying after all.

W-what should I do?!—Now, Furihata panicked for real as he held his head and his eyes spun. Akashi appeared to notice his predicament and huffed.

"So, what will you say to that, Kouki? Which do you prefer, me or her?" then the red head asked and Furihata snapped out of his panic-induced reverie.

"Eh…?" Furihata turned to face Akashi now, very perplexed.

"Whom do you want to know more?" Akashi asked again calmly, not even trying to listen to the complaining girl in front of them. And… she was obviously glaring at him and Furihata expectantly.

"Wow… will this really get gory?" Murasakibara's eyes shone slightly at the prospect while he was still eagerly eating his rice cracker and Midorima looked like he was about to faint, apparently still shocked that Akashi actually accepted Furihata's confession. Aomine just dropped his jaw unceremoniously, probably his brain already broke before Akari even came out from the chamber.

"I…" Furihata stuttered, looking at Akashi and then at Akari consecutively and repeatedly before he decided to do the craziest thing in his life by shouting out his real desire. "I'm sorry, Akari-san! The one I was thinking about when I confessed earlier is Akashi-kun!"

"What?!" Akari hung her jaw open mouthed, gaping like a fish out of water while Akashi chuckled.

"Well said. You really got guts. I like it," Akashi complimented as he resumed his ministration, pulling Furihata to bring him away from that place. It seemed that he really wanted to be alone with Furihata so they could bond.

"I'm very sorry, Akari-san! I'll make it up to you later!" Furihata shouted again, while being dragged away by Akashi and before long, they already got out of the classroom and closed the door once again.

A second later, the scream from the spectators (especially the fan girls) inside, exploded in total delight at the retreating couple, surprising the other people that walked in front of the classroom. Even Furihata jumped at the deafening screech while Akashi just huffed out a small laugh at that.

"A-Akashi-kun…?" Furihata was once again amazed that Akashi even laughed.

"Well then, Kouki… where should we start our relationship from?" Akashi smirked mischievously at Furihata now and—

"Eh?" the brunet couldn't help sweating slightly in alarm hearing that inquiry.


~Kagami x Kuroko~


Meanwhile, situation in the class 1C was…

Hazuki and Ryo were trying to calm the enraged girl that had been just dumped in front of the audience who sent some pitiful glances at her. "I can't believe he just ditched me like that! The worst!" She seemed about to get hysterical any time now, probably feeling very humiliated that Furihata chose a guy over her, so Mibuchi stepped up to help both the MCs quiet her down. And of course… to get the event on track again because the stunt Furihata and Akashi pulled just then successfully disrupted the progress of this game.

"You're right, Miss. I can't believe that my partner chose that wimpy kid over me as well," Mibuchi spoke, smiling apologetically at her and got her and the MCs attention in the process.

"Who…?" Akari looked upward at him and noticeably turned rather pink seeing his fine, good-looking face and form.

"Ah, pardon me. I'm Mibuchi Reo, Sei-chan's supposedly partner. Akari-san, right?" Mibuchi tilted his head aside slightly and she nodded slowly. "But well… I wasn't hopeful that my wonderful Sei-chan will accept my love-confession," he winked slightly at her, making Akari flush in a darker shed of red at his flirty nature. "Sheesh, he's such a handful captain. Please excuse his eccentric personality. If it's alright with you, I'll take Furihata-kun's place as your new partner," he offered then and Akari looked like almost exploding in total glee at the prospect of playing lovers with Mibuchi.

"Yes, yes, please!" She immediately countered fervently, even as far as grabbing Mibuchi's hand while her eyes sparkled.

Girls are easy as always—Mibuchi sweated inwardly at the abnormal change of attitude from the girl, feeling his body shuddering in innumerable Goosebumps, because he actually had to pair up with a girl even though he always preferred to play with cute guys. Sei-chan, you completely owe me for this! I'm going to make you pay it up double!—he vowed on the inside, totally fired up, while on the outside, he only laughed sheepishly at Akari.

"O-oh… so it's alright with you guys to change partners and continue the game?" Ryo asked tentatively and Mibuchi turned to face the black suited MC with an easy smile.

"I'm perfectly fine. Besides, Sei-chan is not my real sweetheart. We're just playing this game," he shrugged.

"Ah, Furihata-kun isn't my real sweetheart as well. He was just upsetting me for messing up the plan," Akari glanced shyly at Mibuchi and giggled. "I think Mibuchi-san is 1000 times better than Furihata-kun!" Now she acted like a complete fan girl to Mibuchi, making his body hair stand up to no end.

Please don't make her become one of those obsessed fans! I beg you, God! Please!—Mibuchi couldn't help praying while crying inwardly. Maybe he would make Akashi pay up thrice as much as the thing he owed Mibuchi later for putting him in this incongruous spot.

"W-well then… let's continue our 'Know your Sweetheart More' game, then!" Hazuki clapped once, obviously trying to gain attention and resume their event, but then he suddenly snapped. "Ah! I forgot! We lost one of the sweethearts that should have stayed in the chamber again… what do we do now?"

"Just pick one from the audience!" Aomine scowled. Oh, look at that. It seemed that he already regained some composure after the gigantic shock earlier.

"Sheesh… I still can't believe that of all people, Akashi would act that impulsively…!" Midorima shook his head, looking distraught as he pushed his glasses up his nose-bridge.

"Maa… once in awhile, it's nice seeing Aka-chin act like boys his age," Murasakibara smiled blissfully.

Miracles and their eccentric personality… you shouldn't really nitpick about how Sei-chan acts. It's like a pot calling a kettle black—Mibuchi twitched slightly, another bead of sweat trickled down his cheek as he heard them.

"Then, that lady with a pair of pigtails," Ryo pointed at one of the audience, a girl with long black hair wearing Seirin blazer. "Will you take the honor of being our guest to fill the empty chamber?" he smiled at her and she giggled.

"Alright, Ryo-kun," she said, completely agreeing before she came up on the stage to take Akashi's place in the chamber and then they shambled the order once again to prepare for the next seeker to play.

#

"Alright! There was a little arrest in the game earlier, but now we can finally move on!" Hazuki cried out 'banzaaaai!' on the background while dancing joyfully as Ryo spoke to the audience. "Well, since Furihata-san purposely made a mistake in his choice to call out his sweetheart (such devious plan, indeed!), both Furihata-san and Akashi-san are disqualified. Though, we still congratulate them for successfully using this game to connect their *cough* feelings," he chuckled lightly, and the girls around immediately squealed once again in dreamy look, probably imagining what Akashi and Furihata were doing at this very minute.

"Now, time for the next contestant to come up!" Hazuki yapped while grinning, resting his arm around Ryo's shoulder and the background music played once again to root for the occasion. "Saa, #4, please do look for your sweetheart!"

The colorful lights from the ceiling spun around for a moment before it zeroed on Midorima's green head. He huffed once, pushing his glasses up before padding forward.

"Oh! There you are! Please say your na—"

"Midorima Shintarou," Midorima immediately cut the expected line of the MC curtly, making Hazuki perspire in inelegant, paused smile. He didn't have time to waste because this was such a preposterous pastime. "Shuutoku High, class 2A, seat number 18." He harrumphed again before approaching the chambers slowly. "I really don't understand the importance of playing such nonsensical game. Even without saying much worthless sweet nothing, I believe that showing your feeling through your action is more important."

Midorima looked at the hands sticking out of the chambers one by one before he found the one which he was most familiar with, because that overactive hand always touched him unnecessarily, making skin contact here and there as if it tried to establish some kind of resilient connection with Midorima. He was also aware that the nonchalant and unfriendly vocabulary caused the spectators to look at him bizarrely, but he didn't really care.

Like hell I will embarrass myself by saying stupid cheesy things in public!—Midorima was annoyed that Takao even wanted him to participate in the game in the first place. He must have really fancied making fun of Midorima or something, seriously…!

"You're there aren't you, Takao? Does teasing me amuse you so much?" Midorima grimaced. "Testing my feelings for something I love and adore is an overkill, don't you think? You should have known, aren't you always beside me after all?"

"Ooh! Midorima-san suddenly called his sweetheart's name!" Hazuki announced in mock surprise, causing Midorima to flinch with the shameful way he had called Takao.

Midorima's scowl deepened slightly, his cheeks feeling rather hot. Then he hurriedly grasped the hand from the fifth chamber tightly. It was smaller than his own, but he knew the feel of that warm rather tan hand very well. Callused palm and fingers that helped him and assisted him in his flawless shooting. "Amongst everyone here… you know most about how I feel…! So stop joking around and come out here, idiot," he mumbled, feeling the air around him heating considerably as well. The hand in his hold trembled slightly before suddenly-

"Aaaah! Shin-chaaaan! Why are you so cuuuuuuute?!" Takao immediately launched himself at Midorima after yanking the curtain aside, and gave the green haired teen a bear, passionate hug that caused him to jump in shock and embarrassment.

"Ta-Ta-Takao!?" Midorima was very bewildered because Takao was fawning over him like a lunatic.

"Nnnh, that tsundere side of you is very irresistible! I love you so much, Shin-chan!" Takao continued enthusiastically while Midorima was trying to push him away.

"L-Let go! You—Bakao! Stop treating me like a dakimakura(1)!" Midorima protested harder, feeling his face burning because Takao had just confessed his love once again instead of him.

"Whoa… apparently the 'love' from the sweetheart has already surpassed the irrational level… Is there even necessary to give any test if the sweetheart doesn't even care whether his seeker sweet talks him or not?" Hazuki stared at them rather drearily.

"Hahaha, this type of couple is somehow also cute, huh?" Ryo laughed slightly, sounding nervous.

"Stop assuming things by yourself!" Of course Midorima tried to deny the allegation even though it was true that he and Takao were a couple. But he still wanted to keep that bit of information a secret. Well, Kise and Aomine might have seen them kiss, but after making sure that they would shut their trap, he believed that such sensitive information was only for him and Takao to know.

"Ahaha, but really, Shin-chan… I almost expected that you'd at least say that you liked me here… yet indeed, I'd prefer witnessing your dere-dere (2) side in private rather than in front of everyone else. After all… it's my special privilege, right?" Takao pulled Midorima's necktie down slightly and whispered quietly while looking upward at him before winking in suggestive expression. Midorima's face exploded in dark rosy color at the innuendo.

"TAKAO!"

Midorima almost choke the shorter, dark haired teen in mortification and rage before the collective squeals from the girls beat him to it. He and Takao were almost thrown down by the intensity of their scream. It was truly frightening, fan girls that were high from their desire in seeing some 'one on one' actions from their (instant) idols.

"As expected of the lovely girls…" Takao laughed as he slung his arm around Midorima's waist. "We're very popular, Shin-chan!"

"Shut up! And let go of me!" Midorima turned even redder at the realization that they were still very visible in public's eyes.

"Alright! Congrats on Midorima-san and Takao-san! They cleared the challenge just fine even without the mushy loving lines!" Hazuki gave both Midorima and Takao a thumb's up while the spectators guffawed in reaction at his joke.

"Now, Sin-chan… should we go somewhere else and take things further?" Takao pulled Midorima's arm down to murmur seductively in his ear. Midorima squeaked when he felt there was something wet swiping at his earlobe.

"I don't want to, you IDIOT!" and he couldn't help exploding like a volcano while whacking Takao's head hard for going too far in his teasing. Then he walked away from the spotlight fuming, leaving the passing out Takao on stage with a visible bump on his head.

#

"Ahem, well… it seems that we don't lose our sweetheart this time…" Ryo stared at Takao who was still lying motionlessly on the stage with an awkward smile.

"What a violent and scary seeker… is Takao-san okay?" Hazuki spoke in undertone facing the microphone with a bead of sweat rolling down his cheek, his eyes wide in unease.

"He's completely alive, so hurry and finish this stupid game!" Midorima hissed at the both MCs. His face was still very red, probably from anger, but there was a hint of discomfiture as well there.

"Ahaha… alright then, let's move to our next contestant. But before that, Takao-san, please wake up and go back to your chamber so we can mix up the order," Ryo called over the dark haired teen that slowly woke up while grinning goofily, muttering about 'how adorable his Shin-chan was' and so on that caused Midorima to turn like a tomato. After the shuffle, Ryo hurriedly looked at the note in his hand and read. "Okay, #3, please come up!"

"Oh, it's me?" Mibuchi raised his eyebrow. "Well, I'm not really confident that I'll get it right, but any of those delicious looking guys are fine," he smiled pleasantly as he made a beeline to the chambers. "Okay… I'm Mibuchi Reo, Rakuzan High, class 3E, seat number 22. As you can see, I've just changed partner, so forgive me if I make a mistake," he winked softly and the girls around immediately sighed distractedly.

"Let's see…" Mibuchi put his index finger on his mouth while thinking, looking at the hands presented in front of him and then tilted his head aside.

Anything will do as long as it's smaller than mine, right? It's a girl's hand after all—Mibuchi shrugged before he zeroed on a particular hand which had a very nice set of nails that came out from a hole at chamber 3. Ooh… this hand is beautiful. It's pale and smaller than mine, but the nails are very well maintained. Does she manicure it? I should ask where she usually does the nails so I can go there to get mine done next time…"

Mibuchi made up his mind and chose that hand. "Alright, I only met you a few minutes before, but I feel that we have an instant connection. It's probably because we were just dumped by our real partner, I believe," he laughed, followed by the spectators. "But I also believe that it's probably fate that we meet here right now, because then we can console each other's broken heart. Will you please accept my offer to become my special someone here, Akari-san?" He reached out and touched that hand leisurely, before enveloping it with his palm.

"My… such sweet word from our seeker! He's truly a lady killer!" Hazuki grinned and Mibuchi cringed hearing that.

I prefer a man killer though—he protested inwardly.

"Then… is it right that Akari-san is in there?" Ryo signaled the background music to play the drum and after a suffocating minute, someone slid the curtain aside and stepped out of the chamber.

"Too bad, it's wrong this time," a guy with dark hair and a beauty spot under his right eye, known as Himuro Tatsuya from Yousen, chuckled lightly while covering his mouth with his right hand since his left one was still in Mibuchi's hold. Mibuchi's face fell slightly at that.

Hazuki snorted and the audience cackled at the mistake while Mibuchi covered his forehead, sighing in defeat. "I just suddenly hoped that I really was your partner. You're so pretty, Tat-chan," he said, very disappointed that the beauty in front of him had already had a partner.

Himuro chuckled again, probably amused at the way Mibuchi called him. "Unfortunately, indeed. If only we met sooner, Mibuchi-kun," he actually went along with Mibuchi's line.

"Aaah, it's not good at all…! Muro-chin is miiiine~," Murasakibara's voice was heard somewhere behind Mibuchi and Himuro looked over his shoulder at the tallest boy in the room.

"Sheesh… Atsushi…" a hint of pink dusted Himuro's cheeks and Mibuchi chuckled at that.

"You have it bad," and he continued laughing, not even losing to the still snickering audience and the chortling Hazuki. Ryo only shook his head at his friend's antics.

#

"Alright, it's too bad that Mibuchi-san made a blunder here, but it's tolerable because they are instant partners. Now, please go back to your respective spots, guys… we will call up the next contestant!" Ryo exclaimed while he tried to tone Hazuki's laughter down for a bit by covering his mouth. After that there was a pause in the game to give the sweethearts time to mix up their order.

A few minutes later, Hazuki was considerably calm even though he was still shaking and the shuffle was done, so they were ready to continue. "Now, we call contestant #5! Please come up hear and claim your sweetheart!" Ryo once again shouted and the lights were immediately focused on Aomine.

"Finally it's my turn," Aomine muttered while huffing slightly in annoyance for being made to wait. He wasn't a patient person after all. He briskly walked toward the MCs before going up the stage, and then stopped in front of the chambers. "Alright, I'm Aomine Daiki, Touou Academy, class 2F seat number 8." He stopped for a moment and took a deep breath before exhaling soundly. "Seriously that Satsuki… why do I have to do this? I only want to explain the misunderstanding to Kise, sheesh…"

Aomine grumbled quietly so as not be heard by anyone while he inspected the hands that were visible from where he stood. Done with the general observation, he came closer to examine them one by one more prominently. As long as he had known, Kise had pale and smooth complexion, even more than girls' sometimes. Still, he also knew that the blond had a man's hand, big and strong enough to play basketball in par with him.

Well, I'm still stronger though, but a hand that can play against me that hard can't be that slender—Aomine thought silently while giving a nonchalant look to the obvious girls' hand. He stopped near chamber 4 and looked it up more closely. It's close, but it's too tan to be Kise's—he decided and moved to the next one. This is big enough to be a man's hand, but it's too lean… whoa, the nails are manicured!—Aomine raised his eyebrow. It's probably that Himuro guy, huh?—he shrugged before he moved to the next one and this time, Aomine was sure it was the right one.

After all, Aomine had held that hand once before. He did that again just to be sure and he was. "Kise," he called, forgetting that he had to sweet talk him first before doing any calling.

"Eh… did he just immediately call the name?" Hazuki criticized, sounding arid.

"Please sweet talk him first, Aomine-san," Ryo reminded him.

"I know, already! Shut your mouth up first!" Aomine turned to the both MCs and glared at them in intimidation, causing them to squeak in fear.

"We oppose violence!" they immediately stepped back in apprehension and Aomine just glowered at them until they clamped their mouth shut.

Aomine turned to face the chamber—Kise's chamber, while letting out a long sigh once again. "I really don't get you, you know. I hate complicated stuff and everything about you is complex and difficult. Sure, you're pretty and easy going. Sure, you show a million yen smile almost daily and that model's smile of yours is brilliant enough to earn you a gazillion or more fans, but I never knew whether that smile is real or just your way to hide your true self. Sometimes even I wonder if I am being deceived by your smiling mask."

Aomine paused for a few seconds to take another breath and continued. "But I do know when we play basketball together or against each other, you express yourself honestly. Your serious face, your frustrated growl, your sparkling eyes when you fight a good match… I think I love those sides of you better than your model's side… That's why… it threw me off a number of times when you showed such expressions only to me even outside basketball game. I didn't understand what it meant at first, but recently, I realized that it was in fact your subtle way to tell me that you were willing to being honest with me… because maybe I was special to you… once. And yet, I was probably too late in catching your signal because earlier… when I said I didn't want you to give up on me, you were showing me that special, genuine smile of yours while you were thinking of someone else." He closed his eyes, reminiscing the painful twinge in his heart as he confessed of what he was thinking. It was probably futile now, but he still wanted Kise to know how he felt despite everything.

"Kise… you have made yourself clear that you already moved on, that you didn't need to know how I feel because it would only cause both of us heartache. Still, when I tried to walk away silently, this time you came to me and saw me when I was at my worst. And you should know that there is NOTHING between me and Sakurai aside being classmates and teammates in the same basketball club. Heck, Sakurai was just there because Satsuki coerced him to mother me even though I didn't need it!" Now Aomine was pissed because everyone and everything seemed to go against him.

Stupid Satsuki for being nosy, stupid Ryou for being so timid, stupid Kasamatsu for interrupting my confession and stupid Kise for having the worst timing ever in finding me!

"That's why… once again I want you to stay still and hear me out." Aomine opened his eyes once again, tightening his grip on the hand while preparing his heart to say his feelings for the blond out loud. He took a deep breath and then- "Kise… I want you," he said it. "I don't know if this is what you desire from me or if this will only worsen our already strained relationship, but I believe my instinct and my instinct tells me that I want you by my side." He was sure of it. There was no doubt in his feeling and in his voice. Now, if only Kise was willing to reconsider his decision to give up on Aomine, he wouldn't ask for more.

Surprisingly this time, both Hazuki and Ryo didn't comment on what was said in the confession. Even the audience was silent. Aomine wasn't sure why. Maybe they were still afraid that Aomine would reacted violently if any of them disturbed his and Kise's moment. Well, Aomine would probably do, because he had had enough interruption and bad timing for a day already. It was good that the classroom was quiet, though… since like this, he could immediately notice any response from Kise when the blond decided to give out one.

But the one inside the chamber didn't say anything. The hand in Aomine's grasp was tense, shaking, gripping back Aomine's one hard enough to hurt. There was no word escaping from the chamber and the person didn't make any move to open the curtain as well. It tested Aomine's patience. If Kise wanted to say no, he should just come out and say it to his face!

Aomine, feeling jittery and irritated, decided to take the matter on his own hand and used his free hand to open the curtain. What he saw inside the chamber though, caused him to widen his eyes in a bombshell. Because there… inside the secret chamber that wasn't so secretive was Kise… covering his crimson face, crying heavily in silence.

"H-hold on, what—?! Why the hell are you crying!?" Aomine instantly panicked because he had never seen Kise crying like that before. Sure, he cried crocodile tears very often, but the way Kise cried at this moment was so heartbreaking that even Aomine felt that he wanted to cry along with him. "Kise…!"

You really… don't need to hear my newly found feeling, huh…?—Aomine almost released Kise's hand while gritting his teeth bitterly, but Kise's grip on his was too strong to forsake. And yet… you still isn't letting it go… you idiot…!

"You're… the idiot one… Aomine-chi…!" Kise sobbed and hic-cupped, still covering his face tightly, as if he were trying to hide his unsightly face from the world even though billions of his fans would murder anyone that dared to call him ugly, since Kise possessed such pretty facial form that even lots of tears couldn't possibly ruined it, only enhancing its beauty even more.

"Huh, did I say that out loud?" Aomine huffed out a half-hearted laugh, feeling funny and sorry for himself because Kise still insulted his intelligence even at such delicate time. Well, he deserved it, he guessed. He was indeed a fool for ruining everything. Now he probably couldn't be friends with Kise anymore, right?

"Why… why didn't you say anything sooner…?" Kise sniveled again, this time almost making Aomine fall down comically.

"Didn't I just say that I only realized it recently?!" Aomine protested and Kise sobbed harder, apparently deciding not to hear anything Aomine said and focused on saying what was on his mind.

"Do you have any idea that how hard it is to give up on your first love?" Kise continued, still unwilling to show his face properly and sounding a little bit angry. "Do you know how much of tears I shed just for you?" His hold on Aomine's hand was tightening even more, almost to the point of crushing. Oh, and it was painful, indeed. Kise probably tried to make a point by doing that, conscious or not.

"I probably have no clue whatsoever, but… I think I don't want to think about giving up on you," Aomine huffed, struggling a little to pull Kise out of the chamber into his arms, surprising the blond and probably the entire classroom when he nudged Kise's soft, dazzling blond hair with his nose. Kise smelled nice, like flower. Seriously, what kind of guy smelled like flower? He inhaled Kise's fragrance to his heart content before sighing deeply while caressing his back gently. "I really do want you."

Kise clenched at Aomine's uniform with his right hand snugly and buried his face on Aomine's shoulder, weeping some more, like he was relieved to be in Aomine's embrace. He chanted Aomine's name repeatedly as if it were a prayer. Well, probably he was praying that it was real and wasn't just a stupid joke or something. The blond kept crying and he didn't seem about to stop anytime soon, so Aomine turned to face the MCs who immediately winced in unison.

Aomine mouthed at them "I'm bringing him home," without a sound and both MCs nodded repetitively in nervous look. No one dared to make a sound as Aomine slowly steered the still sniveling Kise to the exit and then they were out of the room before Aomine slid the door close.

"Let's go home, Kise," Aomine said, patting Kise's head affectionately while smiling gently.

Kise was silent for awhile before sniffing once and- "Take me home, Aomine-chi," whispering almost inaudibly, causing Aomine to flush slightly at the somewhat innocent -but not really- request.

"Hell yeah, I will," Aomine responded to it in hushed tone, pulling the blond to walk away from the festival to enjoy some alone time together… this time to a place where no one could disturb them anymore.

End of Chapter 17

Tbc…


Extra Notes:

1)Dakimakura: a nice pillow to hug *lol*

2)Dere-dere: a loving personality

A/N: Oh, great… now there isn't even any KagaKuro in this chapter…(; ̄д ̄) Seriously, me, the hell? This is supposed to be KagaKuro story, you dumbass! (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻ Ah man… too many pairing is hard to make, seriously. I haven't even put Mukkun/Himuro part in here, damn it! Just watch it, next chapter will be a KagaKuro revenge! Ah, as always… feedback? (◕‿◕✿)