Pairing: one-sided Kise/Aomine

Warnings: Angst, and a nice load of it; not much plot; possible OOC-ness and rusty writing skills.

Summary: Songfic based off Behind a Painted Smile by Isley Brothers.

Disclaimer: I do not in any way own Kuroko no Basket and its characters. All I own is an angsty mind and some feeble writing skills.

Whenever you're near I hide my tears
Behind a painted smile

His phone beeped a familiar tune, notifying him of a new message. With a used gesture, the blond fished the cell out of his jacket pocket, reading what news the world has for him…when he noticed the sender's number, his lips contorted into a bittersweet smile that spoke volumes.

You can't imagine the tears and sorrow
Behind a painted smile

Rapidly, he texted back to agree to kill the rest of the afternoon together. He had never denied him company after all, and probably never will. Many thought that it was simply not in his nature to say "no" at all… but it wasn't that simple. Life was a sequence of events where you could say "no" and move on, or choose not to and trap yourself in the endless cycle of repetition… he could have said no, he just didn't want to. It would be better for him to cut himself off and move on, but he couldn't bear the thought of it. So he smiled.

My life's a masquerade
A world of let's pretend, yeah

Kise breathed in and out slowly, and put on his practised smile like it was a piece of clothing – well, in a way, it was. A mask for everyone to see, to hide his true feelings, to make everyone like him. Like a girl would apply her make-up every morning, he would plaster the never-ending smile on his face, and keep up the charade throughout the day without failure. He was a master of the routine by now; no one would notice the ugly feelings he hid away beneath the pretty face, the flawless manners, the flashy clothes, the flattering words, the bright smile.

Since you took your love
Pretending never ends, yeah

His former teammates were no exception. His melodical laughter would echo across the street as he would shower Kuroko with attention time and time again, only to hide the ugly beast roaring inside him – that ugly beast by the name of jealousy. Yes, Kurokocchi was adorable like a puppy, and a genious player in his own way, and if it wasn't for another factor, Kise would be his honest friend… yet that one factor made all the difference. What no one knew was that Kise hated Kuroko… hated him from the bottom of his wretched, shattered heart.

But I can't let you know
That I still need you so, no

But of course, Kise was a professional, how could anyone know? Besides that, he couldn't afford anyone uncovering his ugly secret… from time to time, he thought that Kuroko had figured it out, and it scared him. The cold, deadpanned glance that the kid gave him scared the shit out of him – but regardless whether he knew or not, Kuroko was not the one to discuss other people's affairs, that much Kise knew he could count on. So all he could do was keep his little game up, paint a smile on his face and act like he always had… after all, he couldn't let him know what he felt.

I can't let you see
All the tears I'm crying

Sure, he had considered confessing before. But that was a foolish dream, followed by a harsh awakening to the real world… Aominecchi and Kurokocchi were an item, anyone could see that. Even if perhaps it had not been official, even if they had not enjoyed the carnal pleasure of a relationship, their minds were the same and their hearts beat as one. There was no room for Kise there; he was just a foolish third wheel, always getting in the way, annoying Aominecchi and getting scolded every time… but he kept getting in the way nonetheless. He craved for attention, and any form of it would do, even if it was anger, frustration and irritation.

You would pity me
That would be like dying

He used to imagine how his face would look if he confessed. Would he be shocked? Would he laugh? Would he pity him? …knowing him, probably all of that and more. His eyes would widen asymmetrically as always when he was surprised, with one brow raised higher than the other, and he'd question his sanity or ask him if he was joking first… then, he'd probably try to laugh it off, try to convince Kise it was just a misconception on his part, and then finally, he'd pity him… he probably wouldn't say sorry, but Kise knew he was a good, caring person inside, and he'd feel sorry for him.

If I can't have your love
I don't need your sympathy

But Kise doesn't need that. He doesn't need his pity, doesn't need the tea and sympathy… he needs him to be the way he's always been. That's why… he can never know. He needs him to stay just like this, a happy basketball junkie, getting high on adrenaline during evenly-matches one-one-ones, smiling that contagious wide grin of his, being rash and destructive when he's upset, and never really showing that best side of him – the part of him that is actually a devoted, caring gentleman, the kind they don't make anymore.

I just can't let you see
How much you hurting me

If he knew how Kise felt, it would trouble him… that careless face of his, never clouded by troubles heavier than Maths homework would become marred with worry, and his proud shoulders would slouch down from the burdening weight overhead. No, he had to be strong. He had to be strong for Aominecchi, and for himself… paint the smiling face again, and keep going. He was a master illusionist after all, the best clown in the parade.

Whenever you're near I hide my tears
Behind a painted smile