It takes a mere couple of days for life to, once again, prove Midorima wrong when he runs into the strange blonde at the bus stop near their house, of all places - a meat bun between Kise's teeth as he rummages into his bag with a worried expression, hair sticking up every which way, tie done up haphazardly (he was wearing the standard Teikou uniform this time, Midorima notes with satisfaction) and looking all too frazzled for 7:15 on a Wednesday morning.

Midorima considers going back home and pretending that he didn't see the other boy but taking the bus after the one that would be arriving in three minutes would make him late and Tanaka-sensei, the teacher on duty on Wednesdays, was nothing short of insufferable. So he takes a calming breath, approaches the other as he would a rabid animal, sits on the farthest end of the bench, determined to ignore the blonde, when Kise looks up, blinks in delighted surprise.

"Megane-kun!" he exclaims.

Midorima glares at that, all plans of ignoring the other gone the moment Kise takes the bun out of his mouth and starts talking. "It's Midorima, not Megane-kun."

Kise laughs, "Of course it is, Mega- Midorima-kun!" And then, "Hey, so you do live around here! I thought I've seen you on the bus a couple of times before."

It was Midorima's turn to blink, wonders how he managed not to notice someone who stands out as much as Kise does - not that watching people was a particular past time of his - but Midorima has lived in this part of Tokyo for almost all his life and he'd never run into someone like Kise before he came to Teikou.

"This is great, don't you think? It's the first time I've met anyone my age in this neighborhood. I just moved from Kanagawa, by the way, so everything's a bit new to me, not only school," Kise continues, munching on his meat bun, whatever he had been searching for in his bag totally forgotten. "What class are you in, by the way?"

No, it's not great, Midorima mentally disagrees, cringes at the other's cheerfulness and at the horror of having the other start hanging around him at school, is thankfully saved from answering by the bus arriving, after which all he has to worry about is toppling over and/or being squished against random people in a over packed bus to even realize that he'd told a beaming Kise that he was in class I-A.


Akashi Seijurou was someone Midorima has known since childhood - what with their mothers having gone to the same high school and having been in the same club - and one of the very few people Midorima associated with on a regular basis of his own free will. The other was a genius, for the lack of a better word, an excellent shogi player, and strange enough that people usually gave him a wider berth than they did Midorima, though maybe it had something to do with the (naturally) red hair and mismatched eyes. They had always been in the same class in grade school and it was a relief when Midorima found out that they would be in the same class at Teikou as well. Akashi was a generally reasonable kind of person, though he had called Midorima "Shintarou" ever since he could remember and Midorima had forgotten that it ever annoyed him in the first place. Because, though Akashi was far from normal, he was a friend and what was one whim every now and then between friends?

He is not as forgiving, though, when he learns that Akashi had signed both of them up for both the student council and the basketball team without any warning. Akashi just shrugs when he confronts him about it, looks at him strangely and says, "Well, you were going to sign up for both anyway. I just took the liberty of doing it for you."

Midorima frowns at another display of his friend's uncanny foresight - he had been thinking of signing up for both but was worried about keeping his grades up if he did so - and it was sort of a relief for the decision to be taken out of his hands but still...

"You could quit if it doesn't work out," Akashi adds nonchalantly. "But then, that would be finally admitting that I am better than you."

The jibe was playful and something that had been a running joke between them but Midorima reads the underlying challenge in it, glares and mutters a resigned "Fine," when he learns that practice for first years starts the following morning.


Midorima leaves home at 5:45 on Thursday morning to find the bus stop predictably empty - and the bus even emptier; remembers yesterday's run in with Kise and wonders offhandedly if he signed up for any clubs that required practice this early in the morning - though he doubts it if the blonde barely manages to make it to school on time on a regular basis; makes a mental note to teach Kise how to do up his tie the next time he sees the other boy, convinces himself that it's just because Kise's seems so hopeless that Midorima is willing to make an exception just this once.