When Midorima has soaked and recharged and is facing the long empty silence of a night after a loss, he goes through his jersey pockets and finds a scrap of paper with a mail address.
He thinks he recognizes the (execrable) handwriting, but he can't sleep for yearning anyway.
Who is this, he sends.
Are you an idiot, Kagami Taiga sends back. Good game he adds, as though in afterthought. Midorima cannot imagine why Kagami Taiga has slipped him his mail address if all he wanted to do was insult Midorima, and says so.
Also you are the idiot, not me, he finishes.
I can't sleep, Kagami sends back, ignoring all of Midorima's perfectly salient points. You too, huh?
I would sleep if you didn't keep bothering me, says Midorima huffily. It's true. He would be able to fall asleep if he didn't keep straining for the sound of the alert chime, for checking to make sure he hasn't missed a reply.
You're the one who mailed me, Kagami sends back. There's a long list of reasons this is true, but also wrong. Good night, then.
Midorima dithers a very little, but replies, Good night.
"You thanked Midorima-kun for his pencil?" said Kuroko, sipping his milk.
"Well, yeah," said Kagami, shrugging. "I mean, I hate to admit it, but I basically had to. I wouldn't have been playing without it."
"That's true," said Kuroko, mildly. "How did he take it?"
"He's sent four mail messages already and I'm still scrolling," said Kagami, phone in one hand, sandwich in the other. "Who the hell does he think he is, anyway? Can't he just take a thanks and shut up?"
"He's very diligent," said Kuroko. "Midorima-kun will probably be Shuutoku's top student, or very near that. He works very hard and is quite intelligent."
"Oh," said Kagami. He thought for a moment. "So he'd be a good person to study with."
Kuroko experienced an immediate and vivid flashback to the horror of keeping Murasakibara-kun and Aomine-kun out of summer classes so that they could go to training camps, and the unwitting discovery that Kuroko's own math grades were hardly up to snuff, and the horror, the horror.
"You could say that," said Kuroko.
"Heh," said Kagami, typing. "See how he likes that."
Kuroko blinked at him. "You've... invited Midorima-kun to study with you?" he said.
"Well, tutor," said Kagami. "We're in different schools after all. He wants to nag me about how I pass my exams, he can damn well put his money where his mouth is."
Kuroko opened his mouth, but the class bell rang before he could think of anything to say; in contrast, Midorima's reply was flashed at him over Kagami's shoulder.
As you wish. I'll make you regret your carelessness.
"You live by yourself?" said Midorima, surprised.
"Since junior high," said Kagami, and noted that Midorima somehow looked even better dressed up than he did when sweaty and bare-armed and muscles, looking all prim and proper with his bookbag and his sweater vest and fuck Kagami really needed to get himself under control, Midorima seemed likely to spook like a deer at the slightest provocation.
"It's not- filthy," said Midorima, fascinated. He began to rapidly revise his inital mental comparision of Kagami to Aomine. "How do you feed yourself?"
"I cook," said Kagami, and put out the jug of iced tea. He had the air conditioner going, but it was still hot as hell outside. He'd never get used to the humdity. Midorima did not even appear to sweat.
While Midorima stared silently at him (doubting all that he believed in this world) Kagami sat across from him at the coffee table. Kagami was dressed much better than Midorima would have expected. He'd never thought that Kagami Taiga could be- would be-
So stupid. Midorima's head fell forward onto his hands, in order to not let Kagami Taiga see a strong man cry.
"There's a court just outside," Kagami offered, having emerged from differential equations completely unscathed by knowledge. "Let's take a break. One on one."
"You are not going to improve your grades by taking breaks," said Midorima.
"Can you even play basketball when it doesn't involve your precious threes?" said Kagami.
Midorima's eyes narrowed. "Of course I can," he said, refusing to rise to the bait.
"Oh, yeah?" said Kagami, and smirked at the other boy, and maybe they did need a break, or at least Midorima needed a break from having to pound facts into Kagami's thick head, and something about being so close to Kagami- having to show him stroke order so he could mimic it, sitting right up next to him so that Kagami molded to his side and spoke English into his ear with his breath- screw it, Midorima needed the break.
"Shit, lost track of time," said Kagami, looking at his phone. Midorima shook his, and stared perplexed at the dark sky. Surely they hadn't been going at it so long? It seemed they'd barely started, though that could just have been the bullheaded simplicity of Kagami's basketball, the way it took his breath away. "It's my fault it got this late. Wanna stay for dinner?"
Midorima stuck his- still slightly wet, after he'd jumped away from Kagami with the towel trying to go at his hair- head into Kagami's room. "Why did you mail me from next door?" he said. Kagami was wider than him, and the shirt- smelled, in a laundry sort of way. Kagami's room smelled less clean, more... Kagami. He used some kind of funny soap, and now Midorima smelled of it too.
Kagami grinned at him, sheepishly. "I'm used to saying good night to you," he said, sitting up on his bed, long legs ranged out before him.
"I'm right here!" said Midorima, affronted. "Is the concept also too hard for you to grasp?"
"That's true," Kagami agreed. "Wish me good night, then."
Midorima glared at him. "You are the one who needs to abide by your own ridiculous habit," he said.
"Oh yeah?" said Kagami. "What's tomorrow's lucky item?"
Midorima shoved his glasses up. "Headphones, of course," he said. He had already secured a pair of Kagami's, sitting safely beside the spare bed. "Something to help you hear. I am going to go to sleep now. Good night."