title Remember that time you pulled up next to me near the traffic light? Your hair was blowing in the wind and although you were a fundamental expression of beauty I didn't say a single word
pairings/characters aida/momoi, kise & the girl who dated him in teikou, slight aomine/kuroko and akashi/midorima, boom boom haizaki boom, a weirdly ubiquitous imayoshi
rated pg-13
warnings lol don't read this
notes femslaaash. also basically an alternative interpretation of kise's adorably bitter banter regarding his ex-girlfriend in c172. culprits of this endeavor: hot springs & h-h-haizaki-kun o/o this is long and stupid and i'm sorry for writing it
summary Bro do you even drift.


-/-

-/-

In her second year of high school she lived by herself, near the train station with direct transfers to Tokyo, two steps away from the park with the purple elephant slide. Her neighbours bade her good evening when it was still early in the afternoon, and on weekdays she rode the bus to school. She made few friends and fewer acquaintances, played in the school orchestra for extracurriculars, listened to the radio for dramatic effect. Her apartment complex was a solitary affair, with few amenities and all the loneliness in the world.

The handsome college boy who occupied the 1DK room on the floor below invited himself over every Friday for hotpot and reruns of Gekidan Engimono. He'd befriended her rather recklessly, shared with her his aspirations toward becoming a member of a Kansai boy band despite it being obvious to both of them that his pants were worn and that he was past his prime; his applications had been rejected from all but the companies that did gay pornos.

"You should just forget about it, Imayoshi-san," she told him regularly, with little success. "There hasn't been a good act to spring from this end of the country since KinKi Kids. You know."

"How can you say that, huh," said Imayoshi, stretched out on her tatami like a cat. "You totally forgot about Eito."

"That's because they're shit."

"Don't say that. You're not even from around here. How dare you say that!"

She let a small smile pass over her face. "You're right about that, at least. I don't belong here. I considered going to Kaijou High School in Kanagawa Prefecture, but it didn't seem right, after all."

"Kaijou!" Imayoshi crowed. "I actually know that one. They've got a strong men's basketball team. I played a little in high school, myself. Did I ever tell you."

"Oh, so you know them?" She said, rolling a toothpick between her fingers. She shouldn't have been surprised, then again, because she'd heard from him in the past that he had gone to school in Tokyo. A sure bet for Todai and everything. In that respect, it didn't really matter now. "Ehh...I wonder if Imayoshi-san ever played against them. But you must be familar with Kise Ryouta-kun, then. I went to Teikou Junior High with that guy."

Imayoshi rolled over onto his belly and straightened up to his elbows. "Did you," he said, yawning, gaze sharp underneath his glasses. "Let me have a guess, then. You had a huge fangirly crush on Kise-kun in junior high, didn't you? You wanted to follow him there, didn't you?"

She grinned. "I'll give you partial points for that guess. I went above and beyond the other girls. We were a couple."

"Pfft. No way."

"Way."

"Kise Ryouta, dating a girl," his smile was wider than hers. "Who would have thought?"

She shrugged. The toothpick snapped between her thumb and index finger. "I was the one who fucked it up at the end, so it's not like it's a big deal anyway."

He licked his lips. "Really, now, that's not the Kise-kun I remember. I'd have thought that he'd be the one to fuck up a relationship, for sure. I wouldn't mind hearing this story."

"Nah, it was definitely my fault. I was kind of a shallow bitch until the very end, you see. But I fell in love with him, all the same. It's that stupid of a story."

-/-

-/-

Together they filled the negative space in the double bed, ankles entwined, Momoi's limbs wrapped around Aida's torso like an octopus, just enough room for a blanket and maybe two square pillows. Momoi slept on her back with her chin tilted toward the ceiling and Aida slept on her side, mouth half-open and fingers folded underneath her head to cushion the heavier thoughts. The lighting remained ambient and they breathed sparingly, careful not to stir the dust on the desk.

"You should listen to yourself think, sometimes," Momoi whispered into Aida's ear. "Your thoughts are so prickly. Honestly."

"Stop trying to pretend you know what I'm thinking," Aida whispered back. "It's kind of annoying."

A hushed giggle. "I applaud your insight, Barely-B Aida Riko-chan. Here's a prize."

-A kiss on the mouth, administered simply, softly, a sliver shy of skeptically.

"Hey, don't get cocky. Remember who you've got here and what you're doing."

"Don't you mean, what I've got here and whoI'm doing?"

"Ha ha."

-/-

-/-

Because this was only a small fraction of what Aida remembered, the rest of the convoluted storyline between her and Momoi Satsuki being far too reprehensible and perhaps a bit wet around the edges, that she'd conveniently lost the opportunity to inform anybody else of the current progression of events. Initial interactions with Momoi had proven innocuous, and she had believed herself to be reasonably happy. She couldn't be exactly sure why this had been a prerequisite that she'd ticked the box for in the beginning; her resolutions had frozen overnight and the scarier questions were still up in the air. Statements were made and forgotten: that she liked to collect hair ribbons, that she enjoyed the americano just fine without the ice cubes, that she preferred to date men, that her boobs weren't that small (so fuck you too, Momoi). Her heart didn't beat very fast, either, but that was no surprise given her preference for aerobic physical exercise. The only confusing plot device made reference to the flowers in the garden pot outside, how they had wilted in the weak sunshine, and how Hyuuga hadn't been there to convince her to take care of it. How irresponsible of Hyuuga, really.

So Momoi came over. Momoi was happy about coming over. She had crossed the gymnasium lobby that day wearing skinny blue jeans and a white t-shirt with a pink sports bra underneath, her hands empty and her heart only slightly emptier. Aida had been certain at first that it was merely for the purposes of Momoi's trademark black market data collection, inevitable regardless of her victim's disposition towards the matter, but when Momoi had taken it upon herself to lock the doors and close the curtains and slide careful fingers up Aida's skirt, she'd understood quite clearly that it had bloomed overnight into something different and hopeless and maybe kind of exciting along the way, the convoluted storyline between her and Momoi Satsuki had evolved like some stupid Pokemon, and now here they were.

"I want to try this," Momoi told her. "Can we try this?"

"I don't understand."

"Nothing to understand, really. I like you. I know you like me. That's enough."

"What happened to Kuroko-kun," asked Aida, and it only occurred to her later how obvious the answer to this question really was. "What happened to your once-in-a-lifetime?"

"You're really going to ask me," said Momoi. She smiled crisply, and Aida could see the small tips of her teeth. "I'll say it again, Barely-B Aida Riko-chan: I know you like me. That's enough."

She learned about the sacrifices made and the bloodshed that had occurred over New Year's, three days later and underneath a thin blanket, her back bare and her mouth soft from kissing Momoi's lips. The war had only lasted two weeks, but Momoi had come out from the other end in bitter defeat and completely at a loss for how to proceed. And naturally,naturally, her next choice had been Aida Riko.

"This makes aboslutely no sense to me. But you knew that already."

"I considered Koganei-kun, too, to be honest," Momoi shrugged. "Figured the shock value wouldn't be as high. Data, Riko-chan. It's all in the data. You had the penguindrum until the very end."

That autumn, her hair had still been short.

-/-

-/-

The auditorium got darker during the winter. Several smaller shards of light continued to pass through certain chokepoints and fractures in walls, but for the most part it was gloomy and dim and altogether beautifully presumptuous. Aomine laid his head down on the stage and stared up into the rafters. In the past, Satsuki would have probably followed him here, nagging about something spectacularly important that he'd intentionally forgotten, but she hadn't been here in a while, and although he was aware of the inferences that she'd drawn over New Year's, he'd decided a long time ago that there was nothing he could have done to prevent the trains from reaching the transfer station. He and Satsuki had the shittiest luck in the world. It was why Midorima avoided both of them regularly.

A cough.

"You really haven't changed at all, have you."

He opened one eye. Sniffed the air, recognized the accent, and became immediately annoyed. "What are you doing here?"

"Gosh, it's been a while, hasn't it. How've you been, Aomine-kun?"

"Apparently I haven't changed at all," he said, rolling his eyes. "Thought you couldn't wait to get out of this shithole. You came back way too quickly. Classic Imayoshi."

"Oi, don't give me that! I had some free time. Wanted to do a little detective research. May I ask you a few questions?"

"Not interested. Don't you have exams to study for?"

Imayoshi ignored him. "I want to know about a girl that Kise Ryouta-kun dated in Teikou."

"Oh." Aomine rolled over onto his side. "That girl? Why do you wanna know about her. She was dumb. Like the rest of the people from that school. They were all dumb."

"Is that right."

"Yeah. She almost got Kise to quit basketball. It was a dangerous time for all of us, know what I'm saying? Especially since Haizaki was about to get the scissor from Akashi, and we weren't gonna just bring out Tetsu for some league game. And then that fucker Midorima didn't make a basket so he flipped like twenty shits during practice. That chick nearly ruined us."

"I see. Wait a minute, how do you know which girl I'm talking about?"

"Whichgirl?" Aomine snorted. "There was only ever one."

"...Ah," said Imayoshi. "I think I understand. Yes, it makes much more sense to me now."

"Does it?"

"It does. Say, don't you think it's getting a bit dark in here to stay for so long after school hours?"

"Whatever," said Aomine. "I'm just gonna rub my dick here and think about Tetsu. You can leave now."

"You really haven'tchanged at all, have you."

"Not really, no."

-/-

-/-

There was once a prince of a minor kingdom who lived in a castle full of cats. The prince was a shut-in and an evil genius who did not place much value in human contact. He ordered his groceries over the internet and composed blog entries about the cats that lived in the castle. The cats were all sorts of different breeds and colors and shapes and sizes, and he wrote stories about all of them. The cats enjoyed listening to techno music, and they often drifted into the streets of the prince's kingdom to dance and pretend that they lived in the desert, because this way they could be better off alone. Eventually the prince became upset with the cats for spending too much time out of the castle. He ordered GPS devices off the internet and installed them onto little metal bracelets that he tied to the right paw of each cat so he could track where they went. He later expanded this project by installing nanotech cameras on the cat bracelets, developing a Cat Surveillance System that enabled him to view the world outside of the castle objectively.

"I don't understand you at all," said Aida.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean on one hand it's supposed to be a medieval Europe setting, but then you added sentient cats into it and somehow there's hypermodern technology involved too?"

"That's what people will like about it. And well obviously I'm not done writing it yet," Momoi frowned. "Now hush."

The world was a beautiful place viewed from the Cat Surveillance System, you see. There was all sorts of nasty shit in the real world that the prince had not experienced, from people getting hit by horse-drawn carts to kids getting bullied in the space station. With the help of the cats, the prince witnessed a businessman cheat on his wife with a co-worker who sat two desks to his left, a saleswoman go to work with a gun in her hip to seek revenge for the sexual harrassment that she had endured from her superiors for three months, and an eighty-year-old grandmother being blackmailed into staging her own death so that her children could collect the life insurance. He concluded that his kingdom was full of a lot of terrible people, and decided that he would use his evil genius to inflict divine punishment on his kingdom, a la fire and brimstone. It seemed only fitting, after all, when cats who listened to techno music and drifted through the streets were happier than his own people.

"Don't play the god card. That's so Death Note. You need some romance to draw in an even demographic."

"Shut up. I do what I want. Plus, don't you think that the cats drifting in the streets present a very romantic element to the fiction?"

"I think you're missing the point here," said Aida. "You're not planning on making the cats the main characters, are you?"

"Is there something wrong with that? You'd rather I write about humans overcoming struggles and overcoming moral dilemmas? That's so overrated."

"And is there something wrong with that? People tend to enjoy that sort of thing. Anyway, go on with the story, I want to hear the rest of it."

"Hmph. Not much to tell after that. The cats band together and decide to change the prince's mind. They travel to the happier parts of the town and gather a bunch of tearjerker scenes on the Cat Surveillance System, making the prince lament his decision. He finds out that the cheating husband has a terminal disease. The superiors who harrassed the saleswoman have a terminal disease, too. Later on, the octogenarian also contracts a terminal disease. So we end up with a bunch of cats and the prince crying about people dying of terminal diseases. Oh and I guess some princess from a distant land makes her way to the prince's kingdom, and the story ends when she reaches his front door. He fucks the bitch in the epilogue."

"..."

"Well? How does that sound, Riko?"

"It just sounds like you're angry with me."

"What did you think? If I wanted to write a goddamn human drama with moral struggles and stupid mainstream romance, I would've just written about your life. 'Barely-B Aida Riko-chan's Bizarre Adventure, Getting Dumped by Her Basketball Team After Developing Feelings for the Captain and Finding Him in a Relationship with Their Old Center Player, Listening to Bad Break-up Songs by Kanjani8 Whilst Crying Herself to Sleep Every Night, Having Pity Sex with Her Rival School's Team Manager to Satisfy Her Faint Masochistic Tendencies, Ultra-Sexy Lesbian Romance with a Twist!' In stores this February-'"

"Stop that,Satsuki. You know that's not how it is."

Momoi rolled her eyes. "You don't have to say it. I know what you're thinking anyway. I know because I like you that much. So don't say anything, otherwise it would hurt me. You don't want to hurt me, do you? Or maybe I'm wrong about that, too."

-/-

-/-

She stopped by a coffee shop on the way home that day. It was a Saturday and she had spent the majority of it rehearsing with the rest of the orchestra club members in the music room at school. More than half of the violinists had already committed the first two movements to memory, and they'd only been there by proxy, mostly to make sure that the underclassmen weren't taking time to slack off and play videogames. You could never be sure with the underclassmen. She hadn't understood when she'd been an underclassman, but it was more or less an accepted doctrine, now.

It was at this point, outside the coffee shop, that she was overcome by an intense feeling of inexplicable content; she'd fallen asleep on the bus home and gotten off three blocks too far from the transfer station, but it didn't bother her all that much. The snowfall was light on this side of the country, and there hadn't been any nightmares past the front gates of the high school to suggest an ulterior motive. She figured that stopping by for an americano would not deviate too much from her ordinary schedule, reminded in particular of the fact that nobody in her apartment complex really took note of her presence other than Imayoshi-san, opened the door and allowed the caffeine to run its fingers through her hair. Her spectral cheer was merely a passing figurative of time, after all.

"Welcome. How may I help you?"

Halfway across the country from where she'd began and too late for it to be incidentally factual, Haizaki Shougo greeted her from behind the counter.

-/-

-/-

Imayoshi invited Kise Ryouta out to for teppanyaki that weekend, after five separate attempts to reach him through his high school office and his modeling agency. He'd finally managed the impossible by swiping several phone numbers from Aomine, and only after a short-lived death match that had concluded in the purchase of another 5000 yen photobook (Horikita Mai-chan, swimsuit feature in Ultra-Sexy Lesbian Romance with a Twist!JUN 2014).

"I really didn't want to approach you this way," said Imayoshi, the same time Kise bowed his head and said, "Thanks for inviting me out to dinner, Imayoshi-san!"

"But it's gotta be something important, right? Since I know you used to really hate my guts and stuff," Kise said. He flashed Imayoshi a bright grin and picked up the menu. "Oh maan, the last time I had teppanyaki was like back in first year! Somehow me and Kurokocchi and Midorimacchi and Kagamicchi ended up at the same table. It was the best awkward atmosphere ever..."

Imayoshi folded his hands together and regarded Kise carefully. "Don't you think this is a bit weird, though?"

"Hm? What's weird? What's weird, Imayoshi-san, huh?"

"I really don't treat people to dinner that often. Doesn't this make you suspect that I am up to no good?"

Kise's smile waned a little. Imayoshi watched a fleeting thought pass over his face, but it was shrugged off as quick as it had been there. "Even if I do suspect you, there's no way I can prevent your clever interrogation anyway, right? Hahaha! I'll just enjoy the food as much as I can."

"Is that how you see this?" said Imayoshi.

"Pretty much," Kise said, and hesitated. "Besides."

"Besides?"

"I know what you're here for, anyway. Imayoshi-senpai, you're currently attending Keio Riverside U in Osaka, am I right?"

"I am, in fact."

"Then yeah, I know exactly what you're here for. I bet you even rented out one of those cheap 1DKs near the transfer station."

"..."

"...It's about her, isn't it?"

"I am simply afraid that I cannot befriend this girl without worrying about the excessive amount of emotional baggage that she has accumulated over the years from consorting with you. Mostly just because it's you, though."

"Sure, sure. You're a good friend, I get it, but you really don't need my OK to ask her out. She's cool about stuff like that, promise! But before I tell you anything, you'll have to know that it was totally, 100 percent her fault."

-/-

-/-

Aida took the next few days to reflect on her personal well-being. She tied her hair back on the morning of Monday and went to school without thinking about basketball, made it through the rest of English class without thinking about basketball, and ate her lunch on the rooftop without thinking about basketball. The halls were empty by the afternoon because it happened to be Sports Day, and as she walked past the gym she heard the sounds of shoes squeaking against the wooden floor. A small lump formed in her throat, and she swallowed down the more terrible parts by pretending that there was a flower pot in the garden outside and that nobody had been there to water it. It had been worse last week, but it was manageable now, at least.

you sure youre doing ok?, Momoi texted her during break, while she was sitting down near the back of the school and wiping away the last few strands of stupid tears. maybe you should just try talking to them about it. no reason to subject yourself to so much unnecessary pain! you are so fkin M

over my dead body, she texted back. Later in the day she made a personal fieldtrip to the aquarium in Shinagawa. To see the sharks.

-/-

-/-

"Iced Americano, hold the ice."

"Will do. That will be 550 yen."

"Here you go. Keep the change, please."

The coins clinked on the counter. Haizaki-kun looked her in the eye.

"Thanks for trying," he said. His hands were jittery and there were several rings on his first two fingers. He tapped his rings against the cash register loudly. "Good effort, really. But that won't be enough to keep me away from you."

"How did you even find me?"

"The Cat Surveillance System, of course. Is that even a question?"

His movements were faster than she remembered. In another second he had already made his way over to the other side of the counter, his shadow large and unfortunately intimidating, spun her around until she was facing the back of the shop. She looked behind her, panicked. There were no other customers in here. "What are y-"

"Quiet," he snapped, putting a finger to her lips. His voice was clipped and calculated and just a bit quiet, too quiet for the kind of shit that he'd put her through in the past. "Nobody wants to hear you talk, anyway. I've waited three fucking years for this moment. So stop running away from me. What's this in your pocket, don't tell me you still have that fucking jar?"

He had been gripping her arms, but at this point he loosened his hold and sat her down at a table. She rubbed the place on her shoulder where he'd grabbed at roughly. If she'd been a bit more annoying, he probably would have given her a black eye. "And why shouldn't I run away? You're just gonna bitch at me some more," she said coldly. "I don't want anything to do with you anymore."

He sighed, pulled out the chair opposite her, and sat down on it with a weird expression on his face. She braced herself for the worst.

"...I just wanted to say sorry."

She raised her eyebrows. "What the fuck? What could you be sorry for?"

"I thought you'd actually keep messing around with Kise Ryouta, but I played him last season at the Winter Cup. It looked to me like he was himself again."

"What do you mean," she said, "he's always been himself."

"You're right in a way, I guess," he chuckled. "He's always been himself. Either way, he doesn't even remember your name. I mentioned you to him briefly, and he basically told me that you were an attention-seeking whore. Called you annoying, prideful, selfish..." he ticked the list off on his fingers, and his rings glittered in the lowered lights of the shop. "So yeah, I'm sorry. I feel bad for you, and I'm sorrythat your shitty plan failed. He didn't care for you in the end at all, did he?"

Her eyes narrowed. "You asshole."

He leaned back in his chair and smiled at her. "No more asshole than you."

"I'm afraid I don't understand."

"Hey listen, I had to take the punishment too! I got kicked off the fucking team. It was hardly fair. You were the one who asked me out in the first place, and you were the one who told me that it would get Kise off his game if he saw me with you. Wanted to make him jealous, didn't you? Wanted to make him love you more than he ever wanted to. I can sleep well knowing that it never worked, now. He never saw anything in you."

"Fuck you," she said. "Why does it matter? It's been three years. I was crazy about him, but that's all in the past. Why did you follow me to Osaka?"

"Because I got some new info," said Haizaki, leaning forward into the table. "I heard about the deal you struck with Momoi."

She felt her face grow hot. "D-Deal? I don't don't know what you're talking about."

-/-

-/-

The sharks at the aquarium were all drabby and useless-looking. They tapped their fins at the lighter shades of coral and ignored the pane of glass separating them from reality, smaller schools of fish scattered in their path as they brushed past a slitted window of opportunity. She could hardly imagine any of them being carnivores. Having fished for sharks in the past with her dad (one of several failed father-daughter bonding attempts), she quickly decided that even the ones they'd caught as amateurs had looked more feisty than the retarded sharks in this tank.

"Pretty, aren't they?" said Momoi.

"I don't remember inviting you."

"And I don't remember refusing your invitation."

"Did you follow me here?"

Momoi ignored her, took her hand instead and laced their fingers together. She held it up to the sharks in the tank and tapped the glass with her other hand. "Look at us, sharks! Look at me, I'm holding Riko's hand. Look at how in love we are."

"Stop it, Momoi."

"Look at how much I love this girl! Look at how much she refuses to believe it! And you stupid sharks wanna know why it's like this?"

"I said, stopit-"

"It's because she can't get over her fucking ego! Isn't that wonderful? Even I got over mine, you hear that, sharks? I liked a stupid guy too but you know what I did? I let him go! I let him go, like a fucking mackerel! You understand my pain, because you guys know that mackerels are delicious, aren't they? I LET HIM GO, when I realized that he wasn't the one being a dick about it! Isn't that cool, sharks? Isn't that the best thing in the world? Don't you wish that someone would do that for you?"

"Satsuki..."

"And I'm going to kiss her here, right now! I'm going to grope her ass and she's going to like it! Because I love her!"

She tapped the glass some more, declared her love to the ends of the world, louder and louder each time until Aida could feel her face burning completely crimson, until now until forever until mackerels left the Earth with the dolphins so long and thank you for all the fish, until an attendant came over and asked them to leave.

On the subway ride back, Momoi held Aida's hand and tucked her chin into the pocket between Aida's shoulder and neck. "Hey," she murmured, breath tickly against Aida's throat. "Wanna hear another mainstream love story?"

"Not really."

"Too bad. This one's too good to pass up. I'm gonna tell you about how Kise Ryouta fell in love with a girl."

-/-

-/-

Imayoshi stared at his plate dully. "So you mean to tell me, that she went that far to have Haizaki Shougo thrown out, and to get you into the Generation of Miracles?"

"You'd never have known that she was capable of it," Kise shook his head. "She tried to fucking get me in through the back door! She spread a rumor about Akashicchi and Midorimacchi, and then she blackmailed them. Who doesthat?"

"Wow. She must have been serious about you, jeez. And how did you react?"

"I was fucking furious, of course, can you imagine? It was like basketball was a joke to her! In a proper shonen story, you have to fight the proper shonen battle! How can you just take a shortcut like that, huh? Totally crazy."

"But how the hell was she even aware of the team dynamics? Never mind that your Midorimacchi and Captain-kun are disgustingly inseparable right now, how did she know back then?"

"She spoke with Momocchi about it. They were really good friends back in junior high. She really knew how to charm someone, haha! Really knew how to lay it on thick and do all that girly shit. It was why I..." he trailed off lamely, suddenly embarrassed.

"Ah," said Imayoshi. So it had actually come down to this. "It was what made you like her, isn't that right, Kise-kun?"

The vegetables sizzled on the grill, and Kise prodded at them with his chopsticks.

"It doesn't matter now," he said finally. "But at the time, yeah, I guess you could say I was a bit in love with her! But she didn't end up choosing me, so I let it go. I can let things go pretty easily, you know!"

Imayoshi cradled his chin between his hands and flashed Kise the biggest shit-eating grin he possessed in his arsenal of shit-eating grins. "So basically, you're a big fucking liar, Kise Ryouta-kun."

"Hey, what's done is done," said Kise. "Maybe it would've been different if she'd gone to Kaijou. But it's over now. I was hoping you could tell about how I feel about this. And tell her that I still have the sticker. But I really don't hope to see her anymore. She tried to fuck with my basketball, and as cute as she is, this remains unforgiveable to me."

"I'm glad to hear that you are so resolute in your opinion on the matter," said Imayoshi. "Although if it were me, I'd have been perfectly fine with having a cute girl fuck with my basketball."

"I guess that's your problem."

"I guess it is."

-/-

-/-

The auditorium got lighter in the spring. There were still small pools of shadows in the dregs of the stage curtains, but it was honestly a still bit too lonely and a bit too bright, so Aomine took comfort in finding the darkest spot possible, usually in the back of the stage where he couldn't hear the annoying sounds of rubber slamming against the asphalt. He settled often for second place here, folded his hands behind his head, crumpled his clumsier thoughts into paper balls and let them float across the full court.

(He didn't hear the footsteps this time, but that was okay.)

"I came here to look for Momoi-san. I think I have to tell her something."

"You know she doesn't care, right? She's probably too busy canoodling with your coach."

"Hm. You're probably right."

"But excellent timing, Tetsu. I was just about to rub my dick here and think about you. Why don't you come sit on my lap?"

"Oh cool. Let me just go get the dog."

"O-Oi! That's not necessary at all!"

He wondered later if the world was really a fair place, given all of its inconsistencies and problems with digesting rational thoughts. He wondered about rockets and clouds and if perhaps there was a method to keep them from melting away from the Earth. And then he wondered later whether or not Momoi had truly forgiven him, that perhaps he'd asked for too much from her. Licked his fingertips, turned another page in the photobook. He'd always asked for too much. But then again, she was like that too. It was probably another reason why Midorima avoided both of them regularly.

-/-

-\-

-/-

"Go out with me, Kise-kun," said the girl. "You won't regret it."

"I have no interest in going out with a girl right now," Kise told her. "I don't even know your name."

She opened the jar and took out a sticker. It was bright pink and shaped like a heart. Peeled the wax backing away and held it on the tip of her index finger, hot bright love fading away over the barrier spell she'd granted herself use for ten seconds. Ten seconds until she'd be breaking out of the atmosphere, ten seconds until the charm in her pocket runs out of fuel. She braced herself for vertigo.

"Kise Ryouta-kun, class 2-B, Teikou-regular soon-to-be. Stick with me. I won't tie you down. And if you want to peel me off, you won't have to use soap and water. That's a promise."

A beat.

Kise's snort came in anticlimatic relief, but she recognized the small trickle of amusement, and then he was laughing for real. "Was that supposed to be a pun? Oh my god, it's so terrible."

She leaned forward calmly and stuck the sticker on his cheek, felt the spark as her fingertips brushed up against his skin. "I try very hard when I want to impress someone, that's all," she shrugged. "It wasn't meant to be terrible. I didn't grow up in a comedy club in Osaka. My bad."

"Lucky for you, then," he smiled at her. "I appreciate terrible humor."

"Do you really? I'm truly sorry to hear that."

"Heh. Just takes a bit of practice. I hang around a bunch of dudes with basketball-shaped sticks shoved up their asses, after all. Maybe you should go and try your hand in Osaka, one day."

She felt the clouds begin to warm, heard the sun fade into the background of the stars. So this was what it felt like, basked in the glow of Kise Ryouta's attention. What a curious phenomenon, after all. "So what's your answer to my confession?"

"You tell me."

He had handed her the lifeline that she needed. From there, she took the next step.


- the end -


gratuitous endnotes:
- basically there is nothing i do not ship in this fandom sorry not sorry do you guys like STICKERS i love stickers stick with me forever xoxo signed me the pussycat doll
- as you can gather from the cat story, i've been watching sasami-san. uhh just research for femslash pls do not be doing the judging me thing :U
- hey so Osaka is totally not a random plot device! it seems to be a popular location for stand-up comedy [/wiki/Manzai], so when i was all like 'LOLOL how 2 make le kise-sama-senpai-sama pay attention 2 random gurl hurharha?!' this idea came up (bonus points because i could include Imayoshi somehow, re: kansai-ben kink gg)

thanks for reading, feedback is much appreciated! also special thanks to war-senpai for helping me with math and not laughing at me when i told her about such a supposedly fun thing that will never happen again :3