Title: How to Fall in Love: The Takao Project
Pairing: Takao Kazunari and Midorima Shintarou
Disclaimer: I don't own Kuroko no Basket in any way possible. Nope. Nada. Never. Hope you enjoy the ride anyway!
NOTE: SHOUNEN-AI (boys' love; boy x boy). No flames. You were warned.
Entry Eleven: Confession (白状)
How time soars (flies is overused, mind you), and that's an understatement. It's been days since I confessed… to myself of my true feelings for Shin-chan. Ha! You think I've confessed to the guy already? Guess again. Like I said many times before, I'm not mentally ready yet, and I have all the time in the world. I don't need to rush things, since I'm confident I won't get rejected because I have this big hunch that Shin-chan feels the same way for me, not that I've confirmed it yet. But it's nice to be optimistic once in a while, right? Sometimes, paranoia and anxiety knocks on my door and cue my pessimistic side kicking in. This one time, when Shin-chan and I are alone in the locker room, I wondered if he'd ever go for someone like me. First of all, we're both guys. And this moralistic society requires a man and a woman to be in a relationship. Sure, a lot of people broke that rule, but… I'm just your typical teenager with raging hormones, I guess? But it's not the hormones that pulled me to Shin-chan as if he was a magnet; it's some unexplainable force… It's inevitable.
Anyway, enough with my random ramblings because I swear Shin-chan and Oha Asa are rubbing off on me. Today's the due date, the deadline, the date of submission for our project! And guess what? I finished it way ahead of schedule. It's thanks to all the information and data I gathered, including the interview with Haru-chan. She really was a big help. My little sister contributed a lot too. She shared her valuable time and knowledge to help her big brother out. Man, what would I do without her? But I wouldn't have gone this far if it weren't for Shin-chan. He helped me out with the available methods for the project, and uh… I guess he motivated me? Encouraged me (with this cold as ice words)? Even inspiring me? I don't know why I saying all this as if I'm doubtful. Maybe I'm just confused.
I look in boredom at my classmates submitting their own projects to sensei. Hmmm… Sensei doesn't look too pleased with their works. I glanced around the room, and people were chatting it up. The look on their faces openly expressed nervousness and loss of confidence. And that's not helping me one bit. The stressful atmosphere is getting to me. Now that I think about it, what would she think about my project? It's highly unlikely for a basketball player like me to talk about a touchy subject, especially if it's about how and why people fall in love. I swear I can imagine her laughing at me. Ugh, no way! My subconscious is becoming a damn masochist now. It's already discouraging me as we speak.
Takao hadn't really taken a glance in the whole room just yet. Using his Hawk Eye version two, he eyed a particular green-hair behind him, none other than Midorima Shintarou. Shutoku's formidable Ace looked calm, composed, cold and aloof, as usual. He wasn't nervous about his own project at all. His aura unusually dripped off confidence, unlike the other people who were talking about the worst case scenario in their preliminary grades.
Now that I think about it, Takao thought, what's his project about? Though I have my assumptions already… Well, I guess it's better to ask him. In the back of his mind, it was just an excuse to talk to the eccentric shooting guard, though he was in constant denial about it. He then tore a page from his notebook, crumpled it and strategically threw it at Midorima, instantly fuming the other. He turned over from his seat, grinning like a Cheshire Cat.
"What did you want, Takao?" Midorima hissed, narrowing his eyes at Takao, as if the latter was his prey. "You just could've called my name, and I would have responded." A tick mark was pretty much visible in his forehead. He didn't have time for Takao's childish antics; they were in class for Pete's sake. Although in the situation the class was in, they were pretty much in a public market.
"Really now?" Takao snickered. "Come on, Shin-chan, I know you better than anybody. You would have ignored me if I called you." People around the two basketball players silently wondered how the two of them got along in the first place. Firstly, they were complete opposites. Midorima wasn't the type of the guy who would get along with anyone. Out of all people, he had to constantly hang-out with Takao, which was nothing short of a miracle. That just goes to show that their friendship was truly one of a kind, but Takao, deep inside, simply wanted more than that kind of relationship.
"And I know you better than anybody because you apparently have something to ask me about something," Midorima stated, fixing his glasses, "which is why you used your time to crumple that piece of paper and throw it at me." He obviously made his point, and Takao's words were thrown right back at him.
Takao stuck out his tongue and scratched the back of his head. Midorima rolled his eyes. He had seen that face too many times before. "Okay, you got me," Takao chuckled. "I already have my speculations about it, but—"
"I am sure that none of them are correct," Midorima cut curtly, folding his arms against his chest. Takao's eye twitched. He wasn't finished with what he was saying and the shooting guard already cut him off. Usually, Midorima really was right, but it was fifty-fifty this time, because Takao found out Midorima was a predictable and easy-to-read fellow.
"Uh-huh," Takao said, raising an eyebrow at the other. "Anyway, I was wondering what your project's all about."
"It's about how and why people use and rely horoscopes to guide them in their lives. I added the significance and accuracy of each of the signs. I used myself as the best example," Midorima replied straightforwardly. From the looks of it, there was nothing that was going to come in between Midorima and Oha Asa. Not even gravity could pull them away from each other.
Takao would thank the stars each and every night if ever Oha Asa possibly told Midorima that falling in love with your best friend would bring enough good fortune for decades, not that it would happen in the first place anyway. A dream would always remain a dream, unless acted upon.
"Huh?" Takao blinked. "You only used yourself as an example? I mean, what if you're the only one in this world that Oha Asa treats you like royalty while misfortune befalls on others?" Apparently, he blurted everything out of impulse.
"I considered that," Midorima clarified. "I did say I was the best example, right? I didn't really say that I was the only example." He pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose, putting Takao in his place for the umpteenth time. Takao's eye twitched and heard some of his seatmates snickering. Takao gave them the universal "shut up" face.
"So who else were your examples?" Takao asked, blinking. He went ahead of himself and made guesses for himself. His first guess was Midorima's mother, since Midorima could have possibly infected her with his arguments about the accuracy of Oha Asa.
"…It's none of your business," Midorima replied, averting his gaze at the point guard. Takao blinked. If he was a dog, his ears would have twitched and his tail would have wagged ecstatically right now. Midorima was obviously hiding something interesting from Takao.
"It's not 'none of your business', it's more like… 'I don't want to tell you'. Am I right?" Takao said, grinning.
"Shut up," Midorima hissed. Further translated in the Takao dictionary, Midorima actually meant "yes". Truly, the Ace was too easy to read, well, only to Takao. Nothing made Takao's day more than teasing Midorima.
"Let me guess," Takao whistled. "I'm one of your examples?" He was just kidding around, but he never really expected Midorima's reply, which was a blunt and direct—
It was uncharacteristic of Midorima to be straightforward on a question like that. Usually, he would persistently deny and act all tsundere. Takao surprisingly felt his face burn as he quickly turned around, frozen in his place. His heart was racing and he felt suddenly nervous, not just because of the project, but obviously because of Midorima's unexpected answer. Takao had put too much thought in it. Of course, Takao was a good friend to the shooting guard; he was the Ace's partner. He was imagining and assuming things all over again. He was back to his own little lovestruck-to-Midorima world.
Geez, and I thought Midorima was just as predictable as a shoujo manga, Takao thought as he mentally chuckled to himself. Well, that surely got my heart beating like crazy.
After a few more submissions, Midorima had finally submitted his. As he walked back to his seat, Takao was looking at him. The point guard wasn't even hiding it. Midorima acted on impulse this time and walked a little faster than usual to his seat. When he sat down, he took deep breaths. Why had he felt so uneasy all of a sudden? It was just Takao.
Midorima shook his head, shaking off the newfound thoughts along with it. He then heard laughter from the class, and he snapped his head up. What's gotten the class so relieved for one moment?
The teacher gasped and squealed. "And you even fell in love because of this project? And I thought I had my head in the clouds!" she exclaimed, a little too excitedly. "That is just so romantic!"
The class cheered and shouted things like "who did you fall in love with, dude?" and "nice one, Takao-kun!", but they were too mixed and those were the only sentences Midorima could hear. The shooting guard raised a brow at Takao, who was scratching the back of his head. The point guard's face was obviously red. Midorima wanted to laugh at the other for his humiliation, but why did he feel even more anxious than usual? His heartbeat raced ever faster than before. He felt so sick he could throw up, not that he would really do it.
It wasn't really clear to him. What was Takao's project all about again? Takao just asked him what his own project was about, and yet, Midorima didn't bother to ask the point guard what his project was about. He became… well… insensitive. Why did he even care in the first place anyway?
It was just Takao.
"That's too personal, you know," Takao replied, his voice shaky. He wanted nothing more than to sit down and be in a slump, forever depressed and regretful. Once in a while, he would quickly take glances at Midorima, but the shooting guard looked as nonchalant as ever. If Takao had all the guts he could get, he would have confessed to Midorima on-the-spot. To the victor go the spoils, if Takao ever became the victor and hogged all the glory anyway.
Takao was happy that his sensei's reaction was happy and all, but really, it was just embarrassing him. She didn't have to blurt it out so happily and excitedly to the whole class. Where's the professionalism there? He just wanted to live in a hole for the rest of his life. He had just about enough. And Shin-chan had to witness the humiliation. Takao guessed Midorima must be laughing his ass off right now through his merciless insults and such. Everything Takao thought so far wasn't enough.
He just wanted to die.
"Ugh, I think I'm going to die any moment now," Takao whined as he buried his face in his hands, walking home together with Midorima. "Tomorrow's headline: Takao Kazunari, the lovestruck athlete. Ugh. I don't want to go to school anymore. Damn it all."
"It's your fault for coming up with such a ridiculous topic in the first place," Midorima said, not helping with Takao's situation one bit, and instead making it worse. "The regret's always in the end."
Takao frowned. "Tell me something I don't know."
Midorima gazed at the other for one minute. "Actually… I'm curious about something," he muttered.
"What is it now?" Takao asked, feeling more depressed than he was. He really was considering the idea of transferring schools. Maybe Touo is a good choice? Rakuzan has really high standards, and almost all the Crownless Generals were there, so it'd be hard to fit in… he thought to himself, before Midorima surprised him yet again with his question,
"Who are you… in love with?"
Takao's eyes widened. Midorima never ceased to exceed his expectations of being the most wayward guy he ever met.
Midorima coughed and quickly fixed his glasses, looking away from the point guard. "I-It's okay if you don't tell me, because it's personal…" he stammered. He knew it wasn't a good idea to ask Takao. It would make the atmosphere tense and awkward.
"Judging by your face, it looks like you put a lot of thought into it. And I thought I was the only one." Takao said, smiling. "Hmmm, have you thought of… possible candidates?"
"That girl you interviewed," Midorima replied. "But you told me you guys weren't dating, but still, maybe you still have an unrequited love for her?" Midorima made a thinking face, crossing his arms. "Is it the real reason why you cried that day?"
Takao grimaced. He really didn't want to remember that day. He sobbed as if he was heartbroken or something, though it was the other way around, and Midorima, of all people, had to witness his waterworks. But at least they made up after it, right?
"Eh? No, of course not," Takao said, waving his hands frantically. "But to be honest, I've always wondered, Haru-chan is such a nice and pretty girl. She could pretty much make every guy fall for her, and yet… I didn't."
"Because you're in love with someone else?" Midorima articulated matter-of-factly, his gaze solely and seriously fixed on Takao.
Takao's face turned beet red in a matter of seconds. He just found out Midorima had that effect on him. "Uh, yeah, I guess…"
"You must be really in love with that person," Midorima uttered. Takao had a feeling this was Midorima's tactic to lure out the answer bunnies within him. Midorima was going for Takao's conscience. And it was working. But their relationship was on the line here. Would it still stay the same after Takao actually admitted it to Midorima? That was what Takao was afraid of; it was the sole reason why he wouldn't dare confess in the first place. He wasn't prepared for instant rejection.
Takao smiled warmly. "Uh-huh. I really, really love that person," he said in a soft and mellow voice, lacing his fingers together.
Midorima raised his eyebrow. "Why don't you confess then if you say you really love that person?" he suggested.
Takao gulped. "You really think I should?" His self-control was melting little by little by the minute.
"Of course," Midorima said with a nod. "You don't have to suffer from hiding your feelings all the time then." He then fixed his glasses for the umpteenth time. "That's my opinion."
Takao nodded. "But what if the person doesn't feel the same way? Should I even bother?"
"I hear people go to the ends of the earth for love. Shouldn't you too?" Midorima asserted, smiling the slightest bit. "Don't lose hope if the person doesn't love you back yet, make the person fall in love with you instead. That would make things easier. Nothing's impossible, nanodayo."
Wow, Shin-chan sure does know a lot about love, Takao thought, mentally chuckling. He could definitely be the next Oha Asa fortuneteller or something. The point guard smirked tauntingly at Midorima. "Could it be that our little Shin-chan in love too?" he asked.
"No," he answered, his cheeks slowly reddening. "How could you assume such a thing?"
"You know so much about love," Takao remarked. "I made a project about love but it seemed worthless since you know more about it than me. Man, I'm pathetic."
"Remember that it's just my opinion. It can be proved false," Midorima said. The way he said it, it was as if… he was lifting Takao's spirits? He didn't want to feel Takao more down than he already was.
"Hmmm…" Takao hummed. "Hey, Shin-chan…"
"What is it, Takao?"
"What if?" Midorima's eye twitched. Could Takao be straight to the point now?
Takao suddenly skidded to a stop and cleared his throat. Midorima stopped and looked behind him, his eyes widening in sheer surprise. Never in the right mind would he see Takao's face so bright red.
Who cares about time? Maybe this is all a sign. He was taunting me to confess. He really wanted to know anyway. Well, you asked for it, Shin-chan. I hope I won't have any regrets this time.
"What if you're the one I'm in love with?" he asked, smiling. Takao's supposed-to-be next moves were to run away and to never be heard from again, but that wasn't an option. He was paralyzed and he felt like he could faint from the sheer embarrassment of it all.
Midorima's eyes widened: the typical initial reaction when being confessed to. It seemed the Ace couldn't move his mouth. He was too taken aback for a good comeback. Sure, Takao was the type to kid, but he looked serious than ever before.
He didn't want to make things more awkward than it is, so the shooting guard became sensitive of Takao's words and feelings this time. "E-Ever since when, nanodayo?" Midorima asked. He tried to placate himself, but he still stuttered anyway. He pretty much cursed himself for that.
"That moment when you admitted you became jealous of Haru-chan, I guess?" Takao answered, his tone those of an unsure one's. "I'm not really sure. I had mixed feelings when I was in the corridor."
Midorima blinked. The uneasiness still hadn't left. "Mixed feelings?"
"I was fighting with myself. I didn't know if I was just confused about my feelings, but, when you talked to me like that, that feeling sparked. And I knew it was that feeling," Takao said. "It was unmistakable."
"I see…" Midorima said, spacing out.
"By the way, Shin-chan," Takao began, snapping Midorima out of his trance, "what's your lucky item for today? Why didn't we use the rickshaw like we always did?"
"A red keychain," Midorima answered. "And it doesn't really matter why we didn't use it."
"Eh… maybe you just wanted to walk home together with me?" Takao assumed as he placed his arms on his back, grinning. "Just kidding!" He shot a glance at the shooting guard, and it seemed he turned his head away from Takao.
Takao blinked. "Hey…" he said. "I was right?"
"Who says you were?" Midorima said, still not meeting Takao's anticipating and childishly excited eyes. Takao knew Midorima was in denial, since he didn't want eye contact.
"Shin-chan…" Takao smiled widely. "Could it be you feel the same way?"
"Don't jump to conclusions, Takao," Midorima hissed, narrowing his eyes at the other.
"You still aren't rejecting me though," Takao whistled. "So you must like me too."
"Then do you want to get rejected now?" Midorima asked, his voice ice cold.
Takao gaped. "Wah! No! It'd be the end of me!" he exclaimed, flailing. "Please, Shin-chan, give me a chance!" Takao was amazed that from a nervous wreck, he turned to his normal self almost immediately.
"…Like you said, I'm not rejecting you, right?" Midorima mumbled almost inaudibly, bowing his head in embarrassment.
Takao's face brightened, his heart fluttering. "So that means…" Takao jumped towards Midorima, wrapping his arms around the shooting guard. "Thank you, Shin-chan! Thank you! You're the best! I love you so much!" His eyes widened when he realized he blurted out his blatant expression of love to Midorima. He snapped his head up and when he looked at Midorima, the other's bangs shadowed his eyes, but zoomed into his mouth, Takao could see a slight upward crease in the corner. Takao couldn't help but embrace Midorima tighter, like there was no tomorrow.
Takao eventually calmed down after a few minutes and he just nuzzled Midorima's neck instead like some cat. He didn't really mind that they were walking while Takao clung onto Midorima's arm in public, it was already late at night and people would hardly notice two guys hugging in the dark.
"I'm so happy," Takao said in a sing-song voice, still happily clinging onto Midorima.
Midorima was reluctant at first, but he gave in and hugged Takao back earlier. It took a lot of guts, since he wasn't used to expressing affection. Affection didn't use to be in his dictionary, but then, Takao became the very definition of it.
"Mm," Midorima muttered, too embarrassed to say anything after the successful and much unexpected confession of none other than Takao Kazunari.
"I'm so happy I fell in love with you," Takao said, as if he was in bliss already.
"Don't say such embarrassing things in public," Midorima sighed. Takao was too careless, what if the secret leaked out almost immediately? It made the rough and tough Midorima anxious.
"I'm only saying it to you though," Takao said, grinning widely.
"Whatever," Midorima grumbled, his cheeks reddening.
Takao blinked as he let go of Midorima. "Hey, Shin-chan…"
"What now?" Midorima asked, his eyebrows furrowed. If he blurts out another 'I love you' again, I swear I'll—
"We should go on a date this weekend," Takao offered, scratching the back of his head bashfully. "I mean, we are dating, after all, right? There's no practice so it's perfect timing."
Midorima mumbled something under his breath and for the first time, Takao couldn't hear it.
"What did you say?" Takao said, tilting his head.
"I said alright," Midorima said, his cheeks flushed. "It's not like I have anything else to do in the weekend." When he gazed over at Takao, Takao's face was bright again, and that only meant one thing…
Yay! You really are the best!
I love you, Shin-chan! I really, really do!
And I'm glad you love me back.
End of Entry
A/N: Woohoo! We've reached the climax of the story! Finally! Anyway, the rest will be cute fluffy chapters and then voila, it's going to be the end. To be honest, I was really fangirling over the interaction between the two in this chapter, especially the part when Midorin said, "Like I said, I'm not rejecting you, right?" Kyaaaa! –dies- I hope you guys enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed writing it! Teehee. Thanks for reading this chapter again!