There are few things that make him happier than Midorima enjoying dinner.

It's probably stupid, because there are a lot of things that should make him a lot happier. Winning games, practicing for hours just with Midorima, sitting around in his house eating cheap candy and gleefully discovering Midorima's favorites… okay, that last part also has to do with food. It's different, though, when they're alone and they can lean on one another and fall asleep in front of the television.

Right now, Midorima obviously isn't kidding about eating all the end pieces, and Takao lets him with great amusement (and of course, that happiness again, because it's so nice to see Midorima mostly back to his usual self). "Oh, I didn't tell you," he says with a laugh, leaning back in his seat as he grins, "I called Akashi 'Sei-chan' earlier. His face-oh, man, I thought he was gonna pop a blood vessel."

Midorima's eyes widen, and he swallows a bite of sushi with a gulp, feeling the rice and fish slide down his throat. "That was….brave of you," he says, impressed in spite of himself. "I'm more than willing to make him my enemy on the basketball court when he gives me no other choice, but not many want to take him on outside of that."

Takao's eyes roll, and he selects his next piece of sushi without skipping a beat. "What's he gonna do? Glare at me? I'm sure he's really great at 'destroying everything I love' with those new panda eyes of his."

"Takao is very confident," Midorima manages, and uses his chopsticks to snag another endpiece off a rolled sushi plate. "Did he threaten to call his parents? He used to do that very occasionally at Teiko in the beginning, before the Director decided to let him have his way."

"Wow, what is he, five?" Takao snorts, dropping his chin down into one hand. "His coach seemed to think he was gonna sue me or something… but calling his parents? Seriously? Don't they like… work for parliament or something? They don't have time for this."

"Mm, no, I think they're yakuza."

Takao chokes hard on his own breath, dropping the next piece of sushi he makes a grab for. "Wait-what?!" He manages a nervous laugh. "Is that another joke, Shin-chan? It's not very funny, all things considered…"

"I never thought it was funny." Midorima blinks, and steals one of the un-dropped pieces from Takao's plate, popping it into his mouth and chewing slowly, relishing the flavor. "That's what he told me when he came into my room, second year."

"Um?" Takao stares at him, blinking rapidly. "Okay. There seems like there's a list of things you should tell me." He pauses, and his voice drops lower before saying, "Does he have tattoos?"

Midorima shrugs. "I have no idea. I've never seen him naked." He takes a drink of tea, raising an eyebrow. "I don't make it a habit to look at men naked, other than Takao."

"… But didn't you see him in the locker room?" Takao supposes it's reassuring that Midorima hasn't been deliberately inviting Akashi into his room… or maybe that's more distressing. Now he can't decide. He groans, raking a hand back through his hair and unclipping and reclipping his hair barrette afterwards.

"Hm, no." Midorima takes another bite of sushi, then holds one out for Takao to bite off of his chopsticks. "He never disrobed. I think he thought it would lower our opinions of him. Aomine was fairly vocal about speculating regarding the size of his penis, but maybe it was tattoos."

That dissolves any bit of that awkward apprehension, and Takao laughs before leaning in, stealing the sushi off in one, solid bite. "Maybe both," he suggests after swallowing. "Ah, well, whatever. I'd love to see him try something. If he can't even deal with a punch to the face, then I'm not worried."

Midorima is, a little. Akashi hadn't been kind, the one time he'd thought Midorima had disrespected him in practice, and had visited him in the night, in his own room. That had been enough for him to keep all disagreements on the court, from then on. "As long as your address isn't a matter of public record, you'll likely be fine. But just to be certain, I should probably spend the night at your house, if your parents aren't home." Was that "smooth"? He's not sure.

"My parents are never home." Takao gives a light shrug, and idly steals a choice piece of sushi and stuffing his mouth full with it. "But," he says, swallowing a moment later, "Shin-chan's always welcome to spend the night. Coming to my rescue now?" More importantly, Midorima actually wants to protect him from Akashi. Even though Takao doubts much will come of this situation, there's no ignoring exactly what that means, and how much that means. A smile creeps across his face, probably permanent for the evening.

You were the one who did something so dangerous someone needs to be in your room tonight, idiot. Midorima doesn't say that. It's a long way (sort of) from Kyoto, and it's possible Akashi has matured a bit since that last time. "Perhaps I am simply being as deviant and perverted as my, ah, boyfriend," Midorima says in a quiet tone, pushing up his glasses. Also my mother seems to like you far too much and would probably agree to me spending a month at your house.

The smile turns to his typical, outright grin at that. "Yeah? Well, I really like it when you're as deviant and perverted as me." Takao finishes off his soda in one, last gulp, and fishes his wallet out from his bag. "Let's go be deviant and perverted at my place, then, if you're all finished."

"I am. I can always have you buy me more sushi if I want sushi later." Midorima stands, wiping his mouth although he knows it's perfectly neat, and despite the danger of the situation, can't really help thinking about deviant and perverted things to do at Takao's house. The internet is a marvel for times like this, though most of he suggestions and stories he'd encountered had been unappetizing at best. "I hope none of Takao's ideas involve whips and handcuffs, the standard fare for deviant perverts. I must inform you that they don't appeal to me. My hands are too important, and I have no desire to see you in pain."

Takao starts laughing again at that. "You're more perverted than that already, and in way better ways," he teases, paying their bill on the way out and stretching his arms over his head with a happy sigh. "I'll let you take more pictures of me tonight if you want, though. It's been awhile."

Midorima's legs speed up, until Takao will have to jog to maintain pace. "Drive fast." He's already gotten nearly all the use he anticipates out of those pictures, though every time he looks at them he thinks differently. More will be extremely appreciated.

He really loves pushing the right button with Midorima. "Yep, extra fast!"

Of course, with that in mind, he's a lot more tired upon finally reaching their destination, and the long, modern couch in his living room is a nice place to face plant when he finally reaches it. "Ahhh, Shin-chan works me way too hard," he bemoans, snuggling up to a pillow. "If I die tonight, it's because I can no longer fight."

"Only if we both die," Midorima points out. A little ghost of a smile tugs at his mouth, and he stretches out on top of Takao, fitting the smaller man comfortably underneath him. "Because someone would have to go through me."

Takao rumbles happily at that, and tilts his head back, knocking it lightly back against Midorima's shoulder as he wriggles underneath him. "Shin-chan's pretty solid. Good luck with that."

"That's the idea. Also, I assume I will be highly precise if I need to throw anything in your defense." He bends his neck, nipping slightly at the curve of Takao's ear. "Can you be perverted facedown?"

"That's a weird question, even for you," Takao laughs, and just to prove a point, shifts and squirms to arch his back, slinking down enough to let his ass grind between Midorima's legs. "Being facedown sort of lends itself to perversion."

Midorima lets out a huff, grinding down out of suddenly urgent need, sliding the hardening length of his cock forward, enjoying the friction. "I wouldn't know," he murmurs, rolling his hips slowly. "You always take me on my back."

"That's because-ahh… you're so tall," Takao sighs out, his eyes fluttering as he pushes back harder, already feeling his cock strain against the front of his trousers. His arms stretch forward, hands slowly curling into the arm of the couch for a bit more leverage as he wriggles. "And I like watching your face… ugh, you feel good, just rubbing against me like that."

"So do you." The words come out breathy and strained, and Midorima lurches down hard, pressing Takao against sturdy cushions. "I like it when you rub me like this, so I thought you might like it, too. Do your other boyfriends do this?"

Takao chokes on a laugh, muffling it into a pillow at the last second. "Shin-chan's the only one." Shouldn't it be obvious by now? He sighs out through his nose, amused. "Even if there were more, you'd still be better."

Midorima bites, just a little. "You mean you're this perverted naturally? I'm being led into depravity by an amateur?" He grinds down hard with his hips, reaching a hand down to the front of Takao's trousers, cupping his cock through the fabric and groaning at the feel of it in his hand. No matter how many times they've had sex, he never tires of feeling it, hot and hard and heavy-or even when it isn't, soft and small and fitting easily in the palm of his hand, oddly intimate and intriguing even then, as long as it's Takao.

"Didn't say I was an amateur-" is the half-grumble, half-moan that escapes, an eager rut down into Midorima's hand following as he reaches a hand down, too, sliding it over Midorima's to squeeze and encourage that touch. When Shin-chan is like this, it's really good. He's grabby and insistent and taking things that he wants all on his own, and Takao just sort of wants to make a bunch of unintelligible, encouraging noises and rub against him like a cat in heat. "Just-girls, mostly," he clarifies, sliding back with a groan, feeling the hard, aching throb of Midorima's cock against him and ahh, god, he quits, he's just going to die here and die very, very happy.

Midorima tangles the fingers of his right hand in Takao's hair, pulling his head back as he whispers, "Do you want to do laundry? Otherwise take your trousers off, I want to see you finish." That's the most dirty talk Takao's ever gotten from him, given that he's usually too busy thrashing and moaning to do anything like it.

Another groan finds itself strangled in his throat. Fuck, his cock hurts with how hard it is, especially with Midorima yanking on his hair and there's a really good chance he's not even going to be able to get his pants off at this rate. Takao huffs out a hot, ragged breath, eyes fluttering as he fumbles with the buckle of his belt and fastenings of his pants, the next, sinuous arch of his back making it so easy to grind back against Midorima's cock. "Sure you don't wanna put it in me?" he breathlessly laughs, the simple idea of it making his cock twitch. "You're acting like you do."

Midorima falters.

Everything had seemed so easy when he wasn't thinking about it, but the actual idea of being the one in charge in something like this, holding Takao's pleasure and his own in his own meager experience….

He freezes for a moment, before nodding firmly. "All right. Take off your pants and your underwear. And give me a condom, whatever flavor you prefer there." Ah, have his hands always been so awkward?

A ragged, breathless laugh sputters its way into the couch. "Ah, god, don't get all tense about it." Midorima is so weird, but his dick is still really, really hard, so what the fuck ever. Takao huffs, pushing himself up onto his elbows, and twists around to push at Midorima's chest. "Just lie on your back, I'll get on your dick if that's what you want. Then you'll really be able to see me when I come, and I can see your face just like I want to, too."

That sounds good. Takao has really good ideas, and always manages to make everything less awkward, even Midorima. He wriggles around, stopping only to strip off his trousers and underwear before splaying out on the couch, wrapping a hand tentatively around himself. There's something about the way it looks when Takao takes himself in hand, guiding his cock into Midorima that always makes him tense and shiver. Maybe Takao will enjoy the sight, too. "I like to watch," he confesses quietly, looking up at the other boy's face. "When you get it in."

This just keeps turning into a better night. "Where's your phone? Take pics if you like it so much," he lightly suggests, kicking his own clothes off and away. Takao is really glad they're both awful perverts at this stage, especially when it comes to finding condoms and a bottle of lube conveniently stashed behind a pillow from last time (something that makes him snicker a bit as he tears open one of them-huh, cherry again, go figure). His fingers work fast, sliding the condom the first couple of inches down Midorima's cock before he bends down to let his mouth do the rest, rolling the condom down the length of it with a wet, sloppy press and wriggle of his tongue.

Midorima's fingers never fumble. Not when he tosses the ball, not when he flips a coin, and not when he pulls out his phone as quickly as he can, snapping a few photographs of Takao leaning down to take Midorima's cock into his mouth, rolling the condom on. He lets out a long, drawn-out hiss of a breath, other hand scrabbling at Takao's hair, liking the look of that in the picture just as much. "Is," he breathes, pondering the wording of the question, "is it a good size for you? How many times have you…" Ah, he's so hard he can hardly hear his own voice.

What does it say about him that having his picture taken like this goes straight to his own cock? Takao groans, his eyes fluttering as he releases Midorima's cock with a wet pop, tongue licking out to drag over his own lips. So sue him, the flavor of those things isn't bad. "Told you already, I've never done this before." That doesn't mean he hasn't thought about it-and actually, his mind tends to paint a rather similar image of him wriggling his way up to straddle Midorima's hips, neatly straddling them and letting the other boy's hard cock drag up the cleft of his ass. "But for what it's worth, I've always thought you have a really nice cock," Takao breathlessly admits, reaching back with a lube-slick hand, stroking it down the length of it with a slow squeeze.

Midorima groans, hands pawing at Takao's chest, dragging over pectoral muscles and shoulders and nipples as he shifts helplessly underneath. He's so hard he's not sure there's even a condom on him anymore, not with how he can feel every brush and drag of Takao's fingers on it. "Hurry," he mutters, not unlike the first time they'd been like this and Takao had shoved inside him-except back then he hadn't been taking photographs, changing as fast as he can from Takao's ass to his face and back again, picking up the phone and tossing it aside when the urge to touch is too much.

"W-working on it, just wait a second-" It's a sort of hurried, frantic little mumble of his own, his own cock so hard that even just feeling Midorima press against him is too much. If he was being smart about this, he'd tell Midorima to push those long, pretty fingers inside of him, make him all slick and ready just like he had the first time they'd rolled around, but there's no time for it, not when he wants so much.

The first, careful arch down makes Takao gasp and groan and shudder, the head of Midorima's cock promising a thick stretch even before it's all the way in. A deep, steadying breath later, and it sinks inside, slick and hot and hard and ahh, fuck, it's way too easy to go too fast at this angle and so Takao's hands scrabble at bit at Midorima's chest when his knees wobble, giving out and making him surrender to gravity a bit too easily, with every inch of Midorima's cock sliding deep inside of him and leaving him quivering and gulping air and ah, god, that's sort of nice when it's not achy-twitchy-uncomfortable, what with how oddly full he is and how hot Midorima feels inside of him.

And with all that in mind-Takao gets why Midorima likes this so much.

"Just-" Takao groans, his head lolling forward, and he grabs for Midorima's hands, eagerly, needily pulling them to his hips. He shifts, rocks up onto his knees a bit before squirming back down, and it feels like the air is ripped from his lungs anew. Really, really good.

Is this what it feels like for Takao, when he's inside Midorima?

For the first time, Midorima can understand why he always has that look on his face. It's probably on his own face right now, hungry and wanting and being satisfied all at once, sinking into something so hot and painfully tight, squeezing like a fist around his cock.

One more photograph and he tosses the phone to the side, large hands coming up to guide Takao's hips up and down, hips rolling in counterpoint, some tiny fragment of his mind reminding him how good it is when Takao's inside him, wanting Takao to feel that same overwhelming fulness. "Tell me," he breathes, the strength in his arms easily enough to lift and lower Takao, probably even with one hand, "if I'm going too fast, you tell me. You-ah, god, don't you want to scream?" Or is that just him?

It's less screaming, more whining, a broken sort of mewl panted out when he can't quite catch his breath to do much more. His legs threaten to buckle-fuck, fuck that shouldn't feel so good, is that even allowed?-but that's good, too, because it's easier to lend himself to Midorima's hands, to curl his own over them and arch his back and wriggle and writhe and slide down hard onto Midorima's cock when the other boy arches up inside of him.

"'s… not too fast, don't worry," Takao does manage eventually, groaning low in his throat when he sinks down so perfectly, when Midorima's cock goes so deep that something twinges inside and he's left shuddering down to his toes, his cock dripping over Midorima's stomach. "F-fuck, you feel really, really good-"

It's probably a very bad sign that despite how amazing Midorima feels just now, he can't help just the slightest twinge of jealousy. He knows how that feels, being spread out and taken hard, writhing helplessly on hard flesh and being so useless he can't even beg for more. This...this is good, really good, urging Takao faster, rolling his hips in deeper, but it's not so powerful it takes his mind away. The best thing about sex with Takao is that he stops even thinking during it, and even if he doesn't know where he goes, he knows it isn't here.

His eyes are drawn to Takao's cock, bobbing against his abdomen, and he uses one big hand to move Takao, the other to wrap around his cock, stroking and rubbing. "So do you," he groans, wrapping his hand around the head and giving a twist of his wrist, smearing the fluids everywhere. "And now I have-pictures-of your face-when I'm inside you-"

"Fuck," is the rasping, ragged exhale that follows, little more than a whimper escaping Takao's throat as his hips helplessly lurch into Midorima's hand, fucking into that touch even as he grinds down onto the thick length of his cock. "You're not allowed to call me a bigger pervert from now on-you're-a dozen times worse."

Takao's not entirely sure that's true, though, especially when he's the one that suddenly lurches up, squirms out of Midorima's hands and off his cock, and slides his way up the other boy's chest, fisting one hand into his hair as he plants his knees. "Shut your eyes-or don't, whatever," he breathlessly orders. It really doesn't take much, not when he's this riled up, aching and throbbing and dripping even before he takes himself in hand, and Takao's breathing too hard to even really groan as he comes, spilling over Midorima's face-glasses included, how long has he wanted to do that? These are things he needs a picture of.

Midorima had not been expecting that.

He lets out a gasp when the first spurt hits his glasses, and only succeeds in getting some into his mouth. That's by no means bad, and he's owed Takao this for months anyway. He shudders, lips parted, eyes dazed behind his messy glasses, blinking vaguely up at the dark form of Takao crouched over him, and wordlessly hands him the phone, still set to camera. "Do it," he murmurs, cock twitching at just the idea, "and then take care of me, please, Takao-"

Takao mutters something that sounds suspiciously like dear fucking god you're gonna kill me, but he takes the phone with a shaky hand, barely able to hold it straight as he snaps a few pictures, making sure to get a nice angle out of it. "I've got you-just-"

The phone is tossed aside again, and Takao wriggles back in short order, curling a finger underneath the condom to peel the messy, slick thing off before his mouth is on Midorima's cock with an eager, wet kiss pressed to the tip of it. "Really got you," he assures the other boy, one-handedly fumbling with the lube, his fingers slick, dripping when they wriggle inside, a pair of them quick to slide in deep and insistent and stroking up hard inside him.

Takao knows him too well.

That one motion brings the need, the fire he craves so desperately from moments like this, and he only needs maybe thirty seconds before he's lost, legs spreading wide and hips thrusting up against Takao's face as he shouts, finishing hot and messy and with his mind shattered into a thousand glittering pieces, just the way he likes it.

Before Takao, the only time to muffle the steady noise, the constant buzzing was with basketball, or tiring himself out until he was too exhausted even to stand. That had been a stopgap at best; the noise, like some muttering static, had grown louder every year, until it had been most of what he could hear. Now, every time they're like this, Takao undoing everything about him, another piece of that clinging tension breaks, never to return.

He hopes.

Long minutes later he comes back to himself, shaking and panting, fully aware how filthy he must look. He stretches out trembling legs, grabbing inaccurately at Takao to drag him down, then rolling them over to curl up around the smaller boy. He takes off his glasses, making a face that isn't quite distaste as he sets them to the side. "You'll clean everything."

"Yep," is the dazed, happy little response, and Takao makes no move to clean anything. Far better is snuggling himself up into Midorima's chest, butting his head into the crook of his neck, and really, really liking the way he's small enough to nestle himself so comfortable into Midorima's arms at times like these. "We have the best sex," Takao declares on a sigh, slinging a leg over Midorima's hip.

"Despite having absolutely nothing to compare it to," Midorima allows, smiling a bit as he bends his head, brushing a kiss over Takao's hairline, "I would be honestly stunned if that weren't entirely correct. Mm." It definitely has nothing to do with the fact that Akashi has a justified reason to come after Takao, and that nowhere does Midorima feel he can protect him better than in his arms. Takao feels safe there. Hell, Midorima feels safer just having him there, for some reason.

"I have stuff to compare it to. Just believe me, I'll be your empirical evidence." If he squints, Midorima is mostly back to 'normal', neuroses intact, but not debilitatingly so. That's good. Takao gives himself a pat on the back for that, and presses a kiss to the curve of Midorima's shoulder for good measure. "Shin-chan is just… my favorite, ever."

Midorima laughs a little, and the sound feels a bit unfamiliar, even to him. He nuzzles into Takao's hair, black and silky and healthy, and smelling of clean healthy sweaty male. And cheap cherry candy, but that just makes him blush a bit. "I'm very pleased to be your favorite. I think….I decided I would prefer you have sex with only me, while we're in a relationship. It's not a requirement, but I would prefer it."

"… Might have kind of already been doing that." It's a muffled sort of response, even though Takao's not embarrassed about it, it's just… well. He's been keeping up a pretty solid facade, if Midorima doesn't realize it yet. That's good, he supposes. "It's not like I really want to roll around with anyone else lately, anyway…"

"Oh." Well that's nice. "Neither do I. In case you're worried, I'm not engaged in a sexual relationship with anyone else." Not that he ever has been, but that was a statement of experience. This is one of purpose-and if he squints (he does, without his glasses), a statement of commitment. "Takao is enough for me this way."

"Ahh, reassuring." He wasn't worried. Not one bit. "Shin-chan's such a beauty, there's a good chance of him being snatched up. I'll definitely glue myself to you from now on."

"Idiot." The word is cold, but his touch is warm, and Midorima stretches out, feet hanging off the edge of the couch. He grabs lazily for the phone, holds it up to face both of them, and murmurs, "Smile, Takao. One of us should."

"Set it as your phone background for tonight, or I'll be mad." Takao flashes it a peace sign for good measure. "We're both really photogenic, even if you make grumpy faces a lot."

Midorima sets the photo as his background. He closes his phone before Takao can see, burying his face in the other boy's hair.

Even without his glasses, he can see that they'd both smiled.

Most people don't think Midorima Shintarou is very cute.

Most people aren't his friends like Kise is-or at least, like Kise wants to have been. It's only now that he's in high school, now that he's made real friends with the team, that he's able to see what they'd all lacked back at Teiko. He'd thought of all of them as friends, sure, but he's becoming more and more aware that for the other Miracles, that's not really the case.

Well, there's no better time to make up for his middle-school idiocy than immediately, and often. That's why he sends a million text messages, and why he shows up to every game even when he's not playing, and why he's soooooo excited when Midorima calls him asking to hang out (telling him to be outside the school for a brief meeting is a lot like hanging out, at least for Midorima).

"Of course I'll give you an autograph!" he had enthused, eagerly signing the photograph Midorima had stiffly held out. "Is Midorimacchi missing me already? Going to hang it by your bed?"

"Go die. It's for a friend."

"Don't lie," Kise had teased, pouting a little at the harsh words. Then, when Midorima had made to walk away without another word, he'd said in a sing-song, "It's for Midorimacchi's cute girlfriend, isn't it?"

No matter how Midorimacchi had denied it, he also hadn't bothered to come up with another explanation, and Kise had moved quickly, stealing his phone and opening it to see the background, certain he'd be seeing some blushing awkward bespectacled girl with a basketball file folder as the picture.

He's good at lying, protesting, "Don't hit me, I didn't even get to see it, give here!" which is probably why Midorima hadn't killed him.

It's also why he's here now, waiting in a small cafe for Shutoku's point guard, sipping a cappuccino and pretending to enjoy the taste.

"Kise Ryouta? Seriously?"

Unlike everyone else that seems content to be terrified by the Generation of Miracles, Takao finds them fascinating. Also, awe-inspiring, especially when they're apparently capable of copying even Midorima's shots nowadays, and so of course he'd respond to an odd, impromptu invitation like this. God, what are they going to talk about, though? Maybe he'll get stories about when Midorima was a bitty (okay, not so bitty) thing in middle school-

Also, Kise has great fashion sense. Maybe they can talk about that.

"I can't believe you'd actually want to talk to me!" Takao happily chatters as he plops himself down across from the other boy, grinning a bit sheepishly. "I made Shin-chan get your autograph the other day, figured he'd have an easier time of it than just some random person bugging you for it. Oh, I don't think I've actually introduced myself-Takao Kazunari, it's really great to meet you! Your team's point guard is amazing."

Kise finds himself slightly taken aback by the energy of the guy, all smiles and curiosity and wow, not many guys can pull off a pair of strawberry barrettes. A compliment to Kasamatsu, however, he can accept easily, and he holds out his hand, grinning back despite his resolve to be serious about this whole situation. Ah, well, they can be serious later, right? Maybe this is someone who will actually want to hear his stories about how cute all the others had been as middle schoolers! "Nice to finally really meet you, Takao Kazunari! You sat with Kasamatsu-sempai at okonomiyaki that one time, right? He said you had a lot of good ideas, even if you did play with Midorimacchi."

"Ahh, yeah! He seemed like a really cool guy, I wish I had gotten to talk to him more," Takao wistfully says, happily taking Kise's hand for a vigorous shake. "Though I dunno what that means-Shin-chan's usually pretty into my ideas, we bounce them back and forth all the time for our plays."

"Ah, Kasamatsu-sempai doesn't like the Generation of Miracles much," Kise admits easily, taking another sip of cappuccino without remembering not to make a face. Oh well, it makes him look sophisticated. "He thinks we're all arrogant and overrated, I think. Hey, who did your shirt? I like the collar."

"Aoyama! Didn't you do a shoot for them, back when you were modeling a lot more?" Not that he's totally looked that up, or anything. Takao idly fishes a pack of hard candies out of his bag. "Want one? Trust me, I know the drinks here suck. Shin-chan likes this place waaaay too much, I hope he didn't recommend it to you." He pauses, popping a candy into his own mouth. "Actually, why did you want to talk to me? Not that I'm not honored and stuff, but it was kind of out of the blue…"

Kise grabs for a candy at lightning speed, popping it into his mouth and drawing out the wrapper, holding onto the candy with his teeth. He ponders for a moment, somewhat taken aback in his Grand Ambitions by how genuine and friendly this guy seems. Hell, he's actually kind of cute. Nah, probably best to either warn him off of Midorima or drag him to the men's room for a quickie, not both. "Ahh, I'm just trying to catch up on being a better friend to Midorimacchi. You think he's a really cool guy, right?"

Takao blinks at that, tilting his head in thought. "Well, 'cool' isn't the word I'd use to describe him. He's kind of a big dork. Actually, hilariously so."

"Ah, yeah, well, with Midorimacchi that's kind of the same thing," Kise allows, grinning. "But you like him a lot. Even though he's really mean and controlling and crazy, right? Otherwise you wouldn't be with him all the time."

"Oh, well, yeah! That's a given," Takao says with a laugh, leaning back in his seat. "He's totally weird, but it's sort of fun, you know? Shin-chan puts up with me, too, and I know he thinks 'people like me' are annoying like… 99% of the time. Are you adding -cchi to the end of his name? That's obscenely cute."

"Ah!" At last, someone finally understands him. No, wait, he's supposed to be taking this guy to task! "I do that on the names of people I respect. Kurokocchi, Midorimacchi, Murasakibaracchi, Aominecchi, Kagamicchi, Akashicchi…"

Takao sputters at the last one. "Geez, how'd that go over? I called that little-uh, I mean, Akashi… Sei-chan once. The way he twitched-" So he might be a little proud of that achievement. Hopefully Kise thinks it's funny, not offensive. It's not like he knows the context.

Kise's eyes go a little wide, and he nearly chokes on his candy. "Y-you did that to Akashi?" God, he's about a second away from breaking out into a cold sweat at just the thought. "And you're still alive?"

"Why does everyone think he's gonna kill me?" Takao complains, sighing as he drops his chin into one hand. "Sorry, but to me, he's just a big bully. I got really mad at how he treated Shin-chan, so… stuff happened."

"Ahhhh…" Kise turns that over a few times in his mind, and comes to the decision that he should just get on with what he's been meaning to say. " know you're going to ruin his life, right?"

"Eh?" Takao blinks back at him, confusion knitting his brow. "Wait-are we talking about Shin-chan? What am I missing?"

"Aahh, don't make it harder than it is," Kise whines, leaning back in his chair and resting his elbow on the back of it. "He's a bad liar. He always was, back in Teiko. If you're going to be all over him and stuff, he's going to mess up with someone. I mean, you don't think he can hide it forever, do you?"

Takao blinks again before understanding hits him like a truck, and he groans, tipping his head back. "Are you seriously gonna make this a thing? I thought you'd be cooler than that." He sighs, dropping his chin into both hands as he stares over at Kise, eyebrows raising. "What'd you do, grab his phone? The background was pretty neutral I thought, and I climb him like a ladder all the time, so whatever." Midorima certainly wouldn't have said anything, so there aren't many other options than Kise catching sight of the background Takao had set the phone to-geez, way to ruin a great pic of them at the beach.

"Oy," Kise mutters, annoyed by the implication that he's not cool, "I don't care. I just think you're really dumb if you're gonna trust him to keep it quiet. Have you ever seen Midorimacchi try to lie? It wasn't just the phone, he asked me for my autograph and lied really stupidly about a girlfriend, and it was pretty easy to guess after that." Kise shrugs, looking both ways to make sure no one is close enough to hear. "It's a lot more fun if you can do it with everyone, and both of you are really cute and I bet you're a great liar, but…"

Takao is starting to get a little bit annoyed. "We're exclusive." It's nice being able to say that, actually. "And I know he's an awful liar. The important thing is no one at our school asks who he's dating, and especially not anyone on our team, so he doesn't have to lie about that. Do you really think I haven't thought this through already?"

Kise holds up his hands, sort of taken aback by the fire he hears in those words. "Whoa, seriously? You actually want to date that guy?" He leans forward, grinning, resting his weight on his elbows. "You seem more like someone who plays around a lot and likes stressing him out. I figured you'd never say anything, but Midorimacchi's so honest on accident, I don't want him to get kicked out of his house or anything. He probably wouldn't even stay with me even though I have an extra room, he's so meeeean."

We've been dating for months now. Takao strangles down the words, telling himself to calm down. It's not like Kise's here on an information seeking mission for Akashi-or is he? Fuck. Maybe he should have thought about that beforehand. No, no way, it can't be that. Akashi wouldn't send someone like Kise-

He's over thinking this.

Takao sucks in a deep breath. "He's fun to tease, but that's not the same as stressing him out." He scowls a little, suddenly annoyed at the thought of Midorima being kicked out (nope, nope, never going to happen, they don't need to know or ever find out if that's a thing that would happen) and not staying with him. "He's not gonna get kicked out. Even if he did, he'd just come live with me. Look, it's flattering that one of his old friends is being protective of him, but you don't have to worry about it. Really."

Kise tilts his head, thinking. "Mmm. I guess if you're sure. Ahh, I just don't get why you'd want to spend all your time with someone who tells you you're a useless idiot, I guess. I was kind of thinking there was probably some other reason, but your shoes are nice enough that you're probably not in it for his money."

"For starters, he doesn't tell me I'm a useless idiot in bed." Yeah, he's done, it's time to just go there. "Did you seriously think I was using him for his money or something?" Takao has to wonder if there's something to Midorima telling him he acts like the 'common folk' now.

Kise gives him a curious look, then shrugs. "I don't know, you two look happy together in the picture. But he might be not so good at telling, and you might be a good liar. I've known him for a long time, you know? I've seen people lie to him before."

"Yeah. Like your ex-captain, who I punched in the face four times."

Kise falls off his chair. "You what?" There's brave, and then there's crazy. "Whoa, Midorimacchi likes them macho! And fearless!"

Takao blinks, head tilting to follow the other boy's descent. "… More like really mad? And also, kinda sick of people thinking he's magic or something," he wryly admits. Macho. Right. Does macho include looking great in a skirt? "Seriously, Akashi's got the emotional maturity of a toddler. All I can hope for is that punching him in the face knocked some sense into him, because I'm still getting punished for it."

Kise shudders. "Better you than me. Better anyone than me, not going up against Akashicchi is the only good thing about Kaijou being taken out of the Winter Cup. Ah, I don't want to talk about that, I'm going to get depressed. Was Midorimacchi okay with you punching the Captain? He used to get so weird after their private games."

"… He seemed pleased enough." Certainly not weird, and hearing that makes Takao frown. "Sorry, but what private games? Shin-chan doesn't really talk about Teiko so much, really…"

Oh good, Takao is someone that wants to hear all about Teiko! "They used to play shogi, before and after practice. Akashicchi won every game, and he'd give Midorimacchi punishments every time he lost, to make him try and improve faster. At least, that's what he said."

That sort of makes him want to drive back down to Kyoto and punch Akashi again. "Really. What kind of punishments?" Depending on the answer, he might just do it.

"Ahh, I don't know! Midorimacchi never really told. Oh, no, that's wrong, I remember a couple. One time he took his outside shoes for a day, I think, and didn't let him get more. We-some of the others thought it was pretty funny, but I guess looking back it wasn't. Hmm, sometimes he'd take his things. Nice pencils, drinks, money, food, stuff like that. I think he took his glasses for a whole practice once, Aominecchi kept hitting him with the basketball. And Akashicchi would forbid him to go to certain restaurants, movies, events, things like that. Ah, it wasn't that mean, or anything. Midorimicchi was always agreeing to it before matches, he always said it made him play harder."

"… You guys have a pretty lax definition of what 'not that mean' is." Needing a distraction, Takao forces himself to fish out a particular flavor of candy, lest he get up right then and make his way down to Kyoto again. "Also, don't you think it's kind of hard not to agree to that sort of thing, if your captain expects you to?"

"Ahh, it was middle school," Kise complains, stealing another candy and popping it in his mouth. "No one's really that nice in middle school. Midorimicchi was mean all the time, too, he always told me I was no good because I thought dunking was cool, so sometimes it was funny to see him walking around without pants."

Yeah, you try and fix all the fucking neuroses that came about because of all of that, then. "If that's what you think, then you really don't need to worry about me being involved with him."

"It's not like it was bullying or anything," Kise protests. "Midorimacchi was the vice-captain! I was the one they were always mean to, jeez."

"Ahh, but Shin-chan says that was because you sucked," Takao mildly replies. "Maybe you did need a fire lit underneath your ass. You know. In basketball. Instead of being punished for losing shogi games. Which aren't basketball."

Kise huffs out a breath, ruffling his bangs. "I guess Midorimacchi's dating someone as rude as he is. I just came because no one else was going to, man. He's my friend, even if he says he's not and tells me to go die a lot of the time when I'm just trying to be nice. Why does he do that, by the way? You seem like you know him pretty well."

"I'm not rude, I'm just blunt!" Takao cheerfully returns, even if his smile is a little forced. Ahh, he needs to get out of here, and grab Shin-chan and squish him really, really tight. "Also, if he does that, he's just being suuuuper tsundere. He did that to me a lot at the beginning."

"Really? Oh, good! I thought he was doing that, but Kasamatsu-sempai says he just doesn't like me." Kise looks over the point guard, appreciative again now that everyone's smiling. "You have a really nice smile. You sure you two are exclusive?" He twirls his straw wrapper in his hands, a flirty bat of his eyelashes enough to make it an easy joke that he'd turn serious in a second if Takao shows interest.

Midorima never said anything about how Kise was kind of… uh. Hm. Yeah, there's a word for it, but it's really rude. Takao just has to laugh. "Yeah, sorry. Definitely exclusive. Do you have a thing for point guards or something?"

Kise shrugs, laughing. "It's just a joke, Takaocchi. Point guards, cute cheerleaders, what's the difference? I just thought you had a nice smile. Go on, run back to your shooting guard, I won't bug you guys about it now that I know you're a good guy."

"Sucks for you that I look really good in a cheerleading outfit, too!" Takao brightly tosses back, rising from his seat perhaps a bit too quickly. So that cuddling thing-that really needs to happen. "It was nice meeting you, though, Kise-kun, and thanks for enlightening me about-ah-things."

"No problem! Call me if you ever want stories about Teiko, no one ever wants to talk about it!" Kise calls, tipping back his chair. Damn, he really can imagine that, with such a cute little ass the point guard has. Ahh, Midorimacchi is so lucky!

"I'll keep that in mind!" God, he's really not sure he wants to hear stories now. No wonder no one wants to talk about it. Takao sucks in a deep breath as he leaves, scrambling to fish his phone out of his bag and immediately sends Midorima a text.

Kise Ryouta is a giant slut, why didn't you warn me?

Midorima looks down at his phone, rubs his temples tiredly, and texts back, Because he's entirely irrelevant. And probably diseased. If you're going to cheat on me, don't do it with him.

I wasn't going to cheat on you! Even if Kise is really hot. Damn. Come over, I want to feed you good take-out.

I'm already in a taxi.

Fifteen minutes later by dint of good traffic, Midorima rings the doorbell, more eager than he wants to admit to see Takao's face, to hear that he hasn't messed everything up by being indelicate around Kise.

"Perfect timing, I just got back in," Takao cheerfully greets upon opening the door. One of these days, maybe Midorima will learn to just let himself in. "Geez, I'm never responding to invitations from your old teammates again. I thought you were weird, but they're in another league."

"Not when it comes to basketball talent," Midorima says with a sniff, walking in and taking off his shoes, shutting the door behind him. "Are your parents in? Or…" Can I kiss you?

"They're never in." Sounds like a broken record at this point, and it's not even true, because his mother will probably be flying back in next week. Ugh. There's that impulse to cuddle him again, and Takao lurches up onto his toes, flopping his arms around Midorima's neck to haul him down for a kiss. "Let's make out. Kise-kun ogling me while giving me the third degree about how I'm going to ruin your life was too much for one day."

Midorima only has time for one vaguely horrified look before he's kissed, and returns it just as eagerly if not more so, stepping forward with such a long stride that Takao winds up pressed against the wall, hoisted up a little when Midorima's back starts to ache. Kise is probably a better kisser, and short enough to kiss pretty much anyone without bending in half, but Takao's here with him, and that's enough to make his breath shake.

There are a lot of times he likes being short. When Midorima's trying to kiss him isn't one of them, and Takao exhales a short, frustrated huff before using the wall as leverage and the hold Midorima already has on him to bounce up and wrap his legs around the other boy's waist, fully expecting to be caught and held. "I flat out rejected him, don't worry," Takao informs him between kisses, teeth gently catching Midorima's lower lip as his fingers splay over broad shoulders. "And told him where to shove it about me ruining your life. We're cool now."

"Wasn't worried." It's a little surprising for Midorima to find that he hadn't really been worried, when he worries about so many things, and he catches Takao easily in midair, wrapping one arm around his waist, letting the other cup his ass for greater leverage. Yeah. Leverage. "Kise was actually worried about me? I don't even think he liked me. Which is mutual, even though I got your damned autograph, it's in my bag."

"Ahh, he likes you, and really wants you to like him," Takao laughs, drumming his fingers lightly against Midorima's shoulders as he leans in, resting their foreheads against one another. "But yeah, he did seem genuinely worried. I guess that's nice. It just annoyed me so I might have gotten a little obnoxious. Sorry for making you go and deal with him in the first place."

"It's fine. He might know about our relationship, but I doubt he'll say anything to anyone." Midorima rolls his eyes behind his glasses, nuzzling against Takao's face. "Like you said, he wants me to like him. It's not my fault he's annoying."

"… Yeeeaah, there's no might about it." Takao exhales a slow breath, annoyed all over again in spite of himself. "For future reference, if something happens and you ever need a place to stay, you can come here. Don't go to his place, no matter what he says."

Midorima blinks, uncomprehending. "I think I'd probably just go home," he says carefully. "Has Kise been implying that we're close friends? I didn't think you would fall for some of his exaggerations."

"No, I just-blah." Takao lurches forward, making full use of Midorima's strength to hold him up while he firmly clings with all four limbs. "Your parents would really flip out if they knew about us, wouldn't they?"

"My parents? Knew? Ah, about our relationship?" Midorima considers that for a moment. "I can't imagine they'd be pleased. They'd almost certainly attempt to make me put an end to it. It's not exactly encouraged, is it?" What a stressful thing to think about.

"You're a lot more calm talking about this than I thought you'd be," Takao mumbles, burying his face into the side of Midorima's neck. "Seriously, what rock do you live under? Of course it's not encouraged. Why do you think I've been so insistent about not telling anyone all this time?"

"Because you want to protect your popularity, of course," Midorima answers, with something like a shrug. Lifting Takao's entire body isn't quite as much fun when they're not kissing, and he makes his way to the bedroom, and the bouncy bed. "I don't make it a habit to pay attention to other people's opinions on sexual relationships."

"… Am I allowed to call you an idiot for a change?" Ahh, it's easy to forget sometimes how Midorima doesn't get people. Once near the bed, Takao releases his hold, flopping down onto it with a sigh. "My popularity has nothing to do with it, Shin-chan. I don't want people to find out because I don't want anything to happen to you."

"It's too late for Kise. Unless we kill him." Midorima gives Takao a sideways look, gauging whether he thinks that's humor or serious, prepared to follow through to some degree either way.

"Kise-kun's harmless. I think." Takao pauses, blinking up at the ceiling for a moment. "Though I did wonder if maybe Akashi had sent him on some information seeking mission… but I'm pretty sure Kise-kun's too dumb. Kinda like that dog that's really sweet-natured but wow, unable to function in the wild."

"That's likely accurate." Midorima doesn't mention that of all the Generation of Miracles, Kise is one of those most likely to be accepted by the world at large. "Akashi doesn't use him for things like that. He doesn't need to."

"Ah." Takao lurches up, making a grab for the other boy to haul him down to the bed and basically on top of him. "Well, good. I was about to drive back down to Kyoto and punch him again or something."

Long arms come out, holding up his own weight as Midorima splays out on top of Takao, claiming a few long kisses between words. "Why would you need to do that again? You'll still be working off the punishment for last time when we leave for Winter Vacation. And I want to go skiing in Hokkaido with you. Or maybe New Zealand."

"Because I really hate him," Takao mutters, through skiing in Hokkaido or maybe New Zealand with Midorima makes his resolve waver, just a little bit. Or maybe that's just Midorima's mouth and his kisses, all soft and long right now. "Seriously, Shin-chan, punching him in the face should be a thing."

"You already punched him in the face a few times," Midorima says practically. "Wouldn't you rather spend those hours driving to Kyoto on an airplane with me? Or practicing the new plays you introduced yesterday, I want to spend several hours with you on them." He settles down farther, laying his cheek on Takao's chest as he undoes his buttons, leaning in to kiss a bare shoulder.

Midorima's right, of course. And really, if Midorima doesn't want him punching Akashi in the face, then he should let it go. A part of Takao wants to bring up the things Kise had said, but another, larger part screams at him to shut up and drop it and let it go because Midorima obviously has (or is at least trying to).

Takao exhales a slow, measured sigh, and drapes his arms around Midorima's back, giving him a firm squeeze. "Yeah. Sorry, Shin-chan, you're right. I'm just cranky. I need to stop, being cranky is your job."

"I'm not cranky." Midorima blinks, miffed. "If anything, I'm in a very good mood. Can't you tell? Or have you calibrated your standard of human behavior to Kise? I'll have to reeducate you."

"No, I mean, usually you're all grumpy-faced and stuff. Ugh, maybe I do need recalibrating," Takao bemoans, grabbing at Midorima's head to hug it to his chest. "Save me, he was really way too friendly and that's coming from me!"

"He's like that. That's one of the reasons he's so worthless," Midorima says with a huff, setting his glasses aside and wriggling down further, undoing the last of Takao's shirt buttons, moving down to his trousers. "Would you say yes or no to the offer of an inexpert but thoroughly researched first blowjob?"


Who did he want to punch again?

"Yes. Yes is good." Takao wriggles up onto his elbows to better look down to him. "You really are in a good mood."

"We'll see how long it lasts," Midorima says under his breath, but his hands are steady as he unfastens the rest of Takao's clothes, tossing them to the floor with his underwear. He's quite familiar with Takao's cock at this point, though seeing the whole thing this close is intriguing, from this angle no less. He leans forward, keeping all the tips he's read in mind, closing his lips over the head and carefully moving his tongue in a slow, swirling circle. Glans, frenulum, foreskin...

Frankly, it really doesn't even matter how good or bad at this Midorima is. It's more the fact he actually asked to do it in the first place, and, well, a hot, slick mouth is kind of a good thing no matter what, so-

Takao sucks in a slow breath, fingers twitching with the urge to bury themselves into Midorima's hair, and so he gives up resisting after a sparse few seconds. "Shin-chan looks a little too good down there," he manages with a breathless laugh. Hell if he knows what he did to prompt this, but he'll take it.

Midorima pauses, pulling his phone out of his pocket and tossing it to Takao, accurate enough at throwing even without his glasses (so long as he's not required to catch). "If you want."

Then he bends back to his task, stopping only to unwrap the fingers of his left hand, curling them around the base of Takao's cock before sliding his lips over everything else, letting his tongue drag over the skin. Fascinating. The skin tastes like simple skin, but it's softer, thinner somehow, and everything is unbelievably hot over the hardness within, a hardness Midorima finds it difficult to believe is caused by nothing more than blood. That makes him curious, and he goes down further, liking the way Takao throbs and leaks onto his tongue the way he likes it when Takao comes on his face-it's exciting, it makes Takao hard, and that makes Midorima hard.

If he wants? He really, really wants to take pictures. Always. Every single time. Now is hardly an exception, but there's that little margin of hesitation now that has to do with who else is just gonna grab Shin-chan's phone and look-

Ugh, that is so not allowed to ruin their fun.

Takao shudders, swallowing hard as he fumbles with the phone, his fingers mussing the other boy's hair as he manages to take a few, shaky shots. His cock looks way too good buried between Midorima's lips, and it's impossible not to let his hips twitch forward, sliding further along his tongue. "Almost looks like you like the taste, Shin-chan." If you say you do, no promises that I won't come right the fuck now.

Midorima pulls up, leaving the head inside his mouth and wriggling his tongue against the slit, remembering belatedly to keep stroking with his hand. He's inexpert, he knows, but maybe Takao will enjoy it nonetheless.

He lets it fall from his lips with a wet pop, looking up in Takao's general, blurry direction. "Takao does taste good," he admits, rubbing the head against his lips. "I tasted it the first night we were here, remember?" Like chlorine and melon juice and salted something, neutral to slightly unappetizing by itself, but the thought of where it comes from is enough to make him achingly hard like the pervert he probably is. "Do you want to, to do it on my face this time?"

Midorima is so gonna kill him one of these days. Takao swallows again, letting his eyes dart upward for a moment in a desperate plea for control when he feels his cock throb, the way Midorima rubs it against his lips really, really unfair. He's probably jerked off to this sort of thing far too many times if he's this riled up just by having Shin-chan's mouth on his cock for a few minutes, but oh well. "Y-yeah. If that's okay. Just-" Fuck the pictures, this is already burnt into his memory. Takao's fingers twist back through Midorima's hair, pulling slightly to drag his head forward, and his cock messily slides from those swollen lips to rub against Midorima's cheek instead. "Put your mouth on the side of it-or whatever-I'm r-really close already."

"Takao is such a good boyfriend," Midorima murmurs, relieved beyond words to have a clear order like that. This is such a new, vague, terrifying experience sometimes, and if it were anyone but Takao, he'd have failed long ago-no, he'd never have bothered in the first place. He presses soft, open-mouthed kisses to the side of his cock, moaning a little, liking too much the way Takao twitches and writhes and squirms with every touch he gives. As servile as this position feels, it also feels like power, heady and terrific, as good as the taste of Takao's cock.

Takao kind of wonders when he's going to wake up from whatever pleasant dream he's been tossed into. Hopefully, it's not before he gets off.

Either way, that's so not very far away, not when Midorima's between his legs and mouthing him and kissing him and practically squirming on his knees while he does it, and one look at that is enough to make him shudder. His hips lurch forward, cock sliding slick and hard against Midorima's cheek, and Takao briefly tells himself that next time, he'll last a lot longer-or maybe he won't, because Midorima just looks that good.

He comes with a hiccuping, breathless groan, sinking his teeth into his own lip at the sight of Midorima's face, flushed and messy with his come. Ahh, it kind of sticks to his lashes and everything, too, and that's just fetish fuel for a month. "I quit, you win," is the helpless groan to follow, and he flops onto his back, slinging an arm over his own face.

Midorima blinks a few times, catching his breath after the unexpectedly difficult task of keeping Takao's cock in his mouth for even as long as he had, and the sudden excitement of his finish. He can't see with Takao's come dripping from his eyelids, but he can't see without his glasses anyway, so that's no great loss. Curiously, he wipes a thumb through a bit of the mess, bringing it to his tongue and flicking it out. Usually Takao cleans him up before he really gets a chance to investigate. Hmm, not bad. More of the same, if a different texture. "I wasn't aware it was a contest. Ah, but you would win, if it was blowjobs. Though I'm sure I'll be very very good at them soon, if I keep practicing."

"Have mercy, Shin-chan," Takao manages, though it sounds nothing like a plea for mercy at all. "I'll die if you're good at anything else." He reaches down blindly, grabbing the other boy by the arm to haul him up, and with a shaky grin, leans up to kiss some of the mess off of his face. "Though I gotta say… you were already very, very good. I haven't come that fast in awhile, you know."

"I know," Midorima says with a hint of smugness. "I've been present. Ah...I forgot to use a condom. There's nothing attractive for you to play with." Now that Takao's made headway, he wipes at his eyes, clearing them enough to see a vague blur that's probably Takao.

"Next time," Takao breezily agrees, and leans up to steal another kiss. "We're really awful perverts, aren't we? I like it a lot."

"I think I do, too," Midorima admits. He stretches out, a small smile on his face, lasting for a lot longer than he remembers smiling for years. "I changed the background on my phone, by the way."

"Ahh, probably to something boring, right? Sorry I didn't warn you about changing it to that other pic earlier," Takao sheepishly offers. "At least it wasn't anything, uh, inappropriate…"

"Mm, no. I changed it to this one." Midorima fumbles around blindly for his phone, finally grabbing and opening it, showing off one of Takao half-asleep, Midorima's teeth gently tugging on his ear. "No one who finds out about us is going to do it through an unflattering beach shot. Really, Takao."

"… Shin-chan is a brat," is the only response Takao can manage, and he butts his head directly into Midorima's shoulder, feeling his face burn. That's a bad idea, change it again is on the tip of his tongue, but he can't quite bring himself to say it. "Wasn't unflattering. Was really cute. You were almost smiling and I was super adorable."

"I was bending at an awkward angle and my glasses were crooked." Midorima shuts his phone, letting it fall to the bed as he rubs his body slowly against Takao's. "We don't have to be smiling to look like we're enjoying ourselves, idiot." He mouths a kiss against Takao's neck, and murmurs, "Say you'll come skiing with me."

"Geez, you're in a mood today for real." Takao loops his arms firmly around Midorima's neck, steadfastly deciding he will stay latched here for some time. "Name a date. We're going, and I'll have fun bundling you up and everything."

"Let's go for Christmas. My family doesn't celebrate, but I've always wanted to try." Takao's not wrong about his mood, though Midorima's not sure why he's been so on-edge all day, excitable and urgent and a little itchy under the skin. "Ah, I'm not going to sleep tonight, let's go practice."

"Let me get dressed first… and ahh, lucky, my mom is so into the Christmas thing. Except she does it with her French boyfriends or whatever, not here."


The word reverberates in Midorima's mind for a few minutes before he starts patting his clothes down, fumbling to put his glasses back on his face. "Lucky-I don't have one." His breath shortens, and he blinks around the room, stunned at himself. "I don't know today's ranking. I forgot to listen to Oha Asa this morning."

Takao blinks rapidly, and suddenly, everything really does make sense. Well, shit. "Um… ah… seriously, Shin-chan, it's okay," he hurriedly attempts, lurching up to grab at Midorima's arms and steady him. "Your day's been going well even without that, right? You don't need to listen to it."

"This is the first time." Midorima stands, pacing, looking out the window as if a meteor will hit them any second. "I even removed my tapings! Who knows what could happen? Ah, I was distracted this morning, this…."

He sits heavily, shoulders bowed. "I don't understand. Fate should have turned against me already."

Yeah, his boyfriend is really neurotic.

Takao heaves a long, slow sigh, and straightens his clothes before sliding off the bed with a bounce. "Shin-chan, for real. That kind of stuff is meant for fun, not to put all of your faith in. You're kickass and smart and really, really good at stuff. You don't need it to solidify any of that."

Midorima's face is frightened and a bit childlike as he looks up, eyes wide and nervous. "Do you think it will be all right? Just for one day? If-maybe if I don't try to tempt fate, if I just stay quiet, fate won't be mad at me…"

"Shin-chan." Takao leans up, grabbing the other boy's face to firmly squish his cheeks. "You've already gone all day and been just fine, haven't you? Nothing bad happened, not even with Kise-kun being a weirdo. And hey, secret-I always listen to Oha Asa for you, just in case." It's probably better to ease Midorima out of this, rather than expect him to be completely weaned from this crutch in an instant. "No bad news for Cancers today, so relax."

Midorima takes a deep, shuddering breath. Maybe it's fate that made him skip Oha Asa today.

(Or maybe his friends and his mother have always been right and it's just a television program.)

He leans into Takao's hands, eyes sliding shut. "No bad news is good enough," he accepts shakily. For a moment, the world had felt like it had before, when he'd never been sure if what he was doing was correct, and there was no handy list of aids (neurotic tics) to check. "I bet it said something about Scorpio being very reliable. Or comforting."

"I wouldn't know. I don't listen to mine, just yours," Takao wryly admits, giving his face another light squeeze before pulling him down to a kissable position. "But you're gonna relax, and we'll go practice, and then you'll sleep after a lot of good food, okay? My predictions are more important, no arguments."

Midorima keeps his mouth shut, though he consents to a kiss. It's worth a shot, anyway, since listening to Oha Asa after Asa is finished is bad luck in any case. "All right." He looks up, and squeezes Takao's hands. "Today I'll….believe in Takao."

That's about as good as anything he could hope for. Takao grins, stealing another kiss. "Good. Really good. You can do that tomorrow, too. If anything bad happens, just blame it on me. It probably would be my fault, anyway."

"Let's start with one day. I don't really believe it."

Midorima doesn't remember, as Takao drags him out for a really successful practice and delicious dinner, but those words are identical to the ones he'd told Akashi back in his first year of middle school, before the horoscope had seemed so important.