Kise doesn't even wait for the doorbell to finish ringing before he starts knocking on the door of Aomine's apartment, knocking with his whole hand so the frame shakes and lets out a rattling boom. He knows Aomine's mother's work schedule well enough by now, but the way he feels, he'd come over even if she were home.

His hair hangs lank into his face, phone buzzing in his pocket, tie loose around his neck, eyes something like haunted, something like betrayed, something like self-deprecatingly amused, and he thinks he might be soaking wet from the rain outside. Maybe. He's not sure.

"What the fuck, Kisee," Aomine snaps even before he has the door open all the way, still barely dressed and looking half-asleep. The sight at his door, however, brings him some pause, and he frowns, stepping back to give Kise some space to let him inside. "What the fuck," he repeats. "You let yourself get caught in the rain? I was pretty sure you'd melt, judging by all the times you whined about your hair." Ugggh, let a joke make things easier, he looks like he wants to whine about a girl or something, why me?

Kise walks in, not bothering to shove the hair back from his face. He stands, shoulders a little hunched, still too stunned to properly get ahold of himself. "I ran into Takao from Shutoku today. We got coffee."

"… Okay?" Is he supposed to give a fuck? Aomine shuts the door, scowling a little as he pulls the towel off of his own shoulders and throws it over Kise's head. "Did everyone run away screaming because you both talk too much or something?"

Kise grabs the towel automatically, starting to wipe himself dry. "He does talk a lot," he agrees, "and he's not as good at keeping secrets as I am. He told me him and Midorimacchi went on a double date. With Kurokocchi and Kagamicchi."

It takes a minute for that to really process.

It still doesn't really process.

"A double date," Aomine deadpans. No, it can't possibly by the way Kise's implying it. Kuroko and Midorima can barely sit in the same room together… and what the fuck, Midorima's dating someone? No fucking way. "You're fucking nuts, Kise. He must've meant something else, calm down."

Kise laughs, humorlessly. "Call Kurokocchi and ask him, then. I couldn't work up the nerve."

"You're such a goddamn baby." This is nothing, Aomine firmly tells himself as he stalks off to grab his phone. It's doubtful Kuroko will even pick up, but maybe because he never calls, he'll think something is actually wrong and consider it-

Aomine snorts, irritated, and dials the number.

It rings nearly long enough for it to go to voicemail, and Aomine kind of wants to throw it into a wall right when Kuroko does pick up. "Yo, Tetsu."

"Aomine-kun." He sounds decidedly confused. Good. "Nothing's wrong, is there?"

Geez, maybe he needs to stop being right about Kuroko's reactions at some point. Aomine scowls up to the ceiling. "Nah. Just proving a point. Kisee's sad you went out to dinner with Midorima and some other idiots the other night because one of them called it a double date or something, so tell him it was just a-"

What is unlike Tetsu is for him to hang up out of the blue, and Aomine finds himself staring down at his phone. Huh.

Kise hadn't been holding out much hope. Takao is a lot of things, but he doesn't seem like someone that would lie about something like this just for the sake of it. "I knew about Takao and Midorimacchi," he says, slowly starting to feel more like himself, toweling off his head and tossing the towel onto the back of the couch. "Makes sense, really. Why would someone put up with him if they weren't getting their dick sucked?" He does a pretty good job, he thinks, of not sounding quite as raw as he feels.

"Dammit, can you not give me that mental image?" Aomine groans, raking a hand back through his hair as he dials Kuroko's number again. This time, it goes straight to voicemail, and he starts getting really pissed off. What the fuck. "Seriously. Tetsu and Kagami? What the fucking fuck." The universe is playing a really big joke if that's actually true, and it sort of makes him want to go down to Seiren and dribble Kagami's head. "Fuck that guy."

"Fuck that guy," Kise agrees, flopping down on the couch. "Ah, I know I shouldn't be mad," he admits, hand clenching on one of the cushions. "Think I should text him? Nah, if he's ignoring you he's definitely going to ignore me."

"Fuck both of them." Aomine throws his phone too hard, uncaring when the battery pops clear out the back and goes ricocheting somewhere else. Not like Kuroko's going to fucking call him, anyway. He never fucking calls. Aomine sucks in a long, unsteady breath before exhaling it just as roughly. Satsuki could put some logic to this. Maybe even Kise can, because he can at least figure out that he shouldn't be pissed about it (definitely shouldn't, the little shit doesn't have the right)-but-"I am so much hotter than that guy."

"Damn straight," Kise agrees. Kagami is attractive enough in his own way, but Aomine is pretty much sex on legs. "I'm hot, too," he says a little forlornly, though even he knows he's never been in the running. That doesn't stop him from thinking about Kuroko's little smile, or how he'd look in a Kaijou uniform, or how well they would complement each other if only Kuroko would take that chance. "Ah, I'm mad. Do you have anything to drink?"

Beer is so not good enough for angry drinking, but at least it's alcoholic enough to ease everything slightly. "I don't fucking get him," Aomine mutters, shoving a beer into Kise's hands as he flops down onto the other end of the couch. "First he turns into a self-righteous little shit, then he hooks up with a hulking idiot? I bet all those times he said he was tutoring Kagami, they were fucking."

Kise makes a face, groaning as he flops down to the couch, popping the cap and downing a few gulps. "Gross. There's no way Kagamicchi's careful enough with him. I've seen them fight, he doesn't pull his punches. Ah, Kurokocchi's gonna get hurt."

"Kisee, shut the fuck up." The ripple of irritation quickly turns to anger at the thought of Kagami somehow doing anything to hurt Kuroko-or actually, just doing anything at all. Kissing him is right out, and Aomine drinks heavily with that thought in mind. "What if I went down to Seirin and dunked his head?"

"You do that," Kise agrees, curling moodily up around his beer. "I'll steal Kurokocchi away."

"Dude, if you touch him, I'll fucking dunk you, too."

Kise pouts a little at that. Ah, much easier to hide away behind the silly mask. "Aominecchi is so rude. At least then it's still one of us. And I'd share."

"Kisee," Aomine bluntly begins, "I like you. But you're really fucking creepy, you know that? That's why Tetsu doesn't talk to you."

"How am I creepy?" Kise demands. "At least I don't want to tie him up in a basement or anything, I just think he's really cute and sweet and I feel better when he's around." And we could have been a really good team, but I was stupid back then and I never got another chance.

"I'm amazed that you don't," Aomine deadpans, taking another long sip of his beer. He tips his head back, letting it loll over the back of the couch. "You talk about him constantly even though you don't even know him. You go to all of his games, you probably jerk off to the idea of just playing a single game with him again-and dude, don't think I didn't see the time you turned the background of your phone to a picture you took of him in secret. I can keep going."

Kise's face flushes in anger, and he drains the rest of his beer. "At least I haven't spent the last few years obsessing over one kiss. At least I didn't have something with him and throw it away because of sports."

Aomine glares at him. "It was a lot fucking more than just a kiss," he mutters, downing the rest of his own beer. "If you knew Tetsu at all, you'd get that."

"Because it's him." Kise sets his can down, the smile fading from his face. "And he doesn't go around kissing people or saying things to make you feel better if he doesn't mean them, because he means everything he does. Yeah. I get it."

"Fuck you, man." It makes something twist in his chest to hear someone else say it, to hear someone else lay it out so plainly. Aomine grits his teeth, and in one, smooth motion, turns on the couch and shoves Kise down, a hand over his throat as he looms over him. "Just because you think you know him doesn't mean you really know him," he mutters, giving Kise's throat a solid squeeze. "You know if you ever really tried anything, I'd make you regret it."

Kise doesn't fight the hold on his throat. He stretches out, looking steadily up at Aomine, meeting dark blue eyes with his own. "How about you, Aominecchi?" he asks quietly, no hint of a smile now. "Do you mean everything you do? A hundred percent, like he always does?"

Aomine's fingers tighten, slow and even. "When it comes to him," he lowly replies, "yeah, I do. But that doesn't change much, in the end." If that meant anything, maybe he'd have stuck around.

"No? Maybe that's why you two aren't a thing." Kise's voice is strained, breath coming in shallow, obstructed pants, but he doesn't struggle. "Maybe he knew you meant it a hundred percent when you threw him away after Teiko."

"The only thing I threw away was the idea of being weak. I-" Fuck you is on the tip of his tongue again, and Aomine snarls out a breath in frustration, releasing Kise's throat with a last, hard shove. "Don't fucking talk about things you don't understand, Kisee. Actually, just don't talk at all."

Kise doesn't bother moving, laying listlessly on the couch. The tenseness of Aomine's posture, the roughness of his voice say more than words that he's taking it even worse than Kise is. "We're a fucking pair."

"…We really fucking suck, don't we," Aomine eventually, sullenly replies as he slumps back, staring up at the ceiling. "Wanna fuck? You know we at least have better sex than they do." It's kind of a pathetic consolation prize, though.

Kise wants to go over to Kagami's house and punch Kagami in the face, but that's not exactly productive. "Yeah. Sure." He pulls out his phone, unable to quite stop himself from texting Kuroko. What's up? Want to shoot hoops later? I want to practice with your invisible drive.

"Are you texting him?" Who is he kidding-of course Kise is texting him. Aomine groans, lurching over again to snatch the phone out of his hands, just in time for Kuroko to text back No, thank you, I'm busy today. "What if I told him you're busy getting fucked?" he crossly growls.

That sends a fluttery pulse of fear through him that Aomine's hand on his neck hadn't-Aomine wouldn't really have killed him, but he might really send that text message. "If you can text," he mutters instead, grabbing for Aomine's cock to distract him, "you're not fucking me hard enough."

Kise's priorities are hilarious at times. Aomine snorts, abandoning the phone in sort order and sliding up between Kise's legs, hands splaying over his thighs as he leans down to snap his teeth over his neck. "He's probably busy freaking out right now." It's slightly satisfying to even think about it. Serves you right, Tetsu.

"Probably." Kise kicks off his pants, spreading his legs to let Aomine between them without question. Ah, god, that look in his eyes means he's probably not going to walk out of here too well, but right now that feels like the least of his worries. He can handle soreness, bruises, scratches….

Anything but Kuroko sitting happily on Kagami's lap.

"I hope he's really nervous. Ugh, fuck me up, Aominecchi."

That sounds a dozen times better than anything else his mind comes up with right then.

Aomine's response is a throaty grunt of assent, and he simply grabs Kise by the arm, flipping him over and shoving his face down into the couch cushions. "Really don't need to see your face right now," he mutters, yanking down his shorts. There's no point in explaining why-they both fucking know it, and it makes him feel that much more pathetic, and in turn, that much angrier.

It's too long a jaunt to his bedroom to grab his favorite lotion, and Kise can take it, anyway. Aomine spits onto his hand, dragging his palm slickly over his own cock, thumb smearing the precome at the tip of it down with a sigh exhaled through his nose. "When's the last time you took a dick like this, huh, slut?" He shoves a hand between the blond's shoulder blades, holding him down as the head of his cock rubs against his hole. "Too long ago, I bet. You must want it really fucking bad."

Kise groans against the couch cushions, voice muffled and broken. Aomine's dick is nice, thick and heavy and so hard he can't stop himself from rutting back. "Too long," he agrees, planting his knees in the couch for enough leverage to push back. "Almost….two weeks," he admits, laughing at himself. "Need it, come on-"

He's half on the verge of asking Aomine to hurt him, but in their current state that's probably really unsafe. Bruises and marks he can deal with, but Aomine's a powerful guy without many boundaries, and with how fucking angry he is right now Kise knows he could wind up with a few cracked or broken bones. Better not risk it-he'll get plenty of that anyway.

Aomine has to laugh, too. The thought of Kise not getting any either is hilarious, and at least it's another kind of pathetic consolation prize that someone else is in the same boat. "At least ask nicely if you want it so fucking bad next time," Aomine grunts, fisting a hand up into Kise's hair, clawing at his hips, and that's the last bit of warning he offers before shoving inside, hissing out a hot, ragged breath through his teeth when he sinks in deep.

It's way too tight, not slick enough and Kise's going to kill him with how tight he's squeezing around him. "Relax, slut," he hisses out, his hand cracking hard against Kise's ass as he slowly pulls back, just enough to drag spit-slick fingers over half his cock before shoving in again, the slap of their skin together ringing obscenely in his ears. "If you wanna get fucked right, then learn how to take it better."

Kise aches. Aomine's too big inside him, thick and hard and overwhelming, and tears stream involuntarily from his eyes at the burn. "I can take it," he gasps, wanting it whether he's sure he can take it or not. Aomine's stuffing him full, making his eyes cross and his thighs tremble, and his arms give out immediately. He goes boneless, letting Aomine hoist his ass into the air, dragging him back onto his cock.

Ah, Kasamatsu never fucks him like this. They only hook up occasionally, when Kasamatsu's blood is up after a hard practice or he's frustrated about his luck with girls, and Kise can convince him that it feels just as good to have a man's mouth on his cock as a girl's.

It's not like this, hard and possessive and almost cruel, taking him so thoroughly he's got no breath left to complain. It's not like this ever, even if he wishes it were. But then Aominecchi would be all alone for real. Maybe it's better we're pathetic together.

He sets his teeth into the couch, eyes closed as he groans, "Fuck me harder."

Aomine would never, ever fuck Kuroko like this, and in a way, that makes him even angrier.

He grinds Kise's face down into the couch, shifting his knees up closer to shove in harder, grinding against Kise's ass before pulling back and do it all over again. There's no real care for doing it right, or making it feel good for Kise-not like it fucking matters, because Aomine knows the other boy is rock hard and aching, dripping onto the couch like the slut he is, all because he gets off on being used and being a hole and that's all Aomine can think of him as right now, anyway. "God, you're fucking made for this," he groans, fisting his fingers tightly into Kise's hair, using that hold to yank him back onto his cock, stuffing him so full that his own eyes glaze and his vision sparks white.

Maybe he is.

Kise kind of likes that idea, at least right now. He likes a lot of things he usually wouldn't when he's like this-the idea of being nothing but a hole for Aomine to use, the idea of being made for this, for being fucked hard and put away wet, or just left used and gasping on the floor. Ah, fuck, his subconscious is really fucked up.

He can feel his balls drawing up tight to his body and tries to fight it down-Aomine's far too intense for him when he's already come, when he's spent and boneless and oversensitive. It's only good when he's rock hard like this, cock leaking and breath coming in yelps more than anything. It hurts to be so full, a cramping ache that sends pain all the way up his spine, but his mind is so lost in pleasure he can't even care. "Fuck me," he chants, uncaring that Aomine already is, his whole world narrowed to those words. "Fuck me, fuck me, fuck me, fuck mee-"

In times like this, Aomine wants him to hurt.

Kise's begging for it, anyway. That's why he doesn't care, that's why it's fine to just shove him down and bite him and scratch him and leave bruises and marks that will hurt and linger. Aomine yanks him back onto his cock, groaning as he shoves in as deep as he can, bending down to bite the back of Kise's shoulder to muffle his voice as he comes, spilling hot and slick inside him, filling him up as his own muscles tremble and shudder with every pulse of his cock.

Kise could cry.

His mind clicks off, every thought narrowed to the sensations tearing through his body, wracking him, breaking him, and he comes apart in a white-hot flash behind his eyelids.

He screams, maybe. Maybe his mouth is just open, or maybe he sobs when he comes. He can't hear, can't think, can't even breathe when every part of him is shattered.

The first thing he's aware of, when he comes back to himself, is pain. He hurts everywhere; even the places Aomine hasn't hurt him ache from being so tense, and the places Aomine has….well. "You feel any better?" he asks, and his voice comes out slurred and rough.

Aomine slowly, painstakingly pulls out, groaning as he does and flopping backwards. "Not really." No use lying about it to someone like Kise, who at least half-way gets it. His expression is slack and amused as he reaches a hand out, giving one of Kise's thighs a pinch. "You look like you feel like shit, too. Or is that the point?"

"Course that's the point." He groans at Aomine's touch, not bothering to move from his facedown position. "Better this way." He can't explain it any better than that. Aomine will understand, maybe.

"Yeah." He gets it, sort of. He never particularly wants to be fucked to that extent, but it's the same mindset that he has during a game if nothing else. Aomine sighs, and kneads a handful of Kise's ass, finding that to be a rather pleasant stress relief if nothing else. "We're fucked up."

Ah, Aomine is like a big cat sometimes. When he does little things like that, it reminds Kise a bit of how it had been back in Teiko, when everything was still good. "Were we always this bad? I mean, I think I was, but…"

"I dunno." Aomine sighs out another long breath. "Probably not. Tetsu keeps giving me that look like he wants to fix me every time he sees me. What the fuck ever. I think we've all changed." He snorts, giving Kise an absent slap. "Hey. Was it just me, or was even Akashi more batshit than usual at the Winter Cup?"

"He was pretty normal," Kise says slowly, thinking about it. "Well, more like….it was always pretty obvious he had that other level. He just never used it on us before. But hey, that's what's so cool about playing each other now, right? We get to see all of our true potential. Except me, of course. I'm nowhere near mine yet."

"Still think pretty damn highly of yourself, don't you?"

Kise twists around, looking up into his eyes. "I'm still worse than all of you," he says frankly. "I've got to believe I'm still getting better."

"Fucking relax, Kisee, it was a joke." Aomine shoves his head back down into the couch, thoroughly mussing his hair. "I'm not bored of you yet, consider it a compliment."

"Am relaxed," Kise mutters, butting his head against Aomine's hand. "You can keep doing that, though. Anything so I don't have to move yet."

"You don't have to move. Sleep on the couch like that, I don't care. Though if you stay, we're going out for dinner later, your treat."

"Fine, fine. Don't eat too much, I haven't been modeling much since the Winter Cup started."

"Slackass. What good are you?"

"None," Kise mutters, a little less joking than he wants to be.

Aomine sighs long and heavy, and he lists to the side, flopping on top of Kise uselessly. "Yeah." Same.

At least Aomine gets it. He's heavy, but he gets it. "This is why he's with Kagami," Kise says into a couch cushion.

"Shut up, Kisee."

After some stressful (not panicked) debating, Kuroko sends Kise another text.

My plans got canceled, if you still want to go and practice.

It's not hard to put two and two together. If Aomine called to talk about what he was doing with friends the other night, then someone must have told him-and that someone must have been Kise (somehow, some way or another). Which means for some reason Kise spoke to Takao (because it certainly wouldn't be Midorima), and didn't Takao mention Kise over dinner?

His head hurts. When did things get this complicated?

Either way, Kuroko prides himself on not pacing or fidgeting overly much as he waits on a bench, basketball one of the furthest things from his mind for once.

Kise should decline. He knows he should decline, because Kuroko doesn't cancel plans without a good reason, doesn't make them with Kise pretty much ever, and because he really shouldn't show up to play looking like he'd been used for a chewtoy slash punching bag.

He shows up anyway. It's for Kuroko.

"Kurokocchi!" he calls, face alight as he jogs (limping slightly) over. "Hey, sorry about your plans getting canceled, but I brought a basketball!"

Kuroko takes one look at him, and his eyebrows raise as he asks, "Are you still injured, Kise-kun? Maybe practice isn't a good idea."

Kise waves that away with one hand, tossing the ball to Kuroko with the other. "That's nothing, I'm fine. Come on, show me your drive."

"I don't want to." Kuroko tosses it back, stare unwavering. "Kise-kun, have you spoken to Takao-kun from Shutoku recently?"

Kise's smile falters. "Yeah," he admits, and shit, yeah, Kuroko's definitely here to talk about that. "We ran into each other this morning, got coffee."

"I see." Kuroko's head cocks to the side. "I thought you hated coffee."

"I do. I still drink it, it's good for my image as a fashion icon."

"Kise-kun thinks very highly of himself." Kuroko leans back, lacing his fingers in his lap, and he idly wonders if he looks as intimidating as Akashi when he does the same thing. Probably not, but it's worth a try. "Kise-kun has been visiting a lot of friends today, hasn't he? You saw Aomine-kun, too, right?"

Ah, Kuroko's mad. Kise shoves his hands in his pockets, wincing as the motion hurts his shoulder. Shit, what had Aomine even done to that shoulder? "Yeah, I just saw him. We hung out at his place this afternoon."

Kuroko blinks slowly. "With your girlfriend Kamu-chan, right?"

Kise's head tilts almost entirely to the side. "Eh?"

"Your neck, Kise-kun."

Kise's hand doesn't fly to his neck. It's hardly a surprise. He laughs, turning his face up to the sun. "I have a lot of girlfriends, Kurokocchi. That's a cute pun! Did your point guard come up with it?"

"No. Kagami-kun did."

Kise's head tilts to the other side. "Eh? How does Kagamicchi know about my cute little girlfriends?"

"Kise-kun is kind of an idiot sometimes." Kuroko sighs, shutting his eyes briefly. "Then again, I can't quite tell when you're playing dumb or actually dumb sometimes. Either way, please refrain from spreading strange rumors about me to Aomine-kun. It's very stressful and I don't appreciate it."

Kise's smile fades into something a little less sunny, and his eyes narrow. "That's a little unfair. If you're not going to tell your friends anything about your life, we're going to have to talk about you."

"There's nothing to tell." And there isn't, as far as he's concerned. "Gossiping and spreading rumors is even more rude, you know."

"Ah, Kurokocchi, we just care about you is all," Kise sort of whines, dropping himself onto the bench and putting an arm around Kuroko's shoulder. "You should be nicer to us. You should tell us when you're dating someone, especially before you tell Midorimacchi of all people."

"With all due respect, Kise-kun, I don't have to do anything," Kuroko bluntly replies, and calmly shrugs off the other boy's shoulder. "And I didn't realize it before, but now I have, thank you-I have found a reason to see Midorima-kun as a more pleasant person. He keeps his mouth shut about what doesn't concern him."

Kise pulls back as if he's been burned. "Kurokocchi," he says, smile wavering as he tries to keep it in place, "that's really rude. I was just worried about you."

"But you aren't," Kuroko firmly says, looking up at Kise with a frown. "You aren't at all. You're worried about yourself, because you feel threatened for some reason. You and Aomine-kun both."

Kise blinks. "Why would you say that? I'm not threatened by Kagamicchi." He's not, not really. Kuroko, as Aomine's so good to keep reminding him, is just about exactly as unattainable now as he had been before.

"Then whatever you are, you still aren't worried about me." Kuroko sucks in a slow, calming breath. "And I would appreciate it if you didn't keep talking about me behind my back."

Kise reaches out, grabs Kuroko by the shoulder, and meets his eyes. "Hey. I was worried about you, okay? Not that I think Kagamicchi's going to hurt you, but because if I heard about it, someone else might too. I don't like thinking about you getting hurt."

"… The only reason someone else is going to hear about it is if you keep talking about it." Kuroko has no doubts Takao said something stupid and innocent, and Kise drew far too many (correct) conclusions from it. And honestly, most everything out of Takao's mouth is a flirt and invitation, so he doesn't have any reason to worry there because everyone at Shutoku must be used to it… Kuroko heaves a long sigh. "I'm sorry for snapping at you," he finally says. "I just… really wish you hadn't said anything to Aomine-kun."

Kise winces at that, hissing out a breath between his teeth. "Sorry about that," he says, and he is sorry, mostly. "But hey, it's not like you two had much of a relationship to ruin right now, right? He says you never talk to him unless you need something from him."

"The problem," Kuroko says, and he might feel a bit guilty about saying it like this, but it's still true, "is that the next time he sees Kagami-kun, he's going to start something."

"Probably," Kise admits. "But hey, just warn Kagamicchi, and he's fast enough to duck, right? Aominecchi isn't a bad guy, he's just sort of….weird when it comes to you." His teeth ache from the blackness of pots and kettles.

Kagami-kun isn't going to duck-he's going to punch back. Kuroko refrains from even going there, and simply sighs again, looking extremely tired suddenly. "I'm very tired of people being sort of weird when it comes to me."

"Well," Kise hedges, chancing a ruffle of Kuroko's hair, "you're a pretty weird guy. I wouldn't mind people being a little weird when it comes to me, sometimes," he adds, wistfully.

Kuroko allows it this once. "Perhaps you and Aomine-kun should give up and just date each other, then. Misery loves company."

"Ahh, Kurokocchi wants to see me chewed up and spat out," Kise complains, stretching out his legs and trying not to grimace when his ass shifts against the bench.

"That sounds like something Kise-kun would enjoy."

"You're really mean to me," Kise whines, no matter that it's true. "Besides, Aominecchi only likes girls with big boobs. And Kurokocchi."

Kuroko heaves a long-suffering sigh. "Please don't remind me that I am for some reason the exception to his rule."

"Kurokocchi is very bad-tempered about being special to a lot of people."

"I'm very flattered, actually. It's more the way that people try and convey that I am special to them that makes me bad-tempered."

Kise shrugs, stretching out a little with a wince. "I still think it would be better to be special to people. Don't suppose you could teach me how to copy that?"

"Mm… Kise-kun is very special to his teammates already, I think," Kuroko says, blinking up at him. "So I don't know why you need to know how to copy it."

"Not like you are." Kise laughs, shoving his hair back from his face. "Ignore me, I'm just feeling bad about myself. I don't like it when Kurokocchi's upset with me."

"I've already given up being upset," Kuroko admits wearily. "It's very tiresome. I think I will just stay upset with Aomine-kun instead."

"Before he even throws a punch?" Kise relaxes, more soothed than he thought he'd be by hearing that Kuroko isn't mad at him. "I really am worried about you, Kurokocchi. I had a talk with Takao when I found out about him and Midorimacchi. I should have one with Kagamicchi too."

"Please don't. He is even more self-conscious than I am, and doesn't know about any of this yet."

"You think you're self-conscious, but you go on double dates?" Kise asks, a little incredulous. "I guess that's good, if you're worried about it. I don't want you or him to get in trouble. Ah, it seems like everyone's boy-crazy lately. I guess I'll have to comfort all the cute girls by myself!"

"Takao-kun sort of… has a way of convincing." Kuroko lets his head fall backward over the back of the bench. "Please take all the boys, too, I don't want them."

"All the boys too?" Kise echoes, grinning. "Hmm, I'm not sure if I have that much room in my schedule. Or my-well. Taking all the boys sounds like a full-time job."

"Kise-kun, please just stop while you're ahead."

Kise makes a face at him. "So mean, Kurokocchi! This is why I hang out with Takao, he laughs at my jokes."

"I can only imagine being around the two of you simultaneously to be a very interesting experience."

"You know, even if you use big words, that still sounds like an insult."

"Kise-kun is being very sensitive today."

"I'm always sensitive. Kurokocchi usually doesn't care."

"Mm. Do you really cry on your pillow every night? That seems a bit excessive."

"What else am I supposed to do when Kurokocchi rejects me?"

"Not… that?" It's a good question, actually. Kuroko tilts his head slowly to the side. "Kise-kun, you realize you are very strange, I hope."

"But I'm adorable," Kise says with a grin, leaning over to rest his head on Kuroko's shoulder. "Kagamicchi must be very boring if you're so shocked by your old friends."

"I'm not shocked. I'm very tolerant of all of you. That being said, Kagami-kun is exponentially more normal."

"Really? That big American who jumps over buildings and eats like a cow?"

Kuroko calmly reaches over to poke a sizable bruise on Kise's neck. "Please realize that I am the only one allowed to insult Kagami-kun in such a fashion."

Kise's hand flies to his neck as he lets out a brief, startled hiss of pain. "Oi, careful, that's fresh! Kurokocchi's very defensive of his boyfriend."

"Yes, within reason." Kuroko climbs to his feet with a small stretch. "If you don't want someone to poke your bruises, perhaps you should tell Aomine-kun not to leave them so blatantly."

Kise laughs, stretching out his legs and crossing them at the ankle, folding his hands behind his head. "Kurokocchi has quite an imagination. Was that just because I said I saw him today? I said I saw Takao today too, you know. And my cute girlfriend Reia-chan."

"Kise-kun, if you want people to regard you as intelligent, then you probably should extend the same courtesy to others."

Kise's eyes lid. There's perceptive, and then there's sort of freaky. "Mind if I ask where you think you get your information?"

"… I think by now," Kuroko quietly replies, "I should know how Aomine-kun thinks and reacts. And if you told him about Kagami-kun and I, then… well."

Ah. Of course, he's thinking about Aomine. "Mm. Then you should be glad I was around to distract him, eh? Otherwise he'd probably have gone right over to Kagamicchi's house."

"For that, I am very grateful." Although he doesn't like to think about the circumstances surrounding that distraction at all. "If you don't mind, Kise-kun, I would like to request we reschedule our practicing for the evening. I don't think you would be very fun to play against right now, anyway."

"I could still play!" But then again, if they reschedule, that means another opportunity to get together with Kuroko later. "Fiiiine, fine. Kurokocchi's so good to me. After you beat Akashi in the finals, okay? I want to make sure you're nice and fresh for that."

Kuroko does allow a tiny smile at that. "Mm. After we beat Akashi-kun," he agrees. "Thank you for your support, Kise-kun."