Run Baby Run

set post-Winter Cup, pre-slash. help I've gotten into this pairing and can't get out

The sun is about to set when Kise pops out from inside a mass of girls and bulldozes his way into the gym. As though this happens more than often enough, the whole of Seirin team continues with their drill and pretends he is not crying out Kuroko's name. Kagami is the only one looking back and forth between them, unsure if he needs to announce Kise's arrival or to follow the senpai's commands. At the end, he chooses the latter, though not while sending glances at Kise's flailing figure.

"What are you doing here, Kise-kun?" Kuroko sighs and passes the basketball at Koganei as if Kise is not jumping up and down to get his attention from the side.

"I just had a shoot nearby, so I thought I would visit." Kise explains, bobbing on his feet.

"You..." Kagami mutters softly, not intending to pipe in. "...really like Kuroko, don't you?"

Kise looks at him in wonder, and then laughs a husky laugh. "Of course. Kurokocchi is an important friend." He elbows Kagami on the hips and whispers, "I like Kagamicchi as well."

"Ugh." Kagami steps sideways, inching away from the sparkling model. Kise lets out another laugh and Kagami manages to drown such noise with the sound of his shoes skidding on the floor.

In fact, Kagami has no doubt that Kise actually likes him, in a way someone sees a rival or whatnot. Kise would often visit Seirin in the pretense of seeing Kuroko, but he would often end up spending the day going one-on-one with Kagami. Even though the moon may as well be peeking out from behind the clouds, nothing stops Kise from making Seirin High one of his most visited places.

And like always, Kise will walk home along with Kuroko and Kagami, holding a one-sided conversation with the teal-haired boy as Kagami contemplates the beauty of eating takoyaki under the moonlight. Kuroko simply nods at Kise's assertions, and Kagami stutters when Kise whips his head to ask his opinion on the topic. However, halfway to the station, Kuroko halts suddenly.

"What's wrong?" Kise asks, inspecting Kuroko from his head to toe.

"It seems that I have forgotten my mobile in the gym." Kuroko says, groping his pockets in concern. "The two of you should go, I will go back by myself."

"Won't the gym be locked by now?" Kagami shouts helplessly as Kuroko turns around and jogs away.

"It's okay. I'm sure the janitor can open it for me." Kuroko replies, lifting a hand for a wave.

Kuroko's tiny figure soon disappears from sight and the two boys left behind turn to look at each other. The night breeze creeps into their sleeves, blowing their hair off their eyes.

"So?" Kagami asks, stuffing his hands into his pockets.

Kise shrugs. "Kurokocchi said we should go."

They then continue into steps, breathing in the cold wind. Kise is strangely quiet, and Kagami doesn't know how to approach the situation. He finds dealing with Kise difficult, but can easily admit that he enjoys the blond's company very much. As Kagami creates scenarios in his head on how to restart a conversation, they encounter a bunch of children throwing rocks at one big, raggedy dog.

"That's horrible." Kise wheezes, and is about to stop them when Kagami gets in his way. He watches as Kagami squares his shoulders and inhales.

Now, Kagami may fear dogs, but he still has a high concentration of justice in his veins. He puts his feet before Kise could and tries to sound very condescending and pleading at the same time. "Can you please stop? That dog may be really silent for now, but he can easily chase after you boys and give you a bite if he needs to, you know."

As thought prompted, the dog stands on his four legs and holds himself in a stance. It may be his defence mechanism or whatever, but Kagami's DOG ALERT is blaring in his ears and soon enough, he is kicking the ground. The dog charges at his retreating figure in speed of light.

Kagami, frankly, has not the slightest idea of why the dog chooses to target him instead of those children. But for now, he is to occupied with running away, sweats wetting his palms and his bag abusing his sides. The scenery blurs as he runs past them, and the people on the side simply look at him pityingly. Kagami can hear the dog bark and feel his killing intent. That's not where the surprise lays, however. It's on the fact that other than the dog's loud breathing, he can also hear Kise's pants from his left side.

"What are you doing!" Kagami exclaims, drowning in the well-intended question of worry with his shock.

"You didn't mean to leave me behind, did you?" Kise sounds just as shocked, if he doesn't feign the pain in his tone. They are running for their life on the asphalt, with Kise gradually catching up to Kagami's earlier start.

"I would have thought staying behind is much better than being chased by a hellhound." Kagami mutters, and accelerates when he notices his dropping speed and the dog's louder barking.

"That's where you are wrong, Kagamicchi!" Kise raises his voice. "Just imagine, if I were to be the one being chased, I bet you would run alongside me as well!"

"You can't be so sure." Kagami privately wonders if he would do just that, and the hopeful part of his mind screams of course you would violently, and his knees start feeling weak.

"I heard from Kurokocchi that you're scared of dogs, Kagamicchi. But that didn't stop you from trying to help that one dog, now, didn't it?" Kise says, sweats falling from his eyelashes and they look somewhat magical in Kagami's eyes. (Only Kise can do that, Kagami guesses.) "You are such a wonderful person, Kagamicchi!"

"Am I now?" Kagami laughs bitterly, a touch happy and a thousand touches embarrassed.

"Of course you are!" Kise grins, his hair slapping his forehead. His eyelashes flutter as he looks away and raises his chin, taking the pleasant breeze into him.

That's when time stops. And then it flows again, in the slowest motion possible.

Kagami's eyes lock onto Kise's every feature. From his bright hair that is tousled by the wind, to his eyes that look eagerly forward, to the tip of his red nose from the cold, to the curl of his lips, and to his bobbing Adam's apple, to his everything, and to the voice that he utters when he speaks. Kagami momentarily forgets to run, mesmerized by the view, until Kise grabs on his wrist and pulls him along.

It's not so questionable when he pulls his wrist off Kise's grip and twists it to slip his fingers between Kise's and squeezes their hands together. Their legs move in a creepy synchronization and their breaths hitch at the same time. And they will continue to run alongside each other. Kagami has no doubt, because he can no longer hear the dog's frantic running behind him, and only silence follows them until they reach a deserted public park, whose swings move due to the wind.

They drop on a bench and try to calm their breathing. The sweats dripping down their faces and the wicked night wind cause them to shiver. (Or maybe it's the warmth from their joined hands, not that they will admit it anytime soon.)

It's Kise's cough that prompts Kagami to laugh.

"What are we? Idiots or something?" That makes Kise laugh and double over. Their unrefined, hoarse laughter echoes in the empty park.

Their bags dropped on the ground, Kise looks up at the night sky and Kagami follows his lead. The moon is beautiful. *

"Well," the blond stands up and dusts his trousers, stretching his arms and legs. "I should probably go now. I may miss the last train."

"Be careful," Kagami replies, even though his mind is screaming stay a little longer.

Kise pauses, perches his fingers on his chin, and glances at him uncertainly.

"What?" Kagami raises an eyebrow, a tad perturbed.

"Tomorrow is a weekend, isn't it?" Kise asks, a little smile forming on his face.

"Yeah. So?" Kagami asks carefully, wondering where this conversation is going.

Time starts flowing as fast as his heartbeat does when Kise's smile turns into a long-suffering grin. Kagami knows what is to come even before Kise opens his mouth.

"Can I stay over for the night?" Kise asks, sounding ridiculously hopeful for something that he knows will come true. Kagami wonders if he should just say no for the sake of seeing Kise's crestfallen face.

But that's the problem. It's like trying to tame a dog. (Which is impossible, by the way, for one Kagami Taiga.) So he just smiles, and cranes his neck. "I will race you to my apartment."

Kise takes his place on his left and gives him the look of absolute amusement before they both run again. Maybe they will never stop.

* (Not verbatim.) Natsume Souseki. It means "I love you." I thought I should slip it in there since I have the chance to.