A/N: A short piece I did for Aokise day. lolololololol OTL

all veins lead to the heart

(ten things aomine daiki knows about kise ryouta)

1. Kise is awkward around girls who try to flirt with him—awkward because his smile cracks at the seams and he is suddenly too suave, too perfect and without blemish, discolored and foreign, his speech like a rivulet of clever words that slides over the rocky riverbed. If anyone cared to look a little closer, they would notice the glass walls he hides behind. But that's just another string of small-print attached to the fame that comes with having a pretty face; it's so very easy to devolve from a person to a persona.

2. Kise likes to sleep with the blinds open. Aomine doesn't get why, at first, because the constant flash of city lights keeps him awake at night and he feels strangely vulnerable with the window unveiled. Then, the first time he slips into slumber tangled in Kise's long, lithe limbs, morning greets him with a tickle on the cheek and his breath hitches in his throat when he cracks open his eyes. Kise blinks, lashes heavy and mind waterlogged, and smiles as sunlight cleaves the wrinkled sheets. Aomine doesn't question the lack of an alarm on the nightstand and Kise wakes like clockwork at 7 AM, never late for first period.

3. On a normal day, Kise operates on six hours of sleep. He has basketball practice after classes (even when the club doesn't) and his weekends are packed full with modeling gigs. Whenever Aomine comes over, Kise sleeps a full nine hours.

4. Kise is like any other teenage boy: his room is a mess, clothes strewn everywhere and desk in disarray; his socks have their own dirty laundry basket because his sisters refuse to wash their clothes alongside that; in middle school he went through seven pairs of running shoes because he would always buy them the perfect size and wake up one day to have them pinch his toes or rub his heel. Most of them, though, he burns through on the court, beats them until the soles are clinging for dear life and the laces are tattered at the ends.

5. Contrary to popular belief, Kise wasn't an overnight sensation who was randomly scouted from a crowd downtown. His sisters were models before him and introduced him to their agency—he failed his first two auditions. Puberty was a tangible pain in his bones and his body felt like a stranger's, his shoulders curved inwards and he was growing up too fast and being so tall was frightening. But Kise is nothing if not resilient, and third time's the charm: all of a sudden, his sisters' persistent coaching comes to fruition, and the pride on their faces as he attends his first photoshoot largely outweighs the whispers among the crew members, talk of riding coattails and backdoor deals.

6. Kise's at-times obnoxious nickname-giving habit stems from the fact that his fangirls call him Kise-kun and the crew calls him Kise-san and cchi is the only thing that comes to mind in the spur of the moment—so he tacks it on at the back of each comforting name he can find, Kurokocchi and Midorimacchi and Kagamicchi, because there are no strings attached and nobody expects anything from him and he can be himself. Because the people who take up residence in the unwanted corners of his heart are those who stay the longest, and even though they may wander off now and then, for days or a week or years, he wants them to know that they are always welcome—that under the overt displays of affection he hands out like candy on Halloween, there's a piece of himself tucked in between.

7. There are four ways Kise knows to smile: his professional smile, which is reserved for the camera; the smile that doesn't reach his eyes, the one he plasters like a bulletproof vest onto his face whenever people ask for favors or try to wheedle themselves into his good favor; his desperate smile, which he hangs onto like a lifeline when the rest of him threatens to fall apart, unravel into threads and frayed edges (and Aomine never wants to see that smile again); and his victory smile, the one that bares his picture-perfect teeth and makes his eyes squint, the one that splits across his face like a door thrown open during a thunderstorm, sometimes accompanied by a shout of laughter or a breathless gasp. And then there's the smile that Kise doesn't know about: the one Aomine caught glimpses of all year long in history class, the one that periodically slips into the victory smile when Kise looks up at him with twinkling eyes and sweat beaded on his lashes, the one that lied stuck like broken glass inside the sad, desperate smile Kise gave him the day he swore he would let Aomine go.

8. When Kise falls in love, he goes down crashing and in flames. His body practically seethes with the need to consume the other party, but he hides his affection behind slanted glances and hands tucked in his pockets, silent devotion and quiet acceptance. After all, he has no right to wreck anyone save himself. Aomine, well, he would gladly let Kise take him to pieces if it meant he would no longer feel the need to be alone.

9. Once, Kise thought his fixation on Aomine was due to him being the one who introduced him to basketball. The instant he said he would stop admiring Aomine, he knew he was wrong.

10. One night, curled under the duvet with the lights switched off, Aomine blearily mumbles, you're mine, into Kise's earlobe, and crystalline laughter vibrates across the airy room, followed by a whispered, I am.