My poor, patient readers; a filler chapter eight and now a set-up chapter! But...there are small treats in store in the next ones, I promise! Chapter nine, for your pleasure!

Kuroko raised an eyebrow as he watched Kagami tuck his cell phone into his bag for about the thousandth time this car ride. He didn't know why he bothered putting it away –the thing would only wind up vibrating with a response a few minutes later and Kagami would be all but scrambling to fish it from his bag to check the reply.

Within moments, he was proved correct –hearing the buzzing of Kagami's phone and seeing the redhead let out yet another annoyed sigh before he plunged his hand back into his bag.

Like every other time this had happened, Kagami was wearing an irritated expression and his reply was texted out almost aggressively. Then, with a harrumph and a scoff, he was hitting 'send' and shoving the phone back into his bag. He might've been looking awfully cross, but Kuroko noted the way that he glanced at his bag every few moments, as though waiting for a response.

"Kagami-kun…is there something bothering you?" he inquired flatly, finally tiring of this exhausting little game that he appeared to be playing with Aomine. The phone buzzed and Kagami dug it out, shaking it at Kuroko in annoyance.

"This bastard is pissing me off," he declared hotly.

"Oh?" Kuroko deadpanned, "How so?"

"Well, so we went shopping like a week or two ago," Kagami began to explain, and suddenly launched into a play-by-play of how he'd needed to get shirts, and so he'd asked Aomine to help him. And then Aomine had actually started picking out clothes for him to try on –then after about an hour, he'd noticed that the bastard was picking clothes that he'd suit as well, like he was planning ahead for stealing them!

Not to mention, he wouldn't carry a goddamn thing, and ate his burgers and then wouldn't stop complaining about how boring shopping was until Kagami relented and went and played basketball.

" –And so he asked me if I wore one of my new shirts," Kagami sniffed darkly, "So I said the dark blue one –and you know what he sends back?"

"What did he say back?" Kuroko remarked with a roll of his eyes.

"It looks better on me," he scoffed, "Can you fucking believe that guy?"

"Unbelievable," Kuroko replied dryly, though he didn't think that Kagami quite picked up on the sarcasm. He just let out a huffy snort, snapping his phone shut melodramatically and folding his arms.

Looks like he's not going to text back…

"Kagami-kun, have you been listening?" Riko inquired from the front of the van, and Kagami immediately froze and blinked up at her innocently. She didn't buy it for a moment and just sighed heavily.

"I was saying," she repeated, "…There's a new hotel opening up near where we're staying, so the place is going to be flooded with journalists and everything." Kagami nodded, but didn't seem to get her meaning.

"Coach is saying that you and Aomine-kun's relationship has only recently been accepted as real," Kuroko explained, and was a little amused to see that Kagami fiddled with his phone agitatedly at the mention of Aomine. " –So this would be a perfect opportunity to show how happy the pair of you are together. Because…you know, aren't you meant to break up soon?"

"Yeah we are," Kagami snorted flatly, feeling his phone vibrate again and flipping it open crossly. Kuroko just exchanged a deadpan with Riko, who sighed heavily and turned to engage in casual conversation with Kiyoshi, who was driving (much to Hyuga's annoyance.)

Satsuki said we should act real happy and 'lovey-dovey', the text from Aomine read. Kagami could practically hear the scoff of disdain in his voice.

We're not lovey-dovey, he texted back, and then, as an afterthought, added, I'm not being like that with YOU, Ahomine!

She says if we pull it off this weekend, we can break up soon.

That reply made him pause in his response, thumb hovering over the keypad with a small frown on his face. Yeah; that's what this was all about to start with –convincing the world they were together, so they could break up and forget anything ever happened.

With an annoyed growl, he replied with, What do we have to do…

Beats me, was Aomine's brilliant response. Kagami sighed. Well, that wasn't a good place to start. He frowned to himself, leaning heavily against the window. He understood what the Coach was saying –a beach vacation would be the perfect way to show everyone that he and Aomine were working –that they were happy and not caring what everyone thought of him…

…But he didn't know how they were going to act like a pair of loved-up boyfriends. He and Aomine didn't do 'loved-up'. Hell, sometimes they struggled with 'tolerating'. Their relationship was shown to be, well…explosive, in a sense. Loved-up was the complete other end of that spectrum.

His phone vibrated once again and he opened the new message and nodded approvingly at the suggestion. Maybe Aomine wasn't such a moron after all? Well, at least, not all the time.

The message held only one word.


The car-park of the beachside lodge they were staying at was practically spilling over with their friends as Seirin's van pulled up. Kise and Himuro were having a round of one-on-one on the small court nearby, since there was an old hoop hanging from the side of the building. Kasamatsu and Otsubo appeared to be comparing how annoying their juniors were –if the pointing at Kise and Midorima was anything to go by.

"Tetsu-kun!" a shrill voice cried out as Seirin began to vacate their van. Kuroko was practically toppled to the ground as Momoi's arms wrapped tightly around his next.

"Momoi-san…I…can't breathe…" he coughed, but she just hugged him tighter and the rest of Touou looked on in sympathy as Kuroko's classmates stared on in jealousy. Hyuga glanced across as he dragged his bag from the car and found Imayoshi waving at him cheekily from his spot on a nearby bench.

"My, Hyuga, it took you so long to get here," he called out teasingly. A vein twitched in Hyuga's forehead and he rounded on Kiyoshi.

"I told you to drive faster!" he snapped almost violently.

" –I was driving the speed limit the whole way here," Kiyoshi reminded him with a raised eyebrow as it became apparent that Imayoshi was holding out a hand. "…Hey!" he waved brightly, with a cheerful grin. Imayoshi greeted him casually and Hyuga glared at them both as he fished in his pocket for the money he owed the guy.

" –Why does Hyuga keep making bets with that guy?" Koganei whispered to Izuki.

"I bet he's jealous that we have more than one friend with glasses," Izuki muttered back.

"I can hear you, you know!" Hyuga growled crossly, shoving the money into Imayoshi's hand and stalking off to tell the rest of the juniors to hurry up and help unload the car.

"…Maybe we should put them in a room together," Riko remarked with a chuckle.

"…I think both of our teams want to leave with our captains intact," Kiyoshi admitted, "I'll room with Hyuga. Izuki will probably be fine with Imayoshi."

" –Like that's gonna make him any happier," she muttered with a roll of her eyes.

"Took you long enough to turn up," Aomine droned from the bench with Imayoshi and Wakamatsu as Kagami traipsed past with his bag slung over one shoulder. The redhead turned and glared, but realised that the comment lacked bite, and that the bluenette was smirking at him teasingly. He was about to inquire as to when they were going to go and talk to Takao, but that was when a basketball connected lightly with the side of Kagami's head.

In annoyance, he turned to yell at the person who'd been so careless, only to come face-to-face with Himuro Tatsuya.

"Hey, Taiga," Himuro remarked with a small smile, who had come over since Kise was apparently the topic of much debate within the rest of the Kaijo team. "It's been a while."

"Yeah, totally," Kagami admitted with a grin, scratching the back of his head, "It's cool you could come –isn't the rest of your team coming?"

"They didn't want to intrude," Himuro shrugged, "But I managed to convince Atsushi to come along." He nodded over to where Murasakibara was currently sitting off to one side stuffing his face with snacks and apparently not caring overly much about what was going on around him. "I didn't tell him that your Kiyoshi was coming, though." He chuckled to himself with a sheepish shrug, and gestured for Kagami to follow him over to where the majority of the arguing was going on. The redhead started moving off without a second glance at Aomine –looking forward to hanging out with his brother.

Kise was looking distressed.

"What's going on here?" Kagami inquired curiously as there seemed to be a debate going on between the other four members of Kaijo's team, while Kise stood dejectedly beside them with his arms folded.

"Sorting out rooms," Himuro replied with a laugh as Moriyama let out an annoyed sigh.

" –Kasamatsu, you cheated –I demand a do-over," he sniffed crossly, after having lost what seemed to be a tense game of rock-paper-scissors.

"You've already had a do-over," Kasamatsu snorted flatly, "And besides, I don't want to lose –I always get stuck with him!"

"Stuck with?" Kise wailed, aghast, "Senpai, that's so mean!"

"They're arguing over who has to room with Kise," Himuro informed the confused Kagami with a laugh, "Are we rooming together?"

"Oh, sure," Kagami grinned, "I kinda thought you'd want to room with Murasakibara?"

"It's no trouble," Himuro shrugged, "He doesn't mind. And I haven't seen my little brother in too long." He jostled Kagami affectionately and Kagami laughed. It was good to see him again, and he was glad he'd asked to room with him –even if he'd just automatically assumed that he was going to be with Aomine. Where was the bastard anyways? They had to go find Takao…who currently appeared to be trying to console Kise as his seniors continued to try and pawn off their ace to each other.

"Oi, Bakagami –"

Oh, there he was.

Kagami turned when he felt someone bump into his other arm; directing his attention to the bluenette, who had decided to follow along with Kuroko in tow.

" –We have to go find Takao," Aomine drawled, and then appeared to only just notice Himuro standing there. He stuck a finger in his ear and put on his best bored voice. "…Who are you?" Kagami raised an eyebrow quizzically. Aomine knew perfectly well who Himuro was.

"Ahh, Aomine," Himuro commented with a small smile, "Himuro Tatsuya; Taiga's brother from way back. I believe you and I met briefly at the Christmas party."

"…We did?" Aomine droned flatly, "…I don't remember."

"I'm not surprised," Himuro shrugged, "After all, if I recall, you spent the majority of the time focused on Taiga –" Kagami, flushing, elbowed his brother playfully to make him shut up. "Sorry. I forget how embarrassed you get." He chuckled to himself and gazed across at Aomine, who yawned disinterestedly, but his blue eyes were fixed on the pale Yosen ace standing to Kagami's other side.

" –Taiga, we should go get our room," Himuro added, a trace of amusement seeping into his voice. Kagami nodded in agreement, not seeing the way that Aomine's eyes narrowed for a moment. But apparently, Himuro and Kuroko saw this, and though they didn't know each other all that well, they exchanged dry glances.

"You're rooming with this guy?" Aomine inquired casually, though those more observant than Kagami heard the 'instead of me?' that went unsaid.

"Yeah," Kagami replied with a shrug, "He's my brother and I haven't seen him since Christmas."

" –And besides," Himuro piped up, apparently trying to soothe things, though Aomine didn't see it like that, "…It wouldn't be appropriate for a couple to share a room on a group vacation, right?" He looked pointedly at Kagami, who had actually caught the innuendo and was blushing again. He scoffed and jostled his brother in annoyance that he had had to make such a suggestion.

"Besides, if he rooms with me, I'll forgive him for not telling me that he got himself a boyfriend." He chuckled to himself and seemed to find Kagami's glare most amusing –though the redhead was feeling inwardly guilty, however, he unsure if it was about not personally telling Himuro he was in a relationship, or about not telling him that it was a fake one.. " –Unless there's a problem?"

"Tch, why would I have a problem?" Aomine snorted, though Kuroko and apparently Himuro didn't buy it for a moment. The bluenette just tucked his hands into his pockets and dropped back into his usual slouch, "I was gonna room with Tetsu anyways." Kagami raised an eyebrow –surprised that Kuroko hadn't thought to mention this. Kuroko just met his gaze evenly and didn't confirm or deny that this was a pre-arranged agreement.

"I'm going to see Takao," Aomine announced, nudging Kagami with his elbow to get his attention. Kagami sighed heavily and decided that it probably a good idea to get this over with.

"I'll meet you inside," he informed a rather amused Himuro, who just nodded with a small smile, but gave nothing else away. Aomine was already beginning to stroll off. "Ugh…Sorry about him. He's an ass."

"Well, he must have some redeeming features," Himuro commented lightly, and Kagami just scoffed.

"Tch, what makes you say that?" he snorted, annoyed with Aomine's attitude, "Jeez, what's his problem? Ahomine, wait up!" He started heading off after the bluenette and Himuro and Kuroko exchanged glances.

"…Are they always like this?" he deadpanned.

"Always," Kuroko replied flatly, "…Although, Aomine-kun isn't usually so hostile."

"Ahh, so it was hostility I was feeling," Himuro chuckled, "Well, maybe I should be flattered to receive special treatment? Or should I be worried?" Kuroko shrugged, but looked over to where Aomine had slung an arm around Kagami's shoulders and appeared to be complaining about something as per usual. But the pair of them caught sight of Aomine glancing back over his shoulder for a moment.

"On second thoughts…" Himuro added quietly, "I'm not worried at all. This…could be interesting."

"I want to room with Shin-chan," Takao chirped amongst the Shutoku team.

"No," his seniors immediately replied firmly. He pouted and folded his arms, "We're not going to get any sleep if you two room together," Otsubo reminded him sternly, and Takao chuckled sheepishly as Midorima promptly flushed and looked away.

" –I suppose I could room with Kise then," Takao mused, and was suddenly greeted by an enthusiastic hug as the nearby Kise wrapped his arms around him in delight and the Kaijo team –who still hadn't come to an agreement, looked over at the point guard with looks that were a mixture of sympathy that he'd signed up for the Kise show, and respect that he had saved them.

"You're so much nicer than my senpais!" Kise exclaimed gleefully, "Now you can tell me all sorts of embarrassing things about Midorimacchi!" Takao sniggered and snuck a glance over at Midorima, who really didn't look like he approved of this suggestion at all.

"Sounds fun," Takao chuckled lightly.

"Don't you dare," Midorima threatened, but his mischievous boyfriend just stuck his tongue out at him, before spying Aomine and Kagami stalking over, pointedly ignoring each other despite the fact that Aomine had his arm around the redhead's shoulders.

"Takao?" Kagami grumbled flatly –their argument having been about who was going to inform the point guard about the situation, "…Could we talk to you?" Takao cocked his head inquisitively and nodded with a shrug. "Uhh…like, privately?" There were a couple of sniggers from Shutoku, and Kise's eyes nearly fell out of his head, but Takao just followed after them, lightly calling back, "Don't worry, Shin-chan! If it's for something fun I'll come get you!"

"Takao!" This time it was all three of them who glared at him. He just waved away their embarrassment and dropped into line with them as the teams started heading into the lodge to get their keys and deposit their things.

"What's up?" Takao inquired curiously, as soon as they were far away enough from the others. Aomine dropped his arm from Kagami's shoulder and folded his arms with a heavy sigh.

"We need to…" Kagami muttered, scratching the back of his head in embarrassment, "Uh…we were wondering if you could…tell us how to act more like a couple?" Takao quirked an eyebrow, not really understanding –and Kagami saw this, so tried again, "…There are gonna be heaps of reporters around coz of that new hotel that's opening…so Coach –and Momoi, seem to think that we should…you know…act all…loved up…and shit…" He felt embarrassed just saying such a thing.

Takao laughed, and that made it even more embarrassing.

" –You mean, dialling up the PDA?" he suggested, "Going all 'summer romance' on them?"

"Uh, I guess?" Kagami cringed.

" –How do we do it?" Aomine interrupted flatly. Takao withheld another snigger. God, Kise was going to flip when he saw Aomine and Kagami were going to try and put on a show of being a blissfully in love couple on a relaxing beach vacation; over-the-top PDA and all.

"Just don't think about it," he replied with a shrug, and they stared at him blankly as though this didn't solve anything at all. "Just…get comfortable. Go with the flow and do what comes easily. Trust me. If you just forget for a bit that you're trying to put on a show and just…" He paused to try and think of the right words, "…Let yourself get caught up in the moment –it'll be fine." They didn't look convinced.

"You're saying that we just have to…act natural?" Kagami queried, "How the hell is that going to work?"

"Trust me," Takao repeated in a distinctly knowing tone, "And don't act natural." He sniggered. "…Be natural. Don't force it." He saw that Kagami was looking a little lost, so he patted him on the shoulder reassuringly, "You're stressing yourself out. Chill. We're here to relax, after all!" And with that as his last piece of advice, he chuckled and skipped back over to Midorima, who had apparently been tricked into sharing a room with Murasakibara; a rather unpopular arrangement for both parties, it seemed.

"Kagamicchi! Aominecchi!" Kise hollered brightly from the entranceway, "Hurry up! Some of us are going for a swim!" Kagami grinned at the prospect, but Aomine just yawned.

"Come on," Kagami snorted, elbowing him playfully.

"Nah," he droned, "Too much effort."

"Well okay, be like that," the redhead scoffed with a shrug. Aomine being a lazy asshole was certainly him being natural. He didn't really understand what Takao was talking about, but supposed that he might as well try it out. The last two weeks between he and Aomine had been a tiny bit strained –mostly because Kagami was now kind of on edge that the other ace was going to surprise him with another of those out-of-the-blue kisses. Not that he had particularly disliked it; he just didn't know why Aomine had done it, and wasn't sure if it was meant to have happened.

After all, even Aomine had seemed surprised; like he hadn't consciously made the decision to do it. It wasn't forced; just seemed…

Maybe that was kind of what Takao was talking about? Letting things come naturally? He frowned to himself as they headed over to the entrance to collect their keys from their respective roommates. Just doing, without thinking? Well…he could do that –the coach was constantly telling him that he never thought before he acted, although with this whole thing with Aomine, most of the time he'd been consciously aware of what he was doing…Or at least, thought he was…

Aomine was on a similar train of thought. He got what Takao was getting at, because that last, little kiss that the pair of them had shared was exactly that –it was him getting caught up in the moment; him forgetting himself momentarily, and just moving on impulse. He'd been talking to Kagami…and then suddenly his body had decided that it was the right moment to kiss him.

If that was all there was to it –but on a larger scale, then maybe this wasn't going to be too hard. Aomine knew, if nothing else, to go with his gut…so he was just going to let that rule him for the weekend.

Takao chuckled to himself as he traipsed off to his room with Kise; resisting the urge to rub his hands together like some kind of evil genius.

"…What did you do, Takao?" Midorima moodily inquired suspiciously, and Takao put on his best, most innocent face he could.

"Nothing, Shin-chan," he assured his boyfriend lightly, but it was very apparent that Midorima was not buying his angelic look for a second. He grinned wickedly, bouncing up and kissing the shooting guard on the cheek –causing Kise to giggle and Midorima to glare at him hotly.

It was going to be interesting to see what came naturally for Aomine and Kagami when they stopped thinking so much and just let things happen.

We got Himuro clued in, a Kise-Takao tag team in the cards and Aomine and Kagami deciding that they can totally pull off being loved-up for the public. What sort of beach-time shenanigans ensue?

AND YOU'LL FIND OUT NEXT CHAPTER (which will either be long, or multiple ones...) I'm so mean.
Thank you all so much for your continued support and your absolutely fabulous reviews!

All my love,
xx K