Fandom: Kuroko no Basket
( Midorima/Takao. In which Takao is a distraction. )
By the second hour of afternoon practice, Takao's bangs clung to his brow, slick with sweat and water from the water fountain. He pulled at his hair, wet and thin. He fussed and sighed over its length.
"What's the matter now?" Miyaji said.
"I need a haircut," said Takao. He sat on the court, despite Ootsuba's sharp glare. The floor was cool, beneath his legs. His muscles thrummed, a bundle of nerves, heated and aching.
"You need to shave your head," said Miyaji, snidely. He passed a water bottle to Takao -- a clumsy arc mid-air, nothing like the finesse of Midorima's shots. Midorima who kept his eyes trained on the hoop, his arms flexing with the strain of holding his posture.
"You're so mean, senpai," said Takao. He caught the bottle, but only barely. "What I need is -- oh!"
He scrambled over to the side, where his bag lay, discarded in a fit of tardiness earlier. Midorima's shot went in, yet again. Takao pulled out a headband from the front pocket, and he set it atop his head, taking care to brush his bangs back.
"A gift from your boyfriend?" Miyaji said, already bored but loud enough for Midorima to hear. He seemed to take some sport in Midorima's fumbling, his small scatters of awkwardness. The severity of Midorima's expression grew; his fingers tightened their hold.
Midorima lifted the ball. Takao bit the inside of his cheek, smoothing down his hair.
"Yeah, definitely!" Takao said. "Only Shin-chan's really shy, he can be cute too, you know?"
( Kagami/Akashi. In which they meet at a function ten years later. )
They're introduced in a function at an upstate hotel, one night; Kagami notices Akashi's hair is longer now, at the edges, and his eyes are bright and dim at opposite points. They partake in the necessary civilities as a matter of course. Whatever the sponsors say, they follow.
In the bar, Kagami can afford to observe him more keenly. It's easy to forget that they're the same age, that Akashi is younger than he looks. Kagami glowers at Akashi's hands, at the shadow of his spontaneity, the blunt edge of the scissors in his hand. Only now he wields a glass of wine in hand and wears a suit in place of a uniform.
"You're still insane, I see," says Kagami, shortly.
Akashi laughs, low and deep. Like he appreciates Kagami's honesty, his simple truths. No, not that -- like he's amused.
"And you're still irrepressible," says Akashi, instead, simply because he is too polite to tell Kagami what he really thinks of him.
"Huh," says Kagami. "And here I thought you were gonna follow up on Aomine's crap about my light being dim, or whatever shit he spouts these days."
"I understand he's in attendance, too," says Akashi, lightly, only it's as much of a warning as it is a veiled attempt at inquiry.
Kagami rolls his eyes. "I feel sorry for the poor sod that checks the men's bathroom -- I'm pretty sure I saw him disappear into it with Kuroko a while ago."
"Ah," says Akashi, clearing his throat. He raises his glass, in Kagami's direction. "Here's to the inevitable scarring of your sight, then."
Kagami bristles, but he clinks his shot glass against Akashi's, all the same. "Not if I push you in it first," says Kagami, darkly, and Akashi merely laughs.
"Never," says Akashi, and it's a promise.
( Murasakibara/Himuro. In which Murasakibara bakes and Himuro does his homework. )
Murasakibara's better at home ec than half the girls in class, Himuro thinks. His groupmates hover anxiously and offer tiny tasks like food preparation and cleaning, but they leave Murasakibara at the oven, his gangly form almost laughable as he bends lower to turn down the heat.
He bakes, too, in his spare time. The cooking club welcomes him as an honorary member, and sometimes Himuro comes along to taste test. Sometimes he does homework while Murasakibara makes stir fry, fettuccini, baked ham, what have you. Today, it's cake.
Himuro watches Murasakibara's long fingers, how they taper at the edges, poised above the mixing bowl. Murasakibara sets down the mixer and removes its parts; he tosses it to the sink, and dumps the egg shells in the trash. When he buries his head into the fridge, he pulls out a stick of butter.
"You're good at this, aren't you," says Himuro as Murasakibara spreads butter over the surface of the pan with his fingers. A little disgusting, but Himuro could eat anything off of Murasakibara's hands, if he offered.
Murasakibara pours the batter over the baking pan. Tiny flecks of the mix spatter across his skin. He brings his fingers to his mouth and grimaces at the taste, raw butter and artificial. He opens the oven and slides the pan inside.
"I like food," says Murasakibara, simply.
He sits beside Himuro and leans his cheek against Himuro's shoulder. They wait for the timer to go off, their knees knocking against each other. If Murasakibara falls asleep, Himuro doesn't comment. He can wait.
He goes back to his homework, and writes.
( Kagami. In which Kagami takes Tetsuya #2 out on a walk. )
They drew straws, in the afternoon. While Riko pouted over the distinct lack of a red mark on the tip of hers, Kagami stared at his own straw with a growing feeling of anxiety. Kagami was starting to think there was some truth to Midorima's insanity.
"Some people have all the luck," offered Izumi. Riko was beginning to eye Kagami and the leash speculatively, like she was calculating the amount of force she needed to rip out Kagami's guts and steal the dog away. Kagami sort of wanted to cry.
"Yeah," Kagami muttered, looking down at Tetsuya #2's wagging tail and hopeful eyes. "Some people."
"Have fun, they said," Kagami grumbled. "Don't walk too far, they said. What do you have to say for yourself, huh?"
Tetsuya #2 barked up at him, baring his fangs. They were in the park, no thanks to #2 escaping from his leash and mowing down construction workers, joggers and middle school girls on a field trip in an attempt to chase after tiny, helpless birds. In his attempt to recover the dog, Kagami had been mistaken for a delinquent, a thief of expensive music players, and a pervert, all in that order. The girls who had filed a complaint had been swayed, at least, by Tetsuya #2 rolling over and offering his stomach for petting, but the middle-aged jogger glared at Kagami like he was a menace to society and insisted on proper recompense -- whatever that meant.
"Oh, hey," said Kagami, squinting at the jogger. "You look kinda familiar. Aren't you that coach from Kaijou?"
The man fumbled while tying his trainers. He tried to look menacing despite the beads of sweat running down his neck.
"I'll destroy you in the next match," Kagami promised, voice dark and deep with vengeance.
The charges were dropped.
"Oh man," said Kagami, hiding his face in his hands. "What am I gonna do now?"
Shortly after being released from the police station, Kagami ran into Midorima and Takao in the nearby temple. After a few minutes of conversation (i.e. posturing and threatening, as was the norm), Tetsuya #2 succeeded in making sure Kagami's life was miserable yet again by pulling at a frayed cord and bringing down an entire bell that promptly crushed a nearby statue.
Tetsuya #2, on the other hand, was still alive. Damn it.
"Divine punishment," intoned Midorima.
"Oh maaaan," said Takao, recovering from his laughing fit. "You're totally dead."
"Great," said Kagami, sighing. "Is today some kind of ill omen? Am I in hell?"
"What are you talking about, Kagamicchi?" Kise said, slinging an arm over Kagami's shoulder. "You should be pretty happy to see us!"
"Kagami," said Aomine, tossing a basketball to Kagami. It hit the side of Kagami's head. "Let's play!"
"Dai-chaaan," Momoi wailed, "it's so cute."
Tetsuya #2 blinked at Momoi and tilted his head. He circled Aomine's legs and nudged his cheek against Aomine's knee.
"Oh my goood," said Momoi, looking like she was about to erupt in a spastic fit. Kise looked kind of like her right now, too. "That's no fair! Why does everything I like stick to you!"
That's because you're all crazy, Kagami thought privately, but then he thought of how absolutely batshit insane Aomine was and reconsidered that theory. That's because all Tetsuyas in the world are crazy.
"It's a shame Kagami's the one stuck with walking duty, though," Kise sighed, pulling out his phone. "I canceled a shoot for nothing."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Kagami roared.
"Oi!" Aomine said, picking up the ball. "I said let's play!"
Tetsuya #2 rolled over. Kagami picked him up by the scruff of his neck and held him up to his eye level.
"Who's the next person on my list of people I don't want to see that you'll magic out of nowhere?" Kagami demanded. "That freakishly tall guy and Tatsu-nii?"
Tetsuya #2 preened.
"And then," said Kagami, taking a deep breath as he resisted the urge to throttle the damn dog, "fucking Akashi went up to us and offered to gouge my eye out if it didn't stop nosing around his bag." He paused. "What kind of psycho even keeps soup bones with his basketball gear, anyway?"
The rest of the team turned to look at Kuroko, who merely averted his eyes. "I may have bumped into him the last time I took #2 out on a walk," said Kuroko. Everyone had no idea what to say to that.
"At least #2's not peeing in your shoes," Hyuuga offered, and wilted under Kagami's glare (the kind that said, I know where coach hides your figurines and I can step on them accidentally). "Not anymore, I mean."
Tetsuya #2, as always, loved to be contrary in the face of Kagami's increasing despair and promptly sat on Kagami's sandaled feet. His nose twitched testily, like a warning.
"You're not cute at all," said Kagami, shuddering.
"That's okay," said Kuroko, hefting Tetsuya #2 up with a small smile. "He likes you too."
Fandom: Kimi to Boku
( Yuuta/Shun. In which Shun is a little angry. )
They don't speak, on the way home.
Chizuru offers Yuuta a pitying look as Shun walks past him, in the hallway. Yuuta follows Shun's steps, ignoring Kaname's sniggering and Yuuki's useless thumbs up. He walks exactly ten steps behind Shun, in small, measured strides. When they reach the lockers, Yuuta winces as Shun shoves his indoor shoes inside without his usual care. He makes no comment, opting instead to wait for Shun by the exit.
Shun huffs, as he passes Yuuta, but he allows him to walk by his side. A few inches of space separate their arms, only this time Yuuta feels the distance keenly. They walk past the school gates; a few underclassmen outstrip them, with their pace. Slow, like Shun likes it best. Yuuta wonders where he finds the patience.
At the intersection, Yuuta will turn left and Shun will turn the other way. Yuuta bites the inside of his cheek. He looks at Shun.
"Are you still mad?" Yuuta asks. He touches Shun's sleeve, briefly, as if to hold him in place.
Shun glowers at the concrete floor, but he seems to deflate, under Yuuta's touch. His throat, though, seems strangled as he speaks. "How long have you known?"
Yuuta hesitates, but he pulls his hand away. "A few days," he says. "I saw them, in the hallway." The same way Shun had seen Fuyuki kiss Mamiya, in the staircase, his hand on her hip, the other slipping up her skirt. Mamiya was shivering, then.
"He should have been more gentle," says Shun. Suddenly, it doesn't seem like he's talking about Fuyuki anymore, not when he looks at Yuuta like this.
"He should have taken it slow."
Yuuta touches his jaw; he tips Shun's chin up, to kiss him. In the intersection, when no one's looking, he's kissing him. Shun sighs into it. His mouth is still an unhappy slant, against Yuuta's, but it's better, now. A little softer, a little kinder.
"It'll be okay," says Yuuta. Shun looks at him, a little lost, a little unsure, but he nods.
"I hope so," says Shun. "I hope so."
Fandom: Danball Senki
( Kazu/Ban. In which dinner is a formal affair. )
Dinner was a formal affair. For a business meeting, it wasn't much, but Kazu insisted and Ban was quick to give in, at the prospect of food. Ami left early, winking at both of them and sneaking Kazu pitying looks while Ban was absorbed in his filet mignon.
"You boys have a good night," said Ami, pressing her cheeks against theirs. Ban beamed at her through the scallops; he waved farewell with his fork.
"That's disgusting," said Kazu, laughing.
"I can't help it," said Ban, spearing a piece of broccoli with his utensil. A few years ago and he would have struggled, too used to chopsticks and too removed from finery. Someone taught him well. Kazu bit his lip. "She yells at me when I talk while I chew."
"Just like your mother," said Kazu.
"Exactly," said Ban. "Speaking of mom, she's asking when you're coming over again."
"Your mother loves me," said Kazu.
"Yeah," said Ban. "I think if she had her way, she'd rope you into becoming her son-in-law. I keep telling her that's impossible."
Ban laughed, self-deprecating as always. Kazu's eyes narrowed at the crinkling of the skin around Ban's eyes, at how Ban was carelessly cruel, thoughtless.
"Eat your dessert," said Kazu. He pushed his plate of red velvet cake aside. "You can have mine."
"Thanks," said Ban. He poured a dollop of chocolate over a piece of fruit. When he ate, he left a stain on his chin. "You're a good friend, Kazu!"
For the rest of the evening, Kazu teased and laughed at Ban's bloated stomach, his mild complaints. He smiled through Ban's fervent phone call, begging, and helped Ban outside. He put his jacket over Ban's shoulders. He didn't kiss him goodnight.
Kazu did all of the things a good friend would do, because that was what he was. Even as he longed to mouth at the smear of chocolate sauce over Ban's skin, he had no courage, no hope. He waited with Ban in the dimly lit street, waited until a limousine parked in front of the restaurant and a polished and coifed figure stepped out.
"Thanks for tonight," said Ban, coming to a stand. If it were Ami, they would have embraced. Instead, they kept their distance.
"See you," said Kazu. He raised his hand in farewell. If his fingers trembled and curled into his palm, at least it was too dark out for Ban to see. He watched Ban loop his arm around Jin's, his hand light against the dark of Jin's coat.
Kazu walked home.