“I don’t care that I’m not on the team anymore,” said Kasamatsu. “I want to know what the hell you think you’re trying to do, skipping practice and forcing me to come with you to Seirin’s school festival.”
“It’s Seirin’s school festival!” said Kise. “Kurokochi and Kagamichi will be there! We have to go!”
“That only explains you,” said Kasamatsu. “And don’t think you can just skip all your practice and go, either, you have to have a valid reason.”
Kise brandished his phone at him too violently for him to actually see anything. “Momochi says that Kagamichi’s and Kurokochi’s class is doing a café! Kagamichi’s cooking!”
“Keep going,” said Kasamatsu, arms crossed.
“It’s a cross-dressing dessert crepe café,” said Kise. “They’re going to be serving while wearing girl costumes. Kagamichi is going to be cooking crepes in a dress. Touou’s already on their way, and Momochi never shares her pictures.”
“What the hell are we standing around for,” said Kasamatsu. “Let’s catch the bus.”
“Coach,” said Kagami. “Do something. They won’t leave and they won’t shut up and Kise isn’t even eating his food, he’s just smearing it over it the plate.”
“It’s an open festival. I can’t complain about other schools coming here to enrich our school’s coffers,” said Riko. “I’m pretty sure I can divert any excesses to the club down in student council, they’re collectively in love with us now. We could have a weights program! Three camps next year! Shut your mouth and take their money. And I’ll take a chocolate with whipped cream.”
"Yeah,” said Aomine, grinning. “Shut your mouth and cook our crepes.”
“I have to say I was expecting a better dress,” said Kise. “Nothing in your size, Kagamichi?”
“They did a better job with Murasakibara’s dress,” said Aomine.
“We had a hell of a time finding that one, though,” said Kise. “In the end we had to shove him at the sewing club and we’re just lucky the vice-president enjoyed the challenge.”
“It’s better than Kiyoshi in a dress,” said Imayoshi, idly. They’d set up a defacto captain’s table, just close enough to the Miracle table to supervise but far enough to be able to ignore any bits of horrifying conversation they happened to overhear. Riko joined them at it. “It may have been better in person, I wouldn’t know. But the pictures were horrible. Absolutely horrible. I remember Hanamiya-kun couldn’t put them down.”
“It was horrible in person,” said Ootsubo. “His class was doing a kissing booth and their main attraction was Kiyoshi in a dress. So much smeared lipstick, and that guy wouldn’t stop smiling. I’ve never seen girls line up like that, though. Until now,” he amended, looking at the line forming outside class 1-B, as they peeked into the classroom and twittered on about Kise and his table of basketball stars.
“Is that why Teppei wanted a kissing booth?” said Riko. “I’m so glad we vetoed that in committee.”
“Those pictures were everywhere that year,” said Imayoshi. “If you wanted revenue, you should have gone with his idea. The news spread so a lot of other teams came just to see if it was really true.”
“You mean,” said Riko. “Like this, right now? All of you here, taking up space and visiting our booths and spending your money?”
“Ha,” said Kasamatsu, and brushed crumbs from his shirt. “Well-played.”
“You’re going, sempai?” said Kise, who showed no signs of leaving, or even of stopping playing with his food, something everyone could see Kagami was dying to shout at him for.
“I’ve seen what I came to see,” said Kasamatsu dryly. “Take the rest of my coupon book, and feel free to spend it all in one place.”
“Thank you sempai,” said Kise sweetly, and Imayoshi heaved a giant sigh.
“We could have had you,” he said. “We could have had a polite good-looking ace who doesn’t punch people he doesn’t like and probably wouldn’t steal Sakurai’s lunch.”
“Kaijou’s flexible about my modeling,” said Kise. “I like it there.”
“Is there something wrong with me?” said Aomine, biting down on his plastic fork.
“There’s everything wrong with you,” said Imayoshi sincerely.
“You don’t have Midorima,” said Ootsubo. “Count your blessings.”
Kise and Aomine and Momoi all laughed, with varying degrees of meanness.
“Midorin never changes, does he?” said Momoi.
“So much better you than us,” said Kise.
“I don’t know how you people stand it,” said Aomine. “He’s horrible.”
“You understand he’s here, right,” said Ootsubo. “He just dragged Takao off because he wanted to see the fortuneteller booth first. We’re meeting here.”
“He loves the fortuneteller booth,” said Kuroko, clearing their table pointedly. “He made his class do it every year.”
“Every damn year,” said Aomine.
“You never participated,” said Momoi. “So I don’t know what you have to complain about. And he’s really accurate, the girls loved it.”
“He’d make charts,” said Aomine. “We’d sell lucky charms! They were so superstitious some of them kept salt on their desks!”
“We really lucked out with you, didn’t we,” said Kagami to Kuroko, who picked up another three plates of Aomine’s order from the girls decorating them and stuffed the sky blue coupons they were using for money into the box. “We could have gotten one of these crazy people.”
“You’re the one wearing a dress,” said Aomine.
“You’re the one who came all the way here to watch me in a dress,” said Kagami, an unanswerable argument.
“Also the crepes,” said Kise. “They’re delicious and adorable.” He twinkled at the girls behind the makeshift counter in their severe pants with their hair put up out of the way, and they blushed and giggled.
“This is great, Kagami-kun,” one of them said to him as he formed crepes on the burner with the practiced motions of a pro. “We’re getting so much attention! Your friends are so good for business!”
“They are not my friends,” said Kagami leadenly, but he’d bargained for the least embarrassing dress they’d found and absolutely no makeup in exchange for doing the cooking most of the time, and he could have been Kuroko, or the class monitor, who had on false lashes and lip gloss, or the class clown, who had water balloons down the front of his shirt. Most of their toppings involved copious amounts of chocolate or strawberry syrup and a dollop of whipped cream, and the girls handled making those with decorating the drinks, and everything was predictably overpriced. All things considered, it could have been worse for him, even given that Midorima had just shown up.
“Play nicely with the other children, Shin-chan,” said Takao, and deposited him at the Miracle table, patting him on the head before sliding into Kasamatsu’s discarded seat.
“That took a while,” said Ootsubo. Takao was smiling far, far too much for so early in time spent in their ace’s direct company, but the former captain supposed this was a special occasion.
“On the bright side,” said Takao, “He’s burned up all three selfish requests, so feel free to clock him the next thing he says which pisses you off.”
“Can I take your order?” said Kuroko.
“That would be everything he says,” said Kagami.
“Is that how you treat a paying customer?” said Midorima, who had three or four blow-up octopuses in varying sizes on his person. “I see you’re only a marginally better basketball player than service staff.”
“No,” said Aomine, who had not stopped stuffing his face since he sat down and smirked at Kagami, steadily depleting the books Momoi had had the foresight to buy with the contents of his wallet. “Credit where credit’s due, these things are pretty good. He’s a much better cook than basketball player.”
“I’ll be the judge of that,” said Midorima.
“Midorin will have red bean on everything,” said Momoi to Kagami. “And Shiruko, if you have it. Third vending machine on the first floor, if you don’t.”
“I’m never going to forgive you for telling them about this,” he said to her. She batted her lashes at him.
“Ki-chan already sent the pictures he took to Muk-kun and Akashi-kun,” she said. “You have bigger things than me to worry about.”
All the blood drained from Kagami’s face. “Tatsuya has Alex’s email address,” he said.
“That guy that time?” said Kise. “He’ll definitely show it to his teammates. All his teammates. He’s already complaining that he can’t taste the sweets. You in a dress doesn’t matter to him so much as the desserts. So…be prepared to make him desserts the next time you see him.”
“You understand we’re done with basketball for the year, right,” said Kagami. “We’re done. You should all go away now. Never bother me until I have to see your face in a match. I did not sign up for this.”
“You can come to our ones too,” said Momoi. “Tetsu-kun’s definitely invited, we should all meet up and go. It’ll be fun.”
“We have a school festival?” said Aomine.
“Ours is next month,” said Momoi. “Sakurai-kun is very in-demand. I’ll send the rest of you the details.”
“I didn’t say I wanted to go,” said Midorima indignantly. “I didn’t even want to come to this one, Takao just-“
“HE DRAGGED US HERE,” yelled Takao over Midorima’s speech, and then went back to flirting with the server who was cooing over his hairband, one of the football team’s strikers with an unusual affinity for high heels.
“Someone stuff a crepe into Midorima’s face before he chokes himself,” said Kagami, passing the plate to Kuroko, who slid it in front of his ex-teammate with a sigh.