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Sometime after morning practice and before Kuroko's free period, Aomine peers into Kuroko's classroom and says, "I'm staying over for golden week."

Kuroko pauses, his pen hovering over his unfinished math homework. "What?"

The student seated beside Kuroko scoots away from Aomine's raised eyebrow, and Aomine steals the seat. "My parents are going to the middle of nowhere for the break," says Aomine, "and Satsuki wouldn't let me sleep in her room."

"I thought your parents were going to Jeju island," says Kuroko.

"Exactly," Aomine insists.

A distant part of Kuroko is aware that he should be more resistant to the thought of Aomine trampling about his mess of a room and taking up more than half of his bed, but Kuroko's mind sort of shuts down at the image. He turns back to his homework. "What's the cube root of 343?"

"That wasn't a no, right?" Aomine says. "And ask Midorima."

"Midorima is three rooms away," Kuroko reminds him. "And I'd prefer to keep it that way."

"So is that a yes?"

Kuroko sighs, and manually writes down the different permutations of odd numbers on his scratch paper. "I'll see you on Saturday, Aomine."



Predictably, Momoi and Kise don't take the news too well.

"You're gonna eat Tetsu out of his house and home," says Momoi, scandalized. "Just because I'm not letting you sleep in my room doesn't mean my mom won't feed you, you shameless idiot!"

"You're just jealous I'm invading Tetsu's space," says Aomine, through a mouthful of melon bread filched from Momoi's bag. "Hey, do you think we'll fit on Tetsu's bed?"

"Couch," says Kuroko. He is ignored.

"That was a declaration of intent, wasn't it," says Momoi, wild-eyed and perhaps trying a little too hard to clamp down any and all homicidal fantasies. "Wasn't it?"

Kise, with equal equanimity as Momoi, is already shredding a salad with his fingers like an apoplectic man in court. "Wait, wait, wait, I thought you weren't planning on leaving the house?"

Aomine hands his bread to Kuroko, who primly breaks off a chunk. "Eh," he says, "so I'll be bumming around Tetsu's instead. What's the big deal?"

Aomine's totally fine with this. At the very least, he isn't going to coast along the last stretch of classes with the impending realization that he would either die of starvation or suffocation via undisposed garbage. Momoi and Kise don't seem to grasp that basic line of thinking, though. Jerks.

"I will drop by every day just to make sure Tetsu is alive," says Momoi.

"You mean me," says Aomine.

"What about me?" Kise whimpers. His hand falls, limp against Kuroko's knee. "Isn't there an extended invitation in there?"

"My house is small," says Kuroko. Aomine opens his mouth to negate that statement, but Kuroko looks at him and his mouth closes. "I don't think any more would fit."

Kise and Momoi (and maybe Akashi, just a bit) stare at Aomine with varying degrees of malice. Midorima hides his grimace in his bento, wondering yet again why this is his life. Murasakibara drinks Kuroko's canned juice and chews on his anpan, barely paying any of them attention.

"This is gonna be the best golden week ever," says Aomine. "Basketball everyday. Video games. Porn. Right, Tetsu?"

"I hate you so much," says Momoi.



Kise gets assigned extra laps after practice for throwing the ball at Aomine's face repeatedly. To be fair, Aomine was asking for it, what with taunting Kise for his ill luck at turns. Aomine gets extra laps for not dodging in time.

"I knew I hated practice," says Aomine, huffing as he bends to tie his shoelaces. "I'm definitely skipping the next one."

"If you skip," says Momoi, loftily, "Tetsu won't take you in for the break."

"You think he'd let me come over instead?" Kise asks.

"After the break, I meant," says Aomine. "And weren't you supposed to be over this by now, asshole? I think you dislocated my nose."

"I don't see any running," Akashi reminds them, mildly. His voice echoes clearly even from the other side of the gym. "And what was that about cutting practice?"

Aomine takes off, Kise at his heels.

They jog around the basketball court and past the soccer field where some of his classmates wave them over. Kise stops to field requests for his number from the female populace, and Aomine waits for him by the water fountain before they resume their laps. They keep a steady pace side by side, absent of conversation.

"So," says Kise, when they round the bend and pass the tennis courts, "you're totally gonna do it, aren't you?"

Aomine trips on a wayward tennis ball. He kicks it to the side. Not that Kise notices.

"I kind of suspected given how long you stare at him in the lockers," Kise drones on. "And then there's all the touching. You guys never let me join in on the fist bumping."

"Huuh?" Aomine says, with much indignation and eloquence.

"This is devastating," says Kise. "Kurokocchi's first time and it's with a depraved neanderthal."

"What the hell are you talking about?"

Kise, clearly, is delusional. Clearly. "I know that your dirty magazines and D-cup fixation are a cover for your flaming desire to--"

"Oh my god."

"--do this and that with him, but I would have figured you would wait until we reach high school before you acted on anything."

"No one," says Aomine, covering his face with his hands, "is acting on anything. And I do not like Tetsu in that way. At all."

Kise raises an eyebrow at him. "Uh huh."

"At all," Aomine repeats.

When they reach the gym, Kuroko hands Aomine a half-empty bottle of water. Aomine makes a face at Kise, who may or may not be making lewd suggestions about Aomine getting in the zone with Kuroko with his fingers despite his conflicted heart. "What's wrong?" Kuroko asks, bumping his shoulder against Aomine's side.

"Kise's planning out our honeymoon escapade," says Aomine, shortly.

"Huh," says Kuroko. He squints at Kise's precise exhibition of an adolescent boy's inner workings. "You haven't even kissed me yet."

"What," says Aomine, completely forgetting his earlier denial. "I totally did, at the christmas party."

"You were drunk," says Kuroko. The edge of his mouth curls upward, just a little. "And then you kissed Kise after mistaking him for a gravure model."

"Lies, Kise doesn't have the breasts for it to tempt me," says Aomine. He wets his lips with water. "And I wasn't drunk."

"We're still not buying beer for the break," says Kuroko.

Aomine looks crestfallen, at that. "Damn."

They watch the batch of this year's freshmen clean the gym. By the time the last of the balls is thrown into the bin and the floor is wiped clean, Aomine is slumped against the floor, playing with Kise's phone. Momoi dumps a towel atop Aomine's head, when she passes them after ordering the freshmen around.

"Yo," says Aomine, through a mouthful of cotton. "What's up?"

Kuroko excuses himself to take a shower, and Momoi and Aomine's eyes track him, as he disappears into the locker room. "There's no practice tomorrow," says Momoi. "The school's closing up for the holidays."

"That's a go signal to cut class, right," says Aomine.

"I'm so glad I'm not your mother."

"You're still gonna bring us food, though."

Momoi rolls her eyes, but she's smiling a little. "Can't let you die a virgin now, can I?"

"Excuse you," says Aomine. He laughs. "Just wait until I come back."

"Ew, gross," says Momoi. "Why do you tell me these things?"

"I'm kidding," says Aomine, passing a hand over his jaw, frustrated. "Can't anyone take a joke around here?"

"If only you were joking," says Momoi, woefully.



The day after is a half-day, so Aomine waits outside Kuroko's room after his class is dismissed. It takes a while before Kuroko exits the room, trash can in hand.

"Are you skipping cleaning duty?" Kuroko says.

"I got Satsuki to flirt with the guy behind me so we can switch," says Aomine, dryly. He takes the trash from Kuroko's hands. "He's a boobs kind of guy. Now grab your stuff. We're leaving."

"I still have to take that back to the room," says Kuroko. A few of his classmates give them curious looks in the hallway but duck back into the room after Aomine narrows his eyes at them, something he's picked up from his crazy teammates over the years. He used to be a sweet kid, but now he likes the wide berth his schoolmates give him when his face is approaching that level of crankiness ever present on Midorima's face. It works wonders on the underclassmen.

"So get one of the freshmen to do it," says Aomine. "Or Kise, since he's always trailing after you."

"That's irresponsible," says Kuroko. "And Kise follows you around, not me."

"Hey, if it gets me home faster, I'm not complaining," Aomine sneers. "And Kise pants after you, it's hilarious."

Kuroko doesn't dignify that with a vocal response, but he steers Aomine down the stairwell and past the shoe lockers. He wrestles the trash bin away from Aomine, only Aomine pulls back and almost overturns it. They settle for carrying half, side by side, like children. If Kuroko's side tips a little too awkwardly, Kuroko doesn't comment on it. Aomine, though, does.

"Uh," says Aomine, dryly, "this would be easier if you were taller."

"Please be quiet."

"No, really, this is supposed to be logistically impossible. Are you compensating for something?"

Kuroko stops, in the middle of the pathway leading to the yard. "I know where you keep your magazines," he says, icily.

Aomine snorts. "Satsuki's data isn't always reliable, you know."

"The back issues are in the bathroom hidden behind the medicine cabinet," Kuroko ticks off with his free hand. "The newer ones are between your science notes and your literature textbook from last year."

Aomine turns his face heavenward, suppressing a groan. "Oh man," he says. "This is gonna be the worst break ever."



They stop by a convenience store to pick up standard teenage fare in the form of bags of junk food, a liter of soda and a few snacks with more sugar than nutrients. Aomine is already tearing into a box of Pocky as he wanders over to the magazine section, Kuroko paying at the cashier.

"Yo," says Aomine, flipping through one with a particularly buxom cover girl, "check this out."

Kuroko shoves a plastic bag to Aomine's chest, and Aomine lowers the magazine. "Ah," says Kuroko. "It's only Kise."

"What is your favorite type of girl," Aomine reads aloud. He squints at the smaller font. "Wow, he sounds like a huge douchebag."

"There isn't anything wrong with wanting some freedom," says Kuroko. "It's better than just specifying a chest size. That is very offensive."

"You're never gonna let me live that down, are you?" Aomine glares at him. "That was last year, give me a break!"

Kuroko takes out a sports magazine from the rack. "The girl ran away crying."

"It was a joke!"

"The newspaper club published it."

"Bastards nearly got me suspended, too," Aomine grouses.

Kuroko touches his arm, and offers him the tiniest of smiles -- sympathetic, but still patronizing. "It didn't hurt your chances of getting chocolate, though."

"Whatever," says Aomine, turning the page. "Murasakibara ended up eating most of it anyway."

"That's because you let him," Kuroko reminds him.

Two new purchases (Aomine buys the girly magazine if only to provoke Kise with it) and a pit stop to a fast food chain later, they step past the tiny wooden gate of Kuroko's home. Aomine's only been to Kuroko's twice before, but it always strikes him as conservative, traditional. Even the latch is barely as modern as his front door's own lock, and the smatterings of grass corraling the path to the front door makes Aomine want to step out of his shoes and sleep in the small space the lawn has to offer.

"I can tell what you're thinking," says Kuroko, dryly. He searches for his keys in his pocket. "And no, you can't."

"Aww, come on," says Aomine, as Kuroko opens the front door and steps into the genkan. "Haven't you ever tried it out?"

"It isn't much different from the field."

"Yeah, but this is private."

"Stepping outside without your shoes on is indecent."

"Crap, I knew you were proper," says Aomine. He bends to yank off his shoes and toes off his socks. "Are your parents home?"

"No," says Kuroko. "They're at my aunt's for the break."

Aomine grins. "Awesome."



All of the floors in Kuroko's house are made of wood, polished to perfection save for the carpeted space in Kuroko's room. Aomine thinks that if he peeks under it, it would be the same material too, but that would entail actually bothering to do more than fall flat against the rug.

"You actually clean your room," Aomine breathes into the nylon. "You're secretly an old man, aren't you?"

Kuroko lets his bag hit Aomine's back when he puts it down. "Vacuums exist for a reason, you know."

"Don't you ever let your mom clean your room instead?" Aomine grunts out, refusing to move. "I let mine do it all the time."

"Hence your need to hide all of your indecent AVs and photos," says Kuroko. He takes a seat beside Aomine and leans against the frame of his bed.

"First, when are AVs not indecent, and second, I bet you clean your room so you don't have to think about stashing yours away."

Kuroko exhales loudly. "I'm not justifying that with a proper answer."

It's when Kuroko pets the top of Aomine's head that he starts to feel drowsy. He scoots closer to prop his head against Kuroko's hip. "Hey," he says, "if I wake up early tomorrow, will you let me watch your porn?"

"Goodnight, Aomine," says Kuroko, and hits him with a pillow as he clambers up to his bed.

Aomine falls asleep, still spread-eagle against the carpet, but when he wakes up at midnight to use the bathroom, there's space large enough to accomodate him on Kuroko's bed. Kuroko is curled up against the side pressed against the wall, crouching to take up as little of the mattress as he can, and Aomine blames the sudden surge of affection in his chest on sleepiness. He ducks under the blankets and tangles his legs around Kuroko's feet, and if Kuroko wakes up to an unwelcome greeting in the morning, they could deal with it later.



They get up at ass o'clock in the morning and waddle downstairs to forage for non-regimented breakfast in the form of cereal and yesterday's leftover snacks. There's no milk in the fridge, so Aomine dumps water in a bowl and pulls out powdered milk from the cabinet.

"That's my mother's," says Kuroko.

"My bones are kinda weak," Aomine lies.

"And you call me an old man," says Kuroko. He pops a marshmallow into his mouth.

They watch TV in the sitting room, absent of couches or even pillows. Aomine, to his credit, doesn't spill anything on the tatami mat save for crumbs of potato chips, and Kuroko insists on putting coasters on the table for their glasses. Coasters.

"What am I talking about," says Aomine, staring with horrific glee, "you're not an old man. You're a housewife."

Kuroko turns back to the TV. "Quiet. The commercial's over."

"A housewife that watches noontime shows," Aomine continues, draining the last of his milk. "Kise will love this."

"You are not telling the team," says Kuroko.

"I won't if you switch to the sports channel," Aomine haggles. Kuroko looks conflicted about missing out on a complicated game show segment featuring a few boy band members, but he hands Aomine the remote in the end, if only to save his dignity.




They head to the street court Kise directs them to after an hour of flipping through golf, golf, and more golf. The only reason Aomine says yes to Kise's invitation is because Kuroko is unnaturally invested in the love lives of pop idols far too much.

help, Aomine texts, tetsu's getting a raging erection from this je dude on channel 5

what about tetsu's erection, Kise messages back.

Aomine stares at the ceiling and considers throwing his phone to Kuroko's head. that's all you got from this conversation???

then you shouldn't have talked about any part of kurokocchi's anatomy!!!

fuck you, Aomine types back.

Kise's ∩( ・ω・)∩ doesn't help his cause at all.

He texts Momoi to bring his gym bag and a fresh change of clothes, unmindful of the angry faces Momoi floods his inbox with. When they arrive, Momoi throws the bag to him, and Aomine catches it easily even if she had been aiming for his crotch.

"These aren't the right sneakers," he says as he checks his bag.

"Can't you say thank you like a normal person, you ingrate?" Momoi bellows.

"Thank you, Momoi-san," says Kuroko.

Momoi's ire softens quickly in the face of Kuroko's placidity, but resurges every time Aomine laughs so hard he breathes into the concrete after Kuroko's many failed shots. Momoi fawns and prods at Kuroko's barely bruised ego, shooting Aomine dirty looks.

"You're a really bad boyfriend," says Kise, sitting beside Aomine and tossing the ball to him. Aomine wheezes and tucks the ball under his arm. "I wonder how Kurokocchi stands it."

"I'm the best boyfriend ever," says Aomine, without heat. He waves to Kuroko's general direction. "Just ask Tetsu."

Kise looks at Kuroko, and then at his shorts.

"Oh, screw you," says Aomine. "Stop checking him out."

"I can't help it," Kise wails. "You kept talking about it and now I'm flustered. I hate you. Stop telling me these things."

"That was a joke," Aomine protests.

"Nothing you say qualifies as a joke," says Kise, wilting. "Everything is some deeply repressed Freudian slip of your latent homosexuality."

"I like breasts," says Aomine, making obscene drawings in the air of their exact shape. "Girls!"

"So you say," says Kise. "And yet you keep leading Kurokocchi on like the dumbass you are."

"I'm not a dumbass!" Aomine croaks out, bopping Kise on the arm. "And I don't lead Tetsu on!"

"You kind of do," Kuroko chimes in, slinking behind Kise. Half a year ago, Kise would have had a heart attack, but now he just looks placated.

"You're both assholes," says Aomine.

Kuroko ducks his head and leans against Aomine's shoulder, but he isn't smiling, not anymore.

"I'm hungry," Kuroko mumbles into his shirt. "And you smell."

"I'll take a shower later," says Aomine. "We can make noodles for dinner?"

"Sure," says Kuroko.

Kise rolls his eyes at both of them, and goes off to sit with Momoi in the shade. "This is unbearable to watch," he says.

"You're just jealous," Aomine calls out.

"Stop flirting, then!" Kise yells back.



Kise won't stop sending Aomine increasingly suggestive messages about what Aomine may or may not dream about at night. Aomine gripes about it to Kuroko as Kuroko boils a pot of water and Aomine minces spring onions and leeks on a chopping board on the kitchen table.

"I don't know why you guys call me a pervert," he grouses. "If anything, it's Kise that's the pervert."

"Uh huh," says Kuroko, uncovering the pot.

"Seriously, that guy is delusional," Aomine says. "Listen to this: I bet you're into aprons, too. Is Kurokocchi wearing an apron right now?" Aomine doesn't check. Not really.

Kuroko shakes from laughter as he deposits the noodles into the boiling water. He sprinkles it with the seasoning from the pack. "Did you tell him I am?"

"Hell no," says Aomine. "I'm keeping that to myself."

There's a subtle shift in the way Kuroko regards him, and Aomine wets his lower lip with his tongue. He turns back to his vegetables, poorly minced. Kuroko seems to find the answer he's looking for in that.

"If I told you Kise wasn't imagining it," says Kuroko, lightly, as he stirs the pot's contents. "what would you do?"

"Haha, that's funny," says Aomine. "Wait, you're not joking. What?"

"Nothing," says Kuroko, turning the noodles in the pot. "You're overreacting. Stop."

Aomine makes a sound at the back of his throat resembling an extremely skittish and strangled animal. "I'm not overreacting. Kise overreacts. Wait, jeeze, you're completely serious. You like me. Why?"

"Let's not talk about this tonight," says Kuroko. He sounds genuinely upset, so Aomine keeps quiet. "Hand me the vegetables, please."

He keeps thinking about Kuroko's aborted confession even as they wolf down a dinner of instant noodles and a pack of cookies, even as Kuroko falls asleep in the sitting room, his eyes red around the edges. Aomine wants to carry him to bed and tuck him in, but he remembers that he has no right.

Fix it, he tells himself. His mind, though; it's a mess, and he doesn't know how.

He counts the spaces of bamboo between the blinds, the thread count of the mat. He loses count every time he sneaks a glance at Kuroko, wonders if he's dreaming of Aomine, or if he has the dreamless sort of sleep that Aomine can only hope for. Kuroko is important enough to consider, to think about.

He almost doesn't fall asleep, but by the time the late night news rolls around, he's already closing his eyes.



Aomine sleeps as the sun rises. A slant of light filters through the thin sheets of paper spanning the dividers, creeps past the mat and spills out golden across Aomine's skin. He wrinkles his brow; he slings an arm over his head. He groans.

Beside him, Kuroko dozes on his side with an arm under his head, his fingers cupped against his ear. His hair sticks up, and sideways. The back of his shirt sticks to his skin, cloying. A dusky nipple peeks out, as Aomine pulls at his collar, as Kuroko shifts. Aomine's mouth – it is dry. Parched.

The width of a single pillow separates their shoulders. Aomine can't muster the courage to close the distance. The heat, it's unbearable. He almost wants to pluck a small block of ice out of the fridge and slip it under Kuroko's shirt, watch the cloth darken with sweat and water. His hands twitch, at his sides.

Oh shit, Aomine thinks, horrified at the warmth that pools in his stomach, the faltering stops and turns of his thoughts with every movement Kuroko makes. I think I'm in love with Tetsu.

remember when you were telling me about my homolust for tetsu, he texts Kise.

Half a minute later, his phone lights up with a barrage of messages.








there is no sexing up, god, calm the fuck down, he texts back, feeling unfairly resentful. The thought horrifies him less than it should.

oh thank fuck

maybe later, Aomine hazards, just to test the waters.


Aomine turns off his phone, and goes to the kitchen to scrounge up breakfast.



Kuroko wakes up an hour past noon. The pattern from the mat is imprinted on his knee, his arm. It probably stings, his nerves sensitized and tingling. Aomine tries not to stare; he'd done it earlier as he made eggs for breakfast and ended up burning everything, from the eggs to the pan.

It isn't -- unprecedented. He and Kuroko have been dancing around each other for months in that camaraderie boys build with obscene jokes and subtle flirtations, only he doesn't feel the same underlying heat when he talks like this with Kise, doesn't register the slightest thrill of his nerves, the pulsing at the tips of his fingers and the ends of his toes like he does when Kuroko baits him and reels him in.

"You're acting strangely," says Kuroko, as he sits up. "Did you eat something yet?"

"Uh, yeah," says Aomine. He turns to face Kuroko and freezes in time to Kuroko pulling at his shirt and fanning himself. "Um. So I was thinking, about that theoretical thing we may have talked about yesterday..."

Kuroko blinks. "Yes?"

Aomine takes a deep breath. "Let's say I'm interested. What exactly did you have in mind?"

Kuroko stares at him.

"Oh, crap, don't look at me like that, you were the one who brought it up," Aomine accuses. "Don't think that you can get away with being creepy and unresponsive just because you have a cute face."

"I need a drink for this," says Kuroko, and gets up.

Aomine waits as Kuroko busies himself with a minor freakout in the kitchen, too immersed in his own relatively sulkier one, and when Kuroko comes back, he sets a couple of glasses of water on the low table, looking like he'd prefer something stronger and age inappropriate instead.

"Just because I implied I liked you doesn't mean that you can explore your possibilities," is the first thing Kuroko breathes out. He looks a little frustrated. "I'm not gonna jump you or anything, so you don't have to worry about that."

"But say that I want to jump you," says Aomine.


"No, as in, for real." Aomine's eyes flash, and he bares his teeth. "And I'm not exploring anything. I already did that this morning."

Kuroko takes a fortifying sip from his drink. "Did you just confess to molesting me in my sleep?"

"You're being needlessly difficult."

"And you're being irrational," Kuroko mutters. "You don't even like me that way."

"But I do," says Aomine, tersely. "Like you like that."

"Oh," says Kuroko. A blush graces his cheeks, stretches to the white of his throat. He swallows. "Oh. That's..."

He's at a loss for words. Aomine smiles at him, carefully. Clearly, if anyone is going to take initiative in this relationship, it would be him. God.

"So anyway," says Aomine. "I was wondering if you would let me watch."

"What," says Kuroko, suspiciously.

"I want to see you," says Aomine. "Get off, I mean."

The back of Kuroko's ears are red, from the heat. He hides his face against the table. "That's embarrassing," he says, flatly.

"Come on," Aomine wheedles. "I'm really curious."

"You're supposed to do stuff like this by yourself," Kuroko insists.

"Pretend I'm not here, then," says Aomine. "You were gonna do this anyway, right? Just you and your hand while you pined for me."

Kuroko makes a small noise of -- assent or affront. It's difficult to tell, when Aomine can feel his own cheeks heat up and his throat burn. Kuroko looks up at him, and ducks his head again. His fingers are fisted against his knees.

"I wasn't pining," says Kuroko.

"Please," says Aomine, crossing his legs over the growing discomfort below his belly. "There was so much of it. Flirting, too."

"You haven't even kissed me yet," says Kuroko, like he can't believe this is happening. Aomine opens his mouth to tell him about how he'd hovered over Kuroko's sleeping form earlier and touched Kuroko's mouth, but chooses discretion, instead. He's had enough of running his mouth.

"Later," says Aomine. "I'll kiss you until you're sick of it, or maybe you'll long for me some more. I'm that good, you know."

Kuroko fingers the hem of his shorts. "No pining," he says. The steel in his voice belies the way he breaches the garter of his underwear and rests his palm under his cock.

"But the flirting was there," says Aomine. "You know it was."

"Yeah," says Kuroko. He keeps his eyes trained on the corner of the room, too overcome to return Aomine's attentive stare. "I know."

The ice in their glasses is steadily melting into the water, and a ring of liquid imprints itself on the wood. Neither of them make a move to rescue the varnish, to relieve the dryness of their mouths, their parched throats. Instead Aomine outlines his plans for Kuroko, how he'd like to cover the width and height of Kuroko's body on his bed, later, and watch Kuroko fists his sheets as he sucks him off, unhurried, unrepentant. He'll nose along the light curls resting below Kuroko's flat stomach and bite the inside of his thigh. They have the rest of the week to learn, and Kuroko hides his face behind his free hand as if it could stop the filthy stream from Aomine's mouth. He rubs at the head of his cock and slumps against the table, groaning. And Aomine keeps talking, like it's his only worth.

"Daiki," says Kuroko, when he's close, and Aomine stops. His hand is a frantic mess, now, with a single-minded purpose. "I like you, I really like you -- oh."

It's a testament to how utterly shameless Kuroko is that he keeps touching himself while making a declaration of love to what probably constitutes as his best friend. His hands are shaking, from what, Aomine can't tell. He reaches out to grab a fistful of Kuroko's threadbare shirt.

"Jeeze," Aomine groans, kissing him briefly, "shut up."

The line of Kuroko's back shudders; the nape of his neck is white, whiter than the crescents his nails dig into his skin. When Aomine releases him, he shuts his eyes and breathes. Into the wood, into the surface of the table, Aomine's name disappears.

Aomine stands. His legs protest, heavy with strain. He gathers Kuroko in his arms and mouths at his ear.

"Tomorrow," says Aomine, "let's go to the street courts. And after that we can stop by the convenience store for condoms."

"We're underage," Kuroko reminds him, eyes soft.

"I'm tall enough to get away with it," Aomine boasts.

Aomine's hand is slick with his own come. Kuroko takes Aomine's palm to his cheek and sucks at his fingers, bitter and salty. Aomine's eyes are dark, his cheeks darker, still.

"Tomorrow, then," Kuroko promises.

The afternoon sun has barely waned. Aomine supposes, as he presses Kuroko to the tatami mat, as he swallows his sigh with a kiss, that they have all the time in the world for this – this, and only this.

"Hey," says Aomine, "do you think Kise will cry if he finds out I totally got some?"

Kuroko huffs, against his jaw. "Daiki," he says, "please shut up."

It isn't a hardship to stay quiet after that.



On their first day back from the break, Kise takes one look at Aomine and wishes he hadn't.

"Don't say a word, asshole," says Kise, flatly, when they cross paths at the school gate.

"Guess who got laid?" Aomine jeers.

"I said, not a word," Kise sobs into his book bag. "Why do you tell me these things?"

"Did you know Tetsu's back is really sensitive?" Aomine goes on. "He also has a small mole above his hip. And a birthmark on his--"

"Oh my god," says Kise, and stalks away.

Aomine whistles all the way to his classroom. If his smile scares more than a few of his classmates, they don't say anything. Kuroko snorts at him during lunch and tips Aomine's jaw down, to inspect it.

"I thought we agreed to forego the pining," says Kuroko.

"I'm not," Aomine says. "I'm just really happy."

"It's really not a good look on you."

"Ow, thanks a lot for the support," says Aomine.

"Sorry," Kuroko apologizes. "I'll make sure to tell Akashi to make you run laps instead of hanging around the gym."

"Asshole," Aomine huffs.

"It's freaking Kise out," says Kuroko.

"Everything freaks Kise out. And you like me best like this, right?"

"Not really," says Kuroko, but he pulls Aomine into the darkened stairwell for a kiss hello anyway.