The briskness of winter had already been left behind, but April mornings still greeted Japan with a chill in the air. This was perfect sleeping weather for Kise and Saturdays into Sundays were the best times to indulge in the experience. The heat turned off and him buried under all manner of sheets and blankets and comforters--it was the only way to do it. On this particular Sunday, although his alarm was always set for 11 AM, he found himself peeking out from the warmth to answer the phone at quarter to some ungodly hour. A voice that resonated with the timbre of annoyance bade him good morning. His eyes opened not as though his slumber had just been interrupted, but rather as if his body had had its fill and was just itching to take on the day. The conversation was brief: a question, an answer, and a salutation, but it left him all abuzz. He scrambled back into his cozy sanctuary, shoved his head under his pillow, and screamed; although the affect was only temporary, it seemed to be the best way to settle his nerves. The hum that vibrated through him faded, and with it, the alacrity with which he'd managed the call. A few deep breaths and one long satisfied sigh later and Kise was back to sleep.
If there was a limit to how much time a person could spend picking out an outfit, Kise didn't know anything about it.
His phone was still in his hand when his alarm went off. With his eyes half-closed, he looked at his history to make sure the call he remembered wasn't a dream. It wasn't. He stretched himself out from under his fabric shelter, hit play on his MP3 dock, and spent 45 minutes picturing the clothes in his closet before he actually got out of bed to look at them. Such leisure was only afforded to the impossibly wealthy and the incredibly lazy--Kise was most certainly not the former. The next hour passed while he was engaged in the troublesome task of choosing a color. Two hours for selecting a shirt, 20 minutes on jeans--because it was definitely a denim kind of day--and another hour and 15 on footwear and a jacket. Kise forewent the accessories because he didn't want to hear anymore nagging from Kagami about him being so flashy. And, of course, a shower. All told, it was about four hours and change--too much of which was spent eyeing a suit he bought sometime ago that he'd been anxiously waiting for an occasion to debut and stopping to sing along with a shuffled playlist featuring the cast recordings of Rent in various languages. And for all the fuss, Kise looked like he'd only spent two minutes getting dressed. Perfect.
Not that any of it mattered. As much as he would have liked it to be, it wasn't a date or anything. How could it be when he was just a substitute? It had been nearly a year since the first one, and like most of the not-dates he went on with Kagami, this day's had Kuroko's last-minute cancellation to thank for its instance. Kise was certain that the first few times Kuroko suggested Kagami ask him because it was the kind of thing he'd be interested in, but since Kagami had pretty much gotten out of the habit of mentioning it and he wasn't sure he should question it, Kise could only wonder if all of the other times were due to Kuroko's suggestion or if Kagami ever considered him on his own. Though he would have settled for the latter, what he really wanted was to ditch the mantle of Plan B altogether. The thought both saddened and delighted him.
In the pitch of the theater, Kise and Kagami leaned into each other as they whispered about where they'd seen the lead actress before. It was a matinee for a Canadian film with English dialogue and French subtitles, so, other than them, only a teen-aged couple, two 30-something women and a foreigner were in attendance, huddled in their far corners of the cinema. Their hushed tones weren't exactly necessary, but the habit of courtesy prevailed--Kise didn't mind the closeness either.
These days, Kise stayed behind with Kagami as the theater cleared out and until the last credit rolled. He learned quickly after the first time he saw a movie with Kagami--he almost panicked when his eyes adjusted in the light of the lobby and saw that Kagami wasn't with him.
This theater's lobby was the size of a postage stamp, so when Kise stepped into it from the darkness and stretched, he practically filled the space. Just as his fists hit the apex of their reach, an uninhibited squeal escaped him and he recoiled. Kise whipped his head around to see who poked him in his side. The picture of innocence, Kagami threw a question over his shoulder as he walked by.
"What'd you think?"
Kise, still crouched, protecting his sides, glared at Kagami with the burn of betrayal in his eyes--not that he was ever really quiet, but he could not believe he made him make a sound like that in public.
Kagami turned to him, but instead of the heat in Kise's eyes, it was the flame on his cheeks that elicited a reaction; he snickered, "what?"
Slowly, he rose to 3/4 of his height with his arms still wrapped around himself, just in case. Kise rolled his eyes at Kagami and cautiously sidestepped his way out of the theater to clear himself of Kagami's grasp. It was going to get awkward if he couldn't stop dwelling on the fact that that was the first time Kagami touched him in such a deliberately non-perfunctory way. He did not want to follow up the squeal with a scream, so he tried to think of another way to calm down. Then again, maybe that day was the day that he would fall apart in front of Kagami, because something more along the lines of an "eek" freed itself from his throat when Kagami came up behind him and spoke directly into his ear.
Kise tried to turn around, but it ended up being more of a drunken swivel--weebles come to mind. He knew distress was painted across his face, but he hoped that Kagami--who he assumed spent all of zero minutes looking at his face--wouldn't notice. To aid in the cover-up he stumbled into the conversation. "'S-So...?'"
"The movie...what did you think of it," Kagami reiterated.
"Oh, yeah...," Kise thought for a moment, "if it wasn't for the French, I don't think I would have enjoyed it; I still can't follow spoken English too well. I'm still confused about the ending, BUT it was really interesting, darker than I thought it would be. It kind of reminded me of Sixth Sense, you know? Like how he was always trying to open that door, and it turned out that something was in the way all that time. In this, all the time you're thinking that the guy with the tractor and the guy behind the counter are the same guy, but you never think about the fact that, while everyone else is always moving around, he's always behind the counter. Then, right before the girl speaks, they finally show him from the other side and you know there's no way they could be the same person."
"Yeah," Kagami agreed, not bothering to contain his excitement. "And it was real slow, too--the scene wasn't about him, so I almost missed it! Then, immediately my mind raced back to the beginning to review each scene. The ending, though...I'm a little," his hands gestured to signify the uncertainty he felt, "on it, too. But for it to be that boy...he really was there all the time."
"You mean, girl...or woman, actually, right?"
"No, well, man, maybe, because the grandmother and the kid on the bike both said, 'he would never be able...to...have...a...'," Kagami's words trialed off.
"...Child," finished, Kise.
They looked at each other and their faces opened up as they regarded the ending with their sudden awareness. Kise was the first to breach the awe.
"Oh...Yeah," Kagami said as he nodded emphatically slow.
"Shut. Up. I can't believe it! That is so--"
"Awesome!" Kagami returned the favor. "Now I'm hungry."
"It always comes back to food with you."
"What do you want to eat?"
Kise's index finger tapped his lips in thought. "Mmmmmaybe...."
"Or you could come back to my place?"
"Oh, I don't want to impose..." Not that he even meant that, but he was surprised how quickly it came out.
"What?! Who are you trying to fool? You do nothing but impose."
Kise scoffed incredulously. "Who called me at 6 AM?"
"I had to catch you before you made plans." Kagami said it like it was the most common of common knowledge.
"Eh?!" Every time Kise had to put business before pleasure came to mind and he regretted each one. "What if I already had plans?"
"Come on...you never have plans. I can only remember a handful of times that you turned me down."
Ouch... Good ol' Plan B. If it was for that assumption that he'd always been invited, Kise would rather not. To him, there was a difference between being the chosen 2nd choice and the available one. He had to postpone the breakdown that would be his way of dealing with this unanticipated blow to his...to his everything. Moreover, he certainly could not endure the interim at Kagami's place. "Ah, you know, there's a Caribbean burger joint a few blocks from here; I've been wanting to try it. You game?"
Kagami wiped at the imaginary drool suspended from the corner of his mouth.
Kise laughed, "I'll take that as a 'yes'."