As the shooting guard for Kaijou’s basketball team, Moriyama would always find at least one particularly striking female to whom he would dedicate his shots. She loves me, she loves me not, she loves me, she loves me not… Only the shots that made it into the basket counted. Sometimes, if he was lucky, that girl would be or would become his girlfriend.
Lately, though, he’d been shooting less and less for beautiful women.
When Kise Ryouta entered Kaijou as a first year, many of their female classmates fell into his wake. More showed up to their games, and at first this was a blessing: there was always a beautiful girl watching. Moriyama liked Kise. He was slightly jealous of Kise, but he liked Kise. As it turned out, Kise came with a lot of territory that was not limited to girls, but included a friendly rivalry with Seirin High School.
“You two played streetball with Seirin?”
The Kaijou basketball team was gathered in the locker room after their practice. Kise had his phone out and was boasting about his weekend, and Moriyama Yoshitaka was gasping in horror.
“And Momoicchi and Aominecchi and Midorimacchi and a lot of people!” Kise beamed as he showed his teammates images from the day he’d taken on his phone.
“I only came at the last minute,” Kasamatsu assured him, “It’s not like Kise meant to exclude any of you. It was only supposed to be Seirin and a couple other of those Teikou brats.”
Noticing that Kasamatsu was watching him intently, Moriyama wondered if he was letting his apprehension show.
“Kasamatsu-senpai! ‘Brats?!’” Kise whined.
Kasamatsu’s involvement in their small streetball tournament didn’t really bother Moriyama. Rather, he was more regretful over having missed a chance to play with Seirin at all.
“OOOOH!! LOOKING AT THESE PICTURES IS GETTING ME WIRED!! I WANT TO PLAY STREET BALL!!”
“Hayakawa, shut up.”
Ever since Kaijou’s first practice match against Seirin, Moriyama had wanted to play them again. Or see the team again. Or not really the team, just one player, really.
“Moriyama-senpai, look!” Kise shoved his phone in Moriyama’s face, “This was my team!”
Once Moriyama’s eyes focussed on the picture displayed before him, the Earth dropped out from beneath him.
Moriyama snatched Kise’s phone in order to hold the screen unnecessarily close to his face.
“YOU GOT TO PLAY ON THE SAME TEAM AS IZUKI-KUN??”
It all started months ago.
Truth be told, Moriyama had become quite taken with Seirin’s point guard ever since the day of their practice match. Though that day had started out as any other, and Moriyama had planned on dedicating his shots in the practice match to the very lovely Kanzaki-chan in Class B, his game did not turn out that way. Upon meeting and playing against Seirin High School, Moriyama had discovered that Seirin’s point guard was probably ten times lovelier than Kanzaki-chan in Class B.
Or than any girl Moriyama had yet to meet, for that matter.
This was a fact that Moriyama had found quite troubling. He had never considered the possibility that a male could ever possess beauty that could surpass that of a woman. Yet, there in front of Moriyama had stood Izuki Shun, smiling and asking back for a ball that had escaped from Seirin’s warm up routine. Moriyama had felt like he was staring up at the moon for the first time.
Though there had been no formal introductions, Moriyama had found himself saying, “I’m going to dedicate every shot in this game to you.”
He hadn’t meant to say it, but it just slipped out. That was more or less his usual line upon meeting a beautiful women, and Moriyama had been temporarily blinded. Izuki had merely given him a peculiar look before laughing it off as good fun and returning to his teammates. No, Moriyama had not meant to say those words to a boy, but he had surprisingly meant them all the same.
So that’s what a gay awakening feels like.
So they had practiced, Moriyama had made every shot for Izuki Shun, Moriyama had watched Izuki Shun display incredible talents as a point guard, Seirin had won, and Seirin had left. He had not seen Izuki Shun since then. Not until Kise had shoved a picture of him in his face.
Kise was startled by Moriyama’s sudden increase in volume and aggressiveness.
“Oh…! Yeah! We drew slots and I got the same color as him and Kurokocchi,” Kise explained as Moriyama silently mourned at the picture of Kise with his arms around Izuki and Kuroko Tetsuya, another member of Seirin’s team, “Well, actually Midorimacchi had the green slip first, but he let me have it so I could play with Kurokocchi.”
“They won, actually,” Kasamatsu supplied, patting Kise on the back a little too hard, “You’ve got a lot of nerve, beating your senior in streetball.”
“O...only barely! It’s because we had Kurokocchi and Izukicchi’s ‘Eagle Eye’ which is really cool. Izukicchi is a really good point guard, actually… but not as much as Kasamatsu-senpai, of course! Kasamatsu-senpai’s team was pretty balanced, too, and it looks like Seirin’s got a pretty talented center now.”
“Kiyoshi Teppei, huh… Nice guy. It’s too bad Koji will have to train double time in order to compete with him in the Winter Cup.”
Koji, who had been more focussed on packing his bag than on the conversation around him, finally looked up.
“Kise!” Moriyama grabbed Kise’s shoulders, earning a startled and frightened noise, “Did you get Izuki-kun’s e-mail? His number? Will you give it to me? I promise I’ll do your homework for a year!”
“Moriyama, you’ll be graduating before that,” Kasamatsu said, disapproval in his voice.
“Well, I would give it to him anyways,” Kise offered.
“You would?!” Moriyama shook Kise a little bit, causing Kise to whine and push him away.
“I would, but I didn’t get it!” Kise said apologetically.
Kasamatsu’s mouth twitched with what threatened to be a smirk, “Seirin’s point guard, huh?”
Moriyama turned to him and snapped, “Have you seen Izuki Shun?”
“More than you have,” Kasamatsu bragged. A cold reminder, but Kasamatsu seemed to be getting a kick out of Moriyama’s woeful existence.
“Is that why you haven’t been crooning over some chick in the stands that much lately?” Now Koji was in the conversation.
Thinking about that, Moriyama stepped away from Kise and allowed himself to observe and reflect upon the situation. Though Moriyama still loved women very much and would find himself casually admiring them every now and then, he could not deny that his meeting Izuki Shun had had a certain impact. Unfortunately, there were not multiple Izuki Shuns to watch. Maybe that was part of his beauty. But Moriyama did find himself looking less at girls and a little more at boys. Since Izuki had had such an impact on him, he thought, Why not?
He found that boys could also be attractive to him, but not quite the way Izuki had been.
Instead, Moriyama had come to looking towards the sky, where he found his imagination could run wild.
If I could see that beauty again…
Realizing that Kise had been waiting apprehensively for him to snap out of his thoughts, Moriyama met his eyes.
“Maybe I could ask Kurokocchi for it,” Kise said, “That shouldn’t be so hard.”
“Would you?” Moriyama asked enthusiastically.
Kise beamed so bright it was almost blinding. “Sure thing, Moriyama-senpai!”
“So we’re all just going to accept that Moriyama, ‘wannabe lady killer Moriyama,’” Koji started skeptically, “is gay now?”
“Gay?” Kasamatsu rose an eyebrow, “Nah, he’s bi.”
“Bi…” Moriyama tested it on his lips. He’d never thought about it in terms of identification.
“That Izuki Shun must be powerful,” said Koji.
“Oh, well,” Kise had taken his phone back and examined his own picture again, “I guess Izukicchi is pretty good-looking.”
“‘Pretty good-looking?’” Moriyama had never been so offended, “I’ve only ever seen such beauty in the stars at night, and even they must shy away back into the dark, night sky over where Izuki-kun may be.”
Kise clapped, “Moriyama-senpai, that was pretty good. Did you just come up with that?”
He had, but Kasamatsu was already nudging him, “Stop saying such flowery things about an opposing team’s point guard.”
Moriyama swatted Kasamatsu away, “But don’t you see? That’s part of the romance! Two households, both alike in dignity… From ancient grudge break new mutiny, Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes, a pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life -” Kise gasped “- Whose misadventured piteous overthrows do with their death bury their parents' strife.”
Kasamatsu had glared at him throughout his whole recital. “You would know the prologue to Romeo & Juliet.”
“But don’t you see?” Moriyama continued, “If we’re meant to be, it won’t matter that we’re from different teams! Our teammates might try to stop us, but-”
“We’re playing basketball, not settling a century’s irrational strife!”
“I’d consider the distance between the two of you to be more of an issue,” Koji chimed in, and Kasamatsu nodded.
“Well I think it’s romantic,” Kise said smiling, earning himself an appreciative look from Moriyama.
“Hey, does that mean you find other guys attractive, too?” Koji asked.
“Not as much as Izuki-kun.”
“What about Kise?”
“Huh?!” Kise gaped.
“Well yeah!” Koji held up his fingers in a frame to look through at Kise, “He’s popular with the ladies, and a model. Everyone’s always saying how handsome he is. So? Do you?”
Embarrassed, Kise was blushing. “K-Koji-senpai, I’m really not that…”
“He’s not my type,” Moriyama answered.
Kise made a noise and wilted. “For some reason, I’m offended.”
“Don’t take it personally, Kise,” Kasamatsu assured him. “Moriyama’s always been into that classic Japanese maiden look. Black hair, pale skin, dark eyes… pretty much the opposite of you, and exactly what Izuki Shun looks like.”
“But not a maiden,” Koji said.
“Definitely not a maiden,” said Kasamatsu.
“Are you guys still changing?!”
Coach Takeuchi entered the locker room to find them all still half-dressed. They’d gotten so distracted by Moriyama’s pitiful love life, an unfortunately common occurrence. Today’s distraction had been the longest of all, due to the revelation. Their coach was none too pleased, glowering at four of his starters.
“Weeks away from the Winter Cup, and you guys can’t even focus on getting into your shorts!”
No, for they were too focussed on Moriyama aiming for Izuki Shun’s shorts.