At first, Aomine thought it was just gas causing that feeling of nausea to grow in his stomach--probably the leftover macaroni and cheese Momoi brought to the Christmas Party that she wrangled him into taking back to his dorm because he “probably wasn’t eating right since no one was around for the holidays."
She should have gone out to KFC and bought fried chicken like he did. Or a second Christmas cake because Kuroko somehow dropped the one he bought when that old dog of his decided to nip at his ankle. Or even beer because that eggnog shit that Kagami brought was disgusting and Aomine almost poured his cup down the drain before Kuroko smoothly stole it from his hand because Kuroko apparently liked that swill. Kuroko also got shit-faced that night, but that’s a story for another time. The point was, Momoi wanted to cook something for Christmas, and maybe even make osechi for New Years, and she swore she was getting better and Yukihira-kun tasted it and laughed.
Aomine only tried it because if Yukihira could eat it, it had to at least be passable for consumption. Then again, Yukihira had a “it tastes so ridiculously bad that it’s funny” policy too. The taste was tolerable, even if the pasta was still mostly hard and there was a strange gritty texture to the dish. At least a third of it was consumed at the party. Momoi wouldn’t take it home because “I always eat at Yukihira’s, so it’s just going to go to waste.” So the remaining 2/3s was slowly but surely being consumed by Aomine.
That was probably a bad idea if his stomach rolling during the almost weekly basketball game was any indication. It was one of the few times that Murasakibara came and that was because that Himuro guy was visiting Japan. But Murasakibara wasn’t playing today--Himuro was. Not that it was a bad thing because Aomine almost enjoyed playing against Himuro because his style of play was masterful. If there was perfection in basketball, Himuro was the textbook example.
And as the shot that Aomine attempted to block slipped through his fingers, he saw Kagami rush forward to high-five Himuro and that feeling of indigestion made him rub at his stomach. The uncomfortable feeling must have morphed his face because Kuroko, always observant to the point where was he was a walking, talking CCTV, asked, “Is something the matter?”
Aomine pressed his palm against his stomach and said, “I think I ate something bad. Probably that mac and cheese Satsuki left with me. I can’t believe I’ve been eating that crap.”
“Would you like to rest for a bit?” Kuroko asked.
“Nah, it’s fine,” Aomine replied with a shrug, taking the ball from Kuroko’s hands, “Kagami’s play is surprisingly decent today so I still want to play.”
“Probably because Himuro-san’s his partner today,” Kuroko replied.
And something in Kuroko's matter-of-fact tone made Aomine pause quirked a brow, “They got history?”
“You should ask Kagami-kun sometime.”
“Guys, the clock is ticking,” Takao complained waving his cellphone at them, “I swear, if you don’t start in five seconds, I’m calling it a turnover for making me wait.”
“You can’t make up rules, Takao-kun,” Kuroko chided in that way of his.
And then Kagami interjected by saying, “The ref can do what he wants.”
“Don’t destroy the integrity of basketball, Taiga,” Himuro added, bopping Kagami on the head.
Kagami stuck his tongue out at Himuro like a ten year old. Aomine snorted but stepped off the court with the ball.
“Hurry up,” Kagami complained as he stepped forward and into their sphere to guard. Kuroko already disappeared to Kagami’s blind-side, but Himuro was doing well to keep up with Kuroko’s misdirection. Kagami grinned, almost bared his teeth at him before he said, “Come on.”
That feeling of his stomach tying knots came back, but Aomine ignored it as he bounced the ball on the asphalt twice, almost instinctively knowing where Kuroko was and how to pass it to him. Aomine could feel his lips curl into a smirk, “Try to keep up if you can.”
21 points and five minutes later had Aomine sitting on the ground, feeling a combination of tired and mildly sick as Kagami and Himuro celebrated their victory with high-fives and a weird fist bump accompanied by finger wiggling and weird “la la la” noises. Aomine kind of felt like throwing up so instead of waiting for Kagami to gloat and buy him a consolation teriyaki burger combo meal at MajiBa, he grabbed his stuff and went home. Sleeping it off was probably the best way to deal with the nausea.
His cell phone rang on new year’s eve at two in the afternoon. Aomine only remembered it because he’d just gotten home and his mother was fussing about whether he was eating right and how he should just move back home, not listening to him telling her that the basketball team requires that he stay at the dorms.
“But your school’s on break right now! Just stay a few days,” his mother persuaded him. Aomine didn’t even have more than one night’s change of clothes. His phone rang when he reluctantly gave in to his mother and was about to leave for the dorms to get more clothes. Aomine raised a brow when he saw Kagami’s face on the screen and then swiped across the screen to answer.
“Hey, are you busy?” Aomine heard Kagami ask.
Aomine eased his feet into his shoes and waved goodbye at his mother before he opened the front door. “Eh, not really. I’m heading to the dorms to get some things.”
“Great! You wanna play basketball for a bit?”
Aomine grinned and pulled his phone away from his face to look at the time. “Guess I could spare some time to kick your butt; end the year right.”
It wasn’t until Aomine got to the basketball court by his house, with his dufflebag of clothes still in hand, that he realized Kagami didn’t mean a one-on-one game. Himuro was there too, and so was Kise for some reason but that wasn’t the point. Aomine played for fifteen minutes before that sick feeling in his stomach made him stop. He pulled his phone out of his coat pocket and lied that his mother was messaging him and wanted him home as soon as possible. Kagami shot him a puzzled expression while Kise complained that Aomine kept leaving games early.
Aomine just rolled his eyes and ignored Kise before he waved and left.
The new year arrived uneventfully, and Aomine kept himself busy with team practice and pretending to do assignments for his classes. And then two weeks into winter quarter, Momoi accosted him at the outdoor basketball court by his dorm with questions and to check in on him. Even though he sent her a message the previous week that he was fine.
“Tetsu-kun said you missed the last two group games,” Momoi said.
Aomine threw the ball into the basket a littler harder than necessary if the way it spun around the rim a few times before it went into the hoop was any indication. When it landed on the court, he shrugged and went to retrieve the ball, “So? It’s winter and freezing.”
“Well you’re here. Besides, you never miss those games unless you have a school game or are sick,” Momoi tittered worriedly as she hovered on the edge of the court under the hoop. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing; my stomach has been feeling weird every time we’re supposed to play, so I’m just taking a break,” Aomine shrugged. “Probably the shitty dorm food.”
“Are you sure,” Momoi asked. “Have you seen a doctor? Even food poisoning shouldn’t last two weeks. Have you been taking a break from practices?”
“Nope,” Aomine answered, dribbling the ball to half-court and then staring in front of him, imagining a faceless being defending against him. “It’s not that serious. I’ve been practicing with the team. I just got all nauseated when I was on the way to Tetsu’s games so went back to the dorms instead.”
Momoi looked at him skeptically, as if he were making it up. “What? I’m not lying.”
“You’re sure nothing’s wrong?”
Aomine rolled his eyes, “Yes, Mom.”
“Don’t talk to me like that. You haven’t even answered anyone’s messages. Tetsu-kun said he emailed you several times and you didn’t answer,” Momoi scolded him with her hand on her hip. “You know it’s because Himuro-san is in town that they still have enough players without you, right?”
Aomine charged, dodging the unseen enemy and running to forcefully dunk the ball into the hoop. He hung on the rim for a second longer before he released it and gracefully landed on his feet. He walked away to the free throw line and Momoi passed him the ball.
“Whatever,” Aomine snorted, rolling his eyes. “Who cares?”
“I care! Tetsu-kun cares! And Ki-chan. Kagamin too.”
Aomine gazed at the hoop, eyes narrowed and he tossed the ball, “Right. That’s why that guy hasn’t messaged me in two weeks.”
Momoi retrieved the ball and passed it back to Aomine who had moved to outside the three point line. “That guy? Who?”
“Whatever, I haven’t felt up to being all chit-chatty with those guys. Probably indigestion or something,” Aomine shrugged, shooting the ball only to have it fly straight into the hoop with the sound the a whoosh. He frowned, “This is boring.”
“Basketball?” Momoi intercepted the ball and then angled it off the backboard, making it into the hoop with a pout. “Or playing by yourself?”
Aomine pulled out his phone, clicked at the screen to check the time only to see an email from Kagami. His eyes scanned the few characters before he typed a return message, sent it and slipped the device back in his pocket.
Taking the basketball, Aomine dribbled to the side of the court, didn’t even really pay too much attention before he tossed the ball. He hardly ever missed without someone actively trying to block him. He missed.
Momoi rebounded the ball and made another shot.
“What’s wrong?” Momoi asked him, holding onto the ball with both hands as she peered at him. “And don’t say ‘nothing’ because you just missed a shot.”
His phone beeped at him.
[just dropped him at narita]
“It’s nothing,” Aomine grinned, reading the words on his phone over and over. He then typed a single noun and clicked send. His stomach was feeling a little weird again. He squinted at the backboard and couldn’t help thinking that it was a nice day considering it was winter and cold enough to make his hands feel like ice.
“Why’re you smiling?” Momoi furrowed her brows and tilted her head, her eyes trained on him. “It’s kind of gross.”
Aomine scowled at her and smartly retorted, “You’re gross.”
“Ugh, it’s like you’re a kid,” Momoi rolled her eyes when he childishly stuck his tongue out and made a face at her, “So simple.”
“Hey,” Aomine paused from bouncing the ball and scowled at her, “What do you mean by that? Are you calling me stupid?”
“I mean you wear your emotions on your face,” Momoi said noncommittally.
Aomine could hear her imply the word “idiot” even if she didn’t actually call him that. But age and some semblance of maturity as has allowed Aomine to see past his initial rage and instead of telling her that she was full of it like he would have at age 15, he clicked his tongue and tossed the ball into the hoop. He felt a satisfying calm wash over him when he heard nothing but net before the ball bounced on the ground.
[i’m not your gf]
Aomine snort-chuckled at his phone because he would not want someone like Kagami as his girlfriend. That would be one girl he would have a hell of a time dealing with--Satsuki was enough.
“Like that. Why do you keep playing with your phone. Who are you messaging? I thought you were ignoring everyone,” Momoi asked curiously, but Aomine glanced up before putting his phone to sleep and back into his pocket.
“That look,” Momoi smirked in that all-knowing cat-caught-the-canary way that Aomine always hated. Then she bounce-passed the ball, “Must be Kagamin.”
Catching the ball with one hand, Aomine blinked at her feeling surprised, confused, and just a little bit alarmed by her sense, “How’d you--?”
Momoi laughed, “Because only Kagamin makes you look smile like that. He always makes you smile like that.”
“Hey,” Aomine furrowed his brows because that sounded like a backhanded insult. “I smile plenty.”
Momoi shot him a skeptical look as she pointed at him, “We’ve been through this, you’re bad at telling jokes. Besides, you don’t really smile like that. Not usually anyway.”
“Like what? What are you talking about?”
“Like you’re excited and trying to not to show it,” Momoi giggled, shooting the ball from the free throw line. “You don’t need to act cool, Dai-chan. He already knows you’re troublesome.”
“I’m not acting cool,” Aomine snapped defensively.
“Yeah, yeah,” Momoi smiled, “You’re definitely not cool.”
Aomine snorted and tried not to touch his phone when he heard it beep at him. Several times. Aomine smirked and reached into his pocket before he caught Momoi watching him. He froze and then pulled his hand away, resisting the temptation to look at his phone again.
“Aren’t you going to answer that?” Momoi asked with a raised brow and a knowing smirk when he slinked over to her and took the ball from her hands.
“I’ll answer later,” Aomine told her, keeping his voice steady. “Maybe.”
Momoi cackled, wiping the tears from her eyes. “You’re trying not to message him back right away like you have something better to do? Dai-chan, you’re so dumb. You know you’re over thinking it, right? If you want to hang out with Kagamin, just do it.”
Aomine snorted, refusing to look at her, “I’m pretty sure it’s just indigestion.”
[gdi fine! curry]
[only if u win]
“Nope, I’m pretty sure you just love Kagamin a lot,” Momoi smiled, placing the ball in his hands.
“Love?” Aomine repeated.
“Love,” Momoi affirmed with a nod. “Like me and you. Or you and Tetsu-kun.”
“Like… friends?” Aomine slowly asked.
“Like best friends.”
“Best friends; with Kagami?” Aomine stared at the basketball in his hands. He bounced it once, twice, and then faced the basketball hoop and tossed it in. The sound of the ball hitting the court echo and Aomine laughed before scoffing, “Yeah, right. Thanks for the laugh, Moron.”
Momoi’s face scrunched up in annoyance and she threw her hands in the air before stomping off the court, “Geez! Fine! I just came because I cared, but you’re clearly fine! I hope you fall into a ditch, Idiot!”
Aomine blinked because he did not know what just happened.
“Oi, Satsuki,” Aomine called after her, picking up the ball and then jogged over her, “Oi, wait up. Are you mad? Hey, come on now. Satsuki!”