Chapter 1: Out of Place
Midorima woke up in the same way he would any other normal day. He pushed the covers off of himself, stretched a bit, then sat up, yawning lazily. He trudged to his bathroom, used it, then made his way to the kitchen. He switched on the TV before he opened the fridge, searching for the eggs. Finding the egg carton, he took it and opened it. There were six left. Huh? He had been sure there were more…
He shrugged it off, guessing he had eaten more of them than he realized. He took out two of the eggs and put the rest back in the fridge. As he turned on the stove and set a skillet on the burner, he heard the blare of voices on the TV. He would watch Oha-Asa in a bit, but for now, the morning news was on.
“Breaking news brought to you this morning,” the woman on the screen spoke to the camera. “The two young twin sisters who were kidnapped one year ago were found today. The family of the sisters, Amber and Shiro, are overjoyed to have them back, safe and sound…”
Midorima turned his head away from the eggs on the stove. He stared at the TV. The twin girls were happily embracing their parents and siblings.
“Amber and Shiro…” he mumbled to himself.
The names sounded so familiar for some reason. He didn’t know why, but this news story sounded similar to another kidnapping case from a few years back. The kidnapping of two twin girls had been the subject of media for a whole year since they had gone missing. They had been found and rescued as well.
Midorima shook his head, repulsed by the thought of there being so many kidnappings in the world. Why was this kind of thing still happening in 2016? He turned his eyes back in time to flip his eggs over right as they were starting to turn brown.
He finished cooking the eggs and scraped them onto a plate. He walked over to the TV and changed the channel to Oha-Asa’s.
“It’s time for Oha-Asa!” the announcer exclaimed excitedly. “We’re going to announce today’s horoscopes and lucky items.”
Midorima’s mind drifted off, knowing there would be a commercial break before then. Today, he had his usual college classes. His first one started at 9am. He started mumbling to himself as he ate his eggs.
“Math…English…then some basketball later…”
It would be a pretty good day, as long as his lucky item was there to aid him.
A knock on the door interrupted his thoughts. Who would be knocking at his apartment at this time? Maybe his elderly neighbor had another question about one of her cats. She still didn’t seem to understand that Midorima had no experience with taking care of cats. As he set down his plate on the coffee table and stood up from the couch, another knock sounded.
“I’m coming. I’m coming,” Midorima called, slowly making his way down the hall to the door. What feline question did she have for him today?
He sighed as he unlocked the door and opened it. When he saw who it was standing outside, his body went rigid. His mouth dropped open. He was rendered speechless with a shocked expression on his face. For a moment, he felt an urge to slam the door shut, but held himself back from doing so.
Piercing, steel blue eyes gazed at him. He noticed short black hair and a smirk he knew so well, he could never forget it if he wanted to. He could hardly believe what he was seeing.
“Hey’o, Shin-chan!” Takao greeted him cheerily.
Midorima could barely get any words to come out of his gaping mouth.
“T-T-Takao!?” he finally choked out.
“Hm? What’s with that silly face, Shin-chan? It’s really cute, I must say.”
Midorima’s nostrils flared in annoyance. What was with this guy!? Randomly waltzing up to his ex’s door after not being in contact for years, and addressing him in such a familiar manner. The nerve!
“W-What in the world are you doing here?
“To take you to school. Duh.” Takao tilted his head, curiously. “What’s wrong? You’re acting like you haven’t seen me in years!”
“That’s because I haven’t!”
Takao straightened up, looking him over. “Did you have a dream where you lost me or something? Ha ha ha!”
Midorima didn’t know what the hell was going on. What was this nonsense he was spouting? He hadn’t seen or heard from Takao since their senior year in high school. Speaking of which…
“Wait…school? What are you talking about? We’re in college.”
“That’s next year, silly. We still have to graduate before that. Hmm…” Midorima’s body stiffened when Takao suddenly stepped closer, standing on his tiptoes to examine his face. “You must’ve had a really weird dream…”
“Hey…what’re you…too close...” Midorima’s voice came out in broken fragments as he backed away.
Takao smirked, letting out a laugh. That sweet, angelic laugh that Midorima used to love. “That’s more like it. There’s my old Shin-chan!” He finally backed away, to the relief of the greenhead, and started walking down the sidewalk. “You’d better hurry up and get your things. We don’t wanna be late. I’ll be waiting at the rickshaw.”
Midorima gasped when he saw the bicycle with the rickshaw attached to the back. That was what Takao used to haul him to school in. Really…what was going on?
He closed the door as calmly as he could manage, then ran to his bedroom. It was only then that he realized the things in his room were completely out of place. Many of his lucky items were either missing from the shelves or in the wrong place. The comforter on his bed was green instead of its usual black. He thought he had put that comforter away a long time ago. His college textbooks were gone and replaced with high school textbooks. He looked down at the foot of his bed to find his backpack. He crouched down and unzipped it. As he expected, high school binders and textbooks filled it, as well as his Shutoku basketball jersey.
Something was not right. It was as if he had traveled back in time. Three years back in time!
Chapter 2: Back to High School
Midorima could barely believe his eyes as he entered his old math classroom filled with all of his old classmates. With Takao by his side, the two of them made their way over to their desks. Midorima touched two fingers to the top of the desk, as if to see if it was really there and not just some illusion.
“What’cha doing, Shin-chan?” Takao asked, as he parked his bottom onto the top of his own desk.
Midorima withdrew his had and used it to push up his glasses.
Takao chuckled. “Well then, sit down. We can talk before class starts.”
And so, he did sit down. He shifted his gaze around the room, moving over familiar faces.
He had figured some things out. Apparently, he was still a senior in Shutoku High School. He was still on Shutoku’s basketball team. He was physically 18 years old, rather than his usual 21.
All of this was too much to take in at once. How could this be happening? Time travel? He had never believed in such nonsense. At first, he had been sure he’d been dreaming. Having pinched himself several times, he had come to the conclusion that this was all very real.
Then there was that irksome thought that it was a prank being pulled on him. But it didn’t make sense logically. All of his classmates looked the same as they had years before. And there was no way they would all come back here like it was some high school reunion, just for the sake of pulling a joke on the green-haired ace from the basketball team. There was also no way someone could have broken into his apartment and reorganized his bedroom’s belongings, all in one night, without his knowledge.
And Takao…Takao didn’t want to see him. He wouldn’t have come back to him.
He had no choice but to believe this was real, as crazy as it seemed. The strangest part was that he didn’t have a clue of what he had been doing right before this whole charade. Maybe…sleeping? After all, he had woken up in this year.
“…chan? Shin-chan!” Takao’s voice brought him back to reality.
“Oh. Er…what, Takao?” Midorima asked.
Takao sighed heavily. “I’ve been asking you. Where’s your lucky item? Did you lose it?”
For several seconds, the greenhead stared straight ahead, expressionless. Then suddenly, his composure crumbled.
“Oh, no. I missed it,” he muttered words of agony to himself. “How could I miss it…I never miss Oha-Asa…”
Takao tried to say something.
“…my day is ruined…how can this be…this must be fate…how could this day get worse…”
“Shin-chaaaaaan!” Takao said much louder, attracting the stares of several students. A group of girls giggled. Midorima finally stopped muttering and looked up at Takao, who gave him a big grin.
“You’ll be fine today. As long as you have me!”
Midorima didn’t understand.
“Eh? As long as I have you? What does that mean?”
Takao pulled a pouty face.
“Awww, so meaaaaan. Jeez, I am your boyfriend.”
Midorima tensed up at those words.
“B-Boyfriend?” he subconsciously said aloud.
“Well, duuuuh. We kiss all the time and hold hands…well, at least I try to...Hmmm…you’re acting weird today…”
After a pause, he suddenly brought his fist down onto his palm.
“A-ha! I know why you’re acting like this!”
“Uh…you do?” Midorima replied, nervously. Did he really know? No, of course he didn’t. What a stupid thought.
Takao put on a devious face and a sly grin. He leaned forward and whispered close to his ear.
“Did you have a sexy dream about me last night?”
Heat started to spread over his whole face. All he could do was try to hide it with his arm.
“Ohhh! So I was right then!”
“You—no—you—” Midorima sputtered incomprehensibly. He couldn’t seem to get more than a few words out.
Takao laughed, patting him on the back.
“Aha ha ha! Don’t worry, you don’t have to tell me the details!” He lowered his voice to a whisper again. “You could always show me later.”
Midorima peeked out at him from behind his arm. Takao winked at him, making his burning face even hotter. Now he remembered how annoying the hawk eye could be.
* * *
The class was in session, but Midorima barely listened to the lecture. After all, he had already learned this three years ago.
Senior year of high school…that’s right. That would mean he and Takao were still dating. They had started dating midway through high school.
It had happened right after a normal day of basketball practice. Takao had lingered behind in the changing room, talking up a storm with Midorima so that he couldn’t pack up and leave quickly like the others. When everyone else had left, Takao suddenly grew quieter than usual. It was as if he had lost his voice, a very unusual thing for the hawk eye.
After several long minutes of silence while they continued to pack up their things, Midorima was just about to ask him what was wrong when Takao abruptly blurted something out.
“Say, Shin-chan…would you date me?”
He froze at those words, right about to put his towel in his bag.
“Hypothetically speaking, of course,” Takao added quickly.
Midorima turned his head to search him for that silly, joking grin. But it wasn’t there. He seriously thought about it for a minute. Then he replied, without looking at him.
“Yes. I suppose I would. You are one of the few people I converse with on a regular basis.”
He said it in the most nonchalant voice possible, trying to sound casual. It was probably only a trivial question that Takao wanted to ask as a joke. Any moment now, he’d be rolling on the floor in laughter.
He sighed. That kind of thing couldn’t possibly happen between them. He actually did have a crush on Takao, but there was no way he felt the same way. Besides, they were both guys. Takao was too popular with the ladies to be interested in him. This was just a stupid joke.
“Are you serious about that, Shintarou?” Takao asked.
“Yes,” Midorima said, still not looking at him. Strangely enough, he thought he’d heard him call him by his first name.
Midorima finally shifted on the bench to look at him, quickly realizing that the blue eyes were closer than he’d thought. Takao was leaning closer to him, gazing up at his face. Midorima’s breath hitched at the surprise of him being so near.
“W-Will I what?”
“Will you date me?”
Did he hear him right? Was Takao, his long-time secret crush, actually asking him out?
“I…uh…yes…” he heard himself say without realizing it. He could barely think straight due to the close proximity of their faces.
Takao’s eyes lit up at his response. Midorima didn’t have a chance to say another word as the brunette latched his lips onto his own. It was like a dream come true. He was finally going to be dating his best friend.
He would never admit it, but he’d really enjoyed their make out session that day.
Midorima thought of these things as he stared at the back of Takao’s head, which was threatening to fall down onto his desk any minute now. Of course, it was near the end of their senior year that they had broken up. They had been together a little over a year.
And Takao had dumped him.
It had been shocking. Takao? Being the one to break up with Midorima? He had been the one who asked him out in the first place. So why had it happened? Not even Midorima knew. Takao had never really told him why. It had been three years since the breakup…and Midorima had never demanded a real reason.
Of course, Takao hadn’t left him with nothing. He had claimed that they would be going to different colleges and a long distance relationship probably wouldn’t work. But later on, Midorima had heard from Miyaji that Takao hadn’t even decided what college he would attend. They could have gone to the same one if they’d wanted to. Besides, they had been close enough. Nobody knew one another better than the two of them.
He watched as Takao’s head finally slumped down onto his desk. He felt gloomy. He had never wanted to break up.
He started wondering if he could change things. After all, maybe he had been sent to the past to change something. But…he didn’t know what went wrong in their relationship. How could he change something if he didn’t know what was wrong in the first place?
Chapter 3: Familiar Feelings
Midorima awoke the next day to find that it was Saturday. Since the day he’d come back on was Friday, he was needed for basketball practice after school. Of course, he had taken extra care to hold back on his skills, since he was much better in the present day. He didn’t want to arouse suspicion.
Moreover, there had been a problem. He and Takao had not played basketball together ever since their school days. Suddenly being back at his team’s practice made it rather difficult to recall their old playing style. Midorima had fumbled with the ball quite a bit whenever Takao passed it to him. When questioned by the team, he made the excuse that he “didn’t feel well”.
This morning, he made sure not to miss Oha-Asa. He stared at the TV screen, observing the astrological rankings of the day. His mind began to wander.
“Hmph…do I really even want him back?” Midorima wondered aloud.
It was a question that had been plaguing his mind since last night. Should he mess with the past? Interfering with past events could mess up his future. But then again…it could possibly change it for the better…in a way.
“But maybe I don’t want such an annoying, disrespectful, loud little brat anyway…” he argued with himself.
That’s right. All Takao did was tease him and laugh at him. He even had the nerve to call him a “tsundere”, which he always boldly denied. He couldn’t believe he’d given him such a ridiculous label. This was why he most certainly did NOT like that Bakao or anything like that.
Despite all this, Takao could also be very loving. He would do things like tell Midorima to lean over so he could whisper something in his ear, and then suddenly peck him on the lips or cheek. He would hold his hand, or at least try to, wherever they went. He didn’t seem to care if they were in public. One of his favorite things to do was force Midorima out of his comfort zone and drag him everywhere. As much as he wanted to, Midorima couldn’t admit to himself that he disliked all the romantic things he did. He would always put on a facade like he hated it…but he actually secretly enjoyed it. Of course, he’d never tell anyone that he felt that way.
Thinking back, he found it strange and annoying that he never noticed any difference in their relationship before it ended. Takao had just suddenly broken up with him out of the blue one day. Right now, things seemed to be going smoothly between them. He couldn’t see how things could possibly go downhill. But there surely had to be something going on…something he hadn’t noticed before. And he needed to figure it out soon.
He started pondering. It was currently the middle of March. If he recalled correctly, Takao broke up with him somewhere around the end of May. But what day was it? He figured he would go look at his calendar in his room in a bit. As for where it happened, he would never forget…
Takao had called him late one night, saying he wanted to talk to him about something. He had sounded oddly serious, unusual for someone like him. Midorima had gone to meet him at a secluded area of the woods on the outskirts of town. There was a big hill right underneath the vast sky where no trees blocked its view. They would sometimes just lie down and look at the stars together…
A knock on the door made him jump, breaking his train of thought. He turned to look down the hall.
“Shin-chaaaaan!” He heard Takao’s voice on the other side of the door.
Midorima sighed. He should have known the brat wouldn’t leave him alone on the weekend. He went and opened the door to a grinning Takao.
“Good morning!” he exclaimed in his usual gleeful manner.
“Hello, Takao. What brings you here?”
“Eh? Is there something wrong with wanting to spend time with my boyfriend?”
Midorima’s throat went dry at those words. It was still strange to hear Takao refer to him as his “boyfriend”. It would take a while for him to get used to it again.
“Well, um…no. I suppose not…”
He stood to the side and opened the door wider.
“Well, come on in then.”
“Yay!” Takao skipped happily through the doorway.
“Damn! He got me…” Midorima mumbled.
He shut the door and walked back down the hall. He entered the living room, but Takao had disappeared. As quickly as he had appeared before him, he had suddenly vanished. He glanced in the kitchen…still no Takao.
Hm? Where did he go?
He crossed the living room to another short hall. It was in his bedroom that he found the brunette.
“Takao, what are you doing in my room?”
Takao looked away from the shelves of lucky items he had been observing.
“Hm? I come in here all the time. Besides, I wanted to look at your lucky items.”
“Oh. Well…okay then.”
Midorima gave in, sitting on the edge of his bed. A few minutes of silence passed by, with occasional snickers from Takao as he picked up each item one by one, examined it, then carefully set it back in its original position. Then he came over to join him on the bed. He sat unexpectedly close to Midorima, much to the greenhead’s surprise. He tried not to show it though. Takao probably sat this close to him all the time. Soon enough, Takao broke the silence.
“Hey, Shin-chan. I wanted to talk to you.”
Midorima raised an eyebrow.
“Well, ya know. About yesterday. At school and basketball practice. You seemed kind of out of it. Like, I know you always act all flustered when I flirt with you, but you’ve been drifting off more than usual. You…seem bothered about something.”
Takao turned his head to look up at him. His piercing gaze was unnaturally serious as it locked with Midorima’s.
“Is there something wrong?”
Midorima felt uneasy as Takao observed his face carefully. He had no idea what to tell him. It’s not like he’d believe him if he said he’d travelled back in time. Ha! What a lovely conversation that would be.
“I…just didn’t feel well is all. I’m fine now,” Midorima said. He technically wasn’t lying. This experience was overwhelming him.
“I know that’s what you told the team…but I meant what’s really wrong?”
“There’s…really nothing wrong.”
“Are you sure? You know, you can tell me anything, Shintarou.”
“Really. I’m fine.”
Midorima wished he would stop pestering him already. If he kept it up, he didn’t know what he’d end up blurting out.
“Well, okay then. But if there really is anything wrong, you can talk to me.”
Takao leaned closer to Midorima, reaching out to caress his cheek. Midorima could feel his heart beating faster than usual. He felt Takao’s warm breath against his nose. When had he gotten so close? He felt incredibly nervous as Takao started to close his eyes. He found that he couldn’t move…he couldn’t resist. Maybe he didn’t want to resist. But one thing was certain. Midorima didn’t know what to do as Takao’s lips pressed against his own.
It was a simple kiss that said “I care about you”. It felt like nothing else mattered at that moment. It was just the two of them and nobody else. Midorima’s eyes were widened in surprise. Just as he started to close them and fall into the kiss, Takao pulled away.
“W-Wait,” Midorima subconsciously said aloud. He hadn’t even noticed that his hands were gripping Takao’s shoulders.
“Shintarou…hey, what’s wrong? Are you crying?” Takao said in a concerned whisper.
Midorima hadn’t noticed it at first, but his eyes were, indeed, tearing up. Part of him wanted to wipe them away and say he was fine. But the other part took over…the part of him that had missed Takao for so long. It was at this moment that he realized he had never completely gotten over him.
He buried his face in Takao’s chest, clutching his shirt. The tears wouldn’t stop.
“I…I missed you…so much,” Midorima sobbed into his boyfriend’s shirt, his words muffled quite a bit by the fabric. “Why did…this ever…why’d you go…”
Takao didn’t question his words, or whatever he could decipher out of them. He just held him close while he let everything out. He gently stroked his forest-colored hair and whispered comforting words.
“Don’t worry, Shin-chan. I’m not going anywhere. Shhh…shhh…”
This just made him feel worse. That was the thing. If he didn’t fix the past, then Takao was going to leave him. Again. Maybe this time travel thing was just a cruel way of making him relive his most dismal memories.
“…I can’t…lose you…please, don’t leave me…Kazunari…”
He thought he felt Takao’s body stiffen at the last part, but he didn’t pay any mind to that now. He didn’t care if he was showing the most emotion that he’d ever shown anyone. He didn’t care if he accidentally let slip Takao’s first name…which was actually something he wished he always had the courage to do. The words were slipping out of his mouth between sobs. He never wanted Takao to let go of him.
Suddenly, he felt himself being gently pushed back. Takao’s hands still held onto him, but Midorima couldn’t bring himself to look up and show his face. He knew he probably looked like a mess right now. Despite this, he didn’t oppose the fingers that tilted his chin upward, forcing their eyes to meet. Midorima’s eyes widened as he took in the sight of Takao’s stunned expression. Had he said something wrong?
“You…” Takao’s voice came out slowly. “You…you called me by my first name…”
Midorima was almost about to deny it when he stopped himself. Takao’s eyes glistened with tears of his own. He looked so happy…happier than he’d ever looked before. Midorima couldn’t bring himself to ruin it…just this once.
“M-Maybe I did…” Midorima said, blushing fervently. He pushed up his glasses in nervousness. “So what?”
The only response he received was another kiss. This one was filled with much more passion than the last one. Midorima let himself fall into it and kissed back. Takao seemed to be ecstatic about this, as he started sucking his bottom lip. Midorima was surprised to find himself really starting to enjoy it. It didn’t last too long, however. Takao broke away and pulled Midorima toward him, enveloping him in a tight hug. Midorima secretly hadn’t wanted the kiss to end, but who was he to complain about this warm embrace? It felt really nice, being so close to Takao. He just wanted this moment to last forever.
Things had toned down ever since Midorima had cried his deepest emotions into Takao’s chest. Surprisingly enough, Takao hadn’t pressed on the matter of the words he’d let slip out that night. There was the “I missed you” and the “why’d you go”. Then again, he’d had his face pressed against Takao’s chest, thereby muffling most of his words. But still, he had to have understood at least some of the things he’d said that night. Midorima was leaning on the possibility that Takao just thought he had been emotional about a really bad nightmare.
Even if Takao suspected otherwise, Midorima knew that he wasn’t the type to badger him on such a subject. Maybe it was mostly because Midorima rarely revealed feelings of distress. But, somehow, he knew inherently that Takao wouldn’t pester him about it. He would wait and allow Midorima to come to him if he really wanted to discuss the matter further. That wasn’t to say that secrecy didn’t bother the hawk eye, but Midorima was nevertheless thankful for the personal space.
Of course, Takao probably just assumed this all had been spurred by a bad dream. And so, the matter was left alone. Everything was basically back to normal. It had been two weeks since then and Midorima was, once again, acting like the tsundere he truly was. April had arrived and Midorima still could not pinpoint the exact date of the breakup. The only lead he had was that it happened around the end of May. So he still had over a month to turn things around.
But what was he supposed to do? He would act in the same manner as he ever did around Takao, and nothing about it ever seemed to bother or upset him. Their relationship appeared to be in perfect condition. He knew, however, that it was very much not. Simply repeating the things he did with Takao in the past probably wouldn’t change a thing.
Midorima had decided he needed to do some reconnaissance on Takao. As stalker-ish as it sounded, he felt that he had a good enough reason to do so. Perhaps he could find something, anything, out about their relationship. Something he may not have known before.
It was now Sunday. Earlier, Takao had let him know he was busy and couldn’t hang out. He was apparently going to visit someone else…but who? This sparked curiosity in the green-haired boy. He had even inquired who it was, but to no avail. The only response he had received from his boyfriend was:
“What? Is Shin-chan jealous? Don’t worry, It’s not like I’m cheating on you or anything.”
What kind of answer was that anyway? Saying something like that only made him more suspicious. Not that Midorima thought he was cheating on him…but still…the comment bothered him somewhat…
In the past, he was sure that he would have simply ignored this and gone about his day normally. Surely, if he followed him and possibly found out some piece of information, that different approach could change something about the future. So that was what he decided to do today.
He remembered Takao saying he was meeting with this person around noon. If he left now, which was half an hour until then, he would probably see him leave pretty close to noon, maybe even a bit after. Takao was late to virtually everything, whether it be a movie or a date. Sometimes, he was even late to pick up Midorima for school. Given his airheaded personality, it made sense.
He left his apartment wearing the perfect disguise: sunglasses.
“Takao would never recognize me with these. Mwa ha ha!” Midorima laughed evilly to himself. Sometimes, he was too clever for his own good.
* * *
Midorima was now lying in wait behind the dumpster outside Takao’s apartment building. His room was on the second floor, in perfect view from his position. He poked his head around the side of the dumpster, waiting and watching. He glanced down at his watch, which read 11:45. If his calculations were correct, he still had at least another 15 minutes until the brunette would make an appearance.
Noon rolled around and Takao finally came outside and made his way down the stairs. Midorima smirked. Just as he’d expected. He waited until Takao was far enough down the sidewalk, and then began to tail him. They walked for quite some time. Every slight movement that Takao’s head made caused Midorima to silently panic and jump behind the nearest streetlight…not that it would help much. Midorima was pretty tall and broad-shouldered. But then again, he was wearing the most ingenious disguise in the world.
Eventually, they reached downtown. Tons of people were bustling about, laughing and talking with one another. Midorima used this to his advantage. He weaved in between people trying to blend in. He noticed Takao break away from the sidewalk. Midorima withdrew into the shadows of a small corner store, watching the other boy. Takao had walked over to the big fountain in the middle of town. He seemed to be talking to someone…someone he couldn’t quite make out behind the sea of passerby. A gap in the crowd finally revealed the mystery person. A person with sky blue hair…blank, staring eyes…a person he had to double take after realizing there was, in fact, a person there.
“Eh!?” Midorima let out an audible gasp. A few people walking by gave him weird looks.
It was Kuroko!
A surge of questions flooded his mind all at once. Why was Takao meeting up with Kuroko? And why didn’t he tell him it was Kuroko he was meeting? Since when were those two buddy-buddy?
He watched as the two were talking and smiling at one another. Midorima pushed up his glasses, trying to figure out what was going on.
This is an interesting piece of information, he thought.
He wondered what kinds of things Takao said about him behind his back.
Takao and Kuroko began walking down the street. Midorima followed from a safe distance as they entered a small restaurant. He waited until another couple went to enter the restaurant and followed close behind them. He noticed Takao and Kuroko sitting at a booth, so he stealthily took another booth near enough to hear their conversation, but far enough away as to not be seen. The moment he sat down, he grabbed the menu off the table and buried his face behind it. Peering over the menu, he could just make out their heads among others’ from nearby tables. His ears started to pick up what they were saying.
“So what are you gonna get, Kuroko?” Takao was asking the bluehead.
“Hmmm…maybe this…or this…” Kuroko said, pointing at things on the menu.
“Ah, I see. I’m thinking of getting this…or maybe this.”
“Interesting, Takao-kun. But then there’s also this here.”
“Oh, wow. That’s looks really good. But it’s a bit expensive.”
This had to be the most ridiculous conversation Midorima had ever heard.
“Oh my God, make up your minds already,” Midorima mumbled under his breath behind his own menu.
It was then that a waitress came over to his table to take his order. The greenhead simply ordered coffee and a bagel.
“Okay. May I take your menu, sir?”
“Oh, um…no. I’ll keep it.”
She walked away, probably giving him a strange look. Then he heard something intriguing.
“So, uh, Kuroko,” he heard Takao begin. “There was something I wanted to talk to you about.”
“Hm? What is it, Takao-kun?”
“It’s about Shin—I mean, Midorima.”
Midorima was on the edge of his seat in anticipation. He was listening more intently than he ever had before.
“Well you see,” Takao said. “I thought I could get some advice from you since you seem to be in a stable relationship.”
“Oh, you mean Kagami-kun and I?”
“Yeah. You guys get along fine, right? No problems?”
“I guess so. But then again, he can be a real hothead sometimes. He’s always picking fights with Aomine-kun.”
Their waiter brought their orders over and set them down on their table. Kuroko, of course, had ordered a vanilla milkshake as well as fries. The bluehead happily planted his mouth on the straw.
“Well, that’s not exactly what I meant…” Takao said. “I meant more along the lines of…do you guys…well…”
Midorima held his breath. It was strange seeing Takao look so nervous as he tried to get his words out. He barely noticed his waitress come over and set down his own order.
“…do you guys…get along romantically?”
Midorima’s cheeks heated up when Takao finished his sentence. At least nobody could see it as he hid his face behind the menu. W-What did he mean by that!?
Kuroko stopped sipping his milkshake, his eyes boring into a fidgeting Takao.
“Wow, Takao-kun. I had no idea you were so perverted. Well, I shall tell you everything, if you so desire.”
Takao waved his hands frantically.
“N-No! No! That’s not what I meant! I just meant, like, how you two get along as boyfriends. Things you talk about. How you act around each other. Stuff like that.”
Midorima watched as Kuroko put his finger to his chin, as if deep in thought.
“Well, we act like any other couple out there, I suppose.”
You’re no normal couple if you’re dating that Bakagami, Midorima thought scornfully.
“For one, we talk about basketball a lot. That’s usually when he starts complaining about Aomine-kun. It’s really quite annoying, actually. There was this one time—”
“Ah ha ha, “ Takao cut him off. “Oh wow, that must be hard to deal with. What other things do you two talk about?”
Kuroko didn’t even seem phased about being interrupted.
“He seems to enjoy talking about food…”
This pointless conversation dragged on and on. Neither Takao nor Midorima seemed to get anything out of Kuroko’s “advice”. About an hour later, Takao and Kuroko got up and left the restaurant. Midorima followed them, feeling utterly defeated. This whole afternoon felt like a complete waste of time. So far, he hadn’t gotten any leads on what Takao wanted from him. He followed after them down the sidewalk, nonetheless. They approached nearer to the train crossing.
“Ya know, Kuroko,” Takao was saying. “You and Kagami seem to get along great. Even though all he does is fight with Aomine. Anyway, I’m happy for you guys.”
“Thanks, Takao-kun. But you know, I’ve noticed you’ve been acting rather strangely today.”
“Eh? Um, how so?”
“You seem like you want to say something, but you’ve been holding it back.”
Takao didn’t respond. Had Kuroko been right?
C’mon. Say it, Takao!
“…Fine. You’re right, Kuroko. You’re as observant as they all say.”
He chuckled lightly, but quickly turned serious once again.
“The truth is…I don’t think Shin-chan—”
At that very moment, the loud sound of a train horn reverberated through Midorima’s ears. The incoming train completely drowned out whatever Takao had said to Kuroko. The safety gate lowered as they approached the train crossing. Several minutes passed, the air filled with the sounds of the train whooshing by and ringing bells warning people to stay behind the line. Midorima felt helpless as he strained his ears to try to hear what they were saying. He couldn’t get any closer since there was the risk of being caught.
By the time the noise finally died down, it was too late. Takao and Kuroko didn’t seem to be talking on that subject anymore. Midorima felt like he had been kicked in the stomach and stomped on several times. He had missed this one opportunity to find out the answer…all because the stupid train had to go by RIGHT THAT SECOND.
The safety gate lifted and people crossed over the tracks. He followed them, feeling very depressed as he did. The two in front of him talked on more casual subjects the rest of the time, eventually separating at an intersection. Kuroko waved as he made his way across the street. Takao walked around the corner with Midorima close on his tail. It was only the two of them now, Midorima noticed. They were alone with nobody else around, so it was a lot harder to blend in. The quiet, narrow street didn’t help matters either. He took extra care to keep a good distance between them and would hide behind every streetlight and trash bin they came across.
After several quiet minutes, Takao suddenly stopped in his tracks. Midorima froze behind the streetlight he’d been peeking around. Neither of them moved for what felt like a whole minute. Then, Takao let out a long sigh.
“So, how long are you going to follow me, Shin-chan?”
Midorima’s mouth dropped in surprise. He had noticed him!? Takao turned around and looked straight at him. Midorima swallowed hard, feeling nervous. He stepped out from behind the pole.
“H-How did you recognize me?”
Takao failed to hold back a laugh, breaking his serious demeanor.
“I hate to break it to you, Shin-chan. But just putting on sunglasses isn’t gonna disguise you very well.”
“Huh!? Why not?”
“Because you have green-ass hair. Nya ha ha! And have you noticed how tall you are? You stick out like a sore thumb.”
Midorima stepped out into the open, pushing his sunglasses up on top of his head.
“You…may have a point there. How long ago did you notice me?”
“Oh, all the way back at my apartment.”
Damn! Then he had known the whole time? Midorima felt his cheeks and ears getting abnormally hot.
“Then why didn’t you call me out? Why didn’t you just turn around and tell me to go home?”
“Hmm. Well, I noticed you hiding behind the dumpster so I assumed you were coming over to talk to me or ask to borrow something or whatnot. But when you didn’t come out, I thought you’d catch up to me and act like you just happened to be in the neighborhood or something. You kept following me and hiding behind everything. That was when I figured out you didn’t intend to be seen at all. Hah! It wouldn’t be any fun to tell you to go away when you were acting so funny. So I played along.”
Midorima mentally scratched his head at this. There was still something that didn’t make sense to him.
“But…but you never turned around. You never saw me. How could you have known?”
“Shin-chan, you know I have hawk eye vision. I can see you without actually having to look.”
The greenhead turned his head away curtly, giving a loud ‘hmph’. He felt embarrassed for having forgotten that fact.
“I-I knew that.”
“You looked pretty silly hiding behind that menu and watching our table. Ha ha! That’s my adorable Shin-chan! Now the big question…”
He drew closer and was right in front of an unsuspecting Midorima in one swift movement.
“…is why you were following me.”
Midorima continued to look off into the distance, refusing to look at him. He was afraid that he might see an unusually annoyed face on Takao. Surely, he must be mad at him for spying on him. He probably didn’t think he trusted him. So he found himself avoiding those blue eyes.
This proved rather difficult to do as he realized Takao was standing on his tiptoes and gently tugging Midorima’s collar toward him. He could practically feel the devious grin on his face. But why was he looking at him like that?
He whispered softly against his scarlet cheek.
“Was Shin-chan, perhaps, maybe, jealous of me spending time with somebody else?”
Takao’s voice came out in a suggestive tone, proving that he was far from angry. Now Midorima was avoiding eye contact purely out of nervousness. The other boy was so close…too close. The warm breath on Midorima’s face was making it harder to resist the new, exciting feelings running throughout his body. He realized that his back was pressed against the brick wall separating someone’s front yard from the sidewalk. He shuddered when he suddenly felt long, warm fingers travelling up his neck to his jawline. They gently maneuvered his head to face him. Those sharp eyes gazed into his own, a look of desire visible within them.
Midorima swallowed hard. His heart was beating fast. Their faces were just mere inches away from each other, and it felt like the distance was steadily declining. He didn’t know what to do. Strangely, he found himself unable to move, frozen, wanting the brunette to continue. But he couldn’t allow that to happen. No, it was all happening so fast that he didn’t know how to deal with it.
Before Takao could close the remaining millimeters, Midorima instinctively pushed him away. He pushed up his glasses, trying to regain his composure.
“I-I-Idiot! What are you talking about? I could care less who you hang out with. Don’t make up stuff like that.”
But what he said was far from the truth. Deep down, he felt extremely protective toward Takao. He didn’t think he could stand the thought of anyone else touching him. Of course, he couldn’t always prevent that from happening. He would never admit it though…that he was the jealous type.
“Ha ha ha! Oh, Shin-chan. You always say the funniest things.”
Midorima looked down at Takao and noticed that something seemed…off. It was the way he was smiling. He had seen his boyfriend smile so many times before. But this was the first time he had ever noticed it. It wasn’t Takao’s normal smile. Was it…fake? He had never considered that the brunette would ever put on such a façade.
He couldn’t believe he had been so blind to it in the past. That wasn’t his usual happy-go-lucky grin. It wasn’t genuine at all. Behind it, there seemed to be something bothering him. Something he couldn’t figure out no matter how hard he stared.
“Shin-chan? Why are you glaring at me like that?”
Midorima realized he had probably been making quite a scary face and immediately softened his facial features. He shifted his gaze to the ground.
“Erm, it’s nothing. Let’s just get you home.”
It was like Takao was starting to drift away from him…again. And he had no control over it.
So so sorry for the late update. I meant to post this chapter a few weeks ago, but I've been super busy with a summer class. It took up all my time so I couldn't ever get around to updating this fanfic.
Good news though. I finished the class, so weekly updates shall happen again! I hope you all are enjoying this fic as much as I am. :)
Chapter 5: Spring Break
“Let’s go to the beach!”
“Aww, c’mon, Shin-chan!”
Takao was with Midorima in the latter’s room. Midorima laid on his bed reading a book while Takao flipped through a pile of magazines on the floor. Takao had been looking through a magazine with information about places to travel. He had stopped his finger on a picture of a beach and was now insisting on going to one.
“No, Takao. I’m busy reading this book,” Midorima said, not removing his eyes from the pages.
“You can bring your book to the beach. Now let’s go!”
“Now why would I do that?”
Takao crawled across the floor to peek over the edge of the bed.
“Becaaaaause, it’s spring break and we haven’t done aaaaaanything. We gotta take advantage of it.”
“No, I don’t want to go. Now hush. I’m getting to the good part.”
Takao made a pouty face.
“Hmph. Fine! Be that way.”
He slinked back to his place among the strewn-about magazines and slumped down. Midorima peeked out of the corner of his eye. Takao looked so sad as he started flipping through the magazine once again, much slower this time. He couldn’t help but feel a tinge of guilt. He hated seeing him with such a depressed atmosphere around him. It didn’t suit him at all.
He flicked his eyes back to his book. He wasn’t really reading anymore, his eyes trailing listlessly over the words. Ugh. Why did he have to feel so guilty? He groaned internally at his weakness. Damn himself for saying things before he thought!
He realized that this conversation had happened in the past. He recalled Takao asking to go to the beach, but he had said no. They never ended up going back then. Of course, he’d also felt guilty then, as he did right now, but probably not enough to change his mind. So, maybe if they did go…
Midorima closed his book and flung his legs off the side of the bed. He reached his hand under the bed, searching for something. Takao watched him with a confused expression on his face.
“What are you doing, Shin-chan?”
He didn’t answer as he pulled out a black duffle bag. He stood up and walked over to his dresser, opening drawers and throwing some clothes in. As he started shuffling through another drawer, Takao whined, unhappy from being ignored.
“Heeey! What’s going on?”
Midorima looked at him with a towel in one hand and swim trunks in the other.
“What’s it look like? We’re going to the beach, of course.”
Takao just sat there looking up at him for several seconds, dumbfounded. Then he suddenly burst into a cheer.
“Yaaaaaaay!! I love you, Shin-chan! You’re the best!” Takao exclaimed, jumping up and hugging him excitedly.
“I-Idiot! Let go of me. It’s not that big of a deal.”
* * *
After stopping by Takao’s place to pack his things and then catching a taxi, they made their way to the beach. The moment they got out of the taxi, Takao sprinted down the stairs leading to the sandy shore, letting out yips of excitement along the way.
“Takao, slow down!” Midorima called after him, but Takao was long gone. He couldn’t suppress a smile at the hawk eye’s excitement. This was much better than his gloomy mood from earlier. He hoisted his bag onto his shoulder and made his way down the stairs as well.
He found the brunette running through the small waves at the edge of the shore. There were lots of people around. Men, women, children, and teenagers lined the coast. Takao noticed him setting up a spot with towels and an umbrella for shade. He called over to him.
“Shin-chan! Come on in, the water’s fine!”
“I’m gonna read my book. You just go on by yourself.”
“Aww. That’s no fun,” Takao pouted.
Midorima ignored him and laid back on a towel, opening his book where he left off.
“Well okay,” Takao said. “If you change your mind, don’t hesitate to join me!”
He wandered deeper into the ocean by himself. For quite some time, Midorima simply laid there and read his book. But soon, there was a problem hindering him from doing so. He was constantly getting distracted. Every now and then, he would catch himself watching Takao. Like…‘checking him out’ kind of watching. It wasn’t like he had never seen him shirtless before. He’d seen plenty of it in the high school locker room. But he couldn’t help admiring his boyfriend’s nice body. His arm muscles…his toned legs…his chest…
Midorima shook his head, his face burning. Why were these thoughts tormenting him? Was this some kind of test? When he calmed down, something else caught his attention.
“Oooh, so who are you?”
“What’s your name?”
“What are you doing over here all by yourself?”
Midorima’s mouth dropped. Three giggling girls surrounded Takao, talking and smiling at him. They were very obviously flirting with him. Takao politely made conversation with them, smiling like that idiot Kise. He couldn’t help but wonder if Takao was even aware that the girls were flirting with him. If he was, wouldn’t he reject them? Or, even better, ignore them?
But then again, Midorima knew Takao was just happy-go-lucky like that. He was just a social person. The greenhead took a deep breath, trying to calm down. He needed to be rational about this. Getting all worked up over something as harmless as this was stupid. Besides, it didn’t matter if Takao talked to girls, right? He wasn’t into girls, and he was dating Midorima. Nothing to worry about…right?
As one of the girls laid a hand on his boyfriend’s shoulder, he couldn’t help the jealous feeling reemerging once again. He didn’t think he could take it anymore. Watching this was just too much for him.
Throwing his book and glasses into his bag and taking his shirt off, leaving just his swim trunks, he got up and stomped over toward the group. He came to a halt in front of them. The girls and Takao turned to look at him.
“Hey, Shin-chan! What’s up?” Takao asked, gleefully unaware of the greenhead’s rising anger. “Did you finally decide to join me?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“Oh, who’s your friend here, Mister Kazunari?”
Who were they to speak so familiarly with his boyfriend!? They had only met him a few minutes ago! They had no right!
Takao started to open his mouth to answer, but Midorima broke in. He spoke with the smuggest look on his face.
“I’m his boyfriend.”
Midorima took hold of Takao’s arm and began dragging him toward the ocean. He could feel the girls looking after them, looks of surprise probably on all of them. When they were knee deep in the water and the girls had scurried off, Takao spoke up.
“Hey! What was that for?”
“They seemed to be bothering you. I was helping you out.”
“Huh? Those girls weren’t bothering me. They were just talking to me. They were being nice!”
Midorima didn’t answer. He just continued to lead him farther out into the water. Suddenly, Takao let out a surprised gasp.
“No way! Shin-chan…were you jealous!?”
“…I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Midorima replied, going to push up his glasses, forgetting that he’d taken them off.
Takao stopped their movement and grabbed him by the shoulders, turning him around.
“You’re jeeeeealousssssss,” he said in a teasing tone.
Midorima tried to resist the blush he felt starting to form on his face.
“I’m not jealous. They were just getting too cozy with you. That’s all.”
“Mhmm. I’m sure that’s all it was,” Takao hummed.
“I-I-I’m telling the truth!”
He felt fingers being intertwined into his own underwater. Takao clicked his tongue in a chastising manner.
“You shouldn’t do such adorable things unless you want me to kiss you. You’re making it very hard to resist.”
In a swift motion, the brunette stood on his tiptoes and pecked him on the lips. Midorima’s eyes widened. He quickly turned his head in embarrassment.
Something he had been thinking about earlier suddenly popped into his head. One of the girls had called him ‘Kazunari’. Why were they calling him by his first name anyway? The nerve of them!
“Oooooh, you’re super jealous today, Shin-chan,” Takao snickered. “You know, you could always call me Kazunari, if you want.”
Wait…had he said that out loud?
“I-I see no need to do that, Takao.”
“Your face seems to disagree with you,” Takao said with a smirk.
Midorima lowered his face into the water in an attempt to cool off his burning face.
The two spent the afternoon swimming, making sandcastles, collecting seashells, and had themselves a picnic under their umbrella. It had all in all been a very enjoyable day for the two. As they were packing up their things to go home, Takao paused to look over at Midorima. He had a curious look on his face.
“Hey. So what if it had been a guy who hit on me?”
Midorima found himself answering a little too quickly.
“Out of the question,” he said, pushing his glasses up. “I would have shot a three-pointer with him.”
Takao just stared silently at him for a few seconds. Then he burst into laughter.
“That—aha ha ha—sounds just like something—hah—you’d do, Shin-chan!”
“W-Why are you laughing!? What’s so funny?”
The brunette calmed down so he could get out an answer.
“It’s just the way you say it. Saying something so silly with that serious face of yours. Ha ha ha! Oh man, you’re so incredibly cute when you’re jealous.”
“I told you, I’m not jealous!”
“Once again, you’re face disagrees with you. And also, I warned you…”
Midorima found himself suddenly being kissed again. This time, it lasted a bit longer, with more passion within it. Takao pulled away, grinning at him seductively.
“…You doing cute things makes me want you more.”
Midorima was 99.99% sure that Takao could feel the heat radiating off his face.
Chapter 6: Answer
Spring break ended and students returned to Shutoku High to resume classes once again. A few weeks passed and Midorima’s nervousness increased. May was rapidly approaching, and he had no idea whether his fate with Takao would change or not. Recently, he had been trying his best to be nicer toward his boyfriend. He figured he should try to act less “tsun” and more “dere”…not that he was admitting he was a tsundere or anything. He was merely hypothetically considering the label given to him by Takao. That was all! If he did that, maybe things would set themselves right.
Of course, this proved rather difficult for the greenhead. Often times, he would catch himself saying harsh words to the hawk eye. By the time he realized his mistake, he would feel too embarrassed to take it back. Curse him and his damn pride…
But, of course, it never seemed like Takao was bothered by anything he said. He would shake it off with a smile and an annoying laugh. Then he would say something along the lines of “That’s my Shin-chan” or “You’re so cute when you’re angry”. Urgh, sometimes that idiot was so hard to figure out.
It was a relaxing Sunday afternoon with Midorima and Takao lounging around in the greenhead’s room on his bed. The two were diligently working on their homework…well, one of them was. Midorima was having next to no difficulty filling out his sheet of math problems. Takao, on the other hand, was audibly complaining on thirty-second intervals about how “boring” math was and how he’d “never need it in the future”.
“Believe me, Takao,” Midorima said, not looking up from his work. “You will definitely need math in the future…err, somewhat…probably…”
He started feeling unsure of his words. In the future, he was still only in college. So as far as he knew, math only seemed necessary for college math classes. But surely, he would have some use for it in the further future…right?
“Ehh? See, even Shin-chan doesn’t sound so sure of that!” Takao said.
Midorima pushed up his glasses with a taped finger.
“Of course we’ll need math. We can’t be growing up without proper intelligence.”
Takao clicked his tongue in annoyance.
“Tch. Whatever you say.”
His eyes returned to his own page. After a few minutes, however, he was back to whining again.
“Aww, can’t Shin-chan just show me his answers?”
“Of course I can’t do that. If you simply copied my answers, you wouldn’t learn anything. I’d be happy to help you though.”
Takao groaned, falling back against the pillows.
“Ahhh, but that’s no fun. I give up.”
A quiet moment ensued with Midorima continuing to work and Takao sprawled out on the bed sheets. As Midorima was trying to figure out a rather difficult problem, he felt weight shifting in front of him. He didn’t look up…until the paper was snatched from his hand. Frustration began to build up within him. Midorima growled in a dangerous tone.
“Takao. What are you doing? I was working on that.”
The greenhead watched as Takao arched his back like a cat, propped up on his elbows. His eyes narrowed and he grinned mischievously. He waved the paper teasingly out of reach. Midorima sighed.
“Give that back, Takao.”
“If you want it, come and get it.”
The teasing smile and provoking tone of voice just about pinched every nerve Midorima possessed. He found himself leaning forward and snatching at the air in an attempt to retrieve the paper. But it proved to be a futile effort. Takao would move it out of reach every time his hand got near it, to Midorima’s utter frustration. He kept trying to get it, edging closer and closer as he did.
“Quit—it—Ta—kao!” Midorima said between snatches.
“Nuh—uh—uh,” Takao giggled.
Takao moved to hold the paper right above his head. Midorima saw his chance and lunged for it. Takao didn’t seem to see it coming and let go of the paper in surprise. The paper glided down onto the floor and Midorima tumbled into Takao. The brunette stared wide-eyed up at the greenhead. It took several seconds for Midorima to register what had just happened. When he realized the position they were in, his body stiffened.
The hawk eye was underneath him with his wrists held down on either side of his head…by Midorima. He found he couldn’t release his grip on them. It was almost like he didn’t want to.
The rare blush on Takao’s face…the way his arms were positioned…the needy look in his blue eyes…it was giving him all sorts of weird feelings.
“Shin…chan?” Takao asked in a soft voice.
He didn’t reply. He was too busy trying to restrain himself from acting on his urges. It was taking all of his strength not to ravage him right then and there. Emerald eyes stared into widened blue ones. Midorima took in the other’s facial features, tracing each little detail with his eyes. Neither moved for what felt like an eternity.
It took every bit of his willpower to force himself to let go of the other’s wrists and sit up. He turned his head to the side and adjusted his glasses, well aware of his burning face.
“S-Sorry about that.”
Takao just lied there for another long moment, probably still processing what had just happened. Then, as if something clicked in his mind, he sat up quickly and smirked at the greenhead.
“Sorry? For what?”
Midorima wasn’t given a chance to reply as Takao pushed him back against the pillows. This time, it was Midorima whose wrists were pinned above his head. He felt so helpless, unable to hide his glowing face. Takao used a finger to draw light circles on his cheek, smiling all the while. He whispered gently to him.
“Hmm…your face is really red…are you sure you really wanted to stop there, Shin-chan?…”
He trailed his finger down to his chin.
“…’cause for a second there, it looked like you were about to make a move on me.”
Midorima shivered as the brunette’s finger glided over his neck and shoulders. He couldn’t stop him if he wanted to, seeing as his wrists were firmly held together by Takao’s other hand.
“I guess you’re too shy to do something to me,” Takao said with a soft laugh. “So I suppose I’ll have to volunteer.”
Midorima tried to say something.
He was silenced as Takao planted his mouth onto his lips. A long moment passed by with the hawk eye trying to get Midorima to loosen up and relax into the kiss. Of course, Midorima put up somewhat of a fight, out of stubbornness. He wanted to ease up, but at the same time he didn’t know if he wanted to allow the other to take control of him.
Evidently, he decided to accept it as he found himself kissing back. He felt the other grin against his mouth.
“See? You know you like it, Shin-chan…”
“Just shut up and kiss me, idiot,” Midorima mumbled against his lips.
“Hm? What was that?”
“N-Nothing, you moron.”
Takao let out a shaky breath, almost as if he was about to laugh. He suppressed it though. He moved his free hand to slowly run his fingers through green hair.
“I’m sure it was nothing, my dear Shintarou,” he whispered, teasingly.
He moved his face toward Midorima’s in a swift motion and connected their lips once again. The two continued in their activity. Midorima was participating more this time around, finding the sensations on his lips enjoyable. Takao seemed intent on pushing it a bit farther. His tongue lightly traced around Midorima’s lips, silently asking for entry. Midorima’s body stiffened in hesitation. They didn’t have a lot of make out sessions, obviously due to the greenhead’s reluctance in such situations. Normally, he would stop right then and there out of nervousness. However, Midorima was feeling more generous today. That, and he wanted to try something new himself.
Cautiously, millimeter-by-millimeter, Midorima began to part his lips for the other. He was unsure of what to do, so it was all he could manage at the moment. Takao seemed to sense this, gently nipping at his bottom lip to encourage him. At least a minute passed by with the two very slowly progressing. Finally, Midorima allowed the hawk eye’s entry. Takao slowly slid his tongue into his mouth and explored, taking care not to cause any more unease in the greenhead. Gradually, Takao let him get used to the new feeling, easing Midorima’s tension.
Once Midorima felt more confident, he started moving his own tongue around the other’s mouth. He thought it felt…weird. And wet, obviously. But he found himself liking it, strangely enough. They continued on like this for quite a while, experimenting with the newfound technique between them.
Takao broke away and moved his lips down onto his neck. He sucked and nipped at the skin, causing Midorima to squirm underneath him.
“You don’t need to hold back, Shintarou,” Takao breathed against his neck. “Loosen up…let out those noises…there’s no one here but me.”
This time, he chose to nip at his earlobe. This drove Midorima crazy, but he didn’t want to show it. It was too embarrassing. Takao let a hand wander around the bottom hem of his shirt. His hand moved underneath it, travelling up his stomach to his chest.
Midorima couldn’t possibly suppress a moan from that. When he let one out, Takao stopped what he was doing. He looked up, eyes widened in surprise. He quickly regained his smirk as he witnessed Midorima’s furiously blushing face.
“Oh! So does Shintarou like that?”
The hell are you doing, idiot? Don’t stop.
As if he would ever say that out loud.
Takao laughed a bit as he looked at Midorima.
“Awww, you’re just too cute!”
He suddenly stopped laughing and a more serious look overtook his face. His bright eyes locked with Midorima’s. What the heck was he planning to do now?
A gentle smile formed on Takao’s face.
“I love you, Shintarou.”
It felt as if his heart had stopped…like time had frozen. His whole being swelled with joy at the unexpected words. At the same time, he felt shock. It surprised him. He hadn’t expected such a confession. Especially considering what had happened in the past. So Takao loved him after all? Or maybe things were changing.
It wasn’t like Takao had never said he loved him before. In fact, he’d said it countless times, usually in a joking or silly tone. Like as a response to something cute Midorima had said or done. But this time, it had much more emotion. It was more heartfelt. It was the most serious tone Midorima had ever heard come from his boyfriend.
He found he couldn’t find the courage to say “I love you” back. So instead, he found himself stuttering and pushing Takao away.
“Oh—well—um—I-I’m gonna-going to the kitchen—water. Be right back.”
And he was out the door, trying not to look too much like he was running away. As soon as he was in the safety of the kitchen, he leaned over the sink, willing himself to calm down. He turned on the faucet and scooped some water into his mouth. He turned it off and sank down to the cold tile floor.
Takao had said he loved him. Like the “I love you”. And all he’d done was make some stupid excuse to run away. Takao had confessed his deepest feelings for him…and he had run away…like a coward.
It was all slowly starting to sink in. He felt so horrible…like a jerk. But what else could he have done? Besides his parents, nobody had ever told him they loved him before, let alone Midorima saying it back.
His stomach ached and he groaned, burying his face in his hands. Surely, him caring this much about it was a good thing…right? Still, he didn’t like all these feelings of guilt and anxiety. These mixed emotions weren’t going to get him anywhere.
Then he thought of something. If Takao did, in fact, love him…then why was he fated to leave him? Unless, of course, Takao didn’t really mean it. This time travel business was proving to be rather difficult. He would need to solve this problem soon.
He got up off the floor and left the kitchen. This was ridiculous. He couldn’t just leave Takao alone in his room. Who knew what kind of trouble he was causing?
As he quietly approached his room, he froze when he heard a strange muffled sound coming from inside. He started to feel nervous as he slowly peeked around the doorway. What he saw made him tense up. Takao was hunched over on the bed, his face buried in a pillow, sobbing almost soundlessly. His heart felt tight and his throat went dry. He couldn’t believe what he was witnessing. It was the saddest thing he’d ever laid eyes on.
And it was all his fault.
Midorima gritted his teeth and dug his nails into his palms. Now he knew for sure that Takao meant it when he’d said he loved him. And he’d run away and left him like this…he’d caused him to feel this way…
Realization finally hit him. He’d found the answer. The sight of a dejected Takao was enough to communicate it to him.
Takao had broken up with Midorima, because he thought Midorima didn’t love him.
Midorima couldn’t believe he’d never realized it. While Takao was always very open about his feelings for him, Midorima would constantly hide his own. Naturally, Takao would think that way.
Takao was always first to hold his hand…the one who initiated a kiss…the one who invited him on dates. Really, Midorima didn’t show much effort on his part that he even cared about their relationship.
But he did. He really did care. Apparently, more than Takao ever knew.
As he tried to hold back his own tears as he watched his crying boyfriend, he made up his mind. His goal would be to tell him how he felt before time ran out. He would tell Takao that he loved him.
Chapter 7: A Phone Call Away
Unexpectedly, Midorima found it increasingly difficult to reveal his true feelings to Takao. More specifically, say “I love you”.
He had tried on multiple occasions whenever the two of them were alone to say it. But every time ended with him randomly commenting about Oha-Asa’s horoscope of the day or something simple like the weather. He just couldn’t do it.
He would say the word “I” and be just about to say the rest. Then he’d choke up, as if all the moisture in his mouth and throat had dried up. His heart would pound more quickly, reverberating in his ears. All the while, Takao would watch him with concern. He’d press his hand to Midorima’s forehead, asking if he had a fever. This just made it even harder to keep his cool.
It was an incredibly strange experience for Midorima. He had said he loved many things before. To his parents, to a dog he’d owned as a kid, about food he enjoyed. But this…this was different. It felt not only emotionally but also physically hard to do. He couldn’t force the words out. Practicing saying it by himself was easy. When it came down to it, however, he found it nearly impossible. The way Takao’s eyes would glisten in curiosity as he awaited his words just made it ten times harder. He figured he would probably need to feel worried if it wasn’t hard to say. It was definitely proof that his feelings were sincere.
Midorima lounged around on the couch in his living room. The TV had some random cartoon on, but he wasn’t paying attention to it. He laid back, staring at his cell phone. He kept wondering who he should call. Since he couldn’t figure it out by himself, he decided he would ask a friend for advice. Surely, there was someone he could call.
A few minutes later, he couldn’t believe the awful mistake he’d made.
“Midorima-cchi? Wow! You’re calling me!?”
A certain bouncy, giddy blonde’s voice exploded happily through the phone. Midorima sighed. Why was he calling him?
“Ahem. Um, Kise. I have a rather serious question for you.”
“Hmm? What is it?” Kise asked.
Midorima was sure he was listening intently. It wasn’t everyday that he called the blonde for, well, anything.
“I…uh…you see…what do you do…”
Midorima struggled to find the right words. He took a deep breath and exhaled.
“How do you tell somebody you love them?”
Several seconds passed by in silence. Midorima waited anxiously, unnerved by the uncomfortable silence. Had he said something weird?
Suddenly, Kise burst into cooing and excited giggles.
“Oh my gosh! Ahhhhhhh! Who is it? Who is it? Do you have a crush? A girlfriend? Well, I wouldn’t know if you already had one ‘cause you never tell me anything. You wanna tell her you love her? Awwww that is so sweet! You’re such a precious cinnamon roll! It makes me wanna give you a big ol’ hug!”
“Kise, will you calm—” Midorima started, but was cut off.
“But seriously, who is it, Midorima-cchi? I won’t tell anyone if you don’t want me to. C’mon, pretty please? Tell me! Tell me! Tell me!”
Midorima was really starting to regret calling the blonde. He found himself muttering amidst Kise’s exclamations.
“Jeez, you’re almost as annoying as Takao himself. Maybe I should just go tell him already. Advice, my ass…”
It was only when he finished his mumbling that he realized there was no voice on the other end anymore. He moved the phone from his ear, checking to see if he’d accidentally hung up. But the call was still going. He put it back to his ear.
“Um, hello? Kise? You still there?”
“…Hee hee. Yup I’m still here.”
Kise’s voice had a mysterious ring to it. The greenhead raised an eyebrow and pushed up his glasses with a finger.
“What are you giggling about now? Are you gonna give me advice or not?”
“Sooooo. It’s not a girlfriend after all, hmm? So, it’s…Takao?”
His face flushed.
“H-How did you know that!?”
“What d’ya mean? You just said so! When you were mumbling to yourself.”
Damn! Kise had heard that?
“Well, whatever! Does it really matter who it is? Just give me advice, jackass.”
“Aha ha ha! As tsundere as ever, I see. Well, alrighty. You wanted advice. Hmm…”
The speaker went quiet for some time. Then the voice returned.
“You should just tell him. Nya ha ha!”
“Really? That’s it? That’s all the guidance you have for me?”
He was definitely regretting this call.
“Well, yeaaaahhh,” Kise said matter-of-factly. “Takao-cchi is a straightforward person, isn’t he? I bet he’d be really happy to hear you say it.”
Soon enough, Midorima was back to where he started, his gaze burning into the phone. Kise’s advice hadn’t been bad, but he just didn’t think it would be that easy to just “tell him”. If it was, he’d have done it already. So he decided to call someone else.
“Hello?” a voice picked up.
“Hello, Kuroko. I have something to ask you.”
“Is it about Takao-kun?”
Midorima became flustered.
“Are you some kind of psychic!?”
“No, I just guessed.”
He could hear Kuroko slurping on a vanilla milkshake through the phone. The bluehead continued.
“So what did you wanna ask me?”
“Oh. Well, umm…how do you tell a person you love them?”
“Hmm…well if this is about Takao-kun—”
Another voice started blabbering over Kuroko’s.
“Oiiii! Midorima! You want advice, huh?”
Midorima cringed at the sound of a certain annoying redhead’s voice.
“I don’t remember asking you, Bakagami.”
“Hey! Who you callin’—”
“Kagami-kun,” Kuroko’s voice broke in.
“You’re the one who wants advice—”
“Calm down, Kagami-kun—”
“I’d be nicer if I were you—”
“We’re in public, you know—”
“But that jackass started—”
“People are staring—”
A vein was forming on Midorima’s temple. He was threatening to explode any minute now. He spoke in the calmest voice he could manage.
“Hey, you two. I’m still here.”
The quarrel on the other end ceased.
“Well, Midorima-kun,” Kuroko said. “I’d be happy to give you advice.”
He took a moment to think, sipping noisily on his milkshake all the while. Eventually, he spoke again.
"I think you should ask him on a date.”
“Huh? A-A date?” Midorima said, surprised as the suggestion.
“Yeah. You’ve mentioned before that Takao-kun always takes you places. But have you ever asked him out? You could tell him while you’re on a date.”
Midorima thought about it. It could work. But, then again, what if a date setting just made him feel more nervous?
He was about to reply when Kagami broke in again.
“You know what you should do? You should buy him flowers. Or challenge him to a basketball death match.”
“What do those two things even have to do with each other?” Kuroko reprimanded him.
There was the sound of someone bonking someone else’s head. A yelp of pain followed.
More sounds of abuse ensued.
“Why a death match? Seriously, are you even trying to help, or are you just teasing him? You had a good suggestion with the flowers. Why’d you ruin it? Bakagami.”
“Hey! Don’t you call me that now! Ah! Ouch! Stop it, Kuroko!”
It wasn’t like Kuroko’s, or half of Bakagami’s, advice was all that bad. But he still desired more ideas.
“Hello, Shintarou. To what do I owe the pleasure?”
A very formal voice answered this time. Midorima figured he had to be incredibly desperate to call such a terrifying man for something as trivial as his love life.
“Yes…well, Akashi. That is…explainable. I shall certainly…tell you…since it is I who called you…”
The words stumbled out of his mouth in his nervousness. He was trying to figure out how to ask his former captain such as simple question. Maybe Akashi didn’t care about his problems. Was he wasting his time? He wished he had thought more on the idea of calling Akashi before doing it. He preferred to stay out of the redhead’s way, in fear of getting threatened with sharp objects.
“Well?” Akashi’s voice sounded impatient. “What do you need?”
Oh, why did he have to call Akashi of all people? Even without his intimidating eyes boring into his soul, Midorima felt apprehensive. His voice alone could chase lions into a corner.
“H-How…I mean…I have a question.”
Midorima finally formed some useful words.
“Oh? A question?”
“Yes. I was wondering if you would have any advice for me about…how to tell somebody…you love them.”
Midorima beamed in triumph to himself for having got out the difficult sentence.
"Ah, a love-related question,” Akashi said, sounding a bit surprised. “I wouldn’t have thought that you of all people would ask such a thing.”
Midorima could practically see Akashi scratching his chin the way he usually did when he was thinking on something. After a long moment, Akashi finally said something.
“So I’m guessing you really care about this person. And you want to tell them how you feel?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
It seemed like this conversation was going in the right direction.
“I am assuming conventional methods aren’t working for you?”
“I-I suppose not…well, I mean, it is difficult for me to tell them…”
“You could always threaten them with a pair of scissors,” Akashi suggested, bluntly.
“Ak-Akashi! I wouldn’t do that!”
“Hmm…it always works for me…gets them to obey me pretty easily.”
“What the hell, Akashi! That’s not my kind of method!”
“Ah ha ha!”
Akashi gave a crazy little laugh.
“I was only joking…sort of…you other Generation of Miracles have different methods of getting your ways, I suppose…”
Midorima sighed. This guy was just as weird as all his other friends.
“Well,” he started. “Do you have any other advice for me?”
The other end was quiet for a bit, then the redhead spoke once again.
“Hmm…you could threaten them with my scissors…”
“My scissors are pretty threatening, you see—
“—Akashi, please no—”
“—they’re a brilliant scarlet color—”
“—can we not bring scissors into—”
“—much like the color of my hair—”
“—oh my god—”
“—I keep them sharpened regularly, so that’s not a problem—”
“—are you even listening to me—”
“—I mean, crazy sharp. These things could cut through metal—”
“—I hope you don’t mind if I hang up—”
“—and to think they used to be mere safety scissors—”
And with that, Midorima stared with a disheartened expression at the phone in his lap. He didn’t have an extraordinary amount of contacts to choose from. Another person came to mind, but he already knew the conversation would go nowhere at all with him. But then again, what did he have to lose? He would use any bit of information he could possibly get his hands on.
“Mido-chin should give her a cookie.”
A lazy voice drawled into the phone, accompanied by the sounds of crunching food.
“I don’t know if that would help much, Murasakibara,” Midorima said with a sigh. “Is that it?”
“You could also give her a bag of dum-dums…or pocky…chocolate’s always a good choice…or maybe a candy bar…”
“Err…thanks. I’ll think about it,” Midorima said, giving up on the sweets-loving giant.
That call ended almost as quickly as it had started. Well, it was worth a shot. He sometimes wondered if there were deep thoughts underneath that mass of long purple hair. He would definitely never have such suspicions ever again.
He started to wonder if he knew anyone normal that he could call for advice. His hopes remained low as he pressed Aomine’s number.
“Eh? Midorima! Long time no talk, huh? What’s up?”
“Hello, Aomine. Actually, I have something I’d like to ask you.”
“A question? For me? Wow, I feel special,” Aomine said with a laugh.
“Well, I wanted to know if you had advice on how to…to tell someone you love them.”
“It’s about Takao, huh?”
Aomine’s answer was so abrupt and accurate that it caught Midorima completely off guard. The only response he could manage to get out were some unintelligible noises.
“What? You think it’d be that hard to figure out you’re dating Takao? You two are always together…I’d be surprised if you weren’t.”
Aomine let out a hearty laugh.
“Ha ha! Hey, don’t worry about it, Midorima. I don’t care if you’re dating a guy. It could matter less to me. But anyway—”
“Is that Midorin, Dai-chan? Oh, let me say hi to him,” a female’s voice spoke over Aomine. “MIDORIIIIIIIN!”
Midorima had to move the phone a few feet away from his ear due to the new loud voice coming from the speaker. A ringing sound echoed in his ears, lasting briefly. After recovering his hearing, Midorima cautiously brought the phone back to his ear.
“Hello, Momoi. How are you?”
“I’m great, thanks for asking!”
“Ahem,” Aomine coughed impatiently. “I was in the middle of talking to him, you know. Don’t just butt in like that, Satsuki.”
“Oops, sorry. Ah ha ha.”
“So about your question,” Aomine said. “You wanna tell Takao you love him, right? Well…”
The speaker went quiet for a bit, albeit some imperceptible mumbling. Then Aomine continued speaking.
“Do you guys have a special place you like to hang out? I think you should bring him there. Then when the moment feels right, tell him.”
Midorima blinked a few times. He was astonished that Aomine could have good advice, compared to all his other idiot friends. Well Kuroko’s advice was okay, but besides that. Still, other than Kise, Aomine was supposed to be the biggest idiot he knew.
As for a “special place”…he knew one…he definitely knew one…but he didn’t want to go anywhere near there. The special place where he and Takao would go and look at the stars together some nights. A big hill under the vast sky where they would lie down, talking and pointing out constellations. A place in the forest on the outskirts of town.
The place where Takao had broken up with him.
Midorima shook his head. He knew that it wasn’t supposed to happen until sometime around the end of May, if it happened at all. It was only the end of April right now. So going to that place in the forest now surely wouldn’t cause it to happen early…right?
But, damn! How did he know for sure? Just the idea of going near the place made him nervous.
Then again, things were already a lot different these days than they had been in the past. He’d gone to many different places with Takao that he’d never gone to before. And he’d done several things he wouldn’t have imagined doing with him before. A blush formed onto his face as he remembered how they kissed a lot more these days.
“What? Does my advice suck?”
Aomine’s voice snapped him out of his thoughts. Midorima realized that he hadn’t said anything for quite a long moment.
“Oh, well…no. Actually quite the contrary. Your advice is rather decent. But…”
Midorima tightened his grip on the phone against his ear. He knew he couldn’t explain the real reason he wanted to avoid that place.
“…It’s nothing. There is a place. But I still don’t know how to tell him.”
“Well…you just wait ‘til it’s quiet or something. Like you guys are having a nice conversation and it’s died out. Then there’s that calm moment right after. Then that’s when you could—”
Momoi interrupted him.
“Ooooh! Like when you told Kise—”
“Agggghhhhhh, whoa whoa, Satsuki! Don’t just blurt out those things! I’m on the phone!”
“Oh, he he. Whoopsies.”
“Jeez, Satsuki,” Aomine muttered. “So, Midorima. You got all that? You’d better have, ‘cause that’s top-notch advice right there.”
“Probably because it’s advice from your own love life…” Momoi’s teased in a low voice.
“O-Oi! Not another peep out of you!”
Midorima sighed. Yep. Aomine was definitely an idiot.
“Yeah. I got it, Aomine.”
He could hear more bickering between the two as he hung up.
Midorima sighed as he set his phone down on the coffee table. He laid back on the couch and rested his head against the cushions. That was enough phone calls for a lifetime, in his opinion. His plan to receive advice from his friends hadn’t gone too badly. He had gotten some ideas that he wouldn’t have thought of before. On the other hand, he’d also received a reminder that his friends were, in fact, idiots.
So what was he supposed to do? Kuroko’s and Aomine’s advice were the only good ideas he’d received. He was still edgy on the whole notion of asking Takao on a date and possibly going to “that place”.
He felt himself getting drowsy from all the intense thinking from the last hour. It was becoming an effort to keep his eyes open. He decided to worry about all this later. It would do no good to give himself a headache. His eyes gently closed and his body relaxed. His mind felt fuzzy and he began to drift off.
“What do I do…Kazunari…” he mumbled, unconsciously.
Images of Takao filled his mind. The only thing he could see were those bright blue eyes.
“…what do I need to do…to be with you?…”
And then he was asleep.
Chapter 8: Go For It, Cancers!
The next week of school went by in a way that neither Midorima himself nor Takao would have expected. Despite the advice venture he had gone on, Midorima had not gone about using any of it. At least not yet. He had taken it upon himself to distance himself from the hawk eye so that he could consider his options.
In other words, he had asked that the two of them “go on a break”.
“Huh? A break?” Takao had asked, taken aback by the suggestion. The two had been alone in the locker room changing after practice one afternoon.
“Erm, yes. That’s right. I just think we should take some time for ourselves. You know…for some time apart.”
Takao gave him a strange look.
“It’s not a breakup, just a break,” Midorima continued, trying to reassure him.
“Oh…yeah. Okay! That’s fine with me.”
Takao said it with a half-smile on his face. He didn’t sound too sure of himself though.
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah! ‘Course, Shin-chan. Anything for you.”
He gave one of those annoying laughs of his, but this time it sounded forced. Midorima looked at him worriedly, but quickly shook off the feeling. It was only a break. Lots of couples probably did this, right? They weren’t breaking up or anything. He just needed some time to himself to think about what he should do.
A week had gone by since that conversation. School had been somewhat awkward, since Takao sat in the desk right in front of him. Takao no longer threw little balled up notes over his shoulder, hitting Midorima’s nose and enraging him. Instead, the brunette just stared straight ahead, ignoring the fact that Midorima even existed.
He knew that Takao was probably just trying to give him the space he asked for, but it still made him feel like he was upset with him. Despite the ignoring during class, Midorima had caught him multiple times sneaking glances in his direction during lunch break while he talked to friends. Of course, he would look away every time the greenhead was about to catch his eye.
Basketball practice was the worst. The two had to act like everything was completely normal and cooperate with one another like they usually did, so as not to worry the team. Afterward, they would separate once again. Takao didn’t drive him home in the rickshaw that week.
Now, May had begun. Midorima had pondered over the different things he could do to solve his dilemma. He was watching Saturday morning’s Oha-Asa broadcast when he heard something interesting.
“That’s right, Cancers. You are in the lead on the luck chart. Today, go out and spend time with that special someone. Expect a surprise. Your lucky item is: a bouquet.”
Midorima gawked at the screen. It was like the show knew exactly what was going on in his life at the moment. He sighed, adjusting his glasses. So much for taking a break. It looked like he would have to make his move today, since Oha-Asa said so.
He had already been narrowing down his options anyway. For the last few days, he had been leaning toward the date idea.
He went to his room to look in his closet for some clothes. It was then that he realized…he didn’t have anything to wear for a date. Well maybe he did, but he was going to be stubborn about it.
He suddenly felt a spark of inspiration. He would go clothes shopping for the perfect outfit. After all, today would be the day he would attempt to confess his love for the hawk eye. Luck was on his side today. Now was as good a time as any to try. He would need something new to wear for the occasion.
Oh, and he would need a bouquet since it was his lucky item. Surprisingly enough, it seemed he was going to take on that Bakagami’s advice after all.
* * *
Midorima wandered around a clothing store, picking up clothes from different racks to try on. When he couldn’t carry any more, he went to the dressing room. He found an unoccupied stall and threw all of his clothes on the chair, closing the door behind him. A big mirror covered one wall. He removed his own shirt and started trying others on. Once he put a shirt on, he would look in the mirror and turn around, checking out every angle to see if he liked how it looked…or maybe, rather, if Takao would like it…gah! What was he thinking!?
A dark blush crept onto his face as he pulled off the dark blue polo he’d had on and threw in onto the “no” pile.
Psssh. Why should I care what Takao thinks of my clothing?
…But then why am I here buying new clothes? I should have just picked something from my closet.
…But I didn’t have anything good in my closet…
“Argh! Whatever! Why is this so difficult!?”
“Sir?” a male employee said from outside the dressing room. “Is everything alright in there?”
“Oh. Er, yes. I’m just trying to decide on which shirt to buy.”
He hadn’t realized how loud he’d said that. As if his face needed any more reason to increase in temperature.
“Oh, okay. Carry on then.”
Midorima sighed heavily. Was he going to waste the whole day shopping for one outfit?
He checked his watch. 3:30pm.
This was going to take a while.
In the end, Midorima ended up buying a dark green V-neck and a grey cardigan. He would wear a nice pair of black jeans with it. He had visited several clothing shops before finally deciding on something. That alone had taken a few hours. Now he was inside a flower shop in search of a bouquet.
Sure, it was only his lucky item. This was only supposed to take a few minutes since Oha-Asa didn’t specify what kind of flowers should be in the bouquet. However, he felt as if he should choose one that would appeal to Takao…not that it was supposed to be for him or anything…yet he had a feeling he would give it to him anyway. It seemed like a good idea. Didn’t people usually give little gifts to each other on dates? Like chocolates or flowers? If that was the case, he was sure he must be doing something right.
He walked up and down the aisles, observing the different arrangements. Red roses seemed like a little too much. He didn’t think the hawk eye would like pink all that much either.
Then, one caught his eye. It was a bouquet made up of white roses surrounded by a bunch of smaller purple flowers. The long green stems were bound tightly together with purple lace. It was perfect. Elegant, yet simple. And he knew that Takao’s favorite color was purple. He picked up the bouquet and went to the counter to pay for it.
* * *
By the time he got back to his apartment, it was almost 7pm. The first thing he did was change into his new clothes. After looking in the mirror for a few minutes, he concluded that he was satisfied with his appearance. Then he sat on his bed to stare at his phone. He realized he hadn’t actually asked Takao on the date yet. He started to wonder if he should have done that before his little shopping spree.
Normally, he would assume that Takao was busy and they would have to reschedule the date for another day. But, knowing the hawk eye, he was sure to leap at the opportunity to go on a date with Midorima, no matter how late. Especially since Midorima was the one asking. There was also the fact that going on a date would mean their “break” would end.
He scrolled through his contact list and found Takao’s. But right before he could tap the “call” option, his phone started ringing. His eyes widened in surprise when Takao’s name appeared on the screen. A whole week had gone by with no communication between them, and Takao just happened to call him right when he was about to? He didn’t mull over it too much and answered.
“…Hey, Shin-chan…I know you probably don’t wanna talk to me right now, but…”
He heard a long sigh from Takao.
“…Can you meet me at the forest in half an hour?”
Midorima tensed up. Why would he suggest meeting at the forest? And what did he want to talk about? He didn’t know if he should mention that he was just about to call him himself. Well, did it really even matter? Deciding against it, he gave a response.
“Alright. See ya.”
The call ended. It wasn’t like Takao to hang up first, and with such a brief goodbye. Midorima moved the phone away from his ear and stared at the blank screen for a few seconds before tossing it beside him on his bed.
The mere idea of going to the forest filled him with anxiety. But there was no reason he should be worried. It wasn’t even May yet. According to Oha-Asa, today was a lucky day for him as long as he went out with Takao. There had been no major arguments between them. All they had done was go on a short break.
Nothing bad is going to happen, he assured himself.
He took a deep breath and exhaled. Takao probably just wanted to talk because he couldn’t bear being without him for such a long time. Actually, for Takao, this was a pretty impressive feat. This was the longest they had ever gone without hanging out together…besides the three-year gap following their past breakup.
Takao had lots of friends since he was such a sociable person. He was just so likeable to everyone he met. However, he was almost always hanging around Midorima. Even though he could hang out and talk with basically anyone he wanted, he would rather be with the tsundere, strict, stubborn, glasses-wearing ace of the team. So it was surprising to see how he was able to resist running over to him to tell him every little detail about his day.
While everyone else avoided him and gave him weird looks, Takao had gone out of his way to befriend him. Takao didn’t care that Midorima had a reputation as “the weird guy that tapes his fingers and carries around giant stuffed animals”. In fact, the brunette found those to be the very characteristics that made him oh so captivating.
Midorima sighed. Maybe Takao just wanted to ask that they stop this “break” and go back to normal. This, of course, would work in Midorima’s favor. All he had to do was show up, listen to the hawk eye complain about how dumb this break was and laugh at him, then Midorima would ask him out on the date. Takao would probably be thrilled to hear him ask, and then things would be okay.
Midorima smiled to himself, feeling the rare emotion of happiness coursing through him. Luck was on his side. This was going to be perfect.
* * *
Midorima made his way down the path that led through the forest. He was wearing his new green shirt and cardigan and holding the bouquet. This was a small change to his original plan of meeting up at the restaurant he had chosen, but all in all, it would end up the same way. They would end the break and go on a date.
He took a deep breath and exhaled happily. He was feeling very proud of himself for finally building up the confidence to do this. There was a new spring in his step. He felt like he could do anything.
The clearing wasn’t too far away now. It would only be a few minutes until he reached it. He wondered if Takao would be there before him. Then again, the brunette was late to everything. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he didn’t show up for another ten minutes.
He was quickly proven wrong as he stepped out into the clearing and noticed a shadow hunched over on the hill. When he peered more closely, he recognized the distinct posture and realized that it was definitely Takao sitting there.
Midorima walked over toward him. Takao didn't look over. It was like he didn't even notice him. As he got closer, he saw that his boyfriend was staring intently at the grass down at his feet, twirling his fingers around one another. He seemed so out-of-character. He seemed nervous.
Midorima sat down next to him placing the bouquet down quietly beside him, out of view from Takao for now. Takao suddenly looked up with widened eyes.
"O-Oh! You're here, Shin-chan. I didn't hear you coming."
"Yeah. Here I am..."
A few minutes ticked by in silence, interrupted only by the sounds of the breeze and crickets singing. Midorima didn't know if he should speak first or wait for the other to say something. Unable to bear the tension any longer, the greenhead spoke.
"Well, um...what was it you wanted to talk about?"
Takao continued to stare at his feet.
"Well, you know. It's about this break..."
"You want to end it, right?"
"Well, yeah. Of course I do...it's just that...I don't know how to put this..."
"Well it's not that hard. All we have to do is end this break."
Midorima glanced over and noticed that the hawk eye had a pained expression. He struggled to get out his next words.
"I—well—um—you see—how do I say this..."
He suddenly got to his feet and turned to look down at him.
"If you're gonna break up with me, then just do it already!"
Midorima blinked at the unexpected words. He had never heard Takao take this tone of voice with him. Takao's eyes bore into his, cold as ice. His face was contorted with rage.
"Quit making me wait around in the hope you'll come back. I can't take it anymore! Don't you even care how I feel?"
Tears were forming at the corners of his eyes. Midorima wanted to say something, but Takao wouldn't let him.
"I know why you wanted to go on a break. I know why, and I hate that I know why. But that's not fair. After all we've been through, how can you act like we're already done?"
"W-What?" Midorima managed to say.
"Don't act like you don't know. You've basically already ended this relationship your way. But 'your way' isn't acceptable. Couples aren't supposed to break up over text or under some fake excuse like 'a break'. If you don't love me, then tell me. Just end us officially."
Takao turned his face away. His fists hung at his sides, clenched tightly. Midorima stared at him, mouth agape. He was flabbergasted at the way Takao had just lashed out at him. His heart was beating rapidly, his palms clammy with sweat. He couldn't believe the past was repeating itself, albeit early and a bit different dialogue-wise. Takao had never yelled at him like this before. He didn't know Takao was even capable of getting angry.
He had to stop this. He couldn't let the past repeat itself. Thoughts of Takao leaving him flooded his mind and he found himself standing up and walking toward Takao, who was still turned away looking off into the dark forest. His body was almost moving on its own. His arms wrapped around the smaller boy's waist. He buried his chin into the crook of his neck. Takao looked around, frantically.
"H-H-Hey, what are you doing!?"
Midorima noticed that Takao's face was streaming with tears. It made him almost start crying himself, knowing that it was his fault the brunette felt this way. But he mustered up the courage to say his next line. After all, he had something very important to tell him.
He could see Takao's eyes widening. Using all of his willpower, he finally revealed his long-awaited confession.
"I love you."
He felt Takao stiffen inside his grip. Instead of waiting for a reply, he continued.
"I'm sorry I couldn't say it to you before. It's just...nobody has ever said such a thing to me. I was...overwhelmed. So I ended up pushing you away. I'm...I'm an idiot. Forgive me."
Several seconds passed by with neither of the two saying a word. Takao turned around to face him, still within his grip. A look of surprise was painted on his face.
"Do you...really mean that?" Takao whispered.
"Yes. I do," Midorima said, without a doubt in his voice or heart.
Takao's eyes started to well up even more. His voice broke as he tried to speak.
"You—so you—all this time—"
Midorima interrupted him with a long and passionate kiss on the lips. He didn't want to hear any more out of him, in fear that he would start crying himself. Takao loosened up and snaked his arms around Midorima’s neck to bring him down closer. The moon and stars shined brightly down on them. The occasional hoot of an owl could be heard along with the chirping of the crickets. But neither boy heard any of it, as they were both too immersed within their embrace.
When they pulled away, Takao took a long look at his face.
"Shintarou, you're crying."
Midorima realized that he had, in fact, started tearing up as well. He wiped at his eyes.
"Well what do you know, I guess I am."
Takao used his own fingers to wipe the tears from the emerald eyes.
"But, why are you crying?"
Midorima looked down at Takao, who was nestled against his chest. He smiled and took his hand, intertwining it with his own.
"Because I finally have you."