They had lost. Something he'd thought impossible until now, yet if anybody was to blame, without a doubt, it laid on him; failing in securing his post and gain points. Imayashi's unchanging smile, closed eyes curved lashes no different than a Chesire cat, assuring him nobody was truly to blame only that the best had won. Apologizes weren't necessary, blaming himself was mostly futile and he should enjoy his first year however he wished.

The winter air prickled against his ears, breathing out a wisp of white air, he'd regretted forgetting his ear mufflers back home.

Hands buried deep in his pockets, snuggling his head within the handmade woolen scarf wrapped around his neck, try as he might, the warmth he accumulate couldn't defeat the frosty air this winter night. Color tear-shaped lights flashed and adorned the streets of downtown Tokyo, couples and friends strolled laughter accompanying them as he drafted between the walls of people. Touhou Basketball club had no reason to fret over anything anymore. The upperclassmates return to study, he, himself, began returning to his older hobbies and Aomine, with Momoi not far behind, appeared abandoning practices completely for the meanwhile.

The new captain hassled him, confessing his annoyance – unsurprising to say the least – shaking him left and right, complaining about dealing with an unpleasant ("Asshat" in his own words) person.

Breaking his trail of thought, behind the metal fence, brown eyes widen watching a well formed – enemy – basketball player shoot and missed. Two familiar figures were beside the smaller player belong to the team who'd crushed them this season. What were they doing here?! Why was the Manger cuddling and praising the blue headed midget? His teeth clamped shut, inflating his redden cheeks, he should just ignore them; given his bitter feelings simply grew through dissatisfaction of his own incompetence.

"Hello." A soft voice spoke, stopping in his tracks as the ball dribbled against his worn out sneakers.

Flinching, the head shorter boy took the air out his lungs, where had he'd even came from?!

"I'M SORRY! I'm sorry for causing a problem." Apologizing despite wanting—. Cutting through his own uneasiness, bowing properly, streaming out remorse for any sort of predicament his presences had cause. Which wasn't anything new either. "—I'm so sorry for having bothered you all, I'll get some refreshments!"

"There's no nee—." The phantom voice overlapped by Aomine's intervention.

"Yeah, I'd like a coffee and Satsuki will have a melon soda, whattya want Testu?"

Puffing out her not-so irritated expression, diverting her gaze from her childhood friend, Momoi smile a bit too sweetly at him.

"Oi! Don't order Sakurai-kun like that! You don't need to get us anything."

"Of course I do! I've pester you with my unwanted presence at the very least let me get refreshments!" They didn't need to pretend to care and he knew this story since the dawn of time. Aomine was straightforward and cool, unlike so many people in his life, giving nothing of pretense. He asked again what the shorter boy wanted "Kuroko-san, what do you want?"

"A milkshake." Had his shoulders slumped or were Ryou's eyes deceiving him?

"O-o-Okay! I'll be back!" He said before scampering to the nearest coffee shop.


Panting, cooling off his burning lungs, holding a single drink carrier in one hand and a melon soda in another. The trio were still practicing, in spite of posing a perfect shooting form, the Seirin phantom's ball bounced off the rims of the hoop. Stumbling, Ryou mumbled his apologizes in the meanwhile Momoi's eyes scanned and examined the body structure of her old teammate. She passed a thanks, redirecting her attention and calling the two discussing figures back to the benches.

"Thank you."

"Ah there's no need, I'm just grateful I can be of help!" His voice cracking, turning away with eyes shut unable to stand his own embarrassing squeaking. Aomine almost choke on his hot coffee, suppressed laughter shaking his body. Bemoaning it lower than a whisper, he hadn't notice Kuroko already in front of him. "AhHh—! Um... Kuroko-san... umm..." Molding his lips, trying to keep his polite attitude. "Do you need something else?"

"Do you swing or mostly straight?" Gazing him with an unwavering stare, Ryou began to question if he heard correctly at all.


"I won't pester you if you don't feel that way, but I don't go to your school and it isn't as like we'll encounter each by chance any time soon." For somebody who lived underneath Kagami's shadow, the boy was far from his archetype. If anything that personality contrast greatly. Azure colored eyes, were neither wavering or motioning any sort of sentiment, and finished up with a single question. "Would you date me?"

"EEHHhh—h?!" Confusion snapped his subdue anger into a melting pot regression. What could he say to the other? Aomine apparently were good friends with Kuroko, the phantom point guard, rejecting the other would probably piss of their ace. Feeling his footing losing its ground, watching the world turn a dizzy sensation overwhelming him. How could he respond without causing problems? He frantically responded "I can! I definitely can!"

"You can?" A hint of happiness sounded, until a deafening scream followed after.

"Tesu-kun? What is this, have you've betrayed me for somebody not even..." Momoi grabbed the shoulders of her old teammate, swinging back and forth, biting her bottom lip and eyes threaten to shed tears.

"Momoi-san please don't lie, we've never been dating. And I don't like girls anyway."

"This is the first time I've heard of it" Aomine nearly chewed off everybody's ears.

Kuroko shrugged, stating "You never asked and there was no need to tell."

"Why would I need to ask?"

"Why would you presume or why should I say anything at all?"

"Don't use that stupid tactic. It's just weird."

Clicking his tongue, mumbling in discontent "Number 5 of my many reasons why I didn't bring it up."

"You have a list?!" Aomine stepped back offended written over his face as reflected in a semi-annoyed Kuroko.

"I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" He caused an even bigger problem. Repeating countless times his shame. Why did he even come here?! If he hadn't come here the trio would be enjoying one another instead of fighting. Tears swelled, his heartbeat raced as mumbled the same words over and over. "I can say no!"

"Yeah!" Momoi glee wasn't unheard. "You see, Tesu-kun!"


Aomine's glare gave an overgrowing feeling of regret, tightening the brunet's chest.

"Why do you look down, Tesu-kun?"

"You have the audacity to ask?" The unchanging level spoke hinted at a cutting edge. Kuroko eyes glowed just as frightfully as Aomine's. He thanked the heavens his classmate's friend directed his anger onto their manager. He would die if he had to deal with two piercing glares. "But... I shouldn't complain... I asked and got shot down."

"Ryou didn't have a problem two seconds ago," Aomine muttered, unhappy of the recent discovery. Shooting him a demanding tone "By the way since when have you've been an Onee?"

"I'm not an onee!" Retaliating without reservation. The look everybody gave him, apart from Kuroko, boiled his blood yet simultaneously faltering his conviction. Momoi flickered her eyes, swallowing words writing themselves on her diamond shape face, hoping Aomine would speak his mind.

Aomine, much to everybody surprise, kept silent. Scratching his neck and the silence remain.

Ryou's fingers began pressing against one another, muttering "I prefer girls, majorly girls."

"You're a bisexual? So you do swing!"

His brows furrowed, brown eyes darkened and something about the phrasing pissed him off. Kuroko mouth, momentarily, agape then closed, avoiding his gaze right after. Fear or regret didn't break or scratch the surface of the phantom's poker face. Ryou held no intention stopping his, maybe excessive, glare.

"So what? Is it a yes or a no?" Aomine hinted a strong disinterest, sitting himself down while Momoi pouted, sometimes shaking her head and mumbling incoherent words, until she, too, rested right alongside the dark skinned ace.

"Uhh-um-..ehh..." Eyeing his teammates, swallowing his saliva bobbing the Adam's apple, trying deciphering the best choice option. Aomine gave off an uninterested vibe – now – and Momoi's crush would probably be the death of him. Biting his lower lip, returning his attention back to the topic in question, the straightforwardness caught him – practically everybody apparently – off guard. The shorter boy wasn't his type, preferring men of Aomine's stature, or at least somebody his height, when it came to males. The small chats they had one another showed Kuroko was a reasonable person though a bit irrational, if not stupid.

"You don't have to answer today, you know... but I'd be happy knowing if there was a possibility."

"Eehhh..." Remembering the overwhelming shame of defeat, his newest failure all thanks to—. "I..."

A subdue gasp, almost waiting in anticipation for the answer, the unreasonable positive sparkle shining in those eyes halted the cruel response dying in his throat. Making Kuroko sad in front of his friend was a death sentence. Though Momoi wouldn't appreciate his betrayal. Momoi, after all, was far more scarier than Aomine yet a stranger spoke out of his mouth:

"Yeah, I guess it couldn't hurt to try."

'I must be a masochist.' An abrupt thought popped up, questioning the stupidity of it all.

Scrunching her nose, leering at them with dissatisfaction, her nails kneaded against her jawline. He'd quiver in his boots, if it weren't the strange scene that followed afterwards, Aomine getting up grabbing the ball and preparing to continue where their practice left off. Kuroko's pale exterior redden like a ripe cherry, his small smile reached his eyes and there was something enchanting about the star in those light blue eyes; he'd became a moth to the flame, entrapped despite his own disingenuous attitude towards this whole situation.

"Shall we trade numbers? Just so we can meet up?"

Flipping open his phone, Sakurai raised a brow at such an old model phone.

"Kuroko-san... I'm, not... sure I'd enjoy that, couldn't you just call your friends?"

Light blue eyes lifted from the lighted screen, glancing up, titling his head sixty degrees. "It would be rather rude to Momoi and Aomine would probably sleep off nearly most of my calls."

"Oi! It happen once, get over yourself!" Growled the Touhou ace.

Ryou had no intention admitting he'd could imagine it.

Sighing, brows curved downwards, eyes wavering a subdue sorrow. Compromising, he spoke "I guess I could visit you at practice, if you really don't want to trade numbers."

Nails scratched at his brown roots, considering the weighted options. Inevitably he be giving his number anyway. Avoiding it quite clearly futile, putting weight on his right foot, he shrugged off the suggestion "Nevermind, here's my number—."

Kuroko stumbled at the number pad, biting his lip smoothed out into a warm smile.

"Thank you... I can't wait... should..." Kuroko blinked, rapidly and constantly, flickering his gaze everywhere, sometimes even crossing eyes. The overly long pauses were unlike him, Sakurai's emotions were spent, fearing for his life and regretting his life choices, and desire nothing else but to go home and sleep this whole weird day off. "Should I call you? Or should I wait for your call?"

Snorting, Sakurai prayed nobody saw that.

Avoiding Kuroko was merely delaying the inevitable. But telling him he would call could prolong their date to at least a month of time. But he feared Aomine's and Momoi's wrath, nevertheless, he would be facing Momoi wrath regardless, and if he rejected the other Aomine's angry nature wouldn't have been kind.

He could imagine Imayoshi laughing at his dilemma. It brought him a strange comfort that nobody understood.

"We won't be practicing so call me when you are free, okay?"

"Would it be too much to say today?"

"I'm sorry! Yes – I'm sorry – I have to shop for my parents." Lying through his teeth, keeping a pleasant smile. Waving goodbye. "Anyway, have a wonderful evening you guys! Bye."

Aomine swing his hand, the manager mumbled it and Kuroko didn't say a single thing. Few blocks over, he grumbled at his misfortune, wondering whether or not this could be anything particularly worthwhile.

The first confession he'd ever received wasn't like anything he'd imagine – or hope for – winter cold, a random basketball court and being courted by a guy of all things. Where his valentine sweets, love letters and cute girls in skirts? The disappointment he felt could never be perfectly explained.


"Momoi is scary..." Teasing tones played at his words, Tetsuya stared at Aomine's antics. Watching the bigger and taller boy poke the bear, he couldn't stop watching the train wreck occurring, yet remain baffled on Momoi's scary expression.

He'd never lead her on, had he? No, he remembering telling Seirin they weren't dating with her present.

Like Aomine, the girl lived in some sort of denial.

"Aomine is a horrible influence." Stating what flew through his head.

"I am not!"

Mocking him "The only one who can beat me is me." Aomine's posture rigid, exposing his clench teeth, and intense burning glare, unable to think of any sort of comback as he continued "Now I've lost and the one who can beat me is Kagami. I suppose Kagami is Aomine?"

"If we went by that goddamn logic, so would Akashi! Fuck you, Tetsu!"

"Will you be returning to practice, Aomine-kun?" Dribbling the ball, Tetsuya mind clouded with childish thoughts of his very first boyfriend. Conflicted, that maybe, confessing around his teammates may have been an unfair and unwise choice for Sakurai. Obviously worried about their so-called 'friendship'. They were friends, but going back to the way things were was probably unlikely. Aomine held interest to his life but not enough to get too angry on his behalf. Which may have been the brunet's presumption.

Also his life, his problems. He owed nobody a goddamn explanation.

Akashi general dominating nature wasn't something he wanted rubbing off of Aomine any time soon.

The ace shrugged, easily tossing the ball inside the hoop. "Meh, if I wanted to, not by much, but now this dipshit is my captain I probably will because 'it's mandatory'."

Another hoop missed, Tetsuya strode towards the benches.

Sitting down right alongside her. Eyes lit ablaze giving a concentrated sharp look, ignoring Aomine's teasing, Momoi kept pouting.

Grabbing his milkshake, the dark color rose his displeasure, Sakurai had gotten chocolate. He hated chocolate milkshakes. Vanilla was, obviously, the superior flavor. Grunting, not wanting to act spoil, poke in the straw and began sipping the bitter tasting drink.

"It's just a phase, right?" Lifting her head from well cut nails, softening herself up, and gave him a puppy eyed look.

What was it with people and them thinking everything was heat of the moment event?

"No." Placing down his shake and went where Aomine awaited.

Momoi's grumbling brought an apathetic sentiment. So he tracked his former best friend's movements, the dark skinned boy showed no signs of caring either way. Tetsuya didn't want to settle for tolerance yet renewing his friendship probably asked of him this.

"I don't care you know... as long you never intended hurting her, I simply do not care." Speaking underneath his breath. Kuroko nodded, watching Aomine demonstrate another method of shooting hoop.

But he couldn't help asking "Do you accept me?"

"Isn't the same thing?" Passing the ball to him.

Kuroko position himself, copying Aomine's graceful methods. "Not really... but I guess it's a bit much to ask."

"Geez," His friend raised a brow, shrugging off his own contemplation and return ignoring the topic. Throwing the ball came to an expected, though undesired, result bouncing off the rims. "This is going to take a long while. Let's try another method."

Breathing out the cold air, observing every small detail, tonight felt particularly special.

Of course, nothing would come out of it if he couldn't actually shoot a hoop.