Fandom: Kuroko no Basket (The Basketball Which Kuroko Plays)
Rating: Light R
Characters: Aomine Daiki, Kagami Taiga
Disclaimer: Fujimaki owns. I only play. You do not sue.
Summary: Maji Burger rolls out new flavours in a promotional campaign. Kagami doesn't care -- a burger is a burger no matter what. But then there's a contest. And Aomine.
Note: Written for Short Precarious Anecdote Month.
Taiga stopped in front of the Maji Burger he always went to and stared at the giant-lettered signs covering the windows.
NEW FLAVOUR PROMOTION:
PEPPERONI PIZZA BURGER & CAJUN SPICE BURGER
TASTE TEST TODAY ONLY HALF OFF
Taiga shrugged. The flavours sounded terrible, and he wasn't about to ruin his dinner to save a couple thousand yen. He opened the door and went inside; it was busier than usual; he couldn't see any empty seats.
Some of the tables at the back had been pushed together. Above them hung another huge sign.
EATING CONTEST: EAT FOR FREE!*
*TASTE TEST FLAVOURS ONLY
What a stupid idea. If you participated in an eating contest, you'd just get sick of whatever you were eating and never buy it again. But still -- a contest. In something Taiga was really good at that wasn't basketball?
Taiga was picking his way through the onlookers towards the sign marked "Contest Entries" when he saw a familiar face near the contest tables: Aomine. Taiga hadn't seen him since the party that the Seirin, Touou, and Shuutoku coaches threw for their graduating players back in April. Should I wave? Nah, he'll just ignore me.
But Aomine had spotted him. "Oi, Kagami!" he yelled, waving. "Long time no see, are you here for the contest?"
Sighing, Taiga changed course towards him. If he ignored Aomine, he'd embarrass him in front of all of these people, and as much as Taiga didn't want to get close to Aomine, his own problems shouldn't create trouble for others. The thing was, Aomine was stupidly attractive, and Taiga was even more stupidly attracted to him, and that was just never going to work out for him.
"I didn't come for the contest, but I guess I'll enter," he said to Aomine. "Long time no see. What are you doing in this part of town?"
"I had my tryout for the Green Bats a few blocks away," Aomine said. "Someone was talking about this promotion, so I came to check it out. Hey, it's free food."
"The Bats?" Kagami asked. "Weren't you aiming for the NBA?"
"You have to be twenty-two if you aren't American," Aomine said, scowling. "Besides, I have to be on a US minor league team before I can be picked in the first place; I can't do that unless I go pro here first."
"Twenty-two? You could've just gone to university," Taiga said. He hadn't known that the eligible age was different for international players.
"I don't want to."
"You and me both," Taiga muttered. He, however, hadn't had much of a choice: it was university or cut-off funds. "One semester down and my brain has already died."
"Like it was ever alive in the first place."
"Says the guy who didn't even bother trying to get in because he knows he can't."
"Says the guy who got recruited to play basketball for the university."
"I still had to write the exams," Taiga protested. "I wouldn't have been admitted on their basis but I did pass, so shut up."
"So are you ready to lose to me again?" Aomine asked, nodding at the contest tables.
"You think you can take me in an eating contest?" Taiga asked. He happened to recall with perfect clarity the day Kuroko told him that even Aomine couldn't eat as much as Taiga could, and he doubted that had changed.
"I can take you in any contest, any day," Aomine drawled, sticking his chin out.
"You're on," Taiga said.
"Well, it's about to start," Aomine said. "You'd better hurry up and enter or you'll lose to me by default."
A tall woman in a Maji Burger uniform stepped forward to the side of the contest tables, holding a mic. "Welcome to Maji Burger, everyone! I am Hayashi, the store manager. We are about to begin the eating contest for this evening, so anyone who would like to enter, please go and get a number from Mako-chan in the next three minutes."
Taiga looked around for the Contest Entries sign he'd spotted earlier. A slim young woman in a red-and-white cheerleading outfit was carrying it. "Excuse me," he called to her. "I'd like to enter as well."
"The rules are simple," the manager said into her mic as Taiga received a large yellow sticker with a bold black 10 on it. "You eat until you can't eat any more. There is no time limit, and all liquids are banned from the contest area. The winner will be determined by the number of empty wrappers."
"What does the winner get?" someone at the back of the crowd shouted.
"A full stomach?" Hayashi said to general laughter. "I'm joking, of course. The winner gets a year's worth of half-off discounts on all food at any Maji Burger shop in the city limits."
Several employees trotted out of the back of the shop, carrying a huge tray as long as Taiga was tall, laden with burgers. They placed it on the contest tables just as Taiga took a seat across from Aomine, putting the contestants at an even twelve.
"Three-two-one, go!" the girl in the cheerleading outfit cried, and they went.
Taiga ate as he always did, taking a burger from the tray, unwrapping, chewing, swallowing; no wasted movement, quiet, methodical. The pizza flavour was actually not as terrible as he'd imagined, but the cajun spice tasted like ass. He did some of his best thinking while eating, and he had been looking forward to planning out his weekend over dinner tonight, but Aomine's presence across the table was messing with that, even though he deliberately avoided looking at him. All around him, the crowd was shouting out contestant numbers, and he began to understand the appeal of eating competitions -- it was a really nice feeling to be cheered for doing something so mundane.
He reached for another burger but found empty metal. Taiga looked up. The tray was empty. Aomine was gaping at him with naked appreciation. A hush had fallen over the crowd.
"Looks like contestant number ten has eaten the last burger," said the manager into the mic. "We will now count the wrappers, so please hold on!"
"That was it?" Taiga asked. "But I only ate a few."
"You didn't eat a few," Aomine wheezed at him, pointing at the stack of wrappers in front of Taiga. "You ate like half the tray!"
"Oh. I could have kept going," Taiga said, looking around. "Does that mean I win?"
Eleven pairs of eyes full of impending intestinal suffering stared at him accusingly as a quiet young man in a Maji Burger uniform counted his wrappers and rushed over to whisper to the manager.
"And we have a winner," Manager Hayashi shouted. "Contestant number ten, with a total of thirty-seven burgers!"
"Awesome!" said a middle schooler on Taiga's left. "That's like championship level eating. You should try and beat Kobayashi next time, mister."
Taiga had no idea who Kobayashi was, and being called mister was really depressing. "I'm only eighteen," he muttered under his breath, but the boy was already gone.
The rest of the crowd scattered after the manager presented Taiga with a laminated discount card, which he stuck in his pocket after bowing. He'd never remember to use it, so it was good that it didn't have his name on it; he'd just give it to a classmate.
"I can't move," Aomine complained. "How huge is your stomach, you bastard?"
Taiga offered him his hand. Aomine glared at it but took it and rose, sending his chair to the floor.
"Oof," Aomine said, leaning on Taiga. "Good thing I did this after the tryout."
"How long's your trip home?" Taiga asked. Aomine's mouth was looking a little tight as he pulled away, rubbing his protruding belly.
"Forty minutes, give or take." Aomine winced as his hip bumped the door on the way out of the shop.
"I'm five minutes from here. Why don't you come over and I'll give you some medicine? I never get an upset stomach so it's going to waste anyway."
"Is it okay?"
"Sure, I live alone."
Aomine was moaning on the bed in the spare room, but it wasn't in a way Taiga would have preferred; he had swallowed the medicine but it was taking its time to work.
"Shit, why didn't you tell me eating a lot was hard?" Aomine asked.
"It's my fault you're an idiot?" Taiga asked. He had come over to see if Aomine needed any water, but he seemed content to sprawl on the bed and occasionally moan and rub his stomach, which had decreased in size somewhat.
Aomine bent his arm back over his head to grasp the top of the pillow. "Oh, what's this?" He extracted one of Alex's bras. "You've got yourself a woman?"
"No, that belongs to Alex," Taiga explained. "She can never pack all her stuff when she leaves."
"Alex? That really hot coach you had with what's his face?"
"She's got good taste in lingerie, anyway," Aomine said, flinging the bra to the side. "Front-closing type. If she comes to visit you again, you should invite me over to get reacquainted."
"Sorry to disappoint you, but she's not going to be coming for a while; she's about to have a baby," Taiga said, walking back to the living room as he heard the commercial break end. The sound on those was always louder than on the actual programs.
When Taiga checked on Aomine again in another half hour, he was asleep. Taiga left him to it; if Aomine had anywhere to be tomorrow, that was his own problem for putting himself into a food coma. It was the weekend, anyway. Taiga pulled a blanket over him and left a towel at the foot of the bed -- it was what his mother would have done for a guest, so it was only natural -- then went to sleep in his own room. He had definitely not lingered to stare at Aomine's sleeping face. At all.
When he shuffled out of his room the following morning, he nearly collided with a completely nude Aomine who was strolling out of the shower and drying his hair with the towel Taiga had left for him.
"P-P-Put some clothes on, for fuck's sake!" Taiga squeaked, shying back and looking everywhere but at Aomine's crotch.
"Well, good morning to you too," Aomine said. "Thanks for the towel and the blanket, very thoughtful. Why are you having a fit? Are you gay or something?"
"That has nothing to do with anything. You're not at a bath house, fuckhead."
"Wait, so you are? Gay, I mean."
Taiga rolled his eyes. "You got a problem with it?" There was no point in lying; he'd promised himself he would stop pretending when he finished high school, and high school was five months ago.
"No, it's cool," Aomine said, peering at Taiga's face with interest. "But I guess I'd better protect my ass, then. No offence."
"I'm not interested in your ass," Taiga muttered, sidestepping. Okay, so maybe he was not completely done with lying, but this was Aomine.
Aomine's arm shot out to stop him. "Why the hell not?"
Taiga looked at him. "Are you interested in every single woman you meet?"
"That's not what I meant. I'm really good-looking; anyone should be interested, so why aren't you?"
"You're not my type." That was not the sort of lie that would ever get found out, so it was fine. They probably wouldn't ever see each other again, anyhow, except by chance, in passing, like last night.
Aomine looked puzzled. "So who is your type? Don't tell me you have a thing for Tetsu."
"No." Well, he'd had a thing for Kuroko once, but that was ancient history.
"Why do you want to know?"
"Just curious who I lose to with gay guys."
"I'm just one guy, Aomine. I'm sure lots of other gays would love a piece of your ass; don't be so heartbroken."
Taiga shut the bathroom door on Aomine's look of outrage.
Taiga's heart rate returned to normal as he brushed his teeth. He really hated Aomine's personality. His body was exactly Taiga's type, especially now that he'd seen all of it.
He'd fed Aomine breakfast that morning and given him directions to the station, so why was Aomine at his door again?
Deciding that he'd get an answer faster if he asked directly, Taiga opened up. "Did you forget something?"
"I forgot to get your phone number," Aomine said, making no move to come in.
Taiga took out his phone. "Give me yours, I'll send it to you by mail."
Aomine did, taking out his own phone. "You got any other friends that are gay?"
Taiga gave him a level look. "What is this? Community outreach?"
"I can take you all for group dates, that way I can have my pick of the women and they'd never know."
"You're a terrible person."
"I was kidding," Aomine said, looking almost contrite. Almost.
Taiga sighed. "You're also probably the only person alive who passed out at a friend's house after eating too much, rather than drinking."
"So we're friends?"
Taiga shrugged. He hadn't even thought twice before saying the word, and people always said that true feelings came out unconsciously. "I guess we are? Unless you don't want to be."
"I don't mind. I don't really have friends, though."
"Big surprise, sparkling personality like yours."
Aomine punched him in the shoulder, with feeling.
His team trained nearby, so aside from being a new friend, he became a frequent visitor at Taiga's.
It kind of made sense: Taiga's best friend had gone off to a school in Matsuyama; Aomine's, to Nagasaki. So for the two of them to keep in touch like this was almost like it was meant to happen, in a way.
The problem was that Taiga's lazy crush on Aomine quickly began developing into something completely different. Getting to see more of him than just the sneering, arrogant bag of dicks everyone else saw was not helping. But this had already happened before, with Kuroko, and Taiga had fought with his feelings back then and won. He could do it again.
"I'm looking forward to it as well," Taiga told the study group leader and hung up the phone.
Aomine, who was sitting next to him on the sofa and pretending to watch TV but actually trying to listen in on the conversation, pushed the mute button on the remote. "Was that your boyfriend?"
"No." Aomine knew full well Taiga didn't have a boyfriend. How was he supposed to find one with Aomine hanging around almost every day?
"A sex friend?"
"Aomine, why the hell are you so interested in my sex life?" Taiga snapped, turning to him.
"Because it pisses me off."
"My sex life pisses you off. Now I've heard everything."
His phone buzzed, and Taiga flipped it open, grateful for the distraction. In the past few weeks, Aomine seemed to think all Taiga did when he wasn't around was fuck every guy he came across. They needed to have a normal conversation about it, but Taiga had no idea how to even approach it. Your friends were supposed to cheer for you when you were looking for love, but Aomine seemed determined to thwart Taiga's entirely nonexistent attempts at finding it.
Taiga punched the button to open the mail he'd just received.
"Oh, it's Alex's baby," he said. Chubby little girl with Alex's eyes and already a full head of curly black hair. Had it really been four months since she was born? That made it six months since Aomine accidentally ate his way into Taiga's life.
"What's his name?" Aomine asked, leaning over for a look.
"Her. Cassandra," Taiga said as he finished typing his reply and shut the phone. "Cassie for short."
"Oh, you smell nice. What is that?" Aomine asked, sticking his nose up against Taiga's earlobe. His warm breath, probably still sweet from the hard candies they'd been eating, fanned out across Taiga's neck, and he fought a shiver. How was he supposed to talk to Aomine about anything when he felt this way?
"I dunno," he said. He was going to fight his body on this one; that he knew. "My soap?"
Aomine's lips pressed against Taiga's neck just below his ear, and then he licked it slowly, the way he always did with ice cream; Taiga knew just what it looked like, too; he'd stolen so many glances at Aomine-eating-ice-cream that he probably deserved to go to jail for it. Taiga froze for a moment, breath hitching, losing the fight against his body instantly -- and then Aomine pressed a hand against the bulge in Taiga's crotch, and Taiga leaped off the side of the couch.
"For fuck's sake, Aomine, what the hell are you doing?" he hissed, furious and ashamed. The wet patch Aomine's tongue had made on his neck stung in the cool air.
Aomine came after him. "It's fine if we do it, isn't it? I really want you. I have for a while now. Quit pretending like you don't want me too; I'm not stupid."
Taiga backed away until he hit the wall, jostling the frame of his signed Rodman poster. "Don't be ridiculous."
Aomine braced against the wall with hands on either side of Taiga's head, blocking his ways out. "Don't run away. I'm serious. If you really hate it, I'll stop."
Taiga sighed. "This is stupid. Why do you get to decide if I really hate it or not? I'm already telling you I don't want to -- are you going to force me?"
"You say that, but your dick's hard."
"So? Is that your requirement for wanting to be with a person? No wonder you can't find a girlfriend."
"Why don't you want me?" Aomine asked. "You always look so happy when I come over, we like all of the same stuff, we have a good time hanging out, don't we? You got so hot from just me kissing your neck, so don't tell me you're not attracted to me at all. Why can't it be me?"
"You think you're the first straight guy who wants to have himself a little gay experiment?" Taiga snapped, avoiding his eyes. "I'm not a toy."
"I've never thought you were," Aomine said in a low voice.
"I didn't say you thought it," Taiga replied, meeting his eyes again. "But even if we become sex friends, sooner or later you'll find a girl who makes you feel like you're the luckiest guy in the world, and she'll be all you think about every day--"
"You make me feel that way already. I don't want to become your goddamned sex friend, Kagami. I'm trying to ask you out here."
Taiga was pretty sure his heart stopped. Now it all made sense -- the endless conversations about nothing in particular after which Aomine was always reluctant to leave, the playful-yet-jealous jabs about Taiga's many imaginary sexual conquests, the touching. He had just been so caught up in Aomine being a straight guy looking for a little bit of fun, looking to hand out a little pity to his poor sex-deprived gay friend, that he'd missed every single sign of being flirted with as an equal. And of course Aomine would think that overtly sexual gestures counted as asking a person out. "I-- I dunno what to say."
"Say yes," Aomine advised him.
"So, you and Aomine-kun, huh," Kuroko murmured, sitting cross-legged on Taiga's couch. In the four years they'd been apart, he hadn't changed much except for his hair: he wore it in a ponytail that made him look unexpectedly mature. "That must be some story."
Taiga checked the clock: Daiki's meeting with the D-League people would still be going on, so he wouldn't get home for at least an hour. "Want to hear it?" he asked, wondering why he felt like he was facing one of his parents.
Taiga handed Kuroko a can of beer and sat down in the loveseat across from him. "You're gonna laugh, but it started with a hamburger taste test," he began.