lysapadin: pen & ink painting of bamboo against a full moon (Default)
[personal profile] lysapadin
Title: Complicating Factor
Characters/Pairings: Imayoshi and Aomine, Momoi
Summary: Imayoshi is a bit vexed with himself that he did not foresee and plan for this turn of events, but maybe it'll turn out all right in spite of that.
Notes: Picking up from "A Firm Hand" and dealing with some of the fallout from that. No real smut, but discussions of the aftermath of same. 2315 words.


Complicating Factor

He took a couple of days just to be sure, but honestly it wasn't necessary. Although she did her best not to let on, every time Momoi-chan happened to catch sight of him or the brat, she turned pink. If she saw them together, well, the only thing Shouichi could say about that was that she hadn't gone and passed out on them. Yet.

The conclusion was inescapable: Momoi-chan had figured out what sorts of measures Shouichi was taking to keep Aomine in line. Given what he'd seen of her relationship with Aomine, he realized that it had probably only been a matter of time before this happened. Even so, Shouichi was a bit vexed with himself for not having foreseen and planned for this eventuality. However, there was no helping it now, and besides, self-recrimination never did much good anyway.

Shouichi didn't know whether the brat, self-absorbed as he was, had even noticed Momoi-chan's flusterment, not that it mattered all that much. Everyone else who had noticed seemed to have mistaken it entirely: Shouichi found himself on the receiving end of a few knowing grins and congratulatory backslaps.

There were worse covers in the world. Made it easy enough to drop a word in her ear, at any rate. "I don't suppose you could lend me a few minutes of your time once we wrap up for the day?"

Momoi-chan's squeak and its accompanying blush charmed Shouichi, and so did the way she didn't seem to know where to put her eyes. She stuttered out an agreement and Shouichi nodded to her before ambling away to harass Wakamatsu for lazy strategy (possibly a lost cause, but Shouichi liked to be an optimist about these things).

At the end of practice, Shouichi dismissed the club and left those who wanted to get in a little extra practice to their own devices. He caught Momoi-chan's eye—she blushed again—and gestured at the bleachers. She followed him over; Shouichi took a seat and stretched himself out, watching her sit down far more decorously and begin fidgeting. The direct approach would be best, he decided. "Shall I assume we've been discovered?"

Momoi-chan went even pinker, but he appreciated that she didn't try to pretend she didn't know what he meant. "My curiosity got the better of me." She toyed with the hem of her skirt, studiously looking across the gym, though Shouichi doubted she was really seeing anything happening on the court.

He waited, but that seemed to be all she was going to say about the matter. Interesting. "Curiosity has a way of doing that to the best of us, I suppose."

As he watched, she bit her lip and peeked at him from the corner of her eye, maybe to gauge his mood or work herself up to saying whatever was on her mind.

Before she could, they were interrupted by the brat himself, appropriately enough. Aomine came slouching over and loomed over them. "What are you doing still here, Satsuki?"

She could have asked him the same thing, of course—Aomine wasn't much for staying at practice any longer than he had to, at least not without some extra enticement. Perhaps he was thinking about taking the bait that Shouichi'd been dangling for him all week after all. He would have to choose the least convenient time to do so.

Momoi-chan stared up at Aomine. She looked so much at a loss that the only gentlemanly thing to do was step in to rescue her from her troubles. "Momoi-chan and I are talking about you. Run along and play, now, and maybe I'll tell you what we said later if you ask me nicely."

Momoi-chan uttered another of those adorable little squeaks—well, she had enough to go on now to suss out the double entendre—but Aomine scowled, though good-naturedly (for him). "You're such an asshole." He dropped himself onto the bleachers at Shouichi's feet and lounged there. "Tell me now."

Shouichi thought about it, he really did, but the amusement to be had at the brat's expense didn't outweigh the rudeness of his behavior. "No, I don't think so." Both he and Momoi-chan went still as he let his tone turn flat. "This is a private conversation." He reached down to grip Aomine's shoulder. "You ought to know better than to go nosing into other people's private business all uninvited."

He'd been working with the brat enough that Aomine was already starting to settle under his hand and his voice, but he roused again at that. "Satsuki's not people."

Shouichi was amused by this and by the fact that Momoi-chan didn't seem to be offended by Aomine's characterization of her, but did not let on. "As fascinating as I find the ins and outs of the way you two get along, right now I don't care." He shook the brat just a bit; Aomine's eyes went darker and he wet his lips. "You're making a nuisance of yourself. Go and pester Susa, if you need to bother someone, and maybe I'll change my mind about punishing you if you work hard enough." He shook the brat again. "Now scoot."

Aomine was never going to have a career as a diplomat; Shouichi could all but see the gears turning in his head. He reached his conclusion and dipped his chin. "If you're going to be like that about it, fine. I didn't want to know anyway." He stood and ambled over to Susa, who probably didn't deserve to have the brat inflicted on him but would make the best of it, and Shouichi settled back on his elbows, satisfied.

Momoi-chan was looking at him; she'd forgotten about blushing and was giving him a wide-eyed, appalled sort of look. "You're not going to punish him for that, are you?"

Telling her that what she probably meant by punishment and what he and the brat meant by it were two separate things didn't promise to be a fruitful discussion, and wasn't the sort of conversation to have in public anyway. Besides, he was curious. Shouichi lifted his eyebrows at her. "Why not? He's going to have to learn some manners sooner or later. Might as well be now."

"But—he's just being Dai-chan," she protested.

That was about what he'd figured. Sometimes he really thought that the miraculous thing about Aomine was that he wasn't further gone than he already was. "Now, see, that's where you and I seem to have a difference of opinion." Shouichi tipped his chin at Aomine, presently in conference with Susa. "I think he's capable of meeting much higher standards than you and everyone else have been letting him get by with. I don't think being a genius on the court, no matter how tragic, is enough to get you out of being a decent human being."

He'd struck a nerve; she flinched and looked aside. "He's not a bad person."

"Never said that I thought he was." Momoi-chan shot a quick look his way, startled, and Shouichi laughed. "Thought you had a better feel for nuance than that. If I thought he was bad, I wouldn't be bothering with him. I know better'n to waste my time like that." He wouldn't have thought he'd have to be so plain with her, but if there was any subject that Momoi-chan had trouble thinking through clearly, it was any matter pertaining to Aomine. Dai-chan, as she'd slipped enough to call him.

She set her jaw just a bit; it really was a delight to sit back and watch her take all the clues he'd given her and then run with them. She chewed on her lip and looked for Aomine, perhaps unconsciously. "He would have shown up for games and played, even if he wasn't bothering with practice most of the time."

It was a question, though it didn't sound like one. Since she was past the initial shock and looked like she was trying to understand, Shouichi did her the courtesy of answering it. "Maybe so, but it wouldn't have been very good for him. Or for the rest of us, either." He lifted a hand and waved it at the players remaining on the court, most of whom were immersed in individual practice. "I've never kept a touchy-feely team and I don't believe I ever will. We don't all of us need to be best friends to do our best on the court, but we do need to be able to trust that our teammates are doing their bests, too. We could all just rely on Aomine to be a lazy brat who can play circles around the rest of us with his eyes closed, but we deserve better than that. So does he. Maybe if I can get him to pretend he cares long enough, he'll come to see that for himself."

Momoi-chan was looking at him again, gone wide-eyed and wondering. "You really do care," she said softly, wistfully Shouichi would have called it had he not been wanting to protest that and defend his good name as an ice-cold bastard. "But if you care, how can you punish him like—" She stopped and flushed scarlet.

Shouichi allowed the matter of his reputation to slide for a moment. "I gather you saw us the other day, with the blindfold…?" Based on the timing of her sudden inability to look him in the eye, that must have been when she'd seen them together. Momoi-chan nodded, still a brilliant shade of red, and Shouichi couldn't help grinning at her. "Sweetheart, what makes you think I was punishing him? Don't you remember how nicely he behaved himself that afternoon?"

Momoi-chan made a faint, wordless sound as her eyes went even wider. Then she looked away and pressed her hands to her flaming cheeks. "Imayoshi-san!"

"You did ask," he pointed out, entertained.

She made another strangled sound. "You are a terrible person."

Shouichi watched her stand and smooth her skirt down, still flushed dark. He grinned at her some more. "I know. You wouldn't believe how much fun it is."

She didn't stamp her foot at him, but he thought she might have wanted to. "You should at least try to be sorry about that."

"Now why would I waste my time doing a silly thing like that?" Shouichi grinned at her as she huffed, perhaps to keep herself from smiling. "Really, now." He glanced at the clock and then at her. "Well, I need to get busy, so if you'll excuse me…" He rose and stretched, taking his time, and descended from his spot on the bleachers. As he passed her, he patted her shoulder. "Don't worry, I'm being careful with him."

That surprised her enough that he was able to make a clean getaway, for which Shouichi congratulated himself. By the time he allowed himself to look a few minutes later, she'd gathered up her things and headed out for the evening. So there was that handled.

Later, when the brat was finally beginning to emerge from his post-spanking euphoria, he cracked an eye open to peer up at Shouichi. "So what did Satsuki want, anyway?" His voice was still scratchy from shouting, and he'd made himself entirely at home in his sprawl across the locker room bench and Shouichi's lap. (Shouichi found he didn't mind this as much, perhaps, as he should have done, but Aomine made for a pretty picture when he was all fucked out and his ass was still glowing pink from being spanked. Besides, he was a soft touch.)

Shouichi considered his response and decided that the blunt approach would be best for him, too. "She saw us in flagrante, brat." When Aomine squinted at him, uncomprehending, he sighed. "She saw us fucking."

Aomine could have reacted in many possible ways, but he didn't. He blinked and shrugged. "Oh, is that all? No wonder she's been weird these past couple of days."

Shouichi peered down at him, but to all appearances, that was the extent of Aomine's response. Non-response, really. He flicked Aomine's temple. "Are you honestly that lazy, or is there something about how the two of you get along that I'm just not getting?"

"What's to get?" Aomine nudged into his fingers, very much like a pushy cat. Against his better judgment, Shouichi obliged him by setting his hand on the brat's nape and rubbing it. "She's caught me doing way worse stuff than that."

"Truly, the mind boggles," Shouichi told him, though there was no telling what counted as 'way worse' in Aomine's eyes.

Aomine just grinned and closed his eyes again, possibly with the intention of continuing to make like a cat and take a nap right there on Shouichi's lap. Shouichi let him get on with it while pondering what, if anything, he ought to do about Momoi-chan. She was one of the more sensible people he knew, even if she did have a difficult time applying that good sense to any matter pertaining to the brat. She'd seemed to be trying to understand once she'd gotten past her initial shock, and there was no doubt that she was aware that Aomine was doing better by himself and by his team these days. It was a bit peculiar to think about the fact that she knew his methods, now, but on the other hand she hadn't tried to stop him.

As long as the brat didn't care either, and given the way he was already starting to snore it was clear that he didn't, there didn't seem to be any reason to distress himself over their complicated relationship. Shouichi shrugged his mental shoulders, let it go, and gave the brat a few more minutes to doze before starting the process of getting him chivvied into the showers to clean up, hoping that would be the last of it.


As always, comments are lovely!


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