lysapadin: pen & ink painting of bamboo against a full moon (Default)
[personal profile] lysapadin
Title: The Consultant
Characters/Pairings: Imayoshi, Kasamatsu
Summary: In which Imayoshi seeks an outside perspective on things, and Kasamatsu just wishes the guy would bother Ootsubo with these things instead.
Notes: Continuing in the Firm Hand 'verse. No porn here, just a lot of Kasamatsu being exasperated with Imayoshi's questionable life choices. 3205 words.

~~~~~~~~~~


The Consultant

Yukio did not consider himself a suspicious person by nature, but the simple fact of the matter was that some people all but demanded to be greeted with suspicion until their intentions had been fully established.

"I want you to know that I find that hurtful, I really do," Imayoshi said once Yukio had explained his lack of enthusiasm for a scratched-up game between the two of them.

"Bullshit," Yukio told him, unmoved by Imayoshi's apparent sorrow. No one took the train out to Kaijou just for a quick round of street ball, especially not Imayoshi Shouichi.

"Maybe I just missed your shining face?" Imayoshi tried next. Yukio didn't even bother to dignify that with a response, though he was tempted to give the smirking bastard a good kicking for it. Imayoshi pouted at him then, because he had no pride whatsoever, before laughing at the face Yukio made. "I find myself in need of an outside opinion," he said then, so casually that Yukio figured he was anything but. "Way I figure it, you're one of the very few people who might have some insight into the problem."

"Oh good grief," Yukio said, his curiosity rousing in spite of a healthy amount of suspicion. "This ought to be good."

Imayoshi shrugged. "Maybe, maybe not. Depends on how you look at it, I guess."

He was being way too casual; whatever was on his mind had to be fairly serious. "Okay, fine, whatever, I guess I'll hear you out." Yukio held up a finger before Imayoshi could even try to speak. "We play, first. I've got to work myself up to this."

"You get meaner every time I see you," Imayoshi told him, smiling like he meant it for a compliment. It was Imayoshi, so it was entirely possible that he did.

"Shut up and hit the court," Yukio told him.

Whatever it was that had driven Imayoshi to the point of coming to him for advice, of all people, it didn't show in the way he played—just as sharp and uncompromising as ever, not all that much different than he was with his team on the court. Touou was like that, strong players all pointed at the same goal and working toward it, though not exactly working together. Sometimes Yukio thought it must have been lonely to play that way all the time, and others he thought it sounded amazing—but that was when he was feeling particularly fed up with trying to herd his team of cats, so he didn't give those occasions too much consideration.

It was still fun to be able to take his brakes off and have a proper one-on-one with Imayoshi without having to worry about anything else. They played five games, trading wins until the fifth game, where Imayoshi made an extremely determined push to take his second game in a row. Yukio gave thought to pushing for the best of seven games, but the sun was hot and there wasn't anything to gain from giving himself heatstroke. "Loser buys the drinks," he announced, using the hem of his shirt to wipe his face, and walked away before Imayoshi could get too much smugness all over the scenery. By the time he got back from the vending machines, Imayoshi had staked out a claim on a park bench in the shade and was draped over it like a satisfied cat.

Yukio threw the bottled water at his head out of sheer principle.

Imayoshi caught it, grinning like he knew what had made him do it, and cracked the seal as Yukio sat. And then he didn't say anything, despite being the one so bothered he'd had to come to Yukio for advice. Bastard.

Yukio drained half his bottle in one go and waited until Imayoshi had taken a drink before saying, "So what's Aomine done that's got you all worked up?"

Imayoshi choked and sprayed his mouthful of water across the grass, which Yukio found rather gratifying. He turned a betrayed look Yukio's way. "That wasn't nice."

Yukio grinned at him. "Since when was I supposed to be nice?"

"Fair enough."

He leaned back, stretching his shoulders. "Yeah, well. Aomine?"

Imayoshi pursed his lips. "What makes you think this has anything to do with Aomine?"

"Really?" Yukio rolled his eyes. "You wanted outside advice, so it probably involves basketball and therefore your team. You said I was one of the very few people you could ask. There are only six Miracles last time I counted, and Rakuzan and Yousen are a little too far, even though you'll go to great lengths for the sake of harassing someone. Ootsubo is closer, but he likes you even less than I do, and I don't think you and Hyuuga are acquainted. So what gives?"

"Wait, Hyuuga? Who's—wait." Imayoshi snapped his fingers. "Seirin. I remember now. Er. Why would I want to pester him with my hypothetical Aomine problems?"

Trust Imayoshi to focus on the non-essential things. Yukio rolled his eyes again. "He's got Kuroko." And Kagami, of course, but he didn't count as a Miracle. Not yet. When Imayoshi gave him a politely baffled look, Yukio added a clarification purely because being able to do so gave him a warm, satisfied feeling. "That sixth Miracle."

"Oh, him," Imayoshi said. "Of course. But you're right, I haven't had the pleasure of Hyuuga's acquaintance."

"I didn't think you had." Yukio took a long drink. "But get on with it, I haven't got all day. Aomine?"

"I don't know what you're so fixated on that brat. I could want your advice on—ow!" Imayoshi clutched his arm and turned a reproachful look Yukio's way. "You hit me!"

"It was so satisfying that I might do it again if you don't get on with it," Yukio informed him.

Imayoshi rubbed his arm and sighed. "You're a hard man, Kasamatsu." He raised his hand defensively when Yukio balled his fist. "No, fine, fine! Getting on with it!" He promptly lapsed into silence and looked away from Yukio, frowning. Just when Yukio was starting to seriously consider hitting him again, this time with some actual weight behind it, Imayoshi said, "You have Kise. What's it like, being his captain?"

"So far, mostly a pain in my ass," Yukio told him. It made Imayoshi laugh, all rueful like he knew exactly what Yukio meant by that. It was why he didn't mind adding, "He's such an arrogant little shit. He started out not even wanting to acknowledge his senpai, even though he's got holes in what he knows about basketball you could drive a truck through." Fewer of those now that he'd had starting the year, of course, but Imayoshi didn't need to know that. "Lazy, too. He'd coast on talent if I'd let him, and the aggravating part is that he's got so much of that he can usually get away with it."

Imayoshi grimaced. "Aomine wouldn't even come to practice at the start. There wasn't any point to it, because there isn't anyone who can beat him."

"For fuck's sake." Yukio shook his head, rather enjoying the mockery—Imayoshi had definitely been quoting just now. "Fucking Teikou."

"Fucking Teikou," Imayoshi agreed, slouching in his seat. "I had to threaten him that I'd throw him off the team to get him to start showing up, there at first. For all the good that did me."

Yukio absorbed that. "Didn't work, huh?"

"No, it did, it got his attention, I just had to find a way to keep it." Imayoshi rubbed his thumb along the edge of the label on his water bottle, picking at it. "That's where I ran into trouble."

If he hadn't known better, Yukio would have said Imayoshi actually sounded embarrassed, but that was clearly impossible. Imayoshi didn't even know the meaning of the word. He waited, but Imayoshi didn't go on. "Well, what'd you come up with?"

"Aomine comes as part of a set, turns out." Imayoshi was paying very close attention to his water bottle now, picking at the label carefully. "He's got this childhood best friend, Momoi-chan. She's our manager, which seems to be something she's had a lot of practice at, seeing as how she pretty much manages Aomine's life for him. She stops short of cutting up his food and putting it in his mouth for him, but only just."

He sounded funny about it, frustrated—yeah, Yukio could see that, if Aomine was as lazy as Imayoshi was making him sound. At least Kise had come to practice from the start, even if he'd been more inclined to spend it standing around and catering to his fans at first. "So what'd you do, seduce her into helping you get him to show up and practice?"

Yukio had honestly meant it for a joke, but Imayoshi winced. "Nooooo," he said, dragging it out. "I didn't seduce her."

It took a minute for Yukio to process that, just because he shied away from the implications on instinct. "You didn't," he said, aghast, which made Imayoshi hunch his shoulders. "Oh, for fuck's sake. I thought you were smart enough to know better than to stick your dick in the crazy." Because all of Teikou's Miracles were some degree of crazy.

Imayoshi hunched further into his shoulders, turtle-like. "It seemed like a good idea at the time!" he protested. "And it worked!"

"I can't believe you." Yukio ran his hands over his face. "I seriously cannot believe you."

"It did work," Imayoshi said again. "Actually, really well. The brat was looking for some boundaries, so I provided some. And some consequences for crossing them."

"What, do you spank him if he skips practice?"

"Er."

Normally, Yukio would have reveled in the sight of Imayoshi Shouichi blushing, however faintly, except that he was too busy being horrified at the moment. "That was a joke!"

"That's what I thought too, at first," Imayoshi said, mournful. "I didn't actually expect it to work."

"Augh." Yukio had to stand up and stomp around the bench a couple of times just to relieve his excess frustration. "You are so much smarter than this, I cannot believe you let yourself get into such a mess." He stopped then, because Imayoshi was listening to him—was listening to him meekly, which was so entirely out of character for him that Yukio stopped lecturing him and dropped back onto his half of the bench. "That's not even the problem, is it. No, of course it isn't, what am I even saying? You didn't come all the way out here just to tell me you have incredibly bad judgment." He scrubbed his hand over his face again, bracing himself. "Okay, I'm ready. Tell me."

"If you'd rather I go bother Ootsubo instead—"

"Oh, no." Yukio jabbed a finger at him. "You are not walking off and leaving me hanging. I don't have the time to spend wondering how much worse it could possibly be. You started it, now finish it."

"So forceful," Imayoshi murmured. Then, because he was a rat bastard, he added, "Maybe you should have been the one to handle Aomine—"

He fully deserved all the weight Yukio put into that punch. "Stop being such an asshole."

Imayoshi rubbed his arm, grimacing, though Yukio didn't think it was from pain. It looked more like he was trying to decide how to proceed. "I miscalculated. On a couple of things."

It was on the tip of Yukio's tongue to say something about hearing Imayoshi Shouichi admit to having made a mistake, but he restrained himself. The guy looked serious in one of those unquantifiable ways that had nothing to do with how much or little he happened to be smiling at the moment. "Yeah?"

"Yeah." Imayoshi took a drink of water from his now denuded bottle. "First, there's Momoi-chan."

"Oh, no," Yukio said, because this couldn't be going anywhere good, and hazarded a guess. "She's upset that you're—um—with her best friend?"

"I wish it were that easy." Imayoshi didn't seem to notice the way this made Yukio wince. "They're—the two of them are very strange, I can't even begin to describe how strange they are. They're like creepy, codependent siblings or something, only that's not quite it, either. You almost have to see it to believe it."

"Okay…?" Yukio said, not at all sure that he wanted to know all the gory details after all.

It was too late to back out now, because Imayoshi heaved a sigh. "It looks like she likes to watch us. If you know what I mean. Aomine doesn't seem to think this is a big deal—apparently she's caught him doing way worse stuff, and I do quote."

"Is it too late to tell you to go bother Ootsubo with your problems?"

"Yes. I wouldn't want to leave you hanging, would I?" Which, damn. Yukio could admit that he'd earned that one fair and square. "So there I am yesterday, in the middle of—"

"I don't want to know!" Yukio said hurriedly, before Imayoshi could describe what he might have been doing. "Don't tell me, I don't want to know, I have to play basketball with you people."

Imayoshi laughed, bastard that he was. "I was in the middle of reading the brat a lecture for his behavior during practice, shall we say, and I caught Momoi-chan watching us and looking like she wanted nothing more than to be lectured, too."

Yukio stared at Imayoshi, who appeared to be perfectly serious no matter how hard he looked, and that fact pained him almost as much as the fact that he now knew much more about Imayoshi's proclivities than he'd ever wanted. "You're using 'lecture' as a euphemism for something that would horrify me, aren't you?"

Imayoshi rubbed his chin. "Well, no, I actually was lecturing him, though I guess I did have him all tied up—"

"Augh," Yukio said, which stopped him before he could put any other terrible images in his head. He rubbed his forehead, feeling the threat of a looming headache. "It's terrible that there's one person who finds you attractive enough to want to fuck, let alone two." The bench creaked as Imayoshi shifted his weight. Yukio lowered his hands, took in Imayoshi's air of embarrassment, and groaned. "There's more, isn't there."

"No, no, it's just the two of them, as far as I know—" Which was not comforting at all, though Imayoshi ignored this when Yukio said so. "—it's just that I sort of indicated to Momoi-chan that I'd, er. Lecture her, too."

The problem, whatever it was, had to be there since Imayoshi actually did sound unhappy about that. "Uh-huh…?"

Imayoshi fixed his eyes on his water bottle again, rolling it back and forth between his palms. "It's just that I think I've gone and let myself get attached to the brat without realizing it."

"Mm," Yukio said, since that was more tactful than either laughing at the poor bastard or asking him whether he didn't know any better than to jump into something like he'd apparently done without expecting to get attached. "Why can't you apologize to her and tell her that you're not available for lectures after all?"

Imayoshi sighed, his shoulders slumping. "Because there are actually seven of them, and I'm her captain, too."

Seven of them…? Yukio raised his eyebrows when he realized what Imayoshi meant. "She's one, too? Damn." That did change things some, and was going to mean grilling Kise about this Momoi later, too. In the meantime, he whistled. "You have two of them? I'd say that wasn't fair, except I don't think you have enough money to pay me to trade places with you."

"Yeah, well, like I said, they're a matched set. Codependent childhood best friends." Imayoshi slid lower in his seat, until he could lay his head back and stare up into the branches of the tree overhead. "I'm in a pickle, aren't I?"

"I guess I see why you didn't want to talk to anyone else at Touou," Yukio admitted. He'd already put his team's dynamic at enough risk to want to avoid dragging anyone else into the mix.

Imayoshi snorted. "Pretty much. What am I gonna do?"

"Build a time machine so you can go back and tell yourself that some problems can't be solved with your dick?"

"That was just plain unkind," Imayoshi said, sulky. "My dick is doing an excellent job of solving Aomine's problems."

"Thanks for the nightmares you just gave me, asshole." Yukio shook his head, trying to clear it of the terrible images his imagination kept trying to produce. "You'd probably better build a time machine anyway, since your schedule is gonna be crowded." Imayoshi turned his head and frowned at him; Yukio sighed. "Aren't you supposed to be smarter than this? Weird codependent best friends, you said it yourself. Sounds like they're used to sharing. Hope you're keeping up your stamina training." Now Imayoshi was staring at him, looking rather shocked. "What?"

"That's… not at all what I think I was expecting you to say," he said, slowly. "Though it does have your trademark ruthlessness and practicality about it, I suppose."

Yukio snorted. "What, was I supposed to tell you to renounce one of them and then pine stoically over it? Fuck that, you've got more important things to do. The Interhigh prelims start in a couple of weeks."

Imayoshi blinked at him and then laughed. "Your priorities are a thing of joy."

"If more people understood what was important in life, you wouldn't be out here annoying me, now would you?"

"Oh, my brats know that basketball is important, it's just that Teikou did a number on their heads. Speaking of." Imayoshi tipped a look at Yukio. "How do you manage your brat?"

"I kick his ass whenever it needs kicking," Yukio reported. "Not metaphorically."

Imayoshi burst into laughter again. "Of course you do. I don't even know why I thought I needed to ask."

"I don't either." Yukio eyed Imayoshi, but the worried look he'd been wearing had disappeared, so that was good. In that case, he'd had entirely too much of talking about Imayoshi and his Miraculous problems. "So. Ready for a rematch?"

"Absolutely." Imayoshi straightened up and stretched his back. "Loser buys dinner?"

"Hope you brought your wallet," Yukio said as he stood.

"Why, did you want to see the pictures in it?"

"Sure, after you've paid for dinner," Yukio retorted.

Imayoshi snorted as he rose to his feet. "Big words from the guy who just bought my drink. Better be ready to put your money where your mouth is."

"So had you," Yukio told him as they headed back out to the court.

"You know I will," Imayoshi assured him, all lazy arrogance.

He hadn't said thanks or anything like that, but he did knock his shoulder against Yukio's, friendly, which was good enough, especially if it meant Touou was going to show up to the Interhigh in top form.

Yukio dismissed the matter from his mind altogether and turned his attention to their rematch, which was more interesting than Imayoshi's personal life anyway.

end

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