lysapadin: pen & ink painting of bamboo against a full moon (Default)
[personal profile] lysapadin
Title: What a Captain Is For
Characters/Pairings: Imayoshi, Aomine, and Momoi in all possible configurations
Summary: In which Imayoshi explains to Aomine and Momoi what a captain is for.
Notes: The Firm Hand 'verse returns, and Imayoshi finds his captainly duties taking on a broader scope. Adult for porn, 13336 words.

~~~~~~~~~~


What a Captain Is For

Honestly, it was a relief when Imayoshi-san caught her eye and said, "I'd like a moment of your time, if I may," at the end of practice, when the club members had dispersed and only the team and the ones with ambitions of being on the team were still practicing.

Satsuki nodded and said, "Of course, Imayoshi-san."

"Thank you." Imayoshi-san inclined his head at the bleachers. "After you." He sauntered after her and took a seat next to her, turning himself sideways so he could look at her.

Satsuki tried not to be conscious of his regard as she arranged her skirt around her knees. She clasped her fingers together in her lap and glanced sideways at him. "What was it you wanted to discuss?" She was really rather proud of how steady her voice was; it didn't give away the dampness of her palms or the way her stomach refused to settle.

"I thought we might start with boundaries, since you asked." Imayoshi-san smiled, faint. "I notice it's a concept you miraculous types don't seem to understand very well. Or perhaps it's just a concept you and Aomine don't understand—I shouldn't be slandering the rest of them before I've even met them. Plenty of time afterwards for that, and I'll be able to be specific then."

Satsuki glanced at him quickly and then looked away again, feeling her face go hot. "Us miraculous types?" she repeated.

"You're more subtle about it than the brat is, but that's not setting the bar very high, is it?" From the corner of her eye, she saw him draw a knee up and prop his chin in his hand. "You look surprised."

"I think you've made a mistake. I'm not—" Satsuki cleared her throat. "There's nothing particularly miraculous about me, Imayoshi-san. It's kind of you to say so—"

Imayoshi-san made a rude nose; Satsuki looked at him, startled, and saw naked exasperation on his face. "I've never heard you say anything so full of bullshit. It doesn't become you."

"Imayoshi-san—" Satsuki stopped, confused and embarrassed.

Imayoshi-san frowned at her and then lifted his eyes to the rafters above. "Fucking Teikou," he said, venomous, before returning his eyes to Satsuki. "All right. Let's set that to the side for now. We'll deal with it later. Back to the matter of boundaries."

"Boundaries," Satsuki repeated, idiotically, as thoroughly off-balance as she'd ever been.

"Boundaries." Imayoshi-san rolled the word off his tongue almost lovingly. "Now, I realize you and the brat have an astonishingly convoluted relationships. I respect it even though I don't understand it. I also respect your personal taste in kinks, however." Here he raised a finger. "I do draw the line at you indulging yourself without making sure everyone is on board with that first."

Satsuki went hot all over and looked fixedly at her knees. "I'm sorry. I know it was wrong, I won't do it again. I promise."

"Won't you?"

Satsuki hunched her shoulders against the curiosity in Imayoshi-san's voice. "No, I won't, I just—I—" Words failed her, left her unable to explain how she'd needed to know what he'd been doing with Dai-chan, that Dai-chan was okay and that Imayoshi-san was taking care with him, of him, and how that was tangled up with her own prurient desires. "He's doing so much better. I won't—interfere with that. Not again. I'm sorry."

"Momoi-chan, that's—"

Imayoshi-san didn't get any farther than that, because Dai-chan interrupted him. "Hey." His voice was hard. "What are you doing to Satsuki?" He had planted himself in front of their spot on the bleachers, arms fold and his jaw jutting out at a pugnacious angle.

Satsuki covered her face. "Go away, Dai-chan, it's fine."

"It's not fine, so I want to know what he's doing to upset you."

"He's not—" Satsuki tried, only to be interrupted by Imayoshi-san saying, "We're talking about you again, and Momoi-chan is trying to be terribly self-sacrificing on your behalf."

"Imayoshi-san!" Satsuki protested, lowering her hands.

He looked at her, smiling just a bit. "You are, aren't you?"

"No—I mean yes—but—" Satsuki floundered.

Dai-chan, meanwhile, did not look mollified. "I want to know what's going on." By the sounds of it, he wasn't prepared to wait very long to find out.

"That's what we were talking about, come to think of it." Imayoshi-san leaned back, probably trying to look at them both. "Brat, I seem to recall you saying that Momoi-chan had caught you doing things way worse than what we were up to."

"Yeah, so?" Dai-chan said, suspicious, as Satsuki protested, "Imayoshi-san—!"

He glanced at her and smiled, probably trying to come across as reassuring. "Easy, sweetheart." He looked up at Dai-chan. "How good are you at sharing, brat?"

"Sharing what?" Dai-chan said, suspicion dripping off every syllable, while Satsuki choked.

"Me, of course," Imayoshi-san drawled. "Momoi-chan seems to enjoy watching, but if I'm not mistaken, she'd like to do more than watch."

"Imayoshi-san," Satsuki moaned, covering her face again. It felt like it was on fire.

"Sorry for being so blunt, but I reckon you've known Aomine long enough to understand that it's easiest to be very clear with him, and use small words whenever possible."

"Hey," Dai-chan said, though he sounded less annoyed about that than he could have been. When she peeked through her fingers, he was frowning absentmindedly, looking back and forth between the two of them. Abruptly he sat, dropping himself onto the bleachers at their feet. "What do you mean, sharing?"

"As I said, plain speaking and small words." Satsuki lowered her hands in time to see Imayoshi-san nudge Dai-chan's ribs with the toe of his sneakers. "We were being watched the other day, get it? Up until the point I let Momoi-chan know that if she wanted to play, too, she needed to ask."

Dai-chan wasn't stupid, though he often gave that impression purely through the fact that he was often too lazy to bother with anything he didn't see as directly relevant to his interests. His very narrow set of interests. When he could be brought to pay attention, then he was as quick to understand as anyone else. "Huh," he said, looking up at the two of them. He grinned. "Satsuki, you perv."

"Like you're one to talk," Satsuki retorted, kicking him.

Dai-chan caught her foot and held it, still grinning at her. "You still like to watch, huh?"

"Dai-chan," she said, face hot, and darted a glance at Imayoshi-san.

He waved a gracious hand at them. "Don't mind me, this is fascinating. I'm learning all sorts of interesting things here. If I were less discreet, I'd even stand to win some money."

"What?" Dai-chan said while Satsuki groaned.

"The 'have they or haven't they?' pool," Imayoshi-san, cheerfully evil. "My money was on 'they have' and it looks like I was right." He paused. "I wasn't aware that you knew about this, Momoi-chan."

"Satsuki knows everything, it's what she does." Dai-chan still had hold of her foot. Now he slid his hand up and wrapped his fingers around her ankle. "Been a while."

Satsuki bit her lip against what she wanted to say, which was That's not my fault.

"Every question the two of you answer just raises three more," Imayoshi-san murmured. Satsuki looked at him, uneasy—he was too perceptive, he saw too many things he wasn't supposed to, and even though Dai-chan was better now, that didn't mean he was okay, either. She needn't have worried; he titled his head to her slightly, a wry smile touching his mouth. She settled; whatever it was he'd seen or guessed, he'd keep it to himself. She sighed softly, which was when Dai-chan chose to slide his thumb under the cuff of her sock to rub against her skin.

The unexpected caress drove a startled sound out of her throat. "Dai-chan!"

He grinned at her, slow and full of mischief, about like he would have done before everything had gone wrong. Satsuki's breath hitched at the sight. "How about it, Satsuki? Think we can share?"

She couldn't help it; she grinned back, caught by the old spirit of co-conspiracy. "We might be able to manage something, I think." As one, they turned to Imayoshi-san, smiling.

He returned their gazes calmly enough, though he was certainly savvy enough to have gained a certain air of caution. "Excellent, I'm glad we have that settled." He stood. "All right, brat, enough lollygagging. It's time we got back to work."

"I don't see why," Dai-chan complained, though he released Satsuki's foot and stood anyway. "I don't need it."

"At risk of sounding like my dear mother, because I said so." Imayoshi-san reached down and gripped the back of Dai-chan's neck, and Dai-chan settled, the change almost imperceptible—restless annoyance settling into relaxation. Imayoshi-san tipped his head to Satsuki, smiling. "Momoi-chan. We'll talk again soon."

"Yes, Imayoshi-san," she said, heart beating faster. "I look forward to it."

"So do I," he agreed, and steered Dai-chan back onto the court for practice.

Satsuki watched them go, slumping a little where she sat—something, tension or anticipation, she wasn't entirely certain what to call it—seeping out of her, leaving her shaky and a little lightheaded, almost tempted to believe she'd hallucinated the entire conversation. Then Imayoshi-san scooped a ball out of the cart and glanced back at her, grinning, and this time she was reassured. No, not a hallucination, just something completely unexpected and very deftly done, at that.

Satsuki smoothed her skirt over her knees, mind coming alight with possibilities. Whatever was about to happen next was bound to be very interesting indeed.

 
 

Touou was still new enough that its enrollment didn't quite fill the facility, though it was coming closer every year. For his purposes, that suited Shouichi just fine—it was so much more difficult to find a bit of privacy with one's opposite-gender schoolmates than it was with the same-gender ones, unless one happened to be aware that there were at least two empty offices waiting for a sports club to form and require their use and happened to have filched a copy of the master keys. Not that Shouichi would have condoned such behavior if it had been pointed out to him, of course, but what the teachers and school administration were not forced to acknowledge couldn't hurt anyone.

In any case, it was useful to have a place away from the curious eyes of their peers for a little tête-à-tête with Momoi-chan.

"I do apologize for asking you to skip class," he said when Momoi-chan slipped into the last office on the corridor, the one that was smaller than the rest and somewhat pokier and would no doubt be the last to be claimed by any club. "I appreciate your being so gracious about it."

Momoi-chan blushed becomingly even as she glanced around the room, no doubt taking inventory of the stark furnishings—the empty cabinets and the table for sitting around and the fine layer of dust on all of the surfaces. "It's no trouble." She smiled then, showing a flash of dimples. "This is better than trying to talk during practice."

"Much more discreet," Shouichi agreed, pulling a chair out for her. "Fewer potential interruptions."

She sat and cast a rueful glance up at him as he leaned against the table next to her. "Dai-chan can be a little, um. Overbearing, sometimes, when he thinks I might be upset. I'm sorry about that."

"Don't be." That made her blink, startled, so Shouichi clarified. "I found it reassuring. To the casual eye, it seems like you and the brat have a very one-sided relationship. I was glad to see him take notice of something outside of himself for a change."

She flushed, leaping to Aomine's defense precisely as he'd expected her to do. "It's not one-sided at all, he's just not very good at—" She stopped there as Shouichi smiled at her and her own common sense kicked in. "He wasn't always like this," she said after a moment, looking aside. "It might seem hard to believe, but he really wasn't."

"I don't doubt it. You've got too much intelligence to have put up with him for so long otherwise, no matter how loyal you can be." Shouichi laughed as she shot a glare at him. "Sweetheart, I know you know you're not entirely rational about the brat. Please allow that I have the distance to give me more perspective on the situation."

One of the many reasons he respected Momoi-chan was the flexibility of her thinking. Not just anyone would have been able to take that criticism and accept it easily, but after a few moments she sighed and bent her head, acknowledging the point. "You're having more of an effect on him than anyone else since—it's been a long time since I've seen anyone be able to get his attention and keep it like you have."

Shouichi looked down at her, wondering whose name she'd decided against saying. It was something to follow up on later, perhaps. "I'll admit, I wasn't exactly expecting this to be the approach that worked."

Momoi-chan giggled, gone pink around the edges. "I wouldn't have expected it either."

Which brought them to one of the things Shouichi had been wondering about since the two of them had finally settled the question of the scope of their relationship yesterday afternoon. "But I gather that the two of you have been on intimate terms in the past…?"

Momoi-chan showed her dimples again. "I love listening to you talk. You're so good at phrasing things." Her smile faded. "We did fool around for a while. All of us did, more or less, there for a while."

Shouichi blinked, startled. "Er. When you say all of you, that means… who is all of you?"

"Oh, the Generation of Miracles," she said, staggering him just a bit. "That was when things were still good, and for a while after, I guess."

"My goodness," Shouichi said, for want of anything better to say to this revelation. "I had no idea."

Momoi-chan lowered her eyes and smiled demurely, fooling him not at all—there was no doubt that she was laughing at him. "The boys did tend to have a lot of energy to burn, even after practice was over, or after games. Especially after games." Her smiled faded away. "That was in the beginning, when they were just beginning to bloom, before people started calling them Miracles, before everyone just… gave up."

Somehow, Shouichi didn't think she entirely meant all of Teikou's opponents by that. "I see. That must have been difficult."

"Yes." Momoi-chan looked down at her hands, folded together on the table in front of her. "It was. We tried to—stop it somehow, but it didn't work. We couldn't make it stick, and then everyone started drifting apart, and there wasn't anything we could do."

We, she said, which was fascinating and possibly linked to the name she hadn't said earlier. "Perhaps you lacked the authority you needed." Shouichi smiled when she looked up at him, surprised out of the place her memories had taken her. "As you said, you wouldn't have expected this approach to be the one that worked." Though it was less the technical details than the fact that he'd given Aomine something solid against which he could steady himself. Some authority he could trust not to give up the moment the brat pushed back, which must have been missing at Teikou.

Momoi-chan blinked at him and said, slowly, "I think that must be it. At least part of it, I'm sure." She knit her fingers together. "Thank you for—for everything you've done. I can't tell you how glad I am to see him acting more like himself. I wasn't sure it was a thing that could be done anymore. I'm glad I was wrong."

"You don't sound very glad," Shouichi noted, watching her.

She looked up, biting her lip as she met his eyes. "No, I am—I am, it's just… I just don't know—" She looked away form him again. "I don't want to—to upset the balance, if you understand what I mean."

He did, though he'd hoped that yesterday's negotiations with the brat had set her mind at ease. "Second thoughts," he said; she nodded without looking at him. "Let's put those aside for the moment. In fact, let's not think about your Dai-chan at all for a bit, even if that's a completely unnatural act. We can pretend that he's able to look after himself. I know it's a stretch, but I think you've got a good imagination."

Momoi-chan giggled, which was what he'd been aiming for. "That takes a lot of imagination."

"I know, but do your best. Picture a world where it's not your responsibility to look after him." She darted a glance at him, forehead creasing. "Just got with it, Momoi-chan. Picture it for me—all you have to do is worry about yourself."

She bit her lip until the color fled it. "Imayoshi-san—"

He carried on as though he hadn't heard anything. "Now, imagine that you don't feel the obligation to look after Aomine's interests at all times, maybe because he can take care of those himself or maybe because there's someone else doing it for you, a handsome team captain perhaps, tell me—what is it that you would want, sweetheart?"

Momoi-chan looked up at him, gone wide-eyed. "I—Imayoshi-san, you're—he can be so difficult, you don't really want to—"

"You just let me decide what I want to be responsible for," he said firmly. She stared at him, eyes wide and uncertain. It was a damned shame, really; she'd been let, or left, to manage Aomine all by her lonesome for much too long. "So, the only person you're responsible for is you. What do you want, Momoi-chan?"

"That," she whispered. "I want that—I'm so tired, Imayoshi-san. So tired."

"I'm not surprised." Shouichi opened his arms. "Come here, sweetheart."

She barely hesitated before pushing her chair back and coming to him; he wrapped his arms around her and tucked her under his chin. "There, now." He stroked her hair, silky beneath his fingers. "You're not on your own anymore, you don't have to do it all yourself. You can let me do the heavy lifting for a while."

Momoi-chan shook and made a sound that was almost certainly a sob. "Imayoshi-san—"

"Shh," he said, stroking her hair. "It's all right, sweetheart. You can put it down, and I'll look after the both of you, I promise."

There was no question that the next sound Momoi-chan uttered was a sob. Shouichi couldn't blame her for it; by the sound of it, she'd been carrying more than her fair share of responsibility for a year or more. He shushed her when she tried to apologize. "Go ahead. You'll feel better."

That did the trick; the next few minutes passed with Momoi-chan burrowed against his chest and getting the front of his shirt wet while he stroked her hair and let her cry herself out. Eventually her shoulders stopped heaving and the sounds she was making trailed off into wretched little sniffles.

Shouichi patted her back. "There, now. That's been building up for a while, hasn't it?"

Momoi-chan managed a shaky little laugh. "You could say that." She made a half-hearted attempt to pull away, but didn't object when Shouichi kept his arms right where they were. "I must be a mess."

"There is absolutely nothing I can say here that won't get me in trouble, so permit me to tell you that you are a feast for the eyes no matter what the circumstances," Shouichi said.

It made her giggle again, precisely as he'd meant it to. "Imayoshi-san, doesn't anything catch you without something clever to say?"

"Not much," he admitted. "Sometimes I sit around and make plans just so I'll have the right thing to say for any occasion."

Momoi-chan raised her flushed and tear-stained face from his chest and peered at him. "I can't tell whether you're serious or not, and that's the scary thing."

"It's all part of my mystique," Shouichi assured her. He reached for the tissues in his pocket and offered them to her so she could dry her cheeks.

She did, going shy right before his eyes. "I really shouldn't have—"

Shouichi placed his fingers on her lips, stopping her. "Now hush. Don't you go undoing all my good work by talking yourself out of this again. If I have to coax you back down from the edge again, I will, but don't you think there are better ways we could be spending our time?"

Momoi-chan bit her lip when he took his fingers away. "Why are you doing all this, Imayoshi-san? Why do you care?"

"Well, you're asking questions like that, that's part of it. You shouldn't be so surprised that you have a senpai wanting to look after you all, so even if I wasn't already captivated by the pair of you, I'd owe you some tending. It's part of what a captain is for." Shouichi shrugged. "Besides. The brat has his moments of being charming, and you have him beat hands down in that department. It's not a hardship, sweetheart."

She looked at him like she couldn't believe what he was saying. "Imayoshi-san…"

He wondered whether it was because she was too used to having Aomine demanding everyone's attention or because she just didn't know what to do with such open support from a senpai. Maybe it was both. It didn't matter, ultimately. "Let's start here, sweetheart." He tilted her chin up and kissed her, quick and chaste. "Let's not worry about why right now. Can you trust that I will look out for you?"

She lowered her eyes, shy, and said, "I think so."

"Good. We'll start there and build up from that." Shouichi leaned forward and kissed her forehead. "All right?"

She nodded, watching him from beneath her lashes. "Yes."

Shouichi nodded, settling for that starting place, and cuddled her close again, not at all surprised by how readily she allowed herself to be gathered in.

 
 

Daiki was in the middle of a perfectly good nap when someone plucked the book off his face and sunlight assaulted his eyelids, rousing him. "Damn it, Satsuki, I was asleep—"

"Yes, the snoring did sort of give you away."

Daiki pried his eyes open, squinting against the sun, but that definitely was Imayoshi squatting next to him, fanning himself idly with Mai-san's latest photobook. Daiki left questions like What are you doing up here? to the side, more important things on his mind. He sat up and snatched his book out of Imayoshi's hands before the guy could go and throw it off the building.

Imayoshi laughed as he cradled the book against his chest. "Relax, brat. Hinata-san is safe."

"Horikata," Daiki corrected him, insulted on Mai-san's behalf. "Don't you know anything?"

Imayoshi cocked his head to the side. "Apparently I don't. What's the difference?"

"Mai-san's boobs are much bigger," Daiki told him, ignoring the fact that Imayoshi was laughing at him without making a sound. Imayoshi spent a lot of time doing things like that.

"Ah, of course. My mistake. I don't know how I could have made such a foolish error."

"Neither do I," Daiki told him; the difference was obvious. Imayoshi didn't seem to have done any harm, so he laid the book aside tenderly. "What do you want, anyway?"

Imayoshi grinned at him, enjoying one of his private jokes. He did that a lot, annoying bastard. "I wanted the pleasure of your company, brat."

"Oh. Well, why didn't you just say so?" Daiki rolled his shoulders, feeling more cheerful, and ran his eyes over Imayoshi, speculative. "What do you want?"

Anticipation was already unrolling through his veins, slow and hot, and barely paused as Imayoshi said, "Actually—" He stopped and pursed his lips then, and ah, that was always a good sign, Imayoshi came up with some of the best ideas when he got that look on his face. Daiki smiled at him, pulse beating faster. Imayoshi came to a decision. "Get on your knees."

Sometimes the things he told Daiki to do had some give in them, like he expected Daiki to argue, even wanted him to. And sometimes he seemed to know how to reach down inside Daiki and hit the right button, the one that made it so Daiki couldn't imagine doing anything except what Imayoshi had told him to do. This was one of those times; Daiki tucked his feet beneath him, settling onto his knees and feeling the heat beating through him. "Like this?"

Imayoshi surveyed him. "Something like that." He pursed his lips again. "Take your shirt off."

Daiki shivered in spite of the heat, responding to the way Imayoshi just expected him to go along with whatever he said, and reached up to unknot his tie. Imayoshi watched him do it, showing no sign of what he was thinking, not that he ever did. Daiki wet his lips and unbuttoned his shirt, going slowly because his fingers felt thicker than usual, clumsy with that close attention. He shrugged out of his shirt, tossing it on top of the rolled-up bundle of his blazer—it made a good pillow—and cleared his throat. "Now what?"

"Our conversation with Momoi-chan the other day gave me all sorts of fascinating ideas." Imayoshi looked him up and down and didn't bother to hide the way his gaze lingered on Daiki's crotch and the way he was already starting to get hard. "I got the impression that she's something of a voyeur."

"Sometimes, yeah," Daiki agreed, thinking back to a few vivid memories. "If you give her a good show."

"Indeed. And I got the impression, though this is just a little theory of mine, that where you find a voyeur, you might also find an exhibitionist." Imayoshi was so calm, he could have been talking about anything. Daiki wet his lips again, shifting, trying to make some more room in his slacks for his cock. "So tell me, brat, do you like to be watched?"

Daiki shuddered, heat rolling down his spine; somehow, Imayoshi always knew. "Yes, sir."

"Certainly a matched set," Imayoshi murmured, wearing a funny smile, but that didn't matter, not when the next thing he said was, "Pinch your nipple."

"Oh, fuck," Daiki breathed, already lifting his hand, and he didn't know which was more powerful, the sharp twist of sensation or the realization of where Imayoshi was going with this.

"Mm." Imayoshi settled, sitting cross-legged on the rooftop and watching Daiki with narrowed eyes. "Now touch it. Lightly, with just your fingertip."

Daiki obeyed, brushing the pad of his finger over skin that was already tingling and sensitive, drawing little circles that made his breath come faster. Imayoshi watched him, had to be seeing the way his slacks were pulling tight at his crotch as he touched sensitive, pebbled skin, but he didn't say anything until Daiki parted his lips, needed to gulp in deeper breaths of humid summer air. "Pinch it again, hard this time. And hold it." He smiled, showing teeth. "Like you imagine I would."

Imayoshi wouldn't show any mercy; Daiki pinched his nipple between his forefinger and thumb and grunted at the sharpness of the ache, pain twisted around pleasure that drove right to his cock. "Sir," he said as the sharpness turned into an ache, spreading across his chest and pooling in the pit of his stomach; he bit his lip as Imayoshi said nothing, but the edge of his teeth only added to the sensation. "Sir, please—"

"Hold it," Imayoshi said, and there was no question of disobeying him.

Daiki gasped in deep breaths, but it didn't do any good. His chest ached as though there weren't any air to breathe, and all his attention was narrowing down to the burning, aching point on his chest and the way his cock throbbed between his thighs and the weight of Imayoshi's eyes watching him. "Sir, please, it's—"

"Hold it," Imayoshi said again, smiling. "And do the other one too, while you're at it."

Daiki groaned, helpless to keep his hips from jerking up (for all the good that did him). "Oh, fuck…"

"That was an order." Imayoshi's voice was like the sound a whip made when it cracked. Daiki gasped and lifted his other hand, closing his fingers on his nipple and pinching it hard. The fresh stab of sensation had him jerking his hips again, panting as his cock strained against the confines of his slacks, tight enough now to be almost unbearable.

Imayoshi hummed the way he did when he was pleased. "You know, I do believe I could get you to come in your pants just from making you play with yourself. I wonder if you'd like that? You'd have an interesting time getting anywhere on campus afterwards without someone seeing the stain, though."

"Fuck," Daiki breathed, drawing taut against the twin stars burning against his chest and the insistent, aching weight of his cock, torn between dizzying, bewildering arousal and alarm. "Don't, please, I can't—"

"No, I reckon not," Imayoshi said, slow. "That might be taking it a bit too far." He shrugged. "Oh, well. You can let go now."

It was the way he said it, like it was an afterthought, that made Daiki whimper more than the relief when he let go, though his chest ached and tingled with renewed circulation. "Thank you, sir."

"Don't ever say I never did anything nice for you." Imayoshi smiled. "Undo your pants before you split a seam, brat."

Daiki groaned with relief, his hands flying to his button and zipper and taking the pressure off his cock by undoing them. "Thank you, sir."

"Mm, don't thank me just yet." Imayoshi leaned back on his hands, lounging on them. "Take it out, and then put your hands behind your back."

Daiki swallowed hard and did as he'd been told, sliding his hand into his underwear and drawing his cock free, hissing between his teeth a little as he did, and then put his hands behind his back, clasping them together.

"Mm-mm-mm, look at you." Imayoshi looked him up and down, and if it hadn't already been clear that he was enjoying himself, there wouldn't have been any doubts left by the way he spread a hand over the front of his slacks and began rubbing himself through the fabric. "I have to hand it to you, brat, I've never met anyone who was as good at looking lewd as you are."

Daiki licked his lips. "Are you just gonna look?"

"Well, I don't know just yet." Imayoshi raked his eyes up and down Daiki's body again. "Spread your knees some more—no, more, as wide as they'll go—yes, like that." By the time he was satisfied, Daiki's thighs were feeling the stretch and he was spread as open as he could be. Imayoshi hummed again and Daiki saw him squeeze himself. "Yes, that's better. Positively pornographic, really—and just look at how wet you are. You really do like showing off, don't you?"

Daiki looked down at the head of his cock, gleaming wet and beaded with precome, thrusting up obscenely from the opened fly of his slacks. When he looked up again, Imayoshi was smiling at him. "Touch your chest again. Lightly, like I would if I were teasing you."

Daiki closed his eyes, taking a deep breath as he unclasped his hands from behind his back, and then he skimmed his fingertips up his stomach and over his chest, drawing circles around his nipples. Even that was enough stimulation to make him groan as he traced his fingers over hypersensitive skin. "Sir…"

"Are you imagining that those are my hands on you?"

He hadn't been, exactly, but now he was, imagining what it would be like to be blindfolded and have Imayoshi touching him, hands light and certain as he worked to drive Daiki crazy. He groaned again, heat throbbing through him, and Imayoshi laughed delightedly. "I can see your cock twitching from here, brat."

Daiki opened his eyes. Imayoshi was smirking, watching him closely. "Please, sir," he said, hoarse with how hard he was and the fact that Imayoshi hadn't given him permission to do anything more than tease his fingers over his chest. "Please."

"Mm, I do like how nicely you're asking." Imayoshi cupped himself through his slacks. "All right. Touch your cock—just the head, now, don't go getting too frisky before I say so."

Daiki groaned again as he reached down and brushed his fingers over his cock, sticky-wet and hot and so sensitive that even that light touch was enough to twist pleasure through him. He slid his fingers over the slit, tracing it lightly, conscious of the way Imayoshi was watching him, utterly intent on the way Daiki circled his fingers over the head of himself. He was flexing his own hand against his cock, slow. When Daiki realized he was matching Daiki's own rhythm, it jolted him, a bolt of heat that went right through him and made his cock twitch underneath his fingers as he groaned, wordless.

He almost missed Imayoshi's next command in the haze of pleasure. "You've got two hands, brat. Pinch your nipple again and don't let go."

Daiki shuddered, groaning breathlessly with the way need was already dragging on him, pulling every nerve he possessed taut. He closed his fingers on his nipple and couldn't help the way the stinging ache made him cry out, the sharp contrast acting like a current from his chest to his cock. "Sir…!"

Imayoshi smiled as Daiki panted, his entire body pulled tight between his own two hands. "We could film you for cash, and that is a fact," he murmured, soft as velvet. "I wonder if you'd like that, knowing you were being filmed for people to watch and beat off to?" Daiki gasped, a ripple of something he couldn't name moving through him, and Imayoshi's smile stretched even wider. "I think you would. Maybe that can be your fall-back career, hm?"

His voice was starting to sound as though it were coming from a distance; the thunder of his own pulse and the dueling sensations of pain and pleasure were in the way, both mounting with each passing second and threatening to overcome him. "Please," he said, "please, sir, let me—please—"

Imayoshi hummed, thoughtful. "I almost think I should take a picture just so you can see yourself and how you look when you want it so badly.

Daiki whimpered, the idea shaking him, unspeakably filthy, and Imayoshi—

Imayoshi reached into a pocket and took out his phone. "You want it?" he asked, holding it up and arching an eyebrow. "Maybe to share with Momoi-chan later?"

"Yes," Daiki gasped, and then he was coming, bucking helplessly as orgasm ripped through him, unstoppable as an avalanche. He shouted something, he didn't know what, as his cock pulsed over his fingers, and somehow the little artificial shutter sounds Imayoshi's phone made as he took picture after picture was even louder than the sound of his own voice and his own breath rasping loud in his ears, louder even than the thunder of his pulse as he slumped and dropped a hand down, planting it on the sun-hot roof to brace himself as he came down.

"Fuck," Imayoshi said, his voice gone hoarse.

Daiki raised his head in time to see him put his phone down and reach for his fly. Daiki passed his tongue over his lips, wetting them as Imayoshi unfastened his slacks and got his cock out. "Sir," he said, wanting.

Imayoshi paused with his fist wrapped around his cock. "Yeah, brat?"

It was hard to make himself move when his entire body was so heavy and warm, but Daiki did it anyway, crawling across the little space between them until he was close enough to lay his fingers against the head of Imayoshi's cock where it peeked out of his fist, flushed dark compared to the pale skin of his fingers. Imayoshi sucked in a sharp breath, and Daiki looked up at him. "Let me? Please?"

Imayoshi exhaled shakily and uncurled his fingers. "By all means," he said. "Be my guest." He uncrossed his legs and spread them, letting Daiki crawl between them, and groaned softly as Daiki lowered his head and guided his cock into his mouth. "Fuck, brat…"

His voice wrapped warm around Daiki, warmer than the sun on his bare shoulders. He ran his tongue over the head of Imayoshi's cock, stroking the flat of it over the velvet-soft skin, and paused when an idea occurred to him. He looked up at Imayoshi, who was watching him with eyes gone dark. "You could take more pictures for Satsuki," he suggested. "If you wanted."

Imayoshi groaned, low, and slid his fingers through Daiki's hair. "Fuck, brat. Are you sure?"

"Yeah," Daiki said, because he wouldn't have said anything otherwise, and lowered his head again to lap at the head of Imayoshi's cock. After a moment, Imayoshi shifted like he was reaching for something, and Daiki heard the soft click of the shutter sound effect as he wrapped his lips around Imayoshi's cock and sucked it into his mouth.

That was good; Satsuki would enjoy these, probably every bit as much as Imayoshi was enjoying taking them, if the way he was breathing hard, gasping as Daiki tongued the head of him, was anything to go by. After a moment, he leaned back, bracing himself on his off hand, and Daiki was able to look up his body, right at the phone and Imayoshi's face behind it, flushed, and the way it changed as he slid his mouth down Imayoshi's cock, letting it slide over his tongue to the rapid sound of Imayoshi taking picture after picture of Daiki swallowing him down. "Fuck," he said; his voice had gone hoarse and deep. "Fuck, brat…"

Daiki hummed to him in reply, around the thickness of his cock and the way it felt to have Imayoshi watching him like that. He hummed again when Imayoshi groaned and rocked his hips up, nudging his cock deeper down Daiki's throat. It stroked heat down his spine again, slow and relaxed, and he reached down to cup his cock, just holding it as Imayoshi fucked his throat and he began to get hard again.

Imayoshi groaned again. "You really are an exhibitionist, aren't you? You vain brat, you're enjoying this way too much." He was rocking his hips steadily now, his cock sliding back and forth over Daiki's tongue. "I'll bet you'll like going through these pictures I'm taking, won't you?" Daiki groaned as the idea went straight to his cock—he hadn't thought that far ahead, but now that Imayoshi had mentioned it, it sounded pretty good. He wrapped his hand around his cock, stroking himself firmly and half-expecting Imayoshi to admonish him for it.

Imayoshi did laugh, breathless. "You would, huh? Just look at you jerking yourself off over the idea. Just look at the size of your ego." He was moving faster, rocking his hips up hard and fast as his breathing turned ragged. "Wanting to look at pictures of yourself getting fucked, probably jerking off to them too, since just the thought of it has you going right now…"

Daiki groaned, deep, because that sounded like a great idea to him. Imayoshi shuddered, his cock twitching against Daiki's tongue, warning enough that Daiki was already pulling off him in time to take it as he came, splattering hot across his mouth and chin to the sound of the shutter clicking steadily. "Fuck," Imayoshi groaned, hoarse, almost like he couldn't believe what he was seeing. "Fuck, just look at you…"

Daiki passed his tongue over his lips, licking them clean as he stroked himself harder. "Do I look good?" he asked, pushing himself up a little, far enough to let Imayoshi get a good look at him—a good shot if he wanted.

"You look obscene," Imayoshi told him, lingering over each syllable as he raised his phone and the shutter clicked. "I've never seen anything as obscene as you are right now, or anyone as absolutely wanton—"

Daiki groaned, because Imayoshi all but purred those words, wrapping them around him like a caress, and he couldn't help the way he had to tighten his fist to stroke himself harder.

"You filthy, vain brat," Imayoshi murmured. "I've never known anyone so self-absorbed, anyone as dirty as you are I don't know what Momoi-chan is going to say when she sees how depraved you are—"

Daiki came, groaning as he spilled himself over his fingers again, because fuck, Satsuki, he'd almost forgotten that she was going to be seeing these pictures later. If Imayoshi didn't know what she'd say, he did. Pleasure wrung him out, relentless, and left him so limp and spent that it was only natural to slump forward, sprawling between Imayoshi's legs and pillowing his head on Imayoshi's thigh. He heard the shutter click a couple more times, then he felt Imayoshi's hand settling against the curve of his skull, shaping itself to fit as Imayoshi rubbed his thumb against Daiki's temple. He didn't say anything right away, letting Daiki rest right where he was until Daiki was on the verge of drifting back into his interrupted nap.

Of course that was when Imayoshi decided to flick his ear. "Don't go to sleep on me just yet."

Daiki cracked an eye open; Imayoshi was looking down at him, wearing one of his funny looks that Daiki didn't have any idea how to figure out. He closed his eyes again, but Imayoshi flicked his ear again, this time firmly enough to sting. "I mean it, brat. I need to ask you something."

That was worth grumbling over. Daiki very reluctantly opened his eyes. "Why?"

"Momoi-chan," Imayoshi said it like it was supposed to explain everything.

Daiki waited for him to go on. When he didn't, he asked, "What about her?"

Imayoshi made a face and muttered something under his breath about boundaries, though Daiki failed to see what that had to do with Satsuki. "You were awfully excited about sending her dirty pictures of you sucking me off. You still feeling that way, or are you gonna have second thoughts now that you're not thinking with your little head?"

That made even less sense than Imayoshi did when he was trying to make some point or another but was feeling obscure. Daiki squinted up at him. "Why would I have second thoughts? Satsuki'll enjoy the fuck out of them."

Imayoshi snorted. "You'll understand if I double-check with her before I bombard her with pornography."

"Suit yourself." Daiki wriggled himself into a slightly more comfortable position. Then a thought occurred to him. "If you get pictures of her, you don't have to ask me if I want to see them. The answer is yes."

Huh. Imayoshi actually looked surprised—yeah, surprised, his eyebrows had just about hit his hairline and he looked like he had no idea what to say next. "I… see."

"You probably won't, though. Satsuki's awfully careful about that kind of thing."

Imayoshi seemed to be recovering from whatever had surprised him. "Momoi-chan is wiser than her years."

"Well, yeah." He would have thought Imayoshi would have already figured that out, but then, Satsuki did like making people underestimate her.

"Mm. So it wouldn't bother you if Momoi-chan and I had sex?"

Daiki opened his eyes and peered up at Imayoshi, but he looked like he was asking seriously. "No. Why would it?" Hadn't they already settled this, anyway?

Imayoshi sighed. "I don't know, maybe because you and I are already having sex on a regular basis? And I gather you and she were sleeping together at one point, though not anymore."

"I guess it's been a while," Daiki admitted. Satsuki had drifted away from them, not the first to do it, but definitely the second. "So what?"

Imayoshi looked down at him, not saying anything at all and looking sort of frustrated, too. "So I am trying to figure out whether we're going to have any trouble with jealousy. We do have a tournament coming up, in case you've forgotten, and I need my entire team to be functioning in top form." He flicked Daiki's ear again. "If one or the other of you two brats is eating your heart out over the other one, that won't help us win." He flicked Daiki's ear yet again. "And I have a responsibility to the two of you to make sure you're comfortable with our little arrangement, and I owe it to you both to make damn sure I don't fuck you up any more than you already are."

Daiki started to protest that—just who was Imayoshi calling fucked up, anyway?—but the guy did have a point, sort of. If he squinted. "Yeah, well, good luck with that."

"I don't intend to rely on luck, you brat." Imayoshi flicked his ear one more time. "That's lazy thinking. So will you please help me out just this once and tell me if there are going to be any problems now that I'm taking up with Momoi-chan?"

"Only if you make her cry, I guess."

Imayoshi gazed down at him and shook his head. "It is reassuring that you're so ready to come to her defense, I suppose."

Daiki snorted at him. "She doesn't usually need it, but you're a sneaky bastard. I'm keeping an eye on you."

"Your utter disregard for the respect due to your captain never fails to delight me." Imayoshi switched gears while Daiki was still puzzling through that; he slid his hand over and gripped the back of Daiki's neck, holding him, and flipped over to captain mode between one heartbeat and the next. "If you figure out you do have a problem with this after all, you'll tell me. Understood?"

Daiki took a deep breath, caught off guard—it wasn't fair for Imayoshi to just spring that kind of thing on him, not when he knew damn well what kind of an effect it had on Daiki. He let his breath out slowly, turning himself to Imayoshi's hand like iron filings turned to a magnet. "Sir—"

"I need you to tell me," Imayoshi said, holding him tightly. "This is important. I can't take care of you both if I don't know when there are problems, so you have to tell me. I can't guess, and you can't rely on Momoi-chan to do it for you, because she's in this just as deep as you are. Do you understand?" He squeezed Daiki's nape, his fingers firm.

No matter what Imayoshi liked to say, he wasn't stupid. He got it, felt it deep in his bones like a warm glow, it was just—"Why does it matter so much?" he asked. When Imayoshi was holding him like this, all commanding captain about it, it was okay to ask that kind of question, confused and open about it. It was safe, which was a funny thing to think about a guy who used sarcasm like a deadly weapon, but there it was anyway.

This time wasn't any different; Imayoshi squeezed his nape again and rubbed his thumb against Daiki's skin. "Because I have to take care of you both," he said, dragging his thumb back and forth along a line of muscle until Daiki wanted to moan with how good it felt. "I owe it to you because I'm your captain and because I've taken charge of you the way I have, and I want to for reasons I think we'll leave alone right now." He paused then, rubbing Daiki's nape slowly. "We've coasted so far, you understand? So far I've been able to figure you out, and when I was guessing, I was lucky enough to guess right. But it's going to be a lot more complicated now, even if the two of you are closer than anyone I've ever seen. I need you to help me make this work. That's why it matters."

That was—that was a lot to take in all at once like that, big and complicated in a way that made Daiki want to squirm. "You're being awfully careful about this."

Imayoshi didn't even blink. "Of course I am. Why wouldn't I be?"

Because—only Daiki couldn’t get any further than that, not even for his own sake, other than the fact that it was different. He said so, and Imayoshi's expression went still again, before he shrugged slightly and squeezed Daiki's nape again. "Then I imagine this will be a learning experience for all of us, won't it?" he raised his eyebrows again. "But you'll do what I asked?"

"Yeah, if that's what you want. I don't think it's as big a deal as you're trying to make it."

"Let's hope that you're right," Imayoshi told him. Then he shrugged his solemn mood aside. "So. Are you going to want copies of these pictures, too?"

"Well, yeah." He had a right to see how they had turned out, didn't he?

Imayoshi laughed and ruffled his hair. "Vain creature." But then he settled his hand in Daiki's hair again, stroking it, so Daiki only grumbled a little.

That seemed to be the end of Imayoshi's talkative mood; he didn't say anything else, even when Daiki shut his eyes again, ready to resume his interrupted nap, and it was a while before he finally nudged Daiki off his lap and suggested they get cleaned up to go back to class—"Or at least so you don't end up with a sunburn on your dick, since I know what a dedicated scholar you are," he said when Daiki didn't budge.

Daiki couldn't argue with that, not really, and Imayoshi ruffled his hair one last time before heading off to class, or whatever. "I'll see you at practice."

"Yeah, yeah." Daiki rolled his eyes, but Imayoshi just nodded in apparent satisfaction before strolling away and leaving him to finish napping the afternoon away.

 
 

"A question for you, Momoi-chan." Imayoshi-san sounded perfectly casual, though that didn't really mean anything—he was capable of saying the most astonishing things in the same offhanded tone he'd use to comment on the weather.

Satsuki tucked her clipboard against her chest, well aware that she was taking refuge behind it and that Imayoshi-san could probably tell what she was doing, too. "Yes, Imayoshi-san?"

He smiled at her, his eyes gleaming just enough to make her take notice. "It's nothing important, just that I happened to take some pictures earlier. Aomine suggested that I ought to send you copies. He seemed to think that you'd appreciate them."

Satsuki took a quick breath, tightening her fingers on the clipboard. She was very proud of how calmly she said, "I didn't know you were a photographer."

Imayoshi-san shrugged. "Only on a strictly casual basis, when I see something worth the fuss." He grinned at her. "So? Shall I send them your way? They are fairly striking, if you like that sort of thing. Aomine seemed to think you would."

Satsuki had to clear her throat; the gym suddenly felt extremely warm. "Dai-chan does have a better idea of these things than you'd expect him to."

"Hidden depths, yes," Imayoshi-san agreed. "So should I take that as a yes?"

Satsuki hesitated—to say yes would be to commit herself, with all the risks to Dai-chan's newly discovered balance that entailed. On the other hand, Imayoshi-san had promised to take responsibility for that. She bit her lip, conscious that he was watching her, waiting for her decision, all smiles and patience. He could probably tell what she was thinking, he had a disturbingly accurate talent for that, but he didn't press her to accept the offer. And he probably wouldn't press her about the one he'd make after this one, either, whichever way she came down today. Satsuki took a breath. "Why not? Since you thought it would be worth the fuss."

Imayoshi-san's smile changed, softening at the edges. "I think you'll agree that they are," he told her, full of approval. "I'll send them later on." He tipped his head to her and drifted back to practice, insinuating himself between Dai-chan and Wakamatsu before their idle squabble could get out of hand.

Satsuki relaxed her shoulders, feeling shaky with—anticipation? Or was it nerves? She wasn't entirely sure, except that her legs felt shaky and her stomach was fluttering. She shook herself and did what she could to put the matter out of her mind while she went to observe the drills that the second string were running.

 
 

There was one thing Satsuki could say with absolute certainty, and it was this: Dai-chan didn't even know the meaning of the word subtle. She would have liked to have pretended she couldn’t tell what was on his mind when he fell into step with her on the way to afternoon practice, but that was clearly impossible. Dai-chan's smile stretched a little too wide, and his eyes were just a little too hot over his lazy smirk. "Hey," he said, slinging an arm around her shoulder. "Seen anything interesting lately?"

"No, why? Should I have?" That was an outright lie; Satsuki had a new folder on her computer that was carefully encrypted and password locked, and her wrist was still a little sore, all thanks to Imayoshi-san's generosity.

Dai-chan knew her too well to be taken in that easily, at least when he was paying attention. And he was paying attention, looking down at her like he actually saw her. "Shame," he said. "You should check the junk folder on your email, maybe."

"Why? I don't need to see any emails trying to con me into sharing my bank password."

Dai-chan snorted. "Yeah, well, who does? But you should check it anyway. Imayoshi sent us something interesting."

"Mm, I think I did see something from him, now that you mention it." Satsuki glanced up at Dai-chan, peeking at him from beneath her lashes. "Was it important?"

"I dunno, it was just some pictures. Thought you might like them." His tone was casual—mostly casual, though Satsuki thought there was something else behind it, like a trace of—what? It wasn't something she was used to seeing on Dai-chan's face.

"Ohhhh," she said. "That email."

Dai-chan grinned. "Yeah, that email. Like it?"

Truly, vanity's name was Aomine Daiki, but even as Satsuki thought it, something checked her—that edge of strangeness in Dai-chan's tone, something like—uncertainty, maybe? But Dai-chan was never uncertain, he had ego coming out his ears. Satsuki glanced up at him again and couldn't fault her instincts; he did have something like a trace of anxiety lurking in his eyes. "Yes," she said after a moment of hesitation. "They were very nice pictures, Dai-chan."

He grinned down at her, uncertainty melting away. "They were, weren't they?" He nudged her. "Did you enjoy them?"

There was enough filthy innuendo in his tone alone that the way he waggled his eyebrows at her was purely overkill.

"Very subtle, Dai-chan," Satsuki said, dry.

"I thought so, too." Dai-chan preened without any apparent sense of irony. "So, did you?"

Satsuki gave him her primmest look. "I don't believe it's any of your business whether I did or not."

"You totally did," Dai-chan said, grinning hugely. "You can't fool me, I know you."

"I'm not going to dignify that with a response," Satsuki informed him.

"So you really enjoyed them," Dai-chan concluded, clearly satisfied by this intelligence. "Figured you would."

"I certainly enjoy knowing that I have blackmail material on you to last me forever," Satsuki said.

"Blackmail?" Dai-chan gave her an offended look. "Is that all you got out of that? See if I share anything nice with you ever again."

Satsuki couldn't help herself; she laughed. "You're something else, Dai-chan, you know that?"

"Of course I am," he said, wearing his arrogance unselfconsciously and making it look better than it had any right to.

Satsuki snorted and they walked a little farther. Then Dai-chan said, "It kind of is my business, though. Isn't it?"

She looked up at him, surprised by this turn in their conversation. "How's that?"

Dai-chan gave her a sort of shrug that could have meant anything. "Well, you know. With Imayoshi."

Satsuki blinked, starting to see where he was coming from after all, which didn't mean she knew how to feel about it.

While she tried to puzzle that out, Dai-chan fumbled on. "Guess it's been a while, but you kind of looked like you liked the idea the other day, so I figured maybe you weren't mad at me any more, so… yeah."

"Mad at you?" Satsuki said, just a bit blankly. "Where did you get the idea that I was mad at you from?"

"I dunno, maybe the way you went all…" Dai-chan waved his hands, the gesture vague. "…weird and distant and stopped… well, you know. If that's not you being mad, what the hell was it?"

Satsuki stopped walking and looked up at Dai-chan, who stopped as well, gazing down at her and looking perplexed. She found that it was difficult to keep her voice steady. "I wasn't angry."

Dai-chan didn't seem to believe her. "Then what were you?"

Satsuki opened her mouth; what came out wasn't anything she'd meant to say. "I was scared, Dai-chan, I was so scared for you and for everyone else."

That wasn't what he'd expected to hear, either, and for a second he looked downright baffled. Then he scoffed. "You worry too much, Satsuki. I'm fine. We're all of us fine."

"Tetsu-kun isn't fine," Satsuki snapped. "He's not fine and you know it, so don't tell me everyone is fine."

That was the first time either of them had spoken that name in months, and Dai-chan flinched from it the way she'd thought he would. And that pissed him off, she could see it. "That's not my fault, I don't know why you're blaming it on me."

"You were his best friend," Satsuki pointed out, knowing it for hopeless even as she said it.

Dai-chan scowled. "Yeah, and he's the one who fucked off without saying anything."

"Didn't you ever stop and wonder why?" Satsuki pressed. He fidgeted and avoided her eyes. "Dai-chan, how was he supposed to put up with the rest of you after—" After that awful game, after the rest of them had toyed with their opponents like cats toyed with mice, nothing but malicious pleasure in the fact that they could, and it had become clear just how broken Teikou really was.

"Oh, like that's fair," Dai-chan said. "Like we can help being this good when he's—" He stopped and Satsuki was grateful, because if he'd finished that sentence there might not have been any way she could have found to forgive him.

She drew a breath and changed her approach. "You changed," she said finally. "After they started calling all of you Miracles, you changed. You stopped enjoying basketball, you stopped enjoying anything at all. It was like you didn't even see anyone else. That's why I was scared. There was something really wrong and I didn't know how to fix it."

Dai-chan heaved a huge, put-upon sigh. "You worry way too much."

And you don't worry enough, she thought but didn't say. What would be the point? "Maybe that's true, but whatever you want to call it, you were different, you were all different, and I didn't want to sleep with anyone who acted like all I was to them was a warm hole." And maybe it had been stupid, but she'd hoped that it would get their attention, would get Dai-chan's attention, and help somehow.

Dai-chan made a sound; when she checked, he looked genuinely shocked. "Satsuki."

She wrapped her arms around herself, cold in spite of the summer heat. "That's what it felt like by the end. Messing around with one another wasn't fun, it was awful—" Like the boys were all looking for a way to keep themselves from facing what they'd become, how it had all gone so badly wrong.

Dai-chan stared down at her. "You—fuck, why didn't you say something?" He sounded horrified, looked it too; it was a measure of everything awful that the past year had been that seeing his horror made her feel obscurely better.

"I didn't know how. You didn't even seem to notice anything was wrong." Satsuki looked away from him and his hurt expression. "You've been… things have seemed better for you lately. I'm really glad." And if she was lucky, Dai-chan wouldn't notice the little shake in her voice.

The next thing she knew, she had a face full of Dai-chan's shirt and Dai-chan wrapped around her. "Dai-chan…?"

"You should have said something." She couldn't see his face, not with him doing his best imitation of a grabby octopus, but he sounded shaken. "I would have listened. Fuck, you know I always listen to you, right?"

"For a while, it didn't seem like you did."

She was close enough to hear the way his throat clicked as he swallowed. "I would have listened. I really would have."

He hadn't listened to Tetsu-kun, though, and Satsuki was still pretty sure Tetsu-kun had ranked just as high as she had in Dai-chan's priorities, at least for a while. But she didn't say so. "Well, it's too late now, so I guess it doesn't really matter."

Dai-chan made an unhappy sound. "I would've done something if I'd known," he insisted. "You know that, right? I don't—you shouldn't have to feel like that, not ever."

"I know." Dai-chan always acted whenever he saw that she was upset. That had always been true. The problem was whether he'd see it or not, and his performance on that front had been pretty dire for a while now.

"Aw, geez, Satsuki." He rested his chin on top of her head. It wasn't very comfortable, but Satsuki forgot about that when he added, "Maybe we were more fucked up than I thought, if it was that bad and you didn't say anything."

Satsuki's breath shook as she let it out. "I think it really was," she told his chest. "I could see you all changing, and there wasn't anything I could do about it. It was awful."

"Geez," Dai-chan said, squeezing her more tightly. It made it hard to breathe, but Satsuki wasn't going to complain. He hesitated a bit before asking, tentative, "It's not… it's better now, right?"

It was such a relief to hear him asking, to hear him noticing, that Satsuki felt her eyes stinging. "Yeah," she told him. "It's getting better." Imayoshi-san worked miracles in his own way, it seemed.

Dai-chan sighed. "Good." He pulled back enough to scowl at her. "Next time, say something, for fuck's sake. You know I'm not the smart one."

His irritation would have been a lot more convincing if he hadn't still looked worried.

Satsuki smiled a little. "I suppose that's true enough."

He made another face at her. "Yeah, yeah." He still looked worried around the edges, awkward and unsure.

Satsuki cleared her throat and wriggled free of him before dusting her hands briskly. "If we don't hurry, you're going to be late for practice, and I don't think Imayoshi-san would like that very much."

Dai-chan let her change the subject and grinned. "I dunno, he might like the excuse."

"That's not the way I heard it," Satsuki said, since Imayoshi-san had sounded pretty definite the other day.

Dai-chan's grin just stretched wider. "You think so?" He nudged her with his elbow. "Maybe you should stick around and see for yourself, huh? You know… if you wanna."

Satsuki took a quick breath at the invitation. "Yeah? Maybe I should, at that." She elbowed him. "But I'm not kidding, we're going to be late if we don't hurry."

Dai-chan laughed and slung his arm around her shoulders as he started moving again. "If you insist."

Satsuki followed along, letting his anticipation buoy her up. They would just have to see which one of them was right.

 
 

If he was not mistaken—and Shouichi did not think he was—it was probably a good thing that he hadn't made any plans for his evening. Both the brat and his lovely cohort in crime had come skidding into practice just under the wire, and Aomine wasn't even bothering to be sorry about it. What was more, Momoi had a distinctly thoughtful expression—one might even go so far as to call in contemplative. Shouichi couldn't help noticing that it got more pronounced any time she happened to be looking his way.

Well. It certainly looked as though the two of them had reached some kind of accord. This promised to be interesting.

Shouichi did his best to pretend blithe indifference to them both on principle that he had told them both that he expected to be asked to share his favors. It was much too soon to start making exceptions to that. Besides, he was curious to see what they had in mind.

Practice went smoothly, barring some squabbling between Aomine and Wakamatsu, who just didn't know how not to rise to the bait when it was offered him. But that was normal; the two of them weren't ever going to be cordial BFFs as far as Shouichi could see, but the certainly could play basketball together. That was really all that mattered at the end of the day.

When Shouichi called for the end of practice, Aomine elected to stick around with the rest of them for extra practice. That was new, which was how Shouichi justified ambling over to make inquiries. "What's the occasion, brat?"

Aomine might have thought he looked innocent, but he really didn't. "What do you mean?"

Shouichi gestured at the nearly empty gymnasium and the core of the club, most of whom were watching with open interest. "You don't tend to stick around once practice ends if you can help it."

Aomine gave him an offended look. "Make up your mind, geez. You want me at practice or don't you?"

"Well, I reckon here is better than not," Shouichi conceded, amused.

Aomine huffed. "There you go. Geez." He plucked one of the basketballs out of the bin and glanced Shouichi's way. "Thought maybe you'd want to go over some things with me and Satsuki."

"If you like," Shouichi said, turning away so the brat wouldn't catch sight of his grin.

The rest of the guys looked somewhat disappointed by such a mundane exchange, but then, life was all about learning to cope with let-downs. Shouichi picked a hoop and set about practicing lay-ups, waiting for the moment the brat realized he'd just committed himself to actual extra practice. Momoi had already put it together, judging by the way she was politely hiding her giggles behind her hand.

It didn't take as long as Shouichi had feared it might; Aomine looked around the gym as Shouichi got to work. The flash of his dismay was sudden and plain to read. Then, displaying more maturity than Shouichi would have given him credit for possessing, he shook his head and claimed a hoop for himself as well. Shouichi tucked that away for later consideration—it was starting to be very clear that Aomine alone was a very different critter from the Aomine half of Aomine-and-Momoi—and focused on basketball.

As the hour grew later, the rest of the team peeled one by one, most of them earlier than they usually went. Susa was one of the last off the court, lingering to chivvy Wakamatsu along, and the glance he tossed Shouichi's way as they went was, perhaps, just a little too knowing for Shouichi's comfort. On the other hand, he hadn't said anything and neither had anyone else on the team, so perhaps he'd just managed to condition them all into giving him room and privacy to conduct Aomine's private training sessions.

A man could hope, anyhow.

Or it could have just been that they were all disgusted with how Aomine spent his extra training time practicing the kinds of trick shots that defied belief, logic, and occasionally physics as well. Certainly that was the kind of thing that could give anyone a complex.

Whatever their reasons, Shouichi was glad to see the back of them and passed some time watching Aomine amuse himself. Was he playing a little more freely these days? Shouichi didn't much care for the practice of wishful thinking, since it was too easy to be disappointed by such things, but even so. Maybe Aomine was a little more settled in himself these days.

Shouichi dismissed the thought when the last of the team had filtered back out of the locker room, heading out on their various ways, and tossed his ball back into the bin. Aomine looked around when he clapped his hands and Momoi rose from her seat on the bleachers, dropping the last of her books into her bag. "We done already?"

Shouichi chose to interpret that as a good sign. "Yes, brat, we are. We've all got places to be, things to do."

Aomine pitched his ball into the bin, off-handed and without looking, the brat. "I thought you were going to go over some things with me and Satsuki."

Shouichi kept himself from laughing, but just barely. "Was there something in particular you had in mind?"

Momoi descended from the bleachers and crossed the floor to them. She was flushed pink, but she said, "We thought that maybe I could watch you with Dai-chan."

Shouichi noted the we of that and considered the two of them as Aomine slouched over and draped an arm around her shoulder. It was more suggestive than he thought either of them realized it was, and wasn't exactly what he'd promised Momoi, either. He tapped a finger against his chin. "Is that really true?" he asked Momoi. Before she could open her mouth and commit herself, he raised a hand. "Is that what you want, sweetheart?"

Momoi flushed; Aomine looked confounded. "That's what she said, isn't it—?"

He stopped when Shouichi stepped close enough to close his hand on Aomine's nape and hold him. "Remember what we talked about," he told Momoi while the brat made a pleased sound, settling under his hand. "What do you want?"

Momoi's eyes went wide; she darted a glance between the two of them. Shouichi shook his head at her slightly as she looked at Aomine; she caught her lip between her teeth in an entirely charming fashion. "I," she said, clasping her fingers together. "I don't—I don't want to just watch."

Shouichi smiled at her, pleased. "Then don't," he said as he stretched his other hand out to her.

Even though her cheeks were rose-red, she reached out and laid her hand in his without hesitation.

"Huh," Aomine said. He was looking back and forth between the two of them, a little line drawn between his eyebrows. He just shook his head when Shouichi raised his eyebrows at him. "Never mind. So, hey, are we going to stand around here all night, or…?" He trailed off into a heavy, suggestive silence.

"I am going to have to teach you some patience one of these days," Shouichi decided.

"Good luck with that," Momoi said, not quite under her breath.

Shouichi snorted, since that was a valid point, and inclined his head to them both. "Shall we step into my office?"

"You don't have an office—oh," Aomine said as Shouichi steered them towards the locker room. "That office."

"It's a good thing he's so good at basketball, isn't it?" Shouichi said to Momoi, who giggled, still pink.

"Hey," Aomine objected, though not with any particular heat.

Shouichi rolled his eyes at Momoi, who giggled again, and ushered them into the locker room. "Pardon me just a moment," he said to them, turning them loose in order to go to his locker to retrieve certain essential supplies.

When he turned back around, the two of them had drawn closer to one another. Aomine was looking down at Momoi, wearing a question on his face that Shouichi couldn't interpret. Momoi was looking back at Aomine, no less inscrutable, and for the moment, as far as the two of them were concerned, it was clear there wasn't anyone else in the room.

Shouichi held his peace and waited, since they certainly didn't need him to insert himself into the silent conversation they were conducting. As he watched, Momoi decided on her answer. She reached out and rested her palm on Aomine's chest, and Aomine—

Aomine looked relieved, and maybe even grateful. "Satsuki," he said, setting his hands on her hips and drawing her to him; she was already lifting her face to his for a kiss when he stooped to meet her.

Unfinished Teikou business, Shouichi assumed as he watched Aomine splay a hand against her back and Momoi close her hands on the back of his t-shirt. Probably related to whatever had led to Momoi deciding not to fool around with the other Miracles any more.

They leaned into each other, fitting together with the ease of long familiarity, and wasn't that a pretty picture? Shouichi couldn't deny that he was tempted to just sit back and let them get on with it while he enjoyed the show.

Before he had to decide one way or another, Aomine pulled back a bit and rested his forehead against hers. "Fuck, I've missed you."

Momoi smiled up at him, a little wobbly from Shouichi's perspective. "Me, too."

Hm. Shouichi cleared his throat. "Why don't I give you both a rain check?" he suggested as they both started—yes, they'd definitely forgotten him, but he didn't have it in him to mind. "You both seem to have some things to talk about, and I wouldn't care to get in the way of that."

Momoi had gone pink again. "Um," she said, looking to Aomine.

And Aomine looked to her before looking back to Shouichi. "I think—will you stay?" he asked, surprising Shouichi. He added, "I think we need you," which was yet another surprise, and not just to Shouichi.

Momoi looked up at Aomine, her expression gone soft, practically wondering. "Dai-chan…"

Shouichi found himself clearing his throat again. "If that's what the two of you want…?"

They looked at each other again; Momoi nodded. "Yes. Please."

"All right." Shouichi set aside his previous plans for the evening and smiled at the two of them, privately suspecting that he was looking a little too sappy for his reputation as an ice-cold bastard but not entirely able to help himself. "What do you need me to do?"

They shared another of those speaking glances, then Aomine curled an arm around Momoi and shepherded her over to where Shouichi stood. Momoi looked up at Shouichi from beneath her lashes; Aomine gave her a little nudge. "Can you…?" She reached out, the rest of the question coming clear as she spread her arms.

"Of course." Shouichi set the items he'd retrieved from his locker down and gathered her in, cradling her against his chest. He smiled down at her. "It's entirely my pleasure."

Momoi sighed and leaned against him, relaxing, warm and soft and delightful.

Which left the brat, who was hovering over her protectively, and over Shouichi too, by extension. Shouichi lifted his eyebrows; that seemed to bring Aomine to some decision of his own. He stepped forward, pressing against Momoi's back, and bent his head to murmur something to her, too low for Shouichi to quite hear, though it sounded like it was a question.

Whatever it was, it made Momoi's breath catch. "Oh… oh, Dai-chan…" She swallowed. "Yes, of course."

She couldn't see the relief on Aomine's face, but Shouichi could. He could also see the appeal in the look Aomine gave him then. "Will you hold her for me, sir?"

Shouichi didn't let himself blink at the sir, though he dearly wanted to. "Of course, brat."

Which was how he came to find himself sitting with Momoi settled between his legs, reclining against his chest, and watching as she and Aomine exchanged slow kisses and Aomine methodically undressed her, hands certain on buttons and clasps and clearly tender on Momoi's skin as he laid her bare.

It was quite a sight to behold, especially from such an intimate distance, and Shouichi couldn't resist stroking his hand along the curve of Momoi's waist as she arched into Aomine's hands on her breasts. "Look how gorgeous you are, sweetheart," he murmured.

Aomine was the one who smiled at him. "I know, right?"

Momoi made a tiny, protesting sort of noise, which simply wasn't right at all. "But you are," Shouichi told her. He reached down to coax her chin up so he could kiss her, learning the taste and texture of her mouth.

Momoi sighed against his mouth, stretching an arm back to him and twining her fingers in his hair, and that was a very pleasing thing indeed.

Then she gasped, breaking away from Shouichi and moaning. "Dai-chan!"

Aomine made a muffled sound from where he was settled with his face buried between her thighs. Momoi shuddered and fitted her fingers around the curve of his skull, gasping softly. "Oh… oh…"

Shouichi found his own breath coming faster. "Look at the two of you," he said, very nearly awed. He slid his arms around Momoi and cradled her breasts, stroking them and drinking in the sounds Momoi was making, open and husky, the little hitches and gasps that must have signaled that the brat was doing something clever with his tongue.

Aomine's eyes were heavy-lidded; he was watching every move she made, intent on her, and he hummed, deep and satisfied, when she uttered a throaty little cry, going taut between them and shaking. He kept going, smoothing his hands over the creamy pale skin of her thighs as she flexed and shuddered, until her voice was ringing off the walls and she pushed him away.

Shouichi caught her as she sagged, panting for breath, eyes closed and lips parted. She was gorgeous, undone and abandoned, and the sight of her just about took Shouichi's breath away.

Aomine was looking up at—her? them? Shouichi couldn't say which it was—his face wet. Shouichi was for a loss what to call the look on his face, but when their eyes met, it changed to a smile full of conspiratorial, gleeful pride.

That seemed about right to Shouichi, all things considered. He held a hand down to the brat, who rose to meet him readily, opening his mouth for Shouichi's kiss and letting him lick the taste of Momoi from his lips. Shouichi cupped his head, kissing him greedily, until Momoi interrupted them, her voice husky. "Okay. Now I'll watch."

Shouichi paused to look down at her; she was smiling at them both, satiated and pleased. He laughed and glanced at Aomine. "Well, brat? Shall we give the lady a good show?"

"Please," Aomine said, already sitting up and shedding his clothes.

Shouichi laughed again and leaned down to steal a kiss from Momoi before disentangling himself and going to see about obliging the brat.

Maybe he would look into stepping up his stamina training, at that.

end

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