The Tang of Hibiscus

It’s the end of the year, and Kise gets another shock from his captain, this one considerably more pleasant. Fluff, Romance, Porn, I-4

Pairing(s): Kasamatsu/Kise

Kise Ryouta was feeling absolutely pathetic.

What else did you call a team captain who, instead of going directly to practice when classes ended, loitered around the doors waiting for one particular senpai so that they could walk to the school gates together, before the captain in question sprinted back to make practice on time? At the beginning, Ryouta had had excuses: a question about the mountain of DVDs Kasamatsu-senpai had left him to watch, a question about club policies, about how to handle this or that club member. It was all perfectly plausible; he was still a first-year, after all! Over the weeks of January and February, though, he’d gradually run out of excuses and just showed up, two or three times a week, and hoped that Kasamatsu-senpai wouldn’t tell him to get lost.

Kasamatsu-senpai never had yet, and Ryouta was grateful for that. Grateful that the one person he’d had the most support, the most guidance, from was still there for him, at least a little. So he still waited, and still walked to the gates with Kasamatsu-senpai, and now they talked more about exams and college fees and whether the B-Corsairs would make it into the bj League play-offs this year.

Today Ryouta waited by one of the clumps of trees that edged the main walk, as unobtrusively as he could manage, and fell in quietly beside Kasamatsu-senpai when he finally emerged from the classroom building. “So,” he said after a few steps. “Enrollment lists came out today, right? Did you find anyone to go look at Toukai’s?”

Kasamatsu-senpai shuddered. “No. In fact, I turned my phone off all during class. I don’t think I could stand to get that news and then have to pretend to pay attention to history review.” He hunched one shoulder under the strap of his bag. “I’m going to go see for myself now.”

“I’m sure you’ll make it in,” Ryouta said encouragingly, and ducked as Kasamatsu-senpai swatted at his head.

“As if you know anything about it, yet. Toukai is a top school; even these days they can afford to be choosy.” They were nearly at the gates, and Kasamatsu-senpai straightened up and took a deep breath. “All right. Here I go.”

“Good luck, senpai.” Ryouta waved him out and watched for a little while before he had to sprint for practice to keep the coach from yelling at him. University, he thought as he dashed down the campus walks. It was March, and Kasamatsu-senpai was heading for university, was almost gone.

He pushed the faint panic of that thought aside and ran faster.

Ryouta worked hard, that practice, pushing himself harder than he had for a while. Their coach had kept an eye on him ever since Aida-san started throwing words like “overstrain” and “bone damage” around. Today, though, he needed this, needed to work until his muscles and nerves had the tension worn out of them.

Which meant he only jumped a little when someone spoke from behind him, as he was closing the outer door of the sports complex.

“Do you always stay this late?”

Ryouta spun around, startled. “Kasamatsu-senpai!” It took him a moment to realize he’d been asked a question and shrug sheepishly. “Not always.”

Kasamatsu-senpai pushed away from the wall where he’d been leaning, with an unimpressed grunt. “Maybe I should have been keeping a little closer eye on you.”

“You don’t really have to,” Kise mumbled, perfectly well aware this was a social denial, not a real one, and probably sounded like it; then he remembered and perked up. “Hey, did you get in?”

Kasamatsu-senpai grinned at that. “Yeah, I thought I’d come tell you instead of making you wait for tomorrow. I got in.”

“That’s fantastic, congratulations!” And Ryouta meant it, really he did, he just couldn’t help the little twist inside at the thought that it was really real. Kasamatsu-senpai was leaving.

Kasamatsu-senpai cocked his head, looking up at Ryouta steadily. “That wasn’t the only thing I figured I should tell you, now,” he said, finally, and jerked his head down the walk. “Come on, before we get locked on campus.”

Ryouta trailed along, curious. Surely there wasn’t anything left to tell him about the club; his various excuses earlier in the year had covered everything he could imagine, sooner or later. They turned toward the little shopping district Ryouta passed through every day on the way to school, quiet and dark at this time of night, except for a restaurant here and there.

“So,” he finally said, unsure what to do with all this quiet and searching for something to fill it with, “I guess you won’t be my senpai for much longer.”

Of course, there was never a guarantee that what he found would be any better than the quiet.

But Kasamatsu-senpai sounded genuinely amused when he snorted. “Just because I’m graduating before you?” He had his eyes fixed on the sidewalk in front of them. “Didn’t stop me last time.”

Ryouta blinked, trying to make sense of that a couple different ways before he gave up. “Um. It… didn’t?”

“You entered the middle-school club your second year,” Kasamatsu-senpai said quietly, almost musing to himself. “And it’s not like I played every game. No reason for you to remember, and I don’t think we ever even met.” He heaved in a breath. “I was at Teikou too, though.”

It wasn’t until Kasamatsu-senpai looked back and turned around that Ryouta realized he’d stopped walking. “You…” He couldn’t quite get past that first word.

“Mm.” Kasamatsu-senpai shoved his hands into his pockets, watching Ryouta with dark eyes. “First string. So I met Akashi, his first year. That’s… kind of why I didn’t say anything.”

“But…” Ryouta seemed to be stuck with single words today.

Kasamatsu-senpai sighed and came to grab Ryouta’s arm. “Here. Get out of the middle of the sidewalk.” He pulled Ryouta over to the concrete planters beside the sweets shop on the corner and pushed him down to sit on the edge. He thumped down beside Ryouta, looking down at his crossed arms. “I could see it, even then,” he said, low. “Akashi… he was different. And he kept pushing the captain and coach for more reckless policies. Perfectly polite about it, but… you could see he didn’t really think about the idea of losing. After the Cup this year, I’m pretty sure of it—he didn’t understand losing, or what it does to people, or how losing is part of the game itself. So he didn’t care.” He glanced up at Ryouta, mouth tilted ruefully. “In case you ever wondered just why I was so pissed off when you said that practice match with Seirin was the first time you ever lost.”

“It… I… the first time I’d lost a game,” Ryouta specified, dazed. "I lost all the time to Aominecchi." Kasamatsu-senpai’s smile un-tilted, and he nudged Ryouta’s shoulder with his.

“Yeah, when we played Touou I got that part.” He leaned forward, elbows on his knees, clasping his hands between them. “So. I didn’t like what I saw of Akashi, and I didn’t like what I heard after I graduated. When Kaijou recruited you, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I knew I wanted to show you something different. Something I didn’t think you’d be able to associate with the name ‘Teikou’.”

“Something different…?” Ryouta echoed softly, still a little lost in the idea that he’d had a… a… a double-senpai at Kaijou.

Kasamatsu-senpai was quiet for a long moment. “It’s not like Teikou wasn’t always strict. It was. Screwing up bad enough always got you dropped down a rank. Competition to actually play was always fierce. But all that was so we could win. Not so we could win, if that makes sense.” He glanced sidelong at Ryouta. “Even if I hadn’t met you, you were still my kouhai. I wanted you to see what that was like.”

Ryouta felt like he couldn’t quite catch his breath. “I have,” he said, husky. “I really have.” Because, yes, what Kasamatsu-senpai said made perfect sense. And, no, Ryouta probably wouldn’t have understood before this year, before his new team, his new captain. “Thank you,” he finished, finally.

And then it hit him all over again, that he was about to lose this, and he pulled one knee up to his chest, leaning his chin against it so he could bite his tongue without being obvious about it. If he concentrated on that little pain he could push back the bigger one.

“Oh, not the puppy-dog eyes, come on,” Kasamatsu-senpai groaned, and pummeled his shoulder. “I told you already, graduating ahead of you didn’t stop me from looking after my kouhai last time, and it isn’t going to stop me this time either!”

“But… you’ll be gone.” Ryouta’s voice was unsteadier than he’d wanted it to be, and he looked away, embarrassed. He heard Kasamatsu-senpai heave a put-upon sigh.

“Idiot. Why do you think I waited to tell you this until I knew I was in at Toukai? The Physical Education program is based on the Shounan campus. I’ll be right next door.”

Ryouta stared down the empty street, not seeing it. That sounded… like Kasamatsu-senpai thought he might visit. That would be something, at least. "Okay."

Another sigh, softer this time, and Kasamatsu-senpai’s hand settled on his hair, much more gently than usual. His voice was gentler, too, when he repeated, “Why do you think I waited to tell you? After you spent nearly three months trying to keep me from really leaving the club, I didn’t want to say anything unless I was sure I wouldn’t just be leaving the city right after.”

Ryouta’s face was hot, and he was inescapably aware that, yes, he really had been that pathetic.

“Hey.” Kasamatsu-senpai’s hand slid down to his nape and shook him a little. “Didn’t say I minded.”

Ryouta peeked at him sidelong, positive that he was completely red. “…really?”

Kasamatsu-senpai was watching him with a faint smile. “Come here.” He tugged Ryouta down to him, and Ryouta’s breath drew in quick and shaky as Kasamatsu-senpai kissed him. “Really.”

Ryouta leaned against him, feeling how wide his own eyes were. “Senpai.”

“Twice,” Kasamatsu-senpai agreed, mouth quirking. “So relax a little, okay? I’m not leaving.”

Ryouta swallowed, a little shocked by how relieved he felt to hear that. How much he’d wound himself up in Kasamatsu-senpai without admitting it to himself. He managed a tiny smile, still feeling the warmth of that brief kiss on his lips, and agreed softly, “Yes, senpai.”

Kasamatsu-senpai’s hand tightened on his nape for a moment, perfectly reassuring. “Good.” And then he stood, pulling Ryouta with him. “So let’s go get some food. I was too freaked out to eat before I went and looked at the admission lists.”

On cue, Ryouta’s stomach growled, and he laughed. “Yeah. Okay.” He ducked his head and gave Kasamatsu-senpai his best winsome look as they started walking again. “Senpai pay for their kouhai, right?” It probably said something about them, that getting kicked for that settled his nerves.

“Of course they do, so quit looking at me like I’m one of your damn fanclub!”

It took a few moments for Ryouta to realize that Kasamatsu-senpai had actually agreed, and then he couldn’t help the way his grin softened, how shy the sidelong look he gave his senpai was.

Or how red he turned when Kasamatsu-senpai told him, eyes gleaming, “And that look you should save for somewhere more private.”

Ryouta floated through the next day in a bit of a daze, forgot all the answers on the History test, and started rumor galloping through his fanclub when someone spotted him doodling versions of the first characters of Kasamatsu-senpai’s name and his own in the fanciest style he could manage.

Kasamatsu-senpai was rolling his eyes and trying to keep a smile under control when Ryouta met him after classes. “It’s a good thing it is almost the end of the year, or you’d have the whole school in a panic.” This said with the cheerfulness of a captain who would never have to deal with Ryouta’s fanclub during practice again. “I could hear the shrieking two floors up.”

Ryouta ran a hand through his hair and sighed. “I’ll have to figure out how to let Ryuu-chan down easy. She’s the front-runner in the rumors.”

“You’re way too nice.”

“I was trained to be!” Ryouta protested, remembering the constant murmurs from agency minders about Smile, now, Kise-kun, nice and bright. “It’s just for show, and most of them know it too. You know I wouldn’t—”

That was when the memory of something he hadn’t thought about at all last night, or today, dropped on his head, feeling very much like a brick.

“Of course I know, don’t be ridiculous,” Kasamatsu-senpai was scoffing, but he paused when he glanced over at Ryouta. “Kise?”

“I should have said before, I just didn’t think of it.” Ryouta resisted the urge to chew on his lip, something else he’d been pretty strenuously trained out of and hadn’t even felt the urge to do in years. “Aominecchi… we… it’s…” He made a frustrated sound at his inability to find good words for what was between them.

Kasamatsu-senpai was wearing a tiny smile. “Aomine, hm? I like the fact that he didn’t occur to you sooner, actually.”

Ryouta was coming to the conclusion that Kasamatsu-senpai enjoyed making him blush. “It’s just… well, after Aida-san and Momocchi set it up so we could get some matches in, it just… spills over sometimes.”

“Since I’m not actually blind, and have in fact seen you two play,” Kasamatsu-senpai said dryly, “that doesn’t surprise me at all.”

Ryouta took a deep breath. “It’s just… today is one of the days Aominecchi is allowed to come here for a match after practice is officially over.”

They stopped by the school gates, and Kasamatsu-senpai looked up at Ryouta thoughtfully. “So do you need me to warn him off, or do you need me to tell you it’s all right?”

Ryouta gave him an indignant look. “I don’t need anyone to warn anyone off, I can do that perfectly well myself!”

“So you want it to be all right,” Kasamatsu-senpai said softly, watching him, ignoring the slowing stream of other students walking past just a meter or two away. One of the things that drew Ryouta to Kasamatsu-senpai was the way he could see past some of the faces Ryouta wore, some of the things he didn’t say. But sometimes Ryouta wished he couldn’t.

Ryouta bent his head, studying his toes. “I know it’s a selfish thing to want,” he said, low. “I know… what that’s usually called. I just… when we play one-on-one, there’s so much, and it’s Aominecchi, he’s the one who opened this whole world up for me, and he’s coming back to us now, and…” He trailed off because Kasamatsu-senpai’s hand was on his wrist, light and warm.

“He’s important to you. I can understand that.” Kasamatsu-senpai’s hand tightened for a moment and let go. “All right. Play Aomine as much as you want. Even,” a corner of his mouth curled up, “if it spills over.”

Ryouta knew he was staring and couldn’t help himself. “It’s really all right?”

Kasamatsu-senpai’s crooked smile became a smirk. “Aomine isn’t the one you just spent three months trailing around after.”

Kasamatsu-senpai definitely liked to make him blush.

“I’ll make you a deal,” he continued, lower. “Go ahead and play with Aomine tonight. Come home with me tomorrow.”

There was not, Ryouta thought, enough air out here. At least, it didn’t seem to be doing him any good at the moment, because he couldn’t quite catch his breath. “Yes, senpai,” he said, husky, feeling how wide his eyes had gone.

Kasamatsu-senpai smiled. “I’ve seen the two of you play,” he repeated, “and you don’t look at him like this, even then. It’s fine, Kise.” And then he hitched his bag up over his shoulder and strolled out the school gates, leaving Ryouta wondering how on earth he was supposed to keep his mind on practice, now.

“Come on in.”

Ryouta stepped into the small, quiet house after Kasamatsu-senpai, toeing off his shoes and glancing around at the dimness. “Your parents aren’t home yet either?”

“Tou-san works late a lot.” Kasamatsu-senpai shot a small smile over his shoulder as he led the way up the stairs. “And this is Kaa-san’s mahjong night with her friends.”

Definite anticipation curled in Ryouta’s stomach, shivery and warm, as he followed Kasamatsu-senpai up to his room. His own mother, of course, had understood immediately why he wanted to stay over at his senpai’s house, and that it had nothing to do with watching match videos. She’d stood on tip-toe to kiss his forehead and told him to enjoy himself. Ryouta had smiled and nodded reassurance to the shadow of a question in those bright eyes so much like his. She’d relaxed, then, and said how good it was that he had a proper senpai to take care of him, and they’d giggled together while his father just shook his head indulgently over how flighty they could be.

Kasamatsu-senpai’s room was very like he was himself—spare and compact and stuffed with basketball. There were rows of magazines and videos on the book case, several shoe boxes stacked neatly in the corner, and he dropped his bag in what was clearly its proper place, beside the desk next to a larger bag that had one end rounded around a basketball.

“Going to stand there all night?”

Ryouta started a little, realizing he was still in the doorway. Kasamatsu-senpai was sitting on the edge of his bed, watching him. “I… no, of course not.”

Kasamatsu-senpai held out a hand, looking rather amused. “Come here, then.”

Unaccustomed nerves fluttered in Ryouta’s stomach as he stepped slowly across the room. Kasamatsu-senpai’s brows rose, but his smile softened. He caught Ryouta’s wrists and tugged him down until he was kneeling between Kasamatsu-senpai’s legs, and gathered him close. “Sure you’ve done this before?”

Ryouta leaned against him, enjoying the hand running up and down his back. Softly, not looking up, he said, “I have. It’s just never been quite like this.”

“Is that good?” Kasamatsu-senpai’s hand slid up into his hair, and Ryouta let his head drop to rest on Kasamatsu-senpai’s shoulder, hands linked behind his back.

“It is. I… hope it is.” After a moment, putting his words together carefully, he went on. “You don’t like how I have to be for work. I mean, it was kind of obvious. So I was mostly serious, for you, unless I just forgot. Or unless I was trying to wind you up,” he admitted, and laughed at his senpai’s growl. The fingers cradling his head stayed gentle, though, and he relaxed under them. “This isn’t just being serious, though.” Serious was pretty easy, actually, especially in the middle of a game. Being not-serious and also not-joking made him a little nervous, uncertain how he should be acting. It felt good, though, being held like this.

Kasamatsu-senpai’s breath gusted against Ryouta’s neck as he sighed. Instead of the briskness Ryouta was used to from his captain, though, his voice was quiet when he said, “It’s okay. I’m your senpai, right? That means I’ll take care of you. So quit worrying so much.”

Ryouta shivered a little at that assurance, at the reminder of how clearly Kasamatsu-senpai saw him and understood him. “Even like this?” he asked, a bit hesitant. It wasn’t like he had much basis for comparison, never having had many senpai except in the technical sense, but this seemed a little above and beyond the usual call.

A huff of laughter was warm against his neck. “Like this is special. But I’ll still take care of you.”

Ryouta was laughing a little himself, with nerves and happiness. “Okay.” He lifted his head and leaned in, parting his lips willingly when Kasamatsu-senpai caught his mouth. The warm slide of a tongue over his made things easier, easier to just feel instead of worrying. The question of how to act would answer itself, like it always did, as a reflection of the world around him.

…he just hadn’t expected it to answer itself quite this way. With each kiss, with each button Kasamatsu-senpai undid, with each slide of fingers over skin, Kasamatsu-senpai’s touch turned gentler. Instead of holding Ryouta harder, he held him more carefully. By the time he’d gotten rid of the last of their clothes and tugged Ryouta up onto the bed and settled over him, he was cradling Ryouta’s face in his hands, kissing him slow and coaxing.

And Ryouta felt himself answering the only way that felt right, by relaxing more for every gentled touch until he was lying under Kasamatsu-senpai flushed and open and shaking a little with it. He didn’t do this, didn’t let his games and smiles and teasing all fall away. Never before, at least. It had never felt so right to do it, but now Kasamatsu-senpai’s careful touch was brushing those things away and Ryouta was letting it happen. “Senpai,” he whispered against Kasamatsu-senpai’s mouth, husky.

Kasamatsu-senpai raised his head and looked down at him with a little smile. “Under the circumstances, I think you can use my given name if you want.”

Ryouta swallowed, looking aside from those clear, dark eyes, shy in face of their steadiness. He felt exposed and sheltered at the same time, and the combination made him dizzy. “Yukio-san,” he said softly.

Kasamatsu-senpai turned Ryouta’s face back to him and kissed him, soft and easy. “Ryouta.”

The intimacy of his name, spoken like that, made Ryouta’s breath catch hard. “Senpai,” he gasped, a little pleading, and Yukio-san gathered him up tight.

“Shh, it’s okay.” A hand settled, warm, on the back of his neck, rubbing slowly. “It’s okay. We’ll go slow.”

Ryouta turned his head into Yukio-san’s shoulder, face a little hot. What he’d said earlier was turning out to be truer than he’d known. He never had done it like this before. Not with someone who saw him.

Not with someone he let see him, opened himself up for and offered himself to.

The irreverent corner of his mind observed that it was a good thing Yukio-san was prepared to treat him like a virgin. He seemed to be one after all, in a way he hadn’t even known. Somehow, the thought made it easier; easier to understand why he felt so shaky. He took a slow breath and looked up at his senpai. “Thank you, Yukio-san.”

Yukio-san brushed his thumb over Ryouta’s lips, looking down at him seriously. “I told you I’d take care of you.”

Ryouta closed his eyes for a moment at the rush of warmth that sent through him, and turned his head to kiss Yukio-san’s palm. Against it, he murmured. “Thank you, senpai.”

Yukio-san’s weight over him was comforting, and when he caught Ryouta’s chin and kissed him again, Ryouta let himself relax into the rising heat without resistance. Kiss after kiss, as Yukio-san’s hands stroked down his body, over his ribs, cupping his ass, Ryouta let himself answer openly, let his arms wind tight around Yukio-san to anchor himself against the way those gentle, steady hands on him made him shake. “Yukio-san,” he gasped at last, husky. “Please…” He felt Yukio-san’s mouth curve against his.

“Yeah. Now is good, I think.” Yukio-san’s weight eased off him and he nudged Ryouta’s hip. “Here.”

Ryouta let Yukio-san turn him over, heat and want curling together as he stretched out on his stomach and Yukio-san leaned over him to rummage in the small, square set of drawers beside the bed, where the alarm stood. The feel of slick, cool fingers pushing into him made him moan against the sheets. It was the slide of Yukio-san’s mouth against his nape that made him shudder with a rush of hot response, though. “Please…”

“Shhh.” Yukio-san’s lips brushed his skin. “I’ve got you, Ryouta. Easy.”

That care, that support, the quiet, serious warmth of Yukio-san’s voice, pulled a whimper out of him. The words worked his heart open the way Yukio-san’s fingers opened his body, and it felt so good, so very good. When Yukio-san finally pulled him up onto his knees, Ryouta was panting and hard and more than ready. He would have pushed back into the slow stretch of Yukio-san’s cock pressing in, would have taken him in faster, if Yukio-san hadn’t held him firmly. “Yukio-san!”

There was a flash of Yukio-san’s usual temper in his voice, softened by amusement. “I’m not letting you hurt yourself, and damn you’re tight, Ryouta. Do what your senpai says, already!”

Ryouta laughed, breathless and unsteady with the slide and stretch of Yukio-san pushing in. “Yes, senpai.” But he still wriggled in Yukio-san’s grip and moaned openly when he sank all the way home. Softly he pleaded, “I can take it harder than that, please, senpai…”

Yukio-san snorted, and his voice was getting husky too. “Pushy aren’t you? All right, then.”

When he pulled back and thrust into Ryouta hard and deep, heat poured down Ryouta’s spine like lava and he couldn’t be embarrassed by the sound he made. His hands closed into fists on the sheets as Yukio-san fucked him breathlessly hard, holding him steady for every stroke. It was so good to let himself fall down into the pure sensation, and his whole body flexed wantonly in Yukio-san’s hands, eager for this, for more. Good as that was, though, it was the sound of Yukio-san’s voice that wrapped heat around him until he was a little crazy with it. That voice, softened for him, whispering things like Easy, I’ve got you and I’ll take care of it all, just let me and Let go, Ryouta, it’s okay.

It was that last one that undid him.

He moaned out loud as pleasure burst through him, shaking him senseless with the thought that he was safe, it was all right to let himself go, to feel this as much as he wanted. The hoarse gasp above him assured him that Yukio-san was with him, felt this as much as he did, but those hands were still holding him steady. Not letting go. When the heat finally faded a little and Yukio-san let him down to the bed again, he kept on holding Ryouta close and steady, and Ryouta turned and clung to him shamelessly.

“Shh.” Yukio-san’s hand spread against his back, warm and sure. “It’s still okay.”

Ryouta nodded wordlessly where his head was buried in Yukio-san’s shoulder. He hadn’t felt like this even when it really was the first time he’d had sex. He’d never felt like this before. Never let anyone open him up like this. “You’re really staying,” he said, low, just to say it out loud and reassure himself.

“Yeah, I am.” There was maybe a smile in Yukio-san’s voice when he said, “So are you, after all.” His hand slid over the arms Ryouta had locked around him. Ryouta looked up at him, still flushed and shaky, more open than he remembered being in years.

“Yes, Yukio-san.”

Because Yukio-san brushed aside all the charm Ryouta met the world with and still wanted him, saw Ryouta’s selfishness and wanting and still sheltered him, because of these things Ryouta would stay here in Yukio-san’s hands. The gentleness of those hands when Yukio-san tipped up Ryouta’s chin and kissed him said that this was where Ryouta belonged.

More than anywhere else, right here.


A/N: When Aomine calls Kasamatsu "senpai" during the Kaijou v Touou game, it’s pretty clear that’s just Aomine offering a typically sarcastic token of respect for Kasamatsu’s guts in setting Aomine up for a foul. But I couldn’t help thinking, what if it had meant something more, what if Kasamatsu had been at Teikou and seen the beginning of all that craziness? I couldn’t resist using the idea.

In hanakotoba, hibiscus indicate gentleness or delicacy.

Last Modified: Sep 17, 13
Posted: Oct 10, 12
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  1. Kay

    I don’t have the words to properly respond to something so exactly, perfectly right for these two. You made me cry, almost — I had tears in my eyes that made it hard to read the last paragraphs. I’m no Kise, but I do know how it feels to have masks that you’ve forgotten how to let go of, and seeing him learn and trust and care enough to do that really touched me deeply. In other words, I guess, you broke my feelings and I don’t even mind because it was too beautiful.

    Anyway . . .

    Superb characterization, as always. I love how, even though the narrative was Kise’s POV, you could /see/ Kasamatsu seeing /him./ Little things, like how he never called Kise out on meeting him just to spend time with him, and bigger things, like how he holds him so gently. Also, major kudos for the graceful use of Kasamatsu’s tendency to introduce his boot to various parts of Kise’s anatomy. Violent humor works so much more easily in visual media than it does in writing, where it’s very difficult not to make it sound chilling and abusive. You struck just the right tone to keep that part of his character, and still have it be him.

    I have to admit that I was surprised by Kise’s desire to continue his ‘overflow’ with Aomine at first, but the more I thought about it, the less likely it seemed that Kasamatsu had it is his character to be jealous when he knows he has a hold like that on Kise’s heart, and by the time I read all the way to the end, I could see that he would have no reason at all to be. Knowing Kise that way, what would he have to be jealous of? Seriously, this whole piece is too amazing for words. I need to stop, or I’m going to go on forever.

    By the way, I just read your FAQ, and you said that you don’t like constructive criticism. I’ve taken enough terrible writing courses that the definition has long since blurred in my mind (positive feedback counts? Doesn’t count? Only counts on even days of the month?) so — I know that my comments can get a little specific and technical sometimes about what struck me, so sorry if I strayed into the territory of concrit, let me know, ’cause I’m probably going to be here swooning over your KuroBasu stuff for a long while yet, and I don’t want to step on your toes at all.

    (((But if this is the last chance ever, I did want to draw to your attention that in the summary of this arc, you accidentally wrote happiness as “happienss” *runs away and hides behind a bookshelf*)))

    Really, thanks for writing this and sharing it. It is too beautiful. It’s perfect for them.

    1. Icon for BranchBranch Post author

      *hearts!* That was just what I was going for, with the ending! Kise so clearly spends most of his time wearing masks, for his work and his fans, and the only time we see him take those off is when he plays hard. But surely that’s a different kind of openness than an intimate situation would need. I have to think that opening up for intimacy would really shake him up, and possibly all the more because Kasamatsu has so clearly gotten way under his skin by the end of canon year. (Or even the middle. Oh god, the scene where he tells Kise he’s proud of him, my heart.)

      *laughs* Yeah, it’s really hard to work in the physical humor. You have to tone it down so much in text. But both of them ham it up so much, when Kasamatsu is kicking Kise around, it just seems like a bit of silliness they use to bond with. And that definitely fits into text.

      I did waffle a bit over whether Aomine and Kise would carry on, but it’s really true: what they have is so completely different from what Kise and Kasamatsu have, I don’t think someone as perceptive as Kasamatsu seems to be would object to his boyfriend keeping what amounts to a security blanket. A sex-blanket, but still a blanket! Kasamatsu has Kise’s heart in his hands, and I think he’d be pretty serene about that. I mean, even during games, we can see he’s totally not above being smug over Kise. *dotes*

      And, please, don’t worry! You’re well within my tolerances! I always like hearing about how people responded to a story, and what made them think or feel something, so your comments are just candy to me. My only objection is to the people (alas, quite a few of them) who use “concrit” as an excuse to try to make me write the way they want instead of the way I want. I mean, if someone doesn’t like how I use commas, or titles, or how I envision a character, that’s totally cool! But that’s a deliberate stylistic choice for me, not a mistake or thoughtlessness, so I tend to explode kind of a lot when someone tries to “correct” me to their preferred form. ^_^;

      (Typos, argh, typos, they never die! Please, feel free to mention those any time you find them. Or, you know, misplaced apostrophes or whatnot. *goes to fix that one*)

  2. cayra

    I really love the idea of Kasamatsu being Teikou!Senpai too. I’ve always adored how he kept Kise in line gruffly, but basically did his best to take care of him (and the club, naturally). So this would be a wonderful explanation for his incredible drive, just as well as the ‘I failed the club once’ story. Especially with Kise.
    Not to mention I really love this pairing, with all it’s hilarious dynamics and underlying codependence. Getting to read Kise going all emotional about his senpai and Kasamatsu being there for him? Best thing ever. I have a weakness for the theme of ‘taking care of you’. So I’m going to read this again and melt into a puddle of happy goo. And maybe gush at you a little because omg this is the sweetest thing ever.

    1. Icon for BranchBranch Post author

      *sparkles at you* Yes, yes, yes, that’s exactly why I like them too! Oh my goodness, Kasamatsu has to be the most adorable gruff-caring-senpai ever. The way he takes Kise with him everywhere and teaches him about all the things he apparently never got told about basketball while he was at Teikou, so cute! And that’s obviously something Kise needs and responds to; they’re just a natural fluff pair. *dotes*

  3. Lexi

    This was really really hot.

    …I feel like I should have something more constructive to add, but nope, that last scene just fried my brain a bit.