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At least, for once…

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Takao had to be assisted by Midorima in going home after an all-night long drinking and jesting. Midorima rejected helping Takao go home, but eventually agreed upon the coaxing (and apparent threatening) by everyone present.

 

A Bachelor's Night was held in celebration of Takao's marriage which will be held in a week's time. Surprisingly, it was his high school senpais who organized it. Not only were his former comrades at Shuutoku present- their rivals from Seirin and Kaijou were invited, along with Himuro (who is the Best Man, don't ask why they're close), Momoi who he also got pretty close with, and Aomine who was only dragged along (but deep inside, he goes, "who says no to free drinks?").

As the chilly Friday night on a January went, he grew more intoxicated at the coaxing of Ootsubo-senpai, Kagami and Hyuuga, the latter goes as far as saying "you're not a real man if you cannot go for another drink!" in persuasion.

Midorima was only being silent in his own table, separate from everyone- seemingly enjoying the company of the frog stuff toy which was today's lucky item for Cancer. He has with him oolong tea, he's simply not into alcoholic drinks.

He's aware that he's not in the mood, acknowledging that he's in pain. And Takao, despite the lively air and being the center of attention, eventually noticed him.

"Hey, Shwin-channnn... you're not gonna drink?" Takao slurred in intoxication.

"No thanks, I have hospital duty tomorrow morning." Midorima replied as he fixed his glasses and directed his gaze toward the raven-haired male.

He can't wait to go home, he doesn't want to endure the pain of seeing the person he loves marrying someone off.

"Dammmit what a killjoyyyy..." Takao turned back and fetched a shot of vodka. "Drink," he looked at the green-haired man with serious eyes, far from the former playful attitude he had just displayed.

"I, in fact, said I won't drink." Uneasiness have set in the entire crowd at the scene.

"I. Said. Drink." Takao commanded, emphasis placed on the tone of his speech. The place was instantly silenced by the shock, then all eyes were fixed on both Takao and Midorima.

"O- okay. Fine. I will. Calm down." He flinched in somewhat terror of the sudden mood change. He took the glass, stared at it in mental preparation as he bears with the uncomfortable attention, and gulps it all in one go. Better to bear through the taste of the drink than escalating the situation.

"Alriiiiight!" Takao shifts back from seriousness to his usual carefree attitude, easing the tension among everyone present. Midorima was almost relieved, but the Hawk uttered. "One more!"

He sighs, knowing how unstoppable and hopeless this man is.

 

Now, his predicament shifted from being forced to take five shots in one sitting (thankfully, with his large build, it will only be enough to make him tipsy) to carrying a heavy body that he could have abandoned out of annoyance. But with the weird grin from Ootsubo-senpai, saying "be patient with him, he's very stressed lately", he should at least safely bring him home out of courtesy. He was entrusted to take care of his former partner.

'Not that I don't care if he's stressed or not, he just shouldn't mismanage his stress by drinking like crazy and worrying everyone', he mused to himself, as he walks them both through a passageway where no one would see their embarrassing state.

'Or were all of them even worried? They seem to know something I don't.'

"Sheeen-chaaaaaan~" Takao softly murmurs as their unsteady gait continues, his speech was heavily slurred.

"What?" The taller man tries to keep his composure, despite annoyed.

"Can I crash... at your place?"

"Why?" His eyebrow flinched.

"I don't know how... to come home... at this state... hic-," the shorter man's body shook along the hiccup. "She'll definitely... worry..."

"My house is too far nodayo." Midorima replied, "the trains have already stopped running, and I wasn't even expecting I'd be this late nanodayo. In the first place, why did you even drink that much if you knew you'd be coming home to your fiance?".

"Wellll... Can't be helpped."

"Honestly, you..." Midorima grunts as he continued heaving the other male. Silence ensued as they continued to walk. Takao simply kept moaning and grunting in his drunken stupor.

"Th- then..." The Hawk-Eye bearer broke the silence. "Rather than an expeeeeensive taxi ride to your place... how about we get a... hotel roooominstead?" He then giggled.

Midorima was stupefied, to the point he stopped walking. Weighing his options, he comes to a decision.

"As you wish."

 

Taking a twin bed room, Midorima continued to assist Takao up to the bed closer to the window, gently laid down the almost unconscious man, loosened the collar of his long sleeves and took off the shoes. It was quite weird for him that he's having that much intimate contact with Takao (considering it is already at the level of intruding).

After pulling and pushing the shorter man to arrange him in the bed, he then motioned to go to the bathroom to shower, thinking he stinks of liquor. But Takao moans, capturing his attention and making him look at his former teammate. He gazes at his pained face, his half-open mouth, the smooth cheeks, his shut eyelids... every detail that he couldn't look at when the said guy is awake.

This man, is the man he came to secretly love after all these years.

He simply has never seen Takao this drunk. No, even if he chugged a dozen mugs of beer when their team reunites, he still remains the center of the festive aura of the gathering. He still could go home very sane. Today, he really broke his limits.

He remembers the times he've come to appreciate Takao's presence in his life. More than Kuroko, who taught him the value of team work, Takao was the one who made him experience the fun of being in a team. The fun of attaining victory with the team, not as someone who'd only do his contribution to win.

"Shiiiin-channnn..." Takao, half-lid eyes looking straight at him, their eyes now meet. He moans almost silently, but it was clearly audible to him.

His composure returns, he averts his eyes. "What is it?"

"Shin-chan... let me hold you."

The green-haired man brushed off the drunken man's incomprehensible words. However, he suddenly caught what the drunk meant. He may have meant not holding someone for a mere contact, but holding someone that meant for some intimacy. Wide-eyed, he was at loss for words.

"W- what... do you mean?" He finally mustered to ask, now looking at Takao directly.

"Let's... have... sex..." The shorter man then simply giggled, he moves his head to look straight at the ceiling.

"T- Takao... there is a limit as to how much can you joke around. This time, it is very improper nodayo. If you know what I mean." He fixes his glasses. But the shorter man, who knew him so well, only caught on with the uneasiness behind the stoic appearance of the taller man. Slowly, he rolled himself off the bed so he could sit down on the bed.

"What if... what if I tell you... I'm being serious?" Takao slowly gets up, his usual smirk (that he does when teasing the shooter) gradually fades.

"Takao. In case you've forgotten, you're getting married in a week." Midorima approached Takao so he could lay him back down to bed. "You're probably just... sexually frustrated." He averts his eyes, his cheeks turn red. Even for a doctor, he finds it improper to even mention 'sex'. He motions to hold Takao by the shoulder, but the Hawk instantly grabbed on both his wrists. Takao looks at him with a sharp gaze, his expression has completely turned into a serious face.

"It is you... that I want to do it with." He then sharply pulls the taller man, making him lose balance and fall to the bed as his upper body, too, hit the cushion. Takao rolled both of their bodies, and now he is on top. Midorima panicked as he struggled to break free.

"T- Takao, you ca- can mess a-around but n-not like thi-"

"Shin-chan..." Takao, now with tears forming at the edges of his eyes, looked at him. "...at least, for once... let me hold you... so I could... start getting over you..."

Midorima's eyes widened.

'All this time, that I've silently kept my feelings... it was actually mutual?'

"Wha- wait... do you mean..."

He pauses, then realizes that Takao, truly, is being serious.

"W- why have you not told me earlier?" He continued to struggle, but Takao's grasp is too firm.

"Why have I not told you?" Takao now starts sobbing. "Who would... confess to a guy like you- like, who knows it... might ruin our friendship.

Another awkward pause as he sniffled, then the Hawk resumes confessing.

"Heck, what chances... do I have? You're obviously not gay. I... too, am not... but I don't know how fell in love... with someone like you. Like... we're both guys... so wh- what chance do I have on you?" He broke into a mixture of sobs and hiccups (due to intoxication) as he finished, tears streaming down the sides of his eyes, the warm liquid falling down to the shooter's cheeks. He loosened his grip, letting go of the former shooter's wrist as he himself collapsed on the former Miracle's chest. Midorima was silenced, and the two continued to be in such position for a few minutes. The room was silent save for the buzzing of the air conditioning and Takao's soft sobbing.

Midorima proceeded on holding Takao's cheeks with the palm of one hand, the other wiping his tears with his fingers. Takao continued to sob, but in a silent manner. Closing his eyes, Midorima softly confessed:

"I... love you too."

Takao stopped sobbing, surprised with what he heard.

"What- wh- since when?" With wide eyes, he proceeded his gaze at Midorima, looking straight at him.

Shifting his palm from the cheek to the back of Takao's head, he motioned the former point guard's head right in front of his. "Since... high school". With one sudden swoop, he kissed Takao in the lips. His other hand moved to the shorter man's back to move their bodies closer. Takao, in turn, closed his eyes and kissed the taller man back, their tongues fondling each other's. Takao held on Midorima's back, grabbing his shirt.

The former miracle only held on and continued kissing, feeling the warmth of each other's bodies interact, the smell of liquor lingering at the other's cavern. Up until he noticed the other isn't responding to his touches anymore, the grip on his shirt no longer felt, until he felt that the former point guard's weight has heavily rested on him.

Takao, in other words, fell asleep.

Midorima pulls them apart and shakes the other male. "Takao?"

No response other than soft snoring.

He decided to get up and arrange Takao once more in the bed. He motioned to go to the bathroom for a quick shower. The entire happening has bugged him so much, but his slight intoxication has also driven him drowsy, even as he showered.

He came out of the bathroom wearing only a bathrobe and boxers beneath. He closed all lights save for the desk lamp, put his glasses down, covered himself with the thick sheets and went to sleep.

'Let's save the confrontation for tomorrow.'

 

Midorima wakes up with the sound of clothes rustling. Assuming Takao had already woken up, he gets up and sits in the bed, groping the bedside desk for his glasses. He looked at the clock- it read: 5:30 am.

"Oh, Shin-chan, you're already awake. Good mor...ning." Takao looked at him as he went on fixing his shoes, the slight pause was for the shock he got upon realizing the other male was half naked. "I woke up quite ahead and showered, guessed I didn't have to wake you up until I left-"

"Um- about last night-" Midorima frantically but calmly began.

"You don't have to worry about that." Takao cut him off. "More like, I'm sorry I dragged you into my impulsivity." He stood facing the door, apparently evading the sight of the larger man, and paused.

"I have to go. I made my fiance worry for being unable to texting her I was safely brought to a hotel." Facing back at the green-haired man and bowing, he spoke, "thank you very much for troubling yourself from me last night." He started turning back to the door.

Midorima knew it shouldn't end that way.

"WAIT." He got up and stood to face him.

"What?" Takao calmly faced him back, he was met by the sight of the almost bare-bodied doctor.

Midorima look straight at him. "I-is it true...? When you said... you wanted to get over me?"

Takao only stared back, pausing for a while.

"I liked you." He smiled lightly. "I am sorry if it doesn't match with your "love". I do appreciate your feelings and the late realization that our feelings were actually mutual, but I love my fiance more and I'm very serious with wedding her."

There was no shaking in his voice. He clearly implied his sincerity and truthfulness.

"So... that was it..." The former miracle averted his eyes. "O- okay... it makes sense... thank you for that." This time, he moved his gaze to the former point guard, trying to appear calm.

"I gotta go. See you on the wedding ceremony." Takao smiled his usual cheeky grin. "And that last kiss was great."

"O- okay." Midorima only agreed, averting his eyes out of embarrassment. Takao proceeded to the door of the hotel room, exiting without looking back.

When the door shut softly, Midorima walked back to his bed and sat, only to notice a \10,000-bill on the bedside desk and a note that said: "Thanks for accommodating me. I hope this fits the payment for the room."

"You're really... mean..." Midorima mutters as he rests his forehead at his palms, his elbows at his knees. Tears streaming down his eyes.

 

As Takao walked out of the hotel, a teal-colored dawn greeted him. Only a few people are to be seen walking at that early in what were supposed to be busy streets of Tokyo.

He rides the train going home. He arrives in what is supposed to be their shared apartment, greeted by the lonely atmosphere.

"Tadaima..." He speaks softly, which sounded like a whisper.

By the looks of it, he went as far as deliberately lying that his fiance was there waiting for him, when in truth, she went to her home in Nagasaki in preparation for the wedding.

As the room gradually brightens from teal to a shade of baby blue, he prostrates himself on the floor, weeping.

"I'm sorry... Shin-chan..."

Curling himself into a ball, he whispers...

"I do love my fiance...even if... I still love you..."

 


OMAKE

On a different side, the rest of the attendees were at unease after they let the two leave early.

"Ootsubo-san... are you sure those two will be okay?" Kuroko nonchalantly asks, but the worry is obvious.

"I think it will work out somehow." Ootsubo replied.

"Midorima isn't supposed to be that insensitive." Miyaji remarked. "The fact that everyone other than the two of them knew all these years what they actually feel... surely, Takao's got some talent in hiding, for someone with an outgoing personality as his."

"And of course, how would Takao notice Midorin's feelings for him, when he's got that stoic face?" Momoi spoke.

"Well... it was only a matter of time before they both confessed their feelings," Miyaji replied. "It is just surprising it took so long. Just that... it's quite cruel that we had to set them up like that. Like hoping they'd make progress out of drunken stupor."

"Well... what we don't know by now, is if Takao continues with the marriage ceremony or not." Ootsubo concluded their discussion, as he motioned them to start going home.

Soon, most of them had gotten up. Hyuuga, who turns out to have such low alcohol tolerance, had to be carried by Kiyoshi. The same applies with Kise, who passed out long before Takao made a scene, now being carried by Kasamatsu. The rest either had to be assisted or is assisting someone in a noisy murmur, teasing or rowdy laughter.

Miyaji, walking far behind the others, murmurs to himself.

"Knowing him, he'd obviously take his pretense further."