DISCLAIMER: KUROKO NO BASKET BELONGS TO ITS RIGHTFUL OWNER. I DON'T OWN ANY CHARACTERS NOR MAKING ANY PROFIT WITH IT.
CHAPTER 7 OF 7
After almost a month of decision-making, preparing, and another double-thinking, Midorima decided to pack up his things, basic necessities, and favorite lucky items in a separate bag. The papers were already taken care of by his former basketball captain. Everything was already arranged, the schedule of his flight and the negotiation with the school.
All that was left on his hands was the leave from Shuutoku's Basketball Club. He formally said it to Nakatani one morning, who merely nodded in understanding, saying although Midorima would be quite a loss to the team, it was for the shooter's future. Before he leave for his next class, the older man bid him a good luck and a phrase close to Midorima still welcome to the team if ever the teen changes his mind.
It was the captain he approached next, the afternoon of the same day. His reaction, albeit kind of shocked the moment Midorima brought it up, was almost the same as Nakatani's. Though with a mental remark that he never planned to pass his captaincy to someone like Midorima anyway. But Ootsubo himself was upset.
Kimura and Miyaji were a bit of a challenge. Midorima debated whether to tell or not. Besides, in his opinion, the former two would most likely be happy to have him gone for good. It was a surprise, really, when the two patted him on his back and told him: "We'll miss you and your weirdness."
Even if it sounded not so reassuringly, Midorima was internally glad for the thoughtfulness.
But when the topic of Takao came up, Midorima dawned to silence.
"What? Not planning to tell him?" Miyaji asked incredulously. "I mean, after several weeks you still haven't fix your issues?"
Midorima bit his cheek. "I know I'm not in any position to ask for favor, but can you not tell him?"
The two looked unsure.
Given that someone as prideful as Midorima never pleads, they agreed.
Takao sneezed for somewhat about a hundredth time already. Damn cold weather and his insomnia. The fact that it was getting more frigid every hour was making his condition worse. His body aching all over and skin too hot. Laying on his bed, Takao pitied himself for his weak immunity.
It was a day before Christmas Eve and there Takao was, sick and couldn't even get out of bed without stumbling. His mother was kind enough to make him a porridge earlier, checking for his temperature occasionally. His little sister even lend him her favorite toy, Mr. Chappy Rabbit, and kissed him on his forehead a goodbye before going to her school. Takao glanced at the weird looking plushie and wondered why the hell his sister find it very cute.
Turning to his side was a nightstand table with a turned down picture frame, Midorima's gift. His mother caught sight of it once, asking what it was. Takao smoothly evaded the topic off, but he bet curiosity won the best out of her. Clicking his tongue, Takao decided to hid it in the drawer below.
It wasn't an 'I'm trying to forget you' gesture. It was just that everywhere he looked reminded him of Midorima. Which was kind of stupid, so he thought.
And yep, after several weeks, Takao didn't have the heart to apologize, more like self humiliation was preventing him from doing so. Not when guilt was still making him unable to sleep and eat properly. Hopefully, Midorima have the same predicament too. The situation was more tolerable that way, to say the least.
Heh. Bastard me.
Twisting his body sidewards, the frame slipped off his hands to land on the floor with a thud.
Fuck. He just hoped the glass hadn't shattered.
Puffing his cheeks in frustration, while wincing at the headache as he stood up, Takao picked up the supposedly broken glass (that thankfully hadn't). The parts of the frame pretty much got separated from each other including the photo itself. Now that Takao noticed, there was also a folded paper that had gotten discarded. After assembling the picture frame, Takao examined it and opened.
It was a letter addressed to him.
Midorima gathered every sharp objects they have at home: a razor blade, shaver, a cleave, a butter knife, bread knife, a regular knife, a Swiss army knife, scissors, a saw, and... anything he missed?
Cancers had taken the last spot that day, making Midorima in dire need of a lucky item. Said lucky item was something sharp. Sharp what? That was left unanswered as another cat from their grandma neighbor had jumped on their window, tapping the remote control to another channel. Midorima irritatedly chased out the fucking feline out of their gate, and if he was ever into cat abuse (in which he was nearing, by the way), he would kick the animal out of their residence. Literally.
And given that Oha-Asa seemed short on budget to even publish the daily rankings and lucky items in news paper, and that no devoted fan was kind enough to create a website, Midorima have no choice but to laid out every single sharp objects he could find in their house on their dining table. He was also considering including pointed objects also. When his sister passed by him (with him sporting a menacing look and glaring to nothing in particular due to his bad luck) and the seemingly killing weapons, she asked whether big brother Shintaro would be out to a rampage.
Midorima didn't dignify himself with an answer.
Knowing that there was no other way around, he then made an agreement to himself that yes, he would bring all of those with him. It wasn't a hassle, really.
Now, the problem lies as to how he could bring it pass the metal detectors of the airport.
Of course, the option of leaving them was huge no. Nothing could stand against him and his luck! Not even the security or anything.
It was final that yes, Midorima would leave Japan that night with his set of sharp objects in tow.
Damn you, Kazunari, for reading that letter.
Takao exhaled hot air. His eyes felt warm and heavy that he couldn't even focus on a certain thing. His shaky hand hovered over a specific contact number, vision getting blurry each passing minute.
But not now. He still have to hear someone's voice.
I apologize, but it seems that in this kind of game... I had fallen first.
For Midorima to be admitting as such.
It must be difficult.
It was ringing when Takao pressed the call button. But it took a few minutes before something clicked on the other line. Nay, he wasn't really sure for how long. He just knew it was already evening, with snow falling in slow motion outside.
I wonder what am I even thinking? I sounded like a man on his deathbed.
Takao smiled softly. "...Hi." he muttered weakly. "Shin-chan."
There was a surprise grunt from the shooter. "T-Takao."
"Heh. You still know me?" the latter chuckled. "I'm flattered."
"Unfortunately, I still do."
"So you called for just a non—"
"I've read it. Your letter, I mean. You could have given it yourself, ya know?"
There was a long pause. "Sorry. I believe I wasn't on my right mind when I had written that."
"It's still romantic. Tehee."
Takao could imagine Midorima gawking.
"Say..." The brunette began, draping his arm across his eyes. "Do you still mean it?"
"Everything in this paper, is it somehow still... there?"
Midorima did not answer.
"Or they were simply from you in a bout of confusion?" Takao fiddled with the hem of the thick blanket.
"I don't know."
"...but hey, I think I might be feeling the same way."
And with that, Takao cut the line, hugging himself in the darkness of his room.
"Kazu, it's no good. Your fever is getting worse," Mrs. Takao said with a worried face. When she went to bring food for his son, she found him shivering in the cold.
Although, she wasn't really sure whether it was the climate making his precious son like that or another factor.
Factor namely his best friend.
The polite kid, Shintarou, had thoughtfully told her a few days ago of his leave from the country that evening. She was upset for his own boy for that, but Shintarou promptly asked her to keep it a secret. Especially to Kazunari.
"Why keep it a secret from him?"
"I don't want to leave with regrets."
It was when it hit her that the problem between those two boys had gotten more serious as she initially thought so.
"I'm fine, mom. Just let me rest," Kazunari's voice came, muffled by the pillows.
"No, young man. I wouldn't buy that."
Kazunari turned to her reluctantly. "I'm fine. Promise."
"You want to talk about it?"
"About what?" He hid under the covers.
"You know, about Shun-chan."
He pouted. "It's Shin-chan, Mom, and don't call him that. It's my own nickname for him."
"Being possessive, aren't we?" His mother grinned knowingly at that. Oh, how she wished her young daughter would grow up already and have the 'boys talk' with her. "Anyway, I'm getting off topic. Are you angry for keeping it from you?"
"That man's unpredictable."
"You didn't answer my question."
"He can leave whenever he want. I don't care. I just don't get it why he have this 'do-not-tell-Takao-a-thing' to everyone. As if I wouldn't find out. I'm not that stupid."
"You are indeed mad."
"I'm not," Kazunari protested half-heartedly. "But he must be that desperate to erase my existence."
"Tell me more." She sighed. "You know him better than me. You should have known by now that there's more into it than that."
He fell silent.
"I think I've had enough of this Midorima Shintaro talk. Sorry, mom."
Takao woke up with a wet towel on his forehead. He kind of figured he got terrible overnight.
There seemed to be someone on the bedside, drenching towels, but he couldn't see clearly who it was. His fucked up vision was doing him no good. Not to mention the pitch black surrounding was not helping at all.
Another towel touched his forearm, cooling his warm skin in slow and gentle strokes. A hand grasped his own. It was bigger than his, actually. And if he recalled correctly, his was already larger than his mom's. It was impossible to be his father's since he was currently away, and much much impossible to be his sister's.
"I see you're awake."
Was that? Nay, that was even beyond impossible.
"Oi." A lampshade was lit.
"Uh-huh. I didn't know fever can make you hallucinate this much," Takao remarked dryly.
"It's no laughing matter. You're reaching forty-three degress."
"Thanks, doc." Takao snorted. Midorima frowned. "What? Isn't that what you're supposed to pursue? That's why you're going overseas to study for two years earlier."
"Sleep again. Rest will help you recover quickly."
"I don't want to. Because once I wake up again I know you wouldn't be there anymore."
Midorima looked stricken under the faint light. "No, I'll be here."
"But you can never have the same dream when you're awake for the second time."
"It's not a dream."
"Yes, it is."
Midorima exhaled. "Fine. Have it that way."
"Before dream Shin-chan fades away, can I tell you something first?"
"I'm listening," Midorima said, more softly this time.
"I'm sorry." Takao smiled contentedly. "Be sure to say that to the real one. Wherever he is right now, okay?"
"I'll make it sure to relay that." Midorima tucked some black strands of hair and tucked them behind the other man's ear. "Now sleep."
Once Takao closed his eyes and his breathing evened, the taller man leaned forward slightly, albeit awkwardly, to plant a small kiss on Takao's forehead.
For a December 24, the sun was shining happily. Takao expected the snow would continue till the next day. Apparently, he was wrong.
And apparently, he was wrong too about having a good dream involving Shin-chan and being able to sincerely apologize.
Because the real Midorima seemed to be sleeping beside his bed while sitting low on the floor.
Ouch. Midorina's back would hurt like hell, Takao bet.
Takao poked the sleeping man curiously. He was sure Midorima's flight was scheduled last night.
He ditched that.
Takao kinda like the sound of it.
"Quit poking me." Midorima groaned under closed eyelids, before blinking them open. He muttered a small 'idiot'. "How are you?"
"How are you feeling?" the latter tried again. "You're burning last night."
"How do you know?"
"Your Mother told me."
"I already said I'm fine," the point guard mumbled lowly. "You don't have to... went here."
"If I wasn't here then I wouldn't hear you apology," Midorima replied coolly. He adjusted his glasses.
"You like that, don't you?" Takao inwardly grimaced. Damn, he was vulnerable last night.
Ugh, don't remind me what I probably said.
"I don't like that... I like..."
"What? I don't hear you.
"I said I don't like your apology, I like you more damnit!"
Takao went quiet at the sudden outburst.
Midorima was silently praying for a hole to eat him.
That's lame, Shin-chan. Couldn't you flirt more, uh, how do you put it? More manlier. Yeah—ow!"
Midorima hit him with a pillow. "Idiot, that's already my best."
Takao burst out laughing. "That's so dorky, though. HAHAHAHA!"
"Moron." Midorima huffed.
"But seriously speaking. Are we fine now? Friends?"
"Can you move it to the higher level?"
"Oh, close friends?"
"Uh, super mega friends?"
"Don't like that? Super mega best friends then?"
"I didn't know you are this dense, Takao."
Takao wiggled his finger. "Uh-huh. You don't get my point Shin-chan. We're not yet in that next level that starts with letter B and ends with -friends. I mean, we're not even pass the other level."
"What do you suggest?"
"For starters, we should be dating first."
"That's stupid, we already had our LQ."
Takao gasped dramatically. "Woah, Shin-chan, I didn't know you are already informed of the terms."
The shooter looked away embarrassingly. "Shut up."
Kuroko smiled earnestly at the text message he received from Akashi.
"It seems that Akashi-kun is right not to hold a farewell party for Midorima-kun."
Kagami raised an eyebrow at that. "Huh? Why is that. The guy is a bastard but he still deserves it."
"Midorima-kun canceled it to the last minute. It looks like there is someone he couldn't leave."
"I guess changing the Cancer's lucky item announced yesterday wasn't needed."
"Why go through the trouble, Akashi-sama?"
"A certain someone was stubborn. I have to prevent him from leaving somehow."
"Ha... But what's originally the lucky item?"
"Hmmm, that? It wasn't as if he could get it too. I don't see anywhere where Shintarou could get a 'boyfriend'." Akashi smirked.
"Is it just me or Po and Tigress really have some kind of chemistry?" Takao asked confusedly. "The plot could get better that way."
"What?" Midorima sounded incredulous. "What happened to you suddenly pairing up two different animals?"
"It not as if there's any human in Kung Fu Panda. Duh." Takao's eyes brighten. "Oh, and if ever they'll have a kid, I think it will be a Panger. You get it? A crossbreed of a panda and a tiger! And it'll be black and white in color. Urgh, but that will look like it got a connection with Tai Lung, don't you think?"
Earlier, they debated as to what to watch. Until it came down to only two choices: a 3D animation movie and Les Misérables. Midorima personally prefer the last one. He once read the book and it was very satisfying.
But then, Takao insisted the other film with animals doing Kung Fu. Midorima find it childish, but as long as Takao's happy, he could bear with it.
Still on the early stage, Midorima felt like he was already whipped.
Whatever. All is well that ends well.
"Ne, Shin-chan. Let's have an ice cream next, okay?" Takao suggested with his pretty eyes glimmering like a little kid.
Midorima was a powerless man when it comes to those.
Unsurely, Midorima held Takao's hand and lead him to the nearest ice cream parlor.
And he'll be an awkward man forever as well.
THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO REVIEWED, FAVORITE-D, AND FOLLOWED THIS FANFIC. ALSO THOSE WHO HAD TAKEN THE TIME TO READ IT. I LOVE YOU ALL. :*
UNTIL NEXT TIME. ;)