100 Theme Challenge

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Theme Nine: Death

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When someone on the team heard the name "Sakurai Ryou", they thought many things - he apologizes too much, he's just a first year, he shoots three pointers, he had damn good bento's (according to Aomine), he has brown hair... Just to name a few.

Out of all those things that they knew about the shooting guard, no one ever excepted that he would be one to shove away his true feelings and act as if nothing was wrong, when clearly, he was having one of the most bad weeks of his life.

Ryou had been at practice on Monday, he attended Tuesday as well, but then when Wednesday came, there was no sign of the first year. Everyone had been surprised at learning that the brown eyed teen had missed school that day, as Aomine said he never saw him in class once that day. They had been more surprised that the blue haired Ace had even came to practice.

"I only came because Satsuki wouldn't shut up." Aomine declared in a drawl, using his pinkie finger to clean out his ear. He pulled it out and shoved his hand back in his pockets and had looked away disinterested.

The rest of practice had continued on, but the aura in the gym just didn't feel right. The basketball players didn't know if it was because Ryou wasn't there, if it was because they couldn't hear his insane reasons to apologize for practically nothing - but then again, how could one person change the effect on all of them?

Touou was basically "Every Man for Himself". They never did that whole team thing that Seirin or most schools did, they used their individual talents, not relying on anyone else but themselves, unless the situation truly called for it.

That was just who they were.

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When Thursday came around, Ryou had appeared in class. The brown haired boy looked tired and his eyes were tinted red, as if he had stayed up all night.

Aomine glanced at him out of the corner of his eyes and looked back down at his notebook. They were supposed to be taking down notes, but instead he just started doodling. The blue haired teen glanced back at Ryou and watched as the brown haired boy shakily put a hand against his head, hearing a soft sigh come from him.

As if sensing a pair of eyes on him, Ryou turned and noticed Aomine look away, the tanned male's eyes glaring at the scenery out the window. Ryou blinked but was too tired to apologize; too tired to do anything, really.

The brunette stared down at his half-written notes and glanced back up at the teacher, who continued to jot down various key points that were crucial in today's lesson. "Sensei, I- I'm sorry, but I am not feeling too well." As much as he hated to admit it, Ryou's head was pounding and he felt he couldn't stand being here much longer.

He had tried to push his feelings of sadness, anger, rejection, loss, and all those wonderful little feelings away, to just focus on his school work and go back to practice as if nothing had happened, but it was too much. Ryou needed to stop. At least for one day, he needed a break from it all.

The teacher had glanced at the clock and gave him a strange look but nodded slowly. He put the piece of chalk down and handed him a slip of paper. "Go to the nurses office." The teacher said, motioning to the door.

"I'm sorry..." Ryou said, collecting his things and taking the paper from the teacher. He double checked his desk area, just to be sure he had everything, and turned to leave. Before he left the classroom, Ryou had caught Aomine's dark blue orbs burning into his own brown set and he quickly looked away, biting his lip as he slid the door closed behind him.

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After seeing the school's nurse, he had permission to head back home. The nurse insisted that he have his parents pick him up, but Ryou had told the woman that they had left on a business trip.

Ryou left the school with a lingering look before he began his walk home. The brunette hugged his bag close as he slowly walked down the familiar path he always took to get to and from school. The odd feeling of worry and dread swirled in his stomach, making him feel sick and even more worse than he had originally felt. He moved his hand to his stomach and glanced around the area, realizing that he was nearly home.

Ryou quickened his pace and let a sigh of relief out as he neared his house. He took his keys out and unlocked the door before stepping inside. There he stood at the entry way, staring down the dark hallway, the only source of light trying to flood in from the closed curtains of the living room. The first year leaned against the closed door and sunk to the ground.

He wrapped his arms around his knees and leaned his head in his arms, trying to stop the trembling that started. He reached up slowly to try and wipe at the tears that began to form, not wanting them to leak out all over again.

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By the next day, Ryou still felt as if he wasn't up to maximum efficiency. He still felt down and sad and angry; so he stayed home. He stayed at home a did nothing, really.

The only exception was eating some snacks and using the bathroom when he needed to, but he didn't feel like making anything big. The teen had tried to do something that he always enjoyed doing, working on his manga or at least drawing. But, he just stopped after staring at the paper blankly. He put his pen down and went a lay on his bed, figuring he'll just get up when he absolutely needs to.

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When Monday came, Ryou was back at school.

He had his usual shy smile on his face and was apologizing for the little things as he usually did. When Ryou had entered class, he was surprised to see Aomine sitting at his desk. Staring at him.

A bit taken aback, Ryou sat down after he apologized to the teacher for missing so much school and frowned when the atmosphere of the classroom went awkward. Ryou tried not to focus on Aomine too much, but the eyes burning into the back of his head caused him to turn around and give his blue haired team mate curious glances, which Aomine returned with small glares.

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Once their morning classes were over and after murmuring his ninth apology to the tanned skin teenager, Ryou got up and left to head to the gym as quickly as he could. He was half expecting Aomine to show up there as well, because the ace had appeared in class, which was an odd thing in itself.

Once he entered he put on a small smile and walked up to Imayoshi, gently clutching his bento in his hands. "I- Imayoshi-san, I just wanted to say I'm sorry for missing so much practice." Ryou let his eyes fall from the taller male, staring at the ground as he brought his bento up in a poor attempt to hide himself from his Captain's narrow eyes.

"Ahh, Sakurai." Imayoshi greeted, giving the shorter of the two a pat on the shoulder. "It's good to see you again." The third year offered a smile with a tilt of his head.

"Ah, yes. S- Sorry..."

"Hm? Oh, are you going to tell me why exactly you missed so much practice?" Imayoshi asked softly, not wanting to set the brunette off on another apology rampage again like the last time he had talked to him.

Ryou fidgeted with his lunch box before lowering it. He put on a small smile and shrugged as nonchalant as he could. "I just- ah... One of my family members - my uncle - died last Tuesday evening and we had to make funeral arrangements, attend the funeral, and then my parents left on another trip right after..." Ryou trailed off, looking back up at his captain.

Ryou blinked, surprised to see Imayoshi staring at him with calculating eyes instead of his normal squinting appearance. "But-! But, I'm fine now. I can come back to practice today and everything.. will be normal." Ryou said, giving the taller male a reassuring smile. "I'm sorry, still." He pressed on, deciding to look anywhere but his captain was a good idea at the moment.

As it turned out, it wasn't such a hot idea, because he was receiving stares from all of his team mates, making him feel uncomfortable. "Sorry..." He mumbled, feeling as if he was apologizing more to himself than anyone. "I'm go-"

"Oi, Ryou, wha'dya bring me for lunch?" Aomine casually asked, swinging his arm around the brunette. Ryou flinched when he felt the contact and immediately looked at the ground, staring at his shoes. "It better be good like the last one." Aomine added in, practically pulling the smaller boy along.

Aomine paused for a split-second, realizing just how light Ryou actually was. He arched his brow before looking away, feigning disinterest. Ryou just quietly began to eat his lunch, watching how Aomine casually stole pieces out every so often, shoving them into his mouth and then commented on how great it tasted and how Ryou should make him a bento, as well.

Ryou only apologized for not thinking of that earlier before staring at his food, suddenly finding that he wasn't all that hungry. He still ate and despite falling into another sullen mood, the apologetic teen put a small smile on.

He figured that he shouldn't ruin his team mates good moods, just because he wasn't particularly in one.

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When school was over and practice was finished, Ryou offered to put everything away. No one objected, because they either had to get home, or had more important things to do, or just wanted to goof off after a hard day's work.

Once the brunette was alone, he began to gather all the scattered basketballs that cluttered the gym. He put them all back into the fabric carts that held them and wheeled the two carts into the storage where they kept all of their equipment.

In a matter of minutes, Ryou had finished up with tidying up the gym. His soft brown orbs looked over his work before he nodded slowly. Ryou turned on his heel and made his way to the locker room, wanting to change and get home as soon as he could.

'I don't get why I'm in a rush, it's not like anyone's there waiting...' He thought, staring at his shoes as he entered the locker room. Ryou made his way to his locker, eyes still glued to his feet. He looked up when he reached his locker and at what he saw, he nearly yelped from shock. "A- Aomine-san! What are you doing here?" Ryou asked, eyes wide as he stared at the taller male.

"Oi. I don't like it when people lie. Especially to me." Aomine stated, eyes narrowing as he stared down at the shorter. Ryou immediately broke eye contact and stared at the ground again.

"Sorry." He said in return. "But I'm not ly-"

"Shut up." Aomine muttered out in a flat whisper, causing Ryou to look at him curiously. The blue haired ace frowned and turned his gaze away, instead focusing on the row of lockers behind Ryou. "Just say that it hurts, idiot... Say you're sad, already." He muttered out, now refusing to look Ryou in the eyes.

Ryou continued to stare at Aomine in surprise, his mouth open and a feeling of not knowing what to do anymore flooding his veins. "I- I... I'm so-"

"Don't say you're sorry. It's not your fault... None of it is." Aomine replied, finally taking the moment to actually look Ryou in the eyes.

The brunette stayed quiet, biting his bottom lip which began to quiver. Ryou broke eye contact again, but Aomine only put a hand under his chin and made him look up at him again. "Say it." He whispered.

"It hurts... a- and I'm sad..." Ryou said shakily, his eyes stinging as tears began to well up again. He tensed when he felt an arm wrap around his shoulders, but quickly relaxed into the comfort of the taller teen. Ryou let the tears stream down his cheeks as he shakily held onto the shirt of the other boy.

"I know." Aomine said softly, voice hardly heard through the heart-breaking cries of the shorter teen. "I know..."

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Ryou... I'm so sorry my precious ; u; But it had to be done.. and I needed to write some AoSaku... because I'm too focused on AoKasa m(_ _)m

Oh, also, Happy Birthday, Ryou~! (September 9th) I hope you have the best made-up-character birthday ever! - Despite this horrible oneshot I used you for ||OTL

~WinterAssassin~