AN. To answer Visually Dreamer, I do not think there will be romance, maybe just as a thing of the past for someone, but other than that, no. Just fam and friendship.
Aomine was pale, his features describing his unease; the hand on Tetsuya's shoulder digging into him as if that would keep him there. Equally shaken teens stared at each other, motionless, before Aomine drew in a sudden breath and exhaled in relief. It was then that Kise approached, a smile in place and looking ready to crack a joke. It infuriated the older ghost.
Aomine growled at him, lashing out with crackles of energy, hitting Kise and making him shimmer and curse viciously. This effectively enraged the other ghost and retaliated almost reflexively– little yellow lightning dancing in his hand. Aomine wasn't having any of that.
He projected his blue energy forward, sending Kise backwards as he scooped up his little charge and twirling on one leg, disappeared on the spot.
"My apologies, Aomine-kun."
"Hmss-wha-what?" Aomine slurred out as a knee-jerk reaction, immediately jerking to full awareness, drowsiness forgotten. He looked down at the head of teal he had trapped in his arms, the rest of him curled up between his legs–looking no bigger than ten. "Wassat you said?"
Tetsuya squirmed as much as he could beneath the arms around him. "M-my apologies." He repeated. His quiet voice was barely above a whisper, quickly dissipating into Aomine's room. If the other boy hadn't been head-locking him, it would probably had gone unheard. But no, Aomine would make sure it never did.
"If I hadn't…"
"Hadn't what?" Aomine said, daring him to try and apology for something he had not been at fault for. His arms around Tetsu tightened. "From your expression it did not seem like you were going to play a prank on us so… I don't see how it would be your fault at all."
There was another moment of silence, but not as big as before. Still, Tetsuya felt guilty. "But…"
"It's because there's something wrong with me- I-"
"Sa-Tetsu." Shit. "There's nothing wrong with you."
Little shoulders slumped further. "Do let go." He asked in a little plea. Reluctantly, the older ghost did so and Tetsuya crawled away to properly face him, poker face intact. "You do not know me, Aomine-kun." He said, scaring the other to no end. But he continued, not noticing anything as he looked down at his own hands. "I…" He frowned a little, but his face remained impervious of emotion. He exhaled then continued. "It was my fault. I do not know how… "Before… Back when I was still… alive, if you could say, nobody, I mean, nobody could notice me. Not even when- Nobody r-remembered me for long. I- I never knew why but, there has to be something wrong with me. For causing you trouble… I apologize."
Aomine just sat there, horror-struck as the words sunk in. "What… what does that mean? What do you mean by-? That can't be true… someone, you were there, someone must have noticed you. Tetsuya what does that mean?"
Tetsuya did not reply but his fists tensed. There was a little silence before Aomine cursed, raising his hands to mess his hair. "Oh, god, I'm so fucking sorry… Tetsu…"
"A-Aomine-kun?" Despite himself, a flicker of fear and unease managed to break through his face as Kuroko waited for Aomine's next words with white-knuckled fists.
Meanwhile Aomine's mind was swimming with a thousand thoughts. Everything made sense now. This little ghost was not used to- heck, he'd probably never had any sort of normal interactions and Aomine had been his first fucking human contact-
And Aomine was just using him as a replacement.
The ghost choked on air, meeting equally wide eyes and shook his head almost violently. "No, Tetsu. No, I'm the one who has to apologize… I didn't know, I'm sorry. For making you think there was something wrong with you. No, Tetsu, you're okay, you're fine." What was he saying?
Tetsuya stiffened before relaxing a little –he remained silent.
"I'm so not prepared for this…" Aomine muttered to himself, still feeling awful and just trying to figure out what he wanted to tell the other. "I'm sorry," he repeated, searching for Kuroko's eyes. "For all that you had to go. It must have been tough."
Teal-colored eyes misted over.
Why had he ever thought about him as Satsuki? Why had he insulted him so?
The silence began creeping up on them again but Aomine wouldn't let it. He looked at the other before murmuring, "Po."
"P-po?" Tetsuya sniffed. Aomine grinned.
Tetsuya scowled, effectively breaking his emotionless mask. Aomine ruffled his hair before presenting his fist to the confused other. "I told you before. You have me. You're not alone, not anymore."
A smaller fist met his. And then Tetsuya hid his face in his knees, not noticing how a tear or two also rolled down Aomine's face.
Aomine had never done that with anyone else. Besides Satsuki. Last time did not count. It would be demeaning to them both.
(And still, he felt as if he were betraying her.)
Aomine's eyes shot open, frantically trying to find the owner of that delicate voice to no avail. He was in "his room", having slept the rest of the day away. As he recognized his surroundings, he too, recognized the voice and it broke his heart.
He needed to see Satsuki.
But no, he had promised Tetsu he'd be there for him, this time for sure. He would never try to use him as a substitute again. Even if it meant being haunted by her again.
How ironic. That it was the ghost that was being haunted and not the other way around.
When Tetsu awoke, they headed out to Midorima Park.
As if they had pressed play on a video, when they reached the basketball court, they could see Midorima shooting three pointers with mechanic moves. He scored 3 or 4 for every 5 shots he made, but his supply of copied balls seemed endless. No matter if it went in or not, Midorima already had a fresh ball ready to throw.
Over and over again, like a machine.
"I hate it when he gets like that." Aomine told a confused Tetsu, who silently asked him to clarify, "he just copies that ball at his feet and shoots three-pointers all day long, with no breaks in between. Probably Takao has been busy or something."
Tetsuya returned his gaze towards the mechanically-moving ghost as he tried to make sense of those words. Having an inkling of a suspicion he sighed to himself. "I have to apologize to Takao. I have not made good of our promise."
Aomine slanted a look his way. "Don't sweat it. For starters, it hasn't been all that long." Still seeing him distressed over the thought he couldn't help but add. "Wanna say hi?"
"Yes. I think I will. What about you, Aomine-kun?"
"Eh, I'll hang back today. But I will stay close, don't worry."
"Midorima-kun, good morning." Tetsuya said with a little bow, as the green-haired ghost carried on shooting, heedless of his presence. "I apologize for not having visited earlier. I had…many things have happened recently."
The ghost continued to shoot as if he wasn't there, but Tetsuya continued undeterred. He turned to the fountain of basketballs, seeing how the great majority entered. He eyed the jumping other. "Your jumping ability is admirable. Your accuracy too."
"No. It's not good enough." Midorima finally acknowledged his presence, the words coming out with a pant. He slowed on his throws, but did not stop. "All of them have to go in."
Midorima stared at him with no answer. Nobody had ever asked him that. He himself had never wondered why. Tetsuya seemed to think that silence was answer enough and continued asking, for some reason unknown to Midorima, a little bolder than before.
"Would you like to take a break? You look tired."
Midorima faltered. He stared dubiously at the other as his hands lowered themselves without him noticing.
"You can always continue later." Tetsuya persisted, trying not to let a grin break free at seeing that –maybe– he was pulling through with him.
Midorima's eyes narrowed, clearly not trusting either his intentions or his actions. "You don't bring any more disgusting drinks?"
"I don't think so?" The other ghost managed to reply, caught completely off guard.
Midorima let the ball in his hands fade into nothing. His arms fell limply to his sides. For a moment, the way green eyes stared at the pavement below reminded Tetsuya of himself, but it was gone in a second. "Alright, a break, whatever."
Kuroko let a smile break his poker face. "Thank you very much, Midorima-kun."
"Yeah, yeah. Whatever." Midorima then looked at the other critically. And as tactful and sociable as ever he decided to follow it up with a non-sequitur. "You don't look like a good jumper. Or even a sports-kind of guy."
"Eh?" Tetsuya stared at him wide-eyed, at a lost for what to say. When It looked like Midorima was about to close himself up again, he tripped over his words to say, "I-I did not have much time to practice."
"So you did play basketball." A small smile pulled at the corner of Midorima's lips as if he had won something by making Tetsuya confess.
Tetsuya shrunk in on himself slightly. His voice also came out much quieter. "I…liked it. But like I said I did not have much chance to practice.
"Oh. In that case, what are you doing here?"
"I came to visit you Midorima-kun."
The other ghost scowled. He opened his mouth, closed it then looked away. "Why did you assume I would be here?"
"Aomine-kun supposed you would be here. "
Midorima clicked his tongue in annoyance, looking like a little kid, but did not comment further. Kuroko was just glad he had not mentioned how Aomine nicknamed this place Midorima's Park. But maybe, it would be a good ice breaker-
"Midorima-kun, do you enjoy coming to this park?"
A stony silence followed. Or maybe not?
"What do you want?" The taller teen asked instead.
"What-? Well, to talk to you-?" Tetsuya was once more taken aback, unsure of what to answer.
"Not that. Why do you persist on coming here, bothering me nonstop? Why?"
"Eh well, because-" Tetsuya paused, remembering the hearty and vivacious Living (no pun intended). But he did not want to embarrass the other, so he corrected himself before speaking, "I'd like to get to know you better."
"Why would you? I hate you all." Midorima sneered, immediately regretting his choice of words given by his startled face immediately after, but he did not correct himself. Tetsuya noticed it, but still couldn't help the flinch and the hurt it caused.
"If…If Takao-sa… I mean, if Takao is friends with you, I would like to think-"
Not friends. He wouldn't be so presumptuous.
"That we could become acquaintances. Given how we're all ghosts. If-If you would have me."
"That is not how you use that phrase…" Midorima muttered, but dropped the subject as his thoughts ran wild. He opened his mouth and in the quietest voice ever he asked. "You don't mind that Takao can see me then?"
"Well, he can see me too, so I don't see a problem." Tetsuya replied without missing a beat, not really catching onto the veiled question. Somehow, his words were not enough and Midorima heard nothing but what he expected to hear. He closed himself off again. He raised his guard and hid behind a haughty sneer.
"So you want… I see. No, I cannot allow this."
Tetsuya, who had been pretty convinced he was doing alright needed to rewind. "Pardon?"
"You won't take Takao away from me!" He exclaimed, wind blowing and ripping through them both. In a swish of leaves, Midorima was gone.
Tetsuya stood there, numb as Aomine came rushing in.
What had happened?
"That's the first time I heard him say something like that." Aomine said dryly, eyebrows arched. Tetsuya was still numbly staring at the spot Midorima had just disappeared, sitting on an immobile swing a little way back.
"What did I do wrong?" Tetsuya said in a tiny voice, more to himself than anything but still made Aomine's heart shrink. He messed up his hair.
"Nothin'. You did nothin' wrong. Midorima… he's high maintenance. Don't take it personally." He paused, pensive eyes on his charge. "Actually I find it odd. He barks and barks all the time but he rarely gets angry." At Tetsuya's shrinking figure, he hurriedly tacked on, "but it's not like it's your fault! I'm sure he's just overreacting!"
"Were Takao and him good friends?" Tetsuya asked, voice still feeble. Seeing Aomine frowning in confusion, he added. "Back when Midorima was still alive."
"…Yes. I think so."
"Aomine-kun… may I ask you something?" Tetsuya fidgeted under Aomine's arched eyebrow. "I would appreciate it if you… if you did not laugh at me…. Do f-people get angry if someone talks to their best friend without them?"
Aomine stared at him for a while, face expressionless but thankfully did not comment. "Well… I guess it wouldn't be appreciated but… Well, I think you nailed it. Midorima's small minded like that. He would get angry over that. Especially…" Aomine then trailed off, the other did not push the subject.
"It is my fault then." Tetsuya concluded, thinking back on the borderline panic on the other ghost's face before he disappeared. But what could he do? He had failed big time in conversation, unable to convey himself properly.
But he would not stop.
"I shall fix my mistakes," he proclaimed, voice of steel and back straight. For some reason this surprised Aomine. For some reason, he felt a tad jealous. "I shall wait for Midorima and will clear up any possible misunderstanding."
"Hey, Baggage, not to burst your bubble but there's no guarantee he'll come back any time soon." He expected some sort of rebuttal at the return of the nickname but instead, a conflicted ghost turned to him.
"I do not know where else he could be. I know he won't be coming soon but… Here is my best shot, do you not think so?"
For some reason, Aomine wanted to tell him that he knew where Midorima could be. But no. This was his secret. Midorima's and his own. No one else had to know where they had died.
"Well alright. But this is going to get boring fast if he doesn't show up."
"Aomine-kun? You don't have to keep me company, it is alright if you would rather leave if you are bored. I can manage on my own." He was startled by the face the other pulled, immediately stuttering out a, "I-I did not mean- Aomine-kun, I appreciate your company I just did not want to burden you…"
"Well too damn bad. I'm staying here if you are too." Aomine hashed out, stubbornly, entirely missing Tetsuya's poker face breaking for just an instant.
The wind made the swings move in the seemingly empty park. In that silence, two figures stood. Only having each other. Afraid to trust and afraid to be left behind.
"Thank you, Aomine-kun."
As it turned out, the green-haired ghost did not return. Who did pop up, the day afterwards was the Living that went by the name of Takao. The teen wandered into the park with a light, bouncy step, which became softer and softer until he was merely walking, face turning serious and inscrutable once he realized he could not see anyone there.
As every time he could not see Midorima his heart lodged itself in his throat as the thought that –his friend was finally gone, disappeared somewhere he could not reach– came and went. The feeling passed but the bittersweet afterthought lingered. Takao sighed tiredly but lifted his gaze when someone approached him. "Hey there, Aomine. Don't suppose you know where Shin-chan is, right?"
"Can't say I know, 'srry. I think I saw him yesterday though." Aomine shrugged, berating himself in his mind for being so affected by this Living's eyes staring at him. So earnestly. He should be over this! He had been over this already!
"That so… Thank you." Takao said with a little smile, and a relieved sigh. There was a small awkward silence afterwards as Aomine had never been one to linger around Takao without his companion. Because.
Because when Midorima was here and he could annoy him with Takao was one thing. But like this, it came back to him that Midorima wasn't alone, the asshole. He had had Takao back when he was alive and even now after he had died. He had never been truly alone. And the useless thought that he wished she could see him…
No, he refused to sink to Kise's level.
"So… I'll tell him you were looking for him if I see him. Gotta go."
"Ah, yes, alright…Thank you Aomine!"
Aomine stared at the Living's back. Long after he was gone, the ghost lingered. He stared at the distance, as if he could still see Takao's back, as the intrusive thought finally got past his defenses.
If only she…
He missed the way Kuroko stared at his companion with concern, quietly keeping him company, not knowing how to help him bear the storm.
"So, class. I feel the responsibility to inform you of certain dangers as a ghost."
Tetsuya looked around him at the empty classroom they had claimed for themselves, before raising his hand with a little smile.
Aomine, who had managed to regain himself much to Tetsuya's relief and had "borrowed a pair of glasses to look the part, smiled at the boy, poiting at him with a "borrowed" ruler like a teacher would, "Yes, Tetsu?"
"Aomine-sensei, what do you mean?"
"Earlier, when Midorima disappeared, the winds became stronger, right? I suppose it must have felt uncomfortable. When the elements go through us, it feels weird but they don't really hurt us." Aomine lectured, features softening at the wide-eyed amazed expression on his ghost. "Nonetheless, ghosts can produce lightning. I think, it's like energy. Not sure if it's visible for the Living, but it hurts like a bitch."
Tetsuya almost frowned. "Aomine-sensei please mind your language in the classroom."
"Ah, shit that's right."
The ghost rolled his eyes but relented. He was far too curious. "And how is this lighting produced? Anyone can make it?"
"Yeah, anyone can. And about how… " Aomine paused, thinking long and hard. "I got it! You have to channel your emotions and your energy. Picturing it helps."
"My…emotions?" The pale ghost repeated, dubious and confused.
"Yeah, I know it's weird but it's like some qi crap. Like you meditate to have a control over yourself and then if you badly want to make lightning it goes bam! And depending on how or what you're feeling is how it acts."
Tetsuya blinked at that weird way of explaining but decided it was understandable enough.
"Would you teach it to me, Aomine-sensei?"
"Sure, remind me later." Aomine said, already thinking on something else. "Hmm, what else. It goes without saying that anything copied by a ghost will not go through us, so watch out for that. We follow gravity a little, so even if it hurts less, try not to fall off tall things. Or fall at all, you'd look ridiculous. " Aomine said, entirely missing how his charge's poker face broke briefly at the mention of a fall.
"Oh and ghost possessions." Aomine snapped his fingers, recalling the last bit of ghostly information he wanted to share. He grinned at Tetsu, at the boy managed to smile back. "You will feel the pain of whoever you're possessing so try not to injure them much. Also be careful of exorcisms. Not all are real, but some Livings know the right chants that ban us from entering some place or rudely expulse us."
Tetsuya recalled when he had first seen Takao. He frowned, this ghost possession did not sound very nice to the Livings. He had half a mind to argue about this, but the insecurity always lurking just a step behind him reared its head and told himself to stuff it. Besides, he was new at being a ghost, he had no say in this.
Tetsuya was still thinking about this when he felt a finger poking at his brow. He looked up and was mildly surprised at seeing Aomine scowling at him.
"Out with it." He basically snarled, "I told you, you can say whatever's on your mind. You don't have to bow to my opinions or anything. What brought this frown?"
The other ghost fidgeted a little, frown growing in size at his discomfort, but slowly mumbled, "I don't think possessing someone is …nice."
Aomine blinked, a bit surprised. "Well, y're not wrong. It's not quite proper. And it's not like we gain anything over doing that. I just thought you should know that this is a possibility."
"Oh. I'm sorry." Tetsuya said, curling into himself, but was stopped again as Aomine ruffled his hair fondly.
"Nah, don't sweat it."
"Is it… is it painful for them?"
"…" Aomine smiled sadly. His next words almost a whisper, "they don't even notice- don't remember."
For some reason Tetsuya's heart shrunk.
Aomine gave his back to him, hands on his hips as he leaned back. "So, well… that's all I can think about for the moment. Class dismissed."
Tetsuya could only wish he knew what to say to alleviate the heavy load on his shoulders that almost made the other teen look old and lonely.
Not for the first time he thought to himself he did not want Aomine to experience loneliness. He had spent sixteen years of his life alone, he would never allow anyone else to go through that.
"Aomine-kun, would you be so kind as to teach me how to create lightning? I would not be against the idea of being lightningman."
"…What?" Aomine sounded a little winded, but the surprise had taken over his despondency.
Kuroko cocked his head. "A superhero that creates lightning. So lightningman."
Aomine stared at him, face vulnerable and slack for about two heartbeats making Kuroko feel his ears hot as the embarrassment won him over before his companion broke down in incredulous laughter.
"Lamest superhero, ever, I swear… Sure thing, let's get out of here and I'll teach you now. On one condition. You won't refer to yourself as lightning-man."
"I think that is agreeable. I believe you deserve the name more than I."
"Wha-? Oh, don't you dare call me that, Baggage!" Aomine said, head locking the other.
In the end all Tetsuya could produce that day was a small spatter of sparks but he felt far more accomplished at realizing that Aomine had been thoroughly cheered up.
Tetsuya smiled to himself.
This was nice.
How long has it been? Holy hell. I don't even remember which part exactly I had trouble writing. Although to be honest the answer is probably this whole chapter.
And thank you for staying with me, even though it's been like a year.
ALSO. I'm not really in the fandom anymore, I still love it but I couldn't be bothered to watch S3 or the movie(s?), I seem to have grown out of it or lost interest.
I still love this story and it's an AU after all so I think I can still continue it. I've been thinking that having someone to talk to about this story might help me continue this, so if you want to hit me up, PM me on tumblr. My url is rainingskyguy. Or even on here, whichever you prefer.
I don't want to leave this story hanging, guys. Believe me. I'm gonna be picking up speed, probably shorten the story so I don't lose focus. Don't lose interest.
But not right now. I need to pull myself together with my life. I will limit my writing. I won't be updating in a while. Sorry to leave you hanging so soon.
We'll read each other again.