[[ Couldn't resist writing another Aokuro despite all the projects I'm supposed to be doing for school…
Once again, this is all headcanon and some of the things are not found in the Manga or anything as they are just stuff that I randomly came up with. There are parts from the series though and some are just added on things that I thought of for this fanfic.
It doesn't have much dialogue since I wrote it with the focus on Aomine's thoughts more than anything else so if you're a person who likes lots of dialogues, I'm sorry but it might not be your taste. My writing style isn't one that has lots of dialogue so I apologise for that. ]]
His first year of Middle School was fun and it was when Aomine Daiki met Kuroko Tetsuya, his best partner for basketball and the person that understood him best. Their meeting was by luck or was it fate? Aomine never did put much thought into that. Basketball was still fun then and he loved the game greatly. Playing with someone like Kuroko who loved basketball as he did was the best thing that could have happened to him.
It was out of his love for the game and the desire that he wanted to improve that he had ended up in the Third-String's gym. It did not seem to have people practicing there compared to the one he was in. When Momoi first told him that the place was haunted, he did not believe her. Why would he believe in a haunted gym? But when he entered the place and saw no one there while the lights were on made him believe Momoi's words since he heard sound right until he opened the door. He thought that way till Kuroko popped out of nowhere and greeted him and he was silently sighing in relief that he did not embarrass himself by saying anything embarrassing.
Aomine soon learnt why people thought the place was haunted and the reason was so amusing that he was laughing as he heard Kuroko explain. It was due to his lack of presence that no one noticed he was there and Aomine had to admit it to be true when he did not notice him till he spoke to him. Instinctively, Aomine knew he would get along well with Kuroko once he learnt how hardworking Kuroko was and how much they both loved basketball. "If you like basketball, you can't be bad." That was his pet theory back then.
They were both basketball idiots that clicked really well and he was soon practicing with Kuroko every day till the day Kuroko said he wanted to quit. That day, he had waited for a long time and yet Kuroko did not appear till it was almost time for him to leave. Ironically, he had come to tell him that he wanted to quit basketball.
Aomine recalled being angry at that since he really did respect Kuroko during the time the both of them practiced together. No one else practiced as much as Kuroko did and no matter how he was not making any progress, he never did give up. Kuroko was always playing the game earnestly and he could see the rare smile on Kuroko's face when he played too. It was nice having a person who played with the same reason as you, chat with you about your hobby and be happy for you if you improve.
He really did not want to see Kuroko give up after so much hard work and he wanted to play with Kuroko longer. It was hard for him to find someone that clicked so well with him and he would be losing a lot if Kuroko really did quit basketball. Aomine had barely managed to convince Kuroko to continue playing when the other members of the Generation of Miracles minus Kise who had not joined yet came to look for him. Akashi noticed Kuroko's lack of presence quickly and after some practice and tests, Kuroko was along the First-Strings with him like he had wanted when they first met.
The bond between them grew stronger as they officially started being partners on the court. Kuroko was usually his partner for practice and he played with other members who were interested to play with him. They started bumping fists with each other at the end of each game and practice too as a sign of their friendship. Self practice after that was always with Kuroko though and they even hung out after school together. Kuroko's practice was much easier now that he knew what to work on and his new pass awed Aomine a lot and it was really cool when he first caught it. Although his hand burned a little from the pass despite it not being completed yet.
Since they were partners, most of Kuroko's passes were practiced with him and he got used to catch those passes real quickly. Kuroko's passes were more superb when they were playing team matches whether it was a real or a practice one. The timing for all of his passes were right on to Aomine and they would bump fists whenever they managed to get a point to turn the tables around. His invisible passes were great and it amused him that most people forgot he was there in the game till he stole the ball from them
He would not fail to spot Kuroko despite other people forgetting him. How could he forget Kuroko who interested him since they first met and he really liked playing basketball with Kuroko too much to not notice him. Ever since that day, Kuroko was someone he always noticed unless Kuroko was behind him and thus would be able to creep on him and scare him with his sudden appearance.
Aomine always had to be the one to invite Kuroko to hang out since the male was a man of few words and rarely would take the initiative for something and he was much of a loner. He found out quickly that even Kuroko's classmates and teachers barely even noticed him. It was just sad how people all fail to notice him and Kuroko's silent nature did not help to make him stand out. Somehow that made him pleased that he was the one that notices Kuroko the most.
Looking for Kuroko in school was hard when barely anyone would notice his presence and said male would be too lost in his book to answer him immediately. "Tetsu!" He finally noticed him and casually placed his arm over Kuroko's shoulders. "Aomine-kun?" He seemed surprised to see him and Aomine was not surprised after seeing the book in his hands. "Tetsu, you really are such a bookworm. I have been calling you for a while now."
Kuroko was apologetic and apologised quickly. "I apologise for not realising that Aomine-kun have been looking for me. I was too caught up in this new book I just got." Now that he looked carefully, it really was a new book. How could Kuroko enjoy reading so many books is a mystery to Aomine who finds them boring. The rate of a book he finishes a book was alarming too. Kuroko shook his arm off and stood up. "Aomine-kun is here to get me for something right? Let's go then." Aomine had a feeling he just wanted to get his arm off him since Kuroko was not a physical person.
Despite that, Aomine often kept physical contact with him like ruffling his hair and casually placing his arm around his shoulders and such. Kuroko usually got mad at people who touch his hair and messed it up but Aomine seemed to be the exception to that since Kuroko gave up trying to get him to stop when he realised that it was Aomine's nature to be over clingy to people that he liked being with. "I'm not that clingy!" He remembered retorting once and Kuroko just stared at him with those eyes and he soon gave up arguing with him.
They would go out to eat sometimes with the rest or just the two of them. Kuroko eats way too little and Aomine could start to see why he was so frail and small-looking. The only thing that he feeds a lot on was vanilla shakes and Kuroko would always drink that when they go out for fast food with a small side order of something.
If not, he would be drinking Pocari. Even when the drink was out of order in the vending machine, Kuroko would not drink something else and they would have to find a place to get the drink Kuroko wanted. Such determination and he had snickered when he first caught the serious look on Kuroko's face as he said that. Maybe that was why he started stocking up on that drink and brings a few with him each day. Aomine had liked that drink before and knowing that Kuroko liked it made him drink it more since they sometimes drink from each other's bottles when they ran out of water. It was much better to drink sport drinks than plain water and they might as well fill it with one that they both liked.
Having ice or some other cold treat like Kuroko's favourite vanilla shakes were something they rewarded themselves when they won a match or they mastered a new move or when something good happened. It was something only the both of them did alone with each other at first before Kise came and a trend the rest of them did.
Soon, Momoi caught on that Kuroko was someone he listened to and got Kuroko to study with him to make sure his grades improve. That was harsh when Kuroko really did take it seriously and he remembered Kuroko asking to stay over at his house for the first time. "Aomine-kun, do you mind if I stay at your place for a few days? Till the exam period ends."
"Sure. You're always welcome to my place, Tetsu." During that time, he did not know what Kuroko's plan for doing that was and agreed to it blindly. Thinking back, Aomine really should have guessed when Kuroko said till the exam period ends and Momoi had been asking him to study for a while already. He just thought that it was one of the rare times when Kuroko actually asked him to do something together instead of him doing the asking. He really should have asked him the reason back then.
Kuroko came over with a rather big bag that Aomine had to wonder how he carried it with his small frame with how much stuff he have in it. Kind of unbelievable that he managed to carry it with him all the way here and Aomine offered to help him with it when he has to go back. "Tetsu. What are those for?" He asked when Kuroko took out various textbooks and notes.
"Studying. Aomine-kun, it's the exam period and I thought we could study together." The tone he used was serious with no room for argument. "..." Suddenly the whole reason why Kuroko asked to stay with him registered in his head. "Tetsu, this was your plan all along huh? To get me to study. Satsuki must have asked you to." During that time, Momoi was not in love with Kuroko yet and only knew him through Aomine.
Kuroko did not answer him at all and Aomine reluctantly sat down to join him after a failed attempt to get him to change his mind. Glaring at Kuroko was pointless when Kuroko's facial expression shown no signs of any changes at all. "Fine. Can't say I won't fall asleep during that. What's in it for me when I don't care about it?"
Aomine still did not see why he should agree to it. Kuroko seemed to expect that and already had a response ready to answer it. "It's your grades, Aomine-kun and you won't be able to play in the next game if you don't pass. I promise to play with Aomine-kun as much as you want after this."
What kind of suggestion was that when they already played almost as much as he wanted nearly every day? "Add in at least two hours of basketball every day when we're studying and you also owe me a meal for this." Aomine was very much aware that Kuroko was doing it for his own good but he was still unhappy about a rare chance that Kuroko wanted to do something together turned out to be studying.
"Aomine-kun, that isn't fair." Kuroko's face was neutral but Aomine knew him long enough to know he was not pleased by his words. Seeing that Kuroko seemed displeased, he decided to push him further and maybe get him to give up on that idea. "I don't have a spare futon either so you will have to share my bed with me if you're serious about staying over."
Aomine was taking a gamble here. If Kuroko agreed to it despite his dislike of having physical contact with someone, Aomine supposed he could agree to it to make it fair. Maybe Kuroko would back out after tonight after his attempt to make him uncomfortable at night. But with both of them being stubborn, it was going to take a while.
"Aomine-kun, that's not going to work." Aomine grinned, he was hoping his challenge would be taken on. He made a silent promise in his head that he would treat Kuroko to vanilla shakes if Kuroko manage to stay till the end as his winning prize. He was not going to tell Kuroko that of course. That would just make Kuroko more motivated and harder to shake off.
After one long day of boring studying and exactly two hours of basketball he could finally sleep. "Tetsu. You're too much. You really made me stop two hours later." Kuroko really was serious and the intensity of his eyes made him relented when he was asked to stop and go back. Kuroko was rather scary when he's annoyed or angry and he rather maintains the good relationship he had with him.
"That was the deal, Aomine-kun. Two hours and I only followed my end of the bargain." Kuroko answered as he started moving towards the bed that Aomine had lightly pushed him to. Watching Kuroko's face helped to tell him that Kuroko really was not happy with their sleeping arrangement. "Not too late to change your mind, Tetsu." He taunted and waited for Kuroko's response.
There was a glare directed his way as he moved under the covers and laid down. Kuroko shook his head before lying on the pillow. "I promised Momoi-san that I would help and I will keep my promise. Besides, it's for Aomine-kun's own good that I'm making you study." He was tempted to argue about Kuroko's rather average scores but it was true that it was much better than his. His test scores were pretty bad and he had to admit that Kuroko gets higher marks than him, especially for history.
Aomine was just going to blame Momoi for this and why did she have to drag Kuroko of all people for this? He could shake other people off easier than Kuroko and perhaps that was why Kuroko was chosen for this despite his own average score. He groaned silently and he kept his mouth shut. A couple of minutes went by before he turned around to face Kuroko. "Tetsu. Are you asleep?"
Kuroko did not stir and there was no answer. He poked his cheek lightly to test it one more time before he proceeded to his plan. "Oi. Tetsu." Still no answer and he lightly tugged the slumbering male towards him. "Don't blame me for this Tetsu. It's your own fault for promising Satsuki to make me study."
He wrapped his arms around him and yawned. Aomine planned to see how Kuroko would react when he wakes up to see that he had been made into a human pillow while he was asleep and maybe that would be enough to make him give up. This might cross the lines a little and Kuroko was already displeased enough with how often he swings his arm around his shoulder and all.
"Huh? This feels much more comfortable than I thought." He commented sleepily as sleep almost claimed him. Hugging a warm body was nice and since Kuroko was smaller in size, he could place his chin on top of his head and his nose could catch his faint scent too. "Vanilla like I thought….." He was getting drowsier and Kuroko was not moving so it was almost like hugging a warm pillow and sleep claimed him before he could even make a better comparison than what he said earlier.
Someone was calling his name and trying to push him off but Aomine was not fully awake yet and tightened his grip on whatever he was hugging. He was comfortable and whatever he was hugging was nice and feels better than what he usually finds himself hugging in the morning. It was not really soft but not that hard either. He nuzzled his face against the unknown thing and something soft tickled his nose.
"Vanilla?" Wait, he remembered smelling something like that before he slept and his eyes opened quickly when he finally realised what he was hugging. "Tetsu! Sorry about that." He released his hold away from his body and Kuroko moved away instantly and sent him a cold stare. "Aomine-kun. I'm not your personal bolster for you to hug and wake up when someone calls you."
So that was what he heard when he thought someone was calling him. "Can't blame me when you're comfy to hug and make me want to sleep in longer." He answered truthfully since that was what he really did feel. If Kuroko did not quit, he was probably going to do that again later at night. Aomine had always been one that could fall asleep anywhere and quick but last night's sleep was much nicer than what he usually have. Does everyone feel like that or was it just Kuroko?
He would not have the answer to that when he never hugged anyone to sleep before besides him. Aomine yawned and humorously watched as Kuroko sent him a stare that said he was not amused by his words and moved off the bed to get his things. "I'm just going to sleep a little longer till you're done. Wake me up later."
"We still have more studying to do, Aomine-kun. If you're already getting so much sleep, I don't want to see you sleeping during it later." Aomine flinched and shook his head. "This is payback for hugging you in my sleep isn't it?" Kuroko did not answer but the small smirk on his face answered his question for him. He could read him usually unless Kuroko was masking his real thoughts away.
Well, if Kuroko thought he could make him study he would have to suffer the consequences now that he knows that hugging Kuroko to sleep was comfortable. That was the price he was going to take from Kuroko who was forcing him to read those boring textbooks and notes against his will. Why did the school have to restrict people who have bad grades to not be able to play in matches? That was unfair and they never should compare basketball to studies.
After being woken up and eating breakfast he was once again reading some textbook boredly. "Aomine-kun. If you're so free to stare at me instead of your book maybe I should start testing you." The subject they were studying was Kuroko's best subject, history too. Looks like he could not lie his way out of this one that easily.
"But Tetsu, it's boring. How long are we going to study?" He groaned and placed the book away from him. This was just the second day and he was going to die if they had to study for another week. "Till the exams are over of course, Aomine-kun. " Kuroko responded in a matter-of-fact tone. "Remind me why we're close friends again." He grunted unhappily. Books would never interest him and he would pick basketball over it any day.
He knows that Kuroko likes both equally though and that itself was a mystery. "Because we both like basketball. Is there anything else in common between us though? Our appearances are a direct opposite too." Aomine had to agree about that. His tanned skin and dark blue hair stood out compared to Kuroko's white porcelain skin and light blue hair. "Isn't it ironic that I'm the light and you're the shadow? Our appearances are such a mismatched." He commented with a chuckle.
Catching Kuroko's small amused smile made him grin wider. The smile was small and most people would not even notice that he was happy but Aomine knew him long enough to know that it was there and with how fast that smile disappeared proved that Kuroko could read him well enough to know that he was aware of his smile.
"Aomine-kun. Are you doing this on purpose?" Kuroko asked once the slumbering Aomine woke up and struggled to break free out of the hug. "Huh? I don't know what you're talking about, Tetsu. Not my fault if my body decides to hug you when I sleep. It's already registered that you're comfy and acts on it's own. I have no control of it." Aomine deliberately hugged him tighter and rubbed his face against Kuroko's hair for a short while before moving away. "You have soft hair too."
He was fingering Kuroko's hair softly when he finally spared him and released him. "And you wonder why everyone likes to mess up your hair. It's softness makes people enjoy touching it. Tetsu, you have really bad bed hair too." Now that Aomine had a closer look, his hair was rather messed up. Kuroko reached up and touched his hair before shaking his head. "It's not that bad. I usually have worst ones but I guess being snuggled in bed restricted my movements and made it less messy."
Aomine tried not to imagine Kuroko with worst bed hair and failed. "I'm sure you look comical like that, Tetsu." Without a word Kuroko had left the bed and he was not surprised to see him walk away from him quietly. Noticing the uniform in Kuroko's hands as he walked away reminded him that today was Monday and there were no practices because of exam week. "Great. No practice and a history exam as a bonus. How nice."
"Tetsuuuuuuuuuuuuuu. Can we please take a break? We just finished the history exam earlier and Mathematics are boring." Aomine looked at his book in distaste and made a plan to shove them all somewhere once Kuroko leaves his house. The book was quickly placed back into his hands and Kuroko ignored him in favour of placing some practice questions for them both.
He was aware that it was not one of Kuroko's best subjects and possibly why Kuroko was studying so hard. Kuroko's face was way too stoic and serious as he pondered over one of the questions he seemed to be stuck on. With a playful grin, he leaned back till he was back to back to Kuroko. "Aomine-kun. I will like it if you stop goofing around and study instead."
"Just a short while. Let me nap for a while and I will study later." After a short staring contest between the two, Kuroko nodded his head briefly and Aomine was smirking as he plopped his head onto Kuroko's shoulder. "Aomine-kun. I never agreed to this." Kuroko poked the head on his shoulder and Aomine's response was to cling to the arm he was not using to write without saying anything. Knowing that it would just be a waste of time, he just left Aomine be and went back to his studying.
The days passed just like that. Aomine grinned triumphantly when Kuroko had stopped commenting about him hugging him in his sleep and moved away towards the bathroom without a word. At least now he could do that without offending Kuroko anymore and he did not expect that Kuroko could actually grew used to it to not even care about it anymore. Maybe all the studying was worth it if he could hug him without being pushed away.
"Aomine-kun. Wake up." Aomine opened his eyes slowly and blinked at the feeling of hair tickling his chin. "Tetsu? What are you doing here?" Now that his mind was sobered, he stared at the silent male that was in his arms. Aomine was pretty sure when he went to the rooftop to nap; no one else was with him.
"Midorima-kun tried to wake you up but you didn't stir. He complained that you pulled him down in your sleep and released him a moment later while pulling a face for some reason. He thought you were awake but it turned out you did it in your sleep. One of the other members came with me and the same thing happened. Strangely, you didn't release me when I woke you up though. I have been here trying to wake you up for a few minutes now." Aomine chortled in amusement.
So he had such a strange sleeping habit now? Maybe he was too used to hugging Kuroko in his sleep that he even searched for him in his sleep? "I must be really good if I could tell if the person is you or not in my sleep." Kuroko continued to stare at him with a blank expression but he knew he was a little entertained by his words.
"Not that good if you have to pull the person in your arms first." Kuroko retorted and the two of them left the rooftop with Aomine declaring that one day he would be able to tell without hugging the person. "I guess that means my sleeping self only like to hug you in my sleep if I let go of the others except for you." Aomine recalled asking himself that question before and the answer came to him a lot sooner than he thought.
Aomine liked the first year of Middle School more since the only one who really paid attention towards Kuroko was him. Soon after Kuroko was made Kise's instructor, Kise started looking for him more and he was rather physical with Kuroko like him. Momoi started liking Kuroko all of a sudden too.
He wondered if it was all out of jealousy when he kissed Kuroko for the first time. That day, Kise had patted him and Momoi had tackle hugged him and Aomine was displeased by what he saw. Kuroko did push them away but they did nothing to make the displeasure away. Usually, only one of them would happen to get into contact with Kuroko but that day was the first time both of them managed to get their hands on him. Despite it being from jealousy, the kiss was nothing rough and just a brief short peck and nothing save for lips on lips.
It was nothing romantic like how those romance books wrote for a first kiss and he pulled back quickly and Kuroko was quiet, one that he expected. Something like this would not stir a reaction much from Kuroko and he knows that. Aomine had a hunch that Kuroko knew what brought that on when he shook his head and called him to hurry up and leave because he wanted to drink a vanilla shake. A silent way of telling him that he was stupid to think so much from what happened between Kise and Momoi.
The second time was from a more positive reason and Kuroko did not say anything about it as well. They were both taking it slowly with neither of them asked what was it about since they both knew what the other was thinking without asking. They behaved normally like nothing had happened and no one suspected a thing.
Neither of them gave their relationship a name either since they were still unsure of their own feelings and if it was just a short time crush or they were just confusing their closeness as something more. There were personal reasons involved too, Kuroko because of his status as a shadow and Aomine who knew his childhood friend liked Kuroko and him feeling that it would be unfair to the both of them when he was still in the midst of figuring out his feelings.
They just continued with their usual activities and practiced together with none of them saying anything even after the numerous numbers of kisses already. Kuroko would not barge from his status as Aomine's shadow and Aomine still did not want to risk losing his friendship with Kuroko if he was mistaken. Besides, they were both content with what they have right now. He could read Kuroko better now and they were able to get their point across by just looking at each other's eyes or a small contact like bumping fists if the other was not hiding his thoughts.
Kuroko was someone he wanted as his partner, whether it was for basketball or outside of it. He remembered asking Kuroko to be his partner for the three-legged race before despite their huge height difference and Kuroko already having Momoi as his partner. Because he was the person Aomine trusted the most and someone he knows he can count on.
When basketball first started being a drag to him, he had believed in Kuroko's words about being able to find someone to meet his challenge one day in the future. Aomine lost faith in the words soon when no one came to his level and all of them gave up real quickly. That was when they started drifting apart bit by bit.
Kuroko still hang out with him from time to time and they still played together occasionally when he felt like it. Eating ice-cream and eating his burgers while Kuroko drank his vanilla shakes were still the same along with them drinking Pocari. Until he really disliked basketball and gave up on practicing completely.
That was when the gap between them grew wider and Aomine laughed bitterly as he recalled that. He had seen the signs that their complex relationship was falling slowly and chose to ignore it. Could he have savaged it if he chose to do something? It was much too late now for him to think about that and the past could not be changed.
Their days back in Middle School was already so far away and neither of them were in each other's lives anymore. They were just old teammates partners and maybe friends, nothing more. Kuroko was neither his light nor his teammate now and nothing but past memories. Especially not whatever they had that neither of them put a name on. If it was nameless, it would not count as anything. Even so, Aomine still found the past as something important to him, even if it only reminded him of when he still had Kuroko with him.
When he first found out that Kuroko had joined a basketball team and already found someone to replace him as his light, he had laughed hysterically. The person he had believed in had abandoned him too. What was there to believe in now? Kuroko's declaration to him that he would be able to find someone strong was even further away now that the person who made him believe in that for a while left him too.
"So this is how it ends huh, Tetsu?" The biggest form of betrayal and abandonment, being replaced by someone else and he was not being speaking to either. Kuroko had stopped talking to him ever since he left the team and the two never made any contact after that. Aomine was too stubborn to contact him since Kuroko was the one who left so he should be the one to start contacting him and not the other way round. Since Kuroko never did, it was mean he gave up on their partnership and anything else they might have with each other.
Aomine felt bitter and betrayed by that. He refused to think of the reason why Kuroko had done such a thing and he truly gave up loving basketball again. What was the point? No one even wanted to take up his challenge anymore and the one who loved the game like him was gone. Even when Aomine stopped loving the game, he still wanted to continue playing with Kuroko.
When he learnt his next match was with Kuroko, he actually was looking forward to it. For him to see his ex-teammate again. "He's a rival now." He repeated what he said to Midorima about Kuroko to himself. This was not the Tetsu who he played with and definitely not his Tetsu as well. He had to stop clinging to the past and move on.
He could not help but look for Kuroko's new light, his replacement for a match. Aomine was very much disappointed by his level too. Sure he was still injured, his skill was still weak. He knew he was consumed by jealousy of Kuroko replacing him with someone that was far from his level and Kagami being in the place that was rightfully his. He completely crushed him with the remark that his light was too dim to bring out Kuroko's strength.
Aomine disliked him, disliked him for being the one that Kuroko chose to be his partner instead of him. "Tetsu, what exactly did you see in that weak light of yours?" He asked himself quietly without expecting an answer. Even if they could understand each other well, none of them were able to read each other completely. That was an impossible task when everyone have a part of themselves that they keep hidden deep inside.
The feeling of wanting to see him was still there along with the memory of playing together. The emotions he felt from those games felt so foreign to the him now. They ceased to exist for him completely and he was more jaded after Kuroko left. Was there even a bit of his old self left in him? He was not sure and the answer did not matter at all.
Despite it being a match that he knew Kuroko was there, he was late for it anyways. Knowing Kagami's level, he was not interested enough to think of him as much of an opponent. Seirin's only hope against him was only Kuroko and if he had not grown at all, even that would be useless against him.
The score when he arrived was not that impressing. If they only made it close without him, that was just lousy. Still he joined in quickly. A game with Kuroko again, one had them on the opposite team. The only difference was that it was not a one-on-one that was usually when they play against each other. This was a real game and Kuroko would not be giving him any balls with the intention of passing it to him.
"It's been a while Tetsu. You've been doing pretty good, eh? You looked determined." Aomine was glad his tone shown nothing of what he was feeling and came out naturally. Kuroko seemed determined to defeat him and he even mentioned a promise with Momoi. He could roughly assume that he promised her he would defeat him. The reason why was not apparent. To make him start attending practice most likely.
Aomine was determined to make it apparent that Kuroko made the wrong decision in picking Kagami as his partner instead of him. Maybe it was the jealousy or the bitterness he had that was spuring him on. The match felt boring and uninteresting, especially when Kuroko was not in the match. He taunted him to come out, the game was just pathetic and no match without him.
The air and everything felt different with Kuroko around and he was a little pleased to be able to stand in the same court with him again, even if it was with them being on the opposite one. He was not going to admit he missed him or his company at all. Aomine was too stubborn and his pride would not even let him admit it to himself.
His opponents seemed a little more challenging with Kuroko around to steal the ball. Aomine could not help it when he remarked that Kuroko had not changed at all, of course both he and Kuroko knows he meant it in basketball sense and Kuroko would not be able to beat him with his basketball like.
Aomine smirked when he manage to catch Kuroko's passes to Kagami. He was very much unhappy to have Kuroko's passes that were meant for him in the past being passed to someone else. He laughed mentally at how his hands automatically caught the ball and he knew his hands missed catching Kuroko's passes again. It felt nostalgia to be able to catch Kuroko's passes again even if it was not meant for him. The ball he would be willing to catch for a long time.
He was not going to think about why Kuroko in the first place, never asking him the reason despite having a hunch about one of the reasons. Aomine refused to think of that and instead concentrating that Kuroko was the one who abandoned him for someone else and had him replaced.
Strange, Kuroko's words of not wanting to give up seemed strange to him. It sounded like he meant something else besides this game, like there was something deeper in those words. During times like this, Aomine really dislikes Kuroko. If he wanted him to know, he should not hold back and only let him sense a brief of what he was exactly thinking. Kuroko only let off a hint that there was another thing he was not going to give up on. He shrugged it off and concentrated on the match instead, he could think about this all he wants later.
Despite not knowing what Kuroko really meant, he was going to speak about the thing he could only get for it, Kuroko not wanting to give up on this game. "Giving up easily is stupid." That was what made him hate the game, when the people playing against him all gave up and stopped resisting and let him score all he wants.
"Your basketball wouldn't be able to beat me." He commented to Kuroko and to everyone else it would sound exactly like what he commented but Kuroko would be able to tell the true meaning behind his words. "Have you realised yet? The one who's best at catching your pass is still me. This defeat is what you get for betraying me." Harsh but he was still really bitter at Kuroko for replacing him and that was betrayal in a sense.
Aomine left after that without even glancing at him again. Kuroko was not his Tetsu anymore, this match proved it. Those passes like Kuroko was so near and yet so far. They were both still here and although they still looked the same, they were different on the inside.
"It's even further away now that we met again."The way they looked at each other were different too. No signs of affection like before or even a hint of the friendly look were seen in their eyes. One shown blankness while the other was cold. The true hidden feelings behind the blankness were sadness, hope and longing. The cold one hid betrayal, bitterness and longing. Neither of them had allowed the other to see their inner real feelings and not knowing that they both hurt each other with the looks they sent each other.
He got enraged too when one of his teammates insulted Kuroko and called him weak. It was hard to resist not to say anything like Kuroko was not weak and he should see the him back then when the both of them were playing and not to slam that guy against the lockers. Kuroko was no way weak and not wanting to give up was not a stupid thing too. At least the part that he admires about Kuroko was still there, a faint trace of the Tetsu he knew was still in there somewhere.
Aomine laughed bitterly to himself when he realised he could still read Kuroko so well and watching Kuroko's match was rather hard for him. Seeing Kuroko passing to Kagami and everything was annoying and he knew their old sign of friendship was not special anymore. Kuroko was bumping fists with Kagami too. But despite all that, he could not hate him.
He never could hate him. No matter how betrayed and abandoned he felt, hating Kuroko was something he could not do. Aomine still respected him and saw him as important despite all that and he found it ironic that he only figured out his feelings after so long. Seeing an angry Kuroko meant that Kuroko would play to his fullest and would win for sure. He told the player that angered Kuroko that he would lose because he made him mad.
"Stupid isn't it? I only figured it out now when you're not even with me anymore, Tetsu. Would things change if I knew what it was earlier and told you about it?" He felt foolish for asking himself that and the past would not change. But why must he only figured it out now? No wonder he had always felt displeased when he saw other people getting close to Kuroko, he was jealous and selfish to want to keep him to himself.
Now he could not even confess or anything, their relationship too strained for him to do anythinglike that and no doubt the current Kuroko would turn him down. If he had done that in the past, the result might be different. Too late for him to change anything know.
The next time they met was something he did not plan. Aomine nearly laughed when he encountered Kuroko when he wanted to find himself a bench to take a nap. Without asking, he knew what happened to him. Kuroko was never good in soaking in hot springs too long. "It's been a while, Tetsu."
An awkward silence between them was present with neither of them knowing what to say. Especially for Aomine since he had only just realised his own feelings. Kuroko seemed conflicted as well and Aomine broke the silence by mentioning that he saw his new move. Kuroko was changing, his basketball along with it was changing more and more to something he would not recognise soon. He snickered when he heard that it was created to defeat him. So that was it huh, the reason why Kuroko changed was because he was that determined to defeat him. And here he was ironically wondering if Kuroko still treat him as someone important.
It should be luck that Kagami came and interrupted them since the next thing he would have said was he did not want Kuroko to change and ask for the reason why he left back then and could there be anything to change the past that they could still be hanging around together. The answer might not be one he wants to hear too.
Once he finished eating, Aomine was back to the same bench he saw Kuroko there earlier and napped. He was not sure how long he had napped before he was woken up by a soft familiar voice. What really caused him to regain consciousness was what he was holding in his arms. A really familiar feeling and one he recognised quickly. Even after all this time, the only one his body would hug when he was asleep was Kuroko and he would never forget the feeling of having Kuroko in his arms. "...still the only one you hug in your sleep or has that changed and you hug anyone now?"
By the time he woke up completely, that was the only thing he managed to catch. Was there anything else he said before that? He was not sure. Aomine fought the urge to answer with a straight no. He did not think he was supposed to speak during a time like this and he might even say something wrong too.
Kuroko placed his forehead onto his and there were no further words being said. Aomine knew what Kuroko was trying to convey to him though. A simple method to tell him what he was feeling, they both were able to feel what each other wanted to let the other person feel through touch and contact since a long time ago.
"I missed you." Words not being said but understood. Aomine wanted to ask, if he missed him why did he leave and find himself a new light? He continued to keep silence and not move at all, if he started to move, he would not be able to stop himself from asking. So he retrained himself to stay as he was till the end.
The pressure on his forehead disappeared and just as Aomine thought Kuroko was going to leave, he was proven wrong. A soft pressure pressed against his lips for a few seconds before Kuroko really pulled away. "I will see you during our match, Aomine-kun and I won't lose this time."
Aomine only opened his eyes when the footsteps sounded far away. Subconsciously he touched his lips and tried to think of what that meant. The kiss was to tell him that he would fulfil his promise but what kind of promise? Did Kuroko ever made a promise to him? He was really confused by it and he supposed the only way he would learn the answer during the end of their match. Kuroko's words also told him that Kuroko wanted to talk to him after the match if he manages to beat him.
What could all that mean? Especially the kiss to tell him that he would fulfil his promise to him? He could have done it by some other way but he knew Kuroko picked that method on purpose since Kuroko was not one who would kiss him first without a reason. Whatever the reason was, he hoped he would learn it soon.
Kuroko was aware when Aomine had woken up too. He knew because soon after he heard Kuroko's words, Kuroko had placed his arms around him to ensure that he stayed till the end. There was a tightened grip on him during the kiss and Kuroko embraced him before leaving. This was all so complicated especially when Kuroko was the one who left him yet his actions showed something else like if Kuroko could help it, he rather not do it.
They ended up meeting before the match because of Akashi since he called them out. Neither of them really spoke much during it as it was not the time and place for it. Now they just have to wait till their match start and Aomine wanted to get some answers before the end of the match.
Kuroko had his eyes closed when he first walked near him and Aomine knew he was deep in thought. What he was thinking though was a puzzle he did not know how to solve. He could see his determined eyes when Kuroko finally opened his eyes. "I won't lose this time." Aomine smirked and asked him to give it his best. For some reason, he was rather hyped up like something was going to change at the end of the match and he was going to get back something he had forgotten. He was unsure what it was though.
The jealousy was still present despite everything and he wished he would stop feeling it. The feeling was much stronger too now since he knew the reason behind his jealousy this time. Aomine pushed the feeling to the deepest part of his mind to concentrate on the game instead.
It came as a surprise when he saw Kuroko's new pass and he failed to catch it. Still he did not think Kuroko was strong enough to defeat him with just that. When Kuroko appeared in front of him, Aomine grinned and could not help himself from saying that the two of them really do get along well when it came to basketball. Their train of thoughts were usually similar. But when it came to other things, they rarely agreed with each other but mesh well when it was basketball.
"That's a shame, Tetsu." He closed his eyes and thus prevented himself from falling for the Vanishing Drive. It was easy to snatch the ball away by just hearing Kuroko's breathing and movements when he understands him well enough to guess what he would do. "Make no mistake, Tetsu. A shadow only exists because of light. No matter how much you try, it's not the other way around. You can't beat me."
Aomine was still confident in his skills and him being Kuroko's previous light would not be beaten by his old shadow. It might be cruel to Kuroko but he was not going to be beaten by someone who left his side to partner with someone weaker than him. His words turned harsher when he saw Kuroko acting out of desperation and he told him it was an useless effort. He could feel the irony right after he said that.
Back then, he told Kuroko no player was unnecessary in a team and no way that someone who stays back later than anyone else to practice is useless in a match and he wondered if Kuroko even remembers that. He also mentioned that not giving up would have a chance to succeed but giving up would lose whatever chance there was to succeed. He knew he should not be doing it but Kuroko was acting distressed and he wanted to make him think properly and Aomine rather defeat a Kuroko who gave it his all than anything else. It would have no meaning if he was not at his best but whether or not Kuroko realises his hint and stand up was all up to him.
With Kuroko on the bench, his attention as solely on Kagami now. And Kagami seemed to have awakened and seemed more interesting to him currently. Aomine was pleased that there was someone he could play a little seriously with and it had been a while since he could do that. The excitement at one of his formless shots being stopped overwhelmed him and he was getting more and more entertained by the second.
How could he not be beside with joy when he finally found a worthy opponent for him to go at least slightly all out for? When was the last time he could even play with his best and still have a chance of being outdone? Kagami managed to outdone him earlier and as a present, he was going to be serious this time.
Seeing Kuroko again in the second half made him pleased. Looks like he regained his determination to defeat him and he looked forward to the game even more with Kuroko around. It was amusing when Kuroko was able to know his movements just like he did with his. The time they spent practicing and playing together were not forgotten and they had indirectly told each other that through the game. Things they did not think they would be passing on to each other was showing up.
Seeing a really determined Kuroko who wanted to win this was something he rarely sees and Aomine what was spurring him on. Aomine was awed for a moment when Misdirection Overflow first happened and he could not believe that he fell for it too and missed his shot. He could feel himself starting to change back to his old self bit by bit but how long could it last?
For how long had he not felt a thing from winning a match? A match that was boring and without any anticipation for anything? All he wanted was someone who could make him give it his all and the outcome of the match would be unpredictable? "I have to thank you, Tetsu." Because without Kuroko here, Kagami would not be strong enough to make him give it his best and he would not be so serious in this match.
When Kuroko mentioned he believed in Kagami, the feeling of jealousy resurfaced again and he had to make sure he was concentrating on the game instead of Kuroko. "I take it back! I take it all back! You are the best!" When Kagami entered the zone too, he knew he finally found a real worthy opponent. The words stung when Kuroko said he believed in both him and Kagami but he believed only Kagami would be able to get the shot in.
The ball seemed to be out of his reach and Kuroko's words to him back then rang in his head. "Someday, someone stronger than Aomine-kun would appear." He watched blankly as the ball when in and the whistle blew to signal the end of the game.
When he lost, the feelings he felt were so foreign, things he did not think he would be able to feel again. When Kuroko called for him, he recalled that he commented that Kuroko's basketball would not be able to defeat him and he slowly spoke out that it was Kuroko's win this time. "Can I say something? Back then, we didn't bump fists." Aomine blinked at that statement before speaking up.
"Hah? Does that even matter?" Aomine wondered if bumping fists now even meant a thing. "It does! Don't ignore me this time..." That statement made him realise and come to terms with something he was well aware of but hidden somewhere because he did not want to admit it. "Fine. But only this time." He raised his fist and bumped it with Kuroko like how he did back then.
He locked eyes with Kuroko who seemed strangely pleased at something. Once the contact was made it proved his earlier realisation. Kuroko's way of conveying to only him of what he wanted him to know. "Welcome back." They went their separate ways and not another word between them after Aomine declared he was the one that would win next time.
When Aomine was back home alone, he closed his eyes and spoke softly to himself. "So that's why you left. The promise you wanted to keep was that. You took in mind how much I lost faith in your words? You're an idiot in such things as always, Tetsu." That explained why Kuroko seemed so determined to defeat him. He wanted to make what he told him back then about someone strong enough to defeat him come through.
Kuroko helped him regain what he lost so long ago. The love for playing basketball, the reason why he first started playing and practiced so hard for. "That explains why I couldn't hate you too. Because deep down, I knew you never abandoned me. The one who pushed you away and created the distance between us was me. You took out your hand for me and I ignored it. I must have hurt you pretty badly huh? Yet you still tried so hard to make me turn back to my old self." Aomine regretted not coming clean to himself sooner. When Kuroko first quit the basketball team, he had a hunch that he was one of the reasons why Kuroko left. He had stopped paying attention to him in the game and gotten the ball on his own. "Must have made you feel useless..."
He remembered Kuroko wanting to quit because he could not do anything and it turned out he had taken Kuroko's reasons for staying in the game away. The more he thought about it, the more he realise how much he had hurt Kuroko. No wonder Kuroko mentioned that he should not ignore him this time. Aomine was filled with guilt for all the things he did not know he did to Kuroko. He completely crushed him and his basketball previously too. Guilt was consuming him and he laughed when he remembered wanting Kuroko to come back.
How could he ask that when he caused so much pain to the person who he loved and did everything he could to help him. Aomine struggled to control his anger and not hurt himself. The only pathetic thing he could do for Kuroko was to play basketball how he used to. That could not even make up anything for all that he had done and it benefited himself more than Kuroko. Aomine knew he did not deserve to ask Kuroko to come back to him or even confess to him, he was better off with Kagami. He could not even be jealous when the one to cause all this was himself right from the start. Aomine could not deny that it was not sure.
When he was out buying stuff with Momoi, Kuroko strangely texted him and called him out. Getting Momoi to come with him would be irritating with how she would react when she sees Kuroko and there were things he wanted to say to him in private.
"Why're you calling me out all of a sudden? Tetsu!" His face must have shown surprise when Kuroko asked about Momoi. He felt irritated when she told Kuroko that they were meeting up. Why was it necessary to tell him that? "I didn't invite her! What's that idiot saying?" Aomine argued. He only asked her to accompany him and nothing else. It did not stop him from flustering a little though since he was not sure if Kuroko had gotten the wrong idea or not.
He soon learnt that Kuroko wanted him to teach him how to shoot. Aomine knew it would not sound his style if he agreed to it immediately. He would take up the request of course, he owed Kuroko too much to turn him down. Thus, he watched him practice silently without much words. It felt like what they used to practice together too. He spoke about the emotions he felt when he lost along with the feeling of wanting to play again. Watching Kuroko smile when he agreed to coach him was strange. It was so nostalgia to see that rare soft smile directed at him again. "Why're you smiling?"
"When we were second years, we also trained here." Of course Aomine knew that. He recognised the place instantly when he saw it in his text and wondered if Kuroko picked one of their old hangouts on purpose. It was the one they always used to play and practice often back then. Where they mastered some of their combinations and shots. A place where they had fun playing basketball together. He quickly stopped Kuroko from speaking up anymore and start on the practice before he lost himself in his memories.
When Kuroko was almost done with his training, Aomine knew that the next day would be the last day of their training. He did not say a thing despite the fact that he did not want the time he has with Kuroko to end so soon as he did not deserve to get anything from Kuroko. Not when he did those things to him. He was way too overwhelmed with guilt to even ask for them to be friends again and much less anything else. A normal good bye with a tone that no doubt gave away his thoughts at the moment.
He lost count of how many times he had to stop himself from acting like how he would in the past too. It was so easy to go back to habit and casually swing his arm around his shoulder and talk to him affectionately about things. He tried not to let his face show that he was retraining himself. Aomine was not going to forgive himself easily or even ask for forgiveness since he did not deserve it.
He felt his shirt being tugged downwards and his body automatically moved down. Kuroko smiled reassuringly before pecking him lightly on the lips. Aomine's eyes widened at the meaning behind it. "I forgive you." Kuroko nodded his head to show that he really meant it. "Why exactly did you leave back then?" Aomine finally had the strength and chance to ask him.
"I hated basketball back then. No one was even playing the game for fun or out of love anymore, everything was about winning and we didn't feel like a team. I didn't want to see such an Aomine-kun too. I thought if I somehow managed to beat Aomine-kun, you might change and be back to your old self." Aomine looked away and sighed. "You didn't have to do that for me. Especially after everything I did to you..." The guilt was so strong that he wondered if he even deserves to talk to him normally like this.
Aomine watched as realisation hit Kuroko and he shook his head. "There's nothing to be guilty for. I never blamed Aomine-kun for anything so you don't even need my forgiveness. I understood why Aomine-kun changed too. You loved basketball more than anyone else and for someone like you; you needed an opponent to keep you going. When it seemed hopeless, you stopped believing in my words that allowed you to continue for a while. That's why I decided, even if I had to become your opponent, I wanted to try bringing back the real you you buried inside. I can never repay Aomine-kun enough and I'm here right now because of you so don't feel like you owe me anything. It's my own choice to do that and I wanted to see it, at least one more time, an Aomine-kun that's playing with a smile. A most selfish reason to want to defeat you and for my own sake, even if it meant we had to stand on opposite sides, I still wanted to see it more than anything."
Aomine believed it to be the longest speech he ever heard Kuroko spoke out. "Tetsu, thank you and sorry. Despite what you said, you still shouldn't have tried so hard to see a person like me smile while doing something I liked. What if it was pointless?" He was still not going to forgive himself for hurting the person he loved.
"I knew I had a chance when I learnt Aomine-kun joined a basketball team. This meant deep down you still had a small part of you that loved basketball and you still believed in my words about finding a strong person. It's worth the gamble to do it, even if Aomine-kun hates me because I left and be partners with someone else, the fact that Aomine-kun is my most important partner and my want to see you smile while playing again wouldn't change. That's because Aomine-kun is the most im—" His remaining words were silenced with a finger.
"Long sentences really don't suit you." Aomine remarked before tilting his head up and kissed him. Nothing intense, just their lips pressing together and conveying everything he wanted Kuroko to know. It took him a while before he pulled back, it being too long since he shared an actual kiss with Kuroko.
"I love you. It took me too long to realise it and now isn't the right time. You understand why I stopped you from finishing your words right? No matter what you said, I can't forgive myself easily and I want you to think about your feelings more. Maybe you're confused because of our past and believe that you're in love with me when you're not. We still have lots of time and maybe you would find someone better than me that suit you more and that person is much better than me. A person that knows how to value you better than I did and wouldn't lose you, someone you realise that your feelings for me aren't love. You still want to stay in Seirin don't you? I won't say anything or feel anything this time since I don't deserve it and friends or ex-teammates do not have the privilege to do such a thing. You deserve better so we can talk about this when we're both really sure and when that happens, let's play on the same team again." Aomine was more than certain about his feelings but he wanted Kuroko to think about his.
His feelings would not change regardless of what happens and he knows he would still see Kuroko as his most important person no matter what. Kuroko looked like he had something to say but he closed his mouth when he saw the serious look on his face. A brief nod and Kuroko tiptoed to plant a kiss on his cheek to show that he understood and agreed to what Aomine wanted to tell him.
Kuroko raised his fist and Aomine beamed as he bumped it with his. The promise was sealed and neither would say anything till the promised time or go over the lines of friendship. The first and last kiss they would have. "Next time, I'm going to win." Aomine declared and they parted ways like how they used to do in the past. "You're right about one thing though. No matter how boring and lonely basketball was, I could never hate it or quit playing it." He did not have to turn around to know that Kuroko was pleased to hear that.
At least they rekindled their friendship and they could act like what they used to do, minus a few things. Of course there was a limit to their closeness this time. He was pleased to know how much Kuroko valued him and that was enough for him because he would not allow himself anything more. He would never let himself have anything more as long as he continued not to forgive himself.
Aomine was punishing himself by letting Kuroko go even though he was aware that he returned his feelings. How could he just let himself be happy after everything Kuroko had to do? He would earn the place in Kuroko's heart rightfully while reminding himself that their current relationship was his fault. If he had not been that blind, they would still be partners and maybe even progressed further.
To watch as Kuroko continued to be someone else's partner and refrain himself from being jealous or anything was the best form of punishment to remind himself to value Kuroko more. And he would not be with him forever. Even if he lost him, it was still his own fault and seeing Kuroko happy was more that enough after the things he caused him. He deserved it regardless of what the outcome was and he would accept it no matter what it was.
Their last day of practice was a bit unexpected when Momoi showed up all of a sudden. The two of them continued to practice regardless but Momoi sudden glomps on Kuroko always interrupted the practice and Aomine had angrily asked her to get lost if she was here to get in the way. Kuroko had a time limit and they had to finish his shots latest by today and Momoi here was not going to help much.
Momoi's questions were easily answered and now that Aomine thought about it, Akashi who was the one that gave Kuroko the idea of his invisible play should have known about the fact that he could use it to shoot shots too. Was it on purpose that Akashi did not tell Kuroko of the possibility?
"Aomine-kun. Thank you very much." Kuroko gave a proper bow as he said that which Aomine thought was totally Kuroko's style. "Idiot. Why are you so polite? I only helped because I couldn't watch your pathetic shots." He warned him about Murasakibara being a strong opponent and he finds it hard to shoot against him too. "Besides….." The one who should be doing the thanking should be me.
Aomine turned away and announced that he had to leave soon. "The next time we meet is the time when we're opponents." At least on the court that is. He was sure that Kuroko knows that and if Momoi knows that they had became friends again and would probably meet up, she would be crashing in and Aomine rather keep that private without her annoying them. "….. Tetsu." The words were spoken softly but he knew Kuroko would get it without Momoi knowing what he meant exactly. "Let's go, Satsuki."
Even if they were parting ways again, this would be different. It was not a farewell forever and they would meet again, especially now that they regained their original friendship back. Besides, he knew Momoi would drag him to watch Kuroko's match with Murasakibara for sure. Aomine would be cheering him up silently while he watch it tomorrow for sure.
"Aomine-kun! Wake up!" Aomine opened his eyes groggily and yawned. "Tetsu? Can't you let me sleep a little longer?" He ignored the fact that Kuroko was once again here to help him study and hugged him a little tighter. "You've been sleeping for an hour already." Kuroko stared at Aomine and sighed when he shown no signs of letting him go.
"Can't help it if it feels nice to hug you and you know I sleep more soundly when I'm hugging you." Kuroko gave him a blank look and he released him with displeasure. "Let's go back to studying." Aomine nodded his head in agreement a little slowly. The two of them had met each other occasionally, a few times per week. Practicing together like the past and just hanging out after school and during the weekends. That was how they ended up studying together when they found out their exam dates were the same. Kuroko asked about his results and muttered that the results of his two lights were just bad.
Why did he choose to study with him instead of Kagami was something he wanted to ask but that might offend Kuroko. He was staying over at his place at usual and he could not stop himself from being delighted that Kuroko picked him over Kagami. Everything felt just like it used to and it felt like they were back in the past again. "Aomine-kun still have that photo at that place? I thought you would have replaced it or something. It feels like it was never moved."
"Because it didn't. That was the first time we won a match together, I couldn't remove it even if I wanted to." If he could not even bring himself to hate him, how could he replace the first memento they had together? Kuroko smiled for a short moment before turning back to their studies. Studying was boring, if Kuroko was not there, he would just fall asleep quickly.
The last exam was on Thursday so Kuroko decided to just stay over till Saturday or Sunday to spare himself the trouble of returning to his own house at night. Remembering that Kuroko had mentioned something about his team to eat lunch at a food place near his house, Aomine decided to stop by on the way. Aomine had to praised himself for coming at a good timing when he heard what they said. "But we don't know where Kuroko live."
Aomine walked closer to see what happened. Somehow he was not surprised to see a dizzy Kuroko there after seeing how unwell he was earlier in the morning. "I'll take him back. He's staying at my place today anyway." His sudden appearance surprised the rest and they stared at him for a while before Aomine walked towards Kuroko to support him. "I'll be leaving with Aomine-kun then." Kuroko bidded them good bye and they went on their way.
"Told you to not go out today, Tetsu." Kuroko might be dizzy but it did not mean he lost his sense yet. "If I stayed, you would be skipping class to take care of me wouldn't you? It's not that bad." Kuroko argued as he watched in horror as Aomine carried him on his back. "Just get some sleep. If I let you walk, you're just going to faint along the way."
Aomine placed him on his bed when they reached his room. Yawning, he crawled into bed as well to take a nap. All these days spent on studying had made him tired and he was finally free from those textbooks and notes.
Time passed quickly and they only stopped meeting when they had matches against each other or other important matches. Their relationship was pretty much the same as it was in Middle School and he could casually swing his arm around him like he used to. Sometimes, Aomine's team won and sometimes Kuroko's team would win during their matches together.
Regardless of the outcome, it was a match Aomine looked forward to. He had stopped feeling anything from seeing Kuroko work with Kagami or anyone else already. Aomine had matured enough not to take things so seriously but the guilt from before was still eating away at him and he continued to stop himself from going back to their close friendship as much as he could.
Aomine believed that Kagami was a better match for Kuroko in terms of basketball and other things. Kagami would be a better partner for Kuroko and he would not take Kuroko for granted or hurt him like he did. As far as he knew, Kagami had never lost his love for the game ever, unlike him and he helped Kuroko to improve.
If Kuroko was still his partner, Aomine was unsure if he would be able to even make Kuroko as strong as he is right now. Would Kuroko work so hard and come up with all these new moves if they were still partners? All those 'What if' questions continued to plague his mind occasionally and he never had any straight answers since no one would know what the future would bring.
The time passed quickly and Aomine knew the time when he had to hear Kuroko's answer to their promise soon. He would not even be surprised if Kuroko picked Kagami over him, he would not blame him for that either. Kagami treated him nicer than how he had treated Kuroko too and he knew Kuroko liked playing basketball with Kagami. Kuroko talked about Kagami at times to him and Aomine could tell that Kuroko at least liked him as a friend. Aomine's feelings for Kuroko only grew stronger instead of fading away and he was already certain he would never like anyone else as much as he liked Kuroko, just like how he would not want anyone but Kuroko to be his partner.
"Aomine-kun." Aomine snapped out of his thoughts at the familiar voice who was trying to get his attention. "Ah, sorry about that Tetsu. I was thinking of something." He had gotten lost in his thoughts while he was waiting for Kuroko. Looking at the papers in Kuroko's hands, he roughly knew what they would be talking about and the answer would be known soon.
Kuroko passed the enrolment papers for some of the schools near their area to Aomine and he briefly glanced through them as he drank his drink. "So is there any one in specific that Aomine-kun wants to attend?" Aomine glanced up from the papers to look at Kuroko who was sipping his vanilla shake and shook his head.
"Not really sure about that. You know studying isn't really my thing and all schools are about the same to me. Satsuki told you how I ended up in my current school didn't she? I wouldn't know what to pick. What about you, Tetsu? What school would you be going to?" Aomine assumed he could make a choice with whatever Kuroko chooses since he really did not care.
Kuroko pried one of the papers away from his hand gently and placed it on top of the rest on the table. "This one. It's near both our houses and not only is the basketball team rather well-known, they also offer easier admission if the history of the student's sports is good so that's good for the both of us." Aomine stopped looking at the paper when he heard the last three words.
"The both of us?" He questioned to make sure he heard it correctly. "Aomine-kun and I of course. You said you wanted us to be on the same team didn't you?" Kuroko stated in a matter of fact manner and Aomine could only stare at him. He was probably grinning away like a fool now. "That means you—"
"Yes, I still think that Aomine-kun is the most important person to me. Did you think that would change during this period of time? Aomine-kun wanted me to make sure that I like you best because you're still blaming yourself right? What we couldn't do during High School, we can do it now. This time, we'll be able to have the High School life that we would have had if we did not drift apart during Middle School." Kuroko raised up his fist and Aomine's grin widened as he bumped it lightly.
"If you're that sure, then why not because what I let you know back then hasn't changed. Let's go to the same school and see if we can stay in the same dorm too because I sure do not want to continue living with my parents." Aomine caught the rather evil looking glint in Kuroko's eyes and he knew it would be something he did not like. "I'm be sure to come over to study with you before the enrolment test."
Aomine groaned when he heard that. "I knew that would happen." But for the sake of his enrolment tests, he would have to make himself study all over again. "Tetsu, wait." He grabbed hold of Kuroko's arm when they left the fast food outlet and onto the street. There were no people around at the moment so he had to do it quick.
He leaned down to give Kuroko a quick chaste kiss before pulling back. There were times in the future for him to have one that was longer and more deeper, for now he just wanted to let Kuroko know these words that he would not be able to say. "I won't forget everything I made you go through but since you're giving me a chance, I'll do my best to not hurt you again and I won't let you go this time."
Kuroko muttered a soft idiot before tugging him forward. The tight grip on his hand made Aomine laugh. Kuroko was telling him that he was not planning to leave anything soon and he was not let Aomine leave either through that. He grasped his hand tightly back to show that he was not planning to leave either. Aomine really liked how they could get things through to each other without saying anything and they were both better off expressing through things like this through contact since they were both unsure if they could say it out properly if they do.
The only thing Aomine cared about was the enrolment test this time. He had a second chance to get the life he could have during High School that he ruined. It might be three years too late for things to be the same as it should be but he would be sure to make sure that he would not ignore Kuroko this time. There was no way he would be foolish enough to lose him again. It would no doubt be fun to live with Kuroko and to be able to play on the same side again. A life he managed to earn back and no matter what happens, he would be sure to not commit the same mistakes again. An unknown future, just like those 'What if' scenarios he always asked himself, with the exception of being able to get an answer this time.
That was what made it interesting right? Just like a basketball match with an unknown result. Life has to be unexpected to be interesting and as long as he had Kuroko with him, Aomine knew he would not stray off because Kuroko would always bring him back to the right path. Aomine looked forward to seeing what kind of future they would have this time.