A/N: I know I should be working on CAAHI but this idea was also nagging me so I wrote it on a whim OTL This will seem like many others out there but this is just my attempt at another writing style lol. Do tell me your opinion if there are any! Back to CAAHI now~
Also, the title and summary are very cliche because I have no idea what to write... Suggestions are welcome LOL.
Disclaimer: The last few lines are from Kuroko no Basuke and they don't belong to me!
Summary: Time passes, and Aomine learns to let go.
Year XXXX, summer
The squeaking of the shoes on the court floor comes to a halt, stopped by the whistle which signals yet another expected victory to the team in blue and white.
High fives and cheers fill the air as the winners stand happy and proud on the court.
They taste no defeat. They never will. Not with such a strong team. Each member was the best at their positions, and they were sure to grow stronger, and even stronger. Akashi with his superb leadership and point guard skills, Murasakibara being a powerful center who crushes all, Midorima and his forever accurate three-pointers, Haisaki with his copycat abilities (his attitude needed work, though), Aomine himself has raw talent in basketball and Tetsu, Tetsu, his dear shadow who always stands beside him, supporting him through all. Ever since the six of them formed the team, Teiko has never lost any of their basketball games.
Another win, another day.
The taller boy grins at his smaller counterpart.
"We did it again, Tetsu! Our cooperation play never fails!"
Cooperation play. He likes the sound of it, it signifies the bond, the dependence on his partner and likewise for his partner as they work together to score goals and bring their team to victory.
"What cooperation play, it was just between the two of you. I didn't get to score my usual shots." Midorima mutters.
He chuckles, he can't help it, cooperation play is fun and the feeling he gets when he plays with Tetsu is exhilarating and he loves it. No one can blame him for wanting to keep this feeling all to himself. Tetsu is his shadow, and his alone. Aomine will kill anyone who dares to steal his shadow away from him.
He holds his fist out to Tetsu, waiting for Tetsu to give the usual bump back to signify their success. Tetsu returns it with a small smile, his joy clearly reflected in his light-blue eyes.
The joy, the fun, the freedom to play what they love best together. This is what teamwork is. And this teamwork will continue to grow, blossom and they will continue to soar to greater heights. They say the sky is infinite, after all.
No one knows what the future will bring but for now, Aomine is very certain that the team is his future.
Year XXXX, winter
The months pass fast.
The team has progressed over the course of the year. They have trained hard and Aomine can see the undeniable improvements of every one of them. They aren't perfect, but they are strong. The consecutive and unending victories are evidence of that. Their team play is a far lot better too. One mention of 'Teiko' is enough to make those who know them shudder.
Aomine, with a little threatening on Akashi's part, has learnt to share Tetsu with the rest. This has bettered their team (Tetsu was a really handy player with his skillful passes), but he has to say, the only one who can work in perfect precision with Tetsu is him.
He is proud of that. The special bond between them is what the others cannot break. He smiles at the thought. He knows that he is acting like a schoolgirl lost in her puppy love but these feelings are so natural to him, and he has accepted quite a while ago that maybe, he feels a little something for Tetsu.
They are a lot closer compared to the beginning of the year, where they first met in the gym and Aomine was scared silly by his partner's lack of presence. Their friendship had progressed a great deal and Aomine will not trade his best friend for anything else in the world (with the exception of basketball, maybe).
Then next year came.
A year later
The team has changed. For good or bad, Aomine doesn't know. In Haisaki's place is Kise Ryouta, a model with copycat abilities similar to Haisaki himself. Akashi had kicked Haisaki off the team for his poor attitude and it had affected their team balance, because even if Haisaki lacked the passion for basketball, he was still a part of the team. Despite that, the team continued on.
The new member, Kise, is arrogant; he looks down on Tetsu for being weaker than him and all Aomine can do is to control himself from punching the lights out of the guy. Underestimating Tetsu's ability is a sin, in his opinion. But Akashi tells him to wait, to have faith that Tetsu will prove himself to Kise.
So he waits.
They eventually accept Kise, just like how Kise finally acknowledges Tetsu. Kise seems to be attracted to Tetsu now, affectionately hugging him whenever he can. Aomine admits that he is jealous. Tetsu is no longer solely his. He has moved on to be a partner to all of them, no longer focusing on Aomine now. Aomine knows his fears are irrational and that he and Tetsu will still share that special bond.
But he cannot help his worrying.
He is scared.
Without Tetsu constantly by his side, he feels empty, like he is lacking something. His play is unfocused and slipshod. So he makes up for it by practising harder and harder and harder. Perhaps the gap Tetsu left in his play will be covered up. Perhaps Tetsu will see how much Aomine needs him and come back to belong to him only.
But Tetsu doesn't return. And Aomine continues to grow stronger.
I can do this alone. I don't need Tetsu. I don't need him at all.
And the team continues winning.
The shrill whistle ends the game and Aomine is stunned. He puts in his best effort to play the other team, but this impassionate, almost despairing, pathetic play is what he gets? Their opponents were frozen during the game, and even now, their resignation is clearly seen as they walk back to their bench in disappointment.
Aomine grits his teeth and stalks off in disgust.
If this is what he'll face from now on, what's the point of putting in effort when he can crush them single-handly?
I hate this.
This wasn't basketball. Basketball made him happy. Basketball was teamwork. Basketball was his life. He hates this thing that isn't basketball.
I hate basketball.
He leaves the court, not noticing the saddened look on Tetsu's face, his half-raised fist lowering and the team's gloominess despite their victory.
That day, everyone knew that things would spiral downhill from now on.
After the game…
Tetsu had left the team, for personal reasons unsaid by Akashi.
Aomine doesn't care, or so he stubbornly believes. He ignores the niggling urge to find Tetsu to demand answers from him.
The team continues without their last member.
And they still continue winning.
Inter-high, Seirin vs Touou
The devastated look on Tetsu's face is satisfying. Tetsu will stop going on about 'his basketball' and acknowledge Aomine's style now. Touou has thrashed Seirin so badly, Aomine thinks that their previously victories were all flukes.
That's what Seirin is. Seirin goes on about their teamwork and all but they couldn't even stop one man from owning them all.
Aomine smirks. Tetsu will realise that Kagami isn't good enough for him. Tetsu will realise that Aomine is the one he should have stuck with back then.
Kagami is strong, Aomine admits, but he is not his equal. His fire and fighting spirit was a fresh breath to Aomine but that was all.
Kagami is not strong enough to beat Aomine. He is not fit to be Tetsu's shadow.
When Tetsu comes with his apology, Aomine will reject him straight out. It serves him right for neglecting and leaving him during their Teiko days.
He banishes the image of Tetsu smiling at his new light as they got ready to play. His heart did clench at the sight, reminding him of their former days where the one Tetsu smiled at was him.
All he receives from Tetsu now are frowns.
He doesn't want that. He wants the smiles back. He wants basketball back. He wants Tetsu back.
What had changed?
He stalks back to the locker rooms with his team.
Tetsu never comes.
Aomine cannot believe it. Kagami had surpassed him. Even when they were in the Zone, Aomine was still unable to beat him.
He had lost.
Seirin cheers wildly, the tears in their eyes shine as they hug each other. Tetsu wobbles and Kagami grabs his arm tightly.
"Idiot... Look at yourself, not even able to stand without help..."
He lowers his gaze, not wanting to see the pair in front of him.
Seirin had won. With their teamplay, their cooperation, their persevering spirit, they had won.
"Because, I believe in Kagami-kun."
Tetsu's words flash in his mind. Back then, did Tetsu believe in him too? He wanted to believe so. But so what if Tetsu did? That was all in the past.
Tetsu has a new light now.
And that light is even brighter than him, and will continue to glow brighter and brighter.
This is... The reason I lost...
"But maybe this is for the best..."
"Why're you making a face as if everything has ended?"
The words startle him, and he looks up at Kagami.
"It has only just started. Let's play again. I'll be waiting for you."
Aomine stares back. Does Kagami expect him to be all buddies with him now that the match is over?
"Haha! Boasting around..."
The sound of his name from Tetsu turns his gaze to the exhausted boy.
You can't beat me with your basketball.
He lowers his gaze again as his words come back to him.
"It's your win, Tetsu."
Tetsu is silent.
"Can I tell you something?"
Tetsu raises his fist slowly, tired from the match, his eyes seemingly blank but Aomine can tell that Tetsu is feeling anything but that right now.
"Back then, we didn't bump fists."
Aomine didn't expect this.
"Haah?! Does that even matter?"
"It does! Don't ignore me this time..."
Tetsu's words are almost pleading, and Aomine's face softens at his words.
He cares, doesn't he?
"...Fine but only this time. Next time, I'll win."
He reaches out to Tetsu's fist, curling his right hand into a fist.
The fists bump each other, and the two of them smile.