[[ A/N: Firstly, the cover of this fanfic that I used comes from pixiv with the id 28530111. I take no credit for it since it's definitely not drawn by me.
Once again, this is purely headcanon so they might be slightly out of character although I do try not to do that. I seem to think of different headcanon for them when I write different fics… Most of the things do not happen in the series at all and all just some random headcanon that I thought up.
The dialogues are rather short in some parts so those who dislikes those with little dialogue so read this at their own risk. I know some people don't like reading long fics even more when it has little dialogue so I thought I should offer this warning.
Somehow it ended up mostly Kuroko-centric than equally then I intended… But I guess that's alright since Kuroko's thoughts are mostly what I wanted to convey. ]]
Kuroko had always been an observant person. Being unnoticed all the time helped him to watch people more closely. Maybe he had developed that skill because he had nothing else to do but to observe. It was just like he was invisible, he was used to that. His parents forgot about his presence rather often too so it was not like Kuroko had anyone close with. Books were the only thing that he had company and he would always bury his nose in some random book.
The basketball club was something he picked randomly during his Middle school. The sport was foreign to him but his mother had insisted that he took up some sports since he looked so flail. Because it was something he picked at random and despite reading up on the sport, he had decided to observe people playing it in a street basketball court near the school on the day that he submitted his club application. The best way to learn about something was to see it firsthand.
It was easy for him to sit down and watch without anyone noticing him. There were just a few people playing around and it seemed to be a group match. Kuroko's attention shifted from one person to another, watching their movement carefully and how they played. His eyes were soon focused on a single person and he was watching him from that point onwards, all the way to the end of the match. He was totally awed by his playing.
That person was good and dazzling. But most importantly, Kuroko could see that the guy really like basketball. From how he was smiling so much and whenever he manages to steal the ball or get a successful shot, he would be grinning so widely. Kuroko could not take his eyes off him when he played; the way he shoots was unbelievable. Even to a newbie like him, he knew it must be something that not everyone could do like how he did it. The other male had shot the ball without any hesitation and did it quickly.
It was at that moment that Kuroko fell in love with basketball. Watching that person play had made him liked basketball, it must be fun if the other male would smile so much and give off a feeling that he was enjoying himself and pure happiness from just playing the sport. Even after the match ended and the other people left, that guy had remained behind and practiced by himself. Dribbling the ball around the court and nearly all his random shots made it into the basket.
Kuroko wished he could play like him one day. The guy's body was much better than his too and it must be from how much he practiced basketball. Kuroko wondered if he would be able to play alongside or be as good as him one day. But more than all that, he wished he would be able to enjoy the game as much as he did and be able to join him in a game one day.
He watched him all the way till he left the basketball court; his eyes just could not get away from him playing the game and his smile when he played too. The male was just too dazzling for him and his eyes were just glued to him without him realising it. By the time Kuroko finally noticed, he had been staring at him play for hours already and it was really late too.
"I guess I won't be seeing him again." Kuroko muttered to himself softly as he made his way back home. There was no way he would be able to see him that again, maybe he would come look for him in that basketball court once he was certain that he could play this time. That person would be his goal to reach and with a goal, he would try better at playing the sport, especially after how dazzling that person.
When basketball practice finally started, Kuroko was expectedly unnoticed. He did nothing to stand out and only watched the rest practice. The sudden applaud and whistles caught his attention and his eyes widened when he caught sight of who they were clapping for. "It's that guy from yesterday….." The person who had made him decide to take up basketball seriously instead of just doing it because his mother wanted him and the one who made basketball seem fun to it. His eyes were quickly back on him again just like yesterday and Kuroko was watching him play.
From that day onwards, Kuroko had started staying back after everyone had left to practice on his own. It was hard and he knew he lacked the skills but it was still fun playing basketball. Kuroko soon learnt that the male's name to be Aomine Daiki. He was starting to like the game more and more and he spent his time watching Aomine play during practice since no one noticed him and it was hard to practice with some many people around.
The only time that he could actually practice freely was after practice and people from the third-string all left after the usual practice time so he did not have to worry about people disturbing him. The more Kuroko watched Aomine play, the more he admired him. His style of basketball seemed so free and instead of the rest who followed the proper form and everything.
Compared to him, Kuroko was just weak. But still, he loved playing basketball. The squeaks from the shoes and everything, he had started to like everything about basketball even if he was not good at it. He could get why Aomine liked basketball so much and no one would smile or look like they enjoyed playing basketball as much as him. Aomine was one of a kind and you could just say that his head only had basketball in it.
Kuroko had overheard from others that Aomine do not study and all he could think of was basketball twenty-four-seven. Kuroko still had his books with him which he reads whenever he was not around a basketball court. Books were an important part of his life and he was still very much alone without it, with just the addition of basketball.
An addition of something that still was not a living being. Kuroko supposed that his presence was just too weak and he was never good at starting conversations and people would just be shocked if he opened his mouth and wonder when exactly did he appear there when he was there right from the start.
Basketball was fun but he was lonely. Everyone else were practicing and playing with other people while he was always left out to practice on his own. Aomine especially was surrounded by other people, even more when he entered the First-String. There were other First Years besides him that were in there but Kuroko paid more attention to him and he was always watching him whenever he practiced.
None of them seemed to enjoy the sport as much as Aomine did and he was the one that seemed to practice more than them too. The one who showed the most love for the game was Aomine and that must be a reason of his strength. Kuroko had accepted that his skills would make it hard for him to be noticed or even able to play one game with Aomine. The difference in their skills were too big and Aomine was in the First-String, not that Kuroko would give up because of that.
"Who are you?" He had asked when he heard the greeting from someone approached the auditorium of the Third-String after practice. Seeing the person crouched down near the ground, his eyes focused and he soon recognised him. "Ah. Oh? Aomine-kun." Despite being surprised, he was able to mask his emotion well enough for it not to show.
"Hahaha. What the heck!? So no one noticed you were here because your presence was too weak?" Aomine was laughing the whole time he was telling him about that and Kuroko was starting to get irritated by that. "You're laughing too much, Aomine-kun." He said in a more annoyed tone to signal Aomine to stop laughing.
Kuroko did not think it was funny when it really was the truth. He did not expect that his presence was that weak that they thought he was a ghost when he practiced in the gymnasium. "…Wait? Have I thought you my name before?" Kuroko smiled and all annoyance was soon forgotten. "…You're famous. The First Year that's made a starting player on the First-String Team." 'Of course I know your name. I have been watching you way before you even became a member of the First-String. I can't keep my eyes off you when you play, you're dazzling when you smile regardless of when you win or lose. You give off nothing but love for the game.'
"Huh, really… So what's your name?" Kuroko blinked before looking away. "I'm in Third-String…" They were not of the same level so his name probably would not matter. He did not think himself worthy of that too. Aomine's next words surprised him and he was staring Aomine in surprise as he heard them. "Stupid, I don't care if you're Third-String or First-String. You like basketball enough to stay for practice every night, right? If you like basketball, you can't be bad! That's my pet theory."
He could not resist the smile after he listened to Aomine's words. Kuroko should have expected that from Aomine who loved basketball more than anything. "That's a strange pet theory." But something that was really Aomine. "What!?" Aomine commented in surprise and Kuroko's smile widened as he introduced himself. "I'm Kuroko Tetsuya. Nice to meet you."
That night he had returned home much later than usual since Aomine had insisted on treating him to a meal for their first meeting. They had talked about lots of things and Kuroko learnt that Aomine had started playing basketball since he was a kid and he started playing on the street even before he learnt how to play it. All his brain could think of was basketball, that was what he inferred since all Aomine could talk about was basketball. He was smiling non-stop throughout their talks too. The manager of the team was apparently his childhood friend that he found annoying.
He was really out-going too. Aomine had an unexpected interest in Japanese idols, especially a person called Horikita Mai that Kuroko had no clue about. Aomine had only briefly explained to him that she was a model with big breasts and he seemed to like something about that. Kuroko supposed that was a normal thing for guys to like so he chose not to say anything about it and the fact that Aomine seemed to be distracting himself from his studies with that and basketball.
Aomine was totally different from him, Kuroko knew that already. Books apparently bore Aomine and he was blinking in surprise when Kuroko mentioned that he liked reading them. He had took a look at Kuroko's book and yawned in just seconds of glancing at it. They seemed to get along despite the lack of common traits in them.
Since that night, the both of them would stay behind to practice together. More than anything, he was not alone anymore. For the first time ever, someone had noticed him and was willing to befriend him. Within a week of knowing each other, Aomine was already calling him "Tetsu" instead of Kuroko. It took him by surprise when he first heard that and Aomine laughed it off that he would be calling him by then from that day onwards. His laughter increased when he learnt that he was the first one to actually not call him by his family name.
But slowly, Kuroko picked up more and more that their levels really were different. Practicing with Aomine had showed him how good Aomine was and how much stronger he was getting after each practice while he showed no signs of improvement. Just like before, he was still watching Aomine whenever he plays.
He was watching Aomine with that thought in mind again one day before Aomine caught his stare. "Hmm? Something wrong?" Kuroko shook his head and smiled sadly. "No. Aomine-kun, you're amazing." Aomine seemed confused by his words and retorted with a surprised response. "Even though you're already so good, you still stay behind for extra practice. You really have a one-track mind for basketball."
"Are you making fun of me?" Aomine asked a little unhappily and Kuroko shook his head again. Why would he ever make fun of the person he admires? The fact that Aomine loved basketball enough to practice despite being this good only made him admire him more. "Well if you want to talk about being amazing, I think you're more amazing. Let's stand on the same court one day, Tetsu."
Aomine's words were sincere and Kuroko knew Aomine meant every single word he said. It just was not Aomine's character to lie or say things that he did not mean. "Yes..." He replied albeit a little hesitantly. Kuroko would love to be able to stand on the same court as him too, however his skills were obviously not good enough for them to be on the same team.
"Aomine-kun's different from me. You're much taller than me, your body's bigger too and not to mention how much more muscular you are." As much as he admired him, part of him was still jealous of Aomine's body frame. "You forgot to mention how much I'm darker than you in terms of my skin colour and hair colour." Aomine commented with a laugh and ruffled his hair.
It was Aomine's way of cheering him up, Kuroko knew that. "Body size's isn't all that important. You practice because you love the game right? We're the same in that sense. Why don't we stop for the day and I'll treat you to the vanilla milkshake you like so much." Of course body size did not affect Aomine, why would it when he already had the most ideal body for basketball?
Kuroko was grateful that Aomine was trying to cheer him up though and he accepted the request politely. After practicing with Aomine for so long, he knew better than to turn him down when Aomine would grumble and he would end up being dragged there anyway. His dark haired friend could be stubborn and insistent when he wanted to.
Besides, it was a habit to hang out after practice a few times a week. Sometimes for a cold snack like ice-cream or dinner together. Aomine would often update him about the new sports sneakers too and what he thought would suit Kuroko and all. It was fun hanging out with Aomine and he knew it was not something that would last forever. One day they would have to part and Aomine would realise that the difference in their strength was just too big.
It was already like a dream that he got to practice and make friends with the person who he admired and the one who had him fall in love with the game. Kuroko had never thought it would be possible for him to even hold a conversation with Aomine and they were having this friendship for more than a month already. But how much longer would it last?
Kuroko entered the auditorium that only the both of them would use at this time dejectedly. Like he thought, Aomine was still there despite him being a couple of hours late. He could not even hide how upset he was when he was usually good at hiding his emotions. Aomine seemed to bring out the real him without even meaning to.
"Oh! Hey you're late, There's hardly ti— Huh? Are you going home already?" Kuroko glanced dejectedly at him and answered his question in a monotone tone. He knew that it would come down to this one day anyway. "I'm thinking about quitting the basketball team." Maybe it was a decision that he should had came to long ago. However he liked practicing with Aomine, so he chose not to think about that till the ranking test today.
"WHAT!? WHY!?" Hearing Aomine's surprised response made him laugh mentally. Was Aomine really ignorant of his reason of wanting to quit? He was not sure about that but he owed Aomine an explanation for suddenly deciding to leave. "Like I thought, with my skills, I probably won't even make it to Second-String, let alone be able to play with Aomine-kun. I like basketball… But, I've been on the team for half a year… I guess there's nothing you can do if you're not made for it."
Reality had crashed in on him and he had to accept that his skills were not improving at all. He was just as bad as he was when he first started, with barely even a hint of improvement. He was just lying to himself that practice would make him better and it was an impossible dream to be able to play with Aomine in a match together ever.
"On top of that, here at Teiko Middle School, I don't think I can be of any use to the team." His skills were all pretty bad in every aspect, especially his shooting. No matter how close he was, he was not able to get his ball to land in the basket. Kuroko was just useless in the game and without any specialties in any part, what was he supposed to do?
As much as he liked playing basketball and practicing with Aomine, he had to accept that he was unable to do anything. "In a team, there's no such thing as an unnecessary player. Even if you can't play in matches. There's no way that a guy who stays behind later than the First-String; later than anyone is completely useless. At least for me, watching you like that made me respect you, and made me work harder."
He was staring at Aomine in surprise as he heard those words. Aomine actually respected him? Respected someone like him who had no qualities in basketball at all? "I'm not going to say you can do it for sure if you don't give up. But if you do give up, there'll be nothing left." Aomine's words sunk in slowly and Kuroko was still in a dilemma on what to do.
Aomine's words made sense. If he gave up right now, he would lose all possible hope of ever achieving his goal. If he did not give up, there would be at least a small fragment of hope that he might succeed one day. "Aomine." A second voice interrupted them and three other members came into view.
Kuroko recognised them to be the other three First-Years that made it to the regular team along with Aomine. They did not seem to notice him though and Kuroko neither did Kuroko expect them to in the first place. They were strong in their own ways too, his attention was still on Aomine since he was the only one out of them that showed love for the game."I thought I didn't see you for a while. So you were here."
"Oh, yeah. Too many people in the other auditorium." Aomine explained boredly. "Well, it doesn't matter where you practice… Who's he?" Kuroko's attention was caught the moment Akashi had mentioned him. So Akashi had managed to notice his presence by himself without him even saying a word? That was definitely a first and Akashi must be something if he managed to notice him.
Aomine seemed taken aback by that too and he had glanced towards him for a while before he answered the question. "Oh… I always practice with him. His name is Tetsu." Kuroko was not surprised that Aomine had introduced him with that name. He was always calling him that ever since that day instead of his family name and insisting that he liked that name better.
"Hmm? Did we have a guy like this on the team?" Murasakibara was looking curiously at him while munching on his snacks. At least he was before he turned his attention back towards his snacks. "He's not in First-String. Still in Third-String." Like he expected, Murasakibara lost interest in him quickly when he learnt that. Only Aomine would not care about the ranking of a player and think about a person's love for the game instead. "Hmm…whatever then."
He even yawned and urged the rest to leave. "Hey, let's go already." Akashi was still staring intently at him though and the gaze was starting to make him uncomfortable. He was in the loop enough to know that Akashi was frightening and being stared at by said person was really painful. Kuroko was lucky that his eye contact was still with Aomine and he refused to look towards Akashi.
"No. I'm curious about him. Interesting… I have never seen this type of player." Akashi's words had stunned both Aomine and him and they were both glancing at Akashi in a puzzled way. "He might be hiding a talent completely different from ours." Those words had caused him to finally lock gaze with Akashi.
What exactly did Akashi see in him? Kuroko himself was not even aware that he had any qualities that could help in basketball, much least a talent like Akashi said it to be. He soon learnt what it was though. Akashi wanted him to make use of his lack of presence and develop a style of basketball of his own.
"If you manage to come up with something in two weeks and make it work, I'll admit you to First-String." That was Akashi's parting words to him and Kuroko had been trying to hone that aspect of him while thinking up a playing style of his own. Aomine had helped him the best he could and after doing some personal research, he was able to develop the misdirection technique based on Akashi's guideline that his lack of presence was a weapon he could use along with his natural observant skills.
Regardless, that was not exactly enough. Kuroko had admitted to Akashi that he had thought of a way to use his lack of presence as a relay to pass the ball to the other members but that was not enough and he had a brief idea of what he could use as a special passing technique besides the usage of misdirection.
Akashi had agreed to let him join the First-string but he would not be a part of the regulars till he perfects his passing technique completely. His idea of a pass was a little hard and Aomine was only willing to help him with it for a few hours each day since he still had to practice on his own too. It was a big help to have Aomine to practice with when no one else seemed to think much about it and Aomine had never said anything demoralising to him.
The other members of First-String were not exactly pleased that he had joined in when he appeared weak to them and unable to score or anything. Aomine had defended him and asked them to back off and leave him alone whenever he overheard what they say. Afraid that Aomine's anger would get the better of him, Kuroko often told him not to care about it and they would do their own practice.
"Your control over the ball is getting better, Tetsu." Aomine had complimented him on their third day of practicing his new pass. "I still think it's lacking speed…" What could he do to make the ball move faster? His usual passes could be intercepted if they managed to see him. He would need another pass besides the usual normal ones. He might be fast in passing the ball to someone else but that still lacked speed.
There must be something he could use to help. "What about making use of your palm? Your palm is rather…powerful." Aomine remarked as he recalled angering Kuroko once and having hit by said palm. It was painful and Kuroko's strength in that was a lot stronger than he could expect. "If that's possible." He added in sheepishly. Aomine was aware that he say things without thinking most of the time so he thought it might be better if he added that line in.
"It might work…" Kuroko thought about the possibility of making use of it in his passing. "It's late and I don't want to be responsible for you not doing your homework again." Aomine had been using him as an excuse as to why he had not enough time to finish his homework and convincing Kuroko to lend him his to copy when they had the same assignment.
The real truth was that he wanted to think more about what Aomine said and figuring out a move with it. Aomine's suggestion was useful when he did not even know what to make use of himself. At least he had a starting point and what to focus on now. They parted ways quickly since Kuroko wanted to utilise the time to figure something out instead of using it on something else.
"Aomine-kun, do you mind practicing with me for a while. I think I thought of something last night." Getting help from Murasakibara who happened to be standing next to Aomine at that time, Kuroko focused his eyes on the ball and signalled for it to be thrown in his direction. It was the first time he was going to try it out for real so he was not sure whether it would succeed or not.
He ended up smiling a small smile when Aomine managed to catch it. He had faith that Aomine would be able to catch it, the pass would be useless if it was not something Aomine could catch. "Ow." Aomine shook his hand when he released the ball. "You hit the ball with your palm didn't you? That's what caused the force of the ball to increase and move faster. You have a crazy amount of strength in your palm like I said."
His control of the pass still needed work but he supposed this was good enough for the first try. After that, the other members had started to accept him more. His pass was still not good enough for him to be part of the regulars and play with Aomine though and that strengthened his resolve to improve it. Now that he knew he had a better chance to fulfil his promise with Aomine to stand in the same court as him, he was going to give it his all.
It took him slightly more than a week of practicing with Aomine before he finally completed his technique completely. He had named the pass 'Ignite Pass' which Aomine agreed that it was a suitable name when the ball heats up from his pass when you catch it at the wrong moment. It still lacked practice and Akashi had him practice by having practice matches. Aomine was the only one who could catch that pass so they were often assigned to practice together.
When he was finally admitted to be part of the regulars and given his jersey, he was practically made to be Aomine's partner already since the both of them could sync the best and Aomine was the best person to catch any of his passes and make the most out of it. They were adaptable to the point that Kuroko's passes always made it to Aomine at the best moment.
"I wonder why your passes always reach me at the right moment." Aomine had questioned him once when they were walking back together. "You know that I'm observant." 'It's because I have always been watching you. Of course I notice your movements and everything. It's been months since I started watching you and you still seem to shine so much. It feels like if I keep my eyes off you, the distance between us will grow even more…"
He soon trailed off in his thoughts before he found himself roughly being shaken on the shoulders. "Oi. Tetsu. You're spacing out again." Aomine's face was really closed to his and he blinked once he managed to focus back on his surrounding again. "You didn't have to shake me that hard." Kuroko complained displeasedly as he brushed his shoulders. Aomine had used quite a lot of strength and he was never one to grasp how much strength he should be using.
"I tried calling you but you didn't reply." Aomine argued back with a frown. He was no doubt unhappy that he was being chided by him when he was the one that spaced out on him. "I'm sorry. I will treat you to an ice-cream to make up to you?" He was lucky that Aomine was pretty simple-minded and this usually did the trick besides basketball.
His partner was totally a basketball idiot but he could not say that when he was no better. The pair often meet up on the weekends to practice on the street basketball court where Kuroko first met him. Aomine was still oblivious that Kuroko had met him before and that he was the one that influenced him to take up basketball.
"I know you're polite and everything but shouldn't you at least try to call me by my first name? We've known each other for months already and yet you call me by my last name like the rest. I don't want you to be that polite with me." It was a simple request but to someone like Kuroko who had no experience with friends, it was hard. Although Aomine did make sense when the both of them were much closer than any of the other members.
That did not mean that it made things any easier. The words seemed hard to even roll off his tongue and he barely even knows how he would be able to greet Aomine by his first name that easily. Sensing his problem, Aomine had patted him on the head roughly and laughed. "I'm fine with you just calling Daiki when we're alone. Probably going to be hard for you to call me that in front of everyone else with your character."
Kuroko wished he could say he was grateful but he was still being convinced to call him by his name. Glancing at Aomine, he knew that Aomine deserved it and he was his first real friend too. Taking a deep breath, he nodded his head. "Daiki-kun." It was soft and Aomine had to strain his ears to hear it but he grinned widely anyway and Kuroko smiled back in return. It should be worth his trouble if it pleases Aomine and he would smile at that.
After all, he liked seeing Aomine smiling as much as he loved playing basketball. "See. I knew you could do it. Come on, let's go grab a bite. You still owe me that popsicle too." Aomine had his arms around his shoulder and Kuroko was not surprised that Aomine still remembered his offer about treating him ice-cream earlier. "Tetsu. It's so hot, let's hurry up and leave."
"I'm only buying Ao—Daiki-kun one popsicle though." He allowed himself to be tugged off by Aomine though and he was certain that his expression was unlike his usual one. It was just so easy to be pulled along by Aomine's smile and he often had the urge to return one with his own, even if his smile was no way as bright or as big as Aomine's. In fact, his smile was probably something that people hardly notice.
It took him a long time before I finally got the hand of calling Aomine by his first name when we were alone. Kuroko felt that it was difficult to call him that when they were with the rest and not to mention that the both of them were much closer than the others and the fact that Aomine calls him Tetsu was not helping and he rather not attract anymore possible jealousy. There were still members who were rather displeased about him being in First-String with his lousy shooting skills.
The first year passed quickly and the both of them were just as close as before. At the beginning, Kuroko was a little not used to Kise's attachment to Aomine and challenging him every day. Somehow, Aomine would be able to sneak away from the blonde and they started practicing at the street basketball court in secret. It was a spot that was known only to the both of them.
That was where they both practiced on their own after the practice ended. It was natural for them to just head there after they parted ways with the rest and eat a meal together sometimes. Or hang out together to buy shoes or run errands and stuff like that.
Along the way, the lines of their relationship started getting blurred and neither of them knew what it was anymore. The lingering physical contact was the first, neither of them realised it since the amount of time they spent together was more than that of anyone else.
Aomine was the first person Kuroko ever befriended and hence his ignorance about the slow changes in their relationship, Aomine not being very bright failed to notice it too. They probably would not even notice it if Kise had not asked them. "Kurokocchi, why do you only allow Aominecchi to have physical contact with you? If someone else besides Aominecchi tries to swing their arm around you, you will glare and push them away."
Aomine and Kuroko looked at each other blankly, neither of them denying the accusation. They had not thought much about it before but now that Kuroko and Aomine thought about it, that was true. "That's obvious. I'm his best friend." Aomine argued, knowing that Kuroko would not answer it and Kise would not shut up till he gets an answer. Kise ended up whining even more much to his displeasure.
"That's because you monopolise Kurokocchi all the time and he doesn't hang out with me." Kuroko's face was blank as usual despite what Kise said. "Aomine-kun doesn't monopolise me, I choose to spend time with him. He's my partner afterall." His tone was a flat matter-of-factly, causing Aomine to snicker behind him. That still had not stopped Kise from whining. "But Kurokocchi. That doesn't explain why you spend so much time with Aominecchi outside of basketball and why you're fine with letting Aominecchi being physical with you."
"What do you mean physical? You make it sound like I cling to Tetsu all the time." Murasakibara chose that moment to spend up. "Mine-chin does stick with Kuro-chin a lot." Aomine groaned. So Murasakibara had taken part in the discussion too.
Kuroko ignored the commotion, his expression the same as always. "Because Aomine-kun's special and I like spending time with him." Kuroko's words had Aomine flustering and Kise sobbing loudly. "But Aominecchi is only good in basketball. What other good points does he have?"
Aomine had flared up at that remark and immediately hit Kise on the head lightly. "What is that supposed to mean? Basketball isn't my only good point!" A faint smile appeared on Kuroko's face as he watched their interaction. "Because I like everything about Aomine-kun." He whispered softly and only Aomine who was standing next to him heard that.
"W-What?" Aomine asked surprisingly leaving a confused Kise who had no clue what happened and why Aomine seemed flustered. Their conversation was stopped when Akashi finally spoke up. "How long do the three of you intend to mess around? Since the three of you seem so free, I guess I have to triple the three of you's training."
Akashi's tone was piercing and they knew better than to argue with him. "Kise! This is all your fault!" Aomine grumbled under his breath as they started out their punishment. Kise resorted back that it was Aomine's fault for always hogging Kuroko.
Seeing that yet another punishment might be directed their way, Kuroko tugged Aomine's sleeve lightly to catch his attention. "Aomine-kun. Let's head over there." Aomine nodded his head and smirked before following Kuroko behind. Kise tried to follow but Midorima who was irritated by their non-stop chattering told him to stay there.
The day ended up the same as usual with Aomine and Kuroko sneaking away from Kise to walk back quietly. After having their practice tripled, the both of them felt that it was enough practice for the day. "Want to get some ice-cream?" Aomine questioned while he tried to cool himself down.
A wordless nod was his reply and they continued on their way, quieter than usual. Neither of them said a word to each other till they started eating after finding a bench to distract sit on. Aomine broke the awkward silence first, glancing more at his ice-cream than Kuroko. "About what you said earlier..." His words trailed off and he rubbed his head with his free hand sheepishly before speaking up again. "Forget I said anything."
"I meant what I said earlier. I like everything about Daiki-kun." Aomine had turned around when he heard Kuroko's voice only to see Kuroko speaking while eating his ice-cream naturally. It was just like Kuroko to be so straightforward without showing much of a change of expression. But he was surprised to hear that Kuroko used his first name and it felt different from earlier too.
He was very much mistaken since Kuroko was struggling to keep his indifferent mask up by distracting himself with his ice-cream and not looking at Aomine. The first time he said it in the courts, the words had escaped his lips without much thought.
This time was different. He was aware of what he said and he had to use Aomine's first name too. To cover up his embarrassment, Kuroko had spoke up again to distract Aomine from what he said earlier. "Out of everyone's basketball, I like Daiki-kun's style of basketball the most."
"I like your basketball best too." Aomine answered with a smile and blinked when Kuroko smiled back. After spending so much time together, Aomine could count the number of times he ever saw with one hand and hence he knew how rare it was to see it. He was probably the one who saw and had the smile directed to him. Raising up his fist, Kuroko bumped it back with his own.
"Ah. Looks like I got the winning stick." Aomine declared randomly before he recalled what the prize was. Kuroko caught on to the change in his expression and leaned towards him. "The one that's one out of A few hundred? With the prize being a pair of limited edition basketball shoes that you wanted?"
Kuroko remembered how Aomine liked collecting basketball shoes and how many pairs he had when he went to his house. But there were only a few limited edition ones that Aomine liked and could not buy.
This design was unique since it was not sold in shops and you could only get it through the draw. Aomine had been eyeing it since the first time they saw it when they went to a convenient shop once. "Yeah!" Aomine turned towards him and Kuroko's cheeks flushed when he finally noticed the short distance between their faces. Catching the flush, Aomine blinked once in surprise before he understood the reason behind it.
Their faces were really close, barely a few centimeters apart. Due to the bench's small space, they had ended up sitting rather closely to each other after placing their bags down. When Kuroko leaned forward, their close proximity grew closer and they could feel each other's sudden uneven breathing. The winning stick was as if it it was forgotten when their eyes moved away from it and towards each other instead.
Both of them stared wordlessly at each other, not breaking the eye contact or move. The air around felt strange since their faces were never this close before and they could see each other's face closer and in more detail. The place was silent since there were no people around them.
"Tetsu..." Aomine whispered softly and Kuroko could feel the breath reaching him. They were so close that they could even pick up the other's distinctive scent. He wondered which one of them moved because they were not that close a moment earlier. Regardless, he would not say he was surprised by the gap between them disappearing and the sudden warm and slightly sticky lips were on his equally sticky ones. Without any hesitation, he kissed back. If Kuroko was not caught up in the moment, he would have put more thought into their situation. But it felt really right at the moment and he just acted on impulse.
Somewhere along the way, his eyes had closed shut and when he opened them, a pair of blue orbs stared back. The moment broke when they finally processed what happened and their thoughts finally kicked in. Kuroko pulled away first, his cheeks flaming red. Thanks to Aomine's tanned skin, the tints of red on his face were just slightly visible. The both of them averted their gazes and the awkward silence from earlier came back.
It was a lot tenser than before and the distance between them were still close. Aomine was confused, why did he do that? He had acted on impulse without thinking. Stealing a glance at Kuroko, Aomine was surprised to see the blush on his face and blinked. This was unusual, Kuroko usually had a poker monotone face and for the first time, he could see actual emotions on his face. What should he say right now? Explain about what happened? How should he start?
"When are you going to collect your prize?" Kuroko muttered softly and Aomine was glad for the change in topic. "It's rather late so I guess tomorrow maybe." The winning stick was forgotten and he was surprised to see that he was still holding onto it. Usually he would be jumping for joy that he had won the shoes that he wanted but the matter was completely pushed aside.
There was still the awkward atmosphere around them, the topic only dispersing part of it. "Do you want me to go with you?" Kuroko asked softly and Aomine agreed to it out of normality. "Sure." It would be nice to have someone join him in getting the shoes.
"Shall we go?" Aomine stood up and passed Kuroko's bag over to him. "Thank you." He took the bag and stood up. Kuroko was struggling about what to say about what happened earlier. It was not like he could ask out of the blue and it was much too awkward for his personality.
Aomine as if sensing his dilemma, picked that moment to talk about it. It was like they had days worth of awkwardness happening in a day "You want to ask about it don't you? I'm sorry for doing that without any warning. I might not have any idea why I did that but it doesn't seem like something I regret doing." He was certain that he should be acting stranger when he never thought he would kiss his best friend ever but there was just the feeling of wanting to do it again.
Kuroko shook his head. "I was going to make the first move if you didn't. I guess we're both confused right now so shall we stick with our current relationship till we're sure?" They would need some time to think it through carefully and what on earth their relationship is. With his ignorance of relationships and Aomine's thinking, it would take some time to get it through.
That should be alright when they still had so much time together left. At least that was what he thought back then. A few weeks later, Aomine's skills started blooming and the distance between them grew apart before they managed to say anything about their kiss from before. As the time passed, the worse their relationship grew and soon they stopped hanging out all together.
It was painful to even watch Aomine's play anymore and Kuroko hated this Aomine. At the beginning it was alright for a while after he had assured Aomine that someone strong enough to face him would appear but that soon ended too. A few weeks later, Aomine completely pulled away and ceased to smile at all.
Just like how their relationship worsened, he had ceased to call him Daiki anymore since the chances of them hanging out alone was no longer available and Aomine barely even shows up for practice. Not to mention that Aomine was much more aloof now and spends his time alone sleeping on the rooftop.
It soon came to a point that Kuroko knew the Aomine no, the Daiki he knew was no longer there and he disappeared from the basketball club after their final win. Just like he thought, Aomine did nothing to contact him or even ask him about it. It hurt when he recalled how Aomine had stopped him when he first wanted to quit back then. Now it was like he was all alone again just like before and basketball was no longer fun.
In High School, Kuroko had never expected to find someone who reminded him so much of Aomine that he had started staring right after he had seen him play. His playing style was a lot different from Aomine's but his attitude was the same one that Daiki had. It was like he was seeing him all over again and Kuroko could not help but ask for him to work with him to defeat his ex-teammates.
It was similar to how he used to hang out with Aomine, he would often see Kagami when he goes to buy his favourite shake. There was a strange feeling whenever he was with Kagami at first but he managed to shake it off that it no longer bothered him that much after that. Basketball was slowly to be fun again, Kuroko knew he would never be able to stop loving basketball for long.
Seeing Kise so soon was unexpected and it had reminded him of Aomine, especially when Kise asked him the reason behind his disappearance. It was nice to see that Kise had not changed much even if his personality has some parts that he dislikes slightly. After the match against Kise and their chat, Kuroko had a hunch that Kise might be changing his view on basketball soon.
Meeting Midorima next was a surprise but at least it proved him right that Kagami was someone that had a chance of defeating the Kiseki No Sedai. He might be still far away from Aomine's level but he was still growing so Kagami might be able to defeat him in the future.
Kuroko was grateful towards Seirin, if it was not for them he doubted that he would even regain his love for basketball. He felt needed and the feeling of a team that Teiko had been lacking. For someone like him who was used to being alone and invisible, it was something really important to him. Losing his most important partner had a bigger toll on him that what he thought.
When Midorima mentioned about Aomine towards Kagami, Kuroko was silent for a moment when he recalled the Aomine he had last seen playing. His voice was hard to make it sound neutral like his usual tone because the change in Aomine's attitude towards basketball really bothers him. Kuroko really did love Aomine's previous playing style and having to say that he hates his current playing style felt contradicting.
Even more when he was reminded how he had said that out of everyone's basketball, he loved Aomine's best of all. No one seemed to have picked on that he was a little out of it and he was suddenly glad for his lack of presence. Thinking about Aomine had always been a touchy topic, not that people would know that when he did not even mention about him before to his teammates.
Meeting Momoi during his training was something he knew would happen someday with how Momoi liked to cling to him and he knew she would be in the same High School as Aomine. Hearing that Aomine had not changed was no surprise although a small part of him had wished that he would be the same one that he knew.
When Momoi mentioned how she liked Aomine and his playing the most, he could not stop himself from saying that he would defeat Aomine because from the way she talked earlier it was like if Aomine finally tasted defeat, he would change. It might be a spur of the moment that he lost himself in his past that he said that but looking back at his fist, it reminded him more of Aomine than Kagami even though they had been bumping their fist together like back when Aomine used to do with him.
Maybe an excuse for him to have more determination in trying to beat Aomine and getting the hope that he could see the past Aomine, even though Aomine was the one who pulled away and left him. Aomine was the first person that ever befriended him; there was no way he could forget about him that easily even if he tried.
Kagami had asked him about his relationship with Aomine and Kuroko only mentioned how they first met and their friendship. There was no way he could tell him everything and there were still many parts of it that he still had not figured out yet.
"It's been a while, Tetsu. You've been doing pretty good eh?" The voice was the same as the one he knew but it lacked the fondness he used to hear from Aomine and in fact he could even say it held anger. Aomine had changed slightly in appearance, not that much for him to see that different but his personality had gotten worse.
That much was apparent and Aomine had never been one who would watch his mouth. At least that was how he could see Aomine being truthful, although it could also be called idiotic. ""You look determined." Aomine smiled at how his ex-partner was now looking at him with eyes that viewed him as the enemy. It was certainly different from the one he used to know, this only shows him how much the both of them had changed.
His eyes grew colder as they shared more words, until he mentioned that they could talk after they beat him which he was certain that Kuroko would not be able to do some. Aomine found it hilarious that the partner who he had disappeared on him would end up appearing on the opposing team as their first meeting after so long.
He could have met him earlier but Aomine chose not to. What was there for him to say to him? Ask Kuroko why he disappeared? Ask about why he had a new light now? Those were pointless questions that Aomine forced himself to think so. All he had to do was focus on the match and show Kuroko how it was hopeless to try to defeat him.
It had absolutely nothing to do with the feeling of betrayal and jealousy that was bubbling in inside him. Aomine could see part of his old self in Kagami and hence why he showing dislike towards him. That used to be his place and he used to play basketball with a smile and finding the sport to be fun. Back then, playing basketball with Kuroko was the best.
Without another glance, he pulled his eyes away from Kuroko. He no longer had that right and this was not his partner anymore and he was all alone. The flickering memory of a promise he had wanted to believe made him smile sadly for a moment before he managed to make it disappear. 'I like everything about Daiki-kun.' Those words cruelly chose this timing to appear in his mind and he hardened his heart to push back all the memories he had of playing together with Kuroko.
Kuroko knew Aomine was strong and this was not even his full strength, he knew that. It only made things worse that he knew it was not Aomine's all and yet he was already struggling to beat him even with Kagami's help. This was not going to be an easy game, he knew right from the beginning.
Despite what he wanted, he was made to sit out on the second quarter. Kuroko knew his stamina was low but this was a game he really wanted to win. He had promised Momoi that he would win and this was not a game they could afford to lose. If Seirin got crushed by Aomine, chances of them being able to continue playing at their current pace would be hard. He had no choice but to believe in his team and that they would be able to turn the tables around.
Aomine's skills really were impressive and his freestyle of basketball was what he really admired before. Right now, he just hated them when the one using them did not even seem happy at all. Sitting on the bench allowed him to have a better view of the game and he wanted to go out there so badly although he knew he might not be much help.
Boring. Without Kuroko on the court, basketball was boring again. No one was even near his level at all and even if Kuroko did come out, he would still win no doubt. Having Kuroko around would make it slightly more interesting and a small part of him had wanted to stand on the same court as him again even if they were on different teams right now.
With Kagami's level, he would not even serve as an entertainment. Especially when the only one who could beat him one-on-one is himself. "Come on, get over here, Tetsu!" If it was Kuroko, the game would be a little more unexpected and he was curious to see if his basketball had changed or not. This was the only time he would get to play against Kuroko again.
"I'm going on." He was being singled out and there was no way he would back down against Aomine's challenge. Aomine was underestimating him and Seirin way too much, Kuroko would be sure to show him that they were not as weak as he thinks. There was a tint of irony when he stood up, he had never thought back then that they would ever stand on opposite sides of the court.
"Let's duel." Those words were spoke with faint tints of amusement and Kuroko knew Aomine was just using him to make the game less boring for him. Regardless, he was still going to respond to Aomine's challenge. Basketball was a game he could never stop loving and even if Aomine hated it, Kuroko still wanted him to play against him with all he got.
Aomine smiled, the court really did feel different with Kuroko around. Unlike those other people he had played against, Kuroko would be someone who would not lose his will to play against him. That was the type of player he had been wanting to see out on the field more than anything. It had been a long time since he had last seen teams whose spirit did not break even after playing against him.
Seeing the passes that Kuroko used to direct to him being passed to someone else felt foreign and the first time he saw that, he had let it pass out of surprise. The second time he saw it, his emotions were getting more overwhelming and the bitterness of how he was left behind caused him to catch the pass out of reflex. He was used to the passes, after all he was the one that helped Kuroko master them and the one who caught them the most.
He had bluntly announced that there was no way Kuroko's basketball could beat him, maybe out of the bitter emotions he was feeling right now. What he said was the truth too when Kuroko had not gotten any stronger and his basketball was the exact same as he remembered with nothing new added to it. That had only helped him to know where Kuroko's passes would go.
Kuroko refused to give up, even when Kagami got called out to the bench due to his leg injury. Aomine had told him before, it would be hopeless only when he gave up. Whether they lose or not, they still had time to try it out and see if they could turn the tables around. If they gave up right not, it would be like Aomine said, there would be nothing left for sure.
His words had caused a reaction from Aomine, Kuroko wondered if it was because the him who had attempted to give up once is now talking about finding giving up disgusting. The things that he picked up from hanging around with Aomine were plenty, never giving up being one of them. The startled expression from Aomine's face disappeared soon enough almost like it was never there.
It seemed like it was hopeless and Aomine chuckled resentfully that a part of him had hoped that he would lose. What was he thinking that this match would be anything different from usual? The only one who could beat him was him alone and no one else. This match had further proved his theory and basketball was boring as usual.
The both of them had walked past each other without a single word or look. Aomine thinking it was hopeless for him to even find basketball fun anymore and Kuroko over how his basketball had utterly failed to affect Aomine at all. He was naïve to think that he would be able to beat Aomine without improving his skills at all. Next time it would not be the same for sure.
His eyes widened when he caught sight of Aomine's expression. Aomine was not looking at him so he was ignorant about Kuroko staring at him. Kuroko wondered why his eyes just strayed towards Aomine that naturally and the expression on Aomine's face unsettled him. Right after the announcement, Aomine had turned away swiftly and Kuroko stared at his back till he was out of sight.
That back radiated nothing but loneliness and he bit his lips not to call out Aomine's name. Why did he only notice this now? Now he had his utter lost and how useless his basketball was against Aomine along with what he discovered to deal with. His mind was pretty out of it and he had just sat down silently only till Kagami spoke up.
Cooperation. That was something he had stopped doing when Aomine and him drifted apart and his mind went back to thinking the day when Aomine first stopped bumping his fist against his, his promise to Momoi, Kagami mentioning that they would beat Aomine and Aomine's words to him about only speaking after he wins.
Aomine was right. Only the winners had the right to preach, nothing he says would go through Aomine if Aomine continues to believe that no one would defeat him. He had failed to prove him wrong, what right would he have to tell him that he was wrong? Kuroko could only do so if he managed to win against Aomine.
Silently, he stood up and followed behind his team. He was trembling with anger against himself and how he had failed to do anything to help at all. Not only towards Seirin but towards Aomine as well. He had not grown at all since he entered High School…
Aomine's mood was pretty bad and hearing one of his teammates insulting Kuroko only made it worse and if he was not stopped, he would have beaten the guy up badly. What did that guy know about not giving up? If it was him of the past, he would have done the same as Kuroko and fight till the very end. At least that way he knew he tried his best instead of running away. That was why he had agreed with Kuroko when he said he would not give up.
"Tch." Like it even matters what he thinks and the game ended up with yet another one of his victory. Was it that hard to even find someone to let him play seriously? It was like it was an impossible dream when basketball was fun and Kuroko's words to him back then was losing their worth more and more after each game.
That day, Kuroko cried. He cried not because they lost the match, he cried because he finally noticed something. Back then when Aomine won and turned away, that back was the same one that he saw right now and Aomine's pained expression was not something people would see in a person who just won. No winner would show a facial expression of disgust with himself but that was exactly what he saw on Aomine's face. It was like Aomine's entire being was shrouded in darkness, his eyes especially reflected nothing but negative emotions.
Kuroko bit his lips, now that he was alone he could finally settle his realisation. "I turned away from him..." Aomine was silently calling for help while he was sinking in his darkness and he had turned a blind eye to that. "Even though I decided that I will always look at him... I turned away because I didn't want to believe that he changed. I just stood there ignoring his silent pleas for help... The one that created the distance between us wasn't just Aomine-kun. It's me... I didn't do anything and let the distance between us grow and I disappeared without giving a chance to savage whatever we had remaining of our relationship."
The tears came out again, Aomine's coldness was his fault. He had just left him be without doing anything for him, all he had done was just pushing Aomine forward and selfishly leaving him alone to finish walking. After Aomine had helped him with so much, he had repaid him by leaving him alone with his problems. He had chose to disappear and yet he had always been blaming Aomine for the drift in their relationship and how he believed he had never turned away from Aomine.
"Tetsu." His mind seemed to be mocking him when they repeated the tone Aomine used to call him when they met again. It lacked the warmth Aomine used to called him with and the smile he used to see had disappeared. It was partly his own fault that he lost the smile he loved so much. When Aomine changed, Kuroko had allowed the distance between them to grow and he distanced himself from him.
He had stopped calling Aomine by his first name because the Aomine that he had knew was not there any more. The one standing in front of him was a shadow of the one he knew, he had used to think that. But that was not true, the Aomine no Daiki that he loved was still present. He might have changed but he was still there, he had just stopped noticing that.
There were still parts of the one he knew still present, Kuroko had picked that up now. Old habits that Aomine did not seem to change and Kuroko wondered how he was blind enough not to notice before. The way how Aomine would always be able to catch his passes remained the same too. It was bitter to know that despite the strain they had, their basketball worked as well as before. Kuroko had noticed Aomine's expression when he has first used the Ignite Pass. It was hard to look away when he caught the hurt and betrayed glint in Aomine's eyes as they grew even darker. His actions had pushed him was further into the darkness. What kind of human was he when he had let the person who he claimed he was always watching and love to suffer?
It took him long enough and Kuroko finally came to terms towards what his feelings were. He was in love with Aomine ever since he first met him on that street basketball court. That was the true reason why Kuroko had always been looking at him and why his eyes were drawn to Aomine so easily and why he was so happy to spend time with him. Due to his lack of social skills, he was not able to realise what it was till now.
"My love wasn't strong enough if I could look away from him…" He must have been really shallow if he could just turn away from the person that he like and push all the blame towards that person. Kuroko must have been a weaker person than he thought if he managed to do that. Why was he that weak to look away from Aomine when he started changing bit by bit? His love must also be weak then if it could flicker so easily that he had looked away from him.
He could have done something to help and Aomine would not be in the state that he is right now. The only thing he could do now was to try to make up to Aomine and do the best he can to get stronger and prove to him that basketball would be fun again for him and to see the smile that he loves once again. That was the smile that drew him in and why he liked hanging out with Aomine.
For someone who loved basketball as much as Aomine did, why did he not find something amiss when Aomine stopped playing with a smile all together? Aomine must be suffering to play a game he used to love with hatred. Kuroko hated himself for thinking that he was the only one that ended up hating the sport, Aomine's case was much worst for him when he still hated it.
They had used to tell each other everything, they would hang out together all the time and they were each other's first priority. But now, they are nothing more than mere acquaintances. All those time that they spent together and all the memories that the shared, it was like it no longer mattered anymore. It was like they are just strangers with memories. This was the result of the both of them and how they failed to realise it. It hurt when he thought that Aomine would not care about the falling out of their relationship.
When they met again during his training, Kuroko could see a faint trace of the Daiki he knew when Aomine offered him a drink. Out of habit since Aomine was the one that usually took care of him, he had thanked him before he removed the towel from his eyes to realise that Aomine was standing in front of him and how he was not supposed to be there.
The silence between them was tense, he had no idea how to start a conversation. If Aomine had a drink, why did he give him his and buy a new one? Aomine was not even looking at him much but he looked a lot like the Daiki he knew. At least he seemed more like the one he remembered since Aomine appeared to be less displeased and he spoke rather softly.
Kuroko continued watching him wordlessly and Aomine was still not looking at him. That only pained him more to see how Aomine would not even look at him anymore. 'Is it that hard to even look at me? I won't even ask for the warm one you used to look at me with. It hurts more not having you look at me compared to getting a cold one. At least you're looking at me.'
It was a surprise when Aomine finally turned towards to face him, his expression especially. It seemed sad and Kuroko had to fight the urge to ask why Aomine was showing such an expression upon seeing him. "It's been a while. Tetsu." The atmosphere was still tense even when the silence was broken. "Aomine-kun…" Kuroko was uncertain what to say.
He should apologise to him but was this the right time? It reminded him too much of the times they used to spend together and it saddened him when right now Aomine was that unapproachable even if he tried. Aomine had always given him the feeling that despite how close he might appear to be, he would not be able to reach him. Right now especially when he could not even talk to him normally.
Aomine took a sip of his drink silently. The reaction he had gotten from Kuroko was not a good one, does looking at him upset him that much? Had his presence became something that was unwanted? He could remember how they used to hang out happily together and right now was the direct opposite of that.
Why did he even walk here if he could not even speak, much less look at him? When he spotted him lying there, Aomine had walked over automatically and before he knew it, he was already standing there. Aomine felt lucky that he had brought his bottle with him; at least he had an excuse for coming over. From his past experience, he knew that Kuroko would like a drink of Pocari after soaking in the hot springs too long. That was why he offered his to Kuroko and bought a new drink for himself.
The words 'You're still bad with hot springs.' were on the tip of his tongue and yet he was unable to speak them out. He no longer had the right to do so; they were just ex-teammates and opponents now, nothing more. Even if he wanted to take the first step to have things turn back the same as the past, would it work? Would Kuroko and he go back to normal that easily? He was not the him of the past anymore and neither was this the Tetsu he knew.
Seeing that it was obvious that Kuroko would not say anything, Aomine decided to speak up since he was the one who walked over. "…I saw the match. So that's your new skill, Satsuki's been talking about." The only things they could even talk about in their current situation was just basketball and nothing more.
"…Yes. It's for fighting against Aomine-kun." Kuroko's eyes were filled with determination and Aomine chortled at how Kuroko wanted to defeat him. This only made it clear to him how he was just a rival that Kuroko wanted to beat right now and nothing more. He felt stupid for even thinking that he might even have a chance to turn things back to before.
A pair of arms swung around his shoulder and interrupted what he had wanted to say. Aomine laughed mentally at the timing and whether or not he would be able to see a trace of the Tetsu he knew if Kagami had not appeared. Because he was not sure if he was able to keep it contained and not end up asking Kuroko the reason why he disappeared.
It was for the best, he argued with himself. Aomine buried the rest of the lingering emotions he had to concentrate on Kagami instead. This was his cue to leave, at least he could do something to make the next game more interesting. Kagami was stronger now but still not strong enough for his liking. Aomine had to tell them that they are going to face him in the next match too.
When Kuroko grinned and said that he believed in Kagami, Aomine was even more certain that he had completely lost his place with Kuroko. The only thing he could say now was to accept their challenge and wait for them to play again. Whether or not the outcome of the match would be the same as before would have to wait and Aomine left without looking at the both of them. There was no reason to when it would only make himself even more unhappy.
Kuroko was surprised when he took a sip of the drink Aomine offered him after Aomine had left, it was the drink that he like and he was pretty sure that Aomine preferred another type of sports drink. Since when did Aomine start drinking it and he even have it around with him. His fingers clutched the bottle tighter and he softly swore that he would defeat Aomine for sure this time.
The cold expression Aomine had was replaced with a sad one a few times during their conversation, Kuroko had picked that up. He had wanted to say something about it but he did not have the right to do that just yet. He had already made the decision that he would only say all he had to say after he won. With Kagami's words, Kuroko felt that the possibility of them winning was much higher and that was why he had mentioned that earlier.
He would do everything he can to win and win back the old Aomine that he knew. This was his fond of compensation to Aomine, even if there was no way for them to go back to the past he still wanted to see a smiling Aomine. Even if those smiles were no longer directed to him or meant for him, Kuroko still wanted Aomine to smile.
Like he thought, Aomine really is the best person to work with him. They know each other's basketball so well that it was easy to predict what the other would do. Kuroko was not that surprised that Aomine was able to counter his move by closing his eyes and stopping him. This was Aomine, the person who he had played basketball with the most and the one who worked best with him. It was bitter how he was expecting that to happen even when he was supposed to win.
There were more reasons for Kuroko to win now, not only for his own personal reasons. That was why he could not afford to give up at all. He had to do it for his Senpais and to regain the most important thing to him, Aomine's smile. That was why even though his move was not working much on Aomine on the first half, he still wanted to continue trying.
During the break, he had only wanted to catch a breather. Kagami coming out to find him was not in his prediction. Kagami had asked what he was doing and Kuroko simply answered it with what he was currently thinking. More than wanting to win for the Senpais who had always been supporting him, he was selfish to win for his own reason. But the goal was still the same so it should not matter.
"Just once more. I want to see Aomine-kun playing with a smile." Those smiles were what made his day the most and he really do love seeing those smiles as much as he loves playing basketball, maybe even more. Kagami mentioned about how it was not certain that Aomine would change because of that but even so, Kuroko wanted to believe that Aomine would be more of his past self once this game is over.
When Kagami and Aomine both entered the zone, it was slowly starting to be a one-on-one between the both of them. Kuroko could tell that Aomine was happy, he could finally play with his all and this was what he wanted when he won. He would much rather win when Aomine gives it all he got than win against Aomine who did not play seriously.
His words near the end when he mentioned that the only one he believed would be able to catch the pass would be Kagami impacted Aomine, Kuroko could see his eyes losing his focus on the game for a split second. Another time when Kagami managed to catch the ball, Kuroko ignored it because it was still during the game and he could say all he was supposed to say to Aomine later at the end of it.
Aomine let the truth of his lost sink in slowly. He had lost, this was true right? He had failed to stop Kagami from catching the pass that Kuroko directed to him, the one that Kuroko said the only one could catch it was Kagami. Was it because of those words that he lost focus for a moment and remembering Kuroko's past words to him that someone stronger than him would come.
This was different. Kagami was not stronger than him, he had help from Kuroko. If Kuroko was not there, there was no way he would lose. The real reason he lost was due to their teamwork and mostly thanks to Kuroko's effort in not giving up. It was hard to believe that he had really lost when he had not taste defeat in such a long time.
A small part of him had longed for someone to beat him but now that someone did, the feeling of defeat was something he did not like. Was it because it reminded him of the truth that he was the one that caused himself to lose his partner and the love for basketball?
Aomine had nearly reached his hand out when Kuroko was about to fall, he only stopped when he remembered that he had no right to and Kagami was already there to support him. That was not his place anymore and he was alone in this basketball court right now. There was no one supporting him and what was he supposed to do now?
He laughed when Kagami's words were what brought him back. This was what he had wanted, a game with no definite outcome one he could play with his all and whether or not he wins will be a mystery. He had something to look forward to, one that will allow him to play without holding back or anyone losing their spirit halfway through.
"Aomine-kun." Kuroko's voice brought the finality to what he thought and it was all thanks to him that he had finally found his release. The game that he used to love, Aomine felt that he could start loving basketball again soon. "It's your win, Tetsu." For a moment, Kuroko's eyes were impossible to read and he was puzzled when he heard Kuroko's next words. What exactly did Kuroko want to say to him?
He was puzzled further when Kuroko raised up his fist in his direction. "Back then, we didn't bump fists." Kuroko's tone was a matter-of-fact one and it failed to ease his puzzlement. "Hah?! Does that even matter?!" Aomine knew that was the first step he took when the both of them started drifting apart, the first thing he did that torn their relationship apart. Why was Kuroko mentioning such a thing right now?
"It does! Don't ignore me this time." It was the last sentence that finally made sense to him. This was Kuroko's way of telling him he still wanted to be friends with him and or was it to remind him that he had ignored him? His mind was much too jumbled for him to think clearly.
"Fine. But only this time." Because they were no longer partners and this was not an action two opponents should do. Getting reminded that he was no longer Kuroko's partner and the one to bump fists with him hurts more than it should. Because he was the one who had pushed him away, he was not supposed to feel that.
That was why he had turned away from Kuroko and left him with his team despite having lots of things to say to him. Aomine closed his eyes and let go. His past was long over and the present was what he deserved. Kuroko would be better off with his current partner and he was not going to ruin that with his own jealousy.
His mood was much better when he talked to Momoi, there was no reason to dwell on it much longer and he concentrated his thoughts towards basketball instead. Now that he had a worthy rival, he could practice all he wants and hope to play against the two of them again soon. He would get stronger, he knew Kuroko and Kagami would improve too.
'The only one who can beat me is me.' was proven wrong so that meant that he still had much to train and practice for and to improve his skills. He would stop thinking that practicing is pointless and that no one will be able to face him.
Kuroko watched Aomine walked away earlier without saying anything because he could not leave his team then. They were in the midst of celebrating and he could not just leave to talk to their opponent and what he wanted to talk about was a private matter without the others. It might catch their curiosity and they could possibly follow him to eavesdrop. He was not taking that risk and he still had time.
He had to leave Aomine alone for him to sort out his thoughts and Kuroko needed the time to think about himself too. How was he going to start the conversation? He was unsure of what he was supposed to say first. This was hard, his social skills were just as bad as always and asking someone would be impossible. He had to think this through clearly.
Getting called out by Kuroko a day after their match was a surprise for Aomine. Even more when Kuroko asked for him to teach him how to shoot. He ended up getting pissed when Kuroko just started trying to shoot and asking him how it was before he even agreed to teach him. It was something he would agree to for sure after what he owed Kuroko and the part of him that wanted to make things feel like how it was before.
He had ended up talking about how he did not manage to sleep after the match yesterday and how he disliked the feeling of losing and because of that he had wanted to practice again. This was to make sure that he never felt that ever again, the feeling of losing was unpleasant but it was what pushed him forward at the same time.
"Aomine-kun." Before Kuroko could say anything else, Aomine had brushed him off with words that he wanted to play and that he would help him. Kuroko smiled, he knew that all the talk earlier was just a distraction and an excuse for Aomine to agree to help him. Right from the beginning, he had knew that Aomine would accept it for sure.
"Why are you smiling?" Another reason why he smiled was simple. "When we were second years, we also trained here." This place was special to him and the place where they had the most memories with each other. 'This was where I first met you too, although you might not know that and where I first started falling for you.'
Kuroko was really happy to be able to see Aomine standing on this court once again and that they were playing basketball together again. This was enough for him, he would not ask for anything more. Even if it was just a short two days, he was satisfied with it. He would not be greedy and expect too much from it when their relationship had not even patch up completely yet.
"Shut it already and throw! You don't have much time right?" Kuroko's smile only widened further at those words. This was more like the Daiki he knew, the way how Aomine would always hide his embarrassment through distractions and other gestures. Being at this court seemed to help improve the air around them and it was almost like how they used to hang out together as usual.
One of the reasons why he had asked Aomine for help was due to the fact that the person who knows his basketball best of all is Aomine even now and the one who will know the best method to teach him too. Aomine was someone who is very straightforward in basketball and prefer doing things as quick as he can so he would teach him with a method that will work the best.
It was hard but he managed to make the invitation to eat dinner together in the same way he used to suggest it. The reason why Aomine had agreed to it automatically was mostly due to their past most likely since Aomine's expression changed seconds later. It hurt slightly to know that Aomine might not had agreed to it otherwise.
He was very much unable to say out all the things he wanted to say despite having the meal with Aomine. It was slightly more relaxed than before but still a long way away from how they used to act around each other. Aomine seemed to remember what he liked though and he was glad to see that Aomine still remembered such things even after they stopped hanging out for so long.
The next day was the same and Momoi had showed up after she heard about them practicing. Kuroko would prefer not having her there since the basketball court had always been one where only the two of them practiced in but because it was Momoi and he understood that she wanted to see that the both of them had made up, he was willing to bear with it.
Aomine seemed more bothered than him though, especially when Momoi would hug him all of a sudden during their training. Whether it was due the training getting disturbed or something else he was unsure of the real reason and he could not ask it either.
It really was like he thought, the one that understood him best is Aomine. Aomine had picked up a bad habit of his that affected him from scoring when he did not even know of it himself. It was all thanks to him that he was able to perfect his shot as much as he could. From zero out of ten to seven out of ten, that should be an achievement in just two days.
"Thank you." Kuroko bowed politely as he thanked him. Aomine felt awkward from that, being thanked was something he was never good at and he could only cover it up by distracting Kuroko towards another matter. "Stupid, what are you bowing for? You're already so small." Looks like his habit of randomly saying something when faced with such a situation is still present.
He grew serious at the next words since they were what he really thinks unlike the earlier one. "Murasakibara is strong. Even I would have trouble scoring against him." Kuroko should know that too from how they used to play together. "And…" Aomine wanted to thank him for making him able to find basketball fun again but it was not his character to do so.
"Come again?" His sudden pause in his words only had Kuroko asking about it and he quickly brushed it off. "Damn it, it's nothing! I'm leaving now!" His job was done and standing here any longer would just make him feel even more awkward. "The next time we meet, we'll be enemies again." This was to remind himself that he could not turn the clock around and things were impossible to make the same as before.
No matter how much he wanted to, Kuroko was no longer his partner. The short time he spent with Kuroko at this court again was enough, he knew it was just a one-time thing from the start. This was good enough already, especially when the one who ruined his own chance was himself. "Tetsu. Don't lose." You could say he was bias, he would rather the other Kiseki No Sedai members lose than Kuroko ever.
Those words would be the best form of encouragement he could give Kuroko while maintaining his role as a rival. It would be awkward for him to say those words facing Kuroko so he only said them with his back turn and when he had to leave. That way, he would not get to see Kuroko's face. And lastly, he did not want to remember the last face he saw from Kuroko to be one that showed that they were rivals.
This way, at least his memory would be a more pleasant one. This really would be the end of their relationship, as much as he wanted to savage it. If he turned back, he would try to do something to get it back and that was not what he should do. Kuroko had his own partner and team now just like how he had got his own, they are nothing more than past memories now. This was his form of farewell.
Kuroko smiled, although he was having conflicting emotions. He was happy to hear that Aomine wanted him to leave but he was sad that Aomine had said that without looking at him. It felt that the reason why Aomine did not look at him had something more than his usual awkwardness for things like that and there was this small pain in his heart when he watched him walk away.
Even so, it was too late to say anything and he had to concentrate on the next match. Murasakibara was strong just like Aomine said and it would be hard for them to beat him and score against him. As much as he wanted to speak to Aomine even more, he would have to wait for the next time he meets him alone. Whenever that time might be.
Kuroko blinked when he spotted a familiar person practicing at the court. "Aomine-kun? You're here too?" He had came to the basketball court to practice his shooting again after the end of his match with Mursakibara. He had missed once earlier and that miss might have caused them their victory and therefore he wanted to improve on it even more.
Encountering Aomine there was completely not what he had in mind. Aomine seemed just as surprised as him and judging from the sweat on his body, Aomine really was serious when he told him that he would start practicing again. "Same to you. I didn't think I will see you here, Tetsu." Although it should be obvious when the both of them preferred to practice at this basketball court than elsewhere.
"It's nice to see you practicing." When was the last time he even saw Aomine practicing? Kuroko could barely remember and Aomine had scowled at him before asking him if he was interested to play against him which Kuroko accepted with a small smile.
Kuroko glanced at Aomine silently as they prepared to leave the basketball court for the night. This should be the only chance he has to say whatever he wants since he would not be so lucky as to catch Aomine around that easily now that they are both in different schools.
Taking a deep breath, he spoke up once Aomine was looking at him. "I have something to say to you." Getting Aomine's signal to continue, he clenched his fists tightly together before making eye contact with Aomine. His facial expression must be one of self-loathing right now. He was sure of that since it was what he felt currently.
"I used to think that you drifted away from me even when I didn't turn my eyes away from you. But that's not true. I realised it when we played against each other again. The truth was that you were silently calling for help but I didn't notice it. I didn't realise that you had been suffering in that darkness looking for the light to escape. I turned away from you and left you with nothing but empty words with nothing to back it with. Instead of doing something to help you, I disappeared and even found myself a new partner. It must have been painful to continue playing a game that you used to love when it brings you nothing but unhappiness."
Aomine shook his head. "No. You reached me. Your words aren't empty anymore because you made them all come true. If it weren't for you, I would still be playing basketball like it's a dread without any purpose and the love for the game wouldn't have returned." Thanking him was on his mind but Aomine knew it just was not his style to do that even in this situation.
Why on earth did Kuroko think all that? The one that was at fault was himself and it had nothing to do with Kuroko. He had hurt him and if it was him, he would have turned away from himself too. "It's my own fault."
Kuroko still refused to back down. "I said that I liked everything about you back then, what a lie it turned out to be. When you stopped liking basketball and stopped smiling, I stopped looking at you. I didn't accept that you were still you when you changed. When your light lost your gleam, I left you be. I pushed the smile I loved away with my own hands. I left you all alone to sink into the darkness instead of guiding you out of it. What kind of shadow am I when I allowed my light to disappear into the darkness? My love was too shallow even though I thought my love for you would not be affected by it. I'm pathetic..."
"That's all in the past anyway." Aomine muttered softly. No matter how much they want to change the past and go back to the time where they were both happy, it was impossible. Their broken relationship and different teams reflected how it was too late already and he did not want to make himself regain the small hope that things could turn back the same as before because if the small hope vanished, he had no idea how he would react.
"It's still not too late yet, Aomine-kun. The present isn't definite yet. It's never too late if you don't give up. My eyes are drawn to you easily and you're always so close and yet I get the feeling that I wouldn't be able to reach you." Despite their falling out, his eyes were always wanting to look at Aomine. The thing that prevented that was his own heart that did not want to see an Aomine that he did not know and he resisted looking at him back then.
Chuckling softly, Aomine warmed up and the tone of his voice was close to the one he used to use all the time. "If I could, I would want to go back to the past where the both of us would play basketball together or just plain hang out. Those were the happiest times of my life but I foolishly ruined them with my own stupidness. Playing basketball with you and spending time with you are one of my most important memories even if the one that ruined that was myself."
Aomine smiled warmly at him as he carried on with his words. "Thank you for playing with me again. I'm really glad that I got to play together with you again, even if it's just one more time." Now was not the time for him to care about his character and he had made himself speak out the thanks he had been wanting to say for a while already.
Kuroko's eyes widened when he caught sight of Aomine's expression. That was the one he used to see all the time, the Aomine that he first met. He was unable to stop the tears that fell from his eyes. When was the last time did he see Aomine smile for real? This was the thing that he had wanted to see for so long. "Tetsu? Are you crying…?" Aomine had asked in disbelief and Kuroko managed a small smile in response.
"I finally saw it, Aomine-kun's smile." Those smiles used to be something he would see from Aomine every time they meet but once Aomine started being detached from basketball; they grew to be as rare as one of his own. Not only had he lost his place with Aomine back then, he had ceased to be able to see the smile that he liked too.
Aomine was staring at him in surprise and Kuroko kept the smile there a little longer. "I wanted to see it, even if it's just one more time, I really wanted to see it. The smile that Aomine-kun used to wear all the time when he plays basketball. The one that I love more than anything." Being able to see the smile again was what he had been hoping and wishing for a while and now that he really got to see it, he was overwhelmed by the emotions it brought.
"You idiot. My smile isn't something that you should value so much. It's just a smile from an idiot who didn't realise that he had hurt his partner and caused himself to be alone." Aomine glanced away from him, he had seen the emotions reflected in Kuroko's eyes earlier. He could see that Kuroko really did mean all he said.
Why did Kuroko like something like that? His smile was not that special or worthy to be viewed as something he would love more than anything. A stupid smile from an idiot should not deserve something like that, especially from an idiot that hurt him. He definitely did not deserve those words or those tears of joy either. What he deserved was something much colder and not Kuroko's thanks or smiles. All the things that he had gotten from Kuroko were all much too good and the only thing he did for him was help him with his shooting. Like that was even enough.
Kuroko frowned, he knew what Aomine was thinking. "I don't de—" Aomine's words were cut off by Kuroko. "You don't owe me anything. Like I said earlier, I thought I never looked away from you but I did. When you changed, I left you alone to suffer by yourself without offering you any help and I disappeared without a word to you too. Not only that, I even found a new light to replace you…You must have felt betrayed by my actions. If I realised that you were calling for help, things would be different and my most important memories are all with you too."
Why was Kuroko still blaming himself? The one who was hurt and abandoned should not think that way. "You didn't abandon me. The one who abandoned you was me and the one who chose to let himself suffer was me too. You have nothing to blame yourself for and I brought all these upon myself. I hurt my important person too by pulling away without saying anything."
Now that he had reflected on it, Kuroko had shown hints that he wanted to leave back then but he did nothing to prevent that. When Kuroko really did disappear from the basketball team, he chose to ignore it and place it that he was abandoned as he continued to escape his problems by sleeping.
This was much harder than he thought. Kuroko frowned once more at how Aomine refused to let him take part of the blame when it really was both of their fault instead of just Aomine's. How could he get across Aomine that he did not blame him and it was not completely just his fault?
"Aomine-kun. Can you lean down for a while?" Aomine seemed puzzled although he leaned down anyway. "Like thi—?" Kuroko interrupted him by pressing his lips against Aomine's. Warm, despite the cold air, Aomine's lips were warm. They were similar to how it felt when they kissed before back then and he certainly could still feel the same feelings he felt when they kissed back then.
This had helped to prove that he was right to think that he really is in love with Aomine. The warm feeling in his chest and the quickening beating of his heart all showed that Aomine was special to him. Even when Aomine refused to kiss him back, Kuroko could already see from Aomine's eyes that he was restricting himself to. Aomine's stubbornness was something he knew well and it would not be that easy to get it through to him.
"We're even already so stop thinking that you owe me anything and that you're unable to face me because you hurt me. I allowed myself to lose sight of you and that caused the both of us to be hurt. I'm not that fragile and my feelings are much stronger now. I can say that my feelings for you won't falter this time for sure. During this entire period of time, nothing changed, my eyes are still drawn to you more than anyone else." He had looked away from him once, despite how much he was drawn to Aomine, he had turned away from him.
Kuroko was not going to repeat the same mistake again. This time, he would make sure that he would not look away from Aomine ever again. With a smile, he placed his palm on Aomine's cheek. "Welcome back, Daiki-kun." The name rolled out of his tongue naturally and he felt nostalgia from just saying it out loud again. Tears were gathering in his eyes again but his smile was a happy one.
When Aomine changed, Kuroko had stopped calling him Daiki even when they were alone. Aomine had never asked because he had a hunch why and he felt that he did not have the right to ask anything from Kuroko again. Back then, he had just distanced himself even further away from Kuroko, believing that he would never be able to play basketball for fun or even have Kuroko by his side anymore.
This was something he had stopped believing, the happy days he had with Kuroko was something he had thought to be impossible. One step, just one more step and things would go back to how things were between them when they were alone.
The voice that called him 'Daiki-kun' was long only present in only his dreams and it had been forever since he last heard it for real. But was it alright for him to take that step? Kuroko said that they were even but he had never blamed him before. It was his own fault and the one who turned away first was still him. What if he hurt him again? Aomine would not be able to take it if he lost Kuroko again and neither would he be able to forgive himself.
But the thought of losing Kuroko to someone else hurt him even more and seeing Kuroko standing next to Kagami was painful enough even if he was the one who caused such an outcome. The possessiveness that he had for Kuroko was frightening, what if he lost control? Glancing at Kuroko's face and smile, Aomine knew he never want a future without him again.
Biting his lips, he closed his eyes and took a step forward as he wrapped his arms around Kuroko in a tight embrace. "Tetsu." The name came out with a bunch of conflicted emotions. Uncertainty, worry, bliss, uneasiness, happiness and longing. Part of him wondered if it was a dream, he had woke up many times being alone again. But the warm body in his arms told him otherwise. "Tetsu." He repeated again as he buried his face against the top of Kuroko's hair. "I'm back." He whispered softly against Kuroko's strands of hair as he tightened his grip.
A hand was placed on top of his arm assuringly. "I won't disappear this time." This time he would make sure that his eyes would focus on Aomine without moving away. "No matter how much you change, you're still Daiki-kun." Nothing would change that, he had learnt from his lesson already. Because Kuroko knew it would hurt even more if he tried to look away when his eyes would look towards Aomine no matter how hard he tried to resist.
Back then he had caused himself to suffer when he stopped himself from looking away from Aomine and during the times when they stopped hanging out together were the saddest period of his life even more when he was alone and friendless. The first person that came into his life was Aomine and the one that hold the most place in his heart is also Aomine.
"I can't promise for sure but I will try not to be an idiot as much as I can. My bad points…I will do my best to change them. If I'm being foolish and stupid again, you can hit me or anything to wake me up but don't...leave again. I will do my best to change. I don't think I can take it if you lose you again…" Although Aomine knew Kuroko would be better off elsewhere with someone else, he was selfish to want to keep Kuroko with him forever. Now that he had taken the first step, he was planning to continue walking with Kuroko without turning back. Even if he wanted to, he would have the heart to make himself do that.
Kuroko jumped suddenly, causing his chin that had born resting on his head to hurt. "Ow. What was that for, Tetsu?" He withdrew his arms and rubbed his chin softly. "You said I could hit you if you did anything stupid. I said it didn't I? I won't disappear or leave again, even if Daiki-kun wants me to. And I don't need Daiki-kun to change. The idiotic Daiki-kun, the gentle Daiki-kun, the rough Daiki-kun, the cocky Daiki-kun, the cheerful Daiki-kun to and the Daiki-kun who only think of basketball and all the rest, show them all to me. Because I love you for who you are. It might have taken me a while but I know now that you're precious and irreplaceable to me."
Aomine laughed before breaking into a smile. Some things just never changed. Kuroko was as blunt and straightforward as always. Ruffling Kuroko's hair roughly, Aomine chuckled again. "You never change do you? Physically and mentally." His tease got to Kuroko and a displeased glare was directed towards him, causing him to grin.
"I won't let you go too so you have no worries about me not wanting you around ever because you're important to me too although I'm surprised to hear that you like me that much that you accept everything about me. It's nice to hear that I'm that important that I'm irreplaceable. Lucky for you, I happen to love you just as much that I want to keep you all to myself. He winked playfully and Kuroko's eyes widened before his cheeks turning a bright shade of red due to his pale complexion.
Aomine had blushed from Kuroko's words too but it was not that obvious thanks to his tanned skin which he was grateful for. Just like Kuroko, it had taken him a really long time to sort out his own feelings and gathering the courage to come to terms with it. Back then, when he first kissed him Aomine already had the feeling that he liked Kuroko more than just a friend but his own cowardness prevented him from admitting it and pushing the problem away.
"Daiki-kun is an idiot." Despite Kuroko's words, he had hugged him tightly. "I thought you said you love every part of me?" He was covering up his embarrassment through teasing now although Kuroko should know that. He beamed when Kuroko hid his face on his shirt and whispered with his mouth still covered by his shirt. "I wonder if I should regret that now."
Aomine tilted Kuroko's chin up and flicked him lightly on his forehead. "That's a little too late after your confession. I told you I won't be letting you go now. You only have yourself to blame for this so you have to take responsibility." He pressed his lips against Kuroko's with a smile. They still had a lot of things to work out but that was alright.
They could take a step at a time, being on separate teams would not affect their relationship because basketball and them were two separate things. Just like how Kuroko would only call him Daiki when the both of them are alone since that was the only time to Kuroko that Aomine is not a member of the basketball team but his friend.
He would do his best to keep Kuroko from looking away from him again. "If you look away from me again, I will be sure to make you look back at me and that you won't look at anyone else but me." Kuroko smiled in response and lightly punched him. "You're as cocky as always." Despite his words, Kuroko's tone was warm.
It might be a year too late but they had finally finished the conversation they said they would talk about before. "You love that part of me too." Kuroko could not deny that for he would not have Aomine any other way. His feelings were not that weak as before to change even if Aomine started changing and he had accepted that Aomine would not stay the same as he is right now since everyone changes.
The key thing was to accept the changes and never avert your eyes away from the person important to you. "I'm still not going to give it my all to defeat you if we end up facing each other again." Kuroko declaimed with his usual voice and Aomine snorted as he messed up Kuroko's hair uo further. "The same goes for me. I won't lose this time."
The normality the both of them had been longing for had finally returned and they would both do their best to keep it this way. They had experienced how it was like to spend time without the other already and it was something neither of them wanted to experience again. Being apart from the person you love and acting like a stranger was painful and now that they knew each other's feelings, it was impossible to remain as friends.
"Ah. I just realised something." Aomine raised a brow and the smirk on Kuroko's face bothered him slightly. "We're not going out yet." His tone was playful and Aomine could only stare incredulously. "We're not?" Kuroko's response was of a matter-of-fact one. "Daiki-kun hasn't asked me out yet." It was his payback for the teasing Aomine had given him earlier.
Aomine stared at him for a while before bursting into laughter. This was so like Kuroko to say that. With a warm smile, he offered out his hand as he spoke. "Well then, would you mind going out with me, Tetsu?" Kuroko's hand slipped into his and Aomine grasped it tightly. "I'm not sure if I should. Daiki-kun's a really big idiot after all, I'm not sure if I can clean up all his mess."
"Oh really? Forget I said anything then." Aomine looked away instantly and released his hold on Kuroko's hand. Kuroko grabbed his hand back and squeezed it tightly. "Daiki-kun won this time but this won't happen next time. I agree to go out with you." Aomine turned back with a huge grin on his face and Kuroko knew he would never be able to break free as long as Aomine continued having that smile on his face.
"It's unfair how your smile has always been the thing that drawn me in. Right from the first time I met you at this court…" Aomine looked at him in surprise and confusion and Kuroko only grinned as he tugged him forward. "Oi Tetsu. What's that supposed to mean?" Kuroko shrugged his shoulders and turned towards Aomine who had caught up beside him.
There was no way he would tell Aomine about it when it would make his ego even larger. "It's a secret." The truth that he had fallen in love when he first saw him play even before he knew him and how Aomine had inspired him to play basketball. This would be his little secret that Aomine would not have to know. "Tetsuuuuu. Tell me about it." Aomine whined and Kuroko shook his head as they continued walking.
This was like a dream to be able to walk together hand in hand with Aomine by his side. "Shall we go grab ice-cream like usual?" Aomine agreed to it instantly, all the previous whines about wanting to know about what Kuroko was saying disappeared. Just as easily distracted as usual, Kuroko thought mentally with a laugh. Things were started to progress back to the way it was supposed to be and he would make sure it stays that way.
[[ A/N: Woah. It ended up much longer than I thought. I didn't think it would end up this long. I guess I got carried away somewhere…
Ah. Before I forget, during some parts where Kuroko refers to Aomine as Daiki in his mind instead of Aomine is because he wants to make a point to say that the current Aomine he knows is not the Daiki he knows since he calls him Daiki when the both of them are alone.
It's obvious that I cut off some parts from when they started High School and played against the rest. I was pressed for time so I could not re-read the Manga again so it was mostly based on memory and the only parts where I had dialogues were where I re-read the Manga since I have this weird problem of wanting it to be as exact as I can. I would have preferred to do re-read the whole thing but I guess I was lucky I didn't. Otherwise this would have ended up even longer. –Laughs-
If any part of it is confusing, feel free to ask me about it and I will do my best to answer it. Each part was written at different times due to the lack of free time I had much and I was distracted by my school work so some of them might not have much of a link since I couldn't recall what exactly I had in mind when I first started writing this.
I hope this plot line is alright and the ending especially since I forgot how I was supposed to end this. I still have a few more for AoKuro if I have the time to write them out… ]]