Author's Note: This is based off the song Austin by Blake Shelton. Adore the song, love the singer.
It hadn't been the best of breakups, Midorima has to admit; hadn't even been a breakup, really, considering that it wasn't something he'd given Kise any say in for that matter. Because had he waited for Kise to come back, waited for the tears and the pleas and the "Oh god, Shintarou! Please don't leave me!", he knew he would have wavered, wavered and given in and told Kise he loved him and everything else that he knew the blonde would've wanted to hear. For it was not that he had fallen out of love, it was that he had fallen too much in love that he had begun to lose his grip on who he really was. He knew Kise needed him - needed him and wanted him and maybe even loved him but there were times when he thought himself too selfish for wanting to keep Kise all to himself.
So he leaves everything - his coat in Kise's closet, his socks under their bed, his key inside the potted plant that Kise had brought home one day as a gift from the old lady across the street - takes nothing with him except the clothes on his back, the shoes on his feet, the phone in his pocket and maybe a piece of Kise's heart; wonders if this was the way all good things came to an end.
A year passes, it's spring again, and Midorima hears not a word from Kise ever since. Granted that it was hardly possible for Kise to reach him seeing as he had changed numbers and addresses and acquaintances, considered changing even his name more than once just because it always gets him thinking of the way Kise said his name - Shintarou - in that playful, loving voice of his and he'd find himself back at square one.
So he had set up practice at a lazy, rural town where he was the only doctor for miles. The townsfolk called him Mido-sensei and everyone knew everybody else and he was perfectly content to devote himself entirely to his patients and his vodka and his cat, a rather overweight tabby he'd gotten from the retired old doctor together with the cozy little clinic with a window facing the sea.
He'd later blame it more on the cat than the vodka, though, when he finds himself dialing a familiar number one lonely Wednesday evening in March, wondering how he managed to retain that precise bit of information when he was trying so hard to forget. He lets the other's phone ring - once, twice, three times, would've hung up had he not heard his voice on the answering machine.
"Hi, it's Kise. I'm sorry I couldn't answer your call. If this is Kurokocchi, I've got the tickets for Aominecchi's game on Friday. If it's Kagamicchi or Momoicchi - no, I do not plan on stealing your respective boyfriends so could you please stay out of my kitchen. If this is my manager, I am not doing the hospital drama if you insist on putting me in a female nurse's outfit. If it's anybody else, wait for the tone - you know what to do."
Midorima listens attentively, appreciates the slight glimpses into the other's - what was once also his - life when he hears the answering machine continue in Kise's voice.
"P.S. If this is my Home… I still love you."
The telephone falls from trembling hands and onto the counter, knocking over the almost empty bottle of vodka and almost killing the cat - not that Midorima would've noticed, too absorbed as he was in a whirlwind of machine recordings and past remembrances all saying the same thing in that same voice, wondering what he had done and why, in spite of what he had and had not done, he still deserved to be loved like that.
Midorima gives himself a week - to recover, to think things through, to restock his liquor stash because he'd be damned if he didn't need it, picks up the phone and dials the same, familiar number, stills when he hears a new recording.
"Hey, it's Kise. I'll be gone all weekend. If it's Friday night, I'm out with Momoicchi and first thing Saturday, if it doesn't rain, I'm heading for the beach with the Kaijou guys. If this is my stalker, no, I do not live here but my private investigator knows where you do live and will hunt you down. If it's anybody else, leave me a message and I'll call you back on Sunday afternoon. P.S. If this is my Home, I still love you."
Midorima takes a deep breath, manages to leave nothing but a number before he hangs up, hoping that it would be enough.
Midorima practically jumps out of his skin when he hears his phone ring at precisely five o'clock in the afternoon on Sunday, recognizes the number on the display, is torn between the need to run away and the need to surrender, picks up the phone on the fourth ring.
"Shintarou..?" He hears him, the same dear voice he didn't know he's longed to hear, weak and shaky across the static. "Please tell me it's really you. Look, whatever I did, I…"
"I'm sorry," Midorima interrupts, wouldn't allow Kise to take the blame - not now, not ever. "I've been a fool for leaving when you still have my heart."
He hears the other break down into sobs, finds himself wanting nothing more than to finally hold Kise, get lost in the other man again, pride and self and ambition be damned.
"I love you, Ryouta. I'm coming home."