Oneshot summary: Years later when Kise unexpectedly weaves himself into Aomine and his daughter's life, feelings blossom as the three unknowingly form a family.
Slight AU/ PG(there is some mild swearing though).
I've been wanting to write something along the lines of this for awhile now. The idea was actually requested as a drabble off my tumblr, and the requester actually helped me fill the spots I was unsure of for this. So here it is, almost 7,000 words, I hope I did this some sort of justice. Enjoy and review if you wish.
The scribbles on the crumpled note paper refuses to generate any sense. Amber eyes scrutinize the directions. Every so often Kise tilts the note at various angles to understand his terrible writing. Fellow pedestrians narrowly avoid him as he does so. He checks his surroundings, peering at multiple street signs, and always returning to the ambiguous directions.
Kise is far from his natural element. The city he walks in is a whole new chapter in his life.
He decided to discontinue modeling for a brief period of time. Since the secure job was something he picked up during middle school a break seemed fit. Therefore the blond packed his bags and wandered into a whole new territory.
Though finding a place to live is half the battle for Kise. Close to a week he's shamefully lived out a hotel. His sole desire is to find a place of his own, and call it home. Despite his wishes the blond does summate that he's rotten with directions and his choice of new scenery may turn out to be a rash one. Apartment hunting is not his forte and units are surprisingly scarce. With that in mind he still persists and doesn't give into frustration.
An unknown mass rams into him. Initially distracted from absentmindedly trying to find his way Kise looks towards the source of intrusion. A child stands at his feet. Her young features contort in panic and tears well in the corner of her grey eyes. Before Kise can ask of her current nature she ensues.
"I'm..very sorry!"The child's words come out in a croak, desperately fighting tears.
Kise gives a warm chuckle before kneeling to her height,"Don't worry about it."He smiles,"Is everything alright?"
She responds with a shake of the head. The sapphire locks bounce around her shoulders. It's a familiar color, one that piques interest in the back of his mind, though Kise's unsure as to why.
"Are you maybe lost?"
A moment of hesitation passes before the girl finds her voice,"I was with my Daddy a second ago but...we got.. separated.."
"Would you like me to help you find him?"The task hardly bothers the blond. If anything it will prove a nice distraction from apartment hunting.
"Would you really? Thank you, sir."
Kise stifles a laugh at her formality,"You can call me Kise, okay? May I ask what your name is?"
"Ah, Mari? That's a pretty name."He returns to usual posture and reaches a hand to the child,"Shall we look for your father then, Mari? Where did you see him last?"
Mari's dainty fingers curl around his own."The marketplace."Her free hand points ahead of them.
Between the reassuring coos and attempts of humor they finally reach the said marketplace. Kise uses his height to his advantage while looking for the father who, as Mari claims, has the same hair color as her. Their search continues and Kise feels the panic resurface in the palm of Mari's hand. If the targeted area only wasn't so crowded...
A gruff voice filters through the masses. The girl and him gaze over their shoulders. Then Kise sees it, sapphire hair and eyes, complemented with tan skin. The figure pushes through the crowd and stands in his line of vision.
"Mari, there you are-"Hysteria surrenders from his voice as the child flees Kise.
"Daddy!"The small frame is collected in secure arms."I'm sorry."
"Don't apologize, I'm happy you're okay."
Their embrace harbors such obvious affection and relief. Kise stares with wide eyes at the display. Is the man in front of him really Aomine? The power-hungry basketball player has a child? The compassionate, lazy ace is a father? How many years has it been since they met with each other? Questions flood the blond like an overwhelmed river.
"Aominecchi? Is that really you?"The words trickle out of his mouth.
The question brings awareness to the other's presence. As if his muscles woke from a deep sleep, the man, very slowly turns toward the blond. Azure eyes go wide with recollection.
"Daddy, you know each other?"Mari interrupts the unforeseen reunion.
Aomine glances back and forth at the two before setting the girl on her feet,"We knew each other in middle school."
"This is such a coicidence!"Chuckles Kise, returning to his lively self."Aominecchi you're really the father of Mari?"
"Hey, don't call me Aominecchi, I'm a grown man."He frowns,"How do you know my daughter's name?"
"Ah, Daddy, don't be mean to Kise! He was helping me find you!"Mari pulls on the man's bottoms with frustration at her father's behavior.
He gives an enthusiastic nod,"She's telling the truth."Then pouts,"And just let me call you Aominecchi for old times sake."
"Still as stubborn as ever.."
"Look who's talking."
They playfully glare before the two smirk out of habit at each other's conduct. Though the silence they exchange is uneasy.
Aomine clears his throat, and awkwardly scratches the back of head before speaking,"Hey, thanks for helping Mari-"Almost unconsciously the man reaches out for his daughter's hand,"If she wandered any further I may have not been able to find her."A pause,"I guess I should invite you to my place for tea, at least, that's the adult thing to do..."
"Wow, Aominecchi's gotten so kind."
"Shuudap."A giggle sounds from Mari out of their comical banter,"I'm going out my way for you."
Kise flashes a grin,"Then I'll gladly accept your, mature, invitation."
The other chuckles at his teasing nature and Kise infers Aomine's gesture to follow.
The blond grasps a different feeling from the former teammate. Of course people were all subject to change but the new perception of Aomine causes inquiry. Kise realizes it's a hardly feeling, he feels nothing, as if inside the shell of Aomine Daiki is empty. The man next to him may have never physically wavered but mentally, it's contrary to the aura he put off in high school. He ponders what causes such a drastic change in the man he knew years ago.
They approach a cluster of apartments which recalls the very reason he was out and about. He glances at the poorly written paper.
"Ah, I was planning on checking out the units they had available here."The blond mumbles.
Despite the low voice Aomine responds,"That's a shame. There aren't any available plus the landlord is out of town."
An arrow figuratively shot through his last shred of hope. The select change in scenery proves itself as a troublesome one.
They reach Aomine's apartment shortly after. Kise enters the adobe once the other two let themselves in.
"Go ahead and have a seat. Is green tea alright?"Aomine asks from the kitchen as he peers inside the contents of a cabinet.
"That's fine with me."
Kise settles into a chair at the dining table. His eyes soak in the roomy living space like a sponge. From what the blond can see, it's plain and simple, and every surface lies impeccably clean. The apartment certainly lacks a womans touch. The development arouses Kise's curiosity at an alarming rate. It's suitable that he not pry but at times his discretion is also vile.
Across from him Mari plops down into a chair."I'm going to have tea with Daddy and Kise."She grins.
The bashful, panic ridden impression has vanished. An adorable quality replaces the discernment and Kise can't fathom how cute she is. The child is a spitting image of Aomine.
Cups of tea find their rightful place on the table before Aomine himself settles with the two. All three attempt to cool their scolding tea as steam bellows from each.
"You wanted to check out these apartments. Are you lookin' for a place to live?"Aomine finally bothers to ask.
"Yeah, but it hasn't been going so well. I came here after I decided to take a break from modeling."Explains the blond before taking a gracious sip of tea.
"Hm, you're still modeling? Aren't you a little old for that?"
The other manages a chuckle,"Don't you do anything besides that?"
"No."Comes his meek response,"I studied a bit of business after high school but didn't pursue it. I stayed with modeling. Don't berate me, I'm curious as to what Aominecchi does these days."
"Well, I have Mari-"The other sips his tea, Kise can't help but notice the lack of a wedding ring,"And I work as a cop."
"Eh, a cop? I'm not surprised. That profession puts you in a position of authority."He snickers.
Mari impulsively speaks up,"Daddy catches all the bad guys! Right?"
Aomine smiles, although, it's a genuine smile with an undertone of affection,"That's right."
Kise admires the father and daughter with such delight,"I still can't believe you have a daughter. Mari's so cute! You two really look alike."
"Hm, think so? Mari what do you say about that?"Aomine glances to the child.
She's in the middle of drinking her tea, with one last gulp, the cup comes to the table,"I think we look alike!"
Both men chuckle at the girl's charming attitude.
"Ah, so cute! I'm sure her mother and you just spoil her to pieces!"
Instead of a lack of presence a tense aura ripples from the former ace. The blond knew when the words left his tongue that his discretion was poor.
Mari, with akin innocence looks at Kise,"But I don't have a mom-"
"Mari!"Her name rattles off Aomine's tongue with venom. Fright doesn't consume the girl, instead her features are only in surprise,"Damn it. I'm sorry, Mari. Can you return to your room for a bit?"
No inquires she simply complies with the man's wishes. Mari jumps from the chair and walks into her room without a sound. When the door closes it leaves both men in an uneasy silence.
Kise fiddles with his cup of tea before spilling out apologizes,"I'm-I'm really sorry! I didn't know, I was really-"
"Kise, its okay."The other interrupts.
The blond sinks into the chair though fails to avert his eyes away from Aomine.
"I know you well enough to understand that you're curious, right?"He uncomfortably shifts in the chair.
A moment of hesitation passes,"Mari's mother..my wife, she died in a car accident three years ago. Since then it's only been the two of us."
There's an absence of pain in Aomine's eyes. As if the story was so laborious that is pushes his body into a state of numbness.
"I'm sorry for your loss."Kise is surging with discomfort. He wants to flee for his terrible discretion."It must be hard."
They were friends, to put in polite terms, he was struggling to believe that Aomine was telling him this.
"It still is."Pain rises in his voice like a hopeful heartbeat,"Mainly with Mari. She knows about her mother but a five year old after all doesn't completely grasp the subject. When it comes to taking care of her without a mother, it's stressful. My job can be demanding and I'm not always here to keep an eye on her. Not to mention finding a consistent person or daycare to watch her."Aomine scratches his head, it seems like a nervous habit,"Sorry, this is rather depressing isn't it? I don't blame you for tuning me out just now."
"Ah, it's fine! I'm kind of honored that you're telling me this...even though we haven't seen each other in years."
"Heh, really has been awhile hasn't it?"
The silence returns but the uneasy atmosphere flushes out. It's a comfortable silence. The ones Kise recalls from the Teiko days.
"I have a ridiculous idea for you."Desperation coats his voice,"Since you're looking for a place to live, move in here."
"Huh?"Kise wonders if he heard the man correctly.
"You can live here rent free, with your own room, in exchange for watching Mari while I'm gone and doing the housework."
"Isn't this a bit rash? Are you sure you want your former teammate..and rival to live with you?"
"Like I said, it's ridiculous."
He wants to point out that Aomine's desperate, and struggling attitude but keeps his thoughts inert.
"Rent free, huh?"
"You cheapskate."Aomine glares.
Kise chuckles and offers a smile,"Anything to help out Aominecchi."
When Aomine first enters the apartment he takes note of a pleasant aroma navigating from the kitchen. It's a comfortable feeling, knowing someone is in the kitchen preparing dinner for you. He unknowingly got used to coming home after a long day at work to find the apartment full of warmth along with delectable food.
He wearily kicks off his shoes and prepares to announce his arrival when footsteps thump on the hardwood floor. Aomine looks up to see Mari sprinting towards him.
"Welcome home!"She chimes.
Aomine kneels to her height and pulls her into the security of his arms. He forgets how wonderful it is to be welcomed home these past weeks. After the bone crushing embrace he lets the child go and plants a gentle kiss on Mari's forehead. Azure eyes wander onto the girl's hair. Since his daughter's hair got longer he was never skilled at maintaining it. Her locks are pulled up into two ponytails.
He gives a ginger tug on one of the ponytails,"Your hair looks cute. Did you do it?"
Mari swats his hand away,"Daddy, don't do that, you'll mess it up!"She pouts but the lips soon fold into a smile,"You like it? Kise did my hair!"
The air catches in his throat. Aomine shouldn't be in a state of surprise but nevertheless he is.
One of Mari's dainty hands grasp his own, she nudges him to stand,"Kise and I are making dinner together. Come and see!"
He complies to her wishes as the hand leads him into the kitchen. The enchanting aroma grows stronger with every step. When the two arrive Mari releases the hand and returns to the stool in order to reach the height of the counter. Kise comes from the fridge and sets a bag of vegetables on the counter. When the honey eyes find his presence, the blond smiles.
Aomine returns the statement with a simple nod of the head. Mari turns to him holding out a finished dumpling, ready for frying.
"Were making Gyoza and stir fry."She beams.
"Looks like you're doing a fine job. I can't wait to eat it."He smiles as the child reverts back to her kitchen duties.
The feeling is ever so slight but Aomine can sense the other's eyes on him. When he averts his eyes to Kise his scurry away.
"Oh yeah."Aomine speaks in a nonchalant tone,"You're pretty good at this stuff, Kise."He points to Mari's ponytails.
"You think so? I was just having a bit of fun playing around with her hair. Though Mari likes it."Kise shrugs with a grin.
The child nods in approval.
"Ah, dinner will be ready soon!"The blond recalls.
Aomine gives a nod of understanding to the two before whisking off into his room. He discards his uniform and dresses in snug clothes of his choosing. When he returns to the living space Aomine leans outside of the kitchen. He silently watches the two hard at work in the kitchen. Kise praises Mari on every fine detail, they laugh, and occasionally the child will bag on the other. His home has never felt so lively in years.
Since his wife passed the home they shared was never the same. After the accident Aomine didn't particularly enjoy coming home to an empty apartment. It lacked warmth and a sturdy heart. The flame that propelled his life extinguished and it left Mari and him in a despondent environment. No matter how much love he gave to his child their home life refused to grasp a spirited atmosphere.
His former teammate showing up was a mere coincidence. Aomine hardly expected such a drastic change since his arrival. Not only did Mari have a consistent person besides himself looking after her but his abode procured a new a found warmth. The embers were rekindled. Kise was his unsuspecting salvation. He never thought the blond was capable of such a thing.
As teenagers Aomine was offensively unaware of how Kise affected those around him. The blond was like a pathogen. His kind, joyous demeanor rubs off on others. It's an uncanny ability that he's sure Kise is hardly aware of himself. The such nature made Aomine feel easy and it positively influenced Mari.
When they finally sit for dinner the girl enthusiastically awaits Aomine to try the steaming dishes layed out like a buffet.
The man in question tries a dumpling,"They're delicious."He's still in bewilderment that Kise can cook.
"Yes, Daddy likes them!"Mari avidly pumps her first in the air.
Both men stifle a laugh at the charming enthusiasm from the child.
Kise perks up in his seat,"Ah, how was work today?"
This question became a routine part of his day. Having dinner with the other and exchanging pleasantries felt as natural as breathing. Though the custom only has carried on for a few weeks having Kise occupy the seat that belonged to his late wife still fails to bother him.
"It was fine. Nothing exciting though."He shrugs.
"No bad guys?"Questions Mari.
"Not today."He smiles before taking another serving of dumplings. His train of thought wanders back to Kise,"Mari's not giving you any trouble, right? Everything going okay?"
"She never gives me trouble."A smile dances across Kise's face,"Aominecchi's already done such a good job with raising Mari. She's angel, I don't have any complaints to watching her. I really love it here."
"Eh, an angel really? I wouldn't go that far.."
Mari pouts at her father,"Daddy, that's mean."
The two men laugh once again.
"I'm just kidding."
As always their dinner continues with more laughs and Mari frequently expresses her days in kindergarten with excitement. Dishes retreat to the kitchen for washing shortly after and Aomine heads for a bath while Mari promises to turn in for bed. The man doesn't drag out his time in the bath knowing Kise would also prefer to have one after dinner. He efficiently washes up in a timely manner and exits.
When he returns to the living space he calls out for the other,"Hey, Kise, the baths all yours-!"
The sudden command comes from Mari. She stands at the side of the sofa with a finger softly placed on her lips.
"Kise's asleep on the couch."The girl points.
Aomine is only able to see the back of the sofa though he'll take his daughter's word. He approaches and lowers closer to her height."You promised me that you'd head off to bed. Do I need to chase you into your room?"Aomine flashes a teasing grin and Mari denotes the playful threat.
She desperately contains her giggles as Aomine chases her into the bedroom. Once out of ear shot he collects Mari in his arms and the two fall onto her bed. Aomine tickles his daughter as her giggles flee from control. He proceeds to tease until Mari begs for cessation.
The child catches her breath,"You know I hate to be tickled."
"Why? I think it's fun."He gives one last kiss on her forehead,"Alright, time for bed."
Mari scurries under the covers and nestles deep into blankets."Hey Daddy?"
"I really like having Kise here. You've been happier too!"
Sapphire eyes go wide. He's often forgetful of how perceptive children can be.
"I'm glad you enjoy his company."Aomine pushes a smile and rises to his feet,"Goodnight Mari, I love you."
"Night Daddy, love you too."
Aomine leaves his daughter for rest and silently returns to the living room. As the child said so herself, Kise sleeps peacefully on the sofa. The blond lies on his side with his upper extremities tucked into his chest. His chest rises and falls in a rhythmic manner and lulls Aomine into drowsiness.
He sits on the edge of the sofa, just beside Kise.
Aomine holds no grudge against the other falling asleep painfully early. Kise unknowingly earns the title of one of Mari's guardians these days. He walks his daughter to school and picks her up hours later. He frequently visits the grocery store and prepares dinner every night. Not to mention the housework is never falling behind. The blond goes above and beyond his initial requests. Aomine appreciates the other far too greatly. The mutual respect that Kise pleaded for as teenagers was finally established in Aomine's eyes.
"You really saved my ass."He gazes over at the sleeping figure,"Thanks...for everything you've done. It means a lot to me."
As always, he's never sensational with words, even if the one receiving them is asleep.
When he takes his leave Aomine adorns Kise with an extra blanket. He can't have the man falling ill on him after all.
It's autumn; the cool air settles and crimson leaves dance about. It's a Saturday; Aomine's day off from work.
Mari's hand is securely held in Aomine's palm and to their right Kise follows. The three leisurely dawdle around the park on their own time.
His days off from work are normally a set routine off catching up on housework along with expenses and a take out meal of Mari's choosing. A busy man himself shamefully doesn't get outside much and neither does his daughter. Although having Kise around presented the opportunity to get out on this particular Saturday. Even if going to the park was a simple-minded destination of choice the idea assumes little to no effort. Therefore allowing each to relax in the cool autumn air with admirable company.
Ahead beckons the laughter of other children from the playground they approach.
Mari's hand retreats from her father's palm,"I'm going to go play!"She shouts, eagerly running towards the various structures.
"Oi, be careful!"Aomine calls after the child.
Kise softly chuckles,"She'll be fine. Mari's a cautious girl."
"Kids still get hurt without trying."
He heaves a sigh before settling onto a park bench in which Kise follows suit. Both men have a clear view of the child who freely climbs the structures. Beyond the silence persists the laughter of children and the casual conversations of others. When the blond averts his vision off to the right Aomine unconsciously does the same. Off to the distance stands a basketball court which two teenagers occupy.
"Aominecchi doesn't that bring back memories?"Kise points with a smile.
"Hm, it does."His hands find the warmth of his jacket pockets,"Of all the times I played one on one with you."
"We should play for old times sake."
"Ah don't be stupid I'm too old for that."
"Were in our twenties!"
They both manage a laugh.
Kise looks off to the court again,"You should teach Mari how to play one day."
"Yeah..one day."He shrugs.
"Aominecchi's a great teacher. She'll learn fast."
There's something about the consistency of the given nick name which urges Aomine to react. He's uncaring if the blond still provides the strange suffix to another's name. Although they were reacquainted a few months ago he desires a more intimate address.
"You can just call me Daiki, alright?"
"I said call me Daiki."
Aomine steals a sideways glance at the blond. Amber eyes are impossibly wide and a coral hue paints the pale cheeks. He's unsure if the brilliant color is due to the brisk air or his wish.
"Ah, okay."A nervous chuckle escapes his lips and his head lowers to the ground.
Aomine actually wants the other's permission for the use of his first name. Though Kise remains inert. An anticipating moment passes when the honey eyes peek through blond hair.
When Kise speaks his words are soft,"Then..you can-"
"Kise!"The loud objection startles the two men out of their conversation.
Mari marches to them both with obvious importance. When the girl reaches the bench she pouts, holding up a hair tie,"Kise my hair fell out."
The statement registers with him after an extent,"Eh, guess I didn't tie it tight enough. I'll redo it!"
The girl smiles as she turns her back towards the blond. Aomine watches the well manicured hands tangle through the sapphire locks. The coral hue frolics up to his ears; Kise's highly aware of him. Despite the acuity Aomine discovers an earnest merriment seeing the blond interact so wonderfully with his daughter. Even if the gesture is as simple as the one he observes it provides him with a sense of solace.
Mari whips around with a smile,"Thank you!"Then turns to her father,"Can Daddy push me on the swing?"
He heaves a sigh once on his feet and adjusts the girls scarf,"I guess I can."Aomine smiles and proceeds to look towards the blond,"Do you want to come along?"
"Eh, no I'm fine!"Kise still flares a grin.
They advance towards the playground where Mari claims a swing. Every few seconds he carries out his duty of pushing the girl's swing. While maintaining the task Aomine finds himself gazing over at the other. His nose is nestled into the scarf desperately hiding the crimson flush. The unyielding expression is almost amusing to him. Aomine's never seen Kise look so hassled.
A sharp jab interrupts his thoughts. Pain radiates in his side as a yelp flees his mouth. The man finds that his daughter is the culprit.
"Ow, Mari!"He frowns in perplexity.
"You stopped pushing me. Quit staring at Kise you weirdo!"
If Aomine's not mistaken he feels a familiar heat rising in his cheeks. The warmth contrasts with the chilly air which pelts his complexion.
"I-I wasn't staring at him. I just got distracted."He fumbles.
Mari crosses her arms with frustration.
"Okay, okay. You caught me, I'm sorry."Aomine pleads with her.
He spends a considerable amount of time convincing Mari to not speak of his actions. In the end Aomine was able to persuade his daughter with sweets from her favorite bakery. Anything other proved to be futile.
When afternoon rolls around the three head home. Once inside Mari proudly carries a confectionary box in her arms. The said box leaves Kise asking the child what the occasion is for such a dessert. Though she gives no response. Aomine returns to his bedroom and retracts the closet door. He glides the coat off his arms and onto a hanger.
Like any other day Aomine peers to the unoccupied portion of the closet. The empty hangers seem as if they beg for use. Aomine acknowledges the once unconscious desire to fill the void in his closet. The want, the need for another's belongings hanging next to his own. Three years without a significant other does weigh on Aomine whether he'd like to admit it or not. Staring into the closet reminds him of his unwillingness to let just anyone occupy that barren space. There isn't an individual in his life that could so.
What if Kise did?
Aomine feebly chuckles and runs his palm over his face with desperation. He isn't in his right mind...
The man peers up and to the left at the doorway. Kise stands at the edge of his room anticipating a reply of sorts. He must find him senile for staring into a closet the past few minutes.
The flush lingers on his cheeks,"Uh..what would you like for dinner tonight?"
A typical question from the other,"Anything is fine."He says and brushes off his recent, ludicrous developments,"But something warm in particular."
Kise nods and trods off with a soft smile. When he leaves Aomine then realizes the blond used the more intimate address.
Dinner as always wraps up with a bittersweet ending. The three part off in separate ways. Aomine graciously takes over the dishes, Mari eats her treat of persuasion, and Kise heads for a bath. Eventually the other claims the bathroom for a bath himself. When he finishes Aomine discovers the apartment established in silence. Beyond the reserve is the dull hum that musters from the fridge. He enters his daughter's bedroom to surmise her as asleep. For good measure Aomine kisses Mari's forehead before checking on the blond.
The next bedroom glows with a dim light. He peers into the room to also pronounce Kise asleep although his state looks unintentional. Aomine notices that the other still harbors his clothes from the afternoon.
"Oi, Kise.."He mumbles, sauntering into the room,"Wake up and get into bed properly."
Aomine sits on the side of the bed. His arms straddle the sleeping figure beneath him. The immaculate, plump lips are parted ever so slightly and hot breath prickles the skin of his cheeks. Even close up the model still maintains a perfect complexion. Realization storms Aomine when he discovers the two of them are closer than he intended. He's unable to recall why his body navigated imminent to the other.
His body dwindles in a stalemate; an outlandish curiosity to close the gap and the sensible reason to presume space between them.
A dense affliction settles in Aomine's chest.
He hastily draws back and softly laughs out of his abnormal behavior."What the hell am I doing?"Groaning to himself.
Is he that desperate for another's affection?
Aomine regains his stubborn composure and wanders into his own room. He's reluctant to believe that he desires a deeper connection with Kise. As always his mind overrules the physical and deems his actions out of pure, senseless curiosity.
Heavy footsteps thump on the hardwood floor. The owner of the said noise rushes into the entry way.
"Ah, you're home. I thought you had work."Says Kise.
Aomine kicks off his shoes and sets his belongings down."I got the rest of the day off because of Mari."
"Well don't worry I already put her to bed."
There's a subtle panic rising in the blonds voice. Aomine takes a closer to look to see utter stress contorts Kise's features. His body also adopts a state of agitation. Is he that worried?
He passes Kise on the way to Mari's room,"Thank you for picking her up on such short notice."
Once Aomine enters his daughter's room Mari sits up in surprise,"Daddy?"
"No need to get up for me."He smiles and sits on the edge of her bed.
A cold wash rag rests on the base of her forehead and her cheeks are a rosy red. Close to an hour ago Aomine unfortunately received a call from the school that Mari came down with a fever. Thankfully when he relayed the information over to Kise he went straight to the school and brought her home. There was nothing worse than seeing his daughter sick.
"Just stay in bed and try to get some rest. I'll pick up some medicine for you alright?"He reassures the child.
A simple nod of understanding.
He gives a tight squeeze of her hand before leaving the room. Aomine quickly changes out of his uniform and into something more casual. When he returns to the living room Kise sits on the sofa with his head cradled in his hands. He steps over to the couch and peers at the other.
"I'm heading out to get some medicine for Mari. I won't be long but keep an eye on her for me."
A moment of silence passes before Kise finally responds,"Maybe Mari's sick because she wasn't eating properly? Could it be that I'm not dressing her in enough layers on the way to school? Is she not going to bed early enough?"
Azure eyes widen as he speaks. Aomine witnesses Kise display a genuine love and concern for a child that isn't even his own.
He swiftly takes a seat next to the blond and gently pulls the hands away from his face,"Do you even understand how much of a life saver you've been to us?"Aomine keeps his face stern as Kise turns to him,"I honestly couldn't be happier with anyone else looking after my daughter. Mari loves having you here, I love having you here. So damn it Kise don't get down on yourself."His body acts on impulse.
Aomine pulls Kise into an embrace. The other's body is rigid from the unexpectancy.
"It's not your fault that Mari got a fever. Kids get sick all the time. They're also resilient as hell. You have nothing to worry about it. She'll be fine in a few days if the two of us stay beside her."
A pair of hands clutch onto the back of his shirt,"Thanks Daiki."His body lastly relaxes into the touch.
Suddenly aware of their intimate proximity he recoils from the embrace."I'll be back soon, alright?"He nervously scratches the back of his head and gets to his feet.
Kise follows him to the door. When they part the blond leaves the other with a flushed complexion and a shamefully cute expression.
To and from the store Aomine's preoccupied by his actions with his former teammate. He struggles to get the man out of his head when his focus demands the well-being of his daughter. When he returns to the apartment he finds the two in Mari's room. Kise sits beside the girl and his daughter props herself against a mountain of pillows.
Aomine sits along them both and begins to register Mari her medicine. His attention solely directed to her. After some time they leave the child to her rest.
The two men retreat to the living room.
Kise fidgets for a moment before meek a laugh materializes from him,"I guess I should get dinner started. Even if Mari doesn't have that much of an appetite she should at least try, right?"
The man takes his first steps but Aomine grabs his wrist,"Ryouta..."
The blond abruptly turns his head,"Wh-What?"
"I really meant what I said earlier."His voice is smuggled with sincerity,"Having you here really means a lot to us. I'd be lost without you...you know that?"
His erratic pulse pounds in his ears. The dense affliction resurfaces in his chest.
"Mari will always come first in my life because she's my daughter but.."Aomine then plants himself directly in front of Kise who gazes up at him with lachrymose honeys, his voice comes out in an amorous murmur"..Ryouta you're just as important to me."
"Daiki..?"The name catches in his throat.
It's an overwhelming feeling. The sudden desire for Kise to fill the hollow void, to gain an unbreakable connection, for his belongings to occupy the empty space in his closet. Aomine wants it all. He wants to feel the other's breath tickle his cheeks and pull him into a sturdy embrace. The man in front of him, his salvation, already stole his affections.
He never thought the day would come when another individual would cause such feelings.
Aomine's palm gingerly rests against the blond's cheek. He slowly closes the gap and fails to break his eyes away from amber pools. Their breath becomes one as lips hesitantly hover over each other.
"Ryouta...I love you."
He doesn't wait for a response.
He claims the blond's mouth. Their lips glide over each others in a wanton manner and Aomine affectionately nibbles on the dewy flesh. A pair of hands grasp the front of his shirt, pulling them closer.
Their lips relinquish and both release soft pants.
"Do you...do you really?"Kise asks.
Aomine frowns,"Don't ask such a stupid question. I'm not gonna repeat myself."
The other succumbs to a melancholy smile,"I love you too Daiki."
Satisfaction replaces the dense affliction. There's a familiar contentment hearing Kise's words. It harbors a sense of security knowing the other's love for himself.
He smiles, then approaches the blond for another kiss.
Both men go adamant and separate by a fraction of a second.
Aomine stammers,"Y-Yeah? Hey, you shouldn't be up and about."He steals a look at Kise who blushes up to his ears.
"I know but I can't fall asleep. Can you and Kise stay with me?"Mari pleads.
"Of course. We'd be more than happy too, right Ryouta?"
"Huh? Oh yes!"
The two follow the child into her bedroom once again, this time, with their fingers hastily entwined.
After having Kise spend countless months in the kitchen it's almost natural for Aomine himself. Despite the unnatural act he assumes his place in the kitchen for the evening. He's in the middle of chopping the meals required vegetables when the apartment door swings open and loudly closes. Footsteps come from the entryway which belong to Kise.
"Welcome home."Aomine smiles which the blond returns.
His lover steps into the kitchen peering at the nights future consumption. A small bag dangles from his hand.
"What's that?"He gestures to the said bag.
Kise flares a subtle tint of red when he reaches in for its contents,"Oh, um...it's something I picked up today. Do you remember last weekend when we took Mari to the amusement park?"The man nods,"Well when we got our picture taken I actually bought it. So, today I bought a picture frame for it. I know it's kinda cheesy and everything but.."
His lover pulls a medium-sized frame from the bag. When the picture finally faces him warmth kindles in his system. Mari stands between the two men as all three of them smile like fools.
Without notice he pulls Kise into an embrace. The picture may be cheesy, the thought may be simple, but it means the world to him.
"I love it. I really wanted a picture with all of us."
Aomine releases the blond before Mari comes wandering out of her room,"Kise's home!"She attempts a hug but only manages to secure his legs."Hey, what's that your holding?"
"It's a picture of us when your Dad and I took you to the amusement park."
"Let me see! Let me see!"
The picture frame reaches her hands and Mari smiles,"I really like it! We had a lot of fun."She turns to her father,"Daddy can we put this on the coffee table for people to see?"
Aomine nods,"Sure, sounds like a great spot."
The girl runs over to the living space and the two men watch her set the frame. While his daughter is distracted Aomine steals a quick peck from his lover.
"You really love it?"Kise smiles.
"I really do."He weaves an arm around his waist as both men watch Mari.
Even if the ability to love another was stolen three years prior Aomine felt the wonderful capacity to love someone who was right underneath his nose. He hardly expected that the one who filled the empty spaces, was Kise Ryouta himself.