Fandom: Kuroko no Basket
Rating: T
Pairing: Takao Kazunari x Midorima Shintarou (TakaMido); hints of Aomine Daiki x Kise Ryouta (AoKi)
Warning: Boy/Boy. Possibly OOC. Grammatical and spelling mistakes. Un-beta'd. Cliché. Angst/Tragedy. Fluff. Slight vulgar language.
Word Count: 11077 words
A/N: I REALLY hope this is all right. I think I wrote it within a week and I still managed to write over 10k, so I can only pray it is good OTL. I'm not sure why I keep writing Sakurai in this, but the brunet is just so adorable, I can't; I also think I'm biased and I see him as a successful doctor LOL. Also, I'm not expecting this to have a big reaction like "Paper Planes"—this one I found it more difficult to write and make it more… emotional? My friend suggested it's probably because this pairing is not my super OTP (like AoKi OTL). But this is a Christmas fic! It's exactly midnight where I live so hopefully this will be a nice treat to you all, despite the warnings :') Although I do admit, it is probably a cliché. Forgive me m(_ _)m
Disclaimer: I do not own Kuroko no Basket. Clearly belongs to Fujimaki Tadatoshi.
Dedication: First and foremost, this is a small Christmas gift to my bb, Banri, for ALL your support (as always). You are constantly sending me support and love with my fics and I just- I don't know what I would do without you. Thank you for listening to all my complaints and I hope I did decently on this OTL. To all my other readers, who supported me and sent me tons of love—this is for you! Thank you so much for the support! And I decided to change it up with TakaMido instead of AoKi; tell me how I did? But they are harder to write than AoKi, so I hope I did them justice OTL! Please enjoy and… MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL! :) To those of you who do not celebrate Christmas, then… HAPPY HANUKKAH! :) or… HAPPY KWANZAA! :) or just a simple… HAPPY HOLIDAYS! :) from Azalea to you :) Reviews are greatly appreciated!

Summary: Takao is in a coma after a major accident and Midorima is blaming himself for it. Will he lose the one partner who could actually tolerate his personality, or will his partner give up the fight to live? Even if he managed to wake up one day, will he be the same Takao he loved?

Beep… Beep… Beep…

Aside from the steady, slow sounds from the heart monitor, the room remained utterly silent, the silence soon becoming unbearable for the male who stood aside the bed, gripping the motionless, cold fingers of the patient lying there. The constant sounds were a good sign, a sign that screamed a person still fighting against death—fighting to survive and return to the light. But the fact that the patient's eyes remained closed, remained still, worried the male as he tightened his hold, then released slowly, hesitantly, as if he was afraid that the moment he let go, the beating would stop.

However, he had to return to work; his other patients were waiting for their check-up. He stood up, his chair making a screeching sound that practically echoed in the room, and headed out the room, before taking another glance over his shoulder to see if any improvements have changed for the patient despite it only being a few seconds since he last looked.

He exhaled loudly, pushing his glasses up with his bandaged left hand, and exited the room.

How many months had it been since he was admitted to the hospital? To where he remained in a coma, unable to wake up from his slumber and look at him with those hopeful, cheery eyes?

Midorima Shintarou leaned against the wall just outside of the room, the heart monitor's beeping still ringing in his ears before crouching down, burying his face with his hands.

If only he had followed Oha Asa's warning. If only he had followed his heart instead of giving into his boyfriend's words. If only he had just stuck with his original plan. If only he had warned him to swerve the car away from oncoming traffic…

Maybe Takao wouldn't be stuck in that state.

- Stay By My Side -

Midorima tapped his fingers on his lap, impatiently tapping them at a quick, even pace, as he sat on the bench in the cold, winter evening. It had been his suggestion to spend Christmas together—Hell, he even took an early leave off work but his own assistant was late.

What in the world was he doing?


Midorima immediately stiffened, a scowl on his face as he ignored the nickname his assistant constantly called him by. It's been ten years, yet he still continued to call him by that name.

"Shin-chan! You could reply to me, you know?!" There were loud, exasperated breaths as footsteps neared closer and closer until a pair of feet was in his view.

"I told you, I'm not responding to that name anymore, Takao. How many times must I tell you to call me either by my surname or my given name?"

There was a small chuckle before Takao crouched down and touched Midorima's cheeks with his frozen fingers, causing the green-haired male to shudder from the cold contact. A light scarlet blush covered his cheeks; be it from the cold or from embarrassment—oh, whom was Midorima kidding? Takao rarely faced embarrassment.

"You know the agreement. I'll stop calling you Shin-chan once you start addressing me by my given name." Takao grinned childishly, because he knew – oh, he knew – that Midorima would never call him by his first name, not even during sex. Although he wanted Midorima to address him by his first name, given that the two had been going out for eight years, he didn't want to lose calling him the nickname he gave him in high school.

After all, he was the only one who got away with it, and really, how was he supposed to break out of a ten-year habit?

Midorima smacked both his hands away, before standing up from his seat on the bench, "Impossible."

Takao's grin only widened, as he followed suit with Midorima, and hooked his arms around his boyfriend's, aimlessly trailing after Midorima before he realized the two were headed away from their car. "Eh, Shin-chan, I parked the car on the other side…"

There was a silence before Midorima said, "Oha Asa said today is a bad day for Cancers to get into a vehicle."

"Shin-chan, if we don't take the car, we'll be late for our dinner reservations!" Takao tugged on Midorima's arm, motioning him towards the direction of the car, and tugged harder when he realized his boyfriend was not going to move a single inch towards the location of the car. "Shin-chan, pleaaase! I really want a proper Christmas dinner with you for once!"

Midorima flinched, and Takao knew he was close to convincing his boyfriend to rethink his decision, and decided to spoil his surprise for him. But he had to; if they were late for their reservations, another would replace them.

He tugged a little harder before learning close to his boyfriend's ear, going on his tiptoes so he could reach his ear, "Come on, Shin-chan~ I specifically asked them if they could make a red bean dessert, just for you!"

That was all it took for him to break Midorima. The green-haired male swiftly turned around to face Takao, before walking past him, and heading towards the car. When he sensed Takao wasn't following him, he turned around and looked at him with piercing eyes, "Well? I thought you said we couldn't be late."

And Takao only smirked at his boyfriend's reaction. Oh, the tsundere was adorable, as usual.

Midorima stood in front of Takao's room once again, staring blankly at the black-haired male who lay on the bed with the sheets covering all the way up to his shoulders; his arms hooked up to the IV and heart monitor. He clenched his fists, guilt attacking straight into his system once again and he could feel nothing but utter regret. It was like the whole world moved on, except for him, who remained in this exact time frame—stuck in an endless loop that seemed to repeat every day.

Every day, watching the machine monitor Takao's heartbeat slowly; watching him rest in his slumber and never once opening his eyes; and watching as he was the only one of the two who was able to move around with no trouble. It all made him nauseous, and his only wish was to see Takao open his eyes once more, and call him by that silly nickname he so very much adored.

He sighed, before he moved to check in on his next patient. However, a hesitant voice called out to him, causing him to turn back towards the direction of the voice.

Oh, it was a former basketball player from Touou who recently transferred to the hospital, shortly before the accident. Takao immediately became friends with him, showing the nervous male around the hospital and even introducing him to some members of the faculty—this including Midorima.

Sakurai Ryou breathed heavily, as if he had run miles to approach the doctor, and said, "H- How is he? A- Any improvements?"

Midorima only blinked, before pushing his glasses up and turning around, "Nothing has changed. His heart rate is still the same as before and there are no symptoms of improvement. I will check back later this afternoon."

"Midorima-sensei, he will wake up, I'm sure he will!"

His only response from the fellow doctor was a terrifying glare that sent the brunet to multiple apologies, bowing continuously until the doctor left his view.

How pointless. It was absolutely certain Takao would wake up. No matter how long it took, Midorima refused to give up any signs of hope.

Eleven years ago they met, but Midorima never noticed Takao. They played a match together back when Midorima was still a part of the Generation of Miracles in Teikou; Takao lost and vowed to claim his revenge on Midorima. Little did he know, in their freshmen year in high school, they were reunited once again, and instead of getting his revenge, he worked alongside the player he vowed to one day surpass.

It was also ten years ago, in the Shutoku gymnasium, Takao had given Midorima his nickname. With that proud, cocky grin of his, he had approached Midorima, and that one name left his lips, and for some reason, Midorima found himself turning away from his teammate, whereas the old him – the Teikou him – would have surely knocked some sense into the black-haired point guard.

Perhaps even in their first year of high school, the minute they were reunited, Midorima felt some connection with him. And it was also that year, where the name, 'Shin-chan', became his—and his alone.

Midorima sat in his office, flipping through an old yearbook from his last year of high school. Strange, a few months ago, he would have never flipped through the old piece of junk—what was the point of looking at the past? It was all fixed history.

But lately, the book managed to find its home in his office, and every break, he would find himself flipping through the pages, skimming through old photos and parting messages. However, the one photo he always found himself mesmerized in, unable to peel his eyes away from the photo, was a shot taken during practice, with Takao.

It was a practice before the finals of the Winter Cup. Takao had been deemed captain for two years already, followed by Midorima as the vice-captain. Of course he had first refused, saying the title clearly belonged to him since he was a Generation of Miracles player, but the green-haired shooting guard refused. Takao deserved it more than anyone else, practicing longer than any of the other members and really, he had the personality to fit as Shutoku's captain—not Midorima.

Of course, he would never openly admit it but he was proud of Takao for leading Shutoku so far, supporting and being the strongest of them all. When they were feeling down because of a loss, he would console them, saying they all tried their hardest, that there were no regrets; despite inside, he was practically killing and tearing himself apart for letting the team down.

He knew this; Midorima was the only one who ever saw Takao at his worst—be it when he was crying or angry or frustrated. But he was only ever blaming it on himself, never anyone else, not even Midorima, who was typically the source to most of everyone's anger and irritation. Yes, the black-haired fool never blamed or accused anyone for his emotions. It was all on himself.

Even this one incident, he would without a doubt, blame it on himself—when he woke up, that is. Except Midorima knew it wasn't Takao's fault, but his own.

He stared at the photo even longer, despite that he could already recall every single detail without the photograph, from the ball leaving Takao's grasp on its journey to Midorima's to the sweat perspiring on both their faces to the silly, cocky, satisfied grin on Takao's face.

Glancing outside, he saw small cherry blossoms fall to the ground; gracefully making its way down from the tree branch to covering the fields of green grass below, and a pang of regret stabbed him right in the chest. Almost six months have passed—the seventh month of the year approaching and making its way into Midorima's mind.

Soon, he would be writing Month Seven on Takao's charts, and flip through multiple papers and papers of daily updates; all monthly reports; all with the same status.

'Heartbeat is normal. All vitals are normal. Still no improvements.'

It pained him, to know that he, as a doctor, could do nothing but watch, watch as his boyfriend lay there, motionless and only beating away his life one second at a time. It disgusted him to see Takao, who was usually smiling childishly at him, following his every step, lying there with absolutely no physical energy present.

All this… All this seemed like an utter nightmare, a nightmare he found himself unable to wake up and escape from.

He wished Takao would just one day wake up from his slumber, wake up and see the cherry blossoms fall to cover the green fields of endless grass in the awakening of a heated summer; the beginning of his favourite season.

His eyes shifted towards the window, where he saw two birds chirping and hopping towards one another, shifting their heads slightly at the sight of one another; as if it were a greeting; as if they were curious with their actions. They chirped a little more, before tilting their heads once again, leaning their heads both to the right, inching closer and closer, until their beaks brushed against the side of their face.

Both birds instantly backed away, as if the contact had been too hot and burnt the touched areas of their face. However, almost that same instant, the two leaned in to repeat the gesture once more, and this time, their beaks remained completely still, before the two birds nuzzled against the other's beak, as if growing accustomed to the action.

For some reason, the birds resembled both he and Takao so similarly, it was almost bizarre and surreal. The hesitant first kiss, before finally submitting to their feelings and slowly, but surely, was starting something anew, something full of commitment and attraction—a relationship.

Midorima diverted his eyes from the birds, a sick and nauseous feeling occurring in his chest, as he could not stop thinking about the close similitude of the pair from he and his boyfriend. It was like Mother Nature was mocking him—or provoking him to express his true feelings to the hospital and his companions; to let out the endless tears and concern he had towards his comatose boyfriend.

Little did Mother Nature know, every night when he returned home, to an empty, soulless apartment disconnected from the usual liveliness of Takao's light, he would often find himself cuddled under his sheets. Wet tears escaped his eyes, as he felt powerless and incompetent, unable to fulfill his role as a doctor.

If he could not even help his boyfriend, could not even prevent him from an accident, who would trust him with the lives of others?

There were soft chirps from the window, and he knew the source of it was from the birds, as if calling for him, calling and reassuring that it was all right to cry; it was all right to release all the bottled emotions he held in his chest each time he walked past Takao's room, but he only squeezed his eyes shut. A light breeze crept into his office, rustling all his papers and sticky notes but he only shuddered from the sudden chill.

Ahh, summer had always been his favourite season of the year. Perhaps it was simply for one sole reason.

July 7, a date that was slowly, dreadfully approaching—also known as Midorima's birthday.

"Hey Shin-chan, when is your birthday?"

It was their freshmen year in Shutoku, and Midorima only grimaced at Takao's question, before shooting the ball into the basket effortlessly. The black-haired male only watched it fall gracefully into the hoop, a smirk playing on his lips as he watched his partner shoot for the umpteenth time today. He idly lay on the gymnasium floor, despite the numerous times Ootsubo warned him not to. The floor was used for practice, not for a lazy fool who simply wanted to lie around and watch as others practiced amongst him.

Then again, everyone had left an hour ago; leaving the two freshmen regulars on their own, so Takao could honestly care less.

"So," Takao rolled onto his back; his head arched so he could gaze up at Midorima who stood above him, a basketball dangling in the tips of his fingers, "Are you going to answer, Shin-chan?"

Midorima sighed, pushing his glasses up with his free hand before sending a piercing glare towards Takao. Really, why in the world was he so curious? But still, he responded with a scoff, "I'm a Cancer; you do the math."

A pout was on Takao's lips as he scratched his cheek in wonder; he was never one to follow horoscopes but from past recollection, Cancers ranged from June 22 to July 22, didn't they? He sighed; it was typical of Midorima to only answer half-heartedly, but to force him to say all the dates of Cancers-how unfair.

Still, anything to find out his partner's birthday.

So he spent a good half hour listing off dates, starting from June 22, with Midorima simply throwing a ball into the hoop when each date was said. It took Takao a while to realize that with each basket, it meant that wasn't his birthday because by the time he reached July 7, Midorima had stumbled on his throw.

Takao immediately took notice of the fumble and perked up from his spot on the floor, the widest and childish grin on his lips, "Did I get it?!"

His response was utter silence and from his view, he could have sworn a light flush of red was beginning to surface on the shooting guard's cheeks.

"Sweet! So Shin-chan's birthday is on July 7! Mine is November 21!"

Midorima only glanced over at his ecstatic partner, watching as Takao shifted from right to left on the floor, a smile on his lips as if he was awaiting Midorima's response. The green-haired male exhaled tiredly, as if this was far too tedious – just a pointless conversation filling the empty air of silence as he practiced – but unconsciously he found himself thinking about Takao's astrology sign—a Scorpio.

A Cancer and a Scorpio... They were certainly compatible; perhaps that was why he continued to have Takao beside him.

Midorima was so engulfed in his own thoughts, he hadn't paid attention to Takao, who had sneakily made his way over to the frozen shooting guard and quickly stole the basketball from his fingers. He immediately snapped out of his thoughts then, but the male was too late; Takao was already a few feet away, doing a quick lay-up.

As Takao caught the rebound to his lay-up, he grinned at Midorima, and said, "You know Shin-chan, summer is my new favourite season." He tossed the ball to his partner who reflexively caught it but made no attempt to even score a shot from his position on the court. It was as if he was waiting, waiting for Takao to further explain himself; to explain why he would suddenly change seasons; to explain why he would blurt out something so random; to explain why he was disclosing this information to Midorima, even though he knew the green-haired boy would certainly not care.

However, Midorima surprised himself. Curiosity was getting the worst of him, for in the past, he never would have bothered with others' affairs, but with Takao, it was different; it was like deep down, he wanted to know more about the point guard, wanted him to talk more about his personal life—despite the fact that he would never ask him questions. Rather he would wait; he would patiently wait for the male to go on one of his tangents and start blurting casual facts.

For some reason, Midorima always remembered every single detail; even the one where Takao said he once owned a cat named Shiori, but had to give it to someone else because his parents found it bothersome. He found himself even remembering small tidbits like that, despite his dislike towards cats.

It was like Takao could read his mind, could read the various questions that were floating around in his head and he only smiled, approaching Midorima with absolute caution, like he was frightened of how Midorima would react with his reason. "It's because summer is Shin-chan's birthday. If I hadn't met you, if you were never born, I would have never taken basketball to a whole new level."

Takao breathed loudly, as if he had been holding his breath. It was strange, seeing him so serious, so different from his usual self, but Midorima only waited, because he knew – he could sense it – that he was not finished. So he waited, waited until the shorter male inhaled a deep breath, mentally preparing himself—nervous and uncertain, but still, he gathered the courage and continued.

"When I suffered defeat from you last year, my first thought was: 'I'm going to claim revenge on this guy', but then we met again here. It's funny, because I realized I could never get my vengeance on a teammate. But that's alright, because now, I just want you to acknowledge me as an equal. I'm really glad I met you, Shin-chan." He smacked the ball out of his grasp then, chuckling softly as he dashed away before Midorima could even react to the ball leaving his hands once again.

But even if he had been paying attention, the male was too dumbfounded, too astonished, to even chase after Takao. In fact, as the shorter of the two dribbled around him, followed by a few lay-ups here and there, Midorima was far too occupied repeating Takao's words over and over again in his head.

That was one of the firsts Takao ever disclosed personal information involving him, and it was shocking—to believe that Takao changed his favourite season all for Midorima…

The green-haired shooting guard simply turned around, heading back to gather his towel on the bench as he continued to hear Takao's dribbling and footsteps echo around the gymnasium. He buried his face in his towel; not because he was perspiring from sweat, but to cover the bright scarlet heat that was surfacing on his cheeks.

"If I hadn't met you, if you were never born, I would have never taken basketball to a whole new level."

To be someone who could inspire another individual to continue basketball, this was the first time he ever heard that. And reasons unknown to him, he felt a warm, fuzzy feeling developing in his chest.

Unbeknownst to him, the individual who was still dribbling on the court was also using it as a cover—to hide the embarrassed blush that was appearing on his cheeks.

Midorima entered his apartment, glancing around the room to see nothing but utter darkness, but even without turning the lights on, he knew where everything was—he had grown accustomed to the dark.

However, it was killing him; to enter an empty home that once occupied two. Further, to enter into an empty home with no one to welcoming him home or wishing him a happy birthday felt lonely, and he could not help but think that he was dreaming; that in a few moments, Takao would appear behind him with a cake and surprise him; that within seconds, he would feel the warm arms of his boyfriend around his waist.

If Takao was here, if he was conscious, Midorima was certain the shorter of the two would have found some trivial, romantic dinner set up as a celebration.

He tossed his keys into the jar by the entrance, where he heard a loud clank! that echoed throughout the silence, sending a deafening sound to his eardrums. Upon hearing the sound, he could feel his entire body come to a sudden halt, as if the sound was so loud, so ear piercing, that it sent chills down his spine. Oh, he knew whose keys his came into contact with; those that once belonged to Takao.

Takao's were a little heavier than his own, with the addition of the car keys but perhaps he should take them out before Takao woke from his comatose state. They didn't own a car anymore; the memory of watching the car being slowly towed by the truck was hazy, for he knew most of his attention was focused on Takao, hastily pumping his heart to send the blood flowing while following the paramedics to the ambulance. But he knew the car was in a state that could not be fixed; that they would need to forget about the car they bought with their own money back in university when they first moved in together, replacing the rickshaw with a proper vehicle.

He remembered the night's events turning from their usual, teasing behaviour to a night full of chaos and misery.

The car was spinning uncontrollably, windows shattered in front of his eyes, and finally the car slid to a halt, coming into contact with a concrete wall.

Midorima winced, attempting to sit straight from his position in the car before he felt blood trickle down the side of his head. He blinked as he reached up to touch the wounded area, questioning one in the world had happened to cause such immense bleeding. It wasn't until a few seconds in and looking at the interior condition of their vehicle, he recalled what had happened.

Takao had said something silly again, like 'Shin-chan believes in Oha Asa too much, but it's alright; I still love you'. He had said he was relieved Midorima had reconsidered his decision to walk to the restaurant, for he honestly couldn't wait to surprise him with the elegant Christmas dinner he organized, followed by his present.

He had reached out for Midorima's hand then, grasping the bandaged left hand before giving it a tight, comforting squeeze. It was as if he was reassuring himself that Midorima was going to love it.

However, before Midorima had a chance to retaliate, to argue and say he was just looking forward to the red bean dessert, he noticed flashing lights heading their way. He had shouted something, shouted words filled with warning and shock and fear, and Takao had noticed.

It was too late, though. Takao had swerved the car to the right but the oncoming vehicle still managed to come into contact, right into Takao-

Midorima instantly panicked, his whole body – though it sent an excruciatingly painful jolt to his system – turned to face Takao, whose head lay on the inflated pillow that had released upon coming in contact with the collision, motionless and inanimate.

Hesitantly, cautiously, he reached out to his boyfriend, his hand trembling in fear of the type – or lack – of response he may receive, but he had to find how bad his condition was. He was certain Takao had purposely taken most of the damage, to avoid Midorima from receiving injuries as severe as his—he always did inconsiderate, irrational actions such as these. Always forcing himself to take most of the damage so Midorima would be safe and sound. Always putting Midorima above himself. Always doing such foolish and spontaneous actions to protect him. Always. Always...

But he never understood how painful it was for the other end, the end he was protecting—Midorima. He never considered how he felt. So he acted on his own accord, he acted selfishly, despite the fact that if something were to ever happen to him because he dared to 'protect', the green-haired doctor would never forgive him or himself.

"Takao. Takao!" Midorima shook him a little harder; no response. "Takao, can you hear me? Answer me!"

Of course it was useless; Midorima knew it was. The male was bleeding nonstop, his head severely injured that a large pool of blood had already formed on his pillow, his body full of scratches and cuts that were beginning to bleed viciously.

He had to get him out of there, out of the car, and examine the severity of his wounds. Despite his splitting headache and painstakingly aching body, he had to check up on the other driver. He had to call 9-1-1, had to do so much, but all he wanted was to ensure he was alright, that he was still... alive.

It took a while to force his body to move from the damaged vehicle, it took even longer to check on the other driver who was unconscious, and it felt like eternity till the ambulance arrived.

By then, Midorima was already pumping Takao's heart at a steady, even pace, a standard cardiopulmonary resuscitation after he felt a weak pulse from his injured boyfriend, after Takao had stopped breathing. The bleeding had died down fortunately, but Midorima was too occupied with other problems to be relieved.

The quick drop in body heat, the weak heartbeat resonating from his chest, and the lack of breath his significant other had—it was all happening too fast. And he felt all his hard work, all his time as he shouted the paramedics to hurry – that there was very little time left – was rendered hopeless.

He watched, as the paramedics rushed to his aid, to carefully place Takao in a stretcher before being pushed aside, letting the real saviours help his boyfriend. He could not help but watch, watch as they followed suit in his cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and could feel a relieved gasp escape his lips as they managed to force his body to breathe on its own again.

They carefully lifted Takao up on the stretcher, and he wanted to follow, to ensure that he would be all right, that during his ride to the hospital, his heart would still be beating, along with the steady, soft breaths he was currently exhaling. However, the paramedics insisted he follow in the other ambulance, where his own injures could be checked while they monitored the condition of Takao.

Midorima remained persistent, insisting his injuries were fine and Takao needed him by his side; he absolutely needed to be beside him for the entire time.

Unfortunately, his demands were not granted, as two other paramedics who had crept behind him held him back. His eyes watched as the sirens of the ambulance flashed wildly, the alarming sound echoing deafeningly in his ears, before it left his view, and he was immediately pulled into the ambulance, where his own injures were treated.

But he couldn't help but focus all his attention on Takao, recalling all the injuries, all the bleeding, the lack of life his partner had—it was all too deep in his mind, and he could not help but feel the tears trickle down his cheeks.

Midorima snapped wide-awake from the sound of his phone ringing. For a second, he gazed around, wondering when did he ever doze off. To be honest, he wasn't even sure how he ended up on sanctuary of his bed. He could have sworn he had just been out in the hall, taking his jacket off and-

Ring. Ring.

He broke out of his thoughts then, realizing his work phone was contacting him, which was strange, considering he wasn't the doctor on call for the week but he answered anyway.

"Midorima speaking."

There was silence on the other end, and for a moment, he grew agitated, snapping at the caller. On the verge of hanging up – thinking it was only a prank – he heard a shuffle and apology before the words he hoped for the past few months finally echoed in his ears.

"He's awake, Midorima-sensei. Takao-san... He is awake."

Those small three words—the three words he had been anticipating to hear for months resounded in his eardrums. And that was all it took to send Midorima dashing out of his apartment in the middle of the night.

Midorima slammed his fists into the wall of his office, anger and frustration accumulated in his chest. He attempted to do simple breathing exercises or close his eyes and count to ten, but nothing helped; his built-up irritation was too immense to be calmed by just breathing.

Even in the sanctuary of his own office, of his own personal space, he could still hear the chatter and imagine the looks of distress and worry of his fellow coworkers and friends once he reached the hospital—specifically, Takao's room. The moment he entered, he sensed something was strange; that something was wrong but no one dared to say anything. Over the years, Midorima learned to be more observant, and thanks to that, he now felt a nauseous, repulsive feeling in the pit of his stomach.

His feet had slowed, as he became wary of the look Takao had the second he entered his view—the look of a fake smile, as if attempting to hide his confusion and anxiety, as if Midorima was nothing more than a companion.

"Midorima-sensei! There's something you need to know before you enter Takao-san's room. You see..."

He had disregarded Sakurai's words of concern, rushing straight into Takao's ward but he should have known better than to enter rashly. Now he wished he had because if he had listened to Sakurai's warning, perhaps he could have mentally prepared himself for the words that left Takao's lips immediately.

"Oh, even Midorima-san came to greet me? What a surprise! I'm not too sure what happened but apparently I've been unconscious for a good seven months."

He knew he should have said something, a snarky remark that would surely knock some sense back into Takao's mind—because seriously, when did he ever address him as 'Midorima-san'? But no, he remained silent, speechless and motionless as he stood close to the bed; past Shutoku regulars' stares focused solely on him, on his body's reflexes, and mental reaction. His witty comments remained lodged in his throat, blocking his larynx, restricting him from even calling Takao's name.

At that instant, he felt a hand rest upon his shoulder and lifted his eyes from the ground to face the dark brown, wary and empathetic eyes of Ootsubo. Without even uttering a word, he guided Midorima outside of the room, where Sakurai stood, the same sympathetic expression as Ootsubo on his face.

Sakurai looked to the side before mustering the courage to confront Midorima, "I... I wanted to warn you but you were too fast... Midorima-sensei… Takao-san..."

The second those words left Sakurai's mouth, Midorima could feel his heart plummet straight to the floor; as if the world had gone completely still, frozen. Once again, it was like the world, that fate, was trapping him in the Hell he thought he escaped from.

"Takao-san cannot remember you as his lover."

They say retrograde amnesia can be treated within a few weeks, a couple months at most. In Takao's case, he could remember everything about his life clearly that it would be silly for doctors to even diagnose him with any kind of amnesia. However, it was the fact that he could not recall the accident on that one day or his relationship with Midorima; even his words – his greeting towards the male – seemed distant—as if he was nothing special.

But Midorima couldn't wait a few weeks—Hell, he couldn't even wait another day. It was frustrating, to watch from afar as Takao interacted with his former teammates and even the Generation of Miracles who visited the day after Takao had woken. Kasamatsu, former captain of Kaijou, had notified Kise, and Kise, being the social butterfly he was, immediately contacted everyone.

Thus this led the hospital ward to be packed with numerous individuals, who were taking up far too much space, in front of Takao's room, screaming and shouting ecstatically, cheery words that echoed throughout the hallway, leaving an irritated Midorima to disrupt their reunion.

After he literally kicked everyone out of the room, Takao pouted, his face still weak and pale and certainly his energy had not returned, but it was pleasant and reassuring to see him lively rather than comatose. However, there was still some distance between them; Midorima could feel it. And it was like the pressure was slowly killing him, slowly suffocating him in this endless loop of torture, where the bond between he and Takao – the relationship they shared for the past eight years – was still broken and torn in two.

It was like fate refused to have them together, and Midorima wanted to scream—scream in utter irritation and anger.

"Midorima-san shouldn't be so uptight, you know?" Takao said teasingly as he leaned against his backrest, comfortable as he watched the doctor do his routine check-ups.

He only remained silent, checking Takao's vitals and heartbeat before daring to look at the shorter male. To look at the male and see his pained smile and watch as those silvery-blue orbs stared into his own, like he was nothing more than his doctor – an ex-teammate – was slowly killing him.

Every time their eyes came into contact, he didn't feel the same chemistry, the same spark, as before. This could have been influenced by Takao's lack of recognition, lack of interest, towards Midorima but surely for the latter, in his heart, the spark should still be present somewhere. Surely he knew, deep down, the old Takao, the one prior to the accident, would return.

But then he gazed down at his partner and widened his eyes, his heart suddenly froze as he saw that grin—that teasing, sly, seductive grin; one of the first reasons why Midorima was attracted to Takao. It was that smile that had caught his attention back in high school, and it was that smile once again that sent his stomach twisting and turning with that silly butterfly feeling, like an immature high school student seeing their crush for the very first time, that very moment.

Maybe finally – finally – he was back!


The male perked up at his name, the look of curiosity and childish glimmer in his eyes sparkled brighter. "That's what they call me. What's up, Midorima-san?"

His heart plummeted to the floor as he heard the way Takao addressed him. He wasn't back. Again, fate was mocking him, getting his hopes up before shattering it to pieces in mere seconds once it reached its highest peak of hope. He pushed his glasses up before turning to avoid looking into Takao's distant eyes, "It's nothing."

"Hmm, if you say so." Takao hummed, idly pursing his lips together and whistling random notes, breaking the silence Midorima hoped to have as he continued to check on all his vitals and heartbeat, but the sound was oddly comforting.

Oh it had been so long since he last heard Takao whistle, and the sound was like sweet music to his ears, bringing clear, long forgotten memories back.

There was a laidback whistle leaving Takao's lips as he walked alongside Midorima, the two heading back to their apartment after taking a nice, relaxing stroll in the park on a cool summer's night. It was until they reached the last block to their apartment, where they were completely isolated from the general public that Takao entwined his fingers with Midorima's; the latter immediately blushing upon the contact of another hand against his.

Still whistling a random tune, Takao glanced over towards his taller, quieter half, and smiled before stopping and poking his cheek with his free hand.

Midorima scowled before squatting his finger away and turned to say something. However, he was tugged down and suddenly, he felt a pair of warm, soft lips against his own. He hesitated, knowing at any moment, a random stranger may come across the two in the middle of their public display of affection, but then Takao wrapped his arms around his waist, and suddenly, all his worries seemed to disappear.

It was like the world came to a sudden pause then, trapping only he and Takao in this frozen timeframe where the two could freely enjoy the quaint embrace. It was rare, for Midorima to give in to Takao, but it may have been the soft sound of his melody that helped weaken his usual barrier—that and the fact that Takao had his arms around him was quite soothing.

They broke their kiss a moment later, Takao releasing his hold and returning back to entangle his fingers around Midorima's taped ones, motioning the two to head back to their home. The same melody from before left his lips, as a genuine, pleased smile was on his lips.

The melody was peaceful, reassuring even, calming Midorima's nerves and even diminishing the usual frown on his face. Perhaps it was because Takao's smile was contagious, but Midorima felt a small smile creep on his lips, as he tightened his grasp on Takao's fingers, causing the shorter of the two to stop his whistling and stare at his boyfriend in awe.

Midorima pressed his glasses up his face and said softly, "Don't stop—the whistling, I mean."

And Takao's smile widened even more, as he continued to whistle the soft tune from his lips, guiding the two of them back home.

It was the beginning of September, the birds were humbly chirping by their branch once again and Midorima's eyes could only follow their movements, mesmerized by the similarities of their actions to humans—specifically he and Takao. It was the same pair of birds from before, and they were just as lovey-dovey when Midorima first saw them. So close and attracted to one another—the birds. He could not help but feel a small sense of jealously towards the two animals, and he knew better than to feel that emotion towards them, for they were just acting on natural instinct, but he couldn't help it.

How could a species act so similar, be so different?

Well, the clear answer was that the birds were still in love with each other, visibly showing their attraction towards their partner whereas Midorima—Midorima hadn't felt Takao's soft, gentle touches, his tight, engulfing hugs, or his passionate yet playful kisses, in ages.

What partner did he really have?

Abruptly, he felt bitter and angry and utterly betrayed, not just by Takao, but by fate, by Mother Nature, by Oha Asa, by all the happy couples who still had their partners and were in healthy relationships.

He slammed his fists on his table, a loud noise erupting due to the fierce contact, but his anger was still bottled up within him. It was almost two full months since Takao first woke up, and no signs of improvement were developing. His heart honestly couldn't handle facing Takao's distant looks. Sometimes he saw that teasing flicker in his eyes, and his hope would increase, feeling the same breathtaking, heart-stopping moment he had when they first met, but almost that very second, it would crumble to pieces as Takao would address him as a complete stranger.

For once, Takao was addressing him the way he wanted to be called, under his surname or even his given, but having the name leave his lips, a name that sounded so foreign to his ears, pained him. He actually missed that ridiculously silly name Takao constantly called him by in the past, the way he would say 'Shin-chan'—he never realized it, but his ears, his mind, his heart begged to hear that nickname leave his lips once again.

Perhaps it was because that nickname belonged solely to him by Takao; he was the only one who could ever call him by it.

And now it was lost, lost in the other piles of memories he had forgotten about Midorima, and it was excruciatingly painful to watch as Takao lived life without knowing the commitment he and Midorima underwent the past eight years.

His thoughts were interrupted then, as a knock resounded from his door, and he quickly whipped his head towards the direction of the sound; his eyes coming straight into contact of brown, anxious ones. He exhaled deeply, knowing full well to treat his visitor with kindness and precaution, otherwise he would be bombarded with multiple apologies in seconds.

"What is it, Sakurai-sensei?"

The doctor jumped at the sudden call of his name, but cautiously entered the room, "I- I just wanted to check up on you."

"I'm fine."

Sakurai had winced, clearly he was making it difficult for himself. If only he was more straightforward and simply just mustered the courage to blurt out whatever was on his mind, he could leave the tense room in seconds. However, he took his time, inhaling and exhaling multiple times before saying, "Takao-san will be discharged in a couple days. The other doctors feel he is well enough to rest at home."

Midorima could only widen his eyes. But Takao didn't have a home, aside from the one he shared, but how could he return back to the apartment and live with someone he considered a mere acquaintance?

Sakurai must have sensed this—the man was always quick and smart to feel auras, similar to a certain black-haired patient. He immediately held his hands up in defence, waving them around, "O- Of course, we all agreed it's up to you for the final word! If you feel he needs to stay at the hospital longer, t- then it's not a problem."

A sigh escaped Midorima's lips as he approached Sakurai and rested a hand on the man's shoulder, "No, it's fine; I completely agree. I will tell him the news now."

He didn't know how Sakurai reacted; perhaps the man breathed out a relieved sigh but he could care less. His heart was beating far too fast, too loudly, to think straight.

Honestly, he should have told Takao the truth weeks ago.

"If you miss him that much, Midorimacchi, why don't you just tell him the truth? That you two were in a relationship. Gain back that romantic spark!"

Midorima grimaced at Kise's words before wincing at his high-pitched squeals as he gushed to Aomine about how it was so romantic and how Midorima was going to need to 'earn back Takaocchi's trust'. Sometimes he pitied Teikou's ex-Ace but then realization would hit him and well, it was the tanned male's own fault for keeping such an annoying partner. Then again, Midorima never rejected his invitations to go out either; Kise just had that kind of power to attract others.

"I don't miss him."

Kise grinned childishly, sending Aomine a sly look before leaning across the table and patting Midorima's hand, "Midorimacchi still isn't honest with his feelings, but it's all over your face! You miss him, don't you? I bet it's difficult having to see him every day without him spoiling you with soft kisses like he used to."

A chuckle escaped out of Aomine's mouth as he leaned back on his seat, his arm around Kise's shoulder as he nuzzled into his boyfriend's neck before he gazed into Midorima's narrowed eyes, "Like that guy pampered Midorima. I bet they had hot office sex practically every day."

The green-haired doctor didn't even have a chance to reply because a certain blonde gasped out loud, screeching his chair back. Not only did he send Aomine tumbling to the side, causing the latter to glare at his dramatic boyfriend and rub his sore chin, but also startling Midorima as Kise's model face was only millimetres away from his own.

"Is this true, Midorimacchi?! I didn't know you had that side to you!"

Midorima exhaled a tired breath, before pushing his glasses up and standing up from his seat, placing enough money to cover his part of the meal. He didn't bother to answer the questions, but he could feel warm heat surfacing on his cheeks and wanted to escape the teasing of his former teammates. Really, the last thing he needed was for Kise to make even a louder outburst on false accusations of his past sex life with Takao due to the influence of a certain perverted boyfriend of his.

As he turned to leave, Kise called after him, now properly seated on his chair and smiling brightly, "Midorimacchi! He'll be released from the hospital soon, right? His stuff is still in your apartment, isn't it? Don't you think you should tell him the truth? You better act now."

Midorima only rolled his eyes as he headed back to the hospital to finish the rest of his shift.

"I mean it, Midorimacchi! You should surprise him with a kiss; I'm sure that'll spark back the chemistry!"

And suddenly, he could feel the blood rushing to his cheeks even faster.

Takao remained quiet; his eyes widened with absolute shock and awe that literally shattered Midorima's heart. He honestly thought once he told him the truth, once he admitted the two were previously in an intimate relationship, that they even lived together, that they worked alongside one another at the hospital, Takao's memories would instantly return.

Of course, that was only false optimism, and Takao certainly did not remember such recollections.

He let out a forced chuckle, before reaching up to brush his short bangs back, leaning on his head rest, "Really, Midorima-san, just because you used to be a prestigious basketball player, it doesn't give you the right to make false accusations."

Midorima could feel the accumulated anger and irritation in his system boiling and rising upon hearing such words from the male in front of him. But he remained silent, knowing full well Takao was not even close to finishing what was on his mind.

He was biting his lower lip, a habit he always did when he was frustrated and refused to admit what was on his mind to Midorima. Except Midorima always found a way to make him talk—staying silent and watching Takao with his hard stare was enough to crack the shorter male. He supposed, even if he forgot those important memories, his body still had those same old habits, and surely his way of breaking those habits would be the same.

"I never thought you were one to mess with someone's mind, Midorima-san."

He closed his eyes, knowing that this was just the beginning; that once he started with his rant, there was no possible way of stopping him. He had to remain calm, like he usually did, but this was far different from his typical rants—Takao, for once, was blaming him, accusing him of spouting such nonsense, such lies.

And Midorima never realized how hurtful the black-haired male could be.

"Really. This is just too cruel… You, a Generation of Miracles player, befriended me? Even considered me as your lover?"

The words, filled with nothing but utter hatred and bitterness, stung. Midorima could only wince from the harshness of his words, from the hidden fury in his words. However, he could feel his own annoyance and resentment towards the lack of trust from his other half rise.

Why couldn't he just remember? Why couldn't he just trust him?

Midorima exhaled a loud breath, counting down to calm both his body and mentality.


"I just- You never trusted us as teammates, right? Face it, you thought you were better than us."


He could feel his fists tighten, listening to Takao speak such rubbish. It was true—when he first entered Shutoku, he honestly thought he was better than the others; that they were all dragging him down. But that changed when he met Takao, who constantly followed him wherever he went and changed his impression on his teammates. If it weren't for Takao, he would have remained an outsider, a lone student, with low observations on everyone.

Takao released a bitter laugh, holding his head in his hand as he continued to shake it in disbelief, "What makes you think I'd be attracted to someone as stubborn and selfish as you?"

Midorima could only watch as the male looked straight into his eyes, replacing the mockery and scepticism with pure rage.

"Don't make me laugh. You're the kind of person I hate the most."


Upon hearing the last nine words, Midorima snapped. He hadn't meant to; the countdown was supposed to calm him down, not cause him to act spontaneously and shut the other with, not with words, but his body. Perhaps his body craved for Takao's touch—his small hands, his petite yet toned body, and most importantly, his soft lips. He found himself leaning towards Takao, until their lips met; interrupting the latter's rant, as he remained frozen over the contact of their lips.

It was still the same, despite the crude words leaving the other's mouth only seconds before, but he had to make him realize. Even if his mind had forgotten, even if he wouldn't believe Midorima's words, surely his body remembered, surely his lips could remember the touch of his own.

They broke apart then, Midorima still remaining only a few inches away from the other's mouth, before Takao reached up and lightly brushed his fingers against his own lips. He gazed up into Midorima's eyes, noticing the light flush of pink rising on his cheeks before he felt his own heat rush up to his. For some reason, his heart was racing like mad; his chest, his lips, his body, yearned more for the other's touch, but that was impossible, wasn't it? There was no possible way he was ever attracted to such an obnoxious fool…

But he could feel it growing within his system as the two remained close to each other.

"I can't stand this any longer. If you won't believe me, I'll just make you remember," Midorima stared hard into his eyes, despite the blush on his cheeks darkening. "Your home is mine too. You're going to live there for the next little bit, whether you like it or not. I will make you remember, Takao."

There was silence, until Midorima realized what cheesy words left his mouth, and he instantly let out a cough, raising his hand so he could cover the embarrassing flush on his cheeks but Takao could still see it—the nervousness and humiliating look in his eyes was so apparent, he almost wanted to laugh.

Instead, he only smirked. Despite his detest towards the individual, his heart was telling him something different. Well, he could use a home—the hospital bed was becoming slightly uncomfortable.

Besides, as long as he didn't touch him inappropriately, what was the harm?

"Fine, you're on, Midorima-san. Let's see if you're telling the truth."

Then again, he wouldn't mind another kiss. That was oddly comforting, though he would never admit it to the doctor.

A few months passed, the Christmas holiday and chilly wintery weather approaching quickly and Midorima was growing more and more frustrated. Three months, and still no improvements with Takao's recollections; however, the bond between the two was improving. Midorima had to buy another bed for the male and transform the storage room to a guest room, but the black-haired male wasn't glaring at him or insulting him any further. There were occasional teases now and then, but Takao was always a tease so in a way, it was like things were finally improving.

"Midorima-san, I'm almost done preparing dinner. Can you set up the table?"

Aside from the fact that Takao still addressed him according to his surname.

The individual grimaced, before placing two dinner sets on the table as Takao finished the last touches to his meal. The hospital had given the male the rest of the year to recuperate and hopefully regain the remainder of his memories before returning to work as Midorima's assistant—further, they wanted the two to spend some quality time together and gain back their old relationship.

This led Takao to occupy himself with the housework while Midorima worked at the hospital. Then again, the male used to do chores on top of his job, so this really shouldn't have been a hassle for him, but Midorima didn't dare say such words to Takao; he was just relieved the male was treating him more as a friend rather than a mere acquaintance.

However, he was still discouraged at the progress he was making. Three months have passed, and though Takao appeared to be healthier, stronger, and well, adjusted to his surroundings, he still wasn't the same. There was the odd, awkward touch here and there, like some mornings, he would hesitate to reach out and wish Midorima a good day at work but then he would retract his hand, like he was nervous and embarrassed with such actions. Some mornings, Midorima found himself leaning over to peck Takao on the cheeks, on the lips, or even just a short embrace, anything to feel the shorter male react to his touch, but he, too, would pull back and turn around.

Takao would whisper his name as he turned to leave, muttering a soft 'Have a good day, Midorima-san' . It was almost like he resembled a small puppy, watching as his owner left his view and he would obediently wait eagerly for his return.

But that was not the Takao he fell in love with.

The Takao he fell in love with took action, took the initiative, and watched Midorima squirm from his embarrassing love confessions; the Takao he loved was optimistic, full of energy, and his own individual person; the Takao he loved always, always called him 'Shin-chan'.

Every once in a while, Takao would ask Midorima to tell him more about their past; about their time in Shutoku, how they were deemed the school's 'light and shadow' for their high school life; about their time in university, how Takao first wanted to pursue a career in music but then Midorima persuaded him to do something more practical—in which he followed him into medicine; about their parents' reacted to their relationship, how both their mothers gushed with glee and awe while their fathers simply nodded their head in satisfaction.

Sometimes, he would even ask Midorima details about their sex life, in which the doctor's face would redden immediately and change the conversation as quickly as possible. It was that moment, Midorima felt the old Takao was back; the mischievous male, who enjoyed watching his boyfriend fidget under humiliating moments. It was during those times, Takao would smirk and his eyes would follow the other's uneasy movements. It was like the only person who mattered in his life at that very moment was Midorima.

Out of all the memories and small tidbits Midorima wanted him to remember, he wanted him to remember his nickname on his own. He wanted the name to leave Takao's lips the same way they used to; the ecstatic tone in his voice. He didn't utter a single word, not even a small hint, to the male regarding the name, but he was certain every time Takao called him with his surname, he winced.

Once they were seated at the table, Takao looked at Midorima with cautious eyes, "So… Christmas is coming up."

His only response from the latter was a slow, steady nod, which resulted in the former to play with his food, before voicing the thoughts occupying his mind.

"Do you have anything planned?"

Midorima could only stare at Takao, shaking his head, "Not that I know of. I have to see what Oha Asa says this year."

Takao only smiled, nodding and chewing his meal. It as strange to see a grown man still revolve his life around Oha Asa, but these past few months, he's grown accustomed to seeing the man listening to the daily horoscope. He figured his old self must have enjoyed watching the male's mouth point downwards, heading towards a frown, or slightly upwards, towards a barely noticeable smile. Midorima only tightened his hold on his utensil and bit his lower lip upon seeing his reaction.

This year, he would listen to Oha Asa. He didn't want to risk losing the most important person of his life for the second time.

Christmas arrived, with plenty of snow to greet the morning. As Takao was waking from his slumber, stretching and yawning loudly, a quick green blur rushed past him. Immediately, he snapped awake and watched as Midorima packed his belongings, messily putting on his coat in front of the door.

Takao chuckled before approaching him and adjusting his collar, "What's the hurry? As far as I know, you're not late for work."

"I have some business to do prior to work."

"Is it something to do with Oha Asa?"

His only reply was silence, in which he interpreted as a 'yes'. Over his time spent with the doctor, he grew familiar with his lack of responses. It was almost a automatic response, like his body and heart were already used to his habits. He would know when Midorima was silent, it typically meant a 'yes' or when the male was frustrated, his eyes would be staring intently and he would be completely separated from the world or when he asked him how was work, the male would simply stare at him for five seconds, and that usually indicated the day went fine.

Takao's grin only widened; sometimes Midorima was such a kid. "Well, have fun at work."

The doctor only nodded. However, before he left, he embraced Takao tightly, whispering a time and location before dashing out of the apartment, leaving a stunned and embarrassed Takao at the sudden gesture from Midorima.

Little did Takao know, he was equally as embarrassed, doing such an action outside of his comfort zone but his body moved on its own; similar to the time in the hospital room. Both their faces were as red as Rudolph's bright, little nose.

Midorima idly sat on the bench, impatiently tapping his foot against the ground in even paces. His heart was racing like mad, eagerly waiting for his partner to show up so they could make it in time for their reservation. This year was going to be the year.

He glanced at his old watch once again; the contraption slowly ticking away as its life was slowly dying. Similar to last year, he took an early leave off work, but this time, he knew what to expect—Hell, this time, he was the one to organize their Christmas celebration.

It was like déjà vu, even the weather was as cold and chilly as last year; his breath clearly visible in the tiny clouds he was emitting. However, he prayed this year, it would end differently.

His patience was wearing down, the optimism and childish butterflies in his system were declining rapidly as each second passed. Just when he was about to lose hope, that Takao must have choked at his invitation and was packing up his belongings, he heard loud footsteps approach him. His eyes widened when he saw that wide smile from Takao, his voice echoing throughout the park, and he instantly stood up.

This had to be a mistake—no, a dream? A miracle?


It was when Takao was right in front of him – his cheeks flushed with a deep scarlet, his smile was the widest he'd seen in months – that Midorima felt this was it. This was his Takao; the one prior to the accident; the one who stood by his side for ten years; the one who stayed by his side for eight years; and the one who was the most compatible with him.

When Takao noticed Midorima's shocked expression, the stillness of his body, his grin only widened, "I knew it. That's the name you wanted to hear from my lips."

Midorima could feel water accumulate in his eyes but he refused to let them out, refused to let them trickle down his cheeks and ruin such a perfect moment. But yes – yes – he was so damn relieved to hear the name escape from his mouth. How long had he waited to hear such a foolish name? How long had he been hoping for Takao to find that one special memory?

"But we can't celebrate yet. I don't quite remember all my memories; I guess you can say they are slowly coming back. It's just I came across an old present and well, this jogged up my memory." Takao reached into his pocket before unravelling a neatly-wrapped gift followed by an opened card. Hesitantly, nervously, he chuckled, "Sorry about the card. I was curious, despite it being my gift to you, Shin-chan."

His heart skipped a beat once he heard the name; it was so comforting just to hear that again—to him, that was enough of a present. But he still took the gift in his hands, carefully reading the card before diverting his attention from the folded piece of paper to Takao.

"Shin-chan, Merry Christmas! Even though you're a tsundere, even though you don't admit your feelings towards me openly, I'm still grateful I met you. You may not be the best boyfriend, but I wouldn't change it for anyone else.

This sounds really corny and out-of-character. Kise-chan must be rubbing off on me! But Merry Christmas, Shin-chan. Hopefully you'll find some use out of this. Thought it could count as your lucky item from now on. - Takao"

He wanted to hug Takao then, and he could see from the latter's eyes that he did too, but both were waiting anxiously to see what was the gift in his hands. When he opened up the present, his eyes widened with awe. It was a brand new silver watch, sparkling brightly up at him, as it ticked away at a livelier pace than his old one. He flipped it over, examining it closely and tracing his finger over every little detail on the watch until he came across the case; his fingers tracing over the fine writing.

Engraved was one word, a name specifically.


A small smile tugged on Midorima's lips, as well as Takao's, and the two leaned forward until they found themselves embraced in each other's arms. Midorima's arms around Takao's shoulders while the latter's arms found their way around his waist, the warmth from each other's bodies prevented them from feeling the chill in the wintery weather.

"Merry Christmas, Shin-chan."

"Merry Christmas, Takao."

The two stayed in silence a while longer, until Takao jerked back, startling Midorima and distancing themselves from each other so they could get a clear view of one another's face.

"I just realized, you already have your lucky item for the day, don't you, Shin-chan? What is it?"

Midorima only tightened his hold before nuzzling his face into Takao's silky, soft hair; the other burying his face in his chest. "Right in front of me."

For the umpteenth time that day, Takao's smile brightened.

First place goes to Cancer! Congratulations! You will have an exciting day! Your lucky item today is someone special in your life. Enjoy!