AN: Alright, so I wrote this story last night with the intnetion of uploading it after I was done, but by the early morning of which I had finished it I was too tired to upload it. I am doing it now though. This story was inspired by Shane Dawson's 'Maybe This Christmas', and it honestly it was better in my head than it turned out on paper, but oh well. I hope you enjoy! Comments are appreciated, but no flames, I do understand that I kind of lost motivation at parts so it isn't as good as it could be. I spaced everything out a bit more, because I heard it was easier for some people to read it that way.

Nothing aside from some sort of a Christmas Miracle would get Kise to smile again; a true smile not that fake smile that he flashed as he worked. The smile that could easily, even effortlessly light an entire room up, and cause anyone to smile along with him.

Ever since that incident 5 years ago, not a single person had seen that smile, and although no one would admit it; it was causing great suffering, and slowly killing everyone who held him dear. Any who knew Kise would all wholeheartedly agree that, out of everyone, he deserved a miracle the most. For he was the number one person to fund the research for such terrible, damaging diseases and ultimately leading to a cure for them being found. It was truly a wonder why whatever God may exist, if you chose to believe in such a thing, chose to make him, of all people, suffer so greatly.

Nothing could compare to the look of utter shock that spread across Kise's face when the news was broken to him. His legs shook, and, unable to hold his weight any longer, he collapsed to his knees. Seemingly unaware of this himself his eyes had just been fixed at some spot in the distance, blankly staring on.

There is a moment, when someone falls into a pit of depression, where the sadness and pain become so overwhelmingly intense that they seem to become numb all over. They don't cry, shout, or sob; they don't even blink. They simply cease to feel any pain, and enter a stage where their existence, their soul, seems to briefly leave them; as if they themselves briefly cease to exist. They don't hear anything anyone is saying anymore; they are unaware of the world around them. Numb, entirely, and completely numb. For a moment…it even seems as though their heart has relented and stopped beating.

Perhaps, after that passes, they wish to return to such a state, because that abyss is better than the swirling hole of disaster, suffering, and depression that swallows you up after. This is what Kise Ryouta experienced when he was informed of his fiancé's death. Some believe that the experience people like this go through, prior to the suffering that claims them afterwards, is what possesses them to take, or attempt to take, their own life. After all, if they can't willingly return to that moment of near death where such pain isn't present, why not take it into your own hands to regain that solace? Perhaps even, after death they could return to their lost love's arms, and regain their former happiness that they owned before their loved one was so cruelly taken from them.

The moment Kise came out of the blank abyss of his near death state; his heart was gripped with terror, suffocating depression, unbearable pain, suffering, and irrational anger and denial. Blinking repeatedly long eyelashes tried stave off the tears that threatened to spill over, and long, slender toned arms lashed out in attempt to shove the staff out of his way. The fact that two of them were his close friends seemed to not matter, or even register, in the least in this moment to him.

"No! Let me go! Please! Let me see him! You're lying! He isn't dead! He's not! He promised…he promised we would spend this Christmas together! We were supposed to get married! How can you say that Midorimacchi!? It isn't funny‼ How could you say that about Aominecchi!?" Such a painfully desperate, pained tone, dripping with misplaced anger and frustration was so very foreign for the blonde. It caused all of the staff that was within hearing distance's hearts to clench. Desperately, he fought against the several staff members holding him back from pummeling the green haired doctor, his friend's, face in. Face contorted into one of pure suffering, pure agony, his face twisted in desperate sadness and anger, and tears cascading like a never ending waterfall from his eyes; it nearly made the green haired doctor ask for his staff to set the blonde free and allow him to take out his frustrations on him, for even a moment, in hopes that it might help in the slightest to calm the storm raging inside of him.

The green haired doctor's face twisted, as if trying to match the blonde's, in a pained expression. His bandaged hand clutched his lucky item of the day tightly in his left hand. He had known he didn't have the best of luck today, and he had nearly pleaded with one of his superiors to cover his shift today; he foolishly believed he would be alright by following all of Oha-Asa's instructions though. He had done everything Oha-Asa suggested to curve his bad luck today, so why did such an important patient have to die? He would've sworn on his life, before everything had gone so wrong so quickly, that he had done everything correctly to help prevent such terrible things from happening. He had done everything in his power to save the tanned man's life, and yet, he had failed. Now, he could do nothing to comfort the blond that they all loved so dearly, that was practically the sun incarnate on earth, shattering before his eyes.

"I'm sorry. Kise, I did everything I could. I'm so sorry, Aomine is gone. I am so sorry for your loss," the words, to his own ears, didn't sound anywhere close enough to bring even the slightest comfort, reassurance or solace to the blond.

"He's not! He's not dead! He can't be! Midorimacchi! Please…I won't be mad! Just tell me this was a sick joke! Please! Please! I swear…I swear…I won't be mad! Aominecchi! Please come out laughing! I'm not mad! Just…just…let this joke end! It…it was very funny! You got me good! Please…please just come out and let's go get married! Just like we were supposed to!" Desperate, broken, pleas and begs left the blonde's throat; his voice cracked and croaked slightly, raw and hoarse from emotion, as he frantically whipped his head back and forth looking for his lover who had plotted this whole awful joke.

The green haired doctor's grip tightened causing the head on his lucky item to pop off from the sheer force of his vice grip. Clenching his jaw to the point where his teeth painfully ground against one another, he shoved the now headless item into his coat pocket. Anger had overcome him; this was just far too unfair. Kise hadn't done anything to deserve such pain and suffering, so why was it him that was chosen to suffer so greatly?

Perhaps if he had gotten both Aomine and Kise their lucky items today…maybe they could have been spared. Was he truly partially to blame for not thinking this through more thoroughly? Perhaps, not only was he to blame for not being able to save Aomine, but for not giving them their item that would help stave off their bad luck? Was this his fault?

Midorima tightly gripped the blonde's shoulders, well aware that a grip as tight as this would cause bruises, but he found himself unable to control it at this moment; and he doubted the blonde would even be able feel it right now, nor did he think he would notice such a thing later. He firmly shook the blonde's shoulder roughly in an attempt to bring his attention firmly to himself. He knew he was behaving in a very unorthodox manner, but, at this time, he couldn't stop himself. He was far too angry, "Kise! That's enough! This isn't some joke! Aomine would never joke like this with anyone! Especially not you! Aomine is dead! No one would joke about something like this! I'm so sorry, but Aomine is gone and he isn't coming back ever!"

Wide heart-broken, pained, topaz-honey colored eyes stared at him in shock. They were filled to the brim with tears; already red and puffy from ones that had already spilled out. Finally come back to some semblance of his sanity, Midorima stared with his own horrified, pained expression. He was well aware that he had been far too rough with the, even more so, fragile blond, but he just hadn't been able to stop himself. Against his will he found that he couldn't prevent himself from noticing, even marveling, at how breath-taking, beautiful, and stunning Kise still managed to be; even as he was a sobbing, heart-broken, mess of a man, that had just been informed of his fiancé's death.

However, through his rough, unorthodox ways, the words had finally managed to register in the blonde's mine. Again Midorima watched as Kise crumpled to the ground, falling miserably to his knees, all his previous fight seeming to have drained from him. Midorima watch as Kise viciously dug the heels of his hands into his eyes, bearing down so his elbows dug into his thighs.

A tortured scream tore through the hospital, ricocheting, and echoing off the walls. A kind of scream that belonged only to a broken man; one that had just had his world so cruelly ripped away from him on a day that was supposed to be happy, warm and for family. A day that good feelings should have been more so associated with due to the fact it was supposed to have been the happiest day of his life; the day he was meant to gain a husband, as well as become someone else's husband.

Dull topaz, honey colored eyes stared blankly out the window, watching, waiting for the return of his beloved fiancé. He was sure this time, absolutely positive that, this time, Aomine would make it in time for Christmas. This year, he was absolutely positive, they would finally get married. He had already thoroughly, to the point of obsession, decorated their house perfectly. He had already prepared the cookie dough for the Christmas cookies they always baked, and bought the necessary ingredients for their famous Christmas cake.

He hadn't done anything especially different, it was the same things he had done every year the past 5 years, nothing was blaringly different this year, yet still, this year he was positive Aomine would return to him. Many could, and probably would, argue that he had insisted that last year was that year, as well as the year before that, the one before that, and even the one before that. However he was absolutely positive his Aomine wouldn't keep him waiting without any phone calls or contact for over 5 years, therefore this must be the year Aomine would return to him.

"How long are you plannin' on waitin' for somethin' that isn't ever gonna happen?" The annoyed voice of Kagami tore through the model's distant thoughts, causing him to jolt ever so slightly. Tearing his gaze away from the window, he peered up at the red head with wide eyes; his usual fake, pleasant smile plastered on his face out of pure reflex. However the moment he truly registered Kagami's words the false smile was instantly replaced with a frown.

"Why do you keep on insisting that Aominecchi isn't going to come back? Aominecchi never breaks his promises. He won't break this one to me. He will be back this year, there is no way he will keep me waiting for that 'Christmas he'll be back, he promises.' For over 5 years without any calls, or letters, without any contact with me. It has to be this year he comes back." Annoyance laced Kise's voice; he couldn't comprehend why everyone was already acting as if Aomine wouldn't ever be returning.

Why does everyone else have so little faith in Aomine? It wasn't fair for them to have such little belief in his word. Not once had Aomine broken a promise to Kise, so why did everyone so firmly believe that Aomine would start now? It wasn't as if Aomine was dead, or anything as ridiculous as that. The thought alone caused him to snort softly in derision. What an utterly ridiculous idea that was.

Subconsciously Kise raised a hand and absentmindedly rubbed it over his chest. Why was it that, at that thought, Kise's chest hurt so badly? Of course it is only natural to feel pain when thinking about the death of a loved one, but why did it hurt so especially bad, even more so than it used to 5 years ago, when he thought about it now. Every time the thought of Aomine being dead had popped into his head, his heart had hurt especially bad; as if every time a piece of his heart was being ripped out and he was dying a little every time; and why had his head started hurting as well ever since 5 years ago?

"Ya need ta face it already Kise, he's not gonna be comin' back! He just isn't! It's just not gonna happen, no matter how hard ya hope for it! It just is not gonna happen! Not now, not ever!" Kagami growled in frustration at the blonde, as he turned on his heel; aiming to storm out of the kitchen. However Kagami was suddenly stopped by the surprisingly strong pale hand that had latched onto his wrist, topaz, honey colored eyes narrowed up at him.

Why…? Why…does Kise's heart hurt so much when people talk about Aomine like that! Kise know he's coming back! Why does it bother him so much when they speak of Aomine like that?! Surely the reason for this must be Aomine thinks of these people as his friends and yet they all think and speak so terribly of him! …Why…is Kagami in Kise's kitchen anyway?

"Kise-kun…what are you doing here? Are you alright?" A startled gasp fell from Kise's lips and his heartbeat skyrocketed even more so at the sudden appearance of his light blue haired friend. Kuroko was greeted with Kise staring down at him with a very startled 'deer caught in the headlights' look. Kise had already been ill at ease from suddenly finding himself in a graveyard at night; he was afraid fo such places to begin with. He had never liked horror-themed things, he hated the idea of ghosts, and he was far from being a fan of the dark. Kuroko's usual appearing act hadn't helped calm his nerves in the slightest.

Kise's long eyelashes rapidly blinked, as he reached a hand up, tentatively touching his cheek; Kuroko's question, and concern momentarily forgotten by the blond. …Why…why is Kise's face wet? …Warm…? …Salty…? …Tears…? These are…tears…? Kise is…crying…? But…why…?

"Kise-kun, are you alright?" Kuroko had called out yet again, voice, this time, tinged with worry; effectively pulling Kise out of his momentary lapse into a confused stupor.

Blinking furiously, repeatedly and swiping at the tears on his face; he briefly glanced at Kagami and then stared at Kuroko. Kise's usual false, reassuring, disarming smile was given to the both of them; they seemed very troubled and worried after all, and he hated worrying people especially those he cared about. Although he himself was very worried and trouble by the odd situation he found himself in.

"I'm fine Kurokocchi," he paused and chuckled slightly as a sheepish smile graced his face and he fiddled with his earring nervously, "I honestly can't remember how I got here…let alone why I'm here. What are Kurokocchi and Kagamicchi doing here?"

Kise's plan to ease the troubles of Kuroko and Kagami seemed to have failed for he noticed that if anything they looked even further troubled by what he had just said; he didn't fail to notice how Kuroko's grip tightened on Kagami's hand, and he unwillingly felt, and couldn't stop, the ugly, bitter emotion of jealousy bubbling up from within him.

"I see," Kuroko paused for a moment, his brows drawing together ever so slightly in thought, "Kise-kun, since we live closer than you do, I would like it if you were to simply spend the night at our house. Kise-kun seems very tired, I would not want something happening to him on his way home," Kuroko offered. Kuroko's smaller, paler hand that wasn't holding onto Kagami's reaching out and gently grasping onto his own, sky blue eyes peering up at him. Kuroko's thumb gently caressed the top of his hand in an oddly, slightly comforting and soothing gesture.

That's right…Kise's in Kagami and Kuroko's house. That's why Kagami is here. Kise should get home. What if Aomine were to return whilst Kise was away and he were to miss it, because he was here instead of there?! How terrible that would be! Kise really should go!

"Kise…oi, are ya still here?" Kagami worriedly called out to the blonde model perched in the chair; he was trying to draw Kise's attention back to the living world, from wherever he had drifted off to. Kagami had recognized that distant look in Kise's eyes; it was the look Kise got when he was recalling something, but it wasn't' as distant of a look as when Kise remembered something from back then. It was not as distant of a look as the way Kise had looked just the previous night.

Kise scrambled to his feet, his wide, panicked, brilliant, topaz, honey, colored eyes staring into the fiery red of Kagami's.

"I…I have to go…I have to get home before Aominecchi gets home! I have to be there for him when he arrives. I don't want him to think I forgot about him! I want to be there when Aominecchi comes home! I need to put finishing touches on everything! Everything has to…has to…be perfect! Aominecchi's coming back; I want everything to be perfect for him!" Desperate insistence claimed Kise's voice, as he hurriedly made his way towards the door, lacking his usual grace, in his haste stumbling and barely catching himself several times. Kise knew they would have a perfect Christmas again this year; his Aominecchi would be back with him, and they would be happily together this Christmas.

The smell of delicious baked goods wafted through the house, seeming to permeate any closed doors and the walls so the entire house was filled with the scent. Warmth seemed to emanate from this house; it was a strong contrast to the icy cold wind and stunningly beautiful, but freezing snow. Joyous, content, laughter rang out loud and clear as a couple hung lights applying last minute finishing touches before Christmas. They had agreed to decorate together, and had only just now gotten the free time between their works to do such a thing.

The shorter blonde stood on a stool he had acquired and was trying to balance the glowing angel on top of the tree. The blonde had, of course, insisted that they get a tree taller than the both of them even when either one was standing on their tip toes. The tanned, bluenette, male smirked in amusement and joy as he watched the blonde fumble with the angel. Lust danced in his midnight eyes as they followed every movement of his lover's ass swaying tauntingly from side to side as he gave it his all with trying to get the angel to balance just so on top of the tree. An adorable blush adorned his lover's perfect boyish cheeks; reaching the point of irresistibly adorable and sexy the bluenette snapped. Unable to resist the temptation of his lover any longer, he wrapped his arms around the blonde's waist and kissed the spot on his back in between his shoulder blades. He was rewarded with a surprised yelp from the blond, followed by; "A…Aomine…cchi?" This time it was a squeak, and a spreading of the blush to the point of his ears turning a bright red as well.

Aomine grunted slightly as he held his lover closer and nuzzled against his back. "Still don't understand why ya insisted on havin' an angel on top of the tree," the bluenette mumbled into the fabric of Kise's shirt.

That comment earned Aomine a slightly exasperated sigh and an adorable cock of the head from his blonde lover as he tilted his head back to look at him, the ball of the Santa hat he was currently adorned with shifting with the movement.

"Well, I think it is nice having an angel in the house~! Especially the ones that glow~! They are so pretty~, don't you think so too Aominecchi~?! I like them better than the stars~." The blonde's tone carried a fond tinge to it as he gently ran his fingers over the top of the angel. The angel was glowing brightly illuminating the room, which was only enhanced by the flickering of the Christmas lights that their tree was decked out with; casting all sorts of colorful dancing lights across the couple.

Aomine scoffed slightly and rolled his eyes at Kise's statement, his grip tightening further around his lover's waist. Tanned fingers played with a few strands of dazzling blonde hair as he calmly spoke, "Why do we need some fake angel on top of the tree when I have an angel right here in my arms that, might I add my angel glows far brighter than anything ya could buy in a store?"

Kise froze in his absentminded stroking of the angel's head, his eyes widening comically as he turned and stared in full on shock at his blue-haired lover. He was truly baffled by the fact that Aomine could say such romantic, touching things like they were the most natural thing in the world, and not embarrassing in the least. Kise was well aware that his lover was a little rough around the edges, but he wholeheartedly believed that in moments like these just how incredible his lover is was entirely evident.

"Wh…wha…t did you just say Aominecchi….?" The blonde's tone dripped with uneasiness and nervousness, his stomach filled with all sorts of butterflies, his heart raced incredibly fast, pounding loudly, and his hands trembled. Irrational fear that this was some spectacular dream that would be snatched away in the blink of an eye claimed his heart.

Aomine was unaware, and not plagued by such fearful thoughts; a smirk danced upon the tanned face, and in one swift motion he spun his lover around, pulling him flush against his chest. Warm lips planted themselves in a loving, passionate way on the perfect plump soft lips of his model lover.

"Ya heard me, Kise, you are my angel and ya glow far brighter than anything else I have ever seen, 'specially some store bought angel." The seductive, passionate, deep voice of his lover caused shivers of excitement to run up the thinner boy's back; Kise had entirely lost the ability to form a coherent word, let alone a coherent sentence. However he more than willingly and happily returned his lover's hug and kiss.

A fond, happy smile replaced the smirk after midnight blues swept over the clock, as he calmly drawled out, "Good it's midnight, officially Christmas." Kise was not given the time to begin forming a question for why Aomine had apparently decided they should get on with the activities of Christmas at midnight, because immediately the taller male had sank to one knee, and extracted a small box from his pocket. "Kise Ryouta, shall we get married? You know, I was thinking next Christmas would be a good time."

A look of pure astonishment, flattery, and embarrassment took over the model's face. Such a sight was truly quite something to see; his entire face was a bright red, his jaw was hanging open, and his hands had fallen limp at his sides. Finally Kise seemed to get it through his thick, pretty, blond, model head that this was not a joke and was in fact truly happening. An ear splitting grin of sheer happiness, one so much more spectacular than the one's he used with his work, broke out across the model's face, and he launched himself at his blue haired lover.

Both basketball-heads tumbled to the ground in a mess of cords and limbs; the angel still remained in Kise's hand and had been dragged with the rest of the tree's decorations as they tumbled to the floor. "Aominecchi~! I can't believe this~! I would love to~! I can't wait for next Christmas~! Marrying Aominecchi~! It's like a dream come true~! This is the happiest day of my life so far Aominecchi~!"

It had never happened though…the next year when Aomine had left for his work, for he had the Christmas Eve shift that year, even though he vowed to be back Christmas day, he hadn't made it. Since then Kise had eagerly been anticipating the Christmas that his beloved Aomine would return to him, and he was absolutely positive this year would be the year.

Kagami, however, seemed to refuse to allow the blond to find solace in the thought that Aomine would be returning this year. Gripping the blonde's shoulders firmly in exasperated frustration and roughly shaking him; he ground out, "Kise! You don't need to hurry home! Aomine isn't, and won't be coming back! Not this year! Not ever! Why can't you understand that!? It's already been enough! Why can't you stop this! Stop living in denial! Aomine is dead! He's not coming back!"

Aomine's…dead…?! That can't be true! Lies! Tears rose up in the blonde's eyes accompanied by the all too familiar look of inconsolable depression that entirely took over whenever he was remembering it, or something painfully similar to that incident.

"You're lying! Shut up Kagamicchi! Aominecchi isn't dead! He…he…just…just…got lost…or something! He is coming back to me! He promised he'd be back by Christmas! He promised! He won't break his promise and he won't make me wait longer than 5 years without getting into contact with me at all! He's just going to surprise me! He's not dead! Don't ever say that Kagamicchi!" Darting passed the slightly taller red head; hurried and angered footsteps made their way out of the house, quickly followed by the sound of the door slamming shut.

"Kagami-kun that was definitely not the correct way to deal with Kise-kun. He is suffering greatly, and breaking such harmful news to him in such a way will not be beneficial to him." Kuroko's voice was cold and reprimanding; the shorter light blue haired and eyed male was standing beside the fridge with his arms crossed. Kuroko had gone unnoticed by both the blond model and his own lover.

Kagami turned his head away, a scowl spreading across his face, "I kinda feel bad, but I don' care he needs ta get over it already. He needs ta stop livin' in denial. How else is he ever gonna learn to deal with it, huh?"

Kuroko inclined his head slightly, and his face turned even sterner as he gripped his arms tightly; he looked as though he was restraining himself from 'Ignite Passing' his lover's face. "Kagami-kun, I do believe you should take a step back and try to see this from Kise-kun's perspective. How would you feel, if it had been I that died…? If I was the one cruelly ripped away from you without warning? Would you want someone treating you in the way you treated Kise-kun?"

Kagami frowned in thought as he stared at the door that the model had barreled through just recently. The truth was he wouldn't want someone treating him the way he had just treated Kise. As a matter of fact, he probably would have pummeled anyone's face in that dared to treat him like that; Kise was simply a better man for being able to walk, or in this case run away from such a situation.

Tears freely cascaded down the blonde's cheeks as he lay curled up in a miserable little ball on the couch, broken sobs escaping his throat as he managed to choke out, "Aominecchi…wher…where a…are…you…?"

A warm , comforting, and oh so familiar hand fell upon his shoulder and the rough but warm and so inviting lips brushed across his cheek; comforting kisses clearing the tears away. The blonde froze, breath catching in his throat, shivers of anticipation and fear passing through him. He was terrified of looking, terrified that this would be an illusion and disappear just as quickly as it had come. Gently teeth nipped at the lobe of his ear, toying with the flesh, tongue lapping over the teeth marks that had just been left. A husky deep, loving voice whispered into his ear, "Oi, I'm sorry I'm so late. Don't let me be the cause of your tears Ryouta."

Taking a deep shaky breath, Kise slowly braved the idea of a crushing, depressing defeat the model quickly spun around. A glacier melting smile stretched across the blonde's face; he was truly elated with pure happiness, and he tackled his lover to the ground. The blonde's arms were wrapped in a vice grip around his lover's neck, "Aominecchi~! You came back~! You're back~! I love you so, so, much Aominecchi~! I missed you, but I knew you would be back like you promised~!"

Aomine grinned as he held his lover close and ran a hand through his soft locks, whispering to him in an adoring tone, "Yeah, I'm back Ryouta, I missed you too, and I love you so much, I'm so sorry I am late, but I got caught up in a few things."

Cupping the blonde's cheek with a hand and wiping the additional tears that had escaped the blonde's eyes away; he planted a firm, loving kiss on his lips. Aomine continued, "What did I say? I told you I would be back for you on Christmas. It just wasn't the Christmas we were all expecting. Sorry for missing our wedding, but we'll have a better one. This year though, it's enough, just for you to have a happy Christmas…for you to not be sad, just for you to have a happy holiday."

The loud, nearly deafening, extended beep signaling a flat-line echoed throughout the room. "Call it," the green haired doctor commanded to his dark haired lover, right hand reaching up and violently tugging down his surgical mask.

"Time of death…10:54 PM," the dark haired male called out; stunning blue eyes following his lover out of the room.

The green haired doctor scrubbed a hand over his eyes in frustration; he stood anxiously in front of the four other males. Green eyes briefly swept across the males before they screwed themselves shut as he pinched the bridge of his nose.

Midorima forced his voice to not waver as he informed them of what happened to the blonde. "Kise's dead…I tried to save him, I did everything I could…but there was no helping it," this phrase was so very familiar, however it had become hauntingly so after he had delivered the message of Aomine's passing 5 years ago; he could only imagine how more so it would become now.

"We…all knew this would be coming soon…with how he was deteriorating mentally. I am honestly…just surprised about what put him in here…I expected him to…commit suicide, but…he died protecting a kid…from the robber. He…died with a smile on his face though. We all know what he must have been…dreaming about Aomine… It was…his time to go, he didn't need to suffer anymore; destiny would not have provided him with such a tauntingly pleasant pseudo reality if they wanted him to continue living. Of course, he would rather stay in the world where he still had Aomine, than continue living in this world without him. We all got our wish…for him to smile again, a real smile this Christmas. Our wish just did not go the way we would have liked…the way we would have preferred…but at least…Kise's happy now."

AN: Alright, so that is all I'm writing on this! I hope you enjoyed this angsty Christmas Fic.