It's me again, with another MidoTaka oneshot^^
I decided to go for something sadder this time, considering the last was all fluffy.
Disclaimer: If I did own KuroBas then Takao would be crooning a love song to Midorima by now. Also, the image belongs to a really awesome artist that is not me.
Warning(s): Angst, boys love, character death, MidoTaka, slight OOCness…add more if you deem fit.
"Shin-chan…I like you."
Takao Kazunari's heart was beating so fast it actually hurt. It had been a feat trying to keep his voice steady, and his anticipation sent adrenaline pumping through his veins. He could hear his breath, his heart, and most of all...Midorima's breath.
The taller boy looked up from where he was sitting on the bench to stare at him.
"So that's what you wanted to tell me? Isn't that what you say on a daily basis?"
The shooting guard was right. He did say something along the lines of that every day. Takao raked his hands through his hair.
"No. I like you…like couples like each other. I like you and I want you to be my boyfriend. That's the kind of like I'm talking about!"
Silence. Suffocating silence. The point guard sighed and picked up his bag.
"You know what, let's just-"
He turned around.
"I know what you mean. I…just need some time."
Perhaps he is thinking of ways to reject me, or hoping that I would forget and get on with our lives like nothing ever happened…
Even if there was a chance Midorima really meant what he said, it was still hard to ignore that tiny clenching motion his heart did when he thought of the possible outcomes of his actions. He really did prepare for everything. Countless hours in front of the mirror were spent trying to word out his feelings. Countless chances were missed because he was just too shy. Countless ways the confession could go either right or go wrong.
His partner was still staring at his back.
"I really do mean what I said. You can reject me, or accept, but I need an answer…please."
Takao left the locker room before the other could respond.
A week passed.
Then 2 weeks.
Midorima Shintarou had yet to give an answer, but it was not because he forgot or was trying to ignore the issue. It was a complicated feeling. To be honest, Takao's confession was far from normal, but so was his reaction to it. He was so calm, so mature about everything, yet he was the same age as his teammate, and thus he too was confused.
The raven was definitely a friend. A good one in fact. Happy-go-lucky, reliable, and understanding to a fault. For them to have gotten this close considering the dynamic of their relationship (because come on, what kind of friends ferried each other on rickshaws?), it was nothing short of a miracle. Did he really see Takao as someone he could love? Someone who could accept him for who he was and stay by his side? Would Midorima himself be willing to do the same for the other?
Takao was his same annoying self, but each time green met dark blue during game time, the greenhead would find himself feeling a little more guilty at the hurt look in his eyes. It was almost as if the Hawk Eyes were saying only one thing.
"I'm waiting, Shin-chan."
It took him another week to get his act together and decide that yes, he was attracted to Takao. It was almost embarrassing how memories of every little thing came flooding into his mind like some weird real life drama. Maybe the confession was some kind of catalyst. A catalyst that triggered what little attraction Midorima felt for the smaller boy.
"Midorima Shintarou…meh, that's kinda long. I know, I'll call you Shin-chan!"
"Shut up, Takao."
"Now now, don't be shy~"
"Shut up and die, Takao."
Yet all the other boy did was laugh it off. It was a brand new sensation, finding someone so willing to accept you for who you are. His overly strong (and weird) belief in horoscopes and fate pushed many away, but all it seemed to do to Takao was bring him closer and closer.
It could be his hormones speaking, but the point guard did have a nice body. Slim, muscular, and slightly tanned. This time, blood rushed southwards and Midorima just wanted to bury himself in a hole out of embarrassment.
Not to mention, their horoscopes were compatible too.
Deeper and deeper. He was falling for his partner more by the day.
"Takao…can we talk?"
The point guard packed the last of his books and slung the bag over his shoulder. His eyes were hopeful, but conflicted.
"I would love to…but not today. My mom wants me to run some errands for her so I need to go straight home and would probably be out till dinner…"
He probably wants to buy time to prepare himself…
Midorima shifted his bag.
It was a quiet journey home. The shooting guard had not found the need to make his way home on his own after Takao had come into his life, and thus it was lonely having to step into the gate without a black-haired idiot waving like a maniac behind him.
The call came sometime in the evening.
"Hello? Midorima household? May I speak to Shintarou-kun?"
It was Takao's father. The eerily calm way he was speaking and the sound of sobbing in the background only made Midorima's heart drop lower.
A weary sigh came from the other end.
"Kazunari got involved in a violent incident. He's out of the operating theatre, but is still in critical condition. I'm calling because you're a very…important friend to him, and you deserve to know."
The greenhead's voice was no longer his own. It took all he had not to drop the phone.
There was a shooting incident at the supermarket he went to. Him, another high school student and some kindergardeners were held as hostages. Apparently the culprits had such efficient teamwork, no one could make a call to the police until much later.
The whole time he was willing the transport to just go faster already, he was just trying to convince himself that everything was alright. Yet all the images Midorima's panicked mind could conjure up were far from pretty or assuring.
The culprits got impatient when they did not get what they wanted, and decided to shoot the hostages. He took the bullets meant for the children.
Why did this have to happen? Just when he had sorted out his feelings and everything…?!
They hit him in vital spots. It is almost a miracle he is still alive after all he went through, but no one has much hope that he will survive the night…
The whitewashed corridors had once fascinated him. It amazed him how the doctors could perform miracles and bring patients on the brink of death back to the pink of health. It amazed him how it was possible to fix someone up, cure a sick person, and how medicines could make one feel better in a matter of hours or days.
As Midorima ran through the corridors, all he could see was blood, life machines. All he could feel, was unmistakable despair.
Takao was hooked up to so many machines. The breathing mask he had on fogged up with every slow breath he took, and the line on the heart monitor jumped with each beat his heart made. It was so relieving yet so worrying to see the sight. The taller boy sat down and using his unbandaged hand he picked up its smaller counterpart, squeezing it.
It squeezed back.
Midorima could only watch as Takao's eyes fluttered open slowly, but surely. Takao's mother was so relieved she practically squeezed the air out of him.
"Kazunari! You're awake!"
He was talking to his mother, yet his eyes were on the green-haired boy.
Even as they kept eye contact, that was all they did. No words were exchanged, no actions executed. The stiff shooting guard could only exhale after the other boy's parents had left to give the two some private time and shut the door with a click. The patient smiled.
"I'm glad…you're here…"
The words he had been wanting to say all day…why were they stuck so badly in his throat?
Takao sighed, causing his entire mask to fog up.
"W-Where? Is it serious? Do I need to call-"
"…I'm fine. Just some bullet wounds…"
Midorima wanted to bash his head on the nearest table for his partner's blatant disregard of the severity of the situation.
"You could have died!"
His voice bounced off the walls. Takao's eyes reflected fear, then relief.
The taller boy took a few deep breaths to calm himself.
"I do. I do care for you."
The point guard was no longer staring at him. He was looking at something on the ceiling.
"Is this…because…I'm…dying? Because…you pity…me?"
Midorima was expressionless. Takao got the sinking feeling that he had hit the bullseye, but tried again.
A bandaged hand gripped his own, and he felt his palm touch the lower half of his partner's left chest.
"If I pitied you, would my heart be drumming this fast?"
Sudden beeping jolted him out of his thoughts, the line on the heart monitor was erratic and those dark blue eyes were glazed over. The adrenaline that surged through his body as he slammed the ward door open and yelled for a doctor could only numb the ache of his muscles from their previous basketball practice. It did nothing to numb the pain that stabbed at his chest as his partner's face contorted in pain, with him being unable to do anything at all.
He was over in a second, holding the other's hand.
Please just please hold on! The doctor would be coming soon!
"I know…you don't…like…me…*gasps*…but…thank you…"
Why was his heartbeat slowing down? Why did Takao look like he was no longer looking directly at him anymore?! Midorima tried to calm his own heart throughout but his efforts were futile. Tears had begun to stream down his cheeks and his own vision was becoming distorted, a black blur his only indication to where the other was.
Takao froze. The greenhead took this chance to squeeze his partner's hands the hardest he could.
"I like you! I don't pity you and neither am I doing this out of sympathy!"
He choked on the last word, no longer bothering to wipe away his tears. It was a reckless thing to do, considering Takao's parents were standing right across him at the other side of the bed. But at that moment, it was the least of his worries.
"I like you, Takao Kazunari! I want to date you and I want to kiss you even more! So please…"
He could hear himself sob over the sound of Takao's mother doing the same.
That time when Takao introduced the rickshaw system, and happily complied each time even though he always lost at rock-paper-scissors. He would smile, get on the bicycle without much complaint, and take Midorima wherever he wanted to go. No matter how far, it was never too far.
There were those times when Takao forgot to organize his notes before a test, and would prostrate himself on the ground before his friend for proper notes. Midorima would hand them over while grumbling about lazy people who do not bother to study, while the raven would just accept them with a Cheshire grin.
On those days, there would always be a can of shiruko waiting for him in his bag after lunch. The post-it note attached would say: "Arigatou, Shin-chan! =^_^=b".
Midorima practiced hard. He continued shooting even when his arms felt like hot jelly, continued even when the only light sources left of the place were the lights in the courts. Takao would always be there too. He would watch, he would joke, he would laugh. He would join in, and then repeat the cycle all over again until his number 6 deemed his practice enough and started picking up the balls while he helped.
It was weird, but the point guard stopped offering to fetch him home when they failed to advance in the Interhigh.
The sound of basketballs falling from being thrown and the metal clang of rebounds were what greeted the shooting guard of Shutoku when he entered the courts on a non-practice day. The lights were on, and Takao was there behind the three-point line, shooting basketballs one after another, regardless of whether they went in. He was sweating so much his entire face shone, and panting so much, he had to bend over a few times to catch his breath.
Another ball was shoved into his face, and dark blue orbs looked up to meet dark green ones.
"It is pointless to aim to defeat you when we're playing on the same team. That is why… I'll make you recognize me!"
Takao himself had moisture peeking out from the corner of both eyes, the tears leaving them by thin streams when he closed those orbs.
At this point the doctors finally burst in and Midorima used what strength he had left to step away while the medical personnel did their thing. He could see a nurse put a comforting hand on Takao-san's shoulders, as she wept even harder for her son. He could hear his partner's pained gasp as the oxygen mask was removed for a bit. It was hard to watch so much suffering, yet Midorima's eyes followed every movement, as if something disastrous would happen if so much as looked away.
Takao knew he was a hopeless case. As the doctors and nurses rushed about to stabilise his condition, he could see the despair in their eyes, feel it in the air. His time was up and he had to leave.
It must have been the last burst of strength Kami-sama had decided to bestow upon him. The green-haired boy looked at him, astounded.
"IT'S NOT GOODBYE…!"
Midorima Shintarou had never seen such a beautiful smile present itself on Takao Kazunari's face. It was so serene, peaceful, and genuine. It dazzled him for all of three seconds before the raven's head lolled to the side lifelessly and the bright line went flat. The long beep reverberated throughout the whole ward.
He wanted so badly not to cry, but holding back proved to be impossible. The tears just kept coming.
It was a full moon.
Relatives and distant relatives came from all over to offer their condolences to the Takao family. Midorima could not find it in himself to retort to anyone that he was fine and needed no comfort. He was not feeling fine, and the very air in the atmosphere seemed to suffocate him. The ex-Teiko team came, and a brief glance was all he acknowledged them with as they took their seats around the table.
"Midorimacchi…I bet Takaocchi wouldn't want to see you so sad."
Thank you, Kise.
"Midochin…want some peanuts?"
Thank you, Murasakibara.
"Look, I ain't good with words. Your friend…Takao was it? Yeah, he's probably somewhere happily playing basketball right now…"
"Dai-chan! Don't be so insensitive! Gomen ne, Midorin…I'm really sorry about everything."
Thank you, Aomine, Momoi.
"You are just as important to Takao-kun as he is to you, Midorima-kun. He would want you to cheer up."
Kuroko gave a small smile, an almost knowing one.
Thank you, Kuroko.
"Thank you, everyone. It's just…hard."
Akashi getting up from his seat seemed to be the cue for the Shutoku player to follow. Both weaved through the nearby trees until they reached a clearing, and sat down on two of the three stumps. Even with minimum light, the ex-Teiko captain's heterochromic eyes seemed to glow as they stared at Midorima with sympathy. He looked up at the moon.
"It must hurt."
A lot. More than any injury ever would.
The ex-vice captain looked up too, as if the bright round shape held all the answers.
Companionable silence enveloped them for a while. It had always been like that back in middle school, and nothing much had changed since then. Akashi stood up and walked over to Midorima, handkerchief in hand as he dabbed at the other's tear-stained features. He dropped the cloth into the bigger hands when he was done and slowly started to walk away.
Midorima looked up from his hands.
"It is not goodbye. It's a promise to return."
The redhead disappeared among the trees without waiting for a reply.
Once more, just once more the droplets started to fall.
It was only after the bulk of the people had left that the green-haired boy could get the attention of Takao's parents. Takao kaa-san was still dabbing at her eyes, eyes bloodshot from grieving while Takao tou-san had shinier-than-usual eyes. It was a bad time to bring up that issue from the hospital, but if Midorima did not clarify it now then he never would.
"Takao-san…I'm sorry. I took up all of Ta-Kazunari's time and he didn't get to talk to you…"
"…it's ok, Shintarou-kun."
In all her sadness, the mother still managed to smile.
"We knew he saw you as more than a friend *sobs* and…we're happy to know you return his feelings."
Her husband had to take over from her at this point as she started sniffling again.
"Live your life knowing this…and live it well."
If Midorima could cry any more, he would. But his tears had long been exhausted and he simply nodded before excusing himself and making his way home.
A decade later, and he still misses his number 10. How ironic.
It had been tough trying to get through medical school, but he did it. Some way or another, he decided to pursue a paediatrician degree and left his parents and friends baffled. They have after all never seen him as one to love interacting with children, much less on a daily basis. Their calls for him to rethink his decision were ignored, and the ex-shooting guard graduates with first class honours. The hospital Takao passed away in is the first and only one he applies to the moment he is pronounced a legal doctor.
Of course, he is accepted without any trouble.
Maybe it is because he sees his late partner's childishness and naivety in every child he meets. The way their eyes light up at the promise of candy, the way they stare with uncertainty when he prescribes any medicine, and the way they look down sadly when their sickness prevents them from going to an anticipated event. It still hurts each time their actions remind him of Takao, but it's the assurance they will live, that keeps him going.
"Midorima-sensei! Can I send the patient in with her mother now?"
He pauses in his writing.
"Send them in."
A young mother in her late twenties ushers in a sulking young girl who looked like she had to be dragged and bribed to enter this place. The woman sighs and sits down beside her daughter.
"I apologise for her behaviour, sensei. I had to cancel her ballet lessons to bring her here and she's not very happy about it."
"I can see that."
Midorima tries to smile a little (as it had worked wonders on patients (and their mothers) before), offering a candy, but to his surprise this one huffs at his attempt and just sulks harder. The mother stifles a chuckle. He puts the candy back into the bowl and coughs to dispel the awkwardness.
"How may I help you today?"
"She's been coughing for the past few days, and I'm worried she has caught something."
He nods and turns to look at the still-sulking little girl.
"May I have your name, young lady?"
She puffs out her cheeks, as if to contemplate if the question was worth answering before looking up with a frown.
"Kazumi-chan it is then."
"You haven't told me your name yet, sensei."
The green-haired doctor smiles inwardly. It has been a while since such a stubborn child came in.
"It's too long."
Normally, he would have ignored the child and continued with his examination but for some reason he wanted to hear her out, get to know this young one a little better. The pigtailed girl thinks for a bit before grinning cheekily.
"I know! I'll call you Shin-chan sensei!"
The familiar nickname freezes him in his tracks, and the pen falls from his hand. He looks up to meet eerily familiar dark blue eyes that are dancing with playfulness.
"It is not goodbye. It's a promise to return."
I still can't believe I wrote this. How could I do this to my OTP?! T.T
Posted: 16/01/2013 (dd/mm/yyyy)