Disclaimer: Kuroko no Basuke belongs to Fujimaki Tadatoshi.


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Someone You Once Knew

Ch. 8


He was shuffling home that evening with Momoi, who nagged him the entire time he tried to nap on the school's rooftop while ditching practice; Momoi, who was always, always with him. Just that fact alone irked him ― the fact that she thought he needed watching over like a small child, a fact that was becoming more and more irritating. An unexpected pang of guilt smacked him right in the chest when he peered at his childhood friend, seemingly deep in thought as she kept her pace deliberately so that she was a few steps behind him.

He really would have liked her to walk beside him, not following, skipping and humming nameless tunes to herself like she did back in middle school, and then on his other side, there would be Kuroko sipping his vanilla shake quietly. His mind shifted to basketball, and how boring it had become.

Basketball really sucks.

Aomine kept contemplating his choices, quit or not quit. Contradiction overran his thoughts, weighing cause and effect. Eventually, he stopped thinking altogether.

They neared the street court near their apartment building, and he focused on keeping his gaze averted from the fenced area. Then he heard a ball, bouncing, bouncing, and he knew before he looked.

Again?

"What's up with her?" he muttered, voice audible just enough for Momoi's ears to pick up.

She glanced around in confusion before finally catching sight of the said girl. Her eyes lit up, and Aomine watched as she flounced over into the court to throw herself into Asagi. "Shizu-chan!"

The way she clung to the shorter girl and the way she squealed and the way that she almost shone with life and spirit and vigour was just another really, really annoying habit of hers. It wasn't directed at the right person, and it crossed Aomine's mind the possibility that from now on it would be Asagi Shizuka instead of Tetsu walking home with them. He had to mentally slap himself so that he'd remember that she didn't belong in that image.

"...trying something out lately," he heard as he neared the two. Asagi was panting slightly, but she was beaming like no tomorrow. Aomine could see the drool threatening to drip out of Momoi's mouth.

It was more disgusting than he would normally bother to note.

"Trying to start a team for the girls in Seirin?" Aomine drawled lazily, shoving his hands in his pockets to keep them from sight, just in case they decided to be unsteady that day. Momoi shot him a dirty look.

"No," Asagi replied, oblivious to both the exchange between the two and to Aomine's sarcasm. "I think I found a new technique for basketball. A style, if you may call it."

Aomine raised an eyebrow, inviting further explanation.

"I guess the best way would be to show you, then it would be easier to understand," the small girl tossed the ball to Aomine.

A shock ran down his spine, making him shudder as he caught the ball with a familiar zap sort of feeling, like electricity transferring its particles from the basketball into his hand, electrons wildly circulating his entire body.

If he hadn't been so surprised, Aomine wouldn't have been able to swallow down the tight feeling making its way up his throat and ensnared it inside his chest.

He wondered when the last time was when he felt that kind of adrenaline, different from the rush of excitement stimulated by a challenge.

(Maybe it was the last time that he received one of Tetsu's passes?)

"Oh?" was all he managed to input, before Momoi began to pester Asagi, "show me, show me!". Asagi, being the polite sort, merely nodded, and Aomine felt the compulsion to shove the peach haired girl away from her since she wasn't doing it herself.

His thought process was executing a routine from middle school again.

"Well, it would be slightly difficult as there are only the three of us..." Asagi took a few steps away. "Would it be alright if Momoi-san was to be against Aomine-kun and I?"

Momoi agreed, albeit questioningly with a sidelong glance at Aomine. He really didn't want to know what Asagi was up to, and anyways, he had better things to do than play around. With basketballs, no less. However, no one was actually looking for assent from him, and the two proceeded without consulting him.

"Pass to me, please, Aomine-kun," Asagi instructed before he turned on Momoi, assuming his position. "You'll know when."

Aomine flexed his hand, and the sound of the bouncing basketball resounded with a steady rhythm. It would be easy to blow by Momoi, but he waited.

(It always hurt to win one-on-ones nowadays, anyway.)

He could feel Asagi flitting around, but his eyes were on Momoi. She was glancing around for the other girl, not paying attention to Aomine at all, but she couldn't seem to find her, judging from that puzzled look. The practice of knowing Asagi's presence from her volleyball games kicked in, and Aomine kept himself hyper aware, which was probably the most interesting thing he's done all week. The seconds dragged on, until the ball rebounding against the cement began to synchronize with his heartbeats, resonating like a tangible version of the blood pounding in his eardrums.

It had been a long time. Kise was different, that adrenaline was so different.

His body shifted on instinct when tips of blue locks flashed into his line of vision, launching the ball at where he thought would be the right height level before back-cutting Momoi to the hoop, arm outstretched and waiting for the ball to be back in his possession again. He could a flash of a pale arm, and then when he felt the ball's rough surface against his palm, the exhilaration surged through him with every bit of giddiness and feeling of accomplishment that he had felt during the middle school days. His eyes reverted to where Asagi had been standing, only to find the space empty.

(That hurt too, seeing nobody there.)

His mind wasn't working, but his legs moved on their own to jump, and he reached for the basket with ball in hand. He slammed the ball in with more strength that he intende, the strength stemming from frustration more than anything else, and a tiny voice in the back of his mind whispers that this isn't right; not wrong, just not right.

He could feel Asagi's gaze on him, and when he turned to look at the two girls, Momoi was openly gaping, her eyes flitting back and forth between Aomine and Asagi. She looked more shocked than anything when she met Aomine's eyes, but he knew that she was going to go into mother hen mode.

'I'm not a damn kid anymore. Why can't you just accept that?' was what he wanted to say, probably out of spite to prove her wrong, but found that he couldn't form the words. He could feel Asagi expecting someone to break the stunned silence, the awkwardness rolling off of her like the remnants of the day's heat from the cement. 'I'm ok.'

Was he?

Aomine didn't realize that he had been holding his breath until his body reacted for him and forced him to draw in oxygen. He managed to surprise himself by snapping the taut string of the situation, "well, that's something." He held back the urge to drizzle satire all over the phrase, because he could be mature sometimes, if to make a point to Momoi.

I'm ok. I'm ok.

He steadied his breaths, so concentrated on replaying those comforting words in his mind in an endless loop that he barely comprehended the things Asagi were saying in response.

"I had inspiration," Asagi's voice was punctuated by the honk of a car. Momoi seemed impressed.

"That's a unique style, Shizu-chan," she said, with something that sounded like awe in her voice, and then veered completely off topic to talk about a shopping spree just as Aomine decided to shut her droning out. Is she seriously amazed or is she a little disoriented about Asagi's style as well? He dribbled the ball absent-mindedly, frowning as he considered the whole oddness of meeting someone so similar to Tetsu, all the while focusing on inhaling and exhaling so he wouldn't do something stupid, like accidentally stop breathing.

Just when he was about to be fed up with the whole thing and was trying to decide whether or not he'd get bugged later for ditching, Momoi finally said,"well, I'm off to finish up my data analysis for the next team we're playing, so you two have fun playing. Walk her home, you'll be ok with that, right Aomine-kun?"

She's got to be kidding, that's pushing the limits. It's not like he wanted to come talk with Asagi in the first place. Aomine glowered at her, but she stared back as if she was only urging him to do so for his own well-being. Damn, she probably was doing this on purpose.

Say yes.

He closed his eyes, sighing through his nose, and squeezed out what he hoped Momoi wouldn't deem as a lie. "I'm ok."

"...good, then."

His cracked an eye open to see that Momoi had already turned on her heels and walking away. He fixed his eyes on her hair until she mingled into the crowd of people crossing the street. Aomine turned to Asagi, a bit too numb to be thinking things through properly, and asked, "well, what was that inspiration?"

Asagi blinked owlishly and tilted her head up so that she could better meet his eyes. Instantly, he dreaded the way she looked at him. Her words were hauntingly blunt as she answered, "Kuroko Tetsuya-kun."


A/N: idk how long i've been writing this for, but i just can't get it right. i'm sorry for that. and then i keep repeating things and concepts and i can't eeeeeek ;;;; (UGHHHHH I JUST WANNA LEAVE OUT THESE PARTS ALREADY I REALLY SUCK AT MULTI CHAPTERED FICS KK THERE'S STUFF CALLED PROGRESS AND I REALLY DON'T KNOW WTH THAT IS. like is it too slow-paced, too fast-paced? /crawls away to cry under the bed.)

i have some endings all thought out but they're all very troll-ish so forgive me this won't be updated in a while most likely ;-; also, I'll be going to china soon so that's also a factor in me dying off from this site lmao o-o'

but other than that, i'm really really sorry for the late update and thanks for sticking with me! ;A; (btw...season 2 pv...let's talk about kuroko's newly obtained guns shall we :'D andkise's gorgeous dunk i can't.) ahhhhh this week is so full of events sigh /STARES POINTEDLY AT THOSE WHO WENT TO AX OR KUROBAS CUP