NOTE: A few real people currently involved with the Lakers (both of whom also played with the LA Lakers once upon a time, you may have heard of them) make an appearance in this epilogue because I felt it would really bring home how they've made it. Anyway.
Four Years Later.
They have fought too hard, too hard, to get into UCLA together to give up now. Their coach is an asshole and college basketball in America is worse than what Kagami expected but he'll be damned if they lose this thing. He's not going to give up. He isn't.
He looks at Aomine from across the huddle. He nods slightly, and that's all it takes for him to get it. They aren't as touchy feely with each other out on the open these days. Not with this new team and this asshole coach who doesn't know what the fuck he's doing.
At least he wasn't too blind to see that he and Aomine were assets. At least they have a chance.
Kagami's tuning out their coach's instructions now, grins at Aomine and taps his own temple. Aomine grins back.
He can't scold us if we win.
Six Years Later.
Officially, they're on a leave of absence from school. But everyone knows they may not be coming back. Neither of them even hesitated.
They approached Kagami first, who told them on no uncertain terms that he and Aomine were a package deal. And then they laughed at him and said "Yeah we know, that's why we went to you first."
Nobody else wants them at the draft. Or, no, that's not true, the Lakers have cut a deal with everyone and nobody wanted them enough to fight it.
"They don't see your potential like we do." Coach Walton says, and Kagami still can't quite believe it.
The inks barely dry on their contracts when they get thrust into Summer League games. It's fantastic. The most fun either of them have had since high school.
It's been a while since all they had to worry about was basketball. And it shows, Aomine's grinning like the old days and clearly, in Kagami's eyes, teetering into the zone.
They don't win the whole thing, but they make it to the top four and it's enough. Enough to prove to everyone the Lakers weren't crazy for picking the two of them up.
Eight Years Later.
There are reporters when he walks out of his apartment building. No, not reporters, paparazzi. They're not really asking him questions, just shouting hi and taking more than a few pictures of him. Kagami doesn't say hi back because he doesn't want to encourage them. Also the attention makes him uncomfortable. The difference one trophy makes in your life is pretty insane.
He's thought a few times of getting a house in the suburbs for more privacy, but it would be a nightmare to explain why he and Aomine Daiki are buying a house together in the suburbs. The "great big bromance" narrative the media and their PR team is selling right now because of their adjacent apartments is not going to fly. Kagami wants a few more championships under his belt before he deals with being known for something other than basketball.
It's not a "never", it's a "someday", in his own terms, in their terms. He and Daiki are in agreement. Right now it's all about basketball, no matter how much the paparazzi want to catch him doing who knows what. The Lakers have only just broken their championships dry spell with their win, and Kagami wants to create a new dynasty with them.
He gets in his car and pulls out of the parking lot. He's seeing Satsuki in that café that takes way too long to make a cup of coffee. She says she read online it was the best cafés in Los Angeles. Kagami's not sure any cup of coffee is worth the long wait but ok. Daiki's already with her, it was his turn to pick her up from the airport.
He's five minutes early, and they're not there yet. Sadly, this means Kagami has to order something so he can save them a table. He has no idea what 90% of the things on the menu are so he just orders their House Blend (he doesn't know what's in it but whatever) and takes a seat by a window so Daiki and Satsuki can see him even before they get in.
The great thing about this café, Kagami thinks, is that if anyone recognizes him, they sure don't make it obvious. Which is fine by him, the attention is flattering but if he can eat out in peace, even better. Some kid in a beanie a few tables away openly gawks at him for like a minute, but he doesn't approach him so it's cool.
Satsuki and Daiki arrive before his coffee does which is not really a surprise and equal parts annoying and hilarious, but he doesn't have much time to indulge his inner grumpy old man before Satsuki's got him wrapped in a tight hug, giddy with joy.
"Yeah she did that to me at the airport too." Daiki says, in a mix of English and Japanese.
Unperturbed, Satsuki replies in Japanese "I have the right to be happy for you two! Champions!"
Daiki laughs good-naturedly. He's more relaxed these days. His parents say he's matured a lot. They're together every single day, so Kagami tends not to notice so much, but here, with Satsuki, he feels it.
"Come on," Daiki says "you've been raving about their menu the whole ride here so might as well order."
"Oh right, sit tight Kagami-kun!"
The kid with the beanie is staring again. And – oh Jesus he's taking a picture. Kagami wants to shout that he's not being subtle, anyone can see he's taking pictures of Daiki and Satsuki talking in line. Daiki's head is tilted down to better hear and talk to Satsuki over the noise and it all looks very couple-y and intimate if you were someone that didn't know them at all.
He wonders if the kid has pictures of Satsuki hugging Kagami too. He snorts at what the tabloids tomorrow are probably going to say.
More Years, Six NBA Championships and an Olympic Medal Later.
PR has Magic Johnson do the press conference, set the ground for the big announcement. He starts off by reminding everyone that "Taiga Kagami and Daiki Aomine have helped us win six NBA championships" and that "there is no doubt that they will go down in the books as legends". Kagami's standing behind him with Daiki and he can see the press get agitated and bewildered because they can't understand why the Lakers would hold such a huge press conference for something anyone with a phone and google could find out. "What's the catch?" their faces seem to say.
This is sort of fulfilling a childhood dream he never knew he had and will probably come down as the biggest or second biggest press conference in Lakers history. It's going to depend on who you ask, Kagami guesses.
When Magic's done extolling their virtues he gives the microphone to Kagami. "Daiki's too unpredictable," PR had said, privately Daiki took offence but even more privately he was relieved he didn't have to be the one to do it.
Kagami takes the microphone with shaking hands, he thanks Magic and throws in a self-deprecating joke to play up the humility. Then he takes a deep breath and gets straight into it.
"Daiki and I are getting married this August." shocked silence "To each other." he adds, in case it wasn't clear. Reporters start to frantically raise their hands "We've been dating since high school and we hope you can be supportive." he clears his throat, reporters are now vocally trying to ask him questions. He doesn't know if it's the nerves but he can't hear them. So he just says "Thank you." and turns around, handing the microphone back to Magic.
Daiki takes his hand and walks out of the room with him while cameras flash and Magic freakingJohnson is holding the fort for them, telling everyone in a firm voice that they're not taking any questions and he hopes everyone respects their privacy.
Their agent starts shouting something about the internet exploding and Daiki starts laughing about all their friends back in Japan e-mailing him and groaning about being kept out of the loop along with everyone else (They've only told their parents and Satsuki, she's their wedding planner. She hired herself for the job.)
Daiki looks happy and undisturbed by the oncoming media storm. More than a decade later the wrinkles of his eyes and the beam of his teeth whenever he smiles still makes Kagami's heart skip a beat.
"Hey," Kagami says "I love you."
Daiki startles for a moment, then smiles again, wider. He leans in for a kiss.
"I love you too."
A/N: This epilogue's pretty short simple, but I think I managed to pack a lot into it. Some subtle relationship and character development, and, I hope, an adequate general picture of their career path and personal life through the years. I can only hope I achieved what I wanted to with this.
I worked on this fic for four and a half years through my college graduation and into law school and I'm so glad that it, and all of you who have given me so much love through your reviews (even though I am terrible at replying to anything that isn't a question, I love you all and your comments make my day, always). I probably won't be writing long fic for KnB anymore, but one of these days when time permits, maybe I'll do one shots set in random points throughout this epilogue. Again, I'm really thankful to all of you who have supported me from the beginning, or even from the middle or even from just around the end. I appreciate all of you from the bottom of my heart.