Warnings: Eating disorder, one-sided AoKise, self-harming. Multi POV.
Aomine is the last to notice something's off with Kise. Akashi and Kuroko have exchanged knowing glances for a few months already when Midorima and Momoi catch on to the decline in the model's weight. Even Murasakibara realises Kise looks thinner than before and tries to fix things by offering to share some of his snacks with the blonde who thanks him for the sweet thought but refuses nonetheless.
Aomine doesn't see it. Sure, Kise doesn't demand one-on-ones as often as before (actually he doesn't do it at all anymore) and he seems somewhat tired all the time, but since nobody says anything about it, Aomine assumes it's just his imagination. Or that maybe Kise's just really busy with his work.
Be as it may, it's not really Aomine's problem. If Kise decides to talk about it (if there even is an 'it' to talk about), then fine. If not, that's fine too.
Because really, Aomine doesn't care either way.
"Go home with Ryouta today and talk to him, Daiki."
Aomine stops in the middle of a push up to shoot a menacing look at Akashi. The red head stares back at him with equal antipathy.
Akashi raises an eye brow. "Do you think I care about what you want? I'm not asking you, I'm ordering you. Go home with Ryouta."
Aomine gets up. "What am I supposed to talk to him about? You're making it sound like you have a specific topic in mind."
"I do." Akashi seems pleased with Aomine's sudden co-operation.
"What is it?"
Akashi looks at him as one might look at someone who has just given the wrong answer to the question 'how much is 1+1'. Aomine feels a shudder running down his spine.
"As the captain, it is my duty to look after my team members, but it wouldn't hurt you, either, to actually look at your fellow players and see when something is wrong, Daiki." Akashi narrows his eyes dangerously. "Besides, I think it is partially your fault that Ryouta is not feeling well. So take responsibility."
Aomine really wants to say something back, but the look in Akashi's eyes tells him that if he does, the consequences might be… not so pleasant. So he complies, promising to go home together with Kise.
That doesn't mean he's happy about it, though. And what the hell does Akashi mean by it is partially your fault? What has he ever done to make Kise feel down?
Kise looks much skinnier than Aomine remembers. Sure, he has the same, strong muscles and is as tall as always, but still his body looks somehow smaller than before. His pale skin makes it easy to see bones sticking out at parts that really should have more flesh covering them. Despite claiming he doesn't really care, Aomine feels a sting of worry in his chest as he quietly inspects Kise's body.
But wait, Akashi didn't ask him to ogle Kise while he's changing. Why the hell is he even looking at a boy's half naked body with so much interest? Get a grip and stop staring, Aomine berates himself.
"Oi, Kise." The blonde startles and looks in Aomine's direction with wide eyes.
"A-Aominecchi…! You really scared me."
"My bad." An awkward silence follows Aomine's half-hearted apology. He clears his throat and decides to get on with the task Akashi entrusted him.
"Hey, uh… are you doing anything after school?"
"Today? No, why?"
"I was just thinking that we could walk home together." Actually it's Akashi who thought of Aomine walking home with Kise but that isn't necessary for Kise to know.
The blonde lights up and beams at Aomine. "Sure! But you have to be fast getting changed, I'm not going to wait long for you!"
"Since when do you have to wait for me? Aren't you the one who always takes an eternity getting changed?"
"It's because I'm a model! I can't go outside with messy hair or wrinkled shirt, I might run into a fan! And my fans would be disappointed to see me all ugly. Or I could run into paparazzi! That'd be terrible!" Kise pouts for good measure and makes a horrified face.
Kise sounds and acts the same as ever and yet Aomine can't help but think that it all feels somehow… forced and unnatural. The smile on the model's face is the one usually reserved for his job, not the one he uses with his friends.
Why does he even pay so much attention to Kise's expressions? Is it just because the other boys' bones are so visible that he's looking for some kind of confirmation that it's not serious, that Kise's still the same despite having lost a significant amount of weight? Because if Aomine notices the difference, then it must be a lot.
Maybe Akashi wants him to talk about Kise's loss of weight? If that's the case, Aomine has no idea how to proceed. He can't just ask Kise about something like that. What if the model has just been so stressed lately that he's lost weight because of it, without realising it himself or actively trying to get thinner? It'd be really awkward to talk about it if it wasn't intentional. No, Aomine needs to find a natural and nonchalant way to approach the subject.
"Are you okay?" Well that sounds natural… not.
Kise frowns. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"You've just been…less energetic lately. And Akashi said that's it's my fault or something like that." Aomine scratches the back of his neck in embarrassment. Damn, why does Akashi have to have such absolute power among the team members that it's impossible for them to go against his orders (unless they have a death wish, that is)? Right now, Aomine'd rather be anywhere but here, having this awkward conversation with Kise.
There's no reply. Nervous, Aomine steals a glance at Kise who looks slightly confused. "…Kise?"
No way is he fine; Kise never answers so shortly. Aomine steps closer. "Look, I don't know what's up, but if there's anything I can do, just let me know, ok? You look a lot skinnier and since you're so tired all the time too I just thought that maybe it's because of your modeling, like maybe they want you to be on a diet or something. And if that's how it is, then it's fine. But you have to make sure it doesn't affect your life otherwise."
"Oh. So it's fine for me to hurt myself for the sake of my job as long as it doesn't have a negative effect on my playing?"
Okay, something's definitely wrong. Kise never talks to Aomine in that kind of tone.
"That's not what I meant! If it's necessary to lose a bit of weight for your job, then there's no helping it but if it makes you tired then shouldn't you quit? It can't be good for your health to-"
"Why do you care? You've never noticed what's been going on with me before so why start now?!"
"What do you mean I don't care? I do care, I just don't go around telling it to people's faces!"
"Well maybe you should! It might just make you more popular!"
"What the hell, Kise? Why are you so mad at me? I haven't done anything to you, despite what Akashi seems to think, so stop shouting at me! Geez, this is so not like you. What the hell are they doing to you at your job to make you so weird?!"
Kise doesn't shout back at him anymore. Instead he freezes and fixes the stare of his eyes on Aomine. He's gonna cry, is what Aomine thinks and he's just about to apologise for yelling at Kise when -
"I know I'm ugly and disgusting but I also know that I want you!"
The sound of Kise's locker's door slamming shut with a loud bang echoes through the silent locker room.
Aomine just stares, not believing his ears. Does Kise mean that the way he thinks he does? Why was it that Akashi insisted Aomine to be the one to talk to Kise, since this clearly isn't going too well? And wait, when did he ever say Kise was ugly or disgusting?
Aomine realises he's taken too long to react when Kise pushes his way out of the room, bumping his shoulder into Aomine before disappearing into the hallway.
"What the fuck, Kise?!"
The model doesn't turn around.
I know I'm ugly and disgusting, but I still want you.
He regrets saying that but he can't take his words back anymore.
It's wrong, he knows it is, but his heart belongs to Aomine.
He can't let Aomine know that yet, not when he's this ugly.
Perfection, he needs to remember that. Perfect is what he's aiming for. Perfect.
He still has a long way to go. That's why Aomine had that fight with him.
Aomine can't stand him because he still has flaws.
Take the skin on his arm for example. It's smooth and pretty but it's not perfect. He can't see his bones clearly, there's too much flesh in the way.
That's no good. His bones are beautiful, and if everyone could see them, they would call him beautiful too.
He needs to work out more, there are still parts of him that aren't muscled. Instead they are soft.
Soft and disgusting.
Like he himself is.
He needs to change.
He made a mistake at breakfast and actually ate half a bowl of rice. He's hated himself the whole day for that; how could his control slip like that? It's no wonder Aomine doesn't love him when he has no control over himself and what he eats.
He hasn't eaten anything after that. He can't, he's already going to gain at least 100 kilos for that mistake at breakfast.
Instead he's locked in his room, desperately thinking of ways to make up for eating. Doing push-ups is good, as are sit-ups.
Even after working out and berating himself for hours he still feels fat and miserable.
He's nothing but a failure.
He should've spat the rice out before swallowing. Or better yet, not even put it in his mouth. Then there would be nothing to feel bad about.
A vague thought of forcing himself to throw up makes him wander to the bathroom.
He forgets his plan as soon as he enters the room, though.
That's because his eyes happen upon the razor blade his father uses to shave.
Razors are sharp, right?
Sharp enough to punish fat, disgusting failures such as himself with.
He glances behind himself to make sure no one's watching, even though he's home alone.
The cold metal of the blade feels good on his bare skin.
I can't achieve perfection if my control slips. No more rice at breakfast. No more.
All it takes is one swift flick of his wrist. The skin tears in half as if it was paper.
Blood flows out.
He stares at his wrist, dumbfounded by the easiness of hurting himself.
It looks nice, the blood pulsating out of his body. And maybe, if imperfect blood makes an imperfect person, he'll change for the better once it's run out of him.
It's worth a shot.
Or another slit on his wrist and a trail of blood running down his hand until it falls to the sink in a chain of thick, red drops.
Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip.
Voices downstairs bring him back to his senses. His parents must be back.
After quickly cleaning after himself in the bathroom, he pulls the sleeve of his hoodie over his abused wrist to hide the cuts from his parents' prying eyes.
They don't need to know. He can battle the ugliness in himself alone.
The thick liquid seeping from his wrist is slowly dying his sleeve red, forming flowers of blood as it sinks through the material.
The pain kicks in a little while later.
A/N: Well. I was thinking of toning the angst down for once but what do you know… self-harming Kise FTW, yeah? I just fail at life sometimes. *sigh*
There's still more to this story so don't worry, I'll try to steer the two towards a happy ending! (Though with how this chapter went, it'll probably take quite a while before that happens…)
BTW, I made a list of my fan fic ideas on tumblr. It'd be great if people could help me decide which ones to work on in the future so if you have time, do check out my tumblr, the link's on my profile. (I tag everything related to fan fics with #contributing to a fandom: shichibaby edition)