Title: The Morning After.
Author: SYNdicate 930.
Summary: AU. Aomine doesn't think Kise quite understands the feeling he gets when he wakes up alone.

Note: Please review, tell me what you think, and forgive me for any mistakes!

He is slowly slipping through his fingers like sand resting in the palm of his hand, caught up in a gentle breeze that whisks every grain away. No matter how desperately he snatches at the little bits of earth that fly through the thick air, the truth is that once a grain is lost to the wind, it is lost. And once love like theirs is lost, forever it shall be broken.

Like a cat, one moment he is by his side, cuddling against him in bed after a long day, and then gone the next, out of sight, but never out of mind for days upon days on end. Every morning, Aomine finds himself the worried owner, who paces around his room with a hand combing through his navy hair, and the image of that familiar pair of large, gold eyes and soft, blonde hair running through his over-active mind.

He leaves so suddenly, returns so suddenly, only to leave so suddenly.

It is an endless cycle; rinse, and repeat.

In the morning there is a dreadful silence as Aomine regains vague consciousness at the sun's warm rays that grace the side of his lax face, his tanned, bare torso pressed against the pillow he holds tightly in his arms. The way he buries his face against the white pillow cover is forlorn, and the furrow in his brow is confused. Aomine takes a deep breath, he breathes him in, and then he breathes him out.

Where is his heat? Aomine wonders.

Why does he feel so lifeless?

"Oi, Kise, are you awake?" Aomine mumbles.

The response is that of the painful silence he has grown to dread, in one ear and out his other, the high-pitched ring of nothing, for this is but one of many a morning he has awaken alone.

When he opens his dark eyes, the boy is his dreams has already left, and as he pulls himself to sit against the mahogany headboard, there, alone in his cold bed, he finds himself staring at the empty spot to his left. Goose bumps appear on Aomine's upper arms as he brings a hand to trail over the side of the mattress devoid of the life and love he remembers falling asleep to the night prior.

The silence is as sharp as it is uncomfortable, so Aomine reaches over to his night stand. Resting upon the light wood beside his lamp sits a small, rectangular stereo he had received as a birthday gift from his parents when he was still in elementary. Unable to decide upon a CD in his vast collection sitting on his shelves, he leaves the miniature stereo on a local radio station. His mind is far too occupied. He needs some sort of noise to distract him. Swimming around in thoughts of Kise were dangerous to Aomine, who would drown instantaneously.

When the music begins to play Aomine recognizes the song's cheerful tune completely as he mouths along its every word with familiarity on his way to his bathroom. Aomine makes sure to leave his bedroom door open to let the music flow freely and mirthfully from its little, black box across the narrow hall. The absentmindedness in his every action is unintentional and slowing him down, for even music provides him nothing but the picture of that face, that blonde hair, that set of lips and honey eyes, and all that is missing.

As he turns on the bathroom light and stares at his tired reflection through the oval-shaped mirror on the beige painted wall above the sink, the hands he uses to go over every memorized line of Kise's body, in the same manner he mumbles the memorized lyrics of the bright first verse, come to touch his face, wondering if he has always looked this dull or if it was just on days he woke up alone. Was he always this… typical looking?

The falling dip in his voice in a half-hearted attempt to match high notes with a low harmony bring to life the memories of the first time they had ever gone to bed together; Aomine pulling Kise by his slim waist, slowly lowering themselves atop his bed in the middle of the night, sharing their first kiss through the blinding darkness; the ever fateful meeting before the start of Kise's predictably un-foretold fleeing before the sun rises—

He shakes his head curtly. Aomine brushes his teeth and then washes his face before returning to his room. He sees his cellphone on the edge of his desk and he rushes over to check it, but the end result is disappointing.

His inbox is empty and there are no missed calls, only a sigh as Aomine tosses his the black mobile onto his bed. Eyes to the right, and then to the left, behind him, in front of him, above him, and under him, Kise has left no trace of his presence. Not even a simple indication as to where he is, why he is there, or when he shall return. All that he leaves with Aomine is uncertainty.

Going through the rest of his house, Aomine checks every room, the living room and kitchen but there is no sign that he was ever really there. All but the vague scent of Kise's cologne and department-store-bought laundry detergent linger in his bed and on his skin faintly. It frightens him. How can Kise come and go so freely, so easily, in a manner that is only convenient to him and his career, leaving a growing emptiness to bloom in place of Aomine's heart every morning during his absence after a short-lived return?

While the thought that Kise may never come back is troubling, and the unknown knowledge of his whereabouts and motives is bothersome, the thought that he may have left for someone better—the rapidly growing paranoia that he will one day realize an average-Joe such as plain Aomine is unfit for a stunningly beautiful model like him— is piercingly unbearable, for it is only a matter of time that this lack of communication will get the best of them.

Sitting on the edge of his bed, he flips open his cellphone. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Still nothing.

This morning after the silence is dreadful as Aomine sits silently upon his squeaky mattress, the sun's warm rays gracing his shirtless back, his arms coming to wrap around the pillow he pulls onto his lap, tightly in his arms. The way he buries his face against the white pillow cover is forlorn, and the furrow in his brow is of concern. Aomine takes a deep breath, all that is left until and if he returns is the slowly fading aroma of the man in his bed just mere hours ago. He breathes him in, holds his breath to the count of three, and then breathes him out slowly.

It is an endless cycle; rinse and repeat, coming and then going.

He leaves so suddenly, returns so suddenly, only to once more leave before Aomine has the chance to say bid him farewell or a safe flight to wherever modelling whisks him; whether it be a small 'see you later', a faithful 'I'll be waiting' or short, bittersweet, and painfully simple 'goodbye.'

Like a cat, one moment he is by his side, cuddling against him in bed after a long day, and then gone the next, out of sight, but never out of mind. This morning Aomine finds himself the worried owner once again, who paces around his room with a hand combing through his navy hair worriedly, and the image of that familiar pair of large, gold eyes and soft, blonde hair running through his over-active mind.

Kise is slowly slipping through Aomine's fingers like sand in an hour glass ticking away at pace of his breaking heart, tick, tick, tick. No matter how desperately he tries to turn back the sands of time, the hour glass refuses to budge, willing every little grain to return, the truth is that once a grain is has fallen, time is lost. And once love like theirs is lost, forever it shall be broken. And Aomine doesn't think he knows quite how to handle that.