"You can think of it as, hmm," she tapped her chin pensively with a fingertip, "role-play."
Daiki threw her an incredulous look, complete with a curious quirk of his brow.
"Role play?" he reiterated as he walked over to the basketball hoop.
He had left at the base of it his towel and bottle of water.
"Yeah!" Satsuki enthused, shadowing his step closely. "For you, it can feel like we're playing a 'let's get to know each other better' game, because you already know all you need to. But for me, it will be a way to stop acting like you're a stranger, and by spending more time together, I'll be able to get over my awkwardness around you. What do you think?"
She told herself the reason she was looking so closely at him and barely even blinking was because she was eager to hear his answer to her proposal—not because there was something inherently alluring in the way he dabbed the towel against his forehead and in the way his Adam's apple bobbed while he guzzled down an impressive amount of water in a single breath.
His mouth unlatched from the bottle and he sighed deeply, having quenched his thirst. He gave her suggestion some consideration, before turning to peer into her face.
A smirk tugged onto the corner of his lip at whatever he saw in her expression.
"I suppose it does sound like it could be fun to try—pros most certainly outweigh the possible cons," he acquiesced, picking up the ball from the ground before throwing the towel over his shoulder. He sized Satsuki up with a smug expression before adding, "It's not the kind of role-play I'm used to, but I guess I can probably give it a try."
Her smile and the quirk of her brows betrayed her puzzlement with the meaning behind his claim.
"What kind of role-play are you used to?" If voicing it hadn't been enough to give her a hint, the sly expression on his face in response to it definitely would have been.
She blushed a deep shade of red as she followed after him, falling into his strides as they headed off the court.
"I don't really think you know me well enough yet for me to divulge that kind of information," he said with a wolfish grin, and she couldn't resist the urge to elbow him in the ribs.
The moment she did, she pressed the fingertips to her lips, worried that she'd got way too familiar, but her lapse seemed to have amused Daiki further instead of putting him on edge—like she would've thought it should.
"Do you want to go grab a bite and chat over a drink or something? I could definitely use some food soon," she asked him with a guilty smile on her face.
Daiki halted his walking, and for a moment, Satsuki's chest clenched with worry that he may have changed his mind—that the reason he had been so friendly and smiley was because he had been drowning in relief at not having had to sever their bond completely, but now he had sobered up to the fact he didn't want to play this pretend game with her, and—
"You want to go now?" he queried in a wary tone.
"What's wrong with now?" she parried shakily.
His brows rose high over his clear azure eyes, and before her mind could go for another self-deprecating round, he shifted his gaze pointedly down at his form—clad in only loose shorts and a sleeveless tank top, both drenched from his earlier work out. His hair was all over the place, and his skin, all of it that was visible to the naked eye, was glistening with a thin sheen of sweat.
"I haven't hit the cafés in a long time now, but I somehow doubt any of them will think this," he motioned towards himself with a flourish of his hand, "as acceptable attire."
Satsuki found she needed to nod her head in agreement with his pointing out an obvious fact she had overlooked simply because she had been too busy being transfixed with staring at said "attire".
"Ah," she murmured intelligently, cursing herself in her mind for her brilliant and long-winded response. "Point taken," she added, just so she didn't feel like bashing herself too much in her head.
She started walking off until she noticed that he hadn't moved a bit from his spot. She stopped and turned to give him a searching look. That's when she noticed he was staring pensively at her, sizing her up from head to toe.
She tried to ignore the shiver having his sharp gaze scrutinizing her so closely sent down her spine, and settled for something more familiar instead.
"What?" she snapped, putting a hand on her hip as she returned his stare.
"You seem properly dressed for an evening out downtown," he observed, putting the hand that was free of holding the basketball on his chin. "My place is a few blocks over. If you don't mind, we can go by the apartment for me to shower and change, and we can head out afterwards?"
Satsuki's eyes widened a fraction in hopefulness as she realized that he didn't want to turn her down.
She smiled brightly and nodded, following him in direction of his (their) apartment.
The feeling of sitting on your own couch, in your own home, while waiting for your supposed husband to finish showering after a straining workout so you can go out on what can essentially be considered a date was most certainly beyond Satsuki's explanative ability. She could neither describe it properly in her own head, nor could she exactly wrap her mind around it.
But, she digressed. She chastised herself for once again letting her mind wander on tangents she was better off not exploring at the current time. She had promised to Daiki that she would do her best to start overcoming how unnatural it felt being around him lately, and these self-pressuring mental labels that she slapped on things were definitely a driving force of said awkwardness.
So, instead of thinking about it in such terms, she decided it would be much better to think of her current situation as waiting for her today's date to finish with his shower so that they could take off to the café or restaurant of their choice for the evening.
Just as she established that notion in her mind, the water stopped running in the bathroom. And although it was not her intention at all, she ended up turning around just at the right time to catch a glimpse of his bare calves and water dripping down his frame, outlining the perfect tone of his abs when he walked out of the bathroom with just a simple towel wrapped around his hips.
She whipped her head back around, turning in direction that faced completely away from the way he had headed. She blinked profusely, good intentions of willing that mental image out of her head ending up fruitless.
"D-do you have anything to drink? My throat is parched!" she all but squeaked out, leading her to immediately chiding herself internally for it.
"No idea," came the muffled puzzling retort from the bedroom. "Help yourself to the fridge."
So she did.
There was a carton of milk on the fridge door, and she poured some in a glass. She raised the glass and took a sip a bit too confidently, and it all came to bite her in the ass when she ended up spitting it up into the sink the very next moment.
She hit her chest as she wheezed, trying to get herself together when Daiki came into view at the doorframe of the living room.
"Why do you have spoilt milk in your fridge?" she demanded incredulously, tears prickling at the corner of her eyes from her embarrassing episode with the beverage.
Daiki barely suppressed a chuckle when he looked into her face.
"You drank that?" he asked, and the urge to hurl something at his head became overwhelming.
That's when she realized that he was still very much half-naked, with just a pair of jeans on. He was barefoot and topless, his chest still glistening with moisture and a towel draped over his neck to soak up the water dripping from his wet hair.
She turned her head away from his general direction so quickly it gave her whiplash.
"Sorry about that," he told her in a tone that made her completely aware how not sorry he actually was. "I haven't even taken a look at the fridge since a week or something. I mostly eat out lately."
He poured the milk into the sink and crumpled the carton before throwing it into the trashcan with a flick of his wrist. Satsuki moved aside to allow him room to move—because it was polite, not because she was worried her skin might burst in flame and her heart might break right out of her chest if his bare flesh brushed against her.
He ventured into the bathroom, leaving the door open, as he leaned down against the sink to brush his teeth. It was really crazy how often her gaze tried to go astray in his direction—and how many times she failed to stop it when it did. So she busied herself with looking around the apartment in her hurry to keep her mind from wandering to places it ought not to go.
And in looking anywhere else but at him, it was brought to her attention that even if the place didn't seem too unkempt, it was also very obvious that the absence of this place's second occupant was very tangible.
His clothes were thrown over the backs of chairs and piled in the laundry basket. There were so many unwashed dishes in the sink she would worry about allowing him to eat out of the same plates before thoroughly having those disinfected. The air in the room was rather stale—probably hadn't had a window open in a while. And there was so much dust on the horizontal surfaces it would be hard to tell that there was someone living and using these spaces on regular basis.
The state of the apartment reminded Satsuki that even if they were doing this for her sake—this whole, so-called "game" (even though it felt like anything but a game to her), it was as much for his merit as it was for hers, too.
She wasn't the only one who needed fixing.
She wasn't the only one who had suffered because of this whole ordeal.
Because, while she may have taken the brunt of it at the forefronts, he had been the one to bear with the weight of the consequences from it.
Her lips set in a firm line as she heard the faucet of the sink turn to shut the water off. Daiki put away his brush just as Satsuki took the distance to stand next to him at the threshold of the bathroom.
He peered curiously at her while wiping his mouth on the towel around his neck. She had that same determined look on her face that usually spelled trouble for him.
"You still ruffled from that spoilt milk thing? Let it go," he said with an exasperated roll of his eyes, sidestepping her to get out of the bathroom.
"Never mind that!" Satsuki said in a tone much too ceremonious not to be suspicious. "Put a shirt on already! Let's go! There are restaurants and cafés just waiting for us to give them our money!" she exulted, ushering him towards the bedroom to fetch himself a top.
When he emerged from the premise again, he had his socks on, his hair was as dry as rubbing against it with the towel would get it, and he was buttoning up a tasteful navy shirt that flattered his colouring nicely.
"We've only been here for less than ten minutes, relax," he drawled, smoothing out his collar. "And besides, what the hell are you talking about? You're not paying for anything tonight."
Satsuki threw him an incredulous glare over her shoulder.
"What? Why? I am a working woman! I am perfectly capable of paying for my own meals," she insisted stubbornly.
He heaved a sigh of exasperation.
"None of that matters when you're on a date with the one and only Aomine Daiki," he said with a ridiculous pose. She snickered before she could contain herself.
"Speaking of which, do tell me more about this Aomine Daiki," she said playfully with a small smile while he locked up the apartment.
"Like what, for example?" 'Tell me something about whatever' was just too broad a topic, in Daiki's opinion.
"Hmm, for example, what blood type are you? Birthday date? Favourite colour? Favourite movie? Oh, oh, favourite basketball player! Because you are a fan of the sport, right? Oh, and if there's anyone you looked up to when growing up. And also—"
"Whoa, whoa, slow down," Daiki said with a defeated wave of his hands, and he made a show of looking troubled at how many questions she had fired off at him one after another. "Let's see, err… Blood type – B. Uhh… Birthday? August 31st. What else was there…" he scratched the back of his neck thoughtfully as they descended the stairs.
"Favourite colour!" Satsuki chimed in vigorously.
"Huh?" he said with an exaggerated drop of his jaw. "Who cares about stuff like colours anyway?…"
She smacked his arm as they continued descending the stairs.
Much later that same night, they stood at the threshold of her parents' house, chatting the evening away for just a little longer before Satsuki could will herself to say good night.
"Whoa, it really did get quite late, though, didn't it?" she mused when looking at her wristwatch. "It's already 1 AM and I need to get up at 6—that's going to be a load of fun." She chuckled at her own future discomfort.
Daiki joined her with a snicker.
"Not as fun as the expression on that waiter's face when he came to ask us to leave," he said, chortling evilly.
"I think that by the end of it, he was almost ready to bribe us to leave, so that he could, too," Satsuki agreed.
They lapsed into a companionable silence for a moment. During it, she looked up at him with a calculating gaze, weighing the words over in her mind before speaking them aloud.
"I'm going to dare to go out of character on our little role-play set up, so I can tell you this:" she took in a deep breath, willing her face not to change its colour, before continuing, "I had a lot of fun tonight."
Daiki smiled down at her, putting his hands in his jeans' pockets.
"I did, too."
"I'm no expert—obviously—but as far as dates go, I think this one was actually a pretty big success," she said, her hands clasping together behind her back.
"Glad to hear you think so," the former Touou ace said with a smirk. He took his right hand out of his jeans pocket to rub the back of his neck in a nervous gesture while his gaze turned away from her. "The truth is that this is a first for me, too."
Satsuki cocked a brow at that.
"Courtship," he said quietly, making realization dawn on her. Before she realized she still didn't really get it. "When we first got together, we went directly from friends to lovers because that's the direction we'd both felt this bond was going. We'd known each other forever, so flirting was part of what we always did, but hitting on and getting hit on… it wasn't in either of our repertoires. So this is new for me, too."
Suppressing the grin from surfacing on her face was impossible. And she felt relieved that he smirked a little when he saw her grinning.
"What I'm saying is—Well, I guess, you're not the only one out of your element here, so no worries."
They shared a little laugh together, and in a moment, it seemed impossible for Satsuki to fathom that not even six hours ago he had tried to put an end to any and all unions like this between them.
On her account.
"That's good to know," Satsuki said, brushing a stray strand of her exquisite pink hair behind her ear. "Thank you for a lovely evening, Daiki. I almost wished it would never end."
"Yeah, I think that's the sentiment that waiter picked up on. It would explain why he was so eager to get us out of the restaurant before closing hours." The former basketball player smirked again when her merry laughter rang in his ears as response to his jab. "Thank you, too, Satsuki. For being you."
She relapsed into silence again, giving a thoughtful hum at length. Daiki's expression urged her to speak what was on her mind.
She wasn't entirely sure she wasn't out of line with this, but, hey, they had to start somewhere, right?
"I remember dad mentioning that he's going to need the car tomorrow. So I was wondering, if it's not too much trouble… could you maybe give me a lift tomorrow morning?" she asked with a hopeful grimace.
Daiki blinked, dumbfounded, for a moment before he gathered his wits again well enough to respond.
"Yeah," he muttered hoarsely. "Yeah, sure," he repeated, his voice stronger this time. "I'll see you right here in, uh—" he paused, checking his watch, "damn, less than six hours."
She smiled lopsidedly before thanking him again and turning to put her hand on the doorknob.
However, she halted halfway through turning it to open the door. Instead, she turned around and fixed him with the most puzzling expression he'd seen on her face all night.
If he had to put a label on it, he'd say she looked constipated.
Before his mind could venture any further off-track, though, she took the step that separated him from her, standing up on her tiptoes and holding onto the front of his shirt for leverage.
The press of her lips against his cheek was short-lived and somewhat juvenile—compared to the things they'd done together before—and yet it was somehow enough to make a red tint dust the sides of his face.
When she eased back on the heels of her feet, her cheeks were a lovely rose colour and the prettiest of smiles was adorning her face.
"Good night!" she all but squealed out before rushing inside the house.
He chuckled lightly in wake of her departure, running a hand through his hair. Then he eased it to the cheek her lips had touched, and a sigh tore from his lungs.
"Good night," he muttered to night, because she was already out of earshot.
And for the first time in two months, Daiki felt hopeful without dreading the morning after.
Satsuki closed the door behind herself, turning the key in the lock until it clicked. She leaned her back against the wood, taking a moment to still her nervousness.
She'd worry that she'd taken this a bit too far if she wasn't just so overwhelmed with joy from the whole evening she had just spent, worry-free and so pleasantly engaged in fun chatter and playful banter that all thoughts of road accidents and almost-ruined bonds had flown right out of her mind. It had been so natural, felt so right, to be out with him, just being around him and soaking up the feeling of being in his presence. It made her wonder why she had been avoiding him so vehemently before, instead of allowing herself to experience it fully.
She pushed away from the door after taking a steadying breath, heading quietly up the stairs to her room.
As she closed the door behind, she completely failed to notice the secretive smile playing upon her mother's face from across the hall.
The elder woman had been up to go get some water when she heard muffled talking right under her window. Upon a quick inspection she had discovered it to be her beloved daughter with none other than her son-in-law.
The sight of them had instilled Mrs Momoi with a sense that things could perchance really end up being fine, if it was these two kids…
His daily trips to her parents' house and her work place became bi-daily quickly. In fact, the very first moment she suggested they could go back to that initial plan from before she moved back to her old house, he—maybe a bit too vigorously not to be slightly alarming—accepted the idea.
And she'd be damned if those two sets of half hour rides weren't the highlight of her day every day since then.
Their outgoings became a frequent thing as well, with the two of them going downtown for some food, or drinks, or a walk around the park, if the weather was nice and she didn't feel like heading home yet.
The more time Satsuki spent around him, the better she came to realize what it had been that had unsettled her so strongly at the beginning.
Well, aside from the inherent faultiness of her memory that left her feeling unwholesome.
He was perfect.
And, while she knew that the statement itself was false, she stood firmly behind it.
She was well aware that he was just a guy, so of course there was no way he was completely faultless. She was also well aware that he was just recovering from the damage she'd caused him—cornering him so far that he'd felt that severing their bond would be better than attempting to wait out salvaging it—and that he was still trying to impress her, in a way – showing her only the agreeable parts of himself. He was trying to keep her pleased at all times, because he wanted her to enjoy his company and appreciate it.
But that was just it. That's where he was perfect. And that's exactly what had made her so uneasy at first.
He knew exactly what to do and what not to in order to have her completely pleased and placated. He knew what she liked, and he knew how she liked it. He could read her like an open book to tell exactly when and what she wanted. And he did it with staggering accuracy and efficiency.
He catered to the whims she didn't even know she had when they were out together. He had no trouble talking normally with her no matter how strained or nervous she got, how fidgety and uncertain.
He was like a perfect fit to the puzzle of her life, his presence somehow making many other things right as well.
It was funny, really. She didn't know him that well yet—not really. He was still something of a stranger, but he was the stranger who knew her better than she knew herself.
It was like she had gone down to the street and taken a random person's hand, only to find out a second later from their every word, every gesture, every breath that she had randomly taken hold of her soul mate.
And that was weird, because that's not how life worked. It was an anomaly, because the reason he was so perfect was because he knew her, but she didn't know him.
That simple fact created such a strong discord inside of her at first that it had taken her aback, scared her off.
And her own discomfort had diverted her attention from what really mattered in that situation.
Namely, the fact she didn't know him was correctible. Easily done, too.
It had only taken her almost losing him completely to realize such a simple truth.
It had taken her a night to realize that it was okay to feel doted on and accepted by someone whom she couldn't remember.
It had taken her two days to realize that even if she didn't try too hard to recall all the memories that had culminated in his current disposition to her, those memories would come back eventually—so she was better advised spending some more time in the present instead.
Of course, it was still weird that even if he didn't ask her what snacks she wanted when they sat down in the park, he came bearing exactly the same item she'd been craving since setting foot in the recreational area. It was odd that his tastes in music to listen to in his car largely coincided with hers. It was a bit unnerving how well he could read how she would react to things that happened around them and to them while they were out downtown together.
But instead of being alarmed by that—a certain amount of distrust inspired from her memory loss urging her towards the darker interpretation of those occurrences—she chose to be charmed.
Instead of feeling the urge to run away from the inexplicable desire of getting closer to him, she let it have free reign.
"Takao! Takao!" one of Kazunari's co-workers came to him, grabbing at the front of his suit in dramatically exaggerated despair. "Get a load of this and weep."
"You assholes are seriously taking this crap way too far," Daiki interjected testily, slapping the back of the head of the guy holding onto the former Shuutoku player.
Kazunari's ears perked up at the notion of getting some dirt on Daiki. It was always good to have some spare leverage over friends—especially when you're as prone to mischief as Takao was.
"Aomine has been all grins and sunshine and rainbows lately because he's been dating," their co-worked wailed out, burying his face in Kazunari's shirt.
"What?" the raven-haired haired man roared, his face twisting in outrage. It was the only sensible response he could manage, considering the plethora of other questions he wanted to blurt out and immediately require an acceptable answers for. "He's doing what?"
"No, no, see, the point is, that Aomine isn't just dating—he's dating his wife!" the other man said through a not very masculine sob, collapsing down to his knees. "I've been trying to get him to come with me to pick up chicks for years and he's shot me down every time, and now that he finally gets a chance to go out, have some fun, what does he do? He dates his wife. I mean, who even does that, right?!"
A knowing look stole over Kazunari's face then, before his features moulded into his trademark wolfish grin.
"How sly, Daiki," he said in a sing-song voice. "Is that why you ditched me three evenings in a row on the basketball dates? To go on actual dates with your missus?"
"Sorry 'bout that, Kazu," the navy-haired man said, smirking a little at being elbowed by his shorter friend in a conspiratorial manner. "We up for tonight, though?"
"Only if you have time for me in your busy schedule—I know you're a guy with firm priorities," Kazunari said teasingly, before walking over towards his desk.
"Yeah, yeah, give it a rest already, it's not that big a deal," Daiki grumbled but his feigned grouchiness failed to veil the childlike glee that bubbled in his tone.
"Why did the conversation progress like that without me?!" their co-worker lamented loudly from the ground. "What this man is doing is an abomination!" he insisted melodramatically, making all his colleagues within earshot roll their eyes.
"And what you're doing is wasting this company's money, slacking during working hours. So get back behind that desk, or I will get you there myself, smart ass," their boss said when he came down the stairs, making the previously wallowing man jump back to full attention.
He smoothed out his suit and saluted his superior, chanting a quick "sir, yes, sir!" before marching right back into his office.
It took all the self-control they had for Daiki and Kazunari to keep their laughter to just silent sniggers before resuming their own tasks.
It didn't take Satsuki long to notice that no matter how much fun they had going out, watching movies together or just spending time in one another's company, and despite the fact that his personality type screamed that he was the aggressive type when it came to these things, Daiki refused to do anything more straight-forward than standing right next to her, his arm brushing against hers discreetly every now and then—but never taking hold of her hand directly.
She racked her brain over why that was—boggled how it was even possible—before she realized with a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach that it was her fault entirely.
The way she'd reacted as though scalded when he'd moved in to kiss her that day when she was living with him after coming out of the hospital—it had left a lasting scar in his confidence when it came to seeking closeness with her now.
She also noticed it in the way it was always as though he were tiptoeing around her, handling her as though she were glass.
And although it was kind of flattering to have someone so aware of you, she was definitely not so fragile that she would break upon a simple touch.
And she most definitely didn't need to be put behind a glass and doted upon so carefully.
It seemed he needed to be reminded of that.
Satsuki had never been the type of girl not to rise to the challenge when it was offered before her.
"Haha, oh my gosh, look at this picture Ki-chan just sent me," she said through laughter, trying to compose herself enough to be able to string a proper sentence. "Apparently, his fame as a model carried all the way to Russia, and this is the kind of state he found his hotel room in after he landed."
Daiki leaned over her shoulder next to her on the bench, taking a look at the phone in her hold. She held it up for him to see and as he doubled over laughing as well, she couldn't help a grin of her own.
"Damn," the navy-haired man commented while wiping a tear from the corner of his eye at having laughed too hard. "Poor Ryouta. He must be cursing his fame as a model before joining that airline now."
"I think he'd be more worried about someone else cursing him, or casting some kind of magic over him right now rather than doing any cursing himself," she giggled while pocketing her phone again.
That's when she noticed Daiki staring at her profile.
"What? Do I have chocolate on my face, or something?" she queried warily, brushing at her mouth tentatively. In light of how messy she could get while eating taiyaki (which they had earlier), she wouldn't be too surprised if that were the case.
"No, I was just—I've never seen that necklace before," he pointed out, motioning towards the chain on her neck. "I just noticed it. Struck me as peculiar."
"Oh, this," Satsuki began shyly, fingering the chain gingerly.
Daiki raised an intrigued brow at her reaction.
"It's just something that I didn't feel entitled to wear yet, but I thought I ought to keep close to me at all times. So I put it on a chain instead." The confused look on his face was so extreme it was almost hilarious. "Try to guess what it is?"
He snorted, shaking his head in dismissal.
"As if there's any chance I can just guess that," he claimed, completely convinced.
Satsuki didn't allow herself to get shaken over his briskness.
"Really? Even though it's something that you have given me?"
Before Daiki could even open his mouth to voice his utter befuddlement with her cryptic talk, his gaze wandered over to her once again, only to fall to her neckline, where the chain around her neck was now being held to dangle within his view.
And there, hanging upon it, was her wedding ring.
His eyes widened.
"How long…?" he mumbled, never managing to finish his sentence.
He didn't need to finish it for her to understand.
"Ever since coming out of the hospital," she told him, sounding somewhat proud. "I knew this was important so I wanted to always keep it with me. But all the things that happened were too much for me, and I didn't feel like it was right to wear it on my finger. So I put it on a chain," she finished with a small smile.
She took the chain off her neck and slid the ring out of its clasp. She put it on her finger and regarded it for a long moment with an enigmatic curl of her lips.
"There – still a perfect fit," she observed smartly. She exhaled a deep breath through her nose, blinking down at the band on her finger. "Just waiting for me to become a better fit for it again…"
When she looked up, Satsuki was floored by the intensity of Daiki's gaze as it locked with hers. She was suddenly very aware of the fact he was less than a foot away, and that she could perfectly well feel the heat emanating from his body from the way they were pressed up against each other sitting on the bench.
For a moment, she felt like he was leaning in because his eyes sparked with emotions barely kept at bay – tempestuous, overwhelming. Her lips parted and she sucked on a breath as she leant in as well.
And then he shifted his gaze away from her mouth. She could practically feel him turn tail right there—but she was having none of that. Not today. Not on this one.
She put her hand on the back of his neck and forced him to direct his attention back to her frowning face. He appeared taken aback by the directness of her actions. Her brows narrowed in return.
"Don't chicken out now, Daiki," she ground out in the lowest tone she could manage, the challenge clear in her sharp eyes.
"Who's chickening out, you vulgar woman?" he snarled back and leaned in the rest of the way. He captured her lips in the kiss he'd been yearning to give her ever after seeing her awake and alive and well in that hospital bed those two months ago.
Spurred on by the heat of the moment—and her impeccable taunt—his lips moved against hers arduously, pliantly, imploringly. Once she responded to him, he wasted no time in letting himself into her mouth, tongue swiping at her slightly parted lips and dipping in before she could react at all.
When his nimble tongue started exploring her mouth, engaging hers in a searing dance for dominance, Satsuki's breath hitched in her throat. Her heart was hammering against the confines of her ribcage. She found his fervour astounding. It was also more than a bit flattering to feel so strongly desired, so much emotion conveyed through just a single kiss.
One of her hands held onto him by the crook of his neck while the other fisted itself in the spikes of his hair.
When they parted eventually—gasping for air—she felt winded and a little dizzy but it was the most exhilarating emotion – she felt as though she was floating.
He moved in for another quick peck on her lips before resting his forehead against hers with a deep sigh. His hands were cupping her face, his touch feather-light. He closed his eyes and breathed her in.
"Wow," Satsuki mumbled breathlessly. He chuckled against her. His warm exhale fanning against her lips made her skin erupt in goose flesh.
"Damn, I missed this," he confessed earnestly, another heavy sigh tearing from his lungs again. "It feels like forever since I could do it last."
"Then," she started, once she had calmed a little the rapid rise and fall of her chest. "We have a lot of catching up to do, right?"
And looking into his eyes from this close—the playful glint shining in her own—made her realize just how mesmerizingly beautiful the deep cerulean hue of his irises was. Staring into them made her feel like she was being engulfed in a bottomless sea of adoration and passion.
He was a surprisingly observant listener, because he picked up on her hint fast enough. He leaned in and captured her lips again.
As she revelled in the feelings that his searing kisses left her with, she didn't even have half a mind to care that they were still outside, and that public displays of affection like this were unacceptable. She didn't care if anyone came by and saw them because she was too engrossed in the magic he was working over her, setting every nerve in her body alight with need.
She only realized her mind had completely shut down for a long moment when it kick started back up. She was starting to get swept up in her passions as well, but when his kisses started travelling down the column of her throat, along the line of her collarbone and his nimble fingers started taking free reign over her upper body, she felt alarmed.
It wasn't that it felt wrong or that she wasn't okay with this happening—in fact, what was more disconcerting was how much she actually wanted this to continue—but it was just too fast.
She didn't want it to go out of control.
She was just starting to get a good hang of their situation recently, so letting things go crazy now was completely unacceptable.
So, as gently as she could, she put a finger to his lips and pushed against them gently, making him pause and pull his head away from her to give her a quizzical look.
She had to smile at how delicious he looked, his breathing all over the place and his cheeks aflame with want.
"Slow down," she asked him gently with the kindest smile she could manage. "One step at a time, okay?"
A shadow flitted across his face. He looked like a deer caught in the headlights. She knew that he was probably freaking out—the expression on his face told her as much—so before he could dig himself into an overthinking hole, she cradled his face gently and leaned in to place a soft, innocent kiss against his closed lips. It was the only form of reassurance she could think of at the moment, given his proximity and her roaring pulse. She wanted to assure him that he hadn't done anything wrong by her, and all she wanted was a bit more time to acclimate.
The tenderness of the gesture wasn't lost on him, and she could tell that it was enough to keep him from panicking at the time being.
"Sorry," he muttered tersely, letting his head drop on her shoulder with a sigh. "I got carried away. I just… I've missed you so much, Satsuki."
She wrapped her arms around him, hugging him closer to her body. A smile stretched her lips.
"I know," she whispered into the night, the gentle breeze blowing around them carrying her words away. "We'll get there," she promised sincerely. "Just… give me some time to get used to this."
He nodded against her neck.
Then his arms snaked around her form and he enveloped her in his embrace as well.
She allowed herself to sink into the hug, wondering why somehow, when they were so close like this, she could almost believe that the world was the safest and most wonderful place to be.
The next day found Satsuki opening her eyes to a vaguely familiar ceiling. She exhaled slowly and attempted to lift her head off her pillow—only to realize several things at once.
First, the reason the ceiling was vaguely familiar was because it was the ceiling of Daiki's living room—which had been her living room for a week as well. Second, she realized that her whole body felt so sore it was difficult to move at all.
And, last but certainly not least importantly, her 'pillow' had a heartbeat—steady and calming.
Her eyes widened as she realized that she had fallen asleep against Daiki's chest last night.
After their outing at the park last night, she had insisted that they go watch that movie he had told her so much about. So they ended up at his place, watching the movie and occasionally throwing popcorn at one another when either of them said something that started funny little squabbles between them.
She'd had so much fun being an idiot alongside him that even when she felt her eyes drooping, she refused to say that she was sleepy. Pig-headedly determined to finish the film before she told him she wanted to go to bed, she must've ended up nodding off on his shoulder somewhere along the way.
As she lifted herself slowly from the uncomfortable position on the couch, easing the burden of her body off of him, she could tell that he must've dozed off at some point as well.
And somehow, even though her neck hurt like a bitch and blood circulation to her feet would need a few seconds to get properly flowing again, Satsuki regretted nothing.
Ending up sleeping over without having planned to at a place you used to live in was quite convenient, Satsuki discovered.
When Daiki stirred a few minutes after her, she greeted him good morning with a crooked smile. He grumbled something back while testily cracking his neck and griping about something to himself.
He got off the couch after exerting impressive effort, and she barely stifled the giggle as he dragged himself across the room to grab onto the coffee maker and turn it on.
"What time is it?" he asked, his voice hoarse with disuse.
"Just past ten," she responded, peering curiously at his profile. When he noticed her, he sent her the most deadpan look she'd seen in a while. "You're not really a morning person, are you?" she observed astutely, her grin widening.
"No," he ground out at length, dragging a hand over his face in an attempt to help rid himself of the remnants of his sleep. "I'm not."
"That's kind of cute," she told him merrily just as he was pouring himself a cup of coffee.
He almost choked on his sip at her claim.
"How the fuck can that ever be 'cute'?" he grouched, shaking his head in disbelief at the insane shit she sometimes came up with. "Seriously, woman, you're a crackpot sometimes…"
Satsuki giggled as she continued watching him sip his coffee after he sat down on a chair at the dining table. It was definitely quite refreshing to get to see him in this kind of light as well. It made him look a lot more humane to her to finally see what he was like when he wasn't catering to her every whim.
Also, that ridiculously childish pout on his face was somehow oddly adorable. It looked completely misplaced on his face, which was probably what made it so endearing.
He threw her another pointed glare, letting her know exactly how he felt about her grinning and giggling so early in the morning. She lifted her hands palm-up towards him in a placating manner, backing off a bit.
"Do you mind if I go take a shower?"
"Help yourself," he answered gruffly, taking another sip of his coffee.
"I'll give you some time to properly wake up," she said with a snicker and skipped off towards the bedroom when he threw her another evil eye.
That's when the fact she used to live here, for a long time before this whole escapade happened, hit her. She had several different towels, and so many clothes in the drawers that she didn't need to worry what she'd change into after coming out from the bathroom.
It was rather odd, really, but not in an unpleasant way.
Fifteen minutes later, she emerged from the shower, feeling refreshed and much better than she had right after waking up. She wrapped the towel around her body and ventured into the kitchen. She waltzed over to the coffee pot and poured some of the dark liquid into a mug for herself. She took it gingerly and took a tentative sip of it, nodding to herself before moving to sit next to Daiki on the couch before she realized that he was staring at her very closely.
His face was painted into the most comic look of complete disbelief and exasperation. She fought to keep herself from bursting out laughing.
"What?" she demanded innocently.
His eye twitched in an annoyed tic in response to her obliviousness.
"Are you testing me right now or something?" he seethed, making her bat her eyes perplexedly at him.
"Am I what now?"
"Are you testing my self-control here, or are you actually that idiotic?" Daiki demanded, the twitch of the muscle under his eye striking again.
"I have no idea what you're talking about, but I'm fairly sure the name-calling is uncalled for," Satsuki argued in a miffed tone, crossing her arms under her ample bosom.
Which brought Daiki's attention exactly to what he was trying not to look at.
"Satsuki," he started in a peevish tone, massaging the bridge of his nose with his right hand. "I know I promised yesterday I would behave. And it's not like I am some kind of savage beast here incapable of any self-control whatsoever. But, coming right out of the bathroom, still dripping wet and smelling all sweet like flowers and fucking sunshine, you sit next to me with only a towel covering you and you honestly think that is okay?"
She was torn between laughing at the strained and aggravated grimace he was making, and feeling embarrassed at not having given this thorough consideration before doing exactly as he had described.
"You do realize that I am male, and that I could jump you despite putting in my best effort not to?" He sighed, tired out of this whole exchange already. He shook his head to himself and picked himself up from the couch.
"Sorry," Satsuki called out after him in her best attempt to sound apologetic. "It just felt so natural I ended up getting carried away."
He pinched the bridge of his nose again, and she felt like a small child getting chided for being mischievous. And that thought alone made her giggle to herself again.
"I'm going to shower, too, and when I come out, you better have some clothes on. Got it?" he barked out before slamming the door to the bathroom shut.
Satsuki grinned to herself as she sunk further into the couch, sipping at her coffee.
"Got it," she said to no one in particular, taking a moment to enjoy the late Saturday comedy shows on air before going to pick something to wear.
When Daiki came out of the bathroom, he was met with a fully clothed Satsuki munching on some crackers while watching TV in the living room.
"Feel any better?" she asked in a knowing tone, making him snort and roll his eyes. Still, he couldn't fool her, because she could see the smirk tugging on the corner of his lips.
"I guess," he relented.
He proceeded to do the exact same thing she had done earlier, minus the coffee mug. Satsuki raised a brow at him—and the towel covering him that was riding up his thigh from the way he was sitting—as he reached over to snag some crackers from her.
"What are you watching?" he asked, his gaze pinned to the screen. He completely ignored the incredulous stare she was fixing him with.
"Seriously?" she parried with a question of her own, laughter bubbling in her tone.
"Yeah—I've never seen this," Daiki said, and at that point she was starting to wonder if he perhaps wasn't feigning cluelessness.
"No, I mean this," she motioned towards him with a sweep of her hand, "seriously? I don't get to do it, but when it's you, that's totally fine?"
At that, his face morphed into the sliest smirk.
"Of course—for me, you jumping me is a sought out effect," he told her with a chuckle.
She shook her head in disbelief at his antics and reached out to smack his bare arm playfully. They lapsed into a comfortable silence, broken only by the sounds from the TV. He ruffled his wet hair, trying to dry it out as best as he could manage and feeling a bit too lazy to get up and get dressed.
When she didn't continue, he angled his head to the side a bit so he could throw her a searching look.
The pink-haired woman was biting her lip, her hands fidgeting in her lap. Daiki raised a brow at her behaviour.
"Would it—" she began but dropped the sentence halfway. "Would you mind if—" she tried again, but thought better of it once more.
What was she trying to say, anyway? And what was with all the ceremoniousness about it? He honestly didn't get it.
"Is it okay if I move back in?" she mumbled out in the tiniest voice she had ever used.
After she finally asked her question, Daiki understood exactly what all the fidgeting and the difficulty phrasing had been about.
When he didn't answer her, she moved her head to fix her gaze on him in order to gauge a reaction out of him. But the moment her face was turned to him, he leaned in towards her to give her his answer in a more expressive way than the verbal.
The kiss he pressed to her lips then was unlike any of the other ones before it.
She had moved back into the apartment she shared with Daiki the very same day after asking him his thoughts on the matter. And although he hadn't been very thrilled at sharing a bed with her for a couple of days without being allowed to try any funny business in it, he had relented to her terms fairly quickly.
After all, she couldn't just exile him on the couch like she had after her return from the hospital. Sleeping on it didn't treat him too kindly from what she had seen.
Still, even if she was comfortable around him now, and even though she felt obscenely attracted to him, somehow jumping him after just going out a few times sounded a bit too skanky to her.
However, that man certainly knew how to press her buttons—she had to give that much to him.
It was like he had sniffed out the wavering of her conviction, because when he started pressing sensual open-mouthed kisses against her neck and bare shoulder one evening, denying there being any crafty ploy behind his actions, Satsuki couldn't help but feel that his timing was a bit too precise.
All of that stopped mattering, though, when his lips latched onto hers and she allowed herself to be drowned in the ardour of his kisses.
When his fingers started following the flawless curves of her body, mapping out her form, she didn't protest this time. Her skin burnt in wake of his touch, yearning to feel it anew.
Before she knew it, she was on her back and he was over her, his hands kneading the soft flesh of her breasts while his mouth was fixed upon one of her pert nipples.
The sounds his ministrations were drawing from her throat sounded like someone else's voice in her ears. She had never heard herself sound this erotic.
This was all his fault. He was the one reducing her to this wanton, writhing mess of fervent passion and unrelenting desire. His kisses were illegal, with the way they fried her nerves with excitement. His fingers criminal in their deftness as they explored her body and rid her entirely of all thinking processes.
When his hand reached between her legs, though, she grabbed his wrist in panic, halting his advance.
Instead of looking worried and alarmed like the last time something similar had happened, Daiki's gaze shifted to her, unfazed.
"It's okay, Satsuki," he told her gently, pressing a tender kiss to her parted lips. "You've done this before. We've done this before," he told her reassuringly, pulling the hand that had stopped his fingers to his mouth. He kissed her knuckles, and then turned her hand to kiss her palm, too. "Don't be nervous."
"I-I know, but…" she trailed off reluctantly, feeling increasingly more torn the more her frustration at her having interrupted him mounted.
"You don't want this?" he asked, a twinge of hurt shining through his quiet question.
"I do want it," she almost whined out, shifting in her discomfort underneath him. "It's just that… it seems wrong."
"How is this wrong?" he parried her question, a small chuckle tearing from his chest. "We're married. This is our bed. I want you, and if you want me, too, what's wrong with acting upon those feelings?"
"I know, but… I don't remember any of that." Her voice broke. Tears pricked at her eyes, and she had only herself to blame.
Not for forgetting him and all of their precious memories from before the crash—no. That was not why she was crying.
She was crying because it almost physically hurt to be so aroused and close to him, and be denied feeling his touch. And she was the one stopping him, frustrating her own needs.
But how could she not? When—
"I've practically known you for less than a few weeks, so isn't it wrong to just jump into your bed like this? Doesn't it make me seem weird?"
He could see that she was about to bring herself to near hysterics, so he shut her up with a kiss to make her settle down a little.
"Satsuki," he whispered against her lips, "even if your mind doesn't remember me right now, your body still does."
His hand slid up from the outside of her knee up to her outer thigh, gently trailing her flesh underneath. He pressed the tip of his nose against the shell of her ear, his tongue darting out to take a playful lick at her lobe. A shiver raked her spine in response to his actions, her body unconsciously scooting closer to his on the bed.
It was true, she could tell—she could feel it. There was something stronger than mere attraction and infatuation at play here – her body practically resonated with his with every single touch of his apt fingers. His caresses didn't feel like something new to her skin—instead, they felt nostalgic. Familiar.
"Don't listen to your reason right now. Just listen to what your body wants you to do, and let go for once." He grazed his teeth against her ear, before turning to press a kiss to the side of her face. "You can trust yourself with me," he whispered huskily against her skin.
His meaningful promise and the feel of his breath on her flesh made the hairs at the back of her neck stand on end.
"Okay," she rasped out breathlessly as his mouth swooped in to capture hers in another ardent lip lock.
And while his tongue sensually explored every nook and cranny in her mouth, dragging out a small moan from her every now and then, one of his hands travelled down to outline the fullness of one of her breasts, briefly pausing over it to give it a soft squeeze, then descending over the flatness of her belly. His callused hand felt a bit rough against her soft skin, but his touch was ephemerally light as compensation.
His hand continued further down, dipping in the space between her legs before she could stop him again.
She gasped as his fingers pressed against her folds through the fabric of her panties.
"You weren't kidding when you said you wanted this, were you?" he asked rhetorically, feeling even more turned on at getting a feel of how moist her panties were to his touch.
"Shut up," she retorted with no bite in her words, because at the very same second, his fingers slipped under the waistband of her underwear and brushed against her bare folds slickened with desire.
She felt a bit miffed at the feel of his smirk against her neck, but all thoughts of his smugness fled her mind when one of his nimble digits found the sensitive bundle of nerves over her entrance.
Three months after having woken up in that hospital bed found Satsuki unwittingly almost fully recovered from her trauma of that day—at least as far as her every day routine was concerned.
She lived in her apartment with her husband again. He drove her to and from work every day, and on their way home, they stopped by a supermarket for ingredients for the dinner—which he always cooked—or by a restaurant for take-out if he felt too lazy to bother with cooking. They watched some TV series and talk shows while they ate, showered and then usually retreated to bed together.
Her ring was no longer hanging on the chain around her neck, sitting proudly around her right ring finger instead—even though she didn't feel entirely entitled to wear it yet, she found it disrespectful of herself to be the only one being a bad wife like that when he never once took off his wedding band.
Life was pretty much returning to normal, and it was truly fascinating. Even though there was still a huge, gaping hole in her memories, the one she had felt in her chest—suffocating her, tripping her step and making her awkward in every aspect of her life—was completely gone.
In its stead, her heart was filled with him—he was in her thoughts, in her dreams, in her veins, under her skin – in her every heartbeat.
She wondered how it was possible to have fallen so deeply in love with a person without really knowing much about them. And yet, possible or not, it was a fact – and she was enjoying every second of it.
No longer was she second-guessing her every word, wondering what was appropriate and what was not. No longer did she dwell on how long it would be before she finally recovered her memories—because no matter how long it would take, she was still going to be right there, next to him, whenever it happened.
And they would be making the most of their lives throughout it all.
When she heard that he and Takkun had called up some of the guys to get together for a basketball match together, she had immediately jumped up at the opportunity of getting to see all of them together after so long. And in a settling a bit less morbid than her hospital room, too.
After she spent an incredibly long time—at least it seemed so to the other men on the court—talking to Kagami and Kuroko, then bribing Murasakibara to share some of his sweets stash with her, Daiki shooed her out of the court so they could start their game.
They decided by drawing lots with 2 different tip-coloured sticks who would be on which team. Daiki ended teamed up with Takao, Midorima, Murasakibara and Himuro, while against them were Kuroko, Kagami, Kise, Kasamatsu and Sakurai (whom Daiki had extorted to come play with them the previous day when he heard from Kazunari that they were one person short of a 5-on-5 set up).
And as Satsuki threw the ball in the air for her husband and Kagami to jump for, she couldn't help the grin on her face.
She hadn't ever seen Daiki so pumped up about anything before, and he had even spent extra time training to get back some of his previous perseverance and power just for this day.
What was even more amusing for all the guys was that none of them had played basketball in a while, and most certainly not in such a company, so none of them knew how the match was going to end even after the teams were decided.
After they tipped off, it was hard to tell whether they were playing for real or just messing around, Satsuki noticed. She was keeping their score and time with a pocket watch, but even though both teams kept scoring, she couldn't help but notice the occasional lapses between team members that diverted their attention from the game and more towards other matters.
Like when Daiki attempted to intimidate Sakurai into missing his three-pointer, by making a rather hilariously menacing expression. His tactic had worked, though, making the young man with a penchant for apologizing have his hand slip, throwing the ball towards the hoop a bit too powerfully. His mistake resulted in the ball ending in Daiki's team possession.
"Hey! Referee! That was totally cheating!" Kagami burst out angrily, pointing an accusatory finger in Daiki's direction. "This bastard is using dirty tricks to undermine the concentration of my team member!"
"He's right—stop bullying poor Ryou, Daiki," Satsuki agreed with a stern frown, making her husband give her an exaggerated pout.
"What?" he dragged out the syllable in a complaining tone. "I'm just teaching Ryou here what it's like to be playing against me for once—isn't that right, Ryou?"
"I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I was the one at fault! It's my bad I missed that shot. Aomine-san didn't do anything!" the auburn-haired young man all but shouted.
"Stop ganging up on our captain, Kaga-chin," Murasakibara sighed and shook his head in dejection at their opponents' tactics.
"Wha—Who's ganging up on others?!" the redhead exclaimed, outraged, turning to look towards his partner for support. "Tetsuya, back me up here!"
"Can we just resume the match already?" the teal-headed guy said evenly, making Kagami's jaw drop. "I want to play and I have yet to even touch the ball because of you guys' childish bickering."
Honestly, Satsuki wondered if there ever was a more ridiculous practice game than this one.
And throughout it all she couldn't keep herself from grinning like an idiot.
They all looked like they were enjoying themselves so much. And watching them play like the old times together made it feel like they were still in high school, as though it were just yesterday when they were standing on a real court together like this.
As her pink orbs followed Daiki's form on the court, she started feeling a much stronger feeling of déjà vu than she ever had before. Watching him running back and forth, with those impressive bursts of speed and agility of his, getting all fired up about winning, scoring from improbable positions, his form free and unstoppable.
There was something very familiar in watching Daiki playing the sport he used to adore.
And while she continued watching him—mesmerized, already unable to look away—the wheels of her mind started to turn.
The droplets of sweat were rolling down the sides of his face, dripping down to soak into the fabric of his jersey. As he ran, carried on his powerful legs, he stopped every now and then when the ball was out of bounds to wipe his forehead and face against his top, or his sleeve, or his wristband.
… Wait, what? He wasn't carrying a wristband, was he? And his jersey was red right now, not black. What was wrong with her, making stuff up…
Her ears were ringing.
She shook her head to rid it of the fogginess, but the more she continued staring at him, the harder it became to focus.
Her heart started to race almost painfully in her chest as she kept watching him. The basketball loving Daiki who hadn't even touched the ball in a couple of years now. The basketball loving Daiki who had left that passion behind when he found a job that needed all of his focus, and started a family with her.
"It's just miso soup and rice. I'm sure it won't take you that long to figure it out!"
Her face bloomed into the most beaming smile he had seen on her face in a while before she flung herself at him, hugging him around the waist and burying her face in his chest.
"Dai-chan!" she cried out in adoration. "Dai-chan's the best hubby ever!"
Daiki chuckled again and patted her head fondly before he proceeded to go through the motions of how miso soup should be made together with her.
Her breathing laboured, coming out in quick, short puffs as her thoughts started racing for no apparent reason at all.
"My new phone needs a new wallpaper!" she enthused, suddenly drawing the attention of half the diner to herself. "So let's take a picture!"
Daiki made an incredulous face and his jaw hung open with a sceptical "Haa?"
A groan tore from her throat as the thoughts overwhelmed her.
She grinned and said in a sing-song voice, "Say cheese!" before leaning in to kiss Daiki's cheek while her finger sank down to press the shutter of her phone's camera.
The clipboard fell from between her numb fingers and clattered to the ground.
"Wanna get married?" Daiki asked out of the blue just as they were sitting down to eat dinner one night.
The waddle fell from her grip with a loud clang against the tiles of their kitchen counter. Her navy-haired lover turned his head partially in her direction to size her up with the most unreadable look on his face while she gawked at him, unable to say anything back to his proposal.
That's what it had been, right?! A proposal?!
"What?" she finally managed to articulate a word.
Daiki shrugged noncommittally at her, a grin coming to his face afterwards.
"It's going to happen eventually, right? Or are you planning on breaking up with me?"
"No," she choked out defensively, and flopped down in her seat across the table from him. "But, but… that doesn't mean we can just go ahead and get married!"
"Why not?" he said with that same unrelenting mischievous glint in his eyes that she remembered from their childhood days.
It definitely didn't help that she really couldn't think of any plausible reason to counter his question with.
"Let's get married, Satsuki."
She put her open palm against her chest and attempted to calm the intermittence of her pulse.
"I do," she answered, the grandeur of the simple phrase emphasized by the band she pushed on his finger.
Daiki smiled down at her, and she reciprocated the expression, her heart swelling in her chest at knowing that everything about this man—that sometimes infuriating grin, that volatile character of his, and his ever-present love for her—mind, body and soul—all of it was going to be hers from then till the end of time.
While she was spacing out she didn't notice that the ball was heading in her direction with an impressive speed. Having just bounced back after going through the hoop with one of Midorima's ever-impressive super-long three-pointers, the ball zeroed in on Satsuki's face despite all the guys' warnings for her to watch out.
She staggered back a bit, her feet unstable underneath her, but before she could collapse she felt Daiki at her side, holding her up while sniggering.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to laugh," he apologized unrepentantly. "But you really should've seen your face." He chuckled some more before peering at her. "Are you okay? Let me see."
He meant to pry away from her face the hand that had flown to clutch at her wounded nose. But he didn't understand why she was staring at him in wide-eyed wonder, as though she were seeing a ghost.
Did the ball maybe hit her head harder than it had looked?
"Dai-chan," she murmured in a breathless whisper then.
"What?" he said automatically. "Are you in that much pain? Take that hand away, Satsuki."
By that time the rest of the boys had gathered behind Daiki in a half-circle, throwing her glances of varying degrees of worry.
"Dai-chan," she repeated, louder this time.
Tears welled in her eyes and immediately, Daiki felt alarmed. He was never good at dealing with her crying, no matter how many years passed.
"Dai-chan," she echoed again, and it finally sank into his mind what she was calling him.
A nickname he hadn't heard in three months.
"I remember." The tears kept cascading down the sides of her face, their flow unrelenting. "I remember it all."
Daiki's jaw dropped slightly ajar, his fingers holding onto her shoulders tightening barely perceptibly over her flesh.
"Is Satsuki-chan okay?" Kazunari piped in behind the navy-haired man. "Did something happen?"
Her hands rose, trembling, from nursing her nose to cradle Daiki's face gingerly in their hold. She shook her head slowly while her tears continued falling.
"Dai-chan, I'm sorry. I'm so, so, so very sorry," she said over and over, caressing his cheek fondly. "I put you through something so horrible. Please, forgive me. I'll spend the rest of my life atoning for it, trying to make it up to you. I'm so, so sorry…" she cried pitifully while staring into his eyes.
Before anyone could ask what was going on and why Daiki stood there, stupefied, the man in question came back to life, pulling Satsuki swiftly into a strong hug.
"I'm a bit lost what's happening anymore," Yukio told to Ryouta, who shrugged as well.
Midorima pushed his spectacles up the bridge of his nose with a haughty huff.
"We should leave," he told the rest of them, making many eyebrows quirk in response.
"Yep, we're done here for today—we're one player and one referee short, so we can leave this for a better time."
"But what happened?" Kagami insisted while the triple-team of Midorima, Takao and Kuroko ushered him and the rest of the guys in direction opposite of the hugging couple. "What's up with the Aomines?"
"They're having a moment," Kuroko said sagely with a private smile. "It would be rude to infringe on it."
And while the gaggle of adolescent men got further and further away until they eventually disappeared from sight and earshot, Satsuki was still held on to tightly by a man almost twice her size.
Instead of protesting against the strength he was putting into the embrace, or that he was sweaty and too close when they were out in public, Satsuki kept crying and clinging tightly to him, too. Her fingers fisted the fabric of the back of his jersey, her sobs racking her body.
"I'm so sorry, Dai-chan. I put you in such a horrible position. I'm the worst person ever," she whimpered out, her fingers digging the fabric of his shirt that they were leaving marks into the skin on his back.
Daiki's shoulders trembled with emotion as he pulled her even closer into his embrace. He shook his head against her neck before burying his nose in the crook of it.
"I love you," she cried. "I love you so much. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for believing in us. Thank you for enduring. You're my unsung hero."
A strangled sound tore from Daiki's chest and when he dropped to his knees, Satsuki did too.
"It's over now," she told him, caressing his head lovingly. "You can relax now. It's going to be okay. Everything is all right," she assured him with a sniffle, burying her face into his chest.
She cried for so long.
And so did he.
She had almost never seen him cry, so as he wept against her shoulder now, she knew that what she had done had been truly terrible—to have made him feel like this.
She cried for having ever allowed her most wonderful memories of the most important person in her life get sealed away for so long. She cried for dealing with the aftermath of it in the most horrible way possible. She cried for him, and for how far she'd made him fall in his despair, forcing someone as strongly spirited and mentally stable as Daiki resort to drinking himself into a stupor just so he could get a reprieve from the unbearable hell his days had turned into thanks to her stupidity.
She cried for almost having lost the most important person in her life twice in those past three months—once, in that bus crash, and once more, when he'd almost ended their relationship.
Daiki cried because he was so overwhelmingly relieved and happy to have his wife—the woman who knew all of his flaws, and loved him despite them—because of them—back in his arms, where she belonged.
A/N: And this concludes my fill for Yamiland's prompt. :3 Hope you enjoyed, dearest!