Fandom: Kuroko no Basket
Rating: T
Pairing: Aomine Daiki x Kise Ryouta [AoKise]; Nijimura Shuuzou x Haizaki Shougo [NijiHai]; Kagami Taiga x Kuroko Tetsuya [KagaKuro]; slight! Murasakibara Atsushi x Himuro Tatsuya [MuraMuro]; slight! Takao Kazunari x Midorima Shintarou [TakaMido]
Warning: Boy/Boy. Possible OOC. Hurt/Comfort. Angst. Repetition. Grammatical and spelling mistakes. Un-beta'd. Cliché. Unrealistic storyline. Possible character dea- (I AM JUST KIDDING. No character death this time! I promised you I would give you a deathless fic! :D)
Word Count: 14100 words
A/N: YAY! Finally finished this! After what- three months of procrastinating? Yeah... I think I started this back in February LOL. But it's finally done! I'm really not satisfied with this so I may end up re-writing it, who knows. I almost wrote most of it on my phone so let's pray it flows -_-;; Also, I have more long fics planned ahead (three of them are already titled, summarized, and just need to be written! Not all are AoKise ;D) so come back and check it out! Also, a big head's up, but I will be posting my fics on Wednesdays from now on! Look forward to it! :) Enjoy this one, everyone! Please remember to favourite and review, thank you!
Disclaimer: I do not own Kuroko no Basket. Clearly belongs to Fujimaki Tadatoshi.
Dedication: Originally supposed to be for Kay's birthday present back in February, but it's horribly written so I will re-write something else for you (u_u;;) For all the AoKise shippers out there, I really apologize for this story, and I promise my next long AoKise fic, "Bulletproof", will be better, I promise! Please accept this fic for now and remember to review, favourite, and most of all, ENJOY! ;u;

Summary: Aomine's gone to travel overseas to work on an investigation. For Kise's safety, they communicate only through letters. One day, the letters stop.

When Kise first heard the words escape from Aomine's mouth, he could feel his heart plummet to the floor, shattering to minuscule pieces. It's when the tears begin to fall, where endless, gross sobs escape his lips that warm, muscular arms wrap around his waist.

"Shh, shh..."

He could hear the low, reassuring mumbles leave Aomine's mouth, whispering those sweet comforting words but still, he couldn't help but feel rather hollow.

"Shh, it's only for a few months. You won't even know I'm gone."

But he would. Aomine knew he would. Because who wouldn't notice the lack of presence of their lover? Who wouldn't notice the apartment that once contained the presence of two individuals shift into one? Who wouldn't miss waking up to a warm body, cradling their own early in the morning?

"I swear, Ryouta, I will write to you every day, even if it's against the rules. I will make this work."

Because Kise knew the risk and consequences of Aomine's job; that it was dangerous to even write letters to each other but they needed to have some form of contact with one another; that Aomine knew Kise needed some proof of life from him as he was sent out for this investigation.

But his sobs would not stop because he couldn't bear living alone for the next few months without Aomine comforting and pampering him with sweet, thoughtful kisses and embraces.

Aomine ran his fingers through Kise's golden locks before nuzzling his face into the blonde's neck.

"Every day, I'll write, I promise. Three months will pass by in a blink of an eye."

- Letters from Me to You -

[November 13th, 2023: Letter 1]

'Hey Ryouta, how is everything over there? Miss me yet?

America sure is different from Japan; I think you'd like it a lot. There are plenty of those ridiculously expensive clothing stores you love and every time I pass by one, I always think how you'd spend more than three hours just in one store.

I would enjoy it more if you were here; I miss your smile already. But it's for the better. This investigation is going to be dangerous. If I brought you along, I'm sure you would be in harm's way and I just can't imagine you getting hurt because of this stupid job of mine. It's already risky having to write like this to you, but I can't help it—I need to talk to you.

I should be home soon. NAICHOU said this job should take approximately three months to complete. Hopefully you won't miss me too much?

I'll see you soon.

- Daiki

P.S. – If you dare cheat on me during my absence, I will kill you!'

Kise smiled solemnly at the letter from his boyfriend, cuddling against his bed sheets as he imagined Aomine's voice saying the words written on the piece of paper.

He left two nights ago, where he would remain in America for the next few months before returning. Luckily, the two were able to celebrate their anniversary before he left, but if his job took the full three months – perhaps even longer – they would certainly miss Valentine's Day.

Out of all their years together, they never once missed their anniversary, nor Valentine's Day, but this time, Kise would be celebrating it alone—and the thought sent shivers down his spine.

He hated it; hated Aomine's job, hated how he always partook in such dangerous activities, hated how they had to talk through letters every single time Aomine had an investigation—be it within or out of Japan. All for his damn safety.

Well, what about his own? Didn't he understand how concerned Kise was whenever Aomine accepted such a risky mission? Why did his boyfriend choose such a reckless and daring career choice, knowing that his life was in crucial danger with each and every investigation? Why couldn't he just be a regular police officer, instead of being an agent?

Kise huddled into a ball, cradling his knees against his chest as he inhaled Aomine's scent that lingered on the bed sheets. Only two days passed, and he already missed his boyfriend dearly, but he knew he had to be safe; that his boyfriend would take good care of himself before returning home.

Because he refused to leave Kise alone; not after that incident. On the day they got back together, Aomine vowed he would never leave the blonde alone ever again.

"Go out with me."

Kise's heart skipped momentarily, as he stared at Aomine, who was sweating and panting heavily as if he had run a marathon. His hazel-brown eyes widened, his lips parted in a small 'o' as he remained dumbstruck at the fallen form of the Touou power forward.

Their first attempt at a relationship began shortly after they met. At first, it was simply a strong admiration and respect for the power forward, but those feelings soon developed into something stronger—a crush. In response to his heart, Kise, with his face red from embarrassment, practically begged Aomine to go out with him—to try it out and see. He knew he didn't have the ideal womanly figure Aomine craved for in a significant other but still, he decided to give it a shot. And when Aomine agreed, he could feel his stomach doing small, continuous flips of joy.

That year was absolutely perfect. Despite Aomine's constant complaints about Kise's body, he was rather caring; picking the blonde up from work before the two headed to the court to play their usual one-on-ones, followed by a cheap dinner at Maji Burger.

However, Aomine started to change; the lack of passion towards the one sport that connected them to each other, the prideful and obnoxious attitude that replaced the childish nature, and the lack of reliability he had to his teammates—all those traits, those very traits that drew Kise to Aomine in the first place, disappeared.

So they broke up before parting ways back in middle school. Kise was the one initiating the break-up and Aomine simply shrugged, walking away and leaving the blonde to sob endlessly for days. The two never chatted much after that; those one-on-ones came to a halt, and Kise moved to Kanagawa to attend Kaijou, while Aomine stayed in Tokyo.

They lost any sign of contact. Something that once consisted of numerous e-mails every day turned into nothing but an empty inbox. Kise staring at his phone, anxiously waiting for Aomine to call him back the break before their high school life began, but nothing.

It wasn't until after the Winter Cup when Aomine started returning to his old self; after he suffered a humiliating defeat from Seirin, crushing his prideful attitude and snapping him back into reality—a reality that screamed 'there are opponents stronger than you'. It was after Kise lost against Seirin in the semi-finals that Aomine approached him; hence the situation now.

"Kise, I'm serious, go out with me again."

His eyes darted from Aomine to anywhere else, from the trees to the ground to the clouds shifting slowly in the sky before reverting his attention back to the male in front of him, who was finally regaining his breath. He could see the desperation in his dark-blue eyes; guilt immediately pouring into his system and he knew, instinctively he knew, this was the boy he first fell in love with. Those words were the very words he craved to hear months ago, but now, upon facing the power forward and hearing those words escape the lips that once brushed against his; he could feel his chest beating with uncertainty.

Could he really go back to the boy who loved him, but immediately tossed him away like he was a piece of trash? Could he return to those toned, muscular arms that embraced him whenever he needed the comfort?

Could he honestly believe Aomine's words and trust that this time, this time, his one true love would never leave his side again?

The silence was killing Aomine; patience was never a strong trait for him. He shifted his weight from one foot to the other, eagerly waiting for Kise's answer before sighing in aggravation. "Dammit, Kise, you just-" He exhaled loudly before covering his mouth; his words barely audible but the blonde caught it.

"Look, I'm sorry, alright? I'm sorry for being a jackass."

Kise remained shocked, before snapping out of his daze and smiled brightly at Aomine, running straight into the strong arms his body missed; that his body craved to feel wrap around his waist once again.

"I missed you, Aominecchi."

"I know." He could feel Aomine tighten his hold and inwardly chuckled. Like usual, the male was unable to speak his true thoughts, showing it through bodily contact and he knew, just like he always did, that the male missed him too.

"Can we play one-on-ones again?"

A low rumble escaped out of Aomine's lips as he shook his head, "Not yet, you idiot. Thanks to your carelessness, your leg is messed up. Once it heals, well… I'll think about it."

Kise's grin only widened as he nuzzled his face into Aomine's chest, missing his scent and warm body temperature and well, simply everything. He knew that once his leg healed, the two would resume those usual one-on-ones, but first, he had to make sure of one thing.

"Hey, Aominecchi?"

There was a ruffled mumble, in which Kise indicated as a gesture to continue.

"Don't ever leave me again."

Suddenly, he felt a flick on his forehead, but before he had a chance to respond, a pair of lips gently brushed against his.

"I promise."

Fifteen lonely days passed. Each day without Aomine waking him up in the morning, holding him in his muscular arms and warm embrace, Kise would force himself out of bed only to be greeted by a single sealed letter on the floor. A smile would automatically appear as he crouched down to open it again, hoping that his other half was missing him as much as he was.

[November 28th, 2023: Letter 15]

'Ryouta, how's it going? A little over two weeks have passed since I left. The investigation is at a standstill once again but I'm sure it'll be finished within the next few months.

I passed by a basketball court today and thought about the good old days. We should really go back to the little court by my old apartment to play once again, maybe with the others too. But I think you should practice first. You always had trouble beating me, didn't you? *smirks*

Judging from your last letter, you miss me too, huh? It must be troublesome to always meet with him every day so he can deliver the letter to me, right? Sorry about that. Then again, knowing you, you probably like it since that gives you time to catch up.

I'm still surprised a bastard like him is working with NAICHOU, but I'll admit, he's good at his job. Clearly his delinquent days came in handy.

Does he still threaten you, by the way? If so, let me know. I'll fucking kill him, even if I'm halfway across the world.

Talk to you soon,

- Daiki'

Loud laughter erupted from a man with silver hair and multiple piercings on both his earlobes, causing a public disturbance in the café but Kise didn't care. To be honest, seeing his childhood friend working alongside his lover was a nice sight, despite the two individuals talking behind each other's backs.

After separating in the end of elementary, the two met once again in Teikou, but instead of reuniting like the good old days, the two became even more distant, even becoming enemies with one another. When high school started, their childhood together seemed to have vanished until Aomine appeared and knocked some sense into one another with a swift punch in the face to a certain Fukuda Sougou player.

Kise sat directly across from Haizaki Shougo, NAICHOU's finest hacker as well as the one who sent all his letters to Aomine with NAICHOU's express delivery. He was pleased to see his childhood friend returning back to his old self, although his temper and harsh attitude persisted, his hatred and anger towards Kise certainly declined.

In fact, Haizaki was fairly protective of Kise, just like he was back in elementary, always being there for Kise whenever he needed it. Now with Aomine halfway across the world, he was relieved his friend was there to keep him company.

Tears were streaming down Haizaki's face as he leaned back on his seat, skimming the words on Aomine's recent letter before focusing his attention on Kise, arching his eyebrows at the blonde while gesturing at the letter.

"'Clearly his delinquent days came in handy', huh? Little lover boy still doesn't like me, does he?"

Kise chuckled, "Like you should talk, Shougo. You're always talking about how Daikicchi isn't good enough for me."

"Hey, I think I know what's best for you, don't you think?"

There was a teasing glint in Haizaki's eyes, in which Kise returned the action with a similar sparkle in his amber eyes, "Maybe back in elementary, but not now. I've changed."

Haizaki scoffed, before tossing the letter back to Kise, "So I can tell. You're dependent on little Daiki. Without him, you're completely helpless." When he didn't receive a remark or even a small response from the blonde, Haizaki's expression softened and noticed the stiffness on Kise's shoulders. It clicked in that he had said something inappropriate, but Kise should have known it was only a joke, right?

Quietly, knowing he had somehow overstepped the boundaries, he muttered, "Sorry..."

Even after his apology, the silence remained, and Haizaki could only watch as a smile – fake, but a smile no less – appeared on Kise's face. "No, it's alright, Shougo. You're only stating the truth." Because really, he understood where Haizaki was going. Kise needed Aomine beside him. Otherwise, he would feel insecure during his absence. But he had to remember: there were other people besides Aomine, and he was a grown man! It was about time he started acting like one.

"Oi, Ryouta-"

"Shougo. I'm fine, really. Anyway, if you could give this to Daikicchi…" He slid the letter he had written shortly after he received Aomine's earlier in the morning across the table before gathering his belongings. "I need to head to work now."

"Oh- uh-" Haizaki was hesitant to leave Kise alone, especially after saying such heartless words to his childhood friend but the words simply escaped his mouth before he had a second chance to rethink his thoughts. But he took a glance at his watch, and knew Kise was right—he had to be at the airport in about an hour. "Let me give you a ride then."

Kise shook his head, already tossing his bag over his shoulder as he left his change on the counter for the coffee, "No thanks. I need some time alone before going to work. We'll talk again soon, I promise. Maybe go out for dinner on the weekend."

"Sure… Sounds like a plan." When Haizaki turned around to send Kise off, the blonde was already out of his sight.

When Kise first found out about the new employee in NAICHOU, he had a feeling it was someone Aomine detested. After all, the second he announced it, the amount of profanities that left his mouth afterwards shocked Kise―throughout his whole life, he never heard Aomine swear as much as he had that night.

The two were gathered at the dinner table, along with Kuroko and Kagami who were over for their routinely double dates. Kuroko and Kagami, like Kise, had noticed the vulgar words escaping Aomine's mouth, but only Kise had the nerve to ask the rather irritated male what was wrong.

So when Aomine described the new employee, Kise could only furrow his eyebrows and wonder why the individual sounded vaguely familiar. It wasn't until Aomine mumbled out the name of the male that Kise finally knew who it was, and boy, was he utterly speechless―the whole room was.

"Haizaki? You mean that asshole, who injured Kise during their match back in high school?" Kagami asked, stuffing his mouth full of his home cooking while Kuroko subtly punched him for his directness, in which he spat out a harsh, "What!?"

Kuroko gave him a deadpan look before saying, "Haizaki-kun is actually Kise-kun's childhood friend, Kagami-kun."

Kagami remained utterly speechless once Kuroko announced such news―that bastard was not just a friend of Kise's but his childhood friend? Then why did he injure him back in high school? No, how were the two even friends? They were polar opposites!

Kise chuckled, clearly reading Kagami's thoughts and settled his tea cup down on his coaster as he leaned back on his chair, reaching over to entangle his fingers with Aomine's. He could feel his significant other tense at the sudden contact but relax immediately once he felt Kise massage his hand. Kise was aware of Aomine's restlessness, and he was aware that his overprotective boyfriend was already thinking of ways to murder Haizaki if he ever threatened him once again. After the incident in high school, Aomine never trusted Haizaki alone with Kise; not after the way he threatened and injured him.

However, despite Aomine's protests, Kise still remained in contact with his childhood friend. He knew his friend had changed; he had finally reverted back to his old self and he would never hurt him. In fact, like Aomine, Haizaki was also protective of Kise; constantly asking if Aomine's been treating him right. But he never understood why the two most important people in his life were concerned for him than themselves. They were the ones who were working in dangerous jobs; not him.

"Kagamicchi, Shougo isn't that bad, I swear. He's actually rather caring―similar to Daikicchi, really."

The tension instantly returned once Kise compared Aomine with Haizaki. Despite the two being eerily similar, they both scoffed and denied it whenever Kise compared the two. Kagami and Kuroko felt the murderous aura emitting from Aomine, but both remained silent―Kuroko knowing he should not be involved, and Kagami felt intimidated the enormous dark atmosphere engulfing them. He thought he had seen most of Aomine's anger, but clearly he was mistaken.

Kise turned to Aomine, pouting and staring at him with a scornful look, "Daikicchi... I've explained this, haven't I? Shougo has changed; you can trust him."

Aomine scowled, retracting his hand from Kise's grasp and said, "He's still an arrogant bastard."

Though he had to admit, Haizaki's foul mouth hadn't stopped. Like Aomine, he also spewed profanities once in a while, but unlike Aomine, he controlled his temper. Rather, the one who couldn't stand being in the same room with the other was Aomine, not Haizaki. Haizaki had moved on; he let go of the past, cleaned himself up, and started things over once again.

Kise just wished his boyfriend would do the same. Forgive and forget.

Kagami looked from Kise's crestfallen face to Aomine's annoyed one and sighed. He turned to Kise, "He's changed, huh?"

The smile on Kise's face brightened as he viciously nodded his head, eagerly spouting random traits Haizaki had changed from high school to now. By the end of the evening, Kagami was impressed and Kuroko only grinned, happy that Kise had reunited with his childhood friend.

That evening, after Kagami and Kuroko had left, Kise was washing the dishes when he felt long, toned arms wrap around his waist and he leaned slightly backwards, his back leaning against Aomine's chest. He felt Aomine nuzzle his face in his hair before mumbling out a soft apology. Kise smiled before turning around and wrapping his arms around his lover's neck.

"It's alright. I don't expect you to accept him right away... Just give him a chance, please?" When he didn't hear a reply, he pouted, leaning downwards as he looked at Aomine with his puppy dog eyes, "For me?"

There was a moment of silence before Aomine gave way and said, "One time. And he better not screw up."

Kise's smile brightened as he tightened his grasp around Aomine's neck, "Thank you, Daikicchi!"

[December 11th, 2023: Letter 29]

'How are you doing?

I passed by a cafe and thought of Murasakibara. How's his cafe doing anyway? I've never been fond of sweets but his coffee is pretty damn good. The cafe here was alright. The croissant was pretty bland and the coffee wasn't as strong as Murasakibara's but I have to make do. Lately I haven't been sleeping well. Boss thinks I should take a break but I highly doubt it; I'd rather hurry and finish this investigation so I can come home.

How's Haizaki doing? He isn't messing with your head, is he? Your last letter was shorter than usual, but hey, I don't expect you to write a report every time we talk. I just wanted to know how things were between you and Haizaki. I remember when I first told you he joined NAICHOU, I was pretty furious, wasn't I? He's pretty decent at his job; I guess if he didn't have that connection with you, I could have tolerated him.

Before you get upset, I'm not saying I detest Haizaki. I just don't feel comfortable leaving you alone with him, but the guy knows his stuff, and I guess he's pretty protective of you, but if he dares make a move...

Well, I have to run. Investigation is resuming.

I'll hear from you soon,

- Daiki'

Speak of the devil, Kise was at Murasakibara's bakery. It was a casual reunion with the Generation of Miracles; something Akashi always arranged a night before. Today, three extra males accompanied them on this gathering: Kagami, his childhood friend Himuro, and Takao. Himuro and Takao remained the same as always, chatting with the group and looking at their boyfriends with a gleeful gaze, while Kagami―well, he was a little too quiet.

His face was flushed with a deep, bright scarlet as he entwined his fingers around Kuroko's tightly. He only greeted the members with a subtle nod before taking a seat between Kuroko and Himuro, and then remaining quiet for the rest of the time.

Kise observed Kagami's odd behaviour, watching as the male who was usually talkative remained silent, before he began to wonder what led Akashi to call forward not only Kagami, but Himuro and Takao, as well. In fact, if he remembered correctly, Akashi had even asked him to bring Haizaki, but the male declined the request, and said he hadn't been a part of the Generation of Miracles, and really, the only one he bore a connection to was Kise; it would be awkward if he joined.

His thoughts were interrupted as Momoi rushed into the bakery, tripping over air as she stumbled towards the table, scattering the stacks of paper she had been carrying.

"Sorry!" She shrieked, collecting her papers and finally taking a seat next to Kise, who looked at her with a rather worried face.

"Momoicchi, are you all right?"

She only giggled, before looking at the crowd with bright, sparkling pink eyes as she sent a quick glance at Kuroko and Kagami, who only nodded once, and then around the table. She squealed to the group, scattering the papers all over the table, and the boys could only see scribbles of writing, "I'm planning a wedding―Tetsu-kun and Kagami-kun's wedding!"

There was silence before everyone started congratulating the two. Kise remained speechless, as he finally understood the reason for the sudden gathering of the Generation of Miracles and their partners; so they could all congratulate and celebrate together. The reason Akashi had invited Haizaki was to act as Aomine's substitute since he wasn't present, but Kise never expected two of his friends would marry without Aomine.

Out of all people, he hadn't expected Kagami to propose to Kuroko without Aomine present. At the same time, he hadn't known the whole story. Perhaps Kagami had planned this way before, and hadn't expected Aomine to leave unexpectedly. The detective had a habit of disappearing at the most random and sudden times. He wasn't angry at the two; no, if anything, he was happy and relieved for them.

The two have been dating for so long, it was pleasant to see them finally making this brave decision. He just wished Aomine was here to celebrate with them.

As the group crowded the newly engaged couple, most teasing Kagami about his embarrassment and he brushed it off, attempting to deny how he hadn't been embarrassed, Kise excused himself from the table.

He hadn't expected to be so upset, hearing the marriage announcement and watching all his friends smiling happily, while entwining their fingers around their lover's. Kagami and Kuroko remained seated, Kuroko smiling slightly while Kagami continued to defend his pride from Himuro's teasing. Of course, Himuro couldn't help but smirk at Kagami, proud of his childhood friend for finally taking a step forward, upgrading their relationship. He and Murasakibara weren't married since both felt content with their current status; besides, both were too occupied with their jobs to really focus on marriage.

With Kuroko, Midorima lectured him on how marriage had to be taken seriously and continued to ask questions regarding his decision with Kagami: "Are they truly ready for this? Although Aquarius and Leo are compatible, marriage is a huge step forward and-" Takao lightly elbowed him, interrupting his sentence and causing the green-haired male to glare at the shorter individual, but he stopped with his rambling. Takao grinned widely, patting Kuroko's head gently, congratulating the two once again, and casually telling the other to ignore Midorima. Like Murasakibara and Himuro, they were too occupied with work with their clinic to really marry, but the two started acting like a married couple long before. Takao as busy housewife, constantly cooking and running the errands for the two, while Midorima remained as the dominant husband, ordering poor Takao around like back in their high school days.

Kise rounded the corner, taking out his cell phone as he felt the desperate need to speak with Aomine. He knew they couldn't speak directly through phone, but he wished - just wished - he could personally hear his voice, and hear his reaction to his two best friends and their marriage announcement. He was so engulfed in his thoughts, he hadn't heard the footsteps approach behind him.


Instantly, he whipped around, nearly bumping into Akashi if he hadn't sidestepped from Kise's rapid spin, and put on a smile, "Akashicchi! You scared me for a second!"

Akashi's heterochromic eyes stared at Kise's face, observing the small details before he gazed at his hand where his cell phone remained opened; the screen displaying Aomine's profile and he only shook his head before directing his attention back to Kise. "I thought you couldn't speak with Daiki directly through the phone."

Kise forced out a chuckle. "I can't, but I just stumbled upon his profile. Really, it's nothing, Akashicchi!"

"You miss him, don't you, Ryouta?"

Once again, a chuckle escaped his lips, as he struggled to maintain a facade in front of his ex-captain. Really, leave it to Akashi and his strong perception to see through his smile. But still, he couldn't worry others with his thoughts, couldn't ruin such an exciting day for his two best friends, and worse, cause Aomine to worry. Who knows, maybe Akashi would inform Aomine just how insecure Kise was when he was overseas―and he couldn't cause his boyfriend to stress over him while on duty; that just wasn't fair.

So he grinned even wider, scratching the back of his head, "Of course I miss him! But I'm doing fine, really." He switched his phone off, before shoving it in his pocket, away from Akashi's gaze, and said, "We should head back and celebrate this amazing announcement for Kurokocchi and Kagamicchi!"

Before Akashi had a chance to respond, Kise was back in the room, where he hugged both Kagami and Kuroko tightly, hiding his worries once again.

However, no matter how much he hid it, he was sure one day, he would cave and his emotions would go out of control. Almost a month has passed since Aomine's departure, and he couldn't help but wish for his significant other to return to his side, so he wouldn't be lonely any more.

Daikicchi, please come home soon.

[December 12th, 2023: Letter 30]

' Daikicchi, I really miss you.

Yesterday, I met with the others. Kagamicchi was there, as well, along with Midorimacchi's boyfriend, Takao-kun, and Murasakibacchi's boyfriend, Himuro-kun! Shocking news, but Kagamicchi and Kurokocchi are getting married!

I guess that's why everyone was gathered. We ended up celebrating with a huge cake, made by Murasakibacchi, of course! And Momoicchi started planning their wedding ceremony already; she sounds so excited, I guess it's because this is the first time anyone's asked for her advice. Then again, this is the first time any of us decided on a wedding!

I'm so happy for Kagamicchi and Kurokocchi. They really deserve the best. I hope you make it in time for their wedding. They said they were hoping for the beginning of April―that's plenty of time, right? You said you would return in approximately three months; hopefully before Valentine's Day.

Oh! Another thing, Kagamicchi said I could invite whoever I wanted, so I'm thinking of asking Shougo to come along. I mean, I really would like him to meet with everyone and become friends again. But I haven't asked yet. I think I'm going to take Shougo to dinner with Kagamicchi and Kurokocchi first, so they can meet properly and make amends.

I hope you are safe. Remember to rest and eat properly. I love you, Daikicchi.

- Ryouta'

Aomine sat at a small cafe, sipping a cup of coffee while reading Kise's letter. Even though the blonde never said anything about him coming home, he knew Kise missed him dearly; and he knew the blonde wanted him home as soon as possible. Unfortunately, his investigation was at a standstill once again, and he could do nothing but wait until headquarters planned out their next target.

Like Kise, Aomine missed him. Since he arrived in America, he started to get less sleep. Perhaps it was from the change of environment, or perhaps he was stressed about work, or perhaps―he missed embracing his significant other.

Back in Japan, he would wrap his arms around Kise and the two would fall asleep, sometimes on the bed, but most of the time on the couch, where they attempted to finish a movie but always ended up falling asleep before watching the end. They would wake up, usually Kise would be the first to snap awake, and the two would only laugh at their untidy state before preparing for work.

Kise would prepare breakfast, since his work started a little later than Aomine's, and the two would eat while engaging in small talk, usually about the movie and how neither of them stayed awake to watch the ending. Both would give their perspective on the ending before finding the answer online.

Their breakfasts were short, within ten to fifteen minutes, but that was plenty of time for them to simply cuddle. The only time Aomine would display his public signs of affection to Kise would be in the sanctuary of their own home, in which when they were alone, Aomine performed the sweetest actions.

He remembered the way Kise would squirm under his touch; when his lips pressed against the nape of his neck, Kise would attempt to gently push him away, claiming that the two had to start leaving for work, but Aomine knew they had time to spare―Kise was concerned about the possible intimacies they could have within that short span.

A small smirk crept on his lips as he recalled those memories. Oh, he missed seeing Kise's bright smile every morning; he missed holding him in his arms; he missed spending quality time with his loved one; he just missed Kise. One month away from Kise was too long. How was he expected to last another two, possibly more, months before seeing him again?!

He struggled to bottle in his anger, the sincere smirk on his lips disappearing completely as fury replaced it. He was frustrated with the investigation, frustrated with his job, frustrated at his own self for accepting this job.

However, his anger soon disappeared when he felt a hand pat his head, before a presence took the empty seat across from him. He scowled at the male in front of him, reaching to sip his coffee, "What was that for, Nijimura?"

Nijimura Shuuzou, a former teammate back in Teikou and the ex-captain, smirked at Aomine, reclining on his seat as he took a long sip from his espresso, before responding, "You were in deep thought. Thinking about your boyfriend again?" His smirk vanished, as a scowl that rivalled Aomine's earlier replaced it. "Also, it's Nijimura-senpai to you, you little brat."

Aomine didn't need to respond; Nijimura already knew the answer. Instead, the two simply sipped their drinks in silence, as they thought about their loved ones back in Japan. It wasn't until Aomine muttered a soft question that they resumed their conversation.

A chuckle escaped the older man's lips as he rubbed his temples, "Yeah, I miss him. But compared to you, I don't miss him that much. I love him, yeah, but not as much as you do with yours―Kise, was it? I have a brief memory of him. Besides, he talked about him a lot."

Aomine knew the 'he' Nijimura referred to, and he didn't approve of it. However, he didn't dare argue with his superior, instead he only focused back on his coffee. "I want to see him."

There was a genuine look of sympathy in Nijimura's eyes as he sighed, placing his espresso cup back on its saucer. This was the first time Aomine ever showed any emotions of missing his significant other, and he couldn't help but relate. He missed his too, but there was nothing to do to. Work was work, and they couldn't put their personal feelings into it; otherwise, they would only be more distracted.

"Don't we all?" He patted the younger male's hand, causing the male to look at his superior, and he smiled, "It'll be over soon."

Aomine grimaced, chugging the remainder of his cold coffee before standing. It wasn't before long until Nijimura followed.

Eleven days past. The weather in America soon shifted from a cold, winter breeze to endless white fluff. He was never fond of snow; it was cold and the light flurries of snowflakes that would fly into his face were irritating.

But this year, seeing the snow fall so quietly, so beautifully, in the dark evening of the night, he couldn't help but remember Kise; couldn't help remembering his bright, wide smile every day as they walked together, fingers entwined. Kise, unlike him, loved the snow.

Whenever they watched the snow fall on Christmas Eve, Kise's eyes would glisten with the sweetest sparkle, and just remembering these thoughts made him enjoy the snow a little more than usual this year―just because it reminded him of Kise.

On Christmas Eve, there were times when Kise insisted to leave the apartment in the middle of the night - sometimes around two in the morning - just for a stroll through the fresh snow.

"Aominecchi! My fingers are cold!"

"Idiot! It's because you didn't wear gloves." Before Kise could retaliate, Aomine slyly slipped his fingers around Kise's cold, slender ones, the two continuing on their stroll until they reach the old basketball court by the park.

Kise would pull on Aomine's jacket with his free hand, a flush of scarlet red covering his cheeks - be it from the cold or from embarrassment - but he would cast his gaze towards the ground, and mutter something almost inaudible.

Aomine sighed as he brought Kise into a close embrace, placing his hand on the top of his boyfriend's head before leaning closer, and closer, until their lips barely touched.

"Can't be helped, can it?"

And sometimes, in the middle of the night of Christmas Eve, they would share their holiday kiss.

"Aominecchi, my lips are cold."

[December 24th, 2023: Letter 42]

'Merry Christmas, Daikicchi! I know it must be a day early for you but here in Japan, it's already Christmas and snowing quite heavily!

Is it snowing a lot in America? I hope you're keeping warm!

Yesterday, I took Shougo out to dinner with Kagamicchi and Kurokocchi. They both seemed to have enjoyed his company; Kagamicchi even asked Shougo about basketball and if he still played! We talked about high school a little more before discussing university and the wedding. It was then I asked if Shougo could come to the wedding. Kurokocchi accepted my guest immediately but it took Kagamicchi sometime to agree. Eventually he did, though!

He later pulled me aside and said he was trying to determine whether Shougo truly changed or not. I guess he's trying to cover for you during your absence, but I assured him, Shougo changed. He seemed to believe me, but he threatened to kill Shougo if he ever hurt me again―it was an empty threat, but really, I think he's trying to protect me while you're gone.

I don't need any protection though. I'm doing fine by myself.

But I do miss you, Daikicchi. I really do.

Merry Christmas from Tokyo once again.

- Ryouta'

Aomine couldn't help but feel guilty for missing Christmas with his loved one. The last few sentences Kise wrote were filled with hidden sadness; something Aomine noticed right away because he always knew when Kise lied.

He wasn't fine by himself. Surely, the blonde was finding ways to cope and occupy his mind to prevent his thoughts to revolve around Aomine. But it sounded like Kise was lonely, incredibly lonely even when all his friends there to accompany him.

And Aomine had no one to blame but himself. Over the years, he spoiled Kise with endless amounts of love. Every day, he would greet the morning with soft kisses, cuddling close to the blonde, holding him tight as time passed. There were times in the afternoon where Kise would randomly call him in the middle of work, just so he could hear his voice.

Now - now - there was nothing but letters. He couldn't even call Kise; couldn't even let the blonde hear his voice over the phone―it was all too risky.

He reclined on the couch, his gaze staring straight at the ceiling. Kise's holiday greeting still in his hands as he remained in deep thought.

In the hallway, Nijimura watched his junior, frustrated and annoyed at no one but himself, and ran his fingers through his black hair, retreating back to his room to give the male peace and quiet.

He cast a gaze towards the windows, watching the snow gently fall.

One more day till Christmas.

In Japan, Kise glanced out the car window, his eyes staring into nothing but pure whiteness. Beside him in the driver's seat was Haizaki, the male casually holding the wheel with one hand as his other continued adjusting the heat in the car.

That morning on Christmas, Kise woke up to find Haizaki in his apartment. Seeing the cocky smirk on the silver-haired male's face was alarming, and within seconds, Haizaki's face came into contact with Kise's pillow. It soon clicked in the blonde's mind that this was his childhood friend, and for ten minutes, all that was heard was multiple apologies and endless profanities. How Haizaki entered his home without a key or not even setting the alarm off―Kise had absolutely no idea, and he didn't have the time to ask since almost immediately, Haizaki dragged him out of bed and asked him to pack his belongings.

Within moments of Kise still dazed and Haizaki randomly tossing his clothes in a bag, the blonde found himself in Haizaki's car, with no clue as to where they were headed.

"Hey Shougo, where are we going?"

A mischievous smirk appeared on Haizaki's lips as he stopped playing with the dials on the car and glanced at Kise; his grey orbs shimmering with an ominous glimmer.

"You'll see."

When Aomine woke up the following morning, he expected a letter to greet him. Nijimura always left Kise's letter on his table beside his bed. That morning, though, he woke up and saw something―no, someone else.

He thought he was dreaming but it wasn't until he saw the tears fall from those bright, amber eyes that he knew this was far from a dream.

A small smile slowly crept on his lips as he sat up from his bed and wrapped his arms around the individual in front of him. Warm, toned arms snaked around his neck as he nuzzled his face in the nape of a familiar neck.

He couldn't believe it; couldn't believe his eyes. Clearly he had to be imagining things, everything was too perfect to be true, but he heard his voice and he knew his eyes were not deceiving him.

A smile that brightened Aomine's Christmas morning greeted him, "Daikicchi..."

He embraced Kise tighter, leaving small trails of spot kisses from his neck up to his lips. When their lips almost touched, Aomine mumbled, "Ryouta, Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas, Daiki..."

Christmas was a surprise for both Aomine and Kise. Neither planned for the other to visit and it wasn't until Kise left for the airport with Haizaki earlier the next morning that he found out it was all thanks to Nijimura and Haizaki.

Well, he had to admit, Haizaki wasn't half bad if he brought Kise to see him on Christmas, even if it was against the rules.

He never saw Kise leave; the blonde must have left with Haizaki in the middle of the night to catch their flight. It had been a while since he got a full eight hours sleep, and it was because Kise's presence had been there for most of the evening.

However, he was greeted with two letters that morning. Personally left by the writer himself, followed by a picture frame on his table that made his heart speed up.

[December 25th, 2023: Letter 43]

'Dear Daikicchi,

Merry Christmas! I can finally say it on the correct date.

Enjoy your present! Hopefully it'll keep you company during your trip.


- Ryouta'

[December 26th, 2023: Letter 44]


I'm writing this as I lie next to you. It's been so long since I felt your presence. Spending Christmas with you... I'm so glad I could see you on this beautiful day.

I miss your arms wrapped around me; I miss waking up and smelling your scent; I miss your soft snores; I miss hearing your low, sexy voice―I miss you so much.

You have gotten thinner and I can tell you haven't been getting much sleep. Nijimura was telling me earlier in the morning how you only get four hours of sleep every night because I'm not here with you. Shougo tells me the same thing; says I'm getting too thin and I'm losing my appetite lately. I guess we both affect each other too heavily.

I'm leaving soon but I just want you to know I'm waiting for you when you get home. So you better come home healthier.

I love you.

- Ryouta'

Aomine could feel his heart sink, as he read Kise's last letter and glanced over at the photo once again. Suddenly, he was feeling rather determined to finish this job as quickly as possible.

He left his room to discuss today's plan with Nijimura, who was casually sitting on the couch, as if waiting for his junior to awaken and lead them on their investigation.

In the back of his mind, all he could remember was the photo in the frame and think about how much he wanted to return to his loved one back in the sanctuary of their home.

The frame contained a picture of both he and Kise smiling brightly at the camera, back in their graduation year at Tokyo University―a photo before Aomine was accepted at NAICHOU.

[January 1st, 2024: Letter 51]


Happy New Year! It's still snowing here but only tiny flurries every once in a while.

Judging from your last letter, I'm guessing you went to the shrine with Kagami and the others? Sorry I'm not able to spend the New Year with you; I know it's lonely.

Remember how every year, we would head up to the shrine, meet Kagami and Tetsu? We would always be late, and Bakagami would be angry? He would say it was impossible to reach both of us but really, we would only be late by five - ten, at most - minutes, right?

Anyway, Nijimura wants to take the day off today, maybe go somewhere nice for lunch and then do our own activities, but I'd rather finish this quickly and come home.

I can't guarantee when I'll be home but I'll be back soon, Ryouta―just wait.

See you soon,

- Daiki'

Kise chuckled at Aomine's words. Knowing the detective, he was either forcing himself to repress the memories or he was purposely forgetting the proper time―he was leaning more towards the latter.

Instead of being five or ten minutes, both males were usually half an hour to an hour late when meeting with Kagami and Kuroko. When they first started meeting, Aomine always slept in by accident, and Kise never had the courage to disrupt his sleep; after all, he was aware that his boyfriend treasured his sleep. Before they noticed, it soon became a tradition to be late for the New Year greeting, and so they purposely arrived late, knowing a certain male would be displeased by their arrival.

It didn't help that Aomine enjoyed infuriating Kagami; had been since high school. So seeing the male angered and annoyed was a form of entertainment for the detective. Kagami wasn't aware of this, but everyone else―they knew, and they kept quiet, even his own boyfriend - now fiancé - was silent.

Yesterday, the New Year greeting was different. The main reason was Aomine's absence, as expected, but the fact that the rest of the Generation of Miracles came, as well.

It was like the time at Murasakibara's bakery and Kise felt like there was going to be a big celebration again but when he approached the group, with Haizaki beside him, he found their presence was for him. Haizaki smirked, when he heard Kagami praise them for their arrival; for once, they weren't late. But that was because Kise didn't have to wait for Aomine―that, and well, Haizaki dragged him to the shrine.

As the pair approached everyone, Momoi smiled brightly, waving her hand eagerly before she ran over to Kise, holding his hand. "Ki-chan! You made it!"

He smiled, gazing into her cheerful, pink orbs before directing his attention to the group and then back to her, "What's everyone doing here?"

She hesitated for a second; her smile faltered momentarily before she regained her composure. There was a sincere look in her eyes as she tightened her hold with Kise's fingers, "We just thought spending New Year's would be better together."

Kise didn't respond since he knew the real reason behind everyone's appearance. It was to substitute for Aomine, and he smiled. Knowing how his friends cared for him made his heart flutter; he couldn't mope around at home just because Aomine wasn't there to accompany him. There were others who loved him, and even though his partner wasn't here, he would be home soon.

The blonde stood in the middle of the kitchen, re-reading Aomine's letter before grinning to himself, remembering his thoughts from yesterday. Yes, he certainly was alone, but he wasn't lonely; there were plenty who kept him company and besides, a little over a month, Aomine would come home.

I hope you're not too lonely, Daikicchi.

[January 27th, 2024: Letter 77]


How are you? Are you lonely?

Lately, things have been improving. I think January has been a great month for me. You know, Kurokocchi and Kagamicchi plan to have their wedding in the end of March? It's going to be small but Momoicchi is working all the time so I'm sure it will perfect! Out of everyone, I think she's the most excited.

You'll be home by then, right? You plan to come back before Valentine's Day? I certainly don't want to rush you but... we haven't missed that holiday. It would be a shame to suddenly break that streak.

Shougo has been driving me around. Either he finishes his work rather quickly or skips out *laughs* I'm leaning more towards the second option but regardless, it's been fun spending time with him.

When you come back, we should hang out with Shougo and Nijimura-san! He's your superior, isn't he? Shougo's (reluctantly) been telling me stories, especially about how the two of them met after middle school! Apparently it was because of a minor fight Shougo was involved in back in high school and Nijimura-san stopped it. Once he recognized Shougo with all the bruises and scratches on his face, Nijimura-san lectured him for hours! After that, their "dysfunctional" relationship started.

At first, I was rather stunned but when I think back, it's rather sweet and romantic! It's like Nijimura-san was Shougo's knight in armour. *chuckles*

...Don't tell Shougo I said that, by the way. He'll kill me, for sure.

Oops, I have to run now! I'm helping Momoicchi plan for the wedding today. We're taking Kagamicchi and Kurokocchi out to taste cakes!

I hope you're safe. Love and miss you!

- Ryouta'

There was a small smile on Aomine's lips as he read Kise's letter. This was definitely a change from his usual ones, where he would sense loneliness from Kise's words, but this time, it was filled with nothing but pure joy and satisfaction.

He was relieved to see his loved one perfectly content, perfectly happy, after his two-month absence. Of course, there was that surprise visit back on Christmas, but that was nothing. This Kise sounded refreshed, ready to be independent.

Seemed like Kise was finally reuniting with his childhood friend. Aomine never asked Nijimura how he and Haizaki met; he knew they had an odd upperclassman-underclassman relationship back in Teikou since Nijimura would often leave during a game to drag Haizaki to it. Back in Teikou, he didn't give a second thought about the two, and then high school arrived and both seemed to disappear off his radar.

It wasn't until he joined NAICHOU that he reunited with Nijimura. The latter had noticed Aomine immediately, and when the male couldn't remember, Nijimura instantly smacked him on the head and showed his violent streak―that punch had Aomine remembering Nijimura's old nature and he recalled who he was.

After that, the two asked about each other's personal lives. The two were partners in most of their investigations, so Nijimura thought it was appropriate to learn about each other a little more in depth. Shortly after, Haizaki appeared, and according to a couple of Aomine's coworkers, Nijimura put in a good word for the ex-delinquent.

Now, he had a sense of how the two of them but he didn't care all too much. Instead, his mind repeated Kise's first few words.

How are you? Are you lonely?

Was he lonely? He had to think about that for a moment. Realistically, he wasn't, considering Nijimura was with him, but he was―he missed Kise. But now that he was certain Kise was all right without him, he could feel his loneliness -essentially his guilt - slowly lighten; evaporating.

Perhaps that feeling of solitude, of guilt, was all from Kise; he knew his boyfriend missed him dearly for the first couple months―perhaps knowing that, he forced himself to be unhappy and lonely, as well. Maybe by feeling those emotions, maybe he would be sharing those feelings with Kise, and maybe taking a part of his pain away.

However, now that he was happy, with the help of all their friends, he had nothing to worry about; nothing to be guilty for.

A smile was on his face as he reached over his bed to grab his writing utensils and a piece of blank paper. He began writing almost instantly, knowing how to answer Kise and know that his response would cause the blonde to smile.

And well, he had other news - good news - to tell his sweet, bright sunshine.

'Ryouta. I'm perfectly fine, and no, I'm not lonely at all. But I miss you, and I'll be home soon.'

Kise hummed, as he strolled down the street with a few grocery bags in his hands. His mood had brightened immensely for the past month, and he couldn't help but think his friends were the main reason.

That, and well, there was something else too.

[February 12th, 2024: Letter 93]


Let's keep this short and simple.

I'm finally coming home; in time for Valentine's Day, too.

See you real soon.

- Daiki'

He grinned to himself as he headed towards the usual cafe he and Haizaki frequented. Once it came to view, he noticed a familiar silver-haired male, dressed in regular denim jeans and t-shirt paired with a black blazer, and sprinted towards him.

His footsteps were relatively soft but still, the familiarity of his steps motioned Haizaki to turn his attention at the blonde and he smirked, taking off his sunglasses and placing them on the table.

"Well, someone's overly excited today, isn't he?"

Kise beamed, his smile radiating even onto Haizaki, as the male formed a miniscule smile on his own lips. The two ordered their drinks - a black coffee for Haizaki and milk tea (extra sugar) for Kise - before returning to their conversation. The blonde radiated so much positive energy, so much light, Haizaki could have sworn Kise was the sun.

However, who wouldn't be excited? Tonight, Kise would see his boyfriend after a couple months of separation―the visit during Christmas didn't count, since the two had spent only half a day with each other before Haizaki and Kise had to return to the airport for their flight home.

"Shougo, aren't you excited too? Nijimura-san is coming home!"

Haizaki's smile soon turned into a frown as he leaned back on his chair, rubbing his temples as he thought back to how things were like when Nijimura was home. The older man was incredibly demanding when he was home; now he would lose his personal time and privacy. But he had to admit, the apartment wouldn't be as lonely anymore...

He scoffed, his eyes looking at Kise before he replied, "I can't say I'm excited, but I'm glad he'll be home soon, I guess. The apartment will be cleaner, considering that guy is a clean freak."

Kise chuckled, his eyes glimmering with glee as he imagined how dynamic the two were; he could just envision how messy the apartment was―with the empty instant ramen cups, empty beer cans, loose sheets of paper, and unwashed dishes in the sink. After all these years, Haizaki still hadn't learned how to clean; that, or he was just too lazy.

He heard Aomine's stories about how Nijimura would run to Haizaki's house back in Teikou during a match just so he could drag the poor boy to the match; Haizaki's face would be bleeding and bruised from the older male's fists. Honestly, he couldn't imagine his childhood friend living together with a man like that, but perhaps his friend needed someone to keep him in line and control his attitude.

"Shouldn't you clean the apartment before he comes home then?"

Haizaki shrugged, sipping his freshly brewed coffee before replying, "Regardless, he would still clean. He doesn't trust me, you know?"

Kise had a feeling that wasn't true, but still, he remained quiet, letting the silence engulf the two as they sipped their drinks.

Within a few moments, Haizaki motioned to the grocery bags and smirked. Kise was probably planning a nice welcome back dinner for Aomine. Recently, the blonde's cooking improved, which he assumed was thanks to his friend, Kagami―he had heard stories from Kise, Kuroko, and the rest of the gang about the two-toned-haired male's amazing cooking.

The blonde noticed the direction of Haizaki's eyes, took a quick glimpse at his bags, before grinning widely, reaching over to grab the other male's wrists and startling the male at the sudden gesture. "Oh! Shougo, you don't have any plans for tonight, right?"

Hesitantly, Haizaki shook his head. For some reason, he had a feeling he should have lied and said yes, he had something planned for the night, but really, who could lie to such an innocent face? This time, it was Kise who smirked, making Haizaki regret his decision even further.

Damn it, he really knew he trusted his intuition rather than believe that "innocent" smile on his childhood friend's face.

As Kise delicately finished the final touches to the strawberry cake, Haizaki set the table for the dinner while spewing out profanities. Almost immediately after Haizaki confessed he had nothing planned for the night, Kise quickly finished the rest of his milk tea and dragged Haizaki back to his apartment. After that, well, a few instructions from an enthusiastic Kise and lots of vulgar words from a reluctant Haizaki, the two managed to produce a nice, homemade dinner for their boyfriends.

When the clock stroke six thirty, Kise waited eagerly for his cell phone to ring, waiting to hear the sound of his loved one on the other line. However, once the hand reached seven o'clock, the blonde's eagerness and optimism started to falter, and he couldn't help but look at Haizaki, who could only offer a small shrug.

No call, no text, not even an email-nothing.

"Maybe their flight was postponed."

Kise shook his head, "Daikicchi would have emailed me. Besides, I checked the schedules and everything is running on time."

"Ryouta-" Before Haizaki had a chance to say anything to reassure his friend that his boyfriend was safe, his phone rang. Quickly, he brought it up to his ear, already recognizing the ringtone. "Shuuzou?"

The blonde instantly perked up and looked at Haizaki with hopeful eyes. However, the expression on the other's face was blank as he continued to listen to Nijimura on the line. Clearly his words weren't what he was expecting...

"What do you mean, 'You're not coming home'?"

Kise's amber eyes widened with shock but he remained silent. His fingers inched closer to Haizaki - desperate to grab hold of his phone; to talk with Nijimura; to know the reason behind their delay; to see if Aomine was alright - but he forced himself to remain calm, to remain sitting. In the end, Haizaki would tell him everything.

"I don't... Wait. He's missing?"

Upon hearing that last word, Kise could feel his heart instantly plummet to the floor and it seemed like time just decided to come to a stop. Without even asking any specific questions, he knew who Haizaki was referring to, but deep down, he didn't want to hear it; didn't want to believe it.

There was just no way he was missing. This was a sick joke. In a few seconds, both Aomine and Nijimura will appear by the door, their bags in their hands and he would see Aomine's proud smirk―satisfied that he was able to surprise Kise.

But there was nothing, and not long after, he heard Haizaki end the call with, "Alright, I got it. I'll try to locate him through his phone or something. Take care on your side."

Haizaki turned to face Kise and the blonde couldn't help but see the sorrow look in his eyes―an expression he rarely saw from the male and prayed he was just acting. But something in his gut told him this was far from a joke.


"Sorry. I have to head home for work. You'll be alright by yourself, right? You don't-"

"Daikicchi. Where is he?" Kise noticed the silver-haired male flinch - probably from the harshness of his tone; something he rarely showed - but repeated. "Shougo, where is he?"

Haizaki shook his head, slow and steady, as if he was attempting to postpone his answer, and Kise prayed―oh deep down, he honestly prayed this was just a horrible joke the three NAICHOU agents were playing on him. But the next set of words that left Haizaki's mouth didn't sound insincere at all. Instead it only left his heart feeling hollow and suddenly, the tears just wouldn't stop falling down his cheeks.

"We don't know, Ryouta. He's gone."

The sounds of keys pressing down at a quick and constant pace echoed in Kise's ears, as that was the only sound breaking the tense silence. Haizaki hadn't updated him about Aomine's whereabouts, which could only imply his lover was still missing.

Four months ago, Aomine left to go overseas on an investigation, but the two remained in contact, writing letters every day. On Christmas, the two were able to meet, with the help of Haizaki and Nijimura sneaking Kise into the apartment they were staying at behind both the agency's and Aomine's backs. However, a month ago, both Aomine and Nijimura were supposed to return, safe and sound, from their trip, but were greeted with a call from Nijimura informing of Aomine's disappearance.

Kise lowered his head, the echoes of the clicks echoing in his ears as he silently prayed for Aomine's safe return.

Both Haizaki and Nijimura were doing their bests,; Haizaki tracking down any leads to where he might have disappeared off to and Nijimura was leading his own team of agents around the city. Nijimura, especially, felt guilty for losing sight of Aomine, even though he knew the gang they had investigated and disbanded had surviving members that needed revenge on both agents. He should have been careful; should have followed Aomine when the male said he needed a breather outside.

Kise let out a soft whimper, as he continued to hear the sounds of Haizaki's fingers working on the keyboard.

"Any luck?"

On the screen, Nijimura shook his head. Haizaki shot a quick glance at Kise, catching the blonde wince at his answer and knew the blonde expected to hear something.

First couple hours after Nijimura informed the two of Aomine's disappearance, Haizaki took Kise back to his place and started work. At first, he wanted to leave his apartment as quick as possible but anyone would have sensed the blonde was breaking down and needed comfort―needed someone there to look after him.

Haizaki scoffed, as he started typing viciously on his keyboard, attempting to work his magic with the keys. "I'll update you if I come across anything."

His other half nodded slowly, before giving the silver-haired computer technician some privacy to work quietly on some leads. The raven-haired detective was going to end the video call when he spotted Kise in the corner and offered a small smile, "Kise, right?"

The blonde perked up to his name, stared at Nijimura for a few moments before nodding his head, "Y- Yes."

Nijimura couldn't help but notice how innocent and naive the blonde looked; couldn't help but understand why Aomine and Haizaki were so protective of him―because really, who wouldn't want to defend someone who looked incredibly sweet? However, he had a feeling that Kise was stronger than what the two took him for. He shook his head slowly, grinning to himself. Really, those two were such idiots. "Aomine's always talking about you."

There was something with the way Nijimura addressed that last sentence that caused Kise to brighten up and regain the little hope he lost before. The fact that the older male addressed the sentence in present tense, believing that Aomine was still out there; still alive.

Kise offered a smile, very small, but at least he was smiling again, and that was enough; that he started to believe in his boyfriend was enough for hope.

Nijimura locked gazes with Kise once more before turning to Haizaki; his smile no longer present. "Shougo, call me when you find some leads, understand?"

The silence mixed with fast clicks of the keyboard was enough of an answer, and the detective took it as a signal to end the call.

Kise watched Haizaki work, listening to the silence, and began to believe once again; believe that his loved one would surely come home―safe and sound. He had both Haizaki and Nijimura working on this case, and knew that both individuals were capable of finding his loved one.

He was certain about it.

[November 13th, 2023: Letter 1]

'Hey Ryouta, how is everything over there? Miss me yet?

America sure is different from Japan; I think you'd like it a lot. There are plenty of those ridiculously expensive clothing stores you love and every time I pass by one, I always think how you'd spend more than three hours just in one store.

I would enjoy it more if you were here; I miss your smile already. But it's for the better. This investigation is going to be dangerous. If I brought you along, I'm sure you would be in harm's way and I just can't imagine you getting hurt because of this stupid job of mine. It's already risky having to write like this to you, but I can't help it—I need to talk to you.

I should be home soon. NAICHOU said this job should take approximately three months to complete. Hopefully you won't miss me too much?

I'll see you soon.

- Daiki

P.S. – If you dare cheat on me during my absence, I will kill you!'

[January 28th, 2024: Letter 78]


I'm perfectly fine, and no, I'm not lonely at all. But I miss you, and I'll be home soon.

Good news, the investigation is going great and soon enough, Nijimura and I will be working to disband the gang. After that, I'm on my way home.

And you can damn well bet I'll be home before Valentine's Day; I'll make sure of it.

Stay safe. See you soon.

- Daiki'

[February 12th, 2024: Letter 93]


Let's keep this short and simple.

I'm finally coming home; in time for Valentine's Day, too.

See you real soon.

- Daiki'

In front of Kise was all the letters he and Aomine exchanged over the course of three months. Over the span of an hour, Kise had reread all their letters and remembered each and every memory, every emotion, the two had portrayed in their letters. From the very first letter to the most recent, he remembered his feelings each time.

To the one in November, he had felt angry, irritable, lonely―so many negative emotions towards Aomine; towards his job; and most important, to himself for allowing Aomine to work in NAICHOU.

But to the second one, that's when things began to brighten; that's when Kise started to feel like himself again. Mostly it was from his friends, but Aomine's last few words had reassured him; had given him more optimism and joy. Kise could even remember how he practically squealed with glee in front of Haizaki at the cafe they frequented.

And finally, the last letter.

'See you real soon.'

Kise continued to read those last four letters and he could feel the tears well in his eyes again, but refused to let them fall; refuse to lose the slightest hope he had left in his system. However, he could feel his optimism began to waver, and knew Aomine's last words were beginning to sound like false hope.

It was March―precisely, the middle of March. In a couple weeks' time, it would be Kagami and Kuroko's big day, where Kise would be attending by himself if Nijimura and Haizaki cannot find Aomine. A month and a little more had passed since the announcement of his disappearance and according to Nijimura, NAICHOU wanted to label this case as MIA - "Missing in Action" - and send the raven-haired male home.

At times like this, Kise wished Aomine was still writing him letters. At least he would have some form of contact, know whether his boyfriend was still alive or somewhere else, but now he was left with nothing. Somehow, that feeling was worse than anything he felt before; that feeling was worse than the first two months Aomine was overseas, and at that time, he thought he already hit rock bottom.

He took out his phone where he skimmed through the various photos taken of both him and Aomine, and this time, he let the tears fall. The water began to stream down his cheeks and he didn't bother to wipe them away; just staring intensely at the photo displayed on his screen.

The same photo he printed out for Aomine and left on his nightstand that Christmas.

Aomine and Kise posed for the camera as everyone gathered amongst them, happily congratulating them on their graduation. After four years of studying, both males earned their undergraduate degrees and would be looking for a full-time job soon enough.

Or perhaps, only one of them, considering the other was already accepted.

To what? No one knew, not even Kise.

After an evening of beer and sushi, Kise and Aomine returned to their apartment, where the two cuddled in bed. Kise with his head on Aomine's chest, as the other wrapped his arm around the blonde's slender body.

"So you said you got a job?"

Aomine shrugged, "Yeah, it just sort of happened."

"What is it?"

There was silence―this was something Aomine hadn't wanted to bring up with the blonde until the time was appropriate; until the blonde was comfortable with him working on the field. But this was something that had to be brought up; he knew that.

Still, he wished he could have waited a little while longer before announcing the news.

Aomine could feel Kise's amber eyes on him, watching his every expression, and he sighed, rubbing his temples with his free hand before glancing down into those innocent, sparkling amber eyes. "As a detective, in NAICHOU."

There was a mixture of emotions in Kise's eyes―confusion and most of all, shock. He had heard Aomine mention briefly about NAICHOU before; it was an agency that worked on finding intelligence information and dangerous fieldwork.

Before the blonde could say anything, Aomine placed a finger on his lips and reassured him that everything would be alright; that he was only training to become a detective, and who knows, maybe he'll screw up somehow and they will fire him. It would earn them enough money to stabilize their funds and besides, he liked working like this―that's what he chose this field to begin with.

Kise dropped his shoulders, knowing Aomine was just as stubborn as him, if not more. If this was really what his boyfriend wanted, then he would remain by his side, and support him. This was his passion, and Aomine was only thinking about what was best for both of them.

A smile crept on the blonde's face as he leaned closer to Aomine, until their lips brushed against one another and he whispered, "Just promise me, you'll be safe and never leave me?"

There was a similar smile on the male's face as he wrapped both his arms around the blonde's body, bringing him closer as they pressed their bodies closer together, "Didn't I already promise I'll never leave you again?"

Kise stifled out a chuckle, before bringing their lips together. "And don't you forget it."

When Nijimura returned home, neither he nor Haizaki initiated any form of physical contact, not even a handshake. And perhaps it was because Kise was present, and that only one of the two males had returned from their investigation overseas. The raven-haired male nodded once at the blonde, approaching him cautiously with his hand stretched out as a greeting before muttering out an apology.

And that was Kise only smiled grimly at the two before shaking his head, reassuring Nijimura that it wasn't his fault―lines that he rehearsed a few hours prior to the male's arrival because he knew it wasn't anyone's fault; that this was an accident that no one ever predicted.

But NAICHOU had declared Aomine as MIA, forcing Nijimura home and no one could do anything to stop their decision. There was no hope anymore, no way of Aomine ever returning home again, and Kise could do nothing but move on.

As he gathered his belongings, ready to return home and prepare for Kagami and Kuroko's wedding ceremony in a few days, there was a new set of emotions boiling in his blood. He could overhear loud mumbles in the other room, in the living room where Haizaki and Nijimura were exchanging words, and had a feeling Haizaki wasn't too pleased with the final decision.

Despite hearing loud shouts from the other room - probably a dispute from Haizaki about Nijimura should have done better to prevent the case being labelled as 'MIA' - Kise couldn't help but feel jealous. At least both of them had someone to return to, while his―his would never return.

The last of his tears began to stream down his cheeks, and he didn't bother to wipe it away, simply letting it fall onto his belongings as he exhaled deeply before leaving the apartment without saying anything to the two bickering males.

Out of everything Aomine's ever done to him, he never felt so betrayed, so lonely, and so much regret. Outside of the apartment, he stared out to the clouds, and prayed that his words would reach his loved one.

Ne, Daikicchi, didn't you say you'd never leave me again?

Didn't you promise me?


Wherever he was…

A few days passed by quickly, and within no time, it was the big day for Kagami and Kuroko. Kise watched from afar as everyone gathered, appropriately dressed for the events that would come later in the day. He smiled once he spotted Kagami and Kuroko, both in nice black suits as they approached him slowly.

"Kagamicchi, Kurokocchi, congratulations!"

Kuroko returned the smile while Kagami only offered a quick one before his face turned rather serious and his eyes grew heavy. Without even saying a word, Kise already predicted what the two-toned-haired male was thinking about and wanted to make an excuse to escape, but it was already too late.

"Kise, are you alright with coming here today?" His eyes averted from Kise's gaze and he shifted uncomfortably in his spot; the blonde wanted to say something to comfort the male, to reassure him that everything was all right, but he couldn't speak—there was a lump in his throat preventing his words from leaving. "You know… Tetsuya and I would have understood if-"

The blonde placed a reassuring hand on Kagami's shoulder and tried his best to convince the two he was perfectly fine with a wide, bright smile, "And miss two of my best friends marry? That would be inconsiderate!"

Kagami wanted to retaliate – to say it would have been acceptable if he missed, because clearly he had other things to worry about – but it was too late since Momoi dragged the two towards the ceremony where they met with wedding minister—"five minutes, everyone!" She called throughout the room, as everyone scrambled to their seats.

Kise watched as everyone approached their seats, happily chatting amongst themselves as the two special males began to prepare for their ceremony; their exchange of vows. There was a heavy weight on his shoulder and he turned around to see Haizaki; his amber eyes with a tint of confusion as his eyebrows furrowed together.

"Where's Nijimura-san?"

The silver-haired scoffed as the two began to head to their seats, the male clearly didn't want to say anything but couldn't leave Kise's question unanswered. Once the two were seated, he reclined back to his seat and said, with a harsh, bitter tone in his words, "He couldn't make it; had other things to do."

There was nothing Kise could add since the ceremony started. However, he was shocked to see Haizaki so angered by his other half not coming and there was something in the silver-haired words that left the blonde wondering, perhaps he was hiding something. Haizaki never answered things half-heartedly, never answered so briefly, yet when Kise asked about Nijimura's presence, he only answered with a simple: "He had other things to do."

Regardless, Kise averted his attention from his childhood friend to the scene in front of him, and a bright smile was on his face. Seeing two of his closest friends marry, finally committing themselves to each other, he couldn't feel anything but pure joy. Watching them exchange vows, Kuroko saying his in Japanese and Kagami fluently reciting his in English; watching as Kuroko's eyes widened at the sound of Kagami's English, and Kagami's face reddening when they exchanged their rings; watching as the two both said their "I do's" with the sincere, loving glimmer in their eyes before the wedding minister announced them as husband and husband; and finally, watching as they leaned close to one another, sharing their first kiss as a married couple—Kise wanted to cry tears of joy mixed with sorrow and envy.

He was happy for his friends; really, he was. However, the fact that he would never experience this with Aomine ever again, because somehow – somehow – his boyfriend happened to go missing the day he was supposed to return home. He didn't know what to feel—should he be happy? Sad? Jealous?

He shook the thoughts from his mind, clearing his head, as his eyes turned to the current scene, where Momoi stood and handed Kuroko and Kagami a white basketball. The photographer gestured the two to hold the basketball between them and smile—soon enough, everyone surrounded the two.

After enough group photos were taken, Momoi asked everyone to crowd around. She giggled into her palm as she instructed Kuroko to throw the ball over his head and one of the guests would catch it. Instead of throwing a bouquet of flowers, a basketball - specifically a white basketball - seemed the most appropriate.

Kise hesitated—he knew the basketball symbolized a future wedding, a future for two people who loved each other dearly, but he- he was currently missing his, and surely wouldn't marry any time soon. However, he felt Haizaki nudge him forward, and he turned to question his childhood friend but the male only shook his head.

"It's just for laughs, isn't it? Just do it for fun."

The blonde shrugged. He was right; there wasn't anything significant in the basketball. So Kise waited and waited to catch the ball in his hands.

Momoi smiled at Kuroko, nodding her head once, before initiating the countdown, "Three... Two... One!"

At the sound of one, Kuroko tossed the ball straight into Kise's path; no one even attempted to jump and catch it—face it, Murasakibara could have caught it by stretching his hand slightly to the side but Himuro had caught his undivided attention by offering a pastry to the giant. Without further ado, the white object landed in his hands and he stared blankly at the letter taped to it; words with familiar writing reflected into his eyes. Before he had a chance to ask if this was a sick joke, he heard a recognizable, low voice behind him that sent shivers down his spine.

"So I come back and this is the surprise I get? Don't tell me you're pregnant too."

Kise's amber eyes widened, as he slowly turned around and dark blue eyes came into contact with his. Tears of relief and shock began to form on the edges of his eyes as he rushed forward, tossing the ball over to Haizaki, who caught it effortlessly, as the blonde wrapped his arms around the male in front of him.

He didn't know if he should be angry or relieved but suddenly, he didn't care—endless, uncontrollable sobs left his lips as he inhaled the smell of his lover's cologne, pressing their bodies closer together as he felt warm arms embrace his waist. He was too happy, too excited, to be back in his boyfriend's embrace.

Once the two broke their tight hug, simply leaning back into each other's arms and smiling lovingly at each other, he said, "B- But- I thought..." In the corner of his eyes, he saw Nijimura to the side, with Haizaki complaining and releasing profanities to the other male. Immediately, he turned his gaze to Aomine, who only smirked, "Daikicchi..."

"Didn't I promise you I'd never leave you again?"

Kise chuckled, simply enjoying his lover's presence in silence. The group gave the two some privacy, moving onto the reception area for food and drinks, but not before patting the newly arrived guest on the back and muttering a soft 'welcome home'.

Almost instantly upon contact, Kise noticed the male wince at the pats and soon enough, spotted a few scars on Aomine's face; his eyes grew anxious, his eyebrows furrowed together as he reached up to brush his fingers on the scars.

"You're injured..."

Aomine closed his eyes at the blonde's gentle touch, enjoying the silence before nodding his head slowly, "Just a few wounds here and there, but I'm fine now. Nijimura found me a few weeks ago and I've been in his and Haizaki's care ever since."

Kise widened his eyes, his hand falling to his side as he said, "But I thought you were MIA... That's why-"

"-Nijimura came back, right? That was his excuse though. I didn't want you to see me like this."

"And Shougo knew about it too...?" Suddenly, his heart felt rather heavy, rather betrayed by both his boyfriend and childhood friend, but he didn't have the strength to back away from Aomine's arms, didn't have the strength to be angry; it was comforting yet depressing at the same time.

The other shook his head as he pressed Kise's body closer to his, leaning his forehead against the blonde's, "Not exactly. It wasn't until after you left, and Nijimura threatened him; said if he told you my whereabouts, he would be sorry."

"Why did you decide to show up now?"

This time, Aomine grinned as he pressed a trail of kisses from the top of Kise's forehead to the side of his lips, causing the blonde to giggle upon contact. Before pressing their lips together for another kiss, he said, "It took some time to tell NAICHOU that I quit, as well as finding a new job with the local police department."

However, before he could lean in for a direct kiss, Kise leaned back, amber eyes stared at him with absolute shock. "You... You switched jobs?"

Aomine nodded, leaning closer till their lips almost touched, "Starting next week, I'm going to be working as a local police officer."

And they kissed briefly before Kise broke them apart, causing Aomine to frown at the constant interruptions. He was trying to be romantic, for once!

The blonde appeared to be in shock, still speechless before he whispered something barely audible for Aomine, but the male had caught the last few words and nodded, leaning in once more in hopes that this time, Kise would reciprocate the kiss.

But before they did, Aomine whispered coolly in his ear, "Didn't I say I'll never leave you again? I keep my promises, you know."

Kise leaned forward and pressed his lips close to Aomine's ear, grinning widely, "Stupid Daikicchi... Oh, and to answer your last question... The answer is maybe~"

Aomine chuckled, "Idiot. I already know your answer is yes."

The only response from Kise was a bright smile before the two leaned in for a long, passionate welcome home kiss.

[March 30th, 2024: LAST LETTER]

'Hey Ryouta,

Three things to say on this basketball:
1.) Guess who's home.
2.) Turn around.
3.) Also, I guess this is a sign we should marry, huh?

- Daiki'