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A complete 180 turn from the last fic that I did.

To be honest, I don't where I was going this one. Feel free to interpret this in any way that seems right :)

20/08/13 EDIT: Added small details to make it fit with the sequel :D

Hope It Gets Better

At the beginning, watching them was like a stab to the heart; a long, twisting motion with no intent of stopping. It was a permanent wound that never healed itself, and it sucked. He suffered in silence; no outlet, just internal destruction.

Kise supposed it was inevitable; Aomine was a part of Kuroko as Kuroko was with Aomine. Of course, it would happen that Aomine fell for Kuroko like the other had for him. It was sweet relationship; both able to connect with each other like no one else could. Like Kise couldn't.

(It really hurt)

When Kise first met Aomine, he was hit with a basketball by accident. Few days later, Kise thought that maybe it wasn't by accident; Aomine wasn't one to miss a shot. Maybe he wanted an excuse to talk to him. This was a hope in Kise that never faded, not until Aomine and Kuroko came out with their relationship.

Everyone was happy for then; Akashi warned the two not to get up to anything that would affect their game play, but said he knew they were going out. Murasakibara gave them snacks that he wouldn't usually share with anyone else, and Midorima gave then a brief summary of their horoscopes (which said they were the most compatible together) and an extra lucky item that he happened to have (a love heart plushie, how appropriate).

Kise gave a forced smile that went unnoticed by everyone on his team (had he grown so apart from them that they couldn't even tell he was dying inside? Or was he getting better at his fake smile? He didn't know), and apologised for not getting anything for them.

Kuroko - how he wanted to hate him but he couldn't because he was so much better then Kise ever was and prettier, no wonder Aomine liked him - smiled calmly and said it was fine, it was a surprise so he never expected anything, don't worry.

Aomine stood next to Kuroko, towering over and looked gruff but happy. Happier than Kise had ever seen him with his countless exes and flings.

(He wished he could make him that happy)

Kise got worse as the AoKuro pair got stronger together. Not because he constantly suffered, watching them two (but he did), but everything was going down the toilet, to put it lightly.

His modelling jobs were decreasing because new models were popping up and were more beautiful than him, and his father was getting sicker by the day. The only reason he became a model was to help his father, the one person who supported him since he was child. Yes, he enjoyed modelling now, but he never intended to become one.

His father was in hospital, but he didn't tell anyone; not his friends, team mates, classmates. Only the school knew. He knew he should probably tell at least one person, but he didn't to trouble anyone with his burdens. He knew his father didn't have much time left; it was terminal cancer, they told him.

(Since when did he like being alone?)

There were times where it was hard to fake a laugh, a smile, any kind of feeling really. He felt... numb.

At first, as he skipped practice, he told himself that this was ridiculous, getting depressed over what he called love. Aomine-cchi was a great person, but there were other people out there that could better. He sat there, and the more he thought about it, the more he cried and realised that Aomine was the only one he would ever love.

On that day, when he had gone home without seeing them, his wrist was cut by a jagged metal on his desk, and he stared. It... didn't hurt.

(Did that not make him human?)

Curious, he took a knife swiped it across his wrist a few times. He felt nothing again and panicked for a moment because if he couldn't feel anything he wasn't human and he wanted to feel, he really did -

Pain erupted from the cuts a few minutes later, and he cried as it hurt but at least he was human. He felt something.

(He felt something)

It became a regular occurrence after a while; Kise would cut, he wouldn't feel anything, panic, and then pain.

Of course, he wasn't stupid; he made sure no one could see his weakness by cutting on the inside of his thighs and on the upper half of his arms. It got to the point where there were four regularly-placed cuts; one for his team that he was dragging down, one for the AoKuro pair that he couldn't stand to be around, one for the modelling agency that was going to drop him, and one for his father, who was close to his last days. Plus more for everything that went wrong during the day.

He'd go to practice with his arms and thighs sore and play badly, only to get scolded by Akashi and weird looks from the rest of them. One time, they hadn't healed properly and was nearly caught by the observant Kuroko with blood down his thighs. Luckily for Kise, it was at the end of practice and he had bandages in his bag. He even thought the Midorima might have seen something in the showers after he wrapped his cuts in the bandages and made a point to avoid the greenhead at all costs.

After a while, he realised what he was doing and tried to stop. He told himself he was selfish for doing what he did when there were other people who had worse reasons to cut and that it would only make Aomine hate him more than he already did.

It worked for a few days.

Until he couldn't stand it anymore and picked up the blade again.

(Aomine-cchi hates him)

He had dropped the significant '-cchi' at the end of his friends' and teammates' names now, no longer wanting them to be close to him (it would hurt less for them if he left, when he left). He didn't go home with them, or hang out with them at the usual store. He just simply left for home.

(But it's not a home when there's nothing there, is it?)

They had all begun to notice now ('why not when I first faked a smile for you,' he screamed inside), how disturbed he really was. They saw the weight loss, the tiredness, the distance, the falseness, the losses, the numbness.

(They said nothing.
Didn't they care?)

Aomine particularly wasn't so fond of him as his game play got unnervingly worse; he hardly played one-on-one with the bluehead because he would lose so badly and because he was avoiding Aomine and Kuroko. Aomine even confronted him angrily, claiming that if he had a problem with him and Kuroko's relationship then he should just quit the team.

(Kise wasn't avoiding them because he was homophobic, as Aomine thought, but because he couldn't stand being with them without wanting to hurt himself)

He did as Aomine said. It was too soon, but he planned it anyway.

He quit the basketball team with no hard losses - for the others, that is. Kise felt even worse when he saw that he was so easily replaced by someone else (someone by the name of Haizaki, last he knew). He knew that he was distancing from them to protect them from himself, but it still hurt.

(His regular cuts had a new friend that day)

He saw them improve and move on without him.

He saw them collapse and drift away from each other, like he months before did.

He watched as he was finally dropped from the modelling agency a few days after his father died in hospital.

(That was the day Kise lost a lot of blood and he had passed out for a few hours)

It wasn't even about the AoKuro pair anymore.

He hurt everywhere; the heart, the mind, the body, the soul.

He was a coward, he thought, but he couldn't kill himself. He was too scared.

(Maybe someday he would be brave enough to end it)

He watched them grow as he saw himself become repressed. He saw them break, like he was already broken. He saw them leave, like he had already left.

He saw them play, like he played no more.

(Goodbye old friends)

When it got to picking a high school, he chose a prestigious one, Kaijou High (he got in because somehow, his grades hadn't been affected).

Since then, it had been two long years when he had last seen them. Weirdly, being away from his former team helped him get better, in some ways.

He still cut, but always the same five reasons, never any more than that.

For his team whom he left, for being happy that Aomine was broken like him without Kuroko, for his dead father, for his loneliness, and because he realised he had made the biggest mistake in his life.

(He hoped it would get better)