A fic for my friend, BloodStainedRabbit.
A sequel to Linger.
Credits: weirdgrammar & Mr. Bear; for being my editors.
Warnings: Future fic, yaoi, grammatical errors, simple language, and emotional roller coaster ride.
You've been warned.
Kagami could only see blazing red.
He breathed through his mouth, the wheezing sound escaped the oxygen mask he was wearing. His crimson eyes roamed around through the foggy goggles looking for any living soul left.
Then, he heard a faint voice from behind a closed door.
With the heavy fireman gear weighted down his body and a deep breath of determination, Kagami cautiously took another step forward to the voice through the blazing corridor.
The red blaze roared again, a great percussive howl tearing the very fabric of the air asunder.
Kagami wrinkled his face, and brought his hands up to shield his face from the scorching heat. Kicking the door open, he glimpsed a sailor-suited kid gripping a teddy bear, crying loudly near to a huge bookshelf.
His legs moved, but immediately stopped when his ears caught a loud creak. Kagami's eyes shot from the kid to the ceiling above her.
The ceiling was collapsing.
His rationality shut down momentarily, instinct kicked in, then everything slipped into watery motion. He pushed off his legs to the kid. A big step. Then, another big step.
The loud clanks of metals deafened his ears. The blaze roared again. His voice was blasting through his chest. The kid turned to him, and raised her arms. The teddy bear fell on the floor. Kagami lunged.
He stumbled towards her, pulling her into his arms. Kagami blanketed her small body with his muscular body, then looked up.
His wedding ring fell on the floor, faint clink rang in his ears.
One thought crossed his mind.
Never in Aomine's life had he ran this fast before.
Still clad in his bulletproof vest and sweaty t-shirt, Aomine pushed his way through the crowds, butting shoulders, ignoring some curses flying past him.
The light was red, but Aomine couldn't have cared less. He stormed through the congested road. A taxi screeched into a halt, its honk pierced into his ears. Without sparing as much as a glance, Aomine swiftly climbed up its yellow hood, and landed on the pavement.
He continued his running.
Aomine had no idea how and why.
His day had started so great; waking up to a sleeping husband wrapping his arms around him with lines of soft light prying through the windows bathed his frame, listening to his calm heartbeat, and kissing his eyes.
And then, his husband had slowly cracked open his beautiful crimson eyes into his navy eyes with a tiny smile on his face, whispering softly; 'Morning, Daiki.'
His day had started so great; watching his husband put on his favorite blue apron to prepare them a decent breakfast, sharing a little laugh, squabbling over dinner, praising his husband for his tantalizing breakfast while the tv had segued into morning news.
And then, his husband had pressed a sweet kiss on his lips before off to his workplace.
His day had started so great; greeting his colleagues, garnering information on wanted criminals, hunting them down, and before the clock ticked nearly two, his team had tackled down another huge drug operation which they'd been working on for months.
His day had started so great.
So great that he couldn't ask for more.
Until one phone call from Midorima had destroyed them all.
"Kagami was involved in an accident."
One mere sentence, yet it'd almost stopped his heart.
Aomine had no idea how and why.
It was so perfect this morning, listening to Kagami's merry laughter, watching him rhapsodize over his duty as his navy eyes had discreetly slipped down to the silver band on Kagami's ring finger.
It was so perfect.
Then, one thought came across his mind; it was too perfect.
The calm before the storm, Kuroko once had told him this; before the fallen of Kiseki members, as though his former shadow had foreseen they'd eventually drift apart. He'd paid no heed before, not the moment they'd escaped Kuroko's lips, not the moment they'd finally proven true, not until now.
And it was happening to him now.
Trapped in his jumbled thoughts, Aomine stumbled on the pavement, but managed to regain his balance. He looked up, breathing raggedly, hands on his knees, sweats streaming down his face.
The huge hospital building stood proudly before him.
Without wasting time, he dashed up to the hospital, navy eyes scanning the entrance, legs carrying to the counter while hands were pushing people away harshly in the line, mouth chanting 'Kagami Taiga, where's he?!' to the nurse, who seemed to be startled by his sudden ambush.
A familiar voice summoned him out of his brooding. Aomine turned around.
A pair of blank powder blue irises looked at him without blinking.
"Tetsu…" his voice cracked. Tanned hands reached out for Kuroko, and grappled his shoulders shakily. "Taiga… where's Taiga? I want to see him. Is he okay? What happened? Where's Taiga? Tell me! Tetsu, tell me!"
Kuroko placed a soothing hand on Aomine's broad chest. "Calm down, Aomine-kun. Kagami-kun is in stable condition."
"Like stable, stable?" he asked trembly.
Kuroko gave a small nod of confirmation.
Such a small gesture, one short movement, but it brought a huge surge of relief through him. Aomine draped his arm around Kuroko's shoulder, rested his head on the crook on Kuroko's shoulder blade, and let out a long breath that he'd been holding out of his conscious mind.
"God, I thought I was going to lose him."
Kuroko returned his embrace and patted his back, not uttering a word.
His unusual silence raised a question in Aomine's mind. Aomine pulled away from the warm embrace, throwing him a quizzical look.
Kuroko hadn't said a word, but Aomine's sharp eyes didn't miss a subtle look of lugubrious passing over his effeminate face before the usual blank expression reasserted itself.
"Hey, Tetsu, what's going on actually?"
"Walk with me," intoned Kuroko, gesturing to the elevator. "I'll show you Kagami-kun's ward."
Aomine stared at the smaller male questioningly for a moment. A sense of foreboding slowly crept up his neck, his heart hammering nervously. Too many questions lingered in his mind, and he was desperate for an explanation, but a faint voice whispered to take Kuroko's offer.
Swallowing thickly, he nodded assent.
Every step they took filled Aomine with dread, yet he felt the time crawl excruciatingly slow. Their footsteps were echoing along the dark corridor. He could hear his heart thundering loudly in his ears every time they walked past ward after ward, thinking of Kagami. Then, he glanced up at the window on the door and saw a dying patient, death hovering unseen above them.
Aomine closed his eyes and whispered a prayer to gods for Kagami's life.
When he saw Midorima in a long white coat walk out of a ward with a file tucked beneath his arm and a forlorn look on his face, he assumed it was Kagami's room. Aomine ambushed him, grabbing Midorima by his shoulder.
"Taiga, how's he? Is he fine? Was it serious? Gosh, Midorima, tell me something!"
Midorima opened his mouth, but no words came out.
Exasperated, Aomine shook Midorima's body and demanded for an explanation. Kuroko came forward to stop Aomine, but Aomine pushed him away, and managed to catch a glimpse of his husband sitting in the bed, head bandaged up, in one piece, awake even, through the window on the door as he did so.
His heart accelerated.
Ignoring Midorima's cries, Aomine burst into the ward in a heartbeat and leapt to Kagami's side. In a brief moment, he caught confusion and shock glimmering in the crimson eyes, but Aomine was too quick to pull Kagami into his embrace to care about it.
Kagami's warmth, Kagami's solidity, the reality, Aomine took his time to relish them all. He breathed in Kagami's citrus scent that fused with dim antiseptic and burning, and planted a kiss on his unruly crimson hair.
"Gosh, Taiga, I thought I was going to lose you! I'm so glad I was wrong. Seriously, my heart stopped when I got a phone call from Midorima. I couldn't think straight."
Kagami didn't respond.
"I beg you, Taiga, never do that again. Never do that again. Hear me? I can't imagine living without you."
Kagami didn't respond.
Instead, Aomine felt his body tense up inside his embrace. Premonition slowly lurking again in the corner of his mind, haunting him.
Hesitantly, he placed his hands on Kagami's shoulders, and looked down at Kagami's face.
The look Kagami was wearing startled him greatly.
Pure confusion, as if he'd never seen Aomine in his life.
Kagami didn't answer, kept staring at him with those crimson eyes.
"Taiga?" this time, harsher.
There was a sullen silence before Kagami answered, or rather asked;
"Who are you?"
A plain question, complete with a quizzical look.
His stomach plummeted. Kagami's polite tone rang profoundly in his ears. Aomine studied his husband closely, from top to bottom, and his eyes slid up to the bandaged head.
Realization came to him. A sinking feeling crept into his stomach. The silver band felt so cold against his ring finger.
Aomine knitted his brows in exasperation, trying to shove the dreadful assumption away that taking its seed in his mind. He swallowed thickly, then barked out a laugh.
A bitter laugh.
"Taiga, stop this game. I don't like it."
Kagami shook his head. "I'm not playing games. I don't know you. Who are you?"
He scratched his throbbing scalp. The answer got stuck in his throat. Hearing such a simple question from his very own husband, 'who are you?', which he'd been heard almost daily spill out of traumatized victims' mouths in their dazed state stabbed daggers into his heart.
And Kagami's tone... He didn't like it. They'd been in love with each other for almost ten years, living together for almost five years, and married for two years, Aomine had taken so many tones from Kagami, from provoke to warm, and he could distinguish them all, but he'd never had taken this particular tone with him.
A very polite tone that Kagami often used to a complete stranger.
He reached out his hand for his husband to assure his cluttered mind and dread that coursed through his body, hoping his assumption was wrong, but when his fingers touched a patch of Kagami's skin, Kagami inched away with a jolt, completely throwing him off.
Kagami Taiga, his husband rejected his touch.
His hand went limp to his side, and Aomine weakly took a step backward, staring at Kagami in a pained expression.
Aomine couldn't accept this.
He refused to accept this.
However, Midorima's explanation wouldn't let him.
"I've tried my best, Aomine, I really did," he could hear disappointment tweaking in Midorima's composed voice. "He sustained a severe concussion on his head, and apparently it damaged his brain. I didn't know he lost all his memories until he woke up, and it was Kuroko who first found it out."
Midorima kept on explaining, spurting out some medical terms he couldn't fathom, but it was fruitless anyway, because Aomine had long stopped listening to him. Everything went shut down as he zeroed in on his confused husband, who was fidgeting uncomfortably under his scrutiny, and certainly shifting further away from him.
In the end, Aomine abruptly swung on his heels and left the room. He heard Kuroko call him out, but his legs kept moving on in a brisk stride of their own accord, bringing him away from the room, away from his husband, away from this nightmare.
It hurt him to see Kagami's confused look.
It hurt him to see Kagami rejecting his touch.
And it hurt him more to hear such a trivial question from Kagami in a very polite tone.
Anger, exasperation swamped him. Before he knew it, his hand threw a punch to the wall and a loud thud reached his ear. The hit felt like a sharp, immediate sting, and blood dribbled across his knuckles, his silver band, down to the floor. Aomine rested his forehead against the cold wall, and like his blood, he slid down to the floor.
A strained sob escaped him.
Then, he felt a gentle tap on his back.
It was Kuroko, and he knew it.
"Aomine-kun," he said softly. "Let's go back to Kagami's ward. He needs you."
"Leave me alone."
"Kagami-kun needs you."
"Just leave me fucking alone!" he snapped, whipping to his former shadow. "He doesn't even remember me, and you're telling me he needs me?! Laughable!"
"He might not remember you, but he's still your husband, and you're his. He needs you as much as you need him, Aomine-kun."
"Fuck it, Tetsu," his voice dropped. "Didn't you see him moving away from me? And that question, that tone, they hurt me! As if I'm a total stranger to him!"
"Yes, I did, Aomine-kun. But, as for now, we all are strangers to him."
Kuroko's words struck Aomine hard. He let out a groan.
"But, it hurts me, Tetsu. All I wanted to do was hug him, kiss him, assure him it'll be alright, but he doesn't let me."
He sounded so miserable.
Aomine slumped his side against the wall, his chest felt constricted because of the vest and strong emotions overflowing him. His ego repressed the tears that threatening to leak out of the corner of his eyes, not wanting to look vulnerable in front of his best friend.
Kuroko kept a blank look at the very picture of despair presented before his soothing blue eyes. He knew sympathy did nothing but injured Aomine's pride.
"Put yourself in Kagami-kun's shoes; me, and Midorima-kun, and Kagami-kun, your husband being strangers. What would you think and feel to be surrounded by a group of strangers and in the same time, you have no clue who you are, and what you are?"
Albeit the brooding beleaguered his mind, Aomine did the thinking. "Dunno. Lonely, I guess."
"I believe Kagami-kun is feeling the same," Kuroko toned down. "Lonely, and confused. Stay with him, and help him through this ordeal, he needs that. He needs your support. He needs his husband. He needs you. He saved you once, remember?"
His mind retreated to the high school days, when Kagami had brought his passion for basketball back to life. When Kagami had given him reasons to continue playing basketball. When Kagami had brought smile to his face again.
Aomine sighed exasperatedly, head thrown back, hand over eyes.
Kuroko gave him a firm look.
"It's time for you to save him."
Author's note: Because apparently, I'm one of those crazy writers who love to see this pairing suffer. (Don't kick me out of this fandom, bitte!)