Credits to Steve for rewriting my bad summary. Gotta fix that.
Patience is virtue, my dear friends.
It was sliding into November, and within these two agonizing months, Kagami began to believe he was actually living with a Grammar Nazi.
No, Aomine never bothered to correct his grammar or filter his words whenever a curse slipped out. In fact, Kagami could blurt out anything he kept in his heart without bothering to choose a wise word.
But, the fact that Aomine kept correcting from 'your' to 'our', or 'you' to 'us' irked Kagami to no end. It somewhat reminded him of his lost memories, as if now regaining his memories was the only reason for him to live.
Furthermore, Kagami was suffocated living under Aomine's constant watch.
He often found Aomine keeping eye on him, looming over him. If Aomine was off to work, he never missed giving him a reminder to not wandering alone. Even five minutes' parting ways, Aomine would send him a message to check on him. Once Kagami had missed replying his message, a minute later his phone had registered at least two dozens of missed calls from Aomine. Annoyed, Kagami had called him to end his and Aomine's misery, but Aomine's interrogation had worsened his mood.
Now, his anger came back consuming him as Aomine kept saying 'careful!', 'hey, watch out!', 'that knife!' from across the kitchen counter, refusing to leave him alone preparing their dinner in peace.
One more word expelled out of Aomine's mouth—'watch your hand, Taiga!', Kagami threw the spatula in his hand to the sink exasperatedly. He glowered at his supposed husband from behind his crimson-black layered bangs.
Seriously, Kagami was at his limit.
"Taiga?" he asked clueless.
"—Just stop it!" shouted Kagami at the top of his voice, catching Aomine off his guard. Kagami shifted his weight to the heels on his palms on the counter, head hung low. His voice dropped. "Just stop this shit."
Aomine remained clueless.
"I'm tired, okay?" said Kagami desperately. "I'm fucking tired with this shit, listening to your worry voice, your stupid reminders about not letting me wander off alone, your messages, your missed calls. Everything!" his cracked voice raised to another octave. "For fuck's sake, I'm a grown up man, not a kid! I don't need your constant watch!"
Aomine stayed silent for a moment. "But, I'm worried about you. You and your lost memories—"
"I tried!" Kagami cut him off with another yell. "I tried! I tried to remember everything! About my life, about my friends, about this marriage, about you! I fucking tried, tried, tried, and now I'm tired! Can't you consider my feelings, thinking about me, how tired I am with this confusing ordeal?! Seriously, I need a break sometimes!"
Kagami's voice dropped and wavered. "I'm sorry if I'm not your Kagami Taiga. I'm tired trying to be Kagami Taiga whom you know. I don't know who I was, I don't know who the hell Kagami Taiga is, and I don't know who I am anymore. This is so frustrating."
Gloomy hung in the air, droned with humming of the refrigerator.
Aomine kept an impassive look. "Then, what do you want to do now? What would you want me to do?" his words were delivered in measured cadence.
Kagami heaved a sigh. "Just... just leave me alone."
If he was being honest, Kagami didn't mean his words as they slipped from his cloudy mind. Nonetheless, Kagami didn't bother to take back his words, fully convinced Aomine wouldn't take them seriously. He believed Aomine would never allow him to stay all by himself, being paranoid as he was.
However, the clink of house keys proved Kagami wrong.
Aomine was already on his motion to leave the house, grabbing his phone on the table, putting on a thick sweater while walking to the front door. Kagami opened his mouth to stop Aomine, but Aomine's next words halted him.
"I'll be back before midnight. I won't bother you till then, so do as you pleased," said Aomine without sparing Kagami a glance, tanned hand clasping the doorknob. "But, you can call me if you've got problems. I'll be there."
Kagami was still in his stupor when Aomine had already wrenched open the door, light from the corridor spilling into the house entrance. It wasn't until the soft thud of closing door roused Kagami from his daze.
He hung his head low, blinking back his tears and sniffling loudly. Kagami took a deep breath, took the knife and salad, proceeding to continue his cooking, trying his best to ignore the buzzing sound that grating in his ears.
Kagami was placing a bowl of rice when he heard the doorbell ring.
One thought ran across his mind.
His chest felt warmer, and before Kagami realized it, he was already setting on his feet to answer the door. His hand quickly turned the doorknob, allowing the door to fling open. However, his face fell a little at the sight before him.
He was greeted by light blue hair instead of dark blue hair, and Kagami had to run his gaze down to level his eyes with the blank powder blue eyes.
"Good evening, Kagami-kun," said the guest.
Kagami hesitated. "Uh... 'evening. You are..." he began to rack his brain over for the guest's name.
"Kuroko Tetsuya, your and Aomine-kun's friend. I visited you at the hospital few times, remember?"
"Sorry," Kagami averted his gaze away from the light blue eyes. "It slipped from my mind. Too many crazy things happened today, uhm, Kuroko," he tried his best to roll the name on his tongue smoothly.
"No worries, I understand," his soft tone somewhat soothed Kagami's heart. "Aomine-kun has told me about the fight. Actually, he requested me to come over to check on you."
That sparked his anger again. "What? Can't he just—"
"Please calm down, Kagami-kun. Do not blame him for what his doing. He's your husband, Kagami-kun, natural if he's worried about you."
"But, he told you to come over! How could he bring someone else into this matter?! Telling you about everything and all!"
"Aomine-kun didn't tell me everything. Yes, he told me both of you have got into a fight, but not the subject or anything you've said or done to him. I do not know that. Also, Aomine-kun believes you need a companion, and he thought it'd be better if he asked me to accompany you while he's away. He even promised not to bother you as long as you have me as your companion."
Kuroko's explanation silenced him. Kagami dropped his head low, biting his bottom lip. That Aomine... Then, he looked at his supposed best friend—if he wasn't mistaken—and shifted a little to provide a space for him.
"Uhm... Wanna talk inside?"
Kuroko didn't respond at first, sending nervous crawling under Kagami's smile. Then, he smiled.
He felt relief wash through his body when he saw the small smile of agreement on Kuroko's face. Kagami pushed the door wider and ushered him to the dinner table, gesturing him to take a seat.
"It looks tantalizing," Kuroko spoke again, eyes on the meal, settling on the chair.
"You can join me having dinner if you want to," Kagami pushed the chair across Kuroko and sat down. "I've prepared dinner for two," his voice dropped at the very last syllable.
Kagami caught a genuine smile spreading across Kuroko's face.
"We don't want the meal to be wasted, do we?"
With that, they started to dig in. Kagami noticed Kuroko taking a small bite each time—too small, he thought, unlike the usual adult portion. It made Kagami wonder if that was the reason why this light blue haired male had a petit, fragile-looking body.
"How about you tell me topics you do not want to bring up, as my reference, so in the future we won't get into such a topic?" Kuroko started a conversation.
Kuroko took a bite on the chicken breast. "I did some research about amnesia, and they mentioned about some topic the patient would like to avoid. It is understandable, though, the lost memories have put you under stress, and the beloved ones would give everything they have to regain them back and reshape you back to the old-self, while you're struggling to learn the life you don't know and recollect the missing pieces. It's maddening."
He continued. "As much as I love to help you regain your memories, but I hate to put you under the maddening stress. While Aomine-kun helps you jog your memories, I'll stay out of it, so if you're stressed with it, you can always find me to talk about something else. Not necessarily as Kagami-kun whom I know, but you can be whoever you want to be with me."
Upon listening to Kuroko, Kagami couldn't help but feel touched. Every words he uttered hit the bull's eye. The stress, his conflicted feelings, everything. He never thought he needed this, something like Kuroko's offer.
So, when it came, right in front of him, Kagami didn't waste time to snatch it.
"Then, can we not talk about my marriage life?"
Kuroko nodded assent.
"Not about the accident?"
He nodded again.
Kagami could see a subtle reaction from Kuroko. Perhaps, Kuroko himself didn't see that coming. His pale face remained blank though, and Kagami was wondering if he was having an inner argument. Nonetheless, his head moved in a small nod, taking Kagami by surprise, too.
"Serious?" this time, it was Kagami to question Kuroko's decision.
"Yes, Kagami-kun," Kuroko pulled a tiny smile. "Although I know it'll be hard since Aomine-kun is my best friend as well, and I should support him; you need help, Kagami-kun. I'll tell him about this, and I'm sure he'll understand," then, he switched the subject. "So, how about your job now?"
Kagami blinked at Kuroko, surprised how easy Kuroko steered their conversation away. Then, he decided to play along. "Well, I've informed Chief about my condition. He said I could take leave at this moment until my body is fully healed. But, I have to start from the scratch, so I can get familiar with the situation."
Kuroko smiled. "If it's Kagami-kun, it'd be a breeze."
"Still," he played with his chopsticks sulkily. "I have to go through the training."
"No pain, no gain, Kagami-kun," Kuroko shifted in his seat. "In the meantime, how about joining me taking care of kids at my place?"
He raised a brow. "You a babysitter?"
"No," Kuroko shook his head. "I'm a kindergarten teacher. I think you'll be bored staying at home, so playing with kids at least could kill your boredom. Also, I need some help handling them."
Kagami hummed thoughtfully. "...sounds nice, too."
"Perhaps, there will be a chance to meet my girlfriend too."
"You have a girlfriend?"
"Yes, Kagami-kun," it amused Kagami how low Kuroko's voice dropped at his remark, telling him he was frowning. "I do have a girlfriend. You know her too. Momoi Satsuki."
"Doesn't ring a bell."
"Make sense. She couldn't come visiting you before, busy with her new project..."
Then, Kagami continued listening, occasionally laughing at Kuroko's story about his girlfriend, about his job as a kindergarten teacher, about basketball, about everything, about nothing, but certainly not about Aomine.
Yes, he really needed this.
Aomine eschewed driving or catching a taxi to the nearest town, staunchly telling himself to travel by foot instead.
Cold wind of winter sliced his skin, but the ache inside his chest was too overwhelming he didn't care the temperature ambiance was, in fact, dropping lower and lower.
True, he and Kagami did have fights before, arguing till at some point, he'd spat curses in front of Kagami, then banged the door close behind him, and crashed to the bar. However, at this moment, they seemed to be so petty compared to this.
He thought his heart had stopped beating when he'd heard Kagami, his husband beg him to leave him alone.
What had he done to him Kagami asked him to leave?
Did he cross the limit?
Or Kagami had given up on regaining his lost memories?
But then, again, if Kagami had already given up, what he could do to cheer Kagami up? Seriously, he couldn't recognize his very own husband anymore, and hell, he didn't know what to do to make him smile again.
Every time he peered at Kagami's face, all he could see was frown lines, and guilty, and discomfort. Every movement or words Kagami uttered screamed rejection. When they'd found out Kagami's wedding ring was actually lost—he hated himself for not noticing Kagami had never worn the ring though there Kagami was, standing in front of him, yet he'd let it slip from his eyes—he was surprised how calm Kagami was at that moment.
Well, Aomine reckoned Kagami was probably too shocked to even respond to Himuro's question. He kept telling himself that, albeit inside, Aomine knew it was a petty effort to soothe his heart.
A vibration in his pocket pulled him out of his numbing thoughts. Aomine fumbled inside his sweater pocket for his phone. Hope flared back to life, thinking it was probably Kagami.
His hope vanished when he read the caller ID.
Imayoshi Shouichi, his chief.
He answered the call, nonetheless. "What?" he asked grumpily.
Aomine heard his ex-captain slash current-chief snicker across the line. "How I've missed my cute kouhai's voice so much I could cry."
He could hear a voice booming at the background 'Is that Aomine?! Give the phone to me, I'm going to skin him alive!', another shaking voice screaming, 'Wakamatsu-san, I'm sorry, but you have to calm down! I'm sorry bothering you!', and another calm voice 'Imayoshi, don't announce you're calling Aomine', which sounded nearer compared to other voices. Aomine heaved a tired sigh. How he'd ended up sticking with his Touou team even after high school, in the realm of working and crimes no less, Aomine had no idea.
"Just tell me your point already," he said.
"I know you're man with firm priorities, but I received a report this morning."
"From fire brigade department. Remember about the fire at Akibarahara street recently?"
One name came. Taiga...
"Yep, the one that Kagami was involved into," Aomine, being under Imayoshi-san's wing for so long, at this moment was no longer surprised how the hell that sly fox could read his mind. "Heard it cost him his memories. Ah, I wonder, how is he now, Aomine?"
Ugly feeling ate Aomine up listening to his chief chattering about the fateful incident. He couldn't care less if his chief's concern for Kagami was a fake or genuine. "What about that accident?"
He heard flipping sounds, then a low clack and creak, indicating Imayoshi-san was flicking through pages, shifting in his boss chair while cradling the phone between his shoulder and cheek. "Let me see... According to this report, one of the apartment unit was actually a homemade lab. An illegal drug lab, producing ICE. It was written that someone started the fire to destroy the evidence. The investigation is still on going, but I think we could lend them a hand, sharing some information we've garnered with them. How does that sound?"
His clutch on the phone tightened. He balled his fist until it became white. Knowing the accident was actually no accident surged anger through his body. Aomine thinned his lips.
"Fuck, I'm in."
Imayoshi-san snickered. "Knew you would."
Days after the fight, Kagami found Aomine sitting in front of the laptop, brows scrunching up while browsing through a set of pictures. Aomine looked so depressed, body bending forward to the laptop, navy hair tousled due to frequent scratching.
Suddenly, Kagami had the urge to place a soothing hand on Aomine's shoulders, whispering words into his ears. But, he repressed it, thinking it'd awkward. Instead, he made Aomine a mug of coffee and set it down on the table as gentle as he could to not surprise Aomine.
Kagami's ears caught a dim whisper from Aomine. He looked up at Aomine across the coffee table, but Aomine didn't return his gaze. His navy eyes were still glued on the screen. Kagami felt guilty what he'd said to Aomine before. His brain was mauling over asking forgiveness from Aomine, but something evil residing inside him clamped his mouth shut.
After a minute of mental war, finally Kagami found his voice. "I... I'm going out with Kuroko later."
Even though a different topic came out, at least it prompted a reaction from Aomine.
Aomine raised a brow. "Where to?"
"His workplace. He said he needed a hand handling those kids."
Then, their conversation died. Aomine still had his whole attention fixated on the laptop. Kagami chewed on his inner cheek. He couldn't think of any topic to bring up. The heavy awkward atmosphere hanging between them didn't help him either.
To his relief, the doorbell rang. It must be Kuroko, he thought to himself.
He quickly rose to his feet to answer the door, and noticed Aomine hadn't budged even an inch. He bit back the pain clenching his heart and opened the door with a forced smile.
Kuroko's blank look came into his view.
"Good morning, Kagami-kun," he bowed a little, then peered over Kagami's shoulder. "Good morning to you too, Aomine-kun."
All Aomine reply was 'Morning,' while his fingers furiously punched the keyboard with clack sound.
"I'm sorry, Kuroko..." whispered Kagami as not to let Aomine overheard it. "He's...busy. Yesterday, he suddenly brought some files with him. So, I guess, another case popped out."
"Understandable," Kuroko flashed him an understanding smile. "Shall we go, Kagami-kun?"
"Wait a sec," Kagami rounded to get his winter coat draping on the dinner chair and went back to the door. "Yeah," he answered with a small nod and stepped out of the apartment unit. Before he closed the door, Kagami paused briefly. "I'll... I'll be back before dinner."
Without glancing up at him, Aomine simply replied; "Okay."
That halfhearted reply, Kagami hated it. No, more likely it hurt him. Trying his best to mask up his sadness, Kagami faced Kuroko, smiling as broad as he could, and closed the door with a dim thud.
Once he'd no longer heard their footsteps, his fingers stopped dancing on the keyboard, and out of sudden, Aomine thumped the table that the coffee Kagami made spilled out and gave out a loud, long scream until his throat hurt. He buried his face in his hands, then dragged the heels of his palms to the back of his head, sinking into the couch.
This was so depressing he wanted to shoot himself.
The set of Akibarahara street fire incident's pictures, the report, Imayoshi-san's story, the gloomy atmosphere, Kagami's lost memories, Kagami's pleas, they came crushing him like a wave. He was getting stressed and stressed. How he could live like a normal human going through this agonizing ordeal was indeed a miracle. Other people would have their family registered their name to the mental hospital.
Aomine took a deep breath to calm his thundering heart. His nose caught faint coffee wafting in the air. He sat up and reached the mug at the corner of the table.
Coffee Kagami made.
It'd been awhile Kagami made him coffee. After the accident, Aomine often made it himself, trying his best to make as good as Kagami's, but it never tasted the same. It had the same bitterness and a little bit of sweetness, but he had no idea, something was missing.
Aomine took a sip, and licked his lips to focus his senses to the taste. It was good. Really good. But, somehow he felt something missing, and Aomine still had no idea what was it.
A tear streamed down into the coffee with a faint 'plop'.
He brought his knees folded up close to his chest, while tanned fingers were still curling around the warm mug, he sniffled into his folded knees.
That sprung into his mind.
Getting kids jumped on him, a dog which had similar eyes with Kuroko's—Kuroko told him its name was 'Nigou'. Why 'Nigou'?!—running after him and somewhat his body moved by itself; running away from the dog, giving those crazy kids piggy ride, having a handful of hyperactive kids while some clung to his back, playing hide and seek (he lost and Kuroko won like a pro), having his meals stolen by some sneaky kids, and some other things he was too tired to even think about listing them up led him to a new conclusion; kids are demons in innocent mask.
Fortunately, Kuroko had sent them to take an afternoon nap, so he could have a break. He was flicking through pages—Peter Pan story book in Japanese, he hardly could read them, so he settled by looking at the colorful pictures instead—sitting on the small pink chair when Kuroko came joining him with a pink haired lady tailing him.
"Kagami-kun, I'd like to introduce you my girlfriend, Satsuki-san."
"Oh, hello," he put down the book on the table and bowed courteously.
Kagami was so shocked and thought he'd done something wrong when he saw her cerise teary eyes. Before he could react to comfort her, she suddenly threw herself to him and gave him a crushing hug, almost burying his face in her busty breasts.
"I can't believe this!" she wailed. "I thought Dai-chan and Tetsu-kun were lying, telling me Kagamin has lost his memories. So, it had been true after all. Poor my Kagamin~! Poor Dai-chan...!"
She kept on wailing and wailing even after Kuroko had tried to comfort her. Kagami thought it was hopeless to wriggle himself free, so he ended up staying inside her crushing hug until the kids woke up and yelled at him in pure jealousy.
The light from the living room was already dimmed by the time Kagami had got home.
Opening the door, Aomine's sleeping face was the first thing he saw. He locked the door, toed off his shoes, sorted them into the cupboard shoes, padded to the couch and sat down by the sleeping man.
He felt pain seized him. Even in his sleep, Aomine still looked miserable. Brows scrunched up, face flushed with the white light from the laptop, visible bags under his eyes, a file still in his hand, the blanket draped on the floor instead of on his body, one leg dangling over the arm of the couch.
Kagami let out a sigh. He carefully took the file from Aomine's clutch and placed it next to the laptop, shut the gadget down, picked up the blanket and draped it over Aomine's body.
Then, he stayed watching him sleep for awhile before murmuring 'Sorry...' under his breath and going to the bedroom.
Trying to apt the changes of situation, from light atmosphere of the kindergarten, filled with laughter and playful screams to heavy atmosphere of his very own apartment, laden with deafening, endless silence wasn't an easy task.
It took him days, long chanting of soothing words, dozens of deep breaths to get used to it. But, thanks to his endurance, now he could stay sitting on the couch, breathing easily, texting Kuroko while munching on cheeseburger he'd bought earlier on the way going home from the kindergarten like nothing had happened to him.
Day by day, as Christmas approached closer and more sweets and sale commercials in bright red theme filled the break between the drama series, Kagami still hadn't seen any sign of recover of their husband-husband relationship.
Kagami kept going out with Kuroko, helping him at the kindergarten, while Aomine drowned deeper and deeper into the case that Kagami had no idea what the hell the case was, yet he couldn't summon any bravery inside him to probe the subject. The refrigerator was getting emptier and emptier, but no one bothered to point it out. Aomine often came home late, so Kagami ended up having dinner with Kuroko and his girlfriend instead.
As days had passed, their relationship had gotten worse and worse, but no one had said anything about it. Until at some point, Kagami preferred to stay with Kuroko, instead of spending more time with his very own husband.
Being with Kuroko was easy.
Like Kuroko had promised him, he never touched those taboo topics, even though Kagami knew Kuroko was fully aware of their crumbling marriage. Kuroko kept his attention away from his marriage, telling more ridiculous stories about Seirin team, about his girlfriend's attics, making him smile and laugh.
He liked Kuroko's accompany.
It was warm, so warm he sometimes forgot he actually had lost his memories.
He enjoyed listening to Kuroko's story.
He enjoyed staying with Kuroko.
He enjoyed Kuroko's patting whenever he felt depressed.
He enjoyed how easy Kuroko made him smile.
The red-devil-colored IPhone in his hand fell on the plushy couch. The text he intended to send to Kuroko was accidentally saved into a draft. Kagami's jaw dropped at the newly found epiphany.