My Savior; My Angel
Everything crashed down for Aomine Daiki when Kagami Taiga took one more step back and fell from Touo’s roof. His legs moved one second too late and once he got to the edge of the roof, he looked downwards with a look of horror. People were gathering at the scene and Aomine could only get glimpses of red, and it was most definitely not Kagami’s crimson hair color. He then ran the fastest he could and once his feet no longer touched the stairs, he dashed to the growing crowd and pushed everyone out of the way.
The sight was sickening.
“Hello? Is this 9-1-1? There’s student here who just jumped off from our school roof. Please come quickly. He’s losing blood fast…” The whispers and calls from the people were not heard from Aomine as he crashed down to his knees and screamed in agony. A person then took Aomine’s head by force and shielded his eyes.
“Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god…” His callous ears distinctly heard his childhood friend, Momoi Satsuki, repeat those three words again and again.
“Dai-chan, don’t look. Oh for the love of god, please don’t look.” She pleaded as she held onto him even harder but it was too late. He had already seen what had happened. He wanted to rip away from her grip and crawl to the man who had been his savior, his angel. But he couldn’t. He just couldn’t.
An ambulance siren blared loudly thought Aomine didn’t even acknowledge its presence. He just clung onto the pink-haired girl and buried his head onto her chest. Momoi, in return, hugged him with much more force.
“Everyone please stand back!” A person yelled and the crowd backed away in sync.
“Ma’am, sir, please move back.” Another person said but Aomine couldn’t move at all. It was like he was paralyzed.
“Please, just let him be. Please. He can’t. Not after this.” Momoi begged and the person must have connected two and two together because he just left them alone after that. Aomine wanted to know desperately what they were doing to Kagami, so he ripped his eyes away and saw with anguish that they had put Kagami in a gurney and were about to close the doors.
“Wait!” Aomine screamed and he tried to stand but to no avail. He couldn’t move his legs at all. They just weren’t responding. Momoi started to cry even harder as she saw her dearest friend try desperately to stand up when it was obvious that he couldn’t.
“Please stop, Dai-chan. Please.” She begged but her cries were only heard by the crowd. The doors were completely shut now and the van started to move away from the scene.
“No!” Aomine yelled and he felt his cheeks grow wet. He was… crying. He tried once more to stand up but halfway through, he collapsed down to his knees. In anger and misery, he punched the cement floor several times, splitting open his knuckles terribly.
“Stop! Please stop!” Momoi beseeched as she tried to hold his arm to make him stop but they were just too powerful for her to sustain.
“Why?” he whispered when he was done and his head lowered, tears still spilling from his eyes and landing on the ground. “Why?” His scream could be heard throughout the whole school.
When the shock was over and finally he could stand up again, he immediately pushed Momoi away from him and started to run where the ambulance had been.
“Where did he go?” He asked desperately to Momoi and she trembled as she answered that the ambulance was going for Chukyo hospital. Aomine realized that Chukyo was at least 30 minutes away from Touo and he cursed profoundly.
“Dai-chan, what are you going to do?” Momoi asked in a scared tone. He gave her no response. “No, you’re not going to run all the way there. It’s 30 minutes to go by car! We’ll call a taxi instead, Dai-chan! Don’t you dare –” But the rest of her words were drowned out as he had already begun running towards the hospital. Momoi screamed at him to stop but he couldn’t hear a word.
Why? Just why?
He didn’t even feel exhaustion as he dashed through the busy street. The image was still with him as he entered the hospital with the record time of 23 minutes. His body then decided that it would give out on him and he felt himself collapse once more. People, mostly nurses, gathered around him to help him up but he pushed everyone away as he carelessly tried to stand up. He swayed a bit before finally finding his balance.
“Where is he?” He demanded and the people around him looked terrified.
“Please, sir, if you could just calm down –” One tried to say but was cut off at his voice.
“Where is he?” He roared and everyone backed away from him, scared out of their minds. Then he heard a timid voice.
“Onni-san, who’s he?” An eight year old girl asked while tugging at his sleeve. He could have just pushed her away like he had done with Momoi but just decided to let her be.
“Kagami. Kagami Taiga. Where is he? What room is he in?” He asked in a gentler tone and a nurse piped up.
“I’m sorry, I believe that one Kagami Taiga is still in the surgery room.”
“Show me where he is.” He said, so tired.
“I’m sorry sir, but I can’t –”
“Show me where he is.” He emphasized fiercely and the nurse gulped before gesturing him to come with her. He carefully made the girl let go of his sleeve and followed the nurse.
He came across a big door and the nurse made him sit down.
“I must warn you though; the surgery will take some time. The patient was in a critical condition when he was admitted.” She commented before leaving Aomine alone with his thoughts.
He looked at the blinking sign that read ‘Surgery In Process’ and couldn’t help but tap his foot out of impatience.
10, 20, 60, 100 minutes passed and the sign was still blinking. Aomine couldn’t take anymore. How much more time did they need? They wouldn’t need all this time because Kagami was strong person who never gave up…
And yet, he had jumped from the roof willingly. He had been fucking smiling at him when he did it. Why?
And then, after 2 hours, a body of people barged into the hallway and Aomine recognized them to be Seirin.
"Where is he? Is the surgery over? How long has he been there? What the hell happened?" Seirin's coach bombarded him with questions and when she realized that he was too traumatized to answer her, she went out to search for a nurse who would help her.
The rest of the Seirin team all slumped onto the floor while waiting for the sign to stop blinking. Aomine then felt a warm presence next to him and he knew who it was even without looking.
"Aomine-kun..." Kuroko Tetsuya, the phantom sixth man and best friend to Kagami, said impassively but Aomine knew Kuroko too well. He could hear his trembling tone. "What happened?" Kuroko then asked but Aomine couldn't answer him at all, not when the image was still freshly imprinted in his mind. He just shook his head in response and there was a silence that took over the hallway.
No one talked and just waited for the blinking sign to stop.
It must have been over 8 hours because when the sign stopped blinking, it was well over midnight. No one had left their spots for that time and the hallway looked so dead before the surgery sign turned off. Then everyone jumped to their feet and rushed over to the opening door.
The doctor looked absolutely exhausted and he didn't register any surprise when a bunch of high schoolers stampeded their way over to him.
There was a silence before Riko finally asked the question that was on everyone's mind.
"How is he?" She asked, her whole body trembling.
The doctor just shook his head and went back inside the room, not bearing to see their once hopeful faces that suddenly crashed down in front of them. A nurse came out soon after the doctor left and looked sadly at Aomine and Seirin.
"He's in a coma. We did everything we could. We're sorry." She said and wrote numbers on a white sheet of paper. "He's in this room. You can go in if you want. Maybe you guys can help him wake up." She finished and went back inside to clean the room up. What she failed to mention was the fact that chances of Kagami's waking up would be 2% to none.
The basketball players rushed as fast as they could to Kagami's room and they were met with various machines that were connected to a now bald Kagami. Nobody could move in the beginning as they just saw Kagami's sleeping face. Though some parts of his face were marred from the incident, he looked almost ethereal, as if heaven just couldn't wait to snap him up.
Then, without anyone noticing in the beginning, Kuroko moved towards Kagami and for the first time since Aomine had met Kuroko, he cried in complete anguish. The others followed suit as they surged forward and gathered around the coma induced man. Aomine just stood there, not being able to do anything and watched as Seirin hugged Kagami's arms and chest.
"It's going to be fine, it's going to be fine." Riko tried to soothe but it looked like she wasn't believing the words herself. The glasses wearing captain soon took over and with a commanding voice, he told everyone to calm down.
"We can't be like this in front of Kagami! He's in a coma, not dead, do you understand? He's strong, goddamn it! He'll wake up, got it? He'll..." Hyuuga trailed off and tears rolled off his face when he saw Kagami's face once more. He shut his eyes and even though he tried very hard to stop crying, he found that it was no use.
"He'll be fine. He'll be fine..." He ended quietly and the others just nodded while they themselves tried to stop their tears from falling.
It was another hour before one by one, the Seirin team dispersed. Each had gotten a call from their parents to come home and reluctantly, they did. In the end, the only people left in the room were Aomine and Kuroko. Kuroko was still clinging onto Kagami's arm and looked even paler than normal. Aomine walked over to Kuroko and sat down next to him.
"Tetsu, you can go home. I'll take good care of him." His voice sounded hoarse but it was acceptable since he had been crying for almost the whole day. Kuroko didn't answer him and didn't even look at him.
"Tetsu?" Aomine asked uncertainly and it was a while before Kuroko answered back.
"He's not going to make it, Aomine-kun." Kuroko said so quietly Aomine had to strain his ears to hear him. But he did hear him and he didn't know what happened next but he was pinning Kuroko to the wall.
"What did you say?" Aomine growled, completely unlike him but Kuroko just looked at him with those morose eyes.
"He will not make it. I saw it in the nurse's eyes." He answered quietly and Aomine slowly loosened his grasp on Kuroko's neck.
"He'll make it. He will. I know he will." Aomine said, not looking at his former shadow. Kuroko said nothing and just went back to his seat. Aomine's phone rang for the millionth time but once again, he ignored it.
"Please answer your phone, Aomine-kun. It is getting annoying." Kuroko said bluntly and while Aomine didn't even want to bother, he decided that maybe it was a good idea to tell his parents that he would be staying in the hospital and as a result, would be missing a lot of school.
He then saw that the caller was Momoi and not his parents. He picked up and was immediately met with a worried voice.
"What took you so long to answer back? I was worried sick, Dai-chan, you ganguro, I hate you!" Momoi started and he so sure that she was crying. "Do you know how long I've been calling you? Since freaking 3 PM and now its 2 in the morning, Dai-chan! Why didn't you pick up? What's...Is he ok? Is he going to make it?" She asked in a whisper and Aomine realized that he couldn't say anything. If Kuroko's words were right, then...
"He's in a coma, Satsuki. We don't know when he'll wake up." Aomine replied instead and he could hear Momoi sighing in somewhat relief.
"He'll wake up, Dai-chan. I know he will." She said and told Aomine that she already contacted his parents to tell them that he would be in the hospital.
"Thank you Satsuki." He said while supporting himself to the nearest wall. Today was just too much for him to handle. He then hung up and went back to the room where Kuroko was close to passing out.
"Tetsu, you need to go home. Your grandmother must be worried sick." Aomine commented and pried Kuroko's hands from Kagami's arm.
"I do not want to leave him, Aomine-kun." He whispered.
"I'll take good care of him, Tetsu." He replied and Kuroko nodded slowly.
"We will come back tomorrow as soon as we can, Aomine-kun." And left Aomine alone with Kagami.
He sat where Kuroko had sat and took Kagami's cold hand. He tried to melt it with his own but then realized that his hands were equally as cold. He sighed and tried to produce warmth by rubbing his two hands but with no luck.
He reluctantly looked at Kagami's face and the whole incident popped again once more. The night ended with Aomine crying himself to sleep while still holding Kagami's lifeless hand.
Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months. The first few days were horrible for both him and the nurses because he was never willing to move from his spot when the nurses told him he had to step away so they could check up on him. Most of the time, it ended with the burliest doctors to pry him away from the bed and chuck him out the door, ordering him to stay there until they were done with the check up.
He hadn't eaten or slept for those few days as well and it had gotten so bad that he looked like a complete skeleton when Momoi could finally go to hospital to check up on both Kagami and Aomine. She had screamed and then had cried as she begged her childhood friend to eat at least something. He had denied multiple times that she had no choice but to call Kuroko and coax him to eat. Aomine ended up being forced to eat when Kuroko punched him in the gut to make him open his mouth and stuff it with food. He had to admit, it was good to have something in system again but then he would see Kagami's sleeping face and all the energy he had once gained would disappear.
His parents were worried sick and it didn't take them long to visit him at the hospital and plead that he come back home. It took hours of persuading before Seirin decided to interfere and tell him to go back home; that they would take care of him until he came back the next day.
It must have been 5 months until the day came; Aomine's darkest moment.
He was in Kagami's room with a bag full of hamburgers from Maji's and he was talking to him in a soothing tone.
"I honestly don't know how you can finish all of this. It's like you have a chasm instead of stomach. When you wake up, you can eat all of this, you know? I'll even buy the whole fucking thing for you without even a complaint, so hurry up and wake up Bakagami." He said but there was no response. Aomine sighed and proceeded to unwrap a burger when he heard a knock at the door. He turned around and saw the little girl who had been brave enough to confront him when the whole thing had happened.
"Onni-chan, can I come in?" She asked modestly and he nodded, confused as to how she could find him, much less remember him. She walked up to him and took the seat beside him. She looked at Kagami's marred face and frowned.
"What's wrong with him, onni-chan? He's still sleeping but it's been five months now. Can a person sleep for that much time?" She asked innocently and Aomine gave a small smile, which would have been shocking for people close to him since he hadn't smiled since Kagami's stunt.
"He's in a coma." He said and recognition lit the girl's face.
"I know that word. What happened to him?" She asked and Aomine looked away from her painfully.
"He had an accident." He said with strain in his voice and while the girl looked like she wanted to ask more, she also knew her limits and stayed there quietly.
It was a comfortable silence with only their breathes and the gradual beeping of the machine that signified Kagami's beating heart.
"What are you doing here anyways?" Aomine asked the little girl while she hummed.
"My mummy's sick so I come here everyday to see her."
"Can I ask what's wrong with your mom?" He asked cautiously but she looked she didn't really worry that much.
"She has the in-in-influinzia." She struggled to say and he smiled once more.
"You mean the influenza?" He asked and she nodded eagerly.
"It was getting really bad but they found something to help her so she's getting better now." She stated proudly and he couldn't help but ruffle her head. He realized how glad he was to have this innocent little girl be with him.
And then he noticed it. The ear-splitting beep that did not bother to skip a beat seemed to freeze him for a few seconds.
He quickly checked the machine and in horror, he found that there was only a horizontal line on the screen.
"No!" He yelled, terrified, and ran over to the machine. It had to be broken, that was the only explanation for the monotone beep. That had to be it. Unless...
"Someone help! The machine! It’s not beeping like it’s supposed to!" The little girl yelled to the top of her lungs while Aomine just ran over to Kagami and laid his head onto his chest. There was nothing.
"No! Don't you dare do this to me, Bakagami. Don't you fucking dare!" He cried as he got ready to start CPR but he was stopped at the last second when the doctors barged in and gripped his hands.
"Don't touch him or you'll make it worse!" The nurse said while the doctors started to take out foreign material.
"Get them out of here!" The doctor ordered and while it took one nurse to get the little girl out, it was a lot harder for them to get Aomine out.
"No, I have to be with him! Don't you fucking dare kick me out! I need to be with him!" He yelled as he struggled to get out of the grips of the nurses. One doctor who had come in with the others grabbed ahold of Aomine's shoulders and locked him in place.
"No!" He begged but the doctor wouldn't comply. He was pushed out and the door to Kagami's room was then locked.
The little girl was trembling in fear but Aomine had no time to process what was happening. The only thing he could do was wait until the doors opened.
"You should go back to your mom now." He said hoarsely and the girl was unwilling. She was a stubborn one, Aomine found, and shrugged tiredly before sitting on the bench and wait for the doors to unlock.
And no sooner had he sat down did the doors opened. He jumped to his feet, as well did the little girl, and waited for the news. The doctor who had ordered them out looked at them once before dropping his gaze.
"I'm sorry but we couldn't save him."
"Onni-chan, what does he mean?"
"We are so, so sorry."
Before Aomine knew it, he had already pushed the doctor out of the way and made his way to the bed. The machine still let out that vulgar sound. The nurses and other doctors made a pathway to him and just looked him with pitiful eyes.
He then saw Kagami. And his face still looked as ethereal as ever. His legs gave out on him and soon enough, he was gripping Kagami's arm hard with tears threatening to fall. He felt a pat on the shoulder and turn slightly to see the little girl. She also had tears in her eyes.
"Onni-chan..." She hiccuped and hugged his neck. He buried his head in her hair and his tears finally found a way out of his eyes.
"Why?" He screamed and everything turned dark for Aomine Daiki as he could no longer feel the beating heart of his savior and angel, Kagami Taiga.
“Daiki, can you please open up? Please? We can talk this out together. Just please open the door and we can talk about this. Daiki?” His parents’ voices were muffled out and the only thing Aomine could hear was the flat echo that the banging had produced.
Just like that fucking machine that just had to break apart.
Aomine snuggled closer to his bedsheets and took a deep breath. It would be alright. The doctor was playing with him since he had been a hindrance in the hospital for months. He just wanted to play a small prank on him. I mean, if someone were to be as stubborn as Aomine was when he refused to leave the room, of course they would try to get him back. It was a normal human reaction, to get back at someone.
Aomine curled up into a ball as he could finally hear the banging at the door instead of the echoes. It sounded vaguely like the beeps that had signalized Kagami’s heartbeat. He pushed his pillow closer to his ears to stop the incessant noise.
So, the doctor played a horrible prank on him and now he was paying the price for it. Everybody around him was now worried sick and for what? It wasn't like Kagami had actually died or anything. The machine was just defective and had just taken the moment to scare Aomine. Kagami’s heart was still beating; he just couldn’t feel it at that time because his hands were too cold to feel it. It was just that. His heart did not actually stop.
And when the doctor had told him he couldn’t do anything to save him; what a load of bullshit. He didn’t even have to do anything because Kagami was doing just fine.
He was just playing with him; it was just a prank.
It was a hell of a gag, Aomine had to admit. Especially when he had seen the doctor’s lifeless eyes and the little girl’s terrified ones. And it had gotten even worse of an antic when one of the nurses put the white sheet over Kagami. Why would she do that? He was still alive. People only did that when the person had died. But Kagami hadn’t died. He hadn’t. Right?
“Dai-chan, Tetsu-kun is here. Can you please open the door so we can talk? Dai-chan?” Momoi’s voice ran throughout the room and the banging stopped instantly, leaving only the echo. Just like that fucking machine. He shook his head to himself.
The machine had just broken; nothing else.
“Aomine-kun?” The whisper coming from Kuroko could still reach Aomine’s ears, which was an impossibility since he had both his bed sheets and pillows to cover them.
“I know that you will not open the door so I will only say this and hope you will listen. The funeral has been decided to be two weeks from now. It will take place close to Seirin school and I am sure you know where it is. If you do not, then Momoi-san will show you. It will start at 9am. There will be people saying their eulogies, including me, Himuro-kun, and Alex-san. You will also participate. Please write the eulogy, Aomine-kun. Kagami-kun would have wanted that.” Kuroko said and then it was quiet except for the fading tapping of feet.
‘Kagami-kun would have wanted that.’ But Kagami was still alive.
The funeral was everything that Aomine had imagined; bleak, dark, and not an experience to witness at such a young age but here he was, at a funeral, with his childhood friend trying to find their seats. The weather was cold and wind started to pick up as the trees surrounding the graveyard started to sway gradually. The flowers, white lilies that were styled as hearts, somewhat brightened the scene but everyone knew what the flowers really meant; Kagami’s soul was now with the departed.
Aomine looked around and saw various people join them at the seats and he saw that Seirin had arrived as well. Kuroko spotted Aomine immediately and for an unknown reason, he could spot Kuroko just as easily. Was it because of his attire that did not match his extraordinary hair color, or was it because of his face that contained pain and despair? He was sure that it was the latter.
Kuroko moved away from Seirin, who in turn, let him go, and he sat next to Aomine.
“You came.” He said and Aomine just nodded. “Did you prepare your eulogy?” Aomine gave him no answer. Instead, he directed his attention to a person who had entered and was now standing on the pedestal.
“Today we are gathered to commend Kagami Taiga to the mercy of God.” The priest started to say before moving on to saying prayers of entrusting and commending. Aomine heard nothing of it and just glared at the coffin that was behind him.
How dare he?
Many people around him had already started weeping in sorrow and others, much like him and Kuroko, just stared impassively, as if they had no emotion at all. But that was complete lie. Aomine was angry.
“Now, we will hear a few eulogies from his most trusted friends. Will one Himuro Tatsuya come up?” The priest asked and the person in front of Aomine stood up. He remembered Himuro to be the ‘brother’ of Kagami, who had first shown Kagami the world of basketball.
“My name is Himuro Tatsuya and Taiga was my brother from everything but blood. He… was the first person whom I felt greatly connected to and… To see him in a place like this…” Himuro started to choke and Aomine could see his poker face slowly dissipating.
“We first met when Taiga had just moved and had no one to play with. I was close by, playing basketball and we needed another person or else it would have been unbalanced. It was glaringly obvious that he was Japanese and in struggle to speak in English so I helped him not only make friends and speak English, but to also spark his love for basketball.” Himuro stopped and gazed at the scenery behind the crowd, as if reminiscing those days.
“I truly hope that even in the afterlife, he is still playing basketball and still smiling when he finds an opponent worthy enough. His time was short but our memories are infinite. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.” He looked like he wanted to say more but chickened out for the fear of crying in front of the horde of grievers and so, he said a simple thank you and left the podium.
Next came a blonde woman who looked foreign and her eyes were red and puffy.
“I’m Alexandra Garcia and I’m, I mean, was, Taiga’s mentor.” She started and already tears started to come out as she corrected herself. “He was more than a student to me; he was like a son. He was the person who taught me Japanese and surprised me in so many ways. He entered the almost impossible zone, he perfected all the techniques that only NBA players could sparsely do and most importantly, he taught me that anyone with great passion can achieve anything. I…” She trailed off and then she burst in tears, unable to say more of her eulogy. “I’m sorry, I can’t say more.” She choked out and left the stage.
Kuroko stood up next and walked up stiffly. Aomine could see in his stoic eyes that he was uncomfortable being the center of attention, especially when people were whispering that they couldn’t see him when he walked up. But he also had eyes of determination, as if saying that he would finish his eulogy no matter what.
“My name is Kuroko Tetsuya and I am and always will be Kagami-kun’s best friend. It started out when i wanted to beat the Generation of Miracles with my basketball. Turns out, Kagami-kun just wanted strong opponents. He taught me that life is full of challenges and one without any is just plain boring. He surprised me in so many ways, not including his endless pit of a stomach and cooking skills that are unheard of. For one, he never gave up even when the opponent kept crushing him and knocking him down. He always stood up and would always find methods to keep pushing forward. Even when he had that accident, he was still strong for us and himself.” Kuroko took a breath, his face contorting to pain as he clutched his heart. Aomine, for a moment, just stared, wondering what Kuroko had just meant by ‘accident’. He surely wasn’t talking about some other accident, was he?
“He was my light and I was his shadow, supporting him from behind. My duty was to make him shine but to remind him that darkness always followed him, whether for the good or the bad. He shed light to everything we had done and to that, we are eternally grateful.
“It makes me grieve with pain that I was never able to say this while he was alive and now, I regret that my time was too late. Kagami-kun? Are you listening?” Kuroko asked as he tilted his head upwards. “You were more than a light to me. You were my hope and my anchor to this world. You were my brother and to my dying breath, whenever people come up to me and ask if I know one Kagami Taiga, I will tell them that you were the guardian angel to everyone, especially to Seirin, the Generation of Miracles, and me. Thank you.” He finished, bowed, and left.
Finally, it was Aomine’s turn.
He took a deep breath before standing up slowly. He fidgeted with the rumpled paper and walked hesitantly to the dais.
“My name is Aomine Daiki and I was…” He hesitated. He wrote ‘friend’ in the paper but now that he was saying this out loud, the word ‘friend’ just didn’t fit. What were they? It angered him even more that Kagami wasn’t here to confirm what they were.
“I was his basketball opponent. I knew him through Satsuki and the first time we met, it was after the Inter-high match with Seirin VS Shuutoku. He was injured in the leg and like the asshole I was, I still challenged him to a one-on-one. Needless to say, I crushed him.
“I thought the only who could beat me was myself. There was no opponent who could match up with me and I was at the point where basketball, the one thing I truly loved, became tedious and absolutely monotonous. Then that Bakagami had to come into my life and change everything for me.” He stopped and he could feel his hands shaking from ire. The rest of the words written on the paper was no longer visible as he crumbled it up and threw it to the ground.
“You fucking suck, you know that? You fucking suck!” He yelled and he could feel people gasping. But he didn’t have a care in the world. “You just had to get yourself killed. You just had to jump off from my fucking school and have the fucking nerve to do in front of me. Do you understand how selfish you are right now, Bakagami? You’re a selfish bastard who can’t even take responsibility anymore. You know what you’re doing to me right now? I can’t even play basketball normally without fucking seeing your goddamn face. I can’t focus on anything anymore and it’s all your fucking fault.
“I hate you for doing this. I hate you for leaving me, leaving fucking everybody behind. What’s Seirin going to do now? What’s Tetsu going to do now? It’s all your fault, you bastard. I hate you so much. You fucking bastard!” Aomine could have said more but he was suddenly dragged out by Kuroko and Momoi. He struggled against their grips but they all knew that he was secretly grateful to get carried away from the microphone. Things would have just gotten worse if he had stayed.
The people were shocked beyond comparison with Aomine’s so-called eulogy but the funeral had to keep going. People could only grieve for so long.
The priest quickly moved on with the ceremony and finally, the coffin was lowered.
"We therefore commit the body of Kagami Taiga to the ground; earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; in the sure and certain hope of the Resurrection to eternal life."
The funeral was then ended.
Aomine did not regret his decision to say his emotions on the podium, he didn't care at all. That is, he hadn't had a care in the world until a fist came in contact with Aomine's jawline. He flew back, more in shock than in pain and when he got over the initial shock, he focused his eyes on the attacker.
"You fucker. How dare you?" The person growled and Aomine couldn't help but connect his tone of voice with Kagami's. This person, he was so much like him.
"Kagami-san, please don't do this." Kuroko tried to say and Aomine's eyes widened. The red hair, those crimson eyes, and that animal like aura...
"Kagami's dad?" Aomine whispered and the father must have heard him because he glared at him intensely.
"How dare you fucking do this to my son? My only fucking son. He's dead because of you, you know that? It's all your fucking fault and you have audacity to fucking say that it's his? How horrible a person are you?" He spat out and Aomine couldn't meet his eyes. He just looked so much like Kagami, even acted like him. Why?
"I don't fucking regret saying those words. That bastard deserved it." He replied with tired anger and before he knew it, he felt hands choking the air out of him. His eyes were unfocusing quickly but he could feel the intense hatred the father was giving out.
"You fucking asshole! How dare you? You fucking killed him!" The father yelled with immense anger and anguish but Aomine did not fight back because he was almost losing consciousness.
He died because of him?
Then, after what seemed like forever, the hands were dislodged from his neck and Aomine took deep breaths to gain the oxygen he had lost. He then refocused his eyes and saw that Seirin were grabbing ahold of Kagami's father.
"Let go of me! I need to fucking kill him! He did this to my son! He did this! All of this! Let me go!" The father yelled as he struggled greatly to rip away from the basketball players but they wouldn’t budge.
In the end, the father had to be dragged away from the funeral to not cause further harm. He was still screaming bloody murder while he was taken away, mostly consisting of various wails that it was all Aomine’s fault.
“That fucking e-mail should have never been sent. goddamn it! All your fucking fault! Don’t you dare drag me away from my own son’s funeral, bastards! You could have saved him Aomine! You could have fucking saved him!” And his voice could no longer be heard.
The funeral was now dead quiet and the only noise were the fragmented gasps of Aomine Daiki as he tried to control the swirling darkness that was close to consuming him.
Aomine found himself inside his covers for the umpteenth time in the days after the funeral. His parents had given up on trying to get him to open up because there was no more banging except for when they made food and laid it in front of the door so that Aomine wouldn’t starve to death.
The phone calls also stopped, which were mostly from Momoi, and even the school gave up on trying to make him go to school. Either they knew what it was like to lose someone close to them or they just didn’t care enough about him to try harder. Either way, Aomine was somewhat grateful for the silence. It gave him time to think.
What could he have done to save Kagami? For one, he could have done better at actually trying to stop him from jumping. Instead, what did he do? He stared like the fucking idiot he was and did not even move a muscle. The only excuse being that Kagami’s words had been too shocking for him to process.
“I can’t see a world where we can no longer play basketball together.” Kagami had said before taking another step back. Aomine had still been in the exact same spot, right in front of the roof door, just watching him with fearful eyes. Just what had Kagami been thinking? Why did he say that they couldn’t play basketball together?
“It’s dark there, so dark that my light can’t penetrate through it. I don’t like that, Aomine. I don’t like being a place so dark.” Another statement before taking one more step closer to his death.
If he had been faster, if he had been able to move like he did while playing basketball, if he had been able to process what Kagami was planning to do, he could have… He could have…
“I love you.” His final words before stepping back and plummeting to his demise.
He felt like drowning himself. Kagami didn’t like to be in a place so dark? Well look at Aomine now; being in the exact same place where Kagami did not want to be. And for what? Just what had he done so wrong to deserve this? What did he fucking do to make the world push him to the brink?
He choked on the air that was somehow grasping his neck, just like Kagami’s father had done at the funeral. He couldn’t take it anymore. He had to do something. He had to.
His hand grasped his phone and immediately dialed a number that he promised himself never to dial, in fear of losing his life. But what did it matter now? He already lost one when Kagami’s heart had stopped beating at the hospital; another wouldn’t make that much difference.
The phone was picked up on the second beep.
“Aomine?” A voice rang out and he could feel the eerie emperor like aura with just that one word.
“Akashi, I can’t take it anymore. You can do it, I know you can. Bring him back. Please bring him back.” Aomine gasped out as he failed trying to make his voice level.
“Aomine, I don’t -”
“Please. I know you can do it. You’re absolute, right? You said so yourself. You can do this. You can bring him back. I’ll do anything, anything at all.”
“Aomine, just wait a second -”
“I’ll even fucking sell my soul to you and become your fucking slave for all eternity. Just please bring Kagami back. I can’t take this anymore. I can’t. Akashi, please, I beg you, please. Just bring him back…” His voice cracked severely and he couldn’t no longer even hear his voice as it turned into a reticent whisper.
“Aomine, are you calm?” Akashi said after a moment’s silence, as if he was waiting for Aomine to be done.
“I don’t know.” He replied, too drained to even talk anymore.
“Aomine, you have to realize that even I don’t have the power to bring someone back from the dead. You do realize that, right?” Akashi sounded worried and Aomine couldn’t blame him. He was practically asking for the impossible and thinking that it would actually happen if he begged enough. Of course people would be worried.
“I know.” His voice was hoarse and he tried to swallow a lump that seemed to be stuck in his throat.
“Aomine, I know this is hard for you, it is hard for everyone, even me. But the only thing left to do is to accept that he has passed on and keep moving forward. That is the only advice I can give.” Akashi concluded and Aomine suddenly couldn’t breathe again.
“Aomine? Are you there? Aomine?”
If had been kinder to Kagami, had had more self restraint on his power, had not missed his chance to show him how much Kagami had actually meant to him, this would have never happened.
If he had… If he had just been the person he had once been in middle school, he would have never met Kagami and this would have never happened.
If he had never met Kagami… He would still have been the asshole he had been during his third year of middle school. If he had never met Kagami, he would have never understood what it was like to have someone be with you at your darkest times
“Aomine?” Akashi’s voice rang out and Aomine put his phone back to his ear.
“Yeah, I’m fine. I’m fine. Really.”
“Are you sure?”
“Aomine, don’t lie to yourself. It’ll only make it worse.” Akashi said.
“How do you know I’m lying?”
“Because I know everything about this. You’re in the third stage of grief, Aomine. Look, I’ll send you some helpful links that will get you through the stages, ok? Just check your email.” He finished before hanging up. Aomine sighed and was about to snuggle up with his covers once more when his phone vibrating. A message from Akashi.
‘Aomine, check your email.’ The message read and Aomine sighed. He should have known that Akashi would know that he would not check his mailbox.
‘Fine.’ Aomine replied before moving out of the bed and turning on his computer. He opened his mail and saw that Akashi had sent him more than enough. He didn’t want to click any of them, much less read the context, so he just decided to delete all of them. Sure, Akashi would figure it out soon and Aomine would pay the price but life was short anyways.
He was about to log off when he saw that there were two new emails. One from an unknown person and one from Kuroko. Cautiously, he opened Kuroko’s first.
‘Please do not read the unknown mail. It will only hurt you more.’
Well now he was even more curious than ever. He pondered on whether to click the unknown mail or not and finally, his curiosity gave out on him. He clicked it and saw that it was a forwarded mail. The only comment being, ‘you deserve to read this.’ Aomine’s eyes widened in shock as he scrolled down. It was an email from Kagami and it was directed to his father. So this was the unknown person? It was Kagami’s father? How had he gotten his email? He discarded the notion immediately. There were more important issues to deal with.
Judging by the time, the email that Kagami had written to his father was sent exactly one day before the incident. Aomine started reading immediately.
‘It must be really weird getting an email from me, especially since we have phones and it’s the modern times and everything but I know that it would just sound horribly wrong if I talked to you about this on the phone.
I don’t know what to do with my life anymore. I’m lost. I’m so lost. Ever since that accident, I haven’t been able to do anything I loved. It’s like I’ve become a hindrance to my team and Kuroko. I don’t like that. I’m the ace; I’m supposed to lead everyone to victory. Now I just think I’m pulling them down. I don’t know what to do. I just… Don’t understand anything at all anymore. I need help but I don’t know who to turn to anymore.
I wanted to talk about this with Kuroko but then I feel like I’ve abandoned my shadow, something I would have never imagined doing. I wanted to talk to the captain or even the coach about this but then I would feel so weak and helpless. You named me Taiga for my natural animal instinct but now, I feel like an abandoned kitten.
But it’s not like I can’t not talk about this. I would gladly accept your aid to help me understand this horrible gut feeling but I know you’re too busy and we both know it wouldn’t feel the same since you’re in another country.
I’ve decided to talk this out with Aomine because I know that when he finds out about the accident, he’ll be affected most.
I don’t think I ever told you about Aomine before. That’s weird, since we practically meet each other every day for our daily basketball matches. Well, to be brief, he’s an utter douchebag who thinks of himself as all that.
He’s selfish, egotistical, annoying, and a complete idiot but when it comes to basketball, that dude can play. He might be even better than one of my American friends and that’s saying something.
He is one of the best people I have ever met and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. He is more than a worthy opponent; he is worthy enough to be so much more to me now. I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t met him. Thanks for making me go to Japan, dad. In a way, it’s your doing that I could experience all this with Aomine.
I’m going to talk to him tomorrow after school ends and I talked with Kuroko about meeting him. Since we’re both in Tokyo, I’ll be able to meet him and discuss this out. The thing is, I haven’t really told him about what had happened to me. I was just putting it off between us because I scared of what might happen to us afterwards. But it’s time to face reality. Kuroko agrees with me so that’s a plus, right?
I just really hope it doesn’t end up horribly, just like I’ve been dreaming it to be for some unknown reason. It’s really dark place, the dream I keep having. It’s close enough to be called a nightmare now. It’s too dark for me to stay in, really. Just thinking about it makes me want to… I’d rather not answer that.
Anyways, I know that you’re probably going to read this email tomorrow because I know how occupying your work is and everything but I just wanted you to know. I’m coping with it.
Trust me; I’m trying. I’m trying really hard not to think about that dark place and I’ll admit it, it’s a lot harder than I thought it would be. Maybe, once I talk it out with Aomine, I can get rid of the darkness and join the light again. Maybe, just maybe, I can join my light with his.
By the time his parents were able to unlock the door with a bobby pin because their son’s scream had suddenly pierced the muted home, Aomine had already smashed his head onto the table, leaving him bleeding and unconscious.
"Dai-chan, are you ready for school yet?" Momoi asked and Aomine quietly opened the door to let Momoi in. Momoi, in turn, watched Aomine worriedly as he grabbed his bag and threw it over his shoulder. They made eye contact once before Aomine turned his head the other way and headed for the stairs. Momoi was left upstairs, shocked, before hurriedly joining him.
She saw his hollow eyes grow even deeper into oblivion. She was scared now.
His parents were there to greet him but he said no answer as he just opened the door and headed out, Momoi trailing behind him. Before she could leave, his mother grabbed her arm and gave her a questioning look.
"How is he?" She asked as she rubbed her eyes tiredly. She obviously hadn't been getting any sleep, seeing as the dark circles got worse.
“He needs help.” Momoi replied before hurrying off to her friend. His parents looked at each other, concerned for the mental health of their son.
“Dai-chan, wait up!” She called out but Aomine kept walking without listening to her. The only thing in his mind was that goddamn e-mail.
He admitted it; Kagami was now dead and he would never get to see him ever again. He knew that; he understood that it happened and now he had to move forward. But what was the point in moving forward when the past was just dragging you down?
Though he would never admit it out loud, Kagami was his savior. If it weren’t for him and his team, he would have never been able to love basketball again. He had freed him countless times and always made sure that he would never go back to his pit of selfishness again by always playing one-on-one with him. It was fun; no matter how many times Kagami fell down, he would always get back up and show Aomine that he would never give up; something that Aomine had hated back in middle school.
And now, he didn’t know what to think of anymore. Kagami had given up in the end; he had given up life in front of Aomine. His protector could not be protected. So what was the point of living now?
They entered school and Aomine realized just how little had changed. The pool of blood that had been smeared on the concrete was cleaned and even looked brand new. The students were all minding their business and when he entered the gym, he saw that his basketball teammates were still practicing as always. He narrowed his eyes as some of them were even smiling.
The bell rang and Momoi dragged Aomine to his first class and while the teacher looked surprised to Aomine again, he said nothing and turned towards the board to start the next topic of the day. His words were all jumbled to Aomine’s ears and he gave up trying. Just like Kagami had done.
Exactly why did he need to go to school? Nothing was going to change the fact that Kagami was dead. What did it matter if he got good grades? He wouldn’t be able to bring Kagami back; Akashi was doing exactly that and even he had admitted that he had no power against the cycle of life and death.
Everything was useless. Aomine didn’t know why anyone bothered anymore.
Time flew by immediately and Momoi practically lugged him to the gym where practice was going to start. Wakamatsu looked like he was about to explode when he saw Aomine and was so close to blowing his top off when he made eye contact with him. He rapidly looked away and just mumbled that he should start practicing.
What was point anyways? He was sure that no one could beat him now. Seirin had no chance against him now since his ace was gone. Sure, Kuroko could make a difference but ever since he used his misdirection overflow, he would be completely fruitless. The only person who had a chance at defeating him was Akashi but he wouldn’t feel the thrill of losing like he had when he lost to Kagami.
It would different. Everything would be different.
Wakamatsu suddenly passed the ball to Aomine and he caught it with ease.
“Hurry up and start warming up Aomine.” He said before going to a second string and showing him the proper stance to defend. Aomine sighed before throwing the ball carelessly and hearing the facile swish of the net. The third string looked at him with awe while the first string members looked like they were already used to it.
Why did anything matter anymore?
Wakamatsu sent him another ball but this time, he just dropped it to the floor, the bouncing echos filling the now silent gym. Wakamatsu glared at him with intense hatred but Aomine just did not care anymore.
Why did anyone even bother anymore?
“Aomine-kun? Are you ok?” Kuroko asked on the phone worriedly even though he still had his stoic voice.
“Yeah, I’m fine. I just… Wanted to meet up with you, like the good old days.” Aomine tried to sound happy but he could only say the words tiredly.
“Aomine-kun, is something the matter?” There was a pause before Kuroko talked once more. “Should we meet now?” He then asked.
“Yeah, now would be good.” Aomine answered, already putting on his jacket as it was already winter, a year since Kagami had jumped off the roof.
“Where should we meet?”
“Wouldn’t that place be too noisy?”
“I want to go to that place.” There was another pause before he heard Kuroko sighing. He knew why he wanted to go to Maji’s; nothing could escape Kuroko.
“I will meet you there.” And the call was ended. Aomine unlocked his room and headed for the door. His mother was waiting for him at the door.
“Daiki, where are you going?” She asked, concern laced with her words.
“I’m meeting someone.” He answered gruffly and his mother looked visibly relieved.
“Who are you meeting? Are you going to play basketball again?” She asked hopefully as it had been a long time since he left the house to meet friends, much less go out and play basketball again.
“Tetsu. And no, mom, I’m not going out to play basketball. We’re just going to Maji’s.” Aomine answered annoyedly at the mention of basketball.
“Oh, ok.” She said uncertainly before letting him go out the house. His mother sighed once Aomine was no longer in view. Just when was he going to touch another basketball again?
“Aomine-kun, it is nice to see you again.” Kuroko said once they met. Aomine nodded as they took their seats. “Would you like anything to eat? I will go and order.”
Aomine snorted at the remark. “You think the people working here will notice you? I’ll go. What do you want?”
“They will notice me if I put my coat over my head.” Kuroko deadpanned. “But if you insist, I would like a vanilla milkshake.” Aomine nodded, already expecting the answer and a few minutes later, he came back with two hamburgers, one for each, a cola for him and a milkshake for Kuroko. Aomine handed one of the hamburgers to Kuroko and he looked at it skeptically.
“I did not ask for a hamburger, Aomine-kun.”
“Have it. You’re already skinny as it is. And I know you’ve been eating less.” The reason as to why he was eating less was unmentioned as they both knew the reason.
There was an awkward silence as they both started to eat. Aomine didn’t know how to start the conversation. Kuroko was only here because he had called him but now that he did, he just didn’t know what to do now.
Luckily for him, Kuroko broke the silence.
“Aomine-kun, why did you call me out here?” He asked bluntly and Aomine couldn’t look him in the eye.
“I read the email.” He said and Kuroko gave a sigh.
“I know. I had a feeling that you did.”
“How did that bastard even know my email?” Aomine asked angrily.
“I do not know. All I know is he sent me the same thing and taunted that he sent one to you too, knowing that it would hurt you. I… Was completely heart-broken when I read Kagami-kun’s email. I did not know that he was so lost. The accident must have done more than just physical damage.” Kuroko murmured and Aomine’s eyes widened. There it was again; the accident that everyone knew about except him.
“Tetsu, what do you mean ‘accident’?” He asked and Kuroko looked visibly surprised.
“Do you not know, Aomine-kun? I thought Kagami-kun had told you when he went to your sch-” Kuroko stopped abruptly and his eyes widened a fraction. What was it that made Kuroko stop?
“Aomine-kun, what were you doing when Kagami-kun went to visit you?” He asked suddenly and Aomine furrowed his eyebrows.
“Please tell me. What were you doing?” Aomine thought for a moment and then answered.
“I was in practice when Sakurai informed that Kagami was looking for me before he abruptly left. And when I went to look for him, he was… On the roof.” He said while wincing, the memory invading his mind.
“Kagami-kun…” Kuroko put his head onto his hands and started shaking it slowly. Aomine couldn’t take it anymore. Just why was Kuroko doing this? Just what did he know about Kagami that he didn’t know about?
“What happened? What are you not telling me?” Aomine growled and gripped Kuroko’s wrists. “I want to know. I need to know. What did Kagami do? What did I do?” Kuroko looked at him guardedly and then turned away from his gaze.
“Aomine-kun, a week before Kagami-kun went to see you, he was in an accident. He hadn’t been looking where he was going and the driver had been too inebriated to see what was happening. His legs were crushed by the wheels when the driver accidentally rode across the pavement. The doctors did everything they could but they couldn’t do much. They told him that they would be lucky if he ran, much less play basketball.” Kuroko glanced at him and paused.
“Aomine-kun, are you ok?” He asked but Aomine was in a blind rage.
“Who’s the fucker who did that? Where is he?”
“I’m going to fucking kill him! How the fuck does he drive across the pavement? How the fuck does he not notice that there was a fucking person?” Aomine yelled in such furor that the people all glanced their way.
“Aomine-kun, please calm down.” Kuroko tried to plead but it clearly wasn’t working.
“Calm down? How can I fucking calm down? That fucker, I’m going to kill him!”
“Aomine-kun!” Kuroko suddenly yelled and Aomine jumped, shocked to see Kuroko raise his voice. He was normally a very quiet person so if he shouted like he did at the moment, it meant trouble.
“I’m sorry, Tetsu.” Aomine said quietly and sat down. Kuroko was rubbing his forehead.
“It is fine, Aomine-kun. I know how you feel. If you must know, the person was caught and was arrested. It was in the newspaper but the article was unimportant, compared to the others, which is probably why you never read it.”
“But I don’t understand. Why would he fucking kill himself because of that? We could have figured it out together; I could have helped him!” He yelled to Kuroko and his hands started shaking, the incident occupying his mind. Kuroko just waited silently but to those who knew him well, they could have easily seen his own hands quavering.
“Aomine-kun,” Kuroko whispered as Aomine looked at Kuroko with a devastated look, “Kagami-kun wanted nothing more but to give your love for basketball back.”
“But he did do that! He beat us! He beat me!” He cried out and put his head onto his hands, not bearing to think about it more. Kuroko moved towards Aomine and patted him soothingly on his back.
“Kagami-kun once told me that love is unpredictable; that it can disappear as easily as it can develop. He must have thought that if he didn’t have one-on-one’s with you, you would lose your love for basketball again.”
“But he’s an idiot! Why would he think that? I always loved basketball; he should have known that!” Aomine bemoaned, still hiding his face.
“And you should have also known that he loved basketball as well. Aomine-kun, he loved you so much. The fact that you were in practice while he was disabled must have taken a toll on him. He must have connected his two most loved things together and completely fall apart.
“Aomine-kun, when he lost the ability to play basketball, it meant that he also lost the ability to play basketball with you. He lost the most important things in his life in such a short amount of time. He just didn’t know what to do anymore.” Kuroko whispered and Aomine closed his eyes to keep his tears from escaping. A silence enveloped them before Aomine broke it.
“Thank you, Tetsu, for telling me about this.” Aomine said gruffly but still buried his face in his hands.
“Aomine-kun, please do not think that this is your fault, as Kagami-san thinks it to be. You could have never known.”
“I could have at least tried to stop him when he -”
“You are not a super being, Aomine-kun. And do not drown yourself in guilt. Anyone in your position would have acted like you; I would have done the same. So please, do not beat yourself up. Please, accept the fact that Kagami-kun is no longer with us.”
“I’m guessing you accepted it?” Aomine asked and lifted his head slowly to see Kuroko nodding his head hesitantly.
“It was not easy to do so. I was very lost during that time, though. I could not even hold a basketball without seeing Kagami-kun. I could not concentrate at all; in fact, Seirin couldn’t practice for many months. We were too damaged to do anything at all.”
“How? How did you cope with it then?”
“I want to say that I got over it overnight but no, it was much more painful than that. I do not know how to explain it but I realized one day that holding onto such feelings were meaningless. There was nothing left to do but to let go.
“We are not emotionless humans, Aomine-kun. We can never forget such influential people as Kagami-kun but to hold onto feelings such as anger and guilt will not make it better. It is better to accept that though he is not with us, he will always be watching over us with that idiot smile of his.” Kuroko finished and grabbed ahold of his milkshake.
“I must go, Aomine-kun. The coach made a schedule for the practices we will be having until the next Inter High.” He then bowed and left Aomine to his thoughts.
All he needed to do was let go.
That night, he finally met his eyes with those of Kagami’s. He was glowing white and there were spread out wings that came from his back. They were breathtakingly celestial and beautiful. He still had that smile from when they had their last basketball match together and Aomine felt like running towards him and hugging him with immense force. However, he stayed put in his place. If he ran towards him now, he would never let go.
“I’m going to let go.” He stated and swallowed a lump that was forming inside his throat. “I’m going to turn around and I’m not going turn back, understand?” He asked and stared into his crimson eyes. Kagami was still smiling at him but it somehow looked more caring.
“I’m not going to forget you, you know? I’m never going to forget you. Your wish for my loving basketball forever? I’m going to make it true. I’m never letting go of basketball, just like how I’m never going to let go of the memories that we made together. I…” He trailed off and looked away, as he knew he was going to cry again if he didn’t leave now. But he had to say it; he needed to. He looked back at Kagami and smiled, a few droplets running down his face.
“I love you, Bakagami.” He declared strongly and with one final look, he turned around and started walking away.
He was finally letting go.
Kagami stared at Aomine’s retreating form and once it was no longer visible, Kagami finally let his own tears fall down, his smile even bigger than before.
“I love you, too, Ahomine.”
‘Hey Tetsu, want to meet at the basketball court? Kise and Midorima is going to be there, too.’ - Aomine Daiki
‘I will be on my way immediately.’ - Kuroko Tetsuya
“Hey Kagami? You think I can still beat them on a one-on-three?” Aomine Daiki asked as he tilted his head to look up to his savior; his angel. He was met with a smile and he smiled back. He was definitely going to win now.