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Longing

Chapter Text

7 of July. He wouldn’t deny it, he had been looking for towards this day. It seemed that everyone would finally leave him alone on that very day and he appreciated it. A day where no one would give him any strange looks at the items in his hand, a day where no one would make comments about his strange behaviour because they were all polite enough not to insult anyone on their birthday.

He didn’t really expect presents. It wasn’t like he was Mr. Popular or something and if he had to guess, he was probably Mr. Strange. Everyone in school did know him, know him as the tall green guy with a weird item in his hand or sometimes, the legendary shooting guard who had unlimitless range (although it was mostly the former and less of the latter). Therefore, he was surprised to find his table full of presents from his classmates (although he suspects the class chair had encouraged him to do so). However, what he wanted was something from the person he really, truly cared for. He would accept anything from Takao. Anything. Even if it wasn’t worth much he would gladly accept it and proudly display it wherever he could. That probably wouldn’t happen especially what happened 2 weeks ago. Takao wouldn’t even look him in the eyes anymore, what on earth was he thinking getting a present?

Takao had entered the class looking really sleepy and unspirited. There were dark circles beneath his eyes and the moment he sat down, he fell asleep at the table. Midorima reached out to tap Takao on the shoulder but Takao’s ‘friends’ beat him to it.

“Yo, Takao man, sleepy eh? I’ve got a new game, want to check it out?” Takao’s new buddy, Shizu, hung his hand around the point guard’s neck, casually dragging the hawkeye away from Midorima’s reach. “Oh yeah by the way, happy birthday Midorima. Let’s go, Takao.”

Midorima grimaced at that sentence. That, that was his line. His line for Takao and Shizu could not go around copying his lines! It was just as if Shizu had replaced him and that was simply outrageous, something he could never believe. He was irreplaceable, Takao had said so himself. This was all messed up and stupid.

X-X-X

Takao hummed a tune to himself as he settled behind a group of boys. He wasn’t really interested in whatever game Shizu had, he just didn’t want to be near Shin-chan. Especially today. Takao very well knew today was Shin-chan’s birthday and he didn’t really know what to feel. What happened two weeks ago still haunted him like a living dream but in truth, it WAS his fault that everything happened like that. Ever since then, Takao befriended a popular guy from his class who was from the soccer team and eventually became best buddies with him.

Being with Shizu had taken his mind off Shin-chan. Best of all, he no longer had to chart a 79 kg basketball player in a rickshaw that had been untouched for quite some time now. He didn’t have to follow any more of those weird orders, travel the whole of Japan to find a lucky item. Those servant days were over for him, he could finally have a free life.

But hey, sometimes he did miss playing servant for Shin-chan.

He should get something for Shin-chan, yet he couldn’t bring himself to do it, or find a perfect present for Shin-chan. He wasn’t going to lie, Shin-chan definitely did not look too happy when Shizu invited him over. Takao noticed everything about Shin-chan, even if he didn’t really try too. Recently, that murderous scowl had been on Shin-chan’s face 24/7, his partner never flashed a genuine smile or in fact, never talked anymore unless required to.

He really should make up with Shin-chan.

X-X-X

Midorima watched silently as Takao got up from his seat, bento in hand, and walked over to Shizu’s seat. He frowned and opened his own bento. In one of the compartments was quite a lot of Kimchi, something Midorima himself didn’t really like.

Oh.

Mother must have thought that…

Forget it, Takao isn’t eating with me anymore.

I guess I’ll just eat it then.

Takao was eyeing him, Midorima could tell, but he didn’t care anymore. Takao always looked at him when he was eating because Midorima’s bento always contained food Takao liked. Midorima could not blame his mother, she had yet to know about her son’s falling out with his best friend over a really stupid issue.

Midorima had promptly finished his lunch and was heading out to buy a drink when he bumped into his captain.

“Oh Midorima! Happy Birthday! I’ll pass you your present later during training, have a great day! I hope Takao gave you a present, even if something has clearly happened between the both of you. Feel free to talk to me okay? I don’t want you to suffer in silence.”

Indeed. It has been 2 weeks.

He really could not take the silence anymore.

X-X-X

Takao watched Shin-chan leave the classroom and stood up to excuse himself. He didn’t know what he was doing, his mind was in a mess, a part of him wanted to talk to Shin-chan but another part of him wanted to stay away from that player for the rest of his life. He watched as Shin-chan stopped in front of the vending machine and inserted a couple of coins before retrieving a can of Shiruko.

Of course, what else could he possibly expect from dear Shin-chan?

Shin-chan looked up and noticed him standing a few feet away. Takao panicked when Shin-chan’s gaze fell upon him, and he ran. He ran as fast as he could away from Shin-chan. Shin-chan’s emerald eyes no longer had that passion and fire. It was… cold and cold. Just cold. Just really cold like Shin-chan didn’t care anymore.

Midorima watched as Takao ran back into the classroom and slumped his shoulders. He really wanted to talk to Takao and break this silence but Takao just seemed to be avoiding him forever. Maybe he really should not have said anything to Takao that day.

X-X-X

Chapter Text

5 presents sat on his table when he returned to his classroom and Midorima stared blankly at them. He really didn’t expect those people to even remember his birthday, so much so that he feared it was a prank. The 5 presents were wrapped in 5 distinctive colours Midorima had grown used to seeing them all his life. The red one, needless to say was bigger than the rest and (even the wrapping paper and ribbon) certainly looked expensive; the yellow one stood out like a sore thumb; the blue one was nothing more than ordinary; the teal one was, thankfully, noticeable and certainly looked eye-catching while the purple one was pretty tall (although shorter than the red one).

“Really…”

He didn’t want to take his chances and decided to open the teal coloured one first. Out of the 5 of them, the phantom certainly was the most sensible and probably would not give him something ridiculous.

“Midorima-kun,

You have mentioned before that we simply do not get along well together and I would not deny that fact. Nevertheless, I felt it was only polite to send you a present since it’s your birthday. (Kagami-kun will send his later in the day.) I have recently learned of your falling out with Takao-kun and I must say, it’s a real pity. I do hope you have, or will receive a present from Takao-kun. Attached is a box of chocolate which I hope will cheer you up.

Regards,

Kuroko Tetsuya”

Look Takao, even Kuroko is saying that it’s a pity we’re like this now.

Please, stop avoiding me.

He already knew what was going to be in the purple present, likely snacks of sorts or worse, a cake that he was going to have to carry home. What he didn’t expect was a card since well, the sender wasn’t really one to be hardworking enough to even write a farewell card when their seniors graduated.

“Mido-chin,

I know you like Shiruko so I made you a Shiruko cake and I hope you will like it. Happy Birthday, Mido-chin and please be friends again with Takao. Enjoy the cake~

<3 Atsushi.”

Takao, I really meant what I said that day. Can we please talk?

The blue present was a really small one, not that Midorima expected something big from the person who didn’t really like him. He hesitated for a while and contemplated if he should open the present here, in school, in class, where everyone could probably see what was inside. Given the person’s personality… this was really a huge gamble.

“Midorima, I swear with my life nothing is perverted inside. Just open the damn thing already.”

Ok, that note at the side was really convincing.

He tore it open with caution, prepared to throw it away the moment he spotted something inappropriate. Thank goodness, and oh should he count his lucky stars, that person actually had some common sense to get something sensible, like this really nice pair of basketball shoes that he might even consider wearing. Scribbled on the box was a couple of words that made him frown in disappointment.

“Kiss Takao Already.”

Aho, it’s not as if I don’t want to.

The next one he opened was the bright yellow one that was certainly too cheerful for such a gloomy day. There was no doubt whatever the box contained was going to be something stupid, worthless, and something he would likely throw away in the bin. Unsurprisingly, it was a box of cards, although the cards had images of them. Ok, that’s worth keeping. Like the rest, a note was attached to the gift and Midorima wondered if this was all planned out.

“MIDORIMACCHI!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! I’M SO HAPPY FOR YOU!! Except maybe you should talk to Takaocchi! Please!! You look really sad!! Get along with Takaocchi soon!!

Love,

Kise”

Takao, we really need to talk or coach is going to scold us for missing so many passes and shots.

The last one. The one he didn’t really want to open because it looked huge and expensive. The last thing he wanted was the class crowding around him because a certain somebody decided to give him something that could be worth hundreds of thousands of money. Midorima realised he didn’t have much time left before lunch break ended and he had to leave for basketball practice so he finally gave in to the temptation. However this time, he decided to read the letter first.

“Dear Shintarou,

It’s a pleasure to wish you a happy birthday. I do hope you would have matured and grown this past year, now that you are a year older. How are you now? Is everything going well with Kazunari? If you were wondering, I got them all to write you a little note because I have noticed your relationship with Kazunari falling apart. I am not going to pry this time, however I trust that you will fix it. Be it lovers or just teammates, I strongly believe that you two should have developed some kind of partnership given the time you have been with each other. This is a partnership that I certainly hope will not be destroyed, just like Tetsuya and Kagami Taiga’s and Atsushi and Tatsuya’s. Please put in all you can to piece your relationship back together. Given today is your birthday, I sincerely do not wish to spend it alone or with your sister. If you really are unable to make it up with Kazunari today, you can give any one of us a phone call. I will be waiting.

Happy Birthday, Shintarou.

Yours sincerely,

Your former team captain, Akashi Seijuro

P.S. Please do not open the present in school. I am sure you would not enjoy the attention you might receive.”

Midorima took heed of Akashi’s final advice and stashed the present away, just as the bell rang. He grabbed his bags and left for the locker room, just seconds after Takao had left the classroom. He really, really, really wanted to talk to Takao today.

X-X-X

Chapter Text

Takao sat on the bench and placed his hands on his knees, supporting his chin as he muttered to himself. Today was Shin-chan’s birthday and he was probably the only one who had yet to give Shin-chan a present. There was however two main issues that he was currently facing, one, he couldn’t face Shin-chan, two, he couldn’t get near Shin-chan. He couldn’t even look his partner in the eye anymore. Everytime he did, he would remember that conversation that broke them apart.

Not like they were ever together to begin with.

Screw this. Screw this. Screw this. Screw this.

The door opened and in the doorway stood the person he least wanted to see. Why the hell was Shin-chan here so early?

Screw this. Screw this. Screw this. Screw this.

“Takao, can we talk…? Please...”

Screw this. Screw this. Screw this. Screw this.

He stood up and roughly pushed Shin-chan away, running as fast as he could to anywhere but here.

Screw this. Screw this. Screw this. Screw this.

Shin-chan was running after him, their footsteps resounding in the corridor.

Screw this. Screw this. Screw this. Screw this.

He quickened his pace, hoping Shin-chan.would never catch up with him. He was kidding himself because the next moment, Shin-chan grabbed his shoulder and slammed his back against the wall. Takao stared into those cold and merciless eyes of Shin-chan and bit his lip. He had never seen Shin-chan this angry.

“You’ve been avoiding me for so long. I just want to say I’m sorry for making your life so difficult. I placed some chocolates in your locker. I hope that can make up for everything I made you go through. If you want to stop being friends, I’m fine with it. No hard feelings.”

Wait what?

“I’m really sorry.” Takao saw tears pooling in Shin-chan’s eyes. No way. Shin-chan was not crying. This was… this had gone too far. He couldn’t avoid Shin-chan forever. He missed Shin-chan.

No, no, no, I’m sorry. Shin-chan, don’t go now. I’m sorry. It’s your birthday you should be this sad.

“I’m not coming for practice today. Enjoy the chocolates, they were presents from Kuroko.” Takao’s face was stinging, a strange taste of saltiness in his mouth. His vision was blurring but he could still noticed Shin-chan’s tear stained face.

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, I want to spend more time with you. Shin-chan, don’t go.

Shin-chan looked like he wanted an answer, even if it might hurt him.

“I’ll… I’ll see you tomorrow then… Takao…” Shin-chan’s voice was cracked. Takao swallowed and sagged his shoulders, watching Shin-chan turn to leave.

Don’t say sorry and just leave like this!!

X-X-X

Midorima felt the world shake and come crashing down onto him as he left Takao. This was never his intention, he actually wanted to make up with Takao but watching the point guard avoid him time and time again, today, had shattered his confidence and his pride along with it.

He never wanted a lonely birthday, like he never wanted to cut ties with Takao.

“Shin-chan!”

Midorima stopped his footsteps, his bag already feeling heavier than usual. He really didn’t want to speak the person who had ignored him the entire day, left him alone and forced him to swallow his pride. Takao came running up to him, tears flowing down, and it broke Midorima’s heart to see his partner in such a state.

“Shin-chan, I… I just wanted to say sorry… I want to apologise for… running away… I... Happy Birthday and if… if you would accept my present…” Takao pulled Midorima by the shirt till their lips met and moved in perfect sync and harmony. That very moment felt perfect, everything, the salty taste in their mouths, the way Takao’s hand caressed his cheek, even the cold wind that blew past them. It felt as if the jigsaw pieces were finally piecing themselves together. Midorima had never kissed before but when it came to Takao, it just felt natural and instinctive.

Midorima pulled away first when he ran out of oxygen since Takao caught him off guard.

“Takao…”

Takao placed his forehead on Shin-chan’s chest, feeling Shin-chan’s heart racing and banging against his ribcage.

“To your statement that day, I love you too. Very much."

Midorima hoped with all his heart that Takao wasn't lying, that Takao indeed loved him and his feelings would never be played again.

"You are irreplaceable, I'm not lying. I can never love anyone more than you."

So this was the truth, that they indeed loved each other. Maybe they were meant for each other.

"I avoided you because I was scared and afraid. I didn’t know what I should say back to you. I was very uncertain of your feelings then but… being away from you for two weeks made me realise that I… I love Shin-chan too. I’m sorry for making you wait.” Takao felt Midorima’s arm pull him away and was forced to look into those captivating and beautiful emerald eyes that once flashed anger and disappointment.

“Don’t apologise, Takao. Don’t cry, don’t cry. We’re together. It’s my birthday, I don’t want you crying on my birthday. Do you want to go out for dinner? There’s a restaurant nearby that I wanted to go with my sister but I think we should go alone. Or we could order takeaway and you could stay overnight at my house. We’ll be alone. My sister is going over for a sleepover.” Midorima placed a light kiss on Takao’s forehead and intertwined his fingers in Takao’s.

“Just… the both of us?”

“Yes, the both of us, alone. Because I love you too, Takao. So much.”

“Thank you so much Shin-chan, and… Happy Birthday.”

Chapter Text

“I’m in love with you, Takao.”

The wind grazed past their hairs as they stood on the rooftop, gazes locked onto each other as Takao froze and felt his body stiffened.

No, no, no, no, no, Shin-chan is lying. Shin-chan doesn’t love an obnoxious, annoying person like him.

“Would you go out with me?”

Even if I wanted, this is wrong on so many levels, Shin-chan. Are you sure?

“I-I, uh… Shin-chan… I… I can’t, look I’m sorry… I can’t go out… with you… I… I just…” Takao look down at the floor, afraid to meet Shin-chan’s eyes, not that he could even if he looked straight. He couldn’t bring himself to agree, he didn’t even know if he did had feelings for Shin-chan. Worse, Shin-chan was already a loner in school. Going out with Shin-chan would just make the teasing and quiet mockery worse and he didn’t need Shin-chan to go through that.

He could feel Shin-chan’s glare burning holes in him and tilted his head up, not high enough to see Shin-chan’s face, but high enough to notice how Shin-chan’s hands were trembling.

“Why, why, Takao? I thought… I thought you like me too so why, why not?” Shin-chan was grabbing his shoulder and he felt something wet hit his hand. Fuck. Either he was crying or Shin-chan was crying and he knew he wasn’t crying so…

“It’s not that it’s I… I don’t know if I… do like you I mean,” Takao desperately tried to salvage the situation, especially after he realised Shin-chan was actually crying, albeit softly. “I like you as a friend and a basketball partner. But uh…”

“Do you love me, Takao? Do you? Would you? W-Would you love me… like I love you…?” Midorima felt his voice crack along with his heart. This was not supposed to happen. He wasn’t supposed to sound like a needy teenager who wants to date his best friend. He wasn’t supposed to have Takao reject him.

Dammit.

“I… I don’t know… I’m unsure… I… I can’t answer that. I’m sorry Shin-chan, I’m really sorry, I…”

Takao turned and ran, trying to ignore Shin-chan’s desperate calls and pleas. He felt stupid and cowardly for running away like this, especially when Shin-chan needed him. But he wasn’t even sure of himself, how could he be sure of everything that was happening now? He roughly pushed open the doors and sprinted down the stairs to the locker room, hoping the giant would never find him there.

X-X-X

Midorima stared dejectedly at Takao’s back as the latter ran off. He didn’t know what he should feel. Maybe he shouldn’t get his hopes up so high, thinking that Takao could love him back. Takao had girlfriends, GIRLFRIENDS. Not tsundere boyfriends like him who make him pull rickshaws and carry weird items. He was probably expecting too much. Yet it still hurt because he had gathered so much courage and threw away his pride to confess to Takao.

And the boy actually had the nerve to throw his efforts down into the gutter.

All he wanted was to go on a date. With Takao. It didn’t even have to be an actual date. He just wanted to hang out with Takao (and maybe kiss him), catch a movie or search Tokyo for cheap and good restaurants. Takao was getting too preoccupied with his own relationships with others that Midorima felt neglected.

He knew it was going to be very painful trying to face Takao tomorrow.

X-X-X

Takao slammed the door behind him, nearly startling his seniors who were shooting him curious looks as he panted heavily and glanced over his shoulder to make sure Shin-chan never chased after him.

“Oi kid, what the heck?” Miyaji glared at him, clenching a fist as if ready to punch him.

“Ahh… it’s nothing. I was just running from Shin-chan…” Takao stammered, trying to get out of this situation. He didn’t want to tell his senpais anything, no matter how awkward Shin-chan had made this entire situation, he would still do everything to protect Shin-chan’s pride. But how was he supposed to face Shin-chan after rejecting him, seeing him cry, making him feel horrible. Shin-chan would probably be running home and crying in his bed like his sister would if a boy broke up with her.

What could he do? Sure, he did enjoy Shin-chan’s company, but loving Shin-chan? He would, if he gladly could. There was Shin-chan’s family who obviously would not accept that, then there was his, who would probably shout at him until they finally accept it. Not only that, there would be the students of the school who would laugh at both of them. Worse still, the basketball team might distance themselves from them, claiming to be ‘homophobic’ and stuff like what happened in his middle school when a male classmate of his went out with another boy. It wasn’t going to be easy. How the hell was he supposed to face Shin-chan after such a thing happened??