As a child Aomine used to live in this small town that was right off the ocean. There was a huge beach right near his house that he loved to play along with his friends. Outside of playing basketball, his favorite activity was to visit this aquarium located at the opposite end of the beach. During the summer months, admission into the aquarium was cheaper for young children. As a way to keep their active son busy, Aomine's parents would take him every week.
There were so many exhibits, but by far his favorite exhibit would be the ones with the crawfish. It was simplistic, but these ones were more active than the ones he would see at the fish market with his mother. She always seemed to take him around their nap times, and she never allowed for him to take any home as pets. Aomine was content to spend the whole day at that single exhibit, if he weren't banned from time to time for trying to set them free every month.
Eventually things changed, for the older Aomine became, the more he got into basketball. With each passing year Aomine's interest in the aquarium dwindled until he eventually lost all interest.
One afternoon after basketball practice, Aomine noticed some of his teammates talking excitedly over a piece of paper that one guy was holding. Letting his curiosity get the best of him, he went over to see what the fuss was about.
"Yo Aomine did you hear?! Apparently one of those old kooks down at the fishing dock caught a real live mermaid."
"Yeah and apparently they sold it to the aquarium, and its gonna be featured in an exhibit opening this weekend"
Aomine took the paper, which turned out to be a flyer, to see for himself. It described the newest exhibit opening, but didn't even show a picture of this so called mermaid. The silhouette could've easily been photoshopped.
He scoffed while handing back the paper "It's obviously a gimmick. I don't know why you'd want to waste your time and money."
He turned around and headed back to his locker to gather his things.
"C'mon man, like you have anything better to do"
He stopped in the doorway, thinking it over for a moment. "Fine, whatever."
'but only to prove you all wrong'
The curse of living in a small town, besides not having much to do, was that any new news was big news—and news around here traveled really fast.
By the time he met up with his teammates the lines were still unreasonably long. Almost as if the whole town had shown up to see this so called "mermaid". Once they finally made it inside they opted out of heading straight towards the exhibit, until the large mob that had formed in that area had dwindled.
It wasn't until sometime in the afternoon that the crowd had finally thinned enough. Throughout the day though, there seemed to be nothing but disappointed faces and customers, as the so call mermaid had continued to be a no show. Aomine wasn't surprised and had been ready to go hours ago, but his teammates still insisted that they see for themselves.
That's how Aomine found himself, utterly bored, standing in front of a huge plane of glass. On the other side were different kinds of rock formations, fish, fish, and more fish—no mermaid.
'I want to go home' he thought to himself. Idly he reached into the backpack he was wearing and pulled out his basketball. If he was gonna waste his whole day staring at some fish, he was definitely going to get in a couple of games to salvage his day.
As Aomine begun to spin the ball on his finger, he turned towards his teammates with the intention to tell them that he had enough of this. Out the corner of his eye something very bright, very yellow caught his eye. When he turned, what he saw caused eyes to open wide, mouth open in shock—his reflexes the only thing stopping him from completely dropping, and possibly losing, his basketball.
But who wouldn't be surprised to see a boy, around his age, with hair and eyes that golden. Especially when said boy was floating in the water, practically naked. Aomine couldn't help his eyes drifting downward. Starting at the male's waist, pale skin started blending into bluish-green scales—leading to a giant flipper where feet should be.
Aomine didn't move, didn't make any noise. He just found himself standing there staring, as the blond stared back at him—or more accurately at his hands.
Looking back and forth between the boy and his ball, Aomine hesitantly moved it to the left. When amber eyes followed he moved it back to the right, then up and down, every direction he could think until he hid it behind him out of sight. With the basketball not in front of him anymore, those amber eyes locked onto Aomine's blue.
"D-dude" one of his teammates whispered. Aomine wanted to shush him, but it was already too late. As if some kind of spell had been broken, suddenly a huge group of people swarmed the tank to get a closer look. The sudden rush of people frightened the blond that in a blink he dashed away out of sight.
And though so many tried, he wasn't seen for the rest of the night.
On their way back to their respective homes, his teammates would not shut up about the 'real live mermaid' and 'what are the chances of something like this happening in their small little town'. Although he had seen it with his own eyes, Aomine still remained skeptical, convinced that it had to be some sort of hoax—'a person in some kind of suit', 'who could hold their breath for a long time', and was 'obviously some Olympic swimming foreigner'.
While the others refused to see his side of things, Aomine swore that he would get the proof. On the way home he thought of a plan to break into the aquarium when it's closed. He'd sneak into the exhibit and search for a place where someone could easily enter and escape the tank unseen, and maybe that costume tail if he was lucky.
When it was dark enough, and he was sure everyone was asleep, Aomine snuck out of his home and made his way towards the aquarium. He was grateful for the fact that he spent so much time here as a child, that he was easily able to remember to how to get in past security unseen.
It was hard to tell where he was going in the dark, but thankfully some of the tanks had lights built into them, so he was at least able to get going in the right direction. After a while he was able to find the right tank. It was eerie being the only one standing in such a long hall—but he didn't have time to dawdle.
Aomine searched and searched for anything that could be of use to him, but to his disappointment he found nothing. He closed his eyes, nearly sinking to the floor.
'what am I trying so hard for' he thought. It was late, and he was tired, and had no real reason to be there other than he didn't like losing. He just didn't lose, and being proved wrong was the same as being beaten.
'that's it I'm going home'
Aomine straightened up, dusted off his clothes and looked straight ahead.
He found himself face to face with golden hair and amber eyes once more.
'this can't be possible' he thinks, 'there's no way this is real'
Yet Aomine knew there wouldn't be a reason for someone to give a show this late at night when the aquarium was closed.
Taking a breath Aomine stepped closer to the glass laying a hand against it unconsciously. He watched as the mermaid backed away slightly, amber eyes narrowing. He jerked from side to side before eventually stilling.
Aomine watched as the blond hesitantly swam forward. Aomine watched as the boy before him curiously studied his hand. He looked back and forth between Aomine's and his own, bringing his hand up and placing it right where Aomine's hand lay on the opposite side of the glass.
Neither one of them moved, neither seemed to know what to do. They both just stared at each other, studying the other intently.
Aomine was so fixated on observing the sight in front of him that he ignored everything else that was going on around him. It wasn't until he heard a voice call out "Who's down there" that he jolted in surprise. He turned his head down the hall to see a guard standing there, flashlight in hand pointed in his direction. With a curse and a glance at the empty space in front of him, Aomine turned and ran.
About a month had passed since that night. Aomine had found himself going back to the aquarium multiple times a week. He would often just stand by the tank, hoping to spend time with Kise. He had decided to name the mermaid Kise after his exhibits name "The Yellow Current". Occasionally when there wasn't a big crowd Kise would come out of hiding to stare at him or play with the fishes and turtles he shared the tank with.
Kise would often come close to the glass when there were kids around. He didn't sense much hostility from children, and enjoyed it when they would press against the glass and make faces at him. Kise saw it as a game and would often copy them, to the children's amusement and enjoyment.
The more he kept coming, the more Kise got used to him. Aomine often found himself breaking into the aquarium more and more—nearly getting caught multiple times. Security had tightened for a while, but as the mermaid fad started to wear down, the easier it became for Aomine to visit him. He even found himself skipping basketball practices to do so—not that he needed the practice, he was the best after all.
He was so enraptured and he didn't understand why—especially with what he used to think before he met the blond. He would even go as far as to hold conversations with Kise, even though he knew that Kise couldn't communicate back. During his nightly visits Aomine would always bring a basketball. Kise would always be more enthusiastic when he spotted the orange globe.
Although it would never happen Aomine couldn't help but think
'Someday I'll have to teach you how to play'
About six months later Aomine started noticing a change in Kise. He had become more lethargic, acting outside of his normal behavior. Even the sight of a basketball did little to break him out of his moods and raise his spirits. Growing up in a sea town, Aomine has noticed this behavior before with other fish. After being kept in captivity for so long, they wished for nothing more than to be free.
Aomine wanted nothing more than to free him...but how...
In his pocket, he felt a vibration from his phone, signaling his time was up. He stood up and tapped on the glass to get Kise's attention.
"I can't stay long tonight. So I gotta get going." He had entrance exams this week and needed to study. As much as he would love to blow them off, he needed to pass if he wanted to get into a good enough school and get out this small town. Though he often found himself having second thoughts about leaving when it meant leaving Kise here alone.
He closed his eyes, brows furrowing and leaned his forehead against the glass.
"I'll comeback one day, and I will get you out of here."
He was sure that Kise couldn't understand his words, but when he opened his eyes to find Kise positioned the same way on the opposite side of the glass, he thought that maybe, just maybe he somehow got his feelings across.
Although he could've just been playing again. Aomine wasn't quite sure how to react when the blond placed his lips against the glass, as if he were trying to give him a kiss.
'He must've picked it up from some kids'
A loud bang vibrated the glass, and he looked up to see Kise slightly pouting with his arms crossed—tail twitching in agitation. Aomine learned that he often did this when he was upset that Aomine wouldn't join in on his games.
Aomine's eyebrow twitched in agitation 'This brat'
Aomine could feel his face beginning to heat up as he leaned forward and pressed his lips against the glass. He kept his gaze upon Kise, watching as his pout changed into a smile. Kise moved so that his face was roughly in front of Aomines, eyes locked on to the others. As Kise pressed his lips against the glass, Aomine for a split second, wandered what it would feel like without the glass in way.
Satisfied, Kise backed away first, and with a smile and flick of his tail, he swam away.
That was the last time Aomine ever saw him.
The day of his last exam, instead of celebrating with everyone else, Aomine chose to go to the aquarium to see Kise. Though he wouldn't admit it out loud, he missed the blond after not being able to see him for a week.
When we arrived though the aquarium was closed. Normally it wouldn't have been an issue, he was used to sneaking in after closing time. But it was still morning, and the yellow tape across the doors filled Aomine with a sense of dread.
He found an employee and demanded to know what happened, but no one would tell him anything. Frustrated he tried finding some way to get in, but everywhere he went the area was blocked off, or there was someone standing guard.
Once he made his way back towards the entrance, he found an empty space near the entrance and sat down. The feeling he had just wouldn't go away, he needed to get inside, to see Kise with his own eyes.
"You're that kid aren't you."
Aomine's head snapped up to see a security guard standing in front of him.
"The kid that's always sneaking in here after hours. It's you right"
Aomine dropped his eyes and didn't say anything.
"I thought as much."
Aomine didn't know what to do. He didn't understand why the man approached him now of all times—especially when they apparently knew what he'd been doing this whole time.
"What I'm about to tell you doesn't leave this place. Until the investigation is finalized, no word of what happened can get out. Understand?"
Aomine snapped his head up, heart pounding, blood rushing through his ears. He took a breath and nodded.
What he heard made Aomine feel a torrent of emotions. At first he was distraught then he became outraged, and finally overwhelmed with guilt. Someone had broken into the aquarium and absolutely trashed the entire place—graffiti on the walls, tanks smashed, and exhibits poisoned. Kise's was one of those exhibits. From the level of toxicity in the water, nothing could've survived.
He couldn't believe that Kise was gone. He couldn't fathom how anyone would purposely cause of the death of so many living things. The officer told him that the culprit had been a former employee. Someone who had become unstable, believing that it'd be better for these creatures to die instead of being held captive.
Aomine couldn't help but feel partly to blame for the events that occurred. He knew how easy it was to break in. Security had been lax, they could have easily assumed it was Aomine that had broken in. If he hadn't snuck in so many times, maybe security would've been tighter, maybe they could've caught the guy sooner, before so many things were destroyed, before he got to...
No. He couldn't think like that. For the amount of poison found in the water, it had to have been done a little over time.
That could've easily explained Kise's lethargic state over the last few times he saw him.
By the time Aomine reached home, he quickly ran and locked himself in his room for the rest of the night. He fell asleep that night wishing to wake up and find that this was all a dream.
'I promised him, I promised him.'
When the fall came around Aomine moved away to Tokyo to start University. He wanted to move as far away from that town and the bad memories associated with it. When Aomine thought about his future, he always thought he would go pro and play basketball. Going through that experience changed some things for him, made him think of possibilities he wouldn't have considered otherwise.
That's how he found himself in a basic biology class, with the intent of obtaining a degree in Marine Biology. He wasn't quite sure what he would do with it yet, but he felt that this was the direction he needed to go in.
"Excuse me is this seat taken?" A voice next to him asked.
Aomine shook his head, "No it's—"
The words caught in his throat. 'K-KISE?!'
His mouth dropped opened but no sound came out. He wanted to blink eyes, to make sure he wasn't dreaming. At the same time he was afraid that it may be a dream, and that the blond would disappear from him once again.
"Is there something on my face? You're kinda staring." The blond answered, pulling out the chair and sitting down.
Aomine finally blinked and cleared his throat, turning to face the front of the class. "Ah no...you just look really familiar."
"Ehhh. I get that a lot actually." he laughed. "I model a bit if that helps."
"That must be it"
They fell into an awkward silence. Aomine side glanced the blond as he took out materials to take notes with. Aomine figured he'd should do the same and started grabbing things out of his duffel. Although he wasn't pursuing basketball as a career, he still decided to keep up with the sport by joining the Universalities' team.
"You play Basketball?!!!" He looked up, eyes locking with enthusiastic amber ones.
"Uh, yeah. For the school." he replied, one hand idly scratching the back of his head.
"That's so cool! I've always wanted to learn." The blonds smile dropped a bit. "Between school and modeling I've never had the opportunity or time for much else."
"Maybe I could teach you sometime." Aomine offered, 'wait what the hell am I saying'
"Really?!" The blond's smile lit up tenfold. "That would be great?!"
Just then the teacher walked into the room signaling the start of the class. They both quieted and turned their attention to the front of the room. The last thing they needed was to get in trouble their first day of class.
Aomine felt a poke in his arm, he turned slightly to see the blond staring at him, hand extended towards him. "I'm Kise by the way. Kise Ryouta."
At the name Aomine felt a weird sensation in his chest. After everything that happened he felt odd about this whole situation. But if by far this was some weird second chance that he was given. Well he wasn't going to let Kise slip away from him so easily this time.
He reached over and took Kise's hand into his own with a firm grip. "Aomine, Aomine Daiki."