Just in case the title doesn't give it away, this fic was inspired by the song "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" by Green Day. As for why this one-shot is coming out before any of the other things I'm supposed to be working on… I lost my notebook containing the next chapter of 'Cat Got Your Tongue?' so I couldn't work on that and I was feeling the AoKaga vibes. Anyway, this actually helped to work as a sort of therapy for me (I've been dealing with some family stuff, so this was a way to vent all those negative emotions), I hope you can enjoy it. I mean. It's not CGYT, but it's still AoKaga. Ahh... Also. I'm sorry for that block of text. But, it fits with the piece's theme and feel, I think. So...
Kagami tugs on the left sleeve of his black jacket, pulling it down over his palm and gripping onto it to keep it in place as he makes his way down the street, the asphalt wet with the last rainfall and scattered with a few dead, blackened leaves fallen from trees and trampled by passers-by. Letting out a huff of breath, it floats away in a cloud of white as the redhead lowers his expressionless eyes to the sidewalk where there were some small pieces of trash littered around. Red, split eyebrows furrow just a bit as he hears a whisper in the frigid breeze, the impossibility making his shoulders hunch as he trudges onward toward his destination, attempting to shake off the imagined voice he had heard murmuring in his ear. The voice, soft and sweet in its familiarity was nice only in theory. In actuality hearing it again after all this time only hurt more. His heart ached, yet it only made him more determined and his unsteady stride quickens, becoming more sure as he hurries along his chosen path, the shortest route he could find. He wanted this walk to be over, to have already reached the place he was searching for. He couldn't handle what had become his life. Shambles in comparison to his glory days that already seemed so far away, like a distant dream of a memory. Pausing, Kagami carefully moves out of the way of the measly number of people walking along behind him. Leaning against the brick exterior of a building, Kagami pushes his hair back, moving vivid red strands out of his eyes. With his fingers still tangled in his hair, he rotates his hands to cover his eyes with his large, cold palms. After a moment of just standing there, breathing, the young man pushes himself off the wall again and continues on his way. He was nearly there and with each staggering step he drew nearer, his head more clear, his heart more steadfast, and his shoulders lighter. This wasn't going to be a choice he would regret. Not by a long shot. If anything, he was regretting how long it took him to decide on this. This was, truly, the only solution. The only way to move on from that night five years ago. Wow… Had it really been so long? The pain was still so fresh and the memories so vivid. Damn… Five years. Gone by in a blur of school and… Kagami forces away that train of thought as his eyes glaze over with wetness. He blinks away the tears and continues forging forward, on a mission. Finally, at long last, he reaches his desired location. A place he had spent countless hours of his high school days. The place that held his best memories, a place that used to be one of the few he could feel real happiness. Now all it was to him was a place of ghosts and forgotten enjoyment. Of smiles and laughter, he could no longer feel. Of memories he wished he could forget and yet clung to so desperately. And that was why it seemed so appropriate to come here. Taking out his keys, he unlocks the main entrance, locking it again after stepping through the threshold. He makes his way to the stairs, a pathway he knew well, and begins going up, pausing only at the door to the roof as he was forced to unlock it. As the door swung open, his crimson eyes survey the familiar view and he makes his way into the cold air, toward the edge of the building where he wraps his hands around the railing, his already cold skin becoming colder as the little bit of heat they held leached out into the metal bar that was coated in black paint, chipped and peeling from time and weather. He looks over the ledge of the roof at the ground so far below before taking a step back and turning to face away from the empty air. He takes a few steps to the place he had hidden a basketball when he was first accepted as an English teacher and basketball coach here at Seirin. Picking up the ball that had become smooth and worn out from use, he dribbles it, slowly walking along the roof, not leaving a single inch untrodden as he roams the space that he would come to during each break between class, every morning before the first bell, after all of the faculty meetings and club activities. He simply wanders over familiar ground, thinking back on the past he had here, the good and bad memories he had in the halls of this school, the past he shared with his team. Every game they had won and lost. The friend they had lost… It had already been five years since he had got that damn phone call from his best friend's mother. He had hardly been able to make out her words through her tears but eventually, he had been able to get her to calm down enough to make out four words: 'There's been an accident'. And then everything around him broke. Everything blurred together and suddenly he was at the hospital, and then the funeral, and slowly his normal routine came back. It was hollow, though. He was just going through the motions. Putting on an act. Doing as expected. He had kept playing basketball, even more fiercely than before to win for his friend who had loved the sport so dearly but was no longer able to play it. He had went through high school and college studying to become a teacher in his friend's stead. Had come back to the school that Kuroko had loved playing basketball for so much. But now… He could barely walk on his own. He would never play basketball again. He couldn't even continue his best friend's legacy… What was he worth to society like this..? Letting out a quiet huff of breath, Kagami makes his way back to the cold metal railing, the basketball still moving steadily from his hand to the concrete with an empty thudding sound each time it comes in contact with the ground. Catching the ball on one of its arches upward, he tosses it back behind him and it soars over his head, falling back to the ground and bouncing a few times before rolling away. With his hands on the rail, he somehow manages to swing one of his long legs over the short wall that was stopping him from falling over the edge when he suddenly hears the door to the roof slamming open. Lowering his leg again, he turns to look at the doorway, now filled with the figure of a tall man in a dark blue parka, breathing heaving out of his body at an alarming rate, as though he had run all the way there from some distance away. "Daiki..?" He asks, a bit stunned as he looks at the man he had known for nearly as long he had known Kuroko. This was the man that had done his best to help him through the loss of his friend despite going through the same thing in worse circumstances. This was the man that, despite his own long-standing depression, was always trying his best to help the redhead through breakdowns and prevent him from slipping into a chronic melancholy. And even though he had done so much, it didn't help. The redhead was still depressed, cripplingly so. He used it though, as fuel for pushing through classes, for trying harder on the court, for making this trip to Seirin.
"I heard from Shintaro… I figured you'd come here. You always do when something happens..." He replies, picking up the abandoned ball, dribbling it a couple times before passing it to the redhead who still catches it, despite his surprise. "I know you've been acting like everything was okay, but I could tell you weren't alright. I thought you were trying to handle it so I didn't say anything. I never thought it'd get this bad… I'm sorry I didn't do anything to help you, Taiga. If I had known you were feeling like this… I would have done everything I could have to help you. You know that, right?" He asks, deep voice soft as he takes a defensive stance, his dark eyes, currently clouded over with pain and despair, lock on the other's crimson gaze.
"I know that..." Kagami responds, anger evident in his voice and face as he throws the ball at the dark-skinned male's chest, letting out a loud curse. "You're such a fucker, if you talked to Shintaro then you know I can't." He says, split eyebrows furrowing in his rage as Aomine catches the ball easily and takes a step forward, towards the redhead.
"You can. Just one more. If I can't play with you anymore, I want to go at least this last time." He says, voice still calm as he returns the ball to Kagami, spreading his arms open in preparation for the other man to charge forward.
"Aren't you supposed to encourage me not to play? To say that it'll only make it worse? Feed me all those lines that claim that nothing's going to change?" He asks bitterly, beginning to dribble the ball, stepping in a bit closer to Aomine and lowering himself into a more aggressive stance as he does so.
"That's what a doctor would say. I'll leave that to Shintaro. I'm your friend. A person who knows how much you love basketball. Yeah, so does Shintaro, but he thinks more with his work brain than with his emotional brain. I know that if you can't play your mental state will only get worse. And as much as I care about whether your legs get worse, you should choose what you want. Don't let some fucker who never saw you play, some fucker who doesn't really know you, tell you that you can't do what you love. You can always get surgery, right? And you'd be able to keep playing like always, right?" He asks, lunging forward to steal the ball, now out of his reach as the redhead pulls back, one arm stretched in front of himself as a way to keep the slightly taller male back as he moves the ball faster between his hand and the concrete.
"I guess..." He replies, charging forward and circling around Aomine, passing him while keeping the ball in his possession. Their conversation drops off into near silence, with only the sounds of heavy breathing, the hollow thudding of the ball bouncing, and their footsteps against concrete as they move back and forth against the rooftop as they engage each other in their favorite form of dance, aggressive and raw, exchanging ownership of the ball resistantly. This kept up until Kagami could no longer follow the pace. He makes his way back to the railing, breathing harsh and uneven as he leans against cold metal and doubles over to catch his breath as Aomine sets aside the ball and moves toward the hunched over redhead, resting his hand lightly on his upper back.
"Taiga… If you ever need to talk, I'll listen to you. I might not be a therapist, but I care about you. I don't like seeing you hurting in any way. I might not know you as well as Tetsu did and we might have only really became friends a few years ago, but I want to see you happy again. I know it hasn't really been all that long, but Tetsu… He really got to you. You're still so fucked up over it. I mean… It still fucks with me, but not this bad… You've kept me going this long. I want to keep you going. I want to help you as much as I possibly can." His voice has become soft again, almost gentle as he moves his fingers gently along the other man's spine, hoping for the touch to soothe him. "I… This is a really bad fucking time for this, but I need to let you know. I love you, Taiga. So much. Even if you don't realize it, you've done so much for me. You were always there when I needed it. Even when you were at your lowest you were always so much more concerned about everyone else. Fuck… This is really stupid and cheesy..." Kagami's head snapped up, turning to look at the blue haired man in bewilderment, eyes examining him for any sign of teasing as each word makes his eyes grow wider in shock. "Don't look at me like that. I don't expect anything. I just… felt like I should tell you. Felt like you deserved to know. Even if this is the shittiest fucking time to do it. I don't want to hide it from you any longer because it makes me feel like shit." He continues before the redhead can say anything, retracting his large hand from Kagami's back and bringing with it any warmth his touch had been offering the other man.
"I… don't know what to say to that… Any of that..." Kagami finally responds after a few moments, though his words are shaky and unsure, his voice quiet and a bit strained.
"Didn't I just fucking say I wasn't expecting anything? That includes an answer, you dumbass. Just let it fucking happen." The blunet replies, voice switching from softly serious to his usual gruff, and a bit loud, pattern of speaking and the redhead jumps a bit at the sudden increase in volume. "Now! Let's go get Maji or something. You haven't ate yet, right?" As if on cue, Kagami's stomach growls loudly at the mention of food and he doesn't have the shame to even pretend to be embarrassed. "Well, there we go. Come on." Shoving his hands in his pockets, Aomine makes his way to the door back into the school building.
"Thanks," Kagami says, voice serious, after a few moments of walking down a familiar street on a familiar path to a familiar place in silence. "I'm sorry for making you worry, but… I'm glad you came. I'm glad it was you." He continues, his head falling a bit while his eyes remain steady, his crimson gaze directed at the cement sidewalk ahead.
"Don't say it like that, dumbass..." Aomine grumbles, hand raising to rub the back of his neck and even his dark complexion was unable to hide the rosy warmth that was now flushing his cheeks darker. Kagami looks over at the slightly taller man and can't help his laughter at the sight of the great Aomine Daiki blushing over something as simple as a 'thank you'.