, ,

True to his word, Aomine let Kayura fawn over him. When she hovered too much he would tug on her hair affectionately and tell her he was a big boy who could take care of himself. She would blush and back off a little. There weren’t anymore tears and even Touma looked more relaxed.

Touma agreed to arrange a meeting with Tetsuya, the blue dragon that had saved Aomine’s life. The name sounded familiar, but he couldn’t place where he’d heard it.

He continued to practice with The Ronin Warriors, improving every day. It was easier to shake Ryo now, but it was still challenging play.  He knew he should be more concerned with getting back to his king, but he let the days slip by.  He trusted Touma to get him to the dragon and chose to just enjoy his time while he waited.  After all finding a dragon on his own hadn’t gone that well and he couldn’t leave without the blood.  So, there was nothing left to do but wait, he reassured himself.

One afternoon, about a week and a half later, Touma asked, “Hey Aomine, want to play some more ball?”

Aomine looked outside; it was getting dark, long past the Warriors’ normal practice time. “The guys coming?”

Touma shook his head. “There was a cancellation at the arena and they could use a couple extra players.”

“Sure.” He’d play basketball all day every day if that were an option.

Soon they were entering the Arena; Aomine could hear a ball thudding against the court. As the player came into view, he watched the man jump from the free throw line to dunk the ball into the hoop.

“Holy shit,” Aomine gasped. It was incredible; that anyone could jump that far, let alone maintain height enough for a dunk. Aomine was really impressed.

The man turned at the sound of Aomine’s voice. He saw dark red hair and matching eyes.

Son of a Bitch! It was that Bastard Taiga!

Aomine was ready to cross the court and punch him in the face. This time he wasn’t going down with one punch. He was going to lay the bastard out.

As if sensing his intention, Touma gripped Aomine’s arm.

“What the hell Touma?!” Taiga roared, “why did you bring HIM here?!”

“Hopefully, so I beat the shit out of you!” Aomine yelled back.

Touma tightened his grip, “I heard Ryouta cancelled and I believe you and Aomine have some issues to resolve. What better way to do that then with a little One-on-One?”

The two men glared at each other.

“Does the Aho even know how to play?” Taiga asked.

“I play well enough to beat you Asshole!”

“Oh yeah?! Bring it; let’s see what you’ve got Ahomine.” Taiga taunted, throwing the ball at Aomine.

Sweat dripped down soaking Aomine’s shirt. He’d never played against such a strong opponent. Every minute that passed, he felt himself getting stronger. Each play, each fake, each shot, each block; he was improving just by being on the court with Taiga.

As much as he wanted to hate him, he was having the time of his life.

He could tell Taiga was enjoying it too. His face was more relaxed, red eyes intense and focused.

The game was a blow away, Taiga was out scoring him ten to one, but Aomine wasn’t quitting. Each moment brought him closer to matching Taiga. If he played long enough he would be Taiga’s equal; he could feel it in his bones. Their play styles were similar, their intensity of the game the same; yes on day he would stand here against Taiga and win.

He had learned more from his games with the Warriors then he thought. As he stood on the court, he imagined he was Ryo. How would he stop a player who was faster and could jump higher? He’d stick tight, no give them room to move, force them to throw the ball faster and more awkwardly than they want.

Invading Taiga’s space, Aomine applied the pressure, remembering the intensity of Ryo’s eyes.

Taiga’s next throw missed.

Play continued.

Taiga was still scoring, but Aomine’d slowed him down. The fierceness of their play had his blood singing. It pulsed through him, he didn’t know how his skin could contain the power he felt flowing through him.

He watched as Taiga stepped back, his body going loose and relaxed, the ball lightly swaying in his hands. The red eyes watched him with a half-lidded gaze. He saw the crimson irises spark, he could feel the energy roll off him, something was happening.

“Taiga-kun.” a voice spoke.

The red-head blinked rapidly, and then looked down to his right.

Aomine looked, but he didn’t see anything. Taiga let the ball drop and ruffled blue hair with his left hand.

A man with blue hair stood at Taiga’s side, his hand resting on Taiga’s arm.

Aomine jumped back in shock, “What the fuck! When did he get here?”

The man looked at him with a blank expression. “I’ve been here the whole time.”

Aomine didn’t really pay attention to what was said. He was too busy staring at eyes the color of the sky. Quickly looking between large blue eyes and angry red, he’d seen these eyes before. His brain felt like it was going to explode.

“Holy Shit! It’s you! You’re the dragons!”


Chapter 8