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“Took you long enough to figure it out Dipshit.”  Taiga said.

“Taiga-kun!” Tetsuya scolded.

Taiga glared at Aomine, but didn’t say anymore.

Aomine for once didn’t rise to the bait.  His mind was spinning.  The dragon that saved his life was standing before him.  A man almost a foot shorter than him, thin and pale; how was he a dragon?

“I don’t understand.” Aomine finally said.

“Dragons are made of magic,” Touma said gently, “they can assume different forms.  Most prefer an intelligent form, thus humans.”

Taiga snorted and Tetsuya stabbed him in the side with his hand.

Aomine frowned, “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“You were trying to fucking kill us, Moron!  Why would we tell you anything?” Taiga snapped.

Aomine was pissed, but he couldn’t argue that one.  Still, he had realized his mistake; he didn’t want to kill anyone.  “Is there more you’re not telling me?”

“Yes.”  All three said at once.

“Aomine,” Touma said, “I am permitted to provide certain answers if you ask the right questions, but there are secrets I am not allowed to reveal.”

How the hell was he supposed to know what to ask? There was some great big puzzle he was supposed to figure out and he didn’t even know where to start.  So, he would ask what he wanted to know, and then worry about what he was supposed do then.

Aomine looked at Tetsuya, “why did you save me?”

“Seijuro told him to protect you,” Taiga said bitterly.

“Taiga-kun,” Tetsuya said, “don’t be cruel.”

Taiga glared at Tetsuya, “He asked you to do it, because he knew I would never hurt you.  He used you against me.”  Taiga moved his gaze to Aomine, “but if you had hurt Hiro or Kisa, I would have killed you.  I don’t care what Seijuro said.”  His hands were clenched in fists, fury vibrated off him in waves.  The red head turned and stomped out of the arena.

Tetsuya sighed, watching the man leave.

“I’m sorry Aomine-kun.” Tetsuya said, “He is still very angry.  It was his responsibility to watch the children.  Hiro is very clever and got away; he blames himself for them being in danger.”

Aomine was ashamed looking back on what he had done, but he couldn’t change it.  “I’m sorry,” he said.

Tetsuya nodded, “I understand and so will Taiga once he forgives himself.”

Aomine didn’t know if he deserved Taiga’s forgiveness or anyone else’s, but they seemed determined to give it.  He still didn’t understand why, but was learning to just accept it.

“You wished to meet me Aomine-kun?” Tetsuya asked, “Was that the only reason?”

That’s right; he still had a mission to accomplish.  He would worry about the rest later.  “Would you give me some of your blood to take to my king?”

There was a pregnant pause, Tetsuya and Touma exchanged looks, before he turned back to Aomine.

“It’s not that simple,” Tetsuya said hesitantly.  “I can’t just give you some of my blood to give to the king.’

“Shintaro said the blood had to be from a living dragon.”

“Yes, but that dragon has to give his own blood.” Tetsuya said, “And in the giving will the human to live.  It is magic, like a spell, but more intuitive.”

“Okay, so come with me.  I’ll take you to Touou and you can heal the king.”

“I’m not sure that is wise,” Touma said.  “There are a lot more humans who will want to kill him out there.  There is a reason dragons stay in the valley.  The outside world is not a safe place for a dragon.”

Tetsuya stared at him steadily.  They spent a few minutes in silence.  Pale blue eyes staring into dark blue, Aomine didn’t know what he was seeing, but he waited.

“I will go with you.”

“Tetsuya,” Touma said worriedly, “Are you sure, I-”

Tetsuya nodded, “I will speak with Seijuro.  He entrusted Aomine to me, I will help him complete his task.”

“Who is this Seijuro?” Aomine asked.

“He is the Emperor, king of the Dragons.”


Aomine sat with Touma on the couch.  He was hoping that the right questions would come to him, but so far he was coming up blank.

“So, do you think the Emperor will let Tetsuya come with me?”

“Its possible, but it is hard to predict what Seijuro will do.  He thinks so many steps beyond the rest of us.”

Aomine was quiet, if Tetsuya didn’t go with him, he didn’t know what his next move would be.  He was tempted to stay, maybe speak with the Emperor himself.  If Tetsuya couldn’t convince Seijuro, then what chance did he have?

He didn’t want to leave empty handed.  He didn’t want to leave…

Aomine almost smacked himself on the face.  It had been staring him in the face for days.  He wanted to stay.  Nijitani had become more of home to him then Touou had ever been.  He wanted to stay in this house pretending to be Kayura’s son.  He wanted to play basketball with the Ronin Warriors, hell he even wanted to play Taiga again.  He wanted to spend evenings at Seirin, laughing with Teppei and watching Riko and Junpei pretend to not be together.

Suddenly the ground trembled and a roar could be heard in the distance.

Touma sighed, “It sounds like Taiga just found out.”


Chapter 9