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The next time he awoke, Touma sat in a chair by his side reading.

He must have made some kind of sound, because Touma looked up.  Relief filled his eyes.  No matter what he had said to Kayura, he had been worried too.

Aomine struggled to speak, but his throat only rasped.

“Its okay son, I’ve got it.”  Touma put a hand behind his head lifting him as he held a glass of water to his lips and Aomine drank gratefully.  The cool liquid soothed his sore throat.

“Tetsu?” He finally forced from his tortured throat.

Touma nodded, “he is going to be fine.  He wanted to be here, but Taiga isn’t having any of it.  Tetsuya is nest bound until he fully recovers.  The guys at Seirin have been taking turns reporting to him of your condition.”

Aomine closed his eyes resting for a moment.  The last thing he remembered was Kayura leaning over him.

“How?”

A look of sorrow and pride lit Touma’s eyes.  “Kayura saved you both.”

There was only one answer that made sense.  If she saved them, then she had to be a, “Dragon.” he rasped.

Touma helped him drink some more, before making him lie back down.

“Yes, we are dragons.”  Touma said, “I have wondered these five days, what I would say to you when you woke.  I finally decided, if you guessed the truth, then I would tell you, no matter what Seijuro wants.  If not, we would go on pretending.”

Aomine nodded, waiting.  There was no reason to torture his throat more, if Touma was ready to talk.

“Many years ago, Kayura and I had a son.  Dragon children spend a long time in the egg before they are born.  We are able to get to know them as we wait.  Eggs are kept in a central nest with other dragon eggs.  It forms a bond between the hatchlings increasing the chances of a strong community among naturally solitary creatures.  One day we returned to find the guardian dragon dead and five eggs stolen.”  Touma swallowed hard, “Their names were Taiga, Tetsuya, Momoi, Kyo, and Daiki.  I can’t describe to you the pain of our loss.  Kyo’s mother killed herself; her husband was the dragon guarding the nest.  Taiga’s parents left to search and haven’t returned.  Kayura went a little mad, but over time she recovered.”

Touma paused to help him take another drink.

“We were sure all was lost, but one day Seijuro announced he was leaving the valley and would return soon.  I have to say we were all concerned, but he is the Emperor and his decisions have always proven correct.  Two months later he brought Taiga and Tetsuya home with him and the people at Seirin.  Apparently Tetsuya and Taiga found each other, and then through some adventures gathered the humans of Seirin around them.  They are Taiga’s Kyokubu.  It gave us hope that someday the others might be found.”  The intensity of Touma’s stare might have bothered him if he had been strong enough, but he just waited expectantly, too exhausted for strong emotions.  “Then you came walking into the valley and it was like our prayers had been answered.”

Aomine coughed, clearing his throat for the next question.  He knew the right question now.

“Am I a dragon?”

Touma’s gaze was solemn but proud.  “You are an AoRyu, a blue dragon.”

——————-

Aomine lay staring at the ceiling.  It had been another whole day and he was staying awake for longer periods of time.  His parents, god that felt weird, finally let him have some time alone.  They had been hovering badly.

Kayura had been fluttering around the room, straightening and fluffing.  He really just needed some peace and quiet.  She came over and adjusted his pillow for the thousandth time.  He gently grasped her wrist.  “Mom, I just need some time alone.”

She stood there stunned, staring at him in silence.

He released her wrist, watching quietly.  The movement snapped her out of her trance.  She wrapped her arms around his head, hugging him to her chest.  “O-okay,” Kayura said, he could hear the tears in her voice, “whatever you need.”

She placed a kiss on his forehead and ruffled his hair, before quickly leaving the room, closing the door behind her.

Aomine leaned back into his pillow with a sigh.

A dragon.

He had come all this way to find dragons and all he had to do was look into a mirror.  It was so overwhelming, he didn’t know if he quite believed it.

He lifted his hand staring at it; he didn’t feel like a dragon.  There was no huge power or presence pushing to get out of him.

During one of his conversations with Touma, he’d asked “how do you change into a dragon?”

Touma shook his head.  “We don’t change into dragons, so much as let go of our human forms.  It is like closing your eyes.  Muscles hold the position and your senses change. When you relax the muscles open and your senses change back.  We aren’t humans turning into dragons, but dragons who look like humans.”

“Why have I always been human?”

“I don’t know, but I can say that there is magic around you, in you.  Something is keeping you in this form.  Seijuro and Shintaro are looking into it.”

A dragon who wasn’t a dragon.  How fucking pathetic was that?

A month ago all he wanted was to serve the king and play basketball.  Now, nothing made sense.  What was he supposed to do?  He wanted to stay in the valley; he could freely admit that to himself now.  Touma and Kayura wanted him to stay, but there were others that wanted him gone.  Not just gone, but dead.  His presence put others at risk.

Shintaro had come by to check on him.  His newly found parents hadn’t been willing to discuss his injuries, but Shintaro had no such qualms.

“You should be dead,” Shintaro said bluntly.  “Your rib cage collapsed, shredding your lungs, a bone punctured your heart, and your spine was broken in seven places, fractured skull, blown ear drums, internal hemorrhaging, lacerated bowel, and multiple breaks in both arms and legs.  Plus, a crushed hip.”

Aomine put up with the poking and prodding as long as the doctor continued to talk.  “Kayura and Touma gave blood for the casting and I was able to repair most of the damage.  If you had been human, there would have been no saving you.  If Touma had been even fifteen minutes later, you would not have survived.”

Okay, maybe he could have sugar coated it a little bit.

“Luckily, Virgo’s were ranked first that day and you had your lucky item.”

“What was that?” Aomine asked through gritted teeth as the green haired man applied pressure to his ribs.

“Fire.”

He would have laughed if he hadn’t been in so much fucking pain.  The dragon had attacked him with his lucky item.  What a joke.

The doctor had left, leaving behind a new pile of leaves and warnings that he should remain bed ridden for another week.

Aomine didn’t know what orders were given to Tetsuya, but the light blue dragon did come by for a visit.

Taiga stepped into his bedroom with Tetsu in his arms.  The sight scared him, as none of his own injuries had.  The young man looked so small and fragile in the red head’s arms.  Bandages wrapped around his neck, arms, shoulders, and torso.  One arm had been bandaged to his body to prevent any kind of movement.

“Tetsu-,” Aomine began, but Taiga was glaring at him so intensely, he didn’t feel he would be able to say anything right.  He didn’t even blame him.  He’d almost gotten Tetsuya killed, it was his entire fault.

“Taiga-kun,” Tetsuya said softly, “lay me down beside Aomine.”

Aomine watched Taiga’s arms tighten for a moment, reluctant to part with his charge.  Carefully, Aomine moved toward the wall to give them as much room as possible.  Reluctantly, Taiga placed the smaller man on the bed.

“Please, go see how everyone is doing at Seirin.”  Tetsuya said.

Taiga frowned, “I thought we were going there after we left here?”

Tetsuya sighed, “Give them my apologies; I would rather go home after this.  I feel like getting more rest.”  He looked up at Taiga with tired eyes.

“I knew we shouldn’t have come here.” Taiga said, clenching a fist, “You aren’t healed enough.”

“Taiga.” Tetsuya said quietly.

“Okay,” Taiga said, “I’ll go and as soon as I get back we’ll head home.”  With that Taiga quickly left.

Tetsuya turned his head to look at Aomine, they lay quietly for a few minutes after the door closes.

The blue dragon looks pale; there are a few angry red scratches along his jaw and temple that Aomine hadn’t seen from across the room.

“I hate to agree with Taiga, but maybe you shouldn’t have come.” Aomine said, finally.

Tetsuya shook his head, “I am not tired, but we would not be able to speak freely with my friend standing over us.  He blames himself much more than he blames you, but it is difficult to frown and yell at one’s self.”

Aomine nodded, he could understand that.

“I’m sorry, Tetsu,” Aomine looked back at the ceiling.  “You should have left me.”

“Aomine-kun, I would no more leave you, then I would leave Taiga.”  Tetsuya shifted and brought he free hand out to touch Aomine’s hand.  “We were nest mates, it was always intended that we would look out for and take care of each other.”  He squeezed Aomine’s hand.  “If Taiga had been there he would have protected you too.  I didn’t do anything special.”

Aomine snorted, “Taiga would have helped that guy.  He’d have been happy to see me gone.”

He didn’t turn his head, but he could feel Tetsuya’s gaze intensify.  “Taiga never tried to kill you.”

That made him look, “What the hell do you call what happened in the field?”

Tetsuya’s blank stare was a bit unnerving, but there was a slight curving of the mouth, a small ironic smile.  “Taiga was kicking your ass.”

“Exactly.” Aomine huffed.

“You’ve been in a real dragon fight.  Haizaki tried to kill you.  Compare that to your confrontation with Taiga.”

He remembered Taiga roaring, knocking him around and Tetsuya getting between him and the flames.  It had hurt, but Tetsuya was right, Taiga could have done a whole lot more damage.

“Then why did you step in?” Aomine asked.

“You weren’t ready to see the truth.  If you had walked away from dragon’s flame without any major damage, there would have been a lot of confusion.”

“How long have you known I was a dragon?”

“From the moment you stepped into Seirin.”

“You were there?”

Tetsuya nodded.  “I work there.”

“I don’t remember seeing you.” Aomine said frowning.

“Strangers rarely do.”

“So, if you knew, who else knew?”

Again that tiny curling of a lip appeared, “Everyone.”

Aomine blinked, shaking his head, “So, you’re saying that I’m the only one who didn’t know?”

Tetsuya nodded.

“Fuuuuck,” Aomine groaned, rubbing his eyes with the heels of his hands.  “Tetsu, could you possible come up with something to make me feel dumber, than I already do.”

Tetsuya was quiet for a moment, “I heard you propose marriage to Taiga.”

 

Chapter 11

If you want to see the battle between Kayura and Haizaki that is here.

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