(3 sentences who??? I’ll just take it to mean ‘short fics’ ghughg)
Taiga groaned as he leaned back against the wall of the alleyway, nursing a sore rib and hoping that Kuroko wouldn’t see him. He hasn’t really fought much since he moved to Japan, though street tussles were common enough in America that he wasn’t completely inexperienced. But it seemed that some guys from another school in the area had an issue with his face, or his voice, or his height, or /something/ that he had no way of controlling, and they’d decided to gang up on him.
He knows that there are people who don’t like him, for the sole reason that he is who he is. His father is rich, he’s athletically skilled, he has a nice apartment in the middle of the city. He doesn’t really blame anyone for their animosity, but he isn’t going to apologize for what he has either.
Bullies don’t take well to that attitude, it seems.
He doesn’t fight back, because he would never risk his spot on the team because of his hot temper. But he doesn’t fall to his knees, no matter how long they wail on him, and he meets their eyes the entire time. There’s ferocity in his gaze, even though he doesn’t move to meet their punches, and it doesn’t take long before the group is unnerved and scatters. Only when he’s alone does Taiga finally slump.
He’s used to this, in the physical sense and more. He had truly felt like he fit in at Seirin, moreso than any other school he’d been to in the past, but he knew that there was no way everybody would like him.
It doesn’t make it hurt any less when he saw the familiar Seirin uniform on students who rushed by in a hurry, not wanting to get involved. He tries not to let it bother him, and just hopes that the bruise he has on his midsection won’t affect practice tomorrow.
He needs another minute to breathe before he moves, though. He closes his eyes and focuses on ignoring the pain, silently using the hem of his shirt to carefully wipe the blood from his jaw.
The voice knocks him out of his thoughts, and he looks up to see a familiar face standing in front of him, handkerchief outstretched.
He blinks dumbly as he stares at Aomine Daiki, who looks incredibly bored as he holds out the cloth for him. It takes Taiga a moment to realize that he should actually take it, and he wipes his face and the dried blood from beneath his nose with muttered thanks.
“Geez, I don’t wanna see what the other guy looks like,” Aomine drawls when Taiga tries to draw himself up straight and winces. The redhead scowls at him, tossing the handkerchief back in his face.
“I wasn’t fighting,” he says harshly. Man, he had hoped Kuroko wouldn’t find out about this. Now that Aomine knows, it’s pretty much a guarantee that his little shadow will be worriedly following him around everywhere by the end of the week. Aomine side-eyes him, then hums.
“I don’t really care,” he says, sticking one finger in his ear. He’s quiet for a moment, and Taiga thinks he’ll just leave, but then he speaks again. “I already knew that anyways. You wouldn’t do something stupid like that.”
Taiga tilts his head to the side, eyeing Aomine and the bloody handkerchief that he’s folding to put back into his pocket. There’s a thin sheen of sweat on his face, and his breathing is carefully slow. Taiga remembers him mentioning that his house is somewhere around here, during one of their weekly one on ones. The handkerchief is light blue, lacy and monogrammed, and Kagami can’t help but smile.
Aomine would never step into a fight on his behalf. Taiga would be furious at him if he ever did, because he doesn’t need anyone to fight his battles for him. But Aomine, much like a stubborn stray cat, has his own ways of showing affection and concern, and after nearly three years of playing against one another, Taiga finally thinks he’s starting to figure them out.
He can’t help the smile that comes to his face.
“Well, not fighting has made me hungry,” he says with a painful stretch. He mostly doesn’t want to get jostled around on the train on the way home right now, and it would be a bit less busy in a few hours. “Wanna grab burgers?”
Aomine wrinkles his nose in that way that says he couldn’t be bothered, but Taiga spots the interest in his eyes, and he’s proud of himself because of it.
“You’re buying,” Aomine says finally, and Taiga rolls his eyes, but he knows Aomine will spot his own bill anyways.
He always does.