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By Kaios

Romance / Drama

SEIZE -- One-Shot

WARNINGS: Brief mentions of blood, self-harm. Attempted suicide.

The first time they had met was at the beginning of their first year of high school.

(Well, to be exact, it was the fifth month, but that didn't matter.)

Akashi had followed his usual schedule of things to do:
1. Wake up before the sun rises. Must always beat alarm clock.
2. Get up and going to school before anyone in the house rises. Must always beat residents.
3. Escape the clutches of butlers attempting to drop "Akashi-sama" off to school.
4. Train with his Rakuzan basketball team.
5. Observe his Rakuzan basketball team. Be sure to give advice. If not taken, death threats are always a welcomed option.
6. Order around his Rakuzan basketball team.
7. Train with his Rakuzan basketball team.
8. Ace his classes.
9. Give cold, indifferent glances to any fangirls.
10. Lunch.
11. Train his Rakuzan basketball team to death for the Inter-High.

Akashi looked out the window of the empty classroom. He was sitting at a corner table, student council paperwork piled up in front of him. The sun was setting, the sky a brilliant myriad of vermillion and gold. His eyes narrowed slightly with distaste.

He never liked sunsets.

Sighing lightly under his breath, Akashi gathered up the files, giving them a quick tap on the tabletop to even them, and promptly slipped them into his sidebag. It was more of a briefcase, he mused silently.

Time to get some fresh air.

Leather shoes tapping up the staircase, Akashi briefly whipped out a pair of keys to unlock the rooftop door -- but upon reaching out, his brows furrowed briefly.

The doorknob was covered with multiple scratches; evidently, someone had broken into the rooftop. That wasn't an uncommon occurrence, per se, but in Rakuzan high school?

Oh, the principal would tear someone's limbs off for damaging his private property.

Akashi stifled a smirk at the thought of the principal's angry and shocked face. Resting his calloused hands on the doorknob, he twisted it open silently, the cool metal being a refreshing, welcoming feeling against his overworked muscles.

(Not that he'd ever admit he overworked himself. He was absolute.)

Walking a few steps forward, Akashi shut the door behind him just as quietly and pushed his messy, scarlet tresses out of his closed eyes. He blinked a few times, the brightness of the sunset almost blinding. The view splayed before his eyes subsequently focused.

'Any student would have the reason to go home by now--'

Akashi's thoughts promptly froze, and his mind drew a blank as his throat ran dry at the sight in front of him.

Teal locks rustled in the wind, a baby blue that seemed mystical against the thick crimson spread out for the world to see. Body tilted, looking out from the corner of the rooftop, just enough to allow Akashi a view of his body and face--

He was beautiful.

Eyes that were as mystifying as his hair; rich, deep, endless pits of azure. But what was swirling in those depths?

Akashi's breath hitched. No, not because of the ethereal sight laid out before his eyes -- it was because that exact source of beauty was not behind the railing, but rather, in front. His skin was pale, nearly unnaturally so; knuckles turning even whiter as he gripped the cold iron behind him.

He was scared.

Visibly shivering in the wind, the mysterious boy was, perhaps, terrified. Of the world or of himself? Akashi wouldn't know. The boy closed his eyes, and inhaled deeply. His skin seemed to turn even paler.

The wind blew harshly, and somehow, it seemed to boost the boy's confidence. His knuckles loosened.

Imperceptibly, Akashi's eyes widened. A familiar colour flashed through his left eye, and before any thoughts registered in his head, his body was already moving. He lunged.

The unknown boy's legs began to quiver, feet slowly teetering off the edge. He twisted his body slightly, hearing the paced footsteps behind him and--

'Akashi Seijuurou.'

The familiar basketball team captain's name streaked through his mind, and his shoes finally slipped. Hesitation flashed through his sapphire eyes before a rare smile graced his lips, and his eyes softened in the last second as his fingers let go, almost painfully slow--

His arms extended out, and Akashi thought the boy looked akin to an angel unfurling its wings.

'Perhaps I should've stayed for the second string advancement test next year, after all.'

He fell.

Akashi's eyes widened as he watched the student's shoes tilt. The moment was so excruciatingly long it felt interminable, and Akashi's arms outstretched in an attempt to grab onto the falling male -- his determination mistakable for desperation.

Perhaps it was desperation.

The boy's gaze turned gentle and an oddly fond smile spread across his face. Akashi's breath hitched, and his hand finally reached the other's sleeve. His fingers touched the boy's for a seemingly perpetual second and then--

Akashi's Emperor eye flashed, and narrowed. He wouldn't be able to reach, but the most he could do--

Akashi let go of the railing, feet hooking outside the metal to keep him steady as he made one last attempt to grab. He managed to clip the male's arm, whose eyes widened in surprise. There was no way he'd be able to pull him back up without the chance of falling, so why--

Much to the falling boy's shock, the absolute captain of Rakuzan used all his strength to throw. Akashi pushed the boy, directing his fall towards the trees below, and the boy choked slightly from the force.

There was an unnatural, discernable streak of light blue opening up at the edge of the abyss of crimson aureolin. It looked misplaced, as if it were about to be devoured in the fiery sky.

He fell.

Akashi's legs moved on their own accord, and he sped down three flights of stairs. There was nobody in the vicinity to have seen the events that had taken place, and that only spurred him further. He grasped his phone, hastily dialing 119.

"This is Akashi Seijuurou speaking, and there's been an emergency at Rakuzan High School -- in the Kyoto prefecture -- a student has jumped off the rooftop of the three-story building..."

By the time the dispatcher had instructed to hang up, Akashi had already reached the bottom. He sprinted in the direction he had thrown the boy in, and sure enough, he was there, scraped from the several sakura tree branches. Akashi's eyes narrowed at the frail-looking body heaving, panting and bleeding. His legs were definitely beginning to swell, although luckily, they had not been twisted. No bones protruded his skin, Akashi noted in relief and satisfaction -- although there was scarlet seeping out of his scratches from the branches. It was now that the basketball captain realised that the boy was donning the Rakuzan basketball uniform -- however, he, the all-knowing captain, had never noticed such a figure on the court. His eyes narrowed slightly. It’d been an entire month, and he’d even memorised the now-third and second years before entering the school; he had believed himself to be familiar with all the club's members, first string or not. Gently raising the male's legs, Akashi propped them up on his bag to avoid further swelling. He gazed at the mysterious boy, whose unruly, powder blue locks were matted together with sweat, and a little blood. The redhead felt a slight tinge of remorse for scarring the beautiful face, but nonetheless, he was glad.

Did the boy hate basketball?

'More importantly, will he be able to play again after all this?'

Akashi's eyes hardened. He leaned over, whispering, his voice thick and full of authority, "stay awake."

The boy's face seemed to contort further in pain, a sign that he had heard. Akashi breathed, worried, and looked out the school gates. He could hear the ambulance in the distance.

"You'll be okay soon."

The male's face didn't relax.

'Of course. He wanted to die.'

Akashi watched as the ambulance arrived, and people rushed out. He followed them into the back of the ambulance, eyes never leaving the boy's slowly dying figure.

"We'll require a report on the events that took place..."

"If you could..."


" shock..."

Akashi's mind went a little hazy as he watched them administer emergency first aid. He wasn't aware of his surroundings, something extremely unusual for him. Perhaps he had overworked himself too much this time, and watching the boy's pained face slowly relax seemed to relieve something in him.

He blacked out a second after that. His last thought was:

'Yeah, I really don't like sunsets.'

"...overworked himself too much..."

"...only witness."

"...could be a suspect..."

"...waking up."

The tension was thick in the room as Akashi finally roused, his muscles sore. A rest was in order, it seemed, as much as he wished to deny it. However, his first thoughts as he awoke were not for himself.

"How is he?"

The words left his mouth before anything else registered, and all the occupants in the room were surprised at the display of selflessness.

Akashi himself was, too.

"Well, this certainly relieves the suspicion, doesn't it?" A nurse in the room commented, a gentle smile on her face. The doctors around hummed in agreement, and Rakuzan's famed student only blinked, attempting to clear up his mind. A doctor chuckled.

"You've been overworking yourself, evidently. Is school life tough on you, boy?"

"...Ah. I've been awake for three days straight."

"WHAT?" A nurse shrieked on the side, yelping slightly when the doctor turned his stern gaze on her.

"We can't have that," The doctor paused.

"Akashi Seijuurou."

"AKASHI?!" Another nurse exclaimed, and the doctor paid her no heed this time, his own eyes widening. He coughed, attempting to remain professional, and Akashi stifled the urge to roll his eyes.

"...Akashi-sama." The doctor finished. Akashi scoffed under his breath.

"Anywho, are you related to the boy in any way?"

"No. I met him on the rooftop."

"...I see." The doctor scribbled something on his clipboard. "He's an orphan, and we haven't been able to contact anybody."

Akashi's eyes narrowed in interest.

"Do you want to see him?" Another doctor chimed in, and the other glared at him slightly.

"A rest is due, and a doctor's assistant should be asking no such thi--"

"Yes, I would." Akashi interrupted, and the doctor frowned, whilst the other who offered smiled.


"I would like to see him," Akashi reiterated, voice sharp. His smile was like razor blades, and the room's temperature seemed to fall a couple of degrees as the party shivered.

"I-I understand. We'll wheel you over--"

"I will walk. I'm plenty rested now." Akashi stated, glancing out the window. It was already morning, which meant he had gotten at least twelve hours of sleep.

'Four and a half hours too many,' he noted with distaste as he slipped out from under the covers. He was well aware of the strain on his body, but with both the student council work and straightening up the Rakuzan team piled on his shoulders, he hadn’t been able to catch sufficient rest.

"I'll lead the way." The smiling doctor opened the door, gesturing for the redhead to follow. The other doctor mumbled under his breath, scribbling incessantly on his clipboard. Akashi shot him an icy smile before he left, the door closing behind him. A few nurses let out breaths they didn't realise they were holding.

"Can you believe that's Akashi-sama's son?!"

"Oh my god, he's so cute--"

"And probably loaded!"

"What I would give to ..."

Both Akashi and the doctor rolled their eyes at the commotion behind them. The doctor stopped in front of the door, and Akashi noted the hesitance on his face. He eyed the doctor's nametag with disinterest until he moved to open the door.

"Go ahead," the doctor said.

'He looks around our age,' Akashi mused, 'a doctor's assistant like Shintarou, huh.'

Akashi entered the room silently, the doctor following gingerly. His shoulders were tense, and Akashi pondered the relationship between the two as he walked over to the sleeping body.

"Do you know his name?"

"Huh?" The doctor yelped slightly, caught off-guard. He scratched his head in embarrassment when Akashi turned towards him, slight amusement glinting in his eyes.

"Uh. Kuroko Tetsuya. He... He's in a coma at the moment. The doctors stated that he'd be fine after a few days, and he'd probably wake up, but..."

The rest of his speech went unheard. Akashi knew Kuroko would be fine.

'Kuroko Tetsuya...'

Akashi leaned over to gaze at the male's sleeping face. The doctor quickly turned away, posture much too stiff.

"I-I'll be outside." He stammered, and it was only until Akashi heard the door slam did he move.

"Nn..." Kuroko's brows furrowed slightly and he let out a small whimper under his breath. Akashi brushed back a lock of angel blue hair. His expression relaxed slightly, and an unusual smile graced Akashi's features.


The name sounded sinfully sweet on his lips.

"Tetsuya, wake up soon."

It wasn't a request. It was a command.

"I'm waiting for you."

Akashi could tell that Kuroko's consciousness was barely there. His breathing was uneven, and he seemed to be struggling, trying to hear.

It seemed natural at the time to kiss the other boy on the forehead, and that was exactly what the infamous, icy captain of Rakuzan did before leaving the room.

There was something about Kuroko Tetsuya that seemed to make others gravitate towards him. Perhaps it was the mystery, the angelic appearance that made up the foundation of all that charm he inflicted on others -- or perhaps it was the striking baby blue hair and mistakenly fragile structure that were so alluring.

Akashi didn't know what had possessed him to visit the sleeping boy every day without fail. He had long since returned to school, and it had been a fortnight since the incident. He should've woken up a week ago, but much to the hospital and Akashi's dismay, he hadn't.

"Tetsuya, don't make me wait any longer."

An underlying plea.

What was it about this unconscious boy that attracted the absolute captain so much?

Akashi debated the question silently in his head until he noticed something strange out of the corner of his eye. Kuroko's breathing had become uneven, speeding up. His expression was pained, almost desperate -- his brows furrowed, lips drawn together in a tight line, and eyes squeezed shut. A thin sheen of sweat coated his forehead, and his chest began rising up and down rapidly. Akashi's eyes widened, his left eye burning painfully as he towered over the teal-haired boy.

Kuroko was hyperventilating in his sleep.

His heart rate on the monitor began to palpitate dangerously, and Akashi's heart lurched slightly.

Then, silence--

--and a long, long beep.

Kuroko wasn't breathing.

Akashi miraculously stayed calm. The doctors would be here soon, but in those seconds, something could happen to cause the boy he had somehow grown fond of to never wake up again--

--that hesitance that had showed in his eyes before he fell--

--didn't that prove he would rather be alive?

But if he didn't get a chance to wake anymore--

Those thoughts spurred something inside him, and he leaned down, pressing his lips to Kuroko's cold ones. He exhaled, giving Kuroko air, before leaning back and pumping his chest.

"Tetsuya, wake up."

There was a sliver of desperation in Akashi's voice, and he shocked himself, but nonetheless continued giving air to the dying boy -- and slowly, but surely, he began to feel Kuroko's heartbeat again. The doctors burst into the room, panicked, only to see the heir to the Akashi corporation's lips locked onto the patient's. Every staff member froze, only to realise that Akashi had saved the boy -- and they instantly rushed over.

"Akashi-sama, you did an amazing job."

"Let us take it from here."

"Oh my god, he's still breathing... Thank god. Thank you, Akashi-sama."

Akashi watched with hidden concern as they moved around the frail body. A sudden exclamation snapped him out of his thoughts.

"Is he--"

"I think he's waking up!"

"Quick! Get some water!"

Akashi instantly stood up, walking over almost tentatively. His breath hitched as Kuroko's eyelids fluttered open weakly, deep azure orbs focusing and unfocusing.

"A-Aka... shi... Sei... j-juurou." Kuroko croaked out, and a nurse flew into the room carrying a glass of water.

"H-here," she panicked, handing the glass to the doctor. Akashi helped sit Kuroko up, careful not to brush against his injured legs.

"What..." Kuroko whispered, but winced. Despite the hospital equipment and nourishment, he felt terribly dehydrated; the inside of his throat like sandpaper.

"Can you drink?" Akashi's voice did wonders to the built-up tension in Kuroko's body, and the latter relaxed unknowingly. He attempted to move his arms, but to his dismay, they were sore and didn't move how he wanted them to.

"Uh... No." Kuroko mumbled, embarrassed at his disability. Akashi stifled a chuckle, taking the glass out of the doctor's hands, "want me to hold it for you whilst you drink?"

Fear flashed through Kuroko's eyes briefly, and he hesitated, "Uhm..."

'Scared of choking...'

Akashi shook his head slightly, snapping Kuroko out of his trance, and before the latter could say a word, Akashi downed some water and pressed his lips onto the other's. Kuroko's eyes widened, and a few nurses and doctors around let out scandalised gasps. Akashi pulled away once the water had been delivered, and Kuroko promptly choked. Akashi rubbed his back soothingly.


"You sound better now that you've drank some," Akashi nodded in satisfaction. Kuroko shot him a glare.

"You're rude."

"Me? Rude?" Akashi raised a brow in disbelief. Nobody had ever called the heir to Akashi Corps rude before.

"Sorry to interrupt your moment, but uh..." One of the doctors had red tinted cheeks at the bold display of affection, to which Kuroko vehemently protested to--

"It's not a moment, there's nothing between us..."

--but was briefly ignored.

"Kuroko-san, during the incident, both tibias were completely shattered. You landed on your legs, which could be considered lucky, and amazingly, there were no bones protruding upon the landing. However, due to the way you landed, your left leg will take slightly longer to heal. Your femurs have suffered several fractures, and your right humerus suffered a break. However, the break was quite clean, and the bone will be sure to return stronger than before." The doctor finished. "The police will be coming after you've recovered enough to leave the hospital to hear a recount of the incident."

Kuroko visibly tensed slightly before relaxing. "I understand."

"It'll be a mere four months for you to be up and moving, we presume. You're extremely lucky, boy."

"...Or perhaps unlucky," Kuroko mumbled under his breath, just loud enough for Akashi's ears only. The latter narrowed his eyes, and turned his gaze on the other members in the room. The room's thick tension instantly returned.

"I-- we'll leave you two alone for now whilst we prepare some nourishment," a doctor stammered, and the others nodded quickly -- too quickly -- and they filed out of the room. The door slammed.

"Akashi-kun?" Kuroko's voice prompted Akashi to channel his fiery stare on him instead. Kuroko didn't even flinch as his classmate's stare bore into him.

"Why did you send them out?" Kuroko asked slowly, although his tone portrayed no hint of a question. A rare smirk spread across Akashi's face. This boy was not someone to be taken lightly, it seemed.

"Why did you jump?"

Instantly, Kuroko tensed. His eyes glazed over, in an almost guarded way, and his posture grew stiff.

"Kuroko Tetsuya."

"...Just Tetsuya is fine. I thought you'd continue calling me that."

"Ah, so you were conscious enough to remember, after all."

A pretty blush dusted Kuroko's cheeks. Akashi's smirk widened, a predatory glint in his eye, as if he were a fox toying with his prey.

"So I'm sure you remember... Everything else, too?" Akashi leaned in, whispering softly into Kuroko's ear. The latter only reddened even more.


Akashi kissed Kuroko on the forehead again gently before pulling back.

"I'm kidding. I won't bully you whilst you're injured."

"You've already violated me." Kuroko huffed lightly, and Akashi chuckled.

'Oh, he laughed...' Kuroko watched Akashi with slight wonder. He had never seen the captain laugh, not even once, the whole year at school.


"Y-yes?" Kuroko mentally berated himself for spacing out. Akashi's eyes softened, before he seemed to perk up again, remembering something. Kuroko tilted his head in curiousity.

"I've never seen you at school before."

"Ah, yes. I have an extreme lack of presence. I don't think anybody other than the principal is aware that I exist... Actually, with the principal, it's a little hard to tell, too."

Akashi frowned slightly. Nothing ever went unnoticed in his eyes -- much less a person.

"I've never seen Captain Akashi this expressive," Kuroko added, his voice light like a jest. Amusement danced in his usually blank eyes. Akashi raised a brow.

"It seems that Tetsuya is the cause for my overexpressiveness. Would you do me a favour of tuning it down a bit?"

"No. I don't know how." Kuroko shot back flatly, and Akashi grinned.

"Then I guess I'm stuck like this."

"You could leave me."

"Not happening." Akashi responded instantly, and Kuroko's lips upturned slightly.

"I'm going to be stuck by your side whether you like it or not, even after you've made your complete recovery."

"Why?" Kuroko's smile didn't falter.

"Because," Akashi leaned in, a hand brushing against Kuroko's pale cheek, making the latter shiver slightly, "I want to get to know you."

"All of you."

"Good morning, Tetsuya."

"Akashi-kun. Hello."

The two exchanged their usual pleasantries.

"It seems you'll be dismissed by the end of this week. Albeit, in a wheelchair."

"So it seems. I look forward to troubling you." Kuroko said, his tone light and teasing. A devious smile spread across Akashi's lips, as he towered over Kuroko, who tensed but tried his best to look relaxed.

It was their usual game.

"Oh, but Tetsuya would never come off as a trouble to me," he said huskily, eyes half-lidded in a dangerously seductive manner.

"A-Akashi-kun, too clo--"

As per usual, Akashi would've moved away and teased Kuroko for his loss -- but oh, this time, he craved a change; and he always got what he wanted. Akashi closed the distance between their lips, and Kuroko's eyes widened in shock, letting out a small gasp.

That was Akashi's chance to slip his tongue in, and Kuroko's flush deepened. Their tongues intertwined, and after a minute, Kuroko pushed the redhead away, covering his mouth with the back of his hands. He couldn't look him in the eyes.

"A-Akashi-k-kun, I couldn't breathe--"

"Then don't." Akashi whispered against his ear, making Kuroko flinch lightly.

"Tetsuya, don't be afraid of me."

There was a well-concealed concern lacing his words.

'How stupid of him to worry.' The thought ran through Kuroko's mind as he reached out, caressing Akashi's cheek lightly before wrapping his arms around the back of his neck and pulling him in for another light kiss, "I'd never."

Akashi smiled against Kuroko's lips, and wrapped his arms around the latter's waist.


Kuroko continued reading the novel that Akashi had brought him, "yes, Midorima-san?"

Midorima-san was Kuroko's personal doctor -- one that Akashi had appointed, himself. He was a man in his forties, with forest green locks and similarly coloured eyes that were currently observing his patient with merriment.

"If you'd like to put your precious book down for a second, I have some great news. You'll be dismissed tomorrow morning, whenever Seijuurou-kun arrives."

Kuroko's eyes lit up, and he instantly raised his head. Midorima chuckled before turning solemn again.

"And, the police will be expecting a recount by the end of next week, whichever day you see fit. Seijuurou-kun, of course, will accompany you."

Kuroko's eyes darkened slightly, before he returned to his usual blank expression. He nodded, "okay."


Kuroko tilted his head in question.

"I wish you and Seijuurou-kun the best."

A smile ghosted over Kuroko's lips.

Kuroko turned to the side in his sleep, a sign he was about to wake up. His pale arm flew to his eyes, successfully shielding himself from the sun. Akashi watched in amusement as Kuroko let out a strangled groan under his breath, not wanting to wake up. The mysterious, horrendous bedhair that he always had only served to make the sight even more comical.


"Akashi-kun," Kuroko mumbled in response, rubbing his eyes. He sat up slowly before gazing at his captain through half-opened eyes. Akashi chuckled, reaching over to fix up Kuroko's hair.

"Your bedhead is magnificent as usual."

"Please stop speaking." Kuroko responded flatly, still waking up. A grin tugged at the corners of Akashi's lips as he reached for the brush on the bedside table.

"Are you prepared for a month in a wheelchair?"

"...Yes." Kuroko sighed softly. Akashi kissed him on the forehead, placing the brush back down.

"I'll bring it in."


Akashi left, albeit not before pressing the button to call for a doctor beforehand. He walked back in with the wheelchair, Midorima trailing after with his trusty clipboard and pen, which he handed to Kuroko.

"Here are the papers for his release."

"Am I an animal?" Kuroko chimed in, and the three shared a small laugh. Midorima ruffled Kuroko's hair lightly.

"Don't get injured out there and end up in here again, alright?"

"I won't." Kuroko nodded, and Akashi reached for him, picking him up carefully and slipping him into the wheelchair.

"Will he require crutches or leg casts?"

"No, he won't. He'll be fine walking without them. It'll be good to get those muscles working after a while, and his right arm will definitely be healed by then. It'll be much stronger than before."

"That's good," Akashi commented as Kuroko returned the clipboard and pen back to his personal doctor, "shall we go, Tetsuya?"

"We shall," Kuroko echoed playfully. Midorima's eyes softened whilst watching the two of them, and he waved them out of the room.

It would be lonely in the hospital again.

'...Maybe I should get Kazunari injured so he and Shintarou would spend time here--'

The elder Midorima instantly shook his head to dispel the thought with a dry chuckle.

"Akashi-kun, you'll get tired soon. Even if you're the captain of the basketball team."

"I will not."

"You will."

"I won't."


"--won't." Akashi cut off smoothly, successfully ending the conversation. Kuroko rolled his eyes.

"How has the basketball club been faring?"

That was a slightly sore topic for Akashi. He had never been fond of the fact that nobody ever questioned Kuroko's missing figure -- he knew he couldn't chastise them, for he would've been the same -- and Kuroko knew it, and he smiled softly.

"It's okay, Akashi-kun. Have you all been preparing for winning the Winter Cup, again?"

"Yes. And, Tetsuya... Are you going to return to basketball?"

Kuroko hesitated, and Akashi let out a small sigh under his breath.

"Akashi-kun... Take me home first."

"You're coming to my house. I've already arranged for your belongings to be moved to my residence."

"Huh?" This instantly grabbed Kuroko's attention, and his head whipped up to stare at the redhead in confusion.

"I'm not leaving you alone at your house, Tetsuya." Akashi raised a brow, as if daring the boy to defy him. Kuroko bit back a smile.

"I'd rather not be a bother," he protested, knowing it was futile. Akashi rolled his eyes.

"And you know that you'd never be such to me." He declared, confident. Kuroko's eyes softened fondly.

"Yes, I know, Akashi-kun. Thank you."

The response seemed to catch Akashi by surprise, because he turned his head away. Kuroko noticed the slight red tint on his cheeks, and a smile spread across his lips.

"Akashi-kun... Are you embarrassed?" He teased lightly, and the male in question didn't turn his head.


"Really? Look over here."

Akashi turned his head and walked to the front of the wheelchair, leaning down. His left eye flashed gold; a sign of his other persona intertwining with his own, Kuroko had learned over the past three months -- although both loved seducing him just as much as the other. Unsurprisingly, they both treasured him just as much. Both were Akashi Seijuurou -- easily differentiated through the varied pronouns, eye colour and mannerisms -- and Kuroko wouldn't have it any other way. Akashi's forehead bumped against Kuroko's, his voice low, sweet and laced with poison--

"You've gotten awfully cheeky, haven't you, Tetsuya?"

"It takes one to know one," Kuroko countered, pale cheeks reddening at the proximity.

"Hah... Looks like someone wants punishment." Akashi smirked, and without further delay, he leaned in and bit Kuroko's neck. The skin broke instantly, and Kuroko let out a small whimper as Akashi licked the wound, making sure it closed before pulling away.

"Akashi-kun... Let's go home."

"Oh? Eager to continue? We couldn't do much in the hospital, after all--"

"Akashi-kun!" Kuroko interrupted, shooting the said male a small glare. He only flashed a deceptively charming smile in response.

The rest of the trip to Akashi's house was spent exchanging jests.

"Akashi... kun..." Kuroko trailed off, before adding jokingly, "Akashi-sama?"

"Stop that." Akashi commanded, not missing a beat. The two shared a chuckle. Akashi walked up to the magnificent ebony gates and scanned his eye before pressing a button on the wall.

"This is the Akashi residence."

"This is Seijuurou."

There was a pause where they must have been checking the surveillance cameras.

"The one with you?"

"I already informed Father of his arrival. He is my classmate."

"...The gates will be opening shortly."

As promised, the gates began to open, and Akashi wheeled Kuroko in. Kuroko took in his surroundings with wonder, "your mansion is beautiful. Uh, maybe palace is a more fitting word."

As an afterthought, he cheekily mumbled, "Akashi-sama."


"Yes, yes, Akashi-kun. I won't do it again."

Akashi bit back a smile at the exasperated tone Kuroko had taken.

"Glad you know."

"Tyrant." Kuroko muttered softly, and Akashi leaned over to nudge Kuroko playfully.

"What did you call me?"


"If you were to call me lovely, I believe I pale in comparison to how loveable you are."

"A-Akashi-kun..." Kuroko sighed, covering his face, "I can't believe you can say something so embarrassing."

"You say worse things."

"...Perhaps." Kuroko admitted, his face the picture of innocence.

"I really want to kiss you right now, but there are surveillance cameras all around, and I'll have to... Exchange pleasantries with my father before I get the opportunity to ravish you in my mansion, unfortunately."


If Kuroko had felt embarrassed before, he was about to explode now. But, one thing caught his attention: "...What do you mean exchange pleasantries?"

Akashi hummed in approval. He knew his Tetsuya would be able to pick up on that.

"My father isn't the kindest of people."

"I've heard."

Akashi raised a brow at that, and Kuroko continued, "the first string chatters, Akashi-kun. And with my low presence, it's no surprise they don't notice me around."

Akashi mentally made a note to talk to his team starters.


Akashi looked down at Kuroko, who had a frown on his face. "Please reiterate."

The redhead sighed, "Tetsuya, would you rather hear it from me now, or see everything in action when we get inside?"

The bittersweet smile on Akashi's face tore Kuroko's heart apart.

"...Akashi-kun," Kuroko twisted his upper body to look at the redhead, who stopped moving, "it's amazing how much faith I have in you. It's more than I've ever had in anyone, and that scares me a little. This is all your fault. You're expecting me to keep this faith in you, whereas you aren't willing to tell me something important straight from yourself. Instead, you're giving me a painfully sarcastic option to watch you get hurt before my eyes whilst I remain clueless."

Akashi's eyes widened, and his smile turned gentle.

"I think that's the first time I've heard you speak so much."

Kuroko huffed lightly under his breath.

"Because Akashi-kun is an idiot."

"Oh?" Akashi's tone was challenging, and Kuroko gave him a wry smile. Akashi began moving the wheelchair forward again.

'Akashi-kun won't apologise.'

"Tetsuya," Akashi paused slightly, unsure, "I'm sorry."

The speed in which Kuroko's expression morphed from impassive to shocked was comical, and Akashi bit back a laugh.

"...I'm trying to be serious here, Tetsuya, and you're not making it easy with that face of yours. Close your mouth."

Kuroko didn't even realise his jaw had dropped, and he quickly shook his head, powder blue locks bouncing, to dispel the awe, "Sorry, Akashi-kun."

"That's fine. But, Tetsuya... I'm, well. Apologetic. I am repenting for my words."

"...You don't have to say it that formally, Akashi-kun. What century are we living in?"

"I am remorseful."

"Just say you're sorry. You said it less than a minute ago."

"It's humiliating."

"I believe I deserve to humiliate you after all the mortification I've received, Akashi-kun. Don't you think it's a little unfair?"

"You signed yourself up for this the moment you made a move on me."

Kuroko's expression was incredulous.

"I made a move on you?"

"Yes, you pulled me down with your arms wrapped around the back of my neck and you pressed your lips to mine--"

"Okay. Okay, I can do without the visual, Akashi-kun."

"That's too bad, Tetsuya. I would've gone even further."

"I know." Kuroko's cheeks were painted pink, and he glanced back in front of him, "Ah--"

The words died in his throat.

The Akashi residence was definitely not something to be trifled with, if the size counted for anything. Now that they were right in front of the door, Kuroko felt like an ant in comparison.

"...You come home to this every day."

Akashi hummed in agreement, and Kuroko looked around with wide eyes.

"This... Is really something. It's beautiful."

"Yes, it is. My mother was the one who decided the design."

There was a subtle trace of grief in his tone, and Kuroko glanced up, turning his head to see that Akashi's crimson eyes were wistful. He wasn't looking at what was in front of him at all, but rather, something else that nobody could see.

"I want to know you," Kuroko blurted out, surprising both of them. He had a blush on his face at his own sudden demand. "I want to know everything about you, Akashi-kun. All of you."

Akashi's smile was soft, fond, and so gentle that it made Kuroko's heart ache.

"Didn't I say this to you before?"

"Yes. Three months ago. I'm taking your words for myself, too."

"...Then we'd better start working on it soon, hmm?" Akashi chuckled. The two shared a quiet, heartfelt moment smiling at each other before they carefully forced their faces to turn neutral as footsteps approached.

"Seijuurou-sama. Kuroko-sama. Akashi-sama expects you two up in an hour. In the meantime, we will unpack Kuroko-sama's luggage that arrived earlier today whilst Seijuurou-sama gives Kuroko-sama a tour around the mansion. Please choose a room, Kuroko-sama." A butler bowed, gazing at the pair.

Akashi looked down just in time to see Kuroko's expression turn guarded.

"That won't be necessary. Tetsuya will have plenty of time to tour the mansion in the time that he stays here. We will unpack, ourselves."

"But, Seijuurou-sama--"

"We will unpack, ourselves." Akashi's voice turned cold, and his heterochromatic eyes burned into the butler's. "Do you understand, Kazuki-san?"

Oh no.

It was an infamous rule in the Akashi residence that, if Seijuurou-sama applied an honourific after one's name, it was back down or be slaughtered mercilessly.

"Y... Yes." Kazuki swallowed, bowing once more, "I'm terribly sorry for my insolence. However, please allow us to unload the boxes to the room of Kuroko-sama's preference."

"Yes, that will do."

"Thank you," Kuroko added quietly.

'The hold Akashi-kun has over others is immeasurable. Is his father even more intimidating?'

"Tetsuya, my room has a separate compartment that I've never put to use. It is akin to a guest room, separated from mine with a sliding shoji door."

"I would love to stay there, Akashi-kun."

Akashi eyed the butler, who seemed to want to protest, but decided against it and bowed deeply, "understood."

The butler left, and Akashi wheeled Kuroko up the stairs with surprising strength. He went up four flights of stairs before stopping, "my room is on this floor."

"A-Akashi-kun, are you really not tired?"

"This pales in comparison to the training that I go through for basketball, Tetsuya." Akashi murmured amusedly, fondness seeping through his tone at Kuroko's genuine concern.

"...Okay." Kuroko didn't pursue the subject. Akashi arrived at a decorated shoji door, and he slid it open to reveal a beautiful room of crimson, gold and ebony. The walls were fire and darkness intertwining, with a blood red pattern twisting across the room; a sakura tree with branches flaring outwards, flowers in full bloom. Overlapping with the sakura branches was a magnificent, golden dragon; wings unfurled and spread out gloriously. How the designs were so intricate was beyond Kuroko, but Akashi-sama had definitely lived up to his expectations. His bed was jet-black, the fluffy, silk blankets adorned with a few diamonds scattered across the thin, glittering silver lines that splayed around elegantly. A polished African Blackwood desk was in a corner, a gold pattern winding across. The closets, wardrobes and other pieces of furniture were designed similarly, with designs variating between scarlet, maize and platinum. Kuroko supposed the neighbouring compartment followed the same pattern.

As if following Kuroko's gaze to the shoji door, Akashi smiled softly, grasping Kuroko's hand briefly. "That room will not be able to be used tonight. Stay with me."


"I've ordered for it to be repainted and for new furniture to come in, but it seems that it'll take a day at most."

"You didn't have to do that."

"I'd pull the moon down to the earth for you if I noticed you even thinking about it, Tetsuya."

Kuroko hid his flushed face in his long sleeves, and Akashi chuckled.

"I suppose I'll have to settle for staying here, then. Thank you for taking care of me." Kuroko bowed (surprisingly naturally in his wheelchair). Akashi's gaze softened, and he picked Kuroko up, placing him gently on his bed before sitting next to him and taking his hand once more.

"I'll tell you about my father, and everything that happened between us."

Kuroko's breath hitched slightly, and he gave Akashi's hand a light squeeze.


"...We were a happy family, once." Akashi's eyes were nostalgic, and he suddenly felt so distant. Their intertwined hands were the only proof Kuroko had that Akashi was still by his side, and suddenly, he wished he could do an awful lot more for the redhead who'd become such a significant part of his life.

"I loved my mother dearly. I was her only child, and I still am. She was the only support I had during the times my father drove me to work as hard as I could -- as the heir, I was obligated to succeed. And then, before I turned eleven, the world flipped around for me."

Akashi paused, swallowing.

"My mother died."

His hand grew somewhat colder, and Kuroko tightened his grip. Any words of comfort died in his throat. All he would, could do was listen.

"She was the one who showered me with attention and affection. I spent all my free time with her, whilst playing basketball. She died from an incurable disease -- her body had turned vulnerable after childbirth, and although she was strong, her immune system wasn't strong enough to repel sickness after giving birth to me anymore. The task was too strenuous for her body to take, and she had begun deteriorating. I was there when she died, Kuroko," Akashi's eyes were wide, almost crazed as he continued, "she passed right in front of my eyes. Behind her was the blood red sunset."

Kuroko's throat was painfully dry.

"My father grew stricter on me. He said that, in order to be the heir to his business, I'd have to master every skill. The more I mastered, the more I was given."

"You were younger than eleven."

"I was," Akashi agreed, "but 'age doesn't mean anything in the world of business', so my father believes. I had been able to speak as a five year old could upon turning a year old, and that only further reinforced my father's point to push business onto me at an early age. I began learning the ways of ruling a nation when I was four. He raised me believing that friendships and relationships were unnecessary -- to grow close only with those who’re worthy, useful. Not expendable, every day people. And that one day, I'd grow to marry a woman I didn't love for the sake of our, his company."


The thought only further fueled Kuroko's anger.

"When I graduated from elementary, I decided to go to Teikou middle school. Their motto was 'ever-victorious', with the kanji 'a hundred matches, a hundred victories'. It was the perfect school for someone like me," Akashi's tone turned bitter, "and my father agreed. I joined the basketball club, of course. I was put into first string directly after the tryouts."

Kuroko swallowed, slightly envious.

"It was only natural, seeing how gifted I was in basketball. I was in a team with four other freshmen: Murasakibara Atsushi, Midorima Shintarou, Kise Ryouta and Aomine Daiki. Yes, Shintarou is Midorima's son." Akashi added at the flash of recognition in Kuroko's azure orbs. "We were called--"

"The Generation of Miracles," Kuroko cut in, eyes wide with understanding, "you five were the famed Generation of Miracles."

Akashi's smile was crooked. "That's right. Our abilities began developing too quickly -- they were our strengths, as well as our weaknesses. Our bodies could not handle them. Daiki was the one who began to develop first, and he could not handle the pain that came with it. He loved basketball." Akashi's tone was laced with contempt, and Kuroko's gaze turned melancholy.

"But, he was too strong. And he lost that love because every opponent groveled and gave up before him. The ultimate motto of Teikou made winning a necessity, a natural feat that we performed every single game."

Akashi's left eye bled into orange-gold.

"And basketball became nothing more than a chore." He let out a small, self-deprecating laugh, and Kuroko chewed his lip, and Akashi's gaze suddenly focused on him. He leaned in, eyes fiery and so full of pain and disgust--

'...Disgust at himself?'

Touching foreheads, Akashi's mismatching eyes shone with a million different emotions, and his voice was low, venomous, menacing--

"Do you want to know how I became like this?"

"Yes," Kuroko answered without hesitation, squeezing their intertwined hands for comfort and confirmation, "I do."

"The head coach collapsed and ended up in hospital. The assistant coach couldn't handle how driven for victory we were, how mechanical we were on the court," the words spilled out and Akashi found that he couldn't stop anymore, "us, the Generation of Miracles, were starting to grow too powerful. Daiki began skipping practice, and Atsushi wished to do the same. He said that he didn't desire to follow someone weaker than him."

Akashi very nearly spat the words out, and spite glittered in his orbs.

"It was first to five baskets. He scored four, and I couldn't do a thing. Then, that was when I decided to take over." Akashi raised his left arm, his right hand still occupied with Kuroko's. He placed his hand over the left side of his face, a malicious smirk stretching across his features.

"The Emperor Eye awakened that day, and I scored five baskets in a row. However, I saw no necessity to force someone to attend practice -- Atsushi could skip practice all he wanted as long as he surpassed his quota every game. Getting Daiki back was too troublesome of a thought to pursue. My father never noticed a single thing." Akashi's smile was frosty. "That was when he began pushing me even harder to learn about business. Although he didn't say it, I knew he wanted me to quit basketball. To quit the only thing that ever connected my mother and I. But if he wanted me to do that, he'd have to kill me first."

Akashi let out a small laugh, and Kuroko swallowed down the strong abhorrence he felt for Akashi's father. Akashi lowered his hand, the detest visible in his expression.

"We finished our third Nationals with a score of 111-11. The opponent was too weak."

It was then that Kuroko's eyes widened, and his grip on Akashi's hand loosened. His blood ran cold, and a chill ran down his spine. The tension was high, much too high, to the point of suffocating.

Kuroko couldn't breathe.

"We all split up to go to different high schools -- but not before participating in an oath to battle each other, to determine the strongest and to ensure that there was nobody who would ever be stronger."

"I-I knew it."

Akashi looked at him curiously. He had not accounted for this sudden behaviour.

"I didn't want to believe it, but I--"


"Akashi-kun... Do you remember the name of the school you beat in the third Nationals?"

"Meikou Junior High."

"Do you remember the ace's name?"


"..." Kuroko's lips drew into a thin line. Akashi was shocked to see his eyes glisten with something reminiscent of unshed tears.


"Akashi-kun, is your story finished?"


Kuroko hesitated, but his fingers tightened around Akashi's once more.

"You asked me why I jumped."

Akashi's breath hitched.

"...Akashi-kun. That ace was... My childhood friend, you could say. Someone who encouraged me every time I played basketball, the one who taught me the basics. His name is Ogiwara Shigehiro-kun. We had a mutual goal of making it to the Nationals with our teams, and of course, the Inter-Highs and Winter Cups in high school. We would give every game our very best, and we would fight against each other."

Akashi's eyes narrowed at the fondness in Kuroko's voice. Somewhere, in the back of his mind, he recognised the name.

"...But, I didn't make it to the Nationals with him." Kuroko let out a small, bitter laugh that the redhead found he didn't want to hear anymore. Kuroko's eyes turned cold, like shards of ice that pierced through one's soul.

"I'm a useless player in terms of basketball. I didn't make it to first string, I didn't make it to second. I remained in third string throughout the whole of Junior High. I stayed behind every day to practice, from afternoon to night, in the less-used gyms; but no matter how much I practiced, I didn't improve. I couldn't shoot. I studied how to shoot in basketball -- the posture, the movement -- but it never worked. I rarely succeeded."

Akashi soaked in his words with curiousity.

'Someone who practices relentlessly each day to have no results show?'

"I didn't attend Ogiwara-kun's match that day. I was too bitter," Kuroko's voice turned wistful with a tint of agitation, "and he had a magnificent loss."

Kuroko's gaze turned on Akashi. His eyes were cold, cold, cold and it hurt to have that gaze resting on him.

"That day, I got a call. From one of Ogiwara-kun's teammates. He said that had I attended, perhaps they would've won. Ogiwara-kun had looked for me during the break, looked for me in the crowd whilst they played. I should've gone. I should've been there to cheer for him."

Akashi wanted to say that no matter who had cheered for him, whether it be his closest friend or not, Teikou never would've lost. But seeing that face and that voice, any protests died in his throat.

"His teammate blamed you for their loss." Akashi's scarlet eyes narrowed.

"At least he would've been able to perform at his best, even against players like you."

It was then that Akashi realised -- all the hatred, the disgust and the bitterness in Kuroko's gaze were not directed at him, not even the sliver that he had thought to be. They were all purely aimed at himself. He genuinely despised himself for not attending.

'How can someone be so selfless?'

"It's my fault that Ogiwara-kun quit basketball. And subsequently, it's also my fault that he sunk into depression. I wasn't even there the time that he tried to cut his life away," Kuroko choked on the words, tears threatening to spill, "when he left his wrists to paint the bathtub scarlet."

Akashi's tensed in surprise. He hadn't expected that.

His throat was painfully dry. He felt like it was burning as he watched a tear slip down pale cheeks.

"He tried his best. His team tried his best. They wanted the opportunity to win, and you tore that from him. You played with him. Whose idea was it?" Kuroko's voice turned desperate, "it wasn't yours, Akashi-kun, I know it wasn't yours. Why?"

Then, he calmed down.

"...I know very well there's no point to asking anymore."

"Kise Ryouta."

"..." Kuroko's eyes narrowed, but more from pain and regret than anger.

"We will verse him in the upcoming Winter Cup, Tetsuya."

Akashi didn't miss the brief determination that flashed through Kuroko's eyes.

"There's no way I can participate. I'm useless to the team, remember?"

"Tetsuya, no player is useless to the team. Trust in me that I will uncover your potential. You interest me."

"Akashi-kun, no matter how absolute you are, this is one thing that crosses the line. I may not have the potential you are seeking, much less be able to perform to your expectations in four months."

"Daiki has a rule," Akashi's tone was nostalgic, "to never give up. 'I can't guarantee a definite win if I don't give up', he always said, 'but if I give up, there'll be nothing left.'"

Kuroko's eyes widened slightly, and he let out a light laugh.

Or was it a sob?

"I wish I had gone to Teikou. Maybe you all would've saved me before I had done this." Kuroko gestured to himself, "maybe you all would've changed me before I had given up on myself."

"You haven't given up on yourself, Tetsuya. I haven't either."

"I jumped, Akashi-kun."

"Don't take me lightly, Tetsuya. Did you think that I wouldn't recognise the hesitation? The determination that shone through when I mentioned Ryouta?"


"You will not give up on yourself."

"I really should've gone to Teikou."

Kuroko's strangled laugh would haunt Akashi all the way to his dreams that night.

It was much too broken for someone so young.

...But then again, wasn't he the same?

"Seijuurou-sama, your father requests your and Kuroko-sama's presences in his study."

"I understand. Tetsuya, let's go."

"Yes, Akashi-kun."

The two followed the butler up a flight of stairs, to where Akashi's father's office was situated. The butler bowed as Akashi dismissed him. Kuroko took a deep breath, and Akashi smiled softly at him.

"Tetsuya, breathe. I will handle all of this."

"I know you will, Akashi-kun. That's why I'm nervous, because I do not plan to let you handle everything yourself."

Akashi looked surprised at that, and he chuckled lightly before patting Kuroko on the head.

"You really are precious."


"Let's enter."


The redhead knocked on the door, and Kuroko caught a glimpse of his face. Akashi's eyes were glassy and devoid of any emotion -- it pained the shorter male to see him like this.

"Come in."

Akashi opened the door slowly, and it slid open soundlessly and without protest. They entered the room, Kuroko uncomfortably stiff in his wheelchair.

"Seijuurou. Kuroko Tetsuya, I presume."

"Yes." Kuroko affirmed quietly, not at all surprised at how the man noticed his presence immediately. His aura simply seeped authority and knowledge. It'd be a lie to say he wasn't intimidated.


"Father, this is Kuroko Tetsuya. As you know, he will be staying with us."

"Why did you jump?"

"Excuse me?" Kuroko blurted out, half frozen with indignation. Akashi simply stared at his own father in disbelief.

"Answer me."

"Father, he has no obligation to answer such."

"He will be residing in my house."

"I was not aware you used such petty reasons to exploit another's personal issues."

The air was painfully constricting, thick and stifling. Akashi's father's voice was noticeably strained as he responded, "Seijuurou, your manner has become less refined and more distasteful over these three months."

"Father," an icy smile slipped over the heir's lips, "your disposition has become lacking in courtesy these ten years. Is this how you manage your business conglomerate daily? I find it difficult to believe that there have been no complaints filed in."

Oh, that was undoubtedly a big blow to the older Akashi's pride. He was very well aware of the secretive complaints littered across every workplace he took charge of. Even his business partners were beginning to get sick of all his suffocating rules. The room grew silent, temperature seemingly dropping several degrees. Kuroko resisted the urge to fidget nervously.

"...Seijuurou, you are now dismissed. Leave."

It was an order that Akashi took in stride, an insufferable smirk on his lips. He didn't bother to cover it.

"Goodbye, father."

Akashi wheeled Kuroko out of the room, and the same butler approached them.

"Lunch is downstairs, if you'd like...?"

"Very well."

Akashi glanced at the wheelchair, seemingly debating something. Kuroko tilted his head, but no more than a second or two later, he was being lifted by strong, muscular yet lean arms. Instinctively, he clutched Akashi's shirt.


"Bringing the wheelchair down and up again is much too troublesome. Deal with this for now."

"...Akashi-kun... Fine."

Akashi's smirk never left his face as he carried the boy (who was trying so desperately to hide his blush) down. The butler followed, bringing the wheelchair back to their bedroom.

"Seijuurou-sama, your father requests your presence."

Akashi looked up from the shogi board, his hand poised mid-air with a shogi piece.


Placing the pawn down with calculated precision, his eyes narrowed, and the young butler shuddered.

"...I'll be up in a minute or so."

"H-he requested for you to be up straight aw--"

"I'll be up in a minute or so. You are dismissed." Akashi stated calmly, which only made it all the more frightening. The butler felt a chill down his spine, and he bowed several times frantically, nearly running out and closing the door behind him. Akashi sighed, and glanced out the window. The night sky was clear, and the moon was a beautiful crescent. There wasn't a single star nor cloud in sight. Akashi gazed at Kuroko, who was sleeping soundly on his bed, sky blue locks tousled and flaying across his pale face. Akashi smiled gently, reaching over to brush a few locks out of his eyes. He leaned over to place a small kiss on the other's forehead.

"My father will not be impressed," Akashi whispered softly, "he will surely not approve. But he is a pathetic excuse of a human being if he believes that will stop me. I hope you understand that, too. If you ever decide to leave me for a reason such as my father, I will not be lenient in your punishment. I am his only heir, and he wouldn't possibly be able to lift a finger against me."

Satisfied that his message had been delivered, Akashi spared one last glance at the sleeping boy before leaving the room.

(It was no mystery to him whether the boy was asleep or not. He could tell his consciousness was still there, and he was sure that his message would remain in Kuroko's mind even after he woke. It happened at the hospital, after all.)

With those thoughts in mind, Akashi scaled the stairs smoothly and knocked on his father's door.


"Father," Akashi greeted.

"Seijuurou." His father returned coldly. "We must talk."

"Regarding how I humiliated you earlier in front of Tetsuya?" Akashi bit back with no small amount of smugness. His father's face twisted into one of rage.

"Seijuurou, it seems you have to learn your place in this household again."

"No, father, it is you who requires such." Akashi hissed, "You have no right to treat Tetsuya like that."

"How dare you--"

"Do you treat your company workers and business partners that way, too? Looks like I will have a lot of resetting in order once I take over."

"Seijuurou, you are starting to make me reconsider you as heir."

"Father, you know that nobody else will be able to take my place."

Akashi's eyes shone with malice, and his left eye glowed.

"For I am absolute."

As much as he didn't want to admit it, Akashi's father had always found his son's mismatching eyes unnerving. There was something deeply frightening about them -- they weren't just intimidating, oh no; if someone believed that, then they'd be oblivious to a fault -- they were eyes that burned right through you.

Eyes that knew all.

And for that one sole reason, it wasn't a surprise for Akashi to call himself "absolute". They could see the future.

And the older Akashi despised that part of his son that he'd never be able to surpass.


"Father, I'm taking my leave. I do not wish to pursue this topic any further." Akashi excused himself, and turned away. He opened the door, and turned his head one final time.

"If you lay a single hand on Tetsuya, I will not forgive you."

And then he was gone.

(...Yes, Akashi's father decided that he really despised those eyes.)

Akashi entered the room silently, movements so smooth that it seemed like he was floating. Kuroko turned over at the sudden presence in the room.


"Tetsuya, are you awake?"

Akashi sat on the bed, and Kuroko instantly scooted inwards to make space. He barely opened his eyes, and all he could make out was a scarlet blur.

"A...ka...shi-kun," Kuroko managed to mumble, "wel...come back."

Akashi chuckled and patted the boy's head. He truly was too endearing for his own good.

"I'm home, Tetsuya."

Kuroko's light frown didn't cease until Akashi had gotten into the bed with him. Moving closer to the source of warmth, Kuroko snuggled in and nuzzled his head onto Akashi's chest--

--and Akashi desperately tried to calm his racing heart. He wasn't flustered, no, not at all. The red emperor never got flustered.


"Akashi-kun, let's go to the police station."

Akashi looked up, bewildered, "I believe you said yesterday that you didn't wish to--"

"I've changed my mind," Kuroko declared confidently, before shrinking back a little, "we should leave before I manage to change it again."

Akashi ruffled the teal locks, "okay."

Wrapping a secure arm around Kuroko's waist, Akashi lifted him up into a princess hold, a slight grin playing on his lips at the pink dusting the other boy's cheeks. Akashi gestured for a butler to come over, and ordered him to bring the wheelchair down to the car. With that, they set off; the butler driving with the inseparable pair sitting in the back. They had arrived at the Kyoto police station within minutes, much to Kuroko's dismay. The dreary, monotonous building was tall; suffocatingly so; looming over them almost ominously. Several police cars were parked at the front, serving no reassurance. He began chewing on his lip nervously.

"Don't do that. It makes me want to kiss you," Akashi's sultry voice made Kuroko shiver in anticipation.

"Akashi-kun, no."

An insufferable smirk was on the said male's face as he picked Kuroko up again, "you really should eat more. You weigh next to nothing every time I carry you."

"You try to feed me too much."

"It is an adequate amount," Akashi reasoned, resisting the urge to roll his eyes. Kuroko smiled, "if you say so. But my eating habits will not change much, Akashi-kun."

"Alright, Tetsuya, I'll take up that challenge."

As soon as they had entered the police station, Kuroko had begun fidgeting in the wheelchair. He took a deep breath, and his eyes went blank -- but for Akashi, who'd grown sharp to matters regarding Kuroko, he could see the unease swirling in the cobalt eyes. He leaned down to snake his arms underneath the boy's arms, and rested his chin on his shoulder.

"Breathe, Tetsuya. I'll be here the whole time."

Kuroko instantly relaxed, "that'd be nice, Akashi-kun."

"Kuroko Tetsuya?"

Kuroko perked up at the mention of his name, and Akashi stood up, wheeling him over to the room that the policeman was gesturing towards.

"Apologies, we were just interrogating someone." The policeman said absentmindedly, sitting down at the chair in the centre of the room. There was a single table that the policeman placed his papers down on, and a second chair opposite to his. The policeman looked up at Akashi.

"Mister, if you'd please lea--"

"No." Kuroko interjected, much to the surprise of the man, "he's going to stay here or I won't talk."

The strength in Kuroko's voice surprised Akashi, and the policeman had no choice but to concede. The redhead sat down in the chair, shifting over so that Kuroko would be in the centre.

"Okay." Looking over his file once more, the policeman whipped his head up in surprise, "You're the witness, Akashi Seijuurou-san?"

Akashi nodded, and Kuroko's brows furrowed slightly at the incredulous look on the policeman's face that soon morphed into suspicion.

"Why are you with--"

"Oh? Is it so improbable to believe that I'd become interested in someone I saw jump off the roof? Would you rather me run away to leave him to bleed out on the school grounds, instead of calling for the ambulance?" Akashi's voice grew more sinister with each sentence, dangerously low.

A chill went down the policeman's spine, and Kuroko inwardly pitied the young man. He tugged lightly at Akashi's sleeve.

"I'm going to start the recount, Akashi-kun."

Akashi's expression softened and he nodded. The policeman swallowed thickly and waited.

"I simply didn't feel like living was worth it anymore," Kuroko began, voice devoid of any emotion, "there was nothing left, anyway. My parents passed away, I was invisible. There was nobody who would hurt, because I was never there in the first place."

An icy smile tugged at his lips.

"So I decided to jump off the rooftop that I'd always loved staying on. The sun was setting, and I thought it was beautiful, like I always had. It was so beautiful," Kuroko repeated wistfully, eyes glassy, "and I'd die surrounded by that beauty."

Kuroko turned to Akashi, "then something even more beautiful came and tried to grab me, couldn't reach, thus pushed me to land into the trees nearby instead. He saved my life, and for that, I'm surprisingly grateful."

"You were depressed? Invisible?"

"Depressed... I don't know if that's a suitable term. And by invisible, you will understand what I mean when I'm out of," he gestured to his wheelchair, "this."

The policeman didn't look convinced.

"What do you mean, he pushed you?"

"He pushed me so that I would land in the trees," Kuroko clarified again. Akashi clicked his tongue in distaste at the wary look on the policeman's face.

"How do you know that he did not push you to hasten your fall?"

"...I was too far for him to reach by that time, policeman-san," Kuroko stated exasperatedly, "why would you push someone whose death is inevitable? And towards the trees, might I add?"

The policeman's eyes narrowed at the redhead, "perhaps he wanted to see you suffer more--"

He was cut off by a slam that, surprisingly, did not come from the one in question. Kuroko had slammed both his hands on the table, eyes icy and smile razor sharp and filled with well-hidden disgust.

"Who placed this amateur policeman in charge?"

Before the said man was able to utter a single word -- not that he would, when he was in shock from the quiet male's sudden change in demeanour -- Akashi had stood up, letting his chair fall back to the ground. Kuroko didn't even spare him a glance. Both their gazes were focused on the clearly inexperienced man before them; one was cold and icy and filled with utter hostility, and the other was fiery and seeping with pure revulsion.

"Who, indeed?"

Akashi's voice was smooth, sultry, venomous. The policeman shivered. Another burst in at the noises that Kuroko and Akashi had made, only to see the pair of teens staring their "interrogator" down.

"What is the meaning of this?"

"This man is clearly unfit to be a policeman," Akashi gestured towards the male in the seat, and the other policeman's eyes widened in recognition at the teen's features. He swallowed heavily, eyes narrowing at his said colleague.

"Ah, the newbie. What did he do this time?"

"Incessant questioning of unrelated matters -- he strongly suspected me of pushing Tetsuya off the building."

The policeman raised a brow at the other who had finally managed to react, "how is that an unrelated matter?! I was simply making sure--"

"You were making comments that were extremely uncalled for," Kuroko interjected quietly, though Akashi could hear the anger in his tone, "when everything was explained clearly in Akashi-kun's report three months prior to this -- and my recount."


"That's enough. We'll review the recording," the other senior policeman glanced at the camera in the corner, "and we'll decide whether or not to have him fired. This isn't the first time something like this has happened. I sincerely apologise, Kuroko Tetsuya-san, Akashi Seijuurou-sama."

He bowed deeply, and both teens' faces returned to their neutral state, any previous traces of ire vanishing. As they were leaving, they could hear the loud complaints coming from the room, and Akashi couldn't resist. He turned around, and instantly caught the gaze of the one complaining. Time seemed to slow for the man, and Akashi's now mismatching eyes were mesmerising, screaming danger. The man's expression turned to one of complete shock as he was brought down to his knees by some invisible force. He heard Akashi's voice loud and clear, despite being metres away.

"Know your place."

His voice was painfully soft, yet so overpowering that the man had no choice but to succumb. The elder policeman whipped around in surprise, only to see Akashi turning away and the pair conversing with the front desk worker shortly before leaving. It was only until they were out of sight that the policeman on the floor stopped trembling.

"Look what you've done," the other hissed, "are you even aware of who that child is, you moron?"

"W-who, that weak-looking blue kid?"

"You bastard." The man seethed, "That redhead is the heir to the Akashi Corps."

Silence engulfed the room, and the younger policeman gulped as he realised his mistake.


"He will be fired."


"I don't even have to make sure of it."


Akashi finally glanced over, and sighed lightly as he ran a hand through the messy blue locks.

"Tetsuya," he greeted in return. Hints of a smile tugged at his lips.

"Akashi-kun, remember, I'll be up and moving in under a month."

As if to prove his point, Kuroko shuffled around a bit in his wheelchair, and lifted his legs with ease. Akashi chuckled slightly at the proud display. Kuroko was visibly radiating joy.

"Akashi-kun, Akashi-kun, look!" He prodded, grinning as he swung his legs back and forth a few times, careful not to hit the wheelchair.

"Yes, yes," Akashi indulged the younger male before lifting him up out of the wheelchair.

"You'll be returning to Rakuzan, and the basketball team, in a mere few weeks." Akashi reminded, and watched as Kuroko's smile faltered slightly.


"No excuses. I will make use of your skills."

Kuroko frowned, but said nothing. It was obvious he wasn't convinced. Akashi only smiled lightly. In all honesty, it had become more noticeable in the time that Kuroko had stayed -- the closer to a full recovery he got, the more prominently his so-called 'invisibility' came to light. By the time those two months had passed, Akashi had noticed a few people on the street bumping straight into the wheelchair. How Kuroko did it, he wasn't sure; but the boy had explained that he'd always been like that since childhood. When Kuroko was sitting in his room, sans wheelchair, he was extremely easy to miss. All the butlers were proof of that.

Akashi found it immensely interesting, if not amusing.

(And also endearing, but he'd keep that to himself.)

Akashi watched with mirth as Kuroko wobbled on his feet slightly, unused to the sensation of walking after four months. Kuroko shot him a slight glare, noticing the silent laughter and slight shake of the redhead's shoulders without raising his head a single inch. He huffed slightly under his breath, and Akashi walked over to pull him into an embrace. His chuckles dissolved into laughter, and Kuroko soon joined in.

"I see you're enjoying my struggles," Kuroko pointed out. Akashi smirked, "perhaps a little."

"A little?"

"A lot," Akashi amended, "is that better for you, Tetsuya?"


Kuroko strode out of Akashi's grip, teetering slightly, "this is really strange after sitting for so long. I think my legs will fall apart."

"Don't be ridiculous." Akashi grinned slightly, "you won't die."

"No, I won't." Kuroko affirmed, walking behind Akashi and sliding his arms around his waist. "I've wanted to do this for a while."

The two stayed silent for a while.

"Akashi-kun... Is your heart racing?"

"No." Akashi instantly denied, only to feel (and hear) his lover's muffled laughter in his jacket. Once Kuroko had calmed down, he smiled softly, arms still wrapped snugly around the other.

"I'm going back to Rakuzan tomorrow... And the basketball team." Kuroko breathed. Akashi's eyes closed, "yeah."

He lifted his arms to hold onto Kuroko's, turning his head a little.

"I'll train you, Tetsuya."

"...Okay, Akashi-kun."

A knock at the door interrupted their tender moment, and the two glanced up.

"Come in."

A butler opened the door, "Akashi-sama has abided by your request. He wishes to see you both up immediately."

Kuroko glanced at Akashi in confusion, but the latter paid no heed to that.

"Tetsuya, do you want me to help you up?"

"I'll try myself. I can always fall onto you." Kuroko joked lightly, and they left the bedroom. The butler remained, closing the door. He stared after the two, gaze slightly woeful, and he slowly bent down into a sincere, deep bow. He whispered the words under his breath.

"I wish you both the best, Seijuurou-sama, Kuroko-sama."

"Father." Akashi said flatly, expression stoic.

"You wanted to see me." His father returned. The younger redhead found it ironic that those words were being spoken to him.

"You set up a fiancée for me."

Kuroko's eyes widening slightly were the only telltale of his surprise. His gaze drifted over Akashi.

"Yes." Akashi's father nodded absentmindedly, "Is that all, Seijuurou? I would find it most disrespectful if all you called me for was this--"

"The one being disrespectful here is you." Akashi spat with distaste. His father looked up at that, eyes wide as his son wrapped an arm around Kuroko's waist.

"This is the man I'm going to marry."

Silence fell upon the room. Kuroko's expression definitely portrayed his utter shock now, and the same could be said for the eldest man in the room.

Then, all hell broke loose -- or, in this case, it broke loose quietly, and slowly at that. A pace that would not last for long, they all knew. Akashi's father's eyes were hard, lips drawn into a straight line.

"You decided that for yourself. I will not be having any of that." He said icily, but oh, Akashi knew it was coming from miles away. His smile was downright predatory.

"Father, with no due respect, I don't give a flying fuck."

If they were shocked before, they were outright appalled now.

Mainly Akashi's father, though.

(Kuroko silently marveled at Akashi's ability to sound dignified and refined as he always was whilst cursing.)

But before the elder could protest, Akashi had already continued.

"If you wish to arrange another heir, or another gold-digging woman, that is a perfectly fine decision by me. However, don't expect me to remain in your family anymore. Before you even try to protest, we both know that I will be capable of surviving with Tetsuya alone, without your influence nor money. And if you ever do think of interfering," Akashi's voice was downright sinister, "you do understand how much information I hold, don't you, father?"

And to prove his final threat, Akashi drew back the left side of his jacket and pulled out several familiar-looking documents. Akashi's father's mouth dropped open slightly.


"I was always curious about that drawer, father," Akashi began, "when I was four, I always wondered why you never touched any of the lower documents. But oh, I remembered that you were fond of the saying, 'humans find it harder to notice what's right in front of them'. It was child's play to figure it out."

Taking the arm off his lover's waist, deciding to intertwine fingers instead, Akashi began walking towards the door. With a final turn, his eyes half-lidded and smile as sweet as poison, the young mastermind spoke once more.

"I said it once before, but you didn't seem to understand at the time when I closed the subject. Goodbye, father."

It was the first time and final time that Akashi Masaomi would face such an utter defeat at his son's hands.

He had nothing more to say.

(His son was really growing up for himself now, and he found that he did not know if he had the resolve to pull such resilience away from him anymore.)

"My father has decided to keep me as heir," Akashi commented, twirling a black pen between his fingers absentmindedly. Kuroko inwardly smiled at the fact that he hadn't worried about being denounced heir at all. They were sitting in the comfortable leather of Akashi's ghostly silver Porsche 918 Spyder, with Kuroko in the passenger seat and Akashi driving with one hand.

(It had taken a few minutes to explain to Kuroko that yes, he could drive, yes, he had driven before, yes, the butlers knew, and yes, this was illegal; but the phantom had consented, somehow.)

"Akashi-kun, we're going to be late at this rate."

Akashi's lips curled up into a smirk.

"Really now, Tetsuya?"

A foreboding feeling settled in the said male's gut.


"Tetsuya, how do you feel now that you're out of the wheelchair, again? Legs aren't shaky anymore, are they?"


"You're going to be in for a ride."

Kuroko swallowed and leaned back, and Akashi stifled a laugh at how much paler he looked.


Akashi raised a brow at Kuroko.

"I didn't know you'd enjoy that."

"I didn't either." Kuroko breathed in wonder, "That felt surprisingly refreshing."

Akashi chuckled and ruffled his locks, "I was surprised when you said to go faster. That wasn't in my expectations, Tetsuya."

"I'm impressed I surprised Captain Akashi."

Akashi rolled his eyes in a shockingly refined manner as they walked into the school.

"Oh, Akashi-kun, I'm actually in your class."

The Rakuzan basketball captain froze at that, and a somewhat bewildered expression crossed his face. Kuroko offered him a small smile.

"I usually hang behind you in music. You're very impressive."

Akashi frowned, "I'm disappointed in myself for never noticing you."

"It's not a surprise." Kuroko shrugged off the matter easily. Akashi's frown didn't fade as they walked towards the tall, white school building. The windows gleamed, and not a single trace of dirt was found on both the outside and inside. Inwardly, Akashi wondered if the principal had thrown a fit about the lock that Kuroko had broken to reach the rooftop yet. They padded up the stairs and down the soundless hallway, being minutes earlier than everyone else; something Akashi was accustomed to. The classroom door sliding open was almost painfully loud in the comfortable silence. Once Akashi had reached his seat at the front of class, as usual, Kuroko turned to leave -- but Akashi's grip on his sleeve stopped him. Kuroko jolted slightly, and Akashi's eyes widened imperceptibly at the dual memory that flashed through both their minds.

Akashi's breath hitched, and his hand finally reached the other's sleeve. His fingers touched the boy's for a seemingly perpetual second and then--

Kuroko shook his head to get the vision out, whilst Akashi took a deep breath. He decided to pull Kuroko in a little closer, "You're sitting next to me."

"But Tsukino-san--"

"She was testing my patience anyway," Akashi declared before forcefully seating Kuroko down despite his protests. Minutes later, the said girl had walked in, nearly pulling the seat out with Kuroko in it. Both males cleared their throats, and she looked surprised.

"Oh, Akashi-sama, what's the matter? Do you want my help with som--"

"The seat's taken, Tsukino." Akashi said flatly. Inwardly, he wondered what he'd ever require help for, especially from someone so incompetent. She had not once proved herself to be useful in any way, after all. Meanwhile, Tsukino had unleashed an ear-piercing scream at the discovery of the male in her seat.


"Kuroko Tetsuya," Kuroko and Akashi both chorused. She pointed an accusing finger at him.

"Why are you in my seat?!"

Kuroko glanced over at Akashi, who had sat down in his seat, a vicious aura beginning to seep out.

"When I said the seat was taken, Tsukino," his voice sent chills down every student's spine, "I meant that the seat was taken, no further questions."

"But, Akashi-sama--"

Was the girl plain stupid, or brave? Clearly the former.

"Leave." Akashi stated coldly. She shuddered and nodded, albeit not before sneaking a glare at Kuroko.

Yes -- she really was a moron. Akashi's bloodlust only focused that much more. The girl's legs felt weak, and she shakily rushed over to an empty seat that hadn't been occupied the whole year -- in actuality, only the past four months. Kuroko sighed.

"Akashi-kun, that wasn't polite."

"Oh? She was about to take my precious Tetsuya's seat."

Kuroko looked away, huffing, but Akashi saw the flush on his cheeks.

His smirk didn't leave his face once during the entire class.

"Akashi-kun, where are we going? This isn't the main gymnasium--"

"You're going to show me your skills."

No further words were exchanged as Akashi lead Kuroko past the storerooms -- grabbing a basketball along the way -- and unused classrooms. Kuroko looked slightly confused. Akashi wasn't surprised; barely anybody had trekked around these parts of the school before. This was why it was extremely convenient; there was a clean, unused gym resting amongst the other buildings, though much smaller in comparison to the main gymnasium. The couple entered, and they dropped their bags in the corner. Akashi dribbled the ball against the floorboards, taking a stance.


Nine minutes later, Kuroko was face flat on the floorboards. Akashi, however, didn't look disappointed.

"...This is the first time I've seen someone who practices so much, yet has no results to show."

"...If that's your idea of a compliment, Akashi-kun, I'm not taking it very well."

Akashi chuckled, waving his hand in dismissal, "I apologise, that's not what I meant. Rather, I find it commendable. You've already practiced enough to be called a veteran, and yet I don't feel anything whilst looking at you -- no aura shows through. You lack presence as a whole, Tetsuya. Use that to your advantage, instead of seeing it as a detriment."

"Use my lack of presence to my advantage...? Is that possible?" Kuroko's brows furrowed. Akashi's crimson bangs shadowed his eyes, and a dark smile ghosted over his lips.

"That's up to you, Tetsuya. Show me what you can do."

Akashi picked up his bag, swinging it smoothly over his shoulder.

"Let's go home."

"...Akashi-kun. I'm going to do something first."

"Tetsuya, no matter how much of a phantom you are, I'm still reluctant to the idea of you walking around alone after dark. I'll come with you."

"No, Akashi-kun, please wait at home. I'll call you when I'm done. I promise."

Akashi's frown didn't cease, and Kuroko let out a small sigh before taking an almost timid step towards his to-be-announced lover. Light pink dusted his cheeks as he braced both hands against Akashi's chest before leaning up to peck his cheek.

"I won't be long, Akashi-kun."

"Tetsuya..." Akashi's face was obscured, "that makes me want to keep you here even more."

"Akashi-kun, no."

"Very well. I'll take your word for it. You'd better be done soon."

"I will."

They parted at the school gates, and Akashi got into his car. Kuroko waved until he was out of sight, a fond smile gracing his lips. He walked along the pathway, illuminated by the common, beautiful lanterns scattered across Kyoto. White, faint orange, yellow, red -- Kuroko ghosted through the crowds, staying close to the glowing lights. The night sky was pitch black, with few stars and a cloud-covered moon, after all; it would be dangerous if he were to be swept up by people now. The streets were not nearly as busy as life in Tokyo, however, he noted. Finally, a bright, dazzling, neon blue sign caught his eye -- the shining white letters printing out "SHUNKUDO BOOKSTORE". He walked in, silently marveling at the seemingly endless number of shelves stretching across polished wooden floorboards. He headed straight for the Sports and Recreation section once he had caught sight of it, relieved and happy to find a long row completely dedicated to basketball novels, magazines and more.

"If I browse through these, perhaps..."

He glanced at the row beneath the one he was browsing.




Then, one book caught his eye.

"Techniques for Guiding Lines of Sight"

He made a beeline towards the counter, simultaneously slipping his wallet out. He was relieved to find he still had enough money.

"This please," he called.

Promptly, the cashier screamed. Which lead to a chain of screams from the people in line.

(Of course, he paid the people no heed.)

The people were still trembling by the time he left, much to his amusement. They never got used to his presence no matter how many times he visited. He pulled his light blue mobile out of his bag, flipping it open to call Akashi.

"Ah, Akashi-kun, I'm--"

"At the bookstore. Shunkudo, correct?"

"...How did you know?"

"You mentioned it to me once. I did bring you a few books from there before."

"I know."

"Well, just wait there. I'll be over in a minute."

Kuroko could literally hear the smirk in Akashi's voice, and he rolled his eyes.

"Don't do that."

He jumped a little.

"You don't do that, Akashi-kun. Stop that. You're scaring me."

"Apologies, dear Tetsuya. Get ready for the car."

"Yeah, yeah."

"Don't hang up."

"Yes, mother."


Kuroko chuckled. His Akashi really was precious to a fault.

"You'll be in for punishment tonight if you keep laughing, Tetsuya."

However, he heard a few chuckles at the other end of the line, too. Kuroko smiled as the familiar, flashy car pulled over, causing a few gasps from people on the street. He quickly ran over to the passenger seat and got in.

"Akashi-kun. Hello." Kuroko greeted, pulling the seatbelt out. Akashi's eyes softened and he leaned over, locking lips with the delectable boy for a quick second before turning back to start driving. Kuroko turned an instant red, and Akashi grinned.

"You're terrible," Kuroko muttered under his breath.

"Yet, you still adore me."


Akashi would never get used to the sweet, fond tone that Kuroko took on whilst addressing him. His heartbeat felt a little louder to his ears.

He could only hope that the tealhead couldn't hear it, too.

It was a fortnight before the Winter Cup preliminaries that Kuroko had finally showed up on the main gymnasium's doorstep, requesting his skills to be shown in a match. Kuroko had firmly insisted on practicing with a soon-to-be-graduated senior in the third string, much to Akashi's dismay -- he never revealed what it was that he had been training so incessantly on, nor what he had bought that day at Shunkudo. Akashi found it oddly endearing; and somewhat disconcerting that he wasn't by his side. He had half a mind to believe that Kuroko was purposely distancing himself just to get back at Akashi for constantly teasing him, but he knew that the younger male simply wanted to surprise him.

His expectations were set quite high, however -- it would be a miracle to exceed such.

Nonetheless, despite the pressure, Akashi watched as Kuroko vanished on the court like a phantom. Passes seemed to bend, curve, shoot out of nowhere -- and every time, Kuroko was simply not there. Akashi's eyes widened, impressed, and a smile tugged at his lips. It was a smile of venom, respect and elation.

Kuroko Tetsuya was the first person to exceed his expectations in his fifteen years of living.


25 points in Kuroko's favour. Not bad -- not bad at all. The first string members whistled, though still in slight confusion of what had happened.

'Akashi mentioned the mis-whatever, but for us to lose sight of him on the court? Badass.'

'Is it possible to turn invisible for a whole game?'

'Sei-chan mentioned this cutie before... Tet-chan, was it? Perhaps he'll be replacing Hanamiya Makoto-kun. Sei-chan's been wanting to expel him for a while, after all.'

"Was that fine, Akashi-kun?"

Akashi walked over, ruffling Kuroko's hair. He leaned down to whisper, "you exceeded my expectations, Tetsuya. That's the first time it's ever happened."

Kuroko's eyes widened slightly, "I did?"

"Yes. I had no idea you would incorporate misdirection into your plays. We’ll have to polish it up a bit, but I’m certain you’ll be able to play in the Winter Cup."

"I'm honoured," Kuroko mumbled, embarrassed. Akashi smiled, shocking the basketball club. They'd never seen their captain this gentle, this humane before. Snapping out of it, a certain feminine first-string member bounded towards the couple excitedly.

"Sei-chan, Sei-chan, don't tell me you two are...?"

"Ah, Reo-nee, no fair! I want to hear this, too!"

"Leaving someone out isn't cool, hear me?"

And so, the sky-blue-red pair was instantly surrounded by three other men towering over the two -- one with a refined aura and sparkling eyes, another literally radiating energy and joy, and the final ... Being a complete, overly muscled gorilla. Kuroko instinctively took a step back, and Akashi's eyes turned void.

"Reo. Kotarou. Eikichi."

The three gulped, backing away. Kuroko breathed, only to inhale sharply when pulled against a defined chest. His cheeks reddened as he realised it was Akashi's.

"Don't suffocate my Tetsuya."



Reo and Kotarou chorused, looking at each other, baffled. Their eyes widened, and, shockingly in sync, they shrieked, "you're dating?!"

The gymnasium fell silent.

(The overwhelming menace seeping out of the club captain didn't help, either.)

"Excuse me, Tetsuya."

Akashi then promptly dragged his first string away, sans Hanamiya Makoto, who was undoubtedly skipping practice again.

Akashi would soon mend that problem.

"You're not dating Tet-chan?"

"I never said that. We are dating."

"But... You just told us your story. You never asked him out!" Kotarou raised his brows. Eikichi let out a loud, obnoxious laugh.

"Such formality isn't necessary," Akashi stated.

"No, no, Sei-chan, that won't do," Reo shook his head, "you have to ask him out properly. It makes it all the more romantic."

"...Hmm." Akashi's eyes narrowed in thought. "Perhaps I should."

"You really never been with a woman-- er, man?" Kotarou grinned toothily. Akashi sent him an icy look, and he quickly stepped backwards with his hands raised placatingly.

"Woah, Akashi, don't get mad. It's kind of funny and, ah, cute." The hyper male attempted to amend his sentence, only further digging his own grave. Akashi shook his head exasperatedly as Nebuya smacked the boy on the back, laughing boisterously.

"That hurt!"


"How do you even take that as a compliment?!"

"I'm strong!"


Akashi walked out of the room, sighing. He stepped back into the main gym, immediately greeted by Kuroko.


"Yes, Akashi-kun?"

"Shall we go home?"

Kuroko smiled, "Yes."

"Uhm... Akashi-kun, what is this?"

Kuroko raised a brow at the bouquets of red and blue roses adorning his room that he'd been instructed to keep out of for half an hour. Akashi had opened the door, and this was the sight that had greeted him. A few scented candles were on the table, and rose petals were scattered across the ground and furniture. Akashi pulled Kuroko into his arms, and caressed his flushing cheeks gently.

"Tetsuya, will you go out with me?"

"I-- Aka--" Kuroko fumbled, spluttering for a moment, "Yes, I will."

Akashi chuckled as the flustered boy muffled his face into his jumper.

"I can hear your heartbeat."

"I can hear yours too, Tetsuya."


Akashi raised a brow at the faint voice.

"What did you say, Tetsuya?"

Kuroko fell silent for a moment before speaking, "Even though we've been together for a few months, it feels like we're just starting today."

"Yes, it does." Akashi agreed, still curious on what he'd said a few seconds prior.

Kuroko took a deep breath, and Akashi could honestly feel the heat from his beloved's cheeks.


Akashi's eyes widened, and Kuroko snuggled in a little more.

“I don’t think I can handle saying your full name at the moment, but for now… Is this okay?”

The redhead’s embrace tightened almost painfully, and he leaned down to kiss the phantom’s crown, a fond smile on his lips. His left eye seemed to circle with a few golden specks, and a few tears slipped down his cheeks. He closed his eyes.

"Sei-kun, I'll be right over, okay?"

"What's wrong, Sei-kun?"

"Is Papa forcing you to learn all the business studies, again? Geez, that man...! I told him to stop doing such to a six year old!"

"You're the most precious person in the world to me, Sei-kun."

"...But, I have to leave, now. I'm so sorry. Masaomi, please take care of our son."

"I love you, Sei-kun."

"It really does feel like the beginning when you call me that. Perhaps a marriage is in order." Akashi joked. Kuroko's muffled voice floated up, "Too soon, Sei-kun."

His heart ached so sweetly that it hurt. He hadn't thought that he'd hear that nickname ever again from someone who he treasured more than anything, anyone in the world. Akashi pulled Kuroko up, and deep azure eyes widened at the tears on his cheeks.

"Sei-kun, wha--"

They locked lips. With a hint of desperation, Kuroko noted with slight bewilderment. They kissed fervently, over and over again, until they were out of breath. Akashi was the one to pull away, eyes glistening slightly, his smile so tender that it made Kuroko's heart break. Akashi took a few steps back, much to Kuroko's confusion, and raised both arms. He stood there, hands outstretched, left eye bleeding a mixture of golden red. The window was open.

The sun was setting, the sky a brilliant myriad of vermillion and gold.

Teal locks rustled in the wind, a baby blue that seemed almost mystical against the thick crimson spread out for the world to see. Body tilted, looking out from the corner of the rooftop, just enough to allow Akashi a view of his body and face--

He was beautiful.

Eyes that were as mystifying as his hair; rich, deep, endless pits of azure. But what was swirling in those depths?

Kuroko's eyes widened as he realised what Akashi was doing. Tears threatened to spill from his gorgeous, cobalt eyes. Back then, when Akashi had seen him, his eyes were filled with darkness. Perhaps they were void?

But now, they were almost blindingly bright and filled to the brim with affection, longing, benevolence.

It hurt to see such compassionate eyes.

Visibly shivering in the wind, the mysterious boy was, perhaps, terrified. Of the world or of himself? Akashi wouldn't know. The boy closed his eyes, and inhaled deeply. His skin seemed to turn even paler.

Kuroko shivered from the light breeze, and instantly, the scenes replayed in his mind -- so vividly that they felt excruciatingly real. The wind picked up.

The wind blew harshly, and somehow, it seemed to boost the boy's confidence. His knuckles loosened.

Imperceptibly, Akashi's eyes widened. A familiar colour flashed through his left eye, and before any thoughts registered in his head, his body was already moving. He lunged.

The unknown boy's legs began to quiver, feet slowly teetering off the edge. He twisted his body slightly, hearing the paced footsteps behind him and--

'Akashi Seijuurou.'

The familiar basketball team captain's name streaked through his mind, and his shoes finally slipped. Hesitation flashed through his sapphire eyes before a rare smile graced his lips, and his eyes softened in the last second as his fingers let go, almost painfully slow--

His arms extended out, and Akashi thought the boy looked akin to an angel unfurling its wings.

Kuroko's legs trembled slightly, and a few tears streaked down his beautiful, pink cheeks. A beautiful, beautiful smile spread across his face. His eyes grew gentle. He stretched his arms out to his sides. Akashi's breath hitched. His heart pounded painfully against his chest. Kuroko turned his back to the redhead, eyes closed. The wind blew harshly against the two, and Akashi saw the candle flicker out from the corner of his eye. It clattered onto the floor, wax spilling. Kuroko leaned back slightly, rolling back and forth on his heels. Akashi could hear the smile in his angelic voice as he murmured,

"Catch me."

And they relished in the feeling that this time, he could reach.

He did.

Continue Reading Next Chapter
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