Can You Hear Me?
Everything was on fire.
A short male with light blue hair ran desperately, trying to escape. Reaching the exit was his only hope. He ran down the staircase, past the clock on the wall, past the bells continuing to ring. He had almost reached the bottom when the ceiling caved in. Luckily, the falling debris missed him, but the ceiling had dropped its fiery wreckage right in front of his only way out. The path he had taken to get this far was already encased by flames. It was then that he realized: He was going to die.
He looked up to where the roof had once been. If only he could fly. Embers floated up into the night sky, getting lost among the stars. He could see the fire roaring at the top of the walls, as if it too wanted to escape into the night. Somehow, even though these very same flames would likely end his life, he found the view beautiful. He blinked once, as though to make sure it was real, and the scenery began to change.
Now he was falling off a boat and into a deep body of water. He couldn’t breathe and couldn’t swim back to the surface to give himself air. All he could do was stare at the surface, where the full moon shined down upon the lake. It too, was beautiful, just as the embers among the stars had been. He tried to reach for it, but continued to sink further and further. Suddenly everything began to fade again, like a memory he couldn’t quite recall. All he could here was a voice:
“Can you hear me?”
Now he was standing at an intersection where he could see a lit “Don’t Walk” sign. He was not alone this time, but rather surrounded by strangers he did not know. They began to cross as the sign changed to “Walk”. As Kuroko took his first step into the street, he heard the voice again:
“Hey, Can you hear me?”
It was as if he had suddenly woken up from a dream. But something wasn’t quite right. He felt dizzy and disoriented. He could vaguely make out a small group of people that appeared to playing basketball before spots began clouding his vision and he blacked out.
“Can you hear…?”
When he woke up, he found he was laying on a bench in what looked to be a locker room. As he sat up, he saw a calendar on the wall. It showed the date was August 1st. Suddenly his view was abruptly blocked as a red haired male appeared between him and the calendar out of nowhere.
He let out a startled shriek, and the man disappeared just as a pink haired girl came running in through the door.
“Tetsu-kun, are you all right?” She asked while running up to him. “I heard you scream. What’s wrong?” She began checking him over, presumable for injuries. Tetsu. Was that his name? He couldn’t remember. “You don’t look injured…” she muttered after a while. “Still, I’m going to have Aomine take you home just to be safe. It’s not like you to faint in the middle of practice.”
“Um…” was all he was able to get out before she forced him to lie back down on the bench. Who is she? And who’s Aomine? He was finding he wasn’t able to remember much of anything.
“I’ll go get him. Just be patient and wait, okay?” And with that, she left back the way she came.
“Who was that?” He heard a voice ask. He turned, and saw the same red haired guy from earlier leaning against the wall. Immediately he put his hands over his mouth to silence another shriek.
Seeing that he was frightening him, the stranger put his hands up as though to show he was harmless. “Um, anyway, are you all right? You just kind of collapsed earlier, so I was worried.”
Before he could even think of how to respond to that, the door opened again. This time a tall male with dark blue hair walked through. He stopped in front of the bench with an annoyed expression on his face. “So what’s with you suddenly collapsing anyway?” he demanded.
He didn’t know how to answer that. He could barely even remember collapsing. Who’s he? Is this Aomine? He didn’t know.
Upon the lack of an answer the other male frowned. “Hey,” he said bending down until he was closer to his eye level, “are you really all right?” Now he actually seemed concerned.
I don’t know this person. He started to become worried. I don’t know anyone.
Upon seeing he wasn’t in the mood to talk, the other man let out a sigh. “I’ll walk you home, so hurry up and get ready.” He turned to leave.
He sat up on the bench. Just before the taller male reached the door he turned at looked back. “At least answer me, Tetsu.” His tone sounded frustrated.
“O-okay.” At least he knew his own name now, if nothing else.
“Okay!?” Before he could figure out what he had done to upset him, the door opened again and an even larger male with purple hair walked thorough.
“I heard you collapsed,” the room’s new occupant stated before making his way over to the bench.
“Murasakibara, why are you here too?” The leaner man sounded annoyed.
“Because Momoi let me in,” he said, as though it was the most obvious thing in the world.
Momoi? Was that the pink haired girl from earlier?
Murasakibara bent down until he was roughly eye level with the shorter male. “Are you all right Kuro-chin? You didn’t hit anything when you fell, did you?”
He couldn’t focus on the question. Kuro-chin? I thought I was Testsu?
“What are you spacing out for? At least listen to what we’re saying,” the leaner male demanded. Perhaps he was mistaken, but it sounded like the other was more upset about the fact that Murasakibara had diverted his attention than he was about him spacing out.
“Aomine don’t pressure him like that. He just woke up, what do you expect?” Murasakibara defended. “I know you’re worried, but interrogating him isn’t going to help anyone. He turned back to him. “Now, before we go home, should we stop by the hospital?”
“…Huh?” Was all he managed to get out. He wasn’t really paying attention to the question. He knew who Aomine was now, at least.
“We probably should,” Aomine agreed.
“You can’t!” The voice was that of the red haired male he had somehow forgotten about until now. But no matter which way he turned, he couldn’t see where the said male was. “You can’t go to the hospital. It’ll be a huge hassle.” His voice again. “Just pretend you’re tired or something.”
“So we’re going to the hospital…?” Aomine questioned.
“Well which is it?” He sounded annoyed again.
“I think I’m just tired.” It wasn’t entirely a lie. He also wanted a chance to sit down and sort things out without being surrounded by people he couldn’t remember. “I’d like to go home.”
“If you were so tired you fell over, how hard have you been pushing yourself lately?” Aomine asked. “You’re always-“
“Enough,” Murasakibara interrupted. “If that’s all it is, we’ll take you home.”
Supposedly he knew both these people, yet they didn’t seem to get along very well. But they didn’t really seem on bad terms with each other either. It was confusing. He let the two of them lead him outside, although Aomine seemed slightly annoyed that Murasakibara was coming as well.
They walked in silence for a while, with Murasakibara taking the lead and Aomine following behind the two of them. “We’re not walking too fast, are we?” Murasakibara asked after a while.
“No.” Truthfully he almost had to take two steps to keep up with their one, but that was to be expected since both of them were taller. He didn’t want to complain and risk them leaving him on his own when he didn’t even know where his house was.
They walked on quietly for a while longer until Aomine broke the silence. “It’s getting cold,” he announced. “It’s only August. What’s going on with this weather?” Murasakibara switched to following behind the two of them while Aomine continued his train of thought. “Just when you think the rainy season is over, summer has passed you by, and then it’s fall.”
I’m acquainted with these people, but I can’t remember them. I don’t remember anything. I have no memories at all. And it’s not only others I can’t remember. I can’t even remember who I am.
He didn’t even notice he’d fallen so far behind them until he heard them call out. He raced to catch up.
“Where are you going?” Aomine asked.
“This is your place, right?” Murasakibara questioned, pointing to the building they’d just passed.
“Here?” The place didn’t look familiar to him. But he supposed at this point he shouldn’t be surprised.
“You’re way too out of it,” Murasakibara stated. “Are you sure you’ll be alright by yourself? Maybe we should stick around for a little longer.”
“You don’t need to baby him that much,” Aomine complained.
“You’re too hard on him.”
“Um…” he interrupted before they could start fighting. “I’m going to bed as soon as I get inside. Thank you both for walking me home.”
“Are you really alright?” Murasakibara questioned again.
“Yes.” He really just wanted them both to go so he could have some time to himself to think.
“Come on, let’s go,” Aomine told the giant.
“If anything comes up, just call, okay?” Murasakibara stated. And with that he turned to leave, before throwing out, “Go get some sleep,” over his shoulder.
Looking around the inside didn’t do anything to jog his memory. It was like he was intruding in a stranger’s home. “What should I do?” he wondered out loud.
“You don’t know?”
He whirled around, startled. The red haired guy from earlier was back. How did he even get in here?
“I thought so,” the stranger said sounding defeated. “You lost your memory.”
“How do you know?” He was suspicious of this person. It wasn't normal for people to be able to appear and disappear at will.
“I’ve been following you for a while. But you don’t know who I am, do you?”
“I don’t,” he admitted, wondering if he should call someone in case this guy was a stalker.
“You seem to be confused about a lot of things,” the stranger stated sounding worn out, “so I’ll explain everything from the start. I supposed I should introduce myself first though. My name is Kagami. I’m a spirit from a world separate from this one.”
“A spirit,” He deadpanned. This guy was clearly crazy. Then again, maybe he hit his head too hard when he fell and he was the one who was actually crazy because this was all in his head. That would actually explain a lot.
“That’s right,” Kamagi stated. “And just so you know, you’re the only one that can see me. No one else can hear me either.”
“…” He was really starting to think about taking Murasakibara up on his offer of calling. Too bad he didn’t remember his number, if he ever had it to begin with.
“Stop looking at me like I’m crazy!”
“I don’t think you’re crazy.” Half true. “I think I hit my head to hard and need to go lie down.”
“Look, just here me out okay?” “So…um…anyway…well, actually it’s my fault you lost your memories. When I came into your world, I bumped into you’re spirit. Not a spirit in the same sense that I am though; I guess you’d call it your soul? It I’m really sorry!” He bowed apologetically.
“What do you mean by that?” He wasn’t really even sure why he was asking as it was clear by now that either one or both of them were insane, but he figured he really didn’t have anything to lose.
Kagami scratched the back of his neck nervously. “Well, in place of the memories that you lost…well, to put it simply, I’m trapped in your soul.”
“Wait a second. I don’t understand what you’re saying.” Actually it was starting to make a weird sort of sense. Why this guy could suddenly appear or disappear. Why neither Aomine nor Murasakibara had reacted at all when he shouted not to go to the hospital. Speaking of that… “Wait, why can’t I go to the hospital?”
“Because going to the hospital won’t do any good! You’re memory loss isn’t caused by any trouble with your mind or body. You have to get it back through memories and interactions shared with others. If you’re hospitalized instead, and are all alone, you can’t talk to people and find the connections you once had with them. If that isolation from those that could jump start your memories continues, you’ll even forget things like how to drink water or how to breathe, and you’ll die!”
Die!? Now he was scared. He didn’t know what to think.
Seeing that he was scaring him, Kagami changed the subject slightly. “So to make sure that doesn’t happen, we need to avoid thoughtlessly saying you have amnesia, and act carefully-“
“But...” He interrupted. “I still don’t understand anything. I can’t even remember who I am.”
“Kuroko Tetsuya.” At his shocked look, he continued. At least, I think that’s your name based on what everyone started shouting after you collapsed on the middle of the court. Sorry about that by the way,” he apologized again.
Kuroko Tetsuya. The name fit with what everyone had been calling him. It was only a name, but it was the only thing about himself that he really knew. Suddenly he felt better. Like everything was going to be okay.
Elsewhere, a short red head with mismatched eyes leaned against a flickering streetlamp and laughed like a madman.
“I wonder if Aomine and Murasakibara go to the same as you?” Kagami pondered. “They were talking on the way home like you were childhood friends.”
“You’re right.” He saw a phone, presumably his, lying on the nightstand. He picked it up and began looking through the contact list to see if anything caught his eye.
“But even when they brought up the past, you didn’t react,” Kagami frowned, “so I wonder if they suspected something.”
“Maybe.” He had only 5 contacts. Momoi, Aomine, Murasakibara, Kise, and Midorima. He didn’t even know who the last two were, and he only had a guess about the first one. These are the only contacts I have… He guessed he wasn’t much of a people person if he only had 5 people worth putting on his contacts. His eyes trailed up to his dresser, where he had a photo tacked up. 5 people including Aomine, Murasakibara, and himself, were holding up a trophy, for basketball most likely judging from the uniforms. Are the other two Midorima and Kise? The pink haired girl he’d seen earlier today was also in the photo, although she didn’t have a uniform. Momoi? “You may be right, but…” he trailed off and went to get a better look at the photo.
Kagami stared at him for a moment. “Did that photo help you remember something?”
Why can’t I remember this? He thought, taking the photo off its place of honor. Is there really any way for me to get my memories back?
“…Are you alright?” Kagami seemed to pick up on his shift in mood.
Maybe it’s impossible.
Kuroko turned to look at Kagami who was suddenly acting worried. “Can you hear me?”
That sounded oddly familiar. “Yeah…sorry.”
Kagami sighed. “It’s been a rough day, so you must be getting tired. You should get some rest.”
“Yeah.” The atmosphere in the room was pretty depressing. He doubted sleep would suddenly restore his memories. What he really felt like doing was crying.
“I…I’m going to do my best to help you, so…” Even though he didn’t exactly seem to have a suitable end to the sentence, Kuroko could appreciate the gesture to cheer him up.
“Thanks.” He smiled in what he hoped was a sincere manner. He really did feel a little better.
“Y-yeah…” Kagami rubbed the back of neck sheepishly. It appeared the compliment made him embarrassed. “Anyway,” said resting a hand on Kuroko’s shoulder, “goodnight.” And just like that, he was gone.
Even though Kuroko had originally wanted to be alone, he changed his mind once he had actually gotten his wish. The place was really quite big for one person. Where were his parents? Or siblings if he had any? The silence was starting to become deafening.
“…Goodnight,” Kuroko replied back, even though he knew it was far too late for Kagami to hear him. Who am I? I know my name and that I play basketball, but other than that….
Somewhere in the dark of night, a person with mismatched eyes leaned against a streetlamp and began to laugh like a madman.