Hunted

Underground Shinjuku

Pairings: Izuki/Tamaki

Warnings: AU Universe. OOC. Gender swap. Nice Akashi. Assassin Generation of Miracles. Violence. Gore. Character deaths.

Disclaimer: I do not own Kuroko no Basuke and any of the characters, but the OC characters belongs to me

Chapter Four: Underground Shinjuku

“Why is someone like her an assassin?” - Izuki Shun

XXXXXX

The route to Tamaki’s home—at least a half an hour’s journey from Ashiya’s is spent in relative silence. As it is pretty late at night by now—nearly close to midnight, there aren’t many cars on the road, and there isn’t a single soul out on the streets either. In fact, the only sounds that could be heard are just of the crickets chirping.

And yet, Izuki couldn’t help but find this silence almost comforting in a way.

Tamaki had always been one of few words. And often, whenever Seirin had a late training session, one of the boys in the team would usually walk the girls in the team home—Riko and Tamaki. For Riko, Hyuuga always walks her home religiously—the two being best friends and all. For Tamaki, it is usually Kagami who walks her home, but at times, Izuki walks her home whenever Kagami opts to stay back after practice for more basketball training.

“So…” Izuki was the first one to break the silence, glancing down at the shorter and younger teal head girl next to him. “How long have you been doing this?” He gestured with his hands wildly even as Tamaki glanced at him with amusement. “You know, this ‘vigilante’ business?”

Tamaki looked steadily ahead of her. “…Close to four years now,” she said at last. “But me and the others… We’ve been doing this ‘business’ nearly all our lives.” She glanced at Izuki. “I guess you understand now why I’m so detached with the team, and with my classmates even. Kagami-kun is the sole exception, as he simply refuses to leave me alone for some reason. Our lives as vigilantes…” She trailed off slowly. “This isn’t exactly something that I can tell anyone. The Generation of Miracles or ICE as you know us as… They’re all that I have left. You’ll meet the other three this weekend—they return to Tokyo every weekend for visits. You’ll meet our leader too.”

Izuki nodded solemnly. Honestly, it is still taking a lot for him to take it in. And even though he should really feel scared or even repulsed by his kohai who is an assassin, for some reason, he doesn’t feel afraid at all. Just…curious.

Even as he looks at Tamaki, it is almost difficult to believe that this teal head is the second-in-command of ICE, a secret assassination team that operates under the name of the Prime Minister of Japan. And the Generation of Miracles… Who knew that the famous team of six basketball prodigies would actually be famous and skilled assassins in the underground?

What had happened in their past? What would lead them to becoming assassins?

“Can I ask something?” Izuki asked at last, and Tamaki nodded. “Why is someone like you an assassin? And the Generation of Miracles too… Why are all of you assassins?”

Tamaki was silent for a long time.

In fact, the only ones who actually knew the full details of their past had just been the Prime Minister, Ishigami, Yase and even Katsuragi. Even the teams of Public Security and SP that serves beneath Ishigami and Katsuragi didn’t know the full details behind their pasts—only the barest details with a ‘need to know’ basis. Yase is probably the only member of Ishigami’s Public Security team that actually knew the full details of their past. But only because he had been assigned as their handler—there to protect them and to make sure that no one finds out about their past identities.

“…It’s a bit of a long story. And not one that I feel like talking about.” Tamaki said at last, and Izuki smiled weakly. He had a feeling that he had hit a sore spot with that comment. “Besides, I can’t tell you anything about the others. This isn’t my place to tell.” She looked at Izuki. “Once they trust you enough, they’ll tell you.”

“I got a feeling that it’ll take me a zillion years though.” Izuki drawled, and he gave an inner cheer as he saw Tamaki give a small smile. All of Seirin had a freaking contest by now to see which one of them would be the first to make Tamaki laugh. They only see her smile on those few occasions—and those occasions were rare to begin with.

“Yeah, they don’t trust others much to begin with.” Tamaki admitted. “Myself too. It’s just…difficult for us to trust others. Besides…” She glanced at Izuki. “Are you really sure about this? I know that you don’t have much of a choice and all that, but are you really sure you want to join ICE? We’re talking about killing people here, you know? That’s what we do for the government. It isn’t a clean or pretty job. It’s not like we like what we have to do. But…” She closed her eyes briefly. “It’s the only life we know.” She murmured, a tone of sadness in her voice. “But back to topic.” She looked at Izuki, her gaze sharp and assessing. “Are you really sure about this? Once you become an assassin—taking a life for the first time, you can never return to being a normal person anymore.”

Izuki was silent for several moments.

He’s seventeen this year—turning eighteen next year and entering his senior year in high school. He’s far from naïve from the realities of the world, as his father is a cop after all. Stories about his father’s cases and even his chases after ‘bad guys’ have been regular bedtime stories for Izuki when he is little.

At one point during his elementary school years, Izuki had even wanted to be a police officer like his father, much to his mother’s displeasure. Probably, that is the reason why she’d started taking him to music recitals and even tournaments where she often serves as a judge or even a critic, and sometimes competing in music tournaments as a pianist. She had probably hoped to influence Izuki into becoming a musician, as he had some skill with the piano—being taught by his mother. Though after he’d heard Tamaki playing the piano in school just earlier that afternoon, Izuki could admit that his skill at the piano pales in comparison to her.

“…I know.” Izuki murmured. “I know what I’m getting myself into. I’m seventeen. I’ll be an adult in a year. I’m prepared for it. As long as I can kill my parents’ murderer with my own hands…” He trailed off slowly.

Tamaki was silent for several moments before she nodded, apparently satisfied with what she saw there. “Well, you don’t lack conviction at least,” she said at last. By this time, they have arrived at Tamaki’s place. “We’re here.” She pulled out a leather key ring from her pocket from which several keys are hanging from, using an unusual looking silver key hanging from it to unlock the front door. “Come in.” She told Izuki from over her shoulder, turning on the lights and removing her shoes at the front porch inside her house.

Izuki nodded, entering the house and mimicking Tamaki’s actions. “Sorry for the interruption,” he murmured as habit whenever entering a house that is not his own—momentarily forgetting the fact that he’s going to be living here from now on, and hence, this is going to be his house from now on as well.

Izuki has been to Tamaki’s house before—just not the inside.

For a one-room apartment—with the bedroom and living room all in one area, the apartment is pretty spacious. A tiny kitchen is tucked away at the back of the apartment, with a kitchen island with black ivory shelves and cupboards, and a small bathroom. There is a single bed in the open area, with a nightstand with a table lamp next to it. A black ivory wardrobe is set against the wall near the bed. There is even a low table above a cream carpet, with a white tablecloth over it, and a black ivory couch. There is even a plasma television mounted on the wall. Beneath the tinted window is a black ivory study desk, with an expensive looking computer on it, and a stack of books stacked neatly in one corner. A black bookshelf is tucked in a corner, being stocked full of books.

“Honestly, I’m not sure how we’re going to do this.” Tamaki said at last, turning to face Izuki even as the front door closed automatically behind them, letting out a light click as the automatic electronic locks locked the door.

It is a safety measure for all the apartments that the members of ICE lived in, as there are dangerous people after them after all. Even the house keys of their apartments are special forged keys—there is only one in the world for each lock—there is no possible way to make a copy. Tamaki will have to visit the specialist that works for the Prime Minister that had forged their door locks for them to get a copy made for Izuki.

“I can probably get another bed in here for you.” Tamaki told Izuki, and the older boy looked at her after surveying the apartment for several moments. “But as you can see, the place is pretty small.”

“I don’t need such a big space actually.” Izuki smiled weakly.

Tamaki said nothing for several moments before she placed the black bag swung over her shoulder down onto the ground. “Come with me,” she said at last, much to Izuki’s confusion, but he followed her. To his surprise, Tamaki pulled back the cabinet next to the wardrobe—it slid sideways easily enough, revealing a blank canvas and a small electronic pad behind it. Tamaki keyed in several numbers on the electronic pad before a part of the wall slid away—revealing an entrance and a flight of stairs that lead downwards.

“A secret entrance?” Izuki murmured in wonder, following Tamaki down the stairs. Faint lights flickered to life immediately the moment that the two entered and walked down the stairs—allowing them to see where they’re going.

“A secret basement actually.” Tamaki corrected. “Our double lives are supposed to be kept secret after all. Just in case you can’t find me anywhere, I will usually be down here.”

By this time, they have arrived at the bottom of the basement. Much to Izuki’s surprise, the basement is filled with several computers and electronic equipment. There are even several screens mounted on the wall in front of two computer terminals, and two screens on either side of it. Wires and cables were littered all over the floor, and in a corner—just opposite the door is a table on which two handguns were visible, with bullets scattered on the surface of the table.

“Whoa…” Izuki murmured, feeling as if he’d just stepped into a spy movie—since this is what he usually expects to see in those movies.

“I’m ICE’s main hacker and intelligence agent.” Tamaki explained. “Basically, I’m the one that does all the groundwork and investigations before we move in on our target. If needed to, I hack into computer terminals or even the computer networks to disable the security features to allow the others to get to the target. Hence, I don’t usually appear on the frontlines unless they really need me, as they need my abilities as a hacker more.”

Izuki nodded slowly, as he’d already heard it from the other three earlier in Ashiya’s.

“We have another hacker and intelligence agent actually—he usually helps me with my work. But he currently resides in Kyoto with our captain for high school, with the third residing in Akita. You’ll see them this weekend when they return. Hence, right now, I’m the main hacker and intelligence agent for ICE in Tokyo.” Tamaki explained, seeing Izuki nod slowly. She studied him slowly. “Honestly, about your training that myself and our captain will be taking you to our villa in Karuizawa to train for two weeks, I will have to discuss this with him. But most likely, we’ll focus on hacking for now. Assassination training takes a long time.” Tamaki interrupted, putting up a hand to stop Izuki’s protests.

“We can’t ready you in a mere two weeks for us to feel safe enough putting you out on the field. In this business, you’ll die for real if you’re not strong enough to protect yourself, let alone killing someone.” Tamaki said bluntly, causing any protests that Izuki had to disappear. “You’re good with computers—I can teach you how to hack and gather information in two weeks, as right now, I’m the top hacker in the world. On the other hand, Kise-kun can teach you how to be an infiltrator and how to disguise yourself to gather information. Unfortunately…” Tamaki looks a tad bit amused at this point. “Seduction is going to be part of it. Good luck with that.”

Izuki blushed. “S-Seduction?” he squeaked, his voice going two octaves higher than normal.

Tamaki looked amused with his reaction, nodding. “How do you think we can get to some of our targets? Seduction is part of our skills—all of us were trained to do that. The best amongst us is Kise-kun—he can seduce anyone—man or woman, by just using his face and body to do the trick. He is a master of disguises—you’ll be surprised to see how good he looks when he dresses up as a woman for missions.” Her lips quirked in amusement as she recalls the mission that they’d taken earlier that night before retrieving Izuki. “Besides…” Tamaki turned serious. “If I can teach you how to be a decent enough hacker, it’ll lighten our load. With three of our members gone, we’re kind of short handed of late. Furthermore, your hands aren’t meant to kill.”

“I…”

Tamaki sighed. “It’s getting late, and we still have school tomorrow,” she said at last. “Come on, time for bed, Izuki-sempai. I’ll loan you some of the boys’ clothes that I have here. Shige-kun and Sei sometimes crashes over at my place when they’re too tired to go home, and they left some of their clothes behind. I got an extra futon, so you can sleep on that tonight until I can get another bed delivered tomorrow.”

Izuki nodded, following Tamaki back up to the house, feeling relieved that he doesn’t have to rob Tamaki of her bed tonight. Besides, he won’t feel comfortable sleeping on a girl’s bed.

“Tamaki, can I ask one thing?” Izuki asked as he stepped out of the basement entrance, allowing Tamaki to shut the entrance, and sliding the cabinet over it to conceal the wall. Tamaki raised a brow as she went to her wardrobe to dig out a few clothes for Izuki. “Can you just call me ‘Shun’? At least when we’re out of school. I mean, I’m not your senior or anything outside of school.”

There were several moments of silence before Tamaki gave a small smile, handing a gray shirt and black track pants to Izuki. “All right. ‘Shun’ it is then.”

Izuki felt the butterflies in his stomach explode at the sight of that smile.

XXXXXX

As was Tamaki’s routine, she was up at 5AM the next morning, despite the late night she had kept the previous night. All the members of ICE were used to it by now, as there are times when they were actually doing a mission well until maybe an hour or so before they have to report to school.

She had showered and washed up, changing into her school uniform after doing some cleaning whilst being careful not to wake Izuki—or rather, Shun, who is still asleep on the futon on the ground. A light ding from the kitchen echoed, along with the smell of fresh toast. The click from the coffee maker echoed just a moment after that, along with the fresh aroma of coffee.

The smells of toast and coffee woke Izuki up instantly, and he sat up, rubbing his eyes. “Huh? Is that breakfast?” he asked blearily. For several moments, he don’t recognise the place he woke up in before his memory came back to him. “Oh. Morning, Tamaki. What time is it?” He yawned widely.

“It’s fifteen minutes to seven.” Tamaki told him. “Go and wash up. Breakfast’s on the table.”

Izuki then paused in the middle of rolling the futon up, and turned towards Tamaki. “Tamaki?” Tamaki made a noise in her throat. “I…don’t have my school uniform. It’s back at my house—”

Ding dong.

The doorbell rang just then, and Izuki stiffened, wondering who that could be this early in the morning. Tamaki meanwhile isn’t unfazed at all and headed to her front door, looking out of the peephole before relaxing and opened the door. Two men dressed in suits were standing at the door. One is a serious looking man with slicked back hair and glasses whilst the other was a fraction taller with slightly untidy hair.

“Ishigami-san. Goto-san.” Tamaki nodded to the two men at the door even as Izuki headed to the bathroom to wash up. “Morning. You’re kind of early today.”

“Well, we came to deliver this.” Goto coughed, handing a paper bag to Tamaki who opened it curiously only to see that it contains a male set of Seirin’s uniform. “We know that Izuki-kun couldn’t exactly go back to his house for his possessions, so the least we could is to at least get him his school uniforms. I’m afraid that you’re going to have to get new school books for him though—basically replacing everything that he has.”

“Yeah, that’s why we have planned a shopping trip later on.” Tamaki sighed. “I’m going to need to get a new wardrobe for him for his clothes too if I know Kise-kun.” She muttered, and Ishigami chuckled.

“We’re coming with you to the school to give the cover story.” Ishigami explained. “It had been all over the morning news today, and it will even be on the evening news later—the murder of Lieutenant Izuki and his wife.”

Tamaki nodded solemnly. “…Okay.”

XXXXXX

The end of the school day couldn’t come fast enough for Izuki that day. All day long, he had been hounded by his classmates or even facing pitying looks from his peers and teachers due to the breaking news on morning news that day—about the murders of his parents as his father is a pretty well known cop after all.

Thankfully, Tamaki had the hindsight to warn him what to expect in school that day as Ishigami and Goto from Public Security and who were also his father’s colleagues gave them a lift to school. He has no idea what ‘cover story’ that the two men have given to the school principal, but he had received various pitying looks from all his teachers the entire school day. Hell, even the gymnastics teacher had given him permission to sit out of his class that day when the man had a reputation for being the most sadistic teacher in all of Seirin High!

The only ones who actually acted normal with Izuki outside of Tamaki had just been the basketball team, much to Izuki’s relief. They didn’t act any differently with him, just showing him that they’ll be there for him to talk if he needs to. Izuki had a feeling that Riko had probably sent a group message to all the members of the basketball team to inform them what had happened if they don’t watch the news.

Hence, the end of the school day couldn’t come any fast enough for Izuki, as he hightailed it immediately to the lockers to switch his indoor shoes out. Thankfully, there is no basketball practice scheduled that day—Riko had cancelled it due to what had happened. Tamaki is already waiting at the lockers for him, giving him a nod as he approached.

“Rough day?” Tamaki asked sympathetically as the two made their way towards the school gates, both of them expertly ignoring all the whispers and glances from their schoolmates as they did so.

“Yeah.” Izuki sighed. “It’ll blow over soon.” He said hopefully. He then stopped in his tracks as he both saw and heard the enormous crowd of girls all crowding at the front gate—thus preventing anyone from leaving the school, much to the annoyance of some students. “What is this? What’s going on? Did the reporters come again?” He asked Tamaki, confused.

After all, after their first practice match against Kaijo High, reporters from nearly every single sports magazine in existence in Japan had flocked to Seirin the next day before anyone even knew what is going on. After all, Tamaki is the vice-captain of the famed team of six basketball prodigies—the only female in a team full of boys, and their Number Two player furthermore. Their principal had actually gone as far as banning anyone from taking even one step into the school grounds if they aren’t a student or a teacher, threatening them with lawsuits and disturbance of the peace.

As the shrill squeals and screams of girls—fangirls reaches Tamaki’s ears, she groaned, resisting the urge to palm her face, realising what is going on now. There is only one reason why a large crowd of girls would be crowding around Seirin like this.

“I’ll know those sounds anywhere,” she deadpanned. “It’s Kise-kun’s fangirls…again!” She moaned. “That’s why I told him to meet us at the train station!”

Izuki chuckled nervously, not quite knowing what to say. “…He’s as popular as ever,” was all that he said.

It took nearly twenty minutes for the crowd to disperse, and only because the Student Council President had actually turned up and threatened the crowd of girls who refuses to leave that if they don’t disperse in one minute, he’ll get the school’s emergency water hose and soak them all thoroughly. As none of the girls want to be soaked to the skin, they have dispersed disgruntling, much to the relief of the students of Seirin High who couldn’t even leave the school due to the crowd.

“I said that I’m sorry!” Kise wailed even as he tagged along after Tamaki and Izuki, with the teal head leading the way towards Shibuya where the biggest department stores are, and where they are sure to find some decent clothing for Izuki to replace the ones that he had lost, even all his essentials, and also a bed and a wardrobe for him. “I thought that it might be better for me to come and meet you at the school as I finished early today as it’s Friday.”

“Whatever.” Tamaki deadpanned, looking at Kise as the trio stopped at the crossing of Shibuya, with the famous departmental store of Shibuya 101 visible in front of them. “So where to get his clothes? You’re the expert in this area.”

Kise grinned.

XXXXXX

Izuki had honestly never been so tired before after four hours straight of clothes shopping, and considering the fact that his mother had often dragged him with her when she goes shopping, that is saying something. Izuki had probably never owned so many clothes before in his life, as all that he had outside of his training clothes and school uniforms are just T-shirts and jeans with a few sneakers.

They’ve probably visited every single departmental store in Shibuya to get Izuki his clothes—half of them were designer brands even! And when Izuki had protested, saying that it’s too pricey, Kise had only laughed and said that it is a gift from the blonde—for Izuki joining them. They’ve even gotten some boots and shoes—sneakers, basketball shoes and some are for formal parties even, along with two pairs of black combat boots that must cost a bomb, considering how well made they are, and how good the leather had felt.

Tamaki and Kise have gotten some clothes during the shopping trip as well, much to Izuki’s relief, though he had to admit that the two have an eye for fashion and apparel. And then again, if the two were the infiltrators and spies of the team, he really shouldn’t be surprised.

Aomine had drove up in an inconspicuous black car the moment they’ve stepped out of the last department store—buying Izuki his bed and a wardrobe, along with getting him a new cellphone—despite his protests. Izuki was momentarily surprised to see Aomine behind the wheel of a car. Isn’t the guy fifteen or sixteen at most? He shouldn’t have a driver’s license.

Until Tamaki had explained to him that due to their circumstances, every single member of ICE have car and motorbike licenses ever since they’re fourteen—given permission by the Prime Minister himself. Every single one of them has their own cars and motorbikes in Ashiya’s garage.

Aomine is apparently here to deliver their mountain of shopping bags to Tamaki’s house, with the tanned teen promising to wait outside her house for Tamaki to open it for him.

Kise, Tamaki and Izuki have then taken the train to the Shinjuku district, with Tamaki leading the way through the crowded Shinjuku streets all starting to buzz with the nightlife as the skies darkened over their heads. Kise and Tamaki have even changed out of their uniforms into one of the outfits that they’ve bought at Shibuya earlier, urging Izuki to do the same.

As the streets grew quieter, with the appearance taking on more of a poorer outlook, with bums and even people whom Izuki is sure are yakuza members lounging around, with graffiti on the walls, he knew where he is now.

“Is this Underground Shinjuku?” Izuki whispered into Tamaki’s ear, tugging at the collar of his new jacket uncomfortably. The two teens with him nodded solemnly, with Kise slightly surprised that Izuki actually knew of it. “My dad has mentioned this place before when I was in middle school. He said that it’s something like a market street for underground vendors and those on the wrong side of the law.”

“Well, it’s half true.” Kise nodded. “The agents in the Secret Service, or even those whose existences are kept secret—people like us, we use it too. It’s a goldmine of information here—if you only know where and how to look. The information brokers here pretty much hear anything that goes through the underground channels. We have several contacts here. Sometimes, some of the jobs that we get come through the underground channel.”

“This is where we usually go to get our weapons or even ammunition for our guns.” Tamaki told Izuki. The older teen didn’t fail to notice that the two were keeping their voices low. “Well, you have to know the right channels and where to get weapons from. If you go to the wrong vendor, well…” She shrugged. “You won’t be leaving alive.” Izuki got a faint chill go down his spine at that. “This is just what this place is like.”

Tamaki then led the way towards a nearby establishment that looks like some rundown pub, with the signboard old and frayed, with the lights around the signboard flickering every now and then. There is even an old desk set against the wall beside it, where a man was sleeping with his head resting on his arms, a tan cloth hat covering his head and eyes.

“Keep your head down.” Kise whispered to Izuki, pulling the hood of Izuki’s jacket over his head. “And stick close to us. This isn’t a safe place. Never come here without Tamaki or me.” He warned. “You won’t leave alive otherwise.”

Izuki nodded as he watch Tamaki approached the sleeping man. “Hey Satori.” Tamaki tried to rouse the man by kicking at his feet beneath the desk. Izuki tried to stifle his amusement as he saw the man jolt awake almost immediately, nearly falling out of his chair as he did so, hand going towards the knife by his side, only to relax when he saw that it’s Tamaki. His black beady eyes went towards Izuki in suspicion, though he nodded to Kise—apparently, he’s familiar with the blonde too. The man then turned his attention towards Tamaki. “Is Akifusa around?” Tamaki asked him. “We need his assistance.”

Satori nodded his head. “He’s down there.” He jerked his thumb towards the entrance of the dingy looking pub. His eyes then shifted towards Izuki once more, narrowing in suspicion. “Who’s this guy?”

“None of your concern.” Kise was the one to answer this time, a cold tone in his voice, taking Izuki back by surprise. Apart from that one time during the Seirin versus Kaijo practice match when Tamaki had the blonde cornered and then again last night, he had never heard the blonde like this before.

Tamaki removed a thick wad of bills from her pocket and passed it over to Satori whose eyes lit up as he saw the thick wad of bills. “Keep your mouth shut about him, and we won’t have any problems.” She then turned towards the two boys with her. “Come on.”

The trio then walked down the flight of steps that leads down to the basement. The stairway is dark, and they have to feel the wall with their hands as they walked so that they don’t trip. Finally, they arrived at the bottom of the stairs, and Tamaki led the way into the weapons’ vendor.

It is a small establishment, with the walls and tables in this small shop space being full of weapons of all kinds—from rifles to handguns and even butterfly knives. Hell, Izuki could have sworn that he saw a grenade and even a cannon too. It looks to be a shop right out of an RPG game.

A man maybe in his late thirties to early forties was standing behind the shop counter, dismantling a gun. There are already streaks of gray in his black hair, and he is dressed in a white shirt and dark blue overalls that had some tears in it, dark brown gloves on his hands. His blue eyes were however sharp and assessing as he eyed the three teens that have stepped in.

“Hey Akifusa.” Kise greeted. “It’s been quite some time.”

“Ikichi? And Yagami? Yagami Yuri?” Akifusa, the weapons’ vendor smiled at them. “It’s unusual to see you here. Didn’t you just buy a batch of weapons from me last month? Need some more?”

“‘Yagami’? ‘Ikichi’?” Izuki whispered to Kise as Tamaki conversed with the weapons’ vendor.

“Our codenames.” Kise whispered back. “The names we are known for around here. You don’t think that we’ll use our real names, do you?”

“Something like that.” Tamaki replied in response to Akifusa’s question. She then glanced at Izuki. “This is Akifusa.” She gestured towards the man who nodded to Izuki politely. “He’s an underground vendor in these parts—ammo, weapons, information—what you need, he gives—for a price. You can trust him to be discreet. He knows how to keep his mouth shut.”

“I like to live long, thank you very much, not step forward to meet Enma in the underworld.” Akifusa grumbled, causing Kise and Izuki to laugh, and Tamaki to smile in amusement. His intelligent blue eyes razed over Izuki, making him feel as if he is getting X-rayed. “New guy?”

“Something like that.” Tamaki nodded. Behind her, Kise stamped on Izuki’s foot discreetly to prevent him from giving Akifusa his real name. “We need some weapons for him—preferably a handgun or maybe even a dagger. I’ll need some computer parts too, Akifusa.” She added as an afterthought. “I need to rebuild a specialised computer terminal from scratch.”

Izuki blinked—so that’s why she bought a laptop earlier at the electronics store.

“Semi or auto?” Akifusa asked Tamaki, confusing Izuki further with all the gun talk.

Tamaki paused for a moment before replying, “Semi-auto,” she said. “He’s an amateur when it comes to guns.” She added.

Akifusa nodded before reaching down below on his side of the counter and taking a pure black handgun, placing it on the counter. Izuki’s eyes went wide at seeing a real gun in front of him. He had never been allowed near his father’s gun ever since he was little after all, and his father had always kept the drawer where he kept his gun locked.

“A compact semi-automatic Smith and Wesson Model CS45.” Akifusa told the three teens, a smile on his face. “A perfect start for an amateur—he’ll likely shoot himself in the foot or something if I start him off with one of the advanced models that the rest of you uses—especially the Black Star III that Yagami here tend to favours. Also, as it is a semi-auto handgun, you can fire all you want after unlocking the safety.” He added the last part for Izuki’s benefit, showing the teen where to release the safety on the gun. “Yagami will teach you that part definitely. Can’t use a gun when you don’t know how to shoot after all.” He chuckled at some joke that only he understood. “It uses magazines to reload.” Like magic, a gun magazine that looks like some metal bar with holes in it appeared on the counter. “Six rounds of LHP—Lead Hollow Point.” He added for Izuki’s benefit. “A silencer had also been built into this baby so no noise will be released when you fire it.”

“We’ll need a few training guns too, Akifusa.” Kise added, knowing that Tamaki and Akashi would want to train Izuki in firearms by using training guns with blanks first of all, rather than wasting precious ammo. Bullets are expensive after all. Hence the reason why they don’t often use guns on missions. Only exception has to be Midorima who specialises in firearms, but then again, he hasn’t sniped down a target for some time.

Akifusa nodded before pulling out three handguns that looked significantly different from the one that he had just pulled out. He then removed a black velvet box, placing it on the surface of the counter and lifting the lid only to reveal three butterfly knives. “Since you’re with Yagami, no doubt that you’re going to be learning how to wield some of these.” Akifusa explained. “Edge is pretty sharp—can even cut through bone easily if you want to.” He tapped at the sharp edge of the knife with his gloved hand. “I’ll throw in a few wet stones for blade sharpening.”

Izuki stepped forward, picking up the semi-auto handgun gingerly with his right hand. He is slightly surprised at the weight of it. “It’s heavy,” he said, surprised.

“Yeah, guns are killing weapons in the end.” Tamaki nodded. “The weight of the gun represents the weight of the burden—of the lives that you’ll take.” She then turned towards Akifusa even as he took several computer parts and laid it out for Tamaki to survey. Finally, she nodded—apparently satisfied with everything. “How much for everything?”

“Including the computer parts, three training guns, the Smith and Wesson model, and at least ten magazines’ worth of bullets…” Akifusa trailed off slowly, calculating everything. “200,000 yen.”

Izuki almost choked at the ridiculous amount, but Tamaki only nodded and removed her wallet to pay for it. The older teen didn’t know whether he should feel shocked or amused at the fact that Tamaki is carrying around such a large amount of money. How much are they paid by the government anyway?

“All right. Looks like we’re done here.” Kise said as Tamaki placed their purchases at the bottom of her bag.

“By the way, Yagami.” Akifusa called out before the trio could leave his shop. “Hayato’s been looking for you. The information broker. He said that he has some information that you might be interested in.”

XXXXXX

Izuki spent his dinnertime at Ashiya’s, with Tamaki leaving him in Yase’s care, as she has to meet a contact, and couldn’t possibly bring Izuki with her. And she couldn’t leave him alone either.

Apart from telling all his friends about his new number and cellphone that Tamaki had gotten him—his old phone is somewhere in his apartment, Izuki’s day had been relatively silent. He had spent most of his time in one of the bedrooms upstairs, reading or even playing some of the game consoles that they have up there. Yase had assured him that the boys of ICE wouldn’t mind him borrowing their stuff.

“Why is Tamaki doing this anyway?” Izuki asked Yase as he inhaled a bowl of pork noodles, being seated at the counter. Business has been slow for the day. “Why is someone like her an assassin?”

Yase sighed. “I can’t tell you that,” he said. “It’s their story to tell—Tamaki’s too. They have to trust you enough to tell you their story. I can however tell you that none of them choose to be an assassin. It was chosen for them, like everything else.” He continued cleaning the dishes. “Even for me, it took them years to trust me to this extent. They weren’t like this in the past—before I’ve met them. They barely smiled. Barely talked even. It took us all a long time to get them to start acting like how they are now—to undo the brainwashing that they were forced to undergo as kids. Before they were even old enough to think for themselves. Even so, there are still times when it showed in their mannerisms that they’ve been through what no child should experience.”

The rest of the night was then spent in blissful silence.

XXXXXX

Hayato, the information broker had been one of the rare few that the members of ICE have trusted wholly, and part of the reason had been because he had been a former Black Sun child assassin too. Unlike the members of ICE however, he had never revealed his existence to the Japan government—instead disappearing into the underground as an information broker, taking on the name of ‘Hayato’, or Seto Hayato to the outside world.

“You look well.” Hayato noted even as Tamaki sat across him in the fast food eatery, each of them with trays in front of them. Unlike Hayato’s tray however, Tamaki’s food portions are small. “I see that the government has been treating you well.”

Tamaki shrugged, unwrapping her small burger. “Well, at least some of us have to resurface,” she explained. “The Prime Minister would never have believed that just two of us survived. Furthermore, my teammates would never have agreed to letting us go through it alone.” Hayato smiled. “So what do you have for me?”

Hayato then turned serious. He pushed his tray and his half eaten burger away before removing a wad of photos from his bag. “Do you remember how you’ve asked me to look into your families?” he asked, and Tamaki nodded slowly. That had been a request that she and her cousin have made of Hayato years ago when they’ve first been integrated back into society. They have no intention to return to their families, but as long as they know that they’re well, and all… “Honestly, I’m surprised that the Prime Minister and his men couldn’t find your families when I could in just a mere four years.” Hayato rolled his eyes.

“It’s not like we told them our real names back then.” Tamaki defended the Prime Minister. “Only our true last names. Furthermore, there are lots of people in Japan with our last names—only written differently.”

Hayato sighed. “…Yagami Yuri. Kuroko Tamaki. Akai Keiichi. Akashi Seijuro. Kuroko Yuri. Akashi Keiichi.” He recited, not noticing Tamaki stiffen when he said her real name and that of her cousin’s too—names that they haven’t used for years. “Your real names before everything.” Hayato paused for a moment. “I focused on Akashi’s family first. The Akashi name is pretty well known—with the most famous being that of a world famous lawyer. Of course, like you said, there are others out there with the same name, only written differently.”

“Did you find anything?” Tamaki asked quickly.

Hayato nodded silently. “I couldn’t find an Akashi Yuki—which according to Akashi, is his mother’s name,” he explained. “But when I started searching for a Kuroko Yuki instead, I struck gold.” He placed a photo from the stack by the seat by his side onto the table, revealing a 4R candid photo taken of a middle aged beautiful smiling woman with red hair the same shade as Tamaki’s cousin, with the hair reaching down to the middle of her back. The woman is standing outside a restaurant of some sort, talking with someone. “This is Kuroko Yuki, Akashi’s mother and your aunt apparently.” Hayato added. “She divorced about three years ago, and her husband, a world famous lawyer settled down in US after the divorce.” A photo of a solemn looking man in a black business suit stepped out of a limousine—this photo is apparently taken overseas. “Apparently, they couldn’t get over the loss of their son and separated due to the bad memories. Akashi Shoichi apparently still calls in every now and then, even emailing his ex-wife to check in on her. He’s still looking for his son though—a son that goes by the name of Akashi Keiichi. As for Kuroko Yuki, she’s now the owner of a rather well known restaurant by the name of Rising Sun—located in central Tokyo.”

Tamaki closed her eyes briefly. “…Kuroko Takeru and Kuroko Mayumi?”

Hayato said nothing for several moments. “…Dead. Two years ago,” he said at last, causing Tamaki’s head to snap up to look at him. “Car accident.” He added. “In their will, they left everything to their daughter—Kuroko Yuri…if she is ever found. Your dad left quite a tidy sum to his sister though—to help her with the divorce. They did however leave a letter for their daughter with their lawyer. You want me to get it for you?” He asked Tamaki.

Tamaki nodded. “No one must see you,” she warned.

Hayato smirked. “I know,” he said. “Moving on…” Several photos of various people were placed down on the table just then, some of them being that of a tall green haired man in a white doctor’s coat that bore a certain resemblance to Midorima. “Midorima Shinobu. His entire family is made up of doctors. His mother is a paediatrician and his father is a world famous surgeon. His father is the director of a hospital even—the Midorima Municipal Hospital. A younger sister who is now a third year in middle school. All of them are still alive, but slowly giving up hope that their son and brother is still alive. Same goes for Murasakibara.”

Several photos of a couple in a confectionary were placed down on the table, along with various photos of young adults that looked to be college students. One photo even had a young man wearing a white lab coat standing outside Metro PD’s main headquarters.

“His parents run a confectionary in Yokohama—a rather famous one even, with branches all over Japan, with it being featured in culinary and confectionary magazines every now and then.” Hayato pointed at the photos of the couple in the confectionary. “Three older sisters and one older brother. The brother is the oldest—now working in the Forensics Unit of Metro PD as the department head. His three sisters are now in college—all taking courses in Fashion Design, Culinary Arts and even Medical Sciences respectively. Murasakibara Arata is the youngest of five siblings apparently.”

Tamaki nodded.

“Next is Aomine.” Hayato placed a photo of a smiling couple with a laughing dark blue haired baby in the woman’s arms. The date on the photo was dated fourteen years ago to this day. “Aomine’s father was a detective. His mother was a housewife. Aomine Eisuke however died in the line of duty seven years ago—tracking down a lead that he thought might help him to find his son, Aomine Daisuke.” Hayato looked sad at this point. “Aomine Hana committed suicide six months after her husband’s passing. They left everything to their son.”

A photo of a handsome couple was placed down on the table next. The man was wearing a white and black pilot uniform, with the woman next to him wearing an orange sundress. The woman’s shade of golden blonde hair is so much like Kise’s that Tamaki knew immediately that these two must be Kise’s parents.

“Kise Rikuto.” Like with the others, Hayato spoke Kise’s real name—a name that he hasn’t used ever since he had been a child assassin for Black Sun. Not even the Prime Minister and Ishigami and Katsuragi knew their real names—probably why they couldn’t track down their families. “Kise’s father is a captain pilot—one of the highest rank. His mother is a relatively famous television host. They both emigrated to Canada eight years ago after giving up hope on ever finding their son.”

“Do you have their address?” Tamaki asked, and Hayato nodded. “Give it to me later.”

Hayato nodded. “Next is Ogiwara. Ogiwara Sora.” He placed down a photo of a couple—with such a resemblance to Shigehiro that it almost hurts to look at them. “Ogiwara Haru became a private detective after his son was taken by Black Sun nearly ten years ago. His mother is currently a high school teacher. They both moved to Kyoto approximately eight years ago to try to forget the memories, giving up on ever finding their son alive. As far as I’m aware, they’re both still there.” Hayato concluded.

Tamaki was silent for several moments. Honestly, she is happy for some of her friends—that their families are still alive. All of them have stated as much four years ago when they’ve decided to ask Hayato for his help in tracking down their families. That knowing they’re still alive would be good enough for them. Reuniting with their families at this point would be too dangerous—for all of them.

“What are you going to do?” Hayato asked with concern. “Aomine’s parents and your parents might be dead, but your aunt is still alive. Do you want to meet her at least once?”

Tamaki said nothing for several moments before she picked up the photo at the bottom of the stack of her aunt—her cousin’s mother. If truth be told, they have all been very young when they were first kidnapped. Hence, they don’t really have any memories of their families at all as they were too young to even think for themselves when they were first taken.

“…Let me think about it.”

A/N: Gosh, this must be my longest chapter to date, and I’m still writing this at nearly 2AM where I am! Anyway, I know that I can’t really judge how well a story is doing by the reviews, but I’ll appreciate it if you could drop off some feedback for this story, as this is a pretty new genre and theme that I’m doing for Kuroko no Basuke—not like my usual stories. Anyway, I hope that you like this chapter, and please read and review! Reviews give me inspiration to update!

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