A/N: We're back! We hope you'll enjoy!
Yukio was eight when he first met him.
The boy with the black hair who wore glasses and had an unbelievably deep accent. He'd met him by accident, Yukio managed to get lost while his aunt, uncle, cousin and younger brother were touring Osaka. It was a regular, every summer Yukio and his brother ― Mikio ― would visit their aunt and uncle and cousin in Osaka, they gave the port boys a tour of another port city. The two would yearn for summer every year, as they would receive gifts and souvenirs and such.
However, this year, Yukio had gotten lost. A mob of crowds had appeared from nowhere, and trying not to lose Mikio (he was just four), Yukio had shoved him closer to his aunt, making her hold his hand instead. But somewhere along the line, he had gotten separated from them and was now a crying mess as he didn't know what to do. He knew that he should always go to a police station but he didn't know where that was. And he was afraid to talk to strangers as he mother always said that they might kidnap him due to him being so cute.
Yukio was in a pinch indeed.
As he walked, he neared a streetball court where he heard the sounds of a ball bouncing. Finally encountering something familiar, Yukio quickly dashed towards the sound, only to see a little boy with black hair. He was alone but he was dribbling a basketball towards the net and when he tried to shoot, it bounced off the rim.
"Uh, hello." Yukio started. At least this stranger is a little boy like him, so no kidnapping possible.
"Ah, hello to you too." The boy replied. But he noticed the tear stained cheeks and red eyes and raised an eyebrow. "What you crying for?" he asked.
"I-I-I'm lost." Yukio managed to stutter out. "I don't know how to get back home."
"Hmm, you're not from around here are you?" Yukio shook his head. "Hear what, I can bring you home. Where do you live?"
And thus, Yukio began to tell the boy his aunt and uncle's address, and much to the boy's surprise, the black haired boy lives in the same neighbourhood. After minutes of walking, the boys had finally reached their neighbourhood, Yukio almost jumping for joy. The two boys were basically sprinting towards Yukio's home, and when they were at the gate, he turned to the black haired boy.
"Kasamatsu Yukio. That's my name."
"Will I see you again?"
"I should be the one asking you that. I live here, remember?"
"I come here every summer with my little brother."
"Well, we'll see each other again. After all, I know where you live." He grinned.
And thus, every summer after that, Yukio and Mikio played basketball with Shouichi not only that, Shouichi went on tours with them as well, creating a bond of friendship.
And so the years passed, it was now time for them to enroll into high school. Yukio had chosen Kaijou High, but it was a distance from his house. Even though he lived in Kanagawa, his neighbourhood was by the sea, while Kaijou was further inland, close to the border of Tokyo.
"Yukio, your father and I have decided on something." His mother, Yukiko had said to him one day.
"What's that Mom?"
"For you to travel to school easier, we've decided to let you board at a dormitory." She gave her ten-million dollar smile that up to this day has got his father weak. "It's at the edge of Tokyo but you'll only have to take one train and plus, the train ride is just five minutes!"
Yukio at this point didn't know what to say. He wanted to leave but when he saw the look on his youngest brother ― Mitsuo's face, he almost felt like not going. He knew that Mikio wouldn't mind him leaving as long as he visited often. Yes, Yukio now has two brothers, whom he loves dearly and who dearly loves him.
"You can go Onii-chan." Mitsuo fought hard to hold back a sniff. He was eight after all, and his big brother was going to leave him. He held onto his legs to hide his face before busting out in full blown tears.
"Mitsuo, stop it." Mikio said rubbing his eyes. "You're going to make me cry too!"
Chuckling, Yukio then hugged his brothers. "I may be gone, but you can come look for me, as well as I can come look for you. And we'll basketball like always. How about that?"
"Hn!" Mitsuo nodded with a smile that rivals his mother's.
And with that said and done, one week later, Yukio was heading to the dormitory. On the ride there (his father drove him), he wondered what it would like, who would his roommate be and so on. He slumped in his seat, praying that the roommate would be someone that he could work with. He didn't want the next three years of his life to be utter hell after all.
After some minutes, Yukio had finally reached and was stunned. The two-storey building was painted in a lush green colour and at each window there was a canopy. The canopies were a lustrous white, almost blinding. He walked through the black metallic gate, for a moment he had to wonder if it was brand new. It shone like black oil in the mid-morning sun and when he entered he noticed that there was a pathway leading up to the house.
On both sides there were beautiful flowers, peonies, oleanders and narcissuses neatly decorated that gave the place a somewhat fairy tale feeling. He continued his trek and reached up the door. He pressed the doorbell.
The door opened and the person he saw left him in shock.
"What are you doing here?!" both boys then asked each other. After seconds, they then bust out with laughter, Yukio then prompting Shouichi to talk first.
"I live in Osaka, remember?" He drawled.
"Yeah, and you're going to Touou in Tokyo. But I would have never guessed that I'd meet you here."
"Aren't you going to Kaijou? What are you doing here? Your school is in the same prefecture!"
"Yeah, but it's further inland. I live at the sea, remember?" the two boys then erupted with laughter once again; Yukio then entered the building along with his father.
Kazunari had a lively neighbour and the same could be said for his neighbour as well. He lived in a quiet neighbourhood, and just like every five-year old, he had a 'bestest' friend. This was none other than his rowdy neighbour, Hayama Kotarou. He had golden hair and a small snaggle tooth and the brightest eyes that Kazunari had ever seen.
The two terrors would often time play with each other in their backyards, getting dirty and everything that a healthy five and six year old could. It was when they had turned six and seven that their fathers had brought them to watch a basketball game, and to both men's surprise, the two boys had fell in love with the sport so much that Kazunari wailed when it was time to go. Kotarou was the same, but his vocal cords couldn't hit the high notes like Kazunari's.
Both fathers were distressed at this, so to save them their ears and the look of worry on their wives faces later on, Kotarou's father decided to buy them a basketball. Seeing the bright orange ball, the boys had perked up and the tears had disappeared instantaneously, replaced by grins of joy and excitement.
From then on, the two boys learnt to play basketball, and watched every match under the sun. When their fathers couldn't take them, they somehow managed to get their mothers or uncles to. They would 'ooh' and 'aah' at their dunks, threes and crossovers. Their eyes would sparkle with admiration and this would immediately drive them to practice at a nearby streetball court.
The two boys grew up like this, playing basketball, Kotarou's skill being apparent in dribbling and Kazunari has a pair of eyes that made him a frightening playmaker. But one summer, Kotarou went on a family trip to America. Kazunari had never felt so empty and alone in his life before, and the black haired teen counted down the days when his best friend would return home.
But, he wasn't completely lonely. Kotarou kept in touch with him through international calls, informing him about his adventures in America. He told him all about their style of basketball and about a Japanese boy named Tatsuya who he'd met.
When summer was over and Kotarou had returned home, Kazunari immediately greeted the boy and the two would dash off to streetball court.
But the years soon pass and it was time for Kotarou to attend high school. Due to his skills and family prestige, he was going to attend Rakuzan high all the way in Kyoto, leaving Kazunari. The two felt like the world had ended, but Kotarou made plans to visit Kazunari whenever he could.
When it was Kazunari's time to attend high school, he decided to move to a dormitory, for selfish emotional reasons. His parents hadn't minded either; they felt that their son knew what was best for him. Since Kotarou had gone to Rakuzan, he'd move to live with his aunt. But the days were lonely, and due to homework and basketball practices, Kotarou couldn't visit as often as he would like. And thus, Kazunari would have to come home every day knowing that his best friend wasn't next door, after all, the two were inseparable.
Kazunari had arrived to the dormitory particularly fast; his mother was the one who dropped him off and his things. He inhaled, and then exhaled, hoping to make the best of this. But he silently prayed that he'd get along with his roommate and most of the people here or else his life for the next three years is going to be hell.
When they had entered the yard, the door opened revealing two teenagers, who were not that much taller than him. The one on the right had short black hair and thick eyebrows. He was staring at what Kazunari deduced to be a list, while the other walked with his hands in his pockets. He had long black hair and wore glasses. Upon seeing them, Kazunari stopped.
"Uh, hello," he uttered out. His mother was smiling behind him and nudging him in the back to talk up to the boys. She knew her son was far from shy.
"Hello to you too." The one with the glasses greeted. They then turned to Kazunari's mother and bowed respectfully to her.
"This is my son Takao Kazunari and he'll be living here. Please take of care him."
After she said that, the two boys exchanged glances.
"I'm Kasamatsu Yukio and this here is Imayoshi Shouichi."
"Nice to meet you." Kazunari responded. The two then moved off, heading through the gate while Kazunari and his mother went to meet the landlord.
Hayama Kotarou never felt more alone in his life before. He was currently in America, on a family trip, and far away from Kazunari. At times like these, they could be playing basketball or going to watch a movie or something, but no, he has to come on this stupid family trip. He sighed miserably.
America wasn't bad so far, he just didn't like the atmosphere. He hated that whenever he talked, due his deep Japanese accent, people gave him funny looks. It pissed him off, he just wanted to hurry and go back home where he could play against Kazunari again. He loved to see the shocked expression of the raven-haired whenever he gets by him with his dribbling.
He was currently sitting in his room, gazing out the window. The streets were busy as always, something that's quite different from where he lived in Japan. But then, something caught his eye. He spotted a small black haired boy walking and casually spinning a ball on his finger. Kotarou's eyes lit up. With a mad dash, Kotarou flew downstairs right towards his father.
"Dad can I go out?" he asked.
"Go out? Where? Why?"
Kotarou sucked in a breath. "I saw a boy with a basketball just now. And I'm bored Dad! I miss Kazu so much but instead I'm here! It's only one match! Please, Dad?!"
Kotarou's father sighed. He knew that once the boy pulled out that look, and if this reaches his mother and she pulls out the same look, he'd be rendered powerless.
"Alright, but don't go too far or stay out too late."
"You can come if you want!" he chirped.
He sighed once more. "Fine," he succumbed.
Then quickly, the two got into his car and headed in the direction Kotarou saw the boy. After minutes of asking directions and following Kotarou's intuition, they finally found the boy, at a street ball court. Without even a word to his father, Kotarou undid his seatbelt and dashed out. Once more, Kotarou's father sighed. That child was far too energetic.
"Uh, hello!" Kotarou chirped as he made his way to the court, which had about nine boys there. They all stopped and stared at him, a few raised their eyebrows. Kotarou's eyes were locked onto the black haired boy and he wondered if he was Japanese. "Are you Japanese?" he then asked.
"Yes, I am." He replied.
"Finally! My name is Kotarou. And you are…?"
Kotarou then looked at the other boys and then he asked, "Do you have room for one more? I'd like to play."
Out of the mumblings, Kotarou could pick out 'Sure', and 'of course'. He immediately perked up and waved to his father who was by the fence. He ended up being on the same team as Tatsuya and three others, and they faced off against another team of five.
Throughout the match, the boys were stunned by Kotarou's dribbling skills, Tatsuya even praised him often. And this was the start of a friendship between Kotarou and Tatsuya.
For the rest of summer, Kotarou would meet up with Tatsuya and the two would go to the street ball court to play either one-on-ones or with a team. When the two weren't playing basketball, Kotarou would tell Tatsuya all about Kazunari and what they'd usually do back in Japan. Another time, Tatsuya would be Kotarou's tour guide, giving him a view of the best places that they are allowed to visit (without either set of parents worrying too much).
Soon, the summer vacation came to an end, and Kotarou had returned to Japan, but not without Tatsuya's contacts. He promised the raven-haired boy that he'd introduce him to Kazunari, after all, whenever he and Kazunari talked at home, he told him all about his matches and Tatsuya.
But the moment he'd reach back home, without even resting, he and Kazunari had dashed off to the basketball court. The two had fun, for the rest of the evening playing basketball laughing and chatting. However, Kotarou did not forget about Tatsuya. Through e-mail messaging, Kotarou and Kazunari were able to talk to Tatsuya, Kazunari sending a picture to the raven-haired and vice-versa.
Sooner than later, Kazunari and Tatsuya had become friends as well, but Kotarou was still his best friend. But soon, the years caught up and it was time for high school. Kotarou was sad that he'd go all the way to Rakuzan away from his best friend, but nonetheless, he and Kazunari had promised to stay in touch virtually and maybe on some weekends and holidays, he'd be able to visit.
Kuroko Tetsuya wondered when it started to happen. He loved basketball but the current team that he's on, seems to have forgotten what the sport is all about. He was just coming from a match, one against Amagiri Middle School. They weren't bad in his eyes; actually, they were quite good. But as usual, as always Teikou had won the match, crushing their opponents horribly. Tetsuya had felt something in his chest when he saw their faces, so he had decided to go apologize on his undeserving team's behalf.
When he had knocked on the locker room door, the moment the door opened, it seemed as though he was hit with a bomb of depression. The mood was so gloomy that the blue-haired boy felt sick. But nonetheless, he looked up at the coach and asked if he could enter.
"For what reason?" the man had asked.
"I want to apologize on my team's behalf."
Looking at the man's face, Tetsuya had a feeling that the coach was thinking that this may lighten the mood. With a shaky step, Tetsuya stepped forward but the moment they laid on him, the sickening atmosphere of depression turned into a murderous atmosphere full of rage. Before things got worse, Tetsuya bowed his head deeply and sincerely apologized. But none wanted that. Not too long ago, they were brutally humiliated in front of the entire nation…an apology would not suffice.
Sensing the danger, Amagiri's raven-haired point guard had swiftly moved and dragged the blue-haired boy outside. He wouldn't want to know what things would be like if they decided to get physical.
"Why did you do that?" he asked.
"Because my teammates did something that wasn't nice. I was just trying to make things right." Tetsuya answered. With yet another deep bow, he apologized. The raven couldn't find it in his heart to hate the guy. Sure, he, like the rest of his teammates were wishing that the Teikou players would all drop dead this very instant, but this boy in front of him was so sincere that he couldn't wish for him to meet a brutal end like his teammates.
"Alright, alright," He sighed. "I accept your apology. But I can't say the same for my teammates though." He said as he looked in the direction of the locker room. "Your teammates are evil, you know that?" his voice was cracking up at this moment.
"They weren't always like this." Tetsuya mumbled, but the boy heard anyway.
"I don't care," he said. "They destroyed hopes and dreams, they destroyed a team. We all know that losing is a part of life, but this…" he trailed off as he couldn't hold back the tears any longer. Seeing that the raven-haired was using his jersey to wipe his face, he fished out a handkerchief out of his pocket and gave it to him.
"Here." Tetsuya said.
"Th-thanks." He uttered out. Without even a word, the boy had retreated to his locker room, leaving Tetsuya outside in the hallway.
Tetsuya watched with heartbreak at the boy's shaking back. As he walked away from him, he could have heard the sobs getting louder and louder. Quickly moving off, he headed home.
And so championship continued with the same results. Teikou winning but at the cost of their opponents hopes, dreams, feeling, everything. Boys who had a passion for basketball had now hated the sport and resented Teikou even more. Tetsuya couldn't continue like this. So eventually, one day, he had quit his basketball club.
One evening, Tetsuya sat on a bench at a nearby park. He was going home from school, but he decided to take a detour. He felt so empty, so lonely now that he's quit basketball, but he was sure as hell that he'd never go back to that hellhole. He leaned his head backwards on the bench, and looked up at the sky.
"What are you doing sitting in a place like this?" a voice asked. Tetsuya leaned his head to look at the person. He knew he's heard this voice before but he doesn't know the person's name.
"I don't know," he answered when he saw who it was. It was the same raven-haired point guard from Amagiri Middle. "I just came here to enjoy the breeze and try to forget about basketball."
"What? Aren't you from Teikou? How do you forget about basketball?" he asked as he took a seat.
"Yes, but I quit." Tetsuya replied. He was starting to feel the tears coming but he fought it back.
"Really? Why would you do that?"
"They don't love basketball anymore and they aren't a team." Tetsuya couldn't fight it anymore. All of the horrid memories came gushing back into his head, and a tear escaped his eyes. Quickly, he turned his face away from the raven.
"Well, you're not the only one. My entire basketball team had resigned. No one had the drive to play basketball again." The raven then went into his bag and took out the same handkerchief that Tetsuya had given him. "Here. You need it this time, don't you?"
"Th-thanks." Tetsuya replied. He still tried to hide his face.
"I'm Takao Kazunari by the way," the raven said.
"Kuroko Tetsuya." He sniffed.
"Crying helps, you know. It may be embarrassing as hell, but if you let it all out, I guarantee that you'll feel a little bit better."
The moment Kazunari said so, Tetsuya's cries became wails. Not knowing what to do, after all, he is a stranger; Kazunari simply inched closer to the blue-haired boy, and placed a hand on his shoulder. After a minute or two, Tetsuya managed to calm down and wiped his face.
"Sorry," he said.
"Nah, it's fine." He responded.
But neither boy moved from that spot immediately. Instead, the two were engaged in a conversation spanning different topics due to Kazunari's talkative nature. When it was time for them to leave, they ended up exchanging numbers so that they can talk otherwise.
The two henceforth had developed a friendship, Kazunari telling Tetsuya about his best friend Kotarou and his other friend Tatsuya, who lives in America. During school days, they two would meet up at either a street court or at a restaurant and they would play basketball, or just have a conversation.
On weekends, Kazunari would bring along Kotarou, and the three would play ball. Tetsuya enjoyed it, and wished that he had met them earlier in his life. But, it was soon time for high school. Kazunari had informed him that he was going to Shutoku while he was going to Seirin. But they still made sure that they'll keep in touch.
It was a month before school started, and Tetsuya's parents had a business trip that would take them outside of the country. Not wanting to leave their son alone, they decided to make him live at a dormitory for the time being. Tetsuya didn't disagree; he was just uncomfortable with living with strangers. But his father had reassured him that they were all in his age group.
When the day had arrived, Hikaru drove his son to the dormitory and dropped him off with his things. Tetsuya was amazed at the building's infrastructure and the colour-scheme. With his things in his hands, and the remainder with his father, he walked up to the door. He pressed the doorbell, and not even a second later, there was the landlord. He was tall man with a black hair and warm dark eyes.
"Welcome." He greeted.
"Ah, thanks." Hikaru said. "This is Tetsuya, who will be in your care."
"Hello." Tetsuya said. The landlord jumped in shock as he hadn't noticed the blue-haired teen.
"Ah, welcome, welcome." He said. "You can leave your things here." He opened then turned his face to the left and called out. "Yukio-kun! Shouichi-kun! Kazunari-kun! I need your help for a moment!"
Upon hearing Kazunari's name, Tetsuya actually felt quite relieved. There was someone here that he was already familiar with. The three boys made their way towards them swiftly and as soon as Kazunari's eyes spotted Tetsuya, they sparkled with joy.
"Tetsu-chan!" he shouted. He then dashed towards the blue-haired boy and gave him a bone-crushing hug from behind. "Please room with me! Please, please, please!" he begged.
"Fine, Kazunari-kun." Tetsuya managed to say. "But please release me. I need to breathe."
"Could you help Tetsuya with his luggage? I will be speaking with his father for a little bit."
"Uh sure," Tetsuya heard the boy with the short black hair answered. With that, the three boys took whatever they can and went up the stairs, leaving the two adults. But as they went, Kazunari started his chatting and dragged the rest of them into it.
A week had passed since Tetsuya moved in, and the boys have gotten quite used to each other. When they had found out that they all played basketball, the boys couldn't help but laugh out loud.
It was a Friday, Kazunari, Shouichi and Tetsuya had gone out to buy some groceries. On their way back, they encountered a flyer advertising a street ball competition to be held on Saturday. All three had a grin on their faces, as it was still summer vacation and they were itching to play a match against other people and not their regular two-on-two.
Kazunari had wasted no time, he fished out his phone and dialled Kotarou's number. When the boy had picked up, Kazunari told him that he wanted him to participate in a street ball competition come Saturday. The boy on the other side perked up and gave a positive response.
"So what did he say?" Shouichi asked.
"It's Ko-chan. Of course he'd say yes." Kazunari grinned. "We're all set for tomorrow."
"Wait until Yuki hears about this." Shouichi chuckled. "He's going to be excited but he's going to try to play it off cool."
And so, within a couple minutes, the boys had reached home. Not even waiting, Kazunari had told Yukio about the competition. And just as Shouichi said, he was excited but acted like he didn't want to jump for joy.
"But we only have four people." He started. "Wait, is Kotarou coming?"
"Best believe it." Kazunari grinned. "He'll be here by this evening."
There was silence. Shouichi couldn't believe how fast that boy was moving. It wasn't even an hour ago that Kazunari had called him and he was coming already? He couldn't help but laugh. He then moved to the kitchen with Yukio following, they were going to start dinner. Kazunari was their resident juice mixer, and Tetsuya…well, if they wanted boiled eggs, that'll be his job. He never cooks. Instead, he sets the table and such.
When they settled into their rhythm, Yukio and Shouichi were busying themselves around the stove, while Kazunari was at the other counter in front of a blender and ingredients beside him. Kazunari sung out loud 'I'm so excited', Yukio and Shouichi only joined in at the parts where they knew the lyrics, which, sadly, were only the first two lines of the chorus. Tetsuya laughed as he sets the table, trying his best not to drop the glass plates.
Soon, Kotarou had arrived, and Shouichi had to glance at the clock. Well, they don't call it Bullet Train for nothing. The boy was the usual ball of sunshine; he had visited one weekend before. He was in the area and Kazunari wanted him to meet the others.
Dinner-time was noisy, Kotarou and Kazunari contributing the most. They chatted about all sorts of things, and pulling the others into it as well…not that they minded. But one thing was on their minds and that was the street ball competition tomorrow.
It was now time for the competition, the boys made it to the venue on time. Yukio twitched with annoyance, as Kotarou and Kazunari were behaving like four year olds who just received a brand new toy. Shouichi chuckled at Yukio's expression, and he was counting down the time when Yukio will burst.
Three. Two. One.
"Will you two calm down!?" he roared, giving them a kick to go with it.
There we go.
"Yu-chan, that hurt." Kazunari pouted.
"You're brutal." Kotarou added.
"Jeez, you two are giving me a migraine." He said. "Just behave like teenagers will you?"
"Yes Papa." Kazunari and Kotarou teased.
Tetsuya could sense the danger so before Yukio bursts a blood vessel, he quickly pushed the dark haired teen towards the tent. "We have to sign up, remember Yukio-kun?"
"Ah right." He said, calming down. Meanwhile, Shouichi had to turn his face away let out his chuckle. He couldn't laugh out loud; he knew that Yukio would kill him later if he did. But he really couldn't help himself. Yukio, Kazunari and Kotarou together in the same place were just too funny.
"Wait, we haven't decided on our name." Kotarou said. "What'll it be?"
"Oh, maybe we could use our initials." Shouichi suggested, still fighting down the laugh.
"That'll be K,K,T,S,Y." Kazunari started. "Hmm, then S.K.Y.T.K?"
"Hell no." Yukio said. "Can't we think of a better name?"
And so the four boys stood pondering on a good name for their group. They hadn't noticed Tetsuya slipping away and walking up to the tent to sign them up. Tetsuya had returned but they still hadn't noticed as they were still thinking on a name.
"I've got nothing." Kotarou finally said. "Should we just sign up as 'Blank' or something?"
"You must be joking." Yukio said. "We aren't leaving here until we can find a decent name."
"Ano," Tetsuya finally spoke up. "I've already signed us up."
"WHAT?!" the boys roared.
"Don't tell me…you used the initials thing?!" Yukio asked, looking as though if Tetsuya had said yes, he'd faint.
"Then what did you use?" Kazunari asked.
They were silenced. They looked at each other and then smiled.
"That name's not half bad. How'd you think it up?" Yukio asked.
"I just thought that since we play basketball and have such a passion for it, that name would be befitting."
"Let me guess, 'Fire' would represent our 'burning' love for the sport and 'Rim' would be basketball…am I close?" Shouichi asked.
"Exact." Tetsuya answered.
"At least one of us was able to come up with something useful." Yukio said, shooting Kazunari a look.
"But at least I came up with something." He countered in a playful tone. Kotarou cracked up with laughter, and Shouichi had to be the one to calm them down. They then moved off, trying to find something to kill time until it was time for their match.
They had nestled in the green grass, each sipping on his favourite beverage. Their conversation had spanned many topics having them laughing and arguing (attempted to murder in Yukio's case). They hadn't realized the time until they heard the announcement.
"Will team RimFire report to the street court. Team RimFire, please report to the street court."
"Shit! It's time already?!" Kotarou asked, looking at his phone screen.
"Come on boys," Shouichi said as he got up, Yukio was already on his feet. Yukio then took a step forward and Shouichi then fell into step with him, the others then followed behind them.
"It's time to make our debut." Yukio smirked.
Thank you for reading! Don't forget to leave a review!