Full Summary: "God Tetsuya, why are you like this?"

He knows it's a rhetorical question said with exasperation and fondness, but he still spares a moment to seriously consider an answer. After a brief moment of contemplation, he comes to a conclusion, 'I have a deeply rooted fear of dependency because I've been taught that most comforts are temporary – a mindset which has been reinforced by my time in Teiko.' But instead of sharing this insight he shrugs; a gesture which goes unseen.

Or,

The death of his grandmother sparks a series of life-altering events. Tetsuya has to hit the bottom before he allows anyone to pull him back to the surface.


Oh my lord, this fic is going to be a doozy! This is my second muti-chapter story ever and the first in years so please be patient with my sporadic updates! I'm going to try to get each chapter to 5K as well so you have a bit of something the chew on as I take my time.

Anyways warnings, this story does feature abuse but it's not going to be over the top, or the main focus of this story aside from mentions of past abuse and how it's effecting the present, and the physical abuse doesn't apply to kuroko for most of the story, I'll give a heads up for triggers on the appropriate chapters. I wrote this story with an intense need to see Kuroko hurting and the GOM supporting each other to make it better. There are some other things I want to do, but they will be made apparent as we go.

EDIT: Whoops, I forgot this is missing a bit of context without AO3 tags! There are biracial characters in this story, it's only really relevant to Kuroko in terms of plot but it will be implied/referenced towards other characters as well. This fic also centers around rebuilding the relationships between Kuroko, the GoM, and Ogiwara.

Warning: Descriptions of a corpse


"Rigor Mortis is the stiffening of the body after death because of a loss of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) from the body's muscles. ATP is the substance that allows energy to flow to the muscles and help them work and without this the muscles become stiff and inflexible." ExploreForensics


.

In the beginning, he was stuck in a haze. Thinking of a dream, living in an idea, floating in an abstract memory, lost in limbo.

He'd thought she was sleeping.

His grandmother often falls asleep while watching one of her programs so he wasn't worried when he found her in such a position. It was a bad habit, especially for someone with joints as stiff as hers but he's learned not to fret and let her rest when she could get it. So he carried on with his post-practice routine without a hitch and he'd just retreated to his room to finish his homework for the evening. It wasn't hard work, just tedious. She was still peacefully sleeping when he'd returned to her side, so he'd simply smiled fondly at the sight of Nigou curled up by her feet. Quietly, he fetched one of the hand-knit quilts they'd kept in the closet, and carefully draped it over her prone form.

He always admired her in a way he'd never been able to admire his parents. He's probably learned more from her than anyone else. She was kind, selfless and always made time for him. He felt a deep respect for her unbreakable will, her ability to persevere and to love unconditionally despite everything. In the soft, quiet moments like then he could feel his heart ache under the strain of bearing all these emotions he didn't know what to do with. He let the warmth of these not-quite identifiable feelings warm his core like blood in his veins as he lowered the volume of the television to a soft murmur, then after deciding to forgo the tea he'd planned to prepare for the two of them, turned in for the night himself. Usually when she fell asleep on the couch, she'd wake up after an hour or two, and if it were late enough go bed on her own.

.

.

The first sign that something is wrong is when Nigou is the one to wake him up. Tetsuya is startled awake by the sound of him scratching at his bedroom door, only pausing to let out a pitiful whine and cautious little woofs. His glowing red alarm clock displays that it's about just after four in the morning and had it been anything but Nigou or his grandmother at his door, he would've gone right back to sleep. But such anxious behaviour from his usually confident and energetic puppy is making Tetsuya himself fairly nervous. Intruders? Fire? Tetsuya silently slides out of his bed as his thoughts started to pick up speed. Is his grandmother okay?

Carefully, Kuroko eases open his door and is immediately assaulted by the dog, tail wagging joyfully at finally gaining his master's acknowledgement and happily jaunting after Tetsuya as if the problem is solved. While the return to normality and the absence of smoke is relieving, Tetsuya knows he won't be able to resolve the tension that had settled in his mind until he gives the house a once-over. It feels like he's on the cusp of something, like he's a spring being loaded and ready to shoot off at a moment's notice. Adrenaline is turning up the volume of his heartbeat and his breath sounds as loud as a ventilator to his own ears in the stark quiet of the early morn. The soft murmur of the TV is now an uncanny garble of white noise, indistinguishable from the creek of the cool wood beneath his feet and the loud click-clack of Nigou's claws against the floor.

Everything is as he left it last night, not an object out of place. The soft orange glow of the lamp looks just as bright, the door is still locked and there doesn't appear to be any strangers lurking about with a knife. So what has Nigou so worked up?...

Tetsuya hums to himself as he considers the possibilities. "Did you want to go for a walk?" He really isn't up for that so early on a winter day, but he figures it's better in the long run to do a quick walk around the block than to be woken up repeatedly. Or worse, have his grandmother wake up from all the ruckus…Tetsuya's sleepy eyes widen as he's hit by a realization. Surely with all the noise Nigou was making, his grandmother would've gotten up to investigate or even just let Nigou out to the backyard until he's up and ready to walk Nigou himself. She's a light sleeper, easily startled and slow to relax, a rather unfortunate match for her high blood pressure problems.

He's starting to feel a sort of anxious buzz prickling under his skin, like he's threatening to bursting apart like a balloon due to the pressure building. "G…Grandmother?" Tetsuya whispers cautiously.

His heart is thundering in his ears, loud and steady like a countdown. Slowly, he forces his feet to carry him to the couch to face his grandmother, and he feels the cold grip of dread start to loosen its hold. She looks just as peaceful as she did when he placed the quilt over her small form, eyes eased shut and jaw relaxed, leaving her mouth the slightest bit open. Pale skin lined with shallow wrinkles and snow white hair still tied back into a loose braid. Unfortunately his sense of relief is fleeting once he starts to process just how pale she is, even under the warm orange of the lamp spidery blue veins spread out visible like a roadmap under her papery skin.

"Halmeoni?" Tetsuya repeats breathlessly, trying Korean this time to entice any kind of response. Nervously, he puts a hand to her shoulder in order to gently rouse her to wakefulness he notices how stiff she feels.

"Gr…Gra…" He nudges her a little rougher this time, panic returning tenfold. He puts a hand to her cheek in some half-planned gesture to attempt to wake her when his was struck by how unnaturally cold and hard her flesh feels to the touch. He retracts his hand in a violent flinch as if he's been burned. Realization and horror hit him all at once like a bucket of ice being dumped over his head, and everything is wildly spinning, it feels like he's on a boat with how much the floor beneath his feet rolls and tilts, just further disorienting him. He hastily backpedals away from her, tripping over the coffee table he'd forgotten was there and is helpless to keep his legs from collapsing under his weight. He lands on the table back first and smacks his head off of the hard glass surface with a resounding conk, far too overwhelmed to thank the manufactures for their sturdy product.

His hand feels alien.

The stone-like quality of her skin is imprinted on his fingertips like a tactile tattoo.

He gracelessly rolls off of the table and flops onto the hard floor, air mechanically forced out of his lungs as he painfully lands on his side. He can feel his eyes rolling listlessly as he tried to figure out what to do besides panic.

That's who people are supposed to call in an emergency.

'Not much of an emergency when she's already dead' the awful, cynical part of him can't help but chime in. He feels sicker for thinking such a thing so he has to stuff such thoughts aside. Tetsuya almost puts a hand to his face in attempt to collect himself when he recoils at the memory of touching his grandmother just moments ago. He's struck with a sudden and intense need to scrub his hands, which serves to make him feel worse because he was acting as if his closest confident was some dirty thing he'd come into contact with on the side of the road. For a moment he's struck with paralysis, staring at the shadowy white ceiling as indecisiveness locks up his joints. He's torn between contacting help and washing his hands before doing so.

In the end he rolls onto his knees and clambers up onto his feet. As bad as he feels about his skewed priorities, he knows he won't be able to use the phone with such a heavy distraction on his hands. He stands upright, then stumbles as blood rushes to his aching head at the sudden motion. Recovers and speed walks to his kitchen to pour a liberal amount of dish soap onto his hands. The green coloured, apple scented surfactant is a balm to his frayed nerves. The suds, coloured rainbow as they refracted the low lighting circle the drain before getting washed down into oblivion. Its hypnotising, the way the colours spin and the increasing warmth of the water is a comfort. He's being overtaken by an odd feeling of serenity. By the time the water is hot enough to scald his skin he turns off the tap and dries his hands.

Funny enough, now his hands are the only part of his body he can feel.

A pleasant numbness is running through him and his blood feels cold as if some sort of anesthetic is coursing through his veins. 119. He's floating back to his room, never in his life, even in Teiko has he so fully embraced his title of phantom. He can't even hear the sound of his bare feet padding against the probably freezing floor, nor the creak of the boards as he ghosts down the hall. He sees his phone still charging on his nightstand where he left it and the device feels particularly cold in his hands, smooth and glossy to the touch as he turns it on. The starting animation casts an eerie blue glow in his room as it boots up, unusually captivating as he watches it swirl around the black screen before it lights up with a familiar lock screen image.

"119 what is your emergency?"

"My grandmother passed away."

Who's voice is that coming out of his mouth?

"Are you certain she's no longer living?"

"She's gone into rigor mortis."

It's so detached, almost bored.

"What is the address of your emergency?"

Like the narrator of a text-to-speech program, choppy and unnatural.

"Help will be there in fifteen minutes. Can I get your name and age?"

"Kuroko Tetsuya, fif-sixteen."

Just a week ago they'd celebrated.

"Is anyone else home with you?"

"No."

Always just the two of them.

"Is there anyone you can call to be with you?"

"Um…"

Why can't he think of anyone? His father is abroad and his mother is down in Osaka for the week. He doesn't really know any other parts of his family well enough to have their phone number. His mind then jumps to his middle school friends, but he's quick to remember that Akashi and Murasakibara are quite distant. And as far as they'd all come in repairing their relationships, he really doesn't feel like he can rely on them in a crisis anymore. Then Seirin crosses his mind, but he didn't feel comfortable troubling his teammates, especially so early in the morning. Though out of anyone, Kagami is probably his best bet. He doesn't have any parents with him to be bothered by his sudden intrusion, and Kagami always insists he visit more often…

"I…think so."

"Good, it's best you aren't alone. Was she your sole guardian?"

"No, I have a mother and father but they are currently both away on business."

"Alright, help is on the way, you've been very brave Kuroko-san. If it's possible I need you to wait for the ambulance away from your grandmother, can you wait for the paramedics in another room?"

"Yes."

"Remember to contact someone to keep you company, and it would be in your best interests to spend the night at their house."

"Yes. Thank you."

"Do your best to remain calm, and thank you for your cooperation. Help is on the way."

"Thank you."

Tetsuya hangs up on the operator. For a moment he just stands there, stone still as another wave of shock rolls through him. He's trying to weather it like a rock on the shore but he can feel himself getting worn down into grains of sand, scattering in the wind as he's battered repeatedly by the reality of the situation. His grandmother is dead. He just called 119 to take away her body. He has a math test tomorrow.

Kagami.

With trembling fingers Tetsuya taps in his teammate's number, and waited with baited breath as the dial tone rings. Voicemail. He should've known Kagami wouldn't have picked up, it's still rather early and he probably won't appreciate being spammed with phone calls and texts. Perhaps he can borrow one of his father's credit cards to rent a hotel room, or worst case scenario just roam the streets until it's time for school-

He almost drops his phone out of surprise when it starts to violently vibrate in his hand. Kagami's calling. Licking his chapped lips in a futile attempt to help words slide out with more ease, Tetsuya answers the call.

At first, all he can hear is indistinguishable grumbling. Admittedly it could be coherent, but Tetsuya really isn't proficient enough in English to decipher any of it when Kagami speaks this unclearly. Luckily Kagami manages to start mumbling in decipherable Japanese. "Yo. Wha'…um. Who's this?"

"It's Kuroko. I…need your help."

Kagami seems to pause before almost yelling into the phone. "Are you in trouble? Where are you? Are you okay?! Give me a second to get dressed!" Kuroko can hear a bunch of rustling from the other end that's probably Kagami scrambling around for his sake. He could see Kagami now in his mind's eye, literally leaping out of bed holding his phone in a death grip. He was truly moved by how much Kagami was willing to do for him. They haven't even known each other for a year, and he just has to suggest that he's in peril for the other to rush to his aid. He's only known two other people like that in his whole life.

Neither of them are his parents.

One of them is dead.

"I'm fine Kagami-kun, thank you but please take your time and be careful." The absolute last thing he needs is Kagami getting killed while trying to help him. He feels himself grow a little colder at just the thought.

"Eh? Then what's going on?" There's a lot less noise in the background now, so Tetsuya assumes he's heeded his words and slowed his pace.

"My…" His throat clenches painfully all the sudden. It was a lot easier talking to some faceless person doing their job, but now that he's really saying it to someone he knows... "My…my…" The words are stuck, choking him like a bone stuck in this esophagus.

"…Kuroko?"

"…grandmother." He really hoped Kagami could make the leap because he really couldn't say it.

"Oh! Did she get hurt? Do you need help taking her to the hospital?"

"It's…too late."

"Oh. Oh, so she's…" Kagami seemed to take his cue and hedges around the words as well. "Like, just now?"

"I think? Nigou woke me up."

"Shit man…like, not that I don't want to help however I can, but I really hope you don't want me to…" Kagami trails off quietly, and Tetsuya's eyes widened in horror as he realizes what he was probably implying. Just the thought of touching her again sends a shiver down his spine and guilt churning in his stomach.

"I've called 119 already. They told me I shouldn't be alone and to leave the house once everything's taken care of. I wasn't sure who else to call and you always insisted that I should rely on you, though this really is too much. I'm sorry for bothering you." That fluttering anxiety is flaring back up, regret and fear a corrosive bile that's chasing those insects that are trying to escape.

"Dude, dude, chill! I just wanted to know what you need me to do. You can crash at my place as long as you need. Though if you don't mind me asking…where are your parents? Or whoever takes care of you…was she all you had?" Kagami askes cautiously. "I'm leaving my apartment, what's you address?" The statement is punctuated by the muffled sound of his door shutting, and the echoing quality his voice acquires as Tetsuya assumes he walks through a hall.

"Please just wait for me at your house, I'll take a cab once I'm finished over here." Tetsuya interjects as he shuffled on the spot. Kagami's house is only a half-hour walk from here, but he really can't make the journey on foot right now, especially while burdened with a bag of his things and his breathing this choppy without the sheer cold.

"What? No. I'm coming over there and we can take my cab back."

"Kagami-kun, you-…alright." He just doesn't have the energy to dreg up the will-power required to deter him at the moment. He can't help but fall back on that selfish part of him that says it's okay to let someone else take charge for a moment. That small, stupidly soft part of him that's still holding out its arms like a toddler, and is comforted to know someone is coming for him.

"Cool, text it to me and I'll be there as soon as I can." Promises Kagami. "I…I gotta hang up now to call the taxi but reach me if anything happens. Oh! And start packing some overnight stuff, bring enough clothes for a few days…and don't forget your basketball stuff! Sorry, hanging up now…wait! Nigou!"

He forgot about the dog again, and had to glance around his feet to make sure he was still sitting there loyally. "Um...I'll just..."

He isn't quite sure what to do with him at the moment. He's not even sure if Kagami's apartment even allows pets, but can't afford to fragment another piece of his mind to worry about it.

"...I…g-guess he can spend the night. But then it's the kennel! Anyways, bye!"

He's feeling a vague sense of amusement at Kagami's mothering as he listens to the dial tone before hanging up himself. He may be a lot like Aomine, but he has a few traits in common with Midorima as well. He sends his address before beginning to throw his necessities into a duffle bag as requested. It's his basketball bag so it already contains his school and practice attire, so all he has to do was toss in random articles of casual clothes, undergarments and toiletries. He's hesitant to grab Nigou's things (which reminds him, he's supposed to be keeping a closer eye on the pup,) and leave the shelter of his room. In here he could almost pretend he'd simply just woken up for a nightmare and his grandmother really was sleeping peacefully in her bed.

But he's learned the hard way several times over that ignorance is never bliss, the world waits for no one and the weak are left behind. He sighs to himself as he looks at the time. About seven minutes have passed since he called emergency services, so he can't afford to dally unless he wants to remain here after they -

To lessen the number of items to carry, he simply crams his schoolbag into the duffle bag as well before venturing out of his saferoom to retrieve Nigou's things. The house is silent and he's alone but he still treads carefully down the hall as if he were earlier's hypothetical intruder. The click-clack of Nigou's blunt claws alert Tetsuya of his shadow as he rounds the corner to the living room where the dog's bed is, sticking close to the walls and pointedly staring at his feet until he reaches the object. Thankfully his food and water dishes are near the sliding door that connects the room to the backyard, and are near empty since he hadn't had the chance to refill it for the day.

Slinking back to his room with the same unnecessary stealth, Tetsuya manages to finish packing just a few moments before there's a series of quick but firm knocks on his front door. He's aware it's stupid, but he can't help but hope that Kagami somehow convinced the taxi driver to teleport to his house in order to arrive before the ambulance. Expelling a weary sigh, He strides briskly to the answer and let in the emergency responders, faceless adults rushing into his house with their equipment.

He makes himself a part of the wall as he numbly watches them pull the quilt off of his grandmother, lifting her stiff body and laying her on the gurney on her side, still contorted in the sleeping position she died in.

She's really dead.

He's not sure why it takes him by surprise every time the though drifts across his consciousness. That fact was pretty clear after he touched her cold white skin, but it still manages to feel like a skull-caving blow every time the realization strikes him.

She's really dead.

He's pretty sure he talks to the paramedics and the pair of police officers before they just march in and take the b- his grandmother, but he can't remember what they said or what came out of his mouth to appease them. Or perhaps they hadn't talked at all and they'd simply let him fade into the background after confirming he was as unharmed as what he'd said with a cursory glance.

They at least grant him the small mercy of putting a white sheet over her form as they wheel her out. He drifts after like a ballon tied with a string, barefoot as they loaded her up into the ambulance. Their every motion is smooth with practiced ease, and with gentle care they can afford to take since it isn't exactly a matter of life and death, though they do have other lives to save. His feet are burning. Just as they slam the doors closed a taxi pulled up by the bottom of his driveway, and before it even comes to a full stop, Kagami come barreling out.

"Kuroko!" He bellows as he charges towards him. He's only dressed in his grey pajama pants and his black winter jacket, which gives Tetsuya the impression that he really did rushed over as fast as he could.

"Excuse me sir, but you can't be here." One of the officers intervenes before he can get close, but Kagami seems to be having none of it.

"Hey! My friend is the one who called you in, and he needs me right now so please move!" Kagami yells as he jabs a finger in Tetsuya's direction, causing many eyes swivel in his direction. Never quite landing on him, roaming like searchlights in the dark for a criminal until he raises a hand like a white flag of surrender.

Seeing Tetsuya's nod of agreement the two officers relax slightly, yet continue maintain their human barrier. "Sir, you're going to have to calm down before we let you onto the premises. It's still rather early, so you'll have to lower your volume as well." They explain in a softer tone.

"Che. Sorry, I didn't realize people were still sleeping." Kagami growls with a pointed look towards his neighbours. The wail of the sirens and the flashing of the vehicles have attracted attention, drawing people out of their houses and noses pressed to windows in order to watch the spectacle in all its glory.

With a sigh their wall parts to let Kagami through and he wastes no time whirling around in a tizzy, whipping his head to and fro as he tries to relocate his shadow in the thinning crowd. After one sweep his fiery gaze finally hones back on him, and he jogs towards Tetsuya in a far more contained manner than his entrance. "Kuroko, there you are." The relief in his voice is palpable as he sweeps Tetsuya into a brief, but tight hug. "How are you feeling? Wait, shit question. Um, are you all packed? Everything ready to go here?" He askes hesitantly as he takes in the decreasing amount of emergency responders wandering about.

He can only shrug. They've taken his statement and his grandmother, so he doesn't think there's anything else they want from him. "Let me get my bag."

He leads Kagami into his house to retrieve his bag and Nigou. While his light is examining the interior of his home Tetsuya lugs his bag out of his room, Nigou happily trailing after him with his tail wagging wildly at his return.

"Let me." Insists Kagami as he takes the handles from his loose grip.

He still can't be bothered to put socks on and just slips his numb feet into his boots, letting them continue to freeze and chafe uncomfortably as he walks. Unable to leave his hands empty he simply picks up Nigou and shadows Kagami, staying slightly behind him so he could still be seen but not stared at unless Kagami forgoes subtlety. Using his free hand, Kagami opens the cab door for him and Tetsuya crawls in without complaint as Kagami puts his things in the trunk. The cabbie gives a disdainful look at Nigou as he clamours around in the back excitedly, but thankfully redirects his gaze forward without comment as Kagami slams the trunk shut with enough force to shake the car. Kagami then enters the taxi himself with about the same amount of finesse before gruffly saying to the driver, "Same address you picked me up from please." Tetsuya stops paying attention then, just leans back completely limp in his seat and stares out the window.

The sky is filled with salmon, slow swimming and puffy. Dark blue clouds with blood orange bellies that drift above the rising sun as day breaks. He sees his house pulling away from him, then his yard, street, neighbourhood, all falling further and further away until he can't find home if he tries. Unfamiliar roads, moving faces as the world wakes, business people crawling on the sidewalks like ants as they commute to work. Everything is bathed in that same soft orange light under the sun's warm glow. Glittering off the freshly fallen snow that rained down in the night, a sparkling sea of tangerine, pink and blue. Even though he can't feel the heat of the sun he can feel the tangible weight of the light as it falls on him, pressing on half of his face as the window and the low height of the sun cast shadows on him. His eyes are left shaded and if he doesn't fix his gaze on the window pane itself, simply allowing the world to move into a blur, his eyes quickly tire of jumping from figure to figure in an attempt to keep up.

They're slowing, slowing, slowing down. Vaguely familiar trees, buildings, signs come speeding towards him. Pulling closer, closer, before they roll to a stop in front of Kagami's apartment complex. He can hear Kagami paying for the fair and he wishes he heard the total so he could've at least paid half of it, but if he suggests such a thing now Kagami would just refuse his money. He should probably get out of the taxi, get his bag and maybe even take Nigou for a proper walk to clear his head. He should probably call in to school. Should probably call his parents. Should just –

"Kuroko?" Kagami is staring at him with worry because he's standing there outside the cab with his bag and even Nigou is rolling in the snow while he's still sitting there. The driver has a less patient expression.

He wanted to apologize for holding both of them up but his tongue sits in his mouth like it's made of lead. His whole body feel ridiculously heavy and burdensome but he forces his muscles to work, first sitting up and then opening the door. His unfortunate lack of weather appropriate dress is brought to his awareness as the sheer cold easily pierces through his sweater and the slush soaks through the old boots he meant to throw away as he steps out of the vehicle. He probably should have been paying attention to what he packed, he wouldn't have been surprised if a few other useless articles ended up being taken as well. Silently he walks over to Kagami and watches with something stirring in his chest as the cab immediately pulls away as soon as he's out of the way.

"It's cold out. I'll put the kettle on when we get inside." Is all Kagami says before he leads Kuroko inside, holding doors open even though he's the one carrying bag. The warm air rolls over him like a sigh as they walk into the main lobby and into the elevator, Nigou following his master loyally even without a leash.

The lift is bereft of any sound aside from the dog's panting and Kagami's boots grinding against the floor as he shifts his weight uneasily. "You okay? You're kinda quiet…well, quieter than usual."

He isn't necessarily a quiet person, he just speaks when he has something to say. He's never been one for pointless chatter and right now, he just has nothing to say. So he shrugs and hopes it will suffice. Kagami seems to pause before just nodding in affirmation, and Tetsuya isn't quite sure what kind of resolve he just solidified in his teammate's mind but it's quiet and that's all he wanted.

Quiet.

He always hated silence.

The doors finally part with a soft ding and Kagami leads the way to his apartment, a short walk from the elevator, located just around the corner from it. He feels an echo of amusement as he watches Kagami fumble with his key in a subtle parallel to the first time the team visited. Something about seeing someone so large and confident ham-hand his way through dexterous activities was usually up his sadistic alley, but now he can't help but feel like it's nerves that make his fingers tremble. That he's finally feeling the weight of the burden Tetsuya's placing on him and he's unsure of what to do. Or that he doesn't really want to let him into his home but - Tetsuya has to shut down before his thoughts can start to gain traction. He walks into the spacious unit with his head in a fog, sits down on the couch Kagami gestured to and studies the hardwood flooring at his feet.

His fingers are trembling.

His whole body is shaking.

His feet feel soggy and his fingers and toes are still thawing. He's cold. There's even a dull throb at the tips of his ears as warmed blood is pumped back into them.

Shivering.

He's startled when he feels something drape over his shoulders, and turns to find Kagami is placing a thick blanket over him. "Geez, you should've put on a real coat before we left." He mumbles to himself. To Kuroko's even greater surprise Kagami also has a towel on hand, and is using it to gently dry his snow dampened hair. He's not sure how that happened since it wasn't snowing but he supposes the wind carried it. "You'll catch a cold like this stupid. I thought you were supposed to be the smart one."

Tetsuya is almost tempted to come up with some snarky reply but instead he just closes his eyes and basks in the contact. He is…very grateful to Kagami right now.

"We'll get through this." He hears Kagami murmur as he finishes.

We? What do you mean we? Tetsuya can't help but wonder. Not that he doesn't appreciate the support but this really has nothing to do with Kagami. He isn't moving in, spending two days at most, so why does it seem like he implied they would be spending lots of time together? The team hadn't even had a chance to meet her yet so Kagami couldn't really be devastated…why is Kagami…this isn't his problem…

Even if he had his voice he wouldn't have asked about it anyways. If Kagami felt vicariously sad, then they could…work through it together, or something, just as he said. The more he thinks about how people would normally feel in this situation, it bomes more and more apparent that he's doing something wrong. He doesn't feel sad. He doesn't feel anything but a vague sense of loss and nothingness. Just a sensation of emptiness, purposeless, and disappointment that reminds him of his third year of middle school.

Suddenly a large green mug is blocking his view of the white walls across from him. "Here. You don't have to drink it, just hold it to warm up your hands." Accepting the cup with prickling fingers Tetsuya looks into the mug and by scent alone he recognises it as camomile tea. Although the mug is made of glass all the heat of the liquid had no problem being conducted through the material, steadily burning his palms with increasing intensity. Soon the pain turns to an itching sensation, then tingling, then fades entirely as his skin acclimatizes to the scalding heat. Belatedly, he realizes that he hasn't shown his gratitude to Kagami. At all. Never even squeezed in a thank-you after he woke him up so early and ruined his day before it started.

He supposes this was what his mother always talks about, he's always ungrateful when it counts most. He didn't even take a sip of the tea before it went cold (another sign of his ingratitude) but there's a bitter taste in his mouth and something unpleasant sloshing around in his stomach. It won't taste as good cold or feel as soothing but he couldn't let Kagami's kindness go to waste.

After taking a tentative sip it's a pleasant surprise to find that it's just below lukewarm rather than ice cold. As he's slowly drinking he also started to wonder where the apartment's other inhabitants are. He quickly finds Kagami sleeping on a couch in the other corner of the room, still sitting upright as though he'd fallen asleep unintentionally. If he couldn't hear his soft snores he would have worried, because it was reminiscent enough of-

Nigou. Kagami- Shesdeadshesdead- wouldn't be happy if the dog was roaming around freely and making a mess. Perhaps…

…perhaps he should…

…look for…

He hadn't realized he started dozing until he's shocked awake by the sensation of the mug slipping from his weakened grasp. Setting the half empty cup down on the coffee table (on top of a coaster of course) he tugs the blanket more securely around himself and closes his eyes, easing back into the cushions. It'll be fine if he sleeps for another hour or so…Kagami would definitely wake him up…they'll defiantly wake up in time to make it to practice…

The world doesn't stop for one person after all.

.


Bing Bang, Bong Bang! A body has been discovered!

There's going to be a large focus on Kuroko's mental state and there will be a few POV switches down the line. If you're nervous or can't wait for an update, this earlier fic of mine (Here Lies Tetsuya) will give you some insight of about how intense this will get. This fic is more about the fall than the recovery so the end probably won't be as conclusive as some of you would like, but I am not against a few post-fic one-shot requests when this is over ifIfinish.