The Lights Inferno
Fandom: Kuroko no Basuke
Genre: Romance/Slice of Life
Pairing: Kagami/Kuroko, past Aomine/Kuroko
Summary: In which Kuroko wonders if he likes Kagami because his new light resembles Aomine. Oh, how surprised he is with his own conclusion after unexpected question from Kagami….
Disclaimer: Fujimaki Tadatoshi owns Kuroko no Basuke and its character. Luna only plays with them without permission. No profit is made from this fan fiction.
Warning: slight AU and maybe a little bit AR for the 'past time', shounen ai/yaoi, language (courtesy of Kagami, of course), slight oOC-ness , possible grammar and spelling mistakes (self-beta-ed)
A/N: Just a random thought that popped up when I thought about what to give ichigohaatsu for her birthday *grins* Yeah! Happy birthday, ichigohaatsu! Let me know if this idea is unlikely, but… well, just try it first.
For the others, this story is set slightly in the future when Kagami and Kuroko start the 2nd year, so it has nothing to do with my other Kurobasu stories. They are still not together in this story (just best friends with feelings) *grins*. Give it a bite and let me know what you think!
The Lights Inferno
It wasn't something that often happens.
It was just a random fleeting thought which came unexpectedly during times when he wasn't doing anything. Maybe it was because he wasn't used to doing nothing since he always spent his time observing people when he wasn't playing basketball, reading his favorite novels or studying. But yes, he sometimes thought about it.
Contrary to popular believe, Kuroko Tetsuya was not a silent person. Well, his outer appearance was quiet, but his thought never shut up. It was just… he was very good at keeping his thoughts to himself. Sometimes he thought that his 'thought' was like an alter ego, an inner part of him that refused to shut up and demanded to be the center of attention to make up for Kuroko's hard to notice presence.
And now, that 'alter ego' of Kuroko was doing a very good job on distracting him in his free time.
Well, it wasn't a free 'free' time per se. He was just not doing anything because there was no practice today, and he accidentally left his novel at home. Plus, there was no one around too. Well, except his classmate and partner, Kagami Taiga, but the taller, bigger boy was napping on the rooftop, so conversation was out of option. That's what made Kuroko's thought wander off to some weird places.
It was an early spring and the weather was enjoyable, not too warm but not too chilly as well; only cool and comfortable. The class had already been dismissed because it was only a start of another semester and the teacher hadn't given them any home work yet.
Kuroko had expected that Kagami would ask him out for practicing today as well, but apparently, he just wanted to sleep for awhile because last night he had practiced until very late and he was quite tired.
Now, Kuroko didn't mind the other boy's company. Oh, not at all. He was actually quite pleased that Kagami considered asking Kuroko to accompany him at all. No one had ever done that before unless Kuroko made an effort to follow that person. Kagami seemed to notice him just fine without him trying. It was rather surprising.
Well, that was what piqued Kuroko's interest in Kagami aside his basketball ability. It was almost like those times, in middle school, when Aomine used to notice him a lot too….
Kuroko's thought was halted for a moment. Lately, he had compared Kagami to Aomine a lot. He was quite perturbed by his own thought. Well, somebody else pointed that out to him first.
Kuroko remembered Kise Ryouta's speech after the practice game with Kaijou a year before.
Do you pick him because he resembles Aomine-chi?
Kuroko hadn't thought much about it at first, but the more he knew Kagami, the more he saw the resemblances. Their idiotic traits were the most similar. Even the way they reacted to something they feared, by going to the corner in squat position, covering their ears and shutting their eyes while trembling. It was very funny and amusing, like they were the same person in different body. Their body postures… well, it was also similar, but the most similar thing was…
Their love for basketball….
Kuroko couldn't help seeing the Aomine that he liked so much before he started distancing himself from basketball, in Kagami.
Was that the reason? Was Kuroko interested in Kagami because he resembled Aomine that once he loved very much?
But then… wouldn't Kuroko be repeating the same mistake?
Kagami has that potential to be the Generation of Miracle. Someday he will get very strong… and will isolate himself from the other players as well.
Kuroko brought his hand to his chest as he remembered Kise's warning. Somehow, it stung rather painfully.
Kuroko wondered again if that would be the case. He wondered when Kagami would realize that he didn't need his passes anymore and then left him behind, just like the way Aomine left him in the past. Would he lose Kagami's faith as well someday?
Somehow… Kuroko's thought turned rather depressing.
It won't be like that—his inner self tried to convince Kuroko. It won't happen like that ever again.
Kuroko kept reminding himself that Kagami wasn't Aomine. But he just couldn't help wondering whether Kagami and Aomine's resemblance went deeper than just what he had thought so far.
Kuroko was so focused in his own thought that he didn't realize when Kagami opened one of his eyes, seeming to notice the doubt in him.
"Why are you making such a gloomy face in a very nice day like this?"
Kuroko was rather startled when he heard Kagami's voice. But of course it didn't show in his expression because he was very good at hiding his feelings if he wanted to. He turned to face the other boy who was yawning while waking up to sit.
Kuroko thought he would just ignore the question, but Kagami raised his eyebrows at him, expecting him to answer. Honestly, he didn't know what to say. After all, despite his own doubt and worry, Kagami had ever said that he needed him to defeat the GoM members.
If Kuroko questioned Kagami again now, would he get angry? Would he be offended? But Kuroko couldn't help it. He wanted to know… no. He needed to be reassured, that he didn't make the same mistake, that he could give his all to Kagami without having to fear the future.
Kagami was still waiting for Kuroko's answer, but Kuroko could tell he was losing his patience with every second passing, and very fast as well.
Sometimes, taking a risk was necessary to open a chance to win the game.
Kuroko closed his eyes for a moment and opened them again to look at Kagami's crimson ones with determination. "I was just wondering… whether I chose you as my light because you are so similar to Aomine-kun before he started hating basketball," he said bluntly.
Kagami visibly frowned at that. "Did you?" he questioned.
Kuroko looked down. "I do not know… but there is the possibility that that was the case," he didn't want to lie to Kagami, so he said what he thought seriously.
Kuroko had ever lied to Kagami once about his motivation in why he wanted to defeat Aomine and the other GoM members, and Kagami had so gullibly believed him. He had felt very bad about it later after they were defeated by Touou, and after Kuroko confessed his true intention at that summer training camp night.
Kagami forgave him, of course, because he was very kind by nature. That's why Kuroko didn't want to feel like that ever again. The guilt of deceiving him was unbearable after all.
"Hmm… what is similar between me and Aomine?" Kagami asked then, surprising Kuroko a little bit.
The teal haired boy looked upward at the red haired one who seemed to be okay with what Kuroko said. He somehow looked amused too. It was odd. Shouldn't Kagami feel offended at least?
"You're not angry," Kuroko concluded, seeing Kagami's expression.
"Why would I be?" Kagami asked back, looking puzzled.
"No, well… most people would if someone compares him to someone else…. Moreover, being told that you are chosen because you resemble someone else is like… you are the second choice instead of the first. Wouldn't that usually make you angry?" Kuroko asked again, now he was the one feeling confused.
Kagami grunted slightly, seeming to be thinking before he tried to answer. "I'm not good at something like this, but…" he scratched the back of his neck, "You have the first choice and the second choice, why would you choose the second choice then?"
Kuroko widened his eyes for a moment before his face was back to his normal expressionless state. He was honestly surprised at that question.
"Well, I don't really care about your reason because you chose me in the end. I think that's enough for me," Kagami continued, smiling sheepishly. He had thrown a very, very meaningful question to Kuroko, but he didn't seem to realize that it had Kuroko think his hardest to answer it.
Why indeed, Kuroko couldn't help musing despite Kagami's reassurance.
If Kuroko had Aomine, why he chose Kagami?
Because Aomine left and Kagami didn't?
No, that wasn't it. It wasn't something like that. It had nothing to do with the hassle of changing school or anything like that as well.
If Aomine asked Kuroko to come back to him, would he come back?
That would be Kuroko's answer.
No. I won't leave Kagami-kun for anything else.
Then… what was Kuroko musing about? Why did he doubt his own feeling for Kagami if he had the answer that he wouldn't leave Kagami for anything at all?
Kuroko was so confused at this moment. Though, despite his lack of expression to show it, Kagami seemed to see his dilemma and put his hand on Kuroko's head, ruffling his hair gently.
Kagami's expression seemed to know something, and it irked Kuroko that he didn't understand what Kagami did. He was smarter than Kagami, and yet….
But… he didn't hate Kagami's touch despite disliking to be treated like a kid. Just like Aomine, Kagami had warm hand and it felt good on his head. See, Kuroko compared his new light to Aomine again. What was wrong with him?
Kuroko reached up to Kagami's hand and held it in place. He kept silent, though, trying to make sense of his thought once again, but before he could reach any conclusion, Kagami spoke to him again.
"I am your second, you know."
Kuroko looked upward at Kagami questioningly. What did Kagami mean by Kuroko's second?
"You picked the first, and it didn't work out. That's why you chose the second. Because it works very well, you and me," Kagami said, grinning slightly, looking very confident.
"…are we still talking about basketball partners?" Kuroko couldn't help asking because somehow, the talk between them seemed to go further than the initial purpose.
Kagami laughed slightly at that. "Are we talking about something else?" he teased.
"Eh?" Kuroko blushed… inwardly, after he realized what Kagami was referring to. He did feel embarrassed for being so vague on what he was saying earlier. It was as if they were talking about lovers instead of partners.
"So… you left Aomine because it didn't work between you two, right?" Kagami asked again and Kuroko reacted at that.
"You are wrong, Kagami-kun. It was the other way around," Kuroko argued tonelessly. It was Aomine who left first. He lost his faith in Kuroko. He didn't need Kuroko anymore so….
"Hmm… are you sure?" Kagami asked again.
Now, Kuroko felt offended. "I was there." He looked at Kagami tensely and Kagami huffed.
"I see… but you weren't persistent in chasing after him either," Kagami pointed out, patting Kuroko's head before releasing him again.
"Wha—" Kuroko wanted to argue more. Even until now, he did chase Aomine. In his own way he chased him and tried his hardest to make the other boy look at him and even if he had to be his rival instead of his partner, so long as he could see Aomine smile in playing his basketball, he would be…!
Huh?—Now Kuroko was shocked.
So long as… Aomine-kun enjoys playing basketball…?
It was okay if Kuroko wasn't beside Aomine anymore. Because Aomine told Kuroko to leave him alone…, repeatedly, everyday… since the time Aomine started feeling bored in playing basketball.
Kuroko was persistent to accompany him at first. But Aomine didn't need him anymore as a partner. He didn't need Kuroko to be there with him as a partner.
"I like you, Tetsu."
"I like you too."
Kuroko looked down. What had he done?
"Go away. Leave me alone."
"I'm not going anywhere."
Kuroko's head was throbbing now. What had he done?
"The one who can beat me is me alone."
"I'm quitting basketball club."
Kuroko was snapped out of his painful memory when he felt something warm enveloping his body. Apparently he had made a very painful expression for a moment, and Kagami seemed to get worried.
"Sorry," Kagami said slowly. "You don't have to remember anything if it's too painful for you," he said, giving a gentle reassuring rub on Kuroko's back.
"I do not… understand it," Kuroko confessed, resting his now heavy head on Kagami's chest.
"Hmm… maybe I understand a little bit," Kagami said, slowly releasing the hug after Kuroko was calm enough.
"What is it?" Kuroko asked, feeling extra curious now.
Kagami then looked away for a moment, closing his eyes before reopening them, and then looked back at Kuroko's sky blue ones seriously. "If I… was suddenly incapable of playing basketball anymore due to any circumstances, would you leave me too?" he asked.
Kuroko widened his eyes for real now, and not just for a split second. Suddenly, everything seemed to click in his head.
It was a test.
Aomine… was testing Kuroko's feelings for him.
Every single day.
"Leave me alone."
That phrase was actually an SOS from Aomine. And every time, Kuroko only thought that Aomine was bored with his nagging for him not to skip basketball practice.
Aomine thought that Kuroko loved basketball more than Aomine himself.
Aomine thought, that he was Kuroko's second as well.
That's why he….
Kuroko closed his eyes. He cried. His inner thought cried. He had done something so cruel to Aomine hadn't he? Without meaning to… without noticing how Aomine felt at all. Aomine couldn't trust Kuroko's feelings for him since day one. He thought Kuroko loved Aomine for his basketball skill. He… selfishly decided that Aomine was too strong to feel insecure about something like that.
"Let's skip practice together then."
If Kuroko had responded like that once in awhile… maybe Aomine would believe him, believe in his feelings for him.
"So… would you leave me too?" Kagami repeated his question, not yet noticing the storm of feelings in Kuroko's heart, or probably he already knew what Kuroko was thinking and did that on purpose, but Kuroko only had one answer for that.
"No…" Kuroko responded slowly before he opened his eyes and looked at Kagami certainly, full of conviction. "No, Kagami-kun. Even though you were crippled and unable to jump anymore, I would never leave you. Not a chance," he said surely with a blaze in his fiery blue eyes.
"That's exactly what I thought as well." Kagami immediately grinned again so brightly at Kuroko that he thought he was bathed with sunlight.
How bright… and extraordinarily warm…!
Ah… now Kuroko understood why he was so interested in Kagami. Surely, at first he thought Kagami resembled Aomine quite a bit, but what caused him to choose Kagami wasn't that resemblance.
It was because Kagami was different from Aomine that Kuroko chose him. Kagami believed in him since day one. When Kuroko said that he would make Kagami number one in Japan… even though at first it was just a white lie to cover his real intention, Kagami believed in his words.
Kagami didn't question him, nor did he test him. He believed and had absolute faith in Kuroko that he would always be there for him. He made Kuroko realize that they couldn't just rely on each other every time as well.
Sometimes, they had to battle their own battle, but they would always be there for each other if they were needed for moral and physical support.
Sometimes they had to trust their partner to fight alone so they could give their all in every game; and, Kagami made Kuroko realize that he could still grow stronger, better, so they could stand side by side on the court.
Not just as the light and the shadow, but as the real equal partners.
Kagami grew that confidence in Kuroko. Unlike Aomine, Kagami pulled him to the light as well, not just illuminating his shadow.
That was the reason. That's why he chose Kagami. Subconsciously… Kuroko must have known that Kagami would be different. So, Kuroko trusted his guts.
"I like you, Kagami-kun," now he could say it with confidence. Kuroko wouldn't be confused anymore because it was clear now. He liked Kagami not because he saw Aomine Daiki in him, but because he was Kagami Taiga.
Kagami made Kuroko feel something that Aomine couldn't make Kuroko feel.
Kagami choked in surprise at that. "W-wha—? Wait a second! What's with that sudden exclamation?" Now the red head looked slightly panicked, his face turning red as well.
Kuroko thought that that reaction was quite endearing. He smiled then, showing his rare genuine joy to the person he loved most now. "No, I just want to say it," he said to the point as always.
Kagami looked at him quite weirdly, but Kuroko didn't care. If Kagami hadn't liked him now, he would make him like Kuroko someday.
Though, Kagami was gradually smiling as well before finally chuckling. It seemed he was quite pleased with everything. He reached out to ruffle Kuroko's hair once again and now Kuroko could enjoy it with all of his heart.
"Let's practice today as well!" Kagami said, seeming to be quite in spirit now after napping enough for the day.
"Sure," Kuroko followed before they stood and moved from rooftop to head to the gym.
~Kagami x Kuroko~
"Here, your Pocari," Kagami passed the health drink to Kuroko who caught it effortlessly.
"Thanks," Kuroko said gratefully, though of course his face didn't show that much, before he took a drink from the bottle. He sighed in relief after that, feeling refreshed slightly.
They took a break from their independent training session and sat together at the court-side, resting peacefully.
"This feels sooo good," Kagami stretched his body before laying down on the floor, facing the ceiling. "Hah… everyday should feel like this. Then it will be awesome," he continued, a happy smile plastered on his face.
"Well, then I would be troubled. Kagami-kun slacking off is not in my agenda," Kuroko replied, looking down at Kagami's face from his position. The red head snorted lightly at that.
"Really, Kuroko. You sound like my mom when I refuse studying," Kagami laughed with humor.
Kuroko smiled slightly. It was fun spending time with Kagami like this.
Then, a question popped up in Kuroko's head suddenly. "Hey, Kagami-kun," he called.
"Hmm?" Kagami looked back at Kuroko lazily.
"What would you do if I decided not to play basketball anymore?" Kuroko asked.
Kagami scrunched up his nose, looking ridiculous. "Are you planning to quit?"
"Well, it was a hypothetically speaking, though, it would be very unlikely. I just want to know how you would deal with it," Kuroko answered the matter of fact.
"Well… I'd probably keep playing basketball, for once, even though you weren't there with me. The thrill of facing strong opponent wouldn't go away after all," Kagami answered thoughtfully before his expression broke into an easy smile. "Although… it's probably not as fun as when I'm playing with you by my side," he grinned after that, seeming to be totally sure of it.
Kuroko blinked once before the heat started to rise on his face. He couldn't believe it. How could Kagami make him this flustered with only his words? No, it was not just words... Kagami probably meant everything he said, since he was the most honest person that Kuroko had ever known.
Kuroko's heart beat rather fast. There was that fluttering feeling in his chest too. It was embarrassing, but he couldn't help feeling happy about it.
"Kagami-kun… you are very sly," Kuroko couldn't help saying, trying to hide his embarrassment with his expressionless façade, but it seemed it wasn't working as good as he wanted to be because Kagami looked rather stunned. Kuroko must have blushed right then.
"Why are you blushing? Did I say something embarrassing?" Kagami didn't seem to realize it himself, but his words really meant a lot to Kuroko.
Jeez, he is so unfair…!—Kuroko thought inwardly. He kept making Kuroko like him more and more, and Kagami wasn't even trying!
Maybe Kuroko should embarrass Kagami once in awhile as well to repay him.
Thus, Kuroko decided. He leaned his face closer to Kagami from above, closing in him without even giving Kagami time to dodge or to realize of what the teal haired boy was doing, until the deed was done.
Kuroko stole a kiss from Kagami's lips briefly before he withdrew again.
Kagami was officially baffled. Kuroko smiled in amusement.
"Wha—?" and Kagami's face turned crimson instantly as he sat up and looked at Kuroko in disbelief. "What the hell was that for?" And then he screeched, seeming to be very embarrassed while covering his mouth with the back of his hand.
"I already said I like you. You should have expected something like that," Kuroko said evenly.
Kagami gaped, seeming to be still in shock. Kuroko thought he had gone too far. "You do not like it?"
Kagami's blush visibly intensified. Then he just looked away after that, not yet giving Kuroko any answer.
Kuroko started to wonder if Kagami really didn't feel the same way. However, before Kuroko even shrugged it off, he spoke lowly "I… don't dislike it," with such an awkward and embarrassed expression that it looked very adorable in Kuroko's eyes.
This time, Kuroko was the one who blushed. And surprisingly, he couldn't contain it with his usual blank expression. Kagami seemed to notice it as well, and he grabbed Kuroko to pull him into a hug. "Idiot! Don't blush! You'll embarrass me again!" he shouted, still sounding so self-conscious.
Kagami's hold on his body was very warm and Kuroko couldn't help the heat rising again on his face. He could feel the erratic heartbeat that thumped restlessly from Kagami's chest, and it was like music to Kuroko's ear.
Oh, dear… Kuroko really liked this guy. He hugged Kagami back rather earnestly. "Kagami-kun… I really do like you," he couldn't help confessing his feeling again just because he felt like it.
"I know already. Stop saying it over and over," Kagami huffed, tightening the hug slightly before Kuroko felt the taller boy plant a kiss on his hair. "I don't know if my feeling for you is the same, but I do care about you and I enjoy your company," he said truthfully.
Kuroko contemplated Kagami's answer before asking again, "What about the kiss?"
Kagami flinched slightly, probably blushing again since his heart beat harder for a second. "I don't mind the occasional kiss either," he said, or actually mumbled quietly.
Kuroko smiled at that. "Then I am fine with things like this as well," he responded to it positively. If Kagami didn't dislike the kiss, it was just the matter of time until he liked Kuroko too.
"Okay… let's just take a bite somewhere before going home," Kagami said after that.
Kuroko blinked, hearing Kagami's stomach growling. He wanted to chuckle, but he just smiled fondly before they released the hug. He looked upward at Kagami again and answered, "Sure, so long as you pay for it."
"What? Why?" Kagami protested.
"It is Kagami-kun's idea, right?" Kuroko pointed out and Kagami groaned at that.
"Fine… I'll buy you your favorite shake then. Maji Burger, it is," Kagami huffed.
Well, Kuroko didn't mind it. The vanilla shake there was delicious after all.
Favorite place for their first unofficial date, it wasn't bad at all.
End of The Lights Inferno
A/N: Sheesh, I absolutely had no idea why I picked that title. I meant… I just wanted to compare Kagami and Aomine in Kuroko's perspective. It had nothing to do with anything blazing… well, the clash of two lights, the past and the present. I don't know. It sounded cool, so I picked that *lol*
So, what do you think? Especially for ichigohaatsu who is the guest of honor today *grins* I hope you enjoy this fic because the Ao/Kuro portion here is made solely for your birthday! XD Will be waiting for the concrit, guuuys! ^_^