Anyway, I guess I was inspired to write this after seeing a pic in zerochan. It made me cry. I'm not joking. I don't know about you guys, but my heart aches for some reason every time I see fanarts of Kuroko and the GoM during their Teikou days ;_; Maybe I'm just being over emotional or something..

Ugh. I'll stop with my rants. Kuroko no Basuke is not mine. Excuse my mistakes. Hope this isn't too bad!

Friends. Family.

Those two words were something children would learn before they could even enter kindergarten. Family were people who are related to you by blood. Friends were people who would stay by your side whatever happens despite not having any blood relations to you. In fact, friends were more important than family in more than one occasion.

Kuroko Tetsuya had never understood the meaning of those two simple words. He'd spent his childhood neglected of his need of love and attention from his always-busy parents. He'd never learnt to communicate with other people properly and ended up being socially awkward.

And worst of all, he ended up being invisible. To his parents. To the teachers. To the other kids.

But it's okay. Kuroko kept telling himself that every day. It's okay not to be noticed. He was a shadow, and not many people stare at floors to observe other people's shadow. He was fine on his own. All he needed was himself, and his orange ball.

Basketball was his sanctuary. Kuroko's love for basketball was the only thing that kept him from falling into depression. He loved the sport more than his life, and possibly even more than vanilla milkshakes. His mind was clear of all annoying thoughts once he started playing by himself at the park. The bounce of the ball on concrete were music to his ears.

It's okay. I'll be okay.

Kuroko was more than mildly surprised when his parents sent him to the prestigious Teikou for his middle school years. His grades were only average, and as much as he loved the sport, he wasn't really that good at basketball. Teikou was supposed to be a school for geniuses, and Kuroko was positive he wasn't one.

But he had no comments. When the time came, he'd attended the entrance ceremony, got assigned to a class, and went on with life. He'd even joined the library committee after discovering his interest in literature.

And after many sleepless nights of pondering and finally mustering all his courage, he joined the basketball team.

The team was huge. All first years were assigned to the third string, and depending on their skills and improvement, they could be promoted to the second or first.

Kuroko would stay for an extra hour or two after practice to play alone. He was surprised to find himself the only one in the third string doing so, but he didn't put much thought into it. At least he's got the whole gym to himself.

It went on for months. So much so that he'd started hearing rumors about himself - there's a ghost in the gym where the third string of the basketball team trains. At first, Kuroko thought; ghost? And then he remembered his lack of presence and how people tend to not see him, and figured that they were talking about him.

And then he met Aomine. And later he was introduced to the talented first-year regulars in the first string.

It changed his life. Kuroko had always wondered how it felt like to have friends of the same age and family who would be there for you not caring where you are. He'd always wondered about the true meaning of friends and family.

They'd taught him. They'd loved him dearly and accepted him as their own. To Kuroko, nothing had been closer to a family than his group of teammates who were later known as the Generation of Miracles. He gained memories that made up for his lack of interesting childhood. He experienced happiness, sadness, anxiety, and even fear together with his newfound friends.

Kuroko was afraid. He was afraid that he would suddenly lose it all. More than once he'd fall asleep crying from sheer joy, and more than once he'd woken up in cold sweat after a dream of being left alone once again.

But it's okay. Kuroko would just go to school the next day to find Aomine and the others waiting for him at the gates like usual. A nightmare was just a nightmare. Nothing will change.

It'll be okay.

Kuroko was sure he wasn't the only one aware of the fact that the Generation of Miracles - who started as normal players - were rapidly rising to their full glory. He was sure he wasn't the only one who saw how much they started improving all of the sudden. He was sure he wasn't the only one who noticed the distance that was starting to form between them.

Kuroko could only give his all and try to catch up. There was nothing else he could do. He could not strengthen the bonds that were no longer there. He could not tie the strings their friendship together as he once did.

It's okay. Once this tournament is over, they'll all return to normal. We'll still hang out, act goofy, train together..

It was a mantra Kuroko had constantly muttered in his mind. No - it was more like self assurance. Kuroko's brain kept telling him it was going to be fine, but his heart was shattering. He knew, and he dreaded it. His friends no longer needed him. Why need help when you can do it all yourself?

Kuroko never gave up. He bore with the painful sting in his heart every time he sat at the benches, watching his friends crush their opponents with ease. He tried not to notice their bored faces every time they win. He tried not to remember how happy victory used to feel like.

It was finally too much. The pain became unbearable, to the point that Kuroko felt like breaking into tears as soon as he steps into the gym for training. He hated it. He didn't want to see it. Watching his family drift apart was killing him.

His hands shook uncontrollably when he handed in his resignation letter. He was careful not to meet anyone's eyes. His expression might be stoic and deadpanned, but he was sure his eyes would give away everything he was trying to hide - his grief, his despair. His utter dread.

It's okay.

"I want.. to quit the basketball team."

It'll be okay.

"I'm sorry."

I'll be okay.

Kuroko leaned against the walls of the deserted hallway as soon as the doors snapped to a close. He closed his eyes, trying to shut out the noises from the gym. A ragged breath escaped his lips.

I'm okay.


Tears rolled down his pale cheeks as he choked back a sob. It hurts. It hurts so much. It hurts so much to leave it all behind - all that he cherished and loved. His throat felt so raw and dry. His tears wouldn't stop. He'd never felt so empty.

It's not okay. It's painful.

He was alone all over again.


"Oi, Kuroko!"

Loud. That voice was so loud and annoying.

"Wake up! Training's gonna start soon!"

Slowly, Kuroko parted his eyelids, blinking as his eyes adjusted to the illumination. He straightened and stretched his stiff back. He glanced around, and realized that he'd fallen asleep in class. Again.

"Really," Kagami stepped into view, sighing. "You should learn to plan your nap time in class..."

He trailed off, eyes widening. Kuroko raised his eyebrows questioningly, wondering what had made the redhead stop his rant so suddenly.

"Um.." Kagami sounded tentative. "Why are you crying?"

"..Eh?" Kuroko lifted his fingers to his face, feeling moisture flowing down his cheeks. He didn't even notice until Kagami pointed it out.

"You okay..?" Kagami knelt so he was almost eye level with his shadow. Kuroko did not trust his voice, so he only nodded.

"I-I'm sorry.." He sniffled, willing his tears to stop. It was difficult. "I don't know-"

He stopped short when Kagami flicked a finger on his forehead.

"Idiot," the taller boy said. "What's there to be sorry about? If you want to cry then just cry." His expression seemed to soften as he reached to ruffle Kuroko's soft blue hair. "Take your time. I'll wait for you."

Despite himself, Kuroko felt a smile tugging his the corners of his lips as he nodded, lifting his hands to wipe the tears away. Maybe things weren't so bad anymore after all. He could still start again. It wasn't too late.

It's okay. It's going to be okay again.