Pairing(s): KagamixKuroko, slight AominexKuroko.
Rating: T (Rating may go up in later chapters)
Summary: Kuroko Tetsuya has always been destined to walk the path of shadows. Time is ticking as he finds himself playing a dangerous game of survival against an opponent who is determined to see him fall. AU Yazuka fic.
Chapter warnings: None.
Disclaimer: Kuroko no Basuke is the property of Fujimaki Tadatoshi. We are merely humble writers adding to the fanfiction collection.
Deadman Walking: Chapter 1
Kuroko Tetsuya winced as another one of his throws completely missed the hoop. Beads of sweat dotted his slight figure as the lone figure raced to retrieve the fallen orange ball. Heavy pants engulfed the silence of the empty court and Kuroko wiped off the sweat gathering at the base of his neck with his arm.
The school's indoor gymnasium was empty save for the pale boy trying to hit at least a single shot for the past few hours. Kuroko gritted his teeth as he positioned himself before the tall structure again, determined blue eyes focused on the white net of the hoop as he allowed the anger and frustration over today's gym class to roll over him.
"Hey nipponjin! Your basketball sucks!"
Harsh taunts and jeers raced through Kuroko's mind as the afternoon's gym class replayed itself. Compared to the other boys in his class, he was short and scrawny, the perfect person to pick on. Needless to say, Kuroko was singled out in today's class by the gym coach and made a fool of.
Bending his knees slightly, Kuroko readied himself into a comfortable shooting stance. He brought up the ball, sweaty palms gripping the ball as he lined it with the basket. Releasing himself from his coil, bent knees sprang upwards as Kuroko aimed yet another shot towards the hoop, but bit back another groan of disappointment as the ball collided against the rim of the hoop, and rebounded back in the direction of the court with a loud clang.
Before Kuroko could move to grab the fallen ball, loud footsteps raced from behind him and a quick flash of red caught Kuroko's attention. The blue-eyed boy watched as a taller red-headed boy zipped past him. Having gotten into a running start, the redhead looked as if he was air-walking, when he suddenly grabbed the rebounding ball in mid-air and dunked it loudly into the hoop. The avid basketball fan in Kuroko was appreciating the other boy's execution of an alley-oop, but the annoyed part of him was ready to toss the ball in the redhead's face for intruding into his own private practice session.
Dropping neatly on two feet, the redhead turned on one heel, a satisfied grin on his face. He brushed his hands against his dark blue jeans, and one eyebrow crooked as he smirked at the shorter teen.
"Man, you really suck at this, don't you!" the redhead loudly teased, never noticing the slight clenching of fists as the pale-haired teen raced strode the newcomer to pick up the fallen ball. Bristling in anger with enough taunts for the day, Kuroko made a sudden turn and launched the ball straight at the taller teen's face.
"Baka..." Kuroko muttered, slipping into his native tongue as he watched with satisfaction when the hard projectile collide against the other boy's face with a loud smack, followed by a pained grunt and a muffled stream of vulgar curses.
The redhead grimaced as he rubbed his sore nose, one large palm holding the ball up. He shot Kuroko a withering look, but Kuroko only stared back at him, his eyes in a half-lidded expression of apathy.
"Hey, did you just speak in...Japanese?" The taller male asked and began dribbling the ball towards Kuroko.
The shorter teen ignored him and headed straight towards where he left his bags in hopes that the newcomer would leave. Unzipping his bag, Kuroko grabbed his bottle and took a drink. Grim determination had had him trying to score for a couple of hours without rest. Kuroko was tired and his uniform was damp with sweat. All he wanted now was to go back to his dorm and have a quick shower. A nap sounded good at this time too.
Stealing another glance from the corner of his eye, Kuroko could still see the redhead standing behind him. Blue eyes hardened as he shot an irritated glare at the taller male.
The redhead grinned steadily back at Kuroko, it didn't seem as if Kuroko's glares were getting to him at all. Grabbing his own bag, the redhead slung it over his shoulder and jogged towards the departing figure.
"Hey! You're Japanese too right? I heard that 'baka' comment, you know!" The taller teen said and tossed the ball back to Kuroko. He stepped in front of Kuroko, grinning gleefully, as if he didn't see the annoyed glare on Kuroko's face.
"I'm Kagami Taiga! Nice to meet you." Kagami added and held out a hand in hopes of a handshake. "I'm a new student by the way, just arrived. I got in on a sports scholarship! Pretty neat huh?"
"Anyway, shall we have a friendly match?" The redhead invited, slipping into their common language as if to further coax the younger male out of his shell.
The pale-haired boy stared at the offered hand blankly as he gripped the basketball with two hands. Because of his family's business influence in America, Kuroko had the opportunity to study in this prestigious academy. But being the only Japanese student in the elite American boys' college, Kuroko never found anyone to befriend with. He prefered to stay alone, invisible, and far, far away from everyone, and that had led him to spend many lonely days by himself in America. And he had hated every single minute of it.
But now, perhaps...
"I'm Tetsuya, Kuroko Tetsuya."
A rare smile graced Kuroko's lips as he tucked the ball under his arm and shook Kagami's outstretched hand. It was warm as it closed firmly over his.
...Perhaps he could find his very first friend in the person standing before him after all.
A loud, insistent banging on the door woke Kuroko up from his sleep. Stifling a groan, Kuroko grabbed his pillow and yanked it over his head in hopes to muffle the noise. But try as he might, he could not fall back to sleep once again.
"Oi, Kuroko! Wake up, it's your birthday today, wake up!" Kagami shouted, his voice louder than possible, despite the door that separated them.
Kuroko groaned and dragged himself out of his bed. Shuffling to the door, Kuroko undid the latch and opened the door to let Kagami into his room (and to stop that incessant pounding). With a lazy yawn, Kuroko made his way back to his bed again and flopping facedown into the warm covers.
"Go away, Kagami-kun..."
The redhead grinned evilly to himself as he registered his best friend's sleepy mumbling. Kuroko never kicked the habit of adding an honorific after his name even though they were not in Japan right now. It was something Kagami could never bring himself to ask Kuroko to stop, simply because it sounded cute when Kuroko was that polite even though they were best friends. Kuroko also had an aversion to being called by his first name.
"Please stop calling me that, Kagami-kun."
But it was not as if Kagami had minded. The teachers in the academy had a preference for addressing the students by their family name as well.
"Come on, do you really want me to start singing the birthday song to you instead? Remember last year?"
Incoherent mumbles escaped the sleepy teen's lips as he burrowed further into the warmth of his bed. It was Kuroko's 18th birthday, and it marked another milestone to their unconventional friendship since that day they've met. Kuroko had found himself with a friend that seemed to acknowledge his presence and a pillar of strength and support for him. Kuroko could not remember if there was any moment in his life where Kagami was never there for him. Kagami was Kuroko's light.
But try as much as Kuroko could, he could never share anything deeper than the superficial truths about him, unlike Kagami who had prattled on about every single incident that happened in his life up until then.
Kuroko, was Kagami's shadow. A dark shadow with many layers of secrets and lies. And Kuroko had sworn to keep a secret, or countless of lives will be lost.
No matter how much Kagami considered Kuroko his friend, Kuroko was not able to share anything about him, about his family back in Japan or about his life until then. Only but a small smile to affirm their friendship.
The redhead found himself sniggering at Kuroko's inability to wake up in the morning. And that adorable hair on his head could rival one of his favourite anime character, Goku, from Super Saiyan. Well, at least Kuroko couldn't say that he hadn't been forewarned. Kagami sucked in a deep breath, preparing to belt out the birthday tune in the most obnoxiously loud way as possible.
"HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOUUUUUUU! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO DEAR KUROKO! HAPP-unffff!"
Kagami tossed the pillow away from his face and started a pillow attack on Kuroko's sleeping form, who had decided to go back to sleep. The birthday boy finally cracked open an eye and rubbed it sleepily to get rid of the remaining traces of sleep with a sheepish smile on his lips.
"Thank you, Kagami-kun..."
The grin he received in return was almost blinding.
"Kagami-kun...bring the basket over please," Kuroko called over his shoulder as he grabbed as many tubs of vanilla ice-cream as he could carry.
Kagami rolled his eyes as he carried a basketful of groceries to his friend. The taller boy easily swiped the nearly-tumbling tubs of ice cream, and dropped them carefully into his overflowing basket. The trip to the supermarket had been a rather impromptu decision, one that had been made after the redhead had declared he would cook one of his special home-cooked dishes for Kuroko.
With a little wheedling from the birthday boy, Kagami had found himself promising to make as many vanilla milkshakes as Kuroko could drink. The redhead was almost starting to regret his promise, since Kuroko seemed confident he would finish all the vanilla milkshakes by himself - even when he could hardly even finish a large meal on his own!
Making sure all ten tubs of plain vanilla ice-cream was stacked neatly into the basket, Kuroko walked off towards the check-out, bent on leaving Kagami to carry the ice-cream all by himself.
"Please hurry up, Kagami-kun, it's getting late." Kuroko said, and watched as Kagami struggle with the full basket without batting an eyelid. Kagami had volunteered to pay for the ice-cream as part of his birthday treat. It was a pity that Kuroko's birthday had fallen on a school-day, and as such, they had to hurry down to the supermarket when their last class was over.
When they finally stepped out of the supermarket, night had already fallen, a steady breeze ruffling Kuroko's pale hair. Kuroko walked alongside Kagami, carrying one of the lighter bags as they both made their way to Kagami's car.
The soft swishing of plastic bags as Kagami handled their purchases stopped from behind him and Kuroko turned to see Kagami peering into the bags.
The taller male rummaged through their purchases with a puzzled frown and suddenly paused when he realised what was missing from their bags.
"Damn it, I forgot something else! Just load the rest of the stuff into the car, I'll be right out!" Kagami instructed Kuroko as he set the bags of groceries down. The redhead fished his car keys out of his pocket and tossed them to Kuroko, before turning on one heel and dashing back towards the direction of the supermarket. He can't believe he had forgotten something that important, and quickly blamed it on the 10 tubs of ice-cream he had to carry.
Under the moonless night sky, only a few street lamps threw pools of poor yellow light across the carpark. Kuroko watched as Kagami jogged across the parking lot and disappearing into the mess of parked cars. They had parked further down just to save on parking fees from the parking lot. It was not very far off, but still quite a distance for Kuroko to suddenly feel alone in the vast darkness. Very much alone.
For a few brief minutes, it had only been the quiet scrape of Kuroko's sneakers against the ground, occasionally joined by the rustle of the plastic bags in his hands as he decided to load the bags into the car least his little birthday treat start to melt into vanilla puddles on the black tarmac. But as pale hands carefully laid the bags down and dug into his pockets for the car keys, one long arm snaked around his front, one large palm clamping across his mouth in a vise-like grip.
Blue eyes widened in alarm and Kuroko struggled to free himself from the stranger who pinned both Kuroko's wrists against his back. The pale teen wrestled against the restraining hands, his body twisted in an uncomfortable position. An amused guffaw escaped his captor's lips, and the voice that followed sent a panicked shudder down his spine.
"What do we have here...a pretty boy all alone eh?" The gruff voiced chuckled as another stranger appeared from behind the restrained youth and cupped his chin. The man was dressed entirely in black with a grey beanie covering his greasy hair. There was a wild glint in those murky-green eyes that spelt danger as the stranger inspected him while his accomplice tightened his hold over Kuroko.
"He looks foreign...blue eyes, pale skin. He's definitely a rich kid or something. Am I right, you little fag?" Green-eyes leered and patted Kuroko's cheek tauntingly. "We should just abandon our idea of taking his wallet and car, I bet we could get more money if we sell him off to one of those black markets."
Kuroko sucked in a sharp breath as he caught whiff of the unpleasant smell of cigarettes and alcohol that clung to both men. The grimy hand of his captor moved from his mouth and traveled south as if inspecting his body while making crude comments together with his partner.
"Acting tough, eh?" the one holding him whispered. A slimy tongue darted out and ran along the rim of Kuroko's ear lobe. The blue-eyed boy shivered in disgust at the action, which only made his captor hum in satisfaction. He was beginning to get rankled by the sexual remarks that his captor and his accomplice with dirty green eyeswere making about him, and the biting odour that was coming off them in waves was starting to really get to him.
"Heh, you'll be doing a lot more than shivering when I fuck your sweet little ass," he promised, shifting his hips suggestively against Kuroko's back.
"Before you do that, could you please help me pick up my car keys?"
The man behind him froze, confusion colouring his tone.
The teen had an apathetic expression on his face as he tilted his head towards where his keys lay on the ground.
"I dropped the keys when you both surprised me. Could you help me pick them up?"
The green-eyed thug frowned at Kuroko's indifference. "Whatever, kid. Not like you're going to need them anyway," Green-eyes shrugged, bending down to swipe the fallen car keys.
Taking chance of the momentary distraction, Kuroko swiftly brought his knee up and slammed his right heel downwards, crushing his captor's foot. The burly man released his hold with a pained yell as the pale boy jerked backwards, closing the distance between himself and his captor. Kuroko then smashed the back of his head into the man's face to throw the other man off of him. The heavy body slumped to the ground, motionless as blood dripped from his facial wounds.
"I'm sorry I had to do that, but you were really annoying me." Kuroko said, without a hint of emotion on his face.
Whipping around, Kuroko neatly dodged an angry blur racing towards him, switchblade in hand as Green-eyes realised they had been tricked. The slightly built man made a downwards stabbing motion with his knife, killing intent swirling in his angry eyes. The man snarled as his blade missed his target and quickly spun around, throwing a punch in the schoolboy's direction but instead, met with empty air. With a soft brush of wind, the sensation of a lingering presence standing behind him gave way to a sharp burst of pain at the base of his neck. Darkness rushed up to meet him as his grip on the pocket knife loosened and clattered to the ground.
Kuroko panted breathlessly as he stood over the two fallen bodies, his body still coiled, alert and poised to attack if they should come to. A soft rustle caught his attention as cold blue eyes snapped towards the new intruder.
An unruly shock of bright red hair. A familiar face.
Kagami stood before Kuroko, an unreadable expression upon his dark, amber eyes. In his hands, was a small square box. And through the clear side of the box, Kuroko could make out a small birthday cake nestled inside. The pale boy felt a cold chill down his spine as he realised he could lose the only friend he ever had just because he was different.
"Kagami-kun...I can explain..."
Kuroko flinched as the taller male narrowed his eyes and closed the gap between them, a hand raised as if to deliver a blow on his cheek. Kuroko squeezed his eyes shut and waited for the pain. Maybe he deserved this. He deserved to be punished for keeping such a big secret from his best friend, and he certainly deserved to be punished by his family for revealing his fighting skills in public.
Instead of pain, there was a sound of a fist colliding with flesh as a gruff voice groaned from behind him before falling noisily to the ground.
Kuroko opened his eyes and turned to see the burly captor who had recovered from earlier reeling backwards, his hands covering his face as crude profanities escaped his lips. The redhead delivered another powerful uppercut to the underside of the man's throat, knocking him out.
"Yeah?" Kagami replied nonchalantly, his back to Kuroko as he bent to retrieve the fallen car keys lying beside the prone body of Green-eyes.
"I...what Kagami-kun saw just now..."
Kagami shrugged, stepping over the unconscious bodies to toss the rest of the groceries into his car before he turned back to his stammering friend. Settling a large hand on Kuroko's head, the taller teen ruffled Kuroko's blue hair affectionately, a grin on his face. Kuroko titled his head up, his eyes fixed on Kagami's grin. He had known Kagami long enough to recognise all of his different smiles, but this particular smile looked nothing like the usual teasing 'Kuroko is short' smile. This smile was forced...almost guilty.
But the smile offered was a fleeting one as Kagami quickly enveloped the tensed boy into a warm hug.
That was all Kagami said as Kuroko buried his face into the taller male's chest as a wave of fear washed through his mind. Kagami had seen him take down two grown man twice his size effortlessly in just a span of a few seconds. That was not something an average person his size could accomplish.
Kagami's words echoed in Kuroko's head, blue eyes widening in horror as he realised the consequences of revealing his moves to an outsider.
His identity had been compromised...
...And anyone who knew about his secret would have to die.
xXxLostBunnyxXx: Hi everyone! Welcome to our new Kurobasu fic! We're so excited to break out of writing one-shots and finally get serious with a multi-chapter fic. Please give us your continuous support like you guys did to our other fics! Thank you so much!
TNS: It's a little short, just over 3K words, but hey, it's only the prologue! We're working on increasing the length in the next chapter onwards.
xXxLostBunnyxXx: Oh, by the way, we still have many oneshots planned so do look out for them as well!
TNS: Do let us know what you think of this chapter, and if it's interesting enough that we should continue! Things are supposed to get preeeeetty interesting in the next chapter! *winks* Rainbows, cookies and Nigou plushies to anyone who reviews!
:: Please note that due to our hectic work & study lifestyle (and geographical differences), updates may take approximately once every month ::