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.
AN: (TNS) I'M SORRY I KNOW I SAID WE WOULD UPLOAD IT EARLY BUT WE DIDN'T AND I'M SORRY THAT IT DIDN'T HAPPEN, I'M A TERRIBLE PERSON.
Thank you for all your reviews/favs/alerts! Please enjoy the new chapter.
There was a hushed silence that swam across the room as a dark-skinned figure came up to pay his respects. The figure placed the white flower on top of the mass of chrysanthemums and ruffling Kuroko's hair as he returned to the back.
Aomine met Kuroko's confused blue eyes and flashed a bitter grin in return.
"Yo, Tetsu. It's been a while, hasn't it?"
The sacred silence of the funeral ritual was broken as the guards instantaneously turned towards the intruder, guns cocked and weapons raised in suspicion. More than ten handguns were pointed at his head, but Aomine's eyes were steady in the face of danger. A number of voices called out from among the procession, voicing out their ire and outrage at having the procession interrupted by the cocky male.
"How dare you disrespect the procession!"
"Who do you think you are, you brat!"
"Such cheek from an outsider!"
Kuroko stood, silencing the chaos immediately with a calm, cool gaze, icy blue eyes sweeping over the occupants of the room.
The commotion settled into low murmurs, the eyes of the other Seirin members darting between the young master and the dark-haired stranger. Ignoring the hushed whispers in the room, Kuroko stepped towards Aomine, turning to face the occupants of the room.
"Please give us a moment." Kuroko finished and grabbed Aomine's arm, dragging him out towards the hall exit, excusing their hasty departure. He led the other male down the corridor towards the small garden at the back of the Seirin mansion and finally away from prying eyes.
As Kuroko pulled Aomine along, he could feel the taller boy's dark eyes roaming over Kuroko's lean form in the conventional dark-coloured suit. Aomine's midnight blue eyes were hard to read, swirling with intensity. The compound was silent except for the heavy sound of footsteps on wooden flooring as they walked.
Making a turn, the back of the compound opened into an open space where a Japanese garden was situated. Soft shrubs in varying shades of green framed the still pond as the hanging branches of willow trees swayed along in a light breeze that followed. It was a beautiful place that his mother had lovingly grown.
Once alone and surrounded by the tranquil peace of the garden, Kuroko finally let his hand drop from Aomine's arm, relaxing his guard.
This time, as Kuroko repeated Aomine's name, it was with a happier and warm tone of voice, the hint of a smile playing across his lips.
"I hope you have been well, Aomine-kun."
Aomine offered no reply, his eyes now settling on Kuroko's face, as if drinking in the sight. Kuroko found himself stepping closer to the taller male, trying to make sense of the situation. It was surreal, meeting him again after five years of being in the States - after he, Kuroko, had packed up and left without a word.
This was Aomine Daiki, his best friend ever since the rowdy toddler Aomine had stringed daisies together to make a crown and placed it on Kuroko's head, declaring loudly to the entire class that the one with the chain of flowers on blue hair would be his bride, and only to find out Kuroko was as male as he was.
Not that Aomine would have ever admitted to it, but he still fantasized seeing Kuroko with a daisy crown whenever they hung out even as they grew older.
As Kuroko took a step forward, Aomine raised a hand, sweeping the fringe away from Kuroko's eyes in a familiar gesture. His touch lingered a little longer than necessary on Kuroko's cheek and Kuroko felt the welcome tingle of Aomine's caress on his skin.
"You look good, Tetsu."
A certain redhead stood guard in the shadowed area of the garden, watching as Kuroko interacted familiarly with his companion. A hollow feeling of unease grew in the pit of his stomach as he caught the relaxed smile on Kuroko's face - the young master was comfortable around this stranger, comfortable enough to step closer to the man the way he was doing now.
His chest now felt strangely tight, his jaw tightened as he spied the way that Aomine - his throat had closed up when he heard Kuroko's voice call out the name; it was too natural, too artless and familiar - had let his eyes roam openly over Kuroko.
He couldn't understand it, but he felt oddly frustrated, angry and confused all at once. Kagami tried to dismiss the feeling, thinking it only infuriated him because Kuroko was his responsibility and they were standing much too close for him to protect h- wait, why isn't Kuroko moving away; don't let him touch you, you idiot!
Kagami watched, the feeling in his stomach sinking faster and deeper. The stranger raised his arms openly in embrace, reaching forward to the shorter male before him.
"You look good, Tetsu."
The words barely left the dark-skinned man's lips and instantly, Kagami found himself bounding forward, stepping between them with his arm thrown out protectively in front of Kuroko as he forced the taller man back.
"Kagami-kun! What are you-"
"Step away from the young master," Kagami growled , his voice dripping with threat as he pushed Kuroko back behind him and fixing a cold glare at the dark-skinned stranger. Behind him, Kuroko pushed his way to the front, standing between them, anger in his blue eyes.
"Stop it, Kagami-kun. Now."
Aomine smiled mockingly, sliding his hands into his pockets as he took a step backwards.
"Your bodyguard, Tetsu?" he asked, cocking a lazy eyebrow at the redhead. "Annoying, isn't he? Shouldn't he know better than to interrupt an important reunion between two lovers?"
Shock flitted in Kagami's eyes, his hands dropping back to his sides.
"L-lovers?" he murmured softly, stunned by the proclamation. Kagami caught Aomine's searching gaze piercing him and quickly schooled his emotions away, turning to look at Kuroko for a confirmation.
A blush had crept up Kuroko's cheeks at Aomine's words, as he shot Aomine a half-hearted glare.
"We are not lovers, Aomine-kun."
Aomine chuckled and wrapped his arms possessively around Kuroko's body, drawing the shorter male backwards and towards his chest. His lips were dangerously close to Kuroko's jaw, tracing the soft jaw playfully.
"Keep blushing like that and we could be," Aomine teased, his hands purposely moving to settle intimately low on Kuroko's hips.
"Please stop doing that, Aomine-kun," Kuroko pointed out, keeping his eyes away from Kagami as his hands reached down to still Aomine's hands. Kagami noted half-heartedly that Kuroko had made no attempts to remove Aomine's hands from his person. It was as if he fit in those tanned arms right from the very beginning.
"Kagami-kun, I appreciate you doing your duty so well, but there is no need to protect me from Aomine-kun." Kuroko said, his tone direct and firm. "He's my childhood friend."
Kagami's heart sunk further with Kuroko's next words. He knew Kuroko still felt angry and betrayed, but the words hurt him more than being forced to lie to his best friend had.
"I trust him."
Kuroko's subtle reminder of his deceit echoed in his ears. The redhead had been ready to punch someone in the face - preferably Aomine, a little voice in his head teased - but balled his fists by his side, as if the action would stop him from doing something he would regret.
Instead, he bowed.
"I apologise, young master. It will not happen again."
Kagami raised himself from the bow and turned, leaving the two behind.
Robin-blue eyes watched as the redhead walked away from the garden, hiding a barely discernible limp in his worried his lower lip - he should have asked about Kagami's health, had he been too harsh with Kagami? - but his worries were pushed aside when Aomine leaned down and whispered huskily, his warm breath caressing Kuroko's ear.
"Now that you've lost the guard...where were we just now?"
It was nightfall when Kuroko finally stepped away from the family altar after the last stick of incense finally burned out. Bowing respectfully one final time to his late parents, Kuroko turned and left, leaving a lone candle-light flickering in the solemn wake.
The soft voice of the family advisor greeted him as soon as he left the room, matching him stride for stride as Kuroko made his way back to his room. Kuroko glanced at Kiyoshi, noting that the taller man had already changed out of his funeral attire, now dressed to match the rest of the Seirin clan.
"It's time for us to move to the safe-house. A car will be departing by the back gate in a few minutes time. I urge the young master to bring along only what is necessary."
Kuroko nodded, thanking the taller male and slipped into his old room to prepare for their departure.
The dark sanctuary of his room was exactly how he had left it, before he left for America. Sparse, clean and quiet, just how he liked it. A new futon had been laid out by one of the servants, but little do they know the mansion will be vacated, and the servants to be extradited to the households of the clan's closest business partners.
Kuroko grabbed a bag and stuffed a couple of clothes, not knowing how long they would remain at the new location. His finger brushed against something smooth that was placed at the bottom of his drawer which caught his attention. It was a photograph of him when he was a toddler, his favourite toy puppy Nigou in his hands. Kuroko smiled softly, tracing the shape of the black and white puppy, missing the days when he was still playing toys and ignorant of the world he belonged to. He turned the picture, only to find a neat message written at the back.
This is our precious child, Tetsuya. Please take good care of him. We can't wait to introduce Taiga-kun to him.
Kuroko frowned slightly, seeing the name of his parents signing off at the end of the message. This picture had obviously been meant for someone else.
Kagami? And isn't Taiga...Kagami-kun's name?
The names were not exactly uncommon, but it was too much of a coincidence. Why had his mother sent a picture of him to this person? Did his late parents know Kagami's family? And why was this photograph in his possession after all these years?
Grabbing his bag, the photograph in hand, he left his room, bumping into Kiyoshi along the way out. Although, in actual fact, Kiyoshi had been lingering outside Kuroko's room while he packed. They couldn't take any chances now, not when the clan was at its most vulnerable.
"Kiyoshi-san. Can I have a moment, please?"
Kiyoshi nodded briefly before finishing up his instructions to the head of household staff. The attendant bowed to both Kuroko and Kiyoshi before scurrying off in the direction of the servants' quarters. The brunette turned to Kuroko, a fond smile on his lips.
"Done packing, young master? I'll have Kagami-kun escort you to the car while I finish up here."
Kuroko tightened his hold on his bag, and handed the photograph over to the older male.
"The photo...it's addressed from my parents to a Kagami-san. Do you know anything about it?"
Kiyoshi started, his face shadowed with sorrow. With a sad on his lips, Kiyoshi passed the photograph back.
"Kagami-san was a very close friend of your parents, and their bodyguard. He has a son, about the same age as you are."
Kuroko's throat closed up with emotion, his mind processing Kiyoshi's words when something finally clicked.
The blue-haired teen paused, as if hesitant to find out the answer to his question.
"Kiyoshi-san...you said he 'was'. Is the man...has Kagami-san..." Kuroko trailed off, as if unsure of what to say.
"I'd say that you would find the answer with the same Taiga-kun mentioned in this picture. He's been in the garden for the past hour."
Kuroko made a small sound of disbelief, unconsciously taking a step backwards. The younger male quickly thanked Kiyoshi with a small bow and raced down the corridor, photograph in hand as he made his way towards the garden; where he knew Kagami would be.
Waiting in the shadows.
Like how Kagami's father had done for his parents, and how the Kagami-kun he knew was doing for him.
The rain had returned in the form of a light drizzle, pelting unmercilessly down on him, but he didn't care about being soaked and chilled to the bone. Kagami kneeled in front of the makeshift grave he had made for his father in the outdoor garden under a moonless night. It wasn't as if the clan hadn't given his father a proper resting place - he just wanted a place where he could fall to his grief alone before he had to return to his duties.
The redhead looked up at the sound of wet footsteps running towards him, stunned. For the first time that day, since he had been surrounded bleak grey, he noticed how brightly Kuroko's robin's egg blue eyes stood out from the depressing landscape. His gaze fell to the photograph in Kuroko's pale hands.
Rising, Kagami quickly shrugged off the jacket he was wearing and stepped towards the shorter male, sheltering Kuroko from the cold drizzle with his jacket.
"Young master, you should get into the car before you fall sic-"
The photograph Kuroko had been holding was suddenly held up to his eye-level, interrupting him mid-sentence.
"This photograph. It's yours, isn't it?"
Kagami's eyes settled on the photo, taking in the familiar image of a young, adorable Kuroko, his small arms around a fluffy stuffed dog. The redhead looked away, his lips pulled into a bitter smile, and glanced at the makeshift grave.
He remembered being five years old, sitting on his father's lap as the older redheaded man grinned, holding the same photograph away playfully from his small grabby hands.
"Let me see it!"
The older man chuckled and handed the photograph over to his young son bouncing impatiently on his lap. The red haired toddler grabbed the picture with both hands, peering curiously at the image of the blue-haired boy staring innocently back at him.
"Who's that, daddy?"
The older man smiled affectionately, ruffling his son's bright red hair with his hand as he answered.
"That's Tetsuya-kun. He's the young master you'll be protecting when you're older, Taiga."
Little Kagami Taiga stared at the pale boy hugging a stuffed toy puppy. He had large expressive eyes as clear as the blue sky and soft, light hair that matched his pale skin.
His favourite part of the picture was the boy's smile.
He felt all warm and happy when he looked at the picture, and he wanted to protect that smile. A sense of pride welled up in his chest as he turned and faced his father with a determined look in his face.
"I like him, daddy. I promise I will protect him."
"Kagami-kun is an idiot."
Kuroko's voice broke through his thoughts, bringing him back from his comforting past to the cold present. "Why didn't you tell me..." he added softly, letting his hand drop to his side.
Kagami laughed quietly at Kuroko's words, the sound gruff as he raised his eyes to Kuroko's face. Dark red eyes followed the trail of a raindrop that had trickled from Kuroko's hair, down over his cheek. Raising a finger, Kagami leaned in closer and brushed it away.
"I didn't know how to tell you."
The shorter male froze, shivering slightly as Kagami's finger brushed across his cheek, a light blush forming across his face.
Kagami laughed quietly at Kuroko's words as he turned away, facing his father's makeshift grave. Taking a deep breath, Kagami smiled as he spoke.
"Guess now's a good time as any - " the redhead remarked, grabbing Kuroko's hand to pull him forward.
"Kuroko, meet my dad. Dad, this is...Kuroko Tetsuya," Kagami introduced, a small smile on his face. "He's the one you told me about, remember?"
Kagami ignored Kuroko's sharp, shocked gaze, pressing forward. "He's the young master of the Seirin clan, and...-" Kagami paused, glancing at his blue-haired friend, "...my best friend."
Kuroko gently pulled his hand away from Kagami's trembling grasp, inwardly chastising himself for not recognising the signs before him. Kagami continued on, his steady voice slowly wavering.
"I promise I'll protect him, like you protected his parents. Because he's important to me."
Kuroko's voice was soft, sad with understanding and Kagami found himself being enveloped in a warm hug, Kuroko burying his face in his back.
"It's okay, Kagami-kun. You can cry if you want to."
The redhead chuckled, the sound thick with emotion.
"Who's gonna cry, you idiot..." Kagami joked, his voice cracking slightly as bitter tears slide down his cheeks, merging with the raindrops running down his face.
Kuroko pressed closer to him, his presence warm and reassuring. Through the haze of his grief, Kagami almost missed the soft warmth of rain seeping into his shirt from his back. If not for the subtle trembling of Kuroko's body in their awkward embrace, Kagami wouldn't have realised Kuroko was crying silently, his face buried in Kagami's back.
Until the sky cleared up, both boys allowed themselves to grieve, pretending that they weren't part of the war that was brewing.
For that short while, they weren't about to fight the very same war they had lost their families to.
They were just two lost boys who had lost their loved ones.
Kiyoshi rolled up the window of the black sedan he was waiting in, turning good-naturedly to the impassive driver beside him.
"Don't worry it. There's a reason why I told them we're actually leaving a few hours earlier than our actual scheduled departure time."
Hyuuga made a soft sound of irritation and shook his head, his fingers itching to press the car horn to tear the two apart. The bespectacled man shifted restlessly in his seat, glancing at the digital clock on the dashboard and then sneaking another concerned look at the two boys in the garden.
Kiyoshi smiled amusedly as Hyuuga tried to hide his worry, squeezing the other man's hand playfully in his.
"They'll be alright."
A blue-haired boy stepped into the living room, towel around his neck as he settled on the couch. His companion barely glanced away, attention focused on the television screen before him. The news played on mute, the female newscaster reporting about the rising yakuza activity, and the recent massacres in the yakuza territories, a pleased smile on his face.
"So how was your reunion with him?
Aomine grunted in reply, taking a gulp of his soda.
"Tetsu? He hasn't changed at all."
"I see. I am looking forward to meeting this Tetsuya soon. I wonder how would he take to my proposition, he seems to have a good head on his shoulders."
The dark-skinned male muttered a non-committal reply and crushed the can. He tossed it over his head, knowing there was a bin behind the couch a metre away. There was a soft rustle as the empty can landed right into the bin and Aomine leaned back onto the couch, stretching his arms lazily over his head.
Aomine watched as the other man cocked his head at the screen, his eyes flashing in mirth.
"And if he declines, I'll see that he dies together with his clan's name."
xXxLostBunnyxXx: Thank you for all the reviews! We hope you've enjoyed the latest chapter! Once again, it wouldn't hurt to share your love for Deadman Walking on the review section below!
TNS: We've finally used up our last buffer chapter, but we're trying to catch up on them, so do look forward to the next chapter! I can't wait to finally start on Kuroko's training eheheh.