and there I was, saying that I will end the story in this chapter or the last.
I was wrong. /shot
I tried ;u;. I'm not much of a political person, but I'd somehow actually managed to crap out this much crap ._. I don't really blame you guys if you find yourself reading the later part of this with a "What the fudge?" look written on your face lol /shot
ahhh I'm so tired now OTL. ALL DEM SCHOOL ACTIVITIES ARE JUST- /dies.
anywayyy, I guess the next chappie will really be the last ouo. I guess I'll continue my rants there when I update /shot
ah well. KuroBasu is not mine. Feel free to point out any mistakes. Thanks in advance for reading!
There were guards everywhere.
Kuroko was glad Kagami wasn't freaking out as much as he thought he would. He wasn't really keen on having to literally drag the taller wherever he went. Kagami was slightly hesitant at first, but after successfully going through the first two attempts of sneaking right past the men on duty, he started to gain confidence in himself, and relaxed. Kuroko was glad Kagami was okay. He didn't show it of course, but from his earlier observations when they'd just started everything, he was worried. Kagami looked so nervous then, Kuroko thought he might just break down.
Kuroko held on to Kagami's hand as he took him back upstairs using the way that Akashi had planned out, having no special intentions other than as a precaution to not lose him anytime soon. Let's face it: one will simply miss out Kuroko from their line of sight as soon as he or she loses even a little focus on the pale boy. Kagami would have better things to do than to stare at him at such a time.
Fortunately, Kagami did not complain and make things complicated. Because truthfully, Kuroko wasn't really that sure about everything anymore. He was no longer sure what exactly he was feeling towards this tall, endearing redhead he was dragging along. That kiss the night before was purely impulsive, for even Kuroko did not realize what he was doing until he did it. And he was wide awake, not half asleep. His body had moved on its own.
But hey, a kiss was just a kiss right? It's not abnormal or anything. It wasn't even a kiss on the lips. There was no such need to make such a big fuss and waste his time pondering over it.
Kuroko took in a deep breath to clear his mind. He had to concentrate, or else he might mess up and take a wrong turn or something. That would not be good. Being captured and thrown into prison again was one thing, but facing Akashi's wrath later was another story. Akashi might go easy on him, but whatever inflicted on Kagami would probably not be very good for his health.
Kuroko turned into a corridor, and for a split second, he was taken aback. Dozens of guards lay unconscious on the floor, and sitting in a corner quietly nibbling on a snack that had magically appeared, was a familiar purple-haired giant.
Murasakibara perked up when he noticed the pair approaching. "Ah, its Kurochin."
Kagami stared at him, then at the unconscious people around him. "You did this?" he asked, feeling stupid.
"They were noisy," Murasakibara commented, a tinge of annoyance in his tone. "So I got angry and knocked them out. Akachin gave me permission anyway." He opened the packaging of a bar of chocolate before nodding towards the rest of the corridor to his left. "Kurochin and Kagami should go on before more guards come."
Kuroko walked past the giant, and stopped. He looked over his shoulder, and said; "Thank you, Murasakibara-kun."
Murasakibara only smiled sleepily. "Kurochin doesn't need to thank me. It's all part of Akachin's plan."
Kuroko said no more, only proceeding to pull Kagami along with him as they continued making their way towards their destination. He knew there was no need to worry over his friends. They'll be okay.
The pair kept on going through the maze of corridors, expertly sneaking past the seemingly hundreds of guards that were all around. Though he'd probably went through some the first time, Kagami still occasionally got confused by the identical hallways. His brain kept telling him that he'd never been there before, but his body seemed to be unable to comprehend. Kuroko had no such problems. He made turns at split paths without even hesitating.
They bumped into Midorima next. The bespectacled boy was standing leaning against a wall, fiddling with the bandages on his fingers. When he glanced up at the sound of the pair's approaching footsteps, he did not look impressed (then again, when was he ever?). His area was quiet, with not another soul around other than the three of them standing there.
"Midorima-kun," Kuroko greeted. Midorima glared at him, pushing his glasses up his nose.
"Took you two long enough," he remarked, though he knew only a mere ten minutes had passed since Kuroko set off to fetch Kagami. It was a personality thing.
"Sorry," Kuroko said just to satisfy him. He then couldn't resist adding; "But it's nice of Midorima-kun to care. I didn't expect you to be so anxious about us."
Kagami watch with slight fascination as a pinkish tint found its way to Midorima's cheeks.
"S-Shut up." Midorima turned away. "It's not like I want to care or anything."
"I suppose it's not." A smile tugged the corners of the shorter boy's lips. Kagami blinked. Was that mischief he saw in that expression? "Thank you anyway."
Midorima did not look back. "Whatever." He managed not to stutter. "The two of your should stop wasting time here. Akashi will not be too happy if you dawdle too much."
"I know," Kuroko said. He tugged Kagami's hand, silently urging him to continue walking. "We'll be going then."
Kise and Aomine were busy when Kuroko and Kagami reached their area. Apparently, since Akashi had assigned them to a spot very close to the Prime Minister's study, the place was very tightly guarded. In fact, Kuroko could hear Aomine swearing about the endless numbers of men two hallways away.
"Aomine-kun, Kise-kun," Kuroko said as he dodged a hand wildly grabbing his way. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Kagami shoving away a guard who was trying to cling on to him or something. Kise happened to glance their way as he hit a poor guy unconscious, and broke into a smile.
"Kurokocchi-" his greeting was cut short when another guard flung himself at him. "Ahh, there's just many of them here!" he complained.
"No time to talk, Tetsu!" Aomine growled, grabbing a man by his collar and flinging him aside, creating a gape wide enough for the two to pass through. "Go!"
When Kuroko and Kagami ran past them, Aomine and Kise stood shoulder by shoulder, blocking the way of the guards. The men had somehow finally managed to realize that the real problem were the ones that had just ran past. They struggled to break through, yelling obscenities as they did so. The two boys did not budge from their stance. Aomine even had the nerve to look bored.
"Out of the way, brats!" one of the guards at the front demanded. He attempted to push through Kise using brute force alone, but the blonde easily caught him and hauled him back to where he was, looking like he'd barely used any effort. The few men before him stumbled back from the impact of being shoved at.
"Our friend is only here to talk with him!" Kise said, raising his voice to be heard. "I swear we mean no harm!"
"Lies!" Another man shouted. "You are a group of thieves that had been terrorizing the city for years. Why should we trust you?"
Kise bit his lip, resisting the growing urge to scream back that all of it would not have happened if the village was taken notice of earlier, and that all of it would stop when Kagami finishes his talk with the Prime Minister.
"You know what?" Aomine's voice snapped him out of his thoughts. Kise glanced at the tanned boy, raising his eyebrows. Aomine kept his gaze forward as he cracked his knuckles. "I think I want to hit them."
His straightforward statement somehow brought a smile to Kise's face. Really, Aomine was most probably the only person on earth who'd bluntly say that he wanted to hit someone out of the blue.
"Akashicchi didn't tell us not to," Kise smiled wryly. His companion looked at him sideways, and grinned.
"Let's kick some butt."
Kagami couldn't help feeling slightly guilty, for he was practically leaving all the dirty work for the others to do.
He shook his head, forcing the thought out of his mind. There was no time to think about that now. If he felt guilty, then he'd just have to make up to them by making it all worth their efforts. He'd have to make it all a success.
Kuroko finally slowed his pace. Kagami looked up and saw why. There was no need to run anymore. They were there.
Akashi was standing against a pair of closed doors, his arms crossed. He regarded the pair as they approached, his mismatched eyes shrewd and studying. Kagami subconsciously started inhaling deep breaths again - something that had recently became a habit for him when he was nervous. Plus, that running around was really tiring. He didn't really fancy wheezing in front of the Prime Minister, either. Akashi would disapprove too, since it ruined his image and all.
Kuroko released Kagami's hand. Huh. They'd been holding hands all this while? Kagami didn't notice it until then. He was glad for that too. That stunt would've made him blush furiously the whole way and lose all his remaining focus.
Kagami walked over, and Akashi stepped aside, making way. The taller stopped before the doors, steeling his nerves. He set his hand on the brass handle, and glanced back once. Kuroko didn't wish him good luck this time, just stared at him with those big pools of blue. Akashi had a small smile on his face, though Kagami swore he was silently telling him "I'll skin you alive if you fail this".
Kagami felt reassured. Things will work out. He just knew it.
Well. Here goes nothing.
He twisted the door handle, and pushed.
Kagami was expecting a gasp of surprise. Or maybe a set of wide eyes. Something.
He got nothing of that sort. The Prime Minister was exactly how Akashi had described him: a man approximately in his forties, his black hair slicked to the back, wearing a signature business suit that consisted of a black coat, white shirt, and red tie.
Imagine this: Kagami actually had to wait - wait - several seconds before the man looked up from his documents. Even as he regarded the redhead, he did not look amused, let alone shocked or scared. He stared so intently at him, Kagami had trouble holding his gaze.
Shirogane Eiji, the Prime Minister did not look like he needed the security guard overkill. He looked like a person who could handle even people like Haizaki.
"You're one of the ones that are causing chaos all over my mansion, I presume?" His tone was calm and controled as he spoke. "I have to admit: I wasn't expecting adolescents to be the mastermind behind it all. But no matter. I can't say I appreciate what you boys have done."
Kagami blinked, snapping out of his stunned awe. It was scary, how everything he imagined got reversed in less than a second. He thought he was ready from all those roleplay sessions with Akashi, but he was wrong. Everything felt different somehow.
"I-I apologize for the mess," Kagami said, desperately recalling what he'd worked so hard to remember. "But by no means do we want to harm anyone, I promise. I just want to discuss a certain matter with you."
"Hmm." The man rested his chin on his right palm, and leaned forward. He did not look any more interested than before. "And I suppose this matter of yours is so important that you need to terrorize my home just to speak to me about it?"
"I'm sorry," Kagami apologized again. He made himself stare straight into the man's dark eyes. "But yes, it is important."
Shirogane stared back, his gaze steely. Kagami used this chance to relay all his determination, all his will to successfully get all this over and done with to the Prime Minister. He must listen. He had to listen. He couldn't just ignore someone who was willing to go through so much trouble to change the fate of a village.
"..Alright," the man exhaled wearily. "But this better be worth my time. Start off by telling me who exactly are you."
Kagami had been afraid of mind blanks ever since he started the whole memorizing business. No matter how hard he tried, no matter how confident he felt, there had always been this one nagging feeling at the back of his mind that he would just space out and forget every damn thing when the time came.
But now that he was actually doing it, Kagami experienced no such trouble. His brain went on automatic mode; recalling the lines, making the necessary changes, responding with suitable answers. He didn't think. Kagami figured that if he stopped and thought, things would go out of the window instantly. He had to trust his instincts. He had been trained to do so.
So he talked. He spoke of the village's existence; its poverty. He explained how the Generation of Miracles had came along. He told the man just why a group of children back then were willing to risk their lives stealing from the main city. It was scary, how Akashi had actually predicted everything with such accuracy. Two out of three of Akashi's assumptions actually happened, and Kagami was glad he'd actually managed to memorize enough - though barely.
Kagami kept on talking, and at one point, it no longer felt like he was just reciting what he'd memorized. Kagami realized that he really meant what he said. He really wanted to help the village that was his home for the last two months.
"And what makes you think I will believe a story as absurd as this?" Shirogane Eiji asked once Kagami paused to regain some breath. The redhead's eyebrow twitched when he heard this. He's still denying it even now?
Kagami was about to give his reply when the door abruptly burst open, and Akashi stepped in along with Kuroko. Kagami glanced over his shoulder, and froze. Wait. Was this supposed to happen? And now way was all this a coincidence. Were those two listening from the outside the whole time?
"Us standing here in person is probably a solid enough proof, don't you think?" Akashi broke the silence that had promptly formed, smirking faintly at the Prime Minister's change in expression. "And I wouldn't bother denying that if I were you."
He stopped and stood beside Kagami, his poise natural and confident. Kuroko hung back near the doors. Both of them had this defiant glint in their eyes. Kagami had to admit: he couldn't help feeling slightly jealous. He wished he could wipe that bored look off the man's face as easily as them.
There was a moment of stare down between Akashi and the Prime Minister. Kagami could feel the tension thickening in the air. It was nauseating. He found himself unconsciously holding his breath as he resisted the urge to fidget. What's going to happen now? As far as he could remember, Akashi hadn't mentioned anything like this before. He had no idea what he should do. Should he leave the rest to Akashi? Or should he continue?
"So what will you do?" Akashi questioned when he received no answer from the man, crossing his arms. He never once broke eye contact with the adult.
When Shirogane finally found his voice, he sounded incredulous, as if he couldn't believe someone actually dared to ask him something as ridiculous as that. "What will I do? Just who do you think you boys are, demanding answers from the head of a country?"
Kagami saw Akashi's gaze flickering his way. Fortunately, he understood the message. It was his cue.
"We are humans, just like you and everyone else here," Kagami said, taking over once more. "And just like you guys, we have rights. We have rights to ask. And we have rights to demand for a better life."
The man narrowed his eyes. "I'm afraid I can't follow where this conversation is going."
"All I'm asking for is to have the existence of the village in the woods acknowledged," Kagami said, walking forward and putting his hands on the edge of the man's mahogany desk. Scarlet eyes stared down at dark ones. "People from that village will no longer have their needs neglected. They will be permitted to work here in the city just like anyone else. And they will be treated as humans, not insignificant trash that's just left there to die."
"And what if I refuse?" Shirogane's tone made it sound like a challenge. He glared up, daring Kagami to reply. Kagami did not. Akashi was the one that spoke up.
"I wonder how would the nation take it when they receive news about the disappearance of the Prime Minister?" he mused aloud, his voice dangerously calm and casual.
Shirogane paled as his gaze flickered towards him. "Y-You wouldn't dare!"
But Akashi already had something unpleasant in mind, and would definitely not mind doing it when he's in the mood. The man saw it in the shorter redhead's mismatched eyes.
"I'll.. I'll have to discuss this with the other ministers," he reasoned, tearing his gaze away from the boy. "This request isn't something easy to carry out. There will be a lot to do. There'll be documents to file, reports to write, data to be recorded-"
"And you will comply to our request," Kagami insisted, cutting him off midsentence, banging his fist lightly on the surface of the desk. It was an act he had to put up. Normal talking didn't seem like it could take them anywhere anymore. "You will insist to do as we asked, no matter what they say or how much they reject the idea."
"It will not be easy," Shirogane warned. "What's it in for me?"
"Frankly, probably a lot of trouble and work." Kagami straightened and stepped back. "But also an rise in income. Many of villagers can work. They'll be able to help in trades, businesses, things of that sort. There will be an increase in manpower, and the country's economy could improve. This place could prosper."
"How are you so sure?"
Kagami shrugged. "There's a saying: you never know till you try."
He waited as the adult pursed his lips and contemplated over his decision. A bead of sweat rolled down the side of his face. Was that enough? Did he succeed? Or did he mess up? Or does the stupid discussion have to keep ongoing ?
"..I'll think about it," Shirogane finally said after what seemed to be an eternity to Kagami. Kagami knitted his brows at the answer. No, that wasn't enough. 'Thinking about it' doesn't guarantee anything. They needed something solid.
"Don't just 'think about it'," Kagami said, making his voice as cold as possible. Surprisingly, it wasn't very hard. "Do it."
He did not receive any response.
"And one more thing," he started, breaking the silence that had formed. "The Generation of Miracles will have the bounties on their heads removed, and will be treated just like any other normal citizen."
Kagami finally got the reaction he wanted to see. The Prime Minister looked up and stared at him as if he'd just lost his mind.
"What?" Shirogane said, losing his composure for a second. "You're asking for the impossible. They've been the source of fear and worry for the people in the City for years thanks to their crime of stealing. The people here loathe them. Even if they are to be excused-"
"What makes you think they have not thought about that?" Kagami snapped. "What makes you think they care anymore? They were willing to risk their lives to keep the people in their village alive. They were willing to have bounties placed on their head so the others could live. They still followed the path of thieves despite knowing they would be hated and feared. They did a crime for a good cause. And you know what?" Kagami had no idea why, but he was boiling with anger. It always happened. He would always feel frustrated and angry whenever he thought about this. Voicing it out only made him feel more furious. "They stole from this sorry place for attention. To show that there's a village out there, starving, barely holding on, but still surviving. Fighting. And what do you people do? Ignore their signs. Treat them as criminals that terrorize and steal as they please. Continue living a stupid, pampered life while people are dying one by one just beyond the gates." He paused for a breath. When he spoke again, his voice was carefully leveled. "If a group of children could do as much as keeping a whole village alive. Why can't the officials - adults - do as much?"
He received silence once more. Kagami crossed his arms, and waited for his answer. Slowly, his anger began to fade. His breathing calmed down, but he could still feel his heart beating hard. Kagami wasn't sure if it was the after-effects of his rage or just his nerves. He didn't bother thinking too much about it.
"..I'll consider it."
Shirogane was silent for so long, he actually managed to catch Kagami by surprise when he spoke up. The redheaded teen stared at him, and blinked. And then realization sank in.
"What you said is true," the man continued, sighing as if he couldn't believe he was saying this. "The irony, being lectured about the problems of my country by a mere child. I'll think about your words, and take the appropriate measures. Besides," he smiled wryly. "It would be shameful to have foreigners worrying about my country, don't you think?"
That was exactly what they were aiming for. The whole point of Akashi using Kagami as the middle man was because he wanted the head of country to lose face by being told off by a foreigner. It took exactly Kagami's everything to not break out grinning right there and then.
"How can we be sure that you'll remember this conversation? And that you will keep your word?" Akashi voiced his suspicion. Shirogane looked at him, a glint in his eyes.
"I never back down on my promises," he assured. "Especially in this case, since I'm sure you won't let me anyway."
So he'd already guessed how brutal Akashi could be when unimpressed. Akashi smiled faintly, satisfied by the answer he got.
"Well then. I guess our work here is done." Kagami concluded. He bowed slightly at the man. "Thank you for your time. We'll be taking our leave now."
He straightened, and turned on his heels, facing his companions. Now that his back was turned, Kagami felt no need to suppress that stupid grin any longer.
"Shall we go?" he asked, and pushed the door open.
Kagami wasn't expecting the congratulations and thank yous, as indirect as they were.
Aomine gave him a not-so gentle slap on the back as soon as the redhead updated him about the matter, pitching him forward a couple of steps when he did it. Kise, on the other hand, was not as violent - much to Kagami's relief. He wasn't sure if he could go on without coughing up blood for a week if he was to be hit by the same amount of force again. Kise only beamed widely and thanked the redhead for his hard work, practically emitting sparkles as he did so. Midorima refused to thank him entirely; instead choosing to just mumble a compliment to his success without actually looking at him. Murasakibara gave him a bar of uneaten chocolate snack. Akashi only crossed his arms, and smiled like a proud parent.
Kagami couldn't blame him - or all of them, for that matter. All that time and energy spent on him was probably not little. Even Kagami himself couldn't help feeling satisfied. His efforts weren't wasted. He actually something right.
He did it right.
Everything didn't seem real yet. After everything he went through just to prepare for this day, it still felt incomplete - as if he was still missing something out. As if his task was not complete yet. Was he really caught and thrown into prison? Twice? And broke out twice too? Did he really speak with the Prime Minister without messing up? Did what he say really made so much sense that he'd actually managed to convince the man to follow Akashi's plans?
There was a slight squeeze on his hand, and Kagami looked down, eyebrows raised. Kuroko stood by his side, hand in his. He gazed up at him, a gentle smile on his face, saying nothing. And that was when Kagami knew. Sometimes, there's just no need to worry over every little thing. Things work out the way they should.
Kagami let his own smile spread across his face, and squeezed back.