A/N: This takes place VERY LOOSELY Loveless universe. If you know nothing about it, that's okay!

Just know... virgins have animal ears that fall off when they have sex, people have magic and are either classified as a "fighter" (who fights by chanting magic words) or a "sacrifice" (who takes all the damage a "fighter" would take in battle). Fighters and Sacrifices are predetermined by fate, they have a matching tattoo that appears on their body. And they all go to a training academy where Akashi is headmaster.

Kuroko's earliest memories are filled with the chill of the metal operating table and Akashi's calm surgical voice. He thinks it might have been different, once upon a time, once upon a dream, but he doesn't dwell on it.

"You'll make a good Sacrifice, Tetsuya," Akashi always assures him with a pat to the cheek. And then the pain begins.

Over the years, the searing burn of the scalpel dwindles to a numbed touch and he begins to forget the feeling of pain. As a final test, Akashi litters Kuroko's body in wounds, Merciless as his true name implies. Kuroko does not even flinch.

Pleased, Akashi pats him on the cheek as usual and wraps his wounds. For the first time, he is allowed to leave his "room" and becomes officially enrolled the academy as a sacrifice.

And finally, he gets to see it, the bright blinding sky of his dreams. It's so blinding, in fact, that he misses the sleeping figure in front of his path and trips.

"Oi! Watch where you're walking!"

The figure is actually a boy, tanned and muscular, unlike anyone Kuroko has seen before. His hair is blue, much like Kuroko's, but darker, shorter, with a matching shade of wolfish ears. It fits him well, Kuroko thinks, but he can't explain why.

Kuroko picks himself up from the ground, and gives a small bow. "I apologize."

The boy glares, but then flops back to the ground, too lazy to pursue the matter. "Whatever, just be careful," the boy says dismissively, and his eyes droop closed as he yawns. "What are you in such a hurry for anyways? Today's a nice day."

"I'm not," Kuroko informs him, squatting down curiously to observe the relaxed face.

"Ah?" A single blue eye peaks open, scanning Kuroko once over before, once again, closing. "Then sit with me for a little, you look way too pale."

Akashi scolds him when he comes back sporting a sunburn on his first day out, but Kuroko doesn't regret it.

The boy's name is Aomine Daiki, Kuroko learns, and despite his laid-back attitude, he is the top Fighter of the academy. On the field, his words are a bit wild, but fiercely confident, undeniably powerful.

The academy separates Fighters and Sacrifices on different ends of the campus, but that does not stop Kuroko from peaking at Aomine's practices, and it does not stop Aomine from slinging his arm around Kuroko's shoulder and dragging off the smaller boy after said practices.

They become quick friends, even if Kuroko cannot fathom why Aomine chooses him to befriend of all people, but Akashi does not object, and it becomes all too easy to be swept into Aomine's pace.

One thing Kuroko quickly discovers is that Aomine enjoys food, ice cream in particular during the summer months. No flavor seems to daunt Aomine, which becomes a problem when Aomine begins to order for both of them and Kuroko learns that he does not have nearly as much of a tolerance for flavors.

He eats it anyways though, because if nothing else, Kuroko is good at taking orders. Akashi is only satisfied by absolute obedience.

"How is it?" Aomine asks expectantly after Kuroko nibbles at the popsicle. The flavor of the day is sour cherry apple, the worst he has tried so far, but Kuroko schools his face to remain blank.

"It's..." Kuroko grasps for a polite word. He's already used interesting the past three times that week and is running short on ideas. He tries harder to think of something, not wanting to disappoint Aomine, but the thought of disappointing the Fighter is upsetting enough to cause his ears to betray him, flattening against his head reflexively.

Aomine notices immediately, eyes softening. He does not resist the rising urge to ruffle Kuroko's hair, and pats over the depressed ears with a laugh. "Tetsu, you can be honest, you know. I'm not going to get mad if you don't like it."

Kuroko blinks, ears perking up, and he looks from his ice cream to Aomine, then back to his ice cream. "To be frank, Aomine-kun," Kuroko says slowly, testing the sound of the words on his tongue before he continues in a faster tone, "I don't understand how Aomine-kun can even eat this. It's too sour."

Aomine only laughs again. "Why didn't you just say so earlier, Tetsu?" He asks teasingly, and grabs the ice cream in Kuroko's hand, biting off a large chunk of it for himself. "More for me."

"I will be sure to tell Aomine-kun how awful his tastes are next time, then," Kuroko says with the slightest of smiles.

"O-oi! You don't have to say it like that!"

Their outings grow so frequent that the rest of the Fighter class, being a horrible group of gossips, become interested in the sacrifice that has Aomine's interest.

"Hmm, he looks...absolutely weak," one of them says with disappointment, a tall blonde whom Kuroko soon identifies as Kise, ranked third in the Fighter class despite his late enrollment. In battle, Kise's words are smooth and confident, much like Aomine's, but they are mixed with little quips borrowed from others. Kuroko likes Kise's enthusiasm, even if he gives phony smiles too freely, but now, Kuroko finds himself reconsidering his opinion of the blond.

"Kise-kun, I can hear you," Kuroko says, appearing right beside Kise. To his satisfaction, Kise nearly falls backwards at the unexpected reply, and Aomine's laugh echoes in the training room.

"Tetsu? You're here early," Aomine says, and offers out his fist for a scare well done. Kuroko lips twitch into a small smile, and he returns the fist bump.

From the corner of the room, someone makes a light scoffing "hmph." Kuroko turns and spots Midorima, second in the class next to Aomine. "Getting so attached to a Sacrifice already, Aomine?" Midorima asks, adjusting his glasses as he pretends to look away and feign disinterest.

If Aomine is wild, Midorima is the complete opposite - precise and controlled in both his words and mannerisms. He has his own quirk in his steadfast devotion to his horoscope, and much to everyone's amusement, he always tries to incorporates his "lucky word" (as forecast by Oha-Asa) into his attacks no matter how nonsensical the word. Kuroko admires him for that, but, of course, he much rather prefers Aomine's style.

Midorima's latest words, however, confuse Kuroko. He looks to Aomine and sees a flash of understanding, but Aomine's eyes narrow and he puts an arm possessively around Kuroko.

"You have a problem with it?" He replies, tilting his head tauntingly.

Midorima turns around and raises an empty hand flippantly as he walks away. "I couldn't care less about your foolish behavior."

Aomine makes a face at Midorima's back, and drags Kuroko away before he can dwell on it.

"Tetsu, let's try the Teriyaki flavor today," Aomine says at the dessert stand, pointing to the special of the day.

Kuroko stares and contemplates the idea for a grand total of two seconds before he turns to the vendor and gives an order for a vanilla shake instead. "Aomine-kun has weird tastes," he comments, and remains unfazed by Aomine's offended hmph.

"No sense of adventure," Aomine mutters, but smiles nevertheless when he sees the zoned-out look of satisfaction that Kuroko gets - ears flattened, eyes closed, and tail swishing excitedly from side to side - when he drinks the milkshake.

And it's really unfair, Aomine thinks, how easily Kuroko effects him.

It's in their second to last year of the academy that their true names begin to appear. Aomine's emerges first, the word "One" scrawled on his palms in something much more permanent than black ink.

Kuroko checks his palm that same day. It is disappointingly blank.

"What does it matter?" Aomine says, taking that same hand in his own. "Tetsu is definitely my partner, I'm sure of it."

Kuroko squeezes Aomine's hand, and grips those words tightly in his heart. "Yes, definitely."

A/N: I have no clue how many people in this fandom know Loveless but this is more of a self-indulgent fic than anything. Also I'm really curious if anyone is reading this without knowing anything about loveless, does this make any sort of sense to you?

Any feedback is appreciated while I die under final exams QuQ