HELLO WORLD. IT'S GPS HERE AGAIN.
Ehehe... this chapter was actually written up three days after the last was posted but I couldn't put it here 'til now. Unfortunately, my beta hasn't replied to me for quite a long time which is part of the reason this is late. Anyways, this chapter is unbetaed and stuff. Unless self-betaing counts.
Anyways, I've mentioned before that there'll be chapters like this every once in a while. Sorry if you dislike my plot deviations. /craistoself.
They're to give a little more insight on the setting I've created. Plus someone requested something about Kagami finding a job (I try to take requests seriously).
Guest: Yes. A moment. Sorta/notreally/Idkanymore. Please keep in mind, however, that Kuroko's the one who did that in the first place though only because Kise partially deserved it.
AwsumReader: Boy, that escalated quickly. I think someone needs a trident now. Here is another relaxing chapter for you but I swear plot-relevant things are gonna happen in the next one. Kuroko probably won't become the Demon King, sorry (though now I really feel like writing a crackish side story).
Disclaimer: FUJIMAKI TADATOSHI Y'ALL.
Chapter 22: Real Life & Drinking
Wednesday: May 9, 2038. 1:21 P.M.
Since last Sunday, Kuroko hadn't really done much in relation to gaming besides a few sessions of logging in for some quick training.
Now that Golden Week was over and the weekend had gone by, the shifts at the convenience store were now back to their regular times (hours had been shortened) and the Daycare was up-and-running once more. Not to mention his college classes always took up quite a bit of time, especially with the new assignments that had come in right after the week-long vacation had ended.
At the current moment, Kuroko was in the Kindergarten helping to teach some of the children how to correctly tie a shoelace. A few paces away from him stood Aomine who, since Monday, had been scaring the majority of the children left and right. Today was his third day working, and though a few of them had gotten used to his constant scowling, terrifying forehead crinkles, and seemingly-perpetually glaring eyes, many of them were still apprehensive toward getting within a meter's radius of the blueheaded man.
The clock ticked past the usual lessons, recesses, naptime, and waking up activities, and the class was now doing something suggested by Aomine a day prior; basketball, his favorite sport.
Well, not so much the actual activity but more of practicing throwing smaller, basketball-identical, rubber spheres into short, plastic hoops some ten feet away from the tape lines on the ground. While the children played, Kanagawa, Kuroko, and the assisting Aomine watched from the sidelines, cheering them on and praising whenever one of them managed to get a nice shot in.
When Kuroko asked what prompted Aomine to come up with this idea, the other explained that he had played while a lot during his younger years, and still did now whenever he wasn't doing his formal police training, playing videogames, or at one of his part-time jobs. The hoops he had were, apparently, collected from himself (one from his younger days that had been stuffed deep in a shed) and borrowed from some of his buddies in a rush that had him running around for the entirety of the late afternoon.
The taller man had also boasted about how he was "pretty damn good" at the sport and chose to demonstrate when a stray ball rolled their way. With his left hand, he scooped up the ball and gave a lazy little flick of his wrist, but the bouncy object still made its way into the hoop furthest from him without even touching the rims.
An applause came his way from a group of the Kindergarteners, along with some of them trailing toward him and pulling on his pants legs, asking him to teach them how to shoot with a twinkling gleam in their wide-open eyes. Of course, he didn't refuse, though his knees hurt later on from having to kneel to the ground so that he'd be roughly the same height as the children.
From this moment on, perhaps around half of the Sunflower Class had accepted him (he'd probably have to do the same with the Hydrangea Group later); if only he could stop with frowning and gruff tone when talking to them. Hopefully he'd be able to do it by the time his two or three months here were over.
The two blue-haired men and Yamada left around five-ish, locking up the spare room and leaving the last few children to Kanagawa and another of the workers.
On their way out, Aomine suggested something about getting dinner with him and Momoi later. Seeing as though it'd been quite a long time since he'd eaten out at somewhere that wasn't a fast-food place with people other than his housemates, plus it wasn't his turn to cook, the twenty-year old agreed after a quick message home saying he wouldn't be back for dinner.
It was a bit early to be picking up Momoi (though technically, she'd be picking them up since she was the one who had Aomine's car) and going to the designated place, so the two ended up stopping by a retro-style arcade that featured all sorts of games from before 2010 or so. While Aomine triumphed during their games of Street Fighter II and various racing games, Kuroko had the upper hand in Tetris; not because he was particularly great but more because Aomine was fantastically terrible. After the other lost, the shorter blue-haired man completely refused when he brought up DDR as the next challenge.
They visited a solo-player basketball game as well–something which the tan-skinned man racked up a multitude of tickets at. Kuroko himself got a few (though not nearly as much as the other) while playing a virtual shooting game–the kind with a gun and targets.
Before they had to leave, they each took their chances with crane games.
"Arrgh. This thing is definitely rigged!" Aomine growled, giving the machine a light kick after his claw seemed it would close around the top of the box he was trying for, but didn't, for the umpteenth time. He gave up after spending eighteen quarters on the device and being lightly scolded by the manager. He did, however, bargain with him by trading in tickets he'd earned in exchange for one of the boxes in lieu of one of the more expensive prizes he could've gotten.
One machine over, Kuroko was gripping the joystick with extreme concentration, and when he was certain the mechanical arm was positioned perfectly, he pressed a palm onto a large red button. The arm extended slowly until it was a few inches from the bottom, and the claw opened and closed over a piece of a plush's head. Multiple times it seemed like it would slip away, but eventually the arm glided over to the opening of the machine and dropped the object it held inside.
Kuroko reached a hand in a grabbed it; a small, furry doll in the shape of a malformed but still cute bunny popped out. He'd tried a total of six times and had ended up getting two prizes from the machine. The first was a piece of cloth that read "winner" that he'd grabbed by accident while aiming for the cute fluff ball in his hand. When he showed it to the manager, the other chuckled and pulled a large, strange-looking doll from behind him on the wall.
It was slightly dusty, perhaps from hanging there for so long. In my best and most honest description of it, I'd have to say it looked like a sad ghost-potato. But Kuroko is polite, so he thanked the manager, accepted a bag for his items, and went on his merry way.
Later on, when they met up with Momoi at their dinner destination (which ended up being an Izakaya in a less-populated part of town since their first choice had been packed solid), Kuroko offered one of the two plushies to her. Unexpectedly, she took the strange stuffed lump instead of the bunny.
Kuroko couldn't tell if she was being considerate (she'd learned he liked animals), or if her tastes were actually oriented toward the… whatever it was, but she did look genuinely happy when she hugged it tightly to her chest and thanked him a multitude of times.
It was around 6:30 when they were finally seated in the restaurant at a small table situated in the back. Since they were here, Aomine, against Momoi's warnings that he was a terrible drunk, had work in the morning, and was breaking the law in public, ordered a glass of beer to their table when she left for the bathroom.
It occurred to Kuroko that he probably could've stopped him, being the eldest and therefore most legally-responsible for the outcome, but he had started to read and therefore tuned out all background noise long before.
"I'll just have one", Aomine had said at the beginning.
Thirty minutes later, Kuroko and Momoi, after quickly finishing their food, decided to pry him away from his sixth serving of the alcoholic beverage and take somewhere that wasn't in the eye of the public–after paying their bill, of course.
The tan-skinned man had seemed normal at first, just like he usually was without being heavily intoxicated. By the time he started his third drink, he was significantly buzzed, but still, the most that came out of it was a couple of dirty jokes and flirting with random women who passed by. Then on this last, he was thumbing at the edge of his shirt before slowly sliding it off and throwing it at Kuroko's head, which is what prompted their immediate evacuation of the establishment.
And of course, Kuroko had to question why this certain restaurant didn't bother to check Aomine's ID before serving him, as well as if he would survive ten minutes of sitting next to the other sticking his head out of the car window to "feel the breeze" and fiddling with his belt. Catching sight of his own subtle reflection after Momoi rolled the glass pane up, he only commented with a slightly slurred voice, "whozzat sexy beast?" before posing and flexing his muscles.
It only got worse when he question how Kuroko could stand wearing so many articles of clothing when it was so hot, and reached for the zipper to the jacket he had on; not only was he an annoying, inconsiderate of time-place-occasion, narcissistic drunk, but he was very touchy feely. Momoi swerved a bit when she happened to glance back at the moment he pulled up a bit of Kuroko's polo, revealing a flat, pale stomach and slightly defined abdominal muscles.
Getting an uppercut to the chin stopped him from going any further.
At last, the torture of close proximity ended when they reached Kuroko's apartment complex. Momoi would've taken him back to his, but he had recently lost his key and, when she phoned, his flatmate apparently had something urgent to take care of and had to leave, meaning he'd have no way to get in.
The pinkette couldn't take him to her place seeing as she was currently living in a college dorm room, so this was the best option save for abandoning him in the streets. After he started belting out some kind of enka-pop mix of a random song from the twenties, Momoi was seriously considering doing just that.
The two non-inebriated persons each pulled ones of Aomine's arms around their necks and started to carefully hobble up the stairs, trying to get him to cooperate with their efforts even though he was somewhat limp.
A rather gruff, "what are you doing?" sounded from below them, interrupting their endeavors.
One of Kagami's eyes twitched. He considered going around to the other set of stairs.
He had just gotten back from a four-hour shift as a barista, then another four hours of working at a family restaurant, followed by another two-hour job hunt.
He'd only been hired at a coffee shop because one worker, the owner's good pal, got his hand injured and would be out for a couple of week at the most. Since he had always had a knack for cooking and preparing beverages (tea, coffee, smoothies, etc), the work was pretty easy on him.
As for the other place, even though Kagami had been hired, he was sure he'd be kicked out soon due to the fact that the owner had accidently hired too many part-timers and he, not being an attractive young lady like many of the waitresses there, would probably be the first to go. Plus he'd also scared away some customers, but they were wannabe thugs anyways so he felt no remorse in doing so.
Perhaps he should've just taken up Himuro's offer to set him up as an apprentice bartender or join him at his job as a host.
Probably not the latter option though because Kagami happened to be terribly inattentive and unable to understand women due to his past experiences concerning a blonde-haired woman named Alexandra Garcia. It would take too long to tell about her, so I'll just say that she could probably make a room of grown men either bawl like babies (for several different reasons) or desperately throw themselves at her feet.
He'd been dumped several times by past girlfriends for "not treating them like females" or "being insensitive" so he was almost apprehensive to the dating scene. So obviously, being all smooth and trying to make women feel "special" would be something he'd have trouble with.
Anyways, after being out for so long, Kagami comes back only to find a familiar-looking pinkette beauty dragging up a large, tan-skinned man up the stairs of the apartment complex and-
"Wait, is that Aomine!? What the hell are they doing here? He's looks weird. Is he drunk or something?"
Upon closer inspection and observation (there was no way she could've been supporting his weight herself), Kagami noticed Kuroko helping lug the other up. They weren't really making much progress though.
And of course, Kuroko just had to turn around and ask for assistance.
"Ah, Kagami-kun, it's good that you're here. Could you please help us?"
Nevertheless, as being helpful was one of his indefatigable qualities, he didn't refuse and instead told Momoi and Kuroko to stand back so that he had room to maneuver. He took a place in front of the other and crouched down. Aomine, at this point, was somewhat compliant when the two behind him coaxed him onto Kagami's back, and the four began to move up the steps to avoid clogging them up any longer.
"Ughh. He's heavy", the red-haired man groaned, the day's fatigue kicking in along with this newfound baggage to take care of.
"huuuhh? It'z Kagami… hah… Bakagami", Aomine laughed, poking him in the neck and looking proud of his childish nickname, then followed with, "you still owe me a match! You uhh… asshat!"
A little bit of lazy hair-pulling and flailing ensued, and Kagami was contemplating just throwing him off the second story instead of taking him all the way up. Seriously though, who insults others using the word, "asshat?" This wasn't 2024 anymore.
By the time they reached the third floor, Aomine had somehow fallen asleep, though he also slobbered all over the right shoulder of Kagami's T-shirt. The door to Kuroko's apartment was opened and the sleeping man was deposited onto the couch, where he attached himself to a small cushion like a leech on skin.
Kuroko gave Kagami something to wipe his shirt off with before the redhead left while Momoi set several alarms on Aomine's phone for him. A minute later, the two college students made their way down to the parking lot and the slick, black, four-seat car. The bluenette had offered to let her stay and use his room, but she had turned red and partially exploded thinking about it, and quickly said she needed to go home to change and get ready for tomorrow anyways.
She also apologized for leaving Aomine to him as she seated herself in the driver's seat of the car before driving off, still slightly pink in the face.
As soon as Kuroko reached the third floor of the complex, he heard a rather undignified scream, and when he reached the door to his apartment, he was met with the sight of Furihata sitting in a puddle of what appeared to be instant noodles.
The startled brunette heard the door and twisted his head around to Kuroko, his eyes questioning why there was a tall, dark, and handsome stranger on their couch who had started gnawing on a pillow in his unconscious state. Err, maybe scratch the handsome part for now.
Kuroko explained the situation to him and helped clean up the chunks of partially stiff noodles and shrimp-flavored soup from the floor. He also questioned why Furihata was even eating them when it was his turn to cook.
It turned out that Takao was at the university working on something overnight, so he'd be spending the night at another friend's place. Furihata, being too lazy to cook when he didn't need to, decided to go with something stocked away in the cupboards.
To prevent another spaz attack, the bluenette sent a text to their raven-haired housemate. In the mean time, Furihata was wiping the pillow trapped by Aomine's arms so it wouldn't drip on the couch. Aomine seemed to have an iron grip, because much effort was wasted on attempts to relinquish his hold on the object and were proven fruitless.
They would probably have to throw that pillow away.
The next morning, Aomine woke up to the light chiming on the doorbell.
In his groggy, muddled state, he picked himself off the floor (he'd rolled off the couch at some point) and went to answer it. The knob had an unfamiliar texture, but Aomine's senses were rather dulled from sleep and his hangover. He pulled the door back, and in front of him were two things: one–the sun which burned into his already bleary eyes and two–Kagami Taiga.
"Kagami…? Why're you at my apartment?
One of the redhead's brows was raised in obvious confusion. "What are you talking about? This is Kuroko's place… Are you still drunk or something?"
Aomine should've probably thought of that first before assuming the other had stalked him out of the game, but again, coherent thought processes were nearly impossible at the moment. And goddamn, his headache was starting to hit him hard. He rubbed at his head with the hand that wasn't pushing against the door.
"Good morning Kagami-kun, Aomine-kun."
"GaahHH!" the two at the door simultaneously yelled, followed by laughter when they located the source of the monotone voice.
"Th-That bed-head", Aomine stuttered out. Well, after the scare and this sight in front of him, he was now much more awake.
Many of Kuroko's locks were sticking out in any and all possible directions, and were fluffed up to twice their usual size. He waited patiently for the other two to stop most of their chuckling before asking, "Why are you here, Kagami-kun?"
The aforementioned man lifted up a thermos and replied, "I brought this. It'll help with headaches". He held it out through the doorway.
Aomine grabbed the offered flask and pressed on the two buttons be found on the side of it. The cap detached from the bottle's body to act like a cup, and Aomine lifted it so that he could determine the thermos' contents.
"Coffee", Kagami stated. "My brother–well, roommate–gets migraines a lot and says it's pretty effective from experience."
The bluenette poured a bit into the cap and took an experimental sip, letting it wash the taste of sleep from his mouth. Rather than conventional black coffee that most people drank for this kind of thing, it was a light and sweet taste with only a slight bitter undertone. Not much to Aomine's taste, but since it was delicious in its own right anyways and the other had taken the time to prepare it, his gratitude was relayed back to Kagami with a simple, "it's good. Thanks."
A wide, toothy grin was sent his way, too bright, shiny, and blindingly sparkly for someone at this time in the morning (or maybe it was just the sun again). "Well, I have to go to work now", the redhead said, taking a look at his watch, "you can just leave that in front of my apartment later. It's next door. Bye!" With a small wave, he promptly left down the stairs.
Aomine pressed the cap back onto the thermos so it wouldn't get cold. "Hey Tetsu, do you have a toothbrush I could borrow?"
"The bathroom is at the end of the hall. You can take one from the cabinet."
When both men finished their morning routines–using the bathroom, brushing their teeth, combing hair–it occurred to Aomine to check the time. He had to breathe a sigh of relief when he checked the clock in the living room; 7:12, which meant he wasn't late for training at the Police Academy which started at eight that day. He wouldn't have enough time to go home for a change a clothes and Kuroko's clearly wouldn't fit him, so he just left in what he'd been wearing after a quick shower.
Kuroko directed him to the road where he could ride a bus or call a cab and tidied up the couch (though he made sure he was careful with the soggy pillow), and then returned to his room and flopped onto the bed.
Over the break, some of his classes' times were changed; today he had–one two-hour class at ten, an hour in between, and then another three for a lecture about economics and commerce.
He picked his phone off the table and unlocked it to check if he ever got a reply from Takao. The other usually replied to texts within a couple hours if he was busy, sometimes immediately if he had the chance to. Unlike Kuroko who rarely checked his. The blue-haired man had used it a lot more recently though, due to gaining several new contacts in the form of his new neighbors and KWO friends.
When the home screen came on, a mail icon at the bottom corner let Kuroko know that a response was indeed sent back. He pressed a finger to it and waited for the text message (with picture attached) to load.
The first thing Kuroko saw was his friend's selfie. One hand held his phone and the other was next to his face in a peace sign. His lips were curved in a smirk and one steel-blue eye was closed to wink playfully at the camera. In the background were several shelves of books and computers, so Kuroko assumed it was the campus library or something along those lines. Underneath the image, the message read the following:
"So now there's a drunk guy on our couch? Lol cool. Did you drink too? Because last time I tried to get you to, you gave it to Kou-chan and he started dancing on the table and stuff. I still have pictures of that. Anyways, I'm not going to be back tonight because I have a hot date. Well, study date but w/e. Ciao~"
Kuroko placed the device back on the counter and grabbed his VR helmet in its place. He still had more than two hours before the start of his class anyways.
He pondered whether anyone else in the guild would be online at this time since Akashi had strictly ordered them not to go into maps where they could be attacked alone, by this time having placed the gear onto his head. He adjusted it until it was centered perfectly and gently fell onto his back.
As per usual, he spoke the simple phrase of, "Dive into the virtual world", and waited. Soon, the initiating process would end and, like usual, the void would fill with that world's colors once again.
Omake–Part four of the Unfortunate Tetsu-kun Series.
The next morning, Aomine woke up to the light chiming on the doorbell.
In his groggy, muddled state, he picked himself off the floor (he'd rolled off the couch at some point) and went to answer it. The knob had an unfamiliar texture, but Aomine's senses were rather dulled from sleep and his hangover. He pulled the door back, and in front of him were two things: one–the sun which burned into his already bleary eyes and two–Kagami Taiga in a giant crayfish costume.
He then woke up to the sound of a harsh ringing in his ears which, by the way, happened to be the doorbell and his hangover resonating.
When he got to the door, he was greeted by Kagami–this time in normal-looking clothes.
"Aomine..." the redhead paused for a second, "why are you dressed like that?"
Looking down, he saw that he was wearing a puffy red outfit, and his hands weren't actually hands; they were giant pincers.
Kuroko promptly woke from his nightmare, disconcerted and slightly sweaty.
Or maybe not, because in front of him stood his entire guild and flatmates crowded into his room, all disguised as different crustaceans looming over him with fervent stares.
"Join us", they chanted, "Join us!" and Kuroko could only struggle as they formed a massive dog-pile on him.
When Kuroko woke up looking like a Japanese spider crab, he gave up.
What a long omake. Anyway, thanks for reading, like always~ I hope you'll join me on the next chapter which, hopefully, comes out faster than this one. Also, a friend of mine requested Himuro riding his motorcycle like the sexy beast he is. If I somehow find a way to fit that in, I'll write it.
Bye for now~