Disclaimer: Kuroko no Basuke belongs to Fujimaki Tadatoshi.
"But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life;
and thanks to a benevolent arrangement of things, the greater part of life is sunshine."
― Thomas Jefferson
[this chapter contains character death]
Fragments Of Our Friendship
Graduation was nearing, and the snow had long melted, leaving behind no traces of glistening puddles as it had earlier in the spring. The dead grass had been replaced by new green ones, covered by the petals of cherry blossoms that had decided to fall a little sooner than its usual due date.
Kuroko Tetsuya navigated through the crowd of students easily, as it had always been. No one noticed him and no one glanced at him as they chattered on excitedly about their designated high schools as they headed towards Teikou's entrance after a hard day of learning. He should be feeling optimistic about the future, sadness for leaving his middle school, but all the emotion that he managed to muster was some sort of hollowness that didn't sit quite right in his stomach. It wasn't how he wanted to end the final year of middle school, but it was the way it was, and nothing could change that.
His feet took him towards the basketball club's locker room, where everyone else should have been, organizing belongings and cleaning the place. The huge space was filled up by basketball players, from first to third string, from first to third year. The teal haired boy glided through them easily as well, making his way to his locker.
As he neared the spot, it was hard to miss the colourful range of hair gathered around, making small talk about everything other than basketball. All the locker doors were swung wide open, and Kuroko's neatly folded gym clothes sat on top of each other in a pile. The passing expert quietly made his way towards the items, which held many memories of days long past when he and Aomine would practice together in the third string auditorium until the sun set, way past the time they should've been allowed to remain on school grounds. Nostalgia made Kuroko's chest ache painfully, his eyes glued to his things, not wanting to see the bored demeanor on his soon-to-be-ex-teammates' faces, displaying the dim fire that lit the passion inside them for basketball.
It was heartbreaking, and it was even more so when Midorima pushed up his glasses, and asked, "where's Aomine?"
No one noticed him, even as he froze in midstep after hearing Aomine's name, eyelids fluttering shut. There was no one who should love basketball more than Aomine, a fact that shattered into a million pieces and became just some faraway thought, forgotten in the back of one's mind. His hopes kept escalating and falling, for the power forward kept playing the sport, but at the same time, his eyes never lit up the same way again, the way they had back when the two had first become the light and shadow duo of Teikou Middle School.
(Was it his fault that Aomine had become like that? Because ever since it happened...)
"Aominecchi? I bet he's somewhere suntanning again," Kise joked, his cheerful voice too fake, and it wasn't the Kise-kun he knew as a loud clatter made by something smashing against metal reverberated throughout the locker room. Kuroko opened his eyes to see the taller boy rubbing the top of his head as he whined a string of complaints. "Ow! That hurt!"
He stumbled forward as he bent down to retrieve a towel that he had dropped, accidentally knocking a porcelain frog sitting on the wooden bench beside him over onto the ground, sharp shards flying across the floor, resulting with a scream from the green haired shooting guard.
"Kerosuke! Kise, you idiot, that was my lucky item!" He was yelling hysterically as he knelt helplessly on his hands and knees, taking in the sight of his precious frog that lied in pieces, never mind the danger of being cut, which totally defeated the purpose of taping his fingers so that they could be in top shape for basketball.
From an outsider's point of view, there was nothing wrong at all. Just a normal group of friends finishing up middle school, bickering here and there, but nothing serious. For a moment, Kuroko let himself be deceived by the scenario before him, imagining that everything was fine.
But it wasn't.
The blue haired boy sighed, and turned away, the place where his heart should be thumping painfully as he silently stepped out of the locker room, away from the noises and down the hallway. (Or was that still possible at this point?)
He wandered aimlessly, peeking into numerous empty classrooms, blackboards wiped clean and floors carefully swept. It wasn't like he expected Aomine to be there, but Kuroko just wanted to take a look, ingraining the details of his school into his mind. The small boy stopped at the base of the staircase leading up to the rooftop, pondering over if he should check, just in case.
Aomine did like sleeping up there, after all.
Before he knew it, the refreshing spring breeze was caressing his skin as he looked across the roof with a stoic expression to see the lazing figure in one of the far corners, his face covered by a magazine. Kuroko crossed over to the other boy noiselessly, and sat down next to him, studying the steady rise and fall of Aomine's chest, the criss-cross patterns the shadows of the railings made over his form.
The boy's limbs were noticeably longer and more toned than when they had first met, making Kuroko's lips curve up into a small smile out of melancholy. No lies, time truly did pass by fast, and precious moments that now could only exist inside Kuroko's mind flashed by ― all those fist bumps, all those evenings spent in a deserted gymnasium, all those walks home from practice.
He remembered that when he was a nobody, when no one noticed him, Aomine had come along and acknowledged his presence, his existence.
Subconsciously, the pale boy reached out to sweep the slightly disturbing magazine aside, and continued to move his hand towards the other to feel Aomine's face. He wished he could relive those times, tasting the sweetness of the speedily melting popsicle, feel the drops of sweat slide down the nape of his neck, or just hear the sole sound of the other's footsteps as he ran forward for a dunk, void of cheering from the crowds that always gathered to watch Teikou's basketball games, echoing against the walls of the gym.
Right before Kuroko's fingers would have brushed against his tanned skin, however, Aomine jolted into an upright position, causing the smaller one of the two to lower his hands hesitantly. Aomine's eyes were wide open in shock, too alert for someone who had just woken up from a nap, and his breathing was suddenly erratic as he wildly whipped his head around as if looking for something.
(Or perhaps someone?)
"Tetsu?" He whispered, and turned so that his deep blue orbs gazed into his shadow's azure ones. But Kuroko wasn't fooled as he stared back blankly into the intense storminess of his eyes, because Aomine couldn't possibly see him.
The ace of the so called "Generation of Miracles" continued to gape in Kuroko's direction, but he knew that his former basketball partner was really just staring into space, staring at nothing.
Because Kuroko was invisible.
(No, it wasn't that he had an invisible presence, it was that he was invisible.)
He was used to not being noticed, but not like this. Not even his light could see him now.
Kuroko lifted his arm, intending to gently touch Aomine's cheeks, but his hand fell right through, in a way that defied the law of physics.
Spring, filled with relief and warmth from a long winter, renewed vigour and spirits, dreams and hopes, and all those things that would eventually make an individual all emotional. It was a sort of new beginning for most, but for Kuroko Tetsuya, there are no more beginnings.
A/N: Uh. Back to character killing? /runs away with a bulletproof shield. Yeah idk, I just wanted to mix in graduation feels so...
I'm sorry if this idea is pretty unoriginal, I feel like it's probably been done already? lol
So um, this will be a compilation of one-shots focused around Kuroko and Aomine, which I hope will have a variety of genres instead of just angst or something LOL o_o' I promise no romance (though there will likely be hints about it) so haha...
If you have any ideas or prompts or constructive criticism, please tell me! ^^ (lol I really should be doing homework right now...)
Thanks for reading!