A/N: No one made a HanaKuro fic before, so I figured I'd make one myself. I really love the couple, but I'm not sure why. And you can tell me that I'm a weirdo, since I am not a huge fan of AoKise. I mean, I don't hate the pairing but I just can't see them as a couple. They're more like bromance than romance to me. Forgive me guys.

Oh, and if some might notice when they read this, the style is similar to aotetsu's 'Pomegranate Seeds', since there are a lot of line breaks after only very few sentences. But, I believe that, that kind of style works for this fic best. And Hanamiya may seem OOC because he doesn't have his sadistic, dark personality in this fic. But in this fic, both he and Kuroko are sort of adults so he might as well have matured personality-wise.

I am not a professional writer, and I did my best writing this (you have no idea how many weeks I spent on this), so please be gentle with your reviews.

Title: Stay

Plot: AU. Kuroko never leaves the house. Hanamiya believes that it's just him getting a fear of the outside world. HanaKuro

Disclaimer: Kuroko no Basket is the work of Fujimaki-sensei.

This is just a simple story that is not laced with beauty. Nothing is deep or shallow, special or plain. It's only but a simple story. There is no happy ending or sad ending. Just an ending.

Hanamiya is very aware that his relationship with Kuroko is strange.

Even though they are going out and are living together, they don't look like they're lovers at all, or anything close to that. They don't do what 'adults do', they don't kiss, they don't hold hands, and they don't say "I love you" to each other. But they don't deny that they're in a relationship. They don't do anything romantic, but they do sleep on the same bed and they don't make any complaints when they are too close or whatnot.

They have little to nothing in common. They got off on the wrong foot when they first met. But they acknowledge that they're sort of a couple.

Something happened that brought a change in their relationship.

Kuroko and Hanamiya were walking down the streets. They didn't walk hand-in-hand, but the distance between the two of them were slightly closer than what would be considered normal distance between two boys.

The signs said it was safe to cross the street, so they did. But even so, there was a driver - that might have been drunk, stupid, or had problems with his car's engine - that couldn't stop his car. It headed right for them. Kuroko pushed Hanamiya out of the way at the last second before he got hit.

Hanamiya stayed in the hospital all day. He wasn't screaming or asking in desperation if Kuroko would make it. He stayed quiet the whole time. He just sat right outside the room that Kuroko was in, and let time pass until he would receive news about Kuroko's full recovery.

One, two, three, more than three days passed and Hanamiya felt a tinge of impatience in him. Luckily, Kuroko's condition was not life-threatening. But the damage that he received was deep and it would take a while for his injuries to completely heal.

Hanamiya started to get impatient, but he would still wait. He wouldn't leave Kuroko alone, since he felt a bit guilty for not being able to react in time to save them both.

After what felt like a month - even though it was just a week and a half - Kuroko finally opened his eyes. He could already leave the hospital. When Kuroko walked out his ward, Hanamiya was just sitting on a chair, looking at him with a nearly emotionless expression. Despite the face the raven head was showing, Kuroko can tell that Hanamiya was glad that he's fully recovered now, and they walked together in silence out the hospital.

For the rest of the day, they slept on the bed while facing each other. And for once, their hands were connected.

After the day Kuroko fully healed, Hanamiya realized that it was time to go out for work. He wondered why Kuroko did not prepare for work, since he was sure the kids have school today. The bluenette said that his schedule changed, and Hanamiya believed him. He went for work, and hours later, went back home.

Kuroko just finished preparing dinner and they start to eat. Afterwards, Hanamiya gathered the dishes and went to the sink. It was his turn to clean the dishes. Surprisingly, Kuroko offered to wash with him. The raven head did not have any complaints, and they washed the dishes together.

Hanamiya still found it strange that Kuroko asked to do the dishes with him, since they would always let each other do the chores by himself if it's the other's turn. So he asked the bluenette why would he suddenly make that offer, and the latter casually replied that ever since the accident, he decided to do the best he can with him and make their relationship work better.

Hanamiya sighed in his head. Near-death experiences would always give people such resolutions. It didn't annoy him though. He didn't show any reaction to Kuroko's statement, but a deep part of his mind felt a bit happy from that.

When the dishes were finished, Hanamiya recalled that he was still wearing his work clothes. He undressed and changed into simple clothing, then he took his work attire to the laundry room. There's a basket where the used clothes are placed; they get washed every other day.

Hanamiya quirked his eyebrows when he noticed the basket was empty. Usually, he would see Kuroko's work clothes there. Didn't Kuroko say that he has work today, albeit at a different schedule? But he didn't ask Kuroko anything about it, since he might be making a big deal out of something that's not that important.

It started to be a big deal a few days later when he noticed the same thing. The basket was always empty, and he didn't even see any work clothes hanging outside either. Soon enough, curiosity got the better of him, he decided to go to the kindergarten Kuroko works at. He did this without Kuroko knowing.

When he asked some teachers and kids if Kuroko goes to school, all what they did was give him a solemn expression. They didn't say anything. Hanamiya took this as a no and he walked out the school, heading back for the house to talk to Kuroko.

The discussion was long, but not heated. Kuroko didn't deny that he doesn't go to work anymore, and apologized to Hanamiya, even though the latter wasn't mad and was merely concerned.

Before Kuroko could open his mouth to explain, Hanamiya walked close and petted the bluenette's head a few times as his way of saying that it's alright, he doesn't have to say anything. Kuroko stayed silent as Hanamiya went to have a drink of water.

It was a bad thing that Kuroko didn't go to his work anymore, but considering that Kuroko got into that accident, he's mostly sure that Kuroko got traumatized and he gained a fear of the outside world. If it's that, then he understood completely.

A few mornings later, when they were eating breakfast, Hanamiya caught notice of Kuroko looking out the window. He could see longing in those blue orbs. Longing, and fear, and grief. But why would there be such emotions in his eyes?

Hanamiya went home one day, and found Kuroko on the couch, sleeping with his head tilted on his shoulder. He saw this sometimes, and secretly he would always spend a few minutes watching Kuroko's adorable sleeping expression.

He reached out a hand and ran his fingers along a soft, pale cheek. He did it carefully as to not wake the other up, and Kuroko just made a sound of comfort as he smiled in his sleep.

When he started to feel tired, he sat on the couch, making a small thump sound as he did. He settled beside Kuroko and let the bluenette's head lean on his shoulder, as he pressed the side of his face to the top of Kuroko's head. Soon, he fell asleep. Kuroko woke up minutes later, and he felt warmth when he realized Hanamiya is also sleeping beside him. Smiling, he quietly threaded their fingers together and waited until the latter would wake up.

Hanamiya did his job as usual. He followed the same routine, making sure no errors were done. There is a work-mate of his who has a habit of asking people out to go have a drink. This time, he's the one being invited for a hang-out, but he quickly refused with a neutral tone.

He explained that he had to go home as fast as he could since Kuroko promised him a good dinner, but he quickly grew confused at the sight of his work-mate's face turning from cheery to saddened. He knew it wasn't the sad kind of look that he refused the offer. It was from something else, and he asked his work-mate what was troubling him.

He got no answer and he just continued giving him a look. It looked like that of sad sympathy, and it frustrated Hanamiya but he didn't show it in his face and just left work after he was finished.

That face. It was so glum, just like Kuroko's fellow teachers in the kindergarten when he asked them about Kuroko. It started to bother him now, but he decided not to think too much about it since it might just be him being tired.

There was one night when he found Kuroko silently weeping, his small form crouched on the bed. He asked Kuroko what was bothering him, but the latter did not reply and just sat still.

Until when he asked, "Hey, if given the chance, would you let me go?"

Hanamiya was perplexed at the question at first, but when he saw the whirling emotions in Kuroko's light blue eyes, he got the picture. He didn't answer right away.

"... No, I wouldn't." he whispered, tucking Kuroko's head under his chin. The latter found his voice to be unusually light, like the words were said in the form of a whisper. "I wouldn't." Hanamiya repeated, his voice more stern.

The tears didn't cease to fall, but Kuroko did not mind much as he placed a hand on the other's chest. A pained smile crossed his lips.

Hanamiya did not notice that slowly but surely, he and Kuroko started to interact more often. Before, even though they're living under the same roof, they say little words to each other. But now, they have gotten closer and start to talk more.

They still don't say 'I love you', nor have they kissed even once. Nonetheless, their relationship is slowly getting better, just like what Kuroko wanted.

Once again, Hanamiya excused himself from a work-mate's invitation. He explained that Kuroko is waiting for him at home and he has to hurry. Then he got a sorrowful face as a reaction. For the second time. Annoyed, he asked why.

But the answer he received was something he definitely not expected. The words rang in his ears, echoed in his mind, roared in his heart. He was completely in disbelief, but he did not let it show. He silently walked out, and once he was in the streets, he started to walk faster until he was already running.

In his mind was filled - aside from his work mate's words - with thoughts of Kuroko and that car accident.

"Are you still in denial that Kuroko-san has been dead since half a year ago?"

"Why didn't you say anything?" Hanamiya didn't know whether he was seething with rage or sinking with grief. But he decided to not dwell on that. This was more important.

"Of course I wouldn't." Kuroko hung down his head. "It would sound ridiculous."

"If you really died, then how could you still be here?" His voice started to become bitter. "Don't tell me that I've been seeing things the whole time-"

"You weren't." Kuroko cut in, the tone in his voice serious. "I actually died at that accident. But," He halted for a moment. "This may sound very unrealistic and unbelievable, but I was given a second chance to live. Although, there are two conditions. One is once I step inside this house, I can't go out again, or I'll completely disappear. And two is that I'm alive only to you. Others know I'm already dead except you."

"But what about waiting for you in the hospital? That was definitely real-"

"Because for that week and a half," the bluenette interrupted again. "Was when my whole funeral and burial happened. Yes, you were in the hospital, but I was never being treated; I was gone. I was already dead. You were just sitting there the whole time, waiting for nothing. I just appeared to you alive after that week and half passed, and it's been like this since then. Living together like before."

A temporary silence.

"But, I guess secrets don't stay as secrets forever." His eyes moved to look at the door. "Well, now that you know, there's no need to keep up this act." His feet turned to face the door.

"You weren't supposed to know." he said. He started to take a step forward. "You weren't supposed to know." He attempted to take another step. But a hand gripped his wrist, stopping him. He turned his head and he flinched at the sight of gray eyes looking at him with such intensity.

"What the hell are you doing?" Hanamiya almost hissed. "Are you going to make yourself gone just because I found out the truth?" He got no answer, and from that, something inside him snapped.

A loud sound followed. Kuroko felt an agonizing sting in his jaw, and he reached out his free hand to touch the sore cheek. A drop of blood trickled out from the corner of his mouth. Despite the pain, he did not get mad at Hanamiya. He accepted the other's anger completely.

"Now that you know, you will always be aware that you're living a lie, that you're talking to someone who's supposed to be dead." he said wistfully, and disappeared as he went upstairs to give the raven head to clear his mind.

Ignorance is bliss. If only - Hanamiya thought - things would stay that way.

Ever since, their relationship hit rock bottom. They were back to not saying much to each other. Hanamiya could not think of anything to say to Kuroko. The latter meanwhile was having difficulty to talk to Hanamiya, fearing that he'll be ignored.

Kuroko sighed when Hanamiya made sure that everyday, when he'd go to work, all the windows and doors were locked - added with a few more reinforcements - so that Kuroko wouldn't get out. He honestly didn't know what to think of it. He only mourned in a sarcastic manner that he has become a prisoner in his own home.

It went like that for a fortnight, and Kuroko could not keep up with it anymore. He knew that he had to leave, but if not by going outside, then by that.

But he waited. He waited until the long hand of the clock would point at five-fifteen, and within five minutes Hanamiya would be home. And when it was time, he headed for the kitchen and took out a small but sharp knife. He placed the sharp edge on his arm. There was hesitation. But with a deep breath, he made a deep slice across his skin. He watched red gush out the wound, and he smiled at the beautiful yet ugly sight.

Black clouded his vision, and his legs started to lose strength. But he persisted and walked to the door. Not to go outside, but to just stand right in front of it and wait.

Hanamiya felt horror when Kuroko clung on to him the moment he opened the door. Those pale hands clutched on his chest, and he saw one of those hands drenched in dark red. He watched as the bluenette tilted his head up, and he almost let out a weak cry at the pain he could see in those pure blue orbs.

Kuroko passed out in a while. Hanamiya didn't waste any time in bringing him up to the bedroom, fixing his wounds and giving him the necessary care to keep Kuroko breathing.

All the while, he felt nothing but fear. Fear of losing Kuroko.

When he opened his eyes, Kuroko found Hanamiya on a chair across the side of the bed, his head on the edge of the cushion, his face tilted to the side. Kuroko looked at the clock. An hour before midnight, the clock said.

All the time, the raven head was by his side, waiting for him to wake up.

Kuroko gave a serene smile, reaching out a hand and gently running it through night-dark locks. Hanamiya groaned, his eyes slowly fluttering open and searching for Kuroko's face. The first thing he saw was Kuroko's bandaged arm, and the sight made him snap out from his sleepy state.

Hanamiya felt a small tinge of relief when he saw Kuroko alive and awake, looking at him with his aquamarine eyes.

But at the same time, a part of him is angry, mainly because Kuroko wounded himself.

"Why did you do that?" His voice almost wavered.

Kuroko just shifted closer to Hanamiya and placed the side on his head on the other's shoulder, seeking to be comforted so that the conversation would end. Hanamiya didn't hesitate to move his hand along Kuroko's arm, giving the bluenette the comfort that he needed.

When he caught sight of the bandages around the younger man's arm, his eyes creased in worry. His fingers lightly touched the white wrappings, and Kuroko winced, making him retract his hand immediately from that place.

"Don't do that again."

Kuroko did not reply, but Hanamiya wasn't asking for one anyway.

"I have to go. You know that." Kuroko said later, still bedridden and at the moment - being watched over by Hanamiya. "I have to disappear - be dead again." Kuroko bit his lip; his choice of words weren't exactly enlightening the situation.

Hanamiya was tacit. He looked away and stared into a wall, waiting and waiting until Kuroko would stop speaking about that. But Kuroko didn't.

"Why can't you understand?" Kuroko's voice sounded like he was already crying. He still got nothing. His teeth chewed on his gums, wondering how he could get the man ignoring him to listen to him, to even try to consider his words. Then again, Hanamiya has a very good reason to choose not to listen. Yet it doesn't stop Kuroko from asking, again and again, to let him go.

Unable to try and tolerate another plead, he turned around sharply that it surprised Kuroko, the latter suddenly unable to say anything.

A pair of lips quickly planted over his own, not so roughly but not so softly either. Only a moment later did it sink in to Kuroko, and he widened his eyes to the size of saucers. Hanamiya's lips were cold and hard, that Kuroko flinched and felt uncomfortable. But it was only at first, as the soft feeling claiming his lips turned warm, soft and gentle and Kuroko closed his eyes, giving in to the kiss.

There's no tongue or teeth, but the kiss was deep and pure. Kuroko felt something piercing his heart when Hanamiya ran a thumb across the apple of Kuroko's left cheek.

It was the first time they ever kissed, but he never thought that it would be so painful. He both wanted and didn't want it. It was so gentle, yet so rough. He knew exactly why it felt so conflicting.

"Don't go." Hanamiya whispered after pulling apart. "You don't have to go."

Kuroko debated whether to ignore that or not. He couldn't decide. He made a small sound of surprise when Hanamiya slowly fell down, his head resting on the bluenette's lap with his head tilted to the side. He suddenly felt so tired.

Kuroko brushed his fingers around Hanamiya's head. Hanamiya breathed in comfort at the touch, and his eyes began to slip shut but he did everything to keep himself awake.

"Please, stay." he whispered, as if his subconscious took over and he wasn't aware of what he just said. Kuroko felt his throat hitch but he kept his calm,. He patted Hanamiya on the head a few times, telling him that they both should sleep on the bed.

Silently, Hanamiya complied and they moved until both were lying completely on the cushion. They faced each others, their eyes locked in a deep gaze.

Kuroko was about to tell him softly 'good night' while reaching out to hold the other's hand. But then, he felt Hanamiya lock him in a tight embrace. He pressed a very light kiss on Kuroko's head, his eyes slipping shut.

"Don't leave me." Hanamiya whispered subconsciously, his voice full of painful longing. Not long after, he was already deep asleep.

Kuroko felt his eyes sting with what could be tears. It was not like him to cry, or to feel like crying. But he didn't care about that, not when he gave Hanamiya pain and suffering.

He cuddled a little closer to Hanamiya, snuggling in his chest. He felt those slim yet firm arms encircle tightly around his form. Gentle and caring, but also strong enough to not let Kuroko slip out his hold. Like he wanted to hold Kuroko that way forever and never let him go.

Kuroko watched the raven head's sleeping face. It looked so peaceful and sweet, but he knew that deep down, there was sadness.

Hanamiya is not overly emotional or sensitive, but Kuroko knows that there is a limit to how much Hanamiya can take.

And yet, Kuroko knows that he can't stay like this forever. It would just be like making Hanamiya live in a fantasy that he's alive while everyone else knows that he's dead from the accident.

That's right. He knows that what he must do would deeply hurt Hanamiya.

But his only hopes are that Hanamiya would know he would still be with him, and that even the most severe wounds can heal.

Hanamiya opened his eyes, hoping that Kuroko was still in his arms, asleep, safe and secure. But to his shock, he's not there.

He felt panic in his chest. He bolted off the bed and started to dash downstairs, heading straight for the door. He hoped it was closed. But then, it struck him - that he forgot to lock every door and window because he was too preoccupied with treating Kuroko's wounds.

He realized - he had made what could be a fatal mistake.

And when he saw the front door wide open after not seeing Kuroko anywhere else, he realized he just made the worst and most fatal mistake in his whole life.

He couldn't breathe or blink for a while. But when he finally made a movement, all what he did was turn away from the door and walk a few steps forward. Then he dropped on his knees, his legs feeling completely limp and paralyzed.

Hanamiya's breathing became slightly labored. He didn't know whether to laugh from how he should have expected it to happen, or to cry now that it had happened.

Then, arms wrapped around him from behind. He flinched and quickly held those arms. He knew who was embracing him.

"Kuroko-" He tried turning around, wanting to see the blue-haired man's face, but he was stopped.

"Don't look." Kuroko said, the hurt evident in his voice. "Or I'll fade away in an instant."

Hanamiya complied, a knot forming in his throat. He felt his eyes sting and his heart tighten as the bluenette tightened his hold around him.

"Hanamiya-kun, for all this time, even when we weren't like the typical romantic couple, I never once regretted being with you." Kuroko began after a few seconds of silence. He buried his head on the raven head's shoulder, so that Hanamiya wouldn't dare to look back.

"You were definitely a troublemaker back then. You're not my type in any way. But, look at us now. We're going out, yet I don't regret it. You may often give me the cold shoulder, but deep down, I know that you're kind and you're just lonely and left out by almost everyone. And the more I clashed with you, the more I saw that in you. And something inside told me, that I can't leave you alone. And that was why I asked the afterlife to let me live once more, for your sake."

"Shut up." Hanamiya muttered, biting his lip. "You're not disappearing." he denied. As much as he would hate to say it out loud, he never wants Kuroko to disappear. To leave him.

"I don't want to disappear either. But I can't let you keep on living a lie. It's better that this happened. For both our sakes."

"What the hell is with that?" His vision started to blur as he felt Kuroko's presence slowly dwindling. His grip on Kuroko's arms turned tighter and more desperate.

"You're throwing away your second chance in life?"

Kuroko chuckled bitterly, taking in Hanamiya's scent. He smelled like the calm winter.

"I never had any second chance in life. I wasn't given another chance to live so I could travel the world or go to parks. I lived again, for you alone. As much as I have so much dreams to fulfill, I didn't regret this."

"Just shut up." His voice cracked. He couldn't hold it in anymore. He tried to engrave Kuroko's warmth on him, his voice in his ears, and all of him in his head. "You're here. You were always here."

But he knew that it was a lie. Kuroko will be gone not long now, and he knew it.

"And I always will."

Hanamiya knew it had a different meaning, but it didn't make him feel any better. His hold grew tighter, that he might break Kuroko's arms if he added more strength.

Warm, moist drops landed on the back of his shoulder. Kuroko became more and more transparent. Hanamiya felt dread weighing on him and he knew.

Kuroko's time ran out.

"Sorry that we couldn't do much." Kuroko said as fast as he could. "But, I love you."

"Kuroko..." he whispered, and he felt the bluenette smile gently, even without looking, just until he completely vanished into thin air. There was nothing left of him, and Hanamiya couldn't help it anymore.

After so much restraint, he finally broke down. For the first time, Hanamiya finally felt what it's like to lose someone dear.

His parents died in a terrible crash years ago, but since they never loved him, he never grieved for them. His loveless parents and relatives died, but he never grieved for them either, not even once. And now, he was grieving for Kuroko, who was now his deceased lover.

He allowed more tears to stain his cheeks, since no one else was there to see him in such a state. He could let all his feelings out as much as he'd like without the fear of being seen by others. He didn't make a sound, and just sobbed quietly.

The longer the time passed, the more painful the piece that stabbed his heart became. And as a result, a small choke escaped out his throat in the form of Kuroko's name.

He realized that if Kuroko was dead the whole time, then he has a grave and he never knew about it.

He bathed then changed. He didn't even bother to eat as he walked out the house and made his way to the cemetery.

No one was there, even though he was sure that Kuroko's old friends would pay him a visit every day.

Minutes of searching passed, and he finally found the stone with Kuroko's name carved on it. Silence was in the stagnant air around him, and he stared at it.

"Kuroko," he began. "I'm not really one who would talk to a grave. It's not like I ever went to anyone's grave before." He inhaled sharply, feeling tension in his chest and he won't allow himself to show his emotions. He had to be calm.

"You know, even if what I say would be selfish, I wish you never left. Despite what you said about you being already dead, I hoped that you would stay. But here I am, visiting your grave which I only knew of now." His eyes gave a sad look.

"I only realized how different it feels when you're not here. But why now, when we had all that time together? If I knew how,"

He closes his eyes and reminisces all those times they spent together. It wouldn't mean much before. But right now, each and every of those moments meant everything to him.

"How comforting I would feel when you were still alive, then I would have gave more than my best to never let you go. This may sound insanely cliche and stupid, but if I had to, I would lock you in a cage. But if it meant having you with me, then it wouldn't matter. I'm not saying that you're mine, but I just wanted it to be like when you were still here. When you were still with me."

He paused for a moment. He feared he might break down if he continued speaking his feelings for too long. He couldn't do it the second time, not in front of Kuroko's grave. Placing a shaky hand on the top of the gravestone, he started to say his final words.

"I love you, Tetsuya. I know it won't make much of a difference now. I just hope that you hear these words, wherever you are right now. I won't stop visiting you, but," He turned away, clutching his coat tighter to himself. "For today, goodbye. I hope you appreciate what I gave you."

And he walked away, the lonely wind accompanying him.

He knew he had to move on, since moping around won't surely help him or Kuroko. He would live life like it's the same, although he knew that there will always be something missing. He'll just have to learn to live with that pain, even if it will last forever... now that Kuroko is no more.

On the top of the grave, lies a silver ring that will never be worn.

Sometimes, we only realize how important can one be to us too late. Regardless of whatever has happened beforehand, when the one you cherish vanishes, it's already too late.