A/N: This is for Amanda (pandacchii)~ :D Happy birthday precious bby AGHJAKGLKJGH! I LOVE YOUUUU! ^^
First I'd just like to say that you are an awesome writer, person, and homodachi! /smooches. agajglkh I am really REALLY grateful for that Gintama English dub livestream where I got to meet you and many other wonderful people (: Thanks for always being there, whether it's me freaking about how ice cream could get fried or when I screw up in basketball and you get showered with complaints (ahaha..gomen 'bout that orz) I didn't know what to write about, but I've been reading too many history books lately... ; - ;
So this fic will take place during WWll, in France, as the summary states. I did try to research as much as I could to get the information correct, but please tell me if there's something off, because I feel that I'm being disrespectful by being ignorant of the correct facts ;A;
In this story, the GoM would be about 17-18, but I have no idea how the school system worked, and I couldn't find any information on it?! (I'm a horrible researcher tbh) so I'll just say they just graduated high school and some are planning to start university. Also, I tried to find as much as I could about rationing, but they weren't very detailed, so I apologize for that as well. And eek, the military ranking in the German army also confused me LOL orz (so i tried to be as vague as possible haha)
Although it takes place in France, I feel weird not writing "-kun" and "-san" and stuff like that so those will stay lol. (of course the names are gonna stay LOL even though they're Japanese...idk I got obsessed with France during WWll recently)
Disclaimer: Kuroko no Basuke belongs to Fujimaki Tadatoshi.
The information in this fic is mostly true, with the exceptions of facts that I messed up, so I apologize in advance for that.
Until We See Each Other Again
"Join the army?" Kuroko asked, clearly humouring the dark skinned man leaning across the glass counter top as he continued to trim the carnation stalks scattered across the surface. It was something he heard often from his childhood friend, a dream that stemmed from heroic tales of the Great War, but this time, Aomine had a look of seriousness in his eyes that told Kuroko that it wouldn't just be a dream anymore.
"Kise's training to be a pilot, and Akashi just got promoted to lieutenant," Aomine sulked, but he sounded determined as he added, "if they can, then why can't I? Even Satsuki's ready to become an ARP warden."
No one's saying that you can't, Kuroko wanted to say, but he kept his mouth firmly shut. It's just would you really want to?
He remembered the day his school roommate Kise had gone off to join, eyes glittering with joy as he hugged the blue haired man farewell. They were the same age, but still, they were just barely adults, and in Kuroko's eyes, they were still just boys. Was the blond really that happy to go off to war to bomb countries and most likely ending lives? What about university?
That's why unlike many other eager boys, both old and young alike, Kuroko was content just working his days away in the small flower shop, earning as much as he could for assurance in the anticipated whirl of chaos that is soon to come. Summer was drifting near, and graduation seemed as if it had happened in an entirely different life. As much as he liked to believe that Paris would stay the same as it always was, it was a war after all, and there's no harm in being cautious. Until he got conscripted, Kuroko didn't think he could bear to voluntarily join the army. Killing people didn't weigh lightly on the young mind, or on anyone's mind, and he'd rather not spend the rest of his life (if he survived, that is) pondering over the fact that he took someone away from their loved ones.
He didn't mind being called a coward, because that was exactly what he felt like.
"Wouldn't you want to? You love this country so much. Are you really ok with the Germans taking it all away like they did Poland?" the other challenged, straightening his back and Kuroko snipped the last stem, the snapping sound of the shears ringing through the store. He turned his eyes to the opened glass doors of the shop, watching bustling people rush past. It was just a few days ago that the German army had broken through the defense in the Ardennes region all too successfully, and Kuroko wondered if that was the reason why Aomine was suddenly so earnest about joining the army.
No, he wasn't ok with the Germans taking everything away. It was an obvious answer, and anyone would have answered the same. "Who would want to have their most precious things stripped away from them?" Kuroko sighed, and gathered the flowers together, careful to not rumple the petals as he arranged them in the most aesthetic way possible. "But I'm not soldier material. Perhaps you are, but me? I don't think so."
Aomine chuckled, and although that dissolved most of the tension, Kuroko's heart felt heavy inside his chest. "Then, when I come back from the war, will you present me with a bouquet of the most beautiful flowers?"
The edges of Kuroko's lips quirked up at the silliness of his friend, but the words did somehow sound sincere, and he couldn't possibly tease Aomine for being so genuine. "Yes."
"Will you now? Is that a promise?" The tanned man grinned, and reached forward to tousle Kuroko's light blue locks of hair, earning an annoyed shake of the head before the latter glanced up at him through his lashes, no hints of irritation in his cerulean eyes.
"Oui. C'est une promesse. It's a promise."
Kuroko's father's hold tightened on the newspapers he held and his free fist slammed down hard on the wooden table, making the plates and cups of coffee rattle on the table. Kuroko had made it a tradition to join his parents for breakfast every morning before work started, even though he had moved out a few weeks ago to his own apartment.
"The forces are evacuating from Dundirk." His voice was too calm to match his initially furious action, and Kuroko awkwardly set his unfinished toast down on his plate, the bread sticking to his throat.
These days, there were no small talk anymore. Everything eventually turned to the war, or about how the war would affect their futures, but either way, Kuroko's life was filled to the brim with updates of the war, whether it was from his father, the radio, or just the gossip customers brought with them into the flower shop. Names of countries swarmed inside his brain, Belgium, Holland, Britain...There were talks, hushed whispers about the underground, about the Resistance.
Kuroko's mother stopped washing the dishes for a moment with a heartbroken expression on her face. "Oh, la belle France!" she cried, setting down the fragile porcelain before she could accidentally drop it out of sheer emotions. Her mouth crumpled, a sad sight to see. "What will happen now?"
No one answered her, and Kuroko took a last sip of the bitter brown liquid from his cup, burning his tongue as he did. No one had an answer anyways.
"I'll be going then," he excused himself, pushing the chair out to stand up as he shoved the rest of the bread in his mouth. His mother gave him feather light kisses on his cheek that he returned as he stepped out of the cozy apartment that he had known for all his life, his father giving a curt nod as the door softly thudded closed.
The walk to the store was as usual, the same group of children bouncing a ball on the sidewalk, the same old woman carrying a woven basket filled with food that she had just bought for the day. In this particular neighbourhood, there weren't many department stores, but mostly family owned businesses, and a number of the customers were already familiar faces by now.
He passed by the bakery beside the flower shop, waving at the extraordinarily tall man with the purple hair and permanently sleepy looking eyes. He was the baker's son, who had a talent for making desserts and other confections ever since Kuroko had met him at the age of twelve, although sugar was getting more scarce nowadays. Nevertheless, his baked goods were heavenly. Kuroko often stopped by after work to pick up fresh bread, and it was difficult not to ditch work when the doors of the flower store were open all day, the smell of warm loaves straight from the oven making his mouth water.
It didn't feel like danger was approaching, that his homeland was being invaded. In fact, it felt peaceful, as he exchanged greetings with the shop owner, who was startled by his sudden presence, and got to work, feeling the warm breeze ruffle his hair. Flowery fragrances enshrouded the area, mixed in with bakery scents, following Kuroko home at the end of the day, and it was such a pleasant and ordinary everyday smell that he almost became delusional about the current crisis the nation faced.
Too bad that blissful times did not last in times of war.
It turned out, that the promise with Aomine was not empty after all, as the tall man came to the flower shop to say goodbye the day right after, for he was soon to be drafted to be a part of a combat unit, or at least that was what the dark man told him.
"Remember that promise?" he rested his elbow on the counter as usual, supporting his chin as Kuroko artfully wrapped carnation arrangements, raising an eyebrow at the powder blue haired man's stoic demeanor. "You'll make good of it, right?"
So he was really leaving. It hurt a lot more than what Kuroko had imagined it to be, because maybe they won't ever see each other again. This wasn't a game, like the one they used to play with the other kids when they were little, pretending to shoot each other and then falling over into an imaginary puddle of blood. It wasn't a good image for his brain to conjure up, though, and his eyes began to sting with tears.
Though he knew he was being selfish, not wanting Aomine to go, because right now, the country needed him. Kuroko forced a small smile as he met Aomine's sea blue eyes, knowing that the other was waiting for his reply. "I'll be waiting here, then."
You better come back.
The navy blue haired man laughed, an ironic sound for the situation in the Kuroko's opinion, but his fake smile widened to an authentic one when Aomine next spoke, and he wondered if the effect of the two words on him was intended.
Another week or so, and any existent illusions of a peaceful Paris shattered into a million shards, marking the true beginning of the struggle and chaos within France.
It was a clap of unnaturally loud thunder that woke him, not the expected wailing of sirens, and had him scrambling towards the windows only to stumble backwards again after brushing the curtains aside, away from the orange glow in the distance. Another explosion made the entire building rumble, as if it had caused an earthquake, seismic disturbances with its strong force. Echoes of dishes crashing onto the floor sounded from the kitchen, and Kuroko tried to keep his breathing even as he stared in horror at a flare of warm colours outside, terrifyingly similar to the sunset.
He lost his balance, and ended up on the floor clutching his head, pulling at strands of hair in desperation to block out the sound of the roaring of planes coupled with more deafening explosions. It seemed that an entire lifetime had passed by when the air became silent again, but Kuroko's ears kept ringing, and he could hear the rush of blood along with his pounding heart. He slowly pulled himself up onto his feet, daring to peek out the window, and did a double take at the building set ablaze across from the street.
Kuroko didn't remember his feet carrying him down the hall, down the staircases and out onto the street filled with civilians in pajamas staring up at burning ruined buildings in either shock or daze, the reality still not yet ingrained into their brains. He recognized a certain bespectacled man with a glint of sharpness in his emerald eyes, scanning the pile of rubble before him as Kuroko trotted up to his tall form.
"Kuroko, do you hear that?" Midorima's voice was even as he tilted his head towards the ruins, narrowing his eyes, but all Kuroko could really hear was the ceaseless noises in his damaged ears. "A child."
As if on cue there was a quiet wail that he barely heard through the incessant ringing that had just developed, but there was no mistake that the source was buried within the heavy debris, flames dancing atop of whatever was combustible. Kuroko watched with a sense of helplessness that urged him to do something, but if Midorima ― the doctor's intelligent genius of a son ― was simply standing there as well, it meant that nothing could be done at this point.
Paris was soon declared an open city, and when Kuroko heard the news from his mother, who had called him nonstop from early morning to noon the next day asking if he was safe, he could only sit on the bed still as a statue, not bothering to answer the onslaught of worried inquiries about his well being. He hung up after being chided for not answering the telephone and causing her anxiety. For the rest of the day, he moved only for necessary actions, such as going to the bathroom, not even attempting to clean up the mess in the kitchen the bombs had created.
He needed to do something useful for the country, something so that he didn't turn his head the other way while people died. He thought of Akashi, Kise, thought of Aomine, wondering where they were and if they were well. Were Akashi and Kise with de Gaulle after France's surrender? What about Aomine?
That night, as he turned and shifted restlessly, he thought he heard the cry of a little girl, calling out for help that never came.
The day that Kuroko's father informed him that the new government of France was established in Vichy under General Pétain , Midorima Shintarou loudly rapped on his apartment door three times, looking as solemn as Kuroko had ever seen him. After stepping into the foyer without invitation, he closed the door behind him and Kuroko found him somehow being led to his own living room by the taller man.
"Good afternoon, Midori―"
"I'll get straight to the point here," the other whirled around, causing Kuroko to almost bump into him. He lowered his voice, "will you join the Resistance? You will not tell anybody about this, not your parents, not Momoi, not Murasakibara. Not in letters to Aomine, to anyone, though I doubt that the mail would get through by this time."
The light blue haired man blinked owlishly as he digested the information. He had not received any letters from either Kise or Akashi, and had not heard of any information on his best friend.
"I am asking because I trust you," Midorima continued, and from his tone it seemed as if he already knew Kuroko's answer.
For curiosity's sake, Kuroko replied with a question, "does your family know?"
"Your intrusiveness is dangerous, we'll have to fix that," Midorima adjusted his glasses and sighed, sitting himself down on the couch while Kuroko took a seat across from him. "But no, they don't." He looked expectantly at Kuroko.
The edges of his lips quirked up into a small smile, and Midorima furrowed his brows, waiting for the teal haired man's response.
"What do you need me to do first?"
"Who would want to have their most precious things stripped away from them?"
Those precious things aren't the beautiful paintings hanging on the beige walls of his parent's apartment where he had come to drop off some food, or the whistling kettle that his mother had received as a wedding gift, still boiling hot as strangers broke into their home after many countless bangs on the door. (Maybe it wasn't as many as he thought, but the moment seemed to go on forever.)
His mother dropped a teacup, sending it flying across the floor, crash resonating throughout the apartment. Kuroko froze after setting the bread he had bought for his parents from the bakery beside his workplace down on the table, eyes attempting following his father's blurred movements.
"Hide! Don't let them see you!"
A hiss in his ears, and then he was alone. Kuroko was shoved into the corner, hidden from view by the sofa if no one came near enough, and froze as his father disappeared from his line of vision. He heard angry voices, and his heart skipped a beat as he glimpsed a three uniforms from his hiding spot, making him feel like a child again, playing hide and seek.
Conflicting emotions ran through him, why were his parents getting arrested? If it was anyone who should be getting arrested, it was him, for doing things legal in an aspect of compassion, but nonetheless, they were against the law. His family did nothing wrong, they obeyed the rules, and yet they were roughly shoving his parents out the door, while the other one checked the rooms, the closets, the cupboards. Kuroko was positively sure that he didn't leak any information out to anyone but Midorima about the activities he had been up to of late, so the arrest couldn't have been because of him, couldn't be that the authorities wanted to interrogate them for secrets within the Resistance movements.
Kuroko had an urge to run after them, but it would obviously be futile, and the three most likely had some sort of weapon on them. Midorima's warnings rang in his head, over and over until it was maddening, and by that point, it was an effort not to scream. This was what he had to sacrifice, for he couldn't carelessly try to stop the arrest without risking the discovery of precious information meant to be passed on to a leader of the Resistance.
When the man searched the living room, Kuroko held his breath and shrank back against the wall. He could feel eyes skimming over the area, but he went undetected. It was only when the door slammed shut that he dared to take a breath again.
His pale hand crumpled the letter that he was responsible for at the moment in his coat pocket, inhaling and exhaling as evenly as he possibly could after his narrow escape. Kuroko sat there for a while, grateful for his nearly non-existent presence that had saved him. Saved him, not his parents.
Guild gnawed painfully at his insides and he buried his face in his knees as he brought them up to his chest. No tears came, just intense, raw emotions eating away at his very being.
He had stood by and watched without lifting a hand. Again.
"Remember, this is not about you. It is about the country. No matter what you have to do, avoid getting caught. You can't let any secrets get out." Pine green orbs held the cobalt haired man's attention, and he nodded after a small pause, in which he considered the consequences of what he might have to do to avoid capture. However, Midorima showed no hints of regret about his offer for Kuroko to join the Resistance even after seeing the other's subtle hesitation in his actions. "You have to promise."
It wasn't the first promise Kuroko had made, and it wasn't the last. He didn't plan to break one as important as this, as important as his promise with Aomine.
The next evening, it was as Kuroko sat in Midorima's parlour sipping tea and listening to his outline of a plan to help obtain passports to Switzerland for a Jewish family that he looked out the window to see the dirt road that used to have a pavement for the street, an idea springing into his head. A form of revenge.
"We'll also need some fake identification papers. Many people are escaping to the countryside, including some of our own," Midorima lifted a cup to his mouth, raising an eyebrow. "Are you going?"
The other man's words startled Kuroko out of his imagination, and the latter shook his head. "No. If Aomine-kun comes back while I'm gone, he won't be able to find me."
"Of course not, you'd never get in trouble. I have to admit that I respect your skills, Kuroko," Midorima grumbled, setting down the cup with a clatter. "No one notices you sneaking around, it's like you're invisible."
Kuroko's lips turn upwards, still thinking of his plan. "Thank you. I used to always win at hide and seek as a child, so Aomine-kun would never play with me."
Midorima rolled his eyes, and the blue haired male stood up to leave. The number of times that Aomine had been mentioned by Kuroko just today was impossible to count by now, but he was never sick of talking about his memories with his best friend. "Thanks for having me, Midorima-kun."
The green haired man escorted the other to the door, and with a gruff, "good evening", Kuroko was left by himself in the darkness, breathing in the night air.
Once his pupils had adjusted to the lighting (which was none), Kuroko dug around in his pocket for the small knife that he always carried in the case of emergencies, which he doubted he would use anyways. It was hard enough for him to be noticed, much less caught.
With that, he got to work, creating a trail of lines in the dirt. The next morning, Midorima received the a surprise as satisfying as a surprise could get. There on the road were words of rebellion, and Midorima had a good hypothesis to who may have had done it.
He had heard of Kuroko's parents' capture through another friend in the Resistance, and he felt remorse for not being able to tell the blue haired boy the reason of their arrest, that they were a part of the Resistance as well. He wanted to comfort him somehow, by telling Kuroko that they hadn't done nothing towards the occupiers, though there was no telling if that would just make everything worse at the time.
However, the carefully constructed lines that made up the words 'Vive la France' assured Midorima that maybe Kuroko would be alright on his own, and that for the duration of the war at least, it was better for him to keep out of Kuroko's personal matters.
Kuroko returned to the counter to get more water for the plants, and sighed. He continued to work at the shop as if nothing had happened, and the visits to his former home hadn't stopped until that morning, when a stranger answered the door. A part of him had hoped that maybe the arrest had been a mistake and that his parents had already returned, but that naive hope had be crushed when he peeked over the woman's shoulders as he spotted his mother's kettle on the stove and heard it as it began to whistle.
The wind chime tinkered in the soft wind, and Kuroko looked up at the sound of heavy footsteps, eyes widening as he took in the sight of a military officer strolling into the shop. And from the looks of it, a German officer. The man had striking features, piercing maroon eyes set above prominent cheekbones, face framed by black and crimson hair. He was quite young, but Kuroko wondered about all the horrible things he must have seen in the war. Or done.
Kuroko didn't know what to say for a brief moment, thinking of that terrible night at his parents' apartment. The Germans must have been the ones to order the police to make the arrests, and if Aomine was still there he would have spat disdainful insults at the redhead with his idiotic bravery.
"Welcome," his voice was surprisingly even and composed, monotonous even, although his legs felt like jelly, knees threatening to buckle anytime now. Kuroko opened his mouth again, to ask more polite questions of the German, but stopped when the other beamed at him. Did the officer understand what he had just said? Through the shock, Kuroko felt his chest tighten at the expression, a smile with no secrets behind it, because it strangely reminded him of Aomine.
"Bonjour, monsieur," the man greeted with a heavy accent, and Kuroko returned his sentiments with a blank face. No matter how nice the German seemed, he couldn't shake off his anger at what had been done to his country. But another voice in the back of his head whispered that maybe this man was probably just following orders from his superiors, that he couldn't help what had to be done, because if Kuroko began to hate, then he would be no different from the Germans. "It's a beautiful day, no?"
Automatically, Kuroko glanced towards the door. It was ordinary as ever outside, just like before the bombing, as if roundups of the Jewish people never existed, like the discrimination of anyone who was different from the Germans' version of 'perfect' had never happened. If that was true, then it was indeed a beautiful day.
"You could say that," the powder blue haired man responded vaguely, neither a dissent or agreement.
The officer chuckled as he bent down to examine a rose. "You're cold, aren't you?" The words caused Kuroko to stiffen. However, the man's saddened tone as he continued made Kuroko's heart ache ever so slightly as he scrutinized the petals, "how nice it is to see such beauty in this war."
That was the one thing that he could acquiesce to. "It is," he admitted, and his reply made the other grin lightly.
"It would be a great day to see the end of the war," the man plucked the rose up carefully, and twirled the stem in between his thumb and index. "Don't you think so? Of course, it would be even greater if the war had never even started."
At his words, agony tore at Kuroko's chest as he thought of the Vélodrome d'Hiver, as he thought of his mother's voice through the phone two years ago telling him that her beloved Eiffel Tower and most of Paris was spared from bomb damage.
Kuroko stayed silent and motionless as the officer fiddled with the flower. It seemed like he was murmuring to himself now, quiet rants against his own comrades barely audible. The German poked around the shop for a few more minutes, and there were no more interactions between the two of them.
The next day, the officer visited again, this time cradling a small brown package in his hands. Kuroko eyed it skeptically.
"I forgot to ask your name yesterday," the man held out the wrapped object, indicating for Kuroko to take it. "My name is Kagami Taiga."
The shorter of the two frowned at the item, and Kagami set it on the counter, pushing it towards the other. Kuroko reluctantly touched the coffee coloured paper as if it was a bomb waiting to explode.
"Open it," Kagami encouraged, and set his arms on top of the counter just as Aomine used to. That one tidbit of resemblance made Kuroko's resolve to remain distant from the red haired man crumble down just enough for him to sigh and give Kagami his name.
"I'm Kuroko Tetsuya," he mumbled, and pulled at one of the corners to rip it open.
The contents made him gasp loudly, and Kuroko gawked at the rare treats inside. The sweet aroma of the bakery was overwhelming, making the pale man hurriedly wrap up the cookies as he peered up at Kagami incredulously.
"...thank you. But I can't accept this." Azure eyes bore into a sea of ruby, alabaster hands nudging the goods back towards Kagami. The other beamed, and turned to head out of the store without making a move to take back the cookies, but he paused in mid-step.
"Adieu...ah, no, au revoir, Kuroko," Kagami waved in a friendly gesture, before he and his fiery hair disappeared from sight.
Kuroko stared after the man, and a smile crept up onto his features. He carefully placed the confections under the counter, knowing that he wouldn't eat it anyways out of caution that it was unsafe to consume, but the sentiments behind it seemed real enough.
Kagami Taiga never showed up again after that, but Kuroko never forgot him, either. And just like with Aomine, Kuroko expected to see the redhead again.
Kuroko waited patiently for a mysterious man to come to relay the message that another stranger had handed him the day before as he worked to wrap a complicated bouquet. Business involving the blooms wasn't great these days, and orders like these were rare, but many children tagged along with their mothers that came to the store, only to eye the bundles of flowers longingly with rationing coupons in their hands. The only thing customers bought were the pots of plants growing vegetables on them, because the rations weren't enough to fill a stomach for many of the people.
It was to his advantage that the owner of the flower shop happened to be sick, so there was almost zero chance of his work in the Resistance being found out by an unexpected interruption if he closed up the shop early for the day.
Right in the middle of tying the arrangement together with a piece of string, someone knocked on the locked glass doors. Startled, Kuroko hurried to the door all the while finishing a bow tie with the string, figuring that it must have been someone else in the Resistance. After all, the closed sign was exhibited clearly, hanging behind the door for all the see. No one should be able to spot his figure from the windows, filled with an abundance of flora strategically placed for display.
He unlocked the entrance, and glanced upwards to greet the man clad in autumn garments when he strode in, the door swinging shut behind him as he took off his floppy hat. "Hello―"
Kuroko gaped at the person before him, expression initially shadowed by a cap that was pulled down so much that it had basically hid the man's face. Now Kuroko could see that the other was grinning a familiar grin at the former's loss of words. He eyed the bundle of flowers the powder blue haired male held in his grasp, and the smile widened.
"Is that for me? I'm just here to collect information, you know."
The powder blue haired man's heart swelled up upon hearing the mocking voice, and wanted to pinch himself to see if this was all a dream, but was proven unnecessary when he felt the heavy weight of the other on him, strong arms wrapped securely around his shoulders, which was a result of their height difference. The bouquet dropped onto the floor, forgotten.
Kuroko heard merry laughter fill the room, and realized it had come from his own mouth, the first bit of giddy joy ever since the war had begun. Long arms tightened their hold on him, and Kuroko leaned into the other's chest.
"Of course. I promised, didn't I?"
A/N: (again lol)
Au revoir: a way of saying goodbye that meant that the two would be seeing each other again, thus the title (:
Adieu: goodbye, meaning that they won't meet again
Sorry for my horrible French I'm pretty much failing it right now pfft. btw Aomine lied he never joined any army trolololol but yeah!
HBD again, Amandacchi, I hope I didn't have too many errors in this I kind of hurried omg gomen gomen ;A;