pika318: This idea came to me out of the blue one day while I was doing housework and I had to write it down the first chance I got. It has already been through two rewrites to be of publishable standards by my yardstick, so I hope all of you can enjoy reading this.
Warnings: Vague hints of family abuse, possible out of character behaviour for Akashi and Kuroko
Disclaimer: Kuroko no Basuke belongs to Fujimaki Tadatoshi.
One shot: Moving on
I expected better from you.
Upon hearing the voice, he froze in the corridor. It was the last thing he expected to hear, and the voice he dreaded the most.
Losing will not be tolerated.
Stop it, he wanted to say, but his throat tightened, and no words came out. If he was able to think more clearly, he would have realised that even if he did say it, it would have been useless. Because the owner of the voice wasn't there, and it was all in his head.
You know what to do.
Childhood memories were beginning to creep into his mind. Memories he wanted to forget. Memories which taught him that losing was the last thing he wanted to do. Memories that made him determined to win, not because of the honours that came with winning, but because he did not want to relive those memories again.
He was breathing too quickly. It was hard to get air into his lungs. He willed himself to calm down, but to no avail.
Reo, being the closest to Akashi, was the first to notice that something was wrong. First, their first year captain had stopped in midstride in the middle of the corridor, frowning. At first, Reo had thought that Akashi might have left something back at the benches in the gym, but then, what had been a small frown at first suddenly changed into one of fear and apprehension.
Reo was quite sure that Akashi wasn't even aware that he was making that expression, because his eyes were unfocused, as if his mind had gone elsewhere. He even looked paler than usual.
"Sei-chan?" Reo said, trying to get the attention of his younger teammate, but there was no response. By now, most of the team members around them had stopped, wondering what was happening.
"Sei-chan." Reo tried again, but nothing. He reached out an arm, intending to touch Akashi's shoulder, or to shake him a bit, anything to bring him back to the present. But that was when Akashi's condition seemed to take a turn for the worse.
His breathing became shallow, and seemed to speed up. With his legs unable to support his weight, he slumped forward, and would have fallen, if Reo hadn't been there to catch him.
"Sei-chan! Are you alright?!" Reo asked in panic, but there was no response. Then almost immediately, Reo recognized the symptoms.
Akashi was hyperventilating.
Did he push himself too hard in the Finals?!
"Kotarou, get the coach!" Reo shouted. Kotarou obeyed immediately, running to the front of the group to get the adult.
After what seemed like an eternity, which was only half a minute at most in reality, the coach came to them.
"What should we do?" Reo asked immediately.
Just as the coach was about to answer, they heard a voice.
"Can you let me handle this?"
Turning towards the source of the voice, they saw someone wearing the Seirin uniform. Reo recognized him at the person whom Akashi always called "Tetsuya".
"Why are you…" Reo started to ask, but Kuroko spoke again.
"I'll take care of this, so can the rest of you go ahead?" The shorter boy had already moved close to Akashi, ready to catch him if Reo decided to let go.
Which was exactly what he did. Reo couldn't explain it, but his instinct told him that Kuroko would be able to help.
"I'll be leaving him to you." Reo said before he left, persuading the rest to leave as well.
It wasn't long before the pair was left alone.
Through his hazy consciousness, Akashi felt a very familiar presence beside him. He knew this person well.
"Akashi-kun, everything is alright."
The voice was calm and soothing, and Akashi felt himself being calmer with it.
"Your father doesn't know you play basketball. He isn't here."
Steadily, his breathing slowed, and his mind started to clear up, chasing away his nightmares.
"He won't be able to hurt you."
And with that last sentence, Akashi finally identified the owner of the voice. Looking upwards, he found himself looking at the light blue eyes of his former teammate.
"Are you alright now?" Kuroko asked. Akashi could sense the waves of concern and relief coming from him.
"What happened?" Akashi asked. His memories of the previous few minutes were too hazy for him to recall.
"You were returning to the locker room with your teammates when you started having a panic attack." Kuroko answered. His answer was short, but Akashi knew the full magnitude of what had happened. Triggered by Rakuzan's loss to Seirin, he had lost control of his emotions in front of his current teammates when they needed their captain's guidance the most. Immediately, he looked away from Kuroko's gaze, feeling ashamed.
How am I going to face them now?
"Do you want to get some fresh air before we go back?" Kuroko asked, forever perceptive.
Akashi just nodded, and after finding the strength to stand up, the two of them left the stadium for the outdoors.
They continued their journey outside in silence until they found a bench in a rather secluded spot. The two of them sat, making themselves comfortable, feeling the wind on their face. Already, the last traces of the bad memories disappeared from Akashi's mind. In that moment, he was finally left at peace.
Kuroko was the one who broke the silence first.
"Sometimes, I imagine that my mother is around when she is not, so I understand how you feel."
Akashi sighed at this.
"I wish I had a normal family."
Both of them stared at each other then, having uttered the same sentence at the same time. It would have been funny, but neither of them felt like laughing.
He was hurting Sei-chan even though he had gotten second place in a regional competition. He even said that it was to instill in him the appropriate values so he could inherit the company in future. He was only 8 years old for goodness sake! He should be playing outside just like the other children, not...not like this!
I'll let you off this time because you're still his mother, but if you try to approach Tetsuya again, I'll make you regret it. (*1)
"How is my mother doing?" Akashi asked, wanting to move on to happier topics.
"She's doing alright. It doesn't seem like anything's wrong with her work, and she's a lot more cheerful compared to before." Kuroko answered.
"That's good. I was worried she was going to get more depressed around this time of the year." Akashi confessed.
"I was worried about that too, but she hasn't asked about you at all. The last time she asked about you, I wasn't able to answer at all, so she assumed we weren't keeping in touch anymore…"
"It's not as if she was wrong."
"I was planning to tell her something after all this is over, but I don't really know what to say. If I have to summarise the recent events, it would be 'We haven't spoken to or met each other after our middle school graduation, but when I finally did, you cut off your fringe and attacked my friend with a pair of scissors.'"
"...You aren't really going to say that."
"Of course not." Kuroko said, a small smile on his face. It was obvious he was just teasing earlier.
"Seriously, don't do that." Akashi complained, but he had a smile on his face too. After all they had been through, he was just relieved that his relationship with Kuroko wasn't beyond repair.
"Is it a bad thing for a child to give up on his parent?"
"Not if it was the parent who abandoned the child first." Akashi answered, knowing what Kuroko was referring to.
"I used to wish that my mother would change for the better so we can be a proper family again, but recently, I started to think that even if she disappeared for good, I wouldn't care at all. And given that she was the one who gave birth to me, it still feels bad to think that way despite what happened." Kuroko elaborated.
"She already gave up her chance to raise you. And given how unrepentant she was the last time you've met her, I don't think she's worth your concern anymore."
"Then how about you? Do you still hope that your father will change his attitude towards you?"
"I used to, but I gave up on it a long time ago. Even then, I believe that my case and yours are different. Your mother doesn't care about you at all, on the other hand, my father is determined to control my life as long as it benefits him, whether I like it or not."
"I wonder if there will ever be a day I would hear my mother or your father say 'I love you.'"
"Ugh… don't even joke about things like that. Just trying to imagine it is giving me goosebumps."
"Same here." Kuroko confessed, then he added, "Do you think you're feeling well enough to go back? The award ceremony is starting soon."
"I'm fine now, thanks to you." Akashi replied, a grateful expression on his face. He stood up, and Kuroko followed suit. Slowly, they made their way indoors and it wasn't long before they reached the corridor where the locker rooms were located. Just as they were about to part ways to return to their teams, Akashi turned to Kuroko and said,
"I forgot to tell you earlier, congratulations on winning."
"Thank you." Kuroko answered with a small smile, and then they went their separate ways.
Kuroko had thought he would be able to slip into the room unnoticed, but he was wrong. It seemed like everyone had noticed he was missing and were staring intently at the door.
"Where have you been?" Hyuuga asked.
"I went to look for Akashi-kun."
"He didn't say or do anything bad, did he?" Kagami was the next one to ask, feeling suspicious. Kuroko didn't blame him though. After all the things Akashi did to his teammate, he felt the feelings were quite justified.
"No he didn't, we just talked about things, that's all."
Kagami seemed to want to ask more questions, but he was hit on the back the next moment.
"Kagami, if Kuroko doesn't want to talk about it, then don't pester him anymore. What happened between them isn't any of your business." she said, obviously warning her junior to stop his prying.
"Fine…" Kagami said as he rubbed the sore spot at the back of his head.
"We should think about where to celebrate after this instead!" Koganei suddenly piped in, trying to lighten up the atmosphere. "We are the champions after all!"
"How about the steak place from last time? I heard that they are having another promo…" Riko started to say.
"No, definitely not!" The whole team, Kuroko excluded, yelled.
"I'm still having nightmares from the last time we've been there." Koganei complained.
As the room grew livelier with the celebration discussions, Kuroko found himself thinking about this former teammate.
I wonder if Akashi-kun is doing fine with his own team.
Akashi had just walked through the door when he found himself surrounded by his team members.
"Sei-chan, are you feeling better?" Reo asked, concern evident in his voice and expression.
"I'm fine now."
"The coach didn't scold us, you know. He knew we tried our best." Kotarou added.
"Is that so?" Akashi asked as he looked around the room, but there was no sign of the coach anywhere.
"If you're looking for the coach, he said he had to go somewhere. But he left you a message." Reo explained.
"What is it?"
"He said to tell you to take care of the team when he's not around."
Akashi sighed. He knew what the coach was trying to do, but he was being so awkward about it.
*1: I think quite some readers will be confused at this part, so let me explain.
The first italic paragraph was said by Akashi's mother to Kuroko. She was explaining Akashi's situation and why she decided to divorce in the end to try to let Akashi escape that life, but she couldn't get the custody.
The second italic paragraph was said by Akashi to Kuroko's mother. She was abusive to Kuroko and abandoned him in the end and left his care to her sister, also Akashi's mother. She had tried to approach Kuroko again to get money from him when Akashi stopped her.
pika318: And I'm done with the one shot. I decided to use this story to expand on my version of Akashi and Kuroko's family background, since I like thinking about it a lot. I welcome your thoughts on this.