Disclaimer: KnB does not belong to me.
The red string.
There was a thin, red string around Kuroko's neck. It wasn't too loose and it wasn't too tight – it was wound around his neck just right.
It hadn't been there forever, of course not. Kuroko had discovered this frail tread just a week after he had been placed as a first string member by Akashi himself. He had been slightly scared when he suddenly saw it there; hanging loosely around his neck as if it had always been there. It was strange, actually. And no one except Kuroko didn't seem to be able to see it.
Kuroko doesn't think much about it anymore. No one seems to see the red string anyway and it doesn't restrict his movement and his play, so there really isn't any need to remove it or worry about it. He had tried to pull on it once – it didn't budge at all.
Maybe it was his imagination though, but it had tightened once, when he was around Akashi for a little while longer than every other day. And it could be another fruit of Kuroko's imagination, but he could swear that Akashi's eyes were constantly drawn to his neck, carefully studying the innocent red string that shouldn't even be seen.
Today it's hard to breathe for Kuroko. The red string is getting tighter and tighter around his neck. Angry red lines are starting to appear and people are beginning to ask questions, wanting to know if someone had tried to hurt him. Kuroko answers that no, there was nothing like that and they shouldn't worry too much about it – it had been his own carelessness.
It's only when Akashi's hand is placed on his shoulder that Kuroko feels the thread loosening.
The next few days Kuroko tests the string, trying to both loosen it up and tighten it when he's alone in the safety of his room and behind locked doors. The string doesn't let him do as he wishes, not budging no matter how hard Kuroko pulls. It stays loosely wrapped around his neck, a silent reminder that there is someone else who has control over both the thread and Kuroko.
He looks at his reflection in the mirror later that same evening and swears that he can see faint marks of fingers around his neck, beneath the string, but they are gone as soon as Kuroko notices them. It's strange, but Kuroko doesn't feel threatened.
Kuroko thinks that he already knows who is the one controlling the thread around his neck. It's pretty obvious since the thread seems to respond to him all the time, loosening whenever Kuroko is near him and talks to him. The color alone should have been enough of a clue, the teen thinks while looking into red eyes in the hue of blood.
Akashi simply smiles and reaches out his hand, running fingers lovingly across Kuroko's cheek and then lets them hover over the teen's bottom lip, seemingly thinking about what to do next. A shiver runs down Kuroko's spine and he now feels, knows that there is no place left for him to run to. He's trapped and forever bound.
The string still tightens around his neck, even to the point of chocking him, whenever Kuroko interacts with others, whenever he's not with Akashi. But Kuroko's already gotten used to it – he still is trying to decide whether that is a good or bad thing. He seeks Akashi on his own now, as if he's been placed under a spell of some kind. There is a shiver of fear whenever Kuroko thinks that this might, quite possibly, be wrong, in all kinds of ways.
But he can't bring himself to care because Akashi's fingertips on his cheek are reassuring and comforting, as well as a promise of ownership and a reminder that Kuroko is nothing more than a bird trapped in a cage.
There is only one time when Kuroko feels that the pain the string makes him feel is too much. It's during one of their training camps in the middle of the night, when the darkness is so overwhelming and suffocating that all life stops and even the crickets die. Only the glint of Akashi's eyes is what Kuroko can see, so alluring and dangerous and hypnotizing.
He chokes and gasps and begs for it to stop, to make the string loosen, to let him breathe. Only a smirk, swallowed by the night, is given as an answer and the pain doesn't stop, only grown in intensity and slowly drags Kuroko down in the abyss of blackness and calmness.
But soon the cold air hits his lungs and he can breathe again, coughing and wheezing for more. Akashi's breath ghosts over his ear and the whispered warning of never leaving before he is allowed slowly invades his thoughts and mind.
Kuroko lets his fingers glide across the red thread, feeling the texture and softness of it, touching the painful edges that sometimes cut in his skin and leave small scratches behind. It feels warm and gentle against his skin, but Kuroko knows that it can turn cold and unforgiving without as much as a warning. Without it he will probably feel naked, as if a part of himself had suddenly been cut off, so Kuroko doesn't want it to leave. Not even if it kills him.
Akashi touches the red string gently, right at the point where it overlaps and knots. The red-head puts pressure on that point, making it touch Kuroko's skin and tickle his neck. He watches in fascination as Akashi's pupils dilate and he licks his lips, as if he's enjoying this more than he should. Kuroko doesn't move, only waits until Akashi's curiosity is calmed and he's no longer touching the string. It seemed like an intimate thing, something that was more sensual that any other physical contact could be.
A chuckle, slow and pleased and quiet, reaches Kuroko's ears and he blinks slowly, his fingers twitch in reaction to Akashi's voice telling him reasons for staying calm now. Kuroko doesn't object, he doesn't fight back – he smiles and welcomes whatever Akashi has decided to do.
There is a red string around Kuroko's neck. It is red and thin and barely there, tickling his skin and at times chocking him slightly. It's a part of Akashi that follows him everywhere, that marks him as Akashi's and that keeps him safe, if only emotionally.
Only Kuroko and Akashi can see it, only they can touch it and only Akashi can control it. But Kuroko doesn't mind, he feels safe like this. He feels guarded and loved – even if he is no longer free.
A/N: Well now, this was something that didn't let me be for a long time. And now I've finally gotten rid of this particularly nasty plot bunny, so hopefully I can get back to doing what I have to do – university work.