Warnings: Hinted AkaKuro, possible OOCness.

After their confusing first meeting, Akashi has no idea how to approach Ghost boy – no wait, Tetsuya – again. Not only because his parents totally flip out after finding out he's had a friend over without their permission and tell him he's never allowed to have guests again but also because – well, honestly he doesn't even know how he could get another chance to talk to Tetsuya. The first time was something of a coincidence after all.

And then there's the matter of Tetsuya having kissed him the previous time.

Akashi feels at a loss for words. Even if he somehow got to talk to Tetsuya again, what should he say? Why did that kiss even happen? He has no idea, and the only person who does can't tell him.

Because after their brief meeting, Tetsuya hasn't been walking down the street so that Akashi could conveniently throw something at his feet again. He even avoids spending time at the window in his room, as if scared of seeing Akashi across the street.

What could I even do if he looked at me though? Wave? Blow him a kiss?

Akashi spots Tetsuya sitting on his window sill, staring down at the street. His whole body is shaking and tears stream down his cheeks. When he notices Akashi's staring, he jumps up and pulls the curtains to hide the room from Akashi's eyes.

"You don't have to be so scared, Tetsuya. It's not like I could do anything to you from here anyway," Akashi says, feeling a bit annoyed. The curtains stay closed. He sighs and runs his fingers through his hair.

"I'd just like to talk. I'm not going to be mad or judge you or anything like that, I just want to… talk."

Nothing happens. Akashi turns his back to the window and slowly sinks to the floor.

(I barely know you and yet I miss you…)

Ghost – no, Tetsuya (it's surprisingly difficult to get rid of old habits) – is sitting on his bed with headphones on when Akashi gets back from his therapy session.

The woman (his therapist; he hasn't bothered to memorise her name) seems puzzled with him – he acts so calm and normal, not at all depressed or suicidal, and yet the proof of his third suicide attempt is still clearly visible on the pale skin of his neck. She tells him to be honest with her and say anything that comes to mind, and Akashi almost starts talking because it'd probably feel good to share his burden with someone, but then something stops him. The words die in his throat and he just sits there, waiting for the hour to become full.

And now he's home again, staring at the boy across the street and talking to him although he can't hear. It's sad, really.

"Hello, Tetsuya. How are you today?"

Tetsuya's head moves up and down, probably to the rhythm of the music.

"What are you listening to?"

Suddenly Tetsuya jumps up as if hit by something, takes the headphones off and runs to the door. Akashi frowns.

"…is there something going on with your family?"

Tetsuya squeezes his hands into fists and bangs on the door. His mouth is moving but Akashi has no idea what he's saying because he can't hear.

"Just so you know, I really am not mad at you because of the kiss. I just wish we could talk again so I could tell that to you. I was surprised but not disgusted, so please… I want to talk to you again. I want us to be friends. I want to help you."

Suddenly the door opens and Tetsuya leaves his room, disappearing from Akashi's sight.

"…see you, then."

The hum of the traffic is the only response Akashi gets. For some reason he feels like crying.

After the day Akashi sees Tetsuya leave his room the bluenette rarely spends time there. The door to his room is almost always open so Akashi concludes the situation with his family has changed. Apparently they let him be free now instead of keeping him locked up. It's only good that Tetsuya doesn't have to be confined to his room anymore, and Akashi is genuinely happy for him, but he also feels sad about not seeing the other boy anymore.

It's as if he's lost a friend. Which is ridiculous. Because they've only spoken once and even then the conversation wasn't a proper one, ending very awkwardly.

But on Akashi's standards Tetsuya might as well be his friend. He doesn't have any proper ones, after all. The people his parents introduce him to are their friends' children, which means they're filthy rich and spoiled rotten more often than not. Not Akashi's type of people at all in other words.

His classmates could possibly be nicer but his parents don't approve of them, even though the school Akashi goes to is supposedly the best one in all of Japan. In a nutshell he's not allowed to make friends with the people he could like, and absolutely detests the ones he is allowed to make friends with.

Tetsuya was like an escape route from his bland and planned out life. Now even that's gone because it seems like Tetsuya isn't there for him anymore.

If things stay the way they are, Akashi might as well as die.

Akashi has got into the habit of talking whenever Tetsuya is in his room. Somehow he foolishly hopes the boy could magically start hearing him if he keeps it up long enough. It's the only way he has of connecting with Tetsuya so he's willing to look ridiculous – who knows, maybe something, anything, could happen that would help them have another conversation.

No matter how hard he tries, he knows it won't work. Because what he needs is a miracle. Still, it can't hurt to try, right?

"I've been thinking about us, Tetsuya. I've been thinking that we really could become friends if we only were free." Akashi opens the window and leans against the glass to talk through the crack. "Just imagine a different life for the both of us. What if we for example went to the same school?"

Tetsuya is completely absorbed in the book he's reading and doesn't even budge. Akashi feels desperate to get the other's attention so he continues.

"We'd be classmates, and we'd see each other at school every day. We'd talk about the most irrelevant things, and maybe after some time my parents would trust me to go to school on the bus with you. Then we could go home together too, maybe stop by some stores on the way, and be like normal friends." Akashi can feel his eyes getting wet, and just what the hell?

Surely he's not crying?

"Wouldn't it be wonderful if I was free? We wouldn't even need to go to the same school, we could still meet on the bus every morning. And in the afternoon as well, unless either of was in a club." Akashi wipes his eyes, confused by the tears that just keep flowing. "This is so stupid. We barely know each other. And I'm still locked up here. And well, I don't know what's going on but it seems like you don't have to stay in so much anymore, so maybe you already know what it feels like to be free."

There's a distant cry of a bird. Tetsuya turns a page in his book.

"Seijuurou! Your uncle, aunt and cousins are coming over for dinner so change your clothes and come to the living room!"

Please no, not those people. Okay, Akashi's youngest cousin might be somewhat tolerable, but the rest of the family is insufferable. And now those holier-than-thou people are the reason he can't try to catch Tetsuya's attention on one of the rare occasions he gets a chance to do that nowadays. A splendid evening, indeed.

After the dinner Akashi's cheeks hurt from faking a smile for the entire time. He doesn't like doing it, but his parents usually reward him with something if he acts normal in front of guests. This time he's planning to ask them to let him go home on his own once a week.

Slim as the chance of his parents agreeing to his request is, he has to try.

"No." Akashi gets to the point right after the guests have left but his mother is adamant.

"Why not? It's not like taking the bus would kill me."

"I don't think you understand, Seijuurou. We're just trying to keep you safe. There's nothing wrong with your chauffeur, is there? Because if that's the reason, we'll fire him and hire someone new."

"No, that's not it. I'd just like to…" See if I could run into Tetsuya on the way home. "…spend time with my classmates outside school."

His parents glance at each other and sigh. "I'm sorry, but the answer's still no," his father says and Akashi wishes they would both just die. Slow, painful deaths.

"Good night," he says stiffly before exiting the living room. He can hear his parents mumbling something about him becoming more and more rebellious by the day – first having a guest without permission, now the bus thing.

Akashi slams the door to his room shut with such force that it echoes for a few minutes. It's not like he actually expected his parents to let him commute to school, but it's still frustrating. After a few unstable breaths he calms down and throws himself on the bed.

So that didn't work, now he has to improvise.

Akashi leans his cheek against the gold class of the car's window and watches his breath leave a steamy stain on it. His mind wanders as he draws a flower into the steam. He supposes his thoughts should be occupied by school just like everyone else's. After all, university entrance exams are approaching.

Only, he couldn't care less about where he's going. With his grades he could get anywhere he wanted but he just doesn't give a flying toss about choosing a university. His parents expect him to apply to Todai, of course.

Only the best for their son. Akashi scoffs and considers breaking the window to escape when the car gets stuck in the traffic lights.

Too much trouble. It's probably unbreakable anyway.

His eyes wash over the street uninterestedly. There're so many people walking, running, riding a bike, and Akashi would give anything to be one of them.

Suddenly his eyes happen upon a flash of blue, and he blinks.

Would you look at that. It's Tetsuya, walking home with someone.

He has friends? Or at least one. That makes him luckier than me at least in that regard, huh.

He has no time to plan so Akashi acts on instinct.

"Excuse me! I feel sick, could you please stop the car?"

The chauffeur complies. Of course, otherwise Akashi's parents would blame him for causing their son suffering. Although right now Akashi isn't really car sick at all.

Once the car stops, Akashi climbs out. The chauffeur is at his side in a few seconds, asking how he feels and how much time he needs to recover. Akashi doesn't respond. Worried, the chauffeur reaches into the car for his phone, and Akashi acts quickly. He grabs his school bag and swings it at the chauffeur's head. It connects with a sickening crunch and the man falls down, his upper body in the car and his feet sticking out.

If he had more time, Akashi would stop and think about the consequences of his action (like what if the chauffeur dies) but he only has time to push the man fully into the car, grab the keys, lock the car and run to the direction Tetsuya went to.

The lengths I go to for your sake… you'd better appreciate this, Tetsuya.

Akashi reaches Tetsuya and his friend just in time to see them saying 'see you tomorrow' to each other. The other boy walks away and Tetsuya stares after him with a longing look.

Oh? Maybe they're not just friends after all? For some reason the thought makes Akashi irritable.

"Hello Tetsuya." The bluenette startles so much he drops his bag, its contents spilling out to the ground. He kneels to gather the things together and Akashi crouches down too to give him a hand.

"A-Akashi-kun. I'm sorry, you surprised me." Kuroko keeps his eyes to the ground even after he's put his things back into the bag and closed it.

"I didn't mean to." Akashi smiles. "I just really wanted to talk to you when I saw you." So much so that I hit my chauffeur on the head to be able to run after you, Akashi adds in his mind. "You don't seem to be in your room much lately."

The other boy finally dares to look at him.

"I'm sorry, but… a lot's been going on." Tetsuya fumbles with the handle of his school bag.

"I see."

The short response Akashi gives him seems to make the other boy unsure of what to say next. The silence that follows is full of awkwardness.

"You're… not mad?" Tetsuya finally asks, keeping his eyes fixed on Akashi's shoes.

"About what?"

"Last time." Tetsuya blushes faintly. Akashi shakes his head.

"I was surprised as well as confused, but mad? Not really." He smiles encouragingly. "If you don't mind me asking, what exactly has been going on with you lately?"

Another awkward silence follows Akashi's question. Tetsuya shuffles his feet and Akashi keeps the smile on his face.

"My parents are… well, my father found out that…" Tetsuya clears his throat and starts again. "My parents are getting divorced because my father found out that my step-mother's been locking me into my room whenever it's just the two of us at home."

Akashi's eyes go wide. Whatever he'd expected Tetsuya to say wasn't this. For the other to be so straightforward about something as private as that – then again, Akashi already knows that Tetsuya has been confined in his room so what's the harm in telling him why?

"Why? Does she hate you?"

Tetsuya seems to hesitate whether to answer or not but does eventually. "I suppose she does. And… I… I'm not quite… she says I'm fucked in the head, which I suppose I am in a way. Not that I can help it."


"I was diagnosed with schizophrenia a few years ago. I hear voices and even see things and… she married my father because he's rather rich, and she likes money. So of course having a mentally ill stepson would be a disgrace."

Tetsuya pauses for a few seconds. "She can't have children of her own so at first she was kind of happy to get a son as well as a rich husband. But then… she started resenting me even before the diagnose. And it only got worse after that. I think she couldn't really love another woman's child as her own after all."

Akashi has no idea what to say to that so he stays quiet. Tetsuya glances at him before continuing.

"So when they finalise the divorce, I will be moving to Osaka with my dad. He got transferred there." He stops talking and stares at his hands with an unreadable expression.

"Moving? To Osaka?" Akashi can't process this information. Tetsuya will be going far away?

Not that Osaka actually is that far, it'd only take a couple of hours on the Shinkansen to get there from Tokyo, but for someone like Akashi who doesn't even get to go to the nearest convenience store it feels like Tetsuya's moving to the other side of the world.

"I'm sorry, Akashi-kun." Tetsuya's voice is quiet.

There isn't anything Tetsuya could say that would make the situation better. There isn't anything Akashi could say either, so he stays silent and tries to breathe.

If Tetsuya leaves, he might as well die. Maybe for him fourth time will be the charm?

"I have to get back home, I need to pack. We're moving at the end of the month," Kuroko adds as a way of explaining. He gets up and hoists the bag on his shoulder. "I guess this is goodbye, Akashi-kun."

A small, pained smile flashes on Tetsuya's lips before he starts walking away. And for all Akashi knows it could be the last time they ever meet. A sudden wave of panic washes through him.

No, it won't be the last time. I won't allow that.

"Take me with you."

Tetsuya stops and turns to look at Akashi with eyes widened by surprise. "Excuse me?"

"I need a place to stay at. Please Tetsuya, you're the only one who understands."

"What do you mean you need a place to stay at? You have a home, right?"

"No. It's a prison. And besides, I'm running away from home." Before the words leave his mouth Akashi had no such plans, but as soon as he hears himself saying it he knows it's the right thing to do.

"Please." It feels so weird to actually beg but he's desperate.

Tetsuya looks confused and troubled and he keeps shifting his weight from one foot to another. The silence stretches before Tetsuya finally makes a decision.

"Okay, I will take you with me."

A/N: I was supposed to work on finishing another fic but then inspiration hit me and I had to write this one first. Seriously I feel sorry for all the people who follow my stories because the updates are so irregular. TAT

Btw, Todai is short Tokyo daigaku, which means Tokyo University. To my knowledge it's supposed to be Japan's best uni or sth…? Gahh gomen if I'm wrong. OTL

After this I really need to work on that other fic (I'm procrastinating because lemon isn't my strongest point) so I don't know when the next chapter will be out. But hopefully you won't kill me even if it takes a while? ;u; /gets shot