This is what happens when you read the manga while listening to Kanau Nara by Mamoru Miyano: things.
yeahh. Teikou arc is killing me with feels right now and I just- do you have any idea- just- ughhhhhh
FEELS, MAN. FEELS.
so here take all my pent up feels for this boy and his friends. take it /throws feels around
anyway. KuroBasu isn't mine. Feel free to point out my mistakes ouo.
"Since you'll all be graduating in a week, I have a tiny project I'd like everyone to help me out on."
Kuroko listened halfheartedly to the voice of his homeroom teacher, only processing half of what the lady said as he stared out the window. He watched a pair of birds playing some kind of tag game in the distance, his chin rested on his right hand. So it was the last week of his middle school life. Unbelievable as it might seem, Kuroko couldn't deny it. The crosses and dates in his calendar back home do not lie. Three years had passed just like that.
He'd spent another three years of school life, just like that.
The lady up front produced a small glass bottle from a bag, holding it up for her class to see. Kuroko's classmates began chattering all at once, and the boy himself glanced back into the classroom, his curiosity piqued. Anything that could interest his lethargic classmates deserved his attention.
Kuroko's gaze followed the glass bottle as his homeroom teacher placed it on the table before her. He noticed the strange smile on her lips; filled with amusement, and perhaps a little sadness. Kuroko couldn't blame her. He'd heard of her sentimentality from students and school staff alike. He figured she'll be missing them quite a lot when they're gone.
"I want each of you to write a wish on the strip of paper that I'm going to give you later," the lady said, holding up a packet of colorfully printed paper strips. Kuroko recognized them as the type that were used to fold stars; the kind you could get from gift shops. "You have the whole weekend to decide on what you want to write there. Fold it up once you're done and we'll put it in this bottle here when we see each other again next week." The teacher patted the item on her desk. "Any questions?"
"Sensei!" A girl from the back row raised her hand. "What's the point of doing this?"
"Hmm?" The lady stared at her, her eyebrows raised. "The point? None, I guess." She shrugged. "It's fun, and it'll serve as a really precious memory for me and for you - I hope."
"How would we know if you wouldn't peek at what we'd written?" a boy asked this time.
"What makes you think I'd have the time to unfold a hundred folded stars just to see what you wrote there?" The teacher feigned indignity. Her smile never left her face, though. "I won't read what you've all written there. I promise."
"You'll have to sacrifice your soul if you break that promise!"
The last comment elicited some laughs from the students. Kuroko couldn't help joining in. Despite not being noticed most of the time and despite not talking much to his classmates, he'd really taken a liking to them. They'd been through a lot together, after all. Kuroko subconsciously recalled the times when they'd managed to make such fond memories of; the time when they'd panicked over the school festival deadline, the time when they'd almost set the kitchen room on fire once, the time when they'd went for a school trip together.
With a slight start, Kuroko realized that his middle school life wasn't exactly as dull as he thought. Many things had happened - he just didn't notice it.
And now it was all going to end, just to lead them to a whole new beginning.
Kuroko stood up and headed to the front of the classroom along with his other classmates to take their pick of paper. He chose one with cute doggy prints, and quietly made his way back to his seat. He stared at the colorful slip, fiddling it with his pale fingers.
Make a wish, huh?
Before he could pursue the thought further, the bell rang, signaling the end of homeroom. Kuroko watched as the teacher hurriedly stuffed her things back into her bag, tucking the thin piece of paper in his notebook as he did so.
Then following the class representative's mark, he stood up with the rest of his classmates, and bowed.
Kuroko stepped out into the school courtyard, shivering slightly when a gentle breeze blew his way.
Winter had ended more than two weeks ago, but it was still surprisingly chilly. Kuroko stood still for a moment and closed his eyes, letting the wind caress his cheeks. It wasn't bitterly cold as it was during the middle of winter; more to a refreshing kind of cold. Kuroko opened his eyes, tilting his head skywards towards the sea of bright blue above.
It was one week until graduation.
One week till they go on their separate ways.
Kuroko willed his legs to keep take him towards the gates, his hand moving to readjust the straps of his bag over his shoulder. He glanced up at the big sakura tree as he approached the exit, noting that tiny pink buds were beginning to grow out of the once bare branches. He couldn't explain it, but he had a feeling that the coming spring's cherry blossoms would be exceptionally beautiful.
The thought reminded him of his very first spring day spent in Teikou Middle School. The image of the clear blue skies and pink cloaked trees was still fresh in his mind. He could still remember his first view of the school, the noise of the crowd, the thousands of petals floating in the air. The cherry blossoms had bloomed so well that Kuroko remembered having trouble looking ahead without being blinded by the mist of pink.
Imagine the flowers blossoming even more. The students would've have to use goggles or something to see. Kuroko unconsciously smiled at the thought, amused at his own image of hundreds of Teikou students wearing ridiculous goggles to school just to see past the wave of sakura petals.
His smile faded when he remembered something else. By the time the flowers have bloomed, Kuroko and the rest of the third years would have been gone. They'll no longer be walking down the same path, through the same gates, past the same sakura trees. They'd be moving on, taking another step forward in their lives.
It almost made him sad to leave. Almost.
Kuroko turned at a corner, heading towards the train station. His home was a station away from school. From what Kuroko heard from his mother, the high school he'd be attending this spring would be close enough for him to walk there and back in around twenty minutes. Kuroko had never heard of Seirin High School until his parents told him about it. Apparently, it was really new, as it was only founded a little more than a year ago.
Kuroko wondered how much different it'll be compared to middle school.
He arrived home approximately fifteen minutes after getting off from the train. Kuroko stepped into the entryway, blurting out a soft "I'm home" while he closed the door behind him. As he bent down to remove his shoes, he heard the slow shuffling of padded footsteps coming his way. He looked up to see a well aged, but still fit-looking lady appearing from the kitchen area.
"Welcome back, Tetsuya-chan," his grandmother greeted, smiling gently in the way that Kuroko had grown so fond of. She had her short, curly gray hair tied into a messy ponytail and a faded apron draped over a well worn woolen sweater. She held a spatula in one hand. "How was your day?"
Kuroko set his shoes in the rack and stepped inside, slipping his feet into a pair of fluffy slippers as he did so (under his grandma's insistence). "Normal, I guess."
"Nothing much happened?" his grandmother sounded disappointed, for some reason. Kuroko stared at her, his eyebrows raised slightly.
"It's almost graduation," he stated in his usual monotone. "After-school activities are stopped for the time being to prepare for it."
"What are young people doing these days?" Grandma exhaled exaggeratingly, dramatically tilting her head towards the ceiling. She casted her gaze back at her grandson. "It's graduation, and that's the whole point I'm asking you this."
"Go on," Kuroko mumbled as he shrugged off his white school jacket. Sometimes, even he found it surprising that such a expressive lady would have an overly stoic boy as her grandchild.
"Love confessions! It's the season of confessions!" His grandma waved the spatula dangerously around in her fit of agitation. Kuroko was silently glad he wasn't within hitting radius. "Didn't any girl come to you or something?"
"I'm hardly ever noticed in school, so no."
At that, his grandmother let out a long, loud sigh. She then shuffled over and placed her free hand on the boy's shoulder, shaking her head in.. pity? Kuroko wasn't even sure if his grandmother was joking or not.
"You poor boy," she said, before eventually breaking into a grin. "But it doesn't matter if girls don't notice you. Your obaa-chan will always be here, so no worries! Obaa-chan will always be here to listen to your troubles and keep you company instead of all those annoying sissies they call girls these days!"
A smile tugged the corner of Kuroko's lips. Leave it to grandma to condemn the perfectly normal females of the era. "Frankly, I'd prefer obaa-chan over girls."
"I won't say that so early," his grandmother wagged a finger at him before reaching up to pat his cheek. "But thank you, Tetsuya-chan. You're a good boy."
"You were the one who raised me to be who I am now."
His grandma leaned back, and looked at him skeptically. "Are you sure you have no girlfriend or anything?"
Kuroko looked up from his attempt to untangle his tie from his neck, and tilted his head slightly to the side. "Why?"
"Because you've got your father's charms, that's why!" She retorted, her arms on her hips. "Why did you think I let your mother marry him in the first place?"
"Anyway, I've got to go back to preparing dinner," Kuroko's grandmother huffed, abruptly changing the subject. "Your parents told me to eat without them since they'll be a little late tonight, so we'll be having a nice time together with TV-chan later."
Kuroko slipped his tie off. "Okay."
"The bath's ready for you anytime," the old lady added before proceeding to once again disappear into the kitchen. Her voice was slightly muffled behind the walls. "We won't be having dinner until around seven, so feel free to take your time."
"Hn," Kuroko hummed, moving to the stairs. He entered his room in the second floor, setting his bag aside as he flicked the light switch on. Kuroko's room was plain and tidy; just enough to fit his single bed and study table with a little space to move around in. He hung his school jacket and tie on the back of a chair before trudging over to his closet to retrieve a set of fresh, warm clothes. He then returned downstairs and headed to the bathroom.
The spray of warm water felt good against his skin. Kuroko decided to take a quick shower. He had a sudden great urge to immerse himself in the bathtub for as long as he could handle before getting himself overheated.
Kuroko's stiff muscles relaxed right after he'd completely submerged himself into the comfortably warm water. It was like magic. A contented sigh escaped his lips as he closed his eyes and tried to clear his mind. He sank himself lower until his nose was hovering just above the water surface, watching with half-hearted interest as he blew bubbles into the water and watched them rise to the surface before they popped.
Unfortunately, using the bath also had its downsides. For example, it gave him too much time to think. Despite his efforts, Kuroko's thoughts started wandering off, making him think of things he didn't want to think of. How would high school be? Will he be able to fit in? Will he see anyone he knew there? What type of friends would he make? What kind of class would he be assigned to? What clubs should he join?
Kuroko never liked thinking so far ahead. It always made him feel pressured and stressed out. He preferred to deal with things when the time comes instead of doing a bunch of plans that probably won't be able to be carried out anyway.
Kuroko closed his eyes once more, taking a deep breath to push the thoughts away. He was tired. It wasn't exactly an exciting day for him, but Kuroko had been feeling like that for the past few months. He'd always felt exhausted despite not doing anything much in school. Grandma blamed it on the weather, and Kuroko couldn't exactly find a better explanation. It was probably normal to feel extra lethargic during the change in seasons.
Kuroko carefully leaned the back of his head against the rim of the bathtub without parting his eyelids. The warmth and silence was lulling him to sleep. He was aware that if he were to stay asleep there for too long, he'll end up having a cold. But five minutes wouldn't hurt, would it? He'll just be resting, not blacking out completely. He'll be okay, right?
I should be, he decided. Kuroko crossed his arms across his chest, adjusted his position a little to prevent as much neck ache as possible, and let himself drift off.
The sounds from the TV were only interfered by the clanking of chopsticks against the rims of bowls and an occasional sneeze from Kuroko.
He'd fallen asleep in the bath much longer than he'd intended to. Kuroko had woken up to his grandmother's near-frantic banging on the bathroom door, temporarily disorientated. When his mind was finally working right again, he abruptly realized that the he was submerged in cold water and that he was freezing. Kuroko had practically leaped out from the tub, sneezing his head off as he reached for his towel to dry himself.
It was a miracle he wasn't sick yet, but the nagging he'd received from his grandmother after that didn't exactly make anything better.
Kuroko gazed blankly at the TV as he ate, completely wrapped in a quilt blanket except for his hands and head. Grandma had insisted for him to do that in order to return some heat to his body. Kuroko wasn't complaining. It felt really nice. He snuggled a little deeper under the sheet as he chewed on his food.
They were tuning in to the news channel at the moment. Kuroko listened as the announcer prattled on about the next day's weather and all that. After around ten minutes of forecasting, the frame at the top left corner of the screen changed, showing an image consisting of a dark background peppered with white dots and lines.
"Looks like there's going to be a meteor shower tonight," his grandmother muttered once the announcement was made, her eyebrows raised. Kuroko's gaze flickered towards her. It was the first time she spoke since the bathtub incident.
"It seems so," Kuroko said, setting down his empty rice bowl. He tucked his hands under the blanket and hugged his knees, mustering a little more warmth. He spent a moment to contemplate before blurting out; "Nee, obaa-chan?"
His grandmother glanced at him sideways through the corner of her eye. "Yes?"
There was a short pause. "If you could have a wish granted, then what will it be?"
"What's with that all of the sudden?" his grandmother asked, turning to face him completely. She had a curious expression on her face.
"It just came up," he said, shrugging. His grandmother stared at him suspiciously for several seconds before moving to place her wrinkled hands on the table. She laced her fingers, pursing her lips in thought.
"Wishes are dangerous, you know," she started, her dark eyes meeting her grandson's large, pale blue ones. "It's only normal for humans like us to have thousands of them, though most of them are impossible to be granted, unfortunately."
Kuroko nodded, listening without saying a word.
"Granting a wish isn't as simple as just wishing upon a falling star or anything of that sort," his grandma continued, gesturing at the TV screen to emphasize her point. "We need hard work, pure intentions, and endless willpower to make our dreams reality. Contrary to what you lazy youngsters these days think, wishes aren't free. There's always a price for everything, remember that."
Kuroko nodded again.
"But if I could have a wish granted," the old lady mused, a small, wistful smile forming on her lips. "Then I'd like it to be one that's from the very bottom of my heart. I'd like to tell you what it is, but you know what they say," she placed a finger on her lips and winked, a surprisingly modern gesture from an aged lady. "The magic will be lost if we say our wishes out loud."
At that, Kuroko couldn't help smiling slightly. "I suppose so."
His grandmother studied his face, as if trying to read his almost flawlessly emotionless expression. "Is there something you would like to wish for?"she asked, her voice gentle. As if she noticed the dilemma her grandson himself didn't even know he was facing.
Kuroko dropped his gaze; which, was a very rare occurrence even for a member of his family. He almost never broke eye contact with anyone he was talking to.
"I.. don't know," he admitted, fiddling with his fingers under the blanket. "I've never actually thought about it."
"It's good not to always think about what you want," his grandmother agreed. "But then again, it's not good to be too selfless either."
Kuroko resumed looking at her, eyebrows knitted. "What do you mean?"
"What I'm saying is," grandma said slowly, as if she was afraid Kuroko might not understand. "It's okay to want something. It's okay to have something you truly wish for."
The bluenette's confused expression did not change. His grandmother let out a soft, unbelieving sigh. Could this boy be any more precious?
"I'm sure the time will come when you'll get it," she finally said, carefully getting on her feet. "Now enough of this nonsense. We've got dishes to clean and I've got a drama I want to watch airing in fifteen minutes."
Kuroko rolled his mechanical pencil across the piece of notebook paper he'd placed atop his desk.
He'd been staring at the blank sheet for more than an hour now, trying hard to think of something to write. Rather, he had so many things swirling in his mind that he didn't know where he should start. What should he say? What should he ask?
Ogiwara had stopped replying to his letters and emails for a total of three months now. Kuroko understood why. He was the one who'd destroyed his childhood friend's hopes and dreams. He was the one who'd torn down his confidence. He was the one who'd brought him so much disappointment and despair. He was the one who'd made him abandon his passion.
He was the one who'd made him quit playing basketball.
But Kuroko had never stopped trying to reach him. Once every alternate week or so, he'd write something or type something down with his phone and send it to his childhood friend; asking about idle things like the weather or if he was doing fine. And sometimes when everything just becomes unbearable, Kuroko found himself desperately resisting the urge to pour his heart out to the other boy; his troubles, his worries, his pain.
Because Kuroko somehow knew. He knew Ogiwara was listening. He wasn't replying, but he was listening. Without a doubt.
Even so, Kuroko never did mention the negative things that were slowly breaking him into tiny pieces. The contents of his messages were usually happy things; like how he'd managed to passed the finals, how he'd scored one of the highest marks in the Japanese language test - the lot. He never once mentioned that he'd quit the basketball team right after the nationals, that he was now all alone again without any close friends to talk to and hang out with.
That he was sometimes overwhelmed with the urge to just curl up and cry his heart out.
A soft sigh escaped the adolescent's lips. He gave up. Kuroko set his pencil and the sheet of paper aside, leaning back against his chair. His gaze eventually found its way towards the framed photo he'd placed on one side of the table quite a while ago. Kuroko reached over, bringing the picture closer to have a better look.
The photo was taken after they'd won the Nationals in their second year. It was the year of many happenings, and it was also the year when everything had started to go wrong. Kuroko trailed his fingers on the smooth surface of the glass, feeling the tugging in his chest that had somehow become a familiarity. He couldn't help but wonder how everyone was doing. Was the smile returning to Aomine's face yet? Was Kise still crying a lot? Was Murasakibara's appetite still so big? Was Midorima still obsessed with lucky items and all that? Was Akashi's left eye okay?
Were they thinking of him, just like how he's thinking of them right now?
Kuroko returned the photo to its place before going to retrieve his notebook from his schoolbag. He leafed through the pages, tugging out the long strip of doggy-printed paper his homeroom teacher had given him. He placed the strip before him, flattening the folded edges on the table. He'd originally planned to submit the thing without writing anything on it. It was as his grandma had said: wishes don't come true just like that. Writing wishes on paper was pointless; just a wistful gesture that would make no difference to anything.
But it also made Kuroko think about what he'd told his grandmother the other night. Kuroko had said that he didn't know if he had anything he truly wishes for.
It wasn't true. The words come flooding into his mind now; the futile hopes and dreams he'd been having ever since he broke all contact with the Generation of Miracles.
I wish I could turn back time.
I wish they would forgive me.
I want to see them again.
I want to be together with them again.
I want to laugh with them again.
Selfish. His wishes were selfish. Just like how he always was. Everything he'd ever wanted was to satisfy his own selfish desires, his own joy, his own peace of heart. He'd never thought of the feelings of others whenever he did something; be it during the game with Ogiwara or when he handed in his letter of resignation. Everything he'd ever wanted was for himself.
But it wasn't his fault. As much as he blamed himself over and over and over again, it wasn't his fault. It had never once been his fault. Kuroko had no control over what had happened. He'd never wanted to destroy Ogiwara like that. He'd never wanted for his friends to become far too strong for their own good. He'd never wanted them to hate basketball.
He never wanted to lose the people whom he loved so dearly.
But that was the past, and no matter how much he mulled over it, no matter how hard he wished to go back, there was nothing he could do to change it. What happened, has happened. His friends had accepted the changes they'd faced, and had moved on to their own separate paths. Kuroko had to do the same, even if he hated it. He had to keep moving on.
He had to embrace his fate, and keep moving on.
Kuroko turned his attention back to the strip of paper on the table. A wish from the bottom of his heart. Yes, he had one. He did have one thing he truly wished for.
He retrieved his pencil, and scribbled down the words onto the paper.
Kuroko had just finished writing when he heard his mother's muffled voice calling him from downstairs.
"Tetsuya! Could you come down for a second?"
"I'm coming!" he called back, hastily placing the strip of paper under his pencil case to keep it from being blown away before standing up to head towards the door.
And on the parched surface of the paper, tidily written in light graphite, were the words that came from the very depths of his heart:
I wish for their happiness.