I've had this idea ever since I watched that one episode of Chihayafuru months ago and boy did it take me long enough to work up the guts to start another mulitchapter fic.
I'm not even sure if the idea's interesting enough, but heck. I'll try my best to keep you kind souls entertained ouo.
Updates will probably be late (when has it not?) so be warned ouo.
Kuroko no Basuke does not belong to me. Feel free to point out my errors, mistakes, etc etc.
Thanks in advance for reading!
It was still dark outside when he woke up.
Kuroko Tetsuya awoke to the insistent ringing of his alarm clock. He groaned softly, reaching out to turn the annoying thing off. He stayed under the layer of warmth his blanket provided for a little longer before he could summon enough willpower to brave the cold and make it safely to the bathroom at the opposite end of the corridor outside.
Kuroko took in a deep breath, and threw off the thick sheet covering his thinly body. He rubbed his arms as he quickly flung his legs off the edge of his bed and slipped his feet into a pair of worn-out slippers without making as much noise as possible. He was careful not to wake those who were sleeping in the same room with him. The younger ones were not morning people.
Kuroko managed to make his way to the bathroom without being frozen over. He closed the door once he was inside, savoring the little warmth the enclosed area provided. He then trudged over to the sink and proceeded to clean his teeth, all the while trying to keep himself awake by attempting to come up with a list of reasons why he hated winters. He gazed sleepily at the mirror as he ran his toothbrush over his teeth in steady, even strokes. Until this day, Kuroko had never been able to figure out how he was able to acquire such epic bed hair every time he woke up from sleep. His fringe stood straight up, and the rest of his head was a mess. Kuroko wetted his hands with water and ran his fingers through his light blue locks once he finished rinsing his mouth and washing his face, trying to at least tame them down a bit.
It made little difference, but Kuroko decided not to care. He would be late if he kept this up.
In barely ten minutes, Kuroko was running down the stairs after taking a very quick shower and changing out of his pajamas. He tugged the sleeves of his shirt over his hands as he headed towards the kitchen, wary of the cold. It wasn't difficult. The shirt was several sizes too big to begin with.
The smell of breakfast filled his nostrils once he entered the inner area of the orphanage he stayed in. Kuroko slipped in unnoticed, grabbing himself a piece of toast that was on the table before going back the way he came from. It didn't matter that he was still early or that he didn't join the others for breakfast. Kuroko never had a big appetite to begin with.
Kuroko was putting on his old coat when he heard his name being called by a familiar voice.
"Ah, you're awake, Tetsuya-kun!"
He turned towards the voice, swallowing the last of his breakfast. A lady in her early fifties entered his field of vision. She had graying brown hair and a slightly stocky frame, and she was wearing a faded apron over her clothes. There were crinkles at the corner of her eyes when she smiled.
"Matron," Kuroko greeted, moving his hands to button his coat. "Good morning."
"Morning," the lady said, walking over to where he was. "Going out already?"
"Yes." Kuroko nodded, winding a scarf around his neck. He tipped his head when Matron reached to help put his cap on, burying his nose slightly into the scarf as he did so. The garment smelled a little musty, but it was also comforting. He'd been wearing it for a long, long time.
"Thank you," he said, adjusting the paperboy cap so that it would fit properly on his head once the lady pulled back. "I'll be going now."
"Take care, okay?" Matron called after him. Kuroko paused before the front door and looked over his shoulder, a soft, assuring smile gracing his normally stoic features.
And then he disappeared into the darkness outside.
The first thing he registered was the temperature; a coldness so intense that it seeped right through his layers of clothing and into his bones. Kuroko brought his bare hands to his mouth and blew; desperately trying to keep them from freezing. He had no gloves to wear. He couldn't afford to ask for a pair or even buy one himself. The money he was earning was for more important things.
Kuroko was an orphan and had been one for as long as he could remember. Matron had told him once that he'd been abandoned in the orphanage even since he was a baby; having nothing on him except for a blanket and a note stating his name and birth date. Kuroko never knew who his parents were, or if they were even alive. But as he got older, the thought eventually stopped bothering him. He decided that he did have a family, even if he wasn't related to them by blood. Matron and the other children - they were his family. They were the people he loved most in the world.
But in the recent years, the number of orphaned children started increasing at an alarming rate. More and more children were brought in, and more basic necessities were needed. Even with her savings from her younger days and the support of donors, Matron began experiencing financial difficulties; lacking in money to provide enough for everyone. Most of the orphans were under the age of ten, way too young to be living by themselves. Matron hadn't the heart to transfer them to other orphanages either. She felt like she was abandoning her duty if she did so.
The problems only piled up more, despite her struggling. Kuroko and several other older children couldn't bear watching any longer. They came to a decision that those who were thirteen and above should start helping out by trying to earn some money on their own. They had to do something to repay the lady that had lovingly taken them under her wing when they were crying and abandoned.
They had to do something to repay the only mother they'd known all their lives.
So Kuroko had searched and searched, and had finally found himself a part time job in the local newspaper company as a delivery boy. His job was to wake up earlier than the world every morning and cycle all around town to deliver the newspapers to the homes of those who'd subscribed to the issue. It wasn't easy. Kuroko had to drag approximately three hundred copies of newspaper with him on his bike around an average sized town. It didn't sound like a big deal to him at that time, but the first time Kuroko did his job, he'd nearly fainted halfway through. He wasn't strong in the first place, and his work was pushing him beyond his limit.
Still, Kuroko never gave up. Despite being two years underaged when he first took up the job, despite having to occasionally brave the cruel weathers to get his job done, despite having to practically go through hell, he did not quit. He was not going to give up so easily.
Kuroko made his way towards the small shed in the lawn, to where the falling-apart bicycles were parked. He managed to find his in the darkness and fetched it, wheeling it towards the gate. He then mounted the thing, and willing himself to ignore the cold, he started to pedal off.
It was five thirty in the morning, and the streets were dark with only streetlamps at intervals as the sole sources of illumination. Kuroko caught his breath as he went down a sloped road, his fingers poised at the brakes to prepare himself to slow down. Everyone else was still asleep, but some residents in the area were already waking up, Kuroko noticed. Rooms from random houses here and there were beginning to light up, signifying the start of the inhabitants' day. Kuroko had more than once subconsciously wondered how it felt like to live in a house that wasn't overcrowded with crying children. He'd always felt guilty afterwards for having such thoughts, but he couldn't help it. Will it be more peaceful? Or will feel lonelier? Will it be easier to breathe? Will it be more relaxing?
Kuroko tugged his scarf over his nose as he waited for the green light. He returned his hands to the handles of his bike, gripping the rubber material hard in an attempt to keep the blood flowing in his hands. He tilted his head towards the sky, silently hoping to see the first hints of dawn. No such luck. He tried not to sigh, pushing off again when the light changed.
He arrived at the office around ten minutes later, slightly breathless and practically shaking from the cold. Kuroko got off and leaned his bike against a wall before he entered the building, thanking the gods again and again for the warmth inside. He pulled his coat tighter around his overly thin frame, mustering as much heat as he could before having to go out again.
The office was bustling with activity; adults and part-timing youngsters rushing all over to get their share of delivery. Kuroko was careful not to get in anyone's way as he reported for duty in a logbook at the far end of the room. People tend not to notice him, and there had been more than one accident because of that.
Kuroko was hauling his fifth bag of newspapers to secure at the back of his bike when he was finally seen by his boss. Kuroko's boss was a big man with an even bigger heart. Kids weren't allowed to work at all, but when Kuroko first applied for a job at the age of eleven he'd offered him the simplest job he could with the same salary as everyone else. Seeing the small boy struggling with the load now, he strode over in several big steps, and lifted the bag of newspaper rolls easily, saying a hearty "Good morning!" as he did so.
Kuroko greeted back before muttering a soft "thank you". His boss smiled and patted his back, a look of pity in his jolly eyes.
"You can have the day off if you want, you know," he said gently, noticing just how badly the adolescent was shivering right then. "It's really cold today."
"I'll be alright," Kuroko insisted, shoving his hands deeper into his coat pockets. His boss stared at him for a moment more before turning on his heels, motioning for him to follow him back inside. Kuroko raised his eyebrows, but otherwise obliged.
His boss disappeared into his office once he was inside. Kuroko hung around uncertainly as he waited, leaning against a wall and pulling the rim of his cap lower over his eyes. He was grateful for the garment on his head. He figured he'd freeze his hair off if he didn't have it. He looked up when he heard the echo of footsteps, watching as his boss approached him with a pink item in his hands.
"It's a hot water bottle," the big man said, presenting him the item. Kuroko stared at it, unsure what he should do with it.
"It'll warm you up a little if you put in under your clothes," his boss explained, showing him the harness that would attach the bottle to his body to prevent it from falling off. "Come on. Take off your coat; I'll help you put it on."
Kuroko wanted to reject the offer. Really, he did. But extra warmth to help him withstand the freezing temperature outside seemed like something too good for him to refuse. It was just too cold outside! Slowly, Kuroko undid the buttons of his coat and slipped the nearly threadbare garment off. His boss stepped behind him, and started fastening the straps of harness around his torso.
Kuroko could barely contain his sigh of contentment as he welcomed the extra heat. He pulled his coat back on when everything was in place, thanking his boss again for his kindness.
The man smiled, placing a large hand above the boy's head affectionately. "It's the least I can do," he said before retracting his hand. "Now get going. We won't want the customers to be waiting for their daily paper now, do we?"
"Y-Yes!" Kuroko said, hurrying back outside with his boss waving behind him. He mounted his bicycle, and making sure that everything was secured properly, began pedaling off to start his deliveries.
Kagami stared up at the ceiling, wondering why the heck did he wake up so darn early in the morning (and on a Saturday, no less).
According to the digital clock on his nightstand, it was exactly six in the morning. Kagami glanced out his window, expecting to see the first rays of sunshine streaming in through. His expectations were crushed, however, because it was pitch black outside. Kagami was about to wonder if they was any chance he'd been somehow teleported to space or something, but decided against it. He was fourteen for heaven's sake! He didn't need such childish thoughts.
Kagami kicked off his blankets and pushed himself upright with his elbows. There was no heater in his room, but he didn't mind. Kagami liked the cold. He swung his legs off his bed and jumped down, his bare feet landing on soft carpeting. He raised his arms above his head and stretched, walking towards the window. He'd never actually woken up this early before. He was curious to see how the world outside looked like on a dark winter morning.
Kagami Taiga was the only son of the leader of the Kagami group. He was, needless to say, stinking rich. Or at least his father was. But despite practically having everything he would ever want, Kagami hated being rich. He hated having to be all controlled and monitored by his father at all times in case he ever got 'out of control' because it would 'ruin the family's image' or some nonsense like that. He hated having to live in a huge mansion scrambling with servants that despised him for some reason. He hated the whispers and stares and finger-pointing he'd receive whenever he went out with his dad.
He hated the fact that he was the sole inheritor of a fortune he didn't want.
Kagami touched the smooth surface of the glass window, feeling the cold creep up his fingers like a dozen tiny little spiders. The windows in his room faced the main road outside, so he could usually see the rest of the town from where he stood. Kagami had to squint a little now to see the areas that weren't illuminated by the faint street lights. A moving figure in his lawn caught his attention, and Kagami practically pressed his face on the window to get a better look.
It was his father's butler. Kagami watched with raised eyebrows as the man moved briskly towards the big metal gates that separated his home from the world, wondering what was he doing going outside so early in the morning. His curiosity was further piqued when he abruptly noticed the silhouette waiting outside his locked gate.
Kagami stood on his tiptoes for a better look. It was a.. boy? The overly large coat and hat made it hard to make sure, exactly, but Kagami was confident it was a kid waiting on the other side of the gates of his father's mansion. The guy looked.. thirteen? Younger? Probably. The size of his figure said as much. Kagami continued observing, his eyes following the butler who was now unlocking the gate.
He was further surprised when the boy outside reached inside one of the bulky canvas bags tied to the back of his bicycle and pulled out a rolled issue of papers. As he handed a set to the butler, Kagami realized with a start that the frail, thinly boy outside his gates was the very same person who delivers the newspapers to his house every morning. He blinked, not quite believing his eyes. The guy outside looked like he could barely cycle down the road without fainting, much less dragging so many bags of newspapers with him.
Footsteps echoed in the hallway outside Kagami's room, startling the redhead out of his reverie. Kagami's ears picked up the faint sounds of voices, and without even a second of hesitation, he turned away from the window, and practically dived back onto his bed. He struggled with the sheets for a moment before making it look like he'd been sleeping peacefully all along. He closed his eyes just in time when the door cracked open, no doubt one of his father's servants checking on him. It wasn't that Kagami was afraid of them discovering that he was awake. He just wanted to avoid the questions that would probably annoy the living heck out of him.
Kagami did not resume breathing until the door closed again and the footsteps began fading away. He let out a slow, long breath of unsuppressed relief as soon as he was engulfed in the original dimness of his room once again. He tried to relax, figuring he should try going back to sleep since he was already on his bed. He turned to his side, kicking off his blanket from his legs. His heart still pounded from the adrenaline rush, and after around five minutes of staring at the wall, Kagami gave up trying. It seems that he was not going to back to Dreamland.
So he got up once more, huffing in annoyance. He wasn't impressed by the fact that he was feeling hyperactive early in the morning without the need of coffee intake. Kagami crossed his legs and stared out his window as he tried to come up with something he could do to pass the time. It was too early and he had nothing planned in his schedule. Going downstairs would only create a big fuss, and Kagami wasn't sure if he could keep in temper in check long enough for the servants to leave him alone. Staying in his room with nothing to do in particular wasn't an option either, since there was practically nothing in there other than his bed and study table. There weren't even any books or magazines for him to read, much less a television or game console for him to entertain himself with.
An idea abruptly popped up in his mind, and Kagami had no second thoughts when he decided to go along with it. He once again got off his bed, striding over to his closet to retrieve a set of fresh clothes. He didn't bother trying to sneak out to the bathroom. He could bathe later when he gets back.
In practiced swiftness, Kagami changed out of his pajamas and moved to stuff the laundry under his blanket in an attempt to hide it or something. Thinking back, he had no idea why he did that. He then crept his way towards the door, and pressed his ear against the polished mahogany. He counted until fifty before deeming the situation safe enough for him to go. He wrapped his hand around the brass doorknob, and slowly, he twisted and pulled.
The creaking of the hinges made Kagami cringe. He braced himself for the sounds of servants rushing his way, but they never came. Kagami exhaled once before bracing himself, and moving into the open.
The hallways were empty. If Kagami didn't know better, he would've thought the mansion was abandoned. But he'd grown up in the place, and he was pretty sure the servants were busy cleaning up the first floor in this point in time. Not that his home ever needed much cleaning. Kagami was forbidden from bringing any friends over, and the only guests they'd ever had were those stiff, wrinkly, stressed-out adults who wanted to talk business with his father. They weren't exactly the kind to litter much.
Kagami carefully closed his door before turning around, glancing in all directions as he tried to come up with a route that would grant him a journey out of the mansion without being seen. After a brief consideration, he decided to go left, taking the risk of using the main stairs to go down. If he was lucky, most of the servants would be in the kitchen area; the exact opposite direction of where he would end up in. If he was not, he would need a really good excuse to explain why he had the urge to wander around in the streets alone in the wee hours of the morning.
Kagami's feet had just touched the carpeting of the first floor when he heard the soft chattering of a couple of maids. He quickly flattened himself against a wall to escape from their field of vision, for once grateful for the sound-absorbing property of the material covering the floor. He held his breath when the slender figures of the maids walked right past him, hoping with all his might that they wouldn't notice the extra presence.
To his relief, they did not notice him. They were too busy gossiping and Kagami had half a mind to give them a pay rise or something. He waited until the pair had disappeared round a corner before going into the open again, his long legs allowing him to take large strides at a time. He reached the foyer without bumping into anyone, and he thanked the nonexistent gods for the lack of activity in his home during mornings. He still hadn't prepared a good excuse in case he needed it.
He crossed the foyer, wary of the faintest of sounds that would hint the arrival of another person. His hand had just touched the freezing handle of the exit when a voice called out.
Shit. He was so close! Kagami forced himself not to look back as he pushed the doors open and slipped out, slamming it shut behind him. Instead of going straight for the gates, he dashed to the side and hid behind a thick growth of carefully trimmed bushes. He crouched down lower when the doors were once again opened from the inside, his father's butler poking his head out to check. It seemed like forever before the man went in again, apparently deciding not to go out into the cold again just yet.
Kagami got up from his hiding place and practically ran towards the gates. He figured he had less than three minutes to disappear before he was discovered missing from his room. He didn't even bother using keys to unlock the giant padlock that secured the chains looped around the metal gratings. He'd had a lot of practice climbing the thing when he was younger. Thieves might be intimidated by the height of the thing, but Kagami got up and over it in less than thirty seconds.
Kagami had no destination in mind to head to, but that was okay. He figured anywhere would do as long as he was away from home and the naggings he would get if he was caught sneaking out. He subconsciously reviewed the way the paperboy he saw earlier went and decided to follow. Kagami pulled the hood of his jacket over his flaming red hair as he jogged down the street, anxious to disappear as soon as possible. He wasn't looking forward to the insincere words of worry he would be receiving later on. If anything, he'd rather not hear any at all.
He finally slowed down after a while, deeming himself being a safe distance away from his home. Kagami was panting slightly, the cold winter air stinging his throat with every air intake. He lifted his head and looked around, trying to figure out where he was, exactly. With the help of streetlamps, Kagami recognized the playground a little further ahead, and was able to determine his location. If he went straight, he would be going towards the train station. To either side of him were residential areas.
Kagami decided not to stay in the open. He turned to his left and walked, crossing the road a little ahead to slip into a quiet lane. He tucked his hands into the front pockets of his jacket as he walked, the cold finally settling in once his adrenaline had faded slightly.
The area was quiet, though Kagami could already hear the faint sounds of households waking up; the sound of kitchen utensils clanking, blaring TVs, insanely loud alarm clocks. Kagami tried not to be suspicious, but with dogs barking whenever he passed particular houses, it wasn't easy. He made an effort to avoid houses with dogs after the first five times. He wasn't too fond of them to begin with.
Commoners have really comfortable-looking houses, Kagami mused inwardly to himself, making a turn at a corner. They might look small and compact with barely any space to walk around in, but Kagami could feel the warmth being radiated from the buildings. Other people's houses might be painfully small compared to his own, but at least theirs were full of life.
For the umpteenth time ever since he learnt how to think independently, Kagami wished he was a commoner. It would certainly suit his rebellious personality better.
Kagami stopped in his tracks. He had no idea where he was - he seemed to have walked for a long, long time - but he didn't care. The sun was finally beginning to rise, and by the faint light, Kagami spotted a park or some sort up ahead. He hesitated at first; unsure if he should walk a little more before taking a break. Was he far enough? He was pretty sure his father's men would never have thought of finding him in a secluded residential area. They weren't creative enough.
He should be okay. Kagami resumed walking, gazing up at the first rays of shine that illuminated the morning sky. The scenery was amazing, and Kagami felt slightly ashamed of himself. He'd lived fourteen years of life and this was the first time he'd witnessed a sunrise. He really should try waking up earlier sometimes.
Up close, the park wasn't very big, but that didn't matter. It was deserted when Kagami reached there, which was no surprise. Kids should be insane to abandon sleep just to frolic around in the grass. Kagami made his way towards one of the wooden benches, and sat down, the sore feeling in his feet finally sinking in. He leaned back, tilting his head upwards to let out a weary breath. He watched with halfhearted interest as faint white mist escaped from his mouth and faded once it reached a certain height in the air.
Kagami's attention snapped back to earth, his nerves instantly on high alert mode. Was he found? He glanced around almost frantically, but there was no one there. Did he imagine it?
"I'm over here."
Kagami turned to the direction of the voice and blinked; once, twice. Then suddenly, standing before him as if he'd teleported there, was a boy.
And it wasn't just any boy. Kagami recognized him from his attire. He was the paperboy he saw in the morning.
It was all Kagami could do to refrain from screaming.
"W-W-When did you get here?" he managed to blurt out once he snapped out of his stunned stupor. Seriously - when the heck was he there? How long has he been there? He just appeared out of nowhere, dammit!
The other boy furrowed his brow slightly, as if the question offended him. Other than that tiny twitch in his features, he showed no evident emotion.
"I've been here all along," he said, his voice a monotone. "You were the one who sudden sat on my place."
Kagami stared at him - half in incredulousness, half in curiosity. The stranger had large, blank eyes the color of the sky. His large cap covered most of it, but Kagami could make out several wisps of light blue hair peeking out from under the garment. The boy's complexion was pale, almost as if all the color in his face has been drained out. He didn't seem very healthy; with his skinny figure and all.
Kagami wanted to retort that the benches didn't particularly belong to anyone when he noticed the bicycle leaning against the very same bench he was sitting on from the corner of his eye. Apparently, the guy did take the place first.. technically. With a soft groan, Kagami started getting up.
"You can sit with me if you want," the boy said before he could straighten up completely. Kagami glared at him past lowered lashes, doing his best to keep his temper in check. Who does the guy think he is ordering him around like that? Would he decide what he wanted already? With a unconcealed sigh, he sat back down, scooting over to the side to give the stranger some place. He tried not to look as the bluenette took his seat next to him, his feet just barely touching the ground when he leaned back.
A very awkward silence promptly started to form between them. Kagami kept his eyes fixed at the houses in the distance, resisting the urge to fidget. He really wasn't good at dealing with moments like these. Should he start a conversation? If he was to do that, what should he say? Or should he just save himself the trouble and walk off?
"So.. you deliver newspapers, huh?" Kagami decided to play it safe.
The bluenette paused from blowing into his hands and looked at the redhead. He sounded surprised, as though he didn't expect to be talked to at all. "Eh?"
"Newspapers," Kagami nodded at the bike behind them. "You're the one who delivers them in this area?"
The boy nodded, hands moving to hug his own elbows. Looking at him made Kagami feel cold, though he was sure the temperature was beginning to rise a little since the sun had finally decided to make an appearance. He couldn't blame the guy. He was all skin and bone! Of course he was cold despite the layers of clothing he seemed to be wearing.
"You feeling cold?" Kagami asked, couldn't help pitying the poor guy. For a second, the bluenette looked like he was about to deny it, but apparently, his willpower crumbled, and his reply was a soft "Yes."
"Maybe we should get you something warm to drink," Kagami suggested, casting his gaze around. Not far off was a cluster of vending machines. One of them looked like it had a dispenser. Kagami blessed the gods for letting the Japanese put the most convenient vending machines at the most unexpected places. "I'll go get us some coffee or something."
Kagami didn't stay long enough to hear the other's answer because he was sure he'd reject his offer. He headed towards the machines, fishing his wallet from his jeans pocket. He was glad he'd developed a habit of bringing spare change in case of emergencies. He approached the machine with the dispenser and studied the options he had. After several seconds of contemplation, he finally decided to have mocha for himself, and hot chocolate for the other boy. He returned to the bench, carrying two paper cups filled with warm drinks in his hands.
"Here," he said, handing the hot chocolate to the boy. The bluenette reluctantly accepted his offer, muttering a quiet thank you as he accepted the cup from the redhead.
"Anyway," Kagami took his seat and leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees, taking a sip of his drink before resuming. He regarded the other boy through the corner of his eye."I'm Kagami Taiga."
Only after blurting that out did he realize that perhaps revealing his family name wasn't the wisest thing to do since his father's company was rather famous and all. Kagami prayed hard for the bluenette not to suspect anything, all the while trying to keep a straight face.
If the name was familiar to him, the latter didn't let on. He wrapped his hands around the cup and looked straight at the redhead. "I'm Kuroko Tetsuya," he said, before tilting his head in a slight bow. "Nice to meet you."
"Um.. yeah." Kagami felt awkward with all the formalities. He wasn't used to being talked to with such a polite manner from a stranger. Even his friends at school were the rebellious type and spoke like they constantly wanted a fight or something.
"Nee, Kagami-kun," Kuroko spoke up after a while of silence, swallowing the last of his chocolate. "Is there a favor you'd like me to do for you?"
Kagami paused drinking midway and stared at him blankly, his brain failing to process. "Huh?"
"I need to repay you for the drink," Kuroko stated matter-of-factly, his face betraying any signs of expression. "I can't do that with money, so I'll do you a favor instead."
Kagami continued staring at him, confusion slowly morphing to incredulousness. "Did I forget to say that that was a treat?"
"I don't want to owe anyone anything," Kuroko persisted, holding the redhead's gaze. "So hurry up and tell me what you want me to do. I need to get back to work soon."
"But-" Kagami opened his mouth to argue, but stopped once he received a look from the shorter boy. It was then he realized that this Kuroko guy would probably insist on repaying him no matter what he said. Kagami resisted a sigh. He met a difficult person, it seems. Some people just didn't understand the concept of 'treating for free'.
"It's impossible for me to think up of something on the spot, you know," Kagami huffed, scratching the back of his head. He then faintly heard the sounds of tires on gravel in a distance, and he tensed, abruptly remembering that he was probably being hunted down by his father's security staff this very minute. No, he didn't want to go home yet. His body and mind and soul weren't ready for the naggings he would get when he's dragged back.
Kuroko noticed the tension in his features, and tilted his head to the side, eyebrows raised slightly in curiosity. "Is something wrong?"
Kagami blinked, realizing he must've had a very panicked expression on his face to be asked if he was okay. His mind raced for ideas; ideas that would help postpone his death sentence for as long as he could help it. His looked around, his gaze finally settling on the bags of undelivered newspapers tied to the back of Kuroko's bicycle. He did some estimations. He wasn't good in maths at all, but he guess there would be enough there to last him two hours at best.
Making up his mind, he turned back to the now very confused-looking Kuroko. "You said I could ask for a favor, right?"
Kuroko studied his face, as if trying to figure out why he'd suddenly changed his mind about the favor thing just by looking at his facial expressions. "Yes."
"Then," Kagami's scarlet eyes flashed as he said the words, almost pleadingly. "Let me follow you for the rest of your deliveries."
Kuroko could only blink at him. "Eh?"