Disclaimer: If I owned Kuroko no Basuke this wouldn't be fanfiction, lol
Aomine didn't mean to kidnap Kuroko's dog.
Trying to steal the little mutt had never been part of his plan. In fact, he'd been trying to do a good deed for a change.
He'd been down at the streetball courts playing. And it was a coincidence that he'd ended up at the one near Kuroko's apartment. Okay, not really. But he didn't go there because he was hoping to run into Kuroko or anything. At least not consciously. He just had good memories on that court. It was easier to remember a time when he and all his friends had been happy and together, all on one team, and things were good.
It was also the one place he'd had fun playing basketball after his talents bloomed, but before Kuroko had moved heaven and earth to beat him in a match. He'd run into the dog there once before, and while he'd thought that it was the most annoying looking dog in the history of the world, he hadn't been able to feel anything but joy when he learned that someone had taught it to play basketball.
That had been a shock, but a good one. The dog couldn't dribble, obviously, but it could steel and block shots. It might even be able to pass if there'd been anyone for it to pass too. Aomine hadn't gotten to test the full extent of the dog's skills then. He wasn't expecting to run into it again that cloudy afternoon, but all of a sudden, right as he'd lined up for a shot and let the ball fly from his hands, a blaze of black and white streaked by, knocking the ball off course.
"Hey!" Aomine looked at the dog, half annoyed, half delighted. "It's you again!"
"You're back. But where's your owner, dog? Not around again?" Aomine stopped and looked around for anyone who looked like the dog might be theirs. Namely, anyone paying attention to the dog, since that was probably the only way to tell who the pet belonged to. But no one was around.
Another bark turned Aomine's attention back to the dog, and he saw that it had retrieved his basketball and rolled it back to him.
"You still like playing basketball, huh? Good dog. Want to play against me again?"
Aomine grinned and started dribbling the ball. "Alright, dog! Let's go!"
They played for about ten minutes. And just like last time, it was a whole lot of fun. The dog was more agile than humans, and faster, capable of making some great steals. This was exactly the kind of dog Aomine would have wanted if he ever got a dog. Which he didn't plan on doing. Ever. But playing with this one now was fun.
But then it started raining.
"Man," groaned Aomine. "We're going to have to stop, dog. It's not really safe for people to play in the rain. You'd probably be fine, but I'd be risking injuries."
The dog whined and rubbed his head against Aomine's calf.
"You're a good dog," Aomine said, bending down to scratch its head. "Where's your owner, boy? Why are they letting you run around all alone?"
Again, Aomine looked around, hoping to find a trace of the dog's owner, but no one was in sight who looked like they owned the dog.
The dog whined again as Aomine stood to leave.
"I feel bad just leaving you all alone in the rain, and all, dog," Aomine said. "But . . . well . . . Man, this is just too pathetic."
The dog sneezed then. A very adorable puppy sneeze. It made Aomine feel like his heart had just been put in a vice. Not that he'd admit to it.
"Man . . . This isn't cool. This . . . aw, damn it. You want to come with me for awhile, dog?" asked Aomine.
"Arruff!" the dog said and nodded like he understood. Like that was possible.
"It'll just be for awhile, a couple hours or so, then I'll bring you back here when the rain stops, alright? Wait, why am I bothering to talk to you like you can really understand me?"
The dog didn't fight him when Aomine bent down and picked him up. In fact, it licked his face and stared at him with those baby blue eyes that seemed so damn familiar somehow.
"Hey, I know. I'll take you to Touo while we wait, and we can play there. They're having an open gym today, so some of our retired seniors should be there. Maybe we can play a game. Would you like that?"
"Oh! Aomine-san, I'm sorry, but why do you have a puppy?"
Aomine glared at Sakurai and internally smirked at how his fellow freshman cowered under his glare. "Because I do. That's why. Mind your own business."
This garnered them some attention. As expected, Wakamatsu was the next to open his big ugly mouth.
"Aomine! Why the hell did you bring that here?"
"Huh? It's not obvious?" asked Aomine. "I brought him here to play basketball."
A number of his teammates sweat dropped.
Aomine let the dog jump down out of his arms and was pleased when the dog made a beeline toward the basketball Sakurai was holding. Before anyone had even realized what happened, the dog had used its muzzle to pop the ball right out of Sakurai's hands, sending it in Aomine's direction.
"Wah! I'm sorry!" Sakurai wailed.
"Grow a spine, Sakurai!" shouted Wakamatsu.
"I'm sorry that I'm spineless!"
"Stop being sorry!"
"I'm sorry that I'm sorry!"
"Well, if nothing else, this is interesting," said Imayoshi. The retired captain regarded the dog from being his glasses. "A dog that can play basketball. Where did you happen to come across such a specimen?"
"On a streetball court," Aomine said, dribbling the ball that the dog had stolen for him. "I've seen him there a couple times."
"And so you just decided to take him?" asked Susa. "He's got a collar! He's clearly someone's pet!"
"I'm going to take him back!" said Aomine. "I just didn't want to stop playing with him just because it started raining! He's more fun to play with than any of you."
The dog chose that moment to steal the ball away from Aomine.
"Hey! Stupid dog!" shouted Aomine.
"I take it back. It's okay if the dirty mutt stays. As long as we can keep the puppy here too," said Wakamatsu, catching the stolen ball.
"Hey!" shouted Aomine.
"I'm not captain anymore so it's not my place to object, but are you really planning on keeping the dog here?" asked Imayoshi.
"Of course not!" Susa said. "You can't just go around stealing peoples' pets Aomine! Someone's probably looking for him right now!"
"What's his name?" Sakurai asked, bending down to pick the dog up. "Huh? What's this?"
"There's no name on this tag," said Sakurai. "Just a number. #2. What does that mean?"
"Is his name Second? Or maybe Nigou?"
"I'm going to go out on a limb and say his name is Nigou," said one of the second stringers who'd showed up for open gym.
"He's . . . very cute," said Sakurai, holding Nigou up right in front of him so that they were face to face. "Look at those eyes. So adorable. Are you sure we can't keep him, Susa-san?"
"I'm sure, Sakurai. He belongs to someone."
"B-b-but . . ."
"It's wrong to steal peoples' pets," Wakamatsu said, lowering his voice when faced with Sakurai's puppydog eyes. "And someone obviously loves this guy a lot. To teach him to play basketball like that, and give him a collar. And you can see he's well fed and well groomed. If you loved something that much, how would you feel if some ganguro jerk just walked in and kidnapped him?"
"I was only joking before about letting it stay. Take it back. Now, Aomine."
"What if I don't feel like it?" demanded Aomine.
"But it's raining outside!" protested Sakurai, hugging the puppy to his chest. "And it's so cold."
"It's a husky or a malamute or something. It's bred for the cold."
"Can't we just let it stay here for open gym then take it back?" asked Sakurai. "Please, Wakamatsu-san?"
Wakamatsu made a growling sound.
"Pleeeeeeease? I'll make you bento lunches all week," Sakurai tried.
"Two weeks! And the dog can only stay for open gym. And I don't want to see it here again after that! And if it pisses or takes a crap in the gym, you freshmen are the ones cleaning it up, got it!"
"Yes!" Flowers literally sprouted in the air behind Sakurai as he hugged the puppy to him.
"Nice going, Ryou," said Aomine. "Now put the dog down so we can play."
What followed was the most fun practice Aomine ever had with Touo's team. Technically, it was an open gym, not a practice, but whatever. It was still fun. No one there could deny it. Not even Wakamatsu. For some reason, having a dog around seemed to raise everyone's moral. Amazing what a cute mascot-thing could do. And the dog did have some serious skills. Whoever taught it had been a genius in Aomine's opinion. It would dart in out of nowhere and hit the ball with its muzzle to steal it, and could even jump high enough to block some shots if they were started low enough. It could pass too. The only thing was, at first it didn't seem to understand the concept of teams. It would steal from anyone and pass to anyone, no matter which team they were on, or so it seemed. Then Imayoshi realized that it seemed to be stealing from people in dark colored shirts, and passing to people in lighter colored shirts. They switched up teams after that, based on who was wearing dark colors and who was wearing light colors, and it quickly became clear that's what the problem had been.
Finally, after nearly an hour of continuous play, they stopped for a break.
"I'll admit it," said Susa, wiping away his sweat with a towel. "That is an awesome dog."
"Whoever taught it how to do that . . . is awesome," panted one of the second stringers.
"Are you sure we can't keep it?" Sakurai tried again.
"No," Susa said adamantly. "It's someone's pet. We're not stealing someone's pet."
"But it's so cute . . . Oh!" Sakurai jerked, startled.
"What's wrong?" Wakamatsu asked immediately.
"Nothing," said Sakurai, patting Nigou on the head. "I just figured out who he reminded me of."
"Now that you mention it, I also thought it reminded me of someone, but I couldn't remember who," said Imayoshi.
"So who is it?" asked Wakamatsu.
"Well," said Sakurai, "His playing style and his eyes are just like –"
Everyone turned toward Momoi who'd just entered the gym.
"Arruff!" Nigou barked in acknowledgement.
"What are you doing here?" Momoi asked the little dog. Then she looked around hopefully. "Is Tetsu-kun here too?"
"Why would Tetsu be here?" demanded Aomine. Then it hit him. "Oh! That dog –"
"Reminds me of Kuroko-san," said Sakurai.
"That dog belongs to Tetsu-kun," said Momoi. "Why is he here if Tetsu-kun's not?"
"Because Aomine stole it, that's why," Wakamatsu said.
"I didn't steal it! I was just borrowing it!" Aomine protested.
"Without permission," added Susa.
"And you were considering keeping it," added Wakamatsu with unholy glee at seeing Aomine getting in trouble.
"No, that was Sakurai who wanted to keep it! And I didn't know it was Tetsu's!"
"This is bad," said Momoi. "Nigou isn't just Tetsu-kun's. Technically, he belongs to all of Seirin's team. He's their mascot. And you stole him, Ahomine! What were you thinking?"
"Wait . . . This isn't good," Imayoshi said, sweat dropping.
"We stole Seirin's mascot? Wow. That's really . . . unsportsmanlike of us. I feel like a jerk now," said one of the benchwarmers from first string.
"Do you think that counts as a declaration of war?" asked a second stringer. "Is this going to cause problems? Are they going to file a complaint? Or retaliate?"
"Hopefully not, if we take him back right away and they never find out it was us."
"No! Ahomine has to face the consequences of his actions!" Momoi declared, whipping out her phone. "I'm calling Tetsu-kun right now. He's probably out looking for Nigou as we speak!"
She put her phone on speakerphone so they heard when someone picked up.
"Uh, hello?" asked an uncertain voice. An uncertain voice that was definitely not Kuroko's.
"Kagami," barked Aomine. "Why do you have Tetsu's phone?"
"Aomine?" Kagami growled. His uncertainty was gone and replaced by an unrational amount of anger. "What do you want? Now's not a good time!"
"Where's Tetsu? Why do you have his phone?"
"Kuroko can't talk right now! I just said it's not a good time!"
"Put him on now!"
"Kagami, could we please just talk to Tetsu-kun real quick?" asked Momoi politely. "It will only take a moment."
"Oh, Momoi. Er, well . . . I don't . . . I can't . . . Now's really not a good time." Kagami's voice was oddly stressed. It was like he didn't know what to say and was being faced with something he couldn't deal with. Aomine felt a twinge of worry as he picked up on this. Apparently so did Momoi.
"Is he alright? Did something happen?" Momoi asked.
Kagami's voice dropped low, so they could tell he was trying to speak without someone close by hearing. "Actually, Momoi, maybe you could help. Because I don't know what to do. But . . . but . . . Kuroko . . . Kuroko's freaking crying and I don't know how to make him stop!"
Aomine felt his stomach sinking.
"Freaking Koganei let Nigou out and we didn't know. When the team found out we split up to look for him, and Kuroko and I went to check the streetball courts near his house. And some kids said they saw Nigou but that some huge guy picked him up and took him away. And Kuroko just . . . I've never seen him like this. He just like . . . shut down. It's like he just lost his best friend. And I don't know what to do. What do you do when he's like this?" Kagami asked all in one panicked breath.
"Is he there with you now? Put his phone on speakerphone," ordered Momoi.
"Right. Okay." There was a static sound as Kagami complied. "O-oi, Kuroko? Your friends are on the phone. Momoi and Aomine. Can you talk to them? Or at least listen to what they have to say?"
No response from Kuroko. Momoi took that as incentive.
"Tetsu-kun! Tetsuya-Nigou's here with us! He's right here and he's safe, and we're bringing him back right now, so please don't cry!" Momoi shouted. "It's all Aomine's fault, by the way! He was the one who stole him –"
"Oi! Don't blame this on me!"
"But it is your fault! You were the one who took him!"
"I wasn't gonna keep him! It was just raining and he was looking so pathetic and lonely, and I just couldn't leave the little guy alone in the rain!" Aomine protested. "I was going to take him back!"
"Anyway, he even admits it, Tetsu-kun! So cheer up! And don't cry!"
"Wait, this is Aomine's fault? You bastard!" Kagami shouted.
"I just said don't blame this on me!"
"But it is your fault! Where are you? I'm coming there now to kick your ass!"
"Bring it on –"
"Stop it! Tetsu-kun? Did you hear what we said? Can you say something? Please?" Momoi cut off their fighting.
They waited. Then.
"You really have Nigou?" asked Kuroko in a whisper-soft voice. "He – he's really there with you?"
At the sound of Kuroko's voice, Nigou barked.
"Yes. You hear him? So please don't cry anymore! Cheer up, Testu-kun! Cheer up!"
Aomine clenched his jaw then sighed. "Tetsu? I'm . . . sorry about that. I didn't mean to freak you out and make you think your dog was stolen."
"You bastard, you better bring him back right now, or all of Seirin's going to come over there and take him back!" Kagami shouted.
"We're bringing the mutt back now, alright? Chill out you moron."
"You'll bring him back right now?" Kuroko asked.
"Yeah, Tetsu. I'll meet you at your school, alright?"
"And when I see you, Aomine, I swear, I'm gonna –"
"Good bye," Kuroko cut Kagami off and ended the call.
Touo's players all looked at each other.
"Wow, now I feel like I kicked a kitten or something," Susa said.
"You shouldn't. You were the one campaigning to return the dog all along," said Wakamatsu. "And we were never going to keep it."
"We still made a kid cry . . . and I think we're about to make another one cry. Sakurai, don't look at us like that."
"I'm sorry," Sakurai said, covering his eyes and wiping away tears. "I'm just going to miss him so much!"
"You've only known him an hour! And you'll probably be able to see him again, since he's Aomine's friend's dog! Stop crying!"
"I'm sorry I'm crying!"
"You're hopeless," Aomine said, but walked over, holding Nigou.
"I'm sorry I'm hopeless!"
"Stop being sorry. Just tell the mutt goodbye because I've got to get him back to Tetsu."
Sakurai blinked at Aomine then grabbed Nigou and buried his face in the puppy's soft fur. He mumbled some tearful goodbyes against the puppy's head before handing him back over to Aomine and running away, crying, "I'm sorry!"
Aomine sighed and tucked Nigou under his arm. "Let's go, Satsuki."
It was time to take the dog back.
Kuroko was waiting for them in front of Seirin High, despite the fact that it was still pouring down rain, and Kagami was grumbling, but standing right beside him, holding his open jacket over both of them to try to keep some of the rain off.
"Nigou!" Kuroko called the moment he saw his friends and his dog. The puppy wiggled out of Aomine's arms and jumped down, then ran to his master. The little dog jumped into Kuroko's arms and began frantically nuzzling against him, licking his face, and whining as though sensing Kuroko's prior distress. Kuroko hugged his dog and didn't look up.
"You ever do that again and I'm going to kill you," Kagami warned Aomine, then dropped his voice. "Seriously, I had no idea what to do. You would have thought someone died, looking at Kuroko looking like that."
"Thank you, Aomine-kun," spoke Kuroko, still not looking up. His voice was steady, but judging from Nigou's frantic actions of trying to comfort the boy, he must have been still giving off scared, tormented vibes.
"You shouldn't be thanking him! It's his fault you got so upset in the first place!"
"But he brought Nigou back," said Kuroko, hugging his dog tightly. "And if he hadn't found Nigou, someone else might have. And they might not have brought him back."
"I didn't mean to upset you like that, Tetsu," said Aomine, embarrassed. "For what it's worth, I'm sorry."
"Tetsu-kun looks so cute holding his puppy like that," said Momoi, gazing at them stary-eyed. "It's almost too much cuteness!"
Aomine was a little bothered by how Kuroko hadn't looked up yet. And by how Nigou still seemed to be frantic with worry over his master. He knelt down to try to get a look at his former shadow's face and caught a glimpse of tears, though Nigou quickly licked them away.
"Tetsu. I'm sorry. I'm really, really sorry."
"It's fine," said Kuroko, monotonous as always. "I'm just very glad to have him back."
"Hey, we've got the mutt back, so let's go in already," said Kagami. "You're going to get sick, standing around in the cold and rain."
"Yes," Kuroko agreed, but made no move to rise.
Kagami and Aomine both reached for him at the same moment, to pull him up. There was an awkward moment as they got in each other's way. Then they both looked resigned and each took one of Kuroko's arms and pulled him up together.
"Come on. We're going in, and getting warmed up," said Kagami. "Ahomine and your ex can leave now."
"Hey!" growled Aomine.
"Would you and Momoi-san like to come in, Aomine-kun?" Kuroko asked.
"Hey!" Kagami shouted.
"I'd love to come in!" sang Momoi, latching on to Kuroko's arm.
"So would I," said Aomine, draping an arm around Kuroko's shoulders and giving Kagami a smirk. "While we're here, I need to discuss visitation rights."
"Our team fell in love with the little mutt," said Aomine. "Ryou especially. Maybe we can work out something where we can borrow him again?"
Kuroko considered. Then he looked up at Aomine, no trace of tears on his face anymore. "I'll let you make the arrangements with our coach."
"Huh? Oh yeah, the dog is all yours."
"Mainly mine. He lives with me. But Coach is a better negotiator than me," said Kuroko. "I am certain that she'll strike a deal that is beneficial to our team, and painful to both our teams. But more painful to yours. She wasn't happy to hear that you borrowed Nigou without permission."
"That's an understatement," said Kagami. "She was talking about the Boston cra – Ouch!"
He doubled over as Kuroko elbowed him in the gut.
"Huh?" Aomine was confused.
Kuroko gave him a blank look that was a little too innocent. "Nothing, Aomine-kun. Let's go inside."
This fic was inspired by one of the Kuroko no Basuke Drama CDs where Aomine met Nigou and played basketball with him and actually had a good time. I put a link in my profile of where you can listen to this clip and read the translated lines for anyone interested.