The 20th

Akashi has never particularly enjoyed the idea of his birthday.

As the month of December rolls around, and holiday plans are made, he makes sure that none of those plans involve a specific celebration on the 20th. He tells those that surround him that he doesn't want gifts, he doesn't want birthday wishes, he just wants peace. He's thought this way his entire, conscious life, given that his mode of thinking is an absolute product of the sayings that his parents have told him. "It's too cold to celebrate your birthday," or "Santa doesn't deliver to those that celebrate their birthday five days before Christmas," and his favourite, the ever so simple, "Your birthday is just another day. Treat it as such." For the longest time, he did. He'd treated his birthday as nothing more than the regular, twenty-four hours that it was.

Until he met Kuroko.

Akashi has never liked cake. It is the 17th, when Kuroko introduces him to red velvet.

"What's this?" Akashi asks, accepting the small parcel that has been tied at the top in a floss-like bow.

Kuroko answers, but he's quiet, almost as if he is not confident in the notion of such an act. "There is a cake inside," he says, lifting his voice after Akashi tells him to do so.

"I don't want it."

Kuroko knew such a response would be coming, and he had been just lucky enough to equip himself with the perfect comeback. Locked and loaded, he lets it fly.

"I know you don't," he smiles, taking a step back, "but I wanted to give it to you, regardless."

Akashi has never liked cards. It is the 18th, when Kuroko sends him a birthday card in the mail.

"Seijuro," his father calls, from the foot of grand steps, "there is a letter for you. I'm placing it on the railing. Retrieve it whenever you'd like."

Reluctant, of course, to leave his game of shogi after the tiles have just started to slide, he leaves his bedroom and descends the stairs, soon finding that this "letter" is not a letter at all. Ripping back the paper flap, Akashi is not surprised when a tacky, over-the-top birthday card comes into his view. At this point, Kuroko is just teasing him.

Aside from reading the printed text that even a two-year old could understand, he takes a moment to read the carefully penned blend of Kuroko's handwriting.

"I hope you're having," he reads aloud, slipping the card back into its torn up envelope, "a very special Wednesday."

Akashi has never liked presents. It is the 19th, when Kuroko gifts him with a brand-new basketball.

"I can't accept this," is Akashi's immediate response, passing the ball back to its buyer.

"Yes, you can," Kuroko states obviously, handing it back to Akashi. "You're very capable of doing such a thing."

To disprove Kuroko's theory, Akashi drops the basketball, the moment it makes contact with his gloved fingertips. It's with a fox-like grin that he murmurs, "Apparently, I'm not."

Akashi has never liked his birthday. It is the 20th, when Kuroko does not interfere at all.

Winter break having already started, it is none of Akashi's business what Kuroko has chosen to do in order to occupy his time. The day is cold, and the sky is filled with murky clouds that look sad enough to produce snow. Instead of braving the outdoors, Akashi is fine with the idea of just sitting within his den and reading an old era novel.

Taking breaks here and there, he finds something to eat, watches some daytime news on the television, and amuses himself with some shogi, before returning to his novel. By the time he sets it down for the day, the "day" has turned to night.

Although he's not particularly concerned about Kuroko's well-being, he does find it a bit odd that his teammate, after all of his harassment the past couple of days, has not even made an effort to try and contact him. It couldn't hurt to send him a quick text message, could it?

[19:32 - 20/12/08]

To: Tetsuya

From: Seijuro


Simple and to the point. He's not surprised, when he receives an almost instant reply.

[19:33 - 20/12/08]

To: Akashi-kun

From: Me

Hello, Akashi-kun. Do you need something?

It's with that that he begins to wonder. Does he indeed need something from Kuroko, or was he just messaging him to relieve some of his boredom? He sets himself on a response.

[19:35 - 20/12/08]

To: Tetsuya

From: Seijuro

Yes, I do.

Again, Kuroko's reply is nearly instantaneous.

[19:36 - 20/12/08]

To: Akashi-kun

From: Me

Okay, then. Yes?

It's with a burst of confidence that Akashi finds himself actually smiling, as he types out his next response. He's eager to see Kuroko's answer.

[19:38 - 20/12/08]

To: Tetsuya

From: Seijuro

What day is it?

Kuroko takes longer to respond this time, and it is to his own amusement that Akashi realizes he must be carefully contemplating his answer. That in itself is enough to make whatever his teammate has to say well worth the wait.

It's ten minutes later, when Akashi hears the ping of his cell phone, alerting him that he's received a new text message. Reading it to himself, he chuckles lowly.

[19:48 - 20/12/08]

To: Akashi-kun

From: Me

The 20th. Why?

Setting his phone aside, Akashi breathes in deeply, followed by a just as powerful exhale. He thinks to himself, pondering if maybe, a very small part of him had wanted a different answer. Still, it's with a humored ego that he wonders just how many times, in the expanse of those ten minutes, Kuroko had typed out the words "your birthday", only to delete them, feed them to digital cyberspace, and start over entirely.

Very well knowing that it's impolite to leave a question dangling, Akashi recovers his phone and types out one of the only responses that he knows Kuroko, and Kuroko alone, would be able to understand. He would be able to look beyond the tiny text of no more than three words, and see the hidden message of mighty approval within.

[19:50 - 20/12/08]

To: Tetsuya

From: Seijuro

It's nothing. Nevermind.

Akashi has never liked his birthday. It's the evening of the 20th, when Kuroko respects that, and it's also the evening of the 20th, when Kuroko changes that.

Hi there! Chappy here! :D

Well, here we are. We've reached the end of the year, meaning that we've reached our final generation's birthday. Not only is this just a birthday-themed fic, but I also threw some Akakuro in here, because you guys might not have known this (what from all of my Kagakuro stories), but I looove Akakuro. It's probably in my top 5 for KnB ships.

Anywho, enough rambling! I hope you've enjoyed, and happy birthday to our favourite, heterochromatic-eyed captain. (:

Thank you for taking the time to read!

- Chappy