This fic is dedicated to my lovely Chii! Um, so last night I was digging through my tweets looking for something, but I stumbled across the first time we talked to each other on Twitter instead. I mean, we've talked a few times on Tumblr before, but Twitter was when we really began getting close. Our one month anniversary was Christmas Eve, but I didn't know about this until Christmas (yesterday) so have a late fic on Boxing Day instead ahaha.
Disclaimer: Kuroko no Basuke belongs to Fujimaki Tadatoshi.
out of reach; an akakuro fanfic.
Kuroko was six when he first laid eyes upon him.
He was walking back home from grocery shopping, hand-in-hand with his mother. Her grip was a little too tight, causing him to cringe at the pain, but Kuroko kept his mouth shut. He didn't want her to go into another frenzy if she lost him by chance.
Assured that he would not be separated from his mother due to the firm lock of their hands, Kuroko did not pay attention to where he was walking and instead chose to amuse himself with his surroundings. It wasn't everyday he got the chance to admire the setting sun and the wonders it brought. Everywhere he turned his head to was basked in the warm glow of orange. It made him feel all fuzzy inside.
That was when Kuroko saw him.
A boy with scarlet red hair, dressed in a white button up shirt under a black vest, brown knee-length shorts, white socks that ended right below his knees and dark brown loafers. He was surrounded by three men all dressed in white shirts and black suits. Kuroko didn't know much about the world, but he immediately knew the other boy and he stood on opposite planes, if they even lived in the same world; if not, then they simply lived in two separate worlds, never to clash. Somehow, that thought was sad.
A gentle breeze caused the boy's red hair to flutter and Kuroko gasped. Behind those scarlet bangs were two beautiful, dazzling jewels of ruby. Kuroko was entranced and could not turn his eyes away. The sunlight seemed to wrap itself around the boy; the orange and the red of his hair mixed together to create a warm, homely feeling — at the very least, Kuroko could feel his chest squeezing tightly in a good way as he continued watching the boy. It was almost as if the redhead belonged with the setting sun, that this time of the day was his alone.
He was ethereal.
As the parent and child rounded the corner of the street, Kuroko couldn't help but turn back once more. The redhead stood with a straight back, his eyes always looking forward, but — Kuroko didn't know why he thought this at the time — his shoulders seemed as if he was carrying the world, something much too heavy for an individual, let alone a child, to be burdened with.
Somehow, that back looked so, so lonely.
Kuroko was eleven, yet to turn twelve, when he saw the redhead again.
He had forgotten all about the other boy during the past five years, but the moment Kuroko laid eyes on him again the memories all came flashing back. The boy had made a speech in front of the middle school first year body as the student representative who scored the highest mark for the entrance exam. Kuroko was sitting amidst the hundreds of students when the red hair caught his attention. He hadn't remembered at the time, but a nostalgic feeling had filled him. It was only when he took note of the first-year-representative's ruby red eyes did the memory hit him hard.
Akashi Seijuurou. That was his name. Kuroko decided it fitted the redhead very well, both strong and commanding. It was evident in the way he held himself, yet Kuroko couldn't shake off the feeling that there was more to the other boy than simply the utmost respect he commanded of his peers. Maybe he was imagining it.
Regardless, Kuroko wanted to know more about Akashi.
Despite this, Kuroko never approached the other boy, even when he found out they were both in the basketball team. The redhead was in the first string while he was in the third string. They were worlds apart, both in life and in his favourite sport. It would've been strange to suddenly approach Akashi anyway. The redhead probably didn't even know he existed, what with his lack of presence and all.
He'd simply admire Akashi from afar, that was what he had decided.
Yet the chance presented himself when Kuroko was at his limit, at the point of giving up on everything, at the moment of his darkest despair. He really had intended to quit basketball. He had considered what Aomine, his best friend, had said and mulled over it for that short moment, but in the end he couldn't see an end. How much effort did he need to put in to be able to stand on the court? How much effort did he need to exert simply to be on equal standing with an ordinary player, never mind geniuses like Aomine were? Kuroko simply couldn't find an answer. He had gave it all he had and more, yet no matter how much effort he gave it simply seemed redundant.
Then Akashi appeared, and everything was alright again.
Akashi had gifted him with a chance to play basketball on equal standing with everyone, albeit his role was evidently different than theirs, but he was standing on the court nonetheless and he couldn't have asked for more. Akashi had presented him with the chance to keep his promise with his childhood friend, to fight each other in a match one day. Akashi had gave him a home, metaphorically speaking, and friends Kuroko never could've dreamed of due to his lack of presence. But most of all, Akashi had offered a chance for Kuroko to get to know him better.
He really was ethereal, Kuroko had found himself thinking at the time.
All good things came to an end though.
Towards the end of their third year, Kuroko found himself wishing he had never met Akashi at that time, wishing he had quit basketball as he had intended, wishing he had never played basketball if he was going to hate the thing he loved most.
Kuroko resigned from the basketball club a few days after Teikou's third victorious national championships. He avoided his friends until graduation.
This time, he couldn't erase Akashi from his mind no matter how hard he tried.
Kuroko was fifteen, soon to be sixteen, when he met Akashi again.
It was too soon, too soon, Kuroko chanted in his head, too soon for him to meet Akashi again. He wasn't ready to face the redhead yet. Had he gotten strong enough? Was he able to stand on his own two feet yet? The answer was no, but as he looked back at his new teammates Kuroko couldn't help but feel he would be fine. He proceeded to the meet up with the Generation of Miracles with a new determination in mind.
When he saw Akashi's face again after nearly a whole year, something stirred in him. Kuroko didn't know what it was and he didn't know if he liked it, but it was there and it irked him. He didn't need these feelings, at least not at that moment.
So he pushed it aside. He'd come back for it later.
But, during the final match of the tournament between Rakuzan and Seirin, when Akashi announced that he had developed a new model of the Phantom Sixth Man, Kuroko could feel his heart breaking. Those feelings he thought he had thrown away all came rushing back. Everything had hurt so much. His chest tightened uncomfortably, his hand immediately coming up to grasp at it. His throat clogged on nothing and he found it so, so difficult to breathe. His head pounded heavily and he could feel the blood rush away — and, no, no, no, he couldn't faint now, not now when he was still in the middle of a match. He had to push away his personal feelings. This was not his fight. This was Seirin's fight and he couldn't get in the way of that.
It was painful to be dragged off the court, but he had to continue supporting his teammates — his friends — from the bench. That was all he could've done for them at the time, but if there was anything he learnt from Aomine and Akashi, it was to never give up. So he continued watching, observing his 'successor' in hopes of pinpointing a weakness. He'd get back up no matter how many times he fell.
During the fourth quarter of the final match, Kuroko was substituted back in.
Despite this, Rakuzan won. Seirin lost.
And Seirin continued to lose the year after and the year after. The loss of Kiyoshi was simply too much.
Kuroko was happy his middle school friends had reverted back to their old selves somewhat. He knew it was impossible for everyone to revert completely to their old selves, but Kuroko was simply delighted to see they had began enjoying basketball again. That was enough for him.
Except one person alone continued to reign on his throne: Akashi Seijuurou.
Kuroko didn't keep in contact with Akashi after high school.
Kuroko was twenty five when he encountered the other man again.
It was Christmas. The streets were filled with lights, decorations, laughter and smiles. All in all, it was a joyous night. Yet Kuroko was feeling apathetic to everything. His dull eyes stared at the Christmas tree standing tall in the middle of the town square. Something felt... missing.
From the corner of his eye, he caught a flash of red. As if in reflex, his head immediately snapped towards that direction, attracted to the colour. There, Kuroko saw the man who haunted his dreams since middle school and continued to do so. Akashi Seijuurou was leaning against a building, cloaked in a grey trench coat and black pants. He had his hair slicked back and seemed well presented. Probably came out or was headed to a business meeting, Kuroko mused. He immediately erased that thought because Akashi was always well presented, regardless of whether he had an appointment ahead or not.
Kuroko was stuck in his spot, feet planted into the ground and refusing to move even an inch. He was confused. Should he approach Akashi? Or should he simply walk away? He didn't know what to do and so, continued to stare at Akashi from afar.
As if noticing eyes on him, Akashi looked up and stared straight back into Kuroko's sky blue eyes. A electrifying jolt went up Kuroko's spine as he felt that intense gaze on him and he couldn't resist a shudder. Pushing himself off the building he was leaning against, Akashi patted off the snow on his head and clothes before making his way towards Kuroko. The latter gulped as the redhead advanced towards him. What was he supposed to say when Akashi was within reach?
The way the redhead said his name in such a smooth, velvety voice had him shivering. Akashi always had this effect on him. Whether the redhead himself knew it or not, Kuroko didn't know. Something about the way the corner of Akashi's lips upturned told Kuroko the former knew perfectly well how much his presence affected him, though.
"Akashi-kun," Kuroko greeted in kind, nodding towards him.
It had been so long since he had uttered that name. His throat felt raw and he had to take three deep breaths to calm himself. Just seeing the other, saying his name, talking to him... These little things immediately made his heart thump faster. It was unfair. Kuroko had tried to erase these feelings for the redhead, but the moment the other came back into his life, despite it being seven years, those feelings just came back to life. It was so, so unfair.
Yet Akashi still looked so ethereal — so untouchable.
Akashi immediately noted the change in Kuroko. The latter's face remained in its usual blankness, but he could see the pain swimming in those endless pools of blue. He was about to bring the matter up when something in Kuroko's hand caught his attention. It was a present, Akashi made out at least that much, wrapped in a plain light blue paper wrapping and a red ribbon. Attached to the ribbon was a name tag and, one of Akashi's eyebrows raised curiously at this, it was addressed to none other than Akashi Seijuurou himself.
"Is that for me?"
Kuroko startled from his thoughts at the question. Confusion clung to him before it was cleared away as Akashi nodded towards the gift in his hand. A flash of panic blithely crossed his eyes, which the redhead didn't miss, before he quickly hid the item behind his back.
"No." At Akashi's pointed look, Kuroko immediately corrected himself, "Technically yes, but no it's not."
Kuroko bit on his lower lip nervously, looking down at his feet to avoid the other's questioning eyes. He wasn't going to tell Akashi, but since his first year of high school he had been buying birthday presents for the redhead. Kuroko never managed to gather the courage to actually send it to the redhead, though, and thus as Akashi's birthday passed and Christmas came, Kuroko had taken to simply throwing away the present — giving it away to a less unfortunate soul, really, because throwing it away would've been a waste — on said day. He was going to give away said present to another this Christmas too, but now Akashi had seen it.
A hand with its palm up invaded Kuroko's sight. "May I have it?"
Reluctantly, he slowly brought the present to his front and placed it in the hand before him. He simply couldn't deny Akashi's requests.
As he was retracting his hand, however, another immediately reached out to grasp his wrist. Startled, Kuroko looked up questioningly at ruby and garnet eyes — they were no longer both ruby, but Kuroko found he liked them as they were as well. Those jewels stared into his own for what seemed like eternity. Kuroko found it hard to breathe with Akashi so close to him.
After what was actually ten seconds in reality, Kuroko finally broke the silence. "Akashi-kun? Can you let go please?"
Instead of answering his question or abiding by his request, Akashi instead entangled their fingers together in a pseudo loving embrace. A light sheen of red made its way across Kuroko's cheeks at the action, but he didn't pull away. He'd learnt not to question Akashi's actions — he wouldn't get an answer anyway. When the redhead brought their locked hands to his lips, however, and kissed each of Kuroko's knuckles lovingly, all the while maintaining eye contact, Kuroko could feel himself losing his composure. He managed to contain himself to a light flush only, but inside he was a jumbled mess. He simply didn't understand Akashi, didn't understand why he was doing what he was doing, didn't understand anything at all. His heart was thumping erratically and was obviously reacting positively to Akashi's touch, but Kuroko wasn't sure about his feelings anymore, nor Akashi's for that matter.
Just what was he to his ex-captain?
As if sensing his doubts, Akashi leaned in and pecked Kuroko on the lips before pulling back a few millimetres. Their foreheads leaned against each other as the two were mesmerised by the window to the other's soul; they remained staring into each other's eyes for the next five minutes, as if trying to dig deep into the other and discover their true feelings.
Kuroko wasn't sure what Akashi saw in him, but he could say he saw a hint of guilt within Akashi. It was just there in those heterochromatic eyes briefly, but it was there, before it disappeared in a flash. But it was enough for Kuroko — enough for him to know Akashi was sorry for the pain he put Kuroko through. There was also a hint of stubbornness, however, as if Akashi was saying that he wouldn't change his ways simply for him alone, but Kuroko was fine with that. He'd simply give it all he had to make him slowly change.
Something on Kuroko's face, or maybe in his eyes, must have given himself away as Akashi seemed satisfied with the previous ordeal.
"Shall we head to some place warmer?" Akashi suggested, already tugging Kuroko in the direction of the small cafe close by.
Pulling his scarf higher up, Kuroko hid a small smile as he nodded back at Akashi, even though the redhead couldn't see. Judging from the light squeeze on his hand, Akashi probably knew anyway.
There was a long road ahead of them, but as long as they were walking on it hand-in-hand...
Kuroko was certain they'd get through it.