01 ☆ Cross My Heart

Summary

Character/Pairing: Papa!Kagami, Foster Kid!Kuroko; future M/M and M/F pairings
Summary: After rescuing 5 year old Kuroko from a fire that took the life of his only living relative, Kagami Taiga takes the responsibility of raising him upon himself and soon undergoes the troubled – and often hilarious – life of a single father.
Inspired by the featured header artwork of Maruniko
Warning(s): family fluff, future shonen-ai, comedy, hurt and comfort, awkward papa!Kagami

Notes

This story is an ongoing tale to revolve around the life of single papa!Kagami and his foster kid!Kuroko. As such, pairings and other characters are bound to crop up eventually and will be added accordingly once they appear. Please enjoy and I hope this interests you enough to stick around! Constructive critique is always welcome and appreciated!

Chapter 01 – Prologue

The night had been much like any other. A call came into the firehouse, the alarm blaring and the reaction time between the men sitting around, enjoying their coffee and stupid jokes and piling into the firetruck fully equip ran as smoothly as always. It was to be expected, after all. They ran drills for this sort of thing almost daily.

Every little second counted when you were fighting one of the nastiest elements in the world.

But this is what kept Kagami Taiga to this sort of job. He enjoyed the thrill of it. The constant need for stamina and energy. The ability to go from 0 to 50 the moment that alarm went off. Of course, like with any job, there were dull moments. Getting cats from trees or helping put out minor garbage bin fires that frankly anyone could have done with a fire extinguisher. The lulls in the job were necessary though. The long periods of menial victories helped soften the blows when he and the men had to face the bitter reality that they’d arrived a few minutes too late.

Much like the house they stood in front of now.

It was an older home, damage to the outside clear even before noticing the beating it was taking from the flames. Glass shattered and glittered across the lawn as the house moaned under the abuse. Fire burned brightly through what was left of the windows and smoke poured out of every possible opening. If it hadn’t been for his equipment, Kagami was sure he could have felt the heat the moment he’d leaped out of the truck.

“Kagami!” He heard a shout from behind himself as one of the men followed after him. He pointed a gloved hand to the driveway where a single car sat parked but relatively undamaged. “Quit trying to run in by yourself – that’s how firemen get killed.” When he caught up, he grabbed Kagami’s upper arm with his large hands and pulled him forward. “Let’s go!”

Kagami spared a quick glance behind them as he watched the other men bust the hoses out of the truck and work fast. They’d take care of the flames.

It was Kiyoshi Teppei’s job and his to make sure nobody was left inside.

Getting through the front door was the easy part. The structure was holding up fairly well but one quick look to the ceiling as they passed under it gave an ill twist to Kagami’s stomach. Kiyoshi looked back at him and gestured two fingers off to a set of stairs. The hand railing wasn’t holding up very well but the stairs thus far seemed relatively untouched. “You take top. Get in and out, Kagami. That floor is coming down any minute.” Kiyoshi shouted and took off down the main floor hall before he even waited for an answer.

Kagami didn’t waste any time. Every second counted in a house fire. Too many factors played into how things held up and frankly that was too much luck than Kagami was comfortable relying on. He took the stairs two at a time and shielded his face when part of the ceiling came crashing down at his feet. Luckily, it was just plaster and Kagami stepped over it as it continued to cinder.

The smoke was thick up here and the fire reflecting through the clouds of white made it hard to gauge exactly where he was going. The sound of the flames was loud and the cracking of the house around himself was almost overpowering. Even through his equipment, this deep into the heat, he could feel it and he was thankful once again for his gear. Pressing his oxygen mask to his face out of habit, he managed to get to the top of the stairs without issue and headed down the hall.

There were three rooms up here from what he could see. One was absolutely consumed by flames that seemed to pulse out of the doorway. As much as Kagami tried, he couldn’t get close enough to it to inspect the inside. However, he could manage to see the edge where the floor had sagged and given in and he had to assume that whatever (and hopefully not whoever) fell through, Kiyoshi would deal with.

Backpedaling, he turned to head back down the hall. Edging around a linen closet that was currently helping to assist the life of the flames, Kagami poked into the second room. A bathroom, relatively untouched by the flames but what was once likely white was black from smoke damage and was barely discernible if it hadn’t been for the few flammable items in there to be lighting up the room.

But it was a single space area and easily viewed for all its corners. Kagami passed it only a quick look. Nobody was in there.

As he stepped back out and turned to the last room, that’s when he caught a sharp sound. It was barely noticeable over the heavy groans of the house and the crackling of the flames but…. as he moved closer through the smoke, he could have sworn that he could hear a dog barking.

A mix of hope and desperation that he wasn’t too late sunk into his veins as he stepped over a hunk of wood that had fallen from the ceiling and into the last room.

Sure enough, the barking was louder here but the room was a mess of chaos. The smoke was too thick and Kagami had to focus hard to find the source of the noise. Half the room floor had sunk under the poor structure the house was now undergoing and it was evident that more of it was soon to follow.

But the barking continued and Kagami’s eyes were drawn to the other side of the room. Through the flare of orange light and rippled of heat, he could make out something moving in the corner which could only have been a puppy. It seemed to pace back and forth in front of something, making a ruckus with every step.

Now Kagami wasn’t a big fan of the tiny hairy creatures but when you were dealing life versus death, it tended to prioritize things in an instant manner. Besides, Kagami wasn’t about to let something so young die just because he didn’t care for it.

The room was relatively light with flame compared to the previous bedroom he’d tried to enter so he didn’t think twice about carefully maneuvering into it. He kept to the wall however, not wanting to help that floor cave in anymore than his presence already would. “Hang on, buddy. I’m coming.” He mumbled to himself as the dog continued its frenzy as he got closer.

That was when Kagami’s stomach dropped out entirely and his body stiffened for a brief second. Finally able to see it close and without the flame blocking his view, Kagami could clearly see that the thing the puppy had been pacing in front of was in fact the unmoving body of a little kid. He couldn’t have been older than five. He was face down, a blanket over himself in what Kagami could only assume had been the kids attempt to save himself from any of the flames.

That moment of shock didn’t slow him down however; in fact, it helped spur him into action. His movement was quicker this time and automatic. All his training came into play as he moved over and turned the kid over. He was unconscious, a burn he noticed immediately creeping up the side of his little neck and Kagami’s stomach clenched in fear of the worst.

Nothing was worse than losing a kid in a fire; absolutely nothing.

Bundling the blanket around the boy quickly in a weak attempt to try and block off the severity of some of the heat on his bare skin, Kagami grabbed the puppy too and bundled them both up against his chest. Once secure in his arms, even the dog grew still as it lay against the boy and Kagami started to follow the wall back out to the door. Nearly back at the doorway, the floor gave a sickening moan as it caved and a large chunk of it broke off. It crashed to the floor below and up came the flames through the opening. They were thick and heavy in movement and Kagami took extra care to finally get back into the hallway.

Luck seemed in his favour today, however, as he headed to the stairs which still appeared to be relatively untouched. At the very least, they were sturdy enough to hold their combined weight as Kagami ran down them.

That was when a sliver of dread crawled its way into his spine.

The front door was blocked. The part of the floor that had just come down upstairs must have been right over it because pieces of the kid’s room were littered everywhere and adding kindling to the chaos.

His sense of survival kicked in and it was time to start looking for another way out. He saw no signs of Kiyoshi and he could only hope that the man got out.

He clutched the kid and his dog to his chest more, bringing an arm up more to try and keep the heat and smoke away from his face.

Kagami hurried into one area to the next, coming up empty handed until finally he found himself in the kitchen. There was a patio door leading out onto a deck that the windows had long since been blown out of. Taking the opportunity while he still had the chance, he hurried over and stepped through it backwards so as to avoid having the lives in his arms cut by the shards of glass still sticking out menacingly.

The stillness of the night from the backyard came into view and Kagami hurried them down the stairs and onto the lawn. He passed a quick look up at the house and could see that one entire side of the roof was sagging in a dangerous manner. He wouldn’t want to be near this place when that came down.

Picking up his feet, he ran around the house and came into view of the street lined with people, his fellow firefighters and now police and ambulance. There were two ambulance waiting and one was currently being filled with a stretcher. As Kagami drew closer, he could see the vague shape under the white sheet was clearly adult and his stomach gave a little twist.

It didn’t take a genius to figure out whoever it was didn’t make it out alive.

From around the ambulance, he could see Kiyoshi come into view and he felt a small sense of relief among all this turmoil. At the very least, he was thankful to see his partner was going to live to see another day. However, he took off to help the rest of the men manage the flames and Kagami had no chance to say anything to him.

Instead, he hurried to the second ambulance where an emergency medic was waiting with a second but empty stretcher. The man waved an arm at him, an oxygen mask and tank at the ready as Kagami laid the kid down and tossed the blanket down on the ground. The puppy hopped out of his arms as he did so but quickly laid himself down beside the kid. It was only now that Kagami noticed the sickening red singe across the dog’s right ear as he pressed his muzzle tenderly into the boy’s arm with a whine.

The kid didn’t move as the medic placed the mask around his face and pressed two gloved fingers under his jaw.

Kagami held his breath.

“He’s got a pulse!” The medic shouted into the van and it was like a switch with how quickly the medic went to work then.

Kagami took a step back, his knees trembling slightly in relief from the words and watched as they packed the unconscious kid into the back of the van.

The puppy looked back at him with a soft whine and the last thing Kagami saw before the doors shut and the sirens went off was the light blue hair of the kid whose life was now altered forever.

As the ambulance peeled away and he heard his supervisor shout for him, Kagami made a quick note to make it his personal mission to see that that kid was taken complete care of.

No kid should ever have to deal with what he was going to have to once he woke up.

If Kagami could help it, he was going to make sure the boy who had been almost too light in his arms would never have to go through this alone.

TO BE CONTINUED ★ ☆ ★ Constructive critique always welcome!

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