02 ☆ Celebrity Status

Summary

Character/Pairing: Various
Story Summary: When 17-year old Kagami Taiga gets the gift of his dreams, he’s completely unaware that he’s about to become an intricate part of the lifestyles of the rich, the fabulous and potentially overprotective bandmates.
Inspired by a joke about the Generation of Miracles being a boyband that evolved into an actual story because why the hell not
Date Started: January 11, 2014

Notes

Future Pairings: Kagami/Kuroko, Aomine/Himuro, Kasamatsu/Kise, Midorima/Takao, Akashi/Mayuzumi, Murasakibara/Kiyoshi

Chapter 02 – Anticipation

“And that’s it! We got it! That’s a wrap, everybody! Nice work.” The director called, the music shutting off and the last of the rain from the sprinklers finally ceasing.

There was a collective sigh through out the studio but none seemed more relieved than the men currently being handed towels and hot tea in take out cups.

The director came up with a wide smile. “Excellent work again today, boys.” He turns then to glance at a man following him with a clipboard in hand and earpiece tucked neatly into his right ear. “I won’t need them again till Wednesday. They all need to be here at 7am sharp. Not a minute later. We have the sprinklers for two hours and that’s it.”

The man nods, dull grey eyes looking down to his clipboard as he makes note of it before he looks up at the group before him. “Don’t relax yet, gentlemen. You still have some jobs to do before the concert tonight.”

“Come on, Mayuzumicchi.” Kise Ryouta whined, his towel laid over his blond hair as he blew at his tea. “Can’t we take a small break? We’ve been at it for eight hours.”

“It would have been seven if you’d have been getting the tempo right.” Mayuzumi replied without so much as a blink.

Kise huffed and pouted.

“Don’t make that face at me, Kise. After four years of being your manager, I have gained resistance to your ploys.”

“It’s not a ploy!” Kise cried dramatically and turned to the small bluenette standing beside him, who was holding his tea carefully between both hands. “Kurokocchi, Mayuzumicchi is bullying me!”

“You shouldn’t be such an easy target.” He replies simply, glancing up at him from the corner of his eye before he goes to take a sip.

Not that he gets the chance to. Not a second before it reaches his lips, does a hand clap onto his shoulder and he quickly retracts the cup in fear of spilling. A large body slumps over his, weight bearing down on him enough to cause his tired knees to wobble. “Murasakibara-kun, you’re heavy.”

“Kuro-chin is so cold.” He drawls lazily, resting his chin on top of the bluenette’s head.

“Please get off of me, Murasakibara-kun.” Kuroko speaks, clearly annoyed but his voice as polite and even tempered as ever.

There was a laugh from behind them and Kuroko felt his knees wobble more when there was suddenly more weight on one of his shoulders. “Aomine-kun, you aren’t helping.”

His dark tanned fingers ruffle at Kuroko’s wet hair and he grins widely at his annoyed expression. “You’re just pissy because you’re nervous. We’re performing your song; you get your big moment on centre stage! All those thousands of fans, watching your every move, hanging on every note…”

Kuroko, in turn, looked increasingly pale as he went on.

“Aomine.” A rather strict voice called from off to the side. Midorima was busy currently drying his glasses on the towel he had been given. “Stop teasing him. It’s annoying.”

“What? He’ll do fine. It’s not like he’s never performed before.” Aomine defends, looking completely confident in the matter.

“Yes but if your immaturity causes a gap in his performance, you’ll be the one paying for it.” He replies simply, sliding his glasses back onto his face and glancing over at him to drive the point home.

Aomine rolls his eyes and looks back to Kuroko. “Tetsu will be just fine; won’t you?”

Kuroko glances up at him and watches his expression as moment before he gives a firm nod. “Yes.”

“Kurokocchi, your knees are shaking.” Kise points to the joints that were indeed still wobbling.

A collective glance down occurred before there was a stern, “Atsushi.” And their eyes were all soon dragged over to the redhead who wasn’t even looking their way. He was busy sipping at his tea, his towel around his shoulders, even as water dripped from his chin. “Stop laying on Tetsuya.”

“Aka-chin is cold too…” Murasakibara hums but finally does as told and stands.

The shaking from Kuroko’s knees ceases and he stands – about long enough before Aomine wraps an arm around his shoulders with that toothy grin of his. “Come on, Tetsu. Let’s get changed and go for lunch. I’m starving.”

“Where do you think you’re going?” Mayuzumi asked, checking his clipboard.

“What?” Aomine questions. “Neither of us have jobs this afternoon, right? So we’re going for lunch.”

“I wanna go for lunch too!” Kise grins.

Mayuzumi cuts that idea down immediately with a sharp, “No.” before elaborating. “You still have a shoot with the Viola company for their new perfume. You’re going there straight from here.” He checks his wrist watch. “You should have a car arriving in about ten minutes; gives you enough time to change. Make up and wardrobe will be done on set.”

Kise pouts but Mayuzumi gives him no time to speak before he continues. “Murasakibara and Midorima, you’ve both got a car coming in about half n hour for that variety show on the Kujikawa Network. Eat something with lots of carbohydrates and Midorima, make sure he doesn’t snack on anything before then. If he has a sugar crash on the show, I’m the one who has to hear about it.”

Midorima nods firmly and Murasakibara hums softly, looking rather displeased.

“Why are you all still standing here? Leave.” Mayuzumi spoke, his voice even but his gaze set into a scowl. It didn’t take long for any of them to disperse, light banter between them as they hurried off the set.

From the corner of his eye, he notices the remaining redhead strolling toward him. “I suppose that leaves us.” He speaks simply.

Mayuzumi turns in time to press his clipboard into Akashi’s chest. The redhead looked amused. “You’re not serious.”

“I believe I told you to stay at least an arm’s length away from me at all times.” Mayuzumi replied, trying to ignore the enticing look Akashi was attempting to give him. The movie star glamour appeal that he really should have been used to by now.

“I was going by the length of my arm.” He looked almost smug, those heterochromic eyes staring up at him.

“Don’t try and be cute.” Mayuzumi replied stubbornly. “You” He stresses, “have an interview in an hour that you need to be prepped for.”

“Then I’ve a free hour.”

“Across the city. You have about twenty minutes to get ready before I have to drive you.”

Akashi seems to perk slightly at that, a slight curve to his lips. It’s subtle but Mayuzumi has long since been able to read such subtleties. “Arm’s length.” He reminds him.

“My arm’s length.” Akashi replies.


The days that Kagami had to wait for the concert had been brutal. On top of calling Sa-chan every single night (sometimes twice) to discuss everything they possibly could about the concert, Kagami had to endure the boring routine of going to class. He was still a high school student, after all, and as much as he would have preferred to skip it entirely in favour of freaking out over the reality of meeting the love of his life, he knew such an opportunity would be snatched from him if his parents found out.

Instead, he marked off days on his calendar. He stared at the little calendar on his phone screen at least five times a day, like somehow, that would make the days go by faster. He listened to nothing but Generation of Miracles on his headphones to make sure he had all the lyrics down. There was no way that he didn’t have them all memorized by now but when the concert came up, he wanted to make sure his memory was perfect. Even when he went to basketball practice after school, he found himself humming their songs as he stretched and warmed up.

Not that such a thought was present once he actually stepped out onto the court; after all, Generation of Miracles was only one of his passions but that’s another story.

So when the day finally was upon him, he couldn’t sleep. He laid awake the entire time, watching the clock on his phone count away painful minutes and a thrill unlike anything he’d felt before shot through him when the date finally changed over.

He was going to see Tetsu. He was finally going to see Tetsu.

He had never thought something like this was possible. He had truly started to chalk up all this obsession and romantic fantasy to just teenage hormones. Who wouldn’t? Everybody always talked about how celebrities were just sort of fads for fans; that they died off when a new, hotter one suddenly emerged.

But…. glancing around the darkness of his room, laying a hand on Nigou’s back and petting him softly, he just…. he just couldn’t chalk this up to being just a fan. Hell, he was a huge fan of Daiki still. He kept up with everything that he did; every photo shoot, every new product, every interview, no matter how obscure – he knew what it felt like to be an obsessed fan. He knew exactly what it meant to hoard anything you could about a favourite celebrity.

…. But with Tetsu? Tetsu was…. different. It was quieter. Less hungry. Peaceful, even. When he thought of him, his stomach got all tied up in knots. When he fantasied about what it would be like to run his fingers through his hair, his heart raced and he could feel his face warming with a dark blush. He thought about what it’d be like to stroke his cheek, to touch those lips, to steal a kiss….

He wanted it. He wanted it so badly that it ached.

But such were the thoughts of a boy in love in the late hours of night and when the sun was peeking through his windows, he realized he hadn’t gotten any sleep at all.

From there, it was a mess of activity. Kagami packed and repacked his bag of things that he wanted to get signed several dozen times and changed outfits about half as much. Even when Himuro arrived to pick him up, the man gave Kagami a once over, sighed loudly and proceeded to help his panicking younger brother find a decent combination.

Soon, Kagami was shoved into the car, blasting music on the car radio so Himuro could get familiar with all the singers and lyrics and couldn’t seem to find the right balance between playing it cool and freaking out. Himuro seemed to indulge him, however, which he was thankful for since it wasn’t like he wasn’t painfully aware of how embarrassing he was.

Regardless, at long last, they finally found parking after their road trip before the stadium. Even outside, the lights were bright and the moment Kagami stepped out of the car, he could hear the loud chatter and screaming of the waves of girls hurrying to get to their seats inside.

Kagami was swept up in the energy almost immediately. Just on the other side of those doors, he’d get to see Generation of Miracles perform…. get to see Tetsu perform….

“So,” Himuro interrupted his thoughts as he rounded the car. “Where are we supposed to meet up with your friend?”

“Oh!” Kagami dug into his pocket and pulled out his cellphone. He noted the dozen or so emails from a familiar number and grinned to himself. He dialed it quickly and held the phone up to his ear. “….. Sa-chan? Are you her–? Eh? By the entrance? But the line up is huge! Did you–? Okay, okay, we’re coming!”

He snapped his phone shut quickly before he gestures for Himuro to follow before he breaks out into a run.

“Ah, Taiga! Wait a minute! Where are we going?!” Himuro called, chasing after him.

“Sa-chan saved us a spot in line and she’s up near the front already! We have to hurry!” Kagami called back, not wanting to waste any time as he ran to the front of the line.

His eyes scanned the line, looking for a familiar face but it seemed she spotted him before he did.

“Taiiiiiiiiii-chaaaaaaaan!! Over here!! Hurry!!”

Kagami’s expression light up, jogging over to her and the moment he gets there, he’s pounced on. A flash of pink and gold is spun around in his arms, hardly mindful to the other fans around them. When he finally sets her down, she’s still bouncing on her red heels and beaming up at Kagami with stars in her eyes.

“You had me worried! I thought I was going to get to the front of the line and you’d be late!” Momoi Satsuki smacked at his arm and he only laughed in response, a happy blush on his face.

“Sorry, we came as fast as we could. It’s not my fault you live closer.” He retorts.

She only waves a hand at him and then stares up, putting her hand over her eyes like she’s trying to block out the sun and grins. “Wow, Tai-chan. You’re so much taller in person. You look much smaller on camera.”

“That’s because I’m always sitting. I’m a basketball player – what did you expect?” He reaches out and measures a hand from himself to the top of her head. “Hmm.. you’re about the height I expected though.”

“That’s not what I want to hear! Do you see the height of these heels?!” She points down to her foot.

Kagami looks her over and grins. “Wow, Sa-chan, you really went all out.”

She takes a couple steps back and poses to give him a full and proper view, placing her arm behind her head and trying to look natural. To match her stylish red heels is a form fitting blouse that hugs her form but falls naturally around her breasts, obviously featuring them front and centre. Hugging her hips is a golden mini skirt, flowing around her thighs. Her hair is tied back in a long pink braid which she’s draped over her shoulder and tied off with a simple red ribbon. Her jewellery is all gold as well, from the hoops in her ears to the chain around her neck and the bangles upon her wrist. “I know, it’s fabulous. I bought it all for the concert so you are seeing a one of a kind Momoi Satsuki special. I made the shirt, though. I already had the skirt.”

“You made that?” Kagami questions and gives a low whistle. “Trying to show off, are we?”

“Feminine advantage.” She replies, resting a hand upon her chest for a moment. “I thought I’d give Tetsu something to look at.”

Kagami smirks at that and waves a hand at her. “Sorry, Sa-chan. You’re not the only one pulling out all the stops for Tetsu. Why do you think I’m all dressed up too?” True to his words, kagami was dressed to impress. Black dress pants and shoes adorned his feet. A white dress shirt fit his torso in such a way that it’s clear the shirt was tailored for him; it helped to give hint to the build underneath.  A black vest completed the look, fitted and buttoned perfectly around his torso.

Momoi grins at that and reaches over, tugging at his satin red tie. “I’m surprise, actually. I’ve never seen you in anything other than sweats or a t-shirt. I can’t believe you own a tie.”

“He doesn’t.” Himuro finally pipes up, assuming that if he didn’t, they’d forget he was there. “It’s mine.” He extends a hand to Momoi with a charming smile. “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you, Momoi-chan. I’m Himuro Tatsuya.”

“Oh!” She grins, letting go of his tie in favour of shaking Himuro’s hand. “Oh my, so handsome too~ Tai-chan, why didn’t you tell me your brother was so handsome?”

“Why would I tell you something like that?” Kagami rolls his eyes but gestures to him all the same. “Make sure you give him plenty of thanks. He’s the one who bought us the tickets.”

“Ohhhh, Nii-san!” Momoi shouts and latches onto his arm, snuggling it into her chest. Himuro looked a little off guard but he laughed all the same. “You’re the best human being in the entire world.”

“I have actually heard that before.” He smiles softly. “You’re welcome, Momoi-chan.”

She sighs happily, stars in her eyes. “Are you excited to meet the hottest group of the year, Nii-san?”

“I’m afraid the only thing I’ve heard about them is what Taiga played on the way over.” Himuro smiles in response.

Momoi gasps playfully but lets go of his arm in favour of waving her hand at him. “Don’t worry, Nii-san. You’ll be in love with them by the end of the concert. Guaranteed.”

“We’ll see.” Himuro replies simply.

“Oh!! Oh! Tai-chan!” Momoi grins and shifts back over to the red head. She waves down to her neck, tilting her head the other way. “Smell.”

Kagami blinked, passing Himuro a side glance before bending down slightly to lightly sniff the nape of her neck. He perked and pulled back with a smile. “Oh! Is that the new Viola perfume Ki-chan has been promoting?”

“It is! And it’s the limited edition one too!”

“The one with the gold seal instead of silver?”

“Yes! I had to pay an extra 2500 yen for it but it was totally worth it!”

Himuro watched from behind them as the two continued to rant and rave in what felt like a foreign language to him. All the same, it was cute to watch. It was clear that they enjoyed each other’s company and you’d never guess from their chemistry that this was their first time meeting in person. The open, happy look across his brother’s face sealed it for him.

He wondered what kind of person this Tetsu was…

“Ah! We’re next! Tatsuya, do you have the tickets?” Kagami questioned, looking back at him.

Himuro blinked and reached into his jacket pocket before handing over the envelope. “Here.”

The red head plucked it from his fingers and handed out the tickets.

Momoi clutched hers in her hands, eyes shining. “Are you ready for the best night of your life, Tai-chan?”

Kagami held up his platinum ticket with a smirk. “You have no idea.”

TO BE CONTINUED ★ ☆ ★ Constructive critique always welcome!

01 ☆ Celebrity Status

Summary

Character/Pairing: Various
Story Summary: When 17-year old Kagami Taiga gets the gift of his dreams, he’s completely unaware that he’s about to become an intricate part of the lifestyles of the rich, the fabulous and potentially overprotective bandmates.
Inspired by a joke about the Generation of Miracles being a boyband that evolved into an actual story because why the hell not
Date Started: January 11, 2014

Notes

Future Pairings: Kagami/Kuroko, Aomine/Himuro, Kasamatsu/Kise, Midorima/Takao, Akashi/Mayuzumi, Murasakibara/Kiyoshi

Chapter 01 – The Gift

celebritystatus

I guess it’s sort of unhealthy when you think about it.

You know, being in love with a celebrity. I mean, you’re probably never actually going to meet them in person and yet you spend all this time on them. You fall in love with them video by interview by single and suddenly you’re stuck in this spiral that you can’t escape from. Then you realize you’re just one of thousands and the odds continue to be stacked against you.

He’s absolutely perfect and, yeah, I probably won’t get the chance to so much as see his face in person since the Generation of Miracles concerts are always sold out so quickly.

I’d give anything to actually be able to afford concert tickets. I bet he’s even more amazing in person and all of this doesn’t matter anyway beCAUSE I AM NEVER ACTUALLY GOING TO PUBLISH THIS DJAVADUBYAD

And true to the words his fingers just finished typing out, Kagami Taiga highlighted the entire text on his computer, deleted it and shut his laptop with a heavy sigh. He slumped back on his floor, arms tucked under his head as he stared up at his ceiling.

The walls of his room were completely plastered. Every inch of them were filled with posters, newspaper clippings, magazine interviews and just about any other merchandise he could figure out a way to stick on his walls for the group he had been obsessed with for the past four years.

Generation of Miracles.

Back then, they were an up and coming idol group consisting of five men that debuted with a sound Kagami fell in love with instantly. He had been a huge fan of theirs from the very beginning. Everything about them had been dripping with talent and charm. Plus, Kagami wasn’t going to deny that each of them were incredibly attractive. It was almost hard to believe that they’d managed to find that many gorgeous men but Kagami had the living proof plastering his walls.

First, there was the leader of the group. Akashi Seijurou; known affectionately by the fanbase as simply A-chan. He was one of the smallest of the idol group but that by no means made him fade into the background. He had this brimming confidence in everything he did which made him incredibly attractive. Sometimes he would just glance at the camera and Kagami would feel his heart skip a beat. He was also sort of the darker one of the group. Usually in the music videos, he was some sort of antagonist but he was always smartly dressed. Not a thread out of place on that one. When he wasn’t performing with Generation of Miracles, he was a pretty big named actor. Kagami had watched several of his movies (okay, all of them) and he had to say that Akashi made one hell of an actor.

Next was probably Midorima Shintarou; known by the fanbase as Midorin. He was sort of like the mother of the group. He was always fretting about one thing or another and making sure all the other members were staying healthy and in shape and just generally looking out for them. It was pretty cute, really. Seeing him scold the other members in interviews and then push up his glasses was endearing every time; and Kagami had seen a lot of interviews. When he wasn’t with the group, Midorima was actually a very accomplished dancer. He originally got into the business by being the backup dancer to a lot of other idol groups before the industry finally put him front and center. He was hands down one of the best dancers in the idol group.

Then there was Murasakibara Atsushi; known by fanbase as Mukkun. He was sort of an odd addition to the group but that somehow made him all the more charming. He was more of a quiet guy but he towered over everyone else in the group with his size. He didn’t talk much in interviews but his fanbase was still pretty large. People really liked his whole gentle giant dynamic. It really was endearing. When he wasn’t performing, he was busy on TV shows for kids. Seeing him playing around with the children and dressing up in silly costumes and stuff was almost too captivating for the heart to handle. Kagami wasn’t really into that stuff but he could see why people liked him.

He definitely couldn’t forget about Kise Ryouta; known as Ki-chan. He was definitely one of the most popular of the group. He had an incredibly handsome face and he was extremely talented. He was energetic in all of his interviews and a bit of a flirt which Kagami – along with the entire fanbase – greatly appreciated. Even through a computer monitor, he still managed to come off like he was trying to charm you and you alone. When he wasn’t performing, he usually did modelling. He was another member that was in the entertainment business before he joined Generation of Miracles. He had a lot of photo shoot spreads in various fashion magazines (of which Kagami owned all) but he mainly did modelling for products targeted toward women. You know, perfumes and clothes and stuff. Kagami had most of the clipping plastered around his walls too. He was missing a couple but he was fine with it for now.

The most popular one of the group, however, was hands down Aomine Daiki; known simply as Daiki. When the group had originally debuted, he had been Kagami’s bias. His darker skin, his sharp gaze and that undeniably sexy smirk always set his skin ablaze. He was by far the sexiest man Kagami had ever laid eyes on (famous or not) and even if you didn’t care for the guy, it was impossible to dislike him. He was a bit of a jerk but just the right amount that he could still come off as seductive without being a total ass. It was distracting, really. He was the one member of the idol group that had been in the business for ages. He’d started out as a kid in commercials and tv shows but as soon as the music industry found out he had a voice, his career got fast tracked. He had been in a couple other small time idol groups before Generation of Miracles but this was the group that really got his name out there. He was also hands down the best singer of the group. Kagami could honestly listen to that man read the newspaper and he’d still probably be swooning. When he wasn’t performing, however, he was doing a lot of modelling work and he usually did a lot of sponsorship work for sporting goods and events. Being also a man who liked his sports, Kagami often encountered the crossover between his obsessions.

However, the man that had captured nearly all of Kagami’s attention wasn’t part of the original debut. There had been a sixth member that had joined the group three months after. There had been a lot of controversy in the fanbase. People immediately hated him. They had a variety of reasons but the main one was that they thought he threw off the dynamic of the group. They didn’t like how the entire group seemed to dote on him. They called him talentless and a joke and the backlash from his addition had been huge.

But all of that passed right over Kagami.

The first time he watched the debut video of him walking out onto that stage, Kagami had felt it. Those horribly embarrassing traits the moment you realize you’ve fallen in love. The butterflies in your stomach, the flush to your face, the way your throat seems to clamp shut, the sweaty palms, the restless feet, the impending sort of nausea that comes and goes as it pleases…. all of that from the moment he took the microphone from the stand, gave the camera a quiet little smile and bowed upon introducing himself.

Kagami had been screwed ever since.

The one and only Kuroko Tetsuya had stolen his heart from barely even thirty seconds on screen. Given his unpopularity, he didn’t have himself an affectionate nickname but Kagami had taken to simply calling him Tetsu. It was cute and the first time he heard Aomine use it in an interview, he’s adopted it almost instantly. Tetsu was new to the industry – brand new – so prior to Generation of Miracles, nobody knew anything about him. He was a very private kind of guy compared to the rest of the group too so even in his official profile and all the information he had given during interviews, he was careful in not letting on too much. He said he liked his privacy and Kagami really admired that. It was a pity, really, since Kagami tried so very hard to learn everything he could about the man who had stolen his heart but the information just wasn’t there.

Believe him, if it existed somewhere on the internet, Kagami would have found it. It took ages to even figure out that Tetsu’s favourite colour was probably blue. Probably because he and his best friend speculated it from the fact that he wore it so much. Although it did really accentuate the blue of his eyes. Kagami sighed happily at the thought. He had such beautiful eyes. Big and straightforward. Kagami liked that. So maybe it was simply the industry who urged him to wear blues but even in casual pictures taken by paparazzi of the group, he was usually wearing it. Not that the pictures usually showed Tetsu properly; he was usually hidden behind one of the other members and the only indication of him was his stature and those unruly blue locks of his. Kagami bet his hair was soft to touch. He often wondered what it’d feel like to run his fingers through it.

He bet it’d be warm…. His skin was probably soft too…..

Wait, what was he talking about again?

He shook his head and sat up quickly. He put his laptop back on his desk and then finally started to get himself ready for bed. If he stayed up past 3 AM again on his computer, he was going to wind up falling asleep in class and he couldn’t afford another detention.

Being at the tender age of 17, he was still reliant on his parents for living funds but since they both worked overseas, he at least had the pleasure of knowing what it felt like to live alone. He loved every minute of it. He liked being able to set his own bedtime and make up his own routines. Plus, his insistent need to keep things clean was made much easier when it was only himself he had to look after.

Well, and one more.

“Nigou.” Kagami whistled softly, glancing to the door and expecting to see the little rugrat scamper in but instead he sees movement from his bed and he looks over.

His bed was an occupied mess that contained six dakimakura that he slept with every night. True to the rest of his room, he had one for each member of Generation of Miracles. They were originally releases done with their original debut and so truthfully, there were only technically five of them. However, with the late edition of Tetsu (and Kagami’s need to have one), his best friend and her amazing photoshop skills had designed the sixth pillow and had two custom made.

Naturally, it was the one Kagami slept with the most.

It was also the one that little Nigou was currently claiming as his own.

He was tucked down between all the pillows but he laid his head down on Tetsu’s pillow. He was wagging his tail and looking up at Kagami with those big giant eyes of his that Kagami loved so much.

“Oi. Off, Nigou. I let you have it last night.” Kagami grumbles, hitting his light and crawling into bed. He picked the puppy up and placed him onto Daiki’s pillow before he wrapped his arms around Tetsu’s and got himself comfortable.

The pup then wandered over and decided to lay down next to Kagami’s stomach so they could both enjoy the pillow. He grumbled softly, “You’re lucky you’re cute…”

Kagami had never been much of a dog person. He hadn’t ever pictured himself owning one of these furry little critters but he had had a perfect motivator.

When Tetsu wasn’t performing, he was an activist. He did a lot of volunteer and charity work for a variety of topics and he appeared in a lot of commercials to help sponsor charity projects and donations and such. There had been one particular commercial that had been released to help advocate for adopting abandoned animals that needed new homes. Tetsu being completely surrounded by dogs who were happy and enthusiastic to see him had been more than Kagami’s heart was capable of taking and the next day he found himself at a pet shelter.

He’d gone there with no ideas of what he wanted or what he was looking for and truth be told, he only really went there to look. He wanted to see what it was that Tetsu was speaking up about.

But then he saw this little devil currently digging claws into his stomach from behind a cage and Kagami had to have him. He knew it was a bit weird to think it but Nigou had eyes so similar to Tetsu’s that he couldn’t resist taking the pup home. It was also how he adopted the name. Kagami reasoned that Nigou would marginally less creepy than simply calling him Tetsu as well. So now he had this tiny husky pup to love and occupy his apartment and frankly, he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Letting his eyes finally close, taking in the familiar scent of his room, he let himself finally drift off with happy and hopeful dreams that every fanboy has in the middle of the night!


Kagami was busy making his breakfast before school when he heard a knock on the door. Ducking under the cupboard as he was busy making himself some eggs, he gazed at it curiously. Strange, he wasn’t expecting anyone and certainly not this early.

Turning down the heat on the stove a moment, he wiped his hands on his apron and hurried to the door. “Coming!”

He nearly tripped over Nigou who scurried happily to the entrance before him and he picked the pup up with his foot to set him aside before he opened the door.

He light up immediately. “Tatsuya!”

At the door stood Kagami’s older brother with a lazy smile on his face. Himuro Tatsuya. He was dressed casually in jeans and a t-shirt with a sweater hanging loosely over his shoulders so he could only assume that he had the day off. Tatsuya wasn’t his brother by birth but they’d been friends for so long that they might as well have been. By then, however, Tatsuya was 19 and in university with his own apartment and a good paying job. He was everything that Kagami aspired to be. He wanted to follow in his brother’s footsteps.

To see him here so early, however, was a treat. “I don’t normally see you up before noon. Is everything okay?”

Stepping into the apartment when Kagami moved aside, he wandered in to ruffle at Nigou’s ears. He raised a paw to Tatsuya and he gave the pup a high five. A greeting trick that Kagami had taught him. He was a smart little guy. “Nah, everything is fine. I just got something in the mail last night so I was off to deliver it.”

“Oh.” Kagami replied and shut the door, returning to the kitchen. “You want breakfast?”

“Nah, I can’t stay. Maybe next time. I’m just an errand boy today.” Tatsuya replies, lifting an envelope from his sweater and waving it in the air.

Kagami didn’t even glance up, busy with his cooking. “You sure? I can make you some toast or something if you’re in a—“

Taiga.” Tatsuya stressed his voice and the redhead looked up. He waved the envelope in the air again when he had Kagami’s attention. “I’m here to deliver it to you.” He smiled.

Blinking, Kagami turned off the burner and slid his eggs onto his plate. “For me? Why would you have mail for me?”

“You’ll have to open it to find out.”

Once Kagami felt he could leave his kitchen again, he took off his apron and hung it. He was already dressed in his school uniform – as part of his routine – and he went to grab the envelope from Tatsuya.

“Don’t read the labels. Just open it.” His older brother warned when he caught Kagami about to look at the return address. Looking up at him, Kagami gave him a suspicious look as he started to tear open the paper.

“This isn’t some weird prank, is it?”

“It’s way too early for anything like that.”

Taking it out of the envelope, he took hold of a piece of paper. When he opened the folded paper, six thicker pieces fell out. Blinking, he grabbed hold of them, turned them proper and let his eyes scan the text.

The envelope fell to the floor.

His eyes went wide.

“T-T-T-This—“

“I know, the seats aren’t really that good but getting those tickets was hard. I tried for three of their concerts before I managed to get them.”

“This- Tatsuya! Tatsuya!” Kagami repeated, waving the tickets at him like he had no idea what they were. “You got tickets to Generation of Miracles?! How?! I’ve been trying for years to get tickets!! Tatsuya, how-?”

Tatsuya just smiled. “Keep reading, you dork. There is more.”

Kagami blinked and flicked through the first three tickets to look. More? What could possibly be better than finally getting to see his favourite idol group live-?

He wish he could say he had a less lame reaction but upon reading those words, his knees buckled and he sunk to the floor. He couldn’t find words. His fingers clutched onto those tickets like they were made of solid gold. “These-“ He starts breathlessly after a good, long minute. He looked up at Tatsuya, the shock all over his face. “These are—“

“–backstage passes to meet the band~” Tatsuya grinned. “I won them in a radio station draw. It includes a meet and greet with the band but this one is a special platinum edition. They only gave out ten of these and they were only by prize winners. You get to have dinner with the—“

Kagami was on his feet instantly, clutching the tickets to his chest and towering over Tatsuya. “I get to have dinner with Tetsu? The Tetsu? MyTetsu?”

Tatsuya snaps his fingers. “Tetsu! That’s his name. I couldn’t remember if it was Tak—“

Kagami grabs at his shoulders, looks him dead in the eye and with all the seriousness he can muster, he says, “It’s Tetsu and you are the single greatest brother—no, man—that—no human! You are the single greatest human being that will ever walk this earth, Tatsuya.”

Tatsuya simply chuckled. “So I take it you like them.”

“Tatsuya! Are you kidding?!” Kagami cries, waving the tickets in his face. He runs a hand through his hair, trying to find some way to contain his overwhelming joy. “I get to meet Tetsu in the flesh. I—he—he’ll be right there. Right in front of me. He’ll—“ He bends over with a groan then, holding himself up on his thighs. “Ohh, I think I’m gonna pass out.”

Tatsuya gives a nervous chuckles, reaching to pat his hand on his back. “Deep breaths, Taiga. Don’t pass out, okay? I know you’re excited but just try and focus.”

“Right, right, okay, breathe… eh? Wait a minute…” Kagami stands, flicking through the tickets and slowly straightens once again. “So there is only one of these backstage tickets for the dinner, right?”

“Yeah.”

“But all three of these are good for the meet and greet?”

“That’s right. The letter that originally came with it gave all the details. You get half ‘n hour for the meet and greet where they’d sign a bunch of stuff if you want and you can talk with them and afterwards, the platinum pass holders get to go out for dinner with them. The location wasn’t disclosed. Probably for security purposes.” Tatsuya explained, watching in amusement as Kagami shifted on his feet and the grin was wide and shining on his face.

“Dinner with Tetsu….. ah, wait! Why are there three of them? I mean, I assume you’re coming with me and obviously I’m going but who are the extra tickets for?”

Tatsuya rubbed the back of his neck. “Well, I figured you’d want to bring a friend. I mean, you can bring whoever you want but I figured you’d want to bring that friend you’re always talking to online—“

Sa-chan!! I have to call her immediately!” He turned quickly and booked it down the hall in the least amount of steps he could take. “Where did I put my cellphone?! I- hah!”

Tatsuya lingering in the doorway with a chuckle. He slid off his shoes and wandered over to the kitchen. Looking down at the mountain of bacon and eggs stacked onto the plate on the counter, Tatsuya got a fork out of the drawer. He was sure Kagami wouldn’t miss one.

When the house was suddenly filled with excited yelling, Tatsuya helped himself to a second. Kagami would be busy for a while. As he nibbled on another piece of egg, he couldn’t help chuckling to himself.

He couldn’t recall the last time his dorky little brother had looked so happy.

TO BE CONTINUED ★ ☆ ★ Constructive critique always welcome!

Modern Lepers ☆ Kuroko no Basket

Series/Pairing: Kuroko no Basket Aomine Daiki/Kuroko Tetsuya
Prompt: Homeless AU
Date Written: 06/01/2014

It was the end of summer. Not that end of summer vacation garbage but real summer. The time of year when the trees started to fade to yellow and the winds got a little colder. How some mornings you woke up shivering only to have the day be warm and sunny. The time of year where people were starting to have sales on their summer lines and advertising fall’s low, low prices.

That’s where Aomine Daiki stood now. Before a sign in a shop window, advertising running shoes for 50% off. He gazed at them in envy through the glass before looking down at his own tattered pair. The soles were barely hanging on anymore and the laces had long since been shredded. Even if he wanted to tie them tighter, he wouldn’t be able to get the laces through those tiny loops anymore. The inside where he wiggled his toes was so worn down that he could feel the sharp edges of the checkered underside.

There was no chance that these were going to last another winter. They barely managed to make it through the last one. Aomine was lucky to still have all his toes after how much frostbite he’d suffered. He’d have to start looking early if he stood any chance of finding replacements.

His eyes slide back to the window and a weight settled into his stomach.

But what he wouldn’t give to be able to afford a new pair. The laces in mint condition, the leather still crisp and black and not a single damaging fray on the entire shoe. He bet it fit like a dream. He couldn’t remember the last time every step didn’t cause him pain. Though he supposed at this point, his feet were so calloused and numb to the abuse that it would matter little. The thought made the weight in his stomach heavier.

He adjusted his jacket around his collar as a particularly chilling breeze graced his neck and he grumbled softly to himself. He hated the cold.

Hurrying away from the window before the owner noticed and decided to chase him away, Aomine ditched into the nearest back alley and continued on his way. There was no sense on pining for something he had no chance of getting. He needed supper.

It had been three years since Aomine had run away from home. At age 13, he’d given his father the finger to the sound of glass shattering inches from his face and never looked back. Honestly, he hadn’t even been back to the same section of the city since then. He didn’t want to risk running into the son of a bitch. Not that he doubted he left the apartment. He certainly didn’t when Aomine was around. He only ever left for trips to the liquor store. Some twisted part in the back of his head hoped the old man had drank himself to death already. The world could do with a few less of his type.

In the three years of sleeping in backstreet corners and fishing pop cans out of the trash bins for what little money was currently jingling in his pocket, Aomine had gained the right street smarts. He’d learned how to dodge the cops, stay out of sight and keep to himself. He’d learned the safest places to sleep without getting mugged, the warmest areas during the winter and which restaurants he could rummage through the trash to find some half decent food when he couldn’t afford anything. Not only food but people threw out so many things that were still useful. Aomine even knew the exact part of town to go hunting about in if he hoped to find a half decent pair of shoes. It was a classier side of town though so he’d have to be careful when he finally went about it.

Today, however, was a decent day. Although he didn’t have nearly the coin to get those sneakers, he did have just the right amount of change to get himself a bag of chips. Just a small one but he could afford it all the same.

If there was one rule that Aomine had stuck to in all these years, it was to never steal. The rule had been bent quickly over the years and his lenience of going into people’s yard to shift through their unwanted junk had wavered but he never stole from stores. Not once. Despite how difficult things had gotten some times, despite how hungry he had been some weeks, he couldn’t bring himself to do it.

There was still a part of him – a small part – that believed this was all only temporary. That once he hit the right stride or made the right connections or finally turned the legal age, this would all turn around. That if he had any hope of a future, comfortable life, he had to keep his record clean. So far, he had. Never once had he been taken into the police station and his name in the system was still a crisp, clean blank slate. If he could help it, he planned to keep it that way for as long as possible. He wasn’t stupid; he had wanted to be a police officer himself since he was a kid. He knew how things worked.

Now he was just hoping to make it to see 17.

He passed a woman as he entered the store who shied away from him as he passed like he was made of something toxic. He looked back at her with a blank, bored expression. It was always the same. Nobody showed courtesy to the homeless – especially not one so young. Everyone always assumed he was some sort of crazed junkie or acted like he was packing some sort of weapon. The bitterness of walking into a store like he was going to stand the place up with a gun had faded over the years but it didn’t stop it from being an annoyance. At the very least, he knew he wasn’t up to no good and that was all he had come to rely on.

It was just him now. One single kid. He trusted in himself, believed in himself and that was what he relied on to get him through every day.

Even when he put his potato chip selection on the counter and dumped his handful of coin on the glass for the clerk to count out, he didn’t flinch at the nervous look she kept giving him. His gaze slid out the window and he let himself enjoy the brief warmth of sheltered walls.

These short moments were going to become treasures soon. He wanted to enjoy them while shop owners were less on alert for loiterers.

He accepted his single coin of change from the clerk and tossed it into her tip jar. It wasn’t exactly like he could use it and even though every yen counted, he saw no reason not to thank her for letting him buy his chips. Most convenient stores he went to chased him out on principal, even if he was a paying customer. It was nice to have ones that still accepted his change like he was a human being instead of some stray cat.

He wasted no time in popping the bag open as he left and held it up to his nose, taking in the crisp scent of them. His mouth watered and he happily popped one into his mouth. He felt himself warm over the simple joy as he chewed and continued on his way.

His feet took him nowhere in particular, simply walking for the sake of activity as he ate. The only moment he spared was when he finished the bag and he crunched it up to stuff into his pocket. The chips may have been gone but if he got hungry later, he could still lick the bag clean of flavour. Something so savoury would be needed if he had to eat something a little less than flavourful.

He passed by another back alley, intent on crossing the street when the sudden sickening yelp of a dog struck his ears. He stiffened, the sound settling uneasily into his spine almost instantly. He back peddled, peeking into the back alley he had just passed. It was a surprisingly dark one, thin in size compared to most and was really just a gap between the old buildings that cradled it. As such, there were no dumpsters or trash bins to obscure his sight and he could witness it perfect.

Fire set itself loose in Aomine’s veins instantly.

It only took a second to take in the scene. There were two men looming over a kid half their size – in both height and build. Aomine couldn’t see their face but that was of little importance. One of the men was currently yanking the kid back and the other tore something from his arms. It was small and quivering and when a head popped out of the ball, Aomine saw it was a puppy. Just a tiny thing, too thin to have been loved and fur too ratted to have been anything but a stray.

“Please leave him alone!” Aomine’s ear perked when the kid shouted and he quickly realised it was a boy. It was strange, really, to hear such distress in a tone but still hear him be polite. “He didn’t do anything!” The kid struggled but it was clear he stood no chance.

He had no opportunity to contemplate it, though. The word bubbled to his throat before he could stop himself.

“Hey!” He shouted so loudly into the small alley that his voice echoed off the walls. The men looked up and around, confused for a moment until their eyes landed on Aomine. On rare occasions, even the prospect of getting caught in the act was enough to scare some people off.

Perhaps today wasn’t such a lucky day after all.

“Why don’t you mind your own business, kid?” One of them sneered, grabbing the puppy by the scruff of the neck so hard that the poor thing gave a sickening cry. “Go back to mommy and leave the men to their work.”

Aomine’s stomach gave a dangerous twist as he ran into the alleyway. “You consider picking on a helpless animal work?” He questioned through gritted teeth, his eyes sharp as he ran up to him.

The man saw that Aomine wasn’t stopping and he smirked widely, showing crooked and rotting teeth. Without a thought, he threw the dog hard against the brick wall to free his hands and the poor thing gave another piercing whimper.

Something inside Aomine snapped.

When the man threw his punch, it was in vain. Aomine sidestepped it and planted his fist with surprising force into his nose. He felt it break under his knuckles and watched as the man was thrown back in surprise. Clearly, he hadn’t thought some kid would be packing such a punch. The man cursed loudly as he fell on his ass and Aomine glared down at him with venom in his gaze. As the offender held his now broken nose, the blood practically pouring down his face, Aomine felt a large hand grab onto his shoulder. He turned in time to catch a fist on his jaw. His teeth ached at being grazed but Aomine had been in his fair share of fights before and he ignored the pain. He threw the man’s arm off him and noticed from the corner of his eye as the boy he’d been holding back rushed past him. He thought nothing of it then as he threw punch after punch into the man’s teeth. His knuckles split against them and he could feel the ache settling deep into his wrist but he did not stop. He threw a knee into the man’s stomach and when he caved to his knees, Aomine threw one final slug across his cheek with a sickening thud as the man’s head snapped to the side and he hit the concrete.

He didn’t want to stick around and wait for him to get back up.

Turning on his heels quickly to retrieve the puppy, he came face to face with the kid. He had no chance to even get a good look at his face though. All he noted was that the kid had the dog cradled into his arms and hugged close to his chest and that was good enough for him.

“Come on, let’s get out of here.” Aomine spoke with urgency, grabbing the kid’s upper arm and dragging him in a run out of the alley, leaving the men groaning and cursing as they left.

He didn’t stop running, even as he felt the kid stumbling to keep up with him until they were at least two blocks away. He then ducked them in behind an apartment building and forced the kid to crouch down behind a dumpster with him.

He took only a single moment to take a deep breath before he finally looked over at him. “Are you okay?” He was breathing heavily as he finally let go of the kid’s arm and now that he was looking at him properly, he could see the boy was as well.

He was a tiny thing, alright. At the very least, he looked small from where Aomine was crouching. Vibrant blue hair poked out from a tattered toque secured around his ears and a scarf that was likely too thin to be useful was draped around his neck. He pulled it from his neck then to wipe the fur of the shaking puppy in his arms. He was pale, thin and dressed too badly for the weather for it not to be obvious.

He was just a kid alright – a kid exactly like Aomine.

“I’m fine.” He spoke up, finally. “Thank you.”

Aomine’s eyes slid from the boy to the puppy. His bloody fingers reached out to touch the poor thing but it recoiled and he hesitated. “…Is he okay?”

“He doesn’t appear to be bleeding but I’m not sure what they did to him before I showed up.” He spoke, his gaze hard as he looked down at the dog. The distaste of it was written all over his face; his blank stare only seeming to add to the effect. “They were taking turns kicking him across the alley when I arrived.”

Aomine bit the inside of his lip to keep his temper at bay. “I should have broken their legs.” He says, the vile tone might have shaken anyone else but the kid seemed unfazed. He actually seemed to agree.

“I think he’ll be okay now. It’s probably just bruising. At least, nothing seems broken.” He holds the creature closer to his chest but the tiny husky continued to shiver.

Aomine unzipped his jacket then and kneeled down beside them. He opened it and gestured. “Here, give him here. I’ll warm him up.”

The boy looked over at him then. It was in that moment that Aomine got the full gaze of those blue eyes and he felt his spine still. It was the sort of gaze that felt like it was looking right through you.

It made Aomine uncomfortable.

After a long moment, the kid got up onto his knees as well and slowly handed the creature over to him. Very carefully, Aomine bundled the injured pup against his breast and zipped his jacket up around it until only its little head was poking out of his collar. He put his arm around his front to ensure the puppy stayed in place and he felt the creature squirm. For a moment, he thought the dog might try and bite him or escape but as the warmth started to settle into his sore little bones, he grew still. Finally, he settled completely and looked up at Aomine through his jacket.

He blinked. He looked from the puppy to the kid and back again. It was exactly like he was being stared at with the same pair of eyes. It was sort of unsettling but as the puppy soon rested his tired head against his chest, he felt his insides soften. “There you go, boy.” He mumbled softly to it. “See, we’re not going to hurt you. You’re safe now.”

He reached his bloody hand up to pet the puppy reassuringly but had his hand taken instead. Pale fingers took his and drew his hand away from the puppy to settle into the boy’s palm. Not only was the white of his skin a sharp contrast to the tan of his but his touch was like ice. The kid must have been freezing.

“You’re bleeding.” He said after a moment, looking up at Aomine.

Aomine felt a warmth at the base of his spine upon meeting that gaze again and the second time around, it felt less unsettling. Accompanied with the worried tone, it almost felt… soft. “Uh, yeah, I caught that one guy’s teeth when I hit him. It’s fine. I get injured a lot and I’m quick to heal.”

“It’ll get infected if you don’t do something about it.” The boy retorted.

“It’s fine, really. I’ve had much worse and I’m still perfectly healthy. It’ll start to– wait, what are you doing?” He questioned, his eyes a little wide in surprise as the boy took his tattered scarf and started to wrap his hand.

“Thank you.” He repeated softly, his touch light as he secured the cloth around his hand. “For helping us.”

Aomine felt embarrassed heat creep up his neck but it never hit his face. He pulled his hand back when the boy was done and turned his hand over. The wrapping was… actually pretty good. He flexed his fingers and saw that the scarf didn’t slip.

“… What’s your name, kid?” He asked after a moment, looking up at him. Honestly, he had quite a few more questions to ask him before his name but he held himself back. It wasn’t every day that he met kids like himself, in the same situation. He knew from his own backstory that most had their own demons and reasons for thinking a dirty street corner was a better place to be than in a warm home with a proper bed. He’d learned to keep his mouth shut. He’d learned to not ask.

The boy tilted his head, looking thoughtful before, “….Kuroko.” He said after a moment and then added, “justKuroko.”

Blinking at that answer, he supposed he shouldn’t be surprised. Most people didn’t exactly give up their names while on the street. He’d met plenty of people who gave themselves nicknames. Kuroko, however, Kuroko sounded like a last name.

“Aomine.” He introduced himself, finding himself smiling before he intended to.

The kid blinked up at him, expression still blank and gave a soft nod. “It’s nice to meet you, Aomine-kun.”

And that was how he met him. His little partner in crime. If Aomine believed in things like fate, he would have recognised that moment as such. As it was, he believed the world happened with the choices you made and upon meeting this kid, he chose to stick around him.

So that’s what he did.

From that first moment, without ever intending to, they’d wound up staying at each other’s sides. It was something that had never been outright mentioned or acknowledged. It had just felt natural to be side by side. To spend days walking around the streets without destination or purpose, simply in each other’s company and talking about nothing. They collected bottles and cans together and sought out food and shelter that was good enough for two. Well, three really. The tiny tattered pup they’d rescued together that day had been dubbedNigou by Aomine for the striking resemblance between the two. He followed them around obediently, slept together with them and happily munched on what scrapes he either found himself or they’d given to him.

Even as the weeks faded into the cold and the summer days were long gone, the three of them lingered together.

But there was a sort of intimacy that always seemed to be there. It was hard not to when you spent every day with someone, trying to survive to greet the next few sunrises. Aomine noticed it in the way Kuroko looked at him sometimes when they’d come across something useful. He noticed it in the way Kuroko would play with Nigou and look over to Aomine to see if he was following. He noticed it in the way that on particularly cold nights, Kuroko would burrow himself closer and closer to his chest.

It was a night exactly like that that Aomine had ever heard Kuroko speak about himself. Usually he dodged Aomine’s questions or found some way to have Aomine answering his own questions with his own answers. He’d long since confessed his history to Kuroko but the boy had yet to give up anything about himself.

But that night, the night of the first snowfall, he’d opened up.

Curled up together on a park bench and covered by a dirty old blanket that frankly smelled heavily of cat piss, Kuroko faced him. They were close, given the small space of the bench and when Kuroko looked up at him, his nose had brushed Aomine’s chin. Nigou was burrowed under the blanket, nestled between their stomachs and kicked at Aomine’s stomach as he got comfortable.

It was warm like this. Even as the snow started to fall over them, Aomine didn’t mind.

Kuroko had reached up out of the blanket and pulled off his toque then. Blinking, Aomine watched as he lifted it up and tugged it over Aomine’s bare ears. They’d yet to come across any headgear for Aomine and he had just been using his hood on his jacket. So the cloth over his frozen ears felt like such a relief.

But it was short lived as he reached up to take it off. “You idiot, don’t give me your things. You need it more than I do.”

Kuroko stopped him though. His hand grabbed Aomine’s elbow under the blanket before the larger boy could even reach his face. He watched then as Kuroko tucked his head under the blanket, disappearing from sight and felt his face press against his chest. Aomine felt his neck warm at the feeling. Kuroko curled his fingers into his jacket and shifted himself a little closer. Aomine drew an arm around his torso without needing to think about it.

“I’m okay like this.” Kuroko spoke up, his voice muffled by the blanket and Aomine noticed he was speaking against his chest.

He’d normally curse his pounding heart but right now, the flush of joy was currently spreading warmth throughout his entire body and he let the traitor do as he would this time. Kuroko often had that effect on him. Tonight seemed like a particularly bad one. He even felt the warmth reach his toes, his feet now nestled in a new used pair of running shoes. Feet he now settled between Kuroko’s.

“Fine but you better not leave the blanket. If you got sick, I don’t know what I’ll do.” He confesses, his voice quiet as he lets his eyes close.

There was a lull then, a silence that lingered so Aomine assumed they were done for the day and it was time to get some much deserved rest. He was relaxed, comfortable even against the stiff wood of the park bench. The two most precious lives to him currently curled up at his side. As he slowly dozed into sleep, he couldn’t help thinking that these past few months might have honestly been the happiest time of his life.

And then the warmth of his slumber was cut short by a soft sound at his chest – a sniffle. His eyes opened at that, glancing down at the blanket and strained his ears. Another quiet sniffle and now there were hints of labored breathing. Aomine’s gaze softened. It didn’t take a genius to figure it out.

“Kuroko.” He said quietly, drawing his arm more around the boy crying silently into his chest. “It’s okay.”

“I’m fine.” He hears as a response and honestly, his voice truly does sound normal. If Aomine didn’t feel he knew the kid, he probably would have taken his word for it.

He curls down some, pressing his faze against the blanket that protected Kuroko’s head and spoke softly against it. “No, you’re not. What’s wrong?” He waits for a response but receives none. “…Come on, you can tell me.”

The silence lingers after his words but Aomine doesn’t speak. He’d been used to this. Sometimes when Aomine would ask Kuroko about himself, the kid would just go completely quiet. So he didn’t push; instead he just remained still and waited hopefully.

“… Why?” Kuroko practically whispered finally.

Aomine blinked. “What do you mean why?”

“Why would you care?” He asks after another moment. Aomine feels fingers curl into his jacket. “I’m just a stranger.”

Aomine rolls his eyes. “Of course I would care. I like you, you idiot. You mean something to me.”

“But you don’t know anything about me.”

“What do I need to know? You’re a good guy, Kuroko. You stepped into a fight to save a dog you had no chance of taking proper care of against two guys you said yourself had no chance of winning against just because it was the right thing to do.” He speaks, quoting the boy from a conversation they’d had during their first meeting. “If that alone doesn’t say everything I need to know about you, I don’t know what does.”

He’s quiet in response – quiet so long that Aomine wonders if maybe he is ignoring him again. “Hey.” He tries again, this time his tone a little softer. “I don’t need to know anything else about you than what I’ve already learned. I don’t buy into that past crap. All I care about is who you are right now. That’s good enough. You don’t have to feel like you’re hiding something.”

It was those words and a few persuasive little kisses to the top of his head that finally launched Kuroko into giving up those details Aomine had been curious to hear.

Apparently, Kuroko had been out on the street for about two years prior to meeting Aomine. He had been an only child, living with his parents. His mother had been sick. Mentally. She had been diagnosed with some illness that Aomine couldn’t remember the name of seconds after Kuroko had said it. Basically, it meant that she was on a whole mess of medication. Apparently it had started because she couldn’t even look at Kuroko without launching into violent episodes. Kuroko said any time that he would cry or speak or even be in the same room as her, it would cause her to snap. So he always had to be very careful to stay out of sight from her. He learned to blend into the background and keep quiet and out of sight.

Eventually, the violent episodes stopped when she became medicated… but then she completely forgot about Kuroko’s existence. He said that he didn’t know if she was just in denial or if it was a side effect of the medication but she soon talked like she had never even had a kid, even when Kuroko was standing right beside her. If she ever caught sight of him, he said it was like she was looking right through him. Her eyes were dead, like she was just looking at an inanimate object.

His father had tried to help. He had tried to mediate between them and even pointed Kuroko out a few times to her, only to have her give the man a sweet smile and say the words that grew to haunt Kuroko: “I have no son.”

It had been that that originally caused Kuroko to run away from home. He thought about how it wouldn’t matter if he disappeared. If he was gone, maybe she could finally be happy. Maybe his father could finally stop stressing over his broken little family.

He never said it but Aomine suspected he also thought running away from home would stop him believing he didn’t need to be born. The words never left his lip but the tone had been there. It had been there in the way he pressed closer and closer to Aomine as he told his story.

It was in those moments of hearing how someone could do something so cruel to someone so precious that Aomine decided he wasn’t going to let Kuroko out of his sight ever again.

As he curled his arms more around the boy and lulled him to sleep finally with such promises, Aomine found every word he spoke to be truth.

He believed them and for the first time since he was on his own, he thought maybe he finally found someone else he could believe in too.

FIN ★ ☆ ★ Constructive critique always welcome!