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!

04 ☆ 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

Y’all probably thought I was dead, huh? That’s fair. I haven’t written in a long while (so many stressful things in this past year) so I apologize for any gaps in quality. I hope to be able to pick this story back up more regularly. I appreciate all your support in my absence from this story and nothing would make me happier than to see those expectations fulfilled. Now, onward…

Chapter 04 – Homecoming

When Kagami had burst into that room and made his proclamation, he hadn’t expected things to be this difficult. He figured it would be much like in the movies. The big reveal, cut to the happy ending and that would be the end of that.

What he hadn’t expected was the mass amount of paperwork and people you have to deal with in order to actually become a foster parent. He didn’t realize you needed background checks and for someone to look into your entire history. He didn’t know that the interviewer would have to pick apart your lifestyle to make sure you had the suitable qualities to maintain a healthy household. He didn’t know his apartment was so dangerous and non-kid friendly until the lady had written him a list of everything that needed fixing before she would even consider a follow up inspection. He hadn’t thought of the fact that the room that contained all his exercise equipment was now going to have to be moved into the living room or storage because little Tetsuya would need a room of his own.

Now having faced down all those difficulties and headaches after an agonizing three month period, he knew full well why the movies cut to the happy ending. He had a new found respect for his own adoptive mother. If Alex had put up with all of this, adopting both him and Tatsuya when they were problem children, she must have really loved them.

Now, however, with his apartment fixed, his exercise room now sporting the hollow makings of a kid’s room and his pen now lingering over the last line on the official government document, he felt like it was all worth it.

Kuroko’s leg had finally healed up enough for him to be released from the hospital and the kid had been waiting for Kagami to get everything ready.

He was already working on rehabilitation and Kagami had been briefed (although he figured it was more of a lecture) by the jerk doctor about the risks involved in home-care. He now knew the full, detailed list of all of Kuroko’s medication and side effects which Midorima had conveniently printed out for him. Kagami was certain he only did it to be condescending because he figured Kagami wouldn’t be able to remember any of it. He was probably right. There was just too much information; too many conflicting side effects.

However, Kagami had taken that sheet home and stuck it to his kitchen wall with tape so it would never run the risk of getting lost. He made sure to stick it right beside the calendar too so it would all be easy to find. He had already gotten the calendar and filled it out with all of Kuroko’s future appointments and check ups. It had been Tatsuya’s idea and a good one – Kagami would never have to worry about whether or not that rehab appointment had been at six or seven.

He’d moved everything around in his apartment so having a wheelchair in there would be no problem. He wanted to make sure that little Tetsuya could move around where ever he wanted to go and would encounter as little trouble as possible. It was also convenient that his apartment had a ramp to get into the building and an elevator to get to his floor. So long as that didn’t break down, Tetsuya would have full range of the area for when he was well enough to move around on his own.

Kagami couldn’t wait for that. Midorima had warned him that that could take months – or even years – but Kagami didn’t care.

He’d visited that kid every day for these past three months, even if he could only drop in for five minutes every day. He’d watched him go from that blank eyed stare aimed only at his knees, to his gaze being lifted and looking around the room freely.

He still hadn’t said a word to Kagami or anyone else for that matter but it was a small detail. He could see on those visits – and Takao confirmed it for the times when he wasn’t there – that Tetsuya had regained some of his life. His appetite had come back, even if he did eat like a bird. His complexion wasn’t as tired and was even a little pink sometimes. His cheeks were fuller. He didn’t smile but there were times when Kagami was sure he would have been.

He just needed more time.

If Kagami had learned anything in his past ten years after high school, it was more patience. Although he wasn’t exactly a poster boy, dealing with all of the adoption service politics and waiting for that kid to be well enough to come home had managed to give him a sense of humility.

Besides, he wasn’t alone. Kiyoshi and his family had already offered their support if he ever needed help and Tatsuya had made it very clear that if Kagami ever felt overwhelmed, he was to call him immediately. Even Takao had been supportive, saying he wouldn’t mind taking Tetsuya and Nigou off his hands some weekends. Kagami didn’t mind – Tetsuya seemed to like him. At least, Takao had been the only person to get him to do anything – from taking his medicine to actually eating.

Kagami figured Takao was pretty okay in his books.

His pen pressed down to the paper and he scratched out his signature before printing his name on the bottom. He then set the pen down on the stack and slid it across the table.

“Very well, Mr. Kagami Taiga.” The woman smiled at him, taking the papers and placing them into a binder. “We will contact you again in six months time, after your probation period, to talk about formal adoption.” She stood and Kagami followed, offering his hand when she extended hers.

The handshake was firm. “It’s been a pleasure working with you, Mr. Kagami. I look forward to seeing you again. Take good care of him; I’m sure you’ll do a good job.”

“I’ll keep a good eye on him, don’t worry.” He nodded simply and followed her out.

She gave him one last wave before heading on her way and Kagami sighed loudly. The sheer relief from finally being able to take Tetsuya home was overwhelming. He only hoped he was ready. He deserved somebody who could take care of him properly.

Once in the hall, he looked over to Himuro who had been waiting for him to finish up with the adoption agency. Kagami found himself thankful that Tatsuya hadn’t shot down his choice. He had been uncertain at first, worried that Kagami would wind up stretching himself too thin but after they’d both talked with their mother over the phone, those worries had more or less faded out. Alex had been absolutely thrilled at the idea, even going so far as to tell Kagami that he always had the makings of a great dad. He didn’t entirely believe her but he’d be lying if he said it didn’t give him a confidence boost.

Himuro stood at the sight of Kagami and gave a quiet smile. It was odd to see him out of uniform these days but he’d taken a personal day to help Kagami get everything settled. “Everything set?”

Kagami rubbed a hand down the front of his shirt and sighed. “Yeah. Yeah, it’s official.”

“You look calmer than I thought you’d be.” Himuro nodded as he fell into step with Kagami, heading for the exit.

Kagami rubbed the back of his neck. “Really? I feel pretty nervous.”

“You’ll be fine.” He replied simply and Kagami noted how there was absolute faith in that tone. He glanced at him from the corner of his eye as Himuro smiled quietly at the ground. “You’ve got your heart in the right place. Now all that’s left is to take the kid home and prove it.”

“Easy for you to say.” Kagami ran a hand through his hair as the sun shined down on them. He looked up into the sky and noted how it was a flawless blue and even as his gaze lowered to the city, he noted how everything seemed to vibrate colour.

That was good. A perfect day to bring little Tetsuya home.

“Taiga.” Himuro spoke up and Kagami realized he spaced out a moment.

“Ah, right. Sorry. Let’s go.”


“Today is the big day, Kuroko. Are you excited?” Takao grinned, helping him stuff his little arms through the striped t-shirt.

Naturally, he got no response. Simply a blank stare and a neutral expression. Little oval blue eyes watched at his arm popped out the other side and then lowered when Takao went about fitting the collar over his head.

That never stopped Takao from trying, though.

“It’ll be nice to finally get out of the hospital and see the world again. You can go to stores and buy ice cream and take Nigou out to play.”

As if he understood the words perfectly, Nigou weaseled himself onto Kuroko’s lap and looked up at Takao with a happily wagging tail. Takao reached down with a grin and scratched behind his remaining ear with a chuckle. “That’s right, buddy. You’ll be getting some freedom too. Try not to terrorize the fireman too much, okay? He’ll be the one keeping your food dish full now. Keep the tormenting to a minimum.”

Nigou let out a single bark and tried to lick Takao’s retreating hand before it returned to Kuroko.

The boy had already pulled his second arm through his shirt without issue and was tugging on the ends to make sure it was properly in place. He reached up to grab at his breathing tube, which was now stuck under his shirt but Takao stopped him.

“Not yet, bud. We have to get you into your wheelchair first. You’ll be using that oxygen tank to help with your breathing now, remember?”

Kuroko didn’t look up at him but instead down at Nigou. The puppy exchanged the look, tail continuing to wag before he nuzzled into Kuroko’s side. Little fingers reached and pet his fur softly, rubbing at his side. Nigou attempted to roll over, in hopes of a belly rub but the position was too awkward and he settled for laying against his side.

“He’s gonna get big before you know it. Soon enough, you’ll be able to rope him to your chair and he could just pull you around.” Takao grinned. “You could probably even ride him.”

No reaction was given and Kuroko simply continued to pet Nigou. Takao got up then and reached his hands under Kuroko’s armpits. “Alright, come on, Kuroko. Time to get you to your new home.”


“You’re right on time, Mr. Fireman.”

“Kagami.” He repeated, annoyed. Takao had never fully broken the habit of calling him that and somehow it never failed to grate. He’d never figured out why either. It wasn’t like it wasn’t true.

Takao simply grinned, his fingers wrapped around the handles of the wheelchair. Kuroko sat in it, both feet settled on their rests but his legs were covered in the blanket Kiyoshi had brought for him. On top of it, Nigou was happily curled up and resting his head on Kuroko’s lap. Kagami hoped he stayed that way.

Kuroko looked up at Kagami when he saw him and simply stared. His eyes slid from him to Himuro and then back to Kagami.

The redhead bent down then so he was on eye level with him. He gave Kuroko a subtle smile – one just enough to lighten the usual grumpy expression on his face. “Are you ready to see your new home, Tetsuya?”

He was awarded with a blink in response before he looked over to the police van lingering in the patient pick up space. Kagami followed his gaze and rubbed the back of his neck. “Uhh, yeah. Tatsuya is going to drive us there. My truck is still in the shop. Besides, the van is bigger. It’ll be easier for you to fit.”

“You could at least introduce me first.” Himuro breathed a laugh through his nose before he gave Kuroko a smile. “It’s nice to finally meet you face to face, Kuroko Tetsuya. I’m Taiga’s big brother – Himuro Tatsuya. I’ll be around a lot so if you ever need anything, don’t be scared to ask me, okay?” Himuro nodded politely at him and Kuroko, after a long moment, simply nodded his own head in return.

Kagami looked up at Takao then. “So can we just put him in with the chair or does it collapse?”

“It folds, yeah. Here, I’ll show you.”

Ten minutes later, Kagami now had a perfect understanding of how the wheelchair worked and it was tucked in safely to the back of the van. Kagami buckled Kuroko up in the backseat and inched away as Nigou hopped into the van after them and curled back up on Kuroko’s lap. He wagged his tail as he watched Kagami adjust the seat belt and decided very quickly that that dog was never allowed in his room.

Ever.

He buckled the oxygen tank into the seat as well for lack of a current place for it and finally ducked out of the backseat.

A few minutes more and they were on their way. Takao lingers on the sidewalk and waved at Kuroko through the window with a small wiggle of his fingers as the van pulled out. Kuroko watched him for a long moment and just before the van turned to cut off their view of each other, Kuroko reached up to place his hand softly on the window.

It wasn’t a wave but Takao would take it.

He was going to miss that kid.


The entire trip from the hospital to Kagami’s apartment had been a mass of his nervous babbling. His nerves had been building up in his throat and he wanted so badly to have Tetsuya feel welcome that he just couldn’t stop talking. He talked about the apartment, about the stuff around the apartment, about what was in his fridge, about how the place was set up and he would have kept going if Himuro hadn’t reached over and yanked on his ear.

Oww!” Kagami yelped, reaching up his rub his ear and scowling over at him. “What was that for?”

“Stop talking; you’re just making yourself more nervous. Besides, Tetsuya is five.” Himuro rolled his eyes.

Kagami blinked. “What? You think he doesn’t understand?”

“No, stupid, it means he doesn’t care. He’s five. Kids his age like cartoons and toy cars, not the floor layout of your apartment.” Himuro snorted, clearly amused.

“Oh.” Kagami glanced up in the rear-view mirror to see Tetsuya was looking out the window anyway. Guess he’d managed to bore him instead of relax him. Off to a great start…

“Stop that.”

“Stop what?”

“Making that face. You’re gonna be fine. We’re all here to support you on your first day.” Himuro nods.

Kagami nods in agreement, taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly. “Right. Right, sorry. I know. I’ll be- wait, whose we?”


“Surprise! Welcome home!”

Kagami blinked in shock as he stared into the front entrance of his apartment. Where he had come home, expecting to show Tetsuya his new home, he found a few familiar faces instead. There was a colourful banner tacked on the wall, stating the same welcome home message and there were balloons and streamers to make the place look more lively.

Standing before him was Kiyoshi and his family – his husband Hyuuga and wife Riko – and at their feet was their 10 year old son Shigehiro. They were all sporting smiles and Shigehiro even had a little confetti popper which he unleashed the moment they stepped in the door. The confetti fell to the ground and even managed to land a bit on Tetsuya. He only blinked, otherwise void of a reaction, but Nigou immediately barked in reply to the greeting and tried to catch one of the confetti pieces with his mouth. He was ultimately unsuccessful.

“Eh? What are you guys doing here? … How did you get in my apartment?!” Kagami questioned.

“Is that any way to react to a surprise?” Riko scowled him, gesturing to the walls. “We spent all morning on decorations, you know!”

Kiyoshi only chuckled and looked down at Tetsuya with a smile. His voice was gentle as usual. “It’s a welcoming party for you, Kuroko. We wanted to welcome you to your new home.”

“It was my idea!” Shigehiro grinned widely, pointing fingers on either of his hands at himself. “I made the banner too! See?”

Hyuuga crossed his arms. “Well? Come on; we brought a cake too.”

Kagami blinked, seeming to take a minute to process all of this before he looked over his shoulder at Himuro. “… You gave them keys, didn’t you?”

“Guilty. Now get inside already; this party is for you guys.” He smiled, gesturing in.

Kagami blinked.. but then a grin found its way to his face once the shock had worn off. Turning back to the family that awaited inside, he laughed. “Thanks, guys! You hear that, Tetsuya? This party is just for you! I’ll introduce you to everybody, okay? They’re friends of mine.”

“I’m Shigehiro!” The boy grinned widely, moving over to the wheelchair. “What’s your name?”

“Ahh, Tetsuya doesn’t talk much, Hiro.” Kagami tried but the boy seemed to ignore him entirely.

“Is this your dog? He’s cute! What’s his name? I love dogs!” He grinned, reaching out to pet Nigou, who was all too happy to soak up the attention. “I always wanted a dog too but Pops says the house is too full already.”

“It is too full.” Hyuuga retorted, moving over and grabbing Shigehiro around the middle. The kid gave a shout of protest as he was suddenly thrown over the man’s shoulder. “Quit crowding the kid, Shigehiro. You’ll have plenty of time to visit once they get in the house.”

“I wasn’t crowding him!” He protested, trying to wiggle out of Hyuuga’s hold but he wasn’t having any of it. “Gah, Dad! Help!”

Kiyoshi only laughed, following after them as they all slowly made their way into the apartment. “You have to take it easy, Shigehiro. We told you to be calm.”

The boy frowned up at him. “I am calm!”

“Oh, let him down, Junpei.” Riko waved a hand. “He’s just excited.”

“Fine but you better keep your voice down, Shigehiro.” Hyuuga moved over to the couch as they all poured into the kitchen and casually flipped Shigehiro from over his shoulder and onto the couch. The kid bounced a little but laughed any way as he straightened out his hair. He made his way back around the couch and over to Tetsuya.

“So your name’s Tetsuya, huh? That’s cool! Tetsuya, from today on, you can consider me your big brother!” He grinned widely, poking his thumb into his chest and looking particularly proud. “Your senpai! Your… your…” He looks a bit lost and then looks up at Riko. “What’s another word for big brother?”

“How about you just stick with big brother, huh?” She smiled, ruffling his hair. Bending down so that she was eye level with Kuroko, she gave the boy a soft smile as she hugged her knees.

“It’s nice to finally meet you, Kuroko Tetsuya. Kagami has been telling us a lot about you. Sorry I never got the chance to come visit you myself. I’m Aida Riko but you can just call me Aunty Riko!” She grinned. “You know the giant over there already. That’s my husband.” She pointed up at Kiyoshi who frowned slightly. “And the scowling one is my other husband Hyuuga Junpei. Don’t mind his face; he’s not nearly as scary as he looks.”

“Oi.” Hyuuga protested, hands on his hips.

Riko ignored him, however, as she wrapped her arms around Shigehiro with a smile. “And this is our son, Shigehiro. He’s not quite your age, he’s 10, but hopefully you two can become good friends.”

“No, mom, we’re gonna be brothers!” Shigehiro protested before looking over at Tetsuya with a grin. “I always wanted a little brother!”

There was a pause then as everyone looks over at Tetsuya. Where normally one would fill the silence with with words, Tetsuya simply stared up at all of them. He seemed to acknowledge them all, taking the time to look at each of them… but that was all. His gaze fell down to Nigou again and he pet the puppy instead.

“Guess it’s a lot to take in at once.” Kagami chuckled, leaning over the wheelchair with a smile. “Don’t worry, Tetsuya. You’ll see all these guys quite a lot. We’ve known each other for a long time. How about I show you around the apartment first, huh?”

“Perfect; that will give me time to cut the cake!” Riko grinned widely.

Hyuuga immediately took a step forward to the table where various plates of treats sat out and picked up the knife nestled beside said cake. It was a small, simple strawberry shortcake, the icing decorated with chunks of strawberry and sprinkles with nuts. Upon seeing that, Riko scowled him. “Hey! I just said I was going to do that!”

“You’re not allowed near food when small children are involved.” Hyuuga replied.

Riko’s eyebrow visibly twitched. “How am I possibly supposed to harm somebody by cutting a cake, Junpei?”

“You could slip and accidentally stab somebody.” Hyuuga replied without missing a beat.

“Or yourself.” Kiyoshi added, looking worried.

“Or poison the cake!” Shigehiro added, far more cheerfully than anyone should probably say such a sentence.

Kagami chuckled nervously as Riko glared at all of them and started to go off, steam practically spouting out her ears. “Best to escape while we can.” Kagami mumbled to Tetsuya, grabbing the handles on the back of his wheelchair and scooting them away.

“Well,” He started, speaking a little louder so he could be heard over Riko’s yelling. “As you could probably guess, this is the dining area and the living room. I moved everything around so you should be able to get around the apartment without any trouble later on. Alright, this here is the kitchen. I put a couple bowls here in the corner for Nigou; I figured it would make it easier for us to feed him.”

Upon hearing his name, Nigou barked happily, wagging his tail as he looked up at Kagami. A slightly weary look, Kagami reached a hesitant hand down. Nigou nudged at his fingers a moment before Kagami picked him up with one hand and set him down quickly beside the bowls. He then rubbed his hand on his leg as if wiping off the germs. Nigou sniffed around the area then, happily trotting around the kitchen and investigating every corner he could stick his nose into.

“There, we’ll let him do his own thing.” Kagami replied, turning Tetsuya’a wheelchair around and exiting into the short hallway. Glancing down, Tetsuya continued to show no sign of his approval for the place so Kagami could only hope that Tetsuya would come to feel comfortable there. Continuing down the hall, he pushed open the door to the next room and flicked the light on.

He had an apologetic smile. “Unfortunately, I couldn’t really rearrange the bathroom but I measured it and it’s wide enough to fit your chair so there shouldn’t be any problem. There are special pieces I could get for you later so you could bathe on your own but the jerk doctor-” Kagami’s voice hitched and he made a face. Probably shouldn’t call him that anymore… he did apparently sign off on this whole thing. “But Doctor Midorima,” He corrected himself but the name sounded awkward on this tongue. “said if your rehab continues and you do really well on it, you probably won’t need it. That’ll be great, right?” He smiles down at Tetsuya but Tetsuya only continues to look forward, gazing at the bathroom in what Kagami can only hope is curiosity.

Well, he supposed a house tour wasn’t the most exciting thing for a five year old. He’d make it quick.

“And this room down here is my room.” He continued on. “My door is always open, okay? I’m always gonna be here to help.”

He grinned finally, turning Tetsuya’s chair around and pushing it toward the last door. Upon it hung a small sign that had his name with a tiny dog printed beside it. “And this is going to be your room, Tetsuya.”

Opening the door and turning on the light, he pushed Tetsuya into the center of the room and came to kneel down beside him. Inside, the room was rather plain. There was a child sized bed pushed up against the wall, a small bookshelf with a few books on the opposing wall to a dresser and there was a desk in the corner with no chair but a single table lamp rested on top. There were no decorations or extras around the room but Kagami didn’t look deterred.

“I know it looks a little boring right now,” He confessed, looking over at Tetsuya. “but I thought we could go shopping together and get you some clothes and toys.” Reaching over, he placed a hand on top of his tiny head and ruffled his hair softly. Tetsuya turned, looking over at him with a blank stare. Although the emotion wasn’t there, Kagami was simply happy that Tetsuya was giving him his attention. His grin grew.

“I wasn’t sure what you liked or wanted now that you’re out of the hospital. I thought we could go to a bookstore too – you liked those books that Kiyoshi visited with, right?” He pointed toward the bookshelf where a couple volumes sat amongst the empty shelves. “They were actually Shigehiro’s books but he doesn’t read them anymore so Kiyoshi said they’re all yours.”

Oh!” He suddenly snapped his fingers and got up. Moving over to the beside table, he picked up a small silver bell that had a long handle. Grinning, he moved back and kneeled in front of Tetsuya. “This is for you, Tetsuya.” He handed him the bell, urging him to take it. After a long moment, Tetsuya reached forward a little hesitantly and wrapped his fingers around the handle. A soft chime sounded as he shook it.

“Takao said there wasn’t anything physical that was preventing you from talking; he said it’s from the trauma,” Kagami smiled softly. “and that’s okay. You don’t have to talk until you’re ready.” He pointed to the bell. “But if we’re going to make this work, we have to talk somehow so that’s what the bell if going to be for. Whenever you need me, even if it’s in the middle of the night, I want you to ring that bell. Whenever you ring that bell, I’ll come check up on you.”

He raised his hands then, wiggling his fingers. “And I thought we could make up some signs for what you might need. Like,” He makes a fist with one hand and raises a finger. “This could mean that you need to go to the bathroom.” He then started listing things off, raising an additional finger as he went. “And this could mean you’re hungry or want to watch TV or want to go outside or even that you want to go to bed.”

He smiled over at Tetsuya. “We can work on those later, though. I got the idea from my mom; she’s really excited to meet you. Her name is Alex and she lives all the way in the United States. She’s planning to come visit next month so you’ll meet her then. She’s great; she’s the one who raised Tatsuya and me.”

“So?” He nodded toward the bell. “Do you think that would be okay? Do you like the bell? We could try something else if you don’t.”

There was a quiet moment then as Tetsuya looked down at the tiny silver bell and then back up at Kagami. He seemed to contemplate it, staring back down at the object before he suddenly shook it. The chime sounded throughout the room and he looked back up at Kagami as the sound slowly faded.

Kagami’s face light up, his grin wide and he laughed. “That’s great! Now that’s yours to keep so make sure you don’t lose it, okay?”

Tetsuya looked back to the bell held in his fingers and soon let it come to rest in his lap. Kagami watched him, curious before his smile grew a little fond.

“Actually,” He confesses. “I have one thing left to show you but I wanted to make sure we were alone before I did. It’s just for you, Tetsuya. You can fix it up however you want later but…”

He trails off, standing up and slowly rolling his wheelchair over to a corner of the room where a small cabinet sat. Making sure that Tetsuya was able to see it properly, Kagami knelt back down and carefully opened the little doors. Inside, there was a tall candle, unlit and waiting with a bowl on its opposite side. A couple pieces of incense sat within it; they too remained untouched. At the center of the small shrine was a beautiful white vase, gold trimming along the edges and a delicate pattern of sakura flowers that seemed to be blowing in a wind captured along the ceramic. Placed in front of it was a small brooch that was a simple gold colour, the metalwork slightly warped in the shape of a sparrow that was perched upon a leafy branch. It had a few scratches along the metal but it appeared to be in rather decent condition.

Kagami sat back on his heels then, remaining silent a moment so that Tetsuya could come to his own conclusion about exactly what it was.

When he looked over at him, it was the most emotion he had seen from the boy since the moment he’d brought him home. His eyes were wide, fingers curled into the blanket that covered his legs and he was leaning just the slightest bit forward in his seat.

He couldn’t imagine any way in which this conversation would be easy… but he was prepared for it all the same.

“I know you couldn’t attend her funeral since you were recovering in the hospital…” He starts, his voice low as he shifts over to place his hand against his back. Even with the brief contact, he can feel the beginnings of tremours. “But I made sure that your grandmother would be here when you came. I’m sorry there is no picture; we couldn’t recovery any. The brooch was in pretty bad shape too but I managed to clean it up. I’m sorry I couldn’t find anything better…”

Kagami watched slowly as the tears began to trickle into Tetsuya’s eyes. A slow flood of fluid that built up along the edges of his eyes and swelled with each passing moment. He watched at how his mouth started to open, like he wanted to say something as the grief overtook him. The sorrow filled his own throat as he watched the sight unfold. Shifting forward, Kagami soon curled an arm around his shaking frame as a stuttered gasp choked him.

Those tears broke free from their hold and slid painfully down his cheeks. His little jaw clenched and soon his eyes squeezed shut.. and yet the tears did not cease.

Kagami couldn’t imagine having to deal with that much sorrow so young. Tetsuya had already experienced so much loss of life and he wasn’t even 6 yet. That was too much. No kid should ever have to deal with that. He wanted to mend everything, to make it right and ensure that Tetsuya would never again have to endure such hardship…

…but Kagami had never been very good with words, let alone gentle ones.

So, instead, Kagami shifted to the front of the wheelchair and wrapped his arms around the kid. The shaking hadn’t stopped and the gasping between sobs was the most Kagami had ever heard of his voice. It was heartbreaking. His arms curled around him further until he had him buried against his chest and he could press his nose into his hair.

“…Everything is going to be okay, Tetsuya.” He mumbled, unable to think of anything other than cliches to say. “Where ever your grandmother is now, I’m sure she’s looking out for you. You never really lose the people you love; she’ll be here for you whenever you need her.” Reaching a hand up, he pet the back of his head softly.

He knew he shouldn’t have said what left his mouth next but it was gone before he could stop it. He knew there was no way to genuinely uphold that promise; life was just too unpredictable. There were no guarantees.

But with a trembling, grieving child buried so deeply in his arms, what else could he possibly have said?

“I’m not going anywhere, Tetsuya. I’ll be here whenever you need me too, no matter what.”

The words fell into the silence of the room then, only broken up by laboured breathing. Kagami could hear chatter outside the room but it was only a vague hum by then. He let his eyes close. He had always known Tetsuya was small but it seemed like now, more than ever, he came to fully realize just how much. He’d been so tiny when he’d first picked him up off the floor in that burning wreckage. He’d been struck with the horror of what would happen if something so precious hadn’t made it through that night. He could remember seeing how small his hands were at the hospital; how childish his features were. He’d seemed so thin, so breakable… such a quiet soul.

Now Kagami had the opportunity to ensure all those thoughts and doubts and worries could be put on the back burner to make way for a hopefully prosperous future.

It wasn’t going to be a fast forward to the happy ending… but Kagami had never been one to take shortcuts.

Somewhere in the midst of his thoughts, he heard the light chime of the bell and blinked his eyes open. He shifted to pull away, to see what Tetsuya might want but was instead distracted by the soft tug of his shirt. Tiny fingers had curled into the material, pulling on it as if in quiet insistence for those words to remain true.

Kagami stilled… then smiled softly. He curled back around him, giving him another squeeze before he began to rub at his back. “Shh, shh… it’s okay, Tetsuya… everything is going to be okay now… everything will be fine… I promise.”

It would take time but Kagami was ready for whatever job this new responsibility would demand of him. There was no way he could betray Tetsuya’s expectations of him. Whatever Tetsuya would need of him, he’d be sure to fulfill that wish.

They’d manage.

Yeah.

They’d manage just fine.

TO BE CONTINUED ★ ☆ ★ Constructive critique always welcome!