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!

03 ☆ Cross My Heart

Summary

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

Notes

This story is set in Japan so imagine that when Takao calls Kagami “Mr. Fireman”, he’s saying it in English.

Chapter 03 – First Week (Part Two)

That night, Kagami hadn’t slept a wink.

How could he?

He was going through the most emotional whiplash he had ever experienced.

One minute, he was excited. He was finally going to see Tetsuya face to face. He was going to be able to talk with him. He wasn’t sure what they’d talk about but he was sure it would be good. He could let the kid know that he was going to be visiting every day. He could maybe even bring little gifts to help keep his spirits up. He was going to be able to watch the kid grow healthier and stronger and Kagami thought that was pretty great.

Then the next minute, he was overcome with paralyzing terror. What if the kid asked him why his Grandma wasn’t around anymore? What if he asked why Kagami didn’t save her? He could even just as easily blame Kagami for his leg or for being on oxygen. The kid could turn out to be completely resentful toward him for everything.

That thought quickly sank him into a deep depression. What if the kid didn’t want to see him at all? What if he just ignored him entirely? Would he even care that Kagami had been stressing over him these past few days? He was only five, after all. Maybe he wouldn’t even understand any of it.

He wasn’t sure he could take it if the kid started crying in front of him.

Then he would remind himself that everything would be fine, that he was worrying too much and he was back to square one.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

By the time his phone rang around 9 AM, Kagami was sure he’d worn out a new groove in his couch with all the flipping around he’d done.

Thinking was exhausting sometimes.

“Yeah?” Kagami asked into his cellphone without bothering to look at it before he answered.

There was a familiar sigh on the other end, “Is that how you greet everyone, Kagami?”

He sat up quickly; stiff. “Riko! What are you calling me for?”

“Well that’s rude.” She scoffed at him. “Can’t you at least pretend to be happy to hear from me?”

“Uhh, well, it’s just that you don’t–” Kagami started.

Riko cut him off. “Don’t bother. I know your head is somewhere else. Today is the big day, right?”

Kagami blinked. “Kiyoshi told you.”

“Of course Teppei told me. He tells us everything.” Riko replied and she sounded exhausted at the words.

Kagami didn’t doubt that for a minute.

“That’s why I’m calling you, actually.” Riko added and Kagami could hear the smile in her voice. “I wanted to wish you good luck.”

“What do I need good luck for?”

“Have you thought of what you’re going to say to him yet?”

There was an awkward silence then as Kagami stared across at the wall with a blank expression, and then a loud smack as he fell back onto the couch and gave a frustrated groan.

“I didn’t think so.” Riko hummed. “Alright, Kagami. Listen up! I’m about to give you some advice on dealing with kids that could change your life.”

“I know how to deal with kids!” Kagami retorted.

Riko didn’t seem to hear him though. “The number one rule is to remain calm. Especially with a kid that’s been through everything he has been. If you’re yourself, you’ll probably scare him.”

“Are you calling me scary?!”

“You have a scary face. You made Shigehiro cry the first time you met him, remember?”

“He wasn’t even two months old! You’re never going to let that go, are you?”

“I’ll make sure ‘terrified small children’ is written somewhere on your gravestone.” She quipped and Kagami had one terrifying moment where he knew she probably would. “Rule number two is to never talk down to them. Don’t treat them like they’re stupid. They just don’t know any better yet. You have to be gentle.”

“I can be gentle.” Kagami replied in annoyance because he was pretty sure this advice was an offhanded way of calling him stupid.

There was a lingering silence on the other end and Kagami bit back, “I can!”

“Rule number three,” She continued and Kagami gritted his teeth again at being blatantly disregarded. “and this is important, Kagami. Act normal.”

“What? I thought you said I shouldn’t be myself.” He grumbled.

“That’s not what she means, idiot.” A new voice spoke up and Kagami blinked.

“Hyuuga? Wait, am I on speakerphone again?”

“What else is new? Anyway, she means that you shouldn’t act any differently around the kid than you would if he was perfectly healthy. You have to let him know that he’s still a kid. Don’t blatantly stare at his injuries or give him special treatment. Kids aren’t stupid – he’s going to know you’re pitying him.” Hyuuga explained with a sigh. His tone was firm, though. The words stuck to Kagami. The last thing he wanted was for Tetsuya to think he was just pitying him.

Kagami rubbed a hand over his face as he sat up again. “You’re both telling me stuff I already knew. When are you going to stop treating me like a moron?”

“When you stop being one. Oh and kids like sweets; you should bring him some.” Hyuuga added and Kagami felt a pulse of annoyance.

“I’m not an idiot!” He shouted into his phone before he hung up without another word. He scowled down at the device before he finally pulled himself up off the couch.

Stretching his arms high above himself, feeling his spine crack from the uncomfortable positions he’d been rolling around in all night, he gave a heavy sigh.

Well, time to put on his game face.


Kagami likely spent more time than he had intended lingering around the hospital gift shop. He hadn’t known where else to go and somehow wound up there. A flower shop would have been useless and a toy store was out of the question since he didn’t exactly know what kind of things Tetsuya liked. In fact, the indecision was what was eating at him now. It was the entire reason he was standing before a display of balloons and was completely unable to decide which was more appropriate – get well soon with a widely smiling face or so I heard you’re feeling blue with a generic blue dog.

Rubbing the back of his neck, Kagami finally settled for the smiling face. As he was paying for it, he noted a white stuffed bear with a pink heart stitched onto its breast and slid that across the counter as well.

All kids liked stuffed animals, didn’t they?

As cash was exchanged and he left the gift shop with the balloon floating apathetically above him, his gut reminded him of the nerves he’d been trying to ignore all morning.

He looked down at himself and tugged softly on his collar. He’d tried to look as casual as possible when he’d dressed this morning. He had on simple jeans, a plain white t-shirt and a red plaid button up that hung open over his torso. His fingers grazed the chain that had long held the ring he cherished so dear and gave it a soft touch for a bit of extra courage. He suddenly wished Tatsuya had been available to come with him. He’d always been the cooler head of the two. He’d probably have no problem knowing what to say to Tetsuya.

Taking a deep breath, he let his fingers go back to grasping the string of the balloon firmly. Setting one sneaker ahead of the other, he held his head high and strolled forward with his usual stubbornness.

Everything would be fine.

“Good. You did come.” He heard from behind himself and he jumped in surprise, scooting a couple steps to the side from shock.

He stared wide eyed at Takao who was looking over at him with a soft but tired smile. He appeared fairly worn and one look at his uniform told Kagami that he’d been there all night. “I wasn’t sure,” Takao continued. “if you’d be coming so early.”

Kagami stood fuller and tugged at his collar again, trying to look dignified and not at all like he’d been spooked moments earlier. He cleared his throat. “Is Tetsuya awake?”

“He’s been up for hours.” Takao responded, walking past Kagami to the nurse’s station and the taller man had no choice but to follow. “I picked up Nigou first thing this morning so they haven’t left each other’s side.”

Kagami stiffened. Damn. He’d hoped that by coming early, he could have avoided the dog all together.

“I told him he was going to have a visitor today. He’s expecting you.” Takao said, his attention elsewhere as he slid a clipboard over to the attending nurse and took the two that she handed back to him. He flipped through the papers briefly before drawing his attention back to Kagami. “I can let you into the ward but I’m afraid you’re on your own after that.” He rounded the desk and started to lead Kagami down the route they’d walked last night. “I’m on the end of a double shift and I want to get out of here to get some sleep before Shin-chan comes in. I think he’s under the impression that I do less work than I actually do.”

He swiped his security card to let the doors open and Kagami fell into step with him.

Takao gave him a side glance and looked above him. “A balloon, huh?” He looked suddenly amused.

Kagami followed his gaze and watched the smiling face bounce along aimlessly. “Is it too much?”

“I think he’ll be happy.” Takao nodded absently. “It’s the first gift anyone has brought him.”

“Really?” Kagami blinked.

Takao only smiled when they reached Tetsuya’s door and he gestured. “Time to fulfill that promise, Mr. Fireman.”

“My name is Kagami Taiga.” He said a little more annoyed than intended but Takao didn’t seem to notice – or care.

“You’re welcome to stay as long as you want but I’ve been trying to have him nap about mid-day. It makes things easier on him. If he falls asleep, don’t try to wake him.” Takao instructed.

Kagami nodded firmly in response.

Takao took a step back and waved at him with his two clipboards. “Don’t look so stiff, Mr. Fireman. He’ll be happy to see you.”

“Ka-ga-mi.” He retorted in reply to Takao’s back. The paramedic gave no response as he continued on his way and Kagami turned to face the door at long last.

This was it.

He was finally going to see little Tetsuya conscious and healing.

As he reached forward for the handle, he found he still didn’t know what to say. Then again, how often did he?

Opening the door, the first thing he noticed was how bright the room was. The window was facing the sun and the curtains were drawn back to let the light in. It would have been blinding if Kagami wasn’t just tall enough to miss the glaring sun peeking under the window frame. The room was just as open as it had been before, a sole bed in the center with a mess of cords and tubes bundled about. Instead, this time, the patron wasn’t laying down… and he wasn’t alone.

The first thing that struck Kagami was that the kid was sitting up at all. When he had only ever seen him limp or lifeless, the simple act of sitting up was enough to fill Kagami’s chest with relief. He was staring forward, not even glancing at the door upon Kagami’s entry and looking down at his legs. Kagami’s stomach gave a little twist. It was strange, really, feeling relief and pity at the same time.

The next thing he noticed was the tiny ball of fur that he remembered rather vividly. Much to Kagami’s delight, it didn’t seem to take notice of his presence either and was instead content to wiggle itself under the boy’s arm. He had a cone around his neck, preventing him from scratching and when the pup turned, Kagami could see the gaping, swollen skin where a matching furry ear used to be. As Kagami drew closer, he noticed how the skin was partially covering the hole and he had seen enough melted skin in his lifetime to know exactly how that happened. He didn’t want to think about it.

He wasn’t necessarily scared of dogs – they just made him nervous. He could pet them and play with them if they didn’t make any unnecessary movements but honestly, he would most often like to just ignore them entirely. However, it was very clear from what he already knew to what he could see right now that interacting with Tetsuya would mean seeing Nigou all the time.

But as he finally got more into the room – and the puppy looked up at him finally – the thing he noticed most of all was how small Tetsuya looked in that hospital bed.

Kids didn’t deserve to spend their lives in hospital beds.

He should have been out playing and living a carefree life.

If only he’d checked that room first….

“Umm.” He started before he’d even thought of what to say. It wasn’t much of a first impression but he almost immediately got a short bark from the pup.

He flinched in surprise and gave a nervous chuckle. “Hi, uh, boy. I heard you’d be here too.”

He cleared his throat and looked back up to the child who was still staring down at his legs. If Kagami didn’t know better, he would have thought the boy still unconscious. He still blinked. He could see him swallow occasionally. He was clearly breathing – even with difficulty.

Yet he didn’t seem to notice Kagami was there. He didn’t seem to notice anything else was there.

“Uhh, it’s nice to finally see you awake, Kuroko Tetsuya.” He tried again, this time offering a small smile.

The boy still didn’t respond.

Biting his lip, he moved over to the side of the bed and pulled up a chair. He looked at the items in his hands and then up at the boy. “I, uh, bought you a balloon.” He stated, holding the string out to the boy but wasn’t entirely surprised when he didn’t take it. Instead, since his gaze was still low, he tugged down on the string until the balloon was in his hands. He then presented it to Tetsuya with a quiet smile. “I know, it’s not the coolest present but it was all I could think of since I don’t know what you like.” He looked around and then reached over, tying off the string on his bedside. “Here, I’ll just put it here so you can look at it later, okay?”

When he looked over again, he could see a little more of Tetsuya’s face and he could see firsthand the distant look in his gaze. Almost as if a fog had rolled over the natural childish glow. He supposed it was to be expected but it didn’t help from feeling his spirits plummet at the sight.

No, okay, this wasn’t the time to be depressed about things he could no longer prevent. He was here to cheer up Tetsuya, to show him that he wasn’t alone and to prove to him that somebody cared and that was damn well what he was going to do.

Even if he had to – for once – do all the talking.

He clears his throat loudly. “My name is Kagami Taiga. I was one of the firemen who helped put out the fire at your home.” He finally introduced himself. “I think maybe Takao told you I was coming? I’ve been trying to get in to see you for a while now. I wanted to make sure you were okay with my own eyes.”

He grinned widely but of course, it seemed to fall on deaf ears. Taking a deep breath, he didn’t let that dampen his spirits. “Oh, here, I bought you this too. I don’t know if you’re into this sort of thing or if maybe you feel you’re too old for them but…” He trailed off, lifting the little plush bear out of his lap and very purposefully placing it within Tetsuya’s line of sight. He rested it gently on his legs and retracted his hand.

However, the movement he got wasn’t what he expected. It wasn’t Tetsuya that moved but Nigou. The little pup crawled from Tetsuya’s side and went up to sniff at the toy, pawing at it curiously.

Kagami waved a hand. “Ahh, wait, that’s for Tetsuya!”

When Kagami tried to grab at the toy again, Nigou happily yanked it away from him. He sat there, face and paws pressed down with his hind legs in the air and tail wagging happily. When Kagami tried for it again, the pup snatched it and happily pounced away with it, hiding it at Tetsuya’s side.

Kagami sighed. “You’re not giving that back, are you?”

Nigou happily chewed on the toy and growled softly as he began to play.

Kagami sighed once more but this time, his lips carried a smile. “Fine, keep it. Now you both have a present.”

The red head looked back over to Tetsuya and resisted the urge to sigh. He knew, realistically, that the chances of Tetsuya having been active and spirited were nonexistent but it was hard to deal with the fact that sat before him. He just… wanted to fix him; to make it all better. He wanted to bundle Tetsuya up in his arms, take him outside and go get the kid ice cream. He wanted to bring him to a park so he could go play with kids his age. He wanted to see what he looked like when he smiled.

He didn’t understand sometimes how people could do this job for years. He found himself wondering how many times Kiyoshi had gone to see the families of people that had been lost in fires. He wondered how many funerals he had attended just to deal with the inevitable guilt that came with this job.

He wondered how many ghosts still haunted his senior partner – and how many were eventually going to haunt Kagami as well.

“Hey,” he started, his expression serious. “I know you don’t know me yet and that right now, I’m just some weird stranger to you…. But that’s going to change. I’m going to be here for you, okay? I promise to come every day, if I can. I’ll visit you when I get off work or when I have a day off. I’ll….. I’ll bring things. You could maybe tell me stuff that you like later and I could bring them for you. I imagine you’re going to be here for a while and I know hospitals can get pretty boring.” He rambled, letting his worries pour out. “But you’re not going to be alone anymore, Kuroko Tetsuya. I’m going to be here.”

He draws an X over his heart, expression firm. “Cross my heart.”

Kagami held his breath then, awaiting a reaction of some sort… but naturally, nothing came.

That didn’t matter though. From that first meeting, Kagami kept his promise.

For the following two days, he showed up with a bag of miscellaneous treasures in a shopping bag and sat beside Tetsuya’s bedside until the sun disappeared from the sky outside. Tetsuya still didn’t speak or even look at him but by the third day of Kagami’s promised appearance, he at the very least began to move. His gaze was still blank, a lost look in them that killed Kagami, that he was unable to fix.

Tetsuya would pet his puppy and bundle him up in his arms and hold him to his chest. Nigou was always simply happy for the affection, licking at Tetsuya’s face and wagging his tail. It would have been pretty cute – if it were any other situation. From where Kagami was sitting, it looked more like Tetsuya was desperate to keep him close; like he was scared that if he let the puppy go, he would disappear.

So Kagami made sure to bring treats for Nigou as well. A bit of beef jerky here, a new toy there and even once gracing him with a pet – although he’d retracted his hand the moment Nigou tried to lick him because he thought the pup had gone in for a bite.

Hey, he might have been putting up with Nigou for Tetsuya’s sake but that still didn’t mean he was suddenly cured of his weariness toward dogs! Even if the pup was pretty much the size of his foot.

It was fun, sort of. These quiet moments of sitting in that hospital room. It was only a couple days but Kagami was already attached. With each passing hour, he felt more and more inclined to make sure nothing bad ever happened to Tetsuya ever again. He wanted to erase that blank look on his face and fill it with life. He wanted to see Tetsuya out in a different setting instead of stuck in that hospital bed which was far too large for him. He wanted those wires gone, that breathing tube out, those bandages off, those inevitable scars erased and that leg he had yet to see to be fully mended and functioning. He wanted none of this to have happened to him. He wanted his house to not be a pile of collapsed rumble. He wanted his Grandmother to still be around to hold his hand and tell him everything was going to be okay.

He wanted Tetsuya to never have had to experience that kind of loneliness.


“What’s going on?”

Kagami blinked upon entering the critical care ward thanks to the help of a nurse. He had his usual bag of treasures in hand but as he got closer to the room, there was a familiar face talking to someone with a briefcase and a suit.

“Tatsuya?”

The police officer turned with a startled look, standing upright and looking over at Kagami. Immediately, the man in the suit entered Kuroko’s room and something began to fester in the pit of Kagami’s stomach. A long-buried anxiety suddenly resurfaced.

“Taiga, you’re here earlier than I thought you’d be.” Himuro spoke, being sure to step in front of Kagami when the man tried to walk past him.

“What’s going on?! Who was that guy?” He pressed, pointing toward the door.

Himuro waved his hands down, his expression quite serious. “Taiga, lower your voice. Remember where you are. We need to—Taiga.” He snaps when the redhead’s attention was pulled back toward the door. Upon hearing his name again, he looked down. “Taiga, we need to talk.”

“So talk.”

“Let’s go sit down.”

“Why? Just tell me what’s going on!”

“You need to sit down, Taiga. It’s important.” Himuro tried to insist but it was clear by Kagami’s ever obvious body language that the man was getting more and more agitated and he wasn’t going anywhere. He sighed, reaching up to adjust his police hat and looked back up at his stubborn, younger sibling.

“That man was the local representative of an all-boys orphanage.” He finally admitted, and he watched the colour drain from Kagami’s face. “He’s here to talk to Kuroko Tetsuya.”

“Orphanage?!” Kagami shouted.

Himuro sighed, pressing two fingers to his temple. “This is why I wanted to go sit somewhere…. Taiga, lower your voice. This is the critical care ward.”

“I’ve got to get in the—!“ Kagami started, meaning to move past him but Himuro was quick to plant his palm into Kagami’s chest and push him back.

“Taiga, listen to me. What did you think was going to happen? Kuroko Tetsuya is without a legal guardian and well below the age to be out on his own. He has to go into the system; there is no other way.” Himuro tried to explain. “This is how this part of the process works; you know that.”

“But he can’t go into an orphanage, Tatsuya!” Kagami gestured to the door, visibly furious at the idea. “There has to be something else!”

However, Himuro stood his ground, hand still firmly pressed to Kagami’s chest. “Kuroko Tetsuya has no other living relatives or close family friends capable of taking him in. I know this, Taiga; I checked it out personally during my investigations of the house fire.” He sighed softly. “I’m sorry, Taiga, but this is how it has to be. Once Kuroko-kun is healed enough to leave the hospital, he will be going to the Tokyo Orphanage for Boys where he will be well taken care of.”

Well taken care of? Are you kidding me?! That’s not good enough!” Kagami protested, trying to move forward once more but Himuro planted his foot down, steadied his gaze and smacked his hand against Kagami’s chest to make sure he had his attention.

“This is reality! Face it, Taiga. What were you expecting?” He snapped, his voice firm but even in volume. It was at the very least enough to make Kagami focus. “This isn’t some movie plot where a long lost relative comes out of nowhere to save the day! Kids without guardians need someone to take care of them and when there is no other option, that’s when the government has to get involved. It’s how it worked with us and it’s how it’s going to work with Kuroko Tetsuya!”

“He can’t go into the system, Tatsuya. Do you remember how those orphanages were? Do you remember the foster families?!” He gestured again. “Nobody is going to want to take in a boy like him! People only ever want those perfect children that they can mold into their own. That hasn’t changed. There aren’t good people like that.”

“There was Alex.” Himuro intervened… and Kagami visibly quieted. He relaxed slightly, looking almost guilty and Himuro was so glad for the sudden silence so he decided to keep talking. “Alex took us both in, even with our track records. I went through four different homes before Alex came along. Four, Taiga. That’s four families who told me they didn’t want me. Nobody wanted a bratty preteen who got into constant fights. I was angry at everyone and everything. Nobody wanted to deal with that; but Alex did.”

Kagami looked increasingly uncomfortable at that. He knew exactly what Himuro was getting at. They’d both been put into the system at young ages; Himuro after he was just dropped off in front of an orphanage when he was a baby and Kagami after his folks had been ruled unfit for raising a child. He’d been too young to remember anything about them but he’d been told later that they’d been pretty heavy into alcohol and narcotics. They’d both gone through multiple foster families, all of which returned them when they found out just how awful the both were. Kagami himself was an unruly child; he did everything in his power to cause chaos. He was loud and obnoxious, he broke everything he touched, he got into fights with any kid he was tall enough to punch in the teeth and had just been overall a true terror.

Yet the shining light to both of them had been a former WNBA player named Alexandra Garcia who took them both under her wing, knowing full well their track records. Kagami remembered his pretty well; the man had flat out told Alex not to adopt him because he was a danger to society. She’d only laughed. Turns out, she was more of a parent than anyone. She didn’t put up with either of their rebellions and no matter how many times they’d gotten into trouble, no matter how much they strained her trust, no matter how many times they’d both wound up in the principal’s office or the police station, she always brought them back home. She made dinner for them. She’d scolded them properly, told them she loved them and grounded them into eternity.

The system might have been awful but they’d been lucky enough to find Alex; or rather, for Alex to find them.

“…. There aren’t people like Alex on the regular, Tatsuya. We got lucky. We were just brats; Tetsuya is genuinely sick. Adopting him comes with hospital bills and lifelong disadvantages; nobody is going to adopt him. You just said to face reality and that’s the truth. You know it’s the truth. Please, don’t do that to him. I’m begging you.” Kagami pleaded, his voice lowering.

Himuro frowned, an obvious displeasure written across his face. “You know I have nothing to do with it, Taiga. I’m just here to make sure the paperwork goes through.”

“There has to be something else.” Kagami pleaded again.

Himuro sighs and drops his hand from Kagami’s chest. “I don’t know what else to tell you, Taiga. Unless someone randomly bursts in through those doors, willing to adopt him, it’s how things have to be.”

That anxiety burned a hole right through Kagami’s stomach. The thought of little Tetsuya having to sit inside that building while all the other kids played outside didn’t sit with him. The thought of little Tetsuya having to watch kid after kid get adopted before him, watching people look over him like he didn’t even exist……

He couldn’t do it.

He wouldn’t do it.

“I won’t accept that.” He says firmly, his gaze steady and shoved past Himuro.

The smaller man panicked and grabbed for Kagami’s arm but he missed and the redhead had already burst into the room. “Taiga, wait-!”

“Hey!!” Kagami shouted, standing tall and with his hands at his hips. He saw then the man from before, as well as Doctor Midorima standing at Tetsuya’s beside. Both looked up when Kagami entered and although Midorima’s presence caught Kagami a little off guard, it didn’t stop him from stating clear and loud what came next.

“Get lost. I’m adopting him.”

There was an instant silence that filled the room. Everyone seemed to hold their breath.

The first person to move was Himuro, who stood in the doorway with his hand pressed to his forehead, a very clear look of distress as he sighed. Next seemed to be the representative, startled by the sudden outburst; he began to adjust his tie as he fumbled for a response toward Kagami’s obvious hostility.

What was surprising was that the next person to come to life… was Kuroko Tetsuya.

The little boy turned his head and, for the first time since Kagami had met him, he looked up at him. There was an odd look to his eyes, still blank but… there was a flick. A flicker of something Kagami didn’t quite catch but he knows he saw. The boy looked up at him with such a blank expression but there was just something about it that brought a smile to Kagami’s face.

There was a pause.

Bringing a hand up to his chest, he drew an X over his heart and grinned.

Cross my heart.’ He thought to himself, hoping Kuroko would get the message.

Judging by the way his tiny little fingers curled into the hospital blanket, even as his expression remained blank, Kagami was sure the message had been received.

TO BE CONTINUED ★ ☆ ★ Constructive critique always welcome!