Summary: Truly, you never know how important someone is until they're gone. It was a mistake. It was just simple carelessness before they realized, their Kuroko Tetsuya was already forever gone. What is lost can never be saved, or is it? GoMxKuroko
Chapter 2: Yellow Cypress
The yellow cypress held loosely in his hand swayed against the wind. His golden hair, blinding under the sun, was in disarray, yet it only made him look alluring. He was a prodigious basketball player, many says. He was a talented model, others excitedly gush. However, he was more commonly known as an idiot who knew nothing outside his obsessions, namely basketball and modeling. Kise Ryouta was many many things. Though, more than anything, the blond only considered himself as a boy who was enjoying life to the fullest.
If he was to be truthful, the real him was neither playful the basketball player; neither the clumsy middle-schooler, nor the lively model. He was quite the cynical teen, who never took things at face value. He doesn't trust as easily as others fancied to think. Kise never really opened himself to anyone. He didn't dare think that people actually liked him for him. He knew how he was viewed by people. Just a pretty face. And that's all he was going to be in their eyes.
The face he was born with was not something he considered a blessing. His family never did appreciate the popularity that came with his looks. His parents couldn't pinpoint how he turned out the way he was. School wasn't any different. His supposed friends were just leeches, trying to feed off the favors that came with his unwanted fame. Haters came as easily as people stabbed you behind your back.
Being judged and criticized, as well as adored and loved, when all he wanted was just to live life, it was no longer a surprise when he had become bored of everything. He was already too numb with his surroundings, that he could care less what people thought of him. Handsome, talented, and rich—what more could anyone ask for? From the young age of twelve, Kise had developed the mindset that no one could be trusted, and that life was too boring for his tastes.
It wasn't until he accidentally saw Aomine Daiki playing basketball did he think otherwise. There was power, passion, and raw beauty with the way he played the game. Kise, for the first time in his life, was awed, and a spark was ignited that day he witnessed the powerful dunk made by the tanned player. Without a second thought, he joined the basketball team, hoping the stagnant air in his life, disappears soon.
Just like always, he excelled and stood above others until he was appointed to be a part of the first string—the best players and forerunners of the Teikou basketball team. Everything was going great until Kise met him. Kuroko Tetsuya—the short, weak, and phantom sixth man of the basketball team—suddenly became his personal trainer. It was not as if he had a choice.
Akashi Seijuro, the formidable and creepy captain of the team, ordered that he obey this Kuroko person for the duration of his probationary period. And until Kise gets the approval of the seemingly invisible man, he would just be a spare player. A spare player was not something he signed up for when he joined the team.
Kise wanted to be at the top, to stand over everyone else, and defeat Aomine Daiki. Alas, lady fate had something else in mind. For a few depressing moments, he had wanted to whine and question their captain's decision. However, knowing Akashi, you would be better off dead than question him in anything. Thus, with his pride wounded, he challenged Kuroko, yet time and time again, the phantom man refuses him.
It was sudden, when both he and Kuroko, were called out to help their second string teammates in their game. Another opportunity to challenge the unworthy player of Teikou, came to him. How wrong he was. As always, he had been refused but by the end of the game, he was eternally thankful that Kuroko never accepted his challenge. His righteousness when it came to the team, and his immeasurable strength when it came to basketball, left Kise gaping after his teammate. His world tilted off its axis once he uncovered the true Kuroko behind the phantom mask.
The real Kuroko Tetsuya was charismatic, strong, and unwavering in beauty. Always, the overlooked phantom player of Teikou thought, and cared for his teammates. Always, he supported and made everyone strong, even if he himself was forgotten. The glory and fame were for his teammates, not for him. Never for him. It was in Kuroko, that Kise found acceptance and love. Betrayal, deceit, and hatred—things he associated with people, disappeared in an instant. In their stead, was the bubbling emotions of joy, love, and longing.
From then on, his boring life was filled with new things. Desire burned at the pits of his stomach everyday he was in Teikou basketball team. The constant presence of their phantom man just made the days better. Everything was great, felt great, and looked great. Then, that day came when they were called the 'Generation of Miracles.' Unknowingly, they were viewed as these unbeatable players on court. Their passion and love for the game became their driving force to become stronger.
And stronger did they become, until no one else could defeat them. Not one was able to bring out their true potential, and for one heartbreaking moment, Kise realized, that life was getting boring again. The thrill scorching his veins, and the adrenaline pumping his blood, disappeared as he and the others won every game they played. Kise could only look on disinterest, as their opponents stopped playing altogether, already admitting defeat.
Everything was just a cycle. It would always be the same. Nothing ever changes. A bitter smile graced his lips. His gaze focused on one lone figure leaning against the tree, a book held in small, pale hands. Nothing changes, huh? Reality crashed down on him that day Momoi told them the truth. Kuroko Tetsuya was no more, their one and only phantom player will forever be out of reach.
It was ironic. The very person he deemed to be the least important in their team at the start, became the very definition of important in the end. More than anyone else, Kuroko Tetsuya was the most precious member of their team. It was not as if he was the only one who thought of it that way, much to his dismay. Contrary to popular belief, he was not an idiot. The only reason why his grades suffered was because he abhorred the idea of sitting around all day, reading nonsense. He could be sharp and smart when he wanted, and his genius was hardly needed to know something so painfully obvious.
The gentle gestures, mild countenance, and countless considerations given to their sole phantom player were always present in, and outside the court. Kise was miffed by this, that his teammates felt as strongly as he, towards Kuroko. But now... His focus never faltered from his object of interest, even when the book fell from the small hands, and sky-blue eyes closed, giving way to sleep.
Now, Kise could only relish the fact that he wasn't the only one suffering for this loss. For this immense pain he was forced to endure, all other members of the Generation of Miracles felt the same way. A small dog appeared from the corner, his new pet from what he's heard. A small black husky with the same disturbingly blue blue eyes. The dog sniffed at its master before his gaze found his. The small husky gave out a small whine and Kise could only smile, as the bundle of fur ran towards him.
"Good boy, Tetsuya number two." It was a strange name, which oddly fit the fur ball snuggling in his hand. Kise smiled, bitterness clear in his eyes. It was painful, because he knew he could never experience that same peace he felt before. That same acceptance and love so clear in these familiar eyes.
"Arf!" The husky whined at him, and only then did the blond realize, the warm droplets against his cold skin. His golden amber irises widened and he laughed awkwardly to himself.
"Ara, why am I crying? I shouldn't be, now, should I? Haha!"
"Arf!" Kise wiped his face with the sleeves of his sweater. The waterworks just won't stop! What was wrong with him? He felt a soft nudge to his thigh. The blond looked up and saw the same cypress in his hand; now, in the dog's mouth, its eyes sad and pleading. So much like his own.
Kise took a deep breath, ruffling the soft fur as he did. A brilliant smile surfaced on his face, failing to reach his eyes. His model-worthy smile was the only facade holding him together now. The blond threw one more sorrowful look his way, before standing up to his full height. He had grown taller after three years. And with graduation just around the corner, things were about to change, namely his school, his environment, and just about everything. In one week, he would be moving on with his life, as much as he hated to. Kise cast one last smile at the sleeping teen underneath the shade, and another pat on the husky's head.
It's too late to do anything now. After five whole months, it became clear what went wrong. Momoi was right, it was their fault. The guilt and the regret prevented every member of the Generation of Miracles from approaching their phantom player.
They had no right to, not when they drove him to his current state. An oath had been made, leading to their current isolation from him. It was excruciating. To be be deprived from him, only now did Kise realize, how much of his life had revolved around Kuroko for the past few years. It was to his misfortune, that everything was too late. A tear slipped from his eyes.
The last of his sentiments only heard by the wind.
"What do you mean gone? Don't tell me..." Kise stepped forward, his eyes demanding an answer. Momoi was down on the floor, her face in her hands.
"Satsuki, explain yourself this instant." Akashi's voice always sent them reeling in fear, and sometimes wariness. This time, however, the urgency beneath his forceful tone was evident, not that everyone else minded the tiny difference.
"He's gone...just he's..Tetsu-kun's gone! Do you understand? He's not—he'll never come back!" Their manager uttered in panic. Her eyes wild and clearly disturbed. Aomine stepped forward, disregarding her state of mind. It was not the time to be speaking in gibberish.
"What the hell, Satsuki! Just tell us what happened, woman!" He roared over her sobs, his body shaking in fury. He would never forgive her if this was some prank she cooked up just to spite them.
"Hospital...Tokyo Hospital, Tetsu-kun's there, Dai-chan but it's not him anymore, it's not him! He won't come back!" She shrieked, and in their eyes, it was complete lunacy.
"Just bring us there, damn it!" And Kise wished, he never demanded Momoi to do so. Hospitals were never his fancy, and he won't start liking it now. Dread filled him every step they took towards Kuroko's room. The walls of the hospital was as clear as day, and the smell of antiseptics burned his nose. Kise tried not to gag and make any sort of disturbance. The mood was already tense as it was, and his teammates would hardly appreciate it if he caused another ruckus.
607 - Kuroko Tetsuya
The plate on the door just made the feeling in his stomach worse. From his periphery, Kise could distinctly see the clenching of Aomine's hands, the glint in Mirdorima's eyes, the narrowed eyes of their captain, and the lack of food in Murasakibara's hands. Momoi choked back a sob, and hesitantly, he could only lay a hand on her shoulder.
With a shuddering sigh, Kise knocked on the door, hearing a small 'come in' from inside, before turning the knob and opening the door. The brilliant light of the afternoon sun blinded him for a moment. The blond opened his eyes and there, he saw him in all his beautiful self. Kuroko sat innocently on the white sheets, bandages wrapped around his head, his fingers, his neck, and an IV was connected to his wrist.
Despite his teammate's condition, he looked every bit the angel he was. Momoi stepped forward, a hesitant smile plastered on her face. Her tears had long dried but the tear tracks have yet to subside. They watched in silence as Kuroko frowned softly, his features still quite indifferent.
"Momoi-san? Are you alright?" Mock joy was expressed in her face as she smiled, and sat down in front of him.
"Of course, I am, Kuroko-san. How are you feeling?" Kise's eyes widened at the formal address. Where was the usual 'Tetsu-kun'?
"I'm quite alright, thank you for asking." He nodded at her, before his eyes settled on them. His usual blank stare had them tensing, and somehow, they could already guess what Momoi was telling them. Kise felt a sliver of fear creeping up his spine. It couldn't be, now, could it?
"Momoi-san..." Kuroko trailed off, catching Momoi's attention. She bit her lip in hesitance as she watched Kuroko stare at the boys crowding the entrance. She knew what was coming, and she could only cry inside at what it would do to them when they find out. Momoi remorsefully closed her eyes.
"Who are they?" From that moment, Kise's—along with the others'—world shattered. Their disbelief, shock, and pain disabled them from answering, and only when Momoi ushered them outside, did they all snap back to reality.
"What is this, Satsuki?" Their captain's voice was barely audible, even if complete silence already surrounded them. Momoi turned her face away from them, her gaze on the window, her eyes glazed.
"Long-term memory loss." She took a deep breath before turning to face them.
"Sensei said that it will most likely be permanent, and with his current condition, he forgets things easily.
He'll recover in about a month." Momoi's voice was surprisingly calm, but the way her fingers shook, they knew otherwise. They knew as well what she was implying.
'Kuroko has completely forgotten us, and will most probably forget what we look like even though he saw you awhile ago.'
"What happened, Momoi?" After keeping his silence, it was only now Midorima decided to speak.
"We—I don't know. I found him like that on his doorstep. It—I..." Momoi paused, trying to compose herself. She took a deep breath.
"Sensei asked me to find clues. The only thing I found in his room was the resignation letter on his desk." Her tone became accusing, as her eyes turned cold and unforgiving.
"Psychological trauma, sensei says. It isn't possible to just gain amnesia with physical injuries alone. That's why, he has only one request..." Momoi trailed off, stepping forward, turning to where Kuroko's room was. Everyone just stared after her, still too shocked to do anything else. Aomine, the usual spitfire of the team, remained quiet as well.
"From the trauma he experienced, it's best to let him forget. Please don't let him suffer again." Momoi stopped, and turned to them, her eyes shining with unshed tears.
"Please...we can't do this again. From this day on, Kuroko Tetsuya will be forever out of the Generation of Miracles." She uttered with finality. The underlying meaning was clear, and for Kise, a piece of himself broke that day.
'Kuroko Tetsuya will be forever out of our lives.'
"Arf!" Bleary eyes opened, and a small yawn escaped from thin lips. His gaze was unfocused as he took in surroundings. Something wet pressed against his hand, prompting him to look down. Tetusya number two wagged its tail, happiness radiating off his body. Kuroko smiled, ruffling the soft fur. Stretching indulgently, his eyes caught something unusual on his lap. Looking down, he saw the yellow flower in between the pages of his book. Gingerly, he picked it up, a small smile lighting his features.
"Good boy." He patted the husky's head, his eyes appreciating the bright blossom in his hand.
"Arf!" Kuroko stared at his dog in question when his pet ran towards the grassy part of the field. He slowly stood from his seat, the flower and book carefully cradled in his hand.
"What is it?" A small cloth lay on the dirt, hidden between the blades of grass. A handkerchief neatly folded was being dirtied on the ground. Kuroko frowned, taking hold of the fine piece of cloth in his fingers. It was a waste to throw it away, not when it looked as expensive as it felt. The owner may be looking for it now. Nodding to himself, Kuroko's eyes glinted with determination. He would definitely return it, the initials he saw embroidered on the handkerchief would give him a clue.
K.R. was vague and it might take him forever till he found the owner, but it would be a pity if it just gets thrown in the trash. Kuroko was frugal to the very core. He had to be, since he lived on his own.
"Arf!" The sky-haired teen ruffled the dog's fur, when an idea came to mind. Dogs had a very good sense of smell. Kuroko stilled, pondering for a moment. It could work. Bending down, he offered the cloth to his dog.
"Will you help me find the owner?" He asked softly. Kuroko felt ridiculous asking but the 'arf' of his pet gave him some hope. He patted the black fur.
"Thank you, number two."
"Arf!" Kuroko gave off his own unique smile.
"Lead the way, boy."
"Oi Kise! We're leaving! You coming?" Kise turned to his friend, an apologetic smile on his lips. He raised his hand in front of his face as he bowed.
"Sorry! Have other plans, see you tomorrow!" He breezed through his friends, his bag slung over his shoulder. His classmates watched him go, frowns of disapproval on their faces.
"There he goes. A modelling gig again?" One bitterly asked. His friend shook his head.
"It must be awesome to be famous. Ha! What an arrogant prick!"
"Yeah, he's way above himself to hang out with us normal folks, huh? Why do we even bother?" A chorus of agreement swept around the group. Unknown to them, a lone figure hid behind one corner.
"Some friends..." Kise laughed bitterly, his hands clenched at his sides. It was a normal occurrence after that day. The rest of the Generation of Miracles just drifted apart. They no longer hung out, much less talk to each other. Basketball was no longer appealing as well, though none of them stopped playing. It was what brought them together, brought him to them. It was their last link to their phantom player, after all.
His mind drifted off, his steps unhurried when he stopped suddenly. Kise stared at the basketball court, he wanted to curse his feet for bringing him here. The blond sighed, dropping his bag on the newly polished floor. Might as well practice, he had nothing better to do anyway.
Kuroko panted, his form hunched over, his hands resting on his knees. He had been running around for hours already, and still, number two had yet to find the owner of handkerchief he found. A few times, he entertained the idea of abandoning his impromptu goal. Most especially, when he found out about fifty or so students had K.R. as initials.
"Arf!" His pet's tail wagged as he ran towards another random direction. Kuroko sighed, hoping that this time, his husky would be right. So many mishaps already happened today, and he didn't want any more trouble. Running towards the familiar path of the gymnasium, Kuroko stopped, letting his dog run ahead of him. There was someone there, a glimmer of hope shone in his eyes. Maybe this time, his husky was right.
The distinct dribbling of the ball could be heard inside before it stopped. Practice? Kuroko's eyebrows furrowed in confusion. It was already nearing six in the evening. All club activities ended at five. Following the trail of his energetic dog, Kuroko cautiously walked in, and watched from the doorway as a tall teen petted his dog.
"What are you doing here?" Kise smiled, his eyes pained and sad as the dog wagged its tail at him. What's the little tyke doing away from its master? It barely leaves Kuroko's side. Lost in thought, the blond didn't notice his approach. Kuroko neared them, stopping a few feet away.
"Excuse me." He spoke suddenly, eliciting a scream of surprise from the blond's lips. Kuroko flinched at the sudden noise, yet his features remained indifferent.
"I would just like to ask. Is this yours?" Kise looked up, his expression showed his shock and disbelief, and just what the hell was Kuroko doing here? His eyes were wide, his mouth slightly open. A handkerchief was presented to him, averting the intensity of his gaze from Kuroko towards the cloth in his hand. The initials embroidered on the cloth was familiar to him. It was the handkerchief given to him by a fan. Shakily, Kise nodded, his fingers trembling as he took hold of the silken piece of fabric.
"Please take good care of your things next time." Kuroko lightly admonished, his face still schooled into an expression of indifference. Kise looked up at the small male, his position on the floor giving him full view of the person he had been watching afar for months. Was this for real? With trembling lips, and a slight edge to his voice, he uttered.
"Thank you...thank you...thank you so much..." Kuroko watched as the blond placed the cloth near his chest, hugging it close. He couldn't understand why, but he felt heavy seeing this man breaking down in front of him. His heartstrings were being pulled as small tears fell from saddened, golden eyes.
"Arf!" Number two whined in front of the man, and without a second thought, Kuroko sat on the floor, and patted the golden mane softly. A small smile lit his features. It was a good thing he didn't give up looking for the owner. It must be very important to him.
"You're welcome, Kise-san." Kise stopped, his eyes wide, his breath hitching suddenly. He looked up and stared at Kuroko, searching his eyes for something, anything.
"H-How..." He felt his throat constrict, his mouth going dry seeing that familiar smile once again. "How did you know m-my name?" Kuroko looked at him, as if he was insane, before shaking his head.
"You don't even know your own popularity, Kise-san." Oh. Right. He was popular. He took a deep breath, his lips had yet to stop from quivering. He closed his eyes, the cloth still clutched in his hands, when he felt the soft touch on his head once again.
"Stop crying, please. It's not good for boys to cry." Those words were the same words Kuroko always told him when he was bullied by the others. Even now... He scrunched his eyes tight as more tears fell from his eyes. Kuroko stayed silent, the fingers on the blond mane not ceasing in their ministrations. For those few blissful moments, Kise prayed for the first time in his life.
Please...please...do not let this end...
"You broke the oath. How dare you!" Aomine growled out, his eyes flashing in fury. Kise was slumped against the cold, cemented wall; a dazed look on his face, a thin streak of blood on his lips. The blond stared at the darkening sky, droplets of rain already showering them.
"I can't do this anymore, Aomine-cchi...I just can't..." Aomine looked to the side, his blood boiling at the pathetic site. He turned away, his hands clenched and his teeth gritted in anger.
"You are not the only one suffering, you selfish bastard! An oath is an oath, break it again, and Akashi will hear of this." Aomine glared at him, his whole form tense, ready to lash out anytime. He turned to leave, before walking away from Kise, leaving him alone and soaked in the rain. A bruise was already starting to form where Aomine had hit him. That was some punch. He touched his jaw, and hissed in pain. It hurt like hell. His manager will definitely throw a tantrum when he sees his face sporting a wound. Kise sighed, and looked up, his eyes closed as the downpour became heavier.
Trust Aomine, of all people, to see his encounter with Kuroko. He couldn't blame his teammate for blowing up the way he did. Their oath, the one Akashi had instilled in every one of them, was for their phantom player. An oath of isolation, an oath of never approaching Kuroko Tetsuya ever again. It was retribution, a punishment for all of them, for what they did. They all kept their end of the promise, not once did any of them approach Kuroko ever again, even Momoi.
But what could he do when Kuroko himself scoured the school just for the owner of one measly handkerchief? He found solace and peace in those few moments. He thought he was going to go insane these past few months, but now...he couldn't do this, he just couldn't. He was being selfish, he knew, but if he continued this way, what would become of him?
"Kuroko-cchi...why are you doing this to me?" He griped painfully, his right hand gripping the fabric of
his uniform. His pitiful sobs unheard in the pouring rain as he cried his heart out. Kise thought that all his tears had dried up already, but just a single thought of him, had him crying like a baby.
"What do I do, Kuroko-cchi?" Kise curled on the floor, his head resting on his bent knees. His cries of agony all washed out by the rain.
Kuroko-cchi...I'm so lost...help me...
To be continued...
*Cypress - 'mourning'
*Yellow - for Kise's name where 'Ki' means yellow from what I know.