Tetsuya’s room was haunted.
He’d known this for as long as he could remember. Vague memories of being in his cot as a baby and seeing twin sparks of red light dancing above him. Watching over him, making him giggle when they collided into each other.
His mother had been concerned when he grew a little older, just able to talk and she’d heard him talking to someone in his room.
But his grandmother wasn’t so worried. “Seems the twins have taken a shine to our Tetsuya. There’s nothing to worry about, they’ll protect him from anything.”
For the most part of the year, the twin spirits manifested simply as two bundles of sparking red light. It was hard to tell the two apart when they were in this state, but Kuroko had learnt that one of them had a hint of gold at its centre.
However, once a year, these spirits appearance changed. Becoming corporeal from sunset to sunrise. They took on the form of twin boys who waited, patiently in Kuroko’s room.
To begin with, Kuroko missed when this change happened. He was always asleep and never knew that his friendly, watchful spirits knelt all night just waiting to see if he would wake.
Then one night, around age seven, Kuroko woke in the middle of the night and instinctively looked for the twin lights that had meant he’d never needed a night light.
Instead he found two boys knelt on either side of his bedroom door. They looked to be the same age as Kuroko, and both had bright red hair.
Kuroko, naturally, opened his mouth to scream at the unexpected sight. But the one of the left of the door held up his hand in a halting gesture, while the other cupped his hands together, until a familiar bundle of sparking red light appeared between his palms. He offered his hands closer to Kuroko, letting him see.
It was the purer bundle on of red light that flickered between the boys palms, rather than the one with the hint of gold. Kuroko stared at the light, then slowly up at the boy’s face, understanding coming to him like an easily accepted fact. He then looked over to the other boy, who also had his hands cupped, showing the other ball off light to Kuroko.
In unison, the two of them drew their hands back to themselves and the lights melted away.
The first boy smiled at Kuroko, kindly.
“Hello, Kuroko. We’ve been looking forward to meeting you for a while.”
Kuroko edged closer, getting a better look at both of the boys. They looked utterly identical, except for their eyes. While the first had matching red eyes, the other had one red, one gold.
The hint of gold in one of the bundles of light that these boys usually manifested as made more sense now.
Their clothes were distinctly formal, long kimono in dark fabric with a dark red haori worn over the top. They both possessed an air of stillness, of calm and yet… Also of great strength. Of course, at age seven, Kuroko didn’t quite fully process all of this. He only knew that he felt safe, protected by them. Just as he felt when they were simple balls of light.
“Hello.” Kuroko replied back, quietly.
“We’ve never had the chance to introduce ourselves properly.” The second boy said, blinking slowly as he smiled.
The first quirked a little smile. “It’s probably easiest if we explain we were given identical names. Our father found it difficult to tell us apart.”
“Mother knew…” The second pouted.
The first sighed. “Yes. But you were always sleeping when father saw you as a baby, so he never saw your eyes.”
He looked back up at Kuroko. “We’re both Akashi Seijuro.” He said.
“The Akashi twins!” The second added.
“For ease, you can call me Seijuro, and my brother Sei.” The first continued.
To this, Sei nodded. “It’s how our mother called us.”
Kuroko smiled and nodded. “It’s good to meet you, Akashi Seijuro, Akashi Sei.”
Then he looked between them, cautiously. “How did the two of you…”
“Become spirits?” Seijuro supplied, helpfully.
“That’s a pretty big question after just meeting us!” Sei interrupted.
To this Kuroko blushed. “O-oh. Excuse me. I didn’t mean to be rude.”
Seijuro shook his head. “It’s not rude, we don’t mind your curiosity, Kuroko.” Seijuro inched closer, shuffling forward on his knees. “It’s not a sad story, so don’t worry.” He insisted, gently.
“We loved this house.” Sei said, simply.
“It was the summer house that our mother would bring us to.” Seijuro explained, smiling.
“It was the only time when we didn’t have to study all day.” Sei continued.
“And we were allowed to share a room here.” Seijuro said, gesturing around the room they were currently sat in.
Kuroko blinked. “This was your room?”
Sei nodded. “At home… We were made to have separate rooms. Father said we distracted each other too much and stayed awake too long. But we came out here only with our mother, and she knew we liked to stay together.”
Seijuro smiled, fondly at his twin. “Of course, even at home… Sei had a habit of coming into my room at night and sharing my bed.”
“It’s not my fault I had nightmares!”
Seijuro looked to Kuroko again. “In short… We came to inhabit this place because… It’s where we were happiest.”
“And we wanted to protect this happy place.”
Kuroko looked between the two of them. “So… Grandma was right… You really are protective spirits.”
The twins nodded in unison.
“And you protect… This house?”
“And its inhabitants.” Seijuro added.
“Especially you.” Sei said.
Seijuro just smiled. “Why do you think?”
The next morning, Kuroko woke to find the twin balls of light hovering over his bed, like usual.
He smiled, realising it hadn’t all been a dream after all.
Every year, the twins appeared before Kuroko, just like the first year. And each year they seemed to grow a year older, just like Kuroko.
“Why do you change each year? I didn’t think spirits could get older.”
Sei smiled that cunning smile that seemed exclusive to him. “We’re not just any spirits, Tetsuya.”
One year, Kuroko had decided to do some extra research into spirits just before the night he knew the twins were due to appear.
“You said your story isn’t a sad one but then… Why are you spirits? What’s your… Unfinished business?”
Seijuro smiled, patiently at him. “We explained this the first time, Kuroko. We’re here to protect this place.”
“Game time!” Sei interrupted, slamming the shogi board down between the three of them, halting further conversation.
The board and set had been a present for Kuroko’s birthday. He’d asked for it because the previous year the twins had expressed an interest in the game. When he’d opened it on his birthday, the twin balls of light had been almost vibrating with excitement. Clearly Sei was done waiting for his chance to play.
Every year on that specific night, the three of them played and talked until Kuroko fell asleep. As he got older, Kuroko tried ever harder to stay up later, understanding that when he woke, his time with the twins in this way would be over for another year.
He got to know them, understand their separate personalities. While Seijuro could sometimes be a touch too formal, Sei could equally be a little too informal and careless with the way he talked about people. It was clear that Seijuro treated his brother like a younger sibling, but Sei didn’t seem to mind that. Sei was more prone to sudden shifts in mood and could throw a tantrum quickly. While Seijuro rarely let his temper run out, and would calm his brother with ease when needed. Their closeness was obvious to Kuroko, and he was a little intimidated by the obvious wealth they’d had in life. Kuroko’s home had been their holiday home, and they often talked about the estate they’d lived in more permanently.
They even mentioned their horses.
Twin, snow white horses that they’d learnt to ride together.
They were also clearly very highly educated. Sei once demonstrating his excellence at calligraphy, while Seijuro softly played a piece on the violin.
In truth Kuroko was amazed that Seijuro was able to control the volume so well so as not to wake his family.
But, coupled with their obvious excellence in life, these were no ordinary spirits. So perhaps Kuroko shouldn’t have been so surprised.
One thing continued to nag at the back of Kuroko’s brain though.
While, yes, the twins had explained why they inhabited this house, it didn’t explain why they’d focused on Kuroko. Or how they were able to grow with him.
Nor did it fully explain the circumstances with which they’d become spirits.
He wasn’t convinced that they’d simply stayed to protect this house.
Something had happened.
And Kuroko suspected it had something to do with why Seijuro often changed the subject quickly when Sei mentioned their parents.
He was fourteen when Kuroko decided to try again.
Sei was stretched out on Kuroko’s bed, reading, while Seijuro was making tea for the three of them.
Kuroko sat between them, looking over both of them. Amazed that when they’d first met, they’d all looked like such little kids. Now they were teenagers and since the twins still wore formal clothes, they looked so much more grown up, even more than Kuroko did.
“… I know I’ve asked this but. How did-“
Seijuro looked up, sharply. “We’ve been over this, Kuroko. We became spirits to protect this place.”
“To keep it a happy place.” Sei added.
“And to keep its inhabitants happy.” Seijuro smiled, offering Kuroko a cup of tea.
Kuroko nodded his thanks. “I know that.” He said. “I still don’t understand why me specifically but-“
To that, Sei giggled, and Seijuro hid his smile behind his sleeve. Kuroko looked at them both, curious and a little irritated.
“Sorry Tetsuya.” Sei said. “We can’t tell you that one yet.”
“In time.” Seijuro said, patiently. “I promise.”
To this, Kuroko shrugged. “But. What I really… I mean. Just the intent to stay and protect a house… That shouldn’t… Unless…” Kuroko chewed his bottom lip, thinking. “Something specific had to have happened here.”
Seijuro looked up, his eyes flashing slightly, coldly.
Sei just chuckled. “Lots of stuff happened here! Lots of good stuff! Seijuro read to me every night and our mother came in in the mornings and woke us up for breakfast and no one told me off for being in Seijuro’s bed with him.”
“It was a happy time.” Seijuro agreed. “Every year that we came here. It was happy.”
Sei nodded, humming happily.
Then he stopped, abruptly. Sighing softly. “Until the last year…”
Seijuro looked up, cautiously, his eyes narrowing. “Sei…” He said, warningly. “Sei. Never mind that. Drink the tea I made you. Kuroko’s enjoying it and I think you should like it too-“
Sei sat up suddenly, but he didn’t take the cup offered to him. Instead his gaze was on the floor, his head slightly tilted.
“T-the last year… We were…” He shook his head. “H- how old we were Seijuro?”
Seijuro gripped the cup more tightly, almost enough to break it, but not quite. “It doesn’t matter Sei. It’s not important.”
“Father was here… But. He was never here usually… That doesn’t make sense. Seijuro? Why was father here with us?” Sei was staring, wide eyed at Seijuro, the confusion clear in his eyes.
Kuroko could only watch, stare.
He realised now why Seijuro hadn’t wanted him to ask. Whatever it was… Sei wasn’t able to handle it.
Seijuro set the cup down on the floor and made his quick way over to his brother, taking his hands and pulling him close. “Enough. Enough of that Sei. You don’t need to think about it.”
“Mother wasn’t there! Why wasn’t she?! Why was father so angry at us? What did we do, Seijuro? Was it my fault? What happened? Why was father there and not mother? That’s not right! It’s the wrong way around it should have been her here with us why-“
Seijuro was stroking his hands over his brother’s face, back over his hair, trying to get him to calm down, to wipe away the tears that were streaking down his face.
“Shush, hush now Sei, it’s alright. You’re safe, remember, you have me. You always have me.”
Sei looked up then, meeting his brothers eyes. “I- I need…”
Then he got up, opening the bedroom door and tiptoeing out with hurried steps on socked feet.
And Kuroko moved towards the door.
“Don’t go after him.” Seijuro said, gently.
Kuroko flinched. “I’m sorry…”
Seijuro shook his head, sitting back on the bed, leaning against the wall as he drew his knees up to his chest, wrapping his arms around them. “It’s fine. Sei will be okay but… I’m afraid you won’t see him until next year now. You’ll see his light form in the morning though.”
Then, slowly, he moved forward, settling down next to Seijuro on the bed.
“He doesn’t remember what happened that made you… Like this.” Kuroko said, quietly.
Seijuro nodded. “He remembers fragments but… When he starts to remember…” Seijuro nodded towards the door. “He becomes panicked and confused. Which is why I try to distract him when he starts to remember. Sometimes it works but sometimes…” He shrugged, clearly indicating that it was hardly a fool proof plan he had in place.
“But.” Kuroko said, hesitantly. “You remember, don’t you?”
Seijuro flinched. Then nodded.
“Did you both… Die here?”
Seijuro closed his eyes. “That’s not why we imprinted here.” He paused, looking up at the ceiling.
Kuroko reached his hand out, placing it over Seijuro’s. “Please… If you can. Tell me?”
He didn’t look at Kuroko as he started talking.
“We were sixteen. The new school year was due to start soon and we were, as always, eager for it. We’ve both always been good at school. Mother had brought us out here, like usual. And we were spoilt, like usual. Me and Sei… We both loved it here. We got to really be ourselves and as kids we’d been able to really play like we never did at home. Mother would encourage our make-believe games and join in when we let her. Which we did, a lot. We always made her the princess we had to save. And, Sei was right, I did read to him every night until he fell asleep. Then I would read to myself until I did too. Sei always talks about how he liked sharing my bed, but the truth is I never slept properly when he wasn’t there. But father hated it. According to mother, even as babies we’d cry and never settle if we weren’t together in the same cot. But he’d always insist, say we would never learn to be independent like that. Can you imagine? Saying that about babies!”
Seijuro’s hands tightened into fists, but Kuroko still kept his hand gently over his.
“But we never changed, always wanted to be close. Mother understood that. She understood us. She knew we were two separate people, but we needed each other.
She used to tell me… That me and Sei were one soul. That it didn’t make us less. It made us more. She said it meant our light was too big to fit into just one person, it needed two.”
Seijuro paused, taking a deep, steadying breath.
“I think we both knew… Something wasn’t right with mother when we came here but. She was clearly trying her best not to let it show and we didn’t want to upset her. So we pretended we didn’t notice.
I… Could tell she wasn’t well, and she was getting worse. I called back home. I- I spoke to one of the staff and I asked them to tell the doctor but they must have alerted my father too because the next morning… The next morning…”
Kuroko wrapped his arm around Seijuro’s shoulders, pulling him close.
“It was so early…” Seijuro whispered. “We didn’t even have a chance to wake up before father came into our room. I woke up first and saw him in the doorway and he looked… He was so furious.”
Seijuro bowed his head. “I tried to wake Sei up but he’s always so sleepy… It took him so long to wake up. I could see father coming towards us and he was yelling. Because he hated that we’d disobeyed him and he hated us sharing a bed like that a- and he called us all kinds of horrible things and all I could think about was protecting Sei. I wrapped around him just as father got to us and kicked out, he was going to kick Sei right in the back, while he was still sleeping but instead he hit me and I screamed and finally Sei woke up and he saw father and…”
Seijuro sighed, pausing again.
“It was like Sei was possessed. He saw me, hurt and crying from the kick to my back and he… He just stood up and. Launched himself at father and… I didn’t really see what happened but I tried to get up, to help… To protect my brother but. In the end father held him down and… And I started screaming, I thought he’d killed him but Sei opened his eyes again and broke free. He was badly hurt and- and bleeding but he got to me and we huddled together and eventually… Father left.
We both ended up in hospital, at the request of our family doctor. I had a bad bruise on my back but thankfully nothing was broken. Sei was worse, a lot of fractures. But, he was mostly healed in time for the new school year, at least.
We were sent away to school after that. We never returned here and… Whenever we went home, father was always away. He made it clear he hated us both. But we knew too… He was afraid of Sei. And of what we’d do to protect each other.”
Kuroko looked around the room, nervously. “That all… Happened here?”
Seijuro nodded. “That’s why we manifest here. Because. While the bad was… Horrific. The good outweighed it by so much and we… Want to make sure that continues.”
He looked to Kuroko, smiling softly. “As for why you?”
Seijuro leaned in close, then placed a kiss on Kuroko’s lips.
Kuroko froze, expecting Seijuro’s lips to be cold. But they were soft, warm. He should have known that, of course. He’d interacted with both of them enough to know they felt like regular people in this form. Warm. Real.
Seijuro blushed as he pulled back. “Sei will be mad at me for that. He wanted to be your first kiss.”
Kuroko blinked, slowly, trying to understand.
“We fell in love with you, Kuroko. You could say… Our soul fell in love with yours. That’s why you especially.”
The next morning, Kuroko woke up with the twin lights hovering closer than usual. He breathed a small sigh of relief at the sight of Sei’s spark of light. Then he saw it coming closer, eventually settling on his lips before pulling back quickly.
He guessed Seijuro had told his twin already about his and Kuroko’s kiss, and Sei had looked to seek his own, in whatever way he could.
The next year, when they were fifteen, the twins greeted Kuroko differently than usual. Sei edged close first, placing his hands on either side of Kuroko’s face and kissed him gently.
“I’ve been waiting a whole year to do that.” Sei said, smiling as he pulled back.
Then he moved out of the way so Seijuro could do the same, kissing Kuroko softly.
“So I guess this answers all your questions now?” Seijuro said.
That year they seemed to decide they’d grown out of playing games, so instead the three of them curled up on the bed, taking it in turns to read aloud.
The twins curled either side of Kuroko, giving Kuroko the impression of two contented cats. Perhaps they had a little bit of cat spirit in them somewhere too.
Occasionally one or other twin would place a gentle kiss on Kuroko’s cheek, and he’d blush.
He couldn’t say when it had happened, but he realised he loved the twins back, equally.
He stayed awake even longer than usual that year. He didn’t want to leave the twins. But when his eyes got heavy and kept trying to close, Seijuro stroked his hair while Sei kissed his cheek.
“It’s okay.” Seijuro said, gently. “You can sleep. We’ll be back next year.”
He didn’t mean to slip into sleep, but when he opened his eyes again, the lights were back, as always.
They took turns to touch his lips.
And Kuroko felt safe, like he always did.
Sixteen. And Kuroko was starting to understand just how difficult it was, being in love with spirits. Not even just the fact they were twins, or that they were spirits, but the fact they only physically manifested once a year.
He heard other boys in the locker rooms and in class talking about crushes they had. Some boasting about how far they’d gone with the people they were dating.
Kuroko realised he’d started thinking about the twins in that way. But. He had no way of following through. Not for the most part of the year. He didn’t even know how to bring it up to them, not when they were still in their simple light forms. How could they answer? Would they be put off by the way he was thinking about them? Would they consider it impure of him?
He dreamt of them and would wake up blushing, wondering what the twins might have heard in the night.
Sometimes he’d find himself accidently worked up thinking about them. His hand straying down and he’d have to stop himself, knowing they would see.
The night of manifestation came and Kuroko sat, impatiently on his bed, waiting for the twins to appear.
It was always odd, watching them appear.
Kuroko was always aware of the dancing lights and he watched them even more intensely this night.
First, the lights would still, far enough apart to give each other space for when they fully manifested. Then it would be as if the lights grew, smudging and blending until slowly they began to take form.
It was always done in unison, though Seijuro was always the first to open his eyes out of the two of them.
This night, without hesitation, the two of them reached out for Kuroko. He let himself go to them, and found they covered him in kisses. Soft, gentle at first, then when Sei finally kissed his lips, Kuroko found him more urgent, passionate. Kuroko pressed close to him, instinctively, wanting more.
Seijuro pulled away, gently coaxing his brother back too.
He set his gaze steadily on Kuroko.
“We know how you’ve been feeling.” Seijuro said.
“And we want the same as you.” Seijuro continued. Then he paused, lowering his gaze. “But… I’m concerned. Perhaps we’ve been selfish. We can’t offer you the kind of relationship that most people can enjoy.”
Sei scowled, looking away. “We only get to be… Like this once a year. And. It’s frustrating.”
“It’s frustrating not being able to be close to you whenever we wish.” Seijuro said. “I get the feeling… You feel the same?”
Slowly, Kuroko nodded. “I wish… I hear people at school talking about boyfriends, girlfriends and… It’s difficult not to be jealous of the freedom they have.”
Sei looked up at Kuroko, his eyes slightly narrowed. “We love you, Tetsuya. And that’s not going to change. We’ve loved you always and we’ve waited so long and-“
Seijuro reached out his hand, touching his brother’s shoulder gently. “Sei. It’s alright.”
Sei nodded, visibly calming at his brothers touch.
“I’m not asking… I want to love you both.” Kuroko said, quietly. “But. I just wanted to let you know… How I feel.”
Seijuro nodded. Then he moved closer to Kuroko again, taking up his hands. “I should mention… This year is. Not an easy one for us. I hope you won’t mind us… Seeking distraction in you.”
Kuroko’s eyes went wide, remembering what Seijuro had told him two years ago.
That event with their father. It had happened when they were sixteen.
Kuroko nodded. “T-that’s fine.”
Seijuro kissed him then, deeply. And he felt arms wrap around his waist, a kiss from Sei placed on his neck.
“We’ll let you set the pace, Tetsuya.” Sei said.
“Only what you’re comfortable with, we promise.” Seijuro added.
“We want to make this night count.”
To this, Kuroko nodded. Finally letting himself indulge in what he hadn’t even let himself think about all year.
They laid down together, kissing gently, testing what they liked. When one was kissing Kuroko’s lips, the other would find some other part of his skin to kiss instead, most often his neck.
He pressed against one, then the other, wanting to get close, closer. Finding all urges spiralling and wanting to be indulged. His hands glancing over their necks and collarbones and sliding down into the front of their kimono’s.
All these years, and they still wore the same kinds of clothes. Only the sizes had changed.
The twins sat up almost in unison, knowing what Kuroko wanted. They slipped out of their clothes, and helped Kuroko with his.
Kuroko was transfixed, looking at their bodies. Skin light and soft looking. Soft feeling as he found when he reached out to touch them. Both surprisingly toned beneath their clothes. But, he remembered that of course they were trained in many things. Not just academically, but also in many physical activities too.
They took both of his hands, laying them on themselves as they kissed softly at Kuroko’s skin.
Kuroko had the odd feeling of being… Worshipped by the two spirits. Although he distinctly felt like he should be the one worshipping them.
They remained like that, all night. Beneath the covers, simply naked and entangled together. Touching, caressing, and enjoying the feel of each other, mouths and lips constantly occupied. Kuroko had the urge to touch the twins even more intimately, but got scared when he tried. They both reassured him, telling him there was no need to rush.
“Just because we only have one night a year.” Seijuro said gently, “Doesn’t mean you have to rush.”
For once Seijuro fell asleep first. Curled up against Kuroko, his lips pressed against Kuroko’s shoulder.
Sei remained awake, kissing Kuroko’s cheek and stroking his hair.
Kuroko let his fingers wander over skin. Marvelling at how warm they both felt.
Then he noticed something strange. A coldness on his neck, his shoulder. He turned his head and found Sei was crying.
Trying not to disturb Seijuro, Kuroko edged closer to Sei. Reaching out his hand to brush over the other boys cheek. “Sei? What’s wrong?”
“… I’m scared.” He said, quietly.
“Because… I’m not sure if we get a next year…”
Kuroko felt his blood run cold, freezing up at Sei’s words. “W-what? But… Seijuro said-“
“I know.” Sei interrupted. “I know what he said and I know that’s what he thinks but. I know… This was the age our souls imprinted here. That we… Decided we were going guard. I- I’m scared that we won’t… That we won’t…”
Kuroko swallowed, harshly. “But… You lived longer than this, right? This wasn’t…”
Sei nodded. “We got to grow old but. I still think…”
“Then it’s okay. It’s going to be alright, Sei. You’ll see.”
Again Sei nodded. “Tetsuya… Just in case though… Don’t fall asleep. Not until sunrise. Please? I don’t… I don’t want to be alone.”
Kuroko watched the twins turn back into balls of light, and tried not to let them see he was crying as much as Sei. He didn’t want to admit it, but the thought scared him too.
What if Sei was right? What if this was the time they had?
What if he didn’t get them back again next year?
He finally let himself sleep, though it was an uneasy sleep. He dreamt that he woke up and not even the balls of light remained.
When he woke up, he found the nightmare came true.
He couldn’t even see the lights anymore.
Kuroko cried until his mother came, desperately asking him what was wrong.
It wasn’t until his grandmother came in too, she paused at the door, listening or… Trying to sense something.
“Oh… Tetsuya. Dearest.” She said gently.
“What is it?” His mother insisted, still trying to console her son.
“It’s the twins.” His grandmother said. “They… Something’s changed. I don’t think Tetsuya can see them anymore.”
Hearing it confirmed by another person only made it worse, only made it real.
They were gone. Completely. Sixteen years of his life he’d had them, and surely that long he’d loved them and now. Now they were just gone?
He wished Seijuro hadn’t fallen asleep. Wished that he could have stopped Sei from crying. Wish they’d let themselves realise how they felt about each other sooner.
Kuroko didn’t move all day, not even to eat. His mother and father grew ever more worried, but his grandmother tried to reassure them. Telling them he’d been fine, give him space. Give him time.
Kuroko wasn’t sure if there was enough time in the world to make this feel better.
A week passed.
And Kuroko still felt barely human. Every morning he woke up expecting to find those twin lights, and every morning he had to remember they were gone. It hurt like a knife to the heart every time.
But he did manage to get out of bed. To eat. To at least do the very basics. But nothing else. He couldn’t face anything else.
It was early in the morning. Kuroko was sat at the breakfast table, listlessly eating. He could feel his mothers worried gaze but he could do nothing to reassure her. He couldn’t tell her he was fine. He couldn’t lie.
The doorbell rang, and his grandmother went to get it.
“Oh!” Kuroko heard her exclaim.
“Excuse me. But, is Kuroko Tetsuya around?”
Kuroko’s head snapped up.
That voice? It sounded like? But. It couldn’t be?
“We’re sorry for the intrusion but we heard he hadn’t been at school and we were worried.”
“We’ve been very anxious to see him again. But we didn’t know when he’d return.”
“Oh. Of course. Well, come in. I’ll go get him.”
She didn’t need to. Kuroko was on his feet and nearly skidding into the hallway.
His knees buckled beneath him when he saw them.
Their clothes were different. Modern. But neat and well cut, as befitting those of high standing. But even in different attire, there was no mistaking them. Both of them.
Akashi Seijuro and Akashi Seijuro. In the flesh. Right in front of him.
Kuroko managed to get to his feet just long enough to meet him half way. Falling into them as he burst into tears all over again.
They stroked his hair and kissed his forehead.
“It’s okay, Kuroko.” Seijuro said, gently.
“It’s really us.” Sei added.
“B-but. I thought… I thought-“
“We know.” Seijuro said. “So did we.”
“I got really scared when we disappeared…” Sei admitted. “But. We saw our mother. And. She explained.”
“We get to live our life again now. With you.” Seijuro continued.
“Because you loved us. And… You were never afraid.”
“We’re still… Technically spirits but. We’ll stay like this now, and continue growing with you.”
“You get to keep us!” Sei said, his eyes twinkling just a little.
“And we get to keep you.” Seijuro added, kissing Kuroko’s cheek.
Kuroko nodded, at a loss for what to say.
All he knew was that his biggest wish had just come true.
And he had a feeling the three of them were going to get to spend eternity together.