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Climb Onto The Throne

Chapter Text

Kuroo would’ve been lying if he’d said that he wasn’t angry when his bedside phone rang.

Nor when it woke the small body beside him with its constant noise.

“Kuro, answer the Goddamn phone.” Kenma grumbled grouchily, turning away and cocooning himself in the bedsheets and burying his face into his pillow.

Kuroo reluctantly disconnected the phone from the receiver, blearily looking at the barely risen sun before answering gruffly.

“Tetsurou speaking.”

His free hand went to Kenma’s head, teasing his fingers along his scalp and making the smaller man swat at him half-heartedly with the back of his hand.

The light touches soon stopped, however, as the voice detailed the reason why they were calling.

“Why does he want to meet with me? He knows I cut business with him.” Kuroo growled down the phone, listening to his father’s adviser who had unfortunately been signed into another contract when he took over the syndicate.

An old man with an old way of thinking.

He knew he disapproved of his and Kenma’s relationship, but he couldn’t relive the man of his duties without good cause.

There were still restless and rebellious factions within Nekoma, he had his allies, but he had plenty more enemies.

He didn’t want a coup, so the old man stayed; for now.

“Alright, I’ll be down shortly.” Kuroo huffed after the man had finished, ending the call and rolling back into his cooling space beside Kenma.

He wound his arm around his husband before easing his smaller body into his chest.

“Don’t be shirking your duties, Kuro.” Kenma shot, lightly kicking his shins until he loosened his hold.

“Kenmaaa,” Kuroo whined, “But they’ve already got my bags ready and my flight time sorted, when I go down I’ll have to leave.”

“The sooner you go, the sooner you can come back to me.” Kenma purred softly before languidly rolling onto his stomach.

“No fair, Kenma, no fair.” Kuroo said in anguish, finally relinquishing and rolling out of the bed unceremoniously. “But that motherfucker better not expect me to do anything with my hair.”

Kenma watched Kuroo get ready from his perch on the bed, an adoring smile barely gracing his lips.

“Is that Keitsumi?”

“Hearing his name from your lips is a crime.” Kuroo finished getting ready, his hair still a untamed mess, the small bruises from the night before on full display with his open collar and half unbuttoned shirt.

“And the state of your attire is a crime.”

“How else am I gonna give him his daily shot of high blood pressure?”

Kenma snorted at this, slipping into his house shoes and walking down to the main entry hall with Kuroo, sure enough even in his flannel pajamas the cool wind made him feel naked and Kenma had to hide his full body shiver.

“Kuroo-sama, are you--?” Keitsumi stopped dead upon noticing his boss’ dishevelled appearance, he clicked his tongue once before recomposing himself. “Are you ready?”

“Not really, I’m gonna miss my kitten so much.” Kuroo crooned, watching Keitsumi’s face twist in poorly veiled disgust.

Kuroo gave Kenma a chaste kiss before heading out towards the car that was waiting for him, Keitsumi standing in front of Kenma to block his view. But Kenma slipped past him, running onto the concrete slab of the manor’s porch, waving Kuroo off as the car pulled up the driveway.

Once Kuroo was out of the gardens was when Kenma’s nerves set in.

Keitsumi always took control when Kuroo was gone.

He always behaved strangely towards Kenma.

It definitely wasn’t a disgust reaction, either.

Having grown up around his mother Kenma quickly learned the gaze of a man lusting for something, Keitsumi was no different.

Kuroo was just too dense to notice.

“So, Kenma-san,” Keitsumi said, approaching him, “how about we have a meal tonight in order to congratulate the young master’s success.”

“Wouldn’t it make more sense to wait for Tetsurou’s return?” Kenma asked, his eyes narrowing and his brow creasing as he looked up at Keitsumi.

He really was so easy to read.

The smallest show of fondness towards Kuroo always got him angry.

So Kenma did it more.

“I suppose you’re right.”

“I always am.” Kenma returned, heading back inside out of the cold weather. However, instead of returning to his and Kuroo’s room, he made his way towards the rear of the manor house to where the other members of the Nekoma group took residence.

He pounded his fist on several of the doors as he walked before finally settling on the door at the end of the corridor, standing at attention and waiting for the door to be opened.

“Hello?” The smaller man inquired upon opening the door, his eyes settled on Kenma as well as the doors behind him opening like the undead rising from their graves at the necromancer’s command. “Kenma-sama.”

“Yaku, you can drop the formalities when we’re not in a formal setting,” Kenma chastised, “can you summon the allies of the new Nekoma master and have them arrive to mine and Kuro’s room in the next ten minutes?” Kenma spoke in a hushed voice before heading down the hall and back up the marble staircase.

 

 

Kenma entered the now illuminated bedroom, the sunlight entering the room and casting a warm glow along each wall.

He walked to the window, looking down into the rear gardens.

He never expected to return to Nekoma.

He felt out of sorts, it felt like only yesterday the incident with Oikawa was in full swing.

Now he and Kuroo were married and the heads of a reborn Nekoma.
It was an odd feeling, they’d known that changing the runnings wouldn’t be easy, but the divide in Nekoma was almost evenly split. Kuroo’s father had loyal followers, as did Kuroo.

It was like redirecting lightning. Difficult, but definitely not impossible if you have the right metal.

A knock on the door snapped him free from his thoughts.

“Enter.” He called, the door creaking open and his most trusted allies entering the room.

These were the men and women he trusted to most, his and Kuroo’s close council.

Yasufumi Nekomata; Manabu Naoi; Nobuyuki Kai; Morisuke Yaku; Taketora Yamamoto; Akane Yamamoto; Shouhei Fukunaga; Sou Inuoka; Tamahiko Teshiro; Lev Haiba; Alisa Haiba; Yuki Shibayama.

The body of Nekoma’s force.

Kenma leaned back on the window ledge as the group filed in, they perched everywhere from the bed to the chest of drawers, even on the sofa situated in the area of the room for relaxation.

“Is everything alright, Kenma?” Nekomata asked first, as one of the older members of Nekoma it was against his demographic to be in support of Kuroo, but his constant steady figure was a mainstay for the younger, more inexperienced members, including Kenma.

“Kuroo has been ushered away on business, Keitsumi is up to his usual tricks. I need you all to be on your guard.”

“Would you like me to step up the security around your room?” Yaku, the head of defence, questioned.

“No, Keitsumi would know that I was afraid if security was increased.”

“Don’t be afraid, Kenma-san!” Lev piped up. “You have us!” Sometimes Kenma found Lev to be annoying, he could be incredibly loud and incredibly nauseating. But he was loyal, he was a trusted friend and ally, Kenma felt safe with his presence.

“Thanks, Lev.”

After more conversing the group dispersed to do their usual duties, leaving Kenma alone with his thoughts again.

 

 

Kenma lost track of time in the room, but when a knock at the door startled him from the book he’d begun reading, the sun had shifted and was no longer warming the room.

“Enter.” He said, rolling onto his side from his back before looking over as the door opened.

Keitsumi.

He immediately sat up straight before standing, not wanting anything to possibly provoke or seem complacent.

“What can I do for you, Keitsumi?”

Kenma watched as the older man entered the room, closing the door behind him. He wouldn’t make eye contact, his posture small, for the first time Kenma could actually see the frailty in the man’s features.

For a moment Kenma was suspicious of his intentions.

“It’s in regards to Kuroo-sama.”

Kenma felt his blood freeze.

No.

Don’t say it.

“I regret to inform you that the young master’s journey did not reach it’s destination. The wreckage was found fifty miles from where he was meant to land.”

It happened all at once: his stomach churned uneasily, feeling like a zap of electricity through his abdomen; he forgot to breathe as he felt the air in his lungs leave his body in a shuddering sob; his mind shut down, unable to comprehend anything other than the words uttered moments before; his heart shattered.

He screamed, falling to the floor as a second guttural noise escaped his throat.

The carpet rubbed his legs harshly, his nails digging into the plush material and his forehead becoming imprinted with the thick shag texture.

Kuroo couldn’t be gone.

There was no way.

But as Keitsumi left the room, his head hanging low and his eyes downtrodden, Kenma couldn’t see any lie in his words.

Chapter Text

Yaku didn’t know why they were being summoned, but just like earlier that day he was leading the group of allies into a meeting, although this time it was with the rest of the clan.

Although they didn’t fully understand why, there hadn’t been any major developments.

As they situated themselves on the left of the long, intricately designed table, the two head chairs were empty.

“Where’s Kenma-san?” Alisa whispered to Akane as they took their seats, Akane waited before sitting down, scanning the room for their pudding-head leader.

“I can’t see him,” she whispered back, looking to her brother and he shrugged in response, “I don’t like this--“

The heavy oak doors opened wide as Keitsumi entered, moving one of the seats at the head of the table before sitting in the seat left behind, moved to the centre.

The allies quickly noticed his stifled posture, sharing questioning glances before the adviser addressed the room.

“You all may be wondering why I’ve called this meeting,” he spoke softly, loud enough to project his voice across the room but no more than that, “I’ve received some rather…distressing news.”

The room dropped into murmurs, Yaku looking to Nekomata for any hint of what was happening.

The older man just shrugged, an apologetic look on his face.

Keitsumi drew a piece of paper from his pocket, laying it down on the heavy wooden table.

“Kuroo Tetsurou has met his untimely demise.”

The room erupted into various conversations.

“What on Earth happened?!” Lev growled, standing to his feet and towering over the room around him.

“Lev, sit down,” Yaku barked, chastising the younger member, “we do not know what happened.” He said, solemnly, but his instinct was telling him it wouldn’t be something easily disclosed.

“The plane was found fifty miles from the runway of his destination. Kenma-sama has been notified, so please allow him to mourn in peace.”

“When will the body be returned for burial?” Tamahiko, Kenma’s protégée, quickly asked without missing a beat. He’d been studying under Kenma since he and Kuroo had returned after the former noticed Tamahiko’s intelligence.

A kid from the dark, merciless streets, stranded in an unknown land and eventually in a world of thugs.

A diamond on a beach of rhinestones.

So Kenma had taken him under his wing.

The room watched with bated breath, waiting for Keitsumi’s response as they watched him closely.

“There was no body found.”

Nekomata was next to present a question, the older man challenging his similarly aged counterpart.

“Was it wise to announce the young master’s death without a body, Keitsumi-san?”

The room went deathly silent at the question. One day Tamahiko would make good money from his interrogation skills, but right now he lacked the experience that Kenma’s own mentor had.

He watched in awe as the older man demanded the attention and demanded the answer, without any change of vocal tone.

“The reason I called this meeting was to make both sides of the house aware of the young master’s passing. Nekoma Manor will, as a direct result, observe seven days of mourning, this will consist of none of the daily runnings of the house unless absolutely necessary, along with a lights out curfew from six PM until nine AM. You’re all dismissed.”

Keitsumi quickly vacated the room, leaving the group to slowly disperse.

“Well done, Tamahiko,” Nekomata said, clapping the young boy on the shoulder, “instinct will serve you wonderfully in this line of work.”

“Th- Thank you sir!”

 

The rest of the day saw a dour mood spread out across the manor house like a thick, unrelenting fog.

Nobody saw Kenma, all attempts to communicate with the interim leader were ignored, leaving a feeling of dread in the pit of every ally’s stomach.

The manor lost all contact with the outside as per Keitsumi’s request, internet connections and portable devices were turned off, radios and television sets unplugged, the only things left running were the heating, water, and gas.

The bare essentials.

As six in the evening rolled around the lights in the manor were deactivated, each of the member’s quarters illuminated by a single, red candle.

However, as the moonlight cast shadows along the walls, one body was moving through the hall, their knuckles brushing against the door to Kenma and Kuroo’s shared bedroom.

There was no answer, but that didn’t matter. They slipped into the room.

“Kenma-san,” Keitsumi addressed, but receiving no acknowledgement by the young man, “the manor is in mourning, everyone is in curfew.”

“And yourself?” Kenma hissed, his golden eyes alight with the white light seeping through the sash window. “Your presence here makes me believe that you are not honouring Kuro.” Kenma turned to full face the man, his voice dripping with venom and a hoarseness that Keitsumi had never heard before. Even silhouetted by the light; darkened by the cast of his own shadow, his eyes burned.

“I wanted to talk to you, in regards to the leadership of Nekoma.”

“I’ll be continuing in my--”

“Kenma-san, I am asking that you sign over the leadership to myself on a temporary basis while you mourn.”

“No.”

“Kenma-san?”

“Me and Kuroo had a mission to complete.” Kenma said, his eyes full of resolve, his posture with confidence. “Just because he’s gone doesn’t mean that mission ends.”

“How admirable. But how will you ever run a group where half of them won’t support you?”

“How ever will you?” Kenma quipped back, his mind still as sharp as a knife, albeit an abused one. He shook his head, his unruly hair flipping around his face and his eyes losing their fire, his will. “Leave me.”

“Will you relinquish your power to me?”

He was about to protest again, but he stopped. Kenma looked to the floor, the reality settling onto him once again.

How could he carry on with their dream without Kuroo?

He couldn’t see a way.

He didn’t have the natural charisma that Kuroo had, nor was he good with people.

Couldn’t he just grieve on his own?

He hadn’t even told Kuroo that he loved him before he left.

He felt guilty for not letting those words be his last to his new husband.

“Okay.” Kenma conceded, his tired and overworked mind feeling more hopeless than he ever had before, he bit his lip hard in an attempt to stop fresh tears rolling down his face. “But leave me.”

“As you wish, Kenma-san.”

Keitsumi left moments later, leaving Kenma to fall onto the still unmade bed from the morning.

He reached for his phone on the bedside table, the bright screen hurting his eyes as he squinted to lower the brightness.

He looked at the contact list on his phone, drawing up Oikawa’s contact before taking a deep breath and pressing call.

He’d helped Oikawa out in the past, it was now more than ever that he needed to do the same.

The phone was answered on the third ring.

“Kenma?”

“Tooru,” Kenma began, but he quickly heard the sound of yelling and laughter in the background. His emotional dam burst, “n- nevermind, it’s stupid--”

“Hey! You guys shut the hell up! I can’t hear dear Kenma!” Oikawa shouted to the voices, the other end of the phone going dead before Oikawa picked up on the quiver in Kenma’s tone of voice. “Kenma? What’s wrong?”

Kenma briefly heard Bokuto and Iwaizumi, both loudly asking if Kenma was okay over the phone before catching Akaashi’s flatter tone towards the end.

“I’m okay-- I mean as okay as I can be.” Kenma said, silent tears tracking down his face once again, he swallowed, his throat feeling tight and constricted, and all too dry.

“Kenma, what’s going on?” Oikawa asked firmly.

“It’s Kuro--” Kenma’s voice cracked at the end, a shuddering sob escaping from his lips. “He-- he—he’s gone…”

“What do you mean, gone where?” Oikawa asked, but Kenma could hear in his tone that he already knew.

“There was a p-- plane crash.”

The other side of the phone went silent, the previously quiet mumbling from the other three disappearing.

“Tooru…?”

“I’m so sorry, Kenma, Gosh, I-- I don’t know what to say.”

“He can’t be!” Came Bokuto’s teary cry. “He was texting me just this morning!”

“The crash happened early this afternoon.” Kenma detailed, a wave of exhaustion overcoming his body.

He listened to Kuroo’s best friend quickly go quiet, the entire phone went quiet.

“Kenma-san,” Akaashi addressed, “would you want us to come and see you?”

The first thing that came to his mind was yes. But then he remembered what he’d said to Keitsumi, he’d dropped Kuroo’s dream into a pit of flames.

“No, I’ll be okay,” Kenma said, leaving no room for argument or persuasion, “I gotta go.”

And then he hung up.

Chapter Text

A whole day had passed before Tamahiko gained the courage to break the curfew.

Tamahiko knew what he was doing was frowned upon. It was curfew, he shouldn’t be connected to the internet.

But… something wasn’t right.

Nobody within the manor spoke a word of the supposed accident, it was like they’d all moved on, along with the fact that Keitsumi had been acting like the leader since Kuroo-sama’s death.

No body? At all?

Why was Kuroo-sama’s death confirmed if there wasn’t a body?

It made no sense.

So he wanted to make sure.

After all, both Kenma-sama and Nekomata-san entrenched deep into his young bones that evidence was the key to all knowledge.

It couldn’t be disputed if there was proof.

That’s why he didn’t tell Kenma-sama or Nekomata-san about his endeavours. Either way he’d get proof.

But his gut was telling him that Kuroo-sama was alive.

He loaded up the newsfeed, searching for a plane crash on the website.

The top article with his search was from three years earlier.

So he filtered his search.

The most recent article for his search was six months prior.

Kuroo’s death was not widely reported.

Even local news had no mention of anything.

Tamahiko felt anxiety building tenfold in his body, this was huge.

He had to be sure before he could blow it straight out of the water.

He opened his web browser and searched for all planes between the two destinations within the forty eight hours prior.

There were seven.

He noted all seven flight numbers before running them into the Global Positioning System designed to track flights.

One by one he searched, and one by one he received his answer.

Departed – Arrived.

Departed – Arrived.

Departed – Arrived.

Departed – Arrived.

Departed – Arrived.

Departed – Arrived.

Departed – Due.

The fourth plane matched Kuroo’s ticket number.

Tamahiko nearly fell from his bed in his rush to stand.

He’d been right.

Kuroo’s plane hadn’t crashed.

He had to tell Kenma.

But it was curfew, if he was found out in the corridors, he’d face a severe punishment.

Tamahiko bolted to his window, lifting the lower wooden frame and clambering out.

He headed towards the vines that roped up the old red brick manor house, he could easily reach Kenma’s window from the vines.

He grunted as he dug his fingers into the tangle of green, hoisting himself up and securing his footing on the heavier wooden branches.

A few times he lost his grip, his hands becoming clammy and his fingertips hurting from the embedded roses and their ghastly thorns nicking and digging into his skin.

Reaching the window ledge of Kenma’s room was a bittersweet moment for the young boy. He’d finally reached his goal; the concrete stinging his already torn fingers.

He tapped his finger on the glass, praying that Kenma hadn’t fallen asleep.

He lifted himself high enough to just peer into the window, just as Kenma opened the window.

“Tamahiko?”

“Kenma-sama!” Tamahiko stage whispered, climbing into the room through the open window.

“What are you doing up here?”

Tamahiko took a moment to take him his mentor’s appearance, his features were dulled, his eyes empty, his body seemed more frail, and his hair was a nest of grease and mussed strands caught between the darkness of night and blinding sunlight.

But what made Tamahiko’s fear spike was the shining glint of the gun on Kuroo’s pillowcase, the silver barrel of the restored and well cared for 1849 Colt intricately carved with swishes and swirls.

“I think Kuroo-sama is still alive!”

Kenma remained silent, his eyes stuck between hope and anger.

“I don’t want to hear it.” Kenma mumbled, he’d just begun to realise that the sheets beside him would never be warm ever again.

He didn’t know how to react towards the news of the exact opposite.

“No! Kenma-sama!” Tamahiko said, more insistence in his voice. “Please, listen to me, I’ve been doing what you’ve taught me!”

“Tamahiko.” Kenma warned.

“I’ve investigated it an--”

“That’s enough!” Roared Kenma, silencing the younger, Tamahiko backed down as he saw Kenma’s eyes glossing over. “Don’t fill me with useless hope.”

Tamahiko nodded, conceding his argument.

“Just… ask Keitsumi-san for proof, please.” He pleaded before retreating to the window, exiting the way he came.

Kenma eyed his pupil as he left.

“Proof.”

A knock at the door startled Kenma, and he called the person in, he rested his head on the window frame, holding onto the wood as he watched Tamahiko return to his room.

“Kenma-san, I heard yelling, are you alright?”

“Keitsumi.” Kenma curtly acknowledged, his mind elsewhere after Tamahiko’s visit.

He acutely became aware of the presence beside him, Keitsumi stood behind him and slightly left, his hand resting on Kenma’s left shoulder.

“Are you sure?” He asked, leaning on closer, his head resting mere inches from Kenma’s shoulder. “You seem distracted.” Two hands elicited gooseflesh on Kenma’s arms at the ghostly touches.

It all clicked into place.

“Keitsumi, I’d appreciate it if you removed your hands this instant.”

“But I’m the leader, Kenma,” his whispered, his breath ghosting against Kenma’s ear and cheek before moving his head down and biting Kenma’s neck, “and you’re just the son of a whore.”

Kenma turned to face his assailant, freeing his wrists from the grip around them and jamming them against Keitsumi’s chest, making the man stumble.

“Get away from me.” Kenma hissed, but Keitsumi didn’t heed his warning, trapping him against the open window.

“Give yourself to me or die knowing that your allies will know that you’ve joined your beloved in the same way that your mother did.” Keitsumi returned, gripping Kenma’s shoulder and forcing him backwards out the window.

But it was then that he realised his mistake.

Kenma gripped Keitsumi’s wrists tightly, digging his sharp nails into his skin and drawing blood.

“You son of a bitch!”

Keitsumi retreated enough for Kenma to regain his balance and his bolted for the bed.

He reached for the gun poised on Kuroo’s pillow, the metal cold in his touch.

The bed dipped around him as Keitsumi mounted the bed, Kenma quickly rotating and pivoting at his hips, twisting and pulling the trigger as the barrel lined up with Keitsumi’s face.

The kickback jammed his shoulder in the position and the point blank shot sent Keitsumi’s precariously balanced body backwards, blood pouring from the single bullet hole between his eyes.

Kenma found himself covered in a spray of rapidly cooling, rapidly congealing blood, he felt sick as the pungent smell already reached his nose.

Red tears spilled from the dead man’s eyes as every facial orifice began oozing the crimson liquid.

Kenma pulled himself backwards along the bedcovers, shuffling away from the grotesque scene before him.

That he’d caused.

No, Keitsumi caused it.

Kenma heard the sound of footsteps rapidly approaching the room, he looked to the door to see Yaku.

“Kenma?!” Yaku began, not saying anything else after seeing Kenma’s form on the bed. Then he noticed the blood. “Kenma what happened?!” He rushed to Kenma’s side, at such an angle that he could see the quickly growing pool of blood on the other side of the bed.

“Yaku…” Kenma whispered, both relief and dread filling his veins. “I-- Keitsumi tried to--”

Yaku noticed the bruise on Kenma’s neck, it was far too fresh to be from Kuroo.

“I’m glad Tamahiko came to get me.” Yaku said, embracing Kenma in a comforting hold.

“Tamahiko?”

“He was afraid that he’d upset you; he wanted me to check on you.”

“I see…” Kenma mulled over his next request. “Can you try Kuro’s phone? Just not with me, I don’t want to hear what’ll be on the other side, but please.”

“This is about what Tamahiko said?”

“Yes,” Kenma looked to the floor, “do you have anything to add?”

“I’m afraid not. But please come down to our quarters, we’ll get his body sorted out.”

Kenma just nodded.

He knew what he’d done would have dire consequences.

He’d killed the leader of the opposing side of Nekoma. He’d killed the leader of the whole of Nekoma.

As he walked along side Yaku the dark corridors chilled his body, he was on edge, each shadow seemed to move and it filled his blood with ice.

The house made a creaking sound as it settled, the noise startling Kenma and raising the hairs on his neck.

“What’ll happen now?” He whispered weakly.

“I don’t know.” Yaku admitted as he slipped into his quarters with Kenma. “We’ll cross each bridge when we get to it.”

Kenma could only nod.

 

Yaku waited until Kenma had settled for the night before going to Lev’s room, requesting the other allies to join them.

There he spoke of what had happened to Kenma, the state of Keitsumi’s body.

They knew that tomorrow morning they’d face something akin to a civil war within the Nekoma household; it didn’t bode well for the leader to be found dead by the allies of the former leader.

But tomorrow was another day.

Chapter Text

Yaku stepped out into the gardens of the manor with his phone in hand. It was early and everyone else appeared to be sleeping.

He looked anxiously at his friend’s contact details, wondering what would be waiting for him on the other side of the dial tone.

He took a deep breath and pressed call.

One ring. And then two. A third ring. And then a fourth.

“Hello?” A sleep filled voice grunted down the other end of the phone.

“Shut up, bastard.”

“How about you shut up?”

“Kuroo! Wait, who’s that?”

“Daishou, unfortunately.”

“Thank God you’re alive Kuroo!”

“Eh, I am pretty lucky that the snake’s been defanged as of late.”

“No, Kuroo, Keitsumi’s--”

“What has the bastard done?” Kuroo’s voice changed, even the mildly protesting Nohebi leader going quiet.

“He told everyone you were dead, he told us that your plane had crashed. But Kenma killed him last night after he tried to molest him!”

“What?! I’m coming home!”

“You really are stupid, your plane has returned home, only mine is left.”

“Then let’s go, snake on a plane.” Kuroo jeered. “Don’t forget the unrest in your own group, what about your little Mika?”

“The pair of you get home!” Yaku yelled, hanging up.

He didn’t have time for their bickering, he had things he needed to do, the clan was about to learn the fate of their leader and about the return of the real leader.

“Well, well, well,” Yaku turned to face the voice, catching sight of deep green robes; one of the Nohebi rebels, “that was definitely interesting.”

“Who are you?” Yaku challenged.

“Keitsumi was a dear friend of mine, now your blood will be spilt, general.” The assailant drew a semi-automatic from his holster at his side, aiming at Yaku.

“I don’t think so.” Yaku growled, reaching for his weapon only to realise that he was disarmed. “Shit!” He dodged a bullet, ducking behind a tree, the bark taking the brunt of the shot.

That was when he felt searing pain in his side, a blade lodged deep into his left rib.

“Shit…” He groaned in pain and looked around for the user of the knife, a body climbed down, just to his left a woman similar in size to Akane crawled from the tree, swinging from the branches and kicking him to the ground.

He tried to remain silent as another shot rang through the air, both the sound and the bullet piercing his body, his nerves lighting on fire as the shot hit his clavicle.

All that he could do was pretend to be dead and hope they’d leave.

So of course he did the opposite.

Yaku grabbed for the knife still stuck in his ribs, removing it would cause faster bloodletting, but it was a weapon.

“Hey!” Came a cry, drawing their attention to the man who towered over all of them. “What are you doing to Yaku-san?!”

“Lev! Go and warn the others! We’re under atta--!” A foot lodged into Yaku’s stomach, his small body rolling twice from the force.

“Yaku-san!” The silver haired man called, drawing his sword from the sheath at his side, the blade glinting in the early morning light.

Lev swung at the woman first, he may have been a newer member in the Nekoma group, but he had a good hand from prior training in wielding a katana.

He landed a large and dangerous gash on the no longer armed woman’s torso, and he was able to stand between the enemy and Yaku’s prone form. A gunshot ripped through the air, the bullet lodging itself in Lev’s arm.

He charged at the man, using his weaker left arm to hold the katana and bringing his shoulder upwards upon impact.

It was off his original aim by a few inches, but the attacker’s gun-wielding arm hit the floor with a muted thud. Lev grabbed the gun from the spasming fingers and shot the man once in the chest, killing him.

But he didn’t linger on the woman, allowing her to drag the man away and retreat.

“Yaku-san!” Lev called, rushing to the defence specialist’s side, but there was no response. He held the smaller man’s hand. It was cold. “Yaku-san…?”

Lev felt his hand shaking as he picked Yaku up gently in his arms, his body feeling so much smaller without the usual fight in it. He felt far too cold considering the smaller man was a natural heater.

He ran as fast as his long legs and stride would take him into the manor house, he took Yaku to the rest quarters of the allies. Lev bound into Naoi’s room, catching the older man mid-breakfast.

“Naoi-san!” Lev cried, he knew Naoi had training in medicine and surgery. He hoped that he could save Yaku.

“Lev! What happened?!” Naoi looked at Lev’s bleeding right arm and the limp, bloody body in his arms.

“Yaku was attacked! Please save him!”

 

Kenma stared at his feet as his nerves made their presence known. He was waiting for Yaku to return so they could enter the meeting together and tell the tale of what happened with Keitsumi.

He looked around, looking for his friend.

Where was he?

“Kenma!”

Kenma turned to see the group of allies approaching, but he quickly noticed that four were missing.

“Where’s Lev, Yaku, Naoi, and Tamahiko?”

The group rushed to his side and it was Alisa to tell him the news.

“Lyovochka and Yakkun are with Naoi, there was an incident and they’re getting patched up.” Kenma’s eyes widened, both of them? “And Tamahiko hasn’t been seen since last night.”

Kenma gritted his teeth, this was all Keitsumi’s fault.

Well he was done, no more.

“Okay.” Kenma said, moving towards the meeting room. “Are the rest assembled?”

“Every officer from Nekoma is here.”

“Then let’s get this over with.” Kenma growled, forcing the door open and walking straight to the head of the table.

He felt his nerves grow as the entire Nekoma household turned to face him, but he swallowed them down; he could do this.

Kenma remained standing as his allies centred around his seat, lining both sides of the table.

They’d barely sat down before the first assault.

“You’ve killed Keitsumi!” One rebel called, causing the room to lift into deafening threats and eventually a unified chant promising death to the young leader.

Kenma frowned at the accusation.

“I did.” He said with a calm voice, causing the volume from the rebels to get louder. “But he’s lied to you all.”

“Bullshit, how has he lied?” The newer ringleader demanded.

“He said that Kuro was dead, but there’s no body so that cannot be confirmed.” Kenma barely stopped his voice from wavering.

“You really are naïve!” The other cackled. “Keitsumi is our leader; we knew of his plans all along!”

The weight of the words crushed Kenma, all this time he’d been assuming Keitsumi had been lying to everyone; he never once thought that everyone was in on it.

“Do you all remember what the punishment for treason was?” Nekomata spoke up, his slouching posture and his folded arms. “Kuroo-sama and Kenma-sama are our leaders! You get behind them or get out!”

“Kenma handed leadership to Keitsumi. Who then made me his second in command. You hold no power anymore, you brat!”

An ear splitting sound crossed the room, Nekoma looked to one of the allies who’d fired the first warning shot.

“Taketora!”

“Don’t you dare badmouth our leader, or I’ll kill you.” Taketora swore as he cocked his head and raised his revolver.

He wasn’t given much time, however, before the curtains shielding the balcony high above them parted, revealing the green robed snakes.

“Nohebi rebels?!” The allies gasped, Kenma turning to the balcony, but the manic laugh of the man before them made Kenma turn to face him.

“Just think, Nekoma and Nohebi standing hand in hand as the two families fall.”

“Tamahiko!” Kai called, raising his hand and directing the attention of the allies aloft to the balcony, the young man held by the Nohebi rebels, a knife held close to his throat.

“Let him go!” Kenma slammed his fists against the table, a shockwave ricocheting from his fists.

“Is that what you want?”

Kenma watched the sadistic grin loom on the face of the rising leader’s face before looking up at Tamahiko, struggling in the grasp of Nohebi.

“No.”

His group looked at him as if he’d grown a second head, however, his answer didn’t change.

But nobody had time to question his choice as the sounds of muffled screams and pained cries filling the air from the balcony.

Everyone’s eyes were drawn upwards to the higher deck, seeing the awful scene as blood spilled down the walls.

“What the--?!”

A masked figure stood on the railing, Tamahiko in their arms.

“Looks like you’re having a spot of bother, Kenma-sama~” The voice jovially cooed.

They gripped a curtain in their free hand, Tamahiko with them as they both descended down the thick velvet curtains and down onto the marble meeting room floor.

“I sure hate to rain on your parade,” they said, their long cloak’s coat tails ruffling around their legs, skin tight dark green leggings, thick brown leather combat boots, and black polo neck jumper obscuring any way to tell who they were, “but I was told you could use some help.”

“I don’t take help from strangers.” Kenma scowled, watching as they released their grip on Tamahiko and he returned to Kenma’s side.

“I know.” The person said, walking forward, their left hand moving to the mask covering their face. “But I’m no stranger, Kozume-kun.”

The balaclava-type mask was lifted, long mahogany hair slipping free like fine silk, bangs falling over the person’s forehead.

Realisation quickly dawned on Kenma.

“Mika?”

“Damn right, Kitten.”

Chapter Text

“Why are you here?” Kenma asked in mild disbelief, his hand resting on his gun holstered under his suit blazer.

“Isn’t it obvious?” Mika challenged, her eyes narrow and dark. “Nohebi has fell victim to an uprising and the traitors are holed up here. With Daishou gone, it’s my job to take them down. Won’t you do the same?”

“But I’m not the leader of Nekoma, Kuro is.”

“Kuroo-sama is not here,” Mika hissed, her voice like venom but not directed at Kenma, more at the situation presenting itself to them, “you can’t let them question your leadership, the throne is yours!”

“Damn you, Mika!” a rough voice shouted, one of the Nekoma rebels facing off against the snake-heiress.

The Nekoma rebel drew his guns.

“Are you gonna let him threaten a guest, Kenma-sama?” She cooed, her next sentence cut off by the slide of a gun being pulled and Kenma’s revolver aimed at the rebel.

“No,” Kenma said, resolving to save Kuroo’s throne from slander, “treason means death in both our clans.”

Mika grinned as he turned and fired the shot, the bullet landing in the same point as the one that killed Keitsumi, a bullseye in the centre of the rebel’s head.

“As it does.”

From the balcony another Nohebi rebel jumped down, charging at Mika. Before Kenma could even react Mika had grabbed the man’s armed hand at the wrist, and drove her own smaller blade into his left lung, her cape fluttering gracefully around her stance.

“You know what happens next.” She spat, letting go of his body as she pressed the injector, pressurised Carbon Dioxide pushing into the man’s body, Kenma watched on in awe as the man stood unable to breathe, the blood pouring from his mouth ceasing.

“What was that?” Kenma asked her as she withdrew.

“WASP Injector Knife, Kenma-sama,” she said with an all too happy smile, she emptied the cartridge of Carbon Dioxide and replaced it, “it expels eight-hundred an’ fifty psi of Carbon Dioxide, freezing everything within a radius the size of a basketball.”

“Holy fuck.”

“We’re running outta time.” Mika said, changing the subject, glancing around the room and noting the lack of any rebels. “This place is a hotbed for people unafraid to take lives, there could be an ambush at every corner.”

“Right.” Kenma knew she was right, he turned to his allies, his close friends with a smile. “Are you ready?”

A chorus of confirmations came his way.

“I want Nekomata and Kai to go to the sleeping quarters - Naoi will need protecting while he’s treating Lev and Yaku, right now they’re sitting ducks. Taketora, Shibayama, and Akane - I want you guys to check the outside--”

“That won’t be necessary, Kenma-sama, I have my own allies guarding the perimeter, nobody is allowed in or out, and if they oppose: kill them.”

“Okay, then I want you three to go and check the third floor of the building and the loft space, you know the rebels, kill or severely maim, we want to bring as many accountable ones to justice.”

“Leave it to us, Kenma-sama!” Taketora yelled. “Let’s go spill some guts!”

“Wait for the rest of us. Fukunaga, I want you, Inuoka, and Tamahiko on the second floor, you have the same instructions as group one, and Alisa, I want you with me and Mika.”

More confirmation from his group.

“Storm the building, just like fire,” Kenma said, “I’m taking back this household.”

 

At the front of the building two ominous figures lurked in the shadows, watching the Nohebi allied forces patrolling the perimeter of the Nekoma manor.

“What’re your forces doing here, snake?” Kuroo hissed, wondering if this was a hoax all along.

“Like hell I know!” Daishou spat back, moving his position slightly to observe. “Mika is in charge while I’m away.”

An explosion from the side of the house made the pair startle as they looked towards the noise.

“What the fuck?” Daishou whispered.

“Kenma!” Kuroo yelled, rushing from their place in the bushes.

He was immediately intercepted by three Nohebi men. Daishou watched in exasperation as Kuroo and the three men argued, eventually drawing their weapons on the Nekoma leader.

“Stand down.” He hissed, his loyal allies backing down.

“Sir!”

“You’re alive!”

“Yes, yes. Who ordered you out here?”

“Lady Mika,” one said, “there was a plan to take back the Nekoma household. By Lady Mika’s orders nobody is allowed in or out.”

“I see, well, excellent, may we go past? This is the true leader of the Nekoma clan and his husband is inside.”

The three stood down, how were they meant to turn down their leaders?

Daishou and Kuroo walked to the main entry, catching the sight of the black mourning curtains draped across the windows.

They looked at each other, both thinking the same thing.

“What the hell has Keitsumi done?” Kuroo said first, opening the battered front door into the hallway.

To his right was the meeting room, the double doors were swung almost completely off their hinges, deep scratches and red stains decorating the broken entrance.

“What on Earth?” Daishou asked in disbelief, walking into the meeting room and spotting the dead Nohebi rebels on the balcony dried blood streaking down the walls and staining the white balcony rail, the Nekoma rebel in a pool of his own blood with a single gun shot wound to his head.

They looked around at the extensive damage, hearing gunshots firing off towards the West wing of the house.

Kuroo took off running.

The Nekoma leader went back into the hallway, looking around and hearing shots from the upstairs, shots from the West, and shots from the back of the house.

“Fuck.”

Daishou was in hot pursuit, also looking round.

“Damn you cats are savages.”

“We protect our own.” Kuroo corrected, seeing a flash of silver hair off to the West. “Alisa.”

He headed through the door opposite the meeting room, hitting the first parlour room and the strong stench of blood filling his lungs, making him have to suppress his gag reflex.

Daishou came in behind him, seeing the numerous dead bodies, some wearing red insignias, others green.

They followed the sound of the fighting, the shouting. Kuroo immediately recognising Kenma’s voice in the fray.

“This way!” He said, beckoning the snake leader and going into the second parlour room behind the first.

That was when his nerves and insides were lit on fire, the impact of a bullet embedding into his abdomen.

Daishou grabbed his arm to stop him falling, the one who fired the ammunition becoming clear.

“Kuro…?”

Chapter Text

Kenma dropped his weapon, rushing to Kuroo’s side and embracing him tightly.

“Kuro!” He sniffled, burying his head in the crook of Kuroo’s neck. “I’m sorry!”

“Hey, Kenma, hey,” Kuroo shushed, ignoring the burn in his side, “you’re doing great, don’t give up now.”

“But I hurt you!”

“But you’ve been hurting far worse than I have over the last few days.” Kuroo reasoned, prying Kenma away from him. “Finish what you’ve started, make it count!” He wheezed, “then I’ll make up for lost time.”

Kenma looked at him, knowing what he wanted to do was different from what he had to do.

But he quickly resolved himself, picking up his weapon and replenishing the weapon’s ammunition.

“I’ll be right back.” He promised, rushing back into the fray.

“He’s changed from when I last saw him.” Daishou thought out loud. “No doubt he’ll go down in history.”

Kuroo scoffed, holding his side, the leader of Nohebi moving to wrap Kuroo’s torso and stem the blood flow.

“A life of fire and infamy.” Kuroo confirmed, he watched as Daishou removed his shirt, a concerned look settling on his face.

“If you want to survive this bullet needs to be out immediately.” He said, stopping Kuroo from continuing his comments on Kenma.

“Holy shit, seriously?” Kuroo tried to move and look at the wound, only to hiss in pain.

“It’s a dud, it’s not all that deep, it hasn’t went off yet. But the primer is wrecked, I don’t know if it could go off at any moment.”

“Dude get it out!” Kuroo shouted down Daishou’s ears.

“Fine!” Daishou drew his dagger and moved to take a closer look at the wound. “Ready?”

Before Kuroo could confirm Daishou moved within inches of the bullet lodged in Kuroo’s body, digging his dagger in beside it.

“Argh!” Kuroo cried, shifting and knocking Daishou’s blade against the cartridge.

“Keep doing that and your insides are gonna be nothing but jelly!” Daishou scolded, moving to brace his knees over Kuroo’s chest and his legs respectively, crudely restraining the Nekoma leader.

Daishou continued to fiddle with the cartridge of the lodged bullet, careful not to touch the primer or jostle the gun powder too much.

Ignoring Kuroo’s pained noises, Daishou finally wedged the dagger under the invasive object, easing it out and taking it carefully in between his forefinger and thumb, the blood-coated metal proving slippery.

“Cauterise the wound, Daishou.” Kuroo growled, now it was removed he needed to help Kenma.

“Are you crazy?”

“No, fucking do it!”

Daishou listened, he set the bullet down on Kuroo’s shirt while he looked for something to use.

His eyes landed on the glint of silver between crusting brown and black.

The bullet.

It’d fallen apart.

“Tell Kenma I’ll get him in touch with a Goddamn good ammo dealer.” Daishou hissed, gathering up as much gun powder from the cartridge and trying to cover the wound as best as he could. “This is far too much gun powder for the size of the cartridge.”

He then realised his problem.

No fire.

“Got a light?” He asked Kuroo, fully knowing what answer he’d receive.

“Use a battery and foil.” Kuroo ground out.

“And where the fuck would I get those?”

“TV remote,” Kuroo pointed to the black device on the floor, the living room thoroughly trashed from the fight, “foil.” He hissed, reaching into his back pocket and removing a foil condom wrapper.

“You’re disgusting.” Daishou snarled, rushing to the television remote and removing the one, large D-battery. “Why the fuck does it have one of these?!”

“Shut up.” Kuroo said around the foil wrapper, ripping it with his teeth and biting the strip of foil so the middle was narrower than the rest. “Connect each foil end to the battery poles,” he groaned, “then place the smaller middle against the gun powder.”

Daishou did as he was asked, feeling the foil heating up from where he was holding each end to the poles. By the time he placed the middle against the gun powder it erupted into flames, searing the wound closed with a small explosion.

Kuroo cried out in pain, sweat dampening his face and chest, his consciousness fading somewhat from the overbearing stimulus.

His nerves were literally on fire, he cussed and swore as the burn began to ebb.

“You’ll be lucky if that holds, Kuroo.” Daishou growled. “Let’s get this over with.”

“Yeah,” Kuroo shakily sat up, hoisting himself forward with his arms and up with Daishou’s help, “you go find Mika.”

“You kidding? She can handle herself, you can’t.” Daishou said, although his voice betrayed his real concern for his lover’s life.

“Fair point.” Kuroo agreed, a smirk on his worn, anaemic features. “Let’s finish this.”

Daishou stood, offering Kuroo a hand that he gratefully took.

“Something we can agree on.” Daishou tugged Kuroo up into a standing position.

Kuroo made a beeline for a cabinet on the wall, the old red wood frame secured tightly by a silver intricately designed lock.

“What are you doing, the fight is that way!” Daishou said, perplexed by the cabinet that looked like a traditional liquor store.

Kuroo dug through his pockets, grabbing a silver key with the same intricate design, unlocking the cupboard and grabbing one of the semi-automatic guns concealed inside. Noting some of the guns and ammunition was missing.

“I need a weapon, Snakey.” Kuroo said, adding the strip of bullets into the gun. “Looks like someone has been in here already.”

“What do you mean? Should we be concerned?”

“Nah, only the allies have a key.” Kuroo pulled the chest strap over his head and sat it on his shoulder. “Ready?”

“You’re the one pissing around.”

The pair made their way back to where they’d just come from, the sound of bullets echoing through the first parlour room.

They turned right, Kuroo bracing his weapon and hiding on one side of an archway which lead into the second parlour room, the unofficial games room. Daishou took the other side of the arch, peering around only to narrowly miss being hit by a stray bullet.

“What do we do?” Daishou asked.

“Duck!” Kuroo shouted suddenly, Daishou’s prior experience as a boxer serving him well as he swiftly reacted, Kuroo firing three times before a thud made Daishou turn to see a body on the floor.

“We’re sitting ducks here, we need to go in there now and make a dent in their group. Go find Mika.”

“Alright.” Daishou nodded as he drew his dagger, taking the lead as Kuroo followed him only to stop seconds later. Daishou continued forward with his mission, failing to notice just why Kuroo had stopped.

The young master’s posture stiffened, his expression tight.

“Hello, Tetsurou, miss me?”

“Father.”

“After what you’ve done, you’re no son of mine.” Kuroo’s dad spat, his voice commanding Kuroo’s attention.

“The fact you gave me the Manor says something else.”

“I wanted to watch you fail; just like you always do. Keitsumi was the man I wanted to take over.”

Kuroo smirked confidently, masking his pain expertly.

“From what I heard Kenma solved that problem.”

“That’s why Kozume will die today.”

“Are you kidding? Kenma is stronger than anyone you could throw at him.” Kuroo argued with a scoff.

Kuroo’s father grinned, much the same way Kuroo did.

“We’ll see.”

“Kuro? Is that you?! Are you okay?!” Kenma called over the fray, appearing behind Kuroo’s father and stopping dead in his tracks, panting heavily, his attire stained with blood.

“Kenma get outta here!” Kuroo called out, taking aim at his father.

At the same time his father took aim at Kenma.

“Drop your weapon, Tetsurou.” His father hissed. “Or I kill him right now.”

Kuroo took the belt from around his neck, throwing the semi-automatic to the ground, wincing as the poorly cauterised wound tore slightly with the movement.

“You’d really disarm yourself for him that fast?”

“Of course,” Kuroo scoffed, “he is my husband.”

Kuroo’s father turned back to Kuroo, aiming at his face.

Kuroo watched in horror as Kenma’s body lowered and he charged at Kuroo’s father, his golden irises alight with rage and adrenaline.

And as Kenma’s feet left the ground, his small body lifting from the ground to attack the former leader with all his strength, Kuroo’s father drove the butt of the gun into Kuroo’s wound, making him fall to his knees.

He then pivoted, deflecting Kenma’s foot and firing twice.

“Kenma!”

Chapter Text

Both bullets missed the small, nimble body, Kenma quickly rebalancing himself before going in for another attack.

“I see you’re just as flexible as your mother, Kozume.” The former leader goaded.

“Funny, Kuro said something similar the last time we were in bed together.” Kenma shot back, he stood tall, his eyes dark with exhaustion yet alight with fire.

Kuroo looked down, seeing the cauterised wound reopening from the hit, he clenched his fist and slammed it on the floor before bowing his head in futility. The blood was just coming too thick, too fast, he couldn’t move like this.

“Kenma…” Kuroo hissed weakly, “get out of here…”

Golden orbs landed on his prone form, a moment’s hesitation, a twitch in his lip that Kuroo knew meant that Kenma was thinking. But then Kenma’s eyes shifted from open to narrowed, angry.

“Now, now, Tetsurou, let him fight me if he wishes.” Kuroo’s dad crooned, gaining Kenma’s attention. “For his dead mother’s honour.” His father’s lips ticked upwards at seeing his son’s situation. “You can’t stop him anyway.”

Kenma heard Kuroo click his tongue in annoyance and rolled his eyes. Such a worrier.

Kenma drew Kuroo’s silver gun from the holster on his lower back, the Colt 1849 shining and well cared for, even in Kuroo’s absence.

“Are you ready, Kenma?” The old Nekoma leader asked, not waiting before shooting at Kenma’s feet.

He chose not to respond, instead the younger fighter dodged the bullet, staggering backwards slightly and catching himself by lowering into a crouch.

“Not a talker, huh?”

“I don’t talk to monsters.” Kenma ground out, remembering what the man had done to his mother. Right in front of his young eyes, his innocence stolen by what he’d witnessed those nights.

“A monster? How naïve.” He reminisced with a cruel expression. “I am no monster, Kozume, your mother, however…” he swung his arms out wide, as if it was obvious what he meant, “that’s why I killed her…to prove a point.”

Kenma’s body froze.

His mother had killed herself.

He hated her for it, for leaving him behind.

Had it been wrong all along? Instead of remembering her for who she was he remembered her final, in his opinion, selfish action.

She left him alone; orphaned.

“A whore, will never be a human, your mother was a monster, and so are you.”

Kenma vaguely became aware of the gathering crowd, whether they were rebels or allies he couldn’t tell. He was shaking, the gun in his hands slippery from his clammy palms.

“Die.”

A bang sounded through the room, through the old Manor house, and Kenma was filled with gut wrenching, nauseating pain as he cried out in white hot agony.

He hated pain.

His senses narrowed almost supernaturally, the only sound being the slide of the gun as Kuroo’s father prepared another shot, this time undoubtedly fatal.

Why hadn’t the first one been fatal?

His adrenaline fuelled his next move, his quickly disappearing consciousness no longer in control as he took aim, tunnel vision on the man before him.

He fired the Colt 1849 as his arm lost all strength, the appendage falling to his side limply.

But his body grew colder.

Adrenaline waning along with the blood pressure to fuel his heart and give oxygen to his brain.

His cough was sticky, wet as he grabbed at his shirt collar and throat as he gasped for air.

His hand finally fisted in his shirt but he didn’t feel any pain from a jostle of a bullet.

Where did it hit him?

That was his last thought as his consciousness faded, his senses worn down, unaware of what was happening around him, the hands trying to help him.

 

Kuroo felt his blood growing cold when he saw the explosion of crimson from the side of Kenma’s head. He called out to him as his allies and friends cried in horror.

He had felt pride when Kenma had fired his gun, but it quickly became fear as Kenma collapsed into Alisa’s now waiting arms.

“Kenma…!” Kuroo gasped, forcing himself forward only to find Kai and Taketora’s arms around his, helping him to stand. He fell in front of his unconscious husband, but he couldn’t look at the extensive bleeding, instead his eyes landing on the gun.

His father did this.

He gripped the ivory-coloured handle, tears clouding his hazel eyes, turning to the older man crumpled on the floor.

“I’ll fucking kill you.” Kuroo hissed, aiming the gun at his injured father.

“T- Tetsurou… you wouldn’t, would you…?” Kuroo could hear the fear in his voice, but he remained indifferent, struggling with all of his strength and Taketora and Kai’s support to stand above his father.

“You did it to my husband, why shouldn’t I do it to you?” He moved closer with his friends’ strength, lifting the gun so his father could stare down the barrel. “You’re no father of mine.”

A single gun shot rang through the air, leaving Kuroo feeling breathless but also liberated. He promptly fell to his knees, unable to stand anymore, finally allowing his blood loss to take a hold on his conscious mind and fall into darkness.

 

Daishou felt the stillness in the air of the destroyed parlour room, the final gunshot ringing out before the Nekoma leader collapsed, his friends rushing to help.

He hadn’t been able to find Mika, he was filled with dread at the thought that she could’ve been hurt or even killed.

“Suguru?” He recognised the quiet voice, turning to see Mika emerging from the crowd of Nekoma.

“Mika!” Daishou responded, catching her as she ran and embracing her tightly, burying his face in her thick brown locks. He inhaled her natural scent through the bitter tang of sweat and blood.

She was alive.

“I’m so glad you’re okay.” Her watery voice quivered, her tears trekking down her cheeks as she pressed their lips together, never letting go of her hold on Daishou’s clothing.

“I could say the same about you.” Daishou replied once their lips parted, before he dipped down to kiss her once more.

Sirens cried out in the distance and Daishou watched as the Nekoma members began rushing around, desperate to save their leaders.

 

Kiyoko had had regular contact with Kenma and Kuroo since they’d become the leaders of Nekoma, and Yachi could tell that the recent silence was worrying her partner.

“Kiyoko, do you want to go see them?” She asked, trying to dress Hikiyo into clean clothes after her bath, the now five year old vehemently refusing.

“No, Nekoma doesn’t know about us, we can’t reveal Hikiyo, she’ll become a target.”

Yachi looked down at the crumpled sleepwear in her hands.

“But you’re worried.”

“I want to see daddy!” Hikiyo scowled, climbing onto the couch and standing on the seat cushion.

“Daddy will come visit soon,” Kiyoko said, her voice strained and body language terse, she picked up the rowdy child, “you know we can’t bother him at work.”

The child pouted her small lips, not unlike the way Kuroo did, causing Kiyoko to sigh loudly.

“Fine, only if you get changed.”

“Deal!” Hikiyo giggled, snatching her clothes from Yachi and putting them on, the shirt backwards with the label digging into her chin and neck.

Yachi also giggled and fixed Hikiyo’s shirt.

The trio donned their coats, hearing the cry and wail of sirens outside. Kiyoko and Yachi shared a confused glance before heading out down the apartment steps and to their car.

They chatted idly while Yachi put Hikiyo in her car seat, Kiyoko climbing into the driver’s side and Yachi taking the passenger side.

The drive felt arduously long, but it was a twenty minute trip in busy traffic. Kiyoko felt the phone in her pocket being to vibrate.

“Hitoka.”

Yachi nodded, reaching into Kiyoko’s pocket and removing the cellular device, she answered the call, bringing it to her ear.

“Hello?”

“Kiyo-- Yachi!”

“Bokuto?”

“Have you guys heard the news?!” Bokuto’s voice was at an unbearable volume, Yachi resorting to holding the phone away from her ear. “Nekoma Manor is on fire!”

Yachi felt her heart slam into her ribcage, what?

“What do you mean? Bokuto?!”

“It’s on the radio! They don’t know much but it’s burning! Dammit, first the plane crash and now this!!”

“P- Plane crash?”

Yachi felt the car slow down, deep sapphire eyes looking at her wide and scared.

“Kuroo’s plane crashed! But now there are reports that he’s in the manor so I don’t know what’s going on!”

The car continued to crawl, turning in the gate of Nekoma Manor, the building engulfed by flames.

“We’re there now, Bokuto, we gotta go!” Yachi hung up before Bokuto could even say anything else.

Kiyoko drove faster towards the manor, the pebbles under the car tyres rubbing together to make a crunching noise.

Yachi chanced a look at Hikiyo, glad to see the child was sleeping.

Thank goodness the car still lulled her to sleep.

They pulled to a stop, Kiyoko rushing out and Yachi easing Hikiyo from her seat, there were already three fire crews on the scene tackling a huge burning inferno, there were also two paramedic vehicles and two ambulances.

Kiyoko saw Daishou and Mika first, the pair watching the flames, entranced.

“What are you two doing here?!” She roared, storming over to the couple.

“Kiyoko!” Yachi called after her.

Daishou turned to face Kiyoko, vaguely recognising her face from previous clashes with Nekoma’s old regime.

“That’s a really long story…” He said, his voice rough with tiredness and his throat burned from smoke.

“Where’s Tetsurou and Kenma?!”

Daishou didn’t get a chance to speak, Kiyoko’s eyes falling onto the two stretchers being brought out by paramedics. Daishou’s eyes followed hers, also looking at the stretchers, next they landed on the panting Yachi and the bundle in her arms that was reminiscent of Kuroo, his gaze softened.

“I’m not a doctor, I can’t tell you what damage has been done, nor if they’ll survive. But I can explain things to you if you wish.”

Kiyoko looked between the pair, Mika was exhausted, barely standing up.

“Fine, on the way to the hospital.” Kiyoko scowled, turning and walking back to her car.

Chapter Text

Kiyoko pulled out from the manor gardens behind the ambulance, Daishou in the passenger seat beside her, Mika and Yachi bundled in the back with Hikiyo.

“Does Mika need to get checked out?” Kiyoko asked, looking in the rear view mirror.

“N- No, I’m okay,” Mika answered, “just need my bed.” She smiled tiredly, every feature etched with exhaustion.

“Then I’ll drop you off with Hitoka and Hikiyo, you can get a good rest at our apartment.” Kiyoko pulled off, racing through the late night streets, her eyes remained focused on the tarmac, but her mind wandered to what she might see at the hospital.

As she pulled up outside the apartment the three back seat passengers got out, Kiyoko waited until they’d disappeared into the apartment complex before taking off in the direction of the hospital.

“Tell me everything, now.” She ground out, pulling up to a stop light.

Daishou adjusted his position in the seat.

“It started about a week ago, from what I know Kuroo and myself were led away from our groups, both groups then staged a coup by announcing our deaths respectively.”

Daishou’s elbow came to rest on the door against the window, his chin resting in his fingers.

“I wouldn’t’ve known if it weren’t for one of Kuroo’s friends calling him, Yakkun?”

“Yaku.”

“Him. He told Kuroo that shit was going down in Nekoma, and that Kuroo should go home. I grew concerned so I called Mika to check up on her and she told me the same story Yaku had told Kuroo. I told her to go and assist Nekoma and that we’d be on our way.”

“That doesn’t explain why the manor is burning, or why Kuroo and Kenma are rushed to hospital!”

“I’m getting there!” Daishou argued, gripping the safety handle above his head as Kiyoko turned sharply. “We got there and the manor was a mess, but we walked in and Kenma shot Kuroo, not realising who it was. Luckily the bullet was a dud and I fished it out and used the gunpowder to cauterise the wound.”

“So he’s going to have a massive infection?”

“Most likely. But it needed closing immediately and there was nobody there to help.” Daishou tried to explain, the empty blue eyes scowling at the road. “Kuroo went in to fight but the former leader was there.”

“Kuroo’s father?”

“Yeah,” Kiyoko observed Daishou’s body language change, “I don’t know if Kenma will be okay.”

“What do you mean?”

Daishou looked away from Kiyoko’s eyes, unable to face the fear and worry in them.

“Kuroo’s wound was mostly superficial, a blood transfusion and stitching, he’ll likely recover.” Daishou brought his hands together, pulling his fingers. “Kenma’s was…more fatal.”

“Daishou, I swear to God.”

“It’s hard for me to say!” Daishou admitted, subduing himself again. He found the words wouldn’t escape his lips no matter how hard he tried, so instead he looked and Kiyoko, meeting her eyes. “Here.” He said, reaching over the gear stick to place his hand on the left side of her head, slightly above and behind her ear.

She recoiled, a sob escaping her lips.

“No…”

“Yes.”

“You’re lying!” She protested as they pulled into the hospital car park.

“I’m not.”

Kiyoko hastily claimed a parking space, not bothering to buy a pay and display ticket before she was running into the Accident and Emergency department, Daishou hot on her heels.

“Have two men just been brought here by ambulance?” Kiyoko asked the woman at the front desk, desperately overtaking several other people to beat the forming queue.

The woman looked startled, looking up from her computer and seeing Kiyoko and Daishou.

“Hang on, let me check.” She said, looking on the computer for the details she needed.

“They’re on Majors waiting for initial assessment--” The receptionist didn’t get a chance to finish as Kiyoko ran towards the Major Trauma ward, her heels clacking on the sterile flooring and her coat fluttering behind her.

“Thank you.” Daishou said gratefully to the receptionist, following after Kiyoko.

 

They ran through the mostly empty corridors, following the hanging signs to the Major Trauma ward. Just as they reached the entrance the double doors flung open from the inside, a gurney being taken down the corridor in the opposite direction to them.

Another gurney followed seconds later, and Kiyoko knew at that moment who was on them.

She stopped in her tracks, watching the gurneys disappear through more double doors, the hanging signs indicating surgery.

Daishou stopped beside her.

“They should’ve done a quick assessment on them in Majors, lets just go there and see what they say.”

Kiyoko nodded, following Daishou into the Major Trauma ward. He approached the desk on Kiyoko’s behalf, the woman beside him now oddly subdued.

There was a lot of bloody rags being cleaned up as well as the floor being disinfected.

“May I help you?” The desk clerk asked, making them look back towards her.

“Kuroo Tetsurou and Kozume Kenma.”

“They’ve just been taken into emergency surgery. Who are you to the patients?”

“Close friends,” Kiyoko interjected, “I’m the mother of Tetsurou’s child. Do you know how they are?”

The clerk made a face but tried to disguise it.

“It’s hard to say, I apologise.” She looked at Kiyoko’s distraught face, feeling sympathy for the woman. “If you’d like I can get you both a drink and take you to the waiting area. As soon as I know what ward they’ll be taken to I’ll come and let you know.”

Kiyoko just nodded, looking down.

“Thank you,” Daishou said, “we’d like that.”

“Right this way.” The receptionist said, guiding the pair to the waiting room off to the side of the main Major ward.

 

“The pressure is falling, get some fluids in him.”

“We’re losing him.”

The emergency operating room was a hive of activity. The anaesthesiologist had already given the small body the anaesthetic, but their blood pressure was dropping fast, their heart hammering against their ribcage.

“He’s going to need a hemicraniectomy, get some fluids in him and stabilise him.” The surgeon made the call, the other surgeons, nurses, scrubs technicians preparing for the incredibly invasive procedure.

The monotonous tone of the heart rate machine began to pick up pace, the young man’s heart desperately working to pump something there wasn’t enough of to begin with.

“Prepare the defibrillator, get those fluids in him now!” The surgeon called again, more desperation in his voice this time.

The nurses and scrub technicians began working faster, but they were unable to find veins that weren’t already constricted in his arms. They moved to lower down the table, finding the veins in his thighs and hooking up the intravenous drip lines of artificial blood.

Suddenly, the machine monitoring the young man’s body went silent, a flat tone filling the ears of everyone present and sending them into a frenzy.

Immediately the lead surgeon pulled away, allowing the group of three nurses to begin resuscitating the body with emergency CPR.

One of the scrub technicians wheeled over an intubation machine and allowing the lead surgeon to take over. The other two technicians were frantically pushing artificial blood and hypotonic saline solution through IV feeds, squeezing the bags.

“Stop compressions.” The surgeon demanded, moving to intubate the patient, expertly fitting the machine and starting it up in five seconds. “Continue compressions.”

After a tense few minutes of nurses taking turns to do chest compressions, coupled with the intubation taking over the patient’s breathing, the first signs of heart rate became clear on the screen once more.

“Right, his blood pressure is still low so I need to operate and close this wound fast. Then we can set him up on a blood transfusion.”

The other medical staff echoed their understanding before the surgeon prepared himself for the operation.

One of the nurses stopped chest compressing and began shaving the hair around the entry wound on the left side of the patient’s head, the blood matted hair fell onto the table around him, a second nurse collecting it up and disposing of it.

“Scalpel.”

One of the other surgeons passed the scalpel to the head surgeon, abandoning their duties to fill in for the scrubs technicians who were focused on keeping the patient’s blood pressure level.

The lead surgeon began creating an incision toward the back of Kenma’s left hemisphere, a horse-shoe shaped cut that he could pull back to reveal the damaged skull.

The skull was fractured, where the bullet had penetrated was a fragmented hole, fissures radiating outwards like a spider’s web.

“Tweezers.”

The same surgeon passed the lead the tweezers, allowing him to pick away at the fragmented bone, once he was satisfied the fracture was more clean, he quickly swilled away the tiny bone fragments.

“Drill and saw.”

With the drill he made small holes in a smooth, rounded pattern an equal distance apart, and the saw to connect the dots.

The procedure continued, aside from the heart failure at the beginning it was a textbook operation.

All in all it took nine hours to complete the hemicraniectomy.

But by late the next morning Kenma was on the Intensive Care Unit, intubated, with no plan to rouse him any time soon.

Chapter Text

A few days later Kuroo was finally beginning to come out of his drug-induced stupor. He blearily looked round, his eyes landing on Yachi sat in the chair beside him and Hikiyo bouncing in Yachi’s lap.

“Daddy!” The young girl called.

“Hey sweetie…” Kuroo said tiredly, shuffling up slightly despite the pain in his stomach. He looked around, his memories coming back from the days before. “Where’s Kenma?”

Yachi visibly startled, biting her lip, but before she could talk the door to his room opened.

Kiyoko entered, clearly dishevelled, her entire body drooping with exhaustion.

Her eyes met Kuroo’s and she felt relief wash over her.

“I’m so glad you’re okay.” She sighed, going over to hug the man who’d fathered her daughter and had become a dear friend.

Kuroo hugged her as best as he could without disturbing the stitching.

“I’m okay, but where’s Kenma?”

“I…” Kiyoko paused, wondering how it was best to tell him, she looked at Yachi who understood, scooping Hikiyo up in her arms and left the room. “Do you remember what happened?”

Kuroo looked at her, eyebrows furrowed as his medicine addled brain was slow to start processing his memories.

“Where is he?!” Kuroo quickly grew frantic, the monitor beside his bed beeping erratically.

“Calm down! He’s…he’s okay!” Kiyoko grabbed Kuroo’s shoulders, stopping the man in his tracks. “He’s on the ICU, comatose but stable.”

“He’s alive?”

“He’s lucky, but he’s alive.” Kiyoko confirmed.

“Can I see him?”

“I’m not sure, you’re hurt.”

“This? This is a flesh wound.”

“It really isn’t, Tetsurou.” Kiyoko argued. “But Kenma’s had a really invasive surgery, they don’t plan on waking him up for another three weeks, at least.”

“What…?”

“Jeez he has a bullet in his brain, Tetsurou, something like that isn’t a quick fix. I really hope his luck hasn’t run out,” Kiyoko shot, wrapping her arms around herself, feeling all too cold, “he’s in a really bad way, Tetsurou, I almost don’t want you to see him.”

“I want to see him.”

“Then at least let me prepare you…” Kiyoko said, sitting on the bed beside Kuroo’s legs. “He’s…he’s in a really bad way.” She repeated, bracing herself in much the same way as Daishou did when he told her.

She took his hand in hers, squeezing.

“Start from the beginning if that helps, what happened when we got here?”

“You were both taken into surgery, literally, me and Daishou hadn’t even reached the Major Traumas ward on the A&E department before we saw you both going in.”

“Wait, Daishou?”

Kiyoko nodded.

“He filled me in on the details and came with me.”

“I see…”

“We waited and waited but you were put on a ward before Kenma so we came to visit you, you were fine, you’ve been stitched up and the wound has been disinfected, the drip you’re hooked to has antibiotics in it too.”

Kuroo looked up at the metal pole with two bags attached to it.

“What about Kenma?”

“Like I said, his surgery was incredibly invasive. But he also died during surgery, they had to delay so they could stabilise him.” Kiyoko stopped, trying to stop her voice from cracking as she watched Kuroo’s features fall.

“He stabilised and they completed the surgery. The surgeon spoke to me and said Kenma…he had a lot of swelling on the brain and they needed to remove the bullet so they performed the surgery to kill two birds with one stone.”

“Okay, but you’re saying you want me to be prepared for what I see.”

“He doesn’t have a skull.”

Kuroo’s eyes widened and his eyebrows crumpled as his free hand covered his face.

“They had to remove a large piece on the left side so the swelling could go down. But he’s got no hair on the left side of his head,” Kiyoko began counting the difference in Kenma’s appearance from the surgery on her fingers, watching Kuroo freeze up, “his head is incredibly swollen, his entire face is bruised from the blood build up on his brain…and the skin on the left side of his head is only being held together by surgical staples.”

“Shit…” Kuroo hissed, burying his face into his hands, trying to hide the tears that were threatening to fall. “This is all my fault.” His voice cracked, prompting Kiyoko to move closer to him.

“Tetsurou…” She hugged him. “He wouldn’t want to hear you say that.”

“Doesn’t change the fact it’s true.”

Kiyoko sighed, knowing the man’s opinion wouldn’t change, not without hearing it from Kenma at least.

Kuroo lifted his eyes, looking at the ebony haired woman, gripping her arm and looking at her pleadingly.

“Please let me see him,” Kuroo begged, rushing to continue in case she interrupted, “please, I need to see that he’s okay with my own eyes.” His grip on her arm tightened, only instead of skin he clutched nothing but cloth.

“I can go and ask a nurse.” She said softly, running her free hand through his tired-looking, grease bound hair and leaving a gentle ghost of a kiss on his forehead before standing.

 

Yachi watched Hikiyo as the child restlessly flitted between the swing set and the roundabout, the young child seeming despondent and distant.

She sighed, thinking about how someone so young shouldn’t have to see the things she’d witnessed or experience the feelings she must’ve been feeling.

Yes, Hikiyo was a child, but she understood Kenma wasn’t well, she understood her father was injured.

She knew, but she also didn’t, unable to process the same way the adults could.

And Yachi’s heart hurt.

“Hikiyo!” She called, attracting the little girl’s attention. “Would you like to get some chocolate from the café?”

“No…” The child replied, sitting on the stationary roundabout.

Yachi watched on as Hikiyo kicked the dirt, scuffing her shoes on the soft woodchip and sand flooring. She approached and sat on the roundabout beside her.

“What’s wrong sweetie?”

“I want to see daddy Ken…”

“I know honey, I know you do, but you also know daddy Ken is ill, isn’t he?”

“Yeah…but why won’t he wake up? Is he dead?” Hikiyo asked, fear in her innocent blue eyes, and painfully alongside resignation and acceptance.

“No, no, sweetie,” Yachi challenged, holding her daughter close to her body, “he’s just sleeping. He’s not well and to make sure he recovers properly the doctors made his sleep.”

“Did they sing him a lullaby?”

“I’m sure they did.” Yachi smiled, but she knew Hikiyo, she knew how her mind worked. She wouldn’t be happy until she saw with her own eyes that he was alive.

Much like her father.

A noise gained Yachi’s attention, the hair on her arms standing on end. She looked up, and saw a figure standing not too far away, hiding in the shadows.

“Hikiyo, let’s go inside.” Yachi said, her heart rate peaking. “We’ll go and see daddy Ken.”

She ushered the child into her arms and carried her inside, unable to escape the feeling of unease settling in her stomach.

“Stop.” A new voice called, making Yachi freeze as her path back to the hospital was cut short.

“Wh—Who are you?” She stammered, clutching Hikiyo closer to her body.

“Is that the heir to Nekoma?”

“N—No, she’s my daughter…”

“And Kuroo’s?”

Yachi bit her lip, watching as the person’s hands left their pockets. She expected to see a weapon in their hands but instead they pointed to the bundle in her arms.

“Hand her over.”

“Never!” Yachi spat, holding Hikiyo tighter, but a hand brushed against her elbow, prompting her to loosen her grasp on the child and swing round, landing a swift right hook to the attacker behind her’s face.

Never had she been more thankful that Kuroo had taught her self defence for situations like this.

She was scared, her heart racing as she took off towards the other hospital entrance, and to where they would hopefully be safe.

She ran into someone much taller than herself, fearing it was an attacker she gripped Hikiyo, cradling her head.

“Yachi?”

“Daishou…!” Yachi didn’t register Mika beside Daishou until she moved to hide behind him and bumped into her. “Mika…!”

The couple looked at the attackers chasing Yachi.

“Who are you guys?” Daishou snarled, his hands reaching into his pockets.

The assailants murmured between themselves before retreating.

“They tried to take Hikiyo…”

Hikiyo lifted her head from Yachi’s bosom, turning to look at her surroundings.
“Where’s daddy Ken?”

“We’re going to see them now sweetie,” Yachi shushed, breathless from fright and running.

“Yay!”

“We’ll go up with you guys, I have something I want to give to Kuroo.” Daishou said, only then Yachi noticing the cardboard folder in his arms.

Chapter Text

Kuroo ended up spending a week on the Majors ward, the gunshot healing well, and he’d frequently visited Kenma’s bedside.

He watched the bruising gradually turn from red to purple, the swelling beginning to lift, and despite Kenma’s induced comatose state, Kuroo was sure he’d felt his hand twitch.

All that mattered was his recovery.

He was recovering.

He would wake up.

But the thought of Kenma waking up also scared him.

What sort of damage would a bullet to the brain cause?

The folder on his bedside left him restless. He’d tried to read it, but his mind wouldn’t absorb the information.

He just wanted Kenma.

He happened to look up, his eyes landing on the figures at the entrance of the ward.

“Guys!”

“Kuroo!” Bokuto cried, rushing to his friend and hugging him tightly. “We’re sorry it took so long to get here! We had a tournament.”

“Why are you even apologising? I told you I’d fucking kill you if you pulled out.” Kuroo said, returning Bokuto’s hug.

“How are you feeling?” Oikawa asked, approaching his bed.

“I feel like the biggest piece of shit in the world.” Kuroo almost spat venomously. “Because of me—”

“Bullshit.” Iwaizumi growled, walking towards him. “None of this is your fault and Kenma would smack the shit outta you if he could hear your wimpy-ass wallowing.”

Kuroo looked down at the bed, his hand absentmindedly running along the soft bandages around his torso.

“I don’t like it, dammit!” Kuroo finally snapped, feeling able to rant to them with more aggression than with Kiyoko. “Kenma’s comatose! What sort of husband lets that happen?!” He hissed. “Not only that, but I find out Yakkun is no better, and Lev’s arm is totally wrecked! I’m their fucking leader, I should be protecting them!”

“Kuroo-chan, you hate that you felt powerless more than feeling it’s your fault, correct?”

Kuroo fell silent, damn Oikawa’s perceptive mind.

“That’s totally okay! You’re allowed to feel powerless, but you’re not allowed to say it was your fault!”

“But—”

“No buts, Kuroo-chan!” Oikawa gracelessly plopped beside him. “If you don’t like this then change it!”

“How the fuck do I do that?!”

“Fight.”

Kuroo looked at Oikawa, and then to the rest of the group, finally noticing the smile decorating Fujima’s lips as he stood at the entrance, watching them nod in agreement or stand by Oikawa’s declaration.

“You’ve fought much worse than this, buddy.” Iwaizumi spoke next, moving closer. “At one point it was your job.”

Kuroo looked down at his lap, fiddling with his fingernails and picking the skin around them.

“Okay.” Kuroo picked up the folder that had been burning a hole in his bedside since Daishou had left it there days earlier.

He opened the contents, reading over the pieces of paper and seeing the dotted line on the final piece.

“What is it?” Bokuto asked, peeking over the paper.

“Daishou wants our clan wars to end with the new generation.” Kuroo said, disbelieving what he was reading. “He’s open to talks about whether we form an alliance or merge, but either way the fighting will be over.”

“That’s great!” Bokuto cheered. “You did something your dad and his dad didn’t want to do!”

Kuroo fell silent before looking to his friend.

“My father…” Kuroo felt his body run cold, his skin becoming damp with sweat. “I killed my father.”

“Lucky.” Oikawa huffed.

“I killed my father…”

“Kuroo-san?” Akaashi asked with concern, watching the man on the bed.

“I…” Kuroo hiccupped, a breath catching in his throat, “I killed my father. I didn’t even need time to think. I just…pulled the trigger.”

The reality of the situation finally dawned on Kuroo, after almost a week and a half, he finally began to grieve for the man he hated.

The last family member he had.

 

Two weeks after Kuroo’s admission, he was fit to go home. But leaving Kenma was another hurdle he couldn’t quite do.

He pleaded with the nurses to be able to stay with his husband, being unable to do so due to lack of beds but offered an extended visiting hours.

He was still mourning the man he’d called his father, a useless man; a coward. He hated how he still felt the pain of loss.

Kuroo sat beside Kenma’s bed in the exact same position as always, his hands holding Kenma’s desperate to feel the slightest movement, his head resting on the bed in a semi-lucid state.

Kenma was showing gradual signs of improvement, the swelling on his brain had decreased and the bruising on his face was finally yellowed and fading. He no longer needed to be intubated, the machine keeping him alive now removed and his breath coming easier; steadier; stronger with only a nasal canula.

But he was still comatose, and Kuroo had no idea when they’d try to wake his husband.

He heard the door click, looking up to see Kiyoko entering the room,

“Are you ready to go?” Kiyoko asked, moving to stand from her seat beside Kenma’s bed.

“Yeah…” Kuroo said softly, carefully running his fingers through the unshaven hair on Kenma’s head, leaning forward to kiss his forehead. “Let’s go.”

They made their way from the room, being stopped by the doctor on their way out.

“Tetsurou,” the doctor spoke, making them pause to look at him, “Kenma’s condition is stabilising wonderfully, we can most likely go ahead with the surgery to replace his skull next week and then try to wake him up.”

Kuroo felt relief wash over his body.

Kenma was recovering enough to be woken up.

“Thank you, doctor, thank you so much.” Kuroo beamed. “Will he be okay?”

“We need to do some more scans now the swelling is gone, so we’ll get them done. Although hopefully the scans will show no signs of brain damage; he was seen to and treated quickly.”

The conversation continued, the mood hopeful for Kenma’s recovery, Kiyoko and Kuroo left the hospital twenty minutes later, moods high for the next part of Kuroo’s recovery.

The car rolled along the pebble stone path, stopping outside the burnt husk of the Nekoma Manor, the air still laced with the smell of smoke.

“Kuroo-san!” A voice called, and Kuroo found himself turning to see Lev, the towering man waving with the arm not in a sling across his chest.

“Lev!” Kuroo returned, relieved to see his ally recovering well.

“It’s good to see you, Kuroo-san,” Lev said, slightly quieter and subdued this time, “are you feeling better now?”

“I’m getting there, Lev, what about you?”

“Oh, um, I’m fine.”

Kuroo didn’t like Lev’s tone, it didn’t suit the usually overenthusiastic and far too loud member.

“Are you sure?”

Kuroo watched as Lev’s eyes quickly grew glossy at the tiny prompt.

“Yaku-san…” Came a sob.

Kuroo felt his stomach drop, only to hear the voice of the defence specialist from somewhere behind the rubble.

“Lev!”

Yaku emerged from behind one of the piles of rubble, the smaller male still bruised and his gait awkward, he saw Kuroo and stopped in his tracks.

“Kuroo—”

“Hey, Yakkun.”

“You stupid idiot!” Kuroo barely had time to duck before a brick narrowly missed his head. “Come here and let me fucking kill you, you pain in the ass!”

“Sorry, Yakkun, sorry!” Kuroo apologised, his eyes finally resting on the pile of rubble they’d once called home. The place they’d all grown up together.

He remembered that he was only seven when Yaku arrived, they’d fought like cat and dog at first. Never able to agree on anything and they always fought bitterly over everything.

That was until the raid.

Kuroo remembers it well, the day a rival gang had raided their household and taken himself and some of the other children hostage.

Yaku had fought stubbornly and bravely even when Kuroo was frozen in fear.

After that they’d become close friends.

Yaku was his oldest friend.

He felt hollow looking at the rubble, doubting anything was salvageable.

“Stupid, stop looking at it as a bad thing.” Yaku scolded, now in front of his leader, the glint of metal in his hands. “We found a few things, mainly from the safe in your room. There’s smoke damage but we sent it to a specialist to see what they could do. Meanwhile this was found in the parlour room.”

He handed it over, the 1849 Colt covered in soot but still in almost perfect condition.

“Well this is bittersweet.”

“Of course it is, but I think Kenma would kill you if you got rid of it. He seemed to really like this gun.”

Kuroo scoffed, holding the silver barrel.

“Yeah. I’ll keep it.”

“Good, then it means I didn’t waste money on a new back holster.” Yaku then handed the leather holster to Kuroo.

“Yakkun, did you miss me?” Kuroo teased, slotting the gun into its bed and closing the flap on the ivory handle to secure it in place before strapping it around his waist, feeling the material rub on his newly formed scar.

“Shut up, you trigger happy terrorist.”

“You did~” Kuroo snickered.

“We all did.” Kai said, approaching with a few of the older Nekoma members, Naoi, Nekomata, and Taketora on his flanks.

Kuroo stared, watching as his allies and dear friends began to appear from sections of the rubble, carrying any items that were still usable, soon everyone was there.

Everyone apart from Kenma.

“We’re ready to rebuild.” Nekomata said with an excited grin. “You just gotta say the word.”

“Blueprints?”

“Already submitted and planning approved.”

“Surveyor?”

“Coming out later this afternoon.”

“Kenma’s needs?”

At this the group seemed to lose their bravado, nobody knew what those needs would be.

“Doorframes and hallways are going to be built wider than before, each staircase will have two rails and shower rooms will have support seats and handles, any additional things required we can add at a later date.” Kai reassured.

“Then call in the specialists.” Kuroo gave the go-ahead. “Kenma goes under next week to get his skull repaired and after that they’ll try to wake him up.”

“Let’s go!” Yaku called, the group dispersing back to what they were doing before Kuroo’s interruption, Kuroo followed Yaku as he navigated through the rubble and the gutted out building.

They’d rebuild.

Nekoma would be bigger and better than ever.

Chapter Text

Kuroo played with the silver gun in his hand, the ivory handle and metal barrel feeling alien in his hands.

This was the gun.

This gun killed his father.

This was the gun Kenma had used to fight.

And here he was, powerless to help his husband.

He looked up at the wall clock, only five minutes passing since he’d last checked.

That was another five minutes without news from the hospital. No news was meant to be good news, but it did nothing to reassure him.

He sighed restlessly, Kenma’s operation was meant to have started almost five hours ago.

“They’ll contact you soon.” Kiyoko spoke softly, resting her hand on his shoulder.

“I hope so…”

 

Three hours later and Kuroo was in the hospital, meeting the surgeon, and hearing how the operation was successful on a physical level.

All that was left now was to wake Kenma up.

And this created a whole new set of anxieties for Kuroo.

What if he didn’t wake up?

And if he did would he remember the attack?

Would he remember Kuroo?

What if he’d suffered severe brain damage?

The pressure on his brain not treated fast enough?

Kuroo mulled himself into a dark mental state as he let his thoughts spiral, only snapping from them at the sound of the doctor calling his name.

“Yeah?” He rushed over, wanting to know the outcome of trying to wake his husband up.

“He’s responding well, would you like to see him?”

“Yes!” Kuroo followed the doctor, barely a pace behind him at the thought of seeing Kenma again.

The door into the intensive care room opened and there he was.

Kuroo felt his heart threaten to leap from his chest as time seemingly slowed down and he couldn’t catch his breath.

“Kenma…”

There was something different this time, his eyes were closed, but Kuroo knew he was awake, knew he’d open his eyes this time.

He rushed to the bed, standing at the side and looking down at his lover.

“Kenma, it’s me.” He spoke softly, his eyes travelling over the gauze cushioning Kenma’s head and finally looking at his face through tearful eyes.

The second time round his voice was louder and that seemed to rouse Kenma somewhat, his brows furrowing and his eyes opening just slightly.

“Kuro…”

His eyes were still hazy, dim from the effects of the anaesthetic and pain relief, but Kuroo was just relieved.

He was alive.

“Kenma,” his eyes stung, unable to quite believe that Kenma was alive, he was awake, “it’s me.”

“Kuro…”

Kuroo took a hold of Kenma’s hand, squeezing lightly and watching his fingers react, tightening around his own, Kenma’s eyes flickering down in response to the sensation.

“How do you feel?” Kuroo whispered, holding Kenma’s hand tighter and leaning down to kiss over the gauze around his forehead.

“I’m too doped up to feel much.” Kenma grumbled, Kuroo watching his hazy eyes scanning the room, lazy blinks and an unfocused gaze. His body begging for slumber.

Kuroo swallowed around the lump in his throat.

He could wait to greet Kenma properly, but his husband needed rest.

“Close your eyes,” Kuroo whispered, daring to run the backs of his fingers across Kenma’s cheek, “I’ll be here when you wake up.”

“What if I don’t wake up?” Kenma’s voice cracked and the noise filled Kuroo up with a knawing sensation that carved up his insides.

Kenma rarely shown his fear.

“I’ll make sure you do.”

“Promise?”

“I promise.”

Kenma’s grip finally loosened on Kuroo’s hand, but Kuroo could tell by the heavy droop of his eyelids, then sudden blinking that Kenma was desperately fighting.

“When you wake up I’ll bring you some fresh apple pie?”

Kenma smiled sleepily.

“…eah.”

He finally gave into the urges, succumbing to the pain relief and concoction of other medications turning his body into a battleground.

Kuroo watched his weakened form, the part of his lips as he breathed, and the rise and fall of his chest as his breathing became level and shallow.

He was really alive.

Awake.

Kuroo smiled to himself, wiping at the tears wetting his face.

“Kuroo-sama, can I run through Kozume-san’s recovery process with you?” A nurse requested, catching Kuroo’s attention.

“Sure, lead the way.”

Kuroo left the room alongside the nurse, pleasantly surprised to see Kiyoko, Yachi, and Hikiyo outside.

“Kuroo! How is he? We got the call.”

“He’s alive…” He breathed, the tension leaving his shoulders.

 

Kenma faintly heard the hospital room door latch release, someone entering his room. It was a new sound over the consistent beating of his own heart, beeping of monitors. The sound of his survival.

He gasped as he tried to shake off some of the sedative, taking a deep breath.

He forced his eyes open.

It might be Kuroo.

He had to see him again.

Didn’t he?

The dim lighting in the room made him squint to adjust his vision, still blurred from the medication.

He blinked a few more times, his vision becoming clearer.

That wasn’t Kuroo.

He felt a sudden jolt of adrenaline, struggling on an intake of breath as the natural drug invaded his system.

The beeping monitors fell out of step as his heart began to race, he felt a wave of heat hit him like a tsunami, pushing his body into an alertness that he shouldn’t have been able to possess in his current state.

“Hello Kozume-san,” the doctor greeted, his voice cheery but not lacking in a sneer, “Kuroo-sama seems relieved you’re among the living again.”

Why did he feel this way?

His eyes fell on the glint of metal in the doctor’s hands.

A syringe.

That was fine, the doctor was meant to give him medicine.

So why did it feel wrong?

“I wanted to destroy Nekoma.” The doctor ground out, facing Kenma and uncapping the needle. “It would’ve been better off if you’d died in the fire; died in the shootout; died in the operation.”

Kenma opened his mouth but found his disused voice getting caught in his throat.

He had to make Kuroo aware of what was happening.

He tried again, no sound breaking from his mouth.

He had to fight.

“Everything would’ve been easier if you’d died, Kozume,” he jeered, beside Kenma’s bed, gripping his wrist in a vice-like grip, “but you had to make use of those nine lives.”

Kenma struggled against the grip, frantically looking for a way out as the needle drew closer. His vision swam with his every move, his body wouldn’t work how he wanted it to.

He hated not being in control.

In his desperation he kicked the doctor’s arm, knocking the needle and throwing the doctor off kilter.

“So you’re not as brain damaged as we thought.”

Brain damaged?

Was that why he couldn’t seem to catch his bearings?

He knew he’d landed the kick, he felt it. But which side did he feel it on?

He looked at the leg, failing to identify whether it was his left or right.

“Stop struggling.”

He felt his hope dimming as the doctor reached over to the needle on the bed before mounting it.

He kicked.

He kicked hard.

He felt both feet collide with something solid, his heels digging into soft flesh.

“Son of a bitch!” The doctor swore, moving back from the attack and gripping Kenma’s ankles, his broad hand fitting both of Kenma’s weakened legs in its grasp, the other hand bringing the needle to Kenma.

Kenma couldn’t see what it was; the liquid was clear, for all he knew it could’ve been water, but he didn’t miss the small bubbles in the injection shaft.

Whatever was in that needle was going to kill him if he didn’t think fast.

 

Yachi felt the dread building as she watched the figure move into Kenma’s room, she bit her lip, only half listening to Kuroo.

She knew she was probably overexaggerating, on edge from the week before.

But the doctor entering Kenma’s room filled her with fear.

What if it wasn’t an over exaggeration?

“Kuroo.”

“Yeah?”

“That doctor…” She hadn’t told him what had happened to her and Hikiyo.

But this didn’t sit right with her.

So she bucked up her courage.

She told him.

 

Bed.

He was on a hospital bed.

If he could just keep moving while he figured out his bearings.

Kenma swung his torso from side to side, his hips now caged by the doctor looming above him. He desperately reached, hoping for anything to graze his hands.

A hand tightened around his throat, stopping him from moving.

“That’s enough.”

One of his fingers brushed something metal and he strained to reach it, he choked on his breath as the hand wrapped around his throat.

His fingers wrapped around the object with a haphazard grip as he was pulled into position by the doctor.

“Get off me!!” He finally screamed, his voice hoarse and cracking as he drove the object in his hand into the side of the attacker’s face as the needle broke his skin, sending the body above him off balance and he followed them.

His eyes lost vision, blurred by white and patterns that left him disorientated, his head swam as he tried to make sense of his surroundings, the stimulation making his skull hurt and nausea roll over him.

His heart pounded in his chest, in his skull, in his hands; he could hear it, feel it, feel the burning in his veins. The incessant ba-bump grew louder as adrenaline and the first physical exertion in weeks made his muscles burn.

They stood at a face off, the syringe between them, on the floor, shattered, the contents pooling around the broken glass.

His opponent was bleeding profusely from an impact wound on his face, his features twisted into unadulterated rage.

His legs trembled under him and it took all he had not to fall.

Suddenly the door was opened, Kenma turned to face it, seeing Kuroo barging in on the scene and watching his husband’s face.

He always had been expressive.

Even now, Kenma observed his face as Kuroo registered what he was seeing, his wide eyes going narrow and dark, lips closing, pursing and the corners turned downwards, brows furrowing and face screwing up in anger.

“You fucking—”

Kuroo drew his gun from the leather at his lower back and Kenma froze.

That gun.

The sound of the blast echoed in the private room, Kuroo not hesitating to shoot the doctor for his role in what was now appearing to be an attempted murder of his husband.

“Kuro…”

He turned to Kenma, his eyes softening and he ran to his lover in time to catch his withered form before it could hit the ground.

“Kenma, Kenma,” Kuroo called, frantically looking for reassurances that Kenma was okay, that he wasn’t going to die; that he wasn’t going to lose him, “Kenma, are you okay?”

“I’m okay…” Kenma huffed, exhaustion consuming his body and he gave in to the security of Kuroo’s embrace. “I’m okay.” He spoke firmly, closing his eyes.