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It all started at the beginning of November, on a cold rainy Sunday afternoon. Akashi Seijuurou was playing the violin. The musical instrument was a gift from his mother on his sixth birthday, and he had been practicing regularly ever since. He always felt somewhat melancholic while playing, at least since his mother passed away, but he loved the violin nonetheless and he was very well aware of the fact that he was incredibly skilled, so it would be a shame to let his talent go to waste.

Momoi stopped doing her homework from where she was sitting by his desk in order to listen, and Aomine pretended that he didn’t stop paying attention to the magazine he was reading and started listening as well. A slight smile appeared on Akashi’s face as he noticed that his friends were captured by the music.

He rarely played for them. Both Momoi and Aomine were over at his mansion quite often, since they were his only friends and he was (almost) always glad to see them and spend time in their company, but he usually practiced playing when he was alone. They had heard him play the violin only twice before, for a rather short period of time. But today, he felt like playing in front of an audience. So he did. And after he finished and put the violin away, he could see the amazed looks on their faces.

“So? How was it?” he asked.

Aomine’s expression quickly turned back to a nonchalant one and he shrugged, trying to show his indifference.

“I don’t know, I’m not an expert when it comes to music. It was okay, I guess,” he said.

Akashi chuckled, then turned to their pink-haired friend.

“Well, what about you, Momoi? Did you like it?” he asked.

“Akashi-kun, it was beautiful!” the girl exclaimed, clearly enchanted. “You’re really amazing at playing, even though it’s rather clear that you don’t understand this song, you still manage to play it brilliantly.”

Akashi sat down on his bed, frowning.

“What do you mean by saying that I don’t understand this song?” he asked.

“Well, it’s a love song,” Momoi giggled. “You’ve never been in love, have you?”

“No. I don’t have time for such trivial things,” Akashi said firmly, shaking his head.

Now, the girl looked a bit offended.

“Hey! It’s okay that you’ve never been in love and that you’re happy about it, but don’t make it sound like being in love is something bad and worthless!” she protested.

“I’m sorry if my comment has hurt you, it wasn’t my intention,” said Akashi, smiling fondly at the now slightly angry girl.

“It’s fine,” Momoi rolled her eyes.

A comfortable silence fell between them. Aomine went back to looking through his magazine, Momoi continued doing her homework and Akashi grabbed a book from his shelf and started reading it. They didn’t talk, but none of them really minded. They were entirely different people, and while they enjoyed talking and discussing various things, they were fine with just being around each other without really interacting as well.

Akashi had met Momoi Satsuki on their first day in high school. Some jerk, his name was Haizaki if Akashi remembered correctly, kept bothering the girl, who looked rather uncomfortable with all the unwanted attention she was getting. Akashi defended her and helped her get rid of Haizaki. Grateful, she insisted that he sat with her and her childhood friend Aomine Daiki during lunch. Since then, they stuck together. It was a good choice. Momoi and Aomine were good people.

“How would that even work?” asked Aomine suddenly, drawing Akashi and Momoi’s attention.

“How what would work?” asked Akashi.

“You being in love. I mean, would the psycho Akashi be in love with the same person as you? Or could you two fall for two entirely different people?”

If Daiki ever calls me ‘the psycho Akashi’ again, I’ll scratch his eyes out, said a voice inside Akashi’s head.

‘The psycho Akashi’, otherwise known as ‘Bokushi’ (a nickname that Momoi had come up with), his other self. Akashi didn’t quite understand his personality split, but since his mother died, there had been two of them. He, and the other one. Darker, colder, and yet strangely similar to him. Bokushi was the one in charge when they met Momoi and Aomine. Momoi got along well with both of them. Aomine was a slightly different story, probably because Bokushi freaked him out.

“I wouldn’t know,” Akashi shrugged in response. “I suppose I’ll just have to wait and see.”

Please inform Daiki of my threat.

“Also, the other me is saying that he doesn’t appreciate you calling him ‘the psycho Akashi’,” he added.

That’s not what I said. Inform him of my threat.

If I do that, you really will scratch his eyes out if he calls you that again, Akashi replied in his head.

Well, yes.

I don’t want my friend to lose his eyes and I don’t want to risk going to jail.

“He is, though,” said Aomine.

How dare you let him disrespect me like that? I’m still you, you know? We’re the same person. If he’s insulting me, you should be insulted as well.

“I think he feels hurt now,” said Momoi.

I’m not. But Daiki should know his place.

“Please, Satsuki, it’s not like he has actual feelings,” Aomine snorted.

“I’m quite convinced that he does,” said Akashi.

Yes. A very strong feeling that I want to stab Daiki with scissors.

“Whatever,” the boy dismissed it with a wave of his hand.

“Well, what about you, Aomine?” Akashi asked, a little bit curious.

“Huh?” Aomine asked.

“Have you ever been in love?”

“Nah,” he said. “Satsuki’s head over heels for Tetsu though.”

Now that got Akashi’s attention, because a) he couldn’t remember Momoi mentioning having romantic feelings for anyone, but if the blush on her face was anything to go by, what Aomine was saying was true, and b) he was sure that he knew all of his friends’ acquaintances, or at least was aware of their existence, but he had no idea who this ‘Tetsu’ was.

“Dai-chan! H-how did you know?” Momoi asked, her face red now.

“It’s obvious. You’re always all over him,” Aomine replied, rolling his eyes.

I think we’ve missed something… who are they talking about?

I have no idea.

“May I ask who is that person you’re talking about?” Akashi asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Oh, right, you have no idea who Tetsu-kun is!” said Momoi. “Kuroko Tetsuya. Dai-chan plays basketball with him on the court in the park sometimes.”

Akashi loved basketball as well. Unfortunately, their school’s team wasn’t any good so he wasn’t particularly interested in joining, but the three of them played it quite often together. Momoi wasn’t exactly great at it, but she was very passionate about the sport, so they didn’t mind. Aomine, on the other hand, was on the same level as Akashi. Whenever they had a one-on-one, it lasted extremely long and the count of wins was the same for both of them.

So now Aomine had found someone new to play basketball with, Kuroko Tetsuya, with who Momoi had fallen in love? Interesting.

Are they replacing us?

They’re not. Don’t worry.

“Well, is he any good?” Akashi asked, curiously.

“Not really, he sort of sucks. He’s only good at passing,” said Aomine. “He’s a nice guy though. But we don’t play that often. He usually hangs out with Kagami Taiga and Kise Ryouta and plays with them.”

“And you never join them? Why?”

“Because it’s Kagami Taiga and Kise Ryouta,” Aomine said as if that explained everything. “I have no intention of spending time with that blonde idiot.”

“Dai-chan, you’ve never actually talked to him!” Momoi protested.

“Yeah, let’s not change that. Like, ever.”

“But he seems nice!”

“You haven’t talked to him either! You just like his photobooks,” Aomine retorted.

“That’s not true! I just think that if Tetsu-kun is friends with him, then he must be a good person!”

At this point, Akashi had stopped listening. Kuroko Tetsuya. How come he had never seen the boy? And what was so special about Kuroko that despite apparently being awful at basketball, he was interesting enough for Aomine to keep playing with him and for Momoi to fall in love with him? It was intriguing.

Well, we need to find Kise Ryouta and get him to introduce us to Tetsuya, then, said Bokushi.

Indeed, Akashi agreed.