The boy was walking at his usual pace, although, from time to time, some sudden noises caused him to pause and cautiously look around. After all, he was alone in the forest, and lately every neighbour was talking about how many passersby had gone missing there. He sighed and continued forward, pulling his red hood slightly more over his eyes.
Kuroko Tetsuya was a bright twelve-year old, but without any special talents. A bit small and weak for his age, which his peers never failed to point out. He was quiet and polite, another pair of traits that seemed to annoy them. Most often they called him „creepy,” because of his usually expressionless face and low presence, but Kuroko didn't really mind. He didn't have to be friends with everyone: he had one good friend, although currently living far away. Remembering that fact saddened him, but he didn't want to feel discouraged. He and Ogiwara regularly exchanged letters, excitedly writing each other about what they deemed interesting.
The boy lived with his parents and grandmother. However, sometimes in summer, his grandmother liked to move back to her old house situated in the middle of the forest. To some she was foolishly brave, but those who knew her were sure of her capability of taking care of herself. Except, yesterday her pigeon came to Kuroko's parents with a message that she was feeling ill. And thus, today it was Kuroko's mission to deliver her some food and medicine.
He was taking every step with great determination, until he heard a rustle to his left. Suddenly, something big and yellow flew out of the bushes and almost hit him, but luckily his reflexes didn't fail this time and he dodged, landing himself on the dirt. The thing, that turned out to be person-shaped, groaned and cried out loud.
“Aominecchi, that's so mean!”
Only then Kuroko noticed that this person, looking like a boy similar in age to him, had big, fluffy ears on his head and a tail to accompany them. One of the beastmen, then. There goes Kuroko's luck. He was standing there paralysed, not sure of how to proceed, when he heard another voice accompanied by rustling. Another beastboy came out of the bushes and was stomping angrily in the yellow beastboy's direction.
“I told you that squirrel was mine!”
Both beastboys jumped at the sound of his voice and swiveled their heads in his direction.
“A ghost?!” shouted the tanned one.
“This... This is your divine retribution for bullying me, Aominecchi!” squealed the other, but quickly hid behind the taller one.
Kuroko was weighing his options. He could tell the truth, say that he's human, but who knows if it wouldn't end with his throat ripped apart or any other action that would result in his demise. So, as ridiculous as this seemed, he decided to opt for the second option – to roll with it.
“Hello,” he exclaimed and tried his best to keep his voice from wavering. The boys were still staring at him in shock.
“Are... Are you really here for the retribution thing?” inquired the dark-haired one.
“Depends on what you did,” he decided to say and as a reaction both beastboys gasped and looked at him with terror. A strange sense of superiority filled him, so he tried to stay focused and continue playing his part.
“K... Kise, you idiot! What is this?! I... I don't wanna die!” shrieked the dark-haired boy with tears in his eyes.
The boy in the red hood was doing his best not to lose his calm, but now, rather from fear, he was starting to shake because of holding back his laughter. Really, weren't the beastmen supposed to have excellent sense of smell? He knew he had a weak presence, but he thought the smell wasn't a part of that. Suddenly, Kuroko got an idea.
“Well then,” his voice startled the boys, who were whispering between themselves, from what Kuroko could hear something about a squirrel and whose fault it was. “If you lead me to the house in the middle of the forest, I will forgive you.”
“Huh?” They gasped in shock. “But... That scary old lady lives there!”
Kuroko frowned. His grandma? Scary? The same one who loved knitting, singing lullabies and baking sweets? He heard that grandfather used to be a hunter, but imagining grandma as one was impossible for him. “Mhm,” he nodded anyway. “So? What do you choose?”
Beastboys exchanged glances and then looked back at the red-hooded.