It was a usual night on the job: saving people, stopping crime. Whatever it was that Kise was supposed to be doing. It wasn’t as though he liked the night jobs! Seriously it was only thanks to whatever mutant system that was keeping him shifting, that Kise could spring out of bed in the morning without any bags under his eyes.
If he could choose, then he’d take the day shifts anytime. But unfortunately school got in the way and he could only take day shifts on weekends and holidays.
Kise crouched uncomfortably on the roof of some crumbling concrete office building as he waited for the apparent kidnappers to show up. He’d got the information off Akashicchi- or Red, as was his proper Miracle name. Akashicchi was never wrong about anything, and so no matter how sceptical Kise felt over the idea of kidnappers in Kanagawa he believed Akashicchi.
Kise sighed and considered turning his lower body into a couch or something, so that he could settle better. However experience made him realise that if he turned into a bright yellow, leather recliner couch here in the middle of the city, then any creeps sneaking around would be sure to notice. It was also unfortunately true that he couldn’t just continuously shift as it was very draining and he needed to prepare himself for possible fights later.
The air was musty and stale and each of Kise’s breaths came out in short choked huffs. He was beginning to feel light headed and sighed, he wasn’t sure whether he could afford to expend the energy but he knew he had to modify his lungs before he passed out. It was a problem with being a hero, after curfew the government turned off the air purifiers that stopped the toxic smog from poisoning every human outside. Of course in the houses people were expected to have their own air purifiers but in the streets…
Out of the thick darkness came the purr of one of the modern cars coming to a stop. Kise smiled proudly and stretched discreetly as he prepared himself to swoop down heroically, the blond was already imagining a helpless and terrified girl. He was going to save whichever poor damsel in distress who was being kidnapped and he was sure they were going to swoon. It was the usual deal anyway, he just hoped she wouldn’t faint.
Kuroko was hyper-aware of his surroundings as he slid back into the shadows. The large lab completely dwarfed his small body, the whole building was grey and unforgiving. And the teen hesitated wondering whether he was better off just going home.
But it was specifically a job from Akashi-kun and while they hadn’t been getting along at all since the end of middle-school, Kuroko was not going to refuse an order from their captain. The animal testing laboratory was located in the middle of Kanagawa and was apparently was experimenting on mutants, of all things. Kuroko wasn’t sure why this was his job, this was Kise-kun’s turf and he could certainly do stealthy with his shape-shifting ability.
Kuroko relaxed and calmed his presence until he was hardly distinguishable from the grey building behind him. He walked slowly toward the lab, keeping himself as small and unremarkable as possible. This was the hardest part, making his way past the security cameras.
Kuroko’s special ability was very unusual in the way that it hardly counted as a power at all. The blue haired boy’s talent was really just his complete lack of presence. With help from Akashi-kun, Kuroko had managed to learn to control his skill to the point where he could practically become invisible.
No-one else had ever noticed his ability, probably because no-one ever even noticed him, but with the strong observational skills of Momoi-san and Akashi-kun, Kuroko had somehow bloomed into his own hero. Of course he’d always worked better with Aomine-kun then on his own or even with Kise-kun, but they’d gone their separate ways now and Kuroko had to cope. He was known as The Shadow or the Phantom Sixth Man by anyone that had actually heard of him; but mostly he was rumour, a novel idea to make the Generation of Miracles into an even more legendary group of heroes.
It was five o’clock, the time when most of the workers from the lab were leaving and really Kuroko’s last chance to get inside without any ID. The trick, the teen thought as he slipped through the glass sliding doors, was to come in as others were coming out. In a crowd, he was even less likely to be seen and the doors being constantly opened were really his only chance of getting through without calling in favours from Akashi-kun. Kuroko allowed himself to be knocked around and accidentally shoved as he tried to remember every detail of the job he was supposed to be doing.
It was one of Teiko’s requested jobs and he was being paid quite a bit for it. The deal was a simple in and out, no witnesses and one body. Kuroko’s assigned hit was the captured mutant who was apparently so dangerous that Teiko didn’t want to risk allowing him to live. The blue haired teen was slightly sceptical of this, after all who could possibly be dangerous enough to threaten the school that had raised and developed the Generation of Miracles?
To be honest, Kuroko was unsure of the entire situation. If this mutant was supposed to be so dangerous, why didn’t they send someone more powerful to finish him? It wasn’t as though he hadn’t killed before, he was the invisible-man, the best choice to sneak up behind a distracted target and slit their throats. The most likely to get away even drenched in blood. It made him uncomfortable thinking about it. They were supposed to be heroes, not hired assassins!
They hadn’t been heroes for years now, and it seemed like it was only Kuroko who had realised it. This time span had almost been as long as the amount of time the Generation of Miracles had not been a team. When they had decided that focussing on individual strength was more important than working as a team.
Kuroko got into the steel elevator and waited patiently for it to fill up with tired businessmen and excited scientists. He couldn’t personally make his way to the floor that he wanted, as it required biological I.D. and not even Kuroko could fool a machine. So instead he waited hopefully for a worker to come in to the lift and press floor -12, the place where his hit was apparently being kept.
It was another thirty-four minutes before an important looking woman wearing a pristine lab-coat stepped in to the elevator and pressed the floor number that Kuroko was waiting for. Despite his calm exterior the boy let out a relieved sigh, he had been beginning to think that there wouldn’t be anyone going all the way down to that level. By that point there were only six people in the lift, including Kuroko and the lady-scientist, it wasn’t as though Kuroko was worried about his misdirection, as he like to call his lack of presence, running out. It always lasted at least forty minutes, and that was against opponents that were actually trying to see him. However it did put a certain stress on his mind which made his breaths come faster and perspiration dampen his palms.
The teen wiped his hands on his nondescript white button-up shirt and let out a shaky breath. Given that the woman had only just gotten into the lift, Kuroko had another forty minutes to follow her before she started noticing that there was someone with her. He tugged at his sleeve, there was a small knife hidden inside the loose cuffs with only one purpose.
Eventually the lift gave a soft ‘ding-ding’, signalling their arrival at Floor -12 and Kuroko got out quickly, shadowing the scientist and matching her brisk pace. The clack of her high-heeled shoes echoed eerily around the deserted floor and the boy felt distinctly uncomfortable. If he was alone with the scientist on that floor then he really did have to stick with her the entire time which was bad because his misdirection had already been in use for twenty minutes.
The entire floor was just blue wall on either side with pin-pads every few metres. Kuroko wondered how this was supposed to hold a mutant when there wasn’t even a single cell.
The scientist came to a stop in front of one of the many pin-pads and calmly tapped in a short code. To Kuroko’s surprise the segment of blue wall directly next to the woman made a great mechanical growling noise and slid up to reveal a large cell with thick glass completely covering the front of it. The inside was set up much like a hospital room with white walls and a simple bed of the same colour. Lying on that bed was a man, or rather a teenage boy, with dark red hair not unlike Akashi-kun’s. At the sound of the wall sliding up, he sat up slowly and blinked dumbly. Kuroko guessed that he had been drugged.
“Hello Taiga,” she said conversationally. “How have you been feeling? I’m sure not very well, the medication won’t wear off for another three or four hours… even for a Multi like yourself.”
Kuroko’s eyes widened minutely, this boy was a Multi, a mutant with more than one ability. No wonder Teiko wanted him dead! A Multi who wasn’t under their control was more like a time-bomb than a person.
He made his decision in less than a second.
While the woman was still prattling on at the drugged mutant Kuroko moved forward silently. Grabbing the woman by her dark hair, the mutant pulled her head back and exposed her neck to his small knife. “If it isn’t too much trouble, could you please open the glass?” Kuroko asked politely, ignoring her small gasp of fear. “Please do not scream or shout for help because if you do, I will kill you. Please do not try to press in an incorrect code to alert security of your predicament for the same reasons. I have friends who have already disabled the surveillance cameras on this floor so please do not try anything.”
“Yes- Yes, ok. Please don’t kill me,” she whimpered pathetically. Kuroko’s grimace of remorse couldn’t be seen by the scientist as she hurriedly pressed in the code. With a hiss the glass began to slide up and at the same moment the teen flipped the knife around and cracked the wooden hilt into her forehead. She wouldn’t stay out for long, he was sure, Kuroko was nowhere near as strong as some of his ex-teammates.
He dropped her limp body and walked into the cell, keeping a wary eye on the Multi. The red-head watched him looking surprisingly sober and Kuroko wondered if perhaps the drugs had worn off already.
“Are you…” the other teen scrunched up his face in confusion. “…hamburger?”
Ok, so maybe he was still a little high on drugs. Kuroko sighed and walked over to the red-haired boy, he was a high-school student probably and was wearing a sport uniform. The red, white and black colours seemed very familiar to the blue haired boy and as he drew closer Kuroko came to an unpleasant realisation. The uniform was Seirin’s, Kuroko’s own school. That meant that he was about to murder a boy from his own school, someone who was going to be announced dead in assembly.
But wait, that also meant that Kuroko probably knew this boy. He looked at the drugged teen carefully, he was either in Kuroko’s year or one of his upperclassmen. The red hair was definitely recognisable, in fact Kuroko remembered many classes when he’d struggled to see over the top of a tall red-haired teen’s head.
“…Kagami-kun?” Kuroko asked carefully. Immediately the boy raised his head and squinted at Kuroko.
“I kno’ ya? Who ya?” Kagami asked in a confused voice, voice slurred from the heavy medication which he had been drugged with.
Kuroko sighed, he wouldn’t be able to kill someone who was his own class-mate, it was too risky for when the police came calling. While he doubted they’d notice him, Teiko would be very unhappy if he took such a dangerous risk. Reluctantly, he took out his phone and turned it on.
Immediately his phone started ringing, the shrill sound making Kagami scrunch up his eyes and cover his ears, groaning. Kuroko answered the call with a quick glance at the caller.
“Momoi-san,” he said. Satsuki Momoi was the Generation of Miracle’s only female and was known for her terrifying intelligence and enormous crush on Kuroko. Her power was the ability to read mutant abilities just by touching the other person. While not a field skill, it was incredibly useful to Teiko and she was constantly busy.
“Tetsu-kun? Tetsu-kun!” Kuroko held the phone a little further way from his head as she practically screamed. “Tetsu-kun, have you killed him yet?”
“No Momoi-san, I was just about to,” he replied calmly. Kagami frowned and sat up. “Actually, we have another problem. You see-“
“She’s not talking ‘bout me, is she?” Kagami asked, faced scrunching up and making him resemble an angry baby more than anything.
Kuroko didn’t answer him and chose instead to explain the Seirin situation to Satsuki.
“Tetsu-kun, Tetsu-kun,” she interrupted, sounding relieved. “Dai-chan, I mean Aomine-kun, got the information wrong. Akashi-kun doesn’t want you to kill the mutant, he wants you to rescue him and take him back to his home.”
Kuroko paused thoughtfully. While it was better that he didn’t have to kill Kagami, it was going to be an issue if he was supposed to rescue him, when he hadn’t prepared for a rescue attempt at all. And then what? “Momoi-san,” he said carefully. “The mutant’s name is Kagami Taiga-kun, and according to a scientist that was… here earlier, he is a Multi.”
There was a long silence on the other end of the line, long enough for Kuroko to check his reception and Kagami to fall asleep. “Tetsu-kun,” she said finally. “I’m sending Aomine-kun over.”
It had been easy to take down the hired thugs, Kise thought as he dusted off his white and gold spandex. It was almost a pity, but he hadn’t been expecting much from them anyway, no one had lit a fire in him since he had first joined Teiko. Guns were nothing to someone who could make his skin harder than rock, and three out of the six men had attempted to run as soon as they had seen that their weapons had no effect on him. It hadn’t been difficult to beat them down once their backs were turned.
Kise turned and looked around the large, damp warehouse for the kidnapped girl. There was a large crate dropped haphazardly next to their car, but surely they wouldn’t put a person in a crate? The crate rocked slightly and Kise frowned. Ok, so perhaps someone was in that crate.
Kise turned his arm into a crowbar as he approached the crate; it was always an uncomfortable experience, turning his body into metal. The cold slippery feeling was enough to turn his stomach. With the crowbar he prised open the crate and put on his best smile for the poor girl who had been kidnapped and…
He paused and glanced at the person in the crate, “You aren’t a girl,” he said dumbly. The black haired teenage boy glared up at him, and shit, Kise had already made a bad impression on this kid. “Uh, pretend I said nothing,” Kise said guiltily as he pulled the boy out of the crate. His arms were tied behind him and his ankles together with a thick piece of rope and he had a strip of material in between his teeth. Despite the ache that was slowly setting into his bones, Kise shifted the crowbar into a knife and ignored the boy’s sudden attempts to get away as he noticed the metal appendage.
“Hello, I’m Yellow, of the Generation of Miracles, did you know that I’m the most popular Miracle? I guess people like me because I’m so handsome, hehe,” Kise greeted the kid brightly. “What’s your name?”
The boy glanced at him blankly, his large grey eyes calculating, “Kasamatsu Yukio” he said abruptly. “My name’s Kasamatsu Yukio and I have no idea who you are.”
“What, seriously? You don’t know who I am? I’m Yellow, the most sought after Miracle! And you’re just a nobody, be more thankful that I just rescued you, kid!” Kise exclaimed.
Kasamatsu’s response was to wack Kise over the head with one of his recently untied hands, “Idiot, I’m eighteen, probably older than a snot-nosed brat like you,” ignoring Kise’s sounds of outrage, Kasamatsu glanced around uncomfortably. “You did call the police, right?”
“Of course,” said Kise. The ‘and the newspapers’ was left unsaid. Kise was feeling a little cheated, he was expecting a cute girl, not some cranky, yet admittedly cute, teenage boy. Although at the moment Kise was trying to remember why exactly he’d been expecting a girl, since Akashicchi hadn’t specified.
“Why’re you so mean to me,” he whined. “I saved you!”
“Yeah, why did you do that anyway?” Kasamatsu asked.
Kise frowned, “Isn’t it obvious? I have to do at least one rescue per night so that the media is happy!”
For some reason Kasamatsu didn’t look impressed, instead he just sighed and sat down on the cold concrete ground, rubbing his forehead. “I was supposed to be home four hours ago,” he said. “Where are we anyway?”
Kise glanced around, “Uh, the warehouse out the back of an animal testing factory I think.”
“Why,” Kasamatsu asked looking confused. “Why me?”
“Good question,” Kise said. “Do you happen to be, uh, a mutant by any chance? I’ve heard that they’re experimenting on mutants here.”
“No! No I’m not,” the other teen assured. “But shouldn’t you, I don’t know, be doing something about that?”
“No….?” Kise replied, raising an eyebrow. “Why would I? No-body cares about mutant rescue; and if they’re really too weak to break free of some Normals then they don’t deserve to be called mutants.”
“I guess being a ‘hero’ isn’t about protecting the weak, then.”
There was a quiet screech of tires outside, impossible to hear if Kise hadn’t been listening out for them. “The police are here now,” he informed Kasamatsu, ignoring the other boy’s judging expression.
It was easy after that to pass Kasamatsu off to some policemen with a wave and a jokingly blown kiss. Kise quickly made his way over to the reporters and adjusted his yellow eye mask, pulling a beautiful smile for the cameras. The questions began pouring in and Kise answered every one as gracefully as he could, without another glance in Kasamatsu’s direction. He didn’t dare to spare the other boy another thought or he might actually start feeling guilty. He used to have emotions like guilt, but that was before the Generation of Miracles became stronger than anything he’d ever imagined, and anyone less powerful had been pathetic in his eyes.
“Yellow-san, do you know why this kidnapping occurred?”
Kise froze, plastic smile sliding off his face for a second, “Uh… we’re still, we’re still looking into that. I’ll have to get back to you on that,” he said quickly. But it did make him wonder, why had the older teen been kidnapped? It wasn’t like he had any orders to research that, and he reckoned the police could get some information out of the thugs Kise had knocked out. However, what was to stop it happening again? Of course the real question was, why was he even concerned over Kasamatsu, was it that his reprimands had actually left an impression on Kise?