Akashi remembers seeing light and thinking he couldn't touch it.
He remembers being a child, remembers how happiness came easy and free like the air he breathes, how smiling was never a chore, never an effort to make an appearance. He reminisces his mother's touch, ruffling his hair and telling him he did good work in the day, telling him that she wished he had more time to himself instead of the pointless practices that his dedication was wasted on.
Akashi stops before his memories can progress toward something much less pleasant.
Akashi hears nothing but the sound of his pen scratching on paper and his own voice droning on and on in his head about the things he needs to remember, because he has a test tomorrow and it's just another thing for him to perfect, or at least strike close to perfection. The words race by and stick, and it's all right because Akashi knows that it's going to end, it's all going to end.
He tells himself this to make sure he doesn't fall apart.
Akashi comes to school and breezes through the test. At least, that's what it looks like to everyone else.
Akashi can't even feel himself after how he broke through every question on the test in relentless fear and reexamined every single word and letter on paper to ensure his success. He sighs because it's over but now he has to move on to his next challenge, leading his voyeuristic and rebellious teammates along basketball practice without losing his temper.
Akashi looks over his plan for today in his head as he makes his way to the gymnasium.
Kuroko greets him as politely as ever when he arrives, his soft voice echoing through the enormous room they're in. Akashi almost smiles, almost, because it was a pleasure to see Kuroko's honest and open demeanour, and no matter how many times he hears people say that Kuroko's expressionless behaviour actually made it hard to decipher his true self, Akashi still thinks that Kuroko's the most transparent.
It's so hard to find people like that these days.
When Akashi sees people, he mostly sees a snail's shell, something pretty to look at and hide the slippery and disgusting figure beneath. Some don't even bother, looking equally as distasteful on the outside as they are on the inside.
Akashi is not talking about looks, either. It was just how humans were.
Akashi doubts that Kise's cheery personality is real, that Midorima's snarky remarks rang true, that Aomine's occasional lack of motivation can be dismissed as laziness...
It's different for everyone. Frankly, Akashi is tired of the things he sees in his perspective, and he wishes he could be as ignorant as his father is when it comes to his fatherly duties.
It does him no good to be able to see through the flowery facade that the world strives to display for its inhabitants to view. Unfortunately, it still presents as an ironic advantage as Akashi, keeping him grounded in reality, because that's what he needs.
Kuroko is improving.
Akashi finds it amusing that Kuroko calls himself a shadow when he shines brighter than the stars while Akashi finds himself in the darkness more often than he would like.
Akashi finds himself sparing one too many glances for Kuroko, and maybe it was because he was aesthetically pleasing, but maybe it's because Akashi likes Kuroko.
No, it can't be.
Akashi also insists that it's a coincidence when he gets distracted for a little too long because he was staring at a certain blue-haired boy.
Akashi thinks it's time for a break as he puts his mechanical pencil down and reaches for a book he has sitting on his desk.
Kuroko recommended it to him.
Akashi leafed through the pages, eagerly drinking in the words on every page, so unlike the way he crams information on the day before an exam.
Ah. He loses track of time.
Akashi goes back to studying and tires himself out until dawn comes to greet him in foggy hues. He barely sleeps.
Akashi wakes up the next morning shaking, his heart trembling in his ribcage. He picks himself up and walks to begin a newly draining day.
When Kuroko kisses him, Akashi falls in love with it. He falls in love with the way their lips move against each other, the way Kuroko's tongue drags itself on his teeth, the roof of his mouth, and Akashi relishes the heat that scorches his body in increasingly provocative ways.
Akashi doesn't know how this started, but he doesn't mind because he likes it.
He wants it.
For a while, Akashi has something to look forward to each day.
He comes to school because he wants to see Kuroko smile, he earns his top spot in the rankings to see Kuroko's pride in him, he practices hard at basketball because Kuroko thinks it's kind of attractive when Akashi is focused like that. Kuroko, Kuroko, Tetsuya, sometimes, when Kuroko's lets his guard down enough for Akashi to infiltrate however he likes.
Kuroko comforts him on his bad days, which were most days, the days when he's overwhelmed by the weight on his shoulders and he can't keep his voice steady sometimes when Kuroko calls him. It feels nice, because Kuroko is caring and kind, and Akashi loves it. Akashi hopes it will go on forever.
Akashi doesn't want to be alone anymore. He's falling a little too hard.
When it happens, all Akashi can think is he should have known.
No, he has known all along, just like he always has, and a horrible part of him cackles in gruesome delight, because Akashi was right. Again.
Kuroko cries even though he's the one breaking it off, he cries because he's guilty and Akashi hates it, but he should have known. Idealistic Kuroko in Akashi's brooding world did not fit. He lies, telling Kuroko that it was alright. That he was alright.
Akashi can hear himself screaming but it was inaudible to anyone else in the vicinity.
Humans are all the same.
Akashi never speaks to Kuroko unless it was necessary after that.
Akashi comes home, spent, like he always does. He drops his bag, strips and showers and lies on the bed for a few minutes, half an hour at most before he subjects himself to torturing words once more.
He doesn't talk about how those thirty minutes spent on the bed mostly consist of staring at the ceiling, of pretending that he doesn't notice the occassional tear streak down his face, pretending that his heart doesn't hurt and sometimes it's like it's not even there. Akashi scorns the fact that he can't even contain his pointless sentiment. The fact that everything he sees can remind him of Kuroko because he was the centre of his universe before he was snatched away by the subject himself. The fact that his gaze is still drawn to Kuroko's ethereal figure. It's even more sickening because he has to see Kuroko's face everyday when he just wants to be as far away from him as humanly possible. Akashi despises everything and everyone because it hurts.
It just hurts.
Akashi doesn't like looking at the mirror.
Sometimes when he looks at his own reflection he can't even see himself in it and it scares him. His eyes look far too empty, reminding him of his equally hollow heart and soul. There are no eyebags under his eyes but there may as well have been, the way his irises grow dimmer each day and his eyelids seem to be heavier.
Akashi sometimes thinks of doing despicable things.
He sometimes thinks, if I just murder them all, won't it be over? And sometimes, I wonder what kind of face they would make if I stabbed them right in the heart because Akashi's imagination is infinitely creative even in the most loathsome of ways.
It would take a dreadfully long time for Akashi to realise that his own morbid fantasies were far from healthy.
"I expect you to do just as well as you have been in university as well, Seijuurou. "
Akashi agrees to everything Masaomi says because he's just too tired to argue. His father's grating voice eventually fades into the background, his brain working to form automatic responses instead. Akashi loses himself slightly, just enough to-
Isn't he just annoying?
Akashi jerks himself back to his senses and forgets that the voice in his head was ever there.
Akashi starts hearing it more often.
It happens a lot in the bathroom, because Akashi spends his time there trying not to think, allowing this problem of his to invade the empty space in his mind.
It's better like this, right? Quiet...
"Not with you here," Akashi mutters, grinding his teeth.
Don't be like that. I'm here to help.
"You'd be helping a lot more if you would shut up."
The voice stops speaking, and it's eerie because it feels like the calm before a storm.
He screams but it's completely soundless, it comes out in choked sounds as he clutches his head and squeezes his eyes shut. He's curled up on his bed under the covers and he's having trouble breathing. He wants to stop seeing things, wants to stop hearing things, wants to stop everything-
How does it feel?
Akashi does not give an answer. He cards his fingers harshly through his hair, desperately trying to expel the resonating echoes of the voice in his head, intoxicating, almost soothing but Akashi hates it.
All his life he has strived for control so he is most certainly unwilling to give that up.
When people say it's a fight with themselves, Akashi is sure that they probably did not mean this.
Stop struggling. You'll understand once it's over.
"No, no, no," Akashi gasps.
Akashi's vision blurs as his being is subjected to eternal slumber in the shadows he's always tried to avoid.