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Furihata Kouki's Week of Suffering

Chapter Text

The week started out normal enough.

It was a Sunday, Kouki was busy copying homework off of a brainier classmate while revising for a biology test he didn't quite understand. His phone was thrown somewhere in a corner of his room and books were littered here and there; open pages revealing notes and tips to tackle the topic on hereditary. The summer heat wasn't helping Kouki, who was collapsed on his study table, brain turning into mush and eyes drooping shut by the second. 

If only I didn't have to go to school, he thought, blowing his hair out of his eyes. He needed a haircut as well. Good night world, see you in three hours, he mused as he finally fell asleep. 

.

.

.

Not. 

The blaring of his phone startled him wide awake, and he managed to hit his knee against the table, fall over a study guide and get blinded by the sun while looking for his phone. 'Yes?' He panted, knee throbbing and momentarily blind. 'I was wondering if you were ignoring my call, Furihata-kun,' a voice chuckled, smooth and sweet. Kouki stared at the wall, confused, 'I'm sorry; who are you?' He checked the caller ID, Unknown, was someone going to kill him? Why had he called? Why didn't Kouki ignore the call? 

'Ah, my apologies. I didn't introduce myself,' Mr. Unknown replied, Kouki inched himself away from the device, wary. 'It's as though you forgot my voice — I am Akashi Seijuuro.' Kouki laughed dryly, 'alright, nice prank. Seriously, who is this? Kawahara? Fukuda?' There was no way Akashi Seijuuro would call him. And besides, how would he get Kouki's number? 

The other side was deadly silent for a moment. 'You doubt me, Furihata-kun?' A cold voice answered, taut and fierce, 'my, my, our little Chihuahua has grown quite a bit; no?' Kouki let out an undignified squawk, posture frozen into place. 'A-Akashi?' He whimpered, stomach churning, that boy left nothing but bad memories for Kouki, and haunted his dreams every once in a while. Kouki had developed a fear of scissors ever since, well... 

'Can I meet you at the Maji Burger near Seirin after practice tomorrow? I'm currently in Tokyo and would like to discuss some details in private with you,' Kouki wants to desperately reject the idea of going anywhere near Akashi Seijuuro, but found himself agreeing and the call ended. 

'He's going to kill me,' the brunet moans to himself. His parents are away to pay a visit to Grandpa, and his brother is in college; nobody will save him! 

Well, there's still Kagami and Kuroko; he thought hopefully. 

The comfort of his bed and the heat lulled his mind to a rest, and that was where Furihata Kouki had to live an entire life — all over again — and suffer through everything, again. 

 


 

 

'Fukuda, Kawahara. Where did Furihata go?' Aida asks, face scarily calm as both boys gave a confused reply of "he didn't come to school today, Coach". Tetsuya frowns, fingers playing with the ends of his shirt. 'I hope Furihata-kun is okay,' he mumbles; and is shocked to find Kagami replying him. 'Wanna visit him afterwards?' Tetsuya smiles slightly, 'that would be nice, Kagami-kun.' A light pink dusts both their cheeks as they made eye contact. 

-+-

Practice ends later than usual, and Tetsuya is shocked to see the numbers of texts and missed calls from Akashi. He was about to call back when a voice calls him. 'Tetsuya,' Akashi greets, face thunderous, 'where is Furihata-kun?' Tetsuya is slightly disturbed by the messages sent by his former captain — please abduct Furihata Kouki for me — when he replies, 'he's absent today, Akashi-kun.' Kagami stands irritably on his side, the summer breeze ruffling his red hair. 

Akashi frowns, face going black, 'please bring me to him.' Tetsuya can see the glint of gold appearing in Akashi's eye and decides that defying him would be disastrous. The Rakuzan point guard had been captivated by Furihata ever since the Winter Cup, and Tetsuya knows that this captivation may become obsession if Akashi doesn't see Furihata soon. 

Kagami growls a "don't you dare hurt Furi" as they walk toward their destination, eyes ablaze. 'Kagami-kun acts like a mother sometimes,' Tetsuya teases, voice plain. Kagami flushes, spluttering out a choked sentence that Tetsuya doesn't understand. Akashi seems to be very intent on glaring at the pavement. 

They reach the Furihata residence — a two story house with a small garden painted a warm shade of wood brown and white — the gate is open, which worries Tetsuya. Didn't Furihata mention something about him being alone? Akashi pushes past them and makes a beeline for the door — also unlocked, a gnawing fear settles in Tetsuya's gut uncomfortably — they enter the house to pin drop silence. 'Looks like nobody's home?' Kagami talks aloud, checking the living room and kitchen. The master bedroom is empty, Tetsuya was about to check the bathroom — the other two were upstairs — when Akashi shouts. 

The pit in his stomach grows. Akashi does not shout. He rushes up the stairs and into the room furthest down the corridor, stumbling past Akashi and Kagami.

There, in front of his eyes, was a baby. 

It probably wasn't older than three, and had clothes way too big on him, drowning him in a sea of cloth. Wide, hazel-brown eyes peeked from under black hair with an intense stare. 

'D-Did Furi knock a girl pregnant?' Kagami asks, walking toward the child. Tetsuya ignores the absurd question — Furihata wouldn't do that — and calls the team over; deduction made. Akashi stands as still as a lamp post, crimson eyes staring at the mini-Furi. 

Tetsuya sighed. This was gonna be a long night. 

 


 

 

Kouki didn't understand why he woke up to silence. Usually, Mom or Dad would be with him; rocking him back and forth and singing nursery rhymes. His brother would cradle him in his arms sometimes, staring in silent awe. 

Clumsily, Kouki gets off the bed; falling face first onto the ground. The impact shook his frame and a spike of pain tore through his body. He curled up in pain, eyes watering slightly. 

The door opens, and Kouki's head snaps up. Maybe his family was home? He whimpers loudly when he sees a man with cherry red hair and eyes. Fear racks through him as red eyes take Kouki in. A second person joins — fiery red hair and eyes, with weird eyebrows — and soon, a third; with pale blue hair and eyes. The man with the eyebrows start talking, inching his way toward Kouki, and Kouki's arms shoot out, demanding for attention. Eyebrows is safe. Eyebrows is good. Eyebrows is nice. His mind chants, Eyebrows lifts him up; elicting a high pitched squeal from Kouki. 

'Up! Up!' He demands, hands clapping and mouth open. He could see from really high above! 'Sure thing, kiddo!' Eyebrows grin, and lifts him higher still, twirling him in the air. Kouki decides that this man is his favourite. 'Kagami-kun,' the man stops. Kouki pouts, hands hanging limply at his sides. 'C'mon Kuroko, a little fun won't hurt the kid!' Kouki sees the blue man frown slightly — his name was Kuroko? — while Eyebrows — Kagami? —holds Kouki close to him. 'Try not to hurt Furihata-kun, please.' There was that tone that Mom used whenever Kouki refused to drink water or eat his meals, and Kouki didn't like the way it sounded. He pushes himself into Kagami, ears covered by pudgy hands. 'Hey! You're scaring him! Geez,' Kagami warns, rocking Kouki over a shoulder. 

More people show up — some with weird hair, Kouki likes the one with dark blue hair most, and purple — and everyone starts talking at once. The noise is unbearable for his eardrums, and Kouki is feeling terribly hungry. 

He does the only thing he's most comfortable with. 

He wails. 

 


 

 

The moment Furihata starts bawling, everyone shuts up. 

'So, uh,' Momoi stutters, 'how do you stop a crying baby?'

She was answered with silence. 

Chapter Text

'What?' Hiroshi yells, the boys in the changing room gives him a stare of concern, 'there's a baby in Furihata's room?!' He hears Hyuuga shriek and Mitobe's face is startled. 'And that baby is our Furihata?!' Coach comes in, confusion brewing. 

The line is cut, and Hiroshi stares at his phone before telling his team to head over to Furihata's house.

 


 

 

'I beg your pardon?' 

'It seems as though Furihata-kun has de-aged.'

'Whoa! Seriosly?!'

'Takao, shut u–'

'We'll be there!'

 

 


 

 

'Eh?! Really?! Koukicchi was turned into a child?! How?!'

'I don't know.'

'Wah~! I hope Koukicchi is okay!'

 

 


 

 

'Huuh? Furi-chin? We're at Kaijou now; is it okay for Muro-chin to come? He says he wants to visit Kaga-chin.'

'Murasakibara-kun, please do not say Kagami-kun's name with such loathing.'

'Tsk.'

'Atsushi! Were you talking bad about Taiga?!'

 


 

 

'Heh?! Really? Seirin's 12? But, de-aging is a work of fiction; right?!'

'That should the case, Momoi-san, but...'

'Wait a minute. I'll go grab Dai-chan and we'll be there!'

'Be where, Satsuki?'

'Furihata Kouki's house!'

'The Chihuahua's hou— ow! I get it! I'll stop calling him that!'

 


 

 

Ryouta reaches first, having sprinted from Kaijou — faster than Murasakibara and Himuro — and lets himself in. 'Pardon the intrusion,' he tells to nobody.

He climbs up the stairs and walks down the corridor; and into the room with the lights turned on —

Only to find he was the last to arrive. 

'Eh?! Why am the last to arrive?' He whines, Midorima is at his side immediately; eyes sparkling with a weird glint. 'This is indeed interesting, Kise. Take a look,' Ryuota is a little creeped out by the out of character Midorima, but all is forgotten at the sight of the baby. 

Ryouta lets out an exicited squeal, which causes everyone to flinch, 'Koukicchi never told me he was a really adorable baby!' Aomine smacks him over the head, sending him tumbling into Kouki, Ryouta's whining got cut off by Kouki's happy gurgling at having a new friend and Aomine's disagreement of "but doesn't he have dark brown hair?"

A boy from Seirin's side whips his phone out, 'nah, that's definitely Furihata. His hair was black as a kid and kinda faded into dark brown over the years. See?' He points his phone to everyone, showing the exact same person as the baby in the room. Aomine swears, only for Aida, Momoi and Kagami to elbow, pinch and chop him respectively. 

'Don't swear in front of a child, idiot!' 

Murasakibara takes a seat beside Ryouta, producing a lollipop in his fingers. 'Furi-chin, here.' He offers, Kouki looks up at the towering figure; giving Murasakibara a blinding grin and a laugh. Ryouta swears the giant melts into a puddle right there. 

 


 

 

'Oh my God, did you see? Shin-chan, did you see the smile Kou gave to Murasakibara?! Oh my God, he's so precious, someone take this cinnamon bun away from us. We don't deserve an angel, holy cow.' Takao blabbers, eyes tearing up. 

'Uh, Akashicchi,' Kise called, 'you've been in that position for quite some time now.' Midorima gave a grunt beside him, pushing his glasses up while Takao joins Kagami and Murasakibara in entertaining the child.

Seijuuro doesn't understand how Furihata could have had a child without him knowing. None of his intel reported a child. His frown deepened when he hears that the child is Furihata Kouki, how did he become like this?

'That child is mine,' he hears himself say.

He only had three seconds before the baby started crying again. It was as if the child hated him. 

Well, more specifically, it was because everyone else made loud protests and exclamations of "what the heck, Akashi?! That child isn't yours" and the noise was too much for the poor baby to handle. 

'So,' Momoi declares, 'how do you stop a crying child?'

Nobody answered. 

Momoi crumpled into a pile on the floor while Aomine rocks the child in his arms, singing lullabies and making goo-goo noises at the now-confirmed Furihata. Kise's mouth, along with many others, falls open as Furihata quietens. 

'Wait, Aominecchi can take care of children?!' Aomine doesn't reply as Momoi laughs, pink hair all over the place. 'Oh yeah, Dai-chan has a ton of baby cousins!' 

Seijuuro is displeased with the situation. 

 


 

 

Kouki makes an attempt to grab at the dark blue haired man, hands stretching out. Why did Kagami's hair and eyes change colour? Who was this man? The yellow haired man — Kise — utters a name, "Aominecchi". Is that the man's name? 

He tries to call the man to let him go, 'down down,' he says pathetically, face sticky from tears and mucus. 'Yeah, okay. Wait while I clean your face; you dirty chihuahua.' The man is smacked by a lady with pink hair; who shouts a "Dai-chan!". Kouki doesn't like the pink haired girl. After his face is cleaned and he is let down; Kouki stumbles over to find Kagami. 

'G-Kawa-mi!' He trips and falls into the purple man, who gave him a lolly. Kise gives another shrill squeak, and Aominecchi/Dai-chan reddens. The green man that was prodding him from before was being squeezed to death by the fun brother with black hair while Kagami feebly picks Kouki up. 'Is there anything you want, Furi?' Kuroko asks quietly at Kagami's side, letting Kouki toy with his fingers. 

Kouki lets go of Kuroko's fingers and points to the man with bright red hair. He frowns, before mumbling into Kagami's chest, 'out.' Aominecchi/Dai-chan and Kagami busts out laughing with the pretty man with long black hair covering his mouth, eyes crinkling. 'Oh my! It looks as though FuFu doesn't like you!' The pink haired woman goads, her face covered by a pillow. Kouki feels the red man glare daggers into him, and he immediately drops himself from Kagami's loose grip — 'hey! You could get hur- Furi!' — in favour of purple and Kise. 

He hides behind purple man, wide eyes staring at red man with curiosity. Fun brother starts chanting and rambling at green man, and purple picks him up, giving Kouki another lolly. 'I'll open it for you, Furi-chin. Here,' Kouki claps enthusiastically; mumbling "purple man is good, purple man is safe, purple man is fun, purple man has food" while Kise hides himself in a ball, shaking uncontrollably. 

-+-

After several minutes of the room's occupants having a major cuteness meltdown; the scary lady settles everyone down in a semi-circle, with Kouki seated far away from Kagami, purple and Aominecchi/Dai-chan. 'Furihata,' scary lady says, 'be good and sit there quietly, okay?' Kouki nods quickly, afraid that she may whip him if he doesn't listen, head dizzy. 

She claps, 'right. Furihata clearly doesn't know who we are; given how he doesn't recognize us Seirin players and how he refers to Murasakibara as "purple",' there is a broad grin on her face, which makes her look really pretty. 'Why not we introduce ourselves again? For Furihata's sake?' 

Mummurs of agreement were agreement were heard, and everyone said that scary lady would go first. 

'I'm Aida Riko, your coach. Call me Aida or coach.' She smiles politely, Kouki stumbles as he pronounces her name. 'Ai-ida co-oa-ch.' Aida blushes hotly, hands covering the bottom half of her face as she shivers. 'My God, why is he so cute?!' 

'I'm Momoi Satsuki! Touou's manager!' Pink lady exclaims, arms open. 'Moi-moi?' Kouki parrots, confused. Momoi copies Aida's movements and tries to hug Kouki, only to be rejected. 'No like! Beat A-o, uwa, Ao-mi-n, ug, uha,' he frowns, why is Aominecchi's/Dai-chan's name so confusing? Momoi frowns, while Aominecchi/Dai-chan pats her on the back. 

'Aomine Daiki. Touou's ace!' Aomine says his name slowly, Kouki copying him. 'Ao-mi-ne?' He repeats, and says it a few more times before proudly shouting, 'Aomine! Aomine!' He tries to cross over to Aomine, but is stopped. 'Furi, stay there.' Aomine frowns, cheeks pink. Kouki pauses immediately, sitting down. He is upset. Does Aomine not like him? Tears well up in his eyes. A piece of candy was unwrapped and given to him, Kouki devours it; sadness forgotten. 

'I'm Murasakibara Atsushi.' The purple giant says, leaving a pile of candy as tall as Kouki at his side. 'Oi, Murasakibara! You're gonna make him fall sick!' Kagami and Aomine shout. Kouki squeals and jumps into the pile, knocking it over and scattering candy everywhere. 'Mu-ra-s— ' Kouki frowns, another long name. He gives a look to Murasakibara, and a big hand pats his head, crushing him. 'You can call me Atsushi if you want, Furi-chin.' Kouki beams, and responds with, 'Atsu!' Murasakibara smiles warmly. 

The pretty man with long black hair goes next. 'I'm Himuro Tatsuya. Hello, Furihata.' Kouki blinks, and smiles, 'Himu-ro! Himu!' Hirumo blinks, startled, before giving a small chuckle. 'Himu is fine too, I suppose.' Murasakibara frowns, 'Muro-chin, don't steal him.' Himuro merely smiles. 

'Oh! Oh! I'm Kise Ryuota! Koukicchi, you're so cute!' Kise shrieks, hands flailing everywhere. Kouki laughs, tears gathering at the corners of his eyes. Kise was fun too! 'Kise, Kise!' Kise squeals loudly, collapsing into a mess on the floor, chanting "oh my God he is so cute!". Kouki hopes Kise brought toys. 

'Midorima Shintarou. Shooting guard of Shuutoku.' Green man says, pushing his glasses up. 'Mi-do-ri-ma? Mido?' Midorima sighs, face dusted a light pink, 'Mido will do, Furihata-kun.' Kouki beams once more, maybe Midorima isn't so bad. The bandages on his fingers worry Kouki, and Kouki pushes a small pile of candy toward Midorima. 'Mama says candy get rid of boo-boo.' Midorima stares in shock, before gratefully accepting the candy, 'I'm not injured, Furihata-kun. But thank you.' Kouki smiles proudly. 

Fun brother says his name is "Takao Kazunari! Point guard of Shuutoku!" Kouki laughs again, 'KaoKao!' Takao laughs with him, the airy laughter making Kouki hiccup. Himuro fusses over the hiccups for a while, before Kouki settles down and decides that Kise and Takao were the best duo ever. 

'Hello, Furihata-kun.' Kouki shrieks in shock as Kuroko appears in front of him. 'Kuroko!' He yelps, Kuroko smiles, 'you know me?' Kouki nods excitedly and points to Kagami. 'Shadow.' Kagami and Kuroko blink, and start laughing. 'Heeeeh? How is it that he remembers the both of you?!' Aida groans, hand in her hair. Kagami grins, 'say my name again, Furi.'

'Gawami?' Kagami falters, 'no, listen.' Kouki nods, entranced by Kagami's finger in his face. 'Ka-ga-mi.' Kouki mumbles, 'Ka-ga-mwi, Kaga-m-e.' Kuroko peers over Kagami's shoulder, eyes glittering. 'Kagami?' Said man hoots in joy, giving Kouki a chewy candy. Kouki makes a mess of himself as he tries to chew through the apple flavoured treat, and both Kagami and Himuro clean him up, cooing as they play with his chubby cheeks. Midorima and the girls help Takao clean up the candy. 

The scary man says his name is "Akashi Seijuuro, Point guard of Rakuzan", and Kouki calls him "Akashi", which reveals a smile as crimson eyes soften. Kouki stares at Akashi in awe. But Kouki is still afraid of Akashi. A little afraid. 

He recognizes Fukuda and Kawahara straight away, much to their relief, and is introduced to a very silent Mitobe (who ruffles his hair), Hyuuga (who smiled, mumbling his relief), Izuki (who tells jokes that nobody laughs at, but Kouki), Koganei (who gives him a small hug and a smile) and Tsuchida (who wraps an anklet with a bell on him, 'it tells us where you are, Furihata. Don't remove it. Kouki nods, amazed by the bell). 

'Okay, now that we're all set, Furihata.' Kouki gazes curiously at Aida, head cocked to a side. 

'You need to choose someone to take care of you today.'

Kouki frowns, 'choose? You are leaving?' Momoi covers Aida, 'no, no! FuFu! We need to, uh, uh. We need to. . . Prepare! Yeah!' Kouki can feel tears forming, 'pre-pare?' Momoi realises her error and fumbles, but Aomime saves her. 'Satsuki means that our parents will be worried about us, and we need to go home. So if you choose someone today, tomorrow; someone else will take over and we can all have fun.' Kouki nods slowly, looking at Fukuda and Kawahara, only for them to shake their heads. 'Sorry, but since there's no school for the next few days, Seirin is going on a training camp.' 

Kouki is overwhelmed with sorrow and begins to cry silently, Kuroko runs over, holding him carefully. 'Furihata-kun, please don't cry. I'm sure we can work something else.' It wasn't very reassuring. Kouki hiccups again, 'w-want Kagami and Kuroko.' He grips Kuroko's shirt tightly, making it difficult for Kuroko to move away. The bluenet's empty face twists sadly, looking at Aida. 

'I suppose the both of you can be exceptions.' She sighs. Kagami cheers, taking Kouki away from Kuroko and spinning him high in the air. 'Hear that, Furi? We're gonna stay until you're back to normal!' Kouki stops crying, rubbing his cheeks clear of tears. 'Really?' Kagami grins, and Kouki buries himself in Kagami's chest. Kuroko sighs, and pats Kouki's back. 'It sure does look like those two are married,' Takao snickers. Himuro hums, 'they act like an old married couple anyways,' only for Kagami to throw a piece of candy at him.

 


 

 

'So it's settled! Kuroko and Kagami will take care of Furihata. The rest of you, go home!'

'Not yet.'

'What? Akashi, what are you– '

'The Generation of Miracles will also stay. I'm sure Tetsuya and Taiga will need help.' 

'Yes! Koukicchi! Let's have fun!'

'Can Muro-chin stay?'

'Akas– '

'Shin-chan! Let's stay! Let's stay!'

'Bu- '

'We're staying!'

'Satsuki, are you gonna stay? I am.'

'Of course I'm staying! Tetsu-kun needs someone to teach him the act of mothering!'

'. . . right.'

Kouki doesn't understand what's happening, but he's going to be in a whole lot of pain from now on. 

Chapter Text

Seirin files out of the door, with Hyuuga dropping very obvious hints that if Furihata is harmed, there will be harm. The Miracles give a grin, leaving Taiga and Himuro suspicious (since when did Akashi smile like an angel that did a bad?). Furihata waves avidly on Kise's head, short arms slapping Kise's head when they all leave. Kise doesn't seem to mind — which worries Taiga because he read somewhere that hitting one's head will cause stupidity — and Aomine sighs dramatically as he tells the young brunet that "hitting the person you're sitting on's head is socially unacceptable, Furi". Furihata nods confused, instead choosing to cling to Aomine's chest and gnaw on Touou's ace's finger. 'Aomine used a big word,' Kuroko notes, his flat face making the statement funnier than it should be. 

Either Aomine heard Kuroko and decided to ignore him, or didn't hear the comment at all. But he does turn around when Momoi starts laughing, 'n-nothing!' She chokes, holding onto the couch as she grips her stomach. 'Tetsu-kun is so mean!' Kuroko gives a reply of "I am speaking the truth", which leads to Taiga hitting him on the head and telling him to know his boundaries. Kuroko merely smiles (in that blank eyed way he usually does).

'Furi, time to take a shower. Your shirt is dirty from candy.' Taiga calls. They stare in silence as Furihata waddles his way over to Taiga in his overly-adorable way. Stumbling and tripping over the too big shirt and face scrunching up in determination — Furihata looked like the definition of "cute". The poor choice of clothing results in a cringe from Taiga and Kise. 

'So, are we not gonna buy suitable clothes for Furihata?' Midorima asks, frown etched on his face as he eyes Fuirhata worriedly (Taiga's pretty sure he's worried). 'Eh? Can't we leave him like that? He's cute!' Musrasakibara and Takao exclaim, phones snapping away. 'That's an invasion of privacy,' he hears Momoi mutter under her breath, Aomine exchanging amusing glances between the three of them. 'Besides, Fukuda and Kawahara wanted pics,' Takao says it like he's talking about the weather (like this isn't borderline pedophilia).

'Akashi-kun?!' Kuroko yelps, rushing to get a tissue. Taiga whips his head to take a look at the Emperor. His eyes widen like saucers at the sight in front of him, Kuroko holds up a tissue as Akashi accepts it kindly.

Akashi Seijuuro is suffering from a nosebleed, red eyes gleaming with pure joy and lips tilted in an easy smile. He looked as though he had been cleansed from all his sins.

He held out a credit card, 'nobody should see Kouki like this. Unless they're me.' You're fucking kidding me. 'Rest assured, Taiga, I am not joking.' He didn't mean to spell his thoughts out, but heck it. 'You guys are fucking creepy. This is insane, if you guys aren't gonna help; leave.' Murasakibara throws him a dirty look when he scoops Furihata up and drags Himuro with him. 'There's no way I'm letting my brother near any of you, oh my God.' Even Himuro has a look of pure horror on his face. The other Miracles merely ignore his comment and snatch Akashi's card, sitting themselves in front of Momoi's notebook and begin searching for clothes.

Taiga is sure he sees a picture of a dog onesie being added to cart. Himuro diverts him away at lightning speed after that.

Taiga regrets bringing anybody here.

 


 

 

'Yes, this will be perfect for Kou; right Kise?' Kazunari grins, beckoning Aomine for Akashi's card. Kise has a crazy look on his face as he hits the checkout option. Momoi cackles enthusiastically as Kazunari keys in the card info. 'Are you sure Masaomi-san would not mind?' Midorima asks, fingers typing on his phone to check for shoes — they were searching the house for shoes and realised that Furihata had hand-me-downs, which infuriated both Akashi and Midorima, hence they were buying new shoes of all kinds for the kid, even the ones he won't be able to fit into. . . yet  — Akashi merely snorts (how refined, Kazunari snickers) and states, 'father would be ecstatic that I'm planning for children.' Aomine looks at the redhead like he's grown a second head. 'I didn't go into details, so he just accepted the reason.' 

'Is that the reason why you took a selfie with Furi when we weren't looking?'

'No, Daiki.'

'. . . right.'

Kazunari puffs his cheeks in attempts to stop his laughter as he watches the two have a fight over a freaking selfie. 

The items were due to arrive in an hour — by orders of Akashi, and whatever Akashi says; goes — in the meantime, the people in the room tuned into the daily "Furihata Shower" programme. Taiga's unmanly shrieks resonate in the house and Kazunari would mistake that as screams of murder had he not known better. 'Whoa, you guys think Kou is a troublemaker kid?' Momoi agrees, 'every child is.' She takes a look at Akashi and Midorima, then, 'maybe not all.' The both of them ignore her. 'AH! But his crying skills would put anyone else's to shame!' Kise inputs cheerfully (to which Akashi glares at), 'I mean, the moment Koukicchi started crying during the Raku-Sei game, Akashicchi called a florist and a chocolatier to send gifts over. Akashicchi's whipped.' Akashi remains silent. 

'Did Akachin really do that?'

'Yes, Atsushi.'

'Maybe I should do that for Furichin too.'

'Don't you dare.'

Kazunari rolls his eyes and focuses on the task at hand — dinner.

'Who's gonna make dinner?'

There was a stretch of silence. 

There's a pattern to this, I swear.

 

 


 

 

Kouki watches as Kagami glares down at him, soaked. 'Fu-ri-ha-ta,' he says quietly, Himuro hovering around Kagami. Kouki smiles as best as he can — this always works, he knows, not even his brother can resist him — Kagami sighs, watching his brother charm his way into getting Kouki to sit still. 'Furihata, sit still for me; okay?' Kouki stills, head perked, 'okay, Himu.'

Kagami gives a look of betrayal. 

'Taiga, I brought some of your clothes from the other day, go change and cook dinner, please. Don't let Akashi or Murasakibara decide the meal, they're going to rack a bill that'll make Alexandra bleed.' Kagami grimaces and leaves, not before shooting a look of "I'm not letting you go". Himuro busies himself with drying the very wet Kouki. He is dressed in a big shirt, again, and carried out of the room; only to have a bunch of clothes shoved in his face. 'Uwa!' He yelps, feeling a scratchy material rubbing him in the face. Aomine smiles above him, 'test time!'

-+-

Thirty rounds of clothes later, Akashi deems the dog onesie, an orange shirt, a pair of white shorts, and an oversized red jacket acceptable. The rejects are being refunded, he says. Kouki doesn't know what "refunded" means, but the dog onesie is so soft, and so smooth, and the bath had made him very relaxed. He wants a nap. Kouki picks himself up, with Kuroko pulling the hood of his onesie up, drawing squeals from everyone in the room — and cameras — as Kouki stumbles to Akashi. 

'M'm said sh'w g-gra-fi-tufe,' he mumbles incoherently, dropping into Akashi's lap. He curls up instantly, grabbing one of Akashi's hands and tucking it close to him. His eyes droop shut and the last thing he sees is Akashi smiling fondly at him before dreams take over. 

'Dinner's rea- Oi! Akashi! You're gonna bleed on Furi! And stop taking pictures!'

-+-

Kouki wakes up to a really sweet scent. Like cotton candy. He's hungry. 'Furichin is awake,' Murasakibara crows, and Kouki sees cherry red eyes stare at him in curiousity. 'Dinner is here, Kouki.' Akashi's voice calls for attention, he shifts to see the table. 

Oh.

There's tofu soup!

'Tofu soup! Tofu soup! With Wakame?' He yells excitedly. Kagami grins, 'yeah, there's wakame. Here, eat it with your rice. Slowly.' Kouki nods, accepting a chihuahua bowl. 'Fhanks for meal!' He croons and digs in. 'I can't believe he likes wakame,' Akashi notes, there's a bitter tone in his voice that Kouki doesn't like. 'Wakame is good,' he says, halting in his devouring of dinner, 'mama says so.' Then, he frowns. He clumsily lifts his spoon and fishes out a few strips of wakame, placing them in Akashi's bowl. 

Akashi frowns. But doesn't comment. Kouki stares expectantly at the red haired man, eyes large and unnverving. 'Alright, alright,' Akashi concedes, eating all the wakame in his bowl. 

Kouki smiles, eyes turning soft and shining a brilliant hazel. 

 


 

 

After dinner, everyone decides to sleep early. The Furihatas had enough rooms for everyone, and they split off in pairs — Kuroko and Kagami took Furihata's elder brother's room, Midorima and Takao take the first guest room downstairs, Momoi and Akashi take the second guest room (which was closest to Furihata and had twin beds), Murasakibara and Himuro took the master bedroom, Kise and Aomine took the room nearest to Kuroko, which served as a sort of study (with a bed, for some weird reason). 

Kouki greets all of them before they leave his room. He reaches out and grabs Kise. 'I'm scared,' he whimpers. Kise picks him up and hugs him for a while. 'I'll keep you company for the night! No worries!' 

And Kouki doesn't worry. Because Kise is warm and comfy and feels like his older brother's hugs. 

Chapter Text

He rustles in bed, flinging the blanket off of him as his arms swing toward the edge. Doesn't it feel a little empty. . . ?

'Fuck!' Dark blue eyes snapping open, Daiki whips his head to his left to see empty space. 'Thank God,' he sighs, relieved, 'I thought I squashed Kise.' His brow furrows at the mention of the blond. Where is he, anyway? Daiki takes several minutes to fully wake up, staring at the bookshelves in silence. Finally, he stands up; popping his back as he casually does a short stretching exercise. The study room's bed was a whole lot stiffer than his own; which comes to show how unused it was.

Daiki notices a picture of the Furihatas on the table next to the bed, a lady with golden brown hair smiling angelically down at her two wonders; and a man with a hardened face smiling softly at his family; they were standing in a garden, it would seem, with what Daiki assumes is Furihata's older brother picking up a few daises — albeit crumpled — for Furihata. His arm was outstretched, a blush painting the still chubby cheeks — although it looks as if the older Furihata was nearing the age of 8 or 9 — as Furihata himself smiles in wondrous glee as he accepts them. 

Furihata must've been around 5 or 6, Daiki guesses, seeing as though he still resembles the current child Furihata; only a little taller. A smile tugs at his face, the innocent and cute family portrait warming him up slightly. He grabs his phone from the desk and snaps a quick picture of this, sending it to Sakurai. 

To: Mushroom Ryou 

[picture]

Isn't this adorable? 

Sakurai was quick to reply, a buzz notifying Daiki. He doesn't read it until he is done making the bed. 

From: Mushroom Ryou 

Is that. . . Furihata Kouki from Seirin? 

From: Mushroom Ryou 

Wait. 

From: Mushroom Ryou 

What are you doing there?!?

From: Mushroom Ryou 

Please try not to scare him (இ﹏இ`。)

To: Mushroom Ryou 

You never answered my question. 

From: Mushroom Ryou 

Would you kill me if I said he was adorable, and that the Furihatas must be protected??? 

To: Mushroom Ryou 

You're right. 

Daiki doesn't realise what Sakurai had said in the earlier part of his message until his phone explodes with texts. 

They all read "please don't kilL ME!!!!", Daiki rolls his eyes and sends back a rather reassuring text of "I wasn't talking about killing you".

He exits the room, making his way toward the stairs — the study room was even further away from the stairs than Furihata's room, good God — when he hears it. 

There was a loud cry — that sounded like Kise, which worried Daki — that came from that Chihuahua's room. The bluenet sighed and walked over to assess the damage. He cracked open the door slightly, making sure nobody in the room would notice, and Daiki's life may have been shortened by 10 years. 

'K-Kise?!' Said blond was crying his eyes out, snot and tears streaking his face (Daiki never thought Kise could look pretty, not even when he was bawling). 'Aominecchi,' he hiccupped, legs folded awkwardly on the floor and hands fisted in his sweatpants. Daiki moved into the room; ignoring the shouts of worry that Kagami was giving downstairs. 'Oi, what's wrong?' He winced internally, voice coming off too rough.

Kise either didn't catch the tone or was too busy rubbing his already red eyes (Daiki should stop him, but he doesn't know how).

'I think Koukicchi is dying!' Kise wailed, pointing to a very quiet toddler with blank, dull eyes. Furihata doesn't notice either of them, gaze focused on the door, arms still at his side and body slack. The sight itself felt creepy, but it wasn't until Furihata looked at him, with those blank, brown eyes and no smile gracing his face, that Daiki came to a conclusion. 

The only person that could scare Aomine Daiki was Aomine Daiki himself — and Tetsu, and Satsuki, but they didn't count — but he felt his heart lurch painfully as he wobbled over to the child. Aomine Daiki was terrified.

 


 

 

'Don't you think we should check on Kise?' Kagami asks, setting a plate of garlic bread onto the table. Tetsuya glances at the stairs, hunger suddenly gone, before getting out of his chair and dragging Midorima with him. 'Kuroko,' the irritated greenet grinds, 'what are you doing?' 

'I'm going to check on Kise, as Kagami said.'

'Oi! Don't drag me into this!'

'Why must you bring me, then?!'

'To ensure that no harm comes to me, Midorima-kun.'

'Tetsuya. . . Aren't you a little psychotic today?'

'I learnt from the best, Akashi-kun.'

Tetsuya hears Kagami mumbling a "Kuroko, you little shit" as he ascends up the stairs. Midorima glares daggers at his back. The scene must've looked funny; because Momoi busts out laughing at she scoops curry into smaller bowls for everyone. 

It wasn't funny when Tetsuya sees Aomine comforting a clearly scared Kise, all the while looking at Furihata. Furihata was, if Tetsuya was allowed to say it, clearly dead. Pale skin, body slumped over, eyes as blank and empty as a doll's, and no movement at all. 

Tetsuya's throat was feeling very dry. 

'What. . .?' Midorima gasps, going closer to inspect the child. Furihata gave no response. 'Furihata? Can you hear me?' Midorima picks him up, and Furihata starts to scream. 

Tetsuya isn't sure what happened next, but by the time he does realise it; everyone is downstairs, at the dining table, eating calmly — even Aomine, Kise and Midorima. Kagami gently prods his lips with a garlic bread dipped in curry, and Tetsuya opens his mouth on instinct; taking a bite of heaven. Murasakibara has Furihata on his lap, and Tetsuya jerks, staring wide-eyed at the silent child; who was eating with less vigour than last night. 

'Furihata-kun?' Tetsuya asks, a hand gripping Kagami's shirt. Furihata looks up. His eyes are still blank and devoid of life, but his lips quirk up in a small and painful smile. Tetusya sighs in relief — he almost sobs, and collapses on Kagami. Kagami catches him, asking a million questions about his health. 

It takes a grand total of 5 minutes for Tetsuya to feel okay again. 'It seems as though Kouki is going through. . . A phase.' Akashi explains, eyeing Furihata worriedly, 'FuFu's body is going through some pain, since he's growing at a really rapid rate. I'd say; if he were around 3 when we first met him yesterday; then he's around 5 or 6 today.' Momoi supplies, going through some notes on her iPad. 'Which means that this may happen everyday, given that FuFu continues this.' 

Tetsuya digests the information slowly, nibbling on a piece of bread. Furihata does look a little taller, and his hair was now an amazing mix of black and dark brown. 'Furi-chin's hair looks so pretty,' Murasakibara commends, patting (squashing) Furihata's head as the small boy continues to eat the dry piece of bread. 'Kou,' Takao calls, pushing a bowl of curry towards him, 'don't you want any curry?' The boy gives a weird look, before sticking his tongue out and shaking his head. 'So. . . you can't take spicy food?' A nod. Kagami frowns, 'you never said anything when I cooked curry for camp,' Furihata bites the inside of his cheeks, the imaginary puppy ears atop his head flopping in shame, 'I'm sorry, Kagami.' He looks like he's about to cry. 

Akashi takes him away from the giant and starts to coax it into eating just a bit of the curry — 'Are you sure this is a - ' Himro gets cut off by a glaring Akashi, 'he will try. And Kouki will like it. Taiga's curry is special that way.' Himuro glares right back, both eyes visible. 'Uh. . . Thanks?' Kagami looks at Momoi and Aomine, confused. "Leave them be," they mouth back — and Furihata actually listens to him. 'Hey, wait a minute. Koukicchi,' Kise butts in, refilling his share of curry, 'didn't you dislike Akashicchi?' Furihata stops trying to devour his curry-garlic bread, staring like a deer caught in the headlights. 'Buh,' is all he says, as Akashi glares down at his small form.

Tetsuya throws a spoon at Kise, blank eyes giving a warning. 'Maybe Furihata-kun was afraid of Akashi-kun, he did stare rather creepily at Furihata-kun last night.' Aomine stuffs a piece of bread into Kise's mouth, agreeing with Tetsuya.

Akashi doesn't say anything else for the rest of breakfast, only making a few phone calls to several children's department stores to order more clothing. Furihata protests, but is silenced when Akashi kisses his forehead.

'I swear, Kuroko,' Kagami grumbles, snatching Furihata out of Akashi's lap, 'all you Miracles and Takao are pedophiles.' Himuro hums in agreement, rubbing Furihata's forehead with a wet cloth. 'I asssure you, Kagami-kun, we are not pedophiles.' 

Kagami doesn't look convinced.

 


 

 

Kouki wakes up burning.

His eyes are watery, and he can't see anything other than the faint outline of Kise's sleeping form beside him. He blinks, rubbing the tears away. He tries to sit up, but the unbearable pain coming from everywhere drains his energy, and he is paralyzed. He tries again, and again. He can't sit up. His body aches, and he feels like someone gave him the sugary sweet pink liquid that he must drink whenever he gets sick. His eyes are drooping shut again, no! I don't want to sleep! Kouki wants to make a big fuss out of it, but he can only let out a painful whimper before his world turns black again.

'Koukicchi?' 

He wakes up again, and the sun blinds him as he tries to shield his eyes. My hands won't move. Kouki is scared, none of his body parts would move, he feels like he's sat too near his maternal grandparents' fireplace — they stayed in Sicily, and his family would visit her every year during the winter break — and the after effects of the heat is seared into his skin. He can't feel his legs and his mouth won't open. 'Koukicchi?' Kise wanders into the room, towel in hand. Kouki can't see anything. His hearing is a little fuzzy too but he feels something touch him, and the pain in his skin, his everywhere starts to get a bajillion times worse and he thinks he's screaming but he can't hear anything.

Kouki thinks it's been a day before something touches him again, and this time the pain is so much worse than before because the thing wouldn't let go no matter how loud Kouki screams and he feels like vomiting — he thinks he did — and suddenly, Kouki can see again. He also feels wet, like the bath from last night. Himuro is gazing at him with pain his pretty eyes and Kouki wants to cry because Himuro's eyes shouldn't look like that. 'Himu,' he croaks, his voice is rough and quiet but Himuro stares at him like he's the best thing in the world.

Himuro starts to cry. And Kouki doesn't like the way Himuro pushes his hair out of his face or how his eyes are shut too tight or how tightly he clings to Kouki when he cries because it makes Kouki feel sick. 'Don't cry,' Kouki grabs Murasakibara's hand, tugging it and hopes he'll stop Himuro from crying. 'Furi-chin,' the purple haired male says softly, patting his hair and letting Kouki play with his fingers. Kouki turns to look at Momoi, 'Moi-Moi?' He calls, and she comes flying into him, words a big mess as she cries into his skin. Takao looks at him with the most painful face and Kouki breaks, he cries and cries until Aomine picks him up, away from Moimoi and Himuro and Murasakibara, cradling him in his chest. 'It's okay, Furi, it's okay.' Kouki quietens after that, blinking as Aomine dries his face. 'Let's get you cleaned up and eat breakfast, hm?' 

Kouki nods dumbly and allows Aomine and Akashi to dry and dress him. Both of them look like papa when he comes home with a heavy bag when the outside is super dark and scary. Kouki remains quiet when Murasakibara carries him to the dining table and sits him in his lap, feeding him a piece of buttery bread, 'Here, Koukicchi! Hot chocolate!' Kise bounds over with a yellow mug that had dog paw prints in it. 'Brother's cup,' he says, hands holding the cup carefully, Hikari-nii would get upset if his favourite mug was destroyed. 'Eh, this cup is your brother's?' Momoi joins in, inspecting Kouki. 'Nhn! Nonna gave it to Hikari-nii as a present!' 

'Nonna?' Momoi parrots, 'who's that?' Kouki frowns, doesn't Momoi have a nonna? 'Nonna is nonna!' Kouki argues, not getting why Momoi keeps prodding him. 'I believe he means grandmother, Momoi, and let go of him. You'll bruise him.' Midorima chides. 'FuFu, where does nonna stay?' She returns to her seat, and Kouki grabs another piece of bread as Murasakibara feeds him his drink, 'there!' He points to the map behind Kagami, he hears Akashi make a noise beside him as Momoi screeches and proceeds to type really quickly into her iPad. 

'Furihata-kun?' Kouki turns to look at Kuroko, smiling slightly — his body still hurts a little. Akashi and Momoi talk to Kuroko, who looks as pale as Kouki's cousins in Sicily, Kouki looks at Himuro expectantly, eyes wide. 'Can I have a caramella?' Himuro stares at him, both eyes clear, confused. 'A what?' 

'Caramella.' Himuro sighs and turns to his phone, before saying, 'I don't have caramella, maybe something else?' Kouki thinks for a few minutes, 'perfetto?' Himuro shakes his head. 'Furi-chin's hair is so pretty,' Murasakibara says, patting his hair, and Kouki forgets about what he wants and focuses on the warmth of Murasakibara's hands. 'Kou,' Takao croons, and Kouki stops eating to pay attention, 'don't you want any curry?' Immediately, Kouki sticks his tongue out and shakes his head. Takao seems to understand, and lets the topic slide. 

Kagami, however, was a little angry about it, Kouki thinks. 'You never said anything when I cooked curry,' Kouki puts the bread on the plate, hands clutching his shorts as he looks at the floor. Kagami hates me, he starts to tear up, 'I'm sorry, Kagami.' He is, he really is! Kagami spent so much time making the curry, and Kouki won't even try it! Nonno had once made Charlotte russe and Kouki didn't eat it because he was sick and he couldn't explain it to nonno because his Italian wasn't very good. 

Nonno looked really upset Kouki didn't even touch the cake, until mama told him why, Kouki was then presented a bowl of minestrone soup and nonno feeding him slowly, singing old Italian songs Kouki didn't undestand.

Akashi was doing the same thing now, except there was no soup and Kouki was drinking curry. His face lit up in pleasure as he drank he whole bowl. 'I like Kagami's curry!' Kagami turns bright red and thanks Kouki.

'Hey, wait a minute Koukicchi, didn't you dislike Akashicchi?' Kouki stops chewing and blurts out a startled "buh". Aomine rescues him — Kouki really does love Aomine, bless him — and all is well. Except Akashi doesn't talk anymore and Kouki now sits in Momoi's lap. Kouki lets out a sad sound, like one of grandpa's puppies when it's being ignored, and Kouki suddenly doesn't want to eat anymore.

'Kouki, we are going clothes shopping later,' Akashi says, and Kouki pouts before replying, 'I have clothes, 'kashi!' Akashi smooths his hair, leaning to place a kiss on his forehead and Kouki forgets what he wants to say. Kagami picks him up and wraps him up in the red jacket — that finally fits — as they prepare to leave for the stores. 'Akashi, Akashi!' Kouki shouts, twirling around, 'the jacket fits!' Akashi smiles warmly, snapping a picture before holding out a hand. 'Let us leave now, Kouki.' 

 


 

 

'Shin-chan! Look! Akashi's smiling!' Midorima chokes, whirling around to see the evidence. 'Sagittarius are said to reign first today. Their lucky item would be a child, too.' Kazunari pales, 'would you steal a child as a lucky item?' Midorima's eyes eye him irritatedly, 'why would I when I have you?'

'Oh~, Shin-chan, how ni- wait a minute. Are you saying I'm a kid?' 

'I didn't.'

'But it was implied.' 

'Can the both of you please stop talking about abducting children?' Kagami looks so done, and tired. Kazunari only smiles in pity. 'Scorpios? What about Scorpios, Shin-chan?' Midorima frowns, 'last. Their lucky item is anything red.'

'You. . . isn't that just Akashi?'

'I think that can work. His jacket is red too.' 

Both Shuutoku players watch as Akashi and Furihata walk into a toy store. 'Are you sure this isn't paedophilia, Shin-chan?'

'Shut up, Takao.'

 

 

Chapter Text

Kouki was slightly overwhelmed by the number of aisles the shop had. He hid behind Kuroko when he saw a bunch of mean looking middle school kids walk toward them. 'Hey! What's a puny pudding like you doing here? Can you even afford anything?' One of them sneered, Kouki frowned, pudding isn't puny. He could feel Kuroko freeze, body tense, and Kouki felt the need to suddenly just get bullied. It was easier to get it over with instead of fighting back. 'Furihata-kun, let's go.' Kuroko states, dragging him away from the other kids before Kouki can register the words. 

'Why did they say that pudding is puny?' Kouki asks later, watching the display train sets chug around a small town, 'pudding isn't puny, and pudding cake tastes amazing!' Kuroko hums, ruffling Kouki's brown hair. 'I don't know, Furihata-kun, maybe they don't like pudding?' Kouki frowns, because pudding was his favourite food, and nods. 'Kuroko! There you are! We were looking for you!' Kagami yells, speed walking over to Kouki and Kuroko, hands filled with. . . train sets. Kouki sucks in a breath, and he can feel his feet moving to inspect the last box in the stack. 'Kagami? Can you, uh, put the boxes down?' He asks in a soft tone, and gingerly removes the box from the pile when Kagami complied. 'This one is limited edition! It's the Hornby Limited Edition EWS Freight Train pack!' He picks up another box, 'and this! The Hornby Limited Edition Sir Nigel Gresley Collection! And that one! From the same company, The Final Day Collection: LNER 4-6-2 "Gay Crusader" A3 Class!' Kouki then sees the one set he's been eyeing for in a long time, 'oh. Oh my God.' He starts to choke, and scrambles over to the box like a mad man, 'the LNER 4-6-2 "Flying Scotsman" A3 Class. This train set isn'd sold in Japan. In fact, none of them are sold in Japan! I had to buy mine from overseas, or online!' Kouki blabbers on, talking about the train specs — 'the "Gay Crusader" entered service in 1923, and was built by one of the Big Four train companies. Did you know that the numbers actually represent the wheel configuration? 4-6-2's UIC system name is 2'C1', and it's American name is "Pacific", it has two pairs of small wheels in front, followed by three pairs of bigger wheels, and a pair of small wheels at the back. Bo-Bo is another one that I found out about when I visited the UK once, it's the wheel configuration for railway vehicles with four axles with two individual bogies, all driven by their own traction motors. It's a common wheel configuration for modern electric and diesel-electronic locomotives, as well as power cars in electric multiple units. An example would be the EWS Freight trains that entered service in 1999. . .' — not hearing Akashi come closer until he ended his little lesson on trains. 

'My, Kouki, you are very smart about trains.' Kouki's smile falters, Akashi seemed to find a mistake in his praise, and frantically tries to apologise. 'Hikari-nii says I'm annoying when I talk about trains. . . Sorry 'kashi, I won't bother you with train facts anymore.' Akashi frowns, picking the boxes up and putting them into a trolley. 'I brought you to this shop so you could talk about train sets, Kouki, not apologise.' Kouki looks mournfully at the stack. 'But, Hika -' Kuroko cuts him off effectively by placing a box — titled "Hobbycraft Cross Stitch set" — into his palms, 'I remember Furihata-kun saying that you would like to learn how to cross-stitch.' Kouki brightened up immediately, 'yeah! For nonna!' Kuroko hums again, turning away to talk to Kagami. 

Akashi drops the bomb two seconds later, 'say, how about I buy you all the train sets you want; including these?' 

Kouki screams.

 


 

 

'Hey, did you hear those screams? They sounded like Kou-chan.' Kazunari freezes, looking in the general direction of where the sound came from. 'I'm pretty sure that's not Furihata, Takao,' Midorima grunts, sifting through endless plush toys in search of something. 'What are you looking for anyway?' Kazunari pouts, throwing popcorn — they sold popcorn, in a toy store. Seriously, if this is what Rich People Shops do, Kazunari doesn't mind marrying an old, wealthy hag — at Midorima's head, hoping that it would stick onto the green-head's hair. 'Apparently, Furihata has a fondness for birds. As in chicks. Baby chickens.' Kazunari almost topples over when Midorima pulls out a red chick and a brown chick. 'Why are they weirdly coloured?!' He giggles, leaning onto a pole for support.

Midorima does not reply. 

They walk back to the rendezvous — the place with all the running locomotives, and a life sized train ride — and Kazunari confirms that, yes, the scream came from Kou-chan. 'Akashi, did you break the child?' Midorima plops the chicks into the already full trolley, frowning deeper as Furihata seemed to have gone off in a trance. 

'I merely offered to buy him all the train sets in the shop, as well as the ones I pre-ordered for him last night.' 

This time, Kazunari did collapse.

'Akashi! You- you don't just offer all the toys in a world to a kid! Heck, you don't offer the world to anybody that you've just met!' Akashi stares at Kazunari, confused, 'but; in all the romance no- ' Kazunari shrieks, causing several heads to turn and parents glaring at him, 'they are romance novels, they are meant to be cheesy! Oh my goodness, Kise-chan, please help me.' Kise squeaks in the background, head poking out of Murasakibara's figure, 'yeah! Kouki-cchi isn't used to this sort of thing!'

'So I just have to make sure he gets used to it?'

'Akashi-cchi, that wasn't what I meant!' 

'But you said- '

know what I said, but I meant- Ow!'

'Not helping, bastard Kise!'

'Guys! There are children here!'

'Murasakibara, please tell me we haven't lost Furihata.'

A brief silence falls upon the group.

'WE LOST KOUKI?!' 

Kazunari wants to faint.

 


 

 

Kouki slips away when Takao collapses in a heap on the floor, popcorn spilling out onto the floor. 

He runs past the train section, into the girls' section, into the "Fashion" section, and finally found the action figures. 

Action figures of the Avengers. 

He's been looking for them for a long time, but it seems like the boys' section had them. He thanked his lucky stars as he picked up the figurine of Hawkeye. And Black Widow. And Ant-Man. Because there was a sale. And sales are good, mama had said. He walks back to the train section, then trouble happens. 

The same group of boys from before round him up, against a shelf in the sports section. 'Oh, look, it's that kid from before! And he's got figurines now!' Another one pushes him, and his shoulder connects jarringly with the rack, shooting sparks up his spine. 'Can you afford it, huh, kid?' A roar of laughter is heard. 'Hey, look!' a pudgy boy grabs Kouki's hair — and Kouki writhes in pain, scalp burning, and eyes watering — 'his hair is so weird! Are you even Japanese? Maybe we should test it! Awh, are you gonna cry like a little baby?' 

A shadow looms over them, and a low voice growls, 'no, he will not.' 

The boys scream and try to escape when they see Murasakibara's towering frame, as well as purple hair, but the giant plucks them up; holding them by the collars of their uniforms. 'Furi-chin's hair is pretty, and if you pluck it off, I'll shave all of your hair off.' The ring leader shouts in rebellion, 'oh yeah? And do you know who my dad is? He is gonna pummel you when he finds out!' 

A light, psychotic laugh fills the air, and Kouki shivers against the shelf; ignoring the tremendous pain. 

'Oh yeah?' Akashi starts, voice cold, 'and do you know who my father is? Do you know who I am? And do you know what will happen to you if you touch my Kouki?' Akashi's gold eye gleams brightly in the light, and his smile turns sadistic as he walks closer to the group. 

The ring leader obviously recognises him, 'you! You're Akashi Seijuuro! And your dad. . . your dad is Akashi Masaomi.' Akashi's smile broadens, 'your father, you sordid piece of flesh, is fired. Forever.' The boys whimpers, and starts to cry. Murasakibara drops them, and they all end up in a pile on the floor, before being dragged out of the area by guards.

Murasakibara kneels down, inspecting Kouki. 'Did they do anything to you? Are you hurt anywhere?' Kouki shakes his head, eyes wet. 'Furihata, you have to tell us,' Himuro coaxes, coming closer.

''m not hurt anywhere, Himu,' Kouki lies, afraid of what Akashi might do to him if he told the redhead what happened. Himuro frowns, and steps back.

Akashi drops down in front of him, golden eye slightly less terrifying — but still scary — and Kouki starts whimpering. 'I- I'm sorry, I won't bother you again! Please don't hit me,' Kouki shields his eyes, preparing for the blow. 'Kouki,' Akashi soothes, 'let me see you. Please.' Kouki lets his hands get pried away, and immediately starts crying the moment he sees Akashi. 

 


 

 

Satsuki twitches beside Daiki, hands curling around her iPad with more force than necessary. 'I'll track them down, and I'll ki- ' Daiki nudges her before she can finish. 'Let's go pay for the stuff, we'll meet you guys outside. Kagami, Tetsu.' The duo turn to look at him, and the three of them drag a seething Satsuki to the cashier.

'I do not like the way Furihata-kun acted when Akashi approached him,' Tetsu voices, scaring the cashier. 'Kuroko, Akashi was wielding a pair of scissors, Furi had every right to be afraid.' Daiki nods in agreement, fists curling in his pockets. 'No, no, Tetsu-kun is right. Even is FuFu is afraid, he could've run to someone else instead of cowering in front of Akashi. It was like he was used to being hit.' Daiki's teeth grinded painfully, mind reeling.

'But who would. . .?' Daiki asks, handing Akashi's credit card to the cashier. 'It can't be the Furihatas,' Kuroko states, 'they are very supportive of Furihata-kun and are very concerned about him. It is sincere.' Daiki's argument died in his throat. 'Then, maybe. . . school?' Kagami figures, and Daiki wants to roll his eyes, but Satsuki taps her iPad with her finger; humming thoughtfully. 

'It could very much be true. Think about it: he has memories of Seirin, and a vague sense of how to act around us — carefree with Ki-chan and Takao-kun, silent around Muk-kun and Akashi-kun, etcetera. Also, the train sets "Sir Nigel Gresley Collection", "EWS Freight Train pack", the "LNER 4-6-2 "Gay Crusader"" and the "LNER 4-6-2 "Flying Scotsman""was only released last year. The young FuFu would have never known about those train sets.'

Daiki may have punched the security code of the card a bit too hard. 'So all we have to do is get Furi to confess, hunt those bastards down, and skin the alive?' The other three give him chilling smiles as a reply.

Chapter Text

Seijuuro is silently fuming in the cafe they are in. His fingers are constantly being cracked, and there was also a venomous look on his face — seeing as they placed Shintarou and Atsushi right next to him — as he stares at the still shivering baby.

-+-

They had left the toys store right after Seijuuro received an SMS about his card transaction, which meant that Daiki had bought everything, but he was still staring at the child miserably. Dear God, why did this happen to the poor boy? He hears Shintarou mumbling "Scorpios are ranked last today", and reminds himself to seek Oha Asa before ever leaving the house with Kouki. Seijuuro breathes deeply through his nose, asking softly, 'where are you hurting?' The crying boy shrieks when Seijuuro tries to rest his hand on the boy's shoulder.

Those bastards, he curses mentally. He'll kill them, oh, he'll kill them all. Their family, friends, acquaintances, neighbours, colleagues, teachers; their entire clan. Seijuuro will kill them all to teach them to never mess with children ever again. Especially Kouki. His Kouki. 'Kouki, look at me,' his heart shatters when Kouki tries his hardest to muffle his cries and look at the redhead, 'let's get you fixed up, okay?' The brunet nods slightly, and Seijuuro tells — he didn't have to order anyone, they all looked ready to protect the boy — Himuro to carry Kouki. Even if Himuro was mad — and by God,  was the man angry — he would still function with rationality. The others. . . Not so much. 

Seijuuro is sure he saw Atsushi and Shintarou communicate telepathically, with the genocide in their eyes. He is also sure he saw Ryouta punch a shelf, causing it to dent very badly and creak dangerously. And Seijuuro hears the others breathing heavily, hands clenching and unclenching. He is glad that these people are his friends. At least they have the same train of thought, and would go to jail for Kouki. 

Himuro whispers calming words to said child, eyes scrutinising every inch of the boy, making sure his injuries are minimal. Seijuuro is sure a slam to the shoulder is not minimal, but he isn't a doctor — Shintarou seems to agree with him, and the green-haired boy's father is a doctor, so Seijuuro can say that no, Himuro, Kouki's shoulder is banged up pretty badly. We need a hospital — and he steers Himuro to the mall's A&E. Because a lot of shit happens when you're rich. Like being assassinated; which, Seijuuro can reassure, he's never been the target of before. 

The redhead doesn't even need to register, he just tugs Himuro's arm and drags him into a doctor's office. 'Dr. Mihashi, please take a look at my dear friend,' the elderly man does not greet him warmly like he usually does — Mihashi was Masaomi's doctor, and therefore he was also Seijuuro's doctor from a young age — but takes Kouki and sets him onto the observation table immediately. 'Hello,' Dr. Mihashi says quietly, not wanting to startle the boy, and Seijuuro leaves — totally not because of the fact that he can barely make out half of what Dr. Mihashi was saying — to make a phone call. 

'Father, it is Seijuuro,' he greets, and the man on the other line hums to acknowledge him. 'I believe that one of your employees. . . Have managed to disrespect me and my team mates.' Masaomi huffs, and Seijuuro can see his father rolling his eyes at the childish statement. 'Go on then, Sei,' his father plays along. 'Tsukasa Hino's son has injured a dear friend of mine, and the injury sustained was rather bad,' Dr. Mihashi's intern passes him a slip of paper, 'a slight sprain the the right shoulder, and several cuts and bruises of varying degrees on his face and abdomen, as well as some psychological trauma.' Before Masaomi could even question, Seijuuro speaks again. 'He has, by some mysterious circumstances, turned into a child. And he is very weak and frail.' Kouki wasn't all that weak, but Seijuuro wanted Tsukasa dead.

Masaomi's pen clicks in the background — a bad habit he cultivated in University when thinking about something serious — and Seijuuro knows that Masaomi will succumb. The man does adore children, having done so much charity work for children and arguing about child policies in Japan. 'Seijuuro,' Masaomi talks, voice commanding, 'give me a full report on the injury. I will see that Tsukasa Hino will not have a very stable future from then on,' the line almost gets cut off, when Masaomi says, 'I would like to meet this, hem, friend of yours after he is recovered and back to normal. See you at dinner.'

The line beeps, leaving Seijuuro to unravel the meaning behind his father's words. 'Did you- did you just approve of Kouki?' Silence answered him.

-+-

 

Dr. Mihashi gives him a look of amusement when he comes out, report in hand. 'The child is asleep, and your friend has kindly informed me of the incident. Masaomi would probably like to see the report.' Seijuuro sees Himuro carrying Kouki, who has a brace attached to his shoulder, as well as a sling, and multiple plasters littering his body. 'Please do pardon my skills, children are not my specialty.' Seijuuro raises an eyebrow skeptically, 'you fixed me up perfectly when I was younger.' Dr. Mihashi coughs out a laugh, 'that was because your injuries were of a larger scale than this, and my career was on the line if I didn't bandage you up perfectly. Shiori's frightening when it comes to you.' Seijuuro nods, not wanting to brood on the subject, 'thank you, Dr. Mihashi. Himuro, let's go.' 

Himuro is bombarded with questions when they get out of the A&E and into the waiting room — because it was protocol that anyone that isn't tending to the sick or injured, or anyone that has no relations with the patient, was not allowed into the A&E. Seijuuro being the exception — and Seijuuro makes his way next to Shintarou, who's tapping away on his phone. 'Seems like you didn't know what was going on in the patient's body, again,' Shintarou mumbles, the redhead only snorts and replies; 'don't shame me, you know doctor stuff doesn't sit well with me.' 

Shintarou doesn't make another comment. 

'Why not we find a place to settle?' Kagami suggests, shooing concerned people away from Himuro. 'We need to figure out where to go next.' 

Daiki snorts, bumping shoulders with Kagami, 'I don't know 'bout you, but I'm pretty hungry.' With that, the simpletons dash across the mall to find a cafe — or maybe a restaurant that only serves meat — as Tetsuya watches them with disappointment. 'Why are both my lights like this?' He asks mournfully, looking at Atsushi. 'Maybe because Kuro-chin has a type.' Seijuuro has never seen Tetsuya so crestfallen before. 

'Hey! Aomine is mine!' Ryouta yells, tackling Tetsuya. Tetsuya rebuts with a "I don't want Aomine-kun, Kise-kun".

 


 

 

Taiga regrets ever running across the mall without ever looking at the directory. 

Here he is now, lost in the middle of what looks like the Paris Fashion Show: for Pets. Rich people are crazy, he thinks, but then again; your family's pretty rich too, Taiga. He almost gives up hope of ever returning to the outside world — like that one time in IKEA — when his phone buzzes. 

From: Kuroko 

Kagami-kun, 

We are at a coffee shop located two shops before you. Please hurry. I can hear Aomine-kun.

That son of a. . . Using Aomine to get Taiga up and running again. Taiga falls for the bait anyways, running a few more meters before seeing Kuroko's blank eyes meet his, 'it took you 5 seconds longer than usual, Kagami-kun,' Taiga was going to deal with him later. He enters the cafe with Kuroko, and is abso-fucking-lutely delighted to see that Aomine wasn't there yet. 

Then he sees Furihata's face and all that accomplishment drains out of him. He looks so sad, and so traumatized, and all Taiga wants to do is hug Furihata until he's okay again. 'When Aomine gonna come back?' Kuroko makes a face of disdain — which looked really funny — and replied, 'hopefully never.' Midorima huffs in amusement, Takao choking on his drink. Akashi doesn't react, fingers cracking at an alarming rate, eyes glued to the report in that manila file. 

Whatever was in that file, Taiga doesn't want to see. 

He stares at Furihata, who's brightened considerably when Aomine came in with some Italian candies and a parfait. 'Daiki,' Akashi frowns when Furihata accepts the offering, 'outside food is strictly prohibited.' When Furihata starts devouring the parfait, Aomine replies, 'yeah well, Furi overrides everything.' Furihata stares expectantly at Aomine, who offers him another parfait, and the boy's face breaks into a toothy grin. Akashi falters, and drops the subject. 

'Hey, FuFu,' Momoi talks for the first time in a while, 'what do you think will happen to the children that bullied you?' See, the Gen of Miracles that will transcend all time and space. Furihata, on the other hand, doesn't dare to hold grudges. Or rather, he doesn't try. Furihata shakes his head, grin disappearing, 'mama says that, uh, exacting? Exacting revenge is a bad thing, and that makes you a bully too.' He then points to himself, as if to state a point, 'I don't wanna be a bully.'

Taiga hears Akashi breathe an "oh my God", and if Akashi wasn't referring to the report in his hands, then he was talking about Furihata. 'Tell me someone took pictures of that. Takao?' Said boy holds his phone up, and Taiga wants to lament about the fact that he's sitting with a bunch of guys with kid fetishes. 

 


 

 

Masaomi's phone vibrates in the middle of his meeting. 

From: Seijuuro, Pride and Joy

[picture]

He is adorable, no? 

Masaomi understands immediately why Seijuuro was so upset over a child. This boy must be protected at all costs.

 

Chapter Text

The trip to the mall ended at 5.30, sadly, and Furihata's cry of despair when Akashi left for dinner caused a rip in everyone's heart. 

'FuFu, no,' Satsuki frantically tried to calm the raging toddler, whose face was red and contorted into an ugly frown. Furihata went on regardless, screeching Akashi's name in a broken manner, and when said man did not turn back; the 6 year old quietened down, whimpering dejectedly as the head of cherry red hair disappeared. 

'Akashi doesn't want me anymore?' Oh dear lord, Stasuki was going to make Akashi pay for leaving so soon. But then again, Akashi Masaomi was not a man that one could ignore. Satsuki breathes a sigh of relief when Daiki and Kise takes over, the blond murmuring relief into Furihata's ears, rocking him gently. Daiki tried to suppress his awkwardness when Furihata wrapped his still pudgy arms around the elder's neck, but Daiki blew it off by giving Furihata raspberries, causing him to laugh and fidget dangerously.

The iPad in her hands fall with a thump on the table, and Kuroko glances at her curiously before going back to pestering Kagami for his jacket because "I"m very cold, so cold I'm shaking in my shoes, Kagami-kun", Satsuki stares at Furihata. The angel is being entertained by Kise and Takao in the living room of the house, eyes wide and trusting. Her eyes slide over to the train sets — were those two chicks? — and she wonders how Akashi found out about the brunet's apparent love of trains. Even Satsuki didn't know that! She focuses on Furihata again, and he talks about as fast as Midorima when angered. He can speed talk? Satsuki glances at her iPad again, irritated. With a loud sigh, she thinks, I give up.  

Kuroko doesn't even question it when she slams the iPad onto the dining table and stalks off, muttering curses. Collecting information is too much work.

 


 

 

Kouki jumps when he hears a loud slam, followed by Momoi walking up the stairs; talking about some weird stuff like "screw information". He tilts his head at Himuro, who only gives him a funny smile and a shrug. Tiredly, he frowns, 'Moi-moi?' His voice is small, and the bandages around his shoulder are itchy. His head is swimming with misery and guilt, trying to figure out what he did wrong. Kouki didn't mean to make anyone angry! 

Ever since the whole incident at the shop, everyone's been acting weird and scary, saying things like "I'll kill them" and "bullies", they even looked scary, glaring at the table and making weird hissing sounds. Momoi had slammed the table several times now, and the iPad clattering like knives on the floor didn't help Kouki's situation. He stares at his hands, sticky from all the sweets he's eaten, a creeping nausea at the back of his throat. He wants to turn around to ask his brother for help, but all he sees is the wall that is Aomine -- that's when it hits him: his brother won't be able to help him feel better. His brother isn't here. 

His brother would be so disappointed when he learns that Kouki followed a bunch of strangers and got injured.

Hiccuping, he desperately tries to wipe away the remains of cream and honey, keeping his head down and biting his lip a little too hard. He can't cry. If he keeps quiet, then people will leave him alone. If he's quiet, nobody will push him. 

Something awful pushes against his tongue, burning his eyes, Kouki discretely tries to get out of his seat, fearful of looking up. He dashes out the room, bumping into the legs of strangers, murmuring apologies as he goes, not sure of where he was going. Need to get out, he thinks, knocking into a waitress. 'Oh!' She jumps, startled, the empty in her hand slipping from her grip, 'are you alright?' He nods, tears slipping down his cheeks as he cups his forehead. 

'I'm sorry,' he hiccups, 'I'm okay.' The waitress bends down, checking him over, dark eyes staring at the bandage for a while more, 'where are your parents? Let's go find them.' Kouki turns around, ready to point her in the direction of-- 

Mom and Dad aren't here with him, either. Akashi and Momoi have left. Nobody was paying attention to him. 

His hiccups grow even louder; and he breaks down, gripping the waitress' shirt sleeves as he sobs. 

Nobody wants Kouki.

 


 

 

Shintarou startles at the sound of a child crying. Several other customers are peeking over, wondering what went wrong. 'We should leave,' he advises, helping Takao with the shopping bags. Kagami chimes in an agreement, noting how late it was, 'we need to get home for dinner.' That's when Shintarou realises that Furihata's chair is empty. 

'Aomine, Kise,' he hisses, jabbing a finger at where Furihata was supposed to be, 'where is he?!' The pair shrugs, seemingly in distress. Himuro shouts something, rushing over to the crying child. Shintarou is quick to follow, dumping the bags in Murasakibara's hands, sighing in relief when he doesn't spot any other injuries. 'Are you his family members? The poor boy got lost, I think,' the waitress informs them, trying her best to calm him down. 

Himuro nods, apologising for causing any trouble, taking Furihata back in his arms. 'Furi? Are you alright? You must be tired,' he pats Furihata's back, rocking him lightly, 'let's go home, okay?' Furihata doesn't stop crying, fingers curling into Himuro's shirt. 'Let's hurry,' Shintarou urges, fixing up the bandage so it was easier for the young child to move. Furihata lets out little gasps of air, and while the notion of it is downright adorable; it terrifies Shintarou as Furihata may have been dying.

Except, he wasn't. Not really, anyways. He catalogues it as a panic attack and advises Himuro to adjust his hold on the boy so that Furihata may breathe better. 'Pat his back gently, make sure he's not suffocating. Here,' he passes the other boy a bottle of water, 'have him drink a few small sips when he calms down.' Himuro does as he's told, walking ahead of the others. 'Try not to crowd him for now,' Shintarou adds, holding a worried Kise back. Let's hope it's just a panic attack.

The walk home was uneventful, save for Furihata's quiet sobs and the joint effort of Himuro, Takao and Kise's attempts to get him to stop crying. Kagami and Murasakibara have taken off earlier in order to start on dinner, though Shintarou doubts anyone would be willing to eat; Momoi was probably with them. 'What do you think is wrong with him?' Aomine slows to walk beside him, face thunderous. 'Perhaps it's the awful look on your face,' he replies dryly, neatly dodging an elbow to his ribs, 'all jests aside, I'm not sure. He did seem rather upset when Akashi left. Perhaps the shock from getting injured and Akashi's absence has caused him to become distressed?' His friend hums, hands digging into his pockets, 'do you think Satsuki leaving had an impact too?' 

Shintarou blinks, taken aback, 'I- well, maybe.' He hadn't even thought about that. 'If so, why did he not inform you that he was feeling unwell?' The pair walk in silence, mulling over Shinatarou's question. Finally, Aomine sighs, 'I dunno, maybe he felt uncomfortable? Or he thought we were gonna leave him too?'

'That is an awful lot of assumptions you two are making,' Kuroko pipes up, startling them both. Aomine shouts something, but a quick jab to his side shuts him up. 'What do you say, Kuroko?' Shintarou inquires, curious to see things from the shorter boy's perspective. Kuroko's usual poker face fades to reveal a concerned expression, 'I think... Furihata-kun may have abandonment issues.' 

 


 

 

'Akashi-kun, when will you be able to return?'

'In a few more hours, Father and I are currently looking for something; why?'

'Furihata-kun won't stop crying, and he's showing signs of a rising fever. Midorima-kun says that it's due to stress from the environment. He has not stopped crying since you left, I assume.'

'I'll be there as soon as I can, thank you, Kuroko.'

The line cuts off, leaving Seijuuro alarmed. He walks a little faster, ignoring the aisles upon aisles of books to get to his father. Anxiety fills his chest, what happened to Kouki? 'Father!' He shouts from across the shop, giving little concern to how he should behave in public. Masaomi arches an eyebrow, lifting his head up to give his son an incredulous look on his face. 'What? Who's died? Do I need to order flowers?' Masaomi jokes, slipping a book shut.

'Kouki- he,' Seijuuro grasps at words, unsure of how to describe the situation. 'The boy you were talking about? What's wrong? Has his injuries gotten worse?' Masaomi drops several books onto the cashier counter, a card in his hand. 'Kuroko said it was a stress-induced fever?' Seijuuro hates the fact that he's unable to provide more information, he clenches his fists tightly, glaring at the floor. 

Masaomi drags him by the arm, 'well, what are we waiting for? If he's sick, you should be there for him!' They exit the shop in a flurry, making their way to the car in under a minute. 'Is Shintarou there?' Seijuuro nods, anxiously waiting for the lights to turn green, 'we can't take him to the hospital, they'll get suspicious of why a toddler bears the name of a teenager.'

'The family doctor, Seijuuro,' Masaomi swerves the car dangerously, narrowly running another stoplight, 'have her go to Furihata's estate.' Seijuuro stares at his father, slightly lost for words, 'Father?'

'Are you not planning to court this boy? We can't have him sick or injured is you are serious about him.'

'He's a child,' he protests. 'Yes, but he's growing up at a rapid rate, no?'

Seijuuro takes a last glance at his father and makes the call in stunned silence.

 


 

 

'Satsuki, do something,' Aomine whispers, rocking Furihata lightly in his arms. Thankfully, his crying has subsided. Unfortunately, his fever is just steadily increasing. Ryouta leans forward, shaking a tiny finger gently, trying to cheer up the grumpy child. Momoi's hands have not stopped typing, trying to identify what types of medicine they should buy, 'I'm trying!' Ryouta can sense that she's close to tears; beside her, Midorima is doing his best to guide and help her, though their efforts seemed futile.

Takao was currently at a pharmacy, grabbing cooling packs and energy drinks. He'd mentioned something about his mom being a nurse, and that he could help them get some stuff that could cool the fever. Kagami and Kuroko were in the dining room, trying to contact their coach and Furihata's parents, though the Furihatas aren't picking up. 

'Kise?' Furihata mumbles, blindly reaching out to smack at his face. Ryouta smothers his urge to laugh, cooing over him, 'yeah, Koukicchi?' Furihata mumbles something, grabbing at nothing. Confused, Ryouta begins to hum a lullaby, smiling gently at the sleepy boy. Aomine soon joins him, stroking Furihata's hair lightly as they sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star as quietly as they could. 

Once he's knocked out like a light, Ryouta sighs, tugging a blanket around Furihata and changing the wet towel. 'He's been through a lot today,' he whispers, cleaning up the beads of sweat that have gathered at the forehead, 'poor Koukicchi, I hope he gets better soon.' Aomine mutters a couple more swear words, cursing the bullies with all his might, 'hey, that's enough.' He tries to keep the frown off his face, to be as amiable as possible, 'we won't want Koukicchi learning all these terrible words this young.'

'Yeah, yeah, I get it.' Aomine waves a hand, the scowl deepening, 'I just feel like I failed him; y'know? I didn't realise he got lost, didn't realise he was scared of new people and new places. Then, I managed to lose him again in the cafe. It's a wonder how he still sticks close to me.' The blue haired boy kept his gaze downward, but Ryouta knew that Aomine was tearing up, 'Aominecchi, it's not your fault entirely. We were all to blame.' He doesn't get a response, sighing, he leans his head back against the sofa, admiring the intricate patterns on the ceiling.

Ryouta can only pray that the worst was over.

 

Chapter Text

Kouki was feeling terrible, if anyone wanted to ask. 

His head felt bloated; his eyes were itching and dry, shivers wracking through his body. He hasn't stopped sweating, and really wanted a drink of water. Some parts of his skin felt wrong, like someone set an extra weight down on it and didn't bother taking them off. Kouki's afraid of opening his eyes, scared of what he might see. Breathing heavily through his mouth, he shoves his palms into his eyes, digging into them painfully. 

'Aomine?' He whimpers, stomach lurching when he realises that the man isn't there. 'Aomine?' He tries again, louder this time, tears tipping out his eyes. There is no response. 'Hikari-nii?' He cries, suddenly missing his elder brother too much, 'Hikari-nii, where are you?' Kouki thinks he's hyperventilating: he's short of breath, the pain behind his eyes increases, where is he? A sick, twisted thought rises up, maybe he's angry that I called him nasty things and now he won't want me anymore. 

Kouki didn't mean to call his brother those awful words! He just didn't understand why Hikari-nii was spending so much time with that girl, and running away from Shio-nii. Kouki liked Shio-nii. He gave him sweets! And presents! And he always helps them with homework! 'I hate Hikari,' he'd told the older Furihata during dinner one night, 'you're always playing with some girl and never here anymore! I don't know what to tell Shio-nii when he's asking for you! I hate you! I don't want to be your brother anymore! 

He doesn't remember where Hikari-nii went after that. It became a huge blurry mass, something that he'd buried deep inside his mind. 

'FuFu?' Momoi's voice is like the sun breaking through a storm, light and warm. 'FuFu, are you alright?' No, he wants to say, I can feel my body melting away, I can't breathe properly, I don't know why I'm remembering these things. The lower part of his stomach prickles with pain, eliciting a cry from him. Another voice joins hers, 'he looks... terrible, Satuski.'

Akashi!

A tide of pain crashes onto him, stinging from his left foot, slowly winding up his leg, before spreading out to his abdomen; leaving a fiery trail in its wake. He gulps, 'Momoi?' The name sounds like a curse more than a blessing, causing him to wince, 'I feel like my body is ripping into two.' It comes out calm, as if he was talking about the weather. Kouki tries his best to open an eye, seeing static. Why can't I see properly? The panic builds slower this time round, cornering his thoughts into a tiny pen and agonising him with impossible scenarios. 

He hears people talking, but everything is overwhelmingly soft, as if they were standing on opposite ends of the world and talking to each other. A hand brushes up against his cheeks, pulling back twice as fast, before being replaced by a cooling pack. Instantly, his body unwinds, 'Akashi?' He hushes, cracking an eye open to see a mop of cherry red hair and dark red eyes. 'Hi,' he whispers meekly, giving a weak smile. Akashi sure is pretty, even when he's frowning and has deep eye-bags; the redhead still manages to take his breath away. 

Shio-nii used to be like that with Hikari...

'Hello,' Akashi replies warmly, eyes twinkling, 'how are you feeling, Kouki?' In his peripherals, Momoi and another lady he'd never seen before are talking silently, with Midorima glancing at a stack of papers. 'What time is it?' Kouki's sure he missed breakfast. When Akashi doesn't deign him with a reply, he grouchily sits up, wiping the sleep from his eyes, ''m hungry.' Akashi gives him a concerned look, tilting his head with a nudge and swiping his fingers along a bruise around his neck. 

'Kouki... are you not in pain?' His friend's (at least, he hopes they're friends) voice is tinged with something unfamiliar, strained and tight. Kouki shakes his head, brushing away ice cold hands, 'I'm okay now,' he replies quietly, not wanting to attract attention, 'my clothes are a little small though...' I liked the jacket, too, he mourns, tugging at the too-short sleeves. Akashi laughs, loosening up, 'I can buy you all the clothes in the world, Kouki, don't worry.' 

'Huh? But why? I don't need that many clothes. Don't waste money like that.' It's not as if money was tight in their household, but they were a lot more frugal compared to others in the neighbourhood. He knew for a fact that Shio-nii's dad buys his mom a new set of jewellery every month; the old lady next door often showers her grandkids with expensive toys -- this neighbourhood was more well-to-do than the others. But them... they don't spend unless absolutely necessary. His parents still buy him toys and gifts, but they're not as... nice as what the other kids got.

Kouki didn't complain, though, because he'd rather spend his time reading.

Akashi smiles uneasily, 'of course, that would be rather silly of me, wouldn't it?' Kouki nods fervently in reply, grinning toothily. 'Mom would hate it if anyone wasted money.' He can't remember why though, a niggling thought at the back of his head tells him otherwise. 'Can I eat now?' He pats a hand against one of Akashi's cheeks, marvelling at how soft it was. Soon enough, he starts tugging at the skin, wondering how far it could stretch. Akashi tries to say something, but it comes out as a string of gibberish, causing him to giggle. 

''Kashi is so silly!' He cackles, oblivious to the attention he's drawing. All the while, the blue-blacks of his bruises expand, slowly mottling his entire neck a terrible colour. He knows that Kuroko's approaching him -- of course he does! Kouki notices everything around him. Kuroko's eyes linger on the marks, shaped a bit too much like handprints, Kouki's large, unnerving eyes stare back at him, daring him to say anything.

Kuroko backs down from the challenge, giving a vacant smile. 'Furihata-kun, how are you?' He grins, relieved that nobody's asking any questions. They don't need to know about this. 'Hungry,' he snarks, hands pulling both of Akashi's cheeks, making his face look like a kite. Kuroko hides a snort behind a cough, but he knows the difference between them. 'Akashi won't answer me when I asked if I could have breakfast,' he drops his hands, focusing solely on Kuroko, 'nii-san, you need to punish him!' 

The pale boy looks startled, conflicting emotions in his body posture, though his face doesn't reveal much. 'I see, Furihata-kun,' giving Akashi no time to defend himself, 'what do you think I should do?' Kagami bounds in, carrying a pot of food, delighted that he's awake. He asks if Kouki liked having hamburger steak for lunch, and while that much food would cause him to get sick, he nods enthusiastically; thanking Kagami for the great food.

Strange, he was really hungry today. 

He gives Hikari a last look, 'just do what you always did to Shio-nii!' His brother sighs, deeply confused, 'I don't understand you.' Kouki shrugs, shoving a piece of steak in his mouth. 'Yuh usually taf-ckle him, and then thick-le him,' he explains, not bothering to slow down to talk, chewing thoroughly. Hikari's brilliant golden eyes freeze into pale blue, and his usually messy black hair falls down neatly into blue. Kouki stops eating, bits of food falling out of his mouth. 

He's looking at Kuroko Tetsuya and Akashi Seijuuro. 

The air in his throat disappears, whatever's in his mouth tastes like ash. He gags, spitting it out, screwing his eyes shut. They're not here. These are your friends. 

Murasakibara's voice pulls him out of despair, clocking into his consciousness, 'Furi-chin! Stay with us! Drink some water!' Something wet touches his lips, sending a jolt up his spine. He gasps, jaws slack, letting the water slide down his throat without thinking too much; coughing and sputtering. 'At..su?' Murasakibara whispers more words of encouragement, propping him up, rubbing large circles on his back. 'Furi-chin is okay, now, open your eyes?' 

Reluctantly, he does, hazy brown glancing up to see a wall, strong and steady, protecting him. 

'Is Furi-chin okay?' Murasakibara drawls, eyebrows pinched together. Kouki nods, lips tight. 'Furi-chin, no lying. Your neck is injured.' A large hand rests on his neck, poking at it with contempt, causing him to hiccup, 'sorry.' He murmurs, shielding his eyes as the tears build up again. It's stupid, to cry over something as silly as being bullied. He should've told his parents, should've told Hikari.

He told Shio-nii, though. And then Hikari had a fight with him, angry words shouted back and forth. He doesn't recall how it starts, or how it ends, he just knows that Shio-nii had run out of the house crying. Mom and Dad had come home to find the living a mess and Hikari-nii trying to bandage his neck, hands trembling. 

'Sorry, Atsu,' he gasps, hiccupping uselessly as he dries his neverending tears, trying to repair the dam. 'I'll be okay soon,' he sniffles miserably. Murasakibara coos, unwrapping a lollipop, patting his head as Midorima comes closer to inspect the bruise. He keeps as quiet as he can, letting the matcha overwhelm his senses, stinging eyes staring aimlessly in Momoi's direction; a hand grasping Murasakibara's shirt tightly.

 


 

 

Atsushi doesn't understand the situation. He'd been in the room with a few others, looking worriedly at Furihata. Something was growing on his skin, he'd realised, an ugly blue he didn't like. It started from Furihata's ankle, looking like a band against slightly tan skin, then another appeared on his exposed stomach, looking like a footprint. Atsushi moves closer, lumbering past the doctor Akashi brought with him, deciding to inspect it before calling anyone.

Furihata mumbled something, turning around in his sleep, tugging the shirt higher. His back had several dark spots blooming across his skin in varying shades, some darker and redder than others. Atsushi sticks a piece of candy in his mouth to keep himself from growling, he can't scare Furihata. There, on his neck, a faint red mark begins to grow. 

He isn't an idiot, as much as everyone says he is. Something is hurting Furihata and he's willing to bet that it's a person. 

Atsushi will kill that person.

'Kuro-chin,' he calls, keeping an eye on Furihata and Akashi. 'Murasakibara-kun, what's wrong?' His friend's empty voice breaks a little, revealing a hint of worry. 'Something's wrong with Furi-chin. He's injured.' Kuroko is quick to pinpoint where he was hinting at, staring at the rapidly worsening bruise. 'I will be back soon,' and with a promise, the shadow is gone. 

His phone grabs his attention for a while, vibrating incessantly as his teammates yell over text about how two of their star players are missing. He replies with a one worded response of "okay" before Himuro replies. 

Muro-chin: Aww, do you miss us? 

The group goes ablaze, text bubbles popping up too quick for Atsushi to read.

'-nii-san, you need to punish him!' Furihata's voice has aged a little, still squeaky, but much louder than last time. Atsushi looks up, oh... he got bigger. Kuroko and Akashi give each other a puzzled look, a pouting Furihata between them. What did he miss?

Kuroko talks, voice too soft for anyone else to hear. Akashi has a terrible expression on his face, facing the doctor and Midorima with apprehension. Kagami enters, reminding him that Himuro was probably downstairs cleaning up with Aomine and Kise. He hopes they made dessert...

'Just do what you always did to Shio-nii!' The name draws a startled silence from them all. Momoi looks up from the medical report, confused. Shio-nii? She mouths, repeating the name over and over as she brings out her tablet. Kuroko sighs, troubled, 'I don't understand?' Atsushi doesn't like where this was going. He abandons his phone, standing up to go over and try to talk to Furihata, theorizing that the fever messed up with his brain.

It was truly a miracle Furihata somehow recovered from that terrible fever. Atsushi doesn't think he's ever seen Himuro or Akashi look so... depressed. He himself was fearful of what might happen to Furihata. 

'You usually tackle him, and then tickle him!' Furihata reports messily, happily munching on his food. For a second, Atsushi sees something weird pass by his face. Kuroko wants to say something, but Furihata's face turns ashy, pupils shrinking in the lights. He speeds up, yanking both of his friends aside, shielding Furihata. 'Mido-chin,' he says the name nonchalantly, voice devoid of emotion, 'could you help me?' 

Midorima is there in a second, handing him a bottle of water. He tries to talk as softly as he can, persuading the child to drink -- and drink he does; as if Furihata has never had water before. It worries him, how fast his tiny friend is gulping down mouthfuls of water. He coughs, choking a little, flinching when some droplets land on his neck. 

'At...su?' 

He breathes a sigh of relief, calming down a little, 'Furi-chin is okay, now, open your eyes?' Wavering brown eyes greets him, hiding a great amount of pain; he tries to keep a frown off his face, 'is Furi-chin okay?' The boy gives him a nod almost immediately, drawing suspicion. 'Furi-chin, no lying; your neck is injured,' he pokes the bruise to prove his point, getting a stuttered apology as a reply.

Furihata bats his hand away, hiding himself with injured arms. 'Sorry,' he cries, muffled. 'Sorry, Atsu,' he repeats, 'I'll be okay soon.' Something breaks inside of Atsushi's chest, causing him to turn away briefly, he mumbles more soothing words, trying to channel Himuro, giving Furihata a treat before Midorima appears to inspect him.  

He continues to stand tall, waiting for Furihata to give him the okay to stand down. 

Midorima's hands are shaky, quaking as he looks at all the scars and marks on the poor boy's skin. 'How did this happen?' He breathes, adjusting his glasses and relaying his findings to the doctor. 'Aka-chin can trust the doctor, but I don't.' He'd told Akashi, being the first one to object Akashi's decision to drag an outsider into this, 'she might put Furi-chin in danger.' Himuro had assured him this wouldn't happen, that Akashi won't be as careless as to let anything harm Furihata; but the redhead had hurt Furihata before -- during their first meeting, when he'd stabbed Kagami; then when he'd left the mall. He wanted to argue more, but Furihata's fever was getting so bad that Atsushi let the whole thing slide. 

This doesn't mean that Atsushi would allow the doctor near Furihata with him around, though. Midorima shared the same opinion, stating that Furihata might be frightened and confused about a new presence, and advised Akashi to let the doctor observe from a distance. Akashi had reluctantly agreed, after much contemplation. The doctor had no problem with their arrangement, already well acquainted with the Akashis' quirks.

Furihata gazes at Momoi, eyes tracking her every movement with a slightly crazed look in his watery eyes. 'Furi-chin,' he unwraps a soda-flavoured lolly, 'do you want to talk to Sa-chin?' Furihata opens his mouth, the plastic stick dropping out, accepting the candy easily; he shakes his head slowly, grasping at a pair of baby chick plushies -- one brown and the other red -- glancing at Momoi with uncertainty, 'Momoi reminds me of someone,' he admits, forgoing the nickname.

He thinks he hears resentment but brushes it aside. 

'Who does Sa-chin remind you of?' Midorima raises an eyebrow, clearly intrigued as well, continuing his inspection. Atsushi gives the greying bruises the stinkeye, swearing up and down to kill those that hurt Furihata. The boy in question doesn't answer straight away, falling silent for a short period of time, toying with the plushies. 'Your shoulder is completely healed,' Midorima mutters, awed and confused. 'Oh, okay,' Furihata says absentmindedly, tilting his head to one side. 

Atsushi then realises that Furihata's hair is bleaching into a nice dark brown, he silently mourns for the loss of the unique two-tone hair.

'Hikari-nii's girlfriend,' Furihata whispers quietly, looking down shamefully. 'Hm?' He hums, confused, 'who's that?' Furihata huffs, pouting, 'Momoi reminds me of Hikari-nii's girlfriend. I don't like her.'

'Why?' Midorima asks, clearly offended that Momoi was being compared to someone else. Furihata's pout turns into a distasteful frown, 'she stole Hikari-nii from Shio-nii.'

There it is again, Shio. 

'Who is Shio?' Momoi pipes up, having overheard the conversation, 'you mentioned him just now, too.' Her hair was pulled up into a messy bun, some strands spilling out and falling over her shoulder; she was carrying a steaming cup of coffee, sipping on it as she continued typing into her tablet. Furihata's frown deepens, he seems to have realised how tired Momoi was, at the moment. Momoi glances up, waiting for her answer. 

Atsushi pats his head, giving him some reassurance. 'Our neighbour,' he answers, pointing out the window, 'he lives next to us.' Momoi hums, 'he was close with the both of you, right?' A nod, and then, 'Shio-nii likes my brother... I think.' 

'Oh,' Momoi startles, looking at him wide-eyed. 'Oh,' Kagami breathes, 'oh, no. He probably got a girlfriend to run away from him.' 

 


 

 

Satsuki isn't sure on how to deal with this influx of information; something's hurting Furihata, he's starting to hallucinate, Furihata Hikari and their neighbour's relationship -- she isn't sure if she wants this information. She peers into her cup, disappointed to find it empty, 'FuFu? Do you want to come downstairs? I think you've been in bed for too long.' Standing up, she collects herself. Sort out Furihata's problem first, then move on from there. Find out what's hurting him. Don't think about anything else. 

Furihata groans, hiding his face in Murasakibara's shirt, grumbling. It's cute, really, how grouchy he is when he's comfortable and doesn't want to move; nothing like the energetic boy from yesterday. 'Must I?' He whines, tugging at the shirt, threatening to topple the taller boy. Midorima chuckles, hauling him up, 'you need a bath, Furihata-kun.' Furihata hands limply in his arms, displeased.

'Can KaoKao and Himu help me?' He doesn't look at any of them, 'I think they'll be calmer than the rest of you.. when they see...' He looks away, uncomfortable. Kagami's grip on the pot threatens to break it into pieces, 'I think that'll be good,' he barely manages to grit out. The Akashis' family doctor sighs, packing up, 'I think it's time I left, Akashi-kun.' 

Akashi smiles pleasantly, 'thank you, doctor, I'm terribly sorry to have kept you here the whole night; your family must be worried. Allow me to see you to the door.' Tell me in perfect detail what's wrong with Kouki, is what he meant to say. The two of them depart, Midorima following shortly after, a disgruntled child in his arms. 

Satsuki sighs, fumbling with her tablet, tapping at it randomly, 'how old do you think he is today?' Kuroko shrugs, 'perhaps seven to eight? Although, if I'm not wrong... his brother had his first girlfriend in his second year of high school, and since the age gap is apparently quite small; I doubt he's that young.' She blinks at the revelation, 'just how much of his life does he tell you?'

'Furihata-kun has a bad habit of talking too fast, and saying too many things when he's nervous.' That's true. She notes it down, realising how expansive her file on him is. 'The age gap is a lot bigger, isn't it? Furi mentioned that his brother works as a college professor's assistant or something like that.' 

That makes a lot more sense, she hums, using what she's gathered to search up on Furihata Hikari. 'If we're able to contact him, we can find out what's causing all those weird marks.' Murasakibara growls, aggressively taking a large bite out of his rainbow belt, 'I'll bet all my candy it's bullies.' Kagami chimes in an agreement, 'yeah... remember how he said he was used to being bullied? I think Murasakibara's right.' 

She just wants all this to be over, she wants to see a happy, cheerful Furihata Kouki, the boy that has brought them together faster than ever. Her tablet pings, Furihata Hikari had replied with lightning speed, giving her what she needed, with pictures attached.

From: Furihata Hikari (furihata_0987@ju.net)

To: Momoi Satsuki (momoi@ymail.com)

Subject: Re: Furihata Kouki

Miss Momoi,

I'm terribly worried about what the contents of your previous email implied. Those injuries... seemed similar to that other time when a few boys from my high school found out about him trying to defend my first girlfriend from them. They'd beaten him up to pulp. I'm still not exactly sure what happened, as Kouki never told me the whole situation. Shio is the only who knew -- I'm going to assume that he told you about that guy. 

I understand that you're his friend, and you're looking after him in our stead, but please be careful about mentioning Shio... If I'm not wrong, this all happened when he was seven; so Shio's a rough spot for him. 

I have attached a few pictures of his injury report from the past, hopefully, these could help you. Unfortunately, I will not be able to return anytime soon. I would inform you once I'm available.

[Document 1] 

[Document 2]

]Picture Attachment 1]

Signed,

Furihata Hikari

Assistant Researcher

Department of Social Sciences

University of Japan

Her heart aches, lurching with anger and horror, reading the files with a rock growing in the depths of her stomach