lacewood: (Default)
Pei Yi ([personal profile] lacewood) wrote in [community profile] toxicskyremix2015-03-08 09:48 pm

kuroko no basket - right where you left it

For [tumblr.com profile] chippokenabokura. Vague spoilers for the manga ending.

-----

The day after he returns from America, Teppei wakes in the too-early hours of the morning and goes for a run.

It’s Saturday and the streets are quiet but the city is already beginning to wake. Early morning delivery trucks rumble past him on their rounds, the shops half-shuttered while their owners bustle behind their “Closed” signs, and the ocassional housewife or retiree looks up from their garden as he passes. Nothing has changed; in the lull, he can almost believe that he never left.

It’s a small reassurance, but it steadies him.

He doesn’t think about where he’s going, just traces a winding, ciruitous route with no greater aim or purpose than the wind in his face. He doesn’t notice where he’s ended up until a girl’s voice shatters the morning peace with a determined yell.

“Kiyoshi-niisan! Stooooop!” Teppei runs three more steps before a second howl of, “Kiyoshi-niisaaaan! Come baaaack!” pierces the haze of his surprise. He stops, turns, and finally realises that he’s right in front of Izuki’s house and his younger sister is waving at him from her bedroom window

He lifts a hand in a quizzical wave, and she gestures for him to come to the house. He backtracks to their gate and she vanishes from her window. After a brief wait, a bleary-eyed Izuki slides their front door open and shuffles down the driveway.

“You’re up early,” Teppei says when he unlatches the gate to let him in. It’s baely seven.

“I don’t think even the dead could have slept through that,” Izuki says, and covers a yawn. “The whole neighbourhood must be wide awake now.”

“There can’t be that many dead people in your neighbourhood,” Teppei observes. “I’m sure it’s not that bad.”

Izuki looks nonplussed, then huffs a sigh that might also be a laugh and says, “You haven’t changed at all, huh? It’s way too early in the morning for this.”

“I didn’t expect Mai to be so happy to see me,” Teppei says, because he’s still quite baffled by his reception.

“I told her you got back yesterday, so she must have been waiting to see if you’d pass by. She’s really excited about this.”

“This…?”

“You’ll see in a moment,” Izuki says. “Come on.” He leads him past the house, passing through the garden to the back.

Teppei hears the barking long before he actually sees Maruo. Something about it sounds different, but he’s not sure what - and then he rounds the corner and sees that it wasn’t Maruo barking after all. Izuki’s backyard has been invaded by a small army of puppies, and Mai and Maruo are in the middle of them, swamped in an energetic, yapping pile of fur.

He comes to a stop and blinks.

“I was going to tell you, but Hyuuga said it should be a surprise. I think it’s his idea of revenge or something,” Izuki says.

One of the puppies detaches itself from its siblings to wander over. Kiyoshi kneels and offers it a hand, and it sniffs him with fearless curiosity and lets him pet it. It’s white and black and looks a little like Maruo but also a lot like--

He pauses and says, “Ah.”

“Remind you of anyone?” Izuki says from behind him, and Kiyoshi doesn’t need to look up to know he’s grinning.

“... Nigou?” Kiyoshi says.

“Bingo! Coach was pretty mad that we all forgot about getting Nigou neutered, but we really didn’t realise how big he’s gotten until this happened. They grow faster than you think they should.”

“What are you going to do with them?” Kiyoshi asked. Izuki’s garden is roomy for a house in Tokyo, but he counts at least six puppies in the chaos and it’s certainly not going to be big enough for all of them and Maruo.

“Mai-chan’s hoping we can keep at least one, and Coach is trying to persuade her dad to let her take one too. Everyone’s asking around for the rest. But your grandparents already said they’ll take one.”

Kiyoshi looks up, startled. “My grandparents?”

Izuki smiles. “They helped take care of Nigou when you weren’t around. Your grandmother says it makes the place feel livelier, but they’ll leave it up to you to choose which puppy.”

His grandparents must have been a little lonely after all, even though they’d told him they were fine. But maybe not too lonely, if they had Nigou and the team looking after them. Kiyoshi hms, and a second puppy decides to climb into his lap.

That’s the thing about surprises, right? They catch you unawares, just when you thought you were safe, that maybe all the waiting months had never passed, that everything had stayed right where you left it. But life doesn’t work that way. People can’t stay where you leave them.

Everyone’s been busy while he was gone. But sometimes, you come back and find puppies.

“It’s a good surprise,” he says, and smiles up at Izuki. “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome-welcome back!” Izuki promptly quips, like he’s been waiting for just this opening. He looks so proud of himself that Kiyoshi sits back and laughs for him under the morning sun.

He thinks of the rest of the team, of the first years he hasn’t even met yet except in photographs and grainy video clips, of the games he couldn’t play and the games he can - will. The year’s far from over, and there’s work still to be done, even for him.

Especially for him.

“Sorry to keep you waiting,” he says. “I’m back.”



end

December 2014

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