Blitzkrieg, part four (2017-04-05)

yowling cat
outside my window
what is it you say?
though night falls
the dog next door
barks and barks away

trash bins lining
pockmarked roads
soldiers on their guard
streaking tail lights
sirens blaring
smoking wreckage charred

upon my skin
bright red ink
curves intertwined
pressure bruising
delicate vessels
wavering blue and lined

“What is it that you want to do with your life?” she asks, nowhere near as patronizing as she could have been. She is not asking the way his the school counselor does, ready to guide him on his way–university, training school, straight to work–but rather one honestly curious teen to another as equals. Or perhaps even one seeking the other as an example.

Often, choices are not a result of desire but of necessity.

“Maybe,” he says, hesitates, falls silent.

She does not prompt him to continue, does nothing but wait patiently and drink her tea. A snake poised, ready but still.

Snakes only attack those who encroach on their space.

He ponders and drinks his tea.

train tracks
clattering,
three am
whistles
beware,
look out,
railroad crossing
stay behind
the yellow line
incoming
southbound
four minutes
doors opening,
doors closing
on benches
we sit
skin prickling
excuse me,
fogged out
hunched over
strangers
waiting
same train

He has no future in basketball. He was never more than a one trick pony, an accessory to other, better players.

But that’s… selfish. It’s a self-centered way of thinking. Basketball has always been about more than raw talent and unstoppable techniques. It’s about teamwork and effort and the people that helped them win.

He has no future in playing basketball. He can’t compete on the court, not at the higher, professional levels. But that doesn’t mean he’s completely cut off from it. He can still be part of the world, even if he’s not center stage.

“Maybe,” he says again, still hesitant.

She watches, waits; doesn’t tell him to turn back.

She doesn’t need to.

precipice, propensity,
every little piece.
building, straining,
brand new world.

thread and needles,
winding through,
beneath our fingers,
a familiar pattern

preserve, procede
throw it all in the fire

This time, the card does not get hidden away, forgotten. This time, he enters the information to his phone, and offers his in return.

Superfluous, but appreciated for the gesture it is.

He tells his school counselor that he’d like to go to university, specialize in education or sports psychology. He wants to be a teacher or maybe a coach.

He has no future in playing basketball, but that does not mean basketball doesn’t have a future in him.

There is no need to rip himself away from that world entirely, jump headfirst into a world of shadow and flames and irreversible commitments.

There will be time for that later.

~

A/N: Word Prompt (S81): Stamp. Which doesn’t have anything to do with the ficlet, except for how it led me to writing it.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know what I was doing with this series, but it didn’t feel right to have Kuroko join Vongola out of high school (mostly because Tetsuki probably wouldn’t let him join Vongola out of high school). So I guess this is “the end” of the series. For now.

Like, mostly I just wanted them to meet. Maybe one day he will join Vongola (or act as an outside contractor, or he’ll be the teacher to the next wave of over powered teenagers) but that’s not… well. Never say never, I guess.

for the fake fic titles challenge: ‘blitzkrieg” kuroko no basuke, with kuroko and anyone else of your choice

Anon! Anoooooooooon! Aaaaaaaah! This would be the perfect title for the Trailblazers x KnB crossover I’ve been doing. I would totally love to use this as the title for that. Pleeeeeeease? It technically fits your prompt?

If not, then I guess a non crossover fic would probably be something like:

Blitzkrieg

Speed, strength, surprise–the three factors to victory. He has the last–has it in spades–but the first two?

He’s going to need help with that.

Okay so not a crossover, but maybe a slight AU. Unsure if I just want a Canon Divergence AU or an Age Swap AU, but basically after the Generation of Miracles falls apart in their Melodramatic Boy Band Breakup™, Kuroko finds the Aida gym (or is guided to the Aida gym?) and he and Riko become Friends™ where she basically whips him into shape.

He’ll never be Miracles worthy physically, but combined with a more active training of his misdirection and increase in his base ability will compound.

And along with Riko come the other second years who basically, as per canon, help Kuroko get over the Melodramatic Boy Band Breakup™ through the power of Friendship™.

Or maybe not second years if I do an Age Swap and Kuroko is the one that’s a year older. Hm, how would that even work?

Oh man, but that makes it sad since if Kuroko is a second year at Seirin and the basketball team doesn’t come about until Riko, Hyuuga, and Kiyoshi become first years then that means Kuroko deliberately chose to go to a school that didn’t have a basketball team. Which means the split up Generation of Miracles brawled it out their first year of high school without Kuroko and probably did not get the Emotional Closure™ they desperately needed.

That’s so awful.

I love it.

And it kind of puts an interesting spin on the Uncrowned Generals because they weren’t senpai swept away by a bunch of kouhai. They’re kouhai striving to match their senpai. Which, I mean, is kind of the usual and doesn’t seem all that compelling, but the idea that the Miracles is a kind of “one day maybe I’ll be that good” goal instead of a natural talent and good fortune sort of helps with the hard work can turn someone into a Miracle which Kuroko’s training would be aimed at.

Or perhaps, at first, it’s not really training.

Maybe Kuroko is Heartbroken™ after Melodramatic Boy Band Breakup™ but he isn’t ready to go back to basketball, which is why he chooses Seirin which has no team, but he still want to be ready and in shape for when/if he does go back. And I legit have no idea what his canon home life is like (headcanon is that it’s just really empty and sad) and he doesn’t even have a dog in this AU so maybe he tries to get a job at the Aida gym. He doesn’t really need money, since his parents are providers if nothing else, but he just wants a reason to be out of the house.

Most places he can’t really work at because his unconscious misdirection means he can’t really be in customer service jobs or even, you know, apply. But while the Aidas aren’t immune to his misdirection, they do kind of learn the trick to perceive Kuroko and it’s not like he’s working there to be a trainer. He’s probably just doing stuff like cleaning the equipment, making sure everything thing is organized properly.

OH!

So when Riko becomes a first year and the basketball team is being made at first she asks Kuroko to be the manager 😀

Because he already does basically that at the gym and it’s not like he’s told her the truth about the Melodramatic Boy Band Breakup™ so as far as she knows he was just a third string on the Teikou team–loved the sport but couldn’t play at all. Which isn’t exactly wrong.

Oh man! Yeah! And then Seirin’s first practice game Kisei’s just like–wtf, Kurokocchi why are you not in a uniform? And everyone’s just baffled because Kuroko is their manager and why is a Miracle talking to him?

Unsure how old Kagami should be… He wouldn’t go to a school with no basketball team, surely, so he wouldn’t have gone to Seirin if he were also age swapped like Kuroko. He could be a new second year, I guess… hm…

Uh. My bad, I’ve gotten off track.

Basically, anon, Age Swap Kuroko and Riko Friendship™

(But please can I use the title for the Trailblazers x KnB crossover series, please?)

Blitzkrieg, part three (2017-02-08)

brushing past
strangers in a crowd
wishes
falling from your hand

curled beneath
smothering sheets
blankets and paperwork
tangled

a misstep
melody carries on
blisters and threadbare shoes
whisper of devotion

It’s early afternoon when she shows up, and he’s not sure why that seems odd to him.

Not sure why it feels like she ought to have showed up in the middle of the night. Broken down his door, flashing green lights and danger in her hands.

It’s weird to see her in the light of day, even though that’s how they met last time.

Last time she wasn’t wearing a suit and tie, lethal as a bullet

He feels underdressed in his street ball clothes.

pressure against my skull
squeezing ideas into diamonds,
ruthless bitter pills of starlight
scraping inside my throat,
swallowed down gasps
along with every little fear,
hidden beneath my skin
a map of the far flung exit.

Run.

“Congratulations,” says lightning bolt in green ink, “on Seirin’s victory, Kuroko-san,” the smile on her face as sharp and well-crafted as the suit she wears.

This is not the girl who bought a stranger a vanilla milkshake as an apology while scarfing down a sandwich and chips heedlessly. This is not the girl who told him he was too trusting, told him to beware treading into stormy waters.

This is the girl whose parlor trick can slice through metal. The girl who didn’t deny homicide as a possible–and even feasible–method of secret keeping.

The girl who could see him in a crowd when nobody else could.

A crest and a uniform and a girl who can do impossible things.

Just because they’re only meeting again now doesn’t mean that she and the others–the ones she needed to consult with, the ones who had sent her on a job in the first place–hadn’t been keeping tabs on him the entire time.

His life is not a mystery to them.

It’s not as much of a surprise as he thought it would be.

“Thank you,” he says, “It’s nice to see you again.”

The smile he gets this time is truer, but no less sharp, “You too.”

footprints in the dirt
candle at the crossroads
the devil appears
and laughs

can’t trade away
what’s no longer yours

stained glass hopes
prayer books in the pews
vulnerability
unanswered

no rest for the wicked

They go back to his house, same as before, two cups of tea.

She does not need to look around and observe the details of his life.

She already knows.

Except.

“I’ll be honest. I’m not sure why you’ve contacted me,” she says. “You’re not in any trouble, and there are plenty of people who can see you now.”

You’re not that desperate, lonely boy anymore, she doesn’t say.

They watch the steam rise from their cups, silent.

“Do you play basketball?” he asks, finally, after the lull has passed.

She shakes her head, “My choice of extracurricular activities were more individual than that. Archery and aikido,” she explains.

“Were?” he repeats.

Her mouth tightens for a moment, “I have other obligations now,” she says, and it doesn’t take a genius to understand what she’s referring to.

“I love basketball,” he says, like it’s torn out of him, like a confession, “but I don’t have a future there.”

Not like his former teammates, not like Kagami-kun. The only edges he had in games were determination and misdirection. Neither of them can sustain a career in basketball.

“Why did you ask me to meet you?” she asks, already beginning to piece it together.

He has no future in basketball. But that doesn’t mean he has no future elsewhere.

He looks at her: suit and obligations, green ink on ivory card stock.

There’s a future there, even if he’s not sure he wants it.

Blitzkrieg, part two (2017-02-05)

scurrying, chittering
crumbs on the floor
tiny paws, tiny mouths
patient and afraid

thudding and whining
along comes the dog
tamed and shameless
but well fed

beware the cat

No one is at home.

This is not a surprise.

No one is ever at home.

The girl–“it might be better if we don’t know each other’s names yet”–looks around curiously. He wonders what she sees, if she can spot the details of his life as easily as she could perceive him in a crowd.

“Please come in,” he says, toeing off his shoes and placing them neatly in the cubby by the door.

“Ah, please excuse me,” she responds by reflex, and doing the same with her own shoes.

“My house,” he says, inanely, as he guides her to the dining room, “You said somewhere private would be better. Would you like tea?”

“If it’s not any trouble,” she says, looking at him–and what a surprise that is every time–expression confused and nearly concerned, “I thought maybe you’d bring me to an empty park or something like that, not your house.”

He shrugs, kettle heating, preparing two cups.

“You’re overly trusting,” she chides, and perhaps, in a way, she’s right.

It’d be more accurate to say he’s desperate.

eight strokes
empty
horizon curving
endless nonexistent

at the heart
of every wish
is a lack

Over cups of steaming tea, the girl tells him about impossibilities. Powers beyond human capability sealed away within every human on the planet.

He thinks maybe she is playing a cruel trick–he her gullible audience–until she actually shows him.

It costs him one hundred yen, but she gives the sliced halves of the coin right back.

“Mine are Lightning Flames,” she explains, fingernail sparking bright green.

The expression on his face must speak for itself, because she continues, “Yeah, I’m not sure why they’re called that. There’s a kind called Rain too and it basically acts just like water does. Really, the only type which has a name that makes sense is the Sun Flames.”

“And you think I have these Flames, too?” he asks, hopeful but doubting. He’s only ever been a shadow–or maybe a lens if he’s being generous–to someone else’s light.

Again that expression of pity and guilt flickers over her face. She hesitates.

“… not yet.”

the absence of pleasure
is apathy
numbness spreading
cold skin

the absence of pain
is pleasure
relief and recovery
salt copper heat

which is stronger?
which is true?

“I need to consult with the others,” she says, firm in her denial, “I don’t know how much is safe to tell you yet. There’s the very real risk that if I tell you more–”

“–you’ll have to kill me?” he interrupts, disappointed and snide because of it.

Her silence is rebuke and confirmation both, enough that he stops. Remember the coin, his blood seems to sing, how easily she split the metal as if paper.

The sound of her putting on her shoes is simultaneously ominous and reassuring.

“My card,” she says, which jars him out of his fear. “I know, right? What kind of teenager has business cards–how pretentious,” she rolls her eyes as she holds out the card.

Ivory card stock with rich green letters providing an email address and phone number. No name, though, only a strange crest at the top and a lightning bolt below that.

“There are dangerous secrets in this world,” she warns, “but if you decide you really want to know or if you need my help… if you think the knowledge is worth the danger. Then you’ll know how to reach me.”

He takes the card.

She leaves, still nameless to him.

The card goes into a desk drawer, forgotten for almost two years.

Blitzkrieg, part one (2017-02-02)

No
she chokes out
heart in her throat
pulse and breath
teeth biting into
muscle and sinew
blood on her tongue.
No

“Oh,” says the girl, sidelong glance unsurprised, “Nice trick.”

For a moment he doesn’t understand, glances around to see who she might be speaking to. Surely it can’t be him.

There are people walking, yes, but the crowd flows around them like a river around a rock. Unheeding, unaware.

“I’m talking to you,” she says, head turning, gaze more focused. Looking directly at him.

“You can see me?”

We were the fallen,
sunlight through grey clouds,
air heavy
foreboding.

The sweet relief
of closed eyes,
secrets hidden behind
a false dream.

Scraping feet
scratching nails,
one two rhythm
of being on the run.

We were the fallen,
without wings or fire
or swords
empty.

The chatter of the restaurant is annoying, but all the better to cover their conversation.

“Vanilla milkshake,” she says, placing it on the table in front of him. Already the glass is beading with condensation, confection spilling over with cream and sprinkles.

Across from him she sits, sandwich and chips in a bright red basket, sliced pickle on the side.

“I’m surprised no one tried to steal the table,” she says, gesturing to the crowd waiting–standing room only.

“It’s not really invisibility,” he tries to explain, “It’s just that people don’t notice me.”

“Except for me,” she says, matter of fact, before biting into her sandwich.

“Yes,” he says, “except for you…”

They sit in near silence, chewing sounds notwithstanding, as he considers the situation.

“What did you mean by nice trick?” he asks, finally.

She pauses, swallows, furrows her brow, “Well, I thought you were doing it on purpose.”

the world sighs
scars forgotten
shuddering fearing
another blow

two minutes
to midnight
hands creeping
forward

quickly quietly
the loss of faith
sudden and sharp
our last

“If this is what you’re like without training,” she continues, as if her words aren’t currently shaking his foundations, “You’ll probably be ridiculously powerful if you ever get activated properly.”

Training? Activated? Powerful?

Him? The boy nobody can see?

Impossible.

“Anyway,” she adds, finishing up her basket–the sandwich long consumed, the pickle and chips swiftly disappearing–before wiping off the grease on her fingers, “I didn’t mean to freak you out. I’m only here for a short job, so don’t worry about running into me again.”

She stands up, the action jarring him out of his thoughts.

“Enjoy the milkshake, yeah? As an apology,” she says, before leaving.

“W-wait, please!” He calls out, hand reaching out, but not touching. The look she casts is forbidding, warning. He wouldn’t dare.

But she stops and humors him anyway.

“What did you mean about…” he trails off, unsure. He doesn’t know enough to ask questions, only knows that he has questions.

A different expression flickers over her face: pity tinged with guilt.

“It’s called Flames.”

~

A/N: Many moons ago, when Trailblazers was still its original fully titled Trailblazers Bright and Bold, I wrote tiny snippets set in a TBaB and Kuroko no Basket fusion in which somehow Kuroko was Tetsuki’s son and she travelled in time to meet him? I don’t know, it was based off an even stranger dream in which Kuroko was her son that her future self travelled back in time to give birth to such that they were the same age at the same time.

Anyway, this is not that.

But I still kind of liked the idea that Kuroko’s misdirection ability was due to unactivated Wave Energy (and that the other Generation of Miracle’s abilities were also unactivated Wave Energy spilling over into their basketball style), and so this is what shook out.

I don’t know if I’ll do anything more with it, but I was fond of the idea–strange as it was–and what better way to express that than writing it out after a shitty day at work 😀

edit: This crossover series is now called Blitzkrieg!