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Two Sides of A Coin But Only One Edge

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The scene is a dirty little bar, on the surface no different from the dozens of others just like it situated in the single tiny and crowded space port on this damp little rock. But to someone with finely tuned senses, like Mayuzumi and Akashi, the presence of a Jedi – even a retired one – sets this bar apart from the rest. There are those who are good at hiding what they are – Mayuzumi is one of the best, this Jedi is not.

“How is this guy not dead yet,” Mayuzumi murmurs soundlessly to Akashi in shock, half relying on the bond between them and Akashi’s uniquely precise mastery of the Force to let himself be heard over the raucous partying happening all around them.

“Nijimura is hard to kill,” Akashi replies blandly. He makes no effort to lower his voice at all; but then, he’s not the one with the price on his head.

A drunk Hutt stumbles into their path, and the conversation is killed while Mayuzumi and Akashi try to dodge the obstacle without hinting at their mastery of the Force. Mayuzumi thinks he did pretty well, but when he looks up Nijimura is staring in their direction.

He turns to look at Akashi, but all he gets is a view of the brat’s back as he makes his unerring way towards Nijimura. He does wait for Mayuzumi to come up beside him before he starts to speak, but his words simply remind Mayuzumi just how much he despises Akashi sometimes.

“Master, it has been a long time.”

Nijimura turns his eyes from Akashi to Mayuzumi’s shocked face and says, “Akashi. I see you haven’t changed. Is there any point in reminding you that I’m not your master anymore?”

Mayuzumi hadn’t even tried to hide his surprise at Akashi’s words. One look at Nijimura had told him he’s good, good enough that Mayuzumi has no way of deceiving him without any prior warning to prepare himself.

“I’m afraid we have no time for pleasantries,” Akashi says, not sounding sorry at all. “We need to speak to you in private.”

Nijimura snorts. “Yup, still the same old Akashi.” He shakes his head. “What if I told you I have plenty of time for chitchat? We can talk about all that’s happened since I retired. Such as the fact that you dropped completely off the radar and no one’s seen neither hide nor hair of you until now. Or the fact that you come up to me with a notorious Sith wanted by the Order.”

“I’m retired.” Mayuzumi shrugs. It’s like Akashi had said, this guy really isn’t going to hand him in. But that doesn’t mean Mayuzumi have to just stand here and take it.

“Oh are you,” Nijimura says drily, running his eyes up and down Mayuzumi pointedly, stopping deliberately at his hidden lightsaber.

“I’m as retired as you are,” Mayuzumi amends, doing his own pointed staring at where Nijimura has hidden his own lightsaber.

Akashi must have had enough of their exchange, because he sighs sharply and says, “I trust him.”

Both Mayuzumi and Nijimura turn to look at him in surprise. Mayuzumi doesn’t think he’s ever heard Akashi say something so nice about him; he almost believes the kid.

“Come on then,” Nijimura says, coming to some sort of decision. He stands nonchalantly and leads the way out of the bar. “My ship – the Incandescent – isjust over there. I’m guessing you guys came in on the Misty Point, that’s the only ship that came in recently that’s willing to haul people like you.”

“You know the Misty Point?” Akashi asks mildly, eyes looking out at the uninspiring view. Mayuzumi doesn’t know why he bothers. As if Nijimura isn’t reading him like an open book - reading both of them like an open book.

“I know them,” Nijimura grunts, looking at Akashi out of the corner of his eye. “They’re not the sort of people you want to have anything to do with.”

“Are you talking about in general or me specifically?” Akashi finally turns to look at Nijimura. “You would say that about the Misty Point, but not him?” Akashi waves a hand airily at Mayuzumi plodding docilely beside him.

“You trust him,” Nijimura says. “If you say you trust the Misty Point then you really have changed.”

“Of course I don’t trust the Misty Point.” Akashi is pouting in outrage at the claim. Mayuzumi doesn’t blame him. Insinuating that someone trusts the Misty Point is like implying that they are as dumb as a droid. Dumber, because even droids probably wouldn’t trust the Misty Point. “But they are useful.”

“For a given value of use if that includes the 100% probability that they will stab you in the back when you are least expecting it one day.” It is a pity Mayuzumi is predisposed to hating this guy, everything he says makes sense – more sense than Akashi’s ever made.

“Then you understand how important it is to us to be able to meet you,” Akashi says quietly. In the best of all possible timings, they reach the hanger that houses Nijimura’s ship and Mayuzumi is spared the horror of watching Akashi further expose his vulnerability in an attempt to appeal to the guy’s…compassion? Concern? Mayuzumi doesn’t know and would rather it never happened.

Nijimura seems to feel the same, because he quickly ushers them inside the Incandescent without any more attempts at conversation. The interior of the ship is spartan, but well cared for; what repairs Mayuzumi can see have been done meticulously if not professionally. The kitchen area Nijimura takes them to is the same; there isn’t much to it, just a place to heat dishes and some bolted down stools that – to Mayuzumi’s practiced eye – have not been there for long. So he is expecting guests. But is he expecting them?

Akashi makes himself at home on a stool and Mayuzumi follows suit while Nijimura move confidently in the small space. It is not long before the soothing scent of tea fills the place and Mayuzumi finds himself relaxing for the first time since they boarded the Misty Point and started this whole hare-brained journey.

Nijimura isn’t such a bad guy, Mayuzumi decides magnanimously as the retired Jedi gives them ample time to sit and enjoy the tea before he starts the conversation again. “So what’s the big deal that’s got you cutting all ties with the Jedi Order, teaming up with a Sith, and going as far as to use the Misty Point to come looking for little old me?”

“On the day you left the Order, I went to you and asked you why. You told me that I would understand someday. Do you remember?” Akashi says, concentrating completely on his tea.

“Yeah, I remember,” Nijimura says softly. “The truth is, I had hoped that you would understand someday, but I was never sure if you would or not. Or if you would realise before you do something you regret.”

The pause is obviously meant to prompt Akashi to say something, but he keeps his eyes on his cup and makes no move to acknowledge it.

“Is this about what happened to Kuroko?” Nijimura offers.

“You’ve heard,” Akashi says pointlessly, taking a sip of tea, “I don’t know if I understand yet or not. But I do know that what they are going to do to Tetsuya is wrong.”

“So you’re coming to me to, what? Break into a maximum security cell deep in the heart of the Jedi Order? Guarded by, let me remind you, some of the best Jedi in the galaxy – including our compatriots. And for what? To break him out? What if he doesn’t want to leave? What if he agrees with their ruling?”

“Well, when you put it like that, it does sound crazy doesn’t it,” Mayuzumi adds. Akashi’s looking a little crazy around the eyes, time to tone the mood down a little.

“And what’s your part in this?” Nijimura turns to Mayuzumi for the first time since they reached his ship.

“Hot sex with Akashi,” Mayuzumi says promptly, relishing in the small furrow between Nijimura’s brows. Nijimura doesn’t look like he believes him, but he does looks over at Akashi instead.

“We met after I left the Order,” Akashi says in reply to the expectant gaze. “I hadn’t yet decided what to do then. But I knew that I didn’t agree, and that I needed a place to think – away from the Order and their unbending beliefs. That was when I found Mayuzumi on a tiny little moon not unlike this one. I could tell he was a Sith, though I didn’t know exactly who he was at the time, but I could also tell that he had no interest in doing anything. I was…interested.”

“Imagine my surprise when I see this guy who looks like someone’s rich heir decided to go slumming it in anonymity comes up to me and chats me up.” Mayuzumi picks up the thread. “Imagine my further surprise when, after some mind-blowing sex, it turns out he’s a Jedi who already knew I was a Sith.”

“So what, the sex was so good you decided to follow him in breaking into maximum security?” Nijimura still has that little furrow between his brows.

“Nah. I won’t say the sex isn’t great, but the prospect of messing with the Jedi is just a lot of fun, that’s all.” Mayuzumi takes a big gulp of tea.

“You know what they’d do to you if they catch you.” Nijimura narrows his eyes.

“Nothing more than what they would do to you,” Mayuzumi points out.

Once again, Akashi cuts into their exchange before they go any further. “Nijimura, you seem to be aware of everything already. Before we even got here. So surely you already have an answer for me.”

“Yeah,” Nijimura admits, “you’re not the only people who decided to come to me about Kuroko. But I heard from Hanamiya that he’s bringing over someone interesting, someone who wants to meet me, so I decided to wait here a bit longer.”

Akashi blinks in surprise at the reveal, then sighs. “Aomine and Momoi?”

“And Kise,” Nijimura confirms.

Meanwhile, Mayuzumi is still in shock because, “You’re on good terms with the captain of the Misty Point?!”

“I wouldn’t exactly say we’re on good terms.” Nijimura winced. “This is the Misty Point we’re talking about here. But I know Hanamiya; he knows not to mess with me. And he…keeps me updated.”

“Impressive,” Mayuzumi admits grudgingly.

“Anyway,” Nijmura runs a hand through his hair roughly. “If you guys are also planning to break Kuroko out, that’s great. The more the merrier. We can go together since I’m meeting up with Aomine and the others anyway.”

“Where are they right now?” Akashi asks, putting his now empty cup gently down on the counter.

“On Seirin,” Nijimura replies, standing up and tidying away the cups now that they’ve all finished. “It’s where Kuroko was stationed, right? And where that guy he got together with is from?”

“Kagami,” Akashi confirms. “That makes sense. Kuroko has a lot of supporters on Seirin. As non-Jedi they won’t care that he went against the Order.”

“Yeah, it’s the smart thing to do.” Nijimura smirks. “Momoi probably came up with it since the alternatives are Aomine or Kise. Midorima’s probably still playing hard to get, but knowing him he’ll join us sooner or later.” Nijimura pauses, looking at Akashi shrewdly. “That just leaves Murasakibara.”

“Do you think he will join us?” Akashi says mockingly. There is something dark in his eyes.

“You’d be surprised,” Nijimura tells him frankly.

“Will I?” is all Akashi says.

The mood is getting heavy again, and Nijimura doesn’t look like he has any answers. Mayuzumi decides to change the subject. “So how long from here to Seirin?”

“Not long,” Nijimura says. “It’s pretty close. We leave now, and we’ll get there in about a month with this ship.” He pats one wall kindly as he saunters towards the cockpit. With nothing else to do, Mayuzumi and Akashi follow behind him obediently.

Watching someone pilot a ship isn’t any more interesting when the person doing it is a Jedi using his mastery of the Force to do things that no normal person can. Mostly because it’s the kind of thing that Mayuzumi himself does all the time. So he does what he always does when he’s bored, turn to Akashi seated beside him and lean down until his lips meet the shell of that perfectly formed ear.

“Mayuzumi,” Akashi gasps in pleasure, “stop that.” But he leans his body towards Mayuzumi anyway, one hand coming down heavily on his thigh.

“Are you guys having sex in my cockpit?” Nijimura asks indignantly, most of his concentration still on the screens in front of him as he navigates the ship out into space.

“I’m sure such an experienced pilot like you can fly this ship in much harsher conditions,” Mayuzumi replies carelessly. He’s half out of his seat by now, mouthing against Akashi’s collarbone with both hands sneaking under his shirt to thumb at his nipples. Akashi has stopped protesting by now and is returning the favour by rubbing at Mayuzumi’s erection through his trousers.

Nijimura groans. “Just keep it down will ya? The Stationmaster’s still on the other end.”

Faintly, Mayuzumi can hear someone say, “Are there people having sex on your ship, Nijimura? As Stationmaster, it is my duty to inspect ships before I let them leave, you know. Let me see!” But he’s too busy sucking on Akashi’s nipple to care. Above him, Akashi is covering his mouth with one hand to keep his moans from slipping out. It’s not working. Mayuzumi makes sure of that, both hands down Akashi’s trousers and teasing him as much as he can while he bites down gently on the nipple he had been sucking.

They’re both getting into it by this point. Akashi stretching out one foot to press down on the front of Mayuzumi’s trousers, with both hands wound round Mayuzumi’s neck to keep his face pressed against his nipple. Mayuzumi, having taken all of Akashi’s clothes off, easily stretches one hand further back so that he is pressing against that strip of skin between balls and hole, while his other hand plays with the tip of Akashi’s erection.

In fact, they are so into it, Mayuzumi almost forgets where they are and is unpleasantly surprised when he feels Nijimura focusing on them instead of in front him. “Are we distracting you, Captain?” he says, finally freeing his head from Akashi’s death grip.

Nijimura is looking at them with something odd in his eyes. Experience tells Mayuzumi that it is not quite jealousy, and not quite lust; faint memories of a time Mayuzumi no longer has any connection to tells him that there is concern in that look. That Nijimura cares. No wonder he left the Jedi Order.

“Wanna join?” Mayuzumi asks carelessly, looking up at Akashi. The way he looks down steadily at Mayuzumi, then turns wordlessly to face Nijimura – Mayuzumi can tell he wants it.

“My bed is this way,” is all Nijimura says. A quick tap of the keys puts the ship onto autopilot, and then Nijimura is standing and leading the way out of the cockpit.

Mayuzumi and Akashi stand as one, the connection between them helping as they crowd Nijimura in front of them. Akashi has pride of place draped over Nijimura’s back, rubbing his face into his spine. Mayuzumi doesn’t know what it means, but it’s obvious that there’s a reason behind it from the way Nijimura stiffens and groans painfully. It’s a good thing the distance is a short one, because Nijimura’s erection is starting to look painful by the time they get to the bed. Part of that is Mayuzumi’s fault, since he keeps biting at Nijimura’s ear and neck, trying to find the places that will make him moan even more.

But it seems Nijimura has had enough of being ganged up on, because he twists and grabs Akashi under his armpits the moment they get to the bed and heaves the two of them onto it. Without giving him time to get used to it, Nijimura immediately goes down and starts sucking at Akashi’s cock. Mayuzumi takes the time to enjoy the view for a bit, before Akashi starts squirming in Nijimura’s grip and turning to Mayuzumi to look at him imploringly.

Mayuzumi is very aware that he is being deliberately enticed. He doesn’t really care. Joining them on the bed, Mayuzumi pulls Akashi into a sitting position then shifts behind him. Lifting Akashi into his lap, Mayuzumi lays Akashi’s erection on top of his own and clamps Akashi’s legs shut between his. They both moan at the friction, but Mayuzumi has a better idea. “Ever sucked two cocks at once? You up for it?”

Nijimura rolls his eyes. “You don’t need to keep challenging me, you know,” he grumbles. But his body is honest and Mayuzumi can tell his dick stiffened at his words.

It is the best idea Mayuzumi had ever had, and he had had a lot of good ideas when it comes to sex. It helps that Nijimura is really good at giving head. He knows just where to apply pressure, when to suck; the exact timing to play with their balls when sucking at the very tip and using his tongue to play with their slits. The view is great too, of course, that irreverent mouth full to bulging around their erections, the way his eyes narrow and brows furrow in concentration trying to take them both. Mayuzumi knows he’s more into this than Akashi is, so he’s expecting it when he comes first. But he takes the chance given to him, and uses the fact that both Akashi and Nijimura were taken by surprise to slide his hands under Akashi’s knees and spread his legs wide, so that everything is fully laid out. “Wanna get fucked?” he whispers in Akashi’s ear.

Akashi is looking at Nijimura when he says, “Yes, please.”

Nijimura licks his lips. “Alright.”

In a weird synchronicity, possibly because of the great sex, both Mayuzumi and Nijimura spit into their palms at the same time. Mayuzumi is slightly faster in shoving his finger inside Akashi, but Nijimura is there soon enough. There is a weird thrill in working Akashi open with someone else; not nearly as disrupting as Mayuzumi was expecting. In fact, it’s…intimate.

Mayuzumi cuts that thought off before it can take root and takes out his fingers. “All ready,” he says as mockingly as he can, ignoring Akashi’s fingers digging into his arm.

Nijimura looks at him for a moment, then takes the cue and sinks his erection inside. Akashi gasps at the suddenness, and claws at Nijimura in retaliation. It has the exact effect he’s going for, because Nijimura gives a high-pitched gasp and grasps Akashi’s hips tightly, his own pumping back and forth relentlessly. Mayuzumi just sits and enjoys the view for a moment, before he takes the invitation Akashi gives through his arched back and starts twisting lightly at his nipples.

Mayuzumi can tell Nijimura can’t last much longer, not with Akashi squirming and moaning non-stop between them. The only thing that’s stopping Akashi from coming is his own hand grasping tightly at the base of his erection. But Mayuzumi underestimates Nijimura’s tenacity, and can’t help but watch in grudging admiration as Nijimura slows down the speed of his thrusts and starts changing the angle every time he pulls out. He finds what he’s looking for soon enough, and Akashi lasts through two strikes against his prostate before he is coming between them, come flying all over both his and Nijimura’s chests. Satisfied, Nijimura thrusts one more time and comes deep inside, prompting another moan from Akashi.

The three of them lie on the bed for a while, listening to each other breath. But it is not meant to last. “Why did you disappear?” Nijimura asks into the quiet.

Akashi takes a deep breath. “You were right. You were right all along and they were wrong. It’s all so stupid. Running away like children from the things that scare us. As if that will make the scary things go away. The Order isn’t strong, it’s weak. Because it doesn’t know how to deal with emotions and it doesn’t try to learn and all we are doing is fooling ourselves that we are dealing with it when we are not.”

“I think you’re giving me too much credit,” Nijimura says drily. “I couldn’t do what the Order asked of me so I left. That’s all there is to it. Whether that makes me a better person or not isn’t really something I ever thought much about.”

“Maybe you have point.” Mayuzumi is convinced Akashi would never have said that if it wasn’t for the great sex. He doesn’t know how to feel about that. Nijimura seems to realise it too, because he sighs but doesn’t press any further.

“We should get cleaned up,” Mayuzumi offers into the awkward silence. He has no interest in being the reasonable one, but they do have to put up with each other in an enclosed space for the next month. No point in making things unbearable.

Chapter Text

“Kurochin, it’s breakfast time,” Murasakibara drawls in his usual lazy cadence as he brings Kuroko the simple meal he is entitled to as a prisoner awaiting the ruling of the Jedi Council.

“Thank you, Murasakibara,” Kuroko says calmly, not at all sounding like someone who is about to have their connection to the Force sealed off and obligated to spend the rest of their life half-blind and deaf.

Murasakibara deposits the tray of food gracelessly on the table near the entrance then turns to Kuroko, who has been meditating on the bed as usual, and says, “They’ve made a decision. They’re going to cut off your connection to the Force. As punishment.”

“Punishment for what?” Kuroko asks. “They still have not told me what I am charged with, especially since I have not done anything.”

“Maybe not, maybe you were never going to do anything,” Murasakibara says agreeably. “But the point is that because of your incarceration, Akachin has disappeared off the grid completely – apparently gone to meet up with his old master and a Sith, Minechin ,Kisechin and Sacchin have been raising a fuss and acting out, and Midochin hasn’t been back at headquarters this whole time even though the Council recalled him ages ago.” Looking at Kuroko’s blank face, Murasakibara sighs. “The Council can’t admit that they were wrong, that they had acted too rashly while there’s still no proof that you had broken any rules, not with things like this already. They need to come down hard on all the dissidents, and prove that they’re still in control.”

“This is not how Jedi exercise control,” Kuroko says resolutely. Finally, that old spark is back in his eyes.

“But this is what they have decided,” says Murasakibara bluntly.

Chapter Text

Seirin is a tidy little colony; everything buffed to a shine and enveloped in a stench of newness so strong it makes Nijimura pre-emptively sorry for it. Colony Seirin had only been officially opened two years ago, to take advantage of the mining discoveries on Asteroid Belt 9682; it has no connections, no patrons, and it’s only protector was Kuroko. In a way, it’s a good thing Nijimura is no longer under the rule of the Jedi Order; his conscience would never have allowed him to bring such trouble to a vulnerable little place like this. But then, if Nijimura had still been following the Jedi Order’s directives, he wouldn’t be here at all.

“Having second thoughts?” Mayuzumi says from beside him, reminding Nijimura that his ship is no longer a sanctuary of one.

“Not exactly,” Nijimura replies shortly, then relents. “Just wondering if coming to Seirin is a good idea.”

“It’s as good a place as anywhere else.” Mayuzumi shrugs. “The good thing about infiltrating something as complacent as the Jedi Order is that they’re not expecting anything. If it were me, I’d have had Seirin on surveillance the moment Kuroko came under custody.”

“Doing so would mean the Jedi Order is expecting dissent. And that would raise qualms as to the rightness of the Order’s actions,” Akashi says drily, finally joining them in the cockpit as Nijimura finalises the landing of the Incandescent.

“And we can’t have that,” Mayuzumi intones, following up seamlessly.

Luckily, the rest of the formalities in entering Seirin goes off without a peep from the peanut gallery. Something Nijimura wishes could be true all the time.

The captain of Seirin’s tiny police squad and the official government overseer are both waiting for them when they exit the ship. Junpei Hyuuga is the bespectacled captain who nods at them curtly, mouth pressed into a white line and impatience radiating from him in waves. The government overseer is Riko Aida, who at least has the wherewithal to smile politely – not that it fools any of them.

Aida makes small talk the entire way as they lead the three to the Police Headquarters – apparently where the plotting is to take place. She talks about nothing that shouldn’t be said out in the open, nothing important. But it’s enough to build a picture: the connections Kuroko has made with this group in the short year he has been here – that apparently they are all willing to help with this absurd scheme. It’s just like Kuroko to inspire such loyalty and devotion in people.

Making their way through the ‘streets’ of Seirin is another revelation. The way everyone reacts to Hyuuga – not with fear as might be expected of a police officer, but with candour; and maybe a little too lacking in respect. The way they react to Aida is more respectful, but not any more diffident. They have the full trust of the entire colony, Nijimura can tell; which says more about them than he would like. For one thing, that they are not people who would embroil their colony in something so risky unless they are confident in the rightness of their actions. The unforeseen variable makes Nijimura’s teeth itch; and from what he can feel, Akashi and Mayuzumi are the same way. Mayuzumi isn’t even trying not to stare suspiciously at everyone and everything, and it is only his supernatural ability in being unnoticed and unreadable that allows his rudeness to go without remark. Nijimura is honestly a little jealous; he has to make sure that none of his doubts are showing on his face as he listen to Akashi and Aida chat about nothing at all.

Both Kise and Momoi are waiting outside the Headquarters when they finally get there. Their faces belie their anxiety and Nijimura prepares himself for the complication that he knows is about fuck everything up.

But before that, the Seirin residents need to prove their hosting abilities; which is why they are all seated in a comfortable meeting room first, with complimentary fragrant tea in front of everyone, before they can get to the main point.

On their side of the table is Mayuzumi at one end, Akashi beside him, then Nijimura himself with Kise on his other side, and then Aomine and Momoi. Opposite them is Seirin’s entire police force; a particularly sharp-eyed fellow – likely a Force sensitive – sits in front of Mayuzumi, then Aida with Hyuuga in front of Nijimura, a particularly tall man that Nijimura recognises as Teppei Kiyoshi – though how he found his way to Seirin as a police officer of all things is something Nijimura is dying to know – faces Kise, in front of Momoi is a noisy one with a feline smile, a tall droopy guy sits beside him with an unobtrusive one on the other side, and at the very end of the table sits someone who must be Kagami – the fact that he goes out of his way to not make eye contact with anyone is a good indication. Two particularly inexperienced-looking kids have been set in front of the doors – whether to stop anyone from leaving or not, Nijimura isn’t sure – and finally there’s the tea boy, who, having finished his task, is standing off to one side and shifting uncomfortably from one foot to the other.

It is Aida who breaks the silence first. She looks steadily at Mayuzumi as she says, “I apologise for hosting this meeting here, this is the only place we can be absolutely sure of no infiltrations or disruptions.”

Mayuzumi shrugs but doesn’t say anything. Both Kise and Aomine has been eyeing him since they realised that Nijimura and Akashi brought an outsider with them, and look obviously disappointed that Mayuzumi chooses to stay silent. But judging from Momoi’s pensive look, Nijimura can tell that she at least suspects.

Kise is the one who speaks up when it looks like Mayuzumi isn’t going to keep the conversation going, “I know when Aominecchi and I contacted you we said that Kurokocchi has been taken in for breaking the edicts of the Order and engaging in a romantic relationship.” At the end of the table, Kagami’s shoulders jump sharply though he keeps his head down. “We were misled. The Council lied! Kurokocchi and Kagamicchi aren’t in a relationship at all!”

“They are close,” Momoi adds. “It is possible that Tetsu was in danger of being tempted. But the truth is that the Council acted too hastily. And now they refuse to admit their mistake.”

“They’re going to punish him anyway,” Aomine cuts in indignantly. “Even though they were the ones who fucked up!”

Nijimura sighs at the looks of betrayal on Kise, Momoi, and Aomine’s faces. It was always just a matter of time before they realise that the real world is never going to be as clean and beautiful as the concepts that the Jedi Order tries to believe in. but Nijimura still feels a pang of conscience that it happens like this.

“Obviously we do not agree with this either,” Hyuuga says, picking up the thread. “From our standpoint, Kuroko has been unlawfully detained for no good reason. Colony Seirin is well within its rights to offer him asylum, and I say clearly here and now that he has it. He’ll always have a home with us.” The other police members all nod in agreement – even the tea boy and the two door guards. Kagami is looking at them for the first time in the whole meeting; he still looks like a whipped dog, but a determined one.

It’s a relief that this is the shoe Nijimura was waiting to drop – nothing as bad as he had feared. But there’s one important factor that no one seems to have brought up yet. And the whole reason why he’s here when he’s still not convinced of this madness. “And you’re all so sure he’ll be willing to leave? That he’s as certain of his innocence as you are?”

“But he really hasn’t done anything wrong!” Momoi protests, eyes welling up with tears.

“That doesn’t mean much if Tetsu thinks they’re right,” Aomine admits grudgingly. “But Tetsu won’t agree with this. This isn’t how Jedi should act. There’s no way he would go along with this.”

“That’s right!” Kise says hurriedly. “If we can just meet with him and explain ourselves, I’m sure Kurokocchi will come with us.”

There’s a lot Nijimura can say about Kise’s unfounded optimism, but he holds his tongue and turns to his left instead. Neither Akashi nor Mayuzumi has said a word yet, and it is Akashi’s reaction that he is most concerned with. He’s not worried about Akashi, not exactly – Akashi can look after himself. But even now, Nijimura still doesn’t know what he’s thinking, what he’s going to do.

A jarring dial tone breaks the mood, and everyone turns to the end of the table to find that Kagami is looking at his personal communicator with a bemused look. As if feeling the weight of everyone’s attention, he holds up the communicator. “It’s a call from my…brother. He contacted me before about knowing someone in the Order. And he said he was going to do what he can from that end.”

The Seirin police force shares a look between them, while Nijimura’s side does the same on the other side of the long table.

“Put him on,” Nijimura says authoritatively.

Aida nods at Kagami, and he quickly connects the line to the big screen at the other end of the room. The tea boy squeaks in surprise as the panel behind him lights up and scurries out of the way.

The brother is a well put together young man with a shock of dark hair covering one eye distractingly. He blinks in surprise at the number of people in the conversation, but betrays no hint of hesitation in his words. “Hey, everyone. I’m actually here to relay a message. My connection to the Order says he needs to tell you guys something. I think it’d be better if I put him on.”

Akashi sucks in a breath sharply as the screen changes and Atsushi Murasakibara’s apathetic face fills the screen. Nijimura turns his head to find that Mayuzumi has done the same; their eyes meet over Akashi’s head and something Nijimura doesn’t quite understand yet passes between them.

“Hmmmm, so Akachin is here with Minechin, Sacchin, and Kisechin after all,” Murasakibara says. He sounds the way he always did, but there’s something Nijimura can’t quite put his finger on. Something’s changed with him. “Murochin told me you guys are gonna try to break Kurochin out of here? How pointless. As if you guys can get anywhere close to his cell.”

“We won’t know until we try!” Aomine says hotly. “You think you can stop us?”

“Well, it doesn’t matter anyway,” Murasakibara says matter of fact. “Kurochin isn’t here.”

There is a moment of silence as everyone tries to take in what Murasakibara just said. Kagami is the first one to react. “What do you mean not there?!”

“So you’re the one,” Murasakibara says, staring at Kagami disinterestedly. “You look really stupid. What’s up with those eyebrows?”

“What do my eyebrows have to do with anything?” Kagami splutters, undignified.

“Why is Kuroko not there?” Nijimura says, trying to keep the conversation on topic. He is staring at Akashi out of the corner of his eye, not that his chances of gauging Akashi’s mood has gotten any better.

“He left,” Murasakibara says flippantly, as if he has no idea how shocking his words are. “He said he doesn’t agree with what the Council decided so he’s not following them.”

“And you just let him go?” There’s something dark in Akashi’s tone, something that makes the hair on the back Nijimura’s neck stand at attention and try to warn him about a danger that he’s not sure exists. Mayuzumi seems to feel it too, because one hand comes down firmly to grab at Akashi’s thigh. Nijimura isn’t so sure that helps, but at least it’s not making things worse.

On the screen, Murasakibara shrugs carelessly. “Kurochin is acting more like a Jedi than the Council is right now. I don’t care about the Council, just the Code.”

“How magnanimous of you,” Akashi says bitterly. By this point, everyone is looking at them as if they’re crazy. Nijimura can see where they’re coming from – now really isn’t the time to have personal problems get in the way – but he can’t say he’s surprised at the way Akashi is acting. He was long gone by the time it’d happened, but he’d heard about what went down between the two of them.

“In comparison, Akachin isn’t acting like a Jedi at all,” Murasakibara says ruthlessly. “Even worse than the Council.”

All at once, Akashi’s expression smooth out completely. “I am not a Jedi anymore, Atsushi. I quit,” he says to the obvious shock of Aomine and Kise.

“Pointless effort,” Murasakibara tells him cruelly. “What are you trying to do? Become a new person? Become a better person? It doesn’t suit you.”

“Why not?” Teppei Kiyoshi of all people suddenly chimes in. “It’s never pointless to try to be a better person.”

“You sure have guts saying that, Mister ex-Pirate.”

“Ex,” Kiyoshi repeats calmly, as if unaware of the challenge in Murasakibara’s gaze. “That means I’m not one anymore.”

“Pointless.” Murasakibara’s face darkens. “I don’t have anything else to say to you guys.” The screen suddenly changes back to the brother, who looks as surprised as the rest of them.

“Sorry about that,” he says apologetically, before turning away. “What’s that? Oh! Atsushi wants you guys to know- sorry, Atsushi doesn’t really care, but you guys might want to know that a Midorima? Shintarou Midorima came and picked him up. Apparently Kuroko escaped his holding cell and then rendezvoused with Midorima’s ship? I hope that helps.”

“That is very helpful, thank you,” Nijimura says weakly as the screen blackens in front of them.

“So it looks like we don’t need to break into the Jedi Headquarters,” the one with the feline smile tries to say cheerfully. It’s not very believable, but it does break the ice as Momoi starts to discuss the possible pathways of Midorima’s ships with Aida and the sharp-eyed one.

“Man, this really is pointless,” Aomine interjects loudly. “We didn’t even need to do anything. We still don’t need to do anything. Tetsu can and will get here on his own. We’re so useless.”

“Not that useless,” Nijimura says as kindly as possible. “You’re here out of support to Kuroko, and you can show him that support when he arrives.”

“Yeah! We’ll show him that we’re all supporting him,” Kagami says, looking energetic for the first time since they met.

“We’ll be here too! We’re also supporting Kuroko,” Kise chimes in competitively.

Across the table, the Seirin guys are moving about and looking ready to break up the meeting. “There’s still a bunch of stuff we’ll need to take care of in preparation for Kuroko coming here. But for now, I can show you guys to your rooms? They’re not much, but you’re all next to each other for convenience,” says Aida, looking at each of them in turn.

“I can do that!” the tea boy butts in, reminding Nijimura that he’s still in the room. “I’ll guide them, I’m sure you’re all very busy…”

“Thank you, Furihata.” Aida smiles gratefully at him. “That’s a big help.”

Responding to the cue, Nijimura stands up with the others and follows the tea- Furihata out into the corridor.

He is aware of the curious looks Aomine and Kise are shooting between him and Akashi, as well as the curious looks Momoi is shooting at Mayuzumi. But it is the curious looks that Furihata is shooting all of them that get his attention.

Realising that Nijimura is staring at him expectantly, Furihata licks his lips. “So you guys are all friends of Kuroko’s?”

“We’re really good friends!” Kise says aggressively, startling him.

“O-oh, that’s great,” Furihata says, visibly flustered. “It’s just that Kuroko never talks about himself, you know? We’re all really surprised when you guys contacted us. We knew there was something weird going on, but it’s Jedi after all; there’s always something weird going on. S-sorry, no offence!” Furihata says hurriedly, gaze flickering all over the place.

“Kurokocchi’s a good Jedi,” Kise says huffily. “He wouldn’t have let his personal affairs interfere with his work!”

“He didn’t!” Furihata says earnestly. “He really didn’t do anything with Kagami. I mean, they’re really close, and I think maybe they do have feelings for each other? But Kuroko’s always professional, and I know they didn’t do any of the things he was accused of.”

Nijimura shares an awkward look with Kise, Momoi, and Aomine. But it is Mayuzumi who speaks up, “Being a Jedi means no personal feelings. If even you can tell they’re stuck on each other, then it’s already far too late.”

“But Kuroko really was completely professional!” Furihata says in distress.

“I’m sure he was,” Akashi’s words are reassuring, but his manner betrays the fact that he doesn’t care about reassuring Furihata at all.

“It doesn’t matter anyway,” Nijimura reminds them. “There’s really no other way of interpreting his actions. He’s made his choice and he chose you.” Nijimura points decisively at Furihata.

Furihata reddens. “I know. It’s an honour, I know it is. I- we’ll make sure he never regrets his choice.”

“Thank you.” Momoi nods at Furihata. “And if you guys ever do make him regret it, I’ll make sure you guys regret it too, okay? No hard feelings.”

It’s like looking at a totally different person. Not a hint of the skittish manner he’s shown this whole time, Furihata looks at her resolutely and without hesitation as he says, “We won’t.”

“Good enough,” Aomine says lazily. One hand smacks down on Momoi’s back, and any further possible conversation is derailed as Momoi and Aomine start up one of their meaningless arguments.

Watching them continue their argument all the way into Aomine’s designated room, Nijimura can feel the upwelling of nostalgia inside him. Just this once, he lets the emotion in. Today is not the day to cut himself off from his feelings. He is still drifting in the cloud of wistfulness as he enters the room given to him, though the mood is ruined as Akashi and Mayuzumi follow him inside. He catches a glimpse of Kise’s shocked face as the door closes, but Nijimura doesn’t have the capacity to care about him right now.

“Fuck me,” Akashi says earnestly, toppling Nijimura down on the bed without ceremony. Nijimura lets himself be moved, catching Akashi in his arms and joining their mouths in a deep kiss. They have learned intimacy in the month together. Nijimura uses that knowledge to soften the desperation coming from Akashi – keeping the kiss sweet out of sheer force of will.

Mayuzumi clambers on top of them both, and Nijimura has just a moment of preparation before Akashi and Mayuzumi’s combined weight suddenly presses down on him. Between them, Akashi makes an unattractive squeak. Nijimura huffs into Akashi’s mouth before he can help himself. He gets a harsh squeeze on his nipple for that, and retaliates by sucking on Akashi’s tongue.

By the time they finally separate, Akashi is breathing hard and his lips are red and shining with saliva. Mayuzumi coaxes Akashi into a kiss with himself while Nijimura uses the chance to take off all his clothes and start on Akashi’s. Mayuzumi is already naked, somehow, so it is not long before all three of them are pressed up against each other – a necessity on such a small bed that really wasn’t made for three fully grown men lying next to each other – without anything in the way.

Considering Akashi’s mood, Nijimura is prepared for anything. So when Akashi suddenly bites out, “I want you to fuck me, I want you both to fuck me,” into Nijimura’s collarbone, he isn’t even surprised.

“What if we don’t want to fuck you?” Mayuzumi scoffs. “What if I want to fuck Nijimura?”

“What if I don’t want to fuck anyone?” Nijimura adds, though he knows how unconvincing he sounds.

Akashi doesn’t even deign Nijimura with a reply, turning around so that he is facing Mayuzumi this time. “You can do that after you fuck me.”

“Well aren’t we feeling imperious today.” Mayuzumi rolls his eyes.

Nijimura sticks his tongue in Akashi’s ear, enjoying the way he jumps at the sensation. “How about you ask for it nicely?”

Akashi replies by grinding his hips back into Nijimura’s crotch. Nijimura grunts at the sensation, then swears as the bed proves to be too small for three grown men after all and dumps Nijimura on his ass on the floor.

Mayuzumi is laughing unabashedly at him and even Akashi is smirking. Rolling his eyes, Nijimura picks himself back up and holds his hand out to Akashi. “Ever tried doing this standing up?”

Akashi lifts an eyebrow at him, but obediently allows himself to be pulled off the bed. “Using the Force for such indecent acts?”

“Who says I’ll need to use the Force?” Nijimura says dismissively, enjoying the way Akashi’s eyes widen at the claim. Most of his attention is on the remaining body on the bed though, and he really hopes that Mayuzumi understand what he’s trying to say with his eyes.

Maybe it’s a sign of how in tune they are with each other now, but Mayuzumi immediately stands up as well to sandwich Akashi between them again. They’ve been having sex long enough to know the best way to do it, and the best way usually means having the two of similar heights on either side – for all that it makes Akashi pout to be stuck in the middle.

Akashi isn’t pouting today though. Turning to face Mayuzumi, he docilely allows them to hitch him up in the air, arms looping around Mayuzumi’s neck to help hold himself up. Mayuzumi slides his arms under Akashi’s knees, then grunts from the weight and pushes with the Force to keep Akashi in the air. To their unimpressed looks, Mayuzumi says, “I never said I wouldn’t use the Force for this. Trust me; you’ll thank me for this later.”

Nijimura sinks down to his knees once he’s sure that neither Mayuzumi nor Akashi are in any danger of falling and sticks his tongue into Akashi’s hole.

Distantly, Nijimura can tell that Mayuzumi is craning his head to the side ridiculously to get a better view, but most of his attention is held up in Akashi hitched gasps and the way he twitches around Nijimura’s tongue.

Mayuzumi suddenly lets out a gasp himself and his grasp on the Force noticeably weakens. Nijimura moves his mouth away long enough to make sure that they still aren’t in danger of falling and to note that apparently Akashi has lined up their cocks and is rubbing them together. He watches as one of Akashi’s hands play with the tip of Mayuzumi’s dick, occasionally poking at the slit with a blunt nail, while the other strokes lazily. It’s gratifying to watch Mayuzumi lose his composure from pleasure, just as good as watching Akashi do so in a way.

Mayuzumi is already coming by the time Nijimura moves on to burying three fingers inside Akashi, scraping gently at the inner walls undulating around him. Nijimura is used to that by now. Mayuzumi has no sense of endurance. He doesn’t seem to understand the point of enduring something so he can get the best outcome later. But then, there are worse things than living a life of instant gratification.

It also means Mayuzumi is able to concentrate fully on keeping Akashi up as Nijimura slowly pushes up into him. Thrusting into that soft and inviting warmth, Nijimura wonders maybe if he’ll one day forget completely that their relationship had ever been any other way. With Akashi moaning loudly – deliberately loud enough that the others can hear in their own rooms – and meeting Nijimura’s every thrust with a grind of his hips, it feels like Akashi the obedient and dutiful padawan is an illusion that never existed. Ramming in as deeply as he can one last time, Nijimura comes and wonders if maybe this Akashi is the illusion instead.

They retire to the bed again with Nijimura just as uncertain as every other time they have sex. So Nijimura does what he always does during the afterglow. “Akashi, you know you have nothing to prove, right? Not to anyone.”

Leaning against the wall, Mayuzumi groans obnoxiously. “Do you have to do this every single time? Sex is not soul-baring time.”

Nijimura ignores him, looking steadily at Akashi. In response, Akashi bites down petulantly on Nijimura’s collarbone. Though he does give it a lick afterwards. “Transparency in relationships is important,” he admits. “And maybe I like being reminded that I can have sex and still be me. I don’t have to be proving anything to anyone.”

“Is that what this is? A relationship?” Mayuzumi asks.

“Isn’t it?” Nijimura asks back.

Mayuzumi looks away. “I didn’t agree to this.”

“No one’s making you,” Akashi says. “I thought you only do what you want?”

Mayuzumi barks out a laugh, drawing Akashi to him in a long, drawn-out kiss. Then does the same to Nijimura. “You’re right. I guess I agreed to this after all.”

“So transparency time?” Nijimura prompts.

Mayuzumi rolls his eyes. “Yeah, yeah. I know what you guys want. I’m not a Sith anymore for pretty much the same reasons as you guys. Siths are just as stupid and childish as Jedi when you come down to it. Doing what they want just because they can. Being evil just because it’s disapproved of. How’s that any different from the Jedi and not doing what they want just because they want it?”

“So you decided to overthrow a Sith-ruled planet and reduce it to smithereens?” Nijimura asks softly. It’s been on his mind ever since he found out who Akashi was traipsing around the galaxy with.

“I overthrew my master, yeah. Had a lot of fun showing him just how stupid the whole evil overlord thing is. But he made the decision to kill himself, nothing to do with me. The fact that some other Siths decided to bomb that world to send a message about the power of the Sith or whatever has nothing to do with me either.” Mayuzumi shrugs carelessly. But Nijimura knows him well enough by now to know that there is nothing careless about him.

“Well, I think that is enough soul-baring for today,” Akashi cuts in. “I’m going back to my room. This is not a bed for three people.”

Mayuzumi follows him, leaving Nijimura finally alone for what feels like the first time in forever. He should feel relieved, but he’s lonely. He wishes he can say that he is more disturbed by this realisation. Somehow, unknowingly, he has gotten used to them; gotten used to the idea that he wants to be with them.

Chapter Text

Murasakibara sits and stares at the blank screen in front of him. He can feel the curiosity coming from Himuro on the other screen, but he can’t be bothered acknowledging it. Of all the people at that place, it had to have been Teppei Kiyoshi. Murasakibara takes a deep breath. Serenity. Serenity. Serenity.

“Thank you for your help, Atsushi,” Himuro says.

“I didn’t do anything,” Murasakibara retorts.

“Thank you anyway.”

“They’re all so stupid.” Murasakibara crosses his arms and rests his head on them. “It is the Jedi Code that makes you good. How can you be a better person by rejecting the Code?”

“Maybe they don’t think it’s the Code that makes them a good person?” Himuro points out wryly.

Murasakibara rolls his head to the side so that he is looking right at Himuro. “It’s the Jedi Code that makes me a good person, you know.”

“There’s nothing wrong with that.” Himuro smiles kindly, but also a little sadly. “Maybe if I had the Code-” He lets out a sigh. “When I was younger, I almost let my emotions, my jealousy, ruin something very important to me. I still regret it every single day.”

“You understand then. They’ll understand too, one day, what a big mistake they’re making.”

“Maybe.” Himuro is still smiling sadly at him. It makes Murasakibara want to do something that is definitely against the Code.

“They will all understand,” Murasakibara says firmly. “Even the Council. Nothing good comes of rejecting the Code, even if they pretend they’re just doing it for everyone’s own good.”

Chapter Text

Looking at Midorima’s face on the screen really brings home the fact that it has been a long time since Akashi last had any contact with him. He looks good though. Happy. Even though right now he is scowling at Hyuuga and raising his tone ever higher in an effort to shout over the captain. Hyuuga is making just as spirited an attempt right back at him, and the noise level is rapidly reaching unbearable levels.

Luckily, Aida is there to smack Hyuuga with a paper fan and put an end to the ridiculousness. Sometimes Akashi wonders how they get anything done without her.

“Look, we’ll do it your way,” she says hastily. “We’ll send a shuttle up to your ship to bring Kuroko back here, you won’t need to land, so no more arguing, alright?”

“I will have you know that you should have done this from the beginning,” Midorima says huffily. That part of him hasn’t changed at all.

“Whatever,” Hyuuga scoffs. “You Jedi and your secrecy. We’re only letting you get away with it for Kuroko, got it?”

Midorima is suddenly shoved out of the frame and Akashi sees Kuroko for the first time since his Jedi Trials all those years ago. As if to deny all the worrying they had done, Kuroko looks perfectly fine – not a hair out of place. “Thank you, both of you.”

“It’s not a big deal,” Hyuuga grumbles, his eyes shifting away from the screen. “We’re glad you’re okay.”

“Thank you for coming back, Kuroko,” Aida says.

“Thank you for letting me come back,” Kuroko replies. It is the first time Akashi has ever seen him smile like that. It is a smile that would not have been possible for the Kuroko Akashi had known. As if aware of his thoughts, Kuroko turns that smile on Akashi. “You are looking well, master.”

“I don’t think you should call me that.” Akashi smiles ruefully. He’s not unaware of the fact that this smile is something that would have been impossible for him once upon a time as well. “Not someone who isn’t even a Jedi anymore.”

“So it’s true,” Midorima says, popping back onto the screen and shoving Kuroko away. “I would not have expected you to be this rash.”

“Are my actions any more rash than yours?” Akashi asks airily, staring blatantly at the figure lounging in the background of the screen.

Midorima follows Akashi’s line of sight, and then hurriedly turns back towards them. His face is red. “I’m not- I haven’t-”

Like some kind of ridiculous game, Kuroko once again pushes Midorima away so he can have the screen to himself. “It is not the time to talk about this right now. We’ll have time to talk more in-depth once you are on the ship.”

Akashi nods acquiescingly. “I shall see you there.”

“See you soon, Kuroko.” Aida turns off the comm line with a flick of her fingers. Walking briskly out the door, she motions Akashi to follow with a wave of her hand and calls out to Hyuuga, “Get the others, will you? We might as well send that shuttle up now. No sense in putting it off.”

“Alright,” Hyuuga says to their receding backs.

Staring at Aida’s swiftly moving back in front of him, Akashi wonders if he should say anything. Mayuzumi is used to people forgetting his existence, and had trailed resignedly after the two of them without comment when they left, but Akashi can’t help but feel that one of them needs to remind Aida that there are three people in this corridor right now.

“Aida, you-”

“Don’t get above yourselves,” Aida snaps back unexpectedly. “I’m not stupid; I can tell how paranoid that guy is, and I’m not going to provoke him. But Kuroko chose us. Not you.”

Perhaps this isn’t the time. Aida is obviously trying to pick a fight, even if Akashi isn’t the kind of person to take her up on it. He is not that easy.

“Sorry,” she sighs, face softening into a more piteous expression. “That was unfair. I’m more wound up than I thought I’d be. To be so irritated by a guy like that.”

“Shintarou is good at that,” Akashi offers. He isn’t unsympathetic to the kind of blood pressure that can result from interacting with Midorima, though he has no intention of consoling her.

Aida sighs again. “I can understand if you guys don’t feel like you can come here again after this; there won’t be many chances for you all to be together. So it’s only fair to let you guys have some time alone with Kuroko. Though, I’ll tell you now, as friends of Kuroko, you are all welcome here.”

“Thank you for your kind words,” Akashi says, giving her what she wants to hear. He knows just as well as she does that they won’t be coming here again. The only ones who might want to see Kuroko again are Aomine, Momoi, and Kise; and as long as they remain Jedi, they can never come to Seirin again.

The rest of the walk to the shuttle is filled with an awkward silence that Aida no longer seems to have the will to break. Akashi himself decides that discretion may be the better part of valour and does not bring up Mayuzumi after all. No one has raised a fuss about an ex-Sith in their midst – not even Momoi, though Akashi knows that she knows – and no one is likely to now that they are leaving. But none of the Seirin residents have been subtle with their suspicions; no reason to pointlessly antagonise them.

Despite the lack of distance between the communications room and the shuttle bay, they are not the first to be there. Nijimura is hovering near the shuttle that they will be taking – easy to pick out from the rest as the only one being prepared for travel, watching the quiet cop who sometimes moonlights as an engineer work.

“Hey,” he says as they enter the bay, nodding at them perfunctorily, then bending his head obediently as Akashi stops right in front of Nijimura and tilts his face up for a kiss.

Aida nods back, most of her attention on relaying orders to the engineer. He is listening to her every word attentively, but not a sound comes from him. Not that Akashi has ever heard him talk for himself. He had always had the noisy one, Koganei Shinji, to relay his words for him. Not a bad way to live. But to trust someone enough to believe that they would be able to convey your intentions completely; it is incomprehensible.

Akashi watches as Mayuzumi walks up to receive his own kiss from Nijimura. Looking at him now, it is hard to remember that this is the same man who would rather pretend he has no feelings at all than admit his own vulnerability. Not that he’s stopped doing that. But Mayuzumi no longer tries to punish himself whenever he realises that his mask has slipped. That is good enough.

“How long have you been here?” Aida yelps, confirming Akashi’s suspicions that she had been completely unaware of Mayuzumi the whole way. It is astounding how little attention people pay to their surroundings.

Mayuzumi shrugs at her in lieu of replying, appearing completely unaware of her mistrust. Luckily, the others straggle in before the mood gets too heavy. It is hard to keep up an oppressive atmosphere with Kise clamouring excitedly about finally getting to see Kuroko. Even Momoi is letting her relief and anticipation show, clinging to Aomine breathlessly instead of staring at Mayuzumi suspiciously like every other time they had been in a room together.

Trailing behind them is Hyuuga, not looking any less exasperated than he had been while facing Midorima. He fetches up next to Aida, muttering under his breath, “I thought Jedi didn’t believe in emotions.”

Unfortunately, no whisper is low enough in the presence of Jedi – or former Jedi, or Sith. “None of us are really acting like Jedi right now,” Nijimura tells him wryly. “Half of us aren’t even Jedi anymore. Or never were.” He nods at Mayuzumi. “As for the others…what you gotta understand is that Kuroko was the best of us. The perfect Jedi who represented everything we were supposed to be and everything we should aspire to be.”

“Tetsuya is calm and composed at all times.” Akashi picks up the thread. “He does not let emotions contaminate his judgement. He does not let personal matters mix with his professional life. He would never violate the Jedi Code.”

“And then he goes hooking up with some dude and gets himself on the Council’s shitlist,” Mayuzumi cuts in crudely, ignoring the indignant glares both Akashi and Nijimura are sending him.

“Can you blame us for our turmoil?” Momoi asks, all of them now facing Aida and Hyuuga. “That the person we had always seen as what a Jedi should be, that Kuroko of all people has been deemed unfit to be Jedi. It makes one wonder; what, then, is a Jedi?”

“I don’t know anything about Kuroko as a Jedi, and I don’t care.” Turning to the door reveals that Kagami is standing in the doorway with three others – looking far more uncertain than Kagami is – hovering behind him. “But the best part about Kuroko isn’t his emotions, or the lack of them, or whatever. It’s how he’s always willing to help people, to reach out to anyone, no matter the consequences.”

“And that is why he chose you guys,” Aomine says resignedly. He turns to the shuttle, and as he walks past Akashi, he declares, “I’ve got no plans of turning my back on the Jedi Order. The Council can do what it likes. I’d like to see them try to stop me from being a Jedi.”

Momoi follows him, hopping smoothly into the shuttle without looking back. As does Kise, who does look behind him once before he steps inside. Akashi and Nijimura follow after them, the last ones on as Akashi belatedly realises that Mayuzumi has boarded already much earlier.

There are no more words from those in the Seirin police force that had chosen to see them off, lining up solemnly to watch as Nijimura closes up the shuttle. Akashi is glad that he can’t detect any smugness from them. It may not matter to the other three when they are still clinging to the label of Jedi, but Akashi has thrown it away – which means there is nothing stopping him from teaching those upstarts a lesson in courtesy if they had been so crass as to have displayed their conceit, nothing except the fact that he doesn’t want to.

Akashi is unanimously elected to pilot the shuttle, a request he does not try to dispute, though he makes sure to keep an eye on the others behind him. He’s not oblivious to what the others are trying to do, keeping him isolated and occupied. While he knows that Mayuzumi can look after himself, he still likes to keep tabs on everything.

They are taking their time getting there though, since Nijimura seems to have his own questions. “Do you guys really think the Jedi Council will be okay with this? Sure, you guys didn’t end up actually going against the Order, but the Council isn’t stupid. They’ll know about you meeting up with Kuroko, they probably already know you’ve been planning something with us on Seirin, and I know you guys have been raising a fuss even before all this.”

“It’s not really about the Council,” Kise says. “Master will kick me if I leave, you know? I can’t not go back.”

“He’ll definitely kick you if he hears you calling him master,” Nijimura says with a snort. “Kasamatsu is the most uptight guy I know when it comes to master and padawan relations. There’s no way he still lets you call him that when you’ve already passed your Trials.”

“Master is master.” Akashi can hear the pout in Kise’s words.

“Thank you for worrying about us,” Momoi speaks up, “but it will be okay. My sources tell me that there will be some new positions opening up on the Council soon. Several of the current members will be stepping down. And I believe one of the candidates will be Kasamatsu Yukio.”

“Is this source Okamura?” Nijimura demands. “Because that guy has been grumbling about member changes for forever. Okamura talks the talk is the best you can say about him.”

“Please give me some credit,” Momoi says indignantly. “This comes from Imayoshi.”

“You got this information from Imayoshi?” Akashi isn’t surprised that Nijimura sounds so disbelieving. Imayoshi did not start reaching out to them until after Nijimura had left the Order.

“Yeah, we’re tight,” Aomine protests. It remains inexplicable to Akashi how Imayoshi can get along so well with Aomine. And for that matter, how Aomine gets along so well with Imayoshi.

“Things really have changed,” Nijimura says weakly.

“In fact, you might even get a call to re-join the Order soon,” Kise says enthusiastically and thoughtlessly.

There is a slight pause, and then Nijmura says awkwardly, “Probably not. I don’t think I’ll be coming back.”

Akashi can almost hear the click as Kise finally puts the pieces together. He can feel everyone in the room turn their attention to Mayuzumi at last. Mayuzumi isn’t someone so weak as to let that affect him, and Akashi could have told them that they are wasting their time trying to pressure him. Not that he has any intention of butting in.

As expected, it’s Kise who breaks first. “You’re a Sith, aren’t you, the one who blew up that planet?”

“Don’t try to weasel out of it,” Momoi says sternly. “I recognise you.”

“I was a Sith,” says Mayuzumi. “And now I’m not.”

“That’s it?” Aomine asks disgustedly. He must have turned to Nijimura, because he goes on to say, “And you’re okay with this?”

“I’m not asking you guys to be okay with it,” he tells them frankly. “But I trust him. I’m fucking him. That’s pretty much all there is to it.”

“How is that anyway?” Kise asks pruriently. “You and him and…Akashicchi…”

“You wanna try it?” Mayuzumi asks.

“NO,” bellows Kise and Nijimura at the same time.

Akashi quickly turns around before things get any more out of hand. “We’re here.”

Mayuzumi takes the distraction to shimmy up to Akashi’s side, and soon all of them are crowded around the screen as Akashi docks the shuttle skilfully inside Midorima’s ship, the Hawk.

Midorima is waiting for them as they disembark. Beside him is Kuroko, although it seems that none of the others noticed. Instead, they are concentrating on the man standing on Midorima’s other side. Takao Kazunari. Bounty Hunter, true owner of the ship they are standing in, and someone very important to Midorima.

Akashi hangs back as everyone introduces themselves; he has nothing to say to them. Now that he has seen Kuroko and Midorima with his own eyes, he has no more business here.

“So what have you been up to,” Kise says teasingly, “I’d never have expected you to leave the Order.”

“There are a lot of things you do not expect,” Midorima blusters, “because you do not use your head. I don’t need to explain myself to you.”

Unfortunately for Midorima, Kuroko is there to expose him. “Midorima got married. To Takao here.”

It is impressive how high Kise can voice his surprise. Though Momoi gives it as good as she’s got. Watching Kuroko wince, Akashi is almost sorry for him.

“Congratulations.” Nijimura is the first to regain his composure. Though the others follow suit quickly enough. Akashi enjoys the clear embarrassment radiating from Midorima; seeing the way Takao is smiling, he knows he is not the only one.

Finally having had enough of being teased, Midorima shepherds them all deeper into the ship, somewhere they can all sit and be comfortable.

Glancing around the ship as they are herded through the corridors show that the ship is much bigger than Akashi had been expecting. The rest area they are taken to is the same. This is not a ship for two people. As if he heard Akashi’s thoughts, Takao speaks up, “This ship is actually staffed with five people. The other three aren’t here right now, with this whole Jedi thing going on. So you guys are welcome to stay the night. We have the room; you’ll just need to squish together a little.”

It falls on mostly deaf ears, as both Momoi and Kise keep their full attention on Kuroko, and Aomine doesn’t even bother responding before going back to teasing Midorima. But Midorima is married now, which means Takao is there to intercept Aomine, allowing Midorima to make his way towards where Akashi is sitting – with Nijimura on one side and Mayuzumi on the other – at the very edge of the gathering.

“You look well,” Midorima says awkwardly, sitting a little distance away from them.

“So do you,” Akashi returns smoothly, batting away Mayuzumi’s hand from where it had been trying to sneak into his shirt. Undaunted, Mayuzumi turns his attention to Nijimura, uncaring of the way Midorima is staring at them aghastly.

“I see that you have also- that is-” Midorima trails off, pushing at the bridge of his glasses with one clumsy hand.

“Yes,” Akashi says.

“I’ll take you guys to your rooms,” Midorima says grimly, giving up. Akashi doesn’t blame him. Mayuzumi now has both his tongue down Nijimura’s throat and his hands down Nijimura’s trousers.

Standing up, Akashi kicks at Mayuzumi lazily, making sure to keep at it until Mayuzumi finally disengages and lets Nijimura up. There is a small commotion as they leave the room, and just as Akashi reaches the door comes, “Master!”

Turning around again, Akashi sees that Kuroko has stood up in his haste. He stops and waits for Kuroko to speak up, though Akashi tries to convey with his eyes the lack of need for words between them. Perhaps Kuroko got his message; all the tension leaves his body at once. “I’m glad you two made up,” is all he says, a tender smile on his face.

Akashi nods at him in acknowledgement. “When you passed the Trials, I told you you were the best Jedi I know. You still are.”

“Thank you,” Kuroko says meaningfully.

“Thank you.” Akashi smiles back. He turns again, catching up to Midorima and the others – who had been kind enough to stop and wait for him.

Akashi allows Nijimura to loop his arm around him when he draws level, letting the comforting weight anchor him to the here and now. It’s an awkward way to walk, but the distance to the room Midorima has set aside for them is small. And he lets them in the moment they arrive, eyes turned away respectfully because that is just the way Midorima is.

Distantly, Akashi is aware of Midorima closing – and probably locking – the door behind them. But his attention is on the way Mayuzumi is expertly stripping Nijimura of his clothes – as well as his own, all the while taking care to leave a trail of blooming kiss marks as he makes his way down.

Akashi follows them as they land on the bed, making sure that all his clothes are off before he too climbs on to it. He stays off to the side though; content to just watch as Mayuzumi flips Nijimura around so that he can start preparing him while Nijimura sucks on his dick.

It’s always a pleasure seeing Mayuzumi during sex. The way he doesn’t let the pleasure distract him from his task, the way he’s so thorough in coaxing out every single iota of pleasure, the way he sheds all his masks so that all you can see is the real him.

Akashi strokes lightly at his own cock as Mayuzumi plunges in two fingers to massage at what must be Nijimura’s prostate from the way he is gasping around Mayuzumi’s dick. It is just as much a thrill to watch Nijimura come undone under those skilful fingers and mouth, the way he accepts the pleasure bestowed on him so honestly. Already, precum is leaking onto Akashi’s hand. Time with Mayuzumi has taught him that it is not something to be ashamed of.

Mayuzumi is even quicker at coming, which is why he is already pulling away from Nijimura and changing their positions yet again. This time, he lies them down on their sides, spooning Nijimura against him as he slowly thrusts inside. It is very intimate, and all the more hot because of that.

Removing his hand from his own cock, Akashi slides down to take Nijimura into his mouth. He’s big; by the time Akashi has taken him to the base he can feel the head of Nijimura’s cock hitting the back of his throat. It’s a good thing Akashi is used to that by now.

He doesn’t even need to do anything, just lie there and let Mayuzumi’s thrusts work Nijimura in and out of his mouth. There might have been a time when Akashi would have been ashamed of the fact that he comes just from Nijimura’s cock in his mouth, its size and weight pushing down on his tongue and Nijimura’s musky scent filling his nose. That time – if it ever existed – is long gone, and Akashi concentrates on supressing his gag reflex as Nijimura comes down his throat – disjointed cursing spewing from his mouth, while Mayuzumi follows just after.

It is rare for Mayuzumi to be the one who comes last, so Akashi makes an effort not to comment on his smugness. Instead he leans up for a kiss, relishing in the fact that Nijimura doesn’t turn him away even though he can surely taste himself in Akashi’s mouth.

Behind them, Mayuzumi leans forward and hooks his chin on Nijimura’s shoulder. “So. We’ve had sex; soul-baring time.”

Picking up his cue, Akashi continues, “I am doubting your commitment to this.”

“Whoa, I wasn’t thinking of something that blunt,” Mayuzumi protests weakly.

“It’s not myself I’m doubting,” Nijimura says slowly, “not exactly. I’m committed. I was committed since the first time we had sex.”

“Huh, I guess you were right about that, Akashi,” says Mayuzumi, startled.

“And yet,” prompts Akashi. “What is it? You don’t trust us?”

“Maybe not,” Nijimura admits. “But not the way you think. I know you, Akashi, everything you do you do it at full throttle. I don’t doubt that. And I’m not suggesting you’re the weak link either,” he adds hastily, tilting his head to knock it gently against the side of Mayuzumi’s. “Just that, how long do you think this will go for? How long do you think we’ll be here? Together?”

“I wasn’t expecting the problem to be you being so timid,” Mayuzumi says in surprise, only for Nijimura’s elbow to dig hard into his ribs. “Shit, ow!”

“For as long as you want it to be,” Akashi says, ignoring Mayuzumi and his dramatics.

“That is a shit answer and you know it,” Nijimura tells him grumpily.

“Well I, for one, would like for this to go on as long as possible,” Mayuzumi says. “I don’t really have anywhere else I want, or need, to be.”

“Is that good enough?” asks Akashi. He’s not sure what to do if Nijimura says no.

“I guess I’m making this too complicated, aren’t I?” Nijimura sighs.

“It’s only as complicated as you want it to be,” Mayuzumi offers.

“It is very complicated,” Akashi says. “Is that bad?”

“Well, it can’t be more complicated than Kuroko or Midorima,” Nijimura admits. “Or Murasakibara.”

“Is that good enough?” Mayuzumi says, echoing Akashi.

“Sure, why not.” Nijimura laughs.

Chapter Text

“Atsushi, what is it?” Himuro pokes his head over Murasakibara’s shoulder in an attempt to read the missive he just received. Murasakibara lets him. There’s no reason to stop him.

“Imayoshi finished his coup,” he says blandly. “They’re recalling me.”

“It sounds like they are inviting you back to the Order if you feel like it?” Himuro says doubtfully, skimming his way down the letter.

“He needs the support,” Murasakibara tells him bluntly. “I know Minechin and Sacchin will be behind him every step of the way. They’re probably there already. Kisechin will follow, because of Minechin and Sacchin, and also because his old master is sure to accept the position on the Council. But both Akachin and Midochin are gone for good, they’re in love. Imayoshi is going to need all the help he can get.”

Himuro had waited patiently for Murasakibara to finish, expression unchanged except for a slight furrowing of his brows hearing the bitterness when Murasakibara said the word love, only opening his mouth when he is sure Murasakibara had finished. “And Kuroko?”

He thinks for a moment. “Kurochin won’t be back either. He doesn’t believe in the Jedi Order anymore. I don’t know if he’s in love. I don’t know if it matters, with Kurochin. He won’t let it get in the way if he doesn’t want it to. But I think…I think maybe he will let it get in the way, even though this is Kurochin. He’s already made his choice. He chose Seirin.”

“Is it wrong for me to say that’s good?”

Murasakibara shrugs. “Not really. You’ve been on their side since the beginning. I don’t expect anything else from you.”

“And what about you, Atsushi?” Himuro asks softly. “Will you go back?”

Murasakibara looks at him steadily. “I never stopped being a Jedi, and I don’t need any kind of acknowledge from the Council for that. The fact that Imayoshi recognises that is just a bonus. I’m still answerable to them, but I don’t see why I have to be a Jedi there when I can be one just as well here.”

“I’m glad,” Himuro says earnestly. “I’m glad you’re here, Atsushi. You know I don’t mind you being a Jedi.”

He looks away. “I don’t mind being here with you either.”