he didn't know how much longer he could possibly exist in this world without telling his charge how he felt. feelings were not inherent for shinigami, but seeing as how he'd been human once and had been granted this power over death, kuroko knew more about feelings than most. it wasn't an easy process, becoming what he was now, and it had taken him a long time to come to terms with the fact that he was indeed dead in the first place. but he had a corporeal body again, just as small and lithe as it had been when he was alive (just barely reaching five foot six was more of a hindrance than anything), with the same shock of bright blue hair and eyes that match. the only difference now was how he dressed and how he presented himself; plus the fact he remained with sections of his body tightly wrapped in gauze. kuroko hadn't known how he died, not until his thirtieth year being a shinigami, wherein his superiors felt he'd adjusted enough to know the truth. murder is a big deal in both the world of the living and of his kind. the second the deed had been done--and him, just an innocent high school kid--his killer had been too touched by death. a higher level shinigami came to claim him, mostly for his abhorrent behavior, and that was the end of it. at least for kuroko, that was the end of it. forget the fact he couldn't see his family or friends again, that they would all grow old while he remained in such an immortal form. regardless, he had a job to do now too.
he met his charge two years ago, when the man was almost so steeped in death that kuroko thought he might have to claim him. how anyone could be so surrounded by death and remain generally untouched was beyond him; it was sufficiently curious. as it turned out, this guy was special in a way that no one wanted to explain to him just yet. instead, he got the instruction to protect him, to keep him, to stay with him. introductions aside, which had been very rocky, and frankly, he hadn't believed kuroko at first, these days it was pretty nice living with him. with the ability to be invisible to normal mortals, kuroko was allowed to venture through town as he pleased, and he could watch over his charge all the time. maybe he was taking his job too seriously? he just felt such an overwhelming urge to protect him and had only had to use the full force of his powers once. that had been a conversation he'd hated having, seeing as how his charge had been sufficiently freaked out by the skeletal structure he took on, which was mostly just for show and intimidation. two years of living in the same space, sharing things about their lives--or kuroko's before he died--the shinigami knew that things were getting bad. he couldn't risk having feelings for his charge, for a mortal, and as a shinigami, he should have known better.
lightly running his fingers over the bandages around his neck, kuroko licked his lips, idly staring at the television. he wasn't paying attention to whatever was on, that much was obvious. maybe he didn't have to keep wearing these bandages, but they covered up the evidence of his death; they'd fade away eventually, supposedly around his fiftieth year doing this, but he wanted them gone now. they reminded him and he hated that. not that being a shinigami was terrible, but there was so much he was going to miss out on, so much that he'd never get to do as a human. blue eyes shifted, his blank-eyed stare fixed on the open hallway where he'd soon see his charge, and he felt a rush in his stomach. not a new feeling, but one that always got to him regardless. "welcome home," he spoke calmly, the same as always when the man came home from work and kuroko was waiting for him. normally, he'd have been out watching him at work, but something about that felt a little bit intrusive now. it made him feel awkward.