Fragments

a trip to hell

[SUMMER TRAINING CAMP ARC]

Classes were finally over, to Shun's relieve, meaning they were one day closer to summer holidays. Now all he wanted to do was going practice although the weather in Tokyo was becoming horribly hot. Of course the fact he and Masuko-chan overheard yesterday about the summer training camp only amplified his impatience although he also thought of Coach's cooking...

The familiar voice of Coach cut his thoughts.

Talking about her...

"Hey Hyuuga-kun, Masuko-chan, how about the beach ?"

"Yeah, sounds good too."

Why did it look like a scene from a shojo everytime he looke at them interacting alone ? Like yesterday, when Masuko-chan and he escaped from the tactical meeting and spied on them. Well, he was sure Koganei and the other, who were watching them as well would agree.

"Beach sure is amazing !"

... Okay, maybe it didn't totally look like a shojo scene with the Manager's presence. Masuko-chan was looking forward to go to training camp and now, it just looked like two parents with an excited child named Masuko-chan.

"Or perhaps the mountains ?"

"Yeah, sounds good too."

"Moutains are also amazing !"

"Hyuuga-kun, are you even listening to me ?"

"Mh ? Yeah. Rather... Wherever is fine. Main thing is we get hold our training camp."

DON'T PLAN OUR TRIP TO HELL IN AN ATMOSPHERE OF A COUPLE.

A few days later, after the end of term test, summer vacation were finally beginning, meaning they could spend all their day training. Shun didn't know he should feel happy or not about it (but he was sure he would puke... and sweat... and puke again).

"This year, we'll hold two training camps, one at the beginning and end of summer vacation. One at the beach and one in the mountain."

Oh, now he knew what to think. He would die ! Everyone would die because they went with both !

"The goal this time is to prepare for the qualifications and to overcome our weaknesses, which we've been made aware of in the last game. And since we're lacking members, stamia is important for us. So we'll increase the amount of jogging in our normal training. Masuko-chan here will help us with this since good stamia is required to play an entiere football game."

"I will do my best to make it not too painful for you."

He wasn't sure if he should feel either rassured or worried by Masuko-chan's words...

"Once the vacation is over, the qualifications for the Winter Cup are around the corner. We have to make full use of the vacation so let's get into the mood ! Over and out ! Dismissed !"

"Arigatō !"

He remembered Takeda-sensei wanted to see Coach to talk about the budjet of the training camp and told her about that. After she left, he watched Kagami and Kuroko during one of their usual bickering.

"They're being speaking like usual but they're still not making passes to each other."

It was true. It wasn't like they were cold towards each other and they we still hanging out together after classes (although not as much as they used to) but it was like... they were avoiding each other on the court, during a match.

"Will they be fine... ?"

"Yeah, I guess", said cooly Kiyoshi. Of course he would say something like that.

"Kiyoshi... But Kagami didn't even throw one pass today."

"Don't worry about it. Miyuki is training Kagami very hard. In winter he'll be back."

Masuko-chan told him more about how Kiyoshi fooled her by not telling who he really was and how she wasn't sure if being airheaded was real or not. He sweared it was real.

"Well... that's good."

Masuko-chan told him about these training. It was good to see Kagami had someone that could make him a better ace because that was what he was looking for.

"EVERYONE ! ASSEMBLE AGAIN !"

"What's going on ?"

"Wasn't training over ?"

Oh, he saw where it was going... Hyuuga was right about panicking. He was panicking inside as well at the simple thought of her cooking.

"Listen... You all heard about the training camp just now bu... Right now, we're... facing a great crisis."

He could read the confusion on the first years' faces. Poor innocent kouhais...

"Since we're holding two camps this year, we reserved cheap inns since last year we only hod one. And we'll have to cook for ourselves. That's where the problem starts."

Problem ? More like imminent death.

"Our Coach will do the cooking !"

Silence. His classmates knew they were doomed and the first years were just even more confused than before. Poor innocent kouhais, really.

"...Eh ? She... shouldn't ?"

"Of course not ! You saw her sweet lemons before right."

"I didn't." Well, Masuko-chan was lucky.

"Basically..."

"We're doomed !"

They finally understood they would all die.

"Her cooking already passes the bounderies of eatable. "

Yep, they couldn't even talk about food anymore.

"Then we just have to cook it ourselves... ?"

"I would like to do it... But the training schedule is so hellish, no one will be able to move after ! Don't understimate it."

And now he didn't know what was the worst: dying from exhaustion or dying from Coach's food... In fact he knew: the worst was having both.

"Um, maybe I could cook sometimes since my training schedule will be lighter than yours."

"Do you know how to cook ?"

"Miyuki-san makes the best hot chocolate."

"Well, as long as it's not japanese cooking, it will be fine."

Uh ?

"Masuko-chan, you're our savior !"

Masuko-chan might be strange and confusing sometimes but they were so lucky to have her as their manager.


"Okay Coach, are you ready ?"

"Leave it to me !" Riko-san looked really confident... While everybody else did not.

Did the sweet lemons really look that bad ? She was still at hospital that time so she didn't really know to what extent Riko-san's cooking was horrible.

"Tasting meeting ?"

"Just a cover-up. We can't tell her 'you suck at cooking, practice more !' We'll taste it and give her advice after, so she can improve." Hyuuga-senpai really had a crush on Riko-san to do something like that since he was easily angered (the fact he knew Izuki-senpai since middle school or even before must have done that).

"By the way, can you cook ?"

"As long as it's not japanese."

"A bit."

"Not really."

"No !"

"The best one is probably Mitobe. How about you, Kuroko ?"

"I won't lose at boiling eggs."

"And Taiga –

"What are you talking about ? The first dish is done... It's curry !"

Uh ?

"What's that !"

Definitely NOT curry. Or eatable food.

"Eh... They're all uncut ? What was that cutting ealier then ?"

"Eh, isn't this a bit difficult to eat ?"

"Rather why curry ? It's curry, right ?"

At least she wasn't the only one who was unsure about the food in front of them.

"A classic."

"Ignore the presentation, it tastes good. It's simply curry."

She truly hope the presentation didn't mean anything... After all, Tatsuya's cooing was very messing but it tasted really good at the end.

"Then... Time to dig in."

She met Taiga's eyes and she knew to too was praying in his head, like they did everytime maman made food for them.

And god, she was right to be afraid. It was awful. She turned her head to watch the rest of the team and their faces all screamed the same thing.

'Genocide to our gustative nerves.'

"Wow, it looks like my mother's cooking" was the only thing she could find.

"Really ?" She didn't mean it as a compliment AT ALL but seeing her warm smile made her think about maman. She was still in France, along with the rest of her family but she missed her so much, even her atrocious cooking. That might be why she continued to eat. Because Riko-san somehow reminded her about maman. The smile, the cooking...

"Jay say if you want seconds."

Riko-san's smile was worth it so she continued to eat more or less normally, getting used to the strange mix of tastes.

But of course, Riko-san noticed the faces of everyone else and her face faded, hesitating now dominating her. "I guess it doesn't... taste that good ?"

Miyuki decided she hated seeing strong, determinated Riko-san sad, so she continued eating her dish like she was thirty seconds ago. She was glad to see Hyuuga-senpai also sawRiko-san's bruised hand and decided to eat and finish as soon as possible.

Riko-san saw Hyuuga-senpai's will to eat her dish and Miyuki couldn't help but see the soft look she had sometimes while watching Hyuuga-senpai playing. Maybe Izuki-senpai and her wouldn't have to do anything.

"Ochisō sama deshita, Riko-san", she said before leaving with crutches in her hands and going to drink water somewhere else. It might be odd to say but she tasted worst and she was sure Taiga would agree with her.

She came back five minutes later only to find Hyuuga-senpai had fainted, Teppei was sweating bullet and Mitobe-senpai wasn't responding. It might be time to ask Taiga for help...


Today was finally the beginning of their training camp and Taiga was all fired up. Coach said they would arrive in thirty minutes so now, they were still on the train...

He watched Emilie sleeping on his shoulder. She looked so peaceful he didn't know if he should get reassured or worried.

He talked with Uncle last night and knew she could feel down, especially considering how it happened a year ago. He was already concerned by the fact she didn't say anything after she read Tina's letter the other time but... He found her sudden lack of sleep weird.

Every morning, she looked so tired during breakfast and she almost slept during math classes once. Okay it was math but Masuko Miyuki Emilie never slept. in. class. He thought for the first days that the reeducation was rough and it really was the case... but after two or three days, she got used to it and seeing how lively she was even after training at Coach father's gym only confirmed what he thought (plus Emilie survied the whole year training in these guys' training conditions).

But apart from that, she looked normal. Maybe he shouldn't worry so much... But it was Emilie, so he would wait if she wanted to say anything to him, she knew it too probably.

"Kagami-kun."

He jumped in surprise and Emilie's head moved slightly, but not enough to awake her yet and he whispered "Why the hell are you scaring me in the morning ?"

"Why does Kagami-kun look worried ? Is it about Miyuki-san ?"

He briefly looked at Emilie again before answering to Kuroko, "It's nothing."

Of course he wasn't convinced. It was Kuroko, after all, the one who was as observant as Emilie. "Okay..." He watched around him. Everyone was still sleeping or talking quietly between them. "I just think... I'm worried about her."

Maybe he was a worry wort too. But he had the right to be a worry wort for her.

"Kagami-kun is a good friend, so Miyuki-san will be okay."

"If you say so." Kuroko was probably worried too (he was beginning to differentiate his facial expression) and wanted to know about Emilie. "You know..."

Should he continue ? Well, he trusted him enough now. Emilie too.

"She's been through hell during her last year in middle school and it's been a year since since the accident... I'm not the one who should tell you about this but the accident was a big part why she's been through a trial."

That fucking piece of shit. He hated him. Her former Coach.

"Is it about... the emotional abuse ?"

"Not really... Not only."

"Everyone, we've finally arrived !" Coach's voice cut their discussion and he slightly shook Emilie to wake her up. She rubbed her eyes, still looking sleepy.

"Time for the summer training camp, sleeping beauty."

"Already ?"

He wished he could leave her sleep again but...

"... yeah, already."

He handed her the crutches before leaving the train.

"Ah, we're here."

"The smell of the beach is... Ah ! We have to –

"Where's the Coach ?" Thank God, someone had interrupted Izuki-senpai's pun.

"There are a lot of things to carry so she took the car. Also, shut up Izuki."

"This is a pretty nice place..."

It did look nice, and almost as good as L.A's beach.

"It'll become hell in an instant though."

"It's the sea, let's swin !"

"This is a training camp, idiots !"

They proceed to walk to the hotel where they would sleep for the two next weeks. He chatted quietly with Emilie about the additional training and things he would do to improve his game sense because he knew acting instinctively wasn't enough to become number one in Japan. He even began to watch old games with Emilie, Kuroko and Coach to improve his sense of observation (and got teased for 'Bakagami being finally clever').

"Hmmm... This looks questionable."

The hotel was pretty close to the beach but yeah, it really was a cheap hotel.

"It's pretty run-down."

"Excuse me, but where's the restroom ?"

"Shut up, all of you !"

Emilie looked happy though, "I had worse this year with my former team, so it looks pretty good."

True. He remembered the guys telling how Emilie got them into the 'murder hotel' for their first training camp a few months ago. Needless to say they managed to collect lots of money not to go through that again (something was wrong with her...).

"Yeah, Miyuki is right... It's not bad. They might be there you know. Makkuro Kurosuke will –

"That's too fictional, Kiyoshi ! Don't understimate highschool students !"

He asked to Emilie, whispering (because Captain would probably murder him) "Who's that guy ?"

"I don't know Taiga, you spent more time in Japan than I."

The car coming closer stopped Captain's scolding on Kiyoshi-senpai.

"It's Coach !"

"Right on time. Everyone's here, right ?"They all nodded in response.

"So Riko, it's okay if I leave this over there, right ?

"Yeah, arigatō papa."

"Miyuki-tan !" Coach's dad energically waved his hand to Emilie and she greeted him back. Right, Coach's dad also helped her with her reeducation when she went to their gym. "Do your best, brats. Good work ! Ah... but... If you lay a hand on my daughter... I'll kill you."

"Hai." That man was scary.

"Don't jst stand there ! Let's go !"

"Hai."

"Where are you going ?"

"Huh ? Well, to the gym."

"We won't be able to use it until evening."

Wait what ? "Eh ? So what about this afternoon ?"

"We're going to the beach !"

"Coach, don't tell me..."

"That's right. We're playing here. I've already told you this, but for this training camp is to over come your weaknesses."

"Weaknesses ?"

That was the weakness he was trying to make disappear with Emilie's additional training to become a better player and a better ace.

"The thing is that Seirin needs right now is... the improvement of all the individual players abilities."

"The thing that Seirin needs right now is... the improvement of all the individual players abilities."

"Coach is right, you know." He looked at his best friend and knew she was going to make one of these speechs. "I know what you think... 'What about teamwork ?' But you have to understand this: to be better team, everyone needs to evolve. In every team, everyone has his or her own purpose, meaning each of you have something you're good at. And to make the team stronger, you need to get stronger at what you're good at. Believe me, I've been through that a few months ago and I think it worked."

Emilie was too damn modest sometimes. She won the championship AND won the best Captain award. It worked more than enough.

"Masuko-chan is right, don't misunderstand. We don't want to have a single strengh as a team. So we have to handle our individual strenghs together to become a stronger t'eam. For the sake of winning, we need to be united."

"Riko-san and I will help you to improve the basic skills one by one: shots, passes and dribbles and to accomplish all of this, the very important foundation we need to focus on are your legs."

"That's why we're practising on this sandy beach. You're going to do the regular program here three times "

He's so gonna die with Coach and Emilie's training, he wasn't even kidding. In fact, it might even be an understatement.

"Masuko-chan cannot run yet and she'll make exercices for her knee and for her arms to strengthen them but she will help you all with passing whenever you need it. Of course, you'll be playing games between you as well."

"Masuko-chan..."

"... helping us with basketball ?"

Oh no. They didn't say that. Ugh, she was already making that smug smile that annoyed him (he wasn't totally annoyed to be honest because it was way better than seeing her sad but still). She might be modest most of the times, but she could get pretty cocky to tease him

"Know that you have in front of you one of the persons who taught Taiga basketball."

He was going to suffer 'til the end of time for this (and yet, she didn't make him call her 'sensei' or 'senpai'... Just the thought of it was a nightmare. In fact, he actually made that nightmare once).

"Does it mean you're good at basketball too?"

"Do you still play ?"

"Well, um..." Looks like she was looking for an answer. "I still play basketball though I played less for the past two years, with the championship and all but... I think I'm still doing pretty good, though I'm nowhere near Taiga's level since I'm mostly devoted to football."

Hahaha...

"What's your post ?"

"I don't really have a post, I just can't play Center."

"Too tiny for that", he whispered in a mocking way.

"I heard you Taiga."

Shit.

"Emilie's pretty good at making passes and shooting three pointers..." among many other basketball tricks. Maybe he wouldn't get killed.

"Once I'll be able to play, I promise I'll play some games with you", she said, smiling. Taiga knew she loved basketball for different reasons than he. She loved it because it brought her friends closer, because of him and Tatsuya. Just like why he loved football... because it made her happy.

And he couldn't wait to play at basketball with her or against her. Plus she wasn't telling everything but just like her football style, her basketball style changed.

"Hopefully, I'll be able to do so before the Winter Cup. But for now, let's begin the training camp !"

"Seirin, fight !"

"Fight !"


It feels like vacation, mused Miyuki.

The sun, the beach, the sand in her toes. Except she just made exercices for her knee and arms for three hours. Riko-san saying 'Alright, that's enough for today !' was like heaven to her. And now, she was sitting on the sand, watching them play. Of course they were struggling at playing on the sand, but she could see they were progressing.

"Is 'dunk' the only word in your dictionnary, you idiot !"

Though the sight of Taiga practically eating sand was highly entertaining, seeing every attempt of Taiga and Tetsuya's usual techniques failed reminded her of herself playing in the rain during the semi final three months ago and she didn't know if this game was a good memory or not. Maybe it was because all her attempts failed for the first half time, or maybe because she had to play against him of all people. But at the end, all these struggles were worth it since she could finally used her new style and make her team win.

So it was probably good for them to fail now and evolve for the Winter Cup.

"Kuroko, DON'T SLEEP !"

How could he even sleep on the sand in the middle of training ?

Riko-san's voice interrupted her thought "Are you okay, Teppei ? If you've got no strengh left, then.."

"No... I'm fine. To fix this rusty body of mine, this is nothing."

Although Riko-san was still worried, she let it go. Miyuki didn't say a word during their brief exchange, understanding how he felt after months of rehab because it would be her turn in winter.

Riko-san turned her head and said, "Neh, Masuko-chan ?"

"What is it, Coach ?"

"How do you think they're doing ?"

She could see Teppei on the corner of her eye and she knew he was listening and wanted her to be honest "This is only the beginning... Of course they're still laking of stamia and confidence in their moves, but since the defeat against Touou is recent, it's understandable. Taiga and Tatsuya must do something to improve as player to make the team stronger but eveyrone has potential. But I think they could all evolve to make the new Seirin. Better, stronger Seirin."

She didn't get an answer but saw how Riko-san looked less insecure. It probably was about the training camp itself. She had been through that when she was captain. But their efforts were not fruitless gave her more confidence.

Fifteen minutes later, Riko-san whistled to stop the game and assemble the team. "Good work ! We're relocating to the gym this evening !"

"Y... Yeah... Bffff... I'm gonna puke."

"Alright, who's gonna carry Masuko here ?"

The perks of walking with crutches and not being able to use them nor walk on the sand...

"Not me !"

"Taiga, you'll pay for that."

And as she hoped, the gym training session went smoothly for them, their movements even slightly improved even causing Taiga to jump too highly (fortunately, Teppei had been kind enough to carry herby piggyback). Two hours later, they went back to the hotel where the first years and the senpais had seperate rooms. Miyuki went to her senpais' room to wait for Riko who had to give her her massage on her knee.

"Oh Masuko-chan, it's you." She looked at the new comer. It was Izuki-senpai. "What are you doing here ?", he asked, sliding the door.

"I'm waiting for Riko-san so she could give me the massage for my knee."

"I see."

She threw a questionning look and he still was silent. It was highly unsual for him not to talk (or make puns... or both). So she asked, "what is it, Izuki-senpai ?"

He hesitated before saying "Say Masuko-chan... How did you do to occupy two posts in your team and still know your purpose to make your team better ?"

"How –

"The picture on your locker. You were wearing number eleven on it and I know this number is generally not worn by back winger."

So he saw that, uh.

Not really surprising knowing he had these eyes. He must have seen it when she put her stuff in the locker Coach gave her (seeing how she had to change her clothes for her reeducation). Still, the fact he deduced that with so little clue proved he was clever as well. "Maybe being Captain as well helped me but a I had a goal."

"How did you find your goal ?"

Her eyes slightly widened, knowing where it was going. "Win the Nationals... By being the cleverest defense and finding a new attack." She paused, not knowing if she could say the other part. Part of her was reluctant but seeing how he needed please made her say it. "I only found this goal three months after we've officially started playing. Before that, I was trying to find my old self again... the one who loved football. And I did, thanks to them and they also helped me to discover my potential for attack. That's how I play these two posts and also why I wanted to win with them. Obviously the situation is not the same for you but try to find why do you want to win and how can you help with that."

"Will I find it ? My purpose..." He was now sitting on the floor with her, watching an imaginary point.

"Of course, Izuki-senpai. I can't tell you how because you're the only one who can find your answer but I can help you and the team will help you."

"I wonder if I can be strong enough..." she knew he was thinking for himself and didn't intend to say it outloud. "I mean..."

"Of course you're strong enough, Izuki-senpai, never doubt about it. I'm sure you'll become even stronger." Izuki-senpai was now watching her strangely, making her confused. "What is it, Izuki-senpai ?"

"Are you sure you're really a first-year, Masuko-chan ?"

She chuckled softly, "If I was in France, I'd be a second-year in September." Riko-san finally arrived, interrupting their discussion. "I was waiting for you, Riko-san."

"Ah sumimasen Masuko-chan", she said an apologetic look on her face.

Twenty minutes later, Riko-san finished her massage and warned her about keep sleeping with a pillow on her leg. Nodding, she was helped by Izuki-senpai to go back to her room.

"Arigatō, Izuki-senpai."

"I should be the one to say that." He left a peck on her cheeks before walking back to his own room. Izuki-senpai was someone good to talk to despite his 'shady' puns like Hyuuga-senpai would say – she had to admit she laughed once or twice because of Izuki-senpai's puns, resulting a slap on her head by Hyuuga-senpai screaming 'DON'T ENCOURAGE HIM MASUKO !' –

"Masuko-chan, you're back !" She looked at the room and saw they would sleep on typical japanese bed (it was the first time for her but she didn't say a word seeing how Taiga and her got shocked expressions from everyone).

"Did you choose your couch ?"

"Not yet but –

"Then I'm sleeping between Tetsuya and Furihata-kun !"

"Wha – but Kagami's your best friend."

"Yes, but that doesn't mean I'm suicidal." The boys looked at her questionnally but didn't say anything, probably not eager to know what she meant.

Anyway, they would discover it next morning.

Taiga sounded unfaded by her remark "By the way, isn't it the first time you're sleeping on a tatami ?"

She sighed. Of course Taiga would say something. "It is."

"HUH ?"

"I only lived in France and the US so I've always slept on occidental beds", she quickly replied to defend herself.

"Still not used to japanese things, uh ?", asked Fukuda-kun.

"Kinda. Maman... I mean my mother helped with learning japanese traditions and how to behave, the only thing I don't really know about is food. Oh, that makes me think I have to wake up sooner to make us food."

"That's right. What are you planning to do ?"

"You'll see..." Eating well was very important for an athlete, especially during training camp.

"Need help ?"

"It's fine Taiga, just rest. Riko-san will help me." Seeing their eyes widening, she quickly added, "I'll be there to watch and tutor her, don't worry and she'll mainly be there to help me with my moves since I still have these crutches. Be in the dining hall at 7 A.M !"

"That's really soon !"

"I know but Riko-san panned the beach training at 9 A.M and you need to take your breakfast at least one or two hours ago so you won't throw up."

"Now that you're saying that, I think you have a point..."

She saw everyone's eyes closing a bit and her own eyes felt heavy as well. "I think it's time to sleep."

"Yeah."

"Totally."

"Good night, guys."

"'night, Emilie."

"Goodnight, Masuko-chan."

"Goodnight, Miyuki-san", was the last sentence she heard before falling into sleep.


6 A.M.

Miyuki woke up slowly, rubbing her still sleepy eyes and taking her crutches to go to her luggage and take a few things in her bag for breakfast (she would change her clothes after breakfast).

She wanted to go and brush her teeth as well but last night's experience proved it was impossible to do it alone since there was no possibility to sit while brushing her teeth (and seeing how she still needed to have her hands on the crutches while using the toothpaste and all...). She would wait for Taiga or Tetsuya to wake up.

She went to the kitchen where Riko-san was already gathering the necessary ingredients she told her last night.

"Domo, Riko-san."

"Domo, Masuko-chan. How is your leg ?"

"Good, I don't feel too sored." It was probably because she felt really tired last night but she hadn't woken up once "So, are you ready ?"

"Of course !" Riko-san looked over the bags hanged on her crutches. "What did you bring with you ?"

"Things I made a few days ago. Confiture – I mean jam and biscottes. I think they're called toasted bread as well ?"

Riko-san nodded. "What do you want me to do ?"

"I told you I wanted to make a breakfast everyone will love so I'll make salty and sweet food. You'll make the salty food and I'll make the sweet food and you'll help me to watch the baking of food."

"Do you know what to make for everyone ?"

"Hai. Obviously I know what to make for Taiga since we're eating breakfast everyday together and Tetsuya as well now. And Teppei since we ate sometimes together at the hospital. And... for everyone else, I think I can have a guess."

"Oh, is that so ?", she asked, genuinely curious.

"You'll see, Riko-san", she said her usual half-smile on her face. "Papa said I could be a cook if I want because I always find people's tastes though I'm not as good as Taiga for cooking."

"Can you tell me what I want for breakfast ?"

"Of course. Your favorite dish is rice mixed with supplements, butI think you prefer eating sweet food for breakfast though you don't do so very often. You would rather eat strawberry than chocolate so I think you could eat toasted bread with strawberry jam and perhaps croissants as well with some tea."

"Wait, how did you know – what's croa... Whatever you said in french."

"It's an iconic french thing and since France is probably one of the only countries to eat sweet food everyday for breakfast, croissants are the best ! You can even eat it with jam or hot chocolate !" Truth to be told, she prefered chocolatines but chocolatines obviously had chocolate in it and the only chocolate allowed during training camps and competitions was the one in the milk.

She showed her the dough she prepared and recieved a "You made a lot" from Riko-san. If she used the words 'a lot', it meant she made much more than 'a lot'.

"If they're not finished, I can still eat them tomorrow." Okay, maybe she did it on purpose. She rolled the dough she divided in triangles to shape them like croissants looked like before brushing them with egg yolk and letting Riko-san putting them in the oven.

"How long before it's ready ?"

"Thirty minutes."

"Got it !"

6:26 A.M

"Could you make scrambled eggs with beacon for three persons, please."

"Hai, Masuko-chan."

Fortunately, Riko-san remembered how to do basics things, like Taiga and her spent hours to show and teach her (they truly thought the were going to die during that afternoon). She cut le pain she made before going to training camp (because she knew she wasn't going to find it here... bread or pain like that couldn't be found everywhere in Japan) before beginning to prepare the banana-vanilla smoothie she planned for Tetsuya (for obvious reason, giving him a vanilla milkshake for breakfast wasn't an option although he wouldn't have complained).

"Do you think I could add pepper ?"

"For Hyuuga-senpai and Taiga, yes."

"I think some of them will be awake to help us with bringing all of this on the table."

"Hyuuga-senpai told me he would do so and Teppei who overhear us promised to do the same as well."

"It means you could go and brush your teeth before breakfast. Should I make boil the water for coffee and tea now ?"

"Do so, Riko-san."

"You know, cooking is way more fun than I thought !"

"I've always loved cooking, especially with my friends and it's kinda fun for me to guess what people love eating and see the joy on their face. And I also think being an athlete doesn't mean eating things you don't enjoy... It might seems foolish saying like that but it's truly important to keep a player's spirit."

"Having you as manager truly opens my eyes about things I never thought about..."

"Uh ? What do you mean ?"

"Not only you're able to help me as Coach with things such as tacticals and you also can give me a player's point of view and see things differently."

She laughed, not knowing exactly what to answer "It's nothing."

"I think the guys will beg to differ, especially after this breakfast."

"If you say so, Riko-san."

"Come on, Masuko-chan ! You know what they say... Get to a man's heart through his stomach. In our case it would be get to more stamia for the team though their stomatch."

It made her thought about the guys there... They were probably enjoying their rest after they got qualified for next year's Europe's highschool competition... Or they were playing again instead of properly resting. Probably, yes. "You're right."

6:45 A.M

She asked to Riko-san to put les croissants out of the oven before telling her she would leave to ask – or more like requiring – Taiga's assistance for helping her to brush her teeth and wash her face (saying it this way was probably strange but the fact she couldn't sit meant she would need someone to help her even for such trivial task).

"Do so Masuko-chan, and join us in the dining hall."

"I'll do so", she said, taking her toiletry bag with her and going to where Taiga and Tetsuya (and his messy hair) were already standing, brushing lazily their teeth and still half asleep.

"Domo, Tetsuya. Hello Taiga."

"Yo."

"Domo."

"KUROKO ! YOU'RE DOING THAT ON PURPOSE, AREN'T YOU ?" So Taiga didn't notice Tetsuya's presence... again ?! "AND LOOK AT YOUR HAIR !"

"Um, Taiga... Tetsuya's hair looks this messy every morning. Also, please don't speak so loudly."

Yes, she was still referring to the him sleeping during classes thing. "Shut up."

"Now, can you help me ?"

"Just gimme your stuff, I'm doing your ponytail and Kuroko's holding you."

"Okay", she replied, putting her crutches on the wall and putting one of her arm around Tetsuya's shoulder.

"I hope you don't mind, Tetsuya."

"Of course not."

"Um, could you also... put the toothpaste on the toothbrush, please ?"

"Hai."

He handed her the toothbrush with an expression she could identify as a half-smile and she smiled him back. Everyone on the team knew how much it bothered not to be on her full physical capacity with her leg and had been really thoughtful towards her, something she was grateful for.

"How does Kagami-kun know how to tie hair ?"

"Oi Kuroko, what are you trying to say ?"

"Taiga is always the one to style and comb my hair when I need to, since I don't know how to make a good high ponytail" she said smoothly, interrupting the beginning of another spat.

"More like you don't know how to style your hair at all."

"Shut up, Kagami", she said grumpily, brushing energically her teeth with a dark look.

It wasn't her fault if styling her hair was not her forte. It was his fault if she was being vulgar, since he dared insulting her before she could drink her hot cocoa and eat her croissants.

"My, how –

"Hey, bring the stuff here." This voice was oddly familiar... And apprently, she was right since Taiga stopped talking (or teasing her).

"Hai." This voice was even more familiar. It was Takao-kun... With Midorima.

It was a good thing Taiga wasn't the one to hold her because he looked so surprised he would have made her fall "Eh ?"

"Huh ?"

"Domo." Tetsuya's unfazed expression was a great contrast to all these outraged and 'why the hell are you here ?' faces.

"WHY ARE YOU HERE ?"

These two are impossible...

"THAT'S WHAT I SHOULD ASK !"

Taiga and Midorima only saw each other's face ten seconds and they were already arguing.

"It's always been a tradition of ours to come here for a training camp. Long time no see ~" said casually Takao-kun.

"Seems you're enjoying your vacation here !" He pointed out accusingly Taiga, "what's with that sunburn !?"

"IT'S NOT VACATION !"

"Taiga please, could you give me the crutch on the wall ?"

The two Shutoku players seemed to finally notice she was here as well.

"Masuko-chan ?"

"Domo, Midorima, Takao-kun. I hope you're both well and

"Hey ! Everyone is already in the dining hall. What are you doing here ?"

Oh my God.

She only left her ten minutes. Ten minutes and Riko-san already had a knife with a really red substance on it. Horror could be seen on everyone's face even Tetsuya showed discomfort

"Riko-san, I told you not to use that knife !"

"What the hell is your school, Kuroko ?"

"Seirin High School."

"NOT THAT !" She slightly chuckled, amused by Tetsuya's answer.

"My !? Shutoku-san ?"

Not understanding their bewildered looks, she glanced her questionnally and she made a move with her head to show the... red thing all over her.

Please don't let it be blood.

"Oh, this is ketchup."

Dieu merci.

"Riko-san, I hope you weren't trying to put it on the scrambled eggs."

"Ummm..."

"Coach... You didn't..."

"Well..."

"MY SCRAMBLED EGGS ! Where did you put 'em... ma'am ?"

"In the dining room."

"I gotta go !" Taiga run to save his food screaming insults in english such as 'fuck'.

"Riko-san, could you watch him for me, please."

"Of course. Do you want me to prepare tea ?"

"Yes, please. Tetsuya and I will join you in a few minutes."

"Okay", she replied, leaving with the knife still in her hands.

"Scary..."

"Usually, Coach is not that frightening", she assured to Takao-kun who was understandably still shaken by Riko-san's apparence.

"The whole team is thankful for Miyuki-san's sacrifice."

She threw a half smile to Tetsuya and didn't mind to correct the word 'sacrifice' "That's no problem, it was fun. It actually reminded me of the training camp I had with the guys a few months ago and... I wouldn't let the team nor I die of starvation during morning session because of Riko-san's food."

"Wait, you're part of the training too ?"

She turned her head to watch Takao-kun's surprised expression and shrugged "Not really. I'm just doing my reeducation at the same time four or five hours per day."

"That's a lot."

"Not really but doing barely nothing for almost three months lessened my stamia. But what about you ? How long will you stay here ?"

"Two weeks of hell. Neh, Shin-chan."

"Hm."

"I'm sure it will be amusing."

"Miyuki-san, please stop using the word 'amusing' while talking about training."

"It's the third training I have this year and until now, it always has been fun." Maybe it was because she had been Captain but training camps was so fun to organize, especially because there was nothing else to prevent them from training almost ten hours per days. "Well, I'm sure we'll have many opportunities to talk together but we should leave you know for breakfast."

"Yeah, see you !"

"We'll talked later."

Tetsuya and she bowed before leaving. She felt Tetsuya's eyes on her and she asked what was bothering him with a slight move of her neck.

"Did Miyuki-san make a hot cocoa for me ?"

Oh. Of course.

"Absolutely !"


Nakatani Masaaki was a keep and sharp Coach but most of all, a man of patience. That was what he kept telling to himself but he had to recognize that this year was particulary draining in a way. The team might be a its strongest but it was also it its most tiresome state. Between Midorima's quirks, Miyaji's permanent anger over nothing and Takao's incessant laugh, he was starting to feel his patience reducing. He heard Kimura and Takao's discussion and something was telling him that this training would be not exactly what he had planned to be.

"Eh ? Seirin is staying at the same place ?"

"Yep ~ So funny ~"

Kimura expressed the confusion himself was feeling "Funny ? What was ?"

"I mean they will be pissed the whole time." How could Takao laugh like that at 8 A.M...

"Sorry, I don't get you."

"You're wrong, Takao." At least it explained Midorima's foul mood. "We're cursed." He allowed himself a sigh as Takao's laught increased.

"Coach... A guest... or two actually." He took his eyes off of his rather energic first year duo, looking at the player who just said that. "Mhm?"

"Seirin's Coach and Manager have to discuss something."

He wondered what the two of them wanted to talk about . "Okay, tell the other to make ten laps while I'm talking to them."

The teenager stiffened up, as expected but he accepted anyway. "Hai, Coach."

Once he went outside, he saw the two young women chatting. He recognized Seirin's Coach, who was also Tora's daughter, Aida Riko. She fullfilled her part as Coach more than correctly, especially given her young age. He didn't know much about the taller girl apart the part she was a first year and she was Seirin's Manager. He also remembered how she was on a wheelchair during the game instead of the crutches she currently had.

"Domo, Masaaki-san."

...

How in the hell that young woman know his first name ?

It was highly inconsiderate from a teenager to use an adult's first name in front of them but the way she said it was full of respect and something like amusement ?

"I'm almost offended you don't recognize me", she continued, with a chuckle. She raised her head and he saw those deep blue eyes and with that, something clicked. From the raven hair to the blue eyes and more generally the mix of japanese and occidental features, he recognized her.

"Mi – Miyuki ?"

"I was scared my God Father wouldn't know who I am." He pulled her in his arms, as if he had to be sure she was sure, that she was real. He wasn't the kind of man who made public display of affectionbut he didn't see her for more than five years.

He let her go and he saw the surprise look on Seirin Coach's face but he couldn't care less. "How is that possible ? Why are you here ?"

"I came here at the end of April and I'll be staying here permanently... I think it would be more appropriate to talk about it later since I... We came to ask you something."

'We' ? "What is it ?"

"We would like to share our gym training with your team during afternoon sessions."

Seirin was definitely full of surprise. "You want to have combined training with Shutoku ?"

"Hai." It wasn't so grotesque, after all. He could see how it could help both of their teams and he wasn't going to say it wasn't a tempting offer. Seirin was the team he and the team wanted to take revenge on, though both females probably had something in their minds because knowing how she was when she was young and knowing Miyuki's parents, she grew up as a smart and cunning young woman.

"Very well. We'll begin at 3 P.M."

The two girls look at each other with satisfaction. "Arigatō", they said before bowing and walking back to the hotel, probably.

He didn't know if he should feel happy or not, since he knew this training camp would be more dreadful than he thought.

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