Fragments

croissants et chocolatines

[HOSPITAL ARC]

Miyuki woke up to the delicious smell of scrambled eggs and bacon.

Crap, I forgot to set the alarm clock.

Fortunately, he was there to wake her up. "Yo."

She opened her eyes to see her best friend with a breakfast tray in his hands.

"Good morning, Taiga !" Seeing him there in the morning became a usual thing for her after she gave him her spare keys. He did the same for her and since they lived in front of each other's building.

He came to her home everyday, her family still not there and Uncle still in America.

"I made you scrambled eggs." He sounded casual but she knew better. She could hear the almost gentleness in his voice, the awkward tone he used when he was trying to cheer her up.

Rubbing her still sleepy eyes, she forced a smile "Don't worry..." She took the tray he gave to her as she felt her stomach making gurgles "...I'm so hungry I'd eat anything !"

He looked at her smile, grimacing despite what she just said because they both knew what she just said had another meaning. 'No need to worry for me'

"Oi, you idiot," he slapped her head, messing her hair at the same time, "don't give me that crap ! Stop being a worry wort about everyone and try to think about yourself." He continued, in a softer tone, "No need to hide your problems to me 'cause we're best friends !"

She looked at him, slightly surprised he directly saw through her façade... but then she remembered he knew her very well though they were seperated for a long time. The only reaction she had was to throw him "Lisa called me."

"What ?" Obviously he wasn't unexpecting that.

"Lisa called me." Saying it outloud lessened the heavy feelings she had on her chest.

Tagami was oddly calm. Too calm. The only thing that betrayed him was his clenched fists "When was it ?"

"Yesterday. She said she just called to 'check on me'."

He snorted, "Yeah, so believable from her. Was that about the promise you told me about ?"

"Hm." Riko-san and him were the only ones in the team who knew her new goal. She would sure tell the team but she was just waiting for the right moment.

"Show her you will keep it ! With me and also Coach's help, it's impossible not to. So you better eat quickly and go to this surgery !"

She happily complied and enjoyed the declicious taste of bacon with scambled eggs as they began to discuss about the tutoring she would give to him for the review test. Riko-san agreed to let her in charge of Taiga's tutoring in every subject except math and japanese because... well she was good enough in math, but she hated this subject. As for japanese, the school made suitable questions for her test because she just arrived there and still struggled with kanjis. Once her breakfast over, she gave the tray to him and changed her clothes while he was in the kitchen.

"Taiga, can I ask you something ?"

He came back in her bedroom, a tea towel still in his hand, "Of course !"

"I would like you... to keep my medal and my ring while I'm on surgery, please."

"A – are you sure ?"

She was silent for a moment before she looked at him "It might seems strange, but I think I can't keep two of my two precious items alone, not even for a few you're the one I trust the most to keep them, especially the ring."

"You can be so weird sometimes." She felt a smirk forming on her face because that was probably the reason why they were best friends.

As he helped her to sit on her wheelchair and took her luggage, she thought was glad she came to Japan. "Let's go !"


She woke up for the second time of the day, feeling groggy and numb... But this time she was in an hospital room. She could feel the effects of anesthesia slowly fading and the pain on her left leg increasing. As she began to come back to her senses, she could hear a voice. A man's voice.

"– suko-san... Masuko-san ? Can you hear me ?"

Feeling her mouth too dry to speak for now, she just nodded.

"Konnichiwa Masuko-san, you finally woke up."

Konnichiwa ? It was already afternoon ? Did it mean her surgery was longer than expected ? And that voice... Yes, she finally recognized it, it was Osawa-sensei's voice. "We had complications during your operation but I can assure you now we were able to completely repair your anterior cruciate ligament tears."

She asked in a rough voice, "do – does it means..."

"You will be able to play sports at a high level. However, the fact that you gain back or not your anterior level depends of the sucess of your re-education..." He stopped a few seconds, examining the files he was holding "You know I do not completely agree with your choice, but I will ask you to at least stay here to learn to walk again for the two or three next weeks."

"I know Osawa-sensei." Her rough voice was shaken with emotion but she didn't care. She was too happy to know she made that step, as she bowed with gratitude despite the pain "Dōmo arigatō gozaimasu."

"No need to thank me again... and no need to move. A nurse will come in a few minutes to inject a sedative."

"Very Well."

As she poured herself a cold glass of water, she observed the room that would be hers for at least 2 weeks. The walls were white as expected, but the paintings framed on it made the room less cold and hostile. Fortunately, she was the only one occupying the room, leaving her the intimacy she wanted. A table, in front of her bed was there for eventual guests and also chairs but most of all, she was relieved to see there was a TV mounted high on the wall for easy viewing.

In the middle of the paintings there was also a clock... It was 4 p.m meaning classes were already over. She thought about her classmates and friends: would they survive without the notes she took for them ?

A soft knock interrupted her thoughts, "It's the nurse, can I come in ?"

"Of course."

"Masuko-san, how are you doing ?," the nurse asked her.

"I still feel numb... And my leg hurts, but I'm okay." At least she could now talk more or less normally after her throat finally recieved some water.

"Alright, I'll give you a sedative to calm the pain. If you need anything, just press on the button here. I'll come back in a few hours to check on you."

"Dōmo arigatō !"

"Emilie, you're awake !" She looked at the door and saw her best friend, still in his school uniform and standing awkwardly, a bunch of flowers in his hands. She noted with amusement the nurse ogling him before leaving. Things didn't change: older women still found him cute.

"Taiga !"

"Erm, I brought you flowers and stuff from the team... The flowers were Coach's idea."

"That's very kind from her. And thanks for helping her to choose the flowers !" He was too stubborn to admit he remembered her favorite flowers so she just kissed him on the cheek. As he layed them in the vase, she looked fondly at the red and white bouquet.

He scratched his head, showing her the things he had in his other hand "Kuroko told me to give you these books and said stuff about him and Furi visiting you to tell you about your book club. Mitobe-senpai made you chocolate and the other gave you snacks" He let them on the nightstand and put back the chain and the medal around her neck "There, I give you 'em back !"

She looked with delight at the sweets the team offered her and was sincerely touched by this attention "Thanks the team for this ! And thank you for keeping them safe."

"So..."

"The surgery was a total sucess !", she answered with a smile.

He nodded, visibly relieved "How are you feeling ?"

"My leg hurts like hell and I can't move but I'm so relieved. I'll begin the first step of my re-education in two days... Anyway, did you bring your books with you ?"

She could feel the depressing aura forming around him when she reffered to the tutoring "Yeah..."

"Alright, let's begin with English !"

"Huh ?! YOU are going to teach me English ?"

She decided to opt with the most effective technique against him: hurt his pride. "Of course. I'm way better than you and at least, I don't have this japanese accent when I'm talking."

"Oi ! I'm here since two years so of course I kinda lost the accent !"

"You think I could have used English at school there ? Did you see their level there ?" She shivered remembering the horrible grammatical faults 24/7... Truly unforgivable.

He gave up, saying "Fine, let's just finish this !"

A bubbly voice stopped them "Konnichiwa Masuko-san how –

"Konnichiwa, Kise-kun !"

She raised an eyebrow at his reaction or rather lack of reaction but found the reason when she saw Taiga doing the same face "WHAT THE HELL IS HE DOING HERE ?!"

"I proposed to tutor him as well, remember !"

"Yeah but... Does it have to be now ?!"

"Yes, Taiga. Is it bothering you ?"

She saw him flinching at the look she gave him and after seconds of glances exchanged between Kise-kun and him, he finally muttered a "No..."

"Good." She now looked at her guest who was still in front of the door.

"Take a seat Kise-kun" she offered. "I'm sorry I couldn't tutor you around a proper table for now, I just had the surgery this morning so it's still too painful to move."

"That's not a problem ! After all, Masuko-san is kind enough to tutor me. Here, I bought you flowers-ssu." Amusingly, the flowers he was holding were just like him: bright, yellow and joyful.

"Arigatō, Kise-kun. For the tutoring, it's nothing. I couldn't let one of Kuroko-kun's friend and Taiga's rival not participate at the Inter High because of marks !"

"So you noticed how Kurokocchi and I are close, does he talk ab –

"Alright, what were you saying ? English, right ?" She chuckled. Taiga told her about how Kise-kun had the tendancy to ramble about how 'amazing' Kuroko-kun was.

"English it is. For the two next hours, I'm going to only talk to you in english and you're going to do the same as well. No japanese allowed. We'll do grammar first so be prepared !"

"Wha-

She looked at them almost mockingly as she replied in english "Beginning now !"


"Good job boys, you did well."

The two hours unexpectedly passed more smoothly than she planned. She thought they would get through senseless hassles but they were calm, focusing on correctly talking and writing english. They were making impressive progresses, especially Kise-kun. She suspected it was because of the skill Kuroko-kun told her about after their meeting at the restaurant... Not to mention the fact that the two of them were having a competition about who was the best at english, the glares they gave to the other after having praised one of them proving it.

Taiga's stomach made noises, telling them it was time for dinner "I'm going to find us food at the cafeteria !"

"Okay but just don't take everything there, will you !", she said in an amused tone. She was only half-joking though, not that whatever she would say could change something because when it came to food, no one could stop him.

"Haha, Kagamicchi really eats a lot !"

"That's Taiga for you," she agreed.

As she continued to read one of the novels she burrowed to Kuroko-kun, Miyuki could feel Kise-kun's eyes on her. He was observing her, as if he was trying to figure something. And at this moment, she remembered he was way more than good look and cute smiles. She could see it because he was the same type as Kuroko-kun and her: someone hiding his a sharp observations behind a façade.

Hers was excessive and almost cold politeness. Kuroko-kun's was his oh so infamous deadpan attitude. And his was his overexcited behavior. Quite a contrast with silent observation, but it strangely worked with him. And the fact that he had a pretty face probably helped too. Curiosity winning her, she stopped pretending she couldn't feel his gaze on her.

"Kise-kun, could I ask you something ?"

"Of course Masuko-san, what is it ?"

"You're awfully good to me...Why ?"

"Heh ?"

She laughed softly, trying to find the good way to say it "We don't really know each other for now but you have this friendly attitude towards me... And I know despite appearances, you're not the kind of person to be like this with someone, unless you judge this person as worthy." Resting chin on hand, her lips were smiling at him almost slyly "So, how could I be considered as 'worthy' by you ? I'm not someone with the same blessing as Taiga or Kuroko-kun."

His eyes widened as she finished her speech. He was now smirking, eamining her with interest "Masuko-san is amazing, after all. The last person who could see that was Kurokocchi." Unsurprising, she thought. "I'm curious about the person who could control Kagamicchi and make Kurokocchi feels confortable so quickly. But I partially understand now."

The last part confused her "What about Kuroko-kun ?"

"You see... Kurokocchi could be so blunt but he is a polite person so it was surprising to him to ask to someone he just knew to sit on his lap in a public place. Or this book...", she looked at the light novel in her hands "this is one of Kurokocchi's favorite books since middle school and I couldn't see him lend it to someone he doesn't trust."

It was her turn to be surprised. "How do you know ?"

"My eyes can see it." A simple sentence, yet really elusive. That type of answers worked with people generally more appealed by his pretty face than by what he said.

"You really are something. I can see why Kuroko-kun interests you."

"But why does Kurokocchi trust you ?" There was no biterness or jealousy in his voice, just curiosity.

And she didn't know. She just felt her connection with him was natural. It wasn't the blinding sparkle she had with her football teammates but a warm and reassuring friendship. And an understanding. So the only thing she could say was, "maybe it's because we're the same kind, like you and I."

For the first time, he genuinely smiled at her, "Yeah, you're probably right !"

She concealed a smile back, and it was sincere this time. No overpoliteness in it, just the feeling she just formed a bond that would hopefully last. And she was sure he understood.

When Taiga came back, he was visibly confused by the two of them grinning like idiots "What are you guys doing ?"

"Masukocchi and I were just – EH ? You took way too much !"

"Uh ? Since when do you call her with 'cchi' ?"

"That's because Masukocchi is a good tutor, just like Kurokocchi was the best instructor when we were in middle school and I just entered the first string and...

As he continued to talk about Kuroko-kun, Taiga sighed "I shouldn't have asked..."


Miyuki woke up at the sound of birds squealing. 8 a.m. Great. She wanted to keep sleeping but couldn't because of the raw pain in her leg. She guessed that she didn't feel it while these two were there because they were distracting her attention from her leg... And also because the sedative made its effect. And now, there she was, prepared to be bored to death until they came back and suffering until the nurse would come. Or that was she thought until she heard a familiar voice coming from the corridors "I'll come to help you after classes, nanodayo."

She couldn't help but ask to herself outloud "Midorima-kun ?"

The steps in the corridors momentarily stopped and the door of her room was being open slowly, almost hesitantly. Her suspicions were confirmed when she saw a tall green haired man looking at her with shock "You..."

"Ohayō gozaimasu, Midorima-kun ! What are you doing here ?"

"My father runs this hospital."

"I see..."

So that was probably his father he was talking to a few seconds ago.

Silence settled between the two of them, but it was different with the one they had two days ago. Surprisingly, it was him who started the discussion "How did your surgery go ?"

"Good ! I was informed I'll begin my re-education tomorrow."

"Um, I see."


Shintaro threw a glance at her leg.

The girl is awfully calm for someone who will go through six months of intense education...

He wondered if she would still be Seirin's manager during that time. If so, Shutoku would have to consider that fact. The last time, he admitted he underestimated Kagami... And her. She might not be Momoi but he knew she contributed to Seirin's victory. He didn't know how and at what extent though.

While he made his silent observations, he felt her eyes on him "Are you starting classes later ?"

He didn't moved closer but put in bag on the floor. "Yes. I begin at 10 a.m today."

"That's good. I was supposed to begin at 8.30 a.m today... I hope the boys will be good without me." She only muttered the last part and he didn't know who she was talking about.

"Who ?"

"Taiga and Kuroko-kun. We're classmates."

Seirin's light and shadow... "They are in the same class as well..."

"Does it mean you have someone from your team in your class as well ?"

Did my tone give it away ? "Takao."

"That's great ! Having a teammate in your class is always more fun." He threw at her a dubious look. He wasn't convinced at all by that. "The day you'll fully understand what I told you the other day, you'll agree with me."

The fact that she referred that day made him unconfortable but his curiosity won over his discomfort "What do you mean ?... Not that I care."

"You just realized you really love basketball that day but you still need to realize you can count on your teammates."

His eyes widened, "How do you – I mean –

She cut him, "How do I know you realized you do love basketball ? I saw the pain you felt after your defeat." She looked at him, full of compassion "Your tears proved it. And you will love basketall even more once you'll be a true team, especially with Takao-kun."

He felt a warmth rushing to his cheeks.

So she did see me cry...

He attempted to hide his blush by coughing and touching his glasses. Mother had told him it was a bad habit, "Kuroko said you're highschool national champion of your home country. How is that possible ?" He was sure she was a first year, like him.

"You mean how a first year has already won the championship ? Well, because school starts in April here, I'm continuing my first highschool year I began in France in September. Otherwise, I would've been in my second year in highschool in France after summer holidays."

He didn't say anything and she kept looking at him, the room now silent. He watched her swollen knee and he couldn't help but wonder why she was so calm. He knew injury on the knee at this age leaded generally to another injury later.

The girl probably knew it too. And yet, she became Seirin's manager. Was she foolish enough to lower the importance of her reeducation ?

The nurse coming with breakfast and sedative cut his thoughts.

"Ohayō Masuko-san... Midorima-san ?! Um, o – ohayō gozaimasu !" she almost stuttered for the last part.

She waved and greeted her "Ohayō gozaimasu, Hiroe-san !"

He did the same, still watching her leg "Ohayō gozaimasu."

"I brought your breakfast, a western one just like you asked me last night. Does Midorima-san want breakfast as well ?"

He declined the offer, picking up his bag "No need to do that, I was gonna leave."

"Very well." The nurse was injecting her the sedative.

"So you're going to school now."

"Indeed."

He opened the door to leave but stopped when she said "If you want, you can come here to visit me sometimes."

He stayed silent for a few seconds and considered her offer. He barely knew her but considered the fact that she might tell him more about Kagami – he still didn't understand how the two of them could be best friends –

"I'll come this afternoon to help my father, nanodayo."

"Very well." he heard her say before he closed the door.


"I told you, World War II ended in France when Americans came to save our sorry ass with le Débarquement de Normandie. It was June 6th 1945."

"Oh, I think I get it now."

Second day, second subject: world's history. She really liked this subject. Not as much as english but she enjoyed learning about the past and studying historical events.

"Woah, I finally understood this war."

"Masukocchi's methods are really special !"

"I think appropriating a content to yourself makes it easier to memorize it and I do it this way."

"Just like basketball ! But I didn't believe Musukocchi can talk like this. You sound so polite."

"I see what you mean. But being polite doesn't always work where I used to live." Not to mention her politeness was a way to keep distance with people.

"That girl always gets in trouble."

"That's not true !" Okay, maybe she was being in denial but it wasn't that horrible, was it ?

"Are you kidding ? What about the street fights ? And your injury ? And what you did to -

"Okay, Taiga I think I get your point. But I never get too reckless, I always take the risks in consideration."

"STREET FIGHTS ?!" It was probably the first time someone was here during their bickering about street fights.

"Just thinking about it hurts my head... Ugh, I'm hungry now !" You're always hungry, she wanted to say.

"You're right, it's time to eat."

"I made food for us but I forgot it ! Just wait, I'll be back in 10 minutes !"

"Look if I got letters please !" She was relieved to hear that because to be honest, she couldn't handle weeks of tasteless hospital food.

"Yes ma'am !" he answered in english mockingly. "And you two better be hungry because I made a lot." And before they had time to answer back, he already left.

"Does Kagamicchi really know how to cook ?" She supposed Kise-kun's uncertainty was justified. Her best friend didn't look like the kind of person who knew how to cook. Or to be good at anything except basketball, according to most of people. But they were wrong. Dead wrong. He might not have academic intelligence but he wasn't idiot. And he had many great skills in extra of basketball.

"Taiga is the best !" They both knew she was also talking about basketball. He didn't answer back but he nodded with a smirk on his face.

"Masukocchi... I've always been curious about when you met Kagamicchi ! You seem to know him for a long time."

She smiled fondly at the memory "You're right. It was when I was in America during our 3rd grade ! And even after I went back to France, we stayed best friends."

"Woah, that's a long time !"

"I guess you're right..."

A knock on her door stopped their talk. She was completely sure it wasn't Taiga – he would have never knocked. –

"You can come in."

"Masuko-san." The young man in front of her bowed to greet her.

"Midorima-kun... You came back."

"Uh ?"

He shouted, pointing a finger on Kise, "WHAT THE HELL IS HE DOING HERE ?"

"I should ask you this !"

Was it always the same with them ? "I'm tutoring Kise-kun for the tests and Midorima-kun kindly accepted to come to visit me this morning."

"Midorimacchi did ?"

"Of course not, don't be stupid. I came here to help my father."

"Ha." That was odd. She expected from Kise-kun non stop babblering but got instead a simple 'Ha'. Midorima-kun didn't seem to care though.

"Did you have a good day at school ?"

"Hm."

"Isn't Midorimacchi supposed to be at practise ?"

"This week's practises have been lessened for the review test."

"I see. I'm sure Midorima-kun is doing well at school." He was the only one who wasn't worried after hearing the word 'test' at the restaurant.

"Of course."

"Masukocchi is doing super well too, she's clever and she makes boring things to learn interesting !"

"Kise-kun is exaggerating, I'm just used to do this since years ! By the way, did Midorima-kun eat dinner ?"

"Not yet."

"So stay with us. You'll have good food."

"Yeah, come on Midorimacchi, it would make Masukocchi and I happy !" She confirmed what Kise-kun stated with a warm smile.

She knew Kise-kun didn't say that sentence randomly. His reason was unknown to her but the way he said it and the way he asked for confirmation gave it away.

"I suppose I cannot refuse." A small sigh escaped his mouth, however he didn't refuse. She took it as a good sign.

"You can take this seat or this one."

"Does Masukocchi know what we will eat ?"

"I'm sure it will be american knowing –

"Yo, I'm back !"

She felt like this situation was a déjà-vu. Taiga and Midorima-kun were making the same faces in the restaurant and she felt the uneasiness going on between them but at least it was... Well, not as much as two days ago.

"Before you begin to talk, Midorima-kun came to visit me because I asked him if he wanted to and Taiga is here because I'm tutoring him as well and – well Taiga is Taiga. So please, make a truce. Believe me, being rivals without biterness is so much better." Maybe she was being selfish to ask that. She didn't know... But she had enough of this last year and she didn't want people to go through that. And she didn't want to see it neither. Especially when her best friend was concerned.

"Emilie..."

Of course he understood. He was one of the people who took the broken pieces and helped her to fix them. But she couldn't handle these feelings. The feeling of being there and doing nothing, because last time it ended up very badly. So she hoped they would get along or at least not end up hating each other. Rival was one thing, ennemy was another... But on the other side, what she was asking was selfish so she decided to say to forget it when Taiga surprised her. He put what he got on his hand on the floor and offered a handshake.

"Kagami Taiga, hajimemashité."

Silence. Midorima-kun was frozen and Miyuki was stunned by what he just did. He agreed. Having rivals who can be friendly with you was so much more amusing. And to her shock, Midorima-kun shook his hand.

"Midorima Shintaro, hajimemashité."

Of course they were glaring each other, challenging each other to dare tell 'NO' and put a stop to it. Masuko gave a silent 'thanks' to Taiga with her eyes and she would make sure to thank Midorima-kun later.

"What did you make for dinner ?"

"Shrimp jambalaya and madelaines."

Shrimp jambalaya ? Typical. "I knew it would be american...", she muttered.

"You're the one to talk with your french food ! I made the effort to do madelaines !"

She pouted. Desserts were her weakness. "If you say so..."

Kise-kun stammered, like everytime he was interrupting their bickering "Ano... Wha – what are these dishes ?"

She forgot how japanese dishes were different... Or rather she didn't remember until she had to buy ingredients in the convinient store to fill the fridge. "Shrimp jambalaya is an american dish with rice, shrimp, ham and chorizo and madelaines are french small cakes with almonds or lemon zest. I hope it's lemon though."

"Yeah, yeah, I followed your recipe. It's good I brought five plates on me."

"Why would you –

This guy is unbelievable

"He planned to use three plates for himself."

"Oh, um..."

"So here you go. Tell me stop."

The two other young men seemed genuily surprised. She knew what they thought It looks good – surprisingly –

"Itadakimasu !"

"Wow, Kagamicchi, that's... Delicious !"

"It... doesn't taste bad."

"But it tastes really good ! How is that even possible ?!"

"I live alone so I have to know how to cook instead of starving."

"You live alone ?"

"My old man was supposed to live with me but he had to come back to the States."

Kise-kun's face showed he was hesitant, almost scared to ask something "Doesn't it feel... lonely sometimes ?"

"Nah, never. Emilie comes around to eat with me." She smiled and touched the ring on her necklace.

Kise-kun gave them a questionning look "We live very near of each other and I eat with him because I live alone too."

"Masukocchi too ?"

She nodded. "My family is still in France, they'll come in August. About that, did you look if I got letters, Taiga ?"

"Yeah, you got 2 letters and this huge box."

Her face lightened up. She wasn't sure of who wrote the letters but for the box, she knew who sent it and what was in it "They sent everything !"

Even Taiga was totally clueless "Uh ?"

"I didn't have time to empty my locker so my teammates did it for me. And they probably sent the pictures."

"I want to see them Masukocchi, can I ?"

"Of course, Kise-kun. And you as well Midorima-kun, if you want."

She opened the box carefully to find on top of the contents a piece of paper "A letter ? Surprising." Opening it, she laughed, recognizing the terrible writing. "Look Taiga, someone is writing just like you write in japanese."

"Oi you bastard, it isn't that bad !"

"Shh, let me read it."

'Dear Emilie,

What's up ? Hope you're doing well and that you take care of this stupid injury so next time we'll play again. Like you asked, we've taken everything from both of your lockers -normal one and from the club- and send it back and we add a few things like the album we completed. You have too many books and useless things – who would need cake recipes in a football locker ? –

Anyway, we won the other tournament even if you weren't here but we still haven't filled the captain sit. School is ending next week for us, so we'll be able to do a Skype with the whole team. Everyone misses you here. I swear I even saw Coach crying when he talked about how he missed you because without you, keeping us in line is impossible (he was being dramatic as usual. I mean we're not monsters or something). I asked him if he was really crying but he slapped me and denied it. Pfff, the level of denial is so high.

The Class Council just happened yesrterday: you got congratulations from them and 16,2/20 ! The others did good too and guess who listened to your advice about going to literary studies ? So you better do the same for you or someone will take a ticket to Tokyo to kick your ass.

With you gone to Japan and the other 3 going to university, we lose half of our defense and our #2 scorer but we saw some potential players at the open day for everyone. Being the French Football champions of highschool made our school less repulsive, wow. On a serious note, I think you turned into folk hero in the city. After you left, people couldn't stop asking about you. You gave to the kids and people hope back. Look at the final ! And what you did for the semi-final are proofs that everything is possible for an outsider. And I think some of your old teammates wanted to patch things between you so we gave them your new adress because we want to help you. Also for giving your number phone to Lisa, we're deeply sorry. We didn't know it was her until Coach told us. He gave us 10 laps around shcool as punishment.

We hope you'll be happy in Japan. Keep smiling brightly with Taiga and make new friends but don't give up on croissants et chocolatines, you're still french ! And because I know Taiga will be reading with you: for God's sake don't let her being involved in street fights anymore. You look away for 5 seconds and she manages to get into trouble, how is that even possible ?

Oh and you won the Captain award, congrats my Lady ! We put it in the box :) Be sure we come to Japan next year for a reason.

Love, the Team."

Oh she almost forgot how much she loved them. Her team. Although she loved being in Japan, she would have liked to spend to finish her year in highschool but the memories she had were enough and she felt so happy they treasured her as much as she treasured them.

"Masukocchi's teammates seem great-ssu !"

"They're the best." There was no other way to describe them.

"Bunch of weirdos but they're cool ! And what did I read, Emilie ? Street fight ? AGAIN ? Seriously Emilie !"

"I won so calm down." But after saying it outloud, she felt like that would not calm him down. AT ALL.

"That's not the problem ! And there's something written on the other side."

She turned the sheet of paper "Oh, you're right 'PS: we found some underwears of yours in the locker. I won the bet, I knew it. C cup ! How could you even run with boobs is a mystery to me, seriously." She faced palm. These guys could also be so stupid sometimes.

She was too busy to pester against the guys of her team she didn't even care about the two young men in the room blushing. Taiga was unfazed.

"Yeah, now that I think about it, that must be hard for girls..."

"Taiga, you only notice now ? Really ?" But then, this was Taiga, the one who didn't even know she was a girl for months and didn't realize Alex was a women until someone at school pointing out 'how it sucks to be trained by a girl'.

"Um, Masukocchi..." Nervous laugh. Shifty eyes. Was it because of the underwear thing ? Definitely. "Um, this um... What you just read is um – strange. Aren't they all girls too ?"

"What are you talking about ? I was in a male team." She thought she made it clear. Or... maybe not judging by their faces.

"WHAT ?" If Midorima-kun was voicing his surprise outloud it meant she didn't made it clear at all.

Oh the joy of explaining it over and over again. It didn't happen for weeks "My highschool didn't have a female football team or even a male football team so we created it and I wanted to play with my friends."

"But wasn't it harder for you ?"

"I had a few struggles at the beginning because of their style and the way male tends to make less passes and be more physical but I have a new football now... Anyway, let's just watch the album." She wasn't sure they would understand because they were males and didn't know how difficult it was for a female to reach their physical level. She made efforts for months and months and filled the holes with something they sometimes didn't use: strategy.

She opened it to find the first picture of this scholar year. Or to be more precise the summer vacation before her first year in highschool "That was in July." She knew she looked like hell on this and her smile was too forced. That was just after her last day of middle school. "Wow, I really looked bad."

On the following picture (taken two weeks later), she still had bags behind her eyes but she wasn't doing a fake smile anymore and Taiga was by her side. She was still grateful for what he did back then as the comment she left behind the picture said it...'Merci, Taiga'

"Your hair..." It was a whisper from Midorima-kun. He was laying his eyes on the picture cooly although he looked slightly surprised by the haircut.

"I cut it but it grew back, yeah."

She turned the page. The first picture with them. "This is my team... Half of them." At that time, they were just playing street football and the club wasn't founded yet.

"I took this picture !"

"Yeah and you're on this one." Taiga was arguing about the typical 'foot vs basket' on it with her teammates. Were all males bond by shouting at each other ?

The next photos were them playing in the park of the neighborhood. She stopped at the one taken the first day in highschool. 'Le véritable début de l'aventure :)' "That was the day we decided to make a football club."

Next picture was the complete team in their uniform for the first time "Where is Masukocchi-ssu ?"

He showed her on the picture, "She's here, baka."

"It's a guy."

"No, it's me."

His eyes widened "But why –

"Females aren't allowed to play with males in french football club. I'm proud of being a female but I was ready to do this to be with my friends. And I can play as well as them so not being able to play because of my breast is stupid." She turned the page.

'Notre première victoire à un tournoi official'. Their first tournament and their first official victory.

She saw practise pictures, mostly the boys fooling around. School time. Her birthday.

'27 Septembre: mes 15 ans !'

She sighed "I can't believe I'll be 16 and still in my first year of highschool."

Another sigh from Taiga "Same. And the holidays... The holidays..."

"Yeah, I'm gonna miss the two month va – oh that one looks good !"

'Halloween 2014' "It was fun. Everyone made an effort that day !" That was the first time she wasn't spending the night with her family for Halloween and that was one of her best memories. That night, she created bonds with the members who entered the club in September.

"Weird, this looks familiar..." Of course it looked familiar. She wore something like that in their childhood for Halloween.

"It was based on the one I used to wear at the States." It was bittersweet though. They were three of them at that time and now two of them didn't even talk for two years.

She could see realization and melancholia in his eyes. "Right..."

'Photo de classe: 506' Looking at those who used to be her classmates made her frown. She didn't like most of them, except the few teammates with her and three other persons.

'Bataille de boules de neige !' Another fun day with her team, though that snowball fight made half of the team catch a cold. That was the first time since years it snowed in the city.

'Noël 2014 avec la famille et Tatsuya' That was obviously going to bring questions to Taiga.

"Is that –

"He went to see me during Christmas holidays."

She noticed he was playing with the ring nervously in his hand but didn't even know she was doing the same thing.

"It's great, I.. umm I didn't see him since a long –

"Cut the crap, Taiga." She didn't intend to be harsh but he had to understand he didn't need to say lies anymore. At least, that kept him silent as she could feel the surprise in everyone's eyes for her vocabulary.

This wasn't going to be easy. She softened her voice, feeling guilty "I knew something was wrong. I knew it since more than a year but I was waiting for you to say it. I guess you wanted to last summer but... And well, Tatsuya told me. That was stupid from you."

"But-

"That was stupid but I can't say I don't understand. Let's just... talk about this after the Final league."

She knew he wasn't happy about it but he understood "Okay."

They looked back at the pictures. 'Nouvel an 2015: Tatsuya me porte chance :) !' That was a week later for New Year's Eve and it was probably one the the only pictures she had of him where he was smiling brightly, instead of his usual half smile.

"You look cute, is he your boyfriend ?"

Taiga was chocking and cursing at Kise-kun while she was laughing. That kind of questions was so frequent she ended up laughing instead of getting angry or offended. "No he's not. He's my other best friend."

"You both look... Intimate."

She couldn't blame Midorima-kun for saying that. For Japan's standard it looked too intimate. "It's a french tradition. At midnight for New Year, we kiss under a viscum album, a special kind a mistletoe to bring luck to us. It's supposed to be on the mouth but I just kissed him on the cheek because we're not lovers or something of romantic nature." She turned the pages. Pictures taken from classes, games...

'Carnaval du lycée' They won the second price for their themed costumes. And sweets. Lots of sweets.

'Champions départemental !' 'Vice-Champion régional: prochaine étape champions de France !' It was funny to see the steps they made to be on the top.

'Anniv' des petits'

"Wow, your little brother grew up a lot !"

"I know... Sad isn't it ?"

"Uh ?"

"He's gonna grow up and become a basketball idiot just like you instead of becoming a football player like his sister." She turned the page to show her little brother at a game. 'Match du petit: victoire 34-50'

"Woah, looks good !"

"Kagamicchi can read french ?"

"A bit. I can talk a little too with what Emilie learned me. What post he's playing ?"

"Power Forword... The little guy can't even do it right, ugh." She was definitely being childish but she wanted to see him become small forward or point guard like she had been. Surely Taiga would influence him once he would be there.

"Ha ! Told you..."

She would never admit he was right. Not outloud. 'Bal du primtemps 2015'

"I can see you Taiga, just laugh once for good."

"Pff... PFFF HAHAHAHAHA I CAN'T BELIEVE IT !"

"Did the guys on the pictures do something funny ?"

"No it's just pfff... Emilie going to a ball is as probable as snow falling on L.A on summer." And there were 2 reasons for it: one; she hated that sort of event and two; she couldn't dance (not by herself, at least).

"I went to it because I knew it would be the last. And it was surprisingly fun, you know !"

"Did you put a dress and all ? Come on, your friends must have taken pictures."

"Just turn the page." Taiga was enjoying too much to her taste.

"You..."

"What ?"

"It suits you."

She scratched her head, embarrassed. "Thanks, Taiga."

'Début du tournoi' "Oh, the new pictures they added for me." '1/4 de final et record de buts marqués en un match pour l'équipe.'

'Air Move: heel jungle by the Lady' '1/2 final ou comment on est fiers de notre capitaine.' 'FINALE!' "Look, my last game." And also the only time she played officially as a girl in the tournament. And the time where she made this injured but bringing the cup with them was worth it. 'VICTOIRE !' They were all smiling and holding the cups "I can't believe it was less than 2 months ago."

"I wish I could've watched it."

"Coach filmed it."

He laughed, "you're such weirdo !"

"Hey, I'm staying profesionnal."

"What are you talking about, Masukocchi, Kagamicchi ?"

"Her dad's their Coach."

"Is that even possible ?"

"I was the Coach at the beginning but it was too hard with the schedule, so I asked papa's help. Anyway, he commented the match for you and will probably send you this soon."

"Tsk, I bet he was shouting when you kept playing with this injury."

"He nearly killed me, you mean."

"You deserved it !"

"Thanks man."

'20/03/15: football avec les gosses !' '15/04/15: spectacle de street football' "We played with the kids of the neighborhood once a month and sometimes, we made some street football show."

"Um, don't you have other pictures ?"

"Maybe. But I'll complete this album with my new memories here. Taiga, can you give me the box ?"

"Sure."

"Spanish test... Ugh, math test... Oh english test, look Taiga, that's how you do it."

"Bastard !"

"30 euros, my recipes. My camera, I thought I left it at home ! Oh Taiga look, I kept it."

"That's..." It was the first picture they ever took along with Tatsuya while they were still in 3rd grade and him a year above. Back then, she had short hair and was a tomboy, always wearing boys hoodies. She changed since then and became more feminine but still appreciate confortable clothes. It was the good time.

"Was... Masukocchi taller than Kagamicchi ?"

Indeed that was the good time... When she used to be taller than him. "Yes, I was until our 5th grade." And to say she used to mock him about his height. Now he was the one to do it.

"How many books do you have here ?"

"I like reading, books are fantas- Taiga, don't touch them !"

"What ? I was going to give them to you."

"I can take my own underwears, thank you." To let males see some of her panties was one thing but to let them touch such them was another, even if it was her best friend. She would have to talk to Alex about that... She took them and put them in the drawer near her.

"Man, it's getting late."

"Hm."

"Kagamichi is right !"

11 p.m. She didn't even notice what time it was until now "Well, see you tomorrow. Just take some of Taiga's madeleines with you and don't forget to take your Japan's History books."

"Hai !"

As they left in a surprisingly quiet way, she thought that even if she would never give up on croissants et chocolatines, she was indeed making new friends with Taiga by her sides.

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