The Runaway Empress

Chapter 3

Akashi walked into the club room to find Mibuchi Reo singing along to a song that he was playing out loud from his laptop. Practice had been canceled that day but he and the rest of the team — namely, the Uncrowned Generals and Mayuzumi Chihiro — had a habit of going to the clubroom and just hang out. Scanning the room, he could see Mayuzumi sitting quietly on a corner, reading another light novel while Nebuya and Hayama was arguing about their homework — something about relativity, it seems.

And Mibuchi was having a concert.

Sighing inwardly, he arranged his shoes on the rack by the door. The click of the doorknob alerted the others of his presence and they were quick to shut up and greet him. It was almost funny how their raven-haired shooting guard scrambled to pause the music that he had been singing along to for a good while. Embarassed that their captain had heard him singing, he smiled nervously and squeaked out a shaky "Ah, Sei-chan..!"

Akashi acknowledged them by greeting them back. "Reo, Eikichi, Kotaro, Chihiro." He nodded at them to continue whatever they had been doing before he came, but it seemed that only their phantom did so. After all, he's just calmly reading, not that it's too great an effort. But he could see that they were tense and wary of him.

The redhead sighed, audibly this time. "You guys should calm down. It's not like I came here to kill you or anything." He settled on another low table and began taking out his homeworks from his bag. "And Reo, please continue your singing. I have earplugs."

That did it. Mibuchi wailed, just like a certain blonde from his Teiko days always does. "So mean, Sei-chan...! And here I thought you were going to compliment on my voice...!"

A crumpled sheet of paper came sailing towards his head. "Shut up, Mibuchi."

Mibuchi whirled to glare at Nebuya before picking up the crumpled sheet of paper on the floor and throwing it back to its owner. It hit the boy square in the face. "You shut up, you brute. How dare you hit a lady in the head, anyways?"

Nebuya looked around the room as if he was searching for something. Mibuchi followed suit, confused. Their muscled center looked under the table and even peered beneath the books on their table, going as far as to turning his pants' pockets inside out. "Lady? What lady are you talking about? There's no lady here."

Hayama snickered and dodged as their feminine shooter, realizing that he had been tricked, tossed his indoor shoes at Nebuya, who yelped in pain as each hit him in the face. "Oww! Oww! Oi, Mibuchi, quit it!"

With a smug look on his face, Mibuchi crossed his arms proudly in front of him. "That's what you get for insulting a lady." He rolled his eyes skyward. "Such insensitivity..." He clutched his chest melodramatically. "It pains my delicate heart to even think of it..."

Off to the side, Akashi watched the scene before him. It made him recall something. Suddenly, he found himself back to the locker room in Teiko, surrounded by his former teammates.

"Mou, Aominecchi~" Kise wailed to the tanned teen who was trying his best to evade the wailing blonde.

"Oi, Kise! Do you have to be so noisy? And no, Murasakibara, don't you dare eat that! That is my lucky item for the day, and Oha Asa says that —"

"Who cares about your stupid horoscopes anyway?"

"Aomine!"

"Haa~? But it looks delicious, Mido-chin... And I'm hungry... Kuro-chin, do you have snacks?"

"I'm sorry, Murasakibara-kun, but that was the last lollipop I have."

"Eh? Is that so? Aka-chin, do you have snacks?"

"Atsushi, you've eaten too much snacks for today."

"Eh~ If Aka-chin says so..."

"For the nth time, Kise, I don't care about your photobook!"

"So mean, Aominecchi~! Kurokocchi, help me!"

"You're annoying, Kise-kun."

"Eh?! Even you, Kurokocchi? Why are you all so mean to me?"

"Shut up, Kise! I can't concentrate here! Akashi, make them shut up!"

"Are you ordering me, Midorima?"

"N-no, of course not!"

"Good."

"..."

In the midst of their chaos, the door to the locker slammed open, startling everyone inside. A fuming chartreusette entered, followed by a smiling pink-haired girl carrying a medicine kit.

"Just what is this ruckus all about?!" Her gold eyes flashed dangerously.

"Hi guys," the girl behind her greeted them at the same time, ignoring the girl before her. That earned her a sharp glare."Kyaaa!" she flinched. "Gomen, gomen!"

"I'm getting angry here, Satsuki. Can't you see that?" She didn't wait for her reply. "Ryouta, I can hear your voice all the way from the clubroom. And Atsushi, stop eyeing Shintaro's chocolate bar — you'll scare him away and we don't want to have our three-point shooter going insane just because you ate his lucky item. Daiki, Tetsuya, can't you just humor that idiot once in a while? Just to shut him up? Geez... And Seijuurou, seriously? You're just standing there enjoying them making fools of themselves?" She pressed her fingers on her temples. "And to think that we have a game today..." She muttered, then turned to the girl behind her. Glaring at Momoi, "And you of all people has to forget to go to the meeting! I'm the one who got yelled at in your place!" With Coach Shirogane at the hospital, his duties fell instead to the chartreusette. Raising an eyebrow expectantly at the people in the room, she crossed her arms in front of her. "Well?"

"Gomen, Kumi-chin~"

"I'm sorry, Akumicchi! I won't be so loud anymore!"

"I'm sorry, Akumi-san."

"Sorry, Akumi. But this idiot is too annoying."

"Well, it's Murasakibara's fault..."

"It was amusing to watch."

"It won't happen again, Akumi-chan."

The girl sighed. "You're all impossible." Everyone grinned at that — well, not everyone. Akashi smirked. Midorima pushed his glasses up his nose, his eyes closed. Kuroko had his usual blank face, his eyes the only ones that indicates his amusement. The rest grinned like crazy. Resigned, the girl blew a puff of air at a lock of hair that strayed too close to her eyes. "Hmp. Anyways, guys," she smiled this time, her anger gone in a blink of an eye. They gathered round her, placing their hands above her outstretched one. "Teiko —"

As one, they shouted, "FIGHT!"

"-an? Sei-chan?"

Akashi blinked, and he was back to the present. He eyed the hand that was passing back and forth in front of his face. It disappeared, only to have it placed on his forehead, then on his neck. He swatted it away.

"Are you okay, Sei-chan? You've been quiet for a while now..." Mibuchi said, concern in his voice.

"I'm fine, Reo." He focused back on his algebra assignment, solving them with ease. "And silence is not a sign that something is wrong with a person. Just because you are noisy does not mean that I have to join you in your ruckus. Why not check on Chihiro too? He's been quiet, too."

Mibuchi was about to do just that when Mayuzumi growled out a warning from behind his book. "Don't you dare, Mibuchi. If someone needs to get a check-up, it's you. Akashi, please do not encourage him further."

"Ne, ne, Captain, I have a question!"

"Yes, Kotaro?"

"What is relativity?"

"Are you even listening to your lessons?"

"Of course! But I don't get it..." Hayama scratched his head sheepishly.

"Reo, teach him." He ordered to Mibuchi, who smiled at him sheepishly.

"The fact is, I don't quite get it as well..." was Mibuchi's reply. "Mayu-chan had tried to explain it to us as well, but I fail to see how Goku and Co. riding a spaceship on the hunt for Dragonballs fits the picture."

Akashi saw Mayuzumi shrug. He looked at the three hopeless sophomores before him.

No choice.

And so it was that Akashi Seijuurou, a freshman at Rakuzan High, spent his afternoon tutoring his three upperclassmen about Einstein's theory of relativity.

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