1. You're Annoying
"Hey had you heard of the basketball team at Teiko Middle School?"
Takagi Mia's ears twitched at the familiar name of her middle school, her eyes slowly straying to the group of high schoolers sitting next to her table in the fast food restaurant. It seemed like the sudden topic of the basketball team peaked the interest of her table mates sitting around her as well since most of them had stopped eating their meals all together to hear better.
"Ah, you mean the one with the so called 'Generation of Miracles'? Yeah, I've heard of them, but only that they are all bark and no bite."
"Seriously?! That's too bad. I thought that those kids would actually be a challenge since they were payed to be on the team instead of actually going to tryouts.
"Well, there is no other explanation really if they aren't as good as people say they are."
Just by how loud they were being made it obvious that they knew who they were sitting next to. With their horrible insults and rude behavior, Mia was sure that the entire restaurant could hear them.
It pissed her off.
"Aomine-kun, you're going to break your cup."
The sudden mellow voice made Mia jump slightly in her seat. She only knew Kuroko Tetsuya for a short while, but she could never get used to his ability to pop up out of no where.
"Shut up. I don't know what you're talking about."
Aomine's low growl sent shivers up Mia's spine, forcing the raven haired girl to look across the booth where the basketball player sat. His large, tan hand was indeed gripping his styrofoam cup with more strength than he needed, the top popping off and warning everyone that if any more strength was applied, the entire thing will burst.
"Aomine." Another voice spoke up, "Please don't cause any unnecessary trouble. My rank today was far lower than I would have hoped for and I do not feel like cleaning up your mess."
"Why do you assume that I'm going to be causing trouble, Midorima?! If anything, it's those guys who are causing trouble for us."
"Mine-chin, are you going to eat that?" Murasakibara's lazy voice filled Mia's ears, joining into the conversation with a non related topic.
"Mukkun, I don't know whether to be happy or worried that you are still focused on eating."
Mia stared at her friend's eating habits as he continued to devour the snacks that he had brought in with him. Even she had to admit that his sweet tooth was pretty impressive compared to most people's.
"Look at them over there. Acting all buddy buddy with one another after what we said about them."
The sickening laughs of the high schoolers next to them became louder, making Midorima and Aomine stop arguing across the booth from Mia and halting Murasakibara from crunching loudly on his chip. She could even feel Kuroko tense up next to her, something she never thought the kid could do.
"They really are a group of pathetic kids if they get worked up over something small like this. Ha!"
It really pissed her off.
"I guess we can't call them the Generation of Miracles of they are this much of a disappoi-"
With her soda and companions left behind, Mia jumped out of her seat and rammed her fist into the face of one of the high schoolers, (hopefully) dislocating his jaw as he stumbled out of his seat. The gasps and surprised expressions she received from many of the other customers in the building, including the group of middle schoolers she had come with, were completely ignored as she glared down at the remaining men still in their chairs.
"What the hell is your problem?!" One of them screamed, crouching down to help his friend.
"Nothing. You're just annoying that's all." Mia answered, never looking away from them.
"We weren't even talking about you!"
"But you were talking about my team." She lowered herself to grab the collar of the shirt that belonged to the high schooler she hit, "And I don't like it when people insult my team."
"Don't tell me..." The high schooler choked, trying to make words using a messed up jaw, "are you...the...manager?"
"No." Mia responded "I'm the assistant manager."
The sudden use of English brought the raven haired girl back to reality, her heavy lidded eyes opening slowly to see a woman standing over her. The familiar blonde hair in a bun and black pencil skirt made Mia scowl as she recognized the vice principal of her school. What made her scowl deepen was the fact that the older woman had already found her orange basketball and had confiscated it in the crook of her arm.
Talk about an unfair advantage.
"Do you have any idea what time it is?!"
"Well, by the way you managed to find me two hours earlier than you did yesterday and the fact that I have been here probably about five hours already, I'm gonna say that it's around 12:30. Which also means that it's lunch time and that is why you are out here in the first place, isn't it?"
"It also means that it is still school time and you are no where near the school!" The vice principal, Ms. Greenwood, screeched, forcing Mia to cover her ears as she sat up on the concrete basketball court.
"That's not true. This park is merely two blocks from the high school." Mia answered. She placed her hands into the pockets of her dark green sweatshirt that read 'Hurricanes', indirectly cheering on her high school and it's silly natural disaster mascot. "If anything, this is the closest I've ever been to the school while ditching."
"Well, you aren't supposed to be ditching in the first place!" The older woman complained, pushing Mia into the direction of her black Sudan that was parked right outside the park entrance. She couldn't help but wonder how the woman could afford such a car with a minimal wage. "Now get in the car. We are going back to the school to call your aunt."
"You do realize that this can be considered kidnapping."
"Get in the car now, Mr. Takagi!"
"Five detentions, 3 fights not including the one you started during lunch, and now six, no, seven ditched school days!" Mia's aunt counted off, her hand disappearing into a bag of small powdered donuts. "What the hell is going on, Mia?"
However, the girl wasn't listening. Her chin placed in the palm of her hand, Mia was staring out of the living room window of her grandmother's home, the faint breeze smell of the ocean making her eyes glaze over. Sleep was threatening her senses once more.
"Mia!" Her aunt called again, this time smacking the teenager on the back of her head to get her to wake up. Surprised, she put her hand where her relative had hit her and when she felt nothing but the silky strands of her black hair, she set the hand back down and lazily glared back at her aunt.
"Do you know how many pounds I've put on since you've come here? The money from post card contests, sweepstakes, and my own job gone in as little as seven months!" The ginger haired woman stuffed several mini donuts in her mouth and pointed at Mia with yet another one. "Stress eating. Because of you!"
Mia couldn't help but chuckle at the silly way her aunt was trying to prove her point. She couldn't help it! The only thing that woman can make you do is laugh!
"But Aunt Roxy," Mia spoke, using the name she had given her aunt as a child when she refused to call her as just Roxanne, "you don't look a day older than twenty five. There's absolutely no way that people would be able to tell that you have put on weight, even if you have."
"Well, aren't you just the sweetest." Roxanne gushed, her face turning a light shade of pink at the compliment. "Wait. I am mad at you."
Mia couldn't help but laugh out loud at that, standing up to grab a mini powdered donut for herself before plopping back onto the light blue couch in the living room.
"Mia..." Roxanne warned.
"I get it! I get it! I'll try my best to behave this time."
"That's what you said the last time! And the time before that, and the time before that!"
The silence that followed made Roxanne sigh in defeat as she sat down on the couch next to her niece, her hands covering her face. Mia took this time to grab the remote and turn on the television in front of them, flipping through Netflix as she finished her sweet treat.
"I just don't understand what is happening to you right now, Mia." Her aunt continued, "You used to be so well mannered and adorable every time you came to visit me and mom. Now it's like you're not even here. I can see you. I can touch you. But you're not here. You don't even act like yourself at school. I mean, skipping classes?! Give me a break, that's not like you. You do so well on your tests and quizzes but since the only ones you take are retests, all of your grades are in the 70's!"
"At least they aren't failing..." Mia mumbled, trying to look at the silver linings.
"They're still 70's."
Grumbling, Mia continued to search through Netflix trying to find an anime she hasn't watched yet. She tucked her feet and pulled her knees up to her face so that she could hide her chin as she did so, a habit she has had since her childhood whenever she didn't want people to see her pout.
"I don't know, maybe you just need to find something that will inspire you not to do things like this anymore." Roxy suggested, looking up at the fireplace that held many family photos over the past several years, including the years of her own childhood. "What about joining your school's basketball team? You did that when you were in middle school, didn't you?"
Mia stopped pushing the buttons on her remote when her aunt mentioned her basketball team, indirectly mentioning her old teammates as well.
"You and I both know that can never happen." She answered coldly, resuming her navigation.
"Well at least I tired." Roxy answered, mostly to herself. She placed her cheek in the palm of her hand and continued to stare at the one and only photo of Mia and her old basketball teammates in middle school.
It wasn't framed. In fact it just sat there leaning against another photo of Mia when she was a baby. The content of the picture was quite bizarre too, making Roxanne question if it really was a basketball team Mia joined in middle school.
"I see you staring..." Mia's voice suddenly spoke right beside Roxanne's face, making her scream loudly and jump out of her seat.
"What the hell, Mia?!"
The teenager, however, wasn't listening. Instead she just stood from her seat and walked over towards the fireplace to grab the old photo of her teammates. Staring at it lazily, she tossed the tv remote to her aunt before marching upstairs.
"You can have the tv. I'm gonna take a nap."
"Wait!" Her aunt's voice protested downstairs, "What about homework? Or tests? Do you have to sudsy at all?!"
"I don't need it." Mia called back down before closing her bedroom door.
And it was true.
Sliding down the old, white door of her room, Mia sighed, exhausted with today's events.
'Maybe taking a nap isn't such a bad idea after all.' The girl yawned.
Looking down at the photo in her hand, Mia recognized the familiar faces of the generation of Miracles. Their different colored hair illuminated each of their personalities with ease, highlighting each of their little quirks. Each person in the picture wore a light blue robe found at an Onsen. The ping pong table in the middle of the picture held both Aomine and Kise, each struggling with the weight on top of them. The weight, Murasakibara, just laid their lazily, a bag of chips in his hand as he lied on his side on top of the two men to face the camera. Midorima, who was off to the side, held a golden ping pong racket as his lucky idea for that day. His face was scrunched up, his cheeks were tinted pink while and his mouth was wide open, showing that he was in the middle of yelling at someone in particular. That same person, with his hair a beautiful bright red, was Akashi, his eyes closed and his lips pulled up in a smirk. It seemed that he had taken the time to say something to Midorima right before the picture was taken. What he had said even Mia did not know since she was on the other side of the duo, but the flustered expression of Midorima was definitely something she thanked Akashi for.
Finally, Mia scanned over to the remaining three individuals of the picture. It was herself, with her deep blue eyes and her black hair shining even though it was much shorter than her long locks now. She wasn't grinning, or smirking, she wasn't even frowning or giving the camera an indifferent expression like she normally did. She was actually smiling. It was a small smile, but the bright look of mischief in her eyes made up for it.
Momoi's arm was wrapped around her neck, forcing her to stay in place in case she tried to run away (which she did). Her other arm was wrapped around the phantom sixth man of the Generation of Miracles, Kuroko. He had a small ghost of a smile on his face as well. However, his was exceptionally harder to recognize. You had to look at the picture for a long period of time before you realized that he was indeed smiling.
Momoi on the other hand was in the middle of laughing in the picture, her mouth spread in a large smile. Her cheek was resting on Kuroko's head, giving him a tighter squeeze than Mia.
She remembered that day.
And she really wishes she could get it back.
Mia stood up once more from her spot at the door and walked the short distance from the entrance to her bed, plopping down on the cozy and warm pink quilt that had belonged to her mother. Although not a fan of pink like most girls, Mia especially loved this quilt.
'I wonder if she smelled like this?' Mia thought, taking in the clean and refreshing scent of vanilla that came from the quilt. No matter how many times she washed it, it always smelled the same.
It was nice.
Before Mia could drift off to sleep like she was planning, the back pocket of her jeans started to vibrate.
She scowled, cursing the heavens for a brief moment for allowing cell phones into this world.
Pulling out her white flip phone, Mia scrunched her eyes at the bright screen, trying to make out the Japanese name that showed up.
She hesitated, scanning the katakana that spelled out her friend's name more than a hundred times, before finally opening the message that he had sent her.
It was like her heart had dropped down to her stomach.
For months, ever since she left, the two of them have been texting,each other with news about their lives. Although Mia tried her best to leave out all the times she has gotten into trouble or into fights, she admits that Kuroko's stories are much more exciting.
Except for this one.
He had told her about the basketball team at his high school qualifying for the InterHigh tournament. He even went on to tell her about how his team defeated Kise's basketball team in a practice match before the actual tournament and simultaneously beating Midorima's team in the actual competition after defeating Seiho High's team. It seemed like they were doing well, and it even made Mia happy that Kuroko's dream was slowly coming true.
So what made it all shatter to pieces?
Before she could answer herself, Mia typed in the one name that quickly came to mind.
'Was it Aomine?'
It only took about five minutes before Kuroko answered her back.
She wasn't surprised. If anything she was glad that it was that egotistical basketball player and his team that beat them instead of some other high school's team whom she barely knew about.
Slamming the white phone shut, Mia turned violently in her bed and closed her eyes. She would force herself to sleep if she had to.
The picture of the Teiko Middle School Basketball Team was forgotten on her nightstand, but it still haunted her like it happened yesterday.
She hated it.
"Good Morning, Mia." The bus driver greeted as the raven haired girl stepped onto the large yellow Twinkie she called a bus.
"Good Morning, John." Mia responded in English, giving the man a welcoming smile.
The two had become close friends over the course of one month. It all began when Mia accidentally fell asleep on the bus, missing her stop, and asked John to drop her off at the beach instead of school, claiming that it was too late to turn back. Since the beach was on the way to his office, John obliged. Since then they would always talk and chit chat during drives, whether it was to school or to the arcade. It made Mia appreciate the man more since he didn't seem to be on anyone's side about whether she should be attending school or not.
"So where do you want me to drop you off today, Little Miss?"
She actually had to think about that. Mia was the only one to be picked up at her stop and it was the very first one so she had time to think about a good place to ditch to, but for some reason she actually felt...good.
"...I guess I'll just go to school today." She mumbled. Although quiet, she was still heard by the bus driver who laughed out loud at the chosen destination.
"Go to school?! What are you sick or something?!"
"No not sick." Mia answered, looking out the window, "I guess I just feel like something interesting is going to happen if I go there."
Going to school was the worst idea Mia ever had.
For the longest of times, the teenager had ditched or faked an illness to not got the the learning facility of hell. Also, instead of going to school in Japan in the spring, she had decided to go to school in America in the summer. This meant that she had even more time off from school than any normal student.
This also meant that she forgot how horrible and tiring school was.
"The total surface area of a regular pyramid is the sum of the areas of its lateral faces and its base. The general formula for the lateral surface area of a regular pyramid is where p represents..."
'Why the hell am I even in pre AP Geometry?' Mia cursed in her head, 'I thought Aunt Roxy signed me up for regular algebra. That damn woman!'
It went like that the entire day.
Humanities AP (Another difficult class chosen by Aunt Roxy)
And finally, Art.
Although a genius in all subjects (besides art), Mia couldn't help but wonder how she managed to go to school like this every. Single. Day.
"So hungry..." Mia complained when lunch time finally came around. She really missed being able to bounce a basketball in the park during lunch time, no matter how much she sucked at actually getting the ball in the basket. She could actually take naps in the park during lunch time too. Now she was stuck with having to focus on staying awake as she ate her lunch.
"Would you like some homemade brownies for lunch?" A peppy voice spoke up right by Mia's face, making her jump.
"Excuse me?" She asked
"The Basketball team made homemade brownies to sell to everyone this week! They are each one dollar and go to the funds for our competitions this year!" The girl answered. "Would you like to buy one for your lunch today?"
Mia looked at the girl, surprised that this event was happening all week without her knowledge. Inspecting the girl in front of her, she saw that she was indeed wearing a light blue basketball jersey with the number 10 on the front right under the name 'Hurricanes'. It was obvious that this was a ridiculous and desperate effort in an attempt to raise money for their team since Mia heard that both the girls and boys basketball team weren't very good. However, before she had time to think clearly about wasting money on fattening foods like brownies for a team that isn't very skillful, Mia took out her wallet and pulled out one dollar bill.
"I'll be glad to." She said, smiling at the basketball girl. It seemed to make her extremely happy as the girl quickly picked up a brownie from the pile she had next to her and handed it to Mia, trading it for the dollar.
As Mia chowed down on her sweet treat, she couldn't help but stand by the table, watching as people came and went, buying brownies or just simply having a look. It seemed like business was doing well for the girl, and Mia turned on her foot to go back to her classroom, already full.
"Hey, have you heard about what happened to the basketball team last year?"
Mia stopped in her tracks, looking behind her to find where the mischievous voice came from. The source was a high schooler about two years older than Mia, making him a junior. It was obvious that it wasn't his lunch period and that he was loitering in front of the brownie booth with his friend.
"Oh you mean how they were completely dominated in the first round of the tournament? Yeah I heard. It's pretty sad how horrible and pathetic both teams are."
Both men began to snicker and point at the girl selling brownies, making more people around them stop and stare at the commotion.
"Too bad they don't have anything else they're good at! Then they would have actually meant something to this school!"
Mia looked over at the girl who was desperately selling brownies to her team and noticed how her eyes were glassy, tears threatening to fall down the side of her face.
It pissed her off.
As if history had repeated itself, Mia rammed her fist into the face of one of the juniors, knocking him down and making him drop all of his books in his hands. If people weren't stopping to stare at the situation, they were now.
"What the hell is your problem?!" The guy asked, holding his cheek in his hand while his friend just gaped.
"Nothing." Mia answered, "You're just really annoying, you know that?"
"You little bitch!" A second voice behind Mia growled. Surprised, she turned her head one to have a fist hit her roughly, making her stumble and land on the wall that was on one side of the cafeteria. She quickly put her hand on her eye, where most of the pain was located, and looked back at the two men who were laughing and cracking their knuckles.
Well, she was right about one thing at least...
Something interesting did happen today.
Her hand hurt like a bitch.
Mia sat in the front seat of her aunt's dark blue jeep and waited for the woman to walk out of the hospital. Both Mia and the junior she had punched were sent to the building after Ms. Greenwood had contacted their guardians, making sure that they were well informed about the fight before they could leave.
'I still totally won.' Mia thought as she looked down at her middle finger which had a splint wrapped around it, making her incapable of putting pressure on her right hand for the time being.
"She has a black eye, several bruises on her arms and shoulders, and it seems like she tore a ligament in her right middle finger.' Mia remembered the doctor telling her aunt, "The only severe injury is the torn ligament and that will only take about six weeks to completely heal. Until then I recommend not getting into any more fights, Ms. Takagi."
"I still totally won." The teenager repeated to herself after remembering the doctor telling her that the junior she punched received bruised ribs and a slight concussion after she threw him against one of the lunch tables, braking it in the process.
Yeah, she totally won.
The car door opening caught Mia's attention. Her aunt walked in and slammed the car door shut before inserting the keys into the ignition. Before she actually twisted the keys and waking up the car, she sighed and looked at Mia through her ginger bangs.
"Well, you are now expelled from that school, Mia." Roxanne announced, placing her hands on the steering wheel and leaning her head against them. "What am I going to do with you?"
Mia couldn't answer that question. She didn't know what to do with herself either.
Silence fell in the car for several minutes. The only things Mia could focus on was the pain she felt in her finger and eye which was turning a nasty shade of purple. Finally, Roxanne's orange head lifted up and she looked straight at Mia with a serious face the teenager didn't know she had.
"Mia," Roxy began, taking a deep breath before she spoke again, "do you want to go back to Japan?"
The question hit her like a ton of bricks. Didn't she come to America to get away from Japan? To not have to worry about the pressure she felt when she lived with her father over there? To not have to worry about having her heart broken again when she was a member of the basketball club at Teiko?
The wonderful sport Mia had been a part of for three years. The sport she fell in love with without even meaning to. The same sport she protected today like she did all those years ago.
The words surprised even herself as Mia answered her aunt's question, making her eyes go wide as her relative did the same thing.
"Really?" Roxanne asked
It was like the actual sun was shining in the car with how much Roxanne was smiling.
"Well why didn't you say so in the first place?" She exclaimed, happily twisting the keys and waking up the jeep. "I knew something was up but I didn't know it was because you missed Japan!"
As they drove down the road back to the house, Mia ignored the rays of sunlight coming from her aunt and instead chose to do what she did best and daydream while staring out the window.
'Japan, huh?' She thought. She didn't even know that she wanted to go back to Japan. After all, her mind was still full of adrenaline from her fight. Maybe that's why she suddenly decided to go back.
"Will I be okay?" Mia mumbled mostly to herself. It seemed like her aunt had heard her though since she suddenly felt her hand placed on top of hers, giving it a good squeeze.
"You'll be fine." She reassured, smiling softly while still looking at the road. "I'll make arrangements so that you don't have to live with your father over there. I know how tough that may be for you if you were forced to go live with that man again."
Some bits of relief washed over Mia. It most certainly did help her if she didn't have to live under the pressure of her father.
"Besides," her aunt continued, pulling into the driveway of their house, "Maybe you'll meet your old friends from middle school!"
Mia's blood ran cold, and she quickly got out of the car as soon as the engine died. Meet everyone again? Make the choice whether to run away again or stand up to all of them? She really hoped she wouldn't have to do that. She really didn't want to do that.
But it seemed like she was.
As she entered the house and walked upstairs to her room, she began rummaging through her backpack and pulled out her white flip phone. She stared at it for a few minutes before opening it and flipping through the little contacts she had, searching for the one and only person of the Generation of Miracles who she could contact.
'So what was the name of the school you said you were attending, Tetsuya?'
That picture from middle school was still on her nightstand when she hit the send button.