3. Names

"Suzuki Kei?"


"Tachibana Miho?"


"Takagi Mia?"


"She's not here, Sensei."

"Seriously? That's the third time this week." The teacher scribbled an 'X' next to Mia's name, indicating that the student was not in his class. His deep scowl and rough lines in his face let the rest the class know that this Mia girl was certainly being punished once she showed her face.

If she ever showed her face.

"You'd think that a new student would actually show up to class to deliver a first impression rather than just skip."

Finishing up role and slamming the filled out notebook on his desk, the teacher finally started the lesson, not noticing the worried expression on his blue haired, invisible student in the back.

Nor the sleeping red headed beast who sat in front of him.

"Keep it tight! Make sure that no one is about to get through!" Kaijo High School's basketball team captain, Kasamatsu Yukio, continuously shouted to his underclassmen. "Kise!"

A blur of blonde hair rushed past several other teammates to receive the flying orange ball thrown by his senpai, dunking it into the large hoop several steps later.

"Good work! Everyone take a 5 minute break!"

The blonde supermodel, Kise Ryota, breathed heavily as he grabbed his water bottle and squirted the refreshing drink into his mouth. Noticing the slight movement of his phone vibrating, he quickly grabbed it and checked the name of the sender. When it was only his mother asking if he would stay late after practice, Kise sighed.

Next to him, Kasamatsu eyed the kohai. It was always normal for the blonde's phone to be vibrating, whether it was from a crazy fan girl or just his parents. However, it was always a certain time of the day after Kise sent a message to someone that he would scramble to the phone next time it vibrated. It was as if he was expecting a reply from someone.

Finally frustrated by his pouting underclassmen, Kasamatsu stood up from his seat and sprayed Kise with the water from his water bottle, making the supermodel squeal like a little girl and fall on his back from the sudden freezing temperature of the water.

"Why, Kasamatsu-senpai?!"

"Because you're annoying, that's why!" The dark haired senior answered, his voice booming.

The other team members just quietly went about their business. They were already used to the small one sided scuffles between their captain and ace player.

"Stop playing on your goddamn phone and take practice seriously!" Kasamatsu continued, "You actually want to win Winter Cup, don't you?"

The fact that the blonde was texting during practice didn't actually bug the captain as much as it should've been. He was actually quite used to it by now. It was the fact that Kise was crouched on the ground with his back towards his senpai, not paying attention to what he was saying, that drove Kasamatsu into a mighty rage.


"Kasamatsu-senpai, please!" Kise begged, making his senpai pause at his pleading voice. "You can beat me all you want but let me at least put my phone back in my bag! If I keep holding on to it, they're both going to break!"

"Both?" Needless to say, Kasamatsu was very confused.

Like a little puppy showing his master his favorite toy, Kise quickly stood up and showed his senpai his phone. Sure enough, there were two key chains that dangled from the bottom of his phone. One held a small, ceramic basketball while the other had a small microphone. Both were shining under the gym lights and Kasamatsu was able to see the small details that went into both chains, amazing him slightly. It was obvious that these were done by a professional.

It was still completely stupid to Kasamatsu Yukio.

"Get back to practice!" The captain yelled, kicking Kise in the stomach.

"But you said we were on break!"

"Break's over for you!"



The familiar sound of her name being called brought the young middle schooler back to reality. It seemed like she was dozing off again while working.

'Dammit! I have to rest when I get home.' Mia thought, 'Father would be very upset if I fell asleep during a meeting.'

"Takagi-san." The voice called her name again, making the young girl jump when this time it was right next to her ear.

"Akashi-kun!" Mia exclaimed when she finally turned around to face the basketball team's vice captain. Regaining her composure, she placed her hands in her lap and tucked one foot behind the other in her seat like she always did when speaking to her father. Actually, that wasn't enough to express how Mia felt. With the similar family background and tone of voice, Mia always felt like she was talking with her father when it came to Akashi Seijuro.

"Was there something you needed?" Mia asked, looking at the red haired male in the eye as she spoke.

"Yes." Akashi answered "There is a student who has just been accepted into the first string and will be starting practice with us next week."

Mia's eyes widened slightly at the news. It wasn't like finding new talent was rare, in fact the Teiko Basketball Team always had new students entering the second or third string every week. However, to have someone enter the first string that easily, it was like a new monster had appeared.

"I want you to welcome him and observe him for us." Akashi continued, "Tell us if he's worth being made into a starter or not."

"...Okay." Mia answered, receiving an approving chuckle from the man in front of her.

"His name is Kise Ryota." The vice captain said as he turned and walked to the door of the classroom, "Show him a good time."

Mia remembered Akashi's eyes both being the same color back then.


"Ugh!" Mia woke up suddenly, jerking on her spot on the roof. Everything was fuzzy since she opened her eyes so quickly, but soon enough, she was able to make out the light blue head of hair that belonged to her dear friend.

"Good morning, Tetsuya." The girl drowsily greeted, yawning as her friend sighed.

"Actually, it the afternoon now. It's also lunch time."

"No way! Really?!"

To show that he wasn't lying, Kuroko held up his small bento and a thermos that held soup, making the young girl drool at the sight.

"You shouldn't have woken me up during the lunch period, Tetsuya!" Mia complained as her friend sat down next to her. "Now I won't be able to fall asleep again with the smell of food!"

"I don't think you should be falling asleep at school at all." Kuroko scolded but handed Mia the thermos anyway. The teenager happily took the offering and began drinking the amazing miso soup that it held, stealing bits of Kuroko's lunch so that she could balance it out.

A week had passed since her arrival in Japan. Her black eye had finally disappeared, allowing both of her deep blue eyes to be seen on her face. It seemed like an eternity since she last received the injury and sometimes she even forgot that she even had it at one point. It was only when Mia saw the metal splint on her middle finger that she remembered about the fight and about the facial injury.

"I still need to eat lunch too." Kuroko piped up, sacking Mia's hand away from one of his last two mini sandwiches.

"Sorry." Mia laughed, trying to lighten the mood. However, it seemed like her best friend was in a very bad mood, his usually indifferent expression actually having frown lines.

"Is everything alright?" She tried asking, but was startled when Kuroko quickly shipped his head in her direction.

He continued to eye Mia, making the girl feel very uncomfortable under the invisible man's stare. When he finally swallowed the small amount of food he had taken, he looked down.

"You shouldn't be skipping classes."

His words hit Mia like a ton of bricks. It weird how when everyone told her the same thing in America, she would always brush it off, but when Kuroko said it, it was like she just got hit by a train.

"I know." Mia answered, "But I guess old habits die hard."

"What do you mean?" Kuroko asked, looking at her questionably.

"You know. I did it all the time in America so I guess I'm just used to doing it."

"You skip classes in America too?"

Wide eyed, Mia looked at her friend and finally realized the mistake she made.

She never told him she skipped classes.

"Crap." Mia mumbled, scratching the back of her head as she stood up from her spot. She brushed off the crumbs from her new Seirin uniform, the blue sweater, white skirt and black stockings fitting perfectly on her body, and grabbed the blue school bag next to her.

"You know, I think I'm going to head home for today. I'll come to school tomorrow. Promise."

"But will you be skipping classes again, Mia?"


Kuroko didn't say anything after that. He just watched with a worried expression as his friend exited the roof and left him all alone.

Managing to avoid any run ins with teachers, Mia left through the front gates of the school and began walking in the direction of her apartment.

'Maybe I can have some Maiubo when I get home." Mia thought, still really hungry.

She pulled out her phone to check what time it was and noticed that she had one unread message. Thinking it was from Roxanne asking how she was (again), she quickly opened the message, not wanting to keep her waiting. When she, instead, saw that the sender's name was in katakana, she froze,

'Good Morning, Micchi! How are you?'

Mia couldn't help but playfully sigh. Everyday, Kise's messages always started off the same.

Being careful of her surroundings, Mia continued to walk in the direction of her home while reading the new message.

'I'm feeling very good today! Exams are finally over and I managed to pass all my classes. This means that I'm able to play in the Winter Cup! ^-^

The weather here is fairly good too. It's not too hot, but still not cold. You can already tell that it's going to be a good winter.

Oh! I forgot to tell you the results of the inter high tournament! Unfortunately, my team lost. TT^TT

Aomine was always strong.'

Mia stopped walking and stared at her phone. Her eyes wide, she continuously read the same sentence over and over again.

Aomine was always strong.

'Did Kise lose to Aomine too?' Mia wondered, frowning at her phone as she kept reading.

'I wish you would have seen the game though! I played for you out there! <3

Actually, I wish you will see me play in the Winter Cup, Micchi.

I wish you were here...

ANYWAY, that's all the news I have for today! I hope you are well wherever you are!

-Kise Ryota

P.s I still have that present you gave to me! ;)

His messages always ended the same way too.

As Mia stopped in front of a red light, she pondered Kise's words. If it was true that he lost to Aomine, then that would only mean that it wasn't any different than how it was at Teiko. No one was able to defeat Aomine back then. However, if Mia's prediction from before she left was true, then Aomine must have gotten stronger more quickly than anyone could have imagined.

And Mia was always right.

Even though the light in front of her turned green, Mia quickly turned on her heel and began to run down the sidewalk back to Seirin High School. Running until she thought her lungs would explode, Mia entered the school grounds once more and continued on even when the bell signaling the next class period rang.

She ran past teachers exiting the staff room and ignored their yells of annoyance. All she had in mind was actually finding her classroom.

'1-B. 1-B. 1-B. Ah!'

Skidding to a halt and almost tripping on herself in the process, Mia stood in front of her classroom. Red faced and panting heavily, Mia contemplated on what she was going to say.

'Crap!' She thought clutching her chest 'I did this without really thinking! What the hell am I supposed to say when I walk into the classroom extremely late?! I probably look horrible too! I mean I took a nap for half a day and ran about half a mile here! I should just turn back and do this tomorrow!'

Turning around quickly, Mia quickly walked away from the classroom door.

Aomine was always strong

The girl stopped walking and stared at her feet as she remembered why she came back to school in the first place.

Understanding once again what she needed to do, the girl grumbled and turned back towards her classroom.

'Well, here goes nothing.' Mia decided, not even trying to fix her appearance.

Grabbing the door handle, she slid the door open, grabbing the attention of twenty or so teenagers and the one teacher. All eyes were on her disheveled self and she felt very uncomfortable with that.

The only face she seemed to recognize in the small crowd was Kuroko who was sitting in the far corner next to the window.

He was very surprised that she had decided to come back to school and was even more surprised that she showed up looking like a mess. He literally saw her twenty minutes ago. What could she have possible done to end up looking like that?

"Who are you?" The teacher asked, roughly. He wasn't very happy having his lecture being interrupted.

"Takagi Mia." Mia answered, entering the classroom slowly.

"Oh, so you're the one who has been skipping all my lectures." The Sensei said, "You should be ashamed of yourself."

"I'm very sorry!" Mia apologized and bowed before the teacher could continue, startling him and the other students. "I promise I won't do it again!"

"Ah...well...um..." He wasn't expecting the new student to be so formal with him. In fact he expected her to be some sort of punk since she had skipped several lessons already even when she was new. "I guess...just don't do it again. Next time it will be supplementary lessons."

"Yes sir!" Mia answered, straightening up and walking away from the teacher, looking for an empty seat to sit in. When she found one in the far corner, opposite of Kuroko, she began heading towards it.

"Hold on a moment!" The teacher barked, stopping Mia in her tracks. "Even though you skipped some classes doesn't make you any less new than if you didn't. So please..." He moved out of the way, gesturing for her to take the spotlight. "Introduce yourself to the class."

Knowing that what awaited her was inevitable, Mia sighed, walking over to the front of the class. She looked forward and adjusted her bag which was starting to fall off her shoulder. With her messy, black hair, shifted sweater and metal splint, Mia definitely gave an amazing first impression to her classmates.

"I'm Takagi Mia." The girl introduced, "Nice to meet you."

The whole class was silent as they stared at the new girl in front of them. None of them really knew how they were supposed to deal with a situation like this.

"Kagami Taiga! Don't sleep in my class!" The teacher suddenly bellowed, making Mia jump at the volume.

'Kagami?' The teenager thought, looking into the direction her new Sensei had yelled. Sure enough, the large body of the red headed beast in the seat in front of Kuroko started to shift.

"Good morning." Kagami yawned, stretching in his seat and making him look even bigger than he already was.

"It is the afternoon." Sensei said sternly as he stood in front of the basketball player, making Kagami flinch as he realized that he had been caught and in front of the entire class no less. Snickers and giggles were quickly spreading throughout the room as everyone watched in amusement.

"Come see me after class."

"Yes." Kagami's eyes wandered until they landed on Mia who was still standing at the front of the room. Eyes widening, he quickly stood up from his seat, knocking the chair over and pointed at the new girl. "You!"

"Hello~!" Mia greeted, smiling and waving at Kagami like it was nothing, "We meet again, Tiger!"

"Stop calling me that!"

"Eh~? But it's cute~!"

"And stop using that kind of voice on me! It's annoying!"

"Both of you be quiet!" Sensei angrily scolded, shutting up both teenagers. "Takagi, your seat is in that corner over there. I hope you don't give me any more trouble for the rest of the year."

Mia quietly walked over to the opposite corner of the room, trying not to anger her teacher any more as Kagami picked up his chair and sat back down in his own seat. It seemed like she was already classified as a troublemaker and she really didn't want to do any more damage.

Sitting down in her seat, Mia quickly took out her textbooks and pencils, simultaneously taking out her white phone and hiding it behind all her other supplies.

'Do you think you can take me with you to basketball practice today?' She typed out in the new message to Kuroko, 'There's something I want to discuss with your coach.'

After pressing send, the raven haired girl set the white device in the corner of her desk, not expected a reply from her friend until the next break. He was a goody two shoes like that.

However, after about two minutes of just staring at her notebook without really writing anything down, Mia looked back at her phone and picked it up once more.

It was about time she finally gave a certain blonde a reply to all of his messages.

"Kise Ryota."

The sudden, sweet voice made Kise's chest tighten. The sudden reaction surprised himself and he turned around to see who it was that suddenly called him by his full name. When he saw a small pale girl with thick, short, black hair and deep blue eyes standing in doorway of his classroom, he thought it was just another fan girl.

He thought.

"And you are?" Kise asked, naturally using his charm on the girl. However, when all she did was stare back at him, her mouth forming a thin line, the blonde had to admit that he felt very uncomfortable.

"Takagi Mia." The girl finally answered, making Kise let out a large breath of air he didn't realize he was holding.

"I was requested to escort you to the gym for basketball practice. Today is the first day you practice with the other first strings."

"Wait wait wait!" Kise exclaimed, stopping Mia before she could walk away from the door.

"What is it?"

"How exactly do you know all of this stuff?!" The model asked, grabbing his bag and walking up to the stranger so that he was right in front of her. She wasn't particularly small, but she wasn't that fall either. She only reached to his shoulder. "I know that the basketball club already has a manager and that she's not you."

"I'm the assistant manager. Normally it's Sacchan's job to come and get the new basketball members, but I was personally given this opportunity for this occasion."


"Eh~? Why is Taka-chin here~?" A rather lazy voice piped up from behind Kise, startling the supermodel.

"Hello Mura-Bo. I've come to take Kise-kun to basketball practice."

"Mura-Bo?!" The blonde shouted, confused by how this robot like girl greeted the giant.

"Yes. Murasakibara Atsushi." Mia answered, never wavering from the sudden outburst. "His name is too long and quite bothersome for me to repeat so I have requested to call him 'Mura-bo', a combination of his name and one of his favorite snacks."

"Maiubo." Murasakibara finished, drooling at the thought of eating the tasty treat during practice today.

"He seems quite pleased with it."

As the two discussed whether or not Murasakibara should eat during practice or not, Kise stood there, mouth opened in shock at the weird interaction between the two.

He hasn't even seen the rest of the first strings and they are already leaving a weird impression on him.

"But, Taka-chin~" Murasakibara suddenly began asking, "Isn't it usually Sacchin who comes to get new members?"

"Sacchan was given other work to do at the gym so I've been given the responsibility of escorting Kise-kun today."


"Sacchin? Sacchan?" Kise sputtered, oblivious to what they were saying.

"Momoi Satsuki. The manager." Mia answered.

"You call people by really weird names, you know?" The blonde stated, walking down the hallway with Murasakibara and Mia following.

"Is that so?"

"Well," Kise continued, adjusting his bag on his shoulder. "If you want to call me a name, then I'll allow you the pleasure of calling me by my first name. You get to say 'Ryota-kun'."

"Declined." Mia answered immediately, making the supermodel crash into one of the shoe lockers of the school.

"What?! Why?!" Kise asked, holding his now red nose.

"It is unnecessary and impossible." The girl answered as she switched her indoor shoes for her brown loafers. Murasakibara did the same thing, both acting like he never even crashed into the lockers.

"And why exactly is it impossible?" Kise asked, slightly annoyed with this girl's attitude. He could accept unnecessary, but impossible?

"It's impossible for me to call you by your first name without being killed by all your fangirls." Mia answered, looking over her shoulder as she waited for the blonde. Murasakibara had gone ahead, saying it was a pain to wait, and left the two alone.

Kise looked at the girl, surprised by her answer and the fact that she actually knew about his social status despite seeming like an emotionless female.

The raven haired girl looked at the blonde basketball player in confusion as he let out an amused laugh and continued to pull on his own loafers.

'She may seem boring, but her brain actually thinks like a normal girl, huh?' Kise thought, walking over to the small girl and patting her head.

"Okay." He said, "You're right it is impossible isn't it? Call me whatever you want."

With that, both teenagers made their way to the gym in comfortable silence.

"Kise-kun~! Do you want to come with us to karaoke after school today?"

"I'm sorry." Kise apologized as he turned down two more of his fan girls, "I have basketball practice after school."

"Eh?! But didn't you go to practice early this morning too?!"

"What can I do? Winter Cup is coming up. I've got to practice hard if I want us to win."

"Kya! Kise-kun, you're so amazing!"

All his fangirls were the same. Every single one of them complimenting him and telling him how great his is at everything.

Of course he wasn't complaining though! In fact, he enjoyed every second of it!

But, since the person he missed the most never complimented him, it felt like he wouldn't be able to find anybody like her again.

"Kise! Stop blocking the hallways and get your ass in the gym!" The familiar voice of Kasamatsu filled Kise's ears as he kicked his back, sending his to the ground in front of the two girls.


"We're leaving!" The senpai continued, dragging his kohai away from the two females as he tried his best to get away from them before he became a stuttering mess.

"Kasamatsu- senpai! Why did you have to hit me?" Kise asked when he was finally able to get out of the captain's hold and began walking beside him.

"Because you were annoying as hell!"

"So mean!" Noticing that the phone in his bag was blinking, indicating a new message, Kise pulled out the object and flipped it open. He was expecting another text from a fangirl or from his mom again.

He wasn't expecting the name of the girl he missed the most to be in the sender's box.

"Wah!" Kise exclaimed, scaring his senpai who, in turn, kicked him in the back again as punishment.

The basketball player quickly opened up the file to read the words that Mia had written for him, excitement and nervousness making his hands tremble slightly. He had sent her a message everyday for the past several months, not knowing where she had gone and not even knowing why she left, and now he had finally received a reply back.

Once the file was open, Kise looked down and read each word of hers carefully, wanting to take in the meaning perfectly.

'Good luck, Ryota-kun.'

Kise's eyes widened at the text message, rereading the name that she had typed down in her reply.


It was the first time she had called him by that name.

"Senpai!" The blonde shouted as he quickly stood up and shoved his phone in his captain's face. "Look senpai! She replied! She replied and called me by my first name, Senpai!"

"Who the hell are you talking about?!" Kasamatsu shouted back, putting his foot his ace player's face to keep him away from him "And don't shove your phone in my face! I don't want to see the disgusting text message from one of your fangirls!"

"She's not a fangirl!" Kise protested, still too happy to even think properly "She's Micchi!"


The small basketball and microphone key chains on Kise phone continuously clanked together as they kept this up until they reached the gym.

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