4. Scan Complete
Midorima Shintarou quickly made three 3-pointers in a row, shooting each of the orange basketballs into the large basket with ease. Once the third ball entered the basket, not even touching the ring, Midorima lowered his arms, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose as he marveled his work.
As always, luck was on his side today.
The low whistle that escaped Kazunari Takao's mouth caught the shooting guard's attention and he quickly turned his gaze towards his "friend".
"Amazing, Shin-chan!" Takao praised, his hands on his hips, "I came over to see how you were since you seemed down all day, but it looks like you are alright. In fact I think you are better today than you've been the entire season!"
"Impossible." Midorima answered, pushing his glasses up his nose again, "Luck is always on my side. And because of that, my shots never miss. There is no difference today."
"Are you sure?" The black haired male questioned, picking up one of Midorima's basketballs and trying a three pointer himself. It managed to go into the basket, but not as graceful as Midorima's, the ball hitting the ring roughly as it slowly entered the net.
"I honestly think that you seem more lucky today than yesterday. And the day before that. And the day before that."
The green haired teenager stared silently at the basketball hoop in front of him, taking in Takao's words as they ran through his head.
His companion looked at him confused, thinking he had hit some sort of sensitive spot. But that couldn't be it. After all, this was Midorima Shintarou.
"So what was your lucky item today?" Takao asked, trying to break the ice.
"I've been carrying it all day." Midorima answered, grabbing another orange ball and shooting yet another perfect three pointer.
"I didn't see anything with you today." Takao looked at the shooting guard in astonishment. How could he have missed Shin-chan's crazy lucky item for the day?!
To answer his question, Midorima walked over to the bench in the gym that held everyone's water bottles and towels. The only thing on the bench that seemed out of place with everything else was a small, old, navy book that lied next to Midorima's water bottle.
"That small book?" Takao asked once the horoscope obsessed male picked it up. "But you bring that with you everyday anyway?"
"It is not the book that is my lucky item, Takao." Midorima said, gently flipping through the old pages of the book until he landed on page 13. Inside was a small and frail four leaf clover. The color was faded but was still as green as Midorima's eyes.
That's what Takao thought until he realized how much that thought made him want to puke and he settled for Midorima's hair instead.
All in all, that four leaf clover was the first one Takao saw in real life, and just the mere sight of such a small thing took his breath away.
"Woah! It's something that actually makes sense when it comes to luck!" The male exclaimed, his mouth forming a grin until Midorima slammed the book shut once more.
"I have no idea what you are talking about." The taller teenager said as he walked back to set the book on the bench again.
"But Shin-chan, how did you manage to find a four leaf clover anyway?" The black haired male asked "Don't tell me you actually kept that in your book this entire time."
The silence that followed answered Takao's question easily. Judging from the odd tension that he was receiving from his teammate, it also seemed like the subject was getting to be too much for him.
"Well," Takao said, suddenly excited that there was actual practice going on, "I'm gonna go practice my dribbling. You should also get back to practice, Shin-chan, or the senpais will be mad."
As Takao walked away from the green haired player, Midorima was finally able to inhale air without the feeling of being choked. Because although luck was on his side more than usual that day...
His heart seemed to have betrayed him the most.
"Hurry up Tetsuya!" Mia nagged, pulling on her friend's arm as they made their way down the hall towards the gym. Kuroko was, at first, leading the way for the girl after reading her text message to him, but Mia suddenly got too impatient and starting leading the way for him.
"Please don't tug on my arm like that Mia." The blunette protested, "It hurts."
"I wouldn't have to tug so hard if you would just hurry up!"
"We're going the wrong way though."
"What are you talking about?" Mia asked, stopping in place and looking at Kuroko in confusion. The male took this time to snatch his arm back and began to rub the area that Mia tugged on, trying to release the pain that resided in it.
"Isn't this the way to the gym?" She continued
"Yes." Kuroko answered, "But I have to go to the locker room to get dressed. It's in that direction." To prove his point, he pointed in another direction that wasn't down the path Mia was going down.
"It connects to the gym so I'm able to go to practice immediately after I change. However, unless you have business in the male locker room, you are going to have to go to the gym on your own from here."
"Nope!" Mia exclaimed, waving her hands in front of her, "I'm definitely not going into the locker room with you! I'll just go on ahead like you said. I'll see you in the gym, Tetsuya!"
With that, she left her friends behind, her long, black locks flying past her as she moved forward. Kuroko just stared at her disappearing figure, still confused at her behavior.
First she decides to skip school, then she decides against it, and now she wants to come with him to practice.
Just what is she planning?
Mia continued to run down the hall until she found the large double doors of the gym. Screeching to a stop, she grabbed the door handles, wanting to burst through the gates that led to her mission. However...
'Shit! Who was the coach of the team again?!'
Mia felt the light beads of sweat fall down her forehead as she registered how ridiculous the plan she was about to execute was. Not only that, but she managed to do things without thinking again. That was twice in one day!
'Maybe it was that girl who examined my hand the last time I was here.' Mia thought, her trembling hand still on the door. 'What was her name again? Did I even ask her for her name?!'
"Oi." A sudden voice spoke from behind Mia.
"I WAS JUST PASSING BY!" The raven haired girl screamed, her hands immediately pinning to her sides as she stepped away from the door. She wasn't able to move that much though, since she hit a hard wall as she tumbled backwards.
Or she thought it was a wall.
"Eh?" Once she managed to feel the soft fabric of a t-shirt underneath her fingertips, Mia turned her head upwards. Deep blue eyes met stunning red ones as She came face to face with the red headed beast she had met a week ago.
"Taiga!" Kagami growled, a vein popping in his forehead as he pushed the small girl off of him.
"Wait!" Mia continued once she saw him head for the same doors she was having trouble entering a minute ago. "You're on the basketball team too?!"
"Too?" Kagami questioned, raising an eyebrow at the girl.
"Oh, Kuroko." Mia noticed the solemn expression the player had on his face as she mentioned the invisible man. "Yeah, I'm on the team. What about you?"
"What business do you have with the basketball team?"
The question stunned Mia, makin her jerk and tremble again as she remembered her main objective. The action alone made Kagami stare at the girl in confusion, his eyebrows scrunching up on his face.
"W-W-W-Who is your c-coach?" Mia stuttered, her voice coming out hoarse and dry, "I would like to speak with h-him."
Kagami didn't know whether to be worried or scared at the scared girl standing in front of him. She looked so confident and upbeat when he was talking with her, and now she was just this blubbering mess when it came to talking with his coach. The mere thought of how quickly Mia had transformed in less than a minute made him start to tremble in laughter.
"I think you better use proper pronouns before you speak with her." Kagami answered, his own voice cracking slightly to keep from laughing out loud. "She should be the only female in the gym. If you go in there you won't be able to miss her."
'"So it was the girl I met that day." Mia mumbled as Kagami grabbed the handles of the gym door once more.
"What was that?" He asked.
"Nothing! Just talking to myself."
"Nothing! Just go in already!" Mia shouted, opening the gym doors and kicking the red headed beast inside. "You're making me more nervous just standing there like that!"
With that, she slammed the doors shut and leaned against them. Placing a hand over her heart, she felt the continuous drum beats of her heart in her ears and against her palm. The sound almost sounded calming to her as she breathed in and out.
'Who knew I would be this nervous just to ask someone a simple question.' Mia thought, frowning at the ground as she contemplated about what she was going to ask the coach again. It shouldn't have been a big deal. After all, it wasn't like she was asking to buy drugs or if she could to kill all the members of the team.
Mia's musings were interrupted by the sudden opening of the door next to her.
"Ack!" The girl yelped, backing away from the now exposed gym and the person who had opening it in the first place.
"What are you doing here?!" Riko exclaimed, noticing the girl from a week earlier. "And why are you standing like that?"
It was true that Mia's pose was something to laugh upon. Her arms were covering her face in an 'X' shape while her right leg was raised as if she was getting ready to run. It was really something odd indeed.
"Oh! It's just you." Mia said, not even answering Riko's question.
"You better mean that in a nice way." The coach responded, letting go of the door handle and leaning against it with her arms crossed in front of her chest. "So? What did you want from me?"
"Eh? How did you-"
"Kagami-kun came tumbling into the gym out of no where. When I asked him what happened, he said that there was a weird girl who wanted to see me. I had no idea that person was you." Riko looked at Mia up and down, "Well, he at least got the 'weird' part right."
Instead of answering with an argument about that statement like she did with Kagami, Mia grabbed the hem of her skirt and looked down as she played with it.
"Um..." The girl mumbled. Riko was barely able to hear her. But...
'So cute!' The coach thought as she stared at the younger student. 'She's like an adorable little kid!'
Trying once more to get her question out of the way, Mia lifted her head up to Riko and opened her mouth.
Only to be interrupted once more.
"Yo! Riko!" The booming voice of another male sounded behind Mia, making the girl jump once more and move away.
"Ah! Tepp-!" The girl stopped mid sentence as she gazed upon her old teammate, Kiyoshi Teppei, the large number seven on his uniform completely visible to both Riko and Mia.
"It's been a while!" The giant continued, not noticing the weird stares coming from both females. "What are you doing out here? Shouldn't we be getting to practice by now?"
Without even waiting for her to answer, Teppei grabbed the handle of the closed door next to Riko and swung it open.
"Ah! Wait, Teppei!" Riko tried to stop him. But, it was too late. The large male had already entered the gym, his shoes squeaking against the shining floor.
"'Sup!" He greeted, making his voice be heard, "Let's start practice!"
Mia heard the sound of basketballs stop completely after Kiyoshi's greeting. It was quite amazing how they could just stop so suddenly like that. Riko, on the other hand, wasn't as easily impressed. She stared at Kiyoshi, already exhausted with his actions even though he had only arrived several minutes ago. Putting a hand to her forehead, she tried to stop the small headache from getting bigger. Once she noticed that the first year she was speaking to only a moment before was still there, staring at Teppei in confusion, she gestured to the gym.
"You can come in if you want." Riko said, catching Mia's attention, "We can talk during practice."
Before Mia could move more than one step, however, Riko stuck a hand out, stopping her once more.
"But no more slapping people."
Turning to go back to the gym, Riko walked ahead of Mia. The girl stared at the coach's back before hurriedly catching up, closing the door behind her.
"Why are you in your uniform?!" A voice yelled right as Mia slammed the door shut. Instead of jumping in surprise again, however, Mia simply just observed quietly as she walked, like she was expecting someone to say something about Kiyoshi coming in his uniform.
"It's been so long," Teppei answered, a sparkle in his eye, "I wanted to raise the tension."
"You can't be serious! Are you?!"
"So, did you want to talk now?" Riko asked, not entirely bothered by the argument between her basketball members.
"No." Mia answered, "I can wait for a bit. This seems to be more important than what I was going to ask."
The coach looked behind her at the strange girl who came barging in only a week before. What startled her the most was how Mia's expression was the same as how it was when they first met. Serious and calculating.
"...yeah." Riko said, trailing off as she continued to stare at the girl.
She was a weird one.
It took Kiyoshi only a couple of minutes to change into more fitting clothing for basketball practice. During this time, Mia carefully looked at all the players of the Seirin Basketball Team, including Kagami and Kuroko. Unfortunately for the girl, she wasn't able to get as good of a read on the players as she was able to back in Teiko.
'Shit.' Mia cursed 'It's been so long, it'll take me a couple days of practice to get back to my original state.'
"I'm Kiyoshi Teppei." The brown haired giant introduced once he came back out onto the gym floor, "Due to some circumstances, I was in the hospital since last year's summer and was resting due to rehab after an operation."
'Rehab?!' Mia thought astonished, looking the male up and down as she examined his condition. 'Interesting.'
"193 cm, 81 kg and my position is center. Howdy!"
"So Teppei," Riko piped up beside him,"Are you alright already?"
"Yeah! Fully recovered!" Teppei answered cheerfully before his smile faltered a bit. "More importantly..." His head turned as he looked at Mia who was staring at him with no emotion, her face hard like a piece of stone. "Who is this person who's been staring at me intently ever since I got here?"
"Oh! Sorry, this is...um...she is..eh..." Riko forgot the fact that she never asked her for her name.
"Takagi Mia." Mia answered for her, her eyes still on Teppei. It was going by slowly, but she was definitely getting data on the male in front of her. She would definitely need to practice for several days in order to receive data a lot quicker. "Nice to meet you."
"Eh? Oh yeah. Nice to meet you too, Takagi-san." Even Kiyoshi had to admit that the hard stare the girl was giving him was making him feel slightly uncomfortable.
"Anyway, I guess I only have one thing to say." The founder of the basketball team announced, placing his hands on his hips, "The three years of our high school life go by really fast, so we have to do what we do seriously. Our goal of course is...where again?!"
The silence in the gym wasn't enough to express how confused every team member was at that moment.
"No, I mean, where is the InterHigh being held?"
"It changes every year, and we lost there already! Our goal now is the Winter Cup!"
"I see! Then, where is the Winter Cup being held this year?"
"The Winter Cup's place never changes! It's always in Tokyo!"
The argument between the captain and the founder of the basketball team continued like this as the others continued to watch in astonishment. Just what exactly went on everyday during the early days of the Seirin basketball team?
"Well, if you want to climb a mountain, you obviously aim for the top." Kiyoshi made his point, "But you've got to enjoy the scenery too."
Hyuga stared at his old friend before he sighed in defeat, catching the attention of Izuki.
"What's wrong Hyuga?"
"Nothing." He answered, "It's just that, he never changes. That's why I don't like him."
Back in the corner where Riko left her, Mia continued to stare at Kiyoshi Teppei and his laughing form as he continued to talk with his old teammates.
"All data received." Mia mumbled in the monotone voice she hadn't used in forever, "Scan complete."
Midorima walked down the empty hallways of Teiko Middle school, his destination the male locker room where one of his notebooks had been left behind.
It usually wasn't like him to be worried about studying when he could just rely on his great luck during exams. However, if he didn't at least do a little bit of studying before the tests, then how exactly would he be able to ace the test when his luck was bad?
As expected, the locker room was dark and empty once he opened the door, the cool breeze blowing on his face lightly and sending shivers down his spine. It was always when therewasn't sweaty men in the room that it felt cold.
"Here it is." The glasses wearing male mumbled to himself as he found his notebook in his locker, shutting the metal door after grabbing the thin book.
The sound of a basketball bouncing on the gym floor, froze Midorima in place. He carefully listened when the bouncing stopped to make sure he wasn't just hearing things. Sure enough, the bouncing started up again and it officially peaked Shintaro's interest, his body moving on its own as he headed for the gym.
'Is Kuroko here practicing late again?' Midorima thought, remembering the times Kuroko had stayed late to practice with Aomine when he was still in the third string.
When he opened the gym doors and didn't see the blue haired player, his eyes widened. The person who was staying late, and who was the last person Midorima thought would be playing basketball, was Takagi Mia.
The sleeves of the light blue blouse of her Teiko uniform were rolled up past her elbows, and her white sweater was tied around her waist. A small, pink scrunchie held her short hair behind her head and small beads of sweat rolled down her face as she continued to attempt a three pointer.
"Shit!" Mia cursed when yet another ball bounced off the rim of the basket without actually going in.
"Takagi." Midorima called, making the girl jump and drop the new basketball in her hands.
"Oh, Midorima-kun." Mia greeted as the tall male came walking towards her.
"What exactly are you doing?" He asked, his usual 'nanodayo' endings making his speech "special".
"Practicing." The girl answered, picking up another ball from the basketful of them that sat next to her.
"What exactly for?" Midorima questioned.
Mia clicked her tongue, annoyed, when the ball didn't even get close to the basket and just bounced continuously on the ground.
"Aomine has challenged me and said that I am not able to shoot a single basket. I am prepared to prove him wrong by the end of the week."
"Damn." It was humorous how the robotc girl could say such indecent words without changing the tone of her voice.
"You know that the end of the week means tomorrow, right?"
"I am perfectly aware of that fact, Midorima-kun. I have been here everyday after school, practicing."
"Your form is wrong." Midorima piped up, setting his notebook down so that he could show Mia what he was talking about. "You place your dominant hand on the front and your non dominant hand on the side for support. When you throw the ball, you simply bend your knees and jump, rolling the ball off your dominant hand as you throw it. The rest is up to aiming...and luck."
The girl mimicked Midorima's shooting form, placing her right hand where he put his left one since her right hand was her dominant and not her left. Feeling a little bit more confident in herself, Mia bounced the ball a couple of times in front of her, getting ready to shoot another ball. She bent her knees and raised her hands, aiming her shot before she jumped and...
The ball the got stuck in between the headboard and the ring of the hoop.
"There are no words to express the anger I am feeling at this moment." Mia said, her hands clenched at her sides as they trembled.
Midorima stood at the sidelines, not knowing if it was okay to laugh or not. Choosing not to, the male pushed up his glasses and walked over to the basket. Thankful for his height in this situation, he jumped slightly and pushed the basketball out of the spot it was in with the tip of his middle finger, making it come loose and fall in his hands. Then taking a few steps back, he jumped once more and sent the ball flying through the hoop. Even with his short sleeved white shirt and black pants, he still managed to look graceful as he jumped.
"Your form is good and your aim is decent." Midorima said, tossing the ball back to the girl "However, it is obvious that luck is not on your side when it comes to basketball like it is with me. You should wait until it is a lucky day for Virgos, then maybe you can-"
"I DON'T FUCKING CARE!" Mia screamed, finally breaking as she threw the basketball against the gym floor as hard as she could, surprising Midorima. He wasn't expecting this girl to show emotion let alone volume. "No matter how hard I try, I will never be able to-"
The sound of the ball making it through the net caught Mia and Midorima's attention. Both stood there as they silently watched the ball roll away from them. When he looked back at the girl, Midorima saw that she was about to attempt another "toss".
"Wha?! Hold on, Taka-"
She did it once more.
"Takagi!" Midorima scolded, protecting himself as if the ball would come for him and not the net.
"It went in..." Mia said.
"Yes, I am aware of that!" Lowering his arms, the male looked at Mia with a mighty rage, "That does not give you the right to..."
He trailed off and completely forgot why he was angry when he saw that Mia was smiling.
And not just smiling. She was laughing too.
"It went in!" Mia cheered, throwing her hands up in the air, "It went in! Did you see that Midorima-kun?! I actually made it in!"
Before Midorima could help himself, and before Mia could actually see him do it, he smiled at the girl in front of him.
"Shin-chan!" Takao called, bringing his friend back to reality.
"Eh?" Midorima looked ahead of him to see Takao in large cart he used to drive him places. Of course the decision is always one sided, but he agrees to it nonetheless.
"Hop on." Takao answered, pointing to the back of the cart behind him. "We'll go get something to eat."
"That is unnecessary."
"Oh come on!" Takao complained, following Midorima on the cart as the taller teenager began walking away from him. "You've obviously been feeling down all day. At least let me act like a friend and let me treat to to some food!"
When Midorima stopped walking suddenly, Takao slammed into the head of the bicycle, his stomach hitting it first and making him hold it in pain.
"Are you really willing to treat me to something to make me feel better?" Midorima asked, not even turning to look at Takao.
"Um...yeah, I guess." The black haired male answered. He was very suspicious as to where he was leading with this.
However, all Midorima did was turn and sit in the large, wooden cart, setting his belongings next to him as he looked at Takao with a serious expression.
"Then take me to my usual antique store. We are going to search for my lucky item."
"You already have your lucky up item!" Takao yelled, pointing to the small book that Midorima was holding.
"Fool! I may already have my luck item for today, but that does not mean I have my lucky item for tomorrow!"
"Do you even know what your lucky item for tomorrow is?!" Takao complained, but began to pedal anyway.
"Yeah yeah, I get it! Just make sure I'm able to afford it!"
"Ah! Riko-senpai!" Mia called after the brunette who was about to start drills with the boys.
The call stopped Riko in her tracks, and she slowly turned around as the girl jogged up to her.
"What was that?" She asked, her voice low.
"Say it again."
Suddenly, arms wrapped around Mia's torso and Riko's cheek was placed on her own.
"You good girl!" Riko exclaimed, "You definitely know how to treat your senpais well! Unlike some men." That last sentence was obviously made towards several freshmen, who, in turn, froze at the tone of her voice and the evil glare they received.
"Um...Riko-senpai?" Mia asked again, still being hugged tightly by the female coach.
"I was wondering if I could discuss with you the reason why I came here in the first place."
"Oh yes! I completely forgot about that since Teppei was created problems again." Riko laughed nervously, her hand scratching the back of her head. "Anyway, what did you nee-"
"Let me be your manager." Mia interrupted, suddenly serious oppose to when she first got here.
"I'm asking, no, begging you to let me become your manager." Mia repeated, lowering herself so that she was on her hands and knees on the gym floor, bowing. "Please!"
The fact that Mia was embarrassing both herself and Riko by bowing to her in front of a group of men was enough to make the coach go bright red.