5. I'm Sorry
The halls of Seirin High School were almost completely deserted. The occasional taps of students' shoes against the floor was the only sound made throughout the building. Eve most of the teachers had gone home by now.
The light panting of second year, Koganei, echoed against the walls as he jogged from his classroom to the gym.
"Shit. I'm totally late." He cursed himself, scowling as he remembered how his head had bonked loudly on his desk when he fell asleep, catching the teacher's attention and forcing him to stay after class. "To think I would fall asleep during literature class. What a failure."
He made it to the doors of the gym with good timing, his sneakers squeaking against the floor when he stopped.
"Yo~!" He called, expecting a beating for being late from Riko when he opened the gym doors and marched right inside.
What he wasn't expecting was a close up of their teams ace as he went for a hard dunk.
"WOAH!" Koga cried out when he heard the loud bang of Kagami's hand hitting the hoop. Izuki and Furihata were also overwhelmed by the sudden force and were pushed back, knocking into Koga one after the other.
The screech of Riko's whistle became the only sound in the gym as everyone stared at their ace in surprise.
"Foul!" She yelled, turning her attention to the taller first year. "Hey Kagami-kun, what are you doing?! You're too forceful' Look around you more!"
"Tch" the redhead growled, gritting his teeth and moving on to continue the practice play.
"Hey...what's with that?" Koga asked, making his presence known, "Isn't he too nervous?"
"Koga!" Izuki exclaimed once he noticed his friend had finally come, "Well you see, at first I thought it was because he was concentrating too hard. But it seems to be something different now."
The duo looked at Kagami who was already drenched in sweat and running back to his position, both holding looks of confusion and worry.
"Instead of saying he plays selfishly," Izuki continued I would say he returned to his style from when he first joined the club."
'It's almost like he's playing alone and not relying on anyone.'
Kagami continued to dunk his way through points as time flew by, causing everyone on the team to slowly edge away from him. It was like they were afraid of him crushing them.
'Hey! What's wrong, Kagami-kun?!' Riko thought as she observed from the sidelines, whistle in her mouth.
At this point, she didn't know what was worse. Trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with Kagami and fix it, or having to deal with the abnormal species who wanted to become the team manager.
"I'm asking, no begging you to let me become the manager!"
'Ugh. Why are all first years this year so annoyingly persistent?'
She couldn't forget the look on the girl's face. Although bent forward when she bowed, the moment her face lifted up to look at Riko, the coach was able to see the look of desperation in her eyes.
"Kuroko-kun!" Riko called, grabbing the attention of the phantom man. "Sub out for a moment. There's something I need to discuss with you."
Although sweaty and slightly nervous that he was forced to talk with his coach alone, the teenager obliged.
"Man." Mia sighed, taking a sip of water from her bottle she carried with her in her bag, "I know what I did was pretty extreme, but she didn't have to kick me out of the gym."
Despite her words, Mia's cheeks still grew bright red as she remembered the coach screaming at her to get out of the gym after bowing and begging for the position of manager. The embarrassment grew even more when the situation ended up with Kagami having to throw the teenager over his shoulder and carry her out of the gym, despite her continuous cries of protest and declarations of becoming the manager even if she had to cut off all of her hair to prove how much she wanted it.
"I mean it! I won't be cute anymore! Nobody wants that right?!"
"Why the hell did I have to say that?" Mia asked to herself, leaning against a pole as she covered her burning red face with her hand.
Not only did she sound desperate, but she sounded like she would do anything for the job. Of course both were true, but in Mia's case, she was actually fit to be manager. She didn't need to prove her worth by cutting her hair! She should be able to become manager without having to go through all that crap!
Or so she continuously told herself.
"Kiyoshi Teppei." Mia mumbled, walking along the sidewalk once more despite her still slightly pink cheeks. "193 cm and 81 kg."
Tossing her water bottle in the first trash can she saw, Mia decided to stop by the convenience store near her home to buy some dinner. The red orange glow of the sky indicated that it was getting late and she most certainly didn't feel like cooking anything tonight.
Well, it's not like she's been cooking any other night anyway.
"Out of a hundred percent; physical ability is at 95.3%, his technique is at 93.6%, mental strength is at 95.75%, stamina has been decreased by at least 15.823% since the last time I saw him, and finally, special trai-!"
The doors to the convenience store slid open as the raven head walked inside. However, before she could finish her sentence, the image of a six foot, muscular, tan teenager caught her eye.
Mia's eyes widened and her mouth hung open in shock. Her palms started to sweat as she began to tremble.
'No way!' Mia screamed in her head since she was afraid of being noticed.
As the larger teenager turned to the sound of the door's ding, Mia quickly ducked behind the first aisle near the entrance, making herself invisible. However, the slight contact she made with the umbrella stand made the objects inside knock into one another, informing the tanned skinned male that someone did, in fact, come in.
"Hmph." Mia heard the familiar rough voice of Aomine Daiki as he dismissed the odd entrance of someone he didn't even see. She continued to listen for several seconds until she was sure his attention was brought to something else in the store. Before she could stop herself, Mia let out a loud sigh of relief, only to slap her hand over her mouth when she realized what she had done.
"Eh?" Aomine looked back over to the entrance, wondering where that noise was coming from. His curiosity getting the better of him, he started walking over to the first aisle next to the door, thinking that he would find something there.
Once Mia heard his footsteps coming closer, she mentally screamed once more and started to panic, looking around at her surroundings as she tried to figure out what to do. Deciding that the best option was to quickly move out of sight again, the teenage girl crawled as fast as she could to the end of the aisle. Despite the small noises she was emitting from moving her bag across the floor, Mia managed to make it to the other side of the aisle before Aomine was able to get a good look at her.
It felt like her heart was going to jump out of her chest as she waited for Aomine to stop looking for her. Feeling something press against her back, Mia saw a rack of baseball caps behind her.
Before she could comprehend her new plan, she grabbed a blue one that read 'Go Baseball!' and stuffed all her black hair inside as she put it on her head, grabbing her black sunglasses from her bag to finish the look.
It wasn't a perfect disguise, but it gave Mia a little bit of confidence to actually stand up from her spot.
"Ah!" Aomine immediately voiced once he saw Mia's form. The sudden announcement made the girl freeze in place. "Was that you making all that noise?"
"...yeah." Mia responded, lowering her voice to keep him from knowing who she was.
"Hmmm." Aomine said, dismissing the situation already. Walking over to the magazine section, he grabbed his usual idol spread, making sure the boobs were to his liking, and began to read while standing. However, that same spot he was standing in, just happened to be right next to the one person who was trying to avoid him.
Mia couldn't help but stare. Her feet were frozen in place and her legs were trembling slightly. All she could do was just look at Aomine reading his dirty magazine. She didn't even have the energy to barf at the image in front of her.
Eventually, Aomine noticed the unwanted glances he was receiving and turned to glare at Mia, making the poor girl jump in place.
"What?" The tanned male growled. He held the magazine a little more tightly, thinking that the stranger next to him wanted to have it for themselves.
"N-Nothing!" Mia squeaked, already losing her low voice she had. Pretending she was there for the magazines and that she wasn't trying to avoid him, Mia quickly picked a random one from the shelf and begin to "read" it, taking two steps away from the man next to her.
'Go away. Go away. Go away. Go away!' Mia thought, staring at the slick pages in front of her without giving much thought to what she chose.
Before she knew it, the reading material was snatched out of her hands, shocking Mia. When she turned to try and grab the item back, she found herself looking straight at Aomine's cheek. His face was so close as he read the cover of the magazine Mia had grabbed. Although he wasn't looking at her, Mia still felt her blood run cold at the distance between them.
"Heh~." Aomine smirked, still looking at the magazine. "I didn't know girls were into this stuff too."
Confused, Mia looked at the item now in the basketball player's hands, her eyes widening when she realized what it was.
"RIO NATSUME! FULL COVER SPREAD!" It read, each letter bold and in bright colors. Not only did Mia choose a gravure magazine, but she also chose a gravure magazine with a J-cup model on the front!
"No!" Mia screeched, backing away quickly as her cheeks turned a dark shade of red. Her face quickly paled as she ran into more magazines and made them topple over each other onto the ground.
"Hey! Be careful back there!" The store owner yelled.
"I'm sorry!" Mia responded, kneeling down and picking up each item that fell on the floor. She was surprised when Aomine had bent down to do the same, setting aside each magazine by topic so that it would be easier for them to put away.
"What?" Aomine glared, sending shivers up the girl's spine. Realizing she was staring too long, Mia looked back down at what she was doing, making sure the brim of her cap covered her eyes in case her sunglasses didn't.
The silence between them was deafening for Mia as they continued their work until all magazines were put away where they belonged. Once everything was cleaned up, both teenagers stood up from their spots. Mia hoped that from this point on, they could both just continue on with their day.
Unfortunately for her, luck wasn't on her side today.
"Oi." Aomine said, scaring the girl next to him. She wasn't expecting him to speak so suddenly. "I'm not that scary. You don't have to keep looking down when I'm near you."
"I'm sorry." She said again.
"And stop apologizing! You sound like someone I know."
"I'm so-" cutting herself off before she angered Aomine again, Mia simply nodded in reply. She wasn't capable of saying anything else to him anyway. It felt like something large was lodged in her throat. It was hard for her to breath.
"E-Excuse me!" Mia managed to say, her voice cracking. Hurriedly, she passed by Aomine in an attempt to escape out of the convenience store. However, a strong hand caught her wrist and held her in place, making Mia gasp and widen her eyes in terror.
"Hey wait! Don't you have to pay for that hat first?" Aomine asked, not affected by the situation they were in.
Her wrist felt small in slender in his big hand. So soft and warm. It surprised even Aomine how her skin felt against his. Instead of new and foreign like he expected it to be like, holding this girl's wrist felt nostalgic and familiar. It felt like he's been in a situation like this before.
Before he could continue his thoughts, Aomine felt the stranger begin to tremble in his hand.
"Let go!" Mia yelled unintentionally, slightly tugging on her wrist in an attempt to free it from his grasp. The sudden burst was not something Aomine was expecting. Unconscious loosening his grip on her arm, Aomine watched as the girl snatched her hand away, holding it against her chest.
He didn't know what possessed him, but he found himself trying again to at least talk to the terrified girl in front of him.
"AOMINE!" A loud voice yelled in the convenience store, irritating the basketball player as he was interrupted yet again. Mia took this opportunity to quickly get away from Aomine and picked up another magazine in the corner, pretending that they weren't just talking a few seconds ago.
"WHY THE HELL DID YOU SKIP PRACTICE AGAIN AND WHY THE HELL DID WE HAVE TO FIND YOU WAY OUT HERE?!" Wakamatsu Kosuke shouted, marching over to the tan teenager who had shoved his hands in his pockets. He wasn't even looking at the blonde team member, making him even angrier.
"Now now." Imagoshi Soichi said, patting Wakamatsu's shoulder as he continued to burst into flames. "There's no need to yell. This is a small store after all. You're probably bugging that girl over there." The glasses wearing captain didn't notice Mia flinch in the corner as he talked about her. However, Aomine most certainly did.
"Whatever." He said, moving past the two senpais and heading towards the exit. As the doors slid open, making the same ding sound as when he entered it, Aomine glanced at the girl through the corner of his eye. She had her back to him as the doors shut close behind them.
"Hey you in the back!" The store owner yelled, "Don't go wearing the merchandise if you're not going to buy it!"
"I'm sorry." Mia answered. It seemed like that one sentence was something she was now used to saying.
Grabbing the brim of the baseball cap, Mia lifted it off her head, her long black locks spilling over her shoulders and down her back. Setting it back on the rack with the rest of the caps, her sunglasses came next.
"Eh?" Mia's hand lifted up to her cheek and her eyes widened when she found streams of tears running down her face. Furiously rubbing her sleeves across her eyes, she tried to wipe away the moisture, only to find that more streams replaced the first ones.
Realizing that it was useless trying to get rid of the evidence that led to her sadness, the young girl crouched down on the ground and hid her face in her arms.
"I'm sorry." She said again, trying to keep her voice to a minimum so that she wouldn't start to sob.
'Shit.' She thought, 'I still can't breath.'
The sudden use of his name brought the teenager back to reality. Noticing that Wakamatsu and Imayoshi were staring at him intently, he raised an eyebrow.
"Don't 'What?' us!" Wakamatsu yelled, "We've been talking to you for a solid minute and you didn't do as much as blink! Respect your upperclassmen!"
"Shut up." Aomine answered, using his pinky to clean out his ear as he looked off to the side.
"Now now." Imayoshi said, calming down the blonde once more before looking at his kohai. "But Aomine. It's true that you've been acting strangely ever since we left the store. Did something happen while you were there?"
Refusing to look his captain in the eye, Aomine thought about the stranger he met who had slipped from his grasp before he could even ask her anything.
"...upside down." He mumbled, making both upperclassmen take a step closer to hear what he was saying.
"What was that?" Imayoshi asked again, playfully putting his hand to his ear to hear Aomine better.
"She was holding the damn magazine upside down." Aomine repeated, still refusing to look at the two men in front of him as he walked past them.
Still trying to comprehend what he had just said, Wakamatsu and Imayoshi continued to stare ahead of them. Once Aomine had gained a considerable amount of distance from them, they looked at each other with confused expressions before looking back at their kohai.
The loud bang of the vending machine made Hyuga bend down and claim the drink that had just fallen, the icy cold condensation on the outside feeling good in the blazing heat of Summer.
"Here." The captain said nonchalantly, holding it out to Kiyoshi.
"Hm?" The old teammate questioned.
"On your discharge."
Smiling softly, the taller player grabbed the drink from, his companion, "Thanks!"
Both males walked in comfortable silence as different cars passed by them in the evening. After a long period of time without contact and a brutal practice from their coach, it was no wonder they didn't immediately start up a conversation.
"That contest," Hyuga finally spoke, breaking the silence, "would you have won if you wore the right shoes?"
Remembering the one-on-on he had with Kagami, Kiyoshi thought about his chances if he had remembered his sneakers instead of his indoor shoes. Although he was sure he would have performed better, he wasn't sure about him winning. This was especially true against a first year with Kagami's skill.
"...maybe." Kiyoshi finally answered.
"Leaving the ending aside," he continued, brushing off the first topic, "it's true that my skills are rusty. I wonder if I can get back into shape before summer break."
Taking a sip of his sweet beverage, Kiyoshi looked up at the sky full of stars.
"But those two...they are pretty interesting."
"Kuroko and Kagami?" Hyuga asked, knowing exactly who his friend was talking about.
"Kuroko is okay." The glasses wearing male stated, finally opening up his own drink of coca cola before taking a sip. "Kagami however...his play is nearly like the Generation of Miracles. He's really strange."
Kiyoshi suddenly stopping in place, made Hyuga look back confused. When he saw that the taller male held a similar expression, his eyebrows shot up in surprise.
"Really?" He asked, "To me it looks like the exact opposite."
"You mean Kuroko?!"
Chuckling, Kiyoshi continued walking down the sidewalk, Hyuga following beside him.
"I'm not sure with just looking. But, well...I kind of understand their worries. After all, I once hit a wall too."
Hyuga looked at his companion whose face had become solemn. He could never understand the man in front of him. One minute all happy and stupid and the next just...so serious and understanding.
"Oh yeah!" Kiyoshi's face suddenly lit up, startling Hyuga, "You didn't tell me that we got a manager, Hyuga!"
The words that came flying out of Kiyoshi's mouth made Hyuga spit and choke on his coke. The reaction didn't shake the taller male as he kept his happy face while his friend was dying.
"What are you talking about?!"
"Takagi-san! Takagi-san!" Kiyoshi answered, referring to Mia. "I met her as I was introducing myself to the others and she left talking about a manager."
"That doesn't mean she's our manager, idiot!" Wiping away the coke that was still dripping down his chin, Hyuga began marching ahead of the stupid man behind him.
"Eh? So she's not our manager?" Kiyoshi asked as he caught up once more. "What a shame."
"Don't tell me that you actually want that as our manager."
"Why not? She seems nice enough. Plus...out of all the first years I saw today, she was the most interesting of them all."
Normally, the comment would just be considered to Hyuuga if anyone else had said it. However, since the great Iron Heart, Kiyoshi Teppei, was "generous" enough to voice that thought out, all the basketball captain felt was pure anger.
"As I thought. Give it back." Hyuuga commanded, holding out his hand for Kiyoshi's drink.
"Eh?! But I thought it was a gift."
"Somehow you're pissing me off so I want it back."
Kuroko heard small crickets chirping in the grass as he walked down the sidewalk to Mia's home. The plastic bag he held rustled against his school uniform as his legs moved back and forth. With the way she was kicked out of the school gym, Kuroko knew she would be upset and embarrassed. Heck, even he was embarrassed for her about how she was kicked out.
As a solution, he stopped by the convenience store near Mia's apartment and bought some Popsicles for her. It was a little uncomfortable for Kuroko, however, when he bought the food since the store clerk seemed to be a bad mood. Nevertheless, he bought the items and had turned the corner that led to the apartment complex he was looking for.
An echoed squeaking noise, halted Kuroko in his tracks. Looking around, his light blue eyes stopped on the playground across the street from Mia's home, where a dark silhouette was sitting on the swing set. Thinking it was too late for kids to be playing there, he narrowed his eyes to see the silhouette more clearly only to discover that it was Mia herself.
"Ah." Kuroko said to himself, looking both ways before crossing the street and walking over to the playground. The plastic bag beside him started to hit his leg a little harder as he walked more quickly to his friend.
"Mia." The phantom player called once he was close enough for her to hear. "Why are you outside this late?"
When he didn't get a response out of the girl, Kuroko began to wonder if he mistaken her for someone else. But once he saw the silver splint on her right middle finger, he was sure that it was Mia.
"Mia?" He tried again, moving in front of his friend so that he could see her face. His eyes widened at what he saw.
It was obvious that Mia had been crying. Her deep blue eyes were red and puffy and there were streaks making their way down her cheeks. Her mouth was slightly open as she took breaths through there instead of her congested nose.
"Mia!" Kuroko gasped, kneeling in front of Mia and setting his bags down beside him. It seemed that this had finally gotten a reaction out of the girl as she moved her head up slightly to meet his eyes.
"Tetsuya?" She asked, her voice low and hoarse, like she had been screaming for hours.
Suddenly, her head fell forward and landed on Kuroko's shoulders, startling the male. Before he could do or say anything, Mia spoke once more.
"I met Aomine on the way home." She said, making Kuroko freeze. "Well, I guess I should say that I met him, but he didn't meet me. I was so scared to talk to him again that I actually wore a disguise. How pathetic is that?"
Slowly, the blue haired teen felt drops of water fall on his hand, letting him know that his dear friend was crying once more.
"I don't know what I'm doing, Tetsuya." Mia continued, "I don't even know why I'm here anymore."
Her voice was breaking. It was shaking and high and made Kuroko afraid that she would lose all strength and fall over.
It wasn't Mia.
As the now fragile girl began to sob into his shoulder, all Kuroko could do was just raise his hands and hold her close to him, hoping that she would be able to let out all she felt before she crumpled and fell.
"Hey, Furihata..." Fukuda said, his hands sweaty as hell as he looked at the sight before him, "It's true. We first years wanted to play too. So we brought our uniforms."
"...yeah." Furihata answered. The game hadn't even started and sweat was already rolling down his forehead.
"But isn't this...overdoing it?" Kawahara concluded. All three first years gulped.
"WHY ARE ALL THE STARTERS FIRST YEARS?!"
On the bench, Riko looked at the lineup she had chosen for the practice game against Tokushin. The only calm players on Seirin's team were Kuroko and Kagami, both looking as if this choice was totally normal. The other three first years, however, all looked like they were about to piss their pants any minute.
"Now they've done it!" She heard a player on the opposite team say, "We'll send you all back to kindergarten!"
Sighing, Riko pinched the bridge of her nose, hoping to whatever God out there that her first years won't die against these immature basketball players.
"Coach, what's the meaning of this?" One of the players sitting with Riko asked. She didn't answer immediately, instead she looked at the court as the whistle blew then glanced at the man next to her.
"He wanted to see the first years play." She answered as Kiyoshi looked at the game. "No matter what."
"Kiyoshi what's with you?!" Hyuga scolded on the other side of Riko, receiving barely a glance from the man he was talking to.
"Hm?" He asked before going back to the game, pissing off the captain. Luckily, Riko stopped his rampage before he did any damage.
"Uh, Coach..." Koganei piped up, interrupting the "fight" between Hyuga and Kiyoshi. "I know that I may be rude when asking this, but why is she here?"
The cat like man didn't even have to point for Riko to understand who he meant. Sitting on the other side of Kiyoshi (and away from her) was the black haired girl who had jumped into their lives just to become their manager.
She sat there with her bangs covering her face as she continued to stare at the floor. Her hands were in her lap and she didn't move a muscle. At one point, Riko was worried that she died sitting down, but then she suddenly sneezed and Riko just backed away all together after that. She even forced Kiyoshi to sit in between them just in case she would try anything like yesterday.
"Kuroko-kun asked me to let her stay with us for today." The coach answered.
"Please." She remembered him saying, "Just for today, can she stay with us?"
She never even bothered to ask why. But the look in her underclassman's eyes told her not to ask too many questions.
Still, it was weird how one day she could be so loud and annoying and the next she could be this quiet.
"Kuroko." Kagami called as they moved to their positions on the court. "You...don't need to pass to me anymore."
"Eh?" The teen questioned, looking at Kagami with confused eyes as he jogged away.
"Wha?!" Furihata was surprised.
'Kagami is acting strange lately! Is he going at it alone?!'
Understanding what his teammate wanted, Kuroko nodded slightly.
"Okay." He said, finally jogging to his position.
As the tall red head to his position, getting ready to jump for the tip off, he glanced over to the Seirin bench and at the raven haired girl who wasn't even looking up at the game.
'More importantly.' Kagami thought, 'You should be more worried about her than about how you should pass to me.'
"You know, the practice match isn't on the floor." Kiyoshi stated simply, startling the girl next to him when she realized he was talking to her.
Although the giant was successful in getting a reaction out of her, Mia still did not try to actually respond to him. Instead, she continued to stare at the floor, making Kiyoshi frown slightly.
"Ah!" He sighed, rubbing a hand through his hair, "And I was hoping that I would actually be able to talk to you properly since you were suddenly kicked out yesterday."
Mia scowled at the memory of having Kagami carry her out of the gym, despite her cries and thrashes.
"Oh I know! Why don't you tell me why you want to be our manager so badly?" Kiyoshi continued, "Maybe if it's a good reason, I can try and convince Riko somehow."
The sudden use of her name made Riko look at the duo in suspicion. She didn't especially love being a part of their conversation, whether it was one sided or not.
After a minute or two of complete silence from the girl next to him, Teppei laughed nervously and looked back at the game, trying to figure out something out to say to Mia to try and make her talk to him.
"...know." A small voice mumbled, surprising Kiyoshi.
"What was that?" He asked eagerly, switching his gaze back at his neighbor.
Taking a deep breath, Mia tried again, talking a little louder so that only Kiyoshi could hear her.
"I don't know." She said. "Why I want to be manager, I don't know."
"Is that so?" Teppei asked, never skipping a beat. "You seemed like you knew for sure why when you declared that you would cut your hair to prove how much you wanted the job."
Mia flinched when she remembered her declaration and her scowl deepened. Of course, none of this was noticed by the tall basketball player.
"To be quite honest, even I didn't know that I wanted the job that much. Heck, I didn't know that I wanted the job at all." Fidgeting in her seat, Mia still refused to look up at Kiyoshi or the practice match, despite the Seirin team being in the lead. "It just that before I knew it, my body reacted on its own."
Aomine was always strong.
"It's the same feeling as when I decided to come back to Japan from America."
"Oh! So you're a returnee!" Kiyoshi exclaimed, interrupting Mia's explanation. Instead of becoming irritated, however, the girl became slightly confused that such a fact would interest him easily.
Mia suddenly felt awkward under Kiyoshi's stare, the giant taking in every amount of information she was giving him.
"Hmmm." Teppei finally said, "Well, I'm not sure what happened to you before you came back to Japan and I'm not a girl so I don't know how young female brains function, but if you say that your body moved on its own then doesn't that mean you know exactly why you want to become manager?"
The sudden blow of a whistle made Kiyoshi look back onto the court, leaving Mia to look at her Senpai from the corner of her eye in confusion and bewilderment.
"Foul! White ball!" The referee shouted, giving Seirin the basketball to resume the game.
"Alright!" Koganei cheered, "We're in the lead!"
"Kiyoshi." Mia called, grabbing the male's attention, "What do you mean I know exactly why I want to be manager? Ever since I got here, it's all just been a big roller coaster ride of confusion for me."
Looking down at Mia, Kiyoshi smiled knowingly, "That may be true. But when a person's body moves on its own, it usually means that their heart is the one making the decision and not the brain. You don't have to figure out why you wanted to come back or why you wanted to be manager, but at least know that the decisions you made weren't a mistake."
Turning back to watch the game, Kiyoshi felt satisfied with the advice he gave. Mia, however, felt like she was just slapped across the face as a wake up call. Her eyes are wide and her mouth was slightly open. Staring at Kiyoshi's profile, she was baffled that the man who just gave her advice and the man who showed up to practice wearing his jersey were the same person.
After what felt like an eternity, the corners of Mia's mouth lifted in a smile.
"Nicely said, Kiyoshi." She giggled, "I never would have thought that the 'Iron Heart', Kiyoshi Teppei, would give such amazing advice."
"I'm not really fond of that name." Kiyoshi laughed, slightly relieved that Mia had started to loosen up to him. "Oh and I think it is more polite if you use 'senpai' after saying my name."
"Sorry!" Mia apologized, "It's just after the Shoei vs Teiko game in middle school, I've been referring to you as just 'Kiyoshi'."
"Oh! Did you watch that game?" It felt nice to Kiyoshi to talk about his old middle school days, "We were beaten mercilessly. But, it was a good game nonetheless!"
"I was still pretty new to basketball around that time, so I can't remember if it was a good game in my own opinion or not. But I do remember you personally, Kiyoshi! I mean, Kiyoshi-senpai."
"Yes. I remember how you had a 75.43% chance of shooting a three pointer, but since Ryouta-kun was marking you, you ended up passing to another team member, a choice that had a 9.31% chance of you actually accomplishing. The other 15.26% was you trying to pass Ryouta-kun, but even I knew that wasn't a smart plan at the time. Even, so you still decided to choose actions that were less likely to be done successfully. It messed up all my data I had on you and confused even my own team. Akashi-kun was very disappointed in me that day."
Kiyoshi was speechless after hearing Mia's story. Percentages? Actions? Data?
"Takagi-San..." Teppei said, grabbing the girl's attention "were you a member of Teiko's team?"
"Yes." Mia answered, "I was the Teiko Middle School Basketball Team's strategist."