Sorry for the late update, people! In my defense, I had been busy the past few months, and barely have enough time to update, and I also have an alarming lack of ideas for this story, along with several others. Also, the recent chapters of the manga had also seriously pissed me off, particularly with Akashi. In Mayuzumi's defense, he probably didn't ask for it, and he even seems to respect Kuroko a little. Anyway, remember how I've mentioned that there might be a bit of a love triangle between Ogiwara and Aomine? With Mayuzumi's appearance, I'm going to give my readers a chance to vote for pairings:
Pairings: Shigehiro/Tamaki. Possible Mayuzumi/Tamaki. One sided Aomine/Tamaki.
Warnings: AU Universe. OOC. Gender swap. Nice Akashi. Overprotective Generation of Miracles.
Disclaimer: I do not own Kuroko no Basuke and any of the characters, but the OC characters belongs to me
Chapter Three: Mayuzumi Chihiro
"Because when I thought basketball is over for me, someone helped me. I'm just giving you the same option here." - Kuroko Tamaki
Kuroko Tamaki sighed as she looked at the various resignation forms in front of her even as she sat in the basketball club's changing room for the first string regulars. It was just a little after the final school bell of the day had rang, and thus, no one else had entered the gyms or even the changing room for training yet, not even the regulars who were notoriously known for being on time, or even early.
Honestly, Tamaki was expecting this sooner or later, but barely a month before the Inter High begins? When she was still struggling with whipping the second string and third string players into shape? And not to mention that she is still having a headache in itself trying to find another player for the first string regulars.
While Rakuzan already had enough regulars for a match, Tamaki knew her cousin well enough to know that he wouldn't necessarily bother to play in most matches unless they're a challenging team, and Tamaki herself isn't a starter, since for one, she is still undergoing rehabilitation; and two, she isn't a frontal player. Thus, she is still having a headache and a half in trying to secure another regular for the team.
The teal haired girl had already known for some time, especially after that first practice match that Akashi had with Shigehiro, Nebuya, Hayama and Mibuchi against some of the other first string and second string players, that majority of the third year players were disheartened with the vast difference in skills between them, and were thinking of quitting the club.
Mibuchi-sempai had even mentioned to her in passing once when he had found Tamaki going through the profiles and even watching tapes of the performances of nearly every single player in their club during her first week as vice-captain and manager. When he, Hayama and Nebuya have joined Rakuzan as freshmen, there were a number of seniors at that time who found themselves removed from the regulars in order to make room for the three of them who were obviously superior in skill.
Those seniors weren't happy, but no one could deny that the three Crownless Generals are superior in skill and ability. Then with Akashi, Shigehiro and Tamaki's arrivals this year, it only made the seniors, particularly the current third years more disheartened.
While not having as large a reputation like Akashi and Tamaki, and even the three Crownless Generals in their team, Ogiwara Shigehiro had a bit of a reputation to his name, particularly in the Kyoto region. There were rumours about him during their second and third years in middle school even. The genius ace of Meiko Middle School. If he had been attending Teiko as well, he would have been named as one of the Generation of Miracles.
Thus, with their additions this year, several of the third years have been growing disheartened. Tamaki could see it coming from a mile away, especially whenever she overlooks the training of the non-regulars. They just don't have the heart to continue training anymore, since no matter how hard they trained, they would never have the chance to stand on the court in an actual match.
The only ones who actually threw themselves heart and soul into training are mainly the freshmen, or even those who actually plays because they like the sport itself, not because they're trying to gain a spot with the regulars.
Just like in Teiko, Rakuzan looks at skill and results before anything else. But unlike Teiko however, while they likes to win, they don't make it Number One in everything that their students does, much to Tamaki's relief. She wasn't sure if she could handle it if her high school life becomes a repeat of her middle school life.
Tamaki sighed inwardly as she looked through the resignation forms of the club members who have just submitted it to her via placing those forms in her club locker. In the basketball club of Rakuzan, she oversees all administrative stuff like club applications and even club resignations. She is also the one to arrange practice matches and even training matches amongst their own players, since Tamaki is also their manager.
"Yamamoto. Tanaka. Takeda. Nishi. Fuwada." Tamaki murmured to herself, flipping through the various club resignations – most of them being third years. Most of them even placed the same reason for their resignation: they either wish to concentrate on their college entrance exams, or just feel that they're not needed in the club anymore.
If she has to be honest with herself, Tamaki knew that they've got a point there. With the three Crownless Generals, Akashi, Shigehiro and herself, they truly don't need anyone else to secure Rakuzan's eleventh consecutive victory ever since they've first started emerging as champion in all three major basketball tournaments a little over a decade ever since Shirogane Eiji had became their basketball coach.
And even if Tamaki herself asks them to stay, what can she say anyway? It is like herself back in her third year of middle school when she had first submitted her resignation to her best friend straight after their third consecutive championship victory. The team doesn't need her anymore, so why should she stay?
Tamaki will be a hypocrite if she asks them to stay, and she knew from personal experience that if they did stay on the team, they would only feel worse whenever they watch the regulars play on the court, and they could only remain either with the cheering squad or just as benchwarmers.
The best thing that Tamaki could do for them here as a fellow athlete is to let them leave the team. Maybe someday, they'll choose to come back, but Tamaki doesn't harbour much hope in it. Every single person in the Rakuzan team, especially the regulars, have high pride.
Taking out the stamp that the coach had given to her when she had first taken over the post of vice-captain and manager, along with a whole stack of forms and administrative stuff for the team, Tamaki stamped a red 'Approved' across each form until she reached the last form right at the bottom that seems to be the first person that day to slip a club resignation form in her club locker.
Tamaki raised a brow in mild confusion. She doesn't remember that name, and she thought that she knew everyone in the club.
The teal haired girl had a parrot memory for names and faces, even if she'd only met them once. Just like her cousin, she only has to look at a page once, and she could remember it. Shigehiro had often envied this ability of theirs back during their elementary school days, as he had so much difficulty trying to even do well in his exams. It makes Tamaki wonder for a moment how Shigehiro even managed to get himself accepted in Rakuzan High that has ridiculously high standards for their students.
After all, Rakuzan High is the top high school of the nation.
'Mayuzumi… Mayuzumi…' Tamaki furrowed her brow even as she took out an astonishingly thick file from her bag that contains the profiles of every single member in their club, even the notes that she'd made on them. Various pages even have tabs on it. She then started to flip through the pages in her file until she'd reached the profiles of the third years, then to the M section where she finally found the name that she'd been looking for.
A photograph of a handsome third year with gray hair and blank eyes stared back at her. And for some bizarre reason, Tamaki found him strangely familiar even though she is sure that she had never met him before. She then read through the profile of Mayuzumi Chihiro carefully.
A third year who plays Power Forward, he had been in the basketball team since his freshman year, and had remained in the third string throughout all three years. The library representative of his class, nothing about his skills and abilities really stood out to her.
Something in Tamaki's mind clicked just then. She then understood why something about Mayuzumi-sempai seems familiar to her.
He is a lot like Tamaki herself.
A vague idea started to take form in Tamaki's mind even as she stared down at the profile of Mayuzumi Chihiro, the blank eyes of the handsome third year in the photograph staring back at her even as she mentally took down notes of his stats and abilities that their coach had last taken note when he was in his second year.
In Rakuzan, there is an acceleration test held every six months just like how it was in Teiko to give the players a chance to be moved to the first string or even the regulars if they are good enough.
Mayuzumi-sempai's abilities seems to be extremely average, and compared to the notes that the coach had made on the other players of the club before he'd passed it onto Tamaki, there wasn't much that he had made on Mayuzumi Chihiro.
Tamaki frowned to herself. If she played her cards right, they might just have a trump card in Rakuzan this year should they come across tough teams. Tamaki isn't stupid. After all, with well-known players like the three Crownless Generals, Akashi, Shigehiro, and even Tamaki herself, other rival teams is sure to conduct extensive research on them and their abilities. And Teiko had always been high on the research list of opposing teams thanks to their overwhelming strength. But Mayuzumi…
Mibuchi Reo entered the changing room just as Tamaki was getting ready to leave, clutching her notebook. "Oh? Tamaki-chan?" The effeminate and gentle second year raised a confused brow. "Are you going somewhere?"
"Yes, I'm looking for someone," she answered. "Just do the usual in team training today. I'll be back soon, I hope. If I'm not, and Sei isn't around as well, can you overlook the training?"
"I can do that with no problem, but do you need some help?" Mibuchi asked, honestly curious about their vice-captain slash manager's intentions.
"No. I can handle it."
Tamaki was then gone.
Mibuchi raised a perplexed eyebrow before he noticed the various papers scattered on the bench, and a few papers were even beneath the astonishingly thick file that he recognised as Tamaki's. Everyone in the basketball club, especially the regulars, knew better than to touch Tamaki's files and notebooks, especially the ones where she'd made notes and had written the training regimes and menus in. But Mibuchi can't help being curious.
The Shooting Guard furrowed his brows slightly in confusion when he saw the various club resignation forms beneath the file. Apart from one, Tamaki has approved nearly all of their resignations from the club. The name of the sole club resignation that Tamaki hasn't approved glared back at Mibuchi.
Searching for one Mayuzumi Chihiro, especially in a school as large as Rakuzan is almost like searching for a needle in a haystack. Tamaki now had a good idea of what it's like for her former teammates whenever she went missing on them.
"Mayuzumi?" A confused second year in the second string echoed, clutching a basketball to his chest. "Was there someone with that name?" He asked his friend in mild confusion.
"Idiot. Sure there is!" His friend scolded, being the first one since Tamaki had begun her search an hour ago to know that name. Hell, even the teachers don't remember there being a student in their school that goes by that name. "He's our sempai!" He then furrowed his brows in confusion. "Though I don't exactly remember how he played…" He mumbled. "Sorry that I can't help you there, Vice-Cap."
Tamaki shook her head, waving his apologies off. "Never mind that, do you have any idea where he could have gone?"
"Where he could have gone?" The same guy echoed, looking rather troubled by that question. "Uh… I'm not really sure. I've only seen him around once or twice." He admitted. "But I did see him always with his nose in some book. Maybe you can try the library?" He suggested.
Tamaki then left the second gym, heading towards her next destination in the school. But she's not heading towards the library. Because if her hunch is right, someone like Mayuzumi Chihiro wouldn't read his precious books in the school library where nearly half the third years would be using to prepare themselves for their college entrance exams.
If it's Tamaki, there is one place that she will always frequent to read her books in peace and quiet if she can't use the library. A place where no student in the school will go to.
Sure enough, there is a student in Rakuzan High's male uniform on the rooftop when Tamaki had entered, with the slight breeze tousling her hair gently.
Tamaki said nothing for several moments even as she studied the third year senior silently. This had always been an ability of hers that even her cousin doesn't possess. She can easily read a person and know exactly what he or she is like just by studying them and their habits alone.
Even though Mayuzumi Chihiro is currently sitting down with his back against the safety railings around the rooftop, Tamaki could easily see that he's tall, almost lean and slender – similar in built to Mibuchi-sempai. And despite his concentration on his book, there is a blank look in his eyes – one that Tamaki found similar to her own.
He is almost like a male older version of Tamaki herself.
The senior either didn't notice her arrival, as he's engrossed in his book that Tamaki recognised as a light novel, or he just plain ignored her presence.
"Are you Mayuzumi-sempai?" Tamaki finally announced her presence, approaching the gray haired senior, and Mayuzumi looked up from his book. "It's nice to meet you."
Mayuzumi stared at Tamaki with his blank stare for a few moments without speaking. "Well, you're politer than your cousin at least," he commented, turning another page of his book. Tamaki didn't show her surprise. Not many people knew that Tamaki and Akashi are cousins. In fact, the only ones who do so far are the regulars of the team and their coach. "So, what do you want with me, Vice-Cap?" He asked politely, placing a bookmark in between the pages of his book to mark the last page that he'd read.
Tamaki said nothing for several moments. The longer that she spoke to Mayuzumi-sempai and the longer time that she'd spent in his presence, the more she felt that he is a lot like her. Well, compared to her, he talks a lot more and has a sarcastic tongue, and unlike her, his presence is just a tiny bit stronger than hers. But still, he is a lot like her.
"…Do you have time now?" Tamaki asked at last, and Mayuzumi looked at her curiously. "I want to talk to you."
"If you're going to just give me a treat, we can do so at the school's cafeteria." Mayuzumi said half-an-hour later at Maji Burger's as he sipped from his vanilla milkshake. He eyed the smaller and younger girl sitting across him who is currently sipping from her own vanilla milkshake. "And if you are trying to ask me out on a date, there are better ways to go about asking, you know?"
A muscle in his cheek twitched as he spied the faint flush that appeared on Tamaki's cheeks.
"I'm honoured, but I'm afraid that I have no interest in you in the romance department." Tamaki said bluntly. "I just want to talk to you about your resignation from the club." Mayuzumi said nothing, since he'd more or less guessed that that is the reason why. The captain had approached him not even twenty minutes for the same reason before the vice-captain did. "You've been in the club since you're a freshman. Why do you want to leave now?"
"I gave my reason in my resignation," said Mayuzumi with a bored tone. "I have no more use to the club, so why should I stay? Unlike you and the other regulars, I'm not an essential part of the team."
Tamaki said nothing for several moments as she studied him. Where did she hear the same thing before? "That is total bullshit, and you and I both know it," she said bluntly, cussing for the first time in her life. Mayuzumi didn't react to her words. Silence fell amongst the two for several moments. "What if I tell you that I can make you a first string regular in just three months if you let me?" Tamaki asked at last.
That got Mayuzumi's attention immediately, and his blank and bored eyes widened slightly in surprise as he turned his full attention on Tamaki instead of whatever passes outside the window.
"Why?" Mayuzumi asked at last. "Why do you want to do this for me? There are others who have also chosen to leave the team who are much more talented than me. And there are even some who have chosen to remain in the team who have much more passion for the game, and are even more talented than me."
Tamaki said nothing for several moments. "…In certain ways, you remind me of myself," she said at last. "In the middle school basketball circuit, Teiko's Generation of Miracles are the best. Everyone knew that. But we weren't amazing players from the start. All of us start out as ordinary players. It was the same for Sei and me. Even Shige-kun." She placed her milkshake on the table and leaned back in her chair, staring at Mayuzumi. "Victory and defeat. With each one, it made Teiko stronger. Unlike the other five, I was never a frontal specialist. I was their support. I support them from the sidelines. That's the secret behind our success." She paused for a moment, wondering if she should tell Mayuzumi about what had happened in second year. This isn't something that she just tells anyone. But for some reason, she felt as if she could trust the senior, and that he could understand her. "During our second year, I got into a little accident during a match."
Tamaki rubbed her left wrist unconsciously with her right hand, an action that Mayuzumi noticed. "I lost the usage of my left hand." Mayuzumi's eyes widened in shock. "And with it, my entire basketball career. I had to recreate my style from scratch using my right hand if I still wished to continue basketball. That's why I'm not a starter on the regulars. I'm still undergoing rehabilitation." She eyed Mayuzumi carefully. "The other regulars on the team, even myself, are all well-known players. Even during middle school, we are all famous and well-known players in the world of basketball. But you are an unknown entity. As the strongest team, the Emperor, Rakuzan High School, we'll be on the Number One list of any opposing teams for research purposes. What the team needs now is a trump card. An unknown entity that will wreck the plans and tactics of the opposing team should they find ways to counter us."
Mayuzumi was silent for several moments. "In other words, you need a backup plan," he said, sounding amused. "Well, you're honest at least. Your cousin used various pretty words and a rather roundabout way to invite me on the regulars which I turned down by the way."
Tamaki resisted a snort. Her cousin certainly has a flair for the dramatics.
"I'm not one to dress things up in pretty words, if you hadn't noticed. I tell things as it is," said Tamaki bluntly. "To be honest, I don't really know your real reason for leaving the team, and honestly, I don't care. I want you on the team. You have a talent – one that no one had ever seen in you. You have the same ability that I have, and thus, you have the capability to perform the difficult skill of Misdirection. Knowing my cousin, he probably wants to make you a copy of me, or something along those lines. But I'm not him. You have your own style and your own way of playing basketball. I'll leave it to you to find the style that suits you best." She looked into Mayuzumi's shocked eyes. "I've once turned a newbie with no experience and knowledge in basketball to a Teiko first string regular in less than three months. I can perform the same miracle with you if only you're willing to give it a try. It is true that I want you on the team as a trump card, but I don't deal kindly with players who go into things half-hearted. I don't train people like that, and I don't want people like that on the team, let alone the regulars. Unless you're willing to be the best, then only will I train you." Tamaki got to her feet. "I refuse to accept your resignation. And I expect to see you at practice on Monday."
"Why are you helping me?" Mayuzumi asked before Tamaki could leave.
"Because when I thought basketball is over for me, someone helped me." Tamaki answered. "I'm just giving you the same option here. If you're willing to give it a try once more, come to the first gym on Monday. Give me three months, and I'll turn you into a first string regular. You'll be strong, strong enough to be able to call yourself a basketball regular of Rakuzan High School."
No one else on the team was aware of Tamaki's intentions and invitation to Mayuzumi Chihiro.
Tamaki did inform the coach about it, and that they might have a possible new regular in their team soon, but as it wasn't exactly confirmed yet, the coach has put it on hold. Akashi probably knew what his cousin had been planning, but he didn't say a word to anyone else since the new recruits and such are Tamaki's responsibility. It is true that they still have to go through Akashi for approval to join the regulars since he is the captain, but Tamaki has to give the approval first.
As the next day is a Saturday, Tamaki had taken the chance to schedule a practice match for the second string players with Miyamoto High School. Mibuchi had gone to supervise, and as such, it was free practice that day.
Tamaki and Shigehiro however have taken the chance to head to Kanagawa and maybe later Tokyo for scouting.
"Kaijo High School, huh?" Shigehiro mused even as he glanced at Tamaki who is beside him who is flipping through the pages of her notebook to read through the notes that she had made on that team. "If I'm right, they're a National level school. They're the top school of the Kanagawa region."
Both teens were currently dressed in street clothing so as to not stand out as compared to should they wear their school uniforms.
"Yes. That has been the case for the past five years." Tamaki looked at Shigehiro. "But this year, they've secured one of my former teammates, so their level will be different obviously. And if you underestimate them, there will be hell to pay." She warned. "More than anyone else, you should understand that, Shige-kun."
Shigehiro's face darkened as he recalled Teiko's play. "Yeah. I do."
It was near the start of the fourth quarter of the practice match that Kaijo High had with Seirin High School when Tamaki and Shigehiro entered the gym silently and unnoticed. Having someone with Tamaki's ability is particularly useful at times, especially when they have to scout rival teams.
"Man, we're late!" Shigehiro whined, looking at the match going on below him, and the scores of both Seirin and Kaijo seems to have tied. Both teams seemed to have come to a stalemate even. "But what is with the pace of this match? It's ridiculously fast!"
And it is true.
Tamaki felt almost exhausted just by watching them. In a basketball match, the pace of the match is kept at a moderate level, and depending on the skill set of a team, they might either be a full offense team like Rakuzan, or they could even be a team that specialises in defense like Seiho High of Tokyo, one of the three kings.
At the rate of the current fast pace of this match, it seems like both teams have given up on defending, and have switched their focus to full offense. Tamaki frowned as she studied the players of both teams carefully. There are a few new faces in the Seirin team that she didn't recognise, like the tall redhead whom Kise is marking.
"Who's Seirin Number 10?" Shigehiro had apparently came to the same conclusion that she did, seeing as how he had often sat in on Tamaki's strategy making decisions with Akashi and the coach, and even when she went through tape after tape of match videos of other schools that Shigehiro had no idea how she'd gotten.
Seijuro had told him once in passing that like their old team manager at Teiko, Tamaki had learned how to research opponents and form tactics and plays from their old coach at Teiko. She learned the basics of it at their old middle school, but had taken it further herself.
"A Power Forward…" Tamaki murmured, looking closely at the body of the redhead and his movements as he struggled against Kise who is currently handling the ball. The ball had switched hands several times in the past minute, but it somehow always end up in the hands of either Kise or the redhead who are obviously the main scorers of their teams. She looked through her notebook. "Kagami Taiga. That's his name."
Shigehiro frowned. "I've never heard of him," he stated.
"Neither have I," said Tamaki. "But he's an American returnee from what I know, and just joined Seirin this year. They're a relatively new school and team, and I don't have much information on them."
"You mean, he's a freshman?" Shigehiro was surprised. Apart from Rakuzan and Seiho, he doesn't know of any other teams who have freshmen as their main starters. "That's reckless!"
"I have the data on the second years. So if he's not in my file, then he's definitely a freshman." Tamaki told Shigehiro. "But he has the skills to be on the court." She added.
Shigehiro grinned. "I want to play him," he proclaimed, and Tamaki smiled.
"Tamaki?" said a surprised voice, and Tamaki and Shigehiro both turned around to see a tall green haired teen with glasses that is wearing a black gakuran. And for some bizarre reason, he had a toy frog sitting in the palm of his hand. "What are you doing here? And you are…" Midorima Shintaro trailed off slowly, eyeing Shigehiro carefully. For some reason, he's really familiar… "Are you Ogiwara Shigehiro of Meiko Middle?" Midorima's memory clicked.
"Long time no see." Shigehiro said coldly, and Tamaki said nothing to it. She knew how Shige-kun feels about the Generation of Miracles outside of her and Sei.
"I hadn't seen you since graduation. I heard that you went to Rakuzan with Akashi?" Midorima asked smoothly, and Tamaki nodded, turning her attention back towards the match. "I should have expected this." He sighed. "How's the match going?"
"Well, you can tell." Tamaki gestured towards the match below them. "Seems like Seirin Number 10 is giving Kise-kun some trouble."
"What is that Kise doing?" Midorima scoffed. "A no name school like this shouldn't be enough to give him trouble. Has he been slacking off?"
"I wouldn't say that. There are no sure outcomes in a basketball match. Even if your opponents are a bunch of babies, don't underestimate them and give it your all. It will be insulting their pride as a fellow basketball player if you don't." Shigehiro lectured, and Tamaki smiled. Those have been the words that Tamaki and even Akashi have both lived by. The cheerful boy then turned towards Tamaki. "What do you think about the match?"
"What do I think?" Tamaki mused, not taking her eyes off of the match below. The Kaijo players seemed really frustrated, and the people on the benches of both teams were cheering themselves hoarse. "My money's on Seirin." She said at last, much to Midorima's surprise. Next to her, Shigehiro agreed inwardly with Tamaki's conclusion. It is really subtle, but unlike Kaijo, Seirin has solid fundamentals on teamwork and team play. Kise is still new to the team, thus, unlike Seirin, their teamwork is still shaky. "But it'll probably be a close one. They're a new team after all. And while it's surprising that they could push a National level team like Kaijo to this extent, their level is still below them."
"As always, huh?" Midorima sighed, having been used to Tamaki's 'predictions' by now. Just like her best friend, Tamaki's predictions are always so on the dot that they're almost scary. Unlike Momoi and Akashi however, Tamaki can read a person's movements and thought pattern just by reading their body language, and can come up with tactics and plays to counter them. "And isn't Rakuzan having a practice match today? Should you really be here?"
"The practice match is for the second string. Besides, Sei had sent a regular to oversee. And it should be over by now," said Tamaki. "Rakuzan, 158. Miyamoto, 85." The whistle went off below just then, signalling the end of the match. "Oh. It ended."
'I need to train more.' Kise Ryota thought to himself as he stood at one of the sinks outside the gym, running his head under the cold water of the tap to cool himself down, especially having just finished up a fast paced match. For some reason however, he doesn't feel that upset at having lost. 'He's really strong. Kagami that is.' He smiled to himself at the mere thought of the redhead. 'I wonder how well he will fare against Aominecchi or even Akashi-cchi and Tamacchi.'
There were the sounds of footsteps approaching him just then. And from the sounds of it, there is more than one person.
"Gemini's horoscope predicted terrible luck for you today, but I didn't think that you'd actually lose," said a familiar voice, and Kise turned towards the owner of the voice.
He was surprised to see his green haired teammate from Teiko standing there coolly, standing next to a certain teal haired girl. A boy with black hair who looked strangely familiar to him was leaning against the wall, eyeing him coolly.
"Tamacchi! It's been such a long time!" Kise almost screeched, all thoughts of his recent loss flying out of his head at the mere sight of his former instructor. "Did you come to watch?" He asked eagerly. If Kise had a tail like a dog, it would be wagging furiously.
"It's a good match. Long time no see, Kise-kun." Tamaki nodded to her former student.
"What are you talking about? It was an unfortunate game." Midorima scoffed, pushing his glasses up his nose. "Even a monkey could have managed those dunks. It's no wonder fate didn't choose your side." He sneered at Kise.
Tamaki wisely choose to say nothing, and Kise sighed. As always, every single time whenever he is with Midorima, the green haired teen always ended up insulting him. The blonde had gotten used to the superstitious teen by now.
"I haven't seen you since Teiko." Kise deadpanned, ignoring Midorima's last comment. "It's good to see you again. And I see that you haven't stopped taping your fingers." He commented, leaning against the sinks, eyeing the bandages around Midorima's fingers. "Anyway, who cares if I dunk as long as it goes in?"
"That's why you're no good," said Midorima, annoyed. "Getting the ball in from up close is easy. Getting it in from far away has true value. Didn't anyone teach you to 'do the likeliest and God will do the best'? Optimal effort makes you worthy of fate's grace." He threw a green towel towards Kise who caught it easily. "I always do my best, and I always keep the Oha-Asa horoscope's lucky item on me. By the way, today's item is a toy frog. That is why my shots never miss."
Just behind Tamaki, Ogiwara Shigehiro stared at Midorima Shintaro incredulously. Is he serious? He can't help wondering. Is this really the number one shooter of the Generation of Miracles?
When Tamaki had told him during her freshman year of Teiko that all her teammates have some weird quirks and habits, he had thought that she is just exaggerating. Now, Shigehiro can't help feeling that if anything, Tamaki might have downplayed it.
Tamaki wisely said nothing, having seen how defensive Midorima could get whenever someone insults his belief in horoscopes, usually Kise or Aomine, and sometimes Murasakibara.
'I've never understood that last part.' Kise thought with exasperation. 'And to think that this is the Generation of Miracles' number one shooter.'
There was a ringing of a bicycle bell just then, and all four teens turned only to see an angry Takao Kazunari riding his bicycle furiously, pedalling the rear car towards them, glaring at Midorima. If looks could kill, the green haired teen will be a hundred feet under.
Kise almost sweat dropped at the sight, and Tamaki and Shigehiro could only stare in disbelief. Not even one month after high school had begun, and they have already witnessed Midorima's first victim.
"Midorima, you bastard!" Takao yelled. "You left me alone in the middle of traffic! Do you know how embarrassing that is?"
Midorima merely shrugged and turned his attention back towards Kise. "I just came to watch the game today. But allow me to apologise. There is no way that we'll lose to Seirin. I regret to tell you that you should give up on your revenge."
"I wonder." Shigehiro entered the conversation for the first time, a strange glint in his eyes even as he took his place next to Tamaki. He looked from Midorima to Kise, and an angry Takao who is glaring death daggers at Midorima. "You said that the match from earlier is an unfortunate one, but I think that it's a great match. Until the end, no one gave up. And you'll be in a world of pain if you underestimate your opponent too much." He warned Midorima.
Midorima scoffed. "And what does someone like you know?" He scoffed.
Tamaki frowned, ready to step in to stop the two at a moment's notice should it turn ugly.
"That's the problem with you Generation of Miracles. Just because you're good at basketball doesn't mean that you can ruin the game for the rest of us." Shigehiro almost glared at Midorima. "And haven't you heard of the saying 'pride comes before a fall'? If you continue with this train of thought, you're going to fall off your high horse soon. And it's going to be a painful fall."
Midorima scoffed. "I'm leaving. Tamaki. Kise." The two Teiko graduates looked at Midorima as he said their names. "I'll see you during the Inter High."
"Yeah. I'm looking forward to it." Kise said with a bright grin. The moment that Midorima had left with Takao, he then turned towards Tamaki. "Tamacchi, what are you doing here? Did you come to watch the practice match?" He babbled. "Does Akashi-cchi know?"
Tamaki exchanged bemused looks with Shigehiro. "Well, I didn't come until the fourth quarter," she said with a small smile. "So can you tell me about it? What was the match like?" She asked Kise innocently who fell into her trap immediately and begun rattling off a list of what he knew about the match.
Grinning to himself, Shigehiro begun to text Akashi.
You should be here to see this, he typed. Tamaki is questioning your old teammate about the practice match between Kaijo and Seirin as we got here too late, and he's singing like a canary for her. Kaijo won't know what hits them should we ever get to face them in the future.
"So where to now?" Shigehiro asked Tamaki as they left Kaijo High School, promising Kise to come and visit every once in a while. And then again, the blonde will probably head to Kyoto to visit them anyway. "Back to Kyoto?"
"No. I'll like to drop by to visit my godfather." Tamaki told Shigehiro, much to his surprise.
"I never knew you had one," said Shigehiro, staring at Tamaki.
He and his family were there to help Tamaki cope with the loss after her parents have passed away during her second year of middle school. Kuroko Yuki, Tamaki's aunt and Seijuro's mother who had been the younger sister to Tamaki's father was beyond upset at that time as well, and it had been Shigehiro's mother who had arranged for the funeral arrangements, and had even helped Tamaki to sell her parents' house, thus downgrading to a small modest one-room apartment.
"He's my father's best friend ever since their high school days." Tamaki told Shigehiro. "After my parents have passed away, he often dropped by to check on me, and make sure that I'm eating right. He actually asked me to attend Touou Academy for high school, as he's the basketball coach there, but I refused. Since we're in the vicinity and all, I thought that we should drop in on him. Besides, Sei is asking if I could arrange for a practice match with Touou Academy sometime in the next month before the Inter High. It'll be good practice for the team as well, since I want to test their teamwork in a match."
Tamaki frowned at that. Her cousin had been particularly insistent on that, despite the fact that Tamaki had a list of several schools as good as Touou that is in the Kyoto region, and other regions that doesn't require them to travel all the way to Tokyo just to attend a practice match.
She felt as if there is something that her cousin isn't telling her…
"Well, we still have some time before curfew." Shigehiro noted, glancing at his watch. "Let's go." Tamaki nodded before the two walked towards the direction of the train station. "By the way, Tamaki. I've been wondering something." Tamaki raised an eyebrow. "Do you know the schools that your former teammates are attending?" He asked curiously.
"What? Interested in them all of a sudden?" Tamaki teased, and Shigehiro blushed. "I don't know all of them, to be exact. As you know, Kise-kun attends Kaijo High. Midorima-kun is apparently in Shutoku High, judging by his uniform. From what I heard, Atsushi-kun attends Yosen High in Akita. He's been sending Sei and me emails and texts nearly every single day, complaining about his teammates, and that he wished that either Sei or I were there with him. As for the last…" Tamaki had an almost pained look on her face at the mere mention of him. Shigehiro noticed it, but chose to say nothing. He of course knew what had happened between Tamaki and a certain ace during their third year of middle school. "I don't know where he attends. I never tried to find out." She admitted.
Much like Kaijo High, Touou Academy is clearly a sports-orientated school, having various sports facilities that are comparable to those that they have in Rakuzan, and even sports colleges.
Despite it being a weekend, there are several students in the school – clearly members of the sports clubs who are here for extra training.
"I think that we had better ask someone where the gym is." Tamaki finally sighed after ten minutes of aimless wandering. Spotting a blonde teen in front of them who is wearing a T-shirt with black basketball pants, her eyes brightened. "Excuse me…"
The blonde teen jumped about a foot in the air as he heard a voice behind him when he is pretty sure that there is no one behind him a moment ago. "W-W-What is it?" he wheezed, hand clutching his chest. Behind Tamaki, Shigehiro is trying to stifle his amusement, and the blonde glared at him.
"Erm… Do you know the way to the gym where the basketball club is?" Tamaki enquired politely. "We're here to see Harasawa Katsunori."
Wakamatsu Kyosuke stared at the petite teal haired girl in front of him for several seconds before he sighed, scratching the back of his head. He simply couldn't say no to that look. "I'm in the basketball club too," he mumbled. "Come with me."
The sounds of basketballs bouncing on the floors, and sneakers squeaking, even the shouts and calls of the players reaches their ears even before they have arrived at the gym where the basketball team are training.
"Here we are." Wakamatsu told the two younger teens with him even as he entered the gym with them close behind him. That day is free training, and thus, only the regulars are around that day, with a few of the first string and even second string players – usually the reserves. "Coach? There is someone here to see you!"
The coach, a handsome middle-aged man with curly hair and wearing a smart attire was speaking to a pretty pink haired girl and an older teen with black hair and glasses. As Wakamatsu glanced around the gym, he raised an eyebrow as he noticed a certain freshman ace lazily shooting baskets on a free court. It is a surprise to even see the teen around the gym, let alone at practice. And then again, Momoi probably made him come.
"Who is it?" Harasawa turned around from his conversation with his captain and manager. He looked incredibly surprised when he caught sight of Kuroko Tamaki who suddenly looked as if she is anywhere but here. "Tamaki?"
All movements in the gym halted just then, the players looking curiously from their coach to the teal haired girl at the entrance who is nearly hiding behind the black haired boy who had came with her.
Tamaki managed a weak smile at her godfather, eyes flickering uneasily towards her best friend who seemed at a loss of words to a certain tanned teen who is now staring at her as if he'd just seen a ghost. "It's been a while, Katsu-jii-san," she said politely.
Inwardly however, she is nearly kicking herself for never bothering to ask Satsuki which high school that she and Aomine-kun have both attended. And it is clearly a mistake in itself to not do her research on where Aomine-kun and Satsuki are attending as well.
'Oh boy.' Tamaki sighed, looking from Momoi to Aomine and back again. 'This is troublesome.'
A/N: Damn, this chapter is difficult to write, as well as write everyone in character. Originally, I wasn't planning to include Mayuzumi, and I know that many of you don't like him because of the recent chapters of the manga. To be honest, I'm pissed with him as well, but more so with Akashi actually, as it isn't really Mayuzumi's fault that he has the same skills as Kuroko. As you can tell, Akashi and Mayuzumi will be portrayed differently here.
Next chapter, uh oh, trouble in paradise. Also, I'll like to hear which pairing you will prefer: Ogiwara or Mayuzumi. Anyway, I hope that you like this chapter, and please read and review! Reviews give me inspiration to update!