Do You Like Her?
Pairings: Shigehiro/Tamaki. One sided Aomine/Tamaki
Warnings: AU Universe. OOC. Gender swap. Nice Akashi. Some character bashing
Disclaimer: I do not own Kuroko no Basuke and any of the characters, but the OC characters belongs to me
Chapter Five: Do You Like Her?
"Do you like her as more than a friend?" - Mayuzumi Chihiro
Months later after Mayuzumi Chihiro had approached Kuroko Tamaki could find the two training diligently in the first gym.
The Inter High tournament had commenced a little less than a month ago, and as the three major basketball tournaments will all be held in Tokyo this year, half the regulars of the team along with their coach and a few of their reserves have headed to Tokyo for the tournament, thus leaving only their vice-captain, Shigehiro and Mayuzumi behind to supervise.
It had been Akashi and even Tamaki's rule that all the regulars can't leave at once. At least one of them must remain behind to supervise the training of the other strings, with the regular usually being Akashi, Tamaki or Mibuchi—as they're the more level headed ones amongst the regulars.
Much like Teiko, Rakuzan has no problems with the members of the basketball club missing lessons and all that as long as they could keep up their grades. As Nebuya and Kotaro are two of the regulars that aren't that book smart as compared to the rest of them, Mibuchi and Akashi have to take it upon themselves to tutor the two at least twice a week whilst they're in Tokyo so that they could keep up with their lessons back in Kyoto.
Akashi and Mibuchi have also sent regular updates and correspondences to Tamaki and vice versa, informing her of the matches and the outcomes and all that. As Tamaki isn't at Tokyo, Shirogane Eiji had taken some of their scouts with him to Tokyo just so that they can take match videos of any potential opponents, and have them email it to Tamaki.
No one knows exactly how Tamaki can attain her information on their opponents save for perhaps Shigehiro and Akashi, and maybe even Mayuzumi. But none of the three are telling. It is a running joke amongst the basketball club that their vice-captain will know if they so much as twitch wrong.
That is just how formidable Tamaki's information gathering skills are.
And considering the fact that she had trained alongside Momoi Satsuki in Teiko to learn how to research opponents and attain information along with forming play tactics and strategies, it isn't really that surprising. Especially since their former Teiko coach, Kashitori Kenta, had been a former National player on the All-Japan National Basketball Team before he had to retire due to injuries.
It is nearly the quarter finals of the Inter High tournament, and if both Kaijo and Touou continue winning their games, chances are that they would get to face each other during the quarter finals game.
And like what Tamaki had told Mayuzumi months before when she'd approached him with an offer to train him to be a first string regular, she did keep his nose to the grindstone for months after that. It was barely two months into her training before their coach had came to 'observe'.
Shirogane Eiji is a very hands-on coach. He typically left the training of the regulars to Akashi and Tamaki after coming to the first training session of the year for the first string and the regulars. After seeing that Tamaki and Akashi could handle the training for the first string as well as he could, Shirogane had instead chose to concentrate on the training for the lower stringers to prepare some of them to take over the positions of the regulars once the second years graduate. Also, it never hurts to have more reserves in case of an accident of some sort happening during a match.
As such, when Shirogane had suddenly popped by unannounced to 'observe' Mayuzumi's training by Tamaki, there is no denying that they were both surprised, and maybe even a little nervous. But as the pair have more than enough experience by now to ignore everyone and everything around them, it isn't very difficult for them to ignore Shirogane's presence.
Tamaki had mainly been working on the basics with Mayuzumi first of all when she'd first started his training, having him work on stuff like his footwork, his ball handling and even his stamina before she'd moved onto teaching him stuff like how to improve his ball control movements and even his speed.
As such, when Shirogane had stayed in the gym watching them for three hours, Tamaki wasn't really all that surprised the next day when the basketball coach had called both her and Akashi into his office the next day. The coach had then asked Tamaki bluntly if she thinks that Mayuzumi could cope with the training of the first string before he had then moved the senior into the first string two months after Tamaki had started training him.
Mayuzumi isn't a regular yet, of course, but the rest of the regulars and even the coach were well aware by now that Akashi and Tamaki were hoping to get his skills to a level high enough to be able to promote him to a regular position. Due to the fact that Akashi don't often play in matches and that Tamaki is still undergoing rehabilitation, Rakuzan do need another regular at least if they don't want to keep using a reserve during matches when Akashi chooses to sit out.
Akashi is mildly surprised that Mayuzumi could manage to stick to Tamaki's training and not bow out yet. Despite her delicate appearance, Tamaki is one harsh taskmistress when it comes to training. Kise could attest to that. But it is also due to Tamaki's harsh training that Mayuzumi's skill had improved in leaps and bounds in just a mere three months.
While he probably would never be able to match Akashi, Tamaki and even Shigehiro's skill level, he is more than enough of a match for the Crownless Generals on the team. It is kind of a running joke amongst the regulars that it is the youngest players on the team that are the better players.
Tamaki frowned as she watched Mayuzumi adjust his form once more when attempting to take a shot. She didn't really have to work much on his ball handling skills and even his passing skills. Like what she'd told Akashi before, he is nimble and quick with his hands, and thus, able to pick up what she had taught him easily.
While Akashi originally wanted to keep Mayuzumi as a passing specialist of some sort, Tamaki is quick to shoot down that idea. Like what she'd told the gray haired senior when she'd first approached him, she had no intention to change his play style, and she intend to keep that promise. What she'd done for his training is to improve on the skills that he already had, and to also help him develop a few moves to assist him further in his position as one of the Power Forwards in the team.
"Maybe you shouldn't be too focused on your form." Tamaki suggested.
It isn't that Mayuzumi can't perform shots. It is that he sometimes tends to let the pressure get to him. Hence when Tamaki had first realised what his problem is, she had gotten several of the third stringers to sit in on their practice and shout every insult that they can think of at Mayuzumi. The first few practices, it got to Mayuzumi, but after that, he had learned to ignore it, and even used those insults as incentive to make his shots.
Akashi was pretty amused at this method, as this is pretty much the same method that Tamaki had used on Kise when she was training him.
"What do you mean?" Mayuzumi asked with a raised brow.
"Back in Teiko, when I was trying to create and perfect some of my playing styles, my coach at that time told me that instead of being too focused on forms, find one that works best for you." Tamaki told Mayuzumi. "Create your moves and your style based on what you want to do." She repeated the words that her Teiko coach had told her a long time ago. "Find one that is comfortable for you, and that you feel most at home with. Don't even bother with how weird it looks, or even what people think. They aren't the ones going to stand on the court and play with us. As long as you can help the team with it, none of the regulars are going to care how weird it looks. And if you want to see weird, it can't get any weirder than Hayama-sempai's moves."
Mayuzumi had to stifle a laugh at that. Tamaki hit that right on the head. Honestly, who dribbles a ball with three or four fingers anyway? But like Tamaki said, as long as Kotaro got the ball, and wouldn't let the opposing team steal it from him, and even make his shots, no one is going to care how weird it looks.
"And someday, Mayuzumi-sempai, you will never know, but one of those moves will probably save your life one day, or maybe even the match."
Before Mayuzumi could say anything to that, Shigehiro approached them just then, with a few pieces of paper in his hand. "Tamaki! The match line-ups for the rest of the Inter High are out!" he announced, handing the papers in his hand to the teal haired girl who took it with a small frown.
Tamaki surveyed the line-ups. As she had already anticipated the match outcomes, and already had an idea which teams would be going against each other, it isn't that much of a surprise. Due to being first seed, Rakuzan had a free pass to the championship league, and would only be playing in the semi-finals that would take place a week after the quarter finals had been concluded.
'Touou and Kaijo.' Tamaki mused to herself. 'As expected, huh? It's a match between Kise-kun and Aomine-kun.'
A message came to her phone just then, and Tamaki pulled her phone out of her pocket to read the message. It is from her cousin, and Tamaki wondered for the hundredth time just how her cousin could always get this perfect timing.
Tamaki read and reread the message several times over before she sighed, turning towards Shigehiro and Mayuzumi who merely looked curious. "Pack your stuff for a two week stay at Tokyo," she told the two, much to their surprise. "We've been summoned."
"Me too?" Mayuzumi enquired, pointing at himself.
Tamaki nodded. "You too," she echoed. "I'll be leaving one of the first stringers in charge here whilst we're away. We're needed for the semi finals and the finals."
Tamaki didn't take a lot of stuff with her, as she still had her house at Tokyo that her aunt takes it upon herself to clean at least once a week even though Tamaki didn't ask her to. All that Tamaki had brought with her are several changes of clothes, her files, her notebook, and her laptop, along with a novel.
As the vice-captain of the basketball team, Tamaki had to inform the school administrative office that the three of them would be heading to Tokyo for the Inter High tournament in case they're marked as 'missing' before Tamaki, Shigehiro and even Mayuzumi headed to the train station to take the bullet train that would take them to Tokyo.
Even taking the bullet train could easily take up to an hour and a half's journey at best, and the three Rakuzan players settled into their seats to make themselves comfortable for the ride.
Shigehiro who was playing some fighting game on his gaming console was taken aback as he felt a weight against his shoulder ten minutes into their journey, and he then turned only to see Tamaki slumping against his shoulder, fast asleep. Throughout the duration of the Inter High tournament, Shirogane had been wearing her out, and she had spent several nights going over all her information and even watching match videos just to come up with proper strategies and tactics for their games.
For several moments, Shigehiro was frozen stiff, not daring to move. Opposite the seat that they're occupying, Mayuzumi raised a brow at the two behind the light novel that he had been burying his nose in, with his duffel bag on the empty spot next to him even as he surveyed the two freshmen in front of him.
"W-Well, she had a long night last night." Shigehiro said quickly.
"Why are you telling me this?" Mayuzumi asked with a raised brow. "I didn't even say anything." Shigehiro blushed slightly even as the senior returned to his book. "Besides—" Shigehiro was startled when Mayuzumi spoke again, with the teen thinking that the senior had gone back to his book. "Why don't you tell her?" he asked bluntly. "You like her, don't you?"
"Well, sure." Shigehiro said uncomfortably beneath Mayuzumi's assessing gaze. Honestly, that look is almost like the one that Tamaki give him at times when she knew that he is lying to her. "I mean, we're childhood friends and all—"
"Let me rephrase my question." Mayuzumi interrupted, closing his book with a light snap, looking at Shigehiro sharply. "Do you like her as more than a friend?" Mayuzumi enquired bluntly. "Do you harbour feelings for her? Do you love her?"
Mayuzumi's normally blank gray eyes had a type of sharpness to it now, making Shigehiro feel as if he's getting X-rayed beneath Mayuzumi's assessing gaze. Goodness, what is he, Tamaki? That look is almost identical to the one that Tamaki tend to wear at times!
Shigehiro was silent for several moments, contemplating Mayuzumi's questions. Does he love her? Does he like Tamaki as more than a friend? If Shigehiro is honest with himself, then yes, he does indeed like Tamaki as more than a friend.
He had been made aware of his feelings ever since his first year of middle school when he'd met Tamaki and Seijuro once more at the middle school National tournament after he had moved to Kyoto. Those feelings had only grown stronger each year. And when he had managed to enter Rakuzan High together with Tamaki, and was even in the same class as her and Seijuro, he was over the moon.
Then when they'd met Aomine Daiki at Touou Academy when Tamaki and Shigehiro both have gone to perform a little scouting, it took everything that he had to not punch the asshole in the face.
Shigehiro sighed, meeting Mayuzumi's eyes once more. "…Yes, I do," he said.
"Why don't you tell her then?" Mayuzumi asked, eyes flickering towards the sleeping Tamaki who is still leaning against Shigehiro's shoulder, apparently oblivious to their conversation.
"…I don't want to ruin our friendship." Shigehiro said after a slight pause, glancing at Tamaki. "Besides, she only sees me as a friend." He smiled almost sadly at Tamaki before going back to his game.
The teen completely missed Mayuzumi's exasperated look. Having had Tamaki train him one-on-one for months ever since he'd gone to her, he had of course seen the way that Shigehiro is always there to help her, and to loan her a helping hand. And he had also seen the way that Tamaki took the time to help Shigehiro to cope with the harsh training that the regulars goes through, and he had often seen the two studying together in the library, or even at one of the study areas around the school. And of course he hadn't missed the looks that they gave each other when they thought that no one was looking. The entire team probably already knew of their feelings for each other by this point!
Mayuzumi shook his head, muttering something about 'idiots' before going back to his book. At least the hero in his book isn't such an idiot and isn't too much of a coward to tell the girl that he loves his feelings.
Shigehiro sighed, exchanging looks with Mayuzumi as the two boys watched Tamaki fussing over the small black and white little puppy that they'd just found abandoned in a box just outside the train station.
It was late afternoon when they'd first left Rakuzan for the train station, and by now, dusk is already falling. Akashi had left instructions for Tamaki when he'd asked them to head to Tokyo to meet up with the rest of the team.
Despite Akashi and Tamaki actually having residences in Tokyo, Shirogane actually preferred to have his regulars all in one place where he could keep an eye on them. And considering the antics that Nebuya and Kotaro tend to get up to should they take their eyes off them, it isn't too surprising. Hence, Shirogane had booked rooms for all of them in a hotel, with two regulars to one room. Shirogane and Tamaki on the other hand have their own rooms.
With the Inter High tournament and then the Winter Cup tournament coming up in a few months, schools from faraway regions that would be participating in those tournaments have already made advanced bookings with hotels and even with gyms for the usage of the basketball courts. And of course, Rakuzan is no different.
When Tamaki, Shigehiro and Mayuzumi have left the train station to get to the hotel that address Akashi had sent to Tamaki, they were distracted by a low whine that in turn lead them to a small puppy that looks to be just three months old at best.
"Tamaki." Shigehiro sighed, before he blanched as Tamaki and the puppy turned identical looking eyes towards him.
"Can't we keep him?" Tamaki pleaded, the puppy cuddled within her arms, with the small husky already being quite attached to the girl. "There isn't any rule that prohibits us from keeping animals in the Rakuzan dorms, right? I mean, Shirokawa kept two hamsters in her room."
Shirokawa Airi, their female class representative is one of the few girls who actually get along pretty well with Tamaki. And during occasions when the two girls were paired together for projects, they often did their projects in Shirokawa's room.
Mayuzumi cleared his throat. "It is true that there isn't any rule at Rakuzan that actually prohibits the students from keeping pets," he said. "But you are solely responsible for your pet's well-being, and you have to clean up after him."
Shigehiro sighed as he saw the pleading look that Tamaki gave him. "…Fine," he sighed. "But you are going to tell the dorm leader."
The dorms at Rakuzan have dorm leaders, with them mainly responsible for the well being of the students, and part of their responsibilities included conducting dorm checks every few months. There is also a dorm leader assigned to each year level, with the dorm leaders mainly being either seniors or second years, usually members from the Student Council.
"He's cute though." Mayuzumi bent down next to Tamaki, patting the small dog on the head. "And he looks a lot like you." He studied the eyes of the puppy. "So what are you going to name him?"
"How about 'Aoi' for his eyes?" Shigehiro suggested, patting the puppy on the head as well. "Do you like the name?" He asked the puppy who barked back at him happily, licking Shigehiro's hand. "We'd better take him to a vet to get vaccination shots before we head to the hotel." Inwardly, Shigehiro hoped that the hotel wouldn't mind pets.
"There is one nearby." Tamaki smiled happily at the newly christened Aoi, standing up, with the husky happily cuddled within her arms. "It is really an animal clinic of sorts with a pet shop, and even a place where people could leave their pets to be taken care of should they go travelling or something."
Mayuzumi looked at his watch. "Well, we still got some time before we have to meet Akashi and the others. So we might as well head to the vet first before heading to the hotel," he proposed. "Knowing them, they are probably training or something."
"Let's go." Tamaki said, leading the way towards the vet.
Sighing, Shigehiro was about to follow them when he spotted a vendor not too far away selling keychains and phone straps. His eyes widened slightly when he spotted two phone straps with basketball ornaments and even crystals hanging from it.
"Shige-kun?" Tamaki called out.
"I'll be there in a moment."
Shigehiro was really exhausted the next morning when he entered the gym that Shirogane had booked for the duration that the Rakuzan team will be in Tokyo for the Inter High tournament, and then again when they would be in Tokyo for the Winter Cup a few months from now.
Surprisingly, the hotel that they will be staying at did allow pets. Though their only rule is that Tamaki keep the puppy on a leash so that he doesn't go about running everywhere. Privately, Shigehiro doesn't think that Aoi even need a leash, as he had been pretty attached to Tamaki, and never venture far from her.
The vet that they've seen the previous night had given the puppy all the necessary shots, much to the husky's displeasure, and Tamaki had then gotten all the necessary things that she needs to keep a dog like a bowl, a collar and even a leash, along with all the necessary dog treats.
When they've gotten to the hotel, it is then when Shigehiro found out that he would be sharing a room with Seijuro, with Mayuzumi sharing one with Nebuya. The Rakuzan regulars and their coach have all met Tamaki's new puppy as well last night when they have met up for dinner. Kotaro and Mibuchi couldn't stop cooing over Aoi. And even though Akashi had tried to hide it, Shigehiro knew him well enough to know that Akashi is quite taken with the little pup as well. As for Nebuya, the puppy doesn't seem to like him and vice versa.
Surprisingly, Shirogane has no objections with Tamaki keeping a dog, and having the puppy present at future team trainings.
"Shige-kun, you're here." Tamaki greeted the moment that Shigehiro entered the gym, with a clipboard in her hands. "I will like the team to work on our new formation today. Mayuzumi-sempai, you will be working with me—"
"Not today, Tamaki." Shirogane interrupted, entering the gym, pushing a cage containing basketballs. "I want you to do something for me."
"Yes?" Tamaki was confused, but answered politely.
Shirogane looked at Mayuzumi who stared back at him blankly. "Mayuzumi, tell Tamaki your size," he said bluntly, taking the entire team by surprise, but none more so than Mayuzumi himself. "From today onwards, you will be training with the rest of the regulars, even when we return to Kyoto."
"Coach, does this means that…?" Kotaro trailed off slowly, looking from Mayuzumi to Shirogane and back again.
Shirogane nodded. "I've been receiving regular reports from Tamaki about Mayuzumi's progress. I believe that he is indeed ready to enter the regulars. Maybe not as a starter yet until he'd gotten a bit more court experience," he explained. "Tamaki, I want you to run down to the sports equipment shop down the road and get them to make a Rakuzan jersey and jacket in our usual colours with jersey number… Uh…" Shirogane racked his brains, trying to recall which number that they hadn't used yet for the regulars.
"Ten." Akashi prompted.
"Ten." Shirogane nodded, even as Mayuzumi told Tamaki his sizes, and the teal haired girl wrote it down on her clipboard. "Tell the shop to charge it to Rakuzan's account. I'll take care of it before we leave Tokyo."
"Yes." Tamaki nodded. "Should I leave now?"
"Shige, I want you to go with Tama." Akashi interrupted, much to everyone's surprise. "I don't like the idea of her going alone, with the Inter High finals so near."
Everyone understood what Akashi is saying. It isn't uncommon to find opposing teams trying to take their most dangerous opponents out of the picture before the match with any means possible. Back during their days with Teiko, this had been a common occurrence to the point when none of the regulars walk home alone during the tournament season.
"All right. We'll be back soon." Tamaki nodded before she left the gym with Shigehiro close behind her, Aoi close to her heels.
"Sei-chan, you're playing matchmaker, aren't you?" Mibuchi asked Akashi quietly even as the Rakuzan team got ready for their warm-ups by shooting baskets for at least half-an-hour. Shirogane is currently explaining something to Mayuzumi on the sidelines, with the other two doing some stretching exercises.
Akashi grunted. "If I don't do something, we will be well into college before they admit their feelings for each other!" he muttered with irritation even as he picked up a stray basketball and shoot a basket from the three pointer line. "It is so obvious! And I am kind of tired of seeing them dancing around each other!"
Mibuchi raised a brow even as he shoots a three pointer easily from where he is. He had seen how overprotective Akashi could be over his cousin. The entire club had learnt by the second week that unless you don't want your life, you do not flirt with the vice-captain or hit on her. The only guys in the club that Akashi is okay with Tamaki being around with are just the regulars.
"I would have thought that you will be the overprotective brother, with how you are whenever one of us so much as gets close to Tama-chan." Mibuchi remarked. He still remembered how Akashi had been during their first month in the club.
"Well, it's different for Shige." Akashi answered, moving to another part of the court to do his warm-ups. "I trust him with Tama. He's the one guy that I can trust her with. At any rate, he'll be better for her than Daiki." His eye twitched at that name. The redhead hadn't forgotten the amount of grief that Aomine had given his cousin during their Teiko days.
Tamaki is honestly starting to believe that Shirogane had only called her over to Tokyo just so that she can run errands for him. The quarter finals match taking place between Touou and Kaijo will be the next day, and as Shirogane wanted the team to go and watch the match, he had been doubling up their training regimes that day which leads to Tamaki having to go and get some training stuff for the coach.
As Akashi wanted the starters knowing their new formation like the back of their hand, he had instead sent Mayuzumi with Tamaki to help her with the shopping, as he needs Shigehiro to know the formation, since he's most likely playing in the semi finals. Mayuzumi's jersey was collected the previous night, and there was a whole lot of fuss when that had happened, as every single regular still remembered the excitement when they'd first received their regular jersey, and the pride when they'd first put it on.
"All right, I think we got most of the stuff." Tamaki muttered, referring to her clipboard and ticking off the items that they've already bought, four bags of stuff sitting at their feet. She then looked at Mayuzumi. "Let's go."
"Right." Mayuzumi muttered even as he picked up three of the bags and followed Tamaki back to the gym. Silence fell between the two for some time, as neither of the two are very talkative people. Finally, he broke the silence. "Why don't you tell him?"
Tamaki looked at him, semi-confused. "What?"
"Ogiwara." Mayuzumi prompted. "You like him, don't you?"
"…How did you know?" Tamaki asked at last after several moments of silence.
Mayuzumi sighed. "Is there anyone in the team that doesn't know?" he said with slight exasperation, unusual for the usually calm and quiet senior. "You go where he goes. He goes where you go. He's always there to lend you a helping hand, even when you go and do something as simple as hand out towels. And when you had to remain behind after practice each day to oversee match videos and do the club paperwork, he's always there to help you. Even a blind and deaf man could tell. Even Nebuya knew, and he's not the sharpest tool in the box."
Tamaki sighed. She had thought that she had kept her feelings hidden pretty well. But it is obviously not hidden enough if the entire team could tell. "I like him," she said, refusing to look at Mayuzumi in the eye. "I'm not afraid to admit it. I had ever since our middle school days. But to him, I am just a friend." She said almost sadly.
Mayuzumi looked at Tamaki with exasperation, resisting the urge to groan out loud. Didn't Shigehiro just tell him the same thing just the other day? 'She only sees me as a friend'. He can understand the exasperation of the regulars now, with the way that they're both dancing around each other.
"Idiots. You both are idiots. A match made in Heaven!" Mayuzumi grunted. "Besides, you should tell him. You'll be surprised."
"Huh?" Tamaki was confused. "What do you mean by that?"
"I wonder." Mayuzumi smirked at her in a way that said that he knew something that she don't.
A/N: To answer a few questions, if it isn't obvious enough by now, the pairing for this story is Shigehiro/Tamaki. If you want to read a Mayuzumi pairing, read Two Shadows. Anyway, there will be another meeting between Shigehiro and Aomine next chapter, and there will also be fireworks!
Also, if you don't mind, can you please go to my story blog which link is on my profile under the heading 'Story Blog' and read some of the fiction stories there (not FF)? I will really appreciate some reviews. Anyway, I hope that you like this chapter, and please read and review! Reviews give me inspiration to update!