Don't own Kuroko no Basuke.
Don't own the Cover Art.
The Uncrowned Kings never went to the same middle school, but were instead fierce rivals that enjoyed playing against one another. They were officially given the names by their third year, when the Generation of Miracles had proven their dominance over the older players. What nobody but the Uncrowned Kings new about, was that there was a sixth player of equal skill who was never given the title.
The Uncrowned Kings had their own Phantom Sixth Man, in a way.
The player himself wasn't a phantom in that he used Misdirection; he simply never registered on anyone's radar because he played with others too powerful for him to stand out. He trained at Teikou, and so the Generation of Miracles overshadowed him to where none but the Uncrowned Kings and some older players knew him.
He was also the one who made their rivalry so much more important to them, because he insisted that they meet up and play against one another every so often. He personally went to all of their captains, who agreed to it after a quiet discussion.
Makoto still remembers his idiot of a childhood friend talking to Imayoshi and leaving with an agreement with the captain, who only commented on how nice he was before resuming practice.
When they found out that they were all being called the Uncrowned Kings without their sixth player, they had all raged at the thought, playing viciously against one another during their practice day together, until their sixth member dragged them out of it. "I don't even care," he huffed. "My kouhai deserve the attention they're getting, regardless of how it affects me." He looked at all of their faces, each of them still annoyed and petulant, and he sighed. "How about this?" he offered. "You guys give me a name. I'll be the secret Uncrowned King."
That appeased them somewhat, and they spent the entire rest of their practice day throwing names around as they tried to figure out what to name their compatriot. It eventually came down to a number of choices that made Makoto snicker and the sixth King wonder at the irony at the irony of it all.
The name they gave him was Torikabuto which translated to: Monkshood; Aconite.
He took the name with good grace, and the rest of the Uncrowned Kings were happy to have a title for their friend and rival. He disappeared after their third year together, but none of them gave up hope on seeing him again, the other four often pestering Makoto to give them whatever information his childhood friend gave him from wherever he was.
"Oh!" Rakuzan looked over at Hayama Kotarou, wondering what had invited his surprised exclamation. Kotarou didn't seem to notice their confused and annoyed expressions and instead turned to look at Akashi. "I kept forgetting 'cause none of us ever bring him up, and my memory is kinda bad, and it's been about a year, but how was Wolfsbane during your second year?"
Kotarou probably sounded a little desperate, but Wolfy never talked about his kouhai with them in their third year, looking tired and frustrated and only talking in a general sense about them. He didn't even talk about himself often, only mentioning his father's failing health occasionally and, when he stopped being a starting player on the team, they just saw the grim look in his eyes and understood that his time had truly come.
Akashi blinked in bewilderment at the question, and furrowed his brow. "I'm sorry, but I don't believe I know anyone called Wolfsbane."
Kotarou stared at his new captain in horror as he churned the sentence in his head. Wolfy never told his kouhai his title, never told them what they had stolen from him, never…
The orange-blonde turned and wailed to his big sister. "Reo-nee! Wolfy never told them his name!"
Reo hugged Kotarou in comfort, patting him on the head. "It's alright, Ko-chan. I'm sure he had a reason for not telling them. We'll ask him if we see him again one day."
"It's probably so he didn't hurt his 'little kouhai-tachi's' feelings." Nebuya snorted, spinning a ball on his finger as he listened to the two, but Kotarou had known Nebuya since their first year in middle school, where a tiny whelp that was a rival to them as well had appeared and made them play at a court together once a week, and he could see that the thought bothered him as well.
"Who is this Wolfsbane?" Akashi finally demanded, annoyed at their seeming avoidance of the subject.
"Wolfsbane is one of our rivals!" Kotarou announced proudly, grinning as he remembered the competitive gleam in their pseudo-leader's eyes whenever they practiced against one another, dribbling and shooting and going at it until they were all on the floor panting and exhausted.
A red eyebrow went up. "So he's just a good player?"
Reo answered this one. "Of course not," he sniffed elegantly. "He's an Uncrowned King. He's the Phantom Sixth Man of the Uncrowned Kings, actually."
Akashi's eyes widened a little, surprised. "How does no one know about him?"
Nebuya snorted again and threw the ball he was holding, which swished into the hoop. "He trained at Teikou, Captain. At least people noticed that we were strong enough to deserve our titles. He was completely overshadowed by you Miracles that he was never acknowledged by those media idiots. Poor fool; he probably deserved our title the most."
Akashi stilled looked rather surprised, but a thoughtful gleam now entered his eyes. "So how does he have the name Wolfsbane? And why that name?"
Kotarou grinned and swung Reo's arms a little in happiness. "We named him! We were all upset that he didn't get a name, so he just told us to suck it up and name him ourselves, if it bothers us so much. So we did! And as for why we named him that…" a somewhat dark smile appeared then, and Kotarou knew the other two had a similar expression if Akashi and Mayuzumi's faces told him as much. "Well, what can stop an Iron Heart? What can kill a Bad Boy, a Beast made out of Lightning, a man with Herculean Strength, and a Nature Spirit?"
His eyes wide, Mayuzumi answered. "A poison."
Kotarou grinned, and imagined his friend standing there, whacking them on the head, a pleased but embarrassed smile on his face.
While Teppei and Hanamiya stared each other down, Teppei with a smile and Hanamiya with a mockery of one, it occurred to the center that he might as well ask. "Have you heard anything from him?" he asked quietly, and the point guard twitched before scowling at him and looking away.
"His father is improving, he should be able to return by the Winter Cup," he admitted grudgingly, and Teppei grinned as relief settled in his chest.
"That's great!" The two sat in silence once more until Hanamiya got up with a loud sigh.
"I really should go," he said, and Teppei ignored how the Bad Boy didn't bother hiding the "away from you" that was implied.
"See you at the next game," he offered, and saw Hanamiya smile cruelly.
"Indeed. I'm sure it'll be very…entertaining." He walked off after that, and Teppei stared after him for a moment before sighing and looking at the ceiling.
'Hurry back Wolfsbane; I don't think the Kings or the Miracles will last much longer with Hanamiya on a rampage like this.'
The next day was their game, and Teppei wasn't even surprised by the outcome. They won against Kirisaki Daiichi at the cost of Teppei's further injury and Kuroko almost being injured. When he heard about that, he used the number that he barely remembered was on his phone and sent a text. I'm telling him that you almost injured Kuroko.
There was a response almost immediately. Fuck you.
Teppei frowned at the phone, before an amused smile overtook him. Hanamiya probably won't touch another Miracle at the very least, in a bid to not further antagonize Wolfsbane. Childhood friend or not, the guy was viciously defensive of the Miracles, arguing heatedly with them at times about his colorful kouhai.
(He never did if the Miracles deserved the words though, like when Teppei had been talked down to by Murasakibara or when Hanamiya and Akashi had almost come to blows at one point.)
Now, they just had to face Shuutoku and then they were off to the Winter Cup.
"Before we depart," Akashi's voice rose up, quieting and stilling the Miracles who had been standing to leave. "Tetsuya; has Iron Heart mentioned a person he may call 'Wolfsbane' to you?"
Tetsuya cocked his head to the side before responding negatively. "He has not, Akashi-kun. Would they know each other?"
Akashi sniffed in response. "He should. From what my teammates have told me, Wolfsbane is the name of the Phantom Sixth Man of the Uncrowned Kings."
A startled hush fell over their group as they all tried to process that. "How the hell does that work?" Aomine demanded, scowling a little as he thought it through. "They all went to different schools, how would this guy not be known?"
Akashi shifted, annoyed. "He played at Teikou, Daiki. With us around, his potential would have been hidden from the media entirely."
That left the group in a thoughtful silence as they left, each wondering who it could be. Tetsuya thought briefly of grey eyes and a harsh voice, rough and stern but gentle as well.
It was the Winter Cup, and Hanamiya Makoto didn't want to be there. Sure, the other Kings were here, but they weren't exactly friends. He wasn't the easiest person to get along with, and all of the Uncrowned Kings knew this and so tolerated his prickly nature to the best of their abilities. The only reason he was there at all –
"Hey there, Makoto."
– was because of this idiot. "Shuuzou," he sighed. "You're late."
"I am not," Shuuzou argued back. "The person who brought me here only just looked away long enough for me to escape."
Makoto snickered without any sympathy for his best friend. "Well at least you've finally deigned me with your presence." Shuuzou gave him a deadpan look and rolled his eyes. Still laughing under his breath, he hooked his arm with his friend's and led him back into the stadium.
No one paid any mind to the two teenagers that reentered the stadium, too focused on the match below them, and Makoto couldn't blame them. The sight of four of his compatriots in action at once was rather impressive, and Iron Heart was admittedly holding his own decently, the three-on-three games they used to play giving him an idea on how to face the other Uncrowned Kings like he was now.
"So anything big happen while I was gone?" Shuuzou asked, leaning against the banister that they were behind, listening to his friend as he watched the game.
"From what the three at Rakuzan have told me, Akashi kind of lost it in his third year. The one playing is the 'other Akashi' from what I understand."
"Goddamned brat," Shuuzou muttered, obviously wanting to go down there and knock some sense into his kouhai. "Anything else?"
"The guys at Rakuzan found out that you never told your Miracles about your title." Makoto watched his friend who moved slightly but didn't bother looking repentant at all. "You're such a soft hearted fool, Wolfsbane," the Bad Boy groaned, not that surprised by his friend's "sacrifice".
Nijimura Shuuzou, the Wolfsbane of the Uncrowned Kings, looked his childhood friend in the eye. "You saw how they were, Makoto," he said, turning back to the court and stands near it, easily seeing his bright-haired kouhai scattered throughout the room. "There's a thin line between genius and insanity, and they teetered on that line as if it were a tightrope on a windy day. Even something as simple as telling them what they stole from me would've pushed them over in those days. That's why I never bothered."
Makoto sighed. "Idiot," he chastised fondly, "they either have you wrapped around their fingers, or vice-versa."
Shuuzou smiled and hummed back at him, but didn't answer.
The game ended, and Seirin won, to both Makoto's surprise and utter lack thereof. He looked at Shuuzou for what to do now, and groaned in annoyance as his friend began heading to the court. "Really, Wolfsbane? A reunion, now?"
The returnee raised an eyebrow at him. "Versus when? Now is probably the best time to reunite out of all of them." Makoto grumbled a little but followed his friend to the court where the other Miracle teams were gathering.
Well, it'll at least be an interesting reunion.
Teppei was pretty certain it was Hayama who saw them first, the shout of "Bad Boy!" quietening the people around them somewhat and making the shout of "Wolfy!" much more apparent to him. The name spurred Teppei to stand up, ignoring the muscles that were screaming at him to stay down.
"Oi Kiyoshi, what's wrong?" Hyuuga asked next to him, a moment away from standing himself when he saw the center's sudden focus.
"Nothing wrong, Hyuuga," he responded lightly, "just an unexpected reunion." Before Hyuuga could ask what he meant, Teppei went towards where he last saw Rakuzan and, sure enough, there was Nijimura being hugged to death by an overjoyed Hayama, Mibuchi and Nebuya hovering beside him and Hanamiya glaring at the orange-blonde.
Teppei grinned and happily joined the reunion, lifting Nijimura up and out of Hayama's grasp. "You haven't grown a bit, Wolfsbane!" The brunette teased, and Nijimura growled at him, swinging his foot to hit the underside of Teppei's armpit and making him drop the other teen. Hanamiya applauded in amusement while the other three laughed.
"You haven't changed at all, Shuu-chan." Mibuchi sounded relieved, and Teppei understood what he meant. Nijimura could have broken if he father had died, become nothing more than a shadow of himself. But instead he stood before them, strong and healthy; his father must be doing better. "You even seem happier!"
"My dad's on the road to recovery now," Nijimura admitted, and looked away for a moment in discomfort. "And I got to see you guys again, of course I'm happy!"
There was a moment's pause, before Hayama squealed in glee and tackled Nijimura again, and Mibuchi began cooing at their sort-of-leader. The other three shifted, pleased at the admission that the one who encouraged their rivalry years ago was indeed glad to see them again.
Before they could continue talking, a startled voice broke out near them. "Senpai?" The six turned to see the Generation of Miracles behind them, all of them gaping at Nijimura. Aomine continued. "What the hell are you doing here?"
Nijimura shrugged. "Apparently I'm having as many reunions today as physically possible."
Hayama interrupted, the man-child that he is. "Shuuzou-nii! Shuuzou-nii!" he started babbling, spinning Nijimura around so that he was facing him again. "What did you think of Level 5 of my Lightning Dribble?! Wasn't it cool?!"
Wolfsbane laughed and relaxed a little at the Lightning Beast's enthusiasm. "It was very impressive, Hayama," he agreed, and the orange-blonde vibrated in place with the force of his happiness at the compliment. Teppei saw Kuroko frown at Hayama slightly, and noticed the other Miracles express similar signs of displeasure at him as well.
"So…"Aomine drew out, dragging Nijimura's attention back to them. "How do you know the Uncrowned Kings?"
Nijimura looked unbothered as Hayama tightened his arms around him and Hanamiya stepped closer to him. "I've known Makoto since we were children, but I met the others as a first-year in middle school. I had been accepted into the first-string almost immediately, and was made vice-captain a few weeks later," he said reminiscing, and Teppei was surprised by how stunned the Miracles appeared when they heard these things. "And then I played against these bastards," Nijimura added, gesturing to the Uncrowned Kings, before grinning viciously. "And they were good."
Teppei can admit that his chest puffed out a little at the praise and continued the story. "He wanted us to play against one another again so badly that he went and talked to all of our captains about us meeting once a week to practice with one another and to foster our rivalry even more. And they all said yes."
"And then, in our third year, we all got names but Shuu-chan didn't," Mibuchi added. "So we nicknamed him."
"So Nijimura-senpai is Wolfsbane," Midorima surmised, looking slightly surprised.
Nijimura gave a smile that made a shiver of anticipation go down Teppei's spine. Once he's rested from the Winter Cup, it looked like a game would take place between the six of them again. "Yes I am," the Phantom Sixth Man of the Uncrowned Kings admitted, a look shining in his eyes that Teppei hadn't seen in a year.
It's good to have him back.
...What is going on?! The voices, they're everywhere! *rocks quietly in corner*
Sorry about that. Anyways, I actually do think this could be a thing. I checked their published stats and, even in middle school, Nijimura has higher stats than them; four of the Uncrowned Kings have stats of 40 and Hanamiya has 38; Nijimura has 42, so it could fit. And him being in Teikou could have easily hidden how good he was from the public.