Pairings: Sugawara/Tamaki. Possible Shigehiro/Yachi.
Warnings: AU Universe. OOC. Gender swap. Minor character bashing. Mature scenes.
Disclaimer: I do not own Kuroko no Basuke and Haikyu and any of the characters, but the OC characters belong to me
Chapter Fourteen: First Match
Tamaki double-checked her bag to ensure that she'd brought everything that she needs for the Inter High. It wouldn't do after all to arrive at the gymnasium and realise that she'd forgotten some important stuff, with how out of sorts that she had been since that phone call with Yusou over a week ago.
If you ever run into those of us still in Tokyo, Aomine especially, what would you do?
…Will you still run…?
Tamaki let out a grim smile even as she pulled the strap of her bag over her shoulder, pulling out the drawer of the desk in her room and pulled out a photo frame buried deep inside—a photo that she never wanted to see unless she has no other choice.
A photo of the regulars of Teiko's Basketball Club after Kise had joined them as the fifth player greeted her eyes, though the glass of the frame was all scratched up now, as is the frame. Not surprising, considering that Tamaki had kept it in her drawer where she also kept all her writing utensils and tools.
"…I swore that I would never look back again and that I'll move on." Tamaki whispered to herself. "But it's easier said than done."
"Tamaki! We're leaving!"
Shigehiro's voice echoed from downstairs, no doubt already packed and ready with Keishin who would be driving them to Sendai.
The vending machine gave a clatter even as it dispensed the drink.
Kuroko Tamaki bent down to pick it up, with the can letting out a light pop even as she opened it and took a drink from it. "I am quite capable of making my own way back to the gymnasium, you know?" she said, glancing at Shigehiro who is leaning against the wall with his arms crossed over his chest, grinning at her. "Besides, don't you have to warm up?"
"I'm not starting in the first match." Shigehiro reminded Tamaki who blinked before a look of realisation dawned upon her, as it is something that both Keishin and Tamaki have agreed on last week. "And soda? I don't often see you drink that. You prefer vanilla shakes more."
Though ever since the fiasco last year, Shigehiro don't often see Tamaki drink milkshakes all that often anymore. Maybe because that drink reminds her of a certain ganguro.
"I have a feeling I need the energy today." Tamaki answered, shaking the soda can in her hand. "And…" She looked at her best friend. "Have you seen the board outside the gym when we came in earlier?"
"What? Regarding the matches?" Shigehiro asked, confused.
"No. Regarding what sport is currently going on next door." Tamaki answered, giving her best friend a dirty look. And of all the basketball teams in Japan, it just has to be Touou that has a match today. Now she could only pray that she doesn't run into them.
"Oh." Shigehiro fell silent. He then looked at his best friend.
It is only with Keishin's nagging persistence, along with that of his mother before Shigehiro had finally relented to visit the school counsellor weekly for help with his trauma when it comes to what had happened last year.
And while Shigehiro isn't entirely happy with being forced to visit the counsellor, ("I DON'T NEED TO SEE A FUCKING SHRINK!") ("It's not a shrink! Be reasonable, Shige!"), he admits in the end that those visits really helps, as he did help to make Shigehiro see that the entire fiasco isn't his fault, and that he has nothing to feel bad about for dropping basketball and taking up volleyball instead.
Tamaki on the other hand however… No matter how much Keishin pleaded and threatened, she plain out refuses to even go near the counsellor's office, claiming that she is coping just fine, and she doesn't need someone poking around in her head.
Honestly, with how fucked up that the Generation of Miracles are, Shigehiro almost feared for the sanity of any shrink that is forced to deal with them.
"Touou." Shigehiro spoke at last, and he watched as Tamaki froze in her tracks as a myriad of emotions went over her face. "That's his team, right?" Tamaki said nothing, but Shigehiro had known her long enough to know just what she doesn't say. "What are you going to do?"
For a long while, Tamaki said nothing even as she focused on finishing her drink before she then tossed it into the nearby recycle bin. "What I've always done," she said at last, looking at Shigehiro in the eye. "Get over it."
Whispers of awe and wary looks followed the Aoba Johsai team even as eyes followed the light green jackets as one of Japan's powerhouse teams walked down the hallway of the Sendai Gymnasium to the hall where they are to have their first match for the season in the afternoon.
"We need to watch them one last time." Coach Irihata Nobuteru was telling his deputy even as they walked down the hallway, making a mental list of what he has to do for the day in preparation for Aoba Johsai to still keep their title as one of Japan's top teams, and to hopefully kick Shiratorizawa off their throne that year—especially when they've came so close to beating them last year.
Their practice match against Karasuno High earlier in the year reminded the coach of just how much work they still have to put in to achieve their dream of being the number one team in Japan. Sure, Karasuno might be a good team, and they might not have Oikawa present in that match at that time. But Nobuteru has been a coach for long enough to know that you don't stack all your hopes and aces on one person.
"Especially the powerful quick of that first year duo." Nobuteru remarked to his deputy. While Karasuno might be one of their main opponents in the future, there is no denying that as a coach, he is fairly interested to see how far they will go.
"Yes sir." Sadayuki nodded with a grin on his face, knowing that inwardly, Nobuteru had a liking for Karasuno. For a rowdy team, they're an interesting bunch, especially that little raven—the orange haired kid who got so nervous at one point during the practice match that he'd accidentally served the ball straight into the back of Kageyama's head, much to Aoba Johsai's amusement.
"Which hall are they in again?" said a voice, and Aoba Johsai slowed their paces as a girl and a boy walked past them—with the boy dressed in Karasuno's jersey. The girl on the other hand was dressed in a casual white sports jacket with a black tee beneath and black shorts.
"Hall 2. Have you even been listening to the briefing yesterday?" The girl sounded annoyed.
"You'll tell me anything that I forgot anyway."
"Sometimes, I worry for you." The girl sighed, much to the entire team's amusement. She accidentally bumped into Iwaizumi as they walked past. "Sorry."
"No harm done." Iwaizumi inclined his head to the younger girl politely (hell, is she really in high school?), eyes glued to the pair who are obviously younger than him. He then frowned when he caught sight of her powder blue hair even as she turned to apologise for bumping into him.
Why does she seem so familiar to him…?
Nobuteru then gave a start as he realised that he hadn't heard a single peep from their man-child for awhile, and turned around only to realise that Oikawa isn't with the team. "Where's Oikawa?"
Yahaba fidgeted about nervously. "Uh…" The second year was unsure how to explain this, but he finally answered, "Girls from other schools have him in their clutches."
Both coach and deputy stared at Yahaba, deadpanned for several moments. Finally, the coach spoke, "Iwaizumi."
"Yes." Oikawa's unofficial keeper almost growled, already cracking his knuckles together, and the rest of the team gave a wince as their vice stomped off in search of his wayward best friend.
The entire team prayed as one that Iwaizumi wouldn't hurt Oikawa too badly. They still need their ace and captain for the upcoming matches after all.
"Yoo hoo! Tobio-chan! Chibi-chan! How are you both doing?" Oikawa greeted cheerfully even as Aoba Johsai filed into the hall. They might not have a match in the morning, with their first match being later in the afternoon, but there is no harm in scouting out their opponents to see what they're capable of, as their coach had reasoned when the team had groused about getting up so early. Behind Oikawa, several red ticks covered Iwaizumi's head before he smacked Oikawa hard on the shoulder, causing a pained cry from the man-child. "Ow! What is that for, Iwa-chan?" He whined childishly, causing Hinata to look at him oddly.
Oikawa then gave a start when he realised that there are several members of Karasuno's team that he hadn't seen before. He noticed Nishinoya first, as not only is the libero the shortest of the team (excluding Hinata), he is also currently going through his warming up session on the court with Asahi.
"They have a libero." Oikawa commented with surprise. "He wasn't there for the practice match."
"And that big guy wasn't there either." Iwaizumi frowned, studying Asahi.
"Oh?" Nobuteru who is already in the spectator's seats raised a brow when he noticed Keishin giving out instructions with a volleyball tucked under one arm.
"Their coach is new too, right?" Sadayuki commented.
Nobuteru hmmed to himself even as he let his eyes rove over the Karasuno team. "New players and a new coach. I wonder how Karasuno has changed?" He mused. "Hmm?"
The coach's eyes went immediately to two teens who were just starting to enter the court where Karasuno is warming up, only to be berated by their coach. "You're late, Shige! I told you to stay with Tamaki, not dilly-dally about!"
The orange head—Shige, nearly sweat dropped. "You're the one who told me to stay with her, and now you're scolding me for being late?" he muttered before peeling off his tracksuit, revealing his Karasuno jersey beneath it and heading out to the court.
"You okay?" Keishin asked his cousin with concern. He had been worried for awhile now—ever since he'd heard that both the basketball and volleyball tournaments would be taking place at Sendai this year, just in neighbouring halls.
Tamaki gave a shrug of her shoulder, picking up her notebook on the bench. "I'll manage," she answered.
Iwaizumi frowned as he studied the teal head, trying to remember just where it is that he'd seen her before. The more that he looks at her, the more he feels that he'd seen her somewhere before. But where?
Beside him, Oikawa nudged at his best friend. "You're going to get wrinkles if you frown any harder," he teased. "What's wrong? Why are you looking at that little miss? I know that she's cute and all—"
"Idiot! That's not it!" Mount Iwaizumi erupted and Oikawa earned another whack on his head, and his teammates sweat dropped. If they haven't known that Iwaizumi and Oikawa are both as straight as arrows, they would have thought that those two are dating with how much they seem to act as an old married couple. "It's just that I felt as if I've seen her before. I just can't remember where!"
"Seen her before?" Oikawa echoed before turning his attention towards the small teal head who is now speaking with the entire Karasuno team before their match against Tokonami High that is going to be their first match of the season, and also the first match of the Inter High. "You know, now that you've mentioned it, she does seem rather familiar…" The Aoba Johsai captain frowned even as he studied the teal head.
A sharp whistle blew through the air just then.
"It's finally starting, isn't it?" Takeda asked, his eyes shining even as he took in the entire atmosphere—from the tall ceilings to the newly waxed floors of the courts and to the sounds of cheering across the hall. "I still can't believe that we're finally here."
"Our first match is against Tokonami High School." Kiyoko commented from next to Takeda even as the Karasuno starters took their positions on the court. "From what we know of them, as compared to teams like Aoba Johsai and even Dateko, they're not much of a threat. But…"
"Don't take them lightly, even if our opponents are kindergarteners just learning to spike for the first time." Keishin finished Kiyoko's sentence, as that is the one sentence that Tamaki had been repeatedly drilling into the heads of the entire team for the past month or so, especially in Kageyama's head.
Their freshman setter seems to have the unholy talent of stepping on Tamaki's toes, much to his misfortune; as making Tamaki upset or angry generally means another extra set added atop his normal training menu. After the fifth time when he got Tamaki mad at him, Kageyama is a good boy.
"What do you think, Tamaki-chan?" Kiyoko asked the younger girl who is also the team's assistant coach, and had also been registered as such with the Sports Association of Japan, though most teams would think of her as a manager because of her age.
"If they do as we practiced and what I've told them to do, I see no reason why we shouldn't win." Tamaki answered, looking up from her notebook. "It's the first match of the season. Don't show all our cards. But don't go easy on them either. Karasuno wants to make a mark this season. So let's use this match to send a message to all the other teams."
With the spectators who were in the stands to watch the first two matches of the day, they were all whispering in confusion when they noticed that Hinata was in the position as one of Karasuno's middle blockers, and is currently hopping up and down with excitement.
"#10 is their middle blocker? With his height?"
"When there are taller guys sitting on the bench?"
With Aoba Johsai, Iwaizumi had apparently given up on trying to figure out the mystery that is Tamaki, and had concentrated on the match that is about to begin. He chuckled upon seeing the confusion on the faces of Tokonami, and the murmurs of confusion from the spectators of the stands.
"Their opponents are confused, but you can't blame them." Iwaizumi commented. "I mean, a middle blocker competes with the tallest players."
"That tiny kid is a starter?" A player from some random school murmured, staring at Hinata with confusion. "And he's a middle blocker too?"
"What is Karasuno thinking? There's no way he can block shots from some of the taller players, can he?"
Over with the other Karasuno reserves, Shigehiro who is on reserve for their match against Tokonami so as to save him as a trump card to use against Dateko smirked. "Well, I thought the same too when I'd first joined the team. But you're going to get a rude shock if you underestimate him just because of his size," he remarked, and his teammates laughed.
"Those who underestimate him have another thing coming," Kindaichi commented with a frown, recalling just how much trouble that Hinata had given him during their practice match.
Iwaizumi chuckled from next to him. "Spoken from experience, eh?"
The referee's whistle blew to signal the start of the match.
It is Tokonami who had won the right to serve first, and thus, all of Karasuno waited even as the opposing team's setter got into position to serve the ball.
"Komaki, nice serve!"
"Asahi!" Daichi called out to their team's ace who had a determined look on his face as he got into position to receive the ball, returning it to Kageyama who is already waiting by the net.
"Like I said before, Tokonami might not be a strong team; but don't underestimate them and go easy on them either." Tamaki told Karasuno during the briefing after practice was over for the day, with a large whiteboard next to her that had words and diagrams drawn and written on it. "Give a message to the other teams with this match, but don't humiliate them."
Tamaki had stared particularly hard at Kageyama when she said this, and the setter flushed, knowing that that is his problem during his middle school days. It had taken Tamaki nearly a month to rid him of that overbearing personality. He probably had ran more suicides and squats than the entire team combined with how often he had pissed Tamaki off.
"The first score… Let Tanaka-sempai have it in order to raise our momentum and morale."
"This one's mine!" Tanaka roared even as he smashed the ball down into their opponent's side of the court.
"All right!" Keishin grinned even as they made the first score of the game. "We got the first point!" He looked at his cousin who is scribbling so quickly into her 'in-match notebook' that Keishin is honestly surprised that the notebook hadn't caught fire.
"Let's turn the tables on them!" Tokonami players cried to each other.
"Relax, we'll score back!"
"Tanaka, nice serve!"
Tamaki smiled as she saw Tanaka getting ready to serve, with the ball being received by one of Tokonami's players that went past Hinata and Daichi's block, though Nishinoya is already waiting for the ball even before it had gotten through.
The teal head smiled to herself. "Seems like the perception training is paying off," she remarked, as Nishinoya is definitely reacting to the ball just by sounds and the watching of the body language of their opponents alone.
"Amazing, he saved it."
Oikawa narrowed his eyes from where he is seated with his team. Without a word, he got to his feet and went towards the barrier where Iwaizumi and Kindaichi were standing. The third year studied Nishinoya carefully, and even as the ball changed hands.
"Did Karasuno's libero already started moving even before the ball entered their court?" Oikawa questioned, and Iwaizumi and Kindaichi, and even the rest of their team and the coach stared at him for nearly a full minute before switching their attention back to the match in front of them. All of them watched, perplexed, even as Nishinoya started moving even as the opposing team received the ball, and was in the perfect position to receive it.
"He is." Kindaichi realised. "It's like he already knew where the ball is going to go even before their opponent returns it."
"What? You saying that he can read minds or something?" Yahaba joked.
"Rather than reading minds," Nobuteru interrupted, studying Karasuno's match intently, "I've heard of this before. Perception Training. I didn't think that I would actually see it in action however." He looked at the players of his team. "Because as far as I know, it is a form of training and tactic that Teiko Middle School utilises for their basketball team. And only one person I know of can use it. Now I see that there is another."
Iwaizumi frowned. 'Teiko?'
His gaze went towards the teal haired girl seated on the bench on Karasuno's side.
Kageyama looked anxiously towards the bench where Tamaki is seated with Keishin, Takeda and Kiyoko every now and again. Tamaki didn't remove her eyes from the match even as her pencil was working overtime. Keishin honestly wonders how his cousin could write even without looking at what she's writing.
"Kageyama-kun is waiting for a signal, Tamaki-chan." Kiyoko said quietly.
"Their special quick." Takeda reminded Tamaki. "Whether you'll allow them to use it or not in this match."
"It has its pros and cons." Keishin frowned. "On one hand, it'll raise our momentum even more, and Tokonami will be more wary of us as a result, and will likely make more mistakes. On the other hand, our future opponents will know of that move, and will likely be ready for it. True, we haven't had anyone who had been able to stop it yet, but our luck won't last forever. And like what Tamaki had said once, no move is unstoppable."
'To use or not to use. That is the main question.' Tamaki mused to herself, her eyes following the ball and even the moves of their opponents and her team. She didn't miss Kageyama's anxious look towards her. Even Hinata is looking anxious. Good. It means that those two wouldn't disregard instructions to not use that quick of theirs without permission like they did during the practice match against Nekoma. 'It has its goods and bads. Ah Hell. Why not?' Tamaki pointed her thumb downwards, and both Kageyama and Hinata exchanged delighted grins. 'We're going to need to test it out in an actual match sooner or later, given that the move isn't completed yet.'
"Karasuno's wings aren't clipped any longer." Keishin grinned even as he watched Kageyama get into position to serve to Hinata. "We're ravens that can fly once more."
And nearly fifteen minutes since the match had begun.
Tamaki glanced at the scoreboard before turning her attention back to the match. Seems like Tokonami is quickly getting used to the pace that Karasuno is setting. Even when she'd just joined Karasuno, she already knew that the team is pretty reckless, and not afraid to try new things. It is why every single one of them were so eager to embrace and try out the new tactics that she'd came up with and taught them.
"Kei-nii." Tamaki murmured to her cousin before he gave a start and glanced at his watch before looking at the scoreboard, and he nodded.
"Time to put the plan in action." Keishin mused, pointing his index finger and thumb downwards, and the Karasuno players currently on the court had their eyes lighting up as one.
"Don't mind, Ikejiri!"
Nobuteru frowned to himself as he watched the ongoing match. There is a difference between this match as compared to the practice match they had with Karasuno. Most people likely wouldn't be able to tell the difference. But Nobuteru had been a coach for many years, and he had led Aoba Johsai against opponents of National level countless times, the most prominent being Shiratorizawa.
As compared to how Karasuno had performed during the practice match when there is literally no tactic at all if you don't count 'just do your own thing' as a tactic, right now, each and every single player's moves are more calculated and they aren't doing moves that would just waste energy. Each and every single move just serve to lure Tokonami into a trap—one that likely they wouldn't even see coming. Probably, if it had been Aoba Johsai down there facing Karasuno, even Nobuteru wouldn't see it coming.
Does Karasuno have a skilled strategist in their midst now? Who is it then? Who could come up with tactics like these?
"Their movements are a little different from when we last faced them." Oikawa commented, a frown on his face. Nobuteru honestly isn't surprised that Oikawa could tell. That idiot might act like an airhead most of the time, but he could be very observant and shrewd when he wants to be.
"Even that first year combination." Sadayuki commented. "Back when they first faced us, they kept using that fearsome quick of theirs. But now, they're not using it at all."
"It's not just that. They've learned to do normal quicks as well." The coach commented. "Although they're still not that skilled with it, they could spot openings in the court as well." He grinned. "Mostly likely, they had a strategist or a trainer who knew what to do to train them up to do that. They're still rough around the edges, but the fact that they could do that is nothing short of impressive."
"They're improving." Iwaizumi commented. "It's going to be dangerous should we ever face them again."
"Before, they were a dangerous team that relied solely on brute force, but now they have the knowledge and the skills to put them to use."
"Match point." Takeda murmured. "And it is really going like you said it would, Tamaki-chan."
"Yeah. But I think the remaining matches would be more interesting. It won't be interesting if matches are too predictable. With this match, I finally have a grasp on how Karasuno would perform under the stress of a competition." Tamaki commented. "It's match point, but they'll still give it their all. Because that's how they are."
Kiyoko gave a rare smile. "If anything, their opponents will be pleased," she commented. "Because I doubt that any other team in the Inter High would take Tokonami seriously in a match."
The whistle signalling the end of the match echoed just then.
"Well, the results are as we expected." Kindaichi commented, even as he watched the cleaners cleaning the court in preparation for the next match. "But do Karasuno even realise that they've got another match this afternoon?" Beside him, Iwaizumi raised a brow. "I mean, it was impossible for the other team to make a comeback with how Karasuno is overpowering them. They didn't have to take it that seriously."
"You don't disrespect your opponent, no matter who they are." Their coach pointed out to them, and his team looked abashed at the reprimand. "Take them seriously, even if your win is almost a guarantee. You'll end up like a certain team that I don't care to name otherwise." He got to his feet. "Come on, you boys should start on your warm-ups. We won't get to face Karasuno if you don't win your match."
"All right." The team drawled even as they got to their feet as one and followed their coach.
Iwaizumi was the only one to remain behind, a frown on his face as he stared down at Karasuno's bench where their coach and that teal head who he assumed to be their manager or something were both explaining something to the team.
"'Take them seriously'?" Iwaizumi echoed, with those words reminding him of something that he had overhead someone saying before—back when he was still in middle school and had happened to run into a certain basketball team when the volleyball and basketball sectors were held in the same gymnasium, but in neighbouring halls.
"We were going to win anyway. Why take them so seriously?" A loud complaining voice reaches Iwaizumi's ears even as he bent down to pick up the soda can from the dispensing machine.
The teen turned around to investigate the source of the argument even as he opened his soda can with a light pop and took a gulp. His eyes immediately narrowed in on the light blue and white jerseys that everyone and their grandmother could probably identify at this point, and he frowned.
"Teiko…" he mused, immediately realising that they must be the freshmen basketball team of that school that he had been hearing rumours about lately ever since the Inter High had begun.
"It's not the point of them being weak or not!" A girl reprimanded the speaker, and Iwaizumi blinked as he realised that he must have missed something in their conversation. He couldn't take his eyes off of the girl however, wondering if she is a manager or something, as she had on the familiar white and blue of Teiko's jersey too. "How would you like it if college players didn't take you seriously? You wouldn't like it, right? Even if your opponents are kids just starting to learn how to dribble a ball, you take them seriously! Do not insult them as a player by going easy on them."
Iwaizumi's eyes widened before he turned his eyes towards the teal head at Karasuno's bench. "It can't be…" he murmured.
A/N: It's been a long time, right? Sorry for the long wait! Like mentioned before, I write as I go along, so do not badger me on updates, as I need inspiration to write, or it might be a crappy chapter! I'm not too pleased with this chapter, as I feel it's too choppy, and I'm also not too familiar with volleyball matches, thus, I focused more on the audience in this chapter. Also, I know that I promised a certain reunion in this chapter, but it looks like it'll be in the chapter after Karasuno's match with Dateko, sorry!
I hope that you like this chapter, and please read and review! Reviews give me inspiration to update!