A/N: Can I say sorry and be forgiven? Well, I'm still apologizing. This chapter is sooooo waaayyy long overdue and I feel very guilty for putting this story in an almost yearlong hiatus. In my defense, I don't really watch or read KuroBasu anymore. I've been so caught up with other things that I forgot the main plot of this story to pick up where I've left. I revised this chapter a few times before I deemed it presentable, and even then, I'm still not sure. I guess that's for the reader to decide, huh...
Salome Maranya: Tbh I don't know either. I'm not a Japanese nor do I live in Japan. I know that participating in a fight and sending three students to the infirmary is not a light offense though. Here in my country, she shouldn't have been brought to the councilor, she should have been expelled right out or was suspended for three months. I have once been punished when I was in high school. I cleaned the bathroom for a week, attended detention and washed dishes in the cafeteria all for cyber bullying my classmate using the school computers at my ACT class. Her mother was livid because I humiliated her in the internet. I'm sorry for blabbering. Thank you for reading my story anyhow. I'm quite honored. :)
To the others who faved, followed, and left reviews, thank you. It warms my heart. Thank you very much.
Disclaimer: I own KuroBasu... in my dreams. *lols to herself at the lame joke*
It's been a long time since she last stood here. Nothing much had changed really.
The carpeted floor was free of any dust; walls were hanged with exquisite paintings and certificates of sorts. There was the all too familiar awkward atmosphere that hung in the air and the same august presence on the opposite side of the large professional table that seemed to make the room too crammed despite the fact that there were only two of them.
A knot formed inside her stomach but she refused to acknowledge it. And she refused to be intimidated by the person she once respected and looked up to as a father.
"I've heard what happened on you first week," he started, his disappointment unspoken but clear as day to her. He just came back from his business trip. It was even a miracle that he asked his disgrace of a daughter's presence to be summoned as soon as his plane landed on the airport. She should have known it would just be another scold, not that she's asking for him to care for her or anything, but a simple 'How was your first day?' would have sufficed. "You got into trouble again."
He's not really looking at her and more engrossed in the paper works atop his table. It was irritating, but she's used to it.
"Tch. As if my well-being concerns you," she bit back as she crossed her arms, feeling rather bored standing while he was comfortably sitting in a leather swivel chair.
He snapped his gaze at her.
"Rin," he said her name like vile stuck in his throat. She hated it when he pronounced her given name. He made it sound like a sin. "You're my daughter."
"Oh, is that so?" she raised her eyebrow. "You should remind me more often."
"How dare you speak like that to me?" the man asked in a low voice.
Rin looked at him emotionlessly, the admiration and respect long gone from her eyes. "Look, I don't think this conversation is working out for either of us. I have things to do and it's obvious that you have, too. So let's stop dancing around and just get to the point. What do you want?"
His eyes sharpened into slits but Rin was way past folding every time he intimidated her so she met his eyes head on; black clashing with black for domination and neither was backing down. He gnashed his jaws, and then sighed. "Fine. I want you to meet up with someone. I've already set the time and place so all you had to do is show up and behave."
Rin caught herself when she almost choked with her own saliva. Almost. "You've got to be kidding. You mean you set me up on a date?" she asked after a burst of humorless laughter.
"Exactly." He didn't even flinch at the absurd way she said it.
"No." She flat out answered. She had enough of this conversation. "You can't just—"
"Enough! You will go through with this engagement,"he grounded out with finality, authority dripping from his tone. "I am your father, Rin—"
"What? No!" she cut him off with an angry snarl. Not this again. It's five years ago all over again. She took a deep calming breath and glared at him with no regards at his squared jaw. She won't let him; not again. "Let's just stop this. Let's pretend that we didn't have this conversation 'cause none of us are getting anything from it. We didn't meet; I didn't see you, you didn't see me. So I'll be leaving now."
She faced back and headed for the door. How she wanted to get out of that room.
"Young lady! Don't turn your back on me!"
"I can't but you can? How is that fair?" she sputtered, glaring back at the eyes that looked so much like her own. Drawing the saliva that had been making her mouth tacky since she'd entered the room, she spat it at his scarlet carpet. She could almost feel the cringe in his face at her behavior. She didn't care though. She just wanted to show him that she at least learnt something from all those years that she'd been a delinquent.
Smirking at the smudge she made at his carpet, she crossed her arms. "And if you had any more things to tell me, just send your assistant like you always do. It'll save you the inconvenience of talking to someone like me."
Saying that, she slammed the door close.
She knew this wasn't over. He always found ways to get what he wanted, by hook or by crook. He's a twisted man who destroyed enemy companies and sold the broken pieces to others as a job after all.
He's a business magnate. She had admired it once upon a time, how he could manipulate a conversation and turn it to his favor with just a word from his tongue. And she would never forget that there was actually a time that she had wished she would grow up like him.
She was an attention whore when she was a child, reason why she had tried to reach his and his wife's expectation too many times to count for the first ten years of her life. She was an achiever, a warrior, a prodigy. She excelled in everything she set her mind to. But everybody has a breaking point and he drove her to hers.
She realized that he wanted her to be a doll encased in glass and be sold out at the right price when the time has come. She's nothing but another business deal to him. Hell, he even had the nerve to set her up on an arranged marriage with one of his business partners' son before she was even born, and then nullify it just to arrange another when she turned eight for the sake of a few more coins.
Her own father. What kind of father would do that to his own daughter?
Then again, he's not exactly a conventional man.
Her father had taken to calling her personally three times a couple of days after their encounter. She should be glad he's finally giving her the attention that was fifteen years way overdue but she felt nothing in her heart but contempt and disgust. He'd been spouting threats about cutting her allowance, hiring her guards, and grounding her inside the barren, cold structure he called home for the rest of her life when she refused to concede at his attempts to intimidate her. Pathetic, really, such far lengths a man of power would sink just to get what he want.
He was even more pushy today. The old man might be expecting her to willingly answer her phone if he called enough times, reason why she put her phone on vibrate mode instead. She purposely left it on, just to piss him off more by letting him realize that she did receive his calls and was not answering any of it.
Maeda Rin smirked as she walked out of the darkness, a few cuts and angry bruises marking her arms concealed under her hoodie and her left little finger was dislocated. It hurt like a bitch but it was more than she could handle. She hissed when the bone clicked in place with a tug from her left hand, snapping the cartilage back where it belonged.
The stupid jerks were bothering her when all she wanted was to pass by. They were bullies and perverts; they should have known they were messing with the wrong girl. The ten or so conceited, territorial, egotistical punks were now lying face first on the snow with a few of their bones broken. Serves them right for underestimating a girl.
Using her left hand, she flipped her phone open and dialed an emergency line.
"This is the Tokyo Police Department. What can I do for you?"
"I saw a commotion at the alleyway five blocks east of Seirin High. Please, you need to send some help," Rin practiced the fake secretive, panicked whispering she'd always done whenever she faced a similar situation. Kami knows she'd been in enough times to know what to do. Those guys might be weaklings and evil incarnates but she knew that they don't deserve to wake up with frostbite numbing them and their injuries unattended, or if they woke up at all. That's a kind of end she wouldn't like for herself.
"Thank you for your notification, miss. We'll send our officers there immediately."
"Alright," she replied before hanging up. She couldn't risk them asking who she was.
She licked her broken lip and wiped the slight blood that spilled from the wound on her brow like everything was peachy, before trudging on to the nearest fast food chain which happened to be Maji Burger. Awesome, she thought. She loved Maji Burger.
Rin had not gone to school today. Reason? Because she felt like it. She faked a medical certificate using her awesome photoshop skills and sent it to the school. Good thing Seirin High ain't that thorough when dealing with excuses and Hyuga Junpei was too busy about his team's upcoming big match that he never noticed. Rin was careful to leave before he and his parents woke up and head straight to her room when she came back from her escapades. Not that she's avoiding them and her aunt and uncle were being neglectful, they just somehow trust Junpei's judgment when it came to her and refused to meddle with her life unless necessary. Her older cousin was actually more of her guardian than his parents were since the two adults knew she would never listen to them to save her life. And since he's too busy to babysit, well, as the old saying goes, "when the cat's away, the mouse comes out to play," or whatever it was.
Rin drew her hair tighter in its ponytail and slapped the caked dirt off her jeans after washing her face and hands inside the bathroom. Deeming herself a little bit more presentable, she pulled the hoodie up to slightly obscure her face and the obvious mess she looked, and then tried to look inconspicuous as she walked towards the counter. She ordered two large fries, ten burgers, a bottle of coke and three cups of chocolate ice cream—what? She's stressed; and it's called stress eating. Her frustration from three days prior was anything but gone even after she tried to beat it into other people's faces.
She paid her bill and sat at one of the corners of the restaurant to eat her meal. She was halfway done when someone cleared their throat. Rin looked up and found the intimidating red eyes of Kagami Taiga, a mountain of burgers on the tray he held. The hood seemed to have done its job perfectly because Split-brows didn't recognize her.
"Can we sit with you? The place is full," he said but sat down even before she could utter her permission. Rin raised an eyebrow when he waved at a tall blonde ordering in the counter.
"What the hell, Split-brows? I didn't agree to anything yet!" she spat, glaring at the redhead.
She hissed at the nickname. The Seirin basketball ace had pinned the nickname to her when he got fed up with her calling him Split-brows whenever she came to watch them practice. He reasoned that it fit her personality quite perfectly and she honestly couldn't oppose that but what irked her to no end were the stares she got from the other team members whenever they hear the two of them exchanging glares and insults. Koganei was especially irritating and she didn't like at all how Mitobe's eyebrows danced whenever he watched the two of them clashing on a verbal war. Riko was strangely encouraging, Junpei-nii pretended not to see, and Kiyoshi just laughed it off. They were annoying.
Damn, she might be violent but she's not naïve. She knew what was going on inside their brains but Split-brows' shallow mind seemed to evade the hint so he kept on calling her that. What an idiot. She refused to give him an edge though so she retaliated by baptizing him as Split-brows in her vocabulary, the other members be damned.
"What are you doing here?" he asked with an eye twitch.
Rin crossed her arms over her chest. "Eating. What do you expect? This place is a freaking fast food chain, dum-dum."
Anther eye twitch. "That's it. I'm changing—"
"Taiga, who's your friend?"
Rin's eyes shifted to a blonde American woman with the most beautiful sea green eyes under her pink-rimmed glasses. Her head was tilted to the side as she sized up Rin, one of her hand on her hips while the other held her tray. Split-brows grumbled before moving to a seat further in the table to give way to the woman.
"She's not my friend," he said under gritted teeth which earned him a smack behind his head, courtesy of his companion. Rin found amusement when his head thumped against the metal table, right beside his burger mountain. She decided then and there that she liked this woman. "Damn it, Alex! What the heck was that for?"
"For being an asshole!" the blonde retorted back, and then smiled at Rin. "Hi! Sorry about that. My name is Alexander Garcia but you can call me Alex."
"I'm Maeda Rin. Nice to meet you, Alex," she replied in a roughly accented English.
"You're a girl," Alex said, taken aback. She glanced at Split-brows who muttered something along the lines of 'I thought so too' sarcastically between munches. "Do you know each other?" she asked, gesturing at her and the red-head.
"Unfortunately," Rin answered for the two of them. "He's my classmate for three periods. And my detention buddy," she added with a wry smirk.
"That was one time, Hanabi. One freaking time."
Rin wrinkled her nose before gulping a scoop of ice cream. "My name's Maeda Rin, Split-brows. Get that through your thick head."
"And I'm Kagami Taiga, you dumbass. Now who's thicker between the two of us?"
"Whatever," she waved dismissively before popping a handful of fries inside her mouth. She cursed when the salty food grazed her busted lip.
"What's wrong?" Alex asked with concern.
Rin started when Kagami leaned on the table and reached for her hoodie. She paused at the horrified and concerned looks she received from the gaping duo when they finally got a closer look at her face. A spot on her forehead was surely starting to turn violet-ish, the small cut at the edge of her forehead had stopped bleeding but it still stung every now and then. Her jaw was bruised and her left inner cheek was bleeding. Rin moistened her lips nervously and winced when her tongue accidentally brushed her busted lip.
"I'm fine," she waved dismissively again before gobbling up her ice cream. Time for a strategic exit. Thankfully, her phone vibrated repeatedly; she got a call from someone. She'd award a cookie to someone who could guess who it was. "Oh, look! I gotta take this." She grabbed her phone as emphasis before pulling the hoodie back up her head. "And I'm really sorry Alex, but I guess I'm heading home after this. I hope we'll see each other again. Bye, Split-brows!" And she hightailed out of the place after bowing at the American woman and she along with Taiga couldn't do anything as the watched the hooded girl ran out of the restaurant.
Run hoped the circumstances were different, she wished that she could've stayed on that chair to bicker with the fiery red-head and chat with her new acquaintance. Things never went in her favor, and with the kind of life she chose to lead, it was kind of expected.
Mentally shrugging of her lame self-pity party, Rin chanced a glance at the name flashing on the screen of her phone and felt her mood plummet even further. Cold winter breeze whistled as it passed along the street, making the fringes hanging in front of her face dance and the crunches made by her shoes be momentarily shrouded. Rin contemplated her choices. Should she answer it or throw it at the nearby wall and completely stop her father's annoying attempts to threaten her into attending that stupid Omiai? Then again, maybe she could answer it, say something incredibly juvenile, and smash the phone on the wall anyway. She inwardly cackled at her idea. She could almost imagine his frown lines dipping significantly and the tick marks that would comically appear on his temples.
Rin forgot to stop herself and screamed bloody murder when a certain blue-haired phantom materialized in front of her vision. This earned quite a few looks from the other pedestrians and she felt her cheeks heat up in embarrassment. However, when her head finally registered the events, it was quickly replaced by exasperation. Yup, she's not that angry anymore whenever Kuroko just appears out of nowhere.
"You should stop doing that, Kuroko," she chided with a roll of her eyes. "One of this days, I'm more than sure one or another will get a heart attack."
"Hello, Maeda-san," he greeted in his usual monotonous Kuroko way, ignoring everything she said.
If she was herself two months ago, she might have pummeled him to death on the spot. Or maybe just jabbed his ribs or something. She doubt she'll critically hurt someone as lanky as this kid anyway.
"What are you doing here?" she asked, genuinely curious. She scanned him from head to toe, searching for his cute doppelganger dog. You know, just in case he hid it from the cold inside his clothes again like when they first met. "Where's Nigou?"
Rin felt a sense of déjà vu when his eyes trailed down the half-empty plastic cup of vanilla milkshake with the Maji Burger logo on its side held by his right hand that she had apparently failed to see to answer her first question.
"Aa," she let out dumbly. Odd, she was pretty sure she hadn't seen him inside the restaurant and Kagami said that it was already full. She mentally shook her head. Who's she kidding? This was Kuroko she's talking about; of course he'd go unnoticed.
Her second question was left unanswered when he reached out his hand and presented her a white handkerchief. She raised an eyebrow at this.
"You're hurt," he stated, his face still emotionless.
"I'm fine," she replied but she grabbed the hanky either way. She cautiously dabbed it on the stinging cut at her eyebrow then at her lip as she threw a look at her now still phone. She scoffed. Her father was never known for his extensive patience; it was never his strongest suit but she would bet her life that he's far from giving up. If there's something that matters most to him, it was his pride. He would not risk his dignity by canceling the Omiai, not when it would damage his precious pride.
"What's wrong, Maeda-san?" Kuroko asked with a tilt of his head.
Her lips quirked upwards at his concern. She would never admit it out loud but she was glad she didn't choose to take the homeschooling thing. Not just because it would limit her freedom and prevent her from her usual escapades but also because she got to meet new friends. Yes, for the first time in a very long while, she finally found people she could call her friends in the form of the Seirin Basketball Club. And she wished she could be a part of them even if she had to put a stop to fighting.
It was a very strange thought, her willing to give up her dangerous delinquent activities just to be accepted. Just to fit in. It had never mattered to her before. As long as everyone around her left her alone and didn't get on her bad side she was quite tolerable but she could care less about their opinion of her. Somehow, it was different with Seirin. Sure, some of them weren't so forthcoming when it came to her and the three freshmen were just afraid of pissing her off to form an unbiased opinion of her but she knew that she would always be welcomed inside their rowdy circle. They were quirky, weird, and diverse personality-wise but they had each other's backs and treated each other like family. Something she'd always longed to have even when she was just a child.
"N-nothing," her voice cracked. She was just so emotionally exhausted.
"You should go to a hospital," he suggested, his brows slightly furrowing.
"I'm fine, Kuroko," she insisted. She was about to say something aggressive when her phone vibrated again. She gave the boy an apologetic look before decidedly flipping it open. "What?" she asked very impolitely at the speaker.
"Don't use that tone on me, Rin," her father grounded out from the other side of the line. She wrinkled her nose in disgust at the mention of her name from his lips.
"Oh, what? You just called to lecture me?" she sardonically replied. She glanced at Kuroko and made a face at him. He merely raised an eyebrow.
"Don't you dare start, young lady," he warned. She could almost feel the venom dripping from his voice. "I told you that resisting this engagement is futile. You will go to that dinner and face your betrothed or else - "
"Or else what?" she mocked him, "you'll pull me on your knees and spank me like a four year old? Don't make me la - "
"I've heard you're quite settled in your new school, my daughter." It was like a spit at her face; he was taunting her. "What was it called, Seirin Private High School? I've heard it was such a young pristine institution. Such financially unstable place."
Ring's eyes narrowed. "You wouldn't."
"Oh, but I would. You knew better than to defy me, Rin. I am your father."
When she didn't bother for a snide remark, the man continued, "I shall send a few people a day after tomorrow. I know how incompetent you are in behaving like a lady of your stature or looking remotely close to one. A disgrace for the Maeda bloodline. Do fail to disappoint me, Rin." And he hung up.
Minutes after the conversation had ended, Rin still stared at the contraption on her hand like it was something from outer space. She was shocked. He had threatened to target her school. He had threatened to take a place she'd grown attached to. She knew more than anyone that he would make good on that threat if she still insist her side and refuse to attend that stupid date. That vile, evil man would stop at nothing to get whatever he want. He's so appalling.
"Maeda-san," she heard Kuroko's impassive voice call out to her but she was not listening.
The hand that held the phone shook. The intensity of her grip increased.
If she hadn't become attached. If she had not made friends, would it still matter? Back on her previous schools, she wouldn't bat an eye even if it was suddenly declared to close down or if that institution was to be demolished. She wouldn't care even when they shunned her; she would bare her teeth and snarl at them, cursing them till kingdom come but still, she would go on with her life as if nothing had happened.
However, the thought of making Seirin High miserable because of her made heart twinge guiltily, if not really ashamed. What would Junpei-nii say if he ever found out? What will happen to the Basketball Club? They were doing an awesome job this Winter Cup and she would hate to take them away from something they loved to do. And their next match would be the day after tomorrow, exactly the same date as her dinner with the stranger.
"Maeda-san." Kuroko was still trying to get her attention but Rin was too far gone in her thoughts.
She was berating herself for being weak, for showing emotions. She should have known he'll target her right where he knew he'll get a reaction. It's all their fault. They shouldn't have welcomed her. They should have kicked her out of the school more than a month ago.
Rin took a deep breath to calm herself. She reminded her self no to bite her inner cheek or her lips before pocketing her phone.
"You are upset," Kuroko said when she finally looked at him. It was nothing but a obvious statement but it irked Rin. Maybe it's the way he said it, or the way he kept unnerving her with his ever emotionless stare. It wasn't cold, his stare, just that, emotionless if not a bit comforting.
"I'm fine," she said for the nth time this evening. She looked directly in his eyes and made up her mind. She held out the bloodied soft cloth to him, feeling embarrassed that she had soiled his handkerchief although he was the one who offered. Kuroko took her hand in his and closed her palm on the folded handkerchief.
"You can keep it," he said. The corners of his lips slightly turned up, a very miniscule change from his usual facade but Rin burned it into her memory, a smile taking over her own lips.
"Thank you," she said sincerely. Her eyes wandered around. "It's getting late."
"I see. Do you want me to walk you home, Maeda-san?"
She smirked at that. "I think I can take care of myself, but thanks for the offer anyway," she haughtily answered. He blinked obliviously at her snide at his physical prowess. She inwardly chuckled. "Well, see you later, Kuroko."
With that, she continued her way back to the Hyuga household, the plain white cloth clutched inside her palm as if her life depended on it. She had made her decision and bar the moment she stood up to her father and packed her things, she felt like it was the best decision she would ever make.
It was a small sacrifice she was willing to give. Besides, she's a delinquent; there's nothing she couldn't handle.
A/N: Again, I apologize for the late update. I know I stated that this chapter was supposed to be about Seirin against Yosen but I'm trying to pick up the story. Like I said, I forgot this story's plot ssince i don't usually write things down. I want to develop the OC's character first and get a general gist of where I originally want this to go about less than a year ago. Regardless, I really appreciate that you read this story. Thank you. Please leave a review and tell me what you think. I would be heaps grateful!