Basket One: Life Goes On
A clash of pain and a brief sensation of falling before crashing into the ground and sliding on the cold, hard floor made Kuroi grunt. The black haired, purple eyed teen groaned and pushed herself up into a sitting position, taking a moment to move her arm in a circular motion. The pain diminished slowly as she turned to look at the fallen boy next to her, frowning.
"Kise! That was clearly my ball!" Kuroi snapped, rubbing her shoulder on which she had fallen on. She stood up and crossed her arms, staring down at the blond before her.
Kise pouted up at her and shook his head, "Nah-uh. It was being passed to me, Yasuhirocchi! You just decided to get in my way." He added in, childishly sticking his tongue out. Kuroi huffed and offered her hand, pulling the blond up onto his feet.
"Not true." She muttered, wiping the drops of sweat that rolled down the side of her face. "Next time, don't jump when I jump, okay? Then we won't have a mid-air collision."
"How about you don't jump when I jump?" Kise scoffed, turning around to hide his growing smirk. Kuroi snorted, "Please–" She started, only to get cut off by a quick swipe to the head.
"Ouch." The raven haired girl pouted, rubbing her head as she watched the very person that whacked her, smack Kise on the head, as well. "Kasamatsu, that hurt."
"That's Kasamatsu-senpai, while we're at school, brat." Kasamatsu said, reaching forward to ruffle Kuroi's short dark locks. He turned and grabbed the ball which had managed to bounce away from the idiot duo's collision and bounce off the wall – only to roll back to where they were standing, "Let's continue on with practice, everyone! We need to train hard for the Winter Cup!"
"Ehh…" Kuroi pouts as everyone else shouts a solid "Yes!" to their captain, Kasamatsu Yukio. "Ne, Kasamatsu-senpai, do you think we have a good chance of winning the Winter Cup?" Kuroi asked, following Kasamatsu's change of topic.
"Of course," Kasamatsu replied, smiling down at Kuroi. Kuroi stared silently for a moment before returning the smile. "The great thing about Kaijou is everyone looks out for each other and we all support each other. You should know this by now, Kuroi."
"Senpai, it's Yasuhiro while we're at school. However, I'll also accept brat." The purple eyed girl added cheekily, not missing the way Kasamatsu's eye twitched when she spoke. "Anyway! I'm gonna switch with Moriyama-senpai because I need to go use the bathroom." Kuroi spoke, tagging out for Moriyama, who just so happened to be passing by.
Kasamatsu nodded, telling everyone to pick up their pace as he threw the ball to Nakamura. Kuroi walked over to the bench and grabbed her water bottle, taking a long sip of the ice cold water. She put it back down, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand and spinning around, making her way to the locker room as it had the closest bathroom to the gym.
The raven haired girl stopped in front of the door, staring blankly up at the clear-as-day male sign that was screwed to the door. She shrugged and entered, making her way past various bags scattered around the locker room and for the row of toilets located near the back. She walked past the man-toilets and into the one that had actual doors on it, thankful for the privacy provided.
After Kuroi did her business, she walked out of the stall and washed her hands, drying them off in the air-dryer. She tilted her head, staring at her reflection in the mirror. 'My hair grew a bit…' She thought, wiping her hands on her shirt before reaching up to brush a few strands out of her eyes. Kuroi sighed as she inspected herself, frowning. 'Should I trim it? Or just let it grow out? I mean, I have to stop pretending to be a guy eventually.' With another sigh, the purple eyed girl turned and made her way out of the locker room, slowly heading back for the bench. She sat down, figuring she might as well stay out since there were only a few minutes remaining of the final quarter.
The current mock-game that was going on seemed to have gotten more intense since she had left, with Kasamatsu's team in the lead. Kasamatsu's team included himself, obviously – Kise, Nakamura, Kobori, and herself (although she had subbed out with Moriyama). The other team had Hayakawa, as well as Genji, Akio, Keisuke, and Hotaka. Kasamatsu's team had a lead of 12 points against the others, and was steadily rising. Kuroi smiled as she watched them play, Kasamatsu yelling at them to move faster and play harder, pushing them just enough but not too hard. Kasamatsu really is a great captain; Kuroi understood why their coach had made Kasamatsu take on such a big responsibility. It was exactly that reason – he was responsible, he knew when something was wrong, he knew everyone's limits and how far they could stretch their abilities, he made some pretty fearful but great training regimens that fit with everyone's specific needs. It made Kuroi so very happy, grateful and proud that she could call someone like that her friend, senpai, captain, and boyfriend.
Before she knew it, the horn blared, signaling the end of the game. Everyone was smiling, talking and sweating, making Kuroi feel just a tad bit envious. She pouted as she watched Kasamatsu ruffle Kise's hair, the blond practically beaming as bright as the sun itself from being praised. They came to where she was sitting, Kise falling with a loud thud onto the bench, nearly knocking it over at the same time. "Yasuhirocchi, did you see my cool dunk?"
"Super cool." Kuroi commented, smirking.
"I know!" Kise grinned, picking up his bottle to chug a decent amount of cold water. He pulled it away and gasped for air, wiping the stray drops of water with his shirt. He then proceeded to use his shirt to wipe up all the droplets of sweat. "Senpai, do you wanna do karaoke with me, Yasuhirocchi, and the others after school?" The golden eyed first year asked.
Kuroi cocked her eyebrow, "Since when did I say I'd go with you?"
"Ehh, but it's team bonding!" Kise whined, tossing his water bottle up into the air. "Plus, you owe me from last time." He threw in, smiling a bit too innocently.
"Fine," Kuroi said, fighting the urge to flick Kise's head. "But senpai has to come to!" She quickly added as she laughed at the face Kasamatsu made. She watched Kise throw his bottle up in the air again, only for it to be caught by Kasamatsu on its decent.
"Alright, just this once," Kasamatsu agreed, "But afterwards I need to go home and study. You two should be doing your homework, anyways."
"Yes, senpai." Kise and Kuroi both replied. Kasamatsu then told everyone to get ready to go run some laps, since that was what they were going to end practice with. Everyone shouted their response and began to make their way out into the track field. Kise hopped up from the bench and dragged Kuroi along with him, nearly making the two trip over themselves.
"Watch it, Kise. Jeez." Kuroi snorted, staring down at her shoes.
Kise simply laughed, "Sorry, Yasuhirocchi!"
As soon as practice ended, Kuroi and the others all headed to the usual karaoke bar they frequented. Their large group split into two and went into the two booths that were right next to each other. Kuroi chose to stay with Kasamatsu, as did Kise, Kobori and Moriyama. Chitose appeared to have a hard time deciding which group to join but in the end he followed after their captain, much like a stray puppy.
Keisuke stuck his tongue out at Akio before trudging in after Chitose. Hideki followed after Keisuke, ignoring how Akio flipped off his spiky, silver haired friend with a smirk. The remaining third, second and first years flooded into the other room, talking amongst themselves.
Back in the first room, Kuroi watched Kise practically jump onto the sofa only to collapse the closest to the karaoke machine. She turned her gaze to the microphone stand and arched her eyebrow, randomly remembering the one time Kise and her managed to convince Kasamatsu to sing one song. It was a glorious battle they won that day; getting to hear Kasamatsu's adorably shy singing voice. The black haired girl smiled fondly at the memory of her boyfriend, not exactly paying attention as she went to take a seat next to Kise. She tripped over her own foot and yelped as she smacked into the blond, who in turn cried out in surprise as he was taken to the ground.
"Yasuhirocchi! That hurt!" Kise grumbled, sitting up and rubbing his head.
Kuroi groaned and pushed herself up. "Sorry, but it wasn't like I planned it." She shot back, cheeks heated from the embarrassment of her own clumsiness.
"It's okay~!" Kise hummed out, standing up and charging for the small stage which the microphone stand stood upon. "I take this opportunity to go first!"
"Of course you do." Kuroi said, sitting down. She glanced to her side as Kasamatsu sat next to her, looking at something on his cellphone. The purple eyed female looked back at Kise as he scrolled through a large list of popular songs. He chose an English song, by a band called Fall Out Boy. The model began to sing the lyrics, his English surprisingly good, for being what everyone referred to him as: an idiot.
As soon as Kise finished his song, he happily sat back down, sighing happily. "I wish it could be like this forever." He commented quietly, more to himself. Kuroi, however, heard him and she stared at him for a moment before looking away. "Yeah…" She agreed, starting to feel sad as she realized as soon as they were done with the Winter Cup, the third years would graduate and go on with their life.
As if sensing her mood spiraling, Kasamatsu put his cellphone down and ruffled her hair, making Kuroi blink in surprise. "Senpai?" She asked, tilting her head at him questioningly. "Did you want to sing?" Kuroi asked, sounding hopeful.
Kasamatsu snorted, pushing her head lightly, "You wish." He stated, making Kuroi pout. "Why don't you sing?"
"Ehh…" Kuroi looked up at the stage which she only now just realized was being occupied by Moriyama. "Maybe later…" She mumbled softly, glancing back down at her lap. Kuroi could feel Kasamatsu's gaze boring into her and she slunk down in his seat, resisting the urge to laugh awkwardly or to tell him that nothing was wrong – especially when he already knew something was wrong.
"Are you going to tell me or do I have to give you a new training regimen?"
"D- Don't be hasty, senpai." Kuroi looked at him warily, not wanting to receive yet another training regimen from hell. "I guess I'll tell you… Only because I want to and not because I'm avoiding doing more work."
"Uh-huh…" Kasamatsu nodded, sounding completely convinced, with that small smile on his face. Kuroi returned the smile automatically, happy to see her boyfriend's smile, but it soon dropped as she thought back to why she was sad in the first place. "Well… I'm just sad that you're all going to be leaving us this year… I mean, I guess I always knew it from the beginning, but now that your third year is almost over, I'm only just realizing it now." Kuroi voiced her thoughts, eyes glued to the table.
Kasamatsu hummed, shifting in his seat. "I'm sad, too." He started, leaning into the soft cushioning of the sofa. "At the same time I'm also happy."
Kuroi looked up at Kasamatsu and nodded slowly, "I get that. You get to go to university and do adult things."
"What adult things would those be?"
"I dunno… Watch late night television and drink coffee?" Kuroi giggled, dodging the elbow that came her way. "Coffee is too bitter by itself, though." She added, frowning at the memory of when one of Kise's sisters made her drink it.
"Don't worry; I'll also have a ton of studying to do, as well as practicing and not to mention having to keep in touch with the idiot over there." Kuroi laughed at that, secretly wondering how Kasamatsu always managed to make her happy when she was sad. "A- And I'll miss you… of course."
"… Senpai, you're so cute!" Kuroi giggled, hugging Kasamatsu's arm. The raven haired male jolted from the sudden attack of affection but soon relaxed and leaned into her hug. "Just don't cheat on me." She added in a teasing tone, despite knowing that Kasamatsu was the type who would not do such a thing.
As expected, Kasamatsu scoffed. "I would never." He stated, giving Kuroi a knuckle sandwich, making her whine. He shook his head and instead ruffled her hair once again, making Kuroi swat at his hand. "Who would want to cheat on you anyway?" He asked. "If anyone ever did, you'd be sad at first and then you'd punch them in the face."
"Pssh, I wouldn't punch anyone, senpai." Kuroi said, feigning innocence. "How could you say such a thing, to your girlfriend, no less?"
Kasamatsu rolled his eyes, "So it wasn't you who punched that one girl that said horrible things to Kise three weeks ago?"
"… Hey, I know you wanted to punch her, too."
"Not one bit." Kasamatsu shook his head.
"You just didn't do it because you're a guy."
Kasamatsu retorted, "You were dressed as a guy and you still hit her."
"She deserved it!" Kuroi huffed in defense, crossing her arms over her chest, "Even if I did get detention for a week." The purple eyed teenager added slowly.
"Are you two done with your weird flirt-fight?"
Kasamatsu looked at his friend oddly, "Flirt-what?" He questioned, not liking where Moriyama was taking this.
"Flirt-fight." Moriyama grinned. "Anyway! If you're done, we all voted to go and get pizza!"
"Pizza!" Kise shouted, putting on a thick, obviously fake Italian accent.
"Wow." Kuroi snorted, pushing Kise away from her. "You're horrible." She chuckled as the blond also laughed, unabashed by being shoved playfully, or by his horrible accent.
"It's Kise's treat, by the way."
"Haha, yeah!" Kise paused, falling silent, "Eh?"
Kuroi greeted her parents by the time she returned home. Her father smiled at her while her mother looked at her, both worried and irritated at the same time. "Where were you? I thought you said you'd be back after school."
"After practice," Kuroi corrected, only to wince from the look her mother gave her. "We all ended up hanging out afterwards. Kise even bought everyone pizza, much to his… displeasure." She chuckled.
Kayate pursed her lips and nodded, "Just be sure to tell us next time, okay, sweetie?"
"Sure, mom." Kuroi gave her mother a kiss on the cheek, knowing she would want one. "I'll be in my room!" The black haired girl announced, jogging up the stairs. Once she was in her room, Kuroi sat on her bed, feeling exhausted. She yawned and lay there, staring up at the ceiling as she thought of how her mom was acting, now that she was pregnant. Kayate's mood swings were quite bad; at least that was what Kuroi thought. But apparently they were not as bad as when Kayate was pregnant with Kuroi, according to her father. But the over-protectiveness could turn into anger in a split second, or sadness and disappointment could turn into happiness and pride. It was as if her mother was a whirlwind of sensitive emotions that was ready to spin out of control at any given moment. Dealing with that was hard but worth it, in the end because of a new member the three got to welcome to the family.
The basketball playing girl blew a piece of her hair out of her eyes and smiled softly, wondering if her new sibling was going to be a boy or a girl. Either way, she was surely going to teach him/her basketball when they were old enough. 'Maybe they will be a prodigy. ' Kuroi thought as she laughed to herself. The girl stifled a yawn and decided to begin her homework, knowing that her mother would be asking about it later on.
Kuroi sat at her desk, pushing her laptop out of the way and dumped the contents of her bag in front of her. She sifted through the notebooks and textbooks, stopping when she pulled out a double-sided worksheet for math. Kuroi glared at the page but wanted to get it over with, so she started working on it.
Halfway through, a soft knock on the door pulled her from her confused state and Kuroi looked at her door. "Yeah?" She called, clearing her throat a moment later as she managed to hold back another yawn.
"Are you hungry?" Kayate asked, holding a plate. "I made some cookies." She smiled softly, walking into Kuroi's room and putting the plate on her desk. Kuroi blinked and stared at the chocolate chip cookies. "Thanks." She stated, taking one and chomping it.
"You're welcome, honey. Just be sure to get plenty of rest, alright? I heard you and your father talking the other day that you have a practice match coming up, right?"
"Oh, yeah," Kuroi replied lamely, nearly forgetting about the practice match Kaijou was going to have against another school that was close by. Kuroi could not remember the name of the school, for the life of her, but she supposed it was because they did not matter in her eyes. "Don't worry, we'll win for sure." Kuroi spoke, grinning.
Her mother nodded, gazing around her room before sighing softly, "Kuroi, you do know that you can't… do this… forever, right?"
Kuroi halted, staring down at the cookie in her hand, "What do you mean?"
"I mean, you can't be… you can't pretend to be a boy for the rest of high school. I know you're only doing it because you love the sport and your team so much, but… You need to grow up and when you enter your second year, it's going to be as a girl."
"… I know." Kuroi mumbled, putting the cookie back on the plate. She has thought about it, and her mother was right (although Kuroi thought she was grown up enough). The basketball player knew that she should fix everything by her second year, but that was still months away. "For now, I'm just going to concentrate on playing with my friends, especially since all my senpai are going to be graduating soon." Kuroi stated simply, adding in, "O- Of course I'll also work on my studies." She laughed awkwardly at the firm glare her mother gave her.
Kayate nodded, pleased, and turned around and marched back to the door. "Kuroi, I'm glad we had this discussion and I'm glad you understand. Good night, sweetie."
"'Night, mom." The black haired girl held her smile as she watched her mother leave her room. Once the door closed, Kuroi groaned and leaned back in her swivel chair, spinning around slowly. She stared at the ceiling and sighed. Kuroi mumbled, "And so life goes on…"
KasaHiro is love. KasaHiro is life.
Sooo, I also just wanted to say that if anyone is reading this, and they haven't read the first story "Hidden Beauty", it may not make much sense, but you can continue to read if you still like it :D It'll make me happy~ But I'll be much more happy if you check out Hidden Beauty, as Shrouded Radiance is the sequel to it.
One last announcement! If you can't get enough Kuroi (I know I can't, seriously), then I'd love it if you could check out PumpkinDreamer's Kuroko no Basket story! It's called "Akademīenjeru", and it has Kuroi, as well as other OC's in it!
Thanks for reading!