A/N:

=) I'm watching the rerun of Shohoku-Ryonan final four bout in our local network when I was writing this. I know, I know, I'm supposed to be studying for my finals, but… well… I'll do that later.

The setting of this story is AFTER the manga. Captain Akagi and Mitsui have now graduated, Miyagi is the new team captain, Rukawa and Sakuragi are now in second year, while Ayako and Haruko are the team managers.

Oh, the honorifics might be all wrong, but tell me and I'll fix it ASAP.

BTW, how much is twelve thousand yen (I pulled that figure from thin air)? =)

Hey, is my OC too Mary Sue?

Bluedetective, this one's for you. I edited it a little as per your suggestions.

Prologue:

There's a New Girl in Town

Miyagi Ryota wiped the sweat running down the side of his face with his left arm. His brows furrowed in concentration as the pace at which he dribbled the ball became faster.

"Try and get past me, shrimp!" The tall guy waving his arms inches from Miyagi's face snarled.

Miyagi winced at the nickname. He glared at his opponent. "Try and stop me,"

Tall Guy grinned mockingly.

Miyagi faked to the left, and Tall Guy unwittingly fell for it. Miyagi then drove to the right and ran to the basket. He then took off the floor, pushing with his right foot, a supposedly easy lay-up. Unfortunately, Tall Guy's teammate jumped up and tried to block the ball.

Miyagi couldn't suppress a grin. And the game is in the bag. He smirked as he passed the ball to his teammate.

His teammate easily caught the ball and slammed it into the basket.

Miyagi's and Tall Guy's teammate's feet hit the floor at the same time. Miyagi's teammate held on to the hoop, the backboard bobbing violently up and down.

There was a moment of silence before the crowd, who at had gathered impromptu to watch the two-on-two, cheered for the victors. 

Miyagi smirked and glared at Tall Guy. "You loose,"

Miyagi's teammate let go of the hoop and descended gracefully to the cemented ground, his right hand stretched out before him, fingers in a victory sign. "Nobody can beat the tensai! Ahahahahaha!"

Miyagi grinned at his redheaded teammate. He was relieved to know that Sakuragi's back was back to normal, and that his skills were as it were before his injury, if not better. And his personality didn't change, too.

"Nice game, Miyagi." A feminine voice called from the crowd. Seeing that the game was over, the crowd that had gathered immediately thinned as fast as they came.

Almost immediately, the seriousness was gone from the small captain ball's face, replaced by a bashful grin and a blush across his cheek. A very chibi Ryota sought out the source of the voice in the crowd and made his way over. "Did you see that, Aya-chan?"

Ayako hid a smile. Her younger brother informed her that there was a two-on-two basketball match being held in the public park, a team composed of a short guy and a redheaded giant was up against two college kids. Three guesses on who the short guy and the giant could be. She had immediately rushed to the courts, worried about Sakuragi's injury, but it turned out her worries were for naught. Sakuragi seemingly was back, better than ever.

"Ayako-san!" Sakuragi beamed at their team manager. "Ryochin and I totally beat these guys. They were nothing for basketball tensai, Sakuragi Hanamichi!" That proclamation was followed up by another heart-felt laugh.

"He's back," Ayako nodded in approval.

Before Miyagi could reply, a heavy hand tapped his shoulder.

Miyagi twisted around, and to his dismay, he saw it was Tall Guy.

"Miyagi?" Tall Guy asked. "Miyagi Ryota, the new captain ball of Shohoku?"

"What is it to you?" Miyagi asked disdainfully. I promised sensei I wouldn't fight anymore, he reminded himself. And Aya-chan would be very mad if I do something stupid like give these guys what they deserve.

"You cheated," Tall Guy told him.

"What?" Sakuragi exploded. "We did not! You sore loser!" Sakuragi advanced threateningly towards Tall Guy, his hands shoving the sleeves of his shirt to his shoulder.

Tall Guy suddenly turned very small as he held up his hands in self-defense. "No!" He protested. "I just meant that we didn't know that you were basketball players from Shohoku. And you're probably the tensai, Sakuragi Hanamichi, the next Michael Jordan! We didn't even have a chance the moment you stepped in the court, Sakuragi-sama."

Once again, Sakuragi laughed as Ayako and Miyagi sweatdropped.

Sakuragi patted Tall Guy on the back. "Nice to know that somebody recognizes talent around here!" He laughed.

"With you on the team, we'd never win. It was an unfair advantage." Tall Guy's teammate affirmed as he wiped his horn-rimmed eyeglasses on a corner of his jersey.

Sakuragi immediately stopped laughing. "They're right, Ryo-chin. It was unfair for such amateurs to match skills with a tensai like myself. It was like cheating."

Miyagi seethed, his rage held back by a calm Ayako. "Now, now, Ryota, temper, temper."

"I'll temper him, that turncoat!"

"Admit it, shorty, you'll never beat us without Sakuragi-sama," Tall Guy's teammate said, his eyeglasses gleamed when reflected by the afternoon sun (let's call him Glass Boy from this point on).

Miyagi's eyebrows ticked dangerously. First shrimp, now shorty. "I could wipe the court with the two of you with two hands tied behind my back," Miyagi hollered.

"So how about it?" Tall Guy asked Miyagi.

"How about what?" Miyagi demanded through gritted teeth.

"A rematch?" Glass Boy asked. "And this time, you wouldn't be able to hide behind the basketball genius."

"Let's make it double or nothing," Tall Guy added.

"Double or nothing?" Ayako repeated. "Ryota, you didn't bet on this basketball game, did you?" Where is my paper fan when you need it?

"Eh?" Miyagi turned to her, once again turning chibi, scratching his head. "Aya-chan,"

"Ryota!" A loud voice interrupted whatever it was Miyagi was saying. A tall, wiry girl was running towards the court, waving her arms wildly for attention ran towards them, her brown-black hair, which was in pigtails, bouncing in step with her gait.

"Mai-chan?" Miyagi frowned.

"Ryota! I was looking all over for you!" The girl frowned as she picked up her pace to reach her destination quicker. Unfortunately, the shoelace of one of her rubber shoes was untied, and she tripped on it.

"Mai-chan," Ryota groaned in exasperation as he caught her before she met the concrete hard.

The girl regained her balance quickly, bent her knees to catch her breath, and scratched her head, laughing in embarrassment.

Miyagi shook his head as he bent down to pick up the eyeglasses that the girl had dropped. He wiped it on his shirt before handing it to her.

Still laughing, the girl shoved the glasses up her nose and straightened up.

Ayako's mouth fell open. The girl, though about her age, was taller than any girl she knew. She was only three or four inches shorter than Sakuragi.

"What are you doing here?"

Glass Boy cleared his throat. "Quit stalling, Miyagi,"

Miyagi glared at him. "Alright. But let's make it triple or nothing." He smirked. "And to prove to you that I don't need the tensai to beat you guys, I'll take her as my teammate." He motioned towards the tall girl beside him.

The girl's face contorted in horror. "But it's too hot!" She complained. "Do you know what the afternoon sun can do to your skin? Plus, I just manicured my nails. Not to mention the concrete! If you trip and fall, it'll leave scruff marks that would take forever to disappear—"

"Mai," Miyagi turned to her. "Shut up."

The Mai-girl shot dagger looks at Miyagi. "Fine," she gritted out. But if something icky happens to my nails, you're going to pay for my manicure."

Sakuragi stood beside Ayako. "Do you think Ryo-chin knows what he's doing?"

Ayako shrugged. "How much money is at stake?"

"Well, originally we were up for twelve thousand yen. So triple that would be…" Sakuragi paused as he began counting with his fingers. "Forty thousand!" He said proudly.

Ayako sweatdropped.

"You are on, Miyagi," Tall Guy told him, laughing with Glass Boy.

"Ryota seems confident with his skills," Ayako told Sakuragi.

Sakuragi nodded as he crossed his arms. "A tensai like me would be able to pull it off."

"At least, they've got a height advantage," Ayako noted as she saw that though both of the college guys were taller than Miyagi, Mai was taller than the two.

Sakuragi walked up in the middle of the court. He had the ball tucked under one arm, Ayako's spare whistle around his neck. It was obvious that he intended to be referee. "Alright, half-court, team to make the first basket win."

Miyagi walked to the middle of the court. So did Tall Guy.

Mai laughed.

Miyagi turned around and glared at her. "What?" He demanded.

The girl winced at Miyagi's sour face. "You're doing the thingy where you jump up and tap the ball?"

"Yes, Mai, I'm doing the jump ball."

"But don't you have to be tall for that?"

"Maia," Miyagi gritted out.

Mai held up her arms. "OK, OK, just asking an innocent question, that's all." She placed her hands behind her head.

Tall Guy and Glass Boy grinned. This is going to be easier than they thought. Easy money, just like the original plan before Sakuragi stepped in. Tall Guy and Glass Boy, new freshmen college students at the local college (school was about to open in a few days), happened to walk by as Miyagi was practicing basketball by himself. Sensing easy money, the two challenged Miyagi in a bet, not knowing that the short guy was a varsity player. When Sakuragi walked by, Miyagi called unto him for the two-on-two.

But now, even if Miyagi were the best point guard in town, his teammate would definitely bring him down.

Tall Guy and Miyagi went face-to-face (or face-to-neck). Sakuragi dribbled the ball twice, blew the whistle before tossing the ball to the air.

Tall Guy easily swiped the ball towards Glass Boy.

Glass Boy dribbled it and ran towards the basket.

"Mai!" Miyagi shouted as he easily swatted the ball from Glass Boy.

The ball dropped neatly in Mai's hands. Tall Guy immediately ran in front of her. "Hello there, cupcake," he smiled lewdly.

Fire suddenly burned in the slender girl's eyes.

Miyagi smirked.

"You," dribble. "Did," dribble, dribble. "Not," dribble. "Just," dribble. "Call," dribble, dribble. "Me," dribble. "CUPCAKE!" Her head enlarged to comically large proportions.

Tall Guy covered his ears.

"She can be pretty loud." Miyagi whispered confidentially to Glass Face.

"I heard that!" Face contorted in anger, tiny veins popping up here and there, she glared at Miyagi and Glass Face.

"Didn't know she's got big ears too." Miyagi was now snickering, not heeding Impending Doom.

"That's it!" To punctuate her statement, Mai tossed the ball up and away. "You are so dead!" She screamed as she lunged at Miyagi. She had Miyagi by the shirt, choking him in the process, when a shrill whistle interrupted her. "What?" She demanded as she twisted around to glare at their referee.

"The ball went in," Sakuragi coughed. "Three points. Miyagi and the girl win."

Ayako and the rest of the boys face-faulted.

But for Mai, time seemed to have stopped as she gazed upon the tall redhead for the first time. "You," she gasped. "I finally found you!" She shouted as she tearfully glomped the tensai.

"Aaah!" Sakuragi screamed in panic in the tumble of arms and legs. "Get off! Get off! Get off!"

Ayako and Miyagi, who had stood up, now sweatdropped.

Miyagi strode purposely towards Sakuragi and Mai. He pried the tall girl away from Sakuragi, or at least, tried to. "Don't touch him, Mai. You'll catch germs. You don't where he's been."

"No!" Mai said obstinately. "I finally found what I've been looking for my whole life, I won't let him go again," tears started falling from her eyes.

"What on earth do you think you're doing?" Miyagi asked exasperatedly.

"Can't you see, Ryota?" Mai asked slowly.

"See what?" Miyagi demanded. "A red-headed baka? Sure I do."

Mai frowned. Sakuragi sweatdropped as he now found himself face-to-face with the strange girl. She seemed to be scrutinizing him closely. "You're right, he does look like a red-headed baka,"

Ayako sweatdropped. So did the two college kids. But boy, were things getting interesting.

"So, let go now." The command came from Miyagi.

"He may look like a red-headed baka." She repeated, pointedly ignoring Miyagi. "But he's my red-headed baka!" Her face broke into a grin.

"Don't call me that!" Sakuragi broke out violently.

"I finally found you! I love you, darling!" She then snuggled closer to Sakuragi, ignoring his protest. "By the way, what's your name?"

All the onlookers once again facefaulted.

TBC

P.S.

So, should I continue this or not?  ;)