Title: Chessmaster

Summary: Shinji and Takako in a twisted way of chess. AU, mangaverse.

Rating: T

Genre: General

The cold feeling of the water bottle against her palms did not calm her one bit. Instinctively, she looked at the scoreboard. Class B, their class, was ahead two points from current second-place Class D; but to her, they were ahead with just two points. She glanced at the man standing-or rather, awkwardly squatting-a few feet from her, breathing heavily. She kind of knew he was probably thinking about the same thing.

Takako walked slowly to the panting Shinji Mimura, the water bottle pressed cold in between her hands. The basketball game, which ended just ten minutes ago, was a very slow and hard-earned victory for them. She thought it would be easy; after all, they had the ace player on their team. But thanks to one Ishijima Kaoru, Class D could have won the match had that risky buzzer beater made by the ace himself missed the ring by a couple of millimeters.

"This might cool your head off," suggested Takako, offering the water bottle to her co-captain. He took it without saying a word.

She knew he was enraged. Shinji Mimura was not a competitive player; he was a self-acclaimed winner. He did not like losing as much as he did not like almost losing. While Takako thought this was a good mentality for their class, she was sort of scared at Shinji's display of cold calmness—eyes glinting on the sun fixated on some prey half across the field.

"We would win it," Takako said with assertion, but that did not even merit a single glance.

"Fucking two points. And he almost got it, almost fucking had it," spat Shinji, drinking from the water bottle clumsily that it got spilled all over his shirt.

Takako was about to say something to calm him down, but Shinji just took off his shirt, threw it over (some random girl caught it and Takako was disgusted) and started walking away.

"Now don't go mental on this Mimura," she started as Shinji's broad back still on her face, "a point is still a point which means as it stands, we have twice the advantage. We would win it."

He finally turned to her, shirt still missing. Takako made the effort to look away, but she did not. No time to reflect on her actions, fortunately as Shinji's stern voice brought her back.

"I know that," said Shinji, one hand raking through his sweaty hair. "That doesn't mean I still don't want to rip him to shreds with bare hands and offer it to a pigsty."

"Creative," said Takako with a sarcastic smile. "You can do that later and I might even offer some help. But for now, you need to focus."

He stared hard and unblinking at her, sweaty lean body out in the open, a water bottle clutched on one of his hands. It took a lot for Takako not to blush.

Nope, not good.

"…I didn't mean on my face."

Shinji's lips curved slightly and he finally stopped looking at her. She felt him glance at Ishijima again on top of her head as he went off to retrieve a shirt. The last race was about to begin.

Takako felt relieved. At least he was calmer now. If only she could somehow go and join in the last race; her sprinting skills would sure lead them to a glorious victory. Of course that would mean somebody's body might be found in the dumps the next morning, but that was none of her concern. Winning, with her as the captain, was all that really mattered.

Someone patted her head and she saw Shinji finally fully clothed, with his dangerous game face on. There were reasons why he was also appointed captain; it was his resolve, perseverance and ambition that drove the entire army of Class B to give their best and conquer.

"You're a good co-captain, Chigusa. You understand me. Do you even know what that means?"

The calmer he was the better. Takako mused, "That I'm an understanding person?"

He chuckled. "It means that we are perfect for each other." He winked.

Yes, he was definitely back to his old self.

All for the team, all for the win, Takako chanted in her head. She would let this one slide all for the team, all for the win.

"What a bright future for us then," she retorted back.

But before she could continue, the whistle blew and it was time to do the formation for the relay. Shinji stretched some more and handed Takako the water bottle back. For the last time, Takako wished she was able to participate, but she already participated in all of the games with the most number possible.

"And now I'm off, wife," Shinji said half-jokingly, gearing towards the line. Takako only stared at his retreating form.

Wife. While the word did not faze her or anything, she started walking towards the rest of the Class B people, sending all the luck and trust in the world she could gather to her predatory husband as the whistle blew and the race officially began.

People from every corner of the game arena were hooting and cheering as the race continued. Halfway through the relay, the real battle started; it had gone down to Class B and Class D as was expected. To everyone else who was aware, however, the real battle was the battle between Ishijima Kaoru and Shinji Mimura.

As far as Takako was concerned, she did not know what Kaoru did to piss Shinji severely. They were both prodigies in the basketball team, but Shinji was always ahead of Kaoru—in terms of talent, speed, and leadership. Even if they were to be compared on the physical level, body, face and built aside, Shinji would win by a landslide. The personality section, she was not exactly sure; but she thought all those points Shinji had would be enough for him to be decided as the better one. She did not really care.

But now that Kaoru was nearing at Shinji again for this leg, she was actually starting to care a little. If Shinji kept the advantage throughout the remaining meters of the leg, that would seal the victory.

He got there first with Ishijima arriving not long after. As they both read the instructions for the next leg, Takako's heart skipped a beat at the slightly panicked look on his face. Ishijima had gone off. Shinji was still not moving.

What was happening?

The next thing Takako knew, she was being carried bridal style in Shinji's arms as he ran in lightning speed. She was dropped off the next station a few minutes later, with all the other items being handed over to the next runner, Keita Ijima, and two of them (with Takako still clueless) both ran to catch up.

Needless to say, they won the race.

The celebrations were eventful and it was only then that it dawned on her that having her as an extra man was a big help to carry all the items towards the finish line. Not only that, she was an ace sprinter. Even with a bag of rice on her shoulders, Shinji must have trusted her skills enough to bag the trophy.

"To our captains, who led us all to this triumph!"

That was Shuuya Nanahara from the other end of the room, who raised a fake toast and to which the others obliged to. Takako gave them thumbs up, but when the people started shouting the stupid idea of a victory smooch, she frowned instantly.

"Don't be such a killjoy," teased Shinji, but he knew better and he only offered his hand in congratulations.

"I'm not, I just don't fancy kissing sweaty men," she said nonchalantly, but with a small smile she accepted his hand.

"Good job, captain wife."

"And as much as I'd like to kill you with that remark, dear husband, that was some kickass strategy down there, I must admit. Good job back at you."

Shinji was about to say something, but only manage to salute at her as he was whisked away by Yutaka and his other gang of idiots, probably to drink their souls to eternity.

"Good job, captain," said the running Hiroki, a big smile on his face. He hugged her tight. "I hope you know I am very proud of you."

Takako snorted. "Well, I'm pretty sure that was because I was able to handle Mimura when all of you guys thought we would kill each other before leading all your asses to victory."

"Or sail into happily ever after…"

"I don't really know where this whole teasing came from, Hiroki—"

"Sucks to be you then."

That appalled Takako. "Excuse me?"

Hiroki just stuck his tongue childishly at his bestfriend. "Nothing. At least now you know he's not really that bad."

"Are you trying sell him to me? Because that's stupid."

"No, I was just saying he wasn't that bad as you originally thought him to be!"

They were silent for a minute until Hiroki spoke again. "He wasn't, was he?"

"Nah, he was actually pretty good and smart, especially with that strategy on the last race."

Hiroki tapped his nose and instinctively and Takako smacked it away. "Strategy?"

"See Hiroki, you're good and all, but this is the reason why you don't run the business," Takako started looking all smug and continued, "Mimura put me in the race because one, I'm fast and two, instead of finding another thing to add to the collection that would only slow down the next runners, he put me inside the race so I'd be able to help carry the things because again, I'm fast."

Hiroki stopped walking.


It was Takako's turn to be confused. "I'm confused as to why you are confused?"

He resumed walking again, about to tap his nose but then thought against it. He tried to say something but he just shrugged.

"Never mind."

The next morning, Takako looked for Ritsuko-sensei, the person on Shinji's station on the last race.

"Congratulations, Captain Chigusa, leading your class to victory for the third time. Is there anything I can do for you?"

It was going to sound weird asking about it, but she was already there anyway so she went in for the kill.

"Uhm, can I look at the requirements per station for the last race sensei?"

She was handed the files for the last race, but not before Ritsuko-sensei giving her a side-eye. Takako was not bothered as she looked at the map and the contents of each station. Shinji was on third station, she remembered.

As she read the words on the paper handed to her husband co-captain a day ago, she felt her heart drop.

"Something you like."

Now, that was really some fucking strategy.


A/N: I'm just doing some fic dumps. Yeah, I'm trying to write again. There's this long plot in my mind right now, I just have to find the muse to write it. Hello reader. Also if the race wasn't so clear, uhm, for every station you have to get something that the station requires aka first station i.e. a big rock, and then you bring it to the next station where you also get something. So it's like accumulating something throughout the race. Ugh, I wish I explained that better. Thanks for reading though!