Author's note: This is another drabble of Hyuuga Junpei. Nothing much about basketball - just an ordinary day... or is it?

Disclaimer: I don't own anything.


It was a Friday afternoon. The popular cafe near the school was bustling with students who dropped by for a cup of coffee, and a small snack. The part-timers just arrived from school, and busily donned their hats and aprons, getting ready to serve the customers.

Two high-school students walked in - a girl and a boy. The girl quickly looked around and spotted a table for two in the very corner. The last unoccupied seats. She gave the boy a light shove as she handed her bag to him with a huge grin. Sighing, the boy shoved his way through the long line of cusromers just in time to grab the table before someone else came.

Pushing up his glasses, Hyuuga Junpei opened his book bag and fished out some notes while he waited for Aida Riko to bring two cups of coffee. Even with all the customers, she arrived pretty quickly with their order.

"A latte for me, and a cappuccino for you." She said as she placed a cup in front of him. He stared at the white heart-shaped foam on top of the brown coffee. Latte art on cappuccino?

"Did you ask for this?" He pointed at the art, and Riko laughed.

"No - maybe the part-timer thought I was the one who'd drink that." And sure enough, a young man in an apron was caught her sight and grinned.

"Good luck." Hyuuga muttered as he opened his notebook.

"Nah, I don't like boys who don't exercise regularly. Just scanned his arms, and he's going to need more than 50 push-ups a day." She replied casually as she took a sip. "Now, did you do your homework?"

He handed his draft of homework to Riko, and she read it carefully while he stirred his coffee. Hyuuga always ordered a cappuccino whenever they were at a cafe, and the reason was because he liked the milky foam. Unlike whipped cream, the foam would stay for a long time, and even more than an hour if it was cold. It also tasted better than cream. Whipped cream was too sweet for him. Cappuccino foam, on the other hand, was bitter, a little savory, and very very smooth.

He found it similar to basketball. How the ball would move across the court and swish into the net smoothly, and how the game was bitter, but savory at the same time. The two flavors did not clash, and mixed well into a nice hot -

"Date?" A friendly drawl piped up. Hyuuga felt irritation kick in as a large guy pulled a spare chair and sat next to him, sipping a fruit juice from a paper take-out cup. Clutching his own chair, he moved away.

"Oh, hello, Kiyoshi." Riko said indifferently. "We're just doing homework. Although Hyuuga is doing okay, he's still around the middle range. So I thought his grades should get better than now, just to be safe."

"Ah, yes. The captain shouldn't miss any games." Kiyoshi chuckled. "Though, didn't you say Kagami was the worst? I thought you said he even scored zero on a test?"

"He IS the worst." Riko sighed as she marked a few mistakes on the homework. "But he got a special pencil that makes him really lucky when taking exams, so we don't have to worry."

"Maybe I should borrow that from him for my next exam..." Kiyoshi said thoughtfully as he picked up the cup of cappuccino on the table and drank it. Sputtering, he put it down.

"Hey, it's too bitter!" He said. "What is this, black?"

"That's MY coffee." Hyuuga said, annoyed. "And it's a cappuccino, if you haven't heard of it."

"I know well enough what it is. But still, how do you drink this stuff? I'll go add some syrup for you."

"No, DON'T!" Ignoring Hyuuga's protest, Kiyoshi picked up the cup and went to change the flavors to his taste. Riko shook her head before giving Hyuuga his homework.

"I checked the mistakes you made. You're using the same formula throughout the whole page, and I can see that you've had a hard time with that. I suggest you make some changes and use different methods."

"But I solved the quizzes just like I studied in the textbook." He grumbled.

"Studying is like basketball. After you learn the basics, you change positions and poses to get and shoot the ball in the best way that's right for you. Formulas are not different - it's like paraphrasing. Look at your homework, and try to apply it your own way." Riko said a-matter-of-factly.

Kiyoshi returned with Hyuuga's cup of coffee. "Did I miss anything?" He asked as he placed the cup in front of Hyuuga.

"You're getting in the way." He replied as he glanced at the cappuccino. The foam was gone, and all he could see was a light brown liquid that was filled up to the brim.

"Go on, try it. It'll taste better." Kiyoshi offered as he picked up the spare chair and returned it to its original table. "Enjoy your date." He drank the last drop of his fruit juice before throwing it into the recycling bin.

"Bye." Riko waved as the large guy left the cafe. Hyuuga picked up the cup, and decided to give it a try. He paid for it anyway. The moment he swallowed a mouthful, Riko saw his expression change and realized that Kiyoshi must have added too much syrup...

"Whoops - clutch time." The girl picked up her things and scurried out of range to avoid a loud "KIYOOOOSHIIIIII!" from a raging glasses boy. She dashed out of the cafe before Hyuuga. Spotting Kiyoshi just a block ahead, she went and tapped him on the shoulder. When the large boy looked around, he could see a blur of fire behind the smiling girl.

"Good luck." She said as she stepped aside. The last thing Kiyoshi saw was Riko with thumbs-up. And that was pretty much the last thing he remembered that day.


Hyuuga returned to his seat in the cafe, coughing and shuffling his study notes while everybody stared at him and exchanged whispers. He glanced around, and the customers looked away, falling silent momentarily before minding their own businesses.

His cup of coffee was still on the table. The too-sweet cappuccino was waiting for Hyuuga, but he picked it up, and went straight to the syrup stand where there was also a separate bin for throwing away leftovers.

That damn sweet-toothed guy was always everywhere, perhaps making it his number one priority to get Hyuuga irritated. Just now, Hyuuga had been enjoying his cappuccino just fine, until Kiyoshi poured syrup into it. The large boy preferred everything sweet - and perhaps thought life was similarly sweet. Like how he viewed basketball.

Hyuuga knew that Kiyoshi was aware that not everything could be sweet in basketball. Having fun was one thing, but there was always bitter times. Like when they almost lost him after Hanamiya Makoto used his dirty tricks to injure him severely. And even after that, Kiyoshi viewed basketball to be sweet.

Perhaps he was trying to tell Hyuuga that bitterness didn't have to belong in basketball. Just like how coffee didn't have to be bitter. Maybe Riko was right. He might have to change his perspective and see from different views.

Paraphrasing, was it? Shrugging, he drained the cup before returning it to the counter. Actually, too much sweetness was quite bitter.


Author's note: I used their names inconsistantly. I used Hyuuga and Kiyoshi's surname, but Riko's first name. I found Aida to be less girly, and Riko sounded more natural.

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