Author's Note: I decided to continue this story :) I felt so attached to Kiyoshi and Hyuuga, that perhaps they deserved a series. I don't know how long this will be, but I'll be sure to update when I can.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
Kiyoshi Teppei asked if Hanamiya Makoto's visit could be kept a secret from everybody else. He said he didn't want his teammates to worry. Reluctantly, Hyuuga Junpei agreed. Even though he was concerned about Kiyoshi, he also didn't want the rest of the team to sway. Makoto's last warning had been disturbing, and Hyuuga never quite forgot about it.
Days passed since the Bad Boy dropped by, and Kiyoshi kept on his duties as a normal student. He took classes as he should and practiced hard with the rest of the team. Aida Riko insisted on rehab and although he didn't want to take time off for that, he agreed to take a separate training schedule apart from the regular routine. His knee hadn't completely healed yet, and Riko wanted to lessen the damage he'd take when playing basketball. Every evening near the end of practice, they would stay in the gym and continue special muscle training, and finish with leg massages until her hands were raw.
Hyuuga often stayed with them, using his shooting practice as an excuse. He would glance at the two with concern as they were trying hard to make his knee more durable, which there was a limit to.
"We're done for today." Riko wiped her forehead as she helped Kiyoshi stand up from the mat. "Make sure you keep your feet warm. I know the weather's hot, but it's important not to let your leg muscles cold."
"And I shall listen, coach. Thanks." Kiyoshi patted her shoulder as he picked up his bag from the bench. "I'll see you tomorrow."
When Kiyoshi left the gym, Riko collapsed on the mat, fanning herself. "I'm beat." She muttered.
"I'm not surprised. Here, have some juice." Hyuuga tossed her a beverage can and sat next to her. "How is he?"
"He's – " Riko hesitated but continued talking after sighing sadly. "I don't know how much longer he'll be able to withstand. Although the doctors said he could play for one more year, I don't think he'll last that much. The most he can participate is in two championship tournaments, and whichever the latter is – he's not going to be able to play until the end."
Hyuuga nodded. "Not to mention he tends to overexert himself."
"I'm going to do everything I can to let him play as much as he wants." She said firmly, draining her can. "If I can't do it, then I'll have my dad do it. This is the least I can do to repay him for all he's done."
On the way home, Hyuuga thought about Riko's words. She was doing what she can to repay their Iron Heart.
But had he done anything? All he had done was complaining. All he had done was expressing that he hated the giant. He never even thanked Kiyoshi once, yet he when he tried to it had been too late.
It was all because of that Bad Boy. If Hanamiya Makoto hadn't injured Kiyoshi… But while Hyuuga felt anger towards the Crownless General of Kirisaki Daichi, he couldn't deny that Kiyoshi had told him that he had knee problems even before Makoto used his dirty trick.
Still, it could've been minor problems, and that Bad Boy had made that into a larger concern. The day when Makoto visited Kiyoshi reappeared in the back of Hyuuga's head, and he was determined to find out what exactly that Bad Boy wanted, and protect Iron Heart at all costs.
Even if it costed his life.
Thud, thud, thud…
The sound of a basketball dribbling echoed throughout the night sky. Hyuuga's ears perked up and decided to take a look. Maybe it was Kagami Taiga playing in the park. According to several eyewitnesses, their first year ace frequently played in the park alone. Maybe that was part of the American basketball culture. Street ball, was it? Perhaps he should play one-on-one with him. Although Hyuuga was certain he would lose, he might be able to pick up something and develop a new method on shooting.
When he arrived in the park, Hyuuga threw his bag aside and ran forward to steal the ball the moment he saw the lone player.
"Hey – that's mine!" a complaint issued.
"WHAT ARE YOU THINKING, IDIOT!" Hyuuga roared. "You shouldn't be practicing more than Coach assigned you!"
No response. Hyuuga looked directly at Kiyoshi, who was scratching the back of his head while shrugging.
"I just felt I needed to improve. I'm taking too much time out of practice for rehab – "
"For your knee which is essential." Hyuuga cut in. "Coach had been taking care of your legs until she got worn out herself!"
"I guessed… But it won't do if I perform terrible in matches."
"You won't. Now go home." Kiyoshi didn't need telling twice. Although he looked longingly at the basketball, he followed his captain's orders and left the park.
Just in case Kiyoshi brought another basketball from his house, Hyuuga decided to tail him and make sure he stayed home.
But all the while he followed the giant, Hyuuga thought it was weird that Kiyoshi disobeyed what Riko told him. Sure, Iron Heart often acted on his own, but that was during matches when he felt he needed to help the team. He never did something selfish that would obviously be a burden the team – directly or indirectly. If Riko said no extra practice, then Kiyoshi would've listened to her without questions.
However, why? Hyuuga thought of several possibilities, but none of them made much sense… Something in his mind told him that somehow Hanamiya Makoto was related to the matter, though he couldn't quite make the connection. Kiyoshi would never push himself to over-practice just because of revenge – that was something Kagami would do.
It was hard to understand.
Being so immersed in his thoughts, Hyuuga didn't realize that Kiyoshi stopped in his tracks, making his captain bump into him.
"Huh? Hyuuga? What are you doing here?" Kiyoshi looked at him, confused.
"Wha – I – " Hyuuga quickly thought up a lie. "I'm here to return your basketball!" He handed Kiyoshi the ball he had taken from him mere minutes ago.
"Ah, thanks. But you could've given it to me tomorrow."
"It's – it's too much trouble to carry it all the way home and back to school." Hyuuga said matter-of-factly while pushing up his glasses.
"Though, you carried it all the way to my house." Kiyoshi pointed to his right, and indeed there was a small traditional house where he lived with his grandparents.
"Oh, shut up." Hyuuga snapped. "Now get in the house and don't leave until it's time for school."
"So that was the reason? To make sure I don't practice anymore?" Kiyoshi asked with a chuckle. Hyuuga face-palmed. So the giant did somehow make him talk…
"Okay. Yes. I admit. Happy?" He grumbled.
"Sure I am. I didn't know you actually cared about me this much."
"You're important to the team, and… with Hanamiya Makoto visiting you and all…." Hyuuga said quietly. Kiyoshi's smile didn't fade, but saddened.
"So that was on your mind all along. Don't worry – it was nothing serious." He said brightly, but his captain saw that he was trying to look okay.
"Nothing serious made you cry?" Hyuuga said. He wasn't sure whether if Kiyoshi was telling the truth. While he was an honest basketball player, he wasn't always like that in everyday life. His personality often covered parts where he didn't show.
Parts that would make his friends worry.
"Just what did he say? What did he do?" Hyuuga asked impatiently. "Kiyoshi, if you keep hiding that stuff, you're only going to end up in serious trouble. I need to know what's going on. If it's about Hanamiya, then we'll have to find a way to get that guy learn his lesson. I won't allow him to hurt you again!"
This guy just had to be too nice. Too nice to ever say something's bad happened to him, even when something worse is probably going to happen soon.
Kiyoshi reached out and rested his large hand over Hyuuga's head. He then pulled him close so they were forehead-to-forehead. Looking at his reflection in Hyuuga's glasses, he said,
"This is my business, and if anyone has to deal with anything, it's me. Just give me some time – I promise it won't take long."
What won't take long? Hyuuga wondered. But seeing Kiyoshi's eyes were a little wet, he decided to leave the matter for now.
Right now, what Kiyoshi needed was support. If Riko repaid him with her skills in managing players and training, Hyuuga should do what he can. Be the captain and trust his teammates – but Hyuuga wasn't going to stop there. He was going to find more on what he can do.
He wasn't going to let anything – not even the Bad Boy - leave anymore scratches on Seirin's Iron Heart.
His Iron Heart.
Author's Note: And that is where my current plot idea ends. I really love those two, and I plan to write more on them. I'll probably continue this sometime later, but maybe there will be another one-shot as well.