I'm back! :) I am not exactly sure what I what to do with this story yet. I have to cover a month's worth of time in this story because that's how long Rin was in Japan before the events of An Exchange of Sports with the KuroBasu characters.
Edit 11/19/12: I re-uploaded this chapter because I just caught a MAJOR error. So all I did was delete it. Other than that, everything's the same so…
Rin changed for practice with Nana in the girl's locker room. She had her iPod on a low volume and was bobbing her head along with the beat of the song.
"Hey, did you think about being a manager? It's not that bad, really," Nana asked as she pulled the t-shirt over her head adjusted it. She looked at the bobbing head of Rin.
Rin looked up from tying her cleats on and she shrugged. "Do I get a trial period or is it a do-or-die thing?" She gave the laces a hard pull and then switched feet.
"You could watch me for a little, I suppose," Nana sighed. She watched as Rin secured the laces on the other foot and straightened. "Ready?" She asked. She got a nod in response. She led the way out of the locker room and went to find Coach Iwaki. Rin trailed behind, one hand holding her iPod and the other swinging at her side. She had her eyes half closed as she listened to the music.
Nana knew from the short time she had spent with the striker; that she was addicted to music and was hardly ever apart from her iPod. She even practiced with it. They walked onto the field and saw Iwaki was having a discussion with Sawamura and Kondou, the assistant coach.
Iwaki saw her approaching and paused in the conversation. "Hello, Mishima-san," he greeted her with a smile.
She dipped her head in return, "Hello, Coach Iwaki, Coach Kondou and Captain Sawamura. Is it okay if Rin follows me around for a while?" She asked.
Iwaki looked over her shoulder in confusion. "Uh, where is she?"
Nana turned around in surprise. "What? Where'd she go?" She scanned the field and saw a long braid swinging as its owner ran over to Mako and Oda. "Rin~!" She sighed.
Iwaki chuckled behind her. "She can practice with us, of she wants to, Mishima-san."
Nana looked at her coach gratefully. "Thank you so much."
Rin jogged over to where Mako and Oda were stretching. "Hello," she said as she stopped in front of them.
Mako looked up with a smile. "Rin! Hello, how are you? Did you come to practice with us?"
She gave him a thumbs-up. "Yup, hopefully, you guys won't kick my butt too bad." She snickered.
Oda looked at her with narrowed eyes. "Is it okay that you practice with us? You're a girl…" he trailed off at the icy glare Rin was giving him.
"And just what does me being a female have to do with anything here?" Rin challenged as she set her hands on her hips and raised her chin to stare daringly into Oda's eyes.
He fidgeted. "I-I didn't mean it that w-way," he stuttered. He looked at Mako for help. Mako turned away with a smirk on his face, he was clearly enjoying this.
Rin held her glare for a second longer and then broke into a grin. She slapped the midfielder on the shoulder, "Whatever. It doesn't really matter anyway." She peeked down and saw a soccer ball at his feet. She put a foot on it and rolled it away from him as she tucked her iPod safely in her pocket.
"Oi," Oda reached for the ball with his foot, but she slipped it behind her. She stood there, smiling at him in a clear challenge. Her smile grew bigger when the song changed to one of her favorites.
"Play with me!" She rolled the soccer ball under her foot back and forth, tauntingly.
"I'll play!" Mako volunteered. "One on one?" He asked as he stood in front of her.
"Why not? If I can get it into that goal over there-" she pointed to the far goal, "-then I win. If you can get it into this goal-" she pointed to the goal behind her, "-then you win. Okay?" Mako nodded.
She smiled at him and lazily kept rocking the ball where it was, waiting for her opponent to make a move. Mako studied her movement carefully and waited to see if she would try anything. When she did nothing, he decided to chance it and go for the ball.
He rushed forward and threw a shoulder out to knock her off the ball. He met no resistance and he stumbled as Rin swept around him in a neat half circle and was jogging for the goal. He ran after her and once again got in front of her. She stared with an amused face at the blonde.
This time, he waited for her to make the first move. For a full three seconds, neither moved and then Rin suddenly started moving…backwards. She ran backwards, taking the ball with her. Mako was slow to follow as he tried to wrap his head around what she was doing. When she had gone a few steps, she flicked the ball up with her toe and bounced it off her knee, straight up over their heads.
Mako looked up and tried to see the soccer ball against the glare of the sun. He thought he saw it and set himself up to jump for a header. He was taller than Rin and knew that he would be able to reach it faster than her shorter stature would.
On the sidelines, watching the match, Nana hid a smile behind the sleeve of her jacket. "What's so funny?" Araki asked her.
"He's thinking that since he's taller than her, he will be able to head it before she can," Nana explained. From their position on the side, they could clearly see the ball starting to come down. "But he's wrong," she finished.
As she said that, Rin jumped up, put on hand on Mako's shoulder and pushed off in a flip. She spun around in the air on her side and a leg flashed out to meet the ball as it descended. Her foot connected and the ball rocketed into the back of the goal. As she was coming own, she spun around again to land on her feet. She bent her knees as she landed and put her hands out to the sides to balance herself. She looked like a professional gymnast.
The onlookers as well as Mako were stunned into silence. That is, everyone except for Nana. "Her style is similar to Mai Murasaki's, but her physical strength is greater than Mai's so her kicks go farther and are more powerful." The viewers all looked at Nana. They had played with Mai before and knew that she had a unique style, truly a player suited for the Nadeshiko Japan team.
Rin stood up and fixed a head phone that had fallen from her ear. She wrapped it around her ear again as she turned around to face Mako. "How was that?"
Mako took a second to answer. "That…that was…amazing!" His face lit up like a kid's as he congratulated her. "Can you show me how to do that?"
Rin was taken back, "Whoa, calm down. And I don't know if you can do that." She looked over to where Nana and the others were watching them. "Uh, I think I'm holding up practice. Sorry."
Mako grabbed her hand and held it tightly. "No way! That was cool!"
She shook her hand from his grasp, "Thank you, but it was nothing, really." She ran to stand next to Nana. She gave an apprehensive look behind her as she reached her. "That was shocking." She absently rubbed the wrist that had been taken prisoner by the excited midfielder.
Nana smiled. "Well, you should have seen them when Mai showed them her skills."
"Oh, I forgot you don't know her. She's a player for Nadeshiko Japan and she's the same age as I am," Nana explained.
Rin nodded like she knew what she was talking about, but on the inside she was completely lost. "Right," was all she said.
After that, Iwaki got the club members practicing again. The regulars were playing a mini match on one side of the field while the other players were doing passing drills on the other side supervised by Kondou. Iwaki, Nana and Rin were watching the practice match between the regulars.
Rin watched closely, as the players ran back and forth on the field. The more, she watched the more she itched to play. Finally, she couldn't take it anymore and grabbed an extra ball lying near her and she began dribbling it around in a small circle. She just couldn't sit still whenever she was on a field.
Iwaki and Nana watched her as she dribbled around. "So, what kind of player is she?" Iwaki asked Nana.
"A genius," was the simple answer. "She is on equal level with Suguru and Leonardo Silva. She played with Leonardo a couple times."
Iwaki watched the girl continue to dribble, but now she was incorporating little tricks in the midst of dribbling. "Impressive. What position does she play?"
"Striker. She is the top striker in her age group. She has an impressive record; 15 caps and 79 goals."
This caused Iwaki to stare at Nana in shock. "79 goals in 15 games? That's a little more than 5 goals a game!" He turned his attention back to the still-dribbling girl, but this time, he was looking with a more critical eye.
Nana nodded. "One game, she scored 13 goals in a game. The game ended 15-1; the other striker, Liz, scored the other two goals. I think it was against the Dominican Republic?" She watched as Rin did three Maradonas in a row and then went back to dribbling.
"Amazing, I don't think even Suguru did that." Iwaki murmured in amazement.
"When I met Suguru in Mexico, she also went and they played a little one on one for a while until he had to leave. It was amazing to watch." Nana continued. Rin stopped dribbling and know she was juggling the ball on her knees and feet. As she moved, her headphone cord swayed and faintly, Nana and Iwaki could hear the music that was playing.
"Do you want to see her play?" Nana asked suddenly.
Iwaki looked at her. "You have videos?"
"No, I mean, right now. Put her on a team," Nana nodded over to the field where the regulars were still playing each other. "She won't go full out, but you might be impressed anyway."
"Hmmm, I think I will." Iwaki called out to Rin who looked up and trapped the ball she had been playing with under her left foot. "Do you want to play with them?" He indicated the players on the field.
Her eyes widened. "Really?! I can!?" A big grin lit up her face and she pushed the ball to the side.
Iwaki smiled at her enthusiasm. "Wait a moment." He called to the entire club for a rest and as the players were getting drinks, he told them that the regulars were going to play full field with one team getting Rin.
Meanwhile, Rin had put her iPod in her bag and was out on the empty field, warming up. She did a few sprints and then stretched. After stretching, she proceeded to begin doing flips in the middle of the field. The players watched her as she completed a back hand spring.
"Okay, get out there and play!" Iwaki said.
The players all cheered and then, after deciding on the side of field they wanted, they split up. Oda walked over to Rin, who had just done a triple back hand spring. "You're on our team. Put this on," he threw her a red piney with the number 13 on it.
She grabbed it and smiled at him. "Thank you, Ryoma! 13's my favorite number!" She pulled the piney over her head and then looked at him. He was frozen. "Uh, Ryoma?" She waved a hand in front of his face. He shook his head and looked at her.
"Ryoma? Who said you could call me that?"
Rin was confused, "But isn't that your name?"
Oda cleared his throat. "You're a foreigner so I suspect you wouldn't know this." He took a deep breath, "In Japan, you don't call people by the given names unless you're close to the person."
"Oh, I didn't know that, but okay, Oda." Rin frowned as she said his name. "That feels so weird to say, so I'll stick with Ryoma." She turned around and walked away before he could sputter a protest.
She stood in front Kakeru and looked at him. "Are you the other striker?" He nodded. "Mind if I join you?" He shook his head. She looked at him curiously, "Cat got your tongue?"
He shook his head furiously. "No, yes, I mean, no," he sighed in defeat. Rin smiled and reached forward to ruffle his hair.
"Nice to play with you," she said. Kakeru just nodded.
The match started with the ball in Rin's team's possession. Rin tipped the ball to Kakeru who turned and sent it to Araki and then sprinted forward. Rin also ran forward, but at a diagonal and at a slow pace. She kept a sharp eye on Araki. From watching him before, she knew that he was a talented player and Nana spoke highly of him as well.
In the beginning, the ball bounced back and forth in possession with Rin not once touching the ball. After about ten minutes, Araki sent a through pass to Rin who was on the top left corner of the eighteen. Taking a quick glance around her, she set herself up to receive the ball. As the ball was almost at her feet, she spun around so her back was facing the ball and brought her right heel up and lightly touched the ball. It arced up over her shoulder and she took a step and then shot the ball with her left foot into the upper right 90 of the goal. She nodded in satisfaction as the ball dropped to the ground.
Kakeru ran over to congratulate her. "Nice shot!" They exchanged a high-five.
The teams reset and this time, Rin stole the ball right off the bat from the opposing midfielder. She dribbled to about the midfield of the opposite side and then turned and passed it back to Oda, shouting, "High!" She pointed up over her head.
He nodded and kicked the ball high just like she had wanted. It was a long shot and Rin ran underneath it. Just outside the eighteen again, she jumped up and turned in midair so her back was parallel to the ground. She whipped her torso back and brought her right foot up to meet the ball in a bicycle kick. The ball once against found the back of the net in blinding speed. She completed the flip and landed on her feet, bending her knees to absorb the impact with her back to the goal.
She straightened and rolled her shoulders loosely. She had a big smile on her face as she jogged back towards her side of the field.
They played for another thirty minutes with Rin scoring a majority of the goals. The play ended when the sun had turned orange and began to dip into the west sky. Iwaki called for the end of practice and the club members went to change out of their practice clothes.
Rin waited for Nana, not bothering to change, knowing that she'll be home soon. The three of them walked away from the school, Kakeru and Nana talking quietly as Rin listened to her iPod.
"Hey, Rin, where are you going?" Nana's voice snapped the striker out of her daydream and she looked around her. Nana and Kakeru were standing a few feet behind her at the street where she was supposed to turn onto.
She turned around and walked back to the pair, a bashful smile on her face. "Sorry, I got distracted."
"Hmmm, well, we'll see you tomorrow, good night." Nana waved as she walked away with Kakeru. Rin waved back as she turned down her street. She walked slowly, lazily towards her apartment; studying her shadow on the wall with interest. As she walked, she began making shadow puppets.
She had an intricate show going on with her shadow puppets by the time she reached her apartment. Unlocking the door, she dropped her sports bag in the entrance and kicked her shoes off. She grabbed a can of chicken noodle soup and, after popping the lid, she walked around her apartment, eating it.
After doing her homework in a rush, she made her way to her bedroom and plopped down face-first on her bed. She didn't move again until morning.
I have started the sequel to the other story, An Exchange of Sports and I want to finish it before school starts in a few weeks so this story will be on hold for a while until I finish.