I'm a bad person, I'm a bad person, I'm...
Ahhh, chiwassu minna-san!
Gomenasai!

I know I've been gone a really long time

But I just finished midterms for the term and finally found a chance to relax
Though I have two essays due plus another midterm
Plus writers block on top of it all….. sigh
but let's not worry about that
I'll make it up to you guys somehow
So please forgive me ^^

Well, I'm sure you guys wanna read the chapter
But yay, double digits
And do the middle schools have a winter tournament?
Oh well, they do now hahahahaha
Saa, we start!

Disclaimer: No ownage of Kurokocchi or the GoM or the story franchise… I fanfic which means to borrow ideas, I own nothing!


Chapter 10: They'll Never Forget

Practice had just started in the first string gym. Akashi had started everyone up on warm ups and drills before breaking into groups. It had been at least half a week since Kuroko's admission to the first string and everyone was amazed by the feat that the invisible boy had displayed. Of course half the credit had to be bestowed upon Akashi for discovering the once useless boy's talent. Since that day, everyone had expected much from the first year but when the first practice happened the next day, they all nearly dropped towards the ground when they found out about the boy's low stamina and lack of ability other than the super passes.

They tried to be nice to the kid since he had put up with Akashi's intense training for a week before his initiation but this was getting ridiculous. After intense sessions, many of the players had to yell at the boy to wake up after each set, since he passed out by the wall nearly every single time. "How did this kid not break in the past week?" one of the members had got to talking.

"He seems so much more fragile than I had thought initially." Said the one he was talking to. Momoi just sat and watched as Kuroko struggled to keep up. She knew that he still had a long way to go but she was proud that the boy had finally made caught up to them. She then began taking notes on how she could help improve the boy's training so that he'd get stronger faster; though if she thought about it, if she pushed too hard, she might hurt him instead of help him. So she put the thoughts on hold at the moment.

"Hey no slacking!" Momoi had heard Akashi call out as he watched the players run around the gym tirelessly. "Kuroko, slow down a bit." Everyone nearly froze with shock as they heard the words come from the redhead's mouth but they fought on in fear that they'd get punished for abruptly stopping the run. Never in their past few months of training with Akashi had they ever heard the captain say something like slow down or take a break. Usually, those kinds of things would be said by Momoi who'd warned Akashi ahead of time before announcing it.

"Why is Akashi so soft on Kuroko?"

"Is he so weak that he needs Akashi's sympathy?" These sorts of comments had flown throughout the gym and Akashi glared at them enough to make them shut up. Aomine just ignored them and ran up to the pale boy.

"Hey Tetsu, how you holding up?" Aomine asked, dropping his pace to the other's.

"Daijoubu desu." Kuroko said quickly, trying to conserve his air intake.

"That's good... so you ready for the tournament this week?" Aomine seemed a little too happy about the situation. Kuroko didn't really comment on this since he could understand what the tanned boy was feeling. He too was feeling happy about being able to participate in the Spring Championships despite being newly admitted but he was also happy about being able to play with Aomine as well.

"No." Kuroko replied to the question despite his happiness in participating.

"W-Wha?" Aomine almost tripped as he ran. "Why wouldn't you be? You're doing fine in practices." Aomine tried to settle his thoughts.

"Practice and a game are two very different things, Aomine-kun." Kuroko corrected.

"W-well yeah but..." Aomine however, didn't get to finish his sentence as Akashi yelled at him to not cheat and to pick up the pace. Aomine sent Kuroko and apologetic smile before running ahead.

After the running session, Akashi had the team do conditioning by drilling sidesteps, crabwalks etc... across the gym floor and that was how the practice had gone until the end. Many of the members had to yell at Kuroko to not pass out in the middle of the floor right after finishing the exercises but they just chuckled to themselves and help the poor boy to the change rooms while someone else ran to get him water.

"It's nice to see that the team has warmed up to him, ne Akashi-kun?" Momoi said to the captain.

"This is for the best, Satsuki, since Tetsuya doesn't seem to function well when under the pressure of those who don't seem to like him much or those he is unfamiliar with. By getting him used to unfamiliar people, it will help him get used to the presence of an audience faster when we're at the game. And it'll be exceptionally helpful for when we play away games where we'd clearly be the hated team." Momoi just snapped her head towards the redhead after hearing that.

"What exactly did Akashi-kun mean when he said that Kuroko-kun doesn't function properly in the presence of unfamiliar people? He was playing fine when they had that practice match last week." Momoi thought, confused by this.

"Of course, despite this weakness, he still continues to play his hardest and put up a front. But I could see clearly that he was struggling under the pressure, even with the presence of Daiki on the court next to him." Akashi told the pink haired girl, as though he had just read her thoughts.

"So then..." Momoi looked at the red haired captain.

"That's correct, he is still capable of much more." Akashi told her before walking off towards the change rooms.

"Hmm... maybe by figuring out how to overcome this weakness will I be able to predict his growth rate." She pondered to herself before heading out of the gym.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

After all of those days of practicing, the promised day had finally come, the day of the Middle School Basketball Championships. It was a game between Teiko-chuu and the winners of the past five tournaments, Chiben-chuu. It was highly anticipated that these two teams would reach the finals, given their performance throughout the league's games but the winner was undefined; although the favorite to win was said to be Chiben. But even against these odds, Akashi knew that they would win because he was always right and therefore, in his logic, would always win.

"I want you all to stay focused and no matter what the other team says to you, pay no heed to it." Akashi instructed sternly. They all responded affirmatively as they walked into their locker room and left all their bags inside.

"Now you all," Mori-kantoku had gotten their attention as they all looked towards him. "you're opponents today aren't pushover just like the other teams that you've faced up till now. And I also don't want you to forget that we have a new player starting today as well." He made reference to Kuroko, whom everyone seemed to have just realized was with them as well, startling them.

"You don't have to worry about Tetsu, Kantoku. He'll be fine, ne Tetsu?" Aomine wrapped an arm around the boy's shoulders and grinned cheekily. Kuroko didn't say anything.

"Yes, well, regardless, I want you to be careful Kuroko. With your little presence, I highly doubt that this game will be without complications." Mori put a hand to his forehead. He had witnessed their practices and saw that the boy was both a trump card but at the same time was putting himself at risk to injuries. "And did you all get the briefing from Momoi about the other team?" The group of boys nodded.

"It will all go as planned, Kantoku." Akashi reassured. "And if anything happens on the court, I will most definitely not stay silent about it."

"You all just listen to your captain's instructions and maybe we'll pull through this." The Kantoku retained his usual stoic persona and hid his emotions behind his dark shades but actually, Mori really didn't know how to deal with the first year regulars. Ever since Akashi started calling the shots, he started to doubt his own authority in the club as club advisor and coach. Though it did leave him with fewer things to deal with and allowed him to focus more on the advising and less on the coaching. This was a student made club after all.

"You should have more faith in us Kantoku." Haizaki smirked. "And besides, I think you're underestimating us too much. Yet you still call yourself a coach." Mori had learned how to ignore Haizaki's insults and probes which soon developed into some sort of immunity.

"There's no need to worry for today is a lucky day; especially when today's lucky item is a symbol of luck." Midorima said as he pulled out a scary looking elf like doll. Everyone flinched when they caught view of the face as it grinned maniacally at them.

"Mido-chin has a really scary doll." Murasakibara chewed on a piece of candy.

"I told you to stop it with the freaky lucky items! Couldn't you have picked a better looking gnome than that freakish reject?!" Aomine exclaimed, obviously uncomfortable with having the thing on the bench, staring at them as they played.

"It's not good to taunt people about things they're interested in, Aomine-kun." Kuroko barged into the conversation.

"Can you blame me? Especially with the way it looks?!" He pointed at its face again.

"It isn't a gnome, it's an elf. There's a difference between them, though your primitive brain may not be able to comprehend their differences." Midorima challenged.

"It don't matter what it is, your taste in dolls is almost as appalling as the way you play basketball." Haizaki commented, picking up the doll by its leg, hanging it upside down as he examined it.

"I thought I told you to keep away from my lucky items. The last time you handled one, it broke and I had to go through the day, dealing with horrible luck." Everyone was still wondering how that had happened. It didn't seem likely that just by breaking a lucky item, your whole day would be turned upside down but oddly enough, that was unfortunately the case for Midorima. It was a supernatural event that even scientists wouldn't be able to prove.

"Great they're all turning on each other again." The other team members sighed. Mori could slowly feel his stoic expression breaking little by little.

"Maa, if it's Akashi-kun and the others, then they'll get through fine." Kaibara reassured the benchwarmers. "And you shouldn't stress yourself so much, coach." The ex-captain tried to lift up their spirits at least a little.

"Well, I understand where he's coming from though." One of the second year benchwarmers spoke up. "This is the first time in years that our school's gotten to the Championships and there's a lot of pressure."

"Yeah and Chiben-chuu is supposed to be really strong this year." Another member said.

"Even our sempai couldn't beat them last year in their game."

"Shut it, you're talking is bringing down my mood." Haizaki snapped at them.

"You're mood aside," Aomine said in annoyance. "it isn't a good vibe for the rest of us either."

"That's true, this isn't going to get us very far if we keep talking about pressure." Momoi said from the corner after she had just recently entered the room. "If you're all ready, then we should head to the court. The staff said that we're allowed to practice a bit and warm up now." She informed. With that said, they all agreed and followed their coach and captain towards the court.

Upon coming through the doors, they were suddenly greeted with the overwhelming cheers from the crowd and the bright lights that beamed down on the court. Kuroko seemed to shy away a bit as he was new to the feeling of being the center of attention. Aomine and Momoi just urged him to continue on, silently supporting him. Kuroko smiled faintly as he was slightly pushed forward by the pair but this time, he hid behind Aomine as they moved as a group towards the benches.

"No need to fret Tetsuya. Our opponents won't be as big of a deal as people make them out to be." Akashi said with a seemingly warm smile planted on his face. The others just felt a shiver run down their backs as they got the hint of their captain not liking their talk of how strong their opponents were.

"Yeah no biggie for you..." Haizaki came up behind the boy and put an arm around his shoulders. "you're invisible to everyone. Just don't get in my way or anything, especially if you know what's good for ya." The blond haired boy said sinisterly.

"Mou, Haizaki-kun. Don't say things like that." Momoi pouted at the boy.

"Haha, don't sweat it Momo-chan. Just playin around." Haizaki said as he walked off towards the court to practice a bit, and by practice, he meant mess around.

"That boy..." Momoi really didn't like the cocky boy's attitude. "Don't mind him Kuroko-kun. Just play your best today."

"Hai, ganbarimasu." Kuroko said with his same deadpanned expression.

"Well then, let's go and warm up, Tetsu." Aomine said and pulled the boy along with him. Momoi just smiled warmly at the pair before the coach had caught her attention. He seemed to be deep in thought as he sat and stared at the court players, though she wasn't sure which side he was looking on with his sunglasses on his face. She moved to sit beside him with her clipboard held in against her chest.

"Is something wrong, Kantoku?" She asked him, pulling the man out of his thoughts. It took him a while before he realized that Momoi was talking to him but then he tilted his head towards her direction and gazed at her behind his sunglasses.

"I'm just being wary of the other team players." He said truthfully.

"Any particular reason? They look like regular middle schoolers to me." She said taking a glance towards the opposing team. "And I looked at the records of the starters but it seems that they've all only been on the court for one or two games each throughout the entire season. On top of that, they haven't played with each other as a team at all. It was always the five other boys, whom also alternate their four positions, which I thought were the regulars, while they gave the fifth position to another member." She explained her data. "By alternating the fifth member, they'd be training future players of their team right?"

"You're partly right in that sense Momoi, but you've never seen them play at the championships before. There's a reason why they've won every single year for the past 5 years since their old coach was suddenly replaced by a new one." Mori kantoku said ominously. "With the five members that everyone, including you, assumes to be the regulars..."

'Assumes?' Momoi thought as she continued to listen.

"are actually the ones that will carry the team the next year."

"So that means that... the regular players from before were the ones that were in training?!" She exclaimed in shock.

"Indeed, and that also means that the fifth alternating players were the actual regulars. They each aid the new members when they are in a pinch and prepare them for when their turn comes to train the new members." He explained.

"But then, they wouldn't get time to play themselves. How does that work when they don't practice and play as a team?" Momoi was confused as to why someone would use this technique.

"That's not necessarily true. By not playing in public, they don't reveal their techniques to opposing teams. And just because they don't play in public doesn't mean they don't train as a team in private."

"But they're all okay with that? Just playing in secret while the members in training play the games? They're also just taking the credit by playing in the championships. If Aomine-kun played hard during the season and made it to the championships, but finds out that he wouldn't be playing... he wouldn't take that at all and neither would any of the others. If they worked hard to get to this position, then they deserve to play at the finals."

"I don't know what mind set they have, but they somehow always pull out a victory in the end because of the advantage they have. That's also the system of their team, so we have no right to criticize it."

"That still doesn't make it right..." Momoi said, not wanting to continue the topic any longer. She just hoped that Akashi and the others would win and show the other team that they should play right and let those, who deserve to play, play.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The game was about to commence and the two teams were asked to arrive on the court. The boys on the side were all warmed up well and they all stepped onto the court. The starters for the first part of the game were Akashi, Murasakibara, Aomine, Haizaki and Midorima. The referee then signalled for the two teams to bow towards each other.

"So Teiko decided to let first years take over hahaha." A voice taunted making them look over towards the other side of the court while they were in mid bow.

"I guess it's a bigger step up for them since they managed to get all the way here." Another member of Chiben-chuu said.

"Now that's rude." Haizaki smirked.

"Like you're one to talk about being rude." Midorima narrowed his eyes.

"Now, now, we should settle down. However, I warn you that you shouldn't make light of our sempai or of us." Akashi looked towards the other team with a seemingly friendly expression. This just made his own team cringe as they knew this wasn't a good sign. This demeanor that Akashi was showing was the complete opposite of what they were used to.

"Whatever, squirt, just do whatever you guys like. We'll crush you either way." Akashi snapped after that phrase but of course, he didn't show it. His killing intent just overflowed like a dam burst. His own team just backed away slowly so as to not feel the wrath of Akashi.

"N-Ne... A-Akashi, w-we have t-to be c-calm right?" Aomine tried to calm his captain but the fact that he looked as calm as possible was what was freaking them out. Even Haizaki was frozen with fear at the sight of the small red head. He, especially, knew that it wasn't a joke when you pissed off Akashi and he never wanted to be on the other side of that wrath ever again.

"I am calm, Daiki but what I want now is for us to completely destroy them." Akashi's eyes were burning with malice as he walked past the trembling group of boys. "Get to your starting positions, we're going to give them an experience they'll never forget." The boys didn't say a word and immediately moved.

"Oi, Tetsuya!" Akashi called out after the others were gone from his presence.

"Hai, Akashi-kun?" Kuroko looked at the boy, wondering why he suddenly called out to him. When the red head turned towards the bench, everyone was suddenly hit with the wave of murderous aura but Kuroko was seemingly unfazed.

"Stay warmed up, I'm putting you in sooner than planned." He warned. Kuroko wanted to object and say that putting him in sooner would mean he wouldn't make it to the end of the game but he couldn't oppose Akashi this time. Instead, he just agreed and didn't say a word. Momoi had the same feeling as Kuroko because this wasn't going according to their original plan but with the way Akashi was right now, even she couldn't do anything about it.

"Akashi-kun's complex is really scary." Kuroko murmured to the pink haired girl.

"Sou da, ne, Kuroko-kun. But don't ever mention that to his face. Even if it's you, he would stay silent about it." Momoi warned.

"Wakatta." He answered simply as the game was about to start.

Aannnd we didn't get to the game haha
Sorry about that -.-'
And sorry that this chapter was pretty short
And that it took me two weeks longer than I had originally planned
But now that it's up…
Well… I'll try and update again before the month ends
But I'll most likely be more about in December!
That's my month off hahahaha
Ahh and to explain the Chiben-chuu basketball system if you didn't really understand:

So the club structure:

First years:
All are allowed to join and become part of the club as a trial. They only train and support at games.

Second years:
When reaching second year, all are eliminated and ejected from the club except for the 5 selected to be the next regulars. They train by taking turns playing the four regular positions throughout the season.

Third years:
They help train the second years and they take turns playing the last regular position. When the championships come around, they all play as regulars while the second years are on the bench.

The mindset that they are presented with is that if you were picked to stay, then you are privileged, talented and have earned the right to stay, while everyone else is a failure.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Kind of sad, yes
But I have a plan for them
Hopefully this makes sense
and that I'm not just spouting nonsense

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

-Omake-
Flashback to Training:

Akashi had walked into the gym where the other four first years were waiting for him. He had handpicked them to oppose the second and third year regulars but he had soon learned that each of them had an annoying quality to them. Murasakibara had a big sweet tooth, Aomine was a basketball nut and not very bright in anything else, Haizaki had a foul mouth and Midorima was smart, but lacked knowledge of basketball and was obsessed with something called Oha-sa.

"We'll start your individual training for now." Akashi announced as they were all about to move when Haizaki suddenly paused them all.

"I have a quick objection." Haizaki said lazily.

Akashi felt a vein throb as he looked at the blond boy. "No one has ever made an objection against me." He said in a low, intimidating voice but Haizaki didn't look fazed by it.

"Now, now, I know that your 'I'll rip you to shreds if you defy me' personality is just a fraud. So what I want to know is why a shrimp like you is acting as our captain." Haizaki grinned at him and to make it worse, he put his hands on his knees and looked at Akashi in the eyes as if he were a lost child. The others wanted to question this as well but didn't dare say anything when Akashi got a certain look in his eyes.

Haizaki stood up straight, confused about what was going on and then he unconsciously took a step back while Akashi didn't budge an inch. His eyes were still focused solely on Haizaki as he wary continued to step backwards.

***Next section blurred due to uncalled for violence***

When Akashi had finally settled down, Haizaki was on the floor twitching inhuman like. The other three members simply collapsed on the ground, they're legs giving out of fear. They were all so shocked that they couldn't move until Akashi looked at them.

"No slacking, get to work!" He exclaimed and in no time, the others were on their feet. "Atsushi!" Akashi called out, getting the attention of the purple haired giant.

"Hai, Aka-chin?" Murasakibara said in his normal, bored tone but was still fearful on the inside.

"Carry Shogo to the nurse's office and tell her that there was an accident."

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

End...
Haha and that's the end of that
Well that's it
Owari desu~

Uploaded: 16/11/12