The World Turns and Things Happen
Pairing: Midorima + Takao, Friendship
Word Count: 2,300
Notes: I became a Midorima fan while writing this fic. He's a character who seems to be extremely talented in keeping up appearances so his personality was difficult to grasp. He's a strange one, and I think that strangeness inspires the slightly surreal flavor of this fic. Please enjoy!
On a humid summer night, the twelve year old Shintaro Midorima received a mysterious message from an equally mysterious person thanks to an old handheld transceiver. The pitch was abnormally high, digitally tampered with he bet.
"This is a problem." The voice said. "Yes sir. This is an anomaly. We can't have this! We've got to take action. No use staying here, we've got to repair the situation. Come on now, you're going with us. This is a special mission, and you're lucky we chose you to take part in this."
As he listened intently, Midorima's heart began to pound at an abnormally fast rate.
My life is going to change.
"Imagine, you'll be the first human being to finally-"
The message was cut off. Shintaro Midorima's transceiver ran out of power. This was absolutely shocking. His hands shook and his whole body trembled. Why?! Why was it that he was deprived of such an important mission?! Was he unworthy? What would happen to him now? With the mysterious voice having disappeared, was he doomed to live an aimless life? Would he end up as unhappy as his father?
He clenched the transceiver and gritted his teeth.
No. Calm down. They'll call again. I'm sure! If I wait long enough, they'll come back. Lie down and wait.
He shut his eyes and welcomed the darkness. In that darkness, Midorima felt the seconds stretch into minutes and the minutes stretch for an hour.
He couldn't sleep, somewhere out there- it was possible another boy was being contacted by this unseen yet powerful being. Another child was chosen by fate. He was abandoned. Shintaro Midorima couldn't believe it. If only he had extra AA batteries with him, this wouldn't have happened!
Go to to sleep. Maybe they'll call again. They have to. They chose me. I'll be the first human being to finally-
Go to sleep.
Go to sleep.
I was chosen after all.
These thoughts silently pulled him into a dreamless slumber.
The next morning, Midorima purchased a whole box of AA batteries. He was going to leave the transceiver on all day. He sat under a tree in the garden and turned the volume as high as possible. As he waited for the message that would change the entire course of his destiny, Midorima watched his grandfather weed the garden.
"What are you doing, Shintaro?" His grandfather asked as he sat beside his grandson.
Midorima's grandfather looked like every other grandfather in the world: he was a white haired, wrinkly old man. He was tall, skinny and wore thick framed glasses. He also liked to wear sweatpants. Midorima admired the old man for his sunny disposition, and so did the rest of the neighbours.
"Grandpa, last night a mysterious person spoke to me through this transceiver." The bespectacled boy exclaimed. "It suggested that I may be destined for greater things."
Midorima's grandfather laughed. "Are you finally going to end your father's bad luck?"
His father always wormed his way into conversations. He was like a nasty ink stain on a perfectly good painting.
"I don't know about him, but I'll definitely end mine." Midorima replied. "I've come to believe that a person's misery is of his own doing. I've come to believe that my father is miserable because he made himself so. As such, I won't allow myself to be like him."
"You're right Shintaro. You mustn't be like your father." With his calloused hands, Midorima's grandfather patted him on the head. "But sometimes, things just happen you know? There are things beyond our control. Your father learned that the hard way and now he has to deal with the consequences. Losing a person you love is painful, but pushing them away is far more heart wrenching. That man hasn't realized that yet."
"That's because he's a bad person."
Midorima and his grandfather gazed at the scenery before them: a beautifully tended garden that looked like came right out of a spread of a horticulture magazine.
"I've done a bit of fortune telling myself." The old man claimed. "Want me to tell your fortune?"
Midorima adjusted his glasses and said, "Yes."
His grandfather took a good look at him from head toe. A minute later, a wide grin spread across his wrinkled face. With a reaffirming nod he said: "That's good to know."
"What's good to know?"
"You'll be fine Shintaro. You'll be fine."
The words were locked away in Midorima's vault of memories. He'd never forget.
A week later, his grandfather passed away. He was taken away while he was asleep on the couch. People said he fell asleep while watching the news.
Midorima had a image of what Death was like but it wasn't until he watched his grandfather's cremation that the picture of Death was clearly outlined. To him, Death was a sly fellow. A cunning, lithe bastard unequipped with a moral compass. You wouldn't want to hang out with him on a Sunday, he was absolutely terrible company to keep.
The mysterious voice never resurfaced.
Even as a middle schooler, Midorima was already well known among highschool students. The Teiko Middle School basketball team was well known for its prodigies, and Midorima was one of them. His shots never missed and that consistent quality to his shots utterly destroyed the opponent's team morale.
He's heard people say that his obsessive fixation with his horoscopes and lucky items were simply for show, nothing more than an act. Midorima scoffed at the idea. Midorima ensured that he was in his best possible condition by making sure that all odds were in his favor. From filing his nails to purchasing a potted cactus, all these things played a role in the grand scheme of things.
"Midorima-kun is strange." A small boy named Kuroko said as he watched Midorima drag a small yet heavy wooden horse statue inside the school gym.
Midorima kept his mouth shot and stared at the boy. He was pale and thin, almost like a ghost. "You surprised me for a second there, Kuroko."
Kuroko Tetsuya played alongside everyone from the Generation of Miracles, but unlike Midorima or the rest- their team captian Akashi always insisted that he was different. The boy had little to no presence, vanishing at will during games.
Sad how that memory of Kuroko was one of the few incidents in middle school that Midorima remembered clearly. Everything else was a blur.
Teiko Middle School was a strange place, almost like a vacuum of memories. It had only been a year, but Midorima's memories of middle school have turned vague. Perhaps his mind purposefully rendered these memories into inscrutable images. As much as it was difficult to admit, there were things better off tucked neatly inside the folds of his subconscious.
Midorima turned sixteen.
He was going to study at Shutoku High, the King of the East. He introduced himself to the basketball team and met his new coach.
Scorpios were hard to deal with. His mother was a scorpio and his father always said she was a handful. They were likeable people, but hand inside them a poisonous brand of ruthlessness. They stung with frightening accuracy too.
Kazunari Takao was a scorpio and that fact alone had Midorima miffed. Takao was his first 'friend', a Takao tolerated his eccentricities and tirelessly invited him for trivial events like karaoke singing and eating ramen at the place near their school. The other boy even went as far as to drive that horrendous rickshaw of Midorima's (albiet the arrangement is frequently decided by rock, paper and scissors.)
Takao always had Midorima stumped. There was a day when Takao parked the rickshaw somewhere near the park and got off the bike."Oh god. This is awful." He covered his face. "Shin-chan, you need to stop this." He almost sounded as if he were crying.
It turned out Takao tried his hardest to contain his laughter. What a strange creature Takao was. What strange creatures scorpios were.
There was a possibility that Takao hang out with him out of pity. Midorima was incapable of making friends. He was unreasonable, arrogant and overly meticulous. He was a terrible person to get along with.
"I have to get a bottle of Pocari over at the convenience store." Midorima stepped out of the rickshaw and checked how much money he had.
They made their way to 7/11. Humans reached the pinnacle of evolution when 7/11 was created. Convenient, practical and open 24 hours a day, 7/11 served as the hub for every sleepless soul. 7/11 made people feel at home, Midorima's trips to the store were therapeutic.
Midorima bought his Pocari and Takao bought himself a Coke and curry bread.
The two of them sat at a park bench, Takao couldn't help but compare the two of them to the aged men who busied themselves feeding the pigeons. It was uncool.
A sixteen year old shouldn't be living like this. A sixteen year old shouldn't be so obsessed with horoscopes. A sixteen year old shouldn't be driving a rickshaw to school.
Under normal circumstances, this was a terrible way to spend your youth. He didn't regret it though, Midorima existed in a strange world and Takao was slowly getting immersed inside that world.
Takao was the first one to approach Midorima thinking that since both of them possessed an unusual talent, it was only natural that they stuck together. He expected Midorima to be a lot of things, but he certainly didn't expect him to take fortune telling so seriously. Not that he regretted it, weirdos never stopped being interesting.
"What are you going to do? We're playing against Seirin tomorrow." Takao asked.
"Win." Midorima sipped his Pocari.
"There isn't even a hint of remorse in your voice."
"Kuroko wouldn't like it if I held back. He's that kind of person."
"Oh? I wouldn't have guessed." Takao unwrapped his curry bread. The delicious aroma of curry wrapped in deep fried dough was enough to put a smile on his face. "He's more stubborn than he looks."
"Of course, he's a child- I wouldn't have expected anything less."
A child, he says. This guy is in serious need of a reality check. You're only sixteen, you know? Quick! Someone wake him up! Takao thought.
"He and I don't get along. That does not however imply that Kuroko is a bad person. In fact, I acknowledge the fact that I was far more obstinate than he was. However, he is a naïve fool. It's a waste of energy and time for Kuroko to be even playing with Seirin. Reprehensible."
"That's odd." The smaller boy broke his curry bread into smaller pieces. "If anything, it sounds like you like him."
"Don't be stupid."
Midorima and Takao gazed at the scenery before them: An empty park illuminated by street lamps, vast and haunting. It was as if they had stepped into a world where humans ceased to exist. The very thought that such a place existed should've saddened anyone, but niether Takao or Midorima cared. They could stare at this vast and empty space all night.
They finished eating quietly.
"Geez, why did I even get into basketball?" Takao muttered all of a sudden. "I don't even remember liking it as a kid. It just- happened. I started playing in middle school because the manager was so cute. When I found out I had a talent for it, I thought: 'Why not? It's not like I'm good at anything else.' It's ridiculous. I guess...I would've liked it if things felt more like a turning point?"
Takao lifted his hand and pointed his index finger at an invisible wall. He then began to draw a continuous line. "So far, sixteen years of my life has been one long continuous line. No bumps, no sharp turns, no nothing. It's all monotonous." He stopped drawing the line and squinted. "There's nothing there."
Midorima sympathized with his teammate. It was normal to show dissatisfaction when you're living a perfectly mundane life.
"Isn't that why people need to win? Things won't change if you don't choose to become a winner." Midorima pushed up his glasses.
"I wonder how true that is."
"Always the undesired voice of reason, aren't you?"
Takao drove them back and dropped Midorima off. Takao was in charge of storing the rickshaw in the garage and lately, he's grown attached to it.
"Make sure you check your horoscope." Midorima told Takao.
Takao smiled. "Only because you told me to."
Before leaving, Takao fought the urge to ask him: "We're friends right?"
They weren't seven year olds. They could tell.
He got on the rickshaw and said: "Bye." Instead.
Midorima walked inside his house. He was alone again. He didn't feel like having dinner so he went up to his room.
They lost to Seirin. Takao actually had his lucky item with him, but chose not to tell anyone. His lucky item happened to be a pair of shoelaces.
He was a skeptic towards Midorima's methods, but things happen. Yeah, how else could he summarize fate? Things happen.
Takao could only laugh.
The team captian Otsubo asked Takao to look for Midorima.
"He's surprisingly sheltered." The captain said. "It'll probably take him some time to recover. Stay by his side 'till then."
"Fair enough." Takao shrugged. "Better bring an umbrella with me."
There was a storm outside. It's been a while since Takao went outside during a storm, he wasn't the type to go through all that trouble.
Since when did I start having to take care of another person? The idea in itself is scary. A person on his own carries remarkably heavy baggage, there are stuff in there that I'd rather not know about. Man, relationships are scary.
He spotted Midorima's standing in the rain. How over dramatic. Geez. Should I call out to him now?
"Hey!" He shouted.
Midorima spotted Takao. From where he stood, Takao looked as if he were simply a shoddy projection placed in the middle of the storm.
"How 'bout some okonomiyaki!" Takao shouted even louder. "I know a place!"
Takao must've been imagining things, but he could've sworn he saw Midorima smiling.
After having okonomiyaki and inevitably meeting with the people from Seirin and Kaijou, Takao decided to volunteer as the chauffeur. He dropped Midorima off as usual and they said their usual goodbyes.
Midorima went straight to his room, he had something to look for.
Although Takao was a scorpio, he reminded Midorima more of his grandfather (A Cancer) than his mother. Midorima opened his closet and searched for a tin box that contained most of his childhood memorabilia. Once he found it, he sat of his bed, lifted off the lid and took out the old transceiver he had as a child.
His grandfather was right. He was going to be okay. He threw out the old transceiver and picked up a book to read.
End Notes: So, how was it? Human relationships never stop being fascinating. Midorima's growth as well as Takao's perceptive self were the aspects I felt were the most enjoyable to write. I hope this story touches people in some way. Feel free to leave reviews or comments!