pika318: I couldn't write a sequel like some of you requested, but I suddenly had a random idea for a prequel instead. Like the title suggests, this takes place in the same universe as Unexpected Surprises, but this can be also seen as a standalone one shot. Basically, it is how Akashi started basketball (or if any of you were wondering after reading Unexpected Surprises, it's also why Akashi's mother never knew that he played basketball)
Disclaimer: Kuroko no Basuke belongs to Fujimaki Tadatoshi.
One shot: Side [Akashi]
It started with his mother bringing him to a basketball match.
"Don't tell your father about this." She had said. She had thought that letting him watch a sports match would be good exposure, unlike all the reading and chess games that his father preferred to introduce into his life, as they were "more fitting of his status"
At that beginning, he had stared at the match with an almost bored look on his face. He couldn't understand what was so appealing about 10 people trying to score points by getting the ball into the hoop.
However, as the match went on, he started seeing patterns. How one team would react to the other team's attacks, how they would defend. How they tried to read each other's moves. And subconsciously, he started to compare the sport to Shogi, his favourite game so far.
He had never thought he would feel this disappointed when the match ended.
When he bought his first basketball guide, it wasn't intentional. He had walked into the bookstore, hoping to buy a newly published book on Shogi by one of the more renowned professional players, but as he was walking through the store, the basketball guide caught his attention instead. As he took it off the shelf and flipped through it, he became more enthralled by its content as he finally associated names to some of the plays he saw a few days ago. Before he knew it, he was already walking towards the counter with the guide in hand. The Shogi guide could wait after all.
Weeks passed, and by then, he had already read through the guide such that he could memorise its contents.
That was when he started to take a detour after school to nearby public basketball courts so he could watch the neighbourhood youths play for an hour or so. It was easy to do so, since his mother insisted on not having anyone to bring him home from school, saying that it was to "build independence"
Their skills and abilities were not as good as the players he saw that day, but they still utilised similar tactics, as well as some strategies he read in the guide. Seeing the theories in the pages come to life in front of him was a very educational experience to him. And the more he watched them, he started to see the patterns in the way they played as well. That was when he started to play a game, which was to predict what they were going to do, something like reading a few moves ahead in Shogi.
After that, he progressed to devising alternative tactics to the ones they performed. Of course the teenagers would not listen to a child if one told them that they could try something else, but it was a mental game that he enjoyed a lot.
That was when he started thinking that it would be nice to play in a team of his own to test out his theories, but seeing that he was currently in his school's chess club, and that his father would never agree to him changing clubs, he quickly dismissed the thought.
One day, when he returned home after school, he met his mother in the living room. She stood up from the sofa she was sitting on, like she was waiting for him the whole time.
Inwardly, he wondered on reflex if he did anything wrong, even though he knew very well that he didn't.
"I'm home, mother." He greeted her first, like he was taught to do since young.
"Welcome back, Sei-chan" she answered, using his pet name as usual. "Didn't I say that you could call me mum? Mother sounds too distant…"
"Father doesn't like it." They've been through this conversation many times already, so he had said this almost automatically.
"Your father isn't around right now, so it's fine." His mother said, but he had no intention of changing the way he addressed her. He didn't want it to become a habit, or else he might just make a mistake when his father is home.
His mother gave a small sigh when he didn't comply with her request, and reached towards a package on the table.
"I found this at the bookstore today and I thought you would like it, so here."
He took the package from his mother.
"Thank you." It was rather common for his mother to buy him things out of the blue, so he wasn't that surprised. As his mother continued to watch him expectantly, he opened the package and pulled out,
"Advanced basketball strategies"
From the title, he could tell that this book was more complex than the one he bought before. As he looked up in surprise, his mother spoke,
"I saw you reading that basketball book you had, so I thought you might want another one, seeing how quickly you can go through your reading material. You know..." There was a pause, then his mother continued, "You might not be able to imagine it, and your father doesn't know either, but I was part of the basketball club in school, so I am really happy that you got interested in it, even if it's just the books." She smiled when she finished.
"I...see." was all he managed to say. Like she had said, he found it quite difficult to imagine that his gentle and proper mother actually played basketball.
"You must be tired, so why don't you go to your room to rest?" His mother suggested. He nodded and walked in the direction of his room, book in hand, wondering why she seemed more eager than usual to make him return to his room. Normally, she would try to make him stay and talk and he would be the one to excuse himself.
After he entered his room, he put down all his things, washed up and changed out of his school uniform. That was when he went to his desk and picked up his new book. Picking the book up carefully, he turned to the first page.
A piece of paper fluttered out and fell to the floor. Bending over, he picked up the piece of paper, wondering what it might be. As he turned it over, he found that it was a note.
I hope you will like this book. I came across something else today, and thought it would be useful to you as well. After all, just reading from the books isn't very useful, like reading a book about chess without actually touching the chess pieces."
He frowned at the contents, why did his mother take the trouble to write him a note instead of telling him directly? And what item was she talking about? He continued reading, but there was only one line left.
"Hint: look under your bed."
Putting down the book and the note, he walked towards his bed and went on all fours, peering into the darkness under his bed. There was a round object there. Reaching for it, he pulled it out.
It was a basketball. At first glance, it looked like a normal basketball, but as he turned it around in his hands, he realised it was smaller, like it was meant for a child.
There was another note stuck to it.
"Have fun with it, but make sure your father is not around first :p"
He scoffed, it was just like his mother to encourage him to continue in any wholesome activities he took interest in, whether his father disapproved or not.
Not that he disliked that.
As time passed, he learnt to manage his time between his chess club activities and basketball. He slowly developed his skills in these two aspects, making sure his performance in the chess club was constant so that his father would never suspect a thing about his other hobby.
However, only after a few months, due to a mistake from one of his servants, his secret was still found out.
He had returned home from school to find his father waiting for him. Considering what a busy man his father was, he knew something was wrong.
"Father." He greeted.
But his father didn't reply him immediately. There was a short pause, then,
"Seijuro, I heard one of the servants talking about you starting to play basketball."
He froze. How much did his father know?
His father continued,
"I found these in your room too."
As his father stepped aside, he saw his basketball books and the basketball on the table behind. He clenched his fists in anger. What right did his father have to search his room?
"Why did you go through my things?" He asked, struggling to keep his cool.
"I believe that's not the issue here." His father answered, dismissing his question entirely. "The point is that you knowingly did something you know I won't approve of. Why?"
Why? Was there actually a proper reason to explain his actions? It was simple, all he did was like something that his father didn't, that was all.
There was a silence as he refused to answer his father. Once again, his father asked,
"Does your mother know about this?"
That was when he noticed that his mother wasn't at home. After all, she wouldn't have allowed his father to search his room. Was she sent away on an errand so she wouldn't be here when this happened?
He looked up at his father and made up his mind.
"No she doesn't." There was no need to involve his mother in this.
"Is that so?" His father asked, then he sighed, "I must admit I probably emphasised too much on your intellectual development, and neglected your physical activities. You are a growing boy after all. I will overlook your actions this time."
He frowned, was his father giving in?
"However, don't involve yourself in this lowly sport anymore. Only street children will play this. I will arrange more proper activities for you."
His father gestured to his belongings on the table.
"As for these things, get rid of them."
"What exactly...is so bad...about basketball?" He heard himself say.
There was a tense silence. It was a battle of wills between father and son.
"Get rid of them." His father repeated. "I expect to see you empty handed when you return."
There was no room for discussion, he could tell from the look in his father's eyes. Slowly, he approached the table and picked up the things he would soon never see again.
"On second thoughts, I'm going to get one of the servants to come with you, or else you're probably going to hide them somewhere."
He trembled in anger. Getting one of the servants to follow him was like a hostage situation. If he somehow convinced the servant to tell his father that he had gotten rid of the things when he had not, the servant would get fired if they were ever found out.
His father knew he didn't like getting others into trouble and was taking advantage of that.
That afternoon, all material traces of his attachment to basketball disappeared.
That evening, at dinner time, his father dropped another bomb on him.
"I'm sending Seijuro to horse riding classes."
His mother looked surprised, "Horse riding? Why?"
"It will be good exercise for him." His father answered.
"When will he start?" His mother asked.
"From next weekend."
As expected, his mother looked at him in worry,
"Will you be able to handle the workload?"
From the look on his mother's face, he knew that she wasn't referring to his school activities, but basketball. She still had no idea what happened that afternoon, just like he intended.
He refused to look at her and answered,
"Then it's settled." His father said, and that was it. The meal continued and ended in silence.
When he finally returned to his room, he simply flopped onto his bed, tired by the day's events. His father had really planned everything well. Between his school work, chess activities and this new class, he won't have any more time to pick up basketball even if he wanted to.
Not unless he could do something about it. He was determined to continue basketball, no matter what.
A sudden thought came to him then, and he jolted up in bed. That's right, he could always do that. His school was so academically inclined that they would not mention anything about after school activities to the parents. And he wouldn't need his parent's permission to do what he planned to do. Furthermore, he could keep everything in school.
He smiled. If he was careful, neither of his parents would ever find out.
The next day, he quit the chess club and joined the basketball team.
Pika318: I hope you enjoyed reading this ^_^ It's a bit different from my usual writing style, so the execution might not be very good. I also wrote this on my handphone on the way to work, it was such a formatting nightmare when I transferred it to my computer. Moko-chan (my sister) also wants me to write a Kuroko version of this since Unexpected Surprises involves the both of them, so I'll try my best to write one.