The Perks of Being a Phantom Player

"Where there is much light, the shadows are deepest."

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


A/N: Thank you for reading:)

Hmm. I just have to introduce #2!


Chapter 14

The Perks of Tetsuya Number 2

*Lion King


August 18

Dear Friend,

I don't get Japanese people. Why would they abandon an Alaskan Malamute puppy in the park when a breed like that roughly costs $1000!?

It was during our practice when Tetsu brought the dog. It's still summer vacation but the boys were practicing, and because I am the manager I have to be present. I always have to be present. Ugh. God, they practice too much! Anyway, I have to be early this time because yesterday, I woke up so late (I finished the Gurren Lagann series which was awesome), that Aida-sempai got mad. You never want to see or even hear her mad! She's like my Mom! Jeez! She was supposed to punish me today but I just like to point out that I was watching anime because I mean, we were TECHNICALLY still on summer BREAK!

So anyway, Tetsu brought the puppy and I squealed because it was overloading with CUTENESS LEVEL OVER 9000! And trust me when I say it is a pure breed. Like I said before, I am good with animals, so I know that at least.

"Kyaa! Where did you get it?" I asked Tetsu.

"In the park along our school." Tetsu answered.

That was so anime-ish! I wish I could encounter something in the park too! Tetsu was so lucky!

I took the puppy (it's male, BTW) from the box and looked at him in the eyes. And then the puppy licked my hands. I fell in love with him that instant!

"Ahahahaha!" I laughed liked a happy ojou-sama. I lifted the puppy in the air and I twirled around with the lovey-dovey aura around us!

"Ah, she loves the dog already!" The senpais sighed.

I returned the dog to Tetsu.

"Can we keep him? He can be the Seirin's mascot or something. That would be so cool!" I said excitedly.

"We haven't decided what to do with it yet." Hyuuga-sempai reminded me. I pouted at him.

"Are you sure he was abandoned? No owner. Not lost or anything." I asked Tetsu.

"Yes." Tetsu said.

"See?! I mean look at him!" I indicated the puppy with my hands.

"What's wrong with Japanese people?! How can they abandon him?!" I complained.

"You're forgetting that we are Japanese too, Maya." The senpais said.

"Ok, except you guys." I said.

"That's still wrong!" They said to me.

"Like I said, we haven't decided what to do with it yet!" Hyuuga-sempai repeated.

I turned to Teppei-nii for back-up. He is useful in these kind of situations. I mean, hello, the one I call onii-chan is the Founder. "Onii-chan, can we keep him?!"

"Hahaha! Please listen to Hyuuga-kun, Maya-chan. He is the captain. But if I am the captain, we would keep it!" Teppei-nii said.

"Oi! Oi! That's called pressuring!" Hyuuga-sempai said.

The puppy then climbed at the top of Tetsu's head and started wagging his tail.

"Wai! He likes you! Maybe you should take care of him?" I said to Tetsu.

And then Tetsu suddenly sweated - tremendously. Like the water totally gushed out from his head. And it was yellow-orange. Obviously, it's not sweat, and you DON'T want to know what it was. It's gross.

"Or maybe not!" I retracted.

"KUROKO! THE DOG IS PEEING ON YOU!" Koga-sempai screamed.

"Oops, sorry, the doggie is peeing on me!" Tetsu said the obvious. The idiot.

"We can clearly see that! Go to the shower room! Don't come back until you bathe!" We told him.

When Tetsu was already clean (and doesn't smell anymore), we all circled around him and the puppy.

"So? What's the decision?" I asked.

"It's not a sin to ignore it along the road, but once we've taken it in, it's bad to turn away." Hyuuga-sempai said rationally.

We stared at the puppy. And it's so cute! How can they not see that! I can't believe they are having second thoughts to take him in. Uhg. Really! Boys.

"Hey everyone, don't you think the puppy looks like…" Izuki-sempai suddenly said.

We looked and then started comparing, from the dog to Tetsu. And from Tetsu to the dog.

"It's Kuroko!" The boys said awed. I laughed.

It's really Tetsu! Their eyes are so similar! If Tetsu ever turns into a dog, he'll look like the puppy! Their eye-color is the same. It's so cool!

"Aww! You're meant to meet!" I squealed.

"Okay doggie! From now on you are Tetsuya #2!" Koga-sempai declared! It's 'Tetsuya Ni-go'.

"Why Tetsuya #2?!" I asked. I don't like Koganei-sempai's naming sense.

"Well, isn't it obvious? He looks like Kuroko!" He said to me.

"What about Ninja #2?" I suggested. Yes, I know, mine wasn't good either!

"No! It's Tetsuya #2!"

"Ninja Tetsu?!" I said.

"Blacky." Fukuda said.

"Kagero!" Tsuchida-sempai said.

"Kagemusha!" Kawahara said.

"Shining Heart Tetsu." Teppei-nii suggested.

"Or Black Shadow." Furihata said.

"Oohh! Nice one!" I said to Furihata.

"Tetsuya #2" Koga-sempai reiterated.

"Nin-nin?!" I suggested again.

"What's with you and ninjas?!" Koganei-sempai asked me exasperatedly.

"Just because!" I said.

"Stop arguing about the name! Or rather, don't give it a name at all! Now we cannot turn it back anymore!" Hyuuga-sempai cried.

I kneeled in front of Hyuuga-sempai with desperation.

"Why don't you like him! What did he ever do to you?" I wailed like a drama queen.

"It's not that I don't like him. Please stop making me the bad person here, Maya!" Hyuuga-sempai said cringing.

"I've been meaning to ask, but what are you doing there Kagami?" Teppei-nii said. We all looked at where Taiga was (he was there with us from the very beginning), crouching in the corner of the gym, trembling in fear.

"Ah, no, well…" His voice quaked. "I have a problem with dogs."

"WHAT?! Tiger don't succumb to little dogs like this one!" The senpais teased.

"I never said I am a tiger!" Taiga said.

"Kagami-kun! Please don't say that!" Tetsu said. And then he brought Tetsuya #2 in front of Taiga. The puppy was so close to his face that Taiga screamed and ran. Still holding Tetsuya #2, Tetsu ran after him.

"Stay away from me! Stop it! Damn it Kuroko! I'll kill you afterwards!" Taiga shouted.

Now that I know, what am I doing, you asked?! Well, Hallelujah was being sung in my background and I was snickering evilly.

"Bwuhahahahahaha!" I laughed. A LOT of plans were forming inside my head. I never expected Taiga will be afraid of dogs! I mean, who would have thought!? He is afraid of dogs!

"Bwahahahahahahahahahaha!" I laughed again. I was crunching my fingers in front of me like a total villain.

"Maya-chan, you're being scary again!" Furihata said.

"Ah ha, she's the only one who is happy with this." Izuki-sempai said.

"Somehow, I feel bad for Kagami." Koganei-sempai said.

"You're not the only one." The other boys said.

"'Morning everyone!" Aida-sempai appeared.

I quickly took Nigo from Tetsu and then genuflected in front of Aida-sempai. I raised him to her, like how *Rafiki raised Simba's daughter to the spirits.

"Your Highness, I am presenting to you Tetsuya Number 2!" I said majestically as trumpets play in the background.

If you haven't noticed it yet, Seirin Basketball Club operates in a matriarchal set-up so if anything else, the one who decides everything is the oldest (she's going to kill me if she read this!) and powerful female in the group –- Aida-sempai.

"A puppy?! Why did you bring it here in the sports gym?!" She asked.

"Tetsu brought him here!" I said.

''And?" Aida-sempai pressed.

"He wanted to keep it?" I offered.

"That's dirty Maya-san! You are the one who wanted to keep him the most." Tetsu said.

"But you wanted him too!" I retorted.

Aida-sempai was just staring at the puppy. And then, just to make this quick, I told Nigo to make the ever heart-wrenching soulful eyes, which he did immediately (smart puppy!). I really wanted to have him then. Aida-sempai took him to cuddle.

And that's how we got to keep him! Or not, since Taiga was against it!

"We can't keep… AWCKKK!" Taiga said. I kicked him in the face before he can finish his sentence.

"What the hell Maya!" He cried at me as he rubs his cheek.

"What are you saying?!" I asked.

"We are a basketball club not a pet center!" Taiga said. Damn, he got that right!

"But, how can you say no to him!" I pointed Nigo. He was already in Tetsu's arms.

"You want to abandon the puppy for the second time?!" Tetsu asked him.

"Tell him Tetsu! Tell him how heartless he is!" I goad.

"Shut up!" Taiga said to me.

"And stop looking at me with those identical eyes! Uhhkk!" Taiga said to Tetsu and Nigo.

"I think it's really bad for us to keep it, huh." Aida-sempai said.

"But you said…" I argued.

"I see…" Tetsu said.

I don't see. WTH!

"Can we keep it if we manage to convince Kagami-kun?" Tetsu asked her.

Now I see. Nice.

"I'll give you one day, and it should not get in the way of practice." Aida-sempai said.

"Ok, Taiga, just say yes!" I ordered him.

"When I say I can't, I can't!" Taiga yelled.

He is a stubborn idiot. Eish!

I pulled Tetsu in the corner so we could plan our attack. I suggested a lot of things that could make Taiga say yes. And you know what Tetsu said?!

He said: NO.

Like deadpan no! Tetsu out rightly rejected ALL of my plans! He said all of them were too violent. I agree most of them were violent, I mean, I said, if all else fails, we'll make Nigo bite him in the head or something. But when he said re-enacting Taiga's trauma was too violent… was he serious?! I was thinking it could actually cure him with his fear, you know!

"What else can we do?! The dead line is on or before the practice ends TODAY!" I said.

"Let me do this." Tetsu said. And he was really determined, mind you. Even though you can't see it in his face, you can hear it by the way he said it.

"Ok, fine. Just make sure he accepts Nigo."

Tetsu nodded.

And just when everything was settled, Aida-sempai called me.

"Ah, Maya, you clean the club room." She ordered.

"Eh, why?!" I cried.

"Oh, have you forgotten how late you were yesterday?" She said this with her eyes getting dark. I shuddered. I really forgot about the punishment!

"But Aida-sempai…"

Before anything else, let me tell you that Seirin's clubroom is a mess (and smelly and disgusting) for the sole reason that the ones using it were all boys. I mean, the club room looked like it wasn't cleaned for a millennium! It has all sorts of fungus and cobwebs! There were even mushrooms appearing in their lockers! So, cleaning it was the worst punishment ever.

"And the lockers too, Maya." Aida-sempai added. I bet she wanted to catch the boys with their porn magazines.

I don't really like cleaning!

"What if I say I don't want to?!" I bravely asked as I took a ready-to-fight stance. But my knees were really shaking. The boys 'ohhed' followed by a complete silence.

And then suddenly:

KABLAG!

I was already facing the floor and my bones were cracking. I am not joking! Like 'CRAAAAAAAACKK'! It happened so fast and I didn't even notice that Aida-sempai already subjected me to THE BOSTON CRAB HOLD! I was wrong about the clubroom! The Boston Crab Hold is the worst punishment in the whole universe! My god! It could cripple me!

"WOHHH! THE BOSTON CRAB HOLD!" The boys shouted.

"CRAAACKKK!" That was my backbone.

"Aida-sempai, I'm sorry! I will clean the clubroom! I'll make it dust-free and sparkly!" I actually pleaded, pounding the floor with my hands as a form of surrender because my body was already bended backward to its maximum!

"Fufu! Good!" Aida-sempai said as she released me. She is scarier than my mother!

The boys went for a jog. Tetsu brought Nigo along so he could get acquainted with Taiga. And I was stuck cleaning with all my bones aching! It's hard, I tell you. And the clubroom, jeez, it's as worse as that of the rugby club! I was still cleaning when the boys finished running and came back to the clubroom. They started changing their sneakers into indoor shoes to proceed with the gym training. The process was a total chaos! They clumsily took out their shoes and just dump it wherever! I growled at them!

"Kora! Get your shoes off properly!"

"Huh?" They all said at me as if they weren't doing anything wrong. It was so aggravating!

"Get your fucking shoes off properly!" I repeated demon eyes, raising a mop with my hands.

They all shuddered and started fixing their shoes.

Like I said: Matriarchal set-up. HEHEHE.

After the boys were gone, Nigo, like Tetsu, just appeared with a bark in the clubroom which shocked the crap out of me. He already acquired Tetsu's ability!

"Nigo! Don't do that again!" I reprimanded him but he was wagging his tail.

"Why are you here? Are you here to accompany me?! You are a good dog! I mean, who could clean this messy place?! It would probably take me a whole day!" I complained.

And then I started explaining to him the do's and don'ts of a dog during the basketball club activities. If he wants to be adopted, he should at least show he is a smart and good dog. I hope he understood – or not.

Halfway through my cleaning, Nigo peed in the corner of the lockers. I screamed. I cleaned that place already!

"No, no! If you're going to pee, you pee outside!" I said to the dog. He stuck his tongue out and started panting.

I was looking for a piece of cloth to wipe out the urine when I saw Nigo started to walk around in circles sniffing from here to there. If you had a puppy before, you know what it means! I panicked when he squatted. Grabbing anything to prevent his smelly poop to land on the (already) cleaned floor, I theatrically jumped to where he was, like a baseball player sliding to a base. The thing (a shoe to be exact) I was holding caught the dreadful thing. Like safe! I even wiped my forehead when I stood up only to realize that the shoe I used was Taiga's!

Oh shit! I screamed, Edvard Munch's version.

Now Taiga will never say yes! And it seriously stinks! Puppy-poop stinks! I can't bring myself to clean it! I carefully put it where it was before and pretended that never happened.

I was sweating with guilt already!

Because I can never get angry with Nigo for pooping and because it will be my fault if Taiga will say no (definitely), I depressingly gave him back to Tetsu.

"Why are you trembling?" Tetsu asked me.

I sighed as I looked away, still trembling. "Please make sure Taiga will say yes before the practice ends. And don't let him come to the clubroom."

"What happened?"

"Nothing. Nothing happened." I said.

"I don't believe you!" Tetsu said. I grabbed his shoulders then and looked him in the eyes.

"Just make Taiga say yes ASAP!"

"Err, ok…"

Tetsu was sure persistent. He made sure that wherever Taiga's eyes are, he sees Nigo. It was kind of funny if you watch what was happening with clear conscience but since I was so obsessed to make sure Taiga wouldn't go to the clubroom, I couldn't care less.

And then the day was almost about to end and he still hadn't said 'yes'. Taiga walked back to the clubroom. I immediately grabbed him from the back to stop him. I could have nearly squeezed the life out of him if he was a normal person, but since he is not a normal person, it probably felt like a normal hug from behind.

"What are you doing?!" Taiga said surprised.

"You can't go to the clubroom!"

"Why?!"

"Because you didn't take a bath yet! I just cleaned the room!" I reasoned.

"Why am I the only one you are stopping?!" He was wiggling so hard, it almost took everything I had to hold on. And then he started walking and I was being dragged! Why is he so freaking strong!

"Oi, oi! If you want to make out, do it outside!" Izuki-sempai teased.

"That's not it!" Taiga said.

I was concentrating on stopping him with friction, but it was futile. To make the long story short, he saw the poop on his shoe.

"WE CAN'T KEEP IT!" He screamed like a tiger. He was so angry!

"Maya, you knew it pooped on my sneaks!" He accused.

I looked away. "I don't."

"We can't keep it!" He repeated and walked out the gym.

Tetsu suddenly appeared beside me.

"You knew it pooped on Kagami-kun's shoe." He stated calmly.

"But it was an accident!" I sobbed and then I held Tetsu's arm like a child and then pleaded.

"I want to keep Nigo! Tetsu…"

Tetsu sighed and took Nigo. "I'm going to talk to Kagami-kun again. Ok?"

I nodded.

A few moments later Taiga and Nigo were in good terms already (although Taiga was still afraid of him, haha). It turned out that the shoe has a gash on it and the poop saved him from accidents that could happen.

Seirin Basketball Club officially now has a mascot. Yay!

Love Always, Maya.

PS. My bones were still aching! Like all the 206 bones I have!