I managed to find two and a half chapters (16, 17, half of 18) in my dad's external hdd. Hence I am now able to update despite losing the rest of the chapters (other half of 18 and 19) when my computer crashed nine months ago in February.

I have some good news. Which may be potentially bad news. That shall be left to the end of the chapter, though.

In the meantime, enjoy!


Parallel: From the beginning

Chapter 16

I have an idea...

"Kagami-kun, you're eating a lot more than you usually do."

Kagami turned around, frowning at the small bento on her table.

"I'm surprised that's enough for you. We played two games yesterday; and four over the weekend. You can't blame me for being hungry, can you?"

"Well, I'm feeling a bit sore, at the very least."

"What does that mean, huh?"

"That aside, my mother says that she's planning on making omelette rice tonight. She bought enough ingredients for your portion, so do join us. Don't worry, my father has to work overtime so he won't be around."

"That's not the issue here. Does your mom insist that every single one of your friends become a regular at your family's dining table?"

"You're the first and only one, Kagami-kun."

"Seriously?"

"Some of my former teammates have been to my house and had dinner there, but never once had she invited someone to come over more than once or twice."

"I don't know if I should be honoured or I should worry about that."

"I would think that my mother is rather fond of you. She treats you like the son she never has."

"I'd prefer to think otherwise."

"What do you mean by that, Kagami-kun?"

Kagami paused, hesitant to speak what was on his mind.

"I mean… when parents want to meet and get to know a male acquaintance of their daughter's, it's when they are probably in that kind of relationsh—"

"Ah! Kuroko-chan, Kagami-kun!" Kagami was interrupted by a familiar voice.

The two of them looked towards the back door of their classroom, where Riko was beaming at them. She was balancing two large boxes on her arms.

"Perfect timing; I could use some help here."

"What can we do for you, Coach?" Tetsuya stood from her seat, Kagami close behind her.

"Come here, Kagami-kun."

"Huh? What is—"

Before Kagami could finish his sentence, the two boxes were placed onto his hands. His knees buckled instinctively from the sudden increase in weight.

"Heavy…!"

"Help me bring this to the spare classroom upstairs. I'll guide you there."

"Should I come along as well?"

"That would be nice, Kuroko-chan!"

"But we're sore from the four games over the weekend… What about that foul-mouthed manager, huh? You could've asked her instead."

"She's gone to set up the DVD system in the room. And besides, you can't expect a bunch of frail, gentle and sweet maidens to carry those heavy boxes, could you?"

"Well, Kuroko aside, I don't recall having any other maidens in our club— That hurt!"

"You deserved that, Kagami-kun."

"Kuroko, you… And to think that I was only praising you, too!"

"Coach, you mentioned DVDs… Could it be that we're going to scout and analyze the next opponent?"

"Yup! Those boxes contain all the DVDs that we have of this year and last… as much as I would like to watch them in our clubroom, it's too small. Don't forget that we would be playing against two kings in a row; and it won't hurt to over-analyze, don't you think?"

"Of course."

"Ah! Coach… Tetchan and Kagamin, too!"

"Sorry for the trouble, Kikumi-chan! Kagami-kun, just set those boxes on the teacher's podium over there."

"Oh."

"It's fine! The school's DVD system is rather easy to use… I would have had a lot more trouble if it weren't. Is it okay for us to go back now?"

"Sure! Go ahead!"

"Let's go, Tetchan!"

"Hey, wait for me!"

"Hold it there, Kagami-kun. I still need you for something."

"Hah?"

"See you then; Kagamin!"

"See you later, Kagami-kun."

"Kuroko, you…!"

Before Kagami could unleash his fury, the two girls were already gone.

XXX

"Kagami-kun? Kagami-kun, wake up."

The red-head blinked his eyes slowly, wiping away the small patch of drool that had formed on his sleeve.

"Huh? What is it, Kuroko?"

"Lessons are over for the day."

"Already? That's fast."

"Only because you were asleep throughout the whole of Takeda-sensei's literature class. He knew you were tired, so he didn't even bother to wake you up. You should thank him for his consideration."

"Oh. I will."

"Anyway, let's go to the clubroom."

"I thought there wasn't practice today?"

"Kikumi-san said that she left us 'something interesting' to watch."

"That girl… She's always plotting something, isn't she?"

"Even if she is, there's probably a good reason behind it. Kikumi-san always does what she can; and it's always with best intentions towards the people around her."

"U-Umm… K-Kuroko-san… I-I'm sorry to interrupt… B-But do you have a moment…?"

Both Kuroko and Kagami turned towards the person who had interrupted their conversation.

"Oh, Class Rep. What's up?"

"What is it, Suwa-san?"

Suwa Chihiro, class representative of their class, fidgeted uncomfortably as he felt the two stare straight at him.

"I-I was wondering… Y-You haven't been doing much work with the Library Committee for a while… S-So I thought that something might have happened…"

"Oh. About that, I have already told the senior-in-charge that I won't be able to help out for a while, since it's the preliminaries for the Inter-High."

"I-I see… I-I had forgotten that K-Kuroko-san is part of the basketball club as well… P-Please do your best…!"

"Thank you for your concern, Suwa-san," Tetsuya gave him a polite bow and a small smile in return. "We will do our best."

"Y-You don't have to be so p-polite with me…!" The boy blushed profusely. "I-I shall be going now…"

The boy quickly excused himself and quite literally fled from the classroom.

"What's with the Class Rep?"

"Beats me…"

"I think… he might have a crush on you, Kuroko."

Tetsuya blinked at him, her expression as blank as it usually was.

"Very amusing, Kagami-kun. I didn't know you where the type of person who would joke around like this."

"I'm not; I was serious," Kagami gritted his teeth together, a slow-raging feeling stirring in his chest.

"Suwa-san is just shy, that's all. Plus, we're nothing more than classmates."

"Doesn't seem that way to me. Anyway, let's head to the clubroom."

"Okay."

The trip to the clubroom had been silent, neither of them uttering another word to one another.

Kagami rubbed his head as he clicked his tongue in mild frustration.

For what reason is he getting jealous for?

It's not like he had that sort of feelings for her… right?

XXX

"It's a DVD."

"Seihou vs. Kitawada… huh. This ought to be interesting."

"Let's watch it, then."

Tetsuya set up the player and inserted the CD. She then proceded to sit next to Kagami on one of the blue benches. She gave him a curious look when she spotted him inch away from her.

"You were too close," He explained, avoiding her gaze and redirecting his attention to the video on the screen now showed the tip-off of the match.

The two watched in silence for the first few moments until Kagami started to comment on it.

"I can see why they're called one of the Three Kings. Their defence is strong. But their movements are… kind of weird, don't you think?"

"I will have to agree."

"Their rhythm is different… There's this weird feeling about them.

"Maybe they have some sort of special practice?"

"What kind?"

"I don't know."

"Hah?"

"It was merely a suggestion."

It was then that the door burst open.

"Oh! The two of you have already started watching it without me! That's cruel!"

"Why are you here?!"

"Why can't I be here? It's not like I'm interrupting anything important. So, what do you think of Seihou?"

"They're good," Tetsuya pointed out. "Their mobility is exceptional."

"Coach mentioned that too. I don't know how they do it, but they're fast to get into position; so much so that it's annoying me." Kikumi sighed, twirling a few strands of her hair idly with her index finger. "As expected of a team that is said to have the best defence in Tokyo. What about you, Kagamin?"

"Well, there's something odd about them. I haven't figured what it is, though." Kagami raised an eyebrow, wondering as to why she could possibly annoyed. "But there's this one player that caught my attention."

"Which one?"

"That baldy wearing the jersey with the number 10 on it. His defence is exceptionally tough."

"Baldy?" Kikumi frowned, turning towards the screen to see who Kagami was referring to. Her face instantly fell when she saw his face. "Urgh… That's one face I never hope to see again.

"You know him?"

"My team played a practice match against them once. He comes from an all-boys team, so we don't get to play against each other in the Nationals. That's a good thing, if you ask my opinion."

"What's his name?"

"Tsugawa Tomoki."

"Just how good is he?"

"He's strong. I played against him before as well. Even though the six of us, the Generation of Miracles, had just started playing as a team; he managed to stop Ryouko-san."

"Wha… How?"

"He made her foul for holding the ball too long."

"Seriously? Is his defence that tough?"

"You'll only know if you had played against him," Kikumi shrugged. "If had to sum him up in one word, that word would have to be 'annoying'. Not to mention that he's an enemy of all the women in the world. Just thinking of that bald head of his makes me want to send him flying."

"I will have to second that," Tetsuya had a small frown on her face. "To be honest, I don't want to face him if I was given a choice."

"Huh? Just what did that guy do to the both of you?"

"Something that you'll never do. You may be an idiot, but at least you're better than him in that regard; since you have proved that you can be a gentleman despite how you look."

"Gee, thanks," Kagami rolled his eyes, not knowing if he was being insulted or praised at that very moment.

"Anyway, this will be a difficult wall to overcome. Kikumi-san, what did Coach say about this?"

"She hasn't seen this video yet. Coach told me to let the three of us watch this one first; while she and the seniors watch the other one. We'll be viewing both videos with the rest of the team tomorrow before practice."

"But what about Shuutoku?"

"Of course we need to prepare for them as well, but how can you expect to face Shuutoku if we don't handle Seihou first?"

"Well…"

"Relax, Kagamin; and take things one steady step at a time. We'll figure something out."

XXX

The next day, every member of the Seirin team remained silent as the match being played on the video ended.

"Reality's harsh, isn't it?" Riko was the first to sigh.

"Honestly, this is really not going to be easy," Hyuuga unfolded his arms. "If we aren't prepared, the outcome will be the same as last year's."

"I think we are all fully aware of that, Hyuuga."

"I'm sorry," Koganei turned towards everyone, his face crestfallen. "But I feel like crying again."

Mitobe gave his friend a pat on the shouder to comfort him, but his expression showed that he was worried was well.

"To be frank, we'll lose to schools like Seihou or Shuutoku if we were to play against them nine times out of ten. But we still have that one time; and all we have to do is to achieve it."

Everyone couldn't help but to smile, knowing that the girl already had a plan in mind, except their captain and manager who were in deep thought at the moment.

"Say… I won't go as far as to call this a strategy, but I have an idea… on how to handle Seihou."

"I have one, too," Kikumi added. "But it's more of a suggestion, really."

Riko looked at the both of them, noting the serious expression they have their eyes.

They were exactly the same; both held in them the determination to win.

"Let's hear them, then."

XXX

Kuroko Kotetsu gave a light sigh as he looked through the manuscripts on his table once more, reviewing the various sections that have been marked in red.

While it was bad enough that his job requires him to work overtime often, he has to bring home work from the office as well. Sometimes he wished that he could take some time off to spend with his wife and daughter; but taking long breaks when working in the publishing industry was impossible.

Despite of the high demands of his job, he enjoyed it nonetheless.

Two sharp knocks drew his attention towards the door of the room.

"Who is it?"

"It's Tetsuya. May I come in?"

"Go ahead."

The man put down his glasses, rubbing the bridge of his nose as the girl came in.

"What is it?"

"I wanted to ask you about this," She held up a magazine, its pages open to show a specific article.

The headline was printed in large block letters: An exclusive interview with the Captain of the Generation of Miracles! A sudden revelation by the undefeated emperor?!

He only needed a single look to recognize it.

"This is the special feature from this month's issue, isn't it? It won't be on sale until tomorrow. What about it?"

"Aunt Tomoe wrote this article, didn't she?"

"She did. It's a wonderful and interesting article; not to mention it's sure to raise eyebrows. You know about the Crownless Generals, don't you?"

"Yes… They're a group of players whose individual talents are said to be able to be on par with the Generation of Miracles, right? But this article is not about them."

"This article is talking about a similiar group, one which consists of members who are of the same age as you are. Seijuurou-kun had named them 'The Shadowed Knights'."

"Oh?"

"But the part that interests you is that both you and Seijuurou-kun are acquainted with every one of the four people mentioned here, am I right?"

Tetsuya nodded.

"But is there a specific purpose for publishing this article only now?"

"Not really. Does it bother you?"

"A little, I must admit."

"Are you saying this as a member of the Generation of Miracles?"

"I am saying this in the positions of an acquaintance and of a friend. But there is something else that had caught my attention."

"The fact that the title here has the kanji for the number 'five' when there are only four people mentioned here… right? Well, perhaps he's still looking for that fifth person. Someone who can be truly rival… or perhaps even surpass the Generation of Miracles."

"Is there someone like that?"

"Not now, but perhaps one day, there may be one," Kotetsu paused to stand up, giving his daughter a light pat on the head. "You should be in bed soon. Don't you have a match tomorrow?"

"Yes…"

"Do your best."

"I will."


And now, the good/bad news that I need to discuss at all costs.

While I am still interested in continuing this series, I have a few concerns. First being the fact that I still have several stories that are still not finished yet. Namely "Lies, Truth and Our Destiny", "Father", the "Kuroko no Obake Monogatari Series" (I lost the file for the second book and has yet to find a backup) and the "AkaKuro AU Challenge".

Currently, I am doing my internship which will last all the way to mid-March next year, even though I have December off. However, the "AkaKuro AU Challenge" holds most priority now, followed by"Lies, Truth and Our Destiny". I hope to finish the former by this year and the latter by end of February.

I know that there are a lot of fics which have a gender-bended Kuroko as the protagonist, so I'm not sure that I should continue this one. Even though in mine Kuroko isn't the only one who's gender-bended and I have OCs, I don't want to do something people might be 'sick and tired of', if you know what I mean. I've initially had this planned all the way to volume 18, and that includes original arcs like Seirin's Cultural Festival and Sports Day and other events, and it would be a shame to let go of these plans.

If possible, I want to hear your opinion on this series. If it's possible, I'd like to hear what you like about this series that is different from the others, what you think can be improved and why you think I should continue writing this series. I will decide based on what you readers have to say and what you don't say.

Chapter 17 will come out on the 11th of November, Monday; and I will put up an author's note regarding my final decision on the 16th of November. (And if I can finish chapter 18 by the 13th I'll have that up, too.)

As always, thank you for reading and reviewing!

Best wishes,
Amamiya Toki

Next Chapter:

We'll make you cry