Entry 8: Debut

To: [黒子テツヤ]

From: [Phantom]

Coach Akira is also the janitor of the school.

He has black hair and blue eyes.

In general he is quite friendly. But due to a time lapse

from changing the future, his appearance in this original timeline

was not foretold. You can still treat him normally as

he is not a key player.

Please proceed as usual.

[End]

In the sun-lit gym on a sunny afternoon, a smiling man greeted the first-stringers of Teiko Basketball Team.

"A pleasure to make your acquaintance; my name is Akira Kagerou, the new coach."

The first-stringers, particularly the regulars viewed this with a questionable eye. Unlike the other coaches who were well into their 30s, Coach Akira was visibly young. In fact, he could probably pass as a high schooler if he tried...well, then again, most of the overgrown regulars could as well.

He was of normal build, standing slightly taller than Aomine with crystal clear blue eyes and trimmed black hair with a bit of spike here and there.

Giving a formal or more or less mandatory bow, the fellow members of the basketball team returned the gesture.

"From now on, I will be helping you all out by providing a training menu that will focus on individual strength, in order to uphold Teiko's doctrine. I hope to see victory with you all." He said with a smile.

The basketball players stared at him,

Contrary to his declaration, he didn't seem strict enough to enforce it. In fact, he was like water, so elusive that he almost felt out of place in such a barbaric atmosphere of muscles and sweat.

They did not pay much heed to his words at all.

"Wow that coach was really young!" Kise commented after Coach Akira left as the regulars commenced their warm-ups.

"Ah really? I didn't notice at all though?" Aomine said, chugging down a bottle of water.

"Aominecchi doesn't notice anyone without breasts"

"OI" Aomine warned with a scowl. "That is true but not true enough. They have to be F cups to be worthy of my atten-OW"

"Aomine-kun just be quiet!" A clearly irritated voice barked as Momoi Satsuki threw her clipboard at him.

"Ah, Momocchi!" Kise greeted as the basketball club manager released a huff, retrieving her clipboard from Aomine's grumpy remains.

"What are you doing here anyways?" Aomine scowled, rubbing his head.

"I'm the manager! Of course I'm supposed to be here! Although I admit, this time I was just passing through to return the storage room key to Coach Sanada," Momoi said, holding out a silver key. "Ah, and also so say hi to Tetsu-kun!" She exclaimed with a grin while Kuroko, who was currently doing stretches with Akashi briefly smiled in acknowledgement.

"But hmm speaking of coaches, what do you think of the new coach Momoicchi? He's pretty young for one," Kise pursued, as if digging through a mystery.

"Who knows? Maybe he's some kind of amazing basketball player who retired early or something?" Murasakibara helpfully quipped, although his tone was completely disinterested.

Her brows furrowed. "Hmm, actually I don't know about that because I don't have any data on him at all."

"Eh? No data at all? Did you search?" Kise asked.

She nodded. "Yeah but there was no one in the Japanese basketball scene under the name of Akira Kagerou."

"Huh? That's so weird," Kise frowned, about to pull a Sherlock Holmes before Akashi's voice stopped them.

He gently signaled Kuroko to stop the stretches and said, "Either way, if he was chosen for this position by the head coach, I'm assured we can expect at least adequate coaching from him. Moreover, although having a new coach may be interesting, that isn't exactly our concern right now, is it?" He said, implying that they should really just shut up and get on with basketball.

As usual Akashi was terrifying. They could offer no argument that could possibly counter his.

With minimal grunting and Midorima'a reprimands, they got back to work.

Not another word was uttered about the new coach afterwards.

[=]

The following morning, Kuroko performed his daily routine of skimming through the contents of the letters, wondering if anything new was in store. However, this week's letter was nothing but a single piece of paper, with every day stating small irrelevant details of general interactions and etc.

Although the mobile phone stated that there was going to be a new coach, there was nothing more.

There were no warnings compared to that incident with both Haizaki and Kise.

Like this, Kuroko expected a thankfully

normal week and heaved a relieved breath. He had been on edge this whole time, in case something like last time occurred again.

Still, this did not mean he was able to fathom the intentions of his future self, who let Kise get hurt. Moreover, there was also the case with the entirely separate mobile phone, whose sender did not reply and continued on with a new message instead.

He supposed this may have been a side effect of the whole time travel fiasco and made a note to head to the library for further research. Settling into his classroom, already filled with classmates who were chattering away, he took his seat by the window and stared out, allowing the morning light to soak through him.

Below, he caught an interesting sight. It was Aomine Daiki, who was on school grounds early for once.

Kuroko glanced at the clock. There were only 5 minutes left until the bell would ring. He amended his statement. Well, early enough.

Yet, while he was intrigued by Aomine's improvement in habits, he noticed that Aomine was speaking to someone, more specifically, the janitor.

Kuroko peered close at his expression, and realized he was quite startled.

Kuroko blinked.

...How strange.

[=]

About ten minutes prior, Aomine Daiki had released a yawn as he lazily stepped down the path at the side of the school, heading for the 4th gym. He had forgotten his basketball shoes.

He didn't usually forget them, well, despite how sloppy and lazy he looked but since they were a new pair, or namely the pair Kuroko had gotten him, losing them wouldn't be good.

As he neared the corner however, he saw a man coming over, wearing dark blue overalls that covered most of his skin, his matching blue hat covering the rest of it, namely his face.

"Ah, Aomine-kun." The janitor suddenly greeted.

"O-oh," Aomine returned, startled by his greeting. Who was he? How did he know his name?

"You left your basketball shoes in the gym yesterday" the janitor said, suddenly holding up a pair of Lebron James.

Aomine quirked his brow in both relief and confusion. Well sure, the janitor probably found it while cleaning up or something but, how did he know it was his?

"Uh, thanks?" He said as the male handed the shoes to him.

"Not a problem," the janitor breezily replied before suddenly, an awkward silence settled upon them.

Not, Aomine was not a fan of awkward silences. Since this strange did go all the way to find him and return his shoes, was he expecting some more words in return? Aomine creased his brows. He did not like thinking about the unknowns.

The man simply stood there, expression obscured by the hat.

Aomine sighed, "Um...actually, do I know you?" He said, not the least tactful in his wording before he realized how off-putting that sounded.

The man pursed his lips.

Aomine swore he looked hurt. "Ah, well uh, I don't mean it like that but-" He frowned. Why did it feel like one of those awkward moments where he would try to console Momoi?!"

Watching his reaction, the male suddenly smiled. "Ah, that's right. You probably can't tell like this," he suddenly said and took off his hat, revealing a swirl of matted black hair.

Aomine lit up. "Oh! You're uh, the coach!" He said, forgetting his last name again.

Coach Akira nodded. "Yes, I'm the new coach," he repeated while Aomine affirmed with a "yeah", until realization dawned on him.

Immediately, Aomine Daiki leapt back. "Hah?! You're the coach?!" He exclaimed in disbelief. But, he was a janitor!

The janitor nodded, "well, I did say unlike the others I wasn't exactly a teacher," he shrugged with a half-smile dangling on lips. In fact, it was so slight, it was hard to tell if he was smiling at all.

"But, I didn't think you were a janitor," Aomine frowned, recalling their conversation from yesterday.

Yes, although he didn't give a damn about there being a new coach or not, he still managed to probably be the first one to speak to him, although, it wasn't something particularly special.

He was simply shooting hoops after practice as always...although this time without Kuroko because he had family duties.

Still, he didn't expect someone else to stay later than him at the time but well, if he was the janitor, that was to be expected.

"Well my position is besides the point anyways. Plus, right now, it's almost time for class to start, you're gonna be late you know?" Akira Kagerou said, pointing to his wristwatch.

"Hah?" Aomine blinked, snapping out of his thoughts. "Aw shoot this year's homeroom teacher is pretty strict," he scowled, turning on his heels for the closest door.

"Ah, Aomine-kun! Mind if I show you what I promised to show you after school today?"

Aomine tilted his head back, still running, as his eyes widened with excitement, capturing the man in the corner of his eye. "Sure!"

The janitor waved.

Aomine headed off to class.

[=]

"Aomine-kun, I didn't know you were acquainted with our school janitor," Kuroko pointed out during the lunch break.

"Ah?" Aomine gargled out, releasing a yawn.

They were sitting in the classroom, Kuroko unwrapping his riceball lunch while Aomine opened his bento, taking the seat behind Kuroko.

"That's right Aomine-kun, you were speaking to him in the morning," Momoi quipped.

"Huh? Why do you guys care?"

The two blinked. "Hmm, well there isn't really a reason..." Momoi mumbled admittedly.

"But, it's just rare for you to be speaking to adults," Kuroko completed before Momoi stifled a giggle.

"Oi! What do you mean rare?! Do I sound like some kind of antisocial species or something?!" Aomine demanded, immediately understanding the nuances as Kuroko simply shrugged.

"Oi!"

"Well, it is true that Aomine-kun doesn't do well with adults," Momoi chuckled before prompting listing off how every one of them had thus far involved various scoldings regarding his never completed homework.

Aomine wrinkled his nose. "Well this time it's not a teacher it's a coach and a janitor," he defended with a huff.

"Huh? Coach?" Momoi asked.

"Oh, yeah. Remember that new coach? He's also our janitor," Aomine said.

"What?!" Momoi exclaimed. "And wait, does that mean you've spoken to him already?"

"Huh? Yeah. Actually I met him after practice yesterday, since I was shooting hoops in the 4th gym."

"Ah, sorry that I was unable to come," Kuroko said apologetically.

Aomine frowned. "Hah? What are you saying, it's fine," he smirked, reaching his hand out to ruffle Kuroko's head. "But anyways, that coach came in and I ended up talking to him. But, I ended up leaving my basketball shoes in the change room so he basically just came to give them back this morning."

"Oh I see, so that's why." Momoi said in understanding.

"If Kise-kun was here, he'd probably be interested in what Coach Akira said to you," Kuroko said.

"Heh, that guy doesn't actually care. He's just killing time for the most part," Aomine scoffed, reading right through the flashy blond.

Kuroko smiled, "well that's true."

"But I'm curious for sure! I have no data on him after all," Momoi reminded indignantly. "What did he talk to you about?" She asked.

"Just some normal stuff like how long I've been playing."

"Did you at least ask about him?" Momoi frowned.

"Huh? No, well actually I kinda did but he ended up talking to me about his friends," Aomine said, hardly recalling the exchange.

"Friends?"

"Yeah, apparently they were pretty good basketball players," the tanned teen smirked.

"Hm, so Coach Akira was part of a team?" Kuroko joined in.

Aomine looked at him for a moment. "...Who knows," he shrugged, as if not really concerned.

"Hah?! What do you mean by who knows?" Momoi demanded, appalled by Aomine's lack of basic data-gathering skills.

"Aomine-kun, you don't look very interested. Are you not fond of the new coach?" Kuroko asked, analyzing his rather contradictory responses.

"Huh? Does it seem that way? No, that guy is kinda weird but he's really passionate about basketball so I guess, I didn't really care about his background and stuff," Aomine laughed off.

"...That's very altruistic of you," Kuroko blinked.

"Hey, what's that supposed to mean?" He demanded, although Momoi couldn't help but wonder if he meant Kuroko's tone, or the actually definition of the word.

"It means...that's unlike you Aomine-kun, are you hiding something from us?" Momoi interrogated.

"Nothing! He just likes basketball and I like anyone who likes basketball so there's nothing to ask!" He said, phrasing and logic very estranged as Momoi closed in on this like a hawk.

"So you are!" She exclaimed, inching closer with a deep glare.

Kuroko slowly pieced together this information. He reached a conclusion. "Um...Aomine-kun, it couldn't be that you asked but he managed to dodge all your questions?"

Aomine flinched.

His childhood friend leered at him. "Oh...I see, so that's wh-Huh?!" She exclaimed. "Wait but Dai-chan is the best at making other people do things for him!" She cried as a common victim and as someone who knew that despite being an idiot, he was pretty good at scheming, like a cat.

"W-well, like I said, that guy was weird alright? In fact, it kinda felt like I was speaking to Akashi or something," he shuddered, recalling how easily the man avoided his questions with...silence. Awkward. Silence.

"Well, it seems like the mystery has been solved." Kuroko concluded, deciding not to press on the issue any further. "Also though, sorry Aomine-kun, I can't make it to extra practice with you again tonight," he said. "My grandma is having some knee problems so I need to go buy the groceries for her tonight."

"What? Again?" Aomine frowned, dissatisfied.

"Sorry about this."

He waved him off. "Don't worry about it. Actually, that new coach was going to show me something interesting after school today so I guess it's no big deal."

Kuroko paused. "Show you something?"

"Just a basketball move."

"Ah, I see."

Unfortunately, Kuroko nearly wished that he hadn't gone to buy groceries that night.

Afterwards what had happened was that by the end of the week, he, despite not being busy, hadn't been able to play with Aomine as per their normal routine at all.

After practice, Aomine waved and simply uncharacteristically left, saying he couldn't go.

Kuroko was rather shocked, but practiced alone anyways.

"Hmm, is Aomine-kun going off again? Well it is after practice but it's rare to see him not stay even later," Momoi mused one afternoon. "He's not even at least going back with me."

"..." Kuroko didn't say a word.

Momoi pursed her lips. "Hmm...I wonder what's wrong? This all started ever since he spoke to Coach Akira...right? This is strange, don't you think so too Tetsu-kun?"

Kuroko widened his eyes. Strange?

But nothing should've been strange.

Kuroko blinked.

Hm?

Why did he think nothing was strange, when Momoi did even though they saw the same thing?

...

Ah.

It was because of the letters.

"Yes...it is strange...isn't it?"

[=]

That night, Kuroko retrieved the letters he received thus far and looked them over. However, he found no mention of this Akira Kagerou. Then where did he first hear of him from?

He took out a small block from his pocket, staring at its black screen.

It was from the mobile phone.

To: [黒子テツヤ]

From: [Phantom]

Coach Akira is also the janitor of the school.

He has black hair and blue eyes.

In general he is quite friendly. But due to a time lapse

from changing the future, his appearance in this original timeline

was not foretold. You can still treat him normally as

he is not a key player.

Please proceed as usual.

[End]

Kuroko reread the message. Its words and the lack of urgent information in the messages were what reassured him yet, Aomine leaving so early, Aomine speaking to him, Momoi looking worried...there was no way his future self wouldn't have remembered and picked up on that...

Unless, he was far more of an aberrant than Kuroko thought.

What if, he could bypass the letters, the phone, Kuroko's future self?

...Who was he?


yes, you guys have successfully stalked me to the ends of the earth for this update. I'm so sorry to the people who had to PM me (and mind you there was more than one /shot) for updates DX

in apology this chapter was painfully salvaged a week before it was supposed to be released so I will update the next one a week after today. Please look forward to it!

PS. Also, this is shameless advertising but if you enjoy reading about Aomine and Kuroko and would like to read fic like this, please try my fic, "The Book Fairy", it even won a prize! (haha probably bc the premise was weird...as usual /rolls off cliff)

Preview- Glaringly obvious due to next chapter's title: Confrontation