This is quite a lengthy chapter to make up for the scarce updates. I dedicate this to Kuroko because his Teikou jersey number (and because the other MiraGen were total jerks to him and this boy needs to be happy).
Eyes on You
Momoi got up at exactly 6:30AM that day. She freshened up, enjoyed a good granola bar, tied her pink her up in a tight ponytail, and happily made her way outside the house, all dressed up in her working-out attire. It was a Saturday and she was on the way to school as she had a jogging session with Tetsu-kun.
Momoi finally had a chance to get a taste of her long awaited Chocolate Chip Caramel Fudge frapuccino without any interruptions from a certain purple-haired sweet-tooth. But as she promised herself, she would have to burn all these calorific guilt afterwards. That was why she had scheduled a working-out date, if you would call it, with one Kuroko Tetsuya.
As soon as Momoi had reached the school's gates, Kuroko was already waiting by the entrance. Momoi, though, hadn't noticed him until she went around the school twice.
"Tetsu-kun! There you are!"
"Good morning, Momoi-san. Are you ready?"
Momoi bobbed her head in delight and uttered a 'yes!', and soon, they had begun their stretches before kicking off to start jogging.
The two made their way around the perimeter of Teikou, before moving on to the public park where a basketball court was close by—they would be playing later on.
At the park, it wasn't surprising to see other people making their way as well. A few were jogging, like they were, some were in their bikes, and others simply enjoying the morning air. This, oddly enough, didn't exclude a couple of teenage boys aimlessly walking around.
Momoi and Kuroko had been jogging at a comfortable pace, and while the pink-haired teen had been oblivious to her surrounding as she concentrated on her tracks, Kuroko was a bit more perceptive. He'd noticed that the group of teenage boys had been eyeing her.
That might not have been a shock, though. Momoi, after all, was a beautiful young lady with the curves of a woman. Her skin-tight outfit emphasized her figure nicely—cycling shorts fitted perfectly on her thighs and a sleeveless tank top that shaped her torso. That carefree smile only added to her radiance.
"Momoi-san, I think some of the people are looking at you," Kuroko said cautiously, catching up just a few steps next to Momoi.
There was a brief silence before Momoi had giggled. "Nonsense! Of course they're not! They are obviously looking at you, Tetsu-kun!" Momoi didn't meet Kuroko's eyes at all.
The Phantom Player sensed that Momoi was feeling off. Looking at her, he noticed that her smile had lost its brightness and that her eyes had lost its shine. Her brows were furrowed, and her bottom lip was quivering.
"Momoi-san, are you okay?" Kuroko finally asked, concerned for his friend.
It took awhile for Momoi to reply. "O-of course I am, Tetsu-kun!" But her eyes said otherwise.
Suddenly, they heard whistling, and Momoi flinched. She squeezed her eyes shut for a second, pretending she hadn't heard anything, before opening them again. But just as she did, Kuroko had disappeared from her side. "T-Tetsu-kun!" Momoi paused in her tracks and looked back at Kuroko, who was making his way towards the group.
The three boys looked down at Kuroko. Intuition told him that they were still well in middle school like him, but they loomed over him like giants. Much like how Murasakibara did. But the only difference was these guys looked like bad news.
"Please stop what you are doing. You're making my friend uncomfortable," Kuroko said, which earned him a rather violent reaction from one of them.
"HAH?! ARE YA TELLIN' US WHAT TO DO? Guys, this kid is bossin' us around!" The guy looked back at his companions.
Another of them smacked his fist against his palm. "Us starin' at a hot piece'a babe like that ain't none of your damn business, so get out of our fuckin' sight!"
But Kuroko remained planted on the ground with no intentions of moving anytime soon. He simply stared up at them with his ever-monotonous eyes. This seemed to only anger them more. And just as Kuroko was about to be met by a balled fist to the face, a dainty white hand had grabbed the knuckles. With one swift movement, the wrist was bent back, forcing the guy to step back.
"Don't you dare hurt Tetsu-kun!" Momoi threatened.
"EH?! What's your problem!?" One of them yelled and went after Momoi, when her shin made contact with his stomach hard, causing him to fumble back and groan in pain.
"Stop looking at Tetsu-kun! It's rude!" Momoi was in a defensive stance.
After the thug-looking middle schoolers collected themselves, they had stared at Momoi with disbelief. "What the hell is she saying? We were obviously looking at her." One whispered. Momoi only glared at them.
"Tch. You're weird." Seeing as that there was no more 'fun' in what they were doing, the boys took their leave.
Momoi dropped to her knees. She was violently trembling, and she rubbed her sides, taking in breathes to ease herself. Momoi then felt a hand on her shoulder. It was Kuroko. He had squatted next to her.
"Momoi-san, are you okay?"
Momoi sniffed, keeping the tears from welling up in her eyes. "Y-yeah… Sort of. I just don't like it when people do that, you know…" She trailed off. "We don't really know what goes on in their minds. They could be thinking about anything and sometimes…it really scares me…" Momoi took a few more breathes until she finally calmed down a bit.
Kuroko looked at her with guilt. "I'm sorry, Momoi -san. I was supposed to defend you but you ended up doing it yourself..."
"What are you saying? If you hadn't gone there first, then I wouldn't have had the guts to do anything." Momoi sniffed for one last time before she stood up, Kuroko following after her. "Thanks a lot, Tetsu-kun."
Kuroko returned this with a warm smile. "Do you want to play one-on-one now?"
Momoi nodded. In no time, the two found themselves in court.
"Momoi-san," Kuroko brought up suddenly. "I didn't know you could do karate."
"Self-defense is always a must, Tetsu-kun."
Aomine, Midorima, and Kise had met their crushing defeat that afternoon. None of them thought that even the slightest chance of this happening was possible—they knew for a fact that their skills were excellent. They were hailed prodigies—they were the Generation of Miracles! But as it turned out, prodigies can screw up sometimes, too.
At the end of the game, each had met their own disappointment, starting with Aomine, who pounded heavy fists at the metal machine in frustration. "The only one who can beat IS ME!" He threw his head back and shouted out to the heavens. Aomine scored a total of 20 points.
Over a hundred.
Kise had been more dramatic as he broke out in anguished whines. "I don't understand!" He wailed. "My shots were perfect! I copied Midorimacchi, and Aominecchi! I even copied Akashicchi! So why?" He flung his arms up in the air, only to have them droop back down as he flailed against the metal machine. Kise scored 6 points—ironically enough, it was copying his teammates that got him to earn only that much.
Midorima thought that it was simply not his luck. Oha-Asa didn't favour Cancers that day. But instead of going off the way Kise and Aomine had, he remained silent and simply accepted the outcome. Although, he had to admit that it was a little upsetting how, despite exerting his best efforts, he did not get a satisfying score. Even with his lucky item present, which sat on top of the metal machine. "Cancers rank in last today." He said in resignation.
Coincidentally, Midorima had scored 12 points.
Momoi was watching her rather…childish friends go about their little tantrums, whines, and sulks, and couldn't help but notice all the extra attention they'd been getting. She shook her head and made her way towards them.
"You boys are idiots, do you know that?" She said. Her hands were on her hips as she looked at them with utter disbelief. Aomine groaned, already feeling dragged about listening to Satsuki run her mouth. The other two were bewildered.
"What do you mean?" asked Midorima.
They had no idea! Momoi thought and turned to Midorima first. "Midorin, how do you make your shots?"
The shooter scoffed. "Is that even a question? Wide-range shooting, of course. That's how you get the perfect threes."
Momoi turned to Kise next. "And Ki-chan, how did you do your shots?"
"Perfect copy…" He trailed off, still plopped over the machine.
Lastly, Momoi turned to Aomine.
Already expecting, Aomine replied in a monotonous, "The usual, duh."
Momoi sighed. She was almost losing hope for the guys. "Didn't you stop and think that your regular plays might not work in a small, cramped arcade? This isn't a real game, you know! It's arcade basketball…" She emphasized the last part. "Midorin, you were shooting in that far off distance, right? It's bound to go pass the hoop, you know."
Now that Midorima thought about it, most of his shots have been going too far away from the hoop, hitting the wall behind the machine instead.
"And Aomine-kun, you're not competing with anyone. It's a machine!" She said. "Ki-chan, I don't even want to get started with you. If Aomine and Midorin couldn't make their shots, how do you expect to make yours by copying and combining all their talents?"
Aomine didn't really pay any attention.
Kise opened his mouth, and shut it again. She had a point.
The boys had sixty seconds of game play and they didn't even realize this.
A brief silence of contemplation fell, but was soon broken by Kuroko who had just finished his own game.
"I got a hundred points," he announced as he carried his rolls of tickets in hand. And though his expression was practically blank, his eyes were twinkling with joy.
"W-what?!" The three said in unison. "How?"
"Aim for the basket?" Kuroko shrugged and replied like it was the most obvious thing in the world.
Moments later, Murasakibara and Akashi had reunited with the rest of the group. The purple-haired giant had a bag of sweet on his left, and on his right was a stick of cotton candy. The feared captain, on the other hand, had also been carrying rolls of tickets he won from virtual shogi.
"Why would you use your regular plays in an arcade?" Murasakibara asked, as if asking for a logical explanation. Akashi was shaking his head. Apparently, the two had been watching their teammates from afar. "You guys are weird."
"How foolish," Akashi clicked his tongue.
The trio's ego had been shot down.
It had been about a week ago since Kise first realized it. He thought that it had all been in his mind. But he'd experienced this many times before to know that he wasn't simply just imagining things.
Kise would often hear extra footsteps along his own as he walked down the halls. Sometimes, he would notice a silhouette from the corner of his eye when he was bent over drinking water from the fountain. And after class, there would always seem to be that one person who would leave after he had left.
He was being followed. (Kise wouldn't call it 'stalking' as he felt no malicious intent. It was practically harmless.)
Even Murasakibara noticed—and he was usually caught in a daze or too busy with his sweets. "Somebody from our class likes Kise-chin..." He announced at practice. Of course, nobody was really shocked to know this. C'mon, this was the Kise Ryouta—Generation of Miracles member, part-time model. Fit body, pretty face, nice, approachable, perfect boyfriend. Who wouldn't set their eyes on him?
What did prove to be a shock was how she hadn't come up to him and confessed her feelings yet. Unlike the rest of Kise's...to put simply...fans...who were pretty much all open of their admiration towards him, won't hesitate to profess their undying love for him.
"Maybe she's shy..." Was what Kise thought. He was not going to get ahead of himself, of course. Kise still had some humility in him. He wouldn't jump into conclusions so easily.
Then that day arrived.
It was late in the afternoon after practice. Kise was by the outdoor faucets and had just finished washing off all the dirt and sweat he acquired earlier, when he turned around and was surprised to see a petite girl standing before him. Her locks were covering most of her face as she looked down at her fidgeting fingers.
Hiding the obvious bewilderment (Kise didn't want to seem rude), the blonde greeted, "Hi there! May I help you?"
The girl, as if taken by surprise, jolted a bit. "Uhm... Kise-kun?" She said timidly.
"Yup! That's me! What can I help you with?"
The girl then finally mustered up the guts to look up at the blonde prince. And oh, how gorgeous he was. His dampen blonde hair was clinging to the sides of his face, the ends sending droplets of water cascading down the fine features of his cheekbones, his jaw line, and his collar. His shirt had also been soaked with water, making his chest muscles a little too prominent over it.
"I-I'm Houjou Miyo from your class—!"
Kise smiled, his pearly whites shining.
The girl blushed.
"Yes, I know," And Kise was not lying. He may not be on to have a hundred percent attention in class, but he at least knew the names of people he was in the class with. "Mi-yo-chan~"
"Y-you do?" Kise nodded enthusiastically, causing a tint of pink to powder the girl's cheeks yet again. "Well...Kise-kun...I was just wondering if I could speak with you?"
"Really?" The girl lightened up. "I...Uhm—! Is it okay if we do it tomorrow? Before your practice? I kind of... Know your schedule...!" She trailed off, suddenly hastily. And before Kise could even reply, she was already running off. "I h-have to go now! See you!"
"See...you... Wow, she must have been that shy," Kise thought to himself. "Even waiting until tomorrow when she could have done it today..." Well, it didn't matter. Kise will fulfil her request nevertheless.
And so the next day came. Following yesterday's arrangement, Kise stood by the gym's entrance, waiting for one Houjou Miyo.
"Waiting for your girlfriend, huh, Kise?" Aomine teased, doing some leg stretches.
Kise flushed. "I-it's not like that, Aominecchi!"
"Honestly, Kise, if you have time to go around getting girlfriends, then you should focus on your priorities," added Midorima.
"I told you! It's not like that!"
"Ki-chan! Why didn't you tell me?" Momoi pouted, genuinely hurt.
"I'm giving you my blessing, Kise-chin..." said Murasakibara, shoving a hand inside his paper bag and pulling out a gummy worm.
"No eating, Atsushi," came Akashi, and snatched the gummy worm from the bigger teen's fingers.
"And Ryouta, save your personal life after practice."
"I keep on telling you! It's not—!" Kise wailed out. Suddenly, gym's doors squeaked behind him.
Kise jumped on the spot, surprised at the sudden presence. "M-Miyo-chan!"
"Oh, so you're first name basis now?" Kise shot a glare towards the snickering Aomine.
"Please don't mind them and come in..." Kise suggested. The petite girl, though, only shook her head, saying she was alright where they were. "Are you sure?"
"Yes," she smiled. Her smile seemed so sincere, Kise couldn't help but feel charmed by it. "I'm fine here."
"R-right..." The blonde turned away for a brief moment, hiding a blush he felt coming on. "So what was it that you wanted to talk about?"
"Ah yes! I was wondering if maybe you could..." She trailed off. And Kise actually anticipated what she was about to say. He was nervous—something he hadn't felt towards anyone in such a long time. And to top it all off, Kise was excited. He could feel his heard thumping against his ribcage as a sequence of romantic scenarios started playing in his head with this girl, Houjou Miyo.
Did he like her already?
Well, Kise had to admit that she was cute. She was good in class. And she seemed genuinely nice. Maybe he could give it a try—
"Kuroko Tetsuya-san!" The girl suddenly shouted. Just then, all of Kise's train of thought shattered.
"W-what?" The blonde was confused as ever.
"Kuroko Tetsuya-san!" She exclaimed once more. This time, she was no longer looking at Kise, instead in the far off distance where Kuroko was standing. The girl then ran passed Kise and towards Kuroko
"Hello..." Was all Kuroko said.
"Kuroko Tetsuya-san! I'm Houjou Miyo and I really admire you!" She announced. Everyone in the gym literally stopped in the middle of whatever they were doing. Somewhere, Aomine was cackling like he had never done before. "I've watched all your games! I kept track of all your records, from when you first started to the moment you made it into the first string as a regular! And I know you're called the Phantom Player for a reason, but Kuroko Tetsuya-san, I notice you... All the time! And you're absolutely, absolutely great out there!"
"This is...uncalled for..." Midorima said.
"Wait, wait. I don't understand!" Came Kise suddenly as he stomped his way over the two. "I thought you..."
"Ah, Kise-san. Well, what I actually wanted to talk to you about was Kuroko Tetsuya-san. But I've been very shy about for the past week..."
Kise stood there, mouth agape and contemplating for a few seconds. "But yesterday! You even blushed!"
"There were leaves stuck in your hair. I couldn't look you in the eye properly..."
"B-but…" Kise wanted to try countering the facts, but he knew it would be useless. The blonde sighed in resignation, shoulders slumping in defeat. "So it was Kurokocchi after all."
The girl looked at Kise apologetically. "I'm sorry if you misunderstood. It wasn't my intention."
"It's alright, I guess. At least now I know. Well, Kurokocchi, I give you my blessing." The blonde gave a small smile.
"So, Kuroko Tetsuya-san," the girl brought up. "Would you go out with me?" She asked, eyes shining hopefully.
"I'm sorry, Houjou-san. But as of yet, the only thing I'd like to think about right now is basketball," Kuroko explained.
The girl frowned, obviously upset, but understood the situation. "I see. Thank you for your time though! And don't worry! I'll still be cheering you on in the crowd!"And with that, Houjou Miyo bowed and exited the gym.
"I'm sorry as well, Kise-kun," the Phantom Player said to the blonde.
Kise shook his head. "Nah, it's not your fault. Things like these happen."
"How are you feeling?"
Kise looked at Kuroko with a challenging glimmer in his eyes and a smirk playing on his lips. "Let's one-on-one, Kurokocchi!"
The stories are indirectly about Kuroko, in case you were wondering.
Story one: This story is a little more inclined on the serious side. When Momoi speaks to the boys saying that they were staring at Kuroko rather than her, it was actually a defense mechanism. Plus, headcanon: she can do karate, and she learned this as a child.