Daiki stared wide-eyed, disbelieving at the scoreboard in wake of the blaring whistle signalling the end of the match. Ever since the appearance of Seirin's new light-and-shadow team, he'd had some trouble coming up on top of every match.
This was the first time he had outright lost, though.
So he stared and stared at the glaring red numbers, as if willing them to change to a more desirable result.
Sweat was coming out of his every pore. His mind was reeling. His blood was still rushing in his veins, urgent, desperate for winning and coming somewhat short. Every muscle in his body ached, abused and pushed to its very limit, and still just not enough. He had been so annoyed, so hurried, so overwhelmed by the match that he had the mother of all headaches.
The Touou ace felt his captain's pat on his shoulder, the senpai's words registering just barely in his mind. Daiki didn't care for the idiot's attempt at consoling him. He didn't care for being told they'd played a good match. He knew they had.
They should have won.
But they didn't.
Had he really done his best? Was this really as good as he got? Was it really possible for people like Seirin's team to best him at his own game?
For the first time in forever, Daiki could say that he felt tired after a basketball match. He hadn't felt this way even after the first Inter-High match against Kise. He hadn't felt that way in forever.
As he came towards the benches, brows knitted and temper seething, he was met by his childhood friend and team manager, who was holding a towel in her hands. Her face was fixed into an unreadable look, but there was a tiny, reassuring and slightly apologetic smile quirking her mouth's corners as she offered him the terry cloth.
"You did great, Aomine-kun," she told him in a calm, low tone.
He huffed ill-temperedly and plopped down on the bench as he rubbed the sweat from his face away with the towel he'd taken from her.
She sat down quietly next to him while the rest of the team gathered as well.
"Let's win next time."
Her words are spoken so softly and closely to him that he knows they are intended only for him to hear. He almost huffs again because to him it seems like his teammates need more "cheering up" and pep talk than he does.
He refrains from reacting instinctively. He restrains the huff and smiles to himself instead.
He's tired and sore and annoyed but he knows that next time they'll do better. They'll be better.
He knows because Satsuki has never failed her team, and neither has he.
And because, finally, there's someone who can stand equally against him on the court.
Finally, basketball has become interesting again.
A/N: I have only watched the anime so any inconsistencies with the manga stem from the fact a lot of things I say will be the result of my own deduction and creation. I apologize for that in advance.
100 Situations, Table One; 001: Tired.
3rd February, 2013.