Author's Note: I figured there weren't enough JunRiko fanfics so I decided to add to the bunch.
I suppose this fanfic takes place after the Inter High Final League, right after Seirin consecutively loses to Touou (or was it Touo?), Meisei, and Senshinkan. Enjoy! :)
Uhhh, I can't say right now because that'd ruin the story for you but just imagine Hyuuga can't do whatever he's going to learn in this fic. (At least, I don't recall him being able to do it anyway.)
One Shot: Hard Work
Hyuuga bounced the ball a couple of times, tensed and finally released it in a perfect arc from his right hand. He followed the basketball with his eyes, willing it to go in. But of course, just like the many times he had willed it to, it seemed to mock him as it bounced off the ring before rolling towards the far wall.
He was often described as the calm and collected captain of Seirin's basketball team but right now, he felt anything but calm. He had pent up a lot of his frustration after each of the three consecutive losses at the final league so now that he was finally alone, he found himself bouncing and throwing the ball just that much harder.
That was an hour ago though.
Now, he was just out of it, he knew. He didn't even have the energy to get the rebound anymore. His anger had all been burned out.
Hyuuga sighed, rubbing the back of his neck. Sheesh, that defeat took its toll on him. It was like junior high all over again.
As he made his way to fetch a ball, his shoes squeaking on the court, he noted how bitter he felt. He hated losing, hated it with a passion. He fuelled that hate with the broken pieces of his old Sengoku warriors. Not literally, of course. But he loved his warriors. Losing only meant he'd failed and sacrificed his precious little treasures for no apparent reason.
He wanted to beat himself up. And that's why he was here. Training until the late hours of the night, even after the rest of his team – and even Coach – had left him.
Also, he was the captain, wasn't he? He was practically the face of the team. How embarrassing.
Except there was Bakagami too, that d'aho.
Since when did he use Coach's nickname for that hopeless moron anyway?
Having retrieved the ball, Hyuuga drove it to the three-point line, imagining invisible opponents along the way. He switched to his left hand at one point and spun on his heel anti-clockwise, trying out some fancy footwork. Once at the three-point line, he stepped back and tried a quick three-point fade-away and... failed to get it in. Again.
"You know, you're not even trying," a voice piped up.
Hyuuga jumped and whirled around to find Coach leaning against the gym's entrance, her arms crossed. His heart still fluttering from his initial surprise, Hyuuga did his best to gather himself and ignore the knowing look in her eyes. Feeling his eye twitch, Hyuuga cleared his throat and tried to get rid of the annoyance he felt. It wouldn't do to greet her in a bad mood.
It was her dad's gym, after all.
"Hey, Coach," he said, as collected as ever, as he retrieved the ball, tucking it under his arm as he did so. He eyed the tired look setting into her features and the wrinkled state of her pyjamas, wondering if he had woken her up. "Should I go or...?"
She waved her hand at him, dismissing the suggestion. She plopped herself beside the door and leaned against the wall, a notebook in her hands. "No, stay. I'm going to stay up a little longer and figure out a new training schedule."
Hyuuga blinked, shrugged and continued to shoot several more hoops. After catching a couple of his own rebounds, he found his mind wandering.
After his self-training tonight, he would have to go home and finish up some of his homework. That would leave about four hours of sleep, five if he really wanted to make it to class at the last minute. Then again, knowing Coach, she'd probably want to walk with him to school, to discuss her new training schedule.
Four hours of sleep it is then. He might have to catch a nap during his lunch break in order to survive Coach's rigorous training after school too. That was... He inwardly sighed. That was okay. He could put up with that.
As long as they won their future matches and made it to Nationals, he was okay with everything. As long as all this hard work paid off and saved him the frustration down the road, he was okay with it all.
He really didn't know how Coach put up with everything.
She was the second best student in the entire school and she was part of the Student Council. The amount of time and study she had to put into that, plus her coaching, must be tremendous. To Hyuuga, it was impossible.
She must be some type of superhuman! Something more than the Generation of Miracles, he thought in awe. He would never fully understand how she survived it all.
Speaking of her, why was Coach up so late anyway?
On his fifth missed shot after Coach's appearance, Hyuuga hung his head and wiped at the sweat on his brow with his shirt. Maybe he should turn in now?
Just as he was about to go grab his belongings, Coach piped up.
"Hyuuga-kun, go try another shot."
Hyuuga blinked at her. "What? Why?" Coach was looking at him, the butt of her pen poking her cheek. When she gave him a look that clearly said 'just do it', Hyuuga sighed and aimed for another three-pointer.
Unsurprisingly, the shot didn't go in. He shot her an exasperated look. "Coach, I'm actually tire–"
"Your form is off. Your feet aren't in a comfortable position, your calf muscles are too tense, and you aren't even popping off the heels of your feet! You're just standing there!" Coach reprimanded him. She stood, brushing at her pyjama bottoms, before making her way over to him, her notebook and training plans forgotten.
Hyuuga eyed her warily now. Wasn't it a little late for some training-from-hell? His knees nearly buckled in surprise when she kicked at his legs. "Hey!" he cried out, backing away from her. "Riko, what the heck?"
It was too late when he realised he'd called her by her name. Out loud. Woops.
Coach froze, her gaze locking on his for a moment, before she cleared her throat and straightened herself. "Your legs! Relax them!"
Hyuuga frowned. "I can't relax when I'm being kicked," he snapped, clearly agitated now. Nevertheless, he did as he was told, glaring at her all the while.
Coach circled him, examining his posture as he held the ball in his hands. She prodded his shoulders and yelled "Relax!" with which he countered with an "Ow! Stop poking so hard!". Truth be told though, Hyuuga didn't mind her touch, as aggressive as it was. He sighed inwardly to himself. Basketball was the only way she would ever touch him.
Then he wondered to himself what this would look like to an outsider. If anyone from the team were to come across the scene, they would have thought it fairly odd. Neither coach nor captain was like this in public. They were normally fairly polite to each other.
By then, Coach tilted her head to the side and smiled. And Hyuuga felt something poke at his heart. "Okay. Now you can take your shot."
As she stood back, Hyuuga inhaled a deep breath and shot the ball as he exhaled. To his surprise, this time, it went in and he gave Coach a bewildered look. "What did you do?"
Coach rolled her eyes, failing to suppress a proud grin. "Just forced you to relax is all." She paused, still beaming widely at the expression on his face. "But that's not all. Look at where you're standing, Hyuuga-kun."
Hyuuga glanced at his feet and at first, was a little confused. And then it hit him like a train. Holy hell, he was standing on the halfway line.
Sometime during Riko's 'abuse' she had somehow pushed him further away from the three-point semi-circle towards the halfway line. He hadn't even noticed!
Had he done that before? He couldn't recall ever doing such a magnificent shot. Hyuuga stared at his hands. By gods, coupled with his clutch player skills and his fairly good shooting, if he could do that during a match...
He lifted his eyes and met Riko's smile with a grateful one of his own. Sheesh, that woman drove him crazy. And not necessarily in a bad way either. "Thanks, Riko."
"It's no problem, really."
Hyuuga felt his smile growing as he went to fetch the ball. Going back to his spot at the halfway line, he asked her if he was in the right position again. She nodded in confirmation and watched him take his second half-court shot.
The second time wasn't as lucky.
"I guess I can only shoot from there if you piss me off too much," Hyuuga joked as he retrieved the ball again. Riko laughed but her cheerful expression vanished the moment Hyuuga passed her ball.
She fumbled as she caught it, dropping her pen to the floor as she was caught off-guard. "Hey!"
"Your turn," he grinned.
Riko frowned. "What? Hyuuga-kun, I'm your coach, not your teammate."
Hyuuga shrugged and pointed at where she was standing, the three-point line. "I've never seen you take a shot from there before." A pause. "Actually, I've never seen you shoot at all." When Riko only gave him a perplexed look, his eyes twinkled. Quite evilly too. "It's time for that to change."
Riko frowned and stared at the ball in her hands, glancing at it then at the hoop. Put in this position, it was too far. How on Earth could Hyuuga shoot from here so easily? But then she reminded herself that he was a great shooter and had played since junior high. She herself hadn't officially played basketball at all.
It's Hyuuga-kun's revenge, she internally moaned. She probably pissed him off too much with her nagging. She was kind of abusive a while ago, hitting him and such... She never did that in public. Much.
"Come on," Hyuuga said as he made his way toward her. He stood so close beside her, Riko could practically feel his warmth through her pyjamas as he adjusted her hold on the ball, their fingers brushing momentarily. "Come on, Coach. You've seen us shoot before. Why's your hold so clumsy?"
"It's not clumsy," she barked at him as she swatted his hands away. "I was just a little surprised." She held the ball properly this time, feeling Hyuuga back away as she positioned herself. 'Surprised' is right... Taking in a slow breath, she shot the ball with her exhale, just like Hyuuga had done on his half-court shot.
The ball was an airball, missing the hoop by a few centimetres.
Hyuuga laughed as he recovered the ball for her. Riko merely huffed, planting her hands on her hips. Well, that was no good. The captain of the team she coached had seen her miss a three-pointer. Well, that was embarrassing.
"Good first try though," Hyuuga complimented as he handed her the ball. "Try again?"
Riko crossed her arms. "No, we should close up the gym for tonight." She eyed the clock hanging just above the entrance. 1:20am.
Hyuuga rolled his eyes at her, knowing full well she felt embarrassed by her miss. Gathering his sports bag, towel and water bottle from the bench, he joined Riko at the entrance. "Are you going to tell me about the new training schedule you cooked up, in the morning?" he asked as he watched her lock the gym's double doors, her notebook tucked under an arm and the pen wedged behind her ear.
"Yep," Riko replied as she double-checked the locks. She raised an eyebrow at him and added, "That is, if you want to wake up early."
Hyuuga debated over his answer with himself. If he woke up an hour early just to walk with her, he'd be tired for the rest of the day. If he stayed in bed just a bit longer, it probably wouldn't change much. He took his chances.
"I can wake up early," he replied before taking a swig from his water bottle.
"All right then, Hyuuga-kun," Riko smiled. "I'll see you in the morning. Good night!" she waved him goodbye as she made her way back to her house.
"You mean good morning," Hyuuga found himself saying as he returned her wave.
"Good mornight then!" She laughed, but by then, he was already a number of strides away.
Hyuuga merely grinned back at her before turning around and making his way home. They were probably disturbing the neighbours. Shouting a reply to her now wasn't necessary. He'd see her in the morning anyway.
Hyuuga took another gulp from his water bottle before pausing to cover his face with the towel around his shoulders. He told himself he was just wiping the sweat away but any spectator to the scene would have seen his blush spread to his ears. "Hmm, yeah. Good mornight," he whispered quietly as he grinned to himself.
Nope, he didn't mind at all – waking up early, that is. As long as he got to spend a little extra time with her, he was okay. As long as all this hard work paid off and saved him the frustration down the road, he was definitely okay with it all.
Author's Notes: Wehhh, forgive me! Terrible fluff is terrible.
It's also my first time writing Hyuuga and Riko's characters. Sorry if I didn't get them right on. (sweat) That said, I hope you guys didn't get too confused when I switched the narrative from Hyuuga's perspective to Riko's, then back to Hyuuga's again.
Did you notice how Hyuuga's perspective went from calling her 'Coach' to 'Riko'? ;)
Please read and review! I'd like to know what you think of this fanfic! Also, if you find any typos, don't hesitate to tell me either. Thanks in advance.
Edit (12/02/13): Tweaked just a little bit.