"Hey! Akashi, he's not here yet?" asked Hayama, the Small Forward of Rakuzan High Basketball Team. He was stretching his body before taking out his basketball practice uniform, which consisted of a long-sleeved T-shirt and a pair of knee-length pants.
The members of Rakuzan High Basketball Team were already gathered inside the locker room prepared for them prior the match today. Everyone was there, everyone, except their captain, Seijūrō Akashi.
"Sei-chan did say he would be going here by himself instead with the group, though…" the black-haired Shooting Guard, Mibuchi, replied. He knew the ever-so-punctual Akashi wouldn't skip a match he had decided he would attend for whatever reasons, but this was the first time Akashi made such sudden decision.
'Did he get sick suddenly?' Mibuchi remained seated on one of the benches in the room as his eyes fixed on nowhere in particular. 'Nah, he's the fussiest person in the world when it comes to daily intakes and exercise… He's not the type to get sudden nausea easily…'
He was about to stop day-dreaming and get changed, until something popped inside his head.
'Oh, now that you mentioned it… He did seem weird when we went for dinner yesterday… When was it again? After he went back from the toilet?
'Did he really get a stomach-ache?' Mibuchi giggled to himself. "…Silly me, like that would happen."
The tallest and most muscular member in the team, which held the Center position, Nebuya, twitched his eyebrows as he looked toward Mibuchi. He could never understand this overly feminine man nor could the other the art of muscles.
"What?" Nebuya asked in annoyance, feeling disgusted by Mibuchi's girly chuckles—and not to anyone in particular, to boot. That creep.
"Mind your own business," Mibuchi glared back.
"How could I when you're so noisy over how many times I burp?"
"That's called public nuisance, idiot."
Nebuya snorted. "And you talking to yourself isn't?"
"What did you—" Mibuchi was about to shot back but was stopped when the sound of the door opening was heard.
Akashi appeared; it was noticeable that he was catching his breath, which meant he ran his way to the locker room. The said red-head, though, went into the room before closing the door wordlessly.
Akashi nodded briefly before putting his gym bag onto a bench. He started rummaging his bag after peeling off his jacket without wasting any time, and eventually finished his preparations before anybody else that arrived before him.
"Akashi, where were you, exactly?" Hayama asked as he closed his locker.
"Yeah, it wasn't like you to arrive later than the team… Usually you arrive like, 30 minutes earlier than scheduled." Nebuya added, curious.
"There was something urgent that I needed to handle," replied Akashi without going into details—unnecessary details. Who would believe that he was a mute half-cat, half-human, anyway? And that he just kissed a guy? And that the guy was the ace of the team they were about to have a match with?
He would send the rest of the team into a hospital if he answered honestly.
At the same time, in Seirin High Basketball Team's locker room, Kagami and Kuroko got their good portions of scolding from their coach for being late. Kagami got angry, saying that it wasn't his fault (well, it really wasn't, though) and almost slipped about what really happened, but Kuroko was quick enough to punch his stomach before Kagami could even say a word.
"We got lost." Kuroko lied.
"Who would believe that you would get lost? You live in Tokyo!" the captain, Hyūga, snapped. "Come up with something more believable if you're going to lie anyway, idiot!"
"We're sorry…" Kuroko bowed apologetically.
"Damn it, Kuroko! Why should we cover for that toddler, anyway!?" Kagami whispered angrily.
"'Come up with something more believable if you're going to lie anyway, idiot', he said," Kuroko replied, his face as tepid as ever.
Kagami sighed. Well, no one would believe them, anyway…
'To think we're going to face them in this match like nothing happened…' Kagami said inwardly as he took off his T-shirt, revealing his muscular body, a hard-earned result from the practice routine he took every day.
It was involuntary. Involuntary, indeed, when the image of Akashi's hetero-chromatic eyes appeared in his mind in a snap of a finger. He had never seen the red-head up-close like that ever before. And his lips… He had never really paid any attention to that ever before, too—Hell, why would he? But it was really moist, and soft, and plump… It was as if he landed on the softest cushion ever… It was like throwing yourself onto the clouds…
'God-fucking-damn-it, what was that!?' Kagami grunted despite himself.
'Forget about the kiss. I mean, everyone does it, right? Right. Kissing, no big deal. So what?' Kagami nodded repeatedly, reassuring himself that he should pay more attention to the upcoming match instead of Akashi's delicate and oh-so-delicious lips.
:: EXTRA! (^ω^)
"Everyone, ready?" the photographer closed one of his eyes and looked through the viewfinder.
It was one of rare occasions where everyone, despite being in differents, allies or enemies, to gather in one place for a photo shoot. Every now and then there was this event called Character's Poll—or popularity ranking, to put it simpler. Those who got into the top ten rankings were obliged to attend the photo shoot, whether they liked it or not. Even the big fish like Seijūrō Akashi, or the laziest, like Daiki Aomine and Makoto Hanamiya, had to attend the photo shoot.
Of all three Character's Poll events, it was the first time someone other than Kuroko took the first place. It was none other than Seijūrō Akashi, the captain of Rakuzan High Basketball Team with his infamous Emperor's Eye.
"Thank you for having me," Akashi bowed slightly as he sat down for a short interview before the photo shoot begun.
"So, Akashi-kun, right?" the interviewer asked, which Akashi replied with a nod. "How do you feel about getting the first place?"
"It's an honor." Akashi posed his business-like, bright smile, to which Kagami and Aomine pretended to vomit in disgust. "I'm really looking forward to the conclusion of this year's Winter Cup."
Kagami and Aomine were standing meters away from where they were shooting for Akashi's interview, waiting for their turns. Just before the interview started, Aomine stroke a conversation with him, saying that Akashi looked, "Totally different it's creepy," during interviews. Curious as ever, Kagami decided to watch the interview instead of eating his favorite burger that he bought as a take-out before coming here.
"He's attended too many interviews, it's rubbing on him. It's creepy how natural that smile is." Aomine shivered, he could feel his hairs standing.
"Who would believe this same bastard called me an idiot for like—oh, a few hundred times, maybe?" Kagami rolled his eyes.
"What do you think about your opponent, Akashi-kun?" the interviewer asked.
With his smile still glued on his face, Akashi's eyes turned toward Kagami for a split second, before looking back to the interviewer. "I've heard that Seirin High's basketball team is a growing team. I've never had a chance to play with them before, unfortunately, so I'm looking forward to this match as well."
"Hey, hey, you're not answering the question at all!" Aomine scoffed.
"Did you see when he was looking here with that smile?" Kagami added. "I know more than anyone else what he was really thinking. That bastard."
"Must've been really hard to hold himself from saying, 'Die, bitches', so he avoided the question altogether, am I right?" Aomine nodded in agreement.
When everyone had their turns for the interview, it was finally time for the photo shoot. Akashi took the first place so he was placed the closest to the camera, Kuroko behind him, and the other eight followed behind.
"Everyone, look at the camera…" the photographer instructed.
"Yo, Kagami," the boys from Shūtoku High walked toward Kagami as they stood in their positions.
"Yo!" Kagami waved his arm. "Never seen you in popularity rankings' photoshoots before," Kagami chuckled, to Takao in particular. He was never good at dealing with this glasses guy, and never would be. "And that… balloon," he turned his head toward Midorima. "Is that… another lucky item?"
"Yes," Midorima fixed his glasses. "It's raining today so a yellow balloon is supposed to dispel the bad luck from the rain."
"Right," Kagami knotted his brows. "And, where are you in the ranks?" he asked Takao.
"When I was told about the rankings today, I thought I was going to be placed around twelfth or something, but guess what? I was placed third." Takao could feel his chest blowing up from boosted ego.
"…What?" Kagami gaped in surprise. "…And to think I was fifth?"
"Hehe!" Takao grinned even wider. "There, there!" he patted the sulking Kagami on the shoulder. "The wheel of life always turns, they said!"
Aomine, who just couldn't stand still even if it was for some seconds, came up to Kise who was standing just in front of him.
"Hey, Kise. I see you're standing not too far from me," Aomine grinned. He felt a surge of pride sinking into him when he realized that he wasn't the only one who barely made it into the top ten rankings.
"Ah, Aomine-cchi! You haven't seen the line-up, yet?"
"No. Except for Kagami, that idiot took the fifth place. Like, seriously? I even gave him my shoes and this is what I get?" Aomine grunted.
"Er—actually… I'm the fourth…" Kise looked away, too scared to look at Aomine in the eyes, knowing that he just cut off the remnants of Aomine's pride (which was already broken for not taking the first place).
"WHAT!?" Aomine widened his eyes.
"Eeeek!" Kise shook his head frantically as he yelped. "D—don't take it the wrong way! This doesn't mean that I'm more popular than you!"
"WHAAAT!? SO YOU'RE SAYING THAT YOU'RE MORE POPULAR THAN ME!?"
"Nooo! Nooooo, Aomine-cchi! Listen to me!"
"Everyone, three…" the photographer had given up on waiting since nobody looked like they cared enough for the shoot, anyway. They looked good in photos during matches—with their toned arms in show, glistening in sweat—so they have a lot of fans, but one should not forget that they were basketball players before models. Photo shoots like this could never go according to plan. Never.
"KISE, YOU'RE SO DEAD." Aomine popped his knuckles; the cracking sound was more like a death call for Kise.
"Two…" the photographer continued on counting.
"I'M SORRY! I'M SORRY! I'M SO—"
"One!" the photographer snapped the photo, perfectly in rhythm in timing with Aomine's punch on Kise's face.
'Argh… To think that Kise-kun's face is the selling point…' the photographer cringed, as if feeling Kise's pain himself. 'And we can't take the second photo since his face must be all bruised and brown now…'
"Thank you very much for your hard work!" everyone bowed toward each other when the tiring photo shoot session ended.
"In the end only Akashi-kun, Kuroko-kun, and Midorima-kun who look good in this photo… Well Akashi-kun is the main selling point since he's in the first place, so it's okay…" the photographer mumbled as he sighed deeply. "…Ah, and that yellow balloon on the corner of the photo, if we could just remove it in Photoshop—"
"No, you can't." Midorima cut him off.
"If you're planning to crop it from the photo, then you have to cut me out as well."
"Well, things don't work that way—"
"Have a nice day." Midorima bowed, stubbornly ignoring the photographer. He left just like that after Takao called him to come out.
"…Geez, I hate children…" the photographer grunted to himself.
Author's Note – I wasn't going to write any update for this story since the match in canon is taking really long (not that I'm complaining since why would I with all Kagami/Akashi sexual tension burning like the a thousand suns), but the Character's Poll was so cute I couldn't help but venting out my headcanon! That's my most favorite Character's Poll EVER, since Akashi took the first place and the rest of the cast was so hilarious.
Ah, also, I've started watching the second season lately, and this might be just me, but am I the only one who thinks that Hiroshi Kamiya's voice missed Akashi's characteristics, like, a thousand miles? It doesn't mean that I'm too used to him voicing Izaya, no, but I've always imagined Akashi's voice to be like, say, Makishima or Noiz or the seme in Seven Days?
Plot-wise, the story hasn't really progressing at all since I'm waiting for the match to end… But the extra parts are long so I hope enjoyed reading it! Reviews, please!