Disclaimer: Kuroko no Basuke belongs to Fujimaki Tadatoshi.
Someone You Once Knew
It had become a habit of sorts for the two Seirin first-years to head to Maji Burger's right after club activities to re-energize themselves (or in Kagami's case, have a full meal). They'd walk home together after Kagami's little "snack", going their separate ways at a busy intersection near a bookstore Asagi frequented. Sometimes they conversed, but usually they strode along the familiar sidewalk in comfortable silence.
Today was different, and Kagami decided to ditch Asagi in their daily routine of journeying towards the intersection in favour of playing street basketball on the court that seemed to always be void of people.
It was the same court that she always visualized Kuroko Tetsuya on the way home, in the height of her infatuation. His presence was there, after all this time, and she could still create the image of the boy there, trying to dribble without losing the ball, shooting over and over again to get his muscles to remember the movements.
Instead of advancing home without the redhead, Asagi followed him into the fenced area and dropped her bag unceremoniously onto the ground with a thud, settling into a position to watch Kagami practice. He was merely shooting some hoops from the free throw line, but his concentration could make anyone believe that it was a real game and he was making a real foul shot.
It was captivating to observe, the way his eyes brightened and the way his face lit up, just like a child receiving a long awaited present. He went forward to catch a rebound, proceeding with a smooth layup. She could imagine it, it was almost real, Kuroko throwing a ball up for Kagami to receive for an alley-oop.
Asagi was staring almost dreamily like a maiden in love (or something cheesy like that), when a towering shadow fell over her form. She blinked and peered up to see Kagami extending a hand out to her.
"Wanna play together?" He asked, reaching forward to grab Asagi's hand even though she hadn't uttered an assent yet. His grip was loose, although it seemed as if Kagami didn't know his own strength, because he was practically yanking her up.
"I'm not very good, remember?" The teal haired girl lifted her weight off the ground before Kagami could accidentally disconnect her hand from her forearm, brushing dirt and dust off of her white skirt. Asagi almost cringed at the memory of her horrible performance in P.E. class during basketball.
Kagami huffed. "I really don't care. It's better than playing alone."
Asagi stared blankly after the ace as he dribbled off to the center of the court before following sluggishly. Maybe she was analyzing things a bit too deeply, but his words tugged upwards at the corners of her lips like invisible strings does a puppet.
She took the stance she remembered players she had studied from matches had been in as she faced Kagami, watching his every move. Even so, knowing what the power forward was about to do with her keen intuition combined with her careful scrutinizing of his movements, Kagami was way too fast for her, and before she knew it, he had blown past her. As she stumbled back, trying to find a stable footing on the solid surface that she knew should be there, she saw the other making a dunk out of her peripherals.
It wasn't that long ago that she had seen Kagami play basketball, but from the closed distance that Asagi had been allowed to move in to gape openly at the boy, still hanging off of the dangerously quivering rim, it was as if it lit a new flame inside of her. Admiration leaked into her normally stoic composition, and Kagami turned to grin at her as he let go of the hoop to let gravity guide his feet back to the ground.
"That was too easy," Kagami teased and tossed the ball to Asagi. She caught it, and the brush of her fingertips against the rough surface of the ball made her breath rush out, accelerating her heartbeat. "Your turn now."
The teal haired girl felt some kind of horrible premonition forming its existence in her stomach, mixing with the excitement of being able to touch a basketball. "Um, Kagami-kun, I don't think it's a good idea for me to do this." It was a known fact that she was recognized as the safety hazard in gym class, and most people should have been aware. Clumsy and possessing low stamina, it wasn't a rare occurrence for her to become dizzy from the exertion and unknowingly crash into some innocent classmate. In fact, she had already caused three sprains and one dislocated elbow.
"Try," Kagami encouraged, but she suspected that he wasn't expecting too good of an outcome either. He'd probably have to carry her all the way back to her apartment afterwards, as she perceived that she was about to receive a concussion somehow in the very, very near future. And she knew herself well enough to know her predictions about her own body was rarely wrong. Kagami definitely acquired the award of the year for having the absolutely worst ideas possible.
Maybe his brunette coach was right all along, and that his head existed for decoration so as to not freak normal human beings out.
Asagi exhaled in resignation, lamenting silently as she turned, not a good idea, not a good idea, and spotted a tanned figure staring across the court at her. His mouth hung open in unmasked shock, stupefied enough that even when Asagi met his gaze, Aomine didn't turn away. But somehow it didn't feel like he was really even looking at her, and instead that his eyes were piercing right throughher presence at something that only he could see.
Really, he needed to go to a therapist. Asagi could be quite enamoured with Kuroko Tetsuya, but boy, Aomine was obsessed.
Kuroko seemed more than adept at his role in the two's light and shadow duo than he probably let on, because frankly, the mysterious boy was like a plague, the ever prevailing shadow that the setting sun cast, trailing behind Aomine's body and imitating every movement of his as the other's feet shuffled around in confusion.
"What's wrong with him?" Kagami snickered a little, but Asagi kept her gaze steadily trained on Aomine. It was definitely in Aomine's nature to confront, but running away from his problems wasn't something Asagi could even imagine possible.
('Asagi wished that she had never thought what was on her mind right now plausible.')
She couldn't mask her surprise when Kagami decided to yell, "yo, Ganguromine! Wanna play?"
At Kagami's voice, Aomine jolted, seemingly lost for a moment before plastering a scowl on his face. "I'd beat you any day, don't get cocky with me."
The red haired ace snorted. "I didn't say anything about beating you, I'm just being friendly and polite, like the person I am. Now if you're gonna just bring your egoistic attitude in here, then go away."
"You're the one who invited me," Aomine snapped, words biting like the chilly wind that had begun to blow seconds ago. However, he added, after a brief glance at Asagi, "two-on-one, then. You and her against me."
Protests rapidly formed at the tip of her tongue, but Kagami retorted back, "fine! Just so you know, I can beat you even without Asagi's help." Correction: I'm going to be more of an inconvenience than help, she wanted to say, but clamped her mouth shut as Aomine and Kagami argued about the makeshift rules in the mini match.
She was invisible as she stood whipping her head back and forth between the two bantering boys, as she envisioned what sort of injuries she would likely cause in the short span of the game. It was even more encumbering to know that these were the aces of their respective school teams, so breaking an ankle or two would have even more severe consequences. Maybe if she kept clear of them altogether...
"First to six, I have to go do homework, you know!" Kagami shouted directly into the tanned power forward's face, the latter wiping spit from his eyes. That was true, and Asagi itched to tutor the other with his academics, but he never let her, probably thinking that he was burdening her or something.
"Who are you, Midorima?" Aomine grumbled, but nonetheless settled into position to guard Kagami. The redhead glared back, and Asagi was forgotten as he checked the ball to the other.
Kagami's brows furrowed in concentration, looking for good openings to get past. Asagi slipped below the hoop (or more importantly, away from bodies that could be potentially harmed), muttering just loud enough over the whoosh of the wind, "over here, Kagami-kun." It earned a good yelp from the said boy, and the sudden screech startled Aomine as well.
Using her lack of presence in sports to her advantage was something new, though it wasn't on purpose, but the game had stopped entirely while Kagami tried to calm himself down from his hysterics. "I seriously forgot you were there."
"Then please remember," Asagi drawled, noticing the way Aomine stared at her with no apparent emotion whatsoever from the corner of her eyes. Her mind conjured up the photo she had first seen of Aomine, Momoi, and Kuroko together, looking like best friends should. That Aomine didn't exist anymore, and Asagi longed to know how he was before, longed to have met him sooner.
Aomine didn't bother guarding her, even when a pass went successfully through into her hands, like he knew that she was harmless without Kagami. And he was correct, because despite numerable tries, she couldn't even make one shot. She couldn't shake off the feeling that Aomine's actions weren't based on instinct or on what he had judged from her playing thus far, but on something much more intimate.
('Light and shadow, light and shadow...')
In the end, Aomine still won the small match, because no matter what Asagi tried in coordination with Kagami, nothing worked when Aomine refused to leave Kagami unguarded, rendering the whole thing a one-on-one. Aomine picked up his schoolbag with an air of indifference, brushing past Asagi and Kagami with a curt, "see you. Maybe."
Another gust of cold air blew through the court, making the teal haired girl shudder as it rushed across her bare thighs. She watched Aomine's figure until he was inseparable from dozens of other people in the distance. Asagi turned around to see Kagami grimacing as he tossed the basketball to her so that he could get both their bags.
"Who does he think he is, 'see you, maybe'? We're definitely getting to the Winter Cup, that friggin' Ahomine can wait for us there," he continued to rant as they exited the court area. "I'm so beating him next time."
In hindsight, Asagi was just glad that she didn't get damaged on her head or hurt anyone in the last hour. Physically anyways, because who knows.
('Phantom sixth man...')
A/N: hi! I'm sorry to not have updated in a really long time, it's just so busy lately /creys. I'll probably be on a semi-hiatus thingy from now to the first week or so of July, and maybe even after that because I have a lot of basketball training in summer ;A; (if i never appear on this site again, you will know that i either died from a heatstroke or extreme torture of those freaking slave drivers)
and i had been planning to put this part in way earlier, but then i forgot about my original plot (haha kidding i had no plot)
thanks for sticking with me, and I apologize in advance for the lateness of everything. orz