Hidden Beauty


Basket Thirty-Seven: Restrictions


Judging by the small shake and the firm grip on her arm told her that she was being woken up, if that made any sense.
Kuroi groaned, and opened her eyes, vision hazy and blurred, still half-asleep. Her mother stood over her, stern expression on her face as she held up her wig. A sighed escaped Kuroi's lips, she figured that she must have fallen asleep sometime during her worrying late last night, or maybe early morning, and now she felt even more tired and grouchy.

"Kuroi, really... You cut off your hair, as well? What possessed you to do this?" Kayate's frown made her heart twist painfully, and Kuroi could only shrug as she struggled to find her voice.

She wet her lips and pushed herself out of bed. "What time is it?" She chose to ignore the way her mother sighed irritably, before giving her an answer.

"It's 9:43." Kayate replied.

"Nine... I missed morning practice! And now I'm missing school-"

"School and your practice can certainly wait, Kuroi. We need to have a family discussion, now. You've slept long enough. Now, come on, meet your father and I downstairs once you get dressed." Kayate didn't allow her daughter to give a reply, and just walked out of the room, closing it a little too loudly.

Kuroi only stared at the door before changing. She put her uniform on, and left her wig behind, figuring she wouldn't need it anyways from then on. She put a change of clothing in her duffel bag and headed down the stairs.

The black haired girl left her bag by the door and tip toed into the living room where her parents were waiting. "So..."

"So!" Her mother's shrill voice startled her, making her jolt as she was still just beginning to get out of her tired state. "Would you mind explaining just what you've been doing? Hiding? Do you enjoy lying to us like this? How long have you been doing... this?"

"Can I speak?" Kuroi frowned, crossing her arms. Her mother went silent, and Kuroi knew that probably added an extra week to being grounded for life. She took a deep breath, the excuses and lies flying from her mind before she had a chance to process anything. "You know how I said I'm on a girls' basketball team?" She asked. Both her parents shared a look before nodding.

"Yeah, well, it's actually a team for boys... Because girls suck. Well, those girly-girl kind suck..."

"A boys' team?" Her father's eyes went wide.

"Actually, there's something else - that I wanted to talk to you guys about..."

"That can wait, Kuroi. We're discussing this-... matter at hands, now." Kayate murmured the last bit, closing her eyes momentarily. Kuroi sighed and nodded, falling rather ungracefully onto the couch.

"Anyway, once I learned how there wasn't a girls' team at Kaijou, I figured that I might as well try being.. a guy. It actually went pretty far, until one of them found out. Then I told everyone on the team, and they were pretty cool with it. Even the coach. No one else really knows, except for Sayu, Mikurei, and Kira. And... now you." Kuroi didn't bother looking up. She didn't want to see the disappointment in her mother's eyes, which she could still feel burning into her very soul.

"You've been doing this ever since you transferred?" Mikoto asked.

"Yeah..." Silence filled the air, making the dark haired girl bite her lip anxiously. "I don't know, that's about it, really..." She figured telling them about Kasamatsu would be a bad idea at the moment, so she decided that she'll save that for another time.

"Why couldn't you just tell us the truth?"

"I couldn't just walk up to you guys and say: 'Hey, mom, dad, I'm going to transfer schools so I could dress as a boy in order to join a boys' basketball team.' Now could I?" Kuroi grumbled, glaring at a spot on the ground. "Even if I did, you wouldn't have let me..." She added.

"That's true. We wouldn't have. Do you know why? It's because we love you and care for you."

"I know.."

"No, Kuroi, you don't. Otherwise you wouldn't have done all this."

"I did it because I love basketball. I want nothing more than to play..."

"Which is why it pains me to say this-" Kuroi raised her head, eyes meeting her mother's. "But, you are quitting that team."
"What?! No!" Kuroi began to argue, but her mother raised her voice. "You are going to leave that team, and focus more on your studies! You will go to the principal and apologize for what you have been doing."

"No, mom! You don't understand, if I do that, then the whole team could be abolished! I don't want that to happen... Even if... I can't be on it." Her voice faltered, just at the thought of having to leave the team. "Besides, you wouldn't want that to happen to them, right? You're only concern is me..."

Her mom was silent before a soft sigh escaped her lips. "You're right. Then you continue your little charade until this year ends. You are forbidden from attending basketball practice."

"Is that understood, Kuroi?"

"... Yeah." Kuroi nodded solemnly, before turning around. "Where are you going?" She could hear her father ask. "School." The black haired girl replied.


Once she arrived at school, it was well into second period. She took her seat, explaining to the War History teacher that she had accidentally slept in, and buried her head in her arms tiredly.

Kuroi could feel Mikurei's eyes on her, watching her intently, but refused to look up at the girl.


Second, then third and fourth passed before it was finally lunch time. Kuroi stood, but Mikurei was faster as she stopped Kuroi from going anywhere. "Rei-chan..." Kuroi whined, lightly tugging on her arm. To no avail, the blue haired girl dragged her out of the room, past the large amount of students, and finally outside into the back, where no one hardly ever went. "What?" Kuroi asked, frowning.

"What's wrong?" Mikurei asked softly, appearing worried.

"... My parents. I- I need to go talk to the Coach, before schools over... Sorry." Kuroi apologized helplessly, stalking off to go find Coach Takeuchi, leaving a confused and fretting Mikurei behind.


It took a while, but she found Coach Takeuchi in his office, which was actually the first place she searched, but he wasn't there at the time.

She peeked in through the window, seeing him typing away at his computer while taking a sip of coffee. Kuroi bit her lip and knocked on his office door. It took a second for him to open it.

"Yasuhiro, what do you need?" He asked, looking down the halls.

"I need to talk to you.. about my- uh, situation."

"Come in, come in." He let the girl in, only leaving it about a crack open. "What is it?" He asked after he got settled back in his chair.

"Well, my mo- er, both my parents found out. My mom was not too happy about it, either."

"You were hiding it from your parents?" Takeuchi blinked, clearly stunned.

"Uh, yeah. I can't just tell them that I'll be crossdressing like a weirdo." Kuroi scoffed, shaking her head.

Adults just don't understand, she mused.

"Uhh, anyways," She began, "Because my dear ol' mother didn't like the whole idea, she's banned me from playing or partaking in basketball practice."

The Coach was silent for a few moments, nodding slowly. "I see. I'm sorry to hear."

"Yeah... But, don't worry. I somehow managed to convince her not to make me tell the principal or anyone, so you or the team won't get in trouble."

"That's good."

Kuroi nodded. "I'll still come watch the team play at the Interhigh and stuff..." She smiled softly, not sure if it was to affirm Takeuchi or herself.


I never knew her mother could be so harsh. Now I feel sad. Poor Kuroi~

Kuroi: Yeah, thanks, for that. *twitch, twitch*

Well, anyway, I- OUCH!

Kuroi: Oops. The basketball slipped out of my hand.