Unrelenting Memories

Chapter 5

Kuroko rubbed one eye sleepily as he entered the Seirin gym early in the morning. For some reason, his coach texted him to get to the gym by six A.M., and to not dress for basketball. So here he was, in a white polo T-shirt and jeans. He found Hyuuga, Teppei, Riko, and some other players already there, dressed casually. Kagami was, of course, missing.

"Where's Kagami-kun?"

Hyuuga sighed. "He's . . . still missing."

"I went by his house earlier," Izuki added. "And knocked. But all I could hear was strange whimpering."

Riko cleared her throat. "Never mind him. Now that Kuroko is here, we don't have to wait anymore."

"Why did you call us here?" Teppei asked.

"Shopping!"

"Shopping?" the basketball players chorused. Kuroko cocked his head. He didn't mind shopping, but why was their coach asking him to shop with her?

Riko nodded with a gleeful smile. "I need some help carrying the supplies I need for the basketball club. And what better people to help but the players from the club itself?"

Hyuuga rubbed his face at how ridiculous the reason was to wake up early just for shopping. The rest groaned and complained in mutters. Kuroko only asked, "Then, why did Riko-san call me?" Everybody knew he wasn't the strongest player.

"You'll help with the small stuff," Riko waved off the question. "Come on, my dad's driving us. Our first stop is the supermarket!"

"Supermarket?" the players echoed.

"For the training camp I'm planning. We're going to need food," Riko bounded out the gym door. "I can't wait to cook them all!"

Seirin shivered at the thought, but followed her anyway. Their training menu depended on their coach after all. Riko's dad had brought the huge van, but they still had to all squish inside to fit. Kuroko felt rather claustrophobic as he was repeatedly shoved against the van's door.

"After the supermarket, we're going to the mall."

~Setting Skip~

Murasakibara, Aomine, Kise, and Midorima all waited by a large car, awaiting orders from their missing captain. The purple-head was busily munching on a candy bar while Aomine leaned against the car with a scowl. Midorima was busy taping up his fingers, and Kise kept texting his fans, having come from a model shoot.

Aomine's phone blared its ringtone. Finally, he thought as he dug into his jacket pocket and pulled out his cell-phone. He picked it up and put it on speaker. "Akashi, what's the news?" The Generation of Miracles huddled around the phone.

Akashi's voice came demanding and hard, "They are going to the Seiyu Supermarket. Trail them."

~Setting Skip~

Seirin entered the busy supermarket reluctantly. People, from adults to children, hurriedly went through aisles, carrying baskets of food and kitchen supplies. Riko grabbed three baskets and gave it to Hyuuga, Teppei, and Izuki to carry. "Let's see," the coach pulled out a rather oversized grocery list from her purse. "Let's go to the kitchen section first to get the utensils and pots we'll need." Obediently, Seirin trailed their coach.

Meanwhile, the Generation of Miracles arrived at Seiyu Supermarket. Akashi was already waiting at the front entrance. He had hid as he watched the Seirin team enter the market.

"Oi, Akashi!" Aomine called. The four slammed the car doors and made their way to their former captain.

"Did you bring the supplies?" Akashi asked with narrowed heterochromatic eyes.

The ganguro held up the large bag. "Yeah, and Midorima bought extra props." He opened the paper bag and started to take out some objects. "The sunglasses, hat, fake mustache, a wig." Aomine grasped the long, female purple wig and held it up. He looked at Murasakibara. "You know what to do, right?"

Murasakibara didn't look bothered. "Yeah, I got it, Mine-chin."

~Setting Skip~

"Okay, we're done with the kitchen section," Riko checked off all the supplies they had just put in the baskets. "Now it's time to go to the dry foods section."

"O-oi," Hyuuga muttered. He was strugging to carry his overflowing basket. "Isn't this a little too much?"

"Hmm? No! Of course not. This is a two-week training camp. Who knows what we'll need!"

"Yeah, but when the camp is over, who's going to take all this stuff?" Teppei asked wisely.

Riko shrugged. "I'll figure that out later." She skipped off to the dry foods. Kuroko, still not carrying anything, was the first to follow her. The others grudgingly walked behind, passing behind a seemingly normal, disguised man.

The man had on a low top hat, sunglasses, and a fake, large mustache on his upper lip. He was hiding his face with a newspaper, as if that wasn't suspicious enough. People simply do not read newspapers in a supermarket. He lowered the newspaper just below his eyes and talked softly in his walkie-talkie.

"Akashi," he hissed. "They're going for the dry foods."

"Excellent, Shintarou," said Akashi, just as quiet. "Stand by the frozen seafood."

Seirin entered their desired aisle, and Riko started to check off the list as she dumped random items in Teppei's basket. "Instant rice, ramen, Easy Pancakes," Riko muttered. "And . . . dry fish chips." Her gaze trailed up the shelves until she spotted it. "Ah! There it is!" She went on her tiptoes and tried reaching for it. Her fingertips could barely brush against it. "Agh. Can one of you guys help me with this?"

"A little busy right now." Teppei swayed back and forth, trying to balance his basket. Hyuuga was doing the same. There was no other tall person on the team right now to retrieve the wanted item.

A large hand came out of nowhere and grabbed the item easily and handed it to a startled Riko. "Oh! Thank . . ." her eyes widened when she couldn't see the person's face in front of her. Instead, she had to stretch her neck and look up to get a glimpse at the person's face.

The person was probably the tallest woman Riko had ever seen. The woman towered at a 6'10" height with shoulder-length, curly, purple hair. She had half-lidded eyes that made her look lazy. One large hand—too large for a woman—was holding a lollipop and the other was holding the item. She was wearing a large and long purple dress that looked a little too dressed-up for a supermarket. Just a little.

Riko cocked her head. This woman looked familiar.

"Here you go," the woman said, her voice obviously purposely high-pitched.

"T-thank you," she said, taking it slowly from her.

The woman sucked on her lollipop. "Mm."

"Riko-san, Hyuuga-senpai just collapsed—oof," Kuroko accidentally bumped into the woman and staggered a few steps back. He rubbed his head and looked up to apologize. When he did, though, he blinked, taking in the purple wig, half-lidded eyes, dress, and lollipop. "Excuse me, Murasakibara-kun. I wasn't watching where I was going." He then grabbed Riko's wrist and gently pulled her out of the aisle, along with the rest of the basketball members, leaving a surprised Murasakibara behind. "Riko-san, I think you should cut back on the shopping."

When the team disappeared off to the frozen foods, Murasakibara pulled out his walkie-talkie. "Aka-chin?"

"What happened?" Akashi's voice rang through the small device.

"Ann," Murasakibara bit into his lollipop. "Kuro-chin found out."

"He discovered you? Atsushi!" The purple-head could hear Akashi's exasperated sigh. "Did you at least get to follow through with the plan?"

"No. Kuro-chin made them leave before I could."

" . . . I am taking all of your snack money and snacks away."

"Aka-chin!"

~Setting Skip~

"Dad told me to get him some dry fish from here," Riko said as they went over to the seafood-frozen section. "Let me just go order so we don't have to wait after shopping."

"Yeah," Hyuuga grunted, balancing his basket. "Just take your time." His tone held sarcasm.

She approached the counter with several men cooking and cutting raw seafood. There was one person waiting behind the high counter, free to talk to. "Ano, excuse me," Riko stretched to her full height to talk to the person. Jeez, what was up with the tall people today?

The person wore a top hat (in a supermarket?) over his green hair. He bore a large mustache on his upper lip. It looked extremely odd for the person to have such a mustache since he looked so young. Riko shook her head. There are some odd people in the supermarket. "One Aji dried fish, please," Riko ordered. She took out her purse.

The cashier pushed up his glasses with taped fingers. "That'd be 1030 yen."

"Aren't you going to weigh the fish first?" Seirin's coach asked, suspicious.

He glanced at the iced fish in disgust. "I already know the weight of the fish. That'd be 1030 yen."

"Hey! You're trying to cheat on the price!" Riko accused. She glared at the strange cashier. "Do you even work here? I don't see your tag."

He narrowed his green eyes at the short captain. Then, under his breath, he muttered to his chest, "Now, Kise!"

Kise, having heard his signal, whistled an innocent tune as he 'accidentally' nudged the two shopping carts filled with foods. It was a hard nudge that had the carts racing down the narrow paths, straight toward the coach of Seirin.

Riko heard the metal clinking of the fast wheels and lifted up her head, horrified to see two shopping carts coming straight toward her, each one filled to the brim with vegetables, glass bottles, and seafood. She saw no escape. The left of her was the counter, and if she were to move to her right, the second shopping cart would hit her. Who the hell would push two, food-filled shopping carts toward her anyway?

While shopping carts didn't sound too dangerous, this part of the store as a soft slope that accelerated anything moving down on it. Two heavy, rolling boxes on wheels going at an unnatural speed didn't seem too appealing to Riko. And the thought of the tomatoes bursting against her from within the court did not sound too great, either.

Yet, she had nowhere to go.

"Riko-san, Izuki-senpai wants to buy this new joke book," Kuroko called softly, walking in the path of the carts. He stopped walking when he heard the rolling of the carts' wheels. They were already too close. Riko could see them both getting hit.

Kise, from all the way across the store, widened his eyes when he saw his Kurokocchi about to get hit from his doings. Akashi would kill him if he accidentally injured the teal-head!

"Damn it, Kuroko!" the strange cashier cursed, jumped across the high counter, and ran to the frozen teen with impossible speed. He crashed into Kuroko and managed to take the few steps back to have the cart roll past them, disappearing off in the wine aisle. Kise winced when he heard a few bottles break.

Riko, during this course of action, decided to go with the flow and follow the abrupt cashier. It was a smart choice, as the first shopping cart passed her harmlessly before crashing into an innocent man. The man had cried out and fallen onto his bottom, now buried under the many, mysterious foods Kise had supplied the carts.

"Why are you always so reckless?" Midorima huffed, having to take the harder fall to protect Kuroko's head from the grocery floor. The rest of Generation of Miracles would kill both Kise and Midorima if Kuroko suddenly got a concussion.

"I'm sorry," Kuroko said blankly, standing up with the help of the greenhead. "Are you all right, Midorima-kun?"

Midorima stood speechless; shocked that Kuroko could figure out his identity so quickly. He awkwardly pushed up his glasses. "Yes, I am. Be more careful next time." He then sped off walking in another direction, aware of the coach of Seirin's eyes on his back.

"Shintarou?" Akashi's voice demanded a report.

"Kuroko figured out my identity," Midorima murmured.

" . . . I ban you from Oha Asa from a month."

"You can't do that!"

~Setting Skip~

Meanwhile, Hyuuga, having dumped the overflowing basket to some poor first-year, was browsing through the vegetable section, a plastic bag in hand. Might as well do some shopping while I'm here, he thought.

Aomine watched the captain of Seirin carefully. He was in a suspicious-looking black suit, with dark shades to top it off. Many people stared at him as they walked by.

He approached an eight-year-old-boy whom was waiting for his mother to come back from another aisle.

"Hey, kid," Aomine hissed.

The boy turned around. "Mom told me not to speak to strangers," was the first thing he said.

"What are you, some mommy's boy?" the ganguro insulted. "Never mind. Do you see that guy with glasses over there?" he crouched down to point at Hyuuga. The boy nodded. "I want you to throw as much tomatoes as you can at him. Got it?"

"But Mom said—"

Aomine silenced him with 2000-yen bill and a 100-yen coin. "Got it?" he repeated.

The eight-year-old smirked. "Got it."

Aomine slinked away to another section, but made sure he could see the event that was about to take place. He casually pretended to look through the lettuces, flicking glances at the eight-year-old every once in awhile.

The boy slowly took four tomatoes in his arms. He grabbed one of the four and looked at the chosen target mischievously. Flinging his arm forward, he threw the tomato hard and fast. It hit Hyuuga right in the face, splattering over his glasses, eyes, and nose.

The captain let out a string of curses and two hands flew to his face. "What the hell? Who—" Another one came flying at him and ruined his new shirt. "Argh! Whoever is—" Then another one. And another one.

The boy reloaded quickly. This was actually quite fun, and he wanted to hit the stranger with as many tomatoes as he could before he got caught. He flung more tomatoes; most of them hitting the moving target and followed his aim as Hyuuga tried to run from his attack. The captain couldn't see with the onslaught of tomatoes, especially with his glasses smeared with tomato substances.

What the hell? Why me? Hyuuga cried out in his mind.

~Setting Skip~

Izuki hummed his way through the clearance section, his arms full of joke books he found for cheap prices. He planned to keep a collection so he could get ideas for his own jokes. Everybody loved his jokes, so he needed more to keep them satisfied.

"Where's volume three? I swear there's a volume three . . ." Not paying attention to the path in front of him, he accidentally bumped into a person a little shorter than him. All his books fell to the floor. "Ah! Sorry! I wasn't watching where I was going." He immediately bent down to pick up his belongings, noting that the person didn't even bother helping him.

"It is fine," the person said smoothly. There was an air of authority in his voice.

Hesitantly, Izuki looked up to the person's obscured face. He could see short, red hair from his low hat, and the bi-colored eyes of red and yellow. Other than that, the person had no other props to disguise himself. For some reason, the person struck familiarity to Izuki. "Have I met you before?"

"No."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes." The person narrowed his eyes. He knew this was a member of the Seirin team.

Izuki frowned. He swore he had met this person before! That scary, controlling atmosphere, the red hair and eyes, the threatening look on his face . . . "No, really, we've met before. Aren't you Ak—?"

Suddenly, a pair of scissors flashed near his face, the sharp ends pointed toward his nose. There was only a centimeter of space between the ends of the scissors and his face. Izuki found himself frozen with fear, not daring to move with a sharp object threatening to cut him. The person moved closer in.

"I do not like to repeat myself," he murmured. "You have never met me. Understood?"

The Seirin point guard couldn't even nod.

~Setting Skip~

"Someone stop him! Damn it!" Hyuuga roared, now a monster of splattered tomatoes. Unfortunately for him, he was alone in the vegetables section, except for Aomine and the boy, whose mother was still missing.

Hyuuga wobbled down the aisle. He couldn't see a thing.

"What on Earth—Hiroshi!" The boy's mother ran from wherever she came from and stopped her son. "How dare you! Oh, haven't I told you more than one not to do this? Oh my goodness, that poor man. Sir, are you all right?" The woman made a move toward Hyuuga. "I'm so sorry about Hiroshi; I don't know what's gotten into him. I'll pay for the damages and the tomatoes."

Hyuuga didn't seem to hear as he continued to wobble his way down. When he was close enough to Aomine, the ganguro 'spilled' all of the M&M's he illegally opened from a pack in front of Hyuuga. Hyuuga stepped into them, slipped and fell onto his backside hard. He groaned and tried to wipe off the tomato juice from his glasses. It cleared his vision enough to see a flash of dark blue hair and tanned skin.

~Setting Skip~

Kuroko was innocently standing in line, waiting to pay for his own groceries. He knew Akashi would never approve of the items he had in his basket, mostly because they were junk foods, but the redhead would never know. He stared blankly ahead at the long line when he heard a loud shout that echoed throughout the store.

"Kuroko! I'm never going shopping with you again!"


Author


I am actually on vacation, but thank goodness I brought a computer with me to continue this update. I'm sorry, but I'm probably not going to be able to update frequently until after school is over. Don't worry! I will still update, just not frequently I:

Thank you for being patient!

~Virelei