Miyaji adds a new item to his list of 'Why I Hate These Goddamn Freshmen'. — Team Shuutoku

"He's doing it again," Miyaji says, disdainfully, stepping out of the showers.

"Who's doing what again?" Ootsubo asks, looking up from the buttons on his shirt.

"Takao," Miyaji answers, jabbing his thumb behind him. "He's singing that damn song again."

"He has been singing it a lot lately, huh," Ootsubo says, taking a moment to listen.

"A lot?" Miyaji sneers. "Try like a whole fucking month. Seriously, there's only so many times one can listen to 'jiyuu ukeirete wa mogaite kuratte fuantei' without wanting to punch someone—preferably Midorima—in the face."

In the corner of the locker room, Midorima pauses in adjusting the bandages on his fingers, but otherwise says nothing.

Ootsubo sends him a pitying look. "I guess Takao could expand his repertoire some more," he shrugs, turning back to Miyaji.

"Right?" Miyaji says. Then, to Midorima, he barks, "You've been listening to our conversation, right?" Midorima doesn't even get a chance to answer. "So, either you get Takao to start singing something new tomorrow, or I give in and punch you in the face."

Midorima already looks pained.

Ootsubo sighs. "I'll let you have an extra selfish request for our next game if you do."

At that, Midorima gives a small nod. Miyaji looks pleased with himself.

Ootsubo sighs again. One year, he tells himself. One more year and then he can kiss babysitting these idiots goodbye.



The next day:

"Every day should start with Oha-asa~"

"Perhaps you should have been more specific," Ootsubo says, patting a homicidal-looking Miyaji on the shoulder.

"How the hell does Oha-asa even have a theme song, man," Miyaji groans, punching at Midorima's locker—a horrible substitute for the real thing.

Ootsubo can only hope Miyaji doesn't totally destroy it once Takao begins singing out each sign's horoscope for the day.

Kagami does some A+ procrastinating. — Kagami, Kuroko; Kise/Kuroko

"Hey, um, Kuroko," Kagami says, totally not just looking for an excuse not to study for Algebra. "I've been wondering about this for a while now, but, isn't that shirt a little too, um, big for you?"

Kuroko doesn't even look up from his book. "It's to be expected, I suppose," he says. "This is Kise-kun's shirt, after all."

"Oh," Kagami says. "That makes sense, I gue—Wait, what?"

Kuroko makes a sighing sound, turning to the next page, as if he'd really rather not talk about it but is too polite not to reply. "Kise-kun promised me he'd stop dropping by at school and focus on his own exams if I did."

"I… see," Kagami says, a little bothered at how something like that is actually pretty normal for someone like Kise. "And you agreed to this, why?"

"I wouldn't want Kise-kun to fail and possibly get kicked off the team on my account," Kuroko replies. "Besides, it gives me a chance to focus as well."

"But, how does he know if you're wearing it, though?"

Kuroko simply turns another page. "He asked me to send him a picture every once in a while so he can see."

"Oh," Kagami says. "Is that why you kept going to the bathroom earli—Wait a second, exactly kind of pictures does he want you to send?!"

"Kagami-kun," Kuroko says, somehow even more stone-faced than usual, "please stop asking unnecessary questions. Otherwise, I'll have to tell Coach about your refusal to study."

Kagami reluctantly returns to the evil that is Algebra, at that, and doesn't question any further.

He's not sure he wants to know, anyway.

Kise asks Kuroko a question. — Kise/Kuroko

"Hey, Kurokocchi," Kise whispers, leaning his head on Kuroko's shoulder, "what do you say about getting a puppy?"

"What's brought this on, Kise-kun?" Kuroko asks, lifting his eyes from his book. "You know our apartment doesn't allow pets."

"No reason, really," Kise says, shrugging against Kuroko's side. "I just thought, you know, it would be cute."

"Hmm," Kuroko hums, thoughtful, threading his hand through Kise's hair when he catches a glimpse of an old picture of Nigou across the room, the same thing Kise must have seen. Kuroko smiles, softly, burying his nose in Kise's hair. "I think Kise-kun is enough cute for me right now."

"Kurokocchi…" Kise says, pouting despite the flush on his cheeks, "that's not fair."

"Now, now, Kise-kun," Kuroko says, pulling him in for kiss, "when have I ever made claims to being fair?"

Kise can't even find it in him to be upset. "Kurokocchi… you're just too much sometimes, you know that?"

"Yes, Kise-kun," Kuroko says, a faint smile on his lips as he turns back to his book. "I know."

Midorima contemplates the feasibility of human sacrifices on such short notice. — Takao/Midorima; Team Shuutoku

"Look, Shin-chan, I said I was sorry!"

"'Sorry' won't bring my ancestors back, Takao," Midorima says, eyes narrowing. "How do you expect me to explain this to my parents."

"You could, I don't know," Takao tries, "buy a new one…?"

"I can't just 'buy a new one', Takao," Midorima frowns. "It's called a priceless family heirloom for a reason. Do you even have any idea how long that urn has been passed down through the generations?"

"Look," Takao says, "I said I was sorry. I didn't mean to break it and I feel really bad that i did—but come on, Shin-chan, you just left it, like, right there out in the open."

"Are you saying this is my fault?"

"Well you were the one who brought it in the first place!"

"Because it was today's lucky item," Midorima explains. "You of all people should know. And I always keep my lucky items in the same place."

"It's not like I hit it on purpose!"

Midorima scoffs. "You pride yourself on that hawk eye of yours, but you can't even see that a highly-breakable object is right in front of you?"

"O-kay," Takao says, "that is going way too fa—"

"Um, sirs," the referee cuts in. "The timeout has been over for quite a while now… and we really should be getting back to the game—"

"I'm sorry," Midorima says, not even looking remotely apologetic, "but my teammate and I are in the middle of something so—"

"Hey, you two," Miyaji yells. "Get both your asses down here pronto or I will come over there and drag you myself."

"We'll be right there, senpai!" Takao yells back, pulling at Midorima's arm. He'd already incurred the wrath of one irritable teammate today; he didn't want to add another one. "Come on, Shin-chan. You can scold me all you like later."

"No," Midorima says, shaking off Takao's hold. "I need to leave at once."

"What," Takao says, feeling his eyes bulge from the surprise. "What do you mean, you're leaving?! We're not even halfway through the second quarter!"

"I need to find a shrine, and pray for my ancestors' forgiveness."

"Oh my god, are you serious?!"

"What's the holdup, asswipes," Miyaji says, walking over. "I told you two, didn't I? Either you come over or I drag you down myself."

"Miyaji-senpai, Shin-chan's—"

"Just leaving."

"Oh no you're not," Miyaji says, clamping his hand down on Midorima's shoulder. "I don't know what kind of crazy shit you're trying to pull, but not even 100 of your selfish requests will let me let you leave this game."

"What seems to be the problem this time," Ootsubo sighs, finally coming over to see what all the fuss was about.

"Dumbass over here says he wants to leave," Miyaji says, pointing his finger at Midorima.

Ootsubo kneads the bridge of his nose with his fingers. "Midorima, even your selfish requests have limits, you know."

"I know," Midorima says, "but this isn't a request."

"There are still rules," Ootsubo says. "You can't just walk out."

"Um, sirs, the time—"

"I can," Midorima says, glaring at Takao, "and I will. Unless, of course, you'd all be willing to replace my great-great-grandparents' ashes."

Takao wisely convinces everyone to let Midorima go.