Disclaimer: The 'Kuroko no Basuke' manga and anime series is owned by Tadatoshi Fujimaki and the awesome publishers and producers who made the series possible.
Warnings: Spoilers from manga and anime and BxB love! Features other members of KnB and Takao's canon younger sister.
The girl who entered Midorima's check-up room looked familiar for some reason. Her black hair reminded him of Takao… but then again who didn't?
This girl however, was reminding him of the boy more than his other patients did. But Midorima had to shove his thoughts aside when the girl took one good look at him and yelled "You!"
Midorima raised his eyebrows. "Yes, me. I will be your consulting doctor today, Miss…?"
The girl blinked and then gave a disdainful frown. "It's written on my folder, can't you read?"
Ah, so it was one of the young, trouble-making types? Midorima had no patience for brats like her. "I'm sorry, but I can't be bothered wasting my time with information of little importance to me… such as your name." he said, his left hand rising to push his rectangular glasses to the bridge of his nose.
The girl gave a disbelieving scoff, and folded her arms on her chest. "Figures… I saw you on TV last night." she said, not an ounce of admiration in her voice. "How come you're being assigned to me, I thought that you're a cardiac surgeon?"
Midorima set his jaw. "If you had indeed watched last night's interview, then you would know that I specialize in both neurosurgery as well as cardiovascular."
"Yeah, yeah…" The girl yawned and advanced into the room, plopping onto a comfortable chair in front of Midorima's desk. "You see, I got bored listening about the 'prodigy of the century'. God knows that I've seen you face enough around my place…"
Midorima felt a tick of anger, but then decided to brush it off. Anger was very childish and unprofessional. Instead, he pulled out an X-ray of the girl's spine and skull and addressed her as maturely as he could. "I have analyzed this. The cause for your neck cricks when you play volleyball is obvious. You started playing sports a little too early, before your bones and body had developed to their full potential. Therfore, some of your joints are weak. Nothing to worry about… I won't advise surgery for something so trivial, but I'll have to ask you to choose another sport if possible. Volleyball does put particular strain on the neck and shoulders."
The girl, who seemed to have been carefully following every word Midorima said, pouted vehemently. "Can you give me a sport that doesn't, Doc?"
Midorima shrugged. "Well…"
"In any case." The girl interrupted determinedly. "There's no way in hell that I'm quitting volleyball. I'm the captain, and the team needs me. Shūtoku will win this year's championships!"
Midorima blinked. "Ah, you're at Shūtoku High?" Midorima cleared his throat embarrassedly after having suddenly blurted out the question on impulse. "I used to… study there as well."
The girl's lips formed a rather peculiar smirk which pulled at certain strings at the back of Midorima's head. Where had he seen that smile before? "I know that, Ace-sama." the girl actually laughed when Midorima's eyes widened in surprise. "But I guess you wouldn't remember me… we weren't properly introduced after all! I was only 8 when we first met, eight years ago."
"What?" asked Midorima, completely out of his depth.
The girl merely shook her head and jumped off the chintz chair. "Just check my name on the folder, Doc. Thanks for the consultation, I guess. I'll say 'hi' to ni-chan for you, shall I?"
With a parting wave and a suspicious snigger, she was gone. When Midorima finally jerked out of his astonishment, he placed the X-ray back inside the folder, and turned it over. The name written in bold make his heart skip a beat the moment he laid eyes on it.
Damn it! The girl had been Takao's younger sister.
8 years ago.
"Shit!" Takao breathed after catching sight of the green-haired a tall figure walking down the corridor. Then, he began to laugh full on… He couldn't help it! It all just bubbled out! After that terrible, distasteful loss during middle school, which had traumatized Takao to the point where he hadn't been able to look at his basketball for weeks... After several punches at the wall on remembering each uncaring expression of the members of Teikō's basketball team, especially him… After the two grueling months of jumping, running, and shooting he had done over the summer, all just so he could defeat this guy, no matter what…
It was destiny. It had to be! They had been fated to cross paths… That was the major ironical point of the whole situation which made Takao double over with laughter.
So, ignoring the clench in his stomach, he ran to catch up to the green-haired boy. "Yo!" he called, making the taller boy turn around. Takao noticed that he was carrying plastic tape in his left hand, while his fingers were covered in medicinal, white tape.
"Sup, Midorima Shintarō! I'm Takao Kazunari." he introduced himself. There was no sign of recognition on the taller boy's perfectly chiseled face. It was as much as Takao had expected. "You're gonna join the basketball club right? I'm gonna join too… Pleased ta' meetcha!"
There was silence for a moment. Then finally, the boy raised one perfectly shaped eyebrow. "Why do you know my name, nanodayo." he asked quietly.
Takao gave him an incredulous look. "You're kidding me, right? If they play basketball, there aren't many who don't know your name…" Takao was suddenly distracted at the rolled up tape Midorima was holding up. "Hey…uhh, what's that?"
"Hpmh." said Midorima, clutching the object tightly in his fist. "It's tape."
I know what it fucking is… Takao wanted to say. But instead he stayed quiet, deciding to be polite for once. Midorima glowed at him through his glasses when Takao simply stood there with a questioning look on his face.
"From the Oha-Asa horoscope." he elaborated. "It's today's lucky item, nanodayo."
Takao pursed his lips at the chuckle threatening to burst out of him. Finally, he realized that trying to stop it was futile. "Gyahahahaha! What's- what's with that! Hahaha…." he cried, wiping tears from his eyes and clutching his stomach as he giggled.
"Is something wrong, nanodayo?" asked Midorima, giving Takao a distinctly unimpressed look which made him crack up even more.
"I didn't mention it before… but what's with your sentence endings?" asked Takao, snickering with glee. "It's absolutely hilarious!"
Still chortling, Takao spotted a couple of his friends a way off, behind Midorima. Crap! He didn't know what room he was in! Trying to calm his laughter, Takao brushed by Midorima and gave the taller boy a soft pat on the forearm.
"Ja, I'll see you around then… Shin-chan!" he said, not noticing the way Midorima spluttered in outrage as he pelted across the courtyard towards his friends.
Steal, observe, pass to the Point Guard-
Dribble, fake, turn around, pass-
"…istening to me, Tak—"
Switchover, under the leg, jump, shoot-
"Takao-kun, WAKE UP!"
"Huh, what? Whoa!" said Takao, jolting up suddenly in his seat… so fast that he leaned back a little too much and his chair crashed backwards onto the floor, along with him on it. "Urgh…" he mumbled, dizzied as he heard several sniggers sound around the room.
"Now that you're obviously following, I'll ask you to answer question number 5—"
Takao could have kissed the person who was in charge of ringing the bells at Shūtoku High. His classmates were causing a bustling ruckus as they packed up. Takao used the opportunity to hurry to his feet and grab his things, shoving them into his bag in disarray. From the corner of his eye, he saw Midorima Shintarō giving him an unamused glare, but the boy would never understand how important tonight's practice was to Takao!
Tonight, the coach was choosing starters for this year's team.
Everyone in the changing rooms looked up when Takao sprinted inside, his chest heaving. "Wussgoingon?" he wheezed. "Am I—argh!... Am I late?
The Captain, Ōtsubo Taisuke, turned back to his locker with a faint grin. Takao slumped down onto a bench and pushed his gym bag off his shoulder. He then proceeded to take of his uniform, and put on his shorts, rummaging in his bag for his T-shirt.
"Yo, Takao-kun!" came a voice as an arm slung itself around Takao's neck from behind. It belonged to Miyaji Kiyoshi, the third-year Small Forward who had a completely different (and scary) personality when they were on court. He had an intimidating reputation in the eyes of most of the freshman, but the taller boy had apparently taken a liking to Takao.
"Miyaji-senpai." Takao greeted, flashing his usual wide smirk. "Any chance in me finding out who the lucky team members are?"
Miyaji snorted, looked over at where Ōtsubo was busy tying his shoelaces. "Not a chance, chibi."
Takao grinned and gave the taller boy a once over. "Yeah right! Don't go looking down on me senpai! Just because you know you're going to make the team!" he said. Miyaji may be one of the scariest upperclassmen, but Takao knew his boundaries quite well, despite popular belief. Besides, he really liked the guy!
There changing room suddenly fell silent. Takao looked up and saw that the reason for the quiet was the green-haired boy who had just entered the room, with a strange keychain dangling from one finger. Probably his lucky item for the day…
Midorima ignored the stared directed towards him and walked over to his locker, which was right beside Takao's, and sat down beside him, diligently beginning to unwrap his taped fingers on his left hand.
"I think you can easily guess who else is gonna be making the team." Miyaji whispered into Takao's ear.
Takao spared Midorima a glance, before pushing up a hair band to get his bangs out of his eyes and dug his hands back into his duffle bag this time with a frown. Miyaji's arms wrapped around his lean, bare chest as he searched, and the blonde put his head on Takao's shoulder. "Whatcha looking for?" he asked, peering into Takao's bag.
"Ah, no! Fuck it!" Takao cursed, hitting his thigh. "I forgot to bring my T-shirt!"
"Dorry sweat it."Miyaji said. "I'm sure if you ask around, someone will lend you one."
"Fuck!" Takao swore, wanting to slap himself.
Miyaji did it for him. "You shouldn't curse in front of you senpai, Takao-kun!" he said sternly. "Should I bring a pineapple to punish you?" he threatened, yet there was a smile on his face.
Takao felt his own lips twitch up. "Ooh, kinky!" he replied with a wink to the question which usually had the rest of his classmates scrambling.
Miyaji raised an eyebrow as he released Takao. "You've got spunk, chibi. I'll give you that!" he said, walking toward the door leading toward the gym. "I like it!"
Takao chuckled softly, then began to panic again as he grabbed his duffle bag and shook it, as though a shirt would magically appear inside it. He knew very well that nobody else brought two T-shirts, and the soccer team had probably finished there practice…
Takao's musings were interrupted as someone shoved a shirt under his nose. The long fingers holding the shirt had the most perfectly shaped nails Takao had ever seen in his life. Looking up, Takao met Midorima's scowling face. "Here." the boy said.
Takao blinked rapidly. "You serious? Ahh, thanks a million, Shin-chan!" he exclaimed, jumping up and wrapping an arm around Midorima's midriff, which was immediately thrown off. "I'll wash it before I give it back to you! Haha… Hey, I owe you a favor now! What do you want me to do in return? I'll do anything!"
Midorima gave him a look. "Anything."
"Yeah!" said Takao, pulling on Midorima's shirt. It smelled clean but was a couple sizes too large for him. The sleeves reached his elbows and the collar hung rather low on his chest. "You just saved my ass out of facing major humiliation, man!"
Midorima seemed to be actually pondering the thought. "Let me get back to you on that, nanodayo." he said finally.
Takao shrugged, but gave the boy a friendly slap on the back before walking into the gym.
The tension was fucking palpable.
Captain Ōtsubo was calling the names of the reserve players at the movement. Takao high-fived the two players from his class who were chosen, with an encouraging grin. Inside, he was stressing out like a PMSing girl.
"What sign are you?" asked a voice behind him.
"What?" said Takao, cracking his knuckles nervously as he turned to Midorima.
"I asked… for your horoscope sign, nanodayo."
"Gee… I dunno..." rambled Takao.
"When is your birthday?" Midorima asked. The dude seemed to have limitless patience.
"The 21st of November."
"Ah," Midorima said, fixing his glasses with his hand. "You're a Scorpio. Your sign is in first place today on Oha-Asa's rankings, and she's never wrong. So stop twitching around, it's annoying, nanodayo."
Takao gaped at Midorima like a fish. Had the superstition obsessed guy really just tried to comfort him in his own weird way? "Err… thanks?" he tried.
Midorima simply pushed his glasses up again, it seemed to be a habitual gesture. "You're the one who told me during extra practice that you'd make me recognize you by sending me 'a roaring pass', nanodayo. Does that mean that you don't have so much confidence in yourself after all?
"That's easy for you to say." Takao grumbled. "You're a genius already. You don't have to work you back off like the rest of us normal people."
Midorima's expression soured immediately. "That's such a stupid assumption." he spat out. "The high arc of my shots which you laughed at last time, I calculate every inch, every millimeter, predicting the whole trajectory before I actually release the ball. What do you think that I file my nails and tape my fingers for? 100%, failsafe precision. It's destiny... I only shoot if I'm sure that I won't miss. It has taken me four years to perfect my long range shots, nanodayo." his eyes were blazing when they finally turned to Takao. "I won't have the likes of you looking down on me!"
At that moment, Ōtsubo spoke up, driving Takao's attention away from Midorima. "Okay then! Now, for the starting team. We have… Ōtsubo Taisuke, Center…"
Beside the captain, Miyaji burst into chuckles. "Oi, oi! Who on earth announces their own name?"
Ōtsubo just glowered at him. "Kimura Shinsuke, Power Forward… Miyaji Kiyoshi, Small Forward…"
Miyaji grinned widely and looked around until his eyes found Takao among the players, and he gave him a thumbs-up as Takao nodded looking impressed.
"Midorima Shintarō, Shooting Guard…" Midorima brushed past Takao, heading up to the captain to receive his uniform. "We got you a number 6, as you asked for. Now, Takao Kazunari, Point Guard."
Takao froze at the sudden, unexpected call of his name. His heart skipped a beat and he felt his lips form a shit-eating grin before he stuck his tongue out, pumping the air with his fists. Thumps were landed on his back and shoulders by his friends.
"Nice going, man!"
"Knew it'd be you, Takao-chan!"
"I'm so jealous, Kazu-kun!"
"Your hard work paid off." said Otsubo, giving Takao his official orange jersey. "Hope you like the number 10."
Takao's eyes widened. "That's my fave number, man—erm senpai, I mean— Captain!"
Ōtsubo gave him a rare smile, before blowing on his whistle. "Okay! I want to see laps and suicides, right now! The usual warm-ups, then get to the one-on-ones!"
Takao was practically skipping as he ran laps around the court. When the one-on-one practices came up, Takao paired up with Miyaji. He tried the plays he'd been scheming up in his head during class.
A fake, then dribble, ahh— too close! Takao thought, switching the ball to his left hand when he felt Miyaji moving up behind him, on his right.
"You've got a good sense of intuition, Takao-kun." said Miyaji, panting.
"That's not intuition." said a voice. Takao looked up to see their Coach, Nakatani Masaaki-san, gazing down straight at him from the bleachers. "That boy has the Hawk's Eye."
Miyaji grabbed hold of Takao's face and pull it towards his, staring into his eyes. "You're right Coach, his eyes are uber blue! Cute, Takao-kun!"
Takao gasped and dropped the basketball, slapping away Miyaji's hands. "Senpai! You were too close!"
Laughter rang out all around the court. Takao flushed when he saw that they had caught other players' attention. When his eyes's met Midorima's, Takao looked away swiftly.
Crap… Even the Coach was grinning. "You're good at dribbling and passing. You can change direction fast and even make passes behind your back and without looking. That's because you can see the court from a different perspective and determinate the position of all the players immediately." He turned to the older players. "It's kind of like that Seirin number 5's Eagle's Eye. But Takao's vision has a wider range, he can see the full court. I expect you to use this accordingly in a game, Takao. From the next time onwards, I want you training with Midorima. I want you two to focus on making plays together."
Takao nodded, but inside his head he was scoffing. Invent plays with Midorima? Who was he joking? The green-haired boy had 'solo-player' and 'fuck-off' written all over his self-confident face. So Takao sighed, and pick the basketball up again, finally managing to pass by Miyaji and aimed a layup.
"Let me get this straight." Takao found himself saying a month later as he tried to bypass Midorima, which was a seemingly impossible feat to achieve. He dribbled and tried a fake, but the tall bastard didn't even fall for it, his green eyes wide with concentration behind his glasses. "You want me to bring you to school in the morning, then take you back home in the evenings… in a fucking rickshaw?"
"You did say that you'd do 'anything'?"
"That doesn't mean that I wanna become your freakin' slave!" said Takao, managing to get away, but when he moved for a shot, he found Midorima blocking his was again, having caught up while Takao had been taking aim.
"It'll actually help you, nanodayo." replied Midorima, his hair swishing around as he spun to face Takao. "Your legs are rather weak at the moment, a factor leading to your slow speed. You'll become stronger if you exercise you legs, nanodayo."
"Yeah, of course." said Takao, rolling his eyes. "Yeah, this is all in favor of preparing me for the basket ball team… No hidden message insinuating my inferiority to you at all!"
Midorima frowned. "Why do you always think like that?" he asked, genuinely curious.
"Man, you have insanely girly eyes!" Takao exclaimed. He was standing rather close to Midorima after all, and could see his emerald orbs sparkling like jewels, long lashes glistening. "Haha, those eyelashes look fake, Shin-chan!"
Midorima stiffened, only for a second, Takao took that opportunity to make a fast break around him and shoot. The white net of the hoop fluttered as the ball passed through it.
Takao stuck out his tongue and grinned, while Midorima sniffed condescendingly. "Don't call me that horrendous nickname. That was cheating, nanodayo."
Takao put his hands on his hips and waggled his eyebrows coyly. "Who said that I play fair?"
Midorima didn't give in. "You weren't a 100% sure that you would make the shot, either."
"I'm not Shin-chan, am I?" said Takao. He was almost used to Midorima's innocuous obstinacy by now. "And besides, one can never be that sure."
Midorima slid his glasses upwards and grabbed a basketball, walking towards Takao who was standing under the hoop. Bending down low, Midorima brought his face… quite close to Takao's. "I can." he said, an indiscernible looks on his face.
He stepped over the limit lines of the court and took aim, there was a long pause and an extremely calculating look on Midorima's face. Takao's eyes widened, he wasn't actually planning on making a short to the hoop on the other side of the court, was he? With a fluid motion, Midorima threw the ball and blew out a breath, his eyes turning to Takao with an unmistably smug expression. T
The arc of the ball was so high that it almost touched the roof of the gym. Everyone stopped what they were doing to watch the ball's trajectory with bated breath. Even the coach was looking upwards curiously. Takao's eyes were glued to the ball. He watched openmouthed as the spherical object reached its apex and then began to descend, falling faster and faster, until it fell through the hoop with a sounding whoosh… not even touching the sides of the rim.
Takao didn't realize that he was applauding until he felt his hand sting from the force of the claps. So this was the true potential of the Shooting Guard of the Generation of Miracles. Looking around, he saw that the other player were putting their hands together for Midorima as well, with mixed looks of apprehension, awe and jealousy.
"Shin-chan, that was amazing!" Takao said breathlessly. "That was so awesome that I— you're incredible! You're as good as an NBA pro! Shit… compared to you, we fucking suck! How'd you—"
Takao turned to Midorima and presently shut up when he saw that the green-haired boy was terribly red in the face.
Midorima pushed his glasses up again, but this time he left his hand in front of his face, hiding it from view. "It wasn't something that praiseworthy… It's simply calculated math and basic physics…"
Takao felt a strange smile form on his face. Cute… Takao's felt something do a backflip and fall to his stomach at the unbidden thought.
"Heh, all that I said just catered right to your oversized ego, am I right?" said Takao, hoping that Midorima wouldn't notice his equally heated cheeks.
It worked. Midorima's lips tipped downwards and he walked back onto the court, picking up another ball. "Die." was all he said.
That night, for some inexplicable reason, Takao found himself walking with Midorima on their way towards the train stop. Midorima had just entered some shop, looking for a vending maching to buy a can of his favorite red bean soup… Takao had no idea how it was possible for Midorima to down that disgusting liquid day after day, but he kept silent. He glanced at his watch for the fifth time while waiting for Midorima… darn it, he was getting late for his last train home!
There was a soft cry coming out of a bush near to where Takao was standing. It sounded like a cat. Inquisitively, Takao walked over to the thicket of plants decorating the sidewalk and mused aside some brambles to find a little girl, looking no more than 5 years old, her eyes red from crying. Her wet eyes widened when the saw Takao. Now, Takao's mother had always told him that he had an affinity with kids. He had a good level of understanding with his sister after all… Besides, it was dark already and there seemed to be no one around. Takao couldn't just leave a little child all alone in the streets! So he fell to his knees on from of the girl and smiled gently.
"Hey there." he said, raising his hands to show that he was harmless. "Are you okay, little girl? You're not hurt are you?"
Obviously the right thing to say… The girl sniffled for a moment, then started bawling outright, reaching out for Takao. Takao sighed and pulled the girl out of the shrubbery, making sure that no thorn or rough branches touched her. He let the child rest in his arms and she immediately burrowed into his shirt, shivering. "How long have you been out here, sweetie?"
"M-Mommy… said not…t-to talk to swangers…!" she whimpered.
Takao felt like he was 12 again, at home taking care of his four-year-old, obnoxious sister. Recalling his patience from before, Takao put a soothing hand to her cheek and wiped her tears. "Mommy was right! Bad guys are not nice! But I'm not a bad guy. See, I'm a prince, and I'll save this little princess…"
The little girl's eyes were wide now. Takao gave her a flashy grin. "What's your name, princess?"
Takao smiled. "Well, Reiko-chan! I'm glad that a pretty girl like you isn't hurt! Do you want to go back to mommy now?"
The girl nodded, her large eyes gazing wonderingly at Takao.
"Nicely handled, nanodayo." said Midorima's amused voice.
Takao jumped and turned around to see the green-haired man gazing at him as he slightly patted the child's back, so that she wasn't startled.
"How long have you been here, Shin-chan?" asked Takao, unable to explain the rush blood circulating to his face.
Midorima sipped his can of… stuff. "I got here around the time you were pulling her out of the bushes." there was a tender look on Midorima's face as he gazed at the child. "Hello." He told her.
"Hi." the girl replied automatically, raising a chubby hand to wave.
Fortunately, the child knew where her home was… what the bus stop was called at least. Midorima and Takao bought her a popsicle, took a slight detour to get to the right station and from there, spent the better part of an hour listening and following the instructions of a little girl. When they finally found the apartment and rang on the doorbell, the mother came out looking exhausted and red from crying and pulled the girl into a crushing hug then berated her for having gotten away from her sight.
They seemed to be a rather big family. "Here Rinnosuke, hold Reiko will you?" said the mother, handing the baby girl to a tall, black-haired boy who went back into the house with her. Apparently, the girl had run away somewhere while she had been shopping, and they had even contacted the police.
"You two are such good boys!" She gave them both kisses, and eternal gratitude, along with a humongous bento of food and desserts before reluctantly biding them farewell.
The walk back to the train station was a quiet one. When they finally reached the place, Midorima turned to Takao. "The last train to your place left an hour ago, nanodayo." he commented.
"Yeah, it sucks… by the way Shin-chan, how come you didn't try to help me when you saw me pulling out the kid."
Midorima checked the taping on his left hand. "…I thought that you had found a cat."
"Ah… Haha! Is Shin-chan afraid of cats?"
Midorima pursed his lips. "No. It was simply refreshing to hear you talking without swearing, nanodayo."
"Right…" said Takao smiling. Midorima's lips were… really full.
"So, how will you get back home?"
Takao jerked his eyes away and heaved his bag to a more comfortable position on his shoulder. "I guess… I'll have to either call Mom, or just walk hom—"
"Would you like to come over to my house?"
Takao eyes grew larger than saucers when they found Midorima. "Eh?"
"You heard me, nanodayo! It's only because I want my share of that bento for accompanying you." Midorima snapped. "And you should know where my home is, so that you can pick me up tomorrow, nanodayo."
"Fair enough… Perhaps you want to start the day after tomorrow then?"
Takao rubbed his forehead, irritated. "Fine. I'll text Mom… but we'll have to come up with a better agreement about this carting thing."
Midorima gave him a particularly conniving grin. "How about we toss, for who gets to ride and who gets to peddle? That's reasonable, nanodayo."
Takao nodded. "You're on, man."
"Is it a deal then, nanodayo? No backing out."
"I'm not a pussy, Shin-chan…"
As they were getting on the train, Midorima turned to Takao again. "I hope you remember what I said to you, nanodayo."
Takao gazed up at the taller boys face confusedly. "About what?"
"About the fact that I never get into things I am unsure of."
"Pfft… yeah! Like horoscopes can ever be that accurate…"
They had lost. They had lost the semi-finals against Rakuzan. It was over... Takao felt sobs wrecking his body as he leaned against the cold metal balcony of the stadium they had been playing in. He slammed his hand onto the railing, feeling a sting of pain on his palm.
No matter what they did now…. Even if they won the championship next year, it would never have the same significance. Takao couldn't get the desolate expression of their upperclassmen out of his face… Miyaji-senpai, Otsubo-senpai, Kimura-senpai…
Everyone of them had worked so hard to win… it had been their last year! And all for what? Nothing…
They had failed.
Takao's stupid passes had failed.
He remembered babbling out the first thing which had come to his mind when he had seen Midorima's jaw clench and his eyes begin to blink rapidly.
"So, top four, huh? Well, I was expecting something like that… We did pretty well against Razukan!"
All LIES! They had wanted to WIN! They had fought so much for it! But in the end, some things just weren't meant to be… Takao realized that tears were flowing out of his eyes when he felt Midorima's fingers tug on the back of his jersey, distancing him away from the upperclassmen.
Of course… they don't deserve to see us like this…
"Is Shin-chan heart-broken?" Takao asked, his lips trembling. "But, sorry… I can't really comfort you right now."
"I should think so…" Midorima's voice was low, gravely… and Takao squeezed his eyes shut and let his tears pour out because he just knew that Midorima, the stoic monster, was crying too. "But, me too. It's really frustrating… losing."
Takao doubled over with renewed moans at the memory, sniffling like a child. Why didn't they win? Why was this loss hurting so damn much? Takao's head was literally throbbing. He winced when he heard cheering from the crowd inside the stadium.
Seirin was playing against Kaijō then...
Shūtoku had been forgotten just like that… As soon as they lost…
They didn't even fucking matter anymore. Takao didn't feel anything but anger and a dull numbness when his fist collided with the railings he was leaning against… Then, he saw the droplets of red falling to stain the floor at his feet.
"Shit." muttered Takao. Why wasn't anything going right that day? Midorima would probably say that it was because he didn't have his lucky item.
Takao walked over a drinking fountain nearby, and held his hand under the flow of cold water, his eyes blurry with tears. The water turned slightly pink as it went down the drain.
Ouch… was it just him or did that stinging feel really good? He bizarrely let out a blissful sigh.
Takao put his hands behind his back immediately, flashing around to see Midorima's wide eyes. He hurriedly wiped his eyes and tried to act like he hadn't been crying for the last 45 minutes. "Erm… Shin-cha—" but Midorima was already walking away.
Takao cursed and hurried off towards the temporary locker the stadium had provided for them, grabbing a box of first aid kit which was luckily still there and quickly putting a bandage over his injured knuckles. By the time he went back to find Midorima, he found the green-haired boy talking with Kagami about something.
"Yo." He said to Kuroko, who was also eavesdropping on their conversation. The blue-haired boy jumped, not having seen Takao... for once. "Watcha doin' here?"
However, Takao realized that he wouldn't be able to keep up his happy-go-lucky act for much longer. In the end, he decided to call Midorima, asking him to hurry up. When they reached the rickshaw, Takao settles on the seat and waited for Midorima to get on. They didn't speak the whole way to Midorima's house.
Once Takao reached Midorima's place, he waited for the taller boy to climb out, and tried to hastily step onto the peddles, but Midorima easily placed two fingers on Takao's breaks and stopped him.
"You know, Shin-chan! This stuff is tiring! I'm gonna get a motorbike next year… my parents already said ye—"
"I've homework for tomorrow, so I'll see you—"
"We don't have any work."
"Yeah, well I'm super tired. So I'll—"
"Put the rickshaw inside the garden and come up."
Takao bit the inside of his cheek. He didn't know what Midorima was playing at, but at the moment he didn't think that he could handle pretending that he wasn't completely broken up about losing the WinterCup. "I don't really think tha—" Takao gasped when Midorima's hand was suddenly clenching his injured one, his green eyes boring down on him.
"I'm asking you nicely, nanodayo."
Takao watched as Midorima turned on his back and began walking up the steps to his luxurious-looking house. Takao grimaced, cradling his hand at Midorima's unexpected violence, but walked the rickshaw into the garden, standing over it with a hesitant frown. If he made a go for it now… he could ride away…
But all of Takao's thoughts about leaving flew out of his mind when he felt warm, strong hands enveloping around his body. Midorima was hugging… No! He was just putting his arms arou— well, it was a form of hugging right? Takao wondered whether Midorima had finally lost it or not? Perhaps the loss of the WinterCup semi-finals had put more strain on the green-haired boy than Takao had realized?
Something landed on the top of Takao's head and he almost began to hyperventilate when he realized that it was Midorima's chin. The ace of Shūtoku basketball team was touching Takao out of his own fucking violation.
Takao slowly turned around in Midorima's arms and his breath hitched when the hands encircling him tightened. "Shin-chan?"
"It's hard for me too… but I think understand how you're feeling, nanodayo." he said in a strangely soft voice. "But you must know that nobody in the team was a hindrance today, least of all you."
Takao didn't know what to say, from his vantage point, tucked under Midorima's head, he could only see the gleaming zippers on the taller boy's jacket. So, in order to get the best out of the situation, he simply lowered his forehead onto the cool, narrow strip of stainless-steel.
"You don't have to force yourself to comfort me you know." he muttered.
Midorima's voice was deeper when Takao heard it rumbling from his broad chest. "I would never let you, or anyone, suffer like that, nanodayo. I know that you blaming yourself more than anyone for what happened today—"
"Why the heck not? If Akashi hadn't been able to effortlessly block my passes then—"
"— you played very well. We had tried them only once before, as even that had been just for fun during practice, nanodayo. I'd never have thought that you possess the level of accuracy that you showed."
That's only because I practically stalk you like a hawk watching its prey during practice. In that case, Takao guessed that something good had come out of his burgeoning obsession with Midorima.
"You say a word about this to anyone, and I'll personally make sure that you are killed painfully, nanodayo."
Midorima finally dropped his arms, but Takao put his own hands around Midorima's waist, stopping him from moving away. "Just a while longer."
He guessed that Midorima stayed where he was because he saw the quivering of Takao's shoulders and the heard the unevenness of his voice… But this time, to tell the truth, Takao himself was not quite sure what he was crying for.
AN/: Darn! I mean these two are like... made for each other!
Still a LONG way to go for this story! READ AND REVEIW, if you like it!
PLEASE tell me if there are any grammatical mistakes! I'll correct them ASAP!