Author's Note: Takes place at Shutoku. Originally written months ago, but thanks to Tomey's encouragement, I decided to go ahead and publish it. This will be another short series. Hope you enjoy the prologue!


Prologue

Piano – he has heard it before, coming from this area of the school. There is really no reason for him to meander since practice has been cancelled. He could be in the gym by himself working on his shooting – doing something productive, at the very least. But he finds himself wandering through the halls, ears tuned for the melodic sound.

Just as he passes a half-closed door, he hears it start up again. Beethoven this time? His fingers twitch. His parents have been insistent on lessons since he was a child – something he has not been entirely adverse to, even if his primary interest is basketball.

He peeks in, mildly curious as to what kind of person is producing such stirring music. It carries such melancholy, of which he has never heard before. Particularly not with music that, on its own, seems so upbeat.

Through the crack in the doorway, all he can see is slender digits dancing across the keys, tapping lightly before moving on to the next. The hands are too feminine to belong to a man, he realizes immediately.

Although he knows it rude and pointless to linger, his feet do not carry him away at his command. He loiters despite himself. And in a short few moments, the hands that seem to be intently playing this sweet lullaby suddenly slam against the piano, causing a cacophony of distorted tunes that elicit a grimace from him.

"Who is out there?!" a voice demands angrily.

Considering it pointless to turn tail and run at this point, he cracks open the door and enters. The expression on his face is impassive as he peers over at the woman responsible for the music. What he sees is something unexpected, as he discovers he is on the receiving end of a rather harsh glare.

Her eyes are icy like winter. Not unlike Kuroko's, which immediate sours the tone of the conversation they are about to have. Almost habitually, he adjusts his glasses before matter-of-factly addressing her. "I was merely passing–"

"Oh, you're an underclassmen." Her voice seems to soften—surprisingly, and on the contrary, there appears to be a smile on her lips. If she seemed cold as winter before, now she suddenly seems as warm and inviting as summer. "Were you listening in this whole time? Oh, are you maybe... do you like me? You're not a stalker, are you?"

"You had the door cracked," he informs matter-of-factly, "And I was just passing by."

"Ah, I see, I see." She nods quickly, ringlets of ebony-black hair bouncing around her shoulders with the motion. "But isn't it strange for you to be wandering around the school, when classes have already ended? You're not someone from the student council, either..." Her eyes narrow with suspicion, yet the smile never leaves her lips.

"That is none of your business," he answers evenly.

Despite being rebuffed, she changes the tide of the conversation rather than seeming offended at all by how brusque he is. "I'm a third year, Suoh Ayame."

"Midorima Shintaro," he tells her in turn.

The brief introductions seem enough to sate her curiosity, if only for a moment. "Well, as much as I'd love to entertain you, I'm expected to practice for an upcoming performance. Since you're not part of the club, I trust you have no business lingering."

His eyes turn to the placard on the now open door, which he had not noticed earlier. Ah, so this is the music club. Although it seems odd for the room to only have one occupant when clubs are usually... His lips flat-line as he turns his gaze back to her.

"Oh? Are you here because you want to join? Well, I guess I can't say no if—"

"I have no interest in joining," he informs brusquely. With little purpose in subjecting himself to any more of her eccentricity, he decides it prudent to see himself out. The whole encounter leaves a bad taste in his mouth but it is easy enough to ignore.

The days pass quickly after that, and considering they are in entirely different years and classrooms – added to the fact that he purposefully avoids visiting that room – Midorima makes it impossible for them to encounter each other again. He falls into the normal routine of school with basketball practice after school. And the year starts passing uneventfully. That brief contact he had with that contemptible woman seems almost entirely forgotten. At least until the approach of the cultural festival...