Disclaimer: KnB belongs to someone who does not share my name. I hate my life.
A/N: ... this is Takao's opinion of Midorima. Not very eventful (and verykinda awkward) but w/e.
Takao immediately makes a face.
Standing in the middle of the school grounds is a person he doesn't expect to see – the opponent he keeps facing in the losing game that's replaying in his head – and his mood descends. Takao sighs and tries to shrug off the feeling because he knows that there's no point in moping about the abrupt end to his basketball career back in middle school.
He scoots closer and peers over the crowd of students. Green hair, long lashes over ashen cheeks, emerald eyes, an elegant nose and black-rimmed glasses.
Before this encounter, he remembers nothing but despair, loss and arrogant elitists; Takao's breath catches in his throat. Beautiful.
Walking to the gym, Takao ponders what to do for try-outs.
Since Midorima Shintarou (He wonders why the name is imprinted in his mind-) is a shoe-in for a regular spot, it makes Takao's chances diminish. "Damn," he thinks as he rubs his palms together.
His gaze travels from one end of the court to the other and he relaxes with the knowledge that Midorima isn't there to witness how he will crash and burn. Takao is momentarily stunned - of all the times, why is he being a pessimist now?
Takao tries, he really does, to pretend that he is okay with the prospect of failure but it nags at him (and the fear that he will be a bench warmer adds to the pressure); he marches up to the rest of the freshmen and then flashes them a smile.
They buy his pretense hook, line and sinker.
"Hi, I'm Takao. What's your name?" Right off the bat, his personality thaws the icy tension and they engage in petty conversations about shoes, pro-league players and girlfriends. He loathes the last topic topic with all his might because images of his ex flashes- the stupid, cheating...
He slips out of the tight ring of club aspirants, setting himself up on the bleachers, where they will not hear him grumble and rant his head off. Takao remains there, until the coach strides in, soles miraculously quiet against the floorboards.
Takao tenses again. (Nakatani, Nakatani, JBA, national-) He hears the cheers around him (Takao, Takao, point guard, loser-) and he attempts to level his breathing; it is starting.
He sees the familiar orange cones, the whistle, the stares, the expectations. No, it's just him and the ring. "Takao Kazunari, begin!" Nakatani-sensei bellows. Takao blows out a shuddering breathe and begins to dribble, feet dodging the obstacles as he edges closer to his goal.
"Three points, Kazu," he tells himself.
Before he shoots, he catches a glimpse of green in the corner of his eyes.
Takao is – for the lack of a better word – surprised. Sitting in the seat next to the window is Midorima Shuutoku's shooting guard, ace, whatever Shintarou, which means that they are classmates. This discovery makes him laugh, if not for the fact that he's in the middle of class.
For starters, Midorima is tall and his height is beyond what most Japanese are genetically capable of. Second, Midorima is like a shining beacon among the blacks, browns and the rarer blonds. Third, Midorima has a huge, three foot raccoon statue on top of his desk.
Takao doesn't realize that he's openly staring and when Midorima returns the gesture, he flinches.
It isn't easy to admit but Takao spends more time to practice than the other regulars.
He works on his footwork grudgingly but religiously because his speed relies heavily on his lower limbs – partly on his reflexes, too. Ball-handling and stamina are aspects that he needs to focus on as well because Nakatani-sensei says that Takao will need it for the Nationals.
At first, Takao blinks at this.
("How are you sure that we'll get there?" Takao asks numbly, flashbacks of failed attempts at the coveted trophy emerging. He figures that it's too late to take his question back, if the coach's perplexed expression is an indication.
Nakatani-sensei answers without missing a beat. "Midorima.")
Takao wants to get out of this agreement: Takao being the play maker and Midorima being the pivot of the strategy. Takao knows what goes beyond the steely glare that the shooting guard throws at them – sub-par and average players, nothing more.
The desperation to prove the sentiment wrong is steadily waning in Takao because he has learned that skill will never rival pure talent. He feels the dimples of the ball dig into his skin as he grips it harder.
He inhales sharply, stretching his arms overhead as he prepares to shoot; however, he is interrupted by Midorima, his green hair a stark contrast against the emptiness of the gym. "Your posture is wrong," Midorima tells him, arms crossed stiffly over his chest.
Takao's eyes widen because he doesn't expect Midorima to be here. "What?" the raven croaks out, annoyed at how raw and vulnerable his voice sounds.
"Play according to your strengths," Midorima adds, averting his own eyes from Takao's, "don't show opponents your weaknesses."
As Midorima takes his position meters from the basket, Takao watches how the limbs far longer than his extend, elbows bend in symmetry and then a swoosh. There are several bounces on wood, softening and then disappearing altogether.
"That's how you do it." Midorima turns to leave and Takao finds himself entranced by Midorima's retreating shadow.
"Midorima, Midorima~" Takao croons, rapping his pen over his study desk. His head lolls over the backrest and he eyes Midorima, who is working on their project on the floor of his bedroom.
Takao thinks that it's predestined (At this point in time, Midorima is probably rubbing off his horoscope junkie-ness on him-) that he and Midorima end up as maths partners for the whole semester. To be honest, he has nothing against their situation but if Midorima's constant glares are an indication, well...
Midorima scowls, throwing a wayward lump of eraser on Takao's exposed neck, "Stop calling me that."
"Why?" Takao asks, gingerly rubbing the red spot on the skin over his collar bone. Damn accuracy.
"Technically, Midorima is my dad's name." Midorima is cutting strips of red, orange, yellow- of rainbow colored paper, which he will use to decorate. Takao wonders where Midorima is storing the patience that he is currently expending on this impromptu arts and crafts session.
"... you want me to come up with another way to call you then?" Of course, Takao is willing to compromise because saying Midorima and a honorific is a mouthful. He fakes a contemplative look, rubbing his chin with a free hand. "What about Shin-chan?"
Takao barely dodges a scissor coming from Midorima's direction.