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Day #14 -

Title: Part of the Team
Fandom: Kuroko no Basket
Characters: Akashi, Momoi
Rating: G
Words: (+/-) 1247
Summary: Momoi didn’t have it nearly as easy as the boys when it came to joining the team.

“Captain?” Momoi blinks and tilts her head. The redhead in front of her just smiles. She dislikes him already. “You’re the captain?” she repeats. She isn’t sure she can believe someone so obviously fake. It doesn’t help that the boy is barely taller than her and looks like a strong wind could blow him down. She has half a mind to invite him outside sometime on a stormy day and find out.

“Yes, I am Akashi Seijuro. The captain of this basketball club.” He holds out his hand and Momoi knows what he expects, and it’s not a handshake. She gives him the application papers to become manager and waits. “Impressive,” Akashi says, “to get a recommendation by the coach himself.” She might have been flattered on any other occasion, but the dismissive tone he uses doesn’t sit right with Momoi and she chooses not to respond. “And Daiki talks of you often.” A lie; she knows Aomine talks about nothing but basketball when he’s at basketball practice. He has too much of one-tracked mind. “But I’m afraid it all comes down to what I think.”

His eyes meet hers and she finds it strange that she cannot see her reflection in them. “I don’t like you,” he states bluntly, still smiling. “You would only serve as a distraction to my team and I cannot permit such a thing. And I dislike relationships within my team. Your connection to Daiki is reason enough to refuse you.” He crumbles the papers and lets them fall to the ground. “Please forget about joining us.” He turns to leave, but pauses and looks back. “Ah, and be sure to clean that up. This is a litter-free gymnasium.”

She’s suddenly glad the gym is empty. The tears fall down her cheeks without a sound, and she hates that she’s crying.

Later, when she angrily wipes them away, she promises the vacant gym that she will join the boys’ basketball team and she shouts it as loud as she can.

--

Momoi corners a classmate and demands to know more about Akashi Seijuro. She’s heard Aomine speak of him sometimes, but he never goes into details and she never asks. Now she’s asking, but she’s too embarrassed to confront her childhood friend.

The information she gets - it isn’t very promising. She finds out his favorite board game is shogi, that he doesn't like sweet things, and that's it. She talks to others and discovers quickly there are students too afraid to say much more than, “He doesn’t like to lose.”

The thing that bothers her the most is that she doesn’t like to lose either.

--

She catches up to Akashi one day in the library and she’s all - fake - smiles. “Hello, A~ka~shi-kun!” she cheerfully greets him. “What a surprise, I thought you would be at practice today.” A lie; she is here thanks to Aomine’s endless complaining about cancelled practice and actually having to do schoolwork.

He spares her a glance, raising his eyebrows in mock inquisitiveness, but there is a knowing look to his eyes that says he’s seen through her. It’s unnerving, that level of perception of his; she almost envies him the ability. “What is it you want, Satsuki-san?”

She takes an step back without realizing, unsure how to handle the familiarity with which he speaks. Then she regains herself and moves closer than necessary, almost challengingly. “I want to join the team.”

He places a book on the table in front of him and doesn’t look at her again. “I’m sorry. I’ll have to say no, again. You have nothing to give our team.” He takes a seat, pulls the chair in, and begins to read. She has been dismissed.

Momoi clenches her fists at her sides and spins away from the exasperating boy, uncaring if the motion flips her skirt a little. She storms out of the library and Akashi smiles behind his book.

--

“Well, well, this is surprising.” Akashi is at practice, but wasting time by spinning a basketball leisurely on one finger. His smile is uncannily wide. “You want to play a game?” He gestures to the basketball, just to be sure of Momoi’s intentions.

She ties her long hair back and makes a beckoning gesture. Then she drops into a defensive position, ready to go. His smile twists into a smirk and he stops the nonsensical spinning of the ball. He dismisses the rest of the first-string members in the gym, but most of them linger as curious observers despite his orders to get off the court. Their choice. They know that means more laps for tomorrow.

He starts to dribble the ball, and she follows the motions with her eyes. He wonders about that; Momoi seemed more the type to mark a person, rather than a ball. The game begins in earnest moments later. He scores a basket as soon as she leaves an opening, and he isn't holding back - but Momoi looks unshaken. If anything, she looks considering.

It’s her turn with the ball and her dribbling technique isn’t half-bad, but it’s riddled with holes that he exploits. He steals the ball and makes another basket. Still, Momoi isn’t fazed in the slightest. She appears to have expected that to happen.

With the ball in his hands again, Akashi rushes for the basket and doesn’t bother to take note of Momoi’s position. Her speed is slower, her stamina is half of anyone on the team, and she isn’t anywhere close to being able to compare to the captain of the basketball team. It’s this unshakable belief in himself that allows Momoi her chance.

She cuts him off and jumps, just as he lets go of the ball to take the shot. The ball grazes her fingertips and she forces the ball off its course. The bang of the basketball hitting the ring echoes in the silent gym and then the ball tilts - and falls off without going into the net. She wipes the sweat from her brow and then pushes a fist into the air, crying out, “I did it!”

Everyone brushes it off as a fluke and the game continues. Again, and again, and again, it’s Momoi blocking his shots. Finally, Akashi is forced to call their match to a close. The score remains four to zero. He has won, but there is something he must admit now. “You do have something to give to this team after all,” he comments, and then throws a towel at her. “But Satsuki, the manager should never play basketball in a skirt. What did I say about being a distraction?”

Momoi laughs and wraps the towel around her neck. “Don’t be boring, Sei-kun!” And then she waves to the blushing boys.

“How did you do it?” Akashi questions her, appearing genuine for a change.

Their eyes meet and Momoi can see her reflection this time. She is giggling when she answers, “If you want to get technical, you could say I see the future.”

Akashi raises an eyebrow and says, “What a coincidence.” She blinks and tilts her head, like the first time they met. “I can see the future, too.”

Once Momoi is gone, having skipped off to start on her manager duties, Midorima approaches his captain. He stares, and then flatly decides, “You knew this would happen.”

Akashi just smiles.
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August 2012

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