Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or Kuroko no Basket!
2nd year - Too Academy
Mac smiled a little when she felt Daiki coming up behind her and when he hugged her from behind.
"What are you making?" Daiki asked.
"Pancakes," Mac said. "Thought you would be hungry."
"I am," Daiki said. "I was a little worried when you weren't there when I woke up…"
Mac bit her lip and focused on the pancakes. She hadn't been sure how to act when she woke up so she had gotten up and decided to make food.
"Kenzie?" Daiki asked.
"Sorry, just felt restless," Mac said.
He pulled back and leaned against the counter next to her and watched her closely. She felt his eyes on her and eventually looked over at him.
"Do you regret it?" he asked.
"No," Mac said immediately.
"Then what is it?" Daiki asked.
Mac finished the last pancake and pulled it off the heat and turned over to look at Daiki. He was waiting patiently but she saw the nerves in his eyes as he watched her. She swallowed before she smiled a little.
"I don't know," Mac admitted. "I just…didn't know what to do, so I got up. I… guess I am a little uncertain…"
"About what?" Daiki frowned. "I know we took a big step last night, but I hope you know that it doesn't change the way I feel about you. I love you, Kenzie."
"I love you too," Mac said knowing that it was true. "I guess I just felt a little insecure… I know you said that it was…well, fine, and everything, but…"
"You are amazing," Daiki said. "I know we are both inexperienced and all that, but to me last night was perfect. Just being with you was enough. You are enough."
Mac smiled and felt reassured right away, "I feel silly now. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to ruin everything like this…"
"You're not ruining anything," Daiki said. "How could you? You're making pancakes."
Mac rolled her eyes and he laughed.
"No, but I mean it," Daiki said reaching out and took her hand pulling her closer. "I'm glad you're talking with me about how you feel. I don't want you to be uncomfortable."
Mac could tell he meant it and she couldn't help but feel warm and happy.
"Good," she said leaning up and kissed him. "It goes both ways, you know. You can talk to me too."
"I know," Daiki smiled. "I'll try."
She nodded and pulled away, "let's eat."
"You don't have to ask me twice!" Daiki grinned.
They took their spot at the kitchen table and started to eat while talking and Mac was glad she had sent a text to Taiga the night before letting him know that she would be staying over at Daiki's place. Luckily she did that from time to time so she didn't get any questions back.
"I'll have to make a trip to the magical district today," Mac said.
Daiki looked up, "Is that wise? Isn't there still news about Sirius going around?"
Mac grimaced a little, "yeah, but I need to get a hold of a potion and I don't really want to ask professor Sato for it."
"What potion?" Daiki asked.
"There's a potion for birth control," Mac said. "It's easier than the muggle pills and I only need to use it once a month."
"Ah," Daiki said. He had used protection last night, having already bought some a while ago just in case. They both had been careful to use it knowing it was important. "I guess that's a good idea. Can I come with you?"
"You want to?" Mac asked.
"I always want to spend time with you," Daiki said.
"Cheesy," Mac teased, and he grinned letting her know it was on purpose. "But yeah, sure. I'll be careful to wear a cap."
"Woah," Daiki said awed looking around. "I never imagined it would be like this."
Mac smiled amused as she watched her boyfriend see the magical district for the first time. It was a little unbelievable that it had taken her this long to bring him with her, but then again she never really sought it out on her own. So, maybe it was natural.
"Come on," Mac said.
"I can't believe that there are places like this hidden away," Daiki said. "Do you know where you're going?"
"Mm," Mac said. "Koizumi told me about this before, and I had intended on going to buy some earlier, but I forgot."
"I see," Daiki said.
Mac remembered how embarrassed she had been when Koizumi had brought it up, but now she was glad she had. Koizumi had even made sure she could get some if she needed it, so she didn't need to go to a muggle doctor.
Finally they arrived at the Apothecary where they sold potions and ingredients. Mac pulled gently on Daiki's hand to get him to follow her inside and both of them wrinkled their nose a little at the smell that met them, but Mac was quicker to brush it off being used to the smells of potions.
"You'll get used to it," Mac told Daiki who shrugged looking around curiously.
The shop was filled with jars of herbs, dried roots and bright powders and similar things, and bundles of feathers, fangs and claws were displayed all around the little shop. There weren't many people in there, so Mac made her way toward the counter where a woman was standing looking over something.
"Hello," the woman said when Mac and Daiki came closer. "How may I help you today?"
"Hey," Mac said trying to hide her nerves. It was always nerve-wracking having to talk to someone in the magical world and she really hoped it didn't show. "I was looking for this potion."
She handed over a note and the woman looked at it and nodded.
"Just a moment please," she said.
"Okay," Mac said. "Thanks."
She stepped back and felt comforted knowing that Daiki was there with her. He squeezed her hand knowing how she felt. It wasn't long before the woman was back and had a purple looking bottle with her.
"This is it," the woman said. "You need to have a small glass of this every month, and it will work 98% of the time."
"Okay," Mac said. "And it's safe to use over time, right?"
"It is," the woman said. "This bottle will hold for six months. So, after that, you need to come and get a new one."
"Okay," Mac said. "Thank you."
The woman smiled and packed it for her before telling her the price.
"Thank you for your purchase," the woman said. "Have a nice day."
Mac took the note and the small bag and smiled. "Thank you, and have a nice day."
"Woah, that smell," Daiki said as soon as they came outside and it felt like they could breathe again. "How she could work in there and not go crazy I have no idea."
Mac laughed, "she's used to it, I guess, and I wouldn't be surprised if she had some magic to help her with that."
"Hope so," Daiki said. "So what now?"
Mac looked at him and while she kind of wanted to just leave and go home she could tell he was curious about the shops around them. She hesitated for a moment before she made up her mind.
"Let's walk around a little," Mac suggested. "It's not too crowded yet."
"You sure?" he asked.
"Yeah," Mac said.
So, they walked around a little and entered a few of the shops to look around. Daiki loved the brooms and even though he'd seen her broom he had never really seen the variety of them. She wondered if she maybe could bring him to Sato's place one day and maybe Daisuke could be there as well and help him fly. Could he fly if he was a muggle? She didn't really know.
"I would love to see a quidditch match one day," Daiki said staring at a flyer. "It looks awesome."
"Maybe we can go one day," Mac said. "I'll ask Daisuke about it."
Daiki grinned and Mac wondered if he had been more curious about magic than he had let on but pushed the thought away before she could brood on it.
When it started to get more crowded as it got later in the day, they made their way back and Mac would admit that she'd had a good day walking around with Daiki like this.
"You won't get in trouble for having brought me, right?" Daiki asked worriedly when they entered a ramen place close by.
"Nah," Mac said. "You already know, so I don't see why you shouldn't be allowed."
"Good," Daiki said.
The rest of the week went quickly before the upcoming match against Shutoku. While Mac knew it was just a practice match, she still spent time preparing for it and worked with Harasawa to come up with a good plan.
"What do you think about the idea of prioritizing giving the first years more playtime during the match?" Mac asked Harasawa.
"I like it, but what are your thoughts behind it?" Harasawa looked at her curiously.
"Well, we need to get them more involved in the team," Mac said. "They've shown progress so far, but something you can't learn until you've really played in games. We could balance it out so they got a little time here and there, but that would take longer and wouldn't be as effective."
"Good point," Harasawa said. "But Shutoku is a strong team."
"I know," Mac nodded, "so I would suggest having three of the first years and the two of the second or third years on the court at the same time. Maybe alter it a little during the game if we think it's necessary."
"What would you suggest the teams to be?"
"At the start, I would suggest Wakamatsu and Daiki along with Kasahara, Yugi and Sekai," Mac said. "It should be a good way to provide us with a strong start, and I'm curious to see how they work together as a team."
They discussed this back and forth a little before Harasawa agreed and they started to prepare like this during the practices. Mac barely managed to stop laughing when she saw the surprise in the first years when they were told the plans.
She did her research on Shutoku as well, of course, and she did already know a little about them given that Shintaro was a part of the team.
"Remember that Shutoku is a strong team," Mac pointed out one practice. "They might have lost most of their players from last year, but they still have Midorima and Takao. They are a strong duo and remind me a little of how Taiga and Tetsu work together on a team. Takao almost always finds Midorima in the game, so look out for that."
"Yes, Mac," the others answered.
"And don't underestimate the others either," Mac warned. "Just because they're new as regulars don't mean they're new in the basketball club. Most of them were in the club last year as well and they know how Nakatani wants them to play."
The week passed much like this and before Mac really knew it the day of the match was there.
Shintaro stared stoically at the lucky item he held in his hands. It was a rather large bear statue. His luck wasn't the best today, though his lucky item should balance it out for him. He was confident in that.
They were going to play against Too Academy today meaning he would face Mac and Daiki for the first time. They hadn't had the chance last year to play against each other and now he would be able to do so. Could he win?
He knew his long-distance shots were stronger than ever, but he also knew that Mac would be ready for it. She always knew. He smiled a little thinking about her, how she kept updated on them even though they weren't on her team anymore. He knew she did so with a lot of teams and that it was part of her research and all that, but with them it was different. He knew she was more updated and aware of their progress than she let on.
His phone buzzed and he reached out to look at it before he felt his eyes twitch. It was yet another message from Ryota…
Midorima-cchi! Have you gotten her to call you by name yet? You know she calls me Ryota now! You are the only one left! Still haven't talked to her?
That…braggart. Shintaro turned his phone around, so he didn't have to look at the screen and scowled.
"Shin-chan! You look scary!" Takao said.
Shintaro glared at the hyper boy, but he just laughed.
"Shut up," Shintaro said.
"Don't worry, we will beat them," Takao grinned.
Shintaro huffed and refrained from rolling his eyes as he looked back at his lucky item.
"Of course, we will win!" Oyama Ryoua, a first-year, said.
"With Midorima and Takao on our team it will be easy!" Sada Houju, another first-year, said with a laugh.
"Are you stupid?!" Miyaji Yuya snapped.
"Eh?" The two boys blinked at the second year.
"You do realise that Too Academy won the Winter Cup last year, yeah?" Miyaji asked.
"And they have both Potter and Aomine on their team," Takao added. "It won't be an easy match. Right, Shin-chan?"
Shintaro glanced up. "Of course not."
"Get into the gym!" Nakatani called as he opened the door.
Shintaro got up and walked out of the locker room and felt the pre-game tension fill him as he walked to the gym. It was only a practice match, but he really did want to win.
"Hey, Midorima," Mac said and Shintaro flashed to the text from Ryota before pushing it back as he nodded and gave a small smile.
"Mac," he said. "How are you?"
"I'm fine," Mac said with a smile. "Don't worry so much."
"I'm not worried," Shintaro denied making her smile and he looked away as he pushed at his glasses. "I was just being polite."
"Of course," Mac said. "So, you think you can win today?"
"Yes," Shintaro said.
"Hm. We'll see, I guess. It will be fun playing each other," Mac said. "Even if it is just a practice match."
Shintaro nodded, "it will be interesting."
"Midorima," Daiki said as he came over and Shintaro gave him a look before he nodded shortly.
"Aomine," he said.
"So formal," Mac sighed, "well, I guess it is alright."
Both Shintaro and Daiki looked at her before looking away. She laughed a little. With that Mac gave another smile and dragged Daiki with her over to where the rest of their team was warming up.
Shintaro was not sure why but he always softened around Mac and it was hard to not show just how he felt when he was around her.
"So like we discussed earlier we will be giving the first year a lot of playing time in this match," Harasawa said looking around as they gathered around him on the bench right before the game was supposed to start.
"We're ready," Kasahara said.
"Yes!" Sekai agreed.
Both looked fired up and Mac eyed them for a moment.
"If we can help," Yugi said quietly yet firmly. "We will do what is best for our team."
"Good," Harasawa said. "So, the line up from the start is: Kasahara, Sekai, Yugi, Wakamatsu and Aomine."
Mac had pointed out that they would probably need Daiki in order to answer Shintaro who would be difficult to stop.
So, she took the place on the bench from the start of the match. She did want to play, of course, but this was normal now. She would get a good idea of the game as she could observe from the start and see how everyone responded and worked together.
Shutoku vs Too Academy – start of the match
Wakamatsu won the tip-off and passed the ball to Daiki who immediately charged toward the hoop but was forced to stop when Shintaro appeared in front of him. Daiki arched a brow as he took in the determined look in Shintaro's eyes and the way he stood.
"Oh? You're going to challenge me, Midorima?" Daiki asked.
"You won't get to do what you want, Aomine," Shintaro said stoically.
Daiki dribbled the ball almost lazily as he watched Shintaro before he sped up and moved to the left before he spun on his heel and changed directions moving to his right instead, making it past Shintaro but was surprised when he suddenly lost control of the ball when Takao had come up behind Shintaro and managed to get a hand on the ball.
He scowled as he rushed after Takao who ran toward the other hoop and passed the ball to Miyaji who went to shoot.
"Don't think we will let you score that easily!" Wakamatsu yelled as he slammed the ball away.
Yugi caught the ball and passed it to Kasahara who charged forward and passed the ball back to Daiki who dribbled the ball and spun around before he took the shot and felt a flash of satisfaction when the ball went through the hoop.
Mac made a note as she watched as the match unfolded. It was two teams who were good at defending themselves. It had surprised her when she saw how Shintaro and Takao had managed to stop Daiki at the start, and they had done so a few more times as well. It was clear that Nakatani had given the two of them the task of stopping Daiki.
It really did remind her of Seirin and Taiga and Tetsuya
"Interesting," Mac mumbled.
It was a sign that the others had gotten used to her when they didn't ask her what she talked about and just let her focus on the match.
4 – 9 : 7 minutes – 1th quarter
Sekai lost the ball when he made a weak pass and Namba Amanu intercepted the ball and passed it to Miyaji, who had a lot of room as he ran forward but Wakamatsu got back and forced Miyaji to slow down and the team to get back into balance.
Mac watched Miyaji Yuya who she knew was the brother of Miyaji Kiyoshi who had been a part of the team last year. He had been made the captain this year so she knew Nakatani must have a lot of faith in him, and from what Mac had seen so far, she could see why. He was good and had a lot of passion for his game.
It was like she had told Harasawa earlier with only Shintaro and Takao from last year on the team and the rest coming from their basketball club (and a couple of first years). All in all, Mac thought that Shutoku was the perfect example of how someone could make regulars in their second or third year if they worked hard enough.
She shook off the thoughts as she focused back on the match.
11 – 18 : 10 minutes – 1th quarter – end
It had been a slow first quarter, really. Both teams had been good at defending their hoop but struggled to figure out the offensive plays. Right now it looked like Daiki had been the difference in the two teams, but Mac knew that Shintaro would come back full force. Right now Daiki had managed to stop most of his shooting opportunities, but Mac knew they hadn't seen everything from Shintaro yet.
"Potter, you will play next quarter," Harasawa said and Mac nodded. "And you need to be faster in your passes. Don't slow down and find the holes in their defences, they're there."
"Yes, coach," they said.
"Good," Harasawa said. "Wakamatsu, you're on the bench for now."
Wakamatsu nodded and high-fived Mac as she walked past him to enter the court.
"Show them what we got, Mac," he said.
"Of course," Mac grinned.
Start of 2nd quarter
Ogiwara frowned when he realised why Mochida had brought him here. They had just arrived, and the 2nd quarter was about to start.
"Why are we here?" Ogiwara asked tensely. He didn't want to admit it but he had felt off ever since he had run into Mac.
"Just watch," Mochida said. "I know you have been thinking about running into her and everything. So, I think you need to face this and take a look at how they are now. I heard about this practice match and thought you needed to see it. Besides, I'm tired of watching you mope around."
"I don't mope!" Ogiwara denied but Mochida just looked at him and Ogiwara looked away from his best friend and back down onto the court.
He noticed the scoreboard and was a little surprised that the score wasn't higher. He would have expected a higher score with both Shintaro and Daiki on the court.
He wouldn't admit it but as he watched them play, he could feel the hauntingly familiar sensation of interest and excitement fill him and the itch to pick up a basketball and join the game. He fisted his hands as he found Mac on the court and saw how she dribbled the ball while analysing the player in front of her.
He remembered being watched like that. How it felt to be in the focus of those focused green eyes. Unlike how he felt facing the others where he felt small and weak he had felt challenged and a wish to prove himself when she observed him. He had felt seen.
He had forgotten about that until now… huh.
Then Mac moved and Ogiwara blinked as he noticed that her movements had gotten faster and more fluent as she passed the Shutoku player that was in front of her. He noticed the slight surprise on the Shutoku player's face when she suddenly was past him. Again, he understood how that felt.
"She's gotten faster," Ogiwara commented.
"Mm, yeah," Mochida agreed. "To think that they have gotten stronger…"
Ogiwara nodded absentmindedly. It was a terrifying thought but also exciting. How far could they go? He couldn't help but wonder about it.
It was a fun match, really. It went back and forth and both teams had the ball and made points for their teams. It seemed like the game was opening up a little more now making it fun for the spectators (the few that were there) to watch.
Ogiwara had to work on the resentment he felt when he watched Daiki and Shintaro play as memories entered his mind and threatened to overtake him a couple of times. He frowned as he stared at Daiki how was now facing Shintaro who was doing a good job in covering the Too Academy Ace.
"Is…he smiling?" Ogiwara wondered.
"Eh?" Mochida asked confused.
"Aomine," Ogiwara said. "Look, he is smiling…"
"Did he ever smile against us?" Ogiwara asked.
"More like smirked," Mochida said.
Ogiwara watched as Daiki moved before stopping as Shintaro responded and how they went back and forth a couple of times before Daiki suddenly passed the ball and was past Shintaro just in time to get the ball back and then shot it through the hoop.
42 – 51 : 20 minutes – 3rd quarter – start
"So, what do you think?" Harasawa asked Mac who had taken the place next to him on the bench again for the 3rd quarter.
"Too many mistakes that could be removed," Mac said. "But it's to be expected. Shutoku is a good team and they are making it difficult for us."
They had subbed Sekai and Yugi with Rakuto and Shishui to give everyone time to play and Abe had taken her place on the court. Mac wanted to win. Of course, she did, but she also knew that they needed to give everyone the opportunity to play. Not that she didn't believe they could do a good job, because she knew they were good. It just wasn't always easy to change a lot during a match that was balancing right now.
She frowned as she watched them make a simple mistake once more letting Hamano Yoki steal the ball and immediately passing it to Takao. Mac knew Takao usually went to find Shintaro who Daiki was marking. She arched a brow when she took in the position Shintaro had taken and when Takao passed the ball it was perfectly aimed and Shintaro shot the ball as soon as it touched his hands.
"Huh," Mac said.
She hadn't known they could do that, and she would admit that it was an amazing ability.
"That's…" Inoue trailed off.
"Interesting," Mac murmured. "But this is bad…"
She frowned as she observed the court and saw that her team was taken aback by the sudden shift and Shutoku seemed to build on this. They were suddenly even more aggressive in their marking and managed to steal the ball and even though they knew about the new move from Shintaro and Takao they had trouble stopping it.
78 – 77 : 30 minutes – 3rd quarter end
Mac glanced over at Shintaro who was adjusting his glasses and trying to seem unbothered by the cheers and excitement from his teammates. They had managed to grab the lead just before the 3rd quarter was over and Mac would admit that they had managed to stop them more efficiently that she had imagined.
"That's unfortunate," she said making her team look at her, "but are we just going to watch them take the lead like that?"
Daiki was smiling looking excited as he saw a new challenge in front of him.
"I'll get them back," Daiki said confidently. "Midorima won't win this easily."
"Good," Mac said and looked at Harasawa. "Can I play now, coach?"
Harasawa looked at her and nodded, "Sekai you are on the bench for now. Yamaguchi will also play meaning Abe will be on the bench."
"Yes, coach," they said.
"Come on," Mac said. "Let's do this!"
Shintaro looked over at Mac and saw that she was getting ready to play. He knew she would enter the court again now.
"It's not like we've won yet," he said pushing his glasses up interrupting the others cheers and excitement over having taken the lead for the first time in the match. "If you think we've won now then we can just give the win to Too Academy."
"Don't be such a downer, Shin-chan!" Takao said. "We've been doing really well! We stopped them from making points and have caught up to them!"
Shintaro huffed, "Aomine won't just sit back and watch and Mac will play now. They will come back with more now."
Nakatani hummed and glanced over at the bench for Too Academy.
"Looks like you're right," he said. "Stay focused! The match isn't over until 40 minutes are played! Show them our strength!"
Start of 4t quarter
Mochida glanced over at Ogiwara who was watching the game intently. It was like looking back in time and seeing the old Ogiwara watching basketball. The one who loved basketball more than anything.
It had been a long time since he'd seen that. Ever since their game against Teiko Ogiwara had shied away from everything that resembled basketball. Mochida had stopped playing for a while as well, but he had managed to get back into it. Even if he didn't play on his school team, he enjoyed the occasional street game. Ogiwara didn't have that.
Ogiwara did a good job pretending he was over it. That he didn't need basketball anymore, he rarely talked about it. But Mochida knew his best friend. He knew he missed it and after running into Mac there had been a shift in his friend. Mochida had noticed that Ogiwara had become restless and more distracted than normal and he knew that his friend was thinking about basketball again.
He saw Ogiwara frown and looked back down to the court where Too Academy had the ball and was passing between each other more than he had seen so far in the game.
"Aomine and Midorima is passing the ball for the best of their team," Ogiwara commented. "They never did that in our game…"
Mochida nodded a little stunned.
Mac passed the ball over Miyaji who glared at her but she was already moving past him in order to get the ball back from Daiki who was facing Shintaro. Daiki passed her the ball and she used one hand to change the direction of the ball so it flew over to Abe who was by the hoop and he jumped and dunked it through the hoop.
"Yes!" the bench cheered. "Come on!"
Mac rushed up to pressure Oyama Ryoua how had the ball now and he looked a little startled when she started the pressure right away.
"Huh, a full-court press," Nakatani observed from the bench as he took in how Too Academy came at them with Mac in the lead. She was doing well in leading her team on the court.
Harasawa smiled as he took in the pressure his players were doing right now and forced Shutoku to struggle to find the open passes.
Mac glanced over at Daiki how looked determined and he nodded when he caught her eyes as she stepped up to Ataka Toba who stepped back.
Ataka scowled when Mac suddenly was closer to him and he passed the ball to Shintaro but frowned when Mac smiled. Had she wanted him to do that?
Shintaro got the ball but Daiki had already stepped up and when Shintaro sent off the shot Daiki had reacted and slammed the ball out of his hands to where Mac was waiting and dribbled past Takao who had come to help when he saw what they had planned, but Mac got passed him but was faced with Miyaji.
Mac smiled and tossed the ball blindly back and saw the surprise in Takao's eyes who had somehow missed Daiki coming up behind her and even as Shintaro followed right behind him but Daiki allowed himself to fall back and shot the ball when he was almost level with the floor.
"A formless shot!" Someone yelled.
98 – 99 : 40 minutes – 4th quarter end.
"Good game," Mac said as she stopped beside Shintaro who was standing outside looking up at the sky. He glanced down at her and smiled a little.
"Same," he said.
Mac stayed beside him looking up at the sky as well not feeling the need to fill the silence with chatter. Shintaro wasn't the one who talked the most, but she didn't mind that. They stayed like that for a while.
"You and Takao have a good combination play," Mac finally said. "I was surprised."
"It is the best for the team," Shintaro said pushing up his glasses.
Mac smiled a little, "I see."
Shintaro glanced over at Mac and frowned a little as he looked away again. Ryota's text (one of many) played in his mind, and he pushed his glasses up as he wondered why it bothered him so much. She was the only one who never seemed to be bored when standing quietly like this. She never forced him to talk.
She calls me Ryota now!
He cleared his throat as he adjusted his glasses refusing to look at her.
"Kise said you used his first name now, and it's not like I care or anything, but I wouldn't mind if you used my first name as well. Just… because you do that for everyone else now… and we are… friends, I guess." Shintaro rambled (he never rambled!) feeling heat growing on his neck. "I don't care, or anything, but…I just thought that if you wanted to, then you could. That's all."
Mac glanced over at him and had to bite down on her lip to stop herself from showing her amusement. She knew how much it had cost Shintaro to say that and knowing that warmed her even more.
"I would like that, Shintaro," Mac said.
He blushed but she thought she detected a smile. The silence stretched a little and Mac knew that Shintaro wouldn't be the one to find a new subject at the moment.
"So, do you want to go and eat?" Mac asked and spotted the grateful look on his face.
"I am hungry," Shintaro said.
"Let's find Daiki and maybe ask Takao if he wanted to come as well?" Mac suggested.
Shintaro glanced at her before he shrugged, "I don't see why not."
That was more of an agreement than she had expected and smiled a little.
They found Daiki standing beside Takao outside of the school talking much to Mac's surprise, though maybe she shouldn't be because she had the impression that Takao could talk to everyone.
"Shin-chan! Did you go and cry?" Takao asked bluntly.
"Shut up, Takao," Shintaro snapped annoyed while Daiki laughed.
"We were talking," Mac said, "and now we want to go and eat. Do you want to join us, Takao?"
Takao glanced between them before looking at Shintaro.
"Sure!" he grinned.
"I'm starving," Daiki said. "So let's go!"
"When are you not starving?" Mac rolled her eyes.
"It was a tough match!" Daiki said. "Of course, I'm starving! Right, Midorima?"
"I don't see the connection," Shintaro said pushing his glasses up. "But I am hungry."
"What's closest to here?" Mac asked before Daiki could say something just to try to get on Shintaro's nerves (like he normally would just to get a reaction from him).
"There's a Maji's down the road," Takao said. "Or a ramen place."
"Maji's," Daiki said instantly.
"Sounds good to me," Mac said.
They got the Maji's Burger and ordered food before finding a free table by the windows.
"You're as strong as I thought," Takao commented looking at Mac. "But we'll win next time."
"Of course we are," Daiki grumbled but smiled a little. "It was a fun game."
Mac couldn't help the smile and met Shintaro's eyes and saw how he watched her and knew that he understood what she felt hearing Daiki express interest.
"You did a good game," Mac said. "I really thought we might lose for a moment there."
Takao smiled. "So, what was Shin-chan like back at Teiko?"
Mac glanced at Shintaro and saw him rolling his eyes.
"Boring," Daiki said.
"Just because I don't like to joke around like you," Shintaro said.
"Can you make a joke?" Daiki asked.
"Daiki," Mac sighed. "Shintaro as much as he always has been, kind and helpful. He usually helped me with my homework."
Shintaro looked down, "you didn't need help, and it's not like I was going out of my way to help. I was just doing what I would have done by myself."
Daiki glanced at her picking up on her using Shintaro's first name something she never had done before.
Mac smiled as she made her way home having told Daiki he didn't have to walk her home knowing that he was tired. It had been a good day and the match had been fun and hanging out with Shintaro after the match was good. All in all, a good day.
She was almost home when she saw someone standing outside the apartment building and frowned a little as she recognized him. He had noticed her and tensed a little as he pushed his hands into his pockets turning so he faced her fully.
Mac walked closer until she reached him and paused in front of him silently.
"Hey," she finally said breaking the silence.
"Hey," he said.
Mac was curious as to why he was there, but he didn't seem able to say anything and she was getting a little impatient.
"What are you doing here, Ogiwara?" Mac finally asked breaking the awkward silence.
He shifted on his feet and almost seemed like he wanted to run away but then he steeled himself and met her eyes.
"I saw your game today," he blurted out.
Mac blinked surprised. "You did?"
"Yes…" Ogiwara said. "Reiji brought me."
Mac would admit that she felt surprised and wasn't sure how to respond to that.
"I see," she said looking at him closely.
"I… you've changed," he said.
Mac frowned a little, "I guess so."
He grimaced and she wondered why he had come all the way here, and how did he know where she lived?
"How did you know where I lived?" Mac asked.
He shrugged, "a friend knew you lived close by here. She told me. I've been waiting here for a while for you to come back. I was a little worried I had missed you…"
Mac frowned but shrugged thinking that it wasn't the issue right now.
"I'm sorry, but I can't really see why you've waited for me…" Mac said.
He looked down uncomfortably and bit down on his lip.
"I don't know…" he said quietly. "I just…"
"Do you want to come up?" Mac asked. "We can talk then."
He glanced at her before he nodded slowly looking a little uncertain but determined all the same. Mac walked past him and knew he was following.
"Hey, Mac!" Taiga said looking up when Mac entered the living room. "Oh… I didn't know you had a visitor."
"Hey, Taiga," Mac smiled before glancing at Ogiwara who had paused right inside the door. "This is Ogiwara Shigehiro. I knew him back in middle school and just ran into him again. We have some things we need to talk about. Ogiwara, this is my cousin, Kagami Taiga."
"Hey," Ogiwara said quietly.
"Hey," Taiga said giving him a curious look. "I'll leave you to it then, Mac. Dad called and said he would be late coming home today."
"Okay," Mac said. "Thanks."
Taiga left to go to his room and Mac opened her bag letting Nao out making Ogiwara startle slightly.
"Is that a fox?" Ogiwara asked shocked.
Mac looked up, "yeah. He's mine."
"Did you have him in your bag?" Ogiwara asked stepping closer before stopping when Nao looked at him and growled a little.
"Shh, Nao," Mac said scooping him up and held scratched his ear before looking at Ogiwara, "he was very clingy when I first got him and he refused to let me leave without him, so a friend made it safe for him to stay in my bag. He has a good spot there."
"He's cute," Ogiwara said.
"He is," Mac agreed and let Nao jump out of her arms and run toward her bedroom. She smiled as little as she watched him before turning back to Ogiwara. "Can I get you anything? Tea, soda, water?"
"Oh, no thank you," Ogiwara said seemingly remembering why he was there having been distracted by Nao for a moment.
"Okay," Mac said. "Then take a seat."
She sat down in a chair while he walked to the sofa and sat down looking awkward.
"So, what is it you want to talk about, Ogiwara?" Mac asked. "I must admit that I'm surprised to see you…"
He grimaced, "I hadn't really planned on coming, but I just… I'm sorry."
Mac blinked, "what?"
"I was rude when I ran into you last week," he said. "I was taken by surprise and…"
"You don't have to apologize for that," Mac said. "I understand. It was a shock."
He nodded and looked down at his hands that he had folded in his lap.
"Reiji told me you came to Meiko after our game looking for me," Ogiwara blurted.
"I assumed he would," Mac said. Even if he had said he didn't know where Ogiwara was at the time she hadn't really believed him but hadn't pushed knowing that it was his right to not want to deal with her. With any of them.
"Why did you come?" Ogiwara asked looking up at her.
"I wanted to apologize," Mac said.
"Why? It's not like my team was the only team you crushed like that," Ogiwara accused with narrow eyes. "Why me?"
Mac was silent for a moment trying to find the right words.
"That's complicated," she finally said, "you're right that we treated a lot of teams badly, but that game was the only one where we tried to set the score like that. Before that, it was normally competing to see who could make the most points in a match and things like that, but that one…it went too far."
Ogiwara stared at her not expecting her to actually admit it like that. He wasn't sure why he had come, but before he really knew it he had been standing outside the apartment building where she (most likely) lived having been pushed by his friends to go and talk with her.
"She will hear you out, Shige," Mochida An said and her brother nodded in agreement. "So go."
So, he had gone and now he was in her home talking with her. He wasn't sure what to think anymore.
"And, I guess another reason, probably the most important reason, is Tetsu," Mac said and Ogiwara flinched slightly at the mention of his friend. "He was…devastated after that match, and I always hated to see him upset like that. So, I wanted to make sure you knew that he wasn't a part of it."
"I know that," Ogiwara said because he never had thought that Tetsuya was a part of that game. He wasn't like that. "I never thought…"
He saw her frown a little, "maybe, but he blames himself for it and he quit after that."
"He…did?" Ogiwara asked quietly guilt filling him.
"It took a while before he found his love for basketball again," Mac admitted. "I thought for a moment that we had ruined him too."
"You talk like you were a part of it," Ogiwara said. "I saw you… you didn't know what the others were doing. You even went against them… I remember."
He did. It had shocked him and was partly why he didn't resent her the same way he did the others… why he could actually talk with her like this.
"I'm still a part of them," Mac said. "I should have seen what they were doing, and I should have seen that they were looking for more challenges. I failed."
He felt stunned as he looked at her. He never would have imagined her feeling like that.
"And they're my friends," Mac said. "I know we hurt a lot of people and I am sorry about that. I never wanted anyone to quit because of us, and neither did the others."
Ogiwara wasn't so sure about the others, but he did believe that she didn't want that.
"Aomine and Midorima seemed different," Ogiwara said changing the subject a little because he didn't know how to address what she just said. He would need to think more about it later.
"I know," she said. "They love playing again now."
Ogiwara frowned, "what do you mean?"
Mac looked at him and he wondered what she was thinking. It seemed like she was deliberating something before she sighed and looked out of the window with a faraway look in her eyes.
He wasn't sure what to think as she talked and explained their side in this. It looked like she had done so before as well, but she still patiently explained how she saw it. To have to keep playing when everyone gave up must have been hard, he could understand that, but still…he remembered how much it hurt. How humiliating it had been to lose like that.
Yet, he didn't feel as heavy anymore. When thinking about basketball he didn't feel like there was that huge shadow hovering over him like a dark cloud.
"I'm not trying to make excuses," Mac said and Ogiwara looked at her and thought she looked tired. "I'm just trying to explain how it was for us, though I know it doesn't change anything."
Maybe not, but it was good to understand a little more.
"No…but I still think it explains a few things," Ogiwara said quietly.
Something had shifted for him now and he wasn't sure how to explain it, but he felt lighter.
"Are you going to see Tetsu?" Mac asked.
Ogiwara looked up and met her searching eyes and he felt his mouth go dry.
Could he face Tetsuya now?
AN: What do you think? XD
I'm so sorry for the long delay in a new update for this story. I have been struggling a lot with migraines this summer and haven't managed to write very much. I am hoping to get back into it now, though. So hopefully I'll be able to update again soon. But honestly, it is a little day by day for me right now and I'm trying not to push myself too much... XD So thank you for your patience. 3
Thank you for reading and hope you liked the chapter! XD