Lady Kaga Michiko. Widow, and owner of one of the biggest and most prosperous pharmaceutical companies in all of Japan. Her husband had amassed quite a bit of wealth with his company, and now it was all hers. A fact that might make many people very happy, but not her. She might have the wealth and the power, but it came at a terrible price.
As mentioned, she was a widow. But her pain didn't stop there. Not only had she lost her husband, but she had also lost her son. Both dead in a terrible car crash. The two most important people in her life had been taken away from her. No money in the world could replace that.
It was after that that the woman had taken to locking herself in her home. Said home was close to a mansion really, not that it changed much for her. There, she spent her days doing nothing but staring into space, her eyes dead. She left the company in the hands of a board committee, which had been chosen by her late husband in cases of emergency. The company was hers, but she didn't run it. She had no desire to. She had no desire to do anything anymore. She was in her forties, but many said she was still very beautiful. That she could still find someone new. Start over.
She never could.
It was in this state that something miraculous happened. Just as quickly as her family had disappeared from her life, so too had someone else entered it.
The boy had been found by several of her staff in the garden of her mansion. The boy had been terribly burned, and his clothes had been in tatters. It was almost like he had been in a war zone or something.
While this appearance was shocking, this didn't deter her from providing the boy with medical aid, all paid by her. Something in her had sparked the moment she had laid eyes on him. At the time, she didn't know what it was. Now, she knew it was her instincts as a mother. The thought of letting the boy die, to let another mother suffer the same despair she had…...she couldn't allow that.
She had stayed by his side during his recovery, which had taken a few months. But alas, he had awaken. And with no memory of where he came from or how he had gotten inside her home. He only knew his name, and nothing else. It was saddening to her, as she knew no person should ever have to lose the memories of their life like that. She also didn't want to think of the boy's family, what they might go through because of his absence.
Regardless, she had offer the boy her support. To fully recover from his burns, to get back into society, and through it all she had formed a bond with him reminiscent of that of a mother and her son. A part of her thought it was wrong, that she was only pushing her feelings on the boy. The rest of her didn't care. Perhaps this was just fate telling her that she didn't need to be alone.
Either way, she took this opportunity to be a mother again.
Naruto became her family. It was like Kaga Michiko was reborn. Life returned to her eyes, and she became more interested in the company again. It was only possible because she had Naruto in her life.
Uzumaki Naruto would remain Uzumaki Naruto, however. He would not change his name. It was the only thing he had from his memories, and he didn't want to lose that.
In the end, they both helped one another and were able to stand firm in the face of the despair life had thrown their way. It was only possible because they had one another.
This was the beginnings of Uzumaki Naruto in this strange, but exciting new world.
"I can't believe you ditched me yesterday! That's two days in a row! Do you want me to report you to Kaga-sama!?"
"The fact you call her 'Kaga-Sama' is weird enough, Yuki…..."
"Don't change the subject, Naruto-kun! I'm really mad at you right now."
Naruto sighed. He had really been dreading this talk. It's part of the reason why he had been hiding from his only friend, Sugawara Yuki, all day. The girl was the same age as him, both seventeen. She had short dark purple hair and icy blue eyes, which got even colder when she was mad. It was a quick way to make sure that he fell in line when she wanted him to do something. Most of the guys said she had a good figure, with her breasts especially catching the eyes of many at school even through her unflattering school uniform. Not that Naruto would know anything about that, mind you.
He was no pervert. That's what he told himself anyway.
Even though he called her his friend, she was also technically his maid, hired by his mother to keep an eye on him. It was a long story, with Yuki's father having worked for his mother's now deceased husband. The man had helped Yuki's family through difficult times. Yuki's father now served his mother, which all led to Yuki becoming his personal maid in the present time. Naruto had no idea if this was just something rich people did, but that's how it was with him. She had been made his personal maid because of her age, so she could be with him even at school. Naruto had complain to his mother about this, that he didn't need to be coddled.
She hadn't listened to him at all. Mothers were just stubborn like that.
Anyway, even though he was technically her boss, the two teens didn't behave as such. Their relationship resembled that of really close friends, with everyone at school remarking that they should just get married already.
High school teens could be really annoying like that.
Speaking of school…...it sucked. It was torture for the blond to be sitting in a desk for most of the day, listening to people tell him about stuff that he honestly did not care for. He honestly had no idea how he had been able to survive in such a place before losing his memories. He needed action, excitement, not boring school lessons.
"Something sorta interesting came up, okay. I wanted to deal with it on my own before coming to a decision."
"And it was interesting enough for you to skip school?"
"…...okay, it came up after I skipped. But still!"
Oh, boy. She was really glaring at him now. When she got like this, Naruto knew he was going to have to take her out to make her happy again. Good thing he knew her weakness. Sweets. She had a real sweet tooth on her.
"You're not getting into any trouble, are you?" Surprisingly, she didn't yell at him. Her face turned somber, her tone soft.
Naruto sighed again. Honestly, he would have preferred the yelling over this. Because this meant that she was really worried about him. All because she knew about his resentment toward his memory loss, which only made him have a bored outlook on life. School had no interest for him, neither did anything in the city or life in general. For Naruto, it was like he was floating along without any real goal in mind.
Yuki didn't like that mentality.
"It's not like that. If you want to know so much, you can be there when I tell kaa-chan about my decision."
Yuki suddenly grabbed him by the sleeve of his uniform, stopping him. Naruto looked at her in confusion, not understanding her actions. It was only when he saw the desperate look in her eyes that he understood.
"I'm sorry if I'm annoying. I just…...I just don't want to see you waste your gifts like this."
Naruto almost snorted. "What gifts? I'm not smart. All I got is my athleticism, which only makes people think I'm some kind of freak or something."
The blond was almost afraid of what he could do sometimes. He didn't know why or how, but it was almost like he was super human. It was yet another aspect of himself that made him stay away from other people. He was just…...too different from them. Yuki and his mother were the only ones who saw him as him. But even so…...just who was he?
That was a rabbit hole better not explored.
"I hate when you say that," Yuki denied. "You know you're more than that. If you only showed focus on something, you'd see what I'm talking about."
Naruto hid his smile. "You might be right about that."
It was Yuki's turn to be confused. "What-"
Naruto grabbed her by the arm and pulled her along this time, still hiding his smile from her.
"Just come on. You'll see what I'm talking about soon enough."
Yuki followed along, curious to know what her friend was talking about.
"You want to transfer to Kaijō High?"
The disbelief in his mother's voice was clear, not that Naruto could blame her. It was the first time he was asking her for a favor, after all.
Yuki stood next to him, equally confused as his mother.
Naruto just nodded. "Yep. Coach said the paperwork would come soon."
They said something about wanting to make sure he was a part of the team before the Inter-High started, whatever that was. Honestly, there was so much to basketball than he'd thought.
Michiko massaged her forehead, her brown hair flowing down to her back. Her caramel eyes bore deep into Naruto's, trying to see if he was serious about this. He didn't normally come see her in her office, so this was definitely not on a whim.
"Why Kaijō? Your school now-"
"I want to play basketball."
The words came quickly, and they were said with confidence. Michiko stared at her son further before glancing to Yuki.
"Did you know about this?"
"E-Eh?" The girl quickly shook her head. "N-No, Kaga-sama. I'm just as surprised as you are about this…..."
And that was the honest truth.
"I came to this decision on my own, so you don't have to worry," Naruto said. It wasn't exactly the truth, as Kise had all but roped him into the team. But Naruto wasn't complaining about that. For the first time since waking up from the hospital, Naruto found something to be excited about. He wasn't going to let this opportunity go.
"They always said teenagers are the spontaneous type," Michiko said under her breath.
Naruto simply rolled his eyes while Yuki lightly tapped his shoulder in disapproval. Rolling your eyes like that was just not proper, especially at your mother.
The widow tapped her fingers on her desk as she thought about the situation before finally speaking.
"I can't say I fully understand your decision for this, but this is the first time you seem to be excited about something. I can't let you lose your drive now that you've finally found it, so I accept your decision to transfer schools."
Naruto was grateful, and it showed on his face.
"Thank you, kaa-chan. You won't regret this."
The woman smiled.
No. She didn't think she would.
"Who's the hot babe with you, Uzumakicchi!?"
"That's the first thing you say to me? Seriously? I don't know if I should slap you or not."
"You didn't answer the question!"
"She's my friend, now stop talking."
"But she's a babe!"
The others in the team were all amused when Kise practically hounded Naruto the moment he walked into the gym. This was because of Yuki standing next to him, said girl just looking plain confused by the whole interaction.
Kasamatsu had to calm his beating heart a little, though. He wasn't all that good around girls, being too shy when it came to members of the opposite sex. It was his one true weakness in this world. He could get Kise in line, but not talk to a girl.
"I'm glad you came." Their coach, Takeuchi Genta, smiled as he shook hands with his new player. "I was surprised with how quickly you sent back the paperwork, but that saves us a lot of trouble."
Naruto should be the one saying that. The man hadn't wasted any time in contacting his mother and sending her the official paperwork for his transfer into Kaijō High. It would still take a few days for the transfer to be official-official, but he was pretty much a member of this team now.
"It's no problem, coach. I'm more than happy to be playing with you guys."
"Right?" Kise, forgetting about Yuki for now, gave his fellow blond a wink. "You'll be able to fight with us now. The others won't know what hit them!"
The others, huh? Naruto had a feeling that Kise was referring to someone in specific, but he didn't question it.
"Well, there's a lot to do," Kasamatsu said as he joined the conversation. He did his best to not make eye-contact with Yuki, lest he start tripping over his words. "You say you don't know anything about basketball, right?"
"Yeah, well, about that." Naruto pulled out his phone, where he showed the captain message after message that he had gotten from Kise, who had pretty much stolen his phone so that he could put his number in. "Kise explained a lot of the rules to me, and even recommended some books for me to read. I can't say I know everything yet, but I think I have a better handle on it now."
"Wait a second!" Yuki suddenly interjected, looking at Naruto in disbelief. "You're telling me you read books!? You never read books! Only manga!"
And Naruto wasn't ashamed of that one bit. "Yeah, well, books suck."
"I'm with you there." Kise nodded along, also thinking the same about books. "If it's not about basketball, books are boring."
"You only say that because your grades suck," Moriyama pointed out.
"School is boring, okay!" That was Kise's defense, and he was sticking to it.
It was Naruto who nodded along to Kise's words this time.
Yuki could only sweatdrop. 'Dear god, there's two of them…...'
And they were both blond too. What was this world coming to?
"Well, come on, people, let's get started." The coach turned to his team. "We have a lot to teach our new member, and not much time in which to do it. We have the Inter-High to win, let's not forget."
The Inter-High. The place where Naruto would have his shot to play against all the best schools in the country. For some reason, that got his blood pumping.
"Ah, what about you, miss?" Kise looked at Yuki while putting on his most pleasant smile. "Are you going to stick around?"
Yuki nodded. "Yes. It's my job to look after Naruto-kun, so…..."
Kise felt a stab go to his heart and fell to his knees. "So it's only for Uzumakicchi. I see. I've already lost, huh?"
Naruto really wanted to hit him right now, but thankfully Kasamatsu did that for him. He instead approached Yuki. "Are you sure you want to stay? You do have your own club after school, don't you?"
Yuki smiled. "Don't worry. I already told them I wasn't coming today. Besides, I'm rather curious to see how you do here."
Naruto was actually motivated about something. There was no way she was going to miss this. Not just that, but if Naruto was transferring schools, that meant she was too. She was more interested in seeing if she could make new friends around here.
"Also, I brought you a snack." Yuki pulled out a bento from her bag. "I made it in my club, so you can practice as hard as you want. It'll have you back in your feet in no time."
Naruto was hooked. Yuki was practically the best at cooking. No one could beat her. It's why she was the star member in the cooking club in their school. She prepared his lunch for him everyday, which only made every other boy in the school hate him for it. Yuki was that popular in their school. Not that Naruto paid too much attention to such things.
"She even cooks for him!?" Kise felt to the floor once again, looking even more devastated than before.
This time, he wasn't alone, as Moriyama was also mortified. "She's a total ten! A ten, I say! But…...but nothing can be done! It's like the heavens are playing a cruel trick on me!"
Naruto and Yuki both sweatdropped at this. Was this team…...really okay?
Kasamatsu was close to beating the two of them into a pulp by this point.
Let it be known that there was never a boring day at the Kaijō High basketball club.
To say Yuki was amazed was an understatement. It was a well known fact in their school that Naruto never got along with anyone. It wasn't because no one wanted to hang out with him, but because they thought he was unreachable. With the way Naruto acted, always sleeping in class or disappearing during breaks, he certainly didn't help stop that image. It just went back to the blond being bored. He didn't care about anything, so he didn't pay any attention to his surroundings.
But here, today, Yuki was able to see a different side to him. He was actually trying at something, and having fun while doing it. The others were the same too. Practice was tough, but none of them were complaining. It was the opposite. They were smiling and enjoying themselves, Naruto and Kise in particular. Even someone like her, an outsider, could see how quickly the two were becoming friends with one another. It was like they were communicating through basketball, if that made any sense.
As confusing as it was, it was still a beautiful sight to the girl.
The others in the team were more concerned with the plays the two blonds were coming up with on the spot. It's like they could read each other minds pretty well.
'This is the first time I'm seeing Kise play so well with someone else,' is what the coach was thinking as he oversaw the first day of training with Naruto on their team.
This opened a lot of possibilities for the future.
Practice ended on a high note, with everyone in high spirits. Well, they were, until Kise and Moriyama collapsed in despair again when they saw Naruto eating the bento Yuki had prepared for him. Everyone else just sweatdropped at the sight.
Yuki was simply all smiles and rainbows. "You did great, Naruto-kun."
The blond looked away, hiding his blush. "Yeah, I guess so. It was fun."
"Mhmm, more than fun I say." Yuki tilted her head. "I wonder if I could join the club too, after we transfer."
"Eh!?" Kise joined them, his face full of surprise. "You're joining Kaijō too? Why!?"
Yuki didn't understand the question. "Because Naruto-kun is?" She said it like it was the most obvious thing in the world, which it was. To her.
Everyone just stared at the two. 'She's that devoted to him…...?'
Naruto twitched a little. 'I get the feeling they just misunderstood something here.'
Whatever. He didn't care enough to correct them. Besides, if it meant less people were hitting on Yuki, the better.
"Well, you're always welcomed to join," Kobori said with a pleasant smile. "I'm sure the coach wouldn't mind some more helping hands during the game."
Yuki smiled more. "Great! I'll definitely do that then!"
"Are you sure about that?" Naruto scratched his head. "If it's just for me, you shouldn't force yourself."
Yuki shook her head, her smile still present. "No, it's not like that. I just want to see you do your best. That's why it's no problem for me."
"I-Is that so?" Jeez, how much did this girl want to see him try his best? It was embarrassing.
"Alright, alright. That's enough of that." A ticked off Kise pulled Naruto into a headlock. "It's not fair if you're the only one getting some love here. It really pisses me off." Naruto was about to fight back but stopped when Kise loosened his hold and offered him a small smile. "Do you have time after practice? There's some stuff I want to talk to you about."
Did he now?
"It's not something stupid, is it?"
"Uzumakicchi, that hurts my feelings."
Naruto doubted that very much. Still, he wasn't about to turn the invitation down. Not when something in his gut was telling him that this was indeed serious.
He sighed. "Fine. We can grab something to eat while we talk."
Kise blinked. "Eh? Didn't you already eat your girlfriend's bento?"
Yuki looked away to hide her blush while Naruto shrugged.
"Yeah, but that was just a snack. I'm still hungry."
"How are you not fat?"
Naruto shrugged again. Yuki and his mother had been asking the same thing for a while now. It was just another mystery that would never be solved.
"How are you not fat!?"
"Don't be so loud. I want to enjoy this moment."
"…...I'm starting to regret inviting you here, Kise."
The trio found themselves in a small ramen shop, which was more like a stand than anything else. It was completely different from what Kise had imagined when Naruto said they were going to dinner.
"You really shouldn't fight it," Yuki said, exasperated. "He loves this place. We've had to limit the amount of days he can come here per week, but it hasn't done anything to stop his appetite."
"You're speaking nonsense," Naruto scowled. No one could separate him from his ramen. That sure didn't stop his mother and Yuki from trying, though.
"Welcome!" The three teens made themselves comfortable in the little stand, the sky already dark outside. To Naruto, coming here after practice brought a greater sense of satisfaction than usual. He had worked hard today, so this felt like a reward.
"You know eating stuff like this on a daily basis isn't good for an athlete," Kise said with a shake of his head. He was still trying to understand how he got here. Eating ramen for dinner wasn't great for a model dammit.
"I haven't even been an athlete for a week yet, so cut me so slack," Naruto grumbled.
Yuki rolled her eyes. "Not to worry, Kise-san. I will make sure Naruto-kun starts eating more healthy from now on."
She was taking his side too!?
"Hehe, you have a very caring girlfriend, Uzumakicchi."
Naruto felt like he should correct that, but decided to get right to the main conversation of tonight instead.
"So what exactly did you want to talk to me about? Or was this just an excuse to ruin my ramen-eating time?"
"I didn't even know you liked ramen till now," Kise muttered. He put that aside. "But no, that's not what this is about. I wanted to talk to you about something regarding basketball."
"Heh, no. Not that. It's something…...more interesting."
Naruto placed his order, as did Kise and Yuki. "What is it then?"
"Have you ever heard of the Generation of Miracles?"
"So quick!" Kise exclaimed.
But it was the truth.
"Hmm." Yuki hummed as she tapped her cheek. "I feel like I've heard something with that name before…..."
Naruto wasn't surprised. Yuki was more social than he was.
Kise's head dropped, a cloud of despair raining over him. "You guys are making me cry over here."
"I already told you I didn't know anything about basketball," Naruto said, not understanding what the big deal was.
"Ah!" Yuki almost jumped out of her seat. "I remember now. Some girls were talking about them in my club."
"They're supposed to be this really strong middle school basketball team," Yuki explained when she noticed Naruto's questioning stare. "They were from Teikō Junior High. They should be in high school now."
"Yes, that's right!" Kise's eyes began to sparkle. "I knew you wouldn't let me down, Sugawara-chan!"
"Ah. Thanks?" Yuki didn't understand, but Kise looked happy. So that was good.
"And again, I ask, what's the big deal?" Naruto said as he scratched his head.
Kise sweatdropped. He was going to have to spell this out, wasn't he? He sighed softly.
"I'm one of them. One of the Generation of Miracles."
Naruto and Yuki looked at one another before staring at Kise who was looking at them with anticipation.
Were they…...were they supposed to react a certain way here or something?
Another cloud of despair settled over Kise. "You guys are seriously gonna make me cry."
"I apologize." And Yuki meant it too. "I just don't really know enough about basketball to understand what you mean…..."
Nor had she cared until Naruto got interested in the sport.
Kise chuckled as he rested his head on his open palm. "You guys are really similar, aren't you? I guess I can see why you're together."
Naruto just shrugged while Yuki tried to hide her blush again.
"We were the best team in middle school," Kise said, bringing the conversation back to focus. "No one stood a chance against us, and we won three consecutive championships because of our skills. But that's also what made basketball very boring to us. We had no motivation that could drive us forward. At some point, we weren't even friends anymore. Victory was the only thing that connected us."
"That sounds…...very lonely," Yuki said, her eyes downcast. "It doesn't sound like you guys were even a team."
"Well, I guess that's true too." Kise had to admit that much. "We won every game, but it also felt like we lost something too. That's what Kurokocchi said anyway. I still don't really get what he meant, but I feel like I'm starting to understand it better."
"Oh?" Naruto was surprised. Kise didn't seem like the thinking type, very much like him. But that was just a front. It was another thing they had in common.
"What about the rest of your teammates?" Yuki asked, curious.
"They went to different schools, like me. That's the thing I wanted to talk to you about." Kise looked at Naruto. "We all made a promise. To face one another in the court again, only this time as enemies. To see who's really number one. That's why I want you to take part in that fight too."
'Kise-san…...' Yuki never expected to see such a determined look on the boy's face. He was being serious about all of this. It really meant a lot to him.
Naruto was more straightforward with his thoughts. "I don't know what you expect from me, but if what you're telling me is to play basketball with you, then I'm all for it. You aren't the only one who's experienced boredom, Kise."
"Yeah, I could tell….."
Kise still remembered the first look he saw on Naruto's face when he met him on the street court. It told him all he needed to know.
Naruto grinned. "Then we understand one another."
Kise grinned back. "I guess we do."
To help one another with their boredom and with their ambitions…...it was very clear what they needed to do.
Yuki had to roll her eyes. They were leaving her out of something here, but whatever.
Boys would be boys.
The first week of training continued this way, with Naruto familiarizing himself more with the game and what not to do. It was a slow process at first, but he was getting the hang of it. It was during this time that Yuki officially joined the basketball club as well, as the coach's official/unofficial assistant. She did whatever she could to help the team, like bringing them all drinks, or fresh towels, and even preparing snacks for them to give them that extra push during practice.
The team considered her their princess, funnily enough. 'The Princess in Blue,' that was her moniker in the club. This only made them growl more with jealousy when Naruto got special treatment from her. Kasamatsu still had a tough time talking to her, though, much to Yuki's private amusement.
It was at the end of this first week that Naruto and Yuki both officially transferred over to Kaijō High. Which led to Naruto complaining about the uniform on the first day of class.
"Why the hell do we have to wear these things?" He was referring to the tie of course. The rest of the uniform didn't help lower his ire either. It was like he was going to a corporate meeting or something.
"Stop being such a baby," Yuki scolded him. She had the gray skirt unlike the trousers. Other than the tie that she had to wear too, it wasn't much different from the uniform of their old school for her. "You don't have to tie the tie so tightly. Besides, you're going to have to take over the family business someday. I suggest you get used to wearing suits and ties."
The thought of doing that was enough to make Naruto shudder. "Don't even joke about that. And anyway, I have you. I'm sure you can handle all that boring crap for me."
"E-Eh?" Yuki paused at that. Her, taking care of the company? B-But wouldn't that be like she was…...Naruto's partner? Wait, w-was this was she thought it was? A p-proposal? A marriage proposal!?
Naruto sweatdropped when he saw steam coming out of the girl's ears, her face totally red.
'I don't get her.'
"Eh, what's this? Flirting so early in the day? You're gonna make everyone around you mad with jealousy, ya know."
Naruto gave Kise a flat stare as he walked up to them, also clad in his uniform.
"You have a weird imagination, Kise."
"Hai, hai." Kise gave the two a once over. "Seeing you guys like this really makes the whole thing feel official."
"T'ch, shut up. How can you even wear this stupid thing all day?" Naruto growled as he pulled on his tie again.
"Hehe, it's not so bad." Kise winked. "It's really stylish. Although I wish we had a better color."
Naruto sighed. He forgot. Kise was a part-time model, so of course he would enjoy crap like this.
"Whatever. Do you need something from us? This floor is for the second years, ya know."
"Ouch. Do you not want to see me or something, Uzumakicchi?"
"If I say yes, will I be able to take a nap faster?"
As Yuki slapped him in the back of his head for his bad manners, Kise laughed it off.
"Hahaha, you're really a funny guy, Uzumakicchi. So blunt. I kinda like that."
Naruto grinned. "I like that about myself too."
Yuki wanted to facepalm right about now. "Don't encourage him. You'll only be feeding into his bad habits more."
"But they're good habits, Yuki. You know that."
"I'll believe that when you start learning some manners, Naruto-kun."
Pfft. Manners. Overrated.
"My news are simple," Kise said, still amused. "We'll be switching things up for practice today. Consider it my declaration of war, if you will."
Declaration of war?
Naruto raised an eyebrow. "Yeah, I don't get what you're trying to say."
"Oh, you'll see later during practice." The model walked around them and waved them goodbye. "I'm really looking forward to it, Uzumakicchi."
Naruto watched him go and scratched his cheek. "He's weird."
Yuki poked him on the side. "You don't have any room to talk. I'm starting to think that you can only become friends with weird people."
"Eh? Then what does that make you?"
She smiled. "The exception to the rule."
Naruto pouted. She always had a good comeback ready for everything he said, didn't she?
Smart Yuki. Very smart.
Anticipation had slowly been building up inside Naruto as the day progressed. Kise was obviously planning something, and he couldn't way to see what it was. This only made him lose even more interest in his classes, much to Yuki's annoyance.
Good thing she couldn't slap him in the middle of class. Hooray for education! In that one instance. And yes, they were in the same class. His mother made sure of that.
When the two arrived for practice that day, they saw exactly what Kise had been planning.
"A practice match?" Yuki said out loud, looking lost.
"Yeah, it was Kise's idea," Moriyama said. "Something to spice things up. Those were his words anyway."
"You can't really trust what he says anyway." Kobori pointed at Kise who was having a small stare off with Naruto. "His true motive is clear as day."
Yuki understood what he was trying to say. Kise…...wanted to play against Naruto.
Naruto understood this too. "So that's what your big idea's all about."
"There's no reason to lie, so yeah." Kise wasn't afraid to admit as much. "I want to face you, to see who is better." His blood was telling him that Naruto was like the rest of them, like the Generation of Miracles. That's why he needed to do this, to test himself against him.
Naruto was more than ready to meet the challenge head on.
Kasamatsu, who stood next to the coach, crossed his arms and sighed. "I can't believe you allowed this."
The man grunted. "It's only natural. Kise seems to be eager to face Uzumaki. If the two of them can grow from it, I can't complain. You know as well as I do the type of competition we will be facing soon."
Yeah. The other Generation of Miracles. Those monsters…...
Kasamatsu sighed again.
'Might as well get the show started then.'
Yuki sat next to the coach as the two teams were picked. The first string was divided equally. On one side was Naruto, Moriyama, and Hayakawa. Nakamura was also with them, as well as a different player also from the second string. On Kise's side was Kasamatsu, Kobori, and two others from the second string. Naruto and his team were clad in white while Kise and the others were in blue.
"All of this was planned, huh." Naruto looked around at the others, who all shrugged.
"I didn't know anything about this until now, if that makes you feel better," Moriyama said. He was being honest too. Kise hadn't included them in this little plan of his. Only he and the captain had known. Probably.
"We (w)ill still win this (m)atch, no (p)roblem!" And of course, Hayakawa was his usual energetic self, with no one being able to understand what he was saying.
"Well, scoring a victory against Kise here would feel great," Nakamura admitted. He wasn't all that close to his junior, after all. He wouldn't say he disliked Kise, but he didn't outright like him either. "I'm not going to be getting my hopes up, though."
Naruto cracked his neck. "There's no need to say anything. Let your skills do the talking for you."
Of that, they were all in agreement.
Kise smirked as he locked gazes with Naruto. "That's precisely what I want. Come at me with everything you've got."
Naruto smirked in return. "Let's just hope you don't up regretting it."
The air around the two started to shift into something more potent, more stimulating. Even Yuki was able to sense this, and it made her feel a bit uneasy. She had never seen Naruto or Kise like this before.
Kasamatsu sighed at this. 'Stupid fools.'
This so-called practice match was going to turn more serious than that, he could sense as much.
It was time for Naruto and Kise to go head-to-head with one another.
"Eh? You're doing the tip-off, Uzumaki?" Kobori looked at his junior with surprise. Naruto didn't have the height for something like this.
Naruto smiled. "Don't worry about me, senpai. I'll make sure to keep up with you."
Kobori gave him a flat stare before looking over to Moriyama who just shrugged. Naruto said he wanted to do it, so they were letting him. If he failed miserably, it was all on him.
"Ha, you really are crazy huh, Uzumakicchi?" Kise said with his trademark smile.
Naruto didn't respond.
On the sidelines, Yuki already knew who she was cheering for. As much as she liked Kise, Naruto meant more to her.
For some reason, Kise felt like pouting.
Another player from the second string stood in between Naruto and Kobori as the tip-off was set to commence. There was only a few moment more moments of silence, with Naruto and Kobori sizing each other up.
Then, the tip-off was a go.
Naruto and Kobori both took to the air at the exact same time, timing their jump perfectly. But it was Naruto who got to the ball first, taking off faster than Kobori even though he was shorter.
'He's got great power behind those jumps,' the coach thought, recognizing this. It wasn't air time, but just plain explosiveness. But that was of no surprise. Naruto's whole body radiated power.
Naruto tipped the ball to Moriyama, who caught it with ease.
Kise wasn't surprised by this, and quickly made for defense while the rest on his team did the same.
Kasamatsu covered Moriyama while Kobori went closer to the hoop.
"Don't think we'll be going easy on you now," Kasamatsu said as he and Moriyama faced one another.
The playboy smiled. "I don't think our aces would like that very much."
Kasamatsu just grunted in acknowledgement.
No more words were said as Moriyama made to dribble past his fellow third year, a task that was easier said than done. Kasamatsu proved his worth in this area, keeping close to Moriyama at all times. With such a tight defense, Moriyama was hard pressed to get around him.
'Ha, there's no way I can compete with the captain here.' When it came to dribbling, Kasamatsu was one of the best, second only to Kise. Knowing this was a losing battle on his part, Moriyama went for the pass. The receiver of that pass was Naruto, with Kise right on him.
The whole gym quieted down when this happened, knowing that they were about to see something rare. Two very high skilled players facing off, who could carry a whole team if need be.
Naruto versus Kise.
Kasamatsu scowled a bit. "Did you have to do that so quickly?"
Moriyama was all smiles. "Well, they're the ones most eager to play this practice match, so it only felt right."
True enough, Naruto and Kise were glaring heatedly at one another, ready to move at a moment's notice.
From the sidelines, Yuki swallowed. 'This is the first time I'm seeing them go head-to-head like this…..'
Who would win this?
The coach kept quiet as he watched his two star players.
The tense air lasted only for a second longer before Naruto made his move. Just like in the park a week ago, Kise found himself on the receiving end of another set of unpredictable but rapid moves.
'This guy….he's gotten faster!' Kise thought as he tried to keep up, but with a quick crossover Naruto was able to get past him.
'Dammit, it's like I feared!' Kobori jumped to stop Naruto, but the blond was able to dunk through him without hesitation. It was almost like Kobori wasn't there! More importantly…..
"Is dunking all you can do!?" Nakamura shouted at the blond, who chuckled sheepishly.
"I like dunks?" What more could he say?
'Honestly, that's like the exact opposite of Midorimacchi,' Kise thought with a slight grin.
Kasamatsu came up behind him with a slap, scowling. "Why are you grinning like that for, idiot? He got past you, you know."
"Those hurt, captain!" Kise flinched before settling back down again, looking excited. "Yeah, he did. The way he moves…...it reminds me of the person I look up to. I guess that's why I want to take him on today, to see how I measure up. I have to defeat him."
Kasamatsu let out a small h'mph. So that was his motive, huh? "Just don't embarrass yourself, and we'll be good."
Kise wouldn't dream of it.
The ball was live again, Kasamatsu leading the charge for his team for the counterattack.
"L(e)t's go, captain!" Hayakawa shouted as he marked him this time.
'So riled up.' Kasamatsu sighed internally before settling into one of his quick drives, dribbling the ball too fast for Hayakawa to keep up.
'One man isn't going to be enough for the captain.' Nakamura had been expecting this, which is why he was already standing by to come in for a steal after Kasamatsu went straight for his fast drive. After all, once Kasamatsu was on the move, he didn't have the reaction time necessary to stop himself from being flanked. The trick was getting around him without him noticing, which is exactly what Nakamura managed to pull off.
Kasamatsu nearly shouted when he noticed he lost the ball, courtesy of Nakamura who was already heading for a counter. The boy wasn't one of the best defenders in the league for nothing.
That said, Nakamura found trouble by the net as Kobori was already there, ready to defend.
'Shooting it now would be…...' Three's weren't his specialty, but going for a rebound wouldn't be such a bad idea either. They had Hayakawa on their team, after all. That gave him enough confidence to shoot and was more than happy to see himself score the three-pointer.
"Not bad," the coach muttered, glad to see that his team was tackling new horizons. Even if this was just a practice match.
Yuki just sat in silence for now.
"Looks like we aren't the only ones who are all fired up for this," Kise said, chuckling.
The ball was on Kasamatsu's hands again, only this time he wasn't going to make the same mistake as before. Instead, he went for the pass, giving it to Kise with Naruto standing guard this time around.
'Another one-on-one…...' Moriyama stood near his mark, watching the two blonds in anticipation as did everyone else in the gym.
With the ball in hand, Kise went in aggressively, no real plan in mind. There was no need for that. This was a battle of emotion and raw strength.
Naruto kept up with the taller blond, using his lower size for better flexibility. But in the end, that proved to do little good as he was hit with a familiar move: the double crossover he had pulled on Kise the week before.
Naruto went wide-eyed at this as Kise got past him and delivered a powerful dunk of his own, dunking through the unnamed second string member of Naruto's team.
Kise touched down on the floor while giving Naruto a small feral grin.
"Don't think this will be as easy as before, Uzumakicchi. Or else, you'll be left behind."
Naruto was still wide-eyed, shocked to see his own moves turned on him like this.
'Kise…...' Kasamatsu was more surprised than shocked. Kise had already revealed to him that he couldn't copy Naruto's moves, something that had shocked him at the time. According to Kise, this was due in major part because Naruto was too unpredictable for that. But over the week, Kise had been working hard to change that, observing Naruto as much as he could during practice. And now, he was already beginning to show the fruits of his labor.
Yuki had her eyes wide too. 'It was almost like I was seeing another Naruto-kun on the court…...'
The others just watched on, not sure what to say or think.
The shock eventually left Naruto's system, and his burning desire to win only skyrocketed.
"You've really done it now, Kise."
This practice match was only starting.
As you can see, I added two OC's for this. You could say Yuki will be like Momoi, although they won't be fulfilling the same position for their respective teams. I just hope you guys like her. Michiko won't really be playing a major role in this, though.