lacewood: (Default)
Pei Yi ([personal profile] lacewood) wrote in [community profile] toxicskyremix2013-03-17 09:14 pm

kuroko no basket - hey baby

For [personal profile] readerofasaph


Shuutoku’s first warning is a shrill scream. It pierces the air, wails loud and long, then falls silent as suddenly as it began. In the basketball team’s club room, the members of the first string look up and blink.

Before they can decide if they are curious enough to investigate, they hear their second warning: Takao laughing, just outside the club room door. They exchange looks. That can’t be a good sign.

Then the door swings open and Midorima marches in, expression grim, holding a--

The entire room stares. Miyaji drops his towel. Kimura sits down with a thump. Ootsubo blinks. Then he blinks again. Unfortunately, Midorima is still very resolutely holding a--

Where did you get that?” Miyaji demands, as the first senior to find his voice.

Midorima pauses, mid-way in his journey to his locker, and finally turns to regard his boggling audience.

“... It’s a baby,” he informs them, as if this wasn’t obvious. The baby in his arms blinks curiously at the team and jams a fist into its mouth. Midorima looks down, frowns, and plucks the fist out. The baby puts its fist back in and then slobbers to makes its point.

“Are you trying to be smart?” Miyaji asks in dangerous tones while the team watches this battle of wills in mesmerised horror. “We can see that! Where did you get it from?”

“She’s my neighbour’s,” Takao volunteers from where he’s propped himself against a locker to enjoy the confusion of his betters. He has his training bag slung over one shoulder and an enormous floral-printed bag slung over the other. He grins and adds, “Her name’s Kira. Please take good care of her today!”

“Are you nuts?” Miyaji says. “You gave him a baby? What if he drops her?”

Midorima says, annoyed, “Takao did not ‘give me’ a baby--”

“So little faith, Sempai! Come on, he’s holding her like a pro. And Kira-chan just loooves Shin-chan, doesn’t she? Look at how happy she is!”

“Stop talking nonsense, Takao,” Midorima says, battle lost, war in peril, as he scrubs at the dribble of drool making its way down her front and threatening his sleeve.

Ootsubo eyes the baby with resigned bemusement. “And what are you going to do about training?” he asks, just in case Midorima intends to run twenty laps and do practice drills while carrying a baby the entire time.

Midorima looks discomfited. “There must be somewhere in the gym she could stay while the team is practicing,” he says.

The team watches as Ootsubo looks up at the ceiling and very visibly, without saying a single word, reminds himself, “three selfish requests”. Then, because even captains have their limits, he settles for, “Let’s see what Coach says.”

Presented with the latest addition to the Shuutoku basketball team, Coach Nakatani raises his eyebrows. “And this is?”

“Her name’s Kira, she’s my neighbour’s,” Takao explains at the same time Midorima pushes his glasses up and says, “If it is not too much trouble, she could be placed somewhere safe in the gym until today’s training is over.”

“About a year old, isn’t she?” Coach says.

Takao blinks. “Eh, around there, I guess? How’d you know, Coach?”

“After your first kid, you do learn something,” he says. “Is she walking yet? You brought everything she needs? Bottles, milk, diapers?”

Takao brandishes the pink and yellow monstrosity he lugged with him. “She’s not too good at walking yet, I think. Mostly crawling. Mrs Akimoto said everything’s in here, and my mom checked too. Maybe if we’re lucky she’ll just nap all morning.”

“If we’re lucky,” Coach says, dry. Then, because he could have chosen an ace who didn’t come with a complete set of superstitions and attendant inconveniences but didn’t, and because Coach Nakatani enforces a strict Zero Complaint policy he applies to himself as much as his team, he sighs.

“Fine. I’ll keep an eye on her until practice is done.”

With a little creativity, the first years build a playpen for Kira-chan using a gym mat and a barricade of benches. Half the team clusters around Kira-chan (and by extension, Midorima), alternately helping and hindering the building process, trying to pat her on the head and tickle her. The other half, Miyaji among them, lurks on the other side of the gym and looks nervous.

To the united amazement of both camps, Kimura makes terrible faces at her and she actually giggles at him. (At least this explains why she’s putting up with Midorima.)

She seems pleased enough when Midorima deposits her in her temporary fort and Takao tosses her toys and blanket in after her. Coach Nakatani settles himself on one of the benches and tells the team, “Get started. Midorima and Takao, five extra laps after warm-ups and before passing drills.”

Midorima frowns, but turns to rejoin the team without protest. Takao opens his mouth, looks at Midorima’s already retreating back, then gives it up. They could do worse than five laps.

The first hour of training passes peacefully. Even with the extra laps, Takao only sort of feels like dying and doesn’t even feel like throwing up. The summer training schedule from hell is making a difference already. (Carting Midorima around like his personal chauffeur is also making a difference, Takao’s pretty sure).

Then a small wail drifts out of Kira-chan’s playpen. The team knows better than to stop dribbling without an order, but a good quarter of them (mostly the third string) lose control of their balls turning to watch Coach lift Kira-chan out of her pen and pat her on the back. Shuutoku’s first string, on the other hand, is entirely capable of dribbling in circles and watching a stationary target at the same time.

The wailing continues and Coach calls, “Everyone, ten minute break. Midorima, Takao, over here.”

The two of them jog over. Instead of collapsing on the sidelines and grabbing water and drinks like they usually do, half the team trails after them at a discreet distance.

“She needs a diaper change,” Coach informs them.

He hands Kira-chan to Takao and her wails double in volume. Takao jogs her up and down but she keeps crying. “Mah, Kira-chan, you’ll hurt my feelings like this,” he tells her.

Then, since Kira-chan doesn’t appreciate his attempts to cheer her up, he shoves her in Midorima’s direction. Midorima takes her with ill-grace. Kira-chan blinks up at him and surprisingly, stops crying. Then she gives a small, sad whimper instead and Takao hears at least five hearts break in their audience.

“Got it!” he says, unearthing a stack of fresh diapers from the bottom of Kira-chan’s supply bag. Then he looks at Kira-chan and says, “Hey, Shin-chan, don’t suppose you’ve ever had to change a baby’s diapers before...?”

Midorima stares at him and says, flatly, “No.” Then he looks down at the still whimpering Kira-chan and blanches. “... It might not be her diaper.”

“You’re carrying her, you should be able to feel it,” Coach says without bothering to look up from his clipboard.

They stare at her diaper. It does look a little... heavier than it did this morning....

Takao scratches the back of his head. Sure, he remembers watching his mom change his sister’s diapers when she was a baby but that was years ago and he wasn’t exactly paying attention to the technique. “Anyone know how to change diapers?” he asks the team at large. They exchange looks.

“Take off the old diaper, put on the new one?” one of the second years offers unhelpfully.

He’s about to give up and refer to Coach’s expertise (in exchange for another five laps, probably) when Kimura sighs. “I’m not exactly a pro but you guys are pathetic,” he says. “You can do your own dirty work but I’ll tell you what to do, got it?”

Kimura stands over them, hands on hips, and issues orders like he’s Miyaji. “Take off her diaper. Use those tabs at the side and peel, are you idiots blind? What do you mean what do you do with it now? Get rid of it! I don’t care how!”

“How do you know so much about babies anyway?” Takao asks as they scramble to follow his instructions. Mostly this means Midorima looks at the filthy diaper with horrified distaste and pats Kira-chan on the head when Takao goes to dispose of it.

“I have a lot of younger cousins,” Kimura shrugs. “We help babysit sometimes.”

Fifteen minutes later, Kira-chan is clean, powdered, and happy again. Coach looks over as she babbles in her playpen and flings a pink plushie at her crowd of admirers with indiscriminate glee, and nods.

“Back to practice,” he says.

Half an hour later, Kira-chan starts crying again and they stop practice to feed her. This goes smoothly right until Kimura wanders over to nudge Miyaji and ask him why he’s standing so far away, is he scared of her or something? Miyaji scowls and stalks over to where Midorima is awkwardly patting her on the back, trying to burp her - just in time for her to spit milk right in his eye.

Miyaji staggers back with startled noise that sounds a lot like a squeak. Takao really hopes someone managed to get a video of this.

“Fuck! What was that?! You got a problem with me, brat? I’ll throw a pineapple at you! Kimura! Get me one!” he yells, scrubbing at his face with one arm and waving the other angrily (and blindly) in the wrong direction.

“I’m not getting you a pineapple so you can throw it at a baby,” Kimura says. “It’s not like she did it on purpose! Man, you really don’t know anything about kids, do you?”

Miyaji makes more angry noises until Ootsubo steers him away and points him in the direction of the toilets. He stays firmly on the other side of them gym for the rest of practice, looking so aggravated the rest of the baby-fearing camp almost defects just to avoid him.

They’ve hit the home stretch of practice for the day, only twenty minutes left before they’re done, when one of the first years bumps into Midorima and something falls out of his pocket. Ootsubo, passing behind him, scoops it up - by now, the Shuutoku team is well-trained to keep an eye out for strange items in Midorima’s vicinity. Accidentally breaking a lucky item is a fate no one wants to experience more than once.

Then he blinks. “Why are you carrying a purple toothbrush?” he asks even as he automatically hands it back.

Midorima pockets the toothbrush and says, “It’s the lucky item for Cancers today,” he says, as if this should be obvious.

The team processes this for a moment, then turn as one to stare at him. “Your lucky item is a toothbrush?”

Midorima frowns at them. “Yes,” he says. “Is there a problem?”

The team - Coach included - turn, again as one, to Kira-chan in her playpen.

“Then, Kira-chan--” Ootsubo says.

“Did Takao not say that she is his neighbour’s?” Midorima says, irritated. “I would not bring a baby to training for no good reason--”

“You would if Oha Asa told you to,” someone in the crowd points out.

Midorima is a smart guy with the grades to prove it, but sometimes the Shuutoku team can literally see the gears in his mind turn. Slowly. He opens his mouth, then snaps it shut. “You thought Kira-chan was my lucky item,” he finally says.

“Uh, obviously,” Miyaji says. “What else were we supposed to think?!”

Midorima opens his mouth and snaps it shut - again. He might be a Grade A tsundere of the highest order but he’s honest about Oha Asa, if nothing else.

“Well, I had nothing to do with this,” he settles for saying and pushes his glasses up to glare at all of them.

The entire team doesn’t even have to look at each other to know they’re all adding “for once” to the end of that sentence. Then they turn their attention to Takao, who’s just spent the last five minutes laughing so hard he has to take another five minutes to get his breath back.

“Well?” Kimura says, folding his arms and looming over him. If this is his idea of a joke--

“Woah,” Takao says. His hands are up but he’s grinning anyway, never mind that it might be the last expression he wears before he meets a painful end. “I was going to explain but no one asked! My neighbour, Mrs Akimoto, fell down the stairs this morning and broke her ankle. But her husband’s out on business so there’s no one around but her and Kira-chan. My mom took her to the hospital but she didn’t think it’d be a good idea to bring Kira-chan too. And we couldn’t leave Kira-chan at my place either if I was out at training all morning. So I figured... why not bring her along?”

He jerks a thumb in Midorima’s direction and cracks up. “Kira-chan wasn’t too happy with me, but she really does love Shin-chan over here. Stopped crying the minute she saw him!”

The club would disbelieve this statement, but they’ve been watching the evidence all morning. Kira-chan is doomed to terrible taste in men.

Takao finishes with an apologetic shrug. “Guess it’s my turn with the selfish requests today. I’m sorry for the trouble, I didn’t think it’d be this bad. I could run an extra twenty laps or something?”

Ootsubo turns to Coach Nakatani. “Coach?” he says.

Coach Nakatani studies Takao, eyes narrowed. Beside him, Kira-chan has pulled herself to her feet and propped herself against the bench, where she flails and blows a raspberry at the gym at large. Coach turns to look at her, reaches down and ruffles her hair, then looks back at Takao.

“Next time, explain the situation properly. Without being asked,” he says.

Takao bows. “Got it, Coach!” he says.

Thanks to Kira-chan, practice finishes an hour later than scheduled. To Takao’s surprise, no one complains, not even Miyaji’s corner of the team.

“Maybe you’ve got yourself a fanclub, kiddo. Not bad!” he says, flicking a finger at her nose. Midorima frowns at the both of them. “Stop that,” he says, struggling to keep his grip on her while she wriggles in his arms.

Takao just grins at him. “I called my mom and it looks like it wasn’t too serious. Mrs Akimoto’s back from the hospital already, and Kira-chan’s grandmother is coming over to take care of both of them. If you don’t mind the delay, help me send her back home, and then we can go grab lunch or something. My treat.”

The offer of a free lunch doesn’t seem to mollify Midorima, but after a moment’s consideration, he makes a pained face and says, “Very well.”

Takao returns the favour by getting the rickshaw and not even asking for the token janken (sure, he always loses, but it’s the principle of the thing). The team waves their goodbyes to Kira-chan, the whole block of them gathered at the front gate like a passing idol’s farewell committee.

Someone calls, “Come back and visit us, Ki-URK.” Miyaji removes his elbow from the offender’s ribs and glowers. He’s not threatening to throw pineapples at them, but he’s definitely thinking it. Takao can tell.

Takao cycles away with his passengers, laughing.

Mrs Akimoto is so grateful to see them, Takao suspects she was more worried about him dropping or losing Kira-chan than she was about her own injury. Kira-chan says goodbye to Midorima by grabbing his glasses and waving them excitedly while he panics and tries not to drop her.

Once Takao has rescued the glasses and his mother has rescued the baby, Midorima says goodbye to Kira-chan by plucking her fist out of her mouth (again) and making a disapproving face at her.

“It was no trouble,” he says with stiff insincerity when Mrs Akimoto thanks them both.

After Kira-chan and Mrs Akimoto vanish back into their house, Takao props his elbows on the rickshaw’s handlebars and says, “There’s a pretty good ramen place nearby, if you don’t mind that. Great gyoza.”

Midorima, sitting in the cart, hmphs. “It’ll do,” he says.

“Aw, Shin-chan, are you missing Kira-chan already?”

“Of course not,” he says sourly and folds his arms. “Hurry up, I’m hungry.”

“Yeah, so am I,” Takao says. “Thanks a lot for the help. I wasn’t sure Coach would let me keep Kira-chan with me, you know.”

For all the faces he made, Midorima had been pretty game about holding Kira-chan to keep her happy. Takao knows that Midorima is a nicer guy than he pretends to be, but if you’d asked him this morning, he would have expected a lot more complaining about it.

Midorima blinks at him. “You could not help that there had been an emergency. And it would have been insufferable to have her cry all through training. That’s all there is to it.”

“That’s all there is to it, huh,” Takao says. Despite the drooling and the dirty diapers and - he peers at Midorima. “Hmmm. Shin-chan... could it be that you really like babies after all? You have a younger sister too, right? Maybe Kira-chan reminds you of her?”

Midorima stares at him. “Don’t be absurd.”

“Aw, is she going to be jealous of Kira-chan if you tell her about today~?”

“Shut up and start pedaling!”


March 2013 (edited December 2014)