Akashi Seijurou is currently overlooking his team’s practice. Because of their loss, he and the coach have decided to pump up their training regime to get back what’s rightfully theirs for the next Winter Cup.
It has been two weeks since he has woken up from his own body and since Seirin has beaten them. For the excruciating weeks following his comeback, the Akashi Seijurou has been longing. Since he emerges, his first thought after losing is to badly talk to Nijimura-san. He has been longing to see or even talk to his previous captain. He wants to apologize for everything as well as to tell him something important. Something that he couldn’t say or even show before because his other self has gotten so obsessed with winning and being absolute to the point that he has pushed everyone away.
He has been lucky that his previous team, his first real friends, are able to accept him again after all his wrongdoings in the past when they all meet up for Kuroko’s birthday. No words have been said, just a welcoming feeling that he still belongs with them. He feels that he doesn’t deserve it but nonetheless reaches out their hands again because he seriously doesn’t want to lose them again this time. And now, looking at his current teammates, he promises himself that he won’t do the same mistake again.
Practice ends in an uneventful way and Seijurou just wants to retire to his room for the night. Although he has been thinking a lot after he comes back but today, he is feeling so pensive and he doesn’t know why. He creases his forehead as he feels an incoming headache. Thinking that he has enough practice for today, he shouts some more last-minute orders for the other first years before he makes his way to the locker room. However, when he arrives there, he is greeted by the usual occurrence with the three second years starting with Nebuya flexing his muscles and he feels like Hayama is a walking bungee jumper with a megaphone attached. Although it is a bit different from Mibuchi. These past few days, Mibuchi finds fascination for Western slow rock love songs ranging from the 70s-90s. Almost every day, he will give him his most recommended song, he’ll listen to it then he’ll give his input the next day. He actually indulges his teammates with their quirks and whims to get closer and to get to know them better like what he has done with the Kisekis before to deepen the bond and trust among themselves.
“Sei-chan~,” Mibuchi greets him as well as the other two. He nods at them as he goes in front of his locker to change.
“Hey, Akashi, Reo-nee says he wants to go to the convenience store and Ei-chan and I are gonna tag along. Come with us!” Hayama asks him excitedly. He thinks for a bit; he doesn’t have much homework today and he has been meaning to get the Basketball Monthly for this month.
“Okay, I’ll come.”
“Ara, Sei-chan you make me happy~” He sees Mibuchi and Hayama from the corner of his eye do a high five.
A small smile tugs on his lips thinking that it’s okay to have fun with these guys.
Their trip to the convenience store somewhat reminds him of what they used to do back in middle school. It is a refreshing feeling. Hayama strongly reminds him of Kise as a ball of energy. Mibuchi is like Midorima who is engaging him in a sensible conversation. With Nebuya, he’s like Kuroko in a way that he will just input on the conversation from time to time less the gross burping. He must admit that he misses Murasakibara’s constant munching with crumbs leaving a trail from point a to point b as well as Aomine’s contagious smile and sometimes, stupidity. He is thinking that maybe, he should hang out with them more after school. They also end up eating dinner at a nearby restaurant near the convenience store because Nebuya wants to eat more meat.
And thus, when they reach their boarding, Mibuchi stops him and gives him his song for the day. He accepts it with a small smile and promises him that he’ll give him his review tomorrow. They bid their goodbyes as he retires to his room. He does his routine: bath, do his homework while listening to classical music, do some stretching before going to bed and the newly added one, check out Mibuchi’s recommended song for the day. He unfolds the paper and looks at the title with Mibuchi’s neat handwriting.
First Time by Robin Beck
Seijurou then opens his laptop and starts searching the song and the lyrics. As he is listening, he thinks that so far this is the best one yet. Mibuchi is giving him songs varying from I Love You Always Forever by Donna Lewis, Love Will Lead You Back by Taylor Dayne to Morning Train by Sheena Easton. He thinks that all of them are good songs but the first one is too cliché, the second one is too painful while the last one is for adulting...kind of.
But this song, First Time by Robin Beck triggers something in him. The fine use of metaphor when you experience your first love is so beautiful as well as the feelings and hesitations that comes with it when you finally have the love you desire. The melody is something upbeat as slow rock music is meant to be and the exquisite timing fits the lyrics properly.
Probably because he’s on a pensive move all day and him, Akashi Seijurou is never really a fan of love songs. Not at all, thank you very much. It’s just so out of his character but it’s quite alright for him because he is actually learning something from it as well as having some bonding moment with Mibuchi. He especially likes these lines:
So mysterious yet so incredibly real
It's an uncharted sea, it's an unopened door
But you gotta reach out and you gotta explore
Even though you're not sure till the moment arrives
There he is and you know you're in love
And it reminds him of Nijimura-san. The guy that he never has a chance to express how he really feels. He is a little bit too late. Nijimura-san has already left when he realized everything. Also, it is one of the reasons why his split personality has gotten worst to the point of emerging so soon. He lost his support system and he got pressured for leading the team to victory after victory. He has realized it too late that it was and it still is Nijimura-san who can keep him in line after all this time.
He repeats the song again as he digs deeper into the metaphors when his phone continuously vibrates, signaling that he has an incoming call. He pauses the music as he reaches for his phone and looks at the caller before answering. His eyes widen for a brief moment because the one calling him is Murasakibara and he is definitely not expecting a call from him by this time just because the big baby is usually asleep as early as 1930 and it’s already past 2300 now.
Curiously, he answers his phone.
“Hey, Aka-chin. Can you come to Tokyo this weekend? I want to see you. Also, Mido-chin, Mine-chin, Kuro-chin, Kise-chin and Sa-chin are coming too.” Seijurou smiles as he heard the usual childish voice of Murasakibara. After all, even though he is the youngest of the team, he and Nijimura-san always baby him just so he would listen to them when they tell him to do something. He will always have a soft spot for their team’s big baby, after all.
“What is coming this weekend? It’s not like you to actually exert an effort to come to Tokyo from Akita.”
He hears some speaking noise from the other line and he can make up that Murasakibara is talking to Himuro based on a Muro-chin call and Atsushi coming from the pretty boy. “Eh? I don’t know what you’re talking about Aka-chin but come. Everyone is coming so you should too.”
It’s funny that almost everyone he knows is mostly inviting him to something today. He just doesn’t expect one from Murasakibara though.
“Okay, I will come. Where are we meeting up?”
“Do you still remember that court that we always play at near Teiko?”
“Yeah, there. See you, Aka-chin. Bye.”
He sets down his phone on the desk as he wonders what has Murasakibara has eaten for him to organize this meet-up. It’s normal if it’s Momoi who calls him tonight because she usually arranges the meet up for everyone. He just continues the song and makes up his mind that dwelling with Murasakibara’s peculiar behavior is not worth it for he trusts the gentle baby giant.
Saturday comes and he is anticipating this day. When Mibuchi caught wind of his plan, he insists that he comes with him because he wants to see the Kisekis too especially Kise. He asks Murasakibara if he can tag Mibuchi along and replies okay since he’s bringing Himuro Tatsuya with him too. And now, they are currently taking a bus going to Teiko. It’s not that he feels nostalgic but because of the fact that being near Teiko gives him a bittersweet memory. He tries to whisk away all the pessimistic thoughts that he is having. After all, he is meeting his friends and it’s supposed to be a joyful event for him.
When they finally arrive at the street courts, he is greeted by his friends warmly. After he says his greetings to them as well as Mibuchi, he sits down by the bench as he endearingly watches his friends interact with each other.
Midorima is holding delicately an airplane model for his lucky item for the day as Kise wants to play with it because it is his dream to be a pilot much to the chagrin of the bespectacled boy. Aomine has challenged Mibuchi to a one on one which the latter gladly accepts and says “Ikemen Target No. 1: Lock on~”. He chuckles at his teammates but said nothing when he sees Aomine cringing. Momoi is affectionately talking to Kuroko. However, the guy who has organized this meeting is still missing.
“Has anyone heard from Murasakibara?” It is Midorima who asks, obviously irritated.
“Murasakibara-kun is going to come, he just needs to do something first.” Kuroko supplies.
“I wonder why Mukkun called us here. Do you happen to know the reason, Tetsu-kun?”
“Yes, I would like to know that too.” By this time, all heads turn to him when he has spoken. “Do you know anything Kuroko?”
Kuroko looks as him with his usual impassive face as he takes out his phone and calls someone.
“Hello, Kagami-kun?...yeah...they’re coming now? Okay...you’re still with Takao-kun? Right...you can come here with Takao-kun...All right...vanilla milkshake please..thanks!”
After the conversation, Kuroko faces them again and says, “They’re coming now. Probably they have just gotten lost knowing Murasakibara-kun as well as Himuro-san. Even I don’t know why Murasakibara-kun called us.”
This time, it is Midorima who comments, “You’re awfully close with Himuro-san, Kuroko.”
“Yeah. We always hang out at Kagami-kun’s house whenever he and Murasakibara-kun will come to Tokyo.”
“Eh? Really, Kurokochi? Why is Murasakibarachi not saying anything whenever he comes to Tokyo?”
Kuroko mysteriously smiles, “I think you’ll just have to ask him when he comes.”
Aomine then comes and he one arm hugs Kise, “Cmon, Kise. Isn’t it too obvious? They’re always together. Also, they’re in the same room.”
“Too loud, Kise. Aomine, I’m surprised by your perspective thinking only for today, in fact.” Midorima says as he pushes his glasses up with his taped fingers.
“Shut up, megane. Can’t you even say something nice? And yeah, Kise, so stop whining.”
Seijurou, for the lack of better word, is in fact, shocked. Just because this is Murasakibara that we are talking about. He more or less gets what they are implying. It is as clear as the sky for Aomine and Kise because they’ve been at it since middle school. For Midorima with Takao, they make it painfully obvious during the Rakuzan vs. Shutoku match last Winter Cup. He knows about Kuroko and Kagami because Kuroko has admitted it to him during his birthday. He knows that Himuro is treating Murasakibara like his baby chick and he has thought that it’s platonic. He has decided now that he should learn more about human interactions. He will have to buy a book before going back to Kyoto.
As he is contemplating different books about human interactions and where to get them, Kagami and Takao arrive, with the tiger carrying two big paper bags from Maji Burger with Takao trailing after him who is holding the drinks. He sees Mibuchi joyfully approaches Takao as Midorima shots the boy a glare.
“Yo, everyone!” Kagami and Takao greet them. He nods at the two as they settle the paper bags and drinks on the bench. Takao goes behind Midorima just because Mibuchi has locked on his second target in the form of one Takao Kazunari much to the entertainment of Momoi. Kagami, on the other hand, is greeted by Kuroko with a small smile of his as he hands him his vanilla milkshake. Kise and Aomine are cuddling together much to the sourness of Midorima because he says it’s too vulgar. He, on the other hand, just accepts the food as Kagami is handing out for everyone. But still, Murasakibara sure is taking his sweet time. He is itching to call the tall purple head because although he is with every one of his friends and their other half, it feels like they are still incomplete.
And as everyone starts digging in with their food, they heard footsteps coming in their way. When he looks up, he sees Murasakibara, Himuro and a third person that is awfully familiar. He just can’t tell because the third person is wearing dark sunglasses as well as a baseball cap.
“Hi, everyone~!” Murasakibara waves at then with his usual lazy tone and three sticks of pocky hanging on his mouth.
“The hell you called us early in here and you arrived late?! I should be sleeping.........” Aomine yells indignantly follows by Midorima’s, “You have some nerve to let us wait in here, in fact.” They can see that something like a green smoke oozing out of Midorima’s body as Takao tries to pacify his boyfriend.
“Murasakibarachi, what’s up with the sudden meetup? Why are you late? Did something happen? You know we are worried that you might be lost as always..........”
“Hello, Mukkun, Himuro-san.”
“Hello, Murasakibara-kun, Himuro-san.”
“Hey, Murasakibara, Himuro-san.”
Murasakibara snaps for the constant nagging coming from Kise and Aomine as well as the sharp glare coming from Midorima. The next thing they know, his right hand is already moving to clamp a head as he just tells them.
“Shut up, guys. I’ll crush each and every one of you.”
Seijurou just sighs as he looks at his friends. His crazy friends. By then, he noticed that the mysterious guy behind Himuro is laughing at their display. It seems like he isn’t the only one who has noticed it as the rest of them has stopped talking and look at the mysterious newcomer.
Himuro chuckles at their expressions before saying, “Hey, Shuu. I think they’ve had enough of your disguise.”
It is actually Kuroko who snaps out of their first, “Nijimura-senpai?”
As soon as Kuroko calls that name, he snaps his head to look at the mysterious guy as he removes his sunglasses and cap.
“What’s up brats?” He lightly greets them with a grin.
Seijurou holds a deep breath as he properly looks at him. Nijimura-san is here in flesh and blood. He is snapped out when everyone has started to call out and surround Nijimura-san excitedly.
“Nijimura-senpai. It has been a while, in fact.”
“Hey brats, calm down!” He says as he greets every person there. The guys outside Teiko seems to be confused by the newcomer.
And hesitantly, he slowly moves forward to him and bravely faces his old captain. He lets out the breath that he has been holding as he genuinely smiles.
“Nijimura-san, it’s been a while.” The older boy just grins at him as he pats his head affectionately. “Yo, Akashi. You’ve grown huh?”
“Of course. I am a boy who is hitting puberty. I am supposed to grow.”
Nijimura-san just smirks at him. “You still don’t have any funny bone in you.”
Akashi gives him a small smile as the group settles by the benches, gives him food and from there, a series of conversations have started mostly from Kise asking a ton of questions to Nijimura-san as well as they introduce him to the others.
“Takao, Mibuchi and Kagami, this is Nijimura Shuuzo. Our old captain from Teiko.”
“Ara, what an ikemen, Sei-chan.”
“Heh, he’s the one that Shin-chan is talking about.”
“Ne, ne, Nijimurachi, how come Murasakibarachi knows you’re arriving?”
They all look at him and waits for an answer because everyone is as curious as he is.
Nijimura-san sips his soda before he answers, “Well, I’m friends with Tatsuya. We met in LA. And because he is a sly fox, he finds it entertaining to call me at Skype when it’s really late in America. Turns out he’s roommates with Murasakibara so I’ve been keeping tabs on you guys. They also picked me up at the airport earlier but they were late. I also asked him to set this meet up.”
Himuro chuckles as he retorts, “You know, I’m not quite good with directions and Atsushi usually gets lost so put us two together, of course, we’re bound to get lost.”
Everyone laughs at that but they now know the reason why Murasakibara has set this meet up. It is coming from Nijimura-san after all.
“How come you just visit us just now, Nijimurachi? How is your dad?”
Nijimura-san actually spares a glance on him before looking back at the rest and answers, “My Dad is all better now, thanks. He is actually the one who says that I can have a vacation for a bit because between school, part-time job and taking care of my Dad, I barely have time to spare for myself. Also, I need to see how far my sons have come.” He smirks at them but Seijurou kind of feels offended that Nijimura-san also sees him as his son. Out of nowhere, he abruptly stands up and excuses himself from the rest as he goes on his way to the restroom. He can hear the others calling for him but he doesn’t really want them to see him being so out of character - being fragile and offended. He needs time to compose himself, for goodness’ sake, he is Akashi Seijuro and Akashis don’t show any weaknesses.
Once he is done composing himself, he goes out of the restroom but is surprised to see Nijimura-san standing outside as if he is waiting for him. Seijuro snorts inwardly at the thought. By now, he has learned the hard way not to expect anything from other people or else he might push them more away from him.
“Yo, Akashi, why did you suddenly bailout?”
“And you, Nijimura-san, why are you here?”
“It’s suffocating there, everyone is doing a public display of attention even Midorima and his little bird and otou-san can’t handle it.” He says with a straight face which is amusing if he must say. He can’t help but let out a small laugh.
“Ah yes, I am surprised as well with everyone dating someone especially Murasakibara. I mean he’s our big baby.”
Nijimura-san just chuckles. “Yeah, I’ll kill Tatsuya if he makes our big baby cry, ne, okaa-san?”
Seijurou does something out of his character for he actually widens his eyes and gapes at him for a few seconds. Thinking that he must have heard his statement wrong, he inquires again.
“Sorry I missed what you said. Can you repeat it again?”
He can see that his face has a tint of red showing as he faces him and moves closer to him until they are only a foot away. He actually has to look up at him because he has gotten taller as he remembers him to be. But he couldn’t deny the fact that Nijimura-san has gotten more....dashing.
“W-Well, Akashi, other than seeing our sons, my priority is to talk to you about two things.”
“Well, first, you know Murasakibara told me everything and I want to see if you’re okay now.”
“Yes, better than I’ll ever be.”
“Good, then for the second one.”
“I’ve been meaning to tell you this before but I’ve seen you getting harder to approach and getting more aloof by that time so I thought that it’s not yet time. But now....” he inhales a deep breath as he looks straight into his red-maroon eyes and continues softly, “...would you be the mother to our rainbow sons again?”
For the first time in his life, Akashi Seijurou is getting a really lame confession and he can’t help but chuckle. Nijimura-san has said it with such a straight face that he really doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry out of happiness.
“That’s a lame confession, Nijimura-san.”
“Shut up. It took me three whole years to say that.” As soon as the older boy says that, he can’t help but blush just because for three years, he has this lingering feeling of love for one Nijimura Shuuzo. The moment is already here and he remembers the lyrics of the song.
So mysterious yet so incredibly real
It's an uncharted sea, it's an unopened door
But you gotta reach out and you gotta explore
Even though you're not sure till the moment arrives
There he is and you know you're in love
He is already here and he just needs to reach out and explore.
“Yes, I’ll be the okaa-san for our rainbow sons again, otou-san.”
It has been a precious week of happiness that will forever be engraved in Seijurou’s heart once he and Shuuzo are together. The others have teased them to no end once they have learned that finally, their parents are together after three long years. Everyone gives their congratulations and some threats to their otou-san that they will fly to America if he makes their okaa-san cry. Seijurou finds it funny how Shuuzo gets rooted in his place as he listens to every threat that their sons throw on him.
However, Shuuzo is only staying for a week so when he flies back, it is a bittersweet moment for both of them. They hug each other tightly with a promise that they will be in touch at all times with each other.
And now, Valentine’s day has come and he is actually feeling a little bit lonely because his other half is on the other side of the world. He is currently on the rooftop where he has met Mayuzumi-san before, feeling the wind touching on his skin. His phone suddenly vibrates signaling a message and smiles as he sees Shuuzo’s name.
From: Nijimura Shuuzo
To: Mama Sei
Subject: Good morning
Message: Happy Valentines’ Day, okaa-san. I miss you. Don’t let our sons run wild today! I’ll call you later during my lunch break at school.
He smiles as he is typing a reply because he never knew that the Nijimura Shuuzo who always beat up Haizaki into the brink of death could be this sweet.
From: Mama Sei
To: Nijimura Shuuzo
Re: Subject: Good morning
Message: Happy Valentines’ Day too, otou-san. Wish you were here. I’ll be waiting for your call later.
Suddenly, he doesn’t feel lonely anymore.