Shuutoku Ending & Epilogue
[Based on a 2 – 0 record against Shuutoku;
Prerequisite: “I Am Looking Forward to Tomorrow”]
[late at night on the outdoor basketball court]
Kuroko: That looks like…Midorima-kun…
Midorima: ……hn. [shoots and makes a three]
Kuroko: He’s still shooting three-pointers at this hour…?
Midorima: ……hn. [shoots and makes another three]
[Kuroko approaches Midorima]
Kuroko: You’re as dedicated as ever, Midorima-kun. I feel like I really understand the reason why your shots never miss.
Midorima: …oh, Kuroko. I’m not doing this as part of my practice regimen. There were just a few things I wanted to think about.
Kuroko: Such as…?
Midorima: Such as…the reason why I lost again today.
Midorima: Yes, Seirin is a strong team, but I don’t think Shuutoku is inferior. Therefore, I started to wonder if my abilities were lacking in some way… That’s what I was pondering.
Kuroko: Something you lack, Midorima-kun…? …unlike me, you are capable of many things. But perhaps, if there were something I have that you don’t, Midorima-kun…it might be simply the fact that I enjoy playing basketball.
Midorima: This again? You said something very similar last night. But I don’t play basketball because it is fun…I believe that’s what I told you.
Kuroko: But you like basketball, don’t you? If you like it, then why don’t you try to enjoy playing it?
Midorima: I have no intention of playing basketball for the sake of personal preference.
Kuroko: Is that really how you feel?
Midorima: …why are you making it sound like you understand?
Kuroko: Because I still remember just how much we enjoyed playing basketball when we were at Teikou Middle. And you were among us, Midorima-kun, as one of our teammates that enjoyed playing basketball, were you not? …well, until shortly before we won our third championship.
Kuroko: And if you didn’t like it, I don’t think you would have been able to get so good. Isn’t your devotion to practice proof of how much you like basketball?
Midorima: …at the very least, that may be true for Seirin. After competing with you today, I think I’ve come to understand that you all enjoy playing basketball. However…I still don’t believe that liking or disliking something decides the outcome of a game. All I want is to win. To that end, I will do anything in my power.
Kuroko: In order to win? Not in order to make your three-pointers?
Midorima: Of course. Three-pointers are nothing more than a means to achieve victory. (……I see. Threes are nothing more than a means to an end. If that’s the case, then…were there other options available to me? If I am fixated on making three-pointers, then my opponent will naturally devise countermeasures. I can incorporate some fakes into my shots, but that doesn’t mean I should use them every time. If so, then what should I do in order to achieve victory…?) ……!
Kuroko: Midorima-kun? Is something the matter?
Midorima: No, it’s nothing important. (Winning is what constitutes the pride of a king… And everyone at Shuutoku has taken that to heart. Each and every athlete does everything that is necessary for victory… Which means there must still be other things…I can do. And once I have done those things, won’t that be the first time I will truly be able to say I have done everything in my power? Heh…I see. So that is what I ought to be doing.)
Kuroko: Midorima-kun…did you laugh just now?
Midorima: No… I will do everything in my power to succeed. I just reaffirmed that. I know what I need to do before the Winter Cup. Hear me when I say that I won’t lose next time, Kuroko.
Kuroko: …is that so? Midorima-kun, do you mind if I give you just one piece of advice?
Midorima: …advice? What on earth might that be?
Kuroko: I think you should admit to yourself that there are people who rely on you.
Midorima: I don’t follow.
Kuroko: I told you before that Kagami-kun’s dunks are worth more than the points they score.
Midorima: Yes. You said they motivate the team.
Kuroko: But during the game today, I felt, without a doubt, that…your three-pointers serve to motivate your team.
Kuroko: Everyone at Shuutoku trusts you, Midorima-kun. But you have already realized that for yourself, haven’t you?
Midorima: …well, that’s one way of interpreting it.
Kuroko: You shouldn’t deny it. Because if you accept it, then…
Midorima: Then what?
Kuroko: You’ll enjoy basketball even more.
Midorima: Heh… That’s all it ever is with you.
Kuroko: Yes. Because I like basketball.
Midorima: Good grief. I thought I already told you that I don’t play basketball because I like or enjoy it. (Still…I feel as if I somewhat understand what Kuroko is saying.)
Kuroko: Ah! Midorima-kun, you just smiled a little, didn’t you?
Midorima: D-don’t be ridiculous! I am not smiling!
Kagami: Sheesh, where’d Kuroko get off to? You take your eyes off him for one second, and then he’s gone before you know it. Hm? That’s…? Hey, Midorima! You seen Kuroko around anywhere?
Midorima: Kagami? If you’re looking for Kuroko…
Kuroko: I’m right here.
Kagami: Whoaaa!! When did you get here?!
Kuroko: I’ve been with Midorima-kun the whole time.
Kagami: Geez, I’ve been looking for ya. People have been freaking out ‘cause you just up and disappeared.
Kuroko: I’m sorry. Midorima-kun and I were having a long conversation.
Kagami: Hmm? You and Midorima…?
Midorima: Hmph. I came out here to ponder some things, but it’s getting noisier by the minute.
Kagami: Yeah? Who’s bein’ “noisy”?!
Midorima: I’m relieved when I think that, now that the training camp is over, I won’t have to see your faces for a while.
Kagami: Same to you! Oh, but since we won the game, I’m still in a pretty good mood.
Midorima: We may have lost the practice game, but all that matters is that we win the real one. We’ll crush you twice during the Winter Cup.
Kagami: Huh? Twice?
Kuroko: We will probably have to face Shuutoku in the Tokyo district preliminaries before the Winter Cup. Then two schools from Tokyo move on to Nationals.
Kagami: You mean that if both we and Shuutoku make it through the preliminaries, then there’s a possibility that we’ll have to face them again at Nationals?
Midorima: But then, that’s only if you don’t lose somewhere along the line. It won’t be just Aomine, Kise, and me at Nationals…Akashi and Murasakibara will be there, as well.
Kagami: They’re the other two members of the “Generation of Miracles”, right? Heheh. That sounds perfect. If I can, I’d like to go up against all of ‘em. We’ll defeat every single one and be number one in Japan!
Midorima: …Kagami, this is why I can’t stand guys like you…
[the other Seirin members rush onto the scene]
Koganei: Oh, there they are! I found Kuroko and Kagami!
Izuki: You never came back, so we thought even Kagami had gone missing.
Hyuuga: Man, you’re supposed to be part of the search party, but you disappeared, too! That’s like sending out a mummy hunter just for him to get turned into a mummy himself.
Kagami: I-I’m sorry…
Kiyoshi: Hey, now, Hyuuga, you can say what you like, but Kuroko is not a mummy.
Hyuuga: I know that, dammit! Ahh, geez, you’re gettin’ on my nerves!
[the other Shuutoku members rush onto the scene]
Takao: Oh, look, there he is! So you were out here, Shin-chan.
Midorima: …oh, Takao? What’s wrong?
Kimura: Don’t give me that! Sheesh, you’re the one who was wandering all over the place.
Tsuchida: Oh? You were out looking for someone, too?
Ootsubo: Yeah. We have a meeting at night, but we couldn’t find Midorima anywhere.
Midorima: It’s already that late…? I lost track of time.
Miyaji: Geez. If one of the regulars is missing, it sets a bad example for the rest of the club members! …wait a sec, you’ve got a basketball! Don’t tell me you were practicing!
Midorima: …well, just a light workout.
Fukuda: Wow… We had a game today, but he’s still out here practicing this late.
Furihata: It’s not just his talent that sets him apart from the crowd…it’s the amount of practice he does, too…
Kawahara: Talent aside, we need to make sure we at least practice as much as he does.
Takao: Oh, come on, now. You say you were out here practicing, but weren’t you actually just pining for a friend from your old school?
Midorima: Takao. Save the sleep talk for when you’re actually asleep.
Takao: Whoa! Easy, it was just a joke!
Riko: Hello—? You never came back! What’re you doing out here? Geez, is it too much to ask for you to keep it down? That’s what you get with boys, I guess… We’re heading home tomorrow, so make sure you’ve got everything packed up and ready to go!
Hyuuga: Crap. If we don’t get back to the room in a hurry, she’s gonna increase the amount of practice we have to do back at school.
Izuki: We found Kuroko and Kagami, so let’s head back.
Ootsubo: We’re heading back, too. We’re having a meeting in the room.
Miyaji: Yes, Captain!
Kagami: I guess we should head in, too.
Kuroko: You’re right.
Midorima: Kuroko! The next time we meet will be at the Winter Cup.
Kuroko: …that’s right.
Midorima: Do the best you can. I won’t forgive any unsightly losses before you face us. We’re the ones who are going to defeat you.
Kagami: Hah! You’ve said it now. No matter how many games we play, we’re gonna win ‘em all.
Kuroko: Let’s both do our best, Midorima-kun.
Midorima: Yes. We will definitely compete on the national stage.
– – –
Click a page number below to continue