you are a s h a d o w
its not really something you can explain, and you weren't always this way. once upon a time you were just as noticeable as any other child--that in itself was probably not that impressive, come to think of it. everyone is just a face in another sea of faces, so maybe you weren't really anything special then, either. just another child going to school, playing on the playground, skinning his knees. but at the very least, people saw you, in some fashion. you didn't really turn into a shadow until you started playing basketball. you didn't become invisible to those around you until you started to strive for something. you begin playing basketball because you developed a love for the game; you stayed with it because ogiwara.
that's why its so devastating when you look back and see what you'd become at the hands of the generation of miracles.
your foray into a basketball team early in your career is an adventure. by then you're already growing invisible to those around you, which is fine, you suppose, because it gives you more time to yourself. you never were the most outgoing child, you far preferred to sit in silence and watch those around you than actively participate. basketball is the first thing you've really felt passion for. joining the team in junior high seemed only fitting. but you, well, you are weak. you've accepted that as fact all these years and there's very little you can do about it. you're shorter than most of the others, you don't have a body really fit for the physical endurance it takes. no amount of training is really going to turn you into a first string leader (despite the fact you were simply shocked that you were sorted into the third string); but you have your ace.
they say that you're invisible because of your weak presence. its more of an insult when you're younger than it is now, because you've come so far with that "weak presence". your talents lay not in your physical ability but in the fact that people don't even see you. aomine was really one of the first to notice you, to become your friend even though he was a first string. but you're not able to reach that standard, the bar is just too high, and even though you don't want to give up on it, you wonder if there's any choice left for you. it is aomine that inspires you to stay because, maybe one day, you'll be an asset; he admires your passion and drive, your love for the game.
because you are a shadow, you are a master of the art of misdirection.
your ability to shoot a pass, fingers barely grazing the ball, to one of your stronger teammates (at that time aomine, but later kagami), has made you a trump card. you are no last line of defense or last resort, you are a highly adaptable secret weapon. no one notices you're on the court and, when they do, its too late, you've already captured their shock and attention, and by then, its almost always too late. its not the way everyone else plays basketball, but you have made it your own, you have grown into this talent of yours the same way the other members of the later named generation of miracles do.
its too late to change things when you realize that aomine is drifting further and further away from you.
he gets cocky in his abilities, though its not without reason. however, you notice he's begun to lose sight of what they were playing for; its no fun when there's no one to rival you. the more aomine destroyed the morale of the players opposing you, the less fun everything seemed to be. in the end, this wasn't why you joined a team, this wasn't the game you were looking for. but you stayed because they were your friends and because you still had a place--even if your light didn't need his shadow anymore. it seemed as though everything you knew about light and shadow was untrue. the two could exist without one another and one day, you wouldn't be useful anymore. not to aomine, not to any light you tried to shadow.
everyone else fell apart quickly after that. one by one they each realized they had something special to them, like your ability to be invisible to those around you, and the team began to change; and not for the better. cocky and arrogant, intent on destroying opponents and winning became their soul motivators. when it finally came time for you to play in a game against your childhood friend, ogiwara, you couldn't even do that. watching them play was like watching a war in progress; it made you sick. somewhere along the way everyone lost direction, lost what it meant to be a team (were they ever really a team?) and hearing that ogiwara was so victimized by them that he quit playing was that final nail in the coffin. you didn't need that. this wasn't what this game was all about.
he said that he was scared by the cold eyes of your teammates but that yours still held some warmth.
unable to continue this way, you had to leave. there was no sport in a game played that provided no challenge. there was no use in staying on a team that was never really a team to begin with. you're later asked why you left, with kise's intense eyes staring at you in the same way they always did. you loved to play, you loved being aomine's shadow, you loved your teammates, but when priorities shifted, you started to hate it. you hated it. theirs wasn't the dream that you had, that wasn't the game you wanted to play. team-work, respect for the game, challenge, hard-earned victory, fun. that's why you joined, your passion for the game, your desire to be part of something bigger. there's no use in staying on a team that didn't need you. someone out there would need you. somewhere, there was a light that was just looking for his shadow.
for the s u n, not moon
the first time you see kagami you are nothing but blinded by his light.
its the same light you saw in aomine when you decided that you could be his shadow. and kagami has a spirit and drive, the most immense passion for the game that you've ever seen. well, perhaps not ever, because everyone in the generation of miracles had this passion. their goals just got skewed along the way. you decided, even before he knew who you were, that you wanted to be his shadow. him, his light, his spirit, everything about him is just so beautiful that you can't help but want to be part of it. since your own goal is to go against every member of the generation of miracles, to try and remind them why they started playing in the first place, you know that there's something special about kagami.
he's reluctant and he doesn't realize that you chose him and that's why you offer to help. the generation of miracles will destroy him and that seems to spur him further. every time he gets knocked down, he gets back up. it is inspiring. this was just what you've been looking for, someone that can give the others a run for their money. he may make it, if he trains enough, if he awakens whatever power it is he may have. pledging to be his shadow, you already know all about the members of the generation of miracles (strengths, weaknesses) and you can help lead him to that victory he wants. kagami doesn't think much of you, heck, you're sure he doesn't even like you, but he accepts your help, and that is enough for you.
its your face-off against kise and his team that really solidifies what you'd been hoping to find.
because you know kise, you know he is a copycat. you also know that you are his greatest weakness (in more ways than one, if you're being totally honest). he pushes everyone to their limits, you included, and even being wounded doesn't break your resolve to bring this team to victory--even if it is a practice match. kise needs to realize that all his arrogance will get him nowhere. he needs to realize that you're finally part of a team and you feel like you belong, you feel appreciated even if you are invisible. though, like anyone would know that with your deadpan manner and lack of humor (sometimes you surprise people though with humor so dry that it may as well be flour). you're so straight-forward you are painfully blunt and honest. and it is that blunt honesty that makes you reject kise's invitation to join his team. you reject him the same way he rejected you years prior.
you, bitter? absolutely not.
your history is one that most people don't know, your relationship with kise spans far deeper than most would imagine. he is notoriously flirty, he is charming, but also exceptionally bad with women. he's not much better with men, either, you come to find out. he does his song and dance, wipes his face, and you just feel the sting of upset that only being rejected can bring ('i don't like you like that kurokicchi, i'm sorry!'). maybe that's what ruined your friendship more than being forgotten by the generation of miracles, and you hate that you still want to be his friend, as much as you shower him with cold indifference. he notices you when no one else does. even kagami forgets you're around sometimes--though, you don't blame him, because honestly, he's kagami and kise is an idiot.
kise's loss hits him like a slap to the face. you see it on him, you know that this is his first loss ever; but you and kagami aren't to be taken lightly, and that message needs to get across to the others. some might call it revenge, but you don't see it that way. to you, its proving that everyone is important in the game, everyone matters, and that the whole goal is to enjoy yourself. once upon a time you thought victory was everything, these days you're thinking much clearer. strangely enough, later, after you've had dinner and kise confronts you with the question on why you left, it feels strangely like home to be around him. the street ball game that ensues at the expense of local bullies reminds you why you liked playing with him. like kagami, he is also beautiful, but unlike kagami, he has his own shadow.
to you, kise is the moon and kagami is the sun. one day, kagami may be a planet of his own, but right now he only shines withe intensity of the biggest star in the sky. he doesn't make his own shadow, his brightness needs your darkness. kise, on the other hand, well, he's never needed you. like the moon, he has his own light, he casts his own shadow kise's never really needed you to help him along the way.
and maybe that's what hurts you most of all.
who needs a shadow?
reuniting with all your old teammates, if they can be called that, isn't nearly as painful as knowing that none of them need you. you question your role in this game; should you even be here? but you're helping lead seirin to victory and that, well, that feels good. they're a team, more so than teiko's team ever was. that's not the place for you, it never was. you don't belong on a team that's lost sight of what the game is really about. you belong here. the other generation members try to get you to come to their schools, they don't understand why you've chosen such an obscure place to go to school when you could be great. but...how great can you be on your own? they don't want you to join their teams because you should, they tell you to join because they want your power. they want the darkness of your shadow.
after winning against kise's team, you head on to the inter high preliminaries to compete against shutoku; where you will face off with midorima. he's always been strange to you, but, well, you're probably strange to everyone else. before that comes your fight against shinkyo and seiho--they feel like child's play to you. you're not really sure what that means--are you getting better? stronger? it doesn't matter. what matters is seeing your old teammate with his taped fingers and his oha asa and totems. facing midorima's team seems like a challenge you're not ready for--the foreboding feeling of being noticed by one of their members. that's never really happened before and you're torn between feeling good about it and feeling sick. do you really want to be invisible? some days, you're not sure. you're just so used to being how you are that being noticed makes you uncomfortable.
it shouldn't feel that way.
is that your lot in life? where can you go after school, what job will allow an invisible, weak presence like your own? truthfully, you don't see yourself playing basketball your whole life. for fun, maybe, but you'll never make it to the big leagues. so what can you do? your win against midorima feels strangely hollow, but seeing everyone so happy, well, you can't help but let their happiness fill you. finally, you are part of something greater, and the generation of miracles can and will know what its like to be part of something bigger. or, maybe, they won't. maybe they'll do as they've always done and ignore you, treat you as though you're the shadow you always claim to be. they were your friends once, they cared about you once (you want them to care about you again). for now, its competition and there's no room for friendships in competition.
when it comes to aomine, he is a terrifying force.
you've seen him up close, you were his shadow for so long. he blossomed first, finding his own skill set and patterns long before anyone else. he will be a problem, an adversary--you're not sure if you'd rather win or lose to him. however, seeing him, all arrogance and pride, you want to beat him. so you beg to stay in for the third quarter of your fight against his school; the same determination that got you so far in life will surely get you everywhere. twenty points is what you're losing by and even for someone as bright as kagami, you can see his light is fading. his passion, his determination, is always there, and it sets him on fire, but even his amazing jump and his dire need to win, to prove himself, isn't enough. with your stunning loss of fifty-seven points, aomine and his school dominate your team. and you have let everyone down.
aomine is right. a shadow cannot exist without light. without the light from others, you are rendered useless. one day, kagami won't need you. perhaps he doesn't even need you now. he won't talk to you afterwards, shuns you, and you go back to being all but invisible to him. kagami's light is just too bright, he is a force all his own. he doesn't need you.
one day, no one will need you at all.