Daiki actually wasn't sure who of their group started it, but it was pretty obvious to all of them once they actually thought about it. Akashi had the annoying habit of mother henning all of them, to the point where Daiki has mentally dubbed him "Mom". It only made sense then that Captain Nijimura was the "Dad" of the group.
He even acted like it! There was no other way to describe his habit of literally hunting Haizaki down for practice and beating the guy up when he acted out of line. He also wasn't afraid to hit Daiki or Murasakibara if they got out of hand, which was rather rare in all fairness.
Despite it being a running joke between Daiki, Satsuki, Midorima, Murasakibara, and now Tetsu, they had never mentioned it to either their captain or vice-captain. But Tetsu wasn't one to care for social niceties like ensuring his friends' survival following a bomb drop.
"Tou-san, I have been struggling in my science classes recently; could you help me?"
You could hear a pin drop in the silence that followed Tetsu's blunt question. Thankfully, the other second and third-years had all already left, Haizaki behind them, leaving Nijimura and the rest of the first-years the only ones there. But the others had all gone silent as they stared at the clearly insane shadow.
Murasakibara stopped eating his snacks, looking bewildered.
Midorima's lucky item fell out of his hand.
Satsuki looked like she wasn't sure what to even think of the blue-haired boy.
Akashi looked up from the clipboard in Nijimura's right hand and quirked an eyebrow at the other boy.
Daiki was praying for Tetsu's life.
And Nijimura…just lifted his other hand, ruffled the shadow's hair, and said, "Sure thing, Kuroko, we can go to Maji Burger once everything's put up and I can help you out." He hadn't even bothered looking up from his clipboard!
Tetsu glowed slightly with the force of his small smile. "Arigato, Tou-san."
Akashi's second eyebrow joined his first before he looked at Nijimura. "Captain, is there something you wish to tell us?"
Now Nijimura looked puzzled, and presented Tetsu to the redhead with a joking flourish. "Congratulations, it's a boy? And look, he has your smile." Now their captain was clearly teasing his second in command, who huffed but allowed a small smile to escape.
"I'm not sure I want to understand why you're doing this."
It was Tetsu who answered, though he might just be digging his grave even deeper. "It is because Nijimura-senpai is Father, and thus Akashi-kun is Mother."
Again, silence reigned over the group as the others tried to gauge what their captain and vice-captain thought of the names. Akashi was blinking, obviously trying to come to terms with what he had just heard, while Nijimura looked like he was already aware of the nicknames and had simply been ignoring it, if his own curious staring at Akashi was anything to go by. Finally, the redhead sighed before looking at his leader. "What did Kuroko get from you if he has my smile?" he asked, morbidly curious.
Nijimura snorted. "That's easy; he got his ability to put up with all of this crazy shit from me, of course."
As amusing as this all was, it wasn't brought up again.
At least, it wasn't brought up again until they went to a training camp in their second year with their hyper-active newest recruit. Akashi seemed pleased with recruiting him; Nijimura just sighed and asked Tetsu if his childhood friend was interested in joining their team. Tetsu's response that no, he did not seemed to be either disappoint or relieve Nijimura. Daiki honestly couldn't tell.
(He honestly didn't know what that even meant, either; maybe Tetsu would tell him later.)
Akashi had somehow managed to have Nijimura put in the same cabin as the rest of the Miracles (and it probably said something that, these days, Nijimura didn't even bother looking surprised by all of the stunts his "wife" and "kids" pulled), and halfway through their first night at the camp Kise began fidgeting like nothing else and managed to wake Daiki up from the sounds as well. They had recently begun filling Kise in on the whole "Mom and Dad" thing, so it didn't entirely surprise Daiki that the blonde finally woke up and breathed heavily for a moment then padded over to Nijimura's bed.
"Papa?" Kise tried, somewhat hesitantly but it made sense; it was the middle of the night and Kise hadn't called their captain that before.
It still seemed to do the trick, though, because Nijimura shifted at the call and woke up. "Kise?" he asked softly, half-rising out of the bed. "What's wrong?"
The blonde sniffled quietly. "I had a nightmare, Papa. Can I…can I sleep with you?"
Daiki was actually stunned at the request and how much Kise acted like Nijimura was his real dad, but the captain proved to be unruffled by this kind of shit even at 3 in the freaking morning when he just went with it. "Sure," he yawned, moving over in his bed and providing Kise a spot to wiggle into, which he quickly did. The second-year power forward listened as the blonde's sniffles eventually tapered into soft breaths, and quickly went to sleep as well, before Nijimura figured out he was up.
Daiki woke up just in time to see Akashi shaking Nijimura awake. Kise had tucked his head under their "Dad's" chin in the night, and was basically cuddling the guy, but the redhead didn't seem too upset.
Nijimura didn't twitch as his eyes flew open, taking in his vice-captain standing beside him. The two communicated silently, just looking at one another until Akashi looked away with a small smile and Nijimura began untangling himself from Kise.
He actually managed to get out of the bed without waking the blonde, to Daiki's astonishment and he felt his respect for his "Dad" go up at the fact. Their "parents" talked quietly for a moment, before Nijimura left to make sure everyone was getting up and that breakfast was almost ready, and Akashi turned to take in the whole room.
"Wake up, everyone. Begin getting ready for the day." Daiki jumped out of the bed at the redhead's tone, while the others immediately woke up and began scrambling out of their own beds.
They got dressed rather quickly, and arrived at the mess hall to see Nijimura there already, some of his year mates next to him as they ribbed him about something or other, judging by their laughs and his long-suffering expression. Daiki saw Akashi twitch at the sight and wasn't surprised that the Miracle leader was walking straight over there, but he could admit to being rather happy that the other third-years took one look at the vice-captain and immediately hightailed it out of there.
Akashi smugly tucked himself into Nijimura's side, who gave him a grateful nod and showed him the schedule for the day as they shared a plate of food. Daiki snorted a little.
Not married his ass.
Satsuki, from what Daiki could understand, had joked about their married leaders but had never believed in it herself. Even a year into the club, and she was still skeptical about the whole thing.
And then Nijimura beat up a group of rowdy boys that had been harassing her within an inch of their lives.
No one else on the team knew much of what happened, only that Nijimura showed up to practice one day with raw knuckles and a slight black eye – absolutely freaking Akashi out in the process if his hovering was a sign – and that Satsuki was equally as skittish, making sure that their captain was comfortable as he stood to the side and kept watch over their practice.
The next day brought enough of an explanation for Daiki to be content. "Daddy!" Satsuki called, jogging to Nijimura and showing him her clipboard. "I got information on the next team we're going to face!"
Everyone else gaped as their stern captain looked up, smiled at the pinkette, ruffled her hair slightly and took a quick look at the clipboard. "Arigato, Momoi. This looks wonderful." Satsuki sparkled at their Dad (while the capitalization remained, Daiki had removed the mental air-quotes from the word at this point), which made Kise begin whining.
"What's Momoi doing?" Midorima asked, staring at their sparkling manager in bewilderment.
Akashi briefly looked away from the clipboard he'd taken. "She's trying to be a Daddy's Girl, I believe."
"I thought that was Kise," Daiki snorted, spinning a basketball on his finger.
As sarcastic as the jab had been meant, there was a thread of truth in it. Given Akashi and Nijimura's temperaments, it made sense that Midorima and Murasakibara were Akashi's favorites while Tetsu, Kise, Satsuki and Daiki were Nijimura's. Their vice-captain's heart was just a little too closed, their captain's a little too open despite his rough demeanor, but none of them really minded.
It just meant that they matched one another well.
Daiki wasn't sure whose heart broke more when Nijimura was forced to give up being Captain to better care for his father, Nijimura or Akashi's.
The others wanted to argue as well when it happened, but they saw the bags forming under the father's eyes, saw how he was subtly leaning against their mother's shoulder to stay standing straight, and they couldn't say anything in the face of his fatigue.
Apparently Nijimura was raising his younger siblings in his parents' place since his father was in the hospital and his mother wouldn't leave her husband's side. He occasionally had to leave practice early, and Daiki had once seen him comfort his crying younger sister before walking her and his brother home.
Akashi had expressed his disgust in Nijimura's mother to them before, but they could all see the loneliness in his eyes so their former leader didn't get mad at him whenever the redhead went on a particularly vicious diatribe around his exhausted husband.
Nijimura told them before the other first-string members that his family was moving to America for his father's treatment, and Akashi outright left the room at that. When Midorima went to follow after him, their Dad raised his hand. "I'll talk to him, Midorima," the black-haired teen reassured, walking to the doors. "I probably deserve whatever he does when I go." None of them agreed with that last part, but were relieved that they weren't in the line of fire.
They returned 15 minutes later, one of Nijimura's arms draped over Akashi's shoulders, one of Akashi's hands gripping tightly to Nijimura's shirt.
When their Dad graduated, Daiki accepted the hair ruffle and watched as their parents hugged for the last time in who knows how long, trying to ignore the growing apathy in his heart.
The next year was hell, and broke all of them.
The blue-haired teen tried at first tried to continue going to practices, but it just grew tedious and saddening. No one could beat him, and that just dogged and wore away at him until he couldn't bring himself to go. Tetsu tried to convince that it would get better, but it never did. And, while he was acting up, Murasakibara decided to rebel against Mom for the first time that they've ever seen.
Murasakibara had never mutinied before. Whenever it looked as if he was thinking about it, Nijimura seemed to sense it, and an ominous light would enter his eyes, as if daring his most juvenile child to act up so that he could remind him why Akashi was the center's favorite parent. That look alone had quelled the giant child every time, his eyes wide and cringing behind Akashi.
Now, though, Dad wasn't there, and the firm hand that he had quietly used on them this entire time was gone, Mom not able to imitate it. So Murasakibara lashed out, and it broke their Mother. He became vicious, ruthless, cold, almost uncaring if it weren't for the concern in his red eye and the desperate longing in his gold eye whenever their Dad was mentioned.
"Shuuzou would understand," he insisted, half certain and half frightened, and Daiki silently dubbed this new Akashi their Stepmom.
Daiki watched as the court was filled with different teams, Kaijou, Shuutoku, Yosen and even the rest of Touou in the front. "So Mom really is back," he said, his eyes on Akashi, who shook the hand of Seirin's captain, smiling and happy despite the loss and tears in his two red eyes.
Touou's ace allowed his eyes to wander to his old shadow, who was hugging that orange-haired Ogiwara kid, crying. Abruptly a memory came to him.
"So this Kise is joining the team…hey Kuroko, just to ask, is your childhood friend interested in joining the team? Want to have all of my bases covered."
"No, Tou-san; Ogiwara-kun wants to play against me, not with me."
"Hmm…oh well, it was worth a shot."
Daiki shook his head and snickered. "So that's what Dad meant two years ago." Satsuki shot him a confused look but he just gestured to Tetsu, letting her fill in her own blanks. "I wonder what we'll do now," he mused, looking at the ceiling. "I mean, yeah we'll train and play against each other still, but the big battle is done. Tetsu's made his point pretty fucking clear, Mom's back, what next?"
"Daddy comes home," Satsuki answered promptly.
Daiki snapped his head to her, and smiled. "Let's hope so; I kinda miss the old man."
Satsuki hit him on the head. "Aomine-kun! Daddy's only a year older than us!"
The power forward yawned and ignored her.
"So when are you and your friend from LA showing up?" Taiga asked, still in the locker room with the others.
Tatsuya sounded rather excited. "We planned to show up near the end, so we won't be too in the way. Your coach doesn't mind?"
Taiga could feel a sweatdrop forming. "Um…I haven't exactly told her yet…"
There was a pause before Tatsuya laughed, the bastard. "Well, at least I'll be nearby to collect your body for proper burial rites."
"Shut up!" He shut the phone, glaring at the device and hoping that Tatsuya could feel it somehow. When he heard the silence that had overtaken the room, he looked up. All of their senpai were looking at Taiga with incredulous eyes, obviously wondering how he could forget to tell their coach about whatever this is.
"Tatsuya's coming by with a friend of his who moved here recently, to introduce him to me," Taiga explained, shoving his phone into his bag and carrying it to the gym with the others.
"Next time give me a warning, Bakagami!" Their coach yelled as she overheard his explanation, hitting him with a clipboard as punishment.
Things started fairly normal, with Taiga and Kuroko practicing their teamwork and trying to get the other first-years a chance to figure out what they excel at.
And then it got weird because, one by one, all of the Generation of Miracles began showing up, all of them offering nods to the coach, captain, and Kuroko before finding seats and just watching. They didn't say much to Seirin, talking amongst themselves. Murasakibara appeared at some point and just sat beside Aomine and Momoi. Akashi showed up last, looking somewhat confused but greeting everyone cordially and sitting near Midorima.
"What the hell is going on?" Taiga whispered to the rest of Seirin when they gathered together for a moment.
"Hell if I know, but it's pissing me off," Captain snarled, shooting glares at the colorful heads on the benches.
"Something is going to happen here," Kuroko revealed, looking certain but confused. When the others asked, the shadow just shrugged. "I don't know what it is, but we can all feel it," he insisted.
Aomine apparently heard Kuroko and snorted. "Maybe Tetsu wants to have Kagami adopted?" He suggested loudly, prompting Midorima, Kise and Momoi to gasp and look at them. Kuroko stared back, before nodding.
"I was indeed hoping to do such a thing, but I hadn't planned for it to be today. I would have told Kaa-san ahead of time."
"Were you planning to have him adopted the traditional way, or make him an in-law?" Aomine asked, clearly amused.
Before the gaspers could further interrogate Kuroko or Seirin could ask what the hell was going on, Akashi interrupted. "I won't make any decision regarding adoption without your Father here as well." The other Generation of Miracles fell into a sheepish silence, and Kuroko nodded.
…What the hell?
"Oi, Taiga! What's with all of the shouting?"
Seirin's ace turned to the doors, and smiled at his aniki. "Tatsuya, you made it! So where's your friend?"
Tatsuya turned to look behind himself, and sighed. "Probably couldn't ignore that dog he saw." Taiga heard Kuroko mumble about Nigou as Tatsuya stuck his head outside of the doors and shout, "Hurry up, Shuu!" There was a pause until Tatsuya appeared again, followed by another teen. He was a little shorter than Tatsuya, and had black hair and sharp grey eyes. Tatsuya nudged him to move forward, and the teen did so with a scowl at the taller boy. "Taiga, this is my friend, Nijimura Shuuzou."
Taiga was going to greet him properly when Aomine interrupted. "Holy shit, it's Dad!"
Seirin's ace turned to glare at him, but was surprised to see that every single Miracle, Kuroko included, looked like they'd just been clubbed in the head. Kise woke up first from Aomine's shout, and lunged toward Nijimura ecstatically, shouting, "Papa!"
Nijimura looked mildly surprised to see the Miracles, but took the tackle-hug without even falling and instead wrapped an arm around the blonde in a half-hug. "Hey there Kise. I seen you've grown." That one greeting seemed to break the Miracles out of their shocked stupor, and they all jumped to their feet.
"Tou-san?!" Kuroko actually looked surprised, which just made this even more surreal to Seirin.
"Father!" Midorima's lucky item, a brick, fell from his hand with a loud thump.
"Daddy!" Both Momoi and Murasakibara shouted this one, the manager running to join Kise in hugging Nijimura.
"Holy shit," Taiga heard Aomine repeat, not taking his eyes away from the other boy who had started walking further into the room, followed by a laughing Tatsuya.
The two clinging to Nijimura promptly detached from him, and Taiga figured out why when he saw Akashi standing in front of Nijimura, a hand on his face. Whatever the black-haired teen said, it made Akashi hug him tightly, the redhead's face buried in his neck as he shook. Nijimura hugged the other boy back, but something about it just seemed…right.
"What's going on?" Taiga asked his shadow, who looked a moment away from sprinting to the two embracing each other.
"Mother and Father have reunited," was all Kuroko would say, and the smile on his face made it hard to disbelieve him.
"So," Nijimura asked, once everyone had settled down and the teen could sit down. Akashi was right next to him, tucked into his side, but no one said anything about it. "I heard something about adopting?"
There was a pause, before Kuroko gracelessly pushed Taiga forward, who then went flailing into Nijimura's line of sight. The teen appraised Taiga silently for a tense minute, before grinning and nudging Akashi. "Look," he cried, sounding almost excited, "we found the one that got your hair!"
While Taiga spluttered in response, Akashi nudged him in return. "And your temper," he shot back, but the smile on his face could be described as nothing but fond.
"Probably," Nijimura agreed. "Just look at that scowl!"
Did Taiga get any say in this?