NOTE: In order to stay as true as possible to the characters’ personalities and speech patterns, this fanfic is originally written in English narrative and Japanese dialog. However, since the majority of people cannot read Japanese, I have translated the story into several versions of languages. Feel free to visit the below page to read the original (it comes with a picture for chapter 2).
Need to refresh your memory on the characters? Click here.
Note: All lines that are bracketed with < > are thoughts.
It’s 5pm, Saturday. After a long day of fishing, Sendou packs up his gear and proceeds to walk home slowly. He’s caught three fish earlier but he has returned them all back to the sea. It’s not like he plans to cook them at home. After all he's not exactly big on seafood; he's more of a lemon person. It may be a little weird, he knows, but he simply enjoys that acidic taste.
He bites on a slice of lemon as he walks home, wondering what kind of excuse he should give Taoka sensei tomorrow for having skipped out on practice today (even though he typically ends up just telling the truth anyway). As he walks, he bumps into two familiar faces walking in the opposite direction.
Sendou: Ah, that’s Shohoku’s…
Miyagi: You idiot! Why did I have to be the one to pay when you’re the one who said you’re buying?
Sakuragi: I’m really sorry, Ryouchin! I didn’t think it would be that expensive!
Miyagi: I can’t believe you. If you don’t have enough money then why did you pick such a extravagant place?
Sakuragi: Because! This is the only one that's got flowers to the side of the road.
Miyagi: Who cares about the flowers?
Sakuragi: I do! It’s so much more romantic this way! Besides…
Sakuragi: I am “Hanamichi” after all…? [Note: Hanamichi literally means “flower road”]
Miyagi: Huh…?? Are you stupid or what! *hits Sakuragi in the head*
Sakuragi: Ouch…! *notices Sendou walking towards them* Hey… That’s Sendou.
Miyagi: Ah, you’re right.
Sendou: Yo. *smiles and waves*
Sakuragi: Oooh!! Sendou! I’m so gonna beat you!!
Miyagi hits him again: Don’t be ridiculous. *turns to Sendou* What a coincidence, Sendou san.
Sendou: A coincidence indeed. But please, you can just call me “Sendou”.
Miyagi: Oh… *notices the fishing gear* Were you… fishing?
Sendou: *looks at his gear* Ah yes, since this morning. I’m on my way home now.
Miyagi: Since morning…? Don’t Ryonan have practice today?
Sendou: Well… ^^; There is practice today but uh… Anyway, what about you? --> Totally averting the question. LOL.
Sakuragi: Ooh! Good question! We’re having a da—
Miyagi interrupts: Shut up. *blushes a little and hits him again* We were just having dinner around here.
Sendou: Isn’t it a little early for dinner…?
Sakuragi: That’s because we’re going for a romantic movie—
Miyagi: Be quiet! *stares fiercely*
Sakuragi: >_< Why… Ryouchin… *pouts*
Sendou: Hahaha… That sounds like fun. <Seems like these two are together… but I thought Sakuragi was all over Akagi’s sister?> In that case I shouldn’t hold you guys back any longer.
Sakuragi looks at his watch: Yikes! This is not good, Ryouchin! We gotta hurry now if we were to make it in time for the movie!
Miyagi: Oh, okay. See ya then, Sendou. Let’s do our best in basketball.
Sendou: Of course. See ya.
Sendou watches them as the two walk away, smiling to himself when he witnesses Sakuragi trying to hold Miyagi's hand only to once again get whacked in the head. <They’re so in love, aren’t they.> Then, he is about to turn around and continue his way home when he hears someone shout.
Passerby: Hey, watch out!!!
Sendou immediately turns around to see someone asleep on a bicycle riding towards him. They were almost going to crash when Sendou tactfully grabs and pulls the guy off the bike to prevent either of them from crashing into anything. The bike crashes into a tree upfront while the boys fall to the ground.
Rukawa: That hurts… *rubs his eyes as he wakes up*
Sendou: <Don’t tell me he was sleeping…>
Sendou: You okay?
Rukawa studies the surroundings and mumbles to himself: …Guess I fell asleep…
Sendou sweatdrops: <Is that his bad habit…?>
Rukawa shakes his head a bit to clear the dizziness in his head when he sees his crashed bike and gets up on his feet.
Rukawa: Thanks…I guess... for stopping me.
Sendou: Oh it was nothing. But I think it might be safer for you if you don’t ride your bike when you’re asleep next time.
Sendou: I guess your bike’s kinda done for. Were you on your way home?
Rukawa: …Yeah. I’ll be fine. I can still walk.
Rukawa then picks the bike up, its wheels slightly out of shape. Sendou watches Rukawa and Rukawa stares back after getting the bike back on its wheels. After an awkward moment of silent staring (cause both of them doesn't know what else to say next), Sendou smiles and casually asks.
Sendou: Was there practice at Shohoku today?
Rukawa: Only till mid afternoon.
Sendou: I see. Lemme guess, you’ve been practicing on your own outside after that till now?
Sendou: Hahaha. You’re really devoted aren’t you?
Rukawa interrupts: How bout a one-on-one.
Rukawa: We haven’t settled our score yet.
Sendou: Oh… right. <Or was it?> I don’t mind, but are you okay with that? I thought you’ve been playing since—
Rukawa: I don’t care.
Sendou: Isn’t it a little unfair to play against someone who’s tired—
Rukawa interrupts: I’m not tired.
Sendou sighs inaudibly and smiles: <He seems really motivated. Wonder if it’s because we can’t settle the score during the nationals instead.> Alright. Are we playing now or…?
Sendou nods and smiles to himself: Shall we go then?
And so they go to a nearby public basketball court, the one that Rukawa just practiced at actually. Half the court is already taken by a few middle schoolers, but at least they are able to get the other half to themselves. While Sendou take a few seconds to warm up, he smiles as he watches the middle schoolers play.
Sendou: You were from Tomigaoka middle school weren’t you?
Sendou smiles at the kids again: Looking at those kids makes me wonder how you look like back then.
Rukawa sweat drops: ……
Sendou: Well then, since we’re settling a score, how bout we make a bet?
Rukawa: …A bet?
Sendou: It won’t be fun without one, would it?
Sendou: You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to.
Rukawa: <Bastard… He’s looking down on me.> Fine. What’s the condition?
Sendou: The first to enter ten shots wins. And then the winner gets to decide. How’s that?
Rukawa: Hmph. Fine with me.
And so they start playing, and from the moment they do the middle schoolers stop their own game to watch the two challenge each other. Though just a one-on-one, the two look like they're in their own world where they can only see each other and the ball. It is a close match, but unfortunately for Rukawa he still loses by two shots. Tired, Rukawa bends over with his hands on his knees as he takes a breather while Sendou casually rests on a bench.
Sendou: Hahaha… That was close.
Sendou: You’re really something though, Rukawa, considering you only lost by two shots despite the fact that you were already—
Rukawa remains stubborn and interrupts: I’m not tired.
Sendou smiles: Whatever you say.
Rukawa continues to rest for another minute before he asks: …So what now?
Sendou: Oh right. *pauses to think as he stares at the sky* …You guys have practice again tomorrow, right? What time does it end?
Rukawa: …One o’clock. <…I think>
Sendou: <Great, right about the same as us.> In that case, let’s meet here tomorrow at two.
Rukawa: …Are we having a rematch?
Sendou: Nope. *He smiles as he points to his fishing gear* You’re going fishing with me.
Rukawa: …Fishing? <Was he holding any gear just now?> --> totally didn't notice
Sendou: You okay with that, right?
Rukawa: …It’s fine.
Sendou: Awesome. Then it’s settled. *Smiles, happy that he's finally 'found' himself someone to go fishing with* Oh by the way, should I get you something as reward? You worked really hard today after all.
Rukawa: =_=# No thanks. <Idiot.>
The next day during practice, Shohoku, 10:00am.
Sakuragi: Ryouchin, pass pass!
Guarded by center Akagi, Miyagi finds no good chances of passing the ball to Sakuragi and thus passes it to Rukawa, who's in a much better position, instead.
Sakuragi: Aaaa Ryouchin! Why did you pass to that Rukawa??
Rukawa rushes for an offense. He’s ready and goes for a shoot when Sakuragi leaps and smacks the ball away with his gori-jikiden-haetataki... which makes everyone narrow their eyes.
Miyagi sweatdrops: Hanamichi…
Akagi: You idiot!! *punches Sakuragi in the head* What the hell are you blocking our own teammate for?!
Some of the people start laughing. On the side, Ayako chuckles to herself while thinking.
Ayako: <That boy… I wonder why he’s still so fixated about Rukawa now that he’s no longer infatuated with Haruko…>
Sakuragi: Ah Gori! Sorry sorry! I didn’t mean to do it! It just sort of accidentally…
Akagi: *strangles/chokes him* What do you mean accidentally? It’s obvious you did it on purpose, you moron!
Rukawa sighs: What an idiot…
Ayako: Akagi-senpai! Anzai-sensei says he has an announcement to make!
Akagi: Oh, alright. Everyone, fall in!
Anzai: Good job, everyone. You have practiced very well. I’m sorry for this sudden announcement, but we will be having a practice match with XX High from next door today at one in the afternoon.
Akagi: Anzai-sensei, why is it so sudden…?
Anzai: Hoh hoh hoh… Their coach came all the way here and directly requested me, I didn’t have the heart to refuse. Practice will therefore end later today, but if any of you have something to attend to, you are free to leave as per usual. Hoh hoh hoh…
Akagi: I see. Well then, is there anyone who can’t make it?
Rukawa raises his arm... low.
Ayako: Oh, Rukawa… <I can’t imagine him attending to anything else other than basketball.> --> LOL
Rukawa: I’ll be there for the match, but I’d like to make a phonecall before that…
Ayako: Oh I see. Well then, feel free to call now.
Rukawa: But uh…
Ayako tilts her head at Rukawa's hesitance.
Rukawa: I don’t have the person’s number.
Ayako almost falls over while the rest sweat drops. Indeed, Rukawa doesn't know Sendou's number.
Rukawa: Does senpai have anyone’s number from Ryonan’s basketball club?
Some people start whispering: Ryonan…?
Ayako: Umm, I guess I do have their manager’s number…
Rukawa: That will work. Thank you.
And so he gets Hikoichi's number from Ayako and walks out of the court to the nearest phone booth when the some of the boys start gossiping amongst themselves.
Mitsui: Ryonan? What kind of business could it be? Don’t tell me he’s having some sort of secret training with the enemy?
Akagi: That can’t be possible.
Miyagi: If it’s got to do with Ryonan, it’s probably ‘that guy’, no?
Mitsui: ‘That guy’…?
Akagi: You mean Sendou.
Sakuragi: Whaaat?? I’m the one to beat Sendou!
Akagi: As if you can! *punches him again*
Mitsui: Hahaha! Dream on, Sakuragi.
At the phone booth, Rukawa calls Hikoichi (cell phone) and luckily, he picks it up. It seems like they're having a short break time as well. (The power of fanfics... =P) While still on the line, Rukawa asks Hikoichi to get Sendou to pick the phone....
Rukawa: It’s me.
Sendou: O_o! Rukawa?
Rukawa: Practice ends late today. I don’t think I can go fishing with you.
Sendou: Oh, I see…
Rukawa: …Yeah. --> He really doesn't talk much, does he? Poor Sendou.
Sendou: In that case, can you promise to come next week?
Sendou laughs softly on the other end: Hahaha… “Maybe”… eh. Alright. I’ll see you then. Good luck with practice.
Rukawa: …… *and then he just hangs up*
Sendou: o__o.... *sigh* <Not even a word… I guess that’s just like him.>
As Sendou hangs up Hikoichi's phone, he remembers something and lightly face-palms himself.
Sendou: <Aw… I forgot to ask for his number…>
Back in the court, some of the boys start teasing Rukawa, especially Mitsui.
Mitsui: Yo, Rukawa. Don’t blame me for asking cause it’s only natural, so spill it. What business do you have with Ryonan eh?
Rukawa finds it annoying. Mitsui's practically being a busybody, even though it's not hard to understand why they'd be, but still, it's annoying. Right here right now, he could choose to either tell the whole story or make a poor excuse. But to him, it’s troublesome either way. He’d rather just cut the answer so much shorter.
Rukawa: It’s a secret.
Most everyone else who heard them: Ooo!!
Mitsui: Oh really? So you are doing something sneaky with their captain eh?
Miyagi: I don’t think anyone wants to hear that from you, Mitsui san. Who is it again sneakily meeting up with a certain someone from Shoyo...?
Mitsui goes red in the ears and cheeks: Wh-what are you talking about?
Sakuragi: Ooh! Is our Micchii in love too?
Mitsui: Don’t be stupid. I—
Akagi interrupts: What are you chit chatting about?? We’re in the middle of practice! If you’ve got all that time to talk you might as well run fifty laps around the court!
And so they are all forced to run fifty rounds, and Mitsui blames Miyagi for it while Miyagi in turn blames Mitsui. LOL
Rukawa sighs inaudibly: <*Sigh*…>
A week later on Saturday, close to 2pm, Sendou’s playing basketball with a few middle schoolers at the basketball court as he waits for Rukawa. Neither of them have talked or seen each other since last Saturday, and to be honest Sendou isn’t even sure if Rukawa would come. After all Rukawa hasn’t called again to confirm anything and god knows if he remembers about today, but it doesn’t hurt to give it a chance.
Sendou scores a ball again, laughing casually: That’ll have been my fifteenth shot.
Kid#1: That’s so unfair! You’re too tall!
Sendou: Am I? *naturally puts a hand on the top of his head*
Kid#2: We can’t play a game like this. Besides, aren’t you a pro in the first place?
Sendou looks somewhat surprised: Pro…? Haha, you flatter me.
Kid#1: You’re not? We can’t even enter a single shot.
Sendou: Hahaha. I’m from high school after all, y’know.
Kid#2: What do you mean by that? *pouts*
Sendou continues to laugh and joke with the kids when one of them points a finger at someone behind them.
Kid#1: Someone’s staring at you.
Sendou turns around to see Rukawa resting against a tree with his arms folded.
Sendou: Rukawa! *walks over towards him* You came? Why didn’t you call me?
Rukawa: …You looked like you were having fun.
Sendou: Yeah, but still you could have called. I’ve been waiting.
Rukawa looks over at the kids: …You continuing?
Sendou: Huh? Oh, no. I was just playing while waiting for you.
And so Sendou tells the kids that he has to go and waves them goodbye before he proceeds to go to the jetty. He’s brought two fishing poles this time and he’s wearing very casual – a white t-shirt and a pair of blue Bermudas. Rukawa, on the other hand, continues to wear Shohoku’s jersey pants along with his own black t-shirt. Obviously, he’s too lazy to change everything.
Sendou: To be honest I didn’t think you’d come.
Rukawa: …Why’s that.
Sendou: You never called again since then.
Rukawa: …Isn’t once enough? I confirmed last week.
Sendou: You did? <No way, you said “maybe.”>
Then suddenly he remembers something.
Sendou: Oh yeah, I forgot to ask for your cell number the other time.
Rukawa: I don’t have one.
Sendou: Eh? You don’t?
Sendou: Um… why not?
Rukawa: =_=; Cause I don’t. --> He’s lying. He actually has a few reasons but is too lazy to explain. LOL
Sendou: I see. In that case can you tell me your home number?
Sendou sweatdrops: Why…? ^^; Just in case… you know?
Rukawa: …I’ll tell you later.
And so they get the jetty and settle down their things. Sendou prepares their fishing poles and baits for them as he explains to Rukawa what and how to do it, even though it's written all over Rukawa's face that he's confused. Sendou can't help but laugh at Rukawa's indifference while Rukawa ignores him.
Sendou: We’re all set. Now all we’ve got to do is wait.
Rukawa: …Just… wait? <Seriously?>
Sendou: Yup. This will so train our patience.
Rukawa: =_=; … <It’s just a waste of time.>
And so they both sit along the edge of the jetty with their legs sticking out, and they wait... and wait. It's a good day today – sunny but a third cloudy, just enough so that they won't get sunburn. There's also the cool sea breeze to keep them comfortable... except... the silence between them is awkward, hella awkward.
Sendou chuckles: You’re really quiet aren’t you?
Rukawa: -__- ……
Sendou: We’ve got a lot of time. Let’s talk.
Rukawa: …Talk about what?
Sendou: Anything. Hobbies, for example.
They stare at each other awkwardly in silence for a few seconds before Sendou continues.
Sendou: For example, other than basketball, I really enjoy fishing. What about you?
Rukawa pauses to think for a few seconds before he answers.
Sendou laughs a little: I see. <For some reason I think I kinda knew that.> Then, what about your favorite food?
Rukawa: …I don’t know.
Sendou: Favorite color?
Sendou: When’s your birthday?
Rukawa: …New Year.
Sendou: Oh… really?
Rukawa: Is this an interrogation?
Sendou laughs again: I guess you really aren’t interested in anything outside of basketball.
Rukawa: …… *looks into the horizon, his hand still holding onto his pole*
Sendou: Well then, how was practice this morning?
That reminds Rukawa of all the annoying teasing he has to put through ever since last week. This morning was no exception, even though no one knows what plans he has for the day. They just sorta assumed, and went on and on about it, especially Sakuragi. Yeah, especially him.
Rukawa: Same as usual.
Sendou: I see. I suppose Akagi’s in tip top condition, but how’s Sakuragi doing? He keeps talking about how he’ll be the one to defeat me, but can I expect anything from him yet at this point?
Rukawa: …What are you expecting from an idiot? I’ll be the one to defeat you. Definitely.
Sendou sweatdrops: <Ah… I forgot he’s just the same.>
And then they're back to silence, which makes Sendou feel awkward again. He knows Rukawa doesn't talk much to begin with, but in a situation like this he can't help but feel like they should talk, like it's the best scenario to get to know each other. Just because Rukawa's known to be a cold prince doesn't mean no one should try being his friend. The way Sendou sees it, Rukawa hides a flood of unpredictable thoughts beneath that stoic mask, and he's curious to see it.
Thirty minutes later, Sendou is just about to open another conversation when he feels something on his right shoulder. Rukawa has fallen asleep. Sendou naturally stiffens at the thought that he now can't move, but then he sighs and smiles to himself. <His hobby’s to sleep eh…? He’s surprisingly defenseless.> Carefully, he takes the fishing pole from Rukawa's hand and holds it himself, just in case he hooks something and there goes the flying pole.
About an hour later, Sendou feels a tug on Rukawa's pole. The tug pulls at Sendou's arm, jerking it and waking up the sleeping one. Rukawa has just opened his eyes when he hears Sendou's voice close to him.
Sendou: Rukawa, you got one.
Sendou hands his pole back to him and that's when Rukawa finally clicks. He now has the pole back but he sure doesn't know what to do next. Seeing Sendou get up his feet, he follows and tries to keep the pole steady in his hands. It feels weird to have something tug at you continuously and Rukawa's actually worried if the pole would snap when suddenly he's surprised to feel Sendou's hands around his, his body behind him. Rukawa has never had anyone invade his personal space before outside of basketball and it's totally awkward, but it's not like there's anything he could do so he tries to ignore it just so he can get it over with. (By the way, he totally doesn't realize he just slept on Sendou's shoulder. =P)
Sendou: Don’t worry, I’ll guide you. Just hold tight onto the pole and follow me.
With Sendou's help, they manage to pull the fish up. It isn't a tough one, and it shows when they see what fish they caught. It's a common fish around these waters, the size of a shoe perhaps. Nevertheless, Sendou is proud that Rukawa's able to catch something on his first try and puts the fish in a bucket of water, temporarily.
Rukawa: And then?
Sendou: And then…?
Rukawa: What do we do with the fish?
Sendou: Oh, I usually release it back.
Rukawa: …Huh…?? -__-
Sendou: I fish because I love fishing, not because I want to eat it. Besides, it just isn’t my thing to kill a living creature with my own hands.
Rukawa: …Then what’s the point?
Sendou: The point…? Well, with fishing, no one knows what fish they’ll get, or whether they can successfully pull it up even if they hooked one. Don’t you think that’s something worth looking forward to? (Doesn’t this sound like a metaphor to something else...? =P Refer to the bottom of this chapter if you don’t understand)
Rukawa:…… --> obviously doesn't agree. LOL
Sendou: If you wanna eat it though, we can always hand it over to Uozumi san and get him to cook something for us? <Since he’s a cook.>
Rukawa: No. -_- *waves his hand* I’ll pass.
Sendou chuckles softly: In that case, should we go for another try? Or would you rather release the fish and call it a day?
Rukawa doesn't take a second to respond: Call it a day.
Sendou isn’t surprised to hear that: Okay. Toss it back, then.
Sendou: It’s your catch.
And so Rukawa throws the fish back in as Sendou watches. Sendou has got to admit, it’s enjoyable to have Rukawa fish with him, even if it’s only for a couple hours. He may not talk much, but knowing that someone’s there with him is good enough for Sendou.
Sendou: Ah, it hit a rock.
Rukawa: It didn’t. -__-;
Sendou: Hahaha. I’m just kidding…
Then suddenly, it starts raining a little. (Oh thank you lord? =P)
Sendou: It’s raining…? <It was okay right until now.>
He then quickly pulls his line back in and packs up his gear.
Sendou: Crap. It’s getting heavier. Are you going home just like this? You can come to my place if your home’s too far. You can borrow the bathroom and some clothes.
Rukawa pauses to think. He is about to say that he can run home while the rain’s still small when it starts pouring heavily.
Rukawa: -__-; … Guess I’ve no choice.
Sendou’s place isn’t very far from the jetty. It is about a ten minute run before they got there. Brushing his now-downed hair away from his face, Sendou opens his door to reveal a small studio apartment.
Sendou: Sorry my place’s a little cramped. I’ll bring you a towel right now. And oh, feel free to put your bag anywhere.
Rukawa looks around the house before he takes off his shoes at the entrance. The place looks pretty empty except for a TV, a few drawers, a wardrobe and a bed, typical of a lone tenant perhaps, but at least it's not dirty, or messy.
Rukawa: <He lives alone…> Ojama shimasu --> Something Japanese people say when they enter someone else’s house.
Soon enough Sendou comes back with a towel and some clean clothes for Rukawa. He insists that Rukawa showers first and so he does. When Rukawa steps out of the bathroom wearing his slightly oversized t-shirt, Sendou chuckles internally to himself thinking how adorable he looks. On the other hand, Rukawa pretends he doesn’t hear a thing. Before Sendou steps in to a take a shower, he points to the drawers beside the little TV.
Sendou: There’re some NBA video tapes from last year in the drawers. You can watch them if you want. There’re also some magazines in the last one.
And so Rukawa starts popping in the videos while Sendou’s in the shower, switching the tape every half minute until he finds one with Michael Jordan. He then lays his back against the side of the bed and continues to watch until Sendou comes out. He smiles to himself when he sees Rukawa quietly watching and walks over to sit right beside him with a towel over his head. They sit there staring at the TV in silence for a few minutes before Sendou finally speaks again.
Sendou: So is that your dream?
Rukawa spaces out for a few seconds before he responds: “That”?
Sendou: Michael Jordan.
Rukawa doesn’t reply and continues to stare at the TV. He probably doesn’t know the answer himself. This is Michael Jordan and the NBA they’re talking about and it is Shohoku he’s in. He can’t say no cause he does want to join the NBA someday but he can’t say yes cause he doesn’t want to be too farfetched as to say he wants to be the next MJ.
Sendou: He’s really incredible, isn’t he. I don’t think you’d be aiming to conquer the nation if you’re going for Michael Jordan’s level though. You’d be aiming to conquer the world.
Sendou: But at least, unlike us you guys still have the chance to enter the nationals and close in on that dream.
Rukawa: What are you talking about? I’ve not even beaten you once. <That’s why it’s pissing me off…>
Sendou laughs: Hahaha! Of course you haven’t.
Rukawa: =__=## …… <Bastard…>
Sendou: I’ve been working hard so as not to lose to you too, you know?
Rukawa: <What do you mean ‘working hard’? You’re always skipping out on practice.>
Sendou: Why do you think that is?
Rukawa: Why would I know?
Sendou: Cause you won’t come after me anymore if I lost, would you?
Sendou: Bull’s eye, eh.
Rukawa stares back at the TV, not answering Sendou again. Sendou know he’s got it right, but while it’s not an encouraging answer, he internally pats himself in the back for knowing Rukawa this well enough. However, the next moment of silence is broken when the door bell rings. Sendou answers the door only to be greeted by a familiar face.
Sendou: Rina…? [Note: Rina’s a random original girl.] Why are you here?
Rina: Here. *throws him a cell phone* You forgot this.
Sendou: Ah. *grabs the phone* Thanks. You came all the way just to return this?
Rina: I don’t want to see anything of yours.
Rukawa glances for a second at the person at the door before his eyes go back to the TV.
Sendou: ^^; I see… Are you still mad?
Rina: It helps nothing even if I am.
Sendou scratches his head innocently, not knowing what else to say. That’s when the girl peers into the apartment to see another guy inside. She can tell he’s watching those basketball videos from the noise of the TV.
Rina: Is he another one of you?
Rina frowns: Basketball again.
He pretty much knows what she’s gonna say next.
Rina: You’re really just all about basketball, aren’t you? You wake up in the morning and it’s basketball. You go to school and it’s basketball. After school, it’s basketball again and at home, it’s still basketball. Don’t you ever think it’s a little too much??
Sendou sweat drops: Well… I…
Rina: Man, I don’t care about you anymore. You’ve got your phone. I’m leaving.
She is about to turn and leave when Sendou adds on.
Sendou: Rina, I’m sorry for always making you mad. You’re nice girl, I’m sure you’ll find someone much better than me.
Before she leaves, Rina shakes her head and sighs as she mumbles the words “Baka…” With that, Sendou closes the door and sits back beside Rukawa, and the two stare at the TV again in silence. Sendou can tell that Rukawa’s curious but hesitant to ask about the girl, and so he deliberately teases Rukawa by not starting a conversation. (LOL) It was only after five minutes of mind-fidgeting does Rukawa finally ask.
Rukawa: …Who was that?
Sendou smiles to himself when he hears Rukawa initiates the question, smug.
Sendou: Oh, Rina? She’s my ex.
Sendou: Don’t worry about it. It’s been a while since we broke up. <Actually it was just last month.>
Sendou: What about you?
Sendou: Do you have a girlfriend?
Rukawa: I don’t have time for that.
Sendou laughs at how blunt Rukawa is about it: As I expected.
Rukawa: -_-; … <What do you ‘expected’?>
Sendou: Oops, sorry. What I meant was, I know you look good and better yet, you have a bright future ahead of you. In most cases, every girl would probably be running after you. But at the same time, girls also tend to keep away from guys who’re as addicted to basketball, in this case, as you.
Rukawa looks at him with an expression that’s hard to describe, but Sendou can tell that he doesn’t quite get it and that he could probably mistake it as an offense and so he continues.
Sendou: I know it’s hard to tell but Rina was originally a huge basketball fan.
Rukawa: … <Really…>
Sendou: We were from different schools, but she was a big fan of mine and we ended up dating somehow.
Sendou: But, we started to see our problem only as time goes by. We both love basketball, but somehow she just couldn’t help but compare herself with it. Eventually, she asked me which one’s more important to me. Basketball, or her. I told her both of them are equally important, but then she got mad, like it’s a taboo or something. I really didn’t know what to do about it.
Rukawa: … <That’s why women are a hassle.>
Sendou: Well, in my case I know I’m partly to blame. I wasn’t dating her seriously after all.
Rukawa sweatdrops internally: ……
Sendou chuckles a little: At this rate I wonder if people like us are doomed to stay single forever.
Rukawa: … I’m not interested anyway.
Sendou laughs: You’re right. But I don’t suppose you’d have a problem, would you? After all, you’ve got a horde of female fans. Not to mention there’s Shohoku’s manager and Akagi’s sister.
Rukawa sighs. He really can’t be bothered to answer that. Sendou then gets up to toss his towel away when he realizes he still has the cell phone in his hand, which reminds him…
Sendou: Oh right!
Sendou: You said you don’t have a cell, right? Here, take this.
Rukawa: …Huh? *looks at the phone in Sendou's hand*
Sendou: I’ve got two. <Although this one’s only for Rina.> I don’t need this anymore.
Rukawa: I don’t need it.
Sendou: Actually, it’s partly for my own selfish reasons.
Sendou: It’ll be so much more convenient for me to contact you next time if you have one.
Sendou: Look, it can even take photos.
Sendou sits back down beside Rukawa on the floor and puts an arm around his shoulder before taking a quick shot of them without permission. Rukawa frowns but doesn’t say a word. As he stares at him wondering why he did that, Sendou goes ahead and sets that photo as the wallpaper before he shows it to Rukawa with a smug look on his face.
Sendou: See? Isn’t it interesting?
Rukawa stares at the screen blankly.
Sendou: Anyway, I’m giving it to you so just take it.
Rukawa holds the phone in his hand, still wondering whether to take it or not. Sendou smiles at the fact that Rukawa’s willing to hold onto it at all.
Sendou: Don’t forget to always bring it with you outside. It defeats the purpose otherwise.
The corner of Rukawa’s lips curls into a small, practically invisible smile.
Rukawa: You sound like my mom.