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Laree's Slam Dunk Fanfiction
Act Naturally
Part One

Our little secret just might be
The kind of thing that you can't hide.
It's growing like a tangled vine
And rising like a river in the tide.

Kogure Kiminobu sighed in defeat as he examined his reflection on the mirror.  Well.  He had done the best that he could.  He had put on a long sleeved shirt, in spite of the heat, to hide the bruises on his arms but even he, a guy who graduated top of his class back in High School, could not think of a way to disguise his split lip and the angry purple bruise on his left cheek.

He winced slightly as he explored the tender spot with his finger tips, tears filling up his eyes, not at the pain, though there was a lot more of that than was comfortable, but at the memory of where he had obtained these injuries.

The beatings from his boyfriend had started quite some time ago when Mitsui had been threatened with the prospect of being kicked off the University's basketball team.  Kogure had thought back then that it had just been a one time thing.  But as time went on, the beatings continued for the smallest of reasons, Mitsui becoming more and more violent until it had come to the point where Kogure was actually scared for his own safety.

Yet, he still stayed.  He stayed out of a certain sense of loyalty and because he was convinced  that Mitsui still loved him, despite of all the things that he did to him.

Reminding himself of this, Kogure schooled his expression into one of a cheerful, carefree college student, which he was if you scratched out the cheerful and carefree part, and proceeded to rake his fingers through his dark hair in an attempt to straighten it out.

He had to look his best.  After all, he was off to see his Sashi-kun.

And everybody knew,
When you walked into the room.
I was just a fool for you,
There's nothing I could do
And everybody sees you
Taking control of me.
Well, I'm not begging for release

" Hey, Megane-kun!" To Kogure and to all the others in the locker room, Hanamichi's attempt at heartiness seemed incredibly false.

Still, Kogure rewarded him with a smile for his effort, noticing with some discomfort that the people around him had fallen silent and were examining him.  Hanamichi's hands had curled up into fists upon seeing his face, he heard Rukawa muttering something about giving the bastard a taste of his own medicine and out of the corner of his eye he could see Fujima Kenji shaking his head dismally and  meeting the eyes of Soichiro Jin, who sat beside him.

His cheeks flaming when he realized that they all knew exactly where he had gotten these new injuries from, Kogure ducked his head, allowing a thick curtain of his floppy brown hair to hide his face from view.

He didn't look up until he felt a gentle hand on his shoulder and heard the familiar voice of  Sendo Akira.  " Hey, Kogure-kun!  It's been such a long time since I last saw you!" With the boy's words, the false sense of normalcy returned.

" Yeah.  It has."  Kogure agreed, intensely grateful to the younger boy for getting all the attention off him.  He smiled up at Sendo, who draped his arm companionably about his shoulders and led him towards a nearby bench where they could talk.  The two of them had gotten really close when the younger boy had entered Kanagawa University one year after him and his Sashi-kun.  " I've been really busy with schoolwork and all that."

" Ah, but one should never be too busy for friends, should they?"  Sendo clucked his tongue disapprovingly and waggled his finger before Kogure's face, trying not to make it obvious that he was checking out just how bad the older boy's injuries were.  He was getting so sick of seeing Kogure like this.  He deserved so much more than that bastard, Mitsui, was giving him.  If only Sendo could convince him of this.  " You could come to me anytime, you know.  Anytime at all.  And for any reason."

Kogure drew away from the younger boy, realizing that Sendo was about to give him the ' I am your friend and I will help you out in any way that I can ' speech.  He was getting pretty sick of it.  A lot of people had been telling him that lately.  Hanamichi had given him a rather long winded one which had lasted for an hour and which had ended with the redhead shouting at him at the top of his lungs for being such a blind idiot.  Rukawa's speech had consisted of exactly two sentences; Leave him.  Hanamichi and I will take you in.  He was getting pretty sick of all of it.  He knew that they were just concerned but really, they had nothing to worry about.  Sooner or later,  Mitsui would revert to his usual, sweet self.  " Not that I would have any reason to, Sendo.  But thanks anyways!"

" Let's cut the crap right here, Kogure.  I am getting so sick of seeing you like this.  I'm your friend, and I can't allow this to go on."

" Nothing is going on!"

" You call constantly getting beaten up nothing?" Sendo demanded, incredulously.  He stretched his arm out, cupped Kogure's chin in his hands, and tilted his face up so that he could get a better view.  " Kogure, you can't go on like this.  Something has to give, sooner or later..."

" Really, Sendo-kun.  There's nothing to worry about."  Kogure let out a shaky little laugh as he brushed away Sendo's hand.  Looking up, he saw Hanamichi's eyes on the two of them but he looked away guiltily when he noticed that Kogure had seen him.  " It'll all work out in the end, once things get easier for Mitsui.  He's just really stressed out right now..."

" What if things don't get easier for him, huh?  What if things just get worse and worse, which I actually think they will, what with the way that he's acting right now?  Then what will happen to you?"

" Hisashi loves me."

Sendo snorted.  " Well, that sure as hell doesn't seem to be the case right now..."

That was too much for Kogure.  He had somehow managed to push that thought back in his mind and having Sendo saying that to him, having the younger boy tell him what was so painfully obvious to him and to all of his other friends, was absolutely shattering.  He opened his mouth to protest.  Then he opened his mouth again and still no sound came out but a strangled little gasp.  That was when his tears started to fall and he suddenly found himself encased in the comforting arms of Sendo.

" I'm sorry."  Sendo muttered, trying hard to keep back his own tears as he rubbed the smaller boy's back soothingly.  Kogure felt so small, so vulnerable in his arms like this.  " Look...I'll try and help you any way that I can.  All of us will, all right?  We're all your friends and we hate seeing you getting hurt like this...If you want, you can come move in with me, I've got plenty of room over at my apartment and-"

" Get your hands off him, Sendo."

With a little gasp, Kogure pushed himself away from the younger boy and looked up guiltily at Mitsui who stood by them, his lips pulled down in a little frown.  He quickly brushed away his tears and pasted a cheerful smile on his face though he knew that he wouldn't be fooling anybody.  The others had all fallen silent and were watching them.  Hanamichi had made to advance towards them but Rukawa held him back.  "Hisashi-kun!  I was just-"

" Getting a little too close to Sendo here, aren't we, Min-kun?"

" I...I-"

" I don't want you coming here anymore next time, okay?"

" I thought you liked me to come and pick you up here after your practices."  Kogure mumbled, wishing desperately that they weren't having this conversation in front of so many people.  He had no doubts that he looked incredibly pathetic.

Mitsui shrugged as he shouldered his gym bag.  " I changed my mind.  It's obvious that I can't trust some people here to keep their hands to themselves."  He glared pointedly at Sendo as he said this.  Noticing that Kogure still had not gotten to his feet to follow him, Mitsui added.  " Look, are you coming with me or are you planning on taking Spiky here up on his offer?  Either way is fine with me."

" I was serious, Kogure."  Sendo  told him, silently willing Kogure to put his foot down an refuse to follow Mitsui.  " I meant what I said before.  It won't be any trouble for me..."

" It's really nice of you to say so, Sendo-kun.  But I don't think so..."  Kogure replied without any hesitation as he trotted after Mitsui.

Sendo watched him go helplessly.  As soon as they were gone, he whirled around and kicked at his bag, which was lying on the floor.  " Dammit!  I thought Kogure was supposed to be so smart!  What the hell is he thinking?"

Hanamichi shrugged as he resisted the urge to run after Kogure, grab him by the arm and forcibly take him back to the apartment that he shared with Rukawa.  " He's not thinking.  That's the problem."

Act naturally
Don't let our troubles show
Don't let anybody know
Act naturally
Til we figure it out
Don't give them anything that they can doubt.

" What the hell were you trying to do back there?  Are you trying to get me in more trouble than I'm already in or something?" Mitsui hissed as they strode across the quad, Kogure trotting along beside him in an attempt to keep pace with him.

" What did I do wrong, Hisa-kun?"

" What did I do wrong, Hisa-kun?" Mitsui mimicked bitingly, stopping suddenly in his tracks and grabbing Kogure's wrist in a tight grip.  " You were making a scene.  Right in front of all the guys in the basketball team!  I mean, why the hell do you have to go and broadcast our relationship problems to all the people in the world, huh?  Why the hell can't you keep your mouth shut?"

" I'm not!"  Kogure protested weakly, cringing as a sudden sharp stab of pain went up his arm.

" Then why the hell did that idiot redhead come up to me, threatening to kill me if I ever lay a finger on you again?  Huh, can you tell me, Min-kun?  If you haven't been spreading the news, then how the hell could that bastard have found out?"  Mitsui shook him violently.  " And what was the deal with you and Sendo back there, huh?"

" Hisa-kun!  You're hurting me!" Kogure complained.

Taking a deep breath, Mitsui let go of his boyfriend's wrist and took a few steps back, running a hand agitatedly through his short cropped dark hair.  " Min-kun..."  He muttered.  Shaking his head, Mitsui drew closer to him and grabbed his hand, beginning to massage it gently.  " Min-kun...God, Min-kun!  I'm so sorry for everything!  Just don't leave me...Please don't leave me!"

Kogure was taken aback by the panic that he saw in Mitsui's eyes.  " Leave you?  Whatever gave you the idea that I would do that?"

" You were talking to Sendo about it.."

" He was talking about it but I would never consider anything like that!  No matter what happens!" Kogure insisted. " I love you too much to ever be able to do something like that!  We'll work through this somehow!  We have to!"

" That's not what the others think."  Mitsui muttered, recalling the angry face of Hanamichi as he had confronted him at that afternoon's practice.

" Then we'll prove them wrong, won't we, Hisa-kun?  Everything will be better soon..."  Kogure insisted, trying to convince Mitsui, as well as himself.  " We'll show them.  We'll work this out..."

~**~ To Be Continued ~**~

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