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Laree's Slam Dunk Fanfiction
Down a Different Path 
Part Three

He could feel the piercing eyes taking in his every movement.  Gritting his teeth, Mitsui pretended to notice nothing unusual and went right on raking out all the muck under his bed in search of the bundle of parental consent  forms for the basketball club that his pet bulldog had dragged under the bed.  " Oh, god..." He muttered as he threw what looked to be the remnants of some sort of sandwich over his shoulder.  He vowed silently to himself that he would never be such a pig again before taking a deep breath and continuing in his search once more.  He shuddered to think of what would happen to him when Ayako got wind of the fact that he had somehow managed to lose those forms...He was so young!  He didn't want to die yet...  Letting out a little whimper of fright at the thought of the evillest of evil tools, the one that had struck fear into the hearts of two years worth of Shohoku basketball club members, the fan that spared no one, he continued indiscriminately throwing his things around his room, ignoring the lazy drawling voice of his companion.

" Mit-chan."

A dirty old sock, a half eaten apple that had gotten mouldy...God that smelled bad...The history homework that he had managed to sweet talk Kogure into doing for him but which he hadn't been able to pass anyways since he had somehow lost it...

" Mit-chan."  Sendo Akira tried once more even though he knew that this would do him no good.  He had spent the last half hour watching Mitsui pawing through his things, trying to get him to listen to him to no avail.  The older boy seeemed set on ignoring him, obviously angry at him about something, and he could take a pretty good guess at what this something was.  Getting irritated at having all sorts of foul things haphazardly flung about him, one of Mitsui's gym socks even managing to land right on his face, Sendo decided to finally put him out of his misery and flung the bundle of forms that had set the Shohoku captain on his epic quest in the first place, right at the back of said captain's head.

" Itai!"  The older boy growled, bringing his hand up gingerly to the injured area.  He whipped around rapidly and flung the forms right back at Sendo, not realizing what they were.

The boy caught them deftly and tipped his head quizzically to one side." I thought you were looking for these..." He remarked casually.  Holding them up so that Mitsui could see what they were.

Scowling, Mitsui pushed himself off from the ground, stalked over to him and snatched them away from him. Still glaring daggers at the spiky haired boy, he waled over to where he had dropped his school bag and proceeded to stuff them in.

Sendo raised an eyebrow.  " What?  Not even a thank you?"

" Don't mess with me, Sendo.  Not after what you did." Mitsui snapped, eyes flaring.  He couldn't believe the nerve that this guy had, just walking into his room as though he hadn't just double crossed him and acting as though everything was perfectly all right between the two of them.  " And you should have given them to me as soon as you got them.  You were just hiding them from me just so that I could look like a fool, weren't you?"

" First of all, I wasn't hiding them.  Rusty brought them to me."  Sendo gently nudged the sleeping dog on the carpeted floor with the toe of his sneakers, smiling cheerfully as it rolled over onto its other side.  "Second, I was trying to tell you that I had them but you were too busy being too angry at me to listen.  Lastly, I like watching you crawling around the floor like that.  It gives me a perfect view of your ass..."

Mitsui reddened at this, wishing that he was wearing anything but the rather skimpy blue shorts that he had on at that moment.  " Sendo..."

The younger boy raised his hand to stop him from going any further.  "Yeah, yeah.  We've gone through all of that before.  You appreciate my feelings for you but you're not that type.  You'd prefer to remain just friends..."

" It's not that I have anything against...against..."

" Gay people?  I know, Mit-chan.  Hell, you're still friends with me even after you found out the truth, aren't yah?  I'm grateful to you for that...But, I was only kidding about the ass thing!  I just wanted to freak you out a bit, that was all.  I'm completely over you already, hard as this may be for you to believe." Sendo chuckled, seeing the stricken look on the guy's face.  " Geez, man.  You look spooked.  I got to chat with Kogure-sempai today.  He told me all about yesterday's practice.  About the way that you freaked when he implied that you were a yaoi supporter...Also about how angry you were at me for ' stealing Rukawa away from you' to quote his quote of you."

Mitsui scowled, not really finding anything at all funny about what Sendo considered to be a joke.  Also, he would have to have a little talk with Kogure about not divulging information about what went on in their practices to the enemy, and Sendo Akira had proved to be the enemy.  " You did steal Rukawa away from me."

" Uh-uh.  No way I didn't."  Sendo insisted, his annoyingly cheerful grin still pasted on his face as he watched Mitsui sitting himself down onto the edge of his bed.  "In order for me to 'steal'  Rukawa Kaede from you, he would have had to have been yours in the first place and he wasn't, now was he?  You haven't even met him before I managed to get to him.  Besides, it wasn't my idea to recruit the guy for the Ryonan team.  Captain Uozumi gave me the job 'cos he knows of my great charm and-"

" Great charm my ass..."  Mitsui's lips drew down into as small frown when he noticed the hentai smile that suddenly appeared on the Ryonan player's face at the mention of his ass.  He immediately regretted his choice of words.

" Mit-chan, please don't be angry at me.  Please.  You know that I can never stand it when you are!"  As suddenly as the smile had appeared, it was gone and a very penitent and very somber Sendo pleaded beseechingly with Mitsui for his understanding.  "It really wasn't my idea and I'm sorry for it, all right.  But you have to remember that thing that you're always saying, ' forget all friendships on court.  Only your fellow team members matter when the game is on.'  Well, how come that doesn't apply to me then?  I was only listening to Uozumi sempai.  How come I'm not allowed to try and further my own team if it even dares to inconvenience you the slightest bit?"

Mitsui waved his hand away dismissively.  He hadn't even bothered to listen to half of Sendo's speech.  The only thing that had registered was that the guy had been grovelling for his forgiveness, which was enough for him. " It doesn't matter much to me anymore.  Ryonan can keep that idiot Rukawa as far as I'm concerned.  We don't need a guy in the team stupid enough to turn down the great honor of being able to play for one of the top teams in the country!  Besides, I realize now that it wouldn't have worked out anyways.  I would never have been able to stand being in the same team as someone so egotistical as that guy!"

Sendo rolled his eyes, wondering to himself how it was that Mitsui was able to bear his own rather egotistical self.

" Do you know what that guy told me when I went to talk to him?"

"Yes.  It was all over school already  but I'm sure that you're about to tell me again, nevertheless." Sendo remarked dryly.

Mitsui ignored his rather obvious lack of enthusiasm.  "He told me that he was going to beat me!  Isn't that just the stupidest thing that you've ever heard?  He's do damn cocky he's unbelievable!  In fact, he's even worse than that redheaded idiot!  At least that one stops going on and on about what a genius he is whenever Haruko is around but that Rukawa..."  Mitsui shook his head helplessly, not really understanding what it was about the Ryonan freshman that got him so fired up. " There's just something that's so damn annoying about him!  I think it's the way that he moves and acts, you know.  As though he owns the court.  As though he has no doubts in his mind that he's going to come out on top..."

" Rather reminds me of someone that I know..."  Sendo remarked, blue eyes widened innocently as he fixed his gaze pointedly on Mitsui.

"Oh, yeah?"  The older boy said with interest.  " Who?"

" Never mind,Mit-chan."

" Aww, come on Sen-chan...Who are you talking about?  I wanna know!"

The spiky haired Ryonan player snickered, marvelling at how amazingly dense the guy could be.  He found it rather funny that someone so slow on the uptake and so muddleheaded could become such a great team captain for Shohoku.  He guessed that that said a lot about the kind of members that the Shohoku team had.  A great, hulking gorilla, a redhead with delusions of grandeaur, a grovelling, love struck point guard, and Mitsui Hisashi, no need to elaborate on what was wrong with that guy.  As far as Sendo could see, Kogure was the only halfway normal guy in the team!  " Never mind, Mit-chan.  If you don't know who I'm talking about by now, then I would rather not tell you..."


Sendo collapsed back onto his bed with a loud sigh.  For some reason, paying visits to Mitsui, the guy who he considered to be his very best friend in the world, along with Koshi-kun, were always rather draining for him.  He guessed that it was because he always had to consciously prevent himself from saying or doing something that might upset him.  Like today for instance...

He groaned, burying his face into his pillow and wondering if his mother would be awfully upset if he just up and killed himself right then.  Realizing what a stupid question this was, Sendo settled for running his fingers agitatedly through his dark hair, a rather painful process due to the fact that it was all clumped together, what with all the Extra-Extra-Extra strong hold gel that he had dumped into his head that morning.  Once more, Sendo marvelled at how resilient his crowning glory was, being able to withstand all the chemicals that it was slathered in daily.  But that wasn't his problem right then.  He could worry about chemical induced premature balding later on once his hair started coming out in huge clumps.  Right now, he had to worry about Mitsui.

He beat his head disconsolately against the headboard of his bed Hanamichi Style, only stopping when he realized that a thick lock of his hair had been bent askew by the force of the blows.  He took some time to fix this before he collapsed back down onto his stomach, his eyes on a cluster of picture frames on his bedside table which had been there for as long as he could even remember."Akira and Hisashi.  Hisashi and Akira."  He whispered softly, taking one of the frames into his hand and rolling over onto his back so that he could examine it in more comfort.

He remembered this picture.  The two of them had only been five years old back then and his mother, who had been working for Mitsui's dad as his personal assistant, had taken them out to play at the park.  There was a chubby little Sendo Akira, holding the hand of the equally chubbly little Mitsui Hisashi.  There were pictures of the two of them on Mitsui's first day of school, Sendo clinging onto the older boy and crying, pictures of the two of them playing basketball together, In uniform for Sendo's first day at Junior High, one of them in basketball uniforms giving each other the high five, one of the whole basketball team right after they had won the championships and Mitsui had gotten the M.V.P award and Sendo with Mitsui at his graduation.  But after that...Nothing.

They had gone their different ways.  Not to say that their friendship had fizzled out or anything, thank God.  Sendo didn't know what he would do if that ever happened.  Mitsui meant so much to him...They had just mutually decided to cool things off a little bit after Mitsui had gone on to High School.  All because Sendo just had to open his big mouth and tell him how he felt about him.  Things were pretty much back to normal now, the two of them were just as close at they had ever been before but the Ryonan player couldn'thelp noticing the subtle changes in their relationship...Sendo had to watch himself so that he wouldn't slip and remind Mitsui of the awkward situation of a few years back.  But he had slipped today.  Lucky that he had had the presence of mind to just laugh and tell him that it was all a big joke.

Everyone had been surprised when Sendo, who had hero worshipped the older boy, had chosen not to follow his former captain to Shohoku after he had graduated.  That was what everyone had expected.  Faithful old Sendo trailing around after Mitsui.  He had told the people who had asked that it was because Ryonan was so much nearer to his home and had a better academic record when compared to Shohoku.  That was hardly the truth.  That had nothing to do with why he chose Ryonan.  He really had intended to follow Mitsui.  Mitsui was his bestfriend, his motivator, the one that inspired him...But after what had happened after the graduation ceremony...He couldn't bring himself to.  

Also, part of it was that he really didn't want to be in the older boy's shadow anymore.  He had spent all of his Junior High years hearing about what a great player the guy was and he wanted to make a name for himself.  He knew that he was capable of playing just as well as Mitsui, maybe even better, if only they gave him the kind of oppurtunities that was regularly given to the older boy.  And he knew that he wouldn't get those while playing under the Shohoku captain.

But Sendo had to be realistic.  He knew that the reason that he had avoided Mitsui for his whole first year of High School was because of the fact that Mitsui had rejected him...

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