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Laree's Slam Dunk Fanfiction
Family Ties
Part Ten

" I don't know how you could have let yourself get talked into something like this, Mitsui."  Kogure fixed his squirming boyfriend under a none too loving glare.  The way that the brown haired boy was looking at him, and the fact that he was calling him by his family name instead of his usual, loving 'Sashi-kun' alerted Mitsui to the fact that he was currently not too pleased with him.  " Couldn't you have just said no?  We have no business meddling in this."

" I know, Min-kun.  That's what I tried to tell Sendo too..."  Mitsui informed him rather weakly.  He never liked it when Kogure looked at him like that.  It made him feel as though he was the scum of the earth to  have the most perfect creature in the world ( in his own, rather biased opinion), mad at him.  " But he just kept on begging and begging me and begging me.  You should have seen him when he was talking to me, Min-kun!  He looked so miserable!"

"If the prospect of breaking things off with Hanamichi makes him so miserable then why the hell is he going along with it?  He's just making absolutely no sense!"  Kogure let out a little sound of frustration as he beat his fist against his thigh.  "  Sendo is being ridiculous.  He was so ecstatic when Hanamichi agreed on this date, and now he's breaking it off just because of some twisted sense of loyalty towards his family?  I agree that he has to somehow work things out with Rukawa or else he'll be miserable for the rest of his life, but not this way!  He doesn't have to give up a guy he really cares for just because he wants to satisfy a spoilt little brat..."

The Shohoku Shooting Guard stared at his companion in amazement.  He hastily pushed aside the thought that it really turned him on to see his Min-kun like this, all fiery and pissed off, before commenting," I've never heard you talking about anybody like this before, Min-kun.  Never thought I would see the day when you would lose your temper with anyone but me..."

Kogure took in a few, deep breaths, thinking that Mitsui was right.  He had never been the type to start slagging a person off even when angry.  He was not about to start now.  " I'm sorry, Sashi-kun.  It's just that...I know how much Hanamichi meant for Sendo, and I've seen how hard Rukawa has made everything for the poor guy,  and I guess I'm just sort of upset that things didn't work out for Sen-chan.  He's a nice guy, and I can't think of anyone more deserving of some peace and happiness than him."

" I know.  I wanted those two to get together even more than you did, I think.  When I talked to Sendo, I even asked him if he would like me and the old gang to bash some sense into that Rukawa but he said no.  He said that he thought there was already enough trouble between the two of them without Hanamichi.  He said that he didn't think it would help him any if he set a whole bunch of gangsters after the guy.  That nothing could help him anymore."  Mitsui scowled darkly at this.  He had rather thought that a few minutes with him and Tetsuo, and the threat of more to come if he ever dared to mess with Hanamichi and Sendo again,  would get that stupid Rukawa to see things their way.

" So what you're saying is that poor Sendo has pretty much given up on the guy?"

The short haired boy shrugged.  That was the impression that he had gotten a few hours ago when he had spoken to Sendo...

~**~ A few hours before ~**~

Mitsui whistled softly under his breath as he trudged down the road on his way home.  He was in a great mood that day, having just managed to increase the amount in his wallet by several thousand yen through  playing one on one games against some guys that he had found in the street court.  Guys who had not been aware of the fact  that he was a star player for the Shohoku team.  Each one had been led like sheep to the slaughter and thanks to them, he now had enough money to get something really nice for his Min-kun.  He would have to keep his side-line job a secret from his love though.  He didn't think Kogure would approve his racketeering money from some naive little Junior High kids.

So what should he get his Min-kun then?  A book?  But then he didn't exactly know what kind of book the guy liked...Kogure sometimes told him about the things that he was currently reading but he had never really paid that much attention.  He didn't want to go into a record store and buy all the wimpy music that his Ko-chan listened to.  There was no way in hell that he would let anyone think that he was some sort of Backstreet boys fan.  Maybe a few nice, hentai-ish yaoi manga...They could read them together and get some ideas...He started when a hand suddenly clamped down onto his shoulder.  He whirled around quickly. 

It was not a good thing to just come up behind a paranoid ex-gangster and grab him.  This, Sendo soon learned as he blinked up at Mitsui who was currently hovering over him worriedly after just sweeping his legs out from under him and afterwards, realizing who he was.  " God, Sen-chan!  Are you okay?  You startled me there..."

Sendo accepted the hand proferred to him and allowed Mitsui to pull him up to his feet.  " Who the hell did you think I was to deserve such treatment from you?"

" Let's just say that there are some people in an ex- Juvenile Delinquent's life that he should really avoid..." Mitsui told him, not really ready to elaborate.

" I'll keep that in mind the next time that I want to come up and surprise you when I see you walking down some dark alley..."

" So, Sen-chan.  What brings you all the way here?" Mitsui asked him, remembering that the Rukawa household was quite far away from his own.  Come to think of it, Sendo sort of look a bit dishevelled.  Nothing at all like his usual cool, always composed self.

" I need a favor from you, Mitsui-sempai.  Please.  I know that I haven't known you for that long and I'm really sorry to burden you with something like this but I truly don't think that I can do this..."

Mitsui noted Sendo's nervousness and the way that he was tugging on a stray lock of his hair uncofortably.  He had never been as good as Kogure at reading people and their thoughts but he could see well enough to know that something was up.  He just knew it.  " What is it, Sendo?  Of course I'll try to help you with this if I can..."

" It's about Hanamichi..."

" Oh.  I get it..." A slow smile spread across Mitsui's handsome face and he told himself how ridiculous he was for immediately jumping to the conclusion that something was very, very wrong.  But from the way that Sendo was acting, you would have thought so..." You're feeling a bit nervous about your first date with him and you need some advice, right?  Well, you've come to the right person!  After all, didn't  I manage to snag the greatest guy in this earth, and don't you even dare to contradict that, Sendo.  Kogure is the most perfect creature that has ever graced this universe with his  presence.  Anyways, what do you need some help on then?  You need me to help you pick out the clothes to wear?  I've got this real cool outfit...Oh, wait.  That wouldn't do you any good.  You're too freakishly tall to fit into that..."

" Mitsui-kun, there isn't going to be a date..."

Mitsui blinked, his words trailing off at this.  " What's the matter?  Is Hanamichi sick?"

" No..."

" He has cold feet then."  Mitsui shrugged.  That wasn't that big of a problem.  " Don't worry about that.  He acted up a bit too on our first date.  All you have to do is just drag him out of the house.  You don't have to worry about being too rough with him or anything.  That guy is incredibly tough.  You can yank him around the whole time without having to worry about hurting him.  After a while, he'll loosen up and start enjoying himself..." 

" Mitsui-kun, this has nothing at all to do with Hanamichi.  It's me that's the problem.  I want to break it off..." The next part came out so softly that Mitsui wasn't even able to catch any of it.  " I need you to break off the date with him.  That's the favor that I'm asking for..."

" You...Uh, want to break it off?" Mitsui repeated, all his previous happiness about the state of his finances suddenly dissapearing with Sendo's announcement.  He thought he must have heard wrong, though.  When he had last spoken to Sendo about this just the day before, he had been so happy and excited!  What could have happened to have changed that?  " You're kidding, right?  This is what you've been waiting for ever since the day that you first set eyes on the guy!  You can't break something like this off!  I'll kill you.  Kogure will kill you, or at least lame you for the rest of your life.  Hanamichi will probably castrate you..."

"I've made up my mind about this, Mitsui-kun. I'm really sorry to dissapoint you and Kogure-kun but-"

" It's not dissapointing me and Kogure that you should be worried about, though I am plenty dissapointed right now.  Dissapointed and angry.  It's Hanamichi that you should be thinking about!  Do you know how much that guy was looking forward to this date of yours, Sendo?  You can't do this to him!  He'll never forgive you!"

" Don't you think I know that, Mitsui-kun?"  Sendo sighed wearily, looking around for some place that he could sit down for a while.  He grabbed the older boy's arm and pulled him to the doorsteps of one of Mitsui's neighbors where they both sat.  " Hanamichi will probably hate me for the rest of my life.  I don't like that thought .  But I'm just so tired of everything.  I'm so sick things that I would do just about anything to get a bit of peace for myself.  Even if it means giving up something that means so much to me..."

" I am going to hazard a guess and say that this has something to do with that Rukawa Kaede..."

" And your guess is right..."

" There are ways to take care of stupid, meddling fools like those, you know, Sendo."  Mitsui informed him, cracking his knuckles in anticipation.  " This is what we'll do, all right.  Just give me a few hours to get Tetsuo and the old gang together.  Then tell Rukawa that you'll meet him by the pier so that the two of you can talk. I'm sure me and the guys can change his views with a bit of persuasion..."

" I appreciate the fact that you're trying to help me out so much, Mitsui-kun, but I really don't think that that would be wise.  I think that my way is just the better thing for me to do..."

" You're going to give up Hanamichi just like that?"

" Against my better judgement, yes."

" Then you couldn't have cared for him as much as you thought you did."  Mitsui pointed out.  " If you really cared for someone, as you said you do Hanamichi, then you would fight for him.  Through anything.  Not just give him up the moment things get a little rough."

" But things just aren't a little rough." Sendo protested, knowing how weak he must sound.  " Things are an all out hell hole for me right now!  And I just don't think that I can cope with much more.  God knows I've tried but I really just don't feel like trying much anymore."

"In other words, you've just given up."

" If you want to put it bluntly, yes."

" You don't love Hanamichi.  You said you did, but you don't.  Not really."

"How can you say that?  Especially after everything that I've been through?"  Sendo demanded.  He had thought that he might at least get a bit of support from Mitsui, the two of them having grown quite close ever since Sendo had started studying at Shohoku.  But right now, it didn't look as if that was so.  Maybe he had been wrong in assuming that he could ask the guy for some help.

" Do you think I love Kiminobu?"

" Hell, Mitsui.  Even the most dense person in the world would be able to see that,  just from the way that the two of you are whenever you're together!"

Mitsui nodded in complete agreement to this.  " It wasn't just smooth sailing from the start, Sendo-kun.  We had to straighten out a lot of things between us.  There was my less than savoury past, for one thing, that sort of put a damper on things, and once we got over that, we had those gay-bashing people to contend with.  Until now the two of us sometimes still have problems.  But the points is that we never gave up.  Not once. The two of us kept trying, and look what we have with each other now.  If we had given up, then we would have been missing such a lot.  Who knows what you can have with Hanamichi, Sendo?  Maybe you can have what I have right now with Kogure.  Isn't that what you told us you wanted once?  You'd be giving the chance of that up by doing that.  Do you really want that?"

" No."

" Then why are you doing this?"

"Because maybe I'm not like you, Mitsui-kun.  Maybe I'm not the type of person who puts his love life first before everything.  I can't.  I can't afford to.  Not when I still have my family to think of."  Sendo shrugged, drawing his legs up to his chest and wrapping his arms about his knees.  "I don't know if I've told you this before, Mit-chan, but I've had to be the man of the family ever since my dad killed himself.  I've always had to do everthing for my mom and my brother and sister and I've never minded.  I still don't mind.  Why do you think that I try so hard in everything that I do?  School, basketball? I'd do anything for them so that they'll be happy, and they're sort of happy now with the Rukawa family, but Kaede is making things difficult for them.  If I can stop that, then everything will be perfect.  I've told you about the way that Rukawa feels about Hana-kun."

" And you think that the best way to get Rukawa to leave you alone is to lay off Hanamichi."

" Exactly.  I'm willing to give anything up as long as it helps."

"And what if Rukawa isn't satisfied with that, then?" Mitsui demanded.  The idea seemed stupid to him.  Ridiculous.  Why should the way that Rukawa felt about this affect Sendo in any way?  He should just go ahead with things.  Who cared about Rukawa and his feelings?  It wasn't as though he had ever given any consideration to Sendo's feelings before.  "What if he decides that it pisses him off that you're better than him on the court?  Would you give basketball up then?"

" No..."

" So what you're saying is that you love basketball more than you do Hanamichi..."

" No!"  Sendo protested, not liking having his feelings about Hanamichi belittled and made to seem unimportant.  " How can you say something like that, Mitsui?  I think I have my priorities straight."

" That's pretty obvious from the way that you're putting the whims of a spoilt little brat before your happiness and Hanamichi's own..." Mitsui commented sarcastically.

" It's not Rukawa that I'm doing this for.  I'm just hoping that he'll be somewhat easier on me and my brother and sister once the tension about this whole Hanamichi thing is gone and over with..."

" This is a stupid move..." Mitsui grumbled.  Sendo's face fell at his words and he was immediately sorry.  It couldn't have been very easy for Sendo to have come up with this decision and so he guessed that he should be at least a little bit supportive in spite of the fact that he was very much against the whole thing.  But that was what Kogure would do if he was here.  He would try to help Sendo out, being the sweet, lovely angel that he was, and Sendo had mentioned something about a favor, hadn't he?  " You said something about needing a favour from me?"

Sendo started at the mention of this.  He had sort of forgotten about the whole thing after having just poured his heart out.  Besides, after a bit of thought and Mitsui's adamant disapproval of his plans, he didn't think it was appropriate to ask something like this of him.  " No.  Never mind about it..."

" You've got to be kidding me, man.  It can't be nothing if you bothered to come walk all the way over to my neighbourhood.  Just tell me what it is.  While I still feel bad about blowing up about your decision..."

" I need you to be the one to tell Hanamichi that the date is off..."

Mitsui blinked.  " Are you being serious?"

Sendo gave him a small, hopeful smile.  " Yes..."

" Have I ever done anything to make you hate me, Sendo-kun?"

" Er...No..."

" Then why the hell would you want to send me off to my death?!?"

" I'm not sending you to your death.  I just think that Hanamichi would receice it better if it came from you?"

" And where the hell did you get such and idea?"

" I thought that maybe he would take it better from you...Please, Mitsui-kun.  Just do this for me.  I don't think I can do it myself..." Sendo admitted, wringing his hands in front of him in his agitation.  " I'll break down and lose the nerve if I had to face him myself.  Please, Mitsui-kun..."

Mitsui was about to tell him that there was no way in hell that he would be able to get him to do something like that when he saw the pleading look on the younger boy's face.  A look that no one in this world, so far, had ever been able to resist.  " Dammit, all right."  He finally agreed, thinking that Sendo had suffered through enough as it was.  " I'll do it.  Then Hanamichi will kill me.  That is, if Kogure doesn't kill me first for agreeing to do something like this..."

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