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Laree's Slam Dunk Fanfiction
Family Ties
Part Six

" Is he dead?" Mitsui asked with some interest as he poked at the miserable lump of humanity sprawled face down on the cafeteria table.

" No." Sendo's voice was slightly muffled, owing to the fact that his face was buried within his arms.  He pushed Mitsui's hand away irritably.  He was not in the mood for company.  Not even if it was from the two seniors that had rapidly become his closest friends in Shohuku.  He should have taken a page from Mitsui's book and done what he did whenever the scar faced boy was stressed.  He had learned of Mitsui's strange habit of locking himself into the toilet when the guy had gotten into one of his rare fights with his boyfriend a couple of days ago, something involving Mitsui not applying himself in his schoolwork, and a worried Kogure had asked him to try and talk him out of the stall.  Right now, he guessed that he could do with a bit of solitude himself, and a toilet cubicle seemed to be the ideal place for that.  No smirking Mitsui, no concerned Kogure and no gorgeous redhead joking around with his friends in a nearby table." But it would be better if I were, really."

" Maa, Maa." Kogure murmured soothingly, hovering over him like a worried mother hen.  " Sendo-kun!  Don't talk like that!  Now, sit up and tell Kogure-niisan what the matter is.  Why have you been missing so many practices and why have you been avoiding us?"

Mitsui rolled his eyes as he watched his boyfriend slip into what he referred to as the ' Concerned Elder Brother ' mode.  God help him.  If it wasn't for his intense love for the brown haired boy, he wouldn't have been able to bear Kogure's ' Help all injured creatures ' mentality.  And right now, he could see that Kogure had pretty much made up his mind to help this injured creature, a.k.a Sendo Akira, anyway that  he could.

Sendo looked up, pouting sulkily. " You wouldn't understand."

" Try me."

" I'd just bore you..."

" Well, okay then!" Mitsui declared cheerfully as he unwrapped his sandwich.  " You don't have to say anything if you don't want to..."  He had never been the type who could just sit still and listen to a person moaning about his problems.  Therefore, he was grateful when Sendo decided not to take up on Kogure's offer.  All he wanted was to be able to eat his lunch in peace after all.  But Kogure just was not willing to give up.  He coaxed and wheedled until Sendo finally heaved a huge sigh and began to speak.

" I haven't been avoiding you guys.  I've been avoiding Hanamichi-kun."

" Why?" Mitsui demanded, pushing away the hand that Kogure was using to wipe a bit of mayonnaise of his chin.  " I thought you liked the guy."

" That's exactly the problem.  I like him.  A lot."

" And how much exactly is ' a lot'."

Sendo, unable to find just the right words, repeated helplessly, " A lot."

" You mean the Youhei-Sakuragi like or something else?"  To Kogure, Sendo and Mitsui weren't making much sense but since they seemed to have some sort of understanding between the two of them, then he allowed them to go on with their conversation without any interruptions.

" I mean the Kogure-Mitsui like."  Sendo admitted.  He sighed dreamily, resting his chin against his palm.  " I mean that I want the sort of thing that the two of you have.  With Hanamichi.  I see the way that the two of you are with each other, how much Kogure loves you, Mitsui, and I say to myself, ' I want that.  I want to be able to comb Hanamichi's hair when it gets all messy, like Kogure does with you.  I want to be able to walk him home after every basketball practice like you do with Kogure.  I want to touch him and hold him.  I want to love him..."

" Okay.  So what's your problem?"

Sendo's eyes narrowed.  From the way that Mitsui was talking, you would think that admitting your love to another person, especially to a person of the same sex, was as easy as breathing.  " What do you mean what's my problem?  Where do you want me to begin?!?"

" Sendo, you're being over dramatic here.  It's easy.  All you have to do is just grab Hanamichi and give him the hottest kiss he's ever had in his life, and voila!  You're a couple."  The scarred player nodded over to Kogure.  " That's what I did with Min-kun and obviously it worked!"

" Things are never that easy."

" Fine.  Let's stick to something that you're more comfortable with then.  I remember you telling us that you've had a long-term boyfriend before.  Koshino, right?  Well, how did you get together with him then?"

" Koshino?"  Sendo frowned in concentration as he recalled the events of the past.  " Well, basically, I just kept on annoying him and annoying him until he had enough and he punched me.  He was so sorry about that, that well...We ended up...You know..."

" No.  I don't know, as a matter of fact."  Mitsui said, looking pointedly at a blushing Kogure.  In all the time that they had been together, he had never even been able to get the boy's shirt off, let alone his pants.  It was hard, but he was willing to wait.  If Kogure wasn't comfortable with taking their relationship to that level, then that was pretty much all that he could do.

Sendo's eyes widened at this.  " You mean you and Kogure-kun haven't even slept with each other yet?  That's-"

" If you want my help then you better just shut up now." Mitsui growled before the younger boy could go on further.  " Anyways, I don't think that the whole annoying routine will work with Hanamichi.  He'd just bash you, I think.  He's never really been able to control his temper."

" Yes.  So, the best way to go would be to just tell him straight out how you feel about him."  Kogure contributed helpfully.

" But I can't."

" Look, Sendo.  It's easy.  All you have to do is open your mouth and say three simple words.  ' I like you'.  Now how hard can that possibly be, hey?" Mitsui demanded, sitting back expansively on his chair, his half eaten sandwich by now forgotten.  " If you like, I can even write you a little script and help you rehearse it later."

" It's just that...He'll hate me..."

" Where the hell did you get that stupid idea?"

" He's straight, isn't he.  And he hates gays."

Kogure shook his head disbelievingly, wondering where the boy had gotten his information from.
" Sendo-kun, Hanamichi is the sort of person that could never hate anybody.  No matter what.  I mean, I guess people sort of get the impression that Hanamichi absolutely detests Rukawa's guts, but really he doesn't.  He's just very competitive and he loses his temper easily.  The words Hate and Hanamichi shouldn't even be used in the same sentence.  He's one of the nicest people that I've ever had the pleasure of meeting."

" Almost as nice as my Min-kun here."  Mitsui told him.  He didn't like to tell anybody how highly he thought of the fiery redhead because it might get to the kid's head, but really, he admired the guy and was grateful for his friendship.  " And that stuff about him hating gays, that's just plain ridiculous.  He was one of the people that stuck by me and my Min-kun when it first got out about the two of us! "

" And he's always been nice to the male admirers that he's had."  Kogure told Sendo.  " And believe me, there has been a lot of them.  Mitsui was even one of them at one point!"

Sendo gaped openly at Mitsui.  " You had a crush on Hanamichi?"  He asked incredulously.

" It was before Min-kun and I got back together, okay?" The older boy replied defensively.

" They even went out on a couple of dates, actually." Kogure went on, enjoying Mitsui's discomfort.

" You did?  So he is gay?" Sendo clapped his hands together in delight, making a mental note to himself to kill Rukawa for telling him all those stupid lies for whatever perverted reason he had.

" I wouldn't exactly say outright that he's gay."  Mitsui put in carefully.  " I would say, more of like...Well, confused and trying to figure things out...I liked him and he liked me so we went out on a couple of dates just to see what would happen.  I think that would be a good idea for the two of you too.  Just to see if there's even a little chance of things working out."

" If he's not a homophobic, then why the hell is he so angry with me then?"  Sendo recounted what had happened when he had called up Hanamichi and all the things that Rukawa had told him.

" I don't know what the hell the matter is with that step brother of yours, telling you all that crap about Hanamichi hating gays and all that but I can tell you why he's been so angry at you."  Mitsui offered.

" Why then?"

" Well, remember that time when you were talking to Haruko while she was watching practice?" Mitsui asked.

" Yeah."

" Well, as you may know, Hanamichi has this thing for Haruko, only God knows why." Mitsui rolled his eyes, thinking of how pathetic Hanamichi looked whenever that girl was around.  " He's always making a bloody fool of himself whenever she even smiles at him.  Well, apparently, that sweet little step brother of yours has something against the two of you getting together.  I happened to be standing near them and I heard their little conversation.  Usually, I wouldn't say anything about it but since you seem so down and Rukawa seems set against you, for some unknown reason, I thought you should know.  The guys been slagging you off behind your back."

" Slagging me off?"  Sendo repeated, not fully understanding what he meant.

" Basically, just pointing out to the gullible little fool that you were making moves on Haruko.  Of course, that got Hanamichi pissed off." Mitsui continued.  " That got him very pissed off.  I don't know what's up with Rukawa, but I think you better have a little talk with the guy later on."

" Thanks for the info, Mitsui-san." Sendo murmured, his jaw set.  Never before had he had such strong feelings of hate against one person.  " I agree with you.  I think it's time that Kaede-kun and I sat down for a nice, long talk..."

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