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Laree's Slam Dunk Fanfiction
Family Ties 
Part Two

Sendo scanned the cafeteria, wondering who he could possibly sit with.  He didn't want to have to eat alone.  A few girls waved at him but he didn't really know any of them well enough to be comfortable in their presence yet.  Then the light glinting off the lenses of a pair of glasses came into his view, just as he heard his name being called out above the din of the chattering people.  " Sendo-san!  Come eat with us!"

He smiled, returning Kogure's wave as he wove his way over to their table.  He had several classes with the Shohuku basketball club's vice captain and he had grown to like him immensely in the little while that they had know each other.  He soon learned that everyone liked Kogure.  There was just something about the guy that endeared him immediately to people, sort of like Sendo himself.  " Hello, Kogure-san!  So nice of you to invite me to eat with you guys!"

" It's nothing."  Kogure replied with a smile.

As Sendo slipped into a seat across the table from the boy, he noticed another member of the Shohuku basketball club, the handsome short haired guy with a scar across his chin, drawing closer to Kogure and darting suspicious glances at him.  " Ko-chan, you want to introduce me to your new friend?"  It sounded more like an order than a request the way that it came out.

" I'm Sendo.  Sendo Akira." He stretched his hand out towards the other boy, who shook it a bit hesitantly.

" Sendo from Ryonan, right?"

" Sendo from Shohuku now!"  He replied with a smile.

" Yeah, I guess so.  I'm Mitsui Hisashi."

" Yeah, number fourteen.  We've met on court a few times though we've never been formally introduced until now..."

" So you're going to school here now, huh?" Mitsui remarked.  His tone had become somewhat less icy but he still hadn't completely thawed towards the guy.  He was still slightly suspicious of the ex- Ryonan player, though he was pretty much reassured that Sendo had no designs on Kogure whatsoever.

" Yes."

" Why?  I mean, if you don't mind me being so blunt-"

" Sashi-kun, I don't think Sendo-san wants to be interrogated right now."  Kogure berated him gently, setting a cookie down onto his tray for him and another one before Sendo.

" Please, it's Akira.  And I don't mind answering his questions at all!"  Sendo smiled inwardly as he thought about what a cute couple the two of them made together.  He sighed, wondering when he would be able to find somebody that cared as much for him as Kogure obviously did for Mitsui, what with the way that the boy was constantly supervising every move that Mitsui made, coaxing him into eating more food, brushing the cookie crumbs away from the front of his uniform and scolding him softly for never bothering to give his hair a comb through.  " What was that that you wanted to know, Mitsui-san?"

" Call him ' Missy'!  Not Mitsui-san.  He likes that better!" A cheerful voice interjected as a lunch tray was banged down onto the table beside Sendo.

Sendo twisted around and looked up to find a boy with flaming red hair and adorable rosy cheeks looking down at him.  He nearly choked on the cookie that Kogure had given him.  This was Shohuku's number ten!  He realized.  No mistaking it, what with the bright red hair and that loud, rather arrogant voice.  This was the guy that had appealed to him so much that time that they had played that game against Shohuku that he had had Hikoichi dig everything up that he could about him.  Sakuragi Hanamichi, the hot tempered forward.  God.  Even his name was cute!  He found himself grinning stupidly.

" Hey!  Kogure made cookies again!"  The red head crowed happily, snatching one up despite of Mitsui's protests.  " Yummy!"

" They're supposed to be mine..."  Mitsui grumbled under his breath.

" You want it, you can have it back."  Hanamichi opened his mouth wide, letting them all have a view of the gooey mess within that was all that remained of the cookie that he had stuffed all at once into his mouth.

" I changed my mind."

" I knew you would, Missy!"  Hanamichi flopped down onto the seat beside Sendo, brushing his fiery red locks off his eyes.  " I mean, come on!  What's a cookie to yah?  Kogure gives you way more than that, doesn't he?"  He made a big show of winking suggestively before attacking the pile of food on his tray.

Mitsui grinned, seeing how red Kogure's face had gotten at this comment.  " What are you doing here, anyways?  Where's the Hanamichi gang?"

" Detention."  Hanamichi replied, in between mouthfuls of food.  " Couldn't find anybody else to sit with so I had to settle for you guys.  I mean, I know you're surprised that the Tensai decided to grace you with his presence but you guys are the people that support my incredible performance on court, aren't you?"

" Shut up with all the Tensai crap before I throw up everything that I just had for lunch."

" What's that supposed to mean, Missy?"

" Hey, Hanamichi."  Kogure interjected.  He knew where all this needling was going to lead and he didn't think the cafeteria ladies would appreciate a punch up right now.  " Have you met Sendo?"

" I slaughtered him on court a couple of times!"

" As I recall, it was the other way around!"  Sendo corrected him, grinning.

" Then you recall wrong!"  Hanamichi retorted with a snort.  " Nobody defeats the great Tensai!"

" Why, of course.  My mistake.  I am honored to be in the presence of your genius, Sakuragi Hanamichi!" Sendo's head bobbed down in a little salute.

Mitsui snickered at this.  He had to give it to the guy.  He was a lot more tolerant of the idiot than he would ever be.  " Give it up already, Hanamichi.  This guy is a player that's way out of your league!"

" I'm afraid that you're thinking way too much of me."

" He's right, you know, Missy."  Hanamichi agreed, nodding adamantly.  " He's not that great!  Not when compared with my genius."

" You can bash him if you want, you know."  Mitsui informed Sendo.  That's what he would have done by then if he had had to listen to this sort of crap spouting from the red head about his ball playing abilities.  " Don't mind me and Kogure."

" Oh, I think it's good for a guy to have confidence in himself and his abilities," Sendo replied good naturedly.  Hanamichi certainly did seem to have those qualities in him.  " That's what makes a good player."

Hanamichi tipped his head to one side, a smile on his lips.  " You're not like any of the other guys on the team."  He remarked.  " I like you."

Sendo nodded happily.  " That's good."  That would make things all the more easier for him.  He was planning on getting to know this Sakuragi Hanamichi very, very well.  " Because I was hoping to join the Shohuku basketball club, if nobody minded."

" Why should anyone mind?" Kogure asked.  There had been no question in his mind that Ryonan's star player would have a position in the team.  They could always use more good players.  " Any other team would jump to have you join them!"

" Kaede made it perfectly clear that he doesn't want me on court with him unless I'm on the opposing side."  Sendo replied by way of explanation.

Hanamichi snorted.  " Who cares what the Kitsune thinks?  You're gonna be on the team and that's that."

" It's not as though you're the one who make's those kind of decisions, you idiot."  Mitsui pointed out.
" But I really think that there'll be no problem with you joining the team!  I, for one, would prefer to have you playing with us instead of against us..."

" But the moment you reveal any of the Tensai's secret strategy to those Ryonan guys is the moment that you die a slow and painful death."  Hanamichi warned him, drawing a finger across his throat in a slashing motion.

Sendo nodded solemnly, all the while thinking about how adorable the big, red headed lug was.  " I understand."

" As for Rukawa, well, the guy doesn't really like anybody.  He's not really a team player, you know?"  Mitsui told him.  " He's pretty much a loner."

" Yeah.  I know about that.  Even at home he doesn't say much."

" At home?"  Kogure repeated, raising an eyebrow questioningly at this comment.

" Well, yeah.  He's my brother.  My step-brother, that is."  Sendo explained.  " My mother got married to his dad just a while ago so we had to move into their house.  That's the reason that I had to transfer schools.  Because Ryonan High is so far away from home."

" Wait!"  Mitsui frowned.  He had had no idea whatsoever about anything that the guy was talking about.  " You're saying that Rukawa is your brother?"

" Step-brother, yeah."  Sendo looked at him quizzically.  " You mean that none of you guys knew anything about this at all?  I would have thought that Rukawa would have spoken to you guys about it or something!"

" The Kitsune doesn't talk to anybody.  He's the most frigid little bastard I've ever met in my life!"

" Hanamichi!"

" Well, it's true, Kogure."  Hanamichi said, shrugging.  " He is.  And I pity you for having to live with that block of ice."  He gave Sendo a consoling pat on the back.

" Just let me get this straight, he told nobody at all about it?"  Sendo asked disbelievingly.  " Not even his friends?"

" What friends?"  Mitsui demanded, gesturing to a table by one corner of the cafeteria where Rukawa sat eating alone, plugged into his mp3 player.

" He doesn't talk to even you guys?"

" As I've said before, he's not a team player but he does okay on his own so nobody really minds."

" So I'm not the only person that he completely ignores?"  Sendo felt a wave of relief at this.  So that must mean that Rukawa didn't really hate his guts after all!  He just acted that way with everybody!

" The world is just one big inconvenience for him to ignore."

Sendo watched Rukawa as he began to nod off over his food.  " Poor guy.  He must be so miserable!  So lonely."

Hanamichi grunted.  " He deserves that for the way that he's always acting!"

" Nobody deserves that!"  Sendo protested, " I know!  Let's call him over here!"

" No!"  The red head protested, shaking his head furiously.

Sendo glanced over at Kogure who just shrugged.  Mitsui made to open his mouth in protest, but was unable to get a word out when Kogure pinched him sharply, preventing him from doing so.  " I think it's a good idea."  He declared.

" Great!  I'll go over there and wake him up then!"  Sendo declared, getting to his feet.  " Hanamichi, you want to come with me?"

The red head stayed right where he was, as appealing as the older boy's smile was.  " Don't look at me.  I'm not stupid enough to get anywhere near the Kitsune after he's just woken up!  He's your step-brother and you're the one that wants him here.  You do it."

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