Title: In the Sunshine [1/?]
Author: Kikiam-sama
Rating: G

Description: The bright summer days have come, but some seem to have brought the rains back. [Sequel to 'In the Rain']

Notes: 'Just thought that 'In the Rain' needs a sequel.

Disclaimer: Slam Dunk belongs to Takehiko Inoue. The characters are only being used for fun. No profit is being earned. Please don't sue me.
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Chapter 1
A Summer Morning's Walk
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The streets of Kanagawa bustled that day. The people bathed in the light rays of the early morning sun that can only be seen during the month of July. The glass windows flashed glaring lights, yet the people didn't mind, since they knew that it was going to be brighter during the rest of the day. (They were thankful that it wasn't that bright yet.) At the same time the generally cheery mood washed away every possibility of irritation with the heat.

Haruko Akagi stood waiting near the entrance of the subway station, her hand clinging to her bag while the other wiped the sweat falling on her forehead with a white handkerchief and tucked some of her brown hair behind her ear. She wore a light blue uniform that could be nothing else but Shohoku High School's summer uniform.

"He's late again," she muttered to herself. She had been waiting for fifteen minutes already, and yet, _he_ hadn't arrived. He probably didn't understand that making a girl wait at their meeting place was something against social convention.

//He is always against social convention, after all. But still...//

She sighed then continued to look for the black mass of hair to pop up among the millions of others walking near the station. He wouldn't be very hard to notice, for he was quite taller than the average. A few minutes later, she heard a crash several meters away.

"For goodness' sake, why are you riding your bike asleep?" asked loudly by a high-pitched voice that most probably belonged to an old woman. Many people stopped in their tracks and came to look at the commotion, except for Haruko who knew exactly what happened. She knew that he had arrived.

The scene, as she knew it, was funny, or as Haruko thought. She still found it entertaining even if it happened almost every morning. She knew that, there the old lady stood, with one hand on her hips and the other pointing at a tall, high school student sitting beside his fallen bike, rubbing his back, and muttering words so inaudibly that only Kami-sama could tell if he was saying sorry or what.

She remained standing at where she was. The people, which have gathered around them laughed.

"What did you say, you...?!" the old woman, angered, asked him.

Haruko didn't hear an answer, but she heard the people laugh again. A few moments later, the people started to disperse and she saw him approach her on his bike.

"Ohayou," she greeted him cheerfully. "You're late... again."

"Sorry. I overslept," he said softly as usual then biked off to park his bike. Haruko watched him intently. Afterwards, he walked towards her.

"Come on, we'll be late for school," Haruko said.

"Sure."

After walking a few meters, Haruko decided to spark up a conversation between the two of them. It was becoming too quiet between them.

"Oniichan will be coming to Shohoku tomorrow. He said he wants to see what it's like now." She thought that he would like the idea of having the ex-captain visit them, because he told her once (and for some miracle, he actually talked) that Takenori Akagi was one of the people he admired the most.

"Sure." The flat voice came out as inaudibly as a pin falling on the ground. He continued to walk, looking straight ahead.

"Kogure-san is coming with him."

Silence.

"And so is Mitsui-san."

Silence, silence, except that Haruko heard a branch crack nearby.

"They wanted to play a game with you guys and see how much you've improved."

Silence, silence, silence.

"Oh, and have I told you that Oniichan and Kogure-san won their latest game?"

Silence, silence, silence, silence. Had he fallen asleep already?

// Have I told you that you're not answering me? //

Silence, silence, silence, silence, silence.

"I can't wait to give Anzai-sensei and Miyagi-san the news. I know they'll be excited to see Oniichan, Kogure-san and Mitsui-san. And maybe Sakuragi-kun will be very excited, too."

Silence, silence, silence, silence, silence, silence. A child's cry rang nearby.

// Unlike you, I hope. //

Silence, silence, silence, silence, silence, silence, silence.

They continued to walk. Haruko decided to stop talking. She knew her efforts were futile. Even if he was glad to see the former members of Shohoku, he really wouldn't show it.

// Why? //

It was always like this every morning. They'd meet at the train station then walk to school together. Oftentimes, he was late and she was early, but she really didn't mind. She was the patient type of person, anyway. When there were times that he arrived first, however, she usually found him standing asleep. She couldn't tell if he was being patient or that he was just being himself.

And even though they had been walking with each other to school for almost a month already, she never got used to the cold, still, silence he always gave her. It was as if something was missing, like the silence was a blank that stood between then and kept her from truly feeling what she was supposed to.

As they neared school, they saw some schoolmates walking casually. A few weeks ago, when their habit first began, it was an entirely different scene. When the students saw them walking together to school, they stared and whispered. Some shouted. It was good that gossip only took a few weeks to die out.

Some said they were the dream basketball couple: the basketball varsity's ace player and the ex-captain's younger sister. They said it was a match made in heaven. Some were jealous, up to the extent that threat letters were sent to Haruko. Some said that they didn't suit each other because of the contrasting personalities.

Haruko said she really didn't care about what others said.

And all this time, Rukawa said nothing, as always. He was never the one to show how he thought or felt.

The school was its usual scene that morning. The students walked hurriedly, yet chattering with their friends, to their classrooms. Some delinquent students hung out near the entrance and gave threatening glares to whom they felt needed it. Teachers also walked around the campus, ignored until they were in the classroom. The bright sunlight made the scene typical enough to put on a postcard.

As they walked further, Haruko felt uneasy, and her body slowly inched away from him. She was now in a relationship she had dreamed of for so long, yet, why didn't she seem so happy about it? She was with him, she heard words from him that she thought would never come to her ears. But then, those words were so few, so small, as if they barely had any significance. And there weren't any actions to prove those words, in fact there were more to disprove the existence of their relationship, just like their conversation a while ago. Sure, she walked with him every morning, but then, he never gave a sign that he was happy with her and with what they were doing. She wasn't expecting him to suddenly kiss her like in the movies, in fact, she didn't know what she wanted. But it was surely something, just an assurance that there was actually a relationship going on between them. Just a small sign like a dim star in a cloudy night sky.

They finally arrived at the hallway of the sophomores' rooms. They weren't in the same class, so this was their point of separation for the morning.

"Well, see you later," Haruko said. As she uttered those words, she waited for a small response.

But as usual, Rukawa walked away without saying a word.

~Tsuzuku~
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Translations:
» Oniichan - big brother
» Ohayou - good morning
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