Another chapter! … *runs out of things to say* Er, enjoy!

Xabie: man… another mafia on the loose. Too short??? I thought it was pretty long! It seems your definition of short and my definition of short don't match!

Fehr-chan: Green with tea… wahahahahah! What a good expression! Yeah, haven't heard from you. Mail me soon!

Crazy4u: Oh ya. Sorry. Forgot that PMR and SPM begin at different times. *sigh* When you leave school, you kinda lose perspective. For example, I tried to write a Malay e-mail to my friend and got everything mixed up. My BM teacher would've died!

Xiaoj: Thanks! Hope you like this chappie too!

Patty g: Updating! *sings along* la-di-da-di-da~

            "Whoooo!" Kiyota yelled out loud as the team exited the bullet train. "Hiroshima, here we are!"

            Maki snorted. "I doubt even a grain of sand in Hiroshima cares about your presence."

            "Maki! Why are you in such a bad mood? We're going for the Nationals!"

            "I'm not in a bad mood, Kiyota. I'm just stating facts."

            "Cheer up, Maki! You don't have to be worried about the games! With me by your side, we'll win for sure!" Kiyota rushed off to the exit, cackling, his wild hair flying behind his head.

            Maki smiled wryly. "At least I can be sure one of us is upbeat and ready."

            "You're upbeat and ready yourself." Jin commented, walking at his side.

            "What about you?" Maki asked curiously, hooking an arm around the tall boy's shoulders.

            "Me? I'm looking forward to the games."

            "Hmmm…" Maki hummed casually. "Your lady problems settled already?" He cocked an eyebrow at Jin's embarrassed facial expression. "I just don't want you to be distracted."

            Jin blew a breath. "Um, well, the truth is I haven't seen her ever since she appeared mysteriously at my doorstep with my cousin." He frowned a little and sighed. "That was a month ago."

            "Hmm…" Maki hummed again. "Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned her because now you're distracted."

            Jin looked reassuringly at his captain. "I'll be fine."

            Maki continued humming.

            "What a beautiful stadium!" Kiyota exclaimed as they entered the premises. "How come our school gym isn't as beautiful as this, coach? Maybe you should suggest to the school to upgrade our basketball court?"

            "Sure I will," the coach answered good-naturedly, "just as soon as you write me a check for a zillion yen to fund the project."

            The whole team burst laughing as Kiyota muttered under his breath.

            Maki scanned the hallway as they headed for the players' room. Then, his eyebrows suddenly shot up and he looked quickly at Jin, who almost took a step back at the sudden intense glare.

            "Jin," Maki started. "Hold up your right hand."

            Jin held up his right hand.

            "Now repeat after me. I, Jin Souichirou, hereby take oath that I will not be distracted during the game nor in any way hinder my other teammates from winning the match."

            Jin had a pained look on his face. "Maki, I told you I'll be fine."

            Maki, grim-faced, cocked his head towards the row of seats at one corner of the hallway. "You deal with that and then you tell me again." Then he led the team away and left Jin alone.

            Jin scanned the row of seats curiously and almost gaped at the sight of Kat sprawled across four of the seats, soundly sleeping. Unsure whether to laugh out loud or smack his forehead in disbelief, he made his way to her.

            "Kat?" he shook her gently. "Kat, wake up."

            Groggy eyes slowly opened and assessed him. Then a slow smile spread over the face that Jin had always found outrageously and devilishly appealing. "Hello." Kat sat up and rubbed her sore back.

            "When did you arrive here?" Jin asked, settling himself on a seat beside her.

            Kat yawned and stretched. "Just a few hours ago. Got lost but eventually found my way here. I've been waiting for you."

            "You didn't have to come all the way here," he told her, though he knew he didn't mean that. "You could've just talked to me over the phone."

            Kat shrugged. "One, my message cannot be delivered over the phone," she informed him. "Two, I wanted to watch you in action, at least once. And three, I just wanted to see your face."

            He smiled, his insides strangely going warm. "What was it that you wanted to talk to me about?"

            "Just this." She muttered and leaned sideways to kiss him.

            When she finally pulled back, Jin released an explosive breath. "You, uh, sure get your message across."

            "I sure do." She squeezed his hand and got up to make her way to the seats inside. "Good luck."

            "Are you distracted?" Maki leaped at Jin as soon as he entered the players' room. "Are you distracted? Are you distracted?"

            Jin laughed. "Are you kidding?" he said confidently, "We're winning this match."

            "How are you?"

            Yuma sniffed and scowled at the hospital food stretched out in front of her. "They're starving me," she claimed to Jin, glaring at the unoffending plate. "Broccoli? Mushrooms? They actually call this lunch?"

            "Just eat it," Miyoshi muttered.

            "No way."

            Miyoshi and Kat looked at each other across the bed. "Time for Operation one-oh-one." Miyoshi sighed while Kat nodded solemnly. Smoothly, Miyoshi pinned down Yuma's arms while Kat scooped a spoonful of broccoli and proceeded to stuff it down Yuma's mouth.

            Yuma laughingly protested, threatening all sorts of things.

            "Whoa," Kat evaded a kick well aimed. "Could you hold down her legs, Jin? She's feisty."


            When all the food had been successfully transferred from the plate into Yuma's grumbling mouth and they were seated around her with Miyoshi playing some tune in his battered harmonica and Kat fussily rearranging flowers in a pretty vase, Yuma beckoned Jin to come closer to her.

            "Congratulations on being the second in the Nationals," she whispered.

            Jin smiled. "Thank you."

            "I know I haven't exactly been nice to you," Yuma admitted ruefully, "and I just want to say I'm sorry and that I don't hate you."

            "I'm relieved," he confessed. "Because I like you."

            Yuma patted his hand affectionately. "Smart thing to say," she approved. "And now you've just won my undying - though sometimes wavering - friendship."

            "And you've won mine."

            Yuma leaned forward to whisper in his ears. "I've got a little secret to tell you."

            Jin cocked his head sideways. "Oh?"

            "Despite everything I've said about you before, in truth I think you're absolutely to die for."

            Jin laughed, but Yuma had more to say. "Now tell me the truth," she murmured, cautiously making sure Kat wasn't listening. "Have you or have you not done it with Kat?"

            It was her turn to laugh as Jin turned a furious shade of magenta. Distracted from her current activity, Kat looked in surprise at Yuma who was shaking with mirth. "Something funny?" she asked curiously.

            "Nothing," Jin shook his head quickly, blindly reaching for a drink. "Nothing at all."

            Yuma just kept on laughing.

Dear readers – END. ^_^ By the way, in case any of you are interested, i've got two new fics up - one Kogure and one of Card Captor Sakura (he he... venturing into new anime) Read them if you want and leave them if you don't!