Rivalry: The truth behind the scenes

Strife: Yes! I've finally posted a fanfic! After weeks of begging my dear co-author to finish her parts, it's finally here! By the way, this fic is co-authored by 'Saicho-18 the great' and if ever you see some weird pairings, Kami-sama, it's all her doing. I, Strife-07, is not responsible for those unlikely pairings. Blame Saicho for her keen observations and strange imagination. About the fic itself, well, have you ever wondered what the characters really are thinking? And I'm not talking about basketball, mind you. I mean, fluffily (is that a word? We fanfic writers really have a tendency to come up with weird jargons) and romantically. Have you ever wondered whether Mitsui and Akagi's rivalry extended to some point far from basketball? (Warning: Might be a lot OOC)

Feel free to drop a comment, review or even grammar-related suggestions if you wish to do so. Anything would be fine. We won't even be mad if you'd flame this fic. We're really open-minded persons. Really. Really, we are. Honestly. Er, you do believe us, don't you? Don't you?!

Disclaimer: If we owned Slam Dunk, Sakuragi would be dyed blonde, Rukawa would've smiled in a normal basis, Miyagi would be 3 inches taller, Mitsui would've been the team captain, Haruko wouldn't be the squealing girly-type, Akagi would look like Haruko even the slightest bit (what? They are siblings after all…) and Kogure would be snogging Strife by now. Got it?

Mitsui's views

I watched in awe as the epitome of a man walked into the gym. I even stopped dribbling the ball just to take a good look at him… the man of every hour of my life…

Kiminobu Kogure.

I furiously wipe off the beads sweat rolling carelessly down my face, not caring if I dropped out of the middle of a one-on-one with Sakuragi.

This caused the so-called 'tensai' to go on a parade of curses. I ignored the bigmouth. Nothing much mattered to me anymore except that he was finally there. My beautiful angel amongst a herd of smelly-looking basketball players (sans me of course as I, for one, am not that bad-looking). My vast ray of sunshine. My sudden inspiration through all. My dearest Kogure.

He glanced my way and I felt my heart-beating raise by a notch. Perspiration soaked my practice jersey. Funny how he can make me react like this by just looking at me.

He smiled and I almost fainted in delight. I guess I had this goofy smile on my face because he looked at me weirdly and looked away.

Of course, there was absolutely nothing special about that particular smile. I mean, come on, this Kogure we are talking about; the guy who gives out smiles as much as Sakuragi calls himself a genius. And that's saying something.

He then came to watch Sakuragi, who by the way had left me alone long time ago, failed miserably to block a slam dunk from his new found playmate- Rukawa. The 'tensai' went on another one of his parades of how much he was much, much better, how he was a genius and when he suddenly lost his balance, he said that he just did it on purpose because he wanted to give everyone a good laugh because we all look so stiff. Really.

Surprisingly, the loud-mouthed red-haired freak is actually very good at this game, and considering that he never actually played basketball his whole life before . . . well, that's just amazing.

My silent admiration for Sakuragi was soon destroyed by the sounds of curses coming from his mouth. Boy, he sure did have an extensive knowledge on curses.

I sweat dropped as I saw one butt-ugly gorilla walk towards the rampaging fool.

Predictably, a conk on the head was earned by the genius. That shut him up. Well, from experiences' sake, that was very well earned, and of course, we all knew that the silence would not last long.

He was about to open his mouth when the great coach Anzai strolled in and boomed,

"Practice game! Pick your own teams!"

And then he sat down on his usual chair with Ayako at his side.

Miyagi stood up from the bench that he was sitting on and walked towards the court and started teasing Sakuragi.

Hmmm . . . teams, wonder which one I should choose. Yellow perhaps . . .

On second thought, I just saw a Akagi throw on a yellow shirt so scratch that. Red it is then. I mean, how could I possibly impress Kogure and make Akagi look bad if we are on the same team? I know that the big lug has the hots for Kogure, and surprisingly I don't blame him, but I still have this sort of thirst for something. Something that I don't know what. Revenge maybe? All I know is that I can't and would not accept it if Gory will have Kogure. I will just die. Figuratively and literally.

What the?! Kogure chose the yellow team?! He picked Akagi's team over mine? How could he? I mean, just look at his teammates for goodness' sake; a gorilla, a self-proclaimed genius and two benchwarmers.

I, on the other hand, have the great Rookie, my newfound chum Miyagi and also two benchwarmers. Ok, so it's not that great, but it is better, don't you think?

I wonder if I could avoid Kogure the rest of the game and still surmount Akagi . . . I'll try that, I guess.

Ayako whistled and so the game began.

My eyes kept unconsciously darting to where Kogure was playing.

Funny, his cheeks seemed to be burning. If I didn't know better, I'd say that he was all flushed.

Now that was just impossible, wasn't it? I mean, this is Kogure we are talking about and well --

Oh. My. God. I think he just looked at me . . . gosh . . . this like a dream come true . . .

I looked at him again and he readjusted his glasses. The damn thing that was moving inside my stomach felt like it just it turned into a snake. A huge one.

His movements were stiffed, almost as if his mind was somewhere else. The longer I stared at him, the more I felt my cheeks redden. Weird, this has to be the first time I blushed this much.

He worked the court, running back and forth, but never, not once, touched the ball. I just had to wonder why.

His eyes were actually glazed over, the passion that I have once seen- the same one that had convinced me to play basketball once again- was gone. And the weird thing was, it was as if he wasn't paying much attention to he game. So very unlikely of him.

Sakuragi now had the ball but Rukawa quickly stole it from him. We ran back to our side of the court, me waiting for an emergency or something. I fell back behind and lost sight of them because it was at that exact time for Akagi to guard me, therefore blocking my view. He was towering over me and was glaring, not that I care of course. The only thing that irritates me is that the apple of my eye was right behind him. Damn this gorilla and his size! Figures that he was too big for my height that I can't even see!

The next thing I heard was the crowd cheering and that gorilla in front of me was running once again towards their end of the court, along with his teammates and mine.

I looked at the score table and saw that we had gained two points. That Rukawa was sure a good asset.

Sakuragi now had the ball, courtesy of Akagi. I just noticed that Kogure was nowhere to be found. I stopped in my tracks and looked for him.

I found him at the back and the sight shocked me literally. His eyes were wide and the red tint that was staining his cheeks was now steadily spreading.

Then, his beautiful lips broke into a beautiful smile, and he has this look on his face . . .

And it wasn't just any look, but the look; the same one I'm sure I have on my face every time I look at him.

Oh my dearest Kami-sama . . . my Kiminobu Kogure was indeed fallen to the infamous feeling of love . . .

I turned my head to look at where and who exactly he was looking at.

God, this can't be happening.