Rivalry: the truth behind the scenes

Strife: And so this fic ends. We do hope you had fun reading it as much we did writing it. Actually, it really pained me to make a Kogure-yaoi fic but what can I do, it was really what we perceived through the constant watching of the series. It was all the creator's fault for dropping such hints. Of course, who are we to ignore such blatant indications? ^_^  Review, good readers! We badly need it! Thanks for sharing this little fic with us!

(Warning: Hoo boy! Incredible OOCness, full speed ahead!!!) And now, Kogure decides who he really loves. No, sadly, it's not me. Try guessing who he chooses before the fic ends. Remember: Sometimes, things aren't always what they may seem…

Disclaimer: It's not ours as apparently, Takehiko Inoue refuses to let go of his brilliant characters. No, not even Kogure-my-love *sniffs sadly*. Now, it really makes us wonder: Is the creator really straight? ^_^0

Kogure's Choice

There he is. Like an angel about to take flight, he sprinted high across the air and executed a perfect slam-dunk. He's been always a crowd favorite. Who else bears that strong, powerful aura… enough to make anybody stare in awe? Nobody except him, I guess. With his deep set of eyes and brooding persona, he looked like a vision of a deity who descended from heaven just to fulfill a mortal's dreams. My dreams.

What the hell?! What have I just said?!?

I must be going crazy. That's the only possible explanation why that thought popped into my head. Or maybe I'm just stressed with all the practice games and school stuff. Yeah, that must be it.

Back to reality, he did another slam-dunk. A series of oohs and aahs followed which is absolutely well deserved, if I may say. But wait, what the hell is this feeling that's eating up my insides? It certainly can't be envy for I've always been an active cheerer of every player, no matter who's playing. Then for my own sake, what is it?

Was it worry? Possibly, but of what? That he'll pay less and less attention to me, now that his number of fans grow daily at an incredible rate? Damn it, this is getting out of hand. Maybe I should take an aspirin. Or two. Now.

For some reason, my blurry eyesight sensed something. Something quite delusional, I know, but—Did he, er, just steal a glance at me? I'm sure I saw his eyes flicker into my direction.

Or had I just imagined it?

What the hell, forget the couple of tablets. I need the whole damned bottle.

Hah! Listen to myself thinking about a whole string of curses. If my team mates ever hears m like this, no doubt they'll look at me like I've sprouted horns. And oh, what would he think?

Would he be turned off? I do hope not.

Er, okay Kogure. You will stop this foolish reflecting. You will no longer ponder over senseless ideas because that's just what they are: senseless.

"Practice game! Pick your own teams!" boomed Coach Anzai's voice.

Ah, yes. A practice game. Coach Anzai, I will forever be in debt to you for saving me from myself along with my stupid thoughts. Hail Coach Anzai.

Oh well, I do hope this game would really fire me up (no, not that way), enough to keep my hazy brain off from thoughts of, um, thoughts of that crazy topic.

Wait a minute. For a split second, I felt his eyes on me.


And again.

This is bad. Now, I'm beginning to hallucinate and conjure up things. Next thing I know, I'll be lap dancing at the center of the basketball court. Definitely not a good mental image.

Focus in the game, dimwit. Quick, choose a team.

Hmm… Which team should I choose? Red or Yellow? With all these wanton things going inside my now-mentally-challenged head, the last thing I want is to match the color of my face with the color of the shirt I'm wearing if ever I'd embarrass myself. Especially now that I can't get myself to concentrate. So yellow it is.

Oh, I see he's in the other team, ne? Well, I'm not gonna back down just because I've got a very peculiar event going on inside my stomach whenever he's about, I don't know, 30 inches away? Never mind. I'm here to play, to practice. Not to discuss points of strangeness.

But the way my insides twist into knots, there must be something going on. These things in my stomach that were making me feel queasy, are they what people usually call… butterflies?

God, I really must be losing it.

I could be getting the flu. What I was feeling remarkably resembled the early stages of that illness. Churning insides, liquid knees, that sort of thing.

Or maybe, just maybe, it could be that I, Kogure Kiminobu, was actually, finally, of all people, be falling in love…

My heart, surprisingly, swelled at the thought. Kogure no baka, that's so impossible. Stop thinking about him, the game's about to start.

Ayako whistled and the game was on. I suddenly found myself acting like an android. You know, programmed moves and all? Because all the while we were playing, running around the court, shooting baskets, I was staring at him. Only him.

No! I musn't be doing that!

But then, it was his eyes that always fascinated me. He was the only person I knew that had such intense ones. His pair's intensity grows even stronger when he plays hard. I continued gazing in his eyes' depths until…

I noticed he was staring back at me.

He. Stared. Back.

Oh, God.

Alarm filled my soggy brain as my completely silent expression screamed CAUGHT! It was just like the way ambulances blare their sirens when it was an absolute emergency.

This IS an emergency.

Damn, I'm going to die…

I half expected him to turn away in annoyance. After all, the way I stared at him like a lovesick puppy was enough to make anyone gag. Yet, miracle of all miracles, the left part of his lips curled upwards, vaguely resembling a smile.

I stood there, shocked, rooted to that spot.


Ugh, that definitely hurt. A ball just smacked the back of my head. Serves me right, the way I wasn't paying much attention to the game. Though humiliated, I managed to just laugh a bit and shrug the whole thing off. I even had the summoned courage to take a risk at glancing at him. The next thing that happened though was what completely blew me away.

He was looking at me, alright. But what amazed me was the way his eyes seemingly reflected passion, or so I thought. It was almost as if he was… concerned. I violently shook my head.

I'm going to have my eyes checked to see if I'm going to need new glasses. Thicker ones. Or maybe I have to get my mind checked also. My ideas are getting crazier by the minute.

"Don't worry. I'm fine, captain!" I managed. "Pass me the ball, quick!"

And he did. Dribbling carefully on the way to the inner court, I suddenly found myself face to face with him. It looks as if he decided to be the one who'll block my way to the basket. With him just a few centimeters away from me, his incredibly sweet scent filled my nostrils. It was literally intoxicating me, in an oddly good way. The awkward closeness between us made me panic, however.

Bad move. Panicking soon led to clumsiness that I miscalculated my step, tripped over my own foot, onto… him. I guess it was so sudden, for he also lost his balance and toppled backward. Before I knew what had happened, we ended up on the floor being a pile of tangled arms and legs with me on top of him.

I gasped for breath as I noticed that my body rested against his. My heart was pounding, and I felt paralyzed. It was as if we were the only people in the gym. All I could do for the first split second was stare into his amazingly intense eyes, which were mere inches from mine.

I assumed he'd scowl and call me stupid, just like what he call everyone else. But then, his beautiful lips broke into a beautiful smile I've never seen before. A smile intended for me, I realized.

As our gaze locked, he ever so gently touched my face with his hand and brought my trembling lips to meet his. I couldn't resist, and I realized that I didn't really want to. It suddenly dawned on to me that I've wanted him for a long time now. I let myself get lost in that wonderful feeling, the feeling I've been refusing to admit.

Pulling apart, he smiled once again and pulled my head down so his mouth moved closer to my ears. "I love you, Kogure. I hope you feel the same way that I do…" he softly whispered. With that, it was my turn to answer him with a smile. Unmindful of whatever reactions our other teammates had on their faces, we melted into each other's embrace.

How could I be so blind to my own feelings? All this time, I've been hiding what I truly felt for him, denying the real connection I had with him, not knowing that I may have absently given him my heart long before I realized it. Well, it's still not too late to make up for the lost moments. And this time, I'm ready to admit it to the whole world.

Yes, without a doubt, there are no two ways about it.

I love Rukawa.