In Your Heart
A/N: This is an answer to Miyuki's fic request and edited by Devil-Kirin
"Sasaoka, pass the ball quickly " Sakuragi shouted at his teammate. Sasaoka passed the ball to the redheaded guy who ripped the opposing team's defenses apart and smashed the ball into the basket in a spectacular dunk.
The audience went wild as the referee's whistle echoed through the gym, announcing the end of the game with Shohoku leading by 99-98.
The Shohoku players crowded around their redheaded captain, congratulating each other for the hard victory. Sakuragi watched his celebrating teammates silently with an exhausted smile pasted on his face.
He made his way to the bench and grabbed the towel to wipe his face. The game was a hard won one even though many of the good players he once known had finished high school and left. Some to Universities like a certain Gori...Others to jobs that they had taken a fancy to. Surely, there were good players among the new students…but they could never be as special, or as dear to him as his former teammates were.
//One more game...Just one more...and we'll be the Number One team in Kanagawa for the second year in a row// He thought as he wiped off his sweat.
"Great game…Sakuragi," a warm voice called from behind. Sakuragi looked at the person behind and smiled at his senior and former vice-captain Kogure Kiminobu.
"It was a difficult one, Kogure"
"Nonsense." Kogure shook his head. "Nothing is so hard for the great genius of Shohoku."
"Great genius of Shohoku?" Sakuragi chuckled softly. "It has been a long time since I last heard that..."
"Come on. You're still the genius I've known for three years now. And you're still proving it in every game you play."
"No, Kogure." Sakuragi looked away, his eyes filled with a silent grief. "I am no longer the person you've once knew...I changed...I changed a lot ever since..." Sakuragi could not make himself finish his sentence. A tear fell down his cheek before he could stop it, and he rubbed at it viciously.
Kogure placed a comforting hand on Sakuragi's shoulder. "Sakuragi, it's been 8 months. You should go on with your life. I'm sure he's very proud of you...After all, you fulfilled what he had always dreamt of...you made his dream come true by leading Shohoku to victory"
"Are you sure that he's proud of me, Kogure?" Sakuragi sounded like a five-year-old boy.
"Of course he is" Kogure nodded.
"Then I guess I'm a genius after all" Sakuragi chuckled between his silent tears.
Kogure couldn't help but to smile at his friend.
It was nearly midnight when a tall guy with bright red hair made his way through the empty streets of Shohoku district. Sakuragi continued on his way as Kogure's words echoed repeatedly throughout his mind…
"Are you really proud of me, Kaede?" He whispered into the empty, unresponsive air. "...Or do you still blame me for that accident? Will you ever forgive me?"
"Kaede...I've a surprise for you..." Sakuragi burst into the bedroom with huge grin in his face.
Rukawa who was, most amazingly, studying for an exam, jumped, startled by the sudden noise. Of course, it would be of no surprise that Rukawa had been *sleeping* on his textbook before the redhead barged in.
"Surprise?" Rukawa raised an eyebrow. "What have you up your sleeve, idiot?"
"Come and see for yourself." Sakuragi tugged impatiently at Rukawa's sleeve. "Come on..."
"Idiot. Can't you see I'm trying my best to study? I've got an important exam tomorrow."
Sakuragi looked at Rukawa in mock amazement. "Am I hearing thing? Since when did you start to care about exams or the like?"
"..." Rukawa would have loved to get his hands on Sakuragi's neck at that point in time.
Sakuragi chuckled, ignoring the Fox's patent Death Glare. "Come on. It'll only take five minutes...That won't kill you, so come on; it's right in front of the house. Just COME and see it." Sakuragi resumed pulling the Fox out of his seat.
Rukawa looked at Sakuragi curiously. What could be this THING that Sakuragi simply couldn't wait to show him?
Curiosity winning over his initial reluctance, Rukawa agreed to go with his lover to see that thing. In any case, Sakuragi would never leave him alone until he did so.
Once at the front of house, Sakuragi pulled Rukawa over to a cloth-covered item that looked suspiciously like...
//No…It couldn't be...// Rukawa watched his lover leave his side to stand near the THING.
"Watch, Fox!" Sakuragi did not wait for a reply; instead he pulled off the cover immediately. "Ta da~!"
Rukawa saw a black knight motorbike standing gracefully. He looked at his lover in disbelief.
"Idiot, where did this come from?" Rukawa asked dumbfounded.
Sakuragi grinned widely. "Well, I bought it. You've always longed for one, haven't you?"
"Yes, but this particular model costs a bomb, how could you-?" Rukawa looked at the red head, understanding dawning upon him. "That was why you...?"
"Hehehehe..." Sakuragi scratched his head sheepishly. "You guessed it...This was the reason why I worked such long hours these few months..."
"And I thought I would never get to ride on one..." Rukawa shook his head, "But I never thought that you would..." Having no word adequate enough to convey his feelings, he settled for clasping the red head's hands in his own. "Thank you, Hana-kun. Thank you."
Sakuragi smiled at the brunette tenderly. "Kaede, there's no need to thank me...there never was one. Why else do you think I did this? Because I love you."
"..." Rukawa fell silent. The love that he saw in his lover's eyes was so tender, so caring... //you are my angel, Hanamichi...// and he hugged his lover, pulling him close to him. //I love you, Idiot...//
Sakuragi smiled at the uncharacteristic Rukawa behavior. "Ne, Kaede, would you like to go for a spin on these gorgeous new wheels?"
"Why not? We'll make our first on this baby a short one."
"I guess it's OK"
The two boys drove through the streets, enjoying their short ride. Rukawa was very happy to ride with his lover on his dream bike. He hugged Sakuragi from behind as the fresh air played with his hair. Sakuragi smiled as he felt Rukawa's hands tightened their embrace around his waist.
"Happy, Kaede?" he asked.
"As long as I'm with you, I'm drowned in absolute happiness."
Sakuragi couldn't help but to chuckle...it *was* rare for his quiet lover to talk openly about his feelings. After being together for quite some time, Sakuragi learnt the art of reading Rukawa by his actions, not by his words.
Sakuragi was lost in his thoughts about his lover that he didn't pay attention to the road in front of him.
"HANA...LOOK OUT" Sakuragi snapped from his daydreams at his lover's shout. His eyes widened in horror at the sight of huge trunk appearing suddenly in front of them. He turned the handlebar, pushing the brakes with all his might. Unfortunately, the bike went out of his control and turned around itself before it crushed into a huge tree, sending the two boys to the pavement.
End of Flashback
Sakuragi shook his head violently, trying to erase that memory from his head. He has been blaming himself for 8 months now. But still the guilt hadn't gone or even lightened.
Still the pain upon hearing his lover's death from his friends was torturing his heart and soul.
Still the sight of his lover lying peacefully in a coffin present in front of his mind and eyes.
Sakuragi continued his walking towards his house. He stopped, however, for a minute in front of an empty basketball court. His heart ached him as images of a raven-haired boy playing one-on-one with him flashed in front of his eyes.
They used to have one-on-one every morning together in that court before going to school.
They used to walk together back from practice every evening.
They used to do so many things together…
//Not anymore// Sakuragi bit his lips hard, unintentionally drawing blood. //He's gone...and he'll never come back...//
Sakuragi continued his way to his dark empty house. He unlocked the door and entered.
Darkness greeted him with its painful silence. Sakuragi fought the urge to bust into tears again. He had promised himself to move on and not to linger over what was already the past...But his heart still pained him every time he came across that court, every time he entered his house, every time he held an orange rubber ball.
His friends advised him to sell the house and buy another in another area...but he couldn't.
He couldn't imagine the place that he once shared with his lover, going to another.
He couldn't imagine the place where he had heard his lover's joyous laughs, would echo another person's laughs.
He couldn't imagine his memory of the happiest days in his life would go forever...go just like his lover.
Sakuragi shook his head, clearing it from all these thoughts. He made his way upstairs to his bedroom. When he opened the lights, a loud gasp escaped from his mouth. He froze in his spot unable to move. His heart skipped a beat at the scene in front of him.
A/N: oh well…looks like I have written another HanaRuHana after all. But really the plot was very interesting…besides I love to make these boys suffer *grins*
Anyway, Devil-Kirin, who was kind enough to edit the fic, rewrote most of the fic…
Thanks a lot Devil-Kirin …I really appreciate it ^__^
I promise that I'll try to finish this fic and my other SenRu fics in the coming days…after my exams of course…
Anyway, tell me what do u think about it?
Thanks and see ya