Notes: Whew! It's done. This is the fifth and last part of this story. Thanks for your support everyone! I hope you enjoy this last part as well. Hmm, I think I should clarify something now. While writing this I was once again troubled with the common problem of writing a yaoi or shonen ai fic: What the hell should I do with the girl? This time I solved it by simply making Sakuragi so absorbed by the emotions Rukawa had evoken in him that he completely forgot Haruko. Oh yeah, this is mostly from Sakuragi's POV, since some of you wanted to know what he was thinking. It turned out alright, I think.
Uh, no one really thought I own any of these characters, right? Yeah, thought so.
Chapter 5 - Being Happy
What the hell? What the hell?Sakuragi stormed through the streets of Kanagawa at top speed, not caring that he hit a person or two on his way. What the hell? His mind had been repeating that same sentence for fifteen minutes now and it was starting to seriously annoy him. What the hell? He stopped and grimaced. "Damn you, kitsune!" he bellowed, scaring a flock of birds nearby. He huffed and slumped to a bench, thinking over the events that occured earlier. Okay, so kitsune kissed me and told me that he l-loves me. No big deal. He blinked repeatedly and then frowned. Right. So how should I react to this? Option no. 1: Just forget it and pretend it never happened. Option no. 2: Tell Rukawa that I don't like him back and that he should give up. Option no. 3: Tell Rukawa that I like him too. … What the hell?! Sakuragi sank to his knees and hit his forehead to the ground. After recovering from the impact he sat back with a scowl. Damn that kitsune! He's messing with my head. Uh…okay, I'll go for the first option. I'll forget about the whole thing. He got up and continued his journey home.
Sakuragi really tried to forget about the whole thing. It was not his fault that Rukawa's words echoed in his mind and that his lips tingled from the memory of Rukawa's touch. Rukawa was so clearly in his mind that he dared not to take a shower. It felt too much like the other boy was in the same room with him. When Sakuragi was undressing before going to sleep, he saw a glimpse of himself in the mirror and wondered what Rukawa would think if he saw him now without a shirt. Blushing furiously he banged his head to the wall and told himself once again to forget about it. He managed to do so but right after he drifted to sleep his subconsciousness took over and filled his dreams with sincere blue eyes, soft lips and hot hands. He smiled in his sleep and did not wake up till late in the following morning, remembering nothing of his dreams. Which was a good thing, 'cause if he had remembered he would have hurt his head again.
Sakuragi approached school warily, searching Rukawa's dark head from the crowd of students. After awhile, convinced that Rukawa wasn't anywhere near he stepped through the gate and headed to the building.
"Hanamichi", a voice from behind called.
Sakuragi froze. There was no mistaking it. That voice belonged to his rival. He turned around, trying to look casual and failing miserably. "W-what is it, kitsune?" What's that? Is he smiling again?
Rukawa watched him for awhile without saying anything. His eyes trailed over Sakuragi's frame and finally stopped at the red head's face. "Are you afraid of me, Hanamichi?"
Sakuragi tensed at the question and glared angrily at him. Damn it! He's not smiling, he's laughing at me! "Who's afraid?!"
Rukawa's lips curved upwards. "You are, aho."
That was enough to ignite the flame in Sakuragi and he leaped forward and grabbed Rukawa's collar. "Damn it, kitsune! I'm not afraid!"
Rukawa closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. "You smell so good, Hanamichi."
"Wh-what?" In a flash, Sakuragi's face was covered with crimson.
Rukawa leaned in closer and rested his chin on Sakuragi's shoulder. "Mm…so good."
"D-damn you, kitsune…D-don't t-try to d-distract me…I-it won't…work…" Sakuragi stuttered.
"Hmm…What's the matter, Hana-chan?"
Sakuragi flinched. Hana-chan??! Ugh, I have to get away! But even though he decided to leave he couldn't. He felt Rukawa's breath on his neck and somehow it rooted him to the spot. Unable to tear himself away he just stood there. Time seemed to have stopped and he forgot that they were standing near the school gate, in front of students and teachers and passersby. No sounds penetrated the wall of privacy that had enveloped the two boys. Every inch of Sakuragi reached out to experience the touch of Rukawa's chin on his shoulder, the warm breath on his neck and the fabric of Rukawa's uniform in his hand. He turned his head to look at Rukawa and was mesmerized by the cobolt depths that stared back at him.
"Hanamichi-" Rukawa was cut off when a hand patted him on the back. He turned to look, his eyes promising painful death to the intruder but his glare was lightly dismissed by his gangster team mate.
"Yo! What are you two doing?" Mitsui grinned, swinging his arms around their shoulders.
Sakuragi sighed inwardly, though he didn't know if it was for relief or disappointment. What am I thinking? Of course it's for relief. It's just that kitsune…he's so sly…it was some sort of a trick…yeah…
Rukawa stood silent for a moment before abruplty walking away. Sakuragi looked at him go and saw a frown on his face. He was startled when Rukawa quickly glanced over his shoulder to meet his brown eyes. He was even more shaken when he saw a tiny smile forming on Rukawa's lips before the eye contact was broken. What the hell was that?
As the day went on Sakuragi noticed that Rukawa was watching him every time that they were in a line of sight with each other. He wondered if it had always been like this and he hadn't noticed. If he has always been looking at me how can I have missed it? It's so obvious, it feels like his presence is overwhelming everything else.
Two weeks after this Sakurai finally had to admit that he couldn't just forget about it and pretend that nothing ever happened. It was time for some serious thinking. Sakuragi did not like serious things, he was a happy-go-lucky guy who liked things simple and fun and enjoyed the sunny side of life. If something serious came along he usually asked Yohei for advice but this was something he thought he should think through himself.
Because Sakuragi was not the smart type, which he himself admitted (but only to himself, of course) he tended to make even complex things simple. The question that needed to be answered now was: 'What do I really think of Rukawa?'. If he could find the answer to that the problem was solved as far as he was concerned. If asked any other day or moment he would've said 'I hate him' without hesitation. But he was now in his 'serious mode' and so it was a totally different thing.
During these two weeks Rukawa has been really nice to me. That was the first thing he admitted. All the hellos, good byes, thank yous and here you gos alone would have been enough to make Rukawa seem nicer but the kitsune had also done several other things for him that had stunned Sakuragi. Rukawa had helped him during practice and after it, so that he had developed in basketball with amazing speed. Rukawa was a patient teacher and didn't mind Sakuragi's outbursts and failures but kept encouraging him and telling him what he had done wrong. Rukawa had helped him carry things, opened doors for him and bought meals and snacks for him. Although this made him feel a little like a girl, it also made him feel warm and cared for. Every time he does something for me I know it's because he cares for me and wants to do things for me. Actually Rukawa had said that to him. It had been one of those moments that Sakuragi had felt like he was drowning in Rukawa's eyes, in Rukawa.
Wait! Sakuragi bolted up suddenly and stared at the opposite wall with concentration. If I would read this somewhere, if someone else would come to tell me something like this…what would I think? The silence in his room was deafening and lasted for at least ten minutes. I would think…I would think that he's in love. Yeah…that's what I would think…So…does that mean I'm…in love with him? How could it be? But he remembered how Rukawa's lips had felt on his, he remembered every touch they had shared since then. Rukawa…I love him… Sakuragi's knees gave in and he fell onto his bed, eyes wide open and bewildered.
It has been two weeks since I confessed. He smiled at an imaginary Sakuragi in front of him and lifted a hand to caress the cheek of the illusion that he had summoned from his mind. It has been…heavenly. I didn't think Hanamichi would let me be near him so easily. He hasn't mentioned Akagi's sister, not even once. He dropped his hand, closed his eyes and let out a small laughter. I've been acting and feeling like a love sick idiot but I don't mind. As long as I can get him it's alright. It feels like I'm living in an entirely different world that consists of only me and him. It feels like I'm different. But only when I'm near him or thinking about him. He turned to his side and stared at the cell phone he had thrown on his bedside table. I want to be with him. If I call him and invite him out, will he come? After minutes of pondering he reached out his hand and dialed Sakuragi's number.
"Yes?" Sakuragi's voice was shaky and Rukawa wondered if there was something wrong with the red head.
"Hi, it's me", he said softly.
Rukawa felt strangely happy that Sakuragi had identified him by his voice. "Yeah. Uh, I was wondering if you would like to have a game with me tonight?"
"A game?" There was a long silence during which Rukawa was beginning to get really nervous. Then Sakuragi finally continued. "Okay."
"Okay then", Rukawa cursed himself for sounding so unenthusiastic. "Uh, let's meet at the court near school."
Something's strange. "Yeah, bye." Something's definitely strange.
When Rukawa arrived at the court he saw that Sakuragi was already there. He left his bike behind the fence and walked closer to the red head. "Yo."
Sakuragi whirled around and stared at him with wide eyes. Rukawa dropped the ball he was carrying and stared back. There's something different about him today. The two boys were locked in a gaze for a long time. Then Sakuragi broke the silence.
Something in Sakuragi's voice made Rukawa's body move on its own. He closed the distance between them, leaned closer and gently pressed his lips against Sakuragi's. It took awhile for him to notice that Sakuragi was kissing him back. He gasped and backed away to look at the other boy. "Hanamichi?"
Sakuragi had closed his eyes tightly and a blush covered his cheeks. "Rukawa, I…" He struggled with words.
Hope was rising in Rukawa. "Does this mean you..?" The blush on Sakuragi's face and his stuttering was enough to answer his question. Rukawa closed his eyes as an immense wave of relief washed over him. Then he smiled and leaned in for another light kiss. "A wise choice, do'aho. Didn't know you were so intelligent."
"Hmph! Don't underestimate the tensai, stupid kitsune."
They smiled at each other. Rukawa felt the pressure of past days lifting and he felt that he could be himself again. Apparently Sakuragi felt the same.
"Okay, kitsune! Are you ready to be crushed by the tensai's incredible skills?"
"Hmph, you're nowhere near my level, aho." Rukawa picked up the ball and started dribbling.
"Teme! I'll beat you today and show you!" Sakuragi tried to steal the ball but failed and Rukawa made his first point.
"See that, do'aho? That's the difference between our levels." Rukawa took in the adorable sight of Sakuragi's fuming face and thought that he wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world. After I win, I'll claim my price thoroughly. He laughed out loud. Life was good.
"Teme! Are you laughing at me? Stop laughing!" Sakuragi's shouts echoed in the night. Yes, life was definitely good.
The end…or rather the beginning.