When Rukawa decided to speak...

Disclaimer: Slam Dunk belongs to Takehiko Inoue-sensei. I'm just twisting the story for my own evil purposes...

It's a wonder how a few simple words can turn the entire gym of Shohoku from its usually chaotic state -thanks to the shrill cheers of the pompom-wielding Rukawa Brigade by the side, the incessant pounding of round orange basketballs on the gym floor and the habitual skirmishes between a loud redhead and a blue-eyed fox at the center- into complete and utter silence.

It worked better than Akagi's head bashing and Ayako's ominous paper fan -minus all that obvious excruciating pain- and equipped with a little bonus of shock value for all within earshot.

Shocking is maybe more of an understatement.

The words slowly dissipate into the cold deadly silence hanging in the air. For a moment there, almost everyone inside the gym had forgotten to breathe.

Sakuragi Hanamichi feels the rough surface of the orange ball peel away from his fingertips, much like reality slipping farther from his control. It falls with a resounding thud, breaking the silence and proceeding to roll beyond his reach.

"...idiot." The blue-eyed boy finishes, taking no notice of the various reactions inside the gym. He takes one last glance at the redhead before grabbing his bag and heads towards the door.

The gym door swings to a close. No one moves to stop or to follow him.