Just Once More

By: Alitheria

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Chapter One

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...please understand

my pain...

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Bids of sweat dripped down his forehead and he silently cursed himself for being out of shape. It wasn't winter yet; as a matter of fact the weather showed no traces that winter was approaching, so he should've had plenty of time to practice. He blamed his teachers for giving him so much homework over the winter break, and threatening to take him off the basketball team if his grades didn't improve.

Humourously though, Miyagi's lips curled up into a sinister smirk, the first year point guard had a difficult time guarding him.

'Pity, pity, I'm sure you came with determination to prove yourself, should've practiced more during your free time.'

Taking a huge risk Miyagi took his eyes off his opponent and turned his sight onto the dribbling hand. His sharp eyes narrowed at the sight of a twitch from his fourth finger, it was a tiny movement nonetheless it's been causing a down on his play.

Sudden incontrollable muscle movements would appear from his hands, fingers, feet, and leg. Now practically every part of his body no longer felt under his brain's influence. It didn't help that once in awhile he would stumble over his own foot, at least that's the excuse he used.

"Ryota! Stop daydreaming and start playing properly!"

Miyagi's broke into a huge grin and took in the sight of their team manageress shaking her head at him with a disapproving frown. Ayako always looked cuter when she was fuming, not that he enjoyed getting whacked by her. Then again, that was probably the few physical contact he was able draw out from her.

Swiftly jumping a step away from the freshman who tried to steal the ball from him, his sharp brown eyes saw an opening at his right from Rukawa and quickly passed to the sophomore. Before running back on defense he turned around to glance once more at the one who stole his heart.

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"Ayako is something wrong?"

She turned her eyes away from the new captain of Shohoku basketball team to face Haruko. The younger girl clutched the clipboard to her heart looking concerned and cute at the same time. Ayako quickly broke into a grin and gently tapped the junior's head affectionately.

"Nothings wrong."

She gave into the urge to glance at their top point guard, instead of a proud smile that usually played around her face was no where to be seen. In replace of it was a disapproving frown, she knew it wasn't her imagination when every fifteen minutes Miyagi's mind would wander off. He wasn't playing his 100 percent and that just angered her.

She was their manageress, wasn't it her right to know everything about the players? Whether they knew it or not, she knew some personal things about them, things that would make even Rukawa blush and quiet down the loud Sakuragi.

In a way Ayako felt like she was their mother. Knowing when to yell at the child and give a little push of support, know when to ignore and just trust that the child will do the right thing, and watch helplessly through some things that were just out of her reach.

But she knew Miyagi was hiding something. It wasn't because she was their manageress, that guy had been on her trail since their first year. Like it or not, she could sense when he was happy about finding a dollar on the floor and when he was upset because the rain ruin his chance to go for a run. She knew him. And right now he was hiding something from her.

"Everything's fine Haruko except for the fact that idiot over there is taking the practice too lightly or is distracted by something."

Haruko relocated her large brown eyes to where Ayako's sight was focused on. To her it looked like Miyagi was just tire because he played too hard. From head to toe he was covered in sweat, Haruko could swear she practically smell him from the other end of the court. Also, there was a glint in Miyagi's eyes seemed much focused.

"Perhaps he's just tired, he's the captain he wouldn't be easily distracted or take the practice lightly."

Haruko gazed at Ayako but there didn't seem to be any hint that the older girl heard what she said. Ayako's lips were twitched upwards and wrinkled her eyebrows in determination. It was hard to tell what she was thinking but it would be placed into action soon.

"I highly doubt it."

Haruko turned away from her senior and glanced at her wristwatch and smiled in relief, the practice was finally over. It wasn't that she glad that another practice gone by but everyone seemed to be all worn out.

"Practice is over!"

The gym filled with cries of players expressing their pleasure in the most enervated way they knew. Quickly the players slowly but swiftly traveled the short distance into the change room. Before Miyagi could step away from the gym Ayako's voice stopped him in place.

"Ryota! Stay behind for a couple of minutes; I want to talk to you."

Sakuragi who stood near Miyagi couldn't contain the urge to tease the shorter player who practically had hearts in his eyes.

"Hey, hey, are you actually making some improvements with Ayako?"

Nudging Miyagi's ribs he wiggled his eyebrow suggestively only to have Miyagi's elbow slam into his face.

"Sakuragi I hope you didn't forget you have cleaning duties with Rukawa! Get to it now!"

Sakuragi looked up at Ayako waving her fan threateningly if he said otherwise. His honey brown eyes traveled towards Haruko packing up her stuff, preparing to go home. A light smile played on his face; she looked so adorable whatever it was she was doing. He was planning to walk her home since Akagi wouldn't be here today.

Once again the intimidating one in the two manageresses came into sight. Sakuragi felt disappointment that Ayako was born as a girl instead of a boy, if she was a guy he wouldn't have any problems scaring or beating her to get what he wanted.

"Ayako you're not a lady. You have to sense of romance."

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Miyagi sat quietly next to Ayako on the bench making sure he wasn't breathing too loudly for her. He glared across the court at Sakuragi who was still rubbing his head from the beating he received from both Ayako and himself.

Boldly sneaking a peek there was a smile lingering around his lips. He adored everything about her, especially the way how she wasn't afraid to express herself, violence if necessary.

"So Ayako what's this excuse you're using to hold me back."

Bringing his hand closer towards her face he softly twined his finger with a piece of her hair, it was just like he imagined it to be, velvety. For a second they made eye contact and Miyagi wondered if his heart was the only one pounding harder.

With speed that Miyagi himself admired, Ayako slapped his hand away and placed the piece of hair behind her ear.

"Don't get cocky with me Miyagi Ryota."

"Ayako, you got me all wrong."

Just as he brought the same hand to touch the hair that screamed to be released, Ayako grabbed his hand as roughly as she could. She daringly leaned forward so their faces were close enough to kiss.

Miyagi looked into her eyes and saw the determination floating around. He smirked to himself; he already knew what she wanted to talk about.

"Don't you dare try to change the subject! Do I look like an idiot to you?"

Letting go of his hand he felt a bit of disappointment. Sliding nearly a three feet away from him, he watched as she brushed her hand through her hair. She looked around the gym that was nearly empty except for them and the two talented sophomores.

"Is something wrong? You haven't been playing like you usually do. Your grades aren't something to be proud of either. In fact the teachers are saying you haven't been paying attention. Ryota..."

Miyagi started laughing out loud and he could clearly see the surprised and concern in Ayako's eyes. There was nothing to tell her though, how was he supposed to give explanations for his body and brain's behaviour.

"Ayako you're making a mountain out of a mole hill. If it makes you feel any better I'm going to see a doctor to see if there's any medication to make me pay attention in class. Though I have a feeling he'll just kick he out."

He was joking like he always did but it angered her the way he just waved her concern off. Maybe she was worrying for nothing but it was because he's been this way for three weeks. He had to be in 100 percent for the basketball team if they really wanted the championship this year.

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"Is it just me or do those two look closer than before?"

It was a question Sakuragi just tossed into the air but Rukawa never let Sakuragi get away with his own stupidity.

"It's just you."

"Shut up Rukawa! What would you know?"

Rukawa ignored him and continued to sweeping the floor. He didn't know who organized the schedule for cleaning duties but they made one huge mistake. For majority of the duties his partner was the stupid red head.

"I wonder why Ayako asked Ryota to stay behind."

Sakuragi got a mischievous look in his honey brown eyes and hugged the broom closer to his chest. Letting out a fake romantic sigh he brought a wider grin to his face.

"Could it be that Ayako's finally accepting our short captain's heart?"

"Dropped so low that you're interfering with other people's life?"

Sakuragi snarled at Rukawa threateningly but the dark hared boy simply ignored it.

"Be grateful I've been taking anger management classes Rukawa. It's not like I expected a cold hearted jackass like you to understand the matters of love."

Sakuragi switched his hands around from the broom and leaned forward, trying to get a better sight of the two seniors.

"Ryota's been acting a little weird lately; maybe Ayako can do something about it."

Rukawa wished that the moron would shut up now. Always babbling on with some nonsense, and never minding his own business going around poking his unwanted nose everywhere. He'd done most of the cleaning while the red head just fooled around.

"They do look nice together."

If he was an extravagant he would've probably laughed right out at the ridiculous picture. It wasn't that he didn't respect their new captain like he did with the old one. Ayako was his senior since junior high, he had more respect for her and she earned it. Ayako didn't look well with someone like Miyagi Ryota. Maybe if Miyagi was taller.

"Honestly, Ayako-"

Rukawa couldn't take it anymore, what was wrong with this guy. Who cared if Miyagi liked Ayako and who cares about what happens between them?

Why the hell couldn't he just quiet down and clean up? There was still so much work.

So he did the only thing that associated with morons like him, violence, Rukawa whacked Sakuragi hard on the head with his broom.

"What the hell Rukawa! You got a problem or something!"

"Shut up and clean up."

"You got some nerve attacking someone for no reason Rukawa!"

Ayako and Miyagi both looked up to see the two sophomores combating each other with their broom sticks. It was a familiar sight but since the Inter High they argued like always, still they didn't use violence often.

"Sakuragi! Rukawa! Do you guys want to be on suspension! If-"

He was cut off by Ayako's hand on his shoulder. She gave him a reassuring smile and nodded towards the doorway.

"Thanks Ayako, I owe you big."

"Just tell me how the check up went."

Gracing her with a huge grin of appreciation he turned his back from the two boys fighting. Ayako watched him leave the gym before giving her attention to the two boys who fought with total oblivion to the outside world.

"Alright! If violence is what connects with you guys, then its violence I'll use!"

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The office was painted a plain white colour and was tightly spaced with barely enough room to move around properly, which made him more edgy. He wasn't necessarily afraid of close spaces but lack of zone felt like a part of his freedom was taken away.

He stayed at the hospital for about an hour, it was longer than he expected. But he didn't know the doctor wanted to run some tests on him. He doubted it was anything serious yet the doctor was more cautious compared to him.

"I'm sorry to keep you waiting Mister Miyagi."

The doctor sat across from him with a file on his hand along with a frown. There was something in his dark eyes that hinted that he didn't have good news.

"Mister Miyagi, you're still in high school I presume. I really don't know how to say this."

"I don't like people who spin around subjects. Be blunt doc."

The doctor pressed his lips together tightly and looked down at the files. Miyagi felt tempted to just rip the files out of the doctor's hand and just read it or burn it to hell.

"Your father, he doesn't happen to be diagnosed with Huntington's disease?"

"No my father's very healthy. Why?"

Miyagi curled his hands into a tight fist, why did he ask that. Wasn't it obvious what the doctor was getting to, why bring up this Huntington's disease unless it was related to him. He doubted that this man was sick and twisted to play with a patient's mind.

"Huntington's disease is usually an inherited disorder. I'm afraid you tested positive for it Mister Miyagi."

"Is that so?"

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Author's Note: Seeing how I haven't written for awhile now, QuickEdit is proving to be difficult than before. I hope my words aren't bunched up too much. Anyway, this is going to be a Rukawa/Ayako/Ryota triangle. I hope to develop the characters and the plot as I go along.