Disclaimer: I don't own CCS or anyone from CCS. I don't even own the concept. I also don't own Beyblade. I don't own six of the octopussies, however Amber and Ruin are mine.
The crowd roared in appreciation for the ten men that covered the court in their battle to retain the respect of their peers and achieve immortality by winning the coveted district cup. They moved with grace and fluidity acquired from countless hours of grueling practice and a co-ordination honed from working together. The orange ball soared effortlessly through the air only to be plucked out by long fingers and dribbled down the court by effortless hands carried on long sinewy legs. The footwork was enviable, a choreography of feints and long strides that carried them from one end to the other while others moved to block and prevent another point being taken away from them. At every steal, pass and score, the crowd ooh'd, ah'd and jumped to their feet with exuberant cheers and joviality.
On the sidelines Cheerleaders in short skirts and matching tops jumped and shook their pompoms in an effort to rally support for their team and in quieter moments, they reflected on who looked the best out on the court. The crowds were divided into the supporters of the home crowd in forest green and gold and the away team in navy and pale blue. At a long table at the base of the bleachers, two young students sat discussing the plays of the various teams while offering their own knowledge of the sport throwing in some trivia as well for the supporters at home or on line who couldn't be at the game for various reasons. On either side of the table, the coaches in jackets that corresponded to their chosen team paced and ranted to the remaining team members on the bench while occasionally shouting out orders or pointing out problems to the ref.
Up in the bleachers, Sakura Kinomoto sat with her chin in her palms and her elbows resting on her knees as she studied her school team while chewing on her lip. They were drawing with the other team and there was only so much longer until time ran out. She desperately wanted her team to win, it was only natural of course that since they reached the finals, they should be allowed a win but it was for selfish reasons only that Sakura wanted them to win. This was her last match, or the last match she'd get to watch the Tigers play as a Tiger herself. Next time she saw them, she might be on the other side of the divide watching them in different colors and it was a scary dilemma.
She sighed. Her friends had brought her here as a way to cheer her up but it had only made her more depressed as she thought about never being here with her friends again. Life could be so cruel and the fates even crueler.
"Aw what! Why the hell did you do that for? Why pass it to him? He's bloody butterfingers… yep there he goes and the guy who has the ball now is NOT on our team. Stupid ass!"
Sakura was jolted out of her thoughts by a sharp jab to the ribs from a bony elbow as her friend Amber Benson jumped to her feet. As though the captain had heard -though truth be told, he probably did since the petite girl was loud enough when shouting- he turned and pinned her with a dark gaze. Amber immediately squeaked and thumped down onto the bench, shielding her face with Sakura who simply smiled and waved to the surly captain.
"Dammit, why does he always do that?"
"You shouldn't be so mean to him." Sakura replied jovially. "He had no choice but to pass to Enrique. Enrique was the only one open."
"For good reason. Nobody marks Enrique because he can never hold onto the ball to do any damage with it." came the dry retort.
Sakura giggled, her emerald eyes sparkling. Amber made a very good point, Enrique Giancarlo did tend to fumble the ball but he was great at three pointer shots, he never missed long distance shots ever, it was one of the reasons, if not the only reason he was on the team. He did have other good points otherwise Kai Hiwatari wouldn't let him on the team. Kai was a tough captain, he wasn't particularly nice but he knew how to get the best out of his team by goading them. If they wanted encouragement and fancy words, then they would go to the vice Captain Rei Kon who was good natured and excellent at making people feel good about themselves. He was the perfect counterpart for Kai, in Sakura's thoughts.
"Give it a rest Amber and quit picking at Kai. He doesn't do that when you're playing." Miyami Kinomiya scolded from her perch behind them.
"For good reason." Amber said with a grin tugging at her lips as she leaned back to see her best friend. "I don't do stupid things."
"At least not on the court." came the sharp retort causing Amber to pout and Sakura to chuckle.
She glanced at Miyami who winked. Sakura smothered another chuckle. Miyami knew how to push Amber's buttons to make the petite Irish girl shut up in a way that simple words would never do. If Sakura was honest, she could admit that she envied their friendship. They were close enough that they could be brutally honest with each other and still not take offense. She didn't have that close of a friendship with anyone in particular, she was friends with all of the girls and they'd never made her feel like an outsider but still there always seemed to be something missing.
"Come on Tigers, let's do it!" Miyami called out, tucking her silvery blue hair behind her ears.
Sakura looked from Miyami's metallic hair to her own medium brown hair and sighed enviously. Miyami's hair looked ethereal while hers looked mundane, she couldn't even brighten it up with gold like Amber because it just looked like blond. She knew because she had natural gold streaks and everyone believed them to be blonde if they ever viewed them.
"Tighten up your defense!" Amber growled.
"You can do it guys!" Sakura shouted out clapping her hands while trying to raise some support for the away team.
"Please let them win, they'll be in a foul mood if they don't." Shahero Kaeto mumbled from her seat beside Miyami, her feet were resting on either side of Sakura.
"Well you can't blame them. We win the finals every year and they always come second to the Warriors." Miyami made a sympathetic sound.
"Yeah it must be tough on them, always being second best to us." Shahero grinned brightly. "The girls' team always wins their tournaments and gets trophies but the boys always come second in their little league, and always second to the Warriors."
"Full of sympathy, eh Hero?" Amber asked with a chuckle.
"Well it's true, isn't it? We always win, haven't lost many games and we have trophies; and they always reach the finals to get beaten by the blasted warriors." Shahero drawled, closing her very blue eyes as she leaned back, not caring that her head was resting against the legs of a stranger, though the stranger definitely minded by the glare he directed at the dark haired nymph.
"We'll see how well we do when we don't have our star player anymore." a sultry voice commented. Sakura shot a surprised glance at their resident Goth, Ruin Mulryan. She was a stoic and aloof creature with a cool beauty who rarely delved out compliments so this surprise one gave Sakura a faint blush. Though the girls never treated Ruin different from them though she wasn't as loud as them, she always seemed to retain her loner attitude she'd had before joining the female basketball team. If Sakura was being honest, and she often was with herself, she could admit that Ruin intimidated her as did Russia Kennedy, the other Irish girl because both weren't as approachable as the others. They had their own problems to contend with and never seemed to want help in them and their independence and slightly bitter attitude slightly scared Sakura into being wary of them both. But on saying that, if she ever needed help, both of them would be there for her and the other girls.
"Yeah it'll be weird without you Sakura. Are you scared about leaving?" Miyami asked softly.
"NO!" Amber cried out. "We're not talking about this, remember?" she demanded giving each girl a pointed look.
Aspin Grant sighed heavily and flicked her purple hair off her shoulder. "Amber, you can't keep ignoring the fact that Sakura is leaving otherwise you'll wake up someday and she'll be gone and you'll have never gotten to say goodbye."
Sakura smiled softly and placed a hand on her sulking friends shoulder. "It's ok, Amber. I'll be fine."
"I won't!" she exclaimed latching onto the surprised brunette.
"Amber, you're cutting off circulation to Sakura's arm!" Ruin exhaled exasperated and glanced round at her friends, all of them oblivious to what was going on down on the court. All they could hear were the squeaks of shoes and the pound of the ball.
"Can't you not go? You can live with me!" Amber suggested before adding in a dry tone. "Everyone else does."
"I wish I could Ams, but I would miss my Dad and Tory."
"He calls you monster, how could you miss him?"
Sakura opened her mouth to reply but Miyami jumped in with a sly glint in her eye. "You mean you wouldn't miss Kai if he left."
Color bloomed on Amber's pale golden cheeks. "No!" at the resounding chuckles, she scowled. "Oh don't start. Kai's a prick. I don't like him and if I ever do, you have my permission to shoot me."
Shahero thought about the possibilities and decided Amber would appreciate the shot coming from a merciful person instead of a sadist like Russia. "Okie."
"No, don't really shoot me. Crying out loud, you take things way too literally, sadists." when her friends simply smirked, her eyes widened. "Sakura tell them not to shoot me."
"I'm sorry Amber, even if I did; I won't be there when they try to shoot you."
"You're all masochists."
The group of girls blinked and Sakura frowned, something about that just sounded wrong. "Um, what's a masochist?"
Ruin groaned at the innocent question. "Oh god."
They all looked to Ruin for an explanation, most of the girls with a sly grin but Sakura was completely clueless. Ruin snarled and glared at Amber. "You mentioned it, you explain it."
Amber pondered that for a moment; then shrugged. "Ok, a masochist is someone who takes pleasure, especially sexual pleasure from pain caused to them." even though there was a hint of color on her cheeks, Amber's tone was very matter-of-fact.
"Hoe…" Sakura turned away, her pale skin, sun kissed from the countless hours she spent outside in the sunshine, heating in embarrassment.
"Amber! Stop freaking out Sakura." Aspin snapped.
"Wait, then, why are we all masochists?" Sakura wondered.
Amber jerked a shoulder. "Just felt like calling you all a masochist. Besides, I don't know if that's true or not since I haven't… ooh." a grin spilled over her impish features.
"Don't even think of it." Ruin warned, idly looking around for the rest of their group. Arista Belyaev had wandered off to the toilet with Sonia Martini a few minutes ago and hadn't returned; it was possible that Arista had found soap and decided to mess around with it, but that was why they sent Sonia with her instead of Amber or Shahero who would just be pulled into the younger girl's mad plans. Sonia was at least responsible.
"Yeah what do you think she's going to try to do?"
"She's going to ask the boys if we're masochists." Ruin said grimly reading her friend like a book.
"Hoe." Sakura whispered. "Really? Amber would you do that?"
"Why not? Well, no I wouldn't ask Johnny because well, I don't want to know about Mimi too much." she broke off and winced when Miyami whacked her over the head. "Ouch. And there's not much point asking Tala since we all know Ruin's a sadist anyway… oh god does that mean Tala's a masochist?" she demanded, eyes wide as she whipped round to fix Ruin with a look. Tala Valkov was Amber's best friend out of everyone, so Sakura knew how freaked that must have made the girl, after all, she wouldn't like to hear about Touya's sexual preferences.
The Gothic girl rolled her eyes and gave her head a quick shake so her black hair, tinted with a wine red rinse caught the light and gleamed. "Amber let's drop the subject."
"Good idea." Aspin muttered and was followed by Miyami's agreement.
"It's a good thing we don't have boyfriends, eh, Sakura?" Shahero teased.
Sakura smiled brightly. "Right."
Arista Belyaev dropped into a space beside Amber and looked down onto the court. "What's the score?" she asked even as her navy eyes flicked up to the score board.
"We're tied and there's not much longer to go. Every time we think we've got one over on them, that Li kid comes bounding up and shoots another slam dunk. Dammit, I wish someone would just knock four eyes out of the match completely."
Sakura sat up and tried to pick out the "four eyed" boy that Shahero had spoke of. "Oh Hiragizawa? Is that his name? I can barely make it out, he doesn't stay still much."
"He's pissing off Kai with his creepy attitude again." Amber growled.
The other girls exchanged glances and then focused on the game. "As long as he stays with Kai and not with Johnny, then I don't mind." Miyami said softly. "Johnny'd swing for him; at least Kai can keep his cool."
"Ha-ha! Oh wait you were being serious?" Amber joked half heartedly.
The final member of the group, bar Russia, slipped into her space beside Sakura and scanned the pine floor of the court. "Ozuma's been taken off?" she asked when she couldn't spot the red and black haired teenager with the vivid jade green eyes.
"Yeah Sons, his ankle was acting up." Shahero informed her. "Oh god, that steal was bollocks!"
"You've been hanging around Russia too much."
Sakura chuckled and leaned forward on her bench. She wanted her team to win desperately. It was so unfair that each year they came here and each year they lost. They'd only have one more chance at the cup after this year and she wouldn't even be here to witness it. No, next year she wouldn't be a Tiger but a Warrior and that sickened her to the stomach. How could she be something she'd never wanted to be part of? And the worst thing about it all was that the Warriors didn't even have a girl's basketball team. She lived for basketball, it was something she truly enjoyed, the precision of the shot, the movements used to dodge her opponents to get to the other side of the court, the feeling of weightlessness as she jumped for the basket; all of it was highly addictive. Her brother had played for the Tigers when they'd been top of the league and she'd led her own team to do the same and now she was being yanked from the security of her team, a team that was like a family and being planted into a school with no team. How could her father do it? And yet it wasn't his fault, she knew that. He got a job offer he couldn't refuse and it wasn't like she was moving to a different country, just a different district and she could still see her friends the odd time and maybe even start her own team. She had to look at it like an adventure.
"There goes that Li brat again!"
Arista's comment had Sakura's eyes snapping open and focusing on the court and; true enough Li, the brown haired captain was streaking down the court, dodging and ducking the Tigers and aiming for the net. He jumped and took the shot and if it went in the net, then it would be three points. They watched with baited breath as the ball seemed to be suspended in the air then a hand hit it and knocked it out of the way. They sighed in relief and the ball was carried down towards the Warriors nets.
"Thank god for Rei." Miyami breathed and the sentiment was echoed by each of the girls.
"Take the shot Johnny!" Shahero shouted.
Sakura stiffened as the red haired Scot eased past Takashi and then a pale white hand skimmed in and stole the ball from him. "No!" she slumped as Hiragizawa scooped the ball up and passed it to Li who was calling for it.
Enrique managed to intercept and fired it at Kai, he bounced it leisurely, sizing up his opponents and his chances at scoring. Then he caught sight of a flash of red and without a second of thought, tossed the ball high and far to Tala. The boy caught it in mid air and hitting the floor; he spun and cast it at the net. It hit the backboard, circled. The crowd held their breath as the timer count down the seconds until the game ended but it was a though time had stopped for the Tiger fans. Would it go in or…?
It tipped out of the net and hit the ground with a resounding thud and it was as though time had returned to normal.
"No!" Sakura raked her hands through her hair as the ball was back in play. A quick glance at her friends showed they were feeling the same anguish, Amber had pretty much chewed a hole through her thumb while Shahero was squeezing Miyami's hand so hard it was turning blue.
"Oh god I've lost my appetite." Arista mumbled; pushing her packet of crisps away.
"No they can still win."
"Sakura… yeah maybe." but despite the words, Aspin didn't believe it.
Shahero shifted uncomfortably. "Why doesn't someone tie Li's laces together? He's all over the place."
Sonia frowned as she realized she was nibbling her nails, a habit she'd given up a long time ago. "Come on boys, I know you can do this." she whispered earnestly, hoping her words would make them win.
"They're tired." Ruin interjected calmly but inside her emotions were in a riot. She was trying to act like she didn't care but in all honesty she really wanted the team to win. She wasn't much for school spirit but she couldn't help but want her boyfriend to have something go well for him.
"Can't Hitoshi do something?" Amber wondered referring to their assistant coach Hitoshi Kinomiya. "Like, call a time out or something?"
Sakura shook her head. "There really isn't much point. He knows what he's doing anyway. Hoe." she whimpered softly as Li leaped up and yanked the ball out of the air and shot it at Takashi.
"I really hate that Li kid." Aspin muttered.
"Hate's a strong word." Sakura mumbled. "Try…"
Amber shot her a look. "Dislike intensely? That vile loathsome little worm is really pissing me off! NO! No! No!" she shouted jumping to her feet.
As the audience got to their feet sensing the impending end of the game, Sakura scrambled to her feet, moving up onto her tip toes to see over the heads. Her eyes locked on to Li as he said something in a grave tone to his co players then with a nod, he jogged down to stand close to Kai who was looking as calm as ever. Only people who knew him well would see the tension in his jaw. Tala was the most visible player out there, his red hair and white skin a striking combination with the blue strip. He glanced over at Rei for his cue while Enrique and Johnny McGregor waited for the ball to come into play. When Hiragizawa threw the ball to a teammate, Rei jumped for it and catching it, he pitched it to Enrique. The blond Italian caught it deftly, prompting a surprised murmur from the girls, before he lobbed it to Johnny. Johnny took it down the court, bounced it over to Kai, who with a quick glance around, passed it back to Tala who moved in to take the shot from a less awkward angle than Kai would have had. He took the shot at the net, boosting the ball up in an arc. It hit the back board then came down the other side but before it could be scooped up by Kai for the rebound, Li raced in and grabbed it out from under Kai's nose and heaved it up the court to Takashi.
The tall lanky black haired boy seized it neatly and dribbled it up the court, with his arm cast out to ward off Enrique who was hovering around him waiting for the opportunity to steal it back. Just as the blond boy went for it, Takashi chest passed it to Hiragizawa who ducked out of Johnny's way and pitched it at the net. It hit off the back board and fell out onto the court again. Johnny grabbed it and fired it at Enrique but out of nowhere Li jumped into intercept it. Plucking it out of the air, he raced down the court.
The noise level pitched violently as the warrior supporters began to scream and cheer while the Tigers pulled at their hair in frustration. The brown haired boy reached the net, jumped into the air and propelled the ball into the hoop. He dropped to the ground with a strange elegance for a male and dusted off his hands as his team rushed up to congratulate him but he simply shrugged them off and went to restart the game.
"Five… four…" Amber's grim countdown pierced Sakura's concentration and with wide green eyes, she looked to the score board and saw the count down. Despair gripped her heart. "Three… two…" They'd come so close this time, just a basket in between them but… "One."
The buzzer sounded and it was over. The shoulders slumped as bleak despair filled their souls and they dropped onto the benches as the other fans rushed down onto the court. The Tigers slunk off the court to the changing room and the girls sighed.
"Come on." Miyami stated. "Let's go cheer them up."
With a nod, the group gathered their stuff and walking down the bleachers, stepping over still seated people, they made their way out of the hall.
Sakura, usually cheerful and bright, folded her arms and glumly looked around at the miserable expressions on the Tiger fans. So close, yet no cup. It was so unfair; they were so much more of a team than the Warriors.
The lights of the corridor were glaring and bright and the air was cold from the dip in temperature outside. Out the main doors she could spot the graying sky and thought it was symbolic as the sky had been blue when they'd entered the gymnasium with hope in their hearts.
She looked around for some classmates to talk to and tried to ignore the overly chipper Warrior fans that were bad mouthing the "worthless Tigers" and recapping the game to people who had watched it. Most of the supporters for the Tigers had gone home already and Sakura felt out numbered by the enemy.
Out of interest she looked them over. Some of these people would be her classmates next year at school and maybe some of them would be her friends but they wouldn't be anything like her teammates. They shared a bond none of these could understand. They'd shared triumphs, misery and understood the love of a sport that had brought them together. Oh well, she was a good all rounder when it came to sports so she could always just join another team or something. It wouldn't be the same but it would be better than nothing.
She rubbed her chilled arms and wondered where her friends had disappeared to. She'd noticed Johnny being comforted by Miyami outside and she hadn't wanted to intrude. Aspin had been picked up by her boyfriend Kane Suzoru shortly after the game because they had a date. Sonia was conversing with Ozuma Benson but it looked more like flirting to Sakura who chuckled softly to herself. Amber, Shahero and Arista, the only girls in the group who still didn't have boyfriends were missing which bothered Sakura. When the three of them were alone together away from people with common sense, they tended to get in trouble.
She winced. Ian was here. Ian Petrovich was a bad tempered Russian midget who reminded her of a troll at times with his nasty temper and tendency to be mean to various people. He also liked to pick on Sakura because he figured she was an easy target, though Amber had once said it was because he had a crush on her which Sakura completely dismissed. She didn't dislike Ian, he was nice when he wanted to be and she tried her best to be nice to him because he was only hurtful because people were mean to him about his size.
There was one thing about Ian though, he attracted trouble and when Arista, Shahero and Amber were together without someone to act rationally; they tended to be trouble. She sighed. She'd have to go and rescue Ian again.
"Hoe." she winced as she walked into a wall and stumbled back a couple of steps. "Ow."
"Watch it." a voice grunted.
She looked down ashamed. She hadn't walked into a wall but a person. Oh dear. She flushed. "I'm so sorry. I wasn't watching where I was going."
"No shit." came the rude reply.
Surprised and slightly aggravated by the attitude because she had apologized and that was more than he'd done, she looked up to see who it was and winced again. Oh just typical, she thought as she looked directly into intense brandy eyes. Focusing her gaze so she could take in the entire face, she realized he was Li, the captain of the Warriors. Uh-oh.
"Li! Hoe!" she yelped, needing desperately to get away. It just wouldn't do for her to go to the Tomoeda High and have someone know that she was a Shark. They wouldn't pay much attention to the female team so she wouldn't have to worry about that, but if he remembered her, he could make her life a misery. Why did she wear her team jacket? She wondered as her fingers played with the zipper of the navy and blue jacket with her team number over the left breast and a tiger face embroidered on the back. She caught him giving it a quick look before his eyes snapped to her face again. She felt the flush working over face and knew she needed to get away right then.
"Ah that's my cue." she said in a rush, with a quick flash of a smile that was so natural to her, she jogged down the corridor, mentally thanking Amber for her loud voice and Enrique for whatever stupid act he'd committed in the past few minutes. She didn't bother to look back at Li and instead rounded the corner to find Amber lecturing Enrique who looked sheepishly down at the floor.
"I cannot believe you could be so stupid! That's- That's!" she struggled to rein in her temper, found she couldn't so she screamed short and angrily. "I-" she made a gesture of wrapping her hands around his skinny neck before growling loudly and turning round, aiming a kick at the wall. "I- You're an idiot!"
"Amber, what's wrong?"
Amber whirled on the brunette, her topaz eyes flashing with temper. "Blondie there, decided to get thrown off the team!"
"I didn't." he snapped. "I just, this was my last game. I'm not allowed on the team next year."
"Why not?" Sakura asked, immediately concerned. "Did something happen?"
"Oh yeah something happened alright." Amber growled. "He looked up porn on the school computer!"
Sakura stumbled back as though she'd been physically slapped. "Hoe, Enrique you didn't!"
"And after me warning him a thousand times not to do it!"
"It was an accident! I looked up the White house for a project, how was I supposed to know it would bring me to a porn site?"
"And why didn't you turn it off when you realized it wasn't?" Sakura asked softly.
"Well… I, um, just didn't realize until I was caught."
"How could you not realize? I think the jiggling boobies would have been a pretty big clue that it wasn't the white house site you wanted!" Amber snapped caustically while Sakura winced. Amber's crudeness could embarrass anyone at times.
She shook her head. "Well there's nothing you can do now. I guess we'll just have to hope they come to their senses and overrule the decision. And even if they don't, you'll be fine. At least they didn't expel you." she gave a quick smile hoping to draw one out of the glum boy.
"Yeah true, Mama would flip her lid if they did that."
"Hmm. Ah come here, Enri." Amber mumbled enfolding the taller boy into her arms and giving him a quick squeeze. "You're an idiot, but an adorable one. Just no more porn on the computer, ok?"
"Sure Ams." the blond brightened and looked to Sakura. "Huggles."
Sakura didn't have a chance to escape before she was pulled tight against the lanky frame of the incorrigible flirt. She sighed and hugged him back. She wouldn't even have to deal with Enrique's innuendos anymore that he only used to make her flustered. She breathed him in and sighed, feeling the prick of tears in her eyes. Closing them, she leaned her head against his chest. "Thank you Enrique."
"No problem, Saks."
"Wah!" the poor Irish girl jumped the height of herself and whirled round. "Hehehe, hey Kai. Something wrong?"
Kai Hiwatari glanced over the trio and pressed a hand to his forehead. He was getting a headache and he didn't need to be rounding up teenagers who were the same age as he was but acting like four year olds out on their first school trip. "I thought I told you to get on the bus five minutes ago."
Amber half coughed, half laughed nervously. "Ah yeah, you did but um, well… Enrique really needed to talk to me in private." she nodded brightly. Yup that was right.
He gazed at her levelly not buying her excuse for five minutes. He'd known her for most of his life, he never bought her excuses, they were just too see through. "Enrique could have told you anytime. Now get on the bus. I don't want any problems to break out."
"Ah, you mean fighting; well I'm not planning to fight with anyone. Don't know about Sakura though, but I think me and Enrique could hold her back for a few minutes until back up arrives." at Kai's cool glare, she cringed. "Sarcasm not appreciated, right?" she nodded when he didn't say anything. "Right."
Sakura stifled a giggle. They were too cute together.
"Ohohoho, you two are so cute. Are you a couple?"
"Hoe!" Sakura jumped visibly and looked over her shoulder where a girl, around their own age, appeared wielding a video camera.
"Oh sorry, I just couldn't help but video tape you. You're all so adorable." she clasped her hands together, the camera dangling from her wrist by a strap and her eyes shining. "The lightings a bit iffy here but I can work with it," as she continued to babble on, the others exchanged glances.
Amber inched away from the crazy video girl and closer to Kai, latching on to him when the girl turned to her and started talking about dresses and make up. Leaning close to Kai, she tried to hide from the pretty girl. "Kai make her stop." she whined. "She's scaring me."
Kai rolled his eyes. "Excuse me, just who are you?"
"Oh forgive my manners. I'm Tomoyo Daidouji, I video the games for the team and I was just taking the video to the coach's office when I came across you quite by accident, I'm not a stalker or anything, and you were so adorable, I had to tape you three, so cute and then you two-" she turned her attention to Amber and Kai. "Are you two a couple? You're a very striking pair."
Suddenly Amber realized she was all but holding Kai's hand. With a yelp she released Kai's arm as though scalded and jerked away from him, stumbling when she went over her ankle. Without looking, Kai's hand shot out and caught her by the collar preventing her from falling over.
"No! We are not dating. Eww! I think I need a shower, I feel really icky!" as though to back up the statement she shuddered.
"Yeah and Kai needs a cold one." Enrique joked.
With a snarl Amber stomped over to him and slammed her foot on to his. Immediately Enrique howled and jerked his foot up, nursing it and hopping around on his other foot. "Dammit you learned that from Saks."
Fortunately for Enrique, Sakura was too busy introducing herself to Tomoyo. "I'm Kinomoto Sakura, and that's Hiwatari Kai, who's the captain of the Tigers, and Amber Benson, she's not his girlfriend and Enrique Gianca… I wonder what happened to him." she wondered out loud when she observed her friend hopping in a circle while holding his other foot in a protective manner. "So you video the games? Neat idea. Did you come up with it?"
Tomoyo beamed; her amethyst eyes bright and friendly in porcelain skin surrounded by a stylish bob of violet hair. "Well I love recording things. Camera's I find are too flat and 2D. You lose something about the moment through them so I started video taping my favorite occasions and I developed a hidden talent for cutting and editing them. Anyway, I approached the coach and he really liked the idea. They can look back on the games they played and see where they went wrong and how they can improve."
"Wow. I wonder why no one in our team thought of that." Sakura pondered. "Do you want to go into film making when you leave school?"
"Well if not film making then-"
"Daidouji." a sharp voice commanded.
All five people in the hall turned and looked at the new comer. Kai immediately tensed and his hand found Amber's shoulder, ready to push her behind him if needs be while Enrique forgot his foot and stood beside Sakura. Tomoyo raised a brow.
"Yes, Li, is there something wrong?"
"Coach wants the tape now." the stoic Chinese boy spoke but his eyes were solely on his rivals.
Tomoyo curiously regarded the usually quiet boy. "I was just going and I stopped to talk to these nice people."
At his order she nodded. "Ok Li. Well bye Sakura and friends." she said with a laugh in her voice when she noticed Kai's protective position to Amber.
"Hiwatari, I suggest you take your team and friends with you." Li spoke, his tawny eyes fierce under dark brows.
Sakura gulped when his eyes caught hers and she immediately shrank back against Enrique, grateful her friend was there to protect her. "Hoe…"
"We're just leaving." Kai said nudging Amber around and motioning for Enrique to follow with Sakura who cast a quick glance back at the brown hair boy with the very fierce eyes. He simply nodded to Kai, flicked his eyes to Sakura who quickly averted her gaze and then followed Daidouji down the corridor.
As soon as he was gone, Sakura sighed in relief and felt her heart rate return to normal; it no longer pounded forcibly in her ear. She rubbed her arms warm noticing a row of goose bumps were rolling down them. She couldn't understand her reaction to the boy, he'd intimidated her in a way that Ruin and Russia never had. He was… cute, she could admit with a shake of her head but she wasn't affected by looks too much, after all her friends were all very good looking boys so she had developed immunity to them.
"He was scary." she said softly.
"Yeah almost as bad as Kai here." Amber said with an incline towards the tall two toned bluenette who was frog marching her out the door. At her comment, his fingers squeezed her arm and she yelped and squirmed away. "Only not half as violent."
"Have a domestic later, Sakura's seriously freaked by that guy."
"I'm not, honest I'm not." she said when Kai pinned her with an inscrutable look from those dark mahogany eyes. "He just seemed angry."
"So does the devil." Amber mumbled. "He's just a moody git," a smile played on her lips. "Just like Kai." she beamed brightly while Kai shook his head and muttered under his breath something about 'annoying little girls, spit and fire'.
"Hey they do look like a cute couple." Sakura said with a laugh to Enrique, then immediately cringed when both of them glared at her but funnily enough, Kai didn't release the dark haired girls arm as he walked them out the door into the cool night. Sakura sighed thinking about how little she'd get to see those two together after she left.
"Hoe." she smiled softly when Enrique's arm wrapped around her comfortingly. Yeah she'd really miss them.
"Ember, let go of Sakura."
"She can't go if I'm chained to her," came the petulant retort as once again Sakura found herself once again, with a petite Irish girl glued to her side. It was two weeks after the finals and the drama from the game had settled but tomorrow she'd be leaving for Tomoeda so she'd come to say goodbye. They were all assembled in the living room of the Benson household since it was the closest house to the whole group and since Treasa Benson seemed to like having so many people in her house, she tended to bake for them and they had nice things to eat.
In the spacious living room, Shahero was lounged over the creamy sofa with Miyami lying in the opposite direction so their feet were in each other's faces. Kai was sitting on the armchair that belonged to Shahero's father and Amber's step father with Ruin sitting on the arm since Amber had sprawled herself over Ruin's boyfriend Tala who was like Amber's surrogate brother. Russia was sitting Indian style on the floor and Arista was sitting on the back of the sofa. Enrique sat as far away from Arista since she tended to just beat him up for no good reason while Aspin sat with her back to Mimi who was braiding her hair. Johnny McGregor was standing with his arms folded by the door as though to block that exit, Rei Kon was grinning into his glass of orange juice and Ozuma Benson was sitting on a pouf with Sonia between his thighs playing with his fingers while he watched Sakura with interest.
Sakura looked down at Tala who smiled lazily up at her. "Can't you make her let me go?"
"Sorry Sak; seems Benz is determined to keep you here."
"I have to go Amber. Look, I promise that I'll phone you all the time, and email you and write you letters and it'll be like I was never gone and you'll wish I'd leave you alone."
Amber watched her for a moment with a pout. "Really?"
"Pinkie swear." she held out her pinkie finger and a golden one was wrapped around it. They shook on it and Sakura beamed, pulling her friend up to hug her tightly. "I'll miss you."
"Miss you too, and if you don't phone Sakura Kinomoto, I'll track you down and give you a good basting!"
"You're going to give her good needlework?" Kai asked amused.
"My basting is not the same as your basting."
"Yeah her bastings special." Miyami said somberly.
Sakura giggled. "Don't be mean."
"I think she means a good beating up." Sonia spoke up as she rose to her feet. "Keep in contact Sakura." she hugged the brunette tightly.
"If you need us, we'll come for you." Ruin told her with grim tone.
"Jesus you'd think she was heading to the other side of the world. She's just going across the… thingamajig to Tomoeda. There are buses that can take you from Bakuten to Tomoeda easily." Shahero said exasperated as she hugged Sakura. "Anyone you need me to beat up, just send me an email and a photo and it'll be done like that." she snapped her fingers.
Enrique stretched languidly. "Any boys give you trouble I volunteer myself to be your decoy boyfriend."
"Like she would want you as a decoy boyfriend." Arista muttered scathingly, negotiating her way off the couch to launch herself at the petite Japanese girl.
"I would make a good decoy boyfriend."
"You tread the line between gay and hetro very finely." Arista retorted.
"I'm a metrosexual and I have no problems admitting that."
"Is that the new word for bi?"
Sakura pressed her wobbling lips together to either prevent herself from either laughing or crying, she wasn't sure. But standing there watching Enrique and Arista bicker, Amber was slapping her palm against her forehead and the others were laughing while Kai rolled his eyes at the immaturity of it all, she was struck by an overwhelming wave of nostalgia. She didn't want to cry but leaving her friends behind was going to kill her.
Sensing her change in mood, Rei immediately got to his feet and enfolded the usually bright and chipper girl. "Hey Saku, we'll come visit. We'll make an adventure of it and think of it this way; you'll have more friends this way. You'll have us and then you'll have your own friends."
She sniffled and nodded. "You're right. Thanks Rei."
"No problem, that's what I'm here for, right," he gave her another squeeze. "So what time are you leaving tomorrow?"
"Early, Dad wants to leave before the traffic rush." Sakura sighed glumly.
"Sakura, ya'll b' fine." Russia drawled in her Dublin brogue.
"Why are we all acting like this is the end of the world? Sakura isn't leaving yet and we have three DVD's to watch- Benson would…" Kai trailed off gritting his teeth as he held the DVD's out of the younger girls reach.
"You have a scary film there!" She growled, maneuvering herself to reach higher. "We're not watching scary films. Do you want Saku to have nightmares before she goes away, you insensitive bully?"
"Tala, get her off me."
"Amber, come on."
"You're such a meanie Kai-pai!"
Sakura shuddered. "There isn't really a scary film there, is there?"
"It's not really scary Sakura." Kai assured, shooting Amber a dark look.
"We'll watch the scary film first, there's a comedy and a romance here; they'll get your mind of the brain eating zombies." Miyami stated, scrambling to her feet and taking the film over to the DVD player. The rest of the gang found somewhere to sit and settled down to watch the film while Rei went to fetch the popcorn. Sakura swept the room with her gaze and smiled fondly, she'd really miss these guys so much.
"Down in front!"
With a quirk of her lips, she thumped herself down on the floor and grabbed a cushion to hide behind knowing that the film wouldn't be half as scary as the trip to the other side the next day and she wouldn't have Enrique to hold her hand.
Well, that was the first chapter, more like a prologue. Basically the rundown is that Sakura was captain of the Tigers, an all girl basketball team that was at the top of its league. Their male team always came second to the Warriors, the Tomoeda team. The Warriors don't have a girls team and Sakura is moving to that school.
Don't worry if you don't recognize the OCs in this fic, they're not main characters but Sakura doesn't strike me as the type of girl not to have loads of friends in her old school and she would keep in contact. This just makes it easier on me because I know the Octopussies and their personalities of by heart so it is just easier to write. They'll pop up from time to time but they're not going to take over this story. For bio's on the boys or what they look like you can find them at www . beyblade . com . They will also serve as the opposition for Sakura and Li's basketball teams. There will also be cameo's from other members of my fave animes.