Family Ties

Family Ties
Part One
A SenHana fic By: Laree McKenzie
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It was not a good thing to wake up Rukawa Kaede when he was sleeping. That was something that Sendo Akira learned for himself one morning as he watched his younger brother unceremoniously hurled off the dark haired boy's bed.

Luckily enough, he was able to put his quick reflexes to use and was there to catch little Sendo Totoya before he made contact with the ground. The seven year old boy wriggled happily within his arms until his elder brother placed him back down onto the ground. " That was fun! Do it again, Kaede-kun!" He cried happily, clambering back up onto the dark haired boy's bed as though nothing had even happened.

" Go away."

" Please. Kaede-kun? Please? Pretty please, Kaede-kun!"

The boy in question rolled over onto his side and pulled his comforter up over his head. " Get him out of here before I do something, Sendo. I'm warning you."

At this, the little boy's large brown eyes filled with tears. " He doesn't like me, aniki! Why doesn't Kaede-kun like me? I like him..." He jumped down from the bed, wailing all the while, and clamped onto his elder brother's leg.

" Kaede-kun doesn't like anybody, Toya-chan." Rukawa's elder brother, Ito informed him as he appeared by the doorway. " He's a sad, sad, bitter guy."

" Do you like me, Ito-chan?"

" Of course. Not everyone in the Rukawa family is like Kaede." As he spoke, Ito made his way to the bed where a figure lay huddled under the comforter. Without any prior warning, he tipped one side of the mattress up, sending his younger brother tumbling to the ground. " Get up. Breakfast is ready."

Sending Ito deadly glares as he picked himself off from the ground, Rukawa ran a hand through his hair in an attempt to make it seem somewhat neater and stalked over to his wardrobe to get some clothes as Akira watched each action with interest, a smile on his face. Ito allowed Totoya to clamber onto his back and carried him down to the kitchen " Good morning, younger brother!" He greeted Rukawa cheerfully,

Rukawa scowled as he pulled out a shirt from deep within the cavernous depths of his closet. " Don't call me that."

Sendo tipped his head to one side. He had finished getting himself presentable a long time ago and had only been waiting for Rukawa to get up so that they could go down to the breakfast table together.
" Why in the world not? That's what an elder brother is supposed to call his baby brother, isn't it?"

" I'm not your brother."

Akira pursed his lips thoughtfully. " That's funny. I thought that the kids of a man and a woman that were married to each other are supposed to be brothers..."

" Technically." Rukawa muttered. " But I never was one to go for technicalities."

" Really? That's really interesting! I never knew that about you before! See, things aren't going to be so bad! Now that your father and my mom are married, we're going to be spending an awful lot of time together! We'll get to know each other really, really well!"

" I can't wait." Rukawa said flatly. God. When was he going to wake up from this nightmare? It was bad enough when his father had first started going out with Sendo's widowed mother. They had been forced to come together for weekly gatherings of the Rukawa-Sendo clan then. At least he had been able to pretty much sleep through the whole ordeal, but how was he supposed to do that with this? He scowled.

No one had been more surprised than Rukawa Tenchi's sons when he had announced his impending marriage a few months before. Rukawa hadn't though that things were that serious with the pretty mother of his on court rival. His father was a flighty guy whose relationships weren't known for their longevity, after all , and it had been a completely unexpected development on the satisfyingly familiar routine that was his life.

And now that Sendos were here, in their home, everything had changed. It wasn't that Rukawa particularly minded Sendo Koiko. She was actually sort of nice, when it all came down to it, always willing to take the time to fix him a snack when he came home from basketball practice. It was all the baggage that she had brought along that disturbed him. There was that grinning fool, Akira who had been placed with him in his room for lack of any better place to put him ( He had suggested a cot in the tool shed but his idea had been shot down immediately by his father who, like the others, had also been completely charmed by the older boy). He couldn't stand the guy. He hated everything about him. The way that he was always trying to get him to talk when all he really wanted to do was to sleep, hated the way that he had won over the rest of his family, gullible fools that they were, and the way that Akira's hair styling products were always littered around the room. The thing that he disliked the most, though was the guy's ever cheerful manner. Sometimes, Rukawa was tempted to kick the guy in the guts just to see whether that stupid, fake smile would remain on his face or not.

Then there was that little brat, Totoya, that everyone else thought was so cute. The way people acted around him, cooing and cuddling the little monster, you would think that they had never seen a seven year old child before. He was an exact miniature of his elder brother and seemed to have made disturbing his much treasured sleep his mission in his miserable little life.

And of course, he couldn't forget the reason that the phone lines in the Rukawa household had been constantly tied up for the past few days, the little Princess, fifteen year old Sendo Naoko, a pretty girl with flowing black hair, beautiful eyes and a body that stopped traffic, much to the dismay of her mother. Of course, it didn't matter to him that he never really used the phone anyways, he was still disgruntled by the simple fact that these strangers were over running his home. And would always be from then on. The thought was enough to make him want to throw himself in the path of an oncoming truck.

Looking at Sendo Akira's disgustingly happy face this early in the morning had that sort of effect on him too...

" You're not a morning person." Akira observed, taking note of the handsome young man's scowl.

" Am I being that transparent?"

" I also sense some hostility here."

Rukawa snorted. Hostility was too mild a word. What he felt for the spiky haired young man sitting on the extra bed that had been squashed into his room could be more aptly described as sheer and utter loathing.

" If it's about the whole room thing, Rukawa, it's not easy for me either." Sendo told him with a soft sigh. He had tried his best to reach out to the younger boy ever since their parent's wedding a week before but nothing had worked. He had tried talking to him about basketball as they watched an NBA game and Rukawa had just told him to shut up, he had tried talking to him as the two of them got ready for bed in the bathroom that the two of them had to share and Rukawa had told him to shut up because he was about to go to sleep. Every time he tried to have a conversation with the younger boy he was always told to shut up so how were the two of them supposed to get to know each other better, as their parents wanted? The two of them had spoken to Sendo just before the wedding day, asking him to try and make the effort seeing as how the youngest of the Rukawa children obviously wouldn't. He thought it was sort of unfair putting all the responsibility on him but he guessed that he owed his mother and Tenchi Rukawa that much so he had promised to try for them. It obviously wasn't working out very well at the moment. " I miss having my own room in my own home too-"

" Feel free to go back there any time you want to. And take your brother and sister."

Akira could feel his smile becoming slightly strained. Didn't the kid think it was hard enough for him and his siblings as it was, having to move into a whole new home, leaving behind their house, their friends? He even had to start in a whole new school, seeing as how Ryonan was so far away from Rukawa home. He had had to give up the captaincy of the Ryonan basketball club, something that had disappointed him immensely but which he was willing to do, seeing as how his mother was so happy with Rukawa Tenchi. " Like it or not, we're here to stay. I'm going to have to keep sharing this room with you until we find a new house big enough for all of us, like dad said."

" Dad?" Rukawa repeated, a frown marring his handsome face.

" Yes, dad." Sendo affirmed, knowing how much the guy hated it when he called his father that. " We're just going to have to cope with that. I'm willing to try and make it all work out. Mom is so happy with our new father and I like him too. He's a really nice guy! I like Ito and I like this house and even though you're making this very hard, I sort of like you too."

Well, I don't like any of you, Rukawa thought to himself as he pulled on some comfortably scuffed sneakers, I don't like having any of you here. I don't like the fact that so many things had to change because of all of you. I was already happy with the way that things were before. He made his way to the door but Sendo blocked his way out.

" Rukawa, look. Let's just talk for a minute, okay?"

" Hmm..."

He took that as a sign that he could proceed. But it was hard for him to talk with the guy glowering at him like that. He was so used to people taking an instant liking to him that he wasn't exactly sure what he was supposed to do with this boy that so obviously detested his guts. " Like it or not, I'm here to stay."

Rukawa said nothing but his eyes spoke volumes more than any words ever could. It was obvious from the look that the boy gave him that the prospect of being stoned to death with basketballs was preferable to this.

" I'm going to be going to Shohuku with you, Rukawa, like it or not." The scowl deepened. " I'm going to be joining the basketball club there, like it or not. There's nothing that you and me can do about the situation that we're in but try to make the best out of it! I don't see why you think this is all so terrible! I mean, you're gaining a mother and three new siblings and we're getting a father and two new brothers! We're only getting good things from this!"

" A headache."

" What?" Sendo asked, puzzled, wondering why a headache was being brought up into the conversation.

" That's all that I'm getting from this." He declared, brushing past Sendo and making his way down to the breakfast table with the older boy trailing after him.

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