Title: They call him sensei
Part: 1/1
Author: Mitsuko
Warning: grammar mistakes & bad sentences. I know I must improve... T__T
Author's note: well, finally here I am. The first fiction I posted at the sdfic group, but you know, I just needed a feedback. So please give voice to your comments, flares, laughters... but please be kind! I'm a sensitive person!!^___^
You see the end is a R.E.M. song, Sweetness follows: I just thought it was the appropriate song (so maybe this is a song fic indeed^^).
Disclaimer: SD characters copyright Inoue sensei; Reiko Oikawa copyright Mitsuko; Sweetness follows copyright R.E.M.

"Mochi mochi? - No, he's not home yet... he has practice today... yes, I'm Oikawa... Oh, Mrs. Anzai, I'm sorry, I didn't recognize your voice! Mrs. Anzai? What's happened?"
Reiko turns suddenly pale. She clasps the receiver and collapses against the wall... she just slides against it, her legs too weak to sustain her... tears start running on her cheeks...
"When?" she can only whisper...

"Rei-chan, I'm home! Damn, it's raining like hell outside!" Mitsui pulled his jacket off and let the bag on the floor.
"Reiko? Oh, you're here... God, are you ok??" He moved towards her.
His girlfriend was sitting on the couch, her knees up to her chest, her black eyes reddened and puffy behind the glasses...
"Rei-chan, honey, what's happened? Why are you sitting in the dark? Please, tell me... you're scaring me!"
"Hisashi... oh, Hisa-kun..." A sigh...
She stood up and ran into his lovers arms... She couldn't stop the tears...
"I can't find the right words... Anzai sensei..." She felt his body stiffening... Reiko shivered and held him tight...
"A heart attack, tonight..." Another sigh, deeper this time... "He died while sleeping... Mrs. Anzai called me a few minutes ago... She needs you for the funeral... Hisashi?"
He was totally numb. He didn't feel pain, strangely. In his mind, he was just screaming *No, I don't believe you, you're lying... I don't want to hear you anymore...*
"Hisashi, be strong please..."
"Leave me alone."
"Reiko, please. I need to be on my own for a while." His voice sounded so low and broken...
"All right. But remember I'll be here, always. Just call me and I'll come."
But he wasn't listening to her, not anymore. He was staring at the raindrops on the windows, his eyes like a black mirror...

As Reiko left the room, closed the door and leant against it. She heard him cyring out a first weak "NO!", then the sound of a shattered glass... shattered as his voice yelling another wild "NO!"... and then his sobs stiflened at first, but soon so shaking and despairing...
The tears were stinging her eyes again...
"Hisa-kun... I won't let you go through this mess alone... Your torture is mine, your pain is mine... I love you, Hisashi..."

Clouds swollen of rain covered the sky during funeral's day. The Shohoku High School Basketball Team was there, nobody missed the function. Akagi took a flight the night before just to be here. In a little while they reached Anzai's house, swilling and heavy heart. Ryota and Ayako, Sakuragi and Haruko, even Rukawa, that icy fox, and Sendo... they were holding each other, seeking refuge in friends' presence.
"Micchy... how are you?" Sakuragi put his hand on Mitsui's shoulder, his eyes red as his hair, showing all his inner pain... He seemed so fond, not the overbearing, rowdy Tensai that Mitsui remebrered, that usually teased him about his so-called crush on the sensei...
Mitsui gulped, he didn't dare to speak, sure that his voice would have betrayed him... He held Reiko's hand, then cleared his throat and answered his former teammate, "You see how's going, Hana-kun..."
Then his eyes catched Kogure's glance, and a lovely, sad smile appeared on his face.
"Hi, Megane-kun... I was missing you..."
"Hi Hisashi. I'm sorry to meet you again on a day like this...". Kogure opened his arms, and Mitsui sheltered in... jumping back to Shohoku's days again... he had never forgotten how preciuos was Kogure's warmth...
They hugged strongly, the tears running openly on their cheeks.
"Please, boys, come here." The soft voice of Mrs. Anzai crossed the room. All the guys turned their head, waiting for her words...
"I just need to tell you something before you leave."
She took a deep breath, rubbed her eyes then started talking slowly.
"Thank you for coming here today. My husband was so proud of you. Of all of you. You've been his best team, he always said so. I thought you should know this fact, I hope it will help you to pass through this sad moment."
The guys sighed, then hugged the old woman strongly, one after the other, not avoiding their pain and love to that little, fragile woman clasped in her kimono... They reached the door, but the soft voice crossed the room once again.
"Mitsui, please, would you stay for a while?"
He turned back, Reiko was still on his side... "Do you want me to wait for you outside?"
"No, I need you here." She felt revealed... she also needed him by her side...
"Please, sit down Mitsui. There is something I want to give you... my husband would be happy."

She disappeared in the house, and when came back Mrs. Anzai was holding a box in her hands. She put it on the table.
"Mitsui, you know my husband loved you as a son. Although Rukawa was his favorite player, you were like the son we never have had. Please, wipe your tears away... you should be happy for this... even if it's a severe pain right now..."
Mitsui sobbed, then reached Reiko's hand... his fingers were so cold...
"I think you should have those things, anyway. I'm sure he would have given you personally, at the right moment... In my opinion, this is the right moment..."
Mitsui took the box in his hands, and lifted the cover carefully... He held his breath, turning pale... The box contained Anzai's coaching stuff: the small board to trace and explain the game, the whistle, the notebook, a photo of the Shohoku team the day they won the Nationals...
"What does it mean?"
"I'm sure you know it, Hisashi... once my husband told me so... 'Hisashi Mitsui is a natural born leader, you should have seen him facing Sakuragi during practice today! Oh oh oh, the way he's been able to show him his limits and how to climb them over! He'll be a great coach'..."
Mitsui nodded, humbled himself and started crying again... "Anzai-sensei... that's more than I deserve...", he muttered.

Mitsui and Reiko were sitting on the grass, under a big weeping willow near a playground. Two kids were playing basket, it was funny to see them screaming and playing so hard... The sky was still covered by clouds, but sometimes the sun peeped out. A soft breeze was blowing through their faces and hair.
Mitsui leant his head on Reiko's shoulder, closed his eyes and took a breath.
During last year, Mitsui was going to develope a different approach to basket. He still loved the game, but there was something new and unknown in his feelings. He's been a MVP before and a national champion with the Shohoku after, he had joined the Japanese team and had taken part to the Olympics... He was a known champion, a celebrated star like Sakuragi, Maki, Sendo and Rukawa... But actually, he was feeling like a change, a inner need to evolve, to take a step out... Only a vague sensation, until that day...

"How could he have known I was pondering this way?"
"Mrs. Anzai told you, my love... You were like a son... he could read in your soul, as through a lake of crystal water... and understand your feelings... even before they were clear and obvious to you."
"Yeah... God, I can't bear it... I miss him so much..." His voice collapsed...
"Hisashi, take a look at the kids! They're so cute!" The kids were fussing with the big ball, trying to put it into the basket...
He turned his head to the playground, his eyes half open... *Remember... never give up the hope.*
Mitsui stood up with a fluid move, then came across the court and reached the kids. "Need you help? Let me see if I can teach you something good about basket..."
They were astonished, their mouth open wide because of wonder... "Mitsui-san?? Gosh, is it really you??"
"Of course I am... didn't you notice the scar in my chin?" Mitsui winked at the two. His face was smiling now, and Reiko sighed seeing his bright eyes again...

The four spent all the afternoon playing, and when the parents came to bring the kids back home, Mitsui gave them the ball, cheered and said: "Look, you're already improved! Now, you just need a good daily parctice, ok?! Don't give up, I see you have good stuff!" The kids made a bow, muttered words of joy and thanks then turned back and ran to their parents...
"Okaasan! Okaasan, it's unbelievable!! We played basket with Mitsui sensei!!"
Mitsui passed his arm across Reiko's shoulders, kissing her lightly on a cheek.
"Mitsui-sensei, uh?" She was laughing softly... He smiled back, one of his wonderful, charming smiles she loved so much...
"Sounds nice, don't you agree? Anzai sensei has been like a father to me. Maybe even more. He made me understand the difference between a simple player and a man... you know what I mean? I became the person I am now just because of Anzai sensei... I was lost, and he rescued me, giving me a second chance...
I learnt from him to respect myself, to respect my friends and to take full responsibility for all my actions. Now, it's my turn. He'll be proud of me, I swear it."
"I know you'll be a great coach, Hisa-kun. Anzai sensei never failed..."
He stared at Reiko's eyes, his glance was still painful, but a warm light was growing inside... He pressed his full mouth on her lips, leaving her breathless.
"Aishiteru, Reiko."
"Aishiteru, Hisashi."

The door slides. A tall, impressive man comes across the basketball court. He looks austere, but you can see in his eyes a deep happiness and strenght... the one of a man who has found what he was looking for.
He blows into the whistle, and suddenly the guys stop the practice and line up. He grins, a crooking smile raises his lips... he hears the sound of that dear voice in his ears... when he was still a junior high...
*Remember... never give up the hope. To lose heart means to abandone the game.*

He close his eyes for a moment... *Domo arigatou, Anzai-sensei...*
Then raises his clenched fist and cries out loud...


"It's these little things, they can pull you under.
Live your life filled with joy and wonder.
I always knew this altogether thunder
Was lost in our little lives.
Oh, oh, but sweetness follows.
Oh, oh, but sweetness follows."