A short fic of my favorite boxer. The Tiger of Naniwa. A small, hastey view into Sendo's mind before his rematch. Don't own these characters, Hajime no Ippo is the greatest mange ever written and I only wish I had wrote it, sadly, I merely am a fanboy for this and boxing all around.

The Tiger of Naniwa. Rocky. Takeshi Sendo. Champ. Idiot. He was known as all of these names. He was the strongest people said. They called him a beast. They called him feral and savage. He was the hungry fighter, tearing meat off the bones of fighters that dare enter the ring, the cage they were doomed into fighting with the man from Osaka. Rocky and The Tiger of Naniwa were kind of cool to be called in his opinion. He wasn't Champ just yet in his eyes. He was given the name Takeshi Sendo, but he loved the name idiot. He only loved it when it's origin came from his grandmother. He knew she'd always call him that, though there was never malice in the words. Just love and the hope to be like his father.

Takeshi Sendo looked over at the picture of him and his grandmother, smiling softly as he remember all the lectures he had been through in his life. He was thick, but he understood what her intent was. He took it all in stride. His eyes darted to the electric clock… seven hours. Seven hours and he would fight his rival. The only fighter he gave a damn about fighting. He snickered as he shook with anticipation, his pupils turning feral, "Makunochi." He muttered, the name of his target, the true challenger. His whole body hurt, aching from excitement. He wanted to feel the sting again. The sting that only this fighter brought, the incredible power and terrible impact of this man was all that stood in his way. Sendo smiled softly, remembering as he felt that punch. That first right that knocked his head almost clean off. The portal to where he saw his dad. Sendo smiled, he wanted to walk through that door again. He knew that this man could do it and in the ring with him was the only time he saw them.

He was a fighter and he loved to fight, but to only feel strong. To feel that rush as he stood on that mountain, declaring his name with all his might, his words were his hands, his name echoing from the sound of battered flesh, the sound of thunder, the echo from the impact. His strength prevailing, his determination evident as he fought, win or lose.

This happened for every fighter, minus that in the case Makunochi. This was a test, not an event. Like every fight and fighter before this was training, preparing him for the reckoning that only this hard-puncher brought. He was able to see himself, his father and mother, his grandmother, and all those he's protected over the years smile down on him. He didn't care if he won or lost, he just wanted to make them proud. All this, yet, there was still one more reason. The punches that Makunochi threw, the devastating power of the man knocked him back to see his parents. To be with them again. He didn't know why, he didn't care why, but fighting Makunochi was the only way he felt that he could see them.

Sendo's eyes darted to the clock once again. Six hours. He sighed, wishing he was in the ring again. Wishing he was fighting. His body couldn't stop trembling. The coach would have lectured him if he had seen him as he was. He was bouncing off the walls. He stood, walking around the room, stretching , trying to cut some energy out of him. His path around his room had him stop at his nightstand. A picture of him as a child and his father, holding him up. He smiled, remembering when that was taken. Sendo always wasn't good at remembering thing, but his grandmother excused him most of the time, saying he was always filling his head with memories of his father, holding on to them and letting everything else fall from his mind. He chuckled softly, his hand moving to the picture, outlining the two figures.

It was the day when he came to the station, his dad for the first time letting him come inside. He remembered playing with the hose and wearing the fire-hat all day. There was only two fires that day. He rode along with both, sitting up front the first time, the second on the back as his father held him. He remembered how it felt to be in his father's arms as they drove past all the traffic at speeds he had never gone before. His laughter following the wail of the sirens.

The day was over and his was awarded a small fire-engine. A little toy that, to this day, he still had. Sendo couldn't contain the laugh as he remembered the feeling he had when he was given it. He ran around the station, imitating the siren as he run in a circle, his father chasing him. He remembers going home and sleeping that day, holding onto the toy, promising himself he'd never break or let anyone else touch the toy. It wasn't even three months later when it happened. When his father left him.

Sendo, turned back around checking the clock once more. Five hours. He grunted, his foot kicking the nightstand, shaking the lamp and picture on it, almost right to the floor. He restrained himself though. He took a seat at a chair that was in his room, sitting in it backward as he fold his arms on the chair's back, laying his head down on it softly.

The cat didn't shut up. Sendo tried to coo his kitten down, but the kitten knew something was wrong, that something had happened. He knew it too as he held the agitated feline, running a hand through it's ruffled fur. His eyes never left the window, watching the soft lights of the fire in the distance. The fire, he knew, that stole from him something dear. He started to hate the fire. Hate the orange and yellow glow that he once found pretty. He grunted, as a child could, as the door opened, his grandmother moving to his side.


The boy smiled, turning to his grandmother, "Yeah?"

"Your father…he's…he…" the old woman could hardly contain, her grief peering through. Sendo just smiled.

"Let's go see dad, okay?" he asked softly, seeming to already know.

The body was burnt badly, they covered most of him, readying for Sendo and his grandmother to view the body. Sendo didn't care. He looked at the body, his eyes dry, full of pride like his heart, "What happened?" Sendo asked sternly.

"He…was trying to save a boy…your age. He saved the child, but…" his grandmother replied, reeling from the boy's reaction. This brought a smile to the boy's face. He walked right over and hugged the body softly. He then moved back a few steps, giving his father some room and sat to his knees. Staring. Sendo didn't move for almost two hours. He was just so proud to call this man his father, vowing that very day, he'd be a strong man like this idol.

Four hours. Sendo stretched out, cracking his neck. He decided to go eat something, he needed the energy. He heated up some ramen, knowing that the weigh-in had already passed. They had shoved 

more food then he was willing to eat in one setting minutes afterward, stuffing him up for the small energy boost and edge he'd have over Makunochi, for their comparative sizes.

Sendo played with the noodles softly, eating a bit here and there, glad to be off that diet and still had enough time to digest before the fight. The coach would be there soon, he smiled, remembering the first time he'd met the coach.

He'd just beat down a gang of guys that were looking to take advantage of a classmate of his, an exceptionally cute classmate that he had known had a crush on him. The feelings weren't mutual, but she was in her charge. In his circle. He got too excited as he heard what they were going to do to her, the lecherous scum. The tiger showed his fangs. After the second guy, the girl, who he couldn't remember the name for the life of him now, ran, afraid for the sheer intensity that Sendo was showing now. He blooded their faces much worse then what was warrented. Then he heard a voice, his head to muddled in rage and anger to make out what the man was saying, but the eyes. They did all the talking. He charged deep at him as he undid his tie, looking for blood and a one shot. He swung, and found nothing. Sendo looked to realize that he had been deflected and a countered. The counter was pulled, but if it had followed through.

The man's words stung him deep, realizing what he had almost done. His was unfocused, angry. He wasn't strong. He knew his father was disappointed, he felt it in the cold winds as the man left him. He cringed at his own failure. He followed the man, as if in a trance. He followed him to a boxing gym. Boxing? Was this the answer, he wondered. Would this make him strong. Sendo sat thoughtfully in a nearby alleyway, thinking to himself for, what seemed like, hours. He entered, barging in with his usual confidance, giving the man a smirk. He demanded the strongest man in Japan. He knew he had power in his fists, but he wanted the strength his father had. This path would lead him to that answer.

A knock at the door and a familiar voice drew him out of the memory. He spared another look to the picture. The way to the stadium, no one noticed, but Sendo softly made the noise of a siren. He was flying again.