I do not own Slam Dunk or any of its characters so spare me the torture. Anyway, comments are welcome at shinigami_chan6@yahoo.com.



BOUNCING BABY SAKURAGI



It was a rather fine day of practice when Sakuragi suddenly began to sing his 'Tensai' song. Rukawa, upon hearing this muttered Do'aho.

"What did you say, kitsune?" Sakuragi demanded.

"Do'aho." He mumbled again and disappeared in to the showers. He was the last one to enter. He later on appeared and spotted Kogure handling a test tube with a green liquid in it.

"Hey, Kogure?" Mitsui asked in a mild manner. "What's that?" He pointed at the test tube Kogure was holding.

"Oh this is my Chemistry experiment." Sakuragi emerged from showers and approached the group talking. "I was just whipping up a -"

"Heads up Kogure!" Miyagi called out. Kogure turned and a basketball came in contact with his hand, the test tube flying.

"Oh no!" Kogure screamed.

The test tube landed on Sakuragi, the contents spilling all over his arm. "Eew! What the hell is this stuff?" Sakuragi asked, touching the green liquid now all over his arm.

"No! Sakuragi don't!" Kogure panicked.

Sakuragi suddenly paled. "I - I feel sick." He fell on his knees, and white fumes began to surround him.

Everybody gaped. Kogure in particular was about to break down and cry. The fumes vanished and all that was seen was Sakuragi's school uniform on the floor in a crumpled heap.

"Eh? Sakuragi?" Miyagi crouched next to the uniform. He was about to touch it when a little head popped up. "Ack!" Miyagi fell back. "Huh?"

"Konnichi wa!" The head greeted. It rose higher, revealing a small body still in the over sized t-shirt. It was a chibi version of Sakuragi, only the hair was thicker than normal and he had eyes so big, that they were beautiful.

"Eh?" Ayako crouched next to Sakuragi and patted him on the head. "Sakuragi?"

"Hai!" The child cried out, beaming, showing three teeth on its upper gums and four in the bottom.

"Kogure? What's this?" Akagi asked.

Kogure paled. "Well, it was a youth potion that I tried creating. I never tested it yet, but looks like it works." Kogure paled even more when he added, "I don't know how to change him back."

"What?" They all screamed.

Huge tears began to form in the toddler's eyes. It began to cascade down his soft cheeks and he began to sniff. "Oh, don't cry." Miyagi picked the child up and it switched to crying on full blast. "Aaaaaa!" Miyagi handed the child to the person closest to him, Ayako.

Sakuragi wailed even more, now the tears dropping like rain. Ayako shook her head and handed him to Akagi, who quickly passed it to Kogure. It was like playing the pass the parcel. Sakuragi wailed even more. Kogure, afraid, handed the child to Mitsui.

"No! No way!" Mitsui quickly handed the child to Rukawa. To their surprise, Sakuragi slowly stopped crying and began sucking on his fist, cuddling on Rukawa. Rukawa had to raise an eye brow at the gesture.

"Oh look! He likes Rukawa!" Mitsui said, staring at the kid. As soon as his face came close to Sakuragi, he began to wail.

"Keep away. You're stupid face is making him cry, and I love my ear drums, thank you very much." Rukawa said, Mitsui fuming. "What am I going to do with this do'aho?"

"Take care of him." Akagi answered. "Until Kogure finds a way to make him return to normal. Besides, two weeks of term break means no practice."

Rukawa glared at Kogure. "Get it done, as soon as possible. Get it, glasses boy?"

Mitsui stood up in defense. "Watch it!"

"Shut up, ugly face!" Rukawa retorted. He sighed and picked up his bag. "I have no choice do I?" He walked out of the court and headed for home.



*

Rukawa entered the comforts of his home, a little Sakuragi asleep in his arms. He looked down at him and for the first time, his features softened at the sight.

"If only you knew what I feel for you." Rukawa silently whispered and went to his room. He dug out some of his old baby clothes from the attic, something his mother had arranged and neatly kept before she and his father died in a plane crash. He took them all out and padded to his room, slipping on a matching blue pajama with basketballs all over it in to the sleeping boy's body. Rukawa admitted that Sakuragi looked so cute when he was slipping, sucking on his tiny fist. He tucked him on his bed, and pulled the covers over him.

Rukawa, normally would go to sleep, since he had already mastered the art of sleeping. But that night, after he went to the kitchen prepared some milk in a bottle, just in case the baby woke up, he found it hard to even close his eyes. He kept on watching the tiny red head asleep beside him, making cooing noises whenever he shifted in his sleep.

"Do'aho." He whispered and slowly planted a soft kiss on the child's head. "My little do'aho."

Rukawa woke up when he felt something on his chest. He opened his eyes and found a smiling Sakuragi sitting on his chest.

"You're awake!" Rukawa said and stared at the child who began to crawl down and pull the covers over his bare chest. "What are you doing?" He asked, and watched Sakuragi as he lay down again and began sucking on his fist. Slowly, the child closed its eyes and was soon sound asleep. "Sakuragi." He whispered, emotions covering his features. At the same hurt crossed his features. "You don't know how I feel for you. I know you hate me, but I don't. I never will. You know why?" He asked the sleeping child. "Because I love you. I always have from the first day I met you. I love you Sakuragi." The child shifted in its sleep and cuddled to Rukawa. Rukawa slowly smiled and held the child close to him. He too closed his eyes and finally fell asleep.



*



Rukawa woke up the next morning, and found Sakuragi still sleeping. He went to eat some breakfast, which were mainly milk and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. While he was eating his food very slowly, he heard the sudden wail of Sakuragi in his room, and fell off his chair. He quickly got up and rushed to his room, finding the little red head crying so hard that his face was red.

"I'm here! I'm here!" Rukawa said, and sat down next to him, scooping him in his arms. "I'm here, my Sakuragi." The child stopped crying and held on to his bare shoulder with all the strength a child could muster. Rukawa took him downstairs and gave him some milk to drink and some mashed up sweet potato. Sakuragi ate it happily and began to laugh.

Rukawa rubbed his head, ruffling his hair. "You need a bath. You're all sticky." Sakuragi just giggled in delight as Rukawa carried him to the bathroom. Then he remembered that he did not have the baby stuff to clean Sakuragi up. He called his neighbor, an old man who lived with his three year old grandson and asked if he could borrow some baby stuff.

"Take it! I've got a lot anyway!" The old man said, handing a plastic bag across the fence to Rukawa. Rukawa thanked him and rushed back to the house, peeking at the contents of the bag. There were baby shampoo, baby soap, baby bath, baby oil, and baby lotion and baby cologne.

"Lovely!" He said and took Sakuragi to the bathroom again. He took Sakuragi's clothes off and kneeled by the bath tub, placing Sakuragi in. The baby latched on to his arm, afraid, fear all over his face, that his eyes were very wide. "Don't worry, I'm right here." Sakuragi, understanding, released Rukawa. Rukawa placed some no tears baby shampoo in to his palm and slowly began to lather it on the child's hair. Sakuragi stared at the suds falling on to the water in the tub and he began to giggle. "Like it huh?" Rukawa adored the sight in front of him. He then lathered his little body with soap, careful on not to be too harsh. Slowly, and gently, he rinsed the suds away, then wrapped Sakuragi in a towel, placing him on the huge round woolen carpet on his bathroom floor. "Now, I will take a quick shower. Just sit there, and be a good boy till I finish, okay?" The child blinked up at him. Rukawa took his shower, wrapping a towel around his waist. When he got out of the tub, he found Sakuragi right where he left him. "You did listen to me." He said, nodding, and picking up the child heading to his room.

He took out a white t-shirt shirt and slipped it on him. He then grabbed a diaper that he found, a new pack in the attic and slipped it on him. He found a pair of black shorts and slipped it on him, with white socks and a pair of red sneakers. He combed the child's hair and applied some cologne on his clothes.

"There, you're all nice. Want to go out for a walk?" He asked, placing a tiny black base ball cap over the mass of red hair. The child laughed.

"Hai!" He said.

"Just let me get dressed." Rukawa slipped on his boxers and then a pair of jeans and a jumper. He grabbed his trainers, scooped Sakuragi in his arms, stuffed his keys in to his pockets and left the house. Sakuragi sat on his shoulders, Rukawa holding his dangling feet on each side of his shoulders. The boy obviously enjoyed sitting in a high place. Rukawa took him to the park and rode him on a swing. The park was empty, surprisingly. He then went to the mall to get some baby food, another pack of diapers and a stuffed orange basketball for him to play with. As he was exiting the mall, a smiling red head in his one arm and the things he bought in the other, a lot of girls stopped to admire the baby. For once, it was not Rukawa.

"Is that your brother?" Once asked.

"No." He answered is his cold exterior. "He's mine." A part of it was true. Rukawa wanted Sakuragi all to himself, and now he had him. The girls nodded and continued admiring the cute red head, who laughed and giggled. "We better get going." Rukawa left the mall and headed for home, allowing Sakuragi to walk, while he held his tiny hand.

"Rukawa!" Kogure called out and rushed to him. Mitsui behind him. "My, is that him?" Kogure peeked at the child. "Hi there, cutie! How are you?" The child smiled.

Mitsui bent so that he was in eye level with Sakuragi. "You look good today." The child stepped back and hid behind Rukawa, peeking at the side from behind his leg, his hands latched on to his jeans. "Man, the kid likes you a lot. Total opposite of the Sakuragi I know."

"Tell me about it." Kogure nodded. "Is he a burden?" Rukawa shook his head. "No? That's surprising. Anyway, I'm working on a remedy that should reverse his state." He waved a conical flask in front of Rukawa. "Don't think that I am not working hard."

"See ya!" Mitsui and Kogure disappeared down the street.

"Take all the time you want." Rukawa silently said. "Would you like to have a potato for dinner?" He asked the child, who beamed at him. "I take that as a yes."

They headed for home.



*

A week passed and Rukawa felt very tired. Every once in a while, Mitsui and Miyagi would drop in and sleep over, taking turns in watching the baby. They saw how tired Rukawa was and they knew the reason. Sometimes, no sometimes was an understatement. Every night, Sakuragi would wail, either hungry or need in change of diaper. He would not let anyone touch him other than Rukawa. So, Miyagi and Mitsui just cleaned the mess that Sakuragi left behind, which was lot. When Rukawa was not looking, they'd snap pictures of the two and sometimes even use a video camera.

Mitsui and Miyagi saw how Rukawa handled the child with utter care afraid of his health, when he neglected his own. In two weeks, Rukawa paled and his weight dropped. He did not even have the strength to run anymore. The child drained his energy like a flame using up oxygen from the atmosphere.

"Are you okay Rukawa?" Miyagi asked in concern. "Maybe you should go see a doctor."

"I'm fine." He mumbled and rubbed his head. He swallowed another aspirin.

"Rukawa, slow down on the aspirins, they're bad for your kidneys. That's the sixth one today, and it's only three in the afternoon." Mitsui said, concerned for his teammate, although they were never really in good terms before. Both team members were surprised that not once did Rukawa complain about Sakuragi, it was as if he loved the boy by his side. "Rukawa, you seem to be talking a lot recently." A glare was shot in his direction. "It - It's not a bad thing. It's great! I mean you, Kaede Rukawa, walking block of ice - oomph!" Miyagi elbowed Mitsui. "I - I guess we're just not used to it."

"You know Rukawa, if you were like this everyday, hell, Sakuragi would probably drop the Kitsune and probably stop even yelling at you." Miyagi said and his words triggered something in Rukawa that he forgot his guard and all emotions showed on his face.

"Can't do anything about that part. He hates my guts." Rukawa whispered, slowly closing his eyes.

Mitsui looked at Rukawa closely. "Rukawa?" He asked softly, the boy looked up. "You like him don't you?"

Rukawa looked at Mitsui, not glaring, just looking. The sudden wail of Sakuragi from his room, waking from his afternoon nap, rang out in the house. Rukawa inhaled and stood up, heading for his room. Mitsui and Miyagi followed him. Sakuragi was dressed in red shorts and a white t-shirt. Hew as rubbing a fist on his left eye, as huge tear drops fell.

"It's okay." Rukawa whispered, holding the boy close to him. The red head pulled away and looked at Rukawa in to the eyes, his cute wide brown eyes looking curious. He slowly touched Rukawa's forehead and frowned.

"I think he's wondering if you're sick." Miyagi said. Rukawa set him on the bed.

"Kayde!" He said, beaming. Rukawa blinked once. Twice. Thrice. "Kayde! Kayde!"

Surprise completely covered his face. "What? What did you say?" Miyagi and Mitsui approached Sakuragi.

"Come again kid?" Mitsui asked.

"Kayde! Kayde! Kayde!" Sakuragi threw his arms about, smiling, his total of seven teeth flashing.

"Kaede!" Miyagi said. "Of course! Did you hear that? He just said you name!" Miyagi said, and his eyes suddenly widened, when he saw Rukawa's lips curve up to a smile. Mitsui fell on his rear when Rukawa began to laugh out loud, scooping Sakuragi in his arms.

"You amaze me, little tike!" Rukawa said, still laughing. Sakuragi began to coo and hugged Rukawa.

"Quick, the camera!" Mitsui frantically whispered to Miyagi who immediately rushed out. "Say it again, Sakuragi!" He said, hoping to keep Rukawa laughing.

"Kayde!" Baby Sakuragi said, now playing with Rukawa's hair. "Kayde! Kayde!"

Rukawa kept on laughing. Inside him, he was just too happy. He did not care anymore that Mitsui and Miyagi were around. He was just happy that Sakuragi said his name. Miyagi snapped a picture of him and Sakuragi laughing together on his bed, Sakuragi's little fists on his thick raven hair.

"Rukawa, you should laugh often." Miyagi said. "You look - well - you look good! Like you're the most happiest person in the world."

"I am the happiest person in the world." He said and smiled when Sakuragi grinned up at him. Miyagi and Mitsui exchanged looks.

"Oh yeah, damn I almost forgot!" Miyagi said, slapping his head. "There's a barbeque tomorrow, and Ayako said that you should come along. We'll all take turns in baby sitting the little guy. Come on Rukawa, besides, I bet Sakuragi will like it too." Miyagi looked at Sakuragi and patted him on the head. "Right? You and Rukawa will come with us to the barbeque, ne?"

"Hai!" Sakuragi said, nodding happily.

"So are you coming?" Mitsui asked. "It's at Ayako's house, since it's the biggest."

Rukawa messed Sakuragi's hair a bit. "Sure. What time?"



*



Everyone was in the backyard, Miyagi and Rukawa playing with Sakuragi using a beach ball, while Mitsui flipped burgers with Ayako. Akagi was mixing up the potato salad, while Kogure was buried in his lap top working on a remedy for Sakuragi.

"Kogure, stop that crap and join the fun!" Miyagi said, tossing him the ball. Sakuragi went after it and ended up latching on to Kogure's jeans.

"Hello Sakuragi-chan!" Kogure greeted, smiling at the boy, who grabbed for his hair. Kogure pulled the boy on to his lap and let him muse with his hair, while he began typing on his lap top a 3d image showing DNA samples on the remedy that he had, telling that if it will reverse Sakuragi's state. Unfortunately, it said 0%. "Oh man!" Kogure said in defeat. "Well, try again."

Miyagi sighed and took Sakuragi away, who was now amazed by his curly locks. "Let's play Sakuragi. Glasses boy is busy making something for you, okay?" The red head nodded as he was set down on the ground. He began to run towards Rukawa, when he suddenly tripped and began to cry. Rukawa bent and picked him up, his contact with the baby silencing him and making him smile again. Rukawa did not smile, but his eyes did.

"Kayde! Kayde!" Sakuragi said, and Rukawa secretly smiled for him, causing the child to laugh and giggle the whole time.

"Come on everyone! Dinner is ready!" Ayako called out.

They alls at on the table, munching on juicy burgers and potato salad. Sakuragi was being fed by everyone, and the baby was enjoying himself. Most of the time, he'd accept food from Rukawa. Otherwise, it would be Mitsui and Miyagi and occasionally from the rest. Rukawa was drinking a can of beer, when his head began to throb. He winced as his hand flew to his head. Miyagi saw this and looked at him with concern. Rukawa just nodded and fed Sakuragi a spoon of potato salad. At the end, there were little talks and jokes were told. Rukawa sat there, Sakuragi on his lap who smiled and clapped his hands all the time. Rukawa, on the other hand, was rather paler than usual. He was so dizzy that it was hard to stay awake.

"I got it!" Kogure suddenly hollered.

"Got what?" Akagi asked.

"There remedy! The remedy that could bring Sakuragi back to normal." Pain immediately flickered on Rukawa's features. Everyone noticed this, especially Kogure. "Rukawa, aren't you happy that he'd be back to normal and no more baby sitting for you?"

Rukawa did not reply. Instead he set Sakuragi on Mitsui's lap. "I don't feel too good. Ayako, can I use your bathroom?"

Ayako was surprised that he admitted how he felt. They all were. "Sure, Rukawa. Come this way." Rukawa followed her. Sakuragi, upon seeing Rukawa disappear began to sniff. Tears began to appear in his eyes and they soon began to fall.

"Oh, don't cry." Miyagi said, smiling. "Rukawa is just going to the bathroom. He'll be back in a while, okay?" But it was pointless. Sakuragi began to wail so loud that it was ear shattering.

In the bathroom, Rukawa heard the baby cry. He closed his eyes, leaing against the walls of the bathroom. I won't have you anymore, Sakuragi. Maybe tonight is the last night I'll be able to hold you and hug you. God, I'll miss you. He looked at his reflection on the mirror and noticed that he was very pale. His hair was like a reflector. He opened the tap and splashed icy cold water on his face. He looked up and noticed that his eyes were red. He then noticed his tears running down his cheeks. He splashed cold water again. I know I can't have you. I have to stop acting like this! I will never have you. But even though, I still love you. Rukawa clenched his hands to a fist. I love you so much that it hurts to loose you. It hurts so much. Rukawa placed a hand on his face. He inhaled sharply then dried his face with the towel hanging on the wall. He then went outside and found everyone circling a wailing baby trying frantically to calm him down.

At the sight of Rukawa Sakuragi reached his hands out, still crying. Rukawa bent and picked him up, the baby soon stopped crying and began to suck on a fist. A few minutes later, he was asleep on Rukawa's shoulder, fist in his mouth.

"I better go." He said, nodding at everyone. "Thank you Ayako." He said.

"Anytime!" Ayako said, and then he turned, heading for the gate.

"Rukawa!" Miyagi ran after him. "Are you okay? Would you like me to accompany you home? You look so tired."

"Will you?" Rukawa asked. Miyagi nodded, went to get his jacket and then appeared next to Rukawa. They both walked in silence.

Rukawa nearly fainted half way. Two weeks straight without sleep was finally getting to him. He couldn't take it. Everything he looked at blurred, his head throbbed badly with pain, his bones were sore and worst of all, he was not thinking straight. Luckily Miyagi was with him. He'd be damned if he fainted and Sakuragi was with him. He'll die if anything happens to Sakuragi. Once inside his hous,e Miyagi slowly closed the door. Rukawa did not mind if Miyagi or Mitsui spent the night in his house. Miyagi was about to stay in his house, when he got a call from Kogure, asking him to run to the nearest chemical pharmacist and get some chemical that Miyagi did not understand.

"He's whipping up the remedy." Miyagi said, studying Rukawa. "You're disappointed aren't you?"

Rukawa looked at him and slightly nodded. "I suppose so."

"Don't worry, Rukawa. I'm sure he'll remember everything when he gets back to normal." Miyagi said, trying to cheer the bothered boy. "We shall soon see ne?" He waved and left the house. Rukawa sat on the couch where he had placed Sakuragi just a few minutes ago. He closed his eyes, and was about to get his sleep when the doorbell rang. He opened his eyes and stood up to answer the door. Kogure, Mitsui and Miyagi were all standing there.

"Here we are!" Kogure said, flashing him a test tube with a yellow substance. Only then did Rukawa notice that it had taken him an hour to actually get his eyes to close. "We'll have to inject him with it."

"Oh." Rukawa said and walked in to the living room. He picked up Sakuragi in his arms, who was still sleeping. "Where?"

"His arm is fine." Kogure said, filling a syringe with a needle that freaked the living hell out of Miyagi and Mitsui. "Come on you guys." Kogure said, rubbing alcohol on Sakuragi's arm. This woke him up, yet he smiled when he saw Rukawa. "Here goes." Kogure slowly injected Sakuragi. Two seconds after the needle had probed his skin, Sakuragi wailed louder than the fireman's truck. He began to cry that he wasn't even breathing. Mitsui and Miyagi, out of fear began to fan him frantically on the face. Rukawa showed plain fear on his face. He never really liked it when little Sakuragi got hurt. But he really had no choice. The remedy had to be injected. It wasn't Kogure's fault either.

Sakuragi slowly began to calm down, once Rukawa had both his arms around him, holding him protectively from the world around him. If only the real Sakuragi would let Rukawa hold him the way he was now, Rukawa would probably have a smile plastered on his face like Ryonan's ace, Akira Sendo. But that was just a thought that existed in his fantasy world. None of them were real and never will be. That was the thing that shattered Rukawa the most.

Rukawa suddenly felt Sakuragi get heavier. His eyes widened incredulously when Sakuragi, in a blink of an eye, grew back to his original size. Rukawa was holding him by the waist, and his blue eyes met almond shaped brown ones. The eyes that he dreamt of looking in to, the face that he longed to feel under his touch, the lips he longed to kiss, the body that he lusted for, most of all the heart that he longed to hear only beats for him.

Rukawa did not know what hit him. Suddenly he was on the floor, blood oozing down his lips and nose. "What the hell are you doing to me, Kitsune?" Sakuragi demanded, anger flashing in his eyes. Miyagi and Mitsui were holding him back, and he was naked too.

"Rukawa, are you okay?" Kogure asked, kneeling next to the bleeding boy.

"I'm fine." Rukawa whispered. He slowly stood up and wiped the blood off his nose and lips and left the living room. He entered his room and slowly closed the door, his world now nothing but a handful of shattered hopes and wishes. Rukawa took a towel and wiped the blood off, not caring about his now cut lip and probably even broken nose cartridge. He just lay in his bed, closing his eyes, blocking reality. He knew it was useless, because the pain was there, in his heart. It was Sunday and he had school tomorrow. He needs rest, but his hurt feelings made it hard for him to even get one of the necessities needed by a living person.

He cried himself to sleep, ignoring the knocking on his door and Kogure's concerned voice.



*



Rukawa did appear in school the next day, but preferred to walk rather than use his bicycle. For once, he stayed up in class, pain in his eyes, but face emotionless. Teachers were amazed that he did not fall asleep in class. He did pay attention, for once since the day he stepped in to school. Though he found everything boring, he remembered most of them.

At practice, the shattered remaining of his world was crushed even more to finer dust. He received such a cold and evil look from Sakuragi that he could have sworn that he was about to break down in front of everyone. But he didn't. He pretended that it was normal to be back and ignored everybody, changing in to his practice jersey and shorts and began to do some warm ups.

"I am the tensai! I am the tensai!" Sakuragi hollered. "The team needs me! And only me to become number one in Japan." He began to laugh his proud laugh, and Rukawa kept his back to him afraid that he might slip and show emotions to him. That's that last thing he'd do at the moment. He began to shoot some lay ups. Gradually, his stamina betrayed him. He grew tired after running about for about only five minutes. His head began to throb again.

"Rukawa? Are you okay?" Kogure asked, very concerned. Mitsui and Miyagi had told him everything. They even showed him the picture they took of Rukawa laughing his heart out with Sakuragi when he said Kayde.

"Yeah." He lied. He desperately wanted to say, No I'm not okay. The person I love hates me and there he is acting as if nothing happened at all! I'm not okay! I'll never be, because I love him! And he does not love me and never will!

"You know, you can go home and rest if you want too." Kogure said, patting him on the back and then returned to Akagi. Practice began as normal, Rukawa staying out of Sakuragi's way. Normally, he would mutter his famous do'aho. But he did not, not once that day in fact. To make it even clearer to the world that he was not fine, he played lousy. He missed nearly every shot he was given and even tripped, nearly loosing his jaw when he fell hard. This was definitely not his day.

"Hey, Rukawa, will you join us for dinner?" Mitsui asked. "Come on. Please?"

Rukawa nodded. "Sure." He mumbled and headed for the shower. He stood there, under the hot water, his skin already red from all the heat. He hoped that it would wash away his troubles, but it only brought more memories of him and little Sakuragi, and it hurt. He left the shower and changed to comfortable jeans and t-shirt. He joined the group as they went to a Italian restaurant for buffet. He did not really eat much, and most of the time, he toyed with his food, remembering how he used to feed Sakuragi, their baths together and when he tucked him to bed. He did not even hear Miyagi calling his name until someone kicked him on the foot. It turned out to be Sakuragi.

"Don't be rude kitsune! Can't you see that Miyagi has been trying to talk to you for the past five minutes?" He was angry and it flashed in his eyes.

"Sorry." Rukawa mumbled and turned to Miyagi. "What were you asking?"

"Never mind Rukawa." Miyagi said. "I got the answer I wanted."

Rukawa did not know what he meant. He shrugged and began to play again with his plate of lasagna. When it was time to leave, Rukawa was the last to leave. They were about to cross the street, Sakuragi now standing in the middle. Rukawa saw it all, the sports car coming. He dashed forward, pushing Sakuragi out of the way with all his strength. The last thing he remembered was the loud honking and screeching of rubber tires on the black road.



*



He opened his eyes, which felt like lead. He looked at a familiar ceiling, and he blinked. "Where am I?" He whispered hoarsely and tried to sit up. He moaned when pain attacked him all directions. He fell back on the bed and closed his eyes. When he opened them again, he saw familiar Michael Jordan posters and Allen Iverson posters. "My room." He mumbled and rubbed his head. A bandage was there. He was shirtless and there was a bandage on his entire torso.

The door opened and in stepped Mitsui. "Oh you're awake!" He gasped and quickly called Kogure.

"My god Rukawa!" Kogure said, taking his temperature, acting like the mother hen that he was. "We were all worried! What were you thinking?"

Rukawa suddenly remembered. "Sakuragi! Is - Is he okay?"

"He's fine." Kogure said, sighing and pulling a chair. "He's perfectly fine, thanks to you." Mitsui nodded at Kogure's words. "But you're fine too. No broken limbs. Just three broken ribs and a gash on the head and couple of bruises. Your ribs are healing fine. Just one more broken one. You've been out for three weeks."

"Three weeks?" Rukawa nearly shouted, but ended up coming out as a loud shocked whisper.

"Yup! Three weeks. You heard right." Mitsui said, nodding. "Most of your bruises are gone now. It's just the stitches on your head and that broken rib of yours that needs concentrating on healing."

"We got you out of the hospital and brought you home since the hospital was a bit uncomfortable, you can say." Kogure nodded. "Did I tell you that half the school sent you get well cards? Mainly the female population."

Rukawa smirked. He inhaled and suddenly winced. His side hurt, and it was definitely his broken rib. "When am I going to get better?"

"It's up to you." Mitsui said. "No playing for about one more week."

Rukawa felt like hell a week later. Every move he made with his right arm made his entire right side throb with pain that it was unbearable. The bandage on his head was already gone. Kogure told him that he had to eat, or he'll stuff food down his throat. Rukawa did his best, but ended being threatened by Mitsui and Miyagi later on. After eating as much as he can, he ended up throwing up. That made his whole side ache even more. But the pain was not as remorse as the pain his heart felt. Not once did Sakuragi come to visit him, or even a get well card, or a phone call.

"I'm expecting too much." He whispered and closed his eyes as he lay on his bed. "I'm expecting way too much. Dream on Kaede." He sarcastically told himself. He fell asleep.



*



Sakuragi inhaled sharply as he pressed the doorbell to Rukawa's house. Hurried footsteps were heard. The door was opened by Mitsui, who blinked real fast at the sight of him.

"Let me in, Missy!" He said. Mitsui twisted his lips in annoyance and let the loud red head in. "Where is kitsune?"

"Upstairs, sleeping." Mitsui said, and pointed at the staircase. "You can go and take a peek if you want too." Mitsui then headed for the kitchen where he and Kogure were having a talk.

Sakuragi padded up the stairs and stopped in front of Rukawa's door. Miyagi told him. He told him everything and the whole time, Sakuragi's jaw hang open wide. He saw the pictures and the video that Miyagi and Mitsui took turns in shooting. But what he found most beautiful was the picture of himself, a little kid and Rukawa laughing. He loved that picture on first sight and quickly regretted punching Rukawa. It must've hurt a lot. He had to apologize and thank him as well. He opened the door, and peeked in to the semi darkness. The lamp was still on, and there he was the 'ice prince', fast asleep on his bed. Sakuragi walked in, slowly closing the door behind him. He sat on the chair next to the bed and studied the sleeping boy's features.

He was handsome. His black hair was every where, his eyes shut, long lashes radiating beauty. His finely chiseled nose and soft looking gentle lips that was always set in a line now looked like it belonged to an angel. He was perfect, lying still, with no shirt, bandages visible. Bandages that he now wore, in an attempt to save him from getting hurt. He was guilty. Oh yes, very guilty. He had clashed in to a post when Rukawa was hit by that running vehicle. He saw him, how he lay on the road, blood spreading. Fear had choked him then, and he felt like crying. Yes, he cried when he reached his house, but those were silent tears. After Miyagi had relayed the events of him being a toddler, god he didn't even know that he could cry that much. Never would he have thought that the walking block of ice would ever attempt to save his life. Now here he was, in front of him, asleep, in great pain that the tiniest movement caused him to wince. He had not seen him in school or after the accident for three weeks straight. He was to guilty, way too afraid to even step in to his front lawn.

"Rukawa." He slowly whispered, wanting to touch his face. In his mind was Rukawa's laughing face portrayed. "You smiled and laughed for me. Me, the do'aho as you say." He slowly touched his forehead, brushing away the raven locks, giving him a clearer view of his face. Rukawa stirred and Sakuragi quickly pulled his hand back. He watched as the long eyelashes fluttered open, and clear mysterious deep blue eyes can now be seen. They were mystifying and beautiful, now that the red head saw it up close, and not behind long black fringes.

Sakuragi watched as Rukawa slowly turned his head to his direction. Upon seeing him, he blinked. He blinked again then he attempted to bolt upright, but ended up wincing and moaning, as he clutched his right side.

"Don't do that." Sakuragi pushed him back in bed. "You're still not well." His voice wasn't fiery like his hair, it was soft, mild and most of all guilty.

"What are you doing here?" Rukawa asked, in his old cold exterior.

"Have I no right to visit you? After you nearly got yourself killed just because of me? You're very dense, kitsune." Sakuragi said. He looked closely at Rukawa. Was his lips curving upwards? Nah! I'm just seeing things.

"Whatever." He said, and closed his eyes. He came. He actually came to see me! Oh god! This is a dream! Rukawa was trying very hard to stop himself from smiling.

"Rukawa?" Sakuragi asked, he opened his eyes to look at him, slowly turning his head. Rukawa braced himself for great pain as he began to sit up in bed. "What the hell are you doing?" Sakuragi quickly got up and helped him sit up, so now he was leaning against the headboard of his bed. Silence filled the room. Once again, Sakuragi began to talk. "Miyagi told me. He told me everything." Rukawa looked at him and then looked away. "Thank you, Rukawa. I really mean it. I must have been a real pain, huh?" Rukawa said nothing, only shrugged. Sakuragi sat on the bed opposite him, causing Rukawa to look up at him with a bewildered expression. "You smiled and laughed for me. Will you smile for me again?" Rukawa found him inching closer to him, his hands around his neck, sometimes running through his hair. "Smile for me Rukawa."

Sakuragi's lips lightly touched Rukawa's. Rukawa's heart leapt. He did not know what to do. The boy of his dreams was in front of him kissing him. Sakuragi's lips were warm, soft and sweet, that flavor that can only be labeled as Hanamichi Sakuragi. The soft chaste kiss turned in to a slightly fiercer one. Rukawa sat there motionless. Once his mind finally clicked, he opened his mouth to give Sakuragi entrance. His warm tongue danced in his mouth, causing Rukawa to shiver. Sakuragi moved closer, his chest now touching Rukawa's and continued to kiss him. Rukawa wrapped his left arm around Sakuragi's torso, feeling his warmth. His right hand lay simply on Sakuragi's side, since it hurts to actually hurts to move it a lot. Sakuragi slowly pulled back, staring in to the pools of blue depths. Rukawa looked in to his delicious chocolate brown eyes, searching for regret and perhaps even love. He saw no regret, but neither did he see love.

"I never said it out, Rukawa." Sakuragi said, his hand on his cheek. "I guess I was just afraid to admit it, even to myself." Rukawa finally saw love in his eyes. "I love you. I love you Kaede." Rukawa's lips was slightly open. The magic words were said, and he called him Kaede. Rukawa's eyes softened and his lips slowly curved upwards to a smile. Sakuragi stared at the smile, lusting.

"I love you Hanamichi. I always have, ever since I first met you." Rukawa finally said, and it felt as if a weight was finally lifted off his chest. Rukawa's smile still had the mystifying effect on Sakuragi, that he was blushing.

"Kaede. My kitsune!" Sakuragi said and hugged him. "God! You're so beautiful when you smile."

"My smile is only for you." Rukawa said, closing his eyes. "Only for you."

Sakuragi kissed him again, Rukawa did not complain. Now he has someone. Now he finally found love, and with the boy of his dream. All his loneliness were finally chucked out the window. Rukawa finally knew true happiness.