Well, here you have it. I wrote a Dear Boys story. Actually I'm not that surprised; I figured I would, and I figured it would be Fujiwara x Mutsumi, too. I like that pairing, but I wish the anime would've done more with it....like...I don't know...maybe...a...kiss? :P

This is supposed to be pre-series, so Fujiwara hasn't done the whole punching-out-the-evil-coach thing yet. Also, I've only watched the anime, I haven't read the manga, so if this somehow contradicts what the manga says, I apologize. Not that there's a whole lot in here to contradict, consideringly that it's pretty short and doesn't have much substance...

I'd like to try writing an Aikawa x Mai fic too - I love the "Pony-chan" nickname. :) Not making any promises quite yet, though.

Disclaimer: I don't own Dear Boys/Hoop Days.

Our Best

"It's rude to make a girl wait, Fujiwara-kun."

Mutsumi Akiyoshi strode lightly forward into the gym, folding her arms imposingly and tapping one white stocking-clad foot on the floor as he spun to face her. His thin, elegantly sculpted eyebrows arched upwards in surprise to meet those sweaty tendrils of dark hair dangling over his forehead, his lips opening as he panted slightly.

"Mutsumi…" The ball he'd just thrown fell through the net with that swishing sound she loved better than any other, dropping and rolling, its bounces echoing cleanly around the wide gymnasium. He relaxed. "Ah, sorry."

She smiled easily. "You're forgiven." Another girl might have been hurt at having an orange ball prioritized over her, but not Mutsumi. She understood that ball's pull very well herself, after all, and the fact that he treasured it as much as, if not more than, she did just brought them closer together.

She walked over and scooped up the loose basketball, testing its comfortable weight in her arms. On the days when the boys' basketball team practiced after the girls' did, she liked to hang around and wait for Fujiwara, then walk home with him. She'd sit in the bleachers for a couple of hours, doing her homework (although more often than not that homework didn't get done, since she was too busy watching him). He liked to stay longer than everyone else to take a few, or a few dozen, extra shots, and it was no rarity for him to forget that she was waiting for him, as absorbed as he was in that big world of the court.

"You're practicing harder than ever now," she remarked, smoothing her long brown hair as she approached him, "and that's saying something." She cocked her head, pressing a finger to her chin. "Does someone have aspirations for the captain position next year, I wonder?"

She'd caught him. Fujiwara smiled a little, placing a hand on one lean hip. "Mm. And what about you?"

"Oh, me?" she said, genuinely taken aback. "What about me?"

"You're eligible for captain too," he pointed out. When she looked up at him, wide-eyed, he inquired, "You haven't thought about it?"

"Well…I suppose I have," she confessed, then laughed sheepishly. "All the time, actually. It somehow feels like it'll be the climax of my high school experience, you know – if it happens, that is," she added hastily. She didn't want to seem arrogant, especially in front of a player as good as Fujiwara.

He nodded once, barely hesitating before saying briefly, "It will." In that moment he seemed to embody everything that she liked so much about him all at once – the reassurance that rooted her with confidence, the surety that made her believe in him, the kindness that he always gave her when she least expected it and most wanted it.

She looked down quickly, blushing. "Thanks, Fujiwara-kun. I hope so."

She felt the firm brush of his hand as he clapped her gently on the shoulder. It was a gesture he used frequently to encourage his team mates, and it made her feel as if she was one of them, included in his group of friends and confidantes, the people he trusted most. There was no better feeling than that.

Embarrassed to show him the depth of her emotions, she shook off her tingling pleasure and said playfully, "Well, let's see if you have what it takes to make it to captain yourself. Here, block this!" Immediately she brought the ball up and shot it into the air in a smooth arc, standing up on her toes to let it fly. It curved perfectly and sailed right to the basket. Nothing but net.

Starting, he watched it go, raising an eyebrow exasperatedly and reproaching her with, "You cheated. I wasn't ready."

"Excuses, excuses, Fujiwara-kun," she laughed. "I know you can do better than that!"

But he was already ahead of her, picking up the ball and passing it back to her. "Again," he ordered, falling into a defensive crouch in front of her. His dark eyes narrowed at her challengingly, and she stared defiantly right back at him. It was hard not to be at least a bit intimidated by him in this position – he just took up so much more space than she did, and he had an impossibly wide defensive range – but she let that intimidation seep into her competitive spirit, upping it a few notches.

She dribbled, searching for an opening; she veered to the left and he followed her, keeping her tightly enclosed. He was so close she could hear his every breath, smell him, practically sense his heart beating strongly under his damply glistening skin. She attempted to rush to the right, and she had nearly tasted the freedom of getting past him when suddenly he was right there beside her, his arm snaking around her and neatly snatching the ball. Gasping at his speed, she spun on the spot and sprinted down the court after him, but she knew it was no use – she couldn't keep up with his long legs at all. Even if she could, she hated to admit, it was doubtful if she could actually take back possession from him. She admired him for that.

Without warning, she felt her socks slide on the smooth gym floor and her feet soared out from underneath her. She lost her balance completely, toppling uncoordinatedly forward and landing on her hands and knees, the breath whooshing out of her all in one go. She let out a strangled huff of shock that was abruptly cut short as she looked up to see Fujiwara take off – from her low vantage point, it really did look as if he was nearly flying – his whole body contorting with graceful, explosive energy in midair as he slammed the ball into the net with maximum force, sending reverberations throughout the gym.

Mutsumi could only watch in awe as he landed with a tremendous thud, still seeing that leap in her mind, that unbelievably concentrated power. And it looked so natural on him. He was turning into a great basketball player, and someday he would be a truly amazing one. He would be a great man, too, and he became more man every day, or so it seemed to her. He'd always been fit for a freshman, but lately he'd really filled out, all that muscle straining against his sleeveless shirt, sinewy legs coiling to give him that jump height. Fujiwara was really in his element here, she realized. This was where he was at his best. This was where she loved to see him the most.

He spun so quickly he nearly blurred, alarmed. "Mutsumi! Are you all right?"

She gaped at him in all his glory, breathing hard, hair mussed, eyes alive. "Wh – oh, don't worry, I'm fine. I just slipped." Recovering herself, she sat up, dusting her hands off on her skirt.

He bent down to her level, resting on one knee, giving her a quick once-over. "You sure?"

"Of course," she assured him, rubbing one knee tentatively. "It probably won't even bruise."

He exhaled, pushing hair off his forehead. "Sorry. I didn't notice that you were only wearing socks."

"No, it was my fault." Smiling, she shook her head. "I forgot that there wouldn't be any traction." She leaned back, craning her neck to glance up at the basket. If she squinted, she fancied that she could still make out a faint trembling of the rim, the after-effect of Fujiwara's slam dunk. "Well, I think you just proved that you have what it takes to be captain."

He smiled slightly but denied it. "I need to work harder. It'll take a lot more to prove that." He stood fluidly, offering her a hand up.

She accepted it. "You've got it covered, Fujiwara-kun. I know you can do it, and everyone else knows, too." She squeezed his hand, and after a pause, he squeezed back, warming her with his firm grip. The heat seared through her, and her heart skipped a beat.

He let go of her, but his intensity rose, focusing on her. "Let's do this, Mutsumi. We'll both be captains, you and I."

She balled one hand into a fist and held it up, sealing the vow. "It's a promise."

He bumped her first with his, their knuckles grazing. She showed him her broadest, most sincere smile, and a reflection of all her desires, all her feelings and wishes, seemed to appear in his fierce gaze, and she was so flooded with some unspeakably joyful sensation that she felt as if she'd never lose another game in this life, and if she did, it wouldn't even matter.

He thought she could do it. She knew he could do it.

They'd do it together.

A/N: Reviews are always appreciated. More Dear Boys fanfiction would be appreciated too!