Running: Chapter 2

Disclaimer: I do not own Galactik Football and I make no money from this fanfiction.

Aarch didn't even really ask Rocket where he had got off to- he'd only been gone a day and he hadn't missed everything too crucial. Plus, you just got used to him running away after a while. He didn't ask why either, in fact, he barely said anything about the matter.

It seemed like common sense to him but to D'jok it just seemed like favouritism- he never would have gotten away so lightly. As bitter as he might have felt about that, he had more important things to worry about.

Like what he was going to do about Rocket. Rocket had made it very clear that it was over (whatever 'it' was), so he could just go back to Rocket and pretend that nothing had changed.

Strategic thinking never really was his strong point (he'd left that down to Rocket); he knew his usual approach, to affairs of the heart, was blundering at best (and downright insensitive at worst). All he knew was that he was going to have to do something.

Unbidden, the image of himself, using the seduction techniques that Mei had used on him and Micro-ice, entered his mind, making him shudder. That was definitely not the way to go.

Unwilling to do anything at present, he trudged back to his room, hoping to get Rocket out of his mind for now.

'Perhaps it's better if I don't do anything,' he thought to himself, it had been madness that had driven him to take up with Rocket, he should be grateful that it was over, surely?

He was lying on his bed, eyes closed, deep in thought until Micro-ice disturbed him.

"So I heard you got Rocket back; nice going!"

D'jok almost jumped out of his skin- it took him a few horrible seconds to realise that Micro-ice was talking about his getting Rocket back to the Snow Kids- he didn't know anything, how could he know anything? Besides, it's not like it would have been true had he been talking about that.

"Yeah," D'jok replied, unenthusiastically. He just couldn't even summon the energy to be boastful, let alone hyper (as Micro-ice seemed to currently be).

"You aren't regretting it are you? I thought you accepted D'jok our Captain?"

"No, no, of course not. I'm just tired."

It wasn't a complete lie.

The next day at practice Rocket completely ignored him. Well, he sent him enough passes that Aarch didn't complain but he didn't say anything to or about him- not even when he messed up. He spoke to all the others- gave them pointers, words of encouragement, critiques of their technique- but for D'jok there was nothing but stony silence.

In anger, D'jok kicked the ball off the field semi-deliberately, hoping to get a rise out of him at the very least.

He got a comment to stay focused from Aarch but not so much of a disapproving look from Rocket. He just turned away.

It was enough to make D'jok even more determined to get something, anything from him.

Normally his pride would have stopped him from playing poorly on purpose, but he was far too invested in winning this game of theirs to care about practice. Being noticed for the wrong reasons was better than being ignored.

D'jok stole the ball from Rocket whilst he was playing, and ran in the opposite direction.

"What's he doing?" Micro-ice asked, in puzzlement.

He ran past the attackers on the holo-Shadows Team and scored an own-goal against a bewildered and completely unprepared Ahito.

"What the hell are you doing?" Rocket burst out, unable to help himself. The other Snow Kids just stared as Rocket came over to give him a whack on the arm. "What kind of stunt do you think you're pulling?"

"What are you going to do about it?"

"Break it up you two! D'jok, I'll see you after!" Aarch's voice came booming over the speakers.

He thought that hitting teammates was a worse offence than playing purposely badly, it was just another example of where Aarch was biased in Rocket's favour. Still, he thought it was worth it, to see that he could still get under Rocket's skin.

"What did you think you were doing out there? What's going on with you?" Aarch demanded, afterwards.

D'jok just sat there silent, putting a blasé face on.

"D'jok, this is unacceptable!" he bellowed.

"I just had a bad match, it wasn't like it was real," he replied, shrugging.

"I'm not stupid, that wasn't an accident, it was deliberate!"

Again, there was not much D'jok could say.

"You settle your scores off the pitch, okay? I don't want to see that kind of playing again. You're dismissed."

D'jok walked out of Aarch's office with his head held high- he knew what he was doing.

It was only then that it occurred to him that he didn't know what he was going to do next- he gotten Rocket's attention, what was he going to do now that. He considered knocking on Rocket's door but that struck him as weird and oddly formal, so he went back to his room again.

Besides, he still didn't know why he cared so much.

'Because it's a game and I have to win,' he reminded himself, as false as it felt, it was a reason that he could cling to.

He had very little time to collect his thoughts before he was disturbed by a knocking on his door.

He groaned, reluctantly getting up in order to open it. He found Tia standing there. Well this didn't bode well.

"Can I come in?" she asked, in a tone that made it fairly clear what the answer should be.

"Sure…"

He was resigned to his fate.

"You know there are other ways to get his attention?" she said, putting it out there without beating around the bush or tip-toeing around the subject.

"What are you talking about?"

She just gave him a look before carrying on as if he'd never given that pitiful objection.

"I kissed him in front of everyone at the party but I wouldn't really advise that approach either," she said, smiling, thinking fondly back to those days.

D'jok pictured the aghast faces, Rocket's angry response, and decided he agreed with Tia- not that he was ever seriously contemplating it to begin with.

"No, I think not," he said, awkwardly.

He restrained himself from asking Tia what he should do- asking Rocket's ex for advice seemed a little weird, even if she was offering help of her own free will.

"Still, you have to be persistent; it takes time to break through that shell of his."

"Thanks Tia," D'jok said, still feeling slightly uncomfortable in this situation.

"You'll come up with something, now if you'll excuse me; I have date with your roommate!"

Well that explained where Micro-ice had scuttled off to so quickly after practice. It was a weird twist of destiny that Micro-ice (who was perpetually unlucky in love) was having a better romantic life than D'jok right now.

Not that there was anything romantic about him and Rocket, he hastened to remind himself.

Still, he couldn't think of anything worse than just sitting in his room on his own, thinking- he needed to do something. Impulsively, he decided that he was going to go to Rocket's room. He wasn't going to knock, he was just going to barge in, just as he used to. There wasn't exactly much Rocket could do about it.

It was, actually a phenomenally bad idea, but D'jok wasn't thinking about that. He saw the goal- he couldn't not take a shot.

He marched in, without consideration for stealth, or anything really.

Rocket looked up from watching the holo-tv, trying to mask his irritation with a look of dull surprise.

"What do you want?"

D'jok just looked at him- waiting for a better response than that.

"You know, that stunt today was really stupid," Rocket said, his lip curling in revulsion.

"We can't all be such expert tacticians as you," D'jok shot back, the fire of the argument felt good, better than being frozen out completely. It was safe ground, familiar ground.

"I think even a child knows that scoring an old goal is a no-no. What exactly were you trying to prove?"

"Maybe that you don't have such control over the team as you should," he gave the cheap answer rather than the real one. "You're not such a great captain as you think you are."

"Why can't you just leave me alone? Are you really that jealous?"

"I'm not jealous of you!" D'jok shouted, although at times he knew he could be. But that wasn't it, that really wasn't it anymore.

"Go, just, leave me alone."

D'jok was far too stubborn to do that, even if he had contemplated leaving before, he certainly wasn't going to now.

"No, I'm not leaving."

"Do you really want to make me get nasty? Because I thought I'd left all that behind," Rocket snarls, the threat coming far too easily for his latter statement to be true. He got up, as if to take some sort of action.

"Maybe I do," D'jok retorted, childishly, getting right up in Rocket's face. A frission of tension passed between them and Rocket quickly went to turn away.

D'jok grabbed him by the jacket and pulled him back to face him; he wasn't going to let him run away this time. He pushed his lips against Rocket's; kissing him roughly.

Rocket gave in for a minute before pulling away again.

"It's not the same anymore," he said, by way of explanation. Was that fear D'jok could see on his face? It wasn't an expression that he was used seeing from Rocket. Confidence- yes, arrogance- yes, irritation- yes. But fear? Most certainly not.

"Why does it have to be the same? Why can't it be different?"

Rocket actually didn't have an answer to that, so he just repeated his earlier question.

"What do you want?" his teeth were gritted, his hands balled in fists.

"You."

He'd gotten this far, he might as well say it and not back down. It was better to fail gloriously than miserably- that he'd learnt from playing galactik football.

Rocket shook his head. "You can't be serious."

"I am, now man up! Or do I have to get Tia to talk some sense into you?"

"I don't need to take this from you!"

"Well, someone needs call you to account! You can't just get away with everything all the time, it's not healthy."

"Just leave me alone."

For all that he wanted to stand his ground, D'jok knew that he'd taken it far enough, so he did as Rocket asked and left. He could rest easy in the knowledge that he'd done all he could. There was always tomorrow.

Still, the uncertainty gnawed like rats in his stomach. He wished that, for once, he knew how Rocket was going to react.

The next day was a weekend, so they had the day, subsequently, D'jok didn't see Rocket- he wasn't hanging around in the group areas, that was for sure.

He could only hope that Rocket was holed up in his room or that he'd gone out for the day, anything but him having run away yet again. He held off going to see him until later on, waiting was making him restless and cranky, but he figured it was for the best.

So he hung out with Micro-ice, Ahito and Thran, hoping that he was acting normal- he even gave a destiny speech, just for the sake of appearing like his usual self.

Later, he knocked on Rocket's door only to receive no answer- he tried to tell himself if didn't mean anything, that there could be a multitude of reasons why he wasn't there.

But still his mind was jumping to the obvious conclusion.

He was beyond surprised, to come back to his room, to find Rocket sitting on his bed.

"You came here."

Rocket nodded, wryly. "Tia might have talked to me."

"So?"

"Things can go back to the way they were," Rocket conceded.

It wasn't much but it was a start.

Yeah, that's it for this chapter. This might be the end or I might end up adding yet another chapter, I don't really know. Rocket was being extremely uncooperative when I was writing this, so I hope it's okay. Review please!