Disclaimer:Standard disclaimer applies! I don't own Slam Dunk, Dr. T does.
Ohayo! Sorry if this is a little late but it's better late than never, right? Anyway, I know that not so many like Akagi but try to read it okay?!?
Happy Birthday Gori!
Akagi blinked his eyes as he tried to get accustomed to the morning sunshine shining through the big window on his well-kept dorm room. He decided to lie in bed for a few more minutes before getting up to get ready for today's classes. He traveled his eyes to the ceiling as a look of remembrance flashed through his face. I wonder…, the gorilla-looking college student mused to himself.
Today, the 10th of May, is the former basketball team captain's birthday. On his mind was a picture of what happened exactly a year ago…
* * * FLASHBACK * * *
Everyone was busy doing some preparations for the basketball team's captain's surprise birthday party when they heard the shrill sound of the whistle echo throughout the Shohoku High School Gymnasium. Everyone dropped what they were doing and gathered around a brown-eyed girl with curly brown locks that is neatly tied in a ponytail. She clapped her hands to get everyone's attention. When she was sure that she has everyone's attention, she cleared her throat and started reminding everyone what to do.
"Uh-huhm," she cleared her throat. "So, guys," she roamed her eyes toward the crowd and saw Haruko, the captain's sister and the only girl beside herself in the whole of the gymnasium, "And girl," she added giving a wink in Haruko's direction. "This is a run-down of what's going to happening. In ten minutes time," she glanced at her watch, "Anzai-sensei who graciously let us have this party and miss practice, will knock three times on the door with our birthday boy, Akagi-sempai. I will open the door while all of you are standing behind me, then we will greet the captain. Any questions?" she finished.
"Where are we supposed to hang the birthday banner, Ayako-san?" Kuwata, one of the freshmen asked the girl who just finished giving them a run-down.
"Nani?! You haven't put the banner?!?" an incredulous Ayako growled. She took out her famous paper fan and hit the three freshmen, including Kuwata, who were supposedly responsible for hanging the banner.
"Itai!" they moaned while they clutched the growing bumps on their head.
"Don't worry Aya-chan!" a guy that looks like a mushroom rushed to Ayako's side. "I'll make sure they get this done before Governor and Anzai-sensei arrives," he continued sweetly, his eyes turning into hearts.
"Thanks, Ryota. The banner should be hung over there," Ayako cried thankfully as she pointed towards the wall facing the door where the table with food is located.
Ryota, true to his word, managed the hanging of the banner with the help of the three other freshmen. The others, on the other hand, tried to settle everything on the last ten minutes before the birthday celebrant and their joyful coach arrives. However, the last ten minutes didn't run smoothly because of a certain self-proclaimed 'Tensai' and a fox-eyed boy much to the dismay of Ayako, the team manager and the rest of the basketball team.
"Rukawa-kun, ano," Haruko called in a soft-voice to her long-time crush who was standing beside her, leaning on the wall with his arms crossed across his chest. Unknown to her, Rukawa is… well, sleeping. "I was wondering if you could help me bring these sodas over there near the table," the brown-eyed girl who recently had a new haircut done trailed her eyes towards the heavy box of sodas as she waited for Rukawa to help her. However, since Rukawa is asleep, he didn't (of course) hear her and just remained in his sleeping position, without even so much as a flinch.
Sakuragi, who was at the other end of the gym and happens to have a long-time crush on Haruko, noticed what was happening. Anger and resentment filled his whole body as he saw that Rukawa didn't even wake up to help Haruko. He rushed over to the other side of the gym, to where Haruko and Rukawa are standing and called out in a loud voice, "Oi, Kitsune! Wake up! Didn't you hear that Haruko wanted your help?!?"
Haruko, by then, realized that Rukawa's sleeping. "Sakuragi-kun, don't bother. You can help me anyway, come on." However, even Sakuragi is not paying any attention to the brown-haired girl. He grabbed Rukawa by the collar and shook him hard and yelled at him, "WAKE UP!!!"
Now, Rukawa Kaede has a reputation to be a very cranky person when woken up by anyone. A very cranky person. His teachers know this so well that even if he sleeps in class, they have given up hope in waking him up for fear of being hit by his large fists or being knocked out by a chair or worse, a desk thrown their way because they just happen to wake him up.
Rukawa stirred in his sleep. Slightly opening his eyes, he came face-to-face with a redhead who is equally red in the face because of anger. He then noticed that the redhead is holding him by the collar. Still not his fully conscious self, he did as he was told by his instincts and slammed his fist into Sakuragi's face.
Sakuragi doubled-over from the impact of Rukawa's fist and had to let go of Rukawa. "Itai!" he cried as he rubbed his face. A wave of anger again coursed throughout his body.
Meanwhile, Rukawa, shook himself to full consciousness. He cast his eyes to the whole gym and his gaze landed on a certain redhead seating on the floor rubbing his face. Never knowing that he was the reason the redhead was sitting there on the floor, in a very awkward position he muttered, "Do'aho."
Sakuragi, recovering from the shock heard what Rukawa's snide remark and stood up. He positioned himself to hit Rukawa. All the time that this was happening, Haruko was watching the two helplessly. She was about to call the others' attention when something stopped her.
KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!
Everyone froze in his or her position, the gym became quiet that you could hear a pin drop if anyone had a pin in hand. Even, Sakuragi who was about to aim one at Rukawa stopped in midair. All of them were doing last minute preparations that they forgot that the ten minutes were almost up. All of them rushed towards the door where the knock was coming from, remembering exactly what Ayako told them a few minutes ago.
Ayako composed herself. Then walked steadily to the door, the other team members waiting behind her holding their breaths for the surprise.
Akagi walked silently behind Anzai-sensei. The two had just finished talking matters about the team and they are now on the way to the gym. He chuckled within himself as he remembers what they talked about in Anzai-sensei's office awhile ago.
Sensei is right.
I can't imagine that Sakuragi was only a beginner when we first started out and now he is one of the top players of our team. His jumping ability and rebound-catching ability is that of the national level, even if I do say so myself. Rukawa, on the other hand, meanwhile was the one that we wanted all along. He has the skill and the ability. He may become an ace soon enough.
Too bad that the two freshmen starting members in my team, who happens to be good in their own right are not getting along. They would have made a good combination…
Akagi was stopped from his musing when he heard Anzai-sensei knocking on the gym's door. He hadn't realized that they had arrived at the gym but he did realize that it was weirdly quiet inside the gym. He couldn't hear the sound of balls bouncing, the sound of shoes squeaking on the floor and shouts of team members trying to get their team members to pass them the ball.
Why, those, Bakas!,he thought, his anger starting to rise. When I find them slacking off, why I oughta… However his unspoken threat was left unfinished for what he heard when the gym's door open made his jaw drop.
"HAPPY BIRTHDAY CAPTAIN!"
From in front of him, he could hear the soft signature laugh of their coach, "Ohohohoho…" as he looked around the gym from the birthday decorations to the wide variety of food in the table in amazement.
* * * END OF FLASHBACK * * *
His laughter filled the otherwise empty room as he remembered all that had happened last year on his birthday. With that, Akagi roused himself from bed and started to get ready for today's classes. First he brushed his teeth and took a shower. He changed into fresh clothes, denim pants topped with a white tight fitting shirt and over that a blue polo shirt which he kept unbuttoned. The last to be done was to put his shoes on and as he was doing so, his mind wandered off again to the good old high school days.
Harumph… This would be the first birthday I've spent alone andit won't be the same… Before when the I didn't have the team, at least I have my family but now my family is so far and I can't even be with them today because of my classes. … I have to admit it, I do wish that it was just like last year when they gave me a surprise birthday party. Having your birthday party alone is a very pathetic thing to do but which I have to. Seems I miss those Bakas in Shohoku after all…
As he finished putting his shoes, he got up and made his way to the door. He planned to eat his birthday breakfast in Croissants, a famous restaurant in campus. He posed to turn the knob to open the door when…
Akagi turned around to find out where the sound came from. It was from his laptop, which he had left on and connected to the Internet because he was waiting (hopefully) for e-cards from his friends and family. He glanced at his watch. He decided to skip breakfast to read his emails. Besides classes start at 12:00 anyway and it's only 8:00.
The giant-like college student strode over to his desk and sat down in front of the computer. What he saw made him smile. He received three mails. He opened the first one, which was from Haruko.
Well, for starters, Happy Birthday!
How does it feel to be eighteen? Now that you're of legal age, a lot will be different, ne? I overheard Okasan and Otousan talking a few nights ago, and no, I didn't eavesdrop on them, they said that their birthday gift to you will make your jaw drop. I wonder what is it. They didn't tell me, though. They were afraid that I would blurt it out to you and spoil the surprise. Well… You know I ha;ve my moments! LOL! Anyway, I hope you that whatever their birthday gift is to you, it will surely make your jaw drop.
The three of us by the way are going to celebrate your birthday! Hahaha! Won't that be funny celebrating your birthday without you? Mom said that it would be as if you're with us. We're going to have cake and ice cream! Plus of course, the traditional noodles for long life.
Well, I'll have to cut this short. We'll call you tonight, okay?!?
Akagi smiled at his sister's email. He can't wait for their call later in the evening. That call would relieve him from the unhappiness of celebrating his birthday alone and it would give him a sense of being home while the truth is, he is miles away from them.
Next, he opened the mail, which surprisingly came from Kogure. He and Kogure have parted ways for Kogure went to a college in Tokyo to get better medical education. He missed the bespectacled boy very much however, they still keep in touch nonetheless after all they were best friends from junior high to high school. The email read…
Happy Birthday! May you have more birthdays to come! Sorry, I couldn't be there to celebrate it with you but I'll be here in Tokyo praying that you have the most wonderful time on the day you become a legal adult.
Your Best Friend Forever,
The giant sighed as he read Kogure's email. He was very touched that Kogure even emailed him. Being a medical student, requires a lot of hours dedicated to studying that he was delighted that Kogure found the time to mail him a birthday greeting.
The last email that he received was a greeting card, which had a link that leads to the greeting card. When at last, the page of the card finished loading, he couldn't believe his eyes and he started laughing his head-off.
On the left side of card was a picture of a gorilla with a birthday cap on top of its head. The gorilla was holding a bunch of bananas. On the right side of the card was a beautiful picture of a chocolate cake. To top it all off, on top of the card were the words "Happy Birthday!".
He traveled his eyes to the dedication to find out who sent the card and it surprised him even more. The card read, "Happy Birthday Gori! From, Your Shohoku Basketball Family!". Below the greeting were these signatures:
Akagi grinned at the card in front of him. Suddenly he heard a knock on the door. He sighed as he teared his eyes away from the monitor and got up to open the door.
Yet another surprise greeted him because the persons he saw when he opened the door were Mitsui and Uozumi. The three had gone to the same college but barely hung out together because Akagi and Mitsui are busy with classes and basketball and Uozumi, with classes and cooking in his father's restaurant.
"Happy Birthday, Akagi!" the two greeted.
"Why! I didn't know that you were coming here!" a surprised Akagi cried out.
"Baka! Do you think we were going to let you celebrate your birthday alone?" Mitsui teased.
"Thanks," Akagi replied biting his lip to keep the tears from flowing out. He expected to spend his birthday alone and yet, here are two of his friends celebrating it with him.
"By the way, your landlord told us to give you this," Uozumi interrupted as he handed Akagi an envelope.
The birthday boy took the envelope and ripped it open. A bunch of keys came out of the envelope and a picture of a brand new Honda Civic. He flipped the picture and saw these words, "This is waiting for you outside the dorm. Love Always, Mom and Dad."
Haruko was right, it did make his jaw drop.
~ OWARI ~