Title: There She Goes

Summary: One day, she'll just stop running. And he'll keep up by then.

Genre: T (for language)


"Well that's," Takako said, shrugging, "two for me and none for you." Casually, she walked over to the counter, leaving her notebook and pen on top. Opening the cap of her water bottle, she eyed the other person on the base with her. "Water?"

Her efforts had gone unnoticed. "And here I am being nice," Takako mumbled, walking back to the seat beside that other person who was at the moment, subtly sulking.

At her presence, the other person asked without looking. "Did you come to gloat?"

"Nuh-uh," she said. "I was just offering water. See?" She held her water bottle to his face.

"Gee thanks. What's next, bandages for my bruised ego?"

She laughed half-heartedly, batting her lashes as she spoke. "It would take a lot to bruise that ego of yours though, Mimura."

It was his turn to shrug. "Well if you do it each and every year, you'd eventually succeed." He stood up, offering a hand. "Congratulations, Captain Chigusa? Again."

Normally, Takako would not have cared for people feeling bad especially if it did not involve her in any way or form. But as she stared at his slumped form walking away, she couldn't help it. Hey, it was not her fault that his team sucked. Actually, every boy in Class B sucked, with the exception of Hiroki. Nothing could really be expected from a team full of bunch losers.

It was different with their captain though, which Takako wouldn't even admit at gunpoint. Mimura might be everything else, but he definitely was not a loser in her book. For the two years they had been captaining the boys and girls team during their class sports fest, he definitely shown her how competitive of a captain he was. He was a good sport, and a good leader (what do you expect from the captain of the basketball of the varsity team, although he could use a little humility). Not only that, his persistence was really admirable. Probably the best thing about him that she lik—

"Oi Mimura!"

He turned around at the mention of his name. It was obvious to anybody that he was disappointed to say the least, seeing that in all of their high school, Takako and the girls team always managed to beat them at sports fest; incredulous, but true. He gave her a look. "What?"

She hated feeling bad, she hated being nice. That just was not her thing. But honestly it was too late for her to reconsider her actions. After all, she would just like to let him know that it wasn't his fault his team sucked.

Or maybe you know, however this thing goes, she might just prove it otherwise.

Or whatever.

His persistence was, to say the least, admirable.


a.

It started off with the little things. He would tell her that he would beat her into going to school first. She thought it was silly; he never really paid so much attention to school, much more about school rules and tardiness.

But when he came off running towards her one school morning in an effort to try to arrive a second earlier than she was at the classroom, she had the idea he might be serious about this after all.

Her left food had landed right at the door, just before his did. It was clear to both of them. "You missed me by a half-second."

At his panting, he only managed to put on an annoyed face. She went right inside casually. "Good try."

b.

Then at breaks Shinji would ask her for a game of chess, or a game of scrabble. She would still manage to beat him. She wasn't entirely sure how she did it so casually too and most of the time effortless on her part. But what she could not possibly forget was that tic-tac-toe game during the middle of class.

"Taka, maybe you just want to exchange seats with me just for this class?"

"Pssh, Satomi," Takako said dismissively. "Just one more?"

Satomi had been going on back and forth with a piece of paper in her hand that Algebra class. A frantic and eager hand at her left caught the paper she was trying to subtly pass, but the three of them, Shinji, Takako and their poor accomplice, could only rely on their luck for long.

"Care to show the class what you three are fussing on about?"

Takako gave Shinji a weary look. "Uh, no sir, Mimura was just asking me something."

"You can't do it after class?"

Kitano-sensei turned back to his lecture. As he proceeded to write on the board, and before Takako could pick up her pen again, Satomi had passed her another note.

There was another set of nine boxes with an 'X' mark on the middle. He was at it again.

Gently, she scribbled an 'O' next to it. She smiled. Things were so much better when you run the risk of being caught.

Things were so much better when you run the risk of being caught with one of your silliest friends.

c.

Sometimes after classes, she would casually join his friends (she'd be Hiroki's tag along) over a bowl of ramen and a bottle of sake.

"On three," said Takako eagerly, "One, two, three!"

It was the most unladylike thing she had to do ever in her life, but she had a bargain to protect. She hurriedly gobbled over the bowl of noodles, and thanked the gods that she was not able to eat lunch that day. Shinji was not exactly his most presentable ever, he reminded her of a good little boy who ate all of his noodles so that he could play.

"Done!" Takako said triumphantly, swallowing the last of her noodles before starting on a laughing fit. At the sight of her all done and full, Shinji slowly dropped his own bowl, his mouth still full.

He did remind her of a little boy. At the sight of his obviously disappointed face, noodles still in his mouth, her laughter became full, like a sing-song voice.

He was not pleased; he made her want to take care of him.

Shinji dropped his chop sticks and as casually as he could, he leaned over her and caught a drop of noodle soup at the side of her lips. In an instant, she pulled away.

"Sorry," he said in a low-voice, smiling. "I used to do it to my little sister."

She was not pleased.

She wanted him to take care of her.

d.

"You look pleased," Takako remarked. "Even with that bags under your eyes."

"Ah well, you can't ace an exam without putting some extra effort, wink wink," he replied, pride obvious in his voice. His once joined hands at his back finally showed her what the surprise really was: his test paper.

"Impressive."

Shinji grinned at her. "What you got?"

At the excitement of his voice, she almost did not want to hand in her paper. She did anyway. He looked at it; she looked at the slow fading of the confident smile in his face.

"Hmm." He handed her back the paper. They fell into a silence for a while. Takako bit her lip in almost-guilt. If before she was beginning to enjoy their little battles and wars, now she wondered if she might have bruised him more than she intended, and she did not intended to do so at all.

Shinji straightened up and offered her a small smile. She caught the sleeve of his uniform as he turned to leave.

"It would have been so much better if you just said no."

There weren't any sounds in the locker room when he left, apart from that feather light drop of her heart on the floor.

e.

"Let's run in the oval."

Shinji looked at her like she was out of her mind. "What the fuck?"

"Let's run," she suggested, decidedly. "You wouldn't know if you could beat me if you wouldn't try."

Her persistence was, to say the least, admirable.

"Okay okay, I get it—"

"No you don't," Takako corrected right away. "Shut up. Are you a loser?"

"No!"

"Then prove it! True winners don't have to keep on winning; they just don't give up—"

"Ara, ara, on three. I will soak my pride and my bruised ego over beer so let's get this over and done with," Shinji said determinedly, sporting his best game face on. Takako wondered if how much of him was doing it for his sake, rather than her own.

On the count, she sprinted as fast as she could; only glancing once to see how her comrade was doing. The oval was not much for an endurance exercise, or for a mini-running competition. As she had predicted, she had finished her two laps when Shinji was only quarter through his first.

There were a few meters between her and the ribbon on the finish line. An arm length away and she could touch it.

Instead, she waited.

His persistence was, to say the least, admirable—more than admirable. From pestering her at the beginning, to drowning her in his sincerity, to wiping off that noodle soup right from her lips, to making her wait—now she really hated feeling bad, she hated feeling being nice.

She took a step backward to seal a closer distance, farther away from the finish and closer back to him. She knew he was on his second lap now, even halfway, and he was getting there.

So she waited.

Her persistence…

"Whash, wha," he started. His footsteps were heavy behind her and when she turned to look and face him, he was only a few inches away from where she was standing.

He stopped fully to catch his breath. He was sweaty all over and Takako was just standing there, looking at him. She was waiting. She was waiting for him to catch his eye.

At the beautiful smile on her face, Shinji understood; Shinji finally understood.

"What do I gain from this?"

"Your pride?" She suggested cheekily. "You are never the one to back down to a challenge anyway."

He pondered on the proposition. "I have too much of that already." He took one last look and saluted her, before turning around and continuing on his way to sulk in his defeat.

"I'll go on a date with you."

Shinji looked back to see if she was in any way or form, trying to shit on him but he concluded he must be dreaming with that serious determined look on her face.

"If you win." She walked away.

She had that same serious determined look on her face. If you win.

In a swift motion, he charged into her, his remaining strength leaving his body painfully and slowly, holding her in his arms tight, as tightly as he could, as tightly as he would never want her to leave him when he would never know when she would leave, as his other hand grabbed the ribbon just inches behind her.

If I win, no more walking away this time.

They fell into the side of the oval, atop the soft green grass, both panting and catching their breaths. For a good while, they lay there unmoving, until Shinji felt her arms tighten her hold against him.

"Thank you," she mumbled to his neck, her voice muffled, soft, like a dream. For not giving up.

His persistence was really admirable; probably the best thing about him that she liked.

End.


Song that inspired this fic - My Favorite Dream by Mae

A/N: This is apparently, pusa_is_me/imjuzakyd's favorite BR story (according to her). So I thought I'd upload it because I love her that much… and this is collateral to force her to writing for BR again. Heehee.