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Afterwards
by Rage
Disclaim! I disclaim!

*

The steady splashing of small waves casts a nearly serene sense of ease over Sendoh. It had been a hard game against another upstart team from a previously no-name district. But Ryonan had won--with a last perfect shot whooshing into the basket from behind the tightest assed defense they'd had the displeasure of playing against. Fukuda ricocheted off the surrounding wall of larger bodies like a bug getting swatted, but still the ball had gone in moments ahead of the buzzer.

Fukuda's not exactly the best player around. As much as he apparently _seems_ to deny it --it's never easy to tell with Fukuda-- he's better than most, but that only placed him as the bottom rung among the top tier.

Not the easiest place to be.

But you wouldn't know it with the way his face is shining as he stands ankle deep in wet sand and white foam.

It's in the way his eyes are a little wider, a little more intense. It's how his mouth isn't quite tilted downwards in the same sullen set of lips it usually is. And it's the way he's standing with his face turned upwards into the wind and rain, like a man who'd thought he was dying...but suddenly...wasn't.

Sendoh slips his hands into his pockets. The rest of the team has left--Uozomo's free sushi is not something you'd turn down. Hell, free food of anything is not something to be turned down.

Sendoh peers off to the side, he can still see the rapidly deteriorating footprints of the others. The sand is already crumbling in on itself from the force of the water falling down from overhead. The wind has gotten louder, stronger, and the rain is heavy enough that he can't quiet see in front of him very clearly. Fukuda, though no more than a few yards ahead, is nothing more than a contrastingly dark and white blot against a stormy grey sky.

Wind in his ears, sand in his eyes, water...everywhere. Why was he standing out here again?

Sendoh takes a few long steps forwards; sushi is waiting. Fukuda, while being perfectly himself, would probably get sick out here and they had a long practice tomorrow. Extra long practice after winning a big game. Coach Taoka was a sadist that way.

He stops short as a strange sound suddenly rips through the air between them, bouncing off the wildly churning water, off the splattering raindrops falling about them, rushing past him in a long drawn out-- Was Fukuda _howling_??

No... It was more like a sort of crowing and...

Sendoh shakes his head and firmly closes the distance between him and Fukuda with the intent to...what? Physically drag him away from the ocean and back with the rest of the team, he supposes.

He pulls himself short when he's about a foot away, just a little off to the left, close enough to reach out and grab his arm, but he doesn't. Fukuda's head is thrown back, teeth a glittering white as the long drawn out _scream_ pours out from his throat. His face is so open, and almost serene. It makes Sendoh want to forget propriety and howl along with him.

Instead, he scuffs his sneakers in the sand and stares down at his sand caked feet. His shoes are soaked, the water seeping past and into his socks, turning his toes into little prunelets. Sendoh seriously doubts that Uozomo's parents would let him enter their nice, clean restaurant in the state he's in. He realizes absently, though without much surprise, that he's actually not very hungry anymore.

Sendoh lifts his head to look at Fukuda again, who's looking back with the slightest upturn at the corner of his mouth. Not quite a smile, but close enough that Sendoh is willing to accept it as such. It makes an indefinable, churning warmth creep around in Sendoh's stomach.

He turns his attention back out to sea. Lets the incoming tide sweep over the top of his sneakers. The rain is slowing to a drizzle already. It's typical of the warm, spring showers that let fall like an overturned bucket, but dries just as quickly. Water, Sendoh decides after a moment, has no business getting into underwear.

Pause for a long instant. And.

"So how about sushi, Wolfboy?" Sendoh tries his megawatt smile onto Fukuda, knowing full well that it would probably just irritate him.

Fukuda twists his head around and doesn't say a thing--his face is blank, eyes blank--nothing new. He smiles suddenly, teeth baring bright and white, and says, "We won."

Another somewhat lengthy pause where Sendoh gets his tongue working and answers back, "Yeah."

Then Fukuda is whooping, running forwards, and throwing himself in and out of the ocean like a crazed dog on mind-bending drugs. It clicks together in Sendoh's mind almost volubly.

Fukuda is happy.

Sendoh's grin widens and he opens his mouth to shout with him.

 

 

-end