They are twenty-five when they first meet. Koshino is a professional basketball player, and Sendoh has just been admitted into the team. The news about Sendoh's being recruited is a hush-hush topic for a while, until his smile breaks through his features and the four corners of the court as he says, "Hi, I'm Sendoh Akira. Glad to be part of your team."
"Glad to have a new talent in our team."
Koshino isn't the type who'd readily approach people, so he observes Sendoh from a distance. He stands at half court and Sendoh's inside the paint, poised for a winning shot. He's leaving to catch the 6 p.m. train and Sendoh's just getting started. They're always at opposite sides of the plane, but Koshino can't help but notice the way their hands fit perfectly when they give each other a high-five after a well-played assist, the way their bodies align.
Koshino looks over his back before he leaves, taking a look at Sendoh for the last time. He nods to himself and thinks, whispers to the wind, yes, glad to have you in the team.
The next time they meet, they're rivals. Koshino is the owner of the largest TV network, a big name in the industry, and Sendoh is the heir to the second largest network. Sendoh has bought his way into the industry with charming smiles and connections, Koshino thinks as he shakes Sendoh's hand and says, "Ah, yes, we finally meet."
He doesn't exactly know how it happens, but the next thing he knows they're the best of friends and they've decided to turn the friendly competition into the next blockbuster hit.
"A movie involving our top stars, that'll be a sure hit!" Sendoh says after his third bottle of beer. "I'll have Uekusa write a story for this and you can have your own little crew of writers and—" Sendoh doesn't get to finish, because his head finds a safe fit on Koshino's shoulder and Koshino doesn't even bother waking Sendoh up to continue the conversation. It's better this way, Koshino thinks, as he gestures for the guards to get Sendoh inside his car so he can drive Sendoh home. It's better without all these weird ideas of Sendoh's.
When he leans back in his seat and turns the key, he finds himself looking at Sendoh for a while and tearing his gaze away quickly when Sendoh snores, then shifts in his position, then giggles. Koshino doesn't stare long enough to notice the peculiar upward curve of Sendoh's lips, or the way Sendoh mouths 'Kosh—' and ends with a bite of the lip.
He certainly doesn't catch Sendoh's eyes fluttering for a while, then opening fully to look at him and offer a smile.
They meet again, and in this lifetime they are kids and are seatmates in their fourth grade English class. Sendoh's looking over his shoulder and he's brushing Sendoh away, swatting his hand when the latter comes a bit too close for comfort. It doesn't take long before Sendoh calls him his best friend, and he doesn't exactly know why he doesn't even dismiss it. Koshino thinks this is all crazy, and that he might really consider seeing a shrink. That, or Sendoh was just too hard to say no to.
There are many other times when they meet, and in all of them Koshino wonders why Sendoh sounds so familiar, feels a little like home. So when Sendoh offers his hand for a handshake (this time, they're business partners), he takes it, shakes it briefly and asks, "Have we met before?"
Sendoh chuckles and takes a deep breath. Koshino furrows his eyebrows and this time, he stays around long enough for an answer.
"We always do."