A/n: I finally drew up some official art! Observe: Dwayne is towering above Chris, who is glaring at Dwayne (like usual), and Dwayne's feet is one 'Chris-head' higher than Chris's feet!
Jacob had called the four of them into the locker room to talk about something. Alex was left outside to warm up.
"What is it?" Dwayne asks, scratching his dyed blonde head.
"I hope all of you know by now that Alex is . . . a bit abnormal," Jacob says, looking around at the four of them.
"Yeah, we know that," Chris sighs, "Can we leave now?"
"Will you stop being so impatient?" Jacob says.
Seething, Chris glares at the floor, because he'd probably be called out for disrespect if he glares at Jacob.
"Anyways," Jacob continues, "As I was saying before I was rudely interrupted, Alex is a bit abnormal. He doesn't practice basketball like the rest of you do."
"How does he?" Spencer asks. Dwayne is specifically staring at Jacob, with his eyes shining, most likely wondering how he could be like Alex.
"Alex goes through intense athletic training to be that skilled, but it's not good for his growing body. Of course, he does . . . other things, but that's for him to choose to reveal," Jacob says.
"That's impossible," says Colin, "He's still a middle-schooler!"
"How else do you think Alex knew what other exercise facilities are in this complex? How do you think he knew how much people visited and what quality they were?" Jacob counters.
"He's got a point," Spencer says.
"What point?" Dwayne stands up, eyes angry, "I don't see any point in this other than getting rubbed in our faces that Alex is ten times as good as us! We are allowed to try, too!"
"That's what I'm talking about. What Alex does is unhealthy," Jacob motions for Dwayne to sit down, "For a middle-schooler to go through what most adults can't handle is terrible. Don't hurt your bodies by trying to be like him."
"That's not fair! If he can do it, we should do it, too!" Dwayne argues.
"No," Jacob says firmly, "Don't do it. Also, the game's about to start again. Get warmed up."
Everyone in a worse mood from which they came in the locker room, exits the room.
When the game starts again, Chris is genuinely surprised. Dwayne is less sad then earlier. He suspects this is because Dwayne immediately feels replenished when there's any sort of crowd. Attention seeker, sniffs Chris.
However, there's also something different that Chris notices from the beginning. Alex and Dwayne are working together in a smart way. Alex breaks past Saint Helena's defense with full speed, while Dwayne stays behind to defend against any steals from Alex.
After a few minutes, however, it's obvious the entire team is exhausted. Well, actually, the entire team is exhausted except for Spencer, who apparently barely feels a thing.
When the third quarter nears its end, Chris is breathing heavily. He can feel the air breathing through him as he's breathing the air. He can feel that no matter how many times he gasps, he just won't be able to regain his breath.
"Chris!" Colin shouts from somewhere. From the direction, Chris looks up and sees a ball speeding towards him. He stumbles backward before the ball hits him, and he grabs the ball, reducing the force. However, he can feel how strong that pass was. Did Colin really do that?
Chris glances around for red. Just any red color. Although he is tired beyond sanity, he still knows to just throw to the red. The goal. The hoop is always red.
His eyes land on the bright red. Like a stop sign. Stop. Slow down. Think before you shoot.
Chris calms down, and notices a defender coming towards him. He does a pump fake, where he pretends to shoot, and then ducks around the defender. From there, Chris jumps as high as he can, remembering the times when people asked him if he played center because of that height.
Chris throws the ball.
It sails higher and higher and higher. When the ball reaches the apex of its flight, it begins to fall. Sinking and sinking and sinking through the air. The unforgivable air that won't let Chris breathe.
But something is wrong. Chris sees the ball bounce off the red. As if the red is mad at him. Strange.
In a blink, Dwayne is up near the red, and he grabs the ball. Mid-air, and right next to the red, Dwayne drops the ball into the red, and through the white.
And that's when Chris slams onto the court with a thud, finally overpowered by pure exhaustion and stress.