No warning! Unless you hate running. There's plenty of that. And a really competitive reader.
Around this school, you were famous for running. You practically ran every day, nonstop. You ran from the measly 100 meter dash to seven miles, sometimes, even more. It is practically your whole life. Even as a simple frosh(1), you managed to make varsity on every running sport available: cross country, indoor track, and track. To many future runners, you were becoming an idol. Maybe one day, you would even become a legend.
For now, the only thing standing in your path to victory, is him. The infuriating, stick-in-the-mud, strict, blonde German man, Ludwig Beilschmidt. He trained just as hard and as much as you do. At first, you thought he was just trying to be in shape and were actually quite friendly with him- the two of you exchanged training tips and sometimes ran together. You were mildly shocked that he could keep up, but it was actually nice to have someone to run with. Sadly, nothing gold can stay,(2) and soon the perfect world ended with the school's Presidential Fitness mile run. The mile was of course, going to be a walk in the park for you, and, not to sound cocky, but you kind of expected to have the fastest time out of your grade group again. So when during your last 200 meters of the mile the German came sprinting up next to you and leaving you in the dust, you felt an emotions you had never experienced in your running before: hate, competition, maybe even a little jealousy. He looked flawless finishing and you started beating yourself up about the whole silly race.
Not really. Actually, at first you brushed it off and were a good sport and congratulated him. Of course you still got annoyed when people came up to you and asked how it felt and all that jazz, but you liked the... friendship? You had with Luddy. However, for another race that you and your friends (Ludwig included) held on the track, he beat you again. Then he would beat you the next race. Then there would be a race were you would beat him. A rivalry started to form, and it was an ugly one. Now this leads us to where you are, practicing starts on the track after school like any other day. All of the pleasure running gave you was replaced into sheer competition and hardship. You pushed yourself over your old limits, all to beat the German.
"Yo, dudette! Maybe it's time you stopped. I mean, it's cool that your all into running and all, but, c'mon, I think you've trained enough." One of the football jocks, Alfred F. Jones, also one of your best friends, said, snapping you out of your Beilschmidt-hatin' thoughts. You give him a weak, tired grin. "No can do, Al. You are very well aware that the mile is coming up, and this time, I'm going to win!" That's right. The school's Presidential Fitness mile race, a now infamous race- in your book- was coming up in just a few weeks, causing yourself to go into all work and no play mode. That also meant no fatty foods like McDonalds or even ice cream, and that led to you barely hanging around Al anymore, because he always dragged you to those places.
He frowned and before you could even fight back, he had slung you over his shoulder and shoved you into his Ram pickup. He quickly strapped you in and rushed around to the driver's seat and sped off. "I say you've done enough training today." He sighs and looks genuinly concerned and unhappy, which is odd for the usually loud and happy American. "What happened to just running for fun, (Name)? When did it become about beating L-"
"Don't say the L-word!" You screech angrily, and then snap back at him. "I'm still having fun and I don't just care about beating him." You finish your rant by hissing the last word. You then looked out the window as an excuse, regret starting to fill your body. Alfred was only trying to help me out. Man, we've never been in a fight before. Maybe he is right. I haven't been enjoying myself lately. Running used to bring me pleasure and allow me to feel as if I had wings. Now, it's just empty and dark. You turn back to Alfred. "Al... Alfred, I'm sorry. Maybe you're right." Upon hearing this, his hardened facial features soften. You take this as a good sign and continue. "Tell you what, I'll take tomorrow off and just relax. Hey, maybe we can go to the Dairy Queen on 45?" You suggest, knowing food is the way into this guy's heart.
Alfred grins at you. "That's sounds like a plan to me! A heroicly awesome plan!"
You had a great time just relaxing with Alfred, and actually didn't think about the German at ALL over the weekend. However, it was the beginning of a new week- race week- and everyone was just bustling about. This race had become pretty intense and became a whole school event after the rival with you two started. Being the good sport you are, you walk up to Ludwig while he is at his locker, and stand there, hands behind your back. Luckily, Feliciano and Kiku- Luddy's friends- are nowhere to be seen. "Hello, Ludwig." You speak in a monotone voice, as to not give any secrets to the enemy away.
He looks at you, the corners of his mouth lifting into a small smile before he forces them back down. He quickly coughs into his hand in an awkward manner before looking back at you with his usual hard face. "(Name.) How are you?"
"I'm just dandy, thank you for asking but I'd like to cut the chatter short. I just wanted to say good luck for Friday." Ah, the heck with it. "You're gonna need it!" With that, you spin on your heel and run away, cackling like a hyena. A couple of bystanders go 'ooo' and 'ahhh,' but to receive a harsh glare from Ludwig. Hey, it's worth it to see the two of you go back and forth with petty insults.
The rest of the week went by pretty uneventful. You worked hard and gave your last week of training your all, and, as is tradition before a big race, you had a nice pasta meal the night before. One that even Feli would be envious of.
You hardly focused during Friday's classes, and all but flew down to the locker rooms to get changed. You threw on some spandex running shorts and an old t-shirt and your minty green spikes. It's only a mile race, but as far as you could care, this race could be the Olympics. As you walked to the track, you mentally pumped yourself. Alright, (Name), this is the big one. Sure, there will be tough competition, Alfred, Elizabeta, maybe even Ivan... Feliciano, if someone shows him pasta, but Ludwig's your main target. Beat Ludwig. You chanted that for a while before doing a quick warm up lap and taking a sip of water before going to the starting line to stand in land two next to Arthur Kirkland (who, even though he is kinda fit, you weren't worried about) and Alfred, who gave you a supportive slap on the back. Even though the mile is a non-laned race, lane two was 'your baby.' It was a silly superstition, but it gave you hope and strength, which is all you needed. Out of the corner of your eye, you saw Ludwig claim lane five and squat down into start position. You follow suite.
The supervising gym teacher shoots their arm up and you leap forward. Everything seems to be going in slow motion and you can practically hear the blood flowing in you ears, before it's like a fast forward movie. Reality snaps back to you and you get out strong, the cheers of by standing classmates all a blur. You pick up nice, even pace and keep at it strong for the first two laps, before very, very slightly picking it up on the third. By this time, you were in the lead, but you cautioned yourself, knowing Ludwig could pop up any time he pleased. When it came to the fourth lap, you were surprised he didn't make his move. However, coming to a fast pace where you could start to feel the wind wall, there he was. He came up next to you, still looking straight ahead at the approaching final bend. It was you in the lead, it was Ludwig, you, Ludwig, you, Ludwig, you, Lu-
Oh no, this can't be happening! Before you could fix yourself, you were on top of your rival. You had fallen, and apparently taken him down with you. By the time you two hastily stood up from the ground, a brown- haired blur had sprinted past you. "Feliciano!?" You and Ludwig both shouted, surprised until you both saw that his sneaky brother had held out a plate of pasta. Sneaky little ba- "(Name)?" The German next to you asked, voice surprisingly soft and gentle.
You glance at him, eyes apologetic. "Luddy," you used the nickname you gave him when you were still friends. "I'm sorry I let this whole running thing get in the way of our friendship. To be honest, I haven't been enjoying it lately a-and..." You break the gaze you two shared to look at the ground. "I miss you."
Ludwig's look of shock quickly melted when he saw that you were on the verge of tears. He quickly pulled you into an awkward hug, for, he was never very good at those. "I missed you too, (Name). Maybe, if you vould like, ve could start to run togezher again." You glanced up at him and saw that his face was flushed from embarrassment. You smile and lean up to gently brush your lips against his. "I would love that, Luddy."
The both of you share a loving glance before interrupted by cheering Feli. Then the look becomes one of slight mischief. You take his hand. "Shall we go show Feliciano who the top dogs are?"