Cal-Reflector's notes: A Mamori Hiruma centric one-shot, takes place sometime after Deimon receives their first wide receiver.

Disclaimer: Eyeshield 21 does not belong to me, if I did, I wouldn't have to be suffering through college-level physics right now.

Afternoon Tea
By Cal-Reflector

It was a good day, Anezaki Mamori thought, as she took a sip of tea.

Inside the recently remodeled and expanded American football club room, the Deimon Devil Bats' manager was busily compiling team stats. A drab task usually, but not one she disliked, especially since today she had refreshments—cream puffs and orange pekoe—to expedite her work. School was out, and she could hear the team working out on the field, the quiet punctuated by occasional barks of command from Hiruma, the team's quarterback and captain. It was a clear, beautiful day in early autumn, just the kind of weather to work up some sweat in. Her contentment was made complete by the song from the pair of birds who chirped away in a tree outside…

… Until a not-so-distant explosion interrupted the scene of serenity and sent the birds scurrying into flight. Mamori felt the floor beneath her feet tremor as the shock wave from the blast passed by. She raced outside to see a great cloud of dust rise from the football field and was just about to go investigate when the skinny figure of Hiruma Youichi emerged from the smoke. He sauntered towards the clubroom, carrying a shotgun on his back, an irritated look on his face, and a string of curses trailing from his lips.

"Umm… Hiruma? What happened out there?"

"Oh nothing big, was just drilling Monkey boy on some passing plays. Monkey took a wrong turn and tripped on one of the mines I set up."

That would be Raimon Tarou, better known as Monta. Mamori took a moment to register the new addition to the disabled list, until she remembered a more pressing matter that required address. "… Mines? What mines?"

"Some vintage Yugoslavian types I picked up the other day."

"No! That's not what I meant! I… Why in the world did you set up mines for? Isn't it dangerous?"

"Nahh… a little pain never hurt anyone. I want those peons to memorize their mistakes with their bodies; it's the quickest way to bring them up to speed. I removed all the ball-bearings and most of the explosives anyways, so no missing limbs or anything." Hiruma grinned at the look of disapproval on his team manager's face.

Three months ago, Mamori would have been properly horrified and ringing up the Self Defense Force, but spend enough time in the company of people like Hiruma (she suspects that there are none), and one tends to grow used to such events as normal everyday occurrences. She knew that Hiruma wouldn't seriously jeopardize the life of any team members, considering that they were all indispensable; physical abuse and psychological terror however were open game, and this caused her no small amount of consternation, especially for the sake of fragile Sena.

In spite of Hiruma's assurances, Mamori became worried at the fact that no one else was coming back to the club room. Hiruma certainly didn't seemed bothered, for he walked straight inside the room, plunked down in a swivel chair and turned on the radio. Mamori followed him inside and saw him take from his locker several firearms, which he then laid down on the table and promptly began to strip and clean.

"I'm afraid to ask but... where's the rest of the team?"

"Sent them over to the soccer field." Hiruma replied, as he disassembled a submachine gun with fingers deft with experience.

"Why?"

"To bring back enough dirt so they can fill the crater."

"…….. I thought you said you took out most of the explosives."

"Yeah, but tank mines are pretty darn big, and the Yugoslavs really packed em' in… what's up? You look stressed out?"

Mamori sank into her chair, her eyes shut and creases appearing between her eyebrows. It should not have been a surprise by now, by she would never cease to be exasperated or become used to Hiruma's way of doing things. She sighed audibly as her shoulders sagged.

"Yeah, I'm just a little… tired."

"Find that hard to believe, seeing how many of those cream puffs you've put away."

"I did not! I only ate…" Mamori saw the grin on his face and decided that she did not have the energy to argue with him today. She turned towards her work and attempted to salvage what little peace and quiet remained in this ordinary day by picking up where she left off. For a while, the only sounds in the club room were the metallic sounds of firearms maintenance, the occasional pop from the bubblegum that Hiruma was chewing, and the lyrics from a foreign song playing on the radio. This impasse carried on for about five minutes before Mamori discovered that she was having difficulty concentrating on the task at hand.

Darn sugar and caffeine.

She stretched back in her chair and observed the man sitting across from her, whose array of lethal instruments complemented him to an unsettling degree. She wondered where the supply for his never diminishing arsenal came from; this was not America after all, where any regular Joe with a clean record and the cash to pay for it could equip himself to start a small revolution. Where did he store the rest of his "collection," in his home? Wouldn't his family complain about it, or did he silence them with his little black book of extortion as well? Did he even live with his family? Did he have a family?

Mamori realized that outside the context of football at school, she knew absolutely nothing about him. Aside from his notoriety for lack of scruples and concern for others and an insatiable hunger for competition and victory, the man was a complete enigma, though not without his merits: Dictator though he was, he was nontheless a capable leader who pushed his team to attain and exceed their potential; the fact that the Deimon Devil Bats were a legitimate contender now was nothing short of a small miracle. Even Sena benefitted from being in the football club, where he made many new friends and appeared to gain confidence in himself, though she could still not figure out why he always disappeared during practices and game time.

And all that was brought about by this devious, foul-mouthed man sitting before her, whom she knew not an inkling about.

"Hey… Why do you like those things so much?"

"Huh?" Hiruma looked up from his work.

"I said, why do you like guns so much?"

"That's none of your business, right?"

"Hey, just trying to make polite conversation here, but feel free to be rude about it."

"My ass… hell, it's my hobby alright? I just like them, and they happen to be of practical use to me."

Mamori did not want to know what practical use a high school student might find for machine guns and anti-tank mines… oh wait, scratch that last one. "Most guys I know are into manga, or anime, or baseball, something less… violent."

"Well, I'm not most guys."

Mamori couldn't help but chuckle at this statement, much to Hiruma's surprise. "No… you certainly aren't." A moment passed before she remembered the refreshments she had prepared. "I made a pot of black tea, would you like some?"

"Damn it, manager, can't you see I'm chewing gum right now?"

She poured a cup and placed it on a saucer before him. He regarded her with a lifted eyebrow, and then looked at the cup in front of him. Finally, with visible annoyance on his face, he spat his gum into a wastebasket and took a swig of the tea.

"… There's no sugar in this."

"That's how you prefer it right?"

Hiruma said nothing and took another sip in silence, shaking his head slightly before turning to look at the girl who stood before him. She half-anticipated him to criticize the flavor, but he replied isntead, "… You're acting strange today."

Mamori just smiled.

At that moment, the team arrived back at the clubroom. Mamori was relieved to see that everyone seemed to be uninjured… except Monta, who had a bit of hair singed on the fringes and smelled like something burnt. The team members were visibly alarmed when they saw the number of guns that Hiruma had within reach. Monta turned particularly pale and looked like he was fighting back tears and the embarrassment of wetting himself in front of everyone. Hiruma stood up and slammed a magazine into the M-4 he had just finished cleaning, causing everyone to jump at the sound.

"So, scumbags, did you finish patching up the field?"

Sena, or Eyeshield 21, replied weakly, "Ummmmm… not yet, but…" Hiruma leveled his rifle at the small running back. "Wait! Wait! When we got there the soccer team was already practicing, and they weren't too happy about us digging up part of their field, as you can imagine, so…" Hiruma cocked the gun and fingered the safety off. "AHHHH! Then Juumonji-san took their captain aside and said something to him. As of now the soccer team is fixing our field for us!"

Hiruma redirected his gaze towards the eldest of the Huh-Huh Kyoudai, who came forward to explain. "Relax, I just told them that Hiruma sent us. They were very cooperative after that."

Hiruma broke into a loud cackle, and the rest of the team sighed in relief. Just when they thought they were safe however, Hiruma fired several rounds over their heads. "Alright, everybody get back to the field! Can't be having those worms from the soccer team tripping any more mines and messing up our field further now can we? Haul ass! Last one there has to clear the minefields with a tablespoon!"

After the team raced off, Mamori returned inside the club room. She picked up the empty cup that Hiruma left behind and smiled inwardly. It was turning out to be a pretty good day after all.


Hope you Enjoyed reading, reviews and critiques would be greatly appreciated and will help a great deal in providing me with more motivation to write more and better.

An important question for all viewers and fans: How far have people read in Eyeshield 21? There are several story ideas I have, but they involve characters and plot developments which come much later in the story, at least until after the conclusion of the America-Summer-Hell-March Arc. If most readers are only acquainted with the story as far as the available scanlations, then there would be little point for me to write more. Please post your replies along with the reviews.