Disclaimer: Eyeshield 21 is © Inagaki Riichirou and Murata Yuusuke, Shueisha, Viz, etc.. This is a non-profit fanwork.

And Here We Are
by Fushigi Kismet

The process was so gradual you don't know when it started. Just that one day you realized how close together you were standing, noted the way your arms touched, measured the space between you with your eyes only to see that there was none, accepted it, ignored it, refused to acknowledge it for what it was.

So here it is, the end of three years of brushing elbows and trading jibes, of standing side-by-side and striving for a future you didn't know and couldn't see.

And suddenly, you can only think that it's come too soon, the moment when by your side there will be an emptiness to echo the space that aches inside of you.

"And now?" she says, running her gloved finger along the bench in front of her, gathering dust, gathering time. They watched their last high school game here yesterday. Already it feels as distant as the memory of the last game they played.

He looks at the empty field, looks up at the sky. "I'm going to play football."

He knows she is thinking, Of course. It's a forgone conclusion.

"Hey, fucking manager."

She starts, but maybe he's more surprised than she. Maybe it's the last time those words will ever be said. But it doesn't feel like the end.

She turns her head, voice full of gentleness, "Don't call me that."

"Hey, fucking manager," he soldiers on - she's not protesting, her words mean nothing more and nothing less than, Go on, what is it, "come with me."

It's not a question and it's not a command; it's something like an utterance of fact and a promise and a hope all bundled together and thrown to her in the form of three little words.

"Yes," she says simply, leaning against him and sliding her arm through his, smiling, not at the words but at the things they were filled with, everything he told her by not telling her filling in the spaces and the gaps until the silence is ringing with all the things he didn't say.