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

Unexpected
by Fushigi Kismet

"Ah," Monta's voice drifted out the door, "catch MAX!"

"Instant replay!" Sena said.

"Aw yeah," Monta said, "that's a good catch!"

"Keep watching, monkey," Hiruma snickered.

A moment, then.

"WHOO-HOO!"

"Was that in!" Juumonji demanded.

"No way," Kuroki said, "he totally came in from out of bounds."

"Yeah!" Toganou added.

"It was IN!" Monta argued, annoyed. "Look at the REPLAY!"

"Wait, what's the call, Hiruma?" Sena said.

Ishimaru: "It must be good."

"Look at him run!"

"Ow, that must hurt."

"They're doing good there."

"Huh, only a yard this time?"

"Wait, they called time? That's their last one, isn't it?"

"There are eight seconds left," Hiruma said leisurely. "They're kicking a field goal."

"Ah . . . and it's good."

"I'm sure glad we've got a kicker now. Now we can get points that way too!"

Musashi stayed quiet. He never really knew what to say in response to statements like that.

"The announcer said four seconds left," Yukimitsu offered.

"That's it, huh?" Monta said, sighing as he leaned back and took a handful of pretzels. "A good game."

Hiruma cackled. "Keep watching. This is where it gets GOOD."

"What?" Pretzel bits sprayed from Monta's mouth. "But there are only four seconds left!"

"Four seconds can be a lot of time," Kurita said, pausing as he reached into the bottom of his fourth bag of chips.

The clubhouse was littered with discarded chip bags, half-emptied bowls of popcorn and pretzels, cans of soda and occasionally a can that read "Asahi" on it. Sena felt vaguely guilty – he was sure Mamori wouldn't be pleased by the mess. Well, they'd just have to clean up.

"So something's going to happen in the last four seconds?" Suzuna mused, popping a piece of popcorn into her mouth. Her brother opened his mouth to say something but she shoved a handful of popcorn into it before he could. It had been going on like that for a while now.

Privately everyone wondered whether they'd end up having to pump his stomach before the game tomorrow. That probably wasn't really conducive to hyper recovery.

"Wait," Yukimitsu said, glancing at Hiruma, "I think I've read about this – is this the-"

A round of shots went off. "Don't spoil the fucking surprise."

Everyone was quiet . . . and a little nervous. Hiruma didn't look pleased at all.

"Now, now," Kurita said placatingly.

Hiruma snapped his gum.

"Uh, wow, did you see that crowd dance?" Sena finally ventured.

No one followed up. Then Komusubi grunted and Sena felt slightly better.

"Where's Mamori-neechan?" Monta said, flailing for something to say.

"Annual dentist appointment," Hiruma replied before Sena could open his mouth. Nobody wanted to ask why he knew. "You'd expect someone who eats that much fucking sugar to be there more often."

"I've never had a single cavity," Mamori said indignantly from the doorway, her hands on her hips.

Hiruma popped a bubble and snapped his gum. "Fucking miracle, that. Close the door; it's fucking cold."

She did so then dragged a chair over to where the team was ranged (some draped in the slot machine chairs) in front of a television and a VCR "liberated" from the A/V department. "Did I miss anything?"

"Most of the game," Sena said apologetically.

"Naw," Hiruma said with a flash of sharp teeth. "You made it just in time, fucking manager."

She was too busy taking in the sight of the mess that was the clubroom to come back with her typical response. So instead she asked, sighing, "Who are we rooti-"

"It's the kick-off!"

"Loose ball!"

"They're passing around."

"Aw man, he went down!"

"NO LOOK!"

"HE PASSED!"

"LOOK AT THEM GO!"

"GO GO GO!"

"WHAT THE HELL-"

"IT'S THE BAND!"

"HE'S IN THE ENDZONE!"

"HE MADE A TOUCHDOWN ON THAT GUY'S HEAD!"

"DID THAT COUNT!"

"DID THEY WIN!"

"WHAT'S THE CALL!"

"REPLAY!"

"LOOK AT THEM GO!"

"I CAN'T BELIEVE THEY DID THAT!"

"IS THAT THE CALL!"

"HIRUMA!"

He cackled. "They won. And that, boys, is the most famous fucking moment of American college football. They call it "The Play." Remember it when we're up against Oujou tomorrow."

"You don't expect us to run it!"

"Hell no. Oujou doesn't even have a marching band. Just remember, even down to the fucking wire, if you give as good as you get we can fucking win."

"That was almost inspirational, Captain," Mamori teased. Monta might have had tears in his eyes.

He looked away and popped his gum. "Yeah, yeah, my next fucking inspirational speech involves guns and me shooting them, so don't get used to it, fucking brats."

No one said anything, but they were all a little inspired anyway.

"Hey, Hiruma," Monta said, "can we watch the last ten minutes again?"

"Why the fuck not? Toss me a fucking beer."

He snagged the next-to-last can and tossed it to Hiruma who held it in one hand as he hit REWIND on the remote. Mamori deftly removed it from his hand, popped the top, and took a sip.

"Confiscated," she said in response to his blank expression, sipping at it again. "And let's slo-mo the bit with the trombone player this time around."

He grinned despite himself and pushed play before tossing the remote onto the table. The playback started as he settled back in his chair and watched his team staring transfixed at the screen, Juumonji, Monta, and Yukimitsu muttering something that sounded suspiciously like: "I bet we could run it." and Sena responding with: "EHHHHH!"

They'd come a long way, the fucking lot of them. And they'd go even further tomorrow.

Well, fuck, he thought, his thoughts no longer on the game playing out in front of him that had ended over twenty years ago but on the one they would be playing in tomorrow, we'll give 'em something to talk about for the next twenty.

". . . HAVE WON! Oh my God, the most amazing, sensational, traumatic, heart rending . . . exciting thrilling finish in the history of . . ."

Fuck yeah. They were going all the way.

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AN: (description as taken from Wikipedia) "The Play" refers to a controversial last-second kickoff return during a college football game between the University of California, Berkeley ("California" or "Cal") Golden Bears and the Cardinal of Stanford University on November 20, 1982.

Check out Wikipedia for more. I recommend watching the video too. It's lots of fun. Go Bears!