A/N: First Eyeshield 21 fic! Umm…just had an idea. I saw the summary of a fic and it sparked this. Written in one sitting…like so many, if not all my completed fics…

Warnings: Spoilers for the end of the Tokyo tournament…anime episode…88? 89? The ceremony after the Bando Spiders game…and saying that is a spoiler in and of itself…slight shounen-ai?

Summary: Sakuraba reflects on his rivalry/relationship with Shin. (ShinSena, SakurabaShin and TakamiSakuraba if you want to see it)

Disclaimer: I don't even own an American Football…My Dad's English…I shouldn't even be watching it : P

Written: not sure when

Posted: 06-05-07

Edited: 11-02-08

My Rival

Sakuraba liked the American Football club. He liked his team-mates who had become his friends. He liked working hard and seeing the results of his efforts during the games. But there was one more reason that Sakuraba liked the football club. Shin was in it.

Shin and Sakuraba had joined the football club together in their freshmen year. Sakuraba saw how hard Shin worked and the results of the extensive training. Sure, Tamaki was his partner on the field and in practice, but Shin was inspiration, his motivation, his rival.

Sakuraba continuously chased after Shin. He trained longer hours and worked harder. He quit his 'idol' job so he could devote more time to American Football. He shaved his hair so that people – Shin – would no that he was serious. That failed since Shin didn't notice until after it was pointed out… Sakuraba did everything he could think of to impress Shin. He only hoped that it worked.


The Tokyo tournament presentations

It was no surprise that Shin was chosen for the best 11. Sakuraba was surprised and honoured when he was selected as well. He felt so proud and pleased when Shin nodded his acknowledgement.

Kobayakawa Sena of Deimon was also selected for his position as Running Back. The boy looked shocked, though no-one else did. Since Akaba, the 'true' Eyeshield had acknowledged him, how could the committee leave him out?

But Sakuraba felt a pang in his heart when Shin spoke. "You deserve it" the Linebacker had said. However true that was…Shin never praised anyone! Sakuraba watched jealously as the small boy's face lit up.


The MVP award

Takami observed the MC's gaze flick around the different players.

"Interesting" he murmured.

"What is?" Sakuraba questioned from in front of the tall quarterback.

"It appears that this year's MVP was a harder choice."

"Oh? Who do you think were the candidates?" Sakuraba asked curiously.

"Shin, Kid and…" Takami paused, knowing the Receiver's feelings. "…Sena-kun."

Sakuraba turned to him in surprise, but his head whipped back to the stage as Shin's name was called. Sakuraba smiled as Shin graciously accepted the award. The stoic player turned, eyes panning the teams in front of him, searching. Sakuraba grinned up at him, but the linebacker's eyes skipped right over him to land instead on Deimon's small Running Back. Sakuraba felt his hear tighten. Takami placed a hand comfortingly on his shoulder.

"I'm sorry Sakuraba. I know how you feel."

"I never had a chance, did I?" the blonde whispered. Takami hesitated, then answered honestly.

"No…Eyeshield…Sena-kun…hold his attention." Sakuraba nodded morosely.

"As it should be…they're both strong…"

The Quarterback of Oujou watched the silent exchange between the two aces. Shin's steady gaze and challenging eyes. Sena's squared shoulders and firm set of jaw.

Yes. It was as it should be.

A/N: Shoot me now. Please. It was terrible first attempt and the ending was so sloppy! I thought it started out okay…but the ending…ARGGHHH! If anyone can end it better, please post it! Or e-mail it to me and I'll post it and put your name on it!

BTW, did I misspell Tamaki's name? Is it Tamaki or Takami? I thought it was Tamaki…but I could very easily be very wrong…I'm just too lazy to check…gomen!

Okay, thanks to 'stringer13', 'F. A. Star Hawk' (who, btw, writes BRILLIANT stories for this fandom, go check out "Playdate"), 'Lazy-ass-Ninja' and '' I went back and changed ''Tamaki'' to the correct ''Takami''. I have yet to figure out why on earth I keep getting his name wrong...