TITLE: Up There is a Blue Sky
PART: Story One of Eleven
AUTHOR: Simply Kim
WORD COUNT: 2,735
CHARACTERS:Mizumachi Kengo. Kakei Shun. Kobanzame Osamu. Kyoshin Poseidons
GENRE: Alternate Universe/Continuation/Angst/Drama/ (A bit of) Humour
DISCLAIMER/S: Never knew anything about American Football until recently, so no, I don't own Eyeshield 21. Just this story. ;
NOTE#1: Blah or Blah is for emphasis. /Blah/is for conversations over the phone or flashbacks (if any). /Blah/ is for the conscience or whatever inner voice there is talking. Blah is for thoughts or random Japanese words.
1. Buck-Tick – Ijin no Yoru
2. Buck-Tick – Dress
3. Abingdon Boys School – Dress
4. Buck-Tick – Kagerou
5. High and Mighty Color - Amazing
UP THERE IS A BLUE SKY
Story One: There is No God
"Then, I'll be leaving the team to you, Kakei-kun…"
It wasn't surprising to many that he was the one chosen to be the next captain of the Kyoshin Poseidons. However, for Kakei, it was one of those surprises he felt most unwelcome. Slowly, he blinked, speechless… trying to make sense of what was being said.
Was this some sort of cruel joke?
He started to open his mouth, but his words were cut off by overly enthusiastic whooping and fanatical cheers of everyone around him. He instantly snapped it close and bleakly nodded, murmuring his thanks.
"Na, Kakei!" Mizumachi boisterously called from the other side of the room. "Take care of us, ne!"
A small smile stole into his lips and he nodded once again, unsure of what to say. He had never been fond of attention, and he wasn't fond of authority either. This was why now, when he was declared promptly by Kobanzame Osamu as his 'heir', he felt like he was suffocating.
He swallowed once and remained quiet as everyone gathered around the retiring club members, wishing them luck on cram school… or in some cases, on applying for elevator-manufacturing companies.
It was no secret that he was the de facto leader of the group, but he wasn't exactly saddled with the responsibility of caring for an entire dysfunctional team so it was okay. Now…
He wanted to ask Kobanzame why he chose him, but he knew for sure that his senpai would just grin, scratch his head sheepishly and tell him it's because of his playing and tactical abilities.
Now, Kakei wasn't a modest person, but he wasn't a hypocrite either. He knew what he could do and he knew what his limitations were on the football field. He knew his way around the game and he knew how to evade manoeuvres by his opponents. However he also knew ability alone wasn't enough to keep a team together.
Kobanzame Osamu might be small and might be a mediocre player, but he had always respected and admired him for his heart – which only few people ever hoped to have. He took care of each of them, as if being their second mother. He visited them when they were sick, he cheered them up when they were down, and he searched high and low for them when they were lost. Kakei knew he wasn't the only one who thought of him as such.
Closing his eyes, he straightened from his usual post by the back and walked as quietly and calmly as he could, heading straight to the door.
He needed to get out, clear his head and get some fresh air.
He couldn't find him anywhere.
After the meeting was adjourned, he had begun looking for him. Ten minutes later, he still came up empty handed.
Groaning, he scratched his head in frustration and started for the elevator once again. Six, five, four… What's his problem? He thought worriedly. He seemed okay a while ago, and then he just upped and disappeared on all of us. He even had Kobanzame-senpai worried! Aah… Kakei, you idiot!
He racked his brains as to where the new captain of the team could be, now that he hadn't seen even his shadow in each place he knew he enjoyed staying in.
He even visited the library.
He shook his head, cringing. Seriously, that place was a maze, and he almost got lost if not for the image of that little blue book depicting a bright blue sky by the shelf near the door. It served as his marker, and –
Suddenly, his eyes widened, and he hit a closed fist on the palm of his other hand in a gesture of enlightenment. "That's it!" He crowed as the telltale ping of the elevator sounded.
He wasn't the only one who liked the sky after all.
"How could I have been so stupid?!"
He was stupid after all.
Kakei glared at the sky and the sky glared back at him… followed by a sudden flash of lightning and a terrible crack of thunder.
"The world is conspiring against me." He muttered irritably, slipping his hands inside his pockets in an effort to warm them. It was cold outside, and all he could do was huddle in this little corner beside the rooftop door as the rain poured in torrents down on the unsuspecting city.
He hated this kind of sky.
He liked it when the sky was blue, and he could stare at it all day long without getting tired of it. He liked to see clouds rolling by and the sun shining down on him, warming him, cheering him up.
Now, this rain was just doing its best on dampening his already overcast mood.
Worst of it was, he didn't know where to go. He didn't want to go down for fear of hearing someone from the team call him 'captain' when he wasn't even ready to face the responsibility yet.
He leant, depressed, against the cold stone wall and continued glaring at the sky.
He was in the middle of muttering about how stupid he was when a sudden click alerted him, prompting him to straighten up, his muscles cording as tension built…
And the door swung open.
Mizumachi gasped and wailed as he saw how it was on the rooftop. "Ah! It's raining!" He cried out, pressing both hands on his temples as if he was at a loss on what to do. "I didn't bring an umbrella!"
Droplets of rain plopped unceremoniously on his nose and it itched in reply.
He sighed in relief.
And everything was again alright.
Until he remembered why he was there in the first place.
"Ah! Kakei's not here!" He moaned dramatically. Squatting down, he continued his litany, bemoaning his lost comrade and panting as if he had just experienced the worst battle in his life. "Where the heck is he? If only I can hear his voice telling me where exactly he is –"
Which was true because never in his life had he looked for someone as ardently as he did Kakei.
"I'm right here."
"I'm hearing things…" He groaned.
"I'm right beside you, Mizumachi."
"The rain is playing tricks on me, there's no way Kakei would be here when it's pouring this hard and – OW!" He cried out, rubbing the back of his head where something hard hit… His eyes widened and he immediately turned to his side.
"Ah! There you are!"
Kakei blinked as his eyes focused on the tip of the finger nearly prodding the skin between his eyes.
"Ah! There you are!"
Mizumachi seemed to have spent a lot of time looking for him if all that complaining was any indication. Warmth flooded his insides at the thought that someone did look for him, but was quashed when said person jumped him, making him fall flat on his rump.
On the very wet floor.
"Mizumachi! Unhand me!" He grated out when he was able to breathe. The wetness was spreading on his pants, and he knew instantly it was ruined. If he dipped any lower for all the weight pressed onto him like this, he was going to be so drenched that he would undoubtedly have a cold tomorrow.
As gently as he could, so as not to offend the other, he extricated himself from those long, sturdy arms, grateful that Mizumachi seemed to understand his predicament and reared back on his own, a stupid grin on his face.
"I've been looking all over for you!" Came the enthusiastic revelation.
Kakei nodded, giving him a once-over. "I gathered." He allowed, a small smile playing on his lips. "You look tired."
"VERY tired." Mizumachi nodded. He stood up immediately and blinked as he noticed that the knees of his pants were wet. "Ah! My pants are ruined!"
"It's a good thing that's your only problem." Kakei mumbled, getting up and brushing careful fingers on the seat of his own pants. "My entire backside is wet."
The blonde ex-swimmer gave him a look of pure disbelief. "Well, you were sitting down on a wet floor, what'd you expect?"
Kakei glared at him. "You happened. You pounced on me!"
It took a couple of moments for it to sink in before Mizumachi laughed, patting him continuously on the shoulder. "Haha! I did, didn't I? Sorry about that. You can wear my pants if you like. I'm taller just by an inch, so it is okay, isn't it?" Soon, he was removing his belt and unzipping his pants, whistling as if he didn't have a care in the world.
Kakei flushed, glaring at him even more. "Stop taking your pants off! I'm not wearing them!"
"Why not? It's not as if you can go down looking like that!" Mizumachi insisted, now standing wearing swimming shorts and holding out his navy slacks for him to take. Grinning even more, he dropped them on Kakei's head, "There, no return, no exchange – well, until tomorrow, that is!"
Kakei rolled his eyes. And grudgingly accepted them, slinging the pants on one shoulder as he unzipped his own. "Could you turn around, Mizumachi?" He cleared his throat uneasily.
"Why? It's not as if I haven't seen what you've got under your pants before – we shower together with the others after practice, you know!"
"Just… turn around for a while, okay?" He mumbled back, almost pleadingly, to which the other sighed and complied. "Thank you."
As he was slipping his pants off one leg, an unbidden question filtered through his ears and he looked up as if dumb, staring at the centre of Mizumachi's back.
"Why don't you want to be captain?"
The red of his cheeks paled until it vanished completely. Quietly, he let his pants drop on the wet floor and started pulling on Mizumachi's. It was looser than what he anticipated, but Kakei thought it was so fitting for someone who lived such carefree life as he did. Something tugged at his heart and his eyes softened. Maybe he would be able to understand…
"What do you think of me, Mizumachi?" He felt a sudden charge in the air, and he took a glance at his companion. His shoulders were stiff, he noticed, but that was most probably due to what he had just asked him. Kakei smiled ruefully as he zipped up his borrowed pants, feeling the sting of cold an inch above both knees. Where the patches of wetness were spreading. "You can turn around now."
As if weighed down by sand bags, Mizumachi turned around, cheerfulness earlier zapped away. There was something unusual in his eyes that he thought must have some ulterior meaning. What it was, he didn't know.
But it was there.
"Why are you like that?"
Surprised, Kakei blinked. "Like that?"
Mizumachi sighed, gesturing with his hands in supplication. "Yes, like that." He started. "You're not so reserved when we're talking about football, and you're pretty confident of your abilities… but why the hell are you running around looking so down when you've finally been named captain?"
There was an earnest quality in his voice as he spoke. It was as if he was struggling to prevent himself from grabbing the other's uniform and shaking him silly.
Staring at Mizumachi's eyes right now, Kakei felt like he was drowning in brilliant pools of clear water. There was no murkiness there, only openness and the ability to make unbiased judgment. Maybe he could really understand…
"What do you think of me, Mizumachi?" He asked again, quietly.
"Well," His team mate allowed; a perplexed look still on his face. "You're an amazing football player. You seem to know everything and you have some cool abilities out there on the field – plus, you have lots of experience to back you up. You even played against that Notre Dame Eyeshield person! Those are things you should be proud of!"
Kakei nodded, his eyes softening. He could feel the waistband of his pants chafing loosely against his hips, and his hand involuntarily tugged them up. "That's just it." He said, a small smile on his face as he turned to the grey, pouring sky. "That's why I'm hesitant to be captain."
"Huh?!" He could hear Mizumachi's confusion. "Na, Kakei – I don't get it. You're more qualified than any of us and you know it!"
"Well, what do you think of Kobanzame-senpai?" He asked, turning back to him.
"Well, he's a great captain!" The blonde grinned suddenly. Fondly. "He's bright and happy and giving… He's just like a mom, don't you think so?"
"Exactly. He's everything I'm not." Kakei chuckled. "He built a family of the team, and I don't have the ability to keep us all together. I can't be like him."
There was a few moments of silence before Mizumachi moved closer and picked up Kakei's forgotten (and positively sopping from the rain) pants. This was one of those few times Kakei had seen him serious and contemplative…
And then he had to throw the pants at him.
It hit him right smack in the middle of the face and as the fibres scratched on his skin while it slid back down to the ground, Mizumachi had already erupted into boisterous laughter. His hands were clutching his stomach in an effort to stop it from aching too much, probably.
"What's so funny?" He asked almost harshly, wiping his now wet face with the sleeve of his uniform. He picked up the fallen pants and hurled it at him in displeasure. "I'm being serious here!"
"Kakei, you're such an idiot!" Mizumachi guffawed. "Eww, wet pants!"
"I'm not." It was one thing to tell himself that and another to hear someone say it to his face. It wasn't pleasant. He glared some more. "And you threw that at me first, so there!"
"Ahahahaha! Sorry, sorry!" Came the nonchalant response. Mizumachi surged forward and engulfed him in a huge hug. The warmth was a direct contrast to the cold that was chilling Kakei to the bone. "Let me tell you something my mom told me, alright?"
"Fine." He muttered, absolutely lacking the energy to fight anymore.
"We can't hate the moon for driving the sun away at night… because no matter how different they are, they still provide guidance to those who need them."
As if on cue, the rain stopped, the downpour reduced to a mere drizzle. Past Mizumachi's broad shoulder, he could see the sky gradually clearing. Patches of blue appeared as the grey cracked open and parted. It felt like some cliché anime series, being immersed in a situation such as theirs. But he wasn't bothered by it one bit. "But they aren't the same." He reasoned quietly.
"Ah, yeah." Mizumachi agreed, the point of his chin digging on his shoulder as he spoke. "But you know, the next season isn't gonna be the same as this one, is it? So stop being an idiot and accept already. Kobanzame-senpai is also looking for you, you know. He told me he was worried you'd go off and never come back because he decided you'd be the next captain!" He laughed, his body shaking.
The sky was clearer now, and although the sun wasn't visible yet, it felt like it had already been there for a long time.
"Then I will." Kakei smiled against the cloth of the other's uniform.
"And I told you before didn't I?"
"I'm gonna make sure we're going up to the sky. No, not only me, both of us. We still have one more year to do it. We'll show Kobanzame-senpai what we can do as a team, so he'd be so proud of us, na, Kakei?"
"We def –" He was about to answer when the door suddenly burst open, followed by a high-pitched scream of surprise. He two of them jumped apart, taken aback.
"Ah! Kakei-kun, there you are I just want to say you're going to be one of the best captains of this school's football – what are you two doing?! Mizumachi-kun! Put on some pants! You're not in the swimming pool!" It was their former captain, red on the face and obviously very tired from running around, probably looking for him.
"But Kobanzame-senpai, I was just trying to cheer him up –" Mizumachi wailed.
"Just put some pants on!"
And Kakei laughed.
A/N: There you go. Written during my free time. Hope you enjoyed reading! Feedbacks are greatly appreciated:)