The Way To a Touchdown

Disclaimer: Eyeshield 21 belongs to Inagaki Riichiro and Murata Yusuke, etc.

Notes: Um, since I was really happy that Shin was Sena's personal trainer during the special training session before the Christmas Bowl, but it was so short so I wanted to write a um, ShinSena extended version of what happened during that time?

--

Sena woke feeling sore all over. But that was normal for having had a game just two days before – especially since it had been against the Hakushu Dinosaurs and even Sena who wasn't nearly as injured as Hiruma, was definitely still feeling it.

"Sena-kun! Are you awake?" Sena heard his mother calling through his door.

"Mmph, yes," Sena answered.

"Mamori-chan called," his mother said. "She said not to be late for practice today."

Sena yawned and risked his sore muscles to rub his eyes. He wondered what that was about since Mamori usually never called to remind them about trivial things like being late – not that anyone ever really was late, knowing how Hiruma could play up the punishment. Sena decided it was either Mamori being excited about their upcoming Christmas Bowl, or else something important was happening at practice today.

As it turned out, it was both.

When Sena came out to the field after school that day, it was filled with people. He stood just staring until Monta came and clapped him on the back.

"What's going on here?" Monta asked, looking equally dazed.

Sena had no clue. He could see people from all the teams they had played before on the field – Seibu Wild Gunmen, Taiyo Sphinx, Shinryuji Naga, Kyoshin Poseidon, Bando Spiders, Hakushu Dinosaurs, and Ojo White Knights – all in uniform and all warming up.

"Cry tears of joy, guys! It's the super personal trainers from hell!" Hiruma cackled, rolling in his portable oxygen capsule.

Sena jumped to one side, narrowly avoiding getting run over as Hiruma raced past.

Mamori was following close behind Hiruma but she stopped when she saw Sena and Monta. "Sena-kun, Monta-kun!" she said cheerfully. "Hiruma made all the other teams sign to say they'd help whoever ends up going to the Christmas Bowl so take this opportunity to train well!" she said.

"Ooh Mamori-san! Definitely training max!" Monta said, pumping his fist in the air.

"Er, um, how are we training?" Sena asked, completely lost as he looked at the field. Riku was here, as well as Akaba, Tetsuma, Mizumachi, and Kakei.

"Oh, we've matched you to your own personal coach so everyone gets special training," Mamori said, smiling.

Sena caught sight of Ootawara and found himself automatically searching the crowd for Shin.

"Of course you're matched with Shin," Mamori said.

Sena gulped as he caught sight of Shin. He was actually right beside Ootawara but he had been hidden behind Ootawara's large frame.

Even though he had seen Shin sitting in the bleachers during the Hakushu game, Sena hadn't come face to face with Shin since their own Ojo vs. Deimon game and Sena found himself both eager to see Shin, and rather nervous at the same time.

"One on one training?" Sena asked.

"And Monta-kun is with Ikkyuu-kun," Mamori continued.

"Ikkyuu…" Monta said, looking towards the field in search of his rival.

"Ah, Sena! Come here!"

Sena turned at Coach Doburaku's voice coming from behind him and was startled to see that sometime between turning away from Shin, Shin had already gone from warming up on one side of the field to the other side of the field where Doburaku stood behind Sena.

"Uh, um—"

Sena's nervous mumbling was cut off by Doburaku. "You two are training together! Do a square run!" he ordered. "Do nothing but chase each other without going off your course!"

Sena felt even more nervous. "P-p-please treat me favorably," he said, smiling nervously up at Shin. Even though he had somehow managed to beat Shin in the game against Ojo, more often than not, it was Shin who was beating Sena. And they'd have to go at it for who knew how many rounds here.

Shin looked seriously at him. "Even if it's training, let's go with all our strength, Eyeshield 21," he said.

"Y-yes!" Sena said. Shin took everything so seriously so Sena would have to give it his all too.

"Come over here. I've marked the spot in the field there," Doburaku said and Sena found himself falling into step beside Shin as they followed Doburaku out.

Sena couldn't help sneaking glances at Shin every so often as they walked in silence out to the field. Even though he somewhat idolized and therefore enjoyed being with Shin, he always felt awkward – moreso with Shin than anyone else. Sena thought this was probably because Shin was a very powerful athlete and very very capable of injuring him. It was really a miracle that Sena hadn't been injured with broken bones or anything like that playing against Shin, especially when Shin was so much bigger and stronger than he was.

They got to the field that Doburaku had marked and the coach immediately sat down to watch.

Sena slowly went over to the marked makeshift track. "U-um, should we start?" he asked hesitantly, sweating a little. He could already feel Shin's intense aura behind him and it was really very nerve-wracking. Sena was itching to run.

"What are you waiting for, fucking shrimp! Get going!" Hiruma's voice cut in and even though Hiruma was currently incapacitated and couldn't shoot a starting shot, he was still scary enough that Sena took off running automatically.

He could hear and feel Shin right behind him – his heavier, pounding footsteps on the turf – and Sena forced himself to keep the speed up even though he was already tired from barely a minute of running. While Sena had built up enough stamina to run for long periods of time, he still hadn't trained enough to maintain at light speed for long.

Sena's legs dug into the ground as he made the first 90 degree turn. It was difficult to turn so quickly at that speed but if he slowed even a little, Shin would no doubt catch him.

The next turn came but as soon as Sena began to turn, he felt his foot slip and he was falling. That was not good. Especially not with Shin behind him, just waiting to trample him. It was going to hurt, Sena thought. A lot. Especially since Shin was wearing cleats.

But to Sena's surprise, he didn't even hit the ground as he was suddenly jerked back by Shin's hand around his waist. For a moment, Sena thought he was going to get spear tackled and braced himself for pain, but then Shin let go and Sena realized he had just saved Sena from falling.

"Ah, er, th-thanks, Shin-san," Sena said, turning slightly red. That had been pretty embarrassing and it was in front of Shin too.

"Be careful," Shin said to him.

Sena gave a rather nervous laugh. "Um, right, thanks," he said.

"We'll go again, Eyeshield," Shin said.

Sena nodded and got back into position as he took off on the sprint again.

--

Sena was absolutely exhausted by the time practice finished. He didn't think he could ever lift his legs again as he sat heavily down on the locker room bench beside Monta. He did feel strangely elated though. After all, Sena thought, it wasn't every day that he actually got to train with Shin who was the best American football player he knew. Even if Sena was just as fast and maybe even a little bit faster than Shin, Shin was still stronger and taller and better at just about everything else. Shin really was a cool guy and Sena didn't feel any differently about it even if he had somehow beaten Shin during the match against Ojo.

"How was your training?" Sena asked Monta as he slowly peeled off his shoes and socks. His legs were actually shaking, Sena thought as he looked at them.

"Fine," Monta said.

Sena turned to look at him in surprise. It wasn't like Monta to be so…unenthusiastic about training – especially when Monta was enthusiastic about everything and training with Ikkyuu was definitely something Monta would get fired up about.

It was probably about Honjou, Sena realized – after they found out Honjou Taka was on the Teikoku team they'd be playing against. "Is it about—"

"I said I'm fine," Monta repeated, but turned and grinned at Sena. "Really."

Sena wasn't sure if he really believed Monta but it seemed like Monta didn't want him to butt into his business so Sena let it go. Instead, he let his mind wander back to training with Shin and as tired as he was, Sena found himself looking forward to training again tomorrow.

"Sena! Monta! Are you finished changing yet? We're all going to eat!" Kurita's voice came booming through the door.

"Almost done! We'll meet you there!" Monta shouted back.

They ended up going to a rotating sushi place because there were an awful lot of them with the addition of all the personal coaches now, and rotating sushi was cheap and affordable.

By the time Sena and Monta went in, just about everyone else was already there. Kurita, Gaou, Komusubi, and Ootawara were with the Huh-huh brothers in one corner. Since Kurita was closest to the new sushi rotations, it was inevitable that he got the most plates while the others tried to get to them before Kurita could. Kurita didn't seem to notice.

"Hey! That's my plate!" Togano said as Komusubi stole the plate from him.

"Hm," Komusubi smirked.

Togano snapped as Kuroki stole the sushi off of Komusubi's plate and ate it.

"Hah!" Kuroki said.

"Look at all the plates I got!" Ootawara boomed, laughing and Sena stared wide-eyed as he swept a whole bunch of plates off the rotating wheel.

"Huh?"

"Huh?"

"HUH?"

"That's cheating!" Kuroki shouted.

"You took all the expensive plates too," Gaou pointed out.

Ootawara laughed. "It's okay, it's okay! They're all 100 yen!" he said, pointing to the promotional sign that said 100 yen per sushi.

"Uh no, that's for the cheap plates only," Juumonji said.

Ootawara didn't appear to hear as he started eating.

Sena gave a rather nervous laugh as he began looking for an empty seat to sit at – preferably not close to that bunch.

Monta had already slipped into a seat a few places away from Mamori though he seemed to be trying to get her attention.

"Mamori-san! Do you want an expensive plate? I can treat you!" Monta shouted through the din.

"Thanks Monta! I want one!" Suzuna took him up on the offer.

Mamori was busy saying something to Hiruma who was cackling and neither of them appeared to notice Monta.

"I wasn't asking you!" Monta said.

Suzuna took a plate anyways. "Well just for that!" she said.

"Monkey-kun's treating us to expensive sushi?" Taki asked. "Wonderful!"

"Guhya!! Who's a monkey?" Monta demanded.

"I'm taking this plate too!" Suzuna declared, taking another expensive plate.

Monta groaned as he looked into his wallet.

"Eyeshield!"

Sena looked up at the name and saw Shin staring at him from the other side of the rotating wheel. There was an empty seat beside Shin that apparently Doburaku had just vacated in favor of going to the small bar.

Sena slipped into the seat gratefully. "Shin-san! I thought you weren't going to come—I-I mean, you said you didn't eat at restaurants last time…" Sena said, remembering the last time the Ojo and Deimon teams had met at the yakiniku restaurant.

"Occasionally it's fine," Shin said. "We don't have anything else to do until the next season."

Sena thought his mouth might drop open. Shin, the perfect athlete, was actually willing to splurge every once in awhile?

"I'll supplement the meal when I go home," Shin continued.

That sounded more like Shin, Sena thought. "Uh, um, yeah," Sena said with a weak laugh.

"Fuu, that's good taste in music," said Akaba who Sena noticed now, was sitting on Shin's other side. He had a sushi in one hand, and guitar in the other.

Sena wondered briefly why in the world Akaba had brought his guitar to a sushi bar and what sushi had to do with music at all, but this was Akaba after all

Sena turned to the sushi bar to grab a plate, only to freeze when he saw Mizumachi on his other side. Mizumachi had climbed onto the table and was reaching right over the rotating wheel to the other side to grab plates.

"M-M-Mizumachi-san!" Sena said.

Mizumachi turned and grinned. "Oh, Sena! Want a plate? I'll get it for you!"

Sena gave a nervous laugh. "Um, er, it's all right. What are you doing though?"

Mizumachi blinked innocently at him. "I'm getting sushi! They get first pick on that side so of course I have to get the ones I want first!"

"You could just use the ordering screen," Sena said, pointing to the ordering screen that had been installed between every other seat.

Mizumachi climbed back down with his sushi. "Eh?" he asked.

Shin was looking at the electronic touch screen too so Sena leaned over to his side, figuring Mizumachi was tall enough to see even leaning over.

"See, if you want a sushi and it's not on the rotating wheel, you can just push a button and they'll send the sushi with the number of your seat," Sena explained. This was pretty standard though – it was a wonder that there were still people who didn't know how to use these.

"But isn't it funner to reach over?" Mizumachi said, and climbed back onto his seat.

Kakei, on his other side, didn't appear to notice at all.

FSZZZT—

Sena whirled around to see Shin's finger on the touch screen – that was now cracked and smoking.

"S-Shin-san!" Sena said.

"It's not working," Shin said.

Sena laughed nervously. So that was why Shin didn't know how to use it.

--

Sena slept like the dead that night and woke up still feeling sore and exhausted from the previous day's training. With just three weeks to go, though, they couldn't afford much time to rest so Sena forced himself out of bed, dressing into his jogging clothes.

With the strict training schedule that Hiruma and Doburaku had put together for all of them, this meant Sena was waking up three hours earlier than usual too to get some early morning training. Of course it wasn't all bad, Sena thought, as he grabbed his backpack, stuffing his school uniform inside as he headed out the door. Because Shin, as Sena's personal trainer, had to do all of Sena's training right along with him and at the thought of meeting Shin out at the field, Sena felt a layer of weariness slip away replaced by anticipation.

"S-Shin-san!" Sena called when he got to school.

Of course Shin was already there and stretching though he looked up when Sena approached.

"G-good morning," Sena said, a bit shyly. It was because they were the only two people out on the field at this time since everyone else was either doing training elsewhere or still at home sleeping depending on their different schedules.

Sena had never ever been alone with Shin before, he realized, since every time they had met, there had always been other people close by even if they had had a few private words together. But this early in the morning, the school field was completely abandoned and Sena wasn't quite sure what to do. Shin was a quiet person, after all, and Sena certainly wasn't loud. If Sena normally felt a bit nervous if happy when he was around Shin, it was a hundred times worse now and he wished he was loud or talkative so he could strike up a conversation.

"Good morning," Shin answered, getting up and turning towards Sena. "I'll help you stretch," he said.

Sena nodded quickly, getting down on the ground and stretching his feet out in front of him as he felt surprisingly gentle pressure against his back. For someone so strong, Sena was a bit startled that Shin didn't squash him flat, but of course Shin had been playing football for quite some time now and of course he would have done this with others before.

As he warmed up, Sena found that the silence he had originally felt was so awkward wasn't really as bad as he thought, maybe because Shin didn't appear uncomfortable at all with it. In fact, Shin seemed to be completely at ease as they finished warming up – which was a somewhat foreign concept for Sena who was used to seeing Shin's serious, intense expression.

"We'll jog around the field," Shin said.

Sena nodded and began running when Shin did. Even just an easy jog like this was good training for Sena who was quite a bit shorter than Shin and therefore had work a lot more to keep up with him. As he jogged though, the soreness from the day before began to disappear and Sena began to feel more relaxed too as they did a few laps.

While Doburaku and Hiruma did come up with most of the schedule, a good part of Sena's training would also be planned by Shin who was the expert at increasing speed and stamina.

"Keep up," Shin told him a few laps later and began speeding up. Though they weren't at light speed yet, Sena could feel himself tiring as Shin kept the faster pace.

The next hour was spent jogging at that speed before they slowed again and then stopped to cool down since Shin had to go back to Ojo for his classes.

"Here," Shin said as Sena finished dressing and handed him a cooler bag.

Sena looked quizzically at it.

"Your breakfast and lunch today," Shin told him. "Nutrition is important for a sportsman."

Sena stared at the blue cooler. "Th-thank you," he stuttered. "You didn't have to—I mean, you could have just told me what to eat—" Sena said.

"You don't want it," Shin said, frowning.

"N-no! I do, I mean, thank you," Sena said quickly and sincerely. "I just don't want to trouble you…"

"It's no trouble," Shin said, which of course was true. At least, feeding Sena couldn't be any more trouble than all the training and time Shin was already spending on him. "You're going to get better," Shin said. It wasn't a question.

Sena nodded and Shin turned to leave. "Um, Shin-san?"

Shin stopped.

"What about dinner?" Sena asked.

Shin looked back at him, the corner of his lip twitching up just slightly. "We'll eat together. After practice," he said.

Sena flushed and nodded as Shin left the locker room.

Sena held the cooler bag on his lap – Shin's cooler with the food that Shin had made especially for him in it – and Sena felt his cheeks heat up as a smile spread across his face.

--

tbc? Please review!