If God Was One Of Us…

Disclaimer: I don't own ES21, nor do I own the mentioned characters in the story. I only own plot and OOC quirks characters seem to acquire while I was writing the story /sheepish/. Oh, and I definitely don't own the song, it's property of Joan Osborne. I recommend listening to it while you are reading story. Just go on Youtube. :D

Warnings: This story is free of warnings, but suit yourself, if you want … mild SHONENAI, nothing explicit. Read if you want; don't like, don't read!

Sena was beet red in the face… This was bad, no, this was mortifying! Now he had no way out, even Monta, his usually faithful ally and friend had deserted him, the traitor! Hiruma was grinning positively evilly now, and, oh, wasn't it bad, to have all other players here, and they heard the dare, too!

He gulped. "But, I don't want to, "he tried again, emitting a weak whimper as to try to turn the luck in his favor. Sadly, it didn't work, and even Mamori – nee was smiling and encouraging him to go up on the stage. "Come on, Sena-chan, it isn't so bad!" Sena quickly shook his head "but – but – but! I am horrible singer – "

"Shut your trap and get your ass on the stage!" Howled Juumonji, with Togano and Kuroki in a tow. Sena looked around, but there were no way out.

This was bad. Bad, bad, BAD with capitals. "Um…. But I really can't sing, and I wouldn't…" He tried a last try.

He heard a soft chuckle behind him. "Fuu…." Sena's eyes got big as saucers. "A – Akaba kun! Please, help me!" he whimpered out, big brown eyes teary and shiny. His heart soared, as Bando Spiders star running back smiled, red eyes glinting softly in the artificial light.

"Oh, don't worry, Sena-kun, I will," Akaba chuckled. Sena felt shudders going down his spine. Why did it felt as if he had made a deal with devil? "If you don't mind, I will accompany you on the guitar," Akaba's smile was positively devilish now. Sena's jaw dropped. That was unfair!

But, in for a penny, in for a pound. Sena sighed. "Okay, Akaba san… I only hope I won't hinder your skills too much…" he bowed to Akaba, cheeks blushing faintly.

Mizumachi jumped up on the stage, grabbing a microphone. The wild-haired blonde was only in his blue boxers, as he was complaining that the clothes were too restrictive, much to the girls' enjoyment. "Well, ladies and gentlemen, it appears we are in a treat tonight. The next will be Deimon Devilbats' Kobayakawa Sena as singer, accompanied by Bando Spiders Akaba Hayato! Give 'em hell, boys!" And the crowd roared in approval.

Sena gulped. He felt a hand tap his shoulder. Shyly, he looked up, only to see kind crimson eyes. "Don't worry, Sena-kun. This is just for fun, " the redhead whispered to him. "But, what if -what if I make a mistake?" Sena stammered out, his voice shaky and a little high pitched. Akaba sighed. "Fuu…. It will be a mistake then. Just carry on, as if nothing has happened. If you absolutely have to, close your eyes, and imagine you are singing to yourself. Now, which song -" He was interrupted by Yamato. "Why not What If God Was One of Us? Akaba glared at the Teikoku star player. Yamato smirked. "Fuu…" Akaba strummed on the guitar thoughtfully. "It would go well with my rhythm…. Well, Sena-kun?"

Nodding a nervous nod, Sena sighed. "All right….Please take a good care of me, Akaba san", he bowed to the amused redhead. Akaba chuckled. "Oh, I will, don't worry, Sena-kun. You just find your rhythm and I'll follow." "E – Eeehh!!" Sena's startled squawk was lost in the appreciative roar of crowd.

He was on stage, and Sena couldn't help, but be nervous. It had been so long since he had sung in front of audience, and he didn't know if he would manage to do it again….Closing his eyes, he tried to think away the crowd, and concentrate only on the words of song and accompanying music.

He began humming, as he was won't to do, as to relax his throat. Faintly, he heard Akaba beginning to strum prelude, and suddenly, he was swept in a swirl of memories.

He was a gopher. He was bullied. How Riku taught him running, all his friends, and enemies, and suddenly, something heavy in his heart seemed to vanish.

The crowd became quiet, all curious how the tiny running back would fare as singer. They heard Akaba strumming the accords, and suddenly… Was that Sena humming?

Akaba was doing this for fun… well, half of it was out of pity for the nervous boy, and he couldn't help but offer the help to those helpless big brown eyes, although his naughtier half couldn't help but think what a spectacular arrhythmic disaster that particular song would turn out to be. He began strumming the appropriate accords to the song, inwardly preparing for the screeching that would follow some moments after…. But then, his ears caught a rather… fetching sound.

Humming. Not to high, not to low, just right to flow with his rhythm and he had to force himself not to stumble upon the shocking discovery that it was Sena's voice doing the humming.

But this sound… It had Akaba leashed on the invisible strings, and he couldn't help but be dragged along the ride. It totally went in tune with his own, and he couldn't help, but to began strumming the original melody, not the simplistic one he intended to do in the beginning, thinking Sena couldn't handle it…. But that sound was just too strong to deny it anything….

And then, he saw Sena part his lips, and ….he was totally bowled over.

Sena was faintly smiling, a small, sad smile. His eyes were closed, so he couldn't see those beautiful eyes, but, that voice…. That voice wasn't human.

So soft, and tender and strong, like wings and ashes and rain…

If God had a name, what would it be
And would you call it to his face

Sena sang, unaware of the dumbstruck gazes of his friends and crowd. He began swaying to the song, thinking about being fake Eyeshield 21, how he was afraid of being hurt…

If you were faced with him in all his glory
What would you ask if you had just one question?

Yamato was speechless. He expected the small boy to falter and totally butcher the song, but… This… This was an angel, singing his favorite song.

The boy wasn't anything remarkable in looks, except for his speed on the court, but this – this voice of his was something that Yamato felt he was leagues behind to have.

And yeah yeah God is great yeah yeah God is good
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

And then, Sena opened his eyes. Kakei couldn't help but gasp at the shining light in them. It was like he was seeing totally different Sena than usual. Not the timid boy, or speedy running back, but something more, something unique. He watched, entranced, how Sena stepped off the stage, and it was so… wrong… Like a sacrilege, and yet, he was happy that this creature deemed them worthy enough to approach them. He watched Sena approach the Huh – brothers.

The three gangsters were completely spellbound, and Sena sang, and Kakei felt jealous, and lonely and warm….

What if God was one of us

Sena circled Juumonji, before moving on Togano, smiling at him this gentle smile…

Just a slob like one of us

Togano couldn't help but blush. In those brown eyes was such a warmth, such a childlike innocence and yet wisdom…And then, Sena touched his shoulder, fingertips feathering their way down the leather – clad arm.

It was Kuroki's turn.

Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home

Kuroki smiled, reminiscing their fateful meeting, how Sena had escaped them the last minute on the train. He bit back a chuckle at the memory of them being sat on by Hiruma. Then, it hadn't been funny, but now, this was such a warm memory…

In some sense, they had been searching for their way home, even if they hadn't know that, then.

Oh, they did have homes, families, but still, they searched for something….

And wasn't it ironic, they had found it with the unintentional help of the fast-legged shrimp and blackmailing blonde demon…

Sena turned around, now in the middle of a crowd. Brown eyes sought sharp gray ones, and Agon was lost.

If God had a face what would it look like
And would you want to see

Sena approached the prickly Shinryuuyi's genius, his eyes curious, not afraid of Agon's twitchy right hand.

Agon wanted to mince that trash in thousand pieces for being as presumptuous as to daring to question him… Him…! But something held him back, and it was maddening….

/Grrr, That trash…. What is he doing to me?/

And then, Sena spun away from him, and just when he thought he was safe, the little shit dares to turn around, and look into his eyes, really look, and -

If seeing meant that you would have to believe
In things like heaven and in Jesus and the saints and all the prophets

Agon gulped…His heart was pounding and something… something…

He didn't believe. He had, sometime long ago, but ….

That fucking song…… It was obviously doing something to him….

Sena just smiled at him, and turned away, advancing into another corner.

Usually, Agon didn't like to be ignored. But this time, he was almost relieved… but at the same time, he wanted to see those eyes back on him, and it was so fucking confusing….

And yeah yeah god is great yeah yeah god is good
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

Sena turned to the Oujou corner. For a moment, he looked back up at Akaba, but the redhead was staring intently at him, strumming away, in the perfect synchrony with him. Sena smiled at him thankfully, and something flashed in those crimson eyes, but Sena didn't have time to think about it –

What if God was one of us
Just a slob like one of us

Ootawara grinned at him, giving him thumbs up, and Sena chuckled,

Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home

Sakuraba smiled at him, a little sadly, his blue eyes strangely bright. Sena squeezed his shoulder understandingly, albeit a little shyly.

He's trying to make his way home
Back up to heaven all alone
Nobody calling on the phone
Except for the pope maybe in Rome

Shin stared at the small brunette thoughtfully. He remembered his endless hours of training, to somehow reach for the elusive perfection, those late hours he returned from his evening run to the empty house. Sakuraba would be the only one to call him, but the phone was always damaged somehow… He had a simple routine – but even simplicity didn't make the fact, that he was alone, go away.

And yeah yeah God is great yeah yeah God is good
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

Until he had met Sena. At first, as Eyeshield 21, and then, he saw him, a small boy, with big brown eyes –

And he had felt alive like never before, as he was running alongside the slight boy as they were going after the thieves that had stolen Monta's money.

And so, he had begun running in the morning, as he met Sena one day on the run, hoping he would catch the elusive feeling one more time.

Those mornings Sena joined him, were the most precious memories to him.

Sena gave him a small, heartfelt smile, before turning around, and slowly going back to the stage.

He inhaled, and sang out, a quirky smile, as he tossed Monta a bunch of bananas,

What if god was one of us
Just a slob like one of us

Flushing, Monta caught them, amongst the amused laughter of a crowd, and Sena sang on, his eyes catching the aquamarine ones.

Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home

Kakei nodded to him, a strange light in his eyes…. Sena blinked. What was with those guys, giving him meaningful glances!? In the corner of his eye, he saw Mamori neesan and Suzuna going starry-eyed, and he inwardly shuddered. God save him from them..

Yamato was jealous. He was watching Sena dance and sing and somehow, those guys he made contact with, no matter which one, by touch or by eyes only – for the short moment, they were Sena's world, and he didn't like that! He wanted -

Just trying to make his way home
Like a holy rolling stone

And Sena was staring at him - all right, he only looked at Yamato for the short time, but Yamato was definitely hooked now….

Back up to heaven all alone
Just trying to make his way home

Hiruma quirked his eyebrow at Sena, polishing his beloved AK – 47, and Sena imagined he could actually see a hint of smile of his commander from his face, but who would know with Hiruma…

Sena was now back on the stage, and his eyes were closed again, as he sang away the last words of the song, his voice becoming tender and quieter, as Akaba strummed the chords away.

Nobody calling on the phone
Except for the pope maybe in Rome

The last accords rand out, and then…. Silence.

Sena flushed.

And the first to speak was, of course, Akaba. "Sena… Why the hell do you think you can't sing?" His voice was incredulous. The crowd was quiet, as all of them wanted to know the reason. Sena shrugged, blushing even more. "Ummm… Because I'm not good enough? " He squeaked out.

And all hell broke loose.