Disclaimer: No, I don't own the Eyeshield 21, nor do in own the characters; I own only the story and OOC quirks of the characters I am toying with….Oh, and I also don't own the song Runaway, it's property of Avril Lavigne, our bad little girl /snerks/

Warnings: Well, not much in this chapter, but massive flashback… and that's it. Oh, and Akaba moaning about the unfairness of the world in general /smirks/

Shout Out: Thanks for your nagging – a.k.a. reviews, dudes and dudettes, without, I would be just one more lazy daydreamer around! And Starhawk, good work on torturing… err, pairing Sena…You rock! This chapter is dedicated all those writers that amuse us with their captivating stories…. What would we do without you, really?

Oh, and Happy New Year!

Akaba was on the prowl.

Since he had heard the Deimon Devil bats running back singing - at first when the Huh Huh Sankyoudai dared him to, and after, when he played piano, he was obsessed with the idea of bringing the chibi in his band.

Or making him sing… and possibly play.

Or both.

It was a crime to let such a great talent like Sena rotting away, just so Hiruma would have his wicked way with him and his golden legs….

Err… shall we forget the last sentence?

Although it was true. Sena was fantastic running back, worthy of his new title, Eyeshield 21, but there was no doubt Yamato and Riku would chase after him, along with him.

No. Not Akaba; he admitted to himself, Sena had won their confrontation fair and square; besides, he wasn't the real Eyeshield, anyway. So let Yamato and Riku chase after that title. Akaba had more important work to do…

Like luring Sena away from Hiruma, and somehow bribe/plead/make him to play and sing again.

The problem was, Sena seemed determined to not sing and/or play in public, unless pressured into it, and Hiruma being his guard dog.

Akaba had heard the horrifying tales about the demonic blond often enough that he knew he shouldn't fuck up with him, lest he lose his dignity and honour. The NASA /Aliens' coach did just that, and the Deimon quarterback made him a laughing stock of the whole world, thus pressuring him into a match with Deimon Devilbats; although it seemed that Taiyou Sphinxes would be their chosen opponents. And the matches against Hakushuu Dinosaurs with their monster of a lineman Gaou, then Shinryuuji Nagas with Kongo twins and Ikkyu with the infamous Golden Dragonfly, Oujou White Knights with Ootawara, Takami, Sakuraba and Shin with Ballista, and finally, Teikoku Alexanders, the one team that remained undefeated for 35 years…. Until Deimon Devilbats came along, Speed with Sena, Strength with Kurita, and Tactics with Hiruma, along with the support of the whole ragtag team of theirs – and they, somehow, won over Teikoku, just as Sena predicted they would.

The match was insane – at first it seemed that Deimon was hopelessly outclassed, and they were just one more crappy team, destined to fail under the pressure of Teikoku All – Star team , but the second half brought around a dramatic change, courtesy of Sena's Devil 4th Dimension run, Yukimitsu's insane determination, and Hiruma's almost unreal belief in his team. Despite how many times Teikoku cowed in Deimon Devilbats, the red and white players stood up again and again, playing as if that would be their last game, that would decide their life and death.

It was beautiful game, and anyone who saw it was satisfied, especially the players that had gone versus Deimon in the past, were pleased they had played and lost to that particular team.

The devil team, as they were called after the match, was the only one that had any chance to beat Teikoku. Scratch that… they didn't have any chances…. Less than 0.001 chance in fact, but. They. Did. It.

Their determination had been terrifying. With Hiruma as their brains, and Sena as the heart of their team, the Devil bats were unstoppable. Hiruma had finally realised his dream, to play in the finale, and most importantly, win the Christmas Bowl. And all that thanks to that fucking brat, named Kobayakawa Sena.

So, of course, Sena was elevated from the status of fucking brat, to having a doubtful privilege of being Hiruma's honorary little brother.

So. Woe betide anyone who would dare to harm the little brunette, if they didn't want to call upon themselves combined wrath of Hiruma, Mamori, and the entire Devilbat team….

… And therein laid Akaba's problem. How to talk Hiruma out of making Akaba a living target for his shooting practice, and into scheming to make Sena sing?

"Oi. Fucking red."

Akaba stiffened. There was only one person that called him that derogatory remark.

Hiruma Youichi, the Hell Commander himself.

Slowly, he turned around. "Yes, Hiruma-san?"

Sena was reading the book. Or trying to. The day was snowed in, and all was quiet, as it was relatively early, and with winter holidays around the corner, nobody particularly wanted to get out of their warm beds, not even those annoying morning people.

He was quietly humming to himself, smiling, as he remembered the finale of the American football season. It was scary experience, going against so strong opponent, tantamount to yanking the hungry lion for it's tail.

Well, all was well that ended well…. Still, looking back, Sena still could not believe they dethroned the reigning kings of Japan football teams. Nobody could believe it, either.

The victory was sweet, but Sena cherished the friends made in the match even more.

Like Honjou Taka…. Or Yamato Takeru, now ex-Eyeshield 21, as he had passed the prestigious title on Sena. Sena thought Yamato would be angry ant him as he was not Eyeshield anymore, but Yamato quickly assured him that was not the case, which reassured the petite running back greatly. They exchanged the phone numbers, with Sena goggling at the assorted number of 2479 entries registered.

It… It was unbelievable! Sena had thought he would be bullied in the school, just as on any other day, but in some short seconds, his life changed around, courtesy of that rapid dash past the Hell Commander himself, Hiruma Youichi. Looking back, he couldn't help but hum happily the song he felt it was appropriate expression of his feelings on the whole matter.


Got up on the wrong side of life today, yeah
Crashed the car and I'm gonna be really late

How he remembered that run, his beating heart as he prayed all the gods he knew of, to let his entrance exam be successful…. True, Mamo – neechan was supportive of him what with her patiently tutoring him, but Sena just couldn't…. on the way, he dodged around the objects, zipping past one car that a second later crashed into wall, the driver's expletives loud in his ears… Sena cringed and sped up even more, even if he really didn't want to….

My phone doesn't work 'cause it's out of range
Looks like it's just one of those kind of days

Then Hiruma's hat trick with phones, the Huh – brothers chasing him, as always…. Ahh, those kinds of days, as if nothing would change, as if he would always be a pushover, always would be bullied and always relying on Mamori-neechan.

You can't kick me down I'm already on the ground
No you can't 'cause you couldn't catch me anyhow

And then that fateful match with Ojou White Knights… to be summarised in one word - Oooww. Those damn Spear tackles hurt more than anything he experienced before. Yes, he was fast. Yes, he made a stir between the White Knights. Yes, they just HAD to send out Shin-san, the one monster linebacker who was fast enough to catch and crush him like an ant.

Sena went faster. And faster.


Blue skies but the sun isn't coming out no
Today it's like I'm under a heavy cloud

… It just didn't work. They were still stomped down, despite Hiruma – san's efforts, despite Sena's speed….

And those photos…. All right, they were mostly of Sakuraba and Ojou's team formations, but there was single photo of Shin-san….

He cried. Bitter tears, as he remembered that hey were defeated, that he wouldn't have chance to go against Shin-san anymore… and somehow, that hurt more than hundred Spear tackles combined. Luckily, Kurita told him there was still fall tournament, and Sena's hopes blazed anew, brighter than before.

The rain was heavy, pounding down his slender back, wetting his white shirt as he panted, doing the ladder drill, faster, better, reaching higher…. The dark clouds his only witnesses, grumbling their growly music, adding it to rhythm of his crazed heart…

And I… Feel so alive
I can't help myself, don't you realize

He couldn't help himself,. He was still scared. He was still timid little first year that was somehow dragged into the whole fucking mess… but somehow, some way he began to enjoy the craziness, and when Mamori tugged him to follow her, he let his hand go of hers.

He couldn't help himself. It was so wonderful to be a part of something bigger, to be a part of that whole…. Although, Hiruma-san was really scary with all his guns…

When he put on his helmet, his entire world became green, netted with the paths of speed only he could see… And somehow, it reassured him.

Yes, this would be painful. Yes, Hiruma would roar and fire rounds from his guns. Yes, he would berate himself for being an idiot later when the match would be finished, as his ribs would once again protest violently, along with his throbbing legs…

But… he was ALIVE.

I just wanna scream and lose control
Throw my hands up and let it go

Yeah, he wanted to scream, to roar, to howl against the injustice of losing against Seibu Wild Gunmen, against the whole world for all he was worth, for his shattered dreams of not playing against Shin-san, he wanted to yell into the wind as his legs throbbed yet again, as he dashed the hundredth time after the damned little stone as he stopped for a moment on that hot hell called road …

Forget about everything and runaway yeah

He wanted to forget about that ridiculous notion of Christmas Bowl, yeah, more like Christmas Hell, and run somewhere over hills, away from Hiruma, away from MAX-es of that stupid monkey, away, away, just away….

I just want to fall and lose myself
Laughing so hard it hurts like hell

Yeah, he had his share of stupid moments… like the one he somehow ended in the corral, full of lions…, completely drunk out of his mind, of when he face palmed at Hiruma-san's interpretation of Eyeshield 21… he wanted to laugh if only to expel that strange sense of shame and amusement out of his body… and let's not forget that cross-dressing episode…. He sweatdropped.

Forget about everything and runaway yeah

Yeah, ya that would be solution, ya…. Sadly, Hiruma was probably the only one person in the whole existence that could and would make his runaway difficult, what with his infamous black book of true and embarrassing horror stories and other random facts. So yeah, better be on Hiruma's safer side…. On the other thought,… does Hiruma actually HAVE safer side?

Sena sweatdropped.

So So is how I'm doing if you're wondering
I'm in a fight with the world but I'm winning

Shin-san, Akaba-san, Riku-kun…. Slowly, but surely, Sena was dragging himself out of the self-imposed/dumped on funk of being the famous Eyeshield 21 that went to Notredame University.

Well, it was Akaba-san that gave him the proverbial kick into the arse for wearing the Eyeshield without being truthful of who really was…along with Kakei-san, of course.

It was a hard decision, to leave the eyeshield behind, and step on the field without being anything but himself. He thought he was dead for sure… nobody went against Hiruma-san's wishes and get away with it without a fucking enormous amount of head trauma, at least.

And he won… No they all won, against Bando Spiders, but Sena especially, went against Akaba Hayato, against the Spider poison, against all odds, and…


But most importantly, he went against himself, against his sense of unworthiness, and emerged a victor, if only for that one day.

Stay there come closer it's at your own risk
Yeah you know how it is life can be a bitch

No matter how the things were turning out to be, the fact that remained was, that there was always something to sacrifice to get the things they wished to reach. Sena had to; once again, burden himself with the cumbersome title of Eyeshield 21, just to reach the last frontier, where he would meet the one that was the inspiration for the glory of the title he had so crudely borrowed, on Hiruma's insistence.

But I feel so alive
I can't help myself, don't you realize

Although his opponents, Kakei-san and Akaba-san, along with Riku-kun, insisted the title was his right after he had defeated them… It didn't matter.

What mattered was, he felt alive.

I just wanna scream and lose control
Throw my hands up and let it go

Yeah, he wanted to taste that feeling of freedom as much as he could. Without it, he felt only half as alive as before. He wanted to release all the brakes, and… just let go.

Forget about everything and runaway yeah
I just want to fall and lose myself

Sena smiled to himself. He enjoyed being a part of the whole, he enjoyed participating in the roughhousing on the field, he enjoyed running like the wind, streaking across the ground like lighting.

Laughing so hard it hurts like hell
Forget about everything and runaway yeah

He enjoyed forgetting about anything but running, and outwitting his opponent, and the sweet ecstasy of scoring touchdown.

Runaway Runaway……

/End Flashback/

Closing his eyes, he imagined he could feel pounding his legs against the pavement, the scorching heat of the sun on his face, as he was running, chasing after the image of perfection, straining himself to be the best he could be.

I just wanna scream and lose control
Throw my hands up and let it go

Sena sang on, imagining the accompanying crash of the music alongside his voice, his smile strangely feral, not Sena-like…not at all.

Forget about everything and runaway yeah
I just want to fall and lose myself

His voice rose and fell naturally, as if he was born for just this song…

Laughing so hard it hurts like hell
Forget about everything and runaway yeah

He spun around….

Erp –

How did he end in THOSE situations!?