Because You Never Asked
Mamori shivered in the cold weather and pressed her nose up to the department store's large window pane, her breath slowly steaming up the clear glass, "Look at him!" She breathed, awed, "Wow. His fingers look so graceful." She pressed her face closer, eager to watch and listen more.
"Oi! Fucking manager!" Hiruma snapped at her, his gun nonchalantly resting on his shoulder, earning him several peculiar glances and suspicious murmurs, "Stop gawking at the fucking pianist, our new cleats aren't going to stay on hold forever!"
She ignored him and closed her eyes, letting only her senses of touch and sound guide her thoughts. The feeling of the snowflakes biting her skin and the sound of the high plinking sounds being used.
"Isn't that what your threat book's for?" Sena asked innocently and pointed at the small, black book sticking out of Hiruma's back pocket. Murmurs of agreement passed through the rest of the team.
Hiruma said nothing but expressed his annoyance through the look that flashed across his face and brought down his gun to begin to shoot harmlessly at their feet, causing them to yelp and dance around to avoid being shot in the foot.
"Y-you guys can go, I want to listen some more." Mamori chattered through frozen teeth, still utterly enraptured by the soft gentle music drifting out of the apartment store's open doors, "I'll catch up with you when you get back to the field," She meandered into the department store, relishing the warmth it gave. It took no time for her to make a beeline to the direction the music was coming from.
"Whaaat?" Monta howled, his eyes flaming, "Does that mean that…guy is closer to winning Mamori's heart than I am?" He pointed at the handsome young man playing the large piano in the center of the store and fled inside, seething angrily. After seeing the man smile back at Mamori's warm one, steam nearly shot out of his large ears.
Taki's eyes widened in horror, "No! I must go protect Mamori-hime's innocence from that dreadful man!" He danced and twirled elegantly into the store after Monta, smiling idiotically for the other customers who gave him stares nearly as wary as the ones directed to the seething team captain.
"Didn't know the idiot even knew words as big as 'dreadful'." Jumonji muttered to the other two Hah Brothers who nodded and mumbled their agreements and walked into the store with them, keen on the idea to relieve themselves of the ridiculously cold weather.
Musashi sighed, "I guess I better go keep them all under control. Come on, Kurita." Kurita nodded meekly in agreement and obediently followed him into the store. Komusubi grunted and waddled in behind the two larger boys, leaving Suzuna and Sena the only ones left in the seething devil's presence.
"You brats better not fucking go in there either, understand?" He turned on the two small teenagers.
Suzuna put her hands on her hips and pouted, "Aw…come on, You-nii!" She whined, either ignoring or being totally oblivious to the large purple vein throbbing dangerously on Hiruma's temple.
Sena, realizing the what would happen if they did stay, quickly seized her small hand and sprinted full speed into store, not entirely eager to have Hiruma take his rage out on the both of them.
Hiruma watched as he sped off with the idiot's sister hand in hand and blinked furiously. He took out his threat book and scribbled something down in it before stomping into the department store, snarling at unfortunate passer-bys and cursing under his breath about "Stupid fucking pianos" and "Fucking brats".
Mamori sighed as she picked up the shoe boxes and deposited them in the corner next to the garbage can. She walked back to the table and sat opposite of the furiously typing Hiruma, sighing once more and resting her head in her hands.
Hiruma looked up from his typing and raised an eyebrow, "What the hell is your problem? You've been sighing ever since we've gotten back from the fucking department store." He popped his bubblegum and began chewing it once more.
She sighed and positioned her cheek in the palm of her hand, "I don't know, I just feel…regretful." She sighed once more and got up to fill his empty coffee mug, "I really wish I had taken the chance to play the piano when I was younger, my mom can play it beautifully and even tried to teach me, but I guess I just got too impatient." She said bashfully and poured the coffee into the mug, "Now she's just too busy to teach me."
"Hn." Was his only response other than the loud snap of his gum popping again. She set the coffee back down on the table and sat next to him, watching him type. How silly of her to think that her ridiculous little problems would warrant anymore of a reaction out of the spiky haired teenager.
She let her gaze wander from the tips of his blond hair to the sharp features of his face. Hm. How appropriate for such sharp, scathing words to come out of such a sharp, severe mouth. Her roaming stare dropped from his face to his shoulders and down his arms. Suddenly, she reached out and picked up his hand, unable to stop herself.
"Hey! What the hell do you think you're doing, fucking manager?" He tried to snatch his hand back, but her grip was stronger than what he would've expected from such a slim girl. He watched as she examined his hand with interest and closed his laptop shut with his free hand, "You finished?"
Mamori looked up at him as if only realizing that he was the owner of the hand and blushed, "I--sorry." She looked back at his hand and traced his knuckles, "You've got beautiful hands, it's no wonder you can throw a football so well. They'd be perfect for the piano." She placed her hand against his, comparing his slender, long fingers against her stubbier and fatter ones and frowned.
Hiruma jerked his hand out of her grip finally and narrowed his eyes, "Football's supposed to be the only thing on your mind, stop thinking about piano."
Mamori opened her mouth to retort back angrily, but thought better of it and picked up the broom to begin sweeping the clubhouse-now-arcade-and-casino. After a few minutes of quiet keyboard tapping and sweeping, Mamori spoke quietly, "I won't be here Tuesday afternoons anymore."
Hiruma's tapping ceased suddenly as he glowered at her and asked in an even calmer, quieter voice, "Why?"
She shrugged, "I have something else to do."
"You know I'll find out anyways, spit it out."
She continued to sweep, careful to keep her back to him, "I'm taking piano lessons. The guy at the store is teaching me." She put the broom back in the corner and began sorting through the helmets, putting them smallest to largest.
She turned around at the slam of the door to find she was the only one left in the clubhouse.
The next few weeks of training past stressfully and stiflingly. Hiruma and Mamori just…stopped speaking to each other; there were no more loud arguments involving guns and brooms, just suffocating silence between the two. Although both of them had suspected that it had been affecting the team little by little, neither of them did anything to patch up the drift between them.
When asked by the team what was happening between them, Mamori would only smile and lie, "Absolutely nothing, we just don't have much to argue over anymore." If anyone even attempted to subtly guide a conversation with Hiruma in the direction of the frostiness between the manager and quarterback, he would merely take out his gun and shriek, "Slacking off? Back to work, you fucking brats!"
Mamori mused about their 'relationship' as one might dare say, or lack thereof, after practice one day when Suzuna had come up with the absurd idea that it was all just sexual tension getting to them. It was a thought that made her laugh outright (which, more often than not, attracted concerned glances in her direction). Hiruma? Her? Sexual tension?
He was such an insufferable boy. Should he really care all that much if she decided to learn a new talent? God dammit, it was her life. She continued making notes while continuing her rant mentally; he was so…frustrating. She was sure that usually he would have her ass fired for it and get a new manager. So why didn't he already, if he was so mad?
She looked up at her sweaty and dirty team, a smile twitching at her lips. Maybe…maybe because he didn't want to break up the team like that, because even though she took no part on the field, she still contributed greatly. He knew that. His was proud…not stupid. And neither was she.
She frowned as she watched Hiruma chase them around the field, firing his machine gun maniacally. Maybe she wasn't being entirely fair. Maybe she was breaking up the team herself (with help of a certain quarterback too, and his stupid conceited ways), maybe she was being selfish causing such a harsh atmosphere around the hardworking team.
By the time that practice was over, Hiruma was sweating as badly as the rest of them when Mamori jogged over to him, a resolution stamped firmly in her mind, "Ah…Hiruma-kun,"
He ignored her and picked up what little equipment he had taken out to put away. Turning his head around to face her, "Listen, I don't have time to talk, fucking manager, if you have important information, leave it on the table in the clubhouse."
"But it's about my piano lessons--"
He turned around fully to snarl, "I don't want to fucking hear about your fucking piano lessons, okay?"
The manager blinked and took an unsteady step back. "But I think you do--"
"I don't." He hoisted more equipment onto his shoulder and smoothed back his spiky hair in the process, "Now go do whatever you do after school, fucking manager." He called over to the rest of the team who were trying to sneak away unnoticed after spying on the two. "Oi! Brats, come pick up this shit!" He dropped the equipment carelessly and stalked back to the clubhouse.
Mamori clenched her fists and ignored the team as they came rushing forward reluctantly like a large wave and hissed, "Fine, I'm sorry to have bothered you, Hiruma-san." She whispered and twirled around on her heel to storm the rest of the way home.
The house was extremely quiet without her mother there busying herself in the kitchen or watching her terribly cheesy soap operas. Looking up at the clock, Mamori sighed, she knew it wouldn't be fair to suddenly quit on Kawachi-kun so soon…
Actually, she was surprised she hadn't quit sooner. The passes he had begun to make on her were getting uncomfortably disgusting; his thigh 'accidentally' brushing against hers while observing her while she played next to him on the bench, his random grabbing of her wrist and hands, and his lewd comments that were said in context to make them just barely pass as innocent. She squirmed uncomfortably on the piano bench. Thinking back like this, she was so amazed she hadn't yet quit.
Perhaps she was more like Hiruma than she thought. It was the pride that prevented her from quitting. Pride of her wanting to constantly learn and be (as embarrassing as it was for her to admit) perfect and pride against Hiruma's. But, unlike Hiruma, she was able to sometimes push back her pride, which was why she was quitting. She had resolved earlier that day that football would come first no matter what. No, she had made that promise the first day she had joined Hiruma and the team.
She scowled. That stubborn…fool. She had been trying to make up with him! It annoyed her even further that her anger and thoughts kept bringing her back to reflecting on him…but she just could not stop.
Opening her songbook, she flipped through several coming across an easy song that Kawachi-kun had taught her earlier and began to gawkily move her fingers across a small space of the keyboard to produce a barely mediocre noise. Grinding her teeth in frustration, she continued to practice and practice until her patience had drawn a thin line. Finally, she just slammed her head against the keys and drew some satisfaction from the loud smashing noise.
A bit childish, yes. But gratifying nonetheless.
She continued to slam her head against the keys and added in her pounding fists to the obnoxious sound, laughing hysterically. Maybe this whole thing had made her sanity pack up and leave, hopefully on a temporary vacation. Her forehead was starting to hurt, but she continued, feeling the anger and irritation slowly leak out with each smash of her skull against the piano.
She persisted like this until she felt a pair of legs slipped in behind, shoving her further forward onto the bench and causing her to grow rigid with shock and alarm. She had heard no one enter, but of course, how could've she? Definitely not with the noise she had been making. Oh, why couldn't she remember if she locked the doors or not?
She straightened up, but in the awkward position she was in, she couldn't turn around and tell who was behind her. Alarm was making its way into fear and she was just about ready to scream until hands slipped underneath her arms and began flitting across the keys with envious amounts of grace.
She stopped her movements and squirming for a moment to stare at the fingers that danced their way across the piano to make the nearly eerily beautiful music. She didn't even remove her gaze to stare and scowl at her own, less than nimble fingers.
Hold. The. Phone.
She knew those strong, slim fingers. She sure as hell did. She had spent a whole three minutes and forty-three seconds studying them. Approximately.
The fingers stopped their melody, but remained still on the key board as she finally managed to twist her head around to glare at the blank face of the Deimon Devil Bats' captain.
"What are you doing…in my house?" She demanded and squirmed in her seat to find a more comfortable position to admonish the boy.
He merely grinned. "You know, when I came here, I thought I had my thoughts confirmed about you being a fucking psycho. Imagine what the world would think when they found out that dear Ms. Perfect has the patience of a four year old."
He reached into his pocket and drew out a cell phone. Flipping it open, he grinned even wider as Mamori's face drew into an expression of horror at the video that recorded her hysterical laughter and head slamming.
"Give me that!" She yelped and tried twisting on the bench to snatch the elusive cell phone from the long fingered hand of the devil who decided to grip her wrists to stop her squirming and twisting. Her twisting caused her to remember why she was twisting. Because she couldn't turn properly. Because Hiruma was blocking her. With his…legs.
Oh, God. OhGodohGodohGod.
She was sitting…between his legs.
She turned an uncontrollable shade of red and turned back around to slam her face against the keyboard again. This was getting awkward.
"What are you doing?" Hiruma asked with hints of amusement pocketed here and there and leaned over her shoulder to peer at her from a better angle, or with her luck and his morality levels, to take pictures. She stiffened as she felt him press closer and slammed her head even harder. Maybe if she lost enough brain cells she'd later forget about all of this.
"Relieving stress." She muttered.
"Why?" He leaned further against her and rested his pointed chin on her rigid shoulder. "Something got you...anxious?" Mamori could nearly smell, hear, and feel his wide, devilish grin, the one that always brought bad things upon her with the glinting of those pearly pointed teeth.
She groaned and was about to smash her head extra hard until Hiruma yanked her up by the
wrists he was still gripping. "You're no good to me brain dead." He pulled her back further against him, relishing the unease and blush rolling off of her in waves.
"Uh..." She coughed and desperately tried to change the subject, "Why didn't you ever tell me you knew how to play piano?" She blurted out and rotated her wrists experimentally to check if there was any way for escape.
"You never fucking asked." She could feel his tangy breath against the skin of her neck and she wanted nothing more than to leap away from the position she was currently in. Why was he being like this in the first place? This was almost like how they usually interacted…minus the small tug of sexual attraction that Mamori was reluctant to admit she was currently feeling. He was supposed to be mad at her right now! Right?
Maybe this was a trick. Maybe he was trying to put something other than her temporary breakdown into the Threat Book. Well. Mamori Anezaki was not one to lose in such a potentially degrading manner.
"What do you want?" She demanded and jerked herself forwards as hard as she could, startled when his hands suddenly let go of her wrists and let the momentum of her actions send her flying against the piano in an extremely undignified manner definitely unsuited for the Anezaki name.
Well, fine. Maybe there was no winning against this demon, but if she was about to go down in a degrading way, she wasn't going to go down quietly. Whipping around, she jabbed her finger against his shoulder and growled, "What the heck are you doing breaking and entering into my house?"
Hiruma leaned in close and grinned at her blushing face. "I never broke in. Your door was unlocked, fucking manager." He snapped a large bubble in her face and stood up to lean closer and pin her hands down against the keys.
Damn her and her forgetfulness. It was going to be the death of her.
"Y-you're not answering my question!"
"I guess you really want to know, huh?" He leaned in close enough for her to almost taste his minty breath. She cringed and turned a bright shade of red, those damn hormones were working up again. Maybe wanting know was exactly what she didn't want, or maybe she did. Having those thin, exceptionally good smelling lips right near her was getting to be exactly what she did want.
"You really want to know what I want?"
Mamori nodded dumbly from behind closed eyes. Even though she could still feel and his breath against her, eliminating one more sense seemed like it may be able to keep her head from exploding after remembering and seeing the proximity between the two.
"I want you…" He moved in close enough that if Mamori made a deep enough breath, she would be able to kiss him. Because of that, she held her breath, wishing more than anything another reason to just pass out.
"…To get your ass into gear and watch this tape to figure out the plays." A large black tape was slipped into her hand from God knows where and the warmth of his breath was suddenly absent. She blinked her eyes open and stared up at the smug looking face of the Deimon Devil Bats' captain with an open jaw.
"Your piano teacher won't be coming anymore. He just remembered he had something to do in…Egypt." He gave one of those devilish grins and opened his threat book to cross something out. After snapping it shut, he turned to her and glanced down at the tape that was threatening to fall out of her trembling fingers. "So you better fucking watch that and get some answers out of it. You're back on as a fulltime manager, no questions asked."
Normally, this would have been Mamori's cue to start shouting at the quarterback for being so controlling, but only continued to open and close her mouth unintelligibly; she was still in shock.
"You…you are a t-terrible person…" She finally managed to spit out feebly.
"What? Were you expecting something else?" He smirked at her and popped his gum loudly.
"Wh-what?" She sputtered out, "I don't know what you are--"
She was stunned into complete silence as he leaned over across the piano bench, placing his hands down on the piano with a loud obnoxious noise and pressing his lips against the corner of her mouth. Before she had time to react, he had already backed up and was across the room waving his camera that had a picture of her surprised face as he placed the kiss on her.
"See you at practice tomorrow, fucking manager." He scuttled out of the room, howling and roaring with laughter.
Oh, she was going to kill him.
I. Love. Eyeshield 21.
It's a fricken fantabulous series (manga?) that deserves SO much more credit and attention than it gets.
I don't even LIKE football and it's one of my favourite ones.