Title: Valentine's Day

Characters/Pairings: Shin/Sena, Oujo team

Disclaimer: Eyeshield 21 belongs to Riichiro Inagaki, Yusuke Murata, and Shueisha. No one is profiting from anything written in this story.

Notes: This is my OTP for Eyeshield 21, so I'm worried about not doing it justice. I originally wrote it in Shin's pov, but it was just too hard.

Thanks so much to everyone who reviewed my other stories. :)

Sakuraba was greeted by a chorus of hushing noises as walked out of the locker room. He was frankly a bit surprised that his teammates had decided to hang around after practice. It was Valentine's Day, after all, and they had spent the entire time complaining; not even Shogun's strict scolding could pry most of the players away from the girls who had gathered at the fence.

Agota motioned for him to look around the corner. He sighed and did as he was bidden. Deimon's star runningback was talking to Shin, but it wasn't that unusual an occurrence. Sena was the only one in Kantou who could compete with Shin in speed, after all, and they had taken to practicing together.

Sena was wearing his school uniform, though, so he obviously wasn't there for training. And he was fidgeting with something in his hands... Oh. Sakuraba realized. He leaned in closer so he could hear what they were saying.

"Um... well, I mean," Sena's voice was high pitched and his face flushed deep red. Finally, he thrust out a package towards Shin and said in one big breath, "Hereiboughtthisforyouhappyvalentines."

Shin just stared at the proffered package, his face as blank as ever.

Sakuraba resisted the strong urge to go over and smack his friend. Hard. At least a dozen girls had approached Shin that day, only to be curtly turned down one after another. Shin wasn't cruel, Sakuraba assured them – he was just socially retarded. He never bothered himself with things that didn't relate to football. And ever since junior high, Shin had been on a Spartan diet that would have pushed anyone else to the brink. Consuming any sort of junk food was heresy for him.

"Poor Sena-kun," Sakuraba thought. "A good kid like him deserves better." He noticed that some of his teammates had similar frustrated expressions. The little runningback was like a particularly cute puppy, he mused – only jerks like Kongou Agon couldn't love him.

Sena, after that long, awkward moment, was quickly stashing his present back in his bag. "I'm sorry, I did something stupid... I mean, I know you don't like junk food, and no one would be happy getting a Valentine from a guy, anyway... but I just thought, well... I'm really sorry! Excuse me!"

The group of eavesdroppers sighed in unison, preparing to help wipe away the poor boy's tears, but Shin stopped them in their tracks.

"No, I'll take it."

Sena finally looked up Shin, eyes wide and hopeful, as he took out the package again. "Really?"

Sakuraba watched in shock as his friend received the chocolates and thanked his rival. And when Sena smiled brightly before scrambling out of the room, he thought he saw the corners of Shin's mouth twitch up.

The rest of team just stood in their hiding place, stupefied, until Watanabe finally stuttered out, "Did Shin really...?"

As strange as the linebacker seemed at first impression, once you got to know him, there was no one more predictable. Seeing even the slightest deviation from his rigid schedule... it was like Shogun giving them a day off or Otawara solving complex mathematical equations. Sakuraba shook his head, not displeased with the turn of events.

"That chocolate is full of fat and carbs, you know," he commented as he walked around the corner.

Shin nodded, his face now clear of emotion. "Yes. I will adjust my nutritional intake and exercise regimen accordingly."

"You've never accepted gifts on Valentine's before."

"Kobayakawa Sena gave me this," Shin stately flatly, as though that simple statement explained everything; on the second thought, Sakuraba supposed that it did.

"Isn't it great that someone's training Shin how to act like a human?" Mayumura teased. Everyone had always given their new captain space, mindful of their place as Shin's practice target, but the atmosphere felt somehow lightened.

"I know – let's get Sena-kun to teach him how to use electronics!" Agota pitched in.

"I feel bad for Sena-kun, though. Can you imagine what Shin will get him for White Day?"