Disclaimer: I don't own Eyeshield 21 in anyway and no money is being earned off this story.
Summary: At the end of his freshman year, Sena's father gets transferred to USA. If that's not's the worst change in his life, Sena's mother demands that he stop playing American Football. A new life in America means a new start, but is it worth it without his friends, teammates and American Football? Sometimes you have to fight for what you want, and that's a lesson Sena learnt well with the Deimon Devil Bats. SenaxShin
EDITED - 2012
Sena sighed as he stood waiting for the teacher. It was Gym class. And Sena hated Gym; be it in Japan or America. The only thing he was good at was running, and after Hiruma and the training from Hell, American football. Now, Sena stood in the Gym wearing the annoying uniform and awaiting instructions.
The last week was hell. Max had been wrong. People had been drawn to him like moths to a flame. It wasn't like most of them hunted him down but more like, followed him and whispered. They stared and whispered. It was unsettling. And the week had gone past but it didn't stop. In fact, the news had spread and there were various schools that had come in hopes of recruiting him. Sena winced as he remembered when one coach had burst into the cafeteria and offered him a place at one of the top schools in America with a full scholarship and boarding. He had done it in front of his teammates. Max, Alex and Chris had stared in horror. Sena guessed that they had realized just how much people wanted Eyeshield 21 on their team.
Sena sighed as the teacher walked in. Inwardly he frowned as he wondered why teams wanted him so much. It was not like he could guarantee a win; it took a team to win. It took that fire to win. Sure, he was good and few could challenge him, but he was just a spark of that flame.
A whistle brought him out of his thoughts and Sena directed his attention at the teacher.
"Alright, today's lesson will be dodge ball. Line up in two lines, split down the centre! And, I don't care if your best friend is on the other team," the coach yelled out, causing Sena to wince. Sena just sighed and moved to his left, creating distance between himself and the 'other team'.
The game began with a whistle and Sena did what he did best: avoid anyone and anything. The fast reflexes he developed as a runner and as a footballer were put to the test.
Gym was not all that good as Sena realized the catching a dodge ball was a little bit different than a football. In the first round he fumbled and got hit by someone else. The second round he had been targeted by a group of boys in his class. He sat out the optional third round.
Sena shook his head as he observed the game in front of him. He couldn't use his speed, his only weapon, in dodge ball. In fact, the only thing Sena could use was footwork. He couldn't catch or throw the ball well. He was too used to a football. And that thought made Sena smile. He couldn't imagine his life without football.
It seemed that things were finally getting more to the normal standards when their next match came up. The Hawks were playing away. They were playing against a small town team who were decent but wouldn't make the next round. But it was an away match. They were leaving Saturday morning. American football hadn't been a big deal at Deimon until the Devil Bats were winning and making waves. Then again, most people were blackmailed into coming or playing by Hiruma. They avoided him like the plague. So it was slightly shocking to see the team spirit displayed as people came to see them off in the bus. People would also be following them in their cars!
Sena sighed and entered the bus. There really wasn't anyone who he had wanted to see him off. His father was working and his mother wouldn't come. She allowed him to play but she still hated the idea of him playing. She wanted an academic son who played 'safe' sports, like chess. Sena just wasn't like that.
Sena walked to the back of the bus and sat in one of the last rows by the window. He leaned against the window and sighed. He had stayed up later than usual the previous night finishing off his work and then having lessons with Hiruma. He just wanted to sleep during the drive there. Closing his eyes, Sena tried to block out the world.
Sena felt someone sit down beside him. Opening his eyes, he was met with a gold and green. Blinking, Sena recognized Alex's longish blond hair and green eyes. Oh, and the white was his shiny teeth because he was smiling. Sena looked at him owlishly.
Alex looked the younger boy and laughed. "You look tired, sorry for waking you."
Sena yawned and nodded, unknowingly, looking unbearably cute. Alex had to blink the image out of his mind. Shaking his head as the others laughed too, Alex said "Sleep. I'll wake you up when we get there."
Sena smiled gratefully and closed his eyes and drifted back off to sleep. Max and Chris turned around and settled into their seats.
For Sena, the trip passed by very fast and the nap seemed only a few minutes' longs. He felt he had just closed his eyes and he had to wake up again. The voice was insistent that he must wake up and someone was shaking his shoulder. Sena opened his eyes and felt warmth on his one cheek. It took a moment before Sena bolted up and blushed, apologizing to Alex for falling asleep on him.
Alex just waved it off with a smile and teased Sena that he was simply too cute when he was asleep and they didn't have the heart to wake him. Chris and Max joined the teasing though Alex assured him, with a wink ,that he didn't mind. Sena blushed but enjoyed the joking around his new friends. It something he hadn't even dreamed off before he joined the Devil Bats.
The team got ready in the change rooms with the normal chatter. This match was not expected to be a particularly difficult one but they couldn't let their guard down. Rumors were that the team had gotten two new players that were quite good. They were both linemen, Gerry and Julius.
Sena sat down quietly as he waited for the coaches to come in and gave the usual pep talk. They still had time before the match though and Sena was starting to feel the nerves. The adrenaline spreading through his body and the anticipation build. He was finally wearing the Hawks uniform. Sena smiled at the thought as he inspected his shirt.
"What are you smiling about, Sena?" Alex's voice asked, cutting through his thoughts. Sena jumped slightly and blushed lightly at his actions. Alex, already dressed and ready to go, sat down next to him.
'Come to think of it,' Sena thought, 'Alex is a lot taller than me. I only come up to his shoulder when sitting. Then again, I'm like half of Chris's height and Max is only slightly shorter than Alex...'
"Sena?" Alex asked, waving his hand in front of Sena's face as the younger boy zoned out.
"Oh!" Sena gave a start. "Sorry!" Sena blushed red before answering, "I was just thinking it was nice to finally have a Hawks uniform and then I realized how short I am compared to guys. Why is everyone in America so tall?"
Alex stared at Sena. Chris and Max had entered the conversation when Alex tried to get Sena's attention. They too stared. They blinked as they all processes what Sena had said. Blinked again before burst out laughing.
Sena blushed harder and glared at them. He pouted slightly, "Well! You asked!" he all but huffed.
They were interrupted by the Coach Nickle entering, with the two assistant coaches: Boone and Yoast. The team quieten down and most of the players were ready and waiting.
"Alright," Coach Nickle said, gathering attention, "We are playing two separate lines. No one will play both ways unless we need to. This should be a fairly simple game as most of you will remember from last year but watch out for the two new guys, Gerry and Julius Titan. Both have been hunted down for scholarships.
Seeing the nods of the team's general agreement, Coach Nickle nodded before adding, "Be ready to exit in five."
The Hawks ran out on the field, fueled by the cheering and the school band playing, lead on by their captain, Max. The opposition, R.L. Eagles were watching them with weary eyes.
The game began with the first whistle, and Sena found himself on the bench. Coach Nickle had asked him to sit on the bench for the first plays. That he would play Sena as soon as they could read the other team's style of plays. Sena had agreed, more than happy to cheer his teammates on. It was slightly weird that the team didn't need to reply sole on him to win but it was relieving. Sena remembered all too well the pressure during the World Cup.
The Hawks were already nine points up and the Eagles had yet to score. But that didn't mean they weren't putting up a fight. Sena's eyes narrowed. From what he gathered, the Eagles had drastically improved and rallied around the new blood. Sometimes it is the smallest things that can give a team hope. Sena knew that all too well. All it took was one play.
Sena remembered what Hiruma said. "When the opposition gains momentum, you must shut them down early. Don't give them that moment of hope. Don't let one play of theirs influence their mindset. Destroy their mindset and you have almost won the match."
Sena sighed and eyed Coach Nickle nervously. He wanted to point it out but it wasn't his place. Sena looked around and spotted Max drinking some water as the defense took the field. Sena grinned and approached him. Max looked up and met Sena's brown gaze.
"What's the matter?" Max asked, seeing Sena's face.
Sena sighed and replied in a quiet voice, "They are gaining momentum. If we don't stop them now with a mind shattering play it could get dangerous. Winning the mental battle is half the match."
Max stared at Sena for a moment before his eyes drifted to the coach. His eyes widened at what their running back ace was saying. Max nodded and walked over to the coach to have a word. Sena watched the exchanged from his spot on the bench, as the coach nodded to what Max was saying before shooting Sena an approving look.
"Sena!" the coach called as the defense line walked off the field for a change over. "Max!"
The two walked to the coach, "Sena, you're in for Anthony. Max, we are going to hit them hard. Do the Nelson 23 with a reverse corkscrew."
Sena had stared at the coach as he mentally tried to figure out what the hell he just said. Sena racked his brains. Nelson 23 was the normal running back play. Reverse corkscrew was...? Sena frowned before blinking. It was double pass and then a back pass with a pass-off to the running back.
Sena sighed in relief as he followed Max onto the field. He had been worried he wouldn't remember which play and how the play worked. That would have disastrous to say the least. Joining the circle of players on the field, Sena smiled at his teammates. He didn't really know everyone by name but he could recognize their faces. He was only close to Max, Chris and Alex on the team. They were the only ones who befriended him when no one knew who he was and Sena was fine with that.
Breaking the circle, Sena got into position. He would buy time by joining the linemen and then appear out of nowhere for the back pass. Sena's breathing calmed and his eyes steeled over. The familiar feeling fell over him. The one he had when he played. The adrenalin-filled calm. And he loved it.
The whistle blew and the linemen jerked forward to stop the opposition. As their team got set up, one of the opposition's linemen broke free and dashed towards Max. Sena then bolted. Using a fast acceleration, Sena threw his body at the player, buying Max those few seconds to pass the ball on. Sena got up and disappeared into the fray, leaving behind a confused lineman.
The ball passed forward again as the opposition defense finally caught up. But before he was tackled, the Hawk passed the ball backwards to Max. The Eagle's defense ran up field to defend against a long pass. They didn't expect Max to pass the ball back into Sena's hands.
Sena's hands clutched the ball and tucked it with his one arm. Looking through his eyeshield, Sena could see the holes in the defense as he sprinted. He ran at the speed of light, passing all the defenders, no matter what they tried. He unconsciously used his trademark moves such as the Devil Ghost and the 4th Dimension. He was running on pure instinct.
Reaching the other side, Sena's hearing came back from hearing only his heart's pounding to the cheering of the wild crowd. The Eagles stared in absolute horror at the small player that moved like lightening: fast, wild and unpredictable.
And then the chants filled the field as the Hawk supporters went mad.
"Eye-shield! Eye-shield! Eye-shield!"
Sena smirked at Max. They had done quite a mental blow to the Eagles and it showed in their eyes.
The game ended with a score of 52-0. The Hawks had a walk over game and Sena truly understood how much a mental battle a game could be. Sena was feeling slightly tired, more so from earlier rather than the game. After the shower and changing, Sena yawned as he entered the bus, ready to sleep all the way back. Surprisingly, Alex sat next to him again and gave him a smile while nodding. Chris and Max sat in front of them. Sena nodded off to sleep while the rest of the team chatted excitedly at their win.
"Why do you think he's so tired?" Chris asked Max, who in turn frowned. Max sighed and he shook his head, "It's the school work. He has to work twice as hard because English is his second language. He studied everything in Japanese for years and now he's taking a higher level of English not to mention all his subjects in English. Imagine you moving to Japan and going to a Japanese school."
Chris and Alex winced at the thought. Alex finally said, "We should offer to help him. We can't speak Japanese but we can help him with maths and understanding some subjects."
The other two nodded and smiled at sleeping boy who had become their friend and teammate. There was just something about him that screamed at you to protect him, even if you knew how capable he was.
Hiruma grinned as he read the Fucking Shrimp's report. He was actually using his lessons with his new team and coming up with some interesting ideas. He was starting to understand the different facets to the game and without realizing it: what it took to be a captain.
But there were bigger things foot. His sources say that there would be only one Bowl that year and it was to be delayed. It was to allow more training time. After the Bowl, certain teams and players would be invited to a training camp. This training camp was for the Youth World Cup. But this world cup was universities and High Schools. At the camp the team to represent Japan would be chosen.
But it bought the Devil Bats time to get back their AWOL captain from America. There was another frustration. He couldn't get the brat to transfer back until the next month. It was the soonest he could come back. But then there was also the problem that the Brat was getting attached to his team over there.
Hiruma frowned. Perhaps another training camp was in order. And with that, he smirked evilly. The team suddenly got shivers down their spines and turned slowly to their temporary captain. With the smirk-smile on his face they wished for a quick painless death for whatever he was planning.
Shin Seijuro checked his e-mail. By himself. Without destroying anything. He was cured, or at least partially. Back to the topic at hand, Shin was pleased to see an e-mail from his rival-friend. It seemed that things were going better in America and he was enjoying himself. Shin frowned at this. He had made new friends and teammates.
But he always spoke of there in particular: his Captain Max and Chris and Alex. There was something burning in his chest which made Shin frown. It wasn't heartburn or a heart attack. Why was he angry that Sena made new friends?
A chill entered Shin as he thought of something new: what if Sena didn't want to come back? What if he liked his new team enough to stay. What if never got to see him again?
Shin frowned as he read the cheerful e-mail and his frown deepened. He liked the younger boy and wanted to see him again. He wanted him to be happy so why he angry that Sena was having a good time at his new school.
'Maybe,' Shin pondered, 'maybe it's because I don't want to lose him as a friend.' And that thought struck Shin hard. He sat there and stared at the computer screen.
Shin sighed and carefully wrote a reply, stating how things were going in Japan and with his team. He also asked the question: when are you coming back?
Shin sent off the e-mail and hoped for a quick reply. Shin smiled as he thought of the younger boy. He wished Sena was back already. He missed spending time with him.
Yamato frowned as he read the e-mail he had gotten about Christmas Bowl. It wasn't going to postponed, rather, brought forward. The Spring Tournament would be cut short, ending at District level. Without a second thought, he forwarded it to all the team captains. Well, the ones that had his respect. And Sena-kun. He definitely had to know if he was going to come back in time.
There was no doubt in his mind that the Eyeshield 21 would return to the Japanese shores and something told him that the Sena that would return would be an even bigger threat on the field. And a part of Yamato couldn't wait for it.
The next two week past by incredible fast for Sena and the Hawks. It was a two week break before the regional tournament of the teams that were still in the running. Then only the first two would go to the national tournament. And that would take place right after Regional's. Max had explained that everything had been pushed forward for some reason that everyone was being tight lipped about. Sena had frowned as he remembered Yamato's e-mail and the hints that Hiruma had been dropping.
The Tournament was being held as knockout rounds in the capital of each region. The Hawks were going to be away from school for a week to able to take part. There would be living in a hotel for the week and a half, and training everyday there wasn't a match.
Sena had packed himself but his mother had hovered by the door the whole time. She didn't want him to leave to play American Football, no matter how he tried to convince her otherwise, but at the same time she worried about him. that he wouldn't pack everything or forget something important. Sena sighed and he knew he had no doubt that when he went to sleep she would double check everything herself.
Sena couldn't wait for the tournament. It was a huge step for the team if they could make it past regional's, unlike the previous years. And Sena wanted to help his friends achieve their dream.
The morning to leave finally came and Sena said goodbye to his parents. His mother just pretended he wasn't going to go and play football and hugged him goodbye. His father wished him luck and told him to do his best. Sena smiled. He wouldn't just do his best, and a very Hiruma-like smirk crossed his features as he thought, 'I won't just do my best, I'll make sure we win.'
Sena grabbed the bus that morning as he wasn't carrying his bag all the way to school. Sena hadn't used the bus since the first day so he was hyper aware when everyone stared at him. Sena knew there were rumors flying around the school and most students were shocked at exactly who he was. Sena did his best to ignore it all.
Finally getting off the bus, Sena made his way across the car park to his team that was waiting. Sena smiled at the three that were waiting for him. Alex and Chris dragged him onto the bus after putting his bag away for him. They had reserved seats and a place for Max who was handling the register of who had arrived.
The bus trip was boring which he slept through most of it. Sena sat next to Alex yet again while Chris and Max sat in front of them. It was routine now. While Sena slept, leaning against Alex; Chris and Max turned around wearing large grins.
Alex swallowed. His gut told him that he wasn't going to like this. That something very bad was going to happen. And when Max opened his mouth, Alex hated being right.
"So, Alex. When were you going to tell us you were sweet for our little Sena?" Max asked. Alex blushed at what he said and shushing noises, checking that Sena was still asleep.
"Don't dodge the question, 'Lex." Chris threw in helpfully as two pairs of eyes bore into him.
Alex sighed and allowed his eyes to drift to the younger boy leaning against him. His eyes softened at the sight.
"I don't know," Alex replied softly. "I don't know but all I know is that I really like him. That I don't want to see him hurt or cry. I love his smile and want to keep seeing it."
The two in front kept quiet at hearing how serious his tone was. Chris hesitantly said, "Alex, you know he's going back to Japan. I mean, they want him back. He isn't even staying the full year here; he said so himself."
Alex nodded, "I know. But I still can't help it."
No one brought up the topic again as Sena slept blissfully through all the drama around him.
The hotel they stayed in was nice but the important fact was that down the block and across the street was a field that they could use for training. The training was a tad lighter than normal as the coaches didn't want the players to be tired for the game the next day.
There were sixteen teams that were competing and the first match, Sena fond lacking a challenge. There was no one that challenged him. Hell, he didn't even run at light speed at all and they managed to score 102-00 win. It was only later did Sena discover that most of the first string for that team were involved with in a fight and had been suspended pending expulsion. Sena almost felt sorry for them. Almost. Deimon knew what it was like being given a beating but they knew how to pick up the pieces and come back stronger than ever. If you didn't have a full team, you made a plan, or blackmailed, members.
There second match was against the second's favorites, after Nasa of course. They proved to be a challenge as they had quite devious quarterback. And for once, Sena could sympathize with Deimon's rivals. It was just annoying to play against them as you never knew what they were going to throw at you. Coach Nickle had been spitting fire until Sena offered what little expertise. At least Hiruma was happy he got to practice his trick plays. They had just won that match before going to the next round.
The finals were a challenge, not as much as Nasa, but still tough. Though the coach was foolish (read: stupid) enough to try and seal Sena's movement on the pitch, leaving gaping holes in the defense. It was not to say that the Hawks without Sena were weak. They were the best team the school had in years, in fact. So Sena lead a merry goose chase, often dodging the defense and getting free, much to the other teams frustration. Like in the Nasa game, Sena managed to develop new moves as certain circumstances pressured him. That, and the extra training paid off. It was noted that he didn't use Hyperspeed.
The matches had been easy overall and there had only been a handful of players that provided Sena with a challenge. Challenges that helped evolve him. Sena smirked as though of all the new footwork he had created. The Last Right, The Deimon Hellraiser and Deimon Devil. Most of them he was forced to use again Panther, once again. In fact, the two of them often went running together at the tournament.
Returning to their school, the Hawks received a Hero's Welcome. They had won the Regional Tournament and were going to Nationals for the first time in 5 years! The MVP had been Sena, who blushed when his picture was placed in the newspaper. But for Nationals, they had alot more work to do.
Sena stretched out his muscles. It was finally Friday and practice had just ended. For Sena, it was a grueling practice involving tackles and weight training.
Inwardly, Sena pondered his changing feelings. It had been two weeks since the fateful conversation with Hiruma and he felt guilty now. He may miss the semifinals and the finals of Nationals. He felt guilty that his new team had placed their hopes on him to help them achieve their dream. The same dream the Devil bats had in Japan. Sure, the Devil Bats will always be his team, but the Hawks grew on you. Sena couldn't help but feel he was letting his teammates, coaches and friends down. He was going to destroy their dream, and for many it was their last year.
Sena frowned as he shook himself mentally. But the Devil Bats needed him. He was to be there captain and how could he let those friends down. How could he let his rivals in Japan down. How could he let... Shin down. Sena blushed at the thought. Shin was always playing somewhere in the back of his mind. Sena couldn't help but draw up the memory of the older man. Tall, but not freakishly like Sakuraba-san. Muscular body and strong hands. The blush deepened as Sena's teenage mind drew up a mental image of the knight topless.
'But,' Sena couldn't help but think, 'the only way he truly sees me is as a rival and an American football player.' His heart dropped at the thought. If he didn't return to Japan he wouldn't see Shin again. But if he did return to Japan he would still only be a rival to the lineman.
Then there was the Hawks. They didn't seem like much when compared to the likes that played in the Junior World Cup, but they had heart. They kept pushing even when it seemed like there were at their limit. And they all loved the game. They were like a family and Sena could admit they he was starting to feel like one of them.
It all boiled down to the question: to go or not to go. To return or not to return? Whose trust would he betray by abandoning? The Hawks or the Devil Bats. And for once, Sena was not one hundred percent sure...
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