Disclaimer: I don't own the song – Stealing Cinderella (by Chuck Wicks) – nor do I won the characters of Eyeshield 21. I only own the story.

Summary: AU – verse : Every young man had to go through of one particular trial – asking for the hand of his beloved from her father. This was how Yamato had done he stole his very own Cinderella... one Kobayakawa Sena.

Shout Out: Happy New Year! Gawd, people, how time flies! Well now, I am happy to announce writing will commence again, and I will try to update the stories as soon as I will be able. Expect new chapter of Kitten Trouble out soon /grins/. But back to the present, this is my... yeah, you guessed it, present for New Year to you! Enjoy!

Warning: Shameless AU – verse, the pairing is Yamato/female Sena. The timelines may be a little wonky, but if you wondered just how did Takeru ask for Sena's hand for Shuma (her father,)... then you are in the right place! Enjoy reading!

I came to see her daddy for sit down man to man
It wasn't any secret I'd be asking for her hand

He was nervous. And he had every right to be nervous. After all, it wasn't every day that he would propose – and even then, it wasn't every day that he had to get through his love's father to get the proposition through.

Asking for her hand... Takeru swallowed dryly. Even if he had lived with Kobayakawa family for two months, and got on relatively well with Sena's parents – in fact Mihae adored him, and Shuma talked him like father to son, which Takeru sorely missed, when he had still been a Yamato heir. Those man to man talks were, besides his snuggles with Sena, the highlight of his new life.

Right now, he was in the living room, waiting for Shuma to ask him for the hand of his most precious treasure.

Shuma's only daughter, Sena.

The small living room made Yamato more nervous than any of the big rooms he had been when he had still lived in the mansion. Logically, Takeru knew it to be a nonsense, that he didn't have to worry about anything – in fact, it was a foregone conclusion that he would have asked for Sena's hand sooner than later, but still!

The hour was six in the evening, and the sun was setting down slowly, as if reluctant to go until it saw that little bit of drama that was supposed to unfurl in this particular living room.

Takeru felt his clothes against his skin acutely – the deep blue and pale gray sweater with smidges of caramel thrown in that Sena had gifted him with for his birthday. Inwardly, he had to smile at her choice of colours. They were his favourite - well, deep blue was his favourite, anyway, but not for the time when he thought Shin would steal her away before he would have any chance to. In those days, deep blue – or any kind of blue – became the colour Takeru absolutely abhorred to see anywhere. Pale gray reminded him of that day they finally got together – it was a cool day with pale gray clouds obscuring the sky. However, they didn't need sun, for they were together. Takeru's heart still warmed at the memories of Sena's bright smile and her shy demeanour as she squeezed his hand timidly as they walked alongside the river. The caramel was, Sena said, for the colour of his eyes. Because she couldn't find any amber wool, she had to satisfy herself with caramel tones, much to her pouting. The sweater was Takeru's' favourite, because Sena made it – it wasn't perfect, by any means, but it was warm and Takeru felt as if he always had a piece of Sena with him every time he had the sweater on.

And right now, he really needed her.

For he would battle the hardest battle of his life, with one of the most terrifying opponents known to men everywhere... Sena's father.

I guess that's why he left me waiting in the living room by myself
with at least a dozen pictures of her sitting on a shelf

Shuma was a kind man, and in comparison with his wife, even timid. But he was wise one, too, and with his encouragement, Sena was able to pursue the path of American football, despite her mother's fervent protests on that issue.

Shuma was a little smaller than average, with already balding head, and however many hair he had, they were scattered in disarray of spikes, just like Sena's locks were. In fact, Sena was very similar to her father – when Takeru saw Suma's older pictures, he was amused to point out that Sena and Shuma could be twins, if Suma was the same age than Sena.

Takeru looked up to Shuma, because the man was kind and patient, and despite of all appearances, handled his spitfire of a wife quite calmly when she bemoaned the dangers of Sena playing American football. Despite of his abilities, Takeru had to admit Mihae was scary when she wanted to be...and to see Suma to calm his wife with such an ease, it was a humbling sight. Maybe that was what a marriage was about...?

He gulped, as he shuffled around the room he got to know so well in his visits, and lately his stay at the Kobayakawa household.

No Shuma yet.

Takeru wanted to whimper.

The suspense was killing him!

Wiping his sweaty hands against his black trousers, he looked around. His attention was drawn to the shelf with photographs on it.

The shelf was simple, nothing eye-catching, and on it, there stood photographs.

Of Sena.

Takeru blinked. He smiled a small, fond smile as he looked at the photos a little bit closer.

There was one when she was dancing with her father, clothed in long red gown, and flushed with embarrassment. In her hair, she had small white and pink roses. The photo was a recent one, when she had graduated from Enma University, and they had an after – graduation party. She had been breathtaking that night, Takeru reminisced fondly. All the guys were jealous of him for having her on his arm. Not that she was most beautiful, but there was something in Sena that just made males gravitate towards to her like bees would to honey. The photographer caught her in the act of dancing with her father, and Takeru would bet it was Hiruma. After all, not many photographers had such skills like the bleached devil had.

He was a little bummed that there was no picture of them together, but oh well. However, he promised himself to take many pictures of both of them together in the future.

She was playing Cinderella
She was riding her first bike
Bouncing on the bed and looking for a pillow fight
Running through the sprinkler with a big popsicle grin
Dancing with her dad, looking up at him
In her eyes I'm Prince Charming
But to him I'm just some fella
riding in and stealing Cinderella

There was one, when she was clad in pink, and with a silver tiara on her unruly locks. Takeru chuckled at her wide toothed smile. Sena made for one very ...unique Cinderella, that t was for certain. Instead of the long blonde hair, she still had her spiky hairdo, making her look like a naughty pixie whose experiment with dress just got particularly wrong, not that she cared, if the beaming smile was anything to get by. She was five years old.

And then, there was one when she was riding a blue bike, a comically scared expression on her face, when she was roaring down the hill, younger – looking Mamori chasing after her on her purple bike, smiling. It was a bit comical, and it also explained her aversion to bikes. Well yes, she knew how to ride one, but she would get on one only in direst of situations. She much preferred her two legs to that contraption of death, anyway. She was seven years old, and that was her first bike...

Yamato's favourite was definitely one of her bouncing on the bed, grinning her devilish grin, just waiting to ambush Riku into submission. Apparently, Riku's family preferred Western – styled bedroom, meaning no tatamis, but true, strong beds with springy mattresses, ideal for jumping up and down and of course, pillow fighting. She was nine years old, a tomboy in the making.

The next one, it was of Sena, some ten years old, running through sprinklers, wet as a drowned rat, but with a big grin on her face, the remains of orange popsicle still sticking to her lips. She was clothed in one piece light green swimsuit with small pink and yellow butterflies painted on, and – ironically – a skewered cowboy hat on her head. Where on Earth did she find that, Takeru would like to know... but his hunch was on a certain white – haired boy. She was cute as a button, dancing among the sprinklers and rainbows, though... Sena was ten years old.

Takeru shook his head, amused. His heart was warm with happiness these photos of hers exuded. And yet, when she looked up at him, her mocha – coloured eyes bright with wonder, or twinkling with mischief, he couldn't help but feel like Prince Charming for some reason, even when rationally thinking, Sena was more than capable to take care of herself. Besides, any opponents that thought about harming her in any way, shape or form. Knew that retribution would be swift, in shape of one pissed off Kobayakawa Takeru, the "Thunder" half of the duo.

Takeru had a dubious pleasure of making such players rue the day they thought they could take on the pair, either together or separately. Even worse was, when – not if – when Sena's ... colleagues found out about such accidents. Agon on a warpath was scary... however, Shin was definitely terrifying. However, the players would rather take on the both of them, combined, than go head to head with Takeru. No contest.

Takeru could be scary for all he was worth... but to him, one Kobayakawa Suma was the epitome of fearsome.

Because Shuma looked out for her beloved darling, and he would ho toe to toe with devil, if need be... and he didn't care a whit about Takeru's athletic achievements. For Shuma, Takeru was just one more boy that was trying to take his beloved little girl from him.

I leaned in towards those pictures to get a better look at one
When I heard a voice behind me say "Now, ain't she something, son?"
I said "Yes, she quite a woman" and he just stared at me
Then I realized that in his eyes she would always be

"Isn't she something, son?"

Yelping, Takeru jumped up almost half a metre in the air in a fright. "S – Shuma -san!" He stuttered out, his unique amber eyes still wide with fright.

Shuma chuckled at Takeru's actions. "Calm down, Takeru, I don't bite... much. Now, as I said... Isn't she something?" He muttered calmly, his dark eyes still twinkling with mirth at Takeru's mortified face. He was older, his face more wrinkled, and to Takeru, he looked like one of those old sages that were all feeble-looking at the first sight, but in truth, they were scarily powerful.

Shuma's hair was peppered with gray strands, and he had his eyeglasses on. He was clothed in dark brown trousers, with a little wrinkled out white button down shirt. He was smaller than Takeru, having to look up at the prospective suitor for his daughter.

He eyed nervous youth calmly. "Um – Y-yes, she's quite a woman." Takeru stuttered out nodding awkwardly at the photos.

Shuma's face became serious, and a little sad. "She is all grown up now," He muttered out. "My little girl..."

Takeru blinked. "Yeah..." He cautiously agreed, looking at the elder male as if Shuma would make a shish – kabob out of him if he weren't careful.

However, he saw only tired and sad man, who was also proudly looking the photographs on the shelf.

And then, it clicked.

Takeru jaw almost dropped at the revelation. 'Of course! ' He rebuked himself. 'While I am looking at her as a woman... Shuma-san sees her as a little girl still!'

He looked at the photos again. And he saw the small memoirs in a new light. "You took those pictures, didn't you?" He asked the elder man, his voice a reverent whisper.

Wordlessly, Shuma nodded. "It feels as if it happened just yesterday..." He sighed, dark eyes warm.

Taker chuckled. "I'm sure it does. So, what can you tell me about our little Cinderella?"

Shuma blinked at the unexpected question. "I was sure you had a question to ask me, and it wasn't this one," he replied dryly.

The amber – eyed youth nodded. Gulping, he opened his mouth, and then, he closed it with a snap. "I would like to know, anyway." He murmured out. "Besides, she never told me that particular story," he ended sulkily, making Shuma chuckle at his pouting face.

Shuma watched Takeru, brown eyes warm. Takeru was a little goofy, but he was a dependable man, who loved his little darling with all of his heart. But in that particular moment, he also saw a little boy, who was irrepressibly curious about the unusual Cinderella on the photo.

When Sena had announced that she had a boyfriend - well, it was more like they – both Shuma and Mihae – found out through TV-announcement.

He smiled impishly as he remembered that particular moment.


It was a late afternoon, and they were sitting in their little kitchen, watching the match on TV. Even if Sena had offered them to get them the tickets, both Kobayakawas declined. Mihae because she declared she didn't have any nerves to be in that horrid crowd, watching her baby being manhandled, and Shuma explaining he would have been late for a match anyway, because of his work hours. Sena was sad, but she understood.

However, let's go back to that particular afternoon.

/... A – And Enma University wins with unbelievable display of speed and tactics, courtesy of Kongo Unsui and Kobayakawa Sena! The victory was deserved, what with that particular team being through a ringer by the number of toughest teams around, whit special surprise of Constriction Babeis! Enma had been almost in a pinch here, what with their star running back almost being put out of commission by Rikiya Gaou, however they recovered splendidly –and the finale was worthy of the Super Bowl! / The excited voice of announcer nattered across the roar of the crowd. /No doubt Kobayakawa proved he was worthy of his nickname, the Eyeshield 21, and based on this match, he would have lined offers to play!/

The television showed the table of results, where the result was written out, before zooming back on the celebrating team.

Sena was given the Rice Bowl award. She was grinning proudly, despite her being dirty and bloody – Hiruma didn't spare any moves on her, making in for an interesting match. Well, more like hair – rising one.

/Ooh, look, they are congratulating him!/ The female announcer said, excited. /It seems that there is no bad blood over the loss of the match – how truly sportsmanlike from them! Of course, the pillars of both teams had played together in the first World Youth Tournament, so.../

/And here he goes, Eyeshield 22, Yamato Takeru!/ The male announcer said. /He was one of the pillars of the game, and he had become even stronger in the course of the tournament! /

The camera zoomed on a handsome, albeit dirty player with jersey number 22 that advanced to the embarrassed MVP of Enma University.

/Both of them are worthy rivals to each other! They are shaking their hands right now, what a sportsmen and wonder - WHAAAT?/

The announcer's comment ended in a high – pitched squeak.

Mihae choked on her tea, while Shuma's eyes widened.

Yamato Takeru was kissing Sena!

And not any innocent kiss, but he gave the flustered girl big, juicy frenchie!

Shuma blinked. "Ah. Well, at least we know that she has a boyfriend," he muttered out, calmly patting his sputtering wife on her back as to dislodge the tea that got in a wrong pipe somehow.

He returned to his newspaper, resigned to the fact that his little girl would have an...unusual courters for her hand.

'Well,' He mused to himself quietly. 'At least I wouldn't have to worry about things going bump in the night. That Yamato boy seems to be pretty strong.'

He began reading his newspaper, stoically ignoring the pandemonium that reigned on the field.

/End flashback/

Yamato Takeru was very polite, Shuma noted, when Sena introduced the smiling player to them, her cheeks still flushed from THAT kiss. They were still in their football jerseys, having to escape their staplers, teammates and reporters without having time to change their clothes.

Mihae was quite charmed by her daughter's boyfriend, but Shuma had some reservation on the boy. In all truth, no boy was good enough for his little girl, and especially not one that planted her a big one after she won the match – especially after that - because now there flew rumours that Sena was gay, at least half of players was traumatized by that kiss.

That... dread hair, if Shuma remembered correctly, even fainted.

When Yamato broke it off with Sena, Shuma had half the mind to kill the brat for breaking Sena's heart. He tried to understand, he really did, but as Sena's father, he found Yamato's actions to be inexcusable.

When Yamato came back, with his proverbial tail properly between his legs, Shuma was the one that told him if he ever, ever broke his daughter's heart, there would be no force on this planet that would protect Yamato – now Takeru – from Shuma's wrath.

Mihae only squealed how romantic the entire thing was.

Shuma sweatdropped at his wife's behaviour.

Truthfully speaking, Takeru was a son he would have wished for. Yamato-san's loss was his gain. Of course, Takeru was a little too obsessed with football, but the fact he was equally, if not more so, obsessed with Sena, somehow equalled things out.

However, that didn't mean it wasn't hard to give his little girl to the young man to care for.

In his mind, she would always be the little Cinderella with spiky brown hair, because she didn't want to wear the blonde wig, he would always remember the adventures when he first taught her to ride the bike, and how she loved to ambush Riku – kun in the pillow-fights, when the kids were having a sleepover at Kaitani's, much to Mamori's dismay. But more often than not, even Mamori joined the fray. He would remember her how she enjoyed playing with sprinklers, and how adored that terrible cowboy hat – Suma knew that particular hat was still hidden somewhere in her room, despite of Mihae's valiant efforts to get rid of the scruffy sting. The blasted hat even had a s name, and if his memory served him right, it was called Scruffy...

He knew that he would have his little princess only for a short time, but for Sena being lucky so soon...

Being in love so soon...

Playing Cinderella
Riding her first bike
Bouncing on the bed and looking for a pillow fight
Running through the sprinkler with a big popsicle grin
Dancing with her dad, looking up at him
In her eyes I'm Prince Charming
But to him I'm just some fella riding in and stealing Cinderella

They laughed as Shuma recalled the story, while having no doubt that Takeru would tease Sena something fierce with the information. Well, Takeru did promise him that he would somehow wheedle Sena into grown-up Cinderella costume sometime in the future.

He slapped me on the shoulder
Then he called her in the room
When she threw her arms around him
That's when I could see it too

They bonded over Sena's misfortunes quite tightly, and Takeru could see the adoration Shuma held for his daughter quite plainly. He was happy that the old man was so protective of his daughter, but at the same time, he was also a little bit sad, because he would have liked to have such caring parents as Sena's were.

And then, there was a comfortable silence.

Shuma broke it first. "Takeru, you wanted to ask me something?" His kind voice prompted the tall man to gulp.

"Yes, sir," Takeru nearly squeaked out. "Well, I - " Closing his eyes, he sighed. 'Why there wasn't any guide how to do that thing?' He bemoaned in his head. However, he opened his eyes, and looked at the calm man in front of him. "I understand that Sena is your greatest treasure." He began slowly. "However, I love Sena, and I would be honoured if you would let me to take her as my wife."

There. He said it. And really, it wasn't so hard. Although he wondered just why he had wasted almost five hours on trying to write out – and then remember - elaborated speeches he was sure they were a part of some kind of a torture device for men that wished to steal daughters from their overprotective fathers.

Shuma watched the man in front of him. Takeru was clearly nervous, but at the same time determined to get his permission. Those unique amber – flecked eyes looked at him imploringly, and yet, Shuma could see the resolve in them.

He sighed and clapped Takeru on the shoulder, startling him. Amber eyes widened with half fear and half hope.

"I trust you will take care of her as she deserves." With those short words, Shuma ambled to the door, and called for Sena.

Takeru's mouth were stretched in the widest happy grin imaginable, as he watched Sena almost bowl over her father when she embraced him gratefully.

Sena... Was his.

And yet, his grin softened, as he watched a man and his daughter embrace, the trust and love between them almost palpable to his eye.

And he could see Sena, like a little girl she had been, trusting her Daddy to take care of her.

Now, that little Cinderella would be his.

He wouldn't be teaching her how to ride a bike, but he could definitely ride a bike with her.

Pillow fights... he was sure there would be many of them, especially when they would get their own children.

And they would have fun with sprinklers... and popsicles. However, he would always tease Sena about that cute swimsuit with butterflies. It was fun making her blush, anyway.

And he looked forward to see her dancing with Shuma, when they would finally marry.

However, he had learned a valuable lesson today. Why the pre – prepared speeches didn't work, and why fathers were overprotective over their daughters.

And really, he couldn't blame Shuma for torturing him for wanting Sena. True, he had been an idiot, because he had broken her heart, and really, he would have done the same to protect Sena.

And now, Sena was his Cinderella. Ironically, the nickname suited her. She had risen from the ashes of unimportant players and shone on the sky as of the best players of American Football.

She looked at him, teary – eyed, and Takeru smiled at her, widening her arms. "Will you come, little Cinderella?" He asked softly, almost afraid of her answer.

Gulping, she nodded, and left her father's embrace.

Takeru would always remember that day.

How she walked to him, step by step, as is she couldn't believe he was real.

How she was clothed in faded blue jeans trousers and comfortable lilac jumper that was a little too big for her frame.

He would remember her scent, lilacs and jasmine, mixed in with wind and hints of grass.

He would remember the shape of her body, the warmth of her skin and the softness of her spiky hair.

Contentedly, he sighed. "My Cinderella." He murmured into her hair, making her choke out a watery laughter at his nickname for her.

Over her head, two pairs of eyes men in a mute understanding.

Shuma nodded at his would-be son in law silently, smiling a content smile, before he quietly walked out of the living room and closed the door, leaving the young pair to themselves.

She was Playing Cinderella
Riding her first bike
Bouncing on the bed and looking for a pillow fight
Running through the sprinkler with a big popsicle grin
Dancing with her dad, looking up at him
If he gives me a hard time
I can't blame the fella
I'm the one who's stealing Cinderella

Many years later, Takeru would do the same, leaving Ayame in the hands of her fiancé, one Kakei Aoshi.

Smiling a nostalgic smile, he would lean back in embrace of his wife for fifty years, inhaling her scent of jasmine and lilacs, with that ever present dash of grass and wind.

"I really can't blame Shuma," He would mutter lightly.

His wife would giggle lightly, her brown eyes still sparkling, like on the day she became his fiancé. Although her hair greyed a little, and she had a couple of wrinkles on her face, Sena was still the same – his beautiful, little Cinderella.

"And why is that?" She would have asked teasingly, as he would turn around and embrace her, amber eyes shining fondly at her.

"You were his little Cinderella." Takeru would mutter to her, making her swat him playfully on his chest.

"And I just stole you from him... Successfully, might I add," He finished cheekily, making her laugh at his mischievousness.

She would shake her head at him, exasperated. "Men," She would mutter fondly.

She would kiss him lovingly on his chapped lips. "You are still my Prince Charming," She would mutter softly, making him hug her a little bit tighter.

" Always, my Princess," He would respond, a small, melancholic smile on his face.


And they would watch the sunset, together

/The End/Owari/