Title: A Story at 2:48AM
Manga: Eye shield 21
A/N: It's been too long. 5 years between chapter 12 and 13? Crazy, right? Enjoy.
Monta swallowed. The doctors had said lots of fancy words when they asked about Sena. Mamori had nodded and said fancy words back. All Monta knew going into the room was that his friend, Eyeshield 21… Sena, was inside waiting for him.
He let out a stuttering laugh, slowing down into a long sigh. It wasn't the right time to be cheerful. "Sorry Mamori-nee," Monta said, "My best friend is on the other side of this door. He's hurt, and I wasn't there for him." He huffed out another sigh and ran a hand through his hair. "I don't know if I can face him."
A hand clapped his shoulder. Monta jumped and looked Mamori in the eye.
"This is a time for Max bravery," she said with a small smile.
Monta swallowed again.
He pushed the door open.
The room was a regular hospital room with white walls and a window. Sunlight spilled through onto the blankets thrown over the patient. The only noise beside the steady ticking of the clock was the quiet breath as Sena slept. Mamori closed the door softly behind them and switched the flowers by his bedside.
"He's… sleeping, right?"
Mamori looked up from the flowers to catch sight of Monta's pale face. He was gripping the bed railing with white knuckles. She nodded.
"The doctors say it's better this way. So he can recover faster." Monta nodded. "Makes visiting a little one-sided, but that's not what's important. It's most important that he gets well soon."
The wide receiver nodded.
"He'll get better soon, then?"
Mamori opened her mouth to say, and stopped. Monta tore his eyes from Sena's sleeping figure. His grip on the bed railing tightened.
A knock on the door startled both high schoolers. The door swung wide when Mamori reached to open it. Suzuka, flanked by Kurita, Yukimitsu, and Jumonji, stood in the doorway. They rearranged themselves around the bed in the small room and managed to get the door shut again. Leaning back against a wall with arms crossed over his chest, Jumonji frowned down at the bed. Yukimitsu went for the chart at Sena's bedside. Kurita fidgeted, looking for something to do without bumping into anyone. The entire room was quiet.
Suzuka huffed. "Are all boys this stubborn?!" she asked Mamori. "Just tell us what you know about Sena!"
The brunette nodded. "The doctors say he has a long road ahead. He needs to rest and recover before he can begin physical therapy to—"
Monta felt the breath knocked out of him. "Hey! Hey, what do you mean? He's got to have therapy?"
Yukimitsu tried to sooth his fears. "Now, Raimon, it's like training. When you have an injury, you have to take a break from sports, and when you come back you have to start from square one."
"That sounds like a lot of work," Kurita said nervously, "Hiruma won't like hearing about that part."
"Sena's a fast runner, I bet he's an even faster recover-er," Monta said confidently. "How long did they say it would take? A week? Two?"
"The big game's not far off now, but I bet that blonde Devil will have him running laps as soon as tomorrow," Jumonji guessed. "With the Championship so close he'll want his star runner in top condition."
"You-nii better not have him running around until he's feeling all better!" Suzuka protested. She turned to Mamori. "How long did the doctors say he's got?"
"Eight." Mamori said.
"Eight days? Hiruma's gonna kill them," Yukimitsu predicted with jitters, "He, he'll probably blackmail them into letting Sena out in a week—"
"Not eight days."
Jumonji looked at Mamori with disbelief. "Eight weeks? You gotta be kidding me! The Championship game is in less than five! There's no way the shrimp can be on the bench for so long."
Suzuka stomped a foot to the ground.
"What's more important? That stupid game or Sena's leg? He's got to get better before he can start training again—"
"She's right," Yukimitsu agreed, "Besides, eight weeks isn't too long. And, with a good prognosis, m-maybe Sena will be allowed to take up training sooner than that?" He turned to Mamori for back up. "What do you think?"
The brunette was looking at the bed. The rest of them turned to see. Sena was still sleeping. The sound of the clock ticking seconds away measured the crests between the small gusts of Sena's breathing.
"The doctors said he could start training for American Football again after eight months of physical therapy."
Everyone turned to the open doorway. No one had noticed it opening.
Musashi looked around at the disbelief stricken across his teammate's faces. "Shouldn't you kids be in school?"
Monta felt something hit his butt. Rather, he noticed everyone was suddenly taller; he had fallen backwards in shock. Eight months? Sena couldn't run for eight months? All those long days spent training, all those hard nights spent practicing… with Sena!
Yukimitsu was comforting a quietly sobbing Kurita. Jumonji and Suzuka were openly gaping at Musashi. Mamori was looking only at Sena.
She knew how much the Championship meant to him. She knew how much it meant to the entire team, and to their Captain. She had spent sleepless nights supervising team practices and organizing formations and just recently she had let herself believe that maybe they could do it.
But not without Sena.
"C'mon," Musashi said with a gesture to the door, "I don't know when he's coming back but I'm sure y'all don't wanna be standing around moping if he does show up."
The room was shortly emptied. Suzuka was the last to leave. She paused in the doorway as Musashi took up their chairs by Sena's bedside. The taller teen looked as though he hadn't slept in two days. His stubble was growing back. Drawing herself up Suzuka stepped back into the room and walked up beside the linebacker. She leaned over Sena's bed and dropped a kiss on the runner's hair.
"Get better soon, Sena."
She dashed off and Musashi pulled out his cell as the door shut. He passed hours of daylight texting one person.
10:12am — 'No change.'
11:15am — 'Kongo's laid up for a week. Bet you he'll be out in three days.'
11:49am — 'Docs came in. Looked him over. He's limp like a noodle. Looks pretty funny.'
2:01pm — 'The flowers look nice. You should come see them.'
3:33pm — 'Misato-chan misses you. Come cheer her up 3'
3:56pm — 'Is your phone dead? I've been texting you for hours. Are you getting any of this?'
4:21pm — 'Practice still at 6:00?'
4:29pm — 'You should be here. He needs you more than you need to find those pathetic cowards. We'll find them together.'
4:45pm — 'Docs came again. Looked worried. Call me.'
4:59pm — 'Dammit Hiruma are you alive? Fucking answer or text me!'
5:37pm — 'Docs said no change. Gonna head to practice soon.'
5:58pm — 'Hiruma.'
5:58pm — 'Seijuro is looking for you.'
Musashi pocketed his phone after the last text. The sun was setting and it was time for practice at Deimon. He cast a last glance over Sena's bedside and patted the runner where Suzuna had kissed his hair.
"We all miss you, kid," he muttered. "Hope you can get outta here faster than they say. We need ya."
The scrap of his chair masked the buzz of a text message.
End A/N: Thanks to everyone who encouraged me to continue. I'll work hard to wrap up this story.