Disclaimer:I don't own Eyeshield 21. I don't own the proverbs. I own only the evil plotline of the story.

Summary: AU: First and foremost, Sena is a runner.

Warnings: Nothing for now… maybe later.

The Path of Grace is neither to the right nor to the left. It is neither liberal nor conservative. It favours neither the warmongers or the appeasers.

(BY Chuck Galozzi)

The steady beat of fast steps was echoing into the early morning. A shadow here and there, almost invisible among other shadows, was darting onward, chasing after its' owner relentlessly. Heavy panting was another sound that was heard in the tranquil morning, as the person, which was running exhaled and inhaled the cool night air.

The forest was quiet, filled with shadows and seemingly motionless; the only moving thing was the lonely runner. The wind was sparse there; the only stronger gust of air trailed behind the fast-footed youth who was exerting his body at such ungodly hour.

Muscles contracted and relaxed in familiar movements, sweat was cooling on the hot skin, already, the sleeveless shirt was soaked with the salty liquid. Feet pounded the ground rhythmically, while arms moved with the precision and grace only gained with the long-term repeats of the same movement, a thousand and more times over.

The small form raced upward on the hill, its tempo not slowing; only its breath was a little bit faster. The shorts were plastered against the muscled thighs, and the feet were ensconced in probably ancient running shoes.

Ancient - or well-loved – or at least well-abused running shoes. They were dirty, previously squeaky white and blue, they were now brown, and speckled with black spots. The socks were no better. Their previous colour was now unknown, if only for a fact they were hopelessly dirty.

He strained to come to the top, his mind cataloguing his surroundings automatically, while he jumped over the fallen log easily, before once again, launching into sprint. His brown eyes were intense, shining with somewhat mad light as he trudged forward, ignoring the aches and pains of his body.

And finally, he came to the top of the mountain.

And the dawn broke over the horizon.

He panted slightly as he stared at the beautiful sunrise. It was truly magnificent, and he would never tire of watching the nature's spectacle. The boy raised his arms above his head, stretching, and groaning in satisfaction as he heard and felt satisfying popping of his vertebrae.

He had spiky brown hair, which now hung a little limply around the flushed face, due to the sweat and dew it was soaked with. His skin was tanned, indicating that he spent long hours under the sun. He was clothed in black shorts and faded green and orange sleeveless shirt, both of which were soaked with his sweat.

Brown eyes widened, as he watched the sun breaking above the horizon.

"Wow, no matter how many times I see this, it's better than before..." A soft, boyish voice said in awe. He shook his limbs, as to prevent the uncomfortable cramps. He was slender, but slightly muscled too, built in a streamlined form, which indicated that he had endurance that most of his year mates could only dream about.

The boy's face fell, as he thought about the reason he had ran to the top of mountain.

"It's a pity tou-san accepted that job in Japan." He muttered, biting his lower lip gently. "I won't be able to run with them anymore... and I was looking forward to running with buchou." He grumbled, pouting.

He sighed heavily. He was reluctant to part with this country that had such beautiful and challenging landscapes for him to run through.

His parents were overjoyed as his father received an offer to work in Japan, his homeland. He himself remembered the land of the rising sun only barely – something about sushi, bullies and running – and that was it.

But his parents were homesick – or at least traditionalistic enough to grab the chance and drag their unruly offspring kicking and screaming along with them.

His friends were not happy with him having to move away, but they promised to stay in touch. Buchou especially was disappointed, but it couldn't be helped. Although he did gift his own jersey, with number 21 printed on it, extracting a promise, when he would be old enough, he would return and attend their school. In return, buchou promised him he would finish that damned 24 WSER. His colleagues joked that it was impossible, teasing buchou that it was more likely to teach cheetah how to sing, than him to finish the race under 24 hours. Buchou grinned cheerfully, before he grabbed the idiotic offender and tossing him into the pool, right in the middle of the girls. Much shrieking and yelling ensued, and the poor fool had experienced the wrath of pissed off females.

He would miss his friends, he mused sadly. It just wouldn't be the same without them. Sure, they were a rowdy bunch, loud and rude, but they were good friends. They encouraged and supported him, although they also teased him like older brothers would be a younger one.

He sighed, watching the sunrise, with a stinging feeling in his heart. He would miss this.

But someday, somehow, he would return.

And one Kobayakawa Sena smiled tremulously into the brightening morning sky.