Title: Last Game of the Season

Fandom: Giant Killing

Rating: PG-13

Characters: Sakai, Tatsumi

Pairings/Warnings: none

Spoilers: none

Genre: gen

Word count: 424

Summary: Sakai cannot share the excitement of winning the last game in the season.

A/N: originally written for Football Fest

Disclaimer: I don't own Giant Killing and make no money from writing this.

The last game of the season. Every football player can imagine the exhilaration of ending the season with a victory. The supporters celebrating, the journalists photographing like crazy, the players, suddenly shaking off their exhaustion after an intense game, find the power to run a victory lap around the pitch... Even those footballers who did not get to play share the excitement.

That's how it was in the last game of ETU that season. Only Sakai felt like he was just an observer, having spent all game on the bench...

There ran Natsuki, looking manically happy like he always did. There was Tsubaki who greeted the supporters with a slightly embarrassed look.

'I bet he's thinking about what he did wrong during the game,' thought Sakai. That would be typical Tsubaki.

And there was Sera, smiling and waving to the audience. Sakai looked away. It was difficult to admit such a thing even to himself, but Sera had been brilliant that day. He played better than ever. Watching other games, Sakai sometimes felt that he himself could have done the same, that he should have been on the pitch instead. But not this time.

Sera played all the game like he was invincible. Like it was impossible for him to get hurt. Sakai was not sure he could have played a risky game like that – in his age any injury could mean the end of his career.

'Ah, to be young again...' Sakai thought, and glanced aside at the coach.

Tatsumi suddenly winked back at him and said: 'Sera is pretty cool today, right, Sakai?'

Sakai gave a small nod. Did the coach really expect that Sakai would praise a person who took his place on the team?

'And do you know why he can give his all to the game?' Tatsumi asked.

Sakai shrugged. Because Sera was like an energiser bunny? Because Sera was young and stupid, and did not know fear or responsibility?

'Because he knows that there is somebody to substitute him, if anything happens!' Tatsumi answered the question himself and clapped Sakai on the shoulder.

Sakai stared at the coach with surprise. Did he really look so depressed that Tatsumi decided to tell him something nice and encouraging?

'No, I'm not that pathetic!' thought Sakai. He stood up and applauded to the footballers and gave Sera a challenging look.

'Next time, I won't be sitting around and moping, I'll show you what I'm good for!' thought Sakai.

But of course Sera didn't even notice that he was being looked at.