Disclaimer: I do not own Eyeshield 21.

Author's Note: To all my readers, thank you!

Short Pass: Confession

Finally.

Even after her second year and being technically unable to participate in sports teams by Deimon High's rules, Mamori still went to the clubhouse. She had gotten rather attached to the place and would often go there to keep an eye on Sena and the other players or even do her homework. The other upperclassmen would also hang out there too, so Mamori didn't feel so foolish about it.

One weekend, Mamori went there to clear her head. She had recently gotten acceptance letters from several universities and was having trouble choosing one. Unbidden, she wondered where Hiruma was going, and had gotten annoyed with herself. However, when she arrived at the clubhouse the blond was already there, typing away at his computer as usual. He didn't look up as she entered though, so she emptied her bag onto the table and began to organize the letters in alphabetical order before making a neat little list of pros/cons of each college on a piece of paper. After about an hour, she had it narrowed down to three, but the three were so close that she might as well have been at the beginning again.

Hiruma was still typing away at his computer. Once again, Mamori wondered where he was going—though this time she thought that perhaps it would be a good idea not to go where he was going. Her feelings, even tamped down as severely as she could, would make it torture.

"Trying to decide where to go?" Hiruma asked suddenly, jerking Mamori out of her reverie.

"W-what? How did you know that?"

He blew a bubble derisively at her. "That's only what you have been doing for the last hour."

Embarrassed, she looked away. She hadn't thought he'd been paying attention. "Well, I have it narrowed down to three, but they are all really good schools—"

"You're going to Saikyodai, dumbass," said Hiruma, sounding annoyed.

Her eyes narrowed. "I am?" Mamori asked, annoyed.

"To be the American Football manager," Hiruma replied, sounding as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. He turned back to his computer. "That's where I'm going. I'll be the quarterback."

"That's already decided?" she asked in surprise.

"Kekekeke…The one they had is a fucking chump and not really interested in the game anyways. The team needs to be whipped into shape, and you and I are the ones to do it."

"Why should I?" she demanded. "Don't just assume. Did it ever occur to you that I might get tired of gunshots, Death Marches, insane training, and spending all my nights and weekends at football practices, games or in here arguing over plays with you?"

Liar, liar. Inside her heart was laughing at her—those had been some of the best months in her life. But she wasn't going to just let him decide what she was going to do!

Hiruma's chair creaked as he leaned back to look at her. After a moment he smirked. "Che. Don't kid yourself. You love being the fucking manager."

Mamori felt anger bubbling up inside at her bluff being called so easily. In a fit of pique, she crumbed up the Saikyodai acceptance letter and threw it at the trashcan.

But the trash can was by Hiruma, who caught the paper in the downward ascent of its arc. He stared at her. "What did you do that for?"

"I'm not going to college just to be your manager," she retorted hotly. "I'm not going to Saikyodai, not to be just another one of your slaves or pawns."

She shoved the rest of her letters and books into her bag with rough force and got up to leave, only to be stopped when he grabbed her arm.

"Let go!"

"That's not what I meant, you idiot."

"Then what did you mean?" She wrenched her arm free and sat back down, trying to compose herself. She was so angry she almost couldn't see straight, but had to calm down before she ran into the door frame and gave him another stupid entry in that stupid Threat Book of his.

Meanwhile, he was pacing back and forth on the other side of the table. Mamori pinched the bridge of her nose and forced herself to take deep breaths and count backwards from ten. When Hiruma still didn't say anything she said wearily, "Besides, you don't need me as a manager. I'm sure that you could find someone else—"

"Don't be stupid."

"I'm not. I would be very surprised if you hadn't already looked up every single person at Saikyodai and evaluated them for American Football. I'm sure at least one of them would make a good manager."

"What, and waste time training them in sign language and all the plays again?"

Mamori rolled her eyes. "I'm sure that you'll cope. Besides," she said, taking a deep breath and forcing herself to say the words, "don't you think it would be better for us to go our separate ways now?"

The blond froze.

"I mean, that's what you, Kurita and Musashi are doing, and I think that's a great idea." No, no, no her heart was saying, but she ignored it. "We should each have a chance to experience something new, and meet new people. Don't you think?"

"…Are you serious?" Hiruma asked in a strange voice. "You really think that?"

"Of course." She refused to look at him, afraid he'd see the lie in her eyes.

"You…can't."

"Why not?" Looking down, Mamori noticed that several papers were threatening to fall out of her bag, due to the uncharacteristically haphazard way she'd shoved them in. She leaned down to fix it. "Really, I don't see why you are arguing with me like this. I'd thought that you would be relieved not to have me around—"

"That's not—"

"What do you want?" she asked finally, exasperated. He didn't answer, and she gave up. Zipping up her bag, she was about to go-

"You. I want you."

Mamori suddenly found Hiruma's face very close to hers as he leaned across the table. She jerked backward. "W-what?"

He leaned forward even more, his blue eyes boring intensely into hers. "I said, I want you."

"Want me to do what? I already told you, I'm not going to be your manager-"

Irritation flashed over his face. "Are you dense?"

Her heart began to flutter but she firmly squashed it down. That could not be happening. That was not going to happen. She had known that for a long time. Mad at the suspicious feeling that he was using his height to cower her, she started to stand up. "Then why don't you try saying something that makes sense? For the hundredth time, I'm tired of just being your manager, and I'm not going to be another one of your pawns or slaves, so what else could you possibly want me for?"

The fingers on his right hand began to twitch, a sure sign that he was itching for one of his many weapons. "What do you think?"

"What?" Her heart began to flutter again, and once again she squashed it down. "H-How stupid do you think I am? Don't tell you'd be so low as to try that. Even when you kissed me, all that was to just get another entry in your stupid Threat Book! I'm not going to fall for that again—"

"Anezaki Mamori," he snarled. "Shut up."

Her mind blanked. He used my name. And in that moment of hesitation, Hiruma yanked her forward. His lips met hers with crushing force—the kiss wasn't sweet or smooth or kind, but hungry and desperate and full of such need that her knees went weak. The world seemed to spin madly, and it didn't stop until he let her go. They stared at each other, breathing heavily.

"The first one may have been for the Book," Hiruma told her finally. "That one wasn't."

When she continued to gape at him, he let her go and began piling his stuff into his bag. Mamori watched him zip up his laptop in a stupor. He paused at the door, and, in a voice she'd never heard him use, said "I'm tired of you being just the fucking manager too. I don't want another slave or pawn. All the blackmail I had on you was torn up a long time ago. But…make up your own mind."

He left Mamori in the empty clubhouse, stunned and shaking. She lifted a trembling hand to her lips and this time when her heart started to flutter and swell, she let it.

"W-wait," she whispered. Then—"Wait!"

She ran out the door. Mamori didn't have the speed of Eyeshield 21, but later she would question whether he could have matched her that day, or even if, in the all the games he'd played, that he'd ever run such a significant distance or had so much on the line.

"Hiruma, wait! Please, wait! WAIT!"

Hiruma was just turning around when she grabbed his jacket, sending them both tumbling to the ground.

"What the hell—"

"Wait," she gasped, breathless. "Please…wait."

He blinked at her and opened his mouth…and then closed it. And waited.

"I…you…" Her heart was pounding in her ears. "Did you mean it?"

"What?" He glared at her. "Fucking—of course I meant it! What the hell—"

This time, Mamori yanked him forward to crash their lips together and after a moment he unfroze enough to tangle his fingers in her hair to pull her closer. The world spun again, but Mamori didn't mind because Hiruma tasted like triumph and victory and winning her own Christmas Bowl.

"Why didn't you tell me sooner?" Mamori asked after they broke for air, Hiruma's hands cradling her to his chest as he lay on his back to stare at the sky. She smiled against his heart as his chest heaved in a huff.

"Why didn't you tell me?"

She raised herself up on his hands so she was looking down at him. "Well…I guess it seemed a little…odd."

He snorted. "Odd? It was fucking ridiculous. I thought I was going insane. You are Anezaki Mamori, sweetheart of Deimon High—"

She raised an eyebrow. Sweetheart?

He gave her a look that warned her not to play coy, she was humble but not stupid, "—by the book Disciplinary Committee member and fucking surrogate mother to a fucking American football team. And I'm…me."

She swallowed a laugh.

"I wasn't going to say anything. I didn't think that I could ever have you." He reached out and wrapped a long-fingered hand around her wrist, as if to reassure himself that she was real. "But I could at least stay around you if you kept on as the manager. But when you said you weren't going to Saikyodai—"

He actually looked a little embarrassed and that was so utterly out of character that Mamori melted inside.

"Well," she said, eyes dancing, "I guess you were wrong."

"Yeah. You were a play I never could figure out."

She smiled and leaned down to kiss him again. "I promise that you'll have all the time in the world to try."


Hah! Finally! That's it for Short Passes I think, but don't worry-the muse isn't done with me yet. Check out Long Passes for the sequel-what happens to HiruMamo in college?