Hiruma was relaxing in the clubhouse, sipping a bottle of water and taking a quiet moment to read a book. It was rare that he got time to himself anymore; what with all the new members, the place was a regular motel. Lucky the locker room would be up soon. He was very pleased with the events of the Hell Tower. They were well on the way to having the team they needed.
It was crazy with all of the new members! Unfortunately, with more people around, Sena had to wait longer before he thought the coast was clear to drop off the Eyeshield gear. With a timid turn of the doorknob, he snuck into the clubhouse with as much grace as possible (not much at all). "Whew! I was wondering when I could go home..."
Fucking chibi. Hiruma rubbed his temples, supposing he should give a mite of encouragement to him. He'd done well today. "Good fucking performance, fucking chibi."
The unexpected voice caused Sena to tense up. But seriously, when was Hiruma-senpai not around? Taking a moment to still his rapidly-beating heart, he let out a sigh, waving his hands in front of him. "Ehhh? T-Thanks but... I don't think I did all that good..." He looked down at the ground, flushed with embarrassment.
The “secretary” jumped when the door swung open without warning to reveal a chiseled man wearing a white bandana. Sena squeaked and immediately ducked behind the table on instinct. The muscled man merely raised an eyebrow as he took the cigarette out of his mouth to exhale. "What was that?"
Hiruma raised an eyebrow. "What was what, fucking old man?"
Musashi took another drag of his cigarette as he directed his eyes to the table. "Oh, I don't know, maybe the kid crouched at the table?" Sena curled himself up further into a ball, trembling as if it would erase his own existence.
"Fucking chibi, get changed. It's fine." Hiruma stretched, yawning. He went back to his book.
"Ahhh... Hiruma-senpai, are you s-sure? You told me..." Sena's voice drifted into timid mumbles.
Musashi rolled his eyes. "Came by to let you know that we’re done digging up the space for the new lockers. Going to start pouring in cement tomorrow."
"Secret's safe with the fucking old man." Hiruma waved a hand at Sena and looked to Musashi. "We'll be here. I've devised a program that alternates between practicing and helping build."
Musashi stepped closer to peer down at the huddled boy. "So you're the one Hiruma's been talking about."
Sena looked up at him, with the only thought of how truly... old he looked. "Ahhh yeah.... Ano... I-I'm...K-Kobayakawa Sena...." He slowly got onto his feet and meekly scratched the back of his hair. "N-Nice to...meet you."
Musashi gave him the up-down and nodded. "Nice to meet you too." He cocked his head to Hiruma, questioning just how essential this little pipsqueak was. Hiruma nodded, conveying the message without saying anything. The kid was essential to their victory. He went back to his book.
Sena stared up at the random man once again and winced when he saw Musashi meeting his gaze. He quickly ran off to a corner, undressing himself out of his gear as fast as possible. His heart continued slamming in his chest as he wondered who that man was and why he didn't introduce himself properly. Odd, but he wasn't going to ask. When he finally got the last piece of gear into the athletic bag, he hid it in his usual secret spot and straightened his school tie. He all but ran to the door. "Nice... to meet you. B-Bye!" Following a deep bow, Sena unintentionally slammed the door behind him.
Hiruma shook his head. "I pray for the day the fucking chibi grows a pair. Not easy when he's been fucking babied his entire life, though."
"I didn't think he was as spineless as you made him sound. So that's the boy Anezaki-san has been protecting? Little overkill, if you ask me."
"Too fucking right." Hiruma rubbed his temples, stretching out over the couch. "It'll change. Fucking give it time."
"I hope he does for your sake. Won't be able to carry a team with that attitude." Musashi took another drag of his cigarette as he stared at the random spot Sena hid his gear. "I'll be here in the afternoon, so I'll see you then."
"Mm." Hiruma yawned.
Another yawn? "Hiruma, get some rest. Your body needs it."
"Don't fucking tell me what to do." Hiruma's ears flicked.
"It was a suggestion. That's all." With a roll of his eyes, Musashi let himself out of the clubhouse. It was a wonder how defensive Hiruma could be over a simple sentiment.
"Hmph." Hiruma curled up on his side, settling into the couch. He opened up the book again.
Halfway running home and getting over his panic, Sena realized that he left his bookbag in the clubhouse. Blazing back to campus, he started stopping when he saw the same rugged man leave the clubhouse, causing trails of dust to rise behind him. The man looked in slight amazement over the dust trails, not moving as Sena put on the breaks. "Ahhh, g-g-good to see you again! I-I forgot something so..." Sena blabbered immediately, looking towards the ground.
"Hey, stop stuttering. And look at me when you talk" The stern voice caused Sena to look up with bewildered eyes.
"Ahhh, s-sorry!? I-I..."
"Hey kid, do you want to be Eyeshield 21?" The simple question caused Sena to stop all trains of thought and stare back blankly. "If you don't, then I'd say run away as fast as your little legs can take you since you'd be letting down a lot of people. You’re not just any player. You’re supposed to be Eyeshield 21." Without another moment, Musashi walked towards his truck, inwardly chastising himself. Why the hell did he bother saying that? Didn't he give up football?
Sena could only stare back at him, his feet glued to the ground. What...do I want? He didn't even have an answer. After hearing the sounds of a truck driving away, Sena weakly reached for the doorknob and entered the clubhouse. There were the sounds of soft snores coming from the couch; Hiruma was sleeping soundly with a book half on top of him.
This evening still seemed unreal. First, he got advice by some random old man. Second, Hiruma was doing something that didn't involve scheming or anything diabolical. Tiptoeing, Sena quietly picked up his school bag and slung it over his shoulder. Looking at the sleeping figure, he wondered if he was being Eyeshield 21 because of all the threats to his well-being. The gunshots rang loudly in his memories, but so did Kurita's warm laughter and the tears in his eyes as he proclaimed their freshman dreams of going to the Christmas Bowl. Why did Hiruma and Kurita care so much and depend on him? Another lingering doubt voiced itself: how can I ever manage to reach Shin’s level? With a silent sigh, Sena exited the clubhouse and walked very slowly back home, plagued with uncertainty and wavering confidence.