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Guns and Roses

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“Where’s Hiruma?” asked Mamori as she flipped through her notes.
“Wonder why he’s so late,” Sena murmured to Monta.
“I don’t get that man. He either shows up first or dead last,” replied Monta rolling his eyes. Kurita waddled into their rather large clubhouse and sat down next to Mamori, “I’m sure he’s just running late. He’ll be here. After all we have plays to discuss.”
“When we have business to take care of he’s always here right away. Before any of us. Something could be wrong. Sena, come with me to go look for him,” ordered Mamori jumping up.
“I..I don’t think there’s any need...” Sena started as Mamori grabbed his arm and started tugging him along.
“Why don’t we wait a bit longer, Mamori? It’s possible he got stuck at the convenience store,” said Kurita.
“I...I guess you’re right,” said Mamori as her face took on a fresh rosy color “I’m sorry... a bit carried away,” Mamori promptly released Sena and took her seat.
“It’s fine! Here have a cream puff. I just bought them,” offered Kurita as he placed the sweet smelling pastry in front of her. She gave him a wide smile in return and then the pastry was gone.
Sena was organizing pictures “he took” of their latest game and wondering where Hiruma could have gotten to. Monta was throwing a football up and down, pausing every so often to sneak a peek at Mamori as she devoured cream puffs with Kurita. The Huh Huh Brothers and Komusubi were excused from this team meeting as Kurita planned to meet with them later.
It was curious that they were waiting so long on Hiruma. Though it could be anyone’s guess as to where he was. The more Sena thought about it, the less he realized he knew about his Senpai. He didn’t even know Hiruma’s address, let alone his usual haunts. But he didn’t have a lot of time to fret over his lack of knowledge because in the next moment Hiruma burst through the door shouting, “You guys better be ready to work!” He was dressed in Deimon High’s school uniform with two large guns hanging from his shoulder. No sooner had he placed one of his hands on the gun closest to his hip than was everyone in the clubhouse sitting with backs straight in their seats ready to work.
“Before we get started, I just want you to know that we were all worried about you,” said Mamori leaning in and glaring at him.
“You guys? Worried about me?” asked Hiruma bending down to meet her glare. “I wasn’t that late,” he continued as he tossed the guns into the corner of the room. Or meant to. Instead his aim was off and the guns bounced against the wall with a loud clack and then a thud as they settled on the ground.
“You’re an hour and a half late Hiruma,” said Kurita with a frown. Hiruma just let the words of worry slide and went to sit down in his usual seat. “We were beginning to think something happened to you since you’re always first at our important meetings,” Kurita continued as Hiruma misjudged and banged his thigh into the table.
“Shit. Oww!” Hiruma exclaimed as he lowered himself slowly into his seat. He regained his composure quickly though as he replied, “I just got stuck at the convenience store a few blocks away.” He leaned back and put his feet up on the table. “Some fucking old granny got her coupons mixed up. That’s what took me a while,” he finished in a tone everyone knew better than to question.
Except for Mamori of course. She seemed to have a fearless tendency of pushing Hiruma farther than anyone else. Mamori stood up and leaned over the table. She placed her face right before his own and studied him. Hiruma simply squinted back at her with a “Huh?” Everyone else at the table wanted nothing to do with this confrontation and so they started making awkward small talk about the weather. Though Hiruma and Mamori often fought, this felt a bit different to the others for some reason.
“Why is your face so red?” asked Mamori as she sat back down.
“Eh? Sunburn. Now lay off fucking manager. We have work to do,” replied Hiruma as he grabbed some papers from her clipboard. He used the back of his wrist to wipe some sweat from his brow.
“When would you get a sunburn?” asked Kurita looking up at the ceiling with a finger to his mouth.
“Well it has been rather hot during our last few games,” said Sena.
“Yeah. What the fucking shrimp said. I got burned during halftime. Now let me explain the next few plays I decided on,” Hiruma said as he spread the sheets of paper out covering the table.
Hiruma was getting impatient and they had already lost an hour and a half of their time so they accepted their friend’s reasoning and went to work.
. . .
“Awww training right after all that discussing?” whined Monta as he jogged onto the field.
“We have to practice the plays Hiruma showed us Monta,” replied Eyeshield (Sena) who was jogging along side him.
“But it’s so HOT. Like 80 degrees today. You’d think he’d care about us passing out,” complained Monta as he bent with his hands on his knees.
“You guys! Don’t forget to stay hydrated,” shouted Mamori as she rushed onto the field with their water bottles.
“Thanks Mamori,” said Monta as he grabbed the bottle. “Hydrated MAX!” Eyeshield (Sena) just turned in Mamori’s general direction and grunted a “thank you”.
“I wonder where Sena went though. He gets sick from the heat pretty easily,” Mamori commented as she looked around.
“Oh I wouldn’t worry about him, right Eyeshield?!” said Monta as he slapped Sena on the back.
“Don’t worry about that damn secretary. I sent him to pick up some equipment,” said Hiruma as he stepped on the field with a gun and Kurita trailing behind him.
“Whew, it really is hotter than we thought today. Maybe we shouldn’t practice Hiruma,” said Kurita looking at Monta and Eyeshield who were sweating just standing there.
“Whaaaat? You don’t want to practice because it’s a little hot out fatass? Well too damn bad. Monta. Eyeshield. Five laps, now!” barked Hiruma as he blasted his gun for extra encouragement. They of course zoomed off in response.
“When are the rest of the guys gonna be here?” Hiruma asked as he pivoted in Kurita’s direction. Even without having done any physical activity yet Hiruma felt extremely sticky. But it was hard to tell with the dark color of his jersey.
“Oh, they should be here soon. I’m gonna practice a bit until they get here,” replied Kurita as he jogged off. Hiruma stepped back and was observing what was about half of his team until he felt a nudge. He looked down and saw Mamori was next to him pushing a water bottle into his hand.
“You look like you could really use this,” she said as she hugged her clipboard.
“Thanks,” he mumbled in response taking a sip. He was going to run off to yell at Monta and Sena, but he felt a tug on his wrist.
“It’’s really hot out today,” Mamori said as she looked down at her clipboard and began to turn away from him “so don’t push yourself too much.”
Hiruma smiled in response and replied with, “What? The fucking manager is still worrying over me? Oh, how cute!”
“Hiruma! Stop that. It’s just you’re already covered in sweat so I got a little concerned,” she said only to realize that he’d already run off to scold Monta and Eyeshield. “Argh, that man,” she grumbled.
. . .
“YAAAA-HA!” shouted Hiruma, “Faster you two!” he added with a few gunshots. Monta and Sena were running like crabs on the step ladder and now their feet were blurs.
Because of the heat, he’d really had to push them today. And honestly he wasn’t expecting any less. It was hell to practice in this weather, but it would only leave them stronger. They’d be that much to closer to being Christmas Bowl material. What he wasn’t expecting was the toll it was taking on him. “Keep going you two!” he shouted as he walked over to the bench to grab a towel. The towel was soaked, it must have weighed a good five pounds. He threw it back on the bench and it landed with a wet plop. He grabbed his water bottle and watched his team. They were all present now. It made him quite proud to see this stitched together team work so hard.
The red devil bat on Kurita’s shoulder pads seemed to fade out for a moment. He shook his head only to find that the whole scene was going fuzzy. He quickly put his hand to his forehead to clear his focus.
“You okay?” asked Mamori as she stood up and placed a hand on his arm. He shook her off and replied, “I’m fine.” He looked back at his friends and everything was clear again. “Damn manager,” he mumbled as he ran off once again.
“I don’t get him at all. If he’s tired why doesn’t he just say so?” Mamori demanded to her clipboard. She sighed and then jumped up to find some papers in the clubhouse. On her way she paused to watch Hiruma yell at Monta. She concluded he seemed fine after all.
. . .
“Come on you two! Don’t make me get Cerberus out!” Hiruma threatened with a smile that revealed every pointed tooth in his head. He then watched Monta and Sena continue to run around the field. He caught the glare of off Sena’s helmet and it made him blink a few times. When he refocused the scene before him had taken on a fuzzy element again. Only this time there were black spots appearing like holes in his vision. He raised a hand to his head, stumbled a bit and dropped his gun. He’d managed to regain his balance but Sena and Monta noticed anyway. They both knew a gun could only be taken from Hiruma if it was pried from his hands. For him to drop one was something they didn’t think they’d ever see.
“Something wrong Hiruma?” asked Sena as he dashed over leaving Monta in his wake.
“Nothing. I’m fine, brat! Get back to training,” ordered Hiruma as he grabbed his fallen gun.
“He doesn’t look good Sena,” Monta whispered as he ran up.
“I can see that. The heat’s gotten to him-”
“What are you two standing around for? G-” Hiruma’s voice cut off as he stumbled again. Before he knew it he was sitting on the grass with the shadows of his teammates cast over him. He could hear them and feel their touch, but he couldn’t understand them. They might as well have been speaking to him in French. All he could focus on was the cool tingle of the grass.
“Guys, back up. Give him some air,” Kurita said in a trembling voice. At the same time Mamori had just come back from the clubhouse and saw the commotion. She figured someone had either gotten hurt or passed out. More likely the latter. Though she was surprised by how upset Monta and Eyeshield looked.
As she ran over she saw that Hiruma was the one on the ground. Kurita had taken his half conscious friend’s arm and slung it over his neck. He then reached down and scooped Hiruma up.
“Bring him to the clubhouse Kurita. The school nurse has left by now and it’s much cooler in there,” suggested Mamori.
“Right,” replied Kurita as he hurried and tried to keep Hiruma out of the sun.
. . .
It was decided that Mamori and Sena would stay with Hiruma while Kurita kept practice going. Hiruma was seated on one of the stools and propped up against the wall. He was sweating buckets and his face was beet red. His breaths were deep and his eyes would flutter open every so often. Mamori was alternating between wiping his face and giving him sips of water. For the first time she noticed how green his eyes were. She’d always known he had green eyes, but now that she was so close to him she could see the flecks of vibrant and dark green that made up his irises. They were truly unlike anything she’d ever seen.
Her eyebrows were drawn together as she worked and she didn’t say much. She just wondered what was taking Sena so long. He’d been on the same errand all practice and she could really use his help right now. For example she needed ice. But she couldn’t leave Hiruma.
“I’ll text him. Tell him there’s been an emergency,” she said to herself. Mamori took out her phone and typed out the message: Where are you Sena? Whatever Hiruma told you to do, drop it. I need you to pick up some ice ASAP! Hiruma has fainted and I need your help. Please hurry. She knew he’d get that. He was good about answering texts.
“You think Hiruma’s alright? He looked pretty sick,” whispered Sena as he stretched next to Monta.
“That devil? Psshhh, he’ll be fine. I wouldn’t worry about him too much,” replied Monta with a smile and a pop of his shoulder. He winced.
“I think it’s about time I reappear as Sena though. Just have Kurita tell Mamori that the heat was starting to get to Eyeshield too, so he left early,” said Sena.
“Yeah, I’m sure Mamori could really use your help. She can’t deal with him by herself. And I’ll make sure to tell Kurita that,” responded Monta. The two friends gave eachother a high five and Sena ran off to change into his school uniform. As he was changing he saw his phone had received a message. He picked it up and saw Mamori’s message. He replied with: What?! Is he alright? Of course I’ll get ice. See you soon Mamori. Now he had to run and get ice. The last thing he wanted to do was run some more in this heat, but he couldn’t walk into the clubhouse without ice. He’d pass on having Mamori scream at him.
He stuffed his football jersey in his bag and ran off at as close to top speed as he could. He kicked up dirt and created a wind as he zoomed past people on the sidewalk that seemed to be standing still. Sena grabbed two bags of ice, just in case and hopped in line. Shifting his weight from foot to foot he waited for his turn to check out. His phone started to ring. He dug it out of his pocket and saw another message from Mamori: He’ll be okay. He’s just got mild heat stroke from what I can tell, but please be as quick as you can Sena. :(
Soon enough Sena paid for the ice and shot back to Deimon High’s Football Club House.
“Sena! Oh, you got that ice I asked for. That’s wonderful,” Mamori exclaimed as she grabbed a bag, ripped it open and started wrapping some ice cubes in a towel.
“Geez, are you sure that’s just heat stroke Mamori? He looks terrible,” said Sena unsure of what else he could do.
“He’ll be alright now. Thank you for the ice Sena,” Mamori said as she held it up to his forehead. Sena also wondered what errand Hiruma had told everyone he was doing today. But seeing as Mamori was preoccupied he didn’t think it’d matter much.
“See? He looks better already. The ice is really helping,” said Mamori. The flushed color was starting to drain from Hiruma’s cheeks and ears.
“Uh, is there anything else I can do Mamori?” asked Sena genuinely hoping that there was something else he could do.
“You and the manager can give me a bit more fucking space,” said Hiruma as he leaned forward a bit.
“Hiruma, you’re awake?” asked Mamori with slight surprise in her words. Complying with his request she and Sena took a few steps back.
“‘Course I am. Have been this whole time,” Hiruma responded as he reached forward and grabbed a few ice cubes. He placed them on his face and sighed. He didn’t seem to care that they were directly touching his skin. “Everyone is still practicing right? Including Eyeshield? If you left that fatass Kurita in charge then Eyeshield and Monta are definitely slacking. Fucking secretary go yell at them. Make sure they’re both still out there,” ordered Hiruma weakly.
“Aaah of course,” responded Sena. He then dashed off to change back into his jersey and continue practice. He didn’t want to test Hiruma, especially not now.
“More importantly how are you feeling Hiruma?” asked Mamori who was glaring at him for putting football before his health.
“I’m fine now. I just need to rest a bit,” he replied tossing his water bottle from hand to hand. Mamori noticed he looked a lot better. He’d stopped sweating quite so much and his face had gone back to just being sunburned.
“That’s great. You really had everyone worried. Just next time try to focus more on staying hydrated,” Mamori said.
“Eh, like the fucking manager knows anything about heat stroke,” replied Hiruma smiling.
“Oh? Well I guess it isn’t just Sena that gets sick from the heat!” she taunted back.
“Heat doesn’t usually bother me. So don’t go thinking-” but Hiruma’s words cut off as he suddenly slumped down in his chair. His body swayed a bit and the chair crashed to the floor, sprawling him on the ground before a rather stunned Mamori.
“H-Hiruma? Hiruma! Ohmygod,” Mamori whispered as she bent down and gently placed her hand on his face. He was burning up. And this time it wasn’t simply from the heat.