Thanks so much to Oort on AO3 for reading through my draft of this and gushing about miyusawa with me.
Because Sawamura and Miyuki are in university, there are necessarily OCs in this story. Only one of them is relatively important to the plot, so you can just sorta roll with the unfamiliar names.
"Ready to go meet the new recruits?"
Kazuya shoulders his bag and looks over at his teammate with a grin. "Looking forward to seeing how hard Coach runs them. They'll be dropping like flies."
"Aw, c'mon, give them a break from your ribbing on their first day. They don't need the added stress of knowing their catcher's a sadist."
"Most of them come from major baseball high schools; there's no need to go easy on them." Nakatomi, also a second-year student and a pitcher on Kazuya's team, shakes his head as Kazuya locks his door.
Halfway out to the field, a small posse of their teammates joins them from behind. "Do you guys know how many new ones we've got this year?" Wada asks.
"No idea." Kazuya settles into a good pace while the other players chatter around him. They're a pretty decent bunch, not nearly as rowdy as Seidou was. He bites back a smile, recalling all the power and passion packed into one team.
The field comes into view, familiar except for the horde of new faces already gathered there under the eye of the assistant coach. Kazuya remembers standing there one whole year ago, ready to start again from scratch and work his way up to first string again. He didn't make the main catcher's position last year, but he did get to play during some of the regular games, and now that Tagawa-senpai has graduated and gone pro, Kazuya's got a good chance at the spot. Some of the players, the team's ace included, talk as if he's already the first string catcher.
The returning players are sizing up the first years as they change into their baseball spikes, speculating about who's going for what position and which kid looks the strongest, but Kazuya doesn't look too closely at them until he hears a loud "Miyuki Kazuya!"
Kazuya's head snaps up from his bag with a sharp intake of breath. What's that voice doing here?
His eyes are immediately drawn to exuberantly waving arms and a smile that could put the sun to shame. It's been a while since Kazuya last saw him in person, but he looks almost the same. A little taller, perhaps, and a bit more filled out.
"Sawamura?" Kazuya's mouth opens and closes before he can get out words. "You never told me you were coming here." Kazuya had wondered if he'd get some of his Seidou underclassmen on his college team, but those had only been idle thoughts. He'd heard that Sawamura had gotten offers from a dozen baseball-heavy schools, including the same overseas university that Chris-senpai attended.
Yet he'd ended up here.
In response to Kazuya's accusation, a smug grin grows on Sawamura's face. "Bet you're surprised, aren't you?"
"You're the one who didn't say anything about it. What a rude kouhai."
"You never asked where I was going, so what kind of senpai does that make you, huh? If you'd asked, I would've told you!"
"Well, I definitely am surprised."
The smugness slips from Sawamura's expression and Kazuya's heart skips oddly at the obvious delight in his eyes. "It looks like I'm in your care again, Miyuki-senpai."
It starts just after Kazuya and the other third years retire. He opens his messages two days after winning Koushien to see \Come catch for me/. He snorts and pockets his phone – any response to Sawamura would only encourage him.
The next morning, though, he gets another one. \Come on, catch for me after practice. You're not THAT busy studying for exams, right? Half an hour?/
Miyuki ignores that one too, as well as the slew of texts that follow sporadically over the next week:
\Will you catch for me today?/
\The weather's supposed to be nice this afternoon, Senpai, perfect conditions for catching outside/
\COME ON MIYUKI KAZUYA WOULD IT KILL YOU TO BE FRIENDLY FOR TWENTY MINUTES/
\Play with meeeeeee/
\Don't you miss catching?/
\You're no fun. Come catch with me/
\Answer your messages, Miyuki Bakazuya!/
Finally, he gets an in-person visit from Sawamura during lunch and Kazuya gives in, partly because he really does miss catching and partly because Sawamura will be less aggressive about it if Kazuya indulges him occasionally.
They agree on a schedule for their extra practice (or rather, Kazuya decides how long he's willing to put up with Sawamura and then doesn't budge when the second year whines for more time) and it becomes a habit.
The text messages don't stop, though, and their content changes from begging Kazuya for practice to talking about Sawamura's day: how his classes went, about the squirrel he saw during lunch, how much homework he has, the dirty joke that one of the first years made during practice, and so on. Kazuya finds himself sending back teasing replies which fire up Sawamura more, and evening catch with Sawamura isn't the only new habit he forms.
After Kazuya's graduation, he expects Sawamura to be too busy to keep in contact. He's wrong. Sawamura doesn't even pause in his daily messages to Kazuya, and by this time Kazuya doesn't mind texting back. He's even, reluctantly, come to enjoy talking to him, and exchanging anecdotes and teasing insults with Sawamura is the only thing that can keep Kazuya up until four in the morning even when they both have class the next day.
All of that talking, and not once did Sawamura mention he was coming to Kazuya's university. Hell, Kazuya had talked to him last night, and all Sawamura had said on the subject was that he was going to bed early because move-in had been exhausting.
Kazuya rolls his eyes and snorts. "What a brat you are."
Before Sawamura can reply, Coach shows up and the assistant coach barks at the first years to get back in line. The returning players start warmup while Coach speaks with the new players about how things run here.
Wada calls over from across the pack of their teammates jogging around the field: "Yo, Miyuki, who's the newbie you know?"
"Sawamura Eijun. We played at Seidou together," Kazuya replies.
"Is he any good?"
Kazuya side-eyes Wada. "Don't you follow high school baseball? Sawamura's the southpaw that crushed everyone at Koushien last year."
"No shit? Huh."
"He seemed pretty close for just a teammate," their third baseman comments. "Who knew Miyuki had friends in high school?"
"Who's friends with that kid?" Kazuya replies, though he can't keep the smile off his face as it starts to sink in that he and Sawamura will get the chance to be a battery again. Kuramochi had dragged him to a couple of Seidou's games last year, and there were moments when watching Sawamura's pitches had made it hard to breathe – his form had improved even further in his third year, and Kazuya itched for a glove as he watched Seidou's flashy pitcher tear the other teams to shreds with a wild grin and a loud "oshi oshi oshi!"
He'd made so much progress that Kazuya would have to entirely rethink what kind of defense he wanted them to play.
This was already shaping up to be an interesting year.
After his bath, Eijun sets his alarm and shoots off a text to Miyuki. \What time are your earliest classes this semester?/
\I'm not getting up early to go running with you/
\What the heck, Miyuki Kazuya, why'd you just assume that's what I was gonna ask?/
\Weren't you?/ God, Eijun can almost hear the amusement in his text.
\Let me at least ask before you answer!/
\It's still a no, and even if you figure out my room number and pound on my door I'm still not going to change my mind/
Eijun scowls at the screen. "Fine then! I didn't really wanna run with you anyway." He tosses the phone next to his pillow and flops onto his bed, sulking.
"You're friends with one of the senpai, right?"
Eijun looks over at his new roommate, a fellow first year who played third baseman in high school. His side of the room is very… neat. After three years at Seidou with messy roommates, Sano-san's tidiness is a little unnerving to Eijun. "Huh?"
"The catcher, Miyuki-san, he went to your high school, right?"
"How is he?"
"Miyuki Kazuya is the best catcher. You'll see."
"You're friends, then?"
"Yeah, you could say that," Eijun replies. On Miyuki's end of things, "friendship" is probably the right word; Eijun's pretty confident that Miyuki wouldn't keep in contact for a year if Eijun was still just a teammate to him. For Eijun, though, the term "friendship" isn't anywhere near adequate.
Eijun might not have had the highest grades on the baseball team, but he'd read enough shoujo to realize during his second year of high school that he looked at Miyuki differently than anyone else in his life. Miyuki was more than a teammate, more than an admired senpai, more than the other half of a battery. He was rude, for sure, and teased Eijun entirely too much, but his smile made Eijun's heart pound strangely and his rare compliments, hidden by mocking, made Eijun feel powerful enough to do anything. Miyuki was completely dedicated to the team and a reliable captain, and he was the person that Eijun wanted to catch up to the most. Eijun put every fiber of his being into practice, and with each round Seidou advanced in Koushien that summer, he won one more chance to form a battery with Miyuki.
The day after the third years retired, Eijun had gone to practice and told himself that it was okay that Miyuki wasn't there. His manga had warned him that first crushes don't always work out. Without practice to connect them, Eijun had no reason to see Miyuki anymore, and then they'd eventually lose contact entirely when the catcher graduated.
Eijun spent that day and the next glum and lethargic, which really pissed off his teammates, who were still ecstatic from their win. It was Harucchi who had snapped him out of it as they were walking out from the baths. "You look a little… dejected. You haven't given up on the ace spot because Furuya had it for Koushien this year, right?"
The thought of losing to Furuya provoked a habitual response. "Hah?! No way, Sawamura Eijun is a man who never gives up! I will take the ace number!"
"That's what I thought," Harucchi replied with a smile, and it suddenly struck Eijun that he didn't have to give up on Miyuki yet either. He knew Miyuki was going to play university baseball before going pro, and there was no reason Eijun couldn't work his ass off and get into the same school through either an entrance exam or an offer from the baseball team.
"I won't give up," he said again.
"I heard you, Eijun-kun. And I'm glad you're feeling a little better."
As soon as Eijun got back to his room, he'd opened his phone and sent a new message.
Kazuya's phone rings while he's changing for bed. He rolls his eyes and picks up, expecting an overly enthusiastic Sawamura on the other end. "Hello?"
He blinks. "Kuramochi? What do you want?"
"Oi! What sorta way is that to talk to your former teammate?!"
Kazuya puts the phone on speaker and continues pulling on an old t-shirt. "Haha. How's life in the pro leagues going?" He'd gotten offers too when he graduated, but he considered a college degree to be a necessary backup plan.
"Can't complain. Hey, did you watch our game in Hokkaido last week? It was televised in Tokyo."
"Nope," Kazuya lies, looking over at the notebooks collected on his desk filled with data on the Yomiuri Giants.
"Jerk. Ryou-san and I kicked some serious ass out there."
"I'm sure Ryou-san did well."
Kuramochi ignores the implied insult. "Damn right he did. So, I was just calling to see how you're doing. First day as a second-year go alright?" he asks leadingly.
"Fine, I guess. Oh, and you'll never guess who – wait." Kazuya shakes his head as the dots connect. "You knew. That's why you're calling. Who's a jerk now?"
Kuramochi feigns innocence badly. "What're you talking about?"
"Sawamura. He just started at my university, as I discovered this morning. Something you neglected to mention?"
Kuramochi drops the façade. "Hey, it wasn't my business if Sawamura wanted to surprise you. It kinda makes you look like a dick for not even asking him."
"It never came up." Kazuya unrolls his earbuds from around his iPod, scrolling through to his nighttime playlist.
"Sure it didn't. So, what do you think?"
"None of the first years pitched today, but I'll see how he does tomorrow."
Kuramochi sighs over the line. "You know, there is more to him than whether he's a decent pitcher or not."
Kazuya wants to joke that there's nothing in Sawamura's head but baseball, but something about Kuramochi's serious tone makes him bite his tongue. "He looked happy, I guess. Eager as ever." Maybe that's what Kuramochi's looking for. He'd always had a soft spot for his former roommate.
"Good." There's a lull, and then the seriousness disappears. "Has he begged you to catch for him yet?"
"Yes, and I'll block his number if he doesn't cut it out."
"Kyahaha, have fun with that." There's the sound of a door opening in the background. "Okay, Ryou-san just got back, I gotta go." He hangs up abruptly.
Kazuya rolls his eyes. "Well, goodnight to you too."
After conditioning the next day, Coach orders Kazuya to take turns catching with all the pitchers during batting practice, including the two new ones. Kazuya starts with Nakatomi and Sugihara before calling over the unfamiliar first-year from the pitching machines. Kazuya hasn't missed that Sawamura's been glancing over at him every few minutes since he started, trying unsubtly to make eye contact. When he's finished with the other first year pitcher, he purposely meets Sawamura gaze, then strolls over to the dugout for a water break.
But Sawamura can't contain his excitement any longer, it seems. He bounds over to the dugout to grab his glove and he shifts, antsy, as Kazuya drinks from his bottle. "Are you ready yet?"
"Oh, I suppose it's your turn now, if I must," Kazuya teases, prompting a predictably explosive reaction from Sawamura.
"Don't you try to get out of this, Miyuki Kazuya! I've been looking forward to it for a year!"
"Haha, pining away for a whole year, huh? So strange, it's almost like you followed me here or something~"
"What's weird about that?" Sawamura demands, completely serious. "I followed you to high school, didn't I?" Kazuya's gaze meets his and the pitcher blinks at Kazuya like he hasn't just said something shocking.
Well, maybe it's not that shocking. Sawamura's always been one to act on impulse, and Kazuya still remembers the moment Sawamura had realized that Kazuya could catch whatever he threw. His eyes had widened and that pure love for baseball lit up his whole face. Kazuya must've had an even bigger impact on impressionable, little junior high Sawamura than he'd thought.
Nevertheless, he feels more than a little off-balance at the idea that Sawamura decided on his future based on where Kazuya would be. "Let's see if you've improved over a year," Kazuya finally says to change the subject. "You control could still use a lot of work, from what I remember…"
"Hey! My control's gotten much better, thank you very much!"
Kazuya laughs. "We'll see, won't we?" Sawamura jogs out to the bullpen while Kazuya follows at a more sedate pace. He settles into position and calls for a pitch, and Sawamura nods at the signal as he winds up.
Sawamura's form is spot-on, the ball hidden from view until just before the moment of release, and Kazuya allows a smile to form as the ball hurtles into his glove. It's not like he's forgotten what it's like to catch for Sawamura, but the sound of this particular pitch hitting his mitt evokes all the euphoria from high school of planning a wicked pitch selection for their battery.
"Why are you smiling like that?! It looks sinister!"
Kazuya throws the ball back and signals for another pitch, grinning wider.
When they're done, thirty or so pitches later, Sawamura sidles up next to him. "So," he begins as they walk back to the dugout, "did I do well?"
"I can think of several areas where you need to improve."
"Couldn't you just say 'good job' for once?! Would it kill you?"
Kazuya has missed this. He knows that Sawamura gets ruffled at the other end of the phone, but seeing the fireworks in person again is a treat. "Well, you're definitely better than that haughty high schooler I remember who shouted that he was going to become the ace with only fastballs. How embarrassing that was."
"Hey! I'm different now! I'll have you know that I haven't done a single thing yet to embarrass myself in front of the new team!"
"Your shirt's on inside out."
"What?" Sawamura hurriedly looks down at himself, then back at Kazuya. "No it's not!"
"Made you look, though, didn't I?"
Sawamura's jaw drops. "You're the worst!"
"Yeah, and that's why you followed me to high school and college."
"I didn't say that I purposely followed you to college! I said that it wouldn't be weird if I did, since I went to Seidou because of you!"
Sawamura's face twists up into a familiar, stubborn pout. "It's a good thing you're such an incredible catcher, Miyuki Kazuya, 'cause your manners sure don't win any contests."
"And your pitch control wouldn't win any contests either, so who's the real loser here?"
"Hey!" Kazuya can physically see Sawamura's temper building up and he bites back a grin of anticipation. Neither of them are really paying attention to their surroundings, so when Sawamura runs smack into the dugout wall, Kazuya's just as surprised as he is.
Kazuya recovers first and starts laughing, which seems to be the signal for the other witnesses on the team to begin sniggering at the completely gob-smacked Sawamura. Being around Sawamura is never boring, that's for sure.
Tears stream down Kazuya's face as Sawamura jumps back to his feet with his face blazing a brilliant red. Kazuya manages to get out a single sentence between fits of laughter: "What – what were you saying about not embarrassing yourself?"
Kazuya's ready for a quiet Saturday night in when there's a knock on the door. He debates about not answering it, but the second knock and the familiar sound of Oda's low, gravelly voice telling him to answer the damn door prompt him to get up from his bed.
"What is it?" he asks as he pulls the door open. Standing in the hall are about a dozen players from the baseball team. Except for Oda, most of them seem to be first years. His eyes land on a familiar shock of brown hair and he looks down to meet Sawamura's gaze. Sawamura's eyebrows rise as they make eye contact, but then he just grins. He doesn't even have to speak for Kazuya to know what he's thinking: "I know where you live now, Miyuki Kazuya". Kazuya tries to project "Don't try anything" at him, but since Sawamura's grin widens, he's probably decided to ignore the message.
Oda speaks, breaking their little mental conversation. "We're going out to karaoke, sort of as a team. The captain's not ordering that people come, but most of us want to get to know the new kids outside of practice, so I'm rounding people up. Are you in?"
"Hmm. I guess I could come for a little bit." Kazuya doesn't bother to change, just pulls on a jacket and grabs his wallet before locking up.
As the horde of players moves on to their next stop, Sawamura slows down to walk next to Kazuya. "Oshi! I'm super pumped for karaoke!"
"Can you even sing?" Kazuya asks, though he already knows the answer. Sawamura always chimed in loud and clear at games when the school band played songs he recognized, and for someone who spent most of his time shouting himself hoarse, he wasn't bad.
"I can sing, definitely! Just you watch! I, Sawamura Eijun, will knock your socks off with my magnificent music!"
"Knock my socks off, huh? That'll have to be a pretty incredible performance."
"I can do it! Just for you, Miyuki Kazuya, I will pull out all the stops and go with my full power!"
"You have stops?" Kazuya replies with a disbelieving snort, but Sawamura's too far into his music monologue to hear what Kazuya says.
As it turns out, though, Sawamura doesn't end up taking a turn at the microphone. He's so excited that he can't sit still, darting back and forth between the two group rooms that the baseball club reserved for karaoke. No one can calm him down long enough to pick a song, so they skip his turn and another first year entertains him with some card trick that he's been working on. Sawamura's not the only one who's a little out of control, though, since some of the players who've hit drinking age order beverages for themselves and share with the younger players on the sly.
When Sawamura's antsy behavior starts to get him into trouble with some of their more easily irritated teammates, the captain maneuvers him over towards Kazuya. "Keep him out of trouble," he orders Kazuya.
"I don't need to be looked after, sir!" Eijun exclaims.
The captain's tone brooks no argument: "Sit."
Sawamura looks at the bench crammed with players around Kazuya and, with no obvious alternative, plops onto Kazuya's lap. The captain leaves, satisfied, and Sawamura twists his head around to look at Kazuya. His eyes are clear, so he probably hasn't gotten into the alcohol, but Kazuya can feel the muscles in Sawamura's legs twitching like he's eager to run around. Which is. A bizarre feeling. It's weird to suddenly realize how much of Sawamura there is, wild limbs and solid torso and a lively aura that seems to fill the air around him. He's also really warm, Kazuya notices, and despite the number of teammates crowded around him who are giving off too much body heat, it's not an unpleasant feeling. He almost wishes Sawamura would lean back and let more of that warmth seep into his chest.
That's a weird thought.
"Is there a problem?" Sawamura asks innocently, snapping Kazuya out of whatever strange haze he'd been in.
"Get off my lap." Sawamura doesn't seem inclined to move – likely because of the captain's orders – so Kazuya pokes him in the side a couple of times, startling a laugh out of him as he jumps to his feet to get away. "You can have the seat if you want. I was just about to head back to the dorms."
"I was just getting ready to leave too! I'll walk you back." Kazuya doesn't really believe that first claim, but allows Sawamura to join him on his walk back to campus.
Sawamura interrupts the brief silence that springs up between them once they're away from the rest of the team. "Hey, Miyuki, I didn't get to hear you sing!"
That's because Kazuya was conveniently in the restroom when his turn rolled around. "Maybe next time. And if I recall, someone promised to blow me away with his performance tonight, but never took the stage."
"That's, that's because I was busy! I didn't mean to get skipped!" Sawamura tells him earnestly. "I can sing for you now!"
"On the street in the middle of the night?"
"I don't care about those things!"
Kazuya hides an amused grin. "I didn't think that you would."
"We could go back to your room? I would serenade you with the best of my abilities!"
He pretends to consider. "I was looking forward to sleeping right away; maybe your singing would help that."
"Miyuki Kazuya! I can't tell if you're complimenting my skill with lullabies or saying that I'm so boring that I'd put you to sleep!"
"Hmm, I'll leave that to your imagination." Honestly, though, Kazuya can't imagine falling asleep with Sawamura making noise.
"Ugh, what a rude senpai. Would your roommate be okay with you having a guest so late?"
"You're serious about this?" Kazuya looks over at Sawamura, who looks perfectly sincere about his question. Does Kazuya really want to invite trouble into his room? Once Sawamura's in, he'll be hard to kick out. Kazuya weighs the potential for irritation against the entertainment value of Sawamura trying to serenade him. Amusement eventually wins out, so he says, "My roommate's not in tonight. Said he was staying over with an off-campus friend."
Sawamura's eyes widen a little. "So it would be just us?"
"Sounds that way, if you're coming over."
The conversation pauses for a few moments before a smile flashes across Sawamura's face. "I did promise you good music."
Of all the things Kazuya would've imagined himself doing in college on a Saturday night, inviting Sawamura Eijun up to his room to sing to him was not something that he would've predicted.
When they get back to Kazuya's room, Sawamura hovers for a moment on the threshold. "There's no need to look so nervous, Sawamura. I'm not going to grade your musical performance."
"I know that!" He steps in decisively, throwing a grumpy look at Kazuya. "I was saying a prayer for your poor roommate who has to put up with you all the time!"
"Sorry, who was it that volunteered to put up with me by coming to Seidou? Who was that?" Kazuya taps his chin, feigning thoughtfulness. "Oh, I think that was you, wasn't it?" he teases.
"Will you let that go?!"
"Never," Kazuya promises with a grin. Sawamura grumbles under his breath. Kazuya, meanwhile, sinks onto his bed and folds his legs. "So, what song did you have in mind?"
Sawamura opens his mouth but no sound comes out, confirming Kazuya's suspicions that he hadn't thought this through at all. And, judging by the way his face flushes and the look of mild alarm that comes over him, he's just blanked on the words to every song he knows.
Teasing him is just too easy. This is going to be fun.
By this time, Kazuya knows that Sawamura's not going to stop sending him messages, but he'd thought that since they saw each other every day again, the conversations might drop off in regularity. This is most definitely not the case.
\Miyuki I'm booooooored/
\You're in Economics right now, aren't you? Put away your phone/
\You're not the boss of me/
\Listen to your senpai, Sawamura/
\Noooooo waaaay. Not gonna/
Kazuya realizes that Sawamura's trying to goad him into responding in order to entertain himself, so he switches the phone to silent and sets it next to his books. He goes back to studying, grateful for the quiet of the library.
Kazuya's phone lights up and his eyes flick over, but he ignores it. He ignores the next few messages and reads the same three lines of his textbook over and over again. Without opening any of his eight new texts, he opens a new message and writes \ Knock it off, would you? I'm trying to study. If you're bored, count the ceiling tiles or doodle in your notebook or watch people/
When Kazuya's phone goes off again, he checks the time, calculates that he has about two hours before his next class, and decides that he can spare ten minutes to humor Sawamura before getting back on track. He opens Sawamura's message: \There are three kids playing games on their laptops in the rows in front of me. I think two of them are playing each other/
Before Kazuya can type a reply, another pops up: \This classroom has some weird posters up on the walls from the '90s about physical health/
Kazuya starts to type again, but a third text arrives. "Is this supposed to be a two-way conversation or not?" he murmurs before opening the message: \That girl who asked you out after practice last week is in my class/
Kazuya doesn't remember very clearly what she looked like, but it appears that Sawamura does. \Aww, is Sawamura jealous? I haven't seen any young ladies try to corner you after a game/
\Are you suggesting that I'm not likeable? What a rude person you are/
\At least I could get girls/
\I COULD GET GIRLS TOO IF I WANTED/
\You think so? You've always got a dumb look on your face, haha/
\I DO NOT/
\Do too. Can you even do "sultry", or is that beyond your range of expressions?/
\I CAN TOO I'LL SEND YOU A PICTURE YOU JERK/
Kazuya eyebrows jump in incredulity. \You're in class. How shameless are you?/
Apparently shameless enough, because a notification for a picture message pops up. Kazuya opens the message prepared to laugh his ass off at an outrageous attempt at bedroom eyes.
As he stares at the photo, though, he is not laughing.
Sawamura's smile is close-mouthed, only one side of his lips pulling up, but there's something uncharacteristically knowing about it. His eyes shine with unwavering ferocity and hunger from under his eyelashes – not unlike the way he looks on the mound sometimes, but impossibly soft, beckoning Kazuya through the screen.
Kazuya's stomach drops out and he closes the message, hands shaking slightly from the shock and desire that curl through him. The need to kiss that look off Sawamura's face is visceral and he has no idea where it came from. This is Sawamura, baseball idiot and obnoxious friend. He shouldn't be able to look like that.
Kazuya can't think of a single mocking reply.
Practice is cancelled because the fields are drenched from this week's heavy rain, so the dining hall isn't crammed with all the baseball players at the same time, like it usually is. The indoor facilities had been booked by the girls' softball team, so Sawamura and one of his new friends from the team, Tominaga, had done some weight training on their own before heading over to dinner.
Once they settle in at their usual table, Tominaga struggles for a few moments to roll up the sleeves of his baseball club sweatshirt.
"Isn't that a little big on you?" Eijun asks.
"What? Oh, yeah. My girlfriend's taller than me, so I got a bigger size."
Eijun tilts his head. "Why does that matter?"
He flushes. "She's always wanted a boyfriend sweatshirt, but since I'm small, nothing I own will fit her."
"A what sweatshirt?"
He smiles toothily. "Aw, c'mon, you read shoujo or something, right? You don't know what it is? Some girls like wearing their boyfriend's clothes. It's cute."
Throat suddenly dry, Eijun hastily takes a sip of his water. "O-oh." On reflection, he has heard of that, and he abruptly thinks about the university sweatshirt stuffed under his pillow that doesn't, strictly speaking, belong to him. He wears it at night because it's soft and fits nicely. There's something about the fuzzy texture on the inside that makes it just perfect to snuggle into at the end of a long day. The sweatshirt feels like an embrace, surrounding him with a feeling of affection and a familiar scent.
"Something wrong, Sawamura-kun?"
"It's – it's just warmer than mine, okay? There isn't a secret motive behind wearing it!" he blurts out.
Tominaga blinks in surprise. Then, realization dawns. "Are you saying you borrow someone else's clothes?" he asks, his expression a combination of scandalized and gleeful.
His face blazes with heat. "No! That's not what I meant!"
"I had no idea you were dating someone."
"I'm not dating anyone! I– baseball and – busy, um – there's no one. Oh look at the time, I must be leaving now!" he says, slapping his hands on the table and pushing himself to his feet.
"We'll talk about this later," Tominaga shouts cheerfully as Eijun dashes out the door, face still burning red.
Eijun isn't actually dating Miyuki yet, so wearing his sweatshirt doesn't count as what Tominaga was talking about! And why is that even cute? That's not cute, right?
But then he thinks about Miyuki walking around his room with Eijun's favorite sweatshirt over his pajamas and wow, Eijun needs to think about something else right now, because that image is way too adorable for him to handle. Eijun's brain doesn't listen to him, though, and continues along that train of thought: the only thing that would make the image better would be if, instead of Miyuki's room, it was their room he was moseying around in.
Eijun barely manages to choke back a squeal and wonders if it's possible to explode from being too smitten with someone.
They'd been interacting as usual, with Sawamura shouting at him and Kazuya intentionally riling Sawamura further in order to see his cute, huffy reaction, when Kazuya's teasing had gone too far. Sawamura had halted in his tracks, eyes filling with water, and even as Kazuya started to say "Wait, Sawamura, I didn't mean that –" the pitcher had run off. Kazuya had tried to fix it over text, but it had turned into an even bigger fight, serious enough that they haven't exchanged a word in two whole days.
Kazuya doesn't fully realize what he's doing until he's standing outside Sawamura's door with two volumes of the new shoujo that Sawamura had wanted and an apology caught between his teeth. The door looms in front of him, daring him to knock and alert its inhabitants to his presence.
Shit. This is harder than it sounds. It's been a while since Kazuya was prepared to offer a full, sincere apology, and it's the first time he's ever tried to placate someone with a gift. He's hoping that Sawamura will be thrilled enough with the manga that he'll be more disposed towards forgiving Kazuya.
Kazuya takes a deep breath and knocks. He hears footsteps behind the door and braces himself for Sawamura's inevitable explosion, but it's his roommate Sano who answers the door.
"Is Sawamura in?" Kazuya asks, realizing from the quiet of the room that he's probably not around. Sano shakes his head. "Can I leave something for him?" He holds up the plastic bag and gestures to the messier side of the room.
"Sure. Do you want me to tell him that it's from you?"
"Just tell him it's a peace offering." Sano nods and Kazuya sets the bag on Sawamura's desk before striding out. He shivers once he's back outside the building, though whether that's related to his emotional state or the fact that he still can't find his favorite sweatshirt, Kazuya can't tell.
He's halfway back to his room when his phone rings. "What is it?" he answers tersely when he sees Kuramochi's name on the caller ID. He's not sure if Sawamura has shared the details of their fight with Kuramochi, but Kuramochi and Sawamura still talk fairly often and Kazuya's not in the mood for a lecture about the argument from someone who wasn't even there.
"Whoa, what's got you all twisted up?"
"Apologizing blows." The words are out of his mouth before he can censor them.
"You apologized? To who?" Aha, so Sawamura hasn't mentioned it to Kuramochi.
"It doesn't matter. What's going on with you, Kuramochi? You don't usually call during the day."
"No, no, forget about that, now I'm interested in what's going on with you."
"We don't need to dwell on this."
"It's just so unusual, you know, you saying that you're sorry for something." His tone is teasing, but the underlying curiosity is serious.
"Kuramochi…" Kazuya warns.
"How did you do it? Did the great Miyuki Kazuya bow his head and politely ask for forgiveness?"
"No. He wasn't there when I went to his room, so I ended up leaving the gift on his desk."
"Wait, you went out of your way to apologize with a gift? Jesus, I didn't even know you were seeing someone, let alone that it was serious."
"I'm not seeing anyone."
"Who else would have you scrambling to apologize like that?"
"This conversation is over."
"No, wait –"
Kazuya hangs up. Kuramochi'll understand the minute he calls Sawamura to get the scoop on what's going on with Kazuya. Sawamura will fill him in and then it will be clear that Kazuya had not, in fact, been apologizing to a romantic partner.
That, of course, prompts the thought of a scenario where Kazuya is dating Sawamura. Which would be absurd. Sawamura's a dork, and obnoxiously loud, and probably doesn't know anything about romance outside of manga.
Well. There is that picture saved on Kazuya's phone that suggests Sawamura isn't quite as oblivious to the sensual as he seems, but still. Kazuya considers how Sawamura would act if he ever got a date. He imagines Sawamura showing up at his date's door with flowers, his smile brighter than the blossoms. Sawamura trying to make breakfast for two and starting over and over until he gets it perfect, never losing his determination and enthusiasm. Sawamura making that confident expression as he dives in for another kiss, warm hands sliding over Kazuya's skin, Sawamura –
Wait, what? When did this stop being about Sawamura theoretically dating a faceless stranger and turn into him directing his affection at Kazuya?
He hears Kuramochi's voice again: Who else would have you scrambling to apologize like that?
Is it possible? He thinks of skipped heartbeats, of private late-night smiles in the glow of his phone's light, of warmth in his chest, of shaky hands, of apologies. He thinks of a boy who moves him, who grabbed his interest the moment they met and has held onto it ever since. A boy who feels like the sun, shining brighter than everything around him and pulling Kazuya in with his own kind of gravity.
"Whatcha staring at, Sawamura-kun?"
Eijun points at the stands, which are filling up for their game. "There're so many people! Look at them all! And they've got a ton of signs!"
Tominaga scans the signs. "Geez, I thought it was crazy last game. Look at all the ones with the captain's name on them. There're two dozen easily. And it looks like Miyuki-kun's harem of supporters has expanded this time too."
"Those poor girls," Eijun mutters.
"What was that?"
"The girls in love with Miyuki, they've got horrible taste," he explains, aware that he's a complete hypocrite for saying so.
"I dunno," Tominaga says. "If I didn't know him personally, I'd think Miyuki-san was pretty attractive."
"I mean if we're going by looks alone, he's a nine out of ten, right?"
Eijun realizes that the question is directed at him and he blanks on how to respond. "I – well I haven't exactly, um – he's a little – what does 'hot' even mean, anyway, ahaha – uh…"
Tominaga's eyes widen. "You're crushing on him."
"No I'm not!" Eijun shouts, his face instantly heating up.
"It's his sweatshirt you've got, isn't it?"
"Don't say that so loud!" he hisses. "I don't have Miyuki's sweatshirt, okay, I don't have anyone's sweatshirt under my pillow!" Eijun realizes his mistake the moment the words leave him, because Tominaga's eyebrows jump.
Kazuya hears the loud music from down the hall and bets that Sawamura is in his room and Sano isn't. He approaches the door and knocks, but there's no reply. Sawamura probably can't hear him. He tries the door and finds it unlocked, so he peeks in to see Sawamura sitting at his desk, surprisingly still. Instead of his typical casual attire, he's dressed in a nice, long-sleeved shirt and clean, rip-free jeans. He's tamed his hair too, a feat Kazuya had thought was impossible. Kazuya spots the small mirror in front of him and the thin tube that Sawamura is pressing carefully against his lower eyelid and realizes that the change in image is intentional.
Kazuya clicks down the volume on Sawamura's radio as he passes by. "What's got you dressing up so nice?" Looking like that, Sawamura could definitely turn heads.
Thoughts like that have been popping up with increasing regularity since he first put together the idea that his feelings towards Sawamura might be more than friendly. It's odd, thinking these things about someone he's never considered romantically until recently, but it's not bad. He's just going to let them happen until he figures out how he feels about all of this.
Sawamura only spares him a glance before continuing to work on his eyeliner. "I'm seeing my cousin tonight."
What's with that lack of reaction? Kazuya tries again: "Your cousin, huh? It looks more like you're getting ready for a date."
Sawamura nearly jumps out of his seat this time. "Ack! You can't surprise me like that when I'm doing this, Miyuki Kazuya! If I'd poked my eye out just now, it would've been your fault!" He throws Kazuya a dirty look. Kazuya just smiles and flops onto Sawamura's bed, his head at the foot so he can watch Sawamura. Why does this comforter seem softer than his own? Kazuya could just curl up right here and never move again.
"Okay, then what's up with the makeup?"
"My aunt's family is in Tokyo for a week to sightsee. My mom wants me to meet up with them for dinner and show them around a bit."
"And that means you have to wear eyeliner?"
Sawamura's expression darkens as he switches to his other eye. "We don't… get along. My aunt and uncle think it's stupid that I want to be a professional pitcher because it's 'just a game' and 'you don't need talent or skill to play'. They don't know how hard everyone works."
"Eyeliner?" Kazuya prompts again, though he files away the fact that Sawamura can hold a grudge against someone if they openly look down on the people who play his favorite sport.
"Their kid's a genius and they think the sun shines out of his ass. I may not be smarter than him, but I'm sure as hell gonna be prettier than him during dinner so they can't compare us that way."
Kazuya is surprised into a laugh. "How… passive-aggressive." Of course Sawamura would turn this into a competition.
"Harucchi suggested it after I told him that the last time my family met up with theirs I ended up getting thrown out of the restaurant."
"That sounds more like you."
"Hey!" Sawamura frowns at the mirror and pulls the eyeliner tube away, searching his desk for the cap.
"Can I see?" Kazuya asks, suddenly interested in the final product.
Sawamura turns to face him and the world stops. Kazuya might be biased because of these new thoughts he's been having, but he thinks that Sawamura's face looks pretty damn near perfect. His eyes, already striking because of their color and expressiveness, are even more alluring when framed with black. And it's probably just chap stick on his mouth, but his lips look smooth and just a little bit glossy, like they're just waiting for someone to lean in and make a claim to them.
There must be something of Kazuya's thoughts on his face, because Eijun's expression turns serious and he says softly, "How do I look?"
"You look like you want to kick your nerdy cousin's ass."
"I look scary?"
That wasn't what he'd meant, but… "Yeah," he lies. "It makes you look sharper. You'd scare batters away if you glared at them from the mound."
Sawamura looks pleased, which isn't what Kazuya had intended. "Maybe I should give it a try."
"I wouldn't, if I were you." Kazuya and Sawamura's team would end up with one completely useless catcher if Sawamura ever combined his fierce intensity during games with cosmetics. Kazuya would be unable to tear his eyes away from his pitcher and then the pitch calling would be shit.
Sawamura suddenly frowns. "Hey, what are you doing on my bed?"
"You just noticed?"
"I was busy before. It's a mess, you should get off it."
Kazuya pulls one edge of the comforter over him. "Make me."
"Miyuki Kazuya!" Sawamura bounds over to the bed and starts to yank at the blankets, resorting to tickling Kazuya when the catcher's strength proves superior to his own. Kazuya wiggles and kicks and thinks that if they end up tangled in each other, that wouldn't be so bad.
Eijun should probably return Miyuki's sweatshirt. What if Miyuki comes over to his room again for something and sees it? Luckily, Eijun had managed to push his pillow (and the sweatshirt hidden underneath) between the wall and bedframe during their play-fight last time, but would really, really embarrassing for him to find it twisted up in Eijun's sheets. Yeah… bringing it back is a good idea.
It's possible that Miyuki hasn't even noticed yet that this particular sweatshirt is gone. He might think it's in the laundry, or in the wrong drawer, or something. After all, Eijun lost his favorite pair of sliding shorts for two months in high school because they went through the wash and got stuck inside a sweater that ended up in the bottom of his drawer.
He could sneak it into Miyuki's bag during practice. No, Miyuki would definitely remember that he hadn't brought it to practice, and then he'd ask the team who put it there. Eijun is 100% not ready to have that discussion in public.
How else could he get it back to Miyuki? Anyone else on the team that he might use as a go-between would be more likely to tell Miyuki where they got the sweatshirt from than keep Eijun's confidence.
Wait. He could sneak it into Miyuki's dorm room. Miyuki's roommate is never around, but maybe Eijun can talk one of Miyuki's neighbors into letting him through their room so he can climb over to Miyuki's window. He knows from his visits to Miyuki's room that the catcher keeps his window cracked open.
Okay, so Eijun has a plan. He can return the sweatshirt anytime he wants. He checks the clock on his phone: Miyuki is probably still in class right now. Eijun could potentially leave now and complete his task. But then he looks back at his pillow and thinks about going to bed tonight without the comfy texture of Miyuki's sweatshirt. He'll return the sweatshirt… eventually.
It's amazing just how much of an influence Sawamura has as a mood maker for the team already, Kazuya reflects as the lights go dark in the theatre. It only took one day of him shouting about how a friend of his from class was in the college's musical to get a handful of players interested in the production.
"I think a bunch of us should go together," Sugihara had suggested as the team packed up for the night. "Are you going to the Saturday night showing?"
"Yep! I'm gonna cheer the loudest!"
"You don't cheer during a show, Sawamura," Kazuya pointed out, snickering.
"I knew that! I meant at the end, with the clapping!"
"Sure you did."
It turns out that Sawamura had no idea what the musical was about, just that his friend was performing, so the ten or twelve baseball players who walked into the theatre were flying blind. Was the show a romance, a drama, a mystery, a comedy? It would be a surprise.
Kazuya hadn't even been planning to go at all, but Nakatomi had spotted him in the dining hall after practice got out and everyone had showered. "You should come," he'd said. "You need a break from looking at our next opponent's data." It was true, he did need a break, so Kazuya had allowed himself to be dragged to the show.
He's sitting on the end, which he doesn't mind much. If he decides the show isn't that great, he can sneak out without bothering anyone. Kazuya settles in to watch, letting his mind take a rest from analysis and calculations.
"Psst! Miyuki Kazuya!" Kazuya leans forward to look over at Sawamura, who's four seats down from him. "Doesn't the main character kinda look like Kuramochi? With the hair, I mean?"
"Shut up, Sawamura," one of their teammates orders.
Kazuya appraises the character in question and turns back to shake his head, smiling at Sawamura's shocked expression. How is he always so dramatic?
"Yes he does! I'm gonna take a picture and send it to Mochi to see what he says!"
"I thought our phones were supposed to be off," Kazuya points out. "The actors can see the lights in the audience." Sawamura frowns but dutifully slips his phone into his pocket.
Kazuya looks back at the stage, listening to the opening musical number, until: "Hey, Miyuki!"
"Do you think there are any musicals about baseball? Do you know any?"
"I'm sure there are. Now pay attention to the show."
That buys him about five minutes of silence.
"Miyuki, did you see that dancer's backbend? The one on the right?"
"For god's sake, zip it," Kazuya orders, trying not to laugh amid the otherwise quiet audience.
"That's enough," Kuse says, standing up from his seat next to Kazuya. "Sawamura, we're switching seats."
After some shuffling, Sawamura plops down next to Kazuya. "Hi."
"Watch the show," Kazuya says, not without amusement. Sawamura makes a "tch" sound but doesn't speak as he wiggles in his chair to get more comfortable. He lays his arm on the armrest between them, hand dangling off the end in a way that seems almost artful to Kazuya. It's his left hand, Kazuya notices, and he suddenly has the urge to turn it over and run his fingers over those calluses, feel the result of Sawamura's hard work and determination and love for baseball.
He inhales, realizing that he's sitting next to Sawamura in the dark. They're even on the end, so no one would notice if he let his hands drift over to lay on top of Sawamura's, or if he pulled Sawamura over to kiss him. He imagines leaning over and tilting Sawamura's head towards him, passing his hands over the warmth of Sawamura's cheeks as his eyes fall closed and their lips meet in a common purpose.
Shit, Kazuya's not going to see any of this show, is he? He's going to be too busy looking over at Sawamura like a dork.
He doesn't even realize how far he's leaned over until Sawamura turns his head again after fifteen minutes of quiet concentration and Kazuya has to jerk back. "Miyuki, look, my friend's the one in the green costume on the left side, next to the table!"
"Ah, one of the good guys, huh?" Kazuya answers, not actually sure whether that's the case.
"In this scene, yeah. He's in the ensemble, so he switches sides depending on where they need him. He told me all about the quick costume changes backstage, how there are crew members who have everything set out and help them out of one costume and into the next."
Kazuya squashes the mental image of Sawamura slipping off some sequined costume with his help and scrambles to say, "So, what do you think of the music so far?"
"I love it! The first song, especially. My friend's been singing it before class, so I know most of the words. My other favorite comes up later." He starts loudly humming the tune.
"Shh, you're disturbing the other audience members." Sawamura makes a face at him again and Kazuya grins. When they both settle back into silence, Kazuya's arm shifts slowly, a few millimeters at a time, until it's touching Sawamura's on the armrest. He's unreasonably happy that Sawamura doesn't move his arm away.
It takes several days before Eijun feels ready to enact his plan, but he does eventually jog over to Miyuki's dorm building with the sweatshirt in his backpack. He doesn't start to get worried until he's alone in the stairwell and thinking about what will happen if both of Miyuki's neighbors refuse to let him in. Somehow that hadn't occurred to him? Shoot, what if they say no and then tell Miyuki about the weird guy who tried to get into his room? Then the mission will have failed and Miyuki will question Eijun about why he wanted to sneak in.
What should he do? Eijun navigates unthinkingly to Miyuki's door, still going over the pros and cons. He stands there for a few seconds, wondering whether he should just leave – he doesn't even know if Miyuki's still out, since he'd been planning to check via the window – but then he hears other footsteps coming down the hall and quickly knocks on the door so he has an excuse to be standing outside Miyuki's room.
Shit, he knocked on the door. Eijun takes a step back and prepares to tear back down the hall to the stairs, but the lock flips open and suddenly Miyuki's peering out in surprise as he takes in Eijun standing at his door. "Something you want, Sawamura?"
To be anywhere but here, Eijun wants to scream. He's not prepared for this. How does Miyuki look gorgeous in sweatpants and a ratty t-shirt? Eijun's thought processes are completely stalled.
He looks down instead of answering, and spots another pair of shoes inside the door. "Oh, sorry, I didn't you know you had guests over."
Miyuki shrugs and shifts his weight, revealing Tominaga sipping tea on his bed. He looks up and meets Eijun's gaze, and they both freeze.
Eijun remembers Tominaga's "I'd think Miyuki-san was pretty attractive" and his heart stops. "Uh, are you – ?"
Tominaga shakes his head vigorously. "No, no, it's not what you're thinking!" He lurches over to the door, abandoning his mug on Miyuki's desk and tripping over his shoes in his haste. "I'm already, and I'd never, don't worry about that!"
Eijun pulls him into the hall, lowering his voice. "Then what are you doing?"
"I'm trying to help you," he hisses. "I wanted to figure out if he, you know –"
Miyuki clears his throat. "Anytime you feel like letting me in on what's going on, feel free."
"Not now!" they both shout.
"So what are you doing here?" Tominaga asks at a whisper. "Should I leave?"
"No! I needed to – I was thinking – I'll come back when Miyuki's not here."
Tominaga's expression turns confused, and Eijun can't do much more than blush and blurt out "I'll explain later!" before scrambling back towards the stairs.
Kazuya is amused but also concerned by the incident between Tominaga and Sawamura in front of his room. On the one hand, they'd had their heads together seriously like they were planning something, which was comical, but on the other hand, given the location of their accidental meeting, it was probably Kazuya they were conspiring against. For Sawamura, that's something he probably should have expected by now, but Sawamura's decision to involve Tominaga is a surprise. He could easily imagine Sawamura taking it into his head to play a prank on Kazuya for something nasty he'd said or for not catching for him enough. Tominaga, though, didn't have anything against him, as far as he knew.
However, at their next practice, neither player acts out of the ordinary. No stealing looks at Kazuya, no secret meetings behind the dugout, nothing suspicious at all. Kazuya keeps an eye on them both for the next few days, and it's not until Friday that something out of the ordinary occurs. Practice has just ended and some of the guys are talking about setting up a video-game night when Sawamura approaches him. Kazuya figures that this is probably it. Whatever they've been planning, Sawamura's starting it now.
"Hey, Miyuki-senpai, are you busy?" Sawamura's a little pink in the face, but there's no fidgeting or other signs of deception that Kazuya had expected.
"What is it?"
"I wanted to try that restaurant that reopened a few blocks away. Do you want to come with me?"
Are they trying to pull something in public? "Sure," Kazuya agrees, wary but curious to see what the two of them have come up with. He's willing to bet that he can spot whatever they're doing before one of them sets it in motion. Sawamura isn't exactly subtle, after all, and it can't be that elaborate if they're setting it up in a restaurant. Tominaga will probably join them along the way.
Sawamura noticeably brightens at his response, and Kazuya tries not to melt a little at that smile. Being the cause of Sawamura's pleasure gives him a little rush that's quickly becoming addicting.
Kazuya is quick to bathe and change after they part ways, but Sawamura is faster still and knocks on Kazuya's door before he's finished. He shoves his shoes on and answers the door, to be met with another grin. "Ready?" Kazuya nods, subtly peeking out to see if Tominaga is around too. After locking up, they head off campus and walk down to the restaurant, talking about a funny story that Sawamura heard from Kuramochi about his and Ryou-san's teammates.
They're seated in a booth at the restaurant and give their orders. Kazuya looks around and doesn't see Tominaga at any of the other tables. Maybe he'd just helped plan, then, and Sawamura is carrying out their prank solo. Kazuya relaxes a little and allows himself to focus more on the boy across from him. He's not wearing as much eyeliner as he was for that family get-together, but the natural look works well with his features too. His shirt doesn't look like it's been acquainted with dirt from the diamond yet and Kazuya remembers from the walk over that those tight jeans are. Really nice.
Their banter is less spirited than usual, Sawamura surprising Kazuya by managing to stay agreeable and mostly calm until dessert, when he blows up spectacularly at one of Kazuya's backhanded compliments. After Kazuya gets done laughing, they pay and leave, ignoring dirty looks from some of the other customers who'd been displeased with their disruption.
Kazuya realizes as they get back to campus that Sawamura only has a few more minutes to play his prank. He waits and waits in anticipation, and when they stop in front of Kazuya's building, he braces himself for something, anything out of the ordinary.
But Sawamura just smiles and wishes him goodnight before backtracking to his own building. Kazuya stands outside for a few moments, astonished. Had he been wrong about the purpose of their evening out? There hadn't been any kind of practical joke. Had Sawamura really just wanted to get dinner with him?
And was it a friend thing, or was that… a date?
Kazuya's about to walk out the door for some early Sunday batting practice when he notices Sawamura's phone sitting on the corner of his desk. He sighs. The idiot had probably left it last night after barging into Kazuya's room to escape Sano's study group. "They're all brilliant," Sawamura had confided at his version of a whisper. "It's scary. And what normal person studies on a Saturday?" He then proceeded to make himself at home at Kazuya's desk while Kazuya tried to look over some data on their upcoming opponents.
Kazuya can't exactly call Sawamura to come get his phone, but he's going to be passing the first year's dorm anyway, and if he wakes Sawamura on their day off, well, then it'll just be payback for all the times that he woke Kazuya up to catch his pitches or go running with him.
Phone in hand, Kazuya reaches Sawamura's building and climbs the stairs to the second floor. He raps on the door and hears movement inside. Sawamura (or Sano) fiddles with the lock before the door swings inward, and when he gets a look inside, Kazuya's breath catches.
Sawamura, who's rubbing his eyes sleepily, is only wearing a sweatshirt and a pair of snugly fitting boxers. They make his thighs look really good. Kazuya drags his eyes up from the danger zone and then, looking at the faded university logo on Sawamura's chest, he blinks. "Is that… my sweatshirt?"
Kazuya's never seen Sawamura's face go so red so fast. "No! It's mine! I go here too, you know! I can have a school sweatshirt!"
"I haven't seen mine in months."
"That doesn't mean I have it!" Sawamura is visibly panicking. "It could be in the laundry, or underneath your bed! There's no reason to believe that this sweatshirt, which I am wearing, is yours!"
All of those vehement denials only serve to confirm that it is Kazuya's sweatshirt. "Why do you have it?"
"I told you, it's not –"
"Wait, did you put that on when you got up just now?"
"So you were wearing it in bed, right?" Elation courses through his veins. Usually only baseball can prompt this type of response in him, but Sawamura always seems to be the exception. Especially lately. It appears that Sawamura surreptitiously stole Kazuya's sweatshirt and wore it to bed. That means something. Maybe Kazuya isn't alone in his desire for a change in their relationship.
"I – yes?" Sawamura's still burning crimson.
Kazuya grins, his confidence returning with the knowledge that they've actually been on the same page even without discussing it. "Sawamura, why are you embarrassed to wear your own sweatshirt to bed? Could it be because you are lying to your favorite senpai?"
"Who says you're my favorite, huh?!"
Kazuya takes a step in closer, hears the moment when Sawamura stops breathing, reaches out… and grabs him by the collar, yanking out the tag on the sweatshirt which reads "MK" in Kazuya's own neat handwriting. "Told you it was mine." He leans in and murmurs, "Instead of a sweatshirt, wouldn't you be warmer with the real thing?"
"Miyuki Kazuya! Don't joke around like that!" In his panic, Sawamura scrambles to push Kazuya away, but he's forgotten that Kazuya's still got a grip on his sweatshirt, so they both go toppling into the hall.
Sawamura's face ends up buried in Kazuya's stomach, and Kazuya's heart leaps at the fuzzy warmth that floods him. "So forward, Sawamura. You haven't even asked me on a date yet." He's still not sure whether that dinner had been meant as a date, but even if it had, it didn't count because Kazuya hadn't been informed.
Sawamura jumps to his feet, and Kazuya wonders if blushing too long will make Sawamura permanently red. "Idiot, I didn't mean to do that!"
Kazuya licks his lips, hiding a satisfied grin when Sawamura's eyes fasten on them. "You're not one to take hints, are you?"
He sits up on his elbows. "I said it was forward because you haven't taken me on a date yet."
Sawamura's expression shifts towards confused. "I know that."
Kazuya feels his own face heat up a little. He doesn't want to say this directly, but it looks like Sawamura's not going to understand it otherwise. "Therefore, if you do take me on a date…"
Sawamura blinks a couple times before his eyes widen. "Oh. You mean it? You want to… with me?"
The first responses that pop into Kazuya's mind are too honest, too sappy, so he eventually settles on: "Would I joke about this kind of thing?"
Sawamura's shock disappears from his face to be replaced by a familiar scowl. "Yes! You would do that!"
He has a point, but… "I'm not joking this time." Kazuya gets to his feet and brushes nonexistent dust from his clothes. He looks at Sawamura when the silence extends too long, and finds him staring back with astonishment. The mood's a little heavy for Kazuya's liking, so he chuckles and says: "You're gonna hurt yourself if you keep thinking about this too hard."
That snaps him out of it. "Miyuki Kazuya!" Sawamura huffs, crossing his arms. "The nerve of you!" Kazuya's heart drops into his stomach for a long, terrible moment. Is he being turned down? He'd thought they both wanted this, but maybe he'd misinterpreted Sawamura's reactions to suit his own desires.
But then Sawamura continues, "I was supposed to be the one to ask you out properly! You went and ruined it! As usual, you just have to do things your way!"
Kazuya exhales, relief flooding him. "Does it really matter?" he asks to keep the conversation going.
"Of course it matters! It was gonna be all romantic and everything!" Ah, there's his inner shoujo enthusiast showing through.
"Oh? Do tell." Kazuya smiles as Sawamura goes into great detail about how he was planning to woo Kazuya, wide gestures and exclamations punctuating his words. Kazuya's so absorbed in watching Sawamura's emotions play out across his face that he doesn't really hear the words. Sawamura's evident animation is all the proof he needs that Sawamura is just as passionate about this as he is.
"I see you've thought about this a lot," he comments, breaking Sawamura's monologue. Feathers ruffled, Sawamura blushes and starts to go on the defensive again, but before he can say anything, Kazuya takes his hand and meets his gaze. "It looks like I'm in your care this time, Sawamura."
Hit me up on my tumblr (meridiangrimm-dot-tumblr-dot-com) if you want to talk with me about gay baseball players.