Thanks to Oort on AO3 for talking with me about this ^_^

This is ridiculous, but I hope some of you will get a laugh out of it.

It really isn't that unusual for former players to come visit the team, so Kazuya isn't sure why Toujou's snickering and Kanemaru is struggling to keep a straight face. "It's been a while," he starts experimentally, trying to see if it's really him causing this reaction or if he's just the casualty of poor timing.

"It's good to see you, Miyuki-senpai," Kanemaru answers, pinching Toujou in the side where he thinks Kazuya can't see.

"Something funny?" he asks.

"No, nothing. How's university baseball going?"

"Well enough. My pitcher's a little less crazy than the bunch we have here, but that's not saying much, is it? No offense to Toujou."

Kanemaru coughs. "Er, right, I can't say that Sawamura's gotten less outrageous since you left, captain." And at that Toujou finally bursts into full-bellied laughter and Kanemaru looks a little constipated as he tries for a serious expression.

"What's Sawamura done this time?"

"Oh you'll… you'll see."

Toujou finally speaks up. "It'll be pretty obvious. Just don't take it out on the underclassman."

Kazuya's eyes narrow. "I'll keep that in mind." He can't imagine what Sawamura could possibly have done to warrant this kind of behavior from them, especially now that they're third years and committed to setting a good example for the younger players. "See you, then." He leaves them at the vending machines and continues on towards the field.

It absolutely does not escape his notice that the younger, unfamiliar kids are doing double takes as he passes, and Kazuya's pretty sure it's not because they recognize his picture from the sports section of the paper. That kind of recognition generally results in excited questions about his playing. Here? The players are noticeably surprised with a hint of amusement that's making Kazuya very, very suspicious.

What the fuck did Sawamura do?

He strides out to the field without cornering a first year to demand answers and he finds the team lacing their cleats for warmup. The first familiar face he spots is Sawamura, bouncing with energy despite having been stuck at a desk all day. He's also one of the vice-captains this year, which gives him a dozen more reasons to shout energetically at the top of his lungs. Beside him, Furuya's speaking solemnly to what must be one of the first year pitchers, more confident than Kazuya has ever seen him.

Kazuya is leaning against the dugout wall, considering his underclassmen's growth, when Kominato approaches. Here's one where "growth" could be taken both literally and metaphorically. While he'll never be a giant, the younger Kominato has surpassed his brother's height. Kazuya has heard that Kominato's taking a shot at Tetsu's third year batting average, and he's got enough muscle and experience this year that he just might do it.

"This is a pleasant surprise, Miyuki-senpai," Kominato says in greeting.

"You're the first one to say that today that I believe. Toujou and Kanemaru were laughing their asses off about something, and all the new kids are just looking at me funny."

"Oh, that, um. That's probably because of Eijun-kun."

"Miyuki Kazuya!" Kazuya blinks in surprise because, amazingly, it isn't Sawamura who's just blurted out his whole name like an expletive.

He looks down at the source of the noise, a short kid he doesn't recognize. "Do I know you?"

"You're him, aren't you? Guys!" He turns to a group of his teammates. "Miyuki Kazuya is here!" It is at this point that Kazuya is subjected to the most unsettling sort of attention that he's ever experienced. They're looking at him, and then each other, and then shuffling through bags to look at something on their phones (what the heck?), and then giggling.

Kazuya's not afraid of a bunch of brats, though. "If you know who I am, then you probably know I have no scruples about going over to the coach and telling him that you're on your phones when practice should be starting."

That gets them moving, and Kazuya grins as they scramble to their feet and race off, forgetting the fact that practice doesn't actually start for another ten minutes, since Coach isn't even here yet. Then, turning to Kominato: "You said I have Sawamura to thank for this behavior?"

"Well, you know Eijun-kun. He…" and here Kominato pauses, clearly deciding whether or not to speak about his friend when Sawamura's busy getting the team in line, "he likes to tell stories about former members. He uses it to pass on advice, and the first years eat it up."

"Stories?" Kazuya prompts, voice deceptively bland. His imagination supplies all sorts of ideas about what Sawamura might be saying about him.

"Oh you know, like talking about some things Chris-san said and did when we were first years."


"Eijun does, ah, tend to exaggerate. The newbies all think Chris-san's some kind of superhero."

"What about me?"

Kominato winces a little. "They all think you're an amazing catcher, but um, also a huge nerd. It's turned into a bit on an in-joke among the first years. You're, um…" Kominato actually blushes. "This is a little hard to say."

"How bad can it be?" Kazuya asks, his tone outwardly sarcastic despite the sneaking feeling that he might want to phrase it seriously.

"You're a meme, Miyuki-senpai."

"A what?"

"A meme is a –"

"I know what a meme is, Kominato. What I'm wondering is, how did I become one?" Suddenly, the kids' strange behavior clicks: they know him from the joke, but haven't actually seen him in person before. As for Toujou and Kanemaru, though… "Why didn't the upperclassmen stop Sawamura before it got this far?"

"At first the stories weren't doing anyone harm, since the first years were really bonding with Sawamura over them and it wasn't like he was giving them bad advice. He's grown up some in that regard."

"If he's actually made me a meme, then I beg to differ."

"Well, the stories started getting embellished to the point of absurdity as the kids kept listening to him, and I wasn't the only one of the upperclassmen who thought it was a little funny. They were so gullible that it was almost cute. It was the first years who turned the whole thing into a meme and started passing images around, though, and at that point we couldn't come out and say that the stories weren't true because we had let the kids go on believing them so long."

Kazuya exhales at the end of Kominato's explanation, scowling. "You're going to have to find Seidou another southpaw because I'm going to kill Sawamura."

"It's because he respects you that he tells stories at all."

"Stories about me being a nerd, apparently."

"Only that you're a nerd about baseball. That's not a bad thing here."

"Still going to kill him."

"Talk to him first. He's missed you."

That calms Kazuya down a little – but only a little. Being in a battery with Sawamura for two years brought them to something resembling friendship by Kazuya's graduation, and now that Kazuya is at university they exchange texts every week and invitations to each other's games (which are declined because they're both busy). However, Sawamura has made no mention of this whole debacle in any of their conversations, which is decidedly fishy.

Kazuya steps forward. "Oi, Sawamura."

Sawamura straightens up and looks around, his face lighting up when his gaze eventually lands on Kazuya. "Miyuki Kazuya!"

Kazuya puts on his best threatening smile. "What's this I hear about you telling fibs about me to the underclassmen?"

Sawamura's face goes instantly scarlet, and the smile is replaced with an expression of embarrassment and almost comical fear. "I-I swear I didn't mean for – it was just – please don't kill me, Miyuki-senpai!"

Kazuya pushes up his sleeves. "Now whatever could make you think that I'm mad, Sawamura?"

"I'm sorry! It wasn't supposed to get this out of control!"

"You have two seconds to start running," Kazuya announces.

He's no pro at wrestling like Kuramochi, but that doesn't mean he's not going to make sure Sawamura gets what's coming to him.

Alternate title: Miyuki Kazuya is a Meme

Hit me up on my tumblr (meridiangrimm) if you want to talk about gay baseball players.