Rated T for potty mouth

Thanks to Oort on AO3 for reading through a draft of this. You're the best, bruh.

Sawamura's been distracted for the last hour. If asked, Kazuya would say he knows because the loudmouth hasn't been talking a mile a minute, but there are also subtle tells in his pitching form: the number of breaths he takes before winding up, the way he adjusts his cap, how he looks at the baseball, and the fact that his movements are just a little bit jerky.

It's not that odd that Kazuya notices this, because his job as a catcher is to analyze everything on the field, especially the pitchers. In Sawamura's case, though, it's also a nice excuse to look at him. That infectious smile flips Kazuya's insides every time and those carefully built-up arm muscles beg to be explored.

Kazuya shakes his head to clear it. He can question Sawamura later, when they're not in the middle of practice. Usually, of course, no one can get Sawamura to shut up about what he's thinking, but today he's been quiet. Offering extra pitching after practice might be Kazuya's best shot at getting answers because there's a chance that Sawamura will get excited enough to blab.

At the end of practice, as everyone is just about finished with cleanup and the other pitchers are conveniently out of earshot, Kazuya begins casually, "Oi, Sawamura, I'll catch a little longer if you're not too tired."

"Sorry, Miyuki Kazuya. I have plans for later." Beside them, Kanemaru drops a basket of balls in shock. Kazuya echoes the sentiment.

"You what?"

Sawamura flashes a proud grin. "It's Friday and I'm going off campus." Then, pointing at Kazuya dramatically, he shouts, "Next time, definitely, I'll take you up on that! Prepare yourself!" Sawamura shoulders his bag after his declaration and jogs back towards the dorms as the other players began to trickle away.

Kazuya stares after him. "Since when does Sawamura make any plans that aren't baseball?" He reluctantly peels off the catcher's gear, privately thinking that whatever Sawamura is doing tonight, it's probably what distracted him during practice.

Kuramochi, who was close enough to witness the exchange, crosses his arms. "Yeah, that's not like him at all. He said he'd be back late tonight, so I figured he'd be dragging you out to catch after dinner or something, but…"

"Apparently not," Kazuya finishes as the two start back towards the dorms.

"You think he has a date?"

Kazuya feels his stomach sour. "There's no way he could keep his mouth shut long enough to hide a girlfriend." Right?

"True, I guess, but ten bucks says he's doing something that will get him in trouble."

Kazuya snorts at that. "No bet."

"Hey, Sawamura!" Kuramochi shouts at the now-distant pitcher. "What are these mysterious plans you've got, huh?"

Sawamura jumps guiltily. "They're not mysterious, Senpai! Just plans!"

Kuramochi's eyes narrow at the evasion. "That was suspicious."

"He's a terrible liar," Kazuya agrees.

"Hey, Miyuki, was there anything you wanted to get done today?"

"Not really. Why?" He thinks he knows what's coming next, though.

Kuramochi grins. "Wanna go see what he's up to? As captain and vice-captain, it's our duty to make sure he's not getting into trouble, right? We wouldn't want it to reflect badly on the team."

"You just want to crash his date."

"Hell yeah. It'd be lame if I went by myself, though. You up for it?"

Although they've never talked about it directly, Kazuya knows that they both have a vested interest in whether Sawamura is seeing anyone. If this had been one of Sawamura's shoujo manga, that knowledge might have strained their friendship, but lately Kazuya's been wondering about Kuramochi too. Their time together in class and on the field has made them friends, but there might be something else there too. It's not the same as Kazuya's feelings for Sawamura. It feels like… a possibility. Like he could like Kuramochi, if he wanted.

In any case, Kuramochi's been dropping hints lately that he wouldn't mind sharing with Kazuya, provided that Sawamura is interested. If it's with Kuramochi, Kazuya would share, but Sawamura is currently clueless about both of their crushes, so the situation is in limbo.

"I don't have a shortage of things to tease him about," Kazuya finally answers, "but I guess I've got nothing better planned."

And that's how Kazuya finds himself following Sawamura onto a train with Kuramochi twenty minutes later. Kazuya doesn't worry that Sawamura will spot them because they're in the car behind him and Sawamura is 1) currently distracted by his phone and 2) generally oblivious. Kuramochi snaps a picture of the two of them on the train and sends it to the older Kominato with the caption "crashing an idiot's date". He immediately receives a text that says \What is this, the Sawamura stalking squad?/

\LIKE HELL WE'RE STALKING HIM/ Kuramochi types back quickly, punching the send button with more force than strictly necessary.

Kazuya opens up a text message of his own and types \Let Kuramochi have his fun and be thankful you're not the one he dragged along. I think he's envious that Sawamura might have a date before him, haha~/ He sends the message and waits a minute, biting back a smile when Kuramochi's text tone goes off again.

Moments later, Kuramochi lets out a muffled shriek. "What did you say to him, you bastard?"

"Nothing," Kazuya replies, phone tucked safely back in his pocket.

They almost miss Sawamura getting off the train in another ward of the city because of the conversation with Kominato, but Kazuya grabs Kuramochi by the arm and pulls him towards the door at the last minute. They watch as Sawamura stops outside the station, staring intently at a wrinkled piece of paper from his pocket. His forehead creases in concentration and he bites his lip. It's hopelessly cute.

He stays like that for a full sixty seconds. "What, is he looking at a math problem?" Kuramochi asks, snorting. They watch as Sawamura turns the paper 180 degrees and his expression immediately brightens. He looks up at the closest street sign before walking off confidently. "You're shitting me. He was reading the directions upside down? There's no way he's that stupid." Kazuya just laughs and they shadow him down the sidewalk, far enough behind Sawamura that there are other pedestrians between them. They send a few more pictures of landmarks to Kominato to stave off boredom, all of which prompt biting comments that all boil down to "get a life".

Sawamura looks up at the nameplate outside a school Kazuya doesn't recognize and nods to himself, passing the through the gates and ignoring the academic buildings in favor of the sports fields. He's going in the wrong direction to be headed for the soccer field and he hasn't even looked at the tennis courts, so his goal must be the small baseball field which is filling up with spectators in anticipation of a game.

"The hell?" The words come tumbling out before Kazuya even has a chance to finish thinking them.

"Okay, now I am really confused. What is he doing here?" The two trail Sawamura into the stands for the away team. Why is Sawamura watching another high school's baseball match? It's not like Miyoshi High, the side Sawamura's sitting on, is known at all for their baseball, and Sawamura is probably the last person who should be observing other teams on his own to get data anyway. He's easily distracted and doesn't know what to look for. This is just weird.

Uncomfortable, Kazuya settles next to Kuramochi in seats about ten rows behind Sawamura. There's barely anyone in the away stands, so all Sawamura would have to do is turn around and notice them. "Maybe he's meeting someone here?" Kuramochi suggests. Kazuya shrugs, focused on the players from both sides who've begun to warm up. They don't look like anything special.

Kazuya's about to give up on the whole charade and just ask Sawamura what he's doing here when Sawamura stands up and roars: "Nice pitch, Tamashiro!"

The pitcher's head snaps up to the stands from where he's warming up. "Sawamura?" He spots the first year in a moment and his face lights up before turning to his teammates. "Guys, Sawamura's here!"

"No shit? Sawamura?" Most of the away team looks over, waving and calling out greetings.

"Why didn't you tell us you were coming, man?"

"How's Seidou treating you?"

"What are you doing here, you big goof?"

"Duh! I missed all you damn smartypants," Sawamura calls back. "Of course I'd come to your one game in the city!"

"That's where I know Miyoshi High from!" Kuramochi realizes, smacking the arm of the seat for emphasis. "Sawamura's junior high friends go there. Wakana-chan's even out there, see? The team must be co-ed." He points to a slim figure with longer hair stretching next to the dugout.

"Hah?! Kuramochi-senpai and Miyuki-senpai? What are you two doing here?" Sawamura is looking at them from his seat, head tilted in confusion. He must have heard Kuramochi's outburst.

Kazuya recovers first. "Your roommate here was worried about you." Kuramochi punches him in the side for shifting all the blame, but Kazuya just smiles as he moves down to Sawamura's row.

"I'm not a kid," Sawamura huffs.

Kazuya drops into the seat next to Sawamura's and hears Kuramochi follow suit beside him. "Indulging in a little nostalgia?"

"I haven't been home in ages. I miss my friends, unlike some heartless bastards." Kazuya just smiles at Sawamura's grumbling.

"Mind if we sit here?" he asks, not actually intending to move if Sawamura protests.

"So long as you don't make any snarky comments about Miyoshi."

"No promises."

Sawamura glares at him. "Ask Rei-chan what happened to the last team that badmouthed my friends." There's a story there, he's sure, but Sawamura's attention immediately returns to the field as the game starts and Kazuya knows enough about Sawamura's sense of loyalty not to question further. Miyoshi's first turn at offense is, to put it bluntly, brief, and their defense doesn't show much promise in the bottom of the inning.

Despite that, Sawamura continues to call out encouragement throughout the game, jumping out of his seat like a child:

"Great catch, Fujita!"

"Good try, good try, you'll get the steal next time!"

"Ooh, you're a switch hitter now? Awesome!"

"You practiced bunting, didn't you? Much smoother than last year, for sure!"

Sawamura is grinning and laughing and absolutely radiant. Kazuya can hardly breathe watching him, and it's only the awareness that they're in a public space that prevents Kazuya from doing something impulsive like tangling their fingers together. There's an ache to memorize that smile by both sight and touch, and in the few moments where he manages to tear his eyes away from Sawamura, he can see that Kuramochi feels the same. It's not hard to recognize "besotted with Sawamura" on someone else.

The moment the game's over and both teams are bowing, Sawamura is already out of the stands and halfway to the dugout. Most of Miyoshi rushes him, whooping and chattering even though they've just lost. The few team members who apparently aren't from Sawamura's middle school stare at him uncomfortably, but 85% of the team is trying to hug him or smack him upside the head or both. He's a magnet that draws them in, and Kazuya is more familiar with that pull than he'll admit.

"Might as well wait for him outside the field," Kuramochi grumbles, and Kazuya follows him down to the entrance. The team leaves the dugout with their equipment and walks back towards the tiny bus, Sawamura in the center of them with an armful of bats like he belongs there. After a few minutes of impatient shifting, Kuramochi stomps off to extract Sawamura from the depths of the Miyoshi team.

Wakana, who'd played first base during the game, notices Kazuya and pauses. "You're Eijun's teammate, right? I've seen you play."

There's an unspoken "what are you doing watching us?" tacked on the end of that, but it probably wouldn't be in Kazuya's best interest to piss off Sawamura's friends from home, so he responds to her comment instead: "Yes, I catch for –"

"Hey, Miyuki Kazuya! Don't hit on my friends!" Sawamura shouts, apparently having evaded Kuramochi for the moment. He jogs over and looks between them, eyeing Kazuya suspiciously.

"I hadn't even finished my sentence, Sawamoron." Kazuya pinches Sawamura's cheeks playfully and gets an indignant squawk. "And I'm pretty sure her teammates are more of a threat to her virtue than Kuramochi or I am."

Sawamura doesn't back down, pointing at him accusingly. "Don't play dumb! One look at you and Mochi-senpai smiling for real and anyone would fall for you, no matter how horrible you are!"

Kazuya feels his face flush instantly, heart rate kicking up a few notches at the implications of that statement. He thinks of long afternoons playing under the baking sun, taking in every detail of Sawamura, and wonders if he's somehow missed the pitcher looking back.

He can see the exact moment when Sawamura's brain catches up to his words, eyes widening and a furiously red blush rushing over his face. Kazuya tries to make his voice light and joking but his mind is stuck repeating Sawamura's words over and over. His palms feel damp all of a sudden and his laugh is a little off. "Are you suggesting that you would…?"

Sawamura shakes his head vigorously. "Of course not! I haven't been thinking about that kind of thing! I meant to say girls. Girls would like those smiles, but I know better. Mochi-senpai wrestles me way too much and you're just a shameless, smug jerk who happens to be good at catching!"

With Sawamura standing there looking like he's about to explode from embarrassment, Kazuya gives in to the urge to step forward and –

"Oi," Kuramochi interrupts as he trots over, clearly unaware of the preceding conversation, "we should be heading towards the station. I don't want to be stuck here when the trains stop." Kazuya had forgotten where they were entirely, and he draws back at the realization that they're still surrounded by people.

"Trains," Sawamura repeats. "Yeah." There's another moment of glazed eyes before he visibly snaps out of it and turns to his childhood friend. "Yo, Wakana, nice playing today!" They exchange pleasantries for a few minutes until Kuramochi coughs and looks at his watch. When Sawamura keeps talking, Kuramochi cracks his knuckles pointedly and Sawamura rushes to finish up. "I'll see you later! Make sure to say hi to my folks for me, will ya?"

Wakana flicks the brim of his hat. "Come home sometime and tell them yourself, dork." But she nods and pulls him into a hug before rejoining the rest of Miyoshi, who are piling onto the bus.

As the three start back to the train station, Kuramochi grumbles, "You don't need to hide things like this from us, you know. We wouldn't have made fun of your old team. Just let us know if you're going off alone in case you get into trouble, dumbass."

"I wouldn't get into trouble!"

"The alternative, of course, is that you take both of us with you," Kazuya adds slyly.

"W-what? I don't have to do that kind of thing!" Sawamura yells, his face turning scarlet again.

"'Course not," Kazuya agrees, sidling up to the pitcher and putting one arm around his waist. "After all, it's not like you admitted to falling for both of us or anything and want to take us on dates."

"Shut up! Shut up, you jerk!"

Kuramochi spins around. "He what?" His reddening face is a near match to Sawamura's.

Kazuya grins. "What was it you said, Sawamura? 'One look at either of you smiling for real and anyone would fall for you'? Did I get it right?"

"No! Stop embarrassing me with your lies, Miyuki Kazuya! That – that makes it sounds like someone could be in love with both of you if they've seen you smile, and that's not allowed! So there!"

Kazuya pulls Sawamura to an abrupt stop and Kuramochi follows suit. "Is that the problem? You're worried because you like us both?"

Sawamura huffs and doesn't look at either of them. "Well – I wouldn't say – that's a bit – okay I'm not saying that I do, but if I did, that would be a problem, right?"

Kazuya's eyes snap over to Kuramochi, who's looking back at him with the same hope on his face that Kazuya can feel growing in his chest. "That," Kuramochi answers with surprising steadiness, "is the opposite of a problem." He takes a step closer to the two of them and takes a deep breath. "I'm still not sure if I want Miyuki like that, and I don't think he's figured it out either, but we both want to be with you if that would make you happy."

Sawamura blinks. "But… three people?"

"It's possible," Kazuya reassures him. After he'd started picking up on Kuramochi's hints, he'd done his research on polyamory. "It's not incredibly common, but there are people who make it work."

He can see Sawamura's face dawn with realization. "That means…"

"Yeah, it does." Kazuya's chest feels light. Maybe something will come of this crush after all.

"That means… every single love triangle that I've ever read could've had a happy ending! Why did no one tell me this?! Why can't romance manga just end like that, with everyone sharing?!" Sawamura looks positively distraught, face twisting in hurt at the pain inflicted on him by his favorite authors.

Kuramochi kicks at a lamppost in frustration and Kazuya drops his arm from Sawamura with a sigh. "Guess we walked into that one, didn't we?"

Kuramochi echoes his sigh. "Sawamoron sure knows how to ruin a moment, doesn't he?"

"Yeah, it's totally ruined. Let's get to the station and sort this out later."

Sawamura's still shouting about shoujo heroines when the three of them start up again, this time with Kuramochi and Kazuya on either side of him, and even though Sawamura is loudly indignant, Kazuya watches his shoulders relax slightly and his hands brush against the hands on either side of him before sliding into the spaces between their fingers. Maybe he's not uncomfortable with the unexpected confession from his senpai after all.

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