No excuses for the delayed update. I had this and one more chapter already written, but I've been constantly making little changes here and there. I wasn't gone without gains though, read the after note for more info!
Either way, I'm sorry! Hopefully you enjoy this!
Also, still don't own anything. Even my phone is leased.
It had been more than a couple of innings since Raichi had been, unwillingly, pulled out. It was currently top of the fifth and the score was 7-6 in the college teams favor. While the first inning had been a tight pitchers battle, it quickly descended into a batting clinic in the second.
After Raichi had been swapped out, Evergreen whom had pitched extremely well earlier, seemingly lost her touch. The batter that had replaced him had been struck out but it wasn't without a battle. She had been brought to full count and fought off the out with a couple of foul balls. In the end, it had taken about 9 pitches to get the sub out.
That had certainly impacted her pitching. The next batter hit a double on the first pitch and she ended up walking the one right after her. When the seventh batter had got in the batter's box, Ever ended up throwing a meatball which resulted in a home run making the score 3-0.
Evergreen was switched out as she walked the eighth batter. Bisca had been ready to take the mound and quickly got two outs.
However things weren't hopeless for the HS team, the starting batter for the second inning was their cleanup and ace Erza Scarlet. And it was in moments like this that an ace shined. She responded to the runs with a quick triple, and Cana batting after her brought her home with a deep hit to right field. Making the score 3-1
At that time there was a runner on second with no outs, despite a runner being in possible scoring position, the college team kept composure. Shown as such when Ultear came up with an out on Cana attempting to steal third. Meredy quickly jammed the next batter which resulted in an out, giving themselves total of two outs. The next batter, Juvia, had managed to stay alive by fouling off most of the pitches thrown but ultimately she was struck out by the sixth pitch.
The rest of the innings followed a similar path getting them to the current score. Now though, the college team was at their eighth batter and had one out with no one on bases. Bisca was still pitching and Raichi had deduced her to what he called a 'Marksman', or woman in this case, type pitcher. She seemed to have near perfect control of the ball and had yet to throw any actual meatballs. The runs she gave up were because the college batters were good enough to locate their hits well in the open spaces. Though they may not start for the college team they were all starters from their respective high schools.
Raichi wanted nothing more than to hit her pitches but unfortunately he was still benched for now. He sincerely hoped it would end soon and seeing Rei walking herself over here, it very well might.
"Rai-chan, a word please." Rei called him from the dugout. As he stepped out she grabbed his right hand giving it a thorough 'examination' for appearance. And then slapped his palm almost as if she was giving him a high five.
Slightly startled by this Raichi looked at her with a confused look. "Good! Everything seems to be alright. When the line up starts again I'll go ahead and put you back at fourth batter, got it?"
Raichi grew a grin greater than any previous one he had earlier that day. He quickly nodded to her and grabbed her hands with his. "I won't let you down, Big Boss!"
A vein popped out on her forehead. "Don't call me Big Boss" she ground out. But nothing was heard as he was already back in the dugout bouncing in excitement.
"I guess it's about time then huh?" She thought as she walked back to the home dugout.
As she got back in her own dugout she silently watched.
The eighth batter had laid down a praiseworthy bunt and had made it on base. The ninth batter made her way up to the box and fouled off a couple of pitches but then popped on up to center field which Laki easily caught, giving them two outs. The runner though had successfully stolen a base and was now at second.
Meredy came up to the box and settled in her stance. She was given a slider on the inside which turned up as a ball, and then a split-finger that had caught her swinging making the count 1-1.
As Bisca wound up to fire the 3rd pitch the runner on second decided to steal for third and safely made it before Mira could throw it. "Hehe, I'm actually a pinch-runner so it's extremely unfortunate for you that I'm on base" she thought.
Bisca was a bit mentally fatigued, she had thrown more pitches in other games than this one yet she felt more tired for whatever reason. The batters of this college team, especially the 'big 3' put a lot of pressure on her. The air they had amongst themselves made it more tiring for her to pitch against them. Adding the pressure of the base runners, she was quite mentally fatigued and it was starting to hurt her pitching.
Mira herself had also noticed this. Her low pitches were slowly, but surely, coming higher and higher. At the rate this was going she would surely throw an easy hit. They needed to end the inning with Meredy and then get some runs with the upcoming at-bat. Mira was confident they would get at least one run next inning "We're starting off with Levy so Erza will definitely get to bat. If Levy can't get on base then I absolutely have to." Mira thought but she put that away for later in favor of dealing with the current dilemma.
"Give her a hard fastball into the upper inside of the strike zone she won't be able to catch up with it." She gave Bisca her signs and received the confirmed nod. Bisca did her wind up and threw a fastball it was slightly high but it did what it was supposed to. Meredy swung a bit late and missed the ball.
"STRIKE" Gildarts yelled.
Mira then gave Bisca a signal for a curveball that would land just above Meredy's knees. She got the pitch but Meredy got a piece of it, luckily it was a foul but ultimately they wanted an out so deciding to get a bit aggressive Mira called for a forkball. "Throw it hard, I don't care if it's a ball we can sacrifice one of need be."
Bisca wound up and threw her a fork.
Meredy got a good piece of it and sent it forward. It was an odd landing as it hit the edge of the pitchers mound and actually jumped over Bisca.
Seeing it was too late for an out at home Mira quickly focused on getting the out they could. "Throw it to first!" She yelled being the eyes of the team. As Lucy caught the ball and threw to first, the runner on third made it home. Meredy however was soundly declared out.
The score was now 8-6, College team up
"THREE OUTS! CHANGE SIDES!"
Both teams made their way to the dugouts and swapped gear and took a place on the field. Meredy was still pitching, but despite the continuous play she was still raring to go. She was a lot like Raichi in the aspect of enthusiasm toward her favored position. She wasn't as expressive as he was though.
Across from her she watched as Levy, she learned her name was, take her place in the batters box. She seemed to bat well, this was the third time they've gone through the batting order and so far she's managed to get on base once. Despite that not sounding too well she had made decent contact with everything thrown so far. She'd make sure that changed.
Back at the plate Ultear had similar thoughts so she gave Meredy her instructions. "Gimme a hard slider, make it close so she can feel some heat." Ultear have her her signals and set herself for the coming pitch.
Levy saw Meredy begin her wind up and tensed in prep. As the pitch made its course Levy pulled back a bit to let the ball go to the catcher
"Damn, I was hoping he'd give us the benefit here" Ultear thought, "But still it seems to have done its job" she glance at Levys position to see if her plan had worked. It seemed like it did so for now she'd call her next pitch.
She threw the ball back to Meredy thoughts already set on the next pitch.
"Nice pitch Meredy!"
"Catch her swinging!"
Words of encouragement from her team got her spirits up.
"Send it deep!"
"Keep your eyes open!"
"Don't forget your dinger phrase!"
The counter cheers of the HS team came to bring up Levy's own spirits. The small girl took in their encouragements and made them into strength.
Ultear shook her head, dinger phrase? What a HS thing to do. She got her head back in the game as she gave Meredy her signal. "Throw it high and away, we'll get her swinging at it for sure." Ultear put herself in the appropriate position and waited for the pitch.
Meredy wound up and threw her pitch, it was a little lower than she wanted though.
Levy got a decent piece of it and smacked it just to the right of Meredy. Out of reflex the female pitcher put her glove out for a catch, unfortunately it was just deflected of her glove throwing off its original path. Luckily though she slowed it down enough to prevent anything more than a single.
The HS team gave loud cheers from the dugout congratulating Levy as she got on base. Meredy herself had pouted, that would have been an easy out of she hadn't deflected and changed its course. She sighed and changed gears quickly putting her previous thoughts to the back of her mind. She couldn't afford to have other thoughts with Mira up to bat.
She was hitting well today too, as a matter a fact she had bat in the two runs they scored 3rd inning. It was clean line drive, that had just barely slipped by first base which allowed the runners on second and third to make their way home.
Mira thought to herself about what pitch she should hit. So far both her hits have been outside pitches so she expect Ultear to give some calls for the inside. "We'll if that's the case, I hope you don't mind I use your idea" Mira thought as she went to her place in the batters box.
This at bat though she stepped a bit closer to the plate and acted like she was going for the outside pitches. Ultear saw this and looked no further than what it looked like. After all, every pitch she hit was an outside one, at this point it'd be odd if she didn't set up expecting an outside pitch.
"Alright this time give her a curve on the inside, be aggressive with it" Ultear was really starting to get into this game, this HS team was absolutely great. Not much people get get 6 runs of them. Well they didn't have their starting pitcher nor the full starting lineup, but still. These girls could definitely play at the national level, it's a wonder how they have never made it past the finals of the regional tournament.
Putting those thoughts away Ultear put herself where she needed to be to catch the pitch. Meredy wound up and deliver the first pitch, a beautiful curveball with the perfect break. Mira didn't swing, playing the mirage that she was swinging only for the outside pitches.
Ultear threw the ball back and complimented the pitch, as did her fellow teammates. Levy whom was on base took a small lead, she didn't know if she felt comfortable going for a steal given that Cana was gotten so easily by Ultear. But, if she could pull the pitchers focus if only a little bit she could give Mira an advantage even if it was only the slightest.
Meredy however would have none of it, unless Ultear gave her a sign for a pick off she wouldn't even look at the runner. Meredy looked down to Ultear where she was giving signs, "Low inside fastball. Alright makes sense to me" Meredy nodded to her I'm conformation and wound up for her pitch. She stomped hard on the ground a slung the pitch hard.
Mira keeping herself calm, immediately stepped outward with her right foot and swung her bat, twisting her hips with torso to get all her weight behind it. Mira grunted as she put more power into her swing than normal.
Mira's wood bat made good contact, like really good. She followed through as she twisted herself, transferring all of her weight and power through the bat and into the ball.
The hit sent it towards right field, it flew
And flew, and flew.
Right over the fence.
Let it be said that, while Mira didn't have the power to hit a homer every at bat, it did not mean she was incapable of slamming one out of the park.
The HS dugout went crazy, Mira hitting a homerun?! She didn't do that often and even more rarely attempted it! Mira was a firm believer of location, it seemed to be her motto "location, location, location" is what she preached to the batters she gave tips too.
So to see that same Mira get herself a homerun lit a fire that was already there even hotter. "Gooooo Captaaaaain!" They yelled from the dugout. As Mira took her bases she held her fist up as a sign of victory. At home plate Levy eagerly awaited, hands up waiting for not a high five, but high ten. Mira too held her hands up and clapped them with Levy. "Who knew that Captain Location would locate it outa the park?" She said jokingly.
Mira hit her shoulder, "I wanted to feel useful, I may be calling the plays on defense but we won't win unless we score right?" She told her. Levy smiled and quickly replied "Right!"
In the dugout the team all gave her congratulations on the homer. Erza also gave her 'props' and made her way out to the box, she'd have to follow up on her friends homer.
The score was now tied at 8-8
Back on the mound Ultear went up to the mound to talk with Meredy, "Sorry, that wasn't a good call on my part" she told the younger girl with a sheepish expression.
Meredy had a frustrated look on her face. She wasn't to beat up over the fact that she got hit off of, but no pitcher like giving up a home run, especially multiple run home runs. "Are you mad?" Ultear asked. "No!" The pink haired girl quickly answered. Ultear giggled at her sister's childishness and put a ball in her glove, she seemed to be alright that was enough for her.
"OOOOOH SHE HIT A HOME RUN! ASHLEY, DID YOU SEE THAT?! SHE HIT IT OVER THE FENCE!" The easily excited Raichi yelled out from the dugout. On the mound Meredy had veins popping out all over her face in anger.
"RAICHI, SHUT YOUR FACE YOU PUNK!" She yelled back at him. As she yelled at him she threw the ball to the dugout sending all her anger with it at Raichi's stupid face.
From the dugout Raichi saw the ball fly towards him and ducked, the ball hit wall and bounced around hitting various things. Raichi peaked out over the small fence to see Meredy glaring at him. In response, he slowly lowered himself from view.
Everybody sweat dropped at the interaction between the two. None more so than the opposing dugout. Mira herself giggled, what a silly boy he was. Rei sweat dropped from her seat having heard everything that went on, "that boy" she sighed.
From her place at the batters box Erza sweat dropped. She saw Ultear walking off the mound a small smile on her face. Meredy was visibly less tense after her exchange with Raichi and she was grateful for it. They were facing the cleanup right now after all, and they couldn't afford any weaknesses.
Erza had also noticed that Meredy looked rather calm and composed. "He seems to act at just the right moment to put his team at ease. An admirable quality." She praised him. But this was no time to praise the enemy she told herself as she prepared herself to bat
Erza intuitively sunk into her batting stance. She had both her knees bent and both feet planted into the ground with her left leading. Her torso was slightly off center facing just slightly to the catcher and her hands raised ear height with that bat bent towards her head.
"The cleanup, she seems to be batting well today too. She's hit for the cycle so far, let's see if we can't stop that here. Thanks to Raichi, Meredy seems a bit more level headed, we should be able to pull this off." Ultear thought. She then signed Meredy the designated pitch and set herself for an inside.
"A crossfire to her knees, I agree" Meredy thought as she went through her motion. She swung her arm down fully sending the ball barreling to the desired location. Erza at first didn't look like she was ganna swing but…
She fouled one off into the fence directly behind them, with her swift swing. "I guess, 'swift as a knight' isn't really an exaggeration" Ultear thought. It was a quick swing, her title as cleanup was well deserved.
Raich himself looked mystified, her swing was fast, maybe not as fast as his own but he couldn't really say. He'd been wrong before, he thought. But swing speed or not, it didn't matter if you couldn't properly connect with the ball.
Erza took a step out of the batters box and gave a few practice swings. "I was a bit late on that one, I hadn't planned to swing but I just couldn't let such a beautiful pitch go to waste" she nodded to herself justifying her swing.
She paused those thoughts and quickly tried to come up with a game plan. "We don't have any outs but it'd be helpful if I got on base. I don't need a big one, just enough to make it on base. A bunt will do it just fine" Erza made her final thoughts as she stepped in the batters box.
By the time Erza had stepped back in the box Ultear had a pitch figured out and quickly gave Meredy the signs.
Meredy gave the throw requested and Erza laid her bat out for a the bunt.
While Erza had done a good job absorbing the impact, she didn't send it forward. The ball having basically dropped directly in front of home plate. Ultear quickly picked up the ball and tagged Erza before she could gather herself.
"... Uhhh, out." Gildarts said
Erza blushed red in embarrassment and quickly made her way back to the dugout. From across the field she could hear Raichi pretty much dying inside his own dugout. "Shut your face!" She mentally screamed.
Passing by Cana who was in the on deck circle, she heard her laughing into her hand and could see the tell-tale signs of a smart-ass remark coming.
Seeing Cana open her mouth, "Not a word." The ace said. However that did not stop Mira who had fell into a fit of giggles as Erza entered the dugout. "Oh You almost had it" she mocked her. Erza blushed just as red as her hair and took her seat.
"Erza…" Rei started, "100, no, 200 bunts from you next practice." She told her ace. "Y-yes ma'am" she replied having no arguments.
As they talked Cana made her way back into the dugout trying to sneakily find her seat. "Oi, Cana. Why are you back, you're up to bat ain't ya?" Natsume's loud voice carried through the dug out.
"Damn you, Natsume!" Cana exclaimed. "Ah, it was a grounder to first" she sheepishly explained.
"Keh, loser." Natsume told her
From beside her Lucy sweat dropped, "Didn't you hit a fly to first on the first pitch your last at-bat?"
Natsume sat down like she hadn't heard a word. "She's pretending like it didn't happen!" Lucy was astonished at the pink haired girls ability to simply 'forget'.
Back on the field it was Juvia turn to battle the pitcher the count was 2-2 and she was backed into a corner. "Meredy is a really good pitcher, Juvia doesn't think she can keep up" the shy girl thought as she waited for the next pitch.
She seemed to be proven correct when she was struck out swinging to an outside, low fastball.
Juvia walked back a little disheartened. She wanted to do something for the team, everybody was trying their best and she wanted to help too.
"Hey, chin up Juvia. You can hit that pitch I know it. You're out sixth batter for a reason" Levy spoke to her cousin. Juvia put smile on and thanked her.
Having gotten three outs the team got their gear and made themselves ready for the sixth inning.
On the other side of the field Meredy and her posses made it back to the dugout where Raichi eagerly put on his helmet, elbow and shin pads. He was ready to go, and this time nothing would stop him, nothing short of a natural disaster would keep him away from this inning.
He ran out of the dugout ready to step into the batters box but before he could he was quickly halted by a hand on his shoulder.
"Where do you think your going you twerp?" Ashley interrogated.
"To bat!" Raichi told her excitedly. "Woah, first of all Ultear is up to bat right now and second of all who said you would bat next?" Ashley asked critically
"Rei-chan told me last inning!" he told her. Before she could retort. "It's true, Rei also informed me last inning" Ultear confirmed as she made her own way to the batter's box.
"Substitution, Pitching for Bisca will be Natsume." Rei announced as Bisca went into the dugout, Natsume went to the mound and Erza took her spot as third base.
Raichi watched Natsume throw some warm up pitches they looked like they had some power behind them. More power than anyone he'd played against so far. That excited him.
Raichi grabbed his trusty wood bat and a standard metal one, and made his way to the on deck circle with a grin.
His muscles having cooled down and gotten tight, Raichi thought that he should stretch again. After some basic stretches he did a couple of swings with both bats in hand. He turned to see the battle currently going on.
The count was currently 1-1, a strike and a ball each. From what he could see so far this battery seemed to be more in sync with each other than the previous two. There was less hesitation and both seemed to understand that they could rely on one another. They threw another pitch, this time Ultear fouled it off. It definitely looked faster than the previous pitchers and judging by the sound the glove made it was certainly heavier.
"Kaha, amazing. Baseball is absolutely amazing!" Raichi thought as he swung his bats. "I wanna hit" he swung his bats.
"I wanna hit" another swing
"I wanna hit" and another.
Each time he swung just a bit harder than previously, until.
He gave a hard swing drawing some attention from his own dugout.
"Hey, w-what the hell is that?" Ashley thought from the dugout as a bead of sweat rolled down her cheek. "Interesting…" Ashley muttered to herself.
Meredy who had been next to Ashley had similar thoughts. "He sure doesn't swing like a first year.." She thought.
Raichi gave a final swing feeling warmed up enough to have his fun without risk of injury. Having finished his swings a tossed his bat to the side and patiently waited in the on deck circle, content to see the pitchers new pitching. Currently it was a full count so it could all end with the next pitch.
Down with the batter and battery there was an intense battle going on. Ultear had fought her way to a full count and wasn't giving in at all. "Damn, why'd I have to come in with her being the first batter? I wanted to get some steam rolling and then throw her out. Che, I guess this is what they call karma?" No, it couldn't be, she hadn't done anything to offend anyone had she? If she did she didn't remember so she'd put out any lingering thoughts and focused on the signs Mira would throw her.
At the plate Mira was trying to come up with a good pitch to get Ultear swinging. So far they had given her a continuous variety of fastballs, some high, some low, some inside, and some out. So far they seemed to work well, but Ultear was starting to get the timing down. She'd get a bit closer with every swing. "I guess this is as good a time as any to try this. If you can do this here then you'll be able to use it in a real game. So throw it to me in confidence, just like in practice! Give me a knuckleball!"
Mira gave her the necessary signs and put herself in a position she'd be ready to catch anything. Seeing the signs Natsume smirked and gave a nod. Her eyes glew I'm excitement and a pink aura escaped her. "Heh, karma? Yea right." She thought as she adjusted her grip on the ball. For this pitch to work to the fullest it must have the least amount of spin possible, ideally it'd have zero spin whatsoever. But she was prepare for the possibility that, that didn't happen.
She wound up bringing her left knee up high, just lower than chest height. The took a large step and stomped her foot hard using it as a foundation to sling her body and arm forward. Bringing her arm around hand squeezing the ball a bit tighter to keep it in place, Knuckle grip felt awkward and she'd dropped it quite a bit in practice. She swung her arm as fast as she did when throwing a fastball.
Ultear could immediately tell a difference but it was already too late. She had managed to slow her swing to at least make contact but she hadn't taken into account the wildness of a knuckle ball. Noticing all too late the lack of spin on the ball Ultear could only follow through with her swing and hope the gods of baseball would give her a hit.
As her bat swung through the ball started to break, it looked like a piece of paper fluttering to the ground. Ultear's bat missed all together.
Ultear was struck out. She had veins popping out all over her face, "Grrrr." She ground out
"STRIKE, BATTER OUT!"
"I know that Gildarts! Thanks for reminding me Old Man!" She snapped at him. "Hey, hey, don't kill the messenger. I'm only doin' my job here" he said with a sweat drop.
Ultear hmphed, flipped her hair and walked away. "Still a brat I see" he deadpanned.
"Ka-kahahaha!" Wait he recognized that laugh, yes that annoyingly loud laugh. He looked over to his left to see Raichi standing there bat in his left hand, and animalistic grin on his face showing off his rather sharp canines. His eyes glew red in anticipation and his aura had begun to spill of him.
"And so he makes an appearance…" Gildarts muttered. "Put that aura away kid, this is supposed to be a friendly practice game." The AC thought with sweat on his forehead.
"Ah, time out please" Mira requested as she got up to go talk to the pitcher. Gildarts nodded and stood up stretching his back, it was hard to stay bent over for long periods of time. After this he had a lot more respect for some of his, ahem, lady friends.
Now, back with Mira, as soon as she'd seen Raichi she had made sure to call time. She walked up to the mound and called in the infielders which comprised of, Erza, Cana, Lucy, and Levy.
As everyone had gotten to the mound they waited for Mira to speak. She, however, was trying to find the correct way to say this. "Mira? Was there a reason you needed us all up here?" Levy asked. "Was there a reason you called time out? I thought I had a good rhythm going" Natsume said.
"Uh, yes there was a reason. I just wanted to tell you, this batter isn't someone we can underestimate. Do not give him anything easy."
Erza and Cana nodded in agreement knowing of his batting prowess. Natsume had lifted an eyebrow "Well it's not like a planned to, but still, he just a twerpy first year. What could he possibly do?"
"I'm having a hard time finding a way to say this bu-" "To be frank, Natsume, he'll fuck you" Cana interrupted the catcher. Erza and Lucy both face palmed while Levy blushed at the implications.
"... Cana… Please refrain from talking so crudely." Mira told her. "Just bein' honest" she shrugged. Natsume glared at her a small blush on her cheeks.
"Well first of all, I'm not that easy, second, I don't understand why you're so worried about it. We just took down Ultear, the 'Undisputed Cleanup' we can handle Raichi I mean look at him" she pointed to him. The others looked to him having seen that in the short time they had huddled together Raichi had done something to piss off Lucy's big sister and was put in a rear naked choke. They all sweat dropped.
"N-nee-san… Please. Please be more ladylike" Lucy mumbled
Mira cleared her throat to get their attention back. "However he may look there and off the baseball field is not relevant when he plays. His ability to hit a ball is nothing short of monstrous, and if I'm being honest I'm more afraid to bat against him than Ultear.." She said
Cana gave her own input "member that new kid that demolished Freed's best pitch? It was him that did it. None other than Todoroki Raichi." She said, once again, quite frankly.
Natsume hmphed and looked away. So what If Freed got destroyed by this kid on the first pitch. She certainly wouldn't. Seeing her unwillingness to see reason Mira sighed but then smiled. If she had this kind of confidence it must mean she had almost absolute faith in her team, should any balls get hit. Assuming they weren't home runs of course.
"Alright then I understand your feelings" Mira told her with a kind smile. "Pitch with those feelings and we won't lose." She added as encouragement before breaking off from the huddle. Taking this as their cue everyone else left to take their positions, not before offering their own words first though.
"Say Cana, don't you think that you guys are exaggerating a bit about Raichi? Sure he hit Freed's pitch but surely it wasn't such a devastating hit right?"
Cana swallowed and looked to her partner on the field and close friend off the field. "No Lucy, he really did destroy that pitch. Prior to that, I'd never seen anything like it."
"It wasn't that it was a home run. It was the power behind it. It was a line drive to where the scoreboard would be in an official stadium. Do you understand what kind of power that takes?"
Lucy shook her head, "well whether or not you do, you'll witness something you've never seen before. As long as Natsume keeps acting like that, she'll get fucked." Cana finished. "Cana your language!" Lucy shouted
Mira made her way back to home plate and begun to set herself for the upcoming battle. She nodded to Gildarts as a thank you before pulling down her face mask and taking her spot. Raichi walked over and took his space in the batters box.
His body was faced slightly towards Mira. His right knee faced inward while his foot rested on its toes. His left foot was planted firmly and his knee slightly bent to keep a low center of gravity. His arms were cocked back ready for a strong swing and his hands were brought up to chin height with the bat slightly behind his helmet. His face was the only piece of his body faced remotely forward, and that was focused on Natsume as she looked on ready for a pitch call.
He was so excited his body let his excitement show with his usual massive red aura.
Mira observed Raichi from her spot next to him. He certainly had a presence, that aura seemed to be quite intimidating. Mira was fine though, they didn't call her 'the demon' for nothing after all. She could only imagine how Natsume would feel though. This was probably her first time seeing a better this intense. She'd seen desperate, angry, all kinds but none matched the presence this guy had.
"I suppose she needs a bit of an attitude adjustment, it won't do her good to underestimate an opponent in a tournament setting. Let's see if I can humble her a bit." Mira gave the first call a low inside ball.
From the mound Natsume gulped. This kid had some serious aura and a huge presence. This was her first time against someone like this, and to be honest it was a bit off putting. Natsume got the sign call and wound up just before she released the ball however she had a horrible foreboding feeling and suddenly the flash of her being, 'fucked' as Cana had put it, passed through her mind. At the last second she changed the course and accidentally threw the ball into the ground.
Mira quickly adjusted her glove and caught the ball, "time out please" Mira asked. Gildarts nodded, there wasn't a limit on battery timeouts after all.
"She got scared of Raichi huh? Damn, I wonder what kinda pressure he's puttin' on the pitcher with that kinda aura" The older man thought.
As Mira went up to the mound she spoke "You threw it into the ground on purpose right?" She asked. "I felt like he'd hit it if I put it there, I'm sorry. I got a bit scared, but it won't happen again! I promise!"
Mira giggled, "you've got great instinct Natsume. That's actually the spot he had hit off Freed." She confessed. Natsume looked at her "Then why the hell did you call for it there?!" She near yelled.
Mira picked her glove up to cover her mouth. "Fufu, I thought that you'd calm down a bit if you got obliterated just once." She stated with a smile
"Wh-what the hell Mira! That's no way to help a teammate! A devil, you're a devil!", "Thank you!", "it's not a compliment!" The short meeting they had didn't last much longer as Mira made her way back to her spot.
Now that Natsume was a bit calmer and more level headed the could start playing seriously. This is where the battle begun.
"Ok, let's test out the waters with a curve ball high and inside. Doesn't matter if it's a ball or not." Mira thought
Natsume nodded and threw the girl a curveball.
"NOO! THAT'S NOT THE ONE!" Raichi roared as he hit the ball.
The ball flew past and down first base foul line with the speed of a bullet. "The hell kinda swing is that?" Levy asked having been prepared for the ball but unable to react.
Natsume let out a giant breath she'd been holding as soon as he hit it, "'That's not the one', what are you talking about?" She thought.
Where Mira was, seeing his swing this close did it no justice. She couldn't even tell he had swung until she heard his bat hit the ball. "It's a lot more scary up close" Mira thought about his swing.
Despite what Raichi had said he thought the previous pitch was a good one, it bent really good in the air. Unfortunately though, at the moment he wasn't interested in any of her pitches but one. That crazy knuckleball she threw earlier, Raichi wanted to hit that so bad (heh, wink wink). He settled back into his stance and waited for the next pitch to come to him.
Natsume from the mound looked to Mira waiting for the next call. She guessed that everyone was telling the truth about this kid, he was a monster. The swing he had just made, she could've sworn she felt a small draft from it. She gulped, "There can be no mistakes, no screw ups" if there were then, well. She'd allow a run, simple as that.
Mira raised herself slightly in prep of the pitch she had asked Natsume. A full powered high fastball, this was all to set up the next pitch. Natsume wound up gave her her fastest and most powerful fastball today.
"NOT THIS ONE EITHER!"
Natsume turned around and followed the ball as it went over third base and flew out of the outfielders reach
All of the high school team let their out the breath in which they were holding. "You kidding right? Cana it's a joke right, that kid is only a freshman right?" Lucy frantically shook her teammate
The other players had a similar thought.
Back in the college dugout the students there were equally surprised.
"Oi, what the hell was that?" Ashley asked. Meredy who was beside her had no words. You were kidding right? There's no way a puny first year could swing like that right?
Ultear looked on some sweat dripping down her forehead. "Did you see the trajectory? It was basically a straight all the way outta the park… I haven't seen something like from even our boys team" she said referring to the college division of Vermillion Academy
"And they're the national champions." She finished. The rest of the girls listening were just as shocked by Ultear's words
"Hahaha. It's heavy" Raichi stated with a smile showing his sharper than average teeth.
Mira from her spot gulped. "He's looking for a certain pitch. Could it be the knuckleball? I'm sorry but, if that's what you want you won't be getting it. Mira thought in determination.
She too had let out a breath she didn't she was holding as the foul was called on the hit. She breathed in once and calmed herself. She look at Natsume, slightly fired up by the situation they were in. Mira hadn't realized it but she was excited, excited to play against such a batter, and excited by how much she could grow after said battle.
Mira's blue eyes seemed to glow and a purple aura was also released out of her. She looked Natsume in the eyes, "The count is 2-0, it's him that's cornered. We've cornered him not the other way around. It's time to be aggressive!" Mira conveyed her message through her eyes as she gave Natsume the signs for a hard crossfire to Raichi's chest.
Natsume, whom had seen the sudden change in Mira's own intensity and the aura that escaped her, had gotten rather riled up herself. Natsume peeked at Mira from under the bill of her cap, her pink eyes, which she inherited from her mother, gave a slight gleam.
Natsume made eye contact as she got her signs from Mira. Natsume continued to keep eye contact and shook her head. Mira widened her eyes and then smirked knowing what call she wanted. Mira threw her arms out her gesture translating to, "I'll catch anything you throw".
Erza and Rei looked on in surprise, "She shook off her call? Interesting." Gildarts himself was getting excited. "Damn, this is only a practice game? This kid can really make things heat up. It's a real shame that there isn't a gender neutral league."
Natsume smirked and her own pink airs seeped from her pores showing her spirit. Raichi blinked noticing the sudden change in the air between the battery. He allowed himself a smirk instead of his usual viscous grin. "It's coming!" He told himself, and he was right.
Natsume fixed her grip on the ball and wound up, she was putting all her energy and teammates expectations in this. With this one pitch she would show everyone how much Natsume Dragneel had improved and with this one pitch she'd carry herself into the embrace of victory.
She flung the ball at Raichi, with zero spin. The ball despite being relatively slow the ball had its own presence, flying with the entirety of Natsume Dragneel. The ball broke beautifully like a flower petal dancing in the wind.
It was almost a shame such a pitch had to be wiped off the face of the earth.
Raichi had delivered a swing with his own spirit and made perfect contact. The ball was nowhere to be scene having been lost in the sky beyond the fences of the outfield. Raichi dropped his bat and started running his bases, "Beautiful, what a beautiful pitch." He said, recognizing the care and spirit that went into it. It was for pitchers that would pitch like that, that make him love batting so much. The ones that pitch with their heart, gave the best pitches, the heaviest pitches.
He looked at Natsume as he ran his bases, he had nothing but respect for this girl, he stepped on home plate and made his way to the dugout. "Kahaha, what an awesome pitch" he said as he put his gear where it was supposed to go.
"Raiiichi!" He was suddenly tackled then had his legs pulled back, reminiscent of a scorpion. He screamed in pain as this rude person sat on his lower back.
"Who the hell said you could swing like that huh?!" Ashley yelled. "Where you hiding it?!", "No! I just didn't have the chance to bat!", "Liar!" Ashley exclaimed as she pulled harder on his legs, drawing more screams from the boy
"Ah, didn't Rei pull him out before he got the chance to bat…?" Meredy quietly interfered. Ashley blinked as she recalled those events. She hmphed and let Raichi go, taking a couple steps away. Raichi immediately got up and glared at her with crocodile tears running down his face and a vein popping out on his face.
"I was telling the truth!" He shouted, "How was I supposed to know?!", "You were there!" He told her. She had no response and decided to walk away. Before he could follow after her his face was pulled into a familiar bosom.
"Oh Rai-chan, what a spectacular hit! I didn't know that you could do that!" She praised him shoving her breasts into his face. Raichi responded and then laughed, it couldn't be heard clearly though. It was to muffled, Ultear blushed at the vibrations and pushed his head closer. She didn't realize how long she had done this though. "Oi Ultear, ya skank, he stopped moving." Ashley pointed to the boy in her embrace, low and behold he did stop moving. Immediately she let him go, he fell to the ground on his back. His soul seemingly floating out of his mouth, "you killed him!" One of the college girls yelled. "No I didn't! Meredy get the first aid kit!" Meredy ran and got the first aid kit and opened it up. "What do I use? There's nothing in here to heal suffocation!", "Move I got it!" Ashley yelled as she elbow dropped Raichi in the stomach. A fit of coughs brought him back to life and he curled up holding his stomach feeling extreme amounts of pain.
"I think there was a more civilized way of doing that, Ashley…" A college student pointed out, "I didn't see you doin' it" Ashley retorted. "Fair enough" was the reply.
Back on the mound Natsume covered her eyes with the bill of her hat. She had put everything she had into that pitch and it had been so easily hit. Her teammates offered words of encouragement but that didn't really seem to help her much.
"Their kindness hurts doesn't it?" Rei thought from her own dugout.
Mira walked up to the mound and placed a hand on her shoulder, "it was a good pitch." She told her "But it was a bit too high, that's why it was hit" Mira was brutally honest with her. She knew in these situations that her trying to be positive would be more harmful than helpful. Especially with Natsume, she was incredibly straightforward and such a tomboy.
Suddenly Natsume brought her hands up and slapped her own cheeks. Surprised by the sudden action Mira took a single step back. "Uh, are yo-"
"DAMN IT!" She yelled getting out her frustrations
"Natsume! Language! 100 laps when we finish!" Rei yelled from the Dugout.
"DOUBLE DAMN IT!"
Natsume huffed and turned to the team behind her. "I'm all better now! Please be ready for anything that comes your way!" She yelled, not unlike Meredy had done earlier in the game.
"We got your back!" Cana yelled
"Send one my way I'm ready for it!" Levy told her
Erza punched her hand to her glove and nodded at Natsume. Mira giggled at her, she and Natsu were virtually the same. The only difference was she had her mom's eyes while Natsu had his dad's.
In the outfield, "Juvia cannot hear a word they're saying" Juvia said downtrodden
"Natsume, this is your best quality, never lose it, and you won't fail to become one of the best pitchers in the country." She said putting her glove where her friends heart was. "Always pitch with your spirit and I'll make the correct calls" she told her with determination.
Natsume nodded a smile on her face.
With the college team, the 'big three' as they were called were surprised and proud at how much Natsume had grown. "She's really mature, she's gotten her head back into the game after that quite well" Meredy praised. "It was childish to yell" Ashley countered. "Isn't that what you do?" Ultear told her.
"Hahaha, I wanna play more. I wanna play five more games! Let's play five more!" Raichi shouted banana in hand.
"The hell'd you get that banana from you little monkey? I thought i told you to stop eating!" Ashley yelled as she chased him.
Gildarts from his position as the umpire looked at both teams and grinned. It looks like this game was a good idea and he was glad he could contribute. "The girls team looks like they trust each other more and seem like they get along really well now. The isn't any weakness in lack of teamwork that I can see now. They all move with full faith in each other."
"As for Raichi, he seemed to understand his role on the field today and didn't disappoint. Not to mention he got some good batting practice." Gildarts concluded as he observed both teams. Takashima Rei had pulled all the correct strings for this to happen, she even pulled Raichi out so as to not hurt the team building. He had quickly seen through the true reason she pulled him off, and he had to agree with it. The point of this game was to build team relationship and some confidence, with the way he was, Raichi would surely crush any confidence Bisca and Evergreen had.
"You're quite cunning, Takashima Rei." He finished.
I've read back in this story more than a couple times, and I'll admit, I've cringed quite a bit. Some of it just seems silly looking back on it, but I'm not ganna change anything for now.
Before I forget! Thanks for the reviews and feedback! I enjoy reading them and they give me a bit to think about, as far as the future of this story goes. Also, expect some characters to act out of character. I'd like to stay as true to the originals as possible, but considering they've got a whole new background and upbringing, they'll be a bit different.
Also, still undecided about pairings! So if there's someone in particular you've got in mind, don't be afraid to let me know! Be reasonable though, I'm not planning to have my mans sack up tons of honeys. That means, no harems, no college girls while he's a freshman in high school. I'd like this story to be a portrayal of school sports life. So while multiple love interests and such is ok, Raichi will not be dating 3 chicks at one time.
Besides all that stuffs… While I wasn't updating this, there are tons of things I began to write. And I mean TONS. I've got at least six separate stories I could upload right now, and more that are unfinished. They range from comic xover fics, to anime xovers, to even some real life based fics. Most have Naruto as a main character though, but some are OC centric. Not sure if I'm ready commit to anything with MT out right now, but be on the lookout just in case!
Last thing, I have a school dance written out as the next chapter. If you've got any songs you wanna hear (or rather see, lol), let me know!
That's about it for now. Leave a review if you'd like, tell me what's on your mind. What would you like see, what would you not like to see? It's all relevant!