It's been a much longer day than Abe had expected that morning. Most of it was spent on a bus driving to the hotel, but between everyone yelling and his stress over the coming tournament he wasn't able to relax much at all. Mihashi, it seems, experienced the same; Abe can see even from here tired drag of his eyes every time he blinks.

They're all filing into the hotel now. It isn't anything too fancy – cheap enough to fit within their small budget while still being comfortable – but Abe watches as most of his teammates look around the spacious lobby with wonder in their eyes. They're all chatting excitedly as Momokan checks them in and hands out their room keys.

Abe is rooming with Mihashi, Tajima, and Hanai. He isn't surprised in the least by the set up; Mihashi is by far the most nervous of the group, and possibly the most important, and putting him in a room with people he's comfortable with is the best move. They trudge up to their rooms.

"I call first dibs on the shower!" Tajima yells as soon as he's inside the room. He and Hanai argue for a moment, but Abe pays them no mind.

Mihashi is kneeling by his bag, shuffling through it slowly. Abe doesn't think he's imagining the tense line of his shoulders or the slight shakiness in his hand, and when he comes up behind him he's proven right when Mihashi jumps about ten feet into the air.

"What's wrong?" Abe asks. Mihashi averts his eyes, mouth opening slowly. "Don't even think about lying, either. I'll know if you do." He closes his mouth.

It's something that he's been trying to help Mihashi with – being truthful about being upset, first, and being truthful about what's making him upset, as well. He thinks it's working, at least a little bit. Every time Mihashi comes to him about whatever is on his mind leaves him feeling so satisfied and accomplished, even though it's only happened once or twice. Even being able to help him open up sends a short, giddy feeling through him, though he never lets it show.

Right now, though, it looks like Mihashi isn't as willing to explain what's going on. Abe sits down next to him, ready to wait as long as it takes. As impatient as he is, he's also stubborn, and Mihashi won't be getting out of this one.

"I'm…" Mihashi pauses, glancing up at his face and quickly away. "I'm just… nervous."

"Is that all?" Abe says, and he tries to ignore Mihashi's shoulders hunching up more. "We're all nervous – I'm nervous out of my mind, too."


"Yeah." He isn't lying; he doesn't think there's a single person on the team who isn't nervous about tomorrow. They've fought in competitions before, of course, have played game after game after game, but the anticipation and worry don't ever seem to go away, no matter how good they've become over the last year.

He doesn't know how to word it in a way that would be comforting to Mihashi, and so he doesn't say anything. He simply waits to see if there's anything else weighing him down.

After a moment, Mihashi speaks again.

"I… I don't want to lose." He says, and when Abe opens his mouth to say well, duh, none of us do he quickly adds on, "I-I mean! I'm… scared. If I m-mess up, or, or, do something w-wrong…"

"You won't."

Mihashi looks at him, and Abe thinks it's the first time he's made eye contact with him all day; his eyes are clear and wide, and Abe can clearly read the worry and hope in them.

"B-but, what if-"

"You won't." Abe says with finality. It's not entirely a lie; Abe has complete faith that Mihashi will play his best tomorrow – that all of them will play their best tomorrow, that they'll fight until they have no breath left and even past that. Whether it'll be enough to win or not, he doesn't know. But he doesn't tell Mihashi that.

Tajima runs out of the bathroom after that, stark naked and singing some song that Abe can't follow. He gets up to take his shower next, giving Mihashi what he hopes is an encouraging face.

There's only two beds in the room, and so they have to share. Tajima clings to Hanai's side the whole night and demands they share; Mihashi and Abe take the other bed.

As surprisingly comfortable as the hotel bed is, and as warm he feels and as soothing as the sounds of traffic outside their window is, Abe can't sleep. He's restless, mind on the upcoming game. He runs through their practice drills in his head, practices with imaginary batters, pictures Mihashi standing tall waiting to receive his signs.

Eventually, he lays on his back and stares at the flat, white ceiling above him.


Abe barely hears the whisper, it's so quiet. He turns his head and is met with clear brown eyes.

"What's wrong?" Abe asks for the second time that day. He turns onto his side to look at Mihashi better.

"Can't… can't sleep." He mumbles, blankets pulled up to his nose. "Abe, too?"


They're both silent for a moment. Abe hears the distant sound of a siren, listens to Hanai snore, imagines the cheer of the crowd tomorrow as they win.

"Can…" Mihashi starts, but he looks nervous, like he hadn't meant to speak.

When he doesn't continue after a minute, Abe asks, "What?"


"If you need something, just ask."

Another moment, and Mihashi murmurs, "Can we…?"

Abe's confused for a moment, ready to ask what the hell he's talking about before warm fingers brush across the back of his hand and he understands. He slowly turns his hand over, and the slide of Mihashi's hand over his is somehow electric. They've done this countless times before – he knows Mihashi's nearly better than his own, has mapped out the calluses and the scars and the lines of his palms, but-

But somehow it's different right now, in the middle of the night when they're laying together on a hotel bed. It's different when he's still staring straight into Mihashi's eyes and he hasn't looked away, and the light reflecting off of them from the window may as well have been an entire galaxy for how lost Abe has found himself in them.

Mihashi's hand closes around his more firmly than he would have expected, but the pressure feels so nice. He returns it in kind and uses that grip to try and ignore the feeling of his heart beating hard in his chest.

Maybe he's having a heart attack, he wonders, as Mihashi's eyes slowly slip closed, as he watches Mihashi bury himself further into the blanket, as he watches the a soft smile slide onto his face. Maybe he's about to combust, and that's why his face feels so warm, and his hands so sweaty, and his chest so tight with something he can't name.

If he had been able to sleep before, he definitely wouldn't now.

But he shoves that weird feeling in his chest down and forces himself to do the breathing exercises Momokan taught them to help them sleep before games, and slowly he relaxes into sleep.

(When he wakes up the following morning, Mihashi's hand is still tight in his, and he spends longer than he probably should watching the slow rise and fall of Mihashi's chest before he wakes him up.)