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Melting Ice

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Seido was huge! You’d been picked up to join the newly formed softball team at Seido. Honestly, you were proud to stand on the field with these thirty other girls. Seido’s softball team was nowhere near their baseball team, but holy shit you were ready to play. You had come from pretty damn far, from across the world to be specific. Your parents had been against the whole thing to start with, but after days on end of begging them to let you go they eventually caved. So now you stood in front of Seido’s gates. The dorm rooms, they’d built a section off of the boys’ baseball dorms to adapt to the new sport.

“I can’t wait to start!” You cried with a huge smile.

“Why is there someone screaming like Sawamura here?”

Tearing your gaze from the sign above the door, your eyes fell on a cocky looking blond kid. Raising a brow you put your hands on your hips and stared him down until he was uncomfortable.

“Kanemaru! Stand in the batter’s box for me!”

You jumped at the loud voice that turned the corner. There was a short boy next to him, bubblegum hair covering his eyes and broadcasting a shy nature. Beside him there stood a tall boy with a faraway look in his eyes, telling you of his air headed nature before you’d even managed to have a conversation.

“Who would stand in the box for your crazy pitches?! Idiot!” Kanemaru, you assume, shouted back, a vein pulsing in his head.

“What do you mean crazy pitches?!” The brunet screamed, causing you to wince.

“Eijun, calm down.” The pink haired boy stated with a slight smile, probably trying to defuse the situation.

Meanwhile you were trying, and failing, to take it all in. From their uniforms, it wasn’t hard to draw the conclusion that they were on the Seido baseball team, not to mention the conversation they were having. The thought alone was exhilarating. You’d be sharing practice areas with these boys.

“Ah! Sorry. Were you lost?” The pink haired boy seemed to clue in to your existence with a shy smile, completely different from the one he’d been offering the loud boy just moments before.

“Oh! Me?” You asked, pointing a finger towards yourself. Now all the boys were staring at you and you couldn’t help but feel a little self-conscious. Playing with your hair you shied away from the conversation a little, eyes pinned on the strands in your fingers. “I’m looking for the dorms for Seido’s softball team…” You muttered softly.

All of the boys seemed shocked by this news, for the three who had their hair parted normally had wide eyes.

“She plays ball!” The brunet shouted excitedly.

“Idiot, don’t yell in her face!” Kanemaru hissed.

“I don’t mind taking you.” The pink haired boy stated with a shy smile. “It’s actually on the other side. I think it’s the schools way of keeping the guys and the girls from…” The pinklet lead off before coughing into his hand, cheeks darkening as each word left his lips.

“Keep them from doing what?” The brunet questioned innocently and you noticed how the pinklet’s features grew even pinker.

“Nevermind Eijun.” He muttered.

“Thanks. My name’s [your name].” You stated with a smile.

“Haruichi Kominato.” The boy responded before scratching at his cheek.

“Oh! Haru then!” You called with a smile.

Everyone’s eyes widened again and made you feel as if you’d done something wrong.

“Oh! I forgot that in Japan you guys use last names! I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be rude!” You rushed the words out of your mouth, embarrassment burning on your cheeks. “I’m from Canada, I’m still getting used to the customs here. Again, I apologize.” You brought your head down in the customary bow.

“Your Japanese is pretty good for someone who’s just learning the customs.” Haruichi stated with a slight chuckle. “I’ll just call you [your first name]. Is that ok?” He asked gently.

Your embarrassment left in turn of a smile.

“Well, I’d heard of Seido years ago. And I really, really wanted to play here. The only issue is that they only had a baseball team. But a few years ago they announced a project to bring softball into the program! I was so excited I started studying Japanese then and there.” You chuckled lightly.

“You’re quite devoted…” Haruichi smiled before the brunet cut in.

“You’re a first year right!” He practically yelled, earning a deaf nod from you. “I’m Eijun Sawamura! Call me Eijun! I’m gonna be Seido’s ace!” He broadcasted proudly.

You chuckled lightly at the boy’s enthusiasm before your gaze was dragged to the quiet tall boy, who seemed to have a challenging glare set on Eijun.

“You must be a pitcher as well.” You stated, earning a nod from the taller boy.

“Satoru Furuya.” He said with a slight nod.

“It’s getting really late, I’ll take you to the girls’ dorm.” Haruichi cut in with a more confident smile. “We’ll probably be seeing each other a lot since you’re a softball exchange student.” He said as the two of you made your way towards the other side of the campus.

“True. Though I don’t think I can pitch from the mounds you use.” You answered with a sigh. “I’d probably try and compensate and end up throwing high balls. No good.” You said with a sigh.

“You’re a pitcher?” The pinklet asked with a smile.

“Eijun might think he’s Seido’s ace, but you’re already looking at her.” You said with a wink, causing the shorter boy to chuckle.

“You guys throw with a different form right?” He then muses as the two of you walk along the dimly lit path.

“Yea, the windmill.” You declare with a peace sign. “Would actually love to watch you guys at the baseball club try and throw that kind of pitch.” You tack on with a grin.

“I’d love to see you hit Furuya’s fast ball.” Haruichi returned without missing a beat.

Both of you giggled before the pinklet paused in front of a gate. Looking up, you took in the freshly painted sign, you nose wrinkling at the smell of paint.

“This is it.” Haruichi stated with a smile.

“Thanks Haru. I appreciate you showing me where the dorms are.” You said as you set your bags down and stretched your arms. “I think I’m like the last person to show up.” A sigh left your lips before you reached down for your bags. “Nothing like being fashionably late.”

The pinklet brought his hand to his lips to cover up another bout of giggles. Honestly, he was probably cuter than any girl you’d seen in your life. His soft, pink locks covering his eyes only seemed to add to the allure.

“Man, it’s so unfair…” You huffed, causing the other to hum in question. “Don’t worry about it.” You then added before shrugging. “I’ll see you around.” You waved over your shoulder before letting yourself into the girl’s dorms.

Knocking gently, you pushed your dorm room door open. The lights were on and a petite short girl with short blond hair looked up from a gaming system. Setting your bags down you rushed to wave, kicking the door shut behind you.

“[your full name], pitcher, nice to meet you!” You called excitedly.

Pausing her game, the short blond girl stood up, brushing the crumbs of her last snack off of her thighs before sticking her hand out to shake yours.

“Airi Rikako, shortstop. Call me Airi.” She grasped your hand and shook it with a confidence you wished you could exert. “I claimed top bunk, so yours is the bottom.” She then added before looking down at your bags. “Need help unpacking?”

Blushing lightly you shook your head, declining her offer before scrambling to put your things in the plain dresser Seido offered.

“I’m ok!” You declared before smiling.

“If you say so. When you’re done come place COD with me. I’m tired of these damn noobs.” She huffed before crossing her legs and grabbing her controller.

“Oh! I’m like… horrible at COD…” You muttered, the embarrassment creeping back up to your cheeks.

You hear a tongue click as you plug your phone in. Chuckling nervously you got back to putting your stuff in drawers. Registration had handed you a couple practice uniforms that brandished Seido’s name proudly, along with a game uniform. The dark blue uniform was rather nice and had Seido’s name written out in scarlet, letters encased in gold. Blue jersey, white pants and a white cap with a proud ‘S’ scrawled in the middle. Sighing softly you scrutinized the pants before chucking them on top of the dresser. It was a period mess waiting to happen.

“I thought the same thing when I looked at them. Jersey’s nice but I would have preferred black pants and a blue belt. Guess we can all have what we want.” Airi murmurs before running her fingers through her short blond locks.

“Honestly. Tampons is it then.” You state with a sigh.

“No kidding.” She said before she growled. “Fucken camper.” She hissed before a replay of her dying flashed across the screen.

You had no idea what an RV had to do with dying in a game of COD, but you weren’t about to ask and incur her wrath. Turning towards your bed, you chucked a fluffy blue body pillow onto the bottom bunk before checking your phone battery percentage.

“Are you ready for practice in the morning?” Airi asks as she chucks the controller to the side.

“Five am, before classes start eh?” You asked before Airi simply raises a brow.

“Look, I knew you weren’t Japanese, but now I know you’re Canadian.” She said before giggling. “Nobody say eh here.” She added, not at all deterred by the red staining your cheeks.

“It’s a habit! I can’t just shake it…” You muttered, your voice dying off as your cheeks burned.

“It’s fine. It’s kinda cute. Makes you exodic.” Airi says with a wink before grabbing her Seido cap.

She brushed her short bleached locks back and pulled her hat on over it, keeping it out of her face.

“Have you met any of the baseball team?” She asked as she stretched her arms over her head.

“Yea, met Haru, Eijun and Satoru.” You said with a shrug. “Haru showed me to the dorms. Apparently I was about to let myself into the guys’ dorm…”

“Aren’t you adventurous on your first day?” Airi asked with a slight smirk.

Your cheeks exploded with heat again.

“Quit picking on me!” You hissed as Airi laughed.

She grabbed her wallet before nodding towards the door.

“Fine. Let’s go get some drinks, on this endowing upper classman.” She said as she bowed exaggeratingly to let you leave first.

“You’re older than me?!” The thought boggled your mind.

“I’m no grandma, but ya. I’m a second year. Been at Seido since my first year. Been playing ball since I was four. I settled for the track team to keep my stamina up while I waited for them to finalize their softball program.” Airi stated with a shrug before she pulled your dorm door closed, locking it behind you guys.

“Woa! That’s amazing. And a lot of commitment. Your upper classmen in the track team weren’t upset that you were leaving for softball?...” You asked.

“Nah, I was clear about my intentions on day one. I participated in practices and workouts, but for the most part I’m more of a sprints kinda girl and less long distance.” Stopping next to the machine, Airi pulled out some coins before buying a can of coffee. “What do you want?”

“Uh…” You read through the drinks, not very inclined to drink any of them. “Don’t you guys have like, regular juice?” You huffed before getting to the bottom. “Oh! Orange juice please.”

“You’re such a kid.” Airi huffed out a laugh before punching in the code and letting the machine chuck it into the bottom for you.

You smiled as you took the drink from Airi with eager hands. So far so good. Seido was starting to look promising and your roommate seemed pretty cool too! You couldn’t wait to get into the grind of things starting tomorrow.

Chapter Text

Chapter 2:

 

Five am should be illegal. No one should ever be made to wake up for five am. When your four am alarm woke you up, both you and Airi groaned in disdain. The two of you were zombies as you stumbled around the room, shedding your cozy pajamas and pulling on the different pieces of the Seido practice uniform. You’d been in Japan for a few days now, but had been staying with a family friend. The time change was still killing you, so five am was three pm time, but your body was honestly just confused.

“Alright, let’s go [your name]!” Airi called.

“C-coming!” You called as you grabbed your equipment and ran after your upper classman.

Practice had been grueling, warmup had been especially hard. You didn’t have Airi’s experience with the track team, so twenty laps had damn near killed you. Apparently you had to work on your endurance. Practice did have its positive points though. You got to meet the team’s catcher, Yui. She was a second year and a friend of Airi’s. The blond had bumped fists with the catcher the second they got to the field before pulling you over to introduce you to the catcher.

“Nice pitch [your name].” Yui called as she tossed the ball back.

The coach, along with other pitchers and catchers on the team were lined up and showing off their skills in hopes of making first string. It was anyone’s game. One of the other pitchers, Tsuya, had a wicked curve while Mika, a second year, had accuracy to die for. She could hit the corners with pinpoint accuracy.

Taking a breath you wound up. You needed to start pulling out some nice damn pitches if you were going to impress the coach and pitching staff. Yui put her glove up, catcher’s mask encasing her sea blue eyes. You brought your arm down fast before letting it whip around in a circle. At the last second you let the pitch go before Yui’s eyes widened. The ball floated before landing in her mitt. Murmurs met your ears from where the coaching staff was standing, pens meeting paper with a fervor. Yui’s eyes sparked with excitement and you shared her smirk. She tossed the ball back with a silent question.

What else do you got?

0_0_0_0

You braided you dark strands of hair loosly before tying the end. The school blazer looked good on you. The skirt was something to get used to though. You’ve hated anything skirt or dress related since you were young, always opting with the easier option like leggings or jeans. Apparently that wasn’t part of Japan’s plan. Grimacing, you pulled the skirt on, letting it fall just above your knees.

“Oh man, want me to help you with that?” Airi asked as she pointed at your skirt.

“Why? Am I wearing it wrong?” You asked as you fussed with the zipper.

“Well… No… You just look like a shut in. Try rolling it a little. It’ll look cuter.” She said before demonstrating with her own.

A scarlet blush took over your cheeks with ferocity. It was way too short, so not your thing. You shook you head before pulling your charger from the wall and shoving it into your bag.

“No thanks. I think this is ok!” Your embarrassment causing your voice to come out higher than usual.

“Suit yourself.” Airi said after having giggled at your expense. “You ready to head out?” She then asked, standing by the door.

Taking a quick look in the mirror, you straightened your blazer and patted at stray strands of hair before nodding.

“Let’s go!” You agreed with a smile.

0_0_0_0
Airi waved as she headed up the stairs to the second years’ floor while you scrutinized the schedule in your hands. You walked along the halls, ignoring the looks and the pointing fingers of young girls whose squirts barely contained their butts.

“Your name?”

Looking up, a little startled, you spotted Haruichi and a wide grin split across your face.

“Haru! Morning!” You exclaimed excitedly.

The boy’s hair was combed and fell flush around his cheeks, encasing his features as he smiled right before you. He cocked his head to the side, his gaze seemingly on the piece of paper in your hands.

“Oh! Haru, you’re just on time. I can’t figure out where my homeroom is.” You said before scratching the back of your head slightly. “Airi ran off as soon as she got here. I told her I’d be fine, but clearly I’m not. Oh! She’s my roommate and upperclassman on the softball team-“

“Slow down [your name].” Haruichi chuckles before reaching towards your schedule.

You let him take it willingly, leaning over his shoulder.

“Oh. We’re in the same class!” Haruichi turns towards you with a smile. “Which means it’s you, me and Furuya in the same class.” The pinklet stated as he handed back your schedule and turned to start walking. You matched his pace with ease, schedule in one hand and the other clutching your backpack.

Turns out you shared all of your classes with both Haruichi and Satoru, which was a relief because the thought of being the odd man out in class had you a little stressed. You sat between the boys, eyes on the teacher during most classes. Satoru slept a lot, and you had to wonder just how he managed to avoid the teacher’s gaze when it came to passing out in their classes. By the time the lunch bell rang you were starving.

“Finally.” You sighed with relief, pulling a giggle from the pinklet beside you.

“I’m just gonna head to the washroom, meet you by your locker?” Haruichi inclined as he stood, grabbing his books.

“Sounds good!” You said as you grabbed your own.

Satoru seemed to snap out of his daze, standing lethargically and following after Haruichi. You shrugged with a smile before grabbing the rest of your school junk and braving the traffic filled hallways. Eventually your locker came into view and you pulled away from the masses. Putting the code in, you chucked your books in haphazardly before shutting it and leaning your back on the cool metal to wait for the guys. You pulled your phone out to fiddle with some apps before getting bored rather quickly. Raising your gaze a blur of pink was at the corner of your vision. Blinking a few times you cocked your head as you found what seemed to be Haruichi heading towards the cafeteria. He’d totally forgotten about you!

Blinking rapidly a few more times, your gaze narrowed before you set your course for the mission. If he was gonna just leave you to wait like that, then you were gonna get revenge! Nothing bad, you simply planned to spook him by jumping out of nowhere, reminding him that you had promised to go to lunch together. Slipping through bodies, you were eventually just a few feet away before you reached out with both hands landing heavily on his shoulders.

“Haru!” You called, causing everyone around you to startled, and, mission accomplished, Haruichi as well.

“Who is that?” Someone murmured, grabbing your gaze.

“A girl just threw herself at Ryosuke.” Someone else murmured.

“She’s that new transfer student.”

“Woa, a first year is confessing to Kominato?”

“Man… The baseball team’s got it too good…”

Blinking rapidly you turned back towards Haruichi…. Except it definitely was not him. You pulled your hands away from his shoulders as if burnt, you cheeks burning with embarrassment.

“Oh my god I’m so sorry!”  

“Was that English?”

“She’s all red! Maybe she is confessing.”

“Oh my god, poor thing! Not in front of the whole school…”

“I-I’m not confessing!” You yelped, definitely redder than should be humanly possible.

“[Your name!]” You craned you neck around to find Haruichi pushing himself through the crowd, haling Satoru behind him, Eijun not too far behind.

“Haru!” you called back, stumbling towards the first year group to avoid the stares of just about everyone in the hallway, the group of people growing as time passed.

“Ryosuke?” The pinklet then called out in surprise.

You turned your gaze back towards the other boy, who had kept quiet all this time. His taunt shoulders from when you had grabbed them were now relaxed, his hands shoved into the school’s trousers. His gaze was narrowed in your direction, even as Haruichi was talking to him.

“Older Brother!” Eijun practically screamed, because, as you’d come to know, the kid had no indoor voice.

“A friend of yours?”

His voice was smooth. It was quiet and yet firm and had you chewing into your lower lip.

“Yea, she must have mixed me up with you.” Haruichi said as you stepped behind him.

You were still a couple inches taller than Haruichi, and as consequence, his older brother as well. This probably made the image quite entertaining, but this Ryosuke fella was giving off some pretty angry vibes.

“Yes, well. Try not to grab any old stranger you meet.” Ryosuke stated with a slight smirk, causing your eyes to widen.

“What a demon!” You hissed, causing Haruichi to chuckle awkwardly.

Then a realization dawned on you. The word for demon in Japanese was rather closely affiliated with the word for brother.

“Oni-chan.” You muttered before laughing out loud.

Ryosuke paused in his getaway, as if having heard your muttering. He turned a rueful smirk towards you before waving over his shoulder.

“Keep an eye on your friend there Haruichi. She seems like the type to get in trouble without trying.” He called as people started to disperse in the hallways.

“Oh God I said that out loud…” You muttered, the blush creeping up your neck again.

“That too.” Haruichi said with another awkward chuckle.

“You’re speaking English!” Eijun yelled.

“Oh!” You startled, forgetting that he was there.

“You’re so good at it too!” The pitcher bellowed.

“Well, I am Canadian…” You mutter before shrugging. “It’s my mother tongue.” You add as a after-thought.

“Oh! And you’re so good with Japanese!” Eijun continued. “Do you speak any other languages?!” He asked, excitement rolling off of him in waves.

“Oh… I can speak pretty fluent French…” You muttered.

“Say something in French!” Eijun exclaimed.

“Salut, je m’appelle [your name].” Your blush would be the end of you.

“That’s so cool!” Eijun exclaimed excitedly.

“Can we go get lunch now?...” You asked before Haruichi chuckled at your expense as he led you guys towards the cafeteria.

0_0_0_0

Once everyone had gotten their trays of lunch and were seated at the table, Eijun took it upon himself to start yelling about being ace and Satoru ignored him which caused him to only get louder. You and Haruichi both looked away from the other two in an attempt to save some face.

“So… Why’d you grab my brother?” Haruichi mused, bringing your blush back with a vengeance.

“Haru…” You whined, pulling a chuckle from the other. “I thought you had forgotten me at my locker…” you then admitted, hiding your blush behind your arms.

“Just think how surprised I was when I went to pick you up at your locker and found a mob at the end of the hallway instead.” Haruichi stated before laughing once more. “Well, now you’ve met my brother. Could have gone smoother though.” The pinklet stated.

“You’re telling me…” You muttered before shoving a piece of carrot into your mouth.

Haruichi merely shrugged before grabbing his own food. Eijun was still screaming, and in peeking over at both her and Satoru, you could tell the later was still ignoring Eijun, having retreated to his own world. So what if Haruichi’s brother was a demon, Haruichi himself seemed to be the exact opposite and that’s all that mattered.

Chapter Text

Chapter 3

Dirt caked your softball pants. Your breathing was heavy, and you were certain that your lungs were trying to suffocate you from the inside. The coach blew the whistle and you were off. Your legs were heavy as you slid into second base. Standing quickly you jogged to the back of the line where Airi was gasping for air.

“What, the running squad didn’t have you ready for this?” You asked in between gasps.

Her gaze flickered towards you, irritation clear in her features. You offered a weak smirk before the coach blew the whistle for a long few seconds.

“Alright girls! Bring it in!” She called and everyone breathed a sigh of relief before falling into a huddle of sweat and mud caked softball idiots.

After everyone had gathered, the coach lifted her clipboard before leveling everyone with a glare.

“I know it’s only been a week, but we’ve got our first practice game coming up against Inashiro and we’re gonna need to have a starting lineup.”

The group immediately started buzzing, pulling a crooked grin from the coach before she raised her arms.

“Alright, alright. Settle down.” She called out, earning the mic on the floor once again.

“Starting with our catcher then.” She said, her eyes pinning someone in the crowd. “Yui, would you wear our number two?”

Turning your tired gaze towards Yui, you smiled at the excitement in her eyes.

“Yes coach! With honor coach!” She called out, practically jumping with excitement.

“Good.” She said with a nod as she handed Yui the jersey. “And for our ace…”

Your heart jumped into your throat as the coach scanned the girls, excitement causing you to clench and unclench your fingers. Your heartbeat quickened as her gaze got closer, but it passed right over you.

“Mika, You’ll take this team really far.” The coach’s words felt like they were coming from across the field.

It was a hot, as per usual when it came to summer. The unusual part was how cold your fingers were. Your teammates congratualated Mika with smiles, including Yui who gave her props with a huge smile. You forced a smile to your lips and did the same, congratulating the team’s ace, even as the words felt like acid on your tongue. Airi’s smile wobbled as she took yours in, but you forced your lips into an even bigger smile throughout the rest of the list.

0_0_0_0

Leaning up against the fence, you clenched the jersey in your fingers. Frustration welled in your eyes, your fingers clutching the fabric. The number twenty crumpled under your fingers as tears spilled over the edge. Tsuya had been handed the number ten. You took a deep breath as the anger threatened to have you tear the jersey in half. You turned your attention out towards the field, trying to calm yourself down. It’s funny, the field always managed to calm you down. No matter how much the crowd roared, you always managed to block it out in turn for focusing on the catcher.

“I miss you Max.” You muttered, looking up at the moon.

“She grabs strangers and talks to herself. What more do you need to be called crazy?”

Jumping slightly, you turned towards the voice before grimacing.

“Geh. The demon.” You muttered, not bothering to hide your disdain.

“Is that any way to talk to your upper classman?” Ryosuke asked with a raised eyebrow and the beginnings of a smirk.

“My apologies, Oni-chan.” You said, making an exaggerated bow before rolling your eyes. “I forget sometimes how uptight you people are about upper classmen respect and stuff.”

“Don’t you guys have to respect one another in America?” He asked as he too leaned up against the field’s fence.

“I donno, I’m from Canada.” You answered with a small smirk, earning a slight smirk from Ryosuke as well.

“What’s that?” He asked, nodding towards the crumpled fabric under your arms.

Glancing down, your glare sharpened at the cloth. You turned away from Ryosuke, eyes trained on the mound in the center. There was no mound in softball, in fact, it was merely a circle of chalk that was drawn in center of the field. A barrier in which the pitcher was to stand in to start every pitch. The windmill was fundamentally different than the baseball pitch. A windmill pitcher’s arm did a circular motion which ended with the arm flying upwards in the end, the opposite to a baseball pitcher’s motion, which ended with them flinging their arm downwards.

“Coach handed out first string positions today.” You muttered before sighing heavily.

“And you’re holding a jersey, which means you made the cut.” Ryosuke rose a brow at you.

“I made it alright. I’m the backup pitcher’s backup. I flew across the world for this… My parents are gonna be so disappointed in me…”

You pushed the shirt into your face to hide the fact that you were getting yourself so worked up.

“You flew halfway across the world to impress your parents?” You gasped, your eyes widening in shock. “Cause, if that’s the case, then you should hand that jersey back. Somebody else deserves it more than you do.”

With that Ryosuke pushed himself up off the fence and walked in the other direction.

0_0_0_0

“What a fucken asshole. Who does he think he is, talking to you like that?”

Ginger curls took over the screen before piercing green eyes glared with full force into your puffy hazel ones.

“He’s right though. I said something really stupid because I was stressing out.”

You sighed before shaking your head.

“I still think he could have been less harsh. For Christ sake, have some tact.” Max huffed, clearly not amused.

“I was being a drama queen Max. I swear I get it from you…” You mutter before sighing.

“Oh hell nah. Who cried because their jersey number is double digits?” Your best friend answered with a raised brow. “Think of it this way slugger. If you had acquired the ace number so easily, there would be nothing to work up for. This way, you can go from number twenty to number one and be hella proud of your progress. On a completely different note. How the hell am I supposed to see you play?”

You garnered whip lash from Max’s changes in subject, but still managed a smile. She was absolutely right. Starting off as a newbie, not even from this part of the world, it would feel that much better when you finally snatched the ace number. When you stood at the center of that field with the number one scrawled on your back and your teammates calling out their support from right behind you, and Yui’s eyes sparking with amazement as you throw your favorite pitch down the lane.

“Sorry for waking you up for this garbage…I really miss you, and I love you so much.” You smiled warmly, Max returning it wholeheartedly.

“I’d be up anyways, its 6:30 ish. What time is it for you, its probably late…”

“Only hitting 8:30. Though my roommate’s probably worried.”

“I’ll let you go then girl. Text me if anything, you know I’d fly my ass down there and fight that little pink demon any fucken day of the week.”

You couldn’t help the laughter that bubbled up and out of your throat. You brought a hand up to your lips to hide it, but it was no use. The image of Max, a towering six feet, standing over Ryosuke, her hair standing on edge much like medusa’s snakes would, was dancing in your head.

“I know you would. Have a good day at school. Love ya.”

“Love you too girl!”

The Facetime call ended and you shoved the phone into your softball pants. You were still soaking in the fine essence of sweat and dirt, but at least the musk of misery had dissipated. Max had that effect on you. You decided to make your way back towards your dorm room, pausing to gather yourself before opening the door. The first thing you saw was the number four draped on the ladder that made its way up to Airi’s bunk. The second thing that you laid eyes on, was Airi’s face of horror, as if she’d just been caught committing a crime. She dropped her phone, which she had been using to take pictures of her jersey number presumably. She swore before scooping the device off the floor and scrambling towards the ladder to tear her jersey down.

“My bad, I wasn’t expecting you back so early. I swear I’m not bitch enough to shove this in your face!” She muttered, her Japanese spilling from her lips so fast it was hard for you to follow.

“Don’t worry about it. I’m happy for your Airi. Congrats on being on the starting lineup girl.” You replied with a sincere smile.

Airi paused, her back taunt before she turned back towards you. She blinked a few times before narrowing her eyes. She got rather close to you, before getting right into your face, which was entertaining with her short stature. Her gaze snapped back and forth, seemingly taking in your features before taking a step back.

“Who are you and what did you do with [your name]?” She finally settled on, causing you to laugh.

“I’m serious Airi, I’m good. I just gotta work harder.” You gave your roommate a thumbs up before plugging your phone into the wall. “Feel like kicking my ass in COD?” You then prod with mild interest, knowing you’ve won when Airi smirks and plants herself in front of the TV, poking buttons to start up the screen and gaming system alike.

“Don’t cry when I drag you through the mud.” Airi muttered with a dark smirk, pulling nervous laughter from you before you caught the controller she chucked at you.

0_0_0_0

Sweat dripped from your neck, down your spine, and sat uncomfortably at your lower back. You’d thought that five am was gross, but now you had to get up before the team did. How could you get any better if you practiced the same amount? Four AM gave you one hour before morning practice started. You were just finishing up your warmup jog when you spotted a lone figure circling the adjacent field. Seido had built in two softball fields along with their many baseball fields. They was close enough that you could see into the other fields, and glimpse a boy who had stolen your idea! As you sharpened your glare on the approaching figure, your eyes widened.

“Eijun!” You called, effectively startling the crap out of the first year. He came to a halt a few meters away, still within his field as you called out to him from within your own fence.

“Ah! [Your name]?! Don’t scare me like that! I thought you were attacking me and taking my tire!” He shouting, having no qualms with shouting into the otherwise silent morning.

“Eijun! Shhh!” You hissed, embarrassment crawling up your cheeks.

“What are you doing up so early?!” Sawamura demanded, his chest raising and falling at a quick pace, speaking of his jog, or perhaps of how you’d managed to scare the crap out of him.

“Same as you! Training!” You stated with a thumbs up.

Sawamura’s eyes widened before something akin to understanding and kinship flashed within them. He clutched at the fence between the two of you before showing you a small frowning.

“I need to be stronger… I need to… I need to catch up to them…” He muttered, the fence groaning as he squeezed it.

You smiled, understanding the sentiment completely. You needed to catch up the Tsuya and Mika. You needed this extra time in order to vault right by them and snatch that number one. Turning your gaze towards the sky above you, you sighed heavily. The morning sun was starting to peak its way through the horizon, masking the stars that had stood out a few hours ago.

“Ya… Me too…” You muttered.

Chapter Text

Chapter 4:

Your eyes were closed as you rested in the team bus. They were loading up to head to Inashiro, their first game as a team, although it was only a practice game. You were sporting the number twenty on your back, nowhere near as pretty as the number one spread taunt on Mika’s back. You buried your jealousy somewhere deep and dark in the back of your mind. Softball was a team sport, and even though you would be spending the whole game on the bench, you had to be a team player. Your pocket buzzed, grabbing your attention. Opening your eyes, you reached into the pocket of your softball pants and pulled your phone. The screen lit up with two notifications. The first was from Max and the other was from Haruichi.

‘Good luck in your game. Even if you don’t play today, go be the best damn bench warmer there is out there. Love ya!’

You chuckled slightly before hitting the textbox and beginning to type back your reply.

‘Go to bed you nut, it’s like 2 am! Of course we’ll bring back the first win!’

“Who’re you texting with a grin like that? A boyfriend?” Airi plopped into the seat next to yours before wiggling her eyebrows suggestively.

“My best friend. Back in Canada.” You explained, earning a bored hum from Airi who turned towards the other girls, apparently losing interest in your story.

You chuckled halfheartedly before turning back towards your screen.

‘Eijun, Furuya, and I are going to come catch your game with Inashiro as soon as we get off practice!’

You smiled before tapping on the textbox to send the pinklet your reply.

‘My number one fans! You better not be late!’

You didn’t get a response from either Max or Haruichi. You figured Max had passed out and Haruichi was busy with practice. Apparently Kataoka was a hellion when it came to drills. It made you wonder if your coaches were related in any way.

The Inashiro school grounds came into view not too long after you left the school. You pocked around on your cellphone until your coach called for attention. She wanted to go over signs once more before the game started. You paid close attention, after all, you could head into the game at any point. Mika seemed to be vibrating with excitement, Yui smiling as she reminded her not to expend all her energy before the game even began. The team laughed around them, and you joined in as well. There was no reason to isolate yourself because of your jealousy. You had been training hard, and it was starting to really show in the drills that the coach put you through. Eijun and you started jogging together at ass-crack-of-dawn in the morning, though most of it was spent trying to keep Eijun from screaming the whole of Seido up before the sun came up. The baseball team gave you strange looks at first, but after spending the whole week running laps with Eijun and chatting with Haruichi and Satoru, they’d come to expect your presence. Along with your friends, you happen to bump into Ryosuke a lot more as well, though the interactions were usually short, and he’d picked up on a nasty nickname that drove you practically insane.

As you unloaded off the bus, the coach led you towards the new softball fields that Inashiro had built, just as Seido, along with every other school interested in expanding their sports program to accommodate a softball team had done. You clipped your bag to the fence before glancing around. People were already gathering around the side of fence, as if guaranteeing themselves a perfect view of a playoff game. Airi clipped her bag next to yours before nodding towards the small building a little ways off.

“Hey coach, Airi and I are gonna use the bathroom before the game starts.” You called before smiling politely.

“Make it quick ladies! It’s time to warm up.” She called back sternly, earning a nod from the both of you.

You and Airi are chatting it up while you jog towards the washroom when a voice makes itself known, as if calling for the center of attention. You share a look before looking around the corner of the building to find a boy, clearly a baseball player what with having Inashiro scrawled across his chest. His piercing blue eyes have a larger boy pinned to the wall.

“Masa! What do you mean that nobody’s here to watch me pitch?!” The boy demanded, missing only the stomping to come off as a toddler. “There’s nothing else of importance going on today!”

That statement peaked your interest, and from the way Airi’s shoulder tense, she too wasn’t too happy with the Barbie’s words.

“They should be here to see me throw my amazing changeup, not watch the girls prance around their field.” His blond hair swayed angrily as he shook your head.

Your body moved without your consent, but now you had the attention of both the boys and you weren’t going to back down. Your hands were clenched at your sides before you took a deep breath.

Alright, listen here Barbie doll.” You stated with a sharp glare. “I’ll give you the benefit of doubt since you’re obviously not intelligent enough to gather the concept of softball, after all, if it were easy, they’d call it baseball.” You stated before turning on your heal and grabbing Airi’s arm and tugging her away from the stunned boys and instead into the building where the bathrooms were located.

“Holy crap [your name]!” Airi said as she locked herself in a stall and you stood before the mirror, taking in your sharp glare. “That was insane!” She exclaimed before laughing. “I’d pay money to see the expression on Narumiya’s face again. God that was priceless.” She flushed and flung the door open. “What did you call him? Barbie doll? I’m dying girl.” She grabbed paper to dry her hands off before wrapped her arm around yours. “You sure told him!” She said before the two of you broke into giggles.

0_0_0_0

The fourth inning was starting and Inashiro was leading by three points. Your team seemed to be hitting a stump. Mika’s amazing control was taking a nosedive, along with the team’s moral. Tsuya was sent to warm up in the bullpen while you leant on the fence in front of the dugout.

“Go Airi!” You called as number four stepped up to the plate.

The crowd that had gathered was focused intently on the game, but it was clear that a large portion of them were Inashiro supporters. It was no surprise since you were playing in their home turf. Feeling a glare set on you, your gaze traveled the crowd until it landed on the Barbie doll from earlier. You rose a brow before scoffing at him. He was outraged from your gesture and seemed to be whining about it to his larger friend from earlier, who didn’t seem at all interested. The unmistakable sound of the ball meeting the bat dragged your gaze away from the blond boy and instead towards the cheering as Airi slid into second with a fist pump. The coach whirled around before pinning you with her gaze.

“[your last name]!” She called sternly.

“Y-yes coach!” You called back, the response startled from you.

“You’re going in as a pinch hitter! Yui’s on third and Airi on second. We need these points!”

The noise around you faded away, your eyes flying open with shock. It quickly melted away before a smile took over your features.

“Yes coach!” You grabbed your helmet and gloves with haste as your name was announced as a pinch hitter.

Tipping your head to the umpire, you got into your batting stance with confidence. The bat settled into your fingers with ease, the familiarity of years’ training making itself known in the way your fingers caress the batting tape. You meet the pitcher’s eyes before offering a condescending smirk. The pitcher seemed irked, but brushed you off easily. She threw her arm down before she completed the windmill. The ball soared upwards, too high for a strike and causing the catcher to lunge upwards.

“You got this. Keep it together!” The catcher called, earning you some slight satisfaction.

You had obviously succeeded in getting under the pitcher’s skin. Shaking your shoulders out slightly, you settled back into your stance before your eyes fell on the pitch. The pitcher began her wind up and your eyes followed the fast motion of her arm before you began to swing. The ball was definitely in the strike zone, but you met air as the ball hit the catcher’s glove with a satisfying thud. You stepped out of the batter’s box and raised the bat to stare at it intently. You were at least one ball’s length away from that pitch. It had broken away slightly, but you should have been able to follow it. Chastising yourself somewhat, you stepped back into the batter’s box, settling into your stance once again. The pitcher rose her arms to begin the pitch. This time you swung, following the ball even as the ball broke away once again. Unfortunately it fouled off to the side as you had hit just above it. Scoffing slightly you fell into your stance once again. The pitcher was looking a lot more confident then when you had first stepped up to bat. Taking a deep breath, you steadied yourself as she wound up once again. When the pitch left her fingers, it was over. You took a powerful step forward and brought your bat around with strength. The sound the ball made when hitting your bat was music to your ears. You dropped your bat in favor of sprinting towards first base. As you turned first base the sounds of the game rushed you at once.

“It went over!”

“She smashed that!”

“Who the hell is Seido’s number twenty!?”

The most prominent voice was the umpire as he shouted out the verdict of your homerun. You slowed your full on sprint into a jog, turning second base with ease before heading towards third and then home plate. You stepped on the plate and were met by Yui and Airi who were waiting for you there.

“Holy shit girl!” Airi shouted with a huge smile.

“That’s it!” Yui added before holding a fist out for a fist bump.

You offered you fist in return, smirk in place as you made it back towards the dugout where your team screamed with excitement. You turned out towards the crowd before finding the Barbie doll and offering a wink.

0_0_0_0

When you got back to the dorms, the girls all made a beeline for their rooms, excited for the showers. You threw your clothes off so quick that Airi didn’t even have a chance to drop her gear before you pulled the bathroom door closed.

“Whatever!” She called before huffing exaggeratingly.

The warm water rained down on you as you chuckled. Seido’s softball team had come back to win that game six to four against Inashiro. Your homer had brought the team’s moral back with a vengeance. Tsuya had closed the game with ease as your team racked up a few more points for insurance, including the RBI you scored in the sixth inning.

When you had finished washing, you threw on a comfy hoodie and some PJ pants before grabbing your phone and wallet and making your way towards the vending machines. Your hair was still a little wet, but it was a nice contrast to the summer warmth as you made your way towards the shared vending machines. As you got closer, a figure made itself known.

“Oni-chan, don’t you have young children to torture or something?” You scoffed before stopping in front of the machine.

“Not tonight. Going to trade your jersey in to a player that deserves it, Twenty?”  Ryosuke asks with a smirk that irks you to the bone.

“I’ll have you know I earned my keep today!” You angrily reply as you push your coins in and press on an apple juice.

“You should have hit the first one. Do you need this older brother to teach you how to bat?”

You glare at the shorter boy before aggressively sticking the straw into your juice box.

“I don’t need you to teach me to bat! And how would you know I didn’t hit the first one?!” You demand, knowing full well you’d never get a straight answer what with the way Ryosuke was smirking. “Che, demon.” You grumble around the straw in your mouth.

“It was a nice hit Twenty. Your parents might not think of you as a total disappointment.” Ryosuke states before waving over his shoulder as he walks away.

“Why can’t you just stop at the compliment?!” You shout after the other, his chuckle sounding around the area before he turns the corner and makes his way back towards his room.

Giving up on battling your demon tonight, you too return home with your juice and plug in your iPhone. Flopping onto your bed, sleep finds you easily.

Chapter Text

Chapter 5:

Seido becomes like a second home. The trio of Eijun, Haruichi and Satoru become your primary friend group. Even with Airi constantly trying to drag you off with the girls, you managed to spend ample time with the guys. In all reality it was easier to get along with them. No shade towards the girls, you’d simply always found it easier to get along with the guys. In hanging out with the trio, you’d grown closer to the baseball team as well. Ryosuke spent a lot of time with a loud shortstop, though he had nothing on Eijun. The demon also seemed to hang out with the other third years. Jun held his own against Eijun when it came to yelling, and though Yuki was quiet, his swing was enough to compensate for it.

You were dozing off while watching a movie with the guys in Haruichi’s dorm room. His roommates were out practicing. Usually you’d be all for practicing right beside them, but you’d been up at ass-crack of dawn with Eijun and as eight o’clock crept up on you, the yawning didn’t stop. You startled when someone leaned their shoulder into you.

“You should head back to your dorm if you’re tired.”

Blinking away your sleep you turned a sheepish grin towards Haruichi who seemed a little worried about you.

“Sorry Haru. Usually I’m not this bad… It’s like eight.” You said before chuckling.

Eijun was passed out on the floor alongside Satoru, who managed to appear a little bit more elegant by sleeping with his arms crossed on his chest and his back leaning on Haruichi’s bedpost.

“Don’t worry about it. I gotta get these two to bed as well anyways.” He said before huffing playfully.

“Need a hand?” You mused as you stood and stretched.

“I think I’ll manage. See you tomorrow.”

Grabbing your phone, you waved before pulling the dorm room door closed behind you. It was muggy, which had your tank top sticking to you and making you feel gross. You had already showered after morning practice, and another shower just seemed excessive at this point. With a sigh you pushed the baseball boy’s gate open to let yourself out when you heard a snicker.

“Leaving the boy’s dorms this late at night?”

You met the gaze of a few girls that had been walking by. Raising a brow you checked your phone to see it was barely five minutes passed eight. Shrugging, you pushed your phone back into the pocket of your shorts.

“She’s so ashamed of being caught she won’t even speak.”

The snickering picked up again, pulling you to a stop. Who were these people? Had you accidentally done something to wrong them? Glancing over your shoulder with a scowl, you earned more cackling.

“She’s pissed that we caught her. Oh god. Girl, who were you seeing?”

Blowing out a sigh you shoved your hands into your pockets. What business was it of theirs?

“Oh I bet it’s the young Kominato! They’re practically inseparable since she got here!”

“Oh wow. I thought he was shy.”

“It’s always the shy ones. They can get freaky.”

Anger was boiling in your chest. They could say what they want about you, but it was another thing to drag Haruichi in just for shits and giggles. Turning on your heels, you took a deep breath, ready to give these girls a piece of your mind.

“There’s no need to be jealous, we Kominatos simply have what we like to call standards.”

Blinking a few times, you stood there in shock. That was definitely not your voice. It was too deep, and smooth as velvet.

“Oni-chan?!” You gasped as Ryosuke stopped next to you.

“Twenty.” He nodded in acknowledgement.

The girls from before had lost their giggles, Ryosuke having silenced them.

“W-Whatever!” One muttered before towing her friend, who was red with embarrassment, down the path and disappearing around the corner rather quickly.

“You didn’t need to help me.” You huffed, pouting somewhat as Ryosuke rose a brow.

“I wasn’t helping you. I didn’t want my name being dragged through the dirt.” He stated with a slight shrug.

“Whatever. You were protecting Haru. You can just admit you’re a huge marshmallow.” You stated, bumping shoulders with Seido’s second baseman.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Ryosuke mused as he turned towards the gate. “Do you think you can make it back to the girls’ dorm without causing anymore issues, Twenty?”

Embarrassment splashed across your cheeks before you clenched your fists.

“I didn’t start it and you know it!” You yelled as Ryosuke pulled the gate closed behind him. You heard him chuckled as he walked away. “You’re such a demon!” You hissed before stomping away.

0_0_0_0

When you asked Yui to work on your pitching with you she sheepishly rubbed at the back of her neck before saying that Mika had pretty much booked her for eternity. Well of course the first string catcher would be catching for the ace. It shouldn’t have been so surprising, but the thought had a scowl painted on your face early morning.

“[Your name]?”

Blinking out of your stupor, you looked up at Haruichi, who seemed pretty worried.

“What’s up Haru?” You asked as you folded your arms across the desk.

“Are you ok?” He asked.

“Yea, why?” You asked while raising a brow.

“You look upset.” He said while raising a brow, well, at least you thought he did; his bangs made it hard to tell.

“Hey Haru. Can I put your hair up?” You asked all of a sudden.

Haruichi’s cheeks exploded with color as he waved his hands in front of him. It was only the two of you in class as it was pretty early, and usually he wasn’t so shy with you. It had been so long since you’d caused him to panic like this.

“W-why do you want to tie my hair up?” He stammered, earning a small chuckle of endearment from you.

“I’m super curious what color your eyes are. And since apparently both of you Kominatos hide your eyes, this is the only way I’ll find out.”

You reached out unabashedly to brush Haruichi’s bands out of his eyes. You’re very own eyes widened at the sight that was awaiting you. Soft pink hues stared back at you, scarlet cheeks making for a beautiful contrast. You were shocked still, your fingers froze at the side of Haruichi’s face.

Oh. My. God!” You exclaimed as Haruichi’s blush only seemed to grow. “Haru! Why the hell have you kept your hair dow- No. As your friend I have to stop this crime!”

You got out of you seat so quickly it fell over, causing Haruichi to jump slightly. Pulling your bag onto your desk you sifted through it hastily before yanking out what you were looking for. You turned your gaze back towards Haruichi, who seemed to be cowering away from you. You rose a brow before sighing.

“You’re looking at me like I pulled out a knife. It’s a brush. Relax.” You said before making your way behind the pinklet’s chair.

You gently ran your fingers through the pinklet’s hair while humming gently. You began to run the brush through as well, taking care of the knots. Throughout the whole ordeal, Haruichi stayed pretty quiet, playing with his fingers nervously in his lap. You pulled his hair into a ponytail before moving around to the front of the chair to scrutinize your work.

“W-what is it?”

“Nothing, just trying to see how to pin your bangs to the side.” You mumbled, not really paying full attention to Haruichi’s words.

You stuck your hands in your skirt pockets, shuffling around but coming up empty. Groaning in annoyance, you opened your bag once more before finding the bobby pins you were sure you had tossed carelessly into the pocket. Turning back towards Haruichi, you parted his bangs off to the side before slipping a black bobby pin a few centimeters above his left ear to hold them in place. You then took a step back and placed your hands on your cheeks; marveling your work. Haruichi continued to look increasingly more panicked and uncomfortable as you stayed silent.

“This is why I don’t do anything with my hair… It looks weird doesn’t it? I’ll just take it back down.” He muttered as he reached for the elastic that was pulling his locks away from his face.

“Don’t you dare!” The pinklet recoiled as you both snapped and smacked his hand away.

“[Your name]! It’s weird-“ Haruichi started only to be cut off.

“Haru, you’re eyes are freaking gorgeous!” You exclaimed with a huge smile. “I have no idea why you’d want to cover them up if they’re so pretty.”

Haruichi stared up at you looking incredibly dumbfounded, but you continued to smile. As you put your brush away you saw the soft spoken boy pulling out his phone to take a look with his camera. You came up behind him and squished you cheek against his before reaching over and hitting the button that would snap a picture. Haruichi’s face was priceless, but the picture came out nice nonetheless.

“You should send it to your demon brother.” You said while sticking your tongue out.

“Why?”

It was an innocent question, but you didn’t have an answer for it. You blinked somewhat before shrugging.

“Because I did your hair, even if it’s not much. We look great.” You offered a peace sign that mirrored the one in the picture you’d just taken.

Haruichi raises a brow in your general direction before understanding seems to wash over him. Understanding of what, you’d never know. The warning bell rang and people started flooding into the class. You took your seat next to Haruichi as Satoru walked in. He did a double take when he saw Haruichi, but continued on his way. He wasn’t the only one either; the girls were murmuring and glances would linger. You could feel the pinklet tense and try to hide behind his textbook.

“Haru, don’t hide.” You let out a sigh at your friend’s shy nature. “They’re appreciating the same thing I did. I would kill for eyes like yours.” You said before knocking shoulders with him. “So don’t be so shy. Try giving them a smile.”

“You’re going to be the death of me…” The pinklet murmured as he sunk lower behind his textbook.

0_0_0_0

Come lunch time, Haruichi’s hair was still put up the way you’d left it. You were grabbing lunch when you felt a sinister presence behind you. With a slight shudder, you glanced behind you before sighing.

“Oni-chan, are you trying to possess me or something?” You asked as the lunch lady placed a bowl of rice on your tray.

You thanked her with a smile before Ryosuke set his tray down beside yours and followed you down the line. Haruichi was saving a seat for you at one of the tables; you could already hear Eijun’s lack of an indoor voice from over here.

“Why’re you treating Haruichi like a doll?”

The words were probably supposed to come off as nonchalant, but you could practically see the poison dripping from them. You glanced over, and sure enough, Ryosuke was offering a smile that promised a sinister demised if he didn’t get the right answer.

“I’m not.” You stated before feeling the room grow a few degrees colder. “I swear, I was only curious to see your guys’ eye color. The two of you keep them covered for some reason. It’s insane.”

Ryosuke looked taken aback for a second before he chuckled. The lunch ladies continued to place small plates of food on your trays. Your gaze fell towards him once more, and you thought that maybe, just maybe, you could see a hint of pink between those eye lashes.

“I’d never treat Haruichi like a doll. Jeez, you really are a demon for even thinking that.” You huffed before puffing out your cheeks in a pout.

“If he’s fine with it, then I suppose I can drop the matter.” He stated as the lunch lady verified your student ID.

You felt a slight twinge of hurt at what Ryosuke seemed to be suggesting, but you pushed it away. You turned a sincere smile towards him before speaking once more.

“Haru’s lucky for having a big brother like you.” You conveyed before taking your tray towards the seat that the younger Kominato was saving for you.

Chapter Text

Chapter 6:

You looked over your water bottle as Yui gushed about something that Airi couldn’t care less about if the look on her face had anything to say about it. You set the bottle down and eavesdropped a little to catch just what it was that Yui was so excited about. You blinked as she gushed about a boy in the school. Sure you’d noticed that some of the boys in your school were attractive, but with softball and school you had no space left in your head, nor time, to pencil in boy problems. Yui, however, seemed just fine with jabbering away about her teenage heartthrob.

“Listen. He’s a tool.” Airi stated with a flat stare.

“You just don’t understand.” Yui whined as you guys began pulling out your gear to work on a batting drill.

“He’s got girls around him all the time. He’s a player.” Airi looked miffed as she pulled her batting gloves on. “Don’t take this the wrong way Yui, but I don’t think he sees you as anything but the next level he needs to overcome within his game.”

Yui pouted before turning towards you with pleading eyes. Your skin prickled as you leaned away from your overly eager teammate.

“You don’t think so, do you [your name]?” She asked, hope lighting up her features.

Airi glared at you from over Yui’s shoulder causing you to let out a sheepish chuckle and rub at the back of your head.

“I can’t give you an opinion on someone I’ve never met…” You offered, trailing off.

Airi clicked her tongue, clearly annoyed with your half-assed response. Yui bounced back with a huge smile on her face. She whirled towards Airi with new conviction.
“See Airi! You can’t judge Takeru before you’ve even met him. It’s biased and not at all fair to him.” She stated before bouncing off towards one of the pitching machines.

Airi lingered behind, sighing aggravatingly.

“You should have told her what I did. Now she’s going to prance around this loser and get her heart broken. She doesn’t need the distraction.”

With those words, Airi followed after Yui and found a machine of her own to bat against. You were soon to follow, bat in hand as you stepped up to the makeshift plate.

0_0_0_0

“So you have a practice match today?” You asked while raising a brow.

Haruichi glanced at you before cocking his head in questioning.

“Yea, why?”

“Why didn’t you tell me?! I wanna come watch you play Haru.” You pouted as the pinklet chuckled lightly.

“I won’t be playing anyway. My older brother will be.” He said with a slight shrug.

“Listen. I don’t think you’re getting the issue here.” You said as you put your hands on your hips. “You didn’t even tell me that you had a game. What’s up with that, hm?” You prodded.

“I don’t know your whole schedule.” Haruichi argued while raising a brow.

“Yea, cause I don’t have any games this week. This whole softball thing is new to you guys. They’re still fine tuning it.” You pouted before crossing your arms.

“I’m sorry.” Haruichi conceited, but he was clearly laughing.

“No you’re not.” You huffed angrily.

“Are you letting a girl bully you, Haruichi?”

You froze before making a sound of discontent.

“What hole did you crawl out of Oni-chan?” You mocked, not bothering to turn towards him.

Regret hit you in full force when Ryosuke attempted to split your skull open with his hand. You whimpered as both your hands reached up to grab your aching head.

“You’re a demon, I swear!” You hissed, dodging the next chop that Ryosuke threw your way. “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

Ryosuke folded his hands behind his back and rose a brow at you.

“You didn’t tell me you had a game either.” You then stated, bringing your pout back with a vengeance.

“I don’t remember signing you on as my secretary.” Ryosuke stated.

“I thought we were friends!” You stuck your tongue out at the older of the two Kominatos.

“What gave you that idea?” Ryosuke asked casually.

You felt hurt bloom from within your chest before you turned away from the brother, your fingers clenching and unclenching.

“Oh… Ok…” You muttered before turning back towards them with a forced smile. “Sorry for assuming.”

0_0_0_0

Ryosuke had always loved meddling in things that didn’t concern him. It always made for free entertainment. Usually it was all in good fun. The new girl was his newfound entertainment. Her reactions were never what he was expecting and this made for the very best type of entertainment. She smiled so easily, and seeing her laugh made the atmosphere in the room lighter.

Today was no different. She was bickering with Haruichi, which was entertaining in itself. Haruichi didn’t bicker. His meek nature didn’t allow him to. This is why he knew that the conversation was more one sided then anything. Nonetheless, when the opportunity presented itself he reached for it without any thought.

She tensed up at his question, and his smirk grew just a fraction. He knew that she’d never do anything to Haruichi. They were practically inseparable since the school year started. No, Ryosuke had no reason to pay any head to the worry nagging at him. She was nothing like the idiots from their town. She would never hurt Haruichi that way.

He was snapped out of his reverie when the familiar nickname slipped through her lips. He hadn’t been paying attention, had no idea what she had said, but from the slightly mortified look on Haruichi’s face told him it deemed a chop. She grabbed her head instantly, rubbing at the sore area before sending a glare his way. He thrived at her reaction as she instigated him again. This time, however, she managed to dodge him before spewing a few English sentences. He caught the gist of it and chuckled lightly.

“You didn’t tell me you had a game either.” She accused before pursing her lips.

She went through so many emotions in a span of seconds, he sometimes found it hard to keep up with her.

 “I don’t remember signing you on as my secretary.” He replied while raising a brow.

“I thought we were friends!” She exclaimed.

Ryosuke found an opportunity to tease her, and jumped at it once again.

“What gave you that idea?” He asked casually.

He watched as the shock ran through her features, anticipating the outburst it would bring. But… It never came. His eyes widened in shock at the hurt that ran through her eyes before she turned away from him meekly. It wasn’t at all what he was expecting. A quick glance to the side showed that Haruichi was just a shocked.

“Oh… Ok…”

She had never been this meek in front of him before. She was always fiery and ready to return his sharp words with a retort of her own. This… This was completely out of his expectations, and although that was what was so entertaining with her, he hated that expression.

“Sorry for assuming.”

The words caused anger to spike, his fingers clenching. Just what was she saying? She wasn’t even looking at him. She was staring at her shoes. He took quick steps before chopping her right on the top of her head yet again.

0_0_0_0

“Are you an idiot?”

The words came out almost rushed, maybe a little desperate. Ryosuke didn’t do desperate, so you had to be losing it. You laughed lightly, not knowing how to respond to his question.

“Ya, sorry. Sometimes I’m not great with social ques….” You could feel tears pricking at your eyes and your heart pounding against your ribcage painfully.

You hadn’t felt this way since you were little. You’d worked through your social anxiety with the help of your family and later on with Max’s help. Right now it was threatening to stop your heart.

“I.. gotta go.” You muttered, because you were gonna cry, and you were definitely not going to do that in the hallway in front of the whole school; in front of Ryosuke.

You went to turn but someone grabbed your arm. You glanced back at Ryosuke with a questioning gaze. Your fingers were clenched so tight you could feel the crescent moons digging into your palms. You read concern in Ryosuke’s features and nausea clawed at your stomach. You blinked quickly to hide the tears, but shock took over the shorter Kominato’s features. Using your free arm you wiped at your face furiously before stumbling forward. You gasped in shock before your arm fell away. You realized that you were being pulled into an empty classroom before the door to said empty classroom slammed shut. It was just you and Ryosuke. God you were so mortified. He’d let your wrist drop when he closed the door, so now both hands rubbed furiously at your cheeks as a dumbfounded pinklet stared at you.

“I-It’s nothing. T-there’s just s-something in my eyes.” Your voice broke, filled with tears.

“It’s clearly not nothing.” Ryosuke muttered, sounding aggravated.

Of course he was aggravated. He’d just set you straight and now you were taking up his lunch break with your blubbering.

“Sorry.” You mutter, brushing at your eyes to no avail.

“Stop.” He grabbed both your wrists, causing your heart to stop. “You’re irritating your eyes.”

You hiccupped, turning away from Ryosuke now that you had lost the wall you’d been hiding behind. A soft sigh leaves his lips, causing your heart to jump into your throat. You were causing problems. Ryosuke shouldn’t have to deal with your incompetence in being able to keep yourself together.

“What was that?” He asked after a long bout of silence.

Gasping you tried to wrench your wrists from his grip, but Ryosuke didn’t let you move away an inch. In fact, the frown on his face only seemed to get worse.

“Aren’t you going to tell me?” He asked as he looked up at you.

“Why would you care?” You snapped, your nerves completely fried.

No…

“Apparently, we’re not even friends.”

No, that’s not it…

“No need to worry about a stranger, Kominato.”

0_0_0_0

Ryosuke looked taken aback. He couldn’t remember a time where she had ever spoken to him using his last name. It was never a problem or informality and formality. She had gotten to know his brother and had never needed to distinguish them using their last names. Maybe it was because she was from Canada and they didn’t have that custom over there. People were a lot less formal over there, so he’d come to know from her.

The girl before him, however, was nothing of the girl he had come to know in the few short months that she had started at Seido. He found his gaze drawn to her more times than not, and usually he found her with a smile on her face while she laughed with her friends. There wasn’t a single trace of that in her eyes right now, and the girl before him made him nervous. He didn’t do nervous, it had him off kilter. How was he supposed to fix this? What in the hell was ‘this’?

Her mouth was drawn into a thin line, but her eyes screamed panic. It was such as deep contrast to the aura she was trying to produce.

“What are you panicking about?”

The words were out of his mouth before he had a chance to stop them, and her eyes widened in absolute shock. Ryosuke blinked, somewhat stupefied by himself. Well, he was already started, so full steam ahead.

“I was joking, Twenty.”

His hand moved without his consent. A gasp broke the spell and he realized he was way too close to her. She looked like a doe in headlights, glued in place from the hand that caressed her cheek.

“Do you think I’d bother spending so much time with someone who wasn’t at least a friend? Don’t be an idiot.” He muttered gently.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 7:

You flinched when Ryosuke brought his hand down into a chop on top of your head. He used about a tenth of the strength he had used before. You didn’t want to look at him. This was so embarrassing. You wanted to lock yourself in your dorm room and hide under your comforter. You wanted to call Max and have a good cry.

“Gonna tell me what that was?” His voice came out demanding, and yet, it was soft at the same time.

Only he could make a demand this nonchalantly. You blinked, rubbing at your tear stained cheeks. You caught his gaze in your peripherals and turned away, cheeks now burning with embarrassment.

“Do I have to?” Your voice was strained from the crying and the attack you were having.

“I need an explanation.” He prodded.

You chanced a gaze towards him and gasped when you caught his expression. Ryosuke always had a smirk on his lips, speaking volumes for his confidence, but right now, you couldn’t see an ounce of that confidence. He almost seemed… scared. The thought of you freaking out Seido’s demon caused another wave of self-deprecation before a tongue click pulled you from your black hole.

“I’m not gonna move until you talk.” He said before crossing his arms.

You felt despair clutching at you before an idea popped into your head. It was ingenious, you’d tell him what he wanted to hear. It wasn’t your fault if he didn’t understand.

“Honestly, it’s really stupid…” Ryosuke rose a brow as you let out a sigh. “When I was younger I had a group of friends that kinda only stuck around cause of my parents’ background. We’re very… fortunate… Anyways, I didn’t really know that when I was small. These kids always wanted to hang out and I prided myself on having so many friends. I pampered them, and my parents let me. The sleepovers were always at my house. They never invited me to theirs. I rarely got invited anywhere without the promise of heading back to my place; now that I think of it…”

A frown marred Ryosuke’s face as you spoke. You wondered if he was getting any of this. Then again, you really hoped it was going right over his head and that he was too polite to stop you and tell you that he couldn’t understand what you were saying.

“Well, eventually I found out. They weren’t the nicest bunch. In all reality, I was a walking ATM for them. Anytime they wanted something, all they had to do was ask. I was so eager to please. So eager to fit in. Such an idiot…” You grumbled before looking back up at Ryosuke. “But then I met Max! She showed up after all of that. I was a mess. She was the new kid and she sat in the desk next to mine. I had walls so thick they covered countries and she took a chisel to them anyways.”

“Wait a second.”

You blinked down at Ryosuke, snapped out of your stupor. You smiled at him innocently, feigning ignorance.

“What’s a chisel?”

You blinked at the shorter boy in front of you, shock brightening up your features. There was a thick accent, but there was no doubt about it. English words had just rolled off Ryosuke’s tongue.

“You know English?!” You exclaimed before realization dawned on you.

“Of course I do. It’s taught here you know. The only reason you’re not taking it is because it’s your mother tongue.”

“You understood… All of that?” You asked, deflating.

Ah, it was back again. Ryosuke smirked before he tapped your head with his palm. It lingered before he let his hand fall to his side.

“Tried to pull a fast one, hmm?” He muttered, amusement dancing in his features.

Your cheeks exploded with embarrassment.

“Well. I understood everything until you mentioned a… Chisel?” He then added.

You scrubbed at your bloodred cheeks, trying to hide your embarrassment.

“It’s... a tool used to break through hard surfaces… Usually handheld.”

Ryosuke hummed in understanding before folding his hands behind his back.

“I didn’t mean to bring up old memories.” He then brought up.

He had his gaze turned away from you. It took you a few seconds to recognize that Ryosuke was embarrassed. You brought a hand to your lips in an attempt to stop the giggle threatening to break through, but you failed epically. Ryosuke’s head snapped towards you before he narrowed his gaze, almost completely obscuring the maroon hues that he rarely showed anyone.

“What’s so funny, Twenty?” Ryosuke asked before raising a brow.

It was definitely meant more as a challenge but you answered him nonetheless.

“I’ve never seen you look so bashful.” You said before laughing again.

Ryosuke looked shocked, but otherwise didn’t reply, which caused you to laugh harder. Laughing was way better than crying, so you indulged.

“Are you done?” He asked, and though he tried to sound menacing, you could hear the smile in his voice.

The giggling fit kept up, making Ryosuke sigh before leaning back into the door again. You wiped at the corners of your eyes before finding Ryosuke’s yet again.

“Told you, you’re a huge marshmallow.” You stated with a soft smile. “Thanks, Ryosuke.”

The boy in front of you seemed shocked for a second before he too offered the slightest lift of his lips.

0_0_0_0

When the bell rings, you’ve managed to make it to class just on time. You’d gone to the bathroom to freshen up before heading to class. Haruichi’s eyes snap right towards you the second you walk in. You wave and he offers a soft smile. You can see the worry in his eyes as you take your seat.

“Are you ok?” He whispers as the teacher starts their lesson.

“I survived.” You whispered back dramatically. “Vanquished the demon.” You then added with a peace sign.

Haruichi chuckles before turning back towards the teacher.

“You’re gonna come to the game right?” He asks without even looking at you

“Of course.” You smile before turning your attention back towards the lesson as well.

0_0_0_0

Airi chucked a water bottle at you before sitting in the chair to your left. You catch the bottle without issue before turning back towards the field. Seido is fielding against Yakushi. It was the top of the first inning, so Seido had yet to show off their strong lineup. What surprised you, was the fact that Yakushi was no push overs. They had a lineup of first year monsters that put Satoru to shame. Speaking of, the first year pitcher was winding up, and even from way up here, you could feel his fighting spirit.

“Kick some ass Satoru!” You called loudly, causing heads to swivel.

Airi sunk lower into her seat, seemingly shying away from the attention. The pitch came in from Seido’s ‘Monster Rookie’, as the fans called him. A strike was called and you felt pride swelling from within.

“I wanna play!” You exclaimed, excitement laced within your words.

“Oi, relax.” Airi muttered with pink cheeks.

“Airiiiiiiiii.” You whined, earning a glare from your roommate. “Cheer for the boys’ team with me.” You gave a thumbs up.

Airi turned a bored look back towards the field before rolling her eyes.

“Seems to me that you’re loud enough for the both of us.” She stated before glancing a few rows over. “And they have enough squealing fan girls.”  

You glanced to the side to see the squealing girls holding their cellphones out as if any of the photos will turn out nice from the back of the outfield. Their screaming grew louder as Satoru finished off the inning with little to no damage, thanks to the fielders behind him. Yakushi was quick to take their place in the field before Kuramochi stepped up to the plate. You hadn’t really gotten close to the shortstop, he tended to branch off whenever Ryosuke stopped to pick on you or when Haruichi, Eijun and Satoru wanted to practice together. Eijun said he was a demon, but after spending so much time with Ryosuke, you were absolutely certain that nobody beat him in that title.

Airi shuffled from beside you and drew your attention. You recognized the fascination in her eyes as the boisterous shortstop lowered into his position and put a hand up to cover the giggle leaving your lips. She was so enthralled that it went right over her head. Kuramochi swung his bat at the first pitch before dropping his bat and dashing towards first.

“Airi, want a napkin for all that drool?”

Your roommate startled before going red as a tomato. You laughed in response to her reaction before dodging the arm she sent towards your gut.

“Sh-shut up! I was just admiring his batting stance. We play the same position too! I was just curious is all!” She blushed fiercely, only adding to your ammunition.

“Ya, curious about what’s under the uniform maybe.” You shrugged nonchalantly.

“[Your name]!” Airi hissed, flames running down every inch of skin.

You giggled at her expense as she tried to hide her face behind her hands. You pat her shoulder empathetically before leaning back into your seat to get comfortable. Your gaze fell on Ryosuke as he fouled of yet another pitch.

“Ah. He’s bullying the poor pitcher.” You muttered while Airi continued to suffer behind the palms of her hands. “On a side note. I can help you out with your crush Airi.” You stated to which she slammed her hands into her lap and sent you a death glare.

“I do not have a crush on him!” She hissed before looking away in a very convincing manner.

“Alright. I’ll be over here when you want to admit that you have a crush on him.” You stated with a smirk, not at all deterred by how red Airi was getting.

You heard the sound of bat meeting ball and your gaze was drawn back to the field where the ball soared right over the short stop and took a heavy dip before bouncing on the ground. Kuramochi was sliding in at home, safe by a mile as Ryosuke stood on second base with the air of nonchalance. You could tell he was smirking from way over here.

“Oho.” Airi hummed, snapping you out of your reverie. “Wow. Kominato eh?” She then said with a raised brow.

It was your turn for pink to explode across your cheeks. Your fingers wriggled in your lap as you glanced back at the field.

“What? No way. He’s like something that crawled out of hell.” You stated with a small laugh.

“I wonder what he’d say if he heard how you described him…” Airi stated with a slight smirk.

You gasped, eyes widening somewhat at her threat.

“You wouldn’t.” You exclaimed, eyes narrowing after your shock dissipated.

“I so would. I think it would be fun watching a demon tear you apart.” She grinned, evil aura resonating harshly within you.

“I thought we were friends!” You hissed.

“Not a word about Kuramochi.” Airi said with narrowed eyes.

“Not a word about the demon.” You threw back.

“Deal.” Airi said with a nod.

“Deal.” You agreed.

0_0_0_0

You smiled when the boy’s trio came into view. Eijun waved energetically before taking off in a run towards you. You watched Satoru scowl in annoyance before sprinting after him, not to be left behind. Haruichi merely sighed before he too jogged towards you, albeit with a lot less vigor than the other two.

“You and Satoru pitched amazingly.” You praised both the pitchers.

“But I pitched better.” Eijun stated with a nod.

Satoru’s angry aura answered for him before Eijun spouted out that he was gonna demand ‘Miyuki Kazuya!’ to catch for him, Furuya hot on his tail. Both Eijun and Furuya were already ahead of you. At least they got to pitch in the games. You hadn’t managed to monopolize the pitching circle yet. There was no need to get down on yourself though, you knew it was only a matter of time before the coach put you in to show off your skill.

Chapter Text

Eijun and Satoru were long gone, off to pester Seido’s first string catcher. You’d had yet to really talk to him, but from Eijun’s descriptions of him, perhaps that was all for the better. Haruichi had plopped himself on the grass and you followed suit, enjoying the soft breeze. It was quiet for a few minutes, but it was a comfortable silence.

“What happened between you and my brother today?” Haruichi suddenly asked.

You turned towards him and offered a small smile before shrugging.

“A really big misunderstanding.” You stated with a sigh. “Sometimes I forget that not everyone is like the kids I grew up with. It wasn’t his fault, he didn’t really know.”

Haruichi looked confused, which caused you to chuckle.

“Long story short, I had an anxiety attack because I compared the situation with your brother to one that happened to me when I was younger. I should have known better. Ryosuke would never treat me the way they did.” You said with a small smile.

Haruichi hummed in understanding before flopping back onto the grass. He folded his arms behind his head and took in the stars above the dorms.

“That’s good. I don’t think I’d fare very well against him.” He then murmured while you were leaning back as well.

You chuckled before amicably bumping Haruichi’s shoulder. He shared your smile as the two of you followed the plane that blinked across the sky.

“Thanks for looking out for me. And saying that you’d fight a demon for me if the situation arose.” You said.

“Course.” The pinklet responded before the two of you fell into comfortable silence once again.

0_0_0_0

A few days later you were practically vibrating in your seat, and you knew it was driving Haruichi mad; even if he politely tried to ignore it. It was game day! What was more?! The coach said you were starting. The second you got out of that meeting you had texted Haruichi about the news, to which the pinklet promised to show up and drag Eijun and Satoru along after they were done practicing. You’d also told Max about your first start and she’d shared your excitement. She had been your catcher back at home. Leaving Canada for Seido wasn’t possible for her, and although you missed her, Seido was a dream and she had pushed for you to go in the end.

Your phone buzzed with a text. You pulled it out from your pocket discreetly to check the message. Max’s name was sprawled on the screen, so you opened it.

‘Have you been working on that change up?’

You had to chuckle at Max’s text before responding.

‘Why’re you up at 1 AM?’

‘Because it’s like 11 AM for you right now. You get the change-up down or what?’

‘I’ve got it down. Gonna see if I can use it in the game today. Yui says it rises a little too much the higher my pitch count gets.’

‘Ya, you had that problem here. What’re you doing to fix it?’

‘Both Yui and the coach are working on my stamina. We’ll see the fruits of my training today.’

‘Can you send me a video later tonight?’

You smiled secretively, hiding it behind your palm before responding to Max’s text.

‘Course, I could use any of the advice you have for you.’

‘Good. Alright, Imma crash gurl. Kick ass in your game.’

‘Thanks Max. I’ll text you later tonight.’

You shoved your phone into your pocket and focused your attention back on the teacher that was lecturing. Eventually the bell rang, signaling the lunch hour. You pushed up with a sigh of relief and stretched your arms above your head.

“Haru! I have a favor to ask.” You exclaimed, earning the pinklet’s attention.

“Hm?” He hummed, letting you know he’d heard you as he packed up his textbooks.

“At my game this afternoon, can you record my pitching?”

The pinklet blinked at you before cocking his head.

“Your coach has people to do that already. You could just ask them for a copy of the tape to watch it.” He said as he threw his bag over his shoulder and made his way towards the door.

You were quick to follow after the pinklet, shoving all your notes and books into your bag haphazardly before running out the door. You caught up with the pinklet easily, bumping shoulders to grab his attention again.

“Not for me. It’s for my catcher back at home. She wants to see one of my pitches. It’s too complicated to mail the tape and yada yada to her. Please?” You pleaded before offering Haruichi a huge grin.

He glanced at you before sighing.

“Fine…”

“Alright!” You pumped your fist in victory to which the pinklet chuckled lightly.

0_0_0_0

“Remind me again why I have to babysit tonight?” Ryosuke muttered as he leant forward in his seat.

Haruichi chuckled halfheartedly before turning his attention back out towards the field. His phone was recording, set on [your name] as she monopolized the mound. She was doing well; her pitch was strong and her catcher used her arsenal to the best of her abilities.

“Every time she throws the changeup, the ball goes higher.” Ryosuke said, drawing Haruichi’s attention once more. “Why are you recording this? Can’t she ask the coaching staff for it?” He then asked, turning his gaze towards his younger brother.

“I think she said she wanted to send it to her catcher back at home. Something about being really close I think?” Haruichi said as the unmistakable sound of the bat meeting the ball sounded.

“She needs to work on her core.” Ryosuke then said as the right fielder sprinted towards the wall.

With a last ditch effort, she launched herself into a jump and snagged the ball out of the air.

Haruichi’s gaze fell on his brother as he seemed to be focusing back on the mound. Following his gaze, he saw [your name] throwing her arms up with a huge smile on her face. Turning back towards Ryosuke, he found an expression that was few and far between the smirks that usually adorned his brother’s features.

“Her defense saved her.” Ryosuke said before turning back towards Haruichi.

“Thank god it’s a team sport.” The younger pinklet stated with a smile.

0_0_0_0

Standing at bat, your grip tightened as the pitcher on the other side started her windup. The count was one and two. You had two more strike to play with. Your shoulders tensed as the pitch left her fingers. You brought the bat forward, tipping the ball right over the catcher’s outstretched glove. You let a soft sigh of relief leave your lips before you turned your attention back towards the pitcher.

Another life…

You thought, blessing your lucky stars that the catcher hadn’t managed to catch that foul. Your grip tightened once again as the pitcher caught the return throw from her catcher.

She had walked you. Either way, your batting was abysmal and definitely needed work. At least you weren’t as broken with a bat when it came to Eijun. The game finished with Seido’s loss. The other team managed to bring in two runs in the last inning, bringing their score above Seido’s for the win. The girls were annoyed, everyone filed onto the bus with scowls on their face before the coach started debriefing. Their batting was lacking, and it was something the coach promised that she’d be looking into for future practices.

Once the bus pulled into Seido, you all branched off and made your way towards your dorms. You sighed irritably before shoving your hands in your pockets. Airi and Yui branched off and made their way towards the pitching machines without bothering to stop by the dorm. You should probably go as well, but your mood didn’t call for it. Opening your door you tossed your equipment bag in the corner before grabbing your earphones and plugging them in. You cranked the sound up and made your way back out into the sun for a walk. You would have loved to text Max, but she was probably in class and would want to dissect your batting form, and you didn’t think you could handle the analysis at the moment.

As you turned the corner and made your way down the path, someone called out to you, managing to break through the guitar solo that was blasting through your ears at the moment.

“Hey, Twenty!”

The nickname caused you to roll your eyes before you turned, searching for pink hair. The peppy tone should have told you that Ryosuke wouldn’t have been there. A slight blush arose from the disappointment that settled in your stomach before you realized that someone was talking to you.

“Good game, you looked good on the mound.”

You blinked at the boy before you, trying to place the familiar face. He offered a charming smile as you came to the conclusion that you’d never spoken a word to this boy. Not wanting to be rude, you pulled your earphones out and paused the music leaking from the speakers.

“Woa. Was that heavy metal? And English?” The boy before you asked with a raised brow.

“Yea. I’m from Canada, so more times than not, my music’s English.” You stated as you put your phone back into your softball pants’ pocket. “Anyways, did you need something?” You then prodded with a raised brow.

“Just wanted to introduce myself to the new girl. Name’s Takeru.” The boy said before offering his hand with yet another charming smile.

“Oh! You’re the one the girls were talking about!” You concluded before hearing a soft chuckle from the other.

“You guys talk about me?” He mused, confidence oozing from his smile.

You felt somewhat revolted and Airi’s scowl popped into you head.

“Man… Airi was right…” You huffed as you crossed your arms over your chest.

“You mean Rikako?” Takeru asked with a slight fumble of his confident smile.

“You’re just oozing narcissism.” You grumbled with a huff.

Takeru blinked before feigning a hurt expression.

“You don’t even know me Twenty. Give it time.”

You rolled your nose at the boy’s use of Ryosuke’s nickname for you.

“Stop calling me that. Be more creative.”

“I wouldn’t have to be if you gave me your name.” The boy said with a raised brow.

You threw up a bit in your mouth as the boy gave you a smug grin. You were pondering telling the boy that he could call you never when you heard someone else call out to you.

“Twenty, I think I should give you some pointers on how to hit a ball, that display was absolutely—You look like you’re about to throw up.”

You had never been so happy to hear Ryosuke’s voice.

“What are the chances you know English?” You asked Takeru, who cocked his head somewhat, his smile faltering. “Creep alert.”

Ryosuke’s smirk never faltered, but he did step a little closer to you. You let a sigh of relief pass your lips, relaxing a little.

“So, he can call you Twenty, but I can’t?”

“Help me.” You muttered, knocking shoulders with Ryosuke.

You were aware of how obvious you were being, but even so, Takeru wasn’t taking a hint.

“If I must…” Ryosuke stated with a heavy sigh.

You sent him a glare to which he returned a smirk that you were all too used to seeing.

“Isn’t one of your many girlfriends waiting for you?” Ryosuke then mused as you gaped at him.

Well that was straight forward. Even as Ryosuke called him out, Takeru didn’t seem too fazed. He chuckled softly before sighing.

“Probably, but I’m enjoying her company a little more. Unless that is, you’re trying to claim your territory.” Takeru’s smile continued to ooze confidence, but he was also demeaning Ryosuke, something you didn’t miss in the way Ryosuke’s shoulders tensed.

You watched as his expression darkened and his smirk became all the more jagged.

“Perhaps you need an education on how to speak to your upperclassmen. And one of manners beyond addressing an upperclassmen as well. She’s too busy to be wasting her time speaking to useless members of society like yourself. Run along to one of your bimbos before my restraint disintegrates.”

There was no hiding the threat in those words, and even Takeru himself paled somewhat. Nonetheless, the bold boy took one more jab at the demon before running off.

“I’ll see you around Twenty.” He called bemusedly before turning to corner.

You let another sigh of relief leave your lips when he left before turning towards Ryosuke.

“You’re not gonna drag him down into hell, are you Oni-chan?” You poked, watching as the annoyance in Ryosuke’s features slowly melted away.

“You attract problems.” He stated, looking put out.

“Well excuse me.” You huffed, throwing your hands above your head. “If it’s too much for you, I’ll deal with it myself next time.” You grumbled with a slight pout.

“That guy… I don’t like him.” The pinklet stated, brows furrowed somewhat.

“Same. What a creep.” You shuttered. “I take it back, you can curse him to hell. The world would probably be a better place.” You added with a casually shrug. “Then we’d be down one demon and one narcissist.”

Pain exploded on top of your head causing you to wince and grab at your throbbing head. You peaked open your eyes to take in Ryosuke’s easy going smirk.

“Let’s go Twenty. Your batting needs all the help it can get.” He called before making his way towards the practice grounds.

You huffed before following after him with a smile, not at all disgusted with the nickname you had gotten so accustom to answering to when it came to Ryosuke Kominato.

Chapter Text

Chapter 9:

“Let me see your swing.”

You scoffed at the pinklet before bending down into your stance.

“You’ve looked at it for a good hour now.” You huffed, to which Ryosuke completely ignored you. “You’re insufferable.” You grumbled before straightening up.

“At least I can hit a ball.” Ryosuke stated with a casual shrug before your jaw dropped.

“I can hit the ball!” You argued.

“Backwards maybe. And while I condone bullying the pitcher, we’ll first have to teach you how to hit the ball towards fielder’s other than the catcher.”

“I don’t know if I want you teaching me if you’re going to have me hitting towards the players.” You muttered before glancing back at the demon. “Shouldn’t I be hitting the holes?”

“Idealy, yes. However, I’m more worried about contact then placement at the moment.”

The two of you continued to banter as you worked on your swing. Ryosuke would poke and prod at you stance. He even showed you better grips to have on the bat’s neck when it came to expecting different pitches. For all the snide remarks thrown between the two of you, Ryosuke was taking time out of his day to help you with your stance, and you appreciated it. As you were working on one of the new grips there was shuffling sound that caught your attention before someone let themselves into the gym.

“Ryo! What’re you up to?”

A quick glance over your shoulder showed Kuramochi making his way to the two of you. He had his arms folded back and held an air of nonchalance as he stopped in front of you.

“Yo, [your name].” He greeted casually, to which you offered an easy nod of acknowledgement.

“Hey. Come to help tame the demon?” You asked, dodging the chop you knew was coming.

Kuramochi laughed easily as you balanced the bat on your shoulder.

“I was going to ask Ryo to check my swing, but never mind.” Seido’s cheetah stated before shrugging.

“Please, be my guest. He’s been analyzing mine for the better part of two hours and I’m starting to get cramps.” You stated before rolling your eyes.

“You need all the help you can get.” Ryosuke stated turning his attention towards you.

“Be nice. He came to ask for some help. And please, you’ve been staring at my swing for like two hours, take some time to help your own teammates out.” You stated while rolling your eyes.

“The fact still stands that he can hit a ball and you can’t.” Ryosuke stated before clasping his hands behind his back.

“You’re such a slave driver.” You huffed before turning away with a pout. “I’m taking a break. I had a game today you know!” You tossed back.

“I’m very aware. That’s why we’re here. Might as well change your nickname to foul queen if that’s all you can do.” There was a smirk on Ryosuke’s face.

“Does that make you my king since fouls are ninety percent of your at bats as well?”

Kuramochi’s laugh pulled both your attentions, reminding you that you weren’t alone. You fought desperately to hide the blush that threatened to take over your features as the dialogue caught up with you.

“I knew you spoke English, but I didn’t think you were so good at it Ryo.” The shortstop stated with a smile.  

You plopped on the floor and crossed your arms, making a point of not moving. You peeked to see Kuramochi looking fairly entertained and Ryosuke rolling his eyes.

“I’m starving.” You then whined as your stomach grumbled.

“Well, you guys practiced right through dinner.” Kuramochi stated with a casual shrug.

You gasped in horror, palms grabbing at your cheeks.

“I bet this was your ploy, wasn’t it? Starve me to death. Actual demon.” You grumbled before crossing your arms.

“Yes. From there I was also going to starve myself. Then I could drag you down into hell with me where we could take our thrones as Foul king and queen.” Ryosuke stated looking both amused and irked at the same time. “Get up drama queen. We’ll go get some food.”
“I thought I was the foul queen?” You mused as you took the pinklet’s outstretched hand and let him pull you up.

“Would you like to join us?” Ryosuke turned towards Kuramochi who pondered the thought before agreeing. “I’ll work with you after dinner.” Ryosuke added as the three of you made your way out of the gym.

“Oh! Can I shower first? I stink. Haven’t changed from the game.”

Ryosuke rolled his nose before a smirk took over his features.

“I’m well aware.” He stated, causing you to gasp and a fierce blush of embarrassment to splash across your cheeks.

Meanwhile, Kuramochi was cackling at your expense as you tried to come up with a snarky response to no avail.

0_0_0_0

“We shouldn’t eat this garbage.” You stated as you plop salty fries into your mouth.

“She says as she shoves plenty of fries down her throat.” Kuramochi reported with a roll of his eyes before taking a bite of the dessert he ordered.

He had eaten dinner with everyone else, so he hadn’t wanted another meal. You responded by sticking your tongue out at the boy team’s shortstop. Ryosuke silently picked at the food on his tray while you continued to banter with the shortstop, that is, until someone called out to you.

0_0_0_0

“Hey Twenty!”

Ryosuke’s gaze lifted to where Takeru stood just over her. He looked down with a smirk on him, disregarding that both Ryosuke and Kuramochi were sitting there.

“Don’t call me that.” She scoffed, and Ryosuke felt a slight pride to the way she rolled her nose at him.

“If you gave me your name, we wouldn’t have this problem.” He said, walking around the booth and sliding in right beside her.

That pride was dissipating to leave way to an emotion Ryosuke refused to acknowledge. His gaze narrowed on Takeru as [your name] slid away, her arm flush with the wall at the end of her booth. Her tray was left unattended and Takeru decided to pluck a fry for himself.

“Hey man, that’s not your food.” Kuramochi stated, clearly getting aggravated.

“It’s sitting in front of me.” Takeru stated nonchalantly before placing yet another fry in his mouth.

“If he doesn’t get his damn hands off my food we’re gonna need a body bag.”

Ryosuke snickered before turning his gaze back towards the oblivious Takeru. He turned towards [your name] with a coy smile before speaking with a heavy accent.

“I find you extremely captivating.”

“And I find you extremely revolting.”

Her face told enough and Takeru’s smile faltered. Kuramochi turned away, hiding a laugh behind a cough.

“I learnt that just for you.” He then pushed, seeming to come back to life with new vigor.

Ryosuke’s gaze snapped towards her when pain shot up his leg. She had kicked him under the booth.

“Are you waiting for an invitation? Do I have to draw a summoning circle?”

She wasn’t even looking at Takeru, who had slid in a little closer. Her back was pushed against the wall and she brought her knees up in front of her as if to create a wall between them.

“You were doing just fine weren’t you? He finds you attractive. Even when you threaten his life over fries.”

Ryosuke would be lying if he said he wasn’t growing increasingly annoyed with Takeru’s tendencies. It wasn’t as if she was playing into them either, so what would it take to make him back off?

“Are you serious right now? Just…  Please? He’s in my space and can’t take a hint.”

Kuramochi’s English wasn’t anywhere near Ryosuke’s proficiency, but then again… Ryosuke had found a reason he wanted to put more effort into his English classes. Nonetheless, Kuramochi wasn’t fairly good with speaking it, but comprehending it was something he was good at. He got up and made his way to her side of the bench before wrapping an arm around Takeru’s neck in a faux friendly way before tugging him to the edge.

“Hey buddy. Let’s take a second to evaluate personal space. Hm?”

Takeru glared up at the shortstop, but it was nothing next to the sinister smile Kuramochi was sporting. Ryosuke’s gaze fell back on her as she sighed in relief, a hand resting on her chest.

“Why don’t you tell him you’re seeing someone?”

Her gaze widened before snapping towards the boy team’s second baseman. She stared at him for a long while, as if searching for something before her cheeks flushed and her gaze fell to her lap.

Meanwhile, Kuramochi wiped his hands on his pants with a disgruntled look before taking his seat beside Ryosuke.

“What happened to the narcissist?” She asked with a raised brow.

“I politely asked him to take a hike.” Kuramochi stated before glaring down at his melted ice cream. “Son of a bitch…” He huffed before leaning back and crossing his arms.

“My hero. Thanks for getting a hint unlike other—“ She paused to glare at Ryosuke before continuing.”—People.”

“You looked just fine. I didn’t really want to deal with him either.” The pinklet stated with a shrug.

He watched as her frustration colored her cheeks before her eyes started to water. He was shocked at the quick change before she even began to speak.

“Sorry I put you on the spot with my creepy stalker.” She stated with clenched fingers.

She slid out of her booth so quick, even Kuramochi didn’t have time to say anything as the fast food place’s door fell shut behind her.

“Ryo… Don’t hate me for this…. But that was a dick move.” The shortstop said, wincing as Ryosuke fell back against the booth’s backrest, as if expecting backlash.

“I know…” He mumbled before looking up into the restaurant’s ugly florescent lights.

0_0_0_0

You were pissed. How dare he look so damn bored when that creep was practically breathing down your neck? You shuttered at the thought before pulling out your phone to check the notifications. Haruichi was asking where you are, but that reminded you of dinner and then Ryosuke and his stupid attitude! You shoved your phone into your pocket before going to board the bus that was conveniently pulling up to the stop at the same time you were.

“Oh! Twenty, you followed me out? Missed me already?”

You didn’t bother to hide the disdain in your features as Takeru stepped in front of you. As always, he ignored the signs.

“Your guard dog was rather rude.” He continued with a shrug and a playful sigh.

Your annoyance spiked at his words and your fingers clenched. How dare he speak of Kuramochi that way?

“Look, I don’t know who the hell you think you are to talk about my friends that way, but back off. I don’t want anything to do with whatever games you’re playing.” The last part came out with as much malice as you could muster.

To your surprise, Takeru smirked before taking a step towards you. You took a step back, not wanting to be any closer than you absolutely had to be, but for every step back you took, Takeru stepped towards you until your back hit the wall. Your heart jumped into your throat before your gaze snapped towards the bus. You were about to make a dash for it when the driver pulled the door closed and drove off. Your anxiety rocketed as you took in your surroundings, only too aware that there was no one else outside on this street. Takeru reached towards you, taking your chin in his hand to tilt your face upwards. You slapped his hand away, glaring daggers.

“Get your damn hands off of me.” You hissed, to which he only chuckled, spiking your fear.

“You’re fiery attitude is something of an abnormality for me. I like it.” He said before reaching towards your forehead and brushing his forefinger along the side of your face, pushing your hair from your face.

You felt as though you were going to be sick as his fingers brushed you jaw and dropped towards your neck. He was too close. Every time you took a breath you could smell him, feel his presence. Breathing was becoming harder and harder to do, panic gripping at both your lungs and your racing heart. Tears pricked at your eyes and you shut them, because you wouldn’t give this asshole the satisfaction of seeing you cry. His breath fanned across they lips and you knew he was getting closer, too close. He was going to steal your first kiss.

Chapter Text

Chapter 10:

You pushed against Takeru’s chest, but he seemed to mirror those rooms in video games that closed in on you; no matter how much force you put into pushing, he didn’t back off. You sank your teeth into your lower lip, panic racing through your head. You were alone. You should have stayed at the restaurant with Kuramochi and Ryosuke. You should be able to walk to the bus without assholes like Takeru coming after you like you were a trophy to be won. He was leaning in, too close for comfort. Just what did he think he was doing? Your muscles were coiled tightly as Takeru’s breath fanned across your lips.

“If you do that, I promise you, you’ll wish I had called the cops instead.”

Everything seemed to freeze for a second before you peeked around Takeru’s shoulder, fingers clenched and pushing against his chest. Ryosuke bore a smirk that promised pain. It was by no means anywhere near the normal, playful smirk that usually adorned his features. It was also gone the second he saw you.

“What the hell did you do?” He demanded, and his ice cold tone spooked even you, but it had Takeru frozen in place.

You slapped his hand away from your face before side stepping him and running towards the other boy. You stumbled, grabbing the first thing your fingers latched on to.

“Are you ok?”

The words were gentle, holding almost none of the malice from mere seconds prior. You looked up at Ryosuke, whose eyebrows were creased and whose fingers slipped to your waist and helped you up. Your fingers, still clenched in the hoodie he was wearing, tightened before you buried your face into the crook of his shoulder. You had tried so hard to hide the tears, but now that he was here, there was no way you could hide it anymore.

“You should have been here sooner!” You sobbed, pulling him in closer.

He was safer, you knew that. You also knew he wasn’t your keeper and didn’t owe you anything, so assuming that Ryosuke would show up like your knight in shining armor wasn’t feasible. And yet… here he was, getting angry on your behalf.

“Yea. I’m sorry.” His voice was gentle as he placed a calloused hand on top of your head.

You guys stood like that for a while, waiting for you to gather yourself. Eventually you pulled away, wiping at your face. Ryosuke’s hoodie was soaked in the shoulder area, but he didn’t seem to mind. His gaze was trained on you.

“Are you ok?” He asked once more, reaching towards you to pull your wrists away from your face.

“It was scary… I thought you weren’t going to come…” You stated, feeling tears well up again.

Again, you were pushing your unfeasible ideals onto Ryosuke, and yet, he didn’t miss a beat. Reaching out for you, the second basement grabbed your attention with his words.

“Hey… Look at me…” Ryosuke muttered before brushing tears from your cheeks. “That asshole? Is never going to go near you again if he knows what’s good for him.” The second baseman declared, malice dripping from those words. “You don’t have to be scared when I’m here.” He then added with a slight tinge of red to his face.

Heat creeped across your cheeks as well before you buried your face in his shoulder once again. Ryosuke silently offered comfort as you sought it out.

“I told you… you attract trouble, Twenty…” Ryosuke sighed as you worked on slowing your heartbeat down.

“Thank god I have a guardian… demon?” You mumbled into his sweater.

He chuckled nonetheless, and you felt it through his chest. You listened to Ryosuke’s breathing, matching yours to his pace. In and out, in and out. Eventually you were able to pull away from the pinklet. Your cheeks were stained scarlet as you pulled your arms away, brushing at your face to alleviate the dried tears that were bothering you. All the while he stood there, silently observing you. Your gaze traveled back towards the wall, your back itching at the memory of pressing against the jagged brick that decorated it. You glanced back at Ryosuke who had a look of concern on his face before forcing a smile to your face. He didn’t deserve to deal with this garbage. It was your own problem, and you’d figure out how to deal with it when the time came. You weren’t going to drag Ryouske into it. He had enough issues to deal with. There was one thing though… Something that was bothering you … It shouldn’t… but now every time he said that nickname, you were going to picture… Takeru. You shuddered, grabbing the pinklet’s attention. He took a step towards you before you shook your head, a small smile on your lips.

“I’m ok… Just… Don’t call me that anymore… Ok?” You muttered, feeling guilty as recognition lit up Ryosuke’s features before you could tell he was beating himself up for that slip up.

“I wasn’t thinking—“

“It’s fine. We’ll find something new, I just… Not that one.” You felt ashamed with your words, but you didn’t think you could hear Ryosuke calling out to you like he used to without Takeru overshadowing that casual smirk with his own narcissistic one.

“[your name].”

Your surroundings came flooding back, and a gasp left your lips at how hard you were clutching your elbows. You took a deep breath, calming down your racing heart. Takeru was gone, it was just you and Ryosuke. Everything was fine…

“The next bus is in fifteen minutes… Let’s get you back to the dorms.”

You fell into step beside the pinklet, stopping beside the poll that broadcasted the bus stop. You clutched your chest, arms crossed tight enough to hurt, and yet you didn’t want to let go, it wasn’t safe enough. You wanted that wall up between you and the world.

“Maybe we should talk to your coach when we get back… Let her know what’s going on.” Ryosuke suggested gently as the bus pulled up.

“No, I can deal with it on my own.” You stated as the doors opened for you. You dropped the change into the bucket before going into the first free two seater.

Ryosuke followed suit and sat beside you.

“You don’t have to take it on alone [your name].” Ryosuke stated with a frown. “If he’s any smart he won’t come back, but in the event that he does—“

“I’ll call my shinning knight in armor.” You answered, forcing a big smile on your face.

You didn’t want to talk about this anymore. More than anything, you wanted it to go away. Like it had never happened. You wanted Ryosuke to stop trying to make it better. It wasn’t his job. He wasn’t your boyfriend, he shouldn’t be spending so much time trying to make sure you are ok. You were fine. Fantastic even. You’d be even better if he’d just drop it.

0_0_0_0

The bus ride home had been pretty quiet. You’d stared out the window at nothing in particular. You’d caught Ryosuke staring at you more often than not, but chose to ignore it. It was easier this way. He’d dropped you off at the gates to the girls’ dorm rooms, like the good upperclassman that he was. You made sure to paint a smile across your lips and thank him for dinner before pushing the gate closed behind you.

There was something to be said about the sigh of relief that left your lips. It was exhausting to be putting up such a strong front for Ryosuke. You knew he was someone to be trusted, someone who you could easily talk to, but you weren’t willing to take the step. He’d been there and seen what Takeru had done, but, it wasn’t his problem to solve. Neither was it the coach’s. Plus, Ryosuke was right, if Takeru was any smart, he wouldn’t continue to poke the beast.

Feeling a little renewed, you clambered off towards your dorm room, exhaustion catching up with you. Airi was sitting in the corner of the dorm with a pair of headphones covering her ears as she swiveled back and forth. She seemed to think the bullets from her game were somehow going to jump through the TV.

“Fucken grenade!” She yelled before furiously clicking buttons and tossing the remote in the air. “Fuck off!” She hissed, before going back at the game with enough anger to have you keep to yourself.

You shuffled out of your shoes before changing into PJs and climbing into bed for the night. You plugged your phone in, not bothering to check any of the messages before pulling the blanket over your head.

0_0_0_0

Practice was what you expected it to be. There was a strong focus on batting, seeing how the team had suffered in the offensive part of the game. The defense wasn’t exactly iron clad, but the lineup was something that was of a more prominent problem. Every time the ball left the machine, you pictured Takeru’s head and swung with as much power as possible. The new grip that Ryosuke had shown you was helping, but your accuracy was clouded by your anger. You caught your coach frowning at the way you swung and took a step back, off of the make shift batter’s box created to give the sense of a game while practicing.

Airi placed a hand on your shoulder from behind, drawing your attention. She had a helmet on and her hands were clad in batting gloves. She held a bat, seemingly ready to take over your machine.

“Dang girl. Who pissed you off?” She asked with a small smirk.

You etched your own smirk across your face before shrugging.

“Just determination.” You concluded before leaning your bat against the wall.

“Alright.” She stated before chuckling. “I’ll just go make that look like child’s play.” She mused, pulling a chuckle from you.

She’d been worrying at you all morning. She was also upset you hadn’t bothered to announce your presence when you came in last night, even when you explained how you didn’t want to bother her.

When it came time to head to class, Haruichi was sitting at his desk before you walked in. He turned his full attention towards you, slight frown on his face as he did so.

“What’s up Haru?” You asked casually.

“I didn’t get a response from you yesterday, I got worried.” He stated with a slight pout.

“Sorry, sorry! Something came up.” Last night’s memories flashed through your head. “I was with your brother.” You then added with a shrug.

“He got back pretty late too.” Haruichi stated, before leaning back into his chair. “Wasn’t he supposed to practice with Kuramochi?”

“Yea, but we chose to grab dinner instead seeing how the demon made me practice straight through dinner.” You huffed playfully, taking your seat before setting your books down.

“I guess that’s why he was so eager to find you after the game. He can be tough on people he sees potential in. He means well.” Haruichi stated, as if to placate you from the situation.

“I know Haru.” You stated with a soft smile. “I’m the last person you have to convince.” You then added.

Satoru walked in looking like a zombie before collapsing in his seat. You giggled, amused at his state before your other classmates started to trickle in. Haruichi continued to make small talk with you, while you only really half listened to him, humming in response when you thought he needed acknowledgement. Last night was on your mind once again. You wondered what was going on in Ryosuke’s head. Did he think any less of you for the things that had happened last night? Would your relationship stay the same after what had happened? The anxiety had your mind spiraling, and it stayed that way even after the teacher had walked in and started the class. 

Chapter Text

Chapter 11:

When lunch came, you were exhausted. You hadn’t really slept last night, haunted by images every time you closed your eyes. You yawned for the zillionth time in the past ten minutes and Haruichi casted a worried look in your direction. You shrugged as you pushed your tray along.

“Are you ok?” He ventured as you placed food on top of your tray.

“Ya, just tired. You know how it is.” You mumbled as you wiped the tears from your yawn away from your eyes.

You didn’t miss the scrutinizing gaze that Haruichi shot over his shoulder, reminding you that he was indeed a Kominato. You bumped shoulders with him before grabbing your tray and venturing out to find a table.

“I’m ok Haru, promise. Now let’s go find a table.”

The pinklet offered you a small forced smile, though he continued to scrutinize your back.

0_0_0_0

She looked half dead. Dark bags under her eyes, pronounced even when she smiled at his younger brother. Haruichi looked as though he was contemplating something as he followed after her. This is when Ryosuke realized that she hadn’t talked to him about it. He didn’t expect her to run around rampant, spilling her guts to every person she crossed paths with, but he figured that she would talk to Haruichi. If not himself, he had hoped she’d talk to his little brother. Instead, however, she pushed Haruichi away with forced smiles as she drew the attention away from herself by riling up Sawamura.

“You’re going to burn holes right through her.” Kuramochi muttered, digging his elbow into Ryosuke’s side gently. “If you’re so worried about it, go talk to her.” He then added.

Ryosuke rose a brow, his attention set on his field partner after having torn his gaze away from her.

“He came back you know.” Ryosuke voiced, his voice soft as to not draw the other boys’ attention. “Had her pinned against a wall by the bus stop.” The older Kominato clenched his fists, pulling them off of, and hiding them under table.

Kuramochi himself tensed, and Ryosuke knew he was bristling as he silently shoved rice into his mouth. It stayed quiet between them for a long while, and the second baseman found his gaze being drawn to her again. She was smiling sheepishly as Sawamura and Furuya glared angrily at one another.

“I saw red, Kuramochi. I nearly…” He sighed before turning away. “She brought me back to my senses. Not even on purpose. I lost all rational thought and then, there she was.”

Kuramochi pushed his tray away, the rice beginning to get to hard to swallow. He heaved a heavy sigh before turning towards his best friend.

“I don’t blame you Ryo, but this is something we should be telling someone with authority. At least her coach…” The shortstop stated, his leg bouncing as he spoke.

“I tried to tell her that… She wanted nothing to do with it.” Ryosuke stated before leaning back on the bench. “Said she’d deal with it on her own.” He muttered.

“I can’t believe that asshole…” Kuramochi breathed.

She looked up and locked gazes with the second baseman. She offered an awkward smile before turning back to her conversation with the first year trio.

“She’s not going to tell anyone.” Ryosuke said, earning Kuramochi’s gaze. “She’s going to bottle it up until she breaks. I can already see it in the bags under her eyes.”

Kuramochi blinked slowly at the second baseman. He knew that Ryosuke was observant, he knew he was cunning, he didn’t however, know how deeply he cared for the Canadian exchange student until right then.

“So… What are we supposed to do?” He asked with a slight frown.

“I’m not exactly sure how to go at this either. I would assume trying to be there for her would be the best. She’s going to need some friends… and as much as I’m happy that she gets along with the first year trio, I don’t see her reaching out for the help she’ll need.” He pushes himself up and puts his hands in his pockets. “I’ll see you at practice tonight.” He then adds with a slight smirk.

“Yea… See you Ryo.” Kuramochi offered a small smile of his own before turning his attention back to his half eaten lunch.

0_0_0_0

You had felt his gaze on you all throughout the lunch hour. When you looked up though, he didn’t pull his gaze away. Then again, you didn’t peg Ryosuke as the type to shy away after being caught. He wasn’t really hiding anyways. Either way, when you met his gaze, you were met with a tight frown that drew images from last night. As your fingers clenched around your chopsticks, you offered him a forced smile, trying to tell him you were ok. Unfortunately, he didn’t reciprocate said smile before saying something to Kuramochi.

This had been bothering you all afternoon and had caused you to zone out on multiple occasions during your afternoon classes. It happened one time too many and Haruichi had to discreetly elbow you so you’d answer the teacher who had caught you zoning out.

After your embarrassing afternoon, you made your way to practice. The coach had a regiment set up to work on stamina. You had no problem keeping up with the girls on the team and enjoyed the familiar burn in your muscles from a good workout. After your practice, and a decent shower, you had a mission. In a tshirt and comfortable pair of leggings, you made you way towards the boys’ dorms. You were going to walk right by the gym when you heard a familiar laugh. It belong to no one but Seido’s cheetah. So you cut towards the gym, coming up on Kuramochi and who you assumed to be Eijun’s upperclassman and catcher. In other words, the bane of Eijun’s existence.

Eijun himself was yelling at the bespectacled boy about something or another (it was always something with Eijun) while the other merely laughed at him, purposely riling him up. Your eyes left the catcher to find who you were searching for, but came up absolutely empty.

“[Your name]?”

Your attention snapped towards the shortstop, the sudden silence letting you know that you had all the attention in the room.

“Hey.” You offered, trying to overcome the awkward tension. “Bullying Eijun?” You then mused, chuckling a little.

The catcher smirked somewhat, his eyes dancing with amusement while Eijun grew red in the face, taking a deep breath. You slapped a hand over his mouth before sighing dramatically.

“Inside voices Eijun.” You said before pulling your hand away.

“You’re supposed to be my friend! You’re supposed to save me from these awful upperclassmen!” The southpaw exclaimed, earning a shit eating grin from the catcher.

“You asked me to be here. Begged me even.” Miyuki stated with a smirk.

“To catch my pitch! Not to ridicule me!” Eijun exclaimed.

“What good is me catching for you if you can’t take constructive criticism?”

Eijun made a face much like a fish out of water to which both you and Kuramochi had a good laugh. Miyuki seemed amused beyond belief as he crossed his arms across his chest.

“Speaking of awful upperclassmen. Where’s our demon today?” You asked as casually as you could muster.

You didn’t miss the look Kuramochi sent your way. You could pinpoint the concern along with pity in his gaze and chose to ignore it.

“Brave of you to speak of Ryosuke like that.” Miyuki mused.

“How else do you explain his character?” You mused before sighing dramatically to add effect.

Once again, amusement danced in the catcher’s eyes before your attention was drawn to a skull splitting pain. Your hands reached out to placate the spot that the person in question had just assaulted.

“There he is, our Oni-chan.” You mused as you sent a glare his way.

Miyuki clutched his stomach as he laughed, and Ryosuke offered you a dark smirk.

“Don’t you have batting skills to improve?” The older Kominato asked as Eijun discreetly escaped out of the gym, avoiding the ridicule from his upperclassmen.

“Yep. Unfortunately, my teacher confuses me greatly. He wants me to hit towards the players, which, last time I checked, was the opposite of a good hit.” You answered with a shrug.

“I’m only broadening your horizons seeing how you seem to favor hitting towards the catcher.” Ryosuke responded.

You grew red in the face with annoyance and huffed to show it, only to receive the same aggravating smirk as always.

“You’re such a demon!” You hissed.

“At least I can put the ball into play, Miss Foul Queen.” Ryosuke stated with a casual shrug of his own.

“Clearly, you’ve forgotten about my homerun in my first game.” You huffed while crossing your arms.

“Seems like your horseshoe fell out.” The second baseman retorted with a shrug.

You gasped before sending him a sharp glare. He only kept his smirk, none too worried about the glare being set his way. Both Kuramochi and Miyuki seemed to be royally entertained, if their boisterous laughter was anything to go by.

“Well, I better go make sure that idiot is stretching properly.” The catcher pipped up as he wiped the tears from the corners of his eyes.

“Ya, I could use a shower.” The shortstop added as he too worked at placating his euphoria.

The two of them grabbed their gear and headed out of the gym, leaving you alone with Seido’s demon. He made his way towards the bats in the corner, picking up different ones and testing their weights.

“So, what did you need me for?” Ryosuke asked, finally deciding on a bat.

“I had a question.” You stated, clasping your hands behind your back. Ryosuke glanced over at you when only silence ensued, before cocking his head as if to say ‘go on’. “I wanted to know if everything was alright.” You finally managed with a tinge of red taking over your cheeks.

“I don’t really get it, but ya?” The pinklet offered with a shrug.

“I mean… like are you ok?” You then ventured.

“Why are you asking?” Ryosuke rose a brow, clearly not following the conversation. “Why wouldn’t I be ok?” He then offered.

You rolled your eyes, placing your hands on your hips before focusing on the second basemen once again.

“You make it so difficult. I swear.” You huffed. “During lunch you were staring right at me. What was going on?” You asked while raising a brow.

Ryosuke fell into his batting stance, staying quiet as you asked your questions. He fixed his grip before taking a swing, heavy enough to make a noise as it sliced through air.

“I was thinking about last night.” He offered after a few moments of silence, causing you to tense up.

“I’m fine.” You stated with a slight frown.

Ryosuke glanced over his shoulder, taking in your expression. He scoffed before going back to swinging.

“What was that for?” You asked with a raised brow. “I am! I promise!” You declared, making a thumbs up.

“You’re allowed to lean on others.” The pinklet stated before he swung once again.

You blinked at him, confusion marring your features. What was Ryosuke going on about? You did rely on people. You relied on Haruichi and Airi on a daily basis! Most of all, you relied on Ryosuke. He should know that from last night’s fiasco!

“What are you going on about? Do you have a fever?” You asked while chuckling softly.

Ryosuke glanced at you once again, but chose to stay quiet and keep up with his personal practice. You sighed at the cold shoulder before shrugging, making your way to the door to leave him to his devices.

“Night Oni-chan. Don’t drag any innocent children to the depths of hell, kay?” You called as you shoved your hands into your pockets and made you way towards the drink machine.

Chapter Text

Chapter 12:

A week blurred by, baseball and classes garnering most of Ryosuke’s attention. She was still smiling, but he noticed that she would zone out more often than not. The weather for tonight was rather chilly, and he had taken the light jacket that scrawled his name on its back to keep the chill away. He was just leaving his dorm room, slightly parched and yet not wanting the copious amounts of water bottles that he and his roommates keep stashed in a mini fridge. Just as he had expected, the wind was chilly, so he shoved his fingers into the pockets of his jacket. As he made his way towards the vending machines he stumbled upon a figure that was laying in the grass a few meters away. Her hair gave her away as it danced in the wind. His mission forgotten, he sauntered towards her, stopping just shy of stepping on her shoulder.

“You’ll get sick if you sleep here.” He said, raising a brow as she startled.

“I-I wasn’t sleeping!” She said, quickly sitting up and rubbing at her eyes.

He hadn’t miss the dark, nearly black, smudges under her eyes that she desperately seemed to be trying to hide. He sighed softly before taking a seat next to her. His arm brushed hers, but she yanked away as if he’d burnt her. She looked shocked at her own actions and knocked shoulders with him amicably, as if to overwrite what had just happened. He was about to question her actions when he realized something. Her chilled skin seeped through his jacket and caused him to really take in her appearance. She was in a tank top and a pair of leggings. Usually leggings were accompanied by a skirt or shorts, but she wore them on their own. It was probably a North American fashion sense. Nonetheless, she was frigid, and yet she smiled happily. This idiot really was going to make herself sick. Reaching towards himself, he unzipped his coat and shimmied out of it before glancing towards her.

“What’re you doing?” She asked while raising a brow.

“Keeping an idiot from getting sick.” He sighed as he held the coat out to her.

She stared at him with wide eyes, and he couldn’t help the warmth that was making itself present on his cheeks. It was silent for all of thirty seconds before she reached out tentatively, fingers brushing Ryosuke’s as she took the coat from him. Her ice cold fingers reminded him just why he was giving away the coat that he’d had on to keep himself warm. She pulled it on, and Ryosuke knew it was a little small from the way the sleeves barely reached her wrists. She smiled at him nonetheless as she pulled her knees up, hugging them to her chest.

“What are you doing out here?” The second baseman asked softly, as the wind brought goosebumps to his forearms.

“Just relaxing. Wanted to look up at the stars.” She shrugged nonchalantly.

He glanced at her out of the corner of his eye. He knew she still wasn’t sleeping. Her performance in softball wasn’t hindered, though she seldom took the mound, something he knew that was also taking a toll on her. Her batting performance was better, and he was too proud to admit that when she did make it to the bag, his gaze was the first she would seek out to meet. He was almost loathsome to admit that the smile she would send his way was big enough to cause his own lips to quirk. To send his own heart into overdrive. He needed to get a grip. She was going through some stuff, and he’d be caught dead before he would force his feelings onto her.

“I can’t sleep at night.”

The words were soft. He turned his eyes towards her, and if he didn’t know any better, he’d have figured the wind was playing tricks on him, but no. She sighed and closed her eyes. She looked so tired, and he felt as though he needed to do something, but what, he had no clue. He’d let her talk though, because that’s what he’d been looking for, for at least a week now. He knew she wasn’t talking to Haruichi, because his little brother had sought him out and asked. It wasn’t his story to tell… If she hadn’t told him, there was probably a reason for it, but Haruichi was no fool; after all, he was a Kominato. He knew something was up, but no matter how long he prodded for information, Ryosuke didn’t offer him any. The older Kominato would play dumb, something that drove his younger brother absolutely mad. For now, however, he was going to offer an ear, because that was what she needed. He rose a brow, as if to silently encourage her to continue.

“Every time I fall asleep… It’s like he’s waiting for me….” Her grip on her knees tightened, her lips pressing into thing lines.

Ryosuke bristled silently, the cold forgotten. He wanted for her to ignore the other’s presence. Wanted for him to disappear. He wanted for her to get a good night’s sleep without feeling as though Takeru was always standing behind every damn corner, waiting for her.

“I know it’s stupid—“ She stopped when Ryosuke shook his head.

“It’s not stupid. You met an asshole… It was a traumatic experience that I still think you should talk to someone about…”

She hummed in answer, though he knew she had ignored the statement in its entirety. He wish she would be less stubborn. He glanced back up at the sky, watching as the stars blinked in the sky, demanding attention. His attention snapped back towards her when he felt a weight on his shoulder.

“I’m sorry, I’m just… I’m so tired.” She muttered, voice soft, as if she was falling asleep right there.

Ryosuke had his legs sprawled out in front of him and his arms behind him, holding him up. Her added weight on his shoulder wasn’t an issue except, maybe, for the thudding in his chest that he was absolutely certain she could hear.

“I’m sorry about before.” She murmured, making no attempt to move away from his shoulder.

“For what?” Ryosuke asked, clearly confused.

She pulled her arms in closer, as if she was creating a barrier between her and the world.

“Pulling away… I… It’s always in the back of my mind.” She muttered, but there was a tinge of anger that dripped into her words.

He blinked at her before he realized she was talking about flinching away from him when he had sat beside her. Hurt blossomed from within him, even as he tried to rationalize that there was no way she was comparing him to Takeru…

“You may be an insufferable demon… But I know you’d never do anything like what he did. And I’m sorry that I have to remind myself that every single time someone reaches out to… I’m sorry…”

She had turned her head so that her forehead pushed into his shoulder. He realized that her shoulders shook ever so slightly as that she was wiping he face with the thin fabric of his shirt by rubbing it back and forth against her face. Ryosuke swallowed his own hurt down, because clearly it was less important right now.

“Why are you crying?” He asked, keeping his voice gentle, as if he was worried she’d run away.

“Because!” She was clearly stressed, he could see it in the way she pushed herself up and rubbed at her face to stop the tears she was so chagrin with. “You’re such a fucken amazing person and I keep worrying that Takeru is going to jump out of nowhere.” She was sobbing now, and he felt his anger growing but fought to push it down. He wasn’t angry with her, but with the destruction that Takeru had carelessly left in his wake. “I don’t want to pull away from you when you sit next to me or when you reach out, because I know! I know you won’t do anything he did. I know that what Takeru has done has never even ran through your thoughts! But I can’t get it out of my head!”

Ryosuke caught himself reaching towards her and stopped himself. This is what she was talking about. He couldn’t carelessly reach towards her, or he’d accidentally cause her to hate herself. That was the last thing any of them needed.

He was snapped out of his reverie when he felt damp hands wrap around his palm and pull it forwards. Her face was scrunched up and held so many different emotions. Hurt, anger, desperation, all of these emotions danced in her eyes as tears stained her cheeks. She pressed his palm against one of her cheeks, and he realized that the dampness to her hands had nothing against her cheeks.

“I want you to touch me!” She practically yelled, as another fresh wave of tears fell. “I’m not afraid of you Ryosuke!”

He couldn’t breathe. This is what it felt like to be breathless. She was sobbing and yet he was stuck in the state of mind in which he asked himself if she’d ever called him by name before.

“Please don’t pull away from me! Please don’t hate me! I’m trying. I promise! I just—“

She was in hysterics and he refused to let her demean herself any further. His image be damned, he yanked on her shoulders hard enough for her to come crashing against his chest. She tensed for all of a millisecond before wrapping her arms around his waist. Her head was pushed into his chest and he could already feel her tears soak through the thin t-shirt he was wearing. His own arms wrapped around her back, a hand settling on the back of her head.

“I’m never going to hate you…” He murmured.

She was trying to control herself. He heard it in the way she pushed down her own sobs and sniffled against his chest. She was clutching at his back as if he’d disappear without the insurance. He wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon. His fingers played with strands of her hair as she composed herself, something his mother used to do when he was really young. Eventually she was just quiet. They sat there, the moon casting shadows around the clouds that the wind pushed. Goosebumps arose along his forearms once more, reminding him that it was unrealistically chilly for the summer. He wondered if there was a storm coming, musing that one had definitely just passed. Her breathing was soft as he stared up at the sky. He wondered what she was thinking, wondered just what he was supposed to say.

“I could never hate you.” He settled for, the words gentle as they left his lips.

When he glanced down he almost dropped her. She was out cold, hair sprawled all over the place. He balanced her on one arm before he used his dominate hand to brush her locks away from her face. Her cheeks were still wet from her tears, and her eyes were a tinge swollen. He couldn’t believe that she had fallen asleep on him like that! Hadn’t she been crying not too long ago?

“What am I going to do with you Miss Foul Ball Queen?” Ryosuke muttered to himself, soft smile in place.  

0_0_0_0

He was worried, but what about, he had no clue. He’d asked multiple times, but nobody had the damn answers. Not even his older brother wanted to answer him. Ryosuke even played dumb and it drove him absolutely nuts! Tonight, he was going to get to the bottom of it. Grabbing his coat, Haruichi made his way towards the gates that lead out of the boy’s dorms. He wanted to try and talk to [your name] one more time, see if she’d actually talk to him. He knew she wasn’t sleeping and that worried him even more. Just as he was about to reach the gate, he heard someone practically yelling. He couldn’t quite understand the words, but he made his way over nonetheless. He knew the voice pretty well. Just as he turned the corner, getting closer to the vending machines that both the boys’ and girls’ team used, he picked out two people sitting in grass. It took him less than a second to recognize both [your name] and his older brother. He watched in astonishment as Ryosuke wrapped his arms around her. He’d never seen this level of compassion from his older brother before. That wasn’t to say that Ryosuke wasn’t compassionate, he merely chose to refrain from showing it outright. Leaning against the wall, Haruichi watched the two of them sit there. He was flabbergasted, but elated at the same time. He was glad because—

“He’ll take care of her. Don’t worry.”

Startled, the pinklet turned to find Kuramochi standing a few feet behind him with a slight smile on his face.

“We both know he will.” The shortstop added, and Haruichi smiled, because he was absolutely right.

Chapter Text

Chapter 13:

“You’re spending an awful lot of time with Ryosuke as of late.” Airi said as the two of you got ready for morning practice.

You rose a brow, pausing as you bent down to grab your cleats.

“I always hang out with him.” You said as you resumed the action before plopping down on your bed and working at untying the laces.

“Yea, but it’s been, like, every time you have a break you look for him. It’s like nobody else matters.” Airi stated, before smirking at the blush that rose on your cheeks.

Ryosuke was one of the only people who understood your… situation. Not to mention the meltdown you’d had a couple of nights ago. He wasn’t acting annoyed with your presence either… was it really all that bad that you were spending so much time with him?

“I don’t think it’s so excessive. I mean, we’re friends.” You shrugged before grabbing the coat hanging in your closet and pulling it on.

It was chilly in the early morning and taking the coat with you to practice had become something of a habit. Even if it came off about twenty minutes later because of the warmup jogging. Airi rose a brow when you turned your back towards her to grab your phone that was plugged in next to your pillow.

“Friends hm?” Airi hummed, sounding far too smug.

“Yea?...” You cocked your head.

“That’s not going to be what runs through anybody’s head when you walk onto the field in his jacket.” She mused before grabbing her own bag. “Let’s go!” She then added as she pulled their dorm room’s door open.

0_0_0_0

“Where’s your coat? You’re going to catch a cold.”

Ryosuke looked up to see Yuki standing there with his arms crossed. Wherever Yuki was, Jun was sure to follow.

“Tetsu’s right! You need to take care of your health or we’ll be down half our infield.” The loud center fielder stated before laughing easily.

“I must have misplaced it.” The second baseman stated casually as he matched their pace, all making their way towards the fields.

When they got there, his gaze was immediately drawn to their sister fields. He found her easily enough, his brows lifting as his gaze fell on her. It wasn’t hard to miss his name scrawled on her back. He hadn’t realized he’d stopped until Jun yelled, startling him out of his reverie.

“You didn’t misplace it! You have a girlfriend!” Jun exploded.

“How do you know Haruichi didn’t loan her his coat? They’re rather close.” Ryosuke shared, humored by Jun’s exaggerated frown.

“Probably because I’m wearing mine.”

The three of them turned to see the first year trio. Ryosuke rose his brow at Haruichi, who feigned ignorance and shifted the strap of his equipment bag on his shoulder. The older of the two Kominatos turned back towards the field, watching her pitching form as she warmed up. Ryosuke wouldn’t admit it to anyone, but he loved the way his name stretched across her back as her arm spun next to her body, pitch gaining speed as it left her fingers.

0_0_0_0

You were sitting with Airi, though in all reality you didn’t know whether she was aware of your presence or cared for it at all. She had a headset hugging her ears as she swiveled to and fro, as if dodging bullets that came flying at the screen.

“Care package! Care package!” She called out, setting her shoulders before her character started to sprint.

A growl rumbled in the back of her throat when the replay of her character dying took over the screen. She set her jaw, hitting the respawn before setting out again. This time, she was slower, watching her map while using cover to her advantage. You didn’t play COD unless Airi was looking for a quick way to blow steam, but you always managed to find watching her quite entertaining. She pulled out a weapon that made the screen zoom and you watched as she followed a player, glancing at her to see her tongue stuck out in concentration. After about ten seconds she pulled the trigger and watched as the word ‘revenge’ dance across her screen.

“Take that!” She snarked, feeling triumphant if the smirk on her face had anything to do with it.

“How’d you know which one was the one that killed you? They all look the same.” You asked, looking a little lost.

“Usernames. Also, this one is special. We’ve had a rivalry going on for months now.” Airi said as her character picked up the gun and changed location.

You had learnt from Airi that if you shot someone from one place, it was best to get a move on as they would be coming back. The replays that played right before characters could respawn made sure of that.

“Mushi_Mochi.” Airi said the name with a level of disgust you just couldn’t understand.

It was more amusing than anything. You placed a hand in front of your lips to hide a soft giggle.

“Like the greeting?” You asked before Airi turned towards you with a raised brow. “What’s your username?”

“Shot_From_Short.”

Giggles fell from your lips once more, causing a tinge of red to take over Airi’s features.

“Sh-shut up!” She called, turning her attention back towards her game.

0_0_0_0

You were swinging the bat when you heard the door to the gym open. It was some ungodly hour of the night, so you wondered just who it could be that was allowing themselves in the gym. Letting the bat rest on your shoulder, you turned your attention towards the noise, an audible sigh meeting your ears.

“What are you doing?”

“Geh… Don’t you ever sleep?” You huffed, taking in Ryosuke’s figure as he made his way towards you.

“I could ask you the same.” He stated with a raised brow. “I can understand the need for practice, Miss Foul Ball Queen, but it’s almost three in the morning.” The pinklet huffed.

“It’s only three?” You huffed before deflating somewhat. “I was hoping that it was closer to four…”

You didn’t miss the frown that took over Ryosuke’s features, but you chose to ignore it. Instead, you made your way over to where the bats were stored and put yours away. In turn, you found the bench press and took a seat on the cushioned bench.

“Why are you swinging at three AM?” Ryosuke asked, taking a seat right next to you.

“Like you said, I could use the practice.” You said with a casual shrug.

You could tell Ryosuke wasn’t buying that excuse, but you didn’t want to bother him with your issues. Even with the many times that he had told you that it was ok, you didn’t really want to air out your dirty laundry. It was another nightmare, it had had you up and gasping for air. You had fled before your heavy breathing woke your roommate up. Nightmares weren’t something you were going to text Ryosuke to cry about. You were fine, just needed something to occupy your mind.

You startled when you felt something brush your face. Coming back to reality, you realized that the demon himself had brushed his forefinger along your cheek with a frown.

“You’re pale. And the dark bags under your eyes give you away.” He sighed before letting his arm fall back to his side. “Another nightmare?” He asked gently.

Damn the Kominatos and their pseudo ability to read me like an open damn book. You turned your head away from Ryosuke, teeth digging into your lower lip. Your fingers were balled and pressed against your thighs. In all reality, it was a horrific way to try and mask what was really going on.

“It’s nothing to worry about.” You said after a bout of heavy silence.

A sound of annoyance left the second baseman’s lips. He pushed himself up and off of the bench before shoving his hands into his pockets.

“Where are you going?” You asked with a slight cocking of your head.

“I’m going back to my room.” He huffed, not turning back towards you.

“Oh… ok… See you at lunch?” You asked with a small smile.

Ryosuke turned towards you, and he looked both pissed and upset at the same time. You recoiled from the expression, stunned silent and smile completely gone.

“I don’t get it [your name].” Ryosuke said as he leant back against the door. “There’s no one else here. It’s three in the morning, so clearly that indicates that I’m worried, and yet, you still wont talk to me.”

You took a deep breath, trying to calm your racing heart and aggravated nerves.

“You shouldn’t have to deal with my nightmares Ryosuke, they’re not—“

“I’m going to snap if you tell me it isn’t my problem. Damn it [your name].” The last sentence came out more as a hiss, leaving behind the velvety voice you were so used to. “It is my problem. I keep asking if you’re ok and you keep blowing me off. Is it a trust issue? I don’t have any more ways to ask. You’ve told me off each time.”

You’d never seen Ryosuke this heated… save for one time. Chills ran up your arms and you soon found your hands gripping your forearms. It was hard to take a deep breath. The only time you had seen Ryosuke relatively angry without the usual snark was when… You couldn’t breathe in. You never wanted to be on the receiving end of that anger. Your heart was going too fast.

0_0_0_0

He’d gone and done it. He’d spoken his mind, and now she was having a bloody panic attack and he should have fucking known. His fingers itched at his side before he rushed towards her, feeling the guilt eating away him. He knew she was going through a tough time, but he’d let his damn frustration leak through. So what if she didn’t want to talk to him? He should have been more open, offered to be there if and when she wanted to talk. Now he was crouched down in front of her, hands on her knees as he tried to coax her to calm down, to take a breath. She muttering the word ‘no’ over and over again, through panted breaths and he really wasn’t equipped to deal with these type of things, and nobody in their right mind was up at three am and there was no way in hell he was leaving her to go find someone… So he did the best he could and just offered his presence, hoping it’d be enough.

Eventually her breathing evened out, and the faraway look in her eyes receded. He didn’t quite realize he was holding his breath until her gaze fell on him. Her cheeks had drying tear tracks and she looked downright miserable as she tore her gaze away, chewing on her lower lip once again. A sigh left Ryosuke’s lips as he let himself fall back and sit on the floor, rubbing his hands over his face.

“You’re right…”

Her voice sounded raspy, speaking lengths of the attack she had just had. Ryosuke’s hands fell into his lap as he looked up at her, looking slightly confused. Her fingers twitched slightly as she pushed the hair out of her face, anxiety still clear in her features and mood alike. She let a sigh leave her lips before focusing her attention back on the second baseman. For some reason, he felt his own nerves coiling, perhaps in anticipation for what she had to say.

“I’m not ok.”

Ryosuke almost let a sigh of relief leave his lips. She was finally reaching out. Had finally stopped hiding behind lies like ‘I’m ok!’. The second baseman pushed himself up and took a seat beside her once more, taking a deep breath.

“Ok. Talk to me.” He coaxed, happy that she was finally letting it all out.

Chapter Text

Chapter 14:

“I feel like I’m going to puke…” You muttered with a slight frown.

Ryosuke knocked shoulders with you, though it was more a few inches below your shoulder, but technicalities. You mustered a nervous smile for him before knocking on the door to the office before you. After many hours of coaxing, Ryosuke had finally gotten you to agree to talk to your coach. It was supposed to help, but instead, you felt that your stomach was trying to kill you from the inside out. The door pulled open and your coach peeked around the door before offering a bright smile.

“Practice doesn’t start for another two-three hours [your name]. Everything alright?” She asked.

You were either going to puke or pass out. Probably both.

“Hey, I’ll catch up with you after practice.” Ryosuke offered.

He startled you by putting a hand on your arm and squeezing, offering his own moral support. Your coach’s smile had disappeared, as she was probably sensing the change of mood. You watched Ryosuke’s back as he turned the corner and made his way off towards his dorm, probably to get ready for his own evening practice. When he was gone, you pushed your anxiety down and allowed your coach to usher you into her office.

0_0_0_0

You’re pale features set Airi on edge. You’d managed to tell the coach absolutely everything. It wasn’t easy and your cheeks were irritated with tear tracks once again. You had been doing a lot of that as of late. It was starting to drive you mad. After you had finished talking to the coach, she had offered you the evening off to collect yourself, but you had told her that practice was a welcomed distraction and you’d definitely be there. Already exhausted from the raw emotions you’d shown in front of the coach, you hadn’t had the energy to fabricate a lie for Airi and thus you told her as well.

“That fucking scum bag.” She growled, meanwhile, you were more caught up with the fact that the coach said she’d have to reach out to your parents.

You had asked if you could talk to them first, as the Japanese-English language barrier was sure to cause some problems. The coach had agreed but said that by tomorrow she herself would be contacting them anyways to touch base and offer support on how they were going to go about the whole issue.

“It’s ok. The coach is looking into it.” You stated as you fell back on your bed.

“It’s not ok! He’s such a sack of shit!” She hissed, clenching her fists at her side. “Man I ought to go out there and show him my goddamn batting skills.”

“Airi.” You called, grabbing her attention. “He’s going to get dealt with. That’s why I talk to the coach…” You said before offering a small smile.

You blond roommate narrowed her gaze at you before crossing her arms.

“I get why you’ve been spending so much time with Ryosuke… He’s probably the only person who knew…” She had a frown on her face and you could read the hurt in her voice.

“I didn’t tell anyone Airi… He wouldn’t have known if he hadn’t been the one to step in.” You said, sitting up to meet the shortstop’s gaze.

“No, I’m happy he was there. I’m just pissed that had he not been, you probably would have stayed quiet and we all would have just figured you were being moody. It upsets me that you thought that you had to take it all on by yourself. That you didn’t trust any of us enough to talk about it…” She said as she took a seat beside you, close enough that your shoulders brushed against each other.

You leant your head on her shoulder and let your eyes fall closed.

“I’m sorry… I’m working on it…” You murmured gently, “Thanks.” You then added, only to hear Airi sigh gently as a response.

0_0_0_0

The conversation with you parents had been a long one. Your mother had cried, even though you told her a zillion times that things were being taken care of and you had friends that had your back no matter what. Your father had remained deathly silent until the end until he asked what charges you’d be pressing. You promised him that you and your coach were taking the necessary steps towards the issue and that she’d also be getting into contact with them shortly. Even with all the explaining you got done, your parents still asked if you needed them to come to Japan effect of immediately. You promised them that there was no need to worry because, as you had previously stated, everyone was taking amazing care of you.

Similarly to the conversation with your parents, Max was extremely concerned. Alongside her concern, she was extremely angry and threatened to fly to Japan to kick Takeru’s ass. Even though you had chocked up somewhat, she managed to make you laugh while you had each other on Facetime. Airi even leant over and introduced herself, agreeing to make a pact in which Takeru would suffer greatly. Her English wasn’t as good as Ryosuke’s, but you filled in the blanks for her as the conversation went on and Max seemed to like her, so mission accomplished on that front.

Practice was, like you had expected, a welcomed distraction. Even with the coach sending you worried glances when she thought you weren’t looking, you managed to mostly focus on your drills. Just as he had promised, Ryosuke was waiting for you after you had finished showering and changing. You had his coat stretched over your shoulders, as it had become a sort of safeguard for when he wasn’t beside you.

“How’d it go?” He asked, pushing himself off of the wall smoothly.

You let a heavy sigh leave your lips, leaning into him just as heavily.

“I’m emotionally drained. Talking to the coach was enough, then I had to tell mom and dad. Then of course Max, not to mention Airi was in the room.” You huffed before closing your eyes. “I just want to go to bed and never get back up…”

“I’m glad you spoke to the coach. And I know it was probably difficult to talk to your parents, but I’m happy you did.” Ryosuke stated, handing in his pockets as he walked beside you.

“Airi wants to fight Takeru.” You huffed, your hands finding warmth in the pockets of Ryosuke’s coat.

“Wouldn’t be much of a fight.” Ryosuke stated with a shrug.

“Oh?” You took the bait he dangled before you.

“Isn’t going to be much left after I’m done with him.” A sinister smirk rose to Ryosuke’s lips, reminding you exactly why you’d given him his nickname.

“Stop it.” You huffed out laughter, knocking shoulders playfully. “I’d be bored if you went to jail.”

“Would only go to jail if I got caught.”

You rolled your eyes, though a smile rested on your lips. Ryosuke’s sinister smirk melted into a more genuine smile as well. Warmth spread to your cheeks quickly. You hoped you could play the lighting of the setting sun and the field’s lights coming on as being the cause. If Ryosuke noticed, he didn’t say anything. The both of you fell into a comfortable silence. Coming to a stop, the two of you balanced yourselves against the backstop to one of the baseball fields. You glanced over your shoulder, taking in the mountain that the boys called a mound. For you, the mound was flat, because your pitch rose, while theirs fell. You pictured Satoru’s steely glare as you wound up, before being replaced by a fierce golden gaze. Both Satoru and Eijun were beginning to appear in more and more games, meanwhile…

“What are you thinking of?”

You startled, momentarily having forgotten that you weren’t alone. You turned a sheepish gaze towards the second baseman.

“Something stupid.” You divulged.

Ryosuke rose a brow, as if demanding you to continue. You took a breath, sighing heavily before speaking again.

“I’ve been seeing Eijun and Satoru on the mound. Even Haru plays a game every now and then…” You mumbled, playing with the ends of your ponytail. “And here I am… I’m not getting any better, actually, I’m digressing. I’m getting worse. I went from hitting a homerun to hitting to the catcher. Then I got mixed up in this stupidity that has my head all jumbled and I can’t focus on what’s important… It’s so frustrating…”

Ryosuke turned his body towards you, as if to tell you he was giving you his full attention.

“Sorry… It’s so dumb. I just wanna be the ace I keep seeing in my dreams, and instead I’m the one that the tabloids focus on cause I’m causing some trouble or another…”

Your skull was trying its damndest to split in half. Your hands whipped up to caress the throbbing area.

“Takeru isn’t your fault. You’re not a robot. Stop demeaning yourself for having feelings.” The second baseman said before falling back against the fence. “I really wish you’d value yourself more.”

You blinked at Ryosuke’s words, a little shocked by them.

“I do—“

“No you don’t. You don’t even let yourself understand what’s happening around you. You can feel things. You can be hurt by things. You are allowed to fail… That’s what goals are set for in the first place. If they were easy, what point would there be in setting the goal in the first place?”

“But Eijun and Satoru—“

Ryosuke was beginning to look annoyed, and you couldn’t blame him. You were such a handful. It wasn’t his fault that you couldn’t rein your emotions in. It wasn’t his fault that the whole Takeru incident happened, and you hated that he was the one that had to deal with the downfall. The spaz attacks were too much. Even with Airi and him telling you it was ok to lean on them, you would rather not burden them… They were too good for this shit. You really wished it would just disappear. You wished you could just handle it or that you were better at putting up a strong front.

“You’re not Sawamura or Furuya. Nor are you me or my brother. You’re you, and that’s all you can be. Take your time… Enjoy learning. The second you make softball your job instead of your passion, that’s the second you’ve really lost.”

Ryosuke’s words snapped you out of your reverie. When they sunk in, they caused you to gasp and your back to straighten somewhat.

“Try to enjoy Seido, Miss Foul Ball Queen. You’ve only got three years.” The second baseman reached over and chopped you on the head with the strength of a feather as he smiled.

“I’ll try.” You replied, a soft smile taking over your features.

“That’s my girl.”

Your gaze snapped towards the second baseman, but he too, seemed just as shocked as you were. Pink tinged his cheeks, and there was no way he was playing that off as the lighting. Your own warm cheeks let you know that there was no way you could hide it this time either. You ran your fingers through your ponytail nervously, making a tangled mess. Your gaze left his, choosing to instead fall to your feet. You tried to speak, failed, cleared your throat, and then tried again.

“Y-your girl?” You asked, your face engulfed in a blush, and your gaze refusing to meet his.

Your mother tongue spoke miles for how surprised and shaken you were. You fingers were forced to stop their path through your hair. Your eyes fell on Ryosuke’s hands as he gently pulled your fingers away from where they were tangled. Calloused fingers wrapped gingerly, gently around shaking fingers. Your gaze followed the hand that guided yours higher until they stopped mere centimeters from his face. You jolted when his lips brushed your knuckles gently.

“My girl.” He confirmed, his gaze fixed firmly on you.  

Chapter Text

Chapter 15:

“What?!”

Your cheeks were warm enough to cook eggs on them while both Airi and Max exclaimed surprise. Max’s curls bounced on the other side of the screen while Airi clapped her hands excitedly. Meanwhile, you tried to hide behind your fingers, unwelcoming towards all the damn attention. Your phone vibrated, blocking the top of Max’s face as the message popped up.

‘I’ve never seen this look on my brother’s face before. Is he ok?’

“Ah! Haru texted me!” You shrieked, almost throwing your phone away in shock.

Your features darkened as the night’s events came back to you.

“Haru?”

“Baby Kominato.” Airi responded with a thick accent, to which Max only rose a brow. “Ryosuke’s little brother.” Your teammate cleared up, Max answering with a sound of understanding.

“So, what did he say?” Your best friend prodded.

“He says something’s up with Ryosuke.” You stated while chewing your lip.

“I’ll say. You got him to ask you out!” Airi exclaimed, clapping her hands together excitedly once again.

“Hey. English. I wanna know the scoop!” Max exclaimed, causing both you and Airi to smile sheepishly.

0_0_0_0

You were still on cloud nine when you walked into class the next morning. Haruichi looked up from the book on his desk and rose his brow as you practically skipped towards your desk. You set your bag down and began pulling your school supplies out before turning towards the pinklet.

“Good morning Haru!” You exclaimed.

“Morning. So, did you lose your phone or something?” He asked, brow still raised.

“Oh my god! I forgot to answer you again, didn’t I?!” You gasped. “I’m so sorry Haru, I was talking to Max over FaceTime. I really didn’t mean to ignore you.” You stated before putting your hands together. “Forgive me?” You asked, cracking an eye open to take in the pinklet’s reaction.

He leant back into his chair, letting a sigh leave his lips. He marked his page with his bookmark before shutting it and pushing it to the side.

“I feel like both you and my brother are keeping secrets from me.” He muttered before turning away from you.

You pulled your hands apart, a small frown on your face before you stood and made your way towards to pinklet.

“I’m sorry that I’ve been so hard to deal with. You’re a great friend Haru.” You wrapped an arm around his shoulder in a half hug before sitting back down. “I.. Um.” You rubbed at the back of your head. “The reason I’ve been so… distant lately…” You chewed into your lips before meeting Haruichi’s gaze.

This shouldn’t be so hard to talk about. You had told Airi and Max… You had told your coach and your parents. You had told Ryosuke. That had been the most difficult. Haruichi was worried, you should be able to talk to him about it. You wrapped your arms around your torso before taking a deep breath.

“Takeru tried to force himself onto me.” The words tasted like acid as they left your lips. Your gaze fell towards the floor as you felt Haruichi go rigid.

He took a deep breath, before he was probably going to say something until he was rudely interrupted by a voice from the doorway.

“Don’t lie. Takeru would never look your way, much less try anything with you, first year.” You gasped before your gaze lifted towards the girl standing at the doorway.

Her tie gave her away as a third year student. At her side she had two girls who were snickering at her words. You felt your heart sink as she set her cold gaze onto you.

“Takeru’s been suspended for a few weeks as they look into your case. You’re just looking for attention.” She scoffed.

You could feel your cheeks heating up as she spoke to you.

“Dragging Ryosuke down wasn’t enough for you? You had to drag Takeru down too?”

The two girls next to her continued to snicker as your stomach turned, causing you to feel sick. She was right, you were causing Ryosuke more trouble than you were worth.

“Must be nice have Ryosuke to dote on you. What’s your secret?” She asked, and you felt as though someone had stabbed you in the gut.

“I didn’t do anything wrong—“

“You should just admit you’re lying. That way Takeru can come back to school and put this whole conundrum behind him. Some first year girl being an attention whore…”

“That’s enough.”

You flinched at the words before turning towards Haruichi. He had a frown on his face, and the girls at the door look flustered for all of three seconds before the one in the middle, probably the head hauncho, let a smirk emerge.

“So not only do you have Ryosuke at your feet, you’re playing his baby brother like a fiddle as well. How many guys do you have wrapped around your finger?” She purred, looking far too smug.

You felt as though you were going to throw up. All the happiness you had felt from last night and that had seeped into your morning routine… It was gone. The girls giggled as the warning bell rang, demanding everyone to head towards class. The three girls turned on their heels, making their way down the hall, followed by their smug giggling. Meanwhile students filtered into the room, and as each one stepped foot into the room, you felt more and more constrained. Breathing was getting too hard when you felt someone grab your arm and drag you out of your seat. You turned a fearful gaze towards Haruichi, who looked beyond irked before you stumbled after him, being dragged along by your arm. Of course he was pissed… those girls had dragged him and brother through the dirt… and what for? The transfer student who didn’t stop causing problems. Oh no… here they came… the familiar sting behind your eyes as the pinklet in front of you weaved through the throngs of first years making their way towards class until you were in an empty stair well. He dropped your arm and you took the opportunity to wipe at and cover your face. Not only were you causing Ryosuke problems, but now Haruichi too? What were you? Some sort of plague?

“I-I’m sorry H-Haru… I didn’t want for th-this to happen. I really didn’t m-mean t-to drag you guys in-into my mess. I’m sorry.” You could feel the sob in your throat chocking you.

“Please stop apologizing.” Haruichi sighed. “I knew something was going on… but this… And how is it that you could only tell my brother?”

You let your hands fall from your face, your cheeks irritated with tear tracks. You saw Haruichi’s eyes soften behind the curtain of hair he hid behind.

“He…” Your voice cracked so you cleared your throat before trying again. “Ryosuke was th-there… The n-night that Takeru…” You tore your gaze away from Haruichi, chewing on your bottom lip excessively. “He stopped Takeru.”

You heard the shaky breath that left Haruichi’s lips before he leant back against the stairwell. You rose your gaze to see his palms pushing the hair out of his face as he wiped at it.

“I didn’t know it was this messed up.” He said after a bout of silence.

“I didn’t want to drag everyone into—“

“Stop that.” His glare was harsh, something you weren’t expecting, though it softened after he saw you flinch. “You need to accept that others care about you. Trying to do everything on your own is just stupid…” The younger Kominato let his hair fall back into his face.

You chuckled half-heartedly, wiping at your face again.

“So everyone keeps saying.” You muttered before you heard the bell ring. The two of you glanced towards the hall before making your way towards your homeroom. “Thanks Haru. I know there are always people here for me. I’m working on the trust thing. I appreciate you helping me out.”

The pinklet smiled, though it looked a little forced, before the two of you let yourself into your classroom.

0_0_0_0

Lunch didn’t come quick enough, though you had to spend the first few minutes on cleaning duty with Haruichi, seeing how you were late to class. Satoru was confused by both of your tardies, but both you and Haruichi shrugged it off. After finishing off the cleaning, you rushed towards the cafeteria. Your phone buzzed in your pocket, causing you to slow down and check who was texting you.

‘Did you get lost?’

You glanced up to see Ryosuke leaning on a pillar not too far away. Probably waiting for you. Hopefully waiting for you. You bounded up to him with a smile on your lips before speaking.

“Nope. I just had cleaning duty with Haru. Accidentally earned a tardie.” You scratched at the back of your head with a sheepish smile.

“How were you late? Did practice run late?” Ryosuke asked while raising a brow.

“No. Rough morning.” You offered a meek smile. “But don’t worry, Haru was with me!” You added quickly, seeing the frown that marred the second baseman’s face.

“What happened?” He asked, pushing off the wall as if to show you that you had his full attention.

“I told Haru about Takeru.” You sighed before leaning against the wall. “And it was a little harder than I thought it would be. So we were a little late.” You said before taking a deep breath and offering a smile. “For now, I’m starving. Can we go get lunch?”

Ryosuke was scrutinizing your face, as if looking for the lie. You had chosen to omit the third year girls that had popped in. There was no reason to worry Ryosuke any further. He had enough issues to deal with, what with this whole thing with Takeru. Eventually, he sighed and turned towards the exit, heading towards the shared cafeteria between both the softball and baseball teams.

“Do you wanna stand in the batter’s box for me tonight?” You asked, feeling a shy blush rise to your cheeks. “I-I would ask Airi, but she had a gaming tournament tonight that she’s really been looking forward to…”

You grabbed at the cuffs of your uniform, nerves getting the better of you before you heard a chuckle from beside you.

“Kuramochi was babbling on and on about a video game thing tonight as well, so I suppose my partner is busy as well.” Ryosuke stated before shrugging. “As long as you work on your swing after you’re done with pitching.”

Excitement rushed through your veins and it took everything within you to compose yourself and not jump up and down.

“Deal!” You exclaimed with a smile.

Ryosuke showed one of his rare, genuine smiles before it was quickly replaced with a smirk.

“If you hit me, I’ll make practice a living hell.” He promised, his features darkening.

“Oh, Oni-chan is back.” You stated with a roll of your eyes, easily dodging the chop aimed from the crown of your head. “Missed me.” You teased, sticking your tongue out before bounding ahead.

Ryosuke shook his head at your antics, though there was still a smile on his face. Your grin could only get larger as the two of you walked into the cafeteria to grab food. You both grabbed your trays and made your way towards Kuramochi who sat beside Miyuki and seemed to be seething. The second you sat down Airi plopped down next to you, Yuki right beside her with a smile on their faces. Eijun and Satoru followed soon after, and Haruichi wasn’t too far behind. You took in the conversations that flowed around you and couldn’t help the smile that rose to your face. The whole issue with Takeru was really hard to deal with on your own, but that was just it. You weren’t alone. You had everyone here to help you out. Airi who was a spit fire and ready to storm right towards Takeru, Max and Ryosuke not too far behind. Kuramochi who was a little off putting at first, but a soft as a marshmallow on the inside. Haruichi and the other first year boys who were always there to help you out in a pinch. You were so blessed for having met these people. And just when you thought you were going to cry, he was always right there for you. Your gaze fell to the bench you were sitting on, where your left hand balanced you while your right played with the fork in your food. Funnily enough, Ryosuke, although his attention was on Kuramochi and Miyuki as the two bantered, had his right hand brush against yours gently, comforting you silently, in his own way. He was reminding you that you were never alone.

Chapter Text

Chapter 16:

You wiped the sweat from your brow with your arm. Clad in Ryosuke’s team jacket, you took a deep breath before going into your pitching motion. You sent the ball out with a fierce flick, watching as it barreled down until it hit the inside bottom corner of the strike zone. A beautiful pitch that most people would have a hard time with.

“It’s different to see the pitch rising instead of falling.”

Ryosuke stood in the batter’s box, bat leaning on his shoulders. You looked up at the roof of the practice area before letting the ground catch you. You distinctly heard a bat hit the ground before Ryosuke popped into your vision. A small chuckle left your lips as you reached up in a quick movement, wrapping your fingers around his arms and tugging so that he fell beside you.

“I’m done with practice.” You stated with a grin.

Ryosuke was silent for a few beats before he let a sigh leave his lips. You giggled once more before leaning into his shoulder. He was tense before slowly relaxing against your touch.

“I thought you were passing out.” He huffed, annoyed with your antics.

“Thank god I wasn’t. You were so slow I definitely woulda smashed my face on the ground.” You rolled your eyes playfully, earning yet another huff from Ryosuke. “I’m just tired. It’s been a rough few days.” You said before pressing your forehead into Ryosuke’s shoulder. “Thank you for being here with me.”

“You’re holding me against my will, I don’t really have a choice.”

You scoffed as Ryosuke lifted your head slightly with his shoulder before letting it back down on the ground. He chuckled at your expense before putting an arm over his eyes, probably blocking out the bright florescent lights.

“I’m glad you’re talking to people.” He stated, and you could hear the smile in his voice.

“Yea. I’m glad I told Haru. I think he was beginning to think I was avoiding him.” You sighed before rolling over so that you were no longer leaning on Ryosuke’s shoulder.

You needed to ask him a question. No more of this small talk. Even though you knew what you wanted to ask, your nerves had you second guessing whether it was really a good idea. What if he was appalled by the question? Would you be able to live that down? Your stress was continuing to build up before you felt Ryosuke’s shoulder knock into yours, snapping you out of your reverie.

“You’re twitching. What’s up?”

You sank your teeth into your cheek to snap yourself out of it before taking a deep breath. This was Ryosuke you were talking to. There was no way he’d ridicule you over something this serious. Granted, he did enjoy picking on you, but he’d definitely take you seriously this time… right?

“[Your name]?” he asked, pushing himself up on onto his elbows, peeking into your vision.

“Hey Ryosuke…” You turned over so you were looking at him again, though, at your tone, he tensed up. “What…” Your heart beat accelerated, demanding you take another deep breath before you tried once again. “What are we?” You finally mustered, your gaze falling to the floor, cheeks dusted in a pink hue.

You heard Ryosuke shuffling beside you and wondered if he was just going to leave you there. Maybe he was so appalled by the mere thought that you believed you were anything more than friends. Maybe you had absolutely no shot with Seido’s number one shortstop. What in God’s name ever gave you the idea that you were good enough for this boy?

“I can feel you panicking from over here.”

You gasped before looking up to see Ryosuke offering you a hand. Your fingers curled into your palms as you sat up, antsy energy running rampant in your veins. You glanced back at Ryosuke, who still had his hand out, offering to help you up. The corners of his lips were raised in a barely there smile that you had grown to decipher separate from the smirks he usually adorned. That smile that made butterflies flutter in your stomach, and your fingers tingle in anticipation as to what he’d do next. Slowly, you rose your pitching hand towards the hand that Ryosuke had extended for you. Slowly, you let his calloused palm wrap around your own, practice making itself evident on both your behalves. After having helped you up, he turned without a word, tugging on your arm gently as to drag you out of the bullpen and towards the open space. Letting yourselves onto one of the empty fields, Ryosuke pulled you towards the mound before stepping back. The second he dropped your hand you immediately missed the warmth that came from him. You stood on the small mountain of dirt that the baseball team pitched from, while Ryosuke stood just off of it, between you and the plate at home.

“You know,” He started, snapping you out of your reverie. “You have so much confidence when you stand at the center of attention. I’ve seen that smile on your face as you throw the third strike that sends the opponent back to the dugout, or the way you pump your fist when your fielders have your back for the out after a beautiful pitch that corners the batter.” You felt your face explode into a blush, embarrassment making your ears warm. “When you’re on the field, I can feel your confidence from miles away, but when it comes to your personal endeavors… You shy away from them. You’re a strong girl, [your name]. I’ve seen glimpses of your confidence, and I hope you’ll begin to let it seep into your private life as well.”

You could feel your eyes beginning to sting as Ryosuke spoke, but he continued on nonetheless, chuckling gently as the tears finally started to fall when you were unable to hide them any longer. He stepped back onto the mound and reached towards you, gently wiping the tears away before shaking his head.

“I was trying to be inspirational, not to make you cry.” He said as you tried to put yourself back together.

“You didn’t answer the question.” You muttered as you brushed your palms over your cheeks and eyes to get rid of the evidence.

Ryosuke hummed as he stepped back, as if to give you your personal space back. He probably meant no harm, but you couldn’t help the feel of hurt that blossomed at his actions.

“I know that with everything going on right now, you need your space. If you’re asking me if I’ve feelings for you…” Ryosuke took a deep breath, and you felt your heart attempting to kill you with how fast it was beating. “I do.” He replied, his voice nothing but a soft murmur.

Your eyes widened in shock as you took in his words. He did? Ryosuke had feelings for you? Ryosuke Kominato had feelings for you! Your gaze was drawn to his cheeks that were darkening by the second, and you already knew that you had no other choice. How could you not have a crush on this boy?

“But, I’m not going to rush into anything. I don’t want to freak you out—“

You cut Ryosuke off by throwing your arms around his neck. Letting a deep breath out, you felt the smile stretch across your lips. How hard were you squeezing right now? Probably holding on for dear life. The probability of this being a dream and not reality was a constant buzz in the back of your head.

“Thank God…” You whispered.

Slowly, but surely, you felt arms wrapping around your waist. At first, you were happy with the gesture—Ryosuke was hugging you back!—But soon enough you felt as though you were being restricted. You pulled your arms away too quickly and stumbled back. Ryosuke caught your left hand before you could fall. You whipped your head back towards him in time to catch the hurt that flashed through his eyes. He wiped it away within the next second and you felt as if you’d just been punched in the gut. You stumbled, your hand still in Ryosuke’s as your knees hit the ground.

“I’m so sorry…” You muttered as you stared at his shoes.

“It’s ok.”

“No it’s not! It’s not your fault! And yet I—" You cut yourself off as you had begun to practically scream.

Ryosuke crouches down next to you, bringing your linked hands into view.

“Do you see this?” He asked gently.

Meanwhile, you chewed on your lower lip. Of course you saw your linked hands, but what did it matter if every time you were hugged by your boyfriend, you would immediately be brought back to that brick wall that dug into your back, and that pair of arms that held you in place where that wall kept getting closer and closer.

“Breathe.”

You gasped as you felt the back of your own hand tap your cheek gently. You forced your gaze upwards, to meet Ryosuke’s. He nodded as you forced a deep breath into your lungs.

“That’s it.” He encouraged, as he pushed down the attack that had begun to surface. “It’s not your fault either.” He then spoke up as you calmed down. “I know… That it’s going to take time… And I know that whenever you jerk away… It’s not because of me…” His gaze drifted off to the side. “It’s hard… Seeing you jerk away from me, because it’s not either of our faults.”

A frown slowly made itself to your lips. You were hurting the boy you were supposed to be showering in love. He’d done so much for you, and yet, the only thing you’ve done is brought him pain.

“Stop that.”

You focused on Ryosuke’s face once again, seeing the frown that had taken over that small smile.

“I want you to trust me. I want you to be able to come to me for whatever. So we’re going to take it slow. You need to tell me when I make you uncomfortable. I want you to feel safe around me. We’ll work together. How… does that sound?”

You blinked at Ryosuke, shocked by the words that left his lips. He squeezed the hand within his own gently, and offered a small smile.

“It’s all us Foul Ball Queen.”  He then muttered, and you could swear to any God out there, because you had just fallen in love with Ryosuke Kominato all over again.

0_0_0_0

“Woa Woa. Slow down. Try that again. I think I heard you wrong.”

You were practically buzzing when you stepped foot into your dorm room. Airi had a small smile as you jumped up and down. Of course you had told her the second you got into your room. You couldn’t hide the excited smile that wouldn’t leave your lips; even when Ryosuke told you he had to go meet up with Kuramochi for some practice, granted that you were ok. You were way better than ok.

“So, correct me if I’m wrong. But did you just say you’re dating the kid that constantly causes you issues? Like the short, sadistic looking one?”

Airi giggled at Max’s words before she too decided to speak.

“They’re like grade-schoolers.” Even with the shortstop’s heavy accent, Max managed to understand the connotations.

“For real!!!” Max exclaimed, her giggles causing her to need a break to breathe before she spoke again. “He picked on you then you got together.”

A dark blush consumed your cheeks, but the smile never left. So what if the road there was a little difficult. You’d finally gotten the courage to tell Ryosuke how you felt. Even better yet, he felt the same way! Not only that, but he was also willing to work with you when it came to conquering your proximity issues.

“Yep. We’re together.” You agreed with a smile both your roommate and best friend returned.  

Chapter Text

Chapter 17:

Sweat dripped down the side of your face, though you attempted to pay it no mind. Instead, your eyes were locked on Yui’s fingers as she signaled your next pitch. You took a deep breath after nodding, winding up for the pitch. The count was full and you were looking for the third out of the inning. Your arm flung out, the ball leaving your fingers smoothly. The batter swung before the ball landed in Yui’s glove.

“Strike three!” Was shouted loud and clear and you pumped your fist.

You spun towards the bleachers, knowing full well that he’d be right there. You smiled, excitement wafting off you in waves before offering a victory peace sign. Heading back towards the dugout, Airi gave you a high-five, Yui ruffled your hair and you coach gave you a supportive thumbs up.

“What a change up, kid!”

Your pride shone through as your coach praised you.

“Keep it up [your name]! This game is ours yet!” Yui raised her glove, and you quickly tapped it with your own: agreeing whole-heartedly with her statement.

0_0_0_0

“Would you look at that; a pitcher that would put Narumiya himself to shame.”

A fiery blush took over your cheeks as you made your way out off the field. A few catcalls left your upperclassmen’s lips as Ryosuke made his way towards you.

“We’ll catch up at the dorms. Don’t keep her out too late.” The last sentence was directed at Ryosuke, who smirked at Airi as way of response after she turned to catch up with Yui.

“Your mother’s very overprotective.” He mussed as the two of you made your way towards the dorms.

“Wait until you meet Max.” You stated with a small grin.

Turning to look towards the sky, you took a deep breath. You shyly brushed your knuckles against Ryosuke, before yet another blush took over your cheeks. He didn’t even question it, he merely interlocked your fingers. You smiled as you made your way towards your dorm room. One of your shoulders was occupied by your equipment while on the other side, your fingers rested within Ryosuke’s hand.

“Tonight some of us are going to head out for dinner. Do you want to come?”

You blinked at the question before turning towards Ryosuke.

“Wait, wait, wait. Are you signing yourself up for torment from your entire team?” You asked while raising a brow, slight smirk gracing your lips. “’Cause, last I checked, you were the one that teased, never really on the receiving end. Well… unless it’s from yours truly.” You snickered as Ryosuke aimed one of his famous chops at you halfheartedly.

“I rescind my invitation.”

You gasped playfully, pulling your hand free to amplify it.

“You’d rather them tease you about your girlfriend not wanting to go out with you?” You mused, keeping your shocked façade.

Ryosuke kept his smirk as he raised a brow.

“I didn’t say the whole team would be going.” He mused as you rolled your eyes.

“Whatever. I gotta shower.” You picked up your pace as your dorms came into view. “Meet you at the gate in like, half an hour?” you asked as you pushed your gate open.

“I know Japanese isn’t your mother tongue so I’ll say it again; I uninvited you.

“I love it when you speak English to me.” You said coyly, enjoying the blush that arose to Ryosuke’s cheeks.

The shock that took over his features was also endearing. He hadn’t been ready for that type of comment. While you did poke at him when you got the chance, it was usually Ryosuke who was teasing you and causing you to blush. You could kind of understand why it was that he enjoyed it so much.

“Get going. You stink.” He stated, trying to recover after the shocked silence he’d just offered.

“Aye-aye captain. See you in a bit.” You called as you made your way to the building.

Once showered and dressed, you had your headphones in while Max chattered away on your Facetime call. You chuckled at her dismay at an assignment due the next day and her way of procrastinating until the very last minute.

“Ok. Enough about me. Tell me more about you and pinky.”

You chocked on the water you were drinking before falling into a fit of laughter. It was a mix of chocking and laughing, and it had Max concerned as you tried to pull yourself together with tears in the corner of your eyes.

“God, if he ever heard that…” You rubbed at your eyes to get rid of the tears.

“I like it. Thinking it’s gonna be his new nickname.” Max said with a nod of her head.

“I think I’ll pass. I don’t wanna see hell today.” You mused as you pulled the gate closed in front of the female dorms before making her way towards the boys’ dorms.

“You’re no fun.” Max pouted as you chuckled once more.

“Youichi had been complaining for ever about being hungry and you’re on the phone.”

You glanced up from Max to see Ryosuke leaning on the gate, his arms crossed over his chest. You offered a sheepish smile and a small wave before Max demanded you attention.

“That’s him, isn’t it!” She called excitedly.

“Sorry, my best friend called.” You said as you came up next to Ryosuke.

“You took so long everyone went on ahead.” Ryosuke said as he pushed himself off of where he was leaning.

“I did say I’d be half an hour or so. It’s only been twenty-five minutes or so.” You shrugged.

“Fine. Keep your secrets.” You turned back to Max and laughed at her expense.

“Sorry Max. He’s giving me crap for being late when I still have like four minutes.” You sent a pointed look towards Ryosuke.

“Girl. Take your earphones out. I wanna meet Pinky.” Max’s ginger curls bounced as she leant back into her desk chair and crossed her arms.

“Ca va la? Il va me tuer si il entende son nouveau nickname.” (French for: Are you well? He’s gonna kill me if he hears his new nickname.)

Max rose her brow at your use of the French dialect. It was rusty and less fluent than the Japanese you’d been using for the last couple of months. You coughed into your hand and pulled your earphones out and pocketed them.

“Please be civil.” You warned, but to which one, you had no idea.

You stepped closer to Ryosuke so that the two of you fit into the frame. It was silent for all of three seconds before Max smirked.

“Hello Pinky.”

You nearly dropped your phone on the concrete path below you. Turning a sheepish gaze towards Ryosuke, you knew it was over with the way he was smirking.

“I thought you Canadians were supposed to be polite.” Ryosuke stated, his heavy accent leaking through the words.

“Oh good. He speaks English.” Max sighed in relief before turning a piercing glare towards him once more. “Alrighty Pinky, listen up. I’m not in Japan so I’m gonna trust you in this whole ‘Keep Take-douche Away From [Your name]’ mission to you and Airi.”

You groaned and pushed your phone into Ryosuke’s hands in favor of using yours to cover your embarrassment.

“I’m getting drilled by your best friend…” He stated, but you could hear the smile in his voice.

“I’m so sorry. I told her to chill.” You grumbled before you heard max cough.

“Honestly, I didn’t get a word of that, but I’m pretty certain that it had something to do with me so… Pinky—“ Max waited for Ryosuke to turn his attention back towards her. “Please take care of my best friend.” Max showed a genuine smile before it changed into a small smirk. “But if you break her heart, I’ve been watching Demon Slayer and I’m certain I can take you.”

You held your breath before hearing Ryosuke chuckle.

“She can take care of herself. But I’ll keep an eye on her for you.” He offered, his smirk speaking levels for his amusement.

“Perfect! Pass me back to [Your name]!” Ryosuke complied, handing you your phone while still looking rather entertained. “I love you girl. I gotta go do some school shit. Take care of yourself! Say hi to Airi for me!” With that Max ended the call and you were met with your home screen.

You sat there in silence for a few seconds before Ryosuke just started laughing. You turned towards him in shock, because this level of mirth wasn’t something you were used to seeing in the shorter boy.

“That was something.” He stated, his amusement still highly evident in his features.

“Can we pretend it never happened?” You asked with a smidgen of hope.

“Absolutely not.” Ryosuke smirked, pulling a groan from you.

0_0_0_0

You were sat between Kuramochi and Ryosuke. Across from you was the first year trio, and by God’s grace—Though probably more likely due to Ryosuke’s scrutiny—Eijun was actually using an indoor voice. Across the tiny walking space, some of the third years chatted away amicably, Miyuki joining their ranks for a break from the two needy pitchers at your own table.

“I knew it! You had a girlfriend!” Your blush darkened as Jun leaned over Yuki to get a better look at you.

“No need to show jealousy’s ugly, rearing head, Jun.” Ryosuke replied nonchalantly, smirk growing as your own blush creeped down your neck.

Haruichi chuckled lightly at your expense, even as you sent a glare his way.

“I’m not jealous!” Jun practically shouted, earning a glare from the cook.

He bowed his head in apology before turning back towards your table.

“She is pretty though.” He offered with a much quieter tone and an embarrassed blush.

His comment caused you to cover your face, heat emanating indefinitely. Ryosuke rose his brow in Jun’s direction before putting his chin on your shoulder.

“Stop hitting on my girlfriend. I thought we were friends.”

You peaked through your fingers to catch Jun gaping like a fish, and everyone else getting a good laugh out of the situation. You leant back into Ryosuke a little more, and even though he raised a brow in question to your antics, he supported your weight. After a little more banter, the waiter started setting trays in front of everyone. Eijun had absolutely abysmal table manners, made clear as Haruichi chastised him and shoved napkins towards him. Kuramochi seemed amused as he took in this endeavor. The other boys seemed to be focusing on a stat book, Jun pointing aggressively at a player’s name and expressing his disdain. The stats bounced off Miyuki’s glasses, the reflection covering what was sure to be a calculative gaze. Ryosuke had detached from you in favor of his food, but you were still comfortable. A quick glance beside you showed Ryosuke was watching the first year trio as Haruichi fumbled to keep both Furuya and Eijun from being either thrown out based on their messy table manners or loud rivalry.

“You plan on letting that get cold?” Kuramochi asked before stealing something right off your plate.

Gasping you snatched something off his before quickly plopping it in your mouth.

“Don’t steal my food.” You challenged, narrowing your eyes at the shortstop.

Kuramochi snickered in response before nodding your attention towards Ryosuke. Upon turning around, you watched as the second baseman enjoyed yet another delicacy from your plate. Gasping you flopped back into the booth with a pout.

“You guys aren’t fair, ganging up on me.” You grumbled to which they both laughed at your expense.

Their laughs were contagious and soon reciprocated by yourself, but when Ryosuke went for yet another bite, you shielded your plate away.

“Eat your own!” You said before hastily taking a bite of your own food before it disappeared.

Ryosuke showed one of his very rare genuine smiles, and although it was small, you reciprocated in full before enjoying the rest of your meal without any more attempts of burglary.

Chapter Text

Chapter 18:

Ryosuke walked you back to your dorm room. Airi even came out to say hi. Dinner was really good, and although some of the boys were rambunctious, you’d still had a good time. When the door was pulled closed behind you, you found yourself missing the warmth of Ryosuke’s hand in your own. That night, only good dreams floated through your head.

The next morning Airi was up before the alarm. You awoke to her shuffling around the room. She had pulled out an entire array of hair supplies and dumped it into her desk. Blinking the sleep out of your eyes, you sat up with a yawn, causing her to jump.

“Oh! Sorry. Did I wake you?” she asked, having the decency to look sheepish.

“Nah.” You replied, another yawn leaving your lips. “There’s only a couple minutes until the alarm anyways.”

“Oh good! Help me pick what to wear tonight!” She stated, throwing the closet open.

The petite blonde shuffled a bit before pulling out a few outfits. Reds, blues, purples and blacks were hung up on one of the beams on the bunkbed. You continued to stare at them, not entirely awake just yet. In the meantime, Airi was shuffling around the room, pulling out different shoes.

“Are you going out tonight? Oh!” You gasped, turning an excited gaze towards Airi. “Kuramochi found out about your crush and asked you out?!” You just barely kept yourself from yelling.

Airi’s face exploded in a blush nonetheless before she quickly shook her hands in front of her.

“N-no! You promised to never bring that up again! We had a deal!” Airi was adorable with how uncomfortable she was.

“Well, I’m just confused.” You stated.

“It’s the school dance tonight… Ryosuke hasn’t asked you?” Airi gave you a piteous look before glancing towards the clothes she’d hung to scrutinize.

“It’s probably not his thing. I don’t blame him. It’ll probably be a bunch of loud music with teens awkwardly rubbing up against each other. Not really my thing either.” You said while shrugging.

“[your name].” Airi deadpanned. “You listen to heavy metal music.” She rose a brow at you, as if to challenge you disagreeing with you.

“Yea, but it keep me motivated to work hard. Can’t really dance to it.” You shrugged again.

“Sure you can. Moshpits.” Airi said while wiggling her eyebrows.

“No thanks.” You chuckled as you pulled your softball pants on. “Common. We’re gonna be late for practice pageant queen.” You joked before nodding towards all the hair products on the desk.

“Shut up.” Airi stated with a roll of her eyes before she too began to get ready for practice.

0_0_0_0

It was late afternoon, and it was one of the rare time Ryosuke was relaxing instead of going Spartan on himself like usual with extra practice. Yoichi kept reminding him about how relaxing was part of training too. He’d have to try to think of it more, but it made him feel restless. Though, to be fair, it wasn’t as restless as his fielding partner was being a few feet away while mashing away at his gaming control.

“Are you losing?” Ryosuke mused, not entirely sure how these games worked.

He didn’t really game too much. It was something he didn’t need distracting him from his practice. Yoichi has also told him that he needed a way to blow some steam, but he wouldn’t be choosing mindless mashing anytime soon. Instead, the older Kominato usually found himself with a horror novel tucked in his hands in his off time.

“No. I’m winning.” Yoichi grumbled, clearly not amused.

“Shouldn’t you be happier if you’re winning?” Ryosuke asked, placing his finger as a marker and shutting his novel on it.

“It’s too easy without that guy around.” The shortstop muttered, clearly pouting.

“What guy?” The pinklet asked, showing his fielding partner a little interest.

“Shot_From_Short.” Yoichi glanced behind him. “He and I usually kick each other’s asses when we have the time. He’s always on around this time. Never one to use a mic.”

“How do you know it isn’t a girl that’s kicking your ass?” Ryosuke mused.

“I guess I don’t. I sort of assumed—“

“Don’t do that. It makes an ass out of you and me.”

Yoichi grimaced at Ryosuke’s stupid joke before turning back to his screen. He made quick work of logging out before leaning back against the bed frame.

“It’s boring if there’s no one to compete with.” He muttered.

Ryosuke hummed in answer before leaning back and getting interested in his novel once more.

“Are you taking [your name] to the dance that started…. About an hour ago?”

The question was something he’d been expecting for a while now. He wondered why it had taken his best friend so long to ask.

“Probably not. I’m assuming being mashed against other bodies isn’t her thing as much as it isn’t mine.” Ryosuke stated with a shrug.

“Stop making it sound like a rave. How do you know she wouldn’t enjoy it?” Yoichi asked while rolling his eyes.

“I’m worried it will set off a reaction akin to the panic attacks she gets when she thinks about… that night.” Ryosuke chucked his book to the side, his interest in it crumbling in favor to this conversation.

“Oh… Didn’t think about that…” The shortstop looked meeked, something that made Ryosuke a little uncomfortable.

“Yea… I just don’t want to invite her to it and for it to end… not well.

“Did you talk to her about it? Maybe she really wants to go?” Yoichi offered with a shrug.

“I know her roommate really wants to go.”

“Rikako?” Yoichi turned his full attention towards Ryosuke.

The pinklet’s lips twitched into a small smirk before he responded.

“Yea, Rikako.” He replied.

“She’s a pretty good player. I’ve seen her working on sprints. Pretty sure we’d have a good race. I’d win obviously, but she’s pretty fast.”

“You want to ask her to the dance.”

Yoichi’s face was in flames not a second after the words left Ryosuke’s lips. He sputtered on the spot, his eyes growing large in surprise at his fielding partner’s ability to read through him so easily.

“I-We—She’d never say yes.” Yoichi chewed into his lower lip.

“Only one way to find out.” Ryouske encourage with a slight shrug.

“We’ve never even talked! Like I don’t think We’ve said more than four words to each other.”

“Then don’t ask. But don’t just sit here and mope either.”

“This is my room.” Yoichi rose a brow at Ryouske. “I can mope however much I want if I deem it necessary.”

“You’re so childish.” Ryosuke sighed before pushing himself off of the bed.

Just as he was grabbing his horror novel, the TV made a notification sound.

“Oh thank god!” Yoichi huffed, sitting up and grabbing his controller.

“What was that?” Ryosuke asked with a raised brow.

“Shot_From_Short invited me to a match.”

“I’m gonna head out. I don’t want to listen to the noise anymore.” Ryosuke slipped into his shoes.

“Alrighty. See you later Ryo.” Kuramochi called as he joined the match.

Ryosuke caught his fielding partner’s ridiculous username flash across the screen before he let himself out.

0_0_0_0

Airi had come back from the dance looking both annoyed and bored. She thrown her shoes at the wall before plopping herself in front of the TV with vigor. She turned her gaming system on before navigating to her Call of Duty game.

“You ok?” You ventured, your voice gentle.

“Yea. Just annoyed. Some dude tried to grab my ass. Jackass. I got kicked out for slapping him.”

You chuckled lightly before sitting down next to her. Airi pulled up her friends list before a small smile tugged at her lips. She’d complained about her companion Mushi_Mochi on many occasions, but you knew she enjoyed their competitions. It was just the distraction she was going to need. The shortstop didn’t even hesitate to send the other user an invite to a team death match. You knew she didn’t care who the other players were, she just wanted to play against her friend. A knock at the door startled the both of you, pulling your attention from the loading screen.

“Coming!” You called and you pushed yourself up from where you’d planted yourself next to your roommate to offer moral support.

In pulling the door open, a smile split across your face.

“Tell me you haven’t come to kidnap me in the middle of the night Oni-chan.” You asked dramatically.

You heard Airi snicker behind you before the noise of the game started.

“I was going to ask for company on a walk, but I’m starting to think a little quiet will do me good.” Ryosuke mused as he turned away.

“Wait! Let me just grab a coat!” You called as the second baseman made his way away from your door.

You quickly grabbed the baseball jacket off the post of you bed, the one with Kominato spelt across the back proudly, before pulling it on. Airi growled before throwing her controller above her head and catching it.

“Fucking Mochi!” She hissed, earning a small smirk from the demon at the door.

“I’ll be back in a bit Airi! Try not to beat him too bad.” You called before letting the door close behind you.

It wasn’t quick enough to cut off Airi’s ‘Be good kids!’, causing you to chuckle somewhat before catching up to Ryosuke. You bumped shoulders with him, earning a slight smirk before you fell into step beside him.

“Did you want to talk about something?” You asked, smile in place.

“Is it not ok for me to just want to see my girlfriend?” Ryosuke asked with a slight cocking of his head.

His smirk grew as the pink in your cheeks darkened.

“I-I didn’t think demons had feelings.” You muttered, trying to draw attention away from your embarrassment.

“I’m more worried about the girl who fell in love with a demon. There must be something wrong with her.” He mused.

“Two things.” You stated, holding up two fingers. “First: knowing is half the battle.” You joked, dodging the chop Ryosuke sent your way while laughing. “Second: there’s nothing wrong with falling in love with someone as amazing as said demon.” Your voice got quieter and quieter as the sentence progressed, the blush getting darker and darker as well.

You glanced back up at Ryosuke when you felt a soft chop on the crown of your head, something the second baseman usually did when he wanted your attention more than anything.

“Don’t go getting all mushy on me Ms. Foul Ball Queen.” He mused before slowing his pace donw a bit.

You rose a brow at him before you heard a tune coming from close by. When you turned the corner, you saw the windows cracked open to get some air into the gym. By consequence, the music was seeping into the evening. Ryosuke turned towards you with a small smile on his face; one of his cute, genuine ones. The ones that held no secrets or malice of any kind. One’s that reserved just for you.

“I figured that going into a sweaty crowd was something we both didn’t find any appeal to. So I figured… uh… If you wanted to…”

Ryosuke only ever got shy when he was going propose something that he wasn’t entirely confident of.  It was something you found extremely adorable about the otherwise too sarcastic and knowing second baseman.

“Will you dance with me?...”

The blush on his face was just too adorable. And the way he held his hand out, fingers curling slightly, twitching with anticipation of your answer. You smiled warmly towards him, but he was looking away, the embarrassment licking down his neck. Reaching towards him, you slipped your fingers into his.

“Of course I will.” You answered, causing him to turn back towards you with a smile.

His confidence seem to come back as he guided your free hand to his shoulder before reaching towards your waist. He settled his hand just above you hip bone, thumb tracing your lower rib.

“Is this ok?” He asked, gentle, making sure you were comfortable.

Sparks jumped from where his hand lay. You smiled at the boy before you. How could you not be in love with this boy?

“Yea. I’m ok.” You conceded, letting Ryosuke lead you to the music. The base was pumping from within the base, but Ryosuke lead you slowly, making sure you were ok with every step.

“I’m happy…” He revealed in a soft voice. “That you trust me enough to dance with me like this.” He added, causing you to chuckle softly.

“Who’s mushy now?” You mused.

“Shut up Ms. Foul Ball Queen.” Ryosuke mumbled with a soft smile gracing his lips.

0_0_0_0

That damn Mushi_Mochi had just sniped her again! Airi couldn’t believe the streak the guy had going on. He was killing her left, right and center. She pulled up a message board before sending him a message.

Shot_From_Short: You’re such a jackass.

Mushi_Mochi: Get good lol.

She gasped at his quick reply before closing the message board and respawning. She was quick to locate her online friend and pull up her own sniper rifle. She watched as he set up in a window a few houses down. NukeTown was one of her favorite maps because she knew he was more willing to snipe from upper floors. She knew where to find him. Hiding in truck, she lined up the crosshairs before pulling the trigger. She received the revenge points before pulling up her message board.

Shot_From_Short: You were saying, sensei?

Mushi_Mochi: Lucky shot

Shot_From_Short: Don’t be a sore loser.

Mushi_Mochi: Check your screen

Airi closed the message board only to gasp. She quickly re-opened the map.

Shot_From_Short: You’re such a cheater!

Mushi_Mochi: Clock was still going.

Shot_From_Short: You’re a dirty player.

Mushi_Mochi: Not my fault you suck

“Ah!” Airi yelled, her frustration leaking through, but even through it all, she had a smile on her face.

It was clear she was enjoying her COD matches more than the dance she’d been kicked out of. It didn’t really matter that she’d spent more time getting her hair ready then actually dancing; Kuramochi wasn’t there anyways.