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Compliment War

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“So why are they doing this again?” Haruichi asks, eyebrows rising as he watches Sawamura and Furuya have a silent staredown.

“Those two never learn.” Miyuki shakes his head.

“You look really happy about it though.”

“Don’t egg him on, Haruichi. He’s just happy his boyfriend’s finally showing him attention outside of baseball.”

“We do lots of things unrelated to baseball!”

“Like?”

“Going on walks together.”

“I think that counts as training, senpai.”

“We eat lunch together sometimes.” Miyuki continues.

“And what do you talk about?” Kuramochi pries.

“I- We give each other shoulder massages.” Miyuki swiftly changes the subject.

“I really didn’t need to know that.”

“I still think that’s baseball related.” Haruichi looks almost apologetic at Miyuki’s disappointed expression.

“So you’re gonna tutor the idiot starting tomorrow?” Kuramochi asks.

“Yeah, just English and math though. He said he’s okay for the others.”

“You should double check because he might be okay at history but he sucks at language arts.”

“I think he’s having Kanemaru teach that to him.”

“Oh yeah, I forgot you suck at language arts, too.” Kuramochi snickers.

“Shut up.” Miyuki returns his gaze to the pitchers still standing where they were ten minutes ago.

“You’re gonna be late to class if you don’t head out now!” Kuramochi warns, snickering as they finally realize they’re the only two left in the dugout.

“We’ll continue this later!” Sawamura mutters, finally averting his gaze.

“You lose,” Furuya’s lip twitches up into a half-smirk.

“I said we’re continuing this later!”

“Sawamura, you left your English textbook in my room!” Miyuki yells.

“Hmph!” Sawamura pouts, following after his boyfriend.

“Furuya-kun, do you want to share the mango jelly my brother sent me yesterday?”

Furuya noticeably brightens, obediently following after his classmate.

“It’s gonna be a long week,” Kuramochi sighs, slowly making his way back to his room.

~~~~~~~~~~

 

“Since when does Furuya wear sunglasses?” Kanemaru asks no one in particular.

“Maybe he wants to look like Coach?”

Sawamura eyes him suspiciously.

“Has anyone seen Haru-”

“Furuya-kun! Did you get new sunglasses?” Haruichi pops up from behind him, peering up at the other.

“Yeah, I...” he trails off awkwardly.

“Well they look really nice on you!” Haruichi smiles.

“I- I needed them because your smiles are too bright for mortal eyes,” Furuya stutters out.

Haruichi looks confused for a second before his face combusts into a peach, matching his bright pink hair.

“Can you take your flirting somewhere else?” Kanemaru yells from the dugout.

“Sorry, we’ll be there in a second!”

“He just told us to leave,” Furuya mutters, taking off his sunglasses and gently placing them on Haruichi’s nose. “They look really nice on you, too.”

“I said to take it elsewhere!”

“Don’t ruin their moment, Kanemaru!” Sawamura shouts.

“I thought you’re competing with Furuya?”

“Yeah, but Harucchi’s my friend! He deserves all the compliments!”

“You two are gross,” Kuramochi rolls his eyes, putting Sawamura in a headlock. “Keep this out of practice time, will ya?”

“Roger that, Kuramochi-senpai!” Sawamura salutes him the best he can in a headlocked position.

“You better,” Kuramochi warns, finally letting him go.

“Thank you.” Kanemaru states, nodding politely.

“Don’t mention it.” Kuramochi waves it off, scowling as Sawamura and Furuya get stuck in another staredown. “I’m not even gonna bother anymore.”

~~~~~~~~~~

 

“Hey Miyuki, come over here so I can kick your ass at Mario Kart!” He’s greeted by the shortstop’s voice as he walks through the door. He looks at the screen, smirking when he sees Peach in first place.

“Looks like Kominato-kun’s already beating your ass pretty badly,” the catcher replies, snickering at Kuramochi’s vain attempt to avoid getting hit by a red shell.

“Damn it! Why do you get all the good items?!”

“Harucchi’s our Lucky Boy! Of course he’s good at everything!” Sawamura brags proudly. He stuffs another handful of candy in his mouth, pouting when he realizes there’s no more.

“And who gave you candy?” Miyuki sits next to Sawamura, grabbing the empty wrapper from his lap. “Skittles? Where’d you get this?”

“Kanemaru was handing some out earlier. He said the corner store started stocking American candies and he wanted to try them out,” Sawamura pulls out a bag of gummy bears, but Miyuki grabs it before he can open it. “Hey!”

“Eating too much isn’t good for you,” Miyuki mutters, stuffing it in his pocket.

“You don’t even like sweets!” Sawamura argues, lunging for his hand.

“You can eat it tomorrow if you follow one rule.”

“You can’t tell me what to do!”

“Do you want the gummy bears or not?”

Sawamura’s pout deepens, but he nods.

“You have to stop the weird competition you started with Furuya. I don’t want it interfering with practice,” Miyuki states.

“Why is everyone so against being complimented?”

“What?” Miyuki startles at his boyfriend’s unexpected response.

“I already promised Kanemaru I wouldn’t compete with Furuya during baseball practice when he gave me the skittles,” Sawamura admits, eyes downcast.

Miyuki struggles to come up with an answer. He’s tempted to give him back the candy, but-

“Hey Sawamura, why’re your lips blue? You better not be catching a cold!” Zono’s shout travels across the room.

Miyuki looks down, trying not to stare at Sawamura’s lips. But his eyes trail along the curve of his mouth, flickering between the multiple colors painting Sawamura’s bottom lip.

“I think it’s more purple than blue? Did you do something to him, Miyuki?” Kuramochi sets the game controller down, striding over to the two still sitting near the doorway.

“I see some green there, too. Shit, Sawamura, did you eat the whole bag?!” Kanemaru joins them, eyeing the empty wrapper in Miyuki’s hand.

“I gave some to Furuya!” Sawamura argues.

“Bullshit,” Kuramochi scoffs, “I might’ve believed you if you said you gave some to Haruichi.”

“He gave me the yellow ones, because they’re too sour for him,” Furuya’s voice drifts from where he’s watching Haruichi beat the first years at Mario Kart.

“Too sour?”

“Really?”

Kuramochi and Miyuki snicker, ignoring Sawamura’s annoyed grumbles.

“You really should wash your mouth though,” Kuramochi devolves into another round of snickers.

Sawamura frowns, licking his lips. But his face suddenly brightens when sweetness spreads through his mouth. “Do you want to taste the rainbow?”

“I- what?” Miyuki’s eyes widen and everyone’s attention returns to the smiling pitcher.

“Do you want to taste the rainbow?” Sawamura repeats, gaze shifting from his catcher to everyone around him.

“I’m out. This is too much,” Kuramochi walks back toward the ongoing Mario kart race.

“Wh- I-” Kanemaru stutters, face turning bright red.

“Sawamura, what the-” Miyuki stops when he sees Sawamura take something out of his pocket.

“What? You’re the one who looked like you wanted more candy!” Sawamura hands him a packet of skittles, rainbow lips blooming into a smile.

“Shit, what the hell just happened?” Kanemaru mutters, frozen in place.

“You’re an idiot,” Miyuki ruffles the pitcher’s hair, pulling his face to his chest.

“Wha- Hey! Give it back if you’re gonna-!”

“You’re my idiot,” Miyuki whispers in his ear, smiling as his boyfriend’s face blooms to match the packet in his hands.

~~~~~~~~~~

 

“You’re lucky I made that promise with Kanemaru, or you’d be losing right now!” Sawamura challenges, glaring at Furuya.

“But it’s your fault for making that promise,” Furuya answers without looking away from his glove. “I didn’t make any promises.”

“It’s not fair!”

Furuya ignores the other’s shout, droopy eyes surveying the field. They widen a bit as he notices someone walking toward the dugout. He gently sets his glove down on the bench, walking to the entrance of the field.

“Oh hey Furuya-kun! We can head out to dinner as soon as I put away this bat,” Haruichi smiles.

“Can I ask you a question?” Furuya stops him.

“Um, sure?” Haruichi turns around, waiting expectantly.

Furuya’s lips twitch upward as he holds out his right arm. “Can you grab my arm so I can tell everyone I’ve been touched by an angel?”

Haruichi’s mouth opens. And closes. Then opens again. “I- what?”

“Can you grab my-”

“I heard you the first time!” Haruichi quickly cuts him off, arms waving in front of his face.

“Then-”

“I told you to keep it out of practice!” Kuramochi’s shout breaks them out of their bubble.

“Sorry Kuramochi-senpai!” Haruichi flusters, grabbing Furuya’s arm and dragging him toward the equipment shed.

“I’ve been touched by an angel,” Furuya mutters as they pass by Sawamura still pouting on the bench.

“That doesn’t count!”

“I’m winning.”

“You cheated!”

~~~~~~~~~~

 

“Where’s Furuya?” Miyuki asks, grabbing his catcher’s helmet from the bench.

“I think he’s sleeping somewhere again,” Zono grunts, putting on a helmet. He grabs a random bat that’s leaning against the bench, testing the grip.

“I saw him in the indoor practice room a few minutes ago. Would you like me to go get him?” Haruichi walks into the dugout, taking off his batting gloves.

“Yeah, that’d be great, thanks,” Miyuki nods. “Let him know I’ll be catching for Sawamura if he doesn’t get here in five minutes,” he grins, jogging toward his boyfriend.

Haruichi watches him go, smiling when he sees the tire tumbling behind Sawamura’s steady strides.

“Good luck,” Zono grunts, going back to searching for the right bat.

~~~~~~~~~~

 

“I brought him back in less than five minutes,” Haruichi smiles, pulling the half-sleeping boy in front of him.

“He’s still sleeping,” Kuramochi comments, shaking his head.

“And Miyuki’s catching for Sawamura already,” Kanemaru adds.

Furuya’s body noticeably stiffens, but he doesn’t attempt to move.

“Come on, Furuya-kun! You still have a minute before your time limit,” Haruichi tries to pull Furuya toward the field, but he doesn’t budge.

“Have fun,” Kanemaru mutters, patting Haruichi on the shoulder.

“I would just give up if I were you,” Kuramochi slaps his back, walking toward the field.

“Furuya-kun, I like how you can fall asleep anywhere, but you really shouldn’t sleep in the dugout,” Haruichi sighs.

Furuya’s eyes suddenly snap open, gaze focusing on Haruichi. “Are you joining our compliment war?”

“Your what?”

“You’ve joined our compliment war,” Furuya’s eyes brighten at his own words. “We can win against Sawamura.”

“I don’t- I thought you were already winning?” Haruichi flusters, letting go of Furuya.

“I don’t think that was the point, but can you please stop doing this during practice?” Kanemaru sighs, walking past them.

Both boys hide their blushes behind their bangs, strides synchronized as they head back to the field.

 

~~~~~~~~~~

“We become what we think about. Who said this quote?” Miyuki looks up from the English textbook, meeting eyes with his boyfriend.

“Um... Some dude named Hemingway? I think his first name was Earl?” Sawamura answers sheepishly.

“You’re halfway there.”

“Eric Hemingway?” Sawamura’s eyes sparkle with hope.

“No, the other way.

“Carl Hemingway?”

Miyuki can’t hold back a small snort. “His first name is Earl.”

“Oh, then I was right!” Sawamura throws his hands up in celebration.

“You still haven’t gotten his last name.”

“Evening? It had something to do with the time of day.”

“You’re getting closer.”

“Night?”

“Almost...” Miyuki looks at him expectantly.

“Nightvale?”

“Nope.”

“Nightdale?”

“No.”

“Can I get a hint?” Sawamura gives Miyuki his best puppy dog eyes.

“You’re not gonna get any hints on the test, Sawamura.” Miyuki averts his gaze, looking back down at the textbook.

“Oh come on! I know I’m almost there!”

“Okay fine. It’s a name of a bird.”

“Nightsong?”

“I’ve never heard of that one. Is it a new species?” Miyuki teases.

“Arggghh, I don’t know! Night...gale.”

“You’re so close, yet so far,” Miyuki sighs.

“Nightingale! Ernest Nightingale!”

“Earl Nightingale,” Miyuki corrects, ruffling Sawamura’s hair. “Can you repeat the quote I said?”

“Umm... Something about becoming what we think about?”

“‘We become what we think about.’ What do you think it means?” Miyuki asks. He’s genuinely curious of the pitcher’s answer.

“Doesn’t that just mean you should focus on your passions and think seriously about what you want to be?”

“I guess that’s one way to put it,” Miyuki mutters, slightly disappointed at the rather mundane answer.

“Hmmm,” Sawamura goes into deep thought, staring at Miyuki.

“What is it?”

“Does that mean I’m going to become you?”

“What?” Miyuki looks up into earnest eyes.

“I think about you all the time, so does that mean I’m going to become you?”

“Sawamura- You- Do you even know what you’re-” Miyuki flusters, closing the textbook. He sets it down on the table, walking to his boyfriend’s side.

“What? I was just telling the- Oh-” Sawamura’s face combusts as he realizes his mistake.

“So you think about me all the time?”

“That was just a figure of speech! It’s not like I want to become you!” Sawamura pouts, avoiding Miyuki’s gaze.

“Are you sure about that?” Miyuki drapes an arm over Sawamura’s shoulder. “I think you’d do well learning some fielding and batting skills from me.”

“Baseball skills yeah, but not your sadistic personality! There’s enough of that for both of us!”

“You do realize everything you say sounds like a compliment to me,” Miyuki smirks, hugging Sawamura’s head to his chest.

“Don’t twist my words you sneaky catcher!” Sawamura’s words are muffled but his frustration is evident as he flails his arms.

“I don’t even need to twist them. You’re honest enough for the both of us,” Miyuki mutters, kissing the top of his head.

Sawamura stops squirming, peering up at his catcher. “Are you joining our competition, too?”

“I- What?”

“You should’ve told us! Winner gets bragging rights for a month, and owes the other a drink!” Sawamura bounces excitedly in his seat.

“I’m not gonna join your childish compliment war.”

“It’s not childish!” Sawamura argues. “We just want to spread joy and love to who we care about!”

“You can do that without making it a competition every time.”

“Will you join if Kuramochi-senpai joins?”

“No.”

“Aww, come on! Harucchi joined, so it’s two against one right now.”

“Wait, Kominato Jr. actually joined you guys?” Miyuki snickers into his hand.

“Stop laughing! And yeah, he teamed up with Furuya!” Sawamura grumbles.

“Well, good luck with that,” Miyuki continues to laugh, ignoring his pitcher’s exaggerated pout.

~~~~~~~~~~

 

“Ryou-san!” Kuramochi’s exclamation makes everyone turn toward the doorway.

“Leader! Spitz-senpai! Chris-senpai!” Sawamura’s loud shouts echo through the dining hall.

“Are you joining us for practice today?” Miyuki asks, taking the seat next to his boyfriend.

“We wanted to make sure you aren’t slacking off like last time,” Ryousuke smirks, stealing the seat next to Haruichi. Furuya noticeably hesitates before sliding into the seat on the other side. Kuramochi grins, sitting next to Ryousuke.

“We aren’t!” Sawamura yells, downing a huge gulp of water.

“Where are Masuko-senpai and Tanba-senpai?” Haruichi asks curiously.

“They have a practice match tonight so they’re getting prepared for that,” Tetsuya answers.

“I heard you’ve started an interesting competition,” Ryousuke leans toward his brother.

“Eijun-kun and Furuya-kun started one and dragged me into it,” Haruichi answers honestly.

“Oh?” Ryousuke’s attention shifts to the two boys stuck in another staredown.

“Yeah, they started some weird game where they get points for using shitty pickup lines to make people blush.”

“That’s not what we’re doing! Our competition is more wholesome than that!” Sawamura crosses his arms, still glaring at Furuya.

“Do you even know what wholesome means?” Miyuki huffs.

“I do! Harucchi told me what it means!”

“Figures,” Furuya mutters, eyes unblinking.

“Still sounds like a shitty pickup line game to me,” Kuramochi scoffs, taking another large bite of meat.

“You’re not going to join them?” Ryousuke asks.

“Nah, Sawamura wants me to join, but it’s only because he wants Miyuki to team up with him.” Kuramochi mutters, smiling up at his boyfriend.

“What if we team up?”

“What?”

“Youichi, do you want a foot massage later?”

“Ye- Why?”

“Because your feet must hurt after running through my mind all night,” Ryousuke smiles.

“Holy shit that’s hot. Wait shit- I didn’t say that- Fuck!” Kuramochi flusters, covering his face with his hands.

“Do you want one or not?” Ryousuke fakes annoyance, smile narrowing into a small smirk.

“I do,” Kuramochi admits, peeking between his fingers.

“I can give you one later,” Furuya comments, returning Haruichi’s warning stare with a confused one.

“Ryou-san asked first!” Kuramochi exclaims, covering his face again.

“And another one falls to desire,” Kanemaru sighs.

“Did we miss something?” Chris asks, watching everything with a knowing gaze.

“Just Sawamura and his usual antics,” Zono states, going back to his food.

~~~~~~~~~~

 

“Is Furuya asleep again?” Miyuki sighs, walking into the dugout.

“I think he went to change his shirt,” Haruichi comments.

“What did he do this time?”

“He had a water fight with Sawamura and seems like he lost,” Haruichi looks up and catches Sawamura with a towel around his neck. “I guess they both lost.”

“I told you two not to fool around during practice,” Miyuki grabs Sawamura’s towel and drapes it over the pitcher’s head. “Dry off properly or you’ll catch a cold.”

“I was going to,” Sawamura huffs, scrubbing at his hair.

“You’re going to lose all your hair if you scrub that hard,” Miyuki warns, placing his hands over the pitcher’s cold ones. He gently massages the towel over Sawamura’s head, smiling when his boyfriend leans into his touch.

“No flirting in the dugout!” Kuramochi’s shout travels across the field.

Miyuki turns around to glare at his friend. But his lips quickly sprout a smirk at how close the shortstop and former second baseman are standing. “No flirting on the field!” he yells back, snickering at Kuramochi’s indignant yelling.

“I’m back,” Furuya announces, oblivious to the commotion around him.

“Man, I wish I could be like you,” Kanemaru mutters, watching his two upperclassmen argue with a wary gaze. He rolls his eyes as Sawamura joins in, shouts echoing through the dugout.

Furuya gives him a confused stare.

“You’re always sleepy and don’t care about anything around you.”

“Are you calling me lazy?” Furuya’s eyes narrow a little.

“You’re not lazy, just the people around you are too active.” Haruichi cuts in, “You help balance us out.”

“If anything, you’re the one who balances the team,” Furuya returns the praise.

“No-”

“Let’s just agree that both of you do. Now, can one of you stop Sawamura before coach-”

“Sawamura! Run ten laps around the field!”

“Too late.”

~~~~~~~~~~

 

“Truth.”

“You scared, Miyuki?” Kuramochi smirks, eyes flickering toward the empty spot next to him.

“You shouldn’t be talking,” Miyuki smirks back.

“I’m not taking a dare from Haruichi. Ever.” Kuramochi’s expression darkens at the memory.

“It wasn’t that bad,” Haruichi mutters innocently.

“What part of prank calling Ryou-san is not bad ?”

“Just ask me a question already.”

“Hmmm...” Kuramochi whispers something in Ryousuke’s ear. A small smile blooms on Ryousuke’s face.

“So, how far have you gone with Sawamura?”

“I can’t tell you that,” Miyuki mutters.

“He’s not even here, why the hell are you so scared?” Kuramochi snickers.

“I can’t betray Sawamura’s trust like that. You can ask him yourself when he gets back.”

“Shitty considerate boyfriends.”

“Wouldn’t you do the same for Kominato-senpai?” Miyuki asks, smirking at Kuramochi’s exasperated face.

“I would,” he admits quietly. “But you’re still not off the hook!”

“What?”

“The rules say if you can’t complete the truth, you have to take a dare!”

“And who made those rules?” Miyuki argues.

“I did,” Ryousuke smiles.

“Well damn.” Miyuki sighs, looking at Kuramochi expectantly.

The shortstop grins, whispering in Ryousuke’s ear again. Ryousuke whispers back, making Kuramochi’s grin grow. “I dare you to wear Sawamura’s jersey.”

“I’m not gonna steal his ace jersey,” Miyuki narrows his eyes.

“It’s either that or you tell us how far you’ve gone with Sawamura.”

“I hate you.”

“Good, because I hate you too.”

Miyuki stands up.

“Are you running-”

“Save my seat,” he mutters, glaring at the short stop.

“Be back before Sawamura gets here.” Kuramochi returns the glare.

“We’ll see about that.” Miyuki leaves the room, ignoring the soft whispers trailing behind him.

~~~~~~~~~~

 

“I took a really good picture today,” Kuramochi brags, swiping through his phone.

“That’s rare,” Ryousuke comments, sitting next to him.

“I’m not that bad at taking photos,” Kuramochi retorts, still fiddling with his phone.

“They’re always blurry,” Ryousuke tries to peek over his shoulder, but Kuramochi pulls his screen closer to himself. “What did you take a picture of?”

“Do you want to see?” Kuramochi smirks, showing his screen to the boy behind him.

Ryousuke leans closer. “That’s-”

Click.

“Yes!” Kuramochi fist pumps, smiling back at his boyfriend. “See, I took a really good picture today!”

Ryousuke’s lips tighten into an amused smirk. “And what are you going to use that for?”

“Huh?”

“Why do you need a picture of me?”

“Because I miss-” Kuramochi stops himself, grasping his phone tightly.

“Take another one.”

“Hm?”

Ryousuke holds his hand out. Kuramochi reflexively passes over his phone, gasping when Ryousuke leans closer to him.

“Wha-”

‘Click.’

“No, I wasn’t ready!” Kuramochi laments. “Take another one!”

Ryousuke ignores him, quickly sending the photo to himself. “That one was good, though.”

Kuramochi hides his embarrassment with another swipe towards his phone.

“Fine.” Ryousuke leans his head on Kuramochi’s shoulder. “I missed you too.”

‘Click.’

“Shi- Ryou-san, that’s not fair!”

“I took some really good pictures today,” Ryousuke teases, sending another picture to his phone.

Kuramochi groans, but a small smile blooms across his face.

~~~~~~~~~~

 

“I can’t believe you actually did it,” Kuramochi mutters, not even trying to hide his laughter.

“Why are you wearing the ace jersey?” the former captain asks, tilting his head in confusion.

“Don’t worry about it, Tetsu,” Isashiki mutters, pulling his attention back to their shōgi game.

“I don’t think it fits,” Miyuki complains, pulling at the short sleeves.

“You better not rip his jersey right after he got it.” Kuramochi smirks.

“You’re the one who made me wear it.”

“Wow, this is really weird.” Haruichi mutters.

“How is it weird?” Furuya leans his head against his boyfriend’s shoulder.

“I don’t know. It almost feels like we’ve crossed a line we shouldn’t have,” Haruichi whispers.

“Wh-”

A loud crash makes everyone turn toward the door.

“Shoot, Sawamura, this isn’t what it-”

“You- You owe me a thousand yen!”

“Why?”

“Because he was so flustered you made him drop the drinks,” Kuramochi cackles, striding toward the door. He picks up the basket of drinks, placing it in the middle of their circle. “Come on, Sawamura, tell us how you feel about your boyfriend stealing your jersey.”

“It- I- Wow.”

“I think we broke him,” Kanemaru mutters.

“It’s only one number off from his usual jersey,” Furuya grumbles, opening both eyes.

“Yeah, but I don’t think Sawamura’s used to it yet,” Haruichi smiles, watching said pitcher’s eyes flicker between the large ‘1’ and Miyuki’s concerned gaze.

“I-” Sawamura’s eyes gain a sneaky sparkle. “Do you know what that shirt’s made of?”

“What?” Miyuki smirks knowingly.

“Oh please, don’t do this to-”

“Boyfriend material.”

A collective groan spreads through the room as Sawamura plops down next to Miyuki.

“I’m not mad you stole my jersey, but I’m a little annoyed how good you look in it,” Sawamura whispers, leaning his head on Miyuki’s shoulder.

Kuramochi shoots them a disgusted look. Miyuki replies with a genuine smile, but it quickly turns into a wary one as he notices Haruichi and Ryousuke’s quiet conversation.

“Eijun-kun, truth or dare,” Haruichi asks. The room suddenly goes silent, waiting impatiently for the ace’s answer.

“Dare!”

“You’re an idiot.”

“He never lets us down.”

“Don’t die.”

Various reactions are thrown out, but their focus stays on the two brothers scheming together.

“We dare you to wear Miyuki’s jersey.” Ryousuke’s smile turns near-evil at Sawamura’s blush.

“I can’t! That’s- No I-”

“Then you have to answer a truth.”

“Hey, that’s not fair!” Sawamura’s arms flail as he tries to save his dignity.

“Those are the rules, Eijun,” Miyuki hides a smirk behind his hand.

“Why are you on their side?!”

“He obviously wants to see you in his jersey, too,” Kuramochi cackles, smacking Miyuki’s back. “You sneaky bastard.”

“I’ll answer anything you throw at me!” Sawamura challenges, glaring at everyone in the circle.

“Then how far have you gone with Miyuki?”

The catcher glares at Kuramochi, getting a loud cackle in response.

“How far have we gone? Like, distance-wise?” Sawamura’s head tilts in confusion.

“Have you kissed yet?” Furuya asks unashamedly.

“Yeah, he’s my boyfriend so um yeah.” Sawamura blushes.

“Then have you had se-”

“He already answered a question. Who’s next?” Miyuki cuts Furuya off, glancing around the circle for the next victim.

“But he didn’t answer the actual question.” Kuramochi states.

“Fine, I’ll just wear Miyuki Kazuya’s jersey!” Sawamura gets up from his seat, stiffly walking to the other side of the room. He gently picks up the hanger from the wall, slowly sliding the jersey off of it. He flips it over, staring at the bold ‘2’ on the back.

“Any day now.”

“Just- Okay.” Sawamura takes a deep breath before taking off his shirt. He quickly puts the jersey on, pouting when he has to pull up the collar.

“Wow, that’s something I did not need to see,” Kanemaru turns away to hide his blush.

“I think it suits you,” Haruichi smiles, but also turns away.

“This was a mistake,” Kuramochi mutters, glaring at Miyuki’s excited smile. “You two are disgusting.”

“You’re just jealous,” Miyuki argues, smirking at the shortstop.

Kuramochi doesn’t answer, avoiding everyone’s gaze.

“Is that true, Youichi?”

“Game’s over guys, let’s all get out of here!” Kuramochi yells, practically sprinting out of the room.

Ryousuke gets up with a knowing smirk on his face.

“Wait, oniisan!”

He stops at the doorway, tapping his foot.

“Senpai keeps his jersey in the back of his closet. He doesn’t like people touching it, but I don’t think he’d mind if you did!”

“Thanks Sawamura,” Ryousuke smirks, swiftly striding out of the room.

“We’ll be heading out too. Have fun you two!” Haruichi exclaims, pulling Furuya out with him.

“Thanks for having us,” Chris smiles, leading everyone else out.

The pitcher and catcher stare at each other for a moment, not sure how to start.

“So-”

“I’m not giving you my ace number!”

“What?”

“I earned it fair and square! Even if your shoulder’s strong enough to pitch, I’m not-”

“I’m not giving you my starting catcher role either. Although I wouldn’t mind seeing you try to catch and be captain at the same time,” Miyuki teases, ruffling Sawamura’s hair.

“You- I- That’s not fair!”

“What’s not fair?” Miyuki grabs Sawamura’s left hand, rubbing his thumb over his callouses.

“You-” Sawamura glances down at his hand before his gaze snaps back up to meet the catcher’s knowing grin. “You already rejected joining our compliment war!”

“Oh? So I’m not allowed to compliment you unless I join your game?”

“It’s not a game!” Sawamura pouts, squeezing Miyuki’s hand.

“Then I declare war,” Miyuki smirks, pulling Sawamura onto his lap. The pitcher lets out a startled shout, but allows him to wrap an arm around his waist.

“It’s still not fair,” Sawamura mutters, leaning back against the catcher’s chest.

“I thought you wanted to win against Furuya?”

“You’re gonna join my team?” Sawamura’s face brightens as he turns his smile toward Miyuki.

“We’re partners, aren’t we?” Miyuki smiles back, basking in the other’s happiness.

~~~~~~~~~~

 

“I’m surprised no one’s said any shitty pickup lines today,” Kuramochi comments, carefully surveying the practice field. His gaze drifts to the two pitchers sprinting around the perimeter. He sighs, walking toward the dugout. “Hey Miyuki! Stop them before coach gets mad again!”

“Why do I have to do it?” Miyuki complains, but he stands up and follows Kuramochi back onto the field.

“Sawamura! Furuya! First one here gets to pitch first!”

The catcher grins as the pitchers abruptly change course, one with a battle cry and the other with a determined look.

They skid to a stop in front of the dugout, a tangle of limbs as they try to block each other’s paths.

“I win!” Sawamura shouts, standing proudly in front of Miyuki.

“No, I did,” Furuya mutters, pushing past Sawamura. “I made it into the dugout before you.”

“That’s only because I have my tire on! And we were racing to Miyuki, not the dugout!” Sawamura argues, glaring at his rival.

“I still win.”

“You cheated!”

“You both lost,” Kuramochi scoffs.

“What? Why?”

Kuramochi gives them a deadpan look before turning to Miyuki. “You weren’t even gonna let them pitch, were you?”

“Yeah, you’ve both pitched to your limit. You need to rest up for tomorrow’s practice game,” Miyuki switches to captain mode.

“But-”

“You’re pitching first tomorrow,” Miyuki gives Sawamura a pointed stare.

“I- Alright.” Sawamura’s shoulders slump as he walks toward the equipment shed.

Miyuki frowns, before a stray thought shoots through his mind. “Hey Sawamura!”

“What?” Sawamura can’t hide the expectation from his voice.

“That looks heavy! Let me hold it for you,” Miyuki offers his hand.

Sawamura stops, eyes flickering between Miyuki’s smile and his outstretched hand. “Um, thanks?” He sounds a bit confused, but rolls his tire over.

Miyuki stares at the tire rolling towards him, letting it bounce against his leg.

“Uhhh... Is something wrong?”

Familiar laughter fills the field, followed by a softer chuckle. “Oh, this is so good, I should’ve taken a video!” Kuramochi cackles, still howling with laughter.

“You’re really good at giving pick-up lines, but suck at taking them,” Furuya comments, eyes twinkling as he smirks at Sawamura’s confused expression.

“Are you calling me dense?!” Sawamura breaks out of his confused stupor, lunging towards the other boy. Furuya easily sidesteps him, smirk widening. “Get back here!”

Miyuki sighs, catching the tire before it rolls too far.

“Sawamura may be dense, but you really suck at flirting,” Kuramochi cackles, slapping Miyuki’s back.

“Shut up.”

“Do you need me to-”

“No.” The catcher sighs again, rolling the tire to the equipment shed.

~~~~~~~~~~

 

“What are they doing over there?” Kuramochi narrows his eyes at the three boys huddled in the corner of the dugout.

“I’m not sure, but-”

Loud giggling interrupts the tall pitcher. Furuya’s eyes sparkle as he watches Haruichi laugh at something his brother said.

“Is Sawamura… giggling?” Kuramochi’s eyes widen.

“Why are you surprised about Sawamura? Shouldn’t you be more shocked-” He’s cut off by another bout of laughter from the group.

“I’ve never heard Kominato-senpai… giggle,” Furuya mutters, unsure of what to call the soft huffs of air staccattoing out of Ryousuke’s mouth.

“I wouldn’t call it giggling, but he’s really cute when he’s happy,” Kuramochi smiles.

“There’s no way he’s cuter than Sawamura. You can’t even see his eyes,” Miyuki argues.

“Did you just insult Ryou-san?” Kuramochi glares, but his gaze quickly drifts back to the three boys snickering over Sawamura’s phone.

“They’re corrupting him,” Miyuki ignores the shortstop, walking towards the dugout.

“Miyuki-senpai.”

“What?” He turns around, unable to hide his impatience.

“Haruichi’s cuter.” Furuya smirks before running to the pitcher's mound.

Miyuki’s whole body freezes- until loud laughter crashes him back down to reality. “Did he just… sass me?!”

“Hyahhaaa wow I can’t- Shit that- Ahahahahaa,” Kuramochi clutches his stomach as he tries to regain his breath.  

“That little- I’ll show him how it’s done.” Miyuki’s expression tightens as he takes off his glasses, carefully putting them in his pocket.

“You better not-”

He strides over to the still snickering group of boys. He ignores Sawamura’s confused pout as he pulls him toward the closest clear surface.

Wham! He holds back a wince as his palms hit the wall on either side of the pitcher’s surprised face.

“You better not be conspiring against me.” Miyuki leans in closer, smirking as Sawamura’s face blooms into a rose.

“Con- Spy? Ring?” Sawamura stutters out.

“Tell me what you were whispering with the Kominato brothers.” He lowers his voice.

Sawamura’s blush darkens.

“Oh? Was it about me?”

He stays silent, eyes flickering everywhere but at the catcher.

“Did you tell them how cute you looked in my uniform? Or how seeing me in your jersey made you-”

“Stop!” Sawamura slaps a hand over Miyuki’s mouth.

He leans back a bit, “But you’re so cute when you-”

“Stop Kazu- ah-” His hands fly up to his ear. “Did you just-?!”

“That was our appetizer. We’ll have the main course later.” Miyuki whispers in his ear.

Bam! Forehead meets jaw as Sawamura’s knees give out.

“Ow, what the...” Miyuki trails off when he sees Sawamura crouched on the ground, hands covering his face.

“Great job, captain. You broke him again,” Kuramochi accuses.

“That- Wow-”

“Shit.” Miyuki’s face blooms as he realizes he has an audience.

“That was impressive,” Ryousuke snickers.

“What happened to Sawamura? Did you do something to him?” Zono stomps toward the shortstop.

“Why is it my fault?” Kuramochi scowls.

“It can’t be Haruichi or Kominato-senpai... Miyuki?” Zono narrows his eyes at him.

“I didn’t mean to- I mean I-” Miyuki flusters, closing his mouth before he starts rambling.

“Is he okay?” Furuya walks into the dugout, eyes flickering towards the fallen pitcher.

“I think so?” Haruichi crouches next to him.

“It was your fault in the first place!” Miyuki points an accusatory finger at Furuya.

“Really? You’re blaming an underclassman for your own problems?” Kuramochi scoffs, joining Haruichi on the other side of Sawamura.

“What happened to Sawamura? And why does Miyuki look like someone punched him in the jaw?” Chris asks worriedly, his catcher’s gear clicking along with his hurried strides.

“Don’t worry about it,” Ryousuke smirks.

“He asked me to catch for him though.” Chris doesn’t miss Miyuki’s jealous pout.

“Give him a minute and he should be fine,” Furuya quickly loses interest, joining the group of crouching boys, only to lay his head on Haruichi’s shoulder.

~~~~~~~~~~

 

“So who won?” Kanemaru watches as everyone huddles around the boy crouched on the ground.

“Everyone did.”