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I will be happy (and hopefully you will be too)

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Somewhere between Miyuki Kazuya's second year of high school and his third year of college, Sawamura Eijun becomes a permanent fixture in his life.

It doesn't happen all at once. It happens slowly, like a snowball building and growing as it rolls down a hill. One day, he's laughing his ass off at a haughty middle schooler challenging Azuma to a face-off, and the next he's watching with surprised pride as that once-middle-schooler accepts the ace number for his jersey. One second, he's tricking Eijun into going to go get him a drink from the vending machine, and the next, he's helping Eijun move boxes into their now-shared apartment when the pitcher needs a place to stay his first year of college.

Living with Eijun, especially after a year apart, after a year of watching Seido take nationals from the sidelines and feeling a nostalgic twitch of his fingers for a mitt and a ball, is like relearning who the boy is. There are many facets that haven't changed - he's still loud, noisy as hell, takes up too much space, and has an odd tendency to fall into ancient Japanese speech patterns when he's nervous. But he's matured, he's a little less volatility emotional, he's straightforward with his ambitions but accepting of criticism, and he keeps his room surprisingly tidy.

More than anything, he becomes Kazuya's pitcher again, and he's grown immensely in that department, too.

Sometime between Kazuya's second and third year of college – after a year of living with Eijun – they become, perhaps, too comfortable with each other. They navigate each other's space with practiced ease both on and off the field, and Kazuya finds his thoughts becoming more and more frequented by golden eyes and bright smiles out of the context of a baseball field.

Kazuya doesn’t think too much of it – but he probably should have because it would have saved him a lot of strife in the long run.

---

I.

Every morning, Kazuya wakes up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee and a hot mug on the kitchen counter waiting for him to stumble out of his bedroom.

It’s a part of their routine, and they only break that routine if one or both of them happen to be sick or out of town. Eijun, as early a riser now as he was back in high school, gets up at an ungodly hour of the morning, eats a banana, brews and prepares coffee, and leaves a steaming mug of it on the counter for Kazuya – a little cream and no sugar, just how Kazuya likes it – and then heads out for a run.

While Eijun is out for his run, Kazuya makes breakfast. It’s usually something protein packed and loaded with carbs, exactly what Eijun needs after his morning run and what they both need to nourish their bodies for the crazy amount of baseball practice they have every single day.

It’s hands down, without a doubt, Kazuya’s favorite part of his day, aside from getting to play baseball – and sometimes, on particularly difficult practice days, their morning routine is his absolute favorite part. It’s reliable, just like Eijun has become in his pitching, and comfortable, setting the tone for the rest of the day.

Kazuya sips his coffee as he finishes breakfast, flipping the stove burner off. He grabs two plates and piles food onto both of them, and then covers Eijun’s portion, leaving it on the counter for when he returns from his run. He sits down at the dining table and eats his own plate, finishes his coffee, and goes over his to-do list for the day. Once he’s done, he puts the dishes in the sink – Eijun does most of the cleaning, since Kazuya does most of the cooking – and heads back to his room to shower.

He hears Eijun come back into their apartment just as he finishes with his shower. He’s towel-drying his hair when Eijun shouts, “Thank you for breakfast, Miyuki Kazuya!” with just as much enthusiasm and gratitude as he had the very first time this had ever happened over a year ago.

Kazuya smiles as he finishes getting changed, and then heads out to the living room to gather the things he needs for the day. He is leaning against the wall with his bag at his feet and checking his emails on his phone when Eijun bounds out of his own bedroom like an energizer bunny fueled on eggs and sunshine.

“Good morning!” The pitcher chirps, sidling up beside Kazuya. He leans into the catcher’s space, close enough for Kazuya to catch the lingering scent of his shampoo, glancing at Kazuya’s phone with curious eyes.

Tilting his head and raising a brow, Kazuya says, “Good morning, sunshine.” His voice is light and teasing, earning himself a light flush to Eijun’s pretty cheekbones.

Eijun beams, hair falling over his forehead cutely. He’s filled out a lot over the years, lean muscle coiling over strong bones, but he’s still slightly shorter than Kazuya, and lither. “Thank you for breakfast.” He murmurs softly, golden irises twinkling joyfully.

Something about Eijun’s expression – maybe even just his existence, honestly – makes Kazuya soften. He glances away from the intensity of that gilded gaze, lips tilting upward. “You already said that, you know.”

“Yeah, but I want to reiterate it.” Eijun’s broad smile slips into something playful, matching Kazuya blow-for-blow. “You know, positive reinforcement and all that. I’m slowly trying to train the rest of your awful personality away!”

“Positive reinforcement – train me?” Kazuya quips, pretending to be affronted. “You know, I think you’ve been spending too much time with me.” He quirks a brow. “Maybe I need to request a new battery partner. We wouldn’t want this awful personality of mine to rub off on you too much.”

Eijun grins, eyes burning bright. “Good luck with that. I will always fight for my spot, Miyuki Kazuya!”

Kazuya knows that Eijun means his spot on the mound, but his brain can’t help but think that Eijun might be referring to his spot as Kazuya’s partner, and it’s too early for that kind of synapse misfiring. He rolls his eyes and pushes off from the wall, grabbing his bag. “Yeah, yeah, c’mon then, partner.”

Eijun falls into step beside him as they leave their apartment with ease, and Kazuya pointedly ignores how natural and comfortable it all feels.

---

II.

It’s a Friday, and Eijun is very, very drunk.

It’s not the first time that Kazuya has seen him drunk – the pitcher isn’t very good at holding his liquor, honestly. Surprisingly, when he drinks, he doesn’t get loud, but instead he becomes giggly and affectionate. Kazuya has observed many a time where Eijun has curled himself around Haruichi and Furuya as the result of being inebriated, much like that of an affectionate kitten.

This time, though, it is Kazuya that Eijun is trying to cuddle up to.

The pitcher had gone out to celebrate a friend’s birthday and had only just gotten home a few minutes ago. He had kicked his shoes off in the entryway, slurring out a sorry for the intrusion even though this is his own home – which Kazuya found hilarious – and then proceeded to stumble his way face-first into Kazuya’s bed.

Kazuya’s bed. Not his own bed.

“Sawamura,” Kazuya laughs, poking the boy in the cheek. Eijun grumbles and looks up at Kazuya with glassy, unfocused, golden eyes. “Wrong room.”

“So.” Eijun responds, indignant, like a child. He pushes himself further onto Kazuya’s bed and props his head on Kazuya’s thigh, using it as a pillow. “You’re warm.”

Kazuya gives him an exasperated look even though he feels a blossom of warm affection in his chest. “Your bed will be warm, too.”

“Nu-uh.”

Sighing, Kazuya jostles his thigh, disturbing Eijun’s comfort. “C’mon, Sawamura. You’re drunk. I’ll take you to your bed."

“Only if you stay.” Eijun pouts. “Will you stay?”

“Will I – what.” Kazuya deadpans, feeling his cheeks tingle with a blush. He knocks his head back against the bedframe behind him. “Sawamura Eijun, you are drunk.”

“So.” Comes Eijun’s petulant response. “Doesn’t mean I don’t wanna cuddle.”

“You – what – Jesus Christ.” Kazuya says, frustrated and fond at the same time. “Fine, fine. I’ll cuddle, but we have to go to your bed first.”

It’s a lie, but Eijun doesn’t need to know that. Kazuya just needs to get him back to his own room. But the lie gets Eijun moving. His eyes light up like the sunrise, lopsided, boyish smile blinding at his mouth. “Okay!”

The pitcher struggles to sit up and get to his feet, but he manages. Then, he turns and reaches out grabby hands to Kazuya. Kazuya rolls his eyes and lets Eijun take his own, lets him drag him out of the comfort of his own bed – he had been getting ready to go to sleep – and pull him across their apartment into Eijun’s bedroom.

Eijun tumbles into his own bed and tries to pull Kazuya with him, but the catcher resists. “C’mon, get into bed properly. Do you want to change first?”

Eijun shakes his head and yawns, eyes starting to droop, barely open. “No. Cuddle.” He shifts on the bed so he’s laying appropriately, head resting on the pillow. He makes grabby motions at Kazuya again, and they absolutely do not make Kazuya’s heart squeeze with unbridled affection. Nope, not at all.

This guy, Kazuya thinks wryly, is something else. He should probably come with a warning label, actually.

Because Kazuya’s heart is softer than he wants to admit, he reaches out and takes one of Eijun’s hands, lacing their fingers together and squeezing gently. It’s too intimate, but Eijun has always made Kazuya a little bit warmer, a little bit more lenient, than he is with others.

“Sure, sure.” He lies again, smooth and easy. “Let me just get you some water first, okay? I’ll be right back.”

Eijun pouts but nods, and Kazuya finds himself wondering if Eijun would ever be like this with him sober. For some reason, the thought makes something in his chest ache.

He takes his time getting Eijun a drink, putzing around in the kitchen, going back to his room to check his phone, and even stopping by the bathroom to kill an extra minute getting the boy a couple of painkillers for the awful headache he’s sure to have in the morning. By the time he returns to the bedroom, Eijun has slipped beneath the sea of unconsciousness, just as Kazuya expected and hoped would happen. With a wry smile, he places the water and medicine on the nightstand and then reaches out to wrap one of Eijun’s blankets over the pitcher’s sleeping form.

He looks so peaceful and he’s going to have one hell of a hangover.

Because Kazuya is feeling oddly sentimental and affectionate, he runs his fingers through Eijun’s hair gently, brushing it away from his forehead. “Goodnight, Eijun.” He murmurs, before turning and heading back to his own bed.

In the morning, Eijun groans as he stumbles out of his bedroom, hungover and feeling awful. Kazuya laughs at his misery and places a plate of food on the table for him. Eijun lights up at the sight and bounds over to Kazuya, hooking an arm over the catcher’s shoulders in a half-hug. “Thanks for taking care of me, Miyuki Kazuya.”

Kazuya tries to ignore the way his heart rattles in his ribcage at Eijun’s words. He does a poor job of it.

---

III.

They have a sports award ceremony to go to tonight. Kazuya isn’t a huge fan of these types of things, but Eijun is always excited to celebrate everyone’s victories, and Kazuya finds that endearing, so it’s not a total waste of time.

He’s dressed in black slacks and a burgundy dress shirt. It’s a good color – it makes his skin look warmer, his eyes a little brighter. He finishes adjusting his tie and gives himself a once-over in the mirror. He looks acceptable, he thinks, as he runs a hand through his slightly unruly hair. It’ll do.

He heads out into the living room to wait for Eijun, who appears not long after from the depths of his own bedroom. He’s wearing dark slacks and a navy-blue dress shirt and an adorable bowtie. He is freshly showered and bright eyed, excitement for the event lighting up his features.

“Ready to go?” Kazuya questions casually, stepping around their coffee table. He grabs a jacket from their coatrack, just in case.

Eijun nods enthusiastically. “You bet – oh.” He tilts his head as he steps up to Kazuya. The catcher gives him an inquisitive look. “You’ve got – hold on, your hair.”

Then, without further preamble, Eijun reaches out and begins fixing Kazuya’s hair to his liking.

Kazuya freezes, tensing up at the unfamiliar feeling of being touched. Eijun stands in front of him with his eyebrows furrowed cutely and his tongue caught between his teeth, golden irises focused too intensely on his apparent task of fixing Kazuya's hair to his liking.

He can't even remember a time in his recent past where someone has fussed over his appearance. It makes something unfamiliar, a little uncomfortable, a little sweet, curl in his gut. His fingers twitch at his sides, itching to - to - he doesn't know what, actually.

Eijun's fingers tuck a couple of strands of hair behind his ear and Kazuya jerks, the touch too sensitive against his skin. Eijun pulls back, startled, and looks at Kazuya as if he's only really just realizing what he was doing or how close they are.

Kazuya feels heat climb up his neck at the same time he watches pink slash over Eijun's cheeks, and he is at least grateful that they both appear to be embarrassed about the interaction.

"Uhm." Eijun says, gaze cutting away from Kazuya for a moment. "That's better."

The pitcher steps away from Kazuya, giving him room to breathe, and thank God for that because Kazuya is starting to feel a little light-headed. He swallows thickly, tongue heavy and fuzzy in his mouth, and manages to choke out a strangled, "Thanks."

The air between them is stifling. Kazuya isn't sure how to alleviate it - he's never been particularly good at diffusing tension, only really at feeding it, but Eijun is the exact opposite, so he turns back to Kazuya with a blinding smile and says, "Okay! Let's go win some awards! Oshi!"

Kazuya laughs at Eijun's optimism, rolling his eyes fondly. His heart is still beating too fast and his fingers still feel itchy. "I don't know why you think you're going to win anything."

"Miyuki Kazuya!" Eijun huffs, grabbing his own coat and stomping after Kazuya, letting the door slam behind them. "You know, you can't catch without a pitcher! You should learn to value me more!"

Kazuya smiles fondly, but only when he's sure Eijun won't catch him. And if he thinks, I already value you, you idiot in response, Eijun is none the wiser.

---

IV.

They both win an award. Eijun is ecstatic and Kazuya is pleased.

And the touching continues.

Kazuya notices it slowly, and then all at once.

Eijun knocking his head against Kazuya's shoulder. Eijun curling up against him on the couch. Eijun throwing his arm over his shoulder. Eijun's fingers in his hair. It's as if that moment where Eijun had so easily reached up and fixed his hair acted as a catalyst to Kazuya's realization.

Eijun has always been a tactile person with everybody, Kazuya included. His tactile nature is not what Kazuya notices, really, because that hasn't changed too much - no, it's more of his own reaction to the touches.

He feels distinctly aware of any place Eijun touches, almost oversensitive. His blood rushes in his ears and his heart pounds a little too quickly, and sometimes he feels warm in his belly, nervous.

And above all else, he craves it.

When they're flopped on their couch after a long day and a grueling practice, exhausted, Kazuya finds himself wishing for Eijun's fingers in his hair. When he’s standing at the stove putting together their dinner, he hopes Eijun might curl his arms around his waist and press his chest to his back. When they’re at the store, he wants Eijun to grab his arm and tug him close to look at the back of a cake box mix together.

Kazuya hasn’t taken the time to try and unpack what all of that might mean. He’s only gotten as far as admitting that those feelings are there, and he’s okay with that for now.

Tonight, he’s trying to work on a paper for one of his classes, and he’s just really not into it. He’s tired. He’s kind of cranky. He’s totally unmotivated.

And he’s kind of distracted by Eijun, who is putzing around in their kitchen making tea.

He stares at the screen of his laptop, the half-page of words he’s managed to put together into sentences taunting him, and rubs at his eyes beneath his glasses. As if sensing his distress, Eijun shuffles over and places a hot mug of tea on the table.

“Thanks.” Kazuya murmurs, glancing up at his battery partner. Eijun gives him a soft, quiet smile, the kind reserved for low-energy nights like tonight.

“No problem.” He responds. He stands there awkwardly for a moment, before he reaches out and sets his hands at the base of Kazuya’s neck, right at the curve where it meets his shoulders. His thumbs knead into flesh, silently offering Kazuya a soft massage.

Kazuya has to bite his bottom lip to keep himself from making an entirely indecent sound. His skin tingles beneath Eijun’s touch, and he feels the stress begin to slide off of him.

I don’t know which God I pleased today but thank you for Sawamura Eijun.

Kazuya melts forward onto the dining table. He crosses his arms and uses them as a pillow for his head, and Eijun's touch follows with ease. Kazuya exhales deeply, his entire body releasing a soft sigh of contentment.

"Jeez, you’re tense." Eijun mutters, running his fingers up the nape of Kazuya's neck, and oh, that's nice. Kazuya feels goosebumps rise on his arms, feels too warm, feels too giddy.

Eijun's fingers press into the muscle connecting his shoulder to his neck, and it feels so, so good, but it also hurts, and that combination is somehow fantastic. Kazuya turns his head to bury his face in the crook of an elbow and lets out an embarrassing soft hum of approval.

Surprisingly, Eijun doesn't say anything more. He continues to work his fingers into Kazuya's muscles up and down and up and down over his spine, over his shoulder blades, over his neck. Kazuya's eyes have long since fluttered shut, his face still hidden in the crook of his elbow, his breathing shallow. He feels - he feels a bit like warmed caramel, sticky and pliant and sickeningly sweet, and his insides feel like they've become mush from how relaxed he feels. His cheeks are hot and his skin feels prickly and he absolutely can't believe how much he loves the feel of Eijun's hands on him.

Eijun pauses for a moment, and it's a long enough hiatus that Kazuya almost lifts his head. But then Eijun slides his fingers into Kazuya's hair up from the nape of his neck, and Kazuya just kind of feels his mind shut down.

He lets out a sound caught somewhere between a groan and a whine, a sound he surely hasn't heard himself make before, not like this, and then he relaxes impossibly further into the dining table like the personified version of a contented sigh. Behind him, he hears Eijun snort out a huff of laughter.

"If you've really been this touch starved, you could have just said something, you know." Eijun mumbles from behind him, catching Kazuya off-guard, and -

Ah.

Of course.

Leave it to Eijun to figure it out before Kazuya just because Eijun is open and honest about all of his thoughts and feelings, while Kazuya has never been anywhere near that.

Of course Kazuya is touch-starved. Before Eijun, he'd never had any of this - not with a sick mother who died too young and a father who works eighteen-hour days. Not with his fear of loss, not with his fear of rejection, not with his fear of vulnerability.

Not until Eijun bulldozed his way into Kazuya's life with a vibrant yellow hoodie, a loud mouth, and an idiosyncratic fastball.

He's touch-starved and he's too fond of the pitcher standing behind him, and between those two things, Kazuya really has never stood a chance.

He doesn't know how to respond - yeah, okay, you're right, please don't stop sounds too desperate, too honest. But he's been battery partners with Eijun for a total of four years and they've always had some sort of weird communication magic, so he doesn't need to say anything. Eijun already hears him loud and clear, so he slides his second hand up into Kazuya's hair and scrapes his nails against his scalp, and Kazuya's toes curl against the linoleum floor.

Fuck.

Kazuya's entire body feels so lax and pliant in a way he's never felt, and it's as uncomfortable in its newness as it is exciting. His skin feels prickly and warm and gooey all at once, and his heart just won't stop pounding in his chest even though he feels like melted sugar.

"Kazuya," Eijun murmurs, voice surprisingly quiet. "Sit up, won't you?"

Kazuya swallows, trying to remember how to operate his tongue. He turns his head, so his face is no longer hidden in his arm. "Why?" He questions, voice too rough.

"It'll be easier." Eijun insists vaguely, as if that answers any of Kazuya's unspoken concerns. He tugs in Kazuya's hair gently. "C'mon, don't worry, I'm not going to stop."

Kazuya feels a flush crawl up his neck. "I don't care if you stop." He grumbles, lies, and then sits up. He feels a little light-headed.

"Shut up, Miyuki Kazuya." Eijun mutters with exasperation, and, really, the nerve, because Kazuya has had to put up with this kid for four years, and Eijun doesn't even know what exasperation is. It sounds a hell of a lot like Miyuki Kazuya! It's the perfect day to catch for me! at ass o'clock in the morning on a Sunday. "You're enjoying this and so am I, so don't be a jerk and just let it happen."

"Just letting it happen goes against every piece of my soul."

"Not the piece that belongs to Sawamura Eijun!"

What.

Kazuya opens his mouth to respond, but he's lost the map for navigating his usual snark. He can hear his heart pounding in his ears, can feel the warmth of his cheeks. "I - what." He sputters. "What makes you - belongs to Sawamura Eijun? Do you hear yourself?"

Eijun's fingers slide over his forehead to brush his bangs back over his scalp like he usually wears them beneath his catcher's gear. In the process, he gently tugs Kazuya's head to lean back against his abdomen, forcing the catcher to look up at him while he continues to idly run his fingers through Kazuya's hair.

Kazuya does not know what to do with the look Eijun is giving him. It is fond and deep and profoundly, strikingly knowing, like he can truly see into Kazuya's soul. A swell of emotion catches Kazuya in a crested wave, and he has to dart his gaze away from Eijun's too-intense one before he starts doing something stupid, like talking.

Talking right now would be a bad idea. Because he knows once he opens his mouth, all of the feelings he's currently unable to put away in the organized and labeled bins in his brain will spill forward and out into the sunlight that is Sawamura Eijun, and there will no longer be any chance of hiding them.

"It's true, though, isn't it?" Eijun murmurs, smiling softly, eyes warm. "You've always been the catcher that brings out my best. And don't pretend like my pitches aren't your favorite to catch."

Kazuya feels, very suddenly, unsure if they're really actually talking about this in a baseball context or if Eijun is being oddly cryptic by using analogies for feelings. Altogether, it makes Kazuya's head feel too full of too many thoughts. He tries to calculate the risk of the variety of responses he could make, but that level of an intense analysis is too much for him to muddle through right now. "Eijun," He begins slowly, carefully, even though Eijun's fingers are still in his hair and Kazuya thinks that might be hint enough of what's going on between them right now. "What exactly are you trying to say?"

Eijun blinks down at him, pretty eyes seemingly even brighter than usual due to the soft blush of his cheeks. He presses his lips into a pout and opens his mouth to speak -

But the loud buzzing of a phone against the dining room table slices between them.

They both jolt, the noise far too loud in the quiet that has embraced them. They stare at the phone as if it's an alien with two heads, and it takes Kazuya far too long to even realize it's Eijun's phone. Eijun's fingers drop from Kazuya so suddenly it almost gives Kazuya whiplash. When the boy flips the phone over, Kazuya catches sight of Wakana's name on the screen.

"Sorry," Eijun murmurs sheepishly, flush deepening. "I should really take this. She's been wanting to tell me about this guy she's seeing and I haven't had the time to talk to her recently."

Kazuya blinks, refusing to feel disappointed, refusing to feel the rush of odd jealousy over Eijun's time, especially when he lives with the guy. He waves a hand flippantly and shoots Eijun a haughty smirk that does not match how he's feeling at all. "Sure, sure, go gossip. I need to finish this work, anyway."

Eijun grins, but he hesitates even as he raises the phone as if he's about to answer it. The phone stops buzzing, and Kazuya raises his brows in question. He watches, fascinated, as Eijun tucks his lower lip between his teeth and looks down at him shyly. "I like taking care of you like this." Eijun murmurs softly, gaze cast to the side, cheeks still pink. He takes a deep breath and then looks back at Kazuya with steeled resolve, almost going cat-eyed. The switch is amusing and endearing. "So! Don't hesitate to ask if you need something!"

Before Kazuya can process what that might mean - he's still trying to puzzle through what Eijun had meant by their earlier conversation, so Kazuya feels like he's too far behind to properly respond to anything right now as it is - Eijun turns away and escapes to his room, leaving Kazuya behind feeling stuck somewhere between warm and cozy and terrified of this unknown realm they've appeared to have stepped in.

Eijun's voice is muffled as he chats with Wakana, so Kazuya can't make out the words. He tries not to let the physical distance between them make him feel like a piece of him is missing.

He thinks maybe that piece of him is the piece that does belong to Sawamura Eijun. And then he thinks that he's becoming much, much too soft and he tucks that thought away immediately. 

---

V.

They don't talk about it.

In many ways, Kazuya is grateful. He doesn't do emotional chats very well. But in just as many ways, he is frustrated because he has no idea what this odd limbo is that they're existing in.

And Eijun doesn't touch him.

Well, that's not entirely true. Eijun is still as tactile with him as he is with others, but not any more so, not like that night at the dining table, not with his hands on his back and in his hair, letting Kazuya melt into the touch.

Kazuya tries not to be disappointed and tries, desperately, not to crave it, and fails miserably at both.

The air between them is full of static and sparks, alight with whatever this is that neither of them seems to know how to address.

It's driving Kazuya crazy.

It's been a long day and Kazuya is exhausted. He's hungry but he doesn't want to cook because it takes too much energy, and he's cranky because of it all, on top of this unspoken tension between himself and Eijun that's been weighing on him. So when they're climbing the stairs to their shared apartment, Kazuya gets irritated as Eijun asks, "What do you want to do for dinner?"

It's not an unusual question, and it's not even one that implies Eijun expects Kazuya to cook for both of them, even though he usually does. But Kazuya's in a Mood™, so he doesn't logically think through Eijun's question before he snaps back with, "I don't know. You're a fucking adult, Sawamura. Figure out how to feed yourself."

He regrets it immediately because Eijun stops on the second-to-last step of the stairs and looks affronted. "You don't have to be rude!" He bites back, looking more hurt than Kazuya has seen him in a while. "Sorry for wanting to spend time with you, I guess."

Eijun pushes past Kazuya with furrowed brows and troubled eyes, and Kazuya doesn't have time to process anything before he's disappeared into their abode. He hears the sound of Eijun's bedroom door shut too loudly and feels all sorts of things swirl in his gut.

This is certainly not helping his mood, and he's done it to himself. Typical.

He trudges into their apartment and drops his bag on the floor, resolving to pick it up later. He glances to the kitchen and feels even more irritable about the thought of food now, so he bypasses it and goes to his own room. He showers, feeling a little looser beneath the warm water, and then plops down on the edge of his bed, reaching up to massage his tight shoulders, trying to ignore the ache for Eijun's touch that's been missing lately.

Speaking of, he hears Eijun rummaging around in the kitchen, which makes guilt claw at Kazuya's throat. He just doesn't know how to vocalize all of the things he's been feeling, and it's beginning to pile up and become too much.

He's spinning his wheels in his own thoughts trying to find the resolve to go out to talk to Eijun and apologize when he hears a knock on his door.

"Hey, you big jerk." Comes Eijun's familiar tone. "I ordered Chinese."

Kazuya feels something tight constrict in his chest. He clears his throat. "The door is open. You can come in."

The door pushes open, revealing an Eijun with an irritated expression, lips pouting, and eyes set in a narrowed glare. He's holding two bowls of food.

Kazuya thinks, oh, and then feels his own crankiness deflate a little, I'm in love with this idiot, aren't I?

Eijun watches Kazuya carefully, taking in the way his hands are still massaging his shoulders. "Are you feeling tight again?"

Kazuya hums his assent and motions for Eijun to come in, to come closer. Eijun does, easy to follow Kazuya's instructions, even if he’s irritated with the catcher. "Thanks for the food." Kazuya says as Eijun holds out a bowl for him. "Sorry I was an ass."

Eijun blinks in surprise, like he hadn't been expecting Kazuya to so openly apologize - or even apologize at all, probably, because Kazuya's track record of doing so is not great. "Uhm." The pitcher stumbles, pinking slightly. "Yeah. Sure. I didn't - I didn't mean it to sound like I expected you to cook, if that's how it came out earlier." He ends up saying, looking sheepish, fiddling with his chopsticks where he stands.

Kazuya huffs out a tired laugh. "It didn't. You didn't do anything wrong. I was just cranky." He looks up at Eijun and raises a brow. "Sit down, you idiot."

Eijun does. They eat in silence until Eijun speaks up again. "Is it because of your shoulders?"

Kazuya shrugs, tries to ignore the way his heart won't stop fluttering with Eijun so close. He swallows, wondering if he should just bite the bullet and let his feelings spill out. "Yeah. And. Other things."

"Other things?"

Kazuya hates this. He stabs at his food and stares down at it. He feels nerves swirl in his belly and the distance between them crackles. He can feel Eijun's gaze on him, expectant, but surprisingly patient. After a moment, Kazuya decides to say fuck it, and lets it go. "Why aren't you touching me anymore?"

When he says it out loud, Kazuya feels so stupid. It sounds whiny, pouty, like he's a child who can't play with his favorite toy. He doesn't dare look over to Eijun until the boy answers. "Because you haven't asked."

Kazuya raises a brow. "I never asked before."

Eijun's cheeks are pink beneath his freckles and he looks absolutely delightful. "Yeah, well." Eijun says, gaze skittering away. "I guess I just need some validation."

Oh.

Of course.

Eijun has always been a person who attaches to words. Kazuya laughs softly, amused at how stupid they both are, and then says, "Eijun, I'm in love with you. Is that validation enough?"

He says it as if it's the most obvious thing in the world and not a realization he's had in the past ten minutes, but if knowing Eijun has taught Kazuya anything, it's that risks are worth taking more often than they aren't, so he doesn't even feel the need to analyze the potential outcomes of this moment. Eijun's wide eyes and parted lips and the way he literally drops his chopsticks on the ground makes Kazuya snort with amusement even though his heart is pounding, and his entire body feels alight with anticipation.

"What!" Eijun suddenly exclaims, loud, noisy, everything familiar. He sets his bowl on Kazuya's nightstand and doesn't even bother to pick his chopsticks up before he grapples at Kazuya's t-shirt, shaking him. "You can't just! Drop something like that!"

Kazuya can't help but grin even though he's still tense. "And why not?"

"Confessions are supposed to be special! Haven't you ever read a single shoujo manga, Miyuki Kazuya? I've been waiting for this moment for literal years, and you just! Dropped it like it's a casual and natural thing!"

Kazuya licks at his lips, his brain skipping over I've been waiting for this moment for literal years too many times. "I'm not a shoujo main character love interest, Eijun. Isn't it special anyway?" He mumbles, feeling a little insecure but also stupidly giddy at the implications in Eijun's words.

Eijun tucks his bottom lip between his teeth, eyes skittering over Kazuya’s features. He drops his hands from Kazuya’s shirt in favor of his own. “Of course it’s special.” He agrees, fidgeting with the hem of his shirt nervously. “I’ve had feelings for you for a long time.”

Nervous butterflies erupt in Kazuya’s belly. He sure is glad that Eijun has feelings for him too, but he kind of can’t believe it. Eijun is the child of the sun – everyone is a little bit in love with him, honestly. He could have anyone he could possibly want.

And he wants Kazuya?

Wild.

The catcher is hit with the sudden desire to touch Eijun, an itch to get his hands on the pitcher, to hold him, to kiss him, to love him. His fingers twitch restlessly. “Eijun,” He croaks out, throat feeling oddly dry. “Can I – “

“Yes!” Eijun interrupts before Kazuya can even get his question out.

Kazuya raises a brow and smirks, noting the pink flush of Eijun’s cheeks, though he’s certain his look no better. “You don’t even know what I was going to ask.”

Eijun shrugs and looks away shyly. “I don’t need to. You can have whatever you want, Miyuki Kazuya.”

Oh.

Well.

That’s – that’s a lot. Kazuya is happy about it, but it’s still a lot. He licks at his lips and glances away, trying to calm his racing heart. Inhaling deeply to quell his nerves, he reaches out and skims his fingers over Eijun’s cheek.

His touch is soft and tentative, as if learning how something feels for the first time – and maybe that’s really what he’s doing, actually. He’s never been able to touch Eijun like this. He wants to map out the dips and swells of Eijun’s skin, memorize them until their as familiar and comfortable as his old catcher’s mitt.

He can feel it when Eijun’s breath hitches, and he leans in, magnetized, completely void of his own free will. Eijun is the sun and he is a planet in orbit, lured in by his gravity. Kazuya really, really never stood a chance.

“Let me actually finish this time.” Kazuya murmurs lowly, lids hooding over his amber irises. He is close to Eijun’s face now, and the pitcher shows no signs of retreating. His pupils are dilated, gaze fixated on Kazuya’s mouth, like he knows what’s about to happen and he’s desperate for it. “Can I kiss you?”

There is a quiet moment that lingers between them where Eijun looks as if he’s forgotten how to speak. He opens his mouth, closes it, opens it again. “Yes.” He breathes out, once he remembers how, nothing more than a quiet plea. “Yes, yes.”

Kazuya smiles softly and closes the gap between them, pressing his mouth to Eijun’s.

And it feels like coming home.

---

+1

Eijun can’t keep his hands off of him.

Kazuya laughs as they stumble into their apartment, tripping over a stray shoe in the process. They tumble into the wall while Eijun’s fingers find their way beneath Kazuya’s shirt, warm against Kazuya’s equally heated skin.

They went to visit Kuramochi and Ryousuke in the city over for one of their rare days off from baseball practice. Eijun had been handsy and tactile the entire time, sitting too close, fingers skimming over Kazuya’s thighs beneath the table at dinner, constantly reminding Kazuya of his presence, of his warmth.

It’s Eijun’s way of telling Kazuya that he wants, that he’s thinking about things that are probably inappropriate for the company they were keeping, that he’s happy to visit their friends but itching to get home.

“Someone is impatient.” Kazuya chuckles, wrapping his arm around Eijun’s waist and guiding him towards the bedroom. “What have you been thinking about all night?”

“Oh, be quiet.” Eijun mutters, following Kazuya with ease, cheeks pinking deliciously. “I just – really like this haircut.”

Kazuya grins. He knows Eijun really likes this haircut – a simple undercut, something more practical for the summer season coming up – because when he had come home after getting it done, Eijun had stared at him like a fish out of water, and then had proceeded to shove his fingers into Kazuya’s hair and pull him into a hot, messy kiss. That had ended with Eijun straddling Kazuya on their couch, impatient, handsy, and incredibly hot.  

“Wow, Eijun.” Kazuya drawls teasingly, following as Eijun tugs him down on the bed. He slides over Eijun naturally, hovering over him. His lids are heavy, and his mouth is smirking as he says, “I see how it is – you only like me for my looks.”

“Something has to make up for your rotten personality.” Eijun quips back, grinning wildly. “Now come down here and kiss me.”

Kazuya does as told, secretly loving when Eijun gets like this – reckless, determined, unstoppable, just like when he’s on the mound. He knows what he wants and he takes it. It makes Kazuya’s insides warm and something syrupy-sweet drip low in his belly. He catches Eijun’s mouth with his own, wasting no time to lick into the wet heat that waits for him. Eijun moans softly into the kiss, fingers sliding up to cradle Kazuya’s jaw. The kiss immediately turns deep and hot, leaving no room for misunderstanding the intentions that go with it.

After they’re both warm and wobbly on the inside, squirming and electric, Kazuya pulls back and peppers kisses down Eijun’s jaw.

“I don’t understand how you look so good all the time.” Eijun mutters as Kazuya’s teeth skim over his skin. The pitcher’s fingers slide up and tug at Kazuya’s hair as the catcher nips at his ear. Kazuya glides his larger hands down Eijun’s sides, pulling goosebumps to the surface of Eijun’s arms. “I’m mad about it. It’s distracting. You’re the worst.”

Fond affection bubbles in Kazuya’s chest. He can’t help it – he laughs into the skin of Eijun’s neck, placing a warm kiss there before he pulls away. He just really, really loves this guy. “God, Eijun. I hope you’ll marry me one day.”

Eijun goes rigid in Kazuya’s arms, fingers stilling at the nape of his neck, and when Kazuya gives his gaze back to Eijun’s face, he finds his boyfriend red-faced and wide-eyed. Kazuya’s heart hammers in his chest, doubt and insecurity beginning to flutter within him. Oh, God, what if Eijun doesn’t want –

“Miyuki Kazuya,” Eijun croaks out, interrupting Kazuya’s spiral of self-doubt. The pitcher looks glassy-eyed, now, golden irises misting over with unshed tears. “Are you proposing to me?”

“Uhm.” Kazuya responds, gaze skittering over Eijun’s features warily. “I think that depends on your answer.”

“What!” Eijun snaps, tears finally welling over onto his cheeks. “What kind of dumb answer is that! Like I’d say anything other than yes, you big, dumb, idiot catcher!”

Relief and elation battle within Kazuya for dominance. He swallows thickly and tries to fight the huge grin that wants to peel across his face. “Well, then. Eijun, will you marry me?”

“Yes!” Eijun squeaks, wrapping his arms around Kazuya’s neck so tightly that there would be no way for Kazuya to escape even if he wanted to. “But we have to get rings! Oh, can we get matching rings?

He’s just as much of a lovestruck shoujo manga junky as ever, Kazuya thinks fondly, amused. He leans forward and kisses Eijun fully on the mouth. “Whatever you want, Eijun.” I’d give you the world, probably, if I could.

“Miyuki Eijun,” Eijun giggles, nibbling at his bottom lip, cheeks flushing pretty and pink. “How does that sound?”

Honestly? It sounds like Kazuya is the luckiest guy on the entire planet. In the entire universe, even.

His heart dances in the confines of his ribcage and he tries to keep the swell of emotions in his chest at bay. Catching Eijun’s golden eyes with his own amber ones, he smiles. “I love the sound of that.”