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all forces lead to you

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every object continues its state of rest or uniform motion as long as no net force acts on it

Koushuu hates physics. He hates science in general, but physics is, unfortunately, the ultimate victim of his loathing. There’s something about the textbook in front of him (Giancoli, first on his enemy list) that makes it seem like he’s being mocked. Taku would tell him he’s exaggerating, and maybe he is, but Koushuu sees no point in studying invisible forces. Not when his high school enrollment paper was as blank as his physics homework. Koushuu was always used to calling the shots, that was his job as a catcher after all. But, for once, he wished someone else gave him the signs. A notification from his phone stops his train of thought.

taku: are you going to the baseball game?

In all honesty, he didn’t want anything to do with baseball right now. The image of his former coach across the field was seared into his brain, wrapping his heart in bitterness and chasing away whatever love he had for the sport. Ever since they won said game, Koushuu has found himself questioning what exactly he wanted . His mind has been in this state of chaos for a while.

koushuu: idk

taku: it’s better than glaring at your physics book though

koushuu: ...i wasn’t

Of course, Koushuu goes. And of course, Taku finds him. He wonders if physics can explain the near-telepathic communication they have going on, but he supposes there are things that are just products of time. 

“Gave up on your homework?” Takuma teases with no actual heat. Koushuu simply gives him a pointed glance, refusing to acknowledge the still blank physics homework back at home. It’s only when he’s seated does he notice the gloomy weather, never a good sign for a baseball game. Maybe not a good sign at all, Koushuu thinks grimly. Truth be told, this match was more than an escape from the deadly claws of Isaac Newton. 

He was hoping to find something, anything really, to disrupt this internal standstill he’s found himself in. 

It seems like his hopes were rained on though, literally and figuratively. Despite his stellar pitching beforehand, the ace of Seidou finds himself in a rut after the break. Koushuu can’t blame him, anyone would find the heavy downpour annoying, but he can’t avoid the disappointment stirring in his gut. Maybe he shouldn’t have gone in the first place—

“Miyuki!” a shout is heard from the bullpen. The Seido coach is requesting a timeout, and beside him is a relief pitcher, sporting the number 18. There’s something magnetic about the newcomer, and Koushuu can’t help but be immediately drawn to his presence. After a minor scuffle with the ace refusing to get off the mound, #18 takes the stage. 

He wasn’t able to watch the Koshien qualifiers, but Koushuu vaguely remembers talks of a pitcher who relentlessly threw to the inside corner. So it’s to his great surprise when all of the pitches went to the outside. 

“Strike! Batter out!” Seido’s crowd goes wild, and Koushuu’s heart along with them. Besides one inside pitch that goes awry, #18 finishes his turn with a near flawless run, giving way to another relief pitcher (seriously, how many of those do they have?). Koushuu feels like those hypothetical metal balls in his physics textbook, suddenly met with force. 

He doesn’t know the reason behind the game calling, maybe it was the battery’s way of saying that they don’t need inside pitches (which is petty, but Koushuu is no stranger to that sort of strategy). All he knows is that Seido has two interesting pitchers, and he feels his center of gravity shift.

the acceleration of an object is directly proportional to the net force acting on it, and is inversely proportional to its mass. the direction of the acceleration is in the direction of the net force acting on the object.

Koushuu is well aware of his prickly personality. He knows he’s not the most approachable person, if the distance between him and his classmates at Seido are anything to go by. He doesn’t mind though, being likable isn’t needed in baseball anyway. Plus, he had Taku, and he was the best social buffer Koushuu could ask for. 

But, it was only a matter of time that said personality actually got him in trouble. In his defense, Sawamura was already annoying enough with his volume, his condescending words of encouragement just added salt to the wound. He does feel some sort of remorse though, and maybe he was out of line for what he said. It still doesn’t stop the irritation from building up inside of him after Miyuki’s lecture. 

Like an itch he can’t reach, the regret slowly builds inside of him. Unfortunately, Koushuu’s never been one for words (again, Taku’s forte), and he’s not quite sure how to apologize to the pitcher. And maybe that’s what compels him to catch for Sawamura (not because he hates seeing the pitcher being cast aside, no matter how much Taku insists). 

They start with the usual warm up. His control is even more impressive up close, and Koushuu wants more . One particular throw catches him by surprise, the ball creating a resounding sound with his mitt. Miyuki seems to sense Koushuu’s interest, and he hates how transparent he is.

“Can you throw a bit more to Okumura?” Miyuki asks Sawamura. Koushuu ignores the relief he feels when Sawamura says yes. After putting on catcher gear, he settles into catching position and directs his focus back to the pitcher. 

Koushuu is a man rarely shaken, stoicness perpetual on his face. When he looks back at Sawamura, he’s entirely too cognizant of golden eyes meeting his blue. It’s then he realizes that the warm-up was jus the calm before the storm, not even close to the full hurricane that the pitcher is. 

Koushuu is shaken, but he’s more terrified at how he doesn’t mind as much as he thought he would. 

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Koushuu does not have this under control. He knows that, for all his fighting spirit and gusto, Sawamura Eijun is not unexpendable. Still, he finds himself unprepared for the task of bringing his upperclassman back, to climb the metaphorical wall they’ve found themselves facing. The decision to use the numbers was a risk, but it was done in good faith. Now, Koushuu wants to eat his words. 

Are you committed to creating works of art with me?

He thinks he gets it now, what the pitcher meant that day. And, so, Koushuu calls for a time out.

“Let’s go back to your fastballs,” Koushuu muttered. “They’re still powerful enough to throw the batters off.” The shock is palpable on Sawamura’s face, but he doesn’t argue, knows that the numbers are doing him more harm than good. When Koushuu returns to the plate, he can feel golden eyes boring into his back. He doesn’t know if the decision he’s made is right, considering it’d put them more at risk. 

He would never admit it out loud, but Koushuu longed for the day he’d finally get to catch for Sawamura Eijun in a game. That said, the coveted spot miles from the mound is something Koushuu wanted to grasp on his own terms, not because his senpai got injured. He resumes his catching position, trying to ignore the anxiety building up in his chest. For once, Koushuu wished he caught more for Sawamura, wished he swallowed his pride. He thinks of a jersey number, drifting more and more away from him, an ever present reminder of the time he’s losing.

Before he can spiral even further, he looks back to the mound only to be surprised by the sight that greets him. Sawamura looks at him and grants Koushuu his smile, and it’s crazy that he can look this joyous and exuberant in the face of terrifying batters. 

The catcher is not one to be distracted during matches. But, for once, he allows himself to indulge in the pitcher’s expression: golden eyes that seem to glow, cheeks flushed from exertion, and lips slightly curled at the corner. It’s more subdued than usual, but it’s there, the unmistakable hunger for challenge. 

Koushuu vaguely thinks back to the diagram in his physics textbook, the one about other batteries. It’s only right that Sawamura Eijun would be the metaphorical positive end. Even now, when loss weighs heavy on the team, Sawamura does not give in.

It’s this knowledge, this certainty, that lets Koushuu call for a pitch to the inside. Sawamura responds in kind.