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Koushuu is certain of one universal truth.

Miyuki Kazuya is determined to make his life hell.

The most atrocious of his manipulative ploys happens on the bus one day. A group of second-string members had been invited to attend the game and observe. As a result, their bus is overpacked, throwing their normal seating arrangements out the window.  

Koushuu is sitting next to Sawamura, who is currently vibrating with excitement after the team’s win and his commanding performance. Koushuu can feel the energy rolling off Sawamura in a tangible manner. It seeps into Koushuu’s skin, leaving him almost tingling.

It’s already too much to take in. He usually avoids sitting next to Sawamura for exactly this reason. There’s something about being this close to his senpai – this one in particular, that gives Koushuu a weird feeling in the pit of his stomach.

He doesn’t like it.

Sawamura is busy talking a mile a minute when Miyuki gets on the bus, looks around and discovers that there is not a single open seat. Before Koushuu knows it, Miyuki is glowering above him, his signature dickhead aura radiating around him. “Scoot over,” Miyuki demands, making a shooing motion like Koushuu is too dumb to figure out his words without the gesture.

Koushuu wants to argue. It’s on the tip of his tongue to tell Miyuki to back off when Sawamura squishes himself against the wall of the bus, wraps an arm around Koushuu’s waist and pulls him tight against Sawamura’s side, creating just enough space for Miyuki to sit down, as long as he keeps his legs in the aisle.

“There you go, Cap!”

Koushuu is frozen at the sudden turn of events. He’s practically sitting in Sawamura-senpai’s lap. And Miyuki is just as close, keeping him pushed into Sawamura’s side with no wiggle room at all. He’s caught between a growl of frustration and a hot flush taking over his face.

Sawamura reaches a hand out for a fist-bump with Miyuki, further squashing Koushuu between them. “Good game, huh!”

Koushuu wants to be literally anywhere else right now. Anywhere. At this rate, he should have shoved himself into the seat with Taku and Asada as the third person. Anything would be better than this.

After a minute, some god takes pity on Koushuu when Miyuki turns to Kuramochi in the seat across the aisle. It means his back is facing Koushuu, giving him the tiniest bit of wiggle room.

“You okay?” Sawamura asks, taking in the heated expression on Koushuu’s face no doubt. His body is as stiff as a board pressed up against Sawamura, his spine feels as unmoving as a metal rod.

The short answer is no. Koushuu is definitely not okay. Because as much as he absolutely hates this moment, he really, truly loves it.

“I’m fine,” he answers flatly. He doesn’t want to be unnecessarily mean to Sawamura, who is just being friendly. Koushuu simply doesn’t have room for anything else right now – all of his focus is on building a brick wall around his feelings. Why does Miyuki, of all people, have to be one inch away from him in this scenario?

“It’s a long ride back! Better get comfy!” Sawamura singsongs, settling deeper into the corner he’s wedged himself into. It pulls Koushuu into his side further, a hot brand of heat against his back, his legs, his arms.

Sawamura is firm, honed muscles against him. He smells like grass and leather and everything that Koushuu associates with baseball. “Hey, wolf boy, what did you think of that pitcher they brought in halfway?”

Koushuu does his best to answer. And somehow, after ten minutes, Sawamura has him relaxed, talking, answering questions, leaning in further against him as he resigns himself to the moment.

There’s five minutes left of their bus ride when Miyuki turns around again, facing them. “Wow, you two look awfully cozy.”

Koushuu – despite everything in him fighting it – feels his cheeks warm up at the casual observation. Sawamura just smiles widely, his happiness blinding everyone around him. “What else did you expect when you told us to make room for you?” Sawamura doesn’t say it like he’s angry. He says it conspiratorially, like Miyuki is sitting here on purpose. In fact….

Koushuu pauses for a minute, considering.

Miyuki and Sawamura are close. They’re always plotting and planning and doing stupid things together that Koushuu has to bear witness to and suddenly he wonders why Miyuki picked this seat, of all the seats. Why Miyuki was the last one on the bus when normally that’s not the case.

Would they have…?

No.

Koushuu shoves that thought away. He gets dumber every day he spends time with these two idiots.

 

 

 

 

That’s how it starts. Suddenly Koushuu finds himself being squished into Sawamura’s side with frequency. Miyuki sits too close to them in the packed lunchroom, too many people cram into their room after practice.

Then it starts to happen when Miyuki isn’t there. Sawamura sits right next to him on the bench in the dugout, plops down in the grass after practice, nearly on top of Koushuu when there’s plenty of space around them.

Sawamura-senpai is like this with people sometimes. He’s seen him drape himself over Haruichi, watched him fall asleep and drool on Kuramochi’s shoulder. He just hasn’t been like this with Koushuu until now.

That feeling in the pit of his stomach has transformed into something else these days, leaving Koushuu frustrated but mostly fond. There’s really no getting angry with Sawamura. He’s just too open and honest and friendly.

It all builds up inside of him, leaving him foolishly pleased. Now he’s someone that has made his way into the inside circle of people Sawamura trusts, relies on, spends time with, doesn’t have personal space boundaries with.

He’s learning to live with it. Learning how to keep those feelings somewhere deeper down so that he can still focus on baseball like he’s supposed to.

It’s hard to forget the feeling of nearly sitting on Sawamura’s lap on the bus though. So, he doesn’t bother trying to bury that memory. He just keeps it to himself, as best he can.

It’s fine. He manages it. Until he can’t.

Until he comes back into his room one night after taking a shower and the only person in his room is Sawamura. He’s sitting on Koushuu’s bed, a book in his hands.

That’s never happened before.

“Good evening!” Sawamura chirps, setting his book down.

Koushuu nods politely at the greeting, taking one single step inside. “Where’s Miyuki-senpai?”

Sawamura grins widely, head tilting to the side a bit. “Oh, he left for a while. He won’t be back for ages.”

Koushuu frowns, the cryptic yet too-forward response leaving him thoughtful. He contemplates asking Sawamura why he’s still in the room if Miyuki isn’t here.

He has a guess, but he doesn’t want to be wrong.

“You’ve been doing it on purpose, haven’t you, Sawamura-senpai?”

Sawamura dips his head down, his bangs covering up his eyes, leaving Koushuu unsure of his reaction. “Doing what on purpose?” The question isn’t posed shyly or with artifice. Sawamura wants Koushuu to say it bluntly.

That’s never been a problem for Koushuu.

“All the touching. Being in my space. When you do it with other people, it’s like you’re not thinking about it. When it’s me, you get this look on your face.”

Sawamura looks up, face sharp and intent. Focused on Koushuu, all of his attention a weighted blanket on him.

“That kind of look,” Koushuu says, pointing at Sawamura and his expression.

Sawamura smirks at him, a little playful. “You’re the one always giving me looks, wolf boy. I thought you were super smart. You haven’t figured it out yet?”

Koushuu steps further into his room, close enough that he can see his senpai’s eyes. He stays standing, even though Sawamura is still nonchalantly sitting there on his bed. “And I thought you were more honest than this, senpai. If you have something to say, then just say it.” He throws the challenge down because that’s what provoking him leads to. Sawamura knows it too.

Sawamura’s eyes light up, golden and fierce and Koushuu suddenly feels like putting his hand out. Like he’s about to catch something Sawamura is preparing to pitch at him, like they’re about to take on a batter together. It makes his heart race traitorously, makes a little trickle of sweat work it’s way down his spine. The hairs on his arm stand up because he’s a foot away from Sawamura, whose savage gaze is lasered on to Koushuu.

“You want me to say it? You’re sure? You can’t take that kind of thing back,” Sawamura tells him, voice clear and firm.

Koushuu should think about this. He knows that he should. This hasn’t even been a possibility that he’s really let himself think about until now. It’s only been a heat in his veins when he’s alone, it’s only been an automatic reflexive fondness when Sawamura starts shouting on the field, when he smiles easily at Koushuu.

People think Koushuu is strategic. That’s true. But he’s also stubborn and impulsive sometimes, the kind of person who follows his gut instincts forever after they point him in a direction. He’s the kind of person who pursues something with absolute grit and determination until he gets what he wants.

He’d come to Seido for a reason. He’d worked his way onto first string for a reason.

He’s never pushed away Sawamura and his too close attentions.

He hasn’t asked Sawamura to leave his room.

Koushuu nods – he does want Sawamura to say it. He doesn’t trust his own voice right now.

Sawamura stands up then. Takes a step closer until he’s toe-to-toe with Koushuu. He’s not sure what to expect. It’s certainly not for Sawamura’s arms to fold around him in a hug, pulling Koushuu tight against his chest.

It’s a hug full of sweet affection, one hundred percent what he imagines it might be like to be loved by someone like Sawamura. Someone who is completely free and vulnerable with their feelings, the kind of person who feels everything so strongly that being around them is like being battered by a hurricane every time they talk.

Sawamura laughs softly into the mess of Koushuu’s hair. “Don’t you know how to hug?” He asks in the face of Koushuu’s unmoving posture.

The permission opens something up in him. Koushuu wraps his arms around Sawamura’s middle, burying his face in Sawamura’s neck. The scent of him hits Koushuu’s nose and much to his ever-lasting mortification, he squeezes Sawamura tighter, resting his forehead on Sawamura’s shoulder.

There’s nothing in the world like a hug from Sawamura. He knows that as a fact of life now. He could die happy right now. With this overgrown puppy of a pitcher holding on to him like he’s the center of his universe.

“I really like you,” Sawamura says boldly, making Koushuu wish he could see his face. “You’re kind of amazing, y’know?”

Koushuu snorts at the silly compliment.  Sawamura continues, “That dirty look you give me all the time when you’re mad at me. I used to hate it; it would drive me crazy. I’d be up at night thinking about how to wipe that smug rude look off your face. Maybe I’d throw a pitch so hard you’d fall over or maybe I’d sneak an extra serving of rice on your plate or—”

Koushuu interrupts. “Is this a confession? Cause it sucks, senpai.”

Sawamura chuckles, pulling back a little so they can see each other’s faces again. “Let me finish. And then one day, I thought, I bet I could get a reaction if I kissed him. And then…well, then I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Then I got to know you, and then we played together. Ever since then. The way I feel about you—it just keeps getting stronger.”

Koushuu tries to process this but his brain keeps catching on Sawamura saying he wants to kiss him.

“Do you accept my feelings?” Sawamura asks him like they’re characters in a manga.

God, he’s such a dork. Koushuu almost groans out loud thinking about how much he likes Sawamura.

“Yes,” Koushuu answers, making Sawamura laugh so hard, he slaps at his own leg.

“That’s it? That’s all you’re gonna say?”

Koushuu nods. “Yes.”

Sawamura tugs at Koushuu’s hand until they’re sitting side by side on his bed. His eyes are sparkling. Koushuu wonders how it’s possible for one person to be so impossibly extra.

“I told you when I started liking you. Now it’s your turn. Tell me,” Sawamura requests.

Koushuu isn’t sure there’s an exact moment when it had really started and it feels like a million years ago, so instead he says the most memorable experience of late. “The bus.”

Sawamura’s eyebrow twitches just a bit, confirming what he’s suspected for a while. He and Miyuki had planned that.

It was probably all Miyuki’s fault, if Koushuu were to wager a guess. Though, somehow, it’s landed him here, of all places, so he can’t complain.

“You did do it on purpose,” Koushuu says, staring down his upperclassman.

Sawamura shrugs, scooting closer. “Not really. Miyuki just knows that I like you. It was kinda romantic though, right?”

Koushuu is surprised into choked laughter. “No. It wasn’t.”

Sawamura smirks. “No need to be shy about it. I was there ya know.”

“Miyuki-senpai was right there. That’s not romantic,” Koushuu argues.

“Well, he’s not here right now.”

That has nothing to do with anything as far as Koushuu can tell. Sawamura stares at him expectantly.

Koushuu stares back.

He feels like this is a glimpse into his future. Just ridiculous staring contests with Sawamura until one of them gives in.

Finally, Sawamura says, “Can I kiss you?”

Everything from the past ten minutes suddenly processes in Koushuu’s mind. Sawamura is pushy and forward and amazing and if Koushuu isn’t careful, he’ll get swept up in Sawamura’s momentum forever. That’s okay sometimes, but not all the time.

“It would be pretty disappointing if you didn’t kiss me,” Koushuu challenges, even though a sliver of nervousness runs through him at the thought.

He’s only kissed someone once before, a girl in junior high at the end of a school dance. It hadn’t been anything to write home about. Koushuu hasn’t really been interested in that kind of thing again until recently.

When Sawamura brings their mouths together, the obvious fact that this is an entirely different kind of kiss from anything he’s ever experienced is sharply driven home.

Sawamura’s lips are little chapped, and his calloused fingers wrap around Koushuu’s wrist, his thumb casually, almost without thought, rubbing back and forth across his pulse point.

Everything about what they’re doing warms him through, leaving him breathless and eager.

Koushuu presses forward, increasing the pressure of their kiss, because he’s pretty sure that this is a little like baseball. He gives Sawamura a sign, then Sawamura runs with it. It’s similar to baseball because now that Koushuu has started playing with Sawamura, he doesn’t want to stop.

When they break apart, Koushuu can’t stop looking at the flush sweeping across the bridge of Sawamura’s nose. He can’t help himself, reaching a hand out, carding his fingers through Sawamura’s hair. He’s wanted to push at Sawamura’s bangs so many times before, and now he can.

Sawamura grins boyishly at him. “What about the bus made you think about me differently?”

Apparently Sawamura is not going to let this go until he gets every word out of him. Koushuu clears his throat. “I mean, I was almost sitting in your lap. What do you want me to say?”

“You want to sit in my lap, huh?” Sawamura says it half-joking, half-taunting. Koushuu doesn’t like his tone, so he does what seems right.

He sits in Sawamura’s lap. That’ll shut him up.

It’s effective. Sawamura’s teasing dries up and he splutters in response. Koushuu just kisses him again, now that he’s at the perfect angle.

Unfortunately, the tactic affects Koushuu just much. It’s intended this time unlike the bus, leaving them both more comfortable and in far more contact.

Sawamura’s arms wrap around him, and Koushuu can feel himself melt into their embrace. It’s impossible not to. Sawamura touches so much. It’s not sexual necessarily and yet it is. His gentle, questing fingers utterly destroy Koushuu’s composure.

Eventually, Sawamura pulls back, resting his forehead against Koushuu’s, panting.

He didn’t know that sitting in Sawamura’s lap, seeing his lips kiss swollen, hearing his ragged breaths would be this overwhelming, this arousing, but here they both are, fighting to calm back down before they’re interrupted.

It turns into a hug again, Sawamura squeezing him too tight. Koushuu doesn’t mind.

“You wanna go practice?”

Koushuu blinks, absorbing the question. “Right now? Really, senpai?”

Sawamura smiles at him, and now Koushuu can hardly look at his mouth without wanting to kiss it. “Yeah, don’t you think it’ll feel good? Feel right? We should go try it! I bet we have some kind of silent telepathy now!”

Koushuu snorts because this is his life now. He signed up for this.

“Telepathy is already silent.”

Sawamura playfully shoves him. “C’mon, wolf boy!”

Koushuu sighs. “Yeah, fine. Let’s go see if we have telepathy now.”