Inside classroom 2-A, one of the girls keeps her curious stare fixed on one of her classmates while her friends chat. “Hey.” she calls for their attention, looking away from the boy sitting at his assigned spot. “How does Okumura-kun look today?” they take a look at the reason for their friend’s distraction, one with less interest than the other. “Angry?” one of them answers, slightly amused. The other one only watches in silence, her hands busy unwrapping a piece of candy. “I really have a hard time trying to guess his mood, he always looks so serious…”
Okumura Koushuu, with his eyes staring beyond the surface of his desk, he’s further away than anyone would think, floating up into the clouds. It’s a shame every time he tries to stop thinking or at least to find something else to wrap his mind around, his train of thought takes him back to the moment he wants to escape so badly.
The cause of his torture goes back to this morning, while he walked with Taku to their respective classes, yawning every now and then, since he went to sleep later than usual the previous night. It was still very early, so not many students transited the hallways. “Remember the giveaway I told you about?” Taku asked.
“The one from that new movie theater.” he nodded.
“Yeah. Turns out I won.” Taku sighed, looking far from happy. Koushuu raised an eyebrow. “The thing is, I thought they’d let me choose the movie and give me free tickets, but it’s some promo for a pair of tickets to a new anime movie.” he made a face. He pulled out what Koushuu thought would be the movie tickets from his pocket and sighed again. “I know it’s my fault for not paying attention, but I’m still disappointed!”
Koushuu wondered why he put them in his uniform pocket. “Why don’t you go watch it? We could go together.” he said, eyeing curiously the paper pieces in his friend’s hand.
“I don’t think so, from what I read in the summary it is about romance… not my thing.” he shook his head.
Koushuu kept quiet. In reality he wasn’t going to add anything else, but he felt that even his thought process halted when he heard Sawamura’s booming greeting thundering down the hall. “Good morning!” he smiled a wide smile, walking towards them with Furuya and Kominato in tow. The last two offered short greetings before moving on their way to their class, Furuya seemed more asleep than awake while Haruichi tugged at his sleeve. “Okumura!” Sawamura laughed loudly. “You look awful.”
He glared at him. “And whose fault is that? You keep pestering me to catch for you, even when we have a few days off.”
Sawamura opened his mouth to snap back at him when his eyes moved to Taku, who watched the exchange between them with amusement, and then landed on his hand. “Oh! Young Seto! You have tickets to that movie?!” his expression went from sharp to glowing with excitement. Koushuu sighed inwardly, not at all surprised by Sawamura’s knowledge about the movie —which was still unknown to him— due to his liking of the shoujo genre and the amount of content he’s seen him consume since he knows him. Just how good was his sight? Koushuu spent the last couple minutes trying to read the movie’s name in the tickets with no success.
Out of the corner of his eye he saw Taku’s surprised look after Sawamura addressed him so suddenly, however, it was replaced by a small, sly smile, eyes growing sharp when he looked back at Koushuu. “Actually, they’re Koushuu’s” he answered, pushing said tickets into Koushuu’s hands before he could react and immediately turning around to leave. “I’m on morning duty so I gotta hurry, see you later!” Taku said goodbye as he hurried down the deserted corridor, showing his friend a thumbs up.
It was safe to say Koushuu's mind turned into a turmoil in two seconds. Part of him panicked, cursing the day he thought it was a good idea to tell his best friend about his embarrassing crush on Seido’s ace; on the other hand, having Sawamura stare brightly at him wasn't so bad, even if he felt pinned down right where he was standing by his gaze.
He had too many mixed feelings for his liking.
“So they’re yours!” he looked like he had found out Koushuu’s biggest and darkest secret. “You’re lucky! I heard they sold out fast… man, I wanted to go watch it.”
“Then let’s go together.” he said without thinking. Sawamura blinked owlishly at him, his smile falling from his lips in surprise. There was a small silence that, although not uncomfortable —because no silence with him would be uncomfortable— made Koushuu shove his hands into his pockets in need of doing something with them.
If he felt nervous, Koushuu didn’t show it as his face remained at its usual cool. After a moment, the brunette recovered. Sawamura leaned down to meet his eyes, smiling once more, this time a little more softly.
“It’s a date.”
The end of that sentence marked the arrival of many students who flowed down the hall, streaming around them to reach their classrooms, as if the world was reigned by his every action, silence and purpose. Koushuu felt as if time had restarted, pausing for a couple of seconds before running its normal course again, only that it had forgotten about the two of them to let them have that conversation. Sawamura straightened up and said goodbye with a 'see you' before navigating the stream of people as Koushuu watched his retreating back.
Koushuu clenches his fists tightly and a growl burns its way out of his throat, alarming some of his classmates by accident. It was a simple memory, something that happened hours ago even, but he still feels a slight tingling on his fingertips, he still hears the phrase 'it's a date ' in his mind and he clings to the reality of the situation: he has a date with Sawamura Eijun.
But he can't go on like this if he doesn't want to choke on his own heart. So he tries to breathe in deeply, filling his lungs with air and slowing down his racing pulse by emptying his mind.
As he did some breathing exercises —trying to ignore that this also had to do with Sawamura— his train of thought suddenly changed course to… cake? The scent of bright red strawberries and a thick layer of whipped cream on a soft and fluffy vanilla cake fills his senses. Someone is probably eating a piece of strawberry shortcake inside the classroom.
The bell's ding dang dong rings and with a weak sigh he loosens his fists. He sees the coach come in, in this case his Modern Japanese teacher, and wonders how he was going to pay attention to the class with a mess of a mind. This is all Sawamura's fault .
Koushuu mentally pats himself on the back, feeling great at having been able to pay attention for the rest of his classes and understand everything. Except for math, that's still a problem for him, although everything went well.
When he finishes gathering his belongings, he slings his backpack over his shoulder and leaves the room. As he shoved his hands into his pockets, he almost felt himself jump when his fingers touched the paper inside one of them. The movie tickets, he almost forgot about them. Koushuu shakes his head, as if that way he could get the thought out of his mind and continues as if nothing had happened.
It is still early, the sun is still shining high in the sky, on the way to the dorm he tries to think of something to do for the rest of the afternoon. Spring Koshien ended recently so they have a few days off to rest as much as they could before starting practice for the summer, although no one seems to take the ‘resting’ part into account and the team members just head straight to the fields to practice as soon as they can, for as long as they wanted. He could go run laps around the field with Asada, he's sure he wouldn't refuse.
Koushuu believed that his afternoon would be uneventful until he ran into Sawamura, or rather Sawamura ran into him as he had run out of the indoor practice ground and nearly collided with Koushuu.
“Sorry, Okumura! I didn't see you coming.” he apologizes with a bashful smile, putting a hand behind the back of his neck. Koushuu would be damned if he said that he didn't find the gesture cute.
Koushuu shakes his head. “You should be more careful... but it’s alright.” Once more, he finds Sawamura in an almost completely deserted place on the same day. Almost, because he may well hear voices coming from the ground that Sawamura‘s just left and some of his teammates sporadically emerge from the dorm doors.
The universe must be testing him today.
“Hey, hey, I wanted to talk to you first.” Sawamura says. “You didn't tell me when we'll go see the movie.”
Right now, Koushuu feels pretty dumb, not only because he didn't tell Sawamura, but because even he has no idea when the premier will be. “Uh.” he says, eloquently. Did he even know the name of the movie? He pulls the tickets out of his pocket and quickly searches for the date and time.
“So when?” he says, moving to stand next to Koushuu and look at the tickets between his fingers. Koushuu does not feel nervous due to Sawamura's closeness, but it is difficult for him to ignore the underlying sense of normalcy with which Sawamura stands so close to him and is very aware of the heat emanating from his body due to exertion.
He clears his throat. “Tomorrow. At four.” he responds shortly, not knowing what his voice would sound like or if he would be able to speak without embarrassing himself by stuttering.
So Sawamura talks about plans for the next day and what time they should take the bus to get there on time. He was in the middle of a monologue about his excitement for the movie when a small group of his teammates emerged from the dorm door, ready for afternoon practice.
“Sawamura! Hurry up if you want to join practice." Kanemaru speaks in what some —Toujou— call his captain's voice as he passes by Sawamura.
“Yes, captain!” the brunette salutes before jogging past them, then he turns to smile at Koushuu without stopping. “See you tomorrow for our date!” with that said, he finally leaves in the direction of the fields, while Koushuu, in all aspects except physical, freezes. Sawamura actually said… that in front of none other than at least five of his teammates. It goes without saying that Koushuu wants, he needs , to hide or find a way to backtrack in time to ten seconds ago. Although the idea of going back until long before birth sounds ridiculously tempting at this point.
“God, he really can be the biggest bother.” Kaneramu says, accompanied by a snort, as the group walk away.
“You have to admit it’s funny.” Toujou comments next to him.
Kominato , who Koushuu hadn't noticed was there until now because of his stupor and embarrassment, gives him a compassionate look. Or he tries, as a smile fights to tug at the corner of his lips and his shoulders tremble and he must leave before bursting out laughing in front of Koushuu by accident. If it weren't for the fact that he was affected firsthand by Sawamura's questionable actions, he would find the lack of reaction from the others hilarious before moving on.
Not having shaken off all of his embarrassment, he decides to follow the best course of action that he could think of, and that is to continue with what he planned to do before meeting Sawamura. So he comes to his room, he changes his school uniform into a baseball uniform, and after a fruitless search for Asada in the dorm, he heads to the practice field alone to run with a tire tied around his waist. Then a boisterous voice calls behind him. “Oi, Okumura! Why didn't you tell me you'd come for a run too?! I would have waited for you!”
Koushuu heaves a deep, tired sigh.
The light outside the movie theater bothers Koushuu a bit, causing him to slightly close his eyes. Sawamura was completely out of his mind before speaking for the first time in the last two hours, "That was incredible." he practically sighs the words, which triggers a series of thoughts and opinions to fall from his lips.
Last night, Koushuu hadn't had a hard time sleeping, but the second his eyes opened this morning at eight o'clock, his entire body began to vibrate with excitement. The others probably failed to notice anything out of the ordinary at breakfast. Taku may have. He didn't say anything to him but he snickered a little when he saw him. By the time Sawamura and Koushuu got off the bus and walked the few blocks between the station and the cinema, Koushuu realized that he was quite excited about their… date. He still doesn't get used to it ... should he?
Seeing Sawamura so immersed watching the movie, and even talking about it, reminds him of the way he looks when he talks about baseball and that makes him want to chuckle a little. He is a nerd . Sawamura looked so happy and excited from the moment they met at the exit of the dorm, Koushuu even noticed a spring in his steps.
As they head to the exit, Sawamura bumps their shoulders together and talks excitedly about what he thought he would think of the movie before and his opinion after watching it, also about what he thought at specific moments between smiles and the only thing Koushuu manages to do is observe.
Inside the movie theater, a lot of what he did was watch Sawamura, not enough to miss out on the movie but enough to see his eyes widen with concern sometimes and crinkle at the corners with glee at others. He saw Sawamura cry and laugh with tears in his eyes and he couldn't stop thinking about how precious he is. As close as he is, he can notice tiny remnants of tears on his face as he looks at him from the corner of his eye. Koushuu's fingers twitch at the thought of reaching out and erasing the trail those tears left on his cheeks.
Instead, he uses his hand to push the door open for Sawamura and him. “Since the movie ended, I wanted to come out and see the sky’s blue and the sun.” Sawamura says with his gaze fixed on the white clouds riding across the sky, the sunlight falling fervently over him and making him glow as if it had missed him. He doesn't think it would be so surprising if that were the case. With the tickets in hand, Koushuu reads the name of the movie for the third time that day, printed in bold and generic font, the words 'Weathering With You' remain in the center of the paper. “Okumura,” he turns to see Koushuu with a comically serious expression. “What did you think of the movie?”
"Honestly?" Sawamura nods sharply three times. "Honestly... I enjoyed it." the look on Sawamura's face was priceless. The truth is that Koushuu watched the movie with no regrets, most likely he wouldn’t have watched it on his own, but he had to admit that the pictures were quite beautiful and the story was nice. “It was good. But I didn't like the ending.”
“I don't know whether to feel even more surprised because you liked it or be offended because you didn't like the ending.”
“You don't get to fight me over it, this is as far as you get.” he warns him.
“No, because we will discuss it to the death! There really was no other way for it to end.”
“Yes, there was.”
“It was a good ending, otherwise the movie would have lasted much more than two hours...” before he finishes his sentence, Sawamura looks at him with very big eyes. “Okumura, are you trying to tell me that you didn’t want to admit that you liked the movie so much that you wanted it to take much longer but that you accidentally did it?”
Koushuu sighs. “No. I liked that there were some other things that could happen to anyone, in between the whole weather control thing.” he tried to change the subject.
"Didn't you say that I already got as far as I could a minute ago?" Sawamura laughs. “But I understand what you are saying. It made me want to flee to a new place and change my life completely, live to the fullest.”
“... Didn't you do that when you moved from Nagano?”
“But I didn't run away from home!”
“Mm.” Koushuu stops at a red light and holds Sawamura by the elbow before he continues walking as he did not notice the traffic light change. “I'll admit that I understand the feeling, the movie makes you want to do a lot of things.”
“Should we run then?” Sawamura looks at him. “You can be like Hina.”
Koushuu looks back at him. “No, that would be you.” there is no doubt in his voice as he responds. With his personality and the way he carries himself, Sawamura would be the perfect lead in a fantastic story like that. “It would be more believable if someone like you could control the sunlight and the weather at will. You fit the concept of sunshine boy better.”
Sawamura smiles at him and there is a slight blush spreading across his cheeks. Before Koushuu can react, the brunette takes the hand that Koushuu hadn't realized was still closed around his elbow and pulls him forward when the light changes. “There's a coffee shop on this street, let's try their lemon pie!" and so they do. Walking block after block, Koushuu can swear that the sun shines even more with each laugh that comes out of Sawamura's lips. Could it be possible that he was a secret sunshine boy and had control over the weather?
In the coffee shop they order lemon pie as well as bubble tea, the waitress who takes their order is cheerful and smiles at them when she puts their orders on the table. The pie is truly delicious there, it leaves a refreshing taste in your mouth, it tastes like lemon but without being too sour, with a touch of sweetness that makes you feel addicted. His gaze travels all the way to the boy in front of him, for a few seconds he watches him eat his piece of pie without noticing the meringue stain on his chin. A smirk threatens to cross his face so he lifts his tea to his lips in order to hide it. He'll mention it to Sawamura later, maybe. For now, he waits patiently for Sawamura to decide when or how to talk about whatever is on his mind right now. A while ago, Koushuu noticed a change in him, very small, but still present, hidden behind his golden eyes.
"Okumura." The brunete calls him once he swallows a mouthful of pie, staring at him with indecipherable eyes. For some reason, that look both comforts and unnerves him at the same time. Sawamura licks his lips before speaking, "Those tickets weren't yours, right?"
Koushuu looks at him with huge eyes, "Oh." he places his tea on the table again and his gaze falls on it. Thus, guilt gnaws at his gut; he had completely forgotten about that small detail and did not consider Sawamura's thoughts on the bit of information that he kept secret. Would he be angry? "I... I'm sorry if that-"
"No, no! Wait!" Sawamura waves his hands in front of him, smiling at him with a mixture of shame, guilt, and a little bit of amusement around the edges. “I didn't mean it that way. There's nothing wrong, it's just that I didn't think they were yours, it's not like you're interested in that genre.” he scratches the back of his neck, a smile forming on his lips. "But it made me happy that you wanted to go with me to watch a movie that you wouldn't have watched on your own, also that you had a good time in the process.”
Koushuu stares at him with a slight frown, blinking once. "So you're not angry? Or… uncomfortable?" Sawamura shakes his head a few times. Now, Koushuu's frown deepens. Even if the tension of his shoulders eases considerably until it disappears. "Why did you approach the subject like that?"
"Because I thought you’d freak out." he snickers.
Koushuu growls. “Remember when you thought I was scary? I miss those times."
"I couldn't go back to that, not even if I wanted to." he smiles radiantly.
Under the table, Sawamura's foot taps once , twice on Koushuu's ankle. Koushuu shoots him a glance before looking away. He taps Sawamura's ankle back.
Once back in the dorm, Sawamura can't help but announce their arrival by shouting at the top of his lungs, “We are back from our date!” At that moment Koushuu doesn't know if he wanted to disappear or make Sawamura disappear. Why do I even like him?
"Sawamura, shut up-!" Kaneramu stops shouting back when he sees Sawamura, a smile making the corners of his mouth quiver. Someone in the background starts laughing. He scoffs. "You can't even eat properly!"
"Eh?" there is a small silence as Sawamura looks for his reflection in the glass of one of the windows. "Eh?!" and more laughter erupted around him. "Okumura! Why didn’t you tell me?!" he tried to clean the dried off meringue stain on his chin.
Koushuu just looks elsewhere as he walks away, on his way to his room.
Koushuu likes Sawamura.
Often during lunchtime, Sawamura would find himself in the library, at the far corner where the history section is, sitting by the window with the blinds open to let the sunlight in . He’d wait patiently for Koushuu, who would arrive a couple of minutes later, carrying a few soft candies and sandwiches from the cafeteria in his backpack. And Koushuu would find him absent-mindedly reading some of the books on the shelf. Once Sawamura notices his arrival, he smiles at him, leaves the book in its place, and Koushuu sits down with him to share a light lunch.
When he began his first year at Seido, he did not expect to take interest in anything beyond baseball, if someone had dared to tell him that he would take a special interest in one of his teammates —specifically Sawamura Eijun — he probably would have given them the most murderous glare that he could summon, and even more so after their argument. Though, had it happened, a year later that person might have laughed at Koushuu in his face and he should put up with it. As much as he hates to admit it sometimes, his interest in the pitcher Sawamura Eijun grew little by little until it surpassed the limits of baseball and reached greater heights, wanting to know more about Sawamura Eijun as a person, spend time with him, talk to him, listen to him… He was only knee-deep when he realized that his interest no longer fit the definition of 'platonic', yet something inside him didn't want it to stop.
Koushuu listens to Sawamura talk softly about a new manga he found while they eat, something about the main heroine becoming a deity of an old shrine and falling for her familiar. Sitting with their backs leaning against the bookshelves, they feel daylight bathe them from head to toe and it hits the colorful candy wrappers. Koushuu watches Sawamura speak with red and blue reflected on his face.
Koushuu likes Sawamura. It is not a publicly known fact, but it is not exactly a secret either. At least not for the person anyone would assume should be hidden from.
There we have the next issue: Sawamura likes Koushuu. Most likely. The truth behind it all is that it is not a probability, but a fact, and Koushuu finds it surreal that his 'hopeless crush' is not as hopeless as he believed. Their situation was not always like this due to the presence of a certain nuisance and an old, one-sided crush, but they've moved on from that. Thankfully. Koushuu knows they've gotten past that, Sawamura has assured it before... but sometimes he can't help the stab of annoyance that digs into his chest.
He didn't know he was frowning until he felt Sawamura's soft touch on his skin, smoothing out the crease between his brows. Koushuu's expression becomes relaxed once again, all the trouble drains off his features almost instantly. He looks up at the brunette with an apology hanging off the tip of his tongue. Sawamura's hand comes down to cup his cheek and he smiles at him, reassuring and dazzling.
Koushuu and Sawamura have never talked about it, there has never been any kind of confession, no rumors between his friends... nothing at all. But as time went by, their gazes met and lingered on each other more frequently, the tips of his fingers sought contact, the comfortable silences became ordinary, Sawamura's smiles said much more, and Koushuu became easy to read.
They didn’t need big words or whispers in corridors to recognize the meaning behind their actions. Koushuu is not stupid and Sawamura is more perceptive than he seems.
Somewhere along the way, it became a kind of game to them. To dance around each other, very aware of their feelings, Sawamura's teasing, Koushuu's small attempts to make him blush… seeing who was the first to break is like a competition with no starting date but only one way to finish.
To Koushuu it is fun. To be crushing on Sawamura feels soft and sweet, warm, like a pool of melting marshmallows, a mixture of colors and a never-ending sugary taste.
When Sawamura retreats his hand and they fall back on a quiet conversation, Sawamura sits closer to him, leaning on his space and resting his head on his shoulder. Koushuu carefully rests his cheek against his hair, trying to ignore the rapid, heavy thump of his heart as he listens to Sawamura's voice.
That night, when Koushuu decides to do part of his homework and rummages in his school bag for his book, he comes across a yellow post-it among his things. This one is wrinkled due to the mess inside his backpack but the message written in Sawamura's large handwriting makes his chest swell with affection. Koushuu makes sure to tuck it between the pages of his book to smooth out the wrinkles.
Minutes later he decides to send a message.
Koushuu. 9:13 pm.
“Your handwriting is ugly.”
Sawamura. 9:20 pm.
All the players go out of the dugout while the stands are in an uproar. Under the scorching sun, one voice can be heard above the others, "Let’s go!" shouts Sawamura. After some days off, the team was finally back with practice games before their summer started.
“Come on, wolf boy!” Sawamura calls after him as the team runs to the field. Their teammates' yelling and cheering a background noise to Koushuu. He reaches the mound before he turns to point at his catcher. "Make me shine!"
Even brighter than the sun . He thinks, standing at the catcher's box, and Sawamura's smile widens as if he just read his mind.
Sunset tints the sky and the scoreboard signals a game over in the seventh inning with Seido as the winning team.
Koushuu takes off his gear and helps put things in order in the dugout before heading off to the exit, where Sawamura waits for him. Outside, most of the spectators have left, only a few people remain, among whom Koushuu manages to identify a certain nuisance a few meters away and his face contorts in a grimace of distaste. He is about to turn to Sawamura to distract him and go in another direction, but he practically jumps up and calls out, "Miyuki Kazuya!" before running towards him, drawing the attention of the aforementioned nuisance. Koushuu suppresses the urge to roll his eyes and follows Sawamura.
Koushuu can hear him and Miyuki caught up in one of their usual banters already. He hears Miyuki say something along the lines of, "I see you two are as attached to each other's hips as I remember." before Sawamura's ears go red as he sputters and Miyuki laughs, looking all too knowingly. " Yo , Okumura." he greets with that same smile plastered on his face, Koushuu nods.
He and Sawamura converse for a few minutes, minutes during which Koushuu stands next to Sawamura in silence. They talk a bit about Miyuki's college, a bit about the benefits of being a third year (Miyuki says there are none), there's a little more banter and they talk a lot about baseball before Miyuki shoots Okumura a look.
“Okumura, how is it going being starting catcher?” he asks in a cocky fashion, smug smile and eyes glinting with irony, looking down on Koushuu... but that's just how he sees it.
“Very good, actually. Maybe even better than you. "
Miyuki lets out a laugh, certainly surprised by that answer. That annoys Koushuu. “Ah, that's good, I’m glad to hear you're taking good care of my team. Especially my old pitcher.” he says, teasingly, knowing damn well it'll tick Koushuu off, but he wants to see how far he can take it.
Sawamura snorts. “Miyuki Kazuya, what are you talking about?”
It does, of course, annoy Koushuu further. Most things about Miyuki do. With the passage of time, he learned not to bother with most things Miyuki said in order to not waste his time getting worked up over pointless things, but his plan backfired the moment that it gave Miyuki the opportunity to learn what worked and what didn't in order to push his buttons.
With a growl reverberating from deep within his throat, Koushuu shoots him a dirty look. “Not that anything you left behind was yours, either way.” without more to say, he leaves. Sawamura doesn't even know what expression he is making, while Miyuki tries to hold back the laughter bubbling inside his chest.
"He hasn't changed much... he still growls at me." Miyuki chuckles before turning around to leave. “I'll go see the coach before I go. I'll let you fix that.” she says in lieu of a farewell.
"Why do I gotta fix your mess?!" Sawamura complains, yet, he hurries his steps to catch up with Koushuu.
Sawamura runs all the way leading to the dorm until he reaches Koushuu, placing his hand on his shoulder before dropping it to his side a moment later. Both he and Koushuu are silent for a moment before the younger of them lets out a grunt.
“I still don't like him.”
“I can see it.” Sawamura says, laughter paints his voice. “Don't let it get to you, Miyuki is just trying to be annoying. Besides, you don't have to be jealous-” Koushuu turns to see him with the most murderous look he could have directed at Sawamura. He raises his hands in surrender. "Sorry, sorry." he laughs nervously. "It’s not a topic you like.”
No, it really isn't. Miyuki not only bothers him considerably due to obvious reasons, but there is also a fact that pops into his mind every time he sees him and even though he pushes it away, it sometimes does fight back. A long time ago, Koushuu overheard Sawamura talk to Kominato about someone he liked, it was an accident and he wanted to turn around and leave, but his hopeful heart had wanted to hear the boy say his name. After hearing a name not only completely different from his, but also belonging to that nuisance, his chest was brimming with disappointment and irritation.
Now, time passed, and what Sawamura described as an insignificant crush was long gone , making way for his feelings for Koushuu. It's not like he thinks Sawamura is lying, he couldn't. But to think of someone like him having feelings for someone like... Miyuki... no. He wasn't going to think about that. Thinking that Miyuki never liked Sawamura is something that also makes him confused, how could he not like him? What is wrong with him? But then again, that's something he doesn't like to think about either. It makes him shiver.
"I have no reason to be jealous of... him," he wrinkles his nose as if the mention of Miyuki left a bitter taste in his mouth. "hence I’m not." there is a pause before he continues speaking. "It's not like I'm pathetic or mediocre. I got the starting position as a catcher," even if it was after his graduation, I still got it and it's mine , he thinks. "The team trusts me, the coach has praised my calls after games several times and I also got-" His pride-laden little monologue is abruptly interrupted to glance at Sawamura, who’s looking back expectantly. Koushuu averts his gaze, bringing it to the front once more.
"What else did you get?"
Koushuu stops his walking and so does Sawamura, his shoe sole accidentally scraping the ground. Filling his lungs full in a deep breath, he turns in his direction once more, showing him the resolution in his eyes. "I got you." Sawamura's eyes grow bigger. “You are not his pitcher. That stopped being the case when he left. You are my pitcher, and you will continue to be so until you, inevitably, have to leave.” Although his words make him feel childish, and that embarrasses him extremely, there was so much more hidden in those words than a simple vent between teammates.
Sawamura's eyes scan every angle of his face for a few seconds, and once again their eyes find each other, icy blue meets molten gold in an explosion so electrifying it sends shockwaves all the way down to his feet.
That is probably the closest thing to a confession there has ever been between the two of them.
Sawamura offers him a lopsided smile, the gold in his eyes glowing brighter than ever under the cotton candy sky. He looks like he wants to say many things, so many that he probably can't find the words he needs to do it. He walks over, puts an arm around Koushuu's shoulders, and leads them back to the dorm. "I will." he mumbles, his voice so soft and quiet that he can hardly hear it. But he did.
The starry sky looms over them, keeping them company once it gets late enough and the others have left the fields. Koushuu rests on the ground, lying on his back with his arms outstretched. Little by little Sawamura approaches with slow steps, his panting gets louder and he drops next to him. Tired, sweaty, with their muscles pulled taut and ragged breathing, they stay there for a long time after running laps that a while ago seemed endless. Both exhausted, lying on the warm field, lights turned off long ago, listening to nothing but the faint noises of the night dance in tune with the silence as their breaths subside.
"During my first year, every time I finished running laps, I thought I would die." Koushuu says, his voice sounds steadier after having rested for a few minutes and there’s a shade of amusement in his words.
Sawamura laughs, or pants, or maybe both at the same time. "You've gotten better, you can even keep up with me.” Koushuu kicks his leg playfully and Sawamura laughs again.
Koushuu closes his eyes and a yawn makes its way out of his lips. The past three days have been busy, playing back-to-back games against strong opponents and each winning hard, two of which extended into extra innings. Koushuu gave it his all and was happy with the team's victories, but at the same time he was considerably tired.
The breeze is blowing and the slight drop in temperature feels good, since the weather has been changing with the slow arrival of autumn and Koushuu is enjoying the days more.
Suddenly, but not unexpectedly, fingers brush his bangs away from his forehead, barely brushing his skin, then he feels them in his hair, tangled in his locks, Sawamura doesn't seem to care about his sweaty, dirty state and he is perhaps very tired to care and the feel of his fingers playing with his hair helps him relax, his body going languid at his touch. It is when he finally decides to open his eyes, he realizes that Sawamura is sitting next to him, looking at him with bright eyes in the darkness of the field, behind him are the stars, scattered in the expanse of the sky and Koushuu thinks of the very pretty photo that would make that scenario.
The wind blows once more, messing up his brown hair and filling Koushuu's lungs with cold determination. He pushes himself up with his arms into a sitting position, Sawamura's hand falls to the side and he looks sulky due to the loss of contact. Either way, his eyes lock with his own. “When are you going to realize I have feelings for you?" Koushuu asks, feeling suddenly short of breath. Sawamura's face is a poem, his expression goes from confusion to surprise and ends up turning into a wide grin, his eyes narrowing into the most beautiful crescent moons.
"I will when you acknowledge the huge crush I have on you."
If before he felt short of air, those words ended up knocking the air out of his lungs. Unlike many times, this time the world seems to run its normal course as they sit there, static under the weight of their words, their feelings exposed where they can see them clearly, there is no place to hide.
There is no will to hide.
Sawamura breaks the silence when he giggles, it sounds joyful and melodious and Koushuu lets himself be carried away by the colorful explosion of feelings within him so he surges forward, he gets close, close, closer until his nose brushes Sawamura's and his lips are a breath away. Sawamura takes a shuddering breath and heat rises to Koushuu's cheeks.
Slowly, he tilts his chin up, brushing his lips once before pressing a kiss to his mouth. Sawamura's hands come up to cup his cheeks and he feels him smile when his fingers touch the heated skin of his cheekbones. Sawamura kisses Koushuu back, pressing his own lips to his before parting them. Koushuu's hands tremble and he clings helplessly onto Sawamura's arms.
The kiss turns a little clumsy, for it is Koushuu's first, but Sawamura doesn't seem to mind as he kisses him, ever so gently. He can't help but think Sawamura's kiss tastes of sunshine and honey.
As slowly as they kissed, they parted. Koushuu breathes in deep, his heart racing and hammering against his ribs as if it wants to run out of his chest. He might die like this. Sawamura's hands leave his face and he's just about to frown about it when his arms wrap around him tightly. He doesn't bother to hide his sigh and lets himself plop down on the ground, hugging the boy back just as tightly.
His cheeks are still warm, his hands are no longer trembling and Sawamura nuzzles his hair. Sawamura hugs him close and it should feel gross and uncomfortable because they're sweaty and full of dirt, but in reality it feels like the best thing to ever happen to Koushuu.
They stay like that for a couple minutes or a couple hours, they wouldn't know. Sawamura resumes petting Koushuu's hair and slumber starts creeping to him; he tries to count Sawamura's heartbeats, as he feels it so close to him, in a flimsy attempt to stay awake. He ends up falling asleep.
A couple knocks on his bedroom door and Sawamura's voice can be heard from inside the room, "Come in!" he says and Koushuu walks in, leaving his shoes at the entrance. Sawamura is lying on the floor, on his stomach, next to some of his textbooks, but his eyes are fixed on the manga he’s holding in his hands. Koushuu, carrying his own textbooks, sits next to the brunette and puts his books with the others.
"Hello." the boy greets him and his voice is so soft, lately everything about him is.
Several days have passed since that night in the field. Since their confession. Even though that moment felt like pure bliss, the next day had to be the most awkward of Koushuu's life. He didn't know how to act in front of Sawamura and it seemed that Sawamura didn't either. He could swear his ears were red for most of practice. However, little by little they returned to their usual habits, as Koushuu’s fingertips would seek Sawamura’s and Sawamura couldn't take much of his attention away from the blond , until finally everything fell into place.
Koushuu leans in a little and presses a small kiss to his temple, "Hey."
Sawamura smiles broadly at him before putting down the manga and sitting down, of course, marking the page he was reading. For a good while they busy themselves studying and doing part of their homework, it was Sawamura's idea to study together but they both knew that it wouldn't last long enough, it's a good attempt anyway.
Now, for a minute Koushuu has felt Sawamura's gaze upon him, unmoving, so he looks up, eyes traveling up to him from under his fringe and a tiny part of him wishes he didn't. Sawamura was staring at him, with a look even softer than the one Koushuu saw this morning and a smile so sugary sweet it made his stomach knot. Sawamura's eyes widened only a fraction, smiling a lot more even if he was surprised to be caught looking at him that way.
Koushuu looks away shortly after, his cheeks start to burn and he must suppress a grumble. Oh, because of course, just like everything about Sawamura lately is soft, lately he can't stop blushing.
"Why?" Koushu swears his heart will burst his chest open. He tries, tries hard, to give Sawamura a dirty look, but the faint pink dusting his cheeks makes it all the more difficult. He laughs. "You're so cute." Koushuu is going to die.
Either because of this boy or because Sawamura's roommates decide to come in right now and see him as a mess and he dies of embarrassment. If that happens, he will make sure to come back from the dead to hunt Sawamura.
"Shut up." he says, not very convincingly.
"No, it's my job as your boyfriend to embarrass you by telling you how cute you are."
Boyfriend. His heart leaps at the word, it doesn’t matter if it’s not the first time Koushuu’s heard him say it and he knows it won’t be the last, yet it still feels very new and he cannot help the reaction. He likes to hear it, he would like to say it. God, how he likes Sawamura.
Sawamura laughs again and stops pretending to study, closes his notebook and sits closer to Koushuu, saying nothing more, keeping quiet.
Koushuu intends to study for a little longer, completely ignoring Sawamura's gaze on him, the way he makes funny faces to break his concentration, when he moves away for a bit and reaches for a bag of gummies on the dresser and the moment he comes back to his side and they’re pressed together from their hips to their shoulders anew...
Koushuu fails miserably in his attempt to ignore Sawamura. He admits his defeat by closing his book in a half-read chapter, while Sawamura has already eaten halfway through the contents of the plastic bag in his hands. Now it is Koushuu's turn to stare at the brunette and the joyful expression on his face as he eats his sweets. He's so cute .
"What are those?" he asks, getting even closer to the boy.
Sawamura takes one of the sweets between his fingers and holds it up for both of them to see, this one is shaped like a... kid? Small and green, covered in sugar. Koushuu can't imagine whether it will taste sweet or sour. "Do you want to try it?" the blond nods slightly and opens his mouth when Sawamura brings the candy to his lips. However, at the last second, Sawamura retrieves the candy and pops it in his mouth, wearing a playful smile.
Koushuu rolls his eyes. "How mature, Sawam-"
Before he can finish reproaching him, the boy leans forward, capturing his lips in an unexpected but sweet kiss, quite literally, the saccharine/sugary flavor is strong on his tongue as he kisses his boyfriend back.
They part after a few seconds, Koushuu opens his eyes and Sawamura comes into view, with the same smile on his face, looking like a fool. Once again, heat rises to Koushuu's cheeks and he shoots him a sulky look. Sawamura giggles and leaves another kiss on his cheek.
“Alright, alright, now you can try the real thing.” he says with a chuckle. He hands the small bag to Koushuu and he himself takes one of the sweets and puts it in his mouth, it’s yellow. Not a second later, a sour taste fills his mouth and he can't help but grimace with his whole body. Sawamura bursts into boisterous laughter and by the time he's done, the taste turns sweet on Koushuu's tongue.
The blond swallows and glares at his boyfriend for what feels like the tenth time in thirty minutes. "You know I don't like sour things."
"I'm so, so, so, sorry." laughter still tints his voice. Sawamura wraps one of his arms around him and holds him close to him, while with the other he extracts a small pink bag from his pocket. "I know you don't like soft candy either, so I've got these for you." The way Koushuu's irritation evaporated stupidly fast annoyed him a bit.
Koushuu accepts the candy bag without a word, but by relaxing his body next to Sawamura's and accommodating his head on his shoulder, he says more than enough.
They stay there for the rest of the afternoon, laying on the floor, wrapped in each other's warmth , and having cherry flavored conversations.
The midday sun shines gently, spring breeze is nothing but nice and cool where it touches their skin. After a long and tedious graduation ceremony, the third years spend some time by the fields in the company of their —now— former underclassmen before afternoon practice begins. They busy themselves by giving them some advice and joking between the story-telling of some anecdotes. Everyone is enjoying it, Asada shed some tears and everyone laughed lightly, Taku patted him on the back to comfort him.
But something feels off.
Haruichi's rosy eyes move swiftly over the crowd before he asks, "Where's Eijun-kun?"
Far away from there, in a secret hidden place discovered months ago, Eijun and Koushuu stand close to each other, fingers intertwined, Eijun's diploma lays on the floor by their feet, long forgotten. There's something weird and exciting about his graduation, something scary too. Koushuu feels happy for his boyfriend. Hell, he feels pride swell in his heart. However, he can't help the slight uneasiness creeping inside his chest.
"How does it feel to finally graduate from high school?"
"It feels great!" he smiles, though his smile turns shy around the edges. "Terrifying... as if there were perhaps too many possibilities."
Koushuu gives him a smile, tightening his hold on his hands, reassuringly. “You’ll be just fine. You're that bull-headed."
“Koushuu!” Eijun throws a glare his way, a small pout on his lips, yet it brightens seconds after. He lets go of Koushuu's hands before reaching out for his school uniform jacket. His second top button, more specifically. A smile tugs at the corner of the blond's lips and he shakes his head.
"I knew you would do that." Once he receives the little button in his hands, he adds in a teasing manner, "Sappy."
“You should want my second button! What if I gave it to someone else?"
Koushuu snorts at his words.
“You could give me all of your second buttons, or even choose not to. It won't make a difference. I'm still yours.”
Eijun's cheeks are dyed in the prettiest pink, his golden eyes turn into crescent moons with an impossibly large smile. Their hands seek each other and they intertwine their fingers again.
"Kou." his name sounds soft and warm falling from his lips, like dripping honey. “Do you remember that afternoon after practice? You had said something… about me being your pitcher until the day I had to leave."
"No." he lies.
Eijun laughs. "Sure you do!"
"I'll wait for you." Koushuu stops and stares deeply at the boy in front of him, his words and thoughts get stuck at the edge of dropping. "I don't want to stop being your pitcher and I don't want you to stop being my catcher." he tips his head forward and joins their foreheads. "So graduate quickly, alright?" he adds with a smile before pulling back.
Those words are everything Koushuu needed to hear for his unease to completely disappear. The fear of being left behind as Eijun advances, as he discovers things Koushuu is yet to experience, the fear of being forgotten... it eases from his shoulders to never come dwell within him again.
Koushuu reaches out to wrap his arms around Eijun, hugging him as close as he physically can for a couple seconds before looking at him. He feels the brunette's arms circle his waist. "Yes." he lets out with a small but genuine smile, feeling giddy inside.
Once again, they stand there, closer than ever, looking at each other with love shaped eyes inside their own iridescent purple-pink bubble. The future remains unknown, but Koushuu doesn't care, not when Eijun kisses his cheeks and lips so tenderly like he always does, always reminding him just how full of love he is and how eager he is to give it all to him.
Koushuu will always do the same for Eijun.