Miyuki Kazuya is only a second year when the Yomiuri Giants express their interest in him. They’re one of many teams to lay their eyes on the star catcher shining even in the depths of nearly forgotten university-league baseball.
He doesn’t let himself overthink it. The plan is to graduate first, and then dive into the professional leagues headfirst. He’s excited—that much is true. He’s ecstatic just thinking about a future surrounded by talented baseball players that will constantly push him to be at his absolute best.
First, he has to pass his biomechanics class, and that’s looking to be more and more of a pipe dream as the term comes to a close.
The miserable feeling he has in his gut as he goes back to his dorm room to study for his final exam is something that Miyuki would like to, but simply cannot, equate to the bad onigiri he bought from the convenience store in a rush. There’s nothing worse than trying to prepare for an exam that is likely going to be hell on earth, or maybe worse.
Miyuki engages himself in one-sided prayer a couple of times as he meanders to the dormitory and only finds himself slowing to a stop when he spots a stranger staring, puzzled, at the campus map.
There’s no real reason for him to help, but out of the sheer kindness in his heart, he reaches out anyway. He's been there before, lost and without any sense of decent direction.
“Where are you headed?” Miyuki calls out, walking right up to the stranger with ease. “This campus is too big for its own good, huh? But I don’t know if having a staring contest with the map is going to change that.”
“Science building,” the young man replies, jaw clenching ever-so-slightly at Miyuki’s dig. The guy hardly tears his gaze from the map in front of him. Maybe he’s trying to prove a point or something. Eventually, though, he lifts his head, turns his face, and it’s right then and there that the dreadful feeling in Miyuki’s stomach shifts imperceptibly to what he thinks might be anticipation. “Is it far from here?”
“Nope, but it’s in the opposite direction,” explains Miyuki. He points beyond the building he just came out of. “It’s kind of complicated but it’s behind that building. Are you new here, by any chance?”
“Kind of. Just transferred in for my second year.”
“Oh, same here. What a coincidence, haha. You from Tokyo?”
“Chiba,” the stranger says. “Brand new to Tokyo, but just moved permanently the other day.”
“Huh. I heard Chiba’s a pretty nice place to live. What brought you to Tokyo?”
There’s a brief lull in conversation, like the guy needs some time to think this through before spilling his whole life story to Miyuki, or something. It’s reasonable enough, and Miyuki’s about to rescind his question even though, for some weird reason, he can’t shake how badly he wants to know the answer.
“There’s nothing for me in Chiba anymore, so I came for a change of pace.”
“Aha, I see. You’ll find there’s nothing that exciting here either. The only thing this school’s known for is the science department and baseball.” Miyuki grins.
The stranger seems oddly subdued, conversation clipped, even as he sneaks a glance at Miyuki’s face. It’s odd, how despite this being a person Miyuki is positive he’s never seen before, there’s this weird, unsinkable feeling that he knows more than he actually does about them.
“Baseball, huh…” the guy trails off.
“Oh, right. I’m Miyuki, Miyuki Kazuya. What’s your name?”
In the distance, the bell tower sounds noisily, filling Miyuki’s eardrums with obnoxious clanging. The stranger’s lips are moving and Miyuki can’t make out what he just said.
“Sorry, could you say that again?”
There’s a familiar glint in the young man’s eyes as his lips stretch into a grin that warms Miyuki’s entire chest, all at once.
“Kuramochi Youichi,” he says.
The name invites a rush of something Miyuki can’t quite define over him until he almost, almost, loses strength in his knees and buckles over.
There are flashes of memories he doesn’t quite remember experiencing for himself running through his mind like a film.
And then, all at once, Miyuki laughs.
“Have we met before?” he chokes out, in between tiny, punctuate gasps for air and the remaining tendrils of his laughter.
Kuramochi is uncharacteristically quiet as he lets his hands drop from the map and fall easily into the pockets of his pants.
“Yeah,” Kuramochi says, and then, a beat later: “Did you wait long?”
How surreal, Miyuki thinks, that all of these memories he didn’t even know were his could rush back in just instants and fill him with an insurmountable amount of joy.
“Felt like ages,” Miyuki replies shakily. “Too, too long.”
(i knew you
i met you.
i’ve known you my whole life.)