Days counting and at last. It’s exam season.
After their tough match with Doutoku High School they can’t keep their feelings down and drown in the past. Just like Aoshi-sensei said, they have given their best at the match, no need to regret anything, they even could hit the balls thrown at them, they had to be proud being themselves now. It’s time to face another fight, the graduation and acceptance to university exam for the third years and final exams for firsts and seconds.
On their free time, the third years would gather in the library to study. Ebato and Okadome just happened to be on the same table. Ebato still felt some uneasy feelings when it comes to Okadome, realizing the tense, the other guy spoke up,
“I’ll change the seat, you seem to need more space.” Okadome stood up and ready to go to the other seats. Surprised by the words, Ebato unconsciously held Okadome’s sleeve, “Erm, no need Okadome-kun, it’s just .. well, it’s okay, I could study with you, please seat.” Back to his seat, they again study in silent.
The bell rang, time to go home. Counting the days to exams is just hard, especially for Okadome. He kind of couldn’t keep up with the other when it comes to study, yes he went to Joutoku because he has good grades, thou compared it with the other here, it’s not that good anymore. To be honest, he’s surprised when he passed the acceptance exam for Joutoku, but of course being a hard worker he is, he studied hard and made it this far.
The one thing he’s surprised the most is the time when he decided to join the baseball team. His legs were always fast, that’s why he enjoyed being in the field track club, yet this Aoshi-sensei came scouted him and asked him to join the baseball club promising him being invincible in his own way. Deep down he knew that’s just some lure to get him into baseball, he knew the baseball club needed to add more players to get into the championship, and in the end, he accepted the offer to be “invincible” on the baseball field.
Ebato who was walking behind him saw his back, Okadome giving this aura that didn’t make Ebato calm again, he’s worried. Yes in their junior high times, Okadome was kind of bullying him, but after a practice they have talked it out, Okadome explained to him that’s just his own way to get closer to a friend. Slowly Ebato understood that Okadome was just not easy to state his true feelings and sometimes what he really meant didn't come well through his mouth. Being a captain also a catcher he began understanding his team mates, including Okadome, he’s now thankful and proud being one. Gathered his courage, he patted Okadome’s shoulder,
“hey, what’s wrong?”.
“ah, Ebato, you scared me!”
“i... i’m sorry.. erm i didn’t mean to.. just..”
“whoa, calm down, it’s okay, it’s rare for you to asked me, so that’s why I’m surprised, that’s all.” Okadome added a little smile to calm the other.
“ah.. yeah.. I’m just curious, you’re not like.. you, today,” said Ebato starring Okadome back with a sudden puppy eye. Okadome startled a little there and trying to go back to his conscious.
“i.. it’s okay, I’m okay, Ebato. No need to worry okay, haha. How about you then?” distracting the topic of himself, he asked back
“eh? Me? Erm... well I feel fine, I guess, about lunch time Aoshi-sensei called me about my grades, and he said I could go for Todai. So, I suppose that’s one thing that made me feel fine...” Ebato’s eyes went down, though he could feel worries about the upcoming acceptance test.
“hey! Don’t give me that look, captain!” Okadome’s hand went to Ebato’s head. “I know you can, you’re captain after all, hehe” and now a wide smile to cheer Ebato.
“t-t-thanks!!!” embarrassed, he moved a little so Okadome’s hand swayed from his head. Oh, what are you doing! You’re the one who supposed to cheer up Okadome-kun here!
“it’s cool, we’re team mates, we’re supposed to support each other, right?” despite him speaking like that, he himself are facing the unbearable truth.
As he thought, Ebato couldn’t let what happened last night, he knew something was off about Okadome. Today he decided to face him, again.
“Okadome-kun, do you have a time?” Ebato raised a voice on lunch.
“Sure.. what is it?” Okadome confused
“Well, it’s about last night, I just can’t stop thinking about your expression, you seem off about something, I’m concerned, you know.. ” Ebato tried to explain it well.
“haha! I thought what’s you’re going to say... ah, it’s no use to hide anyway. To be honest..” Okadome took a long breath and started to tell Ebato about how his grades just are not enough for Todai or Waseda, and there’s a big chance he had to try another test for next year, so after graduation, no university for him.
“i... i’m sorry to hear that Okadome-kun, I didn’t mean to....” now it’s Ebato who’s panicking, he thought he was cruel made Okadome tell him such thing.
“whoa, it’s okay, captain! I need to tell it to someone anyway, I felt kinda weird hiding it from a worried friend like you especially..” Okadome gave a reassured smile, that just made Ebato slightly blushed.
“ah.. is that so? Thanks for telling me.. i’m sorry if i can’t do any help, but i’ll be cheering on you for sure! Ganbatte!!!” Ebato clumsy response made Okadome laugh. Ah.. he’s laughing, at last.
The third years sure felt happy about their graduation, there are some who shed tears, even Okadome and Ebato.
After the third years received their diplomas, the baseball club along with Aoshi-sensei went to their club room. Aoshi-sensei gave his last speech before he parted with his students, tears again, but this was not a sad tears, but the expression of proud. Aoshi-sensei proud to have them as his students at the same time the students proud to have a teacher and a coach that taught them many things about baseball yet their struggles along.
It was a beautiful scene of a good-bye. The students even promised to be better after Aoshi-sensei go back to Todai’s Research Lab. The second years promised to manage the next generation of Joutoku’s baseball club and win the next time for sure and the third years would join the university’s baseball club and promised to meet on the competition in the future. Ebato though, was touched by Okadome’s words next time, i’ll be invincible for sure! while crying, but he promised to himself he won’t felt sorry for Okadome, but keep cheering on him.
They all then separated, most of them went back home. But Ebato, the former captain stayed a little longer on the field just to remember all those feelings, adventures, practices, matches they've been through.
“Ebato!” called someone.
“okadome-kun? You’re still here?”
“oh well, it’s kinda hard to say good-bye to all these beautiful memories happened in this field, you know?”
“yeah, sure it is...” Ebato walked to the pitcher stand, “OKADOME-KUN! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BEING AN AWESOME TEAM MATE!” he suddenly yelled to the other.
Okadome seemed a little surprised for a moment then let out a little laugh. He walked towards Ebato. Seeing this, Ebato is now confused, what? Oh my, is he gonna punched me for yelling such embarrassing words? He closed his eyes, ready for receiving a punch, but he felt a hug.
“yeah, thank you for being a great captain for us, Ebato.. Otsukaresama..” Okadome whispered to Ebato’s ear making the other blushed heavily, Ebato welcomed the hug and just grateful Okadome didn’t witness how his face was very red just now.