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Eye of the Storm

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Sawamura could be really stupid sometimes. Well, more like most of the time Kazuya fondly thinks as he trudged up the stairs that lead to Sawamura’s dorm. He bangs on the door without a care for his neighbors or the fact that his roommate might be in there too.

It's only a few seconds later that the door opens and Sawamura’s dumb cute face peers out at him. He opens his mouth getting ready to speak, probably to shout Kazuya’s name, but before he can Kazuya pushes the door all the way open and brushes by to get inside.

He’s been to Sawamura’s dorm a few times, so he knows which side contains all of Sawamura’s belongings. It’s not as messy as it was the last time he was here which is a pleasant surprise. A few articles of clothing thrown around here and there. The bed is messily made and an open book is laying on one of the pillows. He was probably reading the latest volume of some shoujo manga before he got interrupted.

“Excuse me Miyuki Kazuya, just what do you think you’re doing?” Sawamura demands as he closes the door and heads back over to the bed.

Kazuya doesn’t even spare him a look as he hums in response and continues surveying the room. He spots his prize on the desk and grabs it, handing it over to Sawamura.

“Open this,” he commands as Sawamura takes the laptop from him.

“Why? What do you need my laptop for?” He’s being difficult but opens the lid and follows Kazuya’s directions anyways.

Kazuya fishes through his pants pocket before pulling out the USB drive Sawamura had given to him yesterday and showing it to him.

“Idiot. You never put the video back on this. It’s still on your laptop and you just gave me an empty flash drive,” Kazuya explains.

“Oh,” Sawamura blushes, turning the unlocked laptop towards Kazuya. “Sorry.”

Kazuya just huffs out a laugh.

Their coach normally gives Kazuya recordings of their opponents’ previous games to study before any match. This particular video was for a team that they were having a practice match with at the end of the week. As someone aiming to be one of their starting pitchers, Sawamura would sometimes join him in watching the games, listening to comments, adding his own, or just annoying Kazuya and being a distraction.

This time he had asked Kazuya to view the game by himself to see how well he could analyze it on his own. Kazuya couldn’t exactly say no to that. He loved Sawamura’s never-ending desire to grow and was always surprised by the results. This was only a practice match, so Kazuya could afford to start his research a day late and it would be good practice for Sawamura. They could meet up later to review their notes together. And hell, Sawamura may have even been able to pick up on some things that Kazuya didn’t, even if it's just to point out that the opposing team’s battery had a cool handshake.

This was all good and fine until he had handed Kazuya the empty drive yesterday. He was planning on taking the time to start his analysis today, but opening the empty drive had delayed that. It wasn’t too big of an inconvenience to run to Sawamura’s dorm, after all his off-campus apartment was only a 15-minute walk away, at most.

Kazuya grabs the laptop and goes to sit down at Sawamura’s desk. Sticking the drive into the USB port on the side, he opens up Sawamura’s files.

“Do you have anything in your brain besides pitching?” he teases.

“Shut up, it was an honest mistake. Don’t act like you're not glad to have an excuse to see me.” He flops back onto his bed and picks his book back up.

He wasn’t exactly wrong with that comment either. Kazuya had figured out that his feelings for the pitcher extended beyond that of just teammates during their year of separation after he graduated. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that.

The constant barrage of texts he got from Sawamura once he left Seido almost seemed to dare Kazuya to even try to lose contact with him. It started with simple good morning and good night messages and then evolved into complaining about third-year responsibilities, selfies of him and the team, or pictures of random things like a leaf he found on the sidewalk that was shaped exactly like his catcher’s mitt.

Kazuya would often type out short replies, reread them twenty times and then never send anything back. A sinking feeling always arose in his gut whenever his thumb hovered over the send button.

He got these texts at least every other day and eventually, he did cave in and answer. The conversations, easily enough, started small and slow, mostly focusing on the team he had moved on from. Even if he hadn’t started responding, Kuramochi, who was going to Waseda with him, actively still talked to Sawamura and would give Kazuya any updates he deemed important.

Things changed when Sawamura personally asked him to attend the final game of west Tokyo’s summer qualifying tournament. Kuramochi and some other alumni had gone to the quarterfinals, but Kazuya had opted not to go using the excuse of too much classwork. It just felt wrong for him to go watch and it bothered him that he didn’t know why. The prospect of seeing Sawamura again made him anxious.

The game was like déjà vu, for the third year in a row it was Inashiro against Seido in a close battle over who the top team in west Tokyo was. Even though Sawamura was still the ace, Furuya was starting and did a good job of holding them scoreless. Sawamura was switched in to get the last out in the fourth inning, a strategic move that occurred as soon as the Inajitsu batters began connecting to more of Furuya’s pitches.

Sawamura walked onto the mound with his head held high and carrying all the hopes and dreams of his teammates, past and present, on his back. He called out his signature speech to his fielders and boy did Kazuya miss that. He’d never say it out loud but he revered the way Sawamura’s personality translated into his playing style.

He’s loud and shows his emotions too easily, the opposite of what pitchers typically are supposed to be like. To Kazuya though, these things just added to his relentlessness, his unwavering spirit and focus that made him the most interesting pitcher he’s ever worked with.

After a few warm-up pitches, the game resumed.

“Just watch,” Kuramochi had said with a knowing look from his seat in the bleachers next to him.

And watch he did. Watched as Sawamura stunned batter after batter, putting the pitches they had developed together, the Numbers, to good use with the help of Okumura’s calls. Kazuya knew that he was the first proper catcher Sawamura had ever worked with and Okumura was a prodigy in his own right so he could see how working with a different catcher helped him grow. But Okamura was still his kohai, and Sawamura’s understanding of pitch calling was good enough that he wasn’t just being led by his catcher anymore, he was leading instead.

Then in the seventh inning, it happened. Against the opposition’s cleanup with two outs, a count of two balls and two strikes and a runner on second, Sawamura did something so risky and fearless he swore he could see his own smirk plastered on the southpaw’s face.

Earning a swinging strikeout, Sawamura debuts a brand new pitch. A gyroball.

Before Kazuya even knows what’s happened, he is on his feet, staring in awe at his old battery partner, goosebumps running along his arms and heart beating wildly in his chest. The fingers of his left hand twitch, wishing that he could have been the one to catch that pitch.

Around him, the crowd is astonished, but only for a few seconds before erupting wildly as a result of seeing a high schooler pitch a ball that’s only been seen in the major leagues. He understands Kuramochi’s look from before.

He turns to him then and asks, trying hard not to sound breathless, “Did you know about this?”

Kuramochi just laughs. “Well, that’s what happens when you actually talk to him.”

Miyuki frowns. They had been texting, but Sawamura never mentioned practicing pitching a gyroball. They had talked about it briefly in his third year around the same time Amahisa Kousei was developing something similar. He can’t help but wonder if he formed this pitch all on his own as he did with his splitter custom.

Sawamura is a wonder. A vessel of limitless potential and Kazuya wants to keep catching for him, to keep being his battery partner. Sawamura challenges him and makes him want to improve himself as a player. His emotions may be easily understood but he’s always kept Kazuya on his toes, never knowing precisely what he’s thinking or what stunt he’ll pull next.

For the first time in his life, Kazuya has found someone he wants to keep. Sawamura is his match both on and off the field and he selfishly wants to reach out and grasp him with both hands, never to let go. They both take baseball seriously and take the initiative to always progress further. Miyuki knows he can be harsh, he purposely closes himself off and offers criticism and braying laughter to get under people’s skin and push them away. This didn’t deter Sawamura, who instead took his strict words to be constructive while simultaneously calling him out for his ‘tanuki bastard’ personality. Sawamura is never ashamed to say what's on his mind and inspires those around him just by being himself. He makes Kazuya want to be a better man.

He has an instant revelation on why he was having trouble texting Sawamura and why he had been nervous to see him again. The uncomfortable feeling in his gut was him getting butterflies. He had a crush. On Sawamura. And he missed him but didn’t know how to deal with it so his mind had unconsciously repressed the intense feelings.

Suddenly the sun has come out after a torrential downpour and Kazuya hates that metaphor because Sawamura is the sun. He could almost laugh because it would take something as innocuous as baseball to make him realize he could have feelings for anyone that went beyond being platonic. And it would be Sawamura. He’s already fallen in love with his baseball so why not just add the person behind it to the list too.

He finds out a few months later that the southpaw had followed him to university when on the first day of practice in his second year he sees the smuggest look on the brat’s face. So of course, Kazuya pretends like he doesn't know him which ends in an ear-splitting shout of his name.

After that Sawamura quickly weaseled his way back into Kazuya’s life and now they spend just as much time together, maybe even more so, than they did at Seido. It doesn’t help that Kuramochi now shares an apartment with Kazuya. Kuramochi would never admit it but he likes hanging out with his self proclaimed little brother. More often than not, Sawamura was over eating dinner with them, watching movies, and sleeping on their spare futon when video game tournaments went too late into the night.

Before he even knew it, another year had passed, and now in his third year, Kazuya has settled into a comfortable routine. His feelings had only gotten stronger, as did his skills at hiding them. The more time they spent together, the more comfortable he got with the way things were. So he knew there was no point in trying to confess, there was no way Sawamura liked him back. And if he did, he’d had five years to do something about it. Sawamura didn’t seem like the type of person to sit on his feelings, the boy was an open book, wearing his heart on his sleeve. Instead, Kazuya pushed his feelings down, willing to do anything to keep Sawamura by his side, even if it wasn’t in the way he truly wanted him.

He also did his best to ignore the memory of Sawamura making out with some guy the one time the team went out to celebrate a big win at some club last year. The proof that Sawamura was at least interested in guys had only given him a sliver of hope before figuring again, that if Sawamura wanted him he would have given him some sign by now. The shock to his system that the sight caused was more jarring than it should have been. He didn’t even know Sawamura thought about anything other than baseball. He suddenly felt a lot farther away from him as Sawamura never talked about this type of stuff to Kazuya or even Kuramochi. Maybe they weren’t as close as he thought they were outside of team dynamics.

It wasn’t like Sawamura wasn’t allowed to see other people or have his own fun. God knows that Kazuya had had a fling or two of his own on nights he was feeling particularly hopeless back in his first year. He just didn’t want to see it. And he hadn’t seen anything like that since from Sawamura. He had honestly been surprised, he didn’t think the boy would be into sloppy make-outs with strangers. He remembers Kuramochi laughing next to him and commenting on how Sawamura was always surprising them.

“Oi, Sawamura, do you remember where you put the video?” He asks, looking around the screen. How did someone manage to make their laptop messy? His taskbar was full of opened programs and he would bet money on him having twenty unnecessary tabs open causing the thing to lag.

“I think I just put them in my videos folder,” He mumbled, completely absorbed back into his manga.

Sure enough, the game was in said folder with a thumbnail of what looked like a baseball field and the name showing the opponents and date. He quickly dragged it back onto the drive.

While the file transferred, Kazuya slid his eyes over to sneak a look at Sawamura. He was laying on his stomach, pillow propping his chest up with the book lying in front of him. His legs were bent up in the air with his ankles crossed. He looked so adorable that Kazuya just wanted to gather him up into his arms and pepper his face with kisses. Or maybe he could just keep him there on his stomach and pound him into the mattress like that from behind…

Kazuya quickly turned back around to shut down that train of thought.

When he said that his feelings had only gotten stronger, he meant it. As he gained more experience himself his physical want for the pitcher increased tenfold. Sawamura was always cute but now at the ripe young age of 20, he was gorgeous. While his face lost most of its baby fat to give rise to a sharper jawline, his cheeks were still a bit round and made more noticeable when he blushed. His pink plump lips were just asking to be kissed every time he pouted, which seemed to be a lot whenever Kazuya was around. There was also the fact that after years of intensive training, Sawamura was a lot more muscular, giving rise to one of Kazuya’s favorite features, the pitcher’s round and perky ass. Kazuya just didn’t understand how people could call him a pretty boy when Sawamura was right there next to him.

Once the file was done transferring, he could see that there was another video in the folder but the thumbnail was just generic clipart of a film reel, as if it wouldn’t load. The name seemed to be whatever the computer had uploaded it as, a random garble of letters, numbers, and underscores. Hovering over it, the time showed the length of the video to be about three hours - the same length as a typical baseball game. Figuring it was just another game, he dragged it onto the drive too. Once he could safely eject it, the flash drive was stashed back into his pocket. Getting up he turns to Sawamura and snaps his fingers to get his attention.

“You still coming over tomorrow?”

He looks up from his book, smiling. “Of course, who else is gonna feed me?”

Kazuya scoffed and closed the laptop. “I don’t know, maybe the meal plan you pay for.”

“Ugh, that food is gross. You’re a much better cook and you make all your meals with love.”

“Love?” He raises an eyebrow.

“Your love for me and Kuramochi.”

“You’ve gotten very cheeky,” Kazuya said, shaking his head.

“I’ve learned from the best!”

“Tch.” Kazuya pats his pocket, double-checking that the flash drive was there and then heads for the door. “See you tomorrow.”

“Bye-bye!” He heard him yell as he walked out of the dorm, shutting the door behind him and heading back to his apartment.

 

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That night, Kazuya sits on his bed, headphones on, notebook in his lap, and laptop in front of him playing the game. He should have finished up an hour ago and been doing any replays to better his analysis but his little detour to Sawamura’s set him back. Now it’s after midnight. Not that he normally wouldn’t be awake anyways but his head is buzzing with information about each batter and their different pitchers.

The game finishes playing but there’s no way he’s falling asleep any time soon. He didn’t want to rewatch the game either, besides he would hopefully do that with Sawamura later. Remembering the other game on the flash drive, he opened up that video curious as to who was playing in it. Maybe their coach had already set up another game. Or it was one of their games that they needed to review. Once the media player was open Kazuya could see that that was not the case.

The video starts with Sawamura sitting hunched over right in front of the screen with a bed and window shown in the background. He was in his dorm room from the looks of it, there was the same navy blue comforter he had just seen earlier that day. It looked like the beginning of every Youtube video he had ever seen. Kazuya waited to see if Sawamura would spew out some ridiculous greeting but he wasn’t looking at the camera, instead, his eyes were darting back and forth like he was reading something. That idiot had probably started up the webcam without even realizing it. It wouldn’t be surprising, Kazuya had seen his laptop and it was a mess.

He watched as Sawamura continued reading something, before he sat up straight, eyes wide, and a blush began to spread over his cheeks. He stood up from the desk, now only his torso in view, and walked out of frame. Just what was he reading?

Looking down at the video player he could see that this went on for another three hours and seven minutes. Kazuya dragged the mouse over the video’s player bar to see if Sawamura was going to do doing anything in the video. A little more than half an hour in, one of the thumbnails showed Sawamura back in view of the webcam on his bed. Since it was too small to tell what was going on, he clicked on that time to skip ahead in the video.

“Oh fuck.”

Kazuya’s heart drops and he stills. He shouldn’t be watching this. Because there, naked on his bed, was Sawamura on his hands and elbows, legs spread wide and fingers up his ass. The video showed a side view of the bed, and the angle was a little awkward, but there was no mistaking the way his fingers pistoned in and out of his hole while his heavy breathing was picked up by the microphone.

Ahhh..unngh...

He definitely needed to stop, right now. Kazuya double checked to make sure he was still listening through his headphones. Oh God, Kuramochi was sleeping in the next room. He couldn’t look away though. This image was going to haunt his dreams. Now that he’d heard what his moans sounded like Kazuya was fucked. Every time he tried to rub one out from here on out all he would think about is Sawamura spread open and ready for the taking like this.

Mesmerized, Kazuya watched as Sawamura removed his fingers and felt around the bed for something. He picked up - shit, that was a vibrator - and a small bottle. Opening the bottle, lube Kazuya could deduce, Sawamura slathered some on the vibrator and turned it on with a small black remote. He slowly brought it between his legs, lightly touching it to the tip of his cock and running it down to the base. He let out a long moan that was even louder than the last.

Wasn’t he in a dorm? How could he be this loud? There was no way his neighbors couldn’t hear him. Kazuya would kill to be there with him at this moment. He would stick his fingers in that pretty mouth, shut him up and watch him gag on them. Or even better he could quiet him with his own dick that he could feel hardening in his sweatpants.

The vibrator continued on its path, reaching his balls, then up to circle his rim. He pauses, teasing himself before ever so slowly, with his chest rising and falling rapidly, starting to push the toy in.

Hah… Miyuki-senpai…

Kazuya freezes. Sawamura called out his name. Sawamura called out his name while he shamelessly fucked himself with a vibrator. There was no way. Sawamura wouldn’t do that. This was all just a dream. Surely in reality Kazuya had just fallen asleep in the middle of watching that game. Just to be sure, he went to rewind the video to make sure he had heard it right when it happened again.

Miyuki-senpai...mmhh… fuck, please…

Of all times why did he have to call him senpai now? And with his sweet begging, Kazuya couldn’t help but start to palm himself through his pants. The rush of blood to his cock demanded his attention and there was such a beautiful visual in front of him, no porn or fantasy of his own making could compare.

Sawamura Eijun was getting off to the thought of him. Kazuya was over the moon. This was better than anything he could have hoped for and to think just earlier he had been lamenting the improbability of their relationship furthering. A golden opportunity had just landed in his lap and he was going to milk it for all its worth.

Please, sir...I have...I’ve been a good boy!

Kazuya could curse the stupid webcam for the poor quality of the video. He can’t clearly see him but he swears those are tears trailing down his pretty face. He looks so desperate but he’s holding back, the effort of that decision showing in the way his arms tremble and he grips the sheets in one hand.

Sawamura was fucking himself urgently now, the pink vibrator pulled out almost all the way before being slammed back in. He could see the moment Sawamura gave up on holding himself back. His legs spread wider on the bed, back arching as he ground his hips so his cock pressed against the bed below him.

Please,” he begged. “I wanna cum!

Sawamura’s imaginary Miyuki must have given him permission for his body jerked and his orgasm hit him, shoving his face into his pillow as cum splatters on the bed below him. His muffled moans could still be heard through the video. Fuck, he just came with barely being touched, on the vibrator alone. This boy was an absolute angel and he needed him to be his now.

Kazuya reached into his pants to fist his own cock, now desperate to get off too. So Sawamura wanted to be Kazuya’s good little boy and needed permission before cumming. He could just imagine using this new-found knowledge against his little spitfire of a kohai. Kazuya would pin him down against the bed, running his hands all over the pitcher's lithe figure that hid just how muscled he was. He would whisper soft praises into his ear, letting Sawamura know just how perfect he was while he writhed underneath him.

Kazuya would be the one to control the vibrator, tease him with it just right, make him beg for it until he started to cry. He wouldn’t give in that easily, oh no, he would push Sawamura just right and see how much he could take. Sawamura would no doubt do his best to please and give no choice but for Kazuya to sing praises for him.

Kazuya’s own body tensed as he spilled over his hand. He flopped back on his bed as his muscles relaxed, headphones pulled off his head as the cord wasn’t long enough. He’ll clean up in a minute and close his laptop after making sure to keep that video for later.

Kazuya pauses as his world view is shifted. Sawamura isn't nearly as naive as they all thought. It's completely normal for young men to jerk off, but Sawamura had some kinky fantasies he was using. Kinky fantasies that involved a certain senpai and catcher of his. If he really thinks about it though, it might not be that surprising. It's possible that Sawamura was aware of his praise kink the whole time back at Seido and was using everyone else's knowledge of it to, well, to get more praise. This could just be him exploring the actual kink part of praise kink.

This boy was going to be the death of him. He could be so sexy without even trying and just thinking of all the fun they could have together had his spent cock twitching in interest. It was enough to know that Sawamura wanted him in at least one way, he could work with that. And judging by this video it wasn’t a one-time thing and was fairly recent. How long had Sawamura felt this way? How much time have they wasted?

So his little pitcher wasn’t as innocent as he seemed. The surprises never stop with him, do they? Now that Kazuya knows what Sawamura really thinks about, what he really desires, how could he not give it to him? Besides, what Kazuya desires most isn’t too far off from what his adorably pouty pitcher craves. This was a simple kill-two-birds-with-one-stone situation. Solving it was as easy as having one honest conversation with each other. But first, he might have to tease Sawamura a bit, after all, he was still Miyuki Kazuya.

Sawamura had no clue about the storm brewing his way.

 

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Kazuya’s plan is quite simple. He’s going to tease Sawamura, rile him up a bit, get to see some of his delicious reactions before luring him to his bed to claim him for what he hopes will be the rest of their lives. Wow, he's getting a bit soft.

Now that he’s aware of Sawamura’s feelings, he almost can’t believe he hasn’t noticed it before. Sawamura hides his little crush pretty well for someone who is transparent about everything else in his life. Kazuya’s known the kid for years now though, he can read his facial expressions, body language, and moods. He prides himself on how emotionally adept Sawamura has made him. It's because of all these things that he now knows where and when to look to expose those feelings of his.

One example is during practice the very next day. They’re having one of their reserve pitchers pitching to them in an intrasquad scrimmage. He’s good practice as his style of pitching most closely resembles that of the starting pitcher of their opponents for the practice match on Saturday.

To make the simulated game feel more real, Sawamura is cheering them on from the first base side dugout with the rest of the first string players. Well, he’s not so much cheering as shouting backhanded compliments and unfortunate nicknames.

“Come on! The pitcher’s scared! Drag him off the mound!” He yells, leaning over the railing with one fist in the air. “Mitsu-san!” He turns to address cleanup as he makes his way into the batter’s box. “Bring out your rocket launcher! Make him show us his fireball!”

Atsushi, the pitcher, rightfully ignores him while Mitsu just huffs.

“Pipe down over there Sawamura! Save it for the actual game.” He shakes his head, sounding fond. That’s the reaction most of their teammates have to him. He’s everyone’s favorite little brother. It probably helped that his introduction to the team wasn’t sabotaged by late-night videogames or sneaky teammates using him as bait. Kazuya can’t help but chuckle at the memory of Sawamura’s ninja dash to make it into the first-years introduction line.

The Waseda team instead got to meet a more grown Sawamura, one that was still hotheaded and noisy but understood that there were times when being pragmatic was best. Whose constant cheering was welcoming and often acted as motivation for the team. His rapid growth as a pitcher at Seido turned his obnoxiousness into confidence and reliability that was seen in the way he carried himself.

This team saw a Sawamura who played at Koshien four times and was a national champion twice with the ace number. If Kazuya had been meeting Sawamura for the first time last year like the rest of the team, he knows that he would have fallen for the pitcher a lot faster. He can't wait for the number one to be on his back again and knows it's only a matter of time before it happens.

As the next batter, Kazuya adjusts his gloves, grabs his bat, and walks over to the on-deck circle. He’s waiting to hear whatever ridiculous retort Sawamura may have for Mitsu but he’s gone oddly silent. Kazuya turns his head to the side to glance back behind him and—
Oh. There it is. The sign Kazuya was waiting for.

Sawamura’s too busy ogling Kazuya’s ass to notice that he’s been caught. He can’t help but snicker, bringing a gloved hand up to cover his mouth.

“Oi, Sawamura!” He calls out, watching in absolute joy as Sawamura’s head whips up real quick, only further confirming that he was looking down south. His face flushes and he quickly looks away, eyes darting around.

When he finally looks back he stutters out, “W-what Miyuki Kazuya?”

Kazuya turns back around and walks into the batter's box. Mitsu is now standing on first base and Kazuya realizes he should probably be paying attention more to practice.

“Have any encouragement for me?” He calls out anyway.

“What do I look like?! One of your fangirls?!” Kazuya’s back is to him but he can guarantee that he’s shaking his fist at him.

“HA!” he hears someone else yell causing some snickers to erupt from the dugout and players on the field. He can’t pinpoint the voice.

He turns his focus back to the scrimmage. He’s the starting catcher yet he’s only recently been moved up to batting fifth. He’s confident in his skills as a catcher but he plans to go pro once he graduates so he knows his batting needs to be more stable.

Atsushi’s a decent pitcher and he would have to be playing in this league. Specifically, his knuckle-curveball is what they’re supposed to be focusing on and he’s also got a regular knuckleball and splitter in his arsenal to watch out for.

Kazuya holds on specifically to target the knuckle-curveball, smacking it over left field for a double. Mitsu is a stocky guy but it's enough to get him home safely.

He tries not to be too obvious when he looks back towards the dugout for Sawamura’s reaction. To his slight annoyance, Sawamura is talking to Nishi, their second baseman, gesticulating wildly with his back turned towards the field. He clicks his tongue and scolds himself for caring. He does not want to be Sawamura who is constantly fishing for compliments. Still, straightforward praise coming from the southpaw is hard to come by but to not even pay attention to his at-bat? Sawamura’s eyes should be glued to him at all times, what’s he gonna have to do? Hit a home run every time?

Kazuya halts. Why that little… This is exactly what he wants. That little tease is ignoring him on purpose to give him a little push. Letting him know that a double isn’t good enough in his eyes. But this seems to be a challenge he has given only to him so he guesses all he can do is step up his game. Anything to help his pitcher shine more brightly on the mound.

The inning ends with Kazuya still on second base. As he jogs back into the dugout to put his bat and helmet away and grab his catcher’s gear he tosses out a “You’re welcome” in Sawamura’s direction.

“For what?” he asks, coming to stand next to him, glove on his hand and ready to run out onto the field.

“I got you a run didn’t I?”

“That’s your job as my catcher. I’d be disappointed in anything less.”

“Wow, what a tyrant,” Nishi comments with a smile, tapping Kazuya on the back with his glove as he runs out to the field.

“You sound just like Mei,” Kazuya retorts, knowing that bringing up the other southpaw always annoys him. Sawamura had always seemed to respect Narumiya Mei, who had gone pro right out of high school, but he’d been a little up in the air about him the past few years.

Even though they had beaten Inashiro during the summer of his third year, all the headlines were about Narumiya and his loss and plans for after high school. He knows that Sawamura was jealous of the attention, not so much as an individual but because Seido wasn’t making as big of a headline as he wanted. He could recall Sawamura wanting more recognition for the school and in a moment of rare frankness had ranted that if any single individual deserved to be making headlines it was Kazuya, the captain who had made it to Koshien and could also go pro if he decided.

The honesty of his speech at the time had warmed Kazuya’s heart. Acknowledgment like that from Sawamura was rare, so he didn’t know that that was how Sawamura saw him, as more than just a skilled catcher with a nasty personality.

“Don’t compare me to him!” Sawamura bristles, going cat-eyed.

Kazuya leers, satisfied with his reaction. “Then don’t act like a brat.”

As he puts his chest protector on, he sees Sawamura tense up. He’s frozen in place, staring wide-eyed at Kazuya before letting out a very loud and very fake laugh.

“WAHAHA! B-brat? What’s that?! I don’t see any brats here! You’re crazy Miyuki Kazuya!” He then scurries away out onto the field.

Weird. Kazuya’s not sure what that's about but as long as it doesn’t affect his pitching Sawamura can be as dorky as he wants.

 

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After practice is over, the three make their way back to Kazuya and Kuramochi’s apartment while Sawamura prattles on about his day.

“-And then my professor ended up extending the deadline anyway, so I stayed up finishing it for nothing! But if it was me who asked for an extension he would have laughed in my face!”

“You know, Bakamura,” Kuramochi says. “If you stopped waiting until the last minute to do all your assignments this wouldn’t be a problem.”

“But all my best work happens when I’m in a pinch!” He whines. Kazuya sort of gets it, Sawamura has always been a clutch player on the field, making big plays when the team needs it most, but he won’t admit that.

“You’re usually the one that gets yourself into those pinches in the first place,” Kazuya snickers.

“Yeah, well, what about you? We all know that you suck at anything that’s not baseball,” Sawamura tried to defend himself by deflecting, pointing an accusing finger at Miyuki.

“Aww, are you worried about me?” Kazuya responds, grinning like a Cheshire cat. “I always knew you had it in you to be a sweet caring kohai.”

As they approach the apartment building, Sawamura speeds ahead to run up the steps of the landing. He spins around to face them, hands on his hips. “I am a sweet caring kohai, just not to jerky senpais like you.”

“Really?” Kuramochi adds, unimpressed. “Because you don’t act like that with me either. Unless you’re calling me a jerk too?” Kuramochi’s face goes dark and he starts cracking the knuckles of his fists, warning enough to have Sawamura pausing.

“No, no, no! I would never!”

“Thought so,” Kuramochi says, but clicks his tongue like he’s disappointed that Sawamura’s didn’t give him a reason to bully him more. Kazuya just rolls his eyes, knowing they’ll be sparring on the floor later after dinner.

Once inside and the door is closed behind them they easily fall into their routine. Kazuya bathes first so that he can start on dinner while the others take their turn. Usually, when he comes out they’re playing video games or they’re tangled on the floor with Sawamura is in some sort of chokehold, like right now.

He heads to the kitchen, planning to make chicken curry, one of Sawamura’s favorite dishes that he makes. It’s worth it to try to win him over through his stomach and it’s a simple enough dish to make after a long day.

Sawamura’s the last out of the bath, sporting clean clothes that he always keeps in his bag knowing that he’ll end up here instead of his dorm. His towel hangs around his neck, catching the droplets of water that drip down from the ends of his hair. His cheeks are still slightly flushed from the steam of the bath and the sight is so endearing Kazuya just wants to pinch them.

“Itadakimasu!” Sawamura shouts, digging in once they’re all sitting at the low table in the living room that works for both doing homework and eating meals. In the limited space of the apartment, Kazuya had opted for having more room in the kitchen area for him to work and Kuramochi hadn’t cared.

Sawamura’s a messy eater, naturally, so it's only a matter of time before an opportunity to mess with him arises. He’s stuffed his cheeks with food, looking like a squirrel and he’s somehow managed to get curry sauce all over his face. Kazuya grabs his napkin and waits until Sawamura has swallowed the food in his mouth.

“Here, Sawamura, you’ve got sauce on your face,” he says as he reaches for him. He grasps his chin, turning his head to look at him. Sawamura’s eyes are wide until Kazuya wipes his face with the napkin. “You’re like a toddler.”

“Am not,” he pouts.

Once he’s finished dabbing at his face, he doesn’t let go, opting instead to watch Sawamura’s lips, plush and ripe like a peach he wants to sink his teeth into. He’s purposely trying to goad him, so he glances back up at his eyes to make sure he’s being watched as his lips part, letting his tongue run along his bottom lip. Sawamura’s pupils are blown wide as he follows the movement of Kazuya’s tongue.

He leans in a bit more towards Sawamura and takes advantage of their slight height difference to tower over him. The fingers holding Sawamura's face move to cup his jaw in a softer hold, giving him the option to move away if he wants.

He doesn’t, of course, too hypnotized by Kazuya’s mere presence that's much too close to him. His imposing figure causes Sawamura to flush, eyes locking in a heated gaze. The hand on his jaw moves back farther to his neck where he squeezes it, firming up his grasp. Sawamura lets out a barely audible gasp and Kazuya looks back up. His eyes are trained on Kazuya’s mouth, flaring in a lustful expression as he unconsciously sways closer to him. He looks so precious that he’s almost tempted to let him continue.

Just as their noses are about to brush Kazuya interrupts with a loud, “Alright,” breaking Sawamura from whatever spell he was under. “I think we should start keeping baby wipes around for you.” He goes back to eating with a pleased look on his face. This newfound power he has over Sawamura is making him feel giddy.

Sawamura’s pouting again when he looks back over and Kazuya really couldn’t adore the boy anymore. He’ll give him what he wants eventually just to see the smile back on his face, but for now, the look he currently wears, sulking in disappointment with pursed lips because Kazuya didn’t kiss him, is just as nice. That kind of honesty is so refreshing, that it doesn’t matter how hard Sawamura tries to lie, his knee-jerk reactions seem to give him away.

When he looks up again, Kuramochi is looking back and forth between them, face twisted in absolute revulsion. Oops. He’d forgotten that they weren’t alone.

 

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Once Kuramochi and Sawamura are done with washing the dishes after dinner as payment for Kazuya always cooking, they all at least attempt to get some studying done. Kuramochi is curled up in the armchair with his laptop out and headphones on, clicking noises filling the air as he speedily types away. Kazuya’s on the floor, back leaning against the couch, textbook open on the table, and jotting down notes often.

He’s having trouble focusing though, when sprawled on the ground to his left is Sawamura with two books open and various papers spewed all over the floor. He’s letting out a variety of noises, a groan when he doesn’t understand something, and has to reread it, a snort when he answers a question too easily or a little “oh” when he figures out a tricky problem.

Kazuya knows that Sawamura doesn’t realize how noisy he is all of the time but he’s used to it so that’s not what’s distracting him. No, it's the way Sawamura lays on his stomach, cute butt on display and jiggling every time he wiggles his hips because he can never just stay still. It’s the way his head is tilted to one side like a confused puppy. It’s the pen he has between his teeth, pushing against his full bottom lip to slightly part it from the top one. Kazuya’s thinking about removing the pen and replacing it with his fingers, to feel his plush lips wrapped around them, tongue warm and wet sucking around him.

“Sawamura, the quicker you finish your problem set the quicker we can start reviewing that game together,” He reminds him. He’s pretty sure he’s working on his college algebra homework. While Sawamura’s course of study doesn’t involve math, it's still a general education course that everyone needs credits in. It’s also Sawamura’s least favorite class but Kazuya will babysit him if needed, unwilling to lose him as a pitcher as a result of poor grades. Sawamura was smart enough to get into Waseda, there’s no way he shouldn't be able to keep his grades up.

At least another half hour has passed by when Sawamura announces that he’s finished. They both start to put their stuff away.

“Wait, Miyuki-senpai.”

Kazuya stills and looks back at Sawamura. He’s suspicious when Sawamura uses honorifics, it usually means he wants something from him. “What do you want?” he asks, narrowing his eyes.

Sawamura looks up at him pleadingly, purposefully jutting out his bottom lip and widening his eyes. “Can you do my nails for me?”

Kazuya cocks a hip unimpressed.

“Please?” he adds.

This is yet another thing they’ve added to their routine. Since that time at Seido when Furuya injured his nail and had to sit out for two weeks, all the pitchers were instructed to take better care of their hands. Sawamura taught himself how to properly trim and file his nails, going so far as to start using a clear nail strengthening lacquer. One day last year when Sawamura was completely exhausted, still getting used to the intensity of college baseball, he had lazily asked Kazuya to do his nail care steps for him. Not one to give up the chance to freely touch Sawamura’s slender pitcher fingers, he obliged, just as he did every time he asked after that, including right now.

“Do you have your stuff with you?” Kazuya asks.

“Yes! I always keep it in my bag in case! I’ll go grab it,” He says as he gets up to search through his bag by the front door.

Kazuya goes to grab his laptop and the flash drive from his room to set up on the small table. Sawamura walks back in and hands him a small blue zippered pouch that he knows contains his polish, files, clippers, and a small bottle of cuticle oil.

Taking the pouch, he sits back down in his spot on the floor in front of his laptop with his back against the couch. Sawamura goes to sit down beside him when an idea pops into Kazuya’s head. As Sawamura’s legs bend to sit down, Kazuya grabs his hips and guides him to sit down instead between his legs with Sawamura’s back leaning against his chest.

Sawamura starts sputtering at the new position so Kazuya quickly removes a nail file from the pouch and wraps his arms around the pitcher’s midsection, taking a hold of his left hand to start filing his thumb. “It’ll be easier this way,” Kazuya explains before Sawamura can start yelling.

Body rigid and completely unmoving, Sawamura is so tense that Kazuya doubts he’s even breathing.

He leans in close so that his lips graze the shell of Sawamura's ear as he whispers “Why don’t you start the video?”

Sawamura flinches and presses that same ear into his shoulder like he is wiping off the feel of Kazuya's mouth against his ear. Kazuya holds back a chuckle at how he still hasn’t said anything, but Sawamura still reaches his free hand out to press play.

“Did something happen that I should know about?” Kuramochi asks, lowering his headphones to lay around his neck, scrutinizing their new position.

“Just taking care of my pitcher,” Miyuki responds, concentrating on Sawamura’s hand.

“Oh yeah, I bet you take really good care of him,” Kuramochi drawls, voice dripping with sarcasm. Sawamura lets out a cute squeak and hunches his shoulders up to hide his neck.

“Ya know, Sawamura,” Kuramochi continues, looking right at him. “Miyuki’s actually kind of a wimp. Just give him one good punch to the face and he’ll probably leave you alone.”

“That’s okay,” Sawamura says meekly, and then a little louder while laughing obnoxiously, “Although I could take this jerk on any day!”

“Oi, don’t bite the hand that feeds you. And catches for you.”

“Whatever,” Kuramochi says while closing his laptop and getting up. “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.” He then heads towards his room, presumably to hunker down for the night. Or just to escape them, Kazuya’s not quite sure.

“Anything you wouldn’t do or would never have the opportunity to?” Kazuya calls after him.

He hears a loud “Fuck off!” and then a door slamming shut.

He laughs and turns his attention back to Sawamura who is staring intensely at the laptop.

The team they’ll be playing is batting first so Kazuya asks “What did you notice about the top of their line-up?” The question should refocus him on baseball and help him relax. Kazuya wants physical contact between them to be comfortable so he holds off on the teasing for now.

“Oh! Um, it looked like they were going after the first pitch. And their leadoff would make steals without taking very big leads.”

Kazuya smiles. “Very good.” While he can’t see Sawamura’s face from behind him, he can practically feel the way he lights up at the compliment. “Specifically, I think they were targeting his curveball, which he must throw a lot in early parts of the game.”

They go back and forth like this for a while, sharing observations, pausing after certain plays, and skipping around to watch their opponent’s at-bats. Kazuya finishes filing his nails and moves on to apply the polish for him. The more time passes the more Sawamura loosens up, leaning back against Kazuya. He even scoots down so that his head can easily rest on Kazuya’s shoulder and his free hand lays on his thigh.

The best part of doing this for Sawamura is when he gets to massage the cuticle oil onto his fingers. Kazuya wonders if his hands are sensitive or just sore from always pitching because the effect is like drugging him, making his eyes glassy beneath heavy lids and calming him into a meditative-like state.

The video plays on in the background, forgotten. Sawamura has his head tucked in Kazuya’s neck, nose brushing against his skin. His eyes are closing more often now and he’s breathing deeply with a small content smile on his face. It feels unbelievable to be able to hold Sawamura in his arms like this. Kazuya can’t help but tighten his grip, turning his head to nose at his soft brown strands, smelling his own mint shampoo in Sawamura’s hair. He can feel the oxytocin from his brain flooding his bloodstream and reaching every inch of his body.

He continues kneading at his hands, lulling Sawamura into a state somewhere between conscious and unconscious. For all that he likes Sawamura the way he is, boisterous and impulsive, he’d be perfectly okay with more moments like this. For a little while, with Sawamura nuzzling against him, Kazuya doesn’t have to hold any pretenses. Right now he’s not a catcher or a college student with responsibilities piled on his shoulders. He’s just a guy who can focus on being here, being present, with Sawamura while the moon shines through the window, illuminating them.

“Sawamura,” Kazuya hums lowly after a while.

“Hhmm.”

“It’s getting late. Why don’t you stay over?”

“Hhmm.”

“You're being really cute right now.”

“‘m not cute,” he slurs out.

“Sure, let’s get you to bed though,” Kazuya says amused as he maneuvers around the boy in his lap to shut his laptop.

Kazuya hooks one arm under Sawamura’s knees wrapping the other around his back and stands up, grateful for his position as catcher giving him the leg muscles essential for squatting Sawamura’s dead weight. He carries him into his bedroom and does his best to shuffle his blanket out of the way to lay him down on the bed. He tucks the blanket back over him, and because he's apparently lost all self-control tonight, places a light kiss on his temple. Sawamura just snuggles further into the blanket.

There's a small closet near the bathroom where they store some extra things including the futon Sawamura usually uses, but for tonight Kazuya lays it down next to his bed to use, grabbing the spare pillow on his bed and an extra throw blanket. He puts his glasses on his nightstand, grabs his sleep mask, and whispers a soft, "Goodnight, Sawamura."

Sawamura mumbles back something incoherent and shoves his face further into Kazuya’s pillow.

Kazuya lays down and closes his eyes, quickly regaining that drowsy feeling from when they were watching the game. He doesn't think he's ever fallen asleep so fast.