characters: Takayama Hiroshi, Yamazaki Daisuke
disclaimer: mousapelli owns these boys.
summary: Hiroshi's read H2. He knows how these things go.
a/n: After days of struggling to focus on this, I finished it last night. As ususal, I have the worst timing ever.
For the Love of the Goddamn Game
Hiroshi shows up to the first day of middle school baseball with Expectations.
He's read all of Adachi-sensei's manga, so he knows how these things go.
There's this other first year, and, granted, he's not much to look at, fat, severe, and glasses as thick as any Hiroshi's seen and not even the cool because they're not kind, but he's the first one that Hiroshi catches sight of, so he latches onto him and doesn't intend to let go until they've made it to Koushien.
They're immediately on a first name basis because it inspires camaraderie and Hiroshi demands it.
And, okay, they start out kind of rough because the guy can't catch Hiroshi's pitches worth shit and looks like he might cry every time Hiroshi yells at him, which is a lot because his calling sucks, too.
Maybe, Hiroshi thinks, maybe they're that other battery type, the one with the rocky start (and they have that part well covered, thanks) that come into their own through hard work, perseverance, and a strong love of the game. Like working through the tension will make them stronger.
Except two weeks feel like a year and they've only made headway in the art of working each other's last nerve. Hiroshi takes to biting his finger nails, just to see the twitch of the catcher's mitt, as he winds up.
The idea of spending the rest of his life with this person, makes Hiroshi feel a little queasy. Maybe, his brain scrambles fervently, that's how you know it's right.
Hiroshi desperately.... doesn't know what he wants to believe anymore.
But when his catcher is out sick the third week, Hiroshi knows he isn't supposed to feel relieved.
“Be my stretch partner?” some guy asks Hiroshi during warm up. He's a first year too, but Hiroshi has been too busy trying to form his permanent union of souls to socialize.
“Sure,” Hiroshi agrees miserably. Things are going badly enough that Hiroshi doesn't need to risk an injury besides.
The guy has an inch or two on Hiroshi, but they're a good fit anyway, and Hiroshi likes the balance of attentiveness to the task and casual banter they strike up.
He says his name is Yamazaki Daisuke, turning his bow into a reach for his toes, and tells Hiroshi that he's gripping the ball too tight on the release of his fork.
Hiroshi scowls a little and pushes down on Yamazaki's back. “That's because Tarou told me I was being too loose. Now I can't get it back to where I was before.”
“Tarou?” Yamazaki jumps up and tilts his head to the side in question.
“Yeah,” Hiroshi tells him, bending down himself. “The catcher I've been partnering with. Yamada Tarou.”
If Yamazaki has been watching closely enough to notice his release, surely he must have seen who was catching it.
Yamazaki looks a little hesitant. “I think you mean Yamato Takeshi, right?”
“No. Yamada Tarou,” Hiroshi insists. “I've been working with him for weeks, I think I'd know.”
“He's in my class,” Yamazaki insists back, apologetic, but firm. “The teacher calls roll every morning.”
Hiroshi stares are the ground, his fingers gripping the bottom of his cleats. This sort of thing didn't happen to Ko in Cross Game.
“Crap,” he sighs. “That can't be good.”
“Probably not.” Yamazaki offers him a small smile in consolation and it doesn't say much for his relationship with whats-his-face that Hiroshi feels a little better. “But I catch for my brother all the time, so if you'd like, I can fill in for Yamato-kun while he's absent. Maybe we could work on that fork a bit today?”
Hiroshi smiled back, ruefully. “Yeah, sure. Thanks.”
It takes Hiroshi less than a day to throw Yamato over for Yamazaki, and never intends to look back.