March 31st was circled in bright red marker on Seidou’s baseball club calendar. It was a date greeted with mixed feelings: confusion from the clueless first years, dread from the knowing second years, and most of all, anticipation from the third years.
March 31st had been a long celebrated day in Seidou tradition as the eve before April Fool’s Day.
Or, in other words, the annual meeting the third years held every year to prepare the most elaborate April Fool’s Day prank.
As to why the third years had all chosen to meet in his room, Miyuki would never know.
“You’re an honorary member of this year’s prank,” Yuuki had graciously explained as he stepped past Miyuki’s door with a nod. “As thanks for hosting the third years.”
All the others seemed to be in agreement except Chris, who’d looked at Miyuki with a resigned apology in his eyes.
The third years were now sprawled across the floor. It had taken them a painstaking half an hour to draw up their final plans for tomorrow but when someone had finally shouted “Use pick-up lines on the underclassmen!” the room had rippled with murmurs. Half of the third years had a terribly mischievous and unabashed gleam to their eyes while the other half looked apprehensive.
Supposedly, the plan was for the third years to flirtatiously deliver the worst possible pickup lines they could find to their unsuspecting victims.
Supposedly was the key word here.
“Isn’t this borderline sexual harassment?” Chris asked very slowly.
“They’re pick-up lines, Chris!” Jun replied indignantly. “It’s not like anything bad’s going to happen!”
“Well, there’s the loss of your dignity.”
“Now listen here, Ryosuke—“
“At least it won’t disturb Coach Kataoka.” Yuuki interrupted, placing a placating hand on Jun’s shoulder. “Remember last year?”
At this, Miyuki pressed a hand to his mouth to conceal his grin. Last year, the third years had decided it would be a fantastic idea to slip hot sauce into everyone’s lunch. Unfortunately for them, they’d accidentally put hot sauce in Coach Kataoka’s portion as well. Coach Kataoka, who was notorious for his hatred for anything spicy.
Needless to say, things went downhill from there.
Everyone shuddered at the memory.
“Pick-up lines it is,” Miyauchi grunted.
The room fell silent for a moment.
“A contest,” Ryosuke said, snapping the silence in half. “If we’re going to embarrass ourselves, we might as well make it a competition. Whoever produces the best reaction should be the winner.”
That got the entire room buzzing again.
An idea was brewing inside Miyuki’s mind. “I’m up for that,” he drawled with a smirk.
“It’s decided then,” Yuuki declared. May the best man win.”
The others began passing around a list of underclassmen victims. Without hesitation, Miyuki uncapped his pen and scrawled his name in next to Sawamura’s.
He smiled widely. This was going to be so good.
Meanwhile, the second years rolled in their beds, bracing themselves for the next morning.
The first years snored onwards, oblivious.
Miyauchi slammed the tray down on the table and on edge, Kawakami jumped. Next to him, Shirasu patted his arm in a calming gesture.
“H-hello, Senpai,” Kawakami squeaked.
Taciturn like usual, his upperclassman only grunted in reply. Shirasu exchanged looks with Kawakami. So far, the catcher didn’t seem any different.
Kawakami picked up his chopsticks. Cautiously, he lifted a piece of food to his lips and chewed. He was very relieved to find that there were no traces of hot sauce he could detect.
Across from him, Miyauchi was shoveling down food at the speed of light.
Looks like the coast was clear. Kawakami began eating.
Everything seemed normal, that is, until Miyauchi cleared his throat. “Kawakami.”
Kawakami looked up from his bowl. “Yeah?
“Do you have a mirror in your pocket?” Miyauchi asked.
Kawakami blinked in confusion. Why would Miyauchi-senpai want to know if he had a mirror in his pocket? Did he need to comb his hair or something? He didn’t know Miyauchi cared that much about self-grooming.
“I bet you’ve got a mirror in your pocket,” Miyauchi said. “Because I can see myself in your pants.”
Seated at tables, the third years looked onwards with glee. Poor Kawakami had no idea what had hit him. The pitcher was still coughing, face completely red, as a flustered Shirasu thumped him solidly on the back.
“S-senpai,” Kawakami wheezed. “What? WHY?”
Miyauchi only leaned back, a satisfied look on his face.
“Happy April Fools Day.”
His two underclassmen were still gaping by the time Miyauchi exited with a triumphant huff.
Furuya stretched. Today, his pitching had been better than usual; he could feel a pleasant warmth flowing through his fingertips and his fastballs had hurtled forward faster and faster with every pitch. Even Miyuki was pleased, though the catcher had seemed strangely happier than usual with an ominously sly grin on his face. Furuya didn’t attempt to pry. As long as their battery operated well, Furuya was content.
“Furuya!” someone called. Furuya glanced up only to see Yuuki-senpai towering over him, a solemn look on his face.
“Furuya, I have something important to tell you. In private. ” At this announcement, a curiosity arose within the first year pitcher. It was rare for the captain to come looking for an individual, asking for a private conversation. Furuya tensed.
“Come with me for one second.” With a gentle arm, the captain guided Furuya off to the side, away from the other players . Neither of them noticed Jun surreptitiously following after them or Miyuki slinking closer to get a good view.
The captain stood before Furuya, arms crossed.
Furuya waited patiently for the first baseman to start speaking.
Yuuki-senpai laid a hand on Furuya’s shoulder and gazed deep into his eyes. “Your legs must be tired,” the captain said, “because you’ve been running through my mind all night.” His eyebrows wiggled.
Furuya stared at Yuuki-senpai for several moments, attempting to comprehend the meaning of his upperclassman’s words. All he was able to grasp was that the captain had spent the entire night thinking about him. Furuya was touched that the captain had thought so highly of his baseball skills. He knew he had to respond to the captain properly, seeing as the first baseman had spoken to him so earnestly.
Gently, he said, “I’m not tired but you must be if you’ve been thinking about me the entire night. You should sleep more tonight.”
Yuuki looked at him blankly. Finally, he said, “What?”
The captain must be trying to tell him something else, then. Furuya thought for a second. Well, in hindsight, perhaps the captain’s behavior had been a little strange. Furuya pondered all the possibilities before coming to the conclusion. He then asked,“ If you’re not tired, are you sick? Your eyebrows were malfunctioning earlier.”
Behind them came a howl. Furuya craned his neck to see Jun-senpai hunched over, roaring in laughter, and Miyuki gripping the wall of the practice bullpen, snickering.
Furuya furrowed his brow in concern. Perhaps the captain wasn’t the only one who needed to go see the nurse.
With a glazed look in his eyes, Yuuki told Furuya, “No, I’m really all right. Thank you for coming here. That’s all I have to say. You’re dismissed.”
Furuya dipped his head and departed hastily.
Kuramochi could feel a sense of impending doom as Ryo-san strode towards him.
Uh oh. This wasn’t good.
Kuramochi had known from the start that Ryosuke wouldn’t be into April Fools pranks but it looked like he’d been forced into it this time.
The entire time they’d had fielding practice, they hadn’t spoken to each other at all unless it was to discuss baseball. But now, Ryosuke had a stormy look on his face as he approached the shortstop.
At the greeting, Ryosuke’s lips thinned. “Hello, Kuramochi.”
Kuramochi only swallowed. Slipping his thumbs beneath his belt loops, he casually asked, “What’s up?”
Ryosuke murmured something inaudible, lacing a string of words under his breath.
“Can’t hear you, Ryo-san.”
Ryosuke exhaled and then inhaled. In one deliberate gesture, he pinched the bridge of his nose and enunciated, “Do you have a map? Because I’m lost in your eyes.”
Understanding struck the shortstop like a bolt of lightning. Instinctively, Kuramochi bit his lip and grabbed his sides in a futile attempt to hold in the barely contained laughter. His body trembled with the effort. The Kominato brother counted for four painful seconds before:
Even Chris, conversing quietly with the coach in the dugout, was startled into looking up at the loud outburst of laughter echoing across the field.
The coach’s eyes glittered beneath his sunglasses. “Did something happen?”
“No, nothing much,” Chris replied lightly. If only the third years could have more restraint he lamented to himself.
By now, Haruichi was intrigued. He’d guessed that the third years had committed themselves to carrying out some sort of April Fool’s prank but still wasn’t completely sure as to what the nature of the prank was. All he could tell was that it involved a third year approaching an underclassman to say something extreme enough to produce a sensational reaction. Though it seemed as if his brother was the one being pranked, considering the fact that Kuramochi had rolled on the ground for an entire ten minutes cackling while Ryosuke had only clamped a hand over his eyes.
So when Masuko-senpai trudged towards him with a fierce look on his face during break, Haruichi decided he would do his best to fend off the April Fools prank and come out as the winner.
The enormous third year reached Haruichi in a few steps. The two looked at each other, one gazing downwards and the other craning his neck upwards.
“Little Kominato,” said Masuko.
“Masuko-senpai,” said Haruichi.
“Did it hurt?”
“Did what hurt?”
“Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?”
Haruichi pinked. He couldn’t help it; the pickup line was embarrassingly ridiculous. But he managed to, with great self-control, resist the urge to either bury his hands in his face or groan loudly. Instead, he calmly replied, “No, it didn’t, but I wouldn’t want you to catch me in the first place.”
Aghast, Masuko’s face paled. Shots had been fired and the great Masuko had fallen to the might of a tiny first year.
Though bearing the shame of his defeat, Masuko extended his hand. “You beat me, little Kominato,” Masuko rumbled. “I yield.”
Haruichi shook his hand with a small smile on his face.
Kuramochi and Ryosuke, having eavesdropped on the entire exchange after Kuramochi had finally gained his composure, both found themselves extremely impressed.
“Ryo-san, he’s pretty good.”
Kanemaru had heard strange rumors floating around the entire day, passed through the grapevine of first year gossip, about the third years plotting some sort of April Fools prank.
He hadn’t expected himself of all people to be at the receiving end of it.
Next to the baseball field fence, Isashiki-senpai paced around him now like a lion circling its prey. Kanemaru, determined not to bend to the pressure, only stood up straighter, spine a vertical rod.
“First year!” Isashiki-senpai barked.
“You have been picked for a great duty!”
“I now have a skill that only the manliest of men can master! Prepare yourself: I will be showing it to you now!”
“It’s an honor!”
Jun stalked towards Kanemaru.
“Kanemaru,” the center fielder said seriously, slamming a hand against the fence. “Do you come from outer space?”
He leaned in closer until Kanemaru could see the whites of his eyes. “I’m saying this,” Isashiki said, prodding a finger into Kanemaru’s chest, “because I think you’re out of this world.”
Kanemaru was dumbfounded. Unable to react, he could only stare at the third year, who looked altogether way too proud of himself.
Kanemaru worked his jaw. Out of anything someone could’ve said to him as an April Fools prank, it was a pick-up line. He was wondering how to reply in the most delicate manner possible.
“Senpai,” Kanemaru said carefully. “I’d give you a seven out of ten. Your delivery was good but the pick-up line needs some work. It’s not your fault. Most pick-up lines don’t work, actually.”
From his current position, Yuuki could see Jun’s shoulders slumping in response to Kanemaru’s reply. He let a subtle smile cross his face. Baseball or not, revenge was always satisfying.
Miyuki had informed the third years that he would be springing the April Fools prank on Sawamura at night.
All the third-years had unanimously decided that they could not miss out on Miyuki’s turn and Sawamura’s potentially golden reaction. They had now congregated behind the storage shed, hopefully out of sight enough for Sawamura not to notice but with a good vantage point of the action about to ensue.
“This is gonna be good,” hissed Kuramochi. Though he wasn’t a third year, he’d bugged Ryosuke and Jun to join in temporarily just to see what would happen Miyuki until they’d finally given in.
Beside him, Jun only scoffed. “That guy’s gonna majorly piss off Sawamura.”
Miyauchi shook his head. “Sawamura might be too dense to understand a pick-up line.”
Chris only rubbed his temples. He hadn’t wanted to come but Kataoka, with a knowing glint in his eyes, had asked him before dinnertime to watch after the third years to ensure no one injured themselves.
“There he is!” Yuuki suddenly declared and heads swiveled to watch as Miyuki sauntered out to meet Sawamura, who was running laps.
Sawamura immediately screeched to a halt, glaring suspiciously at Miyuki.
Miyuki grinned. He appeared to be speaking but no one could tell exactly what he was saying from this distance, even though they were all straining to catch bits of the conversation.
Sawamura gave him a scowling reply.
In response, Miyuki only stepped closer and said something else.
Miyuki spoke once more and abruptly, Sawamura’s face flushed red. Face twisting, Sawamura grabbed hold of Miyuki’s shirt.
“He’s gonna get it now,” whispered Jun excitedly.
With one yank, Sawamura tugged Miyuki closer. And closer. And closer. And closer until their lips touched and---
They were kissing. They were kissing.
THEY WERE KISSING.
“What the hell?!” Jun bellowed and Yuuki instantly grabbed him before he could climb out and interrupt the two. Neither Miyuki nor Sawamura seemed to notice the scuffle, far too preoccupied in their current ‘activity’.
Masuko rubbed his eyes and looked again. No, their eyes weren’t fooling them. Yes, Miyuki and Sawamura were kissing— kissing rather passionately in fact.
“Sawamura-chan,” he moaned disconsolately. “Our Sawamura-chan’s been violated.”
“No,” replied Ryosuke curtly. “Sawamura’s the one who initiated the kiss in the first place. He’s the one responsible for this.”
“So wait. Are you actually saying—” Kuramochi didn’t complete his sentence but Yuuki filled in the blanks with a terrible certainty and a grim nod.
“Yes. Miyuki must’ve found a pick-up line powerful enough to sway even the dense Sawamura.”
Everyone fell into a half-despondent, half-awed silence. Miyuki had beaten them all in the competition. Or rather, he’d blown them all out of the water. No one could even come close to Miyuki’s masterful wielding of the pick-up line.
Chris breathed deeply. He wasn’t sure whether he wanted to laugh or cry. He was tempted to do both.
The two were still kissing.
“Oh my god,” Kuramochi groaned. “Someone make them stop.”
They stopped three minutes later.
Breathless, Sawamura said something, to which Miyuki responded with a flash of his teeth. He squeezed Sawamura’s hands briefly before they parted in opposite directions, Sawamura heading towards the student dorms and Miyuki gliding towards the shed with a smug look on his face.
“What the hell did you say to Sawamura?!” Jun demanded once Miyuki reached them.
Miyuki only wiped his mouth and raised an eyebrow, looking too self-satisfied for his own good. “It’s a secret.”
“Are you sure you used a pick-up line and didn’t cheat?” Ryosuke inquired, a sinister look on his face.
“No, I would never do that.” Miyuki innocently looked at them all. None of them were fooled.
“I bet he said something like, ‘Sawamura, I’ll be your personal catcher for the rest of my life’”, Kuramochi grumbled.
“But that doesn’t explain why Sawamura-chan kissed him. That’s something people only do in romance novels,” Masuko piped up miserably.
Everyone began to speak at once until Chris laid down the final word with a piercing glance at Miyuki: “That’s enough excitement for one day. Talk about it if you will but we should be returning to the dorms now.”
The others mumbled in assent. One by one, they filed out of the dugout, tossing Miyuki either suspicious glances or reverent gazes. No one was quite sure what to make of Miyuki now.
Miyuki waited several moments after everyone left before he let loose, jagged laughter spilling across the deserted field.
“We got them good, Eijun,” he whispered once his laughing fit had ended. “We got them good.”
After the April Fools planning meeting had ended, Miyuki snuck out. He stopped momentarily by the vending machines to buy two drinks before heading out towards the field.
He found Sawamura there, sprinting laps with two or three tires trailing behind him.
“Eijun,” he called out and the tires tumbled into the dust limply as Sawamura stopped to stare at Miyuki.
Once he located Miyuki, Sawamura’s eyes lit up. He bounded forward to meet Miyuki, stopping briefly to catch his breath before glancing up at the catcher.
“Miyuki!” Miyuki gave him a look. “Um, I mean, K-K…Kazuya!”
“Eijun, it can’t be that difficult to pronounce my first name, can it?”
Sawamura only glared at him. “I know that! It’s just—” Sawamura looked away, cheeks burning, chewing his bottom lip. “It’s just really weird for me to call you by your first name after all this time.”
After all this time. Sawamura still insisted on preserving the space shared between the two of them like it was something sacred. With a burst of affection, Miyuki rapped a knuckle against Sawamura’s forehead. “After all this time? We’re high-schoolers, not old men.”
Sawamura lightly shoved at Miyuki’s chest. “You know what I mean!” He took a step back, hands on his hips. “So? What’d you come here for? Are you here just to make fun of me?”
No, although making fun of you is a hobby of mine.” Miyuki flung Sawamura a drink. Without batting an eye, Sawamura caught it in one hand before turning it over and inspecting its contents. With an approving nod, he opened his drink and downed half of it in a single gulp.
Miyuki popped the tab of his own drink and took a sip. “Sawamura, guess what tomorrow is?”
“In other words, April Fools Day.” Sawamura’s eyes widened noticeably. So he hadn’t remembered. “And the third-years came up with a plan to prank the underclassmen. They’re holding a contest to see who can use a pick-up line and get the best reaction out of their victim.”
“Pick-up lines? That’s so lame!” With a snort, Sawamura swallowed the remainders of his drink and crumpled the can. He shifted his gaze towards Miyuki, suspicious. “Wait, but how do you know something like that? And aren’t you betraying the third-years?”
“They invaded my room,” Miyuki replied drily. “So I got made into an honorary third year and a member of this year’s April Fools prank. And as for the betrayal part.” He paused to grin at Sawamura. “It’d be fun to prank them if they’re expecting to prank other people and not have it be the other way around.”
“You’re evil, Miyuki Kazuya,” Sawamura told him honestly with a straight face but nudged Miyuki playfully.
Miyuki only laughed at that. “It only gets better, Sawamura. I signed up to prank you on the third-years list.”
Miyuki could almost see the gears churning in Sawamura’s head as Sawamura frowned at his crushed can, deep in thought. He waited for Sawamura to connect the dots in five, four, three, two, on—
“WAIT!” Sawamura burst out. “You’re going to use a pick-up line on ME?”
Miyuki huffed in amusement at the look on Sawamura’s face but continued nonetheless. “And in order to win the third years’ competition, you’re going to have to give me the best reaction possible.” Miyuki finished his drink. As nonchalantly as he could, he added, “April Fools Day might as well be the only good day to make our relationship public, don’t you think?”
“Oh,” Sawamura breathed. And then: “OHHHHHH!”
For several moments, Sawamura stared into the distance, thoughtful. No doubt he was mulling over the satisfaction of pranking his senpai and the tempting opportunity to openly air the relationship they’d kept hidden for three months. All in all, a win-win situation for the both of them. Sawamura finally turned to Miyuki with a bold, mischievous grin and reddening cheeks.
“All right. Let’s do it!”
Part one of his plan had gone smoothly. Smirking, Miyuki jabbed an elbow into Sawamura’s side. “You better not disappoint me, Sawamura.”
“Of course I’m not going to! In fact, my pranking is just as good as my pitching.”
“Your pitching doesn’t exactly help my confidence, Sawamura. Give me something to work with here.”
Miyuki’s vision suddenly blurred as a body thudded into him, knocking his glasses off. He tried fumbling for his glasses but his assailant had pinned him down too securely, warm body pressing against his own. “You’re the worst, Miyuki Kazuya,” Sawamura proclaimed, butting his head against Miyuki’s chest.
Miyuki only pressed a kiss to Sawamura’s temple. “Kidding, Eijun, I’m kidding.”
Eijun contemplated Miyuki for a couple of minutes before abruptly sitting up. “You’re forgiven, Kazuya,” he announced and pressed a kiss to the corner of Miyuki’s lips. Before Miyuki could respond, Sawamura rolled off Miyuki’s body and stood up. “Thanks for the drink. I’ll see you tomorrow!”
With that, Sawamura fled the scene, leaving a bemused Miyuki behind.
“Tomorrow,” he murmured, plucking his glasses off the ground and placing them off the bridge of his nose. Miyuki smiled once more.
The third years were appallingly obvious. They’d been obvious from the start, sharing a conspiratorial look when Miyuki had told them he would be pranking Sawamura during his nightly run.
They were now gathered behind the shed. Sawamura had probably even noticed them at this point, though he’d done well by not calling out to them this early on.
Sawamura was now racing across the track. He fought the urge to call after Sawamura, the name “Eijun” perched on his lips ready to take flight. Instead, he began walking towards Sawamura, cognizant of the fact that several pairs of eyes were currently locked on him.
At the sight of Miyuki, Sawamura stopped where he was. Miyuki watched as delight flitted across the pitcher’s gaze, only to be quickly replaced by a mock look of suspicious irritation. Even Miyuki was caught off guard by Sawamura’s better-than-expected acting skills, though he recovered quickly in the step forward he took to close off the distance between Sawamura and him.
Miyuki couldn’t stop the pleased grin from spreading across his face. “Hey, Sawamura.”
“Hey, Miyuki,” Sawamura replied, eyes narrowed, “you didn’t tell me that all of the third years would be watching.”
“We’ve got ourselves an audience so we might as well make the best of it, Sawamura.”Miyuki moved one step closer. Sawamura remained motionless, eyes focused solely on Miyuki. The catcher inhaled shallowly, allowing the corners of lips to lift. “Eijun,” he said. “If I could re-arrange the alphabet, I’d put ‘U’ and ‘I’ together. Because you and I make a battery worth remembering in the history of Seidou.”
Emotions flashed across Sawamura’s features: first, embarrassment, followed by exasperation and anger, and finally, a gleam of pleasure. A blush crawled up his cheeks, coiling at his collarbones.
Sawamura reached over to curl his fingers into Miyuki’s collar before pulling. Miyuki was unresisting as Sawamura tugged him downwards and slotted the two of their mouths together.
Sawamura’s lips were soft and pliant, yielding to Miyuki with a familiar ease. Finally, at last, they could do this in the open without having to worry about the consequences. A burning warmth rose within Miyuki. Pressing closer, Miyuki swiped his tongue across Sawamura’s teeth, swallowing every little noise Sawamura made.
Miyuki cupped Sawamura’s cheek with one hand and reached for Sawamura’s hand with the other. He found it easily, Sawamura’s calloused fingers lacing with his own.
“What the hell?!” someone shouted in the distance. Several other voices rose in disbelief.
Miyuki almost burst out laughing. They had an audience—and a very alarmed audience at that. Smug, he deepened the kiss and promptly, received a chorus of protests and groans (“Oh my god, someone make them stop!”)
When they finally parted for air, Sawamura was completely red, though his eyes shone. Whether it was because Sawamura had enjoyed the kiss or whether Sawamura thought they’d successfully pulled off the prank, Miyuki wasn’t sure. Hopefully, both.
“What do you think?” Sawamura whispered, careful not to look over at the dugout and give away anything.
Miyuki only squeezed Sawamura’s hand. “Nice job, Sawamura, I think they’re in shock right now. We’ll talk later but it’s best if you leave now. To keep up the act, you know.”
‘See you later’ Sawamura mouthed and without further ado, turned away from Miyuki and started towards the dorms.
Miyuki spun around only to see the looks of sheer horror and surprise on everyone’s faces. Only Chris, in the back corner, looked unsurprised
6) Sawamura The third years