Miyuki Kazuya tended to watch people's hands. He watched their whole bodies whenever they were throwing, of course, but especially their hands. It was the hands that told you exactly where the ball was going. And, of course, he watched his pitchers' hands still more closely, looking there to see the first signs of strain, of exhaustion, of confidence, of nerves. You could just about read a pitcher's mind by watching his hands, if you knew what to look for.
So it wasn't as though it was strange that he should find his attention taken up by Chris-senpai's hands, even if he was another catcher. Chris' hands were as impressive as the rest of him, broad and limber and strong, fingers always so certain in their grip on a ball or in the quick flash of signs. Watching Chris handle the ball sometimes sent Kazuya's thoughts wandering down rare paths of what-if.
What if Kazuya had chosen differently, all those years ago at the start of his baseball days? What if he'd followed after the power of his arm and shoulder, instead of his eye and mind? What if he'd come to Seidou as a pitcher, instead of a catcher?
Admittedly, he wasn't at all sure he'd have ever mastered the prima donna grandstanding that so many pitchers seemed to feel it was their positive duty to cultivate. But he'd always had the flexibility and strength to be a very good pitcher, and if he'd followed that path he knew he'd have relentlessly pursued the control required to be excellent. He didn't believe in holding back, once he'd made a choice. He doubted it would have made any difference in his middle school team; a pitcher couldn't carry a mediocre team all alone, any more than a catcher could, and he doubted he'd have been much more loved on the mound than behind the plate. Focusing on the batters from the front wouldn't have blunted his perception of his own team, or the edge of his tongue any. He'd never had the least patience for half-hearted play. But if he'd been a pitcher, then he thought he'd have seen Takigawa Chris Yuu in a different light, when they'd met.
He'd still have followed Chris to Seidou, but not as his rival or his goal. No. Chris would have been a potential partner. His catcher. The sharp eye and mind he could trust to make the game. The strong hand he could trust to catch and hold even him.
The thought made him smile as he traced his fingertips along the tendons of Chris' hand where it rested on his hip, just above the white line of the sheets.
"You're smiling," Chris murmured, catching Kazuya's chin and stroking a slow thumb along his lower lip. "What are you thinking about?"
Kazuya let his tongue dart out to lap softly at Chris' thumb, coaxing it back so Kazuya could wrap his lips around it and suck on it softly, watching Chris' eyes darken in the golden, late afternoon light. When Chris pressed his thumb deeper, sliding over Kazuya's tongue and pressing down to hold it still, heat twisted low in his stomach and he couldn't help a soft, wordless moan. He enjoyed Chris' control, even now. As Chris' pitcher, he might have pushed enough to make Chris prove himself, but he knew he'd have given way in the end, given himself and all his strength into Chris' hands. Chris was the only one he thought he could have trusted enough, and they would have been unstoppable. "I was just thinking about your hands," he answered, husky, when Chris finally drew his thumb back.
Chris smiled, tracing slow fingers up the bare length of Kazuya's spine to slide into his hair. "Ah? Anything in particular about them?" He drew Kazuya's head back, gentle and relentless, and kissed him very thoroughly. Kazuya was a little light-headed with the heat winding through him by the time Chris let him go, and maybe that was why he answered with what was uppermost in his mind.
"How much I trust them."
Chris' smile softened, and he gathered Kazuya closer against him, leaning back against the headboard of the bed. "Thank you for that honor," he said, so quiet and so sure and so gentle that Kazuya couldn't do anything but curl into his arms and bury his head against Chris' shoulder.
They stayed like that for a while, and Kazuya slowly settled under the steady warmth of Chris' hand on his back. The only hands strong enough to hold him.