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-You set my soul alight-

When Miyuki wakes, it's still pitch dark. Or maybe that's because he's wearing an eye mask, but even a small lift of it tells him that it's somewhere in the wee hours in the morning before sunrise. He doesn't want to look at the time, hoping that he'll fall back asleep soon, but there's just a particular train of thought in his mind that won't go away.

It's three days to Sunday and Miyuki realises that he doesn't know what to do.

Rather, he knows what he can do but he doesn't know what he should do—…for the date. That he asked Furuya out on. It feels like an impulsive move now. Sure he…likes…Furuya but, but dating? That's…that's a lot of commitment, isn't it, especially for them who have their time ninety percent dominated by baseball and the other ten on school work. He doesn't even know if his…crush is that serious anyway; just because he thinks Furuya is cute and the kissing is really nice and he can't help himself when it comes to the junior—but is this really a romantic attraction that he's willing to invest into a relationship?

They haven't talked about it explicitly, but Miyuki knows that when he made that move to ask Furuya out, it's the step towards balancing out the one-sided infatuation Furuya has with him into mutuality. It's not wrong, but suddenly he's put into a place where he's supposed to make the first move with whatever's going between them, and he isn't sure where to put his foot on.

Fuck, it's just a date, he breathes out slowly and turns on his side, feeling restless under the covers. They've already been on one and it was fine—this Sunday should be fine too, won't it? But he can't decide whether they should do something like go to the movies or maybe go to a batting cage or watch a baseball match or something nothing to do with baseball or—just, something. Miyuki's personal experiences with dates are unfortunately limited to movies and lunches, and his external experiences are to what people do on television shows or films and it's not rocket science for sure, but, it's Furuya.

Miyuki has never initiated a date with a boy. There are just so many questions, like does he still treat Furuya the same as he would with another girl—gestures of affection like handholding are things they can't exactly do publicly. Then again, does Furuya want them to do that; what does Furuya even want them to do when they're together?


Miyuki chokes on that first thought that crosses his mind. Honestly he doesn't know what else—what else is he good for, really, other than baseball? It's not like he's particularly strong in academics or have interesting life stories or is exciting to be around with—most people unconsciously avoid getting too close to him and it's better like that for him.

Furuya deserves better, a lot better than him, but at the same time there's no way he's going to let Furuya's attention fixate on someone else. That means he has to do this date right, and he still has no concrete idea on what he will do—fuck, he's going nowhere with this.

Miyuki groans, flips on his side and pushes the eye mask a little bit upwards to peek at his phone. It's 3:13 a.m. There's morning practice tomorrow and he's supposed to meet with Coach Kataoka even earlier to discuss some training adjustments for the team. He turns over again and tries to sleep, tries to push whatever date thoughts out of his mind but it's three days to Sunday and he can foresee that it's going to be an absolute disaster and fuck, he can't give that to Furuya.

Furuya, who looks up to him and listens to him carefully and tries his hardest in everything—it's just embarrassing if Miyuki messes up a date he initiated.

Fuck, he's not ready for this, at all.

Miyuki growls low in his throat when he notices that Furuya is missing from the field mid-practice. It's not the first time that Furuya has done this, and it's mostly by…accident due to the heat…perhaps, but it doesn't change the fact that their ace really should not be taking a nap in the middle of practice during their tournament season.

"Furuya!" he shouts, slamming their club room door open and spots the pitcher lying on the middle bench. "I can't believe you—Furuya, get up," he presses his lips together and sighs heavily.

But Furuya merely stirs slightly and goes back to dozing, which makes Miyuki frown. He peers over the younger, nudging his face.

"Oi, wake up."

The pitcher doesn't wake. Furuya falls asleep easily but he's usually quick to wake when snapped out of it—this is slightly unusual. Miyuki glances over the club room and sees nothing of importance, except maybe the water bottle that Furuya said he was going to get placed carelessly on the ground. He sits next to Furuya's head, brushing away the front bangs to feel the other's forehead. No fever; it's cold and clammy, probably from the sweat. Miyuki squints. Maybe Furuya is dehydrated?

He doesn't realise his palm is gently caressing Furuya's cheek until the pitcher shifts and rubs his face into his hand. It feels like an electric shock riding up the nerves of his palm to his wrist, and he swallows faintly, willing his heart beat to stay normal.

What is he doing?

Miyuki breathes out slowly for a moment, retracting his hand back before taking the water bottle off the floor. He toys with the cap for a couple of seconds before proceeding to pour the liquid inside over Furuya's face. The pitcher immediately sits up, snapping wide awake in shock.

"…M-miyuki-senpai," Furuya breathes, staring at Miyuki with alarm, and then his eyelids slide close after a few seconds.

"Oi, oi—just because it's me doesn't mean you get to slack off," Miyuki huffs, slightly smacking his back. "Wake up."

Furuya's head nods off once before he blinks, rubbing at the water trickling over his eyelids.

"Why are you so tired? It's not that hot today," Miyuki comments, walking over to his locker to retrieve a spare bottle of water he keeps there to hand it to the other. "Are you sleeping properly? Drink."

Furuya takes the bottle and drinks a mouthful, but Miyuki notices he's deliberately not answering his question.

"Don't drink that much, you'll puke," he chides, pushing the bottle down when it's half gone in a matter of seconds. "Furuya, are you not sleeping well? You have dark circles under your eyes."

It's a lie—but it serves its purpose well enough when Furuya averts his gaze. "It was…hard to fall asleep."

So it is about not sleeping properly. "Why?"

Miyuki isn't prepared for how Furuya meets his gaze; it's delicately shy and the pale white cheeks take on a faint pink. It should be illegal how cute it makes the pitcher look—Miyuki is vaguely aware that his fingers twitch under the restraint of the urge to pull Furuya's shirt front down and kiss him.

"I was just looking forward to Sunday," Furuya says softly.

Miyuki finds it hard to swallow, his hands abruptly going cold. Fuck, he cannot screw the date up.

"A-ah yeah, about that," he coughs, mind scrambling. "Can we move it to next week? We have a match next Saturday, I need to speak to Coach in the afternoon about that."

That's not a lie—they do have an important match and there are some strategies that they need to iron out before the game, but Miyuki inwardly knows that he's using this more as an excuse to buy more time, only, he really wishes that it didn't have to feel so terrible with the guilt eating up his gut alive. But he's always been terrible and this time it's for a better cause—…well, he will make it a better cause.

"We are going on that date, okay?" he says, noticing the silent response.

Furuya eventually nods, but it's obvious how his aura is a lot gloomier than before. Miyuki gestures for him to get up to return to practice, but before they leave the club room, he pauses.

"If you pitch well in the match, you can have something from me," he states, slightly grinning at the surprised look on Furuya's face. "You have the week to shape up to impress me."

There are many things Miyuki can blame for missing to catch Furuya's pitch on Wednesday night—it's late, they've had whole day practice today—but Miyuki doesn't miss, which is why when the ball shoots startling hard right past his ear, there's a moment of silence where everyone else in the inner hall doing night practice turns to stare at him. Hell, even Miyuki is surprised he let that happen, even if his head is in too deep with musing.

"Miyuki-senpai," Furuya breathes, eyes wide with horror. "I…—"

"Don't mind, that was my fault," Miyuki laughs it off, but he does give the ball on the floor that was caught by the net behind him a wary glance. "You're pitching too high anyway. Give it to me, here," he emphasises, positioning his mitt down low. He ignores the stares come their way—they'll go away once Furuya is pitching again. "Come."

Furuya fiddles with his next ball, unsure, but he takes a deep breath and swings his arm forward anyway. This time Miyuki makes sure he catches all of them, consciously shoving whatever unnecessary thoughts out—he can mull over the upcoming match and the…date later, but truth be told, he's thinking more about what to do for the date than whether they should use a pitching relay for the match, and Miyuki doesn't know what to feel about this. The date is surely less complicated than a baseball match, but for some reason he can't decide on what he should do while he has at least ten different possible plans that he wants to try out on the field.

Maybe he should research a bit more into date spots—whatever that was popular amongst his classmates, or something.


Miyuki doesn't startle easily, but he does flinch a bit when he feels a palm resting over his shoulder just as he means to leave after he sent Furuya off once done with their practice.

Kuramochi eyes him suspiciously, his bat resting casually on his shoulder. "You okay?" he asks.

Miyuki stares at him for a moment. "Why do you ask?"

"You know why I'm asking," Kuramochi raises an eyebrow. "It's not like you to miss that pitch."

"Yeah, well, I wasn't paying attention, it happens," Miyuki smiles easily in reply.

"Not when it's you," the other answers, and then scowls at the smug grin seeping into Miyuki's expression. "Shut up, asshole."

"I didn't say anything," Miyuki deliberately coughs to hide the laughter bubbling up. "Anyway. I'm tired so I'm leaving, unless you want to join me…in bed?"

Kuramochi grimaces and jabs Miyuki on the back with his bat, ignoring the exclamations in return as he follows Miyuki out of the practice hall towards the dorms.

"You're the fucking worst," Kuramochi grumbles under his breath as they walk side by side. "I can't believe I was going to help you."

Miyuki glances at him. "Help? With what?"

The short stop frowns and shudders as if remembering something that he'd rather forget, and then crosses his arms sullenly, bat tucked under his armpit. "The little Kominato told me about something that's going to happen on Sunday."

"Sunday, huh. What's going to happen?"

"Miyuki," Kuramochi growls. "I know about your love affair with Furuya, you don't have to try so hard to hide it."

"It's not a love affair," Miyuki rolls his eyes.

"But you asked him out."

Miyuki shrugs. "Maybe."


The catcher abruptly pauses in his steps. "…What do you want me to say, Kuramochi," he states lowly, gaze serious. "This has nothing to do with you."

Kuramochi meets the other's eyes equally, undeterred by the sudden change in demeanour. "So…you're serious about Furuya," he says eventually. "This time."

It's Miyuki, so Kuramochi expects some sort of cryptic denial or an easy agreement played off, but instead, the captain looks away for a moment and it's too dim to tell if there's a pinker tinge to the other's face for just a bit. Suddenly Kuramochi feels like he's seeing something a little too personal for his own comfort.

"…Maybe," Miyuki mutters, rubbing the back of his neck before he gives a sigh. "What's your point?"

Kuramochi eyes him for a moment more, and then shrugs. "You should make him happy," he says casually. "Little Kominato said something about a polar bear. Not entirely sure why, but maybe you do."

Miyuki doesn't reply.

The match is hard won on Saturday and Miyuki has never been more thankful that they won, because that certainly sets the mood for their date the next day. If they had lost, he's sure he'd be in his room watching the recording a million times over and Furuya would probably be running laps. Instead, he relishes that their team is growing and performing relatively well in the tournament, even if there are kinks to sort out.

That's his main concern as captain, but for the pitcher who tags alongside him as they walk to the train station, Furuya is blossoming as a fearsome and reliable ace who pitches where he asks them for. Though he tells Furuya to impress him, truth is, Furuya always does—he knows it's not easy for a first year to hold up to the pressure on the mound, but with every setback that Furuya faces, the hunger and determination to pitch means that Miyuki doesn't need to mince his words when it matters. On the field he feels Furuya carefully controlling his pitches into the mitt that he holds out; the sound and power of the contact, and the strike, batter out! has never been more satisfying to hear again and again, and again.

He supposes it's fine to spoil Furuya for one day for all that hard work and good performance, and he knows he's done something right when they arrive at the zoo, with Furuya staring at the entrance with that dazed happy glaze in his eyes in a way that's almost tangible. Miyuki smirks, tugging the junior along by the arm. Miyuki can't remember the last time he came to the zoo—probably on a class field trip, or maybe that might have been a class field trip that he skipped for a baseball match, who knows. He doesn't think animals are particularly exciting, but it's obviously the opposite for the pitcher who reads the information boards and stares at the animals in the enclosures with great fascination.

It's nice to see Furuya like that, it's nice that Furuya does have an interest outside of baseball, which is hardly something he can really say for himself.

"Miyuki-senpai," Furuya holds up a rabbit in his direction when they wander into the petting zoo section, and Miyuki raises an eyebrow.

"You want me to hold it," he says with an eye blink.

Furuya nods. Miyuki takes the animal hesitantly. He has no grudge against rabbits, but it's not like he really knows how to hold them, so he ends up pressing it against his chest, staring at the black eyes and twitching nose sniffing curiously in his direction. It's cute, he guesses, and pets it absentmindedly, but then Furuya comes towards him with another rabbit and puts that into the crease of his elbow.

"Hey—that's enough—!" he protests when Furuya bends down into the wooden open air cages to take another one.

But the pitcher ignores him and holds out the third one expectantly. Miyuki would pinch the bridge of his nose if he had free hands, so instead he glances around and finds an empty bench to sit down. He sighs when he puts the animals on his lap, holding them slightly by the scruff of the neck in case they hop away.

"What's with that?" he asks, half exasperated as Furuya kneels on the ground and places the third one on his lap. "You're hogging way too many rabbits."

"They're cute," is Furuya simple reply, focused on petting the one he was holding last.

It's quite a dichotomy to hear that relatively flat tone with Furuya's bright aura and glittering eyes. Miyuki notices that Furuya's hands caress over the animal with a kind of gentle care he hasn't witnessed before. Before he knows it his own hand settles on top of Furuya's head, fingers shifting through the soft strands and Furuya pauses, blinking at the unexpected action. It takes a moment before Miyuki is aware Furuya is in front of his knees looking up at him with a tenderly flustered expression—suddenly his jeans feel a little tight and he chokes hard on a cough.

"We should, ah, we should get to the other enclosures," he manages, painfully aware which direction his mind shot to for a few seconds.

Furuya nods obediently and takes the one he was petting away towards the wooden cage. Miyuki takes a deep breath and scoops the other two from his lap and follows after him after a few seconds.

It's getting more dangerous than he thought.

The polar bear enclosure is the one they save for the last, and also the one that they spend the most time at. Furuya stands up close peering through the glass while Miyuki has retreated further back where the benches are to sit down. At some point Furuya comes over to join him, but the pitcher's attention is still on the large Arctic mammal. He lets the other stare at it to his fulfilment—the date is for Furuya after all, though as a date, Miyuki wonders if there are other things he should be doing.

He isn't sure if Furuya notices, but he deliberately touches the pitcher as they make their way around the zoo—on the shoulder, on the waist, around the elbow, and it does feel like they're together and not just walking together, like the other time in the aquarium. Maybe he has to do something a bit more obvious, but it's hard to do anything when it's two guys in public.

Miyuki glances over to Furuya, gaze flickering over the other's form before settling on the hand resting a couple of centimetres away from his. Very casually he leans back and reaches towards that hand—his fingers gently rest over the pitcher's first before slowly entwining them together. Miyuki doesn't expect two consequences of his actions; heat blooms very faintly over the bridge of his nose, and Furuya doesn't startle at all.

Instead, Furuya turns his head and looks down at their joined hands, and then back up to Miyuki again. And then there is that shy reaction Miyuki is waiting for but not in the way that he imagined—it would've been so easy for him to tease Furuya if Furuya snatched his hand back or refused to meet his eyes, but Furuya merely stares at him intently with a blush, and then leans slowly towards him. Miyuki abruptly realises that Furuya wants to kiss him while there are at least seven people in the vicinity—he presses his palm against the other's forehead before it happens.

"What do you think you're doing?" he raises an eyebrow.

Furuya doesn't look at all contrite. "I wanted to…kiss—"

"Look around you, monster rookie," Miyuki sighs, unsure whether to laugh or not. "This isn't the kind of thing for people to see."


Miyuki blinks, a slow smirk arising over his lips. "…You really like me, don't you?"

It's not the kind of thing Miyuki should say so easily, but Furuya nods, and he's glad that they're sitting down. He chuckles.

"Do you still want to look at the bear some more? We should be heading out soon."

Furuya looks back at the animal in the enclosure silently, and Miyuki assumes that he wants to stay a bit longer, but the pitcher speaks after a while.



Furuya turns towards him, expression serious. "Is there a place you would rather go?" At Miyuki's raised eyebrow in question, he elaborates. "The other time, we saw animals too."

Miyuki feels that he shouldn't be so surprised that Furuya picks up on that the location is purely for his enjoyment, to be honest.

"What, are you asking me out on another date?" he teases.

"…Can I?" Furuya says, after a while, eyes sharply honest in the way that makes Miyuki's throat dry. "To somewhere that Miyuki-senpai likes."

It echoes in his head for the second time of the day, you really like me. Logically Miyuki knows that from the numerous incidents that have happened between them, but it's moments like this that he gets reminded how high a pedestal Furuya sees him on. Furuya puts him first, which is strange in a world that he's always the one putting others before him—the team before the captain, the pitcher before the catcher. He's the one being spoiled by Furuya all this time, not the other way round.

"We'll see," Miyuki replies, voice calm in a sharp contrast to how it feels like in his mind. He realises he has no other words to say other then, "…Come on, let's go eat."

Furuya is positively simmering with contentment on the way back—Miyuki inwardly ticks the checkbox of bringing Furuya out to eat kanitama, a craving that he's heard Furuya mumbling under his breath many times. In fact there are many dishes, especially native to Hokkaido, that Furuya mutters about time to time and Miyuki has vaguely toyed with the idea of making some, but their dormitory doesn't have a kitchen for their use unless he intercepts the one in the dining hall.

It will be too easy to have Furuya at his beck and call if he does that, he's sure of it.

The walk back from the train station to Seido is quiet and atmospheric—the sunset glows in the background and the street is empty considering the day. It's almost too fast how the day went by; it was nice and relaxing, and Miyuki hasn't thought once about baseball plays while he watched Furuya being excited over animals. He glances over once while musing about this, and notices that Furuya is staring at him again.

"Do you want something?" he asks curiously.

Furuya averts his eyes quickly, a sign that he's thinking about something do to with them—but then the pitcher reaches for his hand and curls his palm over his. Miyuki blinks as Furuya looks at him waiting to see he will remove the hold; Miyuki doesn't, and allows an indulgent smirk while he pulls Furuya to walk down the street. It's empty so it's fine, and this is a date; so these are the kind of things Furuya wants too. But when they enter the school compound Furuya doesn't want to let go. Miyuki really should've expected that, and he's thankful that the front grounds are void of any of their schoolmates.

"I did say you can have something from me, since you pitched well yesterday," he states, cocking his head, putting his hands on his hips when he slips his hand out of Furuya's grasp. "But you're doing a lot without asking, hmm?"

Furuya pauses. "Then…I can ask for anything?"

"Well, as long as it's not unreasonable," Miyuki shrugs, eyes squinting suspiciously after a thought. "That means no pitching through the night. And nothing about you on the mound—that's for coach to decide."

Miyuki barely finishes his sentence when Furuya is bowing at the waist towards him, down low. "Please go out with me, Miyuki-senpai."

Miyuki startles. "Haven't we already—" he starts, but then Furuya speaks over him.

"Not just going to places," he says, and from the way that it's so smoothly said to counter whatever way Miyuki could've twisted its meaning to, Miyuki suspects that Furuya might have been carefully choosing his words over the past week. "A boyfriend."

That word just sounds so odd coming from Furuya's mouth, but there's no other way Miyuki can take it. Miyuki breathes out slowly.

"…Are you sure that's what you want?"

Furuya meets his eyes dead on. "Miyuki-senpai said no pitching."

It takes a few seconds that for to sink in, and when it does, Miyuki laughs so hard that he feels dizzy. He doesn't know what else to say or what else he can do really, because Furuya has been going for him in the same way that the other pitches—hard and powerful and gentle and careful straight into where Miyuki opens himself to, unrelenting until there's no way Miyuki can ever say no to the passion in those steel blue eyes.

He grabs Furuya's wrist.

"Come with me," he says as he drags the pitcher straight to his room without giving an answer.

Furuya's footsteps shuffle clumsily after him from how fast he walks but he pays no heed, impatient at how slow it takes him to jam his key into the lock to open his door. Once in, he pulls Furuya in and pushes the other back up against the closed door, absentmindedly palming the light switch on with bodies pressed up together. He tilts Furuya's chin down, eyes heated, drinking in the sight of the pitcher's slightly flushed deposition at their positions.

"You're such a monster," he whispers over Furuya's lips, closing the gap between them hungrily.

It's messy but Miyuki doesn't care, he's been waiting the whole day to taste Furuya's mouth that opens for him hot and wet. Furuya kisses back much more elegantly than the past few times, soft moans emitting from his throat as Miyuki caresses his jawline, lost into the way that Miyuki entangle their tongues together. Furuya exhales Miyuki's name faintly between the little pockets of air that he tries to take in, overwhelmed at how Miyuki pulls him back for another kiss, and another, and another.

Miyuki breathes hard when he leans back after a bit. He feels so gone—he doesn't care anymore on holding back, doesn't care about the confusing circles that he always thinks himself into oblivion—Furuya wants who he is and he'll give the other that, fuck the consequences.

He looks up at Furuya, edges of his mouth curling into a smirk.

"Satoru," he murmurs very softly, just enough that he knows Furuya can hear it.

Furuya stills, breath going scarce before a dark flush of pink washes up his neck. He trembles underneath Miyuki's hands caressing the pulse at his neck, closing his eyes and leaning forward slowly.

Miyuki meets him half way.

-Ooh, you set my soul-