Useless. Fat. Snarky.
Yanking his peace from him, the demons in Kazuya’s head gnawed at his patience and self-esteem. He wanted them out, and couldn't remove their effects even if he used his secret weapon. Well, it was only secret because the “weapon” didn't know they were being used that way. Nori didn’t deserve someone messed up like Kazuya. Kazuya barely knew what a real hug or affection meant, having lost it after his mother’s death, let alone being able to show affection towards his boyfriend. Yet, somehow, Nori remained, and even returned his feelings surprising Kazuya.
He normally ignored his insecurities or used Nori to take his mind off the situation. Except now, being around Nori made him feel down. Nori was so beautiful, kind, and helpful. What was Kazuya in exchange?
Rude. Stupid. Loud.
He clenched his fists, trying to squeeze these feelings out of his chest. Bringing his balled up hands to his face, Kazuya furiously scrubbed the tears that involuntarily spilled out of his eyes. He had practice soon, and no one could see him breaking. Gripping the sides of the sink he was standing in front of, Kazuya stared at himself in the mirror trying to see what people found attractive or appealing about him. He saw annoying hair, a strange blockish jaw, large lips, and bland eyes covered by glasses. Forcing himself to get back into his routine, he let his shields slide back on, watching as the fear and anger in his eyes dulled to a blank slate and left the bathroom.
Maybe... I ought to just stay away from Nori. I mean... he deserves someone who can actually get along with his friends, and visibly shows him affection. Not an emotionless husk like me...
With that in mind, Kazuya headed for morning practice. Hearing a familiar voice, that even after 3 months caused his heart to stir, he turned around to see the beautifully soft smile that he associated with Nori’s face. However, instead of walking up to the pitcher and hugging him like usual, Kazuya just gave a tight smile and continued getting ready for his warm-up run. He missed the shock and hurt that passed over Nori’s face. Kazuya’s own pain overshadowing his normal concern for the pitcher. Thus, throughout the day this continued. Kazuya would see Nori, who would be trying to talk to him or at least be in his presence for a bit, and would do his best to avoid the other male.
It hurt him so much to be away from the one person who was able to drive the demons away, but also the person who turned his drab life into rainbows of colour. Except...Kazuya couldn’t drag Nori down with him. Nori was amazing, and Kazuya was just a failure. He couldn’t make his father love him enough to pay attention to him. He couldn’t get along with his senpais and constantly used to get beaten up. Now he couldn’t even get along with his yearmates enough. He was called snarky and rude all the time, and insults always stemmed from some kind of fact right?
He didn’t want to hurt Nori. Being around Kazuya, would hurt Nori. And if he had to stay away from the pitcher to protect him, then he would. Kazuya began to hole himself up in his room constantly. When he wasn’t at practice, or class, he was swinging his bat, analyzing scorebooks, doing homework, or talking to the coaches. He did his absolute best to make it look like his avoidance of Nori was just circumstance. However, if Nori ended up hating him too, that would work as well since he’d stay away from the mess that Kazuya believed he was.
For two weeks, Kazuya continued these actions. The rest of the team noticed as well. While most didn’t know of the battery’s relationship, they did know that the first year pitcher and catcher were very close friends. For the megane to suddenly ignore Nori, and completely avoid him, not even sitting with him at meals was very strange.
Kuramochi had gone and interrogated Kazuya about what had happened receiving no true answer and only snark. The shortstop had become fed up with his best friend’s behaviour, even going so far as to say that Nori’s nerves were beginning to fray from hurt, and shock. Kuramochi was one of few who knew about their relationship, and while he’d always been very supportive if Kazuya continued in this fashion, Nori would break by the end of the week and he didn’t want to lose his friend, either of them. He could see that Kazuya himself wasn’t doing well either, dark bags settled under his eyes, his sarcasm having even more bite than normal.
This of course was not taking into account the extreme hurt the pitcher himself was going through. Just like Kuramochi was worried about Kazuya’s behaviour, Nori’s best friend was also worried about him. Shirasu had lost count how many times he had to comfort Nori who had many panic attacks since Kazuya’s avoidance began. Constantly finding the pitcher, sitting on his bed wrapped with blankets holding the teddy bear the couple had won together at a fair on one of their dates, was stressful. Shirasu didn’t know what happened. The night before everything began, Nori and him had been studying together, Nori blushingly spoke about their last date, a picnic with the food cooked by Kazuya. Then the next day, Nori had come to Shirasu, his face conflicted; haltingly speaking about how his boyfriend had suddenly began ignoring him.
Though he had met up with Kuramochi to try and figure out what happened with the catcher, Shirasu was still in the dark. However, he knew the only way to fix everything would be for Nori to talk to Kazuya. Luckily for him, since Kazuya had begun his avoidance tactics he’d stuck to a set route that only varied slightly per day. As Shirasu wasn’t always noticed, naturally being a quiet person he figured out when Kazuya entered his room and left it. At 10 pm every tuesday, he always seemed to enter his room and not leave till the next day. That was good enough for Shirasu, now he only had to convince the pitcher who’d persuaded himself that Kazuya hated him.
Shirasu walked into Nori’s room, his roommates having left a while back to find his friend in the same curled up position as usual. Sitting carefully on the bed, he began keeping his voice steady and quiet, “Nori..Nori I know how bad you’re hurting. You’re feeling as if Kazuya has betrayed you, suddenly going from loving to ignoring you.” He paused to run his hands through Nori’s hair trying to pull him back into reality, “but you can’t just avoid him either. Talk to him, scold him, yell at him, but you need answers. He needs to trust you!”
Nori’s head slowly peaked out from under the blankets as Shirasu spoke, his eyes widening at the thought of confronting Kazuya, but knew deep down his best friend was right. He needed to take care of this. Sitting up, his legs crossed, he played with his hands looking at his lap, “but...but he doesn’t love me anymore... he used to trust me enough to come when he felt down...but ...does he even care?” a self-depreciating smile played on Nori’s lips before they shuddered and he wrapped himself in the blankets again.
Yanking the blankets down, Shirasu glared at the broken pitcher. He didn’t remember the last time he’d seen Nori this way. Kazuya better have had a fantastic reason or the catcher might come out the next day with a broken nose if he didn’t fix Nori. The two idiots were made for each other, but often Kazuya didn’t say what he meant or Nori felt too uncomfortable in the situation to speak. It resulted in Kuramochi or Shirasu often getting involved to fix whatever had happened. But this? This was getting, no it had gotten, severely out of hand. Pulling the pitcher up by his arm, Shirasu dragged him wordlessly out of the door ignoring the shouts of shock from the pitcher to let him be. Seeing Kuramochi at Kazuya’s door, having pre-planned this entire scenario beforehand, he nodded at the shortstop. Receiving a nod himself, Shirasu yanked the door of Kazuya’s room open seeing the shocked look on the catcher who had been sitting at his desk inside. Smiling tightly, both he and Kuramochi shoved Nori in and locked the door. While both could leave from the inside, this was just a precaution should anyone try to get in though they’d been warned away beforehand.
Stumbling inside, Nori nearly fell over from the force if his fall hadn’t been blocked by a solid object. Opening his eyes, he realized it wasn’t an object, but Kazuya who’d reached to catch him and had fallen on the floor underneath the pitcher. He scrambled backwards to try and get up, but the previous fall had tangled his legs with the catcher and he fell down again, cringing at the painful “Oof!” he’d heard and felt from Kazuya. It felt like a complete shojo moment, straight from Sawamura and Jun-senpai’s manga. Except, Nori felt like crying and running away...not from a confession but because he knew Kazuya hated him.
Slowly he lifted himself off of the other male, already missing the warmth he’d been craving for nearly 3 weeks. Looking down sadly at his feet Nori was only able to stutter out a soft “why?” before his eyes watered and he crumbled to the ground.
Kazuya had been shocked to see Shirasu open his room door, and even more so when they pushed Nori inside. He’d been doing so well to stay away. And while the demons had become even stronger they at least had begun ignoring his feelings for Nori. In hindsight, it was probably because he locked all thoughts of the sidearm pitcher from his mind aside from his status in the team. Catching the falling male had been instinct and though he knew he should get away, he couldn’t help but relish the still familiar warmth from the pitcher. Hearing the question and seeing Nori break, nearly broke his heart again but he knew he was right. Over time, Nori would get over him, and would smile again.
However one nagging thought wouldn’t leave him. Maybe he ought to at least tell Nori why. Then Nori could agree and just go. The other male must have known how unsuited Kazuya was for him? It would resolve all their problems and Nori could have some kind of closure while Kazuya continued breaking. He probably deserved it for the pain he put Nori through. Taking a breath, his voice shuddered slightly but he pushed on, “Nori... I’m not... you don’t deserve me. I’m not kind, att-tractive, t-talented.” His voice broke and he could feel tears sliding down his face. Hastily he wiped them away, looking at the pitcher on the ground, he used up all the energy he could to finish, “I’m not worth you. You’re amaz-zing and...I-I’m just a br-roken record const-tantly leaning on you for sup-pport you shouldn’t have to give.”
With those words, he just sat down on the ground, and looked at the floor. Hearing the male get off the floor, Kazuya was surprised to not hear the door open, but instead footsteps walk towards him. Feeling a hand come up and cup his cheek, he nearly leaned into the comfort before whipping his eyes open, when had they closed? Backing away, he shook his head, “no, n-no please, pl-lease go. You’ll get h-hurt around m-me and I couldn’t handl-le that.” However the hands refused to let him move away.
He looked up to see Nori’s eyes shining with affection as tears poured down the other’s face. In his own panic, Kazuya’s hearing got a bit fuzzy but he was slowly starting to hear a calm but slightly unsteadily repeated phrase, “you can trust me. Always and Forever.”
Kazuya broke down at the words, having expected Nori to leave just like his father, his previous teammates, even his mother had. Instead, he felt a surge of love for the pitcher who’d stuck by him no matter what happened or what Kazuya had forced him through. Still, Nori would be better off without Kazuya, especially now. He couldn’t even control his tears. “Nori...please....go. I’ll always cause you some kind of problem!” He forcefully tried to push away the pitcher, but Nori refused to budge and sat down on Kazuya.
Nori’s face flamed at what he was doing, but that was the last thing on his mind. He needed to get Kazuya to snap out of it. Pressing his forehead against the other’s he whispered, “K-Kazuya... stop. Trust me. Trust me to be there for you when you need it. Trust me to be there for you even when you don’t need it.” His voice became more confident as he spoke, he had to convince Kazuya that he was important. Kazuya was deserving, of so much more than what he had received through life. “Always and Forever Kazuya. Always...no matter what you do to push me away because of some illusioned thought of yours that you’ll hurt me too much I will always come back. I trust you, even if you hurt me. Now trust me.”
Seeing that Kazuya had calmed down enough to nod softly, Nori decided to take a huge step. They had not kissed before, having stuck with hugs and hand holding till both thought they were comfortable enough in their relationship. However, he thought that maybe it was time. Still sitting on the catcher, he wrapped his arms around the other’s waist pulling him into a hug feeling how much weight the other had lost, but also knowing he himself had lost quite a bit as well. They had to talk. Kazuya had to know that Nori was to be trusted, especially because Kazuya’s demons never left him. Nori would even suggest a therapist if it was getting this bad...but for now, he just needed comfort.
Resting his head on the other’s shoulder, Nori took a deep breath in before lifting his face up and looking at Kazuya’s eyes. Seeing the familiar calm and what he now understood as affection that Kazuya always tried to cover under his shields, Nori looked at the beautiful pink lips of his boyfriend. He leaned in slightly, pausing to flick his eyes up to ascertain that this was an okay action, before pressing his lips softly against the other’s. For a first kiss, he was lucky his face was already at an angle as at least he didn’t smash noses. However, he did instead clack! teeth against the other, before springing back. Both of their faces were bright red, but seeing each other’s mortified face caused a peal of laughter to burst from both of them.
Pulling Kazuya back towards him, and actually placing his lips properly on the other, Nori sighed happily.
It would take a while...but the trust would be reformed. They would be okay. Always...and Forever.