This one needs more editing… but it is part of a Sports Romance I was toying with. Rivalry/friendship to Lovers theme.
Tadaaki’s eyes fervently darted between the dugout and the pitcher in front of him on the mound, not wanting to miss any signs before making his decision on the pitch. He could hear the crowd faintly cheering, despite how close they were to him, instead, he chose to focus on his breathing, the crunching of dirt beneath his cleats and the creaking of the batter’s gloves as he gripped the bat tightly.
He chuckled to himself, grinning with anticipation as he signalled to the pitcher what he wanted to arrive in his mitt. Tadaaki’s grin getting bigger as the pitcher nodded, acknowledging his call before winding up and sending the ball barrelling toward him. The thwack of the ball as it landed in his mitt, right where Tadaaki asked for it, sounded beautiful to his ears, only coming second to the cry of the umpire.
Smirking with satisfaction, watching the batter show his frustration with his body, as he gripped the bat a little tighter and planted his feet a little harder into the dirt. Signalling for the next pitch, Tadaaki could almost smell the fear roll off of the batter as he waited for the pitch, a pitch that he wouldn’t hit. ‘Thwack,’ the ball landed in his mitt right on target, and the umpires cry went up again while the batter’s shoulders tensed with anger.
This batter wasn’t usually so easily rattled, but so far, this game Tadaaki had managed to strike him out each time he had stood at the plate. Slowly he watched as the batter breathed out, settled the angry emotions that made his bat tremble slightly. He could see from his position crouched behind the plate, that the batter was not ready to give up, refocusing his attention on the pitcher standing on the mound. Signalling the next pitch as he shuffled sideways to get into the position to catch it, Tadaaki glanced quickly at the batter once more and chuckled. There was no way he was going to let this batter score this innings either, as the pitcher sent the ball his way.
“Strike three!” the umpire called. “Batter out!”
Tadaaki stood up, pushing back his face mask to reveal the smirk that sat on his face as he stared at the annoyed look on the batter’s face. He didn’t need to say anything, taking his time to throw the ball back to the pitcher, just as the batter would take his time to head back to his team’s dugout.
“So, that’s the third time this game,” Hiroshi said, his annoyed expression slowly being replaced with a different one. “Don’t think you’ll be scoring off me, either,” he declared, tapping the bat against his helmet before trekking back to the dugout, glancing over his shoulder at the catcher he was leaving behind.
“I think you’ll find that you are the one who will be buying the coffee, again,” Tadaaki yelled back, his smirk turning into a full-blown smile as he watched Hiroshi walk away.
“I wish you two would stop flirting, every time our teams play,” his teammate Koji grumbled, as they returned to the dugout. “It’s like you forget that you are both on opposing teams.”
“We don’t flirt,” Tadaaki scoffed, unbuckling his catchers gear.
“Yeah right,” Riichi butted in. “You and your boyfriend definitely flirt… worse than what he does,” gesturing at another of their teammate’s who was already making eyes at the girls pressed against the fence near the dugout. “I mean what else would you call those bets that you make with each other.”
“We are friends, nothing more,” Tadaaki tried to point out, but the way his teammates were rolling their eyes, it was obvious that they weren’t buying it. “I barely know him let alone know why we always feel the need to do this when we play. Not that I plan on stopping it either.”
“Yeah, but what was it this time?” Koji asked looking around to see if anyone else had heard the conversation that had passed between their catcher and the rival batter. “…something about coffee, wasn’t it?”
“Pretty sure that is what I heard,” the first baseman piped up. “It wasn’t as though they were being quiet about it either.”
“…who bets on something like coffee with someone who is barely a friend. It’s not that we mind…” the teammates around Koji nodding their heads in agreement. “…but try to keep it a little bit more, low key.”
“Seriously guys,” leaning down to pick up his bat and grabbing his helmet. “…we are only friends, if that, considering that this will only be the fourth time that we’ve gone for coffee, and even if,” noticing that his teammates were about to argue otherwise again. “…I wanted more, I can assure that he doesn’t,” Tadaaki sighed before stepping out of the dugout to await his turn at bat.
“He’s got to be kidding, right?” his teammates muttered as they watched him leave. “…because it sure as hell doesn’t look that way to us.”