It's near the end of the championship match and Sawamura is shaking his head at Kazuya's signals. This is the fourth time now, and if there's a fifth he's going to strangle the little upstart. Kazuya is the one in control of their battery. They both know that Sawamura knows absolutely shit about pitch-calling, and data on the batters rolls off him like water. If Sawamura's so sure that he can't pitch the speed that Kazuya's asking for, then Coach should be putting in Kawakami right now.

He knows why Sawamura's still out here, though. It's late in the game, but Sawamura's been pitching with all his heart and putting the fear of God into these batters with his unusual pitching style. Changing pitchers now would alter the rhythm of the game.

However, pitcher can't just keep shaking off the catcher's signs. As a battery they need to show a united front or the opponents will take advantage of their weaknesses to shift the momentum their way.

"Time out," he says to the umpire, pushing up his mask and walking towards the mound. Sawamura watches him and shifts unconsciously into a defensive position. It seems he's read Kazuya's agitation and is getting ready for a shouting match.

Well, if he's not interested in listening to Kazuya, he'll get one, favorite pitcher or not. Kazuya's not going to let his private fondness for Sawamura stop him from keeping the southpaw in line during the championship game.

"Sawamura," Kazuya begins, trying not to sound like he's about to commit murder, "I know you're tired, but you have to listen to me."

"You just asked for a pitch right down the middle! You only do that when you're looking for me to pitch fast. I can't do that, Miyuki."

"Don't you trust me?"

"Of course I trust you, you moron, but you're tired too! You're trying to make this game go faster – you're gonna make mistakes!"

Kazuya exhales. "I don't need a lecture about pacing from you," he says firmly, though for once Sawamura has a valid point. "Just pitch what I say."

"I thought we were partners!"

"For someone who keeps bringing up partnership, you're not doing very much cooperating, Sawamura!" Kazuya turns away to prevent Sawamura from getting the last word on the subject.

Sawamura's trying to stifle his growls and Kazuya's made it about ten steps away when he hears a frustrated "UGH, I CAN'T BELIEVE I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE SUCH A BASTARD SOMETIMES!"

Kazuya whips back around and it feels like the volume of the whole stadium just dropped about 80%. He didn't mishear that, did he? He'd been sweating from exertion before but now it feels like he's burning up under the heat of the sun. Sawamura's looking pretty red too.

"Sawamura," he hisses, "you want to talk about this now? We're in the middle of a game!"

The southpaw is visibly backpedaling, arms waving wildly and head shaking. "I didn't mean to, okay? It just slipped out!"

"Baseball now, confession later."

"Oi, I just did my confession, a'ight, it's your turn next!"

"Give me your best pitches and we'll see." Still beet red, Kazuya jogs back to the catcher's box and ignores the looks from both the batter and the umpire. He gives out the signs with a sweaty palm and holds his mitt up, taking Sawamura's reminder about pace into consideration.

The other team doesn't get on base for the rest of Sawamura's turn on the mound.

This was written in one go during a burst of inspiration - hope you liked it! I saw a writing prompt for "inappropriately timed confessions" and immediately thought of Sawamura and Miyuki. Let me know what you thought about my characterizations and whether the mood whiplash after Sawamura's confession was too much. Please leave a review, even if it's just a line you liked or disliked - every bit of feedback helps my writing!