Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction, the characters go with their respective creators of diamond no ace and I do not claim ownership of the characters or the world. English is not my first language so I do apologize for spelling/grammatical errors, Thank you!

A/N: Hello everyone... well this is the beginning of the second part of Hidden Ace, If you have not read the first part, Kickoff, i strongly recommended reading it since it is the background on how our favorite pitcher improved step by step. And their are a bit of spoilers, just a tiny bit, this is all happening in ACT 2 of the series if anyone is curious about it, like in the title it is the road to summer nationals...

Chapter 1

Eijun was staring at a small glass bottle on his right hand where it contained some light brown soil, gripping it tightly; he remembered taking that soil from the bullpen in the Koshien stadium, where he had stood most of his time, watching their ace pitcher took over the mound. He sigh, as he carefully put the glass bottle on top of the display cabinet, where it could be clearly seen upon entry of the apartment. He was currently in Yukime's apartment in the BJ facility; it was a two room apartment complete with its own living room, kitchen and bath. Yukime had informed him he could use this apartment ever since he started practicing with BJ after the holiday break. He had already moved a lot of his stuff in the other room and honestly he was already at home with that place aside from his house in Nagano. He sighed again, as he remembers his time in Osaka during the Koshien tournament. Seido was able to be in the top 8, however he was not able to actually show what he could do in the mound since it was there ace who dominated the mound during that time. He could still remember the feeling of frustration and amazemet during the last match against Komadai Fujimaki Koko, as he watched Furuya control the mound and pitch against the defending champions. He had sense that he had no part in that game, or more like, he was not part of any of the games during the tournament. He felt how utterly useless he was and at the same time how inferior he is compared to their ace. He fisted his pitching hand, as he took another deep breath and exhaled it out.

"Seems like you are not doing great…"

Eijun flinch the moment he heard those words, as he turned he saw Tohru leaning on the wall on the hallway while Nina was slowly closing the entrance door. "Tohru sempai… how did you get in… I never heard you guys coming in"

"Well we did knock, but I was guessing you were in a deep thought so I just decided to use Nina's keys just in case you were doing or thinking something extreme" Tohru answered looking all serious as he looked Eijun up and down, observing him closely.

"Ehhh… doing what extreme?" Eijun asked, confused.

"Ohhh… I don't know… like jumping out the balcony…" Tohru was still watching him closely making Eijun feel uncomfortable. However before Tohru could add anymore remarks, he was hit by Nina directly on his head, looking displeased.

"Stop scaring Eijun…" She reprimanded, looking quite annoyed.

"Huh… why would I even jump out the balcony, we are on the 18th floor…" Eijun added looking horrified about Tohru's remark.

Tohru turn to look at his annoyed wife, and a horrified Eijun while rubbing his head. Well it was a good thing Sawamura was not that depressed enough after his mishap in the Koshien tournament, after all one of Eijun's good characteristics is being optimistic in everything, that is why he had like the young pitcher ever since they met. "I see… sorry I was misjudging you…" he apologized as he smiled, but still earning a glare from his wife.

Nina glared at Tohru, and went towards Eijun all smiling, "welcome home Eijun…" she greeted as she hugged Sawamura, making the latter blush. Eijun knew Nina and the other members of BJ were in Osaka, but for some reason he never saw them, nor even had the chance to actually bump into one of them. As he sense the warmth from Nina, he relaxed, he realized he was finally home. "I miss you sister Nina…" Eijun answered quietly as he hugged Nina back.

"Owh… you miss her, but you did not miss me… now I am hurt Sawamura…" Tohru complained seeing Eijun relaxing around his wife.

Nina and Eijun laughed on Tohru's remark as they slowly turn to look at him. "Well you sounded like a jealous wife now aren't you dear?" Nina teased as she move close to Tohru smiling brightly, making Eijun laugh more.

"Ugh… well we are partners in a sense of baseball you know…" he smiled back teasing his wife, which made Nina smile broadly.

"Uhhuh… well now Eijun why don't you and Hero go down to play some catch for a bit, while I prepare dinner" Nina ordered trying to shoo them away.

"Well you heard the queen, Sawamura let us go…" Tohru called out as he went to get his mitt in one of the bags they were carrying.

"Yes sir!" Eijun answered gleefully as he also pulled out his own mitt from his Seido bag that was on the couch.

"Owhhh… and do take your time boys, I need to prepare desert too…" Nina called out as they were about to step out of the entry way.

"What is sister Nina making for desert?" Eijun asked as they were in the elevator and Tohru pushing the ground button.

"Hmmm, I remembered us buying some chocolate stuff before coming here, so I think it would be related to chocolate" Tohru answered casually.

"Owhh… I like sweets…" Eijun smiled, he had always like having sweets every time they lose games during his Junior high days.

"Yeah… Nina remembered…" Tohru looked at Eijun closely as the latter was smiling deep in thought. He wanted to ask what happened during his mishap during his first Koshien appearance, but he could pretty much guess it might have been the nerves. However, considering Sawamura had been pitching in promotional and pro practice games, it was quite surprising how the young pitcher would make an embarrassment in a mere high school tournament game.

"Ahm… Tohru sempai… do you think you can catch some of my fastballs today?" Eijun asked as he looked at the ball he is holding on his pitching hand. He knew Tohru was looking at him and was closely observing, making him tense that is why he wanted to have something to talk about while going to the field grounds.

"I thought we were just going to do a light catch today?" Tohru asked curiously.

"Ahmmm… yes we can…" Eijun answered immediately, still avoiding Tohru's observing gaze. He looked up, watching what floor they are on, making him more fidgety and started wondering why of all times does the elevator seem to be slow going down.

Tohru sighed, as he watched Eijun completely being stiff all over again, "It is fine you know… I wanted to check on your fastballs anyways…" Tohru voiced out, making Eijun completely turn to look at him full of joy, like a kid opening his Christmas present. It made Tohru take a step back and shake his head, of course he had always known Sawamura was easy to read, but sometimes his change in attitude can do him a full one eighty.

The moment Eijun heard that Tohru would want to check his fastballs, he felt relieve at the same time glad that he still wants to catch for him. As the elevator opened, Eijun run towards the direction of the field. He was getting excited, as he turn to look at Tohru who was following him, but the catcher was walking in a relax manner. "Common Tohru sempai… let us go!"

"Slow down Sawamura… the field would not disappear. Owh… and we won't be using the bullpen today" Tohru said the moment he was close to Eijun, which made the latter looked confused.

"Ehhh… if we cannot use the bullpen, then are we just going to play catch on the side field?" He asked. However Tohru shook his head as a sign of a no.

"No… we will be using the baseball field, we had a off day since this morning since our season games are about to begin" Tohru explained.

Eijun was surprised; he never thought they could actually use the diamond field the moment he gets back home. He smiled widely, as he immediately dash towards the direction of the BJ field. The moment he saw the field, the smell of fresh grass, and at the same time the glow of the lights towards the center field made him feel he was now really back home. He moved towards the center mound, and saw how fresh it was. Eijun slowly move to his pitching stand, and as he looked on the catcher position, he saw Tohru was crouching down, though he has no gears on except his mitt.

"Ehhh… you're not going to use any protective gear Tohru sempai?" Eijun asked, all concerned.

Tohru smiled the moment he noticed Eijun's disturb tone. "It is not like your pitches would hit me you know… now then, let us warm up for a bit…" he gave his mocking smile towards Eijun, making the latter smiled widely too. Tohru positioned his mitt in the center of the plate, as Eijun throw the ball directly on the mitt. ""You know… your performance in the Koshien tournament was refreshing…" Tohru started as he threw the ball back towards Eijun.

"Ehhhh… I was horrible and embarrassing at most" Eijun answered nonchalantly as he threw the ball back.

"True… that is why it is quite refreshing…" Tohru answered smiling widely. "I know it is your first time in Koshien, however, I think the crowd in the promotional games and some practice games you attended are more packed"

Eijun froze, he never realized that the crowd that was in Koshien could not be compared when he played with BJ in the two promotional game and some practices games. "I never noticed it Tohru sempai…" Eijun honestly answered as they threw the baseball ball back and forth.

"Yeah… I figured… you often don't notice small details at times…" Tohru answered, as he threw the ball at Sawamura, and hit his own mitt with his fist. He took a deep breath, and suddenly look all serious watching Eijun. "Ok… let us begin with a in high…" he ordered.

Eijun felt Tohru's change in demeanor the moment he received the ball back. He rolled his shoulders, and could feel he was no longer tense or stiff. As he looked at Tohru's expression, he could already notice the playful attitude of the catcher turned serious. He took a deep breath and blew it out. He was not wearing his baseball shoes, but it was fine, he can still pitch, as he did his windup and threw his in high fastball directly towards Tohru's mitt with no space to spare.

"Nice… out low…" Tohru commended

Eijun nodded as he did his windup and threw the out low fastball directly towards the catcher's mitt, still with precision making Tohru smile grew wider.

"Rising…" as Tohru position his mitt in the upper middle position of the plate.

Eijun took a deep breath, did his windup and threw his rising pitch landing directly on Tohru's mitt making a loud sound. "Sinking…" the latter ordered, and Eijun nod as agreement. He did his windup and threw his sinking fastball, where Tohru was able to catch it easily.

"Owhhh… so you can control your main fastball pitches huh kid…" Daiki commented as he was standing near the dugouts. He heard someone was on the field, but he never thought it would be Sawamura and Tohru.

"Daiki sempai…" Eijun never noticed the BJ captain entering the field; it could only mean that he was focused towards his catcher.

"How long have you been standing there?" Tohru asked.

"The moment you asked for an out low pitch…" Daiki answered, and then he looked at Tohru from head to toe, noticing he was not wearing his catching gear. As he turned to look at Eijun, he also noticed that the young pitcher was just casually wearing his snickers too and not wearing his baseball cleats. "You know Tohru… I would fully understand how Sawamura is usually an airhead about these things, but for you to not wear your own protective gear, seriously?" Daiki rarely make reprimanding remarks because he does not care about small things, but for the two important players of the team to be this careless was an understatement.

"It is not like we are throwing seriously here…" Tohru answered unconcerned, earning a sigh from the captain.

"Yes… plus I am not throwing in full strength too cap…" Eijun added.

"Owh… ok… then you won't mind me standing in the batter box huh…" Daiki commented as he slowly steps in the batter box. He was already holding his bat anyways since he wanted to practice his swing before going down the field and was just surprised seeing the two on the field.

"Ehhhh…. But cap I might hit you…" Eijun looked surprised. He was not expecting their strongest batter to be standing in the batting box with no protective gear, plus Daiki just standing in the batter's box tend to be suffocating and the same time his pressure is astonishing, which could definitely put a toll on his relax pitching practice with Tohru.

"So I guess you should concentrate kid, or you might hit me…" Daiki teased as he winked back at Eijun making Tohru sigh. Tohru just wanted a relaxing game of pitching with Eijun, however if Daiki was entering means that they could not make any mistake, nor have a lax pitching game. He looked at Eijun and smiled, he wondered how the young pitcher would react considering the result of the Koshien game. He wanted to see Sawamura's condition, and the only best way to actually see it is having him pitch to him. He took a deep breath and then gave him a sign for an out high pitch as he positioned his mitt.