Title: A Theoretical Belief in Non-Existent Colors

Prompt: #13 Yellow

Pairings: Slightly Chiyo/Momo, Miha -- Abe

Warnings: Long-ass title, Tajima + big words

Notes: Thank god for an Oofuri section. Now my crappy fics can start making way for my better ones.

A Theoretical Belief in Non-Existent Colors

"Chiyo-chan looks weird today," Tajima said, hopping from one foot to the other. He swung his bat in a short arc that would have been perfect for golfing. The team was wrapping up for the day, but as usual, Tajima seemed to still have as much energy as when they'd started.

"Don't call her that. And she doesn't look any different than she did yesterday," Hanai said, pushing his glasses higher on his nose. He scribbled a note onto his clipboard indicating that they needed to order more baseballs. Their stock was starting to fall apart.

"No, she does! I thought so too!" added Mizutani, leaning over from where he had been retying his shoelaces. "She's… yellower."

"That's not a word," Hanai corrected automatically and noted a number for the balls that he thought would be appropriate. Then he looked up and squinted across the field to where their manager was talking animatedly with Momokan. "She's wearing a yellow shirt, if that's what you mean."

"Kind of," Mizutani said.

"It's bright yellow," Tajima added unhelpfully, as though that would explain everything. He stretched one shoulder and swung the bat again. "BRIGHT yellow."

"She wears yellow a lot," Hanai said, trying to understand what his teammates were talking about. Apparently idiots and weirdoes spoke another language.

"No, no, it's yellow like… yellow like…aaahh…" Tajima actually looked pained as he tried to figure out what he was saying.

"Like cheerful!" Mizutani burst out, and he pointed his finger at her to emphasize his point. "She's too cheerful!"

"Who's too cheerful?" Abe asked as he walked up. His mask was already off and he was unbuckling his chest guard as he walked. Mihashi was at his shoulder, looking cautiously happy as though he wasn't sure he had a right to be.

"Shinooka-san," Hanai said, unable to repress a sigh. "They think she's too yellow."

Mihashi opened his mouth like he was going to say something, and then closed it again.

At this, Abe looked irritated. He dropped his mask and the chest guard onto a bench without taking his eyes off Mihashi. "What? If you have something to say, say it."

There were several moments of very intense silence. Abe clenched his fists at his sides and leaned forward. Mihashi looked at his feet and leaned back. Hanai found himself wondering if he should step in. But that never seemed to help, so he said nothing.

"… b-because of Momokan…" Mihashi finally stuttered, his eyes wide as he leaned back even further.

"What?" From Abe, who relaxed marginally. There were feminine protests from across the field and Momokan had reached out and ruffled Shinooka's hair. Despite the protests, she didn't seem to be moving away from the coach.

"Ooohhhh… yeah!" Tajima smacked the bat into his loose hand and nodded emphatically. "I forgot about that."

Abe turned on him, and Hanai looked questioningly at their star batter. Mizutani stopped tying his shoes.

Tajima folded his arms behind his head and looked at Mihashi with mild curiosity. "Did we ever find out if it was true?"

"What's true?" Mizutani asked.

"Well, the thing about Chiyo-chan and Momokan, of course," Tajima said offhandedly. There were a couple more slaps as he tapped the bat against his palm. "Well, maybe this is what we were looking for." His eyes started to get a slightly dreamy look that Hanai associated with a comment on porn.

Abe attempted to tower over Tajima. This worked well physically, but apparently not relatively as Tajima appeared unfazed. "Can you please tell us clearly what you're talking about?" he said in a voice that was usually reserved for their pitcher.

Hanai felt suddenly irritated, though he didn't know why. He turned on Mihashi. "Look. Just tell us, in plain Japanese, what you two were talking about."

Surprisingly, it was Mihashi who spoke first. "B-because Momokan likes yellow!"

"Because Chiyo-chan is in love with her!" Tajima said right after he finished.

There was silence in the dugout, and then Mizutani sniggered. "Right! Like she's been pining for Momokan the whole time! I bet she even joined the team just to be next to her…" he trailed off into a bout of helpless laughter. Tajima joined him, and then Mihashi giggled. Hanai found himself unavoidably dragged in and chuckled along with the rest of them. Finally, Abe leaned against the side of the dugout and covered his mouth with his hand as he laughed.

"It's just a theory," Tajima said, after they all stopped.

"I didn't know you knew the meaning of that word," Hanai commented, glancing back out at their manager. It might have just been because of Tajima's outburst, but she did seem to be looking at Momokan rather adoringly. Tajima and Mihashi were idiots, but when it came to girls, Tajima could be rather attentive. Or maybe just wishful. It was Mihashi noticing that didn't make sense.

Then he looked back and saw Mihashi watching Abe with the same expression on his face that Shinooka had on hers. In that moment, he understood.

And he believed.