Mizutani sat, dumbfounded. What…? He… loves me? Iie, chigau! I must've heard wrongly, 'cause… no way! I mean, that's just wrong! We're both boys, and… it's just fever talk! Yeah, yeah, that's right! Just fever talk. Or, it could be love between friends! Yup. Totally. He didn't think much more, for there came the ringing of the doorbell - Momoe and company had arrived.

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"Settle down, minna-san!" Class 7's homeroom teacher commanded. "Hanai-kun will now be passing out copies of the upcoming proficiency test's schedule. Our class average has been heightening steadily, and I want that to continue, okay? Please do your best." Students left, right and center groaned - EXAMS. Abe elbowed Mizutani, who'd been busying himself with the sight of the school grounds; his hazel eyes had been transfixed out the window all morning. "Hello? Earth to Mizutani, man! What's up? You haven't said a single word all morning! Did something happen?" the vice-captain asked, catching Shin'oka's attention. Sitting at a table nearby, she craned her neck to listen.

"I… No, it's nothing! I'm fine, just… bored."

"Bored? Well, you won't be bored for long."

"Why?"

"Hah! That's definite proof you've been spacing out."

"What? What happened?"

"Pro. Fi. Cien. Cy. Test."

"Oh, my god."

"You said it."

Just then, Hanai dropped the schedule onto his desk, to which Mizutani scrambled to pick up.

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A certain auburn-haired baseball player ran his fingers across the spines of countless books in Nishiura High's library, sighing to himself. "Why, oh, why do the books I need just have to be so hard to find? It seemed like just yesterday we had our last proficiency test! Gosh, this sucks," he muttered under his breath. He glanced at his watch - it was mere minutes to the library's closing time. The lights began to go off one by one, startling him. Out of nowhere, a freshman librarian rounded the corner. "Anou… Mizutani-san! I suppose you're going to be here for a while, right? It's proficiency test season anyway. Honestly, you're the only one who really bothers to stay behind to look for books, but I guess that's good! Well, anyway, the keys are on the reception desk. Once you're done, could you lock up and put it on Sumire-sensei's table in the staff room?" she asked politely. To this, he smiled. "Sure. Thanks for all your work."

The librarian skipped out the door, as he burrowed further and further into the mountain of books in the dark. He'd pretty much gotten used to the darkness of the after-school library anyway; he'd done this for the past three tests. But after a while, his thoughts elapsed to something completely irrelevant to studies - the night two days ago. God, I can't even stop thinking about it! Something really is wrong with me. But I know that Izumi didn't mean romantic love, I mean… we barely know each other, and… But, somehow, I just know that nothing between us is ever going to be the same as it was. He allowed his thoughts to trail off; although a very tiny voice in his mind told him that it wasn't how he truly wanted it to be.

His thoughts were, however, interrupted.

By the last person he could ever want to see in his confused state now.

"Mizutani?" Izumi asked, surprised. "What're you doing here?"

"Um, uh, hey! I'm… just looking for a couple of books."

"Proficiency tests, huh?"

"Yeah. Um, you?"

"Same here."

The duo continued looking for their respective books, but their resolve seemed to fade with every passing minute together. Mizutani's uneasiness grew with every moment; he still couldn't forget the words his teammate had said back when he was sick. The scene replayed over and over again in his head, so much so that he had to really concentrate to pick out the books he needed. How could he possibly act as if nothing had happened? Soon enough, they reached the back of the library, each accompanied by a stack of books - everything from dictionaries to encyclopaedias. Both of them placed their respective tomes on the floor, stretching their aching arms and backs. Leaning against the wall, Mizutani let out a huge sigh, shutting his eyes momentarily.

"Mizutani." The second baseman opened his eyes again at the sound of his name, only to draw back. Izumi stood before him; both hands placed firmly against the wall on either side of his head, hair hanging over his violet orbs. "About what I said that night, I… I meant it. I love you. I love you so hopelessly much!" he whispered. Mizutani's chocolate eyes widened considerably; he wanted to back away, but it wasn't like there was much space left to do so. "I know, I know that you probably don't feel the same way about me. We're… both boys after all, right?" he continued, his voice barely above a hoarse whisper.

Silence.

"What… What could you possibly see in me? I… I'm so far up the batting order in games; I mostly just sit there and cheer others on. My grades are just average, and it's not like I'm an honour student or anything. So, what… what do you see in… Mizutani Fumiki?" the auburn-haired boy asked, in a voice just as soft. Izumi allowed himself a gasp. "I… I don't know. I don't care about your studies or position or whatever! I… I care about you," he explained, in a somewhat scared voice.

"God, I must sound like a freak to you. Just… forget everything I said, okay?" Izumi pulled back, but Mizutani grabbed on to his hand. "No! Please… no. Don't go. Look, I… I wasn't sure about my feelings for you before. But I'm willing to take a chance! I… I want to believe that I love you! I want to believe so badly! So… make me believe that I love you," he whispered, his bottom lip trembling.

He let out a gasp as he felt a hand on the side of his cheek.

A finger traced the shape of his jaw, and then his lips.

The hand raised his head ever so carefully.

Chocolate met amethyst.

"Are you sure about this?"

"Yes… more than I've ever been in my life."

"Then... I graciously accept your invitation."

Izumi swooped down and captured Mizutani's lips in a kiss, one so soft it felt like a feather had touched the latter's mouth. The left fielder moaned quietly, reaching out to slide his fingers in his teammate's hair. What seemed like hours later, they pulled away, gasping for air. "No, I don't want it to end yet," Mizutani whispered, eyes clouded with that little bit of lust. Without hesitation, he yanked at Izumi's hair and pulled the latter's face back to his - into passion like he'd never felt before. All sense of longing bottled up in their hearts burst out at one go, overwhelming them both.

Tongues fought for domination, hands went wild for the next minute.

Those keys would have to wait.


I'm so, so, so sorry, minna-san! I feel like a jerk! I haven't updated in what? A million years would be an understatement. x( My Internet went poof for a while, and then my computer was attacked by viruses, and I had a major case of writer's block. Gah, it's horrible. I apologize yet again; I'll get Chapter 8 up as soon as possible. And then the real drama starts. =P

Thanks a bunch for continously reading this fanfiction, and I love your reviews. ^^ You're making me one really happy author, and I thank you guys for that. - hugs -