Title: The Gift of Gloves
Fandom: Oofuri
Rating: PG-13, simply for Tajima.
Character/Pairing: gen ensemble, but there's some pairing hints here and there. AbeMihashi and
TajimaHanai are the most blatant. But still, gen.
Summary: Abe is not amused by Tajima's antics during winter break, and Mihashi finds a place
to belong.

A/N: Done for Drae for Yuletide. This was my innital one. Many thanks to Yukeh, who saw an earlier draft and listened to me whine and flail and to Ammy, for the quick beta.

.

It had been grey and overcast since November no snow had fallen even as it neared the winter
break .Most everybody thought they were in for a snowless break and dressed accordingly.
Instead of bundling up like little Arctic explorers, they settled for just a light coat and gloves at
most. All Except for Mihashi, at least, who had enough padding from snowpants and boots and
winter coats to survive a nuclear winter. Miashi's mother just did not take chances with her boy
and wouldn't see of him coming down sick. (Though at this point, it was a far greater danger that
Mihashi would fall over and be unable to get back up than ever catch cold)

Abe himself had settled for a coat and a baseball cap. His mother never asked if he put on
warmer clothes, so he never did. Cold didn't bother him that much anyways. Mihashi waddled
beside Abe draped in many layers. He made a swish swish sound as he walked.

It had seemed a peaceful, albeit cold and snowy day until a shriek cut through air and projectiles
began sailing towards unsuspecting students. There had been two things that Abe didn't expect to
happen that day: one, for the weatherman to be entirely wrong and for there to be enough snow
that even Momokan's certified even with hypothermia isn't a good enough excuse would
fall through, and two, that snowball with Tajima's name written all over it would hit him squarely
in the head.

In truth, he had expected the latter, because when around Tajima one got accustomed to sexual
perversions and snowballs to the head, but he didn't expect it to be his head that was hit.
Usually it was Hanai who felt the most of Tajima's wrath. It was as if he was the lightning rod to
Tajima's weird. Daily it seemed he was hiding away condoms and lube or convincing Tajima
not to bring his porn collection to school for a class project. All in all it was just another
day in the life of Hanai, certified protector of the team from Tajima. It was all part of the
little-known fine print of being the other half of Hanai's battery.

So Abe would've expected it if Tajima had shoved snow down Hanai's pants again or
pushed Izumi into a snowbank. (Both of which he did.) But Tajima waging war on him wasn't
high on that list of expectations.

"A-Abe-kun!" Mihashi gasped. Mihashi had that startled, bird-like expression as he watched in
abject horror. Abe stood still a very long minute as he felt the wet snow drip from his hair down
his neck.

"You've done it now, you're going down, Tajima!" Izumi said from the snowbank that Tajima
had pushed him into. Izumi always did make the most astute, biting remarks and now was exactly
the time to prove him right.

Mihashi stood frozen in his place from the threat of incoming snowballs. He twitched nervously
and glanced around for signs of a threat.

"We're going to have to work together. It's time for revenge."

"R-revenge?" Mihashi said. "But-"

Abe gave a longsuffering sigh and glared at his pitcher. Mihashi's face was very red - from the
weather and constant wind or some form of perpetual embarrassment, Abe couldn't tell.

"You're the ace pitcher," Abe hissed, as he tried quite unsuccessfully to keep his anger level at a
minimum. "You can do it."

"I-I can do it," Mihashi repeated slowly.

"Yes, you can."

Mihashi bent to pick up a snowball as another projectile sailed over them. Tajima had started a
full-fledged war and seemed determined to bring every single class into it. He had forced Hanai
to join in on his side, possibly through blackmail (though Abe doubted Hanai had any porn for
Tajima to share with the team, anything of Hanai's would most definitely be gifts from Tajima's
ever present stash).

Abe muttered a hurry up, will you and Mihashi popped up with his snowball, which
looked more like a snowsquare or snowpile than an actual ball.

Abe wanted to facepalm. The snowball was misshapen and done completely wrong. Something
like that would never fly.

He wanted to scream You're doing it wrong! but doing so would only make Mihashi into
a cowering mess of nerves. That didn't stop him from doing it, however.

"I'll make them, you just throw them."

Mihashi gulped and nodded too fast. Abe bent down and packed the snow until they'd sail just
straight and under.

"Revenge," Abe whispered. "Just pretend it's baseball. Instead of pitching it at me, you're
pitching it at Tajima's face."

"Tajima's face? But-"

"Aim for the freckles!"

That command was ill-fated, especially for poor Izumi.

.

After the epic war of the classes where many a classmate went home with wet pants, the next
battle was thought by all (or at least Izumi) to be even fiercer than the last.

But this time Tajima had gone to more peaceful pursuits.

There was a whole squad of them. A anatomically correct Momokan snowman and a Shiego one
with a carrot nose. Between them was a Shino'oka snowman who was also anatomically correct,
but not to the same extent as Momokan's.

The Abe snowman had an angry expression, with two sticks forming a frowny expression. His
snowman was holding little stick hands of the more diminutive, Mihashi snowman who had a
scared expression and even an open `o' mouth. Saekeguchi and Suyama were in a snowball BFF
huddle while the Mizutani and Izumi looked like they were going to make a run for Vegas. Oki
and Nishihiro were chilling at the end of the snowman crowd. Abe didn't want to know why the
Tajima snowman was behind the Hanai snowman. When it came to Tajima, it was better
just to not ask.

"Abe-kun..."

Embarrassing as it was, Abe didn't throttle Tajima. Guys held hands all the time. There was
nothing wrong with it. No, it wasn't the hand-holding so much as the Love Love Battery
Pair!
written in the snow beside it. (that wasn't Tajima's doing, but signed and
hearted by Momokan herself. Abe was never looking at her suggestions the same way again.)

Mihashi's face was bright red again, and Abe thought his face would be warm, not cold from the
weather. He was almost tempted to touch Mihashi's face. It was an odd thought, a stray thought
that fell like a bit of snow and melted away just as quickly.

Mihashi shuddered and clutched his hands together for some form of warmth and comfort. They
were bare, bony and very white. Whether he'd lost his gloves along the way or had forgotten
them altogether, Abe didn't know. What he did know was that without his guarded and
occasional fits of mother-hen like nagging, Mihashi was bound to have some unfortunate thing
occur to him.

Abe sighed and peeled off his gloves.

"Here," he said.

Mihashi's eyes widened to the size of saucers.

"I can't let a pitcher hurt his hands. Momokan will slaughter me if I do," Abe mumbled. He
looked away, to dying trees and piles of snow that would soon be melting into another season and
another class and another round of games to be played again.

When he looked back, Abe didn't know what to expect, but it wasn't this. Mihashi looked tender,
and deeply moved by the gesture. He clung to the gloves like they were some precious treasure
and not the perfectly ordinary, slightly used gloves that they were.

"I'm sorry, mine got wet– I-I promise I'll return them tomorrow."

Abe shrugged. "Keep them. I have another pair at home."

"Really?" Mihashi smiled. It wasn't a nervous smile, but a confident, sunshine-filled smile that
sent an unwarranted tingle through Abe.

"Do what you like," Abe said.

Their conversation was cut short abruptly when, for the second time that week, a snowball
collided with the back of his head.

And thus the war continued

.

After a day of wet snow and snow forts and the last snowball war where Tajima got his just
desserts and was pelted in snowballs, Mihashi was soaked.

Mihashi dried the gloves out by the furnace grate. His mother had offered to dry them, but he
wasn't about to take the chance that Abe-kun's gloves would shrink. Mihashi tried to settle down
the worries in his mind that the gloves might get moldy, that they might never dry or somehow
get lost (Or even stolen away by aliens - all who were green and had Tajima's face and he ran
and looked under his bed for dirty magazines before finally sniggering and running off with these
treasured gift-gloves.)

Mihashi couldn't remember how long had it been since he'd last thrown a snowball. How many
times he'd walked home alone and passed other children playing, ones that he didn't dare to
bother with requests to join along. Two winters at least had been spent alone with cocoa and his
mother's chatter while seemingly every other child in the world was outside, in a group,
included.

But this year there had been games and parties and practices to fill those once empty hours spent
throwing the ball simply for the love of the feel in his hands. This year had snowball fights and
snowman and gloves from Abe-kun.

Momokan had (with Chiyo-chan's assistance) snapped a picture of her boys in all their
snow-streaked glory. Most of them were missing hats and many had snow in their hair (and many
other plances, including their pants). Mihashi remembered that moment, how he was nervous and
warm and desperately wondering if he should be somewhere else.

Abe-kun had sighed and dragged him in. Tajima had put a hand on his shoulder, Chiyo-chan had
smiled at him. And for that second before the flash gave Tajima red demon eyes and Suyama
blinked and Hanai's hat fell off, just that brief instant Mihashi realized something.

He belonged.