A/N: I don't own Oofuri.
"Okay, first things first. This crap has got to stop."
Punctuating this statement with a flourish, Mizutani forcefully jabbed the cover of a composition notebook that was currently sitting on Abe's desk.
It was a stroke of luck that both Mizutani and Abe were on class duty today, which meant that the two boys were early enough to the classroom to talk about Abe's request. Already smirking when Mizutani had walked in, Abe had closed his Mihashi Growth Notebook and had continued to stare at Mizutani for a few moments with an overall air of superiority.
Mizutani had sighed, remembering that not only had he promised Kousuke to give talking to Abe his best shot, but that helping Abe and Mihashi had ultimately been his own suggestion, not Kousuke's. Therefore, having seen the offending notebook where Abe calculated everything from Mihashi's height and weight to whatever other intrusive and personal things that Abe could come up with, just thinking about it coaxed a shudder out of Mizutani, Mizutani had decided to tackle this issue first.
Apparently, that had been the wrong approach to take. It was at this point that Mizutani began to wonder if there was a right approach to take regarding Abe and Mihashi at all.
"Listen, you idiot left, when I told Izumi I wanted help with Mihashi, I meant that you two would, I dunno, try to throw us together in varying situations more. Not give me a lecture on how I take care of our extremely sensitive and most important position player."
Abe crossed his arms in front of his body in an intimidating fashion staring angrily down at Mizutani.
Gulping, Mizutani swallowed. Abe was intimidating on the best of days and downright overbearing on the worst. This was coupled with the fact that Mizutani felt that, out of all of their team members, Abe liked him the least.
Mizutani sighed, envious of Kousuke who, through the luck of their class assignments, had drawn the half of their battery who was far easier to deal with. He could imagine Kousuke bringing up a question about Abe, which Mihashi would undoubtedly respond to by saying something like,
"A-abe-kun is…my catcher. B-because of him I-I can pitch. He's amazing…"
This would be accompanied by that sparkling expression in his eyes that made you believe that Mihashi would follow Abe anywhere, whether it be to the mound or off of a cliff.
"Well…what do you like about Mihashi, anyway?" Mizutani said, dropping the contentious subject of Abe's Mihashi Growth Notebook for the time being.
Abe crossed his arms in front of his chest and frowned stonily at Mizutani.
"I don't see why I have to tell you that," he finally responded.
Groaning for what felt like the hundredth time that morning, Mizutani crossed his own arms in front of his body defensively and raised his voice in disbelief.
"What does that have to do with anything?" he said with a shout.
"It has everything to do with everything! Why do you like Mihashi? What makes him special to you? If I can get your feelings on this, it would make my life a lot easier when I'm, you know, trying to get the two of you to actually have a coherent conversation?"
Breathing heavily in exasperation, Mizutani flopped noisily into his school desk.
"Someone's being a tad overdramatic," Abe said in his usual dry, slightly aggressive tone. The 'as always' tacked on to the end of his sentence was implied.
Sorely tempted to begin listing Mihashi's bad points to get a reaction out of Abe, Mizutani opened his mouth and then quickly closed it. Abe was much larger than him, so could, quite possibly, have the power to kill him. With an appreciative look at Abe's large thighs, Mizutani shrank back a bit. It must be all of that crouching as a catcher.
Since prodding Abe until he was enraged wasn't an option, Mizutani chose to not comment on Abe's sarcasm with the hope that it would help him open up a bit more.
"Yeah, you know me," Mizutani replied sheepishly, scratching the back of his head for emphasis. "But humor me, what is it that you like so much about Mihashi? Even if you give me just one quality, I can probably work with it. Maybe even find some way to slip it into our conversations."
"Tch…I still don't see how it's any of your business," Abe reiterated. "I like Mihashi, and you and Izumi agreed to set me up with him. Why is it so important that I tell you absolutely everything about why I like him?"
Mizutani clenched his teeth and balled up his fists. At least Mihashi was open and honest about his feelings, even if it took over a year to make him speak them coherently. Sighing, the usually bubbly left fielder decided to use a different approach.
"It's not just me," Mizutani said.
"Hunh? What the hell are you talking about? 'It isn't just me?'" Abe responded quickly and defensively, as if he were suddenly worried that Mizutani was going to swoop in and steal Mihashi away from him.
"The way you treat Mihashi is wrong, and it isn't just me who thinks so. You want to know why Kousuke always acts so annoyed with you? It's because of the way you treat Mihashi, as if he's incapable of doing anything on his own."
"That's because he is incapable of doing any-"
"No, he's not!" Mizutani yelled, having reached his breaking point.
"Yeah, he's shy or whatever, but he's also a really nice, genuine person who would to anything for the team. More importantly, he'd do anything for you! Although why the hell he'd think that way about someone who treats him like an invalid all the time is anyone's guess. Maybe he's a masochist. You'd like that wouldn't you?"
As soon as this tasteful parting shot had left his mouth, Mizutani knew that he'd crossed the line. He braced himself for the inevitable impact of Abe's fists boxing his ears, as he'd seen the catcher do many times over to both Mihashi and Tajima. After a few moments, Mizutani looked up to find Abe staring out into space with a bewildered expression on his face.
"A-Abe?" Mizutani stuttered out, sounding a bit like their shy pitcher.
Abe swallowed and looked down at Mizutani angrily. Before the left fielder could shrink away, Abe grabbed the collar of his shirt.
"Has Mihashi said anything to you?" Abe growled.
"Wh-what?" Mizutani replied, shocked that he hadn't been pummeled into the classroom floor by now.
Abe tightened his grip on Mizutani's collar.
"Has. Mihashi. Said. Anything. To. You," Abe repeated.
"No! Geez! Let go of me already!"
Smirking, Abe pushed Mizutani away from him just as a few other students began to trickle into the classroom.
"Yo, Abe, Mizutani, what's going on?" Hanai greeted the pair, unaware of the tension between the two.
"Not much," Abe replied smoothly. "Mizutani and I were just thinking of having lunch with Class Nine today."
"Oh, do you have some things to go over with Mihashi?" Without waiting for an answer, Hanai continued. "Mind if I tag along? Tajima needs to return my math book."
Abe gritted his teeth, much to Mizutani's amusement. He could see Abe imagining some sort of bizarre double-date happening. Pretending to conveniently forget that he was supposed to be helping Abe, Mizutani jumped into their conversation.
"That sounds great, right Abe? The more the merrier I always say!" Mizutani cheerily said.
Abe shot him one of his trademark death stares, but not being able to come up with a single reason why Hanai wouldn't be able to have lunch with them, he slowly nodded.
"Great! It's a date then!" Mizutani said, grinning from ear to ear.
"Did Izumi propose to him today or something?" Hanai mumbled under his breath to Abe.