I don't own Ookiku Furikabutte or any of its characters! If I did, then I wouldn't have to worry about getting a job.

Let's see...this is one of what will be a set of 13 one-shot stories for a challenge on SHINE (which is mostly an Ouran fansite, but has expanded a bit to include other fandoms, and we're not limited to writing Ouran for the challenges). Since I've been into Oofuri lately, guess what fandom I chose.I'll post each one as a new chapter in this "fic".

SPOILER WARNING!

If you haven't read the game with Bijou in the manga, or watched the second season (particularly episode 12) of Oofuri, then READ AT YOUR OWN RISK, as it reveals the outcome of that game!

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Pairings: If you squint and tilt your head, maybe some Abe/Mihashi.

Fic is from Abe's point of view at around the end of the Nishiura vs Bijou game.


Natsu no Owari

We had been losing from the start, but even so, we all believed we could turn it around once Mihashi noticed what Bijou was doing. For a while, it was working, too. Perhaps we could win against all odds.

Nobody expected us to win against Tousei, last year's champions, in the first round; Nishiura, a newly established team, with only ten first years and a female coach…seriously who would expect us to win?

Besides the coach and ourselves, of course.

But nobody can tell the future.

Nobody can see what was to come.

I had found a great pitcher, finally, in Mihashi. I wanted to keep on wining, with us as a battery.

One cross play was all it took to invite disaster.

For his part, Tajima did a fairly decent job, seeing as he's never caught for Mihashi in a game before, let alone an official one.

There was even a chance…

Which fled right out the window, and I knew it, as soon as Wada hit that homerun that added three runs to the score.

11 – 5

It was over…I just knew it.

Still, I couldn't just give up. Even on the bench, watching, I couldn't give up that slim glimmer of hope as we scored the sixth run.

But as Oki went out, I felt it settle in my entire being.

We're going to lose.

I couldn't tear my eyes away from the scene…

Tajima on third, just waiting for the hit, and Nishihiro, who had never played in any official games in the tournament so far that had to go in due to my injury, up to bat…

It wouldn't end well.

That moment of time seemed to go slower.

It was like watching a train wreck; you can't look away from it no matter how much you want to.

Three pitches…everyone was screaming in the dugout and in the stands, but it all ended in three pitches.

Nishihiro struck out.

We lost.

As someone (I don't remember who) somehow found a pair of crutches for me to use, I watch everyone scramble over to our side of the bleachers to thank the cheer squad after bowing out the game.

Nishihiro drops to his knees, and I'm sure he wasn't the only one crying.

I could feel it, too.

Frustration that wells up deep within me; sorrow that scratches at my throat and makes my eyes burn; helplessness that pools in the pit of my stomach uncomfortably…

If only we had realized how Bijou was adjusting to us with their data earlier…

If only I hadn't been injured…

I had promised Mihashi that I wouldn't get sick nor injured for all three years, dammit!

And I couldn't even keep that promise.

How pathetic is that?

I limp my way out of the dugout as they start to return, with those thoughts revolving around my head.

I got injured…

I let the team down.

I let Mihashi down…

…and I let myself down.

Mihashi approaches me. He cries so easily, yet there isn't a trace of moisture in his eyes, whereas some of the others are already in tears, I notice out of my peripheral vision.

Right now, it seems as if there's a spotlight shining on the two of us, and the rest of the world doesn't exist.

I can't say anything.

I try…words form in my mind, but they don't make it out my mouth.

I can't even apologize.

Mihashi speaks first.

"Your…leg…"

He stops…his face reddens…

There's moisture in his eyes now, but it's different this time. These aren't the tears that he sheds on a near daily basis.

They're honest to goodness tears of frustration.

I understand…I feel it, too.

He's trying not to cry, and I can see it. That hurts, because seeing his tears makes me realize all the more just how things had turned out.

This is reality.

"We…lost…" Mihashi finally stammers out before he bows his head and the tears flow steadily.

I'm fighting a losing battle against tears of my own, and I'm not one to cry very often. Again, I want to say something to him…

Anything!

But nothing comes out.

In the end, I can't say a word.

I'm not sure what to do at first; how to comfort him.

I'm his catcher, dammit! I should say something! Come on Takaya! Say something, God-damn it!

Nothing.

Not a word.

I grit my teeth, but I can't seem to get any sound out of my mouth.

I wish I had been there for him the entire game.

Even if we were to lose in the end anyway, I wish I could have finished it out with him instead of on the bench with a sprained knee. Maybe then, I would be able to say something.

Or, maybe not.

My right arm seems to move of its own accord, and links around his shoulders in a one-armed hug.

I can't express any comforting words…and I know I'm not a touchy-feely sort of person, but maybe this one time…

My eyes are burning…I bow my head as I realize that a couple tears have slipped through my own defenses.

Mihashi leans in a bit, and I instinctively tighten the hug. We can talk later on, but right now, it seems as if neither of us can say a word.

We wanted to win…I wanted to go all the way. I wasn't sure about Mihashi, or how he felt about it, but I know now that he felt the same.

Our summer…

…is over.

END