If I didn't have to play with him, I'd never even give him the time of day.

Those words were never supposed to be spoken. Those words were never supposed to reach him. So long ago, I thought such cruel things. I didn't care about who he was or what he wanted. I only cared for myself, for my goals. How did it end up like this? A brief explanation to Hanai about my previous thoughts about Mihashi, and everything blows up. How was I supposed to know that he was listening? How was I supposed to know that he would take everything the wrong way? Yes, I thought like that in the beginning but it isn't like that anymore.

How could I possible think that way about a person that has tried so hard? A person that no matter what, refused to give up the place he truly deserved. That additude, the way he always cries, and the way he speaks all piss be off beyond belief but Mihashi is an incredibly important player on this team. Mihashi is my Ace.

If things were different, I don't believe that I would have as much fun as I do. Though I am always yelling at him and scaring him, he makes everything fun. Everyone on the team believes in him and they all see how hard he has worked. Why is it so hard for him to see it himself?

I can feel the pain now, like knives scratching against the inside of my lungs. The air is warm and thick but there a breeze that stops me before I am able to knock on his door. Taking a few steps back, a quick flash of that familiar colored hair and I feel my feet taking my forward. "Mihashi!" The ball that he had thrown had come to a stop and I am so tempted to hit him. I want nothing more than to scream at him for misunderstanding.

Why can't he just learn? Why does it have to be so hard for him to just accept that he is genuinely good at pitching? The look in his eyes stops me in my tracks and it is only a matter of seconds before the tears form and he is crying. "I-I'm s-s-sorry. I..I..." Let him take his time. I need to let him go at his own pace or nothing will change between us. "I..I am a burden to A-..Abe-kun." I can feel my nails digging into the flesh of my palm and I slide myself forward a bit but his head is up now and he is staring at me like before. Those eyes and those tears. Why is it so hard to look at them?

"I..I-I really love..p-pitching b..b-but I don't want to burden A-a..abe-kun." Now his body is tembling and it seems like he can't get those goddamn idiotic words out, but I have to be patient. Patience in a virture in such a situation, so I have to restrain myself. I feel the air fill my lungs before it is gone and I gently press my hand against my face, shielding it from his view. "I never said that you were a burden, Mihashi."

I won't allow him to speak again. I refuse to allow him to throw himself around. With everything I want to say to him already in my hand, I allow my hand to fall to my side before I meet his green eyes that are staring at me with that usual confused look. "When you and I first met I really didn't like you. The way you spoke, your additude, how you cried over everything. All of it annoyed me to no end." There was nothing but pain in his eyes and I could feel the muscles in my jaw tightening. "That is how it was! I don't feel like that anymore. Mihashi, why can't you understand!"

Goddamnit NO! I refuse to get emotional over this! Why the hell can't this idiot realize all of this himself! It wasn't long before my hand was covering my face again. "Mihashi, why do you think you are on the team?" I could hear him stuttering, trying to think up some stupid answer but in the end I only got silence as a response. Letting my hand drop once more, I was not going to turn away again. These words had to be said. This kid had to understand. "Every pitch you throw is better than the last. Your control is something that pros can't even touch on and your additude toward the game is unstoppable. These are my honest feelings, Mihashi. If there is something I am glad for, it is that you left Mihoshi and joined Nishiura!" Those green eyes have grown quite wide now but I am not finished. I have so much that you need to know, Mihashi. All of these feelings that I have. I need you to understand them.

Allowing a heep of air to fill my lungs, I close my eyes for a moment while I listen carefully to the words that he is trying to say. "B-..but .. ...what about ...H-..Haruna?" My nerves have calmed now and this does not affect my like I thought it would. I had been waiting for this since I had started speaking, and here it was. Well, what about Haruna? If there were a pitcher that I could say I was proud to catch for it would surely be him. That is what you want me to say, isn't it? You want to hear those disgusting words, don't you? I won't deny that in the beginning Haruna was like an idol to me but that quickly changed. Everything that I had once thought about him slowly changed into something totally different.

It isn't like that for you, Mihashi. "Haruna was someone that I used to look up to. All of that ended up changing though. I discovered what he was really like and when I say that he is the worst pitcher I have ever worked with, I mean it! This isn't about him though, damnit!" I could feel the vibration through my arm as my fist collided with the side of the house and it was a split second before he had grabbed onto me, those frightened eyes releasing a never ending river of tears. "Abe-kun!" Now it was my turn to tremble, and it was my turn to break down.

Whatever happened to tough love? Why couldn't I just smack him and make him understand these things? Why did I have to cry like I was a kid again? Through the tears that were getting more and more on my nerves, I watched as he checked out my hand before looking me in the eyes. "Mihashi, you are my pitcher. You are my ace. I know the team means everything to you but stop thinking of it that way. Just focus on me from now on. I am your catcher. We are a team. Without you I would be nothing but a lousy catcher."

I instantly ran my arm over my eyes, getting the tears out of the way as I stared into his surprised green eyes. Slowly I lifted the hand that I didn't smash into the house and carefully I let it rest on the top of his head. That messy hair of his was incredibly soft, and it was then I realized that those tears of his had stopped. "A-..Abe-kun really thinks all of that?" Gently my fingers ran through that soft hair and finally the corners of my lips tilted upward as I smiled. "Hell yeah I do!" It was like a burst of heat flooded through me as I realized that his entire body had grown warm and there was a deep flush on those pale cheeks of his.

For a split second he adverting his gaze but those green eyes were soon back to watching me, and his mouth hung open. No, there is no point in telling myself to be patient. I don't see any point in doing it. Mihashi can do it. "A-..Abe is my catcher... ..and I am his pitcher. I will get stronger and show Abe-kun. ..t-that I can do it!" That rare smile was there now and it felt as if I had never been happy before this moment. Taking his hand, I felt a chuckle rattle my core and I tugged on him. "Let's get back." "Yeah!"

Mihashi, you are my ace. For the next three years I will be by your side and I will catch every ball that you pitch. No matter what obstacle we come to face, we'll easily overcome it! I am sure that sooner or later you will come to understand how good you really are. I guess it is just easier to see the good qualities that another person has over the ones that you have.

Don't worry. I will make you realize it.