The Nearest Batting Center
The phone has been ringing - loudly - and it was early morning. The morning after the Regional Finals; and they were supposed to be asleep, resting.
"Azuma, answer your noisy phone!"
But Azuma was awake, early as usual, and was already eating breakfast downstairs with Kimie Kitamura.
"Hurry up, I can't sleep in peace here!"
At the sudden silence that ensued, Kou rolled in his bed and sighed contentedly - sleep is best after a long, hard game.
In the little bedroom next to Kou's, Azuma stares blankly into the distance, unable to comprehend why she would call him, and not the boy next room instead.
Seven this morning, at the train station.
I invited you out, remember? Let's go and see a movie.
And she just hung up, without waiting for his reply.
"So this is the nearest batting center?"
""Take a bus from the train station and you'll be there in less than an hour.""
"You still remember that, Azuma-senpai?"
"You're the first woman I ever remembered. I just wouldn't forget you, like that."
A silence, a strong swish, and a loud clanging sound. Azuma smiles as she stares in awe at a little square target in the distance.
"Is it your first three consecutive home runs?"
If it was Kou who was speaking all the while, she would have missed. But somehow it is still rewarding to see her happy, though in a different light.
"Your napolitan tastes better."
"You want to exchange?"
He gives her a pointed look and ignores the dish marginally pushed in his direction.
"It is the napolitan you cook that tastes better."
He is no liar, and that is what sets them apart.
She chews on her (ordered) napolitan thoughtfully, doubting even her own cooking (against what she is currently eating).
"When your sister and my brother gets married..."
"...call me Yuuhei."
She looks at him - really looks at him - as if seeing him again, after all the time they've known each other.
"Then... call me Aoba."
"Just like he does?"
She stops walking, a frown on her face, thinking the question through for the first time.
"Yuuhei is Yuuhei. Right, Azuma-senpai?"
"Then you will call me like how you would."
She disappears behind the doors of the Tsukishima household with a smile on her face.
Azuma's phone rings, loudly.
It is nice to be honest once in a while, isn't it?
Yeah, it is.
I really, seriously like you, Yuuhei.
More than anyone else in the world?
No... I'm sorry.
There is no need to apologize, Aoba.
From the beginning, Azuma had known. He likes Kou, he likes Aoba, and if he would be able to see more true smiles in his life, he would be happy. For now, he would just enjoy baseball.
Disclaimer: Author of this fanfiction does not own Cross Game.