I don't quite remember how I got back into Big Windup, but I'm here now. AND I'm actually writing. So here, have a cute thing, and please review when you're done!
It had started out as a joke. Abe cared deeply for Mihashi, going so far as to take the boy's health and personal maintenance into his own hands. Daily he sent texts to Mihashi: How did you sleep? You ate breakfast, right? Did you get your homework finished? I'll get you after practice. Even Abe and Mihashi's mothers found it amusing. A tad unnecessary, but amusing nonetheless.
Thus came about the team inside joke of Abe secretly being Mihashi's mother. Abe always brushed off their comments and advised Mihashi to do the same, but Mishashi was far too self-conscious to do so. His face always turned red, and he always started stuttering in the cutest way. It went on like that for a few weeks before the incident with the phone.
Mihashi gaped and fumbled wildly for his phone as his friends passed it amongst themselves, laughing at the pitcher's clumsy attempts. Abe was out of the dugout for the moment, which was a good thing for the team. Otherwise, they would have had to face the catcher's wrathful vengeance concerning the timid boy. Eventually, it landed in Tajima's hands. The cleanup hitter was precariously perched on top of the lockers. He opened Mihashi's phone and scrolled through the contacts.
"Hmmm…Hanai, Izumi, Mizutani, Mihashi-san, me… Takaya! Ha, more like 'Ren's mommy.'" While the others held Mihashi back, laughing, Tajima swiftly changed the contact name on Mihashi's phone. "There ya go!" he finally said, tossing the phone back at Mihashi. "No harm, no foul!" Just as climbed down, Abe came back with Coach Momoe, who ordered the boys onto the field for one last team discussion before the end of practice.
Changing Abe's name back in his phone would have taken but a moment. Mihashi couldn't bring himself to care enough though. He kept the name on his phone throughout the rest of the year, careful to make the distinction between Abe and his mother with a few extra heart emoticons on Abe's contact information. What his grouchy, less-than-affectionate boyfriend didn't know wouldn't hurt him.
The team found it a great source of entertainment to see "Ren's mommy 333" text nearly once every hour. The 'Mommy Abe' jokes increased, much to the namesake's despair. The in-joke soon leaked throughout school, though nobody quite understood the joke. They never saw, never understood, Abe and Mihashi's strange and complex relationship.
The following year, the Nishiura Nine expanded to include some rather talented first-years. They were now thirteen members strong. Jokingly, they called themselves the Unlucky Thirteen, but in an ironic twist of fate, they managed to make it to the Koshien, beating out other schools that would have stopped them once before, namely Bijou. The crowd went wild that day, screaming Mihashi's name as he shut out the last inning with a final burst of energy. As the team flooded toward him, he felt his knees buckle, and he threatened to drop on the mound.
The cheer squad decided it was high time to celebrate the string of victories. The Nishiura team had been doing well for so long with so little recognition. That afternoon, Hamada invited the exhausted but excited Team over to his house, along with at least half the school, to party. Coach Momoe graciously cancelled the morning practice the next day, telling the boys to go on and have fun.
Mihashi found himself at the center of attention, much to his surprise. In stammering words, he tried to explain how the entire team had contributed to the victory, how Abe was the one who guided him to victory, but they wouldn't have any of it. They paraded him around on their shoulders, pulling him apart from the main group.
The rest of the Unlucky Thirteen soon split up and found themselves with their own friends. An hour passed before Abe realized that he hadn't seen Mihashi. He tried to reassure himself that the pitcher was probably with Hamada and his friends, recounting the game play by play to those who weren't present. Still, he felt a bit antsy at the thought of Mihashi being without him. Just in case, he sent him a text.
After a few minutes, Mihashi didn't respond. He texted Mihashi again, this time a bit more urgently. The routine went on for nearly an hour until Abe started spamming Mihashi's phone out of worry for his fairly irresponsible boyfriend. Deciding that enough was enough, he called Mihashi. No response. He called again. Still no response.
"Lay off," Tajima said, materializing behind Abe and looking over his shoulder at the phone. "Maybe he's getting laid or something." Mihashi… getting laid…? The thought was ridiculous, but anxiety had hijacked Abe's good sense. He dialed the phone furiously once more, ignoring Tajima's laugh.
Mihashi was actually upstairs with Hamada and a few people from his old apartment complex. Even though they hadn't seen each other in a long time, the reunion was happy. To them, Mihashi Ren was once a strange boy who got hit in the face when they played baseball; now he was a high school baseball star on his way to the Koshien.
The animated conversation was broken by the sound of a vibrating phone on the table. Someone, obviously not Mihashi or Hamada, grabbed the phone and looked down at the caller ID. He opened the phone and tossed it at Mihashi. "Ren, it's your mom."
Smiling, Mihashi pressed the phone to his ear. "Hel—"
"WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU? Why haven't you been answering my texts and calls? I swear, Ren—" One of his friends finally had the good sense to pull the phone out of his hand. Mihashi's eyes were starting to water slightly, and he was starting to shake.
"Who the heck was that?"
"Definitely not his mom."