Fandom: Ookiku Furikabutte-Oofuri
Pairing/Characters: Hanai/Tajima, Abe/Mihashi, mentions of Izumi/MIzutani-The whole Nishiura gang (the team).
Rating: G all the way to M
AN: The Japanese Professional League, in the beginning, was just a group called the Big6. These were the biggest Universities around Tokyo that had their teams compete against each other. Waseda University won most of the titles. The structure of this league is similar to the American one with two different leagues the Central (where the Yomiuri Giants and the Hanshin Tigers play) and the Pacific League (Seibu Saitama Lions). The winners of these two leagues fight for the final title in the Japan Series.
I loved writing this A LOT, I hope you enjoy it!
"Last year nothing happened
The year before nothing happened
And the year before that nothing
happened."-Dazai Osamu (The Setting Sun)
As he stepped unto the platform to catch his train, taking in a whiff of spring in the process, he looked at his clock pointing out that it was six in the morning. He sighed. Hanai had long ago made his peace with the fact that Tajima was an extremely physical being. Making peace with the fact that he was smart enough to get into Osaka University…was another matter entirely. Years had passed and he still felt a bit cheated [all those times during high school when he had to battle with the shrimp to get him to memorize a history lesson, and he just breezed through the exams].
However, Hanai still beat him in that department. He got into the University of Tokyo. As he got seated, he smiled with dark satisfaction probably scaring the person next to him. He got into it, but instead decided to go to Waseda University, he wanted the more liberal pursuit of knowledge, and he craved the baseball heritage that inhabited that place.
Waseda University’s baseball team was one of the biggest pioneers of what today is the Japanese Professional League.
It was Hanai’s fourth year and somehow he had ended up with a Japanese Literature degree, with impressive recognition for his grades, but at the center of his life was still baseball. He played and played [between phone calls from Abe-with Mihashi in the background-the freak had somehow gotten Mihashi into Osaka City University, along with him] and keeping track of the other team members. He felt his phone vibrate.
“Hanai speaking, Sakaeguchi? Aa...so you got there already?”
“Yes, Izumi and Suyama got here yesterday as well. We had a little get together with Mihashi and Abe. Are you on your way? Oh I can hear the announcement in the background.”
The bullet train to Osaka, with service to Hyougo prefecture and surrounding areas, is now leaving.
Hanai allowed himself an amused chuckle, “Nishihiro, will probably get there a bit late. He has his last final today, pharmacology.”
“Right he’ll start his clinical training next semester. I always knew Nishihiro-sensei, would go to a good university. It must be rough. Are you bringing any friends from the Giants?”
Nishihiro, wanted to become an Orthopedist, he was going to enter his final two years of med school in the University of Tokyo. Hanai chose to ignore Sakaeguchi’s last question.
“Oki, won’t be able to make it. Sachiko-san finally went into labor. Where is Mizutani?”
“He must be going through such an adrenaline rush. Mizutani is still abroad, working on his photos. Well, I’ll see you soon then!”
Hanai said his good-byes and hung up the phone.
Tonight, Tajima was going to be signed into the Hanshin Tigers. The main rival of the Yomiuri Giants.
If he was perfectly honest with himself, he kind-of-really-liked this game they had set up at the beginning of their second year. Hanai-now a solid captain-had managed to lead, with Shinooka and the rest of the team, a series of fundraisers to get more equipment and to make the baseball field better. [He’d even used his sisters as an advertisement strategy with their classmates]. He found solace in Abe, he was still the ‘other-sane-man’ while Mihashi and Tajima somehow communicated without really saying one word. The rest of the team looked up to him after he got over a bit of his insecurities, [caused by one annoying freckled shrimp, one Tajima Yuuichiro], and actually got his role straight.
They went to Koshien.
Tajima had slung his arm carelessly around Hanai’s shoulders and proclaimed loudly, “Next time it’ll be my run that wins us the game! Strictly!” Tajima’s eyes were shining, no doubt images of the field in Osaka already going through them.
And this is when this game, that he kind-of-really-liked began.
At some point during the train ride Hanai had fallen asleep. He checked his watch, 8 am I still have two and a half hours to go.
He looked out the window, and started getting a head ache from trying to figure out the names of the stations the train passed by. He sunk into his seat thinking, Tajima can make them out. And he blushed before going to sleep again.
Hanai hated his stupid, stupid brain. He hated psychology too and was regretting that he ever, ever, thought it was remotely impressive.
The fact was-damn Pavlov and his stupid dogs, [how had they ever discussed this lightly at camp-]he was conditioned.
He turned around the corner and spotted an old storage closet, he blushed. He went to the bathroom and passed by a particular stall he blushed. In the club house, the shower next to last from left to right made him shiver and blush. In his house, with his sisters in the room next door and his parents downstairs. He made himself come. [And of course, he blushed].
All of this was fine and dandy. Hanai could deal with this. It was way more challenging to organize those study meetings. Everyone was game when it came to baseball (even if Mizutani slacked a bit sometimes) but mention schoolwork and Izumi scoffed, Sakaeguchi smiled (nervously), Suyama and Oki looked more troubled that usual, Abe just shrugged, Nishihiro was a Godsend and Mihashi and Tajima were just…Hanai blushed, then soundly head-desked, prompting looks from the rest of the students in the library.
Hanai could deal with his situation, if only he hadn’t conditioned a monster of his own.
“Excuse me sir, we’ll be at the station soon.”
The really pretty attendant was telling him, complete with a dazzling smile. Hanai jolted awake and put his red glasses on, he smiled his thanks and waited for the train to stop, [completely oblivious to both-the attendant and her smile].
As team captain he got interviewed, they had new members, but Nishiura was still very new and small, naturally, there were journalists that got interested in their story. The reporter a kind, young lady in her late 20’s was asking him about the dynamics of the team, they were standing in the dugout, with their backs to the entrance of the clubhouse, as Tajima walked out, fresh from the showers, [thank God he was wearing his clothes] Mihashi and Abe in tow. He overheard the question.
When the reporter, Emi-san, noticed him she allowed the, still small, batting ace to interject, “Hanai is like the team mum! Everyone listens to him and he is always looking after everyone. He can also be very strict!”
Abe took one look at Hanai’s face and beat it out of the dugout dragging Mihashi behind him.
Hanai, wiped the nasty scowl off his face and tried a lighthearted laugh that sounded choked, “Haha you heard him, I guess, thinking of the team as my second family is great but we are more like brothers, that like to play pranks on each other, but we are serious when it comes to the important matters that bond us together.”
Emi-san nodded giving him a kind smile and moved on to search for the eccentric female coach. Meanwhile Hanai glared at Tajima and retreated into the club house when he saw Momokan approach.
Tajima followed him.
He retrieved the one bag he had brought along for his stay at Nishinomiya and started walking to the exit. He turned around one second to check a sign and the next moment, he was attacked by an armful of Tajima. Hanai almost fell over; the people around them were staring and glaring.
“Hanai! No fair no matter how much I grow you still beat me!”
Hanai wished, not for the first time that Tajima’s conditioned response to him was to blush (like his) instead of tackling him. He was shorter, sure, but that didn’t mean he was still the same shrimp that he was in high school. He was very capable of hitting home-runs now, it was still a sore spot to compare their statics on that respect though [a reminder of times when Tajima's body was a limiter, of times when Hanai had to follow-through].
He noticed that he was a wearing a cap and sunglasses that had fallen to the ground. And he narrowed his eyes.
“And no matter how much you grow, the meaning of responsibility eludes you! You should be squaring off legal matters now! Don’t hug me-“
“I wanted to see you, Hanai it’s been almost a year.”
Hanai pinched the bridge of his nose and cursed Tajima and his freckles internally.
“I wanted to see you too. “
“See aren’t you glad I forced you to come! You get to spy on your enemy weeeell before the season begins!”
“Whatever, we don’t need to spy-we’ve beaten the Tigers for the past two years!”
“But they didn’t have me yet.”
Hanai hated how this coming from anyone else would be boasting, but coming from Tajima, it was just like stating a fact.
Above all it annoyed him a lot to know how excited he was at the prospect of facing off with Tajima and just how wary the truth of the shrimp’s statement made him.
Hanai turned around, “Why the hell would you say that. Weirdo. You could have said Dad at least.” Tajima considered and answered, “You are too good looking to be a Dad, have you seen Abe’s Dad? Plus I could never think of you as a brother or family for that matter, I was answering for the rest of the guys.”
Hanai floundered, “Oh I see. Well good to know.” There was a feeling of rejection, but he could not hide the fact that thinking of Tajima as family, even to make a metaphor work, was odd. Their dynamic was more of…
“We are rivals. Also, from up-close you are way too good-looking to be my brother.” Hanai jumped he was looking down at Tajima who had gotten really close to his face.
Lately he’d been doing that a lot. When they were studying, Tajima always brushed his fingers with his when exchanging notes. He tended to lean back when Hanai was looming over teaching him some formula or the other.
Tajima had grabbed Hanai’s bag from him and they continued walking out the station, as soon as they were out Hanai spotted Abe’s back and Mihashi, who was looking very, very nervous, while Abe was cleaning something out of his hair.
Hanai exchanged a look with Tajima, who just shrugged and said, “They should have gotten together back in high school.” Like us. “Maybe they would be normal by now.” Unlike us.
Hanai said a distracted “Yes.” Taken aback by Tajima’s words, by then Mihashi noticed him and pointed him out to Abe; who looked a lot more built than the last time they met and was close to Hanai’s size. One of his characteristic smirks graced his face and he waved at Hanai as a greeting.
Still creepy as ever. Mihashi was still every part shy, but his status as potential ace for the Seibu Lions in Saitama, and his growing group of friends had shaved away the extra part of awkwardness that came with the, long ago, crippling shyness.
“H-hanai!” [Now, if he could rid himself completely of the stutter…]
“Hi guys. It’s good to see you.”
“I did tell you we were picking you up, but apparently Tajima here, beat us to the punch.”
“It wouldn’t be first time, right Abe! Anyways, I have to go. I better see you at the event Hanai!”
They waved Tajima good-bye and went to look for Abe’s car.
That day, after the interview, Tajima came over to Hanai’s house to study. Even if it was summer it would not do to slack off. Their third year was just around the corner.
Tajima had decided to stay over the night, Hanai would never admit it, but he liked Tajima’s company a lot, and he loved talking about baseball with him.
There was no practice the other day and soon Hanai lost his drive to study, therefore making the session moot because Tajima’s will seemed to be nonexistent, always, when it came to schoolwork. [He also would never admit, that there were times when he wished he could be as laid-back as Tajima, academically, such times usually ended in situations like these].
“Have you ever had Sake?” Tajima wanted to know.
“We are underage, Tajima.” Hanai rolled his eyes.
“So you never had it just because of that?” He laughed, falling into his futon on the floor.
“Just the same way I’ve never stripped in public places.” Hanai blushed.
“It feels great! Hanai, I swear you would loosen up a bit if you did that sometime!” He looked up at Hanai, the mischievousness seeping out of his bright brown eyes.
“Hmph. There is such a thing as shame.” He fixed him with a hard stare, Tajima really made him feel like a bore sometimes. He made him feel lame. [Whoever heard of a lame captain! Seriously].
“There is such a thing as fun Hanai.” He sat up and stared seriously at Hanai, silently challenging him.
“Fine. My dad has a bottle downstairs. I’ll sneak it up.” Hanai said triumphantly at Tajima’s widening eyes as he got up and slipped out of the room.
After a quick lunch at midday, Abe drove Hanai to the apartment that he and Mihashi shared. The place was very spacious and modern looking, very minimalistic. Although Mihashi’s telltale clutter could be seen around the place and Abe’s stains in the kitchen, a testament to his cooking skills.
It felt very personal and cozy.
For a second, Hanai wondered if he could get used to this. To living with someone-Tajima.
“Sorry for the mess Hanai, it’s Mihashi’s turn to clean, and he can be rather lax.” He smiled fondly at Mihashi, who returned the smile.
Once upon a time Abe would scowl while saying this and Mihashi would splutter.
“Do you want me to call up Sakaeguchi and the others, we can talk for a bit here, then go pick up Nishihiro-and go to the event from here.” Hanai said, already thinking the most effective path to make this reunion of sorts successful. [To make the most out of this...]
“Captain Hanai, is so reliable! Abe, we should definitely clean up the place a bit more in that case!” Mihashi said brightly, “I’ll cook some dumplings while you clear up the living room.”
“There you go! Avoiding cleaning by lording over the fact that you can cook, now I see why you refuse to teach me.” Abe said, sounding a bit sulky.
“Abe, no one cleans the way you do…and the reason I don’t teach you is because of that stain in our roof that is going t-to eat away our deposit.” Mihashi said sweetly.
Hanai was a bit blown away by their dynamics. The banter was great and even though Abe was going through great lengths to look annoyed, it was obvious that he was enjoying it. Mihashi was at ease as he put an apron to start on the dumplings.
“Abe where is the bathroom?”
“Oh, sorry Hanai, straight down the hall.”
As Hanai closed the door to the bathroom he heard Mihashi say, “Takaya! Don’t get near the stove.”
Everyone of the Nishiura circle knew about them, it saddened Hanai that they still did not feel comfortable enough to call each other out in front of them. [He did not dwell on hypotheticals of his own situation, on the what-ifs, and he most certainly tried his darnest to ignore the parallels]
Once upon a time Hanai would have been flabbergasted by the whole situation.
Somehow, they had managed to drink a bit more than half of the bottle of sake. Hanai vaguely registered that his dad was going to be furious, but there were more pressing matters.
“So you like short haired girls?” he slurred his words, Tajima looked at him with unfocused eyes.
“Hmm. I never thought you would actually go through with this,” Hanai noticed his cheeks were really red, the freckles were camouflaging, “I guess you do know how to have s-some fun?” the last syllables were interrupted because Tajima started taking off his shirt.
Hanai was alarmed. “What are you doing idiot? What did I say about stripping in public?”
“S’hot Captain and it’s not public, it’s you Hanai.” Tajima said as he stood up to take off his shirt and place it with his clothes, coming back to sit down, he stumbled on the futon.
Hanai suddenly had a lap-full of a shirtless drunk Tajima. His alcohol addled mind supplied him completely useless thoughts. Ouch. Warm. Close. In swift succession, when Tajima showed no signs of moving, Hanai craned his head to look at him. [At the tiny power-house cradled on his lap].
“You really are small, you don’t weight anything.”
“Captain, I think I also like short haired boys.”
Tajima got closer until Hanai could smell the Sho Chiku Bai on his breath and kissed him. Wonderfully sloppy, blissfully drunk,[full of teeth] Hanai could feel himself respond and try to take over the kiss, because he’d be damned if he let Tajima lead. He is shorter! He thought nonsensically.
After the kiss, he maneuvered Tajima unto the futon. And said, even making less sense.
“My head is shaved.” And he bent down to kiss Tajima again, Tajima made an approving noise into the kiss that evolved into a moan.
The dark haired boy busied himself trying to take off Hanai’s shirt and pajama bottoms while kissing back.
“I know, but tell me, what else is shaved.” Hanai blushed a bit more and on a whim started kissing Tajima’s neck. Hanai was woefully inexperienced but the little gasps coming out of Tajima were enough encouragement.
Peppering Tajima’s collarbone with kisses, he said “You know I do, I’ve seen you check in the showers.” Then it hit Hanai that he also had two hands and started clumsily caressing the Tajima’s torso.
Tajima finally managed to wrestle the bottoms off of Hanai, and made a strangled moan when he found out the captain was going commando.
His hands drifted down Hanai’s back and cupped one butt-cheek uncertainly. He looked up at Hanai, who was a bit surprised, but even amongst the haze of alcohol and the building lust, Hanai wanted this-and the only way they were going to get by this in the morning, was in the same way they got by with the rest of their odd relationship. [rivalsrivalsrivals].
“I’ll make you come first, Tajima. It’ll be easy.”Tajima’s eye widened, but his initial doubt and bashfulness was gone.
“Really, captain, but you know I do private practice every day.” Hanai feeling particularly bold, dragged one of his hands under the waistband of Tajima’s pants, and palmed his growing erection.
“Exactly.” He whispered into Tajima’s ear, while moving in to kiss his freckles and his mouth. [rivalsrivalsrivals]
At that point he realized he had been aching to kiss those little specks of melanin the moment he had been close enough to detail them, as he pulled Tajima’s pants down and grasped his cock directly, he felt the thickness and the heat straining against his hand. [rivals--]
Tajima got his wits about him and used one of his hands to touch Hanai’s cock and cup his balls, while the other one squeezed his butt, urging Hanai on.
“We’ll see about that.”
Hanai groaned and grinded into the boy beneath him, both of them pumping each other, the beads of precum gathering on both tips. The sense of urgency increasing, in the back of Hanai’s mind the thought too fast, too fast kept repeating itself and in the span of two minutes, the longest two minutes in his life, batting a home-run with all the bases loaded did not compare to this…he was, he was flying…
He registered a sticky fluid gathering in his hand, just before he came hard. He crashed into Tajima, not enough common sense to lower himself slowly.
And he mumbled an “I won…” while panting.
Tajima gave a choked laugh, “Hah. But I am definitely bigger.”
Hanai snorted, “I’m still taller.” [...]
Finally they fell asleep in that uncomfortable position, the alcohol kicking in.
Sakaeguchi, Izumi and Suyama got to Abe and Mihashi’s apartment at about 3 pm. They brought a bottle of gin with tonic to mix it.
Hanai felt decidedly hedonistic drinking so early, but being reunited with his old high-school friends definitely warranted it.
Izumi was busy on the phone as he walked into the apartment; he sounded vaguely annoyed and just waved in the general direction of Hanai and the hosts.
Sakaeguchi was as charming as ever and his business partner Suyama was sporting a very expensive suit that made him look like the successful entrepreneur that he was to its very last pinstripe. He also had rimless glasses. [The fact that Sakaeguchi was dressed to kill, was of no importance-that was normal].
They all sat down in the living room with the exception of Izumi who got up with an exasperated, “Fumiki! You were supposed to be back home last week, you are so late on rent!” Izumi started pacing.
At this point Mihashi brought the dumplings to the little coffee table and sat down on the floor with Abe next to him, nursing a beer.
They started talking and Hanai felt as if they had not been away from each other for over two years. With the exception of Abe, Mihashi and Tajima he had not seen the others after their little reunion three years ago.
Izumi walked back into the living room, wearing up to three layers of stylish clothes and looking exceedingly cool and handsome. [And just as bratty].
“Fumiki was supposed to do a photoshoot for my next campaign. The idiot prefers to take pictures of rocks in Greece or wherever he is.”
Of course Hanai had seen Izumi, on magazines and billboards. He had become a prominent male model in the Tokyo area; he had been living with Mizutani right out of highschool. Izumi had been the only one to come out to his family, and it had not been received well, however he made it through college and eventually made it out as a model.
“You just miss him Izumi, own up for once.” Sakaeguchi teased.
Izumi scoffed as he poured himself a drink.
They all laughed warmly, and Hanai once thought, just as if we never parted.
Watching Izumi admire Suyama’s suit and glasses and Sakaeguchi commend Mihashi on his cooking while Abe had an arm casually behind Mihashi.
But we did grow up.
At about four in the morning Hanai woke up with a start and the mother of all cricks in his neck. He was a bit disoriented, since he wasn’t on his bed, but just one look beneath him and it all came crashing back.
He looked at his clock and realized he had a couple of hours before his parents got up so he rushed to the bathroom and brought some wet tissues to clean himself and Tajima up.
He did not have the heart to wake him up and he’d rather deal with the awkwardness with a clear mind. [He counted his heartbeat to go to sleep].
Two hours later and they were all tipsy, with the exception of Abe, who would never drink when he had to drive. His personality would never allow him.
Izumi was complimenting Hanai’s new hair style, saying that it was a definite improvement, he had hair now.
“I bet Tajima likes it better this way.”
There was a silence.
“I don’t know, I haven’t asked him yet. He did like my short hair though.” He laughed quietly, and the rest of the guys joined in.
“We should go pick up Nishihiro-sensei.”
“He is still not a doctor Sakaeguchi!” Abe said.
“Nishihiro will always be sensei.” Mihashi said with a grave tone, as Abe snorted and gestured to Hanai to go with him. [Reading the slight awkwardness in his smile].
Breakfast was a quiet affair. Even Hanai’s mum commented on it. As Tajima got ready to leave, Hanai grabbed his bag and said he wanted to go to the library for a bit.
Hanai began getting unsettled by Tajima’s silence until he broke it.
“Hanai. I like you.”
They were a few blocks from Tajima’s house.
Hanai smiled at him and said, “I know.” I like you too, I think. “I don’t mind it.”
Tajima, had always been good at understanding him. So when he gave a furtive glance around the place and promptly kissed him, leaving Hanai spluttering and blushing, while he got on his bike and sped away with a “I’ll see you later!” all Hanai could do was smile. [Rivals?]
Surprisingly, he never got scolded by his dad. He did get some conspiratorial looks at dinner the next day. Hanai guessed his dad had been expecting it. [The sake. Not the uh-yeah].
What did happen for the rest of their high school was that Tajima had made most of the school grounds a reason for Hanai to blush. He definitely made his room a reason to blush. Amongst other things. Not even Tajima’s house, filled to brim as it was with relatives, was safe from a Tajima Tackle. [Which led to other moves, just as athletic as a tackle, but way more private].
But at the end of their third year, after Hanai had told him about Waseda University, Tajima decided to leave to Osaka.
The only thing he said was, “Hanshin Tigers.” Hanai understood. [Rivals].
Somehow along the road he’d been conditioned to get him. Just as how Tajima got him.
Above all we are rivals.
After picking Nishihiro up and allowing him to get changed and caught up with the rest of the guys they’d finally gotten to the event.
Tajima looked great and full of energy, as always. He signed the roster, with all the press there and was hailed as the next hitting ace, he locked eyes with Hanai. [Two sets of dark eyes locking].
He made a mock gun and aimed it at him. His eyes smiling.
Afterwards he joined the whole team and Hanai felt like he was back in high school, everyone clapping Tajima on the back, Mihashi and Tajima communicating via mumbles and Abe getting annoyed at Mihashi’s regression.
Sakaeguchi was appeasing everybody while Suyama was being aggravated by Izumi egging on the rest.
Hanai, as always had the final word as he congratulated Tajima and gave him a hug. I’ll meet you at the Tokyo dome. He said.
I’ll see you at Koshien. Tajima smiled back.
After the party, Hanai left with Tajima to his apartment [the knowing/understanding/amused gazes of their friends left behind]. The moment they were in through the door, Hanai started kissing him, demanding. Tajima responded, just as demanding, all tongue and teeth and just the plain rush. They undressed themselves in the living room and just barely made the bedroom.
They tumbled into the room in a disarray of limbs and gasps. Hanai had Tajima pinned to the bed.
“No fair.” You are still taller.
“Yes fair.” You still seem elusive. And then he blurted out, “God, I’ve missed you.”
From there on, their bodies just melted into each other. Every nook, every caress was calculated and conscious falling into a rhythm that was the same as in high school, but different.
It was as if they had been waiting for an old wine, and the first drop was absolutely delicious, prompting them to drink the full bottle.
They had matured.
Tajima rolled Hanai over and got on top of him. He slid down his body, languorously, licking everywhere then he got to Hanai’s cock, gave a brief expletive that sounded around, “you still shave” and without any warning sucked the straining member into his mouth, making Hanai moan obscenely.
Hanai got on his elbows and reached with one of his hands to play with Tajima’s slightly longer dark hair. He said, “Let me do it too.” And Tajima gave him a look, and the fact that he did this with Hanai’s cock inside his mouth still, had Hanai internally swearing up a storm.
They moved and Hanai was presented with Tajima’s cock, standing proud, with a groan as Tajima’s sucking became more insistent, Hanai palmed Tajima’s balls and started taking in Tajima’s tip that was already soaked with precum, in.
This was the second time they’d done this. Hanai had disliked the name sixty-nine so much, they had never attempted it again. [Why, oh why?]
In a daze Hanai started probing Tajima’s puckered hole with one finger, feeling Tajima gasp but trust back into his finger her tried another digit and scissored looking for that bundle of nerves.
Tajima, stopped sucking and moved away. Rolled over Hanai and without a warning impaled himself with Hanai’s cock, getting a very loud groan out of him.
“This time. You’ll come first, Captain.” [God was it so long ag-]Tajima said with a particularly vicious hip swivel making Hanai’s eyes roll back.
Hanai did not refuse this as he felt himself see white.
Two years later.
Mihashi and Abe had moved back to Saitama, where they joined the Seibu Lions [The excitement was liquid fire].
The Yomiuri Giants had gone two times successively to the Japan Series, against the Seibu Lions, leaving the Hanshin Tigers to pine for the chance at the title.
Both of those times, the Lions won.
Tajima, had not been enough to beat the Giants, but his brilliance had caught the eye of other teams [a road. Leading?].
Suyama had gotten engaged and his and Sakaeguchi’s advertising company was doing great.
Oki had become a division chief at the Yomiuri Chinbun, Hanai read his editorials every day [so this was where Oki's words were hiding]. He had another little one on the way.
Izumi was as popular as ever and had started to take TV roles in Dramas, Mizutani was his primary photographer, but he disappeared at random intervals of time to “look for himself”. This endeavor usually ended in award winning landscape picture portfolios that were showcased in the best galleries of Tokyo. [Hanai had seen these pictures, he did move amongst the art circles in Tokyo].
Nishihiro was married to his profession and was finally starting his orthopedic studies. He joked-seriously-with Abe about his fixing his knee. [Somethings, can never be left alone].
One day he got a call from Tajima.
“Guess where I am.”
“You are no fun.”
“Yuuichiro. We agreed on you visiting last weekend.”
“Still. You don’t even sound surprised.”
“That’s because I’m not.”
“Fine then. What if I said I’m moving to Saitama.”
“Ellipsis. Hah! Got you there.”
“Shut up. You are a physics major, you have no business with punctuation.” [The biggest, cosmic joke ever.]
“Uhuh. Asuza, Open the door.” [His girly name had never sounded better.]
Tajima was being transferred, thanks to a record sum, to the Seibu Lions.
On the plus side, the commute to Saitama and vice-versa was under one hour.
On the negative side, The Giants lost the Series that season by a landslide.
Hanai was incredible in the final series game at the Tokyo Dome. He hit 3 homeruns, two of them with bases loaded. But Tajima was spectacular.[Hanai, was exceedingly happy. Once more, he asked: Rivals?]
And once Mihashi and Abe got switched in, there was just no point.
Two weeks after the game, Hanai and Tajima were lazing about in Tajima’s apartment in Saitama, when Hanai got a call from his manager.
The Seibu lions wanted him.
Tajima looked at him.
And finally they understood.
Above all we are equals.
FinAN numero dos: Incidentally Waseda University is ranked 13th in Japan and it is known for being very liberal and influential in the political science area and economics. It also has one of the biggest libraries in the country.
University of Tokyo (Toudai) is ranked 1st, Osaka University 3rd and Osaka City University 20th.