Nobody knows what godforsaken influence overcame Mihashi to cause him to bring up the idea to Abe. Tajima was convinced that Mihashi had an elaborate plan consisting of a string of shoujo romance clichés that would eventually cumulate with Abe and Mihashi making out in the dugout between innings. At this suggestion Abe would turn red and claim that Mihashi just wanted to develop their teamwork through methods beyond baseball practice, all the while desperately suppressing disturbingly pleasant images of Mihashi in a frilly pink apron, holding out a bento for him and blushing, his eyes averted, hiding a smile. Mihashi would try to tell everyone that his mother had suggested to him in that way mothers do (where you know it’s not really a suggestion at all) that he should make something for his nice teammates who treated him so kindly, and couldn’t he get that sweet Abe boy to help him? But of course no one ever heard him above the din, and anyway, their theories were much more entertaining.
In any case, one Sunday afternoon after practice found Nishiura’s ace pitcher/catcher combination in Mihashi’s kitchen, surrounded by various and sundry baking ingredients and implements. An ancient cookbook lay open to “chewy chocolate chip cookies,” those being the only thing in the entire dessert section either of them had ever even heard of before.
“Oatmeal zucchini chocolate chop cookies?”
“I-I think it’s supposed to be ‘chip.'”
“That’s not the weird part!”
And so it went.
Eventually, the two settled on the recipe and set to work. Sensing the high potential for Things Going Terribly Wrong associated with flour, Abe told Mihashi to start measuring out items less likely to explode in a powdery white mess all over the kitchen while he prepared the dry ingredients for later. This began relatively well, though Mihashi jumped back about five feet when he turned on the mixer to whip the butter.
“Well, what did you expect it to do?” Abe grumbled, helping Mihashi back to his feet.
Mihashi blushed. “I forgot it was so loud,” he mumbled, scurrying back to the bowl to watch the beaters.
It didn’t start to get really disastrous until the eggs got involved.
“I-I think we should break them in a bowl first, in case there’s shells…” Mihashi had started off, but Abe would have none of it. Real men did not worry about shells and, besides, the thought of any more dishes to wash after this was all over was pretty disheartening. So Mihashi sighed and looked at the batter and looked at his egg and tapped it ever so feebly on the side of the bowl. Abe scowled just a little and took up his own egg, cracking it against the bowl with a loud thwack that not only split the shell neatly in two but also scared the daylights out of Mihashi, who promptly squashed his egg to gooey, shell-covered bits that dribbled out of his hand and into the batter. He spent the next five minutes stuttering out apologies while Abe picked bits of shell out of the bowl.
Things did not fare much better with the vanilla. “I’ll pour it,” Mihashi had stubbornly insisted, determined to prove that he wasn’t a complete spaz or at least to fake it. Abe sighed and did that weird half-frown but stood back while Mishashi carefully measured out the vanilla–over the sink this time, not the bowl–without incident.
And then Mihashi’s mother came home, letting the door slam behind her, and Mihashi dropped the teaspoon and the bottle and looked on in horror as the vanilla extract swirled down the drain.
Abe patted Mihashi’s shoulder awkwardly. “I’m sure it’s not that important,” he said, wondering if he could find the kid some earplugs or something.
Things didn’t improve much after that: big pockets of flour in the dough, a chocolate chip shortage, other things that may or may not have involved sneezing at inopportune moments. Naturally they completed the series of baking disaster clichés by burning the cookies on top of the rest of the inedibility. Tajima would joke that they must have got distracted making out in Mihashi’s room, Abe would turn beet red and sputter something about new signals, and Mihashi would get really quiet in a way that made Hanai incredibly suspicious in a I Really Don’t Want To Know sort of way.
To make a long story short, the lumps of charred baked goods Abe and Mihashi brought to practice the next day should’ve been thrown in the garbage the moment they came out of the oven (or really should’ve never been baked to begin with), but pain should be shared with your teammates as much as joy should be, and so Abe slammed the plate down with a loud thud. “Eat them,” he said in a tone that strongly hinted he might strangle you with your own jockstrap if you didn’t.
Practice was cancelled for the next two days. They were all better after one, really, but decided to take another off for emotional damages.
The next time his mother suggested he show his teammates his appreciation, Mihashi just bought them all pizza.