Genre: J2 RPS, AU
Pairing: Jensen/Jared and many others. Heh. You know major league teams have 25-man rosters, right?
Rating: PG-13 (NC-17 for later episodes)
Warnings: Language, Baseball, Schmoop, Angst, Boy-Sexin’
Word Count: 2,250
Disclaimer: Fiction not fact. All these beautiful guys belong to themselves. Jensen and Jared belong to each other. Only the words are mine. No copyright infringement intended for the use of the MLB teams/players/logos. This is for fun, not profit.
A/N: We meet more of the team in this episode, but will all of them make it to the active roster? Wait and see! Read, review, enjoy! Comments = Love! Let’s Gay Ball... er, Play Ball!
“What is this, bring your kid to work day?” David Boreanaz groused to his catcher and good friend, Steve Carlson.
Steve spared a quick glance over his shoulder, before re-adjusting the straps on his shin-guards. “They get younger every year, man,” he imparted, “and then it hits you.” He huffed out a breath as he stood. “They get younger means you get older. Goddamn. My knees don’t fucking working right no more.”
“Take it easy,” David turned away from the fresh face being shown the pitch by their bullpen coach, John Shiban. He looked at his own bullpen buddy with a look of mild concern. “Man, you realize it’s just Spring Training, right? And we’re already feeling the creak in our bones.”
“Doesn’t bode well for the season, does it?” Steve grinned at him, completely unrepentant.
“As if it would make a difference. I don’t know if it’s possible to suck more than we already do.”
“We'll manage. Laughing stock of the League.”
David chuckled disdainfully before his gaze was captured by another kid walking up to Shiban. His eyes almost popped out of his head in surprise, so much so that it made the usually comatose Carlson show some interest in the new recruits. “Jesus, Mary and Joseph. He looks like he’s barely out of kindergarten. I got jockstraps older than him.”
“Man, I know we’re close, but ain’t no need for me to hear that shit from you,” Steve snarked, and then tried to look less tired when Shiban came up to them, rookies in tow.
“David, Steve,” he greeted them in his usual friendly-hyper manner. Where the man got his energy from, David would never know. Oh wait, right: he didn’t pitch every goddamn other day, trying to save games for their goddamn four-outta-five lazy ass starters. Jesus. He and Steve merely nodded at their coach, neither sparing a second glance for the newbies. Shiban sighed. “New guys are Michael Terry, and John Francis Daley...”
Both David and Steve sputtered into laughter. “Francis?” Then they looked at each other and guffawed, heartily slapping each other as the barely-legal-looking one was introduced.
David smirked at the kid after he caught his breath. “It’s a good thing you got drafted right outta kindergarten. You woulda been so picked on in school, kid.”
“I’m older than I look.” The deep and weirdly melodic voice emanating from that mouth was a bit of a shock, and David found his own mouth clamping shut of its own volition, his gaze drawn back to the other man's mouth like iron to lodestone. Fuck. The baby had cherry-red lips. He scowled when the quiet condescension on the kid’s face morphed into a smile that lit up his whole goddamn face like an angel with a halo.
He looked down at the mound and punched his glove a couple of times, trying to regain his equilibrium as Shiban spoke to Steve. It was only when he saw Steve walking away with – hell, what was that other kid’s name again? Whatever; the blond one – that he realized Shiban was looking at him expectantly. Francis was still smiling. Not that David was looking. He was most-assuredly not looking. He was a pitcher, goddamn it, he just had really good peripheral vision.
“What?” He growled at his coach.
“You’re taking Daley under your wing,” Shiban informed him succinctly. And ‘aw, shit’ was right. “Kid’s got a rocket for an arm but no staying power. I’m thinking I wanna see him set up for you, you know? If this team works out like JD’s talking about, we’re gonna have a formula. Starter for 5 or 6 frames guaranteed, and if it’s a save situation, a little solid middle relief, Daley in the 8th and you closing down the side in the 9th. It’ll be like our glory days, man, Ward and Hinke. Set-up and shut-down. Thank you, come again. Wham, bam...”
“I get the picture, John.”
“So, basically, I’m training the kid to take over from me, huh?” David pulled no punches with his statement. He knew he had a limited shelf-life; with this kid and his rocket-arm poised to take over, he figured his expiration date might be sometime this year.
“That’s years down the road, kid,” Shiban assured him, not looking him in the eye. Daley picked up on it too, and a tiny little frown marred his perfect face.
God, he loved this game, but sometimes, it fucking sucked ass.
“A pitcher-catcher relationship is a lot like a marriage,” Michael Rosenbaum yelled at his catcher as he threw another cut fastball well within the strike-zone.
“95,” Pitching coach Kim Manners yelled out at him after sparing a quick glance at his speed gun. “Not bad, Rosie. You still got the heat. Now let’s see the curve.”
Mike nodded and threw a few pitches, the new guy catching him as effortlessly as if they had been playing together for a few years, and not a few hours. “Man, if we’re gonna round the bases, I’ma be the one pitching,” Adam Beach shouted back with a laugh, as Manners dropped the gun and stalked up to the mound, motioning the back-stop to join them. Beach ripped his catcher’s mask off and jogged up.
“That last one was sweet, dude,” he told Mike. “Not even an inch outside where I set up.”
“Happy to oblige, honey,” Mike smirked and touched the bill of his ballcap. “And I’m always the pitcher, dude.” Beach laughed. Mike had a good feeling about him; it was nice to start things off on the right foot. Kidding aside, though, the pitcher-catcher relationship was like a marriage; if it was good, life was good; if the wife was unhappy, life sucked. And wifey looked happy, so he felt justified in feeling good.
Manners went over a few things with him but seeing their bullpen coach in the distance, yelled out to the other man. “I gotta go make sure Carlson and Boreanaz play nice with the new kids. I’ll catch you both later. Work on that off-speed pitch, Rosie.”
“You got it, coach.”
“Welcome to the team, Beach.”
“Thanks, coach.” They watched him leave for a bit before being distracted by the antics of the two kids in the infield. Mike grinned and yelled at them to gather ‘round. He had yet to meet the young ‘uns. “Hey Misha, Mayhem,” he greeted their veteran first baseman and then their third baseman of three years, slacker-extraordinaire Chad Michael Murray, who the fans had dubbed ‘Mayhem’ – guy had more errors than the rest of the team combined. And considering that the entire team sucked, that was really saying something. “Who are Dumb and Dumber, here?”
Misha exchanged a smirk with Chad, while the new guys in question merely grinned at each other, the giant one’s arm easily slinging itself across the pretty one’s shoulders like it belonged there.
Chad piped up. “The big one’s Jared Padalecki, and our own personal angel in the infield here is Jensen Ackles. They’re like the Bold and the Beautiful,” Chad sniggered while Mike smothered his laugh at the frigid look Ackles sent Chad’s way. Of course, Chad being Chad, he wasn’t savvy enough to pick up on any hostility.
“You guys met Adam Beach, yet?” There was a flurry of hand-shaking and fist-pumping as the new starting catcher was introduced.
“What up, Bitch,” Chad – ever the fucking gentleman – joked.
Adam swatted him with the heavy catcher’s mitt. “Like I haven’t heard that one a million times before.”
“Guys, guys,” Misha drawled in his usual carefree manner. “I like zen and order in my infield.”
“Like that’s possible with Moron at third, dude,” Beach scoffed light-heartedly.
“That’s Mayhem to you, Bitch.”
Mike smiled as he surveyed his infield; these were the guys who would have his back out there once the season started. If they all made it to the active roster, of course; even with Chad and Misha, things were iffy. Because Chad played ball the way only Chad could and Misha’s bat had lost its mojo. They were great guys but... who knew? At least, he could count on Adam. For the moment anyway. He blinked when he saw Padalecki’s eyes light up like a Christmas tree as the kid poked Ackles in the gut.
“Is that who I think it is, Jen?”
“...sen,” Ackles groused, rubbing at his stomach. “Jen-sen. And... shit!” He looked over Mike’s shoulder. “Dude. It’s Tom Welling.”
Mike froze, the hairs at the back of his neck standing on end and goosebumps prickling at his skin. Welling was his arch-nemesis from the New York Yankees; their rivalry for the Cy Young Award last year had been epic, Welling winning out by just a few votes. He slowly turned to watch the newcomer striding across the field like he owned it. He knew without looking that Welling’s arrival had not gone unnoticed by the rest of their rag-tag team. The outfielders had stopped goofing off, and the bullpen sure as hell was paying rapt attention. And Welling still sauntered towards them as if he had all the time in the world.
He smirked at Mike when he got to the mound, seemingly amused by the way the infield had flanked their star pitcher, Beach at his right hand, already a brother-in-arms. Mike didn’t enlighten them any differently. The new guys wouldn’t know that where Welling was concerned, he could hold his own and then some.
“How the fuck are ya?”
“Fuckin’ fine, asshole. How you doin’?”
“I’m all right. Just dropped by to see if you’re ready to have your ass handed to you by the Yankees your first pre-season game.”
“Watch it, douchebag. We just may surprise you.”
“Right,” Welling drawled, holding on to that mocking smile as the other guys bristled. Then he chuckled, the ridiculously supercilious mask he always wore slipping from his face as he brightened, looking positively delighted; at what, Mike had no idea, but he laughed too.
“Good to see you, Tommy,” he huffed, putting his bare hand out to cup the nape of the taller man’s neck and drag him in for a hug while his gloved hand smacked him on the back. Tom almost hefted him off his feet in his enthusiasm, and Mike could practically hear the collective gasp of shock resonating across the field.
“You too, Mikey.” Tom grinned at him as he pulled back, one big hand palming the top of Mike’s head affectionately.
“What is it? You’re busting at the seams to tell me something.”
The smile on Tom’s face turned into something of a leer. “I think I’ll show you instead.” Mike’s eyebrows shot up in surprise as Tom gestured to someone in one of the stadium boxes; the A/V box from the looks of it. Sure enough, soon a little Snoop Dogg and the Pussycat Dolls was suddenly piped through the speakers. If anyone had been ignoring the play on the mound up until then, they sure as hell were looking now. Mike blinked in shock as Tom loosened up the buttons on his shirt, one by one, achingly slow, wiggling his lean hips and putting on a show the Jays would not soon forget.
Mike shook his head as if to clear it, eyes wide and locked in on the impromptu strip-tease just off the mound. Holy shit. He licked his lips as Tommy turned around, rolling those broad shoulders as he let the shirt drop... to reveal a jersey underneath; he could clearly see ‘Welling’ emblazoned on the back. Mike stifled his disappointment at that, biting his bottom lip hard as Tom turned around, shrugging off his button-down shirt to fully reveal the jersey.
The jersey with the Jays logo.
This time, the gasp of shock he heard from his infielders was almost deafening. Just as Tom’s exuberant grin was blinding. Thus sensory-deprived, all he was capable of doing was cling to Tom as the other man actually picked him up when he hugged him for a second time.
“Why the fuck didn’t you tell me?” Mike asked when he was set back down on his feet and found his voice.
“Surprise!” Tom teased, and then laughed when Mike levelled him with a hard look. “I didn’t know if the trade would go through,” he paused to cock an eyebrow at him, “didn’t want to get your hopes up for no reason if the deal fell through.”
“Who the fuck did JD have to blow to get you here?”
“Steinbrenner's ghost?” Tom laughed again as some of the guys cringed at that charming mental image. “You know how long I’ve been waiting to be on the same team with you, Mikey,” his voice deepened almost imperceptibly. “I got it done.”
“Dude. That was a colossally stupid move. The Yankees will probably take the pennant again this year.”
“Yeah, well, I got my ring and the Cy Young last year,” Tom shrugged, his hair flipping in the breeze and falling across his brow, making him look like a little boy in a man’s body. His eyes when he looked at Mike were a bright azure, rivalling the Florida skies above them in their brilliance. “Some things are just more important than baseball.”
And as the infield crowded around their new starting pitcher, and the rest of the team and assorted coaches made it to the mound, Mike realized that maybe, just maybe, Tommy had a point.