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Let Me Root for the Home Team

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Spock somehow manages to squeeze himself into his seat. He slumps onto the sticky bench with a little less grace than usual; to be fair, it’s difficult to look graceful after wrestling your way through a crowd at a baseball stadium. Spock has to remind himself not to lean back and risk colliding with the person sitting behind him— directly behind him, and chewing on something that smells overwhelmingly of processed cheese.

Perhaps it’s good for him. Perhaps he’s been too complacent lately; it is, after all, only logical to seek out novelty and to challenge oneself. Change is the essential process of all existence. Trying something new can only do him good.

And Jim Kirk really is a vision in his white and blue jersey.

The crowd cheers as Jim enters the field; the Alphas’ golden boy. He smiles, looks up at no one in particular and touches his fingers to the edge of his cap. Spock can’t help but lean forward to watch Jim’s slow jog towards home plate, thoughts of sweaty crowds and sticky chairs momentarily forgotten.

Lately, it seems like they’ve been moving closer to acknowledging they are more than friends . It’s complicated because Spock can’t quite tell if his attendance at home games sends the right message. He’d never set foot in the ballpark before meeting Jim, but Jim doesn’t know that. And the odds that Jim thinks Spock is only seeing him because he’s interested in his baseball career are so dangerously high that Spock has to stop himself from calculating them.

Strangely enough, although they’ve been spending a lot of time together, baseball never really came up. It’s not that Jim actively steers the conversation away from the game, but for someone who’s considered by most people to be the Alphas’ best batter, he doesn’t seem to want to talk about it. So Spock doesn’t bring it up, which works out well for him too because he doesn’t know the first thing about baseball.

And that’s what he needs to tell Jim, as soon as the game is over.

Because although they’ve been enjoying each other’s company, Spock can tell that something is holding them back. Jim is a little hesitant, and it’s possible—probable, even—that this is due to the ambiguous nature of Spock’s interest in him.

The umpire announces the beginning of the game—or at least that’s what Spock thinks he does. First pitch. A young man called Gary Mitchell stands opposite Jim, who steps up to the plate, ready as ever.

Spock realizes he’s not the most expressive person in the world. He knows it might be off-putting for someone as passionate as Jim. It’s perfectly logical to surmise from Jim’s uncertainty that he doubts whether Spock truly cares for him. That won’t do. Spock wants this to work, and he’s not going to let some silly misunderstanding ruin everything.

Something is happening on the field, but Spock doesn’t know what it means. First inning? Top frame? Home run?   Who knows?

*

Jim’s laughter is like sunshine. The corners of his eyes crinkle and he shakes his head. “You’re serious?”

It doesn’t bother Spock that Jim might be laughing at him. The question, however, isn’t worth answering with words and only gets a raised eyebrow.

“Sorry,” Jim chuckles. “Of course you are.”

There’s a stiff sort of silence, tempered by the clinking of cutlery and the low hum of muffled conversations. Jim takes a sip of coffee and says, “Why didn’t you tell me before? You’ve been to almost every game, I assumed—”

He stops, bites his lower lip and looks away. 

Spock says nothing. 

It’s a little awkward, sitting here, knowing exactly what the other person is thinking. Awkward, but not entirely unpleasant. If Jim realizes what this means—and from his expression, it’s obvious he does—Spock trusts him not to linger on the subject and embarrass them both.

What Spock does not anticipate is a reciprocal gesture.

“How about I teach you how to play? Just the basics, for now.  Hitting, running, fielding, throwing… that sort of thing.”

“Now?” Spock asks levelly, though he’s sure his eyes must have widened slightly.

There it is again, that soft, mellow laugh. Lovely beyond words.

“Why not?” Jim shrugs.

Before he knows it, Spock has agreed, and Jim is paying—“please, it’s on me”—and they’re leaving the coffee shop with paper cups and racing hearts. They walk to the stadium, which gives Jim enough time to explain the rules of the game. Spock makes the moment last longer by pretending not to understand. In reality he just wants to catch a glimpse of that sparkle in Jim’s eye when he talks about baseball. Now that they’ve finally broached the subject, and in the light of Jim’s evident enthusiasm, Spock wonders why they waited so long.

*

“Lower.”

“I cannot hold it any lower.”

“No, I mean your hands should be closer together… Wait, let me show you.”

Spock is good at individual sports; swimming, tennis, martial arts. He can run and jump and catch, and he goes to the gym regularly. But it’s the “buddy-buddy”, smack-your-teammate-on-the-behind aspect of certain sports that he just doesn’t get. He’s stayed away from football, basketball, and baseball most of his life. And while he doesn’t exactly regret it, he knows it’s ridiculous that he can’t even hold a baseball bat correctly.

“Here,” Jim stands right behind him, and suddenly his hands are on Spock’s elbows, gently pushing them up. “May I?”

Spock nods slowly. For a short, breathless moment, neither of them moves. Then Jim’s arms are around him, palms on the back of Spock’s hands, closing over them. It’s obvious that Jim is trying very hard not to press against Spock’s back, but in this position it’s nearly impossible. A slight intake of breath, then—“Just...” Jim says, softly, “…a little lower.”

Their hands slide down the bat, and Spock blushes. He can feel Jim’s breath tickling the side of his face, the tip of his ear. He knows he shouldn’t be thinking about the way Jim’s thighs brush against his own, or about the fact that Jim’s arms basically embrace his middle , gently guiding his hands downwards. And he knows he shouldn’t tilt his head to the side, ever so slowly, relishing Jim’s promixity. But he does.

“You’re starting to get the hang of it,” Jim whispers, lingering a moment too long.

And Spock doesn’t know what emboldens him to say, “Perhaps. However, I expect more training will be necessary. I am not opposed to making this a daily session.”

“I think that can be arranged.”

Spock turns in Jim’s arms, catching sight of that radiant smile, and he knows he’s too far gone.

At first it seems like Jim is going to leave it at that, disentangle himself and pull away. Then something in his gaze shifts, and instead of pulling back he leans in, pressing his lips to Spock’s. They kiss, slow and soft and sweet, noses bumping.

“Once a day might not prove satisfactory,” Spock says against Jim’s mouth.

“Mm,” Jim agrees. “Twice a day, then.”

“At the very least.”

Spock can’t deny he wasn’t entirely comfortable admitting his lack of knowledge about baseball. But if learning how to pitch or how to swing a bat brings him closer to Jim, well… 

They kiss again, and Spock basks in the knowledge that Jim cares for him—and the hope of physical activity they will likely both enjoy.