Pairing: Jack/David, hints at Blink/Mush
Status: Complete, one-shot
Feedback: *hugs all reviewers* I will heart you forever.
Archive: Seize the Night, any others just ask
Summary: The guys play a game of--you guessed it--stickball.
Disclaimer: I’m just playing with Disney’s boys.
Warnings: Not unless you include Jack trying to be smooth, but getting hit with a ball for his troubles.
Notes: This was a bit of a writing exercise for me. I was working on dialogue especially, trying to pin down character voices and actions. This is my first fic that deals extensively with a large group of the guys.
Jack walked slowly, not in a hurry to get back to the Lodging House now that the day’s selling was done. Not with David next to him, talking quietly about his day.
He loved to hear David talk, especially when he was excited about something he’d learned or something funny that had happened. And David listened eagerly to all his stories, snorting and elbowing him when he knew Jack was exaggerating.
Like now. Jack grinned to himself.
“Do you really expect me to believe that Race kissed one of the nuns? The ones in front of the Lodging House every morning?” David exclaimed, glaring indignantly. Jack snickered when he couldn’t hold the glare longer than a few seconds, a smile twitching at his lips.
“Nah,” Jack drawled. “Me’n’you both know Race’s terrified of those nuns. But it made for a good story, didn’t it?” He winked, winning a laugh from David.
This was now a ritual for them. With Mr. Jacobs’ arm healed, and David back in school, it was one of the only ways they could spend time together during the week. Jack finished selling as quick as he could every day and met David just as he was getting out of class. They’d walk to the Lodging House together--Les usually running ahead--and talk the entire way. Sometimes they’d risk warm glances and lingering touches, but mostly they just talked.
Usually that was enough for them--the talking. Enough, at least, to make it until the weekend, when David didn’t have school and they could sneak off to be alone and do other things like kiss. Not now, though. He wanted to touch.
Jack reached out as they turned a corner, sliding a casual hand along David’s shoulders.
…and was smacked in the thigh by a rubber ball.
“What the--“ he yelped, yanking his hand away from where it was resting between David’s shoulder blades.
“That was a run! You gotta admit that was a run!”
“Shuddup, Blink! That was Jack you just hit.”
Beside him, David was openly laughing. Jack made a face at him and bent to pick up the red ball where it had landed by his feet. He held it up. “Blink, this yours?”
Blink shook his head rapidly, blonde hair flying. “It ain’t mine, Jack. That ball belongs to Mush.”
“Hey!” Mush shoved Blink playfully.
Jack took in the scene before him and smiled. It looked like a handful of the guys had started up a game of stickball in front of the Lodging House; there was a base drawn in chalk in front of the steps and Mush and Bumlets both had their shirts off. Now they were gathered around Blink, who was holding a broken broom handle loosely in one hand.
“Yeah?” Jack said, throwing the ball up. “You should start takin’ better care of other people’s things, then. Next person who gets whacked with this might not be so forgivin’.”
Jack tossed the ball towards Mush who caught it and beamed. “Thanks, Jack!”
“Yeah, yeah. Just make sure Blink doesn’t come near me with that thing again.” He turned back to David, to find he had already gathered up Les and was ready to leave. Jack felt a stab of disappointment. Their time together was always over so fast. David seemed to guess his thoughts and smiled quietly at him.
“Hey, Cowboy!” Race’s voice broke into his thoughts.
“My team is short a player. How ‘bout you help us?” Race gestured to Skittery. “Skitts is gonna play fielder, an’ I’m catcher like always. We need someone to be pitcher, but all the other guys is out still.”
Jack cast a glance at David. Maybe the guys won’t think it’s too strange if I walk David home right after I just got here. “I dunno, Racetrack--“
“Aww, c’mon Jack. Help me out here,” Race pleaded.
“Dave can play!” Les suddenly burst out. David slapped a hand over his mouth, coloring slightly. Jack looked at him in pleased surprise.
“That true? You never told me you play stickball.”
“I do, but--“
“You holdin’ out on us, Dave?” called Race.
“No. I just--“
“Any good?” asked Skittery, tilting his head to the side. “I need someone good to make up for Race,” he said with a smirk. Race reached up and whapped him on the head.
Jack watched in fond amusement as David sighed in frustration, giving up trying to get in a complete sentence. Les took that opportunity to squirm free.
“Dave is real good. Aren’t you? He used to play all the time after school and stuff. He was the best pitcher!“ he finished proudly.
Bumlets gave a low whistle. “Sounds good to me. Mush, how ‘bout you and me trade Blink for Davey?”
Blink scowled. “Remember who has the stick, “ he warned, jumping towards Mush. Mush just laughed at him.
“Well, okay then. Davey’s on me an’ Skitt’s team. Mush, give the ball to Dave, and Bumlets, you get the stick from Blink.”
David stared down at the ball that was shoved into his hand. “I can’t--“
“Sure ya can, Dave,” Jack cut in, knowing what his argument was going to be. Suddenly he really wanted to see David play. “Your folks won’t care if you don’t go straight home.”
“Yeah. They won’t mind,“ Les chimed in. Jack grinned at Les and they both turned pleading expressions on him. David raised an eyebrow and laughed.
“Fine,” he said, shaking his head and muttering something about little boys. And he wasn’t talking about Les. Jack grinned.
“Great!” said Skittery, throwing an arm around David’s shoulders. He led David towards the chalked-in base, pointing out the other bases. “That cart there is first base, the curb across the street is second, and that sewer cover, it’s third base.” David nodded and moved to the pitcher’s spot.
Jack sat on the side of another cart that was at the perfect place to watch but not be in the way. He lifted Les up next to him, attention fixed on David who was rolling his sleeves up.
“You guys ready?” called Bumlets. A nod from David and a chorus of “Yeah, sure” answered him. Bumlets lifted the stick.
“Wait, wait!” Race called out as David was about to throw the ball.
“What’s wrong?” Mush asked.
“I forgot to take bets. Which team d’you think’ll—“ Everyone’s groans drowned him out. “What?”
“Forget the bets, Race,” Skittery shouted from his place in the street. “Let’s play!”
The game began. Jack whistled loudly and Les cheered when David quickly struck out Bumlets.
“That’s some arm you got,” Bumlets said ruefully as he handed the broomstick over to Blink.
The rest of the game escalated quickly, especially once Blink hit the ball on his third swing. Jack kept his eyes on David most of the time, fascinated by how distracting he was. Everything looked good about him, from his sweat-dampened hair and flushed face to the way the muscles in his forearms tensed and flexed every time he pitched the ball or swung the stick. He wasn’t the only one distracted, either; Jack caught Blink staring at Mush during the game and snickered. He shook his head when Les asked what was so funny.
All the players threw themselves into the game. Skittery hit the most runs on his team and Mush hit the most for his; he was the only one able to consistently score against David’s pitching.
Slowly, Jack became aware of other people watching the game as other boys finished selling and arrived at the Lodging House. He caught the eyes of Crutchy across the street and returned his wide smile before returning his attention to the game. Blink had just tagged David out as he dove for third base. An approving cheer came from some of the guys watching as David stood up, his clothes coated in dust. David grinned.
“Go David!” Les shouted as his brother took his place as pitcher. He was yelling himself hoarse. Jack nudged him.
“Hey, you’re not gonna be able to talk later if you’re not careful,” he warned. Les just bounced around and almost fell off the cart.
Finally, the game ended when Race hit the winning run for his team. Whoops and catcalls rose as he finished rounding the bases. Jack felt like his smile would split his face.
David stood by the steps, rubbing an arm across his forehead. Jack walked up to him and slung an arm around his shoulders. “Great game, Dave. You’ll have to play again sometime.” He lowered his voice. “I liked watchin’ you.”
David looked down at himself then looked at Jack incredulously. “Whatever you say,” he laughed, turning towards Skittery who had come up behind them.
“You better leave while you can,” he said, pointing towards Race. “He’s already placing odds on the next game we play.”
Jack laughed, putting a friendly hand on Skittery’s shoulder. “Thanks for the warning,” he said. Skittery shook his head, a crooked smile on his face.
“Just doin’ the decent thing. See ya later!” He waved and made his way into the Lodging House.
Les ran up as David was brushing off his clothes. “You were the best! Wasn’t he, Jack?” David snorted, blushing when Jack nodded.
“Sure,” he said. “Well, Les, we really do have to get home now.” He wiped dirt off his face. “And I really have to get cleaned up.” Jack sighed and David looked up, his eyes sparkling. “It’s Saturday tomorrow, Jack. No school for us.”
“Yeah, it is, isn’t it?”
“Yep. Coming to see us?” David’s voice was full of hidden promises. Jack thought his heart would burst from happiness. God, I love him.
“Count on it,” he said.
He could hardly wait.