If it hasn't already been done (I know I haven't read them all yet) could you do 71 with matt and niel? I can't ever get enough of their friendship
71: “There’s a thunderstorm outside and you want to do what?”
The court is soup, stirring and humid, and Matt stares straight up at the ceiling, trying to catch a proper breath. He’s aware of Dan folded almost in half by the benches, holding a stitch in her side like something’s about to pop out.
Nicky’s starfished a metre away from Matt, gasping dramatically with both arms criss-cross flung over his eyes. The rest of the team is hunched or stretched like roman statues, twisted in grotesque shapes to take the pressure off of their overworked ankles and lungs.
Inevitably, Neil is utterly solid on his feet, chest still heaving with exertion but eyes focused. Andrew passes him an unscrewed water bottle and they make eye contact for five whole seconds too long. Matt snorts, rolling away onto his front and grimacing at the sweaty peeling sound his uniform makes.
“Neil,” he calls, holding his own flushed cheeks. “Any ETA on when we can scrape ourselves off the court?”
“What?” he asks sharply.
“We just want to whither and die in our own homes,” Nicky moans.
“We have a half hour left in our regular practice plus we’re a month away from semifinals,” Neil says, incredulous. “We should be working harder than ever.”
“A month,” Allison repeats. “As in one month. As in what— over forty practices to go?”
Matt sneaks a glance and Neil has his arms crossed, his mouth sour. “The ravens will be—“
“Nope,” Allison interrupts, “I’m sick of hearing about what Edgar Allan’s demonic fucking automatons would do. They don’t play by the same rules as us. That’s sort of the point.”
“We’ll be better fresh, Neil,” Dan says, still panting a little from her last lap. “You know what pushing too hard looks like.”
“And I know what not pushing hard enough looks like,” Neil snaps, harsh and echoey in their plexiglass cage. He swallows a couple of times, maybe trying to get the taste of his outburst out of his mouth, and then he looks away. “Some of you meet resistance and stop pushing.”
“I mean If I know anything about Q-tips, that’s what you’re supposed to do,” Nicky says.
“Your body resists for a reason.” Aaron grimaces, apparently upset to be agreeing with his cousin.
“Neil’s right,” Kevin says, and everyone groans. His eyes narrow, and he taps his racquet on the floor like he’s calling order to a courtroom. “We’re not improving. We’re stagnant, and we’re taking the extra bulk of the newbies for granted. More bodies doesn’t guarantee a win, we know this. We have to switch things up.”
“Switch things up,” Allison repeats, leaning back on her hands. “What would you propose, Queenie? You want us to switch jersey’s? Play on a basketball court?”
“The jersey thing sounds fun,” Matt says, sly. “Dibs on Dan’s.”
“Switch things up,” Neil echoes, and Matt watches helplessly as a bad idea dawns on him.