From a very long prompts list comes this:
153: “ Put me down! ”
It’s late, and Neil knows this.
Kevin told him their night practice was going to run later tonight, but Neil didn’t realize quite how much later that meant.
Neil thought he would have some time tonight to do some math homework. He still has two online assignments due this week that he hasn’t started on. He had hoped to get a head start on them tonight between practice with the foxes and practice with Kevin, but Kevin had told him to stay on the court for some extra training time.
They stopped for a late dinner at some point a couple hours ago, but as the clock hits 2:26 and Kevin is still talking about how his aim needs work, Neil realizes that he’s not going to be able to get anything done tonight.
“Are you even listening to me?” Kevin’s eyebrows knit together. For some reason he doesn’t look tired, even though it’s been a very, very, long day.
Before Neil can say anything, he drops his stick. He didn’t mean to, but his fingers just relaxed and it was too late. The loud clatter of the hard stick on the plastic floor is enough of an answer for Kevin.
“Neil, if you don’t get this drill, you can say goodbye to court. You need to be able to do this!”
“I’m sorry. I’m thinking about other things tonight. I have a lot of math–”
“Neil,” Kevin says, interrupting him, “Now’s not the time to be worrying about other things. You’re on the court, and right now you’re here to play.”
Neil’s mind took too long to formulate a response to Kevin’s comment and by the time he had strung together words that were comprehensible, the space in the conversation was over. Andrew had decided to join in on the talk, calling from the benches where he’s smoking a half-gone cigarette.
“Kevin. Shut the fuck up.” His voice echoes off of the high ceiling of the court. His soft black pants and loose sweatshirt make Neil suddenly aware of how much his armour weighs. He’s a little jealous of Andrew’s capabilities; he gets to sit all day and put in the bare minimum work for exy while Neil works his ass off every practice.
“Neil.” Kevin says, snapping his fingers in front of Neil’s face. “We don’t have all day. Let’s go.” Kevin begins showing him the drill again, and although he is tired, Neil starts working on it again.
He bends down to pick up his stick, and feels the burn of lifting it through his shoulders and back. Neil already knows he’s going to be sore tomorrow morning.
When Neil straightens back up, black spots dance around the edges of his vision, but when he shakes his head, they slowly disappear. He’s not going to be stopped by some stupid little thing. He has a goal. He’s going to get this drill today, and then he can rest.
Kevin finishes his display, and takes the ball out of the net of the stick and tosses it to Neil. Before Neil can catch it, it’s intercepted by a hand. Andrew’s hand. He looks at the ball, and then at the bags under Neil’s eyes.
A count later, Neil’s mouth opens.
“Oh.” He hadn’t even heard the doors of the court opening. He was getting rusty. Or maybe he was just getting comfortable.
“Andrew, give the ball back to Neil.” Kevin says, shooting daggers with his glare at Andrew, who looks all but unaffected. “If you’re not going to play, go sit down. Neil needs to work on this.”
“Day, I’m taking Neil, and we’re leaving. You don’t actually get a say in this.” Andrew directs to Kevin, no hint of a joke in his voice.
Andrew walks a few more paces until he’s head and head with Neil.
“Andrew,” Kevin looks at the back of Andrew’s figure, “ we’re not done yet.”
“If you don’t let him go,” Andrew turns around, “I will break your other hand, and then neither of you will be playing tonight.”
It’s uncalled for, but Andrew gets the reaction he wants. Kevin looks down and quickly clutches his broken hand. He rubs the scars from left to right, just like he always does when someone mentions the injury. It’s actually quite fascinating, how Kevin goes submissive like a dog sitting at it’s owner’s heels every time. The boy has a spine until someone actually means what they’re saying.
“Andrew, just let me try one more time. I need to get this if I want to get–” Neil’s cut off by one of Andrew’s arms scooping under his knees and the other supporting his back.
It’s not the first time Andrew’s carried him, but it’s definitely the most uncalled for.
Andrew starts walking away from Kevin, and Neil know’s what his goal is.
“Andrew. Put me down.” Neil says, “I need to–”
“If you don’t shut up, I’m dropping you on the floor and driving away without you.” Andrew interrupts him, “It’s late and I want to sleep.” Neil notices how he doesn’t call it ‘home’. He only does that when they’re alone, and Kevin is still in earshot. Andrew carries Neil all the way out of the court, leaving Kevin alone with a bucket of balls and a stack of cones to clean up himself. Neil doesn’t feel bad, even though he probably should.
When Andrew makes it to the locker room, he ungracefully drops Neil on one of the wooden benches. He starts helping take off his gear, starting with his helmet and arm pieces before realizing what he is doing.
He drops the helmet on the floor of the locker room and takes a step away, letting Neil undress himself.
“Go shower. You smell.”
“Are you sure you don’t want to join me?” Neil says with a slight smirk.
“I’ll be in the car.” Andrew says while turning around, “If you’re not there in 10 minutes I’m leaving without you.”
They both know it’s not true, but Neil won’t call him out this time. He likes to let Andrew believe what he wants.