The crowd cheers, loud hoots and hollers sounding out as the balls soared through the air, above the stands and out of the ballpark. The smug smile stays on the boy’s lips as he prances his way to first base, then second, then third. He could practically feel the anger rolling off the pitcher, a golden-skinned boy who had been trash-talking since the first inning.
Keith, wanting to know his full effect, turns his head - just as the pitcher looks at him, with what could only be pure and complete animosity. Keith could understand it, really. He almost got a perfect game, in the Junior League championships. And he would have - If Keith hadn’t been there. The thought makes him grin broadly. He sends that cocky grin McClain’s way, watching as the boy bristles even more.
Now this was what he was talking about. His lips moved into a smirk. So much better. Now they were finally ahead. About time, too, as he watched the zero change to a four on the scoreboard. Two outs. Bottom of the fifth. No way for the other team to catch up. He felt even more smug about his run since it’d brought in the three others on base.
All of his friends came out to greet him at home base. The slaps against his butt and back had never felt more welcoming, even as he looks at the distraught boy on the mound. Damn. Keith almost felt bad. He wasn’t intending to cause the unhappy look on the other boy’s face, but it had to be done. For his team to win, at least.
Keith sits down, finally, once the others stop celebrating. He watches as the boy after him - Rolo, he thinks his name is - striking out. No biggie. They’d won, anyway.
Keith was buzzing as the thought of winning finally settles in him. They won. The smile curling at his lips was unfamiliar - after all, he tended to frown - but it felt amazing. They walk up to the middle of the field to accept their awards. He has never felt more proud, as he wears the shiny medal. The team that he grew up with, the one that had been horrid more often than not, was now at the Junior League championship game. And they won. He spots his parents in the stands, taking pictures of Keith in his red printed Texas Rangers uniform. He already knows that one of those pictures was going to be hung in the living room, if his mom had any say in it.
Keith couldn’t help but feel bad for the other team, seeing as they all had on silver medals. He watched as the McClain boy silently stared off into space, standing a bit away from the other kids on his team.
Keith wasn’t one to have sympathy for some kid who he had barely met, much less a sour-losing child with a trash-talking mouth. But he did feel bad for the fact that everyone around him seemed to be glaring at the kid - like the end result of the game was his fault. He may be the pitcher, but the other players hadn’t exactly tried to catch fly-balls with much effort. It had seemed like Lance had been carrying the team by himself. And from the looks of it, this happened normally.
“-aptain of the Texas Rangers, Rolo Fernandez!” Keith didn’t realize that he was staring at the other boy until suddenly those blue eyes were staring back at him. Keith felt the back of his neck flush as he turned his attention towards his teammate; he was grabbing the trophy from an older man that Keith hadn’t even noticed at first. He almost felt bad.
Rolo was starting off on some speech, and Keith figures he should start listening to what his team captain (who can’t play for shit) had to say. Frowning deeply, right as he was beginning to listen in, he heard his name being saying by the other boy.
Keith walks awkwardly to the podium, wondering what the hell the other had said about him for him to really need to say something to the crowd.
“Uh. Winning this award with this team was kinda all about hard work. And, uh. It’s been great and I’m really proud of us?” He posed it as a question.
Keith did not like attention unless it’s on the playing field. He could feel himself turning red, so he just simply hands the microphone back to Rolo, and stood back in the line of the other players.
He could still feel some stares at him, but soon he felt the spotlight leave his shoulders as Rolo began talking again about whatever it was that rich kids talk about. He feels his attention slip away again, and he startlingly noticed that McClain is no longer just staring off into space, instead he is crying, silently, as he stares at Rolo on the small makeshift podium, giving some stupid speech.
Keith finds himself looking away quickly. As oft unwilling as he was to admit it, he was a sympathetic cryer. He refuses to cry when he’s the one that won in the first place! Sighing in relief when it seems as if Rolo finished talking out his ass, Keith could start to breathe again - the stupid speech is over and now he can leave!
He stays in line until they get to the locker room. Freedom at last. Keith strips out of his uniform and throws on his street clothes so that he can hurry out of the locker room before someone can ask him about the game once more. He had had enough embarrassment to last him weeks.
Rushing out of the locker room only meant that he was not looking where he was going, causing him to collide right into someone, causing them to both to fall to the ground. Keith groaned softly, scowling, before standing up again. He reaches his hand out to help the boy off of the floor. Only at this time did Keith take an actual look at the boy. His eyebrow rose. McClain.
“Wow, thanks, asshole.” McClain grumbles, but still takes the hand that was offered to him. Keith pulls the boy up, scoffing at the little attitude he received. Even though the boy had obvious tear tracks on his face, along with flush cheeks and red eyes. It seems like the attitude was built deeply into this one. Keith takes his hand away quickly once McClain is situated on his feet. Figuring he had no reason to stay, he walks past the tan boy, planning on getting to his family, finally, so that they can go get the ice cream that he’s been craving since before the game started.
But for some reason, something told him to stop, by the time he got 10 feet away. Keith turns back to look at the boy. “Hey, McClain.” Said boy turns around to glare at him. “Good game.”
Keith watches as the boy sputters for a moment, before coming out with, “You bet your ass it was! After all, you were playing me, Kogane!” Keith grins before shaking his head at the absolute ridiculousness of the McClain boy, before jogging his way out of the stadium, to where his parents were waiting.
“What took you so long?” His mom inquired as they walked to their truck; Keith keeping step with his brother and father.
“Had to talk to someone really quick.” He answers promptly.
His brother raises an eyebrow, grinning. “Oh? Mr. Anti-Social actually stopped and spoke to someone?”
“It was just the other team’s pitcher. He was good.” He answers quickly once again, far too quickly. Keith hopes his brother didn’t notice.
Of course he did.
“Keith thought the other team’s pitcher was good? That’s a first.” Shiro teases, laughing at the offended look on his brother’s face.
“Are you sure it was only because he was a good pitcher? I saw you staring at him during the whole ceremony!” His mom smiles subtly while his father grins openly.
Keith groans, climbing into the backseat of the truck, using that moment as an excuse as to not answer his brother, hoping he would drop the topic.
For once, his brother does.
“Braums or Cold Stone?” His father asks, from behind the steering wheel.
“Braums.” Both he and Shiro agreed, sharing a glance when their voices overlapped perfectly.
Once they get their ice cream, Keith’s mind goes back to the emotional tan boy. He hoped he got a good reward for that almost perfect game. It really looked like he deserved it.
“Mom! Keith’s smiling!”
Keith flushes, before eating his ice cream, hoping it will calm him.
Ice cream had never tasted so good.
- 6 months later-
Six months later, Keith and his team had been slaving away, training together over such the summer - he means to get on the varsity team in freshman year. He knows that he’s good enough for it. The only problem is that Keith has a mouth on him, and the upperclassmen tend to not like it when underclassmen call them idiots in their first meeting. However, Keith plans on keeping his mouth shut this time, because it’s high school. He wasn’t so worried about getting hurt by the upperclassmen - after all, being a first degree blackbelt in Tae Kwon Do was nothing to laugh about - but more worried about the fact that he might be kicked out of the team and miss out on a scholarship. His family wasn’t rich. He knew he was going to have to focus on academics as well as sports to get scholarships, or else he might not even be able to go to college He had dreams, and he was going to do his best to chase them.
So, he trained. Vigorously. Sometimes the team would ask his mom if he could go practice with them, other times he would just practice by himself. Shadow-batting was never bad. And he was on first name basis with the local batting cage worker, too, spending all of his allowance there.
That’s why, when he was called into the kitchen with everyone already there and it wasn’t dinner time, he thought it was weird. His brother looked tired, obviously avoiding eye contact with him, and both of his parents had guilt etched into the lines of their faces.
“What’s going on?” He inquires softly, wondering what the news has to be for everyone to look so upset over it. Keith knew it was something bad, since everyone looked so distraught about whatever it was.
Shiro looked away, avoiding eye contact with the younger boy. He stared at their mom, hoping that she would be the one to break the news to his brother. His mother seemed uncomfortable about whether or not she should be the one to tell him.
Sighing softly, she decided, from the awkward looks both her son and husband were sending her way. “Keith, sit down, will you?”
Keith felt his pulse racing, getting horribly nervous about what exactly this could be about. Did they find out I’m gay? Shit, shit, shit.
“We’re moving.” The words made him freeze.
“Huh?” He stared in shock at his mom. “What? What do you mean, we’re moving? Why?” His voice was raising in pitch, feeling uncomfortable. They couldn’t be leaving. He had lived here his whole life! His hand prints (from painting gone wrong) was scattered all over the front porch, his name was carved in the tree. This was his home. They weren’t allowed to leave!
“Keith, calm down. Let us explain.” His father began in a soft tone. “I was promoted to Department Manager, but… it’s at the Florida branch.”