theladyscribe: Etta Place and Butch Cassidy laughing. (angry at the world)
a subtle sort of brilliance ([personal profile] theladyscribe) wrote in [community profile] avandell2009-04-30 01:25 pm
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Glory Days part two

Master Post | Part One | Part Two


Progress always involves risks. You can't steal second base and keep your foot on first. --Frederick B. Wilcox

Jensen doesn't make them wear the wings to practice the first day of the series against Kansas City and they promptly lose six-nothing. The following morning, Jensen walks into the visitors' clubhouse at Kauffman Stadium and finds the entire team with halos and wings.

"Figured it couldn't hurt," Chris says with a rueful shrug when Jensen looks at him. "I mean, what do we have to lose?"

That night, they win with a resounding ten-run lead, and after that, Jensen learns to expect the entire team in wings and halos for batting practice. They keep winning with the wings, and baseball players are nothing if not superstitious.

They sweep Cleveland, and that night, Jensen hosts the promised barbecue. Everyone's in high spirits, nothing to ruin these good feelings. The party starts winding down around two, the last guests filtering out just before three. Jensen shuts the door behind Misha and Diego, picks his way through the beer bottles and plastic cups toward his bedroom. He flips on the light and is greeted by the sight of Jared passed out on top of the covers.

He should wake him up, make him at least move into the guest room, but -- and there's always been that 'but' with Jared -- it's the first time since... since the injury that Jensen can remember seeing Jared like this, completely at peace. He studies the man, eyes tracing the unfamiliar lines on his face, the mark of years when they weren't together. A sudden wave of regret washes over him, a wish that things had been different, easier. Jensen knows deep down that it never would have worked -- baseball isn't kind to friends, let alone to lovers, and they'd have inevitably been separated by trades -- but for the span of those few seconds, he wishes it had.

He turns out the light, steps back into the hallway, closes the door quietly. He can sleep in the guest room for one night.

Sleep doesn't come easily, though, and Jensen wakes groggy and disoriented; it takes him a moment to remember that he's in the guest room in his own house, not in yet another foreign hotel room. It takes him another moment to remember why he's in the guest room.

He stumbles into the hallway; his bedroom door is wide open, the bed obviously empty. He's not sure whether to be relieved or worried, but then he hears noise coming from the kitchen.

The sight that greets him is not at all what he expected. There's a pot of coffee on, the scent tantalizing. Jared has his back to him, still in his clothes from yesterday, a dishtowel slung over his shoulder and cooking tongs in his hand. Above the sizzle of bacon, he's whistling something that could be Coldplay or could be Beethoven. Jensen stands silently in the archway, content to watch for a moment before shattering the scene with his presence.

Finally, the smell of the coffee becomes too much to resist, and he coughs to announce his entry.

Jared turns and gives him a wary smile. "I hope you don't mind that I borrowed your kitchen. Woke up hungry."

Jensen shakes his head as he pours himself some coffee. "No, it's fine," he says distractedly. "As long as there's enough for me, too."

"Yeah, of course."

They fall into awkward silence, Jensen sipping at the bitter coffee and Jared clicking the tongs together, both looking anywhere but at each other.

Finally Jared says, "I saw the cane in your room. You -- you still use it?"

"No. Not anymore." The ash cane had been a gift from Jared after the injury -- a gag gift, but one that actually became useful in the later stages of his therapy. For a joke, it had been well-made -- Jared had even gotten it custom-sized so it fit both Jensen's height and grip -- and beside that, it was beautiful, sanded down so it was smooth as a brand-new baseball bat. Even though it's been years since he last needed it (and even longer since he and Jared broke up), Jensen never threw it out. "Seemed like a waste to get rid of it."

"I'm glad you kept it," Jared says after a moment. "Cost me a lot of money. Of course, it's probably worth thousands of dollars now, since you're a hotshot manager and all."

Jensen smiles tightly. "Yeah, a hotshot manager whose team will probably go down as the worst in baseball history."

"Hey, things are looking up," Jared reminds him as he spoons eggs out of the skillet and onto a plate. "We've won the past few series -- thanks to our wings -- so it can't be all bad."

"True."

They lapse back into that awkward silence, the two of them eating quietly. After a while, Jared leans back and says, "Jen? Can I ask you something?"

He takes a moment to swallow before nodding and saying, "Yeah, sure."

"Why do you hate me?"

Jensen can only blink at Jared, shocked at his choice of words. "Why do I hate you?" he echoes dumbly.

Hate is not the word Jensen would use, but the answer would still be the same.

Because it hurts to look at you, he wants to say. Because every time I see you I think about how things used to be. Because I still want you, even though you hate me. Because I never got over you, and you're here again and it's too late for us to work. I burned all our bridges, and now somebody's gone and rebuilt them without telling me, and I don't know what to do except ignore them. Because if I don't ignore them, I'm gonna do something really stupid, like beg you to take me back.

But what he actually says is, "I don't... no." And more quietly, "I never did."


♦ ♦ ♦




The Seventh Inning Stretch

Since baseball time is only measured in outs, all you have to do is succeed utterly; keep hitting, keep the rally alive, and you have defeated time. You remain forever young. --Nikki, ThirdBaseLine.com


And with the final out of the game, the Angels have swept the A's in a four-game series! This knocks Oakland to 50-35, and bumps the Angels to 30-55. Though that's still a far cry from .500, sweeping the division leader on their home turf has to be a morale booster.

That's right, Chad. These guys seem to have found some inspiration over the All-Star break. Coach Ackles must be very pleased with his team.

No kidding, Kristen. Well, folks, that's it for tonight on Angel Radio. Tune in tomorrow night at 5:00 when the Angels face the Kansas City Royals, the current league leaders. Pre-game will feature an interview with batting coach, Jeffery Dean Morgan.



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[taped "anonymously" to the fridge in the home of Jensen Ackles]
Gay athletes are making their mark
by L. Z. Granderson, ESPN Page 2

It seems on every level, we find reasons not to recognize the work that's already being done. We are holding our collective breaths, waiting for the gay Jackie Robinson.

What we fail to remember is that Robinson was not the first black person ever to play baseball. Yes, he integrated the sport, but there were thousands of lesser-known black players in the Negro Leagues, who decades before laid the foundation for Robinson to break through in 1947. Baseball is slowly honoring the contribution of those men. When I looked out into the audience to answer that question posed during the panel discussion, I thought, maybe we should do a better job of recognizing the contributions of today's openly gay athletes.

And straight people are not the only ones. I have found many in the gay community to behave like starstruck misogynists as well.

My friend John Amaechi, who also sat on the panel, believes that a true sign of change is reflected in policy and law. I agree with him -- to an extent.

Yes, laws dictating equality are certainly something many gays and their allies want and need. But those laws are made by people, and unless people are willing to obey and enforce them, those policies are toothless. Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, but more than a century later, blacks were still fighting for their freedom. It took reaching across the color lines on a grassroots level to give the policies and laws life.

I believe the same is true when it comes to homophobia in sports. It's up to everyday people -- people like the men who participated in the Friendship Cup -- to lay down the foundation for that ever-elusive big-name athlete to come out.



WEEKLY WORLD NEWS EXCLUSIVE: ANGELS SACRIFICING TO SATAN

Pitcher Jared Padalecki seen making deals with The Devil.


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IT'S A MIRACLE!
Angels celebrate a fifteen-game winning streak. "I've never seen anything like it," said Commissioner Bud Selig when asked about the team's phenomenal comeback. Of course, not everyone thinks it's a miracle: there is the requisite public outcry of steroids and other enhancement drugs. "You can be sure we're investigating all possibilities."


crazy4angelz: OMG J&J ARE SO DOING IT
bballgurlie90210: whatever. you are nuts.
crazy4angelz: srsly. have you SEEN the way they look at each other???
crazy4angelz: i bet they do it on the pitchers mound b4 the game
bballgurlie90210: right. you just keep dreaming.


Angels in the Outfield
Jake Brown, LA Times
Anyone who has been to see the LA Angels during batting practice since the All-Star break has gotten to see the entire team wearing wings and halos. "It's become our good-luck charm," said Rookie Aldis Hodge during one interview. "It looks kind of goofy, [but] we haven't lost a game when we wear them, and until we do, why quit? I mean, who's gonna run the risk of breaking our streak in exchange for a little dignity during BP?"
Not Hodge, apparently, who is the current dark horse contender for AL Rookie-of-the-Year.

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Are the Angels on steroids or is it just God's blessing? 60 Minutes reports.
To fans all over the country, the Angels' miraculous return from the brink of the worst record in baseball history seems like an answered prayer. However, any time a team has a sudden jump in the standings, the thought of "juicing" is not far behind. Join us as we take a look inside the team that just a month ago could barely be called a baseball team.


GUYS. I PORNED.

Baseball Is For Lovers. by embarqa. Posted 20-07-09.
Jared/Jensen in the clubhouse. PWP. NC-17. 360 words.

It was dumb that he'd never noticed before how hot Jensen was. Well, okay, when they played together in Cleveland, he'd noticed that Jensen was hot, but he'd never noticed before, you know?

Now, though, now Jared was very aware of it. It made things uncomfortable in the clubhouse, made it hard to concentrate when he was on the mound. He wished he could just push Jensen up against the lockers and have his way with him. He'd sink to his knees and take Jensen's cock in his mouth.

Just the thought made heat pool low in his belly, his dick getting hard. Jared was glad there was no one else around -- he reached down and pressed a hand against his hardness.

"What are you doing?" came a voice, and Jared turned to see Jensen staring at him, hunger in his eyes. He was too filled with lust to come up with a witty response, but it didn't matter. When Jensen noticed his erection, he pushed Jared into the lockers in a reversal of his fantasies. Jensen kissed him with those sensuous lips, dragging a hand across Jared's erection. Jared couldn't help it; he let out a small whine, which made Jensen smile evilly.

The older man pushed his hand into Jared's pants, cupping him and thrusting his own erection into Jared's hip. Pretty soon, Jared started thrusting back, precome leaking from his slit.

Jensen dropped to his knees, dragging Jared's pants and boxers with him. He licked at the precome on Jared's cock before taking it all in, swiping his tongue along the vein on the underside. When he lifted his hand and started caressing Jared's balls, Jared almost lost it.

"Fuck, Jensen," he whispered, and Jensen chuckled around him before slipping off and sticking his own fingers in his mouth. He returned to pleasuring Jared's cock, and when he thrust his spit-slicked fingers in Jared's ass, that was the end of it. Jared came so hard the world went white for a moment.

When he came to, he pulled Jensen up and kissed him again, licking the taste of his sticky come from the other man's mouth.

END.

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LIKE MANNA FROM HEAVEN: ANGELS IN THE PENNANT RACE?
The Associated Press
With just forty games left in the season, the Angels have come from what was once a 26-55 record to a respectable 65-60. With the weak state of the rest of their division, it's quite possible they can catch up to the Oakland A's, who are currently in first place with a 70-54 record. Of course, a lot of people are asking questions, mostly about steroid use, but manager Jensen Ackles has recently ordered his team to undergo weekly drug tests. "It's not that I think any of them are using," said Ackles when asked about the tests. "This is more to stop the rumors and to prove that the whole team is running on God-given talent, not man-made substances. If we do make it to the playoffs -- and it's still a longshot at this point -- we'll do it by playing hard and working as a team."


♦ ♦ ♦



Life will always throw you curves, just keep fouling them off... the right pitch will come, but when it does, be prepared to run the bases. --Rick Maksian

It's the beauty of baseball, Jensen decides, that a team can go from dead last to in the running for first in just a matter of weeks. No other sport allows that sort of phenomenal change.

They're still wearing the wings to every practice (though they've lost a couple games here and there), and the idea has caught on with the masses. It's not uncommon to see fans sporting wings during their games -- the souvenir shops even sell halos, and they've added shirts with silk-screened wings on the back.

They've got just a couple weeks left in the season, and they're neck-and-neck with the A's. They are almost guaranteed a winning season, Hodge's ROY is all but announced, and this is Jared's best season since that second year in Cleveland.

Speaking of Jared, he's been coming around after games. It's just to hang out, and they've both made it clear that's the way it's going to stay. They stay up late, drinking beer and shooting the shit and watching movies or playing Nintendo, and it's almost like the past eight years never happened. They're becoming friends again, and it's a good feeling. Jensen doesn't try to analyze it beyond that, afraid of what results he might find.

It's one of these nights that Jared suddenly says, "I'm thinking about retiring after this season." They're in the middle of Rainbow Road when he says it, so Jensen ignores him in favor of making sure Wario doesn't go careening off the track.

Jensen wins the race handily (for once), and says, "Nice try, Jay, but it's gonna take more than a faked retirement announcement to break my concentration."

He stretches, intends to pick up their empties to put them in the recycling, but Jared says, "I wasn't joking. I'm really thinking about it."

"What? Why?"

Jared shrugs. "I'm thirty years old, but I feel like I'm forty. You were right about the injuries, about quitting before I break down. And this, this season has been so amazing, and it'd be nice to go out on a high note." He stops, and Jensen has to strain to hear what he says next. "I was gonna do it during Spring Training if the trade didn't work out."

Jared stands up quickly and says, "I should probably get going. I still gotta pack for the trip to Tampa. See you tomorrow." He's out the door before Jensen can find words.

Jensen sits in a mild state of shock, Jared's words sinking in slowly. His reasons for retiring are familiar; they echo Jensen's choice eight years ago. He wishes Jared never had to learn just how much an injury wears you down, how old it makes you feel, even when you should be at the height of your ability. He understands wanting to go out on a high note - his own retirement was rather anti-climactic after all the shit with the injury, and if he hadn't been such a high-profile player, no one would have ever noticed.

And then he gets to Jared's whispered confession. A thought nags at the edge of his mind, but Jensen refuses to acknowledge it. Instead, he gets up, tosses the beer bottles in the recycling bin, and throws himself into his nightly routine.

He manages to avoid thinking about much of anything through tidying the den, washing dishes, and packing his bag for Tampa, but the moment he hits the shower, his thoughts finally catch up to him.

Jared's retirement means losing him. They talked about it once, when they were younger, and Jared said outright that when he retired, he was going back to San Antonio, no matter what. Jensen can't imagine that his decision would change, not when Jared's family still lives in the San Antonio area.

He doesn't want to admit it, but now that he has Jared back, he doesn't want to lose him again. Thing is, he doesn't know how to say that without it sounding like he stepped out of a John Hughes film. So he doesn't say anything.

Things change after that night. Not drastically, but Jensen finds himself watching Jared more than the movies they put on. He watches Jared's hands on his knee, the way his fingers tap along to the rhythm of the music as Shia LaBoeuf runs to save Bumblebee. Jensen tries to memorize the lines in Jared's face when he laughs, to measure the depth of his dimples without making it obvious.

He mostly succeeds, he thinks, until one evening after a particularly satisfying win against the Yankees when Jared says, "I don't know why you bother putting on movies, since you spend most of your time trying to bore a hole in my head with your eyes."

"I do not!"

Jared simply gives him a look.

Jensen looks away, sure he's blushing. "I just..."

"You just what?"

"If you retire, I don't think you should go back to San Antonio," he blurts. "It's hot and dry all summer and then it rains all winter, and you know me, I hate rain. It makes me cranky, and I don't like dealing with it during the season and even less during the off-season, because in the off-season there's nothing like a doubleheader the next day to look forward to. I even prefer those dumbass day-night doubleheaders to rain during the off-season."

"What?"

"I think you should stay here, in California. In L.A. I mean, if you want to." He watches as Jared's eyes go from confused to surprised to something that might possibly be elation.

"You want me to stay?"

"I... yes?" Jensen isn't sure when this became about him rather than about Jared, but okay. He can go with it.

Jared breaks into a smile. "I thought you'd never ask."

He leans toward Jensen, wrapping one hand around his neck and pulling him closer. Jensen's breath hitches, and Jared's lips are on his. He shuts his eyes, waiting for the dream to stop, but it doesn't. His eyes flutter open as Jared pulls away.

"Is that... Are we?" Jared glances away, though his hand is still wrapped around Jensen's skull.

Jensen does the only thing he can: he puts both hands on either side of Jared's face and kisses him again.

"We can't do this," he whispers between kisses. "I can't do this. Not again."

"Yeah, okay." Jared starts to pull away again, but Jensen drags him down for more.

"We're going to get caught someday, if we're not careful."

"Mmm." Jared's hands sweep under Jensen's shirt. "Should just come out and be done with it."

Jensen presses a leg between Jared's thighs. "Can't. Not yet. Too much at stake."

Jared stills, and Jensen knows he's going to get up and leave. Instead, he smiles sadly and brushes a hand down Jensen's face. "I know. But someday, yeah?"

"Yeah," Jensen breathes, and he means it.


♦ ♦ ♦



It's hard to win a pennant, but it's harder losing one. --Chuck Tanner

"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the final game of the Angels' 2009 regular season. I'm Chad Murray--"

"--and I'm Kristen Bell--"

"And you're listening to Angel Radio KLAA. Today the Oakland A's host your L.A. Angels here at the Coliseum. It's a big game for both teams -- they're officially tied in first place, and whoever wins this game goes to the play-offs. It's been a wild season for the Angels, who have come from dead last at the All-Star break to where they are now."

"It certainly has been a wild ride, Chad, and it will be great to see which team has what it takes to go to the play-offs. Will it be the A's, who have been consistently solid all season, or will it be the upstart Angels, the dark horse that has taken everyone by surprise?"

"Well, with just an hour to play time, we'll find out soon. In just a moment, Coach Jensen Ackles will talk to us about this rollercoaster ride of a season, but first, a word from our sponsors."


Jensen turns off the radio as it goes into commercials; they pre-recorded the interview so he wouldn't be rushing around just before the game. Not that it's helped much -- he's still scrambling, trying to make sure everything is perfect while not vomiting up what little lunch he was able to eat. It's easily the biggest game of his career, never mind that he's not actually playing.

He's pulling on his jersey when he hears a knock at the door. "Come in!" he calls, his voice muffled by the shirt.

"You ready to go?" It's Mike, unsurprisingly.

"Yeah, yeah, just a sec." He grabs his jacket from the coat rack and follows Mike out the door.

"How's it looking out there?"

"Stadium's filling up - they said they sold out tickets a week ago."

"The team?"

"They're warming up, Jen. You might wanna go give them a pep talk. Or maybe they should give you one," he laughs.

Jensen punches him in the arm. "Very funny, Mike."

"Seriously, though, they're fine." They come to the dugout door. "Well, here we are again, my friend. You want me to wish you good luck?"

"Fuck no."

"Well then, good luck." Mike gives him a mocking salute and heads back down the hallway. "I'll be cheering for you, baby," he calls over his shoulder.

Jensen takes a deep breath and opens the door. The sun is just beginning to set, bright in his eyes as he steps up and out of the dugout. Jeff is with the fielders, taking them through their warm-up; Fred casually surveys the pitchers as they finish their laps around the field. At the far end of left field, Jared and Chris work through the pitches. It looks like any other game, but there's a tension in the air, a promise of what could be.

Jensen risks a glance at the crowd. Mike was right: the stadium is filling quickly, nearly two-thirds of the seats already occupied. The noise is already high, but it's only background, easy to tune out.

The next forty minutes pass in a strange déja vu. He shakes hands with Coach Geren again, exchanges pleasantries with the umpires, returns to his side of the field. They announce all of the team members for both teams, and they stand for the anthem, sung by someone Jensen has never heard of.

The game starts, and Jensen feels like he's going to pass out. Jared goes three-up, three-down, but so does Braden.

Inning two, Jared gives up a one-run homer, but the Angels come back to score two in the bottom. The A's hustle a second run in the top of the third. It's a messy run, scored on sloppy fielding rather than the batsman's skill, and Jensen has a horrifying flashback to the pre-All Star break team. It's an unnecessary moment of panic followed by a couple of scoreless innings.

When the team heads out for the top of the fifth, the A's are back to the top of the order for the third time, which means Ryan Sweeney begins the inning.

The fifth starts badly. Jared's first pitch is a blooper of a hit to Sweeney. It's immediately followed by a single from Cabrera that moves Sweeney from first to third.

Jared strikes Giambi out with that same combination of curves and sliders he used nearly a decade ago, but it only means he has to face Matt Holliday with one out and runners on the corners. Jensen nearly closes his eyes, almost afraid to watch, but Holliday hits one at the right field wall, and then the impossible happens.

Matt Cohen follows the shot, leaps into the air, and catches it before it can leave the park. He's never had a golden-glove arm, but he throws a bullet to third. Sweeney touches the base a breath after Bufanda snaps his glove shut.

There's a suspended moment of time before the third-base umpire signals the out. The call is met with a combination of cheers and groans from the crowd, but Coach Geren doesn't even leave the dugout.

It's probably the play of the game, and everyone knows it. The half-inning ends, and the Angels come off the field with wide grins on their faces. Bufanda and Cohen both get slaps on the back as they switch to their helmets and batting gloves.

Whitfield leads off in the five-spot for the inning and smacks a homerun over the centerfield wall on the first pitch. Bufanda follows quickly with a neat single to left field. Cohen walks, and Capra follows with a sac fly that moves the runners forward a base. Scrawny Diego Klattenhoff comes in with two out and two men in scoring position. Jensen hopes for a couple insurance runs, but knows not to hold his breath.

Klattenhoff surprises everyone with a single that takes a funky little hop over the second-baseman. Bufanda and Cohen run like hell and both manage to score, Cohen reaching home just seconds before the ball.

Krushnic strikes out to end the inning, but it doesn't matter. With two back-to-back miracles and a three-run lead, it'd take a lot for the A's to come back.

Jared goes back out for the sixth and then again for the seventh. His pitch count is perilously high, but both Jensen and Fred have been keeping an eye on him. He's starting to lose some control, though; his curve is dipping just a little too low, and the fastballs are a little too wide.

When he returns to the bench for the bottom of the seventh, Jensen makes his way over to him, sitting down beside him. "How's your arm?" he asks, staring vacantly at the field.

"S'good."

"Liar. I'm gonna send Manns out for the eighth."

"No."

Jensen looks at him. "No?"

"I wanna finish this game. Please."

"Jared, you're almost exhausted. Exhaustion leads to injuries."

"Doesn't matter, Jen. This is my last, remember?"

Jensen looks away again. "We're winning," he says softly. The hope of going to the ALDS goes unspoken.

"I know." Jared nudges him with his knee. "But I want to finish it."

There's two out and nobody on, and they're winning five to two. It's not a close lead, but it's not a distant one, either. If Jensen says yes, he risks blowing the game. If he says no, he risks losing the friendship and trust he's rebuilt with Jared.

"For the Angels in the seventh, no runs, one hit, no errors, no one left," booms Chad Murray's voice from the speakers.

"Okay," Jensen says as the rest of the team heads onto the field. "Finish it." He tries to ignore just how slowly Jared stands and begins the walk to the mound.

Lehne grabs Jensen's arm as he moves to the railing to watch the inning. "Manns is ready, Ackles. There a reason you're sending Padalecki out again?"

"He can win this."

"You sure?"

"Have a little faith, Fred. Jay knows what he's doing." He turns back to the game, satisfied to see there's an out already.

The eighth inning is unremarkable, and it's over before Jensen knows it. Jared is certainly wearing down, but he swears he's still got three outs left in him.

"The moment you start faltering," Jensen warns, "I'm taking you out."

Jared grins cheekily. "Yessir." He winks and steps out of the dugout.

There's two outs on the board when things start going to hell. Powell reaches on a base-hit, Crosby makes a tidy little bunt that gets him to first, Sweeney walks, and suddenly, the bases are loaded. Jensen has one foot out of the dugout when Cabrera walks to the plate, but something makes him stop. He steps down, eyes on Jared, watching as he rotates the ball in his left hand.

"You're not pulling him?" Lehne asks, incredulous.

"If we go into extra innings," Jensen says calmly (though his heart is racing), "Manns starts the tenth."

The stadium is quiet; everyone knows that the game comes down to this moment. Jared sets and shoots a 95-mph fastball that should go to Chris's glove. There's an almighty crack as Cabrera slams it straight back at Jared. Jared flails a bit before being overcome by the force of the ball hitting - wherever it hit - and falling flat on his ass.

Jensen's instinct is to run onto the field to check Jared for injuries, but Jared sits up suddenly, a slightly dazed look on his face. The dazed smile morphs into a wild grin as he stands slowly. His hat is gone, his hair is wild, and his left arm is raised above his head, baseball clutched in his hand.

The stadium erupts into uproarious cheers as everyone processes exactly what just happened. The team rushes the field, overjoyed. Jensen is one of the first to reach the pitcher's mound where Jared is cradling his left hand.

"Fuck, Jen, I think I broke my hand," he laughs as the team begins to surround them.

"You stupid--" He doesn't get to finish his sentence, because Jared is being lifted up and away from him and Jensen has just been doused in icy Gatorade from the giant water jug. He shakes the pink liquid from his hair, laugh and joins in the celebration.


♦ ♦ ♦



Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too. --Greg, age 8

Three Weeks Later

"Jensen! Get your ass in gear! You're gonna miss the first pitch!"

"Be right there! I'm waiting on the popcorn!"

The popcorn dings, and he pulls it out of the microwave, trying not to burn his fingers as he opens the bag and dumps its contents into a bowl.

They've only been back in L.A. for a few days, having lost the championship to Kansas City in six games. The lease on Jared's apartment runs out at the end of the month - not that it matters, since he's already moved most of his stuff into Jensen's spare bedroom. It's a little bit weird, having a housemate again, but Jensen can't say he minds too much. He has threatened to charge Jared rent, though, especially if the maniac keeps eating all of his food.

"Jensen! It's starting!"

He rolls his eyes. "I'm coming, I'm coming." He walks into the living room, popcorn bowl in one hand, two bottles of beer in his other. The pop princess of the week (he thinks she's the most recent American Idol winner, but he's not sure) is belting out the last notes of the Banner, and Jared is spread out on the couch, his feet on the coffee table.

"Move over," Jensen says. Jared scoots further into the center of the couch. "Jared." The idiot grins up at him, patting his lap.

"Sit with me, Jen!" he chirps.

Jensen promptly sits in the recliner on the other side of the room, setting the beers on the table beside him. Jared pouts.

"Nobody loves me!"

"Shut up, I'm trying to watch the game." Jensen tries to say it with a straight face, but can't.

"Fine. If you won't sit with me, I'll sit with you!"

Moments later, the popcorn bowl crashes to the floor and Jensen has a lap full of Jared. He tries saying, "Get off me!" but it sounds more like "Gerroffmmf!" because Jared is heavy and Jensen's face is in the guy's armpit.

Jared twists to look at him, resting his arm above Jensen's head. "What was that?"

Jensen shoves at him, trying to dislodge him, but it doesn't work. Instead, Jared shifts his weight so his ass presses into Jensen's crotch, and that, yeah. Jensen does the only thing he can think of: he pulls the lever on the recliner so they both pitch forward. Jared's arms windmill comically before he falls to the floor, knocking Jensen's knee a little painfully on the way down.

"Ow."

"It's what you deserve," Jensen tells him, turning back to the game (top of the first, two out and a man on second, with their number four guy up to bat).

"Jen, I think I'm bleeding."

Jensen moves into action immediately, kneeling beside Jared's prone form. "Where?"

Jared licks his lips and points to his (blood-free) eyebrow. "Here. And here." He points to his jaw. "And here." He points to his lips.

"You're not bleeding."

"But it hurts," Jared says sweetly. "Make it better?"

Jensen gives him a look that's supposed to say, Are you serious? and Jared responds to it by putting on the most miserable puppy face Jensen has ever seen. So he rolls his eyes, leans down, and kisses each spot in turn. When he gets to Jared's lips, Jared cups the back of Jensen's head with one hand and opens his mouth to deepen the kiss.

They wind up missing most of the game in favor of making out lazily on the floor, but whatever.

It's just baseball anyway.


♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦



Feedback is loved.


A/N: This story has been a labor of love. When I first heard of [profile] j2_everafter, I kind of thought, "OMG my fandom is NUTS" (well, okay, I thought Joan was nuts). And then I took a look at the list of prompts. And there, sitting fairly close to the top of the list, was Angels in the Outfield. And all of a sudden, I knew I had to write this story.

I owe a great debt to the wealth of information about baseball found online. MLB.com, MiLB.com, Baseball-Reference.com, ESPN.com, Wikipedia.org, and Google Earth were integral in the shaping of this story. I thank god for the general obsessive-compulsiveness of baseball fans the world over; their attention to detail was an invaluable resource as I worked. I also would like to thank the ladies of [livejournal.com profile] weliveforthis. They helped me find obscure statistics when I needed them, without asking exactly why I needed to know who the youngest coach/manager in major league baseball was.

Whenever possible, I've stuck to fact, using real players and managers and stats to flesh out my world. I have used the Angels' actual schedule for the 2009 season (which is why they are constantly playing the Oakland A's in the story). That said, I have taken great liberties with many things. I changed timelines and statistics when it served the story - my apologies to fans of the Cleveland Indians (I know they made the playoffs in 2001). I've also messed with the ages of my principle cast: Jared and Jensen are four years older than they are in real life, and I've changed the ages of most of the Angels' roster (all of whom are based on TV actors, though I've altered a few names and nationalities for the sake of realism in the diversity of the game).

Though I know a lot about baseball, I don't profess to know everything. The majority of my experience is through the minor league system (rookie league specifically). Though most things are pretty standard across the board, I have no doubt that rookie league administration works differently than major league administration. Please pardon any inconsistencies between my story and reality.

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