Post-Season 12

•March 8, 2021 • Leave a Comment

Everything was tired and sore. What should have felt like a good workout just felt like being run over by a truck, as Cudi tossed the bat aside with the others. He picked up his phone again, swiping away the series of messages from Kori, and looked at the time. Late, but not that late. Probably time to get home, but…

Home was a lot of memories he didn’t want to deal with right now.

Come morning, he’d be fine –  like usual – but for now he wanted to sit with the feelings. Losing Gallup had been hard. Even though he hadn’t known her well, the time they’d had…had been powerful. He’d never have been able to tell off Kori like that without her nudge, even as drunk as he’d been last night. Losing Mandy…that was a spike to the heart. Mandy was Lift. Mandy was a friend.

Dammit. He could feel the tears burning at his eyes again. He didn’t want to cry.

At least he’d been able to speak to Mandy, before it was all said and done. And he’d messaged Gallup.

Walking the streets, it seemed so quiet – a contrast from the chaos in his head. Things had been wild before the Lift had come to play with the rest of the ILB, sure. But he didn’t remember it being like this. Feeling like this. Had the teams not been as close? He couldn’t remember. It seemed like an eternity ago.

He found a park, one he’d first visited when he moved here, and sat down on a bench. Cudi couldn’t imagine how Sam had to be feeling. He knew Sam and Gallup had been close, if not more. It didn’t bear thinking of. It had been a while since Cudi had been that close to someone, but still…

“Hey.” A voice from behind him made him jump, turning to look. Just out of the shadows was his teammate – and if he’d thought about it, he shouldn’t have been surprised.

“Val?”

The pitcher stepped forward and came around to stand more in front of Cudi. “You okay?”

“I…yeah? Why?”

“Because it’s an hour to game time tomorrow and you’re nowhere to be found.” Val crossed his arms. “So I’ll try again. You okay?”

Cudi sighed. “Elections are just stressful, man. And now we’re down Mandy. I know that’s the game, but…” 

The pitcher nodded. “Yeah, I get it. Next season’s gonna be rough. But that don’t mean we give up.”

“I don’t want to give up. I wanna play, an’ fight, an’ get our teammate back.” Cudi’s eyes went down to his hands. “I just…was it always like this? Before?”

Cudi heard Val sigh, and a moment later the time traveler sat down on the bench next to his teammate. “Honestly? Don’t really remember. Ain’t never been easy though.”

“It’s gonna be weird, yo. Without Mandy.”

“It’ll be weird all the way around, dude. It’s blaseball.” When Cudi didn’t answer, Val nudged his shoulder. “That’s a joke, man.”

“I know.” Cudi was still staring at his hands.

“Cudi.” Val didn’t continue until the hitter looked over at him. “Can I take you home?”

He looked back at his hands. “Yeah, I guess.”

Val stood and offered Cudi his hand, which after a moment he took – and the pitcher tugged him to his feet, then wrapped an arm around Cudi’s shoulders. “Let’s go, man.”

After a few steps, the hitter put his arm around Val’s waist, but couldn’t think of anything to say. He wanted to apologize for the other night again, but Val hadn’t responded to Cudi’s first text message so he didn’t really know what else to say, other than treat it like nothing had happened. And honestly, nothing had, other than Cudi sputtering like an idiot and calling Val hot. Which wasn’t a lie, so…

Once at the complex, Val nudged the door open and walked Cudi back into his living room. “You gonna be good?”

Val started to pull away, and Cudi’s hand caught on Val’s jacket, grabbing at the fabric. “I…can you just…” His voice trailed off, but then seemed to realize what it sounded like he was implying. “Not like to…I just mean…” The hitter sighed. “I’m just not ready for the place to be empty.”

As always, Val seemed unruffled by Cudi’s stammering. “I can hang for a bit. You just wanna chill?”

“Yeah.” He stifled a yawn. “Ah, sorry.”

Val smirked and sat down on one end of Cudi’s couch. “No worries, dude. I get it. You can lay down if you want.”

“I…” Cudi blinked at the pitcher. “You serious, man?”

The time thief shrugged. “Sure.”

He hesitated for a moment, but Val just slapped his leg as invitation, so the hitter gave in and sat down, reclining back so that his head could rest on Val’s leg. Glancing up at the pitcher, he saw Val’s smirk soften into a small smile as he brushed Cudi’s hair out of his face. “Thanks, man.”

“Sure thing. Rest up; we got a hell of a game tomorrow.”

And his eyes drifted closed, with the feeling of Val’s fingers running through his hair, Cudi drifted to sleep.

Aurora Borealis

•September 12, 2019 • Leave a Comment

“Aurora?” V hung his coat on a hook near the door, calling into the house with a frown. The object leaning against the far end of his studio had not been there when he left.

“Mm?” Her voice returned to him from the kitchen.

“What is this?” He stepped toward the far wall, staring up at the canvas. It was huge, taller than him and at least as wide, pure stark white and waiting.

“What’s what?”

“You don’t need to play the fool with me, Miss Winters.” He bit back the beginnings of a small smile. Hard to believe that after all of this, he still had a few smiles left in him. “Come in here and explain to me what this is doing in my studio.”

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White Day

•February 16, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I woke up to the feeling of sun against my face–which for a Wednesday wasn’t the normal pace of things. But from the feel of it, my fiancé was still asleep behind me, and if the boss was sleeping, then it wasn’t going to be a problem. I stretched with a yawn, rolling over so that I could slide my hand around Jumin’s waist, tucking myself close against him.

“Mmmm. Good morning,” the sleep-rusty voice returned to me.

“Good morning, handsome.” I kissed his shoulder blade. “Why are we still asleep at this hour and not at work?”

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Question

•January 24, 2017 • Leave a Comment

There was a knock at the door, and V pushed it open, showing Yoosung standing there, hands behind his back. “Hey. I’m a little early.”

“That’s fine, don’t worry.” The photographer took a step back and let Yoosung walk in, which he did, looking around the house. “I’ve changed a lot of it.”

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Happy Belated

•January 7, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I’d really given up thinking that I was going to get anything from Jumin. I wanted so much to pretend that it didn’t bother me. I wanted it to not bother me. I don’t know why I expected anything in the first place. But alas, the hopeless romantic in me was just a little put out by the fact that he hadn’t even said anything to me. He’d told me that he’d be gone from the 13th until the 15th, and that it was a business trip I didn’t need to accompany him on. There’d been no mention of the holiday at all.

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Long Distance Phone Call

•December 29, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Jumin sighed at the laptop, typing in the contact information that Rion had given him. He didn’t know who these people were, or why V thought it would be a good idea for him to talk to them, but there didn’t seem to be any point in resisting. If V had made up his mind, then that was done and he wouldn’t win that fight. He never had.

The contact accepted the request quickly, and called moments after. Jumin cleared his throat and accepted the call–seeing a young man who looked…almost distractingly like him in the screen, though the other person’s eyes were heterochromatic blue. “Hello?” Jumin asked.

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Home for the Holidays

•December 28, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Once they’d safely gotten home, all he’d been able to do was wrap her in his arms and hold her tight. What a terrifying feeling, not knowing when you’d be let out of the hospital…not knowing if it was going to be enough to bring her home…on top of all the feelings about being a probable new father…

This romance was still so new. The concept of anything challenging that was horrifying.

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I’ll Be Home for Christmas

•December 24, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Zen held his breath, staring in at the shop display, trying to keep from fogging the glass. This is it. It’s perfect. I just need to buy it. …I don’t know why I’m so hesitant. I know she’ll like it. She said she liked it, when we saw it before. It’s going to be fine. Just buy it.

He’d never been so terrified about a gift before. Then again…he’d never had someone in his life like Jaehee before.

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Redemption

•December 20, 2016 • Leave a Comment

The man chuckled outside my cell door. I didn’t need to raise my head to know who it was; I’d grown to recognize the voice alone.

Not that looking up would have told me anything. My vision had faded to black long ago. All for the better. I did not want to see what the world had become.

“Your friends left before we could even tell them about you,” the man chortled at me. “Such a crying shame that they’ll never know.”

“I would rather them believe me dead.” My voice was harsh, raspy from disuse. “I am of no use to them now.”

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Nightmare

•December 7, 2016 • Leave a Comment

“Hold on… why do I feel wind coming through?”

He’d had this nightmare far too many times. He didn’t know what caused it; nothing even similar to it had happened. But here he was again, helpless to watch as V and him had a confrontation in the penthouse. V wanted Rion to leave. Jumin wanted Rion to stay. And yet…

“Huh? …Rion, what are you doing?”

“It’s dangerous if you open the window like that!”

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