Life Lessons

A/N: I'm feeling inspired to write Nuke this weekend. I'm planning a few short Nuke drabbles after this but I may not upload them for a while because I'd rather write a full set first. Initially I was going to set this story during the game's time period but I thought it worked better pre-apocalypse but not too long before. Enjoy! And as always, reviews are appreciated :)

"You're aiming too low, throw higher!"

"I'm trying, but it always lands short of where I want it to."

"You have to release the ball earlier. How are we supposed to play if you can't even get in one good ...Hey! Where are you going?"

Nick shouted from across the field, raising his arms in a questioning gesture as he watched Luke toss the ball angrily towards him and stalk off across the field. His arms fell dejectedly down to his sides, the bat which he still held in his right hand slapping painfully against his leg on the way down.

Nick cursed to himself as he rubbed at his leg roughly, trying to scrub the sting away, looking up to see Luke drop down under the shade of a tree and pull at the dark material of his long sleeved shirt, unsticking it from the light sheen of sweat that clung to his back from the time spent standing in the blazing sun. Nick bent down, leaning the baseball bat flat over his leg as he snatched the ball from where it lay nestled in the grass, then stood back up again and jogged over to his friend.

"Are you okay?" Nick inquired coming to halt by the tree and looking down, kicking the dry dirt with the toe of his boot, causing small clouds of brown smoke to rise from the ground. The peak of the shabby cap he wore shadowed his eyes from the sun and left his pupils dilated, giving his face a babyish complexion. Luke held his face with a defiant look for a few seconds before sighing exasperatedly and looking back down, his fingers pulling up blades of grass. "I guess, baseball's just not really my thing." Luke considered, as he raised the palm of his hand up to his face to inspect the grass more closely.

Nick bent down and dropped down to the ground, leaning his back against the rough bark of the tree, knees apart and half drawn. He clapped his hands together to remove the dusting of dirt and put the ball down on the ground between them, keeping hold of the bat and hitting the base of the barrel repetitiously against the dry, cracked mud, creating a small crevice there. "You're not that bad" Nick interjected into the silence. Luke swung his head around to fix Nick with a sceptical look "You're joking right?"

"Okay, maybe you weren't great out there, but that's just pitching. You can hit the ball hard enough. Shit, you'd probably be able to take a man's head off with that thing if you wanted."

"When will I ever be wanting to go take a man's head off?" Luke asked moodily, leaning forward and plucking up more grass with both his hands and shredding it with his fingers.

"Well as long as it's not my head." Nick joked, earning a small smile. "Hey" Nick said in a more serious tone, touching Luke lightly on the arm, causing Luke to look at him. He held his eyes as he said "You're not that bad. Okay?" Luke smiled again, more genuinely this time, looking down in silence for a few seconds, lips parting as he thought. "You know what else I'm good at?" Luke asked a mischievous glint forming in his eyes as he moved his face slowly closer, focusing on Nick's lips. Nick's eyes lit up too as he moved eagerly closer in response, and Luke leaned in.

Their lips were a hairs breath away, both slightly parted when Luke suddenly jumped up and yanked the shabby cap from Nick's head, revealing a birds next of thick, dark hair. Nick's eyes went wide, startled, and his pupils constricted as the bright sunlight washed over his face. "Catch!" Luke yelled triumphantly as he sprinted across the field.

Registering what had just happened, Nick used the base of the bat to shove himself up from the ground, stumbling forward. "Hey! Give that back!" Nick yelled across the field as he ricocheted off the body of the tree and tore after Luke. He could hear Luke laughing as he slowed to a halt some distance away, and turned around to wave the hat above his head teasingly.

Luke's expression went from one of triumph, to one of shock as he realised just how swiftly Nick had gained and he let out a small "Oh" of surprise as Nick crashed into him at full speed, tackling him to the grass. "Aha!" Nick exclaimed as he grabbed the hat from Luke's loose grasp and waved it over the both of their heads, red jersey riding up to the waistband of his cargo pants, before jamming the hat back onto his head, concealing the untamed mess.

"Hey are you okay?" Nick asked, looking at Luke with a slightly concerned expression as he lay dazed beneath him, a small moan escaping his lips. Nick shifted his weight off Luke's chest and shuffled his knees further down to give him a bit more room, but remained posed over him, palms spread out on the ground and arms straight. "Ow." Luke exclaimed as he started to laugh, looking up at Nick on top of him.

Nick bent his head with a smile of relief, moving in closer for a kiss, and Luke grinned in response, snaking his arm around Nick's waist, and flipping them both around so that Nick's back hit the grass and Luke leant on top of him instead, arms straight, forming a cocoon. He bent down to Nick's face and their lips met, parting. Luke smiled into the kiss and Nick let it continue for a few more seconds, enjoying the moment, before placing one hand on Luke's chest and pushing him gently away, looking at his face for closer inspection. "I didn't hurt you did I?" Nick asked in a concerned tone, one hand caressing Luke's cheek, the other clutching at the neckline of his T-shirt. He searched Luke's expression for any hint of pain or sadness, but Luke only looked back at him with a smile, eyes shining bright. "You could never do that" He replied, as he leant in for another kiss.