Off the Record
by the Black Rose
AN: Written for the 30kisses community on live journal. Single quotes around italicized text indicates an inner thought. Other italicized text is a flashback.
Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing. This fanfiction has no commercial value and I am not making any kind of profit or income off of this story, or the use of characters owned by Sunrise and Bandai.
Off the Record
The sun beat down on Heero Yuy's skin and bathed the immense green field in sunlight. Orange dirt baked in the summer heat. The rookie twisted his hands back and forth on the taped grip of his baseball bat; his gloves made the noise of leather cracking. Heero glared at the pitcher on the mound.
"Next up at bat, number ten: Heero Yuy in his professional debut! He's replacing Rodriguez at third base and batting first in the lineup. Quite a place to start for this youngster from Oklahoma and his alma mater Georgia Tech."
Heero tuned out the rest of what the announcer had to say. The speech made his stomach pitch to an unusual angle in his abdomen. Instead, he tried to concentrate on something else. Anything else. 'I'm going to knock this one out of the park.'
"The key is to be consistent." Her too-damn-patient voice reminded him. "Consistently getting a hit, rather than having to kill the ball every time – and striking out half those times – doesn't do you any good, Heero."
He shook his head. If she only knew that she never missed a game…because she was always in his mind, coaching him – even when he didn't want to be coached.
'Especially when I don't want to be coached.' Heero growled.
Well…he didn't really know what she'd have to say about that. And he guessed he'd never have the chance to ask.
The rookie stepped in the freshly-chalked batter's box and dug his cleats into the dirt. He raised the bat and prepared to swing.
"PLAY BALLL!" The umpire shouted behind him.
It was another summer day, just like this one…
The pitcher wound up and slung the ball from the mound. Heero focused on the red arrow stitches on the baseball hurtling towards him. He reared back and SWUNG!
He missed. Again. Heero grit his teeth and stomped his left cleat into the dirt. He was going to beat this damn slump if it killed him and every one of his teammates in the process.
"COME ON, YUY!" One of his teammates yelled from the field.
"Keep your swing nice and easy." A feminine voice called from his left – outside the chain link backstop. "Your movement is too jerky."
Heero hissed. "Go away."
"You're a good player. You'd be an even better one—"
He dropped his stance and stomped over to the distraction. The girl stood up and he got a good look at her for the first time…Her long, blond hair and very short shorts didn't manage to assuage his temper in the slightest. "You're not my coach."
"You're right." She placed her right hand on her hip and glared at him over the top of her sunglasses. "But I've grown up around baseball my whole life. And I've been watching you play…"
"Isn't that part of being a reporter?"
"One whose beat is the college baseball team, yes. It is."
The pitcher threw his arms up, and brought them behind his head. Heero wet his lips. His first professional game… His first professional at bat… How long had he been waiting for this?
The pitcher's right arm came away from the glove and moved in a straight line back from his shoulder. Heero's left foot dug further into the dirt. The pitcher stretched forward. The hand with the ball shot around the line of his shoulder and released; the baseball screamed through the air.
He didn't know how he did it. It was just so ingrained. Some part of his brain could establish the trajectory of the ball and would send the signal to his arms to swing. The only thing he had to do was—
"Keep your swing nice and easy."
He whipped the wooden bat around his body at the same time stepping forward into the motion of the ball. About halfway through the swing, the baseball bat jarred in his hands – as it connected with the pitch.
The ball flew in the opposite direction; hurtling towards the space right behind second base. Heero discarded the bat and took off towards first.
He didn't care where the ball went at that time. Just as long as it stayed away from him. He sprinted as fast as he could, tearing down the line of orange dirt and white chalk towards the base.
The first base coach was yelling at him to run; the roar of the crowd filtered into his ears. He was only three steps, two, one—he stretched his left stride and tagged the base as he ran straight through. Heero slowed his pace as he jogged back around to the bag from out-of-bounds territory.
"Good job. Way ta hit, Yuy." The first base coach slapped him on the back. Heero gulped down some air and tried to get his breathing back under control. The feeling was exhilarating! He couldn't help but grin.
The rookie leaned forward and dusted his gloves off on his pants. He checked his shoelaces.
"You're a good player," she said, and the look she gave him reminded Heero that those were really short shorts she was wearing.
"I've had my eye on you, you know."
"My father always said I had an eye for talent. You'll go pro one day…"
'How did I let you get away?'
Heero's eyes found the ball; he stepped off the bag to take a short lead off first.
They'd held on to a solid lead, and Heero jogged off the field feeling pretty good about his first game – his first win in the majors. He felt hot, tired, and he knew he was going to be sore in the morning, but all in all, it'd been a good game and a good day.
The sun finally relented and Heero realized he'd entered the tunnel to the locker rooms.
"Nice game, Yuy!" A loud voice yelled as the third base coach, Ronny – with the square jaw and buzz-cut blond hair - came running up the ramp.
"Yeah, kid, good hitting," Keller, the team manager said from his position holding up one of the tunnel walls. Ronny slowed his pace and bee-lined over to talk with him.
"Way to drive in that run."
He nodded. "Thanks, Coach." Heero continued the fairly long trek to the locker room, but he slowed down to a walk. 'I'll take a shower, first, or maybe sit in the steam room—'
"You did well today."
Her voice stopped him in his tracks. She was beside him before he could even turn around. "You…"
"You look surprised to see me." She gave him a sidelong glance over the top of her sunglasses. "So tell me, on the record." Relena crossed her arms and turned to face him directly. Heero noted her short white skirt and sleeveless top that was unbuttoned to just above her breasts.
"What do you think your team's chances are this season with Rodriguez out and you at third base?"
The rookie glanced down at her tan, very long legs, then started walking again. Relena matched his stride.
"Off the record, why are you here?"
"On the record, I'm here because I've been assigned to cover your team for the local sports page." She peeled off her sunglasses and stuck them in her bag. "Care to make any comments?"
He shot her a look out of the corner of his eye. "Stop being a reporter."
She arched an eyebrow at him. "And just what should I be instead?"
"Hey, Yuy!" Tony with the New York accent yelled from the locker room stall to his right. "You gonna bring that girl in the locker room or somethin'?"
"It's nothing I haven't seen before," she called back.
"She's a reporter."
"Oooooooooooooh a reporter! Why don't I get interviewed by chicks that look like that?"
Heero scowled at Tony – the second baseman, who was also noticing Relena's legs and short skirt.
"Eh. Nice game, Rookie," Tony said with a nod of the head. He turned away and pulled a shirt on over his head.
She followed Heero down the line of lockers to the bend that led behind the showers. It was less crowded back there; most of the other 'kids' had already changed and left. Relena leaned back against the metal and sent him what he decided was a flirty look.
"So, no inside scoop for an old friend?"
"Like what." He pulled open his locker and stared at the items inside. Then glanced over at that short skirt again…
"Oh, I don't know. You're not on steroids are you?"
He turned around. "And if you're looking for a story like that—"
"You know I'm not," she said with a shrug. "I just want to know your story."
"You know my story. You've been hounding me since our junior year."
"What about before then?" Her blue eyes flit up to meet his gaze.
Heero turned back to his open locker. "There is no story before then." He shoved his glove onto the top shelf and hung his cap up on the hook. "I grew up in Oklahoma where my parents had a small farm. I went to college on a baseball scholarship." The rookie pulled a towel out of the bottom shelf and tossed it on the wooden bench beside him. "Where you met me, and now I'm here."
"Everyone has a story…" Her voice sounded softer than usual – more serious than her typical, playful tone.
"I don't." He hauled his t-shirt up over his head and tossed it onto the floor. His hands found the top button of his pants. "And if you're looking—"
"Are you just going to undress in front of me?"
Heero spun to face her. Relena's eyes were wide and her cheeks had turned a healthy-looking tomato red.
"I thought it was nothing you hadn't seen before."
"In books!" She was no longer leaning back against the lockers facing his.
"I mean, well… It's different when…I mean." She turned to face the back of the showers. "You're someone I know."
Heero glanced down at his boxer briefs, then back at Relena. "I thought I wasn't, a second ago." He pulled the briefs off and tossed them in his locker. "You were asking for my story. And yes, I'm going to undress in front of you because this is my locker room and you're here uninvited." He picked up the towel and wrapped it around his waist.
"Hey Yuy, you wanna go—" Leo's voice rounded the corner a second before the large-boned man with the pug nose caught up. "Oh, sorry, I didn't realize you were—"
"It's all right." Relena had apparently turned around at the sound of the intrusion. She was back to grinning with sparkling eyes. "I'm just a reporter here to interview the future Rookie of the Year. I didn't realize he'd…" She paused to pointedly glance at Heero's towel. "…uncover so much more."
"Eh, well, you know us ballplayers, Miss Peacecraft," Leo said. He pulled his cap off to run a hand over his balding head. "How's your brother doin' these days? Scoutin' out the good guys like Yuy, here?"
"Busy as always, Leo."
"Anyway, Yuy, the guys were gonna go grab a beer at Jack's in a few. Celebrate the win. You should come. Bring your lady with ya."
"Yeah yeah. Whatever." He replaced his cap and waved off Heero's protest. "See ya later – if you decide to show." Leo nodded at Relena. "Miss Peacecraft."
"Please, Leo, you've known me since I was what, twelve? You can call me Relena."
Leo tipped his hat and grinned. "Watch out for this one, Relena. If he breaks your heart, you know you can still marry me."
"Thanks, Leo." Her mouth curved up into a softer smile than the grin she wore before.
It was a nicely-shaped mouth, with perfect lips currently glistening in the fluorescent lighting.
He sighed, turned back around, and closed the door to his locker. "I just forget… Nothing."
She stepped forward and looked up at him. "So, on the record—"
"Off the record. I'm not in any mood to be interviewed."
Heero turned and padded down the short walk to the showers and steam room. She had a way of getting under his skin, making his head spin and his tongue forget how to speak. It was his least favorite thing about her.
Her short skirt was definitely his most favorite thing…
But he had already learned… Hadn't he? Heero glanced at her out of the corner of his eye, still keeping pace with him, standing beside him as she did through his slumps and his high notes – in the game.
And off the field.
'She doesn't make any sense. Why would she waste her time—'
He turned away from her and rested his hand on the door to the steam room. "You can leave, now. There's no story." He pulled open the glass panel and stepped inside.
The steam seemed to rise to meet him; it was thick, white fog contained in a single room. And almost blinding. He couldn't see anything, not even the bench he knew would be there for him to sit on. The rookie stepped forward once and then moved to his right to collapse into the seat.
"You ask too many questions." Heero glared down at the blond-haired girl; she stared right back. Her eyes, he'd never noticed, were a light shade of blue.
"I ask the right questions."
The door opened, and some of the white fog rolled out. He just managed to make out her form in the doorway as she stepped inside. Fully clothed.
"What do you want?"
"On the record, while Rodriguez is out on the injured list, what do you think you can bring to the team as third baseman?"
He ran a hand through his hair and wished he could see through the dense air. "Do you ever say anything not on the record?"
"Not on the record means it can't go in my story."
"And that's all you're after." He tilted his head up to stare in the general direction of where the ceiling should be. "That's all you've been after."
"What else is the disobedient daughter of the baseball commissioner supposed to be after? It's not like I can--"
There was a short pause. He still couldn't see her, or if her white clothing had turned translucent yet. "Off the record?"
"No. You never go off the record, remember?"
"I can't answer that on the record."
"Why not?" Heero sat up and stared into the steam. He could just make out the outline of her body, between the drifts of air.
"Because it could be potentially damaging to—"
"Ah, so you're afraid to give away your secrets." He stood up and stepped in the direction of her voice.
"Damaging to persons other than myself."
Heero took another step towards her. He could see her now, positioned in close proximity to the door. "Then answer the last question I asked you."
"The one I asked at graduation."
She gasped and stepped back. Her heel seemed to slip on the floor and she caught herself on the wall next to the door. Heero seized his chance; he advanced, placing one hand on either side of her – palms flat against the wall. He maneuvered his body into her personal space, effectively caging her in to a very loose embrace. "You'll answer my questions, now."
"Heero, I—" She turned her head to look at the white air near his shoulder – or maybe the white fog to their left.
"One or the other, Relena. And you'll answer on the record, or I'll—"
"What?" She looked up at him. "Are you going to threaten me?"
"No. Just kiss you." He ducked his head and clamped his mouth down over hers, roughly demanding a kiss. When she gasped against his lips, he thrust his tongue deep in her mouth and pressed the length of his body into her. His head swam from the heat in the steam room, and after a long moment, he pulled away.
Her wide, blue eyes stared at him. Her mouth, for once, was completely shut. Heero smirked and brought his lips down on hers again. This time, he relaxed into it; she kissed him back. He slipped his tongue in between her teeth to deepen the kiss.
Her body felt soft against him, the heat and water condensation on their flesh made it slick wherever their bodies met. He sucked at her bottom lip and felt her palms run like water down the side of his face. His arms slid down the wall and grabbed her waist. He hefted her up to his height; their lips parted for less than a second before her mouth found his again.
Her fingers traced slick paths down the sides of his neck to the muscles at his shoulders; she began to knead the flesh there. He bit gently at her bottom lip and swept his tongue once more through her mouth before he finally pushed away and released her.
Several moments passed in silence; both of them breathing heavily in the thick, steamy air. 'I should have done that a long time ago.'
"You have my attention." Her voice came out sounding little more than a whisper.
'Ask her.' He gritted his teeth and formed the question. "Why disobedient?" He winced. 'Why didn't I ask her to—'
She cleared her throat and tugged at several dark strands of hair plastered to her cheek. "Because when I was six, my father told me that I should never date a baseball player, and he absolutely forbid me to marry a professional athlete of any sort. I swear, ever since then, I've been in love with pro baseball players. Some of them, I even fell in love with before they turned pro."
"One. Actually." Her blue eyes met his. "I've never been in love with anyone else."
Heero nodded and pulled away.
"That's all you have to say?" She asked; her voice trembled. Water droplets on her forehead and cheek slid down her face and looked like tears.
"No." He crossed his arms. "I…was serious about my question at graduation."
"I hoped and…was afraid at the same time." She stepped forward and placed a hand on his forearm. "My father was there, and my brother. You were—"
"Being made an offer. I get it, now." He turned and felt around for the bench he had previously occupied. The rookie sprawled into the seat.
"So." She spoke first.
"Where do we go from here?"
He grinned, though he knew she wouldn't be able to see him. "My apartment."
"Don't expect to be home before morning."
She glided through the fog to sit down next to him. "I think you'll have to do better than three hits, one walk, and a fly out to deep center field to get me to sleep with you."
"How much better?"
"Maybe…win the pennant. Or become Rookie of the Year. I am the daughter of the baseball commissioner, you know." She sat back against the bench seat and crossed her legs and her arms. "I can't be seen with just any young rookie."
"No one will see anything I do to you." He eyed those legs – now covered with water droplets…
He stood up and made his way towards the door. He paused at the entrance. "Is this just so you can get some story?"
"On the record?"
He threw her a look. "Off." He opened the door and stepped out. Cool air pricked his skin into a million goosebumps.
Relena followed. "Then no. It's not just for the sake of some story."
He continued walking towards his locker.
"I'm in love with you."
His feet stopped. And his heart stopped with them.
"I do…love you."
He closed his eyes and waited for his heart to start beating again. It took a few seconds, but his body finally decided it wasn't a good time to die after all. The rookie crossed the remaining distance to return to his locker. "So…what do I get if we win the pennant and I make Rookie of the Year?"
"Then I'll consider giving you an answer to the other question you asked."
Heero's heart twisted and he turned to stare at her. "Which answer?"
"Remind me of the question again?"
He scowled. "You remember."
"I know, I just want to hear it again," she said with a bright smile. "On the record."
"Hn. You and that record. Fine, I'll say it again – on the record." He held her gaze as he stepped towards her. Heero saw her swallow. Her eyebrows knit together in the center of her forehead. Her clasped hands shook at her waist. The rookie pulled one of them into his palm as he leaned forward and ducked his head to whisper in her ear:
"Relena…elope with me."