Hi. I am posting this for my friend, HighLadySolo, who does not have an account on here. If you would like to follow her directly, she does have an Ao3 and Tumblr account under the same name.
Based off this prompt from Reylo "Enabler" Prompts ( reylo_prompts) on twitter:
Kylo has a mean reputation with fellow players and avoids engaging with the public. Until he spots fellow player Finn chatting w/his buddy from foster care, Rey. Every time she shows up w/kids from her at-risk program, he warms up and engages with them and gets closer to her.
This is dedicated to a friend who died in high school. He was a baseball player who died our senior year, right before prom, his birthday, and graduation. I know he's somewhere laughing his ass off at me for writing this fic, but that's just how he was.
This prompt from Reylo "Enabler" Prompts ( reylo_prompts) on twitter made me laugh a lot, and it gave me a glorious mental image of Ben Swolo in baseball pants. There's a very cute video for anyone interested: twitter dot com/reylo_prompts/status/1241862285712191489?s=20
Thanks to skyeryder01 for being my beta and not judging me when I tell her my silly ideas. Or drunken ones.
*Please suspend belief about the rules and such about baseball. This is an AU, and their rules are slightly different from ours to make up for any gaps in my knowledge.*
No Home to Call My Own
The worn black leather of his glove slides over his scarred knuckles, and Kylo Ren snaps his right fist into the pocket of the glove as he waits in the dugout for his name to be called. He readjusts his black hat for the fifth time and runs his fingers through his shoulder-length black hair before jamming the hat back on his head. Black glasses are on his nose and the greasy streaks of eyeblack are in place over his cheekbones.
His name echoes over the speakers and the first strains of "This Means War" by Avenged Sevenfold reverberate through him as he runs out of the dugout and to his place in the outfield.
The song feels too appropriate for today's game against his uncle's team, and anger burns through him as he thinks he catches a glimpse of greying sandy hair in the other team's dugout. Kylo snaps the gum he'd shoved in his mouth before leaving the locker room, the loud jolt of sound enough to break him out of the dark spiral that he can't afford to go into right now.
Kylo and his fellow outfielder Phas run through a warmup as they watch the pre-game shenanigans with the mascots and used-car salesman, or whatever shit they were doing for sponsorship and "engagement".
"And now," the voice over the speakers is not as loud in the outfield, but he still hears it, "please join us in welcoming the wonderful boys and girls of Jakku Home for Children!" Kylo turns to watch, vaguely interested as the little kids all run out onto the field in their oversized First Order tee-shirts, followed more slowly by their older counterparts. They range in age from four-ish to late teens, and they're followed by three women, also in the oversized tees. Glancing up at the JumboTron occasionally during his warmup, he sees the kids spinning on bats and falling, and he lets out a rare chuckle.
After he and Phas feel sufficiently loose, they head back to the dugout to wait. The announcer announces the National Anthem and everyone stands and sings and the fireworks explode, just like they always do. His name is called again as part of the starting roster, and he jogs out to center to await the start of the game.
The first half of the first inning goes quickly with Mitaka pitching mostly strikes. Kylo rolls his shoulders as he jogs back to the dugout, still not acknowledging the presence of his uncle on the other side of the field. As he approaches the dugout, Kylo sees a large group of kids in black and red tees; Finn got the foster kids from his old home great seats. They're all laughing and yelling and their section is a mess, but they're having fun. Kylo almost grins as he tosses the ball from the last pitch to a dark-haired boy who looks to be about ten, who promptly hands it over to the littlest girl. She screams and jumps up and down and wraps her arms around the boy, who hugs her back and gently sets her back in her seat. Kylo does grin at that and hears a loud dramatic gasp from Phas.
"Shut the hell up, Gwen," Kylo growls out her first name knowing how much she hates it. She smacks his arm.
Finn walks over to them, looking serious, which is rare.
"Kylo, I know you probably don't care, but you just made that kid's day," he says earnestly. Sometimes it's easy to forget that Finn was a foster kid. He's usually so happy and easy-going.
"It's just a ball, Trooper," Kylo says and pushes past him to grab his batting helmet and gloves. He trades out headgear and gloves, and expertly twists the bat around a few times, loosening up his wrists while he waits. Today, he's fourth up after Phas and Finn and the DH, Unamo.
Kylo isn't paying much attention to his teammates' at-bats; he just waits for his turn, anxiously running through his ritual of tapping first one toe, then the other, with the bat three times each. His name is called, and the song plays again.
He's setting up to bat when he hears a familiar cough and looks up at the opposing pitcher up on the mound.
Poe Fucking Dameron.
They'd played little league together, been best friends for years. Poe had witnessed the final blow-up between Kylo and his parents when they'd wanted him to join Luke's team and "the family business" as Han had called it, and Kylo had flat-out refused, wanting to make it on his own. Seeing Poe's face brings back all of those memories he'd been trying to avoid.
"Strike one," the umpire yells.
Gritting his teeth and scraping the toe of his shoe in the clay, Kylo sets up again. A figure that he knows is Luke bobs in the corner of his vision.
Breathing in as deeply as his rattled nerves will allow him, Kylo channels all that pent up frustration right at the ball that Poe sends right into the sweet spot of his bat.
Kylo does not smile and barely slaps the hands of his teammates as he does his circuit of the bases, avoiding looking at any of them. The remaining team members pile out of the dugout to slap his shoulders and helmet and Kylo shrugs them off and ducks his head low to get under the lip of the dugout.
Phas, who'd been on third for his home run, nodded and knocked her helmet against his. The rest of the team piles back in behind them, whooping and hollering at their lead.
The rest of the game goes by in a blur, with the Resistance catching up at halfway, but Mitaka manages to keep them at bay long enough for Fisher to hit a single that gets Finn back home, giving them a one-point lead that they hang on to until the end. It wasn't an amazing game, but it's over and Kylo's ready to get the fuck out of here.
He heads back to the dugout, tossing another ball at the kids, and pauses when one says
"Mistah Wen, would you please sign my ball please?" It's the same little girl who'd gotten the first one he'd tossed their way, and her sticky little face is so sweet and earnest that Kylo is completely taken aback by her lack of fear. Usually, the kids don't ask him for autographs; he has a bit of a reputation for being, well for being an asshole.
Not that he doesn't like the fans, but he likes to keep to himself and do his job.
But the little girl is so adorable with her messy braids and big brown eyes that he walks over to where she's leaning precariously over the rails.
"Umm, sure," he says. "Do you have a pen?"
Her face falls and he can tell from the way her face screws up that she's about to cry.
"Oh, hang on, Jaina, don't cry!" A woman's voice with a British accent comes from somewhere behind the group of kids. "I'm sure I've got one somewhere!" The woman stands up, rummaging through an enormous tote bag that must contain enough stuff to feed and entertain the kids for weeks. She holds on to one handle of the huge leather bag and reaches her other arm in almost up to her armpit.
Seeing what's about to happen, Kylo starts to tell her to wait, but it's too late and the bag has slipped off her shoulder and lands upside down, spilling its contents.
Before he's aware of what he's doing, Kylo vaults himself over the rails and joins her, kneeling down on the ground to help her gather her things.
He wasn't wrong about keeping the kids fed and entertained. He finds four applesauce pouches, one plastic cup of applesauce that has seen better days, six granola bars of varying flavors but equally high in sugar content, a large plastic zip-top bag of cheerios, 5 individual packets of chips and crackers, and a huge water bottle. He also rescues enough board and chapter books to start a bookstore, a few small notebooks, about a million receipts, and a large handful of pens, one of which he keeps to sign the ball.
His large hand and her small hand reach for the last item, a small, brightly colored box filled with tampons? He thinks? And a small squeak sounds from her as she clamps her hand down over the box and yanks it away. As he unfolds his body and stands, he takes in the woman in front of him. She's still on the ground, so he can't see her face, but what he can see is lovely. She's all golden skin and chestnut hair and lean muscle. The black of the oversized tee-shirt contrasts nicely with her white shorts and golden skin, and he finds himself imagining her in his shirt.
He blocks that thought out very quickly. There are children around, for fuck's sake.
Get a grip, Ren, he thinks.
Finally, the woman stands, though Kylo is amazed that she's able, with kids clinging to her like barnacles. She laughs and waves them off, pointing at the dugout roof and telling them to wait.
"I'm so sorry about those!" She gestures at the bag and goes very pink in the face when she sees that she still has the small box in her hand. She drops it again, but Kylo beats her back to the ground to pick it up. As he's kneeling, he looks up into her face and holy shit.
He's always had a weak spot for freckles. And that's not all. Her smile is huge and her cheeks are pink and there's a small smudge of chocolate ice cream in the corner of her mouth.
He really wants to lick it off.
Jesus, Ren, he thinks. You haven't even spoken to this woman yet.
She's still apologizing.
"It's fine," he says, shrugging. "It's not a big deal," he tries again, noticing how deep his voice is compared to her bright, almost musical one. "It's…natural?" He finally says, and now he's blushing too, feeling his ears go red.
Why is he like this?
Luckily, Finn chose that moment to hop over the rails and scoop up as many children as he can hold.
"Finnie!" The little girl yells, ball forgotten in the cupholder of the seat in front of her, as she launches herself at him, planting sticky kisses on his sweaty face.
"Jaina!" Finn yells back at her, laughing.
The woman hauls her enormous bag back up on her shoulder and follows after the kids, grabbing souvenirs and gathering their stuff as she goes.
Kylo and the ball seem forgotten, and he slinks off, his cleats scraping over the concrete floor of the stadium sounding worse than nails on a chalkboard.