Another game, and Rey is trying to figure out how to get closer to Jacen.
Again, this is an AU, so they have slightly different terminologies as far as rules and such go. I have to cover my gaps in knowledge somehow.
Rey gathers all the kids at the turnstile and counts the tickets again to make sure she's managed to hang onto all of them this time. Yesterday, one had fallen out of her pocket and was only saved by Jacen as he raced across the sidewalk to snatch it out of the air. Today, Rey decides to be responsible and hands the tickets over to Jacen. She leans down a little so he can hear her over the din of excited baseball fans.
"Can you hold onto these?"
He nods very solemnly.
"Thank you! I don't want to lose them again and I know they'll disappear if I put them in my bag."
He nods again and Rey thinks she sees the hint of a smile ghost over his lips.
The kids get antsy waiting in line, and Rey plays a little clapping game with Jaina and Alema, her other foster daughter whose file was nearly as bad as the others', while they wait. Jacen, as usual, looks on without smiling or joining in.
Finally, Rey gets everyone through the security point and through the concessions line to their seats. It's about twenty minutes before the game starts, and Rey can see the players on both sides warming up and stretching. Finn sees them and gives a small wave where the coach, Snoke, can't see him. Snoke is adamant that the players not interact with fans before games. Rey points him out to the kids, and the little girls scream and wave like the wild little heathens they are. Jacen gives another tiny smile and jerks his hand up and down in what Rey thinks is supposed to be a wave. Finn grins and tosses the ball to Phas, who tosses the ball to the tall player with long, dark hair that she'd sort-of met yesterday.
What was his name?
She can't get a good look at the back of his jersey and her program is nowhere to be found. She'd look on her phone, but it's dead. And the girls need to go to the bathroom anyway. After giving Jacen very strict instructions to stay here and scream if anyone talks to you, Rey goes through the arduous ordeal of taking two little girls, and herself, to pee. She has to holler at the two little girls to wash their hands before they run out of the bathroom when they hear the National Anthem being announced. Everyone races out to the walkway behind the seats, and Rey searches to be sure that Jacen is okay before she joins in the singing.
As she and the girls belt out the song with the rest of the stadium, Rey turns her attention to the JumboTron where the camera pans over the solemn faces of the baseball players. They've all removed their hats, and their faces are visible as they sing along. Rey catches Finn, who is very obviously singing loudly, and Phas who is not. Then the camera catches the long dark hair of the player next to Phas, and Rey finds herself recognizing the hair, if not the face.
But wow, his face.
His lips move lightly along with the song and it does things to her. And she doesn't even know his name.
Rey shakes off the slight heat she feels rising in her cheeks at the thought, and clamps her ears over Alema's little ears because she knows the fireworks frighten the little girl. Then she squishes Alema's chubby little cheeks and guides her back to their seats while Jaina grabs the other little girl's hand and skips along. Jacen turns at the sound of the three of their giggles and watches as they approach him. Everyone watches the teenagers roll the giant inflatable hamster balls across the field, and they all speculate about what it's like inside them.
Leather bag planted firmly between her feet, Rey is rummaging around in it for her phone and battery pack when the names are called for the starting lineup.
The only names she recognizes are Finn's and Phas', and she barely knows Phas. They'd met once when she and Finn had gone out for a drink on a rare night when Rey had a sitter, but Rey had immediately liked the towering blonde woman.
"Kylo Ren!" Echoes over the speakers, and Rey recognizes the name. She looks up at the enormous screen as the camera catches him jogging to his place, long black hair bouncing over his shoulders. He's put on streaks of eyeblack again, and with the black uniforms and his dark hair and glasses, he looks a little imposing. Those lips that had been singing earlier, now twist into a scowl as he finds his place in center and looks toward the opposing team's dugout, and quickly snaps his attention back toward the pitcher.
The game is finally underway, and Rey follows as best she can without really knowing the rules. Beside her, Jacen watches intently, eyes darting back and forth, and nodding or shaking his head at the calls. On her other side, the two little girls are more interested in their popcorn and slushies, and the occasional mascot dancing on the sidelines.
Today, their seats are further down the third-base foul line, so Rey knows they won't be able to catch Finn's attention to get a ball. Not that they need them now. Kylo Ren had signed enough balls so that all the kids at Jakku House and their fosters would have one. For someone that Finn had called surly, that seemed a very kind thing to do. Rey was impressed by his act and wanted to thank him in person if she could. So she watched intently throughout the game to see if he'd pop out, but he kept his head down on his way back from center and only came out to bat or return to his position.
Four bathroom trips and a spilled drink, Rey's naturally, later, the game is over. Herding the kids back to where they were yesterday seems impossible as a high-school baseball team appears to have taken over that entire section. Rey can feel Jacen's shoulders ratchet up to his ears in disappointment, and she decides right then that she'll bring him back on her own, even if Finn can't get them anymore tickets. The little girls see Finn's head pop out and they scream at him. Finn comes up to the barrier, but doesn't climb over; Rey sees that Snoke is out of the dugout having a heated conversation with Kylo Ren. Both look tense, and up close, Rey can see that Finn looks…worried. They don't talk about what's bothering him, but she texts him as soon as she can.
thanks again for the tickets! I think Jacen really loves baseball! I want to try to bring him to another game, just the two of us if I can!
Anything for you, peanut! I'm glad the kid had fun.
Is everything okay? You looked…tense after the game.
Nah, Snoke's just breathing down everyone's neck. I think he's threatened by Skywalker, the other team's coach. Trained together or something, like, a million years ago.
Oh, okay! Is there a discount for tickets for foster moms?
Ha! I have a couple of friends from school coming for the game tomorrow, but lemme see what I can do for ya
I got you the hookup! You should get them in your email in a minute.
Wait are they from Kylo Ren? Doesn't he need them for his family or something?
He never invites anyone to games, so it's fine. He was weirdly nice about it when I asked and told him they were for you.
Okay! Thanks again!
Rey checks her email, and sure enough, there's an email from kren05 with the tickets. For a few minutes, she agonizes over whether she should say anything back to him. Her reaction to seeing his face comes to mind, and she blushes a bit at the heat she felt.
Just saying thank you wouldn't hurt, right? It's only polite.
So she does. Rey says thank you to him more times than is probably necessary, but she's extremely grateful for the free tickets, and she wants him to know. She outlines a little bit of the history of Jakku House and briefly talks about how much Jacen loves the games, and then says thank you one more time for good measure.
His reply is almost instant. It's no problem, it says.
That's all he could say after she wrote a couple hundred words?
Her nose wrinkles in that way it does when she's about to get really mad when her phone dings again.
Another email from Kylo Ren, and Rey gets ready to start swearing at this man she doesn't know. But she's surprised.
Would Jacen like to warm up with us? On the field, I mean, if you get there really early.
Rey is completely taken aback. The email says nothing else, and she isn't quite sure how she should respond to it, so she pads over to his room and peeks in the cracked door.
Usually, Rey gives him his space and allows him time by himself in his own room, so she's a little surprised by the changes she sees when she sticks her head in. He's pinned up his ticket stubs from the two games near his dresser, and the signed ball rests on his nightstand. A game program and roster rests open on the bed beside him, and Rey goes in to move the book and notices that Jacen has filled in stats for all the players, but has paid special care to keep Kylo Ren's very neat and tidy. Looking down at him, Rey sees that the boy still looks serious in his sleep, but at least he looks less sad. She turns out the light, and leaves the room, knowing how to answer Kylo Ren's email.