Buster can't breathe.
He doesn't close his eyes but even so, what is in front of him in reality is not what he's seeing. He sees the day that a Dalek tried to exterminate him and he survived only because he tripped on his shoe laces, which the Doctor had been chiding him all day to tie. He sees Jack Harkness, laughing brightly and yanking Buster into his lap in spite of all protests. He sees himself giving Jack one kiss, much to the Doctor's disgust and Jack's delight. He sees himself sitting next to River, face buried in her shoulder and sobbing because he should have been able to save that child. He sees himself playing frisbee with Amy and Rory that day they'd accidentally crashed the TARDIS in Amy's garden and nearly blew up the house. He sees every moment of his life that he thought could never be happier or more painful or more insane.
But none of that will ever compare to what he knows is coming.
Signal. Nod. Pitch.
Because they all know what's happening... there's no way it won't. Buster's already up, running to Cain and lifting him into his arms as the crowd and their teammates scream. He feels their team mates slamming into him from every side, everyone desperate to get a piece of Cain, to share in this one perfect moment. He's thrilled for Cain, so proud, and thrilled that he got to play a part in this.
The perfect game.
It's almost as if everything around him slows to a stop. That happened to him once, on Jotun IV, and it's what this feels like. He looks around, sees all the faces in this moment of bliss. He looks to the stands and sees the fans screaming and crying. One makes him stop. He shouldn't be able to see it at all but he does. A panda hat topped by a fez, atop a ridiculously large head. And of course there's a bow tie. There can't not be a bow tie. Bow ties are cool.
He feels like he's in a dream. Going back to the clubhouse, cleaning up, the interviews... all of it is a blur. There's a lot of hugging and a lot of screaming and at one point he impulsively kisses Cain smack on the lips. Cain blushes bright red, Chelsea giggles until she's teary eyed and Tim looks like he wants to kill somebody. Buster makes a mental note to do a little 'splaining later.
It's no surprise when he leaves the park that the Doctor is waiting for him. He hasn't laid eyes on this man in over a year and Buster rushes straight into his arms, practically lifting the Doctor off of his feet in a tight, squeezing hug. The Doctor is laughing, hugging him in turn and slapping him on the back before stepping away, looking Buster up and down.
“Well, let's look at you. Ugly as ever!”
“The hell are you talking about? I remember you finding me completely irresistible at one point.” Buster grins.
“Sex pollen. Didn't count.” The Doctor dismisses. “So, Buster Posey... the perfect game. Always have to be involved in something important, don't you? You can't help yourself.”
“You knew about this, didn't you? The day you left you told me...”
“Spoilers, Mr. Posey. I'll tell you nothing.”
Buster snorts. “Yeah yeah, I know. Jesus, a panda hat? Really?”
“I got one of your shirts!”
“And the fez?”
“Fezs are cool. Pandas are cool. A panda in a fez, doubly cool.”
Buster smiles and sits down on a concrete divider, looking down at his feet. The Doctor joins him, the silence between them comfortable, both of them smiling as they take in the noise of others. Honking and screaming and cheering. The party won't stop all night and it'll probably keep going for the foreseeable future. Again Buster feels that overwhelming feeling, I'm part of this, that he'd previously only associated with the Gallifreyan sitting next to him.
“I miss it. I miss you.”
“Do you want to come back?”
“No.” And it surprises Buster, because there have been times that he'd fallen to his knees in the privacy of his apartment or hotel room and wished that the Doctor would take him away from all of this, to a different place where he could make a difference again. “I've missed this. I miss you but this, it's where I want to be. I feel like I'm... I'm me again, Doc. Do you know how long it's been since I felt like my own person with my own purpose?”
“I'm so very proud of you.”
It's earnest, and there's a fierce love in the Doctor's eyes that makes Buster's throat close up.
“You talked, once, about what would happen to people if they hurt the people that you love.” Buster starts, and he hesitates, afraid to say something that he can't take back.
The Doctor smiles, pressing one soft kiss to Buster's cheek that makes Buster blush and smile as he stares at his feet. “I keep an eye on things. I don't know if I'll be back or not. As for Mr. Lincecum... well. Expect great things, Buster Posey.”
When the Doctor leaves, Buster thinks his heart should be breaking. He thinks of how much it hurt the last time, how he felt like all the happiness left in the world was gone. This time, he feels optimistic. He might not see the Doctor again but that's okay. There's other things in the world. There's baseball and there's Tim Lincecum.
Tim will not be celebrating with everyone else tonight. Firstly because Buster was kissing someone who wasn't him, albeit playfully. Secondly because when Tim left, Buster was being kissed by someone who wasn't him. Buster had caught a glimpse of him, the look on his face. Tim can pout like a champ and that's what he'll be doing tonight, sitting on his couch, pouting and brooding. It'd be funny if it weren't... nope, Buster thinks it's just plain funny.
When he reaches Tim's house, the only light on is a faint blue glow against the curtains from the TV. He slips inside using the spare key and stops in the doorway of the living room. Tim's eating chunky monkey and watching King of the Hill. Something about it makes Buster's heart lock up again. He's been resisting this since he came back to Earth but now he knows that it's all he really wants.
Tim jumps, staring at Buster. “You shouldn't sneak up on people. I could have hurt you, stupid.”
“You were drunk that night. So goddamned drunk. And in the morning you hit me. But that night, you told me-”
“I told you I loved you. And that I had since your first grand slam... fucker, don't laugh at me.” Tim grins, looking sheepish as he slides a hand through his hair. “It wasn't the grand slam. It was the look on your face when we were celebrating that night. The way you smiled and the way you kept hugging me. I know, you were hugging everybody but it meant something to me.”
“Then why the fuck did you punch me?”
“You were married. I was afraid of what I'd done, afraid of who I was. Not easy to be gay in the game.”
Buster hesitates and moves to sit on the couch, turning to face Tim. He has no idea if what he's going to say next will be the right thing, if it's too much too soon. He doesn't care. “I love you. I'd rather be happy with you away from all this, than unhappy without you with all the perfect games in the world.”
Tim climbs into his lap, kissing him until they're both breathless. Definitely the right thing to say.
“Charlotte..... CHARLIE! Ezra! Please just stop, just let Daddy sleep, just... DAMMIT!”
“I played last night, I'm playing today and you're still off. They're your children until Thursday.” Buster mumbles, more to himself than Tim, who probably can't hear him over the crying. He isn't getting out of bed. He took a spill yesterday and his hip still aches a little and barring natural disaster, Tim will not be playing in the next few days. Tim can handle the kids just fine.
“I hope they trade you. I hope they send you to fucking Los Angeles and make you wear stupid blue socks.”
Alright, apparently Tim heard him.
“If their first word ends up being fuck, I will divorce you.”
Tim curses again, the word echoing down the hall and Buster rolls over, sighing and smiling at the ceiling. “You're not even asleep. And you're not going back to sleep, I know you! You're just being lazy!”
As if to prove his own point, Tim walks into their bedroom with a wailing baby on each hip. Buster sighs and scoots himself to sit up. He reaches out, taking Ezra and balancing his son in his arms. “There. Happy now?”
“We all are. Ecstatic.” Tim scowls, sitting on the bed next to Buster and resting his head on Buster's shoulders. The twins immediately settle down, staring at Buster and Tim swears. Again. Buster thinks his mouth has become fouler with each passing day since they became fathers. “This isn't fair. They love you more.”
“Smart kids.” Buster grins, grabbing Tim's hand and kissing his wedding ring. “I love you. Don't I count?”
“Maybe a little.” Tim grouses before leaning in for a proper kiss. “Love you too, Posey.”