It’s the first practice of spring training, and the sun overhead is making the hot Arizona day even more stifling. It’s only March, but it’s an unusually warm spring this year. Derek wipes the sweat off his face with his hat before putting it back on his head. He’s third base for this practice, probably going to need to get used to it because they lost their third baseman to retirement last season, and he’s one of the only utility players on the team. He likes infield, though, so he doesn’t mind switching things up.
One of the rookies is coming up to bat now. Stilinski is some hot shot college boy who got drafted right out of school. It’s a story Derek knows well since it’s similar to his own. Hell, they’re even from the same small hometown up in northern California. He hasn’t met the kid yet, but he saw him earlier during the team meeting in the locker room. Stilinski looks about twelve, and he’s a smartass with a sarcastic wit that Coach seems to actually like, which is a little infuriating because Finstock took three years to warm up to Derek. Yet here’s this kid strutting in and earning praise before they even have one practice.
Isaac is on the mound right now, and he checks first base, where Jackson’s dancing just a little off, ready to make a run for second. Then he winds up and throws. Derek is only a little smug when Stilinski strikes out. However, his smugness doesn’t last long. The second throw, Stilinski hits almost out of the park, sending it far enough that Greenberg has to run back to try to catch it. Jackson smirks as he runs past third, waving like the asshole he is, and Stilinski’s approaching by the time the ball has even made it back it to the infield. Boyd throws it to Derek, and he catches it just two seconds after Stilinski’s foot crosses third base.
Derek throws it to Danny at home, who catches it before Stilinski gets halfway there. He’s waiting to catch it again when Stilinski darts back to third, standing on the base before the ball hits Derek’s glove a second time. Fuck. The other side got a run and someone on third from the cocky little shit who is now bouncing on the heels of his feet and smirking at Derek. With a scowl, Derek throws the ball back to Isaac as Liam steps up to the plate and swings a few times to practice.
“Why so serious?” Stilinski asks, just grinning when Derek glares at him. Of course he’s unaffected by Derek’s death glare because that’s just how his luck seems to be going today. “Man, you do have that brooding Batman thing going on, don’t you? Tall, handsome, mysterious. It’s all there.”
“Try focusing on the game, kid,” Derek mutters, concentrating and trying to back in the zone. Isaac throws the ball, and it’s a strike.
“I think I’d rather focus on you,” Stilinski murmurs, looking Derek over in a way that’s more appropriate for a club than spring training practice. “I’ve followed your career for years, you know?”
“This is baseball practice, not speed dating. That means no talking,” he points out, glaring at the kid who maybe isn’t as young as he originally looks. Derek is momentarily distracted by pretty brown eyes that seriously look almost golden in the afternoon’s sunlight, and lips that make him think about…
“Fuck, Hale! Get your head into the game,” Isaac yells at him, making Derek blink and realize Liam hit the ball. By the time Derek’s paying attention, Liam is on first, but Stilinski is still on third. “The right head, dumbass!”
“Damn it.” Derek glares at Stilinski because this is all his fault. Derek’s always focused, and he’s usually the one yelling at his teammates. “Stop distracting me.”
“Moi?” Stilinski bats his ridiculous eyelashes at him. “So my presence distracts you, Derek?”
“Hale.” Derek is curt and matter-of-fact. He doesn’t befriend newbies until he knows they’re good at the game and going to be around long enough to bother getting to know. “Stop staring at me, Stilinski.”
“Call me Stiles,” Stilinski purrs. Actually purrs. Like they’re flirting instead of standing at third base. “I used to go to your high school games, you know? You weren’t so intense back then. Now, it’s like you’ve got a stick shoved up your ass, and you aren’t having fun. You know, I can help you remove that stick.”
“I’m having fun,” he snarls, narrowing his eyes at the pretty boy who seems to find it amusing to fluster him. “What is or is not shoved up my ass is none of your concern.” He arches a brow. “You’re from Beacon Hills. I know that. I checked your record as soon as your acquisition was announced.”
“I’m also friends with Cora,” Stilinski says, running his fingers through his hair. “How do I make it my concern?”
Mason is up to bat now, and Derek knows he’ll get a hit. Probably straight towards first, since that’s the trajectory his hits normally take. “I don’t care if you know my sister or having her babies. That doesn’t make us friends,” he mutters, watching Mason’s hit go straight into Brett’s glove. Finally, one out. Two more to go.
“You’re such an asshole.” Stilinski is grinning when Derek glances at him. “Too bad for you that that’s my type. You know, I had a crush on you back when I was younger. Hell, you’re the reason I started playing baseball in the first place. Turned out, I’m pretty damn good at it. Every position.”
Somehow, he manages to make the last two words sound like an innuendo. “We’re in the middle of practice, Stilinski. Can you stop the flirting?”
“Hmm. Let me think about that,” he says, looking at home plate where Jordan’s stepping up. “Nope, don’t think I can. You’re just too irresistible, and I have a feeling the only chance I’ll get is when you’re a captive audience.”
“You’re impossible,” he says, looking at second base where Boyd’s eyeing him instead of Jordan. Derek can feel his eyebrows moving as he tries to tell his best friend to save him. Boyd looks slightly amused, which means Derek needs a new best friend.
“Yeah, I am,” Stilinski agrees, grinning as he leans in closer. “But I grow on you. Give me a month, and you’ll love me.”
“Yeah, grow like fungus, I figure,” Derek suggests. Stiles clutches his heart, giving Derek that smug smile that makes him want to punch it off his face…with his mouth. Derek tenses his jaw when that thought comes to mind, and he deliberately focuses on Jordan swinging the bat. “God, why can’t anyone hit the damn ball? I’d even root for your side getting a point if it gets rid of you faster.”
“Awww. See? You already love me. You want my team to get points.” Stilinski chuckles when Derek glares at him. “You should get coffee with me after practice. We can talk about Beacon Hills, and I can finally get a chance at wooing you.”
Jordan gets a second strike. Good grief. They’re going to need a lot of practice if their hitting is that bad this season. “You’re playing in the major leagues now, kid. Wooing is for college romance,” Derek says, rolling his eyes when Stiles looks heartbroken. “Grown-ups seduce.”
“I can do seduction,” Stiles assures him, nodding his head eagerly. “I’m really good at handling my balls, and I can handle any position you want.”
“Stilinski, concentrate,” he groans, watching Coach step out to the mound to talk to Isaac as Jordan stretches at home. He takes off his hat and wipes his forehead again, his shirt damp and clinging to his chest in an uncomfortable way. “Corny jokes aren’t seductive.”
“Stiles. The least you can do after refusing my invite for coffee is call me Stiles.” Stiles is sulking, and it should be annoying, but it’s sort of adorable.
Fuck his life.
Derek snorts, leaning forward when Jordan gets into position. “I never refused,” he points out, lips curving into a slight smile as Stilinski gapes at him. Jordan hits the ball towards the outfield, and Stilinski is just standing there staring at Derek. He arches a brow and smirks. “You planning to run anytime soon, Stiles?”
“Hell yeah,” Stiles says, leaning in and smacking his lips against Derek’s mouth before he runs to home, scoring a point as Liam reaches third. By then, Danny’s got the ball, so Liam stops on third. Stiles is doing some ridiculous dance after scoring, and Scott joins him on his way up to bat. Stiles looks at him and grins, throwing in a rather inappropriate hip roll that has Coach yelling at him about NC17 versus PG dances.
What the hell is he getting himself into? As Stiles walks off the field, Derek realizes maybe it’s time to have fun again. If anyone can get him to relax and enjoy life, it’s going to be Stiles.