“Hey, man,” Boyd calls as he strides up the bleachers towards where Derek’s sitting.
As casually as he dares, Derek closes the sketchpad he has balanced on his knees and drops his forearms over it, sandwiching it against his thighs. Boyd doesn’t know he draws and he’d like to keep it that way.
“What’s up, Boyd?” He asks, tugging the brim of his U.C. Berkeley baseball cap lower over his eyes.
“Not much,” Boyd says, as he flops down on the bleachers next to Derek. “What are you doing back here?” He sits forward and scans the crowd, his eyes skimming over the strangely dressed players on the field.
There are about twenty kids sprawled across the stands; some doing homework, a few just hanging out, one girl who’s smoking. Derek curls his lip every time the light breeze drags the smoke in his direction. There is also, however, a small group down in front carrying posters, banging on cowbells and singing songs. They’re all dressed in robes and scarves, despite it being late spring.
“What the hell is going on down there?” Boyd asks, his brows arched as the two teams move around each other.
“Uh, I have no idea...” Derek lies, tugging on the brim of his cap again. He knows exactly what’s going on here, and has for months.
He stumbled upon the university’s Quidditch Club two semesters ago but had only really started following its progress once Gryffindor got their new chaser. Derek’s eyes flick towards the players, finding number 24 easily and watching him streak down the field in the strange little hop-run all the players have to do, the long dark handle of his broom clutched snugly between his lean, muscular thighs. Derek presses his sketchbook down onto his lap, letting the bottom edge dig, almost painfully, into his crotch, successfully quelling his burdening arousal.
He and Boyd watch in silence for a while--well, Derek watches number 24, his fingers itching to reopen his sketchbook and get back to drawing the player. He isn’t exactly sure what Boyd is watching. Currently, Gryffindor is up by over thirty points, with number 24 sprinting down the field in an impressive display of agility to fake out the keeper and throw the quaffle in for another five. Derek resists doing the little fist bump and whispered woohoo he normally does when 24 scores.
“This is going to sound strange, but don’t you think 24 would make a good receiver?” Boyd asks, his sneaker tapping against the metal floor of the bleachers as he thinks.
Internally, Derek groans. He’d love to have 24 receiving for him. He’d love to have 24 laid out flushed and sweating, chest heaving, catching everything Derek could throw at him. Pinching the bridge of his nose, Derek draws a slow even breath before he responds, pushing the image of number 24’s flushed, smiling face out of his mind.
“I guess... I haven’t really been paying attention.”
“Maybe you should?” Boyd points his chin down at the field expectantly.
Derek clears his throat as 24 high fives a pretty brunette girl. His face is flushed, the dark spots of his moles standing out against the red blush that's layered over his normally pale skin. He’s sweating, and Derek can see the way his fluffy brown hair is darker at his temples and the nape of his neck. Derek swallows and almost chokes as his mouth floods with saliva, wanting to taste the chaser’s salted skin.
The game sets up again and the referee tosses the quaffle into the air. The moment the ball leaves the refs hands 24 is already leaping for it, his reflexes and timing impeccable, snatching it easily. Derek grits his teeth as the guy's thighs flex, well-defined muscles twitching in an effort to keep the broom snugly tucked into the vee of his thighs. He hits the ground and does a beautiful fake-out; twirling, spinning around the other chaser and deftly dodging a squishball batted at him from one of the opposing beaters. 24 barrels down the field with long elegant strides and Derek has to drag his eyes away as his temperature rises from what is, quite frankly, an obscene display.
“Well?” Boyd pushes, his brows arched.
“I mean, I guess.”
“You know Liam is graduating right?”
“Of course I know. I have to know. I’m the quarterback.” Derek rolls his eyes.
“Yeah, but do you also know Coach is putting out feelers at local high schools to recruit a new receiver as it is, so….”
“So why not bring him someone with some talent instead of a freshman who has something to prove?” Derek fills in with a sigh.
“Yeah, well, think about it, the kid has some skills. And we need the talent.” Boyd smacks Derek on the shoulder as he gets up. “See you at practice.”
“Yeah man, see you.”
Derek sits in a daze as Boyd disappears back towards campus. He loses track of time and the score of the game, he’s so consumed with the idea of having to talk to number 24, let alone playing football with him. The whistle on the field blows harshly and Derek jumps, eyes lifting in time to watch the Gryffindor team swarm his boy, number 24 enveloped in bodies, shouting and cheering.
Absently, he flips open his sketchbook, sighing over the half-finished drawing of number 24 mid-sprint, face cracked into a smirk as he throws the quaffle. Derek snaps the book closed–just one of many half-finished sketches he’ll never get a chance to complete. Quietly, he slinks from the stands and slips off back towards the gym. It’s a hike from the forgotten, forlorn backfield the Quidditch Club plays on, but Derek needs the distraction. The back of his neck still burns with embarrassment at being caught out there by Boyd, but at least he didn’t catch on that Derek was there for number 24 more than he was for the game.
He trots up one of the sloping hills, sketchbook tucked under his arm. He’ll get an upper body workout in before football practice this afternoon, and maybe exhaustion will help keep his mind off number 24’s long legs and perky backside.
Yanking the helmet from his head, Derek snarls, “That's the third fucking interception today, Greenberg!” He turns his attention to Coach. “You’ve got to be kidding with this! Put him back at tight-end!”
“What do you want from me, Hale? He's the best we’ve got right now,” Finstock snaps back, slapping his clipboard down onto the bench. “You think I like this? You think I want Greenberg! GREENBERG, THREE LAPS FOR BEING, WELL… YOU !” Coach shouts and then runs his palm over his forehead and into his hair.
“Hale’s got someone,” Boyd offers and Derek's eyes go wide with panic before he can school his expression.
Flinstock turns narrowed eyes on Derek as the rest of the team comes off the field for water.
“No. I don’t,” Derek grits out around his clenched teeth. This cannot be happenin g.
“You do…?” Flinstock says, eyes wide for a moment. “Hale, I don’t care who it is, if they’re a better wide receiver than Greenberg I want them, yesterday!”
“Coach, I don't have anyone!” Derek says as firmly as he can manage but Boyd once again calls his bluff.
“Number 24, dude,” Boyd says like he’s being fucking helpful, like Derek didn’t immediately think of number 24. Like Derek isn’t constantly thinking of number fucking 24. “You know, from last week, that strange shit with the brooms.”
“Are you talking about Stilinski… from the Quidditch club?” Jackson says, his face pinched, streaks of sweat and dirt smeared over his temples.
“No.” Derek grunts.
“Yeah,” Boyd says at the same time. “Do you know him?”
Derek groans, dropping his head back and closing his eyes.
“I mean, I guess I do. We went to Beacon Hills together, he was on the lacrosse team. I heard he was ok until he hurt his shoulder.” Jackson lifts his water bottle and squeezes it a few inches from his mouth like the tool he is, instead of just drinking from it. “I was a starter before I transitioned to football, so I didn’t really pay attention to who was warming the bench or why,” he says dismissively.
Derek sees his window and jumps for it. “Bum shoulder? That sucks, guess I don’t have someone after all.” He grabs a towel and his water bottle ready to make his escape.
“Lacrosse and football use a completely different set of muscles, he might be open to playing for us,” Flinstock says, bouncing on the balls of his feet. “Talk to him, Hale. I don’t care what you have to do to get him out here, but I want to see him next practice. Put him through his paces.”
“Coach,” Derek grunts.
“Do it, Hale, anything it takes or I’m starting Jackson against UCLA.”
“‘Bout time,” Jacksons interjects, a smug grin on his face.
“You wouldn’t,” Derek snarls, tossing his towel down.
“I would, I will. We’re dead in the water without a receiver who can catch what you throw and you know Greenberg… GREENBERG, GET UP! ” Flinstock charges out onto the field, shouting at Greenberg about his stamina. The poor kid’s on his knees tipped forward, his helmet to the turf, arms spread out to his sides. Derek can almost hear his wheezing from here. He looks like a stiff breeze could knock him over and sure enough, as coach gets to his side it only takes a small boot to his butt to have Greenberg flopping flat and starfishing out in the middle of the field.
“Don’t bother with Stilinski, Hale,” Jackson says, smirking around his water bottle. “Just forget about him, you know I was made for first string anyway. It's time you learned your place.”
“Derek.” Boyd slaps a hand on Derek's chest stopping him from engaging Jackson. “Don’t listen to Whittemore, he’s an idiot. Isaac and I will come down to the back field when you talk to this Stilinski kid. We’ll have your back.”
Having support is not what Derek is afraid of–if anything he’d prefer if Boyd and Isaac weren’t there to see him embarrass himself in front of number 24… Stilinsk i . Even just knowing his name sends butterflies swooping through Derek’s stomach.
“Fine, whatever,” Derek snarls, because fuck his life. He couldn’t just make it two more years watching 24–Stilinski–from the safety of the bleachers, could he? No, of course he couldn’t. “Fuck, fuck, fuck,” he curses under his breath, storming after the rest of his team towards the locker room.
“Okay!” Isaac says a while later as he flops down on the bench next to Derek. He’s got a towel wrapped around his hips and he smells like coconut shampoo. “I hear we’re going on a recon mission?”
“We are not going on a recon mission,” Derek states, tossing his jersey in the footwell of his locker with more force than necessary.
“But Boyd said…”
“I don’t fucking care what Boyd said. I’m the quarterback of this team, you guys listen to me.”
“Yeah, but we aren’t on the field right now so… what’s going on? Are we getting you a new receiver or what?”
“We are,” Boyd chimes in as he rounds the end of the lockers, pulling his shirt over his head. He’s already in his boxers, freshly cleaned from the showers, and if they weren’t such good friends Derek would take a moment to admire the thick muscles of his thighs. But they are, so he doesn’t, turning back to his locker and trying not to bang his head against the low shelf in frustration. “Just gotta figure out when they play next,” Boyd finishes, coming to stand on Derek’s other side.
“Tuesday,” Derek says without thinking, then grimaces, internally groaning.
“ Ooookay …. ” Isaac stretches out the word and Derek sighs.
He’s got their whole season memorized, he knows the days they practice, who they’re playing and when their games are. Derek also knows that number 24, the brunette chaser (number 11), and one of their beaters, a blonde girl (number 69), had to petition the student council twice to keep their practice time on the backfield. Derek didn’t understand why the school was giving them such a hard time–that field’s crap anyway, and no-one uses it, not even the D3 soccer team.
“So tomorrow then,” Isaac pushes, leaning back to catch Derek’s eye as he tries to hide his head in his locker again.
“Yeah, I guess. I saw a flyer earlier…. In, uh, the quad.” Derek scrambles to cover his blunder. Gryffindor plays Hufflepuff tomorrow and those are Derek's favorite games. Hufflepuff always has such good strategies, and their plays are complicated, but their stamina is low. Number 24– Stilinski– always runs circles around them.
“ Riiight … ” Isaac says, again, drawing out the word. Derek can feel him and Boyd exchanging looks behind his back.
“Right.” Derek grunts, grabbing his towel and stepping over the bench. “Guess we’re on for then.” He bites out, stomping off towards the showers.
He tries very hard for the rest of the day to no think about Stilinski .