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The Pronoun Game

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The sky was overcast in an uncharacteristic grey for the beginning of May as Kathryn flew down the road, speeding into the parking lot with her shirt half on. She pulled haphazardly into a space in the lot, jumping out of her car with her bag in one hand, her keys in the other, and her shirt tangled up around the top of her chest.

She was halfway across the park before she managed to get her clothing straightened out and throw her keys in her bag.

"Looks like I'm just in time for the five thirty show." A low voice drawled from beside the goal.

Kathryn rolled her eyes, but threw her bag down, "Good afternoon to you too, Jones."

"I'm just saying, if you need to make extra money before this semester ends, there's probably better places to troll for clients than a youth soccer game." He smirked, before shooting a glance around at the parents setting up folding chairs along the sidelines, "Then again, I bet some of these soccer moms would pay well."

"You're disgusting."

"And you're a joy to work with."

Kathryn rolled her eyes before bending down to retrieve her whistle from her bag, "Do you want coach's side or parent's side?"

The boy's gaze was caught on a tall blonde woman walking towards the field. An excited five year old was tugging her hand in an attempt to make her walk faster, "I'll take whatever side she sits at."

The girl rolled her eyes, but nearly choked when she identified the woman her co-worker was leering at, "That's Professor Swan."

"You know her?"

"She teaches my post modern literature seminar."

A lecherous look crossed the boy's face, "Does she offer any extra credit?"

"You're pathetic, Killian." Kathryn muttered, grabbing a quarter from her bag and walking out into the field, expecting him to follow. They went to the team in green shirts first, Kathryn leading the check, "Can I get everyone to get in a line for me?" She asked, her voice dripping with the sweetness she used when addressing the small soccer players.

They complied and she asked them all to raise one foot so she could check that they had proper cleats on. While she moved down the line, Killian stalked her closely, "So what's the deal with Ms. Swan, is she married?"

Kathryn rolled her eyes but knew that Killian wouldn't drop the topic, "Yes, she is." She reached the last kid and stood up straight again, "Alright, now everyone tap your shin guards!" She watched with a critical eye to ensure all the kids had the protective gear.

"Yes she's married as in she's in a loving happy relationship with a large intimidating man, or married as in an unsatisfying dull marriage that could do with an intervening force?" Killian asked for clarification.

Kathryn paused her walk across the field to the other team to give her co-worker a meaningful look, "Seriously?"

"I just want to know what I'm dealing with here!"

"She's like ten years older than you!"

"She's hot!"

Kathryn shook her head, going to inspect the team in blue shirts. Among them was the little brunette boy who had been dragging Professor Swan along earlier. He was shorter than the other kids on his team, even the girls, and he was most definitely on the scrawny side.

"Line up for me kiddos!" She said, beginning the process again while Killian continued.

"So happily married, but do you think the husband could beat me, in a fight I mean?"

Kathryn was just about fed up with him, before she suddenly remembered something that brought a smile to her face, "I've never actually seen him, though she did mention something about them taking kickboxing classes together."

After completing the gear check with the second team, Kathryn flipped the quarter to determine which team would kick first, and the game began. They made it through the first quarter relatively injury free, a few kids fell over, but for the most part they popped right back up. The coaches weren't getting overzealous, all in all it was shaping up to be an easy game.

It took about half the first quarter for Professor Swan to recognize that Kathryn was one of her students, only doing so when her son's team earned a corner kick and Kathryn set her son up in the painted area to kick it. The teacher smiled in the blonde girl's direction, but Kathryn was preoccupied with making sure the kids didn't trip each other in their haste to chase the ball.

In the break between the first and second quarter, Kathryn and Killian met back in the middle of the field, "Did you see that girl trip over her own feet by the blue team's goal?" Kathryn asked, smiling at the clumsiness of the young kids trying to play the sport.

"Yeah, kids, adorable, soccer, whatever. So you think blondie's husband is tougher than me?"

"Her name is Swan, not blondie, and yes I do."

"Damn. Well how happy do you think they are?"

"Well she mentioned something about their twelve year anniversary coming up, so I'm going to guess they're twelve years worth of happy."

Killian glared at the girl before raising his gaze over her shoulder, "Fine, I've moved on."

"Oh God, who's the poor woman now?" Kathryn asked, spinning around.

Strutting across the grassy park in a charcoal grey pencil skirt, a blazer, and four inch heels was a familiar brunette. Kathryn felt her mouth involuntarily fall open as she watched the woman's progress. Killian took notice and his grin morphed into a smirk.

"Well, love, I didn't know brunettes in power suits was your type, but I must say I'm not surprised."

"That's not it, you idiot." She shook her head and blew her whistle to get the kids back out onto the field for the second quarter, "She's the head of the Political Science department." Kathryn had just barely declared her intent to become a Poly Sci major, being a second semester sophomore.

"Does she have a kid too?"

"Not that I know of." All she did know was that the brunette was famous for her ability to wear breakneck heels even when the sidewalks were icy in the New England winters, and her barely passable 400 level seminar all Poly Sci majors had to take their senior year. Kathryn knew she was a doctor, though what the woman earned her doctorate in was questionable, she just knew that if one wished to address the powerful woman, they had better do so by the proper title.

Kathryn was torn from her thoughts as the kids were all set up and ready for kick off. She placed the ball and began the next quarter, as the green team took possession and ran up the field, Kathryn found herself watching the head of her department more than the game. The brunette walked all the way down the sideline, stopping beside the english professor.

The women smiled at each other and Professor Swan stood from her folding chair to greet the other woman. It was then that Kathryn noticed an empty, matching chair beside the one her blonde teacher had occupied.

That makes sense. Kathryn thought, They work at the same university, they're friends, their kids play soccer together so they come to the games together, so Professor Swan brought a chair for Professor Mills. She reasoned.

Kathryn shuffled up the sideline as she watched the two educators hug. Friends hug for that long when they greet each other at a soccer game, right? Kathryn thought, still inconspicuously watching the two, when they stepped apart, she watched Doctor Mills keep her arms locked around the blonde's neck and press her lips to Professor Swan's in a chaste kiss.

Friends don't do that. Kathryn was so surprised by the action she completely misjudged how close she was to the sideline, and before she could do anything, she was tripping over a water bottle, and landing flat on her ass. In the fall, she let out an involuntary yelp which came out through the whistle in her mouth as a loud shrill hiss.