Thank you! That’s always really nice to hear, especially after struggling to get that chapter written the way I did 💖 😘
and idk i just love this gif
Thank you! That’s always really nice to hear, especially after struggling to get that chapter written the way I did 💖 😘
and idk i just love this gif
yes!!! no offense to bill pullman or whatever, but he should’ve continued with his 90s trend of never making it out of the movie with the wife/girlfriend that he started with. (and okay, that really only applies to sleepless in seattle and arguably independence day, but I think my point stands.)
but here’s the thing: it is so so so rare for me to ship characters who don’t have some kind of romantic subtext. And Dottie and Jimmy had it in spades.
I am 100% positive that Jimmy had fallen in love with her by the time the season was over and Dottie was probably well on her way. Consider: Bob comes back and she tells him, “I thought I’d never see you again.” She thought he was dead. She hadn’t gotten any letters from him in weeks and thought the worst. And maybe she was starting to come to terms with that. And starting to consider who she’d want in her life once she was done grieving.
Because even though the movie’s fictional, the woman who inspired Dottie Hinson, Dorothy Kamenshek, didn’t go home to Oregon and have a million babies. She played for ten seasons in the AAGPBL and was widely regarded as one of the best athletes (full stop) of her day. Dottie might’ve been able to give up baseball and go home with Bob, but Dorothy didn’t.
Which is still a baffling creative choice to me, even taking out my feelings about Jimmy/Dottie.
Anyway. I, personally, would just really like to make friends with Penny Marshall. If only because I bet she still has the original cut of the movie, which was something like four hours long and had a ton more romantic development between Jimmy and Dottie. There was even a kiss!
Why am i cursed to ship things that never have any kind of on screen pay off??
L – Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation
R – Raven Reyes, The 100
N – Neville Longbottom, Harry Potter
J – Jess Bhamra, Bend It Like Beckham
D – Dottie Hinson, A League of Their Own
S – Scout Finch, To Kill A Mockingbird
T – Terry Jeffords, Brooklyn 99
U – Usagi Tsukino, Sailor Moon
W – Wells Jaha, The 100
those who wait | ao3
Mike looked up from slicing tomatoes when Ginny came in, an inquisitive tilt to his head.
She practically skipped through the kitchen, freshly showered and grinning. No question was forthcoming as she slid onto a stool at the island to watch him prep dinner. Most likely, she’d been summoned by the smell of sizzling bacon and wanted to know when food would be ready. There were days that he thought he should regret inviting Ginny—and Blip, who’d declined, and Livan, who hadn’t—to stay in his Arizona house, but he never quite managed to do it. Then of course, she’d do something like grin so openly at him, happy and healthy and on her way to the top, and regret was the least of his worries.
“Back to San Diego next week,” she observed, sneaking a piece of bacon from the paper towel where it was draining and crunching into it. “You excited?”
It hardly mattered whether or not Mike was excited, not with the giddy energy rolling off Ginny. Ever since she’d cemented her spot as a starter again, having made her comeback from last season’s injury, she’d been irrepressible, practically floating everywhere she went. It didn’t dull her competitive edge, but off the field, her enthusiasm and energy were hard to resist.
Well. That was easier to think than the alternative.
(That she was hard to resist.)
“It’ll be good to get back home, get you and Livan outta my hair.”
She wrinkled her nose at him and he laughed automatically. How had she managed to condition him to laugh like that? Maybe because she always smiled, even when she didn’t want to, when he laughed. He’d do worse things for that smile pointed his way.
“Don’t lie, Lawson. You’re gonna miss us.”
“Will not,” he replied, grabbing a loaf of bread. He shot Ginny a questioning look and she nodded eagerly, just like he knew she would. The woman happened to love his grilled BCTs—bacon, cheese, and tomato sandwich. If anything, she’d be the one missing him. Him and his ability to feed himself and others from more than frozen dinners.
“You will,” she repeated, firm. “Who else is going to keep you from turning into even more of an old man?”
“Who says I want to stop? Maybe I’m looking forward to getting my live-in nurse. Sponge baths whenever I want ‘em.”
Her jaw dropped open and she gagged, though Mike was more distracted by the sight of her tongue than he should have been given the circumstances.
“You are disgusting,” Ginny said, but the laugh running through the words told Mike she wasn’t that serious.
“That’s me,” he agreed, placing both assembled sandwiches on the hot griddle. He looked at the spread of ingredients. “Should I assume wonder boy is feeding himself?”
She nodded. “I think he’s trying to convince that restaurant he found to freeze their food and ship it to San Diego. And probably go home with the owner while he’s at it.”
“Sounds about right,” Mike grumbled.
Even though there was a guest room in the house set up just for the Cuban catcher, Mike was sure he’d spent more of his nights sleeping somewhere else. Probably with his choice of company, if his habits from last season held true. Mike wasn’t jealous, though. He had all the company he wanted.
Ginny grinned mischievously, but let Mike finish cooking in peace. She collected plates and silverware and a couple beers and waters from the fridge. Everything got set up on the patio table because she loved the unimpeded view of the desert and hadn’t quite gotten over the fact that Mike even had a patio. Between her apartment back in El Paso and the suite that was still hers at the Omni, Ginny hadn’t exactly been rolling in amenities like patios or rain showers or homemade dinners—though the Omni did have a pretty good room service menu.
She came back to the kitchen to start tossing together a salad. It was the one culinary undertaking that Mike allowed her, and only because it involved “nothing that could set the house on fire.” Ginny was the first to admit that she wasn’t the most skilled cook, but even she had yet to actually burn a house down. Set off the smoke detectors, sure, but she’d wanted her burger well done, anyway.
In companionable silence, having completed this ritual nearly every night of the past six weeks, they finished cooking. Well, Mike cooked and Ginny assembled.
The salad was done just as Mike lifted the warm, crisp grilled cheeses from the griddle and laid them on a platter.
“Outside again?” he double checked, though he wasn’t sure why he bothered. Ginny always ate outside.
She nodded anyway, leading the way with her creation and Mike following along with his.
Once they were settled in, tucking into dinner, they allowed themselves to start talking. Go over their day together. Mike tried to tell himself that it wasn’t all disgustingly domestic, and he even believed it. If only because there wasn’t a single part of him that was disgusted by this.
“How’s your arm feeling? This was the closest Skip’s let you get to your pitch count, wasn’t it?”
Ginny shrugged. “I’m a little sore, but made sure to check in with the trainer after the game. Nothing felt wrong, not like it used to, at least.”
Mike frowned, though he took a bite of the sandwich to keep from saying anything. Apparently, he’d become something of a mother hen since sharing a house with Ginny. He thought it was only natural, having never shared space with an injured athlete who wasn’t himself; of course he was going to make sure she was taking care of her self. Ginny, though, thought it was overbearing.
Still, she grinned, a little indulgent, and said, “If it’s still bad after my massage and flush run tomorrow, you can be the one to tell Skip off.”
He rolled his eyes, but he was definitely gonna hold her to that.
“Yeah, yeah, rookie,” he replied, “I’m a—”
“You know you’re gonna have to come up with a new nick name for me soon, right?”
“How do you figure?”
She looked at him as if he’d lost his mind. “I’m not a rookie anymore.”
The response that he wanted to give, unthinkingly, was that she’d always be his rookie, but that felt dangerous or condescending. Or both. Instead, he frowned in consideration.
“I’ll tell the guys to get on it,” he finally replied, knowing he’d do no such thing.
“Isn’t that your job? As captain.”
“Nah, I’m big picture. Getting the final say in kangaroo court, delivering inspirational speeches in the eleventh hour, deciding when to let Voorhies drag us all to a karaoke bar. That kinda stuff.”
She grinned, her dimples popping in the fading light. “Karaoke bars? How haven’t I heard about this?”
“It happens very rarely. And only when I’m in a really good mood.”
“So never, then.”
He barked out a laugh, shaking his head. “Not often enough to hear Dusty tell it.”
“And me,” she declared, polishing off the last of her sandwich. “I am amazing at karaoke.”
Mike snorted and Ginny’s jaw dropped in outrage.
“I am! I bring the house down, Lawson!”
“Baker, if your humming is any indicator, you couldn’t carry a tune if you had a bucket.”
She let out a disbelieving little huff of laughter. “That’s rude. You’re rude.”
“You’re just figuring that out now?” he grinned.
Ginny just rolled her eyes and she tried to remember if she’d done that quite so often before meeting Mike, or if his habits were just rubbing off on her. It was hard to tell.
They finished the rest of their dinner as the sun slowly sank into the western horizon.
Ginny allowed herself to bask in the dying glow for a moment, but the restlessness that had defined most of her life caught up with her. It always caught up with her.
“Shoot some hoops?” she asked, nodding out to the detached garage and the lone basketball hoop a previous owner had installed.
Mike nodded, pushing himself to his feet. Technically—contractually—they weren’t allowed to play basketball. Not a real game, anyway. Not that Ginny would put up much of a fight in a one on one game. She was scrappy and naturally athletic, but too much of her childhood had been focused on baseball. Mike doubted that she’d ever picked up a basketball outside of gym class (and ill-advised poolside dunk contests) before this February.
So, they’d contented themselves with games of PIG and then HORSE and finally HIPPOPOTAMUS when Ginny complained the games were too short. For someone whose entire job was throwing a small ball at a small target, she really sucked at getting a larger ball to a larger target.
But it wasn’t like Mike was going to pass up on spending time with her.
Especially not if he got to tease her mercilessly while he did it. It was so much easier to pretend they were just regular friends when he got to tease her. When they were both laughing, trading insults and trying to get the other to miss.
But when Ginny made a shot Mike had been sure she’d miss—an over the shoulder hook shot with her left hand—and she lit up, practically throwing herself into his arms with glee; when he could feel every inch of her toned, perfect body pressed up against his; when her breath ghosted, tantalizing and warm against his neck—
Well, it was much harder to pretend, then.
Mike’s heart thudded heavily against his rib cage. His arms had wrapped around her on instinct, tight enough that his hands gripped her waist. There wasn’t a single cell of him that wanted to let her go. No, he wanted to take his face from where it was buried in her hair, wait for her to look up at him, and finally find out what it would be like to kiss Ginny Baker.
But he couldn’t.
So, he convinced himself to release her, to take a step—a tiny shift of his weight, really—back.
She did look up at him, eyes wide, and lips so close to parting.
“Ginny, I can’t keep doing this with you,” he sighed, his breath gusting against her cheek.
For a moment, the world froze. Ginny couldn’t move, couldn’t complete the circuit by collapsing back into Mike and couldn’t step away to avoid overloading it. She was stuck in the middle ground, hovering too close for comfort, but too far away for it, too.
“I can’t keep having these almosts with you,” he said, more raw than she’d heard him in a long time. “Because I don’t know if I’m going to be able to make myself stop next time.”
The world thawed. Her heart began beating a jackrabbit’s rhythm against her ribs. But before she could capture his hand or his face or anything, he backed away, hands clenched into fists at his side.
“I mean, you have a code. That’s fine, I— I get it. You’ve already had your exception.”
She started towards him at that, mouth open to say— something, but he barreled on.
“But I don’t want to be something that you come to regret. Not like he was.”
Ginny didn’t say that not acting on whatever this thing between them was might be more regrettable than the alternative, but she thought it. Just as she thought it every time they brushed up against the implications of that almost outside Boardner’s. Which had been happening more and more frequently over the past six weeks.
Apparently, Mike had noticed, too.
Still, she couldn’t let him go on thinking—
“It wouldn’t be you,” she blurted. He rocked back, confusion and more than a little hurt flashing across his face. That was worse. Immediately, Ginny let the words tumble out of her mouth, anything to make him look less wounded. “If I ever regretted something happening between us, it wouldn’t be that it was you. It would be letting it happen too soon or getting caught and all the bullshit we’d manage to stir up. But not you, Mike. Never you.”
Well, he definitely didn’t look wounded anymore. Ginny couldn’t quite identify the look on his face, not before he was sweeping her up into his arms, practically spinning them around.
She half gasped, half laughed, burying her face in his throat as her arms wound around his neck.
When he’d finally set her back on her feet, arms still wrapped tightly around her, he rubbed his cheek against the top of her head.
Quietly, but still certain, he murmured, “I can wait.”
“Really,” she rasped, just enough disbelief in her tone to make him laugh.
“I’m not good at it,” he clarified, pulling away to look her in the eye, “but I can.”
Ginny believed him.
But if she remained cradled so securely in his arms for one more minute, she wasn’t sure she could wait. Reluctantly, she pulled away, her hands trailing across his neck and shoulders and chest before she finally disengaged.
“So what are we, then? While we wait. Friends?”
“I don’t know,” he admitted. “It’s not that I don’t want to be your friend, that I’m not your friend already, but I don’t know if I can keep myself from wanting to be more, too.”
“You’re not the only one who wants more, you know,” she replied, dry as the desert surrounding them.
“Well, as long as we’re on the same page.”
“Same page, old man,” Ginny affirmed, wanting to reach out and touch him again, but even the small taste she’d already gotten told her that was a dangerous path to tread.
Instead, she stuck out her hand.
Mike eyed her hand for a long moment before letting his gaze trail up to hers.
“C’mon, Lawson. Just shake on it.”
“What am I even shaking on?” he protested. “Waiting? ‘Til when?”
“We’ll know,” she replied, sounding more confident than she felt. At least her hand didn’t quiver, hanging in the air the way it did.
Mike took one more long look at her before finally clasping his (big, warm, callused) hand in hers and shaking to seal the deal. For a moment, neither released the other, their breath shuddering as Mike’s thumb caressed the back of her hand and her fingertips curled against his palm.
Finally, though, he offered her a single nod and pulled away.
Ginny nodded back, resisting the urge to curl her hand against her heart, hold the warmth of his grip against her as long as it was fresh in her memory.
Almost in sync, they both loosed gusty sighs, trading nearly shy smiles.
“Back inside?” he asked, calling attention to the falling dusk, the first stars beginning to twinkle into view overhead.
Ginny agreed easily enough, following him back to the patio to clean up the remnants of their dinner before heading into the kitchen. As they washed dishes side by side, their newfound understanding settled easily between them. It—and the feelings it involved—wasn’t exactly new even if giving voice to them was.
She still blew soap bubbles at him and he still flicked her with the dish towel, the same easy banter that they’d developed filling the air.
They were still Ginny and Mike.
Neither pretended it was anything other than a relief, trading brief, grateful grins.
If this was how waiting was going to be, then maybe it wouldn’t be quite so bad.
It took longer than either of them would’ve liked, with maybe more tension than either would’ve guessed, too, but eventually, the day came.
The day they both knew.
Ginny grinned at Mike and he was already grinning back.
“You ready for this?”
“Been ready for a long time.”
And that didn’t even begin to describe what they were together.
No. That was was nothing short of perfect.
Thank you!! Sorry for the long wait!
makes you feel safe | ao3
The house is peacefully still when Ginny walks in the front door, footfalls heavy and echoing in the otherwise silent entry. Her bags drag in her hands, like gravity’s pulling on them just a little bit harder than usual, like it knows exactly how exhausted she is. Happily, gratefully, she drops them by the door along with her shoes. She can deal with them in the morning.
Right now, all she wants to do is crawl into bed and wrap herself up in her comforter and a strong pair of arms.
The quiet is pierced by the chirp of the unarmed alarm system. With a rueful shake of her head, she pushes the door all the way shut and keys in the code to activate it.
She knows Mike is a big, strong man and there are at least three baseball bats in any given room in the house, but most of those are in display cases and it usually takes him at least two tries to get out of bed if his knees aren’t cooperating in the morning. That’s more than enough opportunity for a robber to get the jump on him. The least he could do is set the alarm when he’s home alone. That’s what it’s there for. After all, how pissed would he be if he came home one night to find she hadn’t set the alarm?
Ginny can imagine the lecture now, Mike’s bearded face hovering over hers as he shakes her awake, rambling about crime statistics in La Jolla before she’s even fully conscious.
Her snort splits into a jaw-cracking yawn, which she takes as her cue to get her ass to bed.
Ginny trudges up the stairs, not even bothering to turn on the lights. She knows every nook and cranny in this house, could navigate it in her sleep. It’s a close thing tonight.
Finally, exhaustion settling deep in her bones, threatening to drop her where she stands, Ginny makes it down the hall to the master suite. She slips inside the dark bedroom, knowing that she should head into the ensuite to shower off the smell of plane and recycled air, but too tired to care. All she can bring herself to do is strip out of her wrinkled zip up and let her leggings fall to the floor, toeing out of her socks at the same time. She’s left in just her underwear, utterly ready to face plant into bed.
Before she does, though, she checks her landing zone, just to make sure Mike hasn’t left his tablet or the reading glasses he thinks she doesn’t know about there. It’s happened before, though every time she brings it up, he fires back the time he had to sleep in a pile of crumbs because she forgot to leave her midnight snacks on the bedside table.
She loves the man, but wishes he’d stop holding that over her head. Anyway, he was the one who’d refused to get out of bed so she could change the sheets.
(The fact that she’d licked every crumb off him, and a few she was sure he made up, only strengthens her stance on the matter.)
There isn’t anything on the comforter, but the lumps underneath make her glad she thought to check.
Firmly planted on her side of the bed, Mike sleeps on, oblivious to her presence in the room. There’s a little frown on his face, only visible in the slight furrow of his eyebrows since his mouth and nose are planted in the pillow he’s got clutched in both burly arms. The presence of both pillows on his usual side of the bed tells her just whose pillow he’s fallen asleep cuddling.
The sight of him there makes her even happier to be home.
Even if it’ll take a few extra steps to finally crawl into bed.
She does her best to slide between the sheets as quietly as possible, though that care is probably undermined by the way she scoots right up next to Mike’s broad, bare back. It feels like forever since she last got to touch him, there’s no way she’s going to hold back now that she can. Not wanting to wake him, though, she settles for draping an arm over his waist and pressing a light kiss to his freckled shoulder. Anything else can wait until morning.
Still, he stirs.
“Gin?” he breathes, hushed and a little dreamy.
“Shh,” she murmurs back, taking the opportunity to press in closer, laying another kiss to his bare skin, “go back to sleep.”
Mike doesn’t listen, rolling so he’s halfway on his back, face tipped towards her, eyes still closed. “Missed you.”
Ginny has to swallow a few times before she can manage, “I missed you more.”
He snorts, blowing the sweet, sleepy intimacy away. One eye cracks open, regarding her with more humor than she’d expect from him at nearly 2 in the morning. “Not everything’s a competition, y’know.”
“If it were, I’d win.”
That gets a real laugh and, even better, Mike pressing a kiss to her mouth before rolling back over so Ginny can snuggle into his back. He’d never admit it, but he loves being the little spoon. Nearly as much as Ginny likes being able to hold him against her as tight as she can manage. His hand closes over hers where it rests in the middle of his chest and Ginny presses her face between his shoulder blades.
“Keep telling yourself that, rook,” he mutters, already drifting back to sleep.
Ginny doesn’t reply, just molds herself to Mike’s back, her thighs and shins lining up with his own powerful but slumbering limbs. She revels in the caress of his skin against hers, letting his warmth and the rhythm of his breath drag her under, too.
Her last conscious thoughts are these: Winning is good. This is so much better.
Thank you!! This kind of thing always brightens my day, especially on days like today when I’m trying to wrestle a fic into shape, so thanks for taking the time to send this in!