Ball Boy

And with this chapter we come to the end of 2021! See you all next year!

Ao3 Link

“Okay,” said Coach Randy, who wasn’t Greg’s coach but still let Greg call him that. The players on the baseball team gathered around him to listen to what he had to say.

Greg listened too, taking some notes on his pad. It was mostly just about exercise and making sure to eat correctly as they got ready for the “big game” they were playing next week, as if they ever played a small game. It was all things they should have already been doing, but Greg knew full well that sometimes people had to be reminded to do the things they were supposed to be doing anyway.

Which reminded him, he needed to text Darby after practice and remind him that he had to wear a clean shirt for the dinner party Gavin and Owen were making them have tonight. All Darby’s shirts were currently clean, but without a reminder he’d forget he had to wear one.

Greg took notes of what the coach said, paying attention to which players weren’t paying as much attention as the others. He had a lot of their phone numbers, so he’d try to text them over the weekend to make sure they hadn’t forgotten.

Maybe if today went well, he could even do it officially.

“That’s it, go get cleaned up and get lost,” Coach Randy told them, patting them on the backs and shoulders as they went by him into the locker room.

Greg waited until they were all gone, then went up to Coach Randy. “Hi, coach,” he said.

“Hey, Greg,” said Coach Randy, going over to the dugout to start cleaning up the equipment the team had left behind. “Thanks for the help.”

Greg nodded, helping him collect the team’s extra balls and bats, as well as Ike’s hat, which he’d be looking for in the locker room. “You’re welcome. I’m happy to help.”

Greg was happy to help. He liked baseball but didn’t always like baseball games where there were a lot of people, so he’d started coming to watch the Altos practice a month and eight days ago, which was one day after Travis had told him it was okay to do that. Coach Randy had told him he could watch all he wanted, and when Greg had offered to help him set up and put things away, he’d said that would be very nice. Greg had also started helping with inventory and keeping track of exercise regimens and a few other things, and Owen had said he was basically like the team’s manager.

Greg wasn’t the Altos’ manager, but he kind of really wanted to be, so he’d put on his heavy cuffs and dyed his hair with a streak of red and he was going to ask Coach Randy if he could be.

“That should be all of it,” Coach Randy said, carrying balls back to their bag. “Do me a favour and go give that hat to whoever it belongs to?”

“Okay,” said Greg, making an effort not to tell Coach Randy that it was proper to say ‘to whomever it belongs’ because Coach Randy wasn’t a brat who needed private tutoring. He’d gone in the locker room a few times. He’d even taken a shower once, in one of the rarely used privacy stalls. Someone had stolen his clothes from the stall wall where they’d been hanging, but only for a second and they’d been given back before he was done in the shower, everyone claiming they’d just fallen. The team all liked to be horny with each other after practice, but that didn’t bother Greg today. “Can I ask you something first, Coach Randy?”

“Sure thing,” he said. He was a tall person with a thick chest and a kind, round face. “What do you need, Greg?”

Greg fiddled with a cuff, took a breath and pretended to breathe out fire. “I was wondering if maybe you’d let me be the team’s manager? I really like helping out and being here and you’re all very kind, and you always say that the most important part of being on the team is enjoying it. It seems like the team must need one; I’ve noticed that you end up performing a lot of managerial tasks that would best be delegated to allow you to focus on larger coaching issues and help the team run more smoothly and efficiently.” He felt himself start to trail off at the end, so he stopped talking because he wanted to seem as confident as Gavin always did on his business calls.

Coach Randy smiled at him, tying off the ball bag and gesturing for Greg to follow him into the building, going past the locker room to his office down the hall. “I have to tell you something,” he told Greg, as he opened his door. “The Altos have a manager already.”

Greg felt his heart fall and tried not to show his disappointment on his face. “Oh,” he said. “Okay. I didn’t realize that.” Whoever it was, they weren’t doing a very good job.

No, that was a mean thing to think. Maybe they were sick or had some other reason why they hadn’t been coming to practice. Greg should collate the notes he’d been taking so he could give those to them when they came back. Hopefully they didn’t mind that he’d been accidentally doing their job for them.

Coach Randy nodded, going over to a cabinet in his corner and looking for a key. “It’s pretty new, we just brought him on not long ago. But we’re more than happy with the work he’s doing.” He opened the cabinet.

Greg tried not to frown. He’d been to every practice this team had had in the last month and eight days. He’d never seen a manager, and nobody had ever talked about this person around him. “Okay,” he said. Was it someone he knew? “I’m sorry to have asked. I didn’t mean to bother you.”

“You’ve never once bothered me, Greg,” said Coach Randy. He took a plastic bag out of his cabinet and came back over to Greg, handing it to him. “Here.”

Greg took the bag, which had a uniform inside it. “Do you need me to take this to someone?” he asked, trying to peer at the name on the back without opening the bag. Evan and Tim both needed new uniforms, but this looked too small for either of them.

“Yeah, it’s for the guy whose name is on the back,” said Coach Randy, who was looking at Greg expectantly.

Coach Randy was always very clear and direct, so Greg wondered why he didn’t just tell him who it was, but he opened the bag and took out the uniform shirt, looking at the back.

Ven Sancte-Trapp, the uniform read, over a big number fifty.

Greg stared at it for a minute, tears coming to his eyes. He wiped them away, shaking his head. “Why didn’t you just tell me?”

“For the look on your face just then,” said Coach Randy, smiling widely. “You’re a huge asset to this team, Greg.”

Greg hugged him, then pulled away because he hadn’t asked if that was okay, but Coach Randy hugged him back, so he stayed there for a minute. “Thank you,” he said. Once they weren’t hugging anymore, Greg took a breath, and nodded. “Okay. I’ll do a really good job, promise.”

“I know you will. Maybe tomorrow we can sit down and go over exercise regimens? I think you’ll have more luck keeping the boys on task than I have.”

Greg chuckled. “Yes. We can do that. We can do it now if you like.”

“Nah,” said Coach Randy, waving and going to sit behind his comically undersized desk. “You go see your teammates, try that uniform on.”

Greg smiled so wide his lips hurt, holding the uniform close to his chest. “Thank you,” he said again, and he left his coach’s office. He could hear the guys being loud in the locker room, and Greg hesitated outside the entry, thinking for a second that they were going to be mad he was on the team and beat him up.

“You’re an intrusive thought,” Greg told that vision, thinking of Travis’s grin when he’d first invited Greg. “And you’re stupid and wrong.”

It took a second, but it went away, and Greg smiled again and went into the locker room. The team was all still in their uniforms, and they burst into quiet, sign language applause as Greg came into the locker room. “There you are,” said Travis, sitting near the door. “We were waiting for you.”

“You guys all knew about this,” Greg accused, standing there.

“Yeah,” Travis agreed. He waved Greg over. “Come put it on.”

Greg nodded, set his stuff down on the bench. He kept his t-shirt on, pulling the uniform shirt over it, but he changed into his new pants and shoes, noting that the tags had been removed from all of them. There was no mirror, but Greg used his phone’s camera to look at himself. Nobody was using that haunted mirror in Grandpa Gerard’s blue room, so maybe he’d ask Gavin to donate it. Until then, his phone and all his teammates’ faces showed clearly enough that the uniform fit really well. “Who gave Coach Randy my measurements?” he asked.

“Caleb briefly stole your clothes while you were in the shower last week,” Travis told him. Right.

“Sorry, by the way,” said Caleb, who was dark-haired and thick-armed. “I hope I didn’t freak you out.”

Greg shook his head. “No, you were doing me a favour, so thank you.”


“But I am going to spank you with your mitt tomorrow as a punishment.”

Caleb gave a lopsided smile and a two-finger salute. “If you insist, sir.”

“I know you’re usually okay with us all being horny in here,” Travis said, watching Caleb. “But I did tell everyone not to bother you too much. Um, we have some team group chats. We can invite you to the non-horny one, which is sometimes horny but not as often, and we can try to be…”

“No,” said Greg. “It’s okay. Um. I want to be part of the team. Really part of it. If that’s okay with you guys. I’m not as good at being horny in person as you are, but I don’t…I like horny group chats and unsolicited nudes and stuff. That’s okay.” It was better than okay.

“Oh, well in that case,” said Ike, pulling out his phone. He wasn’t alone, and soon Greg’s phone was vibrating like crazy with pictures of the team. Travis sent him the group chat invites, and Greg joined, immediately sending his favourite picture of himself to the one called Bonk, the one he’d taken after he’d left the shower a few months ago.

“We also got you a present,” said Ryan, who needed a haircut and was one of the boys who often forgot to do his exercises. “We all pitched in for it.” He held out a paper bag.

Inside was a collection of colourful stirrups with matching arm bands. “You guys,” said Greg. “Thank you. You didn’t need to do all this.” It must have been so expensive and not everyone’s parents were billionaires who owned apparel companies.

“But we wanted to,” Travis promised him. “We always get a present for our new teammates.”

“We do also haze them, but only a little bit and it’s not dangerous,” Ike promised.

Greg smiled again. “Okay. Thank you. Really.”

They all cheered again, which was a sweet thing for them to do, even if Greg hadn’t done anything yet. They finally paired up and started undressing each other.

Greg watched them a second, then cleared his throat. “Um. If I’m going to be your manager, I think it’s very important that I know what the team is working with. So if it’s okay with you guys, I’d like to do an equipment inspection…”

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