"I wanted a curve ball, Gillman, you pansy asshole." Walters spat in Tristan's face as he pulled his head down into the timeout huddle he had called, "I called for a curve ball and you pitched a fast one. The fucking bases are loaded because you can't see what's right in front of your faggot face." His hand gripped hard onto Tristan's neck and he gasped with pain as Walters' fingers dug into his flesh.

The game had been going well until the last five minutes: the last game of the season and their bid for the State High School Trophy. Tristan had had three off pitches: the bottom of the ninth and he'd managed to load the bases. They were three points ahead. If Tristan pitched one more bad ball and the batter got a lucky hit they would lose. The game hung by a thread and the Captain of the team Colin Walters, or Captain Dickhead, as Tristan always thought of him, had called a time out. As the others had approached, and before Coach Blake could join them he had grabbed Tristan into what seemed like a friendly huddle but was actually an assault on his neck and his ears complete with spittle that now ran down his cheek.

Something about the body language between Walters and Tristan set off alarm bells in Coach Blake's head and his step quickened slightly. His eyes shot to Walters' hand and saw that the fingers were digging just a little too much into Tristan's skin,

"Walters, what's the problem?" Walters looked up, with a small gasp at Blake's tone,

"Gillman and I were just havin' a discussion about which pitch was best, sir, bearin' in mind he has ignored my last three requests and pitched fast balls instead o' curves, Coach ." Walters had released his grip of Tristan's neck and they both stood. Tristan rubbed his neck where Walters' fingers had left their mark.

Carl Blake fought the sudden urge to add his own hand to Tristan's neck to rub it better. For a moment, a very brief moment his dark eyes met Tristan's crystal clear blue ones and in that moment they exchanged much more, far faster than words could ever say alone,

Are you ok? His dark eyes were full of concern,

I'm fine! Tristan's blue eyes rolled slightly towards his antagonist, Sort out Captain Dickhead before I kick his ass.

"Do you have anything to say about this, Gillman?" Blake asked, his mouth twitching at the expression on his secret lover's face. The surname sounded awkward coming from his lips when he'd grown so accustomed now to calling Tristan by his given name,

"I admit I made a wrong call with the last one..." Tristan began, but Walters cut in,

"A wrong call asshole?" He shouted, his fists clenched, his jaw set. His face had gone a puce colour and Tristan wanted to laugh at him but he knew that it wouldn't help diffuse the situation, so he bit his tongue and waited for Carl; his Carl; to sort things out. Coach Carl Blake would not stand for any swearing on his team,

"Anymore like that from you, Walters and you're off, and I don't care how close we are to winning the State trophy. I will not have you abusing your fellow team mates. Now apologise and then get back to your position." He glared at Walters, who looked angry enough even to defy the Coach, but the tall, stocky Captain backed down with a slump of his shoulders,

"Mm sorry." He muttered, almost imperceptibly,

"Louder," Blake ordered, "so's I can hear you; and mean it this time."

"Sorry, I'm sorry ok?" Walters shouted and returned to his position as catcher, shooting Tristan a dark look. Tristan so wanted to stick out his tongue but remembered he was eighteen and not eight. He did manage to look smug though.

Carl shook his head in frustration. Emotions and tensions were running high and he was no exception as he turned to Tristan, betraying his concern for the lad in his dark eyes. Tristan looked strained, stressed and stretched: like butter spread over too many slices of bread. He had a wild look in his eyes as he faced possibly the most important pitch of his entire life. Carl couldn't help himself and his hand reached instinctively to lie gently on Tristan's shoulder,

"Are you okay?" he asked, softly. A small ghost of a smile appeared on Tristan's lips and the wild look disappeared from his eyes,

"I am now," he muttered,

"What's this about wrong pitches?" Carl asked him, returning the smile,

"I just made some bad calls that's all." Tristan told him wearily,

"That's not like you, Tristan. Not like you at all." Tristan's smile deepened as Carl called him by his name, "Don't let the pressure get to you. Pitch this one like it's any other pitch. Walters knows what he's talking about though, even if he is a dickhead," their smiles turned mutual smirks, "so listen to him. He knows the other team. At the end of the day, though, it's your call, and your pitch, I trust your judgement." Tristan seemed to straighten a little at the vote of confidence.

Carl looked about him. The crowd, possibly the biggest they had ever played in front of, were beginning to get restless. There were some whistles and boos now as the opposing team's supporters began to call them out for delaying. The Coach from the other team was starting to look angry. Carl ignored them all, they were still within time. He returned his attention to Tristan and raised his eyebrows,

"Are you ready?" he asked. Tristan nodded then shook his head, running his fingers through his dark hair. They were shaking. Carl so wanted to twine them with his own to stop the trembling,

"I don't know, Carl." He sounded and looked as if he was going to throw up. Carl wanted to wrap him in his arms and carry him off the field right there and then. He didn't though, because this wasn't an "Officer and a Gentleman" fantasy, it was a real baseball game: a very important baseball game,

"It's just one more pitch, Tristan. Then we can party. And Oh my god if we win this trophy there will be one hell of a party. So do it for the team, Tristan. Do it for the team."

"No, Carl." Tristan's blue eyes gazed intensely into Carl's. The gaze was returned with a little puzzlement, "I won't do it for the team. I'll do it for you." Carl's breath caught in his throat and his heart did back flips in his chest. He watched as Tristan turned and walked back to the mound. Taking his position, he nodded to Carl who in turn nodded to the umpire. The umpire held up his hand and shouted,

"Let's play ball!" and the crowd went wild.

The roar was deafening, but it was merely background noise for Carl Blake as he found it difficult to concentrate on anything else except the beautiful young man standing ready to pitch for his life. He vaguely noted that the fielders were standing ready; waiting for the catch they hoped Tristan's pitch would give them. He vaguely noted that Walters had crouched; waiting for the strike he hoped Tristan would pitch him. He vaguely noted that the crowd waited for the epic ending to an epic game they all hoped Tristan would present them. All Carl wanted was for the pitch to be over, because he didn't care if they won or lost. Whatever the outcome of Tristan's next pitch it would have been for him and that meant far more to him than any stupid trophy.

The crowd noise died down to a soft, excited hum as Tristan held the ball in his glove, looking around at his base men and fielders. He looked last at Walters who was giving him the signal for a curve ball,

Damn curve ball again! He was about to shake his head but stopped.

He looked at the batter. He'd pitched five fast balls in a row. This guy was gonna anticipate a change; he was gonna know it would be a curve. But this guy couldn't hit curve balls, Tristan knew, he'd struck him out with three of them in the seventh. He looked at Walters with hooded eyes and nodded. Walters almost fell backwards in surprise and Tristan felt a sense of satisfaction that he had got one up on Captain Dickhead.

He took aim, never taking his eyes from the batter; he drew his hand back and his left leg lifted. He stepped forward and pitched. He pitched a curve ball; the most perfect curve ball he had ever pitched. The ball curled gracefully and the batter swung. There was the unmistakable crack of wood on leather as the bat connected with the ball. The crowd gasped as the ball flew high: too high. It flew over Tristan's head and he turned to follow it, holding his breath. Everyone followed it, holding their breaths.

It's a catch; it has to be a catch. For Carl, it has to be a catch.

The thwap as the ball fell into the fielder's glove was perhaps the loveliest sound Tristan had ever heard.

For a millisecond there was silence then the stadium erupted with noise. Tristan threw his arms in the air as if thanking the heavens, his face a picture of disbelief. He fell to his knees and buried his face into his hands. He couldn't take it in. The noise of the crowd was too much, he couldn't think. He just needed a moment but he didn't get it as the first members of his team reached him, sweeping him into their celebrations as they had the catcher. Who had it been? Tristan didn't even know who had caught the ball. He searched about him and saw a guy being lifted onto shoulders: Jamie; shy, cute but straight Jamie,

"Jamie, you're my new hero." Tristan yelled above the crowd noise, "That was the sexiest catch I've ever seen. I think I love you man." Tristan gasped and laughed in delight as he was lifted onto shoulders too and he was carried alongside Jamie. He grabbed a hold of the guy's shirt and kissed him full on the lips. The crowd cheered and whistled. Jamie pushed him away,

"Tristan, what the fuck?" Jamie exclaimed, but he was grinning from ear to ear. He had a feeling Tristan wouldn't be the last person to kiss him that night, although he hoped that the rest would be a little curvier than his team mate, "Great pitch man." He smacked Tristan on the back.

The two heroes of the game were carried to the dugout where the rest of the team were waiting. Tristan was lowered right in front of Walters who was actually smiling but also looking a little sheepish. He held out his hand to Tristan,

"Tristan, I really am sorry, man." He muttered, he might be a dickhead, but he never held a grudge. Tristan took the hand and shook it, pulling Walters to him,

"How about we kiss and make up?" he said, grinning wickedly. Walters pushed him away,

"Don't push your luck, asshole." He said angrily but he was still smiling and Tristan laughed, turning to accept hugs and kisses from all directions as their victory began to sink in.

He suddenly found himself alone in a bubble of revellers and felt a presence behind him. He turned and there was Carl: Coach Carl Blake: smiling and waiting, his hands by his sides. There was moisture in his eyes and Tristan felt his own eyes tear up at the sight,

"Well done, Gillman. That was one helluva pitch." Carl said, but the words were just a part of what he was saying, his dark eyes said so much more.

In the heat of the moment Tristan flung his arms around Carl's neck, burying his face into the taller man's shoulder. For a shocked moment Carl simply stood his hands still by his sides. As he looked around him for any kind of reaction to Tristan's embrace, though, he noticed the same thing going on all around them: guys hugging and even kissing in celebration. One hug wouldn't look too suspicious would it? As long as he followed it up with hugs all round. His arms wrapped around Tristan's back and he pulled him close, his nose buried in the younger man's dark hair, breathing in his spicy scent of sweat and leather: allowing himself the rare luxury of becoming lost in the sensations of his lover's embrace,

"I told you I'd do it for you, Carl." Tristan whispered softly into his shoulder, his breath hot through Carl's shirt,

"Thank you, Tristan, thank you so much." He whispered back into Tristan's hair, sending shivers of delight down the younger man's spine,

"You c'n thank me properly later." Tristan pulled back and flicked his eyebrows comically, the way he always did when he wanted to drive Carl wild with desire. Carl laughed and renewed his hold for a few more seconds.

Then the moment was gone as they were swept up in the celebrations again. Tristan was carried off to help the team accept the trophy and Carl was caught in a wave of teachers and other spectators all slapping him on the back and hugging him too. Anyone who observed them would think nothing of it until perhaps later when they might think that they had held each other for a little longer than was the protocol for a teacher and a student but they would put it all down to the heat of the moment.

The heat of the moment was exactly what Tristan and Carl were into some four hours later. After the Trophy had been presented there had been showers, parties, celebrations, beers and, inevitably at these kinds of events, there had been pairing off and most probably sex: most definitely in Tristan and Carl's case.

They had both attended the Victory party for what they had thought was the requisite amount of time and then, by way of text and mutual agreement they had left the party; separately of course; and met up at Carl's house.

They hadn't wasted any time as Carl had let Tristan in through his side gate. Tristan had taken a cab since he had imbibed a few too many beers to be able to drive, or in fact stand effectively. Carl was similarly impaired, but they didn't require each other to stand.

They had made fast work of each others' clothes, leaving them in a trail: like bread crumbs, along the hall from the door, up the stairs and into Carl's bedroom. They had made fast work of their first orgasms too. The excitement and adrenaline rush of winning the trophy still firing them up.

They had fallen on the bed together their bodies pressed against each other. Their lips connecting: their legs entwined. Tristan had taken them both in hand, and Carl's hand had wrapped around his as he had rubbed up and down their hardened shafts with an urgency born of desire and pure lust,

"Yes, Tristan, God yes." Carl had cried out as he had come, spilling over both their hands. Tristan was a little slower to reach his climax so Carl had moved down his body and taken him in his mouth. His tongue flicked over the tip and he sucked down the shaft. Tristan had arched his back, moaning in pleasure and had come deep into Carl's throat,

"Fuck." He breathed as he fell back onto the bed laughing. Drunk on beer and drunk on Carl.

Carl chuckled and moved back up the bed. He kissed him, this time slowly and sensuously. Tristan could taste himself on Carl's lips and he eagerly pushed his tongue inside Carl's mouth to get a better taste,

"That tastes so good," he whispered softly,

"Only because you taste so good." Carl whispered back, pushing his tongue against Tristan's, "That's the thank you for throwing that pitch for me."

"You know I'd do anything for you, Coach." Tristan smiled and laid his head on Carl's shoulder. Carl held him tight, cradling him against his body, feeling the firmness, and the warmth and the sweat. Tristan could hear Carl's heart beat, pounding in his chest, "You know what?" Tristan asked him, his words slow, and soft,

"What?" Carl smiled, he loved these moments just after sex, when they just lay and talked,

"When that ball hit Jamie's glove, I thought it was the most beautiful sound I'd ever heard."

"I know what you mean." Carl told him remembering that he had felt the same way,

"I was wrong though." Tristan went on. Carl grunted, a demand for an explanation, "Hearing your heart beat as I lay on your chest, Carl Blake; now that is definitely the most beautiful sound I've ever heard."

Carl felt as if his heart would burst and break at the same time. He buried his face into Tristan's hair and held him tightly; a soft sob escaped his lips. Tristan clung to him because he knew why Carl was so upset; he felt the same way.

They had talked, that first night at Carl's house. After the great sex; they had talked. Their affair couldn't last. They both knew it. Tristan would leave for College at the end of the summer. Carl had been offered a job across the other side of the country, coaching and teaching in an exclusive private College in New York State. The possibility was that they would not see each other for a long time.

They had both decided that it would be far less painful for them to end their affair before they both left because neither of them could face the pain of it fizzling out. The distances involved were just too great.

In a few weeks time they would no longer be teacher and student as Tristan graduated and left school. So they had decided to enjoy what time they had together through the summer then go their separate ways. Both were finding this decision difficult to come to terms with, especially given the depth of feeling between them: something that they had never expected to develop for each other.

The night Tristan had seduced Carl in his office had been the start of it, but they had admitted to each other that they had each felt something for the other long before that night. Carl had fought against it because he was the teacher and Tristan had just accepted his feelings as being a teenage crush.

They had never expected anything more. And they had never expected to fall in love.

Much later as they sat up in bed, drinking coffee to try to sober up because they had both imbibed a little too much alcohol than was good for them, Tristan and Carl talked more. They talked of their plans for the future, their separate futures both knowing that their parting was inevitable,

"You know I'll never ever forget you, Carl." Tristan promised wholeheartedly,

"Yeah?" Carl asked, a little breathless, "You'll forget me the moment you get to college." He told him, "Once you meet all those college guys. They'll fall at your feet." Far from feeling jealous about this he was feeling a little excited for this vibrant young man whose adventure was just about to start,

"What about all the college guys you'll meet?" Tristan asked, "And they'll all be stinking rich."

"If I find anyone half as talented as you then I'll consider myself very lucky indeed."

"Talented how?" Tristan asked him taking Carl's coffee cup away from him and placing it on the bedside table beside his own. He was smiling seductively as he straddled the older man. Carl returned the smile, his arms snaking around Tristan's waist,

"I meant talented in baseball and at school." Carl told him as Tristan brushed his lips against Carl's neck causing his groin to tingle. He gasped at the sensation, still thrilling even after so many times, "I doubt I'll ever find another as good at getting me worked up the way you do, Tristan, I doubt it very much."

"So why don't you take me with you." Tristan whispered in his ear, nibbling his lobe. Carl pulled back in shock,

"Tristan, we talked about this, we can't, I can't, you can't. There's so much for you to do, so much you can do with your life. Throwing it away for me, that's just stupid and reckless."

"It ain't reckless if it means we'll both be happy." Tristan told him, pulling back to look into Carl's eyes,

"Coming with me won't make you happy, believe me Tristan. Giving up your dreams and following me won't make you happy."

"How d'you know that? You don't have any idea what I want, and what my dreams are."

"You've told me enough about them for me to know that they don't include giving up going to college altogether for a half baked fantasy." Carl and Tristan locked eyes and Tristan glared at him,

"This." Tristan waved his hand between his and Carl's chest, "This is not a half baked fantasy, Carl. This is something special that you don't throw away so easily just because you had plans before it happened."

"This," Carl waved his hand between his and Tristan's chests in the same manner, "Should not have happened in the first place. We are breaking about a thousand rules and laws just being here right now, Tristan."

"We won't be breaking any laws in two weeks time; I'll not be at school anymore. We c'n do what the hell we want because I won't be your student anymore."

"You haven't been my student for a long time now, Tristan." Carl reminded him, "That relationship stopped that first night in my office." He turned away, lowering his eyes because he still felt bad, no matter how much Tristan reassured him, that he had been so forceful, and rough. Tristan had not been a virgin, by any stretch of the imagination, but his experiences had been restricted to other high school guys, and he had almost always been the one making the moves. Carl had taken him so completely that night it had taken his breath away and he had cried out in alarm as it had hurt at first. After that it had been amazing, but causing that initial pain had caused Carl a lot of guilt.

Tristan laid his hands on Carl's shoulders and turned him back to face him. His blue eyes locked with Carl's dark brown ones,

"You know how good that first time was for me, for both of us, Carl. Don't feel bad; don't ever feel bad about it." He told his lover.

Carl smiled a weak smile. Their problem was still not resolved though; he needed Tristan to promise him they would stick to their agreement. The job he had been offered was the chance of a lifetime and Tristan's offer for college, at Berkley, was the offer of a lifetime for the talented young man.

They would be on opposite sides of the country and living very different lives. Whatever they had here and now was destined not to last. Their lives would take different directions and they would meet new people and make new friends and find new lovers. Tristan, Carl was under no allusion, would have no trouble finding new lovers. He was so talented, so brilliantly good at everything he put his hand to. He was confident and gregarious and Carl couldn't help being dazzled by his shining light,

"You dazzle me, Tristan. You take my breath away every time I look at you. But you know that we would never be happy together. You're destined for so much more than me."

"Maybe you should let me be part of that decision." Tristan pouted. Carl hooked his finger beneath the young man's chin and lifted his face so that their eyes met again,

"And what do you think your parents will do and say if you drop everything you have worked so hard for on a whim."

"This isn't a whim, Carl, you are not a whim."

"Oh but I am, Tristan. I'm under no illusions as to that fact. Answer my question."

Tristan hung his head and sighed,

"I don't know what they would do. I guess they'd be disappointed at best: angry and desperately unhappy at worst. They saved up a lot o' money to support me through college. They worked real hard to help me. I guess I can't let them down. I guess I feel bad just thinkin' about droppin' everything."

"See?" Carl told him, "Those feelings alone would fester inside you, and no matter how good we are together, and no matter how much we want this, that festering would drive us apart." He looked away sadly, "That would break my heart even more than saying goodbye to you now and going our separate ways."

Tristan stared at him, his crystal clear blue eyes filled with tears and Carl felt his heart begin to break already. He wrapped his arms around Tristan and held him to his chest. They lay there for some time, Tristan's occasional sniff and the wetness from his tears the only give away that he was crying. Carl allowed his own tears to fall,

"Let's do what we planned, Tristan." He said, "Let's have a great summer and part as friends, please? Because I would hate for us to part as enemies, hating each other because we couldn't give each other what we wanted and needed." Tristan looked up, wiping his eyes on the back of his hand,

"That sounds good to me." He said, smiling again through his tears. He shuffled slowly up Carl's body so that their faces were level. He gazed into the dark pools that were Carl's eyes, "So what'd you have in mind for the summer, Carl?" he asked his hand moving gently and seductively down Carl's body to his groin, gently massaging him. Carl gasped with pleasure as he reacted to Tristan's caress. He grew hard and felt the need for this young man building inside him,

"Oh, god Tristan, let's just have as much sex as we possibly can." He gasped, breathing hard.

Tristan sealed his mouth against Carl's, his tongue demanding entrance. Carl's tongue joined it in a battle for dominance that neither of them cared who won. Tristan pulled away, Carl moaning in protest,

"That sounds like a good plan to me, Coach Blake." He whispered softly against Carl's lips, "Why don't we start right now."

A/N Okay, that's that for Tristan and Carl I'm afraid. I only intended a one shot but they had other ideas. You know what happens next. Tristan goes to college and meets Danny. He has lots of sex with lots of other guys before the Halloween Incident starts then he and Danny discover they might have something special together. That is still ongoing of course, and I haven't forgotten about it, I promise.

I would like to apologise for any technical errors or gaffs in the baseball scene. I have only ever been to one live baseball game, a long time ago, between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A's. I have seen quite a lot of baseball movies though. There appear to be quite a few. If my description of the game is in anyway incorrect then please don't blast me, I'm English and play cricket! Also feel free to correct any mistakes about rules or technical terms in your head because it is just a story, not a technical manual!

Thanks for reading anyway. Hope you all enjoyed it, and feel free to review.

DS