The following is a complete work of fiction.


The following story may contain erotic situations between consenting adults. If it is illegal for you to read this please leave now.

Any resemblance between the characters and any real life person is completely coincidental. Please do not copy or distribute the story without the author's permission.

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Home Run
by DW Simon

It was a cold and stormy day in January when they met. Sean was standing behind his mother, watching her sign copy after copy of the latest bestseller written by him, using her name as a cover. Ken sat across the room, signing his month in the calendar, the latest ploy by the team to drum up business for charity. It was Ken's baby, his idea to make a beefcake calendar of some of the better-looking players on the team and it was selling almost better than the book. Sean had seen Ken sitting on the other side of the room, smiling and flirting with the many ladies lined up to buy a copy and have it signed by their favorite baseball player. He had always noticed Ken Simms, for he was an absolutely beautiful man. He was tall, very athletic, and as he could see from the full page blow up of the calendar, very well built. He had a muscular, toned body, covered in dark hair from his collarbones in wonderful swirls along his chest until it thickened in a deep swath from mid sternum down along his belly into his team pants.

Sean felt out of place and a bit like an ogre at the Women's Conference. But he always felt that way. He was six-eight and he got so wrapped up in his writing that he often let his appearance go a bit. He'd forget to cut his hair and seldom shaved. His body was big, naturally huge and it only got more toned and large with the workouts he did to ease some of the stress, some of the loneliness. His mother had taken him to see her friend and she had cut his hair and trimmed his unruly beard, but he still felt out of place, a bit like a rugged mountain man in this room of dainty, petite women. If only he had known that Ken sat across the room and couldn't help but notice him.

Ken had always been attracted to tall, big men, being one himself. Although a mere six-three, he had always been so much taller than most other people. He watched as Sean stood over his mother, watched all that she did. Many people shied away from him, but Ken couldn't help but notice that the man was gruff in appearance, but had the sweetest, saddest, kindest eyes he had ever seen. Those eyes belied the big, scary exterior and led right into the soul of the man. He only half listened to the many women, clamoring for his autograph as he surreptitiously watched the man across the room. He felt his pulse quicken as he caught him more than once staring back at him.

As the conference wound down on this final day, the crowds started to thin and Sean felt bereft that it would all be over. He had overheard such incredible praise coming from the fans of his work. In so many ways he wished he could come right out and say that the work was his and that it was his heart and soul that he poured into each story, that it was his hopes and dreams and belief in love that was in every word. But who would want to read the hopes and dreams of a big, ugly gay man? So he stood behind his mother, ever grateful that she had stepped forward when he couldn't sell his first book. She had taken one look at her son, seen his hopes fading as he got rejection after rejection. She put her name to his work and submitted it, gaining a multiple book contract that got extended over and over again. He was so talented. Her pride in him knew no bounds.

The moderators of the conference asked that the guests stay in place while they made sure all the doors were shut before leaving. Ken took that opportunity to make his way over to add his praise of the woman's work. He had read each book, and although it was always about a man and woman finding everlasting love, it spoke to him so deeply, answered so many of his own hopes and dreams, that he couldn't pass up the opportunity to say so. Playing major league baseball meant living a lie, living life in the closet. He was gay, but his team manager and coaches had always schooled him to stay in the closet, to perpetuate the lie. Professional sports wasn't ready for an openly gay player. It stymied his life to the point where he stopped even trying to date at all. For Ken could never ask anyone to live the secret. He had tried twice, and both times the relationship faltered before it even started. So he lived his life alone, his hand being his constant companion. He wasn't proud of himself, but he got so lonely last season that he hooked up with one of the team groupies and used her body to slake his lust, just so he could be connected to someone for a few hours. It had been highly unsatisfying.

As Ken made his way to the table with Margaret Anderson, he couldn't help but smile as he felt the eyes of the big man behind her follow his every move. He had never been the object of someone's deep scrutiny before, at least not someone who was so ruggedly handsome, so completely masculine, so fiercely virile looking. He was the epitome of whom Ken found most attractive in a man. He shared kind words with Margaret; all the while feeling those sad, kind eyes follow him, watch him, and devour him. It sent a chill down his spine and made his cock twitch and plump.

Sean stared in fascination as Ken stood talking with his mother, heaping praise upon her writing. He had no idea that someone as sexy, as gorgeous as Ken Simms, star catcher and potential MVP, would read his writing. It was both humbling and thrilling. He caught himself from smiling, which was never a good thing. He remembered the harsh words that his only lover had used when he left, remembered the feeling of failure, the feeling of inadequacy. He was always going to be a big brute, clumsy and awkward. Alone. It had been three years and the sting was still with him. David had moved on, had found happiness and here he was, without someone but filled with so much love to give. That's why he put everything into his writing, filled each word with his soul. He didn't have someone to hold, but he did have the ability to share with others his heart, his soul. It wasn't really enough, but he lied to himself so he'd believe it was.

Margaret excused herself and headed to the facilities, four hours being too long to hold a bladder. Ken took the opportunity to at least try and talk to the big man. He was so nervous, so unsure of the response he'd get. But the hungry looks that he thought were hidden gave Ken the clues that his words might be appreciated. He looked up into those kind eyes and almost flinched at the raw look of pain, the haunted look of sadness he saw in them. Ken smiled so big, trying to put the big guy at ease.

"Hi. I'm Ken Simms."

He got a smile. "I know who you are. Sean Anderson."

"So Margaret Anderson is your mother?"


"You must be very proud."

If he hadn't been watching those eyes, such a deep chocolate brown, he'd have missed the subtle shift. There was more to it than that, but he couldn't put his finger on it. But he'd like to find out, delve into those eyes and look into the soul of the man, search for the hurts and help him move past them. For the first time in his twenty-four years, Ken wanted to connect, wanted to be a part of a whole. He had the same feeling with his team, but this was different, this was of an intimate nature, a deeper desire than any other he had known.

As the two men continued to talk trivialities about the weather, Sean felt his heart race and his palms grow sweaty. He had felt like this before, that time he'd gone to a bar and started chatting up this guy who was so beautiful. That undeniable feeling of attraction and desire that clenched his gut and made him feel weak in the knees had him hard. But just as he started to go with the feelings assaulting him, he remembered whom he was, and that his desire was never returned. He smiled politely at Ken, once there was an uncomfortable pause in the conversation, and made his excuses, trying so hard not to let his feelings show on his face, the disappointment and hurt. As he moved to walk by Ken, he felt in his gut the loss, but he still started to walk away, moving towards the other side of the room and his waiting mother.

Ken stared in amazement as Sean moved away. He hadn't missed the smile that formed on his lips. He had such a nice smile, straight white teeth poked out from his lips, making such a sharp contrast with that dark beard and moustache. Then for some reason, the light seemed to fade from his eyes and the smile vanished. As he walked by, he could have sworn he saw the man's shoulders slump. Ken wondered what had happened in his life to make him feel this way, for he looked so lost and alone. In that moment, some unknown well of courage made him reach out and put his hand on the man's shoulder. He was positive he felt a shudder under his sweaty palm.

"Sean." He had to clear his throat from a sudden spear of desire that grabbed him at the feel of the warm, burly muscle under his palm. "Next week I leave for Spring Training, but I was hoping we might be able to spend some of my time together." His voice got timid and he gave Sean a sheepish smile, "to get to know each other." And Ken almost gasped, wondering where that had come from.

Sean was taken aback. Get to know each other? A pulse of desire and something akin to hope made him answer. "I'm in between projects at the moment and I was going to go recharge at my cabin."

Ken couldn't stop the grin. "That sounds wonderful. Where is it?"

Sean gave him the general area of the cabin's location and the idea of being alone for a few days with this handsome, intriguing man had Ken almost drooling. "That really sounds good. Care for some company?"

Sean almost got angry, wondering why he was being toyed with. But he schooled his expression, remembering that this was a busy man, someone who was probably mobbed as badly as his mother was. And the cabin did have two bedrooms. "I'll leave tomorrow morning, early. How about I swing by and pick you up at five?"

"That's great!" Then Ken gave him his address and the two men parted, both feeling elated and weary at the same time.

Early the next morning, Sean was driving towards Ken's house, nervous, wondering why he had agreed to this. It wasn't like he needed company. He'd gotten by on his own for the past three years. He was twenty-seven, not some child who needed coddling. In his mind, this felt like a mistake. But there was a small kernel of hope that wouldn't be denied. Ken lived in a nice neighborhood, his home nicely maintained.

Why was he doing this? What did he hope to gain? The answers were obvious. The lust inside him was strong. The ever-present wish to love someone completely was even stronger. But so were the fears and doubts. Could he survive if something happened? Could he survive if nothing happened? His mind raced and all he could remember is those hateful, hurtful final words from David. "You are clumsy and oafish." "You're selfish and uncaring." "You're lousy in bed, Sean." He knew in his heart that these things weren't true. But they were the same words he had heard over and over throughout his life. The shyness of youth never left, and as his body grew bigger and stronger, it only got worse. It was only when David took control that he actually had sex with someone and all that love that had hidden for so long went pouring into that relationship. Unfortunately, it made Sean blind to all the warning signs: the infidelity, the verbal abuse and innuendos. Because he didn't know any different, he put up with it and now here he sits in front of a famous ballplayer's house, wondering what the hell he was getting himself in to.

Ken had been unable to sleep the night before. He'd finally given up about three, and got up and worked out, trying to work off some nervous energy. He'd packed for whatever condition he might face. Out of some perverted sense of hope, he'd also included condoms.

Ken was nervous, no doubt about it. They passed few words amongst themselves for the first hour, they both felt foolish. Sean still wondered why he agreed. He used this time to plot out his next book. Of course, he already had about ten couples' stories floating in his head at any given moment, now it just depended on which one stood out and said that it was their time to be told. He felt kind of like a fraud, writing about straight couples, but then again, love was love, gay, straight or bisexual.

After an hour, conversation started up between them, they shared stories about childhood and Sean learned about Ken's love of baseball, his pursuit of it and his feeling of joy at getting recruited right out of college and being named rookie of the year last year. This year, it was hoped that the team would make it to the World Series. Sean smiled at Ken's boyish enthusiasm. He was so excited, absolutely pumped at the coming season. His hope was infectious. Sean had taken his nephews to all the home games; he had bought season tickets for the three of them and had been going for the past three years. This time, he was looking forward to the season, knowing this player, knowing he would be cheering him on. Sean didn't say, but he knew in his heart that the reason he allowed him to come with him was because he had noticed him that first day on the field. The catcher was so beautiful and he and the boys always watched the warm-up. This guy was so real, so honest and good that he always made time to talk to fans. The boys both had autographs from him. Of course he wouldn't remember them, but the boys treasured it nonetheless. Even deeper in thought, Sean realized that he had gone to bed and stroked himself to the thought of Ken several times. The idea of a catcher was not only a crude joke, but also thinking about someone who spent the majority of their time squatting, Sean was sure that his ass and legs would be strong and muscular. The thought had him plumping in his pants as he thought about it.

As they got to the cabin, Ken looked out and was surprised, this place seemed to be more of a home than just a weekend place and he wondered how much time Sean spent here. Once they got inside, Sean led Ken to a bedroom with a queen size bed and a nice view of the lake. He was both disappointed and relieved that Sean carried his bag into another bedroom. Ken was given a quick tour of the house and was pleased to see a well-stocked refrigerator and a good kitchen. There was plenty of everything. The two sat down and Sean started a fire. They talked for a few hours, not realizing that time was flying so quickly. Ken was thrilled that they seemed to click so well, learning that they had similar beliefs in politics, religion, views on society and even a keen sense of history. They liked similar types of music and movies. Of course Ken liked his mother's books and they talked about those, Ken wondering at the shy and almost embarrassed look that Sean gave him over it. After a few hours, they were both hungry and made lunch together companionably. All the while, the sexual tension deepened and thickened for both men.

Later that night, Sean lay back in bed and marveled at how well the day had gone. They had laughed and joked while making lunch, and Sean was amazed at how good dinner had been. Ken had cooked, even did the dishes. It was so tasty, flavorful and well seasoned. Sean was drifting to sleep, knowing that tonight he'd sleep better then he had in quite some time. Even if nothing ever happened, it was good to spend time with someone again. He had missed this so much, but it wasn't until he actually had another person around that he realized how empty he was, how alone. His eyes drifted shut and he was smiling, almost not able to wait until tomorrow morning when he'd get up and go jogging with Ken.

The first rays of dawn came in through the slats in the blinds in Ken's room. But Ken was already awake, had been for two hours, ever since he had woken to sticky sheets and his sweaty, heaving breaths. Yesterday had been so much fun. It was so good to just be. Just exist with someone. It had been so long since he'd allowed himself to be with someone and just let it all hang out, to be himself and not try and hide his desire, his wants, his thoughts. He remembered Jim, the guy he played with a bit in high school. That relationship had been so completely one-sided. He'd gone down on him one day after practice, and it had continued. But Jim was straight and only testing the waters, and when the year was over and they went to different schools, Jim didn't care to associate with him at all. Then there was his roommate his junior year. That had lasted one glorious weekend, but it didn't get repeated. Once he got to the majors, it was over. His own hand had been his only friend, lover and release. But last night, his dreams had been filled with Sean. The way he looked, the strength of his hands, the gentle, sweet smile he gave. He loved the way he laughed, loved the brush of his body against his. It had only happened once, but it had electrified him. And last night, just before bed, Sean had raised his arms to stretch, revealing his furry belly, Ken had felt his throat tighten and his heart rate speed up. He had gone to bed with his mind filled with the sweet torture of licking that furry belly, delving into the tight button of his navel.

Ken hopped out of bed and slipped on his briefs, t-shirt, sweats and zip up fleece sweater. He tied his tennis shoes and headed for the kitchen and the coffee maker. While waiting for the coffee to brew, he crept down the hall, curious if Sean were up yet. As he pushed open the bedroom door, he saw Sean lying on his belly on the bed, clad only in a pair of simple briefs. His darkly furred legs shifted restlessly, only his feet covered by the blankets. Ken swallowed hard as his eyes trailed up the long length of him, over the muscular and tight ass under the simple white cotton, the flare of dark hair in the small of his back, the muscular shoulders and the dark, furry forearm slung over the pillow. Ken was about to step away when Sean moaned then flopped over onto his back. Ken couldn't move at that point, because Sean was erect, pushing up on the elastic of his briefs, tenting them to the point of bursting. Ken swallowed audibly as Sean shifted his legs, squirmed his back. His underwear was damp, a large wet spot allowing Ken to see the flared head of his very thick, very long cock. Ken thickened in his own right and began to pant at the sight of Sean's excitement and agitation. Sean kept shifting his legs and arching his back, accentuating the flat belly and deep chest, all of it covered under a thick carpet of dark, curly hair. With a mumbled gasp of Ken's name, Sean tensed and Ken watched as that thick cock convulsed in heated spasms, leaking thick, ropy gobs of semen through the thin cotton covering, propelling cum up his belly as Sean moaned over and over as his orgasm subsided. Ken couldn't catch his breath, his face was hot and his throat thick with desire. He barely had time to back out into the hall as Sean bolted up into a sitting position.

Ken snuck back into the kitchen and poured himself a half-cup of coffee, not being able to handle more, since his hands were shaking so badly. He splashed water onto his face, trying to cool the heat of desire. He prayed that his erection would go away. Just to make sure, Ken took his coffee cup out to the porch, hoping the frigid mountain air would calm him. A few minutes later, a flushed and sheepish looking Sean joined him, and whatever control Ken had gained in the cool air vanished. His cock plumped right back to full erection and his breathing picked up again. Sean had taken a shower; he had a cup of coffee in his hand and couldn't quite meet Ken's eyes. Ken felt so powerful, so good knowing that Sean felt these same feelings, the same need and desire. That allowed him to gain control over his raging hormones and greet the man with a smile. They were dressed similarly, and after finishing their coffee, they set off for a brisk jog around the lake.

The two men were evenly matched on their jog. They moved with a great rhythm, moving well, pushing each other when needed. Sean had the longer legs, but Ken had more stamina. Ken watched as Sean pulled ahead, watched the play of his ass and leg muscles under the loose sweats, and his heart rate jumped. He pulled ahead and grinned as he heard Sean falter before resuming his pace. He looked over his shoulder and saw the raw, hungry look in Sean's eyes. It only made Ken get hard, and running with an erection was difficult. But he kept going, keeping slightly ahead of Sean.

Sean gulped at the sight of Ken's muscular legs as he jogged before him. He almost tripped, lost in the serious fantasy from his dream that woke him this morning. He had been imagining Ken lying on top of him, pushing his cock between his cheeks, rubbing that hard ridge in the cleft of his ass. Then he had flipped over and impaled Ken on his shaft, pushing up into his ass, feeling him surround him in heat and warmth. Three thrusts and he had cum, and cum hard. He woke up and was aghast at the sticky mess on his belly. He had only ever had one wet dream, when he was thirteen. But this one, this one was so different; it was as if he could actually feel Ken taking him in. And it had felt so good, so right to join their bodies together.

They continued to jog around the lake, and each pound of their feet against the paved road seemed to beat a primal, sexual rhythm through their bodies. Each step was a further call to their baser, animal selves. By the time they got back to the cabin, they were dripping with sweat. Ken unzipped his sweater, peeling it and his sweaty t-shirt off, giving Sean a clear view of his sweaty, hairy chest. Sean quickly followed suit and the two men stood panting in the kitchen, swallowing water, watching as the sweaty hair dried and started curling, moving away from their sticky skin. Each moment passed, getting longer and longer as they looked at each other, neither speaking, but words at this point were unnecessary. The tension grew heavier between them. Sean turned for another fill of water, turning around to see that Ken had moved closer. Sean lifted the glass to his lips, his pupils dilated, and he took a sip, a drop of water escaping and flowing down his chin to drip onto his chest, and Ken watched as the water flowed into the furry chest. He couldn't stay away, he had to taste, had to follow that lucky drop. Before either could think, Ken was in Sean's arms, their mouths fused together. They both moaned at the contact, electrified by the taste, the heat. As their tongues touched, Sean whimpered and his arms came around in tight, steely bands around Ken's back. Ken rubbed his erection into Sean's crotch, eliciting a greater moan. Ken's glass dropped and shattered against the floor, and they pulled back, startled by the sound. Ken blushed and turned to grab something to clean it up, but Sean stopped him, pulling him with him towards the hall, bypassing his bedroom and heading into the bathroom.

They kicked off their shoes and peeled the clothes off of their bodies, Sean gasping at the sight of Ken naked, rampantly aroused and dripping a steady stream of pearly excitement. Ken looked at Sean, at his immense erection and grinned devilishly as he reached into the shower and turned it on, stepping inside and pulling Sean in after him. They closed the shower door and continued to kiss, this time nothing keeping their erections apart as they slid against each other, side by side against their hairy bellies. They moaned at the contact as they began to stroke the others' back. Ken started moving his hips and the friction caused such sharp sensations that they broke contact with their mouths, Sean throwing his head back and crying out, Ken burying his nose into the hollow of Sean's throat and moaning. They kept moving, feeling the sensations spiral higher and higher as first Ken, and then Sean came hard against the other.

They rested against each other; both spent, replete, and panting from the experience. Ken started laughing, a joyous, infectious laugh that had Sean joining in. On wobbly legs, the two washed each other, turning the water cooler to try and kill some of the heat generated by both the jog and the hot sex they had just shared. If either man had deflated from their release, by the time they were done washing and rinsing, they were back at full staff. Sean shut off the water and grabbed a towel and sensuously dried Ken before quickly drying himself. He grabbed Ken, pulling him into his arms and walking with him into his bedroom and pushed him down on his big bed. He stood, looking down at Ken, at his beautiful body, and knew a moment of peace. He lay down slowly, so he could rest completely on top of Ken. The two started to kiss again, tasting each other, moving slowly, because they hadn't before. Each kiss got hotter and slower as they explored each other with hands and fingers. Sean started to kiss lower on Ken's jaw, moving down to kiss his neck, near his ear, the hollow of his throat before moving down to lave his nipple. His tongue trailed through the thick hair before moving down its trail to his navel. Ken gasped as Sean's thick, softly furred chest brushed against his cock. Raw lust and heat spread through Ken as Sean's lips surrounded his cock head and slowly took him into his hot, wet mouth. The feelings he was experiencing were greater than any other he had ever known. As Sean licked and sucked at him, his hands came up to grip his hair, caressing Sean's temples, to connect, never to guide or push. Then Sean took him deep, diving for the base. And Ken could do nothing but gasp. But he was so close, so near the end, and he didn't want to have it over so soon. He tried to pull Sean off him, but Sean kept up the assault, bobbing his head, swirling his tongue, taking in all of his flavor, feeling him thicken and get harder, feeling Ken teeter on the brink. The shouts reaching his ears were better than sweet music; they were a benediction, a praise of his feelings. As Ken screamed out and flooded Sean's mouth, Sean realized that he had fallen in love. For in his three years with David, never once had he been given such a gift, the complete trust and care from so simple an act. David had always been about raw fucking and constant desire to just ram inside and come quickly. Thankfully, Sean had always been ultra-responsive; just stroking his prostate a few times would result in orgasm.

Ken lay back, gasping for breath, amazed at what had just happened. He looked down to see Sean tasting what had just transpired. Then he looked up into Ken's eyes and the raw fire lighting them stole what little breath Ken had regained. He pulled on Sean's shoulders, tugging him up his body, feeling his throbbing, dripping cock as it trailed along his leg. He looked down, knowing in that instant what he wanted. As Sean met his lips for a kiss, sharing his flavor, it only pushed Ken harder. He clasped Sean's big shoulders and moved his legs up to wrap over his hips, his calves nestled behind Sean's thighs. He let the natural rhythm of their kiss, the gentle rocking of their bodies align them. He looked deeply into Sean's eyes and smiled.

"Make love to me Sean. Fill me. Please."

Sean lowered his head so they rested forehead to forehead, and he felt the big guy shudder. "Oh God Ken. I want to so badly." He swallowed hard. "But I've never... I've never been... I've never topped before."

The slow blush that rose into Sean's cheeks warmed Ken all the more. He gripped his face in his hands and kissed him deeply. "It's okay Sean, I've never bottomed before."

"Oh Jesus Ken." His breath came rapidly. "Now I really don't think this is a good idea." His arms were shaking around Ken and his whole body was trembling with need, with want. "I want to so badly, the idea is making me shake." He gulped and looked up into Ken's eyes, letting the sincerity show in his dark brown eyes. "But I don't want to hurt you."

"Why do you think you'd hurt me?" He was genuinely puzzled by his assumption.

"Ken. Look at me. I'm a big guy."

He knew it wasn't what he meant, but Ken couldn't help but push his hips up against Sean, wiggling slightly against what was so obviously big. "You don't have to tell me twice."

The blush doubled and crept down his neck and chest, making Sean even dearer. "That isn't what I meant Ken."

He couldn't help but laugh. "I know Sean. I don't think you'd ever hurt me. It isn't in you to hurt someone intentionally."

"No, I'd never hurt anyone intentionally... but inadvertently, I might."

Ken looked up into Sean's face and smiled. He reached his hand out and skimmed his fingers up his back, causing Sean to arch up into his caress with a sensuous purr. "Did that hurt Sean?"

At his shake of the head, Ken trailed his hand down and cupped and molded one of the cheeks of Sean's ass. "Did that hurt Sean?"

"No," which he said in a very deep and throaty moan.

Ken lifted his mouth and brushed his lips against Sean's. "Did that hurt?"


Ken moved his fingers deeper along Sean's ass, moving them, dipping them into the softly, thickly furred cleft until his fingertips brushed against his hole. Sean's whole body shook with the moan he let out as his hole flexed against Ken's fingers. "Did that hurt?"

"Good God no." Sean's voice was almost hoarse from the desire he felt. Ken looked deeply into Sean's eyes, knowing that there was no way that Sean would ever, ever hurt him; his fear being a part of the caring, wonderful nature that was Sean. And in that moment, Ken's heart beat once, twice in a slow, heavy rhythm as his heart was given. For he no longer was alone, his heart, his soul had found his missing half and Ken went with the tumultuous ride that was love.

"Kiss me Sean." And he complied, with a gentle brushing of lips, a slight flick of the tongue against his before pulling back to stare into Ken's deep blue eyes.

"That didn't hurt Sean." Then Ken reached out his hand and took Sean's in his as he lowered Sean's fingers to his chest, brushing his nipple with the fingers. "That didn't hurt either." Ken watched as Sean stared at the responsive nub of flesh, how it distended and beaded under his fingers. Ken pulled Sean's hand lower, skimming his fingers over his belly and Ken couldn't help the gasp and the trembling of his stomach muscles as the warm hand caressed his flesh. His own voice husky with desire, he told Sean, "That didn't hurt."

Sean's hand moved lower, brushing the hard, leaking tip of Ken and watched in amazement as Ken's entire body convulsed, bucked up against his own. "That didn't hurt at all Sean." Then Sean moved down lower, following the tight ridge of flesh between balls and ass, watching each of Ken's soft gasps as he grazed against Ken's puckered opening. "You aren't hurting me Sean." And Ken cupped Sean's face and kissed his lips lightly. "And you never will."

And with those words, the last of Sean's fears left him. He moved higher, letting his cock brush deeply in Ken's cleft as he reached into his nightstand drawer and removed a tube and a condom. Ken couldn't help but notice that the condom was extra large. Sean handed the condom to Ken while he dabbed some lube on his fingers, warming it before slipping his hand between them and gently smearing it against his hole. Ken ripped the condom open with his teeth and moved his hand down to cover Sean, amazed when the condom had rolled all the way down, and there was still more of his shaft to cover. Sean went back for more lube and pushed gently with one finger, trying to push past Ken's resistance. He moved slowly, gently and Ken parted for him, allowing him to spread the lube inside. He moved his finger deeper, finding and rubbing Ken's prostate, eliciting feral cries from Ken. Sean slowly added a second, waiting for Ken's body to adjust before adding a third, then fourth, twisting and pivoting, trying to get him ready for him.

Ken writhed underneath Sean, moaning and bucking against the fingers inside him. He had never once done anything involving penetration, his own body or his body inside someone else's. But he wasn't nervous. His body craved this. His moans pushed Sean on, wanting so badly to join with Ken. But he waited; he didn't want a single moment of pain to intrude on this. They both knew that this was something more than mere sex. The words weren't said, but this was too strong, too important to be classified as something as tawdry and inconsequential as sex.

His voice coming in throaty, husky gasps, Ken begged Sean to end the torment. And his own body wouldn't let him wait anymore. He slicked his palm against the latex covering him and moved in place, pushing gently, rocking slowly, not forcing and moving only as Ken's body accepted him. It was a slow, delicious, explosive joining that had them both gasping and moaning their pleasure. Once fully seated, Sean waited, looking into Ken's eyes, waiting for that instinctual signal, that moment when he could begin to move, like his body was demanding him to do. It was almost a primal need to thrust, to make this moment count, to brand himself on the body and soul of his mate. But he refused, denied the millions of years old instinct to rut.

When Ken shifted his hips, taking Sean deeper, he moaned out, and Sean knew it was time to move. He gasped out and pulled away, only to push back. "Oh God Ken." And his body continued to move, slowly, wonderfully. Ken's hands were everywhere, on his back, his ass, his hips, his shoulders, digging his fingers into the warm flesh of his lover, trying to get purchase as his pleasure spiraled higher and higher. Sean was a lovely, sensuous lover, his body moving with and joining Ken's in a wonderful tempo, not too fast, not too slow, just perfectly in sync with the waves of pleasure, the tensing and releasing of Ken's body against Sean's. The heated, deep, husky moans of both men grew louder and louder as they pushed against each other, reaching higher than either had gone before. Sean reached the point of no return quickly, but held back, wanting Ken to join him. His thrusts became quicker, his pace less fluid as he fought to keep from tripping. He looked into Ken's eyes and the words left his mouth before he could stop them. "I love you."

Ken looked up in wonder at hearing those heartfelt words, feeling his body climb even higher, teetering on the brink of ecstasy. All it would take is just a few more heavenly thrusts and Ken would be there, beyond pleasure into nirvana. He pulled Sean down and just before kissing him deeply, his throaty voice responded. "Let go Sean." And they kissed, putting all the pent up emotion, all the loneliness, all the pain and rejection and hurt into it, letting it go in a sweeping wash of emotions. It was the last straw, the final breaking of his control and Sean cried out against Ken's lips, calling out his pleasure as his body exploded, rocketing on great spirals of pleasure so intense, he almost blacked out from it. It only got better when Ken joined him, calling out his own pleasure as his body released, coating both of their torsos in his ropy, pearly essence.

Sean's big, heavy body collapsed against Ken, his tumescence not diminished by his release as his body relaxed against his lover. Ken cradled the man in his arms; lowering his legs and feeling his own juices squish between their bellies as they came down to earth, trying to regain their breath. Sean's arms snaked around Ken's back, holding him closer, tightly against him as he rolled them to their sides, still wedged deeply inside Ken. He was loath to do it, but removed his body from Ken's, discarding the used condom and snuggling with his lover. The feel of the other, the mingled sweet breath, the contented nuzzling, the gentle, almost purr like sound as they gently caressed the other's body was enough and they drifted asleep.

The next four days were spent leisurely in bed with each other in between goofy forays into the kitchen for food, or soft, gentle lovemaking in front of the fire. They took several showers together, exploring and soaping their bodies, staying under the hot spray kissing and touching until the hot water failed. There was so much talk, so many words said. They learned about the past, the past relationships or lack thereof. They talked about their experiences in college, their hopes and dreams, but there was a small part of each other they held back. Sean didn't speak of his writing and Ken didn't speak his love to Sean. Neither knew exactly why they held this information back. Sean fully believed in Ken, knew that his secret would be safe with him but somehow felt wrong in telling him. Ken didn't doubt that his feelings for Sean were anything but true, but all those lectures from coaches, managers and his agent kept him from saying those words. But he wanted to, desperately.

After the four, passion filled days, they were driving home, both regretting horribly that they were leaving it all behind. It wasn't until they got to Ken's house that they talked of the future, and it was with sadness that couldn't be hidden that Ken told Sean what was coming up for him.

"I'll be pretty much out of commission while away in Arizona." He stroked Sean's face while he spoke. "I don't know when or if I'll be able to call."

Sean reached out and brushed the hair off Ken's forehead before leaning down to kiss his lips tenderly. "I understand. I have several projects to complete to keep my busy." His smile was sheepish. "But I'll be thinking of you, constantly."

"I'll be thinking of you too." He kissed Sean with a passion that was tinged with desperation. "I'll call you, once I'm back in town before opening day."

His smile was bittersweet. "I can't wait." Then he hugged Ken up in his arms, not wanting to let go. He broke the hug before he started crying, knowing he would miss Ken so much. Ken stepped out of the car and he waved until Sean's car was out of sight; then walked quickly into the house, not wanting to lose it on his front lawn.

So many things had changed for Ken this week. It was going to cause problems, but he knew that this wouldn't be denied. He called his agent, not caring that he was only two days away from going to Spring Training. It startled Ken that his phone rang just as he reached for it. Speak of the devil, it was his agent.


"Ken. Great to hear from you."

Ken groaned inwardly. "What can I do for you Dan?"

"I have another commercial shoot set up for you. And then we need to discuss merchandise and promotions with the League."


"It'll be great Ken. We're going to get your name plastered on every billboard, cereal box, and sporting goods store in the world."


"You need to come to New York during the All-Star break. We'll have it all set for you. Then provided that you guys can win the World Series, I'll have even more for you. You won't have much of an off season, but we'll make sure you get a week or two in January."

Ken was losing his mind. This was getting out of control. "DAN! Shut up for a minute. I need to have some time during the break and after the World Series. I need at least a month. Can't we schedule this for later?"

"Ken, babe, we have to get the ball rolling. A month after the World Series and your name is no longer on the front page. We need to do this now."

"But Dan, there are things I need to take care of." His voice faltered for a minute, but all he had to do was think of Sean and he got his courage back. "I've met someone and I need some time to spend with him. So I need the break to be with him."

"You met a guy? Jesus Ken, did the press follow you? I told you that you needed to be careful. I bet this guy is selling his story to the press now."

Anger and worry flooded through Ken. "We weren't followed at all Dan. It isn't like that." His face smiled, and it could be heard over the phone lines. "I've fallen in love. And so has Sean."

"Don't start with me about him Ken. We talked about it. If you need to find some guy to fuck around with, we can find a nice discreet hook-up for you. But you have to get this relationship idea out of your head."

Ken's anger welled up from deep down, from twenty-four years of lying, of denying who he really was. "I will not fuck around! God damn it! I am in love with someone who is perfect for me. And if I have to give up baseball I will. I don't care! Get that through your thick skull Dan. I. Love. Sean. That will never change."

"Ken. You don't know what this means. Your career is going to end. No one wants a fag playing in the Great American Pastime. I don't care that you like to suck cock. I could care less. But America kid, they do. And your career will be history. No more playing ball. No more commercials. Nothing. Zip. Then what? Your college degree is in history for God's sakes. Want to become a high school teacher? Coach baseball? Guess what? America don't want fags teaching in their schools either!"

The anger came through the phone in waves. Ken refused to back down though. What was money when he was alone? What was anything without Sean? Nothing. "I don't care Dan. I have more than enough money to see me through the rest of my life."

He heard a disgusted snort come through the phone. "Guess again sunshine. You think that five-year contract you have is going to pay out? Wrong! They will dismiss you and then sue you over the moralities clause."

Ken swallowed deeply. Dan heard it over the phone. Ken wanted to call his bluff, but didn't dare. Dan took advantage of the pause and drove his point home. He wasn't giving up this meal ticket. At worse, the league would dismiss him outright and null the contract. Most likely they'd keep him playing and let the country fuck off. But Ken didn't need to know that. `Keep the money coming honey,' that had always been Dan's motto.

"I think you need to reconsider. I'll get you a few days during the All-Star break and a week off after the World Series. Then we'll get together and work on these deals. You can use that time to be with Sean. But get it out of your system. Because I need you focused."

Ken slumped in defeat. It wouldn't work. He was trapped. But he wouldn't need that week after all. He wouldn't hurt Sean more then he was going to. That week would only scar them both. So with resignation in his voice, he agreed to Dan's demands.

Ken sat on his couch, dejected after Dan's call. But his introspection was short lived. Dan had obviously called the manager. And his call was only worse.

"God damn it Ken! We need you one hundred percent. Stop thinking with your dick."

"Skipper, that isn't it at all. This isn't about sex." Ken felt like he was losing his mind.

"Of course it is. That's all it is about. My boy drops to his knees for any man who waves his dick at him. There is no love for you faggots."

Anger and righteous indignation roiled through Ken as he gripped the phone tighter and listened to his coach harangue every gay person on Earth. Finally he'd had enough and spat out all the venom that he'd bottled up, kept in check while being kept in the closet, bolted inside while trying to claw his way out.

"Listen to me Skip, I don't care what you think. If Sean were a woman, you wouldn't care a bit. Last year two of your players met, fell in love with and married women. This is the same thing!" He was on a roll, and the steam kept building. "I have fallen in love and I don't care what the fucking world thinks."

The evil chuckle he heard through the fun actually made goose bumps rise on the back of Ken's neck. "If you want to play hardball, so can I. You push this, and I will bench your ass. I don't care if you are the best damn catcher that has come through the majors in years. I won't have you throwing away everything for a piece of ass. Do I make myself clear?"

Ken had to swallow twice before he answered. "You wouldn't dare. How will you explain my not playing?"

"Injuries kid. They are a dime a dozen. And they can be real enough if need be."

Ken closed his eyes, knowing that this was bullshit. This was harassment. This was bribery. But he saw no way out, nothing that wouldn't destroy him, the team and probably Sean too. "What do you want me to do?"

"Don't ever talk to him again. Don't see him. Keep yourself on the straight and narrow. If you need to have a little release, I'll get my son to give you some. But you keep away from this guy."

The tears rolled down Ken's cheeks, knowing he was trapped, crippled with the pain he was in and the pain he knew would be killing Sean. "Can I call him and at least try and explain?"

"No way. Lover boy will just have to learn how to live with it. Welcome to the big leagues. Get it? A joke kid. You better paste a smile on your face come Tuesday. You're going to be hounded by the press for all of Spring Training. I suggest you get some rest and get over it."

Ken sat in his living room after the phone call was over, not able to move. He wasn't really aware of the rising of the sun until the bright light pierced his eyes. He wiped away the tear tracks and went to his room and packed. His course decided. He felt like a marionette. And Ken kicked himself for not having the courage to grab the scissors and cut the strings.

Ken left the next morning for Arizona and Spring Training while Sean sat down and worked out his sadness and loneliness in one of his best and most moving books, counting the days until opening day in April. Waiting for Ken to call, watching for glimpses of him from Spring Training on ESPN.

But the phone call never came.

The boys were with him when he went to the opening day game. The team had been on a road trip the first five games and was undefeated. Sean let the boys wander off to the area near the warm up pens, standing out of sight, where he could watch them, but not close enough to be seen. Their seats were about ten rows behind the home team's dugout, if Ken wanted to see him, he would. It wasn't like he could hide in the crowd.

The game was another victory, Ken playing well, no fielding errors, wonderful batting statistics and he ran the bases like a true pro. Sean felt a surge of pride, happy in his heart for Ken's victory. In his mind, there were lots of reasons why he didn't call. The road trip alone would mean he wasn't available. Sure, they'd had a few days break between training and the first game, but there were lots of reasons as to why he would have been too busy to call. He had heard through the news reports that Ken was working on a couple of commercials, endorsing products. It still hurt, but not enough to make him doubt.

Ken was miserable. He wanted to be open; he wanted his man to sit with the player's wives, to be a part of his life. But Dan schooled him to not go there. The manager told him the same. He was only able to put the hurt and confusion, the extreme loneliness away when he was playing. But at night, long after the game, he'd wonder why he was doing this. His dream had always been to play professional baseball; he had worked his whole life for it. But these dreams weren't keeping him warm at night. They didn't fill this aching gap in his heart. But all he knew was the dream. And he just wasn't strong enough to give up the one, to have the other.

It was on the nineteenth home game that Ken saw Sean sitting in the stands. He was just heading back into the dugout in the middle of the third inning. The gratitude and joy at seeing him there filled his heart and he couldn't help the smile. But the words of his manager and agent filled his head and he scowled, angry with himself and angry with Sean for being there, being a reminder of all he couldn't have; all he shouldn't want. Ken sat in the dugout, trying not to cry, his heart pounding with loss and shame. He was ashamed that he wasn't strong enough for Sean. There was a cold fury that descended over Ken; it gave him the strength and resolve to go out and play like he'd never played before, mean, to the point of being vicious, precise and almost heartless

Sean hadn't given up hope until the nineteenth game. The joy at knowing that Ken had seen him and that wonderful smile that made his whole face light up and his deep blue eyes sparkle had made his heart soar. Then he'd scowled and refused to look at him again. As the remaining six innings went by, Sean's heart slowly shriveled as each time Ken came back to the dugout, he purposefully looked anywhere but at him. When the game was over, Sean's heart was cold. He continued to smile and play and joke with his nephews, but the smile never reached his eyes. He took them home and then went to his own home and crawled into bed, wondering if perhaps it just had to do with the team's first loss. It was all he had to cling to. But the next two home games were no better. Ken looked up to where he was sitting, but avoided looking at him. He knew that Sean was there, but didn't acknowledge him. And by the end of the second game, Sean had sunk down into a funk of despair that was worse than when he couldn't sell his first book. His eyes became hollow and he wasn't sleeping. That night, he gave the rest of the season tickets to his brother-in-law, telling his nephews that he needed to go work at his cabin. He felt bad for disappointing them, but couldn't face those cold eyes again.

Each time Ken had seen Sean after that first time, seemed to send the knife deeper into his heart. Those three games were hell. He couldn't keep himself from looking up into the stands, searching those brown eyes and beloved features. It was torture. It was hell. But it was nothing once Ken stopped seeing Sean at the games. His seat was taken, a man shorter who looked like the two kids sitting next to him was sitting in it now. His heart sort of died a bit that day, wondering where Sean was. He was worried about him. He thought the pain was bad when he saw Sean everyday, but it was nothing compared to not seeing him at all. His heart was torn, between his first love and his second. But Ken did what he always did; he poured himself into the game, not realizing that his heart was no longer in it. He stopped sleeping, eating, drinking baseball. His first thought in the morning was not about the upcoming game nor was his last thought at night about the game just played and errors that needed to be remedied. His thoughts were filled with Sean and his warm, deep brown eyes and kind smile. So it was with a heavy heart that Ken started playing the best he could, driving the team to a great first half and an easy walk on to the All-Star team.

Fate can be a cruel and vicious master. Fate alone had Sean going to Chicago with his mother the same weekend as the All-Star Game. Fate had the two of them staying at the same hotel as the team. Sean was not at all sure he could face this. In the two and a half months since he had last gone to the ballpark, Sean had lost about thirty pounds. He no longer cared about his appearance nor did he sleep overly well. He got strange looks and people steered clear of him at the airport. Margaret looked at her son and could do nothing but worry. He looked like hell. He also looked like someone who had lost his last shred of hope. They checked into their hotel rooms and went to the first bookstore to attend the signing. Sean just stood behind his mother, not even listening to the praise. He stared across the room, to where another book signing table was set up and a children's author was there. Sean wasn't looking at the author, just at the general area. And Margaret realized that that table was about the same distance as the calendar table was at the women's conference. She had come back to the room and seen the two men talk. Now she wondered what had happened. What was causing her son to look like his heart had died and he was just waiting for his body to follow?

The book signing had been grueling. Sean's taste for it, like all things lately, was waning. He just wanted to go back to the hotel and sleep. The flight home tomorrow was going to be very welcome. He just wanted to return to his cabin and try and forget. But his heart wouldn't let him. It still beat. It still ached. It still yearned. He kept wishing there was an answer. And there was. Just like last time, he wasn't enough. There was something about him that was lacking. So it was with that realization that he entered the hotel's lobby, not even realizing that he would be facing a media and fan mob from the baseball game. He snuck down a service corridor, seeking any elevator, even a staircase.

Ken was walking through the hotel lobby, trying to sneak past the media throng and the groupies. He found a corridor through the kitchens that led to a service elevator. He just wanted to go to bed. The short break for the All-Star game had been hell. It just gave him too much time to think; too much time to realize that his heart wouldn't give up on his love for Sean. He missed him with everything that was inside his heart, mind and soul. He could see the elevator when he heard some screeching woman shout his name. He turned and was assaulted with a wall of wiggling female flesh. She hopped into his arms and started kissing him. He grabbed her ass, just to keep her from dragging them both down.

Sean had just rounded the corner into the service elevator bay when he heard the scream. He whipped his head around and saw Ken, with a woman jumping all over him. His hands gripped her ass as she ground against him. If he could have seen himself, from some out of body experience, Sean would have seen the last spark of hope flicker out of his own eyes. But he wasn't, he was bound into his body and felt the stab of pain in his heart and every petty, small-minded insecurity reared its head and pummeled Sean with self-loathing, dragging him deeper and deeper into despair, blanching his face in a powerful wave of pain so great he didn't think he'd survive. Just then, the ding of the elevator rang, breaking Sean's pain filled stare. He turned and climbed into the elevator, almost knocking a surprised bellhop out of his way. He turned to press the button and saw Ken standing on the other side of the door, his face smeared with some gaudy pink lipstick, the look on his face was horrified. As Sean looked him over from head to toe, the distinct ridge in his jeans was all the evidence he needed to see.

The ding of the elevator snapped Ken out of his absolutely dazed shock of being assaulted by this woman. He pulled her away and set her down, pushing her away. He turned to the elevator and watched as a giant of a man pushed his way through. The immediate swelling of his groin was all the evidence that Ken needed to know that that mountain was his mountain. It was Sean. He stood at the door, willing him to turn and see him. And when he did, Ken couldn't hide the horror he felt at what he saw. Where was the tanned, hulking man he made love with all those months ago? Where was the warm smile and kind eyes? All he saw was a pale face, sunken cheeks, and a pair of eyes so filled with pain and hurt, that it brought tears to Ken's eyes. Ken watched as Sean's eyes filled with tears. He gave Ken a small, trembling smile as the doors closed. Ken tried furiously to get to the button, to reopen the doors. He looked above the doors, but there were no indicator numbers on the service elevator. He had no clue which floor he got off on. With a small cry of despair, he sank against the wall, lost. He was torn, had been all season. Today had only proved that Ken had chosen wrong.

Sean sank against the wall of the elevator, the last of his strength leaving him. His control gone, he let the tears flow. When the doors opened on his floor, he staggered down the hall, bypassing his own door and knocking on his mother's. She opened the door and took one look at her son and pulled him in with her. She sat down on the bed and her boy kneeled by her and held on for dear life as he cried in her arms. Margaret had no clue what to do for her son. There were no words; she didn't know what to say. She just held on, dying because her boy was in so much pain. She held him and stroked his hair and let him cry for almost an hour before it wound down. With just a few short sobs he was done. She pulled his head up to look at her, but he was dead asleep. There was no way she could lift him onto the bed, so she helped him to the ground, placing a pillow behind his head. She sat back against the bed and stroked her boy's hair, and she cried herself, because she hated to see any of her children suffer. Later that night, she called the airline and decided to postpone their return flight. She also called the front desk and extended their stay. Margaret and Sean had a lot to talk about.

Ken spent three hours that night trying to bribe anyone in the hotel to get him Sean's room number. When that failed, he slumped in his room on the top floor, where all the players were. There was the rhythmic thumping against his headboard from the room next door and the female screams and the animalistic grunts of one of his teammates. He never understood the whole groupie sex thing. He'd tried it once, but it hadn't done a thing for him, just made him feel cheap. But then again, this was a victory night, and the guy was at least single. Most of the married players stayed true. A few strayed, but it was an extreme rarity. It used to be that he would listen to one of the single guys in the room next to him, rutting away, stroking in time to the bumping of the headboard, imagining himself under the player, being plowed by that cock. Hell, he'd seen all of his teammates naked, he knew who he found most attractive. When one of them was next door and he'd pick up a groupie or more, Ken would have a stroke fest to that heavy pounding and the heady moans. But ever since that week with Sean, he no longer found his little fantasies to have any appeal. In fact, when he did stroke himself, his mind kept going back to that first time with Sean, to when he had taken him into his mouth, the feeling of his lips caressing him as his tongue had teased him. He never lasted long at all when he thought about any of his time with Sean. He missed him terribly.

The next morning, with a very heavy heart, Ken boarded the plane to New York. He had two commercial shoots to do. Between his signing bonus and all the endorsements, he had close to thirty million dollars. On the flight, Ken gave serious thought to what life would hold if he gave up his dream. What it would be like to not play ball. Because if last night proved anything, it proved to Ken that he could have baseball for only a few years, but he could have the love of his life for a lot longer. A decision would have to be made and soon. Being away from Sean was killing him.

Margaret and Sean stayed in Chicago for three extra days. The first was spent with Sean sleeping. Margaret was a bit dismayed by it, until she saw him after he woke and some of the gauntness around his eyes was gone. After a long shower and some breakfast, they started talking. Sean poured his heart and his hurt out to her. Of her four children, Sean was the only one who didn't have someone to share his life with. He wasn't her oldest or her youngest, he wasn't unattractive; he was the sweetest, kindest, most tenderhearted man she had ever known. Even though she was biased, she knew that her son would love someone for life. She had never liked David. He was shallow and vain and he cheated on Sean constantly. Sean never told her, but she knew that he did. She was so grateful that David was gone. And Sean was nowhere near this devastated when David left. She knew that this time there was no going back. Ken Simms was the one for Sean, and he was hurting her boy. Perhaps it was one sided. Perhaps it was a misunderstanding. She didn't know. But she planned to find out.

It was mid-August and the team was forty-two games above .500. The team was excited; each game put them closer and closer to the playoffs. But Ken couldn't share with them. He was too miserable. Today was an off day, the manager giving the team the day to rest and regroup before the next big home game stretch. Ken was sitting in his favorite chair, looking out over the backyard when the doorbell rang. When he answered it, he was shocked to see Margaret Anderson standing at his door. His first thoughts were of Sean, that something might have happened.

Going pale, he stepped out onto the porch. "Is something wrong with Sean? Did something happen to him?"

Taken aback by his vehemence, Margaret stared at Ken for a moment before answering, satisfied that she had gotten a few answers of her own by his statement. "Sean is fine. Physically."

The last word, spoken icily had Ken looking sheepishly at his shoes. "I'm glad he isn't hurt." He looked in her eyes and let all the sincerity he felt shine in them. "I'd die if something happened to him." He stepped back and motioned her inside. Margaret followed him to the living room and sat next to him on the big sofa.

Margaret looked around the room before turning to Ken and giving him a small smile. "So you do care for him?"

Ken's whole face lit up; he was smiling so big, but staring off, as if to something unseen. "He's everything." Then he looked directly into Margaret's eyes and she almost gasped from the intensity of his eyes. "I had no clue what it was to love someone before Sean. No idea how wonderful and horrible it could be."

Margaret actually chuckled. "Of course it is wonderful. And yes, it can be horrible." She had tears in her eyes. "When my husband and I met, I had no clue what I was getting in to. I thought it was all like on the television shows." Her smile got bigger. "When we had our first fight, I was positive it was all over. We both clung to each other that night and promised to never let it happen again." She started laughing really hard and looked at Ken, who returned her smile. "I think it was the next day when we fought again." She cupped Ken's cheek, tickled by the bristles of his beard. "I have a strong feeling that you are a good man Ken. I believe that you love Sean with your whole heart."

Ken could only nod around the lump in his throat, wondering why this woman was being so kind to him. "I do love him. I love him terribly."

She smiled warmly, brushing a slipped tear from Ken's cheek. "I'm glad. Sean loves you too. Ever so much." Then she looked sternly at Ken and it was his turn to flinch. "But why are you hurting him? Why did he come to me and break down in my arms, like he hasn't done since he was eight years old, while we were in Chicago?"

His voice grew so faint and his face became haunted. "He saw something that upset him. I have a feeling I know what he thinks he saw, but it wasn't like what he's thinking."

Confusion arched her eyebrows. "Why haven't you tried to tell him this?"

Ken swallowed hard. "I'm afraid I can't."

With that Margaret snorted. Then she let him have it. "And what do you have to be afraid of? My God! You found someone who loves you, wholeheartedly. No matter what." She stuck her finger in his chest and started poking with each statement. "He loves you. With everything that he is, he loves you. Why are you killing him? Why are you hurting him? Why?" And with an almost feral scream, "Why?"

Ken had tears in his eyes, but he really had no answer. It killed him inside to know that he had hurt Sean so badly. He never wanted to do that. He would rather cut off his hand than hurt his love. When he couldn't respond, Margaret simply sighed and punched him in the arm. "Grow up Ken. Stop being so selfish and deal with it." She then wrapped Ken up in his arms and it was too much. Ken's parents had died while he was in college. He had forgotten what it was like to be hugged by a mother. He started sobbing uncontrollably. She stroked his hear and murmured nonsense comfort words into his hair. When he had calmed, she wiped his tear-streaked face and kissed his forehead. "You'll figure it out Ken. Just don't take too long. Please. For both of your sakes." With that she stood and walked out the door. Ken followed and watched as she walked along the sidewalk and got in her car.

It was his youngest nephew, Martin's, birthday. So Sean drove down off his mountain to attend his party. His eyes weren't quite as haunted, but he still looked like he hadn't been eating very well, or much. The sadness never left his eyes, but he put up a great front for the boys. Margaret watched as he played with them on the floor, letting the two of them climb all over him, always having delighted in this in the past. It was after dinner and the cake that Sean's brother-in-law Alex came to him outside and gave him the envelope. The pride in his eyes made Sean smile for the first time in days. Alex and Sean's sister Maddy worked so hard, making ends meet and stretching each dollar. So when he opened the envelope, his heart fell, but he couldn't say no. The generosity was beyond measure. But it would kill him. Alex had bought two tickets to the World Series, same section only two rows closer than the regular season tickets. It must have cost Alex a good grand to do it. And the look of pride in his eyes would only allow Sean to do one thing. Go. He hugged Alex up and thanked him warmly.

"Thank you so much, Alex. You didn't have to do this."

Alex's grin was so broad. "Yes I did. You gave me all your season tickets. I've enjoyed being with my boys and watching them enjoy the games. I couldn't have done it without you." He smiled sheepishly. "You gave up a lot for me. It was the least I could do."

Sean was so very touched he had to swallow around the lump in his throat and agreed to go to the game with him. Besides, perhaps it wouldn't go to a seventh game. Perhaps he wouldn't have to go and be able to refund his money. Only as Sean had learned, fate was a cruel thing. The series was tied 3-3 and they were coming home, to try and capture victory on their home turf.

It looked very much like the home team was going to lose. By the sixth inning, they were behind, 3-5. And it was only getting worse. Ken was full of anxiety. He was so close to reaching his goal. He was inches away from the prize. The whole team was feeling it. Restless. Agitated. Ken had hit a solo homerun in the first and it had rallied the fans. It was when he came back to the dugout to get his catcher's gear on that he spotted Sean in the stands. He had always looked, every game, trying to see if Sean would come back. He never did. But he was here now. The look of pride in Sean's eyes had warmed him so much. He had gone and thrown two runners out who were trying to steal second. He was pumped. Sean was here. Then the pitcher tore his shoulder on a pitch that resulted in the grand slam that had put them ahead. Morale was shot and they scored one more before retiring the side. It had been two innings. They had regrouped, but the other team's pitcher was a tough one. They were playing their hearts out, but it just didn't look good.

Sean watched in absolute agony. He had felt oddly annoyed that he took such pride in Ken's performance. The man hadn't called him once. Had let himself be groped by a groupie in that hotel. Ken even shunned him at the home games, chasing him away from his time with his nephews. But despite all of that, there was still the love. Shining bright. Blinding in its brilliance. Sean told himself that he would stay through the end, just to see if Ken would get MVP. That wonderful week, so long ago, he had shared with Sean that that was his ultimate goal to win the World Series and make MVP. Now he could just sit and be anxious with the rest of the crowd, cheering on the team, feeling the rush of victory.

It was the bottom of the ninth, two runners on base, the score still 3-5. Ken walked up to the plate and took his stance. The ball whizzed by. Strike one. Second pitch went wild, fell out of the catcher's hands and the runners advanced a base to second and third. Third pitch, fouled to right field. Before the fourth pitch, Ken looked up to the stands and Sean. The love in his eyes shone through and Ken felt warmed by it. He faced the pitcher, watched him wind up and throw the ball. Time seemed to slow. The pitch was perfect, right where Ken needed it. His arm shook with the impact of the ball. The loud crack rang out across the field. Ken pitched his foot and took off for first. He didn't even watch to see where the ball landed but kept going, reaching first and looking for the base coach's signal to go on. He ran for second, the roar of the crowd deafening. He saw the sign in center field flash brightly. Home run! He'd hit a home run. The game was theirs. They had won! Ken finished running the bases into the open arms of the team, tossing him up on their shoulders. There were hugs and pats all over the place. The excitement was exquisite.

Sean stood with the rest of the fans, cheering and jumping up and down, hugging Alex up and whooping with the rest of the adoring crowd. His heart was bursting with pride. He couldn't stop the grin on his face or the tears from rolling down his cheeks. His love was a hero, a champ. The fans sat after several minutes of jubilee. The presentation of the trophy to the team was going to be followed by the presentation of MVP. Sean sat, not sure if he wanted to be there. He didn't know if he was going to want to see the end of it all. His heart was so full of love and pride, but he didn't know if he could face it. He stood and told Alex he was going. Alex went to join him, but they had taken different cars so there was no need. So Sean made his way out of the stadium, seeing in the monitors that Ken was indeed named World Series MVP. It was with a sad smile that he crossed the street and trudged his way to the car, crawling in and driving home, away from the city, back to the cabin.

When Ken heard his name announced as MVP he was all grins; still rushing from the adrenaline of victory. He walked out onto the pitcher's mound, shaking the commissioner's hand. As he was handed his plaque, he looked up into the stands, searching for Sean. But he wasn't there. His spot was empty. And Ken knew at that moment that it just didn't matter anymore. A lump formed in his throat as he was given the mike.

"Thank you so much for this honor. It has always been my dream and now it is realized." His voice began to tremble, half fear and half raw pain. "I may have been the MVP of this series, but I'm not a very valuable person." He swallowed hard and felt a tear drip down his cheek. "I've hurt someone very, very dear to me. For you see, I'm not just Ken Simms, star catcher. I'm Ken Simms, someone who has hidden. And in hiding, I've probably ruined the best thing that has ever happened to me." His eyes were no longer seeing the stands, no longer in the stadium, but at the cabin where he had found and pushed away love. The truest love he could ever know. The tears flowed freely now. "I'm gay. And I let fear and prejudice make my decisions for me. I gave away love, freely handed to me. I'm gay. And I don't care what the world says. I'm no longer afraid. I'm no longer scared to love. With all my heart." His words were choked and his voice cracked on his emotions. "I love you Sean."

Sean was driving towards the cabin, perhaps an hour out when his cell phone started ringing. When he picked it up, he answered to his mother, telling him to turn to a news station on the radio.

"Tonight's World Series Game 7 ended with a brilliant victory with the three run home run from star catcher Ken Simms. And when awarded the MVP plaque, he took a moment to clear the air and startle the world with his announcement."

Sean heard Ken's voice and nearly ran off the road. He pulled off to the side and sat in shock as he heard Ken's declaration of love. After a few minutes, Sean started up the car again and was headed back to his cabin. He wasn't sure what to do, but he figured he would wait and see what Ken decided. His heart lightened for the first time in nearly eight months. He had a silly smile on his face the rest of the way.

Ken left the stadium as soon as he could. He didn't even shower, but it was still three hours before he could get away. First the press hounded him. Then he had to talk to the manager. All he wanted was to get away, to find Sean, to make him understand. But he sat and listened to the press, answered stupid questions. Now he was on the road and figured there was only one place that he would go.

He had only been there once, but he couldn't forget anything from that week. So he followed the long winding roads until he found the cabin. He was so grateful that there were lights on. He got out of the car and was heading for the door when he started to panic. He'd treated Sean pretty badly. He had no idea what to say. He searched his brain for the words, anything to let Sean know how much he meant to him. Then inspiration struck. Ken strode confidently to the door and knocked.

Sean answered the door and Ken was flooded with love. Even the haggard, tired face before him was beautiful to him. He was shocked at the changes, the lost weight, the long hair and beard. But Sean was still the best thing he'd ever seen. He got a small smile and it gave Ken the courage to forge ahead.

"Sean, I know that I've hurt you." He looked down, his hands beginning to sweat. "My reasons are stupid. But I love you. I did from the first. I was just so afraid of coming out, of being accepted." He looked up into Sean's eyes. "But I don't care about that anymore. I love you. I will always love you. And I'll stay here until you believe me."

Sean raised an eyebrow. Secretly he was amused by Ken's nervousness. Anyone who comes out in front of fifty thousand fans and millions of television viewers is sincere. But he wasn't going to just roll over either. Then he caught Ken's words, recognizing them. And the incredulity washed over him.

"There is only the two of us. It doesn't matter about my job anymore. I love you and always will. I can work anywhere; do anything. It only matters that you still love me. Tell me you love me. Please?"

Sean erupted in fury. "How dare you quote my words at me and try and seduce me with a line from one of my books!"

Ken looked at Sean with confusion. "Your books? What are you talking about?"

Sean immediately blushed and looked away. He sheepishly responded. "My mother doesn't write those books. I do. By using her name was the only way I could get published."

Ken started laughing, a joyous laugh, throwing his head back. "I've loved every single one of those books. I can't wait for the latest one to go out. Those words, the love in them, has kept me going on many a lonely night Sean."

Sean's blush deepened. "Thanks."

"Despite the fact that I've used your own words to try and apologize; can I come in?"

Sean stepped back and let Ken enter. There was a roaring fire going. Sean grabbed Ken by the shoulders and turned him around, looking into his eyes. He lowered his lips in a hungry kiss. They meshed their mouths together, practically sucking the life out of each other, lost in need, in heat, in heaven. When they broke for air, Sean inhaled deeply then laughed.

"You need a serious shower."

Ken blushed and started laughing too. "Yeah, I do. Care to join me?"

"I wouldn't have it any other way."

They made their way into the bathroom, stripping the other slowly, kissing each new bit of exposed skin. By the time they were naked and under the spray, both men were dripping and so hard that they pointed to the ceiling. As the steam rose, so did their passion. Between soaping and rubbing against the other's body, it was almost an hour before they got out of the shower. Ken turned to go into the bedroom, but Sean pulled his hand and they went back into the living room. Sean knelt in front of the fire, pulling Ken down to him. They kissed gently as Sean pushed him back onto the floor. Their bodies, sated only moments before, quickly rose to attention. Sean kissed Ken deeply, wedging his hips between Ken's, pushing hard, trying to gain entrance. Ken parted around Sean and he slid home. They moved together slowly, never breaking eye contact no matter how hot the pleasure became. When they had both taken their pleasure, they lay back on the blanket by the fire, cuddling and touching each other.

"Never again Sean. I promise. I'll never again hurt you."

Sean smiled tiredly. "You can't promise that Ken. But I love you for saying it."

"Okay, so I can't promise to never hurt you, but I do promise that I won't hide from you or stay away from you." He looked into Sean's eyes, sincerity shining in the blue depth. "Forever Sean. I want forever."

"So do I."

They sealed their bond with a kiss.

Over the next two months, Ken's endorsements changed. He lost a few accounts, but for each one he lost, he gained two. The team sanctioned him for using a team event as a private forum, but he reported to Spring Training as usual. Sean continued to write, publishing a string of top ten best sellers. There were a few protests; people who had signs in the stands with rather crude but unoriginal gay bashing slogans. But for the most part, there was very little problem. Sean sat with the player's wives, often bringing his nephews and Alex with him. Of course once they saw how lucky Ken was with being openly gay, a few other players came out too. Not as many as there probably were, but enough to let people know that gays are in every facet of life. Plus, it provided a positive male role model for gay youths to look up to, just like their straight friends, these kids now had a sports star to idolize. It wasn't easy, but the rewards were great.

After two years of being together, Ken stood beside Sean as he had his first book signing. They stood in a little independent bookstore in New York, signing copies of a gay romance that he had written, finally able to publish under his own name. The book was nowhere near as successful as his other works, but it meant more to Sean that he could finally put his name to his work. The smart people recognized that the writing style was the same, but they didn't speak up. After the last book was signed and the bookstore closed for the evening, Sean and Ken made their way back to the hotel, holding each other through the lobby and kissing deeply once the elevator doors closed behind them. Once inside their room, Sean dropped his clothes, parading naked into the bedroom, lying down on the bed, his erection hard and dripping against his belly. Ken stood at the doorway, staring his fill at his lover, feeling his knees grow weak. Neither doubted that this feeling would go away, this simple excitement whenever they saw each other.

Ken shucked his own clothes, staring into Sean's eyes, noticing that something was different tonight. He was going to ask when Sean pulled him down to him, wrapping his arms around his back, wrapping his legs around him. Ken had topped Sean a few times over the years, but this seemed different. As Ken pushed against Sean's puckered entrance, Ken leaked against him, slicking the way and he slid inside. Sean arched his back as he came, from just that simple plunge against his prostate. Ken kept his thrusting slow, moving in long, deep strokes, feeling Sean's body reawaken around him and joined his motions, pulling on Ken's shoulders as another then another orgasm racked his lover's body. Ken kept moving, not quite sure what had brought this on, only enjoying the ride, the sensation as Sean cried out in release a fourth time, taking Ken with him, spilling himself deeply inside his lover.

Sean lay under Ken's heavy, heaving body as they both tried to regain their breath. He was almost chuckling, remembering Ken's confusion. As Ken lifted up, his eyes slumberous, Sean lost it and started laughing. Ken rolled off of him and looked at Sean, confusion arching his eyebrows.

"Would you care to share the joke?"

Sean finally calmed enough to respond. "You forgot, didn't you?"

Ken ran through his mental list of dates, trying to remember an anniversary or birthday he might have forgotten. "I guess I did. What did I forget?"

"The phone call you were waiting for?" Sean couldn't help the contented smile from spreading over his face.

"You mean... you mean they called?"

"Yeah, while you were in the shower this morning." Sean's eyes warmed with the love he felt. "You were so nervous, wanting to make sure we got to the bookstore on time. It was so lovely to see."

Ken rolled his eyes, feeling silly for being such a worrier. But this day was too good to not have been excited. His man was a published author. A damn fine author. "Well, what did they say?"

Sean looked around the room, looking out the window they hadn't covered with the drapes yet. He smiled again, looking up at Sean. "Congratulations Ken, we're moving to New York."

Ken jumped up in the air and whooped loudly before collapsing against Sean, kissing him deeply. "I'm glad you waited to tell me. Today was your day."

Sean kissed Ken and shook his head. "It's our day, Mr. Yankee."

They kissed again, before cuddling together to sleep the night away. The next day, they found a place to live, grateful that Ken didn't have a problem getting a new contract with a different team. Four teams had put in bids, but the Yankees signed him. Barring injury, Ken had probably ten more years of baseball in him. Sean had many, many stories to write. And there was love, a bond so great it could almost be seen by those around them. The two lovers slept in bliss, while the twinkling lights of New York washed over them, welcoming the new couple into its folds.