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rocketfic | swing for the fences

Title: Swing for the Fences by Rocketchick
Rating: 15+ Pairing: Olivia/Natalia
Notes: No spoilers, just some fluffy wishful thinking set about a year into the future.

Olivia eyed the sticky, ill-mixed soda syrup in the bottom of her paper cup. "Hey, you think if I bought this place, they'd serve beer? 'Beacon Field' has a great ring to it."

Natalia only looked at her sideways, which was all the answer she needed. And so she moved on, looking around the small softball stadium for something else to alleviate her boredom.

As usual, when Emma wasn't on the field, Olivia couldn't be bothered to pay any attention to the game. She managed to keep herself occupied by other means: studying her fellow parents, noticing the utter lack of interest directed at the Two Mommies together in the stands, and enjoying Natalia's willingness to get overexcited because Olivia herself couldn't.

Because of her heart, of course. Not because she found softball so dull it damn near made her eyeballs bleed.

"Hey! Get some glasses, Ump!" Natalia cried, pushing to her feet in indignation.

Olivia chuckled, directing her eyes toward the field. In his latest bid to prove to his family that he wasn't really a total jackass with a massive entitlement complex, Rafe had volunteered to be third base coach for Emma's team. While Olivia approved of his motives, his execution left something to be desired. She watched while he fired off a string of complex signals, touching his nose, his ear, and the brim of his hat in rapid succession.

"What's that one?" Olivia whispered, leaning over to Natalia as the other woman settled back down next to her.

"I think that means 'bunt,'" Natalia whispered back. "He's been practicing."

When he was done, he nodded, and the little girl at bat looked like she was ready to cry. He sighed and started again.

"He wants you to bunt!" piped a clear voice from second base. From the other team.

Olivia snorted in laughter as Natalia turned and buried her face in her companion's shoulder.

A couple innings later, after Emma got an RBI but was thrown out at second, Olivia cocked her head as she watched Rafe go through his routine again. "You know, I think we need signals," she said, with a speculative frown. "You and me."

"Yeah? For what?" Natalia asked.

"Well... How about for when I want to tell you that I love you, but the setting isn't really appropriate? Instead I could just call in the sign, like our third base coach, here." She held her hands out in a triumph of logic. "And then you'd know!"

Natalia squinted. "But I already know."

"I still want to tell you. A lot."

For a declaration that sweet, Natalia could play along. She shifted closer, tucking a hand into the crook of Olivia's arm. "Okay. So, something like, if you tap the side of your nose and tug twice on your ear, that means 'I love you.'"

"Right! And we could use the same system for all kinds of things," she continued with building enthusiasm. "If I tap my nose, tug on my ear, and then brush my forehead, that means, 'I want takeout tonight.'"

Natalia sighed, feeling a Spencer-scheme-induced headache coming on. "There's no way I'm going to remember this stuff."

"He wants you to steal third!" yelled an annoyed voice down on the field.

"We'll work on it," Olivia promised. "All of us."

"Pop fly!" Rafe announced, as he heaved a ball high into the air.

Emma obediently ran to try to get under it, blinking away the bright sunlight. When the ball sailed well over her outstretched glove, she laughed and chased it down the hill.

From the bench on the porch, Olivia looked up from her book to check on the game, and spotted Rafe practicing his signals. She watched him for a moment, then shut her book and wandered out onto the grass. "Okay, Rafe. I've figured it out," she announced. "You mumble your signs."

"Huh?" he asked, frowning back at her. "Whaddya mean?"

"You hesitate, and then you end up squishing the signs all together. That's why the girls can't figure out what you're trying to tell them." She smirked. "And I don't just mean the kids on the team."

"Hey, I do just fine," he protested.

"Sure you do," she fired back. "That's why Ashlee was about to strangle you the other day."

He winced, remembering how Olivia had walked in on their argument in the Beacon's staff breakroom. "That was just a misunderstanding," he grumbled.

"Exactly. And the way to avoid misunderstandings is to be absolutely clear about what you're saying. You need to snap off the signals sharply. Like this." She flicked her hand around, touching her ear, sliding her hand down her forearm, and clapping.

"That one means 'swing away,'" called Emma, as she ran back up the hill with the ball.

"Good job, baby," Olivia called back. She grinned at Rafe. "See? Don't hurry into the next sign until you're ready." With that, she insinuated herself into their game, coaching the coach and playing with the player all at once.

Eventually the happy voices and laughter outside caught Natalia's attention, and she closed her laptop to head out front and see what was happening. The sight of the three people she loved most in the world playing together, joyful and safe in their very own yard, nearly made her burst into tears.

Instead she shut her eyes and offered a brief, utterly heartfelt prayer. Thank you, Father, for my family. When she opened her eyes again, Olivia was looking back at her with piercing intensity.

"So, how was that?" Rafe asked, after delivering a much-improved sign to steal. When Olivia didn't answer, he looked over his shoulder to see his stepmother quite preoccupied and gazing moon-eyed at his mom. He turned back and rolled his eyes at Emma, who giggled.

The game continued behind her as Olivia paced slowly back to the porch, pulled quite beyond her own control by the unfathomable look on Natalia's face. "Hey," she whispered.

"Hey yourself," Natalia replied.

Olivia reached up and very gently tapped Natalia's nose, then slid light fingertips around to the side of her face to tug twice at her ear.

"I love you, too," Natalia breathed, just before Olivia's lips closed over her own.

It was a bare moment of pure contentment before two very different yet equally scandalized voices interrupted.



They broke apart with a shared laugh.

"Maybe we should take this inside," Olivia murmured.

Natalia looked past her with a bright smile and a wave to their kids before dragging Olivia into the farmhouse.

The dress had been a present, delivered on their anniversary. It was tailored and perfect and wonderful, and when Natalia tried it on, the dark blue fabric flowed over her skin in an exquisite, delicate way. Its lines were incredibly flattering, lengthening and highlighting her naturally lithe form.

"I feel... tall," she said, looking into the mirror in their bedroom. She turned to one side, admiring the fit in profile.

"Well, you shouldn't," Olivia responded dryly as she stepped behind her and dodged the elbow jabbed at her ribs. "But you are absolutely gorgeous." She pressed a kiss to Natalia's shoulder, exposed under a thin strap of shimmering fabric. "And the dress ain't bad, either."

"It's beautiful," Natalia said. "Thank you."

They spent a moment gazing at each other in the mirror, both remembering a similar tableau more than a year previous.

"Hey, I've got a new sign," Olivia said, reaching to dispel the heavy memories between them.

Natalia gave her a fond look. "You know I'm terrible at remembering these things."

"But this one's important!" Olivia insisted. "It means, 'We need to find a cute guy for my assistant Adam.' Here. I'll show you."

Coaxed from the edge of melancholy over what might have been, Natalia instead let herself be carried along on the goofy, soft-hearted whim of the woman she loved.

A week later, Natalia swept into the Beacon's grand ballroom, feeling that new, perfectly-crafted dress move with her in a way that only accentuated her brimming confidence. The hotel was playing host to Springfield's annual charity ball, and for the first time since she'd arrived in town Natalia actually felt like she belonged in that room, in that dress, with those people.

Doris Wolfe sidled up, giving her a once-over. "Hell of a dress," she said by way of a greeting.

"Mayor Wolfe," Natalia replied graciously. "How are you?"

"Oh, you know. Getting plastered, pandering to my constituents, the usual," Doris said. "It's a good party," she said, lifting her drink in a toast.

They continued exchanging vague pleasantries until the mayor suddenly looked off to one side in confusion. "Is... Olivia all right?"

Natalia turned and stifled a laugh at the complex series of signs directed their way from the dark corner across the room. You look amazing and Doris' jacket is hideous.

"She's fine."

Have you tried the tapas?

Doris looked skeptical. "She's not having an epileptic fit?"

I think we need to reupholster in here.

"No, she's fine. Really."

"Mmph." Doris took a sip of her martini and cast an annoyed look between the two women. "You know, it's ridiculous to think she could have stood by and let you marry somebody else. When she looks at you, the glow is practically blinding."

"It is?" Natalia asked, immediately charmed by the notion.

Doris rolled her eyes. "And you do it right back. God. Who were you trying to kid?"

Who indeed? There was a time not so long ago that Natalia would have been horrified to know her feelings were so obvious. But now... she turned back to look at Olivia from across the room, then tapped the side of her nose and tugged twice on her ear.

The beaming grin thrown back her way left no doubt, to baseball fans or anyone else standing within a half-mile radius, exactly what that signal meant.

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