- Genre: Comedy, Fluff, Sports, AU, High School AU
- Word Count: 2,938
- Pairing: Athletic! Reader x Jeno
- World: NCT, Super Junior, F(x), Nu’est
Okay so, I feel like I should apologize because I don’t think this turned out quite how you wanted it to… In my defense, I am trash for sports anime and I was so fucking passionate about writing this, I didn’t even want to play WoW, I just wanted to work on this. Hopefully, you’re not too disappointed… I should also note that I only know the basics of Football, so if I got something wrong, don’t sue me. Trust me, you won’t get anything but a bunch of grumpy cats. Also, I’ve never even THOUGHT about Jeno before (because damn you Chenle), but writing this made me so happy like you don’t understand and now I kind of like Jeno a bit more??
You groaned as you got your math test back, receiving yet another bad grade. Academics had never been your strong suit and you honestly had no interest in it, either. Your strong point was Athletics and you were damn good at any sport you happened to be in the mood for. Throughout your school years, you had bounced from sport to sport, thoroughly enjoying each one. You didn’t find your love until you entered high school and joined the American Football team. It was just the kind of rough-and-tough adrenaline rush you craved. In middle school, you skated by on grades that just passed over the required number needed to pass and it didn’t affect your sports, but things were more strict in high school. If you didn’t start getting your grades up, you would be benched and disallowed from playing in any games. The thought made you want to slam your head against your desk.
Jaemin turned in his seat, sporting a frown. “You failed again, didn’t you?”
“I plead the fifth.”
“This isn’t the USA, idiot.” He sighed, plucking the test from your hand. “Coach is gonna be pissed when he sees this.”
“I know~” You threw your head back, staring at the white ceiling above. “What am I gonna do?”
“You could always ask Mark to tutor you.”
“Yeah, right, as if that boy doesn’t have enough to do.” You rolled your eyes. “Not only is he student council president, he’s also part of the drama club, music club, taking AP classes and he’s the captain of band.”
“What about Jeno?” He smirked, “He’s the second smartest kid in our class.”
Your lips pursed at the idea and you resisted the urge to kick him. Jaemin knew about your crush on Jeno and didn’t waste an opportunity to tease you about it. You glanced to the front of the room where Jeno sat, talking to a pretty girl with a cute smile.
“You don’t have many options, Y/N.” His voice was serious now as he rested his cheek in his palm. “The tournament is right around the corner and we don’t stand a chance without you. And I know you don’t want to miss this opportunity. It’s hyung’s last chance to take the cup before he graduates.”
As much as it pained you to admit it, you knew Jaemin was right. Dongho, the team captain, was in his last year of high school. His dream has always been to win the gold cup, and this would be his last chance. He was the best captain you’ve ever had and you wanted him to reach his dream, even if it meant you had to be a bit uncomfortable to do it.
Jaemin watched you curiously as you stood up, grabbing your test before approaching Jeno. The girl was gone and he was in the middle of putting away his books.
He looked up at you in surprise, his cheeks growing warm. Was he dreaming? He was sure he was dreaming. “Yes?”
“Are you tutoring?”
He nodded, re-adjusting his glasses. “Do you know someone that needs help?”
“Yeah…” you rubbed the back of your head with a sigh, showing him your failed test. “If I don’t get my grades up, I’m going to be kicked off the team. I… need your help.”
His heart was beating rapidly in his chest and he bit back a smile at your words. You, the popular athlete that every sports team wanted, was asking him for help. You, the person he’s had a crush on since grade school, said that you needed him. He was ecstatic. “Um, I have time after school. Is that good?”
“I have practice… but I can skip.” You glanced at Jaemin and he raised a brow curiously, too far away to hear the conversation.
He quickly shook his head. “No, it’s okay! I can wait until practice is over.”
“Are you sure?” You questioned, meeting his eyes. It made your heart speed up.
“I’m positive.” He wouldn’t admit that he loved watching you play and silently cheering you on.
You smiled at him, “Thanks.”
Your body rammed into Jaehyo’s as he tried to run past you with the ball, failing as you tackled him to the ground.
“Nice tackle!” Coach Heechul cheered from the sidelines.
You gave Jaehyo a smirk as you high fived Jaemin.
“Do you have to be so rough?” Jaehyo teased, slapping your shoulder.
“What can I say? I was born strong~”
“And humble,” he stuck his tongue out at you.
“Look who’s here,”Jaemin nodded to the stands and you glanced up, seeing Jeno settling down on the metal. He chose a spot off to the side, away from the cheering boys and girls that had crushes on the team. He had pulled out his notebook. “Jeez, he even studies when school ends.”
“It’s called homework,” Jaehyo ruffled the boy’s hair. “Is he your friend?”
“Y/N has a crush on hi – ”
You jabbed him in the gut, effectively shutting him up as he glared at you.
“No way. You? Having a crush on someone? Is hell freezing over?” He chuckled, now ruffling your hair.
“Come on, I’m human too ya know.” You frowned, shoving his hand away.
“True… but you’ve only ever been focused on sports.”
“What’s this?!” Amber snuck up behind you, pinching your cheek. “Is our little Y/N growing up??”
“God, you guys are annoying.” You grumbled, now shoving her hand away.
“Aww, don’t be embarrassed. It’s a natural part of life!” She wrapped her arms around you, pulling you into a tight hug.
“I’m not embarrassed.”
“Then why are you blushing?” Jaemin interjected. The other two sniggered at the comment.
“Ugh!” You pushed her away and stomped away from the three, feeling annoyed at their prying. You caught Jeno’s eye and he smiled, waving shyly. You smiled despite yourself, glancing at the coach. “Coach, can I leave early?”
He scowled at you, putting his hands on his hips. “Just because you’re the ace doesn’t mean you can skip practice.”
You rolled your eyes at his attitude. “I’m not skipping practice. I’m asking if I can leave early.”
“…my tutor is here.”
“Tutor?” He paused before lashing out, smacking you in the head with the papers in his hand. “Yah, you failed another test, didn’t you?!”
“Does it matter?” You rubbed your head, avoiding his next strike. “I’ve got a tutor, so I’m working on it!”
He sighed heavily, “Dismissed. You better have your grades up next test or else.”
“Yes, sir~” You sent him a mock salute before rushing away, avoiding his attack. Jeno was looking down at his notebook when you approached the stands. “Oi,”
His gaze snapped up, looking at you in surprise.
“I’m gonna go get changed and then we can study.”
“What about practice?” He looked at your team in worry.
“This is more important. Besides, I got in some practice before you got here.” When he nodded, you headed off for the locker room. Since your team was coed, there were two separate locker rooms for the boys and girls. You took a few minutes debating on if you should take a shower first but ultimately decided not to keep him waiting.
As you were heading for the door, you noticed a tree-shaped air freshener hanging against the AC unit. You glanced around before snatching it, tying it to the inside of your shirt. Hopefully, it was stronger than your sweat.
You rushed outside, purposely ignoring the smug smirk your teammates were sending your way. “Let’s go,” You spoke quickly, not stopping as you walked past. He already had his things put away, so he didn’t hesitate to follow you. “Where to?”
Jeno grasped the strap of his bag with both hands. “The library is closed. We can sit in the courtyard? It’s not too hot today.”
“Sure,” you murmured. The courtyard itself was quite large, separating the gate and the school building. Several round benches and matching tables were scattered around the area, most hidden from the sky under large oak trees. In the center sat a tall fountain with crystal clear water – the centerpiece was the school’s mascot, Paly the badger.
You chose the most shaded table, plopping down on the stone. Jeno sat beside you since the table was too wide for him to reach across to teach you.
He started to pull out his books and notes. “What is your worst subject?”
You scratched your cheek. “Er, all of them?”
He laughed softly. “Okay, what subject do you hate most? And no saying all of them!” Jeno stopped you when you opened your mouth, effectively silencing you. Your reaction made him laugh again.
“Math, I guess? I’m not good with numbers.”
“We’ll start there, then. May I have your test?”
You dug into your bag, grabbing the ball of paper and smoothing it out. You gave him a sheepish smile, “I uh, needed more room…”
Jeno bit his lip to hide his smile, nodding. Despite being crumpled and torn in a few places, he was able to see the questions and answers. For the next hour and a half, the two of you sat there going over each of your tests.
He was brilliant at explaining things in a way that you could understand and he was patient when you didn’t get something right away. He took the time to write out a fake test and had you answer the questions. You had no confidence in your answers, but you did better than normal. It was far from an A, but at least you didn’t fail.
“Damn,” you breathed out, staring at the red C- he had written on the top of the paper. “Maybe you should teach the class instead.”
His cheeks lit up at the compliment. “Ah, no, I’m not that smart.”
“Excuse me?” You scoffed, staring him down. “You just raised my grade from a D- to a C- in less than two hours. You’re a genius.”
He smiled softly, looking down at his notebook. “Thank you. That means a lot coming from you.”
“Ah, nothing!” Jeno mentally slapped himself for saying that out loud. You sat in silence for several minutes.
“Hey, Jeno. Our first game of the tournament is in ten days.” You paused, thinking over your words. “You should come. If you want to, I mean.”
“Sure! I’d love to.” You both shared a smile as the wind lightly danced around you.
“By the way…” He shifted, thinking over his words. “You don’t have to wear air fresheners. You smell fine.”
Your face flushed. “Right…”
Jeno continued to tutor you every day after school even after the tournament began. With his help, you were maintaining a C+, B- average. In the process, the two of you had gotten a lot closer to one another.
Your team breezed through the first two rounds of the tournament, nearly losing the third round to last year’s champions, but you managed to pull it off with a score of 24 to 20. Round four was easy, but round five was evenly matched, neither team wanting to give. It went into overtime, but you managed to score the touchdown that won the game.
Your team had made it to the finals. One more game and you would take the gold cup for Dongho.
Your team gathered in the locker room on the day of the match. Jeno was standing next to you against the lockers.
“I can’t believe we did it,” Dongho looked at his teammates, eyes sparkling with tears. “We’ve worked our butts off. We didn’t get here through a fluke or by luck. We earned this! We… We…” His tears overflowed as the words caught in his throat. Amber hugged him while coach patted his shoulder, also tearing up. “We will win the gold cup!”
“Yeah!” The team chorused, whooping and hollering in excitement.
You sniffled, cursing yourself for being so sensitive. Jeno smiled at you softly, pulling a small tissue pack from his back and handing it to you. “I’m not crying, I’m just having an allergic reaction okay.”
“I understand,” he responded softly, unable to hide his smile. You cared so much for your captain and your team – he admired you for that.
“Let’s get out there and prove that we didn’t get here on luck!” Dongho yelled. The team cheered, grabbing their helmets and filing out.
You handed the pack back, rolling your shoulders. “Jeno?”
You looked him dead in the eye, determination set in stone. “Watch me. I’ll win the gold cup for this team, for Dongho… for you.”
He couldn’t look away from your gaze, nor could he form words. Instead, he simply nodded, watching as you left the room.
The game was long, easily going into overtime. They were strong, seeming to knock you down as soon as you scored a point. Most of their players towered over your own teammates and you briefly wondered if they were on steroids because of how huge they were. Their tackles were sharp like spears, leaving your body bruised and sore, but you never gave up.
The clock ticked down.
There was less than a minute left of overtime and if you didn’t score a touchdown now, you would lose. You pushed your legs to run faster as you headed for the end zone, the ball tucked tightly against your body. You nearly tripped trying to avoid their tackles, but you stayed on your feet and kept pushing. The feeling in your legs was long gone, your body reaching its limit, but you had to keep pushing. You couldn’t let it end like this. You just couldn’t.
One of their linebackers appeared beside you and you couldn’t react in time. Your eyes snapped shut, waiting for the sharp impact but it never came.
Jaemin managed to block him, using all of his strength. “GO, Y/N!”
His scream gave you a boost of energy and surged forward, making the decision to dive. As you slid across the grass, it seemed as if time slowed down. Blood pumped in your ears and all you could hear was your heavy breathing. The screams of fans and your teammates were hazy and undistinguishable over the sound of your own heart. Why were you sliding so slow?
‘I’m slowing down. Please, just a little more!’ Time froze as you made it into the end zone. Seconds later, you felt yourself being smothered by the other team, a hoarse cry passing your lips as they knocked the air out of you. The piercing sound of the whistle greeted your ears followed by, “TOUCHDOWN!”
Time returned to normal, the screams of fans filling the air.
“Get off Y/N!”
“Move you brutes!”
“If you’re gonna cry, do it somewhere other than on our running back!”
The weight was lifted off you and you sucked in air. Jaehyo and Dongho helped you up, making sure you were alive and nothing was broken before they squished you in a tight hug.
Amber laughed at your face, “You just got your breath back and now they’re taking it again.”
“Help,” you wheezed, reaching out for Jaemin who was fighting back tears. He grabbed your hand but didn’t attempt to help.
“I’m so.. I’m so..” Dongho sobbed, squeezing you tighter.
“We did it,” Jaehyo cried.
“Break it up!” Heechul smacked the two with his papers, but it did little with their helmets on. “We need Y/N to win the cup next year!” It took some effort, but he finally managed to pry you away from the two sobbing boys, helping you towards the bench.
Your entire body was screaming, having been pushed past its limit, but you were so happy that you didn’t care.
“Y/N!” Jeno came running out of the stands, throwing his arms around your neck. His grip was warm and protective, not nearly as tight as your teammates’ had been. He didn’t care about the sweat seeping into his clothes. “I’m so proud of you. You were amazing!”
“We all were,” you breathed in his scent, a mixture of new textbook and mint. It invaded your senses. “I told you I was would win for you, Jeno.”
He pulled back, looking you in the eyes. “I… I made a promise to myself. I told myself that if you won, I would tell you…”
“Tell me what?” You had an idea of what that something was, but you wanted to hear it.
“Y/N, I – ”
“CHEERS!” Amber and Jaemin screamed, dumping the contents of the drink cooler on Jeno’s head. Jaehyo and Dongho did the same to Heechul.
Your body twitched in annoyance as you glared at the pair. “Oi, you ruined the moment you jerks!”
“Oh, were you finally going to confess?” Amber wiggled her eyebrows suggestively and you threw the closest thing at her – it was a towel and did no damage.
Muttering under your breath, you dug around in your bag to find your varsity jacket. It was a bit windy that day and you knew he didn’t have a change of clothes. He smiled at you sheepishly, cheeks turning dark as you handed it to him. You were similar in size, so it fit him snugly, filling his senses with the smell of pine and dirt.
“Jeno, I like you and want you to be my boyfriend.”
He pouted at you. “I wanted to confess first.”
You chuckled, “Just kiss me already.”
Without hesitation, Jeno’s lips found your own as his arms wrapped protectively around your body.