flywoman: (HatTrick!Messi)
[personal profile] flywoman
Title: it's just no good anymore
Artist: [livejournal.com profile] waterpulse
Author: [livejournal.com profile] flywoman
Rating: M
Word Count: ~3500
Warnings: Rough (consensual) sex
Summary: His countrymen have never loved him, but his greatest rival just might. A sequel to one is the loneliest number and no is the saddest experience, but all you really need to know is that this is not a first-time fic.
Author's Notes: Thanks to my beta, [livejournal.com profile] jezziejay, and to my artist, [livejournal.com profile] waterpulse, who produced such wonderful gifs to accompany this fic! Written for [livejournal.com profile] futbal_minibang Round 4.




2-1.

If anyone asked Cristiano Ronaldo why he was watching the Copa America final in his living room, alone, he wouldn’t know how to answer. Keep your friends close but your enemies closer, he might say. Or even just, Who isn’t? He would not tell the truth. But then, he isn’t even 100% certain what the truth is. All he really knows is that he can’t tear his eyes away from the train wreck that is Argentina’s, and by default Leo Messi’s, inevitable defeat.

Leo can’t, or at least shouldn’t, fault himself: he created some of the best chances for his team all evening, and he also struck a perfect penalty shot sweetly into the bottom corner despite Bravo’s best efforts. But, once again, his teammates can be depended upon to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Pipita’s penalty shot soars high over the crossbar, and Cris winces as Leo turns away, closing his eyes in anguish.

It seems like an eternity since the end of extra time. The tension is excruciating.

Charles Aranguiz steps up to the spot. Cris fights the temptation to cover his eyes.

3-1.

Romero’s wearing an incredulous grin that says, This can’t be happening to me, loud and clear.

For his part, Leo has his hands pressed together below his chin and head bowed as if in prayer – asking, Cris speculates, his Almighty Father for this cup to pass from him. But his Barcelona teammate stops his dreams of victory along with Éver Banega’s shot. Leo sags and spits on the grass in disgust.

And then, as if fate wished to rub salt in the wound, Leo’s former teammate Alexis Sánchez sends a cheeky little chip into the middle of the goal as Romero dives to the side and lands in the grass. The stadium explodes as Alexis tears off his shirt and takes his impressive musculature for a victory lap, screaming his head off.

The Chilean players finally manage to corner Alexis and pile on top of him. When the mad scramble bursts apart again, they scatter in all directions to kiss, hug, and chest-butt each other. Some of them still look stunned; roughly half are bawling for joy.

Leo sinks leadenly onto the turf and sprawls there, biting his lower lip, staring into space.

***

Cris tells himself that he really ought to go to bed – he doesn’t want to miss his morning exercise routine – but some kind of masochistic streak makes him stretch out on the sofa instead, waiting for the awards ceremony. He daydreams a little during the commercial break, but as soon as they cut back to the stadium, he’s fully alert again, looking for Leo.

The cameras can’t fail to find him: the small, forlorn figure sitting in the grass and staring between his knees. Cris suspects he’s shivering despite the long sleeves. For a split second he wishes that he were there, that he could put his arm around those shaking shoulders and kiss the top of Leo’s head and tell him that he did everything he could.

Not that Leo would necessarily welcome his attentions.

Long after his teammates have pulled themselves together and shrugged into their navy tracksuits, Leo remains alone on the pitch in stained sky blue and white. He’s never been the kind of captain who can put aside his own feelings to comfort and encourage his teammates. Maybe one day he’ll be mature enough, but privately Cris concedes that time may be running out.

They’re getting ready now, the officials taking their places, the players lining up to collect their medals. Of course, the cameras focus once again on Leo’s face.

It wouldn’t be so bad if there were tears. There is a deadness in his eyes that scares Cris a little. He watches Leo shake hands dutifully and duck his head to receive his prize, looking more like a little boy being chastised by an angry parent than a superstar footballer accepting an award.

Leo takes a few steps past the trophy table, stone-faced, without so much as a glance at the coveted Copa, clutching the silver medal with his left hand as if hiding it from view might transform it by some mysterious alchemy into gold. Then, as Cris cringes with empathy, he quickly jerks the ribbon over his head after the fewest possible seconds required by courtesy, or maybe even a little before that.

Cris yawns, feeling slightly guilty, and checks the time on his mobile. He’s sure that Leo will be named the best player of the tournament despite the loss, and so he waits. And waits. Chile’s Vargas and Peru’s Guerrero share the prize for greatest goalscorer; Colombia’s Murillo is named best young player. Bravo predictably gets the golden glove.

Of the best player award, no mention is made whatsoever.

Eyes narrowing, Cris skips back on the DVR, and there it is: the trophy sitting in the center of the table. He skips forward again, and it’s gone. Now you see it, now you don’t.

The third time through, he finally spots a pair of hands closing around the trophy and discreetly taking it off the table.

Cris sits back against the sofa cushions and considers this. At no point did he see Leo speaking to any of the officials with a look or gesture suggesting that he was refusing to be honored as an individual player. But he figures that, after the devastating loss to Germany in the World Cup last year, Leo would rather die than again be accused of accepting an award he doesn’t deserve.

At this thought he actually stands up, so indignant on Leo’s behalf that he has to laugh at himself after a moment. But it’s such an injustice. The best Argentinian player of the tournament, the only one to put his penalty shot away in the final, yet it’s all too obvious what tomorrow’s headlines will be: MESSI NO MARADONA. CAPTAIN FAILS HIS COUNTRY YET AGAIN.

If only there were something he could do.

***

leo, it’s cris

who?

Well, shit. He honestly can’t tell whether Leo is taking the piss or not. He settles for texting, cristiano ronaldo, imbecile.

what do you want?

Cris rolls his eyes even though there’s no one here to see him. This is going splendidly so far.

came to watch the copa final but my admin got the date wrong

There is a pause, then: fucking hilarious.

“Leo,” he says aloud, a little shocked. “Language.” He decides that the fact that Leo replied at all is cause for optimism. don’t you want to know where I am?

This time the pause is so long that Cris is already kicking himself for being a prize idiot, the worst wooer in the history of ever, when the reply finally comes back: are you actually in santiago?

Cris can’t keep himself from beaming. better than that.

the suspense is killing me comes so swiftly that Cris suspects that the intended sarcasm has misfired.

what are you wearing? If you can’t beat ‘em, confuse ‘em.

why??? He practically hugs himself with glee as he pictures Leo frowning down at his phone.

come up to the seventeenth floor and i’ll show you. Too cheesy? Nah, not for a man with a life-sized tattoo of his mother’s face. He touches Send.

Exactly one minute and fifty-eight seconds later, there is a muffled rap at the door.

Cris looks himself over in the mirror one last time, checking the drape of his silk shirt and the cuffs of his trousers, before sauntering over and pulling the door open. Sure enough, Leo is standing there, clad only in a pair of half-zipped jeans that are sliding dangerously low on his hips. His freshly cut hair is flattened on one side like he’s been lying down, but he looks like he hasn’t slept in a week, which frankly wouldn’t be too surprising.  His lids are puffy, his brown eyes bloodshot. He also smells like he might not have showered since yesterday’s match.

Cris checks his instinctive recoil almost instantly, but Leo notices; the corners of his mouth turn down, and he folds his arms defensively across his bare chest. He doesn’t say anything. He won’t, either; Cris knows him well enough to realize that.

“Come in,” he says in as encouraging a tone as he can muster without taking too deep a breath.

Leo wavers on his feet for a few seconds, for all the world as if he’s about to turn right back around and bolt back to his room. Then Cris reaches out and clasps his elbow to give him a gentle tug, and he totters forward. Cris closes the door behind him and bolts it quickly, before Leo changes his mind.

But Leo is just standing there in his bare feet, looking around. “It’s huge,” he observes, sounding surprised.

Cris allows himself a smirk. “That’s what she said.” When Leo just raises an eyebrow as if to ask, Really? he adds, “This is the Presidential Suite.”

“Of course it is,” Leo says dryly.

“Only the best for you,” Cris replies, straight-faced. “Want the grand tour?”

“I didn’t come up here to see your room,” Leo tells him, so directly that it takes his breath away.

“That would be rooms,” he corrects when he can manage it. “There’s a sauna and Jacuzzi, a heated terrace, a boardroom…”

“A bedroom?” Leo asks, more pointedly still.

Cris is suddenly aware that he can’t smell Leo’s stink anymore, which is fortunate, under the circumstances. Said circumstances being that Leo couldn’t be any clearer about his intentions if he’d simply walked in and dropped trou.

But “Leo,” he says, resisting the urge to throw his arms around his rival and hold him tight, “are you okay? I watched the match, and I wanted to tell you-“

“I didn’t come here to talk,” Leo says petulantly, and for a second Cris reels in righteous indignation. Who the hell does this little man think he is? He’s no one’s fuck toy, and he’s certainly not Lionel Messi’s consolation prize. He’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

Then Leo looks up, biting down on his lower lip to keep it from trembling, his close-set eyes glimmering with unshed tears, and Cris suddenly understands that, far from being taken for granted, he is actually being offered something precious.

Leo is here because he trusts Cris to give him exactly what he needs. And Cris, knowing him as he does, hears the unvoiced desire that drove him here.

“You’re right,” he agrees. “Enough talking.” He grabs Leo by the arm, hard enough to hurt, spins him around, and forces him to stumble to the master bedroom. “Take off your pants,” he commands curtly.

Leo is shaking under his hands but doesn't make a sound while he struggles to undo his zipper and squirms out of his jeans, letting them pool around his ankles. He isn’t wearing any underpants. Cris eyes Leo’s ass, pale and muscular, stalling for time more than anything; he’s still only half-hard. He rubs a palm roughly up the back of Leo’s thigh, then sucks on a finger and forces it in.

At this Leo yelps, but he jerks back against Cris and not away. Cris works his finger in further for a few seconds, stretching him, then yanks it out and orders, “Get on the bed. Hands and knees.”

Leo clambers awkwardly onto the bed, kicking his crumpled jeans to the floor, and crawls forward on his hands, ass raised high. Cris strips down, then thrusts a hand under his own waistband and squeezes himself experimentally, hoping that Leo won’t notice his hesitation. “Hang on,” he says. “I’ll get some lube.”

“Don’t bother,” Leo grinds out, lifting his hips higher. His face is white, his eyes enormous.

“It’s not for you, asshole,” Cris snaps, but he leaves the lube in the drawer and unwraps a condom instead, sticky-slick as he grips himself and rolls it down. He imagines Leo’s face, jaw clenched and eyes squinched shut, and groans low in his throat, feeling himself harden.

“Hurry up,” Leo snarls, looking back over his shoulder, and Cris’ cock bucks urgently in his hand. He doesn’t even remember getting out of his pants and onto the bed before he’s sheathed to the hilt, his balls banging against Leo’s ass as he snaps his hips.

Leo’s moaning under him, impossibly tight, his back rigid and raw and slippery with sweat. Cris slams into him, pushing the smaller man into the mattress, the pressure so intense that it’s almost painful. “Hurts, doesn’t it?” Cris demands, and Leo stays silent but nods an emphatic yes even as he strains to take Cris further in.

“Good,” Cris growls, and rewards Leo’s honesty with an especially vicious thrust. Because this is what Leo wanted: this is exactly what he came here for. “I hope it hurts. You deserve it, you pathetic little loser.” At this Leo lurches under him; his hips start to stutter. He’s panting brokenly, maybe crying, and so is Cris, moisture that might be sweat and might be tears trickling down his cheeks.

“Loser,” he chants, “loser,” and Leo howls something that might be Cris and might be Christ and comes, clenching around Cris’ cock and striping the crimson comforter. A second later Cris falls forward and bites down on Leo’s shoulder blade, right in the middle of his mother’s forehead, as he pulses spasmodically between Leo’s cheeks.

***

When Cris comes back to himself, he’s lying on top of Leo, who is limp and sticky under his skin. He peels himself off and rolls over, flopping onto his back. Leo’s head is turned towards him, but his eyes are closed. “Thanks,” he mumbles. His face is still flushed and damp, but Cris is relieved to see that the strained expression that so frightened him is gone. When Leo reaches out blindly, fumbling for his hand, Cris tangles their fingers together.

“I,” Leo says finally, “I can’t believe you actually came.”

“Me neither,” Cris agrees, wrinkling his nose. “You’re really rank.”

Leo looks startled for a second, and then he starts shaking silently. It takes Cris a while to realize that he is laughing.

“Does this palace have a shower?”

“Puh-lease,” Cris replies, “I have everything here you could possibly want.”

“Not everything,” Leo says simply, and Cris could kick himself. But then Leo sits up, still holding his hand, and gives him a questioning look, so he smiles and leads him into the bathroom.

Leo limps in after him and looks at the shower, which is shielded by frosted glass and large enough for the entire Chilean football squad. Once inside, he lets Cris lather him up, including his sweat-stiffened hair.

The tattoos marring his fair skin are even uglier under the harsh fluorescent lighting, dark stains under Cris’ elegant hands. His right arm, in particular, is a writhing riot of color that rivals those of Lavezzi or Di Maria, and his left leg, while black and white, is almost as bad. When Leo catches him looking, he scowls and makes a show of shaking his head, whipping warm water everywhere.

Then he sinks to his knees under the spray.

***

Afterwards they go back to bed, sated and still slightly damp. Leo curls up on his side like a contented cat, and Cris hesitates briefly before wrapping himself around him, his arm draped over his hip. Leo has never stayed this long before, so he’s sure to do something to scare him off any second now; he just doesn’t know exactly what it will be.

“What have you heard?” Leo asks at last, sounding drowsy. This surprises Cris, who didn’t think that Leo cared one way or the other what the media said about him.

“Rumor has it that you’ll be taking a break from the national team,” he says.

Leo doesn’t dignify that with an answer, but he sits up to give Cris a look that is eloquent enough.

“I didn’t believe it for a second,” Cris assures him hastily.

“I would never,” Leo begins, and takes a deep breath. “I would never. Why can’t they understand that?” He sounds like he’s about to cry.

“I don’t know,” Cris says honestly. It occurs to him that perhaps he is incredibly lucky that his countrymen have always supported him, no matter that he’s been playing for clubs in other countries since he was a teenager and has never managed to take his national team further than a Euro final.

And then, since the moment is already ruined and Leo’s imminent departure is probably a foregone conclusion, he opens his mouth again. “Leo… what really happened to the player of the tournament award?”

“I didn’t want the fucking award,” Leo whispers. He’s staring down at his feet, pale and tender except for the callouses on his big toes and a fresh, angry bruise from yesterday’s match. “I never wanted any of them.”

This is a completely new thought for Cris. “Wait, what? Never?” Leo looks up, eyes dark, and shakes his head. “Well, you know, Leo, if you really don’t want this year’s Balón de Oro, just say the word,” he says, hoping he'll get one last chance to lighten the mood. “As your friend, I’m willing to relieve you of that burden.”

He thinks it’s a mistake the moment he says it; it’s the wrong word, both too much and not enough for what they are to each other. He watches, heart in his mouth, while Leo hesitates, then slants a glance sideways at him and deadpans, “Sure, better take what you can before it’s time to retire. I’ll have plenty of years to win it once you’re gone.”

Cris opens his mouth, incredulous, then realizes that Leo is laughing at him. He relaxes and silently congratulates himself for successfully steering the conversation back to safer waters. “You and what midget army?” he asks. He knows it’s kind of a lame comeback, but it’s the best he can do this late, not to mention after two mind-blowing orgasms.

Leo rolls his eyes, but his small smile betrays him just before it’s broken by a huge, unselfconscious yawn. Cris waits, not quite holding his breath, while Leo wordlessly weighs the pros and cons of staying the night. He strongly suspects that if he appears too eager, Leo will be out the door fast enough to raise an offside flag.

At last Leo leans back on his hands and regards Cris with half-lidded eyes. “I could sleep here,” he offers, almost shyly.

“If you want,” Cris shrugs, just as if his heart weren’t about to burst through his chest in triumph.

“Do you snore?”

“Haven’t gotten any complaints.” That’s true, as far as it goes.

“I do,” Leo announces. “Hope you brought earplugs.”

“It won’t bother me,” Cris says, and means it. Not only because he can sleep through an earthquake – in fact, he has – but because right now he can’t think of anything he’d rather do than watch Leo snoring next to him all night. Well. Maybe one thing.

“I should brush my teeth,” Leo says. His eyes are already closing, his chin dropping towards his chest.

“I think I have a spare.” Cris gets up to go to the bathroom, but when he turns his head to locate Leo, he finds that he has flopped onto the mattress, mashing his face into the pillowcase, and is already mumbling and twitching in his sleep. So he climbs into bed and puts his arm cautiously around Leo’s slim shoulders, and despite his best efforts, he eventually drifts off, lulled by the sound of his bedmate’s soft snores.

***

When Cris opens his eyes, the sunlight is streaming through the narrow strip between the heavy brocaded drapes. He is disoriented for a second, somehow aware of the absence of warmth against his side.

Then an abortive movement catches his eye from across the room, and there is Leo, back in his blue jeans, his hand hovering over the doorknob, looking exactly like the proverbial deer in headlights.

“You can leave the money on the dresser,” Cris says wryly, and scrubs the grit from his eyes. His mouth is stale and dry.

“Sorry to wake you,” Leo says. He does seem sorry, but mostly to have been caught sneaking out the door.

“Where are you going?” Cris stifles a yawn and stretches, cracking his neck.

“Rosario,” Leo says, like it should be obvious. He looks like a bum, with his wrinkled jeans and unshaven chin and the dark smudges under his eyes, but a lot better than he did last night. Stronger. More sure of himself.

“I will never understand you,” Cris jokes, and Leo’s mouth quirks up, but then his face turns solemn again.

“No,” he says, “I don’t think you will.”  He hesitates briefly before returning to the bed and pecking Cris chastely on the cheek, his breath slightly sour. “Thanks.”

“Any time,” Cris says. He just manages to stop himself from catching Leo’s hand and holding it to his heart or some other damned idiotic thing. But he can’t help adding, “You know that, right?”

“Yeah,” Leo says, and takes a few steps away, and then stops and smiles at him. “Same here.”


FIN.
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