Fandom/Pairing: Real Madrid - Cristiano Ronaldo/Mesut Özil, one-sided Mesut Özil/Sami Khedira, past Cristiano Ronaldo/Kaká
Author: onyxexistance / openmoments
Word Count: 3, 516
Summary: "So, things worked out for you, didn't they?" "Yeah, I guess they did."
Disclaimers: If I owned this team, do you think I would be writing fic?
Prompt: This prompt over at footballkink2: One-sided Crozil. A smidge of Criska.
Mesut gives and gives, hoping that one day Cris will see him in a different light.
Author's Notes: This got a little bit away from the prompt, but I do really like how it turned out.
He sleeps until noon and is woken up by the pounding on his door, Sami asking if he’s awake and he manages to mumble an answer out and then sticks his head under his pillows.
Finally, he snags his phone from his bedside table, blearily looks through the messages. Three from Sami, wondering why he’d left, when he’d be back, if he was still alive (he smiles at that one), two from Cris, wondering if he’s up for lunch, if they’re still friends (he ignores the pang there), and one from Sergio wondering if he’s still up for the party planned at his place in the evening.
He ignores them all, groans, tosses the phone and swears he’s never leaving the bed. That is until his door smacks against the wall, the smell of breakfast (lunch?) wafts in and then there’s suddenly the sound of feet, there’s a body on his bed, the springs creaking and he gives out an, “Oof!” as a body lands on his, his worn out muscles protesting way too much as the pillow’s pulled off his face, Cris’s way too eager, blinding smile is in his vision and he lets out a groan, the events of the night before crashing back into memory.
(His heart thudding against his ribs so hard he can hear it in his ears (kind of like when he’s playing football but not in a good way like that is) and Cris’s face is drawn, lines drawn in scrawls across his forehead and he wants to soothe and smooth but the words keep ringing in his ears, “He doesn’t love me,” and how much pain’s behind them.
He swallows, tries, fails, swallows again, pauses, tries again, “Who?” and it comes out a whisper and he’s ashamed because that should give him away, but Cris is too focused on his own breaking heart to notice the one slowly falling apart next to him.
It takes a few minutes and he wonders if Cris has even heard him but he doesn’t think he has the heart (the pieces are now lying on the floor of his ribcage, he can feel all the sharp edges) to ask again, so he just waits.
“Kaká,” and it’s said slowly, quietly, tiredly, and he feels stupid because he should have known, how could he not? but he doesn’t know what to say, so he doesn’t say anything and they sit there and he wants to find the words but, “If he doesn’t love you, he’s missing out on something amazing,” is laughable and would only add insult to injury, so he doesn’t, he says nothing, sits in silence, staring at the football pitch and waits. (That’s all he ever seems to do, now.))
Now he wants to know why Cris is all a bundle of smiles and sunshine while he just wants to lay in bed for weeks on end, but that clearly won’t happen, so he lets himself be dragged out of the house after Cris has thrown clothes at him, his eyes still sleepily half shut, Sami standing awkwardly in the kitchen, this unreadable look on his face and Mesut just shrugs his way after he receives a confused but good luck smile from his friend. He doesn’t know what he’d do without him.
The next few weeks can only be described as emotional hell. He knows that it’s not in Cris’s nature to hurt people, as much as anyone outside might think he’s an absolute bastard; he’s not. He wants to believe that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. That Cris doesn’t realize how much he’s being hurt.
Sami knows, though.
Sami knows how much he wants to turn, run, walk, crawl away, but isn’t allowed to. How much he wants to stay in bed and never get up. How much he wants to give up.
Like now, “Hey pretty boy,” Sami greets, ducks his head under Mesut’s face, looks into his eyes, bats his eyelashes and he laughs. Tired and a little sad, but he laughs.
“How are you?” he asks, and Mesut knows he could lie, possibly get away with it, but he’d feel sick about it, because he never lies to Sami.
The pause is long enough and Sami understands that he can’t find the words so he does what he knows is needed and says nothing and is just there, a presence as they sit, watch TV, the Spanish flowing in and through and over them and he wonders if they’re even watching anymore, if they’re not just sitting there, with each other.
It takes awhile before he notices the change, and it’s not him who points it out. Benz notices it, points it out bluntly, just a question he wants an answer to, “You mad at Cris?” and he reels back because ‘mad’ never popped up into the definition of his feelings and he raises his eyebrows and Benz lets out a puff of air, slightly frustrated.
The moment drags out a moment before Benz starts again, “Look, it’s none of my business, but we need you,” he says and Mesut’s eyebrows rise again, higher, because Benz doesn’t DO feelings, but Benz plows on, “I mean that, Mesut, I really do. We need you and you’re just...you’re not here,” and he knows it’s true. He’s warmed the bench far too many minutes out of games lately and he’s trying, he is, but he doesn’t know how these things work (emotions, feelings, hearts) and it’s messing his feet up and he just trips.
His thoughts are interrupted by, “...and we know something’s up with Kaká too and...,” here Benz trails off, bites his lip as if he’s said too much and Mesut nods, smiles, “I’m working on it. We’re here, we’re a team,” and he knows that they both know he’s really just trying to reassure himself.
That’s when he starts looking at himself in the mirror a little differently, step back, reassess, “You can do this,” forehead up against the mirror, “No you can’t,” walk out, try again tomorrow.
“Mesut! Mesut!” and there’s a familiar voice and his heart jumps back up from its broken mess among his ribs before falling back down, the pieces smaller this time around.
He slows down, doesn’t stop, let’s Cris catch up, hands in his hair, on his shoulder, touching, touching, touching, constantly touching and the pieces sliver off even more but he wants it so much, leans back into the touch for a millisecond before snapping back and going cold.
“Yeah?” he asks hard and harsh, brusque and Cris’s eyes grow question marks, but he ignores them because he can’t, he can’t do this with emotion so he looks over his shoulder instead because Cris has eyes that don’t lie, can’t lie, and that’s what he loves about them. About him.
“I haven’t seen you in ages, pretty boy,” and the nickname makes him wince, kick to the stomach, and he wants to know how Cris can’t know (but Gods, if he did...and he doesn’t want to think about it) so just answers instead.
“We see each other every day,” and he tries to put in some laugh, some joke, some piece of ‘we’re still friends’ but it doesn’t come out sounding right and he winces at the failed attempt.
Now Cris is scuffing his toe into the cement of the parking lot and he doesn’t know when Cris has ever been...nervous? before, but this is new, and it melts the broken pieces of his hearts and he softens and smiles, a real smile, adds, “But I know, we need to do something sometime,” and he knows this won’t end well and Sami’ll watch him leave with worried eyes.
But Cris’s smile makes it all worth it and his smile gets bigger and he feels it reach his eyes and barely hears himself agreeing to go out for dinner over the weekend. He remembers, because whatever airy castle he’s built up crashes when Cris’s face falls, when he quickly says good bye and almost runs to his car, starts it up, pulls out of the parking lot, wheels screeching in his wake.
He’s confused until Kaká’s at his shoulder, a sad broken smile on his face, hands stuffed in his pockets, “I guess he’s still hurt,” and Mesut chokes out a, “Yeah, it’ll take longer than we thought,” and they stand there in silence, the screech still echoing in their ears.
“This can’t go on!” Sami tells him and he winces because Sami never really gets mad, but he knows he’s right, knows this has gone on for a ridiculous length of time, that he needs to get his head back into football space because Mou keeps giving him these looks, shaking his head, and his ass has been on benches way too long this season. He’s got the splinters to prove it.
“You don’t think I don’t know that?” he replies and he feels bad because the words had a jagged edge to them and out of anyone, Sami doesn’t deserve that and he adds, “I’m sorry, I’m not mad at you,” to help soothe the wounds.
Sami smiles, tired, eyes drooping a bit at the corner, “I know, Mesut, I know,” and all of a sudden he feels a huge surge of emotion, appreciation and grins, “When’s the last time we hung out?” he asks and Sami gets this odd look on his face, half smile, half question.
“Why?” and he wants to cry because they shouldn’t be questioning each other like this and he promises himself he won’t take Sami for granted (when did that start to begin with?).
“Because,” he starts, crawls onto the couch and Sami pulls his head down onto his lap and he looks up at the ceiling, Sami’s hand in his hair, “we haven’t really seen each other beyond practice,” and he can feel Sami wanting to interrupt but he heads him off, hand in the air, pointer finger up, “even though we live with each other,” he adds, pauses for a moment, feels Sami’s thumb massaging at his temple, and here he shrugs, can’t find the words, doesn’t know how to explain what he’s trying to say, but tries anyway, starts over, “We need to get out of the house, go out,” it’s simple, effective and he tilts his head back, sees Sami smile.
They go out for supper and it’s nice. It’s not like when he and Cris went out, it’s calmer and he’s not worried about saying the wrong thing because it’s Sami and he laughs and laughs and laughs and on their way to the car, Sami wraps his arm around his neck and he burrows in close, all up next to the warmth, and he’s missed this because this is what they do, who they are and it feels right.
It’s a kick in the gut when he goes to practice the next day and Cris and Kaká are all over each other, arms around shoulders, heads bent together coming up through the parking lot and he can hear Sami swear next to him.
He looks over, a little half smile on his face, “What?”
Sami raises his eyebrows and Mesut knows he’s thinking that there’s going to be another roller coaster ride and he doesn’t want to admit it, but he’s probably right.
“I’ll be fine,” he tries and Sami just snorts, shakes his head and exits the car.
The thing is, he wants to be alright, because that’s just Cris: a ping pong ball back and forth between fraying hearts and he doesn’t say he can blame him because, fuck, he’s Cristiano Ronaldo and he thinks he’s God’s gift to human kind (football kind) and maybe he’s not, maybe he’s just God’s gift to Mesut (but what kind of thought is that to have?) so he just shakes his head and gets out of the car.
Mou doesn’t even have to tell him he’s not starting the next game after practice ends.
But he already promised Cris that they’d go out for supper. And he wants to fake sick, Sami tells him he should, that he could pull it off because he looks white and about ready to throw up but something inside him tells him not to, to go. So he does
Cris pulls up and he’s ready and waiting (and has been for ages. Sami told him three times to quit pacing and had to go to his room because he was making him sea sick.), and he smiles but he knows that instead of looking happy he looks scared and figures he should have called sick, postponed it, but he’s here now so might as well make the best of it.
The drive to the restaurant is awkward and he just stares out the window at Madrid at night and everyone looks so happy out there on the street and he wants....God he wants.
Cris asks him questions, not seeming to notice that he’s not quite there, hands drumming along with the beat of the music on the steering wheel, asking him questions, “Any plans for the holidays?” “Anyone in your life? “Still taking Spanish lessons?” and he gives monosyllabic answers and doesn’t feel tired as much as sick and presses his forehead against the glass.
Cris doesn’t notice.
Happy Cris is hard to be mad at, hard to stay away from, because he wants everyone around him to be as happy as he is. Mesut tries, he tries to stay away. Goes to practice and goes home. Lives in an up in the air headspace (and he’s still not starting) and Sami’s doing his best, oh Sami.
At least, he tries. He tries hard. But somewhere after the third day of leaving practice early, Sergio bars him from his car, steals his keys from his jacket pocket, and he can’t stay mad at Sergio, laughs as he playfully lunges for his keys, misses by fingertips as they’re tossed to Benz, tossed to Marcelo, Sami, who dangles them, laughs, big and loud and happy, and that makes Mesut happy so he doesn’t take them from his offered palm and watches as they soar through the air to Iker who lazily reaches out but is intercepted by Cris and suddenly his hearing goes static-y and his vision goes blurry as everyone cat calls and Iker tackles Cris and they push each other up against the lockers until they’re out of breathe and laughing, slapping each other on the back.
Cris then dangles his keys, jumps on the bench and does a celebratory dance, is greeted with more cat calls, boos, and everyone gets back to getting changed and Cris jumps down, slips next to Mesut and says, “Guess you’re with me, then,” and he smiles, resists the urge to scream into his locker.
They go out and he’s missed it, missed them. He knows Sami does, too, and watches as he laughs, big and loud at something Sergio says and then Kaká’s next to him and he can’t think of an excuse but moves to get up anyways, feels the hand on his arm and looks down and sits down at its request.
They’re silent as the sound around them swells, dies, swells again, overflows with laughter and starts over. He plays with the lip of his glass and he realizes Kaká’s tapping some unintelligible beat on the table in front of them and now he wants to know what he has to say and he feels eyes on him and looks up and Cris is in the middle of the group, looking over at them, smile almost dead on his lips as his eyes ask so many questions and Mesut knows he can’t answer them.
Kaká’s seen him too and says quietly, “He’s worried about you, you know,” and he laughs drily but Kaká’s, “He really does,” has too much emotion in it to be ignored and Mesut has no hard feelings against him.
He looks over and smiles quietly, “He really cares about you,” and Kaká’s silent for a moment before looking back up to Cris, who’s back is now turned to them, hands waving as he tells some story or another.
“He does,” he agrees and Mesut doesn’t know what else he would have expected to say. To deny it would be to lie.
He can feel Kaká searching for the words to continue, and is surprised when, “But it’s not quite like what you think it is,” and he wants to ask what that means but can’t as Sami comes over, drags him to the group, Cris on his heels, slipping on a chair next to Kaká, who greets him with a huge smile, shoves his half glass of water to the animated man next to him.
He knows that this has drug on too long, that he’s not the only one suffering for it, that his career his, his friends are, that Sami is. But, he can’t...he can’t...and....
...he splashes water on his face, bitingly cold, watches as blood rushes back up to his cheeks, water drips off his face, hair plastered to his forehead, palms pressed flat on the rim of the porcelain sink.
He finally shakes his head because he’s not there, not focused and he doesn’t know what’s wrong. He’s trying and it’s not working and he bites back a scream of frustration because everything’s a mess and they don’t tell you about that when you’re growing up (“You’re still growing up,” Sami tells him after he sleepily confides in him. Maybe he’s right.), that there’s more than just football and whether or not you’re playing.
There’s feelings and heart and not knowing if you’re doing the right thing, if you’re on the right path, and constantly fumbling in the dark for the answers that you don’t even know are there. But you pray to God that they are because you can’t go on like this.
And the, “Mesut! We’re going to be late! Hurry up!” makes him open his eyes, stare at his dripping face in the mirror once more, and he wants to know why he said he’d go to this stupid party (because everyone’s going).
They arrive late and Sami apologizes on their behalf, says that Mesut had taken way too long in the bathroom, “Like the pretty boy he is,” but he says it affectionately and he just rolls his eyes in response and Sergio drags him over to the TV where everyone’s piled on two couches, overflowing and spilling off the sides, leaning up against the sides and sprawled on the floor. Just like school boy slumber parties because none of them have really grown up, have they?
Benz shoves a controller into his hands and their eyes meet for a moment and all of a sudden he feels sick because he knows that he hasn’t lived up to the promise that he made, but Benz nods and he gives a tight smile before letting it stretch as he sees who else has one in their hands and calls out, “What’re we playing?!” which comes too late as the game’s started and his Mario Kart is still behind the black and white checkered start line.
He’s coming out of the bathroom when Cris finally corners him (he’s been dodging him all night, wanting to keep the splinters that are still laying amongst his ribs the size that they are and not break them down smaller) and he does his best to dodge, move, pass by but Cris is bigger, bulkier, towers over him a bit and he can’t see Sami over his shoulder and goes for staring at the stitching on the logo on Cris’s shirt instead.
Neither of them say anything and he wants to know what this is about but doesn’t want to ask because he’s getting sick of this and then Cris’s hand is under his chin, forcing his eyes up and he lifts them, reluctantly, and all he sees is confusion and instead of being on guard he’s confused too because Cris is always in charge, always certain. Always.
(But not now.)
Cris opens his mouth, starts, looks back over his shoulder when there’s a cumulative yell of success, echoed by groans of disappointment and shakes his head, pushes him back into the bathroom and locks the door.
“What?” he finally asks because all his emotions are swelling up in his throat and he doesn’t know what to do with them all and it’s getting painful.
“What?” Cris asks, confused and he’s got crazy eyes, bright and shiny and Mesut wonders if those are tears but tries to convince himself that he doesn’t give a fuck, and instead barrels on, “Yeah, what?”
There’s a pause and he decides to give Cris to the count of thirty before pushing past and going back out but at twenty three Cris clears his throat, starts and then shakes his head, just spits out the words, “You need help.”