Tangible Schizophrenia


Give Me One Reason

Author: Guede Mazaka
Rating: NC-17.
Pairing: Van Persie/Lehmann, C. Ronaldo/Van Nistelrooy, Hildebrand/Lahm, Casillas/Raúl, a little Fàbregas/Casillas and Fàbregas/Raúl.
Feedback: Good lines, bad ones, etc.
Disclaimer: This is absolutely fiction and not real and I don’t know these people at all. Any resemblance to any real-life record company is completely accidental.
Notes: Title from the Tracy Chapman song.
Summary: It’s the launch party of Cristiano’s new album, and like all good parties, the drama’s flowing even better than the champagne.


“I hate launch parties,” Timo mumbled into his drink. He swigged it down, then set the empty glass on a nearby table and started looking around for a waitress with a champagne tray. “I swear to God, this would be the last place on earth I’d be if I didn’t have to be here.”

“Well…you don’t.” Fàbregas was already on his second glass, and from the sour look on his face, he was planning many, many more in his future. “You’re here as Lahm’s date. I’m here because I’m supposed to work.”

Timo had opened his mouth to tell Cesc that he didn’t have to worry about being banished to the couch for the night, but instead opted for the other smart-ass crack he could make. “Trying to take yourself out of commission early?”

Cesc rolled his eyes as he waved over a waitress. He was nice enough to get Timo a flute, too. “I wish. Jens isn’t stupid—they’re serving watered drinks now. The good stuff doesn’t come out for another two hours, after all the official stuff’s done.”

And now he was slipping a flask out of his trouser-pocket and dosing up his drink. “What do you call that?”

“Prescription for dealing with Cristiano,” Cesc snorted, shooting Timo a look like Timo was the idiot. Then he spotted something over Timo’s shoulder and started to push through the crowd. “Nice talking to you, Hildebrand, but I’m on the clock.”

Well, it wasn’t like Timo was dying to keep him around, so he let Cesc go and started moving in the other direction. About five minutes ago, Phil had disappeared to go do some last-minute sound-check on the stage equipment, and if it’d been really minor, he should’ve been back by now.

Somebody shoulder-checked him and he stumbled back, lashing out to grab whoever it was. They twisted, but Timo wasn’t exactly useless on his feet and he turned with them, using the momentum to right himself. “Hey, whoa.”

“Didn’t see you.” It being Van Persie, it didn’t seem out of character when he didn’t add on an apology. He wasn’t even looking at Timo when he spoke, but instead was restlessly scanning the dancefloor. “Have you seen Thierry or Jens?”

“No, but Ruud’s over by the stage,” Timo replied.

Robin’s whole face stiffened. Then he smiled—not nicely—and gracefully snagged a champagne flute while side-stepping Timo. “Oh, good. I’ll stay away from there. Cristiano?”

“Backstage.” Timo started looking around himself and spotted Philipp’s blond scruff through a momentary dip in the crowd. He waved, willing the other man to look at him, and he thought Philipp did catch a glimpse before people shifted and blocked the view.

Sometime during all of that, Robin had disappeared. Michael didn’t like him and Micha was a pretty good judge of character, so Timo wasn’t exactly sad about that. He planted himself against the push and nudge of the swaying, dancing mob and gave Philipp three minutes to make it over.

Actually, he got tackled in one, so Philipp really had seen him. “You came! Thank you so much, because if you hadn’t I really think I’d be going crazy already, and…and hey. When did you buy this shirt?”

Timo spent a moment rearranging his arms so he one, wasn’t about to fall over and two, could walk with Philipp’s legs clamped around his waist and Phil’s voice babbling ticklishly at his ear. He even managed to not spill his drink, which was pretty damn good considering Philipp was petting his left pectoral like it was a cat’s back. “Like it?”

“Wow, it’s really soft,” Philipp mumbled, rubbing a bunch of fabric between his fingers. Then he leaned back, sliding his arms around Timo’s neck, and grinned at the room. “It’s so cool being able to see over people’s heads.”

“Hope you’re enjoying it, because you’re going down as soon as we get to a free booth,” Timo grunted. Considering his size, Philipp managed to pack in a lot of weight. Which nicely filled out the tight trousers he was wearing, and Timo did consider it a side-benefit that he got to grip and squeeze as much as he wanted. He grinned into Philipp’s neck when the other man squeaked and hit him. “Relax, Phil. Tonight, you’re celebrating the end of weeks stuck in a small studio with Cristiano. No more trying to tactfully shoot down his crazy ideas. No more putting up with his pickiness. No more—”

Philipp braced his arms on Timo’s shoulders, looking thoughtfully down as he…shimmied. His belly and crotch sliding firmly against Timo’s chest, the heat making it obvious how thin the fabric between them was, and wow, they so needed to sit down soon. “Stop squeezing my butt. It’s not a fruit you need to check.”

“No?” Timo somehow managed to spot a free corner around Philipp and headed for it.

“No. I hope to God you don’t fuck fruit till their knees give out and they’re so hoarse from screaming about how great your dick is that they can’t do anything but whimper.” And then an absolutely angelic smile. “Thanks for coming. I know you didn’t want to.”

After a hard swallow, Timo managed to reply. “Well, you’re very welcome, Phil. Oh, look, a dark corner. What could we possibly do with that?”

This time, Philipp just kissed him. With major wet suction and Timo sat down really, really hard. Something about his own knees giving out.

* * *

Everything was going well. Cristiano was in such a good mood he’d even grabbed Jens by the arm and bounced happily before Jens had backed off, Ruud had temporarily forgotten about MU and was groping Ronaldo every time he thought he could get away with it, and Freddie had just told Jens that the first two days of sales were record-setting. The album was going to be a block-buster.

And then Jens turned around and Oliver Kahn’s pruny face was in front of him. He’d known it was coming. “Olli, fancy seeing you here.”

“Well, I just wanted to congratulate you. I hear the album’s already sold more than all your other acts combined for the past month,” Oliver said. He wasn’t wasting much time sugar-coating his insults. And this wasn’t even his party. The gall was just…amazing. “But I also wanted to talk to you about a rumor I’ve been hearing.”

“I suppose you’d be sensitive to those. By the way, congratulations on getting that retraction from the tabloids.” Which hadn’t been Kahn at all—that’d been Jens, and he hadn’t even rubbed it in Oliver’s face. Though he was thinking about it. He was thinking about it a lot, since if it was going to be a mud-slinging match, then he could more than rise to the challenge, the fucking—fucking bastard, months of work and finally it was paying off but Jens couldn’t even enjoy it because of this goddamn asshole. “Thank you very much, Olli, but the party’s barely started and I have a lot—”

Kahn being Kahn, he talked right over Jens. “I heard that after this album’s launch, Cristiano would no longer be represented by FC. Is that true?”

“No, it’s not. He’s signed to the label for years, and that’s water-tight. But thanks for your concern,” Jens replied in a tight voice. He made himself keep his fingers loose and uncurled. He was not losing his temper. He wasn’t giving Kahn that kind of satisfaction.

“I heard he dropped Ruud,” Oliver added. He raised one eyebrow. “That’s the kind of thing that’d echo through the whole label.”

Jens gritted his teeth. “Cristiano has stated that he wanted a different agent, but let me repeat that he is still signed to this label, under me. That’s not changing. And I’ll thank you to keep your hands to yourself. They’ve already gotten you into plenty of trouble outside of work.”

Before Oliver could reply, Jens shoved past him and walked as quickly as he could away. He nearly ran into a waitress running drinks out to the floor and stopped short to let her pass. Then he had a better idea and just side-stepped to walk alongside her; he got two glasses while he was at it, since they were right in front of them.

After he’d drunk both, he remembered that he’d ordered diluted drinks for the first few hours. Sensible of him. And since he’d already been sensible, he was going to drop into the backrooms for a glass of something stronger before he went about his business. He’d earned it, damn it.

* * *

Thierry blinked and shook himself, then looked apologetically at Robin. “Sorry, I was…well, I need to say this, sorry. What are you wearing?”

Robin blinked. “Jens said conservative or he’d break my neck, but I didn’t want anybody to mistake me for an agent. What?”

Slim-tailored black suit-jacket, dark blue shirt, and black leather trousers. More leather peeked from Robin’s sleeves and shirt-collar; he was wearing those cuffs and neck-band that were currently so popular. Though he’d probably picked them to help cover up his still-healing bruises from the Portugal debacle. “Well…I’m not sure this works. You look too…noticeable.”

“I think people would’ve noticed if I’d worn a bag,” Robin sarcastically said. He yanked at the wing of his collar, pulling it down so Thierry had confirmation that that was a black leather neck-band beneath it. “Honestly, if Jens didn’t want me to get noticed, he should’ve just let me stay home instead of demanding I come. Have you seen him?”

“A couple minutes ago. He was back giving Cristiano the good news on the opening-day sales figures.” It’d been a while since Thierry had seen Robin and aside from that one phone-call, Jens hadn’t brought the subject up at all, so Thierry wasn’t sure where the two of them were. Though Robin did look much better—physically, anyway: he was moving normally, the bruises were gone from his face and his knuckles were almost healed. “So…”

Robin jerked his head away to stare moodily down the hall. He had a full glass of champagne in one hand, but he just idly fingered the stem, not looking like he was going to indulge any time soon. “He started giving me work again and he hasn’t kicked me out, but I might as well move out. He won’t sleep with me.”

“Did he say—”

“No, you know him, he just makes sure he’s never in long enough. He’s so fucking passive-aggressive sometimes that I—what the—” Eyes wide, Robin stumbled back into whatever had jerked at him. He threw up his head to stare wildly at Thierry, then glanced downwards.

Then he abruptly froze as he was, head half-down and arms partly up as if to push behind himself. His champagne slopped over the rim of the glass and over his hand, but he didn’t seem to notice at all; his lips slightly parted like he was going to say something, but all that came out was a low, sharp exhale.

Thierry looked at him, then at the two hands that’d appeared on Robin’s hips and were keeping him snugly pulled back against whoever was standing behind him. “Jens?”

“…Evening, Thierry. Everything all right back here?” Jens asked. He sounded…odd, and not just because his voice was muffled by Robin’s head. Well, no, his neck—when Thierry re-angled himself to see Jens, he bemusedly found himself watching Jens nibbling at Robin’s hairline. “Listen, Kahn’s walking around being an asshole. Somebody told him that Cristiano’s dropping Ruud after this album’s drop.”

Robin’s eyelashes fluttered and he chewed his lip, then bit down so hard that Thierry could see the flesh whiten. Thierry’s eyes automatically flicked down to Robin’s hips and he caught Jens’ fingers casually drawing backwards across them. He looked up again and glimpsed a flash of pink tongue as Jens nosed in between Robin’s shirt-collar and neck. “Things are…there aren’t any problems yet. What’s Kahn’s problem? Cristiano’s changing agents, not labels, and anyway, he and Ruud are still together.”

“Oh, I think he thinks this is a good chance to pick up Cristiano’s account.” Jens grabbed the edge of Robin’s shirt-collar between his teeth and pulled it back; Robin coughed, then absently lifted one hand to undo his top two shirt-buttons to keep from choking. Then Jens lazily ran his tongue across Robin’s nape, following the leather band. “Bastard. And he shows up to my fucking launch party to let me know he’s going to try.”

With an effort, Thierry managed to turn slightly to face the wall. He was positive he’d never feel anything more than friendship for Jens, but even with that, he had to admit Jens could on occasion give off a fascinatingly magnetic pull. A little like a cat mesmerizing a bird into holding still for the pounce. And he was doing that right now, and Robin was starting to suck ragged breaths in between gritted teeth. “I don’t think you really need to worry about that chance. Cristiano doesn’t like you, but he thinks Oliver is absolutely revolting. And Ruud doesn’t like him either, and I think Ruud probably will have more say now that he’s not managing Cristiano than before, actually. Ah. Jens, this is a public hallway tonight.”

“I know, Thierry, I approved the security plans,” Jens said. He did something that made Robin gasp, then stepped back into Thierry’s view. After a moment, he shrugged and nonchalantly took the champagne from Robin’s hand, still frozen in mid-air, and downed it while he walked off. “Oliver’s probably going to come running down after me in a moment. I’m going up to the control room, and then I’ll be right back so just tell him to wait, all right?”

Robin slowly turned in place to stare after Jens, then back to give Thierry the same confused, unfocused, desperately aroused look. It took him a moment to figure out who was standing with him and for that last one, which obviously wasn’t meant for Thierry, to go away. “What was that?”

“I think Jens is drunk,” Thierry answered. He dug out his PDA and quickly texted a warning to everyone he could think of that’d need it. “He doesn’t drink, you know, so I think I’ve only seen him like that a few times.”

‘Does he do that to everyone?” A little bit of jealousy and frustration crept into Robin’s face and tone, sobering him up.

Thierry shook his head, then shrugged. “Honestly, Robin, I don’t know. I’ve never seen him drunk when he’s…he’s usually been between people.”

“Oh…well…that’s just…” Blinking, Robin looked at his hand as if he was seeing it for the first time. Then an annoyed but resigned expression came over his face, and he slumped disconsolately against the wall. “He took my drink. Bastard. I really need one now.”

* * *

Cesc pushed with one hand while he used his other to tip his drink into his mouth. His outstretched fingers finally hit the wall just as the last drops ran out of the glass. Then he put his head down, and immediately wished he hadn’t.

His one-night-stand from a few weeks ago was standing in front of him, staring so hard at him that Cesc almost reached up to check if he had anything on his face. “Are you the one I slept with two weeks ago?”

“How the hell did you get in here?” Okay, not the coolest response, but considering how much time had been spent going over the guest list with a fine-tooth comb, Cesc thought it was acceptable. People were not going to be happy that security had been that easy to get around—Cesc wasn’t happy, goddamn it.

“I couldn’t remember your name. I’m sorry about that. I’m sorry I was so drunk,” the man went on. “I can’t even remember what I did to have you leave like you did, but I apologize for that as well.”

“Um, look, I don’t remember your name either, so we’re even. And you didn’t do anything, I just wasn’t looking for anything with strings and I needed to get to work, and…so we had a fling, it was good, and let’s just leave it at that, okay?” Cesc spread his hands and gave the man his best going-to-church smile. He tried not to look around too frantically for an exit.

And oh, God, even more trouble was coming up by the man…what had Leo said Ronaldinho had said…on his left: Raúl was heading for them with a suspicious look on his face.

The guy frowned. “Well…if that’s how you would like to have it. But wait, there’s just one thing—”

“Cesc?” Raúl said. Then he pretended to notice the one-night-stand and made a demurring gesture. “Oh, I’m sorry. Am I interrupting…and you are…”

“Iker Casillas,” the man promptly replied. He stiffly turned to face Raúl. “I brought Cesc home a few weeks ago when he was drunk, and I’m trying to apologize to him for—”

Holy Mary, Mother of God. He hadn’t—Cesc leaped forward, then jumped back almost as quickly as something blurred out between Iker and Raúl. People around him shouted and swore, backing up as Iker stumbled around, holding his mouth; blood was starting to squeeze out between his fingers. Raúl gave his hand a brisk shake, then reached towards Cesc with a worried expression on his face. “Is this why you didn’t want to come over for dinner? Cesc, I told you that you could come to me with any—”

“Uncle! We just slept together! I said yes! I was drunk, and—and I have no idea what he’s doing here! We’re not dating, or—oh, hey, I think that’s my cell-phone going off. Got to get back to work, but I’m fine and he didn’t—uh, bye.”

Which was really immature, but right now Cesc felt like he was about twelve, what with how his cheeks were on fucking fire and Raúl was just totally ruining his reputation for anything. Jesus Christ.

* * *

It took Kahn all of two seconds to rudely ask who Robin was, clearly with an eye to making Robin leave. Thierry was amazing and managed to chatter about nothing in particular so compellingly that he ate up a good five minutes before Kahn could repeat his question. “I want an answer, Thierry. Considering the climate, it’s important for security to account for everyone,” Oliver said.

“Well, you could ask me instead of him,” Robin muttered. He wasn’t stupid enough to want to blurt out the truth to Kahn, but in person the man was every bit as irritating as Jens said he was. And speaking of Jens, Robin’s system was still shocked from a couple minutes earlier.

Oliver turned his squinty eyes on Robin. “All right. Who are you and what right do you have to be here?”

“Oh, for God’s sake, you’re even not on the guest list. He is,” Jens drawled, coming out of nowhere. He strolled down the hall like a tiger pacing out his territorial boundaries, secure in the knowledge that anybody who messed with him would come out of it for the worse. “What are you still doing here anyway?”

“I don’t have to be on the guest-list—” Kahn started in a heated, high-handed tone. Then his jaw dropped and his eyes bulged.

Robin had started to move out of Jens’ way, but before he could, Jens had grabbed his hips again. He managed to not have his arms hanging awkwardly in the air this time, but that was about the only improvement he made because it’d been so long. And even before he’d fucked up in Portugal, Jens had never, ever been like this. Draped himself over Robin’s back, cradling Robin’s hips against him while his mouth worked easily, hotly over the nape of Robin’s neck. In front of other people.

To be honest, Robin didn’t usually find the whole public-display-of-affection routine attractive either. He liked the little extra edge the danger of being caught gave, but sloppy, mushy declarations of love? No.

This wasn’t that. This was Jens sliding one hand over Robin’s belly with his nails slightly in, slotting his head over Robin’s shoulder and sounding not just utterly comfortable, but seriously amused at the obvious discomfort in Kahn’s face. This was Jens grabbing him without asking permission because Jens just assumed, and God, Robin was ridiculously hard right now. His knees were wobbling and Jens hadn’t gone anywhere near his groin.

“Jens,” Kahn finally said. He paused to glare at Thierry, who’d turned to face down the hall, shoulders shaking in silent laughter, then went on in a hectoring voice. “What the hell is this?”

“This is me greeting my date, at the launch party for my newest hit album.” Jens paused dramatically. His hair tickled Robin’s ear as he cocked his head. “Wait, actually I still need to do that.”

Then he spun Robin around; Robin’s back hit the wall hard and Robin threw up his arms as the wind was knocked out of him. He had time to slump just a little before Jens’ tongue was ravaging his mouth and all the air he inhaled was warm and wet, direct from Jens’ lungs. His arms dropped like somebody else was moving his body, going around Jens neck. He raked his fingers down the back of Jens’ head, then wrapped one arm around Jens’ waist. Jens snarled and bucked up and then kept them pressing that tightly together, sucking hard at Robin’s lower lip as he arched, dragging Robin up with him.

Robin went up on his toes, then was hanging with his feet off the ground. He clutched at Jens’ back, moaning as a hand slid firmly up and down his thigh. Then it curved under, forcing him to hike up his leg, and on his other side, Jens’ other hand did the same thing, and—

“Goddamn it, Lehmann! Don’t you have any sense of decency?”

Maddeningly enough, Jens paid attention to Kahn. He paused, then pulled off Robin. The spit between their mouths let go with a wet pop. “Well, I did have the sense to make sure he was legal first. He’s legally of age, legally in the country and all that, so I don’t have to worry about having to strong-arm the tabloids. Oh, wait, you couldn’t even do that.”

“What? What are you talking about?” Kahn snapped. His face was all mottled and…Robin ducked and nuzzled at Jens’ neck, which was a much better view.

Making an appreciative noise, Jens curled his fingers around the underside of Robin’s thighs and shoved up. The movement crushed Robin’s erection against Jens’ belly and he started to groan, only to have Jens duck in for a quick but deep kiss. “What, did you just think they magically lost the proof? I didn’t want the fall-out to affect the label, so I took care of it, you incompetent prick. And I hope you realize that that means I know where all the evidence is.”

“Are you blackmailing me?” Oliver’s brain clearly wasn’t up to speed. If it ever was.

“No, I’m trying to get you to leave so I can celebrate by fucking the brains out of my date,” Jens said. He craned his head to knock Robin’s head up, then licked at the underside of Robin’s chin.

“Are you drunk again?”

Something about the way Kahn said that caught Robin’s attention, and given how he was one second away from just giving out completely and begging, that was telling. He managed to force his muscles to cooperate long enough to move his head down to where he could see Jens and Kahn.

Jens was actually looking at him, a flicker of something maybe like regret going through his eyes. Then Jens turned his head with deliberate composure to stare at Kahn. “Not yet. Believe me, I’m sober enough to be fully aware that he’s younger, prettier, Dutch, and I actually like him. Sorry if you can’t deal with that either, but I didn’t realize I was supposed to be moaning over one lousy handjob that happened years ago.”

Kahn’s jaw dropped again. Thierry whirled about as well; the news had shocked even him.

“Bye, Olli. Have a nice night,” Jens said. He turned back to face Robin, but his confident look dissolved into expressionless stone as soon as he did.

He was watching for Robin’s reaction. Well, Robin was having a hard time coming up with one. The whole idea that Jens had actually…even drunk…disgusting. “You—him—really?”

“We’d both just started at the label and I think it was at least two bottles of bad vodka,” Jens flatly said.

Robin absently tried to shift and was reminded that he was pinned off the floor against the wall. His cock had softened quite a bit, but his mind was sharpening. “You like me? That’s news to me, considering the past few weeks.”

“It doesn’t mean I won’t lose my temper when you’re a goddamn thoughtless moron.” Something occurred to Jens and he glanced over his shoulder.

Kahn actually had left. So had Thierry, sensible man that he was. “So you aren’t really that drunk. I didn’t taste that much alcohol in your mouth,” Robin said. He glanced down between them. He really needed to let go of Jens if he wanted to have a chance at keeping himself from a fall, but he couldn’t manage it. “Well, the audience is gone. You can put me down now.”

Jens looked closely at him, then abruptly pushed forward. He stopped when Robin inhaled sharply, then closed that last small space and touched his mouth to Robin’s.

“You’re tipsy,” Robin said against his lips. Robin was trembling. He couldn’t make it stop or keep it out of his voice.

“Yes. But I’m not a liar.” Jens pressed just a little bit, and Robin opened his mouth.

He rewrapped his arms around Jens, shivering when Jens ran one hand up and down his left side, which was still a little sensitive. And that was all it took to have Robin arched up and whimpering again. He twisted and got his legs hooked around Jens’ waist, but couldn’t quite get his ankles together because that opened up space between them, and space was no pressure or friction and none of that was awful. Robin dropped his head back to watch the ceiling fade in and out as Jens mouthed at his throat, coming back over and over to the leather collar. Once Jens snagged it between his teeth and lightly tugged, and the pull went all the way down Robin’s spine to make his hips jerk up. His knees clamped to Jens’ ribs.

“Somebody’s going to come by some time,” Robin gasped, digging his nails into Jens’ shoulderblades. “Unless—Thierry—”

He gasped again when Jens bit at his earlobe. A hot tongue circled the shell of his ear, distracting him while Jens forced one hand between them. Knuckles gouged into Robin’s erection, then ground over it as Jens wrestled with his fly. Then Jens was catching Robin with his nails as he peeled down the leather trousers. He had to stop and hitch Robin up to get them completely out of the way, and when he let Robin drop back, his fist was there to press up behind Robin’s balls.

“Thierry hopefully went to get a drink. He needs one. If somebody comes by, then somebody comes by and they see me fucking you senseless,” Jens purred, lightly scratching at Robin’s jawline with his teeth. He rubbed two fingers back between Robin’s buttocks, then took them away to take care of his own trousers and to get something out of his pocket. “They see me taking you against the wall and screwing you till your hips fall apart and tonight I just really don’t care if they do. So yes, I’m tipsy. I don’t like drinking, but when I do I might as well make full use of it.”

Robin recognized the catch in that statement, but couldn’t work up the energy to give a damn. He knew he wasn’t getting the ideal. He didn’t care—he didn’t like the ideal, anyway. He liked it rough and hard and if he got caught and bled for it, then that was the price he paid.

His cock was fully hard again and rubbing just frustratingly short of what he needed against Jens’ belly; occasionally the tip would snag on a shirt-button and then he’d hiss, and Jens would grind the flat of his tongue so hard against Robin’s throat or jaw that he could feel its singed outline for seconds afterward. Jens stroked his fingers, slicked up with some kind of lotion, teasingly along Robin’s ass till Robin was nearly crying, then shoved one in so suddenly that tears did leak from Robin’s eyes.

And Jens licked them up, then tracked down for a messy, biting kiss while he flicked his finger in and out of Robin’s ass, each stab up just grazing that spot so Robin would start to writhe and cry out, only to drop back in disappointment when the pressure left. He bit Jens’ jaw and Jens thrust in a second finger, corkscrewed it a few times and then replaced it with his cock without so much as a hitch in breath. Robin whined, dropping his head into Jens’ neck, hands scrabbling at Jens’ back because his legs were losing their strength and he couldn’t keep himself up.

He tried, lifting himself only to slip and slam back down so Jens’ prick opened him wider, rammed harder against the place that whited out the world, and eventually Jens was helping that along, and then Jens was doing all of it because Robin’s hips had come undone and he was hopeless. He just clawed out, trying to keep contact till his climax finally swooped and snatched him off into the drift.

How Jens managed to stay standing through the whole thing, Robin had no idea. When he came back to himself, the toes of his right foot were touching the ground but they weren’t taking his weight. Jens’ cock was soft inside of him now, but even so, when he moved it was like trying to move around an iron rod. He could feel cooling come starting to drip down the inside of his legs. “Christ.”

“I’m still mad at you,” Jens said. “I swear to God, I will kill you if you ever fuck up like that again. Do you think I enjoyed these last three weeks at all?”

“Okay. Okay.” Robin dragged his hands up to Jens’ shoulders and held on tight as the other man started to shift out of him. He cursed as his knees went slack, like he didn’t even have them, and barely kept himself from falling into Jens’ chest. “Be mad at me. Just don’t pretend I’m not there.” He shifted one arm to around Jens’ neck, just resting for a second. “But you really liked sticking it to Kahn back there, didn’t you? How much better-looking am I than his girlfriend?”

“Miles,” Jens dryly commented, tone both acknowledging the point and warning Robin not to make too much of it. He put his hands on Robin’s hips again and made him lean back, then reached between Robin’s legs and started wiping him down with a tissue. “It’s a wonder he didn’t turn me off men like I did him, apparently.”

Robin grinned. “I think you scared him. Not his fault he was born spineless.”

“And I don’t scare you?” Jens wadded up the tissue in his hand. He moved on to tidying their clothes. Amazingly enough, it didn’t look like either of them had lost any buttons.

“I like being scared. I like you too, and all that,” Robin said. He’d been aiming for mocking, but it came out odd. He ducked his head, then shrugged and tried to look Jens in the eye. His gaze made it to Jens’ cheekbone.

After a moment, Jens slipped one arm beneath Robin’s and tugged him away from the wall. Jens clinically watched as Robin stumbled and collapsed and hung onto Jens’ arm for dear life. “I need to change my shirt before we go back in. How long till you can walk?”

Robin panted for breath and tried to think practically. He was a little rusty. “Three minutes?”

Jens sighed, took out his PDA and started checking his email one-handed, and things were back to normal.

* * *

Raúl slapped away Iker’s hand for the tenth time, then cursed as the cotton pad he’d been holding to the other man’s mouth slipped and Iker’s lip began bleeding again. “Stop it. I’m a doctor, I know what I’m doing.”

Iker made a muffled noise and gestured with his hands. He gave up when he realized Raúl had no idea what he was trying to say and just quietly leaned back. He didn’t even react when the waitress came by to drop off the medical kit, except for his eyes, but they stayed fixed on Raúl.

Reasonably enough, and Raúl was going to have more than a word with Cesc when he had the free moment to track down his tactless nephew. But first, he needed to deal with this…his face heated up a bit, but he made himself say the words. “Look, I’m sorry. I jumped to conclusions and I shouldn’t have. Especially since it’s…Cesc is a relative of mine. He’s not that close by blood, but I helped raise him and I’ve always treated him like a nephew.”

He carefully lifted the edge of the pad to check, and when he was sure the bleeding had stopped, he took the cotton off and sat back. Iker sat up with a wary look on his face and reached towards his lip, only to jerk his hand down when Raúl reached towards him.

“Don’t touch it or it might start again. The wound hasn’t had time to close,” Raúl said. He dampened another pad with some water from a nearby glass and handed it to Iker, then opened up the kit and started looking for antiseptic spray. “Here, wipe off the dried blood. Be careful.”

“Thank you.” Casillas dabbed at his face a couple times before reaching for the water-glass. He held it up at an angle: he was trying to see his reflection in the side, Raúl realized after a moment. “I apologize for putting you in a position where you could jump to that sort of conclusion.”

“No, really it’s my fault. Well, mine and Francesc’s. I’ll make sure he offers an apology to you later,” Raúl muttered. He was a little regretful about that, since that meant he couldn’t break the little shit’s neck.

His fingers touched the antiseptic spray, but he waited a second to take it out so he could calm down. He loved Cesc, he really did, but sometimes he wished that Cesc’s mother hadn’t tricked him into making that damn promise. Or that Cesc was still young enough for Raúl to just drag him home and send him to bed without supper instead of this stupid baby-sitting stalking business.

“Thank you, but that’s really not necessary. Though I do need to see him again,” Iker said.

Raúl held up the spray can, then paused as a thought occurred to him. “He didn’t give you anything, did he? Or did you think you gave him something? I can have the tests—”

Iker’s eyes widened and he paled a little, frantically shaking his head. “Oh, no, no, no. He left very quickly and he happened to leave his jacket behind. I wanted to say sorry that it took me so long to notice and find him and get it back to him, that’s all.”

“…did he leave his cell phone or PDA or wallet in it? This is antiseptic, so just open your mouth and pull your lip down. It’ll feel a little chilly.” After giving Iker’s mouth a quick blast, Raúl sank down in his seat and waited for an answer.

Incredibly enough, Iker was shaking his head.

“Just his jacket?”

“That’s why it took a little while to find him. I had to go back to the bar where I picked him up, and since I’d gone there in the…well, it just took a while to get somebody to tell me who he was,” Iker said, shrugging. He put a hand behind himself and pulled out a plastic bag, which he lifted up in front of Raúl.

After a moment, Raúl realized he was supposed to take it and did. He poked open the top and looked inside: a neatly-folded dark gray jacket, smelling too clean for Cesc to have left it that way. He looked back up at Iker, who apparently was taking this all very seriously. “You went through all this trouble to get a jacket back to a one-night-stand? Or did you mean to ask him—”

“No, no, no.” Iker started to put up his hands in protest, then flushed and dropped them. He awkwardly glanced to the side. “Not that of course there’s any reason why your nephew wouldn’t be someone I’d love to ask out on a second date. He’s a very handsome and funny young man—I think; I’d had a little too much to drink—but—”

“—he’s an irresponsible and hotheaded jackass?”

“I wouldn’t feel comfortable asking him now,” Iker manfully finished with determined politeness. “But I thought I should return his coat.”

Raúl stared at him. Casillas was around twenty-three or twenty-four, and even without being easy on the eyes—which he was—he had the kind of almost laughably intense earnestness that could win mobs over to his side. Over a suit-jacket. “Cesc’s got a lot of them. He probably didn’t miss this one.”

“It still would’ve been wrong to throw it away.” Somewhere in the middle of that, Iker caught his lip on his teeth. He flinched and put his hand up to his mouth, then reached for the water-glass. When he took his hand away, his lip looked okay, but it must have been bleeding on the inside because he swished the mouthful of water he took instead of just swallowing it.

A waitress swerved towards them to avoid a drunken couple. Raúl caught her eye and waved her over. “I think I forgot to introduce myself. I’m Raúl, and I owe you a drink, at least. What do you take?”

“Oh, please, that’s not—”

“No, I insist,” Raúl said, best and pushiest manners forward. He had a guess about Iker, and it was more or less confirmed when the other man backed down and ordered one of the cheapest drinks on the menu. After telling the waitress to upgrade that over Iker’s feeble protests, Raúl surprised himself a bit by asking for a champagne flute.

They were all over the place, and to be honest, he’d just decided that Cesc was a grown man and could handle himself for the night. Since obviously Cesc wasn’t listening to a word Raúl ever said and was doing it any…Raúl gave his head a shake and told himself he was going to try and enjoy the party. “So what do you do?” he asked Iker, who snapped to attention like he was being drilled on a lesson.

It took a while to get the other man to stop sitting like he had a ramrod for a spine and sounding like a nervous schoolboy; the drinks helped considerably with that. Iker was a movie reviewer with a regular column and occasional articles in the bigger magazines like Rolling Stone’s Spanish edition, and he’d swapped tickets to an advance screening with an invite into Premier with a music critic friend, which explained how he’d gotten in. Whoever had brought him up had taught him to be polite in a way that even Raúl found old-fashioned, but it was…kind of charming in how awkward it was in a modern setting. It was so ingrained in Iker that even after several rounds, he still was mustering up the will to protest against Raúl buying yet another glass for him.

“Look, I work for the label and I get a discount here that I practically never use,” Raúl finally said, exasperated. “You’re helping me by taking the drinks.”

“But really, you should stop. I can’t accept—oh, ow,” Iker hissed, pressing his hand to his mouth again. He took it away, then turned it so a faint trace of blood was visible. “Oh, damn, I think I reopened it. I’m sorry, I just undid your work—”

Raúl grabbed Iker’s hand before the other man could poke his mouth again. He pushed up Iker’s chin with his other hand to try and see what had happened. “It’s okay. Just don’t move—”

“And I know you said not to do that because it’d make it worse and you were right, and I’m sorry and ow, ow, ow…hmmmph.”

Every time he moved his mouth to talk, he managed to jab his cut lip into Raúl’s thumb or finger. So he needed to stop talking, but it didn’t look like he was going to, so…right. Kissing him. It was an easy way to probe his injury and see what was wrong, and it wasn’t that bad…Raúl pressed his tongue hard on the spot. Iker made muffled frantic noises and twisted around, but Raúl had a good hold on him and kept him from moving till sixty seconds had been counted off. Then Raúl eased up and leaned back to look.

Movement at the edge of his vision caught his eye and he backed up further. Iker’s eyes fluttered again, then snapped wide and fixed on Raúl’s face. He swallowed hard, visibly collected himself, and said, “I, ah, was much more drunk than this when I agreed to meet up with your nephew.”

“I’m not all that drunk either, actually.” Just slightly buzzed, the edges of the world softening like butter over a flame, and anyway Raúl was still too annoyed from earlier to pay attention to all of that. “I don’t know what Cesc likes to do now, but if I’m going to kiss someone, I want to be sober enough to know who it is.”

Iker blinked. “Oh.”

He started to say something else that sounded like a re-introduction, so Raúl kissed him again. And learned that trying to do that while rolling one’s eyes was actually a little painful, so Raúl gave up on the second part and concentrated on the first.

This time, Iker pulled back. “Ah, look, I just have to say that if this has anything to do with how I treated your nephew—”

“Are you sure you aren’t still trying to go after him?” Raúl sighed.

“No! No—I didn’t even remember his name, and I train myself to remember important names even when I’m smashed. It helps with work,” Iker hurriedly said, looking self-conscious and embarrassed. “I—”

“Stop. Talking about Cesc.” Raúl curled his hand around the back of Iker’s neck, watching the other man’s eyes darken. Well, at least one reflex of Iker’s was just like other people. “Do you want to fuck?”

There was some kind of spasm on Iker’s end. Whatever it was, it ended with their mouths crushed together and Iker’s arm around Raúl’s back, holding them in place, so Raúl just let it go. It couldn’t be that serious a condition if Iker still had enough coordination to stick his fingers down Raúl’s waistband.

* * *

David collapsed onto one end of the couch with a huge sigh of relief. “Jesus Christ, Robin. What the hell were you doing? You said you’d be up in five minutes.”

Robin paused with only his head through the doorway, blankly staring at David like he’d just dropped out of the sky into this world. A noise in the hall made him look back, and then a moment later he slipped into the room with a grimace and a kind of stutter in his step. “I got delayed.”

“Uh…huh. Right.” The kind of delayed that left reddish-going-purple patches on his throat, his shirt rumpled where sweat wasn’t sticking it to him, and a dazed look on his face. Hopefully it’d been Jens, because otherwise David was running the hell out before the apocalypse hit. “Okay, here’s the video-feeds. The one on the upper-left keeps getting staticky, and it’s got to be the computer because I had somebody check the hardware connections three times.”

He waited till Robin had eased himself down onto the other end of the couch, then passed over the laptop. Then David got up and grabbed a fresh flute from a tray set up by his end. He sipped a little, then thought he’d be nice and handed one to Robin, who absently took it as he tapped at the keyboard. After a moment, Robin looked up and seemed to really see the room. “What’s supposed to happen in here?”

“VIP’s VIP private party, man,” David mumbled, stuffing his face with hors d’oeuvres from another tray. “After Cristiano gets done on stage, him and us label people get to rock out away from—hey, Thierry! Is it over?”

Whatever Thierry said was drowned out by a sudden roar somewhere behind him. He jerked up his shoulders and whipped his head around to look, then quickly got into the room. He was just ahead of the others, who all seemed to come in at the same time in a rush of laughter and clinking glasses and flashing color.

They started to separate out. David spotted Jens first and grabbed a champagne flute. His hand was already shaking a little, but he managed not to spill any as he held it out to his madly-grinning boss; he honestly thought that Jens was the scariest when he was happy. Angry Jens was something you could get used to, but happy Jens just showed up out of nowhere.

“Thanks, David,” Jens said. He reached out to clink his glass against David’s, then tipped it back.

Out of the corner of his eye, David saw somebody frantically gesturing: Thierry was standing by Robin and fiercely signaling no, but when Jens drained the glass, Thierry gave up and dropped his head into his hands. Robin had frozen with his arm up over the laptop, as if he had been thinking about defending himself from something. His wide eyes were staring at Jens.

“Jens, I can’t find Lahm. I think he skipped somewhere,” Freddie shouted. He sounded like he was stuck somewhere on the other side of the giggling drunken tangle swirling around Cristiano.

“Did you check the men’s toilets? The closets?” Jens turned around, spotted Robin and took one step over. He calmly sat down beside the other man, making sure to rearrange his suit-jacket to flow smoothly over him, then turned and took the glass Robin was holding. “Do you know if Hildebrand’s still in the building?”

Robin’s eyes slitted and he reached for the glass. “You know, I think you’ve had plenty—”

“You’re driving.” The champagne flashed in the air as Jens tossed it back. He dropped it roughly on the table so David had to stoop to keep it from rolling and breaking, then twisted around and grabbed Robin and holy fucking God.

The laptop started to fall, banging off Robin’s elbow and Jens’ knee. David cursed and caught that too, and then started to scramble backward when he accidentally lifted his head and saw. He was happy working for Jens and he admired the other man, but he did not need to see his boss making out with Robin like a horny teenager. With the tongues between the mouths and the hand grabbing at Robin’s hip to wrench him around and all that moaning.

“He’s…been drinking pretty steadily all night,” Thierry muttered. He was walking right beside David, and eventually stooped to give David a hand up. That was a little more difficult than it looked, since Thierry had one hand firmly clamped over his eyes the entire time.

“I can’t find Hildebrand ei—” Freddie stopped where he was, one arm pushing Ruud out of the way and the other moving a chair. He looked at Robin clawing at Jens’ back and his face just summed up pain.

David couldn’t look at it. He turned away; he heard Thierry walking behind him towards Ljungberg. On the sofa, Jens had yanked Robin around to face him and jerked him down so Robin had one leg hooked over the back of the sofa and the other bent up so his knee was pressed against Jens’ side. Robin at least looked too stunned to say anything sarcastic, but Jens heard Freddie in time to reply, which kept them from sneaking Freddie out of the room. “Then they are probably gone. No point in dealing with them now.”

“I’ll make sure a reminder is sent to Lahm and follow up on Monday,” Freddie quietly said. He’d gotten himself mostly under control, except for when he practically yanked a flute from a tray by him and threw back its contents so hard David was surprised it didn’t bounce back out. “In that case, I think I’ll head home.”

Jens had been leaning down again, but now he stopped and gave Freddie a concerned look. And he really meant it too, which was what made it so bad. “Is it a migraine? I told the kitchen—” he stopped when Freddie gestured no “—then go on ahead. Do you need a driver, or Raúl to send over a prescription?”

“No, I can manage. Stop worrying—enjoy your success, Jens.” Freddie smiled, and that was sincere too. He almost left then, but Jens got up enough to put out a hand, so Freddie had to shake it.

“Awkward,” somebody muttered.

David looked to see a disgruntled Cesc slouching beside him. He started to reply, but got distracted because Thierry was finally ushering Freddie out. And then Jens went back to necking with a very cooperative Robin and everyone was distracted because Jens just didn’t do that. It was so weird. It was like watching the fabric of the universe warp.

Cesc looked into his half-full glass. “And embarrassing.”

“What, jealous?” And that was from Cristiano, of all people. He was leaning pretty obviously on Ruud’s arm, and his lips had that tell-tale slightly swollen look. “Never thought I’d say this about them, but they’re on fire.”

“Would it be detrimental to my job security if I threw some cold water around? I was told earlier that fires weren’t a good idea at this party,” Cesc acidly replied.

A surprised-looking Ruud frowned, but Jens got in first. “Yes. Probably also your health, and I’m not sure where Raúl is right now so I couldn’t guarantee immediate treatment.” He sat up, putting one hand back to stretch out his back a little, then swung around to face forward with Robin’s leg over his lap. He didn’t seem to notice how Robin was gasping and flailing to get up next to him. “Come to think of that…”

“Um, I can go look for him,” David said. He started off, then came back and gave the laptop back to Robin. “Sorry, almost forgot. Can you fix this?”

“I’ll…uh…what…right, I’ll work on it.” It was possibly the first time David had ever seen Robin at a loss for words.

“No, I’ll go look for him,” Cesc said. Then he caught himself—something must have him really worked up, since his nice mask had almost completely slipped off—and turned to Ruud. “Is that okay, or did you…well, I guess you don’t need me.”

Cristiano seemed remarkably undisturbed by things, considering Ruud had just yanked his hand out of Cristiano’s shirt. Ruud, on the other hand, looked a bit flustered and kept glancing uneasily at Jens, who’d just dragged Robin onto his lap so Robin had to balance the computer on the sofa-arm. “Ah, no, I think business is over for the night.”

“What?” Thierry asked, coming back in. He did a mild double-take at Jens and Robin, then went rather quickly over to a champagne tray for a drink. “Oh, Cesc, I just saw your uncle. He was leaving with someone—Iker, I think his name was?”

Cesc almost exploded in place. “What?”

“He’s supposed to be on duty.” Jens frowned and shifted to get at his coat-pocket, probably for his cell phone. His eyes flicked to Robin’s neck, because Robin happened to absently pull at the leather band around it, and then he started nibbling around the strap as he pulled out his arm, cell in hand. “Well, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he has to be here. He’s argued that point before and I’ve had to give in, and why haven’t we ever clarified that in his contract?”

Thierry shrugged. “I’ll mention it to B—Robert.”

“Jens, damn it, I’m going to end up triggering the goddamn sprinkler system,” Robin hissed. He was badly failing at not twisting around on Jens’ lap.

“So concentrate,” Jens told him in a genially ruthless tone. “Oh, Cristiano? You should probably know that Kahn showed up earlier implying that he might try to pick your account up.”

Cristiano went stiff, then pushed away from Ruud to angrily throw out his arms. “What? That fucking mummy? Not in a million years. Never.”

Cesc looked around with an increasingly frustrated look as people had their conversations around him. He finally just threw up his arms and stalked out, swearing beneath his breath. Luckily, David didn’t understand the language; he retreated to a soft chair in a corner of the room where he didn’t have to watch either Ruud or Jens try to maul their respective boyfriends, and happily chowed down on the hors d’oeuvres. He hadn’t gotten to eat in hours, and he’d need the strength for when he got a moment to pull somebody into a backroom.

“I think I’m going to join you back here, if you don’t mind,” Thierry said. He glanced at the others, then shook his head and snickered. “Oh, God. This is very much playing into our reputation.”

“Except for the part where we’re all mostly getting along. I thought Robin and Cristiano hated each other.” David wiped his lips with the back of his hand, then stacked up three little cracker-things and stuffed them in his mouth.

Rolling his eyes, Thierry pulled out a napkin from nowhere and handed it over. “They do. But right now Cristiano obviously doesn’t need to worry about Robin getting at Ruud, and I think Robin’s just busy. Don’t question the calm, David. Enjoy it.”

“Okay, okay…wait. Thierry, was Jens wearing that shirt earlier? It looks different.”

“No questions, David.”

* * *

Philipp stared up at the underside of the table. The small of his back was starting to ache and between his groin and the fabric of his trousers was an itchy, squishy mess, and in a couple hours he was not only going to be seriously hung-over, but also seriously embarrassed, and that still was the greatest underside of the table he’d ever seen. He guessed he was blissed out.

“It’s really cramped down here,” Timo mumbled into Philipp’s neck. He shifted, hit something, cursed, and went back to snuggling every part of Philipp that could be reached. “Floor’s kind of dirty, too. You don’t want to know what you’re lying on.”

“Well, we never got to taking off our clothes, so that’s an even better reason to get in the shower when we get home.” When Timo groaned, Philipp had to muffle his laugh in his hand. He twisted and pushed till he could get his head around to see out, but the view hadn’t changed: a wall of legs was still caging them beneath the table. At least nobody had tried to sit down. “The music’s stopped so Cristiano’s got to be done. Why aren’t people moving?”

Timo shrugged as much as he could. “No idea. Why hasn’t anybody come looking for you? Aren’t you required to go to the party in the VIP lounge too?”

“Yeah. It should’ve started by now. I don’t know if that’s a good sign,” Philipp said. He and Timo looked at each other. “I didn’t want to go anyway.”

“I don’t get why everyone thinks you’re the nice one,” Timo murmured, dipping down for a kiss. He jerked up when Philipp began to return it, then leaned down just enough to tease his lips over Philipp’s mouth. “You’re worse than—”

Philipp just grabbed the back of his head and yanked down, and that took care of that.


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