|Going Down in Flames
Author: Guede Mazaka
“You can call me at ten and ten…twenty-five,” Ruud said after consulting his PDA. “And if it’s a serious emergency, any other time because I’ll leave my phone on, but if it’s not, then—”
“I won’t, I won’t!” The folders Ruud had just shoved at him were falling from beneath Cesc’s arm, but he couldn’t grab them because he was busy scribbling last-minute notes into his Palm Pilot. He just tried to clamp down harder with his elbow, but the slippery fabric of his suit wasn’t helping. “But just to check: if Cristiano wants to go see you, is that an emergency?”
Ruud’s mouth twitched. Sometimes Cesc figured he’d met the man on a bad day since ever since, Ruud had been…well, he wasn’t the class clown but he wasn’t the black hole of moodiness that Cesc had been led to believe he was. “If he actually gets in the car and gets going, yes. But he’s got a full morning in the studio and then a doctor’s appointment in the afternoon, so that shouldn’t be a problem. Anything else?”
“No.” Cesc finished his last note with a flourish that jammed the stylus between his teeth. He quickly swung his arm down and around to grab the falling files, then leaned down to stuff them into his satchel.
“Are you sure?” Ruud skeptically asked. “If you have a question, ask it. It’s easier than having to explain to me why you screwed up later.”
“No, really, I think I have everything in hand here.” Nice smile. As an extra touch, Cesc checked his watch. “But you’re going to be late if you don’t leave now. There’s a bad wreck on the east freeway so it’ll take you an extra five minutes.”
Well, Ruud hadn’t known that. “Really?”
“According to the latest traffic report. Oh, and take an umbrella—they updated the weather forecast from forty to seventy percent chance of rain this afternoon,” Cesc added, projecting an air of eager helpfulness that had gotten him through half of med school. Not that he didn’t have the brains to do it on merit, but he wasn’t really fond of the idea of working himself into the ground. Back then he’d reasoned that a healthy, happy med student made the patients start feeling better sooner, which made up for whatever the lack of knowledge would do.
Right now he figured a happy, calm Ruud meant a less difficult Cristiano, and since all Cesc basically did was babysit the man, that meant he had to spend less money on painkillers for migraines. Which in turn led to more money for fun stuff like hanging in FC’s awesome nightclub and watching Raúl uncomfortably try to watch him.
“Thanks,” Ruud finally said. His eyes had narrowed a little bit and his tone leaned towards dry, so for a moment Cesc thought he might’ve overdone it.
But Ruud didn’t say anything else other than a polite ‘bye’ before he left, so Cesc shrugged it off and went on his way. Cristiano had come in with Ruud and was already in studio with Lahm, so Cesc just checked in on him before starting on the to-do list for the day.
Both Lahm and Cristiano had their heads muffled in gigantic earphones, but Lahm stayed all bundled up in his seat near the computer keyboard while Cristiano sprawled in his chair. It took him something like two minutes to notice Cesc, and even then he took his time looking up, moving like somebody had taken out his muscles and poured honey in to replace them. “Hmm?”
“I’m going to be running some errands around the floor. Can I get you anything while I’m doing that?” Cesc asked.
Like usual, Cristiano had a pretty detailed list, which he gave in between sitting bolt upright in his seat to tell Lahm to pause the track there and looking so utterly bored someone could almost miss the ex-junkie fidgeting. When they did go see Raúl, Cesc would have to point out the ragged nails and scabs around the nail-beds. And then hopefully Raúl would have something for it, because it was kind of annoying and definitely gross, and sometimes it almost made it hard for Cesc to do his nice act around Cristiano.
It did help that Cristiano was in fact as good-looking as his ads made him out to be—even with the fidgeting, he moved like liquefied sex. But as much as Ruud seemed to be annoyed by Cristiano, he obviously wasn’t the sharing type. Anyway, Cesc didn’t really feel like getting involved into that long-running a drama.
“Did you get all that?”
“Yes. I’ll be back in five minutes with the spring water,” Cesc absently said. It also helped that Cristiano was a pretty predictable diva.
Which Cristiano proved by raising his eyebrows in surprise and turning away to tell Lahm something about the harmony part. Cesc pulled himself back into the hall and closed the door. He stopped quietly snickering to himself long enough to put his thumb in his mouth and then rudely pop it out at the door, and then he walked away. This job really was way, way easier than Raúl had made it out to be.
The errands didn’t take too long to deal with, either. Before the first hour was up, Cesc had amassed a tidy stack of folders to hand back to Ruud at the end of the day for the usual impressed compliment before Ruud got dragged off by Cristiano. Another week and Cesc figured he was in solid with the other man.
He flopped into his chair and tilted the back all the way down so he could gaze at the ceiling, then sat up again. The chair was okay, the room was a third the size of Ruud’s and kind of stuffy because it didn’t have a window, but it had walls and a door and Cesc wasn’t even legal to drink in America yet. Not bad.
“Not good enough to sit around in all day, though,” he muttered to himself. He ducked beneath his desk to grab some of Cristiano’s favorite flavored sodas, then hiked his way down to Lahm’s studio to drop those off. And then he…just sort of wandered around, seeing what he could see.
None of the really interesting techs or producers, like that Ballack guy or Hildebrand with the pretty hair and sharp tongue, seemed to be around at the moment, so Cesc eased his way towards the agents’ side of the floor. Lots of people were always moving around there, but at the moment, the only important ones he could see were Odonkor, who was so straight he’d probably snap if you took a flick at him, and—Lehmann. Lehmann was a challenge, or so Cesc had heard.
* * *
“Could you stop hovering so I can do this? The more you bother me, the longer it’ll take and the more worried you’re going to get that I’ll do something wrong or be seen or something like that,” Robin irritably said. It hadn’t even been his idea to come into the office today, and he frankly would rather have been out shopping for microchips. But Jens wanted his hard-drive cracked, so Robin was doing that instead. “Can’t you go scream at somebody else? You’re making me nervous.”
“No, I’m not. I know when I’m making you nervous,” Jens muttered. At least he left, stalking off like some…messenger of death with a great ass.
Robin caught himself after a moment and turned back to the computer. Once he didn’t have to deal with Jens questioning him every other second, he had the routines set up and running in no time, which in turn gave him plenty of time to wonder why Jens was making him do something Michael was perfectly qualified to do. And which wouldn’t ruffle Michael’s moral feathers at all…well, except for the part where the filenames popping up had Ruud and Nistelrooy in them. Robin sat up straighter.
Getting to look at stuff on computers he worked on was a perk of the job as far as he was concerned. He browsed through a few, but they all seemed to be legal documents that he didn’t really understand. Then he hit the emails and it started to make sense: this was the electronic trail leading up to Ruud’s decision to switch labels, and some of it probably violated industry rules that Robin didn’t know about. Not that he was worried—he actually felt a lot of tension drain out of him once he’d figured it out. Jens was a paranoid freak, but he wasn’t an irrational paranoid freak; if he was worried about something, he usually had a reason. Maybe it was a crappy reason and not really worth all the trouble, but it still was a reason.
After they’d all come up, Robin transferred them to a blank CD and then did the best he could to wipe their traces from the hard drive. It would’ve been best to just start with a whole new drive and run over the old one a couple times with a car, but Jens said he couldn’t afford to do that for a few more weeks, so fine. Robin tossed the CD into Jens’ briefcase, then wandered towards the door.
“…love to hear your opinion some time. You’re a real legend in the business,” somebody was saying in a sickeningly adoring tone. “I’ve heard a lot about you from my uncle.”
“Really.” Jens sounded completely unimpressed, which made Robin feel slightly less homicidal. “I wonder what on earth he’d have to say about me.”
The door was half-open, so Robin leaned up against the frame and peered through the ten-centimeter space. He could see Jens’ shoulder and just behind it, the top of somebody’s head. Couple centimeters shorter than Robin, black hair, Spanish accent: that Fábregas who was Ruud’s new gofer. The first time they’d met, Cesc had seemed okay, if a little proud of himself, but Robin’s opinion of him was quickly changing. He was leaning way forward, which apparently was why Jens had moved, and nodding and smiling in a way that set Robin’s teeth on edge.
“Well, thank you for telling me. You passed Freddie’s office on the way in—is he there?” Jens said, voice cool. The moment he got an answer, he pushed past Fàbregas and walked briskly off as if the other man had disappeared.
An annoyed look went over Fàbregas’ face. He turned to look after Jens, then twisted back and spotted Robin. “Eavesdropping?”
Robin pulled his lips away from his teeth—not quite the same as smiling—and casually pushed the door open a little more. “No, just watching you make an idiot of yourself. You know, they have chatrooms for that kind of thing. And the best thing about those is that you know anybody in there’s actually looking.”
“Are you speaking from experience?” Cesc asked, a little piqued. Then he paused. Grinned and stepped forward, putting one hand on the door and the other on the outside of the door-frame for support. “Besides, you can’t see what anyone really looks like online. I like looking.”
He…he actually was giving Robin a once-over. Incredulous, Robin pushed himself up to stare down at him. “And I like knowing that the other guy’s not going to need instructions about what to do in the middle of—”
The smug little shit suddenly stuck his head through the door and mashed his mouth against Robin’s lips. Cursing, Robin stumbled back, then caught himself on the arm of the couch beside the door and shoved Cesc out. Then he gave the door a hard push, thinking to hell with whoever might be watching, and—
--and he didn’t get to properly punch Fàbregas because when the door swung open, Jens was right there and looking between Robin and Cesc and his expression was stone-cold. Robin stepped back into the room.
“Did you need to talk to me about anything else?” Jens asked Cesc.
Who apparently was bright enough to recognize possible violent death when he saw it, and who mumbled a no and something about needing to see to Cristiano. Jens twitched at the name, visibly reining in his temper because Ruud was out this morning and if Cesc wasn’t around to deal with Ronaldo, then Jens might have to. Or at least he’d have to interact a lot more with Cristiano.
Cesc scuttled off down the hall, while Jens calmly turned around. He walked in the room, closed and locked the door—Robin felt his throat contract at the slight click—and then turned to face Robin. “What did I say about fucking around with people on my team?”
“I didn’t! Look, that little bastard came onto me--just like he was doing to you a couple minutes before. It’s not my fault half the men around here are horny sluts,” Robin said. Something hit the backs of his knees. He’d been backing up—for a moment, he was a little irritated with himself. And then he looked back at Jens, and he put his hands down to figure out why he couldn’t move further back: couch was in the way, damn it. “I’m not getting mad at you, am I?”
“Is that why he noticed you were in the room?” Jens walked forward till he was toe-to-toe with Robin. Then he stopped to pull off his coat. He twisted around to hang that on the back of the door, and when he turned back, his eyes went below Robin’s waist. “Already?”
“It’s not for Fàbregas,” Robin snorted. He put his hands on either side of Jens’ waist and tried to slide them up the other man’s chest, but Jens pulled them off. Robin twisted…well, half-heartedly…at the grip and got his wrists bundled into one iron band of a hand while Jens shoved long, probing fingers down the front of Robin’s jeans.
By now, Robin had put a hack in place to give him every change in Jens’ schedule; he definitely didn’t mess with it now, but he wasn’t stupid enough to stay completely away from it. Not when it gave him information like Jens having an important conference call in—in—fifteen minutes?
“Did you just say that I hire whores?” Jens said, purring the words a hairsbreadth from Robin’s neck. His fingers snaked around Robin’s cock, pressing so hard that they were practically forcing the blood back into Robin’s body, and stabbed further till they could push at Robin’s balls. Two fingers curved to roll those up between Robin’s legs while the other two and the thumb splayed to rub Robin’s cock against the stiff denim of his jeans. “You know, I’m very proud of my team.”
White dots were already dancing in Robin’s eyes. He tried to take a breath, hiccupped as Jens crushed his balls more firmly back, and finally managed to suck in some air on his second try. “I’m—sure. Since you hired me, too.”
The slightest flick of wet heat ran up the curve of Robin’s ear. His prick had been getting interested since Jens had locked the door, but now it was so painfully hard that his knees were buckling. He was nearly hanging by his wrists. The side of the couch was digging into his legs, but Jens had him bent so far back that he couldn’t get his ass on the couch—not without getting his feet scooted out, and the other man was blocking that from happening. He was off-balance and every muscle of his was under tension, feeling the lack of support behind himself, but any shift in position sent a white-hot burst of pain exploding out from his trapped balls. Little whimpers were lurking beneath every ragged breath, and it was only by sheer will that they hadn’t leaked out of him.
Jens answered Robin by flexing his hand and biting at just behind the point of Robin’s jaw. Robin’s right knee completely liquefied. He stumbled, his hips jerking forward as he went down, and Jens pulled him back up but his hips kept jerking and he came before even he was ready for it. Jagged white streaks slashed up the world horizontally for several moments.
“…even two minutes,” Jens was saying. His voice came through unevenly, as if someone had piped it through a reverb machine.
Though its faintly mocking tone still registered. Robin pulled on his arms and got himself seated on the couch-arm, then had to lean forward to let his head rest on Jens’ shoulder. “Well, you haven’t been home since the beginning of the week, and I fuck with, not around.”
The hold on his wrists loosened and Robin pulled his hands down to Jens’ waist. He only got to rest them there for a moment before the other man was pushing at his shoulders; his still-unsteady legs slipped right off the couch and he was on his knees so fast his chin smacked into Jens’ thigh, then grooved down it a few centimeters before Jens had backed up. Not that much. Robin had about enough room to notice the bulge distorting the otherwise flat line of Jens’ nice slacks, and that was it.
“Is that supposed to be flattery?” Jens asked. Halfway through, something in his trouser-pocket beeped, then whirred so Robin could see it shaking. With a sigh, Jens dug out his PDA and started to check it.
“I just watched Cesc prove that that doesn’t work on you, you’re so damn one-track-minded.” Robin carefully watched Jens for a moment, but the other man seemed completely glued to the sleek black case in his hand. Bastard. Then Robin returned his eyes to level, which was easier said than done due to how crowded he was against the couch.
It was a zipper fly, with a button and probably some kind of hook behind the band to keep the top lying so smoothly against Jens’ stomach. The sofa pressed at the back of Robin’s skull like a phantom hand as he shifted, lifting his chin and sticking out his tongue. He just caught the end of the zipper tab on the tip, then leaned forward while curling his tongue around it more firmly. Breathed hard through his nose--the trouser fabric should be thin enough for Jens to feel that—before pulling the tab down, careful to keep any spit from getting on the slacks. Which rustled a bit as Jens stiffened in the knees. Robin suppressed a satisfied noise.
When he pulled away, the sides of the fly gaped open a little so he could glimpse black silk behind it. Robin paused to wedge his knees and feet out from behind Jens’ legs so they could settle on either side of the other man, then leaned forward again. He pushed his nose through the slit, little metal teeth scratching at his face, and rubbed it in a rough oval around Jens’ erection before pushing upward.
He’d almost gotten his mouth around the fly button when a palm pressed down against the top of his head. It slid down and around to slap him to the side—not really all that hard, but it still stung. Annoyed, Robin gave Jens’ knee a shove, which was like trying to uproot a cement pillar. “What the hell was that—”
Jens just grabbed him by the throat, which Robin had sort of seen coming, but every time Jens did that he was just ridiculously fast. Robin knew better than to try and yank Jens off, but instinct still sent his hands halfway to Jens’ wrist. By the time he got them back down to take a stab at crumpling in the backs of Jens’ knees, there suddenly was a long, flushed cock blocking his vision. Its tip hit Robin in the cheek and he jerked back. Which was a mistake because it let Jens aim properly and the next thing Robin knew, he had a mouthful of that cock. More than—his unprepared lips had to stretch to the point of pain to get around it, and on top of that the tip was jabbing the far back of the roof of his mouth and sparking his gag reflex.
Robin coughed a couple times, his hands rising on their own again, and Jens grabbed them and bent them back around Robin’s head. The sofa arm wasn’t nearly as thickly padded as it looked and when Robin tried to get Jens’ cock out of his mouth, tried to get some room so he could adjust himself to it, the arm support practically ground a groove across the back of his head. And then Jens shifted around, bending over to pick something off the sofa cushions, and no, no, no, he was not going back to his damn—he snapped his hips forward and choked Robin into losing his train of thought.
The couch gave a little bit, but with his wrists pinned to the top of the sofa-arm, bending like that forced Jens’ prick further into Robin’s mouth. He swallowed hard, which momentarily relieved the pressure, but then gagged right afterwards. The small of his back started to throb with the strain and he arched forward, but accidentally bit down a little. Suddenly the grip on his wrists went from unbreakable to breaking; a hurt whine somehow forced its way through Robin’s nose.
Jens didn’t let up, and that fear that this time Robin wasn’t going to get out of it went from the back of his mind, where it usually was around Jens, to the forefront. He shivered and swallowed again, half-choked on the return and hastily swallowed a third time. The more he did that, the easier it was to deal with the strain on his throat and mouth. He couldn’t do a damn thing about the stress on his back and arms except try to keep twisting around, at least keep the tension moving to different groups of muscles. And to suck hard and fast and try to get Jens’ prick out of his mouth.
He was sloppy, but if Jens wanted—Jens didn’t want that. Jens went from static to overwhelmingly dynamic before Robin had any chance of adjusting—any chance of fucking breathing. The other man was just pumping himself in and out of Robin’s mouth like all he wanted was the hot, wet hole, oh, fuck; Robin somehow managed to get out a moan in between Jens’ tries at ramming out the back of his throat, humiliated and suffocating and painfully hard again.
The next thrust was so hard it rocked his head back into the sofa-arm and made him rise up awkwardly on his toes. His knees wavered in the air for a second before they swung inwards to clamp around Jens’ legs for the support, and like that Robin was mindlessly, futilely grinding himself against Jens’ shin. He choked and groaned at the same time, ended up accidentally getting Jens with his teeth again and well, wasn’t that a surprise: Jens came, slamming himself into Robin’s face twice so roughly that Robin could swear there were zipper imprints left behind, and then more slowly a third time before the come went spattering down Robin’s throat.
Beep, beep. After a moment, Jens pulled out his prick with a grunt and stepped back. He tucked his PDA into one hand while he calmly pulled up his trousers and boxers, redid the fly, brushed himself off.
Robin just sat and stared, honestly too blindsided to even lift his hands off the top of the couch-arm. His mouth felt bruised and a bit cut up at the corners, sensation starting to throb achingly back into his lips, and the come coating its insides and his throat made his tongue feel sticky as he rolled it around. Inside his jeans was still wet from earlier and desperately uncomfortable.
When he was finished fussing over himself, Jens leaned down and put his hand around one side of Robin’s face. He’d barely put any pressure on Robin’s mouth before Robin was opening it, letting Jens’ tongue do whatever it wanted and still whimpering because his lips were hurting so much. Jens’ thumb stroked over Robin’s cheekbone and the other man made a rare satisfied sound before he pulled off.
“Happy now?” Robin rasped.
Jens frowned, then slid both hands beneath Robin’s arms and dragged him up. “Do you even understand the difference between slutty and whorish?” He hauled them over to the desk, which was nothing but wide, shiny steel surface between the computer at one end and the penholder and phone at the other. One push and Robin was up against it; another and Robin was on his back on top of it; his shirt had somehow gotten rucked up along the way so he hissed at the chilliness of the steel. “It’s more that I’d better be the only one here—” Jens ran one finger over Robin’s lip, letting it dip inside before dragging a spit-trail down the side of Robin’s jaw “—and here—” he undid Robin’s fly with a few flicks of his wrist, then pressed his thumb against the slit at the end of Robin’s prick till Robin’s head knocked back “—and here.”
He dragged his thumb down the perineum from the base of Robin’s cock all the way back, then rubbed it in teasing circles while Robin cursed and twisted. Then Jens backed off to get something; Robin hauled himself around and yanked at his jeans till they were down around his ankles. He’d been planning to get them completely off, but he pulled too hard and lost his grip, the momentum sending him backwards. And before he could get off his back, Jens had fingers sliding up between his thighs. Robin hissed and settled more securely where he was, lifting one arm over his head to grab hold of the desk edge.
And then the phone rang. Jens paused with two fingers stuffed into Robin, then swore in German. He looked up just as Robin looked down, shaking uncontrollably and thisclose to killing somebody. The first person he saw if Jens threw him out right now.
“Don’t even—” Robin started.
“Shut up,” Jens sighed. He stabbed in his third finger just as he pushed the button to take the call. The phone console buzzed as his connection went through and Jen hastily spoke over the noise. “Talk and I’ll stop and make you stay like this for the rest of the—Oliver?”
*Jens, nice of you to finally join us! I think we’re all here now.*
Jens made an extremely annoyed face at the phone, but replied civilly enough. He saved his frustration for corkscrewing his fingers hard so Robin spasmed and arched, jamming his free hand into his mouth. He was using some kind of oil to ease the way, but he’d rammed in too many fingers too fast and Robin was chewing on his wrist to get over the edge of the pain. His ass muscles wouldn’t relax no matter how hard he concentrated, and he could feel tears starting to sting at the corners of his eyes. Robin took breaths in short pants, just trying to ride it out.
The whole conference apparently was going to be in German, which Robin could understand perfectly well when his entire lower body wasn’t on fire. He caught occasional words, but right now his entire world had narrowed down to the three fingers in his ass. The slightest movement from them somehow wound up his body even tighter around them; if he bit his hand any harder, Jens was going to be mopping up blood from the desk. He couldn’t…he…
One finger slowly straightened out, and at first the burn of it shot agonizingly up Robin’s spine, but then it grazed something and some of Robin’s muscles unknotted. Violently: his head and one foot thumped against the desk, and he could vaguely sense Jens’ irritation ratcheting up some. Then the spasm was over and Robin was marginally more relaxed than before.
Jens moved that finger again, stroking more firmly, and the pain began to smooth over, blending into a hazy heat that started to spread through Robin’s body. Some of the tension trying to pull Robin’s head back between his shoulderblades drained off; he shifted, trying to lie more comfortably and suddenly the hard knuckles that’d been wedged into the opening of his ass slipped completely inside, lessening the strain. Between his wrist and his throat, Robin managed to kill off his moan.
“I don’t think that’s at all feasible, Olli.” What Jens really wanted to say, his expression informed Robin, was that he wanted to shove his fingers up this Oliver Kahn’s ass and…and about then Jens seemed to realize that one, he was acting out his thoughts, and two, Robin didn’t have any nasty stick up there.
No, Robin was perfectly willing to let his hips ride up into a slow arch, happy to have Jens’ fingers in him. The world flickered and at first he thought he was blacking out, but then he realized his eyelids were fluttering. He peered out from under them at Jens and saw how intently the other man was staring at him, and then dragged his wrist from his mouth while he licked lovingly at it. Jens scissored his fingers, then hooked all three down and slowly pulled their tips over the spot till Robin had to stick his wrist back between his teeth.
And he kept doing it, mercilessly teasing around till Robin really was on the verge of black-out, but just hanging there for minutes on end. Robin finally pried his hand off the desk edge. He pressed it down his chest, pausing to dig his thumbnail into his left nipple—Jens almost stammered in the middle of something about advance sales—till he could wrap his fingers around his aching cock.
He got in one good, firm pull before Jens yanked his hand away. The other man stared down at Robin, eyes frighteningly hungry. “I don’t understand why you continue to have this problem with my hirings, Olli,” Jens calmly said.
Whereupon Olli started a long, probably stupid monologue that Robin completely ignored because Jens had dropped to swallow his prick. Robin jerked his head off the desk; Jens sucked hard, drew off and then suddenly his tongue was wriggling around his fingers, squirming up against Robin’s flesh all strained and shaking around them. Robin put his head back on the desk and bit the hell out of his hand while the world whited out.
When he regained consciousness, his throat was dry and his lips and his back and his ass ached like somebody had trampled the hell out of him. His wrists were bruised up again and his legs felt like so much rubber and Robin honestly had to say he hadn’t felt this good in months.
“Well, thanks for the opinion, but I don’t think Dutch nationality is enough to discount somebody’s abilities,” Jens was dryly saying. He was casually dabbing at his mouth with a tissue. “Till next week, everyone.”
“Hmmm?” Robin belatedly wondered if he’d screamed. No, then Jens would look more pissed off than vaguely exasperated.
Jens shrugged as he got something from beneath the desk. He stood up with a bottle of water in hand, which he opened and put to Robin’s mouth. “Kahn buys into the whole German-Dutch rivalry. Actually, more like he invests since he extends it beyond sports.”
Oh, so that whole thing had been about Ruud. Frowning, Robin squirmed till he got his arms beneath himself and could push up on them. “What would happen if he knew you were fucking a Dutchman?”
“He’d probably subject me to a long rant about the label’s image, never mind that his girlfriend is barely legal, and I’d be very, very tempted to deal with my biggest in-house rival by just breaking his neck,” Jens said in a matter-of-fact tone. “Drink. You’ll get dehydrated.”
Robin blinked, then laughed. He did take some nice long swigs, and they were very welcome. “You are so weird.”
“You’re welcome.” Jen checked his watch, then gave Robin’s shoulder a little push. “And you’ve got seven minutes to leave. I’ve got an interview coming in and now I need to clean up.”
“What? Are you joking? You just expect me to—to walk out of here?” Robin yelped.
Jens looked at him.
* * *
Forty minutes later, Robin had managed to drag himself to Jens’ apartment and had gingerly settled himself in bed after a quick shower. He had his laptop, a cold soda on the nightstand, and a large ice-bag that he alternated between his cock, ass and his mouth, which were all incredibly sore. Jens was a fucking cold bastard sometimes, but…Robin slid his chin from his arm and pressed his face into the mattress for a moment. Then he rolled onto his side, absently listening for any signal noises from the laptop, and looked down at himself.
He touched the refreshed bruises on his right wrist—he didn’t think those had ever really healed since he’d met Jens—and then lightly skated his fingers over the half-faded ones decorating his thighs. His fingers ran over a spot that felt as if he’d suddenly ground a lighted cigarette into his flesh; he hissed and jerked his hand away, then slowly put it back to feel out what it was: bite-mark. From today, and Robin couldn’t even remember when that had been.
He rubbed at it, shifting the ice-bag out of the way, and the burning sensation slowly spread out from the initial fiery pinpoint into a tingling warmth. Robin hummed and let his hips roll towards his hand, widening the circles so his fingers trailed upward—
--cell-phone ringing. He hadn’t noticed till now, but his eyes had been starting to close. They snapped open, and then Robin cursed and rolled over to get the cell. He checked the number and it had a company-issued tag on it, but otherwise he didn’t recognize it.
He hadn’t given his number out to anyone besides Jens and Ruud, since they knew what he actually did, and he’d set up his own cell phone account here instead of getting a company one. Of course, Ballack had the ability to hack his way to the number, but Robin would’ve bet on pigs flying before the other man would do that. So this call was probably important and Robin should take it. Or it might lead to Jens fucking him within an inch of his life again, and as much as Robin loved that, he really didn’t have any such inches to spare after this morning.
Robin sighed and pressed the ‘answer’ button. “Hello?”
*Hey, it’s me. Did you two have to close the door?*
It took Robin a moment to place it, and when he did, he had to give Cesc points for sheer bravado. Then he went back to being annoyed at the interruption. “Were you stupid enough to stand there hoping for scraps?”
*No, I had actual work to do. But it was easy to tell with the way Lehmann was looking at you—by the way, I like living enough not to gossip to anybody about that, but you might want to tell him to lay off that in public. Why do you sound so irritated? Shouldn’t you be thanking me right now?*
The computer beeped, so Robin laid back down and tapped at the keys till he got an index of results. After looking it over, he saved it and set up a new probe; he had plenty for setting up Kahn to be tabloid fodder, so now for something to use in case Cesc got too annoying. Which he was really close to doing. “I guess. If you hadn’t been a horny idiot, I wouldn’t have gotten fucked so raw I was pretty much crawling out of there…want to guess how he had me? Do you want to know where he fucked me? Where he held me down?”
After a long, long silence, a strangled moan of a ‘yes’ filtered down the line.
Robin grinned. “Well, fuck you, you nosy little jackass.”
He hung up, snickering to himself, and pressed the ‘enter’ button to get the search into Cesc’s dirty closet secrets underway. And then the phone rang again, and it was Cesc’s number again.
This time, Robin didn’t bother being tricky or even polite. “What?”
*You’re a really mean guy, you know. But never mind—I really actually didn’t call you to beg for details like a girl. I’ve got a problem, and if you don’t help me fix it, it’s going to be Ruud’s problem and then Lehmann’s problem.*
“Well, I’d feel bad about Ruud, but in case you haven’t noticed, Jens performs pretty well under pressure,” Robin drawled. A pop-up on his laptop informed him that Cesc had had a couple disciplinary actions taken against him in medical school…but nothing interesting or serious. Just drinking and stupid, harmless practical jokes. “What, did you want me to convince him not to dangle you out the window when you tell him about your fuck-up? Isn’t going to happen.”
Cesc sighed. He had somebody with him, because in the background was the sound of a male voice faintly cursing. Only for a moment, as if they’d passed behind Cesc. The voice had an odd accent. *No. I called you because office gossip says you’re actually around for reasons besides being Jens’ boyfriend. They say you can…well, take care of phone records, things like that.*
Robin grimaced. “Are you trying to get me to come after you?”
*If it—what? No, don’t—that won’t help. I already asked that—no, then it’d get back to Lehmann.* Whoever else was there was being an immature prick, judging by the exasperated scolding tone Cesc was taking with them. *Look, you want to explain to Ruud what happened, or you want to be back in time to clean up before he takes you home?*
Well, the apartment was empty and Robin knew it was surveillance-free. He put his head down on the mattress again and indulged in a moment of sheer disbelief. Then he covered his eyes with his hand and put the cell back to his ear. “You’re calling me for help with Cristiano Ronaldo. Who’s in trouble. Okay, Fàbregas, clearly you aren’t as good at digging up gossip as you think you are.”
*Oh, don’t start. I already got yelled at by him for bringing up the idea of calling you, but—* Cesc sounded like he was shutting a door on Cristiano; his voice dropped as well *--Robin, did you know that my uncle Raúl keeps medical records on every person he treats? I don’t mean the ones in the manila folders he shows people. There are other ones. And he keeps meaning to computerize them all, but he hasn’t gotten around to actually doing it yet.*
Robin pulled his hand from his eyes down to rub at his nose. He absently pressed its side to his mouth, then winced and jerked it away. “Hmmm. That’s a little better.”
*You’re not the first boyfriend Jens has brought around to my uncle,* Cesc coyly said.
Wincing again, Robin pushed himself up into a semi-sitting position, which was awkward since he had to keep most of his weight on his hip. He drummed his fingers on the edge of the laptop, watching the current programs wind down. The moment they were done, he started setting up new ones. “And that just makes me want to get you booked for insider trading. What did the drama queen do?”
* * *
Given Raúl’s ranting stories, Cesc had expected his coworkers to be a little more…open to advances, but so far they all seemed annoyingly involved with each other. Well, that wouldn’t be true if he included the secretaries and various random female assistants around the place, but they would’ve been too easy and too complicated. At least in Jens’ division, the women were all obviously hoping for a stepping-stone up the industry ladder, and Cesc wasn’t interested in the kind of lying-promise drama he’d have to get into in order to get any from them.
It just really sucked, honestly—every time he walked by the men’s restroom, it seemed like somebody who wasn’t him was having fun in there. Every time he knocked on Ruud’s door to get his work and/or Cristiano for the day, he walked in on Cristiano sprawled and slightly pouty on the sofa or desk and Ruud hastily straightening his clothes. Even Michael Ballack seemed to have something going on with Frings, and half the time Michael had the conversational abilities of a twelve-year-old geek. It wasn’t fair.
“Cesc! Where have you been?”
Oh, great, Cristiano. How Ruud managed to deal with the demanding bastard long enough to get to a bed was beyond Cesc. Personally, Cesc was beginning to think he’d have to talk Raúl into hooking him up with Botox to get his smile muscles to relax at the end of every day. “Sorry, I got hung up downstairs. Did you and Lahm wrap up?”
“Not really. We’ve been hitting a snag with this song and then I had this brilliant idea for what it needs. It’s been going all wrong because the problem isn’t in the music—the problem’s what’s not in it.” Cristiano actually looked genuinely excited, which had to be the first time Cesc had seen that without it involving Ruud abandoning some thing to him to take Cristiano off. “Call up the car. We’re going downtown.”
Cesc mentally checked his schedule. “Wait a minute—”
“I don’t have anything official to do till this afternoon. Besides, this is work. This is going to make the single earth-shattering,” Cristiano said, already turning away. He ducked back into the studio, then came out with his coat in hand.
Philipp Lahm walked out just after him, but practically ran off before Cesc could call out and use him to stall. Maybe Cesc could sympathize, but Lahm had just made his job of keeping Cristiano safe from himself a lot harder. “Wait, what is ‘this’ that you keep talking about?”
“Getting a guest collaborator. I know exactly who, too, and right now they’ll be hanging out at…” The rest of it Cesc didn’t get to hear because Cristiano was walking away from him so quickly.
The other man had nearly gotten to the elevator by the time Cesc caught up. Cristiano had his cell out and was arguing pretty sharply with whomever was on the other end. When he saw Cesc, he snapped it shut and whipped around with a snarl. “Why are they telling me I can’t get my car?”
“Ask Ruud,” Cesc said. He had absolutely no problem about putting responsibility where it was supposed to be. “Besides, there’s all sorts of crap that needs to be done to bring in a collaborator. Which is what agents are for anyway, so I can start getting people working on that, and—”
The elevator dinged, startling Cristiano. He glanced over his shoulder at it, then looked back at Cesc with an expression of pure contempt. “What? Can’t I go outside now?”
“Look, I don’t…come on, would you work with me here?” Cesc hurried after Cristiano, who’d backed into the elevator. He slipped through just as the doors shut, privately wondering if Ruud would understand him cold-cocking Cristiano. “I’m just an assistant. I get told to do things and I try to do them as best I can.”
Rolling his eyes, Cristiano slouched against the back wall. He had one hand around his other wrist and he was beginning to twist his fingers around and around, getting that cranky restless look in his eye. “Well, I’ll tell you this—I need to get out. I’ve been working hard for days and I even want to keep working while I’m out. I just want to hook up with my friend and talk to him for a little bit. Ask him to help out on my record. You can drive me, you can stand by with me to make sure I don’t do anything wrong…how could it mess up?”
* * *
It was really, really cold in this alley. And from ten meters away, Cesc could hear Cristiano knocking around in his car—he was so billing for that if there was any permanent damage—and in his ear, Robin was laughing. *Okay, so Cristiano’s not even out of rehab for…for a whole financial quarter, and you take him downtown to a strip club and…and…*
“And his so-called friend had gotten signed up with MU Records while Cristiano was in Bath, so we just barely get in the door and suddenly we’ve got people in our faces.” The one good thing about the cold was that at least it helped numb Cesc’s busted knuckles. He looked himself over again, pretty impressed that he’d made it out with his suit intact. “It’d be really nice if I wasn’t charged for assault when it was definitely self-defense.”
Cesc turned around to check on Cristiano, but all the other man was doing now was slouching in the front seat and glowering at him. Bastard hadn’t even said thank-you. “Hey, it was. For the first minute or so. You don’t get through med school without learning something about the ways joints aren’t supposed to bend.”
*Very funny. Where were you again?* Robin half-repeated the address back to Cesc, clearly busy with something. Occasionally the sound of rattling keys could be heard. *Okay. Okay, I can do some stuff to make it difficult for anyone to file a police report against you, but you realize I can’t wipe minds or anything, right? MU Records is going to know, and that means Jens and Ruud better know before they send somebody after you for payback.*
Wasn’t that going to be a fun conversation. Well, it wasn’t like Cesc knew, and anyway he had tried to stop Cristiano, but if Ruud didn’t explicitly say Cesc could use a karate-chop to do that, then Cesc wasn’t going to take that risk. He sure as hell didn’t like Cristiano that much. “Yes, I know. But right now I’m just worried about how to even get back.”
*Yeah, you are way out there. Who’d you beat up, anyway?*
“Um…I think Rio Ferdinand was in the back, but he was pretty pissed off and trying to haul people out of it—I guess he’s worried about the publicity too. They were mostly low-level…oh, and you won’t believe this, but—wait, how much do you—” Cesc asked. To him, the whole FC-MU thing was a lot like a long-running quarrel in the family, but most of the war had been kept out of the papers till recently.
Robin snorted. *It’s kind of hard to avoiding knowing about that with where we work, you know.*
Was that what he really did? Raúl had muttered something about Robin being a talent scout, but Van Persie was almost never in the office. Gossip said he was like some kind of legal consultant, but people weren’t sure exactly who Jens was setting Robin after. “Well, Robbie Savage was there. You know…he had Michael Ballack’s job before.”
“You wouldn’t believe how much he hates Cristiano. He practically dove over a table going for him.” The bite-marks on Cesc’s wrist started to hurt again as he thought about it. “Really nasty son of a bitch. But it’s just weird, because he and MU weren’t all that friendly before. There was this thing where—”
Cristiano had gotten out of the car and was drumming his hands on the top. “What’s taking so long?” he called. “If he won’t help, then forget that cocky asshole. Don’t I have a doctor’s appointment to go to?”
Cesc opened his mouth to tell Cristiano to shut it, then heard the second part of what the other man said. He thought a moment, then swore. “Damn it, I have to go. My uncle’s already going to be pissed off at me for getting into a fight.”
*What?* Apparently Cristiano hadn’t yelled loud enough for Robin to hear him, because Robin didn’t sound nearly gleeful enough. *Somebody mess up Ronaldo’s face?*
“No, because I was a good assistant and did all the dirty work. But we’re going to be late for an appointment, and that’s on top of trying to avoid anybody coming after us,” Cesc muttered. “And I have to think of a cover story to feed my uncle.”
Robin was having a hard time suppressing his laughter. *You really, really like talking, don’t you. Listen, I just hacked the traffic-light system, like in The Italian Job. Get in the car and tell me where you’re going, and I’ll get you green all the way. But--soon as you can, you’re going to tell me the rest of that Robbie Savage story.*
“Sure. I can tell you a lot of other stories, too.” After waving at Cristiano to get back in the car, Cesc walked down to the other end of the alley to check the sidewalks. He thought he’d gotten away from the club without anyone following, but he wanted to make sure nobody had caught up with him afterward. “Or Jens. Whichever one of you would be most helped.”
The little ripple of laughter in Robin’s voice flattened away. *My God, does your precious uncle know you’re this much of a whore?*
“I’m not a whore. I’m just open to sharing.” None of the three people Cesc could see rang any alarm bells, and the other cars parked along the roads were the right condition and age for the neighborhood, so he figured they were still all right. He turned around and started back, jingling his keys in his pocket as he went.
*Well, I’m not really, and Jens isn’t either. You’d have to do a lot more than talk to convince us to take the trouble,* Robin said. His tone was restrained, like he was lying. Or like he wasn’t certain of something, or probably both. *Anyway, I’m not sure you could take it. Whatever you think you’d be walking into, you’re underestimating it.*
The day Cesc stopped getting that reaction from people, he’d throw a party. “I think you’re doing the same for me.”
Annoyingly enough, Robin’s reaction was to cut loose with a long, mocking laugh. *Tell me that when you’re not getting yanked around by Ronaldo, Fàbregas. Are you in your car yet? I don’t have all day.*
Cesc got behind the wheel and said yes, though he wasn’t about to leave the conversation right there. He’d be coming back to it, all right, and he was looking forward to wiping that smugness right out of Robin’s voice.
* * *
Jens sat down on the edge of the bed and pulled up the sheets to look, then dropped them with a sigh. Oblivious and completely naked, Robin continued working on whatever he was doing.
“You’re lucky today’s the cleaning staff’s—”
“—day off,” Robin finished. “I know.”
After a moment, Jens got up and walked around the bed retrieving the various bottles, bowls, empty chip bags and the like that Robin had scattered around the floor and nightstand. He disposed of those in the kitchen, then came back into the bedroom. The other man hadn’t changed position.
“I had a painful unplanned meeting with Ruud, Cristiano, and Cesc late this afternoon,” Jens said. He sat down on the mattress again and took off his shoes, then turned to lightly rest his hand on Robin’s back. The other man tensed up, then relaxed slightly; Jens pressed a little harder, gauging the stiffness and the extent of the knots in Robin’s muscles. “Cesc seems to have done well, despite being stupid enough to get into a situation like that. Better than I personally think he could do.”
“Been keeping an eye on him—ow! Damn it, Jens, if you’re going to knock me out, could you just do it already? That random poking is annoying,” Robin grumbled. He abruptly shifted to throw off Jens’ hand, then rocked back into place with a slight hiss beneath his breath.
That pretty much confirmed Jens’ suspicions; compared to earlier, Robin was a ball of knives. He scooted up the bed to reach the nightstand drawer and dug around till he found a bottle of oil. It’d been a while, so Jens sniffed it to do a quality-check before he rolled up his sleeves and poured it onto his hands. Then he moved back down and turned around so he could reach all of Robin’s back without having to strain. “Why would I knock you out? What, did you do something that’d annoy me that badly?”
“I love how you think that’s a normal…normal…reaction…” Robin’s voice started off sharp and gradually softened as Jens pushed the heels of his hands around the other man’s shoulderblades. He’d been partially on his side, but now he moved to lie completely on his belly, resting his chin on his hands so he could still watch the laptop in front of him. A wince stiffened his muscles again.
They were too tense for working on them to do any good—trying to push them loose would probably result in tissue damage. Jens backed off and just ran his palms up and down Robin’s back, starting at the spine and working outwards with light strokes. After two or three passes, Robin relaxed enough for Jens to start making some attempts at rolling out the knots in the small of the other man’s back. He dug the base of his hands in hard, then smoothed over the area more lightly with his fingertips. The knots started to snap loose; at the first one, Robin gasped over some comment he’d been about to make and shuddered. Then he moved his arms out from under his head and pushed at the mattress, turning himself more into Jens’ hands.
Jens pushed him back and moved to center his weight over his hands. He pushed back up to Robin’s shoulderblades and paused to nudge Robin’s head back forward—Robin looked more than a little confused—before he started squeezing his way down Robin’s shoulders, pushing hard into their backs with his thumbs. Robin groaned a few times, then fell silent as Jens stroked his back in long, slightly diagonal motions that followed his ribs. At the end of every stroke, Jens let his fingers briefly curl around in a caress; he caught Robin’s nipples a few times and they were already hard.
When he got back to the dips that marked Robin’s waist, the other man slid his hips up in the air in a sudden but oddly languid motion. Robin’s muscles were now slack and soft beneath Jens’ fingers, but the other man’s breath was starting to come short. He insistently pushed his buttocks into Jens’ hands, settling back only a little when Jens started massaging his thighs.
“God, fuck me already,” Robin finally muttered.
Jens pressed one thumb into a bite-mark from earlier in the day, then ran his hands up Robin’s hips to smooth the tension from Robin’s back. “I can’t keep taking you so often to the doctor. You don’t heal that fast.”
Robin took a moment to reply. “Earlier wasn’t that bad. Fuck me now, then start counting days.”
“Counting?” The next time Jens let his hand drop over Robin’s ass, the other man shoved back so that Jens’ thumb briefly popped in. He pulled it out and Robin keened and shuddered so hard the mattress shook. Jens bit his tongue, then pulled himself further onto the bed. He wiped off his hands on Robin’s calves before reaching for his fly.
“Oh, don’t tell me you don’t. You’re that anal,” Robin gasped, breathily chuckling. Then, so soft Jens almost missed it: “Anyway, I do.”
Fucking an utterly relaxed Robin was a completely different experience. Usually for Jens it was almost like clawing at himself, like ripping open so he could get out whatever it was that was driving him mad. And he felt better afterwards for it, but that didn’t mean it didn’t hurt, or that it didn’t leave him feeling raw almost to the point of self-evisceration. This time, it was lazy and gradual, Robin moving like slow-dripping honey beneath Jens, so when he climaxed, Jens felt…refreshed. It was interesting.
Though all that oil made for a more uncomfortable post-coital experience. And as soon as Jens pulled himself out, Robin flopped over him. He grimaced and pushed at the other man, sliding up to sit against the headboard, but Robin just squirmed along so most of his weight pinned down Jens’ legs. Jens finally let him be, figuring Robin would succumb to exhaustion soon enough and then Jens could deal with the sheets and take a shower.
“So why’d I have to come in this morning? Why not have Michael do it?” Robin asked, settling his head on Jens’ thighs.
“I accidentally triggered some boobytrap Savage left behind that locked down my hard drive. I’d meant to take those files off it before I had Michael come in and scan my computer; Michael’s both smart enough to figure out what they mean and upright enough to be uncomfortable with that.” And Ballack was working out well enough so that Jens would prefer not to fire him as a way to deal with that.
Robin snorted, obviously expecting that answer, and turned his head on its side. His eyes fluttered shut when Jens started to draw circles with a fingertip over the back of his neck. “Cesc called me to help, and I figured if I didn’t, you’d be asking me to do the same thing later on, so I might as well do it then. You know, he’s got his rough edges, but he picks up a lot. I hope you are keeping an eye on him. Just not for—”
“—he’s related to Raúl, I like having Raúl as a house doctor, therefore I’d never be that stupid,” Jens said.
“No, probably not.” A noise very similar to a purr came from Robin as Jens tickled his nape. His muscles provided no resistance at all when Jens probed at them, acting as if they didn’t even have bones supporting them. It always surprised Jens how kittenish Robin would turn after a good fuck, considering how dynamic and aggressive the man was any other time. “What if he wasn’t related?”
Jens stopped petting Robin for a moment, then curved his hand around to lightly clasp the other man’s neck. “You don’t sound completely jealous.”
“Well, I’m not sure whether you’d want me to be jealous. Good looks do seem to run in that family,” Robin said. He was. He’d gone a little tense, and the speculative tone of his voice rang false.
“I’d like to not talk about Fàbregas right now. I had to think enough about him earlier and now I’m not working,” Jens finally replied.
After a moment, Robin rolled over. He pressed his face into Jens’ stomach, then nuzzled his way up for an open-mouthed kiss that he stretched out into sucking on Jens’ lower lip. “Want to get sucked off in the shower?” he asked. “My mouth’s feeling better.”
* * *
When Raúl stopped in the doorway, Cesc’s shoulder lifted a little. Then it dropped and the other man burrowed more deeply into the blankets with pointed defiance.
Raúl walked in anyway and pulled at Cesc’s arm till he got it out. The other man still pretended that he was sleeping, but that made it easier to check his knuckles. Some of the bandages had shifted and pulled off the fresh scabs with them, staining the cotton red, so Raúl dug out the first aid kit from beneath the bed and changed the wrap.
“Ow.” Cesc rolled over, blinking rapidly as if he’d really been dozing. He pinched his nose and blew out to clear it, then levered himself up on one arm. “Time to kick me out? I know, my own apartment, but I needed a nap after today.”
“I’m sure,” Raúl muttered. He knotted off the hand-wrap, then moved on to check the bruise on the underside of Cesc’s jaw, where someone’s fist had just clipped him. “Are you all right?”
After a moment, Cesc grinned and let the weight of his head settle into Raúl’s hand. “You’re the doctor. You tell me.”
Raúl removed his hand; Cesc dropped a few centimeters before he caught himself on the mattress. He sighed and flopped back on the bed, absently tugging at his shirt so the tails flipped up to expose his stomach. Then he lifted his hand and gazed at it while he flexed his fingers, occasionally wincing.
“Crazy people come into the ER with knives and guns, too,” Cesc said in a sober tone. He flicked a look at Raúl. “Besides, if it’s so bad, why are you still working here? You could always start another practice.”
“It’s not usually so bad. Most of the time it’s fine. But when it gets bad, it gets really bad, and…” Shrugging, Raúl idly picked at the sheets. “It’s not for everyone.”
Cesc snorted. He splayed his fingers and lowered his hands to look through the spaces in between, like a child playing peek-a-boo. “How do you know it’s not for me?”
“It’s your life. You’re a grown man,” Raúl neutrally replied.
He started to get up, but a hand on his arm stopped him. It dropped around his waist, its white bandages pale against his dark shirt, and Cesc pressed up against Raúl’s back, fitting his head against Raúl’s shoulder. It was something Cesc had done fairly often when he was younger when thanking someone, or just when he was really happy about something.
“I’d still really like to know you’re all right with it. I like this job…I think I’ve really found something I can get into, but it does scare me sometimes. And it’s been a little hard really getting to know people at the office,” Cesc quietly said. His arm tightened against Raúl’s waist; his mouth was so close that Raúl could feel the changes in breath as Cesc talked against his neck.
After a couple seconds, Raúl gently pried off Cesc’s arm and turned around. He smiled as genuinely as he could while giving the other man’s hair a ruffle. “I’d never turn you away if you needed help.”
An irritated flicker went over Cesc’s face, but then he shrugged and grabbed at Raúl’s arm again. “Thanks. Give me a hand up? I should be getting back to my place.”
Raúl did, then quickly went into the other room and occupied himself with inventorying his medicine cabinet. Cesc knew the way out, and he currently was able to take care of that himself. And Raúl honestly was more than a little thankful that he didn’t have to follow up on his promise right now.