Tangible Schizophrenia


My Number

Author: Guede Mazaka
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Van Persie/Lehmann, Raúl/Casillas, Henry/Pirès, Hildebrand/Lahm, Van Nistelrooy/C. Ronaldo, Rio Ferdinand/Robbie Savage. A little unrequited Fàbregas/Raúl and Ljungberg/Lehmann.
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 Tegan and Sara song.
Summary: The way to know how a party went is to look at the morning-afters.


Thierry looked up, blinked hard to make his tired eyes work, then sighed. “Freddie, what are you doing here? You’ve got today off.”

“No, I don’t. You do. I’m your assistant and the whole point of having me is to have someone to shove off work to when you’re exhausted,” Freddie quipped. Snagging Thierry’s coat off the wall as he went, he walked straight around Thierry’s desk and pulled out Thierry’s chair before Thierry could stop him. “No, I’m serious. Jens never would’ve named you point person for the day if he’d known how tired you were. And he would know if…”

“I wasn’t so good at acting?” Thierry hurriedly interposed.

A flinch went through Freddie’s eyes. Then he pulled himself up and looked sharply at Thierry. “…if whatever’s been between him and Robin hasn’t been distracting the hell out of him on top of MU and Kahn.”

Saying that had hurt him a lot, and it all showed as if it were a fresh pain. But he didn’t look angry at all.

“Jens wants what he wants. It’s easier to move a mountain than change that, and I think it’s clear that he isn’t going to change the way I’d hope. I’m giving up,” Freddie quietly, firmly said. He moved his right shoulder in an eloquent expression of resignation. “I’m no saint and I can’t wait forever. Though don’t worry, I’d still do anything for him. That came first, anyway.”

“I wasn’t worrying about him when it was about this.” Thierry reached out and gave Freddie’s arm a quick squeeze. “But anyhow, I appreciate the offer, but—”

Freddie’s whole posture shifted to menacing loom. “Thierry. You’re my friend. Go home before I have to do something.”

When Thierry wanted to, he was perfectly capable of standing off anyone. But he looked at Freddie and his body told him how tired it was and finally he just knew it wasn’t one of those times. He got up. “Call me if—”

“Okay,” Freddie said, already sitting down.

Torn between a grin and a sigh, Thierry slowly walked out. By the time he got to the lift, he was leaning towards grin.

“The smile says your mood is light, but the rest of you says you’re in serious danger of being hospitalized for exhaustion.” Bobby came up unexpectedly from the corner. He was smiling, but his eyes were concerned. “Are you going home?”

“Oh, absolutely. Freddie’s filling in today, so I hope for his sake it’s a light day,” Thierry said, pushing the elevator button. Then he looked down and cursed, jabbing the other one.

Bobby hesitated, then carefully asked, “Do you think you can get home?”

Thierry tried to think about it. His head ached, and after a moment, he took Freddie’s advice-by-example. “I’m sorry to impose, but could you…” he did manage to pull out the correct ring of keys “…drive me?”

“It’d be no problem at all.” When Bobby tried to take the keys, Thierry’s hand spasmed just as their fingers touched. Somehow Bobby made snatching the keys out of mid-air look graceful. “I’d be happy to.”

“Thank you,” Thierry murmured. He was already looking forward to the rest, so he just let it all go.

* * *

Jens moved and the sides of his skull just around his temples blew out. He didn’t even have time to flinch.

Somewhat to his surprise, he still was able to make his eyes open. The world was blurry and bluish with yellow cracks. He wrestled up his hand—more explosions went off in his head, but by now he was wise to the trick and just willed himself through it. He rubbed the crusts out of his eyes.

His apartment. His bed. That was Robin’s near-soundless slow breathing in his ear, and probably Robin’s knee jabbing his thigh. He sniffed his wrist, decided he had been hauled through a shower sometime in the past twelve hours, and revised his plan. Then he gritted his teeth and got out of bed, reflexively glancing at his cell and PDA on the end-table as he did.

Bladder emptied, mouth scrubbed clean and minty, Jens riffled through his medicine cabinet till he found Raúl’s hang-over cure. He popped the pills and winced his way to his closet, where he stood looking at his clothes for about seven minutes before he thought of something. With a snort, he turned around and went back to bed. He put one hand on the mattress and leaned over, then stopped.

Robin’s eye went from cracked to wide-open. “What?”

Jens pointedly looked over the bed, letting his gaze go from Robin’s arm, which had crept into the dip where Jens had laid, down to the sheet-covered hump he assumed was Robin’s hip. “Move over.”

Frowning, Robin lifted his arm and pulled back his leg. He rolled onto his back, then propped himself up on one elbow. “Is your hang-over that bad?”

“Actually it’s almost gone. Sometimes I think Raúl’s more cynical than I am, but he knows his profession,” Jens said. He picked up a handful of blankets and lifted them to slide in his legs. Then he dropped them and pushed himself the rest of the way beneath the sheets. His toes grazed bare skin; he paused, then put his head back down and his hand out till it found Robin’s hip.

The furrow between Robin’s eyebrows deepened. He twisted a little, then settled down when Jens curled his hand back, stroking along the curve of Robin’s ass. “You know what’s terrifying about you when you’re drunk? It’s not that you get the personality transplant, or even that you can keep it up when there’s so much alcohol in you it should be medically impossible. It’s that you don’t get stupid.”

“Neither my PDA nor my cell is blinking, so I don’t have any messages. Which means there’s so little clean-up that I can take my scheduled day off and recover. Which never happens. So I’m going to pretend you did actually mean that in a complimentary way,” Jens said. He splayed his fingers, just cupping Robin’s buttock. He really was exhausted and did need the time to rest, so hopefully Robin wasn’t about to be annoying.

After a moment, Robin gingerly laid back down on his side, facing Jens. “I hope that means you aren’t expecting me to jump around doing things, because I already drove you home, got you through a shower and into bed.” He looked hard at Jens. “You do remember what we did last night, right?”

“I don’t have memory black-outs either.” Sometimes that could be regrettable—he was never going to get rid of knowing what Oliver Kahn climaxing looked like—but it usually was at least useful. “I fucked you till I think you were begging to suck me off so I’d stay out of your ass. It was hard to tell what you were saying.”

“That was because your tongue was in my mouth,” Robin half-heartedly shot back. He shifted closer, letting Jens get a better grip on him, and slightly dropped his head so Jens couldn’t see his eyes. “So you’re really sober now. Does that hang-over cure mess around with personalities at all?”

Jens could feel the corner of his mouth quirking. The uncertainty in Robin’s voice bled right through the acidic coating. “I remember I told Kahn off, groped you in front of him and then did the same at the VIP party.”

Robin tensed up, then abruptly relaxed, sliding forward to mold himself against Jens’ front. His fingers started to pick at the buttons of Jens’ shirt. “Podperson.”

“No, I’m not.” Jens rolled his eyes at Robin’s surprised sound. “Yes, I know what that is. I had three weeks to think about what to do about you and it was a shitty time, and I obviously wasn’t working to my fullest capability. I don’t have the time or the energy to argue with myself, so it’s more effective to just cope with the changes.”

“That’s the longest and most complicated way I’ve ever heard somebody say, ‘we’re dating,’” Robin snorted. He pushed his hand into Jens’ unbuttoned shirt and gripped Jens’ waist. “But you’re taking this really well—better than anyone else I’ve known, let alone good for you.”

Jens snaked his arm over Robin. He bent his fingers so only the tips touched Robin’s back, then began a light massage. It only took a moment for Robin to start making pleased throaty sounds. “Coping isn’t the same as enthusiastic acceptance.”

“Hmm, well, maybe by the time lunch rolls around, I can work on that.” Robin nuzzled at Jens’ neck, then paused. “With my mouth, okay? My ass really does hurt, and if I remember right, I’m not sure Raúl’s capable of taking patients today.”

* * *

Clink. Clink. Splish. Clink.

Raúl paused with his next spoonful of breakfast two centimeters from his mouth, then lowered it. He sighed and looked at the man sitting across from him. “How’s your headache?”

“Gone. It’s…you’re a very good doctor,” Iker mumbled. He poked at his food. “Thank you.”

Thirty-second time this morning, Raúl silently counted. He was beginning to suspect a stern grandmother with a sharp slap was somewhere in Iker’s background. “All right, how drunk were you? I was telling the truth when I said I wasn’t that far gone.”

“I wasn’t very…I…just…” Two faint streaks of red slowly appeared on Iker’s cheekbones, then started to widen downwards. “I don’t know what to say. I don’t know you very well, and your nephew left my apartment before I even woke up—anyway, I don’t…really remember that night. Not that I’m trying to suggest you two are comparable, or…damn it.”

“How’s breakfast?” Raúl asked. He put the spoon in his mouth, chewed and swallowed. Then he looked at how much was left, decided he wasn’t in the mood for self-torture, and got up to dump it in the sink.

Iker somehow got there first and snatched up Raúl’s plate. Then he just stood there, looking embarrassed with his head down and his eyes on the plate. “I…look, I watch films for a living. I’m very good with dialogue and lousy with conversations. But the food’s amazing, last night was amazing, and I’m just really, really happy I remembered it all this time.”

Raúl stayed where he was and listened to that and didn’t have anything to say either.

“On the other hand, I’m starting to also put things together, and…never mind, whatever reason you said yes for is your business. But I’m trying to work on the reason I pick up random people in bars when I’m drunk, so if you don’t mind, I’d like to go,” Iker finished. He stabbed the plate out a few centimeters, still not looking up.

After a second, Raúl took the plate. Then he seized Iker’s wrist before the other man could pull away and kissed him. It didn’t taste like alcohol, like it had last night. Iker tasted…pretty good.

“I read the arts and entertainment section of the papers regularly, and I always wondered how you get to see movies in advance. Do they book a theater, or send a DVD?” Raúl asked, letting the other man go. He walked around Iker to the kitchen counter and set his plate down, then pulled out the cling-wrap. “I’m curious.”

“So am I.” Iker cautiously edged into Raúl’s view. “What was—”

The doorbell rang. Raúl flinched, then threw down the cling-wrap and stalked out the door. “Just…wait a minute, please. I still want to talk after I see who it is.”

He quickly walked down the hall, mentally running down his list of…then he realized that after last night’s party, it could be anyone on Jens’ team. In an even grumpier mood, he yanked off the chain and unbolted the door without checking who it was. That was a bad mistake.

Cesc stood on the doorstep, still dressed in the same clothes he’d been wearing last night. His hair was a rat’s-nest and his eyes were bloodshot. The bottom of his nose was red from repeated abrasion, like he’d been pulling and rubbing at it all night.

“I just want to say something,” he said in a shaking, angry voice. “I know last night I acted really immature and unprofessionally, and you do have the right to be mad at me for that. But—but what does your retaliation teach me?”

“It wasn’t retaliation. It was—Holy Mary, Mother of God.” Raúl hit his head against the doorframe, then put his hand up to cushion his forehead, which was throbbing again. “Goddamn it, Cesc. I punched him for something he didn’t do, and so after you ran away I apologized and talked to him to find out what did happen, and I ended up liking him. That’s what happened.”

“And me?” Cesc demanded, voice rising. “Why didn’t you ever like me?”

The day after, and Raúl was feeling a clench in his chest at how terrible Cesc looked, and oddly enough, that didn’t stop him from also feeling a burst of pure frustrated rage. “Cesc, grow up. I love you, but I’m a grown man and I have a sense of pride and dignity, and I’ll be damned if I’ll be reduced to a challenge you pulled off. I—” he looked away, then back again “—if I’m less to you than I was when you were younger, that’s my fault. But if what I am now to you continues to decrease, then that’s your fault.”

For a moment, Cesc stood there with his mouth open. He was so shocked he actually started to sway and had to catch himself. His head dropped and his shoulders hunched; he kicked once at the ground, then slowly looked up. “I’m really sorry, Uncle,” he said in a soft voice. “I…look, I need to go home and well, shower this time.”

Raúl almost opened his mouth and invited Cesc inside to do that, but then he thought the better of it. Even without Iker in the kitchen, a little time alone probably would be the best for Cesc. “Come over for dinner tomorrow. I…you left your coat with Iker. I need to give it back to you.”

Cesc turned away, his hand going up to his nose. He scrubbed hard, then jerked his hand down and sighed, tugging at his jacket. “Okay. Okay.”

When he’d disappeared around the street-corner, Raúl finally backed into the house and shut the door. He stood in place, biting his lip, and then turned around to see Iker standing at the end of the hall.

“I’m sorry about that,” Iker said. He started forward, but stopped when he saw Raúl was coming to him.

“It’s not your fault. Just—stop apologizing. For the love of God…” Raúl threw up his hands and started to push by, but was blocked when Iker slid into his way. He frowned and stepped to the other side, only to have Iker get there ahead of him. “What—”

Iker kissed him hard enough to leave Raúl’s lips tingling, then threw himself back with so much force that he stumbled. He awkwardly caught himself against the wall and grimaced. “Well, that was because I couldn’t say sorry anymore without annoying you.”

“You’re a lot more relaxed after sex,” Raúl said after a long moment. “You didn’t sound like you were quoting that from a bad romance novel.”

The other man blushed a little, which made Raúl curious as to Iker’s reading habits. “I’m told I’m still weird even when I’m not nervous.”

“Oh, weird. If I told you about my clientele, you wouldn’t worry,” Raúl snorted. He took Iker by the arm and tugged him towards the kitchen. “Would tea work better? Food doesn’t seem to be a choice right now, but we need to get something in our stomachs.”

* * *

Michael went out to make a run to the corner-store for orange juice, the door swinging shut behind him just as Lionel looked down to put the top slice of bread on his sandwich. Then there was a crash, a stream of loud German curses and that bread slice shooting across the room as Lionel jumped in surprise.

He caught himself on the counter-edge. The bread landed on the couch in the next room. And the door opened again to show a very depressed Cesc trailing after a slightly embarrassed Michael.

“Sorry about that,” Michael said. “I didn’t see you. I…are you okay?”

“I was sitting in the hall and he tripped over me,” Cesc told Lionel. Then to Michael: “I’m fine. I…sorry I didn’t call out or anything. I was thinking and I didn’t hear you.”

Lionel pushed away from the counter and got his bread back. A couple more minutes saw Michael, finally reassured that Cesc didn’t have any internal damage or anything, out the door, and Cesc lying on the couch in a miserable mood that practically had a black cloud floating over him. “You hear anything about the launch party last night yet?”

“Haven’t gone in to work yet. Micha rang up Lahmi earlier to ask him something and they didn’t pick up, so we figured he and Timo weren’t out of bed yet. So no,” Lionel said. “Why, what happened?”

Michael came back just as Cesc was wrapping up, saying, “But besides all that, is it even okay for him and Casillas to do that? I thought exes of your relatives were off-limits.”

“Well, if you’re a strict Catholic you can’t marry them without a special dispensation, but you’re all men and that doesn’t even matter. And honestly, Cesc, he wasn’t even an ex of yours. You didn’t even know his name before Ronnie figured it out,” Lionel replied, rubbing at his forehead. He hadn’t even gone out last night and somehow he was getting a headache. “I don’t know—I don’t think any of my close relatives are sexy and I’ve never wanted to date any of them.”

“But…it…just…hey, Ballack, you’re back.” Cesc hooked his arm over the back of the sofa and pinned Michael with his eyes. “What do you think? Is it okay for your uncle to sleep with a guy you slept with?”

Lionel pinched the bridge of his nose. It seemed like Cesc was at least over the serious depression part, so he figured it was okay to be a little pointed. “He isn’t even really your uncle. It’s just easier to say that than to draw out the family tree all the time.”

“He’s still related,” Cesc snapped, his eyes a little too bright.

Meanwhile, Michael had frozen in place with a half-confused, half-panicked expression on his face. “I…am not the person you should be asking. I don’t have enough exes,” he finally said. “Juice is in the fridge. I’m…I’m meeting Torsten for lunch, so see you later.”

After he left, Cesc snorted and slumped back into the couch. “I think I scared your roommate off.”

“I think it’s not about Raúl and you being related,” Lionel said.

“You’re really too smart sometimes, Leo. Just make sure you don’t get too clever—smart is good, clever is bad.” Cesc let his head fall onto the top of the couch. He stared at the ceiling for so long that Lionel didn’t think he was going to say anything else, but then he suddenly pulled his head forward again. “The thing is, I figured out last night that it really isn’t just about getting Raúl to fuck me. I—it’s really bad, isn’t it? I know this right after I find out that I’ve totally convinced him to believe I’m just shallow.”

He fell silent after that, looking straight ahead. Lionel got off his chair and went over to the couch beside Cesc, then finally had to touch Cesc’s arm to get the other man to turn towards him. “Hey. At least you’ll be seeing less of Cristiano. And you’ve got today off, and I don’t go into work till tonight, so…I don’t know, want to get out the Playstation for a while?”

“Thanks, Leo,” Cesc muttered, mouth half-twisted. He shook his head, looking up at the ceiling again. Then he shook it more deliberately. “Thanks, but that’s okay. Maybe later. I…I think I’m going to go into work early, get some stuff done that I’ve been lazy about. I kind of messed up a little last night and snapped at the brat in front of Ruud, so I’ve got to do something about that, too.”

* * *

Ruud woke up to a sudden clenching around his cock and Cristiano’s smirking face. “God.”

“Thank you,” Cristiano said, putting his hands on Ruud’s shoulders. He dug in his nails as he methodically flexed his ass around Ruud’s cock, moving pressure from the base up and then back down. His lips flattened in a tight, straight line, then pushed out a bit as he hissed, closing his eyes. The tip of his tongue briefly poked out. “Ruud? I think your assistant doesn’t like me.”

“…Cesc?” Remarkably enough, Ruud could remember names. He tried to lift his hands, but had to drop them to grab at the sheets when Cristiano moved again. The movement also jostled his head, and damn it, he hadn’t managed to get away from the night unscathed. “Christ, my head hurts.”

“There’s paracetomol. We’re out of whatever it is that Raúl prescribes, and I don’t think he’s answering his phone.” Cristiano’s hands rubbed up Ruud’s neck to massage at his aching temples. The other man was a warm amber blur as he leaned down and nipped around Ruud’s mouth. “I don’t know what I can do…”

Ruud dragged one hand onto Cristiano’s hip, tugging sharply so Cristiano, who’d risen up a bit, was all the way down on his cock again. He winced as a slash of pain cut across the left side of his skull, then took comfort in the minty sweet taste of Cristiano’s mouth. Cristiano had been up for a while, if he’d already brushed his teeth. “Keep doing that.”

“What about Cesc?” Cristiano purred. His tongue flicked against the corner of Ruud’s mouth.

“He…” A little bit of sense struggled to life. “Cris, he’s a really good assistant. I’ll talk to him, but I’m not about to fire him just because he got a little impatient with you. Besides, didn’t he save you from getting your ass kicked by Rio Ferdinand?”

Sullen snort. “Well, that one time.” Lick. “I guess I don’t have to see him if I don’t want to now.” Slow kiss. “By the way, my mother wants to meet you properly.”

“I already met your mother.”

“As my agent. She wants to meet you as my boyfriend, or are you still going to be weird about that?”

“…I don’t like her cooking. Sorry, but that’s the truth.”

Cristiano blinked, then laughed and pushed up against Ruud, rubbing his face into Ruud’s neck. “Oh, we’ll just go to a restaurant. Now are you feeling good enough to fuck me yet, or do I have to do it?”

“Well…you do seem to know what you’re doing,” Ruud said, drawing a finger slowly over Cristiano’s buttock. He let it dip low to circle the straining flesh clamped around his cock, feeling it shiver. “How about I just let you know if you’re doing anything wrong?”

* * *

“Phil. Phil. Philipp Lahm.”


“Damn it…Phil, I’m not trying to get you up to work, or to eat, or even to brush your teeth…though God, that is some horrific morning breath…I just need to get to the toilet for a piss.”


“Phil, I need you to get off my leg. Do that and I promise I’ll stop bugging…thank you, thank you, thank you. Back in a sec—don’t kick off the blankets.”


“Or do kick off the blankets…God, I don’t understand why I put up with you sometimes.”

“…Timo? Oh…owwwww…my head really hurts…” Whimpering and burrowing into pillows.

“…you’re ridiculously cute, you know. Even when you’re sort of greenish in the face.”

“Shut up and die, Mr. I-don’t-get-hang-overs.”

“Hang on, I’ll get the aspirin while I’m up.”

* * *

Rio crunched through the pills, then washed down the bitter powdery bits with some water. He put down the glass and pressed the heel of his hand to his right temple till he started to feel it kick in. “All right, explain this without making me look at anything. I’ve been up all night and I’m about ready to kick in the next TV screen I see.”

“It’s not on the monitor anyway. What were you doing, trailing the Nevilles around town again?” Robbie tossed his feet up on his desk and steepled his fingers over his stomach, looking terribly comfortable. “It looks like Henry’s filing the paperwork to get the Chels managed by the label—they’ve got their own manager, but Hargreaves is really young and out of his depth, and it’s starting to show.”

“No, I was convincing a couple radio DJs that it’d be in their best interest to maximize airplay of some upcoming singles we’ve got. Last one was a weed-head and the stink of it’s giving me the worst headache still,” Rio muttered. He sat back against the edge of Robbie’s desk and rubbed at the two middle knuckles of his right hand, which were a bit sore. Seemed like the second DJ of the night had gone in for those jeweled-up teeth all the hip-hoppers were sporting now, and that’d been a bit of a painful surprise. “All right, so?”

Robbie looked at him like he was thick in the head. “So Hargreaves is discontented, and apparently open to approach, and even if he can’t swing the Chels to us, I’m betting you could do a bit in the band-wrecking area through him. Break up Lehmann’s next sure hit before it catches fire.”

“Oh, for…so tell Gary! This isn’t anywhere near what I do. What are you telling me for—did you call me all the way down to flatter you for doing a good job? I should—” Rio paused, thinking about it. Then he grabbed Robbie’s ankles and tossed them off the desk.

The other man cursed and flailed as his chair abruptly tilted forward, throwing one arm conveniently forwards. Rio seized Robbie’s wrist, pulled on it, and then twisted it up behind Robbie’s back as the other man stumbled out of his chair and into Rio’s chest.

“Stupid Welsh shite. You could just say you wanted a fuck,” Rio snorted.

“Oh, like that’s any fun. I ring you up and ask you to bring your big dick up here like I’m ordering a pizza or something—yeah, that’s really appeal—”

It wasn’t, and Robbie did have a good point there. But a better point, Rio thought a few minutes later, was being able to stretch out his legs and have a good seat on the desk while looking down at that pretty blond head bobbing over his cock. Seemed like Robbie did agree with him, too.


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