Tangible Schizophrenia


Supermassive Black Hole

Author: Guede Mazaka
Rating: NC-17. D/s, bondage.
Pairing: Ballack/Frings, Van Persie/Lehmann, Van Nistelrooy/C. Ronaldo
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 references the Muse song.
Summary: Robin continues to fuck up people’s days. Michael has a minor breakdown.


Torsten stood in the doorway for a few minutes, just looking around. Michael had fixed the overhead light and picked up a pretty brass desk lamp, and he’d really tidied up the place. A line of colorful plastic bins holding computer parts stood against the wall, and next to them was a tall pile of cheap stackable plastic drawers, all neatly labeled. There was a crate of water bottles beneath the desk, and two half-opened ones sitting on the desk. They were both ringed with small puddles, one of which was clearly hand-shaped.

“Oh, Micha’s out. Something about emergency overhaul of the server and the basement?” Philipp came up next to Torsten’s left side and poked his head in, then slid all the way into the room. He grabbed a tissue and started dabbing at the spilled water with a frown on his face. “He didn’t look too good.”

“He’s not really having a good day. I was just bringing his sweater back,” Torsten said.

He sounded pretty calm and casual to himself, but for some reason, Philipp got all wide-eyed and stared at him. “Huh? Did you two—um—Thierry told me the bathroom over on the west side was off-limits because somebody was taking up the stall…was that…”

“No. If that had been us, then I kind of hope Michael would be having a better day now, right?” Torsten sighed and wadded the sweater back up under his arm, hoping Philipp didn’t notice. Because the straightforward thing to do really would be to just leave it on Michael’s chair, but Torsten wasn’t really feeling too straightforward right now. And if he didn’t get a free evening soon, he was going to be downright backhanded. As in to the face of whosever fault that was. “How’s Ronaldo? He didn’t pass out on you again, did he? The insurance filing for the paramedic service bill is giving me a headache.”

“No, actually we finished everything up for the day.” Yawning, Philipp dropped the wet clump of tissue into the trash. He glanced around a last time, poking at Michael’s desk—Torsten almost expected him to whip out a feather duster—before coming back out. “You know, he’s been a lot better lately. He only passed out that one time because he was working so hard he forgot about eating. I think he really wants to turn himself a—”

“What? Michael’s out?” Ljungberg walked up, looking harassed. He shoved his way between Torsten and Philipp to check for himself, then spun around and stalked out with a couple nasty-sounding Swedish comments. “Great. Anyone know where he is?”

Philipp hesitantly twitched a shoulder. “He said he needed to do something to the servers? I think they keep those on the basement level…”

Freddie didn’t appear to be listening. While Philipp was talking, he jerked his phone out of his coat and pushed for a number, then put it to his ear. He tapped his right foot a few times, then kicked out so his sole scuffed across the floor. “Why isn’t he in…what is that?”

Torsten leaned into Michael’s office, cocking his head. Then he pulled himself out so he was slightly between Ljungberg and Philipp. “That’d be Michael’s phone. He left it up here.”

“Oh, great. Well, when he gets back up, tell him somebody’s messing with Jens’ computer and he needs to get over there, pronto,” Freddie snapped. He started to walk away, then paused to add something over his shoulder. “Also, if you see a smart-ass Dutch jerk wandering around, send him my way. Frings, sorry, but I might need somebody to make bail for me later.”

For a couple moments, Torsten and Philipp just stood there and watched Freddie boil down the hall, clouds of angry steam almost visibly shimmering around him. Then Philipp coughed into his hand. “Um, not Ruud, right? That guy that Bastian thinks Jens is with?”

“Probably. Look, I’m going down to my office anyway. I’ll get security to tap on Michael’s shoulder and meet him on his way up to let him know,” Torsten said. He saw the curiosity start to come into Philipp’s face and straightened up a bit so he could…well, not exactly glare at the other man, but give him a firm warning look. Honestly, Philipp of all people shouldn’t be…

…well, Philipp didn’t grin. He managed a reasonably solemn face. “Okay. Oh, so if it wasn’t you and Micha, then it was Schweini and Poldi. And I just saw Lukas going to the archive room, so that means the toilet’s free.”

“I think Timo went to the studios,” Torsten commented.

A deep red flush spread over Philipp’s face, but he manfully stood his ground and nodded. “Thanks, Torsten. I’ll just…go now.”

“You do that.” And Torsten was going to remind himself that the sooner he went to work, the sooner he got off today and the sooner he could offer to do something about Michael’s…bad day.

* * *

Ten Minutes Earlier

“Did you have any questions for me?” Ruud wrapped up, hoping the answer was no. The interview had run a little longer than he’d liked without any obvious benefits appearing: Fàbregas seemed to be competent enough, but there wasn’t anything about him that automatically put him above the other candidates. And some of them looked less likely to make Cristiano revert to a possessive temper tantrum.

In response, Cesc straightened in his chair and put out his hand with his fingers spread, like he was going to tick them off as he went. Then he frowned and whipped around, because the door had opened.

Ruud had his mouth open with an excuse, but then had to pause because it actually wasn’t Cristiano: it was David, and David looking rather puzzled as he held a sheet level with his nose. He started to mutter something, then gave himself a shake and looked up. “Oh…oh, sorry, Ruud. But have you checked your schedule lately? Is your afternoon meeting with Jens and Marketing still on there?”

“I don’t see why it shouldn’t—wait. Wait, I looked at this an hour ago…” Ruud muttered, checking his PDA. He went to see the history of changes for his calendar, then sat back and stared at the damn thing. Then he got up and went over to David to see what he had, since that sheet of paper had to be a printout of the schedule Ruud forwarded to Jens every day. “This is not my schedule…is that…that is what you have. What is this?”

“Are you having another conference?” Well, now Cristiano made an appearance. He put one hand on the doorframe and leaned around, taking in the scene with deceptive composure.

He couldn’t possibly object to David—for one, the man was unshakably straight—but he would zero in on Fábregas. And he did, turning to glower and bristling so much that David warily stepped back.

“This another new import?” Cristiano sarcastically said in Portuguese.

But before Ruud could answer, Cesc jostled into him and put out a hand to Cristiano. “Hi! Are you really Cristiano?”

Cristiano…went blank. After a moment, he took Cesc’s hand and then blinked hard at how vigorously Cesc shook it.

“Wow, this is really cool,” Cesc was saying. His tone and his expression seemed to be genuinely enthusiastic, and he kept giving Cristiano big smiles that made Ruud shift uneasily by him. “I’m honored to meet you.”

“Thank you,” Cristiano finally replied. He glanced down at their hands, which were still joined, then worked up an amused smile when Cesc let go, looking embarrassed. Then he dropped past Ruud into the room, letting his hand touch Ruud’s arm as he did. “I want to talk after you’re done with them.”

“All right,” Ruud said. If he sounded a little shocked, he thought that was perfectly acceptable; that was the mildest reaction he’d ever seen from Cristiano. That…that was impressive. Though…he turned to Cesc, who was still grinning. “Are you really honored?”

The other man’s smile contracted from wide fannish excitement to a more thin-lipped, streetwise humor. He glanced at Cristiano without a hint of the half-attracted interest he’d shown a second before, then looked at Ruud the same way, though still friendly enough. “Well, I want to be an agent, not a music critic. Though honestly, if I never have to hear his last single again on the radio, I’d get on my knees and thank God.”

After a moment, Ruud turned back to David. “You can stop forwarding me applications. Cesc, you’re hired. Go in there and talk to Cristiano for a few minutes. Okay, David—what the hell is going on with my schedule?”

“It’s not just—” David paused to let Cesc close the door “—not just yours. Jens’ is all messed up too, but as far as I can tell, it’s all legit. People are canceling appointments and moving meetings, and sending in work done early, and…it’s just really weird. Thierry’s gone downtown, so I can’t check with him, and Freddie’s…Van Persie really pissed him off or something. He’s off looking for him.”

Ruud blinked, then looked at his PDA again. He now had a large three-hour block of free time in the afternoon. “How exactly is Jens’ agenda messed up?”

“He’s out at four in the afternoon today,” David said, sounding a little awed. “Maybe he got a guardian angel?”

“I doubt that. Have you checked Freddie’s schedule?” God knew what Robin wanted Jens’ free time for, but Ruud had a fairly good idea of what was supposed to happen during his newly-open time slot. He glanced around the door and saw Cristiano and Cesc talking amiably enough, then looked over his calendar again.

David thought a moment, opened his mouth, then closed it and dug around in his pockets till he came up with his PDA. His tongue-tip poked out of his lips as he pressed buttons, brow furrowed in concentration. Then his face cleared up and filled with understanding. “Oh, wow. No wonder Freddie’s pissed—he’s got a loaded week. Well, no—come on, Thierry’ll make sure that gets cut down later. And anyway, what does that have to do with anything?”

“Nothing much. Good luck with calming him down,” Ruud said. He started to turn away, then caught the look David threw at him and shrugged. “Well, I don’t know what’s going on, but I still have work to do. See you later.”

Odonkor clearly had no idea why Robin actually had been hired, otherwise he would’ve gotten it. Ruud wondered exactly what Ljungberg had done to get on Van Persie’s bad side.

Then he was in the room and Cristiano had cut Cesc off mid-comment to flop around to look at Ruud, draping himself over the chair the same way he’d done in countless photoshoots. Except in this case, the light in Cristiano’s eyes wasn’t an act. “Finally. So Cesc is your assistant now?”

“After he gets processed.” Ruud took out his cell and texted security and Frings to give them the heads-up, then checked the time. He didn’t have enough to give Cesc the walk-around and deal with Robin and Cristiano, so getting Fàbregas officially into the system was out. “That’ll be mostly tomorrow. For the moment, you might as well get some hands-on experience. Premier—the label’s nightclub—is having an invite-call starting at five today. Go down there, listen to whoever shows up and then have a report for me tomorrow.”

Cesc had started to get up, but now he sat halfway back down. It looked like he had a question, but after a moment he shrugged and nodded. “Can I get a temporary pass to the backstage section? The serious ones’ll probably be in there now trying out the set-up.”

“I already sent a message to security. Stop in their office on your way out,” Ruud said.

He was expecting Cesc to ask where that was, but maybe Thierry had already told him since the other man just got up and went out. Either Fàbregas was better than his résumé suggested, or he was setting himself up for a serious fall. But that would be tomorrow.

“What’s the rush?” Cristiano asked. He folded his arms over the top of the chair and looked with wary curiosity at Ruud. “I’d like to think it’s for me, but I at least know better than that.”

Grimacing, Ruud stepped over and put his hands on Cristiano’s shoulders. He let them rest there for a moment, then pulled them up just as far as Cristiano’s jaw. He would’ve liked to lean over and bury his face in the other man’s hair, but then they’d never get out of the damned office. “I cleared up my afternoon. This is probably the only day this week I’ll be able to do that, so we should get you moved in.”

Cristiano stared hard at him, clearly expecting to turn up some insincerity in Ruud’s expression. There honestly wasn’t any about this, and after a moment, that seemed to get through to Cristiano. The corners of his mouth hesitantly tugged up, then finally curved into a smile. “You don’t mean everything.”

“What you need—I swear, if you try to take that ridiculous painting of you as a bullfighter—” Shaking his head, Ruud let himself run his thumbs over Cristiano’s mouth. “I need to go take care of some meetings now so we can actually do this. Are you fine for lunch?”

“I was planning on ordering in and having it on your desk. You are eating sometime, right? It doesn’t look good when you’re telling me to eat more and you never do yourself,” Cristiano murmured, slowly rising. He slid his hands over Ruud’s arms and pushed them up to the elbow, then pulled them back down to press Ruud’s palm against his mouth.

Ruud bit back a sigh and reluctantly dropped his hands. “I’ll be back in an hour.”

* * *

Security messaged back that Michael would be thirty minutes, so Torsten popped into his office and did a little bit of work. He pretty much was resigning himself to taking a briefcase home at this point. Normally he’d take that as a warning sign of laziness, but he’d been working overtime for three straight weeks now, and so he knew he was all right. Though on the verge of losing it, and if he had to do some unbillable work at home in order to keep his sanity, he figured that was a reasonable enough trade.

The elevator was coming down when he went out again, and when it stopped, the doors opened to reveal Van Persie. The other man was intently focused on an odd-looking PDA that was trailing wires into a backpack he had on the floor, and didn’t even look up when Torsten walked in. Which was perfectly fine with Torsten; he usually got a good feel for a person while he was entering them into the system, and in Van Persie’s case, he’d been glad that he’d only had to talk face-to-face with the man for about twenty minutes.

The doors started to close just as Torsten heard running feet and glimpsed a flailing arm. “Wait!” somebody shouted.

Torsten reflectively jabbed the ‘hold’ button for the door, then swung back as a black-and-gray blur stumbled into the elevator. It resolved into a black-haired, well-dressed young man with his hands on his knees and breathing heavily just as Robin looked up from his PDA with an annoyed snarl on his face.

The expression lingered for a second before it was slowly replaced by a vague interest. Robin looked the other man over, then shrugged with one shoulder when he got caught at it. “Well, you’re new.”

“I think you must be too, because you aren’t anyone my uncle knows,” the other man responded. He straightened up and brushed himself down, tugging sharply at his suit-jacket till the wrinkles were gone. He glanced once at Torsten, then took a longer look. “Are you Torsten Frings? I was just looking for you in your office.”

“I…yes.” Just before Torsten had left, he had gotten some message from Ruud that he hadn’t bothered checking. Not that he really had a problem with Van Nistelrooy, except for the fact that he and Cristiano were responsible for keeping Torsten chained to his desk and unable to do much besides impromptu coffees with Michael for the past month. “Ruud’s assistant?”

“Cesc Fàbregas. Yes, thanks.” Cesc looked at Torsten for a little longer, smiling faintly. He probably had noticed that Robin started paying a lot more attention. “You don’t remember, huh? I was staying with my uncle when you came in with Freddie Ljungberg after a barfight?”

Barfight…Torsten didn’t get into…oh. No, Torsten did remember—Freddie and Borowski from Kahn’s division had gotten into something and Freddie had ended up with a nasty gash over his eyebrow. Which meant…“Raúl’s…nephew? The one thinking about medical school.”

“Eh, well, not exactly, but that’s the easiest way to talk about it. And I guess you could say the medical school didn’t work out,” Cesc said. He seemed friendly for the most part, but something about him bothered Torsten. Not on the same level as with Van Persie, but Cesc definitely had an air of trouble around him.

“Since you’re here and all and not in a hospital. So you’re Van Nistelrooy’s water-boy now?” Robin let himself fall back against the wall with an audible thump, absently gathering up the cables hanging from the PDA with his hand. “Looking forward to it?”

Cesc’s eyes narrowed and a couple muscles in his jaw twitched, but if anything, his annoyance was purely reflexive. He looked at Robin for a moment, then tilted his head to the side and grinned—innocent enough, but his eyes said he knew exactly what he was saying. “Well, I’m not really working till the paperwork goes through. But so far, it’s been very fun. I’m meeting a lot of interesting people.”

Robin stared at Cesc through slitted eyes. Then he snorted and pushed himself off the wall, smiling like he didn’t think that was all that funny, but he respected it anyway.

“Speaking of, I’d really like to get started as soon as possible,” Cesc said to Torsten. “What do I need to do? Ruud says he’s busy and he can’t take me through today, but I thought I can probably do most of it myself and help him out.”

“If you’re fairly close family with Raúl, it shouldn’t take too long because I can copy most of your information from him,” Torsten answered after a moment. His dedication to his work and his desire for a break briefly warred within him, then stopped knocking heads to come up with a compromise. If Ruud was that busy, then he probably had Cesc already on some errand. “Come in sometime tomorrow. I’m in at eight-thirty, usually.”

“Busy?” Robin said, frowning.

He would’ve gone on except that the doors opened right then and Michael was standing there. Michael’s face twitched when he saw who was in the elevator: he looked a little calmer now, but he also looked tired and impatient. His foot was jiggling in place and he’d rolled up the sleeves of his shirt, which also had a few oil smears on it. “Going up?”

Torsten leaned on the ‘hold’ button. “Well, I would be now—I was coming down to get you. Something’s up with the computers upstairs…Freddie says Ruud is having a problem.”

“Oh, really?” Michael said, looking at Robin.

Robin blinked, innocent confusion flicking over his face, then stepped out at the same time Michael walked in. They turned as they moved so they were always facing each other, and of course it was completely inappropriate, but Torsten thought of a few Western show-down soundtracks. Then Cesc cut by Michael and went out, which interrupted whatever else he had been about to say.

“I’m going down, too,” Torsten heard him say. “Hey, do you know where the security office is?”

Michael pointedly coughed. After a sharp look his way, Robin turned to Cesc with a fairly pleasant expression on his face. The doors closed on him saying: “Sure, I can show you.”

“He did it. I just know whatever it is, he did it,” Michael snapped as soon as they started moving again. He shuffled around in place, chewing on his lip, then threw up his hands so suddenly that Torsten didn’t have time to get out of the way. It was just a fingertip-nick on the underside of Torsten’s elbow, but he was still alarmed enough to get back a step. “Why is he even here? I told Jens so he’d make sure Robin never got here!”

“What? Wait—you two knew each other?”

That stopped Michael. Literally: his hands were still in the air and his mouth was wide open. He held the pose long enough for drool to almost be a possibility, then put his hands down. His tongue came out and curled away the bit of moisture that’d been forming at the corner of his lips, and his shoulders slumped. He stared at the far wall. “Actually, this is my fault, isn’t it? I should’ve just told Ruud to stuff it.”

Torsten checked the elevator’s progress, then hit the ‘stall’ button. The elevator shuddered a little so they had to grab for the railings, then noisily ground to a stop.

Michael grimaced and stared at the floor. “Robin and I were classmates for a while. He was younger, of course, and also he got kicked out for a whole bunch of offenses. But till then everyone said he was the best hacker on campus.”

“Okay…and Ruud comes into this how?” As much as Torsten hated to pressure the other man, who clearly wasn’t in great condition to take it, he’d been wondering that himself. Lehmann did go into some strange corners when he was hiring or signing people, but even for him, Van Persie had seemed beyond the norm. And Ruud—Ruud was a great agent, but he had too many problems on his plate right now to be thinking that deviously, really. He wasn’t naturally like that anyway. “What did you tell him?”

“Oh, well, this was while Cristiano was still in rehab. Ruud wanted to get back at Ferguson and he asked me if I could do it. I said no, he asked if I could recommend anyone who could, and I told him about Robin. I felt sorry for him—he really was tearing himself up over Cristiano,” Michael muttered. He took one hand off the rail to run it through his hair. “Then I realized that was kind of stupid and I told Jens, and he said he’d take care of it.”

Torsten assimilated that. “Well, you did what you could. Jens still is the one who actually brought Robin into the label, so it’s on his head.”

“If I’d known that would happen, I would’ve recommended somebody I could get along with!” Michael stared at his hand with its fingers curled up like claws. Then he sighed and let his head fall back, flipping in his lower lip to bite at it some more. “God. I’m sorry. I’m just—today is not going well. Are you supposed to stop the elevator like this for this long?”

So…Michael got slightly scatter-brained when he was under stress, at least as far as his attention span was concerned. “Not really, but this way you can’t walk in on anybody.”

For a moment, Torsten wasn’t sure if that would pass, but then Michael chuckled. It was a rough, slightly self-denigrating sound, but it was still a sign of a functioning sense of humor. Shaking his head, Michael slouched further down the wall. He put his hand over his face and held it there for a second before slowly pushing it up and flattening his hair off his forehead. “Damn. I didn’t imagine that rant to you?”

“It’s okay. You know, not everybody who works here is a sex-maniac,” Torsten said.

Michael winced, which hadn’t exactly been what Torsten had been going for. “Yes, well, I’m sure they still have better coping skills than me.”

“You’re doing fine from where I’m standing.” Torsten moved a few centimeters closer, since it didn’t look like Michael was going to do any more flailing around.

“I could barely ask you to coffee, and that was a month ago,” Michael mumbled. He was rubbing at his face again, like he’d half-forgotten Torsten was there. “And now my roommate just brings home a date and I’m down with a nervous attack like I just got out of a nunnery. Which basically is true, with how much I went out while in university.”

That had to have been Michael’s doing, because honestly, Torsten had no idea who wouldn’t take a second look at him. “If it makes you feel better, you’ve actually turned sort of into the most eligible bachelor on the floor. People can’t understand why you haven’t hooked up with anyone yet.”

Michael went still, then abruptly took his hand off his face and stared hard at Torsten. He started to say something, stopped and nervously licked his lips, then irritably jerked his head. “Because I can’t get myself to ask you when we’re going to stop having coffees and do something else?”

Torsten needed a second before he could answer. “Didn’t you just?”

“Um,” Michael said, now looking more panicky than frustrated. He started to scoot up the wall again.

Any moment now, emergency services was going to be breaking into the elevator to see what was going on, and fine, they could do that. They hadn’t had it up to here with ridiculous and not-so-ridiculous delays and Torsten just reached out, shoved Michael back down by the shoulders and kissed him.

* * *


Ruud knew he’d guessed right when he heard Ljungberg snarling. “You stuck-up little shit, if you think for one second you’re getting away with this—” smack of flesh on flesh “—you bastard. You’re dead.”

“Hey, all I was doing was defending my—” There was a blur as Robin hustled away from Freddie’s return blow. He dodged back, ran up against Ruud, and then turned around with a smile on his face. “Oh, and I’d heard you were having all kinds of trouble.”

“I am, no thanks to you,” Ruud snapped, grabbing the other man’s arm. He pulled Robin to the side and out of Ljungberg’s reach, then turned to deal with Freddie. Who was going to have a nasty bruise on his jaw…great. “Sorry, Freddie, but I think I’ve got priority here.”

Freddie spared a death-glare for Ruud. He angrily wrenched at his tie and rubbed at his jaw. “Says who? Do you know what he’s done? Look, give me a moment with him and then a moment for Security to haul his dead body out of here—”

“What have I done? Can you summarize it? Do you have proof?” Robin taunted. He was actually laughing, his eyes on fire with excitement and his mouth dropped into a wolf-grin. It took three hard shakes to make him close that mouth.

“Fredrik,” Ruud hissed. Just beyond their group, he could glimpse people in the Security offices tilting back in their chairs and peering through blinds to eavesdrop on this whole mess. “One—Jens personally hired him, so I think he’d have an issue with you not checking in before you killed Robin. Two—I have priority when it comes to that, and you’ll just have to accept that.”

Before Ljungberg could recover, Ruud wheeled around and hauled Robin with him till they were standing in front of the elevators. Then he let go of the other man, giving him a hard shove to make sure he’d stand back.

“Nice to know I’m still on your radar,” Robin said. A bit of a smile was sneaking around his lips again.

“I don’t want to know what you’re playing at right now—I’m sure Jens will deal with it, since he’s not nearly as indulgent as you seem to think he is. All I have to say is that this afternoon, I’ll be with Cristiano at his house. So you should get whatever you need to do at my apartment done then.” Ruud took a deep breath and jabbed at the ‘up’ button. “And I’ll be checking afterward for any extras that you might be thinking of putting in.”

Robin made an exasperated noise. “No thank-you at all. And I like you enough to have thought about that instead of just showing up while you and Cristiano are cuddling at home.”

“I don’t like your way of showing affection,” Ruud muttered. He frowned at the elevator, mentally reviewing how much time had passed, then leaned forward to hit the button again. It refused to stay lit, so he pushed it a third time, and again the light went out. Which meant…was it stalled? “Do you think you’re going to win over Jens this way either?”

“Why are you so interested in what he and I have to do with each other? What, is he another boyfriend of yours?” Now Robin was angling himself towards Ruud again, acting like he held all the cards and then some.

He didn’t have a clear idea of what he was doing, and Ruud felt a little pity towards him for that, but it wasn’t enough to keep Ruud’s temper in check. “‘Boyfriend’ wouldn’t ever have been the word for it. But it definitely was enough experience to tell you that you’re trying the wrong trick.”

Ruud waited for the elevator for another second, then glanced at Robin. The other man still looked like he was trying to work through what Ruud had just said; when he noticed Ruud was watching him, he stared hard at Ruud’s face like he was trying to make it produce a certain emotion. But Ruud didn’t give Robin that, and slowly Robin’s self-confidence started to recede.

The damn elevator was stalled, Ruud decided. He turned on his heel, leaving Robin still standing there, and went back to Security to have somebody check it out.

* * *

Well…Michael got over his nerves fast. And he had done this before, at least—he’d really done this before. It was a good thing he was the one against the wall, since when Torsten’s knees buckled, it just meant he fell on Michael and that had its attractions. His right hand skidded off Michael’s shoulder and down the other man’s chest, getting grease on it but also a good feel of firm flat muscle. He managed to stop its skid at Michael’s waist, grabbing onto that the same moment Michael’s nails started to dig into his shoulderblades.

The other man walked his hands up Torsten’s back, finally getting one tangled in Torsten’s hair and the other cupping the nape of Torsten’s neck. He pulled urgently at Torsten, as if they could get any closer, his hips frantically jerking up to rub his erection against Torsten’s thigh. Somehow a hiss managed to squeeze out of him, vibrating past Torsten’s lips. The sound ran down Torsten’s spine like a nail file, then melted away in the heat roaring up in him.

He shoved his hand lower, getting it so he could feel the top-curve of Michael’s hipbone through the other man’s jeans, and then couldn’t persuade it to move anymore. His other hand should’ve been down there as well, but it seemed to have merged with Michael’s shoulder. Except for the fingers, but they were suddenly obsessed with stroking the side of Michael’s neck, running along the edge where smooth skin turned raspy with stubble, teasing the shivers of every groan that went through Michael’s throat. No chance that Torsten could get that one down and between them and get rid of the amazingly unyielding barriers that their jeans had become.

Torsten jerked against Michael in frustration—Michael’s tongue was in his mouth and was fucking wonderful there, so it wasn’t like Torsten could moan in disappointment—and Michael bucked so hard that he actually knocked Torsten back onto his heels. Then he hauled Torsten back, a desperate whine edging his groaning. He was…he really was about to snap.

Michael started to gasp and give Torsten’s shoulders little pushes, trying to say something, but he couldn’t override his body long enough. Anyway, Torsten could guess, and luckily, he hadn’t gone into this quite as worked up as Michael had. He managed to peel himself down, though he couldn’t pull completely away and ended up sliding his knee along Michael’s leg like it was a guide. Well, maybe it was.

The moment Torsten touched Michael’s waistband, Michael hissed through his teeth so fast he whistled. Not wasting any time, Torsten used hands and teeth to get Michael’s fly open, then shoved his fingers in and got jeans and underwear down at the same time. He got up on his knees so Michael’s cock lifted free and directly into his mouth. Barely in time, since Torsten hadn’t even gotten a grip on Michael’s legs when the other man was suddenly coming down his throat in strong spurts, fingers clawing at Torsten’s hair with each one.

Torsten did his best to swallow and got most of it, though a little bit squirted out the corner of his mouth. He waited till Michael had fallen back against the wall, panting so hard his breaths overlapped, and then eased off.

Michael stared wildly down, face flushed, lips bruised and swollen. Hair plastered to his forehead where it wasn’t rumpled into waves that made Torsten’s fingers itch, shirt rucked up on one side and then pulled open at the top so patches of sweat-slicked belly and chest could be seen. And somehow he ended up looking embarrassed. “I…God…sorry. That…wasn’t how…I wanted it…that…”

“Are you…apologizing?” Torsten disbelievingly asked.

“Well…that…like, five seconds! I’m not…” Weak hand gestures. “And you’re…still…”

Honest to God, how the hell Michael had avoided getting chained to someone before this, Torsten had no idea, but he was seriously grateful. If also a little bit eye-rolling, but he was suppressing that for Michael’s sake. “Micha, if I was going to be upset, it’d be that I didn’t get a chance to prove why you should take care of mine. Other than that—what did take you so long? I was starting to think you just wanted to be friends.”

Michael still hadn’t caught his breath, but his brain was functioning enough for him to seriously think that over. Then a determined expression came over his face, and Torsten had just enough time to read that before Michael had suddenly dropped down and grabbed him by the back of the head.

Torsten went over backwards. He threw up his arm, which saved him from cracking his head on the doors because his elbow hit first. Which hurt a hell of a lot, but having Michael sucking on his lower lip was a persuasive argument for ignoring that. And then fingers were down Torsten’s jeans and Michael had moved to sucking on Torsten’s neck, and well, Michael wasn’t the only one who didn’t have any stamina today.

The muscles in his back seized up, starting at around the base of his spine and then snapping away in all directions from there. He arched and shouted into Michael’s mouth; he dimly registered a change in the feeling of the fingers around his prick—they’d gone from warm and callused to oddly soft and cooler—but otherwise, white light. Nice white light.

“…have tattoos?” Michael was saying when the light changed back into the ceiling. His fingers were poking down inside Torsten’s shirt, running over Torsten’s shoulder and collarbone.

He briefly lifted his arm as he pushed himself up and Torsten glimpsed a wadded-up tissue in Michael’s hand: Michael’s commonsense recovered pretty damn fast, too. “Some, yes. What? Don’t like them?”

“No, I do.” The fascinated light in Michael’s eyes as his gaze drifted back to them made Torsten swallow hard. “I just…well, I should’ve guessed from the heavy metal. But you’re not that easy to read, you know. And I’m not that good at reading people anyway.”

Torsten was opening his mouth to say that was just Michael’s insecurity talking when the elevator suddenly lurched. Both of them froze, staring at each other. Then Torsten looked up, expecting to see firemen break through the ceiling at any moment, but this wasn’t the movies and that wasn’t what happened. Instead, the elevator started to move. Up.

Shit,” Michael hissed. “Shit, remind me to steal the security feeds for this elevator later.”

He shoved himself up and onto his feet, then grabbed for his jeans to keep them from falling down his legs. He and Torsten frantically put themselves back together—Torsten literally was lifting his hands from his fly as the elevator chimed for the floor—and then looked up with probably identical expressions of controlled panic.

“No, I guess it’s working ag—” It would be Bastian waiting there. He stopped and stared, then grinned and—God, he even jumped in glee—turned to somebody next to him. “Hey! Micha got laid!”

Michael slapped his hand over his face and did an impression of a man half his height.

Philipp hesitantly ducked in to see, then blinked a lot. He clearly had no idea how to react, and finally just half-raised a hand like a nervous schoolboy. “Um, yay?”

“Oh, cool! So you’re all okay now? Do you feel better? We were wondering when you and Torsten were going to—are you and Fringsi like, a thing now? Are—”

Well, everyone and their mother knew what to do with Bastian when he got like this. Philipp didn’t even look like he was thinking when he stuffed his hand over Bastian’s mouth. He just swung around and did it, and then stared at his hand like he had no idea how it’d got there.

“Thank you, Phil,” Torsten said, walking out. “Michael, want to get lunch?”

“…okay.” Michael followed, giving himself a sharp shake. Then he frowned and looked down at himself. “I think maybe I should—”

“Oh, right. I still have your sweater. From this morning. So actually, we have to go back to my office first.”

This time, Michael sounded a lot more sure of himself, down to the casual way he tossed his crumpled-up tissue into a nearby trashcan. “Oh, all right—wait. Wasn’t there a computer emergency up here?”

Bastian waved his hand till Philipp let go of his mouth. “That must be okay now, because they’re actually all out—Thierry, Freddie, Ruud, Jens. David even took off to flirt with some receptionist on the seventh floor.”

“Huh. Well, then I guess it can wait till after lunch,” Michael said, only blushing a little. “You know, I could go for something spicy right now. You?”

“Sounds good. You two coming down too?” Torsten asked, punching for the elevator again.

* * *

Four Hours Later

The moment Jens had looked at his schedule and had seen the reorganization, he’d known exactly what had happened. Unfortunately, he hadn’t had the time to take care of it then, or send anyone after Robin, and so he’d just had to have everyone roll with the changes for the day. He’d had to grit his teeth till they ached to accept that, but thinking about what he was going to do later had helped a little. Because honestly, Robin might be clever but he didn’t seem to have developed much guile—anyone with half a brain could tell why he’d put a three-hour block of free time in Ruud’s afternoon.

The new schedule did allow Jens to show up at Ruud’s apartment before Ruud got home. He let himself in as quietly as he could, then stood in the foyer for a moment to listen and pinpoint Robin’s position. Then he headed for the bedroom.

When Jens walked in, Robin had his back to him and was poking at the window molding. “I pulled a wiretap out of Ruud’s phone and another one from his computer. There might be some more—I don’t have the stuff for a nitpicky search—but I got the important ones.”

“Where’s Ruud?” Jens asked. He scanned the room and his eyes fell on a roll of black electrical tape and a screwdriver sitting on a desk. Probably Robin had put them there, since Ruud’s apartment was flawlessly furnished.

“Over at Cristiano’s. Cristiano just put his house on the market, so I’m betting that he’s staying over here in the meantime. What do you think about that? Doesn’t that violate some kind of working policy?” Robin straightened up and put his hands on his hips, then rotated at the waist a few times. Then he stretched his arms over his head, and while bringing them down, snagged the line to pull the curtains across the window. “I mean, I got in trouble for kissing one of my professors, even if they ended up blaming it all on her.”

Jens scooped up the tape as he crossed the room. He came to a stop just behind Robin and put his hand on the back of the other man’s neck. “Did you plan for me to show up here, or did you mess up with Ruud?”

At first Robin was tense, but after a second he relaxed. He laughed beneath his breath and half-turned to look at Jens. “Is that what you really care about? What about the other things? You asked me to free up your schedule and I did.”

“That wasn’t a request—that was sarcasm. And I am upset about that, but I’m not going to talk to you about it in Ruud’s apartment, which is an entirely different problem.” Then Jens shifted his fingers back a fraction and squeezed hard to cut off the arteries.

It took a few moments for Robin to figure out this wasn’t just another choking attempt, and by then he was too far gone to effectively struggle. When he’d passed out, Jens let go of his neck and grabbed his arm, easing him down to the floor. Jens quickly wrapped the tape around his wrists, pinning them behind his back, and his ankles, then smoothed a piece over Robin’s mouth as well. Then he bent down and got the other man over his shoulder.

He checked his watch on his way out: he should be just in time to make the first act of the invite-calls at Premier. And thanks to Robin, he’d be relatively fresh since he’d had time for a short nap after lunch.

When he got to Premier, the parking lot was bustling and it took Jens fifteen minutes to maneuver into his spot. He drummed his fingers on the wheel for a moment, thinking, then decided he could just take over the club’s security center and watch the tapes of the first few acts later on in the night. A couple calls and that was taken care of by the time he put the car into park.

Even though he had a reserved space up front, he’d parked way in the back to minimize visibility. Most of the people were focused on the club entrance, so Jens was able to walk around and pop the trunk without attracting any attention. He lifted the lid and looked inside.

Robin had woken up sometime during the ride and now was pressing himself as far from Jens as he could get. The few stray beams from the streetlamps that made it into the trunk caught on the whites of his eyes, highlighting the fear and anger in them.

Jens reached in and Robin kicked out, his feet missing Jens but loudly connecting with the side of the trunk. After grabbing Robin’s ankle and forcing it down, Jens glanced around. Nobody had noticed yet, but…a short line of cars was pulling in that Jens recognized. He waited till everyone was completely distracted by Victoria Beckham’s gigantic entourage, then yanked on Robin’s ankle. The other man came sliding towards him, muffled protests and all, and once he was close enough, Jens hauled him out and then hustled him into the backseat.

After he’d shoved Robin down onto it, Jens calmly walked back to close the trunk. He returned to the back door, got hold of Robin’s arm before the other man could turn around to be in a kicking position, and then slid onto the seat. “I guess you thought that was really smart of you. Give me free time? You think I’m going to be happy about that when you’ve fucked up months of careful strategic planning and completely disorganized my team for the whole week—if we’re lucky?”

He was going to leave Robin as is, but the other man twisted around and almost got his feet up to kick out the window before Jens yanked him over to the other side of the car. Where Robin promptly tried to gouge his fingers into Jens’ groin—he missed and hit Jens’ thigh instead, but Jens got the point. He pushed Robin face-down on the seat, Robin’s head on his leg, and held him there by leaning on his bound wrists. Robin could kick the car floor all he wanted, but all he’d do there was get Jens annoyed when the bill for taking off the scuff marks came in.

“Look, I’m fucking busy. I’m a high-level executive in one of the fastest-moving industries out there, and I already told you, I take this seriously. You selfish little prick--” Jens gave Robin’s wrists a hard wrench, feeling the tape wrinkle up against his palm “—is all you can think about when you’re going to get laid next? Well, you better learn that there’s more to consider than that.”

He let go of Robin then, leaning back to let his head rest against the back of the seat. Outside, the paparazzi were swarming around the Premier entrance while Vicky Beckham posed her heart out; a slightly paler flash off to the side had to be her husband. When the crowds briefly parted, Jens got a better view and could see that David seemed to be chatting to a dreadlocked man—wannabe hip-hop—amiably enough.

Robin had stopped trying to even curse around the time Jens had flipped his face into the seat. He hadn’t moved when Jens had taken the pressure off of him, but instead was lying almost like a corpse; Jens could barely feel his breath. After a few more moments, Jens pulled him over onto his back. Still no reaction, aside from Robin staring up in terror at him.

Real terror, Jens decided after a moment. A little surprised, he slid a thumbnail beneath the tape over Robin’s mouth and peeled that off. Then he helped the other man sit up. “Are you going to try to kick my face if I cut your ankles free?”

“No.” It came out in a whisper of a croak. After a cough, Robin repeated himself. “No.”

Jens took care of that, then sat back again while he was wadding up the tape in one hand. Robin’s arm was trembling against his own. Frowning, Jens felt the side of Robin’s face, which was icy. He sighed and started to pull off his coat. “It’s not that cold out. Are you coming down with something?”

Blinking, Robin momentarily looked like someone had proved to him that the moon was made of cheese. “I thought you were going to kill me.”

“For the last time, I’m not like a mafia boss,” Jens said, just keeping himself from snarling. “Besides, if I really wanted to put you out of commission, I’d just see you jailed. You’d suffer longer.”

After a moment, Robin snorted and half-smiled. He ran his tongue over his mouth, then did it again. “You probably would. Are you going to get this stuff off my hands?”

“I thought you liked that. You worked hard enough to get me to lose it that much.” Jens swung his coat around and folded it up in his lap for the moment. He was still pissed off, and he wasn’t quite sure if Robin was going to be stupid enough to try and work that up to rage again.

“I don’t like it if I don’t think that I can’t—” Robin jerked his head away, cutting himself off. The light was dim, but that probably was chagrin mixed with pride going over his face. He wasn’t delusional enough not to recognize when he was getting near danger, after all; he just didn’t know when to stop.

“Can’t control it? I know, it must really stroke your ego to think you can make very controlled people lose it and push it that far with you, but you know what else? That’s bullshit—that’s not what you like.” Jens was watching where Robin’s eyes went, not what emotion they were showing. And when he said that, Robin’s eyes flicked to him. He pushed his arm behind Robin, then clamped it around the other man when Robin started to shift away; Robin’s gaze went to him again. “Some little part of you’s always hoping when you do that that somebody’ll really lose it and go past the reaction you provoke out of them.”

Robin jerked about, trying to twist his way out. Jens let him turn till they were facing each other, then yanked him forward. His foot hit Jens’ shins hard, but before he could get another kick in, Jens wrenched up his knee so his leg folded beneath him and then pinned it between the back of the seat and his own body. He stepped on the foot Robin still had on the car floor and used his arm to press them together. Now Robin was staring continuously at him, pupils gone so wide because of the short distance that only a sliver of iris was visible. “Wait,” Robin desperately said, voice breathless. “Wait. I’m—I’m sorry. I won’t do that again.”

His hands were knotted up in his shirt and Jens could feel Robin wrenching at his wrists, but he could also feel the increase in the other man’s heartbeat. The flood of heat into Robin’s body. “How did you think I was going to kill you? Strangle you again?” Jens asked. He leaned forward and swiped his tongue just over Robin’s mouth; he could taste the residue the tape had left behind. “Shoot you?”

“You’re supposed to be upset.” Robin sucked in his breath when Jens licked at his lips. He twisted uneasily, then flinched when the hard bulge in his trousers brushed against Jens’ leg.

“What, I was supposed to screw you at Ruud’s flat? Am I supposed to be jealous of him? When he has no idea what to even do with you?” Jens clamped his hand over Robin’s wrists and dug nails into the small of Robin’s back so he arched, then pressed his mouth down on Robin’s.

For a while—a little longer than Jens had expected—Robin kept his lips together, but he was already shaking and when he twisted now, it was to push into Jens. Then he suddenly, violently yielded and Jens followed suit, ruthlessly taking Robin’s mouth till the other man was nearly hanging in his arms, head tipped up and whimpering. Jens rubbed the heel of his hand in circles up Robin’s spine, then dragged it down and around one hip to grind it into Robin’s erection. He waited till he could make out a muffled ‘please’ being groaned into his mouth, then forced Robin away.

“…what…what?” Robin blankly gasped.

“I’m late,” Jens blandly replied. He roughly hauled Robin around, freed the man’s wrists, and then pushed his coat at Robin. “Come on.”

It took about a minute for Robin to get out of the car. He absentmindedly put Jens’ coat on instead of using it to hide his groin, and then he just stood there like he was in a stupor, staring at Jens till Jens finally started pulling him towards Premier’s door.

The crowds had momentarily died down so Jens could slip in without anyone but the bouncer—and he was paid damn well to not talk—seeing them. He ducked into the back-halls and took them up to the control room, where he tipped the guards there a couple hundred dollars to fuck off. After locking the door, he went to the back where there was a modest liquor cabinet and poured himself a Scotch on the rocks. Then he turned around.

Robin was leaning against the counter in front of the TV monitors, his hands gripping the edge so hard his knuckles were white. He inhaled sharply when Jens walked up to him, his legs automatically spreading. “Just…just out of curiosity, why haven’t you…sent me to jail?”

“After I’ve just gone through all the trouble to get you into the label? I don’t like wasting time and effort like that,” Jens muttered, taking a sip. He rolled the Scotch around in his mouth a moment, watching the blue-green glare of the screens catch the sweat-drops on Robin’s skin, then pressed the side of the glass to Robin’s cheek. The other man’s eyes snapped shut and he let out a sharp little hiss. “I don’t think you’re a lost cause yet.”

“Thanks.” As Jens dragged the glass down his throat, Robin slowly tilted back his head. He moaned a little when Jens took the glass away, then jerked hard and gasped when Jens abruptly pressed the now-cold glass to his nipple.

Jens held it there till Robin stopped twisting around—he’d warmed up the glass too much—then took another sip. “And…well, you tried to get me free time. You went about it in the worst way possible, but that doesn’t happen very often.”

That had been a bad thing to say—a lapse in Jens’ concentration. Maybe his lack of sleep abruptly catching up with him. He pushed away his first reaction, which was to grimace, and leaned forward before Robin had finished bringing down his head to stare at Jens. He put down his Scotch while he was kissing Robin, which was why it was a little bit softer than before, and then put his hands on Robin’s hips and did it properly.

Robin didn’t waste any time trying to drag Jens’ hands around to between his legs. And Jens did let him use their fingers to undo his fly and shimmy his trousers off his hips, but then Jens pushed his hand past Robin’s prick, heated and hanging heavy, to rub against the damp, thin skin behind it. He slid his fingers through the coarse hair almost all the way back, till he could trace the flat folds down to the hole—it briefly gaped open, lipping at Jens’ fingertip like a second mouth, as Robin flexed up against Jens.

The other man pulled roughly at Jens’ belt, then at his fly after the belt dropped to the floor. He hooked his hand into Jens’ pocket, fingers brushing at Jens’ cock through the thin fabric, and yanked out a tube of gel chapstick. He’d squeezed the whole thing empty and smeared its contents over Jens’ hand before Jens could stop him.

Jens shook off Robin, then stepped back and swung the other man around; Robin’s palms slapped loudly against the bank of monitors as he stopped himself. He pushed himself back till his ass cradled into Jens’ hand, then fell onto his forearms when Jens shoved slicked-up fingers between his buttocks.

“Did you do anything about MU Records today, or did you just concentrate on fucking around my offices?” Jens asked, leaning forward. He’d gone with two fingers to start with, and he added a third as he scraped his teeth just behind Robin’s ear. Robin stiffened and clamped down around Jens’ fingers so hard that Jen couldn’t move them, breathing harshly through his mouth. “Which I specifically told you not to do?”

Yes, Jens was still fucking angry. Like he’d said. But even he couldn’t keep up a white-hot rage for hours and hours, and after going over and over why he was so damn upset in his head for the whole day, he’d ended up with a reasonably well-thought-out idea of how to move on. He idly wondered if that was anywhere in the anger-management course’s syllabus.

“Yes,” Robin finally managed to say. His voice was small and low and pleading. “Did you want to hear about it now?”

“I think maybe I’ll fuck you first.” Jens took his fingers out, giving them a flick at the end, and then shoved his prick in balls-deep before Robin had a moment to breathe. He waited for the man’s shuddering exhale to work out of him before he moved again.

Slow strokes at first, because he didn’t feel like standing for Raúl’s sidelong looks again, but with each one, he rocked all the way onto his toes to make sure he was going as deeply as possible. Robin’s head dropped against one TV screen and his fingers moved spastically like he was trying to grab the people out of the screen. He gradually loosened up and began rolling his hips jerkily back into Jens’ thrusts. That was about when Jens took hold of his waist and actually fucked him.

Robin couldn’t stand by himself after the first few thrusts and Jens couldn’t keep pulling the man back up without breaking the nice rhythm he’d found, so he finally looped an arm around Robin. His hand dipped low enough to brush against the tip of Robin’s cock, and that apparently was enough to set Robin off: screaming into the monitors, wild thrashing, ass muscles spasming hard enough around Jens’ cock to make him bite his lip. Then he went truly limp, offering no resistance as Jens worked up and through his own climax.

Once Jens caught a little breath back, he hauled Robin up onto the counter and left the other man lying there while he snagged a passing waiter out of the hall. Jens asked for food to be sent along, and when the hors d’oeuvres cart came up, used the accompanying linen napkins to clean up the two of them. By then, Robin had recovered enough to pull himself up and grab at Jens’ arm to help get himself off the counter. He stumbled along by Jens for about a meter before collapsing into one of the chairs. “Your security rates nice furniture,” he muttered, poking at the well-padded, leather-covered arm.

“It’s not theirs. I called ahead and had it sent up. I have agents down on the floor to listen to the music and it’s easier to watch the crowd reaction from here.” Jens retrieved his Scotch from the counter, tasted how watery it was, and then dumped it out in the wastebasket. He briefly thought about pouring himself a fresh one, but finally decided he’d rather eat instead.

He stood over the chair and looked down at Robin. The cockiness wasn’t there anymore, but something else, something serious and determined, had taken its place. He kept watching Jens’ face when Jens glanced to the trousers tangled up around Robin’s knees.

After a moment, Jens turned away and poked around with his foot till he found his belt; behind him, the chair creaked a few times, then stopped. He picked up the belt and dropped it on the food cart, pulled that over, and then swung one leg over the chair arm. Robin rolled onto his side, hissing when Jens bumped against his ass, and rolled right back when Jens was completely in the chair. He flopped onto his other side so he was now lying on Jens, then squirmed around till his trousers just slipped off onto the floor. His shoes and socks followed soon after.

“What are you doing?” Jens asked, staring at him.

“Did you want your coat back? Because it’s kind of chilly in here.” As if that didn’t have anything to do with Robin now being dressed from only the waist up. He settled himself against Jens’ side, head on Jens’ shoulder, and pulled up his legs. His right foot started to slowly press up and down Jens’ shin. “Ferguson’s a sleeping partner with several racing tracks and has access to their funds from illegal and legal betting. He uses those kind of like his private bank.”

Jens had been about to tell Robin to get out of the chair, but that distracted him. He nibbled at the piece of mini-quiche…that would explain where Ferguson was getting the covering funds. Probably the man had been paying them back before, but he couldn’t be in a position to do that now. It shouldn’t be too hard to convince his partners he wasn’t golden anymore—gamblers were notoriously paranoid about investments that way.

“Useful?” Robin asked. He shifted so his mouth almost grazed Jens’ jaw when he talked.

His ass was rubbing into Jens’ hand and Jens didn’t remember putting his arm around Robin. For a moment, Jen stared at the TV screens on the far wall. Then he crooked his hand around and experimentally slipped his fingers up beneath his coat and Robin’s shirt to run it over the warm, soft skin of Robin’s waist. Robin murmured and nuzzled at Jens’ throat.

“I think today proves you stay out of the office,” Jens finally said, taking a bite of food. He frowned at the screens, trying to spot Ruud, who should’ve been somewhere down there. Or Thierry, at least. “Do you have names for Ferguson’s point people at the tracks? Good—if they’re not already in a bad financial position, get them in one. Or make what they’ve already got worse. In a few weeks we can probably send someone around to discuss why Ferguson can’t pay them back so they can cover their other losses.”

“’kay. Long-term, huh.” Robin reached across Jens and snagged an hors d’oeuvre for himself. He popped it in his mouth, got it down in a couple chews, and then licked the crumbs off his lips. “You like managing people a lot. Doesn’t that wear you out?”

Jens poured himself a glass of water, then picked up the tongs and dropped in a few ice cubes. “That’s why I’m a manager. Besides, you’re the only one giving me trouble like this right now.”

“You only do one of us at a time?” Robin said, eyebrow arched. He glanced away when Jens gave him a curious look. “Ruud told me a few things.”

Wasn’t this a great time for Van Nistelrooy to lose his modesty, Jens snorted to himself. He took a sip of water. “Ruud was easy to motivate that way for a while. Now he’s not, so I didn’t see the point of continuing that method. What’s with you and him, anyway?”

“I think he’s interesting.” Neutral shrug. “He really could do better than Cristiano.”

“Like you?” Jens asked. He heard his voice tighten a little.

Robin flicked a guarded look at him. “Would that bother you? Screw up the way you think I’m motivated?”

“He’s not leaving Cristiano for you. And somehow I don’t think you’d settle for being an occasional comfort,” Jens said. He splayed his fingers against Robin’s back, then pushed them down over his buttock and between his legs to cup his inner thigh. Jens let his fingers and thumb tickle up higher till Robin started to squirm, trying to close his legs.

“No, I wouldn’t. I’m not fucking motivated by getting banged around, either.” The sharpness of Robin’s tone was a warning that Jens heeded. The other man tried to get up a moment later, then elbowed Jens hard when Jens yanked him back. “It’s usually fun, and it keeps me interested, but if—”

Jens grabbed his wrists and jerked him down, snapping his teeth into Robin’s lip the moment it was near enough. He pulled Robin the rest of the way with that, then forced his mouth against the other man’s: at first Robin’s lips struggled to move around curses, but then they slowly went still. And then they parted, and the other man went slack on top of Jens. His tongue had just tentatively touched Jens’ upper lip when Jens pushed him back. “If you’re walking, then walk already. This crap is keeping me from doing work.”

Robin blinked, then propped himself up on Jens’ chest so he blocked out Jens’ view of the TV monitors. He stared intently down. “Did you say the same thing about Ruud?”

“Ruud was--still is work.” After a moment, Jens reached up and put his hand on Robin’s shoulder. He barely had to push to make the other man lie down, and Robin already was pushing his hands over Jens’ chest when Jens scooped the belt off the cart.

Jens looped the belt around Robin’s wrists, then wrapped the free end around his hand. If Robin didn’t stay the fuck down now, he was going to knot that around one of the chair legs and use the prick as a footstool.

Thankfully, Robin did stay down. He moved around a little to resettle himself and got his head back into the crook of Jens’ neck. After a while, Jens got tired of holding up his arm and let that drape back around Robin, letting his hand rest on the man’s hip; Robin took that with a long, low breath that was almost a sigh and stretched up to kiss the side of Jens’ mouth. He was back down and apparently dozing before Jens could decide how to take that.

It was a while before Jens finally managed to drag his attention back to what was going on in the nightclub. He yawned a few times despite his best efforts. His hand kept tracing circles on Robin’s thigh and hip, and finally he let it, reasoning that it was helping to keep him from falling asleep himself. It’d been a long day.


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