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Title: Catch a Falling Star
Rating: NC-17
Characters: Xavi Hernández/Fernando Torres, allusions to Iker Casillas/Sara Carbonero and past Xavi Hernández/Iker Casillas, with cameos from Lionel Messi and the entire Spain NT
Word Count: 3358
Summary: Xavi Hernández grows up, falls in love, and takes Spain to victory in the 2012 Euros, not necessarily in that order. A sort of sequel to Never a Bride (but you don't need to have read that one first).
Disclaimer: While inspired by real persons and events, this story is a work of fiction.

Back to Chapter 3, Part 1



Chapter 3 Extra Time, Part 2

When Xavi got back to their room, Iker was stuffing his toiletries bag and a change of clothes into his backpack. "Hey," Xavi greeted him. "You don't have to leave us. You only let two goals in."

Iker tossed a pillow at his head. "Very funny. Since we've got tomorrow off, I'm spending the night with Sara."

"Oh." Xavi probed experimentally at his feelings as if tonguing the tender spot after a tooth extraction; to his surprise, this news hurt less than he would have expected. "Okay."

Iker zipped his bag, stood looking down at it for a second, then met Xavi's eyes. "So... the room is yours tonight. If you wanted to invite someone over... Torres, or, or anyone..."

Xavi rolled his eyes. "'Or anyone'? Exactly how many lovers do you think I have on this team?"

"I'm just saying." Iker's expression was almost comically earnest. "It's all right with me if you... if you wanted some company tonight."

"I don't understand," Xavi said, frowning. "What changed your mind?" A tiny seed of suspicion implanted in his heart, took root, and began to grow. He leveled a finger at Iker. "You've been talking to Andrés."

Iker began shaking his head, but he couldn't hide the flush that crept its way up his cheeks and into his ears. "You have! This isn't about me needing company. You want me to... to fix him."

"The guy's a nervous wreck," Iker protested. "He could use a friend, someone to talk to. If anything else were to happen, well, that's your business."

"Is that an order, Capitán?" Xavi asked icily.

"No, of course not, I-"

"What, are you pimping me out for the good of the nation, now?" Xavi couldn't stop himself from shouting. "I suppose that's what you've learned from Mourinho, to win at any cost! That man would sell his own grandmother into slavery to win a major tournament-"

"Xavi, no." Iker stepped closer and clasped him by the shoulders. His eyes were bright. "Listen to me. Sleep with Torres or don't sleep with him, whatever you guys decide you want to do. All I'm saying is that you seem to be good for each other. And you were right. I wasn't ready for you to move on, before, but it's only fair - I have to be, and I will be."

Iker looked so determined that Xavi's throat swelled with pride and sympathy. He wanted very badly to believe him. But the timing of this sudden change of heart still seemed awfully convenient.

"You're sure?" he said finally. "This is not you making sacrifices for the good of the team or some shit like that? San Iker, Secret Martyr of the Selección?"

His friend shrugged uncomfortably. "I... I don't think so. But I won't lie to you: I can't say for certain."

Xavi cocked his head, considering, while Iker waited, eyes wide. "Well," he said finally, "if that's the best you can do, I'll take it. And I really have your permission?"

"You've never needed my permission," Iker told him. "But you do have my blessing. If you want it."

"Okay," Xavi whispered, "okay," and he enfolded Iker, warm and solid, in his arms. They stayed like that for a long moment, swaying slightly from side to side. Then, "But I was right about Mourinho, wasn't I?"

"Pretty much, yeah," Iker whispered back.

*

Once Iker had left, Xavi went in search of Torres. Predictably, Pepe had organized a spirited post-match party in the rec room. He hoped that he could get in, corner Torres discreetly, and get out again before anyone else noticed that he was there.

Those hopes were shattered when Pepe bellowed, "XAAAAVIIII!" and lumbered over to hand him a drink that tasted like equal parts pomegranate juice and gasoline. "Loosen up, we're having a limbo contest, and my money's on you."

Xavi had to laugh, watching as poor Llorente bent his lanky form backwards to squeeze under the piece of string held by Juan Mata and Torres. Ramos had everyone else clapping along to a flamenco recording, no doubt by one of his many friends in the music business.

Pepe gave him a push. "Te toca a tí, Xavi, your turn, go!"

With a sigh of surrender, Xavi knocked back his drink, which if anything was even stronger than he had expected, and handed the glass to Pepe. As he approached the line, though, Mata and Torres looked at each other and lowered it by half a meter. "Eh, tramposos!" Xavi objected.

"We're not cheating," Mata said with a wink. "Consider it a well-deserved handicap, bajito."

He made it under anyway, of course, but as soon as he'd reached the other side and straightened up, Xavi faked a stumble and grabbed onto Torres for support. "Come to my room later," he hissed into his ear. Torres' fingers tightened on Xavi's arms in surprise, but he said nothing, only helped set him on his feet again.

Xavi made a show of brushing himself off amid a chorus of good-natured guffaws. "I'll have what he's having!" Xabi Alonso boomed as he excused himself and left the room again with a weak wave before the strobe lights and disco ball gave him a headache.

*

He went back to his room, waited nervously for Torres to turn up. He wouldn't want him to leave right away, of course, that would be too obvious, but when ten minutes passed and then fifteen, Torres' tardiness started to look less like discretion and more like denial. He began to feel like a right idiot, trapped in his room by himself, waiting for a visitor who might well never come.

Also, once the adrenaline and alcohol had worn off, his body reminded him that he'd played a tough match and there would be a price to pay. He was massaging his calves, digging his thumbs into the sore soleus muscles, when his cell phone rang. He answered immediately without looking to see who it was. "Sí?"

"Xavi!" It was David Villa, sounding slightly tipsy. "Congratulations on another final, cabrón!"

"Thanks," Xavi said, trying to disguise his disappointment.

Apparently he had been unsuccessful because David snorted. "Don't sound so delighted to hear from me, it might go to my head. And why is it so quiet, you should be celebrating!"

"We are," Xavi answered. "I'm just..."

"What?" David sounded genuinely concerned now, so he took a deep breath.

"I'm tired." And old, and alone, and uncertain what the future holds... "And I feel old."

"You are old," David said solemnly.

"Screw you," Xavi retorted, and David burst out laughing. "I'm serious. I wonder whether they're right. Maybe this is my last major tournament. Maybe I just don't have it anymore."

"Is Torres contagious or something?"

"What?" Xavi asked, embarrassed by his voice breaking into a startled squeak at the end.

"This lack of self-confidence, it's not like you," David explained, apparently oblivious.

"I'm just being realistic," Xavi replied. "I don't need to read the news to know that I'm too slow, I'm being too cautious. You've seen how Del Bosque keeps subbing me out."

"Hey man," David said easily, "At least you're there." There was no trace of bitterness in his voice, and yet Xavi couldn't repress a sudden stab of remorse at his own insensitivity.

"Yeah," he conceded, "yeah, you're right. And I'm also a self-absorbed asshole. Sorry."

David laughed again. "I've been telling you that for years," he teased.

"It's still hard to believe that you and Puyi aren't playing with us," Xavi told him.

"Yeah, we can see how hard it's been for you... how you keep losing without us there... oh wait."

"It's not that, I know we've adapted, I just mean... I've really missed you guys." And he did. Beyond what they brought to the pitch purely as players, he missed Puyi's class and constant encouragement, David's wit and mercurial moods. They were not necessarily close friends, but they were old ones, comfortable and able to be counted upon.

"Well, hey, you won't have to miss us for much longer," David assured him. "They are flying us in specially for the final."

"Really? That's fantastic!" Xavi hoped that David could hear his broad smile in his voice.

"Yup. So we'll see you in a couple of days. Now quit moping around and go back to the party. And give Pepe a hug for me."

"When I see him," Xavi promised. "And thanks for calling."

"No problem," David replied. "See you soon."

*

After David had hung up, Xavi fidgeted for a while, emptied his drawers to unfold and refold his clothes unnecessarily, then called his family. They were all excited about the win, but of course his brother gave him shit for being alone in his hotel room instead of out celebrating with the team. He tried to explain that he was just really tired, found his voice beginning to break, and begged off, claiming that he thought he might be coming down with something.

He was still staring at the cell phone in his hand when someone knocked softly at the door.

Figuring at this point that Pepe had sent someone to summon him back to the party, Xavi took his time answering. But when he looked through the peephole, he was surprised to see Torres, already starting to turn away.

Xavi yanked the door open so fast that Torres shied like a skittish horse, then looked embarrassed. "Hey! I didn't think that you were coming."

"I'm not sure why I did," Torres told him, his voice quiet and slightly slurred. "I didn't even get to play today, so it's not like you asked me over to talk about my game." He was clearly torn between suspicion and hope, and also not completely sober.

"Sound reasoning," Xavi agreed. He pulled the door open a little wider. "Would you please come in?"

"What for?" Torres asked.

"Because," Xavi answered impatiently, "I can't kiss you while you're standing out there in the hallway."

Torres raised an eyebrow, considered this for a moment, then made his way inside, careful not to brush against Xavi as he passed. Once the door was shut, he folded his arms and frowned. "I think I'm going to have to change your ringtone to that Katy Perry song."

"What?"

"You know, you're hot and you're cold, you're yes and you're no..." Torres said in English in a sing-song voice.

Xavi frowned. "I have a ringtone? You've never even called me."

"It was just a figure of speech." Torres continued to stare at him, caution plainly warring with curiosity. "And Iker?"

"Iker's with Sara for the night," Xavi said. Somehow this wasn't turning out quite as he had expected. His palms were beginning to sweat.

"Thus, the booty call?" Torres' lower lip trembled ever so slightly. "I'm not your Plan B, Xavi."

"Wait - what?"

"And it's probably none of my business, but you shouldn't let Iker jerk you around like this either, hooking up with you one night and then going off to Sara the next-"

Oh. Oh. Xavi reached out hurriedly and touched Torres on the arm. "Nando, no, it's not like that. Iker and I never... I mean, we haven't been, not for two years now."

Now Nando looked thoroughly confused. "You're not? But then why..."

"We had to figure some stuff out, that's all. It's okay now. He knows that I was planning to ask you here tonight."

"Oh?" Torres sounded politely disbelieving. "That was... generous of him."

"It was, actually. He's trying, he really is."

Now Nando's eyes narrowed. "This had better not be a pity fuck."

Xavi reached up with his free hand and clasped the corner of Nando's jaw. "The only pity here," he said, "is that we've wasted so much time already." The words sounded unbelievably cheesy to him as soon as they traveled from his brain to his mouth, but Nando didn't seem to mind; he was allowing Xavi to tilt his head, to pull him down until their lips met, soft but sure.

"You've been drinking cava," Xavi commented when they finally broke apart, breathless. His tongue was tingling a little.

"I have a weakness for Catalonian vintages," Torres said, straight-faced, and then tucked his thumbs into Xavi's waistband with a questioning look. Xavi sucked in a breath and nodded, closing his eyes while Nando sank to his knees and clumsily undid his fly. But just as the other man's lips closed around him, his calves began to cramp, and his legs nearly buckled so that he was forced to grab at Nando's shoulders for balance.

"Mmmf... whoa, hey." Torres glanced up at him, concerned.

"Sorry," Xavi muttered, humiliated. "I really am getting to be an old man." He limped over to the bed and sat down, rubbing his legs and wincing.

Torres smiled. "No worries." He straightened up, dusted off his knees, and began matter-of-factly unfastening his own belt. "How about a shower?"

Xavi frowned. "I took one after the match. Are you trying to tell me something?"

Now Nando laughed. "No, no. But..." he took two long steps and sat down next to Xavi, slipping an arm around his waist. "We have all night, don't we? I want to see... and taste... everything."

"Oh," Xavi said weakly, the sudden surge in his heart rate making him feel a little dizzy. He allowed Torres to take him by the hand and lead him into the bathroom, wondering whether he was right about what the other man had in mind.

Once inside, Nando dipped his head for an unhurried kiss, his bleached blond hair falling into his eyes. Xavi fumbled with the buttons on Nando's shirt, helped him to pull it off without breaking their connection.

In the tub, Nando soaped him all over, slowly, shielding his face from the spray. His long, lean hands lifted Xavi's arms and slipped into the concavities beneath them, moved in circles on his chest, slid down over his stomach and between his legs. They caressed the length of his cock, by now almost painfully hard; fondled his balls; and moved further, deeper. Xavi gasped and spread his legs, pressing his palms into the walls of the shower stall for balance until Nando had moved on to massaging his inner thighs.

By the time Torres reached his feet, Xavi's calves were cramping again. "My turn," he said, to cover, and knelt down on the cool wet porcelain. Torres was easier to take in this time, maybe because of the angle, and it seemed like only seconds had passed before he was tangling his fingers in Xavi's hair and pulsing, warm and musky, into his mouth. After breathing heavily for a moment, he opened his eyes and smiled at Xavi, then shut off the shower, pulled the sliding door aside, and stepped out.

Xavi was still rock-hard and awaiting reciprocation, but it seemed that Nando had other ideas. He took a towel and dried Xavi off, gently but thoroughly, his eyes appreciative as they followed the flow of the fabric over his shoulders, across his calves, between his legs. "You're so beautiful," he murmured, pressing a kiss to one nipple and then the other.

"And you must be blind," Xavi joked, uncomfortable. Who was Nando trying to kid? He had the build, stature, and coloring of a Greek god, an Apollo, while he, Xavi, was a hirsute, swarthy midget only fit for the midfield.

Nando looked surprised. "I'm serious," he said. "You have this lovely, compact-"

"I think the word you are looking for is short-"

"-compact," Nando repeated firmly, "muscular body - fantastic ass, by the way - and such an incredibly expressive face." He turned away a little, toweling himself off vigorously, then took Xavi by the hand and twined their fingers together. "Come with me." He took the extra towel and grabbed a tube of complimentary hand lotion off the counter on their way back to the bedroom.

Nando pulled the sheet back and spread the towel lengthwise on Xavi's bed. "Lie down on your stomach," he suggested, eyes sparkling, and Xavi complied, the terrycloth dry and pleasantly rough against his damp skin. He heard a squirt, followed by the sound of suction and a wet slap as Nando began rubbing his hands together. Warmth stroked the sides of Xavi's left foot, pressed tenderly into his tendon, then caressed his calf, thumbs digging firmly between the muscles.

Xavi hummed happily, feeling the knots in his legs smooth out under Nando's ministrations. The touch of the other man's strong, slender fingers was soothing and yet at the same time unmistakably erotic; he found himself shifting his hips to help relieve the pressure on his resurgent erection. Nando noticed and rumbled with laughter, paused to plant teasing kisses behind his knees until he trembled.

Then Nando slid his palms up the backs of both of Xavi's thighs simultaneously, pushed up against his buttocks, and parted them.

In all his years with Iker, in Iker, Xavi had never experienced anything so shockingly intimate. He shuddered gratefully at the touch of Torres' tongue, allowed long, low groans to be drawn out of his depths as a tiny flame flickered and then flared, threatening to consume him completely. Liquid heat rushed through his pelvis, seared his skin, alchemized his flesh to molten gold.

Overcome by splendor, Xavi spent with a roar, writhing helplessly against the towel twisted under him.

*

Xavi dragged himself out of dreams of swimming in the center of a vast sea, the waves surrounding and supporting him, but with neither the shore nor another soul in sight.

He blinked sticky eyes, squinting against the rays of a strong dawn. For the first time in two years, he was not waking up alone. There was a body curled around his back, an arm draped over his hip and trailing limp fingers across his belly.

It was not Iker's hand. Too freckled. Too fragile.

Xavi struggled to penetrate the haze of memory and after a moment produced a face, a name. "Nando," he whispered, softly enough that he was surprised when the arm tightened around him and a gravelly voice answered,

"Here." The hand slipped down his stomach and started stroking his cock, already half-hard, causing him to inhale sharply. "Are you okay? You were moving around and moaning in your sleep."

"Just a dream," Xavi murmured. He closed his eyes again and pushed back against Nando's pelvis, smiling when he felt him stir and press blatantly between Xavi's buttocks, his fingers faltering in their caresses. They rocked together slowly in the morning light, Nando not actually penetrating, only sliding back and forth like slippery velvet. Eventually he sped up, his fingers gripping Xavi's arm hard enough to leave faint spots, and came with a shudder and a sort of sighing moan that sent shivers up Xavi's spine. Nando rested his head against Xavi's shoulder for a few seconds, breathing hard, then slipped out from between the sheets and wandered into the bathroom.

After a couple of minutes he came back with a damp washcloth and commenced to clean Xavi off, then slid down in the bed and reached around to close his hand around his cock while kissing the small of his back. Already totally turned on by the sounds of Torres' climax, Xavi thrust against the firm circle of his fingers for at most a few minutes before his hips stuttered and he spilled helplessly over the other man's hand and his own stomach, Nando crooning encouragement.

When he could speak coherently again, he asked for the washcloth and wiped himself off while Nando crawled back up to spoon against him. "Best morning ever," he mumbled, and Nando chuckled, his chest vibrating against Xavi's sweaty skin.

His heartbeat slowed; Nando's breath was warm and slightly bitter on the back of his neck. He stretched, drowsy and sated, and wrapped Nando's arm more firmly around his waist. Iker was sure to be back mid-morning. He could only close his eyes for a minute.

Despite his best intentions, Xavi slept.

*

Chapter 4: Commitment Issues

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