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A Tale of Two Jerseys

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After a restless night, Fernando was relieved when he was finally enveloped by the welcoming darkness of slumber. But it felt like he had only just shut his eyes when he felt someone trying to lightly shake him awake.

He groaned out pitifully in protest and drowsily tried to swap at the nuisance, but the shaking continued, this time with more determination. In the impression that it was Sergio, the blonde muttered out a groggy, "Not now Sese," and turned to the other side. He, however, was forced awake when something small and wet patted at his face. Fernando scrunched his nose and forced his eyes open although his eyelids felt heavy as if a load was attached to them. Any annoyance he had felt at being forced awake washed away as soon as his eyes opened to the sight of his son - Mateo - standing beside the side of his bed, clutching his stuffed lion to his chest. The blonde couldn't help but smile.

Fernando pushed himself up on one elbow and stretched his other arm out to caress his baby's cheek. "Hey little buddy, what're you doing up so early?" he asked, although he didn't expect a reply. Mateo was a quiet and reserved child. Their social worker had assured them not to worry about it too much; that he would slowly open up to them over time, he just needs to familiarise himself with the new environment.

"Couldn't sleep hmm...?" Fernando softly offered, and this time he got a timid nod in reply.

"Do you want to sleep with your - other - dad and me?" The question earned him a much more enthusiastic response which caused Fernando to chuckle. "Okay, c'mon Matty, let's get you to bed," the blonde said as he put his hands under Mateo's underarms and lifted him up after the three year old had raised his arms to be picked up.

Fernando propped himself up against the headboard and settled Mateo on his lap. He couldn't help but kiss the back of his son's head as Mateo's hair tickled him under the chin. Fernando splayed out his hands in front of Mateo who placed his own on top of his. His heart swelled up as he held his child's hands in his own; they were so little compared to his, and so soft. The moment, however, was ruined when he felt a slightly wet sensation on his hand. With a furrowed brow Fernando raised the three year olds hand in observation, and what he realized almost made him snort out in laughter.

"You've been sucking your thumb again, haven't you?" he mused. Taking a tissue out of the box placed on his bedside table, Fernando wiped the little wet thumb dry and discarded the tissue on the table.

Delicately enclosing his son's little hand in his fist, Fernando brought it up to his lips and kissed it.

When Mateo's little mouth opened up in a 'O' to let out a yawn, the blonde realised how tired the poor little guy was. He gently guided Mateo around until the child's head rested against his chest. Humming a low tune Fernando stroked his fingers tenderly through the soft brown locks and gently rubbed the sleepy three year olds back. He continued to do this until Mateo's breathing became deeper and slower.

After he was sure that Mateo was deep in sleep, he gently laid him between himself and Sergio - who remained asleep throughout: stretched out on the bed with his limbs sprawled out. Fernando almost rolled his eyes fondly; he needed to have a "chat" with Sergio about taking up majority of the bed.

 

~

 

The next time Fernando was roused from sleep he was even more reluctant to be pulled out of slumber. He almost let himself drift back but the hand cascading through his hair kept him awake, and he nuzzled his face into the palm of the hand. "Mmm...I like that."

Sergio chuckled hearing this and commented fondly, "I swear if you were a cat, you'd be purring right now."

The blonde swatted his hand blindly in the direction of the brunette until it hit something solid (probably Sergio's bicep) and said, "Shut up." His attempt to appear annoyed, however, turned futile as a smile broke out on his face.

Fernando opened his eyes, only to come face to face with Mateo, who lay fast asleep - comfortably nestled on the sheets between Sergio and him - with his thumb half way into his mouth and his stuffed lion squished underneath him.

Fernando let out a soft, "Oh?"

Sergio laughed quietly at his surprised expression. "Yeah. I was shocked too. Little guy must've gotten lonely and sneaked into bed."

His brain was still sleep riddled so it took Fernando awhile to recall the moments of last night. "Yeah, yeah...kinda. He actually woke up me up last because he couldn't sleep..." he trailed off as a yawn took over him. He was still so sleepy. Fernando rubbed at his eyes and continued, "So I asked him if he wanted to come sleep with us. If he'd nodded any harder I'm worried his head would've fallen off." Both of them let out a chuckle.

Sergio turned his gaze to the sleeping body and smiled warmly, full of affection. "I wouldn't mind him coming more often," He said while tenderly letting his hand brush against the silky brown hair belonging to his son.Their son.

However, the serene of the morning was suddenly interrupted by a shrill noise sounded from the morning alarm. Sergio was quick to turn around, twisting his body and stretching out to reach the alarm clock and turn it off before the racket woke up the three year old. Fernando and Sergio, both, waited with baited breaths, gazes fixed on Mateo as his little brow furrowed and his leg involuntarily let out a slight kick. However, thankfully, he continued on sleeping and they were able to release their breaths.      

Sergio got up from the bed and stretched out, raising his arms in the direction of the ceiling. Fernando trailed his gaze appreciatively over the stretch of tanned skin peaking out from under the shirt as it rode up. It'd been a while since they'd done anything more than a couple of make-out sessions; with Mateo around the house, constantly in need of their attention, it was almost impossible to get some time alone.

The only time they would get a little privacy was when Matty would go to sleep, however, they didn't feel comfortable having sex while their son slept in the next room. Also, there was also the constant worry of Mateo coming into their room - in seek of comfort - like he had last night. But the blonde couldn't help but crave his husband's touch and the slightly audible moans Sergio was letting out as he worked out the kinks in his back weren't helping his situation.

As if sensing Fernando's eyes on him, Sergio turned his head to meet the blonde's gaze and gave him a cheeky smile. Walking over to where Fernando lay, the brunette caressed his knuckle against his husband's freckled cheek, and then gave the blonde a light nudge. "C'mon Amor, it's time to get up." Hearing this, Fernando groaned out, "ughnn...no. Give me ten more minutes," and pushed his face into the pillow.

It was always difficult to get the blonde out of the bed in the morning, and this time, Sergio planned to give him a few more minutes before he would drag his ass. Literally.

"Okay Fer, you've got ten minutes. I'm going to go make myself coffee and when I come back you're going to have to get up or you'll be late for work. Again."  

A muffled voice spoke out. Not having understood a word, Sergio spoke out, "love, you've got to get your head out the pillow and speak. Because I can't understand your pillow talk." He quietly snickered to himself and mentally patted himself for that one.

Lifting his head slightly from the pillow, Fernando glared which wasn't a very threatening sight since he just looked like a grumpy cat with his hair fluffed up in different directions. "Not funny sese. And as I was saying: make me tea while you're at it."

Sergio's face broke out into a smile. "Someone's very bossy in the morning."

The blonde just mumbled out a 'please' into the pillow. Sergio let out a chuckle and relented, "okay. I'll make you your tea, but...only under one condition." This got Fernando's attention and he lifted his head off the pillow. "What condition?" Narrowing his eyes on his husband's face which had 'up to no good' written all over it . Fernando already had a hunch about what Sergio was about to ask him, and as soon as Sergio opened his mouth, the blonde cut him off before he could even utter out a word.

"Stop right there. I know what you're about to say and I'm not going to say Real is better than Atleti, Sese. It's never going to happen."

Snickering, Sergio admitted, "Okay you got me there. How do you always know what I'm about to say?"

"We've been together for seven years and been best friends for longer, I like to think I know a few things about you by now."

"Okay, okay. I give up, but can I at least get a kiss?"

Fernando put on a thoughtful expression, "hmm...I don't know Sese..." His attempt to make it seem like it was even something to consider was given away by the mischievous glint in his eyes.

"C'mon Fer," the brunette played along, "that's the least you can do for having me slave away in the kitchen."

The corners of Fernando's lips curled up in a smile at his husband's flair for the dramatics. "Alright you've convinced me. C'mere," he said and raised his arms in invitation. Sergio flashed a 1000-watt smile in success and bent down, planting his hands on the mattress — either side of Fernando's waist. The blonde wrapped his arms around the brunette and laid a soft kiss against his lips.

Sergio tried to go in for another one but the blonde nudged his face away by pushing him on the forehead. "After you've brushed your teeth," the blonde said, wrinkling his nose adorably.

Sergio let out a laugh and got up. "Love you too querido."

 

*

 

Fernando couldn't believe it has almost been a year: a year since they had officially adopted Mateo. The adoption process had been honestly, very hectic and stressful. Having to go through setting up the adoption papers; home evaluation; surprise and planned visits from the social worker; a court hearing and other legal processes was very tiresome. But, the worst had been the waiting process. There is no specific time period allotted: the process of finding a match could take up to one to two years, or maybe even three to five years.

Fernando remembered clearly the two years Sergio and he had spent perking up every time the phone rang, heart racing a little bit when receiving an email notification or even the ping of an oncoming message, only to be left disappointed when opening the notification to a spam mail or just a phone call from work.  

But, in the end, it had all been worth it — actually, 'worth it' did not even come close to the joy of finally having a son.

He would not be able to describe the emotions that had bubbled up inside of his chest when their social worker, Mrs. Martin, had come to their home — for a scheduled visit — and told them that she had brought someone who would like to meet them. Fernando recalled feeling a bit weak in the knees and having to clutch at his husband's shoulder for support when he saw a little boy — with dark hair and light eyes - staring at them shyly from behind Mrs. Martin's legs.  

He had tried to act cool and collected in front of the child but inside he felt he was about to burst.

Fernando was pulled out from his reminiscing when a voice cut through his thoughts. "Hey babe, can you get the cake out of the car?" Sergio spoke out from the other room; "I've got my hands full with this one."

The blonde only let out a chuckle and shook his head fondly as he heard a yelp from the direction of the kitchen followed by the sound of things clattering on to the floor and Matty's childish laughter.

His husband is such a klutz.  

Today was a special day because it was Matty's first birthday with them and marking his fourth year into the world, so they were busy prepping for their son's birthday party. Matty probably isn't even going to remember it years from now, but he is their child and they want to give him the world.

Talking about wanting to give Matty the world, it had been difficult to decide what to get him for his birthday because they had already gotten him everything a three — now four — year old would need (and want).

To make things interesting Sergio and Fernando had decided to do something a bit different than the norm for Mateo and so, the both of them had gotten him a gift separately. It was agreed upon that the losing party — (who's gift Matty would be least attached to) — would be on dishwashing duty for a month.

 

They planned to open their presents after Mateo’s birthday party.

 

~

 

"Take care, yeah?" Iker said to them as he gave Sergio a one armed hug. Sergio laid a chaste kiss on his best friend's cheek and replied, "yeah, you too hombre."

"Thanks a lot guys we had a great time-," Sara — Iker's gorgeous fiancée — spoke up from beside Iker, "-didn't we?' Her voice broke out in a gush as she addressed her two years old son Martin, who was supported on her hip. Martin just broke out in a smile, looking down and shyly nodded. Fernando liked that kid: he was a very happy child, always smiling; the blonde rarely ever saw him putting up a fuss or crying.

"No, we should be thanking you guys for all your help. Seriously. We would've gone crazy otherwise," Fernando said, and they all let out a laugh. Sara and Iker had been kind enough to show up early to help them set up the things for the party. Their presence was not only a source of comfort but also a help-line since they were in desperate need of some extra hands. Plus Mateo had Martin to play with him, which kept him busy. Not only that but the couple had been kind enough to stay behind after everyone had left to help clean up.

 

"I think you've thanked us enough Nando," Iker said, chuckling lightly, "this is what family is for right? Fernando’s smile grew bigger and he hugged Iker tightly.

 

"Bye guys," Sara said cheerfully and held up Martin's hand, encouraging him to wave goodbye.

As soon as Iker and his family had settled safely in to their car, Sergio turned around and closed the door behind them. He turned towards Fernando, rubbing his hands together in excitement and then brought them together in a light clap. “Let’s open those presents shall we.”

The blond let out a light chuckle as his husband wrapped his hand around the blonde’s wrist and dragged him gently towards the direction of the living room. Fernando would swear his husband was more excited about the presents than Mateo himself.

 

They picked up their respective presents from the huge pile gathered on the table and settled down on the carpeted floor in front of Mateo.

“Should we open them at the same time?” Fernando asked turning his head towards his husband, to which Sergio nodded. “Yeah I think that would be a good idea.”

“All right then, to the count of three,” the blonde said, and the two of them embraced themselves, slightly twitching in their excitement to open their presents as soon as possible.

“1…2…3, go!”

As soon as the word ‘go’ left Sergio’s mouth the two of them raced to open their presents, ripping away at the wrapping paper.

Fernando pulled out the kid-sized Atletico jersey from its box, handling it with more care than he had given the wrapping paper. Turning towards his husband with the jersey in hand he was shocked to find his husband holding a - white colored - jersey of his own and supporting an equally surprised expression.

“You got him a jersey?” Fernando exclaimed, clenching the Atleti jersey in his hold; and Sergio burst out in defense. “I could ask you the exact same thing.”

They narrowed their eyes at each other, both too stubborn to back down.

“There’s no way my son is wearing a Real Madrid jersey; not under my watch.” Fernando spoke out with a definite tone after a bout of silence.

“Hey!” Sergio exclaimed, offended. “And in no way is my son wearing red and white stripes.”

They glared at each other again without much heat.

“…”

“Okay…wanna settle it over rock, paper, scissors?” Sergio offered hesitantly after it had been a while.

“We’re not settling this over rock, paper, scissors!” The blonde exclaimed, his voice turning a pitch higher. “It’s a serious matter Sese.”

“Alright! Geez, I was just trying to help. What do you suggest then?”

“How about we let Matty decide?” They both turned their heads towards their son who had been gleefully racing two toy cars together for the past several minutes, completely oblivious to his fathers’ argument.

Sergio turned to look back at his husband. “How?”

“Umm…” Fernando furrowed his eyebrows, deep in thought, looking down at the jersey in his hands.

He perked up after a few seconds. “How about we put the jerseys on the floor together and whichever one Matty comes towards, he’ll get to wear that one.”

Sergio began to nod in agreement. “Yeah, okay.”

They laid the jerseys out on the floor and began to call out for their son, who looked up from his pre-occupation and smiled when he heard his name from his parents’ lips. He unsteadily rose to his feet and began to waddle towards them, his little feet stomping on the ground.

“C’mere Matty. Come to your papas,” Fernando encouraged, extending his arms towards his son who delightedly fell in to them as soon as he came with in reach. Matty wriggled in his father’s hold and let out high-pitched giggles when Fernando began to tickle his son’s tummy; Matty’s voice increasing in volume as the tickling continued.

Sergio’s heart filled with joy as he watched the interaction between the two most important people in his life: they were his biggest joy, and he would not know how he would live without them.

After being a spectator for several minutes, he got up on his knees and moved towards them, dragging his covered knees across the carpeted floor. Mateo extended his little arm towards Sergio when he saw him approaching, which the brunette gladly accepted, enveloping his son’s fist with his hand and laying several chaste kisses over it. “Yeah, who’s my boy?” Sergio crooned before moving in to kiss Matty’s cheek.

“That’s not what you say when it’s 5 a.m. and he’s screaming,” Fernando retorted, causing Sergio to chuckle lightly.

“Aww, don’t be jealous Nando. You’re my boy too.” Sergio leaned over to sweetly kiss his husband on the cheek, who scoffed and rolled his eyes, gently pushing the brunette him away. Fernando had turned his head away but Sergio did not need to see his husband’s face to know that despite the act, the blonde had been pleased (and amused) by the brunette’s antics. This was one of the benefits (and sometimes, disadvantages) of having known each other for almost half of their lives.

“I think we’re getting side-tracked from the matter at hand.” Fernando’s voice broke Sergio out of his inner musings. “We still have to let this little guy–“ the blonde continued on, bouncing Mateo lightly in his lap, “–choose which jersey he gets to wear.”

“I know I agreed to it, but now I’m thinking Matty’s too young to decide which jersey to wear,” Sergio replied. “What if he grows up to be a Madridista, only to find out we’d been dressing him up in Atletico wear just because of a decision he made when he was four. That wouldn’t be fair on him, would it?”

Fernando was silent for a moment, and then he began to nod his head. “Yeah that makes sense. But why – do tell – would he grow up to be a Madridista, hmm…?”

“Because he’s his dad’s son,” Sergio said cheekily, barely dodging the jersey Fernando aimed at him after hearing the reply.

“Why are you like this?” Fernando whined, closing his eyes in mock-distress. This caused Sergio to chuckle, and they both dissolved in laughter soon after. Mateo’s trill laugh got lost in the deep rumbles of his fathers’. He did not understand why his fathers were laughing but he laughed along with them.

“That’s because you love me and accept me for the ‘idiot’ I am,” Sergio said while moving behind Fernando in an attempt to wrap himself around his husband’s back. Fernando wrapped one arm tighter around Mateo, and twisted around trying to escape his husband’s embrace.

“I’m serious,” the blonde said, swatting at Sergio with his free hand. “You’re a pain.”

“But I’m your pain,” Sergio pouted in reply, causing Fernando to burst out in laughter.

“Sergio that was plain terrible. Even for your standards.”    

Sergio just ‘hrrmph’ed’ in reply and pulled Fernando’s back closer to his chest, squishing his cheek against the blonde’s back. “But it’s true.”

“Yeah it is,” Fernando said smiling widely. He turned his head to the side although he couldn’t see Sergio’s face, which earned him a kiss on the side of his head from the latter.

~

After settling an extremely tired and cranky Mateo into bed, washing the dishes, and putting away the presents and decorations, Sergio and Fernando settled on the living room couch, exhausted from the day’s activities.

“You know it’s kinda funny how we both decided to get the little guy jerseys,” Sergio said, breaking the silence.

“Yeah I think we’ve spent so much time together that we’ve begun to think alike.” Fernando laughed softly before continuing. “And don’t you dare say: ‘great minds think alike’ because I won’t hesitate to banish you to the couch for the rest of the night.”

Hearing this Sergio threw his head back and let out a bark of laughter, only to quiet down as soon as he remembered his sleeping son. “You really do know me too well.”

“Yeah…” Fernando whispered softly before resting his head against his husband’s shoulder. “We still haven’t settled the jersey matter. What should we do with them?”

Sergio nuzzled his husband’s hair, breathing in the familiar scent. “We’ll let Matty decide when he’s old enough to choose his team. We’ll give the jerseys away to someone who needs them, and get him something else instead. Together.”

“Yeah that would be best.” Fernando smiled. “C’mon let’s go to bed. I swear I’m so exhausted I could sleep for two whole days.”

“Well, Sleeping Beauty, you don’t exactly need to be this exhausted to want to sleep for two days. Your true love is sleep and we both know it.”

 “…”

“What? I’m just saying.” Sergio raised his arms in surrender.

“Sergio the threat of the couch remains. And also, I’m banning you from watching any more Disney films with Matty, I swear you enjoy them more than him.”

“Hey don’t be so cruel, they’re classics.”

“Let’s just go to bed.”

 

~

 

 

The next day they got Mateo a Spain national jersey instead.