It is almost midnight when Alex stumbles through the house, pushing random people out of the way, in mindless search of... whatever. There had been something on his mind, but it’s gone now.
He’s drunk, he decides. Not drunk enough to black out, but not too far away from that either.
“Ay Alex“, he hears Gareth say, “what’s up?“, and he tries to answer, but the words don’t seem to come out right. Not that Gareth would’ve understood him anyway through all of this noise and the music.
Gareth grabs his arm. “You’re drunk“, he says, and Alex nods. Yes. Yes, he is.
“Let’s find you a room, shall we?“
Without waiting for an answer, Gareth starts pushing his way through the crowd in the living room, slowly reaching the stairs that lead to the bedrooms. Alex barely manages to climb up the stairs, but whenever he stumbles, Gareth’s hands are there, holding and guiding him. It’s incredible. Gareth should be drunk, at least equally drunk as Alex, considering all the drinks he had in the past hours – but he isn’t. He’s just not. Alex is way taller and heavier than Gareth and Gareth is sober. As far as he can tell, at least.
Gareth opens a door. “After you, Mister Hunter“, he says and Alex grins.
“Thank you, Mister Walker“, he answers and proceeds to trip and almost fall on the doorstep.
Gareth catches him.
“Whoops“, he says and chuckles. “I better help you, huh?“
“Mh“, Alex says. Help is good. Bed is also good. He just can’t really articulate that right now.
Gareth tells him to lay down and he happily follows the instruction. It’s dark and he can’t quite see what Gareth is doing, so the touch on his legs catches him by surprise.
“Shh“, Gareth says. „It’s good. Just taking your shoes off.“
“‘Kay“, Alex mumbles. That’s probably a good idea. He wouldn’t want to get the sheets dirty, especially since this is... Whose house is this again? He doesn’t remember.
As soon as the hands are done with his shoes, they start fumbling with his jacket. “Why do you even wear this thing?“, Gareth hisses. “This is a house party! It’s June!“
Alex opens one eye. “Style“, he answers. Gareth snorts.
It takes Gareth two solid minutes of fumbling with the zipper until he decides to give up.
“This thing is impossible, man“, he says. “I’m too drunk for that.“
“You’re not drunk“, Alex comments.
Gareth lets out a laugh. “Oh yes I am.“
Alex turns on his side and faces Gareth. “I don’t believe you“, he says.
Gareth flops down right beside him. “I’d show you“, he answers, “but I have no idea how.“
They both turn silent, trying to figure out how to demonstrate being drunk, but not quite finding an answer.
Alex breaks the silence. “Thanks, man“, he mutters. “Thanks for bringing me here.“
“To the party?“
Alex reaches out and tries to pull Gareth into a hug, but it doesn’t quite work and next thing he knows is that Gareth is right on top of him. He lets out a quiet “Oh?“, but Alex continues to hold him, so that’s fine.
Gareths head falls against the side of his neck, right on top of his shoulder, and something about the situation changes. Alex can’t put his finger on it, but it just feels different.
Then Gareth softly puts his lips on the side of Alex‘ neck and his mind repeats the “Oh?“ sound that Gareth just made.
That is a new thing. But... actually not bad, his mind decides as Gareth starts sloppily kissing his neck. No, not bad at all.
He lets his hand find the seam of Gareth’s shirt and slowly pulls it upwards, stroking the hot skin.
Gareth doesn’t protest.
“I’ve wanted this“, Gareth whispers between kisses. “You have no idea how long I’ve wanted this.“
This is surprising. They’ve known each other for so long now and Alex never knew that Gareth also had a thing for men. But on the other hand, he also didn’t know that apparently he had a thing for Gareth, so that’s okay too.
Gareth sits up and pulls his shirt over his head. The dim lighting makes his body seem even more athletic and Alex can’t help it, he needs to touch him, to feel him, to understand that yes, this is real.
His hands carefully follow the curves of Gareth’s muscles from his pecs down to his abs.
Then Gareth leans down and kisses him.
Apparently this had been the last step for all boundaries to fall. Alex bites Gareth’s lower lip and Gareth chuckles. Things get rough and things get hectic.
The zipper on Alex’ jacket seems to be no problem anymore, considering how quickly the piece of cloth flies into a corner of the room, followed by Alex’ shirt and Gareth’s pants.
They pause for a second.
Then Alex reaches out and softly places his hand on Gareth’s crotch. Gareth lets out a deep moan.
This is the first time that Alex is in bed with a guy, so he feels himself getting nervous, but then Gareth opens his eyes and smiles at him, grabs his hand and guides him.
The next morning is awkward.
Alex opens his eyes and fights the urge to close them again right away. The sun is too bright and his head is too heavy.
Then Gareth moves beside him and suddenly keeping his eyes open is not that hard anymore.
He could’ve sworn that last night would result in a memory loss, but that’s not the case. He remembers everything. He remembers every second of it.
Gareth opens his eyes.
“Hello”, Alex says and smiles. “Good morning.”
Gareth’s eyes widen.
“Listen, Alex”, he says and Alex closes his eyes again. “We... we shouldn’t have done this.”
Alex lets out a sigh. “That sounded way different yesterday.”
“I know.” The look on Gareth’s face is... almost painful. “I know.”
He turns silent for a moment. When he speaks again, his voice is pleading.
“We can’t”, he says. “You should know that we can’t! We signed our contracts just a few days ago, we can’t be together, we can’t!” His voice gets louder with every word and when he finishes, he punches his pillow.
“We’ll be playing for the same club starting next season. How are we supposed to be together?”
Gareth doesn’t wait for an answer. He jumps up and starts dressing himself.
“This was a mistake”, he exclaims. “It was a mistake and I swear to god, Alex Hunter, if you ever talk about this to anyone, including me, I will end you.”
Alex sinks back into his pillows.
Only seconds later Gareth is out of the room, slamming the door shut behind him.
It gets even more awkward when they begin their training. They really don’t look each other in the eyes anymore and whenever they have to undress, they make sure to be as far away from the other as possible.
It’s a mutual agreement though, so it’s okay. It’s okay.
When they’re allowed to play actual games, all of that is almost forgotten. Here they are, two best friends, on top of their game. Scoring goals in the Premier League as if it were nothing.
They don’t talk about it ever again. And soon enough, they start to forget about it. Or so it seems.
But whenever they hug after a game, a bit of that feeling comes back. The I-never-want-to-let-you-go-feeling, combined with the but-we’re-not-allowed-to.
They have to hug, it’s almost mandatory. Everybody gets a hug after a game. But whenever they have to hug, they make it as short as possible.