Walking into the common room that the team spends most of their free time in feels like walking into a particularly well-behaved classroom.
“What are you all doing in here?” Mats asks no one in particular. They’re all being unusually quiet and Mats is grateful for that, cause it means he won’t have to deal with his daily headache tonight. A headache that comes along with his old age, a messed up love life, a humiliating defeat against Mexico, and having to hang out with 20 year-olds on a daily basis. You know, the usual stuff.
Even though it’s a pleasant change from all the ruckus, pranks and chaos, it’s still worrying. This team is a group of people who cannot shut their damn mouths even for five minutes during movie nights or tactical meetings, and based on his previous experiences, this might as well be the calm before the storm.
No one answers him, which once again, is uncharacteristic of them. Even Marco, who happens to be the person he considers his best friend in the squad isn’t acknowledging his presence, and to be honest, Mats is kind of annoyed by the whole scene in front of him. The majority of his teammates are focused on the huge screen occupying most of the wall, and they’re scrolling through … Is that someone’s Instagram profile? Why the hell would they project someone’s Insta on a giant screen?
The only conclusion Mats can come up with in five seconds is that the whole team has decided that collective stalking is a good team bonding activity and it will definitely help them to survive the next two games.
Huh, what a bunch of weirdos.
“Hey, I’m asking you something, assholes,” Mats tries again, and this time he’s standing directly in front of the screen so that the assholes in question can actually notice his presence in the room. “Who’s this person? And why is his Instagram on the screen when you could be, I don’t know, playing Mario Kart like usual? When did you become creepy stalkers?”
“Get the hell out of the way, Hummels,” Mario yells from the other side of the room. “You’re blocking the view.”
Before Mats can open his mouth to say something snarky, Marco interrupts him. “And if you even dare to say, ‘I’m the view’, I’ll kick you in the nuts, Mats.”
Mats rolls his eyes in return, not even bothering to dignify the horribly wrong accusation his friend just made with a response. “Who is this person? And why is Goretzka over there drooling and looking like he’s about to get a boner in about five seconds?”
At least the ex-Schalker still has some of his innocence left in him and blushes. Mats is oddly delighted at that. “Benni always raises them well,” he thinks briefly.
“It’s that Icelandic dude,” Toni says, not even bothering to look up from his phone. “The one who got like, a million followers after the Argentina game.”
“And thankfully, Nikki here is a curious little puppy and he actually started following the dude from his fake account. If he goes on with this rate he’ll start a ‘Rurik Gislason Fan Club’ before the group stage ends,” Marco says.
“Huh, you just used the words ‘Nikki’ and ‘little’ in the same sentence. Who would’ve thought?”
Nikki grumbles from the first row of the seats, and elbows a snickering Sippi in his ribs. Mats just rolls his eyes as usual, just like he does all the time during the season, whenever these two are at their weird, endless “bro-flirting”.
Mats makes his way to one of the empty seats in the front row. Apparently the phone connected to the screen belongs to Nikki, cause whenever he scrolls past a row, someone shouts at him to open a post in full screen or demands to zoom in more. Next to Nikki, Brandt has the Google Translate app on his phone open, translating the captions from Icelandic to German whenever someone demands it.
And well, at least those two are better at working as a team than the rest of them combined, so Mats shouldn’t complain too much about this. But the more he observes the room, the more this whole thing makes no sense at all.
“Which team does he play for?” he asks Leon, whose eyes are still glued to the screen. “What’s his deal?”
Leon slowly turns to him, blinks a few times as if he’s trying to remember how to speak, and then deadpans, “Iceland.”
If Benni were with him, he’d definitely say that Mats is being a drama queen and it’s not that big of a tragedy, but Mats actually wants to scream into the void. He only went to his room for two hours to take his usual post-training nap and obviously, his teammates chose those 120 minutes to lose a considerable amount of their intelligence.
“No shit, Goretzka, I meant his club. Stop thinking with your dick for a second or else I’m calling Max and telling him that you’re getting boners for Viking dudes you don’t know.”
Leon throws him a side-eyed glance and purses his lips like a seven year old who just got scolded by his mother. Mats would feel bad about it, but he’s actually satisfied with the way his newest teammate averts his gaze to from the screen and starts playing with his phone, probably texting his boyfriend out of bad conscience.
He turns to his left to ask Marco, but his friend is already ahead of him. “Sandhausen.”
“Then why is he a big deal? That’s not even a first tier team,” Mats says, or rather squeals a bit louder than he intends to.
Marco pinches his side and hisses “Don’t be such a snob, asshole,” while subtly pointing at the general direction of Jonas.
Thankfully, Jonas looks like he’s paying no attention to his surroundings, completely focused and busy with the book he’s been reading. Huh, crisis averted.
“He’s hot, Mats. That’s his deal,” Manu says from the back. “Like, super hot.”
Someone says, “You literally have your boyfriend next to you, Manu,” and yeah, out of the corner of his eye Mats can definitely see that Thomas is looking at Manu with slight confusion, a bit taken aback. The Bavarian studies his boyfriend’s face for a little while, and throws a glance to the screen afterwards, as if he’s trying to calculate something. Then he slowly nods and mumbles, “Well, my boyfriend has good taste, what can I say?”
Mats turns his attention back to the screen and tries to figure out if this Rudrik dude is that hot after all, but apparently Nikki is determined to memorize every single back muscle the man has. The younger defender has been looking at the same topless photo for the past five minutes, and okay, Mats should give the man some credit because it’s no use to deny that he has a great body. Not like it’s that big of a deal, cause they’re all football players and it’s nothing new for them, considering the majority of the team shares or had shared a locker room with walking statues like Lewy or Mats Hummels himself.
“Show me his face, fanboy. I wanna see what the fuss is all about,” he says. And once again, Nikki doesn’t react so Mats considers that as one of the senior players, it’s his right to just take Nikki’s phone away from him. The boy needs to get back to reality anyway.
“You’re embarrassing me in front of the others, Nikki,” he scolds his apprentice. “I swear to god, one would think you’re not getting any in Munich.”
He scrolls through the page rather fast, causing a few disagreeing groans from the audience, Mario in particular. Mats doesn’t care any of the protests though, and keeps scrolling till he finds what he’s looking for. He lets out a silent “aha!” when he finds a decent photo of the man where he can decide whether he’s worthy of all the fuss or not.
Okay, so, this Rurik (not Rudrik, Mats has learned by now) is definitely not an ugly man, and his hair is impressive – but that’s it. Other than that, he looks like an off-grade Loris Karius and Mats definitely doesn’t get why everyone is acting like they’ve never seen a blond with a man bun.
“He’s not THAT hot,” he declares loudly, as if the others are waiting for his opinion. “I’ve seen hotter people. Like every day, whenever I look in the mirror. Or whenever Benni facetimes or posts something on Insta.”
Marco clears his throat and straightens himself up from where he’s been laying, which happens to be Sami’s shoulder. “Mats, honey, you know I love you like a brother, right? And I’ve always agreed with your various self-righteous comments about how great you look. But this, my friend,” he points to the screen, “is a god walking among the men. We, including you, are all blessed because we’re witnessing his beauty. God bless the Viking genes!”
Someone from the back, probably Joshua shouts “AMEN!” and honestly, Mats just wants to go over there and knock some senses into the boy’s head. He would probably get a long-ass lecture from Manu about how he shouldn’t hit the youngsters from their head, but it’d totally be worth it.
“Pffffft,” Mats pulls his usual grumpy face. “I’m hotter than him, you just don’t know how to appreciate the finer things in life.”
“No you’re not,” Marco insists. “Don’t try to fight a battle you know you cannot win.”
“He’s just young, that’s his only extra trait. Other than that, I can beat him in every lane.”
Leon looks up from his phone and shoves it into Mats’ face. “Actually, according to Wikipedia, he’s almost a year older than you.”
Mats sighs in disappointment, but doesn’t let his guard down. He still has his ammunition full of other arguments, and seriously, this Viking dude isn’t even that hot. “I have a World Cup,” he says.
“So what, Hummels?” Bôaténg interferes from the other side of the room, all pleased with the situation Mats is in. “It’s not a variable that can affect one’s level of hotness. Also, eight other person in this room can very well say that they have a World Cup and none of us throws a tantrum over someone being hotter than we are.”
Mats opens his mouth to say something but Marco suddenly jumps up from his seat and is dragging Mats with him, positioning the defender next to the empty side of the screen.
“We should cast votes to end the debate,” he says cheerfully.
“The only debate here is between Mats Hummels’ ego and the Instagram of someone he doesn’t even know his last name,” Mario comments.
“Yeah but I really want him to shut up about it,” Marco says. “Sooooo, I want to hear the gays’ opinions first. You boring straight folk are no authority in here. Sorry, I don’t make the rules.”
The striker looks over the room to choose his first victim, while keeping an arm around Mats’ shoulders to make sure that his prey won’t go anywhere. “Oh, we should start with our captain! Manu, Mats or Icelandic God?”
Manu doesn’t even bother to act like he’s in between two options and just says “Rurik, of course.”
“Huh, Rurik 1, Mats 0. Thomas, agreeing with your bae?”
Thomas gives a thumbs up but shows no more interest in the subject and instead goes back to the magazine he’s been reading.
“2-0. Okay, continuing. Marc, sunshine, who’d you rather? We won’t rat you on to your loverboy, don’t worry.”
“Ugh I don’t know,” he says, but one glance from Mats to his so-called friend and the backup keeper is declaring that Mats is the hotter one.
In about 15 minutes it’s clear that Mats is the loser, 5 to 11 is a huge margin and Mats probably should feel ashamed, but he’s not showing any resignation towards his cause. Cause, well, according to Mats he would be the winner if the whole squad were in the room.
(Also, he demands answers from everyone in the room to see who is the enemy and who is the friend; this will come in handy whenever any of them wants a favor from him. But if anyone would ask, he’d definitely deny this ridiculous slander.)
“Goretzka, you’ll be stuck with me for at least four more years. Choose wisely,” he asks to the midfielder.
“U-ugh, no. I’m not falling for this again,” Leon says. “If I say it’s you, you won’t shut up about it for years. If I say it’s Rurik, you’ll definitely tell Max and I will be a dead man. Either way, I’m the loser here.”
Marco bursts into laughter at that, enjoying the situation way more than he should be. “You, Goretzka, are smarter than you look. Good lad,” he gives Leon a thumbs up. “Mats, darling, just accept it already. You lost.”
“If Benni were here, he’d definitely choose me and his opinion is the only one that matters anyway. Full offence, please,” Mats sneers.
From the first row he hears someone snickering, and it’s surprising to see that Sami is the one who’s chuckling by himself. The Tunisian hasn’t said anything about the topic at all, so naturally Mats is curious what the man finds so funny.
“The funny thing is, you’re so sure that Benni would pick you,” Sami says, still grinning. “But he actually liked blonds too, so I wouldn’t count on his vote if I were you.”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Benni likes brunettes. For example, me. And me. And also, me,” Mats protests.
“This fella here,” Sami points to the screen, “looks like Marchisio. And multiple times over the course of this year Benni has said that Marchisio is definitely one of the sexiest men he’s ever seen. I don’t know if you were even included in that list.”
With that Sami gets up to leave the room, but first he claps Mats on the shoulder and whispers, “Have fun with this info,” into the defender’s ear.
Mats has always been thankful that they’re travelling around with the DFB’s sizeable budget, cause it means he rarely has to share a room with someone else. While he’s unable to sleep, tossing and turning the whole night, he is even more grateful the luxury they have during the international breaks.
He’d rather stab himself in his left kidney than letting anyone from the team know that the fact that he’s out-hotted by an Icelandic dude no one knew about until two days ago. If it weren’t considered a crime and punished by jail-time, he would hunt this Rudrik guy down and make him admit that Mats is hotter.
After two hours of being unable to fall asleep, Mats just gets up and puts on his shoes, only taking his phone and room-key with him. Maybe a walk on the front yard would help him to fall asleep.
The weather is nice and it really helps Mats to clear out his thoughts, so he sits on one of the benches instead of standing in the middle of the garden like a scarecrow. Even though he doesn’t like too much noise in his surroundings, Mats wants some music in the background to keep him company.
He turns on his phone to see what he has in his playlist, but gets distracted by a notification from Instagram.
benwedes just shared a photo. 47 minutes ago
All the progress he has made with his little midnight walk is gone with that, and he just decides to call Bene so that he can fully let go of this. Okay, calling the man who dumped him after he screwed up is not a good decision in general, and calling Bene to ask why the hell their mutual friend goes around claiming that he likes blonds is an even worse idea, but Mats is no stranger to terrible decisions made in the middle of the night.
Benni answers his phone after the third call, and Mats skips all the usual pleasantries to get straight to the point.
“Hey, quick question. Since when do you think that blond men with blue eyes are hot? And why does Khedira go around claiming that you have a crush on Claudio Marchisio?”