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Win for me

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Jens is sitting at the side of the field, not fifteen foot away from where I'm sitting on the bench. For a moment I watch him rocking slightly back and forth--his slow rhythm a heavy contrast to the staccato cheerings of the crowd. He's played an awesome game. He could have prevented Ayala from scoring, though, and I could just tell how pissed he was. And how relieved when Klose draw even. Still, 90 minutes plus extra time are fucking wearing out and he did well, I have to admit.

Now it's up to him for the most part and he's not even got five minutes to get his concentration back, to get focussed again. The upcoming penalty shoot-out must be looming over him like a giant wave, threatening to crash at the slightest mistake. I can't help but notice how his shoulders are hunched, muscles tensed up and I know he's walking through his personal hell of anticipation.

I know how he feels, and I don't just mean the shoot-out . I've never been faced with one of those during my time with the team. Fuck, that sounds like I'm not one of the team anymore and that's not true. But not being able to do something for the team feels a lot like letting the team down. That's what fucking bothers me right now. And that's why I understand now how he felt all those years. Because now it's me standing at the sideline, watching, waiting. Wishing desperately for something to fucking do. Thinking, I might do better than him. Wanting the challenge all for myself.

A wave of anger rushes through me and for a minute I wish it hadn't been Abbondanzieri that had been injured. If it had been Jens who would've had to leave the pitch, then it would be me sitting out there, getting ready. More anger rises in me, I'm sick of my jealousy and I shouldn't fool myself. If it had been Jens that got injured then I'd be in no form to do the fucking penalties. Be it guilt or be it worry over him, I would mess up.

I realize I'm still watching him. He's running a hand through his hair, pushing back those curls in an impatient gesture that reminds me of a shared night a long time ago in France. A time when everything was new and sweet and exciting. A time when nothing had to be proven. A time before the powerstruggles and the rivalry and the feeling of betrayal took over and fucked everything up. Fucked us up.

My mind flashes me an image of another night, a very rough one, only a few weeks ago, when Jürgen had announced the permanent players of the squad. There hadn't been any sweetness to our touches that night. There had been a lot of angry accusations, of punches and fists flying and a lot of unexplainable bruises on both of us the next day. We have talked two times since the following morning, though.

He's still sitting in the same spot, seemingly calm and as relaxed as he can be under the circumstances. His head is bent, giving everyone the clear message "Leave me the fuck alone!" I can see him fiddling with his gloves and the small wringing of his hands gives away his nervousness.

Swallowing down my pride I get up and walk over to where he's sitting. I touch his shoulder, squeezing it lightly, and kneel down beside him to tell him words I should have told him long ago. He's giving me a funny look, clearly wondering if I've gone insane to choose such a moment to tell him that I need him. I'm not insane and I lean in closer to his ear, nearly brushing it with my lips. "Win for me, baby," I tell him. "I need you to win for us, Jens!"

He's still not saying anything, but he covers my hand with his and squeezes back.


He kept it! He fucking kept it! We've won--he brought us up to the fucking semi-finals!

The cheering of the crowd is deafening. "Yess!" I roar in unison with everyone else.

As the others start running wild, I stop to watch him getting slowly to his feet. Then I'm getting distracted by someone pouncing on me and I spin around to find it's Jürgen hugging me and Miro hugging Jürgen. I shove them off and turn back to find Jens walking slowly over the pitch, not running, not looking left or right. He's walking straight towards where I'm standing, still wearing that impassive face and I start to think that I made a mistake earlier.

But then he's in my arms, squeezing all air out of me and I'm hugging him back as good as I get. "Did you mean what you said?" he asks quietly, his mouth next to my ear. I let go of him, so I'm able to look into his eyes when I tell him "Every fucking word of it." And now--finally--he's smiling that stunning smile of his, and I want desperately to kiss him--fuck teammates, cameras or a crowd of 60,000! He's quicker than me and shoves me off with a mumbled "Not here!". He winks at me, and without looking back, leaves for the dressing rooms. Knowing the others will take their time cheering with the crowd, I follow him at heel.