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I will paint you in silver

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Sergio knocks on the hotel room door like it's not five in the morning. The knock is met with silence that continues for so long he knocks again. He hears a rumble of a shout that sounds like Villa and so he replies as quietly as possible.

"Nando, open up. It's me."

"Ramos, are you sleepwalking again? You'd better not be naked this time."

Sergio lets out an exasperated, ruffled sigh and he glares through the wood at Villa.

"Nando." His voice sounds pouting and pleading and Fernando is opening the door within thirty seconds. His hair is sticking up in every direction possible and his eyes are heavy with sleep. They can hear Villa muttering curses as he falls back asleep behind Fernando's back and Sergio can't help but smile at it. "Hi."

Fernando sucks in a sudden breath and tries to hold in the yawn that follows but he's completely unsuccessful. Sergio grins at him and holds up the blanket folded over his arm. Fernando raises an eyebrow in silent question.

"Come up to the roof with me."

Fernando blinks at Sergio like he's a little slow.


"Come on. It's really nice out and we have a couple more hours of sleep left and the stars are all out and it's a full moon and we haven't been in France in a long time and--"

"For fuck's sake, Fer! Just go and close the fucking door!" Villa sounds more whiny than venomous and Fernando steps out into the hallway, pulling the door closed and he's blinking warily at Sergio.


Sergio takes that as an enthusiastic yes and they start off down the dark hallway together, socked feet shuffling on carpet.




Fernando is surprised to see how much Sergio had planned this, at how there are several blankets spread out on the roof of the hotel along with piles of pillows and a couple of sweatshirts (it's as if he'd known that Fernando would crawl out of bed shirtless). He glances over at Sergio who is smiling at his handiwork, his eyes sparkling but tired. He links his forefinger with one of Fernando's and they cross the roof in silence, not speaking even as they settle onto the cushy mattress of blankets. Fernando reaches up to smooth out his hair, tucking it and flattening it against his head. Sergio sits up on his haunches and reaches for Fernando's head, ruffling his hair back out, trying to duplicate the original mess it was in but he can't quite do it. Fernando swats at his hands and, when he tries to reach for his hair again, Sergio clasps his wrists, tugging them down against Fernando's legs, shaking his head adamantly.

"Leave it alone, Fer. It's charming."

"Charming," Fernando mutters, his cheeks flushing a little as he fights against Sergio's grasp, imperfect hair making him feel self-conscious and maybe just a little bit frantic. "I look ridiculous."

"It's just me. I don't care what your hair looks like. Leave it." Sergio is smiling and his voice is light and low and it makes Fernando relax a little. He reaches for one of the hoodies, wrinkling his nose when he sees that it's a Real Madrid one.

"What, you really expect me to put this on? Is this a set-up?"

Sergio bursts out laughing, grabbing the hoodie from Fernando and tugging it apart to attempt to push it over Fernando's head. Fernando ducks and pushes Sergio away, laughing himself now but he doesn't want to put the damn thing on.

"It's better than nothing, isn't it?! Did you expect me to have an Atlético one or something?"

"I'll go without, thank you." Fernando is smirking to the point of grinning and he sits up straight, prim in his defiance. Sergio grins wickedly, a bright flash of bone in the moonlight and he reaches over to tweak one of Fernando's hard and goosebumped nipples. Fernando hisses and curls away, sitting now on the edge of their little bed. He rests back on his hands and squints over at Sergio. "So why'd you wanna do this?"

Sergio shrugs and his grin softens to a thoughtful smile. He busies himself with putting on one of the hoodies, adjusting the hoodie and pulling the sleeves down over his hands, letting his fingers linger over the crest stitched over his heart and Fernando rolls his eyes even as his heart catches. Their eyes meet and Sergio looks so, so sweet.

"Missed you. It just doesn't feel the same anymore, I guess. And plus you've been gone so long, and..." He trails off, his eyes lighting helplessly on Fernando's leg, on his knee to be exact, not quite sure if he's thankful that it's covered so he can't see the evidence of surgery. He looks back up into Fernando's eyes and silently apologizes but Fernando smiles, shrugs it off. Sergio braves on. "Yeah. I just missed you."

"It's been a weird season, Sese," Fernando admits, reaching for the wretched hoodie laying beside him in spite of himself, fidgeting with it but not putting it on. Sergio watches with a held-in smile. "It's been hard. And it's still weird for me that you're not just a few minutes away. You know? Even though we didn't hang out all the time, it was always just... just..."

"I know."

Fernando looks up at him and he smiles for how much Sergio has changed, just the little things, the slight added definition of his cheeks, his jaw, the stubble that seems to be physical evidence of his ever-growing maturity. His eyes are still bright but they're calmer, more thoughtful. Fernando can't help but wonder what had brought that wisdom on, what exact things, what thoughts Sergio'd had. He'd missed it, somehow.

"I'm usually okay in Liverpool. My life's there now and I'm used to it and I'm happy. But when I get back into Madrid, it just... gets hard. The air smells different and hearing the language and driving down all those roads and sometimes it feels like I never left. And you're always there, always. My constant reminder."

Sergio's eyes are dark but glowing, retaining moonlight and they're fixed on Fernando.

"Reminder of what?"

Fernando shrugs now and he looks away from Sergio, looks down at their feet, at all the blankets. He smiles when he realizes how long this must've taken him. "Of... everything? Of my life before. Maybe that it wasn't all bad. That I had happy times, that everything wasn't a struggle. That it wasn't me against the world, no matter what I remember otherwise. It's just so weird, Sergio." He looks up again and finds that Sergio's eyes have not left him. He smiles at Sergio and Sergio drinks it in. "It's so weird that we became friends. Not... not that we became friends, but just that... we became such good friends. I don't... I don't really do that. I have my friends from my neighborhood and I usually don't go beyond that. I don't... I don't...."

"I know, Nando."

"Yeah. And... and it was hard because you... well." Fernando motions to the crest on Sergio's hoodie, shaking his head ruefully. "You and that damn club. Everything I hated." He moves closer to Sergio to make up for his mean words and Sergio is just as soft, just as open to him, just as forgiving. Fernando is covered in goosebumps now and Sergio reaches for a loose blanket behind him and drapes it over Fernando's shoulders. Fernando tugs it around him and they lean in closer for warmth. They sit just like that for several moments, gazing at and around each other and Fernando's fingers find their way up to that crest, calloused fingertips catching on the gold and white threads.

"You still hate us as much?" Sergio's voice is just as warm as the little cocoon they've created and Fernando smiles quickly, shifting his eyes up to meet Sergio's.

"Oh, yeah." They laugh, Sergio shaking his head and leaning closer to Fernando, leaning and leaning until he can rest his cheek on Fernando's bare shoulder, nose ghosting against Fernando's neck, warming that skin as he sighs deeply. Fernando leans his head to one side and rests his cheek against Sergio's, both of them closing their eyes as Fernando lifts a hand to rest it against the back of Sergio's head, long, chilled fingers sifting through long brown hair that is growing back again, preparing for summer, for their summer. They don't move for an even longer moment this time, even as the late French winter wind whips past them and over them, lifting their hair and making them push closer together, craving warmth. Sergio's hand finds Fernando's right knee and he spreads his fingers around it, palm resting against his kneecap, his whole hand trembling with the naïve notion that he can infuse Fernando with warmth and painlessness and protection and comfort but Fernando feels it, feels all of it. He sighs himself, his mouth very near to Sergio's ear and he doesn't see Sergio's eyes flutter in reaction to it.

"I would take it all, if I could. If it would mean that you could always play, always win. I'd take all of it, all the consequences. Anything to make sure you're happy."

"Sergio." Fernando sounds small, meek, unworthy as he feels. His eyes burn with tears but they're closed and so are Sergio's and he's grateful for that. They surge closer together without moving at all, their chests swell and their hearts pound louder and they nuzzle closer together, one arm of each of them finding the waist of the other to hold on to. "No one ever talks to me like you do. No one has ever treated me like you do."

"I think... in another lifetime, Nando, in another situation, we would be soulmates. Don't you? Can't you feel it?" Sergio sounds confessional, his tone an alien one on him but it's beautiful, it's sturdy and honest and true and so beautiful. Fernando's heart doubles in speed and he's nervous that Sergio can feel it. He nods awkwardly, the motion moving them both, upsetting their already uncomfortable angle and so they move, Sergio choosing the new position by wrapping his arms around Fernando's waist, pulling on him until Fernando is settled in his lap, legs wrapped around Sergio's waist and hooked behind him and they're as close as two people can be. (As these two people will let themselves be.)

"Yeah," Fernando murmurs, drunk on Sergio's scent, on his closeness, on his heartbreaking familiarity. He can feel the moon shining down on them in silvered cold and he cannot hold onto Sergio tight enough. "We would be."