Word Count: ~1600
Disclaimer: I don't own these guys. I'm pretty sure that's illegal.
Pairing: Raphaël Varane/Cristiano Ronaldo
Warnings: Un-beta'd. Sorry. Don't have one and it's a surprisingly hard problem to fix.
Summary: Raphaël wants to confess his feelings. That turns out to be harder than expected.
A/N: Written for this prompt at footballkink2.
Cristiano stays on the training field as everyone filters off. Raphaël looks back at him before he enters the locker room.
He dresses slowly, taking time to look at his phone though he has no messages and re-ties his sneakers when he’s run out of things to look busy with. No one really seems to notice him or, if they do, they pretend not to. Iker is the last to leave. He holds his bag on his shoulder and looks at him. Raphaël feels his stomach tighten because he has no real excuse for staying except that he wants to talk to Cristiano. Fortunately, Iker doesn’t mention his strange behavior, just says, “See you tomorrow,” and walks out.
Raphaël slumps down onto the bench and lets out a deep breath. He is relieved that no one decided to comment, but the new nervousness sets in of what he’s actually doing. What is he going to say to Cristiano? He knows he wants to talk to him, but what is he supposed to say that isn’t completely stupid. He plays with a few ideas of opening questions to a conversation he obviously hasn’t thought enough about and considers leaving, but before he can make a decision, Cristiano walks out of the shower.
He looks at Raphaël and glances around the empty room, but Raphaël can’t say he seems surprised to see him sitting there. Cristiano smiles at him and ruffles his hair on the way over to his bag.
“Why do you do that?” Raphaël says.
Cristiano looks over at him. This look is much closer to surprised. “I didn’t know it bothered you. I won’t do it again.”
“I don’t—” Raphael stops. ‘I don’t want you to stop touching me,’ he thinks. He feels himself blushing and is frustrated with his desperation. Cristiano is still looking at him, waiting for him to finish his sentence. “I don’t want you to treat me like a child,” he says.
“I’m sorry. I don’t try to. I know you’re not a child,” Cristiano says.
Something about the way Cristiano emphasizes his last statement, causes Raphaël to take a gulp of air. “I don’t want to be a child to you,” Raphaël says. He knows he sounds ridiculous repeating the same thing that was answered.
Cristiano doesn’t look confused or annoyed like Raphaël expects him to. He looks at him very seriously. Raphael doesn’t think it’s angry but he also can’t be sure.
“Then what do you want to be,” Cristiano says, “that you aren’t already?”
Raphaël feels like he’s shaking but he glances down at his hand to see it perfectly still at his side. He looks back up at Cristiano, who is waiting patiently for his answer once again.
“I don’t know,” he says, because words are failing him and he’s too afraid of rejection, even if they weren’t.
Cristiano looks away and starts to get dressed. Raphaël swallows when he drops his towel.
“When you figure it out, tell me,” Cristiano says.
Raphaël wants to scream in frustration like the child he doesn’t want to be. He watches as Cristiano gets ready.
Cristiano’s question occupies his mind for the next two weeks. He wonders what Cristiano wants to hear and how he wants to hear it. All it really does is make his thoughts more complicated and the answer is no closer. Finally, he decides that, even though he might not have an elegant and concise way of saying it, that doesn’t matter. He just needs the confidence to get his point across.
He makes sure to get ready slowly. He takes a long shower and spends time styling his hair.
“Do you have a date after this?” Karim says. Some of the other guys laugh with him.
He blushes and denies it, but all that does is reinforce the idea. He glances at Cristiano, who’s also taking his time. Raphaël would like to think that he noticed him, but he doesn’t want to get his hopes up. A part of him wants Cristiano to leave, so he doesn’t have to answer his question.
Cristiano meets his eyes. Raphaël turns away.
Everyone clears out. Cristiano is still there. He’s in the mirror, spiking up his hair. Raphaël stays sitting in on the bench, trying not to fidget.
“Good job today in training,” Cristiano says. If it’s an attempt at making Raphaël more comfortable, it doesn’t work. “Scoring in Clásicos as a defender at nineteen. You’re amazing, you now that?”
Raphaël blushes, pleased at the comment. “Not as amazing as you,” he says. He mumbles it but Cristiano hears anyway.
Cristiano looks at him skeptically, tilting his head to the side. He stares at him good and long, eyes narrowed.
Raphaël looks down to his hands, cursing himself for saying something so childish.
“I’m happy I play with you instead of against you,” he says, when Cristiano stays silent. He laughs a little but Cristiano still says nothing.
He looks at Cristiano again. The expression on his face has softened and he comes over to sit next to him.
“Against Barcelona, against Messi, you do fine. What do you have to fear from me?” Cristiano says.
“But Messi isn’t you,” Raphaël says. And he means that in so many ways, because Messi doesn’t make his heart race and he doesn’t pine after Messi when he’s home in bed at night alone. But Cristiano is always there on his mind. He doesn’t want to stop at conversations in the locker room. He wants to go home with him and touch him in ways he doesn’t want to touch anyone else. He can feel his face heating up at his thoughts.
Cristiano rests his hand on Raphaël’s shoulder and pulls him in so that their foreheads are touching lightly. Raphaël closes his eyes instinctively. He tries to swallow his sudden nervousness, hyperaware of the coolness of Cristiano’s skin and the squeeze of his hand on his shoulder. He stays still, as though any movement would alert Cristiano to the way his heart is thundering and the way his breathing has slowed almost to a stop.
“Soon all the strikers in the world will be the ones scared of you,” Cristiano says, low like he’s telling a secret meant for Raphaël’s ears only.
Cristiano pulls away. Raphaël opens his eyes slowly to look at the smiling man in front of him. He can’t bring himself to smile back out of shock. The feel of Cristiano’s hand is still on his shoulder and he has to stop himself from raising his hand to it.
“Are you all right?”
Raphaël realizes he’s been gaping wide-eyed. He nods and takes a deep breath to calm himself.
“I know what I want to be,” he says, softly.
The serious expression Cristiano takes on shows him that he’s heard him. He tries to figure out a way to put everything he’s been feeling into words once more. Cristiano waits for him, watching his face intently. It’s a bit overwhelming, being looked at that way. He blushes and looks down at the bench.
His mind starts to panic. Of course, Cristiano doesn’t have time to wait around while Raphaël thinks of eloquent words.
“I like you,” Raphaël says, finally.
When he looks up, Cristiano’s expression hasn’t changed. The intensity of his gaze is still there. Raphaël just wants him to say something; anything at all would take the tension down a welcomed notch.
“And?” Cristiano says.
Raphaël opens his mouth to say answer, but he has no idea what Cristiano wants from him.
“That didn’t really answer my question.”
It didn’t, Raphaël realizes. Cristiano could probably infer, but it’s not the direct answer that he wants to hear. Raphaël bites his lip and steels himself for another round of confession. He imagined it would be stressful and painful, but not quite as much as this. His stomach is tight with nervousness and his palms are sweaty. He wipes them on his jeans.
“I want to be with you,” Raphaël says.
After he says it, he realizes that it’s still a bit vague and worries that Cristiano will make him try again, but Cristiano seems content with it. His expression relaxes and he surprises Raphaël by taking hold of the boy’s face, forcing them eye to eye.
“I’m eight years older than you,” Cristiano says.
Raphaël sucks in a breath and exhales shakily. “That’s not much.”
Cristiano smiles, softly. Raphaël wants to be happy with it, but he’s not sure what it means, whether Cristiano intends to turn him down or not. Cristiano takes away his hand and it becomes a bad sign.
“All right,” Cristiano says.
Raphaël looks at him shocked and slightly confused, because he has been getting ready for refusal and he couldn’t have heard correctly.
“I said, all right.”
Some of the tension in Raphaël ‘s body dissipates but he’s still in shock. He can barely return the smile Cristiano is giving him.
“This might end up being the worst decision you’ve ever made,” Cristiano says.
Raphaël shakes his head. “There’s no way,” he says, breathlessly
Cristiano laughs. Raphaël blushes, wondering what he said wrong.
“Ah, the optimism of youth,” Cristiano says, wistfully.
Raphaël frowns. “Stop pretending you’re an old man,” he says, inspired into sudden confidence.
Cristiano smiles at him again and places a hand behind Raphaël’s neck. Raphaël tenses up as Cristiano leans in and kisses him. It’s simple, just lips pressed together, but Raphaël’s knees start to feel weak and he’s glad he was already sitting.
“Soon,” Cristiano says, breaking the kiss, “I’ll show you how young I still am.”
Raphaël’s heart skips a beat at that promise. He grins. It seems like a dream that Cristiano would agree to take a chance on him. He hopes that soon isn’t too far away.
Also, I'm still looking for a beta for my Messi/Ronaldo historical-y/fantasy-y AU. I'd really appreciate one, so I can get this done quicker and neater and more effectively.