You and I Have Memories Longer Than the Road that Stretches Out Up AheadAuthor: firetruckyouxxRating:
Cesc Fábregas/Robin van PersieGenre/Warnings:
It’s not the same as it was back then, back when Robin was still in the right part of England and in the right shade of red while Cesc was still in the right side of town and wearing a kit that doesn’t make him a little weary every time he puts it on, even after months of wearing it.Author's Note:
Because Cesc plays United and then goes to the Emirates for the first time in blue the next week.
Cesc doesn’t want to think about how unhealthy it is, the way he craves his lightly tanned skin still after so many years and miles of separation, how much he would give to feel those pliant lips against his one more time. It’s not the same as it was back then, back when Robin was still in the right part of England and in the right shade of red while Cesc was still in the right side of town and wearing a kit that doesn’t make him a little weary every time he puts it on, even after months of wearing it.
Cesc doesn’t hate Chelsea, he loves it, in fact. He thrives off the energy and tension that has the air vibrating in Stamford Bridge, he craves the air that is made bitter by the people who fill the stands that pay to see him fail, to see all of the men in blue fail. He loves Chelsea, he really does, but. But.
He loves Chelsea but Arsenal is not something that he will ever forget; Arsenal gave him everything and Cesc gave it right back to them with a passion that matches his love for Barcelona, with a passion that he doesn’t know if he’ll ever feel for Chelsea, despite the love and the winning and the fucking gorgeous football they play. It’s a passion that reminds him of his love for Robin, a passion that used to make him so afraid of the implications and what he meant to who he was as a person, and he wonders if that passion can be rekindled.•—•
Cesc doesn’t know why but he finds himself searching and watching old clips of him at Arsenal, and his heart sinks deeper and deeper in his chest every time he watches himself thread a perfect pass to Robin or receive a ball from Thierry. He doesn’t know when or why but somehow he finds himself typing out a message to Robin that he doesn’t even know makes sense, let alone if it’s even in English.
Robin doesn’t reply and Cesc sighs, staring down at his iPhone and thinking about how much things have changed over the years as he waits for a reply that will never come because he’s so used to waiting for a one that will, but. But, those were simpler times.
And it’s not until Cesc is curling up in an empty, cold bed on the wrong side of London that he hears his phone ding with life. In the darkness, he scrambles to find his phone on the nightstand and when he sees Robin’s name, his heart crumbles a little bit more than before and he puts his phone back on the nightstand without reading the message or replying because one moment of weakness changes nothing.
It doesn’t change the fact that he’s not Robin’s anymore, not in the way he wants to be, and it doesn’t change that this fact makes Cesc’s heart shatter into a million, tiny pieces and Cesc doesn’t know if it’s even repairable at this point.•—•
Cesc forgets about Robin for a little while, just long enough so he can breathe a little better, although his dreams are still haunted by graying hair, a handsome smile and an endearing accent. And if he wakes up to his empty, cold bed with tears forming at the corner of his eyes, no one has to know.
And then suddenly, he’s there, standing across the playing field, warming up with his teammates, teammates that doesn’t include Cesc, and Cesc thinks about the World Cup, the one where he remembered watching Iker fall to his knees and burst in tears of joy, and the one where he thought that same man, San Iker, the savior, might crumble down right there on the playing field, between the two posts that couldn’t help salvage their dignity at all. He remembers the wry smile on Robin’s face as he passed him to go get his medal with the rest of his teammates, and then he thinks about the deep frown that was etched into his features as he watched his team, his country
be ripped apart at the seams by someone he loved, or loves, maybe. It was a terrible conundrum that left Cesc’s heart aching with a pain that he didn’t even think was possible.
And then, before Cesc could blink, Robin is standing there, in reaching distance, the wrong shade of red clinging to his body in ways that made lick his lips and send a wry smile towards God for testing him and the same handsome face that Cesc remembers during the nights they were holed up in hotel rooms the night before away games, the face that Cesc used to stare at as he quietly chanted Spanish curses and words of encouragement as Robin and his bodies moved together in sync, as if their bodies were completely in tune with each other. Maybe that wasn’t so far off from the truth, at least back then.
And when Robin turns around, eyes pinning him to where he’s standing, Cesc can’t help it when the corner of his lips quirk upwards into a grin because Robin is there, smiling at him, and Cesc hates how much he wants to drag him away from all of this, take him back to his apartment and worship his body in a way that will show him how much Cesc misses him, how much he needs him.
Their hands clasp together in a sudden motion and Cesc is being pulled into a hard body that he used to be so familiar with, so attuned to. The contact lasts for maybe a second but to Cesc, who had been deprived of this familiarity, of this intimacy, it lasts for eternities, and for brief second, Cesc contemplates staying there, tucked into the broad chest that at one time had been so familiar, an unchanging presence in the unpredictable world of football. But, just like they had done years ago, they moved away from each other, cutting the cord of something that once was, and will never be again.
That night, after the disappointing draw, while Cesc is lying awake, eyes wide open, he touches the side of the bed he never occupied and feels a sudden, intense ache in his chest that felt close to loneliness as he prodded at the cold, untouched sheets, knowing that there should be someone occupying that space, wrapping him up in his strong arms and bringing him close to his chest, the chest he had known for a second and an eternity in the tunnel.•—•
Months pass as the temperature drops and a gloomy winter sets in, yet the ghost of Robin’s brief touch never fades. Cesc touches the cold sheets with a yearning but never has even reached for his phone, never considered booking a plane or just spontaneously getting in his car and driving for hours to a beautiful house with a beautiful family living inside, a place where Cesc did not belong, not anymore, and maybe not ever. Instead, he waits for Robin.
He dreams of Robin more often than not, of past memories of hazy late summer days where Robin would taste like expensive beer and sweat and grass, a taste that Cesc thinks of as home, a sense of security that he never wants to let go of. He dreams of simple things, of passing Robin the ball in training, of sharing an earbud with Robin on the plane, of the fond smile that he had him when he would do something especially dumb in front of him. He dreams and dreams and dreams, but it doesn’t help curb his loneliness; if anything, it makes it grow and fester until Cesc couldn’t breathe properly, as if it’s suffocating him.
And suddenly, Robin standing there once more, the same red kit as last time, still clinging to his body in the best ways, and Cesc might be going home next week, but he can’t help but think he’s home now
as Robin wraps him in his arms like the last time they met. And if Cesc buries his face into Robin’s shoulder for the briefest of seconds, inhaling the smell of home that clings to him with a vicious grip, a grip that will never be broken, no one has to know that it makes him breathe better.
Later that night, when Cesc finds his bed finally warmed on both sides, he dreams of waking up to strong arms and the smell of home.