Summary: Stevie meets a decision. Xabi has to learn to live with it.
Author's Notes: First of all, hugs and thanks to indigologic and paularinaa for all their help with this! Second, neither the boys nor the lines in italics are mine; the boys, of course, only belong to themselves, while the lines are taken from Gustav Mahler's "Songs of a wayfarer", 4th song, which you can listen to here. Thanks to everyone who followed this; comments are love and would make a horrible Sunday a bit better.
The two blue eyes of my darling -
They have sent me into the wide world.
I had to take my leave of this well-beloved place!
O blue eyes, why did you gaze on me?
Now I will have eternal sorrow and grief.
Even though the season has already started long ago, Barcelona are still interested, very interested indeed. So very much interested that they pay the seventeen million Liverpool ask for him without turning a hair.
The transfer is sounded throughout the land, the reporters nearly beat a path to his door, but Xabi is reserved like always and states in a calm, determined voice that it has always been his dream to play for Barca, that he is very happy about returning to his home country. He doesn’t say any bad words about Liverpool, thanks everyone for having brought him so far and having supported him, until last.
Luis is the first one of his team-mates who tries to pump him for information. The first, though by no means the last one who meets Xabi only with incomprehension. But he doesn’t confide in anyone, makes excuses by saying that he wants to play more often and that Barca suits his style better than the Premier League. It is obvious that the smaller one doesn’t believe him, but when Xabi doesn’t want to talk, there is no way to worm it out of him, and so one colleague after the other turns away disappointedly.
No matter how indifferent Xabi pretends to be, the move affects him. Liverpool, the town and the club, have grown close to his heart. When he is bid farewell by the fans and the players after his last game, he would have loved to turn back and not sign that contract. It is indefinitely difficult for him to take off the red shirt for a last time.
A last time, his gaze settles on the “This is Anfield” – sign above the tunnel leading out on to the pitch. He feels all odd at the thought that he will maybe never run out here again and be welcomed jubilantly by the fans.
A last time, he walks through the familiar corridors, wanders through the stadium until long after the game, sits down on his old place in the dressing room. There is already hanging Javier’s shirt above it, next to the one with the number eight.
A number that used to make Xabi’s heart beat with delight and amorousness. Of whose wearer he couldn’t get enough during the goal celebrations, enjoying each second of their hugs. Whose wearer also gave him wonderful moments off the pitch.
Gently, his hand slides over the smooth shirt, runs over the neck décolletage, rests for a moment over the left chest. Even though it is presumably brand-new, Xabi imagines smelling Stevie, not only feeling the cloth but him, being close to him, a last time.
“You’re leaving because of me, aren’t you?” A hoarse voice startles him out of his trance. Stevie stands in the door, looking over him with his grey eyes, his facial expression an impenetrable mix of emotions. For a moment, Xabi believes to recognize sadness in his look, but he isn’t sure.
And as much as he would like to lie, as much as he would like to rub Stevie’s nose in the fact that he wants to play for a club that is able to win its league, that his captain is a miserable loser – he can’t do it. Therefore he simply nods, nods and waits, eyes focused on the floor, until he hears the other one leave.
Without a caring word as a farewell.
Without a hug.
Without any sign that he still has any feelings for him.
I went out into the quiet night
Well across the dark heath.
To me no one bade farewell.
Farewell! My companions are love and sorrow!
Back in Spain, Xabi settles in fast or at least, he pretends to. He is one of the best in training, does extra sessions, is friendly and nice to anyone and everyone. His manager praises him to the skies and can’t wait for January, when he will finally be able to actually play for the club. The fans are enthusiastic at the outset.
His parents are happy to have him close to them; his mother pampers him while his father is simply proud that he has finally followed in his footsteps. They don’t ask why he wanted to leave Liverpool so suddenly, in the middle of the season, but are simply there for him. Which gives him more strength and confidence than any consoling words.
One day, he meets Nagore on the street, they say hello, stop for a little talk, after all they haven’t seen each other for a long time, since their break up at that time. At that time, when Xabi still believed to have a future with Stevie – not that he would have told her, he pretended the sport to be the reason, that it occupied him entirely, made lame excuses. The chat leads into a café, from there to a next date, to the cinema, to the beach and lastly into bed.
On the road there stands a linden tree,
And there for the first time I found rest in sleep!
Under the linden tree
That snowed its blossoms onto me -
I did not know how life went on,
And all was well again!
Nagore may not be Xabi’s great love, as well as Barcelona, but her gentle nature, her loving smile, her light voice manage to make the pain inside him fall silent. He feels warm and safe next to her, enjoys holding her petite body in his arms every morning.
During the next months, he begins to forget slowly. At the start of the next season he can read a football journal without being haunted by memories when coming across a certain name.
On the outside, he appears to be someone who has finally found home, who has found a club he belongs to; who has found a wife he wants to grow old with. Like a happy man.
All! All, love and sorrow
And world and dream!
~ Fine ~
- Current Location:bed
- Current Mood: sad
- Current Music:Perfect - Smashing Pumpkins