Chapter 1: This Is How It Works
A story about love, brotherhood and friendship. And hookers.
Somewhere in the mess with El Tri, between realizing they'd been robbed and getting kicked off the team, Jona found five minutes to himself with his cell phone and an internal conflict about who to call. Gio would take it all in stride; it wasn't like he hadn't been there himself. (Though not with the national team, Jona reminded himself; Gio had never fucked up like this.) He might tell Jona he'd been stupid, but that would be the end of it. And Jona knew, knew bone-deep, that if he called Rafa and told him what had happened, every last bit of it, about Marc and the hookers and the way the coach had looked at them afterward, Rafa would forgive him. He wouldn't think twice about it. Rafa had never held a grudge in his life.
He texted Thiago instead.
i think i really fucked up. A second later, before Thiago could reply, he added, dont tell rafa please
It made him feel even worse that Thiago texted back immediately. what happened? r u ok???
One of the officials came to get him so the coach could tell him what he already knew, that he was getting sent home, and saved him from having to reply.
Chapter 2: Zodiac
Year of the Rabbit.
"So," Xavi said, not really idly, "what do you think of our new additions?"
"Hm? Oh." Puyi followed the direction of his gaze across the pitch, where Valdes had stayed behind to do extra exercises and a little further off Iniesta was patiently waiting for him. "Like a wolf with a pet rabbit, no?" he said, and laughed a little to himself.
"I don't know," Xavi said. Valdes finished up while they watched and yanked off his gloves. Iniesta got to his feet and went to meet him; Valdes caught him up in a quick, bone-crushing hug and left his arm draped over Iniesta's much narrower shoulders as they headed off the pitch. "I think there's a bit of the wolf in our rabbit, too."
Chapter 3: Loves Company
Hint: six letters, starts with "m", ends with "isery".
Theo's plans for the evening consisted of wallowing in silent misery and ignoring the existence of a universe outside the walls of his living room, but he still checked the caller ID every time his phone buzzed, mostly out of morbid curiosity. He was going to get hell from his sister for ignoring her, he could already tell. The "missed call" beep somehow sounded angrier with every repetition.
This time, though, when he glanced at the name on his mobile screen, it wasn't Hollie calling.
"I'm rethinking my position on alcohol," Gareth said, not bothering with the usual greetings. "Come over and make sure I don't poison myself by mistake."
"Right, on my way," Theo said. He sure as hell wasn't going to try to talk Gareth out of it. Not after the day they'd both had. "Only are you sure you wouldn't rather your teammates - "
"I'm sure," Gareth interrupted grimly.
"All right, then." Theo grabbed his keys off the coffee table and glanced around his darkened living room, at the closed curtains over the windows and the television he was afraid to turn on in case he saw himself on it. He'd thrown his jacket over the back of the sofa when he got home; he picked it up on his way out the door. "Getting my car now, I'll be there in a few, yeah?"
"Right, then," Gareth said. He hesitated, and right before Theo decided to just hang up and get in the car, he added, "Thanks, yeah, mate?"
Theo laughed, which felt only a little like swallowing ground glass. "No problem. See you soon."
"Drive safe," Gareth said, and hung up.
Chapter 4: Shouldn't Let Me Babysit
Halloween-related: Bojan is a succubus.
warning for implied dubcon.
"You don't understand!" Bojan wailed, practically in tears. "I'll die if you don't!"
Oh god, teenagers. His daughter was going to be this age someday, too. "I know that this seems very important right now," Thierry said carefully, "but you're very young, and - "
"If you don't want to, I can make you," Bojan hissed. Thierry started to laugh - Bojan was half his size, there was no way - but then Bojan's eyes started to glow, and the world went blurry.
Thierry was lying in bed when he came back to himself. He felt echoes of pleasure buzzing throughout his body, but he'd never been so exhausted in his life - not after training, not after a game. Certainly never after sex. "That was very nice," Bojan said. His head was pillowed on Thierry's chest. "We should do it again sometime."
"Yes, of course," Thierry heard himself say. "Whatever you want."
Chapter 5: Show Me Your Teeth
Halloween-related: Andres is a vampire.
"But you have a game tonight," Andres said, wringing his hands. "You'll get light-headed if I take too much."
Victor eyed him narrowly, taking in the paler-than-usual skin and sunken cheeks. He shoved his wrist in front of Andres' face again. "Shut up and drink."
It only hurt a little - a bit worse than getting his ear pierced, nowhere near as bad as a tattoo. Andres let go before he could start feeling dizzy and sealed the punctures with a quick swipe of his tongue. "Thank you," he said, looking anywhere but at Victor. His color was already much better.
Victor wrapped an arm around his shoulders and pressed a kiss to the side of his head. "Whatever you need, you know that. Don't wait so long next time."
Chapter 6: Tempest in a Teacup
based on a conversation I had with justkisa about Silva throwing crockery at Adam's head during a fight, and the inevitable aftermath.
"Adam, shoes!" Silva snapped.
Adam was facing away, so at least Silva couldn't see him roll his eyes. If not even sex could keep him from being this pissy... "Not wearing them, am I," he said with exaggerated slowness. "Don't worry. And it's my fucking kitchen, innit, I can track mud in if I want..."
"Shoes on," Silva insisted. "The floor, look - "
Adam looked. "What the fuck, why didn't you clean that up?" A sudden thought struck him, and he took another step into the kitchen, ignoring Silva's warning hiss. "Are you wearing shoes? Did you cut yourself?"
"Yes I wear shoes, because I am not stupid and I look at the floor before I walk," Silva said. "You clean, is your kitchen."
"You threw the damn teacup at me!"
Silva didn't answer, just stared at him with those infuriatingly opaque eyes. Adam threw his hands in the air and went out into the living room to find his trainers.
Chapter 7: With Grace in Your Heart and Flowers in Your Hair
What else are guardian angels for?
"We had a good run," he said, almost abstractly. "Don't you think?"
"Of course," Manel said. He looked down at Pep's head, gray and balding and motionless against his shoulder, and was nearly blinded by a rush of affection for him in all his infuriating brilliance. "They fought for it so hard. You should be proud of that, you know. You know they fought for you." Pep only hummed a little at that, so Manel added, "And they'll be ready to fight again next year."
"Maybe," Pep said. Manel's eyebrows rose, but before he could say anything Pep moved even closer and pressed his face into Manel's neck, his breath slow and steady against his skin. "I'm so tired."
"So rest," Manel said. He rubbed his hand up and down Pep's arm, more for comfort than for warmth, and felt as though he were the one being reassured when Pep sighed in response. "I'll be here if you need me."
"You always are."
"Yes, well." He kissed the crown of Pep's head, light and very quick, and smiled a little to himself. "That's what I followed you here for, isn't it? No matter where you go, I always will be."
there will come a day with no more tears
and love will not break your heart
Chapter 8: Facilmente a t'Ingannar
but if you think that in return I ought to love only you, gentle sir, you are easily led to self-deceit
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"Jesus Christ, Mario," Roberto spat. He couldn't even bring himself to look at him yet; instead he threw his hands in the air and spun around to glare at the wall. "Why do you always--you are such a fucking idiot, I should fucking sell you to fucking Russia and get you out of my hair!"
"So why don't you?" Mario asked, almost perfectly monotone. "If I'm such a nuisance--" and there it was, the tiniest crack in his voice, and Roberto knew it wasn't enough to hang a hope on but he'd never seen the point in gambling on a safe bet.
"Because I'm a fucking idiot too," he sighed. He was calm enough for this now--he knew his own temper better than his children, these days--so he turned and looked at Mario, at the smoldering resentment that he wore like a suit of armor over whatever it was he was trying to protect. Sometimes when Roberto was in a bad mood he thought that maybe there was nothing underneath; that there was nothing to Mario but pointless, directionless rage. But he couldn't bring himself to believe it. "Mario. Mario, I'm not asking you for anything you can't do." Mario stared at him, expressionless. Roberto throttled down the urge to punch him, if only to get some kind of proof that he was listening. "I am not asking you to be perfect. I am asking you to try. I will protect you, I will say or do whatever I need to in order to keep you, but there is no fucking point if you're not going to try."
"I am--" Mario started to say, the words ground out like wheat under a millstone.
"No," Roberto cracked sharply. "You're not. Not hard enough. But you will, or I'm done with you. Understand? Promise me."
"I promise," Mario mumbled. It seemed to take him a very long time to say it, but Roberto didn't know if that was some trick of his own mind, stretching out the syllables like taffy. "I promise I'll try."
Roberto waited until he looked down, and then the spell was broken. With one of his other players maybe he would have reached out for a backslap or embrace or just a touch on the arm, but it was different with Mario. It had to be. "Good," he said briskly. "Get back to your teammates and apologize for letting them down, and it's forgotten. Mario," he added, when he had already turned to leave. "You can trust me, you know. I will always take care of you, if you'll let me."
Mario left. Roberto walked back to his desk with the footsteps of an old man and sank into his chair, and allowed himself one moment to vainly hope that this would be the time it worked.
title comes from the aria Se tu m'ami, which is a setting of a text by Paolo Antonio Rolli.
Chapter 9: Uptown Downtown (A Thousand Miles Between Us)
Transfer angst based on this article, for mardia.
"Hey hotshot, I hear you're off to Barcelona again," Theo said, laughing. "What is this, the fifth time this month? They need to give the rumors a rest, it's not exactly a slow news week."
"Um, yeah," Gareth said, and then he fell silent. It would have been ridiculous how fucking awkward he was on the phone--grown man! couldn't form complete sentences when using a method of communication that had been around since the time of his birth!--except he was fucking awkward in every single other aspect of his life, too. Theo kind of liked that about him, though.
"What a laugh, eh? Like you'd leave Spurs, more's the pity. Should come join the better half of North London--"
"Um," Gareth said again. "About that."
"About--Gareth are they talking about bringing you to Arsenal do not fuck with me you bastard--"
"Not Arsenal," Gareth interrupted. "But, um. I dunno if--Barcelona, that's a lark, like they'd be interested in me. But I might be leaving in the summer."
"I mean, maybe? But, like. Maybe leaving England. I dunno. Be a bit weird, playing for another English team. Italy, maybe."
"Gareth, don't be ridiculous," Theo said firmly. "You can't speak a bloody word of a single language but English, you don't even know Welsh. And you'd never move that far away from your mum."
"I want to play in the Champions League, Theo." Gareth's voice sounded… he sounded like he'd already made up his mind, like nothing Theo said was going to make a bit of difference. "If we don't qualify--I can learn a language if I have to, and my mum can fly out to see me. Nothing's decided, just. I'm going to have to talk things through with the club, when the season's over."
"I bet you'll qualify, though," Theo said, mostly on autopilot. "Newcastle's got to play City and Chelsea still, right? Probably drop points somewhere." Gareth hadn't even brought up the possibility of Spurs leapfrogging Arsenal somehow. That was a bad sign.
"Yeah, but it won't matter if Chelsea win the final."
Theo made a scoffing sound. "Whatever, Bayern's gonna win, not even worth worrying about."
"Theo, I didn't mean--it's not. I mean. I didn't tell you so you'd worry. I just thought, you know. I wanted you to know. In case, so you're not surprised."
Hearing that was a little bit like getting punched in the face, because Theo hadn't told Gareth about Arsenal until it was a done deal and he was a foot out the door already and they'd been roommates, for fuck's sake, not just derby rivals with a history, but he knew Gareth didn't mean it like that. He didn't know why he was so bothered by the idea of Gareth going to play for a different team somewhere else; it would be a huge loss for Spurs, which alone would be a good reason to celebrate. It was just that Gareth had always been there whenever he wanted him, pretty much since they met. Even before Gareth followed him to London, it wasn't like Southampton was far. He'd sort of assumed Gareth would always be there.
He knew how to be a better friend than this. "Hey, who's worried?" he said lightly. "Just wouldn't be the same, not seeing your pretty hair on Derby Day. But, like," he added more slowly, searching for the right words, "you have to look after yourself, what's best for you. It's good you're thinking about that. So, yeah. I'm glad you told me. And I'll see you in the Champions League one way or the other."
"Thanks," Gareth said in a weirdly creaky voice. "I really--I really appreciate it."
"No problem, mate," Theo said. He was going to have to work on appreciating things more. Some of them weren't always going to be there.
Chapter 10: The Only Sernando Fic I Will Ever Write
Texting is such a subtle medium.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
sent by: Fernando Torres at 23:11 29/11/10
sent by: Sergio Ramos at 23:14 29/11/10
u r the worst boyfriend ever
sent by: Fernando Torres at 23:23 29/11/10
LOL SUCK IT MERENGUE SCUM
sent by: Fernando Torres at 23:24 29/11/10
also pepe says hi and JAJAJA YOU SUCK 5-0 5-0 5-00000000000
sent by: Sergio Ramos at 23:36 29/11/10
i hate u and ur never getting laid again
This obviously takes places immediately after the November 2010 Clasico in which Barcelona defeated Real Madrid 5-0, and was written in part in response to some speculation I'd seen around the interwebs that Fernando Torres would be cheering for Real Madrid in that match, in support of Sergio Ramos. All together now: Fernando Torres hates Real Madrid!
Chapter 11: A Bit Unfortunate
In which Mario Balotelli receives a very peculiar text message. I blame bustedflush for everything.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Mario was looking forward to a quiet week or two of vacation before he had to show up for preseason. It had been a busy summer, between winning the league, losing the European Championship, surviving a pregnancy scare and then his family's reaction to said pregnancy scare -- he loved her more than anything in the world, but if he never again had to hear his elderly and extremely Catholic mother scream at him that if he so much as thought of putting his he-knew-what in some girl's he-knew-where without putting a condom on it first she was going to chop it off, it would still be far too soon -- and a bit of harmless dissipation at the beach seemed just what the doctor ordered. He could cheat on his diet, enjoy his single state (no more models, he'd sworn off on them for the time being, but maybe a nice beach volleyball player or synchronized swimmer…) and get up to just enough trouble to keep the tabloids from speculating that he'd learned his lesson. Nobody taught Mario Balotelli anything except his sainted mother -- Jose Mourinho himself hadn't managed it, and he was damned if he'd give Rafaella Fico the satisfaction.
He had just sent Enoch off to acquire more drinks with pink umbrellas when his phone buzzed. That in and of itself wasn't strange; he'd gotten all sorts of messages since the Euros, some completely banal and some so explicit that Mario was no longer allowing his sister to screen his calls for him. This one was from Alberto, though. Mario hadn't heard from him in months, and as he opened the message he squashed down a tiny bit of disappointment that Alberto was going to turn out just like all the rest of them after all, only interested when he was winning.
help ive bn kidnaped by strange man in pinstripes!!! im going 2 miss preseason cuz im stuck in a phonebox pls u hav 2 rescue me!!!!!
Doctor Who crossover, obviously. The title is a nod to this quote, because my favorite thing about Mario is his relationship with his mom.
Chapter 12: Girl It's True (I Can Never Be Away From You)
Last-gasp days of summer by the pool.
"I missed you," Rafa announced, apropos of nothing. Thiago snuck a glance at him out of the corner of his eye, but it was impossible to tell what his expression was behind his sunglasses.
"Well then stop taking vacations without me," he suggested.
"Well then stop getting injured so you have to stay in Barcelona for rehab instead of coming on vacation with me," Rafa retorted immediately.
Thiago knew there was no point in arguing -- it wasn't like Rafa cared about anything as boring as making sense -- but he wasn't about to let it go, either. It was the principle of the thing. "Um, hello, who here abandoned his injured brother to the tender mercy of the physios so he could have fun on summer break?"
"Yeah, but you left me to come to Barcelona," Rafa said, and that was the trump card of sibling rivalry right there: Thiago never won arguments with Rafa and they both knew why. The memory of Rafa when their dad finally gave in and brought him to Barcelona, pale and sick and miserable just from missing him, was enough to kill even Thiago's competitive spirit. Rafa never hesitated to use it to his advantage, either. "And I followed you. So now it's your turn."
They'd dragged their lounge chairs close enough to reach out and touch when they came down to the pool that morning, automatic after who knew how many days or months or years lying in the sun together, and Thiago didn't even have to look to brush his fingers over the fleshy part of Rafa's right arm, tracing the lines of ink by memory instead of sight. It wasn't Rafa's only tattoo anymore, but it was still his first: no matter what happened when they were grown up for real, Thiago would always have all of Rafa's firsts.
"Okay," he said, listening to the sharp hiss of breath through Rafa's teeth. "So where do you want to go?"
Chapter 13: Couvade
"Couvade syndrome is a term used to describe a situation in which an otherwise healthy man — whose partner is expecting a baby — experiences pregnancy-related symptoms." (via the Mayo Clinic.)
It took longer for Andres to notice than it should have, but he had the excuse of a new family of his own. "Were you just throwing up in there?"
"No," Victor said, and wiped reflexively at his mouth.
"Victor, I'm serious, if you caught that flu that Jordi had you need to see the doctor right away. Don't be an idiot. Come on, we can leave a little early and I'll drop you off on the way to practice, the míster won't mind."
"It's not the flu," Victor insisted. "I'm fine. Come in, sit down and have something to drink, okay? Yoli got up to make us breakfast, she'll be upset if we leave without saying goodbye."
Victor's pleading look did very little to calm Andres' suspicions, but he had even less desire to offend a pregnant woman, and he knew he'd drag the problem out of Victor eventually. "All right," he said at last, letting Victor lead the way into the kitchen. "But don't think you're getting away with this. Good morning," he added to Yolanda. "How are you feeling?"
"Never better," she said cheerfully. She was still moving gracefully, Andres noticed as she came over to exchange kisses. She'd managed to get all the way through her pregnancy with Dylan without ever waddling or giving up high-heeled shoes, too; he had no idea how women did it. "How are Anna and Valeria?"
"Doing just fine -- oh, thank you," he said, absent-mindedly accepting the cup of coffee Yolanda was offering him. "Is Dylan -- "
"Oh, not again," she interrupted, disgust clear in her voice. Andres turned around and saw that Victor's face had gone so pale he was nearly green. "Just go," Yolanda sighed. Victor bolted unceremoniously from the room.
"What the…?" Andres said, staring after him.
"It's the coffee," Yolanda said. "He's fine the rest of the time, but the second he smells it… I was never sick a day with this one or with Dylan, I have no idea where he's getting it from. The doctor said it's normal for some men, it's just all the hormones, but -- " She rolled her eyes. "You'd think he was the pregnant one, the way he's carrying on. And I tell him and tell him, I'll just wait to make coffee until he leaves for practice, but no, he's fine, he's fine! So fine he can't stop throwing up, obviously."
"Should someone maybe go after him?" Andres asked.
Yolanda looked surprised for a moment, then ducked down to kiss Andres' cheek again. "You're so sweet, I don't know how you've put up with Victor so long. It's really nothing serious, but if you want to go check on him you can. I did at first, but, well." She gestured towards her stomach. "I'm not so good at bending over anymore."
"I'll go do that, then," Andres said with a smile. "Thank you for the coffee."
It didn't take much effort to locate Victor: all Andres had to do was follow the sound of dry heaving to the nearest bathroom, and there he was, huddled miserably over the toilet. Andres hesitated for a moment in the doorway, then knelt on the floor beside him. "Hey," he said, rubbing a gentle hand over the peach-fuzz stubble at the back of Victor's head. "Feeling better?"
"Just embarrassed," Victor croaked. He frowned, cleared his throat, and went on, "Doesn't really fit my image, you know."
Andres snorted. "Like Yoli and I care. Don't be stupid, Victor."
"I can't help it if some things just come naturally to me," Victor said. He turned his head to rest his cheek on the toilet seat and smiled up at Andres, crooked but sincere. "I'm working on it."
"Caring this much makes you a better father," Andres said seriously. "Being a good dad is not ever embarrassing. Now," he added as he got to his feet, "if you're done puking, get up, brush your teeth and get in the car."
Victor laughed and accepted Andres' hand up. "All right. Thanks, little brother."
"Don't thank me, just don't throw up in my car -- no! I'm serious, no kissing until you brush your teeth, asshole! Fuck off and get your fucking mouth away from me, you -- "
"STOP SWEARING, DYLAN IS AWAKE," Yolanda shouted from the kitchen.
"Sorry!" Andres yelled back.
"Don't repeat anything Uncle Andres just said!" Victor called through a mouthful of toothpaste. He spat, rinsed and added, "I'll see you when I get home from practice!"
Andres shook his head as Victor carefully put away his toothbrush and toothpaste and started herding him out the door. "Come on, hurry up, we're going to be late."
"We've still got plenty of time -- "
"Not if we're going to get tea in the dining hall first, so get moving."
Victor stopped dead in the hallway, ignoring Andres' protests, and put him in a headlock so he could press a kiss to the top of his head. "I don't think I've ever done anything to deserve you, little brother," he said.
"Yeah, well." Andres squirmed free without too much trouble and made for the front door. "You're stuck with me anyway. I'm pretty sure that's what family means."
Chapter 14: radical reference
"punk-ass book jockeys": an AU in which Victor Valdes is a radical reference librarian and Andres Iniesta runs bilingual storytime
Word in the break room was that the new part-timer, who was notable mainly for his ability to bring shy children out of their shells and his extensive collection of hideous cardigans, had been picked up after closing last night by a tattooed skinhead on a motorcycle. Normally Xavi didn't lend much credence to water cooler gossip, but when Carles the night-time security guard texted to make sure that Andres had come in to work unharmed, he felt that as his supervisor he ought to be concerned. "Andres, are you busy?" He didn't wait for a response. "Come sit at the ref desk with me and let Patricia take her lunch break."
"But -- the shelving -- " Andres cast a worried look over his shoulder at his half-full shelving cart and the deserted children's reference desk as Xavi towed him away.
"One of the pages will get to it," Xavi said firmly. He nodded to the librarian on reference duty. "Patricia, you can take your break now."
"But I already -- "
Xavi frowned, and Patricia immediately logged out of her Gmail account, collected her water bottle and retreated to the staff room. Three patrons who couldn't work out the system for reserving a computer and one confused grandmother with a new Kindle later, there was finally a pause long enough for Xavi to speak with Andres.
"Puyi was worried about your making it home safely last night," he said.
"Hmm?" Andres blinked, visibly tearing his attention away from the computer screen. When Xavi squinted, he recognized the header of a popular blog on low-budget craft ideas. "Oh, because the buses weren't running? That's very sweet of him, but I wasn't walking, someone picked me up."
"Oh?" Xavi carefully kept his tone neutral. "Is that likely to be a problem? I'm sure we could arrange a carpool, if it's inconvenient for your friend to come get you."
"No, no, um -- " Andres flushed and glanced around the deserted reference area before admitting, "I wanted to close on Tuesdays because it's easy for him to pick me up on the way home. Victor works the late shift anyway so I wouldn't see him otherwise."
"And this -- Victor," Xavi asked delicately, "is he your roommate? Where exactly does he work?"
Andres' entire face lit up in a manner comparable only to his expression when he'd started talking about his childhood love for Eric Carle and Leo Lionni during his interview. "Victor works at the community library downtown," he said proudly. "He's so happy I got this job, he really wanted me to get my MLS too but it just didn't seem practical to take out more student loans, so when Director Guardiola said the library would pay for me to get my degree part-time…"
"You know you can call her Josie, right?" Xavi interrupted. "She's not a stickler for formality or anything." Andres went even paler than usual and shook his head, and Xavi remembered belatedly the awe that Josefina Guardiola tended to inspire in people who hadn't seen her the week before budgets were due, wild-eyed from lack of sleep and ready to rip off heads after who knew how many forgotten meals. Xavi had worked with her for years, and was no longer impressed by anything less than full-on Amazonian rages. Those were rare these days, thankfully, since they were usually reserved for across-the-board budget cuts of twenty percent or more.
None of which had anything to do with what Xavi wanted to know about the mysterious Victor, and he was preparing to guide the conversation back to a more useful avenue when Andres let out a startled squeak and jumped to his feet. "Victor! You're early!"
Xavi looked up from his computer, and then up a little further. Tiny, timid Andres made an interesting contrast with the newcomer: Victor was tall and good looking in an intimidating sort of way, with a shaved head, muscular arms and several tattoos bared by the short sleeves of his Guild of Radical Militant Librarians t-shirt, a leather motorcycle jacket dangling from one hand... and a look of unabashed adoration directed at Andres on his face. "Thought I'd see what the place looked like before closing for once," he was saying. "Don't worry about me, I'll just poke around in the nonfiction until your shift is over."
"Oh -- well, okay, but -- "
"Don't worry," he repeated, with a smile that was completely at odds with his biker aesthetic. "It's not like I'll be bored. You go on back to work."
"Wait!" Andres said when Victor started to turn away from the reference desk. "I want to -- Victor, this is my supervisor, Xavi. Xavi, this is Victor, my, um. My partner."
Victor's eyebrows flew up, but his handshake when Xavi got to his feet and reached across the desk was firm. They were both silent for a moment, visibly sizing each other up, until Andres let out an impatient cough. "Pleasure to meet you," Victor said.
"Same," Xavi said, and released Victor with a satisfied nod. Delinquent or not, he thought Andres' boyfriend might be suitable after all.