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Thank God We're Together

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Iker woke up with an awful taste in his mouth. It tasted like he had a midnight snack of cola cao and never brushed his teeth. It was a sour and dry taste. Cola cao was his favorite drink, and it always made him feel like he was ten years old again. A time where he had no worries in the world- no pressure, and no responsibilities- but to practice football. He loved stopping the ball. He loved the feeling of throwing himself into the air to make a save; he felt like he could fly sometimes. He loved seeing the look on the opponent's face when he took their chance of heroism away. He felt safe in between the posts, a place that has to be the scariest spot on a football pitch, especially in the Santiago Bernabeu. He wished it was that simple again. Maybe it will be soon.

Today was the day of his press conference, or as everyone else is calling it, his 'fair well ceremony.' Iker didn't think a press conference should pass for a ceremony, but that's what he got. No fans cheering him one last time, none of his teammates at his side, and no grass beneath his feet. The last time Iker wore the Real Madrid kit he took it for granted. He honestly thought he would put it on again next season. Instead, he will be wearing the blue and white strips of FC Porto.

Iker opened his eyes to find himself alone in bed. The only proof that Iker wasn't the only person who slept in the bed was the rumpled sheets beside him. Iker sighed. Where had Sergio gone? He was hoping to wake up next to the one person he loved most in this world one more time before everything changed for good.

Iker went downstairs to find no one. He went searching from room to room until he checked outside. On the porch, he found Sergio watching the sunrise from the steps. His silhouette was lit by the orange and yellow sky, he looked like an angel. Iker smiled, there was no way San Iker would settle for anything less, he heard himself say in his head.  As Iker stepped through the entrance to the porch, he noticed that Sergio wasn't just wearing the sweatpants he went to bed with. Instead, he had donned one of Iker's old jerseys; Iker's name displayed beautifully across his toned shoulders. Iker swore under his breath. He had always secretly loved when Sergio wore something of his.

Iker sat down next to Sergio. He was sitting with his knees drawn up to his chest, looking out to the sunrise with a blank face. They sat in silence for a moment, both admiring the golden sky around them before Sergio turned to Iker.

"We leave for Melbourne today," Sergio said simply.

"When do you have to leave?" Iker asked.

"11."

"My press conference is at noon. I can drive you."

"Okay." Sergio smiled a little, but it turned into a big yawn. Iker frowned.

 "How long have you been up?"

"I don't know. It was still dark when I woke up." Sergio sighed.

"Do you want some breakfast?" Iker asked as he stood up from his spot on the porch. A cold chill running down his back as he left the warmth of Sergio's side.

"Isn't it too early, Capi? We don't want to mess up our eating habits now do we?" Sergio joked.

Iker scoffed, "I don't care. We can eat cookies and cake today for all I care." Normally Iker isn't this carefree especially when it affects football, Sergio makes a face.

"And I won't be captain anymore after today, and who knows how long I have left for La Roja," Iker stated. Sergio scrunched up his face at the thought.

"You will always be Captain, it doesn't matter if you have an armband or not, and it doesn't matter if you're wearing the same shirt or not. You will always be our leader." Sergio affirmed.

Iker shook his head, "Let's go start breakfast."

Sergio grabbed Iker's pale wrist and stood up. His keeper gloves protecting him from the sun during every practice or game.

"Iker." He said softly

Iker looked up into Sergio's brown eyes; they were solemn, unlike the usual lightheartedness they held.

"None of what's happening is your fault. You did nothing wrong. You deserve to be here more than anyone. What they are doing to you isn't right!" So this is what kept Sergio up all night, Iker guessed. Iker sighed.

"Sergio, you don't understand. I just wasn't good enough. I haven't been good enough for a long time." Iker said looking defeated.

"Look at what they have done to you! They have made you believe their ridiculous lies. Iker, you know that you are better than this. Perez is a greedy geriatric fuck! He doesn't give a damn about the players or the club, he only cares about the money. Don't take the blame for his mistakes. His biggest one being Mourinho." Sergio fumed.

"Sese, I'm tired and hungry, I don't want to do this right now." Iker pleaded with sad eyes. All Iker wanted to do was eat breakfast and go back to bed before they had to leave.

Sergio visibly deflated at that. "What do you want to eat?" He asked softly.

"Eggs and potatoes." he said with a little smile, knowing that Sergio probably already knew that.

 "Alright, you get the eggs and I'll get the cola cao." He said sweetly. Iker doesn't know what he did to deserve Sergio, but he thanks God every day for him.

They make breakfast together enjoying each other’s presence. It's a part of their daily routine to make breakfast together; Iker cooks and Sergio sets the table and makes the cola cao. Sergio makes it just like his mom did; something Iker has struggled to perfect since he left home.

After they finish eating, Iker looks up from his mostly empty plate at his boyfriend across the table. "Do you want to go back to bed now?" He asks apprehensively, not wanting to continue earlier's conversation.

"Okay, Mi Vida." They clean up and head upstairs back to their bedroom.                             

They lie down together, holding each other close. Their eyes are shut, but they aren't sleeping, just enjoying their shared warmth and closeness. Both of them took off their shirts before getting back in bed. Sergio is draped over Iker like he is protecting him from everything that will happen today, his arms wrapped around Iker and his head on Iker's chest listening to Iker's heartbeat. Iker is running his hands through Sergio's hair, down his arms, and back memorizing everything. Every muscle, vein, hair, and swirl of ink of Sergio.

"I love you so much, Sese." Iker whispers into Sergio's hair.

Sergio raises his head up and kisses Iker reverently. "I love you too." He whispers back.

"I don't ever want to leave this bed." Leave you, Iker doesn't say.

"We don't have to," Sergio says suddenly excited with a gleam in his eye.  "We can stay here and forget about everything. Stop playing football and... We can travel the world! Together! We won't ever have to leave each other." Sergio rushed out animatedly.

"If only we could," Iker said wistfully. He kissed Sergio on top of his head.

"Yeah," Sergio pouted. There was silence for a moment and then Sergio looked up again with a miserable expression, "when will I see you again?" he asks sadly.

Iker brings a hand up to Sergio's face caressing it, "I don't know, Nene. You go to Australia today, and I have to go to Portugal and then the Netherlands. Sometime after the season starts?" He guesses. With that Sergio's hold tightens on Iker and he shoves his face in between Iker's neck and shoulders, breathing him in.

 They lay like that until Iker's alarm startles them both. Iker sighs and turns the alarm off. It's time to get ready. They disentangle themselves from each other and head their separate ways to get ready, Sergio goes to the closet to pack for Australia and Iker goes to take a shower.

After Iker finishes washing, he stands under the spray for a long time. There under the spray he finally lets himself cry under the illusion that the shower will hide his breakdown. His shoulders are shaking with his quiet sobs, as his heart breaks in two knowing that he is leaving everything he has ever known, his home, friends, family, Sergio. God, he really doesn't want to leave him.

The shower door opens and Sergio steps inside. Iker is embarrassed, he thought for sure he could hide this. He wants to drown himself in the shower.

Sergio doesn't say anything, just crowds up against Iker's back, hugging him tightly. Iker loses it then. He starts sobbing loudly now, knowing that there is nothing left for him to hide. He is so frustrated that this is happening to him, to them. They've been through so much already, and he had honestly thought they had made it out safe. In reality, he's getting kicked out of the one thing that Iker had always thought he would be a part of forever. He's getting taken away from the one person he needs most. He's falling apart right before his eyes, and all he can think of is how unfair it all is.

Sergio says nothing, just a steady, calm presence for Iker to lean into as he cries his heart out on the most painful day of his life. Sergio leans down and kisses his shaking shoulder.

Iker calms down after a while and steels himself before turning around in Sergio's arms.

"I'm okay now," he says and wipes his nose. Sergio is looking at him with a pained expression, but he doesn't say anything. He just nods and turns off the water. They dry off and continue with their routine like nothing ever happened, except for a few worried glances from Sergio when he thinks Iker's not looking.

-

Sergio's things were loaded into the car, and they set out on their last drive to the Bernabeu together. Iker is driving, Sergio singing along to his flamenco music, Iker only allowing it because he'll miss this. He'll ache for these moments with him, he already does, and he hasn't even left yet.

Iker pulls into his parking spot at the stadium, and he turns off the car. He looks over at Sergio and smiles weakly at him. Sergio grabs his hand and smiles back. Iker leans across the center console and kisses Sergio. He never wants to stop. They break a part, but rest their foreheads against each other; Iker sighs and Sergio kisses him one more time. His hands on both sides of Iker’s face.

 "I'm sorry I can't be there with you today," Sergio says regretfully.

"I know, Sese. I'll be okay." Iker lies. He squeezes Sergio's hand. Iker knows that Sergio can't help that he has to leave, he knows that it would be easier if he were there with him at the press conference, but again his life is anything but fair.

They walk into the Stadium one last time together, hand in hand. Iker tries to remember this feeling. Sergio at his side- the feeling of Sergio's warm palm in his-, the smell of his home, and the sounds of Real Madrid. He looks to Sergio and finds him already watching him, he smiles at Iker, and it immediately fills Iker with warmth. And then something clicks inside of him, and he realizes at that moment that everything will be okay because no matter where he is, he knows he will always have Sergio there for him. Even if there is five hours and a border between them. Knowing now that Real Madrid wasn't something he was supposed to be a part of forever, but it's Sergio who is his forever home.