Julian and Kai are not dating. That’s for certain. They'd know if they were.
Julian knows that, they’re friends, best friends even. They’re almost always on the same wavelength on the pitch, they seek each other out if the other one scores, they make stupid bets before games-
"I'll score five today, just watch. If Lewandowski can do it, so can I.”
"I’ll score an overhead kick, ninetieth minute, winning goal.”
(both of which are yet to happen).
Julian doesn’t think it’s weird in the slightest, ignoring the amused but hushed whispers, sometimes sniggering, rolling his eyes when someone shouts across the dressing room if he’s going to find his boyfriend. Julian can take the teasing - they’re wrong anyway. It isn’t as though Julian always has to be within touching distance of Kai, they’re not that co-dependent yet - it doesn’t mean the teasing stops.
“Kai! I swear to-” Julian rushes out between breaths as Kai jogs past him, barely batting an eyelid when Julian looks up from where he’s planted on the ground after his best friend tripped him. “You’re such a cheat, sometimes.”
Kai stops, spinning on his heel with a shit-eating grin twitching at the corners of his lips. “Call it revenge for the other day.” He shrugs nonchalantly as he stretches his hand towards Julian, wiggling his fingers so that he can help Julian back to his feet.
Julian glares at Kai’s hand as though it’s a foreign object before sighing, brushing his hair out of his eyes and grasping hold of his hand, firmly enough that he can pull Kai down with him. Kai stumbles and swears as he lands atop of Julian who groans and falls back flat against the ground.
“Did you have to do that?” Kai asks with an intake of breath. “I was being nice!”
“You kicked me in the first place, so, yeah, I had to.” Julian smirks as he ruffles Kai’s hair, not caring to bring up that Kai’s hair feels incredibly soft under his fingertips because that’s not what they do. “Call it revenge.” Julian snorts as Kai digs his fingers into Julian’s ribs.
“Havertz! Brandt! Get up and get on with it!” Bosz shouts from across the pitch.
Julian and Kai exchange a glance before Julian pushes Kai off him and scrambles to his feet, extending his hand, Kai glances up at Julian through his eyelashes and with a scrutinizing expression tugging at his features.
“Oh, grab it. I’m not going to do it twice.” Julian huffs out as he shoves his hand further towards Kai.
Kai still looks sceptical as he grabs hold of Julian’s hand and allows the elder to pull him back to his feet. Julian’s never noticed it before, never noticed how warm Kai’s hands feel and they feel warm all the fucking time. Julian is still staring at their joint hands when Bosz voice cuts through the mid-morning fog once more and Julian jumps back as though he’s been electrocuted.
“Catch me.” Kai smirks before rolling his foot atop of the ball and jogging away.
The text is a lot of jumbled letters and numbers, clearly rushed and incoherent and Julian blinks twice at it, wondering what in god’s name Kai is upto. It’s when he’s in the middle of replying to the text does his phone start ringing with a call from the boy himself.
“I cut my hand open - fuck - you need to help me!” Kai shrieks down the phone with such a rawness, squeakiness to voice that Julian winces and holds his phone away from his ear. “It’s bleeding. Hurry up!” Kai shouts once more before the call falls dead.
Julian stares at his phone for a second before sighing and grabbing his keys from the table before making his way over to Kai’s. Hoping he gets there before Kai bleeds out completely and his ghost comes back to haunt Julian for the rest of his mediocre existence.
Kai is standing in the kitchen holding his hand above his head with the blood dripping onto a white cloth that is stained red. Julian stops abruptly in the doorway before sniggering,
“Have you really just been stood like this since you called me?” He asks and he doesn’t even attempt to hide the amusement in his voice.
“Just fucking help me.” Kai grumbles.
Julian rolls his eyes but enters the kitchen and hauls his best friend over to the sink and turns the tap on, cold water gushing out as Julian forces Kai to lower his arm and put his hand under the running water. Kai hisses and Julian side-eyes him.
“You can’t tell me you didn’t know you had to rinse your hand after slicing it open.” Julian almost wants to pinch the bridge of his nose and express his disappointment but Kai has his eyes screwed shut and his head turned away from his hand and Julian almost feels bad for him. “Come on.” Julian urges gently, after rinsing away the blood, he leads Kai back towards the bathroom so he can fix it up. “What were you doing anyway?” Julian asks after he makes Kai lean against the edge of the sink.
“I was making dinner whilst watching TV and I just - cut it.” Kai admits causing Julian to snort out a laugh. “It’s not funny, you bastard.” Kai grumbles as he kicks out at the back of Julian’s calf.
“Is.” Julian counters as he grabs a gauze and bandage and gets to work wrapping Kai’s hand up.
Kai falls silent, his eyes fluttering as Julian carefully presses the gauze to the cut, brushing his own fingers over Kai’s palm when Kai whimpers at the sensation. Julian slowly wraps the bandage, his own hands beginning to shake as he struggles with the way that Kai is slowly retracting his hand. Julian stops, twisting his fingers with Kai’s to get him to stop moving. Julian keeps his eyes trained on Kai’s hand but he knows Kai is watching him with an unreadable expression, probably about as unreadable as how Julian is feeling this second.
Julian manages to bandage Kai’s hand without messing it up. “All done. Promise me you’ll stay away from knives for the time-being?” It’s supposed to come out a little tongue in cheek but even Julian can’t hide the undertone of worry in his voice.
“I’ll just have to go out for dinner.” Kai shrugs, dropping his hand back to his side.
Julian misses the warmth of Kai’s hand already.
Kai is like an oversized koala. That’s the only way that Julian can put it without needing much of an explanation. He’s always been clingy, especially when it comes to Julian but after the whole slicing his hand open - Kai has taken to seeking out Julian a lot more whenever they’re together.
Kai barrels into him at the end of their first training session with the national team during this break, slinging an arm around Julian’s shoulder and dropping his head to the blond’s shoulder. Julian tenses momentarily but relaxes when he realises it’s his best friend. Kai has his fingers tangled in the shirt that Julian’s wearing and is mumbling incoherent nonsense whilst trying to catch his breath.
Julian hums but he’s not entirely listening, he can feel Kai’s heart beating against his shoulder and can feel the way Kai’s fingers are twisting more and more in his shirt. It gets Julian’s heart racing but for what, Julian can’t quite pinpoint it.
“This is fucking cool, you know?” Kai asks, lifting his head from Julian’s shoulder and watching him with an intense gaze that Julian isn’t too entirely accustomed to seeing.
“Yeah, it’s cool.” Julian mumbles out his response having not been listening to a word his best friend has been saying to him and starts to walk back amongst the rest of their teammates.
Kai doesn’t let him go though, keeps his arm securely around Julian’s shoulders as they walk. Julian ducks his head when Bernd shoots them a look in passing. It’s not anything unusual, hell, Bernd is probably the best placed out of all their teammates to know that this is nothing short than normal - still, something twists in Julian’s stomach.
Kai doesn’t shut up, gesticulating wildly as they walk together, in time with the other. Julian sighs and ducks out of Kai’s grip when they reach the dressing room - Kai frowns but Julian doesn’t see it.
Julian is nearly asleep when he feels more than sees Kai jump atop of him and settle with his head half on Julian’s shoulder and half burrowed into Julian’s neck. Julian doesn’t react, barely cracking one eye open and trying to steady his breathing once more in order to try and fool Kai.
The problem with Kai Havertz though, is that the only way to truly get away from his habit of annoying just about anything that breathes is by being dead. Julian doesn’t respond when Kai calls his name, suppressing the sigh rising in his throat at how his name vibrates against his collarbone when Kai calls his name once again.
Nor, does he react when Kai starts poking his cheek in such a childlike way that has Julian wanting to grab his fingers and either intertwine them with his own or snap them - he’ll decide in good time.
Kai sighs and drops his hand, Julian feels Kai’s eyelashes fluttering against his neck and the feel of his breath hitting the spot just underneath his jaw. Julian screws his eyes shut and tries to keep his breathing level but it’s getting harder, it’s harder when Kai grabs a fistful of his shirt between his fingers and just holds it.
Kai mumbles something inaudible and that’s when Julian gives up, opening one eye and glancing down to the mop of dark hair in his eyeline.
“You’re incredibly annoying.”
Kai just chuckles but doesn’t lift his head, doesn’t let go of Julian’s shirt but moves closer to Julian, swinging a leg in-between Julian’s and making a satisfied noise.
“Don’t pretend that you aren’t enjoying this.” Kai’s voice is barely above a whisper but Julian swallows thickly and instinctively, he brings his hand up to brush through Kai’s hair - earning himself another somewhat content noise.
Julian wonders if Kai can feel how quickly his heart is beating from where he’s lying.
“This is what I need.” Kai breaks the silence, though his words are muffled against the soft material of Julian’s shirt. “This is cool and I’m so fucking grateful for this but-”
Julian glances down to Kai when he notices his best friend’s reluctance to continue talking. It’s not often that Kai is lost for words or even a little reluctant to have his own voice be the same as a constant buzzing in a room. Julian continues to card his hand through Kai’s hair, watching the inner battle that Kai seems to be having with himself.
“- It’s overwhelming, you know? This is it , dude. The national team and - I don’t think I’ve taken a second to realise that, yet.”
Julian laughs softly, humming in agreement, remembering his first senior national team call-up as though it was yesterday, remembering feeling all the feelings that Kai is currently experiencing.
“It gets easier.” Julian settles on telling him, in reassurance - he isn’t sure but the soft sound that Kai makes in response eases Julian’s concern.
“As long as you’re here too, right?”
The thing about Kai and Julian is they have a never-ending list of inside jokes. Some new, some old, some downright stupid but all of them never fail to make the other laugh when they’re brought up. Their jokes have made their way to Instagram and more specifically, leaving ridiculous comments on each others’ posts.
“Fuck, you’re quick.” Bernd comments, glancing up from his phone as he throws himself down onto the couch beside Julian before glancing over at Julian’s phone and noticing him reading through a bunch of Instagram comments. “Adding not subtle to that list too.” Bernd chuckles as he punches Julian’s shoulder.
“I - what?” Julian knits his eyebrows together as he finally lifts his head to meet Bernd’s gaze.
“You.” Bernd shrugs as way of an explanation. “You commented on Kai’s post within a minute of him posting it, subtlety isn’t your strong point, is it?”
Julian shrinks and locks his phone, tossing it aside for the moment. “I have no idea what you’re talking about, it wasn’t within a minute and I only commented because I was already on Instagram!”
“And, now you’re being defensive.” Bernd smirks as he looks down at Julian who has taken to shrinking even further into the back of the couch, crossing his arms over his chest and staring at a ghastly painting hanging up on the wall opposite. “I mentioned subtlety once and you got all defensive. What’s up with you?”
Julian huffs. “I’m not falling into your trap-”
“- What trap?!” Bernd exclaims before laughing. “I’m not asking you to confess your love for him - unless -”
“I’m not in love with Kai Havertz.” Julian deadpans, eyes trained straight and narrowed as Bernd throws his arms up. “He’s my best friend, that’s it.”
Julian is curled up at the edge of the bed, arm hanging out and his phone hanging off the edge of the table where he left it to charge before finally realising he should go to sleep. The sound of the Instagram notification is so loud within the late hour of the morning silence that Julian jolts awake with a flinch and glances down to his phone.
He knows he could just leave it, read the notification in the morning as it’s not a matter of life or death but, his curiosity has been a trait he’s had since he was a young boy and he can’t just not look at it otherwise he won’t be able to sleep.
Julian sleepily scrambles for his phone and pulls it to his face; wincing at the brightness as he idly unlocks his phone and for a second, he doesn’t think he’s seeing it right so he rubs his eyes. He rubs them a second time but it’s clear as fucking day, the red heart is there in reply to Julian’s comment on Kai’s post from hours before.
The phone almost slips from Julian’s grip as he focuses on the emoji, his head pulsating and his heart racing as though he’s just finished a full ninety. Of course, Kai means it jokingly, probably sarcastically as Julian tries to rack his brain for what his comment even was - probably something dumb.
He doesn’t fall asleep for hours, or at least until the first signs of the sunrise start to appear.
Julian doesn’t pick that photograph specifically, definitely not, he’s definitely not doing it as a test because his curiosity has been spiked ever since that night back on national team duty. It’s not as though it’s a special picture, just them celebrating together as usual - something they do - Julian tries not to think of all the times that his feet have subconsciously dragged him to Kai as soon as he’s scored.
Julian posts the picture without a second thought, his caption is about as basic as it gets and he tosses his phone aside for the moment. He turns his attention back to the TV and hears the familiar sound of Instagram notifications, followed by the chime of a text message.
Julian raises his eyebrows as he pulls his phone back to him and grins at the fire emojis that Kai commented before reading the message from - Bernd. Julian doesn’t even hide the scowl that tugs at the corners of his lips.
That picture, huh
Julian can picture the smug smirk almost clearly and for a split second he wants nothing more than to slap the smirk off his face, he gets another text at that moment though.
I was going to post
that picture you fucker.
Julian snorts out a laugh as he skims over the message.
I look good tho
you look … alright
Julian has to stop himself from tapping out a reply along the lines of ‘ yeah, you look good ’ - despite how much he wants to. Feeling somewhat pathetic for having stared at the picture long before he posted it because Kai has that dumb smile on his face that causes Julian’s stomach to flip. Julian’s thumbs hover above the keyboard as he tries to come up with a vaguely sarcastic reply, maybe scathing, but apparently he takes too long because Kai facetimes him before he gets a chance.
“Fucker.” Kai greets him, flipping him off in the process. “I don’t want to look like I copied your post. Hey, why did Bernd send me the smirking emoji?”
“That bastard.” Julian grits out, meeting Kai’s eyes, noticing the confusion. “Ask him.”
“I did.” Kai groans, flopping around on his bed and muttering a string of profanities when his foot gets stuck in the blanket on his bed. “He said he’d tell me during the next international break. Fucker.”
Julian barely suppresses his eye roll this time. “Come up with something new to call us.”
Suddenly, ever-so-slightly, if Julian had blinked he would have missed it. “Leave it with me.” Kai smirks at the camera, bundling himself up in his blankets so that only the top half of his face is visible.
Julian almost doesn’t want to know what Kai’s plotting.
Julian is so lost in his own sense of concentration and focus during Leverkusen’s morning training session that he doesn’t realise that Kai is calling his name from a few metres away from him. Julian’s biting down on his thumbnail and listening to the directions being called out, blinking a little too rapidly and thinking about their upcoming game against Schalke. Kai yells, he yells Julian’s name so loud that Julian flinches and momentarily loses his balance at the sheer volume.
Kai’s mouth falls open and he stares at Julian, the directions stop and their teammates stare at them in varying levels of surprise and amusement. Something twitches at the corners of Kai’s lips, it’s unreadable and it’s only when the silence doesn’t cease does Julian look around and start to notice a few of his teammates trying (and ultimately failing) to hide their sniggering at Julian’s slip-up.
“I knew you two were close but- ”
“Babe? It’s getting serious! ”
Julian blinks, freezes, his hand hovering close to his face as he dares to turn around to glance over at Kai.
“I’ve been trying to call you for the past couple of minutes, I thought you were ignoring me, dear.” Kai smirks.
Julian knows his cheeks are flushed and he has never wanted the ground to swallow him up as much as he does in that exact moment.
The worst thing about it is Julian had thought it would be a day of teasing and everybody would forget about it - well, he’s half right, he endures a full day of teasing for the slip-up before the rest of the team seemingly move on - all except Kai. Kai has taken to calling Julian a rising number of nicknames along similar lines for the week, so much so that Julian doesn’t think he’s heard Kai refer to him by his actual name for four days.
“Oh my god.” Julian groans when Kai comes back into the living room. “Aren’t you done with this yet?” Julian asks, dropping his face into the cushion that he has resting against his knees. His next words come out muffled but Julian can clearly hear Kai’s laughter as the younger flops down onto the couch beside him.
“Baby.” Kai tries again, leaning against Julian’s shoulder and nudging Julian’s cheek with his head. “Why did you call me it?” Kai asks, all sense of teasing has fallen from his tone and Julian can feel his cheeks heat up as he burrows his face further into the cushion. “Ju-”
“- I wasn’t focusing.” Julian mumbles out half-heartedly. “It just happened. God, I could've called you a whole lot worse, you know?”
Kai stifles his laughter. “Yeah, no, whatever you think you could have called me - you probably have.”
Julian laughs at that. The weight momentarily falls off his shoulders and he lifts his head from the pillow, turning to face Kai and meeting his best friend’s smiling face - no sense of teasing, no smirk, just a smile that Julian has never seen before - at least not aimed at him.
Kai’s gaze is unwavering and Julian wonders if the heat on his cheeks is as visibly obvious as it feels. Kai’s arm lifts to come and rest around Julian’s shoulder but still the smile doesn’t fade. It’s small, soft, so different from the bashful smile or smirk that Kai usually has plastered across his lips at every other minute of the day.
It’s gone before Julian can even think to comment on it. Instead, Kai moves, hitting the cushion on Julian’s couch to fluff it before he lies down and kicks his feet up in Julian’s lap. Julian sends him a dissatisfied look but Kai just grins and ignores him. Julian makes a disgruntled noise but lets his arm fall across Kai’s ankle nevertheless (and if he presses down a little harsher than necessary out of spite - Kai wisely doesn’t choose to comment on it).
“I’ve got an idea, you in?”
Julian turns his head from where he was vaguely paying attention to the show playing on the TV.
“Depends.” He replies, trying to hide just how interested he is about whatever ridiculous idea Kai is going to come up with in the next five seconds. “Should I be scared?” Julian asks, this time concentrating fully on Kai with the TV acting as background noise.
Kai smirks. “Nah. You’ll love it.”
Ominous. That’s Julian’s first thought. Still, Julian watches Kai with a renewed sense of intensity.
“Let’s fool them. They’re so convinced we’re dating anyway - let’s screw with them.”
This is the moment that if Julian was in the middle of drinking - he would spit the entire contents out and stare at Kai with his eyes wide and mouth agape. As it happens, Julian does look at Kai with wide eyes and his jaw hanging closer to the floor (the comical effect of the drink is missed but Julian doesn’t have time to dwell on that because Kai hasn’t finished talking).
“I mean, is it really that different from how we act now-?” Kai directs his gaze to where his feet are in Julian’s lap.
Blushing pink, Julian lifts his hands from Kai’s ankle and holds them awkwardly up in the air, a frown twitching at the corners of his lips as he deliberates just exactly what Kai is saying.
After a long while of silence and Kai watching Julian go through twelve existential crises, he comes out with the one word answer and a small shrug as Julian slowly lowers his hands back to rest atop of Kai’s ankles.
“It’s not the worst idea you’ve ever come up with.” Julian adds, trying to be nonchalant about it - trying to hide the way that his heart is beating out of his chest at how Kai is inexplicably calm about all of this - as if this is something normal that friends do.
“Oh for fuck sake, Kai!” Julian cries out in exasperation as Kai’s laughter rings throughout the living room.
The thing about pretending to date Kai Havertz is that it feels a lot like actually dating Kai Havertz and for that reason alone - Julian despises it.
It’s not as though he regrets agreeing to take part in this bound-to-fail plan of Kai’s but every time Kai slides up beside him and wraps Julian in his arms, acting overly clingy and calling him every single pet name under the sun - Julian’s face flushes more than should be humanly possible.
Jonathan is the first to send them a incredulous look in passing; watching them closely as Julian tries to tie his laces with one of his hands intertwined with Kai’s as Kai talks to him about - well - Julian isn’t quite sure, having been too busy keeping his gaze on his laces as he tries to tie them one-handed.
“I have the best fucking idea-” Kai suddenly jumps up, hand still linked with Julian’s as he ends up causing Julian to stumble and hit the floor of the room with a loud thump. “Shit, sorry, babe.”
Julian rolls his eyes and gets back to his feet, dusting off his jeans and watching Kai amusedly rummage through his bag with his eyebrows knit together and a confused expression on his face.
Kai groans before pulling out something yellow, more specifically a hoodie that he tosses in Julian’s general direction. Julian plucks the clothing item of the air and holds it in his right hand as he looks between it and Kai who is waiting with a bright grin twitching at the corners of his lips.
“Isn’t a big part of relationships sharing clothes?”
“Sure.” Julian hums in agreement. “But I’m already wearing a hoodie.” Julian gestures to the grey one that he’s currently wearing.
Kai snorts. “No shit, I’m not asking you to put it on now.”
Julian nods as glances back down at the hoodie, it’s soft and Julian’s face reddens when he thinks about all the times he’s seen Kai wearing this hoodie (and that’s just in the last month) and how Julian wanted nothing more than to twist his fingers into the strings and just pull him in-
“Dude , that’s your favourite hoodie. It must be love!” Someone sings from across the room causing Kai to laugh loudly.
“Well - you know what they say, boys.” Kai smirks as he takes two steps towards Julian and slings his arm around Julian’s shoulders - despite the glare that Julian sends him.
“- You two are actually-”
“- Leon! I won the bet, pay up!”
Kai just rolls his eyes and turns to drop his head to Julian’s shoulder, pressing his hands into the material of Julian’s jacket. Julian’s breath hitches as he shakily zips up his bag. Kai doesn’t lift his head and instead moves impossibly closer to Julian-
Julian thinks he imagines the way Kai’s lips brush against his jaw.
“Let’s go, now, yeah.” Julian half-pushes Kai off him as he grabs his bag and dashes towards the door, ignoring the hollering of their teammates.
Julian doesn’t relax, not until he’s home and can fall over the side of the couch and burrow his face into one of the cushions - barely resisting the urge to scream. He’s aware that Kai is only just entering and closing the door over but even that doesn’t have Julian lifting his head. He’s exhausted and they have only been doing this for a day and a half.
As it happens; it gets easier to fake-date Kai. After ‘confirming’ all of their teammates’ suspicions and after the inevitable teasing has started to die down, it’s not as draining when Kai wraps Julian in his arms and whispers something that has Julian’s face redder than their home jersey.
“You fucker.” Kai glares as Julian sidesteps him, stopping and rolling his foot atop of the ball as Kai looks up from where he’s now sitting on the pitch.
Julian just smirks. “Come on! It was clean, you’re just mad your ego is now bruised.” He states as matter-of-factly as he crosses his arms over his chest and wiggles his eyebrows at Kai.
Mitchell whistles from across the pitch. “Lover’s spat!” He yells at the top of his voice, attracting attention.
“Oh, they are so cute.” Jonathan fawns, throwing a hand over his heart dramatically. “First fights are always the hardest.”
Kai and Julian snap their heads up and turn around, falling quiet when they notice the looks. Kai takes that as his opportunity to jump up and essentially tackle Julian to the floor, falling atop of the blond with a huff and a laugh.
“Oh my god.” Julian groans, throwing his head back against the damp ground. “I want to break up.”
Kai chuckles, a little breathlessly as he drops his head to Julian’s shoulder. “No.” his reply comes out muffled. “I don’t want to.”
Julian knows he’s joking. There is no way that Kai is being serious. He needs to remember that this is just their stupid ploy to mess with the rest of the team to get them back for the constant teasing- but then Kai’s grip on Julian tightens and he lifts his head up, watching Julian with something unreadable glistening in his eyes.
It’s only when Julian realises that Kai’s face is merely inches from his own does he feel his heart starting to beat out of his chest once more, he wonders when he should be used to this feeling.
“No making out during training!” Leon chastises causing the pair to spring apart, Kai rolling off Julian and onto his back. “Be normal and go and find an empty closet!”
“Do you know a lot about closets?!” Kai yells across the pitch and suddenly, everything is back to normal.
“That’s my jacket.” Julian deadpans, glancing up from his phone for a second when Kai walks into the kitchen wearing a denim jacket over a hoodie. “Where did you even find that? I haven’t worn it in months.”
Kai just grins and pops the collar (Julian rolls his eyes but he’d never admit he actually found that hot).
“You’re wearing my hoodie. You didn’t think I wouldn’t wear something of yours, did you? Isn’t that what boyfriends do?” Kai asks, cocking one eyebrow as he swipes his phone up from the counter.
Julian grits his teeth and bites back the urge to remind Kai that they’re not actually a couple. He doesn’t though, more than happy to sit in this- whatever the hell this is and never admit to Kai that he actually likes it.
Grabbing his jacket, Julian spins around. “We’re wearing the same outfit, Jesus, we’re turning into those couples that I hate.” Julian bemoans, pulling a face as he shrugs his jacket on.
Coming up behind Julian and slinging his arm around his shoulders, Kai rests his head atop of Julian’s and leans down to whisper. “Don’t act like you don’t secretly love it.”
Julian’s cheeks flush but he manages to push Kai away nevertheless.
It’s only dinner. Something they have done numerous times (and that’s just in the past couple of months) but when Julian is almost blinded by the flash on Kai’s phone, he kicks Kai’s shin under the table.
“What was that for?!” Kai screeches, scowling and leaning down to rub the spot that Julian kicked.
“For almost blinding me, asshole.” Julian shrugs. “What did you even do that for?”
Kai smirks. “Check Instagram.”
Julian is sceptical to say the least as he reaches for his phone - Kai’s shit-eating grin doesn’t help to ease any rising bout of anxiety that Julian is experiencing as he opens up Kai’s story. First of all, the picture is terrible and you can barely make out Julian’s face from where Kai almost blinded him but it’s near the bottom of the picture that draws Julian’s full attention.
“Date night?” Julian snorts, grateful for the low lighting to hide how quickly his cheeks are reddening. “Subtle, Kai, real subtle.”
“What?” Kai asks, unable to stop smiling. “Nobody will take it seriously. Also, call me a romantic but I’m just a guy who wants to show off his boyfriend.”
Kai Havertz will be the death of Julian Brandt.
It’s supposed to be a bit of fun and for the most part, pretending to date Kai Havertz is a lot of fun and if Julian likes the extra attention that Kai pays to him - he’ll never admit it. Except, now it’s been nearly a month since they started it and Julian wants to crawl under a rock (after punching Bernd for implanting the long-awaited realisation that he is in fact in love with Kai). Stupidly, Julian assumed somewhere along the lines of their pretend relationship - Kai would realise that he loved Julian too and they could turn this into something real. That it could be plucked straight from a movie plotline moment when they admit their feelings to the other.
Instead, Julian gets a reasonably cold hotel room and Kai’s hoodie that he’s been wearing for the past two days and is showing no signs of taking off whilst he wallows in his own self pity. This is not the preparation for the upcoming game against Dortmund that Julian anticipated but he’s ignored the last three texts from Kai to lie on his bed and stare absentmindedly at the ceiling.
It’s the knock on his door that brings Julian out of his dejected thoughts. For a second; Julian debates just ignoring it and pretending as though he’s sleeping but he also knows his teammates better than anybody and knows that sleeping is no cause for them to give up. Slowly, groggily, Julian hauls himself off his bed and drags his feet over to the door to pull it open.
“Oh, you’re awake.”
Julian internally groans when Kai breezes past him into the room, eyebrows furrowed and a somewhat, nervous expression gracing his features.
Shutting the door, Julian shuffles into the room and stifles a yawn as he rubs his eyes with the sleeve of his - Kai’s hoodie. Kai is stood dead in the middle of the room, looking as though he hasn’t slept in four days (which is ridiculous considering Julian was the one who had to wake him up this morning so they could leave).
“You look … not great. What’s up?” Julian asks, hesitantly taking a step closer to Kai.
Kai just laughs, short and almost choked. “This isn’t how it was supposed to go.” Kai admits with a sad smile.
Julian raises his eyebrows but decides against interrupting.
“We were supposed to - well - I was supposed - no fuck - you were supposed to fall in love with me.” Kai throws his arms out wide causing Julian to abruptly start laughing as though he’s just heard the best joke ever written.
Julian has to bite down on his bottom lip to stop himself, allowing the guilt to sink in when he notices Kai staring at him - halfway between a scowl and looking like Julian just kicked his puppy.
“Thanks.” Kai grumbles, already making his way to push past Julian when Julian grabs his arm and pulls him to a halt. “You’re the last person I expected to act like an asshole about this-”
Kai moves to pull his arm out of Julian’s grip when Julian laughs again, this time louder.
“Stop laughing!” Kai growls, though the undertones of his voice are wavering and he’s avoiding Julian’s eyes.
That action alone makes Julian stop laughing. “Kai, come on, do you really not see how funny this is?”
“No. No, I fucking don’t.” Kai mutters.
“I like you too, dumbass. How can you not have noticed?” Julian asks and there’s a certain sense of amusement in his voice as he takes a cautious step closer to Kai, relaxing when Kai doesn’t move away. “I - you - I wasn’t subtle.”
Kai shakes his head with a short chuckle. “Subtle enough. How did you expect me to notice?”
“Kai, for fuck sake!” Julian huffs out with a playful swipe to his shoulder. “You’re the only person on the damn planet who turns my face redder than our jerseys.”
This time Kai snorts and nods. “Okay.”
Julian frowns and is just about to call Kai out on that being his response when Kai takes a hesitant step towards Julian and lifts his hands to twirl the strings of the hoodie around his fingers.
“I swear to god if you don’t kiss-”
Julian’s silenced by Kai’s lips covering his own.
The thing about dating Kai Havertz is that it’s not too different from being best friends with Kai Havertz - except now, Julian gets to kiss him whenever he wants.
Julian seeks him out as soon as the final whistle goes; Kai brightening up the moment that his eyes find Julian’s across the pitch. Kai slows down his pace as Julian reaches him, bringing him into a hug, brushing his fingers through Kai’s hair, matted as it may be.
“Nice goal.” Julian comments nonchalantly, his hand resting at the back of Kai’s neck. “But what about that assist, huh?” Julian smirks causing Kai to roll his eyes.
“I’ve had better - Kev’s assist for my second was better, technically too.” Kai teases as he jabs Julian in the ribs causing his boyfriend to squirm.
Julian lets out an indignant huff and pulls his hand away, shoving it in the pockets of the coat he’s wearing as the pair walk side by side towards the tunnel. Their shoulders brush and both of them duck their heads to hide the pair of identical but lovesick grins that twitch at the corners of their lips.
“So, uh, I just realised something.” Kai breaks the silence as soon as they duck behind a corner, well aware that they should be in the dressing room by now.
Julian watches him, expectantly as he bounces from foot to foot. “I swear, this better not be something dumb-”
“We haven’t been on an actual date yet.” Kai interrupts and that is so fucking far from what Julian expects him to say. “What? Why are you giving me that look?” Kai asks him, shoving lightly at Julian’s shoulder.
“If that’s your way of asking me out; I want a do-over.” Julian tells him, seriously, crossing his arms over his chest.
“I don’t need to ask you out, last time I checked we’re already dating, dumbass .” Kai states, making a point to grab Julian’s hand and hold it up in the air.
“Just because I like making out with you does not mean we’re dating.” Julian argues.
“Does so!” Kai groans. “I don’t hear you complaining - and hey, we technically had a date the other day.”
“Coming over to my flat to take a nap doesn’t count.” Julian sighs, pinching the bridge of his nose. “I want a proper date, if you’re so keen to take me out.”
“With a sniper, maybe.” Kai grumbles but he rubs his thumb across the back of Julian’s knuckles nevertheless.
“Hey, you two.” Leon and Jonathan turn the corner to come face to face with Kai and Julian.
“We’re happy for you guys, really but can you have your lovers spat after the debriefing? Some of us want to go home.”
“It’s not a lovers spat!” Kai and Julian cry out in unison.
“Also, boys, if you’re looking for a closet to make out in - down that hallway and it’s the first door on your left.”
This time Kai and Julian’s faces are the only things redder than their jerseys.