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better late than never (just don't make me wait forever)

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Kai Havertz was a lot of things, including one of the most promising young talents, but at the moment he was falling apart in the bathroom of his hotel room. He was leaning on the sink, his fingertips white from holding on so tightly, trying to hold up his shaking body. His knees were wobbly and he felt as if his legs would give up on him any second. There were so many exhausting matches behind him, but no amount of running and tackling ever made him feel like this. His eyes stared at his own reflection, searching for flaws instead of trying to ignore them. The bags under his eyes looked more prominent and his cheeks looked more sunken in than they were a week ago. He wondered if Julian noticed.

That's the thing that bothered him the most. Julian never noticed anything anymore. Their conversation consisted of one worded and slow replies on Julian's side and silent training sessions. They used to sleep over at each other's apartments all the time, but the last time Julian laid a foot in his apartment was three weeks ago.

Kai started to wonder if Julian maybe did notice. Perhaps he noticed the way Kai was looking at him, the blush on his cheeks whenever somebody teased him about Julian, the way he hugged him for a few seconds longer and held on a bit tighter, the way he always seemed to accidentally fall asleep on Julian. Maybe that's the reason why Julian started keeping his distance.

Their coach was the one who ruined Julian's plans by putting them in the same room. Julian couldn't blame him even if he wanted to, the man had no idea about their situation. Them rooming together was the main reason why Kai was having a major freak out in the bathroom. He started pacing in the small space and tried to take deep breaths to calm himself down.

Kai was hoping to get out and escape to someone else's room before Julian came back from his walk, but his hopes got shattered when he heard the sound of footsteps in the room. He figured that he would have to face Julian eventually so he slowly walked out of the bathroom. Julian's suitcase was on the bed and he was rummaging through it, but lifted his gaze when Kai stepped out. He gave him a polite smile that didn't really reach his eyes and continued to look for whatever he was supposed to find. Kai tried not to be too sad about it.

He walked past Julian and put on his sneakers, his goal was to leave the room as soon as possible.

„Where are you going?“ Julian's voice startled him, it was the most he said to him in days.

„None of your business.“Kai whispered and shut the door behind him.

The truth is, he had no idea where he was going. He didn't really want to bother any of their teammates, plus he knew that they would be nosy and start asking questions he had no answer to. He left the room in only a pair of shorts and a thin shirt, so walking around was also a bad idea. Knowing he didn't have many options left, he still decided to take a walk around the hotel.

The air was chilly, but the night was peaceful and the low sounds of the city around him made him feel at ease. He decided to walk back after roaming around for about half an hour, hoping to find Julian asleep.

Luck wasn't really on his side, because Julian was sitting wide awake, looking at him.

„Where were you? I was so worried.“ The last sentence made Kai roll his eyes and he couldn't help but snap at his now possibly ex best friend.

„Yeah? Didn't seem that worried when you ignored me for a fucking month!“ Julian flinched, not expecting Kai to shout at him. He slowly stood up and started walking towards Kai.

„I swear it wasn't on purpose.“ Kai rolled his eyes again, not in the mood to listen to an altered version of the cliche It's not you it's me speech.

„Like hell! I know exactly why you're avoiding me.“ Those words seemed to startle Julian.

„You do?“ He asked with a shaky voice.

„Of course I do, there's no other explanation.“

„Kai...“ He began softly.

„No, I get it, I really do.“ Kai could feel the tears building up in his eyes.

„Kai please...“

„I feel so stupid for falling in love with you - “ „I'm sorry for leaving - “ They shouted at the same time.

Kai could see Julian's gaze turn from shocked to a soft one but the only thing he could hear was the word leaving echoing in his head.

„You're what?!“