It must have been difficult, being a teenager and your best friend prettier than most girls.
Everyone keeps making jokes about the pretty boy and how “Kun counts as a girl”, to raucous laughter. It doesn’t even seem like Kun minds, the way he bats his eyelashes for a few extra giggles. Leo is…confused. Also, perpetually horny, unless he’s on the field with the ball. The coaches praise his dedication. Leo tries not to blush.
Meanwhile, Kun is being so nice to him. They play video games together and share a room and Kun sometimes falls asleep on his bed, and they end up cuddled really close, because beds are always too small. But that’s just what friends do! Right?
Then Kun moves to Madrid and they talk on the phone every night, because Leo knows that Kun is lonely and in an alien country, and he’s just trying to help him adjust! And Kun always sounds so happy and relieved to hear his voice, and so Leo keeps calling.
Of course, at this point, Leo has convinced himself everything is part of this great friendship thing he feels. Nothing else. At all.
It's just what friends do, right? Visiting each other when they have a few days free, eating plain pasta in Leo's small apartment, playing FIFA, with Leo tactfully ignoring how sad Kun looks when he gets to play with Independiente.
It’s Leo falling asleep during a movie and waking up a few hours later, mouth like cotton, to find Kun cuddled up against him, his stupid perfect hair flopping over his eyes, his mouth open as he snores and how did Leo even manage to sleep through all that noise?
He realizes he has a problem right about when Kun starts drooling and he finds himself thinking it's cute.
The thing is that, Leo hasn’t exactly gotten a normal upbringing, so he has nothing to compare it to. He concludes that it’s probably something that’s okay to feel for a close friend, and that he hasn’t had that many of those, so he hasn’t experienced it yet.
They stay up late to talk on the phone almost every day, racking up the phone bills, because they fall asleep listening to each other breathe.
And then Gabi, who has the flat next door, asks Leo if he was up late last night talking to his girlfriend and Leo is mortified.
He doesn't stop calling though, just insists they whisper, which makes it worse really, because Kun's voice gets low and scratchy and it makes it all so intimate.
And then Leo sees a photo of Kun kissing another player and he feels weirdly...hurt?
Because Kun is impossibly friendly and touchy with everyone, and Maxi Rodriguez is over there, in Madrid, too. And he likes Maxi, okay, he does! He just doesn't like Kun sending him pictures of food in fancy restaurants with captions like 'Dinner with Maxi!!!'
Mostly, because he's alone at home waiting to talk to Kun most of those times. It also feels pretty embarrassing, because all he feeds Kun when he comes over is plain pasta and microwave dinners. Neither of them can really cook, and while Leo is sure that La Masia has some sort of insurance against fires, he doesn’t want to test it, because they’re finally letting him play and he doesn’t want to jeopardize that by setting his apartment on fire making steak.
Still, Leo can’t help wondering. Because, let's say, he's steady at Barcelona, and he hangs out around Bojan a lot and he doesn't feel the need to know where Bojan is all the time, or doesn't get that annoying hiccup feeling when they're laughing together, and Bojan is a messy eater and it's more disgusting than adorable.
Bojan keeps wondering why Leo always almost throws him out when it's around midnight.
Meanwhile, the whole of La Masia is convinced that Messi has a secret girlfriend and it makes him seem even cooler, because it’s probably some supermodel he met back in Rosario or an actress whose manager won’t let them go public. Rumors abound, most of them fiction. They probably read way too many romance novels.
And when Leo gets asked who he's calling, he’s always like, "Oh, just a friend."
“Where did you meet?” “Back in Argentina.”
He means U20 camp, but they think it's a nightclub or a romantic walk in the park, depending on who you ask. Victor has this intense theory that they met on a moonlit beach and he describes it so passionately that most people just accept it as the truth.
“Can you tell us something about your friend?” “Um...bad taste in clubs?”
Because Leo always teases him about that, except for how one time he admitted liking Independiente’s jersey and Kun never lets him forget it.
In fact, nobody knows this, but he sometimes sleeps in one of Kun’s old jerseys. Either Kun forgot it one day and Leo never gave it back, or Leo accidentally packed it in with his stuff and never gave it back, he’s not sure which. It’s big on him, because even though he’s younger, Kun is taller and has broader shoulders, but that just makes it all the more comfortable. Kun doesn’t seem to miss it anyway.
But then one night the door bell wakes Leo up unexpectedly and he shuffles to the door, still sleepy and bleary, and Kun is just…there.
And he’s all: “Sorry, sorry, I just missed you and you haven't been answering your phone and I...is that my jersey?"
(Because Leo was maybe possibly been trying to avoid talking to Kun for a little while, just to sort out his feelings, but he wasn’t expecting it to affect Kun enough to fly over to Barcelona in a worried frenzy. In hindsight, a stupid decision.)
And Leo is like, "How did you get past the doorman?", but he still opens the door so Kun can slip past.
"I told them I was your guest. Apparently I was on your list?"
"Oh." It's pretty late and Leo is sleepy, and pretty incoherent, so when Kun reaches out in what is his customary hug, Leo still thinks he's dreaming. He latches on, and buries his head in the crook of Kun's neck, making the whole thing a lot more intimate than intended.
"But, you're wearing my jersey," Kun mutters against his hair.
Leo just snuffles sleepily and pulls him to bed.
The next morning is awkward, in that Leo has a Kun in his bed and he isn’t quite sure how he got there. He reaches over to pinch himself awake, because he’s pretty sure he’s dreaming, but they’re cuddled so close together that he accidentally pinches Kun instead, who wakes up with a yelp. This turns out to be a bad idea, because the delicate balance that keeps them both on the bed is broken and Kun starts tipping over the side of the bed, grabs on to Leo in his flailing and they both land on the floor with a loud thump.
For the next few seconds they just stare at each other, shocked and sore, their crotches pressed together in uncomfortable awareness, but before either of them can say anything, Gabi’s concerned voice comes from the other side of the wall.
“Leo! Are you okay?” and Leo has to clamp a hand over Kun’s mouth to keep him from yelling a reply, the big dummy, and he barely manages a positive answer, as distracted as he is by Kun squirming under him.
Kun is making muffled noises against his hand and he won’t stop moving for long enough for Leo to get his wits together. Their crotches brush every time Kun moves and it’s so good, Leo’s seeing stars and Kun is right there with him, pupils dilated. He doesn’t say anything when Leo removes his hand from his mouth, just pants softly as they move together, and Leo can’t help it, he moves forward to press their lips together clumsily.
And it’s probably somewhere up there on the world’s worst kisses scale, because it’s awkward, and their noses keep bumping and they both have morning breath, but it’s with Kun, so it’s automatically the best kiss Leo has ever gotten.
They lay there after, trying to catch their breath, on the floor of Leo’s tiny apartment, on the ugly-ass rug Gerard insisted Leo take when he left. Leo is pretty sure he can hear Gabi singing in the shower, as the rest of the complex slowly wakes up for morning training.
“I really like it when you wear my jersey.” Kun finally breaks the silence and he looks so damn serious about it, like it’s some sort of love confession and maybe it is.
He looks so ridiculous, watching Leo so seriously, when all he’s wearing is his wet underwear and a grossly colored shirt and Leo is so ridiculous for falling in love with his beautiful dork of a best friend, so really, all he can do is hide his face in the crook of Kun’s neck and laugh until he cries.