The noise of the crowd is deafening. There’s nearly 70,000 in attendance, but Jared swears he can hear his heartbeat over them, the thunderous pounding in his ears in tandem with fans stomping on the ground all around the arena.
Jared wonders how the teams can communicate anything under this kind of roar, in this kind of situation. Then he watches Jensen holding up some pattern of finger signals as he and Matt Cohen jog into position as left and right strikers, and Jared smiles.
From where Jared sits in the third row off center line, he can see that Jensen’s chest is heaving with every breath and his face and neck are pink with exertion. Jensen’s been on the field for a large majority of the game’s 85 minutes so far and his stamina is really being tested in the scoreless match. But it’s the US Cup Finals and the Charleston Arsenal will stop at nothing to win. Case in point, Jared can see how Jensen’s eyes are roaming the field as the ball is put into play, how Jensen’s hips sway on a second’s notice to head left and take possession of the ball, or how he fakes a right turn before spinning while kicking the ball with him to pass it off to Cohen.
There’s a flurry of red Arsenal flags waving across the soccer arena and Jared raises his own to join the cheering. The green of the Portland Timbers tries to compete, but the crowd at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium is overwhelmingly Arsenal red and Jared chants along with them.
Jared would bet this is the largest crowd MLS has seen in ages. The largest Jensen has played for, certainly, and Jared would know; he hasn’t missed a single game the last four seasons. Not since he and Jensen made it official between them … privately, at least. Close friends and family know, maybe a few of Jensen’s teammates, but otherwise Jensen’s own agent had instructed them to bury the relationship. The agent insisted there was no reason to draw negative attention to Jensen’s sexual orientation as his star was rising.
Now Jensen’s the Arsenal’s star player, his pretty face on the team’s home page and Sports Illustrated among many other newspapers and magazines, and a number of awards are on display in his rec room proving his stature in the sport. Jensen was even named People’s Sexiest Soccer Star … recognition Jared was as amused by it as Jensen was chagrined.
What has never been on display is Jared and Jensen, together, and Jared feels a sudden tightness in his chest when he wonders how much longer they can live in the closet while Jensen is living out his dreams on a national stage.
At his left, Jensen’s parents cheer as the Arsenal passes the ball further towards the goal and Jared’s right back in the game to watch Cohen aim a shot at the goal box. The keeper leaps a good ten feet to swat it away, and then Portland’s defender rushes in to kick the ball far out of their backfield with midfielders taking it across the center line and into scoring territory.
Jared holds his breath and rises to his toes to watch Portland’s forward race ahead, getting a few-seconds' jump on Penikett, Arsenal’s star defender. It’s a quick kick at the goal, but Paunovic is a brick wall between the goal posts and easily jumps in front of the shot to block it. Paunovic gets to his feet in record time and tosses the ball towards the sideline, where Stark takes command and dribbles further up field while the rest of the team gets into formation on offense.
Jared’s heart thumps hard and loud in his chest with the tension of the final two minutes for this 0-0 game. He just may be more terrified of these remaining seconds than the teams are. But he’s also incredibly proud and pretty turned on to watch Jensen’s prowess and competence in play, so he can’t stop the sly grin on his face. Which, unfortunately, Jensen’s mom notices and elbows Jared with a smile for a totally different reason.
“They’ll hold them to the end of the period and they’ll go to overtime,” she says.
“You should have more faith in your boy,” Jared’s dad says from his right. He adds a wink and easily enough, Jensen and Jared’s parents are chuckling together.
Jared’s mom leans over to add, “I sure as heck wouldn’t mind a bathroom break, though. My bladder’s not like it used to be.”
“Oh c’mon, mom,” Jared complains, rolling his eyes.
“I’m just saying …”
Jared gestures at the field. “There’s more important shit going on.” When both sets of parents glare at him, he rightfully frowns. “I mean …”
“If they somehow manage to pull it out now and score …” Jensen’s dad goes on and Jared focuses back on the field where the Arsenal look like they’re playing a game of keep-away from the Portland Timbers.
It works for the next 30 or so seconds, until Jared’s hearing fades out when he realizes there’s under a minute left in regulation and Jensen now has possession of the ball. Jared stands up straight, gets to his tip toes again even when he’s well above the folks in front of him, and his hands end up on his dad’s shoulder and Jensen’s mom’s forearm.
The crowd grows even louder and Jared goes right along with it, shouting, “Come on! Go! Go! Go!” as Jensen passes the ball to Cohen, spins away from a defender, then breaks into a forward sprint. Cohen’s pass is a little high, but Jensen compensates as he jumps and sidekicks the ball at the goal.
Everything slows down, Jared’s hearing has gone quiet, and he swears it’s an hour to survive the milliseconds it takes to watch the keeper dive at the goal post. It’s a pinch too late and the ball sails right over the keeper’s outstretched arms to bounce into the net.
It’s unbridled chaos as the crowd realizes the ball just barely made it into the corner of the goal. There’s fireworks and confetti, loud celebratory music, and a blur of red flags across the arena. Jared and the parents are screaming and hugging immediately, and he keeps glancing over their shoulders to watch the Arsenal celebrate.
In true soccer form, Jensen runs run halfway up the field and slides across the center line on his knees. Cohen comes up behind to pull Jensen back to his feet and hug, before grabbing on tight to pick Jensen up and shake him like a rag doll. Penikett runs straight for Jensen and the two hop up to bump chests, then Stark is tackling Jensen and starting a large pile of red uniforms.
The celebration is suddenly blurry and Jared realizes he’s crying. Happy tears, sure, but there’s also a tiny pang of emptiness in his chest that he can’t run onto the field like many other families are to celebrate with their champions.
Cohen’s wife and son race right for him, Penikett’s and Paunovic’s girlfriends do, too. Parents and siblings, friends, tons of plus-ones from the stands are granted permission to celebrate right on the very grass that their loved ones just spent 90 minutes tearing up.
“It’s okay,” Jared’s dad says in his ear, a hand around his neck for comfort.
Jensen’s parents are heading off to join the celebration on the field, but his mom still reaches out a hand to squeeze Jared’s arm with a warm smile.
With the families filing onto the grass, Jared and his parents can move up for a front-row seat to the party. Jared is proud as hell to watch it, anyway. Jensen has dedicated his entire life to the sport and the last few years have been incredibly grueling with all the travel, practice time, and plenty of press as Jensen’s star status has soared. Jared is still thankful to have Jensen at home, to know the guy beneath the uniform.
And now he’s watching that same red uniform turn towards him. Bright lights flare across the field and confetti continues to fall, but Jared knows Jensen is looking right at him. The soft smile is so recognizable, and meant just for Jared, who puts his fist over his heart. It’s their own symbol of love for public moments like this.
Only, Jensen doesn’t return it; he stares for a few moments, then puts his head down as he jogs forward.
Jared wants to laugh that Jensen has run enough in this game, and after, so why is he spending more energy to run now? But Jared can’t speak, or even think as he watches Jensen hop over the wall separating the field from the stands and come right up to Jared.
Jensen wraps his arms around Jared’s neck and drags him down into a kiss. Jared’s mind spins and his breath is knocked out of him. Sure, they’ve kissed thousands of times before, yet this is so much more than that and Jared has to pull back to look Jensen in the eye.
All he sees is heat and love in those sparkling green eyes. Jensen’s voice is just as warm when he beams and says, “We did it.”
As Jensen’s grip around Jared’s neck grows stronger, Jared giddily laughs and runs his arms around Jensen’s waist to bring them together. “Yeah, you did, baby.”
Jensen’s smile somehow grows even larger before he pulls Jared back in to kiss and the rest of the world fades away.
“You sure you don’t want to get something to eat?” Jensen’s mom asks, a caring hand cupping Jensen’s cheek. “My poor baby must be ravished.”
Jensen blushes a bit and ducks away. “I’m good, Ma.”
“He’s probably just tired,” Jensen’s dad offers.
Jared’s dad adds, “Must be a lot of work to carry a team to the Championship.”
“Dad,” Jared complains. “You know that’s not – ”
“It’s a hell of a lot of work,” Jensen says with a sly smile. He slips his hand into Jared’s and squeezes, sharing a look with Jared, and Jared’s not sure if he’ll get over being able to do this. Not just stand so closely, but to no longer hide any look or touch.
He’s also not sure if he’ll get over having the MLS Cup MVP in his life, but he’s not going to complain. Especially not when Jensen holds his hand so firmly in the hotel lobby with plenty of teammates, MLS and team executives, not to mention press, coming and going. Jensen is even easier to spot in his Arsenal travel gear after showering at the arena and doing a full round of press interviews, where he surely fielded plenty of questions about the kiss in the stands.
“Can’t imagine the weight on your back,” Jensen’s dad jokes.
Jared sighs playfully. “Please, don’t inflate his ego any more than it already is.”
“You sure you don’t want something, Jared?” Jared’s mom asks, looking right at him. “Our treat.”
He doesn’t need to look at Jensen to know that neither of them are going anywhere beyond the hotel tonight. It’s their own sort of ritual after a win and he’s not about to forgo it after this particular victory. “We’re just gonna lay low after, ya know …” Jared says.
It’s part excuse and part truth. Jensen’s agent wasn’t pissed so much as frustrated to have not known to anticipate it and prepared an immediate response to the newfound attention.
“I’m sure we’ll get room service or something,” Jensen says as he starts pulling Jared with him towards the elevators. “But breakfast is definitely on.”
They part with goodbyes and plans for the morning. In the elevator, Jensen leans his head on Jared’s shoulder and closes his eyes. In the mirrored elevator doors, Jared can tell that Jensen looks fairly tired, even though there’s been a special brightness to his eyes and smile since the show they gave 70,000 spectators.
Honestly, Jared is grateful for the quiet elevator ride and the simplicity of Jensen leaning into him, like they’ve moved past the rush of the kiss seen ‘round the world. And it seems Jensen is, too, because as soon as they enter the hotel room, he’s stripping down and pointing at the bed.
“Bossy,” Jared laughs, even when this is what happens after each game. He wastes little time to get out of his clothes and into bed with Jensen. There’s not much for romance in these times; Jensen always wants to burn off the chaotic excitement after a win and Jared is happy to help, especially when Jensen is so enthusiastic.
Jared sits back against the headboard with Jensen astride his thighs and he gets his fingers lubed up to press into Jensen, who immediately groans. They don’t often take their time in these instances, and it seems like it’s even more accelerated, thanks to the MLS Cup and all, and Jensen is quickly riding Jared’s first finger to open himself up as soon as possible.
Another finger and Jensen pitches forward to rest against Jared, his skin red-hot against Jared’s. Jared presses his free hand to Jensen’s back to guide him up and down on Jared’s fingers until Jensen finally rises, letting the fingers slide out.
“No way,” Jared chuckles. “C’mere,” he insists, pulling Jensen back down.
Jensen nearly glares at Jared in a long silence between them. Then he reaches down to stroke Jared’s dick, immediately tugging whines from deep in Jared’s throat, and smirks at the reaction. “I’m ready,” he insists in a low voice. When Jensen rubs the tip of Jared’s dick against his hole, Jared sucks in a deep breath. “And I think you are, too.”
“Can’t get much past you,” he jokes.
As Jensen slides down on Jensen’s dick, he grits his teeth, but it seems like he’s still amused. Especially when he says, “I ain’t no keeper, but I’ll let you in my goal anytime.”
When Jensen is fully seated in Jared’s lap, there’s a long pause between them, Jensen adjusting to the length and width of Jared’s dick, and Jared holding onto Jared’s hips to center himself. No need to break too soon and ruin the celebration, Jared distracts them both with a thorough kiss, cupping the back of Jensen’s head to keep him in place as Jared dives into his mouth.
Jensen must have other ideas because he starts rocking his hips as the kiss continues. He rings his arms around Jared’s neck and pulls Jared in tight, like he did in the stands. This time, he’s rising and falling on Jared’s dick and whimpering when he lands in Jared’s lap, Jared’s dick striking quick and deep inside.
Jared brings his arms around Jensen’s back and holds him tight as he sets his feet in the mattress and tries to get in on the action. There isn’t much to do in this position, though he won’t complain. He does enjoy when Jensen is all wired up and just wants a quick fuck to burn off the adrenaline.
And the quick fuck picks up even more speed as Jensen spikes his hips forward and back, fucking himself fast and dirty. Jared grabs Jensen’s thighs, fingers pressing into the sculpted muscles – thank god for all that running and soccer thighs – and he’s whimpering as Jensen rides him in a steady rhythm. He’s not sure how Jensen’s legs can manage to work after the intense 90 minutes of play, but he doesn’t have time to ask when Jensen is moving so fluidly, his body writhing back and forth in an elegant wave.
Jared can’t last much longer, even just watching Jensen’s tight body work him over is a perfect wet dream. Add on the touch of Jensen’s sweat-slick skin burning up beneath Jared’s hands … Jared is pretty well done for. His orgasm knocks into him and he pitches himself back into the headboard with a cry.
Jensen finishes himself off with his own hand, steadily fisting his dick as he keeps riding Jared until he’s coming with his own shout.
When Jensen falls against him, Jared smiles against his temple and mock whispers, “Gooooooooooal.”
Jensen groans. “Every single time.”
“Not every time.”
He sits back and combs hair away from Jared’s face. “Many times.” There’s a fond smile forming and Jared can feel a matching one crossing his own lips. “Most times.”
“Okay,” Jared concedes, running his hands up and down Jensen’s back. He loves these quiet after moments, when there’s no crowd or press, no fans circling for autographs, or coaches directing Jensen here and there. Here, there’s no noise at all but the two of them. “Most times.”
“Mmhmm,” Jared parrots before lightly smacking Jensen’s ass. “How about we get this MVP cleaned up?”
“That is my new title, by the way.” Jensen grins as he leans in to kiss. “Jensen, MLS Cup MVP, Ackles.”
“You mean, Jensen, Officially Gay MLS Cup MVP, Ackles.” It’s out of his mouth before he can stop it and Jensen’s little mmhmm isn’t as readable as it was before. So Jared moves on, getting them to the bathroom to clean up before having the real conversation.
Once they’re back in bed, Jensen settles down between Jared’s legs with his arms crossed over Jared’s belly. He rests his head on his arm and closes his eyes as Jared runs fingers through Jensen’s hair. It’s damp along his hairline and Jared thinks back to the game, to the feel of Jensen’s game sweat on his fingers as they kissed in the middle of the celebration, front row and center line.
“I can’t believe you did that,” Jared murmurs.
Jensen seems sleepy when he mumbles, “What? Win?"
“No, that you – ”
Jensen picks his head up, setting his chin on his arm with a smirk. “Made the game-winning shot?”
Jared wants to huff, because he’s trying to have a real conversation while Jensen keeps playing around. “You didn’t have to do that, you know."
There’s a short pause before Jensen gives a small shrug, “Yeah, I did.”
“Not without talking to management.”
“I don’t need their permission.” Jensen sounds more serious now and is searching Jared’s eyes.
Jared straightens his shoulders, feeling the immediate shift in the room. “I never asked you to be out. I don’t need you to be.”
Jensen rises to his elbows, as if he’s trying to more firmly look Jared in the eyes. “But I do. I realized that I wasn’t going to do this bullshit anymore. If I’m winning the Cup? Then fuck it all if I’m not going to celebrate that with you. I did it for me.”
Another long silence fills the room and Jared sighs as he worries that he’d pressured Jensen somewhere along the way.
Jensen crawls up Jared’s body to settle in his lap with his arms around Jared’s neck. He presses his forehead to Jared’s, then slides their noses together. “You need me to say it so you believe it? I did it for me and I did it for you. Because I want to have these moments with you. I’m tired of hiding myself from the public. And I’m even more tired of hiding you.”
“Then what’s next?” Jared brings his hands up to hold Jensen’s waist. “What is this going to do to your career?”
“Hopefully nothing.” Jensen kisses him lightly.
Jared runs his hands around Jensen’s back, pulling Jensen in even closer. “In the meantime?”
“In the meantime,” Jensen says in between carefully placed kisses at each corner of Jared’s mouth. “It’s you and me, kid.”
“Kid,” Jared huffs. “That make you the old man?”
“This old man can outrun you on the field any day.”
Jared doesn’t bother answering, falling into a series of gentle kisses.
“What do you wanna do?” Jensen asks.
Bending his knees up, Jared brings Jensen even closer to him so he can kiss and suck along Jensen’s neck. Now that the season is over, and especially because Jensen is out, Jared supposes he no longer has to worry about any marks on camera, evidence that Jensen indeed had someone in his life even when he persistently denied it all these years. There’s plenty to sort out for the days to come, but Jared is distracted by another feeling in his belly. “I think I was promised room service?”
“Food is good. And then?” Jensen asks, sounding a little breathless with each scrape of Jared’s teeth on his throat.
“Then we can go another round.” Jared squeezes Jensen’s ass, pulling him forward and back. “If this old ass can handle it.”
“If there’s one thing I’m an expert at,” Jensen taunts as he continues rocking in Jared’s lap. “It’s knowing how to score.”
Jared laughs and drags Jensen in to kiss. “You’re definitely my MVP.”
art by Quickreaver