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30 October 2011 @ 11:00 pm
take my hand, because we are fragile and imperfect (i/iii)  
So here it is – my work for the RPF Big Bang, a multipairing love tale based on the movie love, actually where different people try to survive the heat from buenos aires and the adventures and misadventures that falling for someone brings. untrue, unreal, disclaimed. beautiful art made by leetje. beta, correction, saving my ass, hand holding and cheering by naggy-bella-tao and lauchis. see the end for more notes.

.take my hand, because we are fragile and imperfect (love, actually).
ayala/heinze, implied!heinze/gago, verón/sorín, d.milito/higuaín, zanetti/n.burdisso, g.milito/cambiasso, agüero/messi, unreturned!ustari/messi, demichelis/eva anderson (his wife). au, rated pg for some cursing, implied infidelity and references to porn movies. mixed povs. anything you see bolded is supposed to be italian. don't fear the colours, they won't arm you. some stories are just like at the movie, some are very different (they have nothing to do with the original work). anything you recognize comes from the movie, people you recognize is real; i take blame for the rest. title modified from a song from nana.

I love soccer. When I was a kid my father and I were working on a wall on his construction site and he told me that if I loved soccer that much, I should try out for a team; I did. It didn't end up well, I was too skinny and weak, even if they gave a special diet based on lentils and beans, two things I can't eat to the day, I never grew strong enough to play, at least not professionally. But that didn't stop me from loving the sport; I've played with my friends during my younger years and even now, when I am too old for it, still play. I follow my team to wherever I need to, I make enough money as a writer to go where I want to go to see my club and, mostly, to see my national team.

You know, there's no feeling in the world like watching the National team play, even if it's a friendly game or an important game where we need to win. The excitement can be noticed from many blocks away from the stadium, the amount of people dressed with the colours of our flag and the jerseys with our idols' names on them are the proper dress code that makes anyone's heart rate go up and up. Since I was a kid, I've loved nothing more than going to see my national team play. It's not the same that watching your club because in this one, we're all together. There are no Independiente and Racing, no Boca and River… we're all Argentina. We all scream the same beautiful goal; we all suffer for the same bastard referee.

That's why when I feel lonely or when I can't write I think about the feelings I get on the stadium watching the National team and I confirm myself that we're all together in this and that mostly, we all feel love. It doesn't matter if you feel forlorn, if you feel cheated by your loved one, if you're in love with the wrong person… nothing matters but the game and the fact that everyone in that huge place is going to feel the same way that you in the end.

And when it's all done, like whit that game played on November the 30th, you feel like you can confront anything that may come across your life. Because the energy that a victory leaves in you can't be compared to anything else – you come out renewed and saying "come on December, start, I'm here, waiting for you". I love going to see a game and leaving with the feeling that the best thing of my life is about to start. I love even more to know that I am not the only one who thinks like that, because we, soccer fans, are crazy like that.

He looks dashing; Oscar can't stop staring at him. He feels stupidly proud and he believes he has the right; after all Sergio was a high school failure and he was even considering becoming a dropout at age fifteen when they met at a soccer game.

Oscar was always called in games because he was one of those guys who loved to be goalkeepers; Sergio was this young thing who was bitching about a test he was neglecting. Oscar had always been inclined to tutoring, as his mother called it, so he offered Sergio his help and the kid was either desperate or he trusted anyone, because he accepted. That was the start of the biggest friendship Oscar has held in his life.

And right now he's standing next to Sergio in the desk of the civil register; there is a judge in front of them, and to their left Lionel Messi with his own witness. Sergio is getting married to this tiny boy he met almost four years ago (also because of Oscar, thanks to his insistence about Sergio starting the school to become a gym teacher).

"You're beaming," Gabriel Milito says next to Oscar, keeping his voice quiet because of the few others in the room.

"Of course I am," Oscar replies, and their conversation is over because formalities need to start.

Sergio is a bit nervous, but Oscar has seen him worst before and he knows that when this part of the wedding is over and they can move to celebrate, he'll be just fine.

Javier sighs, eyes barely focused on the mirror because he doesn't even want to face himself. He's tired, so tired, he can't even think straight anymore; he's been up since seven and went to bed after four; never in his life (not even when he was starting University) he slept so little. But even exhausted like this he can't fall asleep, he goes to bed and lies there, eyes on the ceiling and avoiding closing them because when he does he remembers. That only scene comes to his head over and over: Paula in their kitchen with Julio pressing her to the sink and they're kissing - that's how much Javier can see from the entrance, coming from a room full of people they both know, they both invited, because is their party.

Heaven knows for how long Paula's cheated on him, and how long it could have go on if Javier hadn't seen it that time.

"Hey," Juampi says from the door, voice calmed and even something that has worked on anyone since Javier can remember, but at the same time he can't think of any time where it was directed at him. Javier never needed consolation or help or guidance to being calm, he was all that, until the so called love of his life cheated him with one of their common friends. "Hey, come on, out, what are you gonna do in there? Slit your wrists with a razor? That's too youthful and messy for your style."

The end of that line makes Javier smile a bit, mostly because it's true, "aren't you supposed to keep my mood up and not to suggest ways to kill myself?"

Javier opens the bathroom door, Juampi is smiling at him, peaceful and collected like he always looks and Javier does his best to smile back.

"I'm actually saying that you shouldn't kill yourself."

"Only in that particular manner."

"One way at the time, I can't come up with clever winning arguments about each method of suicide in one go," Juampi pretends to look offended while stepping away from the doorframe and leaving Javier room to walk out.

"It wasn't clever."

"But it was true and that's enough for me," the smile is back, "I bought you something."

"Do I even want to know?" Javier gives him a look over his shoulder as they walk back to the living room, Juampi just keeps grinning.

"You always said you remember that old cottage my parents had outside Milan and how much you enjoyed our summer there," Jumpi starts explaining while Javier sits back in front of the mate they were sharing, "so, I asked around and turns out my parents still own that thing, a family living nearby is taking care of it and right now they're getting it ready for you."

"For me?"

"Take a few days off, no people you know, no Capital Federal; only you and nature and the old continent. Maybe it'll be good for writing too, eh?"

Javier looks at the mate in his hands, then back at Juampi who hasn't erased the optimist from his smile since he got there and said "You're done with feeling sorry for yourself, your wife didn't die like Diego's, she's just not in love with you anymore, change and make me some good mate, now." Juan Pablo is right, has been since he crossed the door and he is on this too, a trip outside the country would be quite perfect for him, for now, for writing.


"Wow, you're easy."

Javier tries not to laugh.

"I can't believe it's been six months already," Diego sighs after passing a mate to Fabián, "I mean, I still remember the chaotic feeling of the weeks right after, trying to get Leandro to eat, still receiving phone calls of people I didn't even know, friends she had made in Rosario, in Spain, everywhere."

"She was one of the nicest women I've ever met, it makes sense she had that many people fascinated by her." Fabián gives him a comforting smile, and Diego knows it's not a prefabricated one to make him better; after all he was Jessica’s friend too.

"She was, wasn't she?" Diego smiles at the memory and fixes his eyes in the line of pictures framed on the corner.

Fabián nods again while giving back the mate, "how is Leandro?"

"Dealing, much better that he was two months ago, for sure. School and piano lessons keep him busy, and I think he likes me again."

"He’s always liked you Diego, you've been with him basically since he was born. He hated the world six months ago and only talked to you."

"That's because I was the only one that could understand his grunts and groans enough to make real words out of them."

"I rest my case," Fabián smiles pleased with his words, "and now that you're done with moping around the house you should start considering going out again."

Diego shakes his head and the hint of a beam reaches his lips, "still too early for those jokes."


Oscar sees how Gabriel sits next to him and stares, doesn't move or talk, just watches him with curious eyes. With a sigh, Oscar closes his recording camera and turns to look at him, "what?" he says, trying not to sound as annoyed as he feels.

"I'm trying to figure out," Gabriel Milito says, solemn voice and eyes fixed on the dance floor, "if you're in love with Lionel or with Sergio."

Oscar doesn't even blink before answering: "You're drunk."

"I'm not; I can recite the abecedary backwards if you want," Milito says, "and you didn't answer me."

"There wasn't a question in your statement."

"Mhm," Milito turns to look at him, "so, which one are you in love with? I'd say Sergio, after all you've been friends since puberty, and you never really liked Lio anyway."

"I have no issue with Lionel," Oscar says, maybe a little too defensive but either Gaby Milito doesn't notice or doesn't think he should look into it. "And like you said, Sergio is my best friend, I could never fall in love with him, not after all the stuff I know about him and no because he's the closest thing I have to a brother."

"You have two brothers."

"They live too far away, and it's not the same. You wouldn't know that because for you your brother is a God, but it's not like that for most of us."

"I don't think my brother is a God, I know he is," Milito smiles and Oscar rolls his eyes, thought he's glad he has diverged the start of the conversation.

Italy is cold in December, the opposite to the weather he just left and maybe that's another change he needs. Icy wind hits him on the face and he feels his cheeks growing red, he blinks to the unknown and tells himself again that this is the right thing to do.

He meets a short chubby man outside the airport, he's wearing a wrenched coat and a colorful scarf that doesn't match anything on him, his smile is soft and welcoming and Javier doesn't mind how he calls him by his given name from the start. The man, who introduced himself as Alberto and didn't give any other information, speaks a mix of languages; Javier can tell that some words are Italian but he still understands what the man is saying. Plus there's not much to say back to him, so Javier nods, hums and agrees while he feels his body start to adjust more to the weather.

"Nico will be at your disposal if you need him," the man says when they're inside the car that will take them to the cottage, "he's my nephew, he's very hard working and he's the one that got everything ready for you. He only speaks Italian, but he's a smart kid, I trust you'll manage."

"Surely" Javier nods, he has his eyes settled in the road, he knows they're at least half an hour away from the big city and he wants to get himself familiar with the road just in case. Besides that, the place he hasn't seen since he was a teenager is very different, the images he’s held so dearly for years are almost nonexistent and he feels that could be a good start for his story, the nostalgic feeling of coming back to a place you thought you knew to find it so different.

"The only favour I ask," the man speaks again and Javier cuts off his thoughts to listen, "is if you please could drive him back to my house when the day is over, it's barely a ten or fifteen minutes drive and he'll put up a fight with me if I tell him, but not with you. I worry you know, his mother left him in my care when he was just a kid and I own it to her."

"Of course," says Javier, and just in case it doesn't show what he's agreeing to he adds, "I'll drive him, just show me the road I should take."

The man does that, Javier thinks he'll remember just fine.

"You disappeared after the dancing," Sergio is trying to sound like he's mad or at least like he's reproaching Oscar's attitude, but there's a small smile on his face that ruins it.

"I wanted to get a new battery for my camera, and you were too busy with your now husband, I didn't think you'd need me babysitting you."

"Dork," Sergio smiles.

"You're leaving in… ten minutes… why are you standing in front of me?"

"Because you're supposed to give me a goodbye hug," Sergio says, hands in jar around his waist. Oscar laughs and hugs him, lifts him up being much bigger than his friend.

"Take care little boy," he says, and there he notices Lionel in the background, "and take care of him, too."

"Of course."

"I'll see you when you're back."

Sergio hugs him once more before leaving. Oscar is left alone and curses himself for not accepting Gabriel Milito's offer to do shotgun with him when he dropped the newlyweds on the airport.

"Ah, I thought I'd find you here," and that's Martín's voice and Oscar loves him.

"Aren't you supposed to be filming?"

"I'll start tomorrow, I guess only Nicole had to work today."

"So, you've come to Ezeiza because is on the way to your home...?"

"Exactly," Martín grabs his arm and starts to drag him away. "Gabriel mentioned the other night at the wedding that you'll be the one driving them here on your own, and that's just not healthy."

"Oh God, you're going to ask me if I'm in love with Sergio too?"

"Don't be disgusting," Martín says, he almost sounds mad, "I know you have a thing for his recent husband."

Oscar is quite for a second, he sighs before saying, "Am I that obvious?"

"Just to me, I think; but we can ask around if you want."

"Oh, fuck you."

Demichelis just laughs at that, Oscar is happy that he's here.

Heinze walks to his office with his eyes on Gabriel Milito's desk because Diego Milito has been putting ideas on his head about him. In Diego's defense, all the things he said are true: the younger Milito brother looks lost and lonely and his eyes keep checking the empty desk to his left (that Heinze knows belongs to Esteban who's out of the country in a working trip).

"He's worst today," Fernando explains when Heinze stops at his desk, just outside Heinze's office.

"Why today?"

"They had lunch break together on Wednesday," Fernando smiles a bit, that childish grin that Heinze always believes is hiding something, but he knows he's over reacting because not all his employees are children hiding the fact that they broke Fabián's framed pictures in the kitchen – having kids does ruin your head.

After noticing he's staring into space, not even towards Milito or Fernando, Heinze sighs and calls out: "Gabriel, office please?" not even looking up to him and trying to hide his smile when Fernando whispers "don't be too hard on him boss, he's just a boy in love."

Milito enters the office right after Heinze, he looks too scared to be the same man who was way too tipsy on his living room a few weeks ago in their last shared dinner.

"Gaby, darling," he says with a grimace on his expression, "what are we going to do about you?"

"Uhm, what about me?" he's looking everywhere but at Heinze, so Gabriel snaps his fingers together to call for the man's attention.

"You and your puppy eyes and your sighing as if you know your life is about to end," explains with all the delicacy Heinze thinks he can get. "Esteban is part of our outside relationships staff, he's going to be out of city for a few days each month, you can't be like this every time he leaves."

Heinze can see in Milito's expression that he's trying to give an excuse, maybe come out with an explication about his acting and even denying his feelings towards Esteban. Heinze hopes that he knows that's a lost cause, because he's well informed on Gabriel's crush with Esteban Cambiasso and he's also not blind.

"In my defense," says Milito with what Heinze assumes must be his ceremonial voice, "you didn't send him out of town for months, so basically you've spoiled me. I have my right to the puppy eyes and the sighing and whatever else my brother has been bitching about to you and your husband."

"Gabriel, don't say bitching, I'm your boss, a little of respect please."

"You're talking about my love life; I can curse if I want to."

"First, you don't have a love life," Heinze says very matter-of-fact, "second, you're driving all of us insane with your mooning when he's not here and with your unresolved sexual tension when he is, so it's a problem for the office, hence, I'm being your boss on this, too."

"Are you going to talk to Esteban about it too?"

"Of course, as soon as he's back," Heinze responds, while turning on his computer, "but you need to get your act together for when that happens, if not I'm locking both of you in a closet."

"A closet, really? Can't you be a bit more imaginative?"

"Out of my office, now," Heinze smiles while Gabriel disappears.

He puts attention to his computer then; he has one new email from personal contacts and wonders if Fabián or Diego emailed him since he left them. The answer is no. The email is one line and comes from his secretary just outside the door, Fernando. It reads: "how did it go?" and has a happy face in the end.

Gabriel answers back while smiling.

The younger Milito brother, Gabriel, plans everything ahead.

That's something he got from Diego, his older brother always liked making plans for whatever they were going to do, be it a school trip, a holiday with the family or a day outside the city with their grandparents. Diego liked making plans and Gabriel got used to it to the point that now about twenty years later he still plans every special trip, every work, every day. His love for planning things got him interested in his actual career and makes him good enough to his job.

His love life, Gabriel considers, must be planned as well. That's why since he’s met Esteban he had a plan: he'll befriend him, they'll start a lovely relationship in which Gabriel could confirm if he had any chance or not. If the answer was no, he should move on, and a lot of ice cream and moving a few days with Diego and Leandro were involved. If the answer was yes; the plan moved even forward. He had to woo Esteban, who easily would fall for his charms (or for his lack of charm and stunning honesty about it). The end was happy and beautiful.

In his plans, Gabriel hadn't considered anyone's intermission. His brother's jokes and sometimes encouragement was planned, Ayala's persona was admitted as well, even young Ustari (who had enough problems crushing in either his friend or his friend's significant other)… but Gabriel Heinze was not. Not if he was going to give Gaby an ultimatum. It's not like he didn't like Heinze, the other way round, he was a great boss and a good father and Fabián loved him… but the fact that someone else wants to criticize his plan, well, it makes him nervous.

And it makes him act outside the plan, which can never be good.

For the third day on a road Leandro leaves school frowning, Diego considers he has given him enough space by now and that it's time to ask questions. To help out his tactic, he takes Leandro to his favorite restaurant at lunch time and let's him do the talking until the food arrives.

"What has been worrying you lately champ?" he asks, voice light and pretending to be more focused on the food than on the conversation.

"Who is leaving the club and who's coming, I don't like the idea of starting a tournament with all new players, we need to keep the bases," when soccer is involved, Leandro sounds much older and Diego can hear himself and even his brother, or Fabián on the words.

"Besides the club," he says, still trying not to sound like he's pressuring. "Are you sad about mom?"

"I miss mom," Leandro says softly, "but I have you, so I'm okay."

Diego feels his troath tighten to that answer and barely manages a smile as response, it takes him a moment to trust his voice again and go on with his plan on finding out what's bothering his boy. "Everything's all right at school?"

"Yeah…" Leandro's eyes drift away from the food and the table, he's watching whatever is behind Diego but without any actual interest, after all this time Diego can tell Leandro's behavior very well.

"Kids are giving you troubles?" he asks, carefully.

"No, no," he denies quickly.


"Do you really want to know?"

"Of course Lean, I want to know."

"Even if telling you won't actually help, but only make you worry."

This takes Diego by surprise, clearly the conversation isn't taking the road that he thought it could take but he tries to remain calm and nods saying "if with all that."

Leandro sighs, like he's a grown up and he's about to say something really difficult, Diego waits, doesn't even breath: "School is about to end."

"And that's a bad thing." Diego doesn't ask because he can tell it is for Leandro's tone, but he's just making sure, and breathing again, slowly. He was pretty sure that the start of December, with only a week and a few days of class would have the kid in a great mood, but with Leandro it's not the case.

"It is."


"I won't see Nadia again," Leandro says.

Diego feels relived, even if he has no idea who Nadia is and apparently he should. He can guess, or hope, Leandro is talking about a friend.

"And I have to wait 'til next year and that's a long time," Leandro talks again, he sounds offended with the school system or the holidays or maybe both and Diego wants to laugh, but he has the feeling that this is a serious moment. Leandro confirms that feeling when he says: "she'll forget about me," with a voice so tiny, Diego has to move a bit over the table to hear the end of the sentence.

"We could invite your friend over to play some day…" he starts offering, and he really believes it's a good idea, until Leandro gives him a look just like the ones Jessica used to gave him when he was being irrational.

"Diego, no," he says, and it's not weird because Leandro uses both his nicknames or the word 'dad' to refer to him, but when he uses his full name, Diego knows he's in trouble. "She's not just a friend; I'm in love with her Diego."

"You're in love with her," he's repeating the words, he's aware, but he needs to make sure.

"Yes, and I've been since the start of the year, and mom knew. I hope she's not mad that I'm still thinking about Nadia, but I can't help it. I've tried, I've tried to notice other girls in class, I tried to focus on the music, on the games, on anything Diego… but I can't, Nadia is the one for me, I'm sure of that."

Diego isn't sure where to start to answer such a disclosure of feelings; he decides to start from something he's sure Leandro needs to hear: "Your mother won't be mad Lean, she'll be happy to know you have someone so important in your life."

"Mom said she was pretty, too," Leandro adds.

"Well, if we can't have her over to play games…" Diego says while he starts to think about options, and an idea comes to his head. "Does she go to the school's club on holidays? Plays any sport there?"

And that apparently is the right thing to say, because Leandro's face lights up while he's nodding. "She's in the swimming team, she's really good."

"Well, that's settled, you won't see her for only two weeks, because as soon as January starts we're going to register you in the club."

"For soccer!" Leandro grins, he's exited with the idea; but after a moment his face drops and he adds carefully, "but dad… I don't really play sports."

And fuck, that's true.

"We're going to solve it, you'll see," he promises, even if he doesn't have any idea how.

Martín takes off his shirt in front of the prying eyes trying not to shiver too visibly. He lies to himself saying that the goose bumps and his erect nipples are caused because of how cold the room is and not from feeling observed, exposed basically naked to a group of people. He is used to this, but every time, for the first few scenes, he does need a minute or two to remember that this is the job he took.

"Wonderful Martín, now go over to the window and stay with your back to us. Eva will approach to you from behind."

"Eva?" Martín repeats, he was sure he was going to be working with Nicole, like every season.

"Ah, yes, beautiful little thing, charming girl. Won over Nicole to the director's eyes, so go figure. Now relax so we can get started."

Martín wants to tell him "YOU stand shirtless in front of at least twenty human beings staring at you and wait for a girl completely out of your league and we'll see if you can relax" but doesn't because this job is what pays for his house and food so he can study in peace.

He doesn't see Eva, he barely sees a reflex on the window of a body coming towards him, mostly skin and colorful lingerie. He feels soft hands touching his arm, caressing with what almost feels like care. He doesn't turn because the script says he has to just look out the window and let himself be touched, but curiosity is killing him a bit. After all, if the girl is prettier than Nicole, Martín really wants to see her.

"Sorry," Martín is surprised by the shy voice he hears from behind. "I bet this is always a bit awkward, sorry," and after that her hand gets between Martín's arms and side, to start touching his abdomen and chest.

He breathes in before muttering "it's okay" wondering if anyone besides his own reflex in the mirror heard him. If she's as pretty as she sounds, Martín is even more doomed than usual.

Nicolás is older than what Javier thought he'd be, but he's still a kid at Javier's eyes. He's tall and doesn't look at all like the man that drove him here, but he does have a kind smile that looks like a trademark of everyone Javier has been seeing since his arrival. When Alberto introduces them, Nicolás mutters something that Javier takes as Italian and smiles back, assuming that he should.

They don't talk after that, and that's fine, Javier needs the silence to think and to, eventually, write.

Sebastián looks up from the files he's supposed to be reading and paying attention to because he can't focus. It's early for him to leave the office, even if he recently he was named chief executive and he can take certain liberties, that's just not the example he wants to give to his employees. There's nothing on his head, nothing tangible at least or that could keep his mind away from work.

He blinks a few times and turns in his seat, focusing his eyes on the great window behind him that shows the bright sun in that early December day. He barely enjoyed his new office, because as soon as he was installed he was filled with enough paperwork for a lifetime, paperwork he needed to read and study for… today, or yesterday if possible. He likes the challenge, he knows he deserved the new position, he's been waiting for it – but right now he just wants to go home, grab the obnoxiously expensive toys he bought for the twins and leave to have dinner with Fabián and Gabriel; where he'll be able to say how much he actually hates this job even if he's been less than a month on it. Gabriel will say he'll learn to like it because he is a damned workaholic and Fabián will agree and will say something about this being Sebastián's path to his dream. Which is true, certainly, but this week… this week Sebastián wishes he would have stayed in art school with Fabián, it would be much simpler and surely he would be on holidays by now.

A knock on his door makes him jump slightly and chases away his thoughts. He turns on his chair, glares to the papers in his desk and finally says "come in" in a serious voice. The door opens right away, revealing Austin and another man behind him who Sebastián has seen before but isn't sure who he is or what he does for the company.

"Good day Mr. Verón," salutes Austin with a side smile that Sebastián has always seen when there are higher authorities around. He's one of those now so it makes sense it's directed to him. "This is our CFO, Juan Pablo Sorín, you wanted to meet him remember?"

"Of course," Sebastián lies instantly, because sure, he said he wanted to meet both the financial and operations chiefs, but he didn't meant it right now.

They shake hands when Austin moves from the way and Sebastián tries very hard to focus on something that's not Sorín's unbelievably long hair. He barely manages.

"You've been hiding," Sebastián jokes, "I've been working here for years and never knew you were CFO."

"My job isn't needed up here, so I only talked with your predecessor." Sorín answers with a strict tone, supported by the frown on his face, hard to miss with his thick eyebrows drawing a severe line.

Sebastián is wondering how can he fix what he said when Austin starts talking about meetings, about the need to create a schedule that will also work with Mrs. Jones, who is COO, and other things that Sebastián only hears in parts, because he can't stop glancing to the man dressed in the suit as an example of prolixity less for his very untidy, black hair that's barely held back and away from his face.

December is a slow paced month for the magazine.

It's more about letting things ready for January and to avoid most of the summer work than anything else, and everyone is in a better mood than during the rest of the year (leaving aside Gabriel Milito's whining over the empty desk, of course). Gaby likes to be able to enjoy the work he does without needing to rush anything and with everyone a lot more helpful than usual, something that happens in December because, Gabriel thinks, of the Christmas spirit.

Their usual fiction writer already sent him the story for next month, longer than the latest ones; but in summer Gabriel can risk to give more pages to things people would like to read in the beach and outside their normal routines. He also has the first copies of the interview with Manu Ginobili and on his email there are reports from Esteban and his trips with the racing team.

"Hey boss," Fernando calls from his own desk; Heinze tends to leave his door open to be connected with the rest of the office, "want me to get you something for lunch?"

"Is it lunch time already?" Gabriel looks up from his reading, relaxed or not he always manages to lose track of time. Outside, Fernando laughs.

"Yes, it is," he answers, and Gabriel hears the chair moving and soon Gago's smiley face is at his door. "So, anything?"

"I don't know, what are you having?"

"Something from the vegetarian eatery a few blocks away, haven't decided exactly what yet."

"Ugh, that awful green food," Gabriel makes a face.

"I can buy you something in the meat place that's on my way," the younger man offers with a knowing grin that can be easy found on his voice.

"Have I told you that you're the best secretary in the world?" Gabriel says with honest enjoyment, "because you are."

"You could do it more often," Fernando hasn't stopped smiling, but his eyes light up when he says that. "I'll be back in ten minutes, try not to miss me much."

"I'll make the effort."

Gabriel goes back to his work, ready to be interrupted with the smell of wonderful greasy food soon. He hadn't notice he was hungry, but now he is.

"Hey," says Sergio's voice on the phone, it sounds careful.

"Hey," Oscar answers back, "we saw each other's about two hours ago, why we are talking again?"

"Can't I just miss you?" Sergio replies.

"No," Oscar answers instantly, "I know you, what is it?"

"Well, the thing is," Sergio breathes in and out before talking, "the wedding footage is ruined, I have no idea why did we even bother in finding someone professional to do it... But yeah, that, my mom is crying and I don't think is because I married a boy anymore; and Lio is pretty upset about it."

"Okay…" Oscar is pretty sure that's not the end of it, so he waits for more.

"I know you were recording things, like you always do… so, could we see it?"

"I, I don't think so," Ustari replies, and when he notices what he said, he amends, "I mean I have to look around, see where I got it, hell, it's surely still in my camera, since I haven't been putting things on the computer, less on DVDs."

"Uh, that sucks… I, uh, hadn't considered that."

"Yeah, so, gimme a few days and I'll get it for you, sounds good?"

"Yes but, uhm…"

"What is it Kun?"

"Don't be mad at me," Sergio says, "but Lio is on his way to your place."

"What? Why?"

"I know you're not his biggest fan, but you said that whoever made me happy will make you happy in the end," Sergio's voice is a bit shy, "and he makes me happy, really happy. So could you try, please?"

"I don't dislike him Kun, I barely know him, he's your boyfriend, ah, husband and if he makes you happy that's enough for me." Oscar explains. "I really can't see him now, I promised Micho I'll pick him up after recording, he wants me to see his co-star because apparently she's the most beautiful thing on Earth."

"Micho usually finishes recording his movies at night."

"I need to do some errands around the area, too."

"Five minutes just—" Sergio says something else, but Oscar doesn't listen to it, he's distracted because the sound of the electric porter on the kitchen.

"Gimme a second," he mutters as he picks up with a nonchalant "yeah?"

"It's Lio, can I come up?"

"Yeah, sure," he says, and goes back to Kun. "He's here, I'll tell him the same thing I told you and sent him over, I hope he doesn't take it personal."

He says goodbye before Sergio can protest or comment, and goes over to the door.

"Hello Osky," Lio smiles, he looks even younger than Sergio and that's saying a lot, he hands Oscar a bag, "I brought you this, Kun says you love them."

In the bag there are churros from the bakery a few blocks away from his place, he does love them.

"Am I interrupting you?" Lio asks and he looks nervous, "Sergio called you, right?"

"He did, yes," Oscar nods, "but I was on my way out actually, I need to be around Micho's workplace before three."

"Oh, I had no idea."

Oscar hates how guilty that voice makes him feel, but he goes on with the lie, "yeah, so, that, I'm sorry."

"It's fine, I told Sergio we had to plan this, not just drop in surprise," Messi gives him that tiny smile that almost looks like it's not there, but his whole face lights up so it must be. "I was just around here, stopped at the bakery and assumed that would be enough as an apology."

"It's—thank you for this, really," Oscar nods still with the bag in his hands, "but like I told Kun a minute or two before you got in here, it's not only that I have to go now, but also I haven't even downloaded the files from the filmmaker, so I don't actually have them yet."

"Oh," and it's the second time that Lio makes that sound, which makes Oscar hate himself a bit. "Uhm, could I come over some other day to watch it?"

"Sure," Oscar says, because he can't be that mean, not to Lio's face.

"Awesome," he really smiles this time, "I'll bring more churros."

"Great, yeah," Oscar answers, he'll see how he deals with that when he has to.

"I'd love to have something to watch, and something to show to my family in Rosario, not all of them could travel here you know."

"Of course."

"So, are we leaving?"


"Well, you needed to leave right? I'll go, too, so I don't hold you anymore."

"Yes, that, right, just let me…" he hold the bag up and points his kitchen, walks there to leave it on the counter and goes back to Messi. "Let's go then."

"What about you, dad?" Leandro asks when Diego is doing the dishes in the kitchen while the kid is still sitting in the table not far from him.

"What about me Lean?"

"Your love life."

Diego almost drops the glass he was flushing.

"I know you loved mom, but she'll want you happy too."

"I'm sure of that too kid, but I'm happy now, I have you to take care, and I want to go back to work, too."

"But we don't need the money."

"No, we don't, but I like my work, I like designing things, it's fun for me."

"I think we should find you a girlfriend too," Leandro says, thoughtful, "or a boyfriend, you dated guys too right?"

"We're not having this conversation on a school night Leandro, go brush your teeth."

"Uncle Gaby said you did."

"Your uncle talks a lot, you shouldn't listen to him."

"You said I only didn't have to listen when he tried to convince me to become an Independiente fan."

"More than anything in those situations," Diego smiles, "now really, go get ready for bed."

"Yes daddy" it should be adorable, but Diego knows it's bad intentioned, so he just laughs a bit.

Eva is small.

Martín is used to being taller than both male and female coworkers, he's been used to being the tall guy since he was on Junior High and kids made fun of him (until the large body grew strong enough to hit, that's it). But Eva – Eva is tiny, simply as that. Martín really wants to see how they fix this on screen.

Leaving aside her size, she's also the most gorgeous thing Martín has seen in his life. Which maybe isn't saying much, because in the industry you don't get pretty girls; you get out-of-Earth bodies (some plastic, some real), lewd curves, faces with a lot of make-up and forced smiles. Eva is none of those things and Martín wishes she wasn't even here, almost naked, in front of these pigs that are staring at her as if she was dinner. He doesn't even know her and he already think she's too good for this.

Oscar is right, he's awful for this job, he always ends up over thinking even if there's no need.

"Martín, right?" Eva is talking to him, interrupting his thoughts, but she's beaming at him so Martín doesn't really mind; plus it's not like he was thinking something that interesting. "I'm Eva."

"Oh, yes, hi," he tries to smile, tries to forget he's shirtless and that they're standing by the side of a king size bed where he's supposed to jump on while she's asleep. Martín has never hated and loved his job so much at the same time.

"Hi," she answers back, even if there's no need, and she's smiling at him so openly sweet that Martín thinks he's light-headed out of a sudden.

"Kids, are you ready?" the director asks and Martín can't help but roll his eyes.

"Is he always going to call us kids? Can I find it disturbing?" Eva asks in a whispered rush, her cheeks growing some color maybe because of what she dared to ask.

"Yes," Martín nods, "and very much yes."

He thinks it's a stupid way to answer, but she laughs, a short yet warm sound, so he must have done something right. That should do, for now.

The sound of laughing that comes from the master bedroom welcomes Gabriel to the department. He can notice the twins' laughs alongside with Fabián's and the low whisper of the tv, surely the reason they're laughing. The cold air in the house is also a nice greeting, outside it feels sticky and even with the sun going down the heat seemed with no intentions to leave.

"Well, hello there," Gabriel grins when he's at his room's door. The twins and Fabián are sprawled in the bed with his eyes on the screen where TyC Sports is sharing the 'End of the year special' about game plays and soccer events; with their usually funny bit about silly accidents and mistakes during games going on at the moment.

"Daddy!" both young kids jump from the bed and run to Gabriel, hugging him where they can reach, Fabián smiles from the bed, waiting for his turn to say hi.

"I can see everyone had a very stressing day, uh?"

"Papá let us paint with him," Juan tells him with a grin and behind him Julián nods.

"He did? That's awesome!" Gabriel smiles, finally free of his two little monsters goes over to his husband for a kiss, "can I see the work you've done?"

"No!" the twins scream in unison. And Julián explains, "It's not finished yet."

"Oh, I see," Gabriel nods, he's smiling to Fabián now, who just shrugs his shoulders not taking responsibility in what the twins are saying. "When it's done, you'll let me see it?"

"Of course," Juan answers, making his way back to bed and calling his brother to do the same.

Gabriel ends up in the bed too; it's not hard to convince him. They have pizza for dinner still watching the tv and the boys go to bed later than usual; Fabián thinks it's okay because holidays are close, but Gabriel makes him promise he'll be the one doing the wake-up in the morning.

During the first few days, after Javier thought he didn't actually needed Nicolás around all the time, he is proved wrong in an unfortunate change of events.

On his first morning in the cottage, the hot water turned cold as he showered, and he wasn't in damn Buenos Aires with the killing heat anymore, but in Milán with rather the opposite temperature. He left the bathroom in a bathrobe and a sweater and came to find Nicolás sitting in the kitchen table with a book between his hands. When the younger one looked up to acknowledge Javier's presence, he could tell that Nicolás was trying not to laugh.

"I'll fix that," had finally said the Italian boy, pointing out to a rather old water heater in the corner. Javier wasn't fully sure what Nicolás had meant, but when the boy made a hand gesture indicating that Javier could leave, back to where he was, he assumed Nicolás was going to take care of it.

Less than fifteen minutes later he was able to shower with hot, wonderful water. To show his thankfulness, Javier fixed them both that afternoon's coffee giving Nicolás his mug without interrupting his lecture.

On the second day, Nicolás was stuffing his fridge and cabinets with food. Javier stared from the door noticing he had no idea where the local market exactly was and that he indeed had no food in the house. Clearly Nicolás had seen this too, maybe guessed Javier was lost in the idea of finding his own supplies and had decided it would be the right thing to do to fill the kitchen with rice, pasta, meet and even frozen pizza.

"Thank you," was Javier's first reaction, but Nicolás didn't even turn so he tried again, as graceful as he could manage and muttered "thank you" to which he could see Nicolás' head nodding that he heard him. Javier knew there's no point on trying to follow the conversation or asking where or how he got the food, so he made a mental note to call Alberto later and fix those issues with him.

That very same evening when Javier is driving the young man back to his place, a route he pretended to know by memory already but that he actually had wrote in detail in his writing note-book, Nicolás saves both of them and the car from a night in the police station by putting his hand on the wheel to recover Javier's attention in time, and avoid a tree on the side of the road.

Javier curses slightly, because he's not that careless or stupid in a car and so he explains out loud after thanking Nicolás again, who just had nods and lets go.

After dropping Nicolás off, Javier drives dangerously slow all the way back while thinking that having the kid around will be okay

"Diego wants us to lunch together, he's worried about Leandro," Fabián tells him over the phone, it's a little after eleven, and Gabriel's work is the same that the day before, so he can take the time to talk to him.

"Is everything all right?"

"Yes, yes, worried about silly things, he didn't say much this morning when I saw him while dropping the kids, but it's about sports."

"Sports." Gabriel repeats.

"That's what he said," Fabián replies. "So, we talked about meeting in the bistro across the street from your place. You never eat there because they don't have delivery; I thought it'll be good for variety."

"Sounds perfect," Gabriel smiles, "time?"

"Around one?"

"Sure, I'll let you know if I can't leave exactly at that time, I need to go over a few things with the design team." Gabriel gives a look to the to-do list Fernando put together for him, "in any case you boys start without me, and I'll join when I'm done."

"Very well," Fabián replies, "I'll let you know when we're there and you're free to come when you can."

"See you at lunch then," Gabriel says; while he sees the email box on his computer shinning, he has a new message from Esteban. "Love you."

"I love you too," answers back Fabián before hanging up.

Gabriel lets his phone on the table before giving a quick look to the email and getting up. He opens the door he’s closed when he started to talk with Fabián and calls Milito to his office.

"Oh, and Fer," he says, voice in normal tone only for his secretary to ear, "I'll be having lunch out today, so don't worry about me."

"Sure thing," Gago nods, if the smile doesn't look as natural as usual Gabriel blames it on external factors he doesn't know about.

"What is it?" ask Milito when he comes in.

"Esteban is coming back on two days," he tells him, and he can see how Milito is doing a great effort to not start grinning, he's even biting his bottom lip.

"You just called me to tell me that?" the younger Gabriel asks, his voice failing at sounding pissed.

"Don't try to look annoyed, leave and smile for the rest of the day, please."

Milito does that, Heinze feels accomplished.

It's not like Leandro doesn't like sports, on the contrary, he just isn't a devote player – or a player at all-; most of the exercise he gets is at gym class, and he hasn't before cared for any other. When he was old enough to decide any extra-school activities, he preferred to learn to play the piano just like his mother did and both Diego and Jessica were fine with that.

"You're over reacting, as you usually do," his brother points out when they're eating lunch with Fabián outside Heinze's magazine, waiting for him to be done.

"He's right you know," Fabián agrees, "you're not taking Leandro to the tryout of a professional club, you're only going to take him to the school's club. That's as amateur as it gets Diego."

"Besides," Gabriel Milito talks again, "he's a young boy, his body will catch up with the habit of a sport before you can notice; it's not the same as if one of us old lazy asses decided to play for real again."

Diego understands that, but he's worried, he wants Leandro to have a good time in the club and not to feel neglected for a poor gameplay; besides he's pretty sure his boy will want to impress a girl and you can't do that by sitting in a bench. He explains that to his friends.

"Leandro has played soccer in school before, it's not the first time he's gonna see the ball Diego," Gabriel uses a tone that makes him sound like the older brother and Diego rolls his eyes at him.

"If it worries you this much, you can talk with Gonzalo beforehand," Fabián finally says.

"Who's Gonzalo?"

"The guy that trains the kid at the club," Fabián explains, "Gaby being the social butterfly he is, talked with him enough for us to have his phone number and everything."

"That's right; your kids go to the club!" Diego exclaims with utter satisfaction, and Fabián doesn't even try to hide the eye roll.

"Only Juan plays soccer, but yes, they both go there during the year and on holidays."

"I don't even know where Julián got his tennis fascination from," Gabriel Milito mutters more to himself than to the table.

"So you could get me this Gonzalo guy number?"

"Of course, you can talk with him and he'll tell you what your brother and I have been telling you, but you'll be happier because he's the one saying it."

Diego smiles to that, he can't help it. He enjoys his brother and Fabián mocking him for a few more minutes while his eyes drift away from their table and focuses on the building across the street; he spots Heinze right away, talking with someone else that doesn't look familiar to his eyes.

"Who's with Gaby?" asks, with his natural curiosity.

"His new secretary, what was his name again?" Fabián looks towards Gabriel Milito for help, who says "Fernando" while still eating, and Diego can almost hear his mother's voice in his head saying that he shouldn't talk with his mouth full and he's sure Gabriel can too, because he says "sorry" after swallowing fast.

"What happened to the other one?"

"Maternity leave," Fabián explained, "this kid was a lucky find for Gaby."

The conversation dies there, mostly when Heinze crosses the street and is already near them, talking with the younger Milito with his bossy-tone saying "Do I pay you well enough to eat with my husband and one of my best friends?"

Diego laughs in queue just like the other two, but he can't stop staring to the blush on Heinze's cheek. It's too hot outside, he decides after another second.

Lilu -: ojitoslucilatorres on November 4th, 2011 04:28 am (UTC)
Qué lindos los colorcitos y los corazoncitos esos♥ =)
Vine a chusmear eso y a acercarme un poco a esto, así le voy perdiendo el miedo =P