Pairing: Daniel Agger / Steven Finnan, light Xabier Alonso Olano / Steven Gerrard
Disclaimer: If only it were true but it's not.
Summary: "And Finnan realised that the lad's eyes had flecks of pale brown in them, flecks that almost matched the freckles on his face."
Author's Note: I am in the midst of writing Duck Drabbles. And then I got distracted by MSN and paularinaa and hoppipolla. They're both evil. So this is for them.
There are mistakes I'm sure. Written in one sitting while chatting with children of evil.
Finnan couldn't quite recall the very first time he met Danny. Bit and pieces maybe. Rafa and Stevie had introduced him as they did all new players. The lad had gone around, shook hands, said all the right things, said just enough. A good grip. An easy smile. Confident. Young. Very tall. Eyes that crinkled when he smiled.
The next day at training it was the tattoos that caught everyone's attention. Riise and Pennant were immediately drawn to the lad, grabbing his arm and poking his sides, then turning him this way and that. Agger had looked a little embarrassed at first, and then utterly bewildered when Luis appeared and started chattering in rapid fire Spanish before remembering that not everyone spoke Spanish. Not even at Liverpool.
Stevie and Alonso had smiled, with the captain tugging up the Spaniard's shirt, laughing and saying something about how 'You'll Never Walk Alone' in Basque would look good, just...there. And Alonso had grinned, and had said something too low for anyone else to hear. And Gerrard's face had turned red, and he muttered something about how it was time for everyone to shower and stalked away. Forehead all a-furrowed.
Carra had caught Finnan's glance and arched an eyebrow, mouthing 'kids' before rolling his eyes. And Finnan couldn't quite stop the laugh that emerged. And Danny had turned to look, then immediately ducked his head when he met Finnan's stare. And Finnan realised that the lad's eyes had flecks of pale brown in them, flecks that almost matched the freckles on his face.
It wasn't long before the team adopted the boy as one of their own. Carra began to thump Agger on his back after training, after matches, and then during matches. The first few times it happened Danny had pitched forward violently, startled, eyes wide open in shock. But soon after, the tall Dane braced himself even before Carra made contact. Planting his feet just so, shoulders bracing for impact. Carra had laughed uproariously. And thumped even harder thereafter. A patented sign of approval.
Rafa had beamed in his understated way. Pako's grin couldn't have been wider.
And Sami. Sami had smiled. Quiet, composed, his expression giving nothing away. But the fading blue of his eyes hinted he knew what was to come. Still, he made the time to speak to the younger defender after each training session; and then later, before every match the older man didn't start. It became a familiar sight, the two tall men huddled together with Agger listening in rapt attention and nodding as the older man gestured and spoke rapidly. And then Sami would give the kid a pat on the back and make his way to the bench to watch. And Danny would smile slightly and walk away, never looking back.
And oddly, Alonso and Agger had hit it off immediately. It was a strange sight at first, two heads, one light, one dark, bent, engrossed over home and decor magazines that one or the other had brought. But soon Xabi and the young Dane would arrange to meet so that the Spaniard could show the lad the best places to find the best fresh fruit. Or the stores where one could find the sturdiest floor tiles for the most competitive prices. Stevie had kept a watchful eye for a while but gave up soon after. At least he didn't have to be dragged to that god forsaken little fruit shop at the end of the world for mangoes any longer.
And Luis was Luis. And most of the time, to Finns at least, Danny had no clue what the smaller man was going on about. But the young Dane would laugh anyways. And Luis would laugh as well. And soon Dan was saying 'Si, Si' almost as often as the Spaniards on the team. And Luis would giggle and say that this was the first time he had heard anyone say 'Si' with a Danish accent. And Danny would try to teach Luis how to say ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ in Danish. And Luis would ask why all Scandinavian languages sounded like everyone spoke with a phlegm-congested chest. And Riise would break in to argue the issue, and Kyut would join in, and none of them would be able to stop the bouts of almost hysterical laughter and jostling that followed.
And Finnan would watch. And Finnan would smile. And Finnan would never quite say anything. Not even when his eyes and Danny’s would meet. And Danny would grin, damp hair sticking up every which way, half plastered to his head. And Finnan would shake his head and turn away. Still smiling.
But Finnan noticed many things.
He noticed how sometimes after a match, Danny would still wrap his hand around his once injured wrist and rotate it slowly. A habit the boy had not yet broken after having to nurse the injury for so long.
He noticed how standing in the tunnel before a match, Danny could never quite keep still, standing on the balls of his feet, chewing at his lower lip, cracking his knuckles, stretching out his neck. Watching everything and everyone around him, silent, his breathing carefully controlled.
He noticed how the boy never quite knew how to react when the little mascot would hold out his or her hand for the defender to grasp, hero worship clear in their large bright eyes. A 5-year-old girl had reached up to hug him once, and Danny had froze, and Xabi had to shove him lightly before the young Dane doubled-over to hug the little girl back. She wouldn’t let go, and Danny ended up lifting her in his arms, her tiny face flushed with excitement, and carried her onto the pitch. He sought her out later it seems, after the match, and Finnan found out from Luis that a red “Agger 5” shirt with a scrawled “D. Agger” now hangs framed from above her bed.
And Finnan noticed how Danny never seemed to have enough hands, at least not when he was off the pitch. He was constantly holding a magazine or book in one, his fingers keeping his page. His keys would be in the other hand, poised to open some lock to a car or a locker or a door somewhere. His cell phone would be wedged between his ear and shoulder and there would always be a pen stuck in the side of his mouth, shifting about spasmodically as he spoke in rapid Danish to whoever was on the other end of the line.
And once, when he spotted Finnan, he mumbled out a yell to the older man, asking for help to write something down as he continued to walk briskly to wherever it was he was heading. And Finnan had to double back and speed up to keep pace. And then found himself glaring suspiciously at the semi-damp pen that had mysteriously ended up in his hand.
'Why can't you write it?'
'I will lose my page. Come on Finns, just write it on my arm. Here is ok-'
'What? Your arm? Just put your keys in your pocket-'
'Er I have no pockets. And I need the keys soon. Come on Finns-'
'Then just give your keys to me. I’ll go with you-'
'No no. Can you just write what I say-'
'But I don't understand Danish!'
'Just- Just write what it sounds like. Just- Please?'
And so Finns wrote down the sounds the lad had repeated. And Danny continued to hold on to his magazine and open his car door and pack his backpack. All at once.
And then later,
'Er what- What's this?'
'It's...eh. That’s…er...It's what you said.'
'What the hell is randen, no...run? Run...runden..krup? Rundenkrup?'
'How the hell would I know. You said it!'
'I didn't say- What language is this?'
'You said it!'
'Er no I did not.'
'Well...that's what it sounded like. I told you I didn’t speak Danish!’
‘Er but this is not Danish.’
‘For the love of-‘
And Danny had continued to complain. And Finnan had continued to defend himself. And the argument had continued over dinner, and then dessert, and then coffee, and then under tossed bedclothes and sweaty sheets and mumbled names, and gasps and moans, and bruised hip bones and scratched up shoulder blades, and damp, swollen mouths.
And later, much later, Finnan had accused the young Dane of premeditation.
And Danny had laughed and refused to confirm or deny anything.
And Finns had said that this wasn’t something he did often.
And Danny had replied that this wasn’t something he did, ever.
And Finns had remained silent.
And Danny had answered what Steve could not ask.
‘Because I watched you watching me. And I liked it.’
And Finns had snorted and rolled his eyes and leaned back against the pillow and flung his arm over his face. And slept.
And Danny had smiled. A-honest to god, I’m happy to be here, with you, right here, right now, even though you’re too quiet sometimes, and that scares me, and your eyes are too light, and that sometimes distracts me, and even now, even after all this, I still don’t quite know if you really like me, but still. I’m happy- smile.