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Jun. 9th, 2008 | 02:16 pm
mood: nervous
music: "Impossible" Shout Out Louds

Title: The Motionless Hours (I)
Disclaimer: all made up
Characters: Fernando Torres, Martin Škrtel, the Liverpool crowd
Rating: PG-13 for this part
Summary: AU. Fernando is obsessive compulsive. Martin doesn’t hold back.

“The important hours are the motionless ones. Those stopped fractions of time, half-dead minutes, are the truest thing about you, the truest you -- not owning them nor being owned by them, without attributes; you couldn't 'render' them, couldn't make them more or less than they are.” -Henri Michaux





I.
Fernando Torres liked categories. He categorized events in his life, even the ones he would rather forget (which is why he never forgets). Even as a child, trying to keep up with his older brother and sister as they raced through streets of Fuenlabrada, he was filing things away in his mental cabinet—his siblings’ likes/dislikes, what group of people they fit into, what color they would be (Israel is orange, Mari Paz is purple). He also had a very active imagination. He imagined his brother’s and sister’s futures more detailed than they did.

It came naturally to him, pairing up things that match.
1. The police man who patrols the primary school – Argentine
2. The tattoo artist who works next to the donut shop – Danish
3. The bartender at his favorite pub – Spanish Basque
4. The captain of the Liverpool football team – English Scouse

It came automatically to him, figuring out which in the group does not belong.
a. Sergio b. Real Madrid c. Spain d. Fernando

He found the library life quite suitable for him. The head librarian, Rafa, took a liking to him back in August because Fernando was Spanish too, and Rafa knew what it was like to be new in a country where people spoke a different language. Not a single book got shelved in the wrong place on Fernando’s duty. He had the number system memorized by his second day, out of fear someone would ask him where to find a biography of Winston Churchill and he would direct them the wrong way.

In the months Rafa has known him, he can say that Fernando is shy, but diligent. Cautious, but efficient. Sometimes, though, Rafa wanted to shove an astronomy book in the western section. And then keep doing it every time Fernando moved the book back. He wanted to ruffle the boy’s feathers up a bit, see how the kid would react to the horrible cycle. Or maybe just send the boy to a stripclub. God knows 24-year-old men have needs.


“So who are you backing for Euros?” Xabi asked him, setting the whiskey on the table. His red jersey for Spain advertised his own support.

“Don’t know still,” Martin said after taking a gulp. “I know who I don’t want to win. The Czechs and the French. I got in a fight with a Frenchie once, or maybe he was one of those French-Canadians, I don’t remember. There was just something about him that rubbed me the wrong way, then I might have said something I shouldn’t have said, and he said some things I didn’t like, and one thing led to another. I guess it wasn’t much of a fight ‘cause he was scampering off after one bloody nose.”

“Probably made a dent in his nose job,” Xabi commented as he began polishing glasses.

“Are you sad about England being out of it?” Martin asked, a playful glint in his eyes. “Can’t whack off to the image of sweaty Steven Gerrard scoring goals.”

Xabi shot him a scathing look, but his attention was quickly diverted.

“Hola, Fernando, ¿como te ha ido?” Xabi called out in greeting.

“Bien, ¿y tu?” Fernando answered politely. He surveyed the bar stools. There were three stools in between the man Xabi had been talking to and a trio of women chattering animatedly. He took a seat in the middle of the three stools so there would be one empty stool on each side of him. Perfect.

“Eh, así, así,” Xabi said with a shrug of his shoulders, already making Fernando’s drink. “The usual?” he asked, just in case Fernando wanted something different.

“Sí,” was the reply.

Martin scanned the man who just sat down. Roughly the same height as him. Blonde. Slender. A sea of freckles. Nice face. Looked a little reserved, but probably a screamer in bed.

“Are you from Spain?” Martin asked as an ice breaker.

Fernando turned toward him and Martin could not help but stare at his lips.

“Yes,” and there was a charming Spanish accent to boot. Fernando chewed on his bottom lip before turning away. Martin thought it was a shame. So much for ice breaker.

Unbeknownst to Martin, Fernando has already begun categorizing Martin, as he did every man or woman who tried talking to him at the pub (not that he came to the pub that often anyway. What if he turned into an alcoholic? And died of liver poisoning?). Fernando had seen the tattoos, the shaved hair, the seemingly angry curl of his lips. Somewhere in his brain, he had already begun shifting this stranger towards the Daniel Agger type.

Xabi left to take care of other customers, but not before tossing Martin a surreptitious wink over his shoulder, and a very incognito head thrust in Fernando’s direction.

Not one to give up—and with Xabi’s blessing, Martin slid to the stool next to Fernando, who tightened his grip on his glass at the move.

“I’m Martin. Škrtel,” he said, sticking his hand out in a gentlemanly fashion. Martin could be a gentleman when he wanted to be, especially if the almost permanent angry scowl on his face had not scared them off yet.

“Fernando. Torres,” the other man said, taking Martin’s hand with unmistakable caution. And you have just ruined the symmetry of the seating arrangement, Fernando wanted to add. His brain had already begun trying to find where the last name Škrtel fit. He was drawing blanks as he ran down the list of countries he knew. This would bother him for the rest of the day and he promised himself he would look it up on the Internet. Or he could just ask him. But then Martin might ask him questions about Spain and Fernando didn’t want to think about Spain, which would lead to thinking about Sergio, which—

“Do you always think this much before you say something?” Martin blurt out. Okay, so Freckles—Fernando—was cute, but cute enough for Martin to waste his time? Some part of him was already telling him a later attempt at flirting would lead nowhere.

Fernando’s eyes widened in surprise. “I—well—yes,” he stammered out. This was not good, Fernando inwardly panicked. There was probably some kind of sarcastic remark on Martin’s (very nice) lips, which Fernando would try not to take personally, and then would come his lame attempt at a joke before Fernando went home feeling like a social reject. “Where is your last name from?” he suddenly asked, before he could stop himself—no, Martin had verbally cornered him, he forced Fernando to ask.

Martin saw it then. This anxiety, something raw that broke the guard of Fernando’s eyes.

“Hey, relax,” Martin said, in such a soothing tone it surprised himself even. “That might have come off sort of rude. Sometimes I just say stuff when I first think it. Okay, a lot of times I just say stuff when I first think it.”

Fernando hated it when people (Sergio) said that. Relax. It’s no big deal. Take a chill pill. Those fucking English phrases with their fucking rhyme.

“I have somewhere to, something to, be, do,” Fernando said quickly, and his face burned at how the words came out, all jumbled, the English all fuzzy instead of crisp. “It has been a pleasure to meet you,” he added cordially before walking away.

“Slovak,” Martin yelled out. Fernando paused in his steps. “My name’s Slovakian.” Fernando filed that bit of information away before leaving.


“So, I’m guessing it didn’t go too well,” Xabi ventured when he returned to Martin with another glass of whiskey.

“How did you know?”

“Because I know. Many a men have tried and failed with that one.”

Martin scowled and said accusingly, “So what was with the wink then? You were setting me up for failure from the beginning!”

“Failure of what?” Daniel asked as he took a seat next to Martin. “Rum and pop, please. Heavy on the rum.”

“He scared Fernando off before he barely made a move,” Xabi filled in, smirking at Martin.

Martin scowled even more. “He was a looker, but I’m not going to waste any afterthought on that one. He was too awkward. I don’t have time for awkward.”

Daniel laughed. “Fernando tends to do that. Lure them in with the looks and the tight bod, then turn them off by making them feel uncomfortable.”

“No, that wasn’t it!” Martin interjected. “He was the one uncomfortable, not me!”

“Well, if your face didn’t make babies cry so much…”

“Goddamn you, Agger!”

“He’s a good kid,” Xabi said as he was wiping the table. “He’s just…a little odd. He means well. He’s living in Liverpool far away from all his family and friends in Madrid—”

“He has friends?”

“For fuck’s sakes, Škrtel,” Daniel said with the roll of his eyes. “You weren’t exactly winning him over were you? And he has friends here too. I’m one of them. Well, first I just wanted to get in his pants, but then I figured it was best if we were just friends. With no benefits, unfortunately.”

“—and it takes a while for him to warm up to new people,” Xabi continued as if he had never been interrupted.

“So how do you know him?” Martin asked.

“I was at the library—yes, Martin, I read on occasion—and he helped me find a book. He works there.”

Martin’s mouth twitched at the information.

“Where’s the library?”


“Fernando, why are you doing this?” Sergio whined for the umpteenth time. Fernando quietly ignored him, organizing his belongings into boxes (all labeled of course) and folding his clothes in a way that would take up space efficiently. Sergio did not like to be ignored.

Sergio hopped from the counter and pulled Fernando’s face in his hands, forcing him to look at him.

“Nando,” he said simply, tugging at Fernando’s ear. Suddenly, a scene flashed at lightning speed in Fernando’s mind. Sergio would draw Fernando into a passionate kiss. They would clutch at each other, exploring each other’s mouths as they made their way to the bed. Tumbling down, they would kick aside all of Fernando’s neatly folded clothes and Fernando wouldn’t give a damn. “I love you,” Fernando would gasp between the kisses, “I’ve always loved you, since we first met all those years ago, I’ve always loved you, Sergio.” Somehow, in the middle of Fernando’s declaration, his shirt had come off. Sergio, kissing a trail down to his groin, would look up then and say most seriously, “I love you too.” Sergio would then unbutton and unzip Fernando’s jeans with his teeth in perfect expertise. Fernando wouldn’t think about how many people Sergio had practiced that on. They would make sweet, beautiful love that would rock the bed and Fernando would be too deep in euphoria to feel the pain or worry about how he looked naked. In the morning, Fernando would wake up to Sergio bringing him breakfast in bed—the eggs too runny for Fernando’s liking because Sergio knew no other way cook them. After breakfast they would unpack all of Fernando’s belongings and spend the afternoon in bed, making jokes about England before Fernando, out of daring confidence, would give Sergio the best blowjob of his life, executed so perfectly Sergio would ask, “Are you sure you’ve never done this before?” It would be epic. It would be Hollywood. It would be—

Sergio rubbed Fernando’s cheek with his thumb before letting go of his face. “It’s your life,” Sergio said with a finality that made Fernando dread what he would say next. “You do what’s best for you. I hope you find what you’re searching for.”

And then Sergio was gone, leaving Fernando staring at the door that had just shut. Every part of his core prayed the door would open again and Sergio would say something more.

Someone must have heard his prayers. The door opened enough for Sergio stick his head in, shaking his long hair from his face.

“Oh, and Nando, you better call me lots when you’re in England. You know I don’t do that letter writing shit.”

The door closed again and Fernando felt his heart plummet to the depths of his stomach, a heavy weight he would carry with him to England, like a constant reminder of how life had a terribly unfunny way of giving him what he wanted.


---

author’s note: First footie fic and constructive criticism would be very helpful for improvement. Thank you to greeniebach for reading it over.

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Comments {17}

fossil pants, i'm hard as rock

(no subject)

from: foxing
date: Jun. 14th, 2008 12:54 am (UTC)
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Wow. I'm not quite sure what else to say that would be in any way intelligent. Let's see if I can try here, :D

Your characters are them, you know the ones we see and pick apart in newspaper/magazine/television interviews, but you've also made them something wholly different. I guess the only way I can put it, is that you've made canon characters, entirely non-canon.

Okay, if the coherency didn't work... this was incredibly enthralling and a great hook into what promises to be an excellent story!

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lala

(no subject)

from: lalawrites
date: Jun. 14th, 2008 04:02 am (UTC)
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thank you! even though it's all au (other than stevie still being captain), i still wanted to pull some of the characteristics i've noticed/imagined of them so they didn't seem complete ooc.

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Rei C.: I am a papayan elitist.

(no subject)

from: rei_c
date: Jun. 14th, 2008 02:53 am (UTC)
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I really liked this! (Especially Rafa as the librarian, and Xabi trying to hook Martin and Fernando together.) Can't wait to see more.

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lala

(no subject)

from: lalawrites
date: Jun. 14th, 2008 04:03 am (UTC)
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i'm glad you enjoyed it!

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hey, soul sister

(no subject)

from: bluethursdays
date: Jun. 14th, 2008 03:13 am (UTC)
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Obsessive-compulsive Fernando is incredibly endearing. I happen to share a few of these traits, and it was so easy to follow exaclty what went on in his mind. I can't wait for the next part! Also, lol at Martin being filed away with Danny.

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lala

(no subject)

from: lalawrites
date: Jun. 14th, 2008 04:05 am (UTC)
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i'm glad fernando is relatable. i was afraid people would be like, "whaa? he's not realistic at all!" i've read too many of fernando's superstitions (plus, didn't he call himself obsessive-compulsive in an interview once?)!

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hey, soul sister

(no subject)

from: bluethursdays
date: Jun. 14th, 2008 04:24 am (UTC)
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Haha, yes I think I remember him talking about his compulsions, when he explained why his hair was getting so long and why he wouldn't cut it. Such a cutie, our Fernando is.

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חַנָּה

it's not as simple as a x b, or (a + c) x b

from: aguardente
date: Jun. 14th, 2008 09:14 am (UTC)
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This. Is. Epic.
Brilliant, splendid, intriguing. I love this and looking forward to the next part. Great plot, great style, it's a pleasure to read such professional writing.
<3

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lala

Re: it's not as simple as a x b, or (a + c) x b

from: lalawrites
date: Jul. 18th, 2008 02:41 pm (UTC)
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thank you! i tried to write a brief, not-epic story and well...it just keeps getting longer than expected!

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Mika

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from: jumping_down
date: Jun. 14th, 2008 12:07 pm (UTC)
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As an obsessive-compulsive person, I've fallen in love with your Fernando.

There were three stools in between the man Xabi had been talking to and a trio of women chattering animatedly. He took a seat in the middle of the three stools so there would be one empty stool on each side of him. Perfect.

Guh. This is my favourite Fernando out of the millions I've read. ♥

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lala

(no subject)

from: lalawrites
date: Jul. 18th, 2008 02:42 pm (UTC)
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your stories are some of my favorites so it means a lot coming from you! thanks!

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colchonera

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from: ultima_vaquera
date: Jun. 14th, 2008 01:43 pm (UTC)
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oh my goodness i so feel his turmoil at martin ruining his seating symmetry! jeje! i am the same way! i think many people can relate to your ocd fernando.. as i am sure fernando himself could relate also. ;)

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lala

(no subject)

from: lalawrites
date: Jul. 18th, 2008 02:43 pm (UTC)
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i'm glad you could relate, since i wanted them to come off as real people!

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la miro a los ojos (se reflejan en ti)

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from: alor
date: Jun. 14th, 2008 05:35 pm (UTC)
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Oh god, I love this so much. ♥

It's written so beautifully, you can picture what's happening so clearly in your mind. Your characters are just love.

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lala

(no subject)

from: lalawrites
date: Jul. 18th, 2008 02:43 pm (UTC)
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thanks bunches!

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ringhelediel

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from: ringhelediel
date: Aug. 21st, 2008 03:11 am (UTC)
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you're making me procrastinate big time dude, and i still have two (very tantalizing) chapters to read still!!! i love the way you write it. the writing itself seems to fit the Nando OCD character you're trying to paint (flashes into Nando's thoughts and all). lovely lil story. i shall hold my babble till i finish the third one!!! keep writing yeah! (why havent i seen this earlier??)

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kat_lys

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from: kat_lys
date: Aug. 21st, 2008 03:47 pm (UTC)
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This AU fic seems really interesting! I like the idea, it's quite original! :)
Going to read chapter 2!

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