Firstly can I just say it's been AGES since I've written fis, months! Went to uni after a hectic summer so too busy, no time, all that carry on, you know what I mean. But I've missed you all! And missed these two too, fics of them seem to be dwindling at the moment, :( but their love and talent is still strong as ever! So yeah, here's my return to the ficworld, hope you like it!
Title: Even if we don't understand, it's all understood
Pairing: John Terry/Frank Lampard
Rating: PG-13, very much pre-slash, couple of swear words here and there
Word count: ~7,500, it’s long, I warn you, the longest I’ve ever written but can be split up if you like, it’s all snapshots. Had to split it into 2 parts because it was too long, (never had that before!)
Summary: Moments, simply because their relationship is about so much more than the what’s on the surface
disclaimer: All made up :)
A/n: Title taken from ‘It’s all understood’ by Jack Johnson. I suppose you could hardly even call this slash, I dunno, I’ve been working on it for a while, and have finally decided to finish (after leaving it for 6 months!) and no matter how much I tweak it, it won’t get any better, so you know here it is. It’s about moments, about friendship, about time. It skips between 2nd and 3rd person, but I don’t think it’s too confusing in that sense... at least I hope it isn’t!
Please comment and let me know what you think!
You clatter to the ground the sweet smell of grass filling your nostrils. You wait; you hear voices around you, shouts, the whistle, footsteps running. Hands either side of you, you try to push yourself up but you’re struck down by an inexplicable, blinding pain. You slump back down to the floor, there is no rush, no urgent need to get back up again. A hand comes to rest on your back and you turn your head to the owner of the said hand and all you can see is a pair of boots, not dissimilar from your own, standard issue white socks smeared with mud and grass. It could be anyone.
It could be, but it’s not. From the touch of the hand and the crumples of the socks, you know exactly who it is, and you relax down into the ground. You know you are safe now.
You can hear the medical team, they’re talking to you, but you can’t hear what they’re saying, can’t respond, the pain is fogging up your brain such that you can’t concentrate on anything else. Anything else that is apart from the boots that are still there, the hand, still resting on your back and the occasional phrase or two from the voice you knows as well as your own, checking that you’re OK.
You watch the rest of the match on the plasma screen in the corner of the dressing room, a large batch of ice wrapped around your ankle. It’s lonely and eerily quiet, when you see Frank’s goal go in, celebration echoes around the empty room, making you feel awkward as it bounces back to your ears and a new wave of loneliness hit
s you. People come and go intermittently, some coming to check up on you, yet however genuinely concerned they sound, their words fall empty and hollow upon your ears. The TV commentators mention your name and you can’t help but listen to what they say. The whistle blows and the cheers can be heard both from the television and the stadium down the hallway. Now begins the waiting game. Your teammates are on the screen, hugging and congratulating each other and you want nothing more than to be out there with them, the captain commending his comrades. Yet the constant throbbing in your lower leg reminds you why you are sitting here.
Slowly people begin to re-emerge, firstly back room staff, followed by the medical team and finally your teammates return. They all come up to you, congratulating or commiserating, it’s all the same to you, you know they feel your pain, yet they sound distracted due to their joy.
You can’t blame them, you’ve been there, you’ve done the same.
You wait on the coach, pretending to be asleep already, so as to avoid any more sympathetic glances or condolences. You feel someone sit down next to you and settle down. He nudges you and you heard a voice surprisingly close to your ear, “I know you’re not asleep!” You open one eye, then the other and despite your mood, can’t help the smile that spreads across your face when you see Frank grinning down at you.
You sit up and rest the back of your head against the window and look at your best mate. “How was it then?” you ask and as Frank answers, you can see the glint in his eyes,
“Amazing, just amazing... though of course I wish you could have been there” and as you meet his eyes, you know he’s telling the truth. Your eyes lock for many moments before you shake out of it, both slightly blushing. But as the coach starts up and pulls away, the moment’s gone and you’re back to your old selves and Frank starts up a conversation on X-factor as the two of you settle down for the long journey home.
The text came when Toni arrived back with the kids, training had been scheduled as a late one, it must have only just finished.
“Elen’s got the kids tonight, want some company and a catch up?”
John could tell two things from the text. One, it was as much for Frank’s sake as his own, he knew Frank got lonely without his girls, understandably so, John couldn’t bear to think about being home without the twins. And two, it wasn’t a question, Frank would have already made up his mind that he was coming over.
Sure enough, a couple of minutes after John sent his reply, he heard the sound of a car pulling into the drive. He got up slowly and hobbled towards the door, but he was too late, the twins had recognised the car from their bedroom window and came racing down the stairs to greet him at the door.
“Uncle Frank!” They cried out in unison as he stepped inside and they threw themselves at him, hugging him tightly. He scooped them up into his arms and greeted them,
“Heya kiddos, howya doing?”
The sight was so special for John, three of the most important people in his life, together, so happy to see each other, it warmed him up from the inside out. He walked over to them and took Summer from the arms of his best friend and kissed her on the top of the head,
“Right kids, you’ve said hello, back upstairs so me and Frank can have a talk”
“But daddy!” pleaded Georgie.
“We want a gaaaame!” chimed in Summer and they looked up with such pleading eyes that neither man could possibly resist.
“Alright, one game” sighed John and before he could do anything about it, he and Frank were being led outside for a kick around in the back garden.
An hour later Frank decided to call it a day after being tackled to the ground by all three Terrys at once.
John settled them down to a film, before joining Frank in the kitchen for a good cuppa. Frank settled at the table, the paint stains on the cloth and the smell of chocolate milk bringing a melancholy smile to his lips. He missed this, the unmistakable signs of a house permanently lit up by children. The gold star charts filled with stickers and smiley faces, the fluorescent mini cutlery waiting to be washed, the washing machine, filled with Thomas the Tank Engine pyjamas and grass stained dresses. Sometimes he wishes he could resent the fact that John has everything he no longer does, wishes he could be jealous. Yet John and Toni are such welcoming people. He finds it impossible to hold anything against them. The minute he steps in the Terry household, he feels at home, accepted and himself, truly himself.
He was pulled out of his thoughts by a tea-towel hitting him squarely in the face. He looks up, expecting to find John, but instead its Toni standing there grinning at him, “thought we’d lost you there!” and he finds himself grinning back at her and John, feeling like he hasn’t in a long time, feeling at peace with his life.
You spent so long fussing about Luna and Isla’s layers that you forget about yourself. The cruel wind bites at you as you step out of the car and end up waiting on the doorstep, a shivering wreck. The doorbell is greeted with the usual shouts of excited four year olds and when the door opens, the girls rush in ahead of you and are immediately gibbering away with the twins.
John brings a hand to your cheek, “Bloody hell mate, you’re freezing!” his hand is so warm and surprisingly soft against your skin, you can’t help but blush, but whether it’s the warmth of something else, you’re not quite sure, but John’s tenderness certainly catches you off guard.
“You couldn’t lend us a jumper could you mate?” You ask, stepping forward and closing the door behind you and suddenly that tenderness is gone as John smacks you on the back of the head and calls you a twat in the loving way only he can.
You follow him to his bedroom. For the amount of time you spend chez Terry, his bedroom is relatively unknown territory, it’s always seemed inappropriate for you to be there. You sit on the silky bed taking everything in while he rummages through his drawers, muttering to himself about Toni’s inability to put his clothes back in the right place. You look at the pictures on the dressing table, their wedding, holiday shots, the kids, but as your eyes wander they settle on one in particular on the nightstand on what you can only presume is John’s side of the bed. It’s the only football related item in the room (somehow you’re surprised John hadn’t persuaded Toni to get Chelsea duvet covers) and it’s a picture in a simple silver frame with pride of place on the table. You hold it in your hands, studying it carefully; it’s of the two of you, the day you won the premiership for the first time. It’s not a picture you’ve ever seen before, Toni must have taken it. You remember her being particularly snap happy on the day; it must be one of them. You and John look young and fresh faced, standing there, smiling at the camera, the coveted trophy between you. Your hand is twisted into his hair, cradling the back of his head, whilst his arm rests on your shoulders, his fingers toying with the material of your shirt. Your heads are bent towards each other, tiredly leaning on each other for support as your eyes glitter with the joy of your achievement.
The bed dips from the weight of John sitting beside you and he puts his arm around you, his head resting on your shoulder. “Fucking amazing day, right?”He says softly and all you can do is meekly nod.
“This photo” You say, “where is it...” your throat is strangely dry, but John doesn’t notice, or at least pretends not to,
“Toni” he replies, “Bloody obsessed with photos she is!” You laugh with John “she’s got whole albums full you know” he adds, knowing without needing to ask, that you want to see them. As he gets up, the forgotten hoodie falls to the floor, you pick it up and put it on, zipping it up half way. It’s slightly too big and smells distinctly of John, but there again, you wouldn’t want it any other way.
He grabs a couple of albums from on top of the wardrobe before returning to your side. You take them from him excitedly, anticipating the secrets you will discover and the many memories you will re-live.
You leaf through the pages, carefully studying each page, with every turn of the page, you see many things from a whole new angle, but the more you see, the more a question eats at your mind.
“they...they’ve all got me in them...” you turn to look at John and are rather taken aback by the look in his eyes, almost yearning for a past time, longing for something, he looks at your tenderly, studying your expression as if trying to gage something from it, before a huge grin cheekily cracks across his face.
“Come off it Juliet!” he scoffs, “You sound like that Kiera Knightley bird in love actually!”
You laugh with him, yet no smile accompanies it as you hang your head ashamed of ever bringing it up. Yet he senses your unease and nudges you, trying to diffuse the situation “you gotta remember Toni took these pics, methinks me Missus has a soft spot for you mate!” he winks, “Besides you have a rather annoying habit of lurking at my side when I’m trying to celebrate anything!” This time you laugh properly at his words and everything is back to how it should be. The two of you head back downstairs and out the door with the kids, ready for a day out at the zoo.
It’s not until a couple of days later that you think back to that moment. Cold, you go to grab a jumper for some reason choosing John’s over your own. As his familiar smell once again envelopes you, it trigger something inside and it all comes back, especially that look, the one John gave you. As you snuggle closer into the plush fabric, you think about John’s expression, about what he didn’t say, what he was trying to convey and you see something in it, something you can’t quite put your finger on.
“Big game tomorrow then, ey?”
“yeah” Frank agrees, keeping the phone in place between his ear and shoulder as he finishes packing up his stuff. The hotel room feels strangely empty and the job of packing oddly easy without any of John’s socks or shoes that Frank mysteriously manages to accumulate after John comes up after training to relax in Frank’s room. Of course this is because John’s room is always ‘too hot’ or ‘too cold’ or ‘too big’ or ‘too small’ or the neighbours are ‘too noisy’ or even his room is simply too far away. In other words, John will find any excuse to spend more time in Frank’s room than his own. Not that Frank minded of course.
“Training going well?” John asked, the longing apparent in his voice
“not bad, though if I have to hear one more of Wazza’s shit jokes I might just have to staple his mouth together until he gives up!”
“haha don’t think Capello would be best pleased, somehow”
Frank returned the laugh, “’Spose not...Joey’s asking after you though”
“Hmm I should probably give him a call sometime, how’s he doing?”
“Yeah alright, a lot better since he’s started playing again”
“course, though I warn you, he’s taken a liking to your favourite spot..”
“Not the end of the bed!” John feigned shock.
“The one and only!”
“Well he best not get too comfy, I’ll be expecting it back soon”
“I’ll warn him”
“You can always use your captains authority, ‘Mr England captain’”
“haha, shh, it’s only temporary, while you’re not here, besides, I’m saving that, I got plans for my authority!”
“Now, now, Lampsy, don’t get too power mad – that’s my job!”
“pfft! You wish”
“haha well, you all set for tomorrow then?”
“’Spose, though still worried about set pieces...”
“ours or theirs?”
“Theirs, they’re bloody deadly y’know”
“Yeah though don’t worry Dawson and Upson’ll be all over them”
“mate, you don’t sound convinced...”
“Yeah no they’re good and everything, they’re just...”
“what? Inexperienced? Rash? Unreliable?”
“Nah, nah, not at all, it’s just they’re not...”
“Not what Lampsy?”
“They’re not you”
The day is surprisingly warm for this time of year, so instead of heading round the corner to the pub as planned, they decide to dust off the deckchairs and set up base in the back garden. The snap and hiss of the beer can opening is like a catharsis for John, and he feels all his tension seep away. The cool amber liquid swims down his throat, the sweet refreshing sensation quenching his thirst. He looks over to Frank, lounging back alongside him, his large aviators covering half his face. To John, he looks like a movie star, glamour and mystery, or at the very least someone with something to hide. The thought hangs over John for a moment, Frank can be such a closed person sometimes, the hardest thing for John is when he’s knows there’s something wrong, something Frank’s hiding, yet he hasn’t a clue how to pry him open.
“What you gonna do afterwards?” Frank’s question awakens John from his musings and John finds that Frank has now turned to face him.
“Err... probably go straight back home to the wife, why? You have plans?”
Frank shakes his head, “no, no, I mean like after all this, after football,” Frank moves his sunglasses so that they’re resting on the top of his head, signalling that for now he’s open, ready to talk, about anything, everything.
John sits up slightly, and takes a moment before answering, “You know what? I can’t see anything after football...” Concern flashes across Frank’s face momentarily, surprised and expecting the worse, he’s heard the stories, players who are lost when they hang up their boots, they ghost through life aimlessly, it’s a tale with rarely a happy ending. “no, no mate, not like that... I mean I can’t see me ever leaving football. Sure, I won’t be able to play, but I’m still gonna want to be a part of it, football’s a part of me, it’s who I am, you can’t never take that away from me, you know what I mean? “
Frank knew exactly what he meant, as usual, if he didn’t know better he could have sworn those words were his own. He looked at the man next to him and wondered when they had grown like this, developed the same mentality, the same thoughts, and the same mind. Frank could see so much of himself in the younger man, the determination to succeed, at whatever cost, the constant striving for perfection, but then smaller things as well, his general attitude to life, to problems, towards other people, were a near perfect reflection of Frank’s own. He considered this for a moment, had they grown together, towards each other, something to do with the fact they had been very young, was it their experience together of learning at the club that had developed them into who they were today. Or had they always been like this, two sides of one coin that fate had graciously re-united to allow them to share in each other.
“You ever tried it before?” Frank eyes are lit up with mischief as he took the little packet from his pocket.
John’s eyes widened, “wha...why you got those?!”
Frank shrugged, “Dunno, wanted to try them...”
John grabbed the packet off him, turning it over in his hands. He was torn the mischievous side of him wanted to take one, try it, he never had, wanting to be a footballer had always kept him on the straight and narrow when it came to this. Another side of him wanted to take one, prove to Frank he wasn’t a wuss, impress him, get the attention he always craved which Frank was always so ready to give. Yet the captain in him wanted to take them off Frank, throw them away and tell him off for even considering it, did Frank not know all the health risks, did he not realise how much shit he’d be in if the manager ever found out.
“Go on, no one will find out”
It was as if Frank was reading his mind, though in all fairness, he probably was, John knew Frank could always tell what was running through his mind, just from looking at his face most of the time.
He looks once again at the packet, then back to Frank. He makes up his mind
“You go first”
A broad grin spreads across his face as he took the packet and took one out, resting it between his lips, he searched his pocket for a lighter. John could help but feel a little silly. He was still nervous, not that he’d ever let Frank know, but surely this is what teens do, sneaking a pack of fags and trying them out with your mates, not grown men in their thirties. But that’s the way of football sometimes, you’re grown men, but still getting told what to eat, when to eat, when to go to bed, curfews, being grounded, it was like he was still a teenager.
“Wait!” John suddenly said, reaching Frank’s arm to stop him from lighting up, “Not in here, Toni’ll smell it when she comes back”
Frank rolls his eyes, “C’mon it’s just one, we’ll use air fresheners, open the windows, it’ll be fine, she’s not back for a few days yet!” Frank could almost see the cogs working in John’s brain as he mulled it over, before finally giving in.
“Go on then...”
He watched as Frank lit up the cigarette, and took a drag, smooth as you like. It looked so natural, like Frank was some sort of spy, or gangster, or... John knew he was getting carried away, but he’d always seen that side of Frank, the suave in a suit side.
“Your turn now” Frank grinned, handing over the pack to John, who took it gingerly.
“What’s it like?” John asked nervously,
Frank took another drag, effortlessly natural, “Try and you’ll see”
John took one for himself , it tasted funny as he stuck one end in, and he hadn’t even lit it yet. He took the lighter and fumbled with it, much to Frank’s amusement, he pressed and rolled his thumb, but nothing. He managed the occasional spark, but no flame. Frank took it from him laughing,
“Here let me help” He put one hand on John’s cheek, to steady him, keep him still causing the younger man to blush from the intimacy. Frank’s other hand lifts the lighter to John’s and with one click the flame dances up and lights the end of the stick hanging from John’s mouth.
John suddenly panics, he doesn’t know what to do, he inhales deeply and almost immediately starts choking. He spits it out, as his face turns an interesting shade of green. Frank can’t help his laugh as he quickly bends down to pick up the fallen cigarette so as not to burn the carpet, but it was too late, but before he could worry about that he turned back to John who was still choking on the sofa.
“you alright there mate?” He asks, trying to sound concerned despite his peels of laughter
“That...” John coughed “It’s disgusting, how can anyone like it?! Eurgh! Never again”
Frank grabbed a glass of water off the coffee table and brought it up to John’s lips, his spare hand cradling the back of his head, as he tips it back slightly, gladly taking gulps of the refreshing water.
When he’s had his fill, Frank takes the glass back, taking a healthy sip himself, despite the facade he put up, he couldn’t stand the taste of them. He looks back at John, still slightly green as he slumps down into the sofa, still wincing at the taste. He rests his hand on the younger man’s knee, squeezing slightly as he tries to stop himself from laughing.
“come on mate, we need to find you a new carpet!”Part 2
- Current Music:Boxes - charlie Winston