Pairing: Jos é Mourinho/Rui Faria. Well, not quite a pairing yet, but...
Disclaimer: Not mine, never happened, blah-blah.
Summary: inspired by this prompt on touchline and some events of this season. Very distant pre-slash and some talking.
Rui has many years ago become a constant presence in José’s life. So much that now their relationship is hard to even describe properly. They are… well, close.
By now they are so used to each other that people sometimes think they can read each other’s thoughts. Which is not true most of the time, certainly, but the impression is there. Being together almost every day, practically living together and not getting tired of each other is the open secret of their relationship.
It’s not even the same way of thinking they have when it comes to football, though it was a start. But the thing is – their relationship for a long time already is much more than a coach and assistant. It’s even bigger than friendship, and he’s seen many marriages with less feeling and closeness involved.
No wonder that being teased about looking like a married couple is something they are used to. Even Tami once commented, laughing, that she sometimes wonders if he is married to her or to Rui – he didn’t even bother to argue.
It helps that Rui doesn’t mind some of his – he himself would admit it if pressed – annoying character traits. He knows he can be unbearable at times, but Rui mostly just rolls his eyes at his arrogance, indulges his tantrums, teases him lightly when he becomes too full of himself, and agrees to be his driver every time his hatred of cars flares up. He in turn has learned from the start some simple rules for being on a good side of Rui Faria – which is not an easy task at all. For all his youthful appearance and ready smile, one should always remember that Rui absolutely detests it when someone interferes with his work, that no matter the circumstances he should always be allowed his seven hours of sleep at night, that he hates being cold and has absolutely no patience for idiots or even those less knowledgeable or bright than him – as some journalists had the misfortune to find out.
Though it’s easy to forget when Rui is smiling. Seeing him in a cheerful mood, sharing a joke with players, not many people would guess that this is the man who has a degree in sports science and is known – and feared – for his military-style training sessions. This smile, and perfectly timed sarcastic replies, and calm rationality he possesses, and even occasional flashes of Rui’s temper – these are things José is too used to rely upon, almost like a solid wall to lean on when things are not going. He would never admit it out loud, but he is secretly glad that whatever it is that Rui sees in him that is worth this loyalty and love, he does see.
They’re so comfortable around each other they rarely argue in earnest and even rarer are serious fights, so much that every argument is almost like a special event. The reasons are always different and not always predictable, the latest of them – suddenly – being José’s love life.
For all the love José has for his family, he never was particularly faithful to his wife. Usually he manages without getting caught, two or three times being the exception, and his fleeting affairs with women and men alike are no secret for his closest friends. Some jokes are following him around, some cheerful comments from time to time, but no one really minds whatever he is doing in his free time. So when Rui suddenly decided to have a go at his private life it surprised José – but made him smile at the same time.
First time Rui commented about his choice of lovers was more like an accident. Their first match of the season, which later seemed like an indication of things to come, didn’t go as planned. The team was not fine, the game itself even less so, and everyone was touchy afterwards. And maybe his embraces with Mauricio Pellegrino before the match were a bit too obvious – but the man was clearly making a hit at him and he was not going to say no, so it wasn’t anything new, really. But it just so happened that Rui had a really bad pain in his back, was angry with all the world as a result, and it all turned into a rather ugly scene once they were back in the hotel. They started arguing when José tried to help Rui with is bag, and by the time they reached Rui’s door it was already a full-blown fight. They were raising voices at each other, not caring if anyone can hear them from the outside. José fired some scalding remarks about unreliable people who are unable to look after their own health, and instead of an answer was told off by Rui for ‘groping potential lovers in front of the cameras for everyone to see’. It made José turn into defensive, especially after Rui’s sarcastic assertion of the pre-match scene and unfavorable description of Pellegrino in general, and then they argued some more. And in the end, instead of taking Mauricio on his offer, he stayed in the hotel room, gave Rui a massage to ease his pain and help him sleep, and found the whole situation… cute.
Rui would have killed him for even thinking this word.
The second time he really brought it on himself. It was a one-night stand, he wasn’t very picky, and yes, the guy was rather thin… For a week he didn’t know where to hide from Rui’s sarcastic remarks about ‘hungry dogs’ and ‘available bones’, which every time made Silvino smirk and Aitor look half puzzled and half embarrassed.
The third time he decided to ask Rui’s opinion about potential lover before starting an affair. Rui didn’t take to it kindly and ripped the poor guy’s appearance to shreds, being even more sarcastic than usual. He shrugged it off, but after some thinking decided that he can’t completely disagree… This affair never happened.
The fourth time he snapped.
“Fine. Well. Then just point with your finger to someone who in your opinion is good enough to sleep with me. Just show me, I’d like to know”.
Rui gave him a patient look.
“No, you tell me who I should be sleeping with”.
“No one!” Rui bit it out and continued hastily, going into offence. “You’ve found a perfect time to be sleeping around, when people are just looking for any reason to hunt you out of Madrid. Never mind we have work here, or weren’t you the one who told me the other day that we should sort the team out before everything else? And yes, that’s my mistakes at preparation that are part of the problem,” Rui raised a hand to stop him from commenting, “but anyway please make sure you don’t get fired before you dive back into your love life, will you?”
“Then you’ll be entertaining me in the evenings”, he was angered by the reprimand, and even more by the fact that Rui was right, but he was going to keep the final word.
“Whatever”, Rui wasn’t looking like he was in any way scared with the perspective.
Next evening was the day before a match, they traditionally spent it in a hotel, and he wasn’t going to let Rui get away with it, so he showed up on Rui’s doorstep just after the players were ordered to sleep.
Rui was wearing glasses and looked a bit tired, with printouts he was reading in his hands – he looked like a man who was disturbed in the middle of his work. And he knew well that he should let Rui work, but he was still in petulant mood and had no wish to be reasonable. So he entered the room and made himself comfortable on the couch.
“You promised to entertain me. So do it.”
Rui didn’t even try to argue, just sighed and rubbed his nose with resigned look.
“How do you wish to be entertained?”
“You’re asking me? You promised me entertainment, now think of something yourself.”
“I can tell you about latest finds on injury risk factors, will it do?“
He almost regretted it later. Almost.
“…so it’s pretty much a given that previous injury would be one of the main risk, which everyone already knows. And God help me if I know why they bothered to prove that once again, because it’s obvious by now. Age is a different matter, because you see their calculation – they conclude there’s no relation at all, and it’s a still unresolved question if injury risk heightens with age or not. And I’m not sure which point of view I’m inclined to support, but that’s beside a point. Table four here is much more interesting…”
Rui started in a lecturing tone, clearly trying to bore him to death with technical details and make him leave, but before long he was pacing the room, gesturing animatedly and passionately talking more to himself than to his listener, caught up in the theory he was explaining. And right now Rui reminded him too much of a young and bright university student he got to know twelve years ago in Barcelona. Just back then Rui’s hair was much shorter…
“… see? Less training time and high match exposure equals less injuries, and the opposite is the case too. And now if we have higher than average training exposure and high playing time…”
“… we get more injuries.”
“No, we don’t. There is less risk than in any other group, and that goes in accordance with my own calculations. With some exceptions, of course, but that brings us back to other factors.”
“Insufficient amount of flexibility training, to name one. José, I can talk about it all night, but if you want to have a full program of exercises for tomorrow – I have to work”.
“Fine”, he felt himself disappointed, excitement of the conversation slipping away while he was watching Rui settle back at the table and bowing over the laptop. Then he reached for the remote and turned the TV on. Cheerful voices of two girls advertising Christmas sales filed the room.
“José”, this time Rui’s voice sounded more like hissing of an angry cat. He glared back and pressed mute button. And if TV screen distracts Rui, that’s not his fault – after all, he came here to be entertained.
Rui took off the glasses and rubbed his eyes. He was already tired, but he still hat to go over personal stats for some players so it meant thirty minutes more at least, but he had to stretch himself a bit.
He glanced at the couch, rising from his seat.
José was sleeping.
Rare sight in itself – José, sleeping in his room instead of going out with…
No way. He knew better than build up any hopes on something as innocent as this – after all those years, he definitely knew better.
But still it was something to cherish.