LA STORIA DI NOI DUE
Fandom: German National team
Pairing: Klinsmann/Loew, various
Disclaimer: I still don't know people mentioned in this story and I still hope it isn't true. The plot is still only my fantasy
Author's notes, previous chapters and music here
Timeline for the series is here
La Storia di Noi Due
Sunset is fading over München. Purple and amber - colors of the sky just minutes ago - turn into lavender-blue, and evening stars become visible one by one, though it's not even dark yet.
Evening is quiet, it seems as if the city itself is settling down after the rush-hour. Sounds of car-horns are few and far between, only bicycles are zipping by, clear melodic ringing of their bells alerting those who are stargazing in the middle of the streets.
The evening smells of fresh grass, coffee and spices, of sun-warmed leaves and lilac. And the bells ring over the town, marking another hour that has passed by.
Evening, time for rest after the busy day. Terraces of all restaurants and cafes are filled with people, waiters are busying themselves around, carrying beer and plates, smiling to the customers. Crowded, but relaxed atmosphere.
And even the faint scent of cigarette smoke filtering from somewhere doesn't get on the nerves - it's the part of such evenings, when spring is turning into summer and even wind is soft and warm.
So he allows himself to relax in his chair and let the light breeze play with his hair. And idly looks around, his eyes not stopping on anything in particular, catching everything at once. Plates and tablecloths, lilac and flopping tents, his companion’s sunglasses, the ring on his finger, his own mobile phone and the cars that move down the street.
Just an idle chat to add to the fried salmon, jokes shared between the sips of excellent wine. Lothar talks a lot, mostly about nothing. Nonsense of a conversation, but then again – what can they talk about?
Lothar. Last year they were sitting almost like that, almost here… Except then it was July, and it was morning, and Lothar had things to say to him. If he does now, he’s not showing any sign of it yet.
“Isn’t it too much of a coincidence?” He wonders almost to himself, but Lothar cocks his head and looks at him, waiting for him to continue. Lothar still has this strange manner – when he is listening to somebody, he is sitting almost still, as if not to let anything escape his attention.
He doesn’t mind this coincidence – but was it an accident, being at the same place at the same time and almost colliding into each other in the city that is so big that one doesn’t even need to hide if he doesn’t want to be found? Bbecause finding someone in München is like searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack.
He would have believed in this coincidence if it was the first time it happened, but…
He smiles and tries to make his tone distinctly cheerful. “It seems I just can’t get rid of you”.
“Maybe you should try harder?” Delivered with a straight face, and only then Lothar laughs back. Another mannerism that is too familiar. This man doesn’t change – or it’s just too late to change for both of them anyway.
“Maybe”, and he laughs too.
They laugh too much, like people who barely know each other but are forced to keep the conversation alive and no themes come to mind. It all is a bit awkward – and would be understandable, but they know each other too well. Better than both have ever wanted, really, and going by their relationship – they shouldn’t be talking at all… Or should be able to find something to speak about, instead of making unrelated remarks, trying to find something funny in them.
He is a bit surprised though that this awkwardness doesn’t spoil the evening for him too terribly, or maybe his mood is too good to be spoiled even for Lothar.
“Will I get an invitation to your church-wedding?”
Lothar halts his movement – he was reaching for the salt, but now his hand is frozen in the air. It lasts only a moment, but he knows he’s not imagining things. Then Lothar takes the jar and lifts his head.
So calm. So controlled. Lothar could’ve been talking about traffic in München in this tone of voice – so disinterested he sounds.
“Sorry. I didn’t know”. Lothar is married already, so what’s the point in delaying church-ceremony, he wonders – but he isn’t going to ask.
“Will soon be in the press. If you still would be in the mood in autumn – I’ll invite you”.
He nods, wondering where have it all come from and why did he ask in the first place. Just another unrelated remark that stroke too deep – he’s sorry for that, to be honest.
“So you’re moving back to Germany?” Another attempt at striking a conversation.
“In our job – it depends, really”, Lothar salutes him with a glass.
“On the clauses in contract more than on anything else”.
And they both laugh.
“So Hoeness finally managed to outmaneuver you in something?”
“He’s proud of that and rightly so”.
Silence filled with clicks of utensils and soft music from the dining hall that is perfectly audible on the terrace where they are sitting,
“And your prediction was way off”, laughs he suddenly, remembering the conversation a year ago. “I’ve managed to stay after Christmas – and lasted almost a year”.
“You know my way of predicting – I myself am surprised when it turns out I was right”.
He smiles. Lothar smiles back.
And silence again. Silence is more comfortable than conversation – where he has to constantly choose words in fear of saying something wrong. Talking with this man is not something he is used to.
What he’s getting used to is the other always watching him. These dark eyes constantly following his movements. It’s not unpleasant in itself – but unsettling, and he’s not sure he likes the feeling of being almost scrutinized, albeit in as subtle way as possible.
“I’d imagine you’ll be happy to stay in Germany, contract or not, here are enough clubs if you need to work so much…”
“Swabs don’t survive in München for long, you’ve said so yourself”, he throws back.
“They live perfectly in Stuttgart, or so I’ve been told – lies?”
Lothar is always looking at him, and he fights an urge to tell him to stop.
“You know”, he begins thoughtfully instead, “I’m coming to the conclusion more and more that I am not suited for life in Germany”.
“England is more to your liking?”
“There’s that”, he meets Lothar’s gaze directly. Matthäus is the first to look away.
“I wonder”, even by the first words he doesn’t like Lothar’s tone, “what Löw will say about it”.
“And why?” No, it’s coming out too agitated, and succumbing to provocations is the last thing to do. He takes a deep breath. “Why, pray tell, will he want to say something about it?”
People are going by, passing the terrace they’re sitting on, accompanied with sounds of footsteps, of conversation and bursts of laughter.
Lothar can be unpleasant when he puts his mind to it. Even his smile is unpleasant in such moments.
“What is there in England, Jürgen? Your greatest and eternal love?”
It’s like razor-blade across the skin – this one cuts too deep and hurts too much, more so because it is totally unexpected.
His greatest and eternal love. Something that was and that wasn’t meant to be. And it still hurts – no matter how much time has passed or how sensible the decisions were. Hearing it like this – it really hurts.
He doesn’t know how he finds his voice – or when he does find it.
“Of all people, you”, he stresses the ‘you’, “saying this makes me really wonder if you are jealous”. Lame, it’s so lame of a reply, childish – and still he can’t think of something better to say.
“Oh Jürgen”, Lothar laughs, just as he’s expected, ‘Jürgen, of all people – you really should know better”.
No worlds and no movements, even the city around them seems to be silent.
Silence stretches, long, but still lighter than conversation. He’s looking at his opponent’s hands. And doesn’t think.
“So”. Lothar’s voice startles him. He lifts his head to look at the other man. There is a smile still on Lothar’s face. “It seems I guessed right?”
“So you did”. Slowly he regains control of his emotions. “I’m just surprised that you’ve started to guess at the first place”.
Lothar’s smile can be really unpleasant at times.
“I’ve had a lot of time to think about it, you know”.
“The reasons being?”
“My own experiences”. And Lothar once more salutes him with his glass. Understand it as you will, the message in this gesture is as clear as possible.
He shrugs again. It doesn’t matter.
Silence once more.
The wine is rather sweet, with some bitterness as an aftertaste. A slight hint of cherry and apricot in the bouquet. And its is almandine-red, almost turning into black.
“Why do you dislike Joachim?”
“Do you really care one way or the other?” Lothar laughs. Again.
“I…” He wants to say that he doesn’t, but it will make the question sound even more ridiculous than it already is. “Probably not – but still”.
“Will it satisfy you if I tell you he’s not my type?”
“Being his lover – yes, it’ll more than satisfy me”, he’s pleased to see Lothar cringe slightly at these words. “Still, what has he done to you personally?”
Lothar looks as impassive as ever, but he’s willing to bet that right now Matthäus is slowly counting to ten backwards.
“I don’t think he’s a man worth liking”.
“May be. May very well be”, Lothar’s smile is disarming, as is his answer.
“Next question I should ask is probably if you like me – but I guess I already know the answer”.
“You should – after all the years”.
Clipped words and forced smiles.
And again - silence.
The sky is the color of sapphire already, and the stars are visible high above. Glittering dots in the darkness, as bright as the street-lamps around.
“Makes me wonder… Makes me really wonder if we should be sitting here together at all”.
“Is there a reason we shouldn’t?” Lothar makes a gesture with his hand. “Just a pleasant coincidence, what’s wrong with being at the same time in the same place?”
“Nothing”, before he can think of something insulting – he knows himself and knows he probably wouldn’t be able to restrain himself. “But still – why you dislike Joachim so?”
Instead of answering Lothar is keeping busy with his plate. Ignoring him? He chuckles softly and in his turn returns his attention to the main course.
“I notice you’re calling him by the full name”, Lothar’s habit of startling him is already grinding on his nerves.
“No offence, but this shouldn’t concern you in any way”.
“Can’t you believe that I’m just asking?”
“Should I believe this?”
“Should I suspect that it indicates the closeness of the relationship?” He doesn’t deem it worth answering, not that it disturbs Lothar too much in his musings. “Even Flick calls the man ‘Jogi’, so…”
“So you can come to the conclusion that they are not close enough”, his voice is dripping with sarcasm.
“Flick is living with Löw’s brother, how much closer can you get?”
He’s honestly tired of this.
“Why are you so interested in these things, Lothar?”
And it’s Matthäus’ turn to be sarcastic.
“You can come to a conclusion that I don’t have anything better to do”.
Next day he searches the web and finds the news of Lothar’s delayed wedding – and the official reasons.
Then come different news – Lothar comes back to Hungary.
“It depends”, that’s what Matthäus said. It really does.
So there’ll be no more coincidental meetings on the squares of München – he thinks suddenly.
And can’t get rid of the uneasiness – strangely it seems that Lothar has lied to him.