Two Lions (DB/DS)
24 June 2002
The atmosphere in the changing rooms was subdued as the young captain strode through from the showers. The white fluffy towel clung tightly to his slim hips as he wandered through the men, leaning to touch the heads or stroke the shoulders of some of them. Conversation had been minimal since the team had come back, and this touch of man to man was the closest contact that they could have.
"Is David...?" David questioned; "Through there" finished Michael, indicating to the Jacuzzi area. David rewarded the younger man with a sweet smile, before striding through to the steam-filled room. The young striker watched him as he left - how different it could have been; the embrace of joyful man to man, the hot passionate kisses in victory. Instead here was the room of dejected athletes, for whom no fleshly reward would compensate for the miseries of the past few hours.
David ran his hand through his wet blond hair as he peered through the billows of vapours, looking for the tall silhouette of his keeper. As he moved the curtains of steam opened to reveal David slumped, head in hands. He had removed his gloves but the rest of the uniform remained, clinging tightly to the sculptured muscles of his physique. David sighed softly; the men in the changing area seemed positively joyful in comparison with the lost creature before him. "David" he said quietly as he sat down beside the older player, placing a hand on his thigh. "David, you can't blame yourself. There were ten other men out there with you".
David appeared not to have heard him, but then suddenly turned his head towards him. "Yeah? But none of them have the job I have. I'm there to protect you - to stop them. I should know my place. I should never" - his soft Yorkshire burr broke - "I should never have been so far away from the line."
As his shoulders slumped again, David leaned forward and took his face in his hands. "Stop that" he said sternly, his tone low. "Look at me...David, look at me". David lifted his face, and his soft brown eyes met with David's cool green pair. David ran his thumbs over David's cheekbones, holding eye contact silently, before moving his hands back across his sleek dark hair and down to the neck. As he loosened the ponytail he murmured "You played magnificently; your ball control is always magnificent. If they hadn't scored then, they would have got you later, which they did. There was nothing else you could have done." He took a handful of David's freed long hair as David looked away, and brought him into his arms. The taller man clung to his captain as David held him, then kneaded the backs of his shoulders and lightly kissed the nape of his neck. They held the embrace until David felt the tension leave his keeper's body, then pulled away enough to be able to start to remove David's shirt. This done, he embraced David again, this time bare chest meeting bare chest.
Into David's hair, David said "How's young Michael holding up? Is his injury ok?" The blond man continued to rub the back of the dark man before answering. "He'll do. Sven was right to send him off when he did, else who knows how long before he collapsed? He'll be tended to once he's cleaned up, by the physios. And probably by Sven too " he added, guessing that this would amuse the keeper. It did; David pulled back and gave a broad smile, the first that David had seen since he came in, before lapsing back into a disheartened silence. David moved behind him and, kneeling up on his strong and muscled haunches, began to slowly massage David's back and shoulders. He used strong powerful strokes, leaning into the palms of his hands with all of his weight, then drawing his fingernails lightly up across the skin. David offered no resistance but leant into him, leaning back to caress the younger man's thighs. Feeling this, David increased the length and power of his strokes.
"Anyway" he said suddenly, without stopping the massage, "you can only be as good as your team. Michael and I weren't as good as we could have been, and fuck knows what Paul and Nicky were trying to do half the time. Even when they were down to ten, we didn't attack anywhere near what we could have; and nothing you did had any effect on that. That might not have been their strongest team, but what we did wasn't much better."
In the course of this speech David had been kneeling up slightly, and now his towel had slipped to his knees. Feeling this in the small of his back, David had tried to shift position, but David held him closely. "Whatever happens out there, I'll be here. I'll always be here, and you know that." He pulled David down onto the tiles, moved over and straddled him.
The two men gripped hands briefly before David ran his face down David's chest. "I'll always be here" he repeated. "Now, just lie back and think of England."