Lorna, I have such feels about that gif of Aaron coming out to fight with Robert right behind him !! Like give me all the fics of Aaron the boxer with Robert as his manager (let's be honest Rob could never be his trainer^^)
inspired by this gifset.
Robert hated this part. He’d always hate this part, if he was honest, those few minutes before Aaron got in the ring, before the fight would begin. It was always in those few minutes that his heart would be in his mouth, that he’d want to try and talk Aaron out of it, beg him to take up a new hobby.
It wasn’t a hobby anymore now. What had started as a hobby when they were teenagers, had turned into a career choice for Aaron, and that’s what had brought them here, to some dingy gym in Manchester, so Aaron could fight someone twice his size, and entirely out of his weight class.
“If you’re going to try and talk me out of this again Robert, I’ll find myself a new manager,” Aaron responded, an edge to his voice that made sure Robert knew he wasn’t joking. They’d been having this fight for weeks now, going around and around in circles about how Aaron should skip this one, how he’d only get hurt.
“You know I just want to look out for you,” Robert said quietly, a hand on Aaron’s arm. It’s what they did, him and Aaron, they looked out for each other - through breakups, and family drama, and one too many funerals, it had been the two of them against the world.
Robert might have been Aaron’s manager in name, the one driving his flourishing boxing career, but he was Aaron’s best friend first and foremost, and one look at the tough guy in the ring had Robert scared shitless.
He’d never forget the fight he missed. Robert had been out, with Chrissie, and he’d missed one of Aaron’s fights, gotten the call from Zack to say Aaron had been hospitalised, took a bad knock to the head and had swelling on the brain.
He’d sat by Aaron’s bedside for two days, waiting for his best friend to wake up, so he could give him a piece of his mind, convince him to walk away from the boxing empire they were building, but it had only ever spurred Aaron on, made him want to be the best there was.
(Robert hadn’t missed a fight since.)
“I know, and I appreciate it Robert, but I win this fight, and I’ve made it,” Aaron pleaded with him, eyes wide, heart on his sleeve. It was how Aaron usually was, open and honest, but he’d mastered the art of putting a steely, angry mask on the minute he stepped into the ring.
It was what made him such a great fighter, Robert supposed.
“You get hurt today, and we’re reassessing - the plan, everything,” Robert warned, the fading bruise under Aaron’s eye a painful reminder of the training session that had gone so very wrong.
“Just believe in me, yeah?”
“You know I do,” Robert said, straightening out the collar of Aaron’s t-shirt, Zack and Sam waiting on the sidelines with Aaron’s mouthguard ready to go. It was true, Robert had never believed in anyone more, had believed in Aaron enough to walk away from his job at White Industries, and be his manager (mostly) full time, the scrapyard they’d set up more of a side project than a focus these days.
Aaron grinned at him. “That’s why I win every fight.”
Robert forced a smile, and watched as Aaron’s face morphed into his gruff, focused face, his attention on his opponent now.
Aaron was a good fighter, one of the best, really, but Robert couldn’t help but dread the day something went wrong in the ring, and he lost him.
(What if he lost him before Aaron knew, before he told Aaron just how much he loved him? Robert wasn’t so sure he could handle that.)
Robert knew he looked terrified, as he watched Aaron hype himself up, Zack doing his usual pre-fight pep talk. He was always terrified, these days, standing ring side and wishing Aaron had found a less dangerous sport to love.
Robert couldn’t ignore the way Aaron came alive in the ring though, confidence oozing from every inch of him, ready to fight, despite the very obvious size and weight difference between the two of them.
Aaron was going out there ready to win.
Yeah, that was his Aaron. A winner from the day they’d first set up a punching bag in an old barn on the Sugden farm, dreams too big to be contained in the tiny village they both called home.
Robert had promised him then, they’d have the world at their feet someday, and he’d be damned if he broke that promise.
“Eyes on the prize, Aaron,” he found himself saying, standing ringside with Zack and Sam. “You’ve got this.”