Mia san mia - Rafinha Alcantara
“You realise you’re gonna have to face him sooner or later, right?”
“Do you plan on just avoiding him like you have for the past two years then?”
“I said shut up.”
“I mean come on, aren’t you being a little childish about all of this? You guys went from being inseparable to complete strangers, despite the fact that Thiago’s your best friend.”
“Pep, I swear to God I’m going to hit you.”
“You can’t even reach me, don’t get your hopes up.”
That earned Pep a harsh slap across the arm, making him wince but grin at his little sister nonetheless. She was literally half his age, and his height, and despite the fact that he’d practically raised her as his own child, you’d think they were only a couple of years apart in age.
“I know you’re nervous - it’s okay.”
“I’m not nervous, Pep. Shut up.”
“Does he know you’re moving back to Barcelona?”
“No - and I swear if you tell him I’m gonna cut you.”
“I won’t - but I can’t say anything for Thiago.”
“I told him nothing!” They heard Thiago call out from behind them, making Pep chuckle.
“He probably doesn’t even care,” Y/N muttered, shaking her head.
Pep arched a brow.
“Maybe you should let him decide that.”
Camp Nou was physically exactly how she’d remembered it to be. Nothing had changed the stadium over the past two years that she’d been away, yet at the same time it felt like everything had changed. There was still a magical aura around it - the promise of hope and the promise of victory. The promise that it was a place where you belonged.
Yet all it reminded her of was everything that was lost. And she knew that Pep felt the same sense of nostalgia mixed with loss as she did.
As if he could hear her thoughts, she heard Pep emit a sigh. Looking over at him to find him looking down, his eyes squeezed shut.
She knew how difficult this was for him. He was torn between his love for the club who’d raised them both and the club he had a duty towards, a club who he’d spent the past two years trying to bring to the top.
She was certain that whilst trying to want good for one, he felt like he was a traitor to the other.
Perhaps it would’ve been easier if Tito had still been around. It would’ve gone down as a little friendly competition and he wouldn’t have felt so guilty over being happy if the odds had turned out in Barça’s favour.
But Tito wasn’t here. And he had a duty towards Bayern. A match that was being perceived all over as a rematch of the world cup semifinal - the Germans taking on the Brazilians.
And silently, for reasons she’d never admit, she was rooting for the Brazilians.
“Pinch me - I’m seeing a ghost.”
Her heart clenched at the sound of his voice, making her turn around of her own accord. His face coming into view and making her sway on her feet.
2 years since she’d walked away from Rafinha Alcantara yet looking at him now, feeling the way she was, you’d think none of that had ever happened.
Thiago’s loud cheer of his brother’s name pulled her back to reality and allowed her to regain her composure.
Rafinha’s eyes remained fixed on her, looking at her over his brother’s shoulders despite their embrace. Drinking her in, letting himself cherish the sight of her petite frame clad in a skirt and blouse. He didn’t know why he felt so disappointed upon the lack of Barcelona support visible on her - perhaps he’d thought that somewhere deep down she still felt like Barcelona was her home. The club that had raised her would’ve perhaps still held a place in her heart, but it didn’t seem to be the case. But he supposed it was better than seeing her in a Bayern jersey..right?
She held her breath as Rafinha sauntered over to her, coming to stand face to face with her - well really, face to chest. She had to crane her neck backwards to look up at him - he’d always stood a great deal taller than her and the years hadn’t changed that one little bit.
“I don’t get a hello?” He asked her, arching a brow.
Rolling her eyes at his fake, offended tone, she let him pull her into a hug. Closing her eyes as his arms went around her, holding her to him and surrounding her. Letting herself get lost in him for a moment, forgetting the nights she’d spent wondering where she’d fallen short of his expectations and instead dwell in the scent of him, letting herself catch a feel of home for a second.
Then she pulled away, forcing herself to take a step back from him.
Breathe, she reminded herself. You can’t get used to this.
“You look good, Rafinha,” she said to him honestly. It was true.
The Barcelona colours complimented his tanned skin, his ripped chest and toned arms accentuated by the tight fitting of the shirt leaving nothing to the imagination. He looked like a man built to pleasure a woman in every way possible, which only made her wonder how many women had been so lucky after her.
“I’d say the same for you, but I know for a fact you’d look ten times better if you were wearing a Barça jersey,” he replied cockily.
She let out a bitter chuckle, crossing her arms.
“I don’t own one.” She challenged, making his jaw harden. She felt a twinge of satisfaction as she saw a flicker of hurt in his eyes.
If he’d expected her to hold on to the jersey he’d given her during their time as a couple, he was greatly mistaken. There was no way she’d kept any of his things after he’d practically told her that he’d never imagined them having a future together.
“That’s harsh man. That’s not cool.” He said, clicking his tongue in disapproval.
Before she could snap back a snarky comment about how he shouldn’t have been surprised, Pep stepped into Rafinha’s rescue by dragging her away, outside the tunnel and towards the Bayern dugout.
The game kicked off and she’d be lying if she’d said she was calm about the whole thing. The first few minutes were all laughs and giggles, a clean game as the two FCBs played it off like a friendly.
But then slowly, the competition started. It suddenly got hotter inside of the stadium as the fans grew louder and the players grew rougher. Both teams put up their defences and began their attacks.
Yellows started being awarded, angering the visiting Bayern fans who felt they were being unjustly treated. A missed penalty had the Catalans groaning in response and a frustrated Messi hanging his head in annoyance.
The first half was over almost in seconds and she found herself rolling her eyes as the sound of Neuer’s smug voice filled the locker rooms where she stood beside Pep, boasting loudly over how he was ‘showing Lionel who was boss’. She almost wanted to go up to him and slap him, but held back. He was one of Pep’s best players despite his snarky attitude, and losing him could potentially cost Pep his job.
She avoided Rafinha’s gaze on her in the second half just as she had in the first, taking her seat on the bench and keeping her eyes focused on the pitch. Groaning when Neymar was awarded a yellow and almost broke into a fight with Muller.
She let out a loud gasp as Leo swerved past Jerome minutes later, effortlessly knocking the man over and with a flick of his foot sending the ball flying past Neuer. The stadium erupted into loud cheers and she covered her grin with a hand over her mouth, excitement coursing through her.
Her eyes met Pep’s, who had his lips firmly pressed together, but she could see the pride in his eyes. Bayern or no Bayern, Pep was a Catalan at heart.
Her heart rate picked up the moment Leo scored his second goal - having nothing to do with the fact that she could see Rafinha jumping around excitedly like a little boy before he was subbed on.
The game suddenly became so much more intense, and she was sat at the edge of her seat. Scrunching her nose in disapproval as Pep subbed on Götze in the 87th minute. So very world-cup of him as the German ran around the pitch arrogantly, making her roll her eyes.
Then Rafinha was shoved to the ground, and she found herself glaring at Götze and loudly cussing him out. The world cup champion held his hands up in defence, claiming it had been only an accident and even helped Rafa up. But she wasn’t buying any of it.
Because a few moments later, Rafa was again shoved to the ground and this time Thiago let out an angry shout, walking over to the two men the same time as she cussed at Götze.
She clenched her fist as Rafa angrily stood up, dusting the mud off his shoulder. Anything harder and he could’ve seriously injured his head.
But it wasn’t over.
The moment Rafa went down a third time, she was on her feet. Yelling profanities and curses at the German, ready to walk on to the pitch if she had to as Rafa himself got up on his feet, face to face with Mario, angrily spitting words at him.
Soon enough the two were being pulled apart by their teammates - yet the ref didn’t book Mario. Angering her to the point where she didn’t even realise she was shouting. Only realising it when Pep grabbed her by her shoulders and spun her around, giving her a stern look.
“Stop this. Right now.”
“Pep, you saw he-”
“Not a single word, Y/N, I don’t want to hear a single word coming out of your mouth.”
“He deserved a fucking red for that and you know it,” she hissed back at Pep, her eyes narrowing. Frustrated that his duty towards Bayern was clouding his judgment.
“There’s been worse going on the pitch, and you know that too,” Pep retorted back, angering her further.
“So you’re saying I’m biased?”
“I’m saying that if it had been anyone but Rafa, you wouldn’t be creating such a scene.”
She flared her nostrils, pushing Pep’s hands off her shoulders as she took a step back from him. Refusing to acknowledge that he was right.
“I can’t believe you. He’s Thiago’s brother - you coached him long before you coached Mario - and you’re not even on his side.”
“I can’t believe you’d give up on Barça like this. If Tito-”
“That’s enough. You’re either going to go sit at the back with the others, or you’re leaving. Not another word-”
But Pep didn’t finish as Camp Nou emerged into loud cheers and chants. The two looked over at the pitch to see the Catalans celebrating, jumping onto Neymar as the scoreboard read 3-0 in Barça’s favour.
She let a giggle break through upon the sight of Neuer’s face, who looked like he was a little boy who’s candy had been taken away from him.
“Stop it,” Pep scolded her half-heartedly, but even she could hear the delight in his voice.
“Stop hiding it,” she muttered, shaking her head.
“Cameras.” He replied, suddenly making sense of it all to her. The papers would have a field day if they found Pep celebrating for Barça.
The final whistle was blown and she beamed as Lucho pulled Pep into a hug, patting his back before pressing a kiss to her forehead as she congratulated him.
“You’re in my dugout in Munich, I called it,” Lucho told her with a wink, making her laugh and result in Pep rolling his eyes at the two of them.
The two men walked away and she found herself hugging Iniesta, Xavi, and Gerard and wishing them her congratulations. Genuinely happy that it was Barça who’d dominated.
She looked over to see to Thiago and Rafa walking together, a smile on Thiago’s face despite the fact that he’d lost. His eyes met hers and he beckoned her over, and she didn’t have the heart to refuse.
She was pulled into a group hug between the two Alcantara brothers, her heart racing once again as she was aware of every part of Rafa that she could feel against herself.
She didn’t even notice when Thiago let go of her, only realising it once she was completely engulfed in Rafinha’s embrace. She slowly pulled back, her breath catching in her throat as her gaze was captured with Rafa’s intense one. She felt butterflies in her stomach as Rafinha’s head lowered, his nose brushing against hers.
Maybe it was Camp Nou, maybe it was the entire world that erupted into fireworks the moment his lips touched hers. Everything ceased to exist in the moment as she felt herself slipping further into him, the walls around her giving way to him.
Then the contact was broken and it felt like a slap in the face as her ears were suddenly filled with the noise that was surrounding them. She took a step back from a confused Rafinha, raising her hand to where his lips had touched hers, still in shock.
Rafa gazed back at her intently, feeling a longing in his chest. He didn’t understand how it had been so easy for her to walk away from him, how easy it was for her to completely break off contact with him. And there was no way she hadn’t felt that. He could see the effect of the kiss written all over her face - so why the hell was she turning around and walking away from him once again?