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And also because I just got reminded that this exists and I never posted it because it was written for kindoftrouble a long time ago and then I failed out on writing any more Super Thanks For Asking, have a tie-in fic to Super. It's Murray's point of view from the morning, set just before and concurrent with the start of the first (and only, sorry) part of Super, Thanks For Asking.



on guard, Murray, Djokovic/Federer, M



In an oddly comforting way, Andy knows he's dreaming.

It's there at the back of his mind like a reassurance, not loud but enough that he's not worried to glance down at himself and see that he's wearing chainmail. Clearly chainmail, glittering silver links and a bright red tunic with some sort of golden design on the front, nothing like he's ever worn in his life but that's dreams, making it up as they go along. He shrugs his shoulders to feel the mail sway; it's lighter than he'd expect for something made of metal but that doesn't worry him either. Nothing seems worth worrying over at all in his comforting haze of sleep and curiosity. He's dreaming he's a knight (he knows he's meant to be a knight, in the same confident way that he knows this is a dream) with chainmail and a tunic and- he glances at his hand and yes, there's a sword with intricate golden details around the handle that he can't quite bring into focus. That's fine. That's really fine.

“On guard.”

That's not fine, he thinks because whoever said that doesn't sound friendly, but it's hard to feel any urgency as he looks up because after all, he can just wake up if being a knight stops being interesting. On some level he realises they're standing in the high-arched tunnel leading from the road to their hotel's entrance, grey stone pillars around them and grey London light filtering in at both ends but it's just background, slightly out-of-focus around the edges. What's really interesting is the second knight standing a few feet away.

“On guard,” the strange knight repeats, muffled through the silvery helmet that covers all of his face except for a pair of dark eyes. He's wearing a red tunic too, only his has a white cross across the chest that Andy thinks he should recognise but he can't quite seem to hang onto the name.

Also, he thinks he's being challenged. The other knight has a sword too, metal coloured black and silver by the dim light and it's held threateningly pointed out toward him.

“Uh,” he says, trying to sound polite and surprised to hear his voice coming out with an accent that's definitely not his. There's something odd about this dream; for the first time his sense of comfort wavers and he thinks, maybe he should wake up soon. “What? And uh, why?”

“Coward!”

“No!” Andy protests. He takes a step back, tries to imagine himself back in his hotel room, in his ridiculously large double bed but if anything the stonework around them comes into sharper focus. The strange knight is advancing slowly, the tip of his sword moving in small, threatening circles. “I don't know you. Or sword fighting, actually, I don't know that so-”

And then there's a sword swinging towards his face and Andy's yelling something he doesn't understand and getting his own sword up so the blades meet with a clang. He's forced back a step, then two, a stumble bringing the point of the other sword within an inch of his eyes before he finds enough balance to swing back. He feels the jarring through his wrists when metal clangs on metal, like the contact of ball on racquet at a different angle but so much louder, echoing around the stone arches above them. With their swords crossed between them the other knight pushes in close, bare inches away; his eyes are wide and glittering and oh-so-familiar through his helmet, meeting Andy's with a crinkling at the edges that suggests a hidden smile.

Then the pressure on his sword is gone and Andy falls forward, barely stumbling around on some dream-instinct to dodge the sword as it comes at him from the side. “Hey!” he thinks he shouts, outraged over the panic that's rising now, a mantra of wake up wake up running on repeat in his head but a different part of him, an odd and distant part that he can't quite connect to seems to be enjoying the back-and-forth of sword blows as he watches his wildly-swinging sword force the other knight back. They're fighting like actors would, he notes, all noise and flash with no intent to wound but there's still something wrong, something that feels like he trapped in a box with a lid too heavy to lift, half of him beating his fists against it while the other half wants to stay, wants to win this ridiculous fight.

Andy's competitive but he knows there's times when it's better to bow out gracefully, such as fights with sharp objects that he hasn't the skill to win no matter how good his dream-self thinks he is and he tries again, focuses all his effort on the thought, “Wake up!”

Almost, almost he thinks it works. Everything blanks for a second and he feels the sensation of five-star cotton against his cheek, the give of the mattress beneath him, then he's backed against cold stone with his sword fallen from his hand and there's sharp metal touching his throat. A sword-length away, the other knight is watching him with a dark, level stare.

“Surrender.”

“No,” Andy snaps and then frantically scrabbles around for whatever made him say that, when the only thought on his mind is let me out. “I will never.”

The razor-sharpness against his throat vanishes; Andy has time for half a breath of relief before he's pinned shoulder to thigh by the other knight's weight. Six inches from his, he can see each individual eyelash around the shadowed brown of the other's eyes, eyes he's seen a thousand times before and he almost has a grasp on the name before a slender tanned hand comes up to pull off the helmet.

Oh Andy thinks and then oh god as the hips pinning his move, a gentle grind that's full of intent and sets a low heat racing through him which no, he can't. He really cannot be dreaming Roger Federer holding him against a wall and apparently about to kiss him, because he's over the teenage crush he had on the man two years ago, he is-

-only Roger Federer, in full chainmail with soft brown curls of hair falling over his face in an endearing tangle from the helmet, that Roger Federer is kissing him and even in the dream Andy can feel the heat of their shared breath and the wet slide of lips on his. Dream-Roger kisses hard and rough, taking over his mouth with tongue and teeth until Andy can only groan, as they grind together with the chainmail melted away in the way of dreams and only thin cloth over the warmth of skin. He gets a thigh between Roger's legs almost as an afterthought and the pressure is so right that pleasure gathers into white-hot sparks low, low down and he's a breath away from coming already.

His mouth stutters on Roger's, gasp for air. Wait he wants to say, I can't or maybe this isn't what I want but his body has other ideas, shuddering and hips twisting up, closer, closer with every movement and he finds himself a handful of red tunic with the quick rise-fall of Roger's chest beneath. The Swiss' mouth dips in to steal another kiss, grate of teeth on Andy's lower lip and then the mouth against his curves to a smile as Roger presses up hard and the heat tightens in his groin just so and Andy hears himself shout ”Fuck!” before everything in him that's knotted tight explodes into white and oh god and yes as he crests the high and falls-

-to open his eyes on brightness that's blinding, a tangle of body-warm sheets holding him down and the warm stickiness of come cooling over his thighs.

He just breathes for a moment, automatic while the last quivers of aftershock ease to leave him heavy and limp against sheets that are uncomfortably damp with sweat. Fuck is all he can manage for a minute, I just fucking came over the thought of Roger-fucking-Federer. It shouldn't be horrifying – it's not like it's the first time, jerking off in the shower cubicle next to the Swiss' with his whimpers clenched in tight behind his teeth a still-kept secret that makes him blush – but it was such a long time ago, such a different person's embarrassing crush that he's at a loss as to why it's surfaced now.

Sure the guy's just a couple of rooms down the hall but they've been a lot closer without Andy's thoughts skipping to sex and kissing. And when he examines the mental image he holds of Roger, going over his feelings with careful, searching fingertips of thought, there's nothing but the same affection he holds for other nice guys on tour (now tinged with embarrassment). He likes Roger sure, admires him for being the greatest ever and gets a kick out of beating him on a tennis court because Roger's still the best, but there's no lingering desire to pin him to a wall and tear his clothes off. Even the thought of kissing him is mildly uncomfortable; Andy's settled into the fact he occasionally swings to guys, that's fine, but while his relationship with Kim is certainly disintegrating into tatters right now there's nothing in it to make him think it's because she's a girl and his subconscious is harbouring a deep and passionate longing for the number one tennis player. He can manage to trainwreck his relationships without his subconscious interfering, thanks very much.

So why is he ruining expensive sheets with ridiculous wet dreams? “Andy,” he says aloud, sounding shaky even to himself, “you're cracking up.”

Fuck..

“Hey!” Andy yells it, jerking upright in a knot of sheets and panic. “Who the fuck is in my ro-”

He's yelling at an empty room. The voice was quite clear, breathy and rough and definitely not muffled by a wall but there's no one anywhere in sight. Disbelieving he throws back the sheets – with a wince for the cold air against his wet thighs beneath the t-shirt he wore to bed last night – and stalks to the bathroom to peer around the door, half-expecting to see Novak giggling, perhaps with something like a custard pie but it's empty, as is the wardrobe and as a last resort, underneath the desk.

Confused, he sits heavily on the edge of the desk. Maybe he was still asleep enough to have dreamed it, though he feels alert enough despite a headache pressing lightly behind his eyes. He did just dream Sir Roger Federer sexually assaulting him up against a wall; perhaps he's allowed to have a sanity-wobble. Taking a deep breath he rubs the heel of his hand across his forehead, presses down on the bridge of his nose to hold back the ache of his head. Maybe a shower will help.

Roger Federer. The same voice as before, only now it's edged with annoyance and Andy controls his flinch to really listen because he'd swear it sounded familiar, roll of an accent to Roger's name. Lights flicker across the back of his eyelids, he's' screwing them so tightly closed. Bastard beat me in sleep too. Stupid. Stupid.

“Novak?” Andy sighs it out, not bothering to open his eyes because only one of the top eight players sounds that petulant out loud (he has his suspicions about Roger but the Swiss is mostly too repressed to let it out). “Give it up. I know you're there.”

One day I fuck him til he scream my name. Then we see who-

“NOVAK, for godssake I can hear you!” Andy feels his too-pale cheeks heat and opens his eyes to glare in the direction the voice came from-

-only to find himself staring at the wall across the room. The still very-empty and, if the last ten minutes are anything to go by, soon-to-be-padded room.

“Novak?” he repeats cautiously. “It's not funny any more. Come out.” And, gritting his teeth against the crack that wants to make it into the word he adds, “Please?”

Nothing. Not so much as a mumbled apology or the creak of footsteps as Novak tries to sneak away, although now Andy's thinking about it he only had the one key for his room and he can see it on the bedside table beside his iPhone, right where he sleepily tossed them after the fire alarm last night. Unless Novak sneaked in before him at three-thirty am and or did the impossible and bribed the unbribable British concierge, Andy can't think of any way for the Serb to be in his room uninvited. Not to mention that he'd have to be invisible for Andy not to see him right now.

Old hotels he tells himself, seizing on the hope of an explanation. Novak's in the next room; Andy almost fell over him last night coming out of the door half-asleep with the alarm blaring, so perhaps he's showering on the other side of the wall and his voice is carrying through the pipes. Or something. Or there'll be an equally reasonable explanation, something far more likely than the possibility of him reading...

...Well. Yes. Quite ridiculous.

“Shower,” Andy mutters to himself. It's the stupid dream, throwing him off and fuzzing his brain up with stupid thoughts of Roger Federer and crushes he'd put behind him, and maybe a little the anxiety over Kim on top of the pressure to win this week. Anyone would show cracks after that. He'll shower and grab breakfast and annoy Miles by slurping his tea; by practise he'll be fine.

Shower, shower, shower. Get Federer off my skin. For the the first time Andy gets- fuck, like a hint of emotion behind the voice, oddly sharp like he's been poked in the chest. Novak sounds- no, feels irritable and perhaps a little tired, sluggishness to the words that's unlike him. Bored of this. I wonder if he would punch me if I found him in the shower and sucked-

Shut up!” Andy yells and dives into his own bathroom, slamming the door. Jesus christ.

He concentrates very hard on everything he does for a few minutes, arranging his towel with perfect folds along the railing and adjusting the shower temperature in tiny increments until it's hot-edging-on-burning to wash away even the memory of come from his thighs. The shampoo makes fascinating swirls along his palm, foresty-green against heat-reddened skin and he plays his favourite in-car game from his childhood with himself, listing (this time) green objects so the last letter started the next, leaf, forest, tree, emerald, District line, evergreen- except Jamie never let him get away with that one, arguing that it was the same as tree and they'd argue until Mum shouted at them to grow up, sitting in sulky silence for the rest of the trip. He doesn't hear anything except his own voice echoing back from the tiles as he murmurs the words and with the water washing the weird dream away along with his headache, he relaxes. As if he could hear Novak's thoughts, stupid, Andy, really stupid.

A second later he's flinched back against the wall, bruising both elbows as the voice yells clear as day: FUCK. FUCK FUCK FUCK what the fuck did I just fucking do fuck fuck fuckfuckfuck!

”Novak!” Without a pause to think Andy's out the shower and snatching for his towel, heart thumping against his ribs from the terror in-

-wait. It sounded like Novak, shrill edge of panic aside. Everything in Andy wants to run outside and bang on Novak's door to offer help, breathing hard with the shock that hammered into him like a sucker punch to the stomach, but what's he going to say? Sorry, but I think I can read minds and did you just do something terribly painful to yourself? Because it was a bloody shock for me too.

Maybe not. Andy takes a deep breath to slow his heartbeat and realises he's standing naked, dripping and shivering slightly outside his bathroom with the towel hanging uselessly in his hand. Roughly he dries himself off enough to pull on sweatpants and a green Fred Perry t-shirt well-washed enough to wear holes around the hem, before picking up his keycard and staring at it thoughtfully. There's been nothing more from Novak, nothing direct anyway except for a few murmurs as if the Serb is focused on something tricky; it does nothing to soothe Andy's nagging worry that Novak's really hurt himself but he's still at a loss for what to do.

It's entirely possible he has flipped off the knife-edge of sanity and is even now sinking hopelessly into the realm of crazy, in which case showing up at Novak's door demanding to know what he's done only to be met with a still half-asleep Novak or worse, no answer at all from an empty room, will just confirm him as a lost cause. But if there is something going on – not that he's agreeing there is, but hypothetically, something weird going on and he's somehow hearing what's going on in Novak's room – then he's required by years of friendship to go and make sure Novak hasn't done something stupid to permanently injure himself and, if necessary, help pick up the pieces.

It's a decision made, because Novak may be a pain in the ass but he's always been Andy's pain in the ass more than most and if the situations were reversed Novak would be breaking down his door and demanding to know why Andy was thinking of sucking Roger Federer off in the shower, with a grin that wouldn't so much as twitch in embarrassment. Andy's almost to the door before he connects the words Roger Federer with dream and also, apparently psychic to reach a conclusion that has him both relieved and flushing red.

He'd bet his comparitively-meagre collection of trophies that Novak dreamt about Roger Federer and sword-fighting last night. Fuck.

“All I want,” he mutters as he opens his door and wills his flushed cheeks to cool before he goes out, “is to play tennis. Just tennis. Not to be a hero. Not to make the tabloids. Not to read the minds of stupid Serbs with even stupider crushes. Fuck.” He rubs a hand over his face, hard as if he can scrub the morning-so-far away and start over. “Maybe I should've gone into football.”

That. Novak's voice catches him mid-step and Andy stumbles out into the hallway, cursing under his breath. Is brilliant.

There's nothing of the panic of before; more than that, Novak or what-the-fuck-ever in Andy's head is almost vibrating with excitement. I can- This is brilliant, am superhero! SUPERHERO NOVAK. Yes! I-

Wait. Andy turns to stare at Novak's door, innocuous and identical to every other lining the corridor. Superhero, that was definitely the word Novak used which can only mean he's done something weird, something not-normal... and that means this mind-reading thing that's happening isn't just happening to Andy. They're in it together – maybe there's something in the water, maybe it's all of London - and he fights back a inane urge to mutter “All for one...!”, hard when relief is washing soothingly over every muscle that's been cramped tight with panic, the thoughts of strait-jackets and padded cells dismissed because it's not just him! He's not crazy or at least, probably not because the Novak in his head is now making wordless exclamations of excitement that only the real Novak could make and it's all overwritten with glee, utter certainty that this is something special which, Andy supposes, it kind of is.

He can't hold back his grin as he lifts a fist to knock on Novak's door. There's some mocking to be done about ridiculous crushes on people Novak always insisted he disliked; for once Andy's got the jump on the Serb with something and he's going to enjoy every second of it, because with Novak no advantage ever lasts long.

His knuckles are half-an-inch from Novak's door when it catches him. Not Novak, tone all different and accent thicker even with the ability to translate that mind-reading apparently has since last he checked he still couldn't do more than swear in Serbian (although he supposes that would account for two-thirds of Novak's rambling anyway). It's a little fainter, a little further away but the misery of it catches him like a fist to the chest and he rocks back on his heels as the breath hisses out between his teeth.

Maybe now I spend rest of my life in this room. Or in lab, chopped to pieces like a rat.

“Whoa,” Andy says aloud after a moment of silence, shaken. It's an uncomfortable thought that hadn't occurred to him, although to be fair it's taken him this long to deal with mind-reader so the inevitable conclusions leading from it were probably some way behind but now he's thinking, it's not so unreasonable, especially if the owner of the thought thinks they're the only one. Like him; just a minute ago he thought he was alone and crazy so if there's someone else going through the same thing he can at least point out it's okay, they couldn't cut all our brains up to find the bit that mind-reads, strength in numbers and all that, and he looks around to try to pinpoint the direction of the mournful voice. At least a few doors away even taking into account that probably not everyone is as loud as Novak. He's about to walk down the hall to get closer when he realises the door beside Novak's is half-open and there's voices coming from behind, normal voices that he has to strain to catch half-muffled behind the door.

“...so very sorry Mr Federer,” a man is saying. Andy gets a disorientating moment of echo-feedback, voice and thought as the man thinks Oh god, why Federer, why me, why this bloody week? That Sheik last week deserved it more, the prick. “I can't imagine what went wrong. I hope the new room will suffice until we sort the problem with your suite? It's smaller, I know-”

“It's fine.” Roger Federer's practically-patented calm smooths over the apology, dismissing it as if he moves rooms as often as he drinks coffee. Andy spares a moment to wonder what happened to the suite, not without a guilty flicker of satisfaction; for all that Roger may be the greatest player in history, he's in Andy's territory here in London and the fact that they all got perfectly-respectable rooms while Roger had the multi-room suite had... irked him. Just a tiny bit. “We'll be quite happy to stay here instead of moving again, if it's all the same.”

And I wouldn't be able to sleep for worrying that I'd wake up dripping again Andy 'hears' him think with a heavy lacing of disgust Maybe I'll request a different hotel next year. One with modern plumbing.

Over the sigh of Roger's thoughts, the man – the hotel manager Andy picks up although the multiple buzz of voices is starting to hurt his head – says “Of course, whatever we can do to make up for the problem which we are deeply sorry for inflicting-”

“Yes.” A new voice, Mirka's and Andy takes a step back because his head is starting to get crowded. Why are so many hotels run by idiots? Mirka thinks even as she says, “if you could just make sure it doesn't happen-”

“Of course.” She acts like I wanted to drop water all over her precious tennis player-

It's too much, too loud and Andy stumbles into a half-run down the corridor to get away before the headache expanding behind his eyes hits critical mass. This isn't going to work, he thinks with a stomach-dropping twist of dismay, we can't play tennis like this. Fuck. He'll have to withdraw, along with anyone else suffering the same problem. Roger seemed all right though, which means this isn't a general thing and he bites his lip hard against the panic rising at the idea of this getting out. Especially here at home with the British press; Novak will be fine because Novak's always fine but him, he won't be able to have windows on his house any more for fear of a journalist looking in. Whoever was thinking of lab rats didn't sound too happy about the situation either. It's entirely possible that they're all screwed. He's not even going to consider what he'll do if this is permanent, not that he has a rulebook to follow for waking up with a serious case of psychic in the morning but he's pretty sure it could've brought down most of history's best tennis players.

Not that he'll ever make that list if this is anything to go by, bitterness welling up and he wants to yell that it's not fair when he tries so hard, wants someone to blame to make himself feel better even briefly.

Which is when he walks into someone, almost tripping over their feet and it's only a quick grip on his arms that keeps him from falling.

“Hey, Andy.” Soft voice, thoughts just a murmur underneath like something Andy could lean into for comfort. When he looks up it's to find Robin Söderling regarding him warily. “Are you okay?”

“I-” There's a moment when Andy's genuinely at a loss for an answer. He's not, really not but he doesn't know Robin in the same way he knows say, Novak or even someone like Fernando who's always up for a laugh. Robin keeps to himself too much for Andy to gauge any potential reaction if he suddenly starts babbling about mind-reading, the trust not quite there and he takes a step back so he's not taking over the Swede's personal space. “Um. I'm fine. Weird morning, that's all.”

Robin's smile is friendly, a little hesitant as always and it's only when Andy catches a murmur of Not just me? that he picks up on the nervousness, realisation dawning that the Swede's barely spoken since arriving as Roddick's late replacement because he's been terrified of doing something wrong in front of players like Roger, players like Andy - that flash of thought is at least a nice ego-kick – not, as Rafa muttered a little sourly in the gym yesterday, because he thinks he's better than them. It's enough to stretch Andy's smile from 'polite' to 'genuine' – he understands the feeling of being outclassed and under the spotlight, fuck does he get that – and he decides to go for it because having this conversation with Söderling has to be a million times better than having it with say, Roger Federer.

“Actually,” he says slowly, fumbling for the right words, “it's been really weird, I was thinking of asking around to see if everyone else was fine. Has anything happened to you this morning?”

“You mean-?” Robin looks at him, really looks intently with the too-pale eyes Rafa's always complained of as being creepy but his smile is still there and Andy's getting- something. Apparently the Swede keeps his thoughts to himself as much as his words (or Novak really is just louder than everyone else) because it's not clear but Robin's excited about it, bursting with it beneath the poker-face and-

“Oh my god,” Andy says out loud, getting the picture and he's slightly... no, make that very jealous. “You really... you were...” He waves a hand a vague gesture, too stunned to find the words. “I mean... really?

Robin's grin lights up his whole expression, more excited than Andy's ever seen him now he's not pretending that nothing is different from normal; he bounces slightly on the balls of his feet and nods. “Yes! Really. And again, just now. You too?”

“That's- wow. I mean no, not me.” Andy's still digesting the realisation that this isn't what he thought, Novak's declaration of superpowers suddenly making even more sense because for all he knows, this means the Serb's turned into Superman himself. The part of him that's not knocked flat with shock wonders what this means for whoever thought of lab rats and what kind of- no, he refuses to call them superpowers, that's just dumb because they have no idea what this is, or what's going on; it's still possible they're in a mass hallucination, although it's looking less likely by the minute.

A quiet “Andy?” with an echo of Maybe I shouldn't have said anything snaps his attention back to Robin's smile that's edging back to hesitance. “I don't have the same thing I mean,” Andy says quickly and takes a deep breath before plunging in. “I- I think I'm reading minds.”

“Really?” Really? Andy winces at the echo and Robin looks startled. “Okay. What number-”

“Five,” Andy says, surprising himself with how easy it is. A moment later he adds, smiling, “And twelve. Apparently thinking in Swedish doesn't make a difference.”

“What does this mean?” The uncertainty is back in Robin's smile, excitement fading and he glances at his room door behind him. Andy catches Jenni and friend before Robin says, “Jenni, my girlfriend – she's normal. Fine. Is it just us?”

Andy shrugs, although he's been wondering the same. Novak definitely, probably another player on the corridor unless the mournful voice had been a coach but he's assuming it hasn't made the wider news because his mother would've been on the phone as soon as it broke, demanding to know if he was okay and probably, if he could still play tennis. He thinks she's more excited for this tournament than he is.

“Maybe? I'll ask around later, see what everyone says. And thinks, I guess. We don't really want the whole world to know.”

“No,” agrees Robin but he's looking doubtful, thinking matches and crowds and yeah, Andy gets his point because if any more of them have anything as unnatural as Robin's- okay fine, superpower, or as distracting as his then playing tennis in front of thousands will be tricky. “If you're sure.”

Andy's not but he doesn't think he can face six conversations starting “So I can read minds, what about you?” this morning on top of everything else. He's about to point out the trouble they'd have explaining themselves to anyone who hadn't woken up in Crazytown when there's a creak of a door from down the corridor and he hears Roger think At least the day can only get better from here over the words “So thank you for your help, we're fine now,” with the image of walking toward the door and suddenly Andy's flushing again, so far from ready for a confrontation with Sir- with Roger Federer that he's willing to sacrifice his dignity in favour of running away.

“I'll see you later,” he says quickly to Robin, who looks half-confused, half-distracted as his girlfriend opens the door behind him, saying something in Swedish that Andy gets in an echo-translation and makes his eyes want to cross. “I- sorry. Have to go.” He ignores Robin's half-protest and turns to sprint back to his door, slipping past Roger's half-open one with his breath held and fumbling the keycard on the first swipe so the light flashes red. As he curses, he hears a humming that he takes a second to identify as the theme tune to Batman and a second longer to identify as Novak's voice, still excited but right now incredibly irritating. Andy thinks longingly of all the superpowers he could've had that would've made it so easy to endlessly bug Novak instead of the other way around, but he's distracted by a rush of relief when his door-light clicks to green on a second swipe and he stumbles into his room, away from awkward confrontations with Roger which now he thinks about it, also Novak's fault. Dammit.

An auto-pilot he walks into the room, tossing the keycard to the bedside table and picking up his iPhone instead. No missed calls. Over everything he thinks he can hear Novak's humming, Roger walking out into the corridor and greeting- Fernando, although he only gets that from Roger's side of the conversation because Fernando's a space of nothing, like an itch in his mind . He can't focus on that though because there's also Mirka wondering what colours to dress the twins in, Robin very faint but in a a quietly intense conversation with his girlfriend and almost drowned out by everyone else is the same, miserable murmur from someone having an even worse morning than he is. Resisting the urge to put his fingers in his ears – mostly because he knows it won't help – Andy screws his eyes shut and thinks that at least no one will be able to read his mind and know that the only thing he wants to do now (after cry like he hasn't since he was five because his headache is back and stabbing viciously at the inside of his skull, complaining that it's all too loud) is call his mum and have her come here to shout at everyone until they stop babbling in his head.

Na na na na na na na na Novak! Novak sings to himself in the next room. Andy resists the urge to throw his iPhone at the wall.

Which, actually may be smart because with a desperate grasping of any lifeline he thinks of the word game in the shower, how there'd been nothing from Novak the whole time and he may be no expert on the mind-reading but it certainly seems to dip up and down depending on what he's concentrating on, so if- He thumbs the screen of his phone, quick, desperate jabs until he finds Bejeweled and starts a new game. He'd spent a month in a war with Jamie over who could get the highest score, hours wasted and he knows the kind of specific concentration it takes, like chess but simpler and if he's concentrating, just maybe-

The first three diamonds drop the background noise in his head to almost nothing, Novak still a cheerful murmur of nonsense but the next three wipe out even that, sudden easing of the pounding headache and he closes his eyes for a second in relief. Immediately, Novak's voice in his head yells Kowabunga!.

Andy groans. He has until tomorrow to learn how to play Bejeweled and tennis at the same time, if he doesn't want to lose one of the most important tournaments of his year thanks to Novak pretending to be a superhero.

He is, officially, screwed.
.

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