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Title: Halo
Rating: NC-17
Pairing: Roddick/Federer
Disclaimer: Not mine, never happened. All the pretty boys own themselves.
Summary: Roger’s cracking under the weight of his own reputation and thinks only Andy will understand.
Notes: Set the evening after the Wimbledon 2005 final. I know it’s getting to the point where Wimbledon 2005 has pretty much been done to death as far as these two are concerned, but my muses insisted they had one more thing to say. Inspired, titled and encouraged by repeatedly listening to A Perfect Circle’s The Nooseand Linkin Park’s Numb. Awesome songs; I recommend looking them up. :)

A.N.: This is a long fic, too long for one LJ post and it wanted to be split into sections anyway. Parts one through three will be uploaded tonight and the concluding two parts added tomorrow. To stop this cluttering up f-lists with lots of separate posts, I'll be backdating them.

And now finally, onto the fic. :)

~~~

( Part I )
( Part II )
( Part III )
( Part IV )


V



Roger opens his eyes.

Everything is silent around him, apart from the quiet hum and creaks of a sleeping house. It's still dark which soothes the rush of panic -- he hasn't overslept -- but dawn is softening the darkness to grey outside, just barely enough to see by. The trace of light creeps around the curtains and he can make out his hand on the pillow, the dark heaps of his suit scattered across the floor in the dim light. He's turned onto his side in his sleep, knees drawn up and arms huddled close for warmth, because he's still naked and the room is cold. The sheets are tangled beneath him and he wishes they'd thought to sort them out before sleeping; even a single sheet would have helped against the chill of the room but there's nothing he can do about it now. He curls tighter around himself and runs through his other, immediate worries.

Nothing hurts - not like he'd thought it might after the sex - though it's hard to tell without moving and he shifts fractionally, testing. There’s the twinge of an ache here and there but nothing more than bruises, barely enough to make him wince.

He lies still again, blinking slowly, eyes itchy with tiredness. There's a digital clock on the bedside table and the glowing numbers tell him it's ten to five. He has to leave now, if he doesn't want to be late, but Andy is all hot, bare skin and long limbs, curled around him from behind and Roger doesn't move.

He hadn't expected to wake up feeling completely different; that was always too much to ask. Coming to Andy had been out of desperation -- which he can see now, looking back -- and he'd never expected anything like this, not really. He'd never expected to be lying here, not wanting to leave. Feeling 'better', more--

-- more content perhaps. Less like he's falling to pieces inside his own mind, less scared of himself, of his tennis. He tells himself that it isn't because Andy had said he was beautiful.

He even almost believes it.

Anxiety starts up again though as Andy makes a quiet sound behind him, a sleepy grunt of effort as he shifts closer to Roger. Something, new tension or just the change in the Swiss's breathing, lets him know Roger is awake and he makes another sound, this time more of a sigh as he tightens the arm draped over Roger's waist. "Hey," he whispers.

"Hey." Tentatively, Roger curls his hand over Andy's on his stomach, hoping desperately that the American is still okay with this. "Are you..."

Fingers twine through his, squeezing with reassurance and the relief is tangible, a relaxing in tension from them both. Lips brush the back of Roger's neck, the barest hint of tongue behind them and Andy presses, if possible, even closer.

"I'm good."

"...Okay." Roger shuts his eyes again, as if feigning sleep will forestall the questions that he can feel Andy about to ask, because there's a contentment to lying like this that speaking might ruin. He wants to enjoy the closeness; enjoy Andy's hand locked tight in his and the American pressed against his back, a warm, solid weight, lying in a silence that, even a few hours ago, would have dragged to the point of tension by now. Nothing has changed from before, not tangibly, except that it has -- he's comfortable, sick tension faded and he wants to enjoy being this close to Andy for as long as he can.

He doesn't let himself follow that thought to the natural conclusion, that he should enjoy it now because he may never have it again.

"You have to go?" Andy murmurs and makes it a question, reminding Roger of everything he's been trying to forget, numbers counting silently down to five thirty on the clock. For a second, the briefest of seconds, he can feel it -- lying here, watching the numbers tick over to five thirty-one. Everything would change, there's no question of that because by staying he'd be making a point. As good as saying this was it now, him and Andy, 'official' for whatever that would mean.

Then he thinks of Mirka, waiting for him back in their apartment. Alone, because Tony will be sleeping off the alcohol and his parents are staying in a hotel in Kensington. She'll be making herself coffee, trying to keep busy and he knows with a rush of pride -- tainted with bitter guilt -- that she won't cry, not until he actually misses that five thirty point of no return. He could never lie here, watching the clock and knowing that only a short walk away, she's doing the same.

"Yes," he answers and feels Andy tense, only noticing because they're so close. There's a pause and he adds, because Andy seems to be waiting, and because he feels that he should, "I'm sorry."

Andy laughs suddenly, breathed warmly into Roger's hair. "I really hope you're not, because I don't want to be alone in not regretting this. But..." Soft lips press to the nape of Roger's neck, Andy abruptly clinging so hard to him that breathing would be becoming a concern, if he wasn't more worried about the American's trembling. "Roger, stay. Just go back to sleep or... or--" The hand in Roger's loosening its grip, sliding down over his stomach to lightly stroke his cock in a rush of sweet, shivery ripples of pleasure. "Anything you want but stay." Desperate, childish. Begging. "Come home with me later and we'll sort this whole freak thing out, I promise--"

Roger can't listen to anymore, not unless he wants to cry and he's tired of crying after weeks of doing little else. With a sharp twist, he turns in the tight circle of Andy's arms and presses close, bringing a hand up to rub gently over Andy's cheek, the American's face just visible in the greying light. It hurts to feel his fingertips come away wet because, somehow, this is his fault, even though the last thing he wanted in doing this was to hurt Andy.

"I think you might have sorted it already," he whispers, hoping his reassuring smile comes across in his tone even if the American can't see it. The hazel eyes are just pools of shadow in the darkness, glints of silver in the depths from tears catching the light but impossible to read. "I will never regret this Andy but you know I have to go. Mirka-"

Andy takes a quick, pained breath, effectively cutting Roger off and now he thinks about it, mentioning his girlfriend when lying in the arms of the tearful, begging man he'd just slept with wasn't the most sensitive of moves. Again he wonders about staying but it only makes him surer that he can't; there's a plane somewhere in London waiting to take him home to the massive celebration they're throwing in Switzerland, a plane Roger knows, without a shadow of doubt, that he'll be on. He knows too that Andy knows he could never stay but he hopes that the American also knows that he wants to.

"I know you have to go." Andy's voice is low but steady, the only sign that he's crying the tears trickling wet over Roger's hand. "I know you're here because you were upset last night. I know that this isn't fair to you or to- to Mirka." He makes it through the name with barely a hitch in his voice. "But I wanted this to be more than comfort sex because you're really something Roger, you know? Half the guys on tour think you've got wings and a halo hidden somewhere--"

"Andy," Roger whispers, tightness in his chest that makes it hard to breathe and he won't cry, not again. "Andy, don't."

A brief pause and if someone can make a sound when mentally kicking themselves, Andy's muted whimper is it. "I'm sorry, you're right. I cheer you up then depress you all over again huh?" He laughs, a shaky, forced sound and his hand collides with Roger's when he reaches up to wipe his face, almost flinching from the contact. "You need to go if you want to make your interviews. It's getting late."

"I know." Roger does, aware of the clock behind him and every minute slipping past, the balance between comforting Andy and getting back to Mirka in time becoming more uncertain the longer he stays. "I'm not leaving until you tell me you're okay."

"I'm okay." Too quick, slipping out brightly false. "I'm not the damsel in distress here, remember?"

Roger catches Andy around the waist as he moves to pull away, dragging the American back against him and ignoring that Andy goes tense, all comfort in touching gone. He won't leave things between them like this, not if he can- can fix things, though he's not sure how he broke them in the first place. "Andy, I never thought of this as comfort sex."

"I never said you did." Andy turns in Roger's arms, bumping noses and teeth as he tries a clumsy kiss, tasting like tears but still sweet to Roger, that they can do this. "Go home Roger," Andy murmurs against his lips. "You need to go home, you need to work out-" He breaks off with a shake of his head but Roger frowns, tilting his head to catch Andy's expression in the ever-growing light.

"What? Andy... I need to work out what?"

"What you want." Andy's looking at him, eyes visible now with tears caught in lashes starred together and part of Roger realises how light it is, how quickly time is passing. The rest of him doesn't care, because nothing is more important than Andy right now. "If you were upset enough to come to me at all Rog, then you're missing something. Or think you are, or something, something's wrong to bring you here. Go figure it out, and if what you figure leads to me, then maybe--" The catch of tears in the words and he closes his eyes. "Maybe this'll be able to be more than just comfort sex. Maybe, you know?"

Roger does know. He knows that Andy's right and he has to go away to think about this, because he loves Mirka, so much that sometimes it's hard to breathe when he sees her sleeping beside him, knowing she loves him back. There's too much to think about, to discuss and 'figure out' in Andy's words, for him to stay now. Perhaps ever but Andy wants to cling to the maybe and Roger isn't going to ruin a hope that might not be entirely unfounded.

"I know." The softest of whispers. "But right now, I have to leave."

"Yeah." A bitter smile, pressed quickly to his lips. "I know."

When they break apart, it's to opposite sides of the bed, Roger feeling himself shiver as he stretches bare feet down to the cold floor. Dressing in the crumpled remnants of his suit is hard with numb fingers and with Andy, a mute, aching presence only the space of a mattress away and already out of reach. Roger manages his trousers and half his shirt buttons before giving up; his jacket will cover it, mostly and he's finding it even harder to care what he looks like with the scent of Andy still clinging to his skin. He'll never be able to wash it off before the interviews, probably even not before his flight; he'll sit in front of cameras and beside Mirka and wave to the crowds celebrating his win in his home city, wrapped in the scent of Andy and everything they'd done.

There's a perverse sort of comfort in that and he thinks maybe, he'll never shower again.

He's jerked out his musings as a hand touches his shoulder, stiff, distant, and he looks around to see Andy in just his sweatpants, avoiding meeting Roger's eyes. "I'll show you out," Andy says, then hesitates. "I mean, if you want."

"Please." Roger reaches out, fingertips brushing along the American's wrist but Andy's already turning towards the door and Roger lets his hand fall again. "Andy-"

Andy glances back, a flash of eyes still red-rimmed, before he looks away. "Best not to talk. Dean's easier to wake around now."

"Oh." Roger obediently falls silent as they leave the room, despite the obvious excuse and the lie in Andy's tone. Andy doesn't want to talk and Roger wouldn't know what to say anyway, not when it's usually Andy who can fill the silence without apparent effort.

The stairs don't creak as loudly as last night, or maybe Roger's less tense, a thought that almost brings a bitter smile to the surface until he bites it back, not knowing how Andy would take it if he glanced back. Down the last few stairs, a safe distance of three feet between them as if they'd never touched. Past the kitchen, where the plates covered in cake crumbs sit abandoned and to the front door, handle turning easily under Andy's hand.

"Good luck with the interviews," Andy murmurs as he steps back against the open door, staring intently at his feet. "Let me know you get home safe okay, because I worry about stupid things like that and-"

It's too much; too bland and impersonal and Roger's stepping forward before Andy can react to push him back against the door. One hand comes up to tangle in blond hair, spiky with sleep while the other grips Andy's hip; no way the American is escaping this. Roger doesn't even need to go on tiptoe to reach, barely an inch between them and Andy makes no attempt to resist the kiss. It's like the kisses of last night, soft until it's suddenly not, Andy's arms coming up to pull him close and Roger can feel the American's heartbeat against his chest, mirrored by the pulse under his palm when he slides a hand down to curl behind Andy's neck and he thinks he can taste the ghost of chocolate icing, caught in the curve of Andy's mouth. They're clinging to each other so hard the kiss becomes almost incidental, simple contact the most important thing and Roger opens his mouth to Andy, ignoring the bluish half-light of dawn growing brighter by the second.

A bird bursts in loud, trilling song from a tree outside and Roger jerks back, staring at Andy's wide eyes and parted lips, the tip of his tongue pressed to the top one. They gasp in air for a moment longer, Roger desperately trying to say everything he wants to through a few seconds of their gazes locking but Andy shakes his head with a half smile and pushes him outside.

"Go and do some thinking Rog," he says, lighter than he had upstairs, perhaps a hint more optimism. "I'll be waiting when you- well." He flashes a smile and if it's still unsteady, stretched a little too wide, then it's gone before Roger can be sure. "Whatever you decide."

He's stepping back and panic rushes through Roger, familiar, sickening and he gets a hand on the door before Andy closes it. "Andy," he says with a trace of pleading. "I wasn't here just because I was upset. I wanted to know about you, if you felt like that and if I did. I never meant to make this just--"

A hand goes over his mouth, Andy's smile softening to something more genuine. "I know Rog. Go home." The hand is dropped and a sweet, chaste kiss placed on his lips, lasting barely a second and then Andy's retreated behind the door, closing it to leave Roger standing in the cold morning air, alone.

"I'll be waiting."

Bringing a hand to his mouth, Roger rubs at his lips, tasting Andy and the memory of salty tears. Andy who'll be waiting for him, if he finds he wants the American for more than this, if he can somehow sort out the problem of Mirka and then them both being men and rivals. Andy who said he was beautiful, Andy who had somehow known exactly what to say, even when it was to say the wrong thing. Roger frowns and thinks maybe, just maybe...

Then a glance at this watch tells him it's twenty past five and he breaks for the road, racing across the muddy grass and leaping the wall, regardless of scuffing his dress shoes. He'll take the time off, time to think because he's taken a step or a few, he's not sure, but there's the tiny quiver of happiness that says, no matter what happens or what he decides or that he's going to be late for all his interviews, it'll be okay.

"I'll be waiting."

Roger smiles, rounding a corner with his arms flung out for balance, because it's half five in the morning and there's no one to see, not that he thinks he cares so much anymore, though perhaps not caring at all is still a little too much to ask.

Maybe, if he can find a way, he won’t make Andy wait too long.


Fin
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