a song for lya (tabacoychanel) wrote in canudothecancan,
a song for lya

  • Music:

though i sang in my chains like the sea

: five times somebody called David Silva’s bluff
Pairing: gen masquerading as David Silva/David Villa, David Silva/Alexis Ruano
Rating: R for language; 1633 words
Summary: Say it ain't so: yet another Silva to City fic.
Disclaimer: Everything I tell you is a lie.

1. Vienna

There is a difference between being sent off and being subbed off. It involves going down to ten men in extra time and going out to Italy on penalties and unpardonable insults against your sister. David knows this. (If anyone were to insult Natalia, David would be more likely to buy the fellow a drink than to threaten violence.) Still, when it happens, when he finds himself jogging towards the sideline, not even breathing hard – not even winded, that’s how long the play has been stalled – it’s hard to remember the difference.

He gets a fistbump from Santi and a “Chin up” from the mister. He slips into the space vacated by Santi, the space between Villa and Dani Güiza.

Villa won’t look at him and Dani can’t seem to stop looking at him.

“What the actual fuck?” he hisses.

“I didn’t – ” David begins, but Dani cuts him off.

“Of course you didn’t.”

And he knows it could have been worse. He could have been booked. But Dani is not talking about that.

Pepe reaches over from the other side of Villa to tap David on the knee. “Do you want to switch places,” he says.


“Not with me. That wouldn’t do you any good. I mean, do you want to switch places with Güiza so you don’t have to watch Villa have a nervous breakdown.”

David swallows, and his heart is a metronome synchronized to the beat of Villa’s shin guard snapping against his own. “It’s okay. I’m used to it.”

“Yeah, well Villa's not,” observes Dani, and it’s the truth.

Afterwards, he remembers the last few minutes he spent on the pitch more clearly than the entirety of the rest of the match, more clearly than the fountain of cheap beer that explodes in the locker room and the slow red-gold procession through the streets of Madrid (Joan will say this is because after the final David goes 48 hours straight without either sleeping or imbibing anything more substantial than vodka).

This is what he remembers:

By the time he gets there Sergio and Marcos are gesticulating wildly, Marcos having elbowed two or three white-shirted midfielders out of the way in the process.

By the time he gets there, Xavi is between him and the ref. Xavi is wearing his vice-captain face. They are forty yards from the touchline so it’s impossible to tell what kind of face Iker is wearing.

There’s no point in approaching the linesman, who is in a three-way shouting match with Fernando and Ballack. Fernando tugs on Ballack’s shirt to get his attention. Fernando is probably the last person any German in his right mind wants to see right now.

It’s incredible, for a team that boasts El Niño and El Guaje, how much effort is being expended to baby somebody who isn’t even the baby of the team.

2. Las Palmas

When David is fourteen years old he goes five weeks without watching a single football match. He won’t even touch the television. His grandfather comes to him then, two tickets folded in the palm of a sun-cracked hand, and the next day the two of them are bouncing along on the bus to the Insular.

“This is the first stadium I ever took you to,” his grandfather says, as if David could forget.

But maybe some things need to be reinforced, like triumphal arches or irregular verbs. Maybe some decisions need to be unmade before they can be made. As he waits in the half-empty stands for the teams to emerge from the tunnel, buoyed by the buzz of conversation and alcohol around him, he remarks to his grandfather, “Couldn’t you have picked a match with sides we actually supported?”

“Lad, the only reason you’re so keen on Barcelona is because those meringues thought you weren’t good enough for their cantera.”

David goes back to watching football whenever he isn’t playing it. The offer from Valencia comes within the month.

3. Valencia

Villa’s fingertips are going to leave bruises on his wrist. He will notice them in the morning, blue-black in the half-light. David has always bruised easily.

Villa doesn’t let go until they are outside the club. “In Madrid you would have made the front of Marca.”

“We’re not in Madrid.” Yet.

“Where the hell is Alexis? Raúl?”

“I,” David says, and that’s as far as he gets.

4. Potchefstroom


“David, there’s forty-eight cards in a deck.”


“So, there’s four of us and only twelve tricks to be played.”


“You should have let him have thirteen, Pepe. We could’ve skinned him,” complains Villa.

“He’s playing for Iker and I’d rather not skin Iker at pocha, if it’s all the same to you. I love my mother and I get irrationally upset when she gets called names.”

David opens his mouth to say something – five, maybe, or zero – but just then the door flies open and Fernando Torres has a question, Fernando Torres needs their help. Fernando Torres is hosting a PlayStation tournament in his room that he desperately wants to get back to.

“Well, what is it?” demands Pepe.

“Do you know how long the pregnancy of a whale lasts?”

5. Manchester

“What do you see in him anyway?” asks Alexis.

David adjusts his grip on the phone while upending the laundry basket one-handed. “His hair. It sticks up, no matter how much gel he uses. It’s our talisman, see.”

“Get out of here.”

“Do you want me to talk about his legs then? How toned they are, how hairy? Or those broad shoulders …. I could go on.”

The sound of Alexis’ guffaws is unmistakable even when he’s covering the mouthpiece. “Does he let you out at all?”

“Never. I’m a caged canary in a rain-soaked purgatory.”

“Because David, you should – ”

“I live with my dad, not my captain. I get out plenty.” The food is bland and when it itsn’t bland it’s shit and when it isn’t shit it’s still foreign – but it’s true that David is often out, on his way to practice or returning from it, eyes fixed on the flat gray skyline.

Alexis says, “You know you don’t have to spend every waking minute with him. You know that, right?”

“I used to spend every waking minute with you, at Valencia.”

“How is that even remotely the same?”

“Well, there’s no one else, is there? Am I going to walk up to one of my new teammates and try out my flawless English on them?”

“Fuck, if you’re telling me you’ve been hanging out with Carlitos Tevez for his English skills – ”

“Christ Jesus, no. Listen. When Carlitos was at United and barely spoke English, he baked a birthday cake for Ji-Sung Park, who hardly spoke English either.”

“No he didn’t.”

“He was the one who stuck the candles on it, anyway.”

“I know,” says Alexis. “I saw it on YouTube.”

David appraises the pile of clothes on his bed, tossing aside a pair of Nando’s T-shirts that have gotten mixed up with his own. He inhales the scent of the fabric softener his mother bought him when she came to visit: tangy citrus and something else, something that smells of home even though he knows for a fact she got it at the Tesco’s down the street. “Alexis, what is it you’re getting at?”

“I’m wondering, if you’re going to let him do that to you, why you left Valencia in the first place.”

With anybody else, David might have tried to pretend that there hadn’t been any choice. That it had been a straightforward business transaction, two Davids for a mountain of Euros and a stab at financial solvency. But shouldn’t he have seen this coming? Wasn’t it what he wanted? Hadn’t this been the path he was determined to walk when he went with his grandfather to the Estadio Insular all those years ago?

When the silence stretches slightly longer than comfortable, Alexis tells him, “We’re up against Barcelona in the seventh jornada.”

“That’s really early. You guys ready?”

“No, but César is planning to keep a clean sheet by psyching Guaje out while the rest of us bodycheck Messi.”

David’s fingers are curled around a fistful of white fabric. “People leave, sometimes. I … it was something I had to do.”

“Was it something that Guaje had to do, too?”

The sting of Alexis’ cruelty is such an unfamiliar sensation that it takes David several seconds to recognize it.

“No,” he says finally. “It was something he wanted to do. And you’ll leave too, eventually. Everybody does.”

“Not the way you did. Not the way Guaje did. I’m not like you; I’m not – anybody. When I go I’ll do it cleanly,” Alexis assures him, and he will have occasion to remember this conversation because it is the last time he speaks to Alexis as a Valencia player.

The first time David wore the sky blue kit was also the last time Alexis wore the sunburst-orange-and-black. Afterwards they exchanged shirts. No, that’s not quite how it happened. David had played thirty-six minutes and Alexis none at all, so the exchange had to wait until two weeks later when Alexis texted him Sevilla want me, and David texted back I want your shirt.

He could not be sure if he resented Alexis more for bringing up Villa, or for being willing to part with the shirt. When it came in the mail he threw it in the wash, then laid it, freshly laundered, on top of the only other Valencia kit in his drawerful of kits – his own 21. He hadn’t asked for it for his own sake, really. He’d done it for Alexis. Because Alexis was wrong. Some wounds were not meant to be cauterized.

  1. Everything I know about the Silva transfer saga I learned from stalking [info]vcf_fangirls - especially this post about the Manchester City - Valencia preseason friendly in early August. 
  2. After the friendly against City, Alexis actually played in two more games for Valencia CF before the finalization of his transfer to Sevilla. However, one game was home and in the other one they wore their all-white third away kit, so the City game was the last occasion on which Alexis Ruano wore Valencia's orange and black second away kit.
  3. Thanks [info]meretricula for pointing me towards the epic Park Ji-Sung birthday video.
  4. Fernando Torres did in fact consult his teammates for the answer to the Pippi Longstocking question. There is no evidence that he consulted anyone other than google for the pregnant whale question.
  5. For more about Torres' gaming abilities, why Iker is a sore loser and detailed instructions on how to play pocha, see this.
  6. Silva admits to being sick of watching football from time to time. He also had a failed trial with Real Madrid at age eleven. Read an El País article here. Download the Euro 08 Spain-Germany final in which Silva headbutted Lukas Podolski here and here (zip file in two parts). Read a lulzy Marca article trumpeting Silva's eminent signing for Real Madrid here.

Tags: football rps
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