One year was simply too short. 365 days technically, but take away the off season, holidays, injuries, and there’s not many days left really.
But each and everyone one of those days were genuinely happy. Never once has he thought he wanted to go somewhere else. This is where he belonged, where he wants to remain, where he fell in love with everything around him. At first he thought the kits were sort of tacky, but after seeing Barca’s third kit or god forbid any of Juve’s he realized yellow had become his favourite colour (black is a shade).
He used to secretly judge Fabregas at how he could leave Arsenal just like that after all he owes Wenger, simply because Barcelona decided they wanted him back. Now he understands.
It’s so natural as if he’s been here all along, but he hasn’t. He was brought in as a replacement for Shinji and he feels evil for thinking this, but he almost wishes Shinji left earlier so he could’ve come earlier. Then, he could’ve had more time with the team, and with Mario.
Most of all he wishes Mario could become like his tattoos, something permanent that would never go away. Someone always by his side that followed him wherever he went, not that he would leave. The national team wasn’t enough, heck they haven’t even become regular starters, yet. But Dortmund was regular and so was the current lineup. It feels so right and he makes an impossible wish for it to never change fully knowing he’s only hurting himself.
Marco knows Dortmund is where he belongs, and he only wishes it’s what Mario thought too.
They’re young and they’ve got nothing to lose. There’s nothing from the past holding them down or expectations to live up to besides their own. The records can only get better, the team can only get stronger, and they can only improve and grow.
They’re at a point in their lives when so much is possible. For Marco, Dortmund is a special place not only because it’s his hometown. It’s not like other European clubs; it’s genuinely sincere and even cute. He was happy here, to be finally back. To be with the fans, Klopp, and the team, in order to accomplish amazing things.
That’s why he couldn’t understand. He tried, he really did. He was ambitious too and he knew the time limitation on their profession – they couldn’t go forever. But Mario was only 20 and not even at the peak of his career, and why Bayern of all teams. Was Guardiola really that good? Didn’t the current Bayern utterly destroy his creation?
“But we could’ve made history, together.” He softly whispers to Mario, after receiving the news.
And Mario can’t say anything back.
“Right! No Left! The Other Left!! Now now now now now!” Mario screamed into his headset with one hand poised over his mouse and the other frantically mashing the command keys.
“Damnit!” Mario shouted in frustration throwing his hands up in the air.
“We’re out of time, again! Really Marco you gotta listen to me. We need to play as a team or we’re never gonna pass this level!” He groaned.
“Well excuse me I don’t understand your stupid little commands. At least I’m not the one running into walls or whatever,” Marco remarked, looking at Mario from across the table.
“Hey! It’s not my fault my character’s fatter than yours.” Mario chipped back as he removed his headset and started to spin around on his chair.
Mario had recently gotten a hold of Portal 2: Co-op and invited Marco to play, since he needed a partner in science. He figured with Marco being older, he probably knows more physics than him. Turns out neither of them remembered anything about Newton’s laws, not that they really needed to.
Marco sighed. “15 minute snack break then let’s have another crack?”
“And uh, I don’t think we need the headsets. I mean, we’re in the same room,” Marco remarked as he grabbed two beers out of the fridge, handing one to Mario.
“But the headsets add to the experience. You can’t have a LAN party without headsets,” the younger one whined.
Marco thought about arguing back, but figured it wasn’t worth his time. There were some things that Mario was just so stubborn about. He’d much rather spend time playing with Mario than playing against Mario so that they’d never be out of time in real life.
Mario was Atlus, Marco is P-body.
The atmosphere on the bus was glum. They had just lost to Bayern despite having an early lead. One particular player looked troubled with his thoughts when suddenly…
“AH!” Mario exclaimed, jumping up from his seat as if he just discovered the 4th dimension or the 27th letter of the alphabet.
The entire Dortmund bus stared at the young one. Marco included.
“Marco Marco Marco! Guess what I just realized?”
Marco wasn’t expecting something profound, but he certainly wasn’t expecting this.
“Our names are one letter apart! See? See? If you replace my i in Mario with a c it becomes Marco! You!” Mario grinned, as if he was waiting for applause after making an acceptance speech for a Nobel prize.
The entire Dortmund bus roared with laughter all the way until Westfalenstadion. The next day, Mario held the sit-up record during practice. Apparently, the rest of the team all complained of muscle soreness from the previous day. Mario didn’t get it, he played the full 90 minutes and he was fine.
Knock knock knock.
“Marco, I know you’re in there…”
Mario stood at the door to Marco’s appointment, having been unsuccessful at gaining entry for the past 30 minutes.
“Hey… I know you’re upset… and you have every right to be… but please open up… I…I just wanna talk… and apologize…”
There was still no reply.
“I…I won’t leave until you open up Marco. I mean it…”
“… Marco, please” Mario pleaded, his voice full of regret and desperation.
The door creaked and a slight crack opened up, revealing a very displeased Marco. It almost looked like his GQ spread, except more, serial-killer like.
Hearing Marco’s voice pained Mario, but seeing Marco in that state made Mario want to cry. The hair that was Marco worked so hard on everyday was unkempt like Mario’s never seen before.
“Talk. Or I’m leaving.” Marco abruptly said while beginning to close the door.
“Wait! Marco wait let me explain… no let me apologize. I was stupid. I shouldn’t have done that… to you. And I’m so, so, so sorry… I just can’t go on like this, having you hate me…”
Mario swallowed and paused to collect his breath. He could feel Marco’s piercing glaze at him, boring a whole through him. All the angry and disappointed fan’s eyes on the pitch couldn’t compare to this.
“I… I was so hungry and there honestly was nothing left and I checked everything and I didn’t have any money and ohgod I’m so sorry Marco. I promise to never eat your pudding ever again.”
Mario slowly glanced up, afraid to meet Marco’s eye. He realized Marco was still there and continued on.
“Look.. I’m really sorry and I wish I’d never done it. I bought some more for you and you can have it all and I promise I’ll never touch it ever again. They’re your favourite … you know the ones with caramel on the bottom. ” Mario tenderly offered the giant bag filled with pudding cups to Marco.
Marco grinned, quickly grabbing the bag and closing the door in Mario’s face. Mario was left utterly shell shocked, wondering what had gone wrong.
A few second later the door opened again much to Mario’s relief.
“Come in. We can share.”
Hehe, sorry. I couldn’t help it. Originally wanted to do something serious, but didn’t have the heart or courage to write something heavy yet :(
Mario tells himself he’s only human.
And humans have dreams; they have ambitions. Along the way they have to make sacrifices, but if it helps him fulfill his dream he’ll do what he needs to do.
In order to play for Europe’s greatest team under one of Europe’s greatest coaches. He’s young and he’s skilled. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Even if that means leaving behind his childhood club of more than 10 years. Even if it means betraying his fans, his teammates, his coach, and Marco. He’ll lock away his emotions if it means achieving his dreams.
What Mario didn’t realize though, was that emotions are part of being human.
Years later, Mario will look back on his mistakes. After all, he’s only human.
“Marco! I need your charger, NOW!” Mario screamed dramatically throwing his headphones off.
Marco jumped, surprised at Mario’s sudden outburst. The two were enjoying a lazy Sunday in Marco’s apartment.
“But I’m using it. You can have it afterwards.” Mario replied, going back to his laptop.
“But I need it NOW. I’m at 33%!” Mario shouted with even more urgency moving towards Marco.
Marco stared. “Yes, but I have low battery too.”
“But you’re only listening to Justin Bieber. I’m watching his concert.” Mario argued.
Marco raised an eyebrow. He couldn’t decide which was more absurb: Mario’s argument or the fact he maybe-sorta-actually agrees with Mario’s argument.
Marco could see younger one’s pout getting deeper and… wait did he start trembling too? He sighs. “Fine, only if you let me watch too,” he says with a grin.
Mario bursts into a smile and quickly steals the charger to plug in his own laptop. He sits down and pauses, looking at his headphones in horror. “Marco, my headphones won’t fit us!”
Marco paused and looked at Mario wondering if he was being serious. When Mario didn’t budge, Marco chuckled and unplugged the headphones just in time to hear – Baby, baby, baby ohhhh
Mario knew he was running away, and that he was good at it too. It was part of his job – the running part at least.
Every time Marco looked his way, he would shift his gaze elsewhere or pretend to be busy with something, anything. Every time Marco tried to speak to him directly, he would hurry off saying he was in a rush. Every time Marco tried to call him, he would pretend he didn’t hear the phone until the point he honestly believed he didn’t have a cellphone. It’s not like he used it anymore.
Then Marco stopped trying.
That’s when Mario knew he had won. The pain was gone and all that was left was numbness. And he just kept running, running away. It was the only thing left he could do.
The Original List
3. Making History
12. Dead Wrong
13. Running Away
15. Seeking Solace
20. My Inspiration
21. Never Again
25. Breaking Away
26. Forever and a day
27. Lost and Found
33. Seeing Red
34. Shades of Grey
39. Out of Time
40. Knowing How
41. Fork in the road
43. Nature’s Fury
44. At Peace
45. Heart Song
48. Everyday Magic
51. Troubling Thoughts
52. Stirring of the Wind
54. Health and Healing
56. Everything For You
57. Slow Down
58. Heartfelt Apology
62. Irregular Orbit
63. Cold Embrace
65. A Moment in Time
66. Dangerous Territory
68. Unsettling Revelations
70. Bitter Silence
71. The True You
76. Summer Haze
78. Change in the Weather
80. Only Human
81. A Place to Belong
86. Picking up the Pieces
90. Nowhere and Nothing