Don’t Let Me Let You Go

32: The End of an Era

“You’re going to be fine” Viola smiled as she patted Iker’s shoulder softly, trying to reassure him. It had been a couple weeks, after they’d reached the decision that Viola would stay behind in Madrid, Iker and his agent had worked on sorting out the deal which would see him leave Real Madrid and, after the announcement had been made by the two clubs, the time had come for Iker to face the press, something he was dreading. It felt odd to him, the idea that when the new season started, he would be pulling on a Porto shirt as opposed to his familiar Madrid one, but he knew that it was something he just had to get used to.

The move to Porto would change a lot for him and he needed to adapt.

“That’s easy for you to say” Iker mumbled, peeking through the door which led to the press room “You don’t have to sit in front of a group of journalists and answer their questions on the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do” he added.

“It’ll be over soon” Viola noted gently “We’re on a flight in the morning for the presentation and then the attention is off of you for a little while” she added.

Iker offered her a slight look over his shoulder before he nodded, knowing that she was probably right. “You’ll be here when this is over with?” he posed gently.

Viola nodded. “Of course I will be” she mused with a little smile “Good luck” she added, spotting the press officer over his shoulder.

Iker offered her a soft look before he kissed her briefly, following the other woman into the room full of journalists who snapped pictures as he padded towards the empty seat at the head of the room. Taking a little breath, he sat himself down and stared out across the room, a lump forming in his throat.

He couldn’t quite believe that he was saying goodbye.

~#~
Chewing on her lip, Viola watched as Iker stepped out of the press room, tears in his dark eyes. It had been hard to watch, Iker had struggled through the press conference with tears in his eyes, and Viola wanted nothing more than to wrap her arms around him and tell him that it was going to be Ok, something she doubted that he wanted. He had never liked it, showing any sign of apparent weakness was not something he did lightly, and when he did do it, Viola knew that he didn’t want to be coddled. He tended to prefer to gather himself than for Viola to make a fuss.

“Iker?” Viola murmured.

Iker, who’d been trying to compose himself, nodded, offering her the chance to wrap her arms around him, holding him tightly. “You did so well, amor” Viola mumbled, resting her head against his as he tried his hardest to compose himself “You were so brave” she added.

“I feel stupid” he muttered.

“You’re the furthest thing from it” Viola assured him, her hand gently rubbing his back “This is your home, it has been for a long time, and leaving it behind…it’s tough” she insisted.

“I cried” Iker refuted.

Viola merely shook her head and pressed a kiss against his cheek, mumbling soft reassurances into his ear. She knew that he wouldn’t listen to her, as far as Iker was concerned, crying made him look silly, but Viola doubted that she could have been much prouder of him. He’d let his emotions go, something he hadn’t done before, and it had amazed Viola slightly. If anything, watching him cry had merely intensified the feeling she had towards him.

“Can we get out of here?” Iker mumbled as he wiped his eyes on his sleeve.

Viola nodded her head and moved to lace their fingers together, squeezing his larger hand gently in an attempt to reassure him that it was alright.

~#~
“We could have just gone back to my place” Viola noted as Iker slipped the key into the lock of his home. She knew that it was empty, after the deal had been agreed, Iker had had most of his belongings shipped out to the apartment that he had found in Porto, but still the keeper had insisted on returning to his home, something which confused Viola. Her place was furnished, it was warm and comfortable, and appeared to be the better option.

“I want to spend a last night here” Iker noted as he pushed the door open “You don’t mind, do you?” he posed, offering her a timid look.

Viola shook her head. “Tonight is about you, Iker. If you want to stay here, then we can. I just thought you’d be more comfortable at mine” she insisted gently.

Iker offered her a weak smile before he padded into the house, knocking the door shut behind.

“You’re back”

Viola, who’d set about shrugging out of her jacket, tilted her head a little at the sound of Sergio’s voice, something which made Iker chuckle. “He has a key in case of emergencies” the keeper noted “I’d like it if you gave him one to your place” he added gently. He knew that nothing was likely to happen, even with him in Porto, Viola was still likely to be as safe and as happy as she had ever been, but he would have felt better if he knew that Sergio was looking out for her. He wanted her to have someone around to keep an eye on her whilst he was away.

Viola offered him a slight look before she padded ahead of him, smiling a little at the group who had set up in Iker’s living room.

“We couldn’t let you go without a party” Sergio grinned as he made room for the keeper beside him “And we knew you wouldn’t let us throw one, so we bought it to you. Care to join us, Captain?” he teased.

Iker shook his head and sat down beside the defender, nudging his shoulder playfully. “You’re an idiot” he muttered.

“And you need to be made a fuss of” Sergio insisted, earning a few nods of agreement from those who filled the room. It wasn’t a large gathering, besides Sergio and Pilar, only a few of the other first team players at Real Madrid had made an appearance as well as Iker’s parents and brother, but still Iker couldn’t help but be a little overwhelmed. He hadn’t expected any sort of fuss.

Viola, who’d moved to sit between Iker’s legs, smiled, pressing a kiss to his cheek. “You do need to be made a fuss of” she insisted.

Iker rolled his eyes, something which made Sergio nudge his shoulder. “Speech” he squeaked.

“Sergio…”

“Come on, Iker” Cristiano interjected “You can’t leave us without a proper goodbye” he added.

Iker rolled his eyes a little and took a bottle of beer out of Sergio’s hand, taking a moment to think before he nodded. “It’s hard for me to talk about leaving” he murmured “For a long time, I never thought that I would pull on the shirt of a team that weren’t Real Madrid, but now that I am…I want to say thank you. It’s been a long time, a lot of years, but I have adored every second of it, even the bad moments, and I hate that this is coming to end. I’ve had some great moments here, la Decima, the world cup, the euros, all of them were amazing and I think a lot of that comes down to you guys. My teammates, you’re the best I could have asked for, both to play with and hang around with, and I am going to miss every one of you, even you Sese” he teased, nudging the defender’s shoulder “I want to thank all for your support, for your kindness, and most of all, for your friendship. You’ve all made me a better man and I am grateful to you all” he insisted, his hand squeezing Viola’s which had taken his, trying to comfort him.

Sergio, who sat beside the keeper, lifted his bottle. “To Iker” he enthused “The best captain we could have asked for, but more so, the best friend. We’re going to miss you, Captain” he added, charging his glass.

Iker smiled a little at the toast before he lifted his hand, wiping his eyes softly.

A part of him still couldn’t quite believe that he was leaving.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 for the comment :)