coffee_queen: (brad in yellow)
[personal profile] coffee_queen
Title: (We're Standing Here) Shoulder to Shoulder
Characters: Bradley Wiggins, Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador. Supporting cast of Chris Froome, Mark Cavendish, Bernie Eisel and Dave Brailsford.
Rating: PG-13, possibly up to R
Disclaimer: This is made up and done for the purpose of entertainment, not profit
Warnings: plenty of swearing
Summary: In the bitterest of rivals, you find the best of friends- Brad, Andy, Alberto and the 2013 Tour de France
A/N: Totally a cathartic thing to work through my issues about the Brad/Froome rivalry and now it's way more intense. Obviously AU now, but still totally valid
Word count: 9173

Brad feels good today; so good, in fact, that when Alberto attacks and Andy follows, he drags himself up to stay with them. He doesn’t question it; he can’t afford to. He pulls out his earpiece and refuses to listen to a word anyone says. He pushes himself harder than he thought possible and manages to grab second place. He calls out with the sheer emotion of it all and doesn’t care when he feels the entire world looking at him. He doesn’t realise quite how tired he is until he climbs off his bike and stumbles a little. He keeps himself upright, not that it matters because when he looks at the rest of the riders slowly filtering across the line they’re all in much worse shape than he is. He wonders for a moment or two quite how he’s managed to pull this off, but those thoughts are quickly forgotten as he’s pulled around all over the place for a thousand or so post-race commitments. He doesn’t get even a second to himself until he’s sat backstage waiting for the presentations- he hasn’t gotten a jersey, but he is getting the combativity award. He leans forward and puts his head in his hands. He tries to focus on his breathing, but it becomes harder- racing is the easy part and now he’s faced with being in front of the world, explaining, and that is always the very last thing he ever wants to do. He doesn’t know when he realises it, but at some point he’s very well aware that someone is staring right at him. He looks up, turns his head slightly and locks eyes with Alberto. He stares at Alberto for a minute before smiling, smirking, lightly and shrugging. He turns to the other side and almost jumps out of his skin when he finds Andy sitting right next to him. He opens his mouth to speak, but he doesn’t get the chance to say anything.

“Hello. You were really good today. I didn’t know you could be that good. I don’t think anyone did. I didn’t even know I could be this good again, not on these really big stages. I know I’ve been up there all week, but it was hardest today and I did it. I was finally good again. I finally won again. I believe in me again and now I believe in you too. I like that even though it makes things harder for me. It’s nice to have more challenge- I think I need that. It’s good for you too- you can show you’re still good at this, better than everyone maybe thought you would be. I know what that’s like. I know that it’s hard, but it doesn’t matter when you do something so good and when you’re so proud, like you obviously are and should be.”

Brad blinks a few times, but still can’t recover from his shock at the speed Andy was speaking. He hesitates for a few more seconds before replying.

“Uh… Thank you?”

Andy smiles brightly and nods. He leans in slightly.

“Don’t mind Alberto- he looks at me like that. I think he’s trying to figure us out, trying to work out how we can do what he can. I think he doesn’t understand that other people can be as good as him at something, not when he doesn’t let them be or something like that.”

Brad frowns slightly and glances back over his shoulder to where Alberto is stood a short distance away, still staring at him. He shakes his head and turns back towards Andy.

“Will he stop?”

“Probably not, but just leave him to it- he’s not doing any harm and he… You know, he can be a nice person.”

“I never thought I’d ever hear you saying that again.”

Andy shrugs. He opens his mouth to respond, but doesn’t get a chance before they’re calling him up to the podium for the presentation of his stage winner’s award.

Brad watches Andy leave and his frown deepens. He shakes his head. He stands up and walks over to Alberto before he can even think about it. He hesitates for just a second before speaking.

“You know, if you ever do figure out what I’m all about, please tell me because I’ve got no fucking clue.”

Alberto studies Brad carefully for a minute before slowly starting to smile.

“It will be fun to beat you.”

“I’m sure it would, but there’s no chance I’m letting it happen now.”

--

Brad knew as soon as he’d chased after Andy and Alberto that he’d be happy at the end of the day- exhausted too, of course- but he never imagined the feeling would last this long. He finally gets back to the bus, a smile still on his face, after what feels like days since he finished the race. He steps onto the bus and it all goes to hell.

Chris is out of his seat in an instant.

Brad only has Bernie’s quick reflexes to thank for avoiding a punch to the face.

“What the fuck do you think you were doing?”

Bernie pushes Chris back, but still has to grab Chris’ arms to stop Chris from going after Brad again.

“Fuck you.” Brad turns to throw himself down into his seat, but Dave is blocking his way. He folds his arms across his chest and narrows his gaze. “What?”

“What was that, Bradley?”

“That was me doing my job.”

“Fuck you.” Chris leans forward, but can’t get anywhere- Bernie is still holding onto him and other members of the team are standing in the aisle now too. “Your job is to work for me now.”

“No, my job is to win.”

“Well, you fucking failed.”

“Millimetres behind Andy Schleck in second and a bike length ahead of Alberto Contador isn’t a failure or did you miss that memo down in thirtieth?”

Chris bares his teeth.

Brad glares at Chris for a second before climbing into his seat. He looks up at Dave.

“I’m the one that’s still two seconds down- I can out time-trial Contador for that and I’m not going to drop time anywhere else.”

“That wasn’t the plan.”

“Fuck the plan.” Brad sits back in his chair. “Do you want one yellow jersey or two people in the top ten?” He stares at Dave for several seconds. “I’m not going to get in his way, but I won’t work for him.”

Dave studies Brad carefully for a minute.

“You’ll be on your own.”

“No- I might not have help, but I won’t be on my own.”

--

Brad is usually grateful to have the single room, but today he feels like he’s being shunned. He almost understands where the team are coming from, almost wants them to want to avoid him, but the biggest part of him delights in them hating him so he can show them how wrong they really are. He’s trying to work through the feeling he’s got about the whole situation when he notices that his phone is ringing. He answers without even looking.

“Yeah?”

“Bradley?”

“Uh…” Brad frowns- he can’t quite work out who he’s talking to.

“It’s Andy.”

“Oh.” Brad’s frown deepens because now he has no idea why Andy would be calling him. “How did you even get my number?”

“I asked Fabian to ask Bernie to give it to me.”

“Okay. Why?”

“So I could talk to you.”

“Why?” Brad thinks Andy might have hung up because there’s nearly a minute of silence before he gets a reply.

“I can’t even talk to Fränkie about all of this because he doesn’t understand. He can’t understand, but you can.”

“You don’t know that.” Brad puts a hand to his forehead, but quickly pulls it away again. “How can you know what I feel? I don’t even know if I can work it out let alone if you could ever understand.”

“You’re alone now- no one on your team is with you. It’s the same for me.”

“That’s different.” Brad grits his teeth. “No one hates you.”

“I don’t think anyone hates you.”

“You weren’t there,” Brad mutters. “You don’t know.” He’s quiet for a minute. “I promised, right? And I probably owe him after everything he did last year, but I’m…”

“Better than he is now.”

“I didn’t say that.”

“No, I did- I’m allowed to and so are you.” Andy is quiet for a few seconds. “You can’t hold back because you think you owe on a promise.”

“Didn’t he do that last year?”

“Didn’t you still out time-trial him? Wouldn’t you have been able to hang on after him in the mountains well enough to still be able to win in the time-trials?”

“I… Maybe. I don’t know. No one can know how that might have worked out because he stayed back. He helped me and I’m not doing that for him.”

“Why should you? You are the best here- you should get to win.” Andy almost laughs. “Well, you should get to try. I’m not going to give up.”

“I’d never expect you to, but that’s not the point.” Brad shakes his head and leans back. “We had a plan. He helped me before; I was supposed to help him now.”

“Plans change- you should have learned this already or maybe he would have won that Vuelta. They stuck supporting you even though he was better; they would be making a mistake doing it again.”

“They seem stuck on letting me fight it out for myself- I almost don’t blame them.”

“Then you should fight. Do it all yourself and show them that you get to win.”

“Maybe.” Brad rubs his eyes and then looks around the room. He frowns slightly when he realises that he’s in a completely different place than he started out in- he didn’t notice that he’d moved at all. He shakes his head. “Why are you saying this anyway? Five years ago, your brother…”

“That was different. You didn’t take the lead from him, from someone in your team, when he wasn’t finished, when he was wearing yellow, when…” Andy stops and takes a deep breath. “You are no doubt better than Chris now.”

“Like I said, we can’t know how something would have worked out. You don’t know that Fränk…”

“I’m trying to help you here.”

“Why?”

“Because I understand you.”

“You keep saying that, but I don’t think you’re right.” Brad is quiet for several seconds. “They all love you.”

“They don’t trust me. They still think I’m not clever enough to go the whole way. They think I will mess up or I will give up.”

“That’s…”

“No. Don’t you see? We are both alone. Maybe for different reasons, but it’s the same thing at the end.”

“No, it’s different- you’re afraid they’ll take away your support, not that they won’t give you any in the first place. You should hate me for just taking away something you’re worried you’ll never get.”

“I don’t hate anyone.”

“Not even Alberto three years ago?”

“Things were different then.” Andy shakes his head. “I was good then, but no one thinks I am anymore. No one thinks I care and that’s my own fault. Like maybe it’s your fault no one believes in you. I drop out of races and now they’re looking around not trying everything for me because they’re expecting me to drop out here too. You say the Giro is more important and you don’t have all of those time-trials. No one believes in you and no one believes in me, but we can both show everyone how wrong they are. We can both race and win and everyone will see.”

“It doesn’t work like that.”

“Why not?” Andy waits for nearly a minute for an answer, but all he hears is silence. “We prove ourselves on the road.”

“But I’m not supposed to…”

“That doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that you are doing better than him so you get to be in charge- nothing that happened before counts anymore. No promises that you made or races that I abandoned. You get to be in charge of your team and I get to be in charge of mine.”

“If you thought like this years ago, you’d have a pile of yellow jerseys by now.”

“I don’t think I would feel any of this now if I hadn’t done any of what happened already.”

“Maybe not, but I still don’t think you really understand…”

“I understand how you feel alone. I understand how you feel like you’ve had an entire team, an entire country, looking at you. I understand not feeling like you can handle it. I also understand what it’s like to throw it away- don’t do it. You might never feel this good again. You might never be able to climb this well or descend or any of it. You feel good so take it. You will never forgive yourself if you don’t. Believe me.”

Brad walks over to the window. He pulls the curtains back slightly and looks outside.

“I want everything you’re saying- I want to win, to be the best- but I can’t stop myself from feeling bad, from feeling guilty, for not helping him the way he helped me.”

“I think you’d feel worse not trying. I think everyone would feel worse if you stuck with him just because that was the plan and you both ended up with nothing.”

Brad almost laughs- maybe Andy does understand. He closes the curtains again and turns around.

“So you just wanted me to know that you understand?”

“It’s nice having people who understand what you’re going through- you don’t feel alone and they know what you need. Sometimes it’s too hard to explain, even to your brother.”

“I bet you still miss him though.”

“He’s been there my whole life- I always miss him when he’s gone, but…”

“You do better when he’s not there?”

“I want to stand out on my own.”

“You do. Look at what you did today. You were the best of us.”

“I’m the best?” Andy smiles and nods slowly. “I will make sure to mention you said this in my speech.”

“They don’t let second place make a speech, Andy.”

“You haven’t won yet, Bradley.”

“Bring it on.”

“Oh, I will.”

--

Brad feels infinitely better the following morning- he’s not sure whether it was the conversation with Andy or just the good night’s sleep he’s had, but he’s happy as he gets up. He’d even be smiling walking down to breakfast if he wasn’t so focussed on his intent. He strides into the breakfast room, without saying a word to anyone, and goes right over to Chris. He slams something down on the table in front of me and chooses to completely ignore the gasp that travels around the room.

“You and me outside, right now.”

Chris slowly looks up at Brad.

“What the fuck are you talking about?”

“If you can beat me up that mountain,” Brad points outside, “then this is yours.” He moves his hand across the table and then takes it away, revealing his race number- 1.

Chris stares at the number for several seconds and then looks up at Brad before turning his head completely away.

“Good.” Brad stands back and looks around the room. “I am going to win this race and if you’re not here to help me then there’s the door.” He points towards the door and waits for a minute. “Right. Then let’s get to work.”

--

Brad is riding along in the middle of the peloton during the stage when Andy rides up alongside him.

Andy stares at Brad for a moment.

“You look better today.”

“It’s not like I was sick.”

“No, you were shouting down the phone at me for an hour because you were upset.”

“It wasn’t an hour and I wasn’t shouting.”

“Yes, well, now you’re better.” Andy smiles softly and quickly looks around at the rest of Brad’s team. “Now, you have your friends.”

“No, now I might have some support; I don’t have friends.”

“You don’t need friends to win.”

Brad frowns heavily because it definitely wasn’t Andy that said that. He looks around and finally notices Alberto riding up to his other side. He studies Alberto carefully for several seconds.

“What would you know?” Brad nods towards Alberto’s team. “They’d die for you if you asked them.”

“I don’t want that.”

“But you know how important it is.” Andy leans forward slightly so he can look around Brad at Alberto. “You know how hard it is to do this when you don’t have a whole team supporting you.”

Brad shakes his head and then focusses back on Alberto.

“So what do you want?”

“I just want to ride.”

“Then let’s go.” Andy shrugs.

“We’re a hundred kilometres from the finish.”

“Would you really not follow me if I went?”

“No, we’d wait until you were too tired to carry on and then ride right by you. Right, Alberto?” Brad turns to the side to look at Alberto when he hasn’t gotten an answer after a minute. “Stop looking at me like that.”

--

“I should have done more.” Brad leans forward slightly and starts bouncing his leg.

“Look around.” Alberto glances at Brad through the corner of his eye from where he’s sat a few seats down. “We’re miles and minutes ahead of so many other people.”

“Is just being good really enough for you?” Brad wipes a towel over his face and then turns to look at Alberto. “Are you really still looking at me like that?”

“Of course.” Alberto frowns slightly as he continues to look at Brad. “You shouldn’t be able to be like this.”

“Why not?” Brad leans back and turns his head to the side to look at Alberto.

“You tried at the Giro.”

“I didn’t finish the Giro.”

“Are you going for the Vuelta too?”

“I’m not that stupid.” Brad rubs his eyes. “You can fight it out with Andy for that.” He shakes his head and looks at Alberto. “Why do you need to know?”

“You are one of the few people that might be able to stop me from winning. I want to work out how so I can avoid it.”

“Yeah, I nearly understand that, but haven’t you figured it out yet?”

“Take away your already nearly non-existent support.”

“Stick with you in the mountains and make up any time in the time-trials and have you been talking to Andy?”

“No, but I listened when you were.”

“Why is that not enough? You already worked it out so why do you need to keep looking?”

“Where did it come from?” Alberto studies Brad carefully for another few seconds. “How can you do this?”

“I don’t know.” Brad shrugs. “I just feel good. I’m grabbing the chance with both hands and running. I can’t afford to stop and work it out.”

“Are you doing it right?”

“Did you always?”

Alberto laughs and turns his head away.

“What matters is now.”

“What matters is knowing you’re doing the right thing no matter what anyone else thinks of you.” Brad quickly looks around before leaning in slightly. “You might think I’m a dick, but I’m not stupid and I don’t think you are either.”

Alberto glances back over his shoulder at Brad.

“Then what happens now?”

“We race.”

--

“Do you think I’ve done the right thing?”

It takes Bernie several seconds to realise that Brad is talking to him. He turns to the side to look at Brad. He opens his mouth to reply, but closes it again and studies Brad carefully for a minute instead.

“I think it would have been easier if you could have just worked for him.”

Brad frowns slightly, but nods slowly.

“I also think that you’re going better than him right now. If we want to win, it’s got to be you.”

“But?”

Bernie almost smiles.

“It would have been better if you’d talked about it first.”

“It’s not like I was planning on it.”

“Maybe not, but you could still have done it in a better way.”

“I could have been nicer, you mean.” Brad can tell from the way that Bernie is looking at him that he means ‘yes’ without wanting to actually say it.

“It doesn’t matter now, though, does it? You still did it and you did it well so now we’ve got a race to win.”

--

Brad doesn’t know whether to be relieved when it gets to rest day or not- yes, it’s nice to not have to drag himself up mountains for once, but in the race he knows what to do; when he has some time off, he hasn’t got a clue anymore. He doesn’t have much time to think at first- there are press conference and interviews to do, but they end eventually and then he has the rest of the day ahead of him. He should go for a ride, but he’s not sure he’d really get anything out of it if he was riding along with a group of people he doesn’t think trust him very much right now. He decides to go out on his own, with just a few support staff following in the car behind him. He enjoys being out on his own, not having the whole world watching; it allows him to be able to focus more- he still feels good and is almost over being guilty about that. He’s thinking about turning back when he notices something out of the corner of his eye, a flash of colour he’s become used to over the past several days. He looks over and sure enough Andy’s riding in the opposite direction not too far away. He makes a split-second decision to follow, swerving and almost falling over in his rush to catch up. He feels a little ridiculous, but he’s calling out Andy’s name before he can stop himself.

Andy’s head snaps up. He frowns a little as he looks around and smiles brightly when he finally sees Brad.

“Hello.”

“Hey.” Brad takes a few seconds to catch his breath.

“Is that it?”

“I didn’t really have a plan.” Brad feels a slight blush creeping up his cheeks, but wills himself to just believe that it’s from the exertion.

Andy laughs a little.

“Do you want to ride?”

“All right.” Brad nods briefly and slips into an easy pace alongside Andy.

“Are you on your own?”

“Yeah, it was…” Brad shrugs.

“It’s easier than having to worry about everyone else for another day, isn’t it?”

Brad doesn’t think he could have put it any better.

“What are you doing out? I thought you didn’t go for this shit. Riding on rest days,” Brad adds when he notices Andy’s slight look of confusion.

“It’s different now. I can’t just get by on talent anymore.”

“Are you getting too old for that?”

“I’m getting too much competition for it.”

Brad opens and closes his mouth a few times, but can’t think of anything to say.

“I think maybe you want to say ‘thank you’, but it’s not just about you. It’s also because I grew up.”

“Right. I should…”

“I wish you’d stay. It’s easier with you around.”

Brad can’t stop himself from laughing.

“And riding with our teammates isn’t?” Brad shakes his head. “We’re fucking idiots, aren’t we?”

“Look at what we do for a living.” Andy shifts forward slightly.

“What are you doing?”

“Race you up the next hill?”

Brad grins.

“You’re on.”

--

Brad is half-way through his breakfast the following morning when his phone starts ringing. He balances the phone between his shoulder and his ear so he has both hands free to get himself a coffee.

“Hello?”

“Are you dating Andy Schleck?”

“Oh, god.” Brad puts a hand to his face. “Come on, Cav- you made me snort coffee everywhere. I think I burned the inside of my nose.” He gently prods at his nose for a moment until he feels satisfied that it’s okay. “Where the fuck did you get an idea like that from?”

“You were riding with him yesterday, weren’t you?”

“How do you know that?”

“Andy wouldn’t shut up about it and Fabian wanted to know what was going on so he asked Bernie and Bernie talked to me because he…”

“Bernie needs to learn when to keep his mouth shut.” Brad shoots a pointed look towards Bernie, who’s sat at the other end of the table.

Bernie stares at Brad for a few seconds before shrugging.

Brad shakes his head and makes a mental note to talk to Bernie about this later. He returns his attention to Cav.

“I can’t believe you’re making me say this, but, no, I am not dating Andy Schleck.”

“Then are you fucking him?”

“What kind of person do you think I am?”

“I don’t know anymore.”

Brad freezes for a few seconds.

“There’s nothing happening with me and Andy. He just understands the way other people can’t. I don’t have to explain and sometimes it’s nice having something that easy.”

“Easy? You’ve got to go out there and beat him today, every day for the next week. How do you expect to do that if you’re being so friendly with him?”

Brad opens and closes his mouth a few times, but can’t quite work out how to explain it.

“Look, it’s going to work. I’m going to win.”

“You think he won’t fight if you make him like you?”

“No, I think he’ll fight harder.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

“I just know that it makes sense to me.”

“And that’s all that matters, isn’t it?”

“I was fucking miserable a year ago and now I’m smiling with the thought that I might win again. If you were really my friend, you’d just be happy for me.” Brad hangs up before Cav has the chance to say another word. He slams his phone down onto the table and takes a deep breath. He glances around the room and finds almost everyone staring at him. He shakes his head. “I know what I’m doing. I’m going to win. If you don’t like it, leave.”

--

“How do you explain it?”

Andy almost jumps when Brad rides alongside him during the stage. He takes a few seconds to recover from the surprise before looking at Brad.

“Explain what?”

“This.” Brad waves his hand between them. “Us?”

“There’s an us?”

“Not an us ‘us’, not like that, but…” Brad sighs heavily. “They want to know why we’re friends.”

Andy laughs.

“I stopped trying to explain that when they asked why I used to hug Alberto. I don’t even know how to explain it. I think maybe it’s just easier to like the people that go through what you do and not the people that want to follow you.”

“How can it be easier to fight against people you can talk to like this?”

“Not easier- better.” Andy shrugs. “Now, come on- we’ve got a race to do.”

“It’s not a day for either of us.”

“Says who?”

--

“It makes you fight harder.”

Brad lifts his head and looks to the side when Alberto drops into the seat next to him.

“Beating people you care about is more of an achievement than beating people you hate.”

“Why?”

“Because you know that it means more. You have to put a lot more aside and you have to fight because they’re doing the same- they want things the same way you do and they care. No one else understands.”

Brad nods slowly. He’s quiet for a minute.

“You care about me?”

Alberto almost smiles.

“It’s been a long time since anyone has pushed me this hard.”

“2010 wasn’t that long ago.”

“2010 doesn’t count anymore, at least not for me.” Alberto leans over slightly. “I won’t hand this to you without a fight and neither will Andy and I know you would never give up- everyone else already has. How could they possibly understand? How could we ever explain it? We’re the same.” He leans back in his chair and just looks at Brad. “Who doesn’t want that connection?”

Brad is saved from having to respond when they call him over for doping control. He walks over and wonders exactly how Alberto managed to so perfectly articulate something he and Andy were having trouble finding words for. More than anything, though, he just can’t wait for the fight he knows is coming.

--

When Brad pushes himself harder than he’s ever done and crosses the line before anyone else, he doesn’t know whether to be happy or not. Yes, winning a mountain stage of the Tour de France allows him to prove his worth, but he didn’t really achieve anything.

“You should be happy.”

“Why?” Brad leans back in his chair and glances at Andy for a second before covering his face with his hands.

“You won.”

“Won what? The stage? Great.” Brad lets his hands drop to his sides and turns his head to look at Andy. “No one remembers all the stage winners. It didn’t take me any closer to your jersey.”

“It took you five points closer.”

Brad laughs and shakes his head.

“That’s not exactly what I meant.” Brad takes a quick look around, but Alberto’s nowhere to be seen. “It didn’t take me closer to yellow either.”

“I thought you said that wouldn’t come until the time trial.”

“I… It… No, it won’t, but that… I just don’t feel like I’m doing enough.”

It’s Andy’s turn to laugh.

“How many times do you have to be told? It’s standing on the podium in Paris in yellow that counts. Believe me.”

“But you still think I should celebrate today.”

“You’re getting closer to Paris every day and you’re doing exactly what you said you need to be and it’s always nice to win stages. Besides,” Andy grins, “this is all I’m letting you have- you should enjoy it.” He puts a hand on Brad’s shoulder. “It’s not over, but you did good today.”

“It just seems…” Brad runs a hand down his face. “I know I can do it, but it just feels like I’m never going to get there. Three weeks is torture sometimes, isn’t it?”

Andy nods slowly and then looks down at where his hands are folded in his lap.

“What if I can’t hold on?”

Brad stares at Andy for a moment.

“Don’t give up now. Keep fighting. This is what you were meant to do and you love it too much.” Brad hesitates for several seconds. “How did I do?”

“Very comforting,” Andy mutters and offers as much of a smile as he can muster.

“Then how about this?” Brad slings an arm around Andy’s shoulders and leans in slightly. “I’ll let you keep the polka dots if I can have yellow.”

--

“Are you sure you’re not fucking him?”

Brad throws his phone against the wall and smiles when it smashes. He feels guilty enough to apologise to Cav when they ride alongside each other at the beginning of the next stage, though.

“It’s fine.” Cav shrugs. “Whatever. Just… You used to talk to me and now I have to hear this shit from Bernie. Why won’t you explain it to me?”

“I can’t even explain it to myself.”

“Don’t you think that means something? Don’t you think you should stop? I mean, you’re being all friendly with both of them and…”

“Why were you laughing and joking when you raced Thor up Ventoux four years ago?”

“Because… Because…” Cav sighs heavily- he can’t argue anymore. “It would just be so much easier of they were nicer people, wouldn’t it? Well, Andy’s all right I suppose.”

“Maybe you should be dating him.”

“Please.” Cav rolls his eyes. “I’ve got standards.”

“You’re best friends with Bernie Eisel- your standards can’t be that high.”

“Shut up- you love Bernie.”

“Well, he did stop me from getting punched in the face.” Brad laughs for a few seconds and then hesitates for a moment before speaking again. “Don’t be mean to Andy, yeah? He’s a good kid.”

Cav stares at Brad for a long moment.

“Are you sure you’re not dating him?”

“I’m leaving now.” Brad starts riding forward through the bunch.

“Hey.” Cav chases after Brad. “I’ve not finished making fun of you yet.”

--

Brad can’t sleep the night before the time trial- he gets a few minutes, here and there, but for the most part he’s tossing and turning with a thousand thoughts running through his mind. He finally gets up much earlier than he’d like and much earlier than he probably should and goes down for breakfast. He’s surprised to find that he’s not the first one awake.

Chris looks up when he hears footsteps and his gaze darkens when he sees that it’s Brad. He turns back to his breakfast.

Brad shakes his head. He grabs some food and coffee and sits down at the table on the opposite side to Chris. He picks at his breakfast for a few minutes and takes several bites. He glances over at Chris a few times before he finally speaks.

“I’m sorry I was a dick.”

Chris freezes for a second before shaking his head and going back to his breakfast.

Brad pokes at his food a few more times.

“I was…”

“Look, Bradley- I don’t want to…”

“It was never about pissing you off or trying to even some kind of score or me being shit at following orders. It was about winning. I could do it. I will do it.”

“And I could have done a year ago.”

“Not with those time trials.”

“We’ll never know now will we.” Chris glances up at Brad through his eyelashes. “I did the right thing and held back to help you.”

“The right thing?” Brad shakes his head. “You don’t attack… That was a year ago- it’s over. It’s this year that counts now. You can’t win. I can. I’m sorry that you’re pissed off and I’m sorry that it’s my fault, but I’m not apologising for winning. It’s my job and I love it and it’s what they want in the end.”

Chris is quiet for several minutes before speaking again.

“If you don’t do it, I’ll be the first to laugh.”

--

Brad is so engrossed in his warm up that he barely notices Chris is speaking to him. He shakes his head and knocks one of his earbuds out.

“Yeah?”

“I’m not pissed at you,” Chris mutters without looking up.

“Really?” Brad raises an eyebrow.

“Okay, I’m incredibly pissed at you. I wish you could have let me be in charge for once. I wish it wasn’t all about you. I wish you weren’t even here, but more than that I’m pissed that you’re better than me. It was supposed to be my turn.”

“I’m sorry.”

“No, you’re not.”

“Not sorry for riding well, but I am sorry you’re not getting what you want.” Brad is quiet for a minute. “I don’t even know if I’ll be back next year.”

“That’s what you said a year ago.”

“Yeah, well, a year ago I’d only won it once. I didn’t realise how much I’d still… It can be your turn next year.”

“Unless you’re riding better again.”

“I’m not planning on it.”

“Plans change.” Chris shakes his head. “I’ll still laugh if you don’t do it.”

“I know.”

--

Brad knows that he’s not alone out here- the flash of Alberto’s yellow jersey in the corner of his eye calls to him more than anything- but he’s at the very centre of his own world. He’s trying so hard to focus, to visualise every inch of the route and the perfect position to take, but his worries keep creeping in and he’s shaking when he finally makes his way to the start ramp. He keeps his gaze forward and breathes deeply. The countdown seems to last for an eternity, but then he’s on his way and everything else is gone. He doesn’t ask for the time gaps, doesn’t listen when they tell him anyway- he’s the only one that matters right now. He knows that it’s not going exactly to plan, but maybe that’s a good thing- acting more on instinct hasn’t done him too badly so far. He crosses the line after all the time in the world and none at all. He doesn’t stop to look at his time or position- he just turns towards the screen to watch the very end.

Two minutes pass and Alberto isn’t back.

Another three seconds and Brad’s won the Tour de France.

Another seventeen seconds and Alberto finally arrives.

Brad doesn’t celebrate. He watches as Alberto looks at the board, realises what all those timings and results mean and hangs his head. He takes a step forward, but then stops himself. He can barely think- it’s too much. He looks around and everyone is smiling at him and cheering and celebrating and he doesn’t know what to do.

--

Brad freezes when Andy walks over and hugs him as they’re waiting behind the stage for the presentations.

“I didn’t believe you- not really- but you did it. I am disappointed for me, but polka dots is okay, I suppose and you did so well. Really.” Andy grins. “Congratulations.”

“Thanks.” Brad tries to smile, but he’s too tired to pull it off properly.

“You’re welcome.” Andy pulls back and he’s still grinning.

“Why…” Brad shakes his head when he realises his question sounds ridiculous.

“What is it?”

“Why are you so happy?”

Andy laughs.

“I wasn’t really terrible in a time trial, I made the podium of the Tour and I have a jersey.”

“And that’s enough?”

“After the past year, it’s almost more than I could have hoped for. It will do. For now.” Andy shrugs. “You should be happy- you did this.”

“There’s just so much to do now- presentations and interviews and questions and… It’s just a lot.”

“Is it?”

Brad isn’t really sure how to respond to the sadness running through Andy’s answer so he chooses to ignore it.

“It’s nearly over now.”

“I think I’ll miss it.”

“Yeah.” Brad smiles softly. “Me too.”

--

A year ago, Brad remembers tossing and turning all night and being haunted by nightmares.

This year, it’s different.

Brad is wide awake and sat by the window. He’s trying to think about something, anything, but his brain is too unfocussed. He’s dimly aware of his phone beeping at some point, but it’s several minutes before he drags himself over to find out who’s trying to get in contact. He rolls his eyes when he opens the message sees that it’s from Andy. He can’t stop himself from laughing when he reads the content of the message.

          We just have to worry about staying upright tomorrow

Brad is still laughing when he types out his response.

          You must be terrified then

Brad is almost expecting that to be the end of it, but he’s not entirely surprised when he gets another message from Andy a few minutes later, with a few additions following soon afterwards.

          That’s mean

          I don’t crash that much

          Anymore

          Not even as much as Frankie

Brad wants to respond with something about that not being difficult, but he decides that that’s probably a bit too harsh so he goes for something nicer.

          You’ll make it. We all will

Brad worries that he’s managed to say the wrong thing there, but Andy’s next message clearly shows that worrying was unnecessary.

          I won’t lose my nice jersey so late

Brad sends his next message without really thinking about it.

          My jersey’s better

Brad is surprised by how quickly Andy’s reply comes through.

          I let you have it

Brad laughs again.

          Bullshit- I’m just better than you

Brad is going to add some kind of apology there- it seems necessary- but Andy’s next message comes through before he gets the chance.

          I’ll be better than you next year

Brad grins- that sounds like an exciting prospect, but he won’t let Andy get away with it so easily.

          Keep dreaming

Brad frowns slightly at Andy’s next message.

          You mean I should go to bed now?

Brad’s fingers hover over the keys for a minute before he types out his reply.

          We both should. No use if we both fall asleep on our bikes tomorrow

Brad isn’t surprised by Andy’s next response.

          Everyone would crash then

Brad shakes his head.

          Can’t have that. Meet at the start line?

Brad is nervous for all of the minute it takes for him to get Andy’s response.

          I’ll be there

Brad smiles for a moment before turning off his phone and climbing into bed.

--

“Are you even listening?”

Brad shakes himself out of his daze and turns towards Andy. He frowns slightly.

“Uh… Your niece is really cute?”

“That was ten minutes ago nearly.”

“Sorry,” Brad mutters and gently rubs his forehead. “There’s just a lot going on.”

“This is the easy part.”

“I know, but it’s not over. It’s so close and… I’m just so tired.”

“You didn’t really sleep last night then?”

Brad’s only response is a light shrug.

“I didn’t either.” Andy is quiet for a moment as he thinks. “I want it to be over, but I don’t. I…”

“Wonder if it’ll ever get this good again?”

Andy laughs softly and shakes his head.

“It’s funny you say that after winning last year.”

“Last year wasn’t good. This year is… It’s like racing makes sense finally, like everything was always supposed to be.”

“Not everything.” Andy raises his eyebrows slightly and nods towards Brad’s jersey.

“Hands off.” Brad points at Andy.

Andy laughs softly. He looks around.

“It looks like we’re starting.” Andy starts pushing himself forward. “I just have to remember to keep upright, yes?”

“Haven’t people been telling you that for years?” Brad rides up alongside Andy. “Why would you start listening now?”

--

Brad doesn’t remember the last stage being like this last year and he doesn’t think it’s anything to do with all the drama surrounding last year’s race. He thinks there’s more fuss this year- he seems to pose for so many more photos, with most people wanting Andy grinning at his side- but last year seemed harder. He has the traditional glass of champagne out on the road, but then he makes it abundantly clear that he wants to save the rest of the celebrations for after he’s crossed the line. He doesn’t begrudge anyone their celebrations, though, and joins in with more smiling and cheering and enthusiastic fist-pumping than he remembers from a year ago. He’s drifting back into the peloton- they’re getting closer to Paris and the sprinter’s teams are starting to take control - when he runs into Alberto. He’s almost surprised- he hasn’t really seen or spoken to Alberto in several days- but then he supposes it makes perfect sense.

Alberto stares at Brad for a moment.

“Are you enjoying yourself?”

“Now that it’s about the racing again.” Brad shrugs. “Winning is amazing, but the shit that comes with it isn’t always fun.” He shakes his head. “I don’t know why I’m saying this to you- you already know, don’t you?”

“A little, but some of it was a lot of fun, especially in 2009.”

Brad studies Alberto carefully for a minute.

“That wasn’t even a little bit about winning, though, was it?” Brad doesn’t miss the smirk on Alberto’s face. He shakes his head. He’s quiet for a minute. “Do you realise that it could have been all of us standing on that podium too? You and me and Andy.”

“It should have been us, but it wouldn’t have been quite the same as this, would it?”

“You’re right- this is better.” Brad laughs for a few seconds. “I thought that was the best I was ever going to get.”

“Aren’t you glad you were wrong?”

“More than anything.”

Alberto smiles fondly for a moment before shaking his head.

“I’ve got to go now, but I’ll see you on the podium later. Someone has to make up for you and Andy.”

“Yeah. I’ll see… Hey! What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

--

“It means I’m prettier than both of you.”

Brad is saved from having to respond to Alberto’s statement when Andy starts laughing.

“Don’t be silly, Alberto- everyone knows I am the pretty one.”

“Hey.” Brad puts his hands on his hips. “What about me?”

“Your jersey is pretty.” Andy glances back over his shoulder at Brad. “You are kind of funny-looking.”

Brad narrows his gaze and flicks Andy’s ear just before they call him up to the podium. He thinks more people are watching this year, that more people are watching him specifically, so he’s a little bit more nervous when he walks up onto the stage. He stops on the top step and looks around. His nerves stop. His smiles grows. He’s where he should be. He gets impatient waiting for them to bring his jersey over, but when they finally pull it on, he almost misses getting his arms into the sleeves. He clutches the lion tightly and waves to the crowd. He’s so caught up in the moment that he doesn’t notice Alberto has walked up until Alberto is patting his shoulder. He pulls Alberto into a tight hug before he has chance to think about it. He feels Alberto tense slightly, but he’s willing to chalk that up to surprise. He steps back, but doesn’t have chance to do anything else before Andy is wrapping his arms around him. He can’t stop himself from laughing and soon realises Andy is doing much the same thing.

“How can you be so happy with third? I still don’t understand.”

“It means I’m not over. It means I might get to be even better than I was before.” Andy steps onto his step of the podium.

Brad rolls his eyes, but he’s still smiling when he steps back up onto the podium. He grabs Andy and Alberto’s hands and lifts them into the air. He knows the cheers have gotten louder, but he couldn’t really get any happier.

“I’m still the best looking.”

“You should really stop being so silly, Alberto.”

“Both of you shut up.” Brad drops Andy and Alberto’s hands. “You’re ruining my moment.”

--

“How is your party?”

“Very festive.” Brad steps out into the hallway where it’s a little quieter. “How’s yours?”

“Loud.”

Brad can’t stop himself from laughing. He manages to stop himself after a few seconds.

“But you’re having fun?”

“A lot, yes, but it seems… different.”

“What do you mean?” Brad worries a little when Andy doesn’t reply immediately. “Are you still there?”

“Yes. I suppose that I mean these aren’t the people I expected to be here.”

“Are you missing your brother?”

“Oh, Fränkie is around here somewhere. He brought Leea too- she likes my polka dots- but it was strange that he wasn’t riding with me. It always is.”

Brad opens his mouth to respond, but doesn’t get the chance to say anything.

“Jakob isn’t here either, but these are all nice people and I am glad for them. I just didn’t expect them here.”

“Not everything works out the way you expect.”

“Otherwise I would have your jersey too.”

Brad laughs again.

“Let it go, Andy.”

“Never.” Andy barely pauses for breath before speaking again. “Do you want to come for a beer?”

“At your party? Where I can make everyone feel guilty for not helping you win?”

“No. Not here- just somewhere.”

“Yeah.” Brad is surprised by how quickly he agrees. “Yeah, I’d like that.”

--

“Andy?” Brad pushes the door open and steps outside. “Are you out here?”

“Yes.” Andy rushes around the corner and skids to a halt in front of Brad. “Hello!”

Brad blinks a few times- he can’t quite believe how quickly and loudly Andy managed to speak.

“Uh… Hi?”

“Hi.” Andy grins. “Why did you not wear your jersey?”

“I’ve got it.” Brad holds his jersey up. “I thought walking through the streets of Paris wearing it might be too conspicuous.”

“You should wear it now.”

Brad thinks that’s a bit of a ridiculous request, but he pulls his jersey on anyway. He looks down and frowns slightly before shaking his head and looking back up at Andy.

“Why are we on the roof?”

“I like the roof.” Andy shrugs. “It’s quiet, there aren’t many people around and you can see a lot.”

Brad wants to point out that there are plenty of other places they could have done that, but he can’t bring himself to argue. He doesn’t realise that Andy has gotten a beer until Andy is holding the bottle towards him.

“Thanks.” Brad flicks the lid off the bottle and takes a long gulp. He nods towards Andy. “You haven’t taken it off, have you?”

“My jersey?” Andy shrugs. “I didn’t wear it in the shower, but I kept it on for the rest of the time. You have yours from the stage?”

“Yeah.” Brad tugs at the bottom of his jersey. “I didn’t want to end up ruining the nice clean one from the podium. I think I’ll keep that one for framing.” He raises the bottle to his lips again and glances at Andy. “Why did you ask me to come over?”

“We spent all this time racing each other. I’m used to you being there and I don’t want it all to be over yet.”

--

Brad is so busy laughing at something Andy has said that he doesn’t immediately notice when Alberto arrives. He frowns slightly and glances back over his shoulder to see Alberto stood in the doorway.

“How long have you been there?”

“A few minutes.”

“You’re late.” Andy gives Alberto a pointed look, but then rolls his eyes.

Brad zones out a little then- he must do because when he turns to the side, Alberto is stood next to Andy. He blinks a few times and shakes his head. He stares at Alberto, but can’t think of anything to say.

Alberto steps forward and reaches out to zip up Brad’s jersey. He pats Brad’s chest.

“I’m glad it was you.”

Brad opens and closes his mouth a few times before speaking.

“Why?”

“Because you were the best.” Alberto shrugs. “That’s who should win.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be.” Alberto steps back.

“I’m sorry you’re disappointed, but I’m not sorry for winning. God,” Brad runs a hand down his face, “I say that too much, but I mean it. I really do.”

“Good.”

Brad finds the smile on Alberto’s face infectious.

“I found the beers.” Andy holds a bottle out towards Alberto. “Here.”

Brad doesn’t have the heart to tell Andy that the beers were always right in front of him. He looks back at Alberto.

“Are you… okay?”

“He’s just disappointed.” Andy throws an arm around Alberto’s shoulders. “I have a jersey he never got.”

Brad looks at Andy for a second before turning towards Alberto.

“Are you?”

“I don’t have the heart to say ‘no’.”

Brad’s lips lift up into a smirk. He claps his hands together.

“Let’s finish celebrating, yeah?”

--

“They’d probably kill us if they saw this.” Brad leans forward, peering right over the edge of the building. He jumps when Andy grabs his arm and pulls him back. He just stares at Andy because he can’t think of the right words to say.

“I don’t want you to be squashed on the pavement. We can’t race again then.”

When Brad starts laughing, he’s not sure whether he’s laughing with Andy or at him. He shakes his head and pats Andy’s hand.

“Don’t worry- I’m not going to fall off.”

“Good.” Andy grins. “I want more races like we just had.”

“We’ll never get another race like that.”

Brad’s brain is so fuzzy from the beer that he’s almost forgotten that Alberto is here too. He blinks a few times to try and clear his vision before turning to the side to see Alberto staring off into the distance.

Andy leans forward so he can look around Brad at Alberto.

“Every race we have will…”

Alberto shakes his head. He looks at Brad- he understands- for several seconds before turning his attention to Andy.

“None of us are going to have that much to prove again.”

“Some of us have more,” Andy mutters.

“Then next year it means the most to you and you’ll try hardest. Another year, another race, it will be for me or for Bradley. It won’t be all of us at the same time again, not like this.”

Andy opens his mouth to argue, but finds that he can’t. He sighs heavily.

Brad wraps an arm around Andy’s shoulders.

“This year isn’t over yet.” Brad isn’t sure if it’s the right thing to say, but it’s the only thing he can think of.

Andy leans in towards Brad slightly.

“This is how it was supposed to be. This is the right kind of racing. I want every race to be like this.”

“You’re going to have to hope other people learn how to push you then or the Vuelta really will be just you and Alberto.”

“You’re not going?”

“Three Grand Tours in a year?” Brad shakes his head. “I’m not fucking stupid. I don’t want to think about that now. I just want to finish with this race, first.”

--

“What happens now?” Brad looks from Alberto on one side of him to Andy on the other several times before he realises that he was the one who spoke. He frowns slightly and shakes his head. He tries to throw his empty beer bottle into the nearby bin, but he misses quite spectacularly.

“I thought you just wanted to celebrate.” Alberto leans back and turns his head to look at Brad.

“I do.” Brad puts his head in his hands, but glances at Alberto through the corner of his eye. “How do we go back now? How do we not have this every time?”

“By trying harder next time?” Alberto shrugs. “I don’t know.”

“I thought you knew everything.”

“Not this.”

Brad doesn’t know how to respond, but he’s saved the effort of having to work it out when Andy speaks.

“Maybe we just don’t forget this.”

Brad puts a hand to his chest and turns to the other side to look at Andy.

“I thought you were asleep.”

“Maybe I was.” Andy wipes his eyes. “Maybe everything is just so blurry that I blanked out.”

Brad stares at Andy for several seconds before slowly shaking his head.

“That’s your solution- just don’t forget?”

“What else can we do?”

on 2013-06-19 02:40 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] flipping-elves.livejournal.com
Aghhh, I don't have time to read it all but but buit

Andy and Brad and Berto being all brilliant... and go Andy...and just YAAY. Oh and I like the title ;D

More later when I have time

YAAAAY

on 2013-06-19 02:45 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] caz-kenobi.livejournal.com
Title that was, in the end, actually stolen from a Bon Jovi song. I'm honestly trying to start coming up with my own

Enjoy!

on 2013-06-19 09:04 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] maddogclare.livejournal.com
Oh awesome Bernie! Meanie Chris! Typical gossipy Cav! And Brad, Berto & Andy showing everyone why they're the awesome best!

And they totally would understand each other, but noone would understand why they're friends (as with Andy & Berto in 2009/10 before the incident)!

Loved it!

on 2013-06-19 09:52 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] caz-kenobi.livejournal.com
Bernie is always awesome ;P
It was just supposed to be about Brad owning everyone, but then Berto and Andy wanted in on the action and then they sort of ended up like the three musketeers

This is exactly it. They just get each other. No one is ever going to stop wondering why they're friends and trying to work it out, but they're not explaining (because they don't feel like they need to) so people start getting more frustrated, which draws Brad and Berto and Andy even closer.

Thank you!

on 2013-06-20 05:09 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] maddogclare.livejournal.com
Oh yes!! And Bernie needs much love for his awesomeness at the moment!
Please, Andy always wants in on the action so that shouldn't have been a surprise. Well the 3 Muskateers are kinda awesome!

As is always the way - noone understands the gifted people! And I bet they kinda enjoy watching everyone trying to work out what's going on!

on 2013-06-20 05:59 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] caz-kenobi.livejournal.com
Absolutely he does and I'm sure there are plenty of people giving him that love
It wasn't supposed to be anything like it's grown to in my head though. I just wanted my ideal Tour where Brad showed that he was way better than Froome anyway and now it's just this massive thing, but it totally works for all of them

Oh, they so love watching people figure it out. And, you know, messing with people's head about it too ;)

on 2013-06-20 07:29 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] maddogclare.livejournal.com
I'm sure there's a not so orderly queue! And he can join Tom & Fabian's anti Tour party!

Oh yeah, everyone wants to show Froome who's boss!

Oh yeah, I bet they have a lot of fun laughing at people's reactions & messing with them!

on 2013-06-20 07:33 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] caz-kenobi.livejournal.com
I'm sure that will be an epic party. Oh, hey there fic idea...

Absolutely they do

Totally. I have this whole bit planned for them at this year's Tour route presentation where they're just talking loudly about stuff that's not true to mess with everyone who's listening in.

on 2013-06-20 08:30 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] maddogclare.livejournal.com
Oh it will be epic! And there better be photos!! Ooops!

Well, they were all sat together at last years, & Brad was looking at Andy & Berto strangely, but now he can join in & make Froome even more paranoid!

on 2013-06-20 08:33 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] caz-kenobi.livejournal.com
I'm not listening! La la la. Too many other things to finish

This year they'll all be smiling and happy and joking and when they're hanging out later, they'll be laughing so hard about how they made everyone believe all of these things they were saying. And then they'll get drunk

on 2013-06-20 08:38 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] maddogclare.livejournal.com
Hence the oops ;p

Oh yes, & they'll totally start their plotting early & have nearly a year to plan how to humiliate him again! - this time with Brad's help! And then once they've had a few Andy'll come up with some even more outrageous plans!

on 2013-06-20 08:51 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] caz-kenobi.livejournal.com
Yeah, but I don't believe you meant that ;P

They do have plans for what's going to happen next year, for sure, and I have plans for what's happening with them.... After this year, though, it's not so much about showing up anyone else for them as it is just about each other and how much they can do together/between them. Plus more drinking. And Andy with a shotgun

on 2013-06-20 09:32 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] maddogclare.livejournal.com
I do say it a lot don't I!! But I really don't mean it all the time!

Ooooooooooh plans!! Its how much better they can be a little though, & then just having fun! Will Andy take them to the lake then? Cause for him to have the gun he has to be in Lux! Oh God, they'd better make sure Brad doesn't try and steal a gun to take to Monaco when he's drunk (or sober depending on his mood) cause then he'll get in trouble! Andy with a shotgun is quite the image, this gangly little kid being trusted with a weapon!

on 2013-06-20 09:44 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] caz-kenobi.livejournal.com
Of course not ;P

It's kind of like they've just stopped thinking about anyone else and all that matters now is each other. Andy is totally taking them to the lake- Brad does get to visit before Berto, though, but then everything is all equal in the end. Brad is far too transfixed by the sight of Andy with a shotgun to think about stealing anything. And then he's far too drunk ;)

on 2013-06-21 06:58 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] maddogclare.livejournal.com
In some ways that's good, takes the pressure off them. Cause all of them are weighed down by their countries (& teams) expectations for them. Berto's been to the lake before though so he doesn't mind as much! Brad's totally worried about the sight of Andy with a shotgun & what he could get up to! But I imagine Brad gets like a lot of students when drunk & has to go find fun stuff to steal!! (I wonder how easy it is to find traffic cones & signs in Lux?)

on 2013-06-21 07:14 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] caz-kenobi.livejournal.com
It kinda does make things a lot easier for them and they're just so happy with each other, but then everyone else gets more and more worried about them and it might all end in tears (tears and a fuck load of Grand Tour jerseys, too).
They might all be spending New Year's at the lake anyway so it'll all work out.
If you replace 'worried' with 'intrigued' then you might be close to how things will go ;)
Well, when Brad is drunk, Andy is also a little bit drunk (this is post-shotgun holding so don't worry about anyone getting shot) so there's too much going on for him to steal things. This time ;) (I actually don't know if he'll ever steal anything, but he definitely won't this time)

on 2013-06-21 07:47 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] maddogclare.livejournal.com
It wouldn't be them without a bit of angst! Oh they'd totally own the GTs, they'd just fight over who got the Tour more than the Giro or the Vuelta!
New Years Party at the lake - that spells a lot of drunken trouble, and Andy inevitably ending up in it!
Oooh now I'm interested!
Hopefully Berto locked the shotgun away before joining drunk Brad and drunk Andy! I imagine there has been stealing at some point though - possibly at another post Tour party, they (Andy) thought it'd be fun!

on 2013-06-21 07:59 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] caz-kenobi.livejournal.com
Actually, apart from a minor disagreement at the end of this year, they're quite settled in dividing the GTs between them. I totally have a list of who wins which one and when too

Well, it wouldn't be the first time Andy ended up in the lake. They're definitely going to have a fun time

As well you should be ;P

Berto isn't there at the time, though. Brad and Andy are already way done with all shotgun related activities when they decide to get drunk, though. It's not exactly stealing, but they always end up swapping jerseys at the end of the year owing to what GT they're going to be winning the next year.

on 2013-06-21 08:25 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] maddogclare.livejournal.com
See plans - they're sensible boys! What happened to no more ideas!

I imagine not, I would think either Frank or Jakob or other visitors have pushed him in more than once, & thats not counting the times he's managed to fall in himself through clumsiness/drunkeness etc!

;p

Is that safe - leaving Brad & Andy alone together?!? That's good, at least they had some common sense at one point in the evening! They could play pick you GT, shove all the jerseys in a washing machine or something and then pick it out that way & thats the GT they have to go for!

on 2013-06-21 08:32 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] caz-kenobi.livejournal.com
This is an idea I've had for ages so it's not exactly another one or anything

But then Frank and Jakob have to deal with a pouty, wet Andy and that's never fun

In Berto's defence, he would have been there, but then the had other things to do so he couldn't go, leaving Brad and Andy alone together

They basically already know which ones they want to go for anyway and then just swap jerseys accordingly. Then they wear each others jerseys and get drunk and have fun

on 2013-06-21 08:51 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] maddogclare.livejournal.com
Ok, so I totally can't be blamed for this one, good! And can't wait to read :)

So they give him more to drink, & make sure he's put to bed with water & painkillers to deal with the hangover!

Well, Berto is quite important & probably had to do team stuff 1st! But he went as quick as he could cause he knew the trouble they could cause!

Although they admit the Tour is most important, they just like dominating everyone! Cause drinking is fun with friends! Well, Andy has been known to share his clothes before, so it doesn't make much change there! They all want an entire set of jerseys! Although Brad went to the road too late to get white jerseys (although Andy is missing the Vuelta one from his collection)

on 2013-06-21 09:00 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] caz-kenobi.livejournal.com
I kind of love the way it's all going in my head

And then they start sexing each other up while Andy is passed out

Actually, after Brad is done visiting, Andy is going to go over to see Berto. Then they're all back over to Luxembourg for New Year's and it's loads of fun

All the GTs are pretty equal in their minds now- it's kind of a thing about being the only current riders to have won all of them.
Not that Brad will wear Berto's jerseys because he's all 'Way too small for me, thanks'
If it helps, I think they're going to be sharing the mountains' jerseys from the GTs too (just for fun, you know)

on 2013-06-21 09:23 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] maddogclare.livejournal.com
Yay, for them behaving for you for once!

Oh totally! They never turn down the opportunity for sexing each other up!

See they plan! And make the most of their time together, & both Brad & Berto get a sort of break from Andy, cause you know he'll be phoning them when they're not there!!

Remember the days when the Tour was most important for them all! They can totally lord it over everyone else, cause has there been any other time when there have been 3 winners of all the GTs in the peloton at once! Yeah Berto's jerseys are a little small for Brad (& Andy) thats what they get for being tall & skinny!
Oh yeah, cause they'll go for GC at one Tour & mountain at another! And go for the points jersey at the Giro when they win the overall! They're just trying to get as many jerseys as possible

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on 2013-06-30 07:46 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] lhazzie.livejournal.com
Ooh this was just what I needed as a tdf warm up/to cheer me up about missing Wiggo.

(also, it's just made my day to learn that you ship webber/vettel too, awesome!)!

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