blastellanos: (Rossi Glasses 2)
[personal profile] blastellanos
Title: Ruined But By Himself
Author: [ profile] dinahqueen
Pairing: Tom Brady/Wes Welker
Summary: Considering they were on a fucking date in the middle of Boston and Wes was talking about coming out, his pulse was racing.
Rating: PG-13 (for language)
Word Count: 1317
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Author's Notes: The lovely [ profile] purewhitepage gave me the prompt: "Tom Brady/Wes Welker; “If you do this thing—if you come out—you’re going to drag me down with you, do you realize that?”

Tom was only paying half the amount of attention to Wes as he ought to have been, pushing food around his plate idly with a fork, and watching the game playing in the background of the bar. It was some black and white tape of one of those NFL Classics games on the NFL Network and it was more interesting than listening to Wes discuss his time with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. This had been a bad idea—it was a bad idea to continue on with this on different teams; where it was more difficult to find time alone, or to explain away photographs of them together as just being friends, being teammates.

Something caught Tom's attention though, because Wes was talking about-

"… but I was thinking, maybe it was time. There's been some rumors about it anyways and me and Anna are separated because… well." Wes trailed off and his fork clinked against his plate as he stabbed at something on it. Tom didn't like the direction this was going; his nostrils flared as he breathed in and he set his fork down.

"Thinking what was time?" Tom asked instead. It could be something else, mentioning his wife—it could definitely be something else.

"To come out," Wes said. Tom's hands came down on the table, too hard, the plates jumped, and his fork clattered. But Wes' gaze didn't break, cool blue eyes steady as a rock and serious. "I think I have the platform, I'm not someone that no one knows; I'm not one of the elite, but people know me. And if I had someone like that growing up then maybe…" Wes trailed off again.

Tom frowned, his brow lowering, and he felt something panicky rising in his chest. This was worse than thinking that he'd fuck up a game-winning play. There, there was pressure, but there wasn't—it wasn't like this. This was something very close to dread. Considering everything.

Considering they were on a fucking date in the middle of Boston and Wes was talking about coming out, his pulse was racing.

"Are you insane?" Tom hissed the words out, almost a rush of air more than a coherent sentence. It was difficult to quell the overwhelming feeling caught in his chest. He grabbed his water and drank it down, gripping too tight to the glass. But Wes didn't falter, still. In some ways, it infuriated Tom. For him to be so calm, to be so comfortable.

"No, Tom, I'm not. I just think it's time."

"With how short pro football careers are, you're going to give that up? You could stay in the league a few more years, and make some more money and then settle down."

"That's not good enough," Wes said. "It's not good enough anymore, Tom. We're doing kids who are like us a disservice; we need to speak up."

Tom's mouth pressed in to a tight line.

Wes went back to his food, but Tom still stared. He thought about the impact it'd have. Not just on Wes, but on him. Tom let out another frustrated sigh. Wes looked up.

“If you do this thing—if you come out—you’re going to drag me down with you, do you realize that?” Tom's tone turned accusatory. For the first time, Wes looked a bit shaken, something like hurt flashing across his features for a moment, before it disappeared under something closer to anger.

"I'm not going to name any names, anyone I've been with in the league or in college," Wes said. He pushed his plate away. "I'm not going to 'drag you down' or call you out."

Tom bristled. Partially, defensiveness for Wes's dismissiveness, partially jealousy at knowing there were others besides him. It wasn't as though they were exclusive, Tom was married and so was Wes but there had been…maybe he should have been some sort of-- you can't cheat with anyone but me. It was stupid to think, especially in the wake of this.

"Right. Because the media never draws their own conclusions about these things. Fuck, Wes. It's fine if you want to ruin your career because you can't keep your fucking mouth shut, but you're going to take mine down with yours. People are going to talk and speculate and everyone you were ever close with, are close with, are going to be under suspicion."

Wes frowned.

"They can draw all the conclusions they want. I don't know what you want from me, Tom. Your career isn't enough for me to keep on keeping my mouth shut. I'll deny any implications they make, I'm not going to drag your name down with mind. That isn't what I want."

Tom scowled.

"But something has to change, Tom. And whether you agree or not, this is something I have to do. Maybe if people we looked up to had spoken out before we wouldn't still have to be hiding. You know what the locker rooms are like."

"Yeah, I do know what they're like," Tom interrupted. "We both know what they're like. We both know if you open your mouth, you're going to get ruined. Maybe not blacklisted, maybe not by the league, but it only takes one person "missing" a block to take you out of the game."

Wes shook his head.

"It's not about that anymore," Wes said quietly. "What's the point of being a role model if you really aren't?" Wes contended. Tom didn't know what to say to that and he frowned. Stared at his plate and wanted to say something. He wanted to know how to convince Wes not to do this.

It wasn't just about his career, but he genuinely cared for Wes. Tom didn't want to see him hurt. He didn't want to see his own idealism be what ended his career or his livelihood or possibly his life. It wasn't like football wasn't dangerous just in general and without people watching your back in the field? Fuck.

Tom rubbed the back of his neck and sighed a little.

"Wes…" Pleading, now, because maybe appealing to their friendship or their relationship or just begging in general would make him change his mind of what was sure to be a train wreck.

"Forget it," Wes said, now annoyed, crease forming between his brow. "I'm doing it, I just wanted to tell you beforehand."

Wes stood and Tom did too, they weren't exactly causing a scene, but considering their check had yet to come, the waitress's attention was on them. Tom sat back down.

"Just forget it," Wes said again. "I need to get going anyhow, I have a plane to catch." Wes turned to leave and Tom swore under his breath. Part of him wanted to follow, but Wes had said his piece—and that was as good as a goodbye as he was going to get. Tom didn't want to say goodbye, wasn't good at it.

It was why they'd been meeting one another, alternating between Boston and Denver and sneaking to be together when they were playing one another. Tom scrubbed a hand over his chin and paid the bill before slipping out. Maybe he should have done the right thing.

Maybe he should have joined in with Wes and made some kind of stand, some kind of statement. But football was Tom's life; it meant more to him than anything. It wasn't easy to be loved by Tom, because everything else was second best. Tom rubbed the bridge of his nose and sighed, stared at his phone and waffled between just starting his car and going or saying something.

His hand hovered on the key. Frowned more and wished that things were different. He imagined nightmare scenarios for headlines.

Then he picked up his phone and unlocked it, typing in a final message.

Hey W, whatever happens, I've got your back. –T.

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