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Michael Phelps, Bed Hopper Extraordinaire, or Not…

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Michael Phelps has a reputation. It is the kind of reputation that men are often patted on the back for, and women are often shunned for. As far as Michael’s concerned it’s all grown completely out of proportion and he wouldn’t mind if there was a little more shunning involved and not quite as much of the patting on the back. The thing about his reputation is that it’s not completely undeserved. But really it’s not all that accurate either.

 

Michael has his first sexual experience at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. Before making the Olympic Team, Michael doesn’t get much attention from either the boys or the girls at school. He’s tall and gangly, with oversized arms and legs, and a lisp. He gets very little attention at all really that isn’t negative. So he goes to the Olympics as a 15 year old virgin with absolutely no experience. Michael’s not even sure if he likes girls better than boys or the other way around yet.

 

Bob is strict with him. At first Michael’s not sure why. But he’s a smart kid. He catches on. There are a lot of swimmers in their dorm. And there’s a lot of hooking up going on too. Bob does his best to keep Michael’s mind on the competition, but Michael’s not used to being around so many good looking people all in one place before. Olympic Trials had been one of his very first Senior level competitions, and he’s a bit overwhelmed by it all. He’s the youngest swimmer on the team. The youngest male swimmer in over 68 years to even make the US Olympic Team. And so it’s hard to relate to most of the guys he’s forced to spend so much time with.

 

He ends up spending a lot his time with Aaron Peirsol. Aaron’s only 17, and it’s his first Olympics too. They’re each there only to swim one event, and they’re younger than a lot of the other swimmers. They’re both underage by American and Australian standards so their coaches rule over their lives with an iron fist. Bob teams up with Aaron’s coach, Roger, and they consolidate their chaperone duties. As a result Michael finds himself shoved into Aaron’s room for a few hours every couple of days, or looks up to find Aaron shuffling into his dorm room looking subdued on more than one occasion. With both of them in one location, and a coach just next door, or in Michael’s case, across the hall, Bob and Roger can make time for whatever it is that coaches want to do in their free time by splitting up the babysitting duty. Michael’s not really that interested in whatever it is Bob is always leaving to do. He’s more interested in the fact that Aaron seems to like him. Sort of.

 

“Hey, Phelps,” Aaron says, waving goodbye to Roger, and dumping his bag by the side of Michael’s bed. Michael is stretched out on his tummy across his mattress, playing a video game on his Game Boy Color. He looks up at Aaron and grins, but turns back to his game a second later. Aaron sighs, flopping down next to Michael on his back. Michael scoots over to give him more room, fingers still moving frantically across the buttons.

 

“Hey, Aaron,” he says, biting his lip and squinting at the screen. “Where’d Roger go this time?” he asks. Aaron rolls his eyes, the motion so dramatic that even Michael, focused on his game, notices it. He laughs even as Aaron tries to explain.

 

“I don’t know. He said something about a museum and I stopped listening. Hey, what is that?” he asks, flopping over onto his stomach, rolling close and resting his chin on Michael’s shoulder. Aaron has no sense of personal space. Michael shrugs.

 

“Who cares about museums?” he rolls his eyes too, and tilts the screen toward Aaron’s face a little more. “Donkey Kong Country,” he explains.

 

“I love that one!” Aaron says with excitement. “My mom still won’t let me get any of the really good fighting games. She says they’re too violent,” he complains.

 

“My mom says that too. She actually wanted me to spend my birthday money on the GBC game version of Aladdin. Frickin’ Disney?” he asks, shaking his head. Aaron laughs from Michael’s shoulder.

 

“I have that! My Grandma gave it to me. It’s actually not as bad as you’re thinking. I mean sure, it’s Disney, but you get to throw apples at the palace guards and swing from these wooden posts. The graphics are kind of cool. Next time I come over I’ll lend it to you,” he says. His breath huffs in Michael’s ear, warm and happy, and Michael feels a shiver go down his back. Suddenly he’s acutely aware of the way Aaron’s pressed all down his side, his mouth so close to Michael’s ear he can hear him breathing. Michael pops a boner and simultaneously makes Donkey Kong jump off a cliff. “Dude! That was just sad!” Aaron laughs in his ear, reaching over Michael’s shoulder to grab for the game. Michael holds it away from him, laughing half at the fun, and half in embarrassment. Aaron takes this as a challenge, and pushes up on his knees to reach further. And then they’re wrestling for it. Aaron climbs up on Michael’s back, and he’s bigger than Michael, heavier, taller, and stronger. His arms are also longer. He grabs the game, tugging it out of Michael’s hands. Michael rolls to try and save his grip, twisting under Aaron’s body to try and pull the game back. Aaron freezes against him and Michael feels the blood drain out of his face. His dick is pressed to Aaron’s hip. It’s hot and hard and pressed right up against Aaron’s body. He can’t NOT know what it is. But Aaron doesn’t pull away. He just stares down at Michael’s face.

 

“You know what is one of the best parts of Aladdin?” he doesn’t wait for an answer. “Jasmine’s fucking hot, for a cartoon character. Don’t you think so?” it sounds like a test to Michael, so he nods, still unable to get his voice working. Aaron grins at him. “You know who’s even hotter, though?” Aaron asks. “Aladdin.” And then he’s leaning down and pressing his mouth to Michael’s. It’s awkward. Michael’s never kissed anyone before. He doesn’t know how to tilt his head, or what to do with his hands. But Aaron gets that. He tilts Michael’s head for him, coaches him into opening his mouth, and shows him what to do with his tongue. They break apart a few minutes later flushed and out of breath. There’s a knock on the door, and they scramble to opposite ends of the mattress. Michael scoots to the head of the bed, and throws a pillow in his lap. Aaron flops down on his stomach again and scoops up the Gameboy. When Bob opens the door and sticks his head in the room, they’re separated by several feet of space and looking overly innocent.

 

“What are you boys up too?” Bob asks suddenly suspicious. He steps further into the room, the door shutting behind him. Aaron’s eyes go wide, but Mike straightens up fully against the headboard.

 

“Aaron’s talking to me about girls. I felt it was time I had The Talk, and since my dad’s not around…” Bob blanches at the words, his face going pale. “Would you rather do it yourself, Bob?” Mike suggests. Bob backs up quickly, reaching for the door like he can’t get out of there fast enough.


“No, that’s ok! I’m sure Aaron can fill you in. But if you have any questions, feel free to ask your mother!” Bob says yanking the door open. Mike suppresses a smile. Bob shimmy’s out into the hallway, and just as the door closes yells back through the crack “Always wear a condom!” and then the door bangs shut between them. Aaron rolls across the bed hysterical, and Michael nearly doubles over with laughter.


“OH MY GOD!” Aaron says reduced to giggles. “Dude, I can’t believe you just said that to him!” Mike shrugs.

 

“He’s been afraid he was going to have to give me The Talk for a while now. Started dropping hints to my mom about it like a year ago. But she gave me that talk when I was 12.” He rolls his eyes, tossing the pillow aside and straightening his legs out across the bed. Aaron grins at him, still laughing, blonde hair bright against Michael’s dark sheets.

 

“That was awesome,” he says face flushed and smile huge. Michael shrugs, fighting back a blush. He looks down at his hands. Aarons sits up, crawling across the bed to sit beside Mike against the headboard. They sit in silence a few minutes, their shoulders touching. “Want to make out some more?” Aaron says like it’s a perfectly normal thing to ask another person. But he crosses his arms across his chest like he’s afraid Michael will say no.

 

“I..” Michael frowns. “I’m not very good at it,” he explains. Aaron shrugs relaxing back against the headboard and slumping over to lean his body weight against Michael’s shoulder.

 

“No one’s very good at it when they’re 15. But you won’t get any better without some practice,” Aaron says with a mature and knowing tone. Michael smiles.

 

“Is that what it would be? Just practice?” he asks. Aaron shrugs.

 

“Nothing wrong with that. Look we’re in Australia. At the Olympics. And we’re pretty much stuck with each other in this stupid dorm. Why not have some fun?” Aaron suggests. Mike only has to think on it for a second before nodding his head. Aaron grins at him, and throwing his leg over Michael’s, sits astride his lap. Then he braces one arm on Michael’s shoulder and the other against the wall, and lowers his mouth to Michael’s.

 

The kiss is messy, and wet, but Michael feels more confident than before. He presses his tongue into Aaron’s mouth, and the older boy groans, pressing his hips forward. Michael gasps, pulling his mouth away. Aaron’s dick is hard, pressing tightly against Michael’s stomach. Aaron sighs, his eyes closing.

 

“It’s ok. We can stop,” he says. He starts to move away but Michael’s hands close on his hips, locking them in place.

 

“Have you done more than kiss?” Michael asks. Aaron opens his eyes to look down at Michael.

 

“Yes. Why? Do you want to do more?” Aaron asks, suddenly shy. Mike nods blushing red. Then, gaining confidence, he leans up and presses his lips up against Aaron’s again. Opening his mouth he presses in deep with his tongue. Aaron grunts against Michael’s mouth, and reaches around to tug at Michael’s t-shirt. Michael helps him get it off and reaches for Aaron’s as soon as his hands are free. He tugs Aaron in closer, chest to chest, pressing up to take his mouth in another kiss. Aaron whines low in his throat, nails scratching at Michael’s back. The pleasure-pain of it sets Michael’s blood on fire. He groans, his hands pulling Aaron’s hips down hard into his own, his mouth turning aggressive. He bites at Aaron’s mouth, bringing his hands around to unbutton Aaron’s shorts. Aaron’s breathing stutters and he pulls away panting for air. “God, are you sure you haven’t done this before?” Aaron asks. Mike grins, pushing Aaron backward to sprawl across the mattress, and climbing over to straddle his thighs. 

 

“Nope!” he says. He sits back on his heels, looking down at Aaron with flushed cheeks. “So... show me?” he asks. Aaron nods, reaching into Mike’s cargo pants.

 

When Mike thinks back on that night and the following morning he thinks he’s located the start of his sex persona. He and Aaron have fun that night. Mike’s introduced to the joys of mutual hand jobs, getting off by rutting against the body of another guy, and later gets his very first blowjob. The next morning he shows up at practice with faint scratches on his back, a pale hickey on his shoulder, and a little swagger in his walk that wasn’t there before. He’s loose limbed and relaxed and the rest of the team notices. By the end of the day, there’s a dozen rumors about who he’d hooked up with the night before. Some people guess Aaron. It’s not a wild guess, really. Everyone knows they’ve been spending a lot of time together. But Aaron’s better at hiding the post-multiple-orgasms glow, and Michael hadn’t marked him up, at least not where anyone could see. He’s also better at his poker face, and even joins in the playful teasing of Mike in the locker room. Michael rolls his eyes, and doesn’t say anything when he gets cheered and prodded at. Just blushes, and turns his face into the shower spray, and lets people talk.

 

So an opinion is formed about him by the very best swimmers in the world, at his very first big international meet. He’s only 15 years old, and he’s already being labeled a ‘sex machine’? Mike kind of likes the attention it gets him, he hasn’t ever felt that before, so when rumors continue to spread about him he lets them. He doesn’t confirm or deny when he’s linked to other swimmers, just smiles and tells those inquiring that he “Doesn’t kiss and tell.” To be honest, he’s not slept with anyone else on the National team, since Aaron, and they hadn’t even gone all the way. Once home in Baltimore, back in school, it takes a little time for the limelight to fade. He’s pretty popular for a while, and he goes through several girlfriends during the next four years.

 

 

By the time the 2004 Olympic Trials comes around, he’s four years older, with a whole lot more experience, and he is definitely no longer a virgin, at least not where girls are concerned. At 19, he’s still not exactly sure how far he’d have to go to technically loose his virginity where boys are a factor. Though he’s fairly sure what he’d done with Aaron hadn’t completely done it.

 

What happens with Eric Shanteau… well that was sort of a surprise to them both.

 

Olympic Trials are all sorts of intimidating and hectic. They take forever to get through, and by the time the full 8 days are finished Michael is physically and emotionally exhausted. He’s been to them before, but no one had any idea who he was in 2000. He’d been a 15 year old kid who was a complete underdog. He’d only qualified to swim one event at Sydney, and he’d been happy to make it into the final. But this time is different. He’s primed to be the first Olympic Athlete in the history of the world to get 8 Gold Medals in one Olympic Games. He’d come here with a mission and he’d accomplished it. He’d been lucky. Others hadn’t been.

 

Eric is a breaststroker who likes to swim 200m Individual Medley off and on. He’s a great guy and Mike likes him a lot. He’s good friends with Aaron, who Michael likes to consider a true friend. Stuff like going to the Olympics together kind of bonded you to people. Nothing intimate has happened between them since the moment they’d left Sydney to fly home and Mike’s ok with that. But Aaron, it turns out, is very discerning in who he calls friend, and who he calls teammate. A lot of people counted for teammate, but only a few counted for both. And Mike and Eric were both in the second more elite group. The last night of trials, a bunch of Aaron’s friends find themselves in Aaron’s room for an impromptu party. There’s some drinking going on, but not too much. Aaron’s days from turning 21, and Eric is still a few months shy, but they’re drinking anyway. Aaron’s close enough no one would probably care, but Mike, at 19, is way too young, and not willing to risk his spot on the Olympic team for an underage drink, in the same hotel where the USOC officials are staying. Eric however does not have the Olympics hanging over his head to stop him. Because he has not made the team. Hence the drinking.

 

It’s a little after one that Aaron starts shooing people out of the room. He’s tired and a little tipsy, and ready to crash on his bed for the night. Mike watches most everyone leave one and two at a time. He wants to talk to Aaron alone, (about something trivial he can’t even remember later), but Eric sits in the corner, brooding and staring morosely down at the bottom of his empty beer bottle. Mike frowns at him, afraid to say anything to try and comfort the guy. He’s older than Michael is, and he hadn’t made the team. Here Mike is, just turned 19 and he’s qualified for 8 races, and it is on his way to his second Olympic games. If their roles were reversed, Mike would be the absolute last person he’d want trying to make him feel better. Aaron however doesn’t seem to see it that way. He pulls Mike into the bathroom when he’s on his way toward the door.

 

“Mikey,” he says with a bright teasing smile. Mike looks at him cautiously. Aaron’s obviously up to something. “Will you help Eric back to his room, for me?” Aaron asks. Mike stares at him stupidly. “Please?” Aaron adds showing his teeth in a wide smile.

 

“I don’t think that’s such a good idea. I think he needs like… comfort or something. He’s pretty messed up right now.”

 

“Yes, and I think you should give it to him,” Aaron crosses his arms over his chest as he says it.

 

“I think I’m the last person he wants comforting from,” Mike replies echoing Aaron’s stance, and crossing his own arms across his chest. Aaron’s grin turns decidedly naughty.

 

“No, you’re the absolute perfect person to comfort him in his time of need. You’re just his type: tall, masculine, brunette, sexy. And he’s pissed you’re racing one of his races in Athens. It’s perfect.” Mike steps back in shock and his jaw drops open.

 

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me!” he hisses, stepping up closer to Aaron again. Aaron’s grin gets impossibly wider.

 

“No, it’s perfect. He needs a good fucking. He gets like this on occasion, and seriously Mike, you need to get out more. This would be a good opportunity for you!” Mike stares at him in confusion.

 

“He’s your friend and your teammate. Why don’t you go ‘comfort’ him?” Mike uncrosses his arms to make air quotes in the air, and Aaron laughs, his arms falling to rest at his sides.

 

“I have a rule. I don’t fuck my teammates. Makes practices awkward. I have to see them 11 months out of the year. It’s better this way. Now do all three of us a favor and take him back to his room. He’s got a single.” He passes a keycard into Mike’s hand and shoves him toward the closed bathroom door. Mike stumbles a little.

“Aaron?” he whines. Aaron stops pushing at him, and Mike slowly turns around. “I don’t know what I’m doing,” he whisper, “I mean.. I’ve never…” he nods his head like Aaron knows what he’s talking about. Aaron rolls his eyes.

 

“You’ll be fine. He’s a total bottom. He’ll walk you through the whole thing, just like I did! Now go get him!” he shoves Michael again, and the younger man sighs, opening the door and stepping out into the main room. Eric is spread out across the bed, the last of the guys having left already to get some sleep, and or keep drinking. He’s staring at the ceiling and whistling the Star Spangled Banner to the fan rotating above the bed. “Hey, Eric, come on man let me walk you back to your room,” Mike offers. He really intends to do just that, hoping that Aaron will never find out. Eric stops whistling and turns to look at him.

 

“You’re going to walk me back to my room?” he asks slowly, speaking precisely. Mike nods feeling insanely nervous. Eric laughs, his face flushing with glee. He shakes his head back and forth, and then turns to look at Aaron. “Is he my consolation prize, since I can’t have you?” he asks, stretching long arms up above his head and arching his back. Mike hears a crackling pop and tries not to let his eyes drift across the flat expanse of muscled abdomen exposed by Eric’s t-shirt riding up. Instead he turns to look at Aaron, who’s smiling a bit sheepishly. He watches as Aaron goes to sit on the bed, beside Eric, and pats him on the shoulder.

 

“Come on, Eric. Don’t spoil it. This entire week has sucked for you. Have some fun for a change!” Aaron encourages. Eric pushes himself up, and in the blink of an eye is sitting in Aaron’s lap, and grinding his hips down hard against Aaron’s.

 

“The entire week has sucked. I sucked this entire week. And now what? I get to suck him?” he nods at Mike, but his eyes stay locked on Aaron’s. Aaron frowns at him, the laughter fading from his face and body language. He stills Eric’s hips.

 

“You’re one of my best friends, Eric. Don’t do this. Just let him help. You need it.” Eric sighs, and it sounds defeated. He slumps down to rest his arms around Aaron’s shoulders. Aaron’s arms come up around him, hugging him back. “Go on. It’ll be good for both of you.” Eric rolls his eyes but nods and pulling away stands up to heads for the door. He snags Michael by the wrist on the way.

 

“Come on, Lover Boy. Looks like it’s you and me tonight.” Mike follows him out, turning back to look at the bed as they step out into the hall. Aaron’s flopped back against the mattress, his hands rubbing his face, erection obvious even from a distance, as the door shuts between them.

 

 

Eric doesn’t say anything on the short walk to his room. It’s only a couple of doors away. He unlocks the door himself, and drags Mike inside, and Mike smiles sheepishly at Garrett Weber-Gale, who walking back form the ice machine, bucket in hand, sees them going inside together. Michael tries to ignore how wide Garrett’s eyes get, or the knowledge that no matter what, rumors will have spread about what is assumed to have happened between he and Eric by morning. As the door shuts behind them, Mike hears the bucket of ice crash to the floor, ice cubes scattering across the hall. Eric locks the door behind them, bolting the security bar into place. He sighs, tossing his keys and wallet onto the TV stand before turning around to look at Mike appraisingly. Mike tosses the key Aaron had passed him to sit beside Eric’s, then sticks his hands in his pockets, suddenly nervous. Eric smirks a little.

 

“I’m not going to bite you, Mike. Unless you’re into that type of thing, of course,” Eric says smiling. Mike blushes shaking his head. But then he sort of flushes completely red and looks away. “Oh, seriously?” Eric says laughing. Mike shrugs, scrubbing one hand through his hair.

 

“Look, I’m not going to sleep with you just because Aaron told me too!” he replies, straightening up and crossing his arms over his chest. “He’s not my pimp.” Eric strips his t-shirt off, and tosses it onto a small pile in the corner near the closet. He flops down on the edge of the bed, and starts untying his shoes.

 

“I wouldn’t expect you too. I’m certainly not going to let you fuck me just because Aaron told me too. He likes to think he can boss me around because he’s older than me. But I hardly think a few months should really count.” Eric tosses his shoes through the open closet door, both of the sneakers thumping against the back wall. Then he stands up and reaches down to unbutton his cargo shorts. “The fact is,” Eric continues, dropping his pants and kicking them away, “Aaron wants to be here doing it himself. But,” here he rolls his eyes, “he has that stupid rule about not sleeping with his teammates. He’s convinced himself that it will all go badly. That our friendship will go down the crapper and it will end in agony for everyone involved.” He stands before Michael in nothing but a pair of white boxer briefs, hands on his hips.

 

Mike concentrates on not looking down. Eric is insanely hot even when fully dressed. He’s not sure he’d be able to resist him if he was to look at him now, in nothing but his underwear. A Speedo shows less, but Michael’s trained himself to not look at the other swimmers on deck in a sexual way. It was too damn distracting at competitions. So he focuses on Eric’s face. But he’s all blond hair and brown eyes, and chiseled cheekbones. Michael sort of wants to jump him, just based on the smirk he’s wearing. “Look, Michael, if you’re not interested, feel free to leave. But as for me? I’m drunk, depressed, and horny as fuck. So what’s it gonna be?” he asks, one hand going to scratch across his chest. It draws Michael’s eyes downward, but he quickly refocuses on Eric’s face.

 

“Are you in love with him?” Michael asks. Eric’s face freezes and he groans, falling backward to stretch out across the bed. He sighs, rubbing his face, with both hands.

 

“I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter. I’m not allowed to have him. I wonder if he’s any good..” Eric focuses his gaze on the ceiling, eyes going a little dazed; his face flushing.

 

“He’s amazing,” Michael says. He regrets it immediately. He watches as Eric turns to look at him, and slowly sits up again. He really needs to stop lounging around on beds looking so jumpable, Mike’s having a hard time fighting his hormones.

 

“You’ve fucked Aaron?” Eric asks. Michael winces.

 

“Not technically. Look I don’t think he’d want me to tell anyone…” but Eric cuts him off.

 

“When?” he asks. Mike sighs.

 

“Sydney, at the games. We were just kids. We mostly just messed around.” He feels like scuffing his toe into the carpet. He doesn’t want to talk about this.

 

“Shit. Really?” Eric asks. Michael nods. “Wait! Is he the guy who famously marked you up?” Michael nods again. Eric flops back laughing. Mike rolls his eyes. “And he lectures me about sleeping with a teammate?” Eric scoffs.

 

“I think it’s different. I lived on the other side of the country from Aaron. We were only on the same team for a few weeks before we both went home. It’s different for you guys. You’ll see him all the time.”

 

“Yes, well he doesn’t see that as a positive.” Eric reaches down to push at his underwear. “Are you going to come over here and fuck me or not. Because if not, I’m going to have to put my clothes back on and go find someone else who will…” he says it like a threat, and Mike’s mouth drops open as Eric shoves his underwear down, lifting his ass in the air to get them off. Eric wastes no time in climbing back to his feet, and making his way toward Michael. “Come on, Michael. Help a fellow swimmer out. You know you want too,” he smiles as he says it, pressing close. He’s warm, pressing naked all down Michael’s front. And he’s sexy, and handsome, and hard. Michael can’t really stop himself from reacting. He’s only 19 after all.

 

“I haven’t fucked a guy before,” he says softly, leaning down to press his mouth to Eric’s. Eric’s arms slide around his taller frame, tugging him closer, his mouth tilting to meet Michael’s better. He breaks the kiss a few minutes later.

 

“Hmm… with your reputation I find that hard to believe. But no matter. I’m an expert. I’ll show you all the ins and outs,” Eric says with a grin. Mike blinks at him for a solid 10 seconds, before they both start to laugh at the horrible pun. But Eric makes good on his promise.

 

Neither of them get any sleep that night, and Michael learns a lot from the older man. He ignores the fascinated and gossipy looks he gets when he goes down to breakfast, and faces a dining room half full of swimmers who all seem to know exactly where Michael had spent the night. Eric does not help matters when he comes into the dining room a few minutes later, smiling widely, and hiding his eyes behind big dark sunglasses. He pats Mike on the shoulder as he makes his way to the buffet line, but thankfully he doesn’t take his plate back to Michael’s table and make things even worse.

 

When Michael finishes his breakfast and leaves the restaurant, he carefully slows his pace once he’s around the corner, and groans at the wave of loud whispers that arises in his wake. He shakes his head and rolls his eyes, before heading back to his hotel room. The whole ordeal just cements Michael’s status as some kind of swimming world sex god. How he could be labeled a sex god after only having slept with two relevant people, he has no idea, but there it is. Which leads to guy number 3.

 

 

Ryan Lochte is, as is typical for him, completely different from anyone and everyone else. Firstly because he’s Ryan. But secondly because Michael likes him. He likes him a lot. Ryan’s a little older, but it hardly matters. Not when they have so much in common. Ryan’s fun, and stylish, and they have nearly the exact same taste in music. Ryan gets a hold of Michael’s number sometime after Olympic Trials. He starts texting and calling, and soon they talk at least once every other day. By the time they’re at training camp for the games, it’s like they’re old friends finally reunited. They’re roommates when they get to Athens, and they’re practically inseparable. They’re together almost all the time. Is it any wonder Michael gets a little crush? It’s really no surprise with Ryan being Ryan; fun, interesting, beautiful Ryan.

 

When it happens, it’s not planned. At least Michael hasn’t planned it. He suspects later Ryan might have. But Mike’s not the aggressor, the instigator. Instead, it’s all Ryan. This, like the unplanned part, seems to be a reoccurring theme.

 

Things are purely friend-like throughout the swimming portion of the games in Greece. They hang out, they swap music tracks, they joke around, and they win a bunch of medals. It’s all fun and light-hearted. He’s a great distraction from the weight resting on Michael’s shoulders, from the expectations of the whole world. Michael doesn’t win eight Gold medals. He wins six instead, and two Bronze, and somehow that makes him a failure in the eyes of a good number of people back home. Which is why Ryan comes home late that last night of competition and finds him drinking straight out of the Vodka bottle and feeling depressed as all hell. Ryan takes one look at him and shakes his head.

 

“Mike, my friend, what the fuck is this all about?” he says, kicking off his shoes, and locking the door in one practiced motion. He flops down next to Mike on the bed, and reaches for the bottle, tugging it from Mike’s grip. He pulls it to his mouth and takes a long gulp, wincing as he swallows. “Jesus, it’s like battery acid!” he says, taking another swig, and wiping a drip from the corner of his mouth. Michael just sighs, staring up at him from his place flat on his back. He shrugs his shoulders.

 

“Nothing. That’s what I am. I’m just a big ole nothing,” Mike says, words slurred more from alcohol than from his still too prominent lisp. Ryan blinks at him in shock for several seconds before shaking his head again, this time in dismissal.

 

“Michael, you won 6 gold medals. 6! You have no right to be feeling sorry for yourself! Some of us aren’t going home with that much bling, thank you very much!” Ryan says, his frustration plain. He takes another long swig of vodka, and coughs again. “Suck it up! You’re gonna kill it in Beijing!” Michael sighs deeply.

 

“I guess,” he says sadly. He reaches for the bottle, but misses, landing face first in Ryan’s lap. Instead of moving back he just kind of snuggles in, letting his arms go around Ryan’s waist. “How come people have to suck so bad, Ryan? You don’t suck, right?” He asks, pulling his head back to look up at Ryan. Ryan grins down at him.

 

“Well I do, but only if people ask really nicely and wanna return the favor. If you know what I’m saying…” he teases. Michael blinks at him a few seconds before throwing his head back to laugh.

 

“Ry! That’s not what I meant!” he says, flopping onto his back again, and then groaning. He reaches down to adjust himself. “Great. Now I’m depressed, drunk, and horny. This is a terrible combinu.. combi.. combinati.. of fuck it!” he growls, putting his hands up over his face. Ryan laughs, setting the bottle down on the nightstand, and reaching over to pull Michael’s hands away from his face.

 

“Well there’s at least one thing I can do to make you feel better!” he grins widely, and bends down to press his mouth to Michael’s. Mike groans, opening to Ryan’s tongue eagerly. He’s wanted Ryan for ages. Dreamt about this multiple times over the last few weeks. And now it’s happening. He tugs Ryan closer, lets his hands slide up under Ryan’s t-shirt. Then suddenly, Ryan is in charge. He climbs into Michael’s lap, sitting up to pull his t-shirt off, tugging Michael up until he’s vertical to pull his shirt off too. He presses Mike back into the mattress, kissing him like he’s dying of thirst and the wet of Mike mouth is his only chance at survival. He presses his hips to Michael’s, feels his hard on, and reaches down to unbutton both of their jeans. Michael’s gasps, at the feel of a callused hand closing around his dick. He reaches down to grip Ryan’s dick too but his hands are pushed away, Ryan’s mouth taking his again, smothering his whimpers and pleas for more. Mike bucks up into his gripping twisting hands, and nearly dislodges Ryan from on top of him, and in what feels like only a few minutes, comes across his own stomach and Ryan’s hands.

 

Ryan laughs, pleased with it, and a second later is gone. Michael, drowsy from his orgasm, reaches for him, whining a little. Ryan’s hands tug both their shorts off, and Michael his head spinning from alcohol and pleasure, spreads his legs at Ryan’s urging, and only jumps a little at cool fingertips pressing to his ass. He’s so far gone he doesn’t even realize what that means, not until the first two press deep. He’s relaxed, loose and sated. His body puts up only minimal resistance. He thinks he should say something, but it doesn’t hurt, and he wants it. He wants it sort of desperately. So he doesn’t, just watches Ryan with glazed eyes, and lets himself me moved and positioned. One of his legs is folded up against his abdomen, shin thrown over Ryan’s shoulder, the other is pressed up and out of the way, as Ryan’s dick, which is hard and leaking, and big, presses against him, starts to press inside. Michael gasps, his head going back and his eyes squeezing closed against the pain of it. But Ryan groans.

 

“Fuck, Mikey,” he whispers, pressing deeper, rolling his hips. He’s got his eyes closed too, doesn’t see Michael wince, and flinch. He pulls back pressing deep again. He groans, crying out, and thrusting again. Mike groans too, reaching down to stroke his dick. Ryan readjusts his grip on Michael’s leg, changing the angle and pressing deep again. Michael cries out, at the pleasure the next thrust brings, his ass clenching down on Ryan’s dick, and making him shout. “Come on, Mike,” Ryan whispers, opening his eyes. “Come on,” he says again.

 

Michael’s not sure what he wants from him. He’s too lost in this new sensation, in the feel of Ryan’s dick, pressing so deep, and stretching him so wide, of the head hitting just right against his prostate with every controlled pass. The pleasure is more than the pain, cresting higher and higher. He stares up at Ryan’s face, wordless, and gasping for air. Ryan’s beautiful. His face is sweaty, flushed with exertion, pleasure, and alcohol, his eyes are wide, the blue in them dark in the half-light of the dorm room, and his curls are hanging down framing his face.

 

“Come, Mike. Come for me!” he says, his tone firm, and commanding. He thrusts hard, his hand closing on Mike’s dick, and pulling on it with each push of his hips. And Mike, lost in the pleasure, and the haze of what’s happening can do nothing but obey. His eyes close, face contorting and comes again, body arching, and closing on Ryan’s in pleasure. Ryan cries out in response, pressing in deeper, moving faster. His hips stutter and his eyes close tightly, as he comes too.

 

Things are hazy afterward. Michael remembers a warm wet cloth, Ryan swearing at him as he yanks the sheets out from under him and covers him with them. Mike curls onto his side, and snags Ryan by the wrist as he’s moving away.

 

“Stay?” he murmurs sleepily. Ryan pauses only a moment before crawling under the sheet with him, curling against him and pressing close. Mike slides his arm around Ryan’s waist. He goes to sleep with a smile on his face.

 

 

He’s not smiling the next morning. When he wakes up, Ryan is gone. When he runs into him later that day, Ryan acts like nothing at all has changed, leaving Michael confused. It’s only later that night that he starts to understand that as far as Ryan is concerned absolutely nothing has changed. It’s kind of obvious really when he walks into their dorm room to squeals of surprise and the sight of a girl ducking down between Ryan’s bed and the far wall, blonde hair flying out behind her. Ryan is stretched out on the bed, naked, bright red and laughing. He waves at Mike when he sees him.

 

“Hey, Mikey! Didn’t think you’d be back tonight.”

 

“This is my room, Ryan,” Michael says hesitantly. Ryan smirks.

 

“I thought you’d be out getting your groove on. Plenty of new hotties on the swim team this year. You’re free from Bob’s control now. I thought you’d be getting your freak on with a couple of them.” Mike freezes, a few feet into the room. He smiles weakly.

 

“Nah, I’m tired. Had a late night last night,” he says. Ryan’s smirk widens.

 

“Yes… you did didn’t you?!” he says smirking.

 

“Umm… Ryan,” the girl whispers, reaching over the edge of the bed, to smack him in the arm. Ryan laughs again.

 

“Yeah, yeah!” he says. He turns to look at Mike. “You mind if I take the room tonight?” he asks. Mike forces a smile and nods. 

 

“Of course, Ry! Just let me grab a couple things and I’ll get out of your way,” he grabs up his backpack, throwing in his deodorant, and a change of clothes, before turning and leaving. He says nothing else to Ryan, who is leaning over the side of the bed whispering, or to the blonde, giggling in the space between the bed and the wall.

 

Michael heads to Aaron’s room, bag in hand. He knocks on the door. Aaron opens it a minute or so later and he must see something on his face because the next thing Mike knows he’s being hugged. There’s something about Aaron that’s innately comforting now. They’ve known each other for four years and Michael trusts him. So he clutches Aaron against his body, arms going tight around Aaron’s waist. Aaron pats him on the back and then slowly pulls away. He takes Mike’s bag from him, turning wordlessly to go back into the room. Mike turns around to close the door and ignores the shocked eyes staring back at him from the open door to the dorm across the hall. Michael sighs knowing this would be all over the USA dorm’s by tomorrow morning.

 

“Oh, go fuck yourself, Vendt!” he growls at the other man stepping back into the room and closing the door. He bolts it closed, and walks further into the room. Aaron is sitting on the end of one bed, waiting for him.

 

“Did you have to yell at, Erik? He’s going to pout for days after this,” Aaron says, watching him closely. Mike scowls.

 

“Yes. I did. I’m so sick of people gossiping about my sex-life. The rumors are ridiculous and I just know he’s going to open his big mouth and by tomorrow everyone will know I spent the night in here. With you.” He stalks across the room, flopping down to lay across Aaron’s bed. Aaron reaches over to pat his shoulder.

 

“It wouldn’t be a wholly unfounded rumor, Mike,” Aaron says. Mike scowls.

 

“Still doesn’t make it anyone’s fucking business,” he replies. Aaron sighs.

 

“Michael, are you going to tell me what’s really going on?” he asks. Michael closes his eyes.

 

“I just. Fucked up, is all. I slept with Ryan,” he says quietly. Aaron’s jaw drops.

 

“Seriously?” he asks. Mike nods.

 

“I liked him. I like him. A lot. And it just happened. I thought he liked me too. But apparently to him it was just a one night thing.”

 

“Are you sure?” Aaron asks. Mike sighs again.

 

“Considering I just walked on him playing naughty nurse with some blonde, yeah I’m fairly sure.” He peels his eyes open again. “Is it ok if I just stay here tonight? I don’t want to talk about my feelings or about what happened, I just need somewhere to sleep. Is that ok?” he asks. Aaron smiles at him.

 

“Of course,” he says. “I call the right side of the mattress. Do you want to shower before bed?” he asks standing up and stripping out of his clothes.

 

“I think I’m ok to shower in the morning,” he stands up to pull down the blanket and sheet, watching Aaron climb into the right side, before changing out of his clothes and climbing in on the left. He rolls onto his side facing Aaron, and watches as Aaron turn out the light, before rolling over to face him too. There are a few minutes of rolling and adjusting before they are both comfortable, and a minute longer before Michael’s eyes can focus on Aaron’s in the darkness. 

 

“How hard did you fall for him?” Aaron asks. Michael would sigh if it was anyone else asking the question, but this was really typical for Aaron.

 

“Pretty hard I think. I mean, he’s Ryan,” he shrugs, knowing that was all the explanation he could really come up with. “I could ask you the same thing about Eric,” he says trailing off. He watches Aaron’s eyes close, his hand coming up to pinch the bridge of his nose.

 

“We’re not talking about Eric. We’re talking about you and Ryan,” Aaron says. Mike smiles.

 

“I’ve said all there is to say about that. He doesn’t want to be with me. He made that clear. Now I want to talk about you and Eric.”

“There is no me and Eric,” Aaron replies.

 

“We both know that’s not true. You want him. You care about him. He wants you. He cares about you. You’re both young, sexy, and available. I don’t see how it could do anything but work out between you. So what’s the hold up? Don’t give me that shit about him being a teammate. I know you had that thing with Brendan last year.”

 

“Exactly. And it was a disaster! Why do you think I don’t want to get with Eric? Why would I want to date another breaststroker on the same team I swim for, when the last one turned out so badly?” Aaron asks, bunching up his pillow under his head. Michael smirks.

 

“Brendan is a prick. That’s why it was a disaster. Not because he was a swimmer, a Longhorn or a breaststroker. You and Eric are like perfect for each other. Why not take advantage of that? You could be good for each other.” Michael shrugs, and looks at Aaron. “Why not give it a try? Just think of all the great sex you could be having on a regular basis,” Michael smirks as he says it. Aaron laughs.

 

“He just looks like he’d be fantastic,” Aaron says eyes going a little dreamy. Michael grins.

 

“He is.” Aaron laughs again.

 

“Tell me everything!” he prompts, and because it’s Aaron, Michael does. Every last detail.

 

 

Mike’s right about the rumors. By the next morning everyone is looking at the two of them scandalously. Aaron however just grins at everyone happily, and quietly eggs them on by putting his arm around Michael, or touching his wrist, or leaning close. Michael puts up with it until Lunch, when he finally smacks Aaron in the back of the head and moves away.

 

It’s at lunch, which Aaron insists on eating while sitting in a seat pressed pulled right over up against Mike’s side, that he catches Ryan staring. The older man has a strange expression in his eyes, which Mike can’t figure out. Michael looks away feeling uncomfortable, and when he looks back a minute later, Ryan’s gone.

 

The Olympics last another 5 days, and when Michael flies home it is with 6 Gold, 2 Bronze medals, and a massive seemingly permanent crush on Ryan Lochte. Michael’s bigger and more “famous” then ever before. He makes himself date in a futile attempt to get over Ryan. He doesn’t. Even years later he’s still hung up on him. The two of them settle into a pretty great friendship. They text and call regularly, tease and prod each other on occasion, and always have fun when they end up at the same meet. But nothing happens between them. They’re friends. Nothing more. And try as he might, Mike still can’t let his feelings go.

 

 

He blames his longing and jealousy for what happens with Cullen Jones. Cullen and Ryan are close, closer than Mike and Ryan are. They have a lot more in common really than Mike has with them. They’re both outgoing and loud, and like to be the center of attention. Which is quite different from how Michael deals with people. He’s practically shy in comparison. 

 

Michael’s a little ashamed to admit it even to himself but fucking Cullen is really all about catching Ryan’s attention. And it sort of works.

 

Cullen’s a great guy. Mike’s glad he’s made the national team. He’s a good swimmer and fun to hang out with but when they’re all together it is Cullen that Ryan chooses to goof off with or turns to with a joke and a smile. Mike knows it’s completely immature, and more like what a teenage girl with some personal issues would do, than a 21 year old guy, but at the moment he doesn’t care.

 

Cullen’s heard about Mike’s reputation. It’s evolved over the years, gotten bigger and grander, and of course more perverted. It morphs into some sort of rite of passage to learn about the story and make something up. It’s assumed to be true, because it’s generally accepted that Michael will sleep with anybody. So Cullen isn’t exactly surprised when Mike knocks on his door the last night of the 2006 Pan Pacific Championships. His attitude seems to be more of the “Finally! I was beginning to think you didn’t like black dudes!” variety than any sort of surprise that Mike wants him in particular. It’s fast and kind of impersonal. And Mike feels a little dirty afterwards. Everyone he’s slept with up until then has been someone he was really good friends with, dating, or incredibly attracted too. He likes Cullen, but in Mike’s mind he’s not what he wants, because he’s not Ryan. So sleeping with him leaves him feeling empty and even more alone than before.

 

He stumbles out of Cullen’s room, with his hair messed up, and his shirt un-tucked. And he’s not surprised that someone sees him leave, someone always sees him either coming or going. He doesn’t catch who it is this time, but it’s obvious someone saw something. Cullen’s walking around like the King of the World the next morning, and there are the usual whispers. Mike’s succeeded in catching Ryan’s attention too. He watches Mike all through lunch the next day and looks positively surly every time Cullen grins at him. Mike wants to talk to Ryan, hopes to find out that Ryan is jealous in some way over what happened with Cullen, but his flight leaves only a few hours later and he has bags to pack. Ryan doesn’t come to him, so he leaves without talking to him face to face. There are a few days of radio silence, before Ryan starts up with the regular calls and texts again. Nothing is ever said about the night Mike spent with Cullen. Mike’s sort of disappointed by that. But he also learns his lesson. He resolves not to sleep with anyone else just to try and get Ryan’s attention. It hadn’t worked out like he’d hoped, and the lingering slimy feeling doesn’t really go away for months. 

 

 

By the start of 2007, he’s pretty much given up any hope of Ryan ever changing his mind. He’s tired of pining after a guy who slept with him once, and then moved on to someone else the very next night. It makes him feel like one of those used and abused women from a bad chick flick, who just can’t move on. That’s not who Michael Phelps is. He’s the best swimmer in the world and he’s going to prove it. So instead Michael focuses on his second try at 8 Gold Medals at a single Olympic games. However there are multiple meets in the lead up to 2008, some big and some small. All of the US Swimmers go down to Melbourne Australia in Mid-March for the 2007 World Championships. It’s 8 days of competition, followed by one day of rest and then Duel in the Pool. This year it is USA versus Australia, and it’s being held in Sydney, just a little over a year before the Olympic Games. What could be bad about that?

 

They’re in Australian territory. Which should, on some level, be intimidating, but it’s not. Team USA stomps everyone at Worlds and then they go to Duel and win that too. In fact they slaughter the Australians, winning by over 50 points. But the meet, as much as it’s meant to be a media event, to spur on the rivalry between the teams, is fun too, and once it’s over, the two teams end up partying hard together. They won’t clash again until the Olympics the following year so for now it’s ok to hang out and just have fun away from the cameras and reporters and fans.

 

A large portion of the Aussies and the American’s end up at a club together for an unofficial after-party. Michael briefly considers blowing it off, but Bob doesn’t often let him get away without an evening swim session, and he takes Bob’s small mercies when and where they’re offered. He’s been given the night off, and he’s not about to spend it holed up in his hotel room, by himself, watching Australian TV. So instead he finds himself in some sort of underground Sydney dance club, watching some of the most physically fit people in the world bump and grind on the dance floor without a care for propriety. Ryan is of course in the thick of it. A girl in front of him pressing her ass to his crotch, and another behind, arms wrapped around his waist, and breasts pressed to his back. Michael sits in the corner, mostly by himself nursing a beer and trying not to watch. But it’s hard not to let his eyes stray back to Ryan’s face.

 

It’s hot in the club, despite the fall temperatures of Australian in April outside. Too many bodies, in too small a space. The air feels humid and sticky, and Michael can practically feel the heat coming off the dancing throng of people. Ryan’s cheeks are red, sweat dripping down his face and neck, and he’s grinning like he wouldn’t rather be anywhere else in the world at that exact moment. It’s familiar and painful, and Mike wants to smack himself. He’s promised himself no more pining, and here he is, watching Ryan dance with not one, but TWO girls in an Australian club doing moves that would be illegal in a public place if there were no clothes between their bodies. Michael winces, turning away forcibly, and swallowing back the second half of his beer in one long gulp.

 

“You’re being kind of obvious, Mate,” it’s said loudly, the voice speaking close to his ear. Michael looks up, and around, catching site of Kenny Monk’s smiling face. He’s not looking back though, his gaze is focused past Michael’s shoulder at the dancing crowd spread out in front of them. Michael frowns, looking down at his now empty glass. “Not that I can blame you,” Kenny continues, turning to look at Michael and setting two beers down on the table. He nudges one over until the glass clinks against Michael’s empty. “Lochte’s hot, but if you don’t want everyone assuming, you might want to stop staring,” his words catch Michael off guard, and he drops his gaze away from where he had once again been watching Ryan dance.

 

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Michael says, turning his back to the dance floor and scooping up the offered beer. He takes a long drink, wiping foam from his upper lip, and avoiding Kenny’s eyes. It’s strange, he thinks, looking up into someone’s eyes. Kenny’s at least an inch, maybe an inch and a half taller than he is, and he’s bigger, bulkier than him too. You couldn’t really describe the guy accurately with any other term than that, BIG. He was also blonde, rosy cheeked, and always smiling. But still Mike always thought “big” first when picturing the younger man. Idly Michael wonders if he’d be big everywhere, but he pushes that thought away. It was completely inappropriate.

 

Michael doesn’t set out to get with Kenny. It just sort of happens. One minute Kenny’s patting him on the back and trying to distract him from mooning over Ryan and the next thing Mike knows he’s shoving the bigger man into the last stall of the men’s bathroom, and kissing him a bit desperately. Kenny seems shocked but willing at the turn of events and he tugs up Michael’s t-shirt even as Mike’s frantically unbuttoning Kenny’s jeans. Mike gets his hand around Kenny’s dick and stops a second to enjoy it. It’s been too long since he touched another man. And yes, Kenny is big everywhere. Mike tightens his hand around the thickness, squeezing. Kenny’s head falls back to bang against the wall of the stall. He groans, face flushing, and breath pushing out in one long exhalation that sounds half pained and half awed. Michael grins, pressing his body in closer, and moving his hand up the length of Kenny’s dick. He presses his mouth to Kenny’s.

 

“He doesn’t want me. But you do, don’t you, Kenrick?” he asks. Kenny’s breath stutters and he nods, hands clenching on Michael’s hips and tugging to try and pull him closer. Michael smiles. It’s obvious Kenny wants him, he’s hard as a rock, his eyes glassy, so Michael doesn’t hold out for an answer. He squats down, tugging Kenny’s jeans down to rest around his ankles, and leans forward to lick and kiss and suck. Kenny cries out once before clamping his hand down over his own mouth. They are in a public place after all, and the music from outside the bathroom is loud enough to cover a lot, but not a full on howl. He watches Michael with wide eyes, barely able to keep his hips still as Michael takes him deep and starts to suck his dick in rhythm to the music pulsing through the building. He uses one hand to grip the base, squeezing in time with the motion of his mouth.

 

Mike knows it won’t be long. Kenny’s legs are tense, he’s barely able to keep his hips in place against the stall wall, and well... Mike’s gotten pretty damn good at this. It’s also no secret that Kenny sort of idolizes him. Michael doesn’t think this is quite what Kenny had been imagining when he talked about looking up to Michael Phelps.

 

He’s right. Kenny comes a few seconds later, biting down on his own hand and fisting the other in Michael’s hair. Michael pulls back, Kenny’s hand loosening and then releasing his hair. He turns and spits in the toilet, standing up again. Kenny’s looking at him wide eyed, and panting. Michael smiles at him, a little crookedly. Then Kenny pounces. He braces his hands against Michael’s shoulders, shoving until he’s pressed to the cinderblock wall.

 

It’s obvious that Kenny hasn’t done this all that often from his current end of things, but he makes up for it in enthusiasm, and strong lungs. It’s only a few minutes before Michael’s coming from the pleasure, hands slapping against the hard wall behind him, and teeth biting down painfully on his own bottom lip. He tastes the coppery tang of blood in his mouth as he pants through the after bursts of his orgasm. Kenny stands in front of him, wiping at his mouth with the back of one hand, and pulling up his pants hesitantly like he’s not sure they’re done or not. Mike, once he can move, follows suit, tugging his jeans and underwear back on and buttoning them. They straighten up their appearances, without saying anything, but when Michael reaches to unlatch the stall door, Kenny’s hand stops him.

 

“I know it’s not really any of my business, but I think you should tell him,” he says. The confusion must show in his face because Kenny shrugs his shoulders. “I know this didn’t mean anything, so I won’t take it personally that you called out his name instead of mine. But if you’re so hung up on Lochte that he’s all you can think about I really think you deserve to at least try and make it work with him. But then again, it’s not really any of my business,” he pulls his hand out of the way, waiting for Michael to open the door and leave. Instead Michael pushes him back against the stall wall again, and kisses him.

 

His mouth plunders Kenny’s, tasting himself there, and the flavor he knows from earlier is all Kenny. He grips the younger man tightly by the shoulders, pressing closer to him, and nipping at Kenny’s lips once before pulling back completely.

 

“Thanks,” Mike says quietly, avoiding Kenny’s eyes. “But that ship sailed a long time ago. See you in Beijing.” He leaves then, and doesn’t look back.

 

 

He must look completely wrecked when he gets back to the hotel, because Jason Lezak takes one look at him as he comes down the hallway and drags Mike into his room for a little heart to heart.

 

“Ok, I have watched you slowly self-destruct for several years now, Michael. I’ve sat back and watched you do things I knew you’d regret. But I didn’t feel it was my place to say something because you are a grown up now. But this is getting ridiculous! What is going on with you?” Jason looks at him with nothing but concern in his face, so Michael tells him. He tells him everything. He explains about Ryan, and his reputation, and how things aren’t nearly as bad as Jason had always assumed they were, but how the entire situation was hopeless. And how he just didn’t know what to do now. That he’d been trying to move on for three years, with no success. Jason had patted him on the back and put him to bed.

 

“I can’t sleep here tonight, Jason. People will talk. They’ll assume..” he trails off, even as he snuggles down into Jason’s blankets. Jason laughs.

 

“You think Danielle will believe that bullshit. That woman has me so pussy whipped I don’t even look at other people let alone try anything. Besides I’m not in the least bit gay. I think we’re in the clear.” He tugs back the covers on the other side of the bed and climbs in.

 

“I really need to stop sleeping with guys who are in love with other people. It’s bad for my reputation!” Michael laughs. Jason shakes his head in amusement.

 

“I think you need to stop sleeping with people period, until you get this thing with Ryan figured out once and for all,” Jason suggests. Mike sighs.

 

“It’s hopeless. He’s not interested in me that way. I think that night in Athens was just him jumping on the proverbial bandwagon. Everyone else was supposedly getting a piece, so he wanted to get some too.”

 

“Michael if you’re in love with him, really in love with him, and it seems like you are if it’s been 3 years and you’re still hung up on him, then you have to tell him. You never know, maybe he will change his mind.” Jason says. Michael shakes his head.

 

“No, this is Ryan we’re talking about. Nothing good would come out of telling him. Besides I need to focus on Beijing. If we’re going to kick ass I can’t let myself moon over him all the time anymore,” Michael explains. Jason sighs but he understands.

 

“Fine but can you at least cut back on the self-destructive behavior?” Jason asks. Michael laughs.

 

“Ok. Ok. But honestly, it’s not been as bad as you think it’s been.” Jason rolls his eyes, reaching over to turn out the light.

 

“Ugh huh… Sure. Try and control your hormones in the night. This body is off limits for your carnal desires. Just know that Danielle is who you’d have to deal with if you crossed the particular line.”

 

“Yeah, because your wife is sooo terrifying,” Michael replies. Jason’s laughter is way more comforting than Mike had ever thought it could be.

 

 

Michael tries hard to forget about Ryan. He focuses on his training, on not missing a single day of it in the lead up to Olympic Trials. Rumors continue to spread, and Mike continues to ignore them. By this point he’s apparently slept with almost all the swimmers on the National Team, male and female. He really wonders how these things grow so horribly out of proportion. He’s sure his refusal to confirm or deny doesn’t help matters. But he really feels like it’s no one’s business who he sleeps with, and he’s not about to go around talking about private matters just to satiate the curiosity of the rest of the team. Let them waste time and energy speculating. He has more important things on his mind.

 

Michael’s focus is on point at Olympic Trials. Ryan is there, everywhere he turns. He’s always around, hanging out, talking to Mike, joking with the rest of them during down time off deck and on. He’s competing against Ryan in several events, and Mike has to fight not to lose sight of his goal. He’s trying to qualify for 8 events in Beijing. And he does.

 

The team ends up being a neat balance of second time Olympians and new kids. Ryan is there, Jason and Aaron too. But there are new faces. Cullen makes the team, and Garret Weber-Gale. And Eric too. Mike is ecstatic and goes over to congratulate the other man on finally making it. Eric seems off, distracted, like there’s some major weight resting on his shoulders. Michael only finds out later about the cancer, and isn’t surprised to catch Aaron pounding on Eric’s hotel room door a few hours later, demanding to be let in. Mike hopes they’ll finally work it out and apparently they do. Aaron doesn’t seem to leave Eric’s side for the rest of trials, and when they get to training camp, the two are rooming together. He catches Aaron staring at Eric during practices, and when Aaron notices, he blushes and looks away but his smile is so huge that Michael has no doubt just how that relationship has changed.

 

 

It’s during the first week of camp that the thing with Ricky Berens happens. Well more like the thing with Ricky doesn’t happen. Not that anyone really believes otherwise. He’s cute and hot, and pretty cool to hang out with, but he’s young and a little bit too sure of himself. He’s also heard the rumors and he like a lot of others, assume them to be 100% true. So he also assumes that since he’s new to the team and Mike hasn’t approached him yet that he’s sort of the next person on the list. Mike does notice him, how could he not? He’s tall and lean, like they all are, with a great smile, and a hell of an ass, but Michael has laser focus on the Games, and when he does notice anyone else it’s Ryan he’s focused on the most. And then there’s Nathan Adrian. He’s new to the team too, young, just starting college, and he’s sort of beautiful. There’s something about Nathan that keeps catching Michael’s attention, his interest. He notices Ricky but he’s regulated him to “fun-to-hang-out-with/friend” territory, while Nathan seems to stay firmly planted in the “hot as hell/DAYUM” zone. Michael tries to ignore all of that, working on his starts and getting into the right frame of mind for the upcoming competition.

 

So it’s kind of a surprise to get a knock on the door late one night and to find Ricky on the other side. Ricky sort of invites himself inside, and Michael closes the door behind him.

 

“Hey, Ricky, what’s up?” he asks, turning around to face the younger man. Ricky smiles at him, he really does have a great smile, and steps closer.

 

“I wanted to know when it is going to be my turn. Any ideas? Because, I think we could be great together. It could be life changing for me. And I’m tired of waiting for a sign. The anticipation is killing me. So if you could just, like, tell me when you’re going to make your move, I’d really appreciate it.” He smiles again and Michael stares at him a little dumbstruck. It takes a few seconds for it to click in his head. And he pulls on the macho armor he’s adapted with people who bring up this aspect of his reputation. Ricky seems eager. REALLY eager, and that whole bit about it being potentially “life changing” has Michael’s internal alarms blaring full-stop. So he might be a little harsh in how he handles the situation. But hindsight is 20/20.

 

“And you just assume you’re going to be someone I pick?” he asks. He walks across the room, to sit down on the arm of the couch, crossing his legs at the ankle. Ricky turns to face him as he moves.

 

“Well I figured I would be. I’m new. I’m reasonably good looking. We seem to get along. Why wouldn’t I be one of the guys you chose?” then a beat later: “Am I not one of the guys you want?” and he seems almost hurt by the notion.

 

“Contrary to popular rumor, I do not sleep with every single new member of the National team,” Mike replies, crossing his arms across his chest.

 

“I never believed you’d slept with everyone!” Ricky protests. Mike grins.

 

“Look, Ricky, I like you. You’re a nice guy, and you’re going to do great in your swimming career. You’re fast and dedicated, and I’m sure you’re going to help us win that relay gold, but I don’t think sleeping with you would be the best thing for either one of us right now,” he says. He watches Ricky’s forehead crease. “You’re getting ready for your first ever Olympic Games. You need to focus right now. And me? I’m getting ready to set all sorts of records, to do things that have never been done before. I can’t be distracted right now.”

 

“And I’d be a distraction?” Ricky asks. Mike meets his eyes.

 

“What do you think?” he asks. Ricky sighs, frowning and looking away.

 

“So it’s not going to happen?” Ricky says, shoulders slumping.

 

“It’s not gonna happen,” Mike replies, shaking his head to emphasize his point.

 

“Well maybe later?” Ricky asks, perking up again. “After the competition is over?” he sounds a little bit desperate. Michael stands up.

 

“I can’t make any promises. Just stop worrying about it. Concentrate on your training. I can’t win 8 Gold medals without you,” he reaches out to grip Ricky by the shoulder, steering him over toward the door. He’s fairly sure they’ll be having a follow-up conversation about this at some later point, but for now, he’s just glad to see Ricky heading back down the hallway away from his room. Michael wasn’t lying when he had other things to be concentrating on.

 

 

The 2008 Beijing Olympics are the most stressful, exhausting, and amazing 8 days of his life. He wins every single gold medal he swims for. There were close calls, mistakes, times that weren’t as fast as he’d hoped, but he’d done it. And after it’s all over and done, he wants to celebrate. He wants to let loose and enjoy himself. As usual there is a party to mark the end of the Swimming events at the Games. He’s not exactly surprised when it seems to center around the 5 man suite Michael is staying in with a bunch of the other guys in the dorm. The night starts off great. Mike sits on the couch with Ryan on one side and Aaron on the other. The three of them talking about anything but the races they’d raced. The music is loud and the party is jumping. People are laughing, dancing, and much fun is being had. Mike’s carefree and enjoying the weight finally having been lifted off his shoulders. He knows the media blitz is just beginning, but for tonight he’s not thinking about that. He’s relaxing instead.

 

Then he sees Nathan arrive. And it’s like a switch is flipped inside of him. He’s up off the couch a minute later. He ignores Aaron’s teasing laughter, and Ryan’s knowing eyes following him through the suite.

 

He finds Ricky and Nathan in the kitchen where Ricky has convinced Nathan to take an offered beer. When Ricky sees him he greets him enthusiastically. Too enthusiastically. But Michael only has eyes for Nathan. Nathan, who looks eager and flustered and shy all at the same time. Michael convinces Ricky to leave, knows he’s pissed the younger man off, but in that moment he doesn’t care. Thoughts of Nathan have plagued him for weeks, have proved to be a great distraction from useless thoughts about Ryan. Mike is a man on the mission.

 

“Hey, Nathan” he says and watches Nathan shudder in response. Michael steps closer, bridging the distance between them with one long stride.

 

“Congratulations, Mike. Knew you could do it!” Nathan says with a smile. Michael smiles wider and steps a little bit closer. He watches as Nathan takes a quick breath, pressing himself back into the counter.

 

“Thanks. You were all a part of it. Couldn’t have done it without you,” Mike says. He means it, sincerely. He knows 8 medals wouldn’t have been possible without the team he had supporting him, cheering for him, and swimming alongside him. But Nathan shakes his head, avoiding eye contact.

 

“I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be going home with a gold medal if it weren’t for you, so no thanks necessary,” Nathan replies. He crosses his arms between their bodies, and Michael’s so close he can feel them pressing to his chest with each exhale. Michael laughs.

 

“I think we can both thank Jason for that particular honor,” he says watching Nathan nod in agreement. Michael reaches around him to put an empty bottle in the sink, hears Nathan’s breath catch in his throat. “Hey,” he says softly and finally Nathan meets his eyes.

 

“What are you doing?” Nathan asks quietly.

 

“What do you think I’m doing?” Mike asks, pressing closer. He listens as Nathan laughs nervously. It’s kind of adorable.

 

“I’m fairly sure I’m misinterpreting,” Nathan replies.

 

“No, I don’t think you are,” Mike replies pressing forward to kiss the younger man, hands going to Nathan’s hips. His body leans into Nathan’s, only Nathan’s arms between them. Nathan groans, tilting his side to the side, and Michael opens his mouth, tongue diving forward to touch Nathan’s. Mike hums in pleasure. Then suddenly Nathan is shoving him away.

 

“What the hell!?” Nathan asks wiping his mouth. Mike laughs and makes a pretty bad mistake. He gets cocky and he sticks his foot so far into his own mouth that he nearly chokes on it.

 

“Come on, Nathan. You can’t tell me you didn’t like that. Didn’t want it,” Michael says. He looks down, focusing his gaze on Nathan’s crotch. “Didn’t get off a little bit on it.” Nathan’s embarrassment his visible.

 

“Just because you’re Michael Phelps doesn’t mean you get to go around kissing whoever you want too!” Nathan says back quietly. And Michael, confused, laughs again.

 

“You think all I wanted was a kiss?” he asks. And then suddenly Nathan is moving across the kitchen toward the door. Michael grabs his arm.

 

“Come on, Nathan! Live a little and celebrate with me!” he says, trying to salvage the situation.

 

“What makes you think I’d want to celebrate with you?” Nathan asks.

 

“You celebrated with Ricky for his gold medal,” Michael says, surprised when Nathan goes first pale and then red with fury.

 

“So what? That makes me some kind of slut who’ll sleep with any hot guy on the swim team?” Nathan snaps. Michael fights to keep the smile on his face.

 

“You think I’m hot?” Michael asks with a fake grin. Nathan’s mouth drops open in and he turns to leave. Michael against stops him. “Nathan, come on! I’m joking!” he says.

 

“I don’t know what Ricky told you, but it was probably a lie. Now let me go. I’m suddenly no longer in the mood to party,” Michael lets him go, the words hitting a little too close to home. He watches silently as Nathan leaves the kitchen. He steps into the living room just in time to see Nathan punch Ricky hard in the shoulder before leaving and slamming the door closed behind himself. Michael frowns, ignoring the looks and the whispers, and scratches the back of his neck. Aaron catches his eyes, looking confused. Michael shrugs his shoulders, his hands raised in confusion. Aaron rolls his eyes crossing the room.

 

“What did you do!?” he hisses. Mike shrugs again.

 

“Dude, I don’t know! All I did was kiss him,” he replies quietly.

 

“And then what? I’ve kissed you. You’re good at it. It doesn’t usually piss people off!” Aaron says.

 

“I might have made a pass and when he asked why I thought he’d be interested said that if he’d been willing to kiss Ricky, I figured he’d want to kiss me too?” he says it like it’s a question, wincing as the word leaves his mouth. Aaron’s hit to the back of his head is swift and hard, and makes Michael flinch. “Oww! Aaron!” he says, rubbing at the spot. Aaron shakes his head at him.

 

“You really can be an idiot! You’d think that you of all people would know better! Go fix it!” he orders. Michael blinks at him.

 

“How am I supposed to do that exactly?” he asks.

 

“Go apologize, Michael. He’s a good guy, and you were kind of a jerk. We both know you aren’t. Not really. So go fix it.” Aaron shoves Michael in the shoulder. Michael sighs and nods in agreement.

 

 

Nathan’s room is a little way down the hallway. He’s surprised when Nathan actually lets him inside. Aaron has given him a lot of good advice over the years, so he decides to follow this one too, so he starts off with an apology. He explains about what Ricky had actually said dodged questions about just why he hasn’t chosen to go after Ricky. He doesn’t however come clean about the discrepancies in his reputation, though he does explain his reasons for liking Nathan. The whole degenerates into a bonding moment when Nathan confesses his homosexuality, Michael reassures him, offers him some advice, and then he sort of has his way with him.

 

Michael can honestly say that’s never really happened before. He was always so careful with his girlfriends, afraid to break them, or hurt them. And the encounters he’d had with Aaron, Eric, and Ryan had been where the other person had taken charge. Even with Kenny and Cullen, he’d not really let go and done what he wanted. The thing with Kenny had been too fast, and with Cullen too forced. But this time, with Nathan, he lets himself take what he wants and Nathan enjoys every minute of it. Nathan sort of is repressed, as Ricky had suggested, but not in the self-hating way. More in the no-one can find out, they’d be so disappointed, so I’m suffering in silence sort of way. He draws Nathan out of his shell, and they have a great night. Michael doesn’t get any sleep at all and neither does Nathan.

 

It’s just before dawn that Michael pulls himself out of the bed, and away from Nathan body. He dresses reluctantly and makes his way tiredly to the door. When he turns back he finds Nathan spread out across the bed like a starfish, and whimpering with each breath.

 

“You,” Michael says, “You, I might have to make an exception for.” He’d been very clear that this was a one-time deal, but just then he starts to consider that maybe just maybe he’d be willing to break the rule for Nathan. He leaves the room with the sound of Nathan’s laughter ringing in his ears.

 

 

Michael gets back to the suite, and it’s a disaster area. There are plates and empty bottles scattered on every available surface and a suspicious looking stain on the rug near the TV. They’re going to be in so much trouble, but he can’t bring himself to care. At least no one appears to be passed out in the living room or kitchen areas.

 

Michael heads for the bathroom, which is also, thankfully, drunk person free. He takes a long shower, washing away beer, and cum, and Nathan from his body. He’s tired, and he has to be up in approximately 2 hours to do a full day of interviews. At least he can explain the bags under his eyes and lack of energy away as exhaustion from the last 8 days of competition and years of preparation. He climbs out of the shower feeling clean, but heavy with the need to sleep. Wrapping a towel around his waist, he heads for the room he shares with Ryan.

 

The room is dark, the curtains drawn shut against the early morning light. It takes a minute for Michael’s eyes to adjust. He goes to the dresser, being quiet as he finds a pair of clean shorts to pull on. He tosses his towel in the corner and climbs into his thankfully empty bed. Glancing to the other bed, he expects to see Ryan asleep, possibly alone, possibly with company. Instead he finds Ryan wide awake and watching him.

 

“Hey, Doggy,” he says, pulling the light blanket up and relaxing back against his pillows. Ryan smirks at him.

 

“Who was it this time? Don’t tell me you nailed, Adrian!? Ricky told me he’s some kind of repressed self-hating virgin!” Ryan says. Michael grins a little stiffly.

 

“He’s not a repressed self-hating virgin,” he defends. Ryan crows with laughter, but it seems forced some how.

 

“You did! With Nathan!?” he asks, sitting up. “I want details! I know you have rules, you little swimmer slut, but give me the juicy bits. You know I won’t tell tales!” Michael shakes his head.

 

“I don’t fuck and tell, you know that Ryan!” Michael replies. He turns onto his side to face Ryan, whose face is shining with energy and something Mike can’t quite read.

 

“Oh come on!” Ryan whines. “Just the basics! Did you fuck him? Or did he fuck you? How big is his dick? He has one of those long skinny bodies. I bet his dick matches, doesn’t it? What about his stamina? Did he properly satisfy the living Swim God among us?” Ryan asks. Michael rolls his eyes and shakes his head.

 

“Come on, Ryan. I don’t spread those type of details. Would you want everyone to know what we did together?” he asks, turning onto his back to stare up at the ceiling and to avoid looking at Ryan any longer.

 

“Of course I would! I’m fucking awesome! No one fucks as good as I do! I’d love for you to tell everyone how great I am in the sack. How huge my dick his. How long I last. I bet your ass hasn’t been fucked like that in years!” Ryan says with a grin, with no idea just how right he is. Michael’s smile freezes, but he quickly regains his composure. The last thing he wants Ryan to know is the truth, so that’s exactly what he tells him.

 

“Oh, no, of course not! Who could possibly satisfy me after Ryan Lochte has had his wicked way with me?” Michael asks sarcastically. Ryan laughs in response, clapping his hands in glee.

 

“Get some sleep, man. You look half-dead. And I better not get blamed for those huge ass bags under your eyes in the morning!” Ryan turns over then, putting his back to Michael and within a few minutes he’s asleep once more.

 

Michael stares up at the ceiling for a while longer, before finally going to sleep too.

 

 

Mike thinks briefly that he might have a weakness for Aussies when he drinks (maybe it’s the accents?), because just a few days after the thing with Nathan, he wakes up one morning with a killer hangover, and a new bedmate from the land down under. It takes a few minutes for it to all make sense and for him to recall the night before. There had been drinking and arguing which had led to kissing, and a short but enthusiastic mutual jerk off in this very room the night before. Michael groans, flopping on to his back and tries to remember exactly how this had all happened, in detail.

 

He’d been drinking at an out of the way club, one where he’d been recognized, but not so much that he had to worry about problems popping up. He’d made his way through the dancing crowd to reach the bar, where he’d found Eamon Sullivan three sheets to the wind already. Michael had sat down next to him and ordered a beer. Eamon had rolled his eyes and turned back to his half finished bottle.

 

“I don’t want to talk to you, Phelps. You’ve won. You’ve won every fucking thing in the bloody world. Do you really have to keep shoving it in my face how much better you are than I am?” Eamon had said, making Michael blink at him in surprise.

 

“I’m not a better person than you are Eamon. I don’t understand why you have this problem with me. You and most of the Aussies have been completely horrible the entire Games. Now I know we kind of kicked your asses but I thought you’d all be a little more grown-up about it all!” Michael replied.

 

“This isn’t just about your 8 fucking medals, Michael!” Eamon snapped. “This is about Stephanie. You know! My ex-girlfriend? The one you’ve been all over right in front of me for the last 2 weeks!” Eamon explained. Michael had stared at him in confusion.

 

“I’ve not been all over Steph. I don’t even like Steph. I turned her down, Eamon. I’m not particularly interested in girls who throw themselves at me just as I’m about to make Olympic history! It tends to make me suspicious about their motivations,” Michael said back. He’d then downed his whole beer in irritation. Of course his reputation would have spread outside the confines of the USA swim team. Of course he’d be supposedly sleeping with just about everyone he was even seen talking too in public no less. He orders a second beer before Eamon thinks of an appropriate response.

 

“You aren’t sleeping with her?” he asks quietly. Michael can barely hear him over the music. He shakes his head.

 

“I’ve only slept with one person since we got to Beijing, and believe me he was definitely not your ex-girlfriend.”

 

“He?” Eamon had asked, eyes wide. Michael had smiled a bit flirtatiously. It was after the third beer that things got a little hazy in his memory. But he clearly remembers laughing with Eamon’s body pressed to his, as they’d wobbled their way through the village at 3 or 4 am. And he definitely remembers the taste of Eamon’s mouth pressed to his, tongue taking and probing and driving Michael crazy. The room had been empty, Ryan nowhere to be found and they’d collapsed across Michael’s bed licking and kissing and biting. He’d gotten his hands into Eamon’s pants first, but Eamon had not been in the mood to wait his turn, and the night had culminated in mutual hand jobs that had left Mike’s dick sore, and his belly sticky. He winces at the sunlight streaming into his room, and looks over at Eamon’s sleeping face, just as the other man blinks his eyes open. Eamon turns to look at him slowly, squinting in obvious pain. He groans.

 

“Fuck. Did we really do that last night?” he asks. Mike nods, not wanting to open his mouth and taste his own sour morning breath just yet. Eamon groans again, sitting up and turning to the side of the bed. “Don’t take this the wrong way but I gotta go,” he says, reaching for his underwear and jeans. He pulls them on, before turning to look at Michael, who has his head propped up on one hand watching him. Eamon turns and sits down again, leaning close. “I’m sorry I blamed you for my break-up. I’m sorry I assumed you’d slept with her. That was wrong. Thanks for everything last night. I needed that.” He leans forward then, and presses a kiss to Michael’s mouth, heedless of their mutual morning breath. He presses harder, until Michael opens to the kiss and returns it. Eamon pulls back to stand up. “I meant what I said. You should just tell him you’re in love with him. How will you know it’s hopeless until you try?” Eamon says. Michael blinks up at him in surprise. He did not remember that part of the previous nights confessions. Eamon laughs a little, and it’s so charming that Michael half wants to pull him back down onto the bed. “Give it a try. Yeah?” he says, reaching for his abandoned t-shirt. Michael nods.

 

“Yeah. I guess.” He’s not sure what else is appropriate to say in this situation. Eamon rolls his eyes.

 

“Everyone deserves to be happy,” Eamon says. He’s pulling his shirt on, when the door opens and Ryan walks in. Michael groans, flopping back on the bed, even as Ryan freezes at the sight of Eamon Sullivan standing in the middle of their dorm room. “G’day,” Eamon says, scooping up his shoes and sliding past Ryan for the door. “See you, Mate,” Eamon says, waving to Mike, as he opens the door. Michael waves one hand blindly in Eamon’s direction before letting it flop down on the mattress again.

 

The door closing rings loudly in the silence of the room. Michael peels his eyes open to find Ryan going through one of his still only half unpacked bags on the other side of the room.

 

“I’m going to go shower,” he announces, climbing out of bed and heading for the bathroom door.

 

“Might be a good idea, you kind of stink,” Ryan says, without looking up. Michael sighs, and closes the door quietly between them.

 

When he emerges ten minutes later he’s scrubbed, shaved, and his teeth are brushed. He comes out with a towel wrapped around his waist and another draped around his shoulders and finds Ryan sitting on the end of his bed, looking vaguely nauseated and sort of pissed off.

 

“What’s up?” Mike asks, unsure if he wants to hear the answer. Ryan frowns up at him.

 

“An Aussie? Jesus, Michael! Have you run out of American’s to fuck? And Eamon of all of the Aussies to pick! What the hell is wrong with you?” Ryan asks. Michael’s mouth drops open in shock.

 

“Are you jealous?” he asks. He watches the startled look overtake Ryan’s face.

 

“No! Of course not!” he says standing up, and crossing his arms over his chest. “I’m just being a concerned friend. I’m still your friend aren’t I? I’m allowed to care!” Ryan protests. Mike feels a smile stealing over his face.

 

“You’re jealous!” he says pointing an accusing finger in Ryan’s direction.

 

“I am not! I know you don’t fuck guys twice. I knew that going into it! There’s nothing to be jealous of,” Ryan replies, face turning red. Mike’s smile softens.

 

“There really isn’t,” he says, and decides to follow Eamon’s advice. The same advice that Aaron, Jason, and even Eric, had been trying to give him for years. “Because I’m not in love with any of them. I’m only in love with you.” Mike is surprised by the reaction this spurs.

 

“Oh please. Why don’t you pull the other one? This is such fucking bullshit, Michael. You aren’t in love with me!” Ryan says, clearly angry. “If you were in love with me you wouldn’t be going around fucking everything that walks! I’m not an idiot. I know I like to play up the stupid skateboarder thing, But I wasn’t born yesterday! I know how you get around!” Ryan replies.

 

“Are you telling me you seriously believe all the rumors and speculation about me?” Mike asks, actually hurt by the notion. “I thought you knew me better than that!” he replies. Ryan shakes his head.

 

“What would you have me believe? I’ve been on this side of your sex god ways once before. Or had you forgotten?” Ryan asks. Michael stares at him taking a deep breath.

 

“Of course I didn’t forget! You’re impossible to fucking forget. That’s part of the God damned problem!” Ryan freezes.

 

“What is that supposed to mean?” he asks, confused. Michael groans in frustration.

 

“What do you think it means?” Mike replies. He shakes his head. “I’ve been stuck on you for four years, Ryan. But I think I might finally be able to start moving on. So let’s just forget this conversation ever took place.” He moves to the door, shoes in hand, but is stopped by Ryan’s hand on his arm.

 

 “You can’t be in love with me,” Ryan says softly. Mike can’t bring himself to look at him even as he pulls away and bends to slip on his sneakers without socks, and to pull his credentials over his head.

 

“Well I am. And you’re going to have to get used to it. I’ve dealt with it for 4 years. It’s time you had to deal with it too.” He turns toward the door again but suddenly Ryan’s in his face, pulling him around.

 

“I’m sorry,” Ryan says, his face solemn. Mike looks down at him, and for the first time notices the slump of Ryan’s shoulders and the frown on his face.

 

“Ok,” Mike says hesitantly. Ryan frowns harder.

 

“You aren’t sorry too?” he asks.

 

“For what? Being in love with you? For not telling you? I knew telling you wouldn’t make a difference. Or should I be sorry for actually having sex on occasion?” he replies, feeling anger creeping over him.

 

“For not being honest with me!” Ryan says in reply, crossing his arms over his chest. “Why did you let me believe the rumors if they weren’t true? I thought you were my friend!”

 

“Do you tell me about every single person you fuck, Ryan? About every one night thing that’s happened over the last 4 years we’ve been friends?”

 

“This is different,” Ryan says.

 

“How? Because it’s ok for you to sleep with whomever you want, whenever you want?” Mike asks. Ryan looks at him shocked.

 

“You’re really in love with me?” he asks. Michael nods.

 

“Yeah,” he replies. And then Ryan is pressing up against him, lips moving against Michael’s, pushing him to sit on the side of the nearest bed, body pressing forward to sit astride his lap, and hands pushing him to lay flat against the mattress. Michael pulls him closer, one hand tugging up the back of Ryan’s t-shirt, the other going up into his hair.

 

They break the kiss gasping, and their eyes meet. Michael freezes. It’s the same look he’s caught on Ryan’s face numerous times since Athens. The expression he’d seen on it after Cullen, after Nathan, and after Eamon. It’s longing, he suddenly realizes. Ryan’s been longing for him. Michael surges forward, sitting up, and taking Ryan’s mouth in another, more aggressive kiss, his hands pulling him in closer.

 

Things sort of take the usual route after that. Ryan finds the zipper to Mike’s jeans, and the next thing he knows they’re half naked and squirming against each other. Ryan’s hips rock against his, one big hand closing around both of their dicks, and squeezing. Mike reaches down, wrapping his hand around Ryan’s. Michael groans, crying out, and breaking the kiss. He presses his forehead to Ryan’s and pants, watching Ryan face twisting as he comes apart between their bodies, spurting over their hands. Michael’s own orgasm is almost an after-thought; he’s so absorbed in watching Ryan’s. But when it hits, it takes him over. His eyes slide shut, and he cries out, the sound muffled by Ryan’s mouth. He falls back against the mattress and lies there out of it and limp, heart pounding from the pleasure still zipping through his body. Ryan leans down over, him, bracing his hands on the mattress on either side of Mike’s head. Michael blinks his eyes open to stare up at him.

 

“We live so far away from each other, Michael. How would it even fucking work?” Ryan asks. Mike takes several deep breathes, eyes searching Ryan’s face.

 

“I don’t know if it will. But I know we have to at least try. My life is going to be pretty hectic for the next few months at least. Just knowing there’s a chance… that will change everything.” He watches Ryan’s mouth lift in a grin.

 

“So how do I rank in the MP Grand Prix standings?” Ryan asks, stretching out on his side. Michael grins, shaking his head, and rolls over to face him.

 

“Well, you’re in contention to be the high point winner. But you have some stiff competition,” he watches Ryan start to laugh, and joins him a second later.

 

“Dude... that was bad!” Ryan says laughing. Mike shrugs.

 

“In all honesty, there’s not really any true competition,” he says smiling.

 

Michael knows he has a reputation. That’s it’s not fully accurate, nor is it based completely on lies. People think what they want about him and his choices regardless of a lack of evidence, or any confirmation or denial on his part. So he doesn’t worry about it. He knows he’s not a Swim Sex God, or alternatively a big ole slut. He knows the rumors won’t stop, and he doesn’t really care. Instead he rolls his eyes and lets people talk. The people who know him, and who know the truth, also know he only has eyes for one person. And as long as Ryan doesn’t believe the rumors anymore, he’s kind of happy letting everyone else believe what they want. Besides it wouldn’t change the truth. Michael is no bed-hopper.

 

The End.