As Michael stands on the podium to receive his last Olympic Medal, his mind goes into overdrive. The last few years of his life fly by in a blur, as he raises his hand to cover his heart. The National Anthem begins to play. He can feel Brendan, Matt, and Nathan shifting beside him, hear Matt muttering the words as they are blasted throughout the arena. But Michael’s focus turns inward. It’s over. After this he will never stand here again. And the only thing that would make the moment perfect would be if Ryan were up there with him.
People ask why he drops the 200 Free from his program for London and look confused when he says it’s to focus more on the relays. You see Michael loves relays. You’d think it would be the opposite, that he’d love competing as an individual better. But there is something amazing about being a part of a team. About getting them out into open water and then cheering for each and every single one of them as you strive together to prove the USA is the very best.
Besides, he’d rather swim with Ryan on a relay than against him.
Only Ryan could get you involved in this shit. At least you’d convinced him to wait until after all the swimming was done. You’d be ‘retired’ then. You wouldn’t be in danger of suspension. And so you end up squatting on the balcony of your dorm with a trashcan full of condom water balloons waiting for the Australian’s to walk by.
The Australian dorm was positioned with the USA building between it and the dining hall, which meant plenty of swimmers to hit during lunch rush.
Ryan’s giddy laughter made the lecture you are sure to get later completely worthwhile.
“What do you want for your birthday?” Michael asks. They’re stretched out on the floor of Michael’s room in France, watching a movie.
“6 Gold Medals and a blow-job,” Ryan doesn’t take his eyes off the television.
“Ryan…” Michael says, his tone full of warning.
“Ok, 6 Gold Medals, a blow-job, and a few new world records,” Ryan replies, munching on trail mix. Michael reaches over to push him to lay flat on his back. He leans over him.
“You asshole!” he says, amused. “Try again!” Ryan grins brightly.
“Fine, a blow-job and a Rolex. The rest I’ll get myself.”
Ryan is fairly uncomplicated. He has layers, but there’s nothing hidden or false about him. He loves what he loves and he loves you; it’s part of who he is.
Everyone in his life knows about you. About who you are to him. At first this bothers you. You want it kept quiet and suddenly all of Ryan’s family, friends, coach... everyone knows.
Later you’re grateful. You can’t imagine hiding how you fee. You love him and you don’t care who knows.
Loving Ryan is as much a part of you as his loving you is a part of him.
You watch the medal ceremony from a quiet corner of the ready room. You’re already dry, dressed, and ready to go. And you watch Ryan accept his gold, all smiles and bling.
He looks happy, proud. And you are genuinely glad for him. But inside you feel horrible. It’s on the bus ride back to the dorms that you tweet him congratulations. His response “I couldn’t do it with out you,” gives you pause. Makes you smile into the window. The feel of his eyes on the back of your head causes your spine to tingle. You’re feeling better already.
It’s harder than you’d let yourself believe. You go to London believing you can win. Believing you can medal. But fourth? You never prepared yourself for that. For failure. To you that’s what it is. Yes it’s an accomplishment to get to the games. To make it into a final. But it’s not good enough.
You get back to the dorm room, after your shower, massage, ice bath and press conference. Stretching out on your back you stare at your ceiling. Brooding. This isn’t you. You don’t do this. Lose like this.
So you decide to win instead. Decision made.
The medal is heavy. Heavier than the Beijing medals are, than the ones from Athens. It’s cold too, shockingly so against the small of your back. But it warms quickly, the circle of gold and it’s purple ribbon rubbing between you, sliding across sweaty skin, and heating from friction. Your body temperatures make the whole room warmer.
The pleasure spikes and you groan, pushing back, arching your body. Ryan grunts behind you, leaning over your curved back, medal sliding higher up your spine.
“To the victor goes the spoils,” he whispers in your ear and you cum against white sheets.
84. Roll/85. Over (double-drabble)
“That was great,” he whispers between kisses. He backs Michael further into the room.
“We did it,” Michael replies, flopping backward on to the bed. “Fucking gold!” he growls, yanking Ryan down on top of him. Ryan grins before kissing him again.
“We need to keep going. Keep winning,” he says, starting to pant, yanking at t-shirts and sweat pants. Michael nods.
“Yeah, how many more golds you gonna win?” Michael asks, tracing teeth down Ryan’s throat.
“2 more,” Ryan says, moaning. Mike grins against his clavicle.
“Mmmm I’m going to win 3 more,” he says. Ryan shakes his head.
“Nah, 2 golds and a silver. I’m going to beat you in the 2 IM,” Ryan teases. Michael pulls his head up to laugh.
“Think again,” he whispers against Ryan’s mouth. “Now roll over,” Ryan smirks, licking his chapped lips.
“What makes you think I’m going to roll over for you, Phelps. You didn’t win that gold by yourself!” he objects. Michael sits up, gripping Ryan’s wrists, and forces his hands down into the mattress.
“Because tonight, I double medaled Gold and Silver, and in the process met and surpassed the all-time Olympic record.”
“Ok… fair enough,” Ryan rolls over.
86. Simple/87. Kind (double-drabble)
“Don’t listen to them,” Mike turns away from the words, and the man saying them. He picks up the game controller he’d just put down, and focuses his gaze on the television screen. Ryan comes over and sits down on the couch behind him, knee bumping Michael’s shoulder. “Mike?” Michael wants to ignore him but he can’t. He pauses the game.
“It’s not that simple, Ryan,” he says, setting the controller down again.
“Yes it is. It’s one fucking race. Not the end of the world. They don’t know what the hell they’re talking about!”
“Says the guy who won gold!” Mike snaps. Ryan frowns at him, hurt by the words and the tone. But the hurt fades quickly from his face and isn’t to be heard in his voice at all.
“Fuck that. It’s not my fault you lost. I swam my ass off and I earned what I got. You aren’t going to turn this around on me! I never did that to you! Not once so stop being an asshole to me!” he growls. Michael deflates.
“I know. Sorry,” he says. Ryan moves to sit beside him.
“Show them how good you still are!”
Mike slowly smiles.
88. Rings/89. Black (double-drabble)
Ryan’s head is resting pillowed on Michael’s chest, eyes drooping with exhaustion. The steady rise and fall of Michael’s ribcage makes him even sleepier than he would be normally. He has one arm stretched up the bed, tucked under Michael’s side, palm pressed flat between the middle of Michael’s back and the mattress. The other he uses to trace the curves and links of the rings tattooed into Michael’s right hip. His fingertips ghost over each colored circle, moving right to left. Red, Green, Black. Michael tenses, as Ryan’s fingertip grazes over the small mistake there where black should cross yellow and doesn’t. He turns his head over, pressing the left side of his face to Michael’s stomach.
“If it bothers you so much, have it fixed,” Ryan teases softly.
“They can’t tattoo yellow overtop of black, Ryan.” Michael says groggily, already half-asleep.
“No but they can color the whole thing black so that no one will notice,” he offers. Mike frowns, forehead creasing, as he picks his head up to look down at Ryan’s smiling face.
“Sometimes you can be fucking brilliant, you know that?” he says, fingers scratching through the short hairs at the back of Ryan’s head.