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Stephenie Meyer Got It All Wrong (But What Else Is New?)

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JR didn't remember it that well. He remembered the injury clearly, but the aftermath, not so much. He'd lost a lot of blood, he was in a lot of pain, and he was on enough drugs to almost not care about the pain, so. Yeah. He remembered, vaguely, waking up after surgery to his mom crying and the doctor saying something he didn't even pretend to understand, and then he passed out again, uncomprehending. It was like a nightmare.

The second time, the haze was a little less, but it still didn't feel real. When he opened his eyes, Apolo was standing near the window, just a dark shape in the dim light, fidgeting, shifting from foot to foot, nervous in a way JR had never seen him before. "You hate hospitals," he remembered, and it came out in a drugged slur.

Apolo was at the side of his bed in a heartbeat, leaning over him and brushing his hair from his face. “Hey, you're awake. Don't--don't try to move, okay?"

"What--"

"Do you remember what happened?"

Yeah, JR remembered, in a kind of sickening level of detail. "Yeah," he mumbled. "Cut my leg." Apolo’s hand was warm, and JR turned his head into it without thinking about it. "It was like a rainbow."

"Yeah," Apolo said softly, still stroking his hair. There was something faraway and unreadable in his face, but suddenly his expression sharpened, and JR was reminded what it was like to be the focus of Apolo's almost fierce attention, of the sharp mind that hid behind the yawning and the sleepy eyes. "It's not good," he told him. "They're saying you might not walk again. You definitely won't skate. They don't realize it yet, because they don't know skaters, but I got a look at your chart." JR stared up at him, lost, uncomprehending, some part of his brain that was clearer than the rest whispering, Shouldn't a doctor be telling me this? Where's my mom? The second part, at least, made it out of his mouth, because Apolo said, "I asked her to let me talk to you alone. Listen, JR. I have to--I--" Apolo pressed his lips together and looked away, and just for a second, JR could swear he saw a flicker of gold in them. It'd happened a couple of times before, and JR had always written it off as a trick of the light, and Apolo’s lighter brown eyes. But the hospital room was dimly lit. Maybe it was the drugs.

Apolo looked back into his eyes, then, and said, "I know you're hurting, I know you're drugged to the gills, but I need you to listen to me, okay?" JR nodded, scared to speak when Apolo had that laserlike, looking-for-the-pass focus. "What if I could make it so you'd heal better? I can't make any promises, I can't guarantee you'd be able to go to Vancouver, but you wouldn't--you wouldn't be--crippled. This wouldn't ruin everything."

"You mean like...like experimental?" JR tried, struggling to wrap his head around what Apolo was saying. "USOC won't like that, prob'ly," he said, resigning himself to his fate.

"They won't know."

JR felt a chill run through him, cutting right through the drug-and-pain haze. Whatever his idol was wrapped up in, it didn't sound good. "'Polo, what--you can't--"

"No! God, not like that," Apolo said, and took his hand out of JR's hair, scrubbed it over his face and inhaled deeply. "I'm doing this all wrong. Okay." He took another deep breath and said, "I'm a werewolf."

JR blinked, slowly. They must have really given him the good drugs. "Heard you wrong, man."

"No," Apolo said, and he was so, so serious. "You didn't. JR. Look at me." And he did, and Apolo's eyes--Apolo's eyes were yellow.

"I don't understand," JR whispered, staring, unable to look away.

Apolo blinked, and his eyes were back to normal. "I know. I know you don't. I'll tell you anything you want to know, later, when you're not drugged up, I promise, but right now I need you to make a decision."

"What...what do I have to decide?"

"JR. I can make you a werewolf. You'll heal better. But it has to be now, before your leg can heal wrong."

"Werewolves aren't real." Apolo just looked at him. Okay. Werewolves were real. Apolo Anton Ohno was a werewolf. This was insane. "What about--"

"The full moon thing is bullshit," Apolo said, and JR wondered if his talents extended to mind reading. "But we do have to stay away from silver. It doesn't show up unless someone runs a DNA test, and usually there are people who can keep that from happening. I'll help you. I promise."

JR knew he was missing a lot of the implications; wished he could have a clear head, but he couldn't, and he thought about his life stretching out before him, months and months of therapy, and then--what? Crutches? Or a wheelchair, even though he still had one good leg? And never again the ice slipping away behind him as he whipped around the track. "Okay. What do I have to do?"

"Nothing. Just go back to sleep. I'll take care of it."

"Y'gonna bite me?" He wondered if Apolo had done something to his IV, because he felt suddenly heavy with sleep. Or maybe it was just that his hand was back in JR's hair, stroking it, soothing him down.

The last thing he heard before he slipped back into the haze was, "No. They'd notice that. I’ll tell you later."

***

Over the next couple of days, JR started to feel better. At first he just attributed it to being slowly weaned off high-bore painkillers, then he noticed how much more powerful his senses seemed to be getting, and began to realize that hadn't been a crazy morphine-induced dream after all.

By the time he was discharged, he understood one hundred percent why Apolo hated hospitals. The sheer number and variety of sick-people smells had been driving him crazy.

The day after he got home, he was laying on the bed in the downstairs guest room where his parents had set him up to take stairs out of the equation, flipping through a magazine, when he heard a knock at the door and, "Hi, Mrs. Celski, is JR up to company?"

He could smell him, the minute he walked into the house, ice and fur and pine trees, nothing like he'd ever thought Apolo smelled before. When Apolo reached his room, he said, "Hey, JR," and started an easy patter about how JR looked good, how was he feeling, did they have him on the good drugs, until he'd shut the door and JR's mom had gone back to the kitchen, and then he dragged the chair over beside JR's bed, sat down, and said, "You really do look good."

"Bullshit," JR told him, because he did have access to a mirror, and Apolo grinned, just with one side of his mouth. "You're a werewolf."

"Yeah. So are you. The full moon thing really is bullshit, but you need to change at least once a month, and I guess it's easier for some people to keep track that way. I want you to wait until your leg's healed a little more, and then I'll. I don't know. Talk you through it. I've never done this before and it shows, huh?"

"No, you're totally suave, man," JR told him, and Apolo rolled his eyes at the sarcasm. "How are you a werewolf?"

Apolo shrugged. "Born this way. My mom. It's complicated, okay?"

Everything about Apolo's mom was complicated. He'd perfected the art of brushing off any and all questions about her to the point that most people didn't realize he avoided the subject. JR had figured it out a while ago, but it was better to play along than push, because Apolo's next stage in not talking about his mom was being a defensive jerk about it, and JR needed him to not be a jerk right now. "Yeah it's complicated, you're a werewolf. Hold on, you have a silver medal."

"Sure. You can't just say, 'No, thanks, I'll pass, I'm allergic,' when they want to give you one. And those things are pretty damn close to pure silver. The gold ones are gold plate over silver, too, but that doesn't matter as long as you don’t manage to scratch the plate off. I don't carry it around with me. When I have to wear it there's a couple of layers of clothes between it and my skin, or I try to handle it by the ribbon, but really the worst that'll happen unless you have any cuts on your hands is that it'll make your skin crawl. If you ever get anything pierced, do not put anything silver in it, don't let anything silver near any open cuts, and keep away from crazies with silver bullets. Or knives. Guy I heard about, last year he--never mind."

Apolo really was kind of bad at this, JR thought, but, whatever, it wasn't like he'd gotten to choose. 'No, I want a better werewolf to bite me.' Except he hadn't bitten him. "You said you weren't gonna bite me."

"I didn't."

"Then what did you do?"

"Do you really want to know?"

"Uh, whatever it was, it made me a werewolf, yes I want to know, so I don't accidentally do it to someone else."

"It's pretty gross."

"So's my leg, and I have to look at it every day. I have a picture on my phone from before they sewed it up, wanna see?"

Apolo paled, then made a face. "No, thanks. Okay, look, the reason a bite makes someone a werewolf is because it carries the stuff that's in our spit into the bloodstream. Getting it into a cut will do the trick, too." He stopped talking. JR suddenly got it.

"You licked me?" Apolo turned red. "You licked my leg. Oh my God. That is so gross."

"I told you. It didn't taste real good, either, they swabbed the wound with all sorts of nasty shit."

"How did you even--"

"Well, I couldn't bite you, you came into the hospital without any hickies, someone would have noticed and then your mom would never have let me near you again, because I couldn't very well tell her, 'Oh, no, Mrs. Celski, I didn't molest your son, I just turned him into a creature of the night."

JR had been nursing a crush on Apolo since before puberty, and somehow this felt like an opportunity, but what came out of his mouth was, "I don't think it counts as molestation when everyone's legal."

"You were drugged out of your mind. Unable to give consent or whatever."

"And you still made me a werewolf when I said 'yes.'"

"I had to be on a plane in four hours and by the time I saw you again it'd already have started to knit. If you're mad at me for it, I'm sorry, but I didn't know what else to do."

"I'm not mad," he admitted. "I know you were helping. I just...isn't it cheating?"

"No. I mean, I'm not--when I'm human, I'm just. Me. It's not like in the movies, I can't lift cars or anything," he scoffed. "Sorry. You get the better senses, you heal better, and you can turn into a wolf. That's it."

After a while, Apolo went home to let him get some rest, but JR was pretty much sick of resting by this point and was just bored out of his skull. He lay there and thought of Apolo's laser focus, of the way he could look calm and bored and then tear up the track. The way he stalked from behind and struck at the last second. The way he wouldn't hesitate to take another racer out if he thought he could get away with it. He'd always thought that was just…Apolo, and maybe it was, but: Apolo was a werewolf. He'd always been a werewolf. How would he know how to be any other way? So much made sense, now, and he wondered if Apolo even realized. Apolo was right, it wasn't cheating, it was mental instead of physical and it was just how he was, but it was like he was naturally primed for short track.

JR didn't know what he thought about that, and wondered if how he saw the world was going to change, too.

***

The day before JR was supposed to leave for Salt Lake City, Apolo somehow conned his parents into going out for the night, promising he could keep JR from falling over and ripping his leg open again or whatever.

The second they were out of the house, he turned to JR and said, "Right, so you need to change."

"What's wrong with what I'm wearing?"

Apolo gave him a 'how are you so stupid?' look and said, "No, you need to change." Oh. "You can feel it, can't you?" Apolo asked. "Like an itch you can't scratch?" And the thing was, JR could. He hadn't thought about it, really, not with the heavy throb of his leg always present and driving out most other concerns, but he'd felt it for days. "It's just gonna keep getting worse until you change. You could go a little longer before you just go crazy, maybe, and maybe with your leg it'd be better, but I can't make it down to Salt Lake City in a week or two, and God knows that's where you need to be. So we've got at least three hours now, so let's make the best of it." Apolo was babbling, and seemed to realize it. "Right. So how does this thing come off?" he asked, examining the brace that kept JR from moving his leg and ripping it open again.

"There's velcro. Uh. Is this gonna fuck my leg up?"

"We're going to try to keep that from happening," Apolo said, and JR got it. Apolo was scared. That was fine, JR had been scared for weeks now.

"I don't know what to do," JR whispered.

"That's okay. Your body does," Apolo said.

"Does it hurt?"

"No. As long as you don't move your leg too much." Apolo frowned at it. "Oh, and I'd take off those clothes, unless you just want to ruin them." JR gave him a dirty look and yanked his shirt off.

He hesitated before unwrapping the gauze and peeling the bandage off his leg, but tape on fur didn't sound like fun, and, he reminded himself, it wasn't like Apolo hadn't seen it before. At its worst, even, right after it was stitched together and still kind of oozy, when it had looked like something from Frankenstein's lab. And he'd licked it. That was still gross.

"Okay," Apolo said, crouching down beside him on the floor and spreading out one hand on JR's knee, the other on his upper thigh just above the wound. JR could smell the fear on him, because if this went wrong--well, that was it, wasn't it? JR was done, and this had been for nothing.

Also, JR's parents would totally never leave him alone with Apolo again.

It was kind of soothing, in a weird way. JR was scared, but it was like it was okay to be scared because Apolo was, too.

"Okay," Apolo said again. "So just. Relax, okay? Your body knows what to do. Just let go and let it."

JR laid back and breathed deeply, and tried to relax. "This is stupid," he said after a minute or so, and then, suddenly, something caught and changed deep inside.

It didn't hurt, but it felt like everything was twisting, like his body was wrong and didn't fit all of a sudden. He was aware of Apolo pressing his bad leg down to the floor with both hands and his entire weight, telling him not to fight it, to ride it out.

And then it was over, and his leg hurt, and he was something else entirely from what he'd been a minute ago. He whimpered, and Apolo said, "I know," his fingers digging into the thick fur on Johnny's leg as he inspected the wound. "I know. When you're all healed up, maybe we can go running sometime. I think you'll like that. This looks okay. Try and get some sleep, okay?" JR gave him a look he hoped managed to convey incredulity, that he was a wolf and holy crap. "Yeah. Just. You can't move around on that leg." JR figured he could move around better now than he could before, what with having three other legs to use instead of one, but Apolo was the expert here. Apolo settled down on the floor, his back against the bedframe, and grabbed the remote to turn on the TV, his other hand buried in the thick fur at the back of JR's neck. It was...nice. "I'll keep an eye on the clock."

***

By the time the rest of the team started filtering in from their various home bases for Olympic training, JR's race against the clock had begun in earnest. He had lost fifteen pounds, mostly in leg muscle, and the other guys shot him dirty looks about it, sure, but he kind of enjoyed that their nutrition plans were basically rabbit food, trying to slim down their body fat percentage just that little bit more, while JR's involved massive amounts of protein to give his body the building blocks to put that muscle back on, mostly in the form of iron-heavy red meat. That was to say, steak. Lots of steak.

JR was fine with this, both on a nineteen-year-old boy level and on a new level--the wolf liked red meat any way it could get it.

Apolo arrived on a Tuesday. JR didn't see him right away, because he arrived when everybody else had free time and JR had more gym time. But he knew he was there when he got back to the dorm. There was a certain smell the skaters had, ice and sweat and some sort of chemical tang from their skinsuits, and then there was the fur-and-pine smell that was Apolo. JR had talked to him on the phone a lot, because he had about fifteen million questions and Apolo was the only one he knew who had answers, but it wasn't the same. He thought about tracking Apolo down, but his leg was kind of hurting and he'd been working at not coming across as a crazy stalker since he and Apolo started racing the same meets and the press caught hold of the 'skating against his idol' thing. Plus, if it came up, he couldn't think of any way to explain how he'd known Apolo had arrived that didn’t involve the werewolf thing or lying through his teeth. So he waited until dinner. They all saw each other there, too. By the time Vancouver rolled around, JR figured they'd be sick of each other.

Apolo had steamed fish and vegetables, like most of the skaters, and he narrowed his eyes at JR's steak like he was thinking about staking a claim to it, or possibly just grabbing it and running like hell. "Seriously?"

"I don't have that much more time to build back muscle. Seriously. I'm starting to get sick of it, honestly." Apolo gave him a look of 'liar,' and his eyes flashed gold, just for a second. JR was totally going to have to figure out how he did that.

"He's in the gym every minute he's awake, though, so it's kind of a trade," Travis said, having completely missed Apolo's little trick. Thank God.

"You're taking care of yourself, right?" Apolo asked, and Jordan said something about when had Apolo turned into his grandmother.

JR just grinned and said, "Yeah. I'm taking care of myself."

***

It was weird. JR didn't really remember the first time he knew Apolo, when he was little and Apolo was a kid playing with his brothers. As he has it from the stories he could get his family to tell later, Apolo went kind of wild, turned into someone his mom didn't like having around, and when JR was five Apolo's dad sent him to Lake Placid and he stepped out of their lives.

He wondered, now, how much more there was to that story than he knew--and he knew so much more than the press already.

And then they were watching the Salt Lake City Olympics on TV and he knew that one of his brothers' old friends was going to be competing, that he was kind of being hyped six ways from Sunday, but he didn't know, not until he saw Apolo race and thought, I want to do that, and it was just so weird that Apolo fell out of his life before JR was old enough for his presence to really even register, and now he'd shaped JR's life in so many ways without even meaning to, and in one major way entirely on purpose.

The thing was, becoming a werewolf didn't turn JR into a different person, but he could sort of see things in a different light now, like he'd become fluent in another language or something, and so much of Apolo's douchery just made sense. The way JR saw it, Apolo thought at least half like a wolf, and he was a loner most of the time. He just wasn't very good at being a loner. He was a wolf, he needed a pack, and not just his dad, either. That was where the short track team came in, but he wasn't around them all the time, and when he was, he was engaged in a continual dominance battle no one else realized was going on, trying to stay alpha when no one else actually wanted the title.

He kind of wanted to tell Apolo, "Okay, seriously, you know that just because I beat you in a few races last year doesn't mean I stopped respecting you or something, right?"

They snuck out a couple of times, took Apolo's car out of the city, and went running--okay, more like jogging, since JR's leg was still a little questionable and Olympic ice was so close they could all taste it. JR was a little bigger than Apolo when they were both wolves, which he guessed made sense. He was a smidge taller than Apolo when they were both human-shaped.

On one of those runs, Apolo started chasing a rabbit, but he let it go. JR asked him about it when they got back to the car and changed back to human, and Apolo admitted frankly that if he'd caught it he'd have killed and eaten it, but he was pretty sure 'bunny' wasn't on his diet plan. "You know that's gross, right?" JR asked, even as part of him was very interested in the idea.

Apolo shrugged. "It's instinct." Then he hesitated. "I know I'm not much help...adjusting. I know some people. I could give you their e-mail addresses or whatever."

"No," JR said. "That's okay." The thing about Apolo was that all of this was just normal for him. He might not know what it was to adjust to it, but he was a whole lot of help in not feeling like his whole life was turning upside down. "Can I ask you a question? It might be rude, I don't know."

Apolo hesitated, the line of his back tense and wary for a moment, before he shrugged his sweater back on and said, "Sure."

"What do I smell like?"

Apolo turned, clearly relieved by that question. What the hell had he been expecting JR to ask? "You smell like you," he said, like it was the most obvious thing in the world. Maybe it was to him. "Ice and sweat, like the rest of us, mostly."

"And wolf."

"And that," Apolo agreed.

JR grinned at him. "So are there really werewolves in Forks?"

"There's meth in Forks. You know this. Come on, let's get inside, man, it's cold."

***

Apolo, in his great and infinite werewolf wisdom, completely forgot to tell JR that by the way, a whole bunch of other things were real in addition to werewolves, and the Olympics would be kind of lousy with them, until they were actually on the plane to Vancouver. It made sense, when he thought about it. That there would be other supernatural whatsits in Vancouver, not that Apolo would forget to tell him, although, Apolo, so that pretty much made sense too. Werewolves were naturally primed for competition, as JR had already figured out; other things could be, too, and any gathering of the world's elite athletes was bound to involve a few of those things. "Just...try to keep your head down, okay?"

"What's that supposed to mean?" JR hissed, but then Simon started to wake up and they couldn't talk about things that weren't supposed to exist any more.

He started to get a picture of what he was about to walk into when they were going through US Olympic Team inprocessing and he ran into Johnny Weir. He'd never met the guy in his life, but this much his nose knew: Johnny Weir was not human. "I know I'm fantastic, but it's rude to stare," Johnny said after a minute or so had passed.

"Uh."

"Johnny, JR, JR, Johnny," Apolo said, sounding bored. "You share a name." Then he seemed to realize there was a problem because he said, "Oh, yeah. Johnny's a fairy." JR blinked, started to say something about how horrible that was to say, then realized Apolo was serious.

"Excuse you. Half-elf," Johnny corrected. There was something about his ears, JR realized. At certain angles, they looked pointed, but when he turned to check for eavesdroppers they were normal, rounded human ears. Freaky. He noticed JR looking and said, "Yeah, the spell's not my best work, but I don't have a lot of oomph. It does its job, though." He turned his attention to Apolo. "You told him? Must be serious."

"He's a werewolf."

"You told him before you bit him, then?"

"I didn't bite him."

"He licked me," JR said helpfully.

"Okay, how does that work?"

"He had a six-inch gash in his leg."

Johnny wrinkled his nose. "Gross. Well, fun as this has been, I have to go be somewhere no one's talking about gashes, so...watch out for Evan. I think he's hungry."

"He's not a vampire!" Apolo called after Johnny. "He's not a vampire," he told JR. "Or he wasn't the last time I saw him. Johnny just pretends he is. I have no idea why."

So that was the beginning of it. At the Opening Ceremony, there were at least five other werewolves, but Apolo said they were bobsledders and one cross-country skier ("Lone wolf," Apolo said, something dark in his face, and, "Keep away from him," and that was all he would say), and would be going up to Whistler the next day, so JR shouldn't worry about it.

Thing was, JR was too swept away by the spectacle to wonder why Apolo even thought he might be worried, and the next day they were gone, and it was just him and Apolo and the several other flavors of weird walking among the unaware human population of the Olympic Village, and they had the 1500 to skate, so, whatever. On Saturday, nothing mattered except skating, except proving to everyone that he might not be back to top form, but he was fit for Olympic ice despite the massive, ugly scar on his thigh (people kept stealing glances at it in the locker room, because they were fuckers), and proving to Apolo that he'd made the right decision. He knew just stepping onto the ice was a major accomplishment, but he wanted to win, dammit, he wanted an Olympic medal, and he pushed and pushed until he was in the medal round, against Apolo and three South Korean skaters. He kind of figured he was fucked at the exact moment he wound up with all three Koreans plus Apolo in front of him, and then coming around the last turn two of the Koreans took each other out, and it might not be the most glorious medal ever, but fuck it, this was short track, you took your victories how you got them, and no one was bleeding on the ice, so JR put the flag someone handed him on like a cape because in that moment he was Superman, and flung himself at Apolo, laughing with disbelief and joy.

He was back. He was back, and he was an Olympic medalist.

When the NHL hiatus started, a huge chunk of the hockey players came, and with them several more werewolves.

That made even more sense than the Olympics being kind of full of magical beings; of course werewolves would thrive in a team sport where bloodshed was considered a normal occurrence. JR halfway expected them to bring vampires with them, since apparently those were real, too, but Apolo scoffed and said there were no vampires at the Olympics. "Why, do they burn up in the sun?" JR asked. "Do they sparkle? Please tell me they don't sparkle."

"No," Apolo said, like that should have been obvious. "They're just paranoid fuckers."

The problem was that all the hockey player werewolves seemed to be kind of. Interested. In JR. No one hassled him or anything, but he'd be in the food court and suddenly feel like someone was staring at him, and turn around to find a Russian giant sizing him up or, worse, Apolo glaring at said Russian giant. "Please do not start a fistfight with an NHL defenseman," JR went so far as to request one time, eyeing a guy the size of a wall and trying not to be obvious about it. "Because you will lose."

Apolo snorted and cuffed him on the back of the head, which forced JR to stop looking at the other werewolf, even sneakily, and said, "That's what you think."

"Dude. Were you growling?"

"No," Apolo lied. JR stared at him until he said, "Shut up and eat your yogurt."

He thought about asking if this was some sort of alpha thing, but there was a distinct possibility that Apolo would laugh and tell him they didn't work like that, and to stop reading trashy fantasy novels or whatever, and completely fail to explain how they did work, because: Apolo. That was just how he rolled.

On Friday, JR smelled a werewolf that wasn't Apolo outside his room, which he thought was weird, because their entire floor was Team USA and he and Apolo were the only werewolves. But, whatever, people had friends, and with half the NHL being here people had guys who were going to go back to being their teammates in a little over a week, too. It wasn't the first time a stranger werewolf had been down the hall.

And then he opened the door and nearly walked into the Swedish guy Apolo had glared down a couple of days before. "Uh," he said eloquently. "Hi. I have to get to practice, so if you could just..." The guy didn't move.

"You are new, yes?"

JR deliberately misunderstood. "It's my first Olympics, but we got here as soon as the Village opened. Are you looking for something?"

The guy muttered something in Swedish and walked off. So that had been weird.

In the locker room, Apolo sort of sniffed when JR walked in, and shot him a look JR couldn't interpret, but then one of the coaches was paranoidly asking if Apolo was getting sick, because if Apolo got sick they were fucked, and Apolo was too occupied with calming Coach down and assuring him those Nyquil and Dayquil commercials were strictly fictional and for the Benjamins; Apolo was totally fine, ready to compete and go out there and win some more medals for his country. And by country, JR teased as they headed for the ice, he meant 'trophy case.'

Then, that evening, he was leaving his room for dinner when he smelled yet another werewolf. Which still probably wouldn't have gotten his attention, because it wasn't the guy from earlier, and this one wasn't standing outside his room being creepy, except the guy was in Apolo's room, and Apolo had been glaring at the hockey player werewolves like he'd rip their throats out if they got within twenty feet of him all week.

So JR leaned against the wall across from Apolo's room and waited.

A few minutes later, Apolo escorted Scott freaking Niedermayer out and froze, blinking at JR. "I'll see you around, man," Niedermayer said, and headed down the hall.

"So something is going on," JR said, "and I don't get what it is, but I bet you do."

"Don't worry about it," Apolo said. "I've got it under control."

JR rolled his eyes and stalked past Apolo into his room, because hello, public hallway. "This morning that Swedish guy was waiting outside my room for me. It was seriously creepy. Is it because I'm new?"

Apolo's shoulders kind of collapsed, and he exhaled before admitting, "Yeah. Kind of. They all know how they all fit into the hierarchy of things. You're new. To them, and--"

"In general."

"Yeah. So they're sizing you up."

"They don't know you either," JR pointed out.

Apolo's chin tipped up, just a little. "I'm not new. I know where I stand."

JR blinked at him a couple of times, then said, "Okay, you know you sound like a jackass, right?"

"I'll have to work on that harder. But seriously. Don't worry about it. I'm responsible for you."

"I'm not a kid," JR muttered, but Apolo just rolled his eyes.

"You are to them. Come on. Are we going to eat or what?"

***

There was a problem, aside from the creepers from the NHL: the coaches had pretty much had them on lockdown for a couple of weeks before they came to Vancouver, and now that they were here, well, JR knew Vancouver and the surrounding area better than most of the team--except Apolo, of course--but he still didn't know where to go to get out of the way, and besides that, he was rooming with Simon. Apolo was cool about the whole thing, because Apolo had his own room with a door that locked, so he could do whatever he wanted in there, be a freaking wolf, bang groupies, whatever. JR had heard that a whole lot of sex went on in the Olympic Village, but he hadn't believed it until he got here.

Enhanced senses were a bitch. Especially when you were nineteen years old, going crazy on another level, your coach was enforcing celibacy, and you were surrounded by world-class bodies. Not that JR wanted any of those bodies besides one belonging to a guy who treated him as something between a little brother and a puppy, but he wasn't blind.

He was fine on the ice, able to fall into the rhythm and, yes, the hunt, stalk from the back, strike at the last second, but off the ice he felt jittery, that itch he couldn't scratch getting worse every day. Most people took it for Olympic nerves, and some people even made jokes about popping his cherry. JR usually came back with something about how he'd been there and done that, and had the bronze medal hanging on his bedpost to prove it. But Apolo knew, and kept shooting him wary looks. "Do you want to hang out in my room tonight?" Apolo asked on the bus back from the rink after the 1000 meters.

JR glared at the bronze medal still hanging around Apolo's neck, thought about his totally bullshit DQ, and said, "No, I'm good."

"Are you sure, man?"

"I'm good," he said again, more forcefully, and Apolo held up his hands in surrender. The once-a-month thing was more of a guideline than an actual rule, Apolo had explained eventually; he had a little leeway. He was pretty sure he could get done with the Olympics and get out of Vancouver before his body decided it had had enough of this human-shaped bullshit and he either went crazy or turned into a wolf at random or, you know, both.

Both, Apolo had said, would be bad, but JR had pretty much figured that one out on his own, thanks.

***

JR would be leaving Vancouver tomorrow with two bronze medals. It wasn't the glorious Olympic debut he'd hoped for, maybe, but it was more than a lot of people would be leaving with and a lot of things, including the definition of 'an overwhelming success' had changed in September. He was packed up, and now all that was left to do was go to the Closing Ceremony, spend one more night here, and go home.

He'd just ceded the shower to Simon when a knock sounded at the door. Apolo. "Hey, man, how was the game? You lucky bastard, it looked awesome on TV."

"Yeah, it was great, can I talk to you for a second?"

Okay. Weird. "Sure, what's up?"

And then Apolo shoved him against the wall and kissed him. "I swear I'll explain," he mumbled against JR's mouth. "Later."

"What--"

"This is going to hurt." He yanked the neck of JR's t-shirt aside and bit down, hard, at the join of his neck and shoulder. JR almost yelped, because fuck yeah it hurt, but Apolo had just been kissing him, and if he was going to do some more of that JR didn't want to risk doing anything that might bring Simon out of the shower and ruin that. Apolo did kiss him again, a quick sweep of his tongue into JR's mouth, and then he let himself back out the door.

JR stood there until he caught his breath, then he yanked the door open, stepped across the hall to Apolo's door, and shouted, "What is wrong with you?" No answer came, so JR swore and went back to his room to get ready for the Closing Ceremony, since now he had to get his shirt on before Simon got out of the shower. He winced when he peeled off his shirt--Apolo had really bitten him, making up for just licking his leg before about tenfold. He'd even broken the skin in a few places, forcing JR to break out the first aid kit to avoid bleeding on his oh-so-prep Closing Ceremony ensemble. The bruise, once it rose, was going to be magnificent. He could feel it every time he moved, and at the same time as he was in full conceal the massive hickey and get to the bus on time mode, he couldn't stop thinking: Apolo had kissed him. Like he meant it.

He was going to do more than explain later, if JR had anything to say about it.

***

The staging-up area of the parking lot where the athletes would wait to march in was pretty much chaos. The various countries had signage up for gathering points, but no one was paying a ton of attention to them, since this was the 'everybody comes in together for a giant party' part of the events. JR tracked Apolo down by smell, and the first thing he said was, "Hey, guess what, Lysacek's not a vampire. The spray tan smell was throwing me off, but I'm sure now. That other guy is, though. I've gotta call Johnny."

"No, seriously," JR said, his brain barely hesitating over a brief detour into, What other guy? "What is wrong with you?"

Apolo laughed and slung his arm around JR's shoulder, his hand resting squarely on the bite mark, and he leaned over and said, low and soft, into JR's ear, "Did you know you smell like me, since September? Just a little bit, I mean, but you do, and it drives me crazy. So I'm kind of an idiot, and I thought you just smelled turned on all the time because you're nineteen and we've been on enforced celibacy, but then I talked to someone who told me you don't smell like that when I'm not around. Did you know that?" There was a distinct possibility JR was going to either kill him or try to make out with him, right here. "There's a whole bunch of guys here who want you, you know, because you're new, and you're young, and you're--" Apolo paused, inhaling deeply through his nose, smelling him. "Absolutely gorgeous. But they can't have you. Because you're mine." He said it like he was stating simple, obvious fact. JR turned his head to look into Apolo's eyes, practically nose to nose, and Apolo was smiling broad and cheerful like he'd just seen a wicked awesome hockey game, like he was going home with more medals than any other American ever, but his eyes were positively smoldering.

"Can we talk about this?" JR said in a voice that cracked. God, he was such a kid, but in his favor, this was pretty much a full-on, unexpected SWAT team assault on his senses.

"We can. Or we can go back to my room after the party and I can fuck you senseless." Apolo squeezed his shoulder and pulled away to say something to Travis and Jordan as they walked up. JR had no idea what it was, because he was trying to keep his face from giving away that he was stunned stupid, and calm down enough to move without jumping Apolo. What the hell.

Whatever. He just had to get through the Closing Ceremony. It couldn't be that bad, right?

***

It was that bad. JR was sure that under normal circumstances giant inflatable beavers and Russian ballerinas and French-Canadian pop singers would have been perfectly enjoyable--well, no, he wasn't. It wasn't anything against the organizers, it was just. Not his scene. The giant beavers had been kind of entertaining, but most of it was just. No. Nickelback? Really? No.

It was even less his scene when he could smell Apolo no matter where he went in the crowd, and apparently Apolo could smell how turned on he was. He wished he'd known that before, but he figured it wouldn't actually have helped. He would've just been embarrassed, and possibly more turned on.

He was contemplating attempting to set Avril Lavigne on fire with his mind when Apolo suddenly popped out of the crowd next to him and said, "Ready to get out of here?"

"Yes please."

"Great."

"I should text Simon," JR said as he followed Apolo back through the crowd.

"Yeah, let him know he's got the room," Apolo said. "I saw him flirting with a figure skater." Then he wheeled around and said hesitantly, "I mean. If."

"Wouldn't want Simon to not get any," JR said with a crooked grin.

The buses back to the Village ran every half-hour, on the principle that some of them had bedtimes and/or early flights. Apparently it was still before most people's bedtimes, or Avril hadn't driven off that many people, because their bus was only about half-full. Apolo and JR sat next to each other anyway. They were friends and teammates; they were allowed.

As soon as Apolo's door was shut and locked behind them, Apolo was pushing him up against the wall, kissing him again, licking hot and wet and slick into his mouth, pulling at his lower lip with his teeth. "Are you sure?" Apolo asked, and JR almost laughed.

"I've wanted you pretty much since I knew what sex was, you bastard. You knew?"

"You're a teenager. I thought you just had," Apolo nipped at his neck. "Overactive hormones. How do you make this outfit look good?"

"I could ask you the same question." The sweaters obviously had to go first thing.

JR hadn't been, like, pining or anything, he was nineteen, he was a world-class athlete, and he wasn't horrible looking: he'd had sex before. This was different, and not just because it was Apolo. This was something halfway between making out and a fight. JR got his own in, biting at Apolo's shoulder in payback for the mark from earlier and scratching his short nails down his back, but he was the one who wound up on his back on the bed, and some part of his brain that wasn’t going sex sex sex knew it was significant when he tipped his head back and let Apolo lick and nip at his throat, but seriously, he didn't care. Apolo could be dominant or alpha wolf or what the fuck ever, JR did not care. "I want to fuck you," Apolo said against his throat. "Can I fuck you?"

"I thought that was already the plan," JR gasped, rocking up against Apolo.

"It never hurts to be clear about these things," Apolo murmured, nipping at JR's collarbone before he shifted to grab lube and a condom out of the bedside table.

"Thought they ran out of those."

"They did." Apolo brandished the foil packet, which wasn't one of the plain ones distributed by VANOC. They'd foregone the logos to make them not free souvenirs, but the damn things had disappeared at light speed anyway. "They always run out, so I planned ahead. They have these things called 'drugstores' in Canada." JR laughed and pounced, starting another short tussle that ended with Apolo back on top. "You drive me crazy, you know that?" Apolo asked. "You're so gorgeous. And that damn tattoo. I can't not look at it." Apolo slid down his body, but completely bypassed his cock, going straight for his left leg. JR had spent a lot of time poking at the scar once it had healed, experimenting with the contrast between the weird lack of feeling scar tissue always had and the too-sensitive edges, the places that remembered the damage. "Does it hurt?"

"Sometimes. When I push it too hard, usually." Apolo made a soft sort of, "mm," noise and lowered his head to lap just around the edges of the scar, at that border between nothing and too much. Context, JR thought, it was all about context, because this was about the opposite of gross. "Oh my God." Apolo chuckled against JR's thigh and guided his other leg up so he could slide one slick finger into him while continuing his ministrations on his thigh. "Oh my God."

"Relax," Apolo said, because, no, JR wasn’t a virgin, but he hadn't done this in a while.

"I'm relaxed."

"No, you're not." Apolo looked up JR's body at him, his eyes gone briefly wolf-gold. "Relax." He slid his finger in and out a few times, then crooked it experimentally and JR almost came off the bed.

"That's not really going to relax me, you bastard." Apolo just grinned and slid another finger in, then slid his hot, wet mouth down over JR's cock, and JR lost track of things for a few minutes. Eventually Apolo added a third finger, and then he pulled out and off JR's cock and reached for the condom, and something occurred to JR: "Do you need that?" Apolo arched one eyebrow at him. "I mean. We already exchanged bodily fluids."

"Good point," Apolo said, his eyes flaring gold again, and tossed the condom over his shoulder and away. "Is it gonna hurt your leg if you're on your knees?" JR answered by turning over and getting up onto his hands and knees, and then finally, finally, Apolo was pushing into him. "Fuck, you're tight."

"Shut up and fuck me," JR suggested. Apolo seemed to think that was an excellent suggestion. He started off slow and deep and then went fast and hard, until they were both dripping with sweat and JR was making little noises in the back of his throat, practically whining, but refusing to outright beg.

Apolo wrapped one hand around his dick, pressed his face to the nape of JR's neck, and said, "C'mon, c'mon," as he jerked him off and fucked into him, "C'mon," and then he bit down on the back of JR's neck and he gasped and came, Apolo following right after him. They collapsed to the sheets in a sweaty, dazed tangle, and JR just lay there for a moment, catching his breath, Apolo's hand in his hair. He felt more relaxed than he had in weeks. It was over, the Olympics were over, he had two medals and Apolo Anton Ohno. Apolo smiled, sleepy and sated, and said, "You can, you know. It's safe, and I'm here."

JR didn't even have to think about it to know what he was talking about. He sighed and closed his eyes and let his body twist and change around him. He drifted off to sleep as a wolf, with Apolo still in his human skin beside him, one hand buried in the fur over JR's heart.

***

He woke up slowly, just as dawn was beginning to turn the windows a paler shade of grey. Apolo was talking, and even though he had to know when JR woke up, he didn't stop. "...was, you know, I was going to be so good. I wasn’t going to say anything, I was going to give you up. I mean, I'm twenty-seven, and you're, fuck, you're going to Berkeley in the fall. And then I couldn't."

JR turned to him, shifting to human as he did, so that he could look into Apolo's eyes and say, "Maybe you weren't supposed to give me up," and kiss him, slow and easy.

The sky was substantially paler outside when Apolo stretched out next to him, boneless, and said, "Mmm. Now you really smell like me."

JR laughed. "We need showers. And I need clothes." At least his walk of shame would just be back across the hall. "Think Simon's got a girl in there?"

"Possible," Apolo said. "Be sneaky."

"I have to cover all of this, you bastard. I have to meet my family for breakfast."

"I'm supposed to meet my dad. I'm having waffles. Possibly with whipped cream." Apolo thought about it. "Definitely with whipped cream. Don't you own a turtleneck?"

"It's packed."

"Don't you own a scarf?" Apolo asked without missing a beat. "You're a hipster, you have to own a scarf." JR hit him with a pillow, and he laughed. "God. I want to run. I have all this media and all these places I have to go and I just want to take you out to the national forest or something and run." He stretched until his back popped.

"Yeah," JR said. "That sounds…about perfect."

"We'll make time," Apolo promised.

"Is this it? I mean. Are you done?"

Apolo frowned up at the ceiling and admitted, "I don't know. It feels like...it feels like I should be. I set all these records. I got you here. I'm already one of the oldest guys around. But I've never wanted to be anything else, you know? So...I don't know."

"You've got four years to decide." JR grinned. "In the meantime, just don't get fat."

Apolo poked him in the side. "Bite me."

"Did that." JR yawned. "Hey."

"Mm?"

"Is Johnny Weir really a half-elf?"

Apolo laughed, then said, "You know what? I'm really not sure. I mean, he says he is, and obviously he's something, but I've never met, like, an actual elf. And it's always possible he's fucking with us."

"Huh."

"Yeah. Okay, come on, up. Showers, clothes, breakfast."

"Don't wanna."

"I know, but if we stay here long enough, we'll miss our flight. Or our families will come looking for us and find us naked."

JR scrambled out of bed. "Okay, I'm up." Apolo laughed at him. JR ignored him; pulled on the absolute necessities of modesty from his Closing Ceremony ensemble, bundled the rest under his arm, and then dropped it all and came to sit next to Apolo on the edge of the bed.

"Hi," Apolo said, his tone questioning.

"So, okay, here's the thing. Don't flip. I don't like lying to my parents."

Apolo thought about it. "They'll flip. I mean. I assume that's what people do when you tell them things like...this." He paused then said, "Assuming we're talking about the werewolf thing and not the." Apolo gestured with one hand in a way that was presumably meant to indicate something like 'sex.'

"Yeah, they're probably going to flip over that, too. You never told anybody?"

"Just you. And you were--"

"Drugged out of my mind, right."

"Maybe we could tell them both at once. Get both your dad's heart attacks over with at once."

"We?"

"Yeah. We're in this together." Pack, JR thought, and, yeah, something more. "Go," Apolo said, giving him a shove. "Shower. Dress. Time to rejoin the real world."