Apolo is amazing. The sex with Apolo is amazing. No. It's outstanding. It's exhilarating. It's all encompassing. And it doesn’t happen often enough. Only once, sometimes twice, a week. But it’s always overwhelming and once it starts JR never wants it to end. As much as the whole thing feels good, it also hurts, you know... emotionally and he’s left wrecked every time. He’s always, without fail, emotionally and physically exhausted. When Apolo leaves, JR’s usually only half-conscious and most often spread out limply across the bed. He tries not to let it affect him when he comes too fully and Apolo’s gone from the room. If they’re at Apolo’s house he’ll find him down in his office or in the home gym when JR stumbles downstairs. Then there are occasions where he’s still awake when Apolo gets up and gets dressed to leave, JR bites his tongue and says nothing. Apolo never stays the night. You’d think JR would get used to it. But somehow he never does.
Apolo pushes him back on the bed. Why is it almost always on the bed? If Apolo weren’t so aggressively sexual, JR would think he was a bit of a prude. No, he decides, it’s usually in bed because it’s soft, flat, won’t leave visible bruising to show at practice the next day, and it’s private. No one walks in on them in bed. They have sex at Apolo’s house a lot because he lives alone. There’s no one there to discover them together. So at Apolo’s house they’re more adventurous. They’d had sex on the couch, on the floor, on the desk in his office, and even, once, on the hood of Apolo’s car, safely tucked away in the garage. But mostly it still happens in the bed. Always in the guest room bed; that says it all really.
Apolo pushes him back on the bed and JR bounces there, once, twice, before coming to rest flat against the very comfortable mattress. Apolo’s on him in seconds, tugging at his pants, his mouth aggressively pressing to JR’s. JR groans, a fire alighting inside of him. He needs this. He wants it desperately. It’s been too long since last time. JR’s brain starts to go fuzzy from lack of oxygen, and he pulls away, throwing his head back and moaning. Apolo has his hands on JR’s skin already, one hand wrapped tightly around his dick, the other sliding up the front of JR’s t-shirt, nails teasing across smooth skin and hard muscle. JR tosses his head, drags his hands into motion. They tug at Apolo’s clothes with a frantic effort that makes Apolo laugh.
They break apart to tug the rest of their clothes off. And soon they’re pressed skin to skin and muscle to muscle, nothing separating them. It’s only minutes/seconds/hours later that Apolo’s rolling him over, slicking him up, and sliding inside. JR arches against the press. It hurts, but it’s a good hurt. Familiar. It’s an ache that never goes away no matter how many times they do this. One that often stays all through the next day. JR won’t be able to move for 24 hours at least without remembering. That’s sort of part of the problem. Apolo lingers, long after he’s physically gone. JR doubts he has the same effect on the other man.
They move together perfectly. Experienced, on the ice and off, with each other’s natural rhythms. Apolo knows how to make him buck; how to make him yell. He knows just how to grip his hips, and yank him back, and make him howl. He can get JR off in a minute flat or make it last for hours. Usually it’s somewhere in the middle, Apolo’s pelvis setting the tempo, keeping the pace. Apolo is never not in charge.
JR wasn’t some sad little virgin when they first started. He wasn’t terribly experienced, yet he had been past the stage where he blushed crimson anytime someone went near his dick. But Apolo had called him beautiful and hot, and made him come three times in one night. JR’s pretty sure he’d never before been that horny in all of his life. He doubts he ever will be again.
JR tries to stop it after the first few months. He’s 18 years old and he doesn’t want to fall in love. Apolo is so all encompassing that JR’s afraid he’ll fall so hard he won’t be able to climb back to his feet again. He avoids Apolo, doesn’t let himself get cornered, doesn’t answer Apolo’s calls and texts. But at the same time, he can’t get Apolo out of his head. He dreams about him at night, waking up covered in sweat, with sticky shorts, and a dick that is still half-hard. It’s like Apolo is an itch he’s trying desperately not to scratch. He can’t stop thinking about him. He can’t stop dreaming about him. But he stays strong and keeps his distance. Apolo watches him, gaze calculating. He’s planning, waiting to pounce. JR stays out of his clutches for two weeks. Then Apolo makes his move. He catches JR off guard, waiting for him to get home to an empty house to confront JR on the porch. JR doesn't stop once he sees him leaning there against the door jam, but he does involuntarily slow his walk.
“Why are you avoiding me?” Apolo asks. JR swallows thickly, reaching down to unlock the door, refusing to look at him.
“This has to stop,” he says. Apolo frowns, leaning against the door frame as JR gets it open, it took twice as long as usual.
“Why?” Apolo asks, licking his lips, looking at him THAT way. In response, all the reasons immediately fly out of JR’s head. He snags Apolo by the front of his jacket yanking him into the house. Apolo’s laughing as he bends him over the back of the living room couch.
It’s another six months before JR tries to stop it for the second time. They’re heading to Olympic trials soon. He can’t be distracted with worries over when Apolo will want him again next. It takes up too much of his brain power. He spends too much time watching Apolo during practice, trying to gauge Apolo’s mood, to figure out the likelihood of getting a call or text to come over right away. He needs to stay focused.
“How can we possibly focus, if we’re around each other all the time but not doing this?” Apolo hisses, rolling his hips into JR and making him cry out. JR can’t exactly find fault with that line of thinking. But that could be because he’s too busy coming all over Apolo’s rug, hands clawing at the imported tapestry.
After trials, JR briefly thinks that it’s finally over due to circumstance, if not choice. Apolo comes to visit him only once in the hospital, with the rest of the team, and then never again. Apolo’s finally focused on training, while JR spends all of his time recuperating from the surgery and rehabbing in Colorado. When JR gets back to Salt Lake City in mid-November, Apolo keeps his distance. But he’s still watching JR, tracking him with his eyes. And JR starts to doubt this thing between them will ever really fully be over. He briefly imagines being 50 years old, and still answering Apolo’s booty call text messages. Never managing to move on, and always ready to jump when Apolo summons him. He’s almost relieved when Apolo finally makes his move. He shows up at JR’s place, knocking on the door an hour after the end of practice, a bag of take out in his hand, and an anxious smile on his face.
The next morning JR finds the bruises on his left hip, where Apolo had gripped him so tightly the night before. The hand clamped on JR’s hip had been a necessary evil, holding his hips in place to avoid straining the still healing muscles of JR’s left thigh. He’s so relieved that Apolo still wants him he doesn’t even have time to think about what will happen next.
It’s after Christmas that JR figures out that things can’t continue on like this forever. Things will have to change after the games. How can they not? He knows more than anyone else on the team all the plans Apolo has for after the Olympics. The lecture stops, the book deal. He overhears a lot between rounds. He’ll lay curled up in Apolo’s guest room bed trying to breath, to unscramble his own brain. And Apolo will be in the armchair across the room talking to his agent, banging out deals, and setting up his schedule. Apolo makes decisions, figuring out the next stage at his life one flight plan at a time, and then comes back to bed. He never asks what JR thinks or wants. They’re not in a relationship.
JR expects it to end. This… thing, between them. How can it continue when Apolo’s anywhere but Salt Lake City? He accepts it, even though Apolo never says that’s how it’s going to be. Apolo, he has come to realize, is the one who holds all the power in this dynamic. JR kind of hates that. So he assumes it will end. You know what they say happens when you assume anything?
After the Olympics, the team heads to Washington DC. It's a traditional trip, and most of the Team USA Vancouver Olympians are set to be there. They’re due to have a big banquet, tour the capital, and meet the President. Apolo is staying in DC, while the rest of the team is being bussed an hour away to and from Baltimore. JR thinks it’s stupid. But he’s not thinking that later, when Apolo gives him that look and he finds himself taking a cab back to DC later that night, blowing off Jordan and his webcast because Apolo wants him. He wants him. And it’s been so long since last time. He barely gets any sleep the whole trip.
It keeps happening. It’s less often, not as regular, or as predictable. Apolo still has reasons to come through SLC. JR goes back to California for a while, spends time in Seattle. And somehow Apolo knows where he is, finds him, and surprises him. Apolo goes to Seattle to visit Yuki, his trip coinciding beautifully with JR’s trip home. Apolo makes his new home in LA, but finds reasons to go down to Long Beach, to Berkeley, to wherever JR happens to be. And it keeps on happening until JR begins to dread the knock on the door as much as it makes him eager and ready, dick hardening before Apolo’s even had a chance to touch him.
“So… what is up with you and Apolo?” Jordan asks, muting the TV. He gets away with it because that is the type of relationship they have. The type of friendship where JR can tell him anything and it will stay between them. Jordan gives pretty good advice too... on occasion. But this? JR doesn’t know how to respond to an inquiry about this particular topic, because no one has ever asked before.
“Don’t know,” JR says stuffing a handful of chips and guacamole into his mouth. It’s a cheat day he’s going to fucking enjoy it. Jordan eyes him carefully, grabbing a chip from the bag and digging into the salsa. It’s his mother’s recipe.
“He doesn’t make you happy,” Jordan says, eyes staying fixed on the TV this time. JR’s back in Park City getting geared up and ready for another World Cup Season, but he's newly back, Apolo hasn't come to him here yet.
Usually after morning practice half the team would be piled up around them fighting over the remote and chucking empty water bottles at each other’s heads. Today everyone else had strangely blown it off, having other somewhat mysterious plans, and JR begins to feel just a bit cornered. He’s usually better at sniffing out a set up.
“It’s not his job to make me happy,” he replies, his face reddening with humiliation. He feigns nonchalance, and licks sour cream off the side of his thumb, ignoring the way his phone dings between them on the coffee table, a text message lighting up the screen. He lets himself eye it once, before flipping it over upside down and pushing it across the table away from himself.
“Hey,” Jordan smacks him in the back of his shoulder, and JR blinks at him in misplaced annoyance. “That doesn’t mean he gets to make you miserable. Dude, you deserve to be happy.”
“A gold medal will make me happy,” JR says, dropping his eyes and clenching his jaw. His phone buzzes again, rattling against the glass of the coffee table. Jordan nods, eyes assessing. He stares for a minute, before letting out a loud sigh.
“True. It’s your life man. I just don’t want you to regret not getting out earlier. I’m here if you ever wanna talk about it.” Jordan reaches for the remote and turns the volume back up. JR doesn’t have anything to say to that, so he reaches again for the guacamole, and when his phone buzzes again he picks it up and hurls it across the room. The sound of shattering plastic is oddly satisfying. Jordan's silence speaks volumes.
It takes him two days to get a new phone. When he imports his contacts he almost, but ultimately doesn’t, delete Apolo’s numbers. Afterwards he feels so pathetic he sets both numbers to ignore.
It's on day four with no communication that he walks into the locker room and finds Jordan there, phone pressed to his ear while he dries off after his shower.
"No, he's fine. Perfectly healthy," Jordan says. He rubs the towel over his head, nearly dropping his cell in the process. "I don't know Apolo, maybe he just doesn't want to talk to you," he snarks. JR freezes in place. "Dude, that is not my problem. I have his back in this situation. If he's not answering your texts and calls there must be a good reason for it." He pauses then, listening to Apolo talk for a moment. "Don't you think this is probably a conversation for you to be having with him?" He pulls the phone away from his ear, and JR can hear the distant shouting from 10 feet away. Jordan rolls his eyes and puts the phone back to his ear. "Hey, dickweed, grow the fuck up. He's an adult. I'm not his babysitter. If he doesn't want to talk to you maybe you should man up and accept that. If you're going to treat him like an asshole, you can't expect him to be fine with that forever. Now I gotta go. Call me when you aren't being such a whiney ass little baby."
Apolo shows up on day eight. It's Saturday afternoon. They'd finished their afternoon practice session and JR had gone home with the plan to spend the rest of his weekend on his couch. He had briefly contemplated going on a hike for some fresh air. He had imagined reaching the top of the trail, with a clearer head and the certainty that he hadn't made a horrible mistake, but had ultimately decided that's would be just to much work. He'd rather stay home watching mindless amounts of TV until he has to go back to the oval on Monday morning. The knock on the door is almost a relief at this point. JR is ready for it to be over, and he'd suspected a face to face confrontation would be necessary. He'd been hoping to put off a little longer though.
Apolo looks tired, there are bags under his eyes like he hasn't slept and he looks tense, almost jumpy. JR opens the door and slumps against the door frame, suddenly exhausted himself.
"Hello," he says. Apolo's brow furrows.
"If you're going to be a jackass and break up with me you can at least be a man about it and say it outright. Tell me what I did to piss you off instead of treating me like a one-night stand who won't go away. You're being a little shit, JR, and I expected better of you," Apolo's tone is harsh, angry, but there's no real fight in him, and he looks more defeated than anything. JR blinks at him in confusion.
"I'm not breaking up with you, Apolo. You have to be dating someone in order to break up with them," JR states this matter-of-factly. And Apolo's jaw actually drops open in wounded shock.
"What the fuck!?" he says, voice raising in indignation. JR stands up straighter then, pulling the door open and stepping back in silent invitation. Apolo moves quickly past him. "What the actual fuck!?" Apolo asks again. "How can you say that?" he asks turning to face JR as he closes the door, locking it in automatic reflex. JR moves to the living room, back to his couch nest, Apolo following behind.
"Because it's true?" JR says in confusion. "We're not in a relationship. If we're not dating then we can't break up. I'm choosing not to be your fuck buddy anymore. My ass, my choice."
"My fuck buddy?!" Apolo says. He's pacing in front of the TV, looking more like a lion in a cage than ever before. "Jesus, JR. You're not my fuck buddy! You're my boyfriend! We've been dating for three years! How can you say you're just my fuck buddy?" He stops pacing to stand and look JR dead on, hands on his hips, and JR sinks back into the couch, stomach filling with lead.
"We aren't dating Apolo. We don't go on dates. No one knows about us. You're not like in love with me. We fuck around a once in a while. And even that has been less and less since you moved away. This isn't a relationship."
"The fuck it isn't! We were in training JR. Going out on dates wasn't something we ever had a lot of time for. But we did go out to grab dinner. To go on hikes just the two of us. We snuck out for ice cream, and we even caught a few movies together. I thought you liked hanging out at the house, or here watching stupid TV shows or the Seahawk games together. And everyone who matters knows about us! My dad knows. Your parents know. The coaches know. Everyone at the Oval knows!"
"The coaches? My parents?!" JR asks in real confusion.
"I talked to Jae Su, Laurent, and Jimmy right at the start. I wanted them to know it was happening so there would be no surprises. They deserved to know," Apolo says. "So did your parents."
"They deserved to know?! I didn't fucking know!" JR replies.
"You should have! I mean, do I seem like the kind of guy to be out having casual sex? In the lead up to Vancouver I measured every calorie, logged every bit of energy expenditure. You think nights with you weren't factored into my routine. John used to yell at me to stop being so fucking spontaneous." JR nearly choked.
"John knew!?" JR asks. Apolo deflates.
"He used to make me eat extra protein when I got home, and would yell at me for being late for my bedtime," Apolo says, sounding more like a well-scolded child then a full grown adult. He flops down on the other side of the couch, arms folding across his chest, eyes looking straight ahead. JR stares at the side of Apolo's head, and feels like the whole world has been tilted on it's axis.
"If this was a real relationship, why didn't we ever talk about it?" JR says.
"You were never really seemed very vocal about feelings or making declarations. Or so I thought. You were so young, practically too young, when it started. I didn't want to push you, or pressure you. You always shied away from making any concrete plans. So I sort of tried to play it by ear. I didn't want to scare you off by being all possessive so I thought it was, you know, low key, but definitely real. I mean, I haven't been with anyone else this whole time." He looks at JR out of the corner of his eye. "Have you?" he asks, ducking his head and looking away again. He's afraid of the answer JR suddenly realizes.
"No," JR answers. "No one else could really compare to you. I thought," he frowns. "I thought that I didn't mean anything to you. That I was just convenient." JR can't look at him after that. He can feel Apolo moving closer on the couch hesitantly, but he doesn't move away.
"JR, there is nothing convenient about this relationship. There never was. Not really. The last thing I wanted to do in the year before my last Olympic games was fall in love with a hipster teenager 8 years younger than me, and just as good on the ice."
"Fall in love?" JR asks. His voice is soft, just a little awed, and endlessly hopeful.
"Yes. Of course. I know I haven't said it. I... I didn't think you wanted to hear it. We're in such different places in our lives, and I didn't," Apolo's cut off by JR's mouth crashing into his, teeth knocking together through lips sure to be bruised. JR shoves at the blankets balled up around him, and pushes his whole body over into Apolo's space to sit astride his thighs. His hands feel greedy for Apolo's skin, his hair, his warmth. He grips Apolo by the sides of his face, tilting his head up further, tongue reaching out to tangle with Apolo's. Apolo's hands slide around his waist, tugging his whole body in closer. JR feels desperate for him, like he's been starving, withering away for weeks, without Apolo's touch and taste and presence. He wants to eat Apolo alive. And isn't that just a little bit dramatic. The best part is that Apolo seems just as frantic, just a deprived and greedy for the feel of JR's skin. They only break the kiss when they start to get light headed from lack of oxygen, mouths disengaging to take deep sucking breaths of air. JR keeps close, his forehead pressing to Apolo's, eyes scanning across reddened cheeks and messy hair with rapt interest.
"Why always at your house?" JR asks. Apolo smiles softly, eyes closed in happiness.
"No roommates," he answers, nosing at JR's cheek like a happy puppy.
"Why always in a bed?" he asks. Apolo's eyes ease open to look at him.
"No injuries," he replies. "We are.. Were... are Olympic level athletes," Apolo teases.
"Why always in your guest bed? Why never in your bed?" JR asks, and his tone or the question's implication must give Apolo pause, because he pulls away to look JR dead in the face.
"My bed's memory foam. We tried it out once that first week I got it, remember? You hated it, you said it felt like you kept getting sucked into the mattress. It felt like we kept getting stuck," he reaches for JR's face, and the memory comes back like a flash. Of struggling to pull himself out of the hole their combined body weight kept making in the mattress top. He had despised that mattress. He closes his eyes, wincing. The memory making himself feel like a complete idiot all over again.
"Wow, I really fucked this up didn't I?" Apolo asks. JR shakes his head.
"I think that particular blame really falls on both our shoulders." He readjusts his place in Apolo's lap, legs burning just the littlest bit from the pull of his position. Apolo must read the discomfort in his face, because he laughs, tugging JR's left knee into a more natural position, JR's hips are tugged closer to Apolo's by several more inches in the process.
"Do you need to start doing dryland stretches before I come over?" Apolo's voice was warm, teasing.
"Shut up," JR says shaking his head and diving back in for another kiss.
Soon, Apolo's got him on his back, sprawled down the length of the couch, hands tugging up his t-shirt. JR's arching up into Apolo's kisses when something from earlier pops back into his head. "Wait... you said my parents know?!"