It was obvious something was wrong as soon as Johnny walked up to pick up his registration for Nationals. He was given his pack and the usual speech, but then he and Galina were ushered into a room behind the registration desk. Inside were a hell of a lot of faces Johnny recognised and he took a seat somewhere near the back. He was running late, so he had registered later than he had wanted and it looked as if almost everyone else was there before him.
Johnny shrugged at Galina and pulled out his phone, settling in for what was clearly going to be a wait.
"Hello," was the word that brought him back from tweeting and chatting to Tanith and he looked up to see someone on the little stage at the front, "sorry to have kept you all waiting."
Quiet descended over the room; skaters could be an unruly bunch, but not when it was important.
"My name is Harry Potter," the man at the front said, "and I'm a member of the British police force."
Johnny sat up and began to pay attention; this was clearly going to be interesting. Harry was average height, had black hair that was either artfully styled or completely wild and the most stunning green eyes. Since Johnny could see them from where he was sitting, he had to assume they were magnificent close up.
"My apologies for having to bring you all here when you all want to be settling in, but we have a security situation you all need to be aware of," Harry continued speaking.
On the screen behind him the face of a man of about sixty appeared.
"This is Braken Parkinson," Harry said and Johnny did his best to pay attention to what was going on and not how nicely Harry's pants lined the curve of his ass when the Englishman turned and indicated the photo, "and he is, in the vernacular, a very bad man. I am head of the task force charged with bringing him to justice. While I will not bore you with his crimes, this briefing is to warn anyone who may see him not to approach him."
The situation was beginning to sound far too serious for Johnny's liking.
"Parkinson comes across as a perfectly rational and ordinary human being, but he is not," Harry continued to explain. "He enjoys causing other's harm and our intel says he has picked this event for his latest game. If any of you see him, please report it to any member of the security staff immediately."
It was more than a little shocking; usually the most dangerous thing about a skating event was how many divas were in the same building.
"There are information packs for all of you," Harry said and nodded at one of his associates. "Please, don't worry too much, but do be alert. Does anyone have any questions?"
Johnny saw Charlie White put up his hand.
"Why did he pick here?"
It was a question Johnny wanted answered as well.
"From what we can tell, it's the most highly publicised event occurring in this part of the world at the moment," Harry replied as if he had expected the question. "Parkinson enjoys an audience."
Johnny stuck up his hand; it just seemed too weird.
"Why is this man even in the USA?" he asked as soon as Harry acknowledged him.
"He fled the UK just before we closed in on him," the bespectacled man replied in a very efficient tone. "He had relatives in this area, which is why we believe he came here."
It all sounded so reasonable, but Johnny couldn't help thinking something was odd. There were a couple of other questions, but nothing that really gave any more information and Johnny left with everyone else, feeling more than a little dissatisfied by the whole situation. However, as he headed for his hotel room he realised he had more important things to worry about, after all it was his big comeback year.
Having leafed through the information pack, he put it away and mentally shook himself. He had a competition to win.
All the extra security had everyone a little jumpy, but Johnny was doing his best to ignore it. So far it seemed to be working and, since he was in second after the short program, he was in a buoyant mood, even if he did just want to sit down for a while. He knew his free program was spectacular, like nothing the judges would have seen from him before and now he had to focus on that. The fact that he was ahead of Evan made him want to giggle very ungraciously, but Jeremy was currently looking on better form than both of them, so he needed to focus.
Johnny looked in his bag and sighed; he'd left his gloves in the changing room. Turning, he began to walk back the way he had just come. When he stepped round the corner towards the locker room all thoughts of focus flew out of his head. The only person who had been left in there when he walked out had been Adam, but Adam wasn't inside anymore. In fact Adam was in the corridor, only Adam wasn't walking and Adam wasn't being carried, Adam was floating. Adam appeared to be unconscious and he was hanging in mid air behind a hooded man who had a stick pointed at the young skater. Johnny couldn't help it, he made a noise of shock and instantly the man looked up at him. All Johnny could see was some sort of mask and his self preservation instincts kicked in.
He did what any self respecting figure skater would do, he threw a skate at the man's head and yelled at the top of his lungs for help.
His aim was off and he only managed to hit the other man on the shoulder, but he must have broken the man's concentration, because Adam fell to the floor with a rather sickening crunch. The stick also went sailing onto the floor, where the man dived after it; Johnny just kept yelling.
When he heard footsteps coming from behind him he had never been so glad to hear anything in his life. The man in the mask didn't seem so pleased and ran in the opposite direction just as Agent Potter and another one of his men rounded the corner.
"He went that way," Johnny said and pointed.
"Stay here," Potter told his subordinate and then disappeared after the fugitive.
That was the point where the adrenaline began to wear off a bit and Johnny realised he had seen things that just weren't possible.
"He was floating," he said, waving his hand at Adam, "in mid air, he was just floating."
"Everything is under control now, Sir," Potter's subordinate said, which was no use whatsoever, "just try and stay calm."
Johnny wanted to hit him, but settled for going over and checking on Adam instead. He'd done basic first aid in the dim and distant past; very useful for training, but he didn't know enough to do more than check that Adam was breathing. There was a rather large welt above Adam's right eye and Johnny had had feeling the young skater was going to have a nasty case of concussion when he woke up.
Pulling off his jacket, he lifted Adam's head and put it under it as the officer of the law stood around looking helpless. He was beginning to think their extra security were really odd, which brought him back to the whole floating thing and he almost freaked out.
Johnny looked up as Agent Potter reappeared.
"He had this stick and somehow he was making Adam float," he said before he could talk himself out of it.
It was only as he looked properly that he realised there was a very similar looking stick in Potter's hand.
"Oh," he said.
"Sorry, Mr Weir," Potter said and lifted the stick thing. "Obliviate."
Harry watched Johnny Weir's eyes go blank. He hated it, because those eyes were usually so alive. He wasn't a figure skating follower, but he had noticed Johnny the moment the man had asked him a question in the event briefing. If he hadn't been so busy trying to keep idiot wizards and witches from giving away just how little they knew about the Muggle world he might have been very interested.
When he had been sent to the US and then put in the middle of a Muggle sporting event he had almost quit on the spot, but Parkinson was a very dangerous man. At least Harry had half a clue how the Muggle world actually worked, unlike a good percentage of the men and women who were supposed to be backing him up. The whole situation was a magical nightmare waiting to happen.
"You saw a man carrying Adam Rippon out of the men's changing rooms. You defended yourself and Adam and the assailant ran off," he said with his wand still trained on the skater.
Johnny nodded and Harry ended the spell, slipping his wand back into his sleeve.
"Completely gone?" Johnny asked as if they were just continuing the conversation.
Harry was pretty sure Parkinson had fled outside the anti-Apparition wards and then fled to wherever he was holed up in the area.
"I have men searching now," Harry said in his best professional manner, "but I think, more importantly, we need to get Mr Rippon some help."
The way Johnny just went along with him was a common effect of shock, but Harry had the feeling that it would not stay that way for long. Throwing a skate at Parkinson had taken real guts. He had Johnny make a statement as Adam Rippon was carted off to the hospital and then there was the joy of dealing with the press. Parkinson was proving to be even more slippery than Harry had imagined and there was absolutely no sign of the Death Eater anywhere.
It took three hours to get everything sorted out, by which time Harry was getting to know Johnny quite well. The man who was currently second in the men's competition, as far as Harry could gather, was beginning to come back to his normal temperament by the time they were finished. Johnny was nothing if not helpful, but Harry could tell there was annoyance bubbling under the surface.
Harry had been chasing Parkinson for three months now, ever since the man's crimes had come to light back at home. When other Death Eaters had given up or just disappeared, it seemed Parkinson had had other ideas. The man had been prosecuted after the war and done a short spell in Azkaban, but he had appeared to be small fry. As they had found out, however, the man had just gone underground with his crimes. Parkinson was a serial rapist and murderer, the like of which Harry had never personally dealt with before and the man targeted Muggles.
That was why, when Johnny started making noises about returning to his hotel, Harry made a quick decision. Leaving Bachelor, his second in command, in control of the hunt for Parkinson, Harry decided to handle Johnny's situation personally and make sure there were no repercussions.
"Johnny," he said, Johnny had insisted on first names almost straight away, "I can take you back to your hotel now if you would like."
Johnny looked kind of surprised.
"I can just get a taxi," the skater said and looked around at the organised chaos of the incident room.
"I'm afraid you're stuck with me," Harry replied with a smile, "from now until we catch Parkinson consider me your bodyguard."
He had hoped to gloss over that for a while, but it was not to be. Johnny appeared shocked.
"Parkinson is a class one psychopath," Harry replied with a nod, "and you upset his plans. He has a penchant for revenge, so I will be making sure he doesn't get the chance."
Johnny paled a little at that, but the spirit Harry knew was under the surface was clear in the skater's eyes.
"And I thought my quad was the worst thing I had to worry about," was Johnny's dry comment on the matter.
Harry smiled again; he knew all about being a target and he was thoroughly impressed with Johnny.
"I'll worry about Parkinson, you just worry about the skating," he replied and indicated the way out.
It took ten minutes to get through the reporters who all wanted Johnny's version of events, but they did eventually end up in the car Harry had requisitioned. It took another twenty minutes to make it through traffic to Johnny's hotel, but it all went without incident, which Harry counted as a plus.
The gaggle of girls who pounced on Johnny as soon as Harry and Johnny stepped into the lobby delayed them for another ten minutes, but Harry learnt even more about his companion in the short time. Harry had never been very good with dealing with the general public as a celebrity; he had always been embarrassed and shied away, but Johnny seemed to have it down to an art form. By the time they actually made it up Johnny's room, Harry had to admit he was a bit of a fan himself.
Of course that didn't change the fact that Johnny was just about vibrating with tension, Harry could see it and he wasn't exactly sure how he could help. Well, technically he could think of several ways, but seducing victims of a crime was frowned upon. Johnny had put on a good front for his angels, but it was beginning to crack in private.
"Do you fancy some dinner?" Harry asked, since it was about the only innocent thing he could think of to suggest. "I can ring down and have one of my guys bring us something up."
Dropping his bag on the bed, Johnny finally turned and looked at him. There was something raw in the figure skater's eyes and Harry felt as if he'd been snared.
"I'm not hungry," Johnny said and stepped towards him.
When Johnny grabbed him by the tie and pulled him in for a kiss, Harry didn't exactly object. The back of his mind that sounded far too much like Hermione most of the time was yelling 'unprofessional' at him, but the rest pretty much went with the flow and kissed back. He even let Johnny back him up into the nearest wall, where they did their very best to devour each other.
He was more than a little surprised and disappointed when Johnny growled and pushed away from him.
"Sorry," Johnny apologised, not looking at him, "it's the shock ... it ... you've been eyeing up my ass for the last hour and ... I ... I can't do this."
"Johnny," Harry said gently and caught the other man's arm, "just breathe, it's okay."
His body was throbbing with need, but he had better self control than that, so he took a deep breath. Johnny did look up at him then and he could still see the longing there, but Johnny seemed to have himself firmly under orders.
"Why don't you explain why you think we can't do this?" Harry suggested.
He was nothing if not willing to take risks.
"Competition," Johnny said, reluctantly pulling his arm away; "my coach has rules and would kill me. My coach is a scary, scary woman and more frightening than you."
That made Harry smile, at least it wasn't something he had done.
"I better go and have a shower or something," Johnny decided after a moment, "try and relax."
Harry was pretty sure figure skaters with shoulders that were as stiff as a board wouldn't do too well in competition anyway, so he had an idea.
"Look," he said, before Johnny could wander away, "how about a massage."
That earned him a very pointed look.
"You are aware that is the oldest trick in the book," Johnny sounded unimpressed and Harry laughed.
"Honestly, I swear," he replied, "your virtue is safe. I actually had lessons a few years ago and I've been told I have magic hands."
He wiggled his fingers in an encouraging gesture.
"Your back's ramrod straight," he added in a cajoling tone, "you need to loosen up for tomorrow."
"Next you'll be telling me sex is good for relaxation," Johnny said and raised an eyebrow.
"It is," Harry replied with a grin, "but you have my word of honour as an employee of Her Majesty's government that I will not make any inappropriate attempts on your person."
That actually made Johnny smile for the first time and Harry liked that smile.
"But what do you get out of it?" Johnny asked and put his hands on his hips.
"Well I get to see you semi-naked," Harry replied, perfectly happy to flirt outrageously, "and I'm sure we can come up with something for after competition."
That drew a rather thoughtful expression from Johnny and Harry felt himself being scrutinised carefully.
"I don't like being in debt," Johnny finally said and Harry tried to not be too disappointed, "so I have a better idea."
Harry was somewhat shocked when Johnny pushed him against the wall and then knelt down.
"What?" he asked as Johnny reached for his belt buckle.
Johnny gave him a very mischievous grin and Harry could see the tension already beginning to leave the younger man.
"I'm not allowed to have sex," Johnny said, clearly pleased with himself, "but that doesn't mean I can't help you along. If your hands are as good as you say, it should be a good trade."
It appeared Johnny was very direct when he wanted to be, because before Harry could so much as comment on that plan, Johnny had him out of his underwear and in hand. Thanks to the whole kissing and arse ogling Harry had been doing, it didn't take a huge amount to bring him to full attention. In his opinion it was Johnny's hands that were the clever ones. He barely even saw the condom before it was rolled over his erect cock and then Johnny was sucking him and sensible thought became way overrated.
"Oh Merlin," he groaned out as he discovered that Johnny mouth was clever at more than just talking.
"Never been called that before," Johnny commented as he pulled off and then grinned mischievously and dived back in.
Harry could have been forgiven for forgetting his own name for a while under the onslaught. Johnny showed him that that innocent face hid a whole expanse of skill as he was sucked, licked, nibbled very gently and basically driven completely to distraction. Several times he wished he had been lying down, because his legs were shaking very dangerously. His reactions would have been embarrassing if Johnny hadn't been simply that good.
He finally had to do something, so laced his fingers in Johnny's black hair, Johnny hummed cheerfully and Harry almost lost it on the spot. If they gave out gold medals for blow jobs, Harry was pretty sure Johnny should be on top of the podium. It was so intense that his orgasm actually took him by surprise and that hadn't happened since he was a teenager. He literally saw stars and came as Johnny sucked him until he couldn't take it anymore.
Every nerve in his body was jangling and he could barely catch his breath.
"Stop," he begged as Johnny enticed aftershock followed by aftershock out of him, "please stop."
When Johnny finally pulled off, he had a very smug expression on his face.
"You, Mr Weir, are evil," Harry said as his nose even tingled.
"All figure skaters are overachieving perfectionists," Johnny told him with a wicked smile; "we take everything very seriously."
Harry had the sudden vision of a whole army of figure skaters all on their knees competing to give the best blow job known to man; it didn't help his equilibrium at all.
"Evil, totally evil," he said and slid down the wall.
Johnny laughed and sat down next to him. If nothing else, the younger man did look more relaxed than he had done.
"Give me a few minutes and I'll make good on my promise," Harry said and wondered if he had the motor control to tidy himself up yet.
"I'll give you as long as it takes me to freshen up," Johnny said with a smile and then bounced up and towards the bathroom.
A bonus, was it seemed to have taken Johnny's mind off the whole Parkinson situation so Harry counted it as a win/win.
"So," Johnny said, pushing himself up on one arm and giving Harry a dangerous smile, "what's the story."
It was difficult to miss that Johnny's eyes were on his wedding ring. Harry had spent over an hour giving Johnny the best massage he knew how and they had been lying on the bed cuddling for a while. Johnny seemed to be a very tactile person and Harry wasn't complaining, even if he knew it couldn't lead anywhere.
"Long and complicated," he replied and twisted the ring a little.
"It's not as if we have anywhere to be, Honey," Johnny came back almost instantly.
Harry didn't talk much about his personal life with anyone outside the family, but he liked Johnny. He was also aware that Johnny was very unlikely to ever repeat anything he heard. Before flying out, he had researched all the American ice skaters and he knew quite a lot about all of them.
"Schooldays romance," Harry said and smiled fondly to himself.
Those had been some crazy times.
"Separated?" Johnny asked gently.
"Nope," Harry replied and gave Johnny his full attention, "very happily married actually, we have three children. When I told her about you she made me promise to let her know if figure skaters were as flexible in bed as on the ice."
Johnny actually appeared shocked and Harry wasn't really surprised; his and Ginny's relationship was not exactly conventional.
"When did you have a chance to tell her about me?" Johnny asked, eyes wide in surprise.
"About ten minutes after I first saw you," Harry admitted with a grin. "Even police men are allowed to have goals."
That drew a genuine laugh out of his companion.
"So an open marriage then?" Johnny did not seem to be able to curb his curiosity.
"Sort of," Harry replied with a shrug, "like I said, it's complicated."
The way Johnny was looking at him, Harry knew he was not going to get away with that.
"Okay," he said with a smile, "Ginny, that's my wife, and I fell in love when I was sixteen and she was fifteen. It was a difficult time and it gave us this kind of unbreakable bond. Unfortunately, when we came to the part where we actually had sex it did nothing for either of us."
"Really?" Johnny asked, he sounded fascinated.
"Not a thing."
It had possibly been the most awkward sexual experience of Harry's life; he remembered it very clearly.
"We were a bit worried for a while, but I have this friend who knows everything about everything and she figured it all out," he continued, since he was now into the explaining so deep there was no backing out. "Most awkward conversation known to man, but Hermione knew her stuff. Ginny doesn't really like sex. She likes the touching and the cuddling, but it's about the companionship for her; she doesn't get aroused. Given that I was under the impression I was straight at the time, I assumed I was the same and that's why we had been drawn together. We loved each other, we both wanted a family, so after school we got married anyway."
"Awww, that's so romantic," Johnny said and Harry could almost see the hearts in Johnny's eyes.
"It wasn't long after that Ginny noticed what had completely escaped me."
"Girls do nothing for you, but boys are an entirely different matter?" Johnny guessed.
Harry smiled to himself. "Precisely."
It was still difficult to believe how blind he had been.
"My wife sat me down and explained to me I was gay," he said, remembering the day vividly. "Then she set me up with one of her brothers."
Johnny's mouth fell open.
Harry shook his head.
"Nope," he replied and grinned; "she set me up with Charlie, her second oldest brother. Told us to have fun and that I should come back when I'd worked out the sexual tension. Of course she was right. Now she vets all of my potential fuck buddies and demands massages and hair brushing when I'm at home. I'm just very discrete because of the kids; they're not old enough to understand yet."
At that Johnny nodded.
Johnny woke up to the sound of knocking on his door and realised he was wrapped in strong, warm arms. It was a nice way to wake up.
"Johnnik," Galina's voice came through the door and he was suddenly very awake.
"My coach," he said, freeing himself from the waking Harry and slipping out of bed.
Normally when he opened the door on competition days Galina would just hand him pomegranate juice and tell him when to be downstairs, so he wasn't prepared when she stepped into his room. She did have a glass of juice in hand, but her eyes zeroed in on where Harry was still in bed.
"We didn't," he said before Galina could accuse him of breaking the rules, "Harry is being my bodyguard and he just shared the bed."
"Really?" Galina asked in a tone that suggested she was not convinced.
"Good morning, Ma'am," Harry said as if on cue, climbing out of bed and pulling on a pair of pants, "I apologise for my state of undress."
They had both ended up wearing t-shirts and underwear to sleep, a precaution Johnny was now very glad of.
"He was going to sleep on the couch," Johnny said and pointed to it, "but can you imagine a human being on that thing."
It was only a two-seater and it was a good excuse, even if Harry had never even suggested it.
"And if you need any more proof," he added, downing the juice to appease his coach, "wedding ring."
Galina never had to know that Harry had been perfectly happy to sleep with him.
"How long do I have?" he asked, hoping that swamping Galina would give him more of a chance of getting away with no more questions.
"Twenty minutes," Galina said, but placed a hand on his arm. "You are well, yes?"
Then it dawned on him that he hadn't spoken to anyone since the night before and there had been press everywhere on the way back to the hotel. The whole story had to be all over the place by now. He placed his hand over Galina's and nodded.
"I'm fine," he promised faithfully, "and Officer Potter is making sure I stay that way. He's even a trained masseur, some sports therapists could learn a thing or two."
The way Galina looked at Harry then was not friendly and Johnny knew he needed to make sure his coach understood him completely.
"Not that I didn't want more," he said, switching to Russian, "but the massage was perfectly innocent. Harry is the only reason I got any sleep last night and he was the perfect gentleman."
He suffered under Galina's scrutiny for a good thirty seconds until she finally nodded.
"Downstairs, soon," was what she said, before pecking him on both cheeks and leaving.
To some it would have seemed simply strange Eastern European behaviour; to Johnny it said quite how much Galina had been worrying about him. Standing up straight, he put himself in the correct mindset for competition; he had a title to win.
"Now I know why you had willpower last night," Harry said from behind him; "your coach is enough to scare anyone off sex."
Johnny just smiled; he needed a coach as fierce as he was.
Johnny was on a high; he was in first place. It was incredible, amazing in fact, and he headed back to the locker room as fast as he could, because he didn't want to jinx it. Jeremy hadn't skated yet and neither had Evan, but Johnny wasn't just in the lead, he was well in the lead with a very good score. Anyone else was going to have to be on perfect form to beat him. It was possible, but he had done everything he needed to do.
When Harry was there to escort him right to the locker room door he couldn't help grinning at his almost lover in what was probably a very salacious way. He wasn't quite sure if a blowjob counted as making another guy a lover or not, but that didn't really matter, because he had every intention of making it completely irrelevant as soon as possible.
"You were amazing," Harry said and genuinely seemed to mean it.
"And no more competition for a while," he replied, deciding that the hallway was private enough for what he wanted to do.
Out of the corner of his eye he saw the locker room door open and the perfect person appeared in the corridor. He would have known that ridiculously tall frame and propensity for black anywhere, even without a proper look.
"What do you think of the idea of continuing what we started last night?" he asked, pretending he hadn't seen Evan a few feet away.
"Well I am your bodyguard," Harry replied with a grin that probably matched his for wickedness, "but I'm on duty for a few more hours."
Johnny had a sudden flash of Harry in a uniform and it did nothing to help his self control.
"How about just a little kiss to keep me going?" he asked and leaned in without waiting for permission.
With his skates on he was taller than Harry, which was novel and Harry didn't object in the slightest when he initiated the kiss. There was nothing little about it and Johnny let himself sink in to the passion.
"Get a room, Weir," Evan said spitefully and all but pushed past him.
When he looked round Evan was glaring like he had just done something unforgivable, so Johnny smiled sweetly back.
"Oh I intend to, Lysacek," he said in a perfectly pleasant tone, "I intend to."
Evan headed to the rink looking very out of sorts and Johnny couldn't help feeling pleased with himself.
"You know," Harry said when Johnny turned back to face the man he had every desire to screw through the wall, "he pays far more attention to you than is healthy."
Johnny shrugged and gave Harry another peck on the lips.
"We've been competing against each other through all our formative years," he said, but he was much more interested in what he and Harry would be getting up to once the competition was over, "it's a small world. I'm probably the most interesting thing in it."
That made Harry laugh, which was precisely what he had intended. He liked Harry, the Englishman had a very well developed sense of humour.
"Well, since I have escorted you and your ego safely to the locker room," Harry said, still smiling, "I must bid you farewell. I need to check in with my people, but I'll be back to make sure you get safely to the medal ceremony."
That made Johnny beam; he liked that Harry had faith in him.
Watching the final skaters was not a torture Johnny put himself through. He remained safely in the locker room waiting to find out the result. When Evan opened the door and beckoned to him, he didn't think anything of actually going over. It didn't occur to him to wonder why Evan would want to speak to him. What he really didn't expect was for Evan to not be waiting on the other side of the door. When he stuck his head out, Evan was further down the corridor at another door and beckoned to him again.
"Lysacek," he said, not interested in playing games.
Evan just glared at him and beckoned. He really wasn't sure what made him move, but somehow Evan had always been able to make him do things for no good reason. Making an idiot of himself in the press had happened a couple of times and he followed as Evan disappeared. It was only as he walked into another room and he heard someone whisper something that he realised all was not well. Evan was just standing there and the door behind him banged shut.
The light in the room suddenly became brighter and that was when he saw the man he had seen attack Adam. The man seemed even taller now and imposing; his mask showing under the dark hood. The man was holding some sort of stick and something about it screamed danger. Fear raced up Johnny's spine and he couldn't help looking at Evan. He had seen a lot of blank expressions on Evan's face before, but nothing like the nothingness he looked into at that moment. It was completely obvious that something had happened to Evan, something bad.
The door wasn't that far away and Johnny couldn't stop his eyes from betraying his plans.
"If you run I will kill him," the masked man said and pointed the stick at Evan.
He was terrified; this guy was a certified crazy and Johnny seemed to have all his attention. Something insane was going on and Johnny couldn't explain it and he couldn't get away. A stick should not be dangerous; a stick should be just a stick, but the stick seemed to be able to do things. Something tickled at the back of Johnny's mind; something that said, 'you have seen this before'. It made him believe.
"I had the perfect spectacle planned," the lunatic told him, waving the stick in his direction. "It would have been magnificent, but you had to go and ruin it."
Johnny had nothing to say; he had no idea how to talk himself out of this one.
"I..." he tried.
"Shut up," said the very English voice.
He snapped his mouth shut so fast his teeth clicked together.
"Potter won't get here in time now, though," the masked man said and laughed. "This time you pay."
Then the man said something that sounded like 'cruise control' and a flash of light came straight at Johnny. When it hit he couldn't help himself; he screamed. His body was wrenched from his control and it felt as if every nerve was registering pain. He'd broken bones before and it felt as if each bone in his body was being broken and reset over and over again. His skin felt as if it was being flayed off of him and his heart and lungs seemed to be being ripped from his body and shredded at the same time. Nothing in the world could have prepared him for the agony and it seemed to go on and on and on, forever.
When it stopped, he found himself face down on the floor, arms and legs twisted at unnatural angles where he had fallen. All he could do was sob in relief that the pain was gone.
"People go mad in minutes." He whimpered as the masked man spoke to him, "let's see how long you last."
Then there was that terrible word again and he screamed some more. It was like the worst nightmare come to life and there was nothing he could do to stop it. Whenever he had been in pain before there was something else to distract him, something to keep him going until help took it away, but there was nothing else. Only the agony existed and it filled him and consumed him and made him wish to die. His body didn't even seem to be capable of shutting down to save him.
Time was measured in waves of pain.
He could not hide from it, even as his mind tried to shy away. It was the most terrible experience he had ever known and he knew why people went mad. He felt as if his mind was breaking as the agony consumed him.
This time when it finally stopped it did not completely die. It left him there gasping for breath on the floor, but his nerves still jangled with it. He could not move as his muscles twitched with the remembered agony and in that moment he would have done absolutely anything to make it not come back.
When someone touched him he cried out and his voice was hoarse and his throat raw from screaming. He would have pulled away, but his mind and body seemed to be very badly connected and he was helpless.
"Johnny?" he heard Harry's anxious voice. "Johnny can you hear me?"
He could, but anything above instinctive reactions were beyond him. He felt himself being turned over carefully by two pairs of hands, but it was too much. Without something holding him to consciousness, moving took him beyond his endurance and everything went black.
End of Part 1