category: gen, fandom: ice skating rps, pairing: is - johnny solo, rating: g to pg13, type: fiction
The rink was totally without artificial light; the last regular skaters had gone home hours ago. Johnny stepped out onto the ice with only the moonlight coming in through the high windows to illuminate anything. He usually practiced very early, so the rink manager had given him a key and he knew he wasn't supposed to be there, but he couldn't help himself.
Sometimes it all got to him; the spotlight, the fame, the haters, even his fans. He loved his supporters dearly; they kept him going, but occasionally it all became too much. That was when he needed time in the darkness of a silent rink.
It was dangerous to skate in the dark, but he knew the rink so well and he didn't do anything difficult. Some spirals, some small jumps, some spins and some steps, just enough to let him feel the ice. He could almost do it with his eyes closed as he lost himself in the sensations running through him.
During these quiet, secret excursions (not even his mom knew he did this) he could lose himself in simple movement. He didn't have to worry about anyone watching or critiquing, he could just skate for the joy of skating. The lack of light freed him from even his unconscious need to always look perfect on the ice and he could just move. Slipping in and out of the patches of moonlight, he revelled in the feel of his body doing what he knew he had been born to do. He might have come to his sport late, but nothing ever felt as right as skating.
Time was delimited by the sound of his skates on the ice and he had no idea how long he moved across the rink. By the time he finally came to a standstill in a bright patch of moonlight, his muscles were burning, but he had worked out all the frustration of the evening. It was a noise from the side of the rink that broke his reverie and made him turn.
"Who's there?" he called out, realising that he was not alone.
For a while there was silence and he began to wonder if he had imagined it, but then there was sound again. There was only one place the moonlight illuminated anything but the ice and a figure stepped into the patch. It was the last person Johnny wanted to see.
"What are you doing here?" he demanded as he stared at the reason he was even there. "How the hell did you get in?"
He'd spent most of the evening in New York at a party run by his publisher. Unfortunately it seemed his publisher was trying to cash in on the interest in figure skating and he'd bumped into none other than Evan Lysacek. His rival was thinking about producing a book and it had really annoyed Johnny. He had left the party as soon as he could without looking as if he was ditching and then he had gone home. It had been one in the morning when he had decided he was never going to sleep and he needed to skate.
"I followed you from the party," Evan said, looking as awkward as ever, "I wanted to talk to you. I saw your lights go off in your apartment and I was thinking about getting a hotel when you came here. You left the side door open."
Johnny was a bit paranoid about fire and escape routes, so he always left the emergency door open when he was inside alone. It was the easiest way in and out of the building.
"You couldn't have just picked up the phone?" Johnny asked spitefully.
The fact that his little ritual had been interrupted really bothered him. He felt as if he had to do it all again and he had been feeling so calm.
"I didn't mean to intrude," was Evan's pathetic response to that.
"Well you did," Johnny replied in his sharpest tone.
The last person on earth he had ever wanted to see him like this was Evan.
"I couldn't stop watching," Evan confessed and rather shocked him. "You seemed to make yourself part of the ice."
Usually they exchanged insults, not compliments and Johnny was a little floored. For a moment he just stood there.
"What do you want?" he finally asked, not sure how to respond to Evan's words.
Evan appeared unsure and anxious when asked that, but for once Johnny didn't push. He didn't know what was going on here, but it was strange enough that he didn't react as bitchily as he might have.
"What for?" he asked, confused and off balance. "Did you do something after I left the party?"
He and Evan always rubbed each other up the wrong way and they tended to say stupid things when exposed to each other.
"Not tonight," Evan said, looking abashed, "for some of the things I've said, some of the things I've done. I'm not proud of the way I've belittled you."
If he hadn't been standing on an ice rink, Johnny probably would have sat down. That was not something he had expected to hear.
"I read your book," Evan hurried on, "and I remembered when we were friends. I liked it when we were friends and I liked you in your book and it made me think. I just wanted to say I'm sorry."
Some of the tension Johnny had been feeling slowly drained out of him and he skated over the where Evan was standing. In the half light he couldn't see all the details of Evan's face, but he could see sincerity there. Part of him wanted to grind Evan's apology under his heel and spit on it, but it was a much smaller part than he would have guessed at. Evan was the skater the USFSA held up as their poster boy, the one who continually dashed Johnny's dreams, but he wasn't looking at that Evan.
"What do you want from me?" he asked, unable to push away all his suspicions.
"Nothing," Evan said quietly, looking conflicted and unsure.
Johnny raised an eyebrow at that.
"Maybe," Evan said eventually, "maybe to start again; to be not enemies."
Never in a million years had Johnny expected to have this conversation with Evan, especially not in a dark ice rink during the early hours of the morning. They had made up for the media before, but it had never been like this, never personal and genuine. Evan was really standing there asking if they could be friends and it knocked Johnny for six.
"You like me?" he asked, completely off kilter.
He just couldn't believe it, but Evan nodded.
"You're funny, even when you're making cracks about me," Evan said and sounded sincere, "and you don't take shit from anyone. I think, for a while, you might have scared the crap out of me."
Another confession that had Johnny needing to pick his chin up off the floor. This was a side of Evan he hadn't seen in a very long time. It made him pause rather than reacting on instinct. Evan had said some nasty things about him, some things that had cut very deep, but Evan seemed sincere in his apology.
"Come on," he said, stepping off the ice and into the darkness that was hiding his things.
He wasn't sure and he didn't know where this was going, but he couldn't dismiss it. Looking over his shoulder as he bent to unlace his skates, he saw Evan standing there a little lost.
"There's an all night cafe down the road," he said, almost endeared by Evan's confusion, "you can buy me coffee and explain to me why I shouldn't have you arrested for stalking."
It was the best he could do and it did make Evan smile, just a little. Johnny realised he didn't need the darkness anymore, at least not for a while.