Loud, Spanish music pounded in his ears, beats heavy and meant for a type of dancing Michele had never done. He was used to beauty in dance, graceful lines and artful jumps, moves infused with meaning but solitary and for show. This dancing was different, about sweat and feelings and connection, about letting go. Michele held in a grimace. Sara was dancing.
"Mickey!" The shout reached him seconds before Emil did. The Czech skater launched himself at Michele's back, arms wrapping around his neck like an octopus and knees pushing into Michele's spine to keep himself up. "Mickey! Come on, dance!" The younger boy slid down his back and used one of the arms around Michele's neck to spin him around. "We're at the club, stop hiding at the edges."
Strobe lights briefly illuminated Emil's face. More than the smile, the plea in his eyes made Michele relent with a sigh. He wouldn't be able to watch Sara from the dance floor. 'But she wants you to relax,' he reminded himself. 'She doesn't want your protection like she used to.' "Okay."
"Awesome!" Emil bounced in place, used the hold he still had on Michele to get higher than he could have alone. Those arms slid down Michele's to grasp at his hands and towed him onto the dance floor. He didn't let go once they were well into the crowd. Instead, Emil swung their arms to the beat and danced poorly. For a man so capable on the ice, he looked completely unable to move off it. Michele had to laugh at it.
"There it is!" Emil smiled widely. He stepped into Michele's space and then out again, bringing their still clasped hands up above their heads. "Now, dance with me!" Emil's fingers tightened around his for a moment as he stepped in again. Michele followed him on the step back and let the Czech skater pull him into his on beat but unpracticed movements.
The music pounded loud, thrummed through his body. Emil kept them on beat however it changed, kept their hands together. 'She doesn't want you.' Michele shut his eyes. It was no good to think of Sara. It was a mistake to go the the Grand Prix together. Every bit of progress he'd made since they rearranged their relationship was dashed in that setting. Old habits were so hard to break.
Somebody crashed into him from behind, sent him stumbling into Emil. His eyes flew open and he found the Czech man's face so very close to his own. Suddenly, he was violently aware of their still clasped hands, the press of Emil's chest against his own as they regained balance, how every place they touched burned. Heat raced to his cheeks.
Emil didn't seem to notice, laughing and spinning them to a new spot and getting them back on beat. Michele's limbs felt leaden and too hot, tight in a way he'd never experienced. The stiffness made Emil frown. It looked foreign on his face.
"What happened?" He stepped close to shout over the music, close enough for his breath to fan hotly across Michele's ear.
His skin tightened further and his mouth was suddenly a dessert. He opened his mouth to speak but gasped instead. Luckily, Emil was pulling away so he didn't see. Quickly, Michele cleared his throat and tried again. "Nothing. Just thrown off."
Still noticeably concerned, Emil shrugged anyway. Finally, the other man let go of Michele's hands. The split second of relief was all he had, however, before Emil's free hands wrapped tightly around Michele's arms and began moving him like a puppet.
"Emil!" Michele shouted, smiling despite himself and despite whatever was happening on his insides. This burning feeling was new, foreign and squirming in his stomach.
Emil smiled, bright and full and Michele let himself go. That was the look Emil was meant to wear and the music and strobing lights were intoxicating. The feeling was intoxicating. Michele freed his arms and caught Emil's hands, stepping in like the other skater had done several times before and stepping away. Clearly delighted, Emil laughed.
The song changed and the beat sped. Emil jumped up and started singing along. Michele still didn't recognize the music. Emil's excitement had him spinning, releasing one hand at a time to twirl out and come back. On each return he came in closer. And on each return Michele reached for Emil's free hand quicker, locking them together again.
"I like this song," Michele said on Emil's fourth twirl back into him. Michele caught Emil's hand once more and raised both their arms above their heads. It brought Emil closer, against Michele's chest.
He wanted him there, he realized as they danced so close. The solidness of Emil's body, the warmth and the faint dampness of sweat.
"Me too!" Emil leaned down to say into Michele's ear. A shiver flowed down his spine. Emil was tall, so very tall and he'd never really thought about it before. He loomed. Another shiver went through him. His face burned and he just wanted Emil to stay against him.
'Since when have I...' Michele cut the thought off. No, he wasn't thinking. No thinking. Just letting go.
Emil stayed close, slid his arms down Michele's and wrapped them around Michele's waist.
"Emil..." A million thoughts fought for attention in his head.
"Shh," the Czech man said into his ear, low and hot and pitched just perfectly to hear over the club music.
Michele's brain quieted. Of their own accord, his arms looped around Emil's neck and reigned him in closer until there was absolutely no space between them. Their hips pressed together, moving to the changing beat. Michele dropped his head onto Emil's shoulder, blanking out everything but the sound of Spanish music and the smell of Emil's cologne. He felt like a flame, hot enough to melt right through the ice in seconds. They danced, beats in his veins like blood and Emil the only thing keeping him up. His touch both boiled and cooled. Time became far away.
"Mickey! Emil!" Sara. Sara's voice woke him. Michele found himself plastered to Emil, arms clutching tight and head buried between neck and hair. He jumped away like the touch was poison.
Instantly, he missed it. His legs felt wobbly and unbalanced, his whole body frozen. The world was too loud.
Sara appeared, pushing past people until she was in front of them. "There you are! I've been looking all over." Her smile was bright and nothing about her face was suspicious. Emil turned to her, giving her his full attention. Something nauseous and angry gnawed away at his gut. He'd always liked Sara and just her smile captivated Emil.
They migrated to the edge of the dance floor where it was quieter and less crowded. Frankly, Michele was surprised his knees held up. "Sorry, Sara." Emil smiled widely and rubbed at the back of his head. "I was convincing this one to dance."
Sara laughed and shook her head. Emil nodded brightly. Michele couldn't help his blush at the memory.
"Oh my god! You got him to dance here!" Sara jumped in place once before launching herself at Emil. "Oh my god! Miracle worker!" Her arms looped around Emil's neck and she hung there for a moment and Michele's insides rioted. It was different, somehow, than the usual anger and frustration he felt when Sara was near another male. Emil was always different. He'd always blamed it on the betrayal of a friend near his sister, but that felt false in the moment. He carefully did not think about that.
"Hey! I dance!" He protested instead. His contribution made her let go and the riot calmed slightly as her focus shifted fully onto him. "What did you want? Did you need something? How can I help you?"
Sara rolled her eyes. "Calm down! I just wanted to say good night. I'm tired."
"We can walk you back," Michele said immediately. Fuck, there went the progress again. "If you want, I mean," he added to salvage it at least a little.
She rolled her eyes again, but agreed. "Only because it's dark," she said but she was smiling. "Coming, Emil?"
They both turned to the Czech skater. Something was a bit off with his expression, but Michele didn't know what. "Of course."
Together, the three of them left into the night. Most of the Grand Prix skaters shared the same hotel and it wasn't a far walk; they spent it in silence. Barcelona was cold in the winter, but cool weather hadn't ever bothered Michele before. Cold air in his lungs had always felt like home.
Tonight, he was bothered. After so much heat in that club, the cold hurt his skin. He itched for it back, for the hard press of Emil against him again. And more than the warmth, he wanted back the quiet in his head.
'Emil? What was that with Emil? I've never danced like that with anyone before. It was so... sexy. I wanted his hands all over me. I wanted my hands all over him. Do I like men? Do I like Emil? No, I can't. He likes Sara. Damned if I let him near her. No, that's wrong. I'm not supposed to think like that anymore.'
Michele held in a groan. It was too confusing, too much.
'What does it even mean? Was it just dancing? Just the music? Should it even mean anything? Did Emil think it meant something?'
Nothing made sense. He barely noticed when they reached the hotel. The ding of elevator at their floor pulled him out of his thoughts a little. Sara's room was the opposite way down the hall, so they parted ways.
"Oh, before I forget. My friend Mila, she's the red haired one from Russia who won gold, she got me an extra invite to the banquet tomorrow for you, Emil. When we go in, your ticket is under her name so we'll try to meet her in the lobby. She didn't have a plus one this time, so we got lucky. You don't have to sit it out." Sara said as she walked away, turned around to walk backwards and face them.
"Thank you." Emil waved. "Good night!"
"Good night, Emil. Good night, Mickey." She turned back around and continued down the hall.
A month ago, he would have followed her all the way to her door and waited there until he heard the lock click with her on the other side. A part of him still wanted to do that. 'Too much, too much,' he reminded himself.
Parting with her left him alone with Emil. Michele cleared his throat. "That's nice you can go to the banquet."
Emil nodded as they walked. "It is. I thought I'd be left all alone with you two there like last year."
Michele shrugged. "We'll both be plus ones this year." He hoped that Japanese Katsuki Yuuri stayed sober this year. That man was a pervert even if he was a great skater.
"A little different than last year for you, huh?" Emil elbowed him. His room was coming up first. "Hey, next year? Next year lets both be finalists." They stopped in front of Emil's room. The younger man leaned against the door rather than fish out his key card.
"Yeah." Emil would get it. Emil had already been working on his stamina more aggressively. He'd be able to finish his whole routine next year without a problem. "Let's do it." Michele would meet him there. It wouldn't do to let Emil be alone. "Emil..." Should they talk about the club? Michele took a step closer.
Emil bit his lip and shook his head quickly. "Tomorrow. I don't..." He pushed off the door and scrambled for his key card. The move launched him right into Michele's space. He smelled amazing. "Tomorrow." Then Emil was disappearing into his room and every bit of Michele wanted to follow him in.
The door shut and fresh air smacked Michele in the face. His heart raced and his palms were sweating. 'What the hell is going on with me?'
Emil listened for Michele's footsteps to retreat. Once they were gone, it was all he could do to get his pants down before his hand was around himself. The phantom heat and pressure of Michele against him taunted his skin.
Emil's bit at his free hand to keep quiet. God, they'd been so close all night, connected at every point. How the hell he'd managed not to pop a boner was beyond him. Perhaps the fear that Michele would wake up from whatever funk was making him so loose and willing to indulge Emil's every whim.
And indulge the older man had. First with the hand holding as they danced and then later the slow, grinding way they moved together, arms locked in so tight an embrace he couldn't feel where he ended. They'd lasted in that tight wound space for at least ten minutes before Sara had broken them up.
Emil shook his head. Wrong twin, always the wrong twin. It was Michele, Michele, Michele.
Michele he always sought and who, for the first time, sought him as well. He'd reeled Emil in, looped them together and staked his claim and that thought was the one that pushed him over the edge.
With his orgasm, Emil collapsed against the door, knees too weak to keep him upright any longer. This feeling, this memory he had to hold on to. No matter what happened when they finally talked about it, and they would since Michele clearly wanted to, Emil would keep this feeling locked away tight, untainted and beautiful. For tonight, Emil could pretend they'd been on a date, that Michele loved him and wanted him exactly the way Emil yearned for him.
When his breath caught up with him, Emil shimmied out of his pants and stood on wobbly legs. He crawled over to his bed and collapsed. The hotel pillows were soft and lush and perfect to burrow in.
Tomorrow, he'd said. Tomorrow they'd talk about the dancing and it could all come down. But no, he wouldn't think about that now. He went back to the memory of Michele pressed against him, to that warm, athletic body touching him everywhere. His senses filled with Michele's scent, crisp and clean.
Maybe it would go well. Maybe Michele wouldn't reject him and they could dance again, maybe kiss, maybe even date! Dating would be... dating would be amazing.
To have Michele's famous focus given to him, even if only a little, would be more than Emil could dream. Maybe Sara didn't want it, but the thought of so much devotion appealed greatly to Emil. With Michele in charge, it would make life so much easier.
Emil rolled over and struggled out of his shirt. Naked, he slipped under the covers and closed his eyes. Helpfully, his brain provided a phantom of Michele, plastered to his back and holding him tightly. He wrapped the blankets around himself to mimic it. The idea soothed him to sleep.
The sound of yelling in a mixture of English and Russian greeted anyone walking towards the hotel dinning area for a late breakfast the next morning. Emil turned the corner to find the fifteen year old Grand Prix gold medalist standing on his chair in a black hoodie and leopard print tights, long blond hair whipping around him as he yelled at both Victor Nikiforov and Katsuki Yuuri. While the Russian was mostly lost on him, especially at the speed the boy was speaking, the English was clear.
"Stop being gross! Idiots!" He paused to take a breath.
"Yurio, sit down!" Nikiforov said joyfully and tugged at the young boy's sleeve. "Of course we want you in the wedding."
"Ugh!" The boy jumped off his chair and sat back down. "Shut up!" He viciously grabbed his drink and sucked the straw into his mouth. He was blushing furiously. Katsuki tried to pat his shoulder and that set off another round of yelling. Thankfully, the boy stayed seated.
It was still too early for the noise, however funny, so Emil collected some food and went back to his room. Spanish television wasn't interesting to him, but it almost sounded like Italian to him, so he flipped it on for the background noise. Spanish food was better. Along with some sandwiches, he'd picked up some hot chocolate and churros to dip into it as a treat.
He'd gotten through his healthier options and was reheating his hot chocolate in the microwave when there was a knock on the door. Michele? Already?
Cautiously, Emil went to the door and opened it to see the wrong Crispino twin. "Sara. Good morning."
"Hi, Emil." She pushed her way past him into the room.
"Uh, hi, Sara?" Should he leave the door open? What would be worse, Michele finding them with the door open or closed?
"Close the door." Well, that decided it for him. Emil shut the door and spun to find Sara sitting at the little table where he'd been eating his breakfast.
"So, how can I help you?" Sara didn't normally seek him out. Truthfully, neither Crispino twin did usually. It was almost always Emil going to them. He'd spent many nights trying not to be hurt by that.
"I saw you last night, with Mickey." She picked up his unused spoon and twirled it between her fingers. Her hair was up for once, braided away from her face and gathered just below her left ear. Her sweater was nicer than her usual workout gear, more for fashion than warmth.
Emil focused on all of that rather than the sinking of his gut. "What do you mean? We all went dancing."
She raised her eyebrows in a completely impressed look and muttered something to herself in Italian. "Don't be coy, Emil. You know what I mean. I wasn't too sure last night, but he was weird at breakfast so I knew I hadn't imagined it." She spun the spoon several times as she spoke. She'd never been as good with English as Michele. Speaking it always made her a bit uncertain. "You two were dancing very close."
Emil's traitor cheeks flamed. "It was crowded."
She huffed at him. "Not that crowded." The spoon went back on the table. "Listen, I know this is making me a hypocrite, but I need to know. I might not want him to protect me like he used to, but he's still my brother. He's still my favorite person in the world." She paused and Emil resisted the urge to fidget. "I know you like him. I've known for a while."
Emil had to sit. The floor was a perfectly fine place to do that. "You knew?" He asked after his at least somewhat graceful collapse.
"You're not really subtle. He's the only one who thinks it's me you're interested in." She slid off her chair to be on the ground with him, too far to touch but close enough to speak softly.
"So, he doesn't know?" He'd never thought Michele did, but if Sara could tell...
She shook her head. "He's been much too focused fending off any suitors for me to notice when somebody likes him. I set him up on a date once with a friend of mine, about three years ago, right before we met you. He had no idea it was a date. He apparently kept talking about how he was sorry I hadn't shown up yet. He thought he was supposed to drive us around. He's oblivious, really."
Emil's shoulders loosened. Maybe today's talk wouldn't be so bad. He'd just make Michele go first and then their friendship wouldn't be ruined by Emil's pesky feelings. "He loves you, Sara."
"I know." She brought her hand up in an aborted attempt to push her hair behind her ear. "He's been using that to ignore his own life, though. And now that he's finally stopped suffocating me, he's all lost in the wind." She frowned. "And last night, you two together... I like you, Emil. I'd be thrilled if you two dated, but he's delicate right now. I think he's waking up. I think he's noticing you liking him, or maybe just that he can like someone instead of assessing everyone else in the world as a threat to our relationship."
A wild hope sprung up in his chest, but he pushed it down. "What do you want from me, Sara?" He pulled his knees up to his chest and wrapped his arms around them.
"I don't know. I just, needed to talk to you about this. I needed to know I was right in thinking you liked him." She curled herself into a matching ball and poked at her feet. "I guess I just wanted to make sure you know what's going on with him."
"I do know." Emil said quietly. "We're in a very lonely sport. Having you to focus on, having you need him, made it less so for him. You know I've never been weirded out by the way he talks about you." Most people thought it was something incestuous. In a way, Emil could see their point, but none of them knew Michele. It wasn't anything like that for Michele, it was dependence. Michele needed to feel invaluable, and Sara had needed his protection while they were young. After building an identity around that role, it wasn't surprising to Emil that he didn't know how to let it go. "I know he's just afraid of having to figure out his own life."
They were quiet for a while then. The minutes ticked by and they sat curled on the floor, facing each other without actually making eye contact once. Sara poked at her feet, no doubt sore from her bronze winning routines. "That's good," she said eventually. "It's good you know that."
With that, she got to her feet. Emil followed her up and to the door. "Be good to him, okay?"
"He's my friend." Of course.
Sara was late and Michele couldn't stop pacing. Emil also hadn't emerged from his room and there was just nobody in the hall. He was alone and alone was bad. Alone meant more swirling thoughts. Alone meant reliving, for the millionth time, just how nicely Emil's body fit against his.
'I'm gay. I'm so fucking gay. I have to be; only gay people would think about this so much. I've never been gay before. Is this new? Did I just never notice? How do you not notice? What's wrong with me? Do I like him? Was it just the music?'
He just barely managed to keep his hands from pulling his own hair out. 'How are you supposed to tell if you like someone? How am I twenty two and I don't know the answer to that? Something must be wrong with me. It's the only explanation. I'm defective. That's why Sara thinks we're better off apart. That's why I can't stop thinking about how good Emil smelled last night.'
He was doomed. All day and it was the only thing he could think about for longer than five minutes. Not even the exhibition skates kept his interest for long. This needed to stop. What if this distraction continued? How was he supposed to focus on skating if this continued. Italian Nationals were in three days. He was already losing enough valuable time to the Grand Prix and the travel for it. If he couldn't focus on the ice he wouldn't win Nationals and go on to Europeans. It would ruin his whole season more than just missing the Grand Prix did.
Finally, finally a door opened and the world took pity on him.
Except no it didn't because it was Emil's door and the younger man stepped out in a suit that made Michele's heart stutter.
'I'm so gay'
The suit was a strong blue, brighter than navy but not loud, with whisper faint pinstripes. He'd forgone the tie and instead wore a matching vest and a blindingly white shirt that he'd left unbuttoned past his collar bones. All of it was perfectly tailored and matched lovingly with rich brown shoes. His flyaway brown hair was lightly tousled and his beard neatly trimmed and shaped. He was beautiful. For a moment, Michele could only stare.
Then Emil smiled and he was glowing and Michele knew he had a crush. All the uncertainty about it vanished in an instant as he realized how very much he'd like to kiss the man before him.
"You look nice. New suit?" Emil asked and gestured at Michele's horridly boring charcoal gray suit and violet shirt.
"Yeah. I got a new sponsor this year. They let me keep one of the suits after the photoshoot." He hated photoshoots. They were always boring and always endless.
"Oh yeah. I remember that ad, for a designer right?"
Michele nodded. They'd picked up Sara too for a new fragrance. The pictures had been very risqué, which pleased Sara even as it made Michele fight off a coronary.
"What about you? I think that's new?" It was. It had to be. Either it was new or Michele was an oblivious monster. How couldn't he have noticed? Emil was making his mouth dry just by standing there.
"It is!" Emil twirled in place. His pants clung just right to his ass. "I love the color."
Michele nodded agreement. It was either nod or launch himself at the Czech skater. Considering both that they were friends and Michele's complete inexperience throwing himself at anyone, he figured he was making the right choice. They still hadn't talked. Both of them had spent he day practicing the best they could off the ice. Emil's nationals were a few days after Michele and Sara's; he was busy too.
What was he even going to say? 'Hi, Emil. I know I always act mad at you even though we're friends because I'm a jealous asshole, but you totally wooed me last night with the dancing and I don't even think you were trying. Wanna make out?'
Michele blushed. Sara saved him from any of that, and the now awkward silence creeping up by calling to them from down the hall. "I'm sorry I took so long. I fought with the hairdryer." She shrugged and waved towards her hair. She'd put half of it up into an intricate looking pie of braids and curls and left the rest down in gentle waves. The violet of her dress matched Michele's shirt.
"No problem. Ready to go?" Emil brushed by him to meet Sara by the elevator. His arm was warm through his suit. Michele was going to just die tonight, wasn't he?
The three of them shuffled into the elevator when it opened. Soon enough they were in the lobby. Mila, the Russian skater who'd taken gold in the female singles division, met them by the door. "Sara! I got us a taxi already. It's waiting outside."
Before Michele knew it, they were getting out of the taxi at the hotel hosting the banquet. Sara took his elbow and gave their names at the door. Her coach arrived near the same time and Michele silently let her go. Mila left as well, heading straight for a group containing Victor Nikiforov and the year's silver and gold medalists.
They all left him with Emil. "Want something to drink?" Michele gestured at a server disappearing into the crowd. "There's probably a nice wine around somewhere." Sara cared more about wine than he did, but being around her at least had given him an idea of standards. Emil liked reds.
"Let's go find it. Red if we can." They stood there for a moment, looking more at each other than the crowd, before they set off. Several servers passed by with champagne and some finger foods. Michele took something that looked like beef and offered it to Emil. Their fingers touched as he accepted the food and Michele fought off a blush.
After a while, they located a server carrying red wine and took a glass each. Without a word, they both went to a semi-secluded spot against the wall behind a pillar. Michele forced himself to sip rather than down it all from nerves.
Emil was being quiet. Normally, at these sort of events he'd already have flitted around the room at least twice and eaten several of every food and brought back his favorites onto Michele and Sara to try. He was rather like an energetic yoyo, always going away just to come back again. Before Emil had anchored himself to Sara two years ago, Michele rarely spoke to anyone but his sister at the fancy events. He remained quiet at her side, glaring at every man who came by. Emil hadn't ever been scared of his glare and it was truly difficult to stay angry at such a bubbly man who constantly insisted on feeding him and never really did end up touching Sara all that much.
In the awkward silence, a strange new thought occurred to him. Emil never tried to hug Sara really. He never yelled her name. Every time he flitted back to them, he went to Michele first.
"Do you like Sara?" Michele asked into the silence, lacking all the forcefulness he would have had a mere month prior. He'd always assumed it was true, and he'd said it to them both before. The thought had always driven him mad, more mad than anyone else liking her ever had.
Emil, he realized then, hadn't ever confirmed Michele's suspicions. His face grew very hot. What was he thinking? "I mean, um..." English was suddenly very foreign.
"Oh," Emil chuckled breathily. "I don't, but are you... are you jealous?" The taller, Czech man stepped closer to Michele, into his space and making Michele look up. "You always think I do, but I don't." Another step in and their wine glasses clinked together softly. No other noise made it to his ears.
"You're always around her." Michele was whispering and no reason for that came to mind. Emil was wearing that cologne again, and putting off heat like a furnace. Michele's fingers itched to touch that blue vest, to wrap around that white collar and tug down. The intensity of it surprised him.
Emil shook his head lightly and his brown hair looked so very soft in the light. "I'm always around you. Wrong twin, Michele."
Without his telling them to move, Michele found himself taking Emil's wine glass and putting both it and his own on the floor before grasping Emil's shoulders. "I want to talk now." 'Wrong twin?'
"Okay. In here or outside?" Emil clasped gentle fingers around his wrists.
"Outside." The lure of privacy pulled strongly. Michele spun his wrists in Emil's hands and caught them in his own. Hands intertwined, Michele led them to the door to the patio meant for party overspill. Several heating lamps lined the patio edges and one large contained fire pit in the center lessened the December chill. Despite the somewhat comfortable temperature, only a few people made use of the space. A group of three he didn't recognize hovered near the door and the Kazakistan skater and Plisetsky stood against the far left railing so Michele led them to the opposite end of the patio.
He kept both of Emil's hands trapped in his own the whole time. "So..." What was he supposed to say now?
Emil stared at him expectantly, a slight flush painting his cheeks a cute red over his facial hair. Michele could only stare back.
"Don't call me 'Kitten'!" Plisetsky yelled from across the patio. His hair near about stood on end and he was literally climbing his companion and hitting him only somewhat gently. The other skater simply laughed and said something Michele couldn't hear. "Otabek!" Plisetsky screeched.
Otabek, that was the Kazakistan skater's name, somehow managed to pull the small blond boy off himself, holding the other completely off the ground by under his arms.
The blond boy looked about ready to start screeching, but Otabek spoke again and it was like watching a ballon deflate. Plisetsky turned completely red and Otabek put the boy down. Plisetsky said something with a frown on his face and the two went inside.
Emil laughed. "That boy's going to be fun."
"He almost makes me want to retire. He's such a brat." Children were awful and the loud ones were always the worst.
"Maybe a few more years, huh, old man?" Emil laughed at the glare Michele gave him in response. He coughed to clear his throat. "So, um, we were talking?"
Heat flooded Michele's entire torso. "Um, yeah."
"About you being jealous?" Emil said tentatively.
And he was. On, Michele was jealous. He always had been.
He'd just never recognized who he was jealous of.
"Yeah," Michele gripped Emil's hands tighter. The younger boy stared down at him, tall and looming but waiting for Michele to go first. No matter how much Emil pushed, he always seemed to be waiting in a way. "I... I don't want you to like Sara." He bit his lip. This wasn't about her, not really.
Maybe that's what she meant. How long was he going to make his sister the only thing he could care about? How long was he going to use that to avoid the world?
"I never have, Mickey," Emil said softly.
"Wrong twin?" He asked.
"Wrong twin." Emil was wholly in his space now. Michele had to tilt his neck back so far to look at him.
"I want to dance with you like that again. I liked it." It was both hard and easy to say. The words flowed easily, but getting his mouth to move required a concentration he was rapidly loosing. That warm, clean scent of cologne and fresh clothes was intensified in the light winter breeze.
"I did too." Talking seemed so easy for him.
"I like you." Emil gasped, a mixture of shock and delight and something else entirely crossing his face. "If you want, I'd like to take you out?" Michele forced it out.
Between one breath and the next, Emil jumped on him, wrapping all four long limbs around Michele and sending him staggering back a step to keep balance. "Yes!" Emil said in English. He continued speaking excitedly but it came out in, presumably, Czech and Michele caught none of it. It didn't really matter what he was saying though. He'd said yes.
Michele rubbed at the other man's back and futilely fought to lower his blood pressure and slow his racing heart. The warm, muscled length of Emil blazed. Michele's face fell of it's own accord right into Emil's fragrant neck. The wiry tickle of his beard scratched beautifully.
Emil's legs weren't secure around him so after a few moments they slid down and Emil was standing but neither man let go. "Can it be tonight," Emil said, finally in English again. "I mean, I have to go home tomorrow morning."
"It can. I leave tomorrow too." Michele pulled back enough to look up into Emil's face.
The younger man met his gaze with a startlingly familiar soft look. Oh, he'd been stupid. Emil always looked at him like that and it took so long for him to notice. For two years almost they'd been friends and only now did Michele notice this.
"I want to kiss you." He wouldn't run away any more. His gut rioted with nerves and he was fairly sure he'd freak out once they were apart again, but for that moment, Michele was perfectly content to stop thinking so hard and just go with the moment.
"Please." Emil nodded, a tiny little movement that showcased just how he'd laser focused on Michele's mouth.
Michele lifted onto his toes to bring their lips together before he could even form another thought. He missed a bit, making contact more with Emil's faint mustache than his lips, but Emil followed him back down to flat feet and they were kissing properly.
It was fast, closed mouth and chaste, ending much too soon. A lovely first kiss if Michele had to score it. They pulled away, blinking their eyes open.
The suit matched his eyes perfectly, a beautiful vibrant blue. Michele kissed him again. Perfect.
What do you think of rock climbing?
I don't know. I've never done it.
Do you want to? We can even use ropes.
YOU DON'T USE ROPES?!
Lol. I do some times.
HOW ARE YOU ALIVE?!
Emil chuckled to himself under his breath. He wiggled further into his hotel mattress, his gold Nationals medal a pleasant weight against his bare chest. He snapped a picture, medal near his collar bones, and sent it off to Michele. The Italian skater, Emil had learned, got flustered easily. Michele pushed through his embarrassment wonderfully though.
Wear more gold.
Maybe other things.
And there it was. The flirting. Emil giggled to himself, light and elated. Flirting! Michele flirted now.
Like what exactly?
He'd wear whatever the hell Michele wanted him to put on.
The three little dots popped up, disappeared, and then popped up again. Finally, after ages, they cleared and what came through wasn't even writing at all but a picture.
There, on Emil's phone from Michele, was a very built and oily man in a tiny gold speedo. Emil's heart raced.
Oh fuck, he wants me in that? Hell yes.
Again, it took forever for Michele to respond. He cycled through three full ellipses before text came through.
At the beach. We'll go in the summer. I'll put sunscreen on you.
I look forward to it.
Another picture message came through. It was of a gold medal on a pillow. Maybe even the one Michele had just won at Nationals.
And wear this too.
Emil's heart fluttered. He definitely would.