|Entry tags:||category: slash, fandom: ice skating rps, fictype: short fic, genre: creature fic, pairing: is - johnny weir/evan lysacek, rating: g to pg13, type: fiction|
Demons were a fact of life; it was just how things were, but that didn't mean Evan ever expected to meet one face to face. He was careful; he never took off the protection charm his mother had given him when he was four and he always made sure that wherever he was staying had the right protections in place. Small children were automatically protected; their innocence meant demons could not touch them, but after about the age of five, everyone carried their own protection.
The building they were in was supposed to be protected as well, but something was clearly broken, because there was a fully fledged demon standing on the rink with the whole US national figure skating team, juniors and all, at his mercy. No one dared move. Tanith and Charlie had moved where they had been standing together and they were both now on the other side of the rink, possessed and deformed almost beyond recognition.
This was not some minor demon; this was something from the depths of hell and it was using people to bring it's brethren into the world. All their protections seemed like so much worthless rubbish. Evan knew demon law as well as anyone else with a decent survival instinct, so he knew that for something as powerful as the creature in the rink to be brought into the world took conscious will. Minor demons came and went as they pleased, but not the big ones, which meant this was a deliberate attack, but he couldn't think why figure skaters could possibly be that important.
"Such pretty boys and girls," the demon said in its just about understandable English.
The thing had a lisp, but given the number of teeth in its mouth it was amazing it could speak at all. It was vaguely reptilian and all hideous and it had more power than Evan had ever seen. In one hand it was holding a sickly green glowing ball that it had conjured out of thin air; it was the same thing it had hit both Charlie and Tanith with and the creature appeared to be deciding on its next target.
When it looked directly at him, Evan felt his blood run cold and in that instant he knew that he had been chosen. Some said the demon possession was worse than death, that is twisted the soul, and Evan felt true fear. His heart hammered in his chest and his instincts screamed at him to flee, but he knew if he moved someone else would be hit and it was unlikely to save him, so he just stood there.
"No!" someone yelled as the demon threw the green ball with deadly accuracy.
Evan closed his eyes, but what collided with him was not energy, it was very solid and he automatically caught whoever it was as they slammed into him. He opened them again and looked down into Johnny's pained face, shocked and totally unable to react. Johnny Weir, his greatest rival and the person he thought disliked him most in the world apart from Evgeni Plushenko had just sacrificed himself for him. It made everything that was happening seem even more surreal.
"Look after Mirai," was what Johnny said in a harsh whisper and then, as Evan watched, Johnny's eyes went from their usual sparkling green to a sickly yellowish colour with orange tints and then Johnny was pushing away from him, out of his arms and onto an open patch of ice.
"Oh, too precious," the master demon said with a laugh, "a hero."
Johnny fell onto the ice, facing away from the group and he cried out, just as Tanith and Charlie had when they had been transformed. It was almost unbearable to watch, but Evan refused to take his eyes off the man who had just sacrificed everything for him. The other possessions had been bad enough, but this was worse as Johnny's back arched in a way it should not have been able to do and Johnny screamed as something ripped through the back of his practice outfit, splattering the ice with deep red blood. Huge, black, leathery wings grew from Johnny's back, spreading up and out, but Johnny did not rise like the other two had to take his place with the enemy, instead the wings flopped and Johnny fell forward, landing in an unmoving heap.
"Too bad," the master demon said when Johnny did not move again; "looks like he couldn't take it. Sometimes humans are so fragile."
Blood was running from Johnny's back, pooling around him on the ice and Evan couldn't take his eyes away. Johnny wasn't moving at all and Evan couldn't tell if the other skater was even breathing and he felt his heart drop through the floor. He had been afraid for himself, afraid for his friends, but now, if Johnny was beyond rescue, it seemed hopeless.
"Oh well, let's move on," the master demon said, dragging Evan's attention back; "all of you, over there."
They were herded towards the side of the rink by Tanith and Charlie, leaving Johnny behind them on the ice. All Evan could do was focus on the last thing Johnny had said and he did his best to make sure he was between Mirai and the demons at all times. Someone had to know bad things were happening; there had to be alarms going off somewhere and so he had to keep Mirai safe until help arrived.
"So many games and so many choices," the master demon said and laughed at them; "humans are such fun. Which one of you wants to die? I feel like a little blood sport."
Tanith and Charlie cackled along with their master and Tanith looked at Evan, long forked tongue licking her lips.
"That one," the master demon said, pointing at Jeremy and even as several voices protested Jeremy was dragged from the group and onto clear ice.
To his credit Jeremy stood tall when he was left there alone.
"So brave," the master demon taunted and stepped towards the lone skater.
"Don't look," Evan whispered to Mirai, holding her hand tightly, "just don't look."
This just couldn't be happening; it really couldn't.
"Touch him and you will really piss me off," said a very familiar voice and Evan looked around in astonishment to see Johnny standing from where he had fallen.
Johnny was brushing himself off and looked perfectly healthy despite the fact there was blood on his face and his top was in tatters; of course the most eye catching thing about Johnny was the large, pure white wings on his back.
"You cannot be here," the master demon hissed; "you break the rules."
Johnny just smiled and then his eyes went pure white, glowing from within and his face took on an unearthly peaceful expression.
"We have broken no rules, demon," a voice that echoed around the room came out of Johnny's mouth; "a pure soul and a selfless act brought us here; return to your place now and save yourself pain."
With demons came angels, only angels were not a part of everyday life. Angel possession was legend like prophets and miracles, but Evan could feel the incredible, pure, power radiating off of Johnny. Even as Johnny's eyes returned to their usual colour, if a little brighter, the power in the air was tangible.
"So," Johnny said, putting a hand on his hip and standing there as if it was any other time, "are you leaving or am I putting you down?"
It was so completely Johnny that Evan wanted to laugh; Johnny was giving lip to a demon, a very powerful demon.
"You have no place here," the master demon growled, flanked by Tanith and Charlie.
"Do you need it in foot high letters?" Johnny replied sarcastically. "Pure soul, remember? Ironic, I know, but who knew? Now fuck off."
It seemed that unlike Tanith and Charlie, Johnny might be possessed, but his mind still seemed to be in charge.
"I will kill them first," the demon hissed and threw out an arm, sending green flame straight at Jeremy.
Johnny's hand shot out and the flame bounced off an invisible barrier, as far as Evan could see, just in front of Jeremy's nose.
"Not happening," Johnny said without even blinking.
The power in the air made the room crackle like a grassy plane before a summer storm.
"Kill it!" the master demon growled at its two cohorts, both of whom completely failed to move.
"Oh please," Johnny said and rolled his eyes before turning his head on one side and narrowing his gaze.
Tanith and Charlie were almost instantly surrounded by cages of what looked like white flame and Evan thought neither of them appeared particularly upset about it. Clearly they had no intention of taking on an angel and now they had a reason to stay out of it.
"Now," Johnny said and produced a flaming sword from absolutely nowhere, Evan was in awe, "you have precisely five seconds to return to the depths before I start rending you limb from limb. One..."
The master demon appeared torn between terrified and utterly furious. When it charged, Evan remembered that demons were not known for their common sense. Johnny just skated out of the way, wings flaring, and brought the sword down, neatly separating one of the demon's arms from its body. The severed limb landed on the ice with a nasty squelch and began to melt even as the demon roared its anger and pain.
"Leave," Johnny said, almost as if he was reluctant to kill it.
"Never," it screamed back and attacked again.
This time Johnny slashed it up the back of one of its reptilian legs, turning to face it with a strange mixture of a desire for vengeance and sorrow in his expression. Evan could only assume that Johnny really didn't want to destroy it, at least not all of him did.
"Go," was Johnny's not unsurprising command, but the demon just attacked again, far beyond reason is seemed.
This time Johnny's arm came up and as he skated to the side he brought the flaming sword across at head height. Just as the door to the rink burst in and armed men streamed through them, the demon's head bounced across the rink; its dead eyes staring even as they started to fizz. It was disgusting, but impossible not to watch.
"Nobody move," came the loud order from one of the men with guns.
Evan wasn't in the least bit surprised when Johnny did move, turning to look at their would-be rescuers. As Johnny's hand released it, the fiery sword vaporised into nothing.
"You're a little late," Johnny said, sounding very unimpressed and then apparently chose to ignore the new comers.
Something about Johnny made him impossible not to look at and Evan couldn't help staring as Johnny looked at the two possessed skaters in their ethereal cages. As Johnny narrowed his eyes again the cages disappeared and that made guns rattle.
"Peace," was all Johnny said without even looking at the trigger happy police officers and Evan felt a wave of calm flow over the whole room.
Evan began to relax despite himself, as if his body and mind had no choice in the matter and he found himself watching Johnny with complete trust and certainty that everything would be okay.
"Come here," Johnny said to Tanith and Charlie.
Both looked at each other and did not move.
"Come here," Johnny said in a far firmer tone.
The two demons possessing their friends were clearly terrified, but this time they moved, skating towards Johnny. Johnny just stood there, wings folded neatly on his back, and waited as if he could have waited forever. It was like looking at eternity in a man and it made Evan feel very small. Johnny's expression was almost compassionate as he looked at the creatures who had taken over Tanith and Charlie. Almost like he was giving a blessing Johnny held out both his hands and placed one on Tanith's head and one on Charlie's.
"Go home," he said simply and white light surrounded both of the possessed skaters.
Evan heard their gasps, but it was over in a second and then they were falling and Johnny was catching them and it was Tanith and Charlie, back to normal, but unconscious, that Johnny lowered to the ice. Evan had seen a documentary on TV once about how demons were exorcised from people and it had been nothing like that; in fact it had been almost as horrible as the possession itself. Modern medicine used energy fields and decontamination solutions to rid people of demonic possession these days, rather than religious icons, but it could take weeks to cure someone, if they managed it at all.
Johnny was kneeling on the ice holding Tanith and Charlie in an awkward embrace when Evan felt the atmosphere in the rink begin to change. The feeling of presence began to diminish and he saw Johnny slowly begin to sink forward. One by one the feathers of his wings began to fall away, vanishing in the same gentle way the sword had. The more feathers disappeared, the more Johnny drooped and Evan's brain finally kicked back in and informed him that Johnny was going to end up sprawled on the ice if someone didn't help him.
Everyone else seemed too shell-shocked to move, so Evan decided he could at least do something. He gently pushed Mirai towards Adam, who was right next to him, and then he skated out of the pack towards Johnny. From the sound of it someone else caught on, because he heard skates behind him as well, but he focused on his goal. He knelt down on the ice beside Johnny, gently pushing the other skater back into more of an upright position even as other people helped take Tanith and Charlie from Johnny's grip.
"Hey, Evan," Johnny said very quietly, sagging against him.
The wings were two thirds gone by that point and Johnny was still covered in blood, so Evan pulled off the sweater he had had over his shoulders for the warm-up and did his best to wrap it around Johnny. It was awkward, because the wings were still in the way, but he hoped it helped since Johnny's skin was cold to the touch.
"Does it hurt?" he asked, feeling stupid almost as soon as the words were out of his mouth.
He could just about see Johnny smiling against his chest, amused.
"No," was the response and it was even quieter than before, "'m jus tired."
"Someone get some help over here," he called loudly, lifting his head and looking around.
Johnny was passing out and that scared Evan, because there was a lot of blood on the ice. There was no fresh bleeding, but he had no idea if Johnny was going into shock or if Johnny was just exhausted. He wanted time to say thank you, to find out why Johnny had done what he did and if Johnny died from secondary causes after having survived demon and angel possession, Evan might have to start breaking heads.
"Try to stay awake," he said, falling back on what he knew about injuries on the ice.
A little hum was the only reply, but at least Johnny responded, so Evan began to babble at the other skater to try and keep him awake. He really didn't know what he was saying, at one point he was pretty sure he gave his considered opinion on the decor of the rink, but he just kept going until the paramedics arrived. After that everything was a bit of a blur; Johnny, Tanith and Charlie were whisked away to the nearest supernatural trauma centre, the police asked them all for their statements and they were sent back to their hotel.
Evan made sure Mirai was all right, safely being looked after by Meryl and then, armed with his phone, he nominated himself liaison on behalf of the athletes in the team and headed for the hospital. No one argued with him and just told him to send updates as soon as possible.
When he arrived and demanded to know how his friends and teammates were he didn't really expect to be shown into a cheerful looking room to find Tanith and Charlie sitting on the one bed, side by side in hospital robes looking kind of lost but otherwise fine.
"Evan," Charlie said, standing up as soon as he came in, "thank god, what happened, no one will tell us?"
That wasn't the first thing he had expected to hear either. People who had suffered from demon possession tended to be psychologically scarred afterwards and in therapy for years; Charlie didn't seem any different at all.
"How much do you remember?" he asked, not really sure how to answer that question.
Charlie looked at Tanith who seemed to be quite happy to let him take the lead.
"That thing appeared," Charlie said, moving back to put his arm around Tanith, "and then nothing."
"They said we'd been possessed," Tanith said quietly, "but how can that be if we don't remember it?"
"Johnny," Evan said, since it was the only feasible explanation.
That clearly confused both Tanith and Charlie.
"Is he okay?" Tanith asked almost instantly. "How could he have anything to do with us not remembering? He didn't do something stupid like offer himself instead did he?"
It seemed Tanith had a very clear view of Johnny, and given what had happened Evan decided it was probably more accurate than his own.
"Actually he did that for me," Evan replied, still not really understanding why; "or actually he jumped in front of me when the demon tried to do to me what it did to you two."
"Oh god," Tanith said, face going white.
"What happened?" Charlie asked, pulling Tanith closer. "Is he okay?"
"They've only told me he's stable," Evan explained, since that was all the information he had been able to get out of the staff before being herded into the room to see Tanith and Charlie, "but he wasn't possessed by a demon. It started and he grew wings; there was blood everywhere, which is why I'm worried about him, but then he collapsed. We didn't see it happen, but when the demon went to kill Jeremy, Johnny stopped it; he'd been possessed by an angel."
Both Charlie and Tanith just stared at him for a moment.
"An angel?" Tanith asked eventually.
"Big white wings, flaming sword," Evan said, not bothering to try and hide his lingering awe at what he had seen; "the whole works. He killed the demon and then exorcised both of you with a touch. It was after that he collapsed."
Neither of his companions seemed to know what to say.
"I thought angels only possessed holy people," Charlie said, sounding more than a little shaken.
"It wasn't like with you and Tanith," Evan decided to try and explain; "it was still Johnny, just with angelic power. The demon accused him of breaking the rules and then there was this voice coming out of Johnny's mouth and it was like you just had to listen to it; it said something about a pure soul and a selfless act. I think when Johnny sacrificed himself to save me he opened the way for the angel to come. He saved us all."
For a little while they all just stayed exactly the way they were in silence and then Tanith laughed. It was a startled, but amused sound.
"Johnny's a pure soul," she said at Evan and Charlie looked at her and Evan was pretty sure his expression was similar to Charlie's in that it probably looked as if he thought she had gone mad, "several people's heads are going to explode."
He hadn't actually looked at it from that angle before and Evan had to smile a little as well.
"What does that even mean?" he asked, even as he just imagined how many people were going to have to rethink their idea of Johnny.
"Well it's got nothing to do with sex," Charlie said with absolute confidence; "I walked in on him and Lambiel once when they got carried away in the men's room."
"Um, yeah," Evan agreed and tried not to blush; he knew first hand Johnny was anything but innocent.
They had both been very drunk once and Evan still wasn't quite sure what had happened, but they had woken up in the same bed, naked and there had been signs they hadn't just been sleeping. They had agreed to never mention it, since neither of them knew exactly what they had or hadn't done, but it had been the beginning of the end of their friendship.
"Johnny doesn't have it in him to hate," Tanith said and distracted him from his thoughts; "he dislikes things and tries to pretend he's a diva bitch who hates, but he can't. That's why he takes everything to heart."
That made something in Evan's chest tighten a little; it made so much sense.
"A pure soul," he said quietly and all three of them looked at each other, acknowledging what they all believed.
"And a fucking idiot," Tanith said very loudly; "he could have been killed!"
It was such a change that Evan couldn't help it, he laughed. He suspected Johnny was going to get an ear full from Tanith at some point, which of course reminded him that he had no idea how Johnny actually was and the laugh died.
"Look," he said, "I promised to call everyone else when I found out how you two were and I am going to get some answers about Johnny, but I'll be back in a little while, okay?"
"Sure," Tanith said and gave him a small smile.
It took him half an hour to make the phone call because everyone wanted to talk to him and find out details; as far as he could tell there were a hell of a lot of skaters all in one place back at the hotel. Then he tried to find out what condition Johnny was in and kept coming up against brick walls; no one would tell him anything. Eventually he went back to Tanith and Charlie and only, four hours later when he went on another fact finding expedition did he get anywhere; he all but bumped into Patti Weir in the corridor.
They kind of just stood there staring at each other for a while as if Johnny's mom had no more idea what to say to him than Evan had to say to her.
"How is he?" he asked after a few seconds of silence.
"Sleeping," Patti told him; "he hasn't woken up yet, but they tell me it's nothing to worry about."
The poor woman looked a little conflicted.
"He's smiling," Patti said as if she wasn't quite sure what to make of it; "in his sleep; he's smiling."
"Angels," was the only vaguely sensible thing Evan could find to say.
Patti didn't seem to be able to quite believe it.
"He really ..?" she began to ask and on impulse Evan reached out and took her hand.
"Come on," he said, knowing that there was a small, empty coffee area just round the corner; "I'll tell you everything."
It was the least he could do and he led Johnny's mom to sit down and then began to describe everything that had happened. He described what Johnny had looked like in as much detail as he could; he wanted Patti to understand just how magnificent her son had been and then, when he was done, Patti just leant forward and gave him a hug.
"Thank you," Patti said, kissing him gently on the cheek.
She looked so proud of Johnny, like she always did and, for once, Evan was in total agreement.
"You should get back to him," he said, feeling suddenly self-conscious; "in case he wakes up."
Patti nodded and they both slowly stood.
"Oh," she said before she turned away and pulled out a mobile phone; "what is your number? I'll let you know when he's awake."
Evan had to put his brain back into the right mode and then rattled off his number, feeling a little surreal as Johnny's mom entered it into her phone. Patti had had him on her least favourite list for so long that it seemed even less real than a lot of other things that had been happening.
"If you need anything, just call," he said and he meant it sincerely.
"Thank you, Evan," Patti said for a second time and smiled at him. "I'll see you later."
With a nod, he let her go and then he fumbled for his own phone so he could tell everyone else the news. Given how the day had started, things were looking up and he headed back to Tanith and Charlie; there had been noises about discharging them and he wanted to be there to help.
Evan walked into Johnny's hospital room very quietly and all but tiptoed over to the chair beside the bed where Johnny appeared to be sleeping. There was a little smile on Johnny's face, just like Patti had said, even in sleep, and Evan didn't think he'd ever seen Johnny so calm. Patti had called him the previous evening and told him that Johnny had woken up briefly, but was still in and out, so she had suggested if he wanted to visit he did so in the morning. He'd had breakfast after a very restless night's sleep and then gone straight to the hospital, where Patti had ushered him straight into Johnny's room. After being so careful, when he sat down the chair squeaked and the spell was broken; he almost stood up again as Johnny stirred and opened his eyes, just in case Johnny wanted to throw him out. Given their past history, what he wasn't really expecting was Johnny to smile brightly at him.
"Hello, Evan," Johnny said, sounding just a little sleepy, but genuinely pleased to see him.
"Hi," he replied, feeling slightly awkward, "how are you feeling?"
Johnny just kind of grinned at that.
"Depends if you mean physically or mentally," Johnny told him without the slightest trace of his usual attitude.
Evan knew that Johnny could be an absolutely wonderful person, but they had been so confrontational over the past few years that he really wasn't used to Johnny just talking to him like a normal person.
"Both," he said, hoping that it didn't sound flippant.
Johnny didn't seem to mind, so he relaxed a little.
"Well physically I feel exhausted," Johnny explained with a small smile, "but they promise me I'll start feeling better in a day or two. It's something to do with bleeding all over the ice and angelic energy being draining on the human form, but I fell asleep in the middle of the doctor's explanation. I swear I didn't mean to."
Evan actually found himself smiling at that; he could just imagine it.
"Mentally I'm wonderful although I keep looking for the wings," Johnny continued and beamed at him to make his point; "I feel so ... god it's difficult to describe ... I suppose it's at peace with myself and it makes me feel so happy."
It occurred to Evan then that he had possibly only ever seen Johnny truly happy a couple of times over their acquaintance, because even on top of the podium he hadn't seen what he saw in Johnny's eyes then. For a moment he was jealous, but then he remembered what Johnny had done for him and it seemed stupid.
"Why did you do it?" he asked, not sure if he should ask, but needing to know.
Johnny's smile changed then and it was slightly sad on the edges, even though it was clear Johnny was still radiating inner peace.
"Are you sure you want me to answer that?" Johnny asked gently.
He could see something, some knowledge behind Johnny's eyes and for a moment he hesitated.
"Yes," he replied eventually.
"I'm in love with you," Johnny said simply and looked him straight in the eye while doing it.
His thoughts came to a grinding halt and Johnny actually laughed lightly and patted his hand.
"Don't look so worried, Evan," Johnny told him in a very sweet tone, "I don't expect anything from you, but I've finally come to terms with a few things and that is one of them. I've been horrible to you over the years and half of it was me pulling pigtails and the other was taking it out on you because I couldn't have you. I apologise."
"I've never had pigtails," Evan felt the need to point out and Johnny laughed loudly at him.
It was an amazingly joyful sound that made him want to join in and he did smile again.
"You're adorable when you're flustered," Johnny said and made him blush.
"You just like having the upper hand," Evan replied, refusing to let Johnny totally get the better of him.
"True," was the smiling reply.
That made Evan smile even more; he couldn't remember the last time he and Johnny had actually talked without swapping snide remarks and it felt strangely good.
"I know I've been a jerk in the press about you being straight," Johnny said and patted him on the hand, "but what you want to be is up to you. I've been projecting onto you and I shouldn't have done it. If you can forgive me ... I thought maybe ... if you don't hate the idea ... we could start over ... try the friends thing again?"
Evan found the whole speech a little surprising, but he was nodding before Johnny had finished.
"Yeah," he said and smiled; "I'd like that ... and you're not the only one who's been a jerk."
Johnny laughed again at that and the sound rang through the room.
"Then I forgive you too," Johnny told him and seemed very pleased; "now you have to tell me what I've missed. How are Tanith and Charlie and is everyone else okay?"
Evan settled in to give Johnny the low down on everything he had seen and heard since the rink the previous day; he was good with facts, so he was in his element.
"Well Tanith and Charlie are back at the hotel," he started with the answer to the first question; "they're fine, not even tired like you are. Don't remember a thing about it, which is good."
Johnny nodded in agreement and then Evan started to tell the other skater about everyone else who had been there and he had seen either the previous evening or that morning. He made very sure to tell Johnny about Mirai and went from there.
If it hadn't been a charity event it probably would have been completely cancelled, but there was a lot of money riding on the gala, so it was postponed a week. Everyone was sent home for a few days and then reappeared, although Evan stayed put in the hotel so that he could visit Johnny and he found that he and Patti were becoming firm friends. The press had gone crazy as soon as the story had broken and he'd done what felt like hundreds of interviews all saying the same things about what had happened. There was of course a ridiculous amount of speculation about why Johnny had done it and Johnny hadn't told anyone else yet, so Evan didn't either. He told all the reporters they would have to ask Johnny.
They were starting rehearsals again so everyone was supposed to be there, but he knew for a fact some hadn't made it back yet. He didn't know if Johnny was going to make it either; Johnny's recovery had taken much longer than the experts had expected, but then they had never actually seen angel possession in person. Evan had been to see his friend every day and the previous day Johnny had been just about climbing the walls. Johnny had been telling everyone he was fine for two days, but the doctors had wanted to keep prodding him and where as pre-possession Johnny would have thrown a fit, post-possession Johnny was actually behaving, mostly.
"Evan!" he turned from where he was watching the ice to find Johnny running towards him. "Hide me," was the desperate plea.
Without even thinking about it Evan lifted the black sheet that was over the table he was standing next to and Johnny dived underneath. Then he dropped the sheet and sat on the table, taking up a relaxed pose just in time to see a group of people charge in the entrance Johnny had just used. There was at least one nun in the pack and what looked like a Buddhist monk.
"Where did he go?" the head of the group asked him.
"Um," Evan said, really unsure what to say.
"We only want to touch the chosen one," the nun said with a very scary smile.
His brain was pointing out that these people seemed a little crazy.
"That way," Evan said and pointed at the other side of the rink, but he was very glad when security arrived and intercepted the group.
They were herded out and one of the black suited men remained on the door, at which point Evan decided it was safe enough to let Johnny up. He lifted the sheet carefully and helped Johnny crawl from under the table.
"I swear, if one more person tries to touch me I am taking their head off, flaming sword or no flaming sword," Johnny said, standing and brushing himself off.
Evan pulled his hand back.
"That doesn't include my friends," Johnny said with a smile. "Can you believe it took two hours to get here because of all the people trying to get to me? They seem to think I'm the second coming or something. Me! The world is full of crazy people."
"You only just noticed?" Evan asked, deciding to run with it.
Johnny gave a little shrug.
"Well they aren't usually this crazy at me, P.E.T.A. not included," Johnny said, brushing himself off.
The media was going completely crazy for Johnny; everyone wanted his story and if they couldn't get it they were making it up. Johnny had always been a media darling, but now it was kind of ridiculous.
"So you're gonna be rehearsing with the rest of us?" Evan decided to change topics and find out what was going on.
"That's the plan," Johnny replied with a smile; "I'm hoping my bag has been delivered to the locker room. They had to sneak me out of the hospital so I couldn't go back to the hotel. Oh and are you available for a press conference later? Tara says people are begging."
It wasn't overly surprising that Johnny would be doing the press thing, because he'd been mostly incognito since the incident, but Evan had not been expecting the invite.
"Um, yeah, sure," he replied, thinking through his itinerary; "why do you want me there?"
For the first time Johnny looked a little unsure.
"The biggest question is going to be why I did it," Johnny said and Evan got the impression his friend had been thinking about it a lot.
There was something about Johnny's expression that made him think he knew what Johnny wanted to do.
"And you want to tell them the truth," Evan said and it wasn't even a question.
"Yeah," Johnny admitted and seemed a little unclear of his own reasoning; "it doesn't feel right lying about this, but I'll figure something out if you'd rather I didn't tell everyone the truth. I'll make completely sure that they know it's all me and not you," Johnny added, "but you know some of them will go with the no smoke without fire approach."
It was almost a given that if Johnny's reasoning came out some people would assume it had to be a mutual state of affairs; the press was just like that, but Evan wasn't sure he cared. The whole demon debacle had made him reassess things a little and life really was too short.
"It's okay," he said, thinking it through; "some people are going to think that no matter what you say anyway. If you want to tell the world the truth, I'm right behind you."
Johnny gave him the most wonderful smile for that and it was worth any hassle that would come later; there was something so joyful about Johnny's smiles now. Evan wasn't quite ready for the hug; he hadn't quite become used to that yet, but he accepted it as well as he could manage. It was then that they were interrupted as the skaters who had been warming up on the ice headed over. Johnny had not been allowed many visitors and the only people who had gone in to the hospital were Patti, Tara, Galina and Evan so no one else had seen him yet. The hugging continued for some time.
They were skating around warming up by the time the majority of the rest of the skaters appeared. They all had their own routines to do and some smaller group numbers, but what they had never finished was the finale where all the skaters would be on the ice at the same time. It was rehearsals for that which had been interrupted by the invasion. Last Evan had heard it was being viewed as some sort of terrorist attack, but no one was saying by whom or why figure skating could possibly have been a target.
A couple of the juniors looked nervous about getting back on the ice after what had happened last time. Come to think of it some of the older skaters didn't seem overly comfortable either. When Evan glanced over at Johnny, his friend lifted an eyebrow and indicated the youngsters and Evan just nodded; happy to follow Johnny for whatever he had in mind. When Johnny skated casually over to where the juniors were kind of just hanging around nervously at the edge of the rink, Evan went along too. He wasn't really expecting Johnny to sidle up to one of the juniors, tap them on the shoulder, stick his tongue out and shout: "You're it!", but since Johnny had chosen one of the younger skaters who could not let the challenge go unanswered it actually seemed to work. Johnny had sped off down the ice so Evan found himself tagged within about ten seconds. By the time they actually had to do any real work, everyone was tearing around the ice like nothing had ever happened.
During rehearsal Johnny was clearly not quite back to full strength, not that Evan was keeping a careful eye on him at all, but it really didn't matter, because there was just something about Johnny's skating that made up for the moves not being quite so grand. It was as if Johnny had found a new spark. He skated with such life and joy that it was impossible not to see it and feel it with him and Evan had caught everyone watching Johnny at some point or another. From goofing off with the juniors (and anyone else who would join in) to jumping doubles in formation with him, Jeremy and Adam; there was something very different about Johnny. Evan thought it was a very good change.
The room was full, so much so that there was standing room only and Evan felt more than a little bit nervous as he looked at all the faces. Johnny was just smiling at every one as if he really didn't care that there appeared to be half the world's press in front of him.
"Hi," Johnny said, after they sat down and the cameras had stopped flashing non-stop, "I understand you have a few questions."
Johnny always had seemed to thrive in the limelight and Evan decided the other skater was in his element.
"Johnny," someone piped up almost instantly, "New York Times; did you see God?"
That could have been a really awkward question, but Evan was amazed when Johnny just laughed.
"Start with the easy questions, why don't you," Johnny replied, clearly amused, "and the answer is no; I did not see God and before you ask, no I don't know who's right, who's wrong and I do not have a direct line to the hereafter."
Simple, to the point and Evan was pretty sure not everyone would believe it.
"What was it like?" the second question came.
"Incredible," was Johnny response, "absolutely incredible and very eye opening. Such a sense of peace and love and acceptance that nothing seems too big anymore; no problem is too great."
Johnny smiled through the whole speech and the memory seemed to make him radiate pure joy. Somehow Evan felt happier just sitting there.
"How do you reconcile peace and love with a flaming sword?" asked another bright spark.
That made Johnny's expression turn serious and Evan felt the ridiculous desire to hit the questioner for taking the smile off Johnny's face.
"I don't," Johnny said after a little thought; "it was just something that had to be done. The part of me that was just human wanted vengeance for the demon hurting my friends; I'm not going to lie, taking it down and stopping it being able to do any more damage felt good, but I felt only sorrow from the angel. The angel just wanted it to go back to where it belonged and stop hurting people."
That launched the conference into a whole barrage of questions about religion and faith and all sorts of things, which Johnny negotiated with an eloquence Evan had had no idea his friend possessed. He had known Johnny was good with the press, but not this good. Of course eventually the philosophising had to come to an end.
"Johnny, why did you do it, why did you throw yourself in front of Evan?"
It was the question they had both known was coming and Johnny looked at Evan who simply tried to give his friend support.
"It was simple," Johnny said after a moment, looking slightly off balance for the first time; "at that instant I wanted Evan be safe more than I wanted to be safe myself, so I jumped in front of him; I didn't really think, I just acted."
"Why?" came the instant follow up.
Johnny smiled to himself and looked down, taking a deep breath.
"One thing you realise when faced with something as dark as what we saw," Johnny said slowly, clearly having thought out what he was going to say, "is what is important and what is just ridiculous window dressing. In that moment I realised something I had been denying for what seems like a very long time."
Evan watched as Johnny looked around the room.
"I've considered how to answer your question carefully, because I knew it would be coming," Johnny continued, appearing very thoughtful, "and I decided that the only thing I could do was tell the truth, but first, I must stress; this is me and only me."
The room was as silent as a press conference ever got.
"What I found out," Johnny said, making the reporters wait with a sense of timing Evan had always envied, "is that I am in love with Evan and I have been for several years."
The room exploded with sound and Johnny looked at Evan, rolling his eyes just a little at the reaction.
"Evan," someone called out, "how do you feel about this?"
"I'm flattered," he replied simply; "it was a bit of a shock when he told me."
Johnny giggled quietly.
"Your face was a picture," Johnny said and Evan could only imagine.
He had to smile.
"But please," Johnny said, taking back control, "I must stress, we are not now in a relationship, nor have we ever been. This is in my head and, trust me, that is a weird, weird place."
"We're friends," Evan added, because he didn't want anyone to think he was not on board with this, "but nothing more."
"What about the rivalry?" another voice asked from the crowd.
"Water under the bridge," Evan replied and Johnny seemed happy to let him do some talking now. "When someone saves your life like that it changes how you see them. Johnny and I have been enemies in the press for too long and you can take it from me, it stops here. We're still competitors, but that doesn't mean we can't be friends."
Of that point he was very, very sure.
"Johnny," another reporter asked; "how has this affected your thoughts on retirement?"
"Oh, Evan's gonna have to put up with me on the ice for a while yet," Johnny replied cheerfully; "I find myself with a new love for life and especially skating."
What followed was a question about how Evan felt about that and then finally there was some significant talk about skating and he found he could say something sensible. By the end of the conference Evan was actually feeling very pleased with the whole thing. Of course at least one paper ran with the headline: "Johnny Weir Confesses Love to Evan Lysacek", but that had been expected.
The charity gala had gone magnificently and couldn't even be marred by the protest outside from the religious far right who had decided Johnny's possession was a trick from Satan. Everyone had skated like they had been reborn and Johnny had skated like he still had wings making it a thoroughly successful evening. The money that had come in was triple what had been expected and all those involved had fallen into bed that night with smiles on their faces.
Going home after all that had been strange and the first thing Evan realised when there was that there was a Johnny Weir shaped hole in his days. He had adjusted to seeing Johnny every day and now that he didn't anymore he missed it. Which was why, after a phone call with his agent about doing a chat show with Johnny, when Johnny called to talk about it, Evan had found himself uttering the words: "Why don't you come stay with me?"
It was after Johnny said yes with a delighted little squeal that Evan had started to panic and clean. He liked things neat, but Johnny had confessed about his whole cleaning problem while in the hospital (just one of the many subjects they had covered) and so Evan wanted the house spotless. He even went out, bought a Gaga poster, had it framed and hung it in the spare room.
Johnny's twitter the following morning said: "Going to stay with AEvanlysachek, doing Lopez together tomorrow. Should be a blast!"
Shortly followed by: "Wonder if Evan likes Glee?"
That meant Evan had had to reply of course, with: "AJohnnyGWeir you'll have to indoctrinate me."
And Johnny had come back with: "AEvanlysacek, wow, big words."
Evan had spent the rest of the morning grinning.
Picking Johnny up from the airport had been interesting. Johnny had had fans before the whole possession thing, but now he had more, more enemies too, but that was beside the point, and it had taken a while to get through the hoard. It would have royally pissed Evan off to have so many people trying to stop him getting on with his daily life, but Johnny had been an absolute angel, no pun intended. Johnny had signed things, posed for photos and babbled at the people who flocked around him in a way Evan envied, only breaking off when airport security had begun looking a little worried.
Showing Johnny into his guest room had been fun too.
"You bought Gaga!" had been Johnny's first comment.
"I wanted you to feel at home," Evan had replied, trying not to blush.
Then there had been lots more hugging (Johnny seemed to like hugging) before Evan had left his friend to settle in. That had been a few hours previously and currently Johnny was in Evan's kitchen, puttering around singing off key and making dinner. Johnny had said it was the least he could do and there were lovely smells coming from the room now. It involved chicken and vegetables and garlic as far as Evan could tell from his perch on one of the stools.
"Oh damn," Johnny said suddenly from where he was chopping tomatoes for a salad.
"You didn't cut yourself did you?" Evan asked, standing up and trying to see.
It hadn't sounded like an injury, but Evan was all too aware sometimes figure skaters reacted strangely to pain having been trained too well to try and ignore it.
"Nope," Johnny said turning, "only casualty is this shirt."
There was a big, watery, red splodge in the middle of Johnny's white shirt.
"Should have remembered to put on the apron," Johnny decided and then simply pulled the shirt off. "Do you have any stain remover for delicates? I should get this into soak straight away."
"Um, yeah, somewhere," Evan replied, trying to think where he had last put it.
Evan preferred much more casual clothes to Johnny, but he did know how to look after more delicate things; he had been wearing costumes for a long time after all. It was after he found everything they needed and Johnny set about making sure the stain would not stick that Evan saw Johnny's back for the first time. What he saw made him just stare for a while. There, right over Johnny's shoulder blades, were two silver lines. They looked as if they had been very carefully painted on, and as he looked closer he realised that they weren't blocks, but rather seemed to be made up of tiny little flecks, like the soft under feathers of a bird. Evan really found himself wanting to reach out and touch, but luckily Johnny turned back before he could embarrass himself further; being caught staring was bad enough.
"Oh," Johnny said, clearly catching on to what Evan had been doing, "I forgot; you've never seen what's left of my wings. The doctors have no idea why my skin's silver there; when they took a sample it came out as perfectly normal."
"They're beautiful," Evan said, not wanting Johnny to think he thought they were bad.
He was rewarded by one of those lovely smiles that he was becoming quite addicted to.
"Thank you," Johnny replied, clearly touched; "I've been trying to decide when to go backless and show them off. You can all but guarantee someone will ask how I had them done and they won't believe me when I tell them it's angel scaring."
"You could start a whole new craze," Evan replied and grinned. "Next season everyone will be wearing backless numbers with airbrushed designs on their shoulder blades."
Johnny laughed at that idea.
"Maybe I could market a line in temporary back tattoos," Johnny said, amused by the whole thing.
When Johnny pulled the apron from the back of the kitchen door and just pulled it on, Evan realised Johnny was not going to bother finding a new shirt. He had downloaded Johnny's TV show and watched it all, not that he was admitting to it, so he was well aware that Johnny was as liberally inclined to wearing clothes at home as he was in locker rooms, so it really shouldn't have surprised him. Settling back on his stool, he watched as Johnny went back to slicing.
It was as he watched the strong muscles down Johnny's back flexing under Johnny's skin and found himself wondering what it would be like to kiss up them that it finally dawned on him what he was refusing to let himself think. He really had believed he was straight for a long time, but as Johnny had mentioned in the press conference, seeing what they had seen could wake a person up about things they were denying and change their view on the world. It had taken him a bit longer to come to terms with it than it had Johnny it seemed, but, in that moment, everything coalesced in his head. Maybe he was bisexual or maybe he was just Johnny-sexual; he really wasn't quite sure, but he was finally beginning to come to terms with the fact he was definitely something and what he wanted was right in front of him.
As Johnny started humming quietly and finished chopping, Evan stood up and walked up behind his friend.
"Johnny," he said quietly.
"Yes," Johnny replied, turning to him and smiling.
Then, before his more logical mind could talk him out of it, he lent forward and placed the lightest kiss on Johnny's lips. When he pulled back, Johnny had the most adorable look of shock on his face and Johnny brought up his fingers to touch his lips as if he wasn't sure it had just happened. For a few moments neither of them moved and Evan just waited, heart in his throat to find out what Johnny would do.
"Really?" Johnny asked as if it seemed impossible.
Evan smiled and nodded at the question and the expression that appeared on Johnny's face was like watching the sun come out after years of darkness. The kiss that followed was the sweetest kiss of Evan's life and he couldn't help thinking of an angel.