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28 February 2010 @ 07:43 pm
all the world's a stage (but we're still waiting in the wings) 1/3  
Title: all the world’s a stage (but we’re still waiting in the wings)
Author: i_love_my_az
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Evan Lysacek/Johnny Weir
Summary: Teen rom-com AU. Evan decided he wanted to play hockey after all. Johnny comes to train at his skating rink.
Warnings: So fluffy it’ll give you cavities. A lot of teenage swearing. Deliberate bastardization of RL events. Complete fail at hockey knowledge, so I’m extremely sorry to the hockey fans who’re reading this and will probably be offended. This is probably offensive to people with good taste too. Wikipedia is my friend.
Word Count: 14,500
Author’s Notes: Because dadomz triple-dared me to a.) write Johnny Weir fic after griping about it for three years, b.) write high school shmoop and c.) write it from Evan Lysacek’s perspective. Dude, I totally had to write myself into liking the guy and I hope he’s somewhat in character. You know I love you when I write you nearly 15,000 word fic in six days while madly researching both hockey and figure skating.



Evan considers himself lucky. Well, not in the winning the million-dollar-lottery, I-was-late-for-my-flight-which-just-crashed-in-the-tarmac sense of the word. That’s just pure dumb luck and while a lot of people might think that the dumb part applied to him, he liked to think it was the lucky part that had guided his life for the most part.

See, it all started when Nana Ana decided she wanted to get married and have babies instead of joining the Ice Capades. Years and a dozen grandchildren later, she had what Evan liked to think of as a near-end-of-life crisis. She started reminiscing over what-might-have-beens and getting a sad faraway look in her eyes every time he and Chrissie visited. He didn’t get it then and he still doesn’t now, but apparently Nana saw something in them that made her go out and buy them their first pair of ice skates.

Evan’s mama had yelled the house down when they opened up those Christmas presents. Obviously Nana was getting a bit touched in the head since no one in their right mind would even think of giving Evan, who had stitches on his temple from when he’d slid down the banister and landed headfirst on their marble foyer and perpetually bruised knees, and Chrissie, the reigning queen of klutz in her grade who sported a black eye from when she’d run into the mailbox on her way home from school, shoes with sharp blades attached to them.

Nana had prevailed though, so Evan and Chrissie started learning how to skate that very winter.

It quickly became apparent that Evan was much better at the whole skating thing than Chrissie, a fact which led to some epic fights between them and a lot of name-calling. Chrissie gave up on skating the following summer, loudly announcing that if Evan wanted to be a princess ballerina on an ice cube, then fine, he could go flutter around all fine by himself. Chrissie threw herself into volleyball soon after, leaving Evan to brood over her threats of sparkly princessing on ice.

At nine years old, Evan was already taller than all of the kids in his grade. This would have been fine, if he weren’t as thin as a beanpole. Charlie Sumners started had calling him Olive Oyl just before class let out for the summer and whatever Charlie Sumners did, the other kids were sure to follow. He didn’t want to be Olive Oyl and a princess!

He had sat in the stands after his skating lesson and thought this over. Sure, he liked skating, but he liked having friends even more. No one was going to want to be friends with Princess Olive Oyl, so he decided he was going to quit skating like Chrissie. She found something else she was good at, he could too.

Evan sighed a great big heaving sigh, checked his Power Rangers watch because, wow, was mama sure late picking him up when the metal seats started shaking. He started looking around for an adult because that was what you did when an earthquake hit and that’s when he saw them.

Sixteen of the biggest guys he’d ever seen in white jerseys and helmets carrying big sticks stampeding onto the ice.

They started pushing and calling each other bad names and when their coach blew his whistle, wow. They started skating really fast and hitting each other with their elbows and knees and sticks. Evan was transfixed.

He’d decided. He was going to be a hockey player.

Looking back, it might not have been the right time to announce his intentions of Stanley Cup glory to his mama right after she’d picked him up. She’d been late because she had to rush Chrissie to the hospital after she’d broken her nose trying to reach for the ball during volleyball practice.

She’d nearly had a coronary – no one could ever accuse Evan of being attuned to the nuances of human emotion – but Evan had worn her down eventually.

*

Evan comes home to the smell of cannelloni cooking in the kitchen, his mother calling out hello and telling him to wash up for dinner, and Chrissie cornering him at the top of the stairs.

“Word on the street is that some Junior World Champ’s training at the Ice Locker,” she says casually, leaning on the banister and effectively blocking his way.

Evan makes a face at her. “What street? You watch way too much TV.” He tries to edge past her but she’s almost as tall as he is and has just as fast reflexes.

He dodges, she blocks. He’s impressed; she could’ve been a decent hockey player if she’d wanted to be.

“Says the guy who owns all of Jay-Z’s CDs,” she snarks back. “Sarah says all the figure skaters are shitting themselves.”

He feints, she takes the bait and he manages to make his way into the hallway.

“God, grasshopper, you’re no fun,” she whines, pulling at his backpack.

“God, Chris,” he says, imitating her tone. “What do you want me to say?”

She lets go of his backpack, looks him over and raises her eyebrow. “Whatever,” she says, before stalking into her room and slamming her door shut.

“Evan? Christina?” his mom calls from downstairs.

Evan sighs. His life is so hard. “It’s nothing, mom. We’re just horsing around.”

His mother appears at the bottom of the stairs and looks up at him with sad eyes. He stares blankly back at her. Seriously, are they still expecting him and Chrissie to get along like those kids in his dad’s golf magazines, all smiling and wearing matching polo shirts? It’s been sixteen years since his mom first came home with Chrissie and Evan started bawling like her mere presence was an affront to his existence when his mom put her in the crib next to him.

“Alright, then. Your father will be home soon so we’ll be having dinner in a few minutes.”

“Okay, mom. I’ll just go put my things away.”

Her gaze travels over him then lingers a long moment over his face before breaking contact. “You do that, honey.”

Evan pulls a half-hearted smile. She smiles tiredly back at him. There’s a quiet moment before Marilyn Manson comes blasting out of Chrissie’s room. Evan’s mom’s face falls, pulling the guilt-inducing look of why-can’t-we-all-just-get-along-I-love-all-my-babies-equally-I-wish-you-would-try-harder-you-are-older that she used to pull with Laura before she left for college.

That look’s very effective. He hates that look like a lot. He stifles the face he wants to make and sighs deeply, nodding his defeat. “I’ll talk to her later, ma,” he mouths over the loud, emo, wrist-cutting music.

He goes to his room, tosses his backpack onto his desk, kicks his duffel next to his hamper and sets his stick next to his headboard. He flings himself face first onto his bed and tries to purge the Italian mother-induced guilt from his system.

*

Bauer’s not exactly the best friend a guy could have. People keep telling Evan that he can do better than Bauer, that Bauer’s a bad influence on him, Bauer clearly doesn’t have a future, Bauer’s just going to pull him down, blah, blah, blah...

Evan thinks these people are crazy. It’s not as if he’s married to Bauer or thinking about marrying him. First of all, gross – Bauer smells like feet most days, and like feet with socks on on good days, also his neck is about as wide as Evan’s entire thigh and he chews with his mouth open, which leads to – b.) Evan obviously can do better, he agrees and 3.) just the thought of touching Bauer in any way that is not related to hockey makes him want to kill himself with a spoon. So this is why Bauer is an acceptable best friend and forever banned from being his life partner, even in concept.

They’re lifting weights in Evan’s basement; Bauer spotting, Evan grunting with effort at bench-pressing a hundred and fifty pounds. Bauer’s going on about something that Evan’s not really paying attention to. Evan automatically tunes out whatever stupid shit Bauer feels like saying at any given time; it’s probably why they’re still friends after all this time.

Bauer notices him struggling through his last set, so he tries to motivate Evan in his own special way. “Hey, pussy, I can bench press twice what you’re doing and not even break a sweat. What, you gonna turn into a twirl girl on me, Lysacek? Is that it?”

Evan would tell Bauer to go fuck himself if his teeth weren’t welded together to help against the strain of lifting the bar.

“Come on, bitch. Even Sonja’s faggot partner can do better than this. You’re pathetic, man, letting some ice princess outlift you? One more, c’mon, that’s it.”

Bauer takes the bar away from him and Evan collapses on the bench, panting and loose-limbed. Bauer’s still on his spiel about Sonja’s skate partner and how gay he is. Evan thinks it’s funny, considering all the ass-slapping, nipple-grabbing and sex noises that occur when they’re conditioning for hockey. He also finds Bauer’s poorly hidden jealousy hilarious.

“Whatever, dude,” Evan snorts, reaching for his towel. “Come back and talk to me when you’re done being scared shitless of the Galinazi.” Evan gets up off the bench, away from the trajectory of Bauer’s fist and retaliates with a towel snap to the ass.

Bauer’s only angry since it’s the truth. The Ice Locker’s resident figure skating coach is this indomitable Russian doyenne with a displeased frown tattooed on her face. Her word is law in all matters relevant to the Ice Locker.

“Oh, it’s fucking on, scarecrow,” Bauer says, pounding his chest with both fists. His nostrils flare right before he charges Evan and they fall to the floor, railing on each other.

Bauer manages to pin him to the floor, pulling one of Evan’s arms behind his back and pushing his face into the floor while crowing his victory. “Yeah, it’s like that, bitch!”

Evan uses what leverage his often mocked limbs affords him and twists his way out of the hold, slamming his elbow into Bauer’s side. Bauer lets out an “oof!” of pain, rolling to the side and Evan scrambles to his feet. “No, it’s like that, bro.”

Bauer grunts. “Fuck your crazy skinny ass, motherfucker.”

Evan snorts. “You wish, Bauer.” Evan holds out his hand and pulls Bauer to his feet. “You wanna go for a run before practice starts?”

“Dude, let’s go now. Wanna see Sonja in that little skirt thing of hers,” Bauer leers.

Evan tries not to roll his eyes. “Like you’re gonna be able to get within ten feet of her without Galina tearing your balls off.”

“Fuck you dude,” Bauer replies cleverly, pulling a sweatshirt from his bag and pulling it on. “No way in hell am I scared of that bitch.”

Evan gives up trying not to roll his eyes at Bauer. “Yeah, whatever, dude. We’ll see.”

*

The Galinazi was yelling up a storm in Russian out in the rink. Well, Evan thinks it’s Russian since her mouth’s moving way too fast for her to be shouting English at the kid on the ice.

Bauer had been pissed when he realized that it wasn’t Sonja and her pairs partner Galina was coaching. He’s still really careful about staying out of Galina’s line of sight, the lying pussy.

“Fucking waste of time. Thanks a lot, Bauer,” Evan scoffs.

“This is such bullshit, man. Sonja’s supposed to be here! Who’s that faggot out on the ice, anyway? Kick his ass, wasting my time.”

Evan looks back to the ice, sees the kid jump and spin in the air before landing on one foot. Huh, doesn’t look to hard, he thinks, but then he always thinks that. Kinda like popping tricks on rollerblades, which he and Chrissie used to do before he chipped a tooth and their mom decided to confiscate their skates. He wonders if it’s any different doing those tricks on the ice. He’s curious because anything that looks like it’s pushing the human body to its limits is attractive to him but doesn’t think it’d be worth the shit the guys on the team would give him to try it out himself. Besides, he’d totally need different skates pull that shit off.

He’d also probably break his ankle, if not his neck, trying and it isn’t worth the added aggravation. His coaches are already up in his face about gaining more weight as it is.

Bauer suddenly slaps him on the arm. “Oh, sweet!”

Evan shoves him in retaliation. “What?”

“She’s here! Look!”

Sonja’s standing with her arms crossed over her chest at the side of the rink next to Mr. Petrenko, the Galinazi’s son-in-law and assistant coach. Santos, her partner, is leaning on the boards, eyes glued to the guy on the ice.

“Come on, man!” Bauer drags him through the athletes’ entrance, past the lockers and into the arena proper, asking Evan’s opinion about his chances if he asks Sonja to the Homecoming Dance.

Evan thinks he doesn’t have a shot in hell, for obvious reasons, the first being Sonja obviously can’t stand him and the second being Sonja’s thinks she’s classier than they are. Sure, she hasn’t really come out and said it in so many words, but she goes to that fancy private school, owns a private plane and has a real life chauffer drop her off and pick her up from practice. Evan’ll admit that stranger things have happened, but it isn’t going to be Sonja saying yes to Bauer.

He’s a good friend, though, so he tells Bauer to go for it. Hell, there are no witnesses around to see Bauer getting shot down and spread it around school, so they’re in the clear.

Bauer lets go of Evan once they get close, and with his bag slung over his shoulder and his stick in hand, pretends like he just happened to casually walk by and wasn’t a total spazz who was more or less stalking Sonja.

Evan plants himself next to Santos and settles in to watch his best friend seriously bomb with a major babe.

Out on the ice, Galina’s yelling a mix of Russian and English – mostly Russian. The only words Evan can make out are strong, leg and Johnny. On his left, Santos lets out a dreamy sigh. Santos goes to his school and is a year younger than him and Bauer. He’s one of those kids that get picked on by the sports team of the season. Yeah, the kid might be flaming but Evan’s got no beef with him.

“Hey.”

Santos almost jumps out of his skin. “Christ!” he hisses, shooting a tentative look at Galina, like this was a library and she was some crazy-ass librarian. “I didn’t see you there, Lysacek.”

“Yeah, sorry,” Evan says, not meaning it. “So, who’s that out there?” He points at the kid who’s now doing some mad fast spins on the toes of his skates. Evan wonders how the kid hasn’t puked out his kidneys yet and is momentarily taken back to that summer when he was eight and his teacher tried to show him how to do spins without getting dizzy, only he was too busy trying to shove ice down Chrissie’s shirt to pay attention.

“That,” Santos says, pausing dramatically, which Evan thinks doesn’t help his rep as the gayest kid to ever gay the halls of Wayne Hills High, “is Johnny Weir.”

“Uh, okay,” Evan nods, like this is supposed to mean something to him.

Santos makes a disgusted little noise. “Seriously?”

Some part of him that thinks about these things thinks that the gays wouldn’t get such a bad rap if they weren’t so melodramatic and out there. But what does he know? Maybe there’s a rule that says they all have to act like that or something.

“Hello! He’s like only the best junior skater around. He’s – ”

Whatever else he is, Evan doesn’t get to find out because Bauer falls into him. He almost takes Santos down with them but kid manages to jump clear.

“Ugh, get away from me!”

Evan looks up and sees Sonja, red-faced with her fists on her hips, glaring down at Bauer. Total nuclear meltdown. Evan would be laughing his ass off if Bauer’s knee wasn’t digging uncomfortably close to his crotch.

He pushes Bauer off of him but doesn’t get up. Sonja’s really scary-looking when she’s angry; that’s one new thing he’s learned today. Bauer isn’t as smart as him, though, because he pushes to his feet and gets all up in Sonja’s face.

“What the hell, lady? What’s wrong with you!”

Sonja curses him out in what can only be Russian and raises a hand to slap him. Bauer’s rescued from sporting scars from her vicious-looking nails when Mr. Petrenko intervenes, taking Sonja by the hand and saying something firmly to her in Russian.

She responds heatedly and starts pointing and gesticulating wildly in Bauer’s general direction. Evan thinks this is pure comedy gold. He looks up to see if Santos shares his amusement but Santos just shrugs at him, shaking his head like he’s above this teen drama bullshit.

Then something catches Santos’s eye and he suddenly pales and freezes.

“What is going on here?”

Oh, shit. The Galina. Evan scrambles to his feet and moves as far away from Bauer as he can. Best friend or no, there’s loyalty and then there’s fucking suicide. Santos follows Evan’s lead and tries to make himself as inconspicuous as possible. Smart kid.

Galina moves to Sonja’s side, shooting off questions while glaring at Bauer. The skater, Weir, hovers behind her. Sonja replies in rapid-fire Russian, shooting daggers at Bauer, peppering her speech with the occasional scathing remark of “Pig!” in his direction. Galina’s eyebrows move progressively close together until they’re a single line on her forehead.

When Sonja’s done recounting the tale of the insult to her maidenly virtue or however she made Bauer’s skeevy flirting sound, Galina rounds on him and starts chewing him out.

Evan and Santos trade looks –the kind prisoners of war share when the enemy passes them over for some other poor schmuck who looks easier to torture – glad that they aren’t part of this ridiculous farce and hoping their luck holds out.

The Weir kid is trying to comfort Sonja, who just isn’t having it. Weir catches Mr. Petrenko’s eye and tilts his head meaningfully at Galina.

Galina’s just about ready to rip Bauer’s head off and stuff it up his ass and Bauer looks like he’s ready to shit himself. He’s saved from death by decapitation due to angry Russian matron when Mr. Petrenko finally steps in and talks his mother-in-law out of first degree murder.

She lets him talk her down and storms out of the arena, but not before throwing Bauer one last evil eye and a yelling out a parting, “Yeban'ko maloletnee!

Bauer visibly deflates and just when Evan’s opened his mouth to start asking him where his balls went, Sonja butts in.

“Don’t you come near me again or you’ll be sorry, you stupid pig!”

And whoa, that’s some serious shit right there since it’s an open secret that Sonja’s dad is like some sort of Russian mob price or something like that. Evan lets out a low whistle, not envying Bauer at all.

She stalks off while Santos and Weir exchange wide-eyed, loaded glances. Santos opens his mouth to say something, maybe apologize, maybe to snark, Evan will never know what because it’s been decided that today is the day for hysterical Russian women to make dramatic gestures.

“Micah! Johnny!” Sonja’s glaring, face red as a tomato. “Davaj!” She slams the doors to the locker area open and makes her dramatic exit, assured that everyone’s eyes are on her.

Evan makes sure she’s out of sight before starting a dramatic slow clap. “Dude, that was like out of an episode of Dawson’s Creek or something.”

Bauer scowls, bending down to pick up his fallen stick. “What a crazy bitch.”

“Please,” Santos snorts. “You got your ass handed to you.” He shoulders Evan out of the way, takes Weir by the wrist and drags him to the exit. “Next time, find someone a bit more receptive to stupidity.”

Evan bursts out laughing after the doors swing shut. Bauer half-heartedly shoves him. “Shut up, man.”

*

Evan will be the first to admit that he isn’t exactly the brightest bulb in the IKEA store but he isn’t completely stupid either. He’s on the honor roll, for one, and he’s got all those awards because of his good grades, for another. Sure, he may be slow on the uptake sometimes, and the witty retort isn’t exactly his thing, but he isn’t dumb. Some people might argue that having an excellent memory is an unfair advantage, isn’t an indicator of academic excellence – Evan just thinks those are the jealous kids who have to work twice as hard for something that comes easily to him.

The thing about Evan is that he does know how lucky he is. He knows that some kids won’t ever graduate with honors or ever be captain of their sports team or have families that love and support them, let alone all of those things.

So, yeah, Evan knows how great he’s got it and he counts his blessings every single day.

He’s got no worries apart from wondering whether his team will make it to Nationals and impressing the college and university scouts.

Evan’s got his life more or less laid planned out. He knows what’s going to happen next, even if he isn’t exactly sure of the particulars. Evan doesn’t exactly hate surprises but he doesn’t like them all that much either. Matter of fact, he’d rather they weren’t there at all. It would seem incongruous, what with him being an athlete and all and the outcomes of games being unpredictable, but it’s not. Evan knows himself too well, knows when he can deliver and when he should just stay home with his head buried under the pillow (the latter being an extremely rare case because Evan is rarely not on).

The world is strange and unknown and unreliable. If Evan’s thankful for one thing in this world, it’s his intrinsic knowledge of himself, his self-assurance, the certainty that he gets things done. Evan knows that people fail because they don’t know their own limitations and strengths. Evan’s a winner because he’s so attuned to his mind and body.

See, what people don’t get about Evan is that he’s all about self-control.

You’re only as strong as your weakest link, and thankfully, Evan knows all of his.

*

The next time Evan sees Weir is a few days after the Eruption of Mt. Sonja, after four hours of hockey practice. Evan doesn’t know how Coach Grisham managed to wrangle time away from the ice skaters; he only hopes coach doesn’t manage it again anytime soon. Three hours into practice and Evan could hardly feel his knees from all the blocks he’s had to make. He’s an enormous walking bruise right now.

At least he doesn’t look as bad as the rest of the team – coach had decided to make up a new rule where every missed shot or save meant ten suicides from one end of the rink to the other – they looked like they’d been chewed up and shit out and while Evan might not like how wrung out he feels at the end of the session, he gets why the coach wants to bleed them dry.

It’ll be the last year for most of the players on the team and coach wants to make a good showing at the playoffs. Winning isn’t exactly necessary when it comes to catching a scout’s eye but it helps. Evan’s not as worried as some of the guys since he’s already had some division III and smaller division I schools sniffing around, all but giving him a scholarship. Winning and playing his best is still just as important, though; he’s still holding out for Michigan State or Boston U and they keep their cards close their chests, so Evan doesn’t really know where he stands with them.

Everyone’s bruised, tired, sweaty and irritable when coach dismisses them with one last, “Get your shit together, you fucking girls!”

Evan’s last to leave the ice as a rule, since he’s captain, so he sees coach skate up to the Galina and Mr. Petrenko who’re sitting on the stands. He spares a moment to wonder if they even understand one another, what with coach’s slurring Texan drawl and the Russians’ thick accents, when he runs into Kowalski’s back.

All he can think is, ‘Christ, what now?’ and catches Kowalski glowering at that world champion kid, Weir. Kowalski goes out of his way to shoulder the kid so he hits the plexiglass board. “Outta the way, fag,” he sneers.

Evan’s too exhausted to deal with this shit. “Kowalski, would you just hit the showers?”

“With this princess in the building? Are you fucking kidding me, cap?” Kowalski waves a huge paw in Weir’s general direction. “Fuck, I bet he’s getting off just thinking about it.”

Evan finally takes a good look at Weir and he’s not surprised that Kowalski decided to take his poor performance on the ice out on the kid. Weir’s wearing black tights, a purple leotard, some sort of pink tube top around his torso, dark blue leg warmers with little weird-ass bears on them and a sweatband that’s more of a headband that’s got LV monogrammed all over it. He’s also carrying what looks like a huge ass purse-thing and a red sweatshirt with RUSSIA in white on the back.

The kid’s foreign; Evan doesn’t see any reason why Kowalski’s gotta act all ignorant and make Americans look bad. “Lay off, Kowalski. Alright?”

Kowalski turns that sneer on him. “What? You a faggot too, Lysacek? Is that it? You defending your boyfriend?”

Evan bristles. “Why don’t you quit while you’re ahead, before I shut your damn fool mouth for you, Kowalski?” He moves in close and uses the three inches he has on the guy to stare him down.

“Hey, Evan, where the fuck did you put my goddamn IcyHot?” Bauer walks out of the locker area in his underwear, Lim and Johnson trailing after him.

“Oh, man, Kowalski,” Lim groans. “Save it for the game.”

“Yeah, Kowalski, you better get in there before the hot water runs out and you start bitching again,” Bauer says with a surprising amount of tact. Evan sometimes forgets that Bauer’s not really as stupid as he’d like everyone to think he is.

For a moment, it looks like it’s going to get ugly but Kowalski just bares his teeth at the Weir kid and bangs his way to the showers.

“Fucking drama queen,” Johnson mutters and that just makes Evan crack up. Kowalski is by far the biggest princess on the fucking team and if he weren’t such a good defenseman and an even better fighter, coach and the team would’ve kicked him off a long time ago.

“Dude, seriously, where’s my IcyHot?” Bauer’s persistent like an outbreak of crabs.

Evan manages to choke down the rest of what might be stress-triggered hysteria masquerading as laughter to reply. “What am I, your fucking wife? How’m I supposed to know?”

“You used it last time. I remember.”

“No, I didn’t. You’re getting senile in your old age, grandma.”

“You get in here and help us look for it, bitch,” Bauer says over his back as he pushes back into the locker room. Lim and Johnson follow with Lim lecturing at Johnson about the rampant use of feminine pejoratives in modern-day male-dominated sports arena being a sign of deep-seated insecurities stemming from latent homosexual urges or parental neglect.

Evan thinks Lim talks a lot of bullshit and watches too much Oprah.

He spares a glance at Weir – busy smoothing out his clothes and muttering something that sounds like dalbaiyob while glaring at the swinging doors to the lockers – and steps into the humid atmosphere of the locker room, keeping an eye out for Bauer’s IcyHot.

*

Evan’s lying with his back flat on the bleachers, listening to The Format and reading The Old Man and the Sea for his Lit class while waiting for Weir and the Galina to finish their session.

He wavers between pretending to identify with Santiago or the fish before deciding on the fish. His new age, Birkenstock-wearing, granola-eating, hippie teacher would probably eat that up as the greatest thing since tofu. Evan’s mentally outlining his speech and checking his watch. He’s got a minute left. He turns to stare out at the ice and is surprised to find it empty.

His new work schedule only started a week ago, and the two times he’d waited for the Galina and Weir, he’d had to threaten to call Mr. Fogel on them to get them to stop. He sits up and pulls off his headphones. He looks around the rink and spots Weir sitting two rows down from him. He watches the kid fuss with his skates, then his bag.

“Hey,” Evan calls out, stepping over the bleachers and bounding up to Weir in three huge loping strides. The kid looks up and Evan’s momentarily taken aback at how huge his eyes are.

The kid looks him up and down while unscrewing a huge plastic bottle of water. He takes a few sips but keeps his eyes trained on Evan.

It makes him uncomfortable. He’s used to being the tall, gangly kid and he’s always felt awkward about his body when he isn’t on the ice; he doesn’t know if he should hunch or stand tall, if he should stuff his hands in his pockets or let them hang at his sides. He’s never felt more aware of how much of a beanpole he is than this very moment.

“Um,” he starts, and he doesn’t know what impulse made him come down and talk to this kid but he’s going to roll with it since he can’t walk away now. “Sorry about that thing the other day. My teammate’s kind of a bonehead.”

Weir lifts an eyebrow, which doesn’t seem promising, but he tilts his head, indicating that Evan should continue.

“I mean, I don’t want you to get the wrong idea about us. We aren’t all dumb hicks who like starting fights and like poking fun at people, you know?” Evan shuffles his feet. “Just, one bad experience shouldn’t, uh, sour you on the rest of us, right?”

Evan looks up to see Weir chewing on his bottom lip. Evan pastes on what his mom calls his winning smile.

The kid stuffs the water bottle into his purse-thing and glides gracefully to his feet. Evan reflexively takes a step back. Personal space must not be a big thing in Russia.

“And by ‘the rest of us’, you mean...”

“Uh, Americans,” Evan frowns. “We aren’t all trigger-happy xenophobes. Kowalski’s a douche. So, you know, I hope what he doesn’t make you think that all Americans are intolerant of different cultures and stuff.”

Weir’s lips start pulling at the corners. A few moments pass and then he starts laughing with one hand pressed to his mouth.

Evan’s brow furrows. Wow, try to do something nice and get laughed at. That’s what you get for trying to be a nice guy, Lysacek.

Weir’s stopped laughing, though his lips are twitching like he can’t control his mirth. He fiddles with the strap of his bag and glances up at Evan through his thick eyelashes. “What makes you think I’m not American?”

Evan freezes. Opens his mouth, stops, closes it. “What?”

Weir’s gone back to laughing at him.

“But you, I mean, with the Galina – you speak to her in Russian! And you wear that Russian sweatshirt! And the rest of your clothes...I just assumed – God, would you stop laughing?”

“Oh my God, seriously?” Weir’s thin shoulders are shaking with his suppressed laughter. Evan crosses his arms over his chest and tries to loom menacingly. He fails.

“ I speak Russian with Galina because she’s my coach and it’s her native tongue. It’s the polite thing to do. The sweatshirt? It was a gift. I liked it, so obviously I’m going to wear it. And my clothes? I don’t know whether to be offended or be embarrassed for you.” Evan’s face turns stony; Weir’s undeterred by it and rests a condescending hand on his forearm. “Didn’t it ever occur to you that I may just be gay?”

Evan pulls away. “Hey, I was just trying to be nice. I didn’t come here for you to insult me.”

Weir tilts his and it makes him look like a really weird (ha!) bird that Evan’s having a hard time paying attention to what he’s saying. “And your assumption that I must be foreign because I’m not dressed in Ralph Lauren jeans, a Gap hoodie and horrendous neon Nikes – that’s not supposed to be insulting?”

Evan looks down at himself – there’s nothing wrong with the way he’s dressed, he doesn’t know what this kid is on about.

Weir pulls out these huge sunglasses from his purse (okay, now that he’s not being chained down by PC-ness, Evan has to call it a purse. It looks like one of his mom’s, seriously.) and puts them on. It makes him look like a bug. “The precepts of American masculinity are so archaic and patently chauvinistic; I don’t blame you for ascribing to such notions since you’re mired down with the expectations of Middle America. It’s alright, I understand.”

Evan blinks. What the fuck?

“Well,” the kid chirps, picking up the gym bag Evan hadn’t noticed before (and calling it a gym bag is sort of a stretch since it’s plastered with the same monogram that’s all over the kid’s headband) and giving him a painfully condescendingly sympathetic look. “Gotta go. Thanks for the apology. Really.”

He leaves Evan gaping.

*

Evan’s the first one at the rink and since his last period was Study Hall, he decided to skip so he could warm up early. He’s even beaten the coach since he doesn’t see his red Goat in the parking area.

He pulls out his equipment bag from the back of his Cherokee and head for the Ice Locker building. He waves to Camille the hottie from the snack bar and checks the ice through the plexiglass separating the ice from the entrance. There are about three people on the ice – all figure skaters – and a few more on the sidelines.

Evan changes into his gear, stows his bag in his locker and heads to the ice. He leaves his helmet and skateguards off to one side of the gallery before stepping out onto the ice. He skates around the rink for a few minutes, stick in hand, careful to avoid the other skaters. He notices Weir the same instant Weir sees him. The kid raises an amused eyebrow before turning away.

Evan shrugs it off and starts warming up then segueing into a few drills. He starts doing suicides because he’s a sucker for punishment but also because he likes speed. He’s breathing heavily by the end of it. It barely occurs to him when the other two figure skaters leave.

He’s practicing his footwork now, skating short distances in bursts and dropping to his knees and getting up just as quickly. He starts working on some of his fancier moves, feinting left and right, stopping and starting and generally acting like he’s got an opponent trying to score a goal against him.

He stops when his left calf starts acting up. He’s panting like a dog in the middle of summer and decides to skate a few more laps to work out the kinks in his knees. He’s in the middle of his third lap when Weir skates up next him.

“Nice moves.”

Evan spares him a glance and decides to take that as a compliment. “Thanks.”

Weir makes a soft humming noise. “Fast on your feet, too.”

“I’ve gotta be,” Evan grunts, “to be a good goalie.”

Same strange sound of acknowledgment. “Those are the guys that guard the nets, right?”

“Yeah.”

Weir folds his arms across his chest and leans back on his skates. “You’re here early. School holiday?”

“Skipped last period.” Evan pauses and realizes something. “What about you? Home-schooled?”

Weir does a neat spin and starts skating backwards like it’s no big thing. His eyes are still trained on Evan. “Just how old do you think I am?”

“Uh,” Evan looks him up and down. He’s about half a foot shorter than Evan himself and tiny in the way all figure skaters are tiny. “Sixteen? Seventeen?”

For a brief moment, Evan wonders if Weir’s going to hit the boards since they’re nearing the end of the rink but the kid deftly switches directions. “Really?”

“Uh, yeah?”

“That’s nice of you.” Weir switches so that they’re skating side by side again. “I graduated last June.”

Evan’s jaw drops. This kid’s older than him? Seriously?

Weir smiles at him sweetly and skates away.

Evan just hopes this isn’t going to become a habit with them.

*

Part Two
 
 
Current Mood: relieved
Current Music: Here Comes Your Man - The Pixies