Fan Fiction - Hanson, Krasobruslení - This Glassy Surface



Keep Thinking (Epilogue)
~by Estriel~


I hope you wanna try still
You know I will

~ Hanson: I Almost Care~

~*~


It arrives in the mail, a white envelope with his name and address written on it in a not quite neat script, without any information about the sender. Johnny opens it to find two tickets tucked inside. There is no note attached to it, very non-committal.

It’s not exactly a surprise – he’s read the news months ago and has been wondering ever since when – if – he’d hear from Taylor. He half dreaded, half anticipated the moment Taylor would contact him in one way or another.

He reads the tickets. March 28, 2009, 9pm. Webster Hall, New York City.

~*~


“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Paris asks, eyeing the mob of queuing girls with alarm and suspicion. Johnny knows that the suspicion isn’t aimed only at the fangirls – he’s aware that part of it is also directed at him. Paris is not sure what to make of this, of course, Johnny can practically hear the musings going through his head.

It’s been a funny year for the two of them. Paris still is, of course, the good friend he’s always been – always there whenever Johnny has needed him, supportive when Johnny was upset in the weeks following his goodbye to Taylor, encouraging when Johnny moaned and groaned about the training routine Galina set up for him.

But something has changed in their relationship lately, Johnny can sense it in the way Paris acts around him – a little more on the protective/possessive side than before, a little less shameless and bitchy. He can tell from the looks he sometimes notices – those that he’s not supposed to notice, of course. He’s not sure if he likes the development, especially since he doubts he could ever be anything but a friend to Paris. Fortunately, though, nothing has happened so far, nothing that would force him to react in one way or another – he’s glad about that at least, because he’d really hate to hurt his best friend, or even lose him. There have been too many messy relationships in his life already and he certainly doesn’t fancy messing up one of the steadiest he’s had so far.

“Yes,” he answers firmly and drags Paris towards the entrance, flashing their VIP tickets at the security guards.

They stand by the side and watch as the venue fills with people – 20-something girls mostly, with the occasional boyfriend or mother or little sister. Paris points out that, since they’re VIPs, they could easily go stand right in the front. Johnny rolls his eyes at him – he doesn’t really need that, now, does he? Secretly, though, he’s curious, eager to finally see Taylor in his element, wondering whether he’s changed much in the year since their ways parted. There is a bubble of excitement inside him, mingled with nervousness and maybe even a bit of anxiety.

He’s only thought about Taylor every once in a while, it’s a luxury he doesn’t indulge in often. Remembering the way Taylor’s eyes always shone when he got excited, the way he sometimes rambled when he went on about songs, words tumbling out of his mouth in a soft, rushed tone because there was so much he wanted to share – at first, it hurt to think of all this and made Johnny wonder if he would be able to resist running back. Then, later, there simply was no point in thinking about Taylor, because he was gone and Johnny knew he’d probably never get a second chance. Fortunately, he’s had so many other things to occupy his mind with in the past months, like his new costumes and music and the beautiful choreographies Mikhail has created for him to put onto the ice, then – as the year moved on – competitions and training and medals...

He feels the anticipation make his skin prickle now as the lights go down in the venue and the band appears on the lit stage, accompanied by loud screaming from the crowd.

Paris is right, they don’t see much from where they’re standing. But Johnny doesn’t really need to look to remember all the details; he can still recall the way Taylor’s hair fell into his face, the way his eyes fluttered closed that one time when he played for him. When he focuses a bit, he can even remember where freckles stood out on Taylor’s skin and the way his cheekbones flushed and how his mouth formed a silent oh whenever Johnny surprised him with something particularly inventive or particularly naughty. He can recall all this and more, things that not even the girls in the first row can see, will never see.

The music is new, as far as Johnny can tell, or maybe he’s just never heard the songs before. Not quite his style – and definitely not Paris’ style, judging by the rather bored expression he keeps displaying throughout the show – but there’s something a little intoxicating about the vocals and harmonies that blend into the melody of each song and make it complete. Johnny’d sing along if he knew the lyrics.

Then, towards the end of the show, Taylor shushes the crowd and lets his gaze sweep across the venue. Then, once the fans have calmed down, he starts speaking:

“We haven’t played this song live very often – for the recording of Middle of Nowhere Acoustic, then once or twice more on special occasions.”

The audience begins cheering even before he’s finished the sentence – clearly they’re more knowledgeable about the music than Johnny and it makes him feel slightly sad when he realizes how little time he actually had with Taylor, how little opportunities to find out about his world...

“This song is old, but it’s always been special. It is even more special to me now than back when it was written. It’s a song called Yearbook,” Taylor announces and looks over his shoulder to catch a short nod from one of his brothers, then reaches into the keys of his piano.

The tones are heavy, somber and the audience is, for once, actually quiet. Everybody’s eyes are fixed on the stage, fixed on Taylor as he starts singing. Johnny feels a chill run down his spine, despite the hot air.

The crowd joins in on the chorus, but Johnny can still hear the lyrics very clearly and they make him freeze. He catches Paris’ surprised look, but cannot do anything but shake his head; he doesn’t know any more about the song, either, just that it has his name in it. And that it gives him goose-bumps to hear Taylor’s voice mold his name like that, fill it with all the longing and questions and frustrations he probably must have dealt with and that, eventually, led to his divorce a few months ago.

It’s been a year now
And a lot of things have changed
But I keep thinking about Johnny
I keep turning to that page
Where did he go?
I wanna know
Where did he go?
I wanna know


His name comes as but a whisper, a little weepy almost, then Taylor’s voice picks up a new, rough intensity as he repeats the last two lines. Suddenly, Johnny finds himself wishing that he could see Taylor’s face more properly from their spot.

He wraps his arms across his chest and, almost instantly, feels Paris’ touch on his shoulder, a palm that gently slides down his bicep and squeezes his forearm in reassurance. Paris is standing behind him, leaning against the wall, and Johnny is grateful for the comfort as Paris pulls him a little closer, so Johnny can drop the back of his head on his shoulder.

“Do you want to leave?” Paris asks and Johnny can tell from his tone that he hopes for a positive answer.

“No,” he says and briefly closes his eyes, feeling guilty, because he very clearly hears the disappointed huff that Paris doesn’t quite manage to hide.

“Are you alright?” Paris rebounds after a moment, whispering into his ear, because the song has ended and the venue is filled with loud applause.

“Yeah,” Johnny nods and turns his head sideways to give Paris a soft smile. “I’m fine.”

“And you – ” Paris begins, but Johnny doesn’t let him finish.

“I deleted his number and his e-mail and his music from my iPod. He’s gone,” he says and feels Paris’ sigh of relief tickle the side of his neck.

He turns his head back to the stage and watches the band take their bows – watches Taylor in the middle of the trio, tall, lean, bathed in sweat and still all the things Johnny has found so alluring ever since they first met.

He and Paris flee the venue right after the encore and head home. Paris babbles on most of the way on the train, clearly a little bit delighted by Johnny’s earlier statement and the fact that he didn’t seem reluctant about leaving once the show was completely over.

Johnny almost feels guilty because there are two things that he’s not telling Paris. First, it’s that Taylor’s number and e-mail are as securely saved in his mind as they could be in any communication device. And second, that after all this time, he actually feels tempted to use them.

~fin~


Thanks Reet and Cel for beta-read.


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