Fan Fiction - Hanson, Krasobruslení - This Glassy Surface

One Way Ticket (08/11)
~by Estriel~

I wanna run with you until I lose control
Don’t wanna worry about getting by
I wanna breathe when I’m breathing
And see what I’m seeing
I take a one way ticket tonight

~Hanson: One Way Ticket ~


The first time Taylor stays overnight, Johnny has just returned from his competitions in China and Russia, bubbling with excitement over his wins and – despite the tiredness that shows under his eyes – full of positive energy.

They share a bath in the evening and it feels heavenly, even though it’s not quite the way Johnny offered all this time ago over the phone. Taylor didn’t spend the past two weeks traveling across several time-zones, so rather than getting pampered, he takes initiative, so that Johnny can rest comfortably against his chest and meow in delight as Taylor’s fingers rub and cleanse and soothe him.

It’s late by the time they get out of the bath and Taylor feels a little dizzy. The steamy bathroom and the sparkly wine they drank to celebrate Johnny’s success is just part of it... He suspects that at least half of the lightheadedness comes not from the alcohol but from Johnny himself, the scent of his hair, the smoothness of his skin, the way his tongue tickled the roof of Taylor’s mouth when they kissed...

So Taylor decides to stay the night, calling home to leave a brief voicemail, I’m at Johnny’s, I’ll be back tomorrow, good night. That, he later realizes, didn’t probably explain much, nor did it give any useful information, since nobody knows much about Johnny – who he is, where he lives. For Zac and Ike, Johnny is just an imaginary person, a name Taylor once used in a song. Natalie, of course, knows that he’s friends with someone of that name, but nothing more – Taylor has kept her in the dark.

At that moment, though, Taylor almost doesn’t care that he’s being all cryptic. Not with Johnny curled up in bed beside him. That night belongs to him, Taylor decides, to them. And, with that thought, he switches off his cell-phone and tosses it onto the pile of his clothes that Johnny carefully placed over an armchair.

They gradually fall asleep, with languid kisses, relaxed and a little tired – well, very tired, probably, on Johnny’s part.

Johnny’s inner clock doesn’t tolerate tired, though, Taylor assumes. When he wakes up, the first thing he sees are Johnny’s eyes, not sleepy anymore, but chirpy as if Johnny has been awake for quite a while already.

“Good morning,” he whispers and kisses Taylor, smiling.

“Morning,” Taylor mumbles in response, his voice getting lost in Johnny’s mouth, then reaches out to wrap an arm around Johnny’s waist and pull him closer – mornings always feel chilly, somehow, no matter the temperature in the room, and Johnny is all warm.

“I love how you smell,” he says dreamily, his nose buried in the crook of Johnny’s neck. He hears the sharp intake of breath, the short shiver that runs through Johnny’s body, but his mind is too sleepy to analyze.

He presses a kiss on the faint birth-mark on Johnny’s neck, sucks at his pulse-point until his heartbeat picks up a pace.

“Stop,” Johnny whispers, but doesn’t make any effort to get away, and there’s a smile curling up his lips.

“Why?” he inquires and runs a teasing finger down Johnny’s spine, right into the cleft of his ass, which flexes in response.

“Because,” Johnny begins and – with an ease that surprises Taylor – rolls them over, so Taylor’s flat on his back with Johnny on top. “Because I thought we were going to have breakfast. But if you keep doing things like this,” – he tightens his muscles on purpose this time to trap Taylor’s finger between his cheeks – “we’ll never make it out of bed.”

“I’ll have you for breakfast instead,” Taylor grins and rubs his fingertip against Johnny’s entrance, not pushing in, because that might hurt, just a sweet pressure to make Johnny ah ever so lightly.

Johnny straddles him more firmly then, a naughty smile on his face.
“Are you sure you can stomach such a hot, strong bite first thing in the morning?” he asks and palms Taylor’s dick. His hand feels warm and perfect and Taylor feels himself stiffen under the touch.

“Absolutely,” he nods and closes his eyes for a moment to relish the sensation that washes over him.

The orgasm Johnny gives him leaves Taylor a little breathless. As for Johnny himself... well, he probably feels the same, judging by the way he sags into his arms when Taylor falls back against the cushions, no longer able to sit up.

He tries hard not to think about Natalie then, because it feels like cheating to think of anyone else, especially when he’s in Johnny’s bed, his dick still nestled inside Johnny’s body. Taylor almost laughs at the irony of this.

But he cannot help it, for the comparison is right there on the brink of his mind. Sex with Nat has always been good, she’s never been one of those wives who deprive their husbands because they ‘have a headache’. But it has never been this mind-blowing either, and Taylor takes a moment to think about why when Johnny gets up and, after cleaning them both up a little, heads to the kitchen to make you a proper breakfast.

It cannot be that he’s simply gay. It’s not that the thought of being attracted to men makes him feel uneasy – the time for that has long passed. It’s more the fact that such an explanation would be almost too simple. Besides, he knows he likes women, they turn him on, which is more than he can say about any exclusively gay man he knows.

No, Taylor knows it’s more than a mere question of sexual orientation, it’s more complicated. Because how could these things ever be easy. The only other feasible answer he can find makes Taylor feel a little exhilarated – because the thought is exciting, the thought that this might be it, the real thing – but mainly it reignites the guilt he stifled last night when he decided to stay over.

He gets up and fumbles for his phone in his pocket, switches it on and is about to call home, just to let them know that he’s fine and will be there soon, when Johnny pokes his head inside the bedroom.

“Come eat,” he calls and his face is lit up with so much happiness and expectation that Taylor doesn’t have the heart to do anything but comply.

“What is this?” he asks when Johnny sits him down at the kitchen table and studies the foreign-looking jars surrounding his plate.

Johnny waltzes over with another plate, this one laden with –

“Blini,” he announces and sets the plate down in the middle of the table. “Russian pancakes,” he explains at Taylor’s puzzled expression. “They’re breakfast from heaven,” he smiles, lifts one pancake with a fork and serves it onto Taylor’s plate.

“Dig in,” he prods, then waves towards the jars: “You can have them with Russian raspberry jam or honey, or – if you don’t want sweet –“ he points at a white cup covered in Cyrillic lettering. “This is smetana, it’s Russian, too. It’s a little like sour-cream, but not sour,” he laughs a little. “Or... we should have some ham and cheese in the fridge, I think,” Johnny moves to get up and go check, but Taylor catches his hand to stops him.

“I’m fine, I’ll have some with jam and the... uh... cream thing,” he says and reaches for one of the jars. “You really like Russia, huh?” he smiles, spreading the red jam over the pancake.

“Yeah. I just feel... connected to the country and the culture. People even tell me that I have a Russian soul,” Johnny says and shakes his head a little, as if that idea filled him with wonder.

“You seem fairly American to me,” Taylor teases. “Starbucks and Aguilera and shopping and – “ he stops when he sees the pout on Johnny’s face. “You’re the most Russian American I’ve ever seen, though,” he says and leans in to kiss the pout away.

They sit in silence for a few moments as Taylor works his way through the first pancake. Johnny wasn’t lying about the taste.

“They’re delicious,” he praises and Johnny’s brilliant smile makes his heart contract painfully. He’ll have to leave soon. “How does an American boy like you learn about Russian cuisine, though?” he asks to distract himself. And Johnny, too, because Johnny seems to be very good at noticing little things, like changes in his expression, his tone.

“I have quite a collection of Russian friends,” Johnny says and lays another pancake in front of Taylor. “Skaters, mainly. And Russians like to feed everyone who comes to visit, so...” he shrugs. “It’s devastating for one’s figure, of course,” he adds and Taylor suddenly realizes that he’s the only one doing the eating.

“Aren’t you gonna have any?” he asks and watches Johnny shake his head reluctantly.

“I’m on a diet,” Johnny admits and runs his hands down his sides, smoothing the silky bathrobe he’s wearing. “I’ve got to keep my skating weight.”

“C’mon,” Taylor grimaces. “One little bite won’t hurt you,” he says and slices away a neat piece of pancake, which he then lifts on his fork, holding it out towards Johnny.

“Tell that to my quad sal,” Johnny murmurs, but leans forward to take the offered bit. Taylor has no idea who or what quad sal is, but he doesn’t inquire, because the delight that spreads across Johnny’s face as he chews on the cream-covered pancake makes it impossible to focus on anything else.

Johnny sighs in appreciation. “These are good. I’m proud of myself,” he says, and then, as in afterthought: “I would make a great housewife, wouldn’t I?”

Taylor nearly chokes on his pancake. He’s not sure what exactly caused it: the fact that someone like Johnny, a top level athlete who travels the world, not to mention a gay man Taylor can easily see on a catwalk in New York, should voice such an idea, or the fact that Taylor can, on second thought, actually imagine Johnny doing just that – play with kids and cook and read romance novels in an armchair in the evenings, then have sex with the soft crackle of a fireplace in the background...

“Yeah, you... you would,” he manages, a little dumbstruck.

Then he changes the topic quickly. The last thing he needs is to start imagining Johnny with Penny in his arms, because that would be just wrong. Sick. Twisted. Because, regardless of the feelings he might have, Johnny is still... well. Taylor isn’t sure he wants to finish that thought, so he doesn’t, saying instead:
“I read the book, by the way. The one you bought for me. Pushkin.”

Johnny seems a little taken aback at the abrupt skip in the conversation, but he goes with it, for which Taylor is grateful.
“You did?” he asks, apparently surprised at that, too. Taylor can’t help but feel a little embarrassed when he realizes that Johnny clearly didn’t expect he would read it.

“Yeah,” he nods.

“What did you think, then?” Johnny asks, tearing off a tiny piece of one of the remaining pancakes to slowly nibble on it.

“I liked it. I mean, it took a little while to get used to the language, but the story – “ Taylor stops right there, because, in that moment, his phone starts ringing loudly in Johnny’s bedroom where he left it along with his jeans.
“I’m sorry,” he mumbles, then hurries off to the room to get the phone. It’s Natalie.

He doesn’t even have time to say hello before her voice rings into his ear.
“Tay! Where have you been?” she sounds urgent and scared rather than angry like Taylor would have expected.

“I left you a voice mail,” he says calmly, even though his heart is beating wildly and a strong feeling of self-consciousness floods him. “I’m at a frie-“ A friend’s, he wants to say, the word heavy and unfair on his tongue. He knows Johnny can hear. But Natalie doesn’t let him finish:

“I’ve been trying to call you all night, Taylor,” she says and sighs a little, clearly exhausted. “River – “

The fear rips through him like a lightning, cold and menacing and horrible.
“What?” he breathes. “What happened? What’s with River? Nat, is he... He’s alright, isn’t he?”

“Yes, he is, he is now,” Natalie says and Taylor sinks to sit on the bed. His knees seem to get a little weak at the relief. “He started crying at night, so I went to check on him... He was burning up with fever,” she starts and Taylor remembers the bad fevers River had several times this past summer. “I got worried and wanted to take him to the hospital, just to be safe, you know,” Natalie continues and Taylor nods, though he knows she can’t see him. It was reasonable, better be safe than sorry, especially with an illness-prone kid like his youngest.

“I didn’t know – I wanted to call you, but I couldn’t reach you,” she accuses and Taylor closes his eyes, feeling despicable, miserable. “Somebody had to stay with Ezra and Penny,” she goes on. Of course. How could he ever have let it come to this?

“So,” she takes a deep breath. “In the end, I called Kate and Zac.” Natalie pauses, then: “River is fine, don’t worry. We stayed at the hospital for a while, he got a cool bath and syrup and it’s nothing serious, the doctor said.”

“Thank god,” he whispers. “Nat, I... I’m sorry,” he sighs and rises to pick up his clothes. “I’ll come straight home, okay?” he promises and, after Natalie’s quiet okay, he hangs up.

He looks up to find Johnny in the door. He has his arms wrapped around himself and he’s biting his lip a little nervously.
“Is... is everything okay?” he asks quietly.

Taylor averts his eyes, because he cannot stand to look at him, at the heartbreaking insecurity and hesitance and alarm that radiate from his very stance, at the guilt in his eyes.

“Yes. No. I...” he stutters. “Fuck,” he curses and pulls on his jeans. “It’s my son, River. He woke up with fever and Natalie had to take him to the hospital and I wasn’t there and I...”

“Oh,” Johnny says and bows his head.

“I have to go,” Taylor says. “To make sure he’s... he’s fine.”

“I understand,” Johnny whispers and looks up, bravely trying for a smile.

Taylor nods, more to himself than to Johnny. He puts on the rest of his clothes and heads towards the door. He wants to walk past Johnny, eyes fixed on the ground, because he feels like utter crap, like he’s not worthy of being here, because Johnny deserves much more and much better than this, than him.

He stops, though, beside Johnny and, running his fingertips along his jaw, mumbles:
“I’m sorry.”

“I know,” Johnny replies with a brief touch on the back of his hand, meets his eyes for a second before he looks away.

“Thank you,” Taylor says and then, finally, leaves, because he knows now better than ever what – whose feelings and needs and wants – always, always have to come first.


Paris finds Johnny sitting at the kitchen table, surrounded by jam and cream and blinis.

“I’m so stupid,” Johnny whispers when he registers Paris’ presence.

And then he starts crying, silently, the tears rolling down his cheeks. Paris was actually going to be bitchy and play offended because Johnny didn’t tell him. He was going to roll his eyes and tell him I told you so. That was the plan should it ever come to something like this.

But now that it’s actually happening, he doesn’t have the heart. It seems that he might have underestimated the graveness of the situation, the feelings his fool of a best friend has developed over the past few months.

Johnny looks so utterly sad and helpless that Paris can’t help but hug him and simply hold him, for as long as will be necessary. Unfortunately, that’s about the only thing he can do.

Thanks Reet and Cel for beta-read.

Pozn. autorky:
* Ike and Zac are Taylor's brothers and the other two thirds of Hanson. Kate is Zac's wife.

* The song Taylor used Johnny's name in is Yearbook.

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