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track is actually my favorite olympic sport.
drunk cesc sez hi ladies
canarycreams
So, guys. Instead of getting ready to leave the country I've been writing (wait for it) swimming slash. SHOCKER. [Actually, this is kind of a monster. It has no thematic unity and inconsistent characterization and one perspective and poor pacing culininating in a rushed ending and um, hackneyed plot devices and and probably no emotional realism but guess what? Fiction writing, you can suck my dick. I had fun writing this.]

ALSO. I had a HUGE FUCKING CRUSH on Jeremy Wariner in Athens. Now NBC is showing me that he's putting on his sunglasses to HIDE HIS TEARS. I BLEED. Screw you, LaShawn Merritt. But David Neville? Straight baller. YOU DIVE TO THAT TRACK; GO HEAD AND WIN YOUR BRONZE MEDAL.



Ryan Lochte makes a face at Michael Phelps from across the room. It's so crowded with photographers and journalists that it's a minor miracle that Ryan's grimacing, goofy face (mouth twisted, chin scrunched, eyes squinted, and forehead wrinkled, although nothing could disturb his nose, which is, Michael knows, totally still no matter what the rest of his face is getting up to) doesn't end up on sport & pop culture blogs worldwide. Let's get out of here, Ryan's face says. Let's ditch these fucking losers and go eat some fucking scorpions off of sticks.

This is Michael's face's reply: I do not trust food that has more than four legs. He says this by rolling his eyes, very slightly, and looking up at the ceiling while someone else is answering a question. [Do you feel honored to represent your country at the Olympic Games--]



"You know you want to try it," Ryan says.

"I don't." What Ryan means is I want to try it, and I want you to be there, so you can back me up on this later. "You can. I'm not. No way, bro."

"You are so boring. How many eggs a day can you eat? This is China, man. Gotta change it up."

"Not with like. a bug. I am not eating a bug."

"It's not just a bug. It's a fucking scorpion. Eating a scorpion would be fucking baller." Ryan's eyes go misty. Michael imagines the crunch. How would a scorpion be served? On a stick, he knows, but would it be, what? Fried? Broiled? Grilled? Would you have a choice? Sir, would you prefer your scorpion flambéed or--

"How do they get the poison out?" Michael asks, because this is a reasonable question when you're talking about hypothetically (or not) eating a potentially-deadly insect.

"Don't worry so much," Ryan says, which means that he knows he's won. Michael thinks about putting up more of a fight, but it's a foregone conclusion; he never wins with Ryan, except for in the pool, and most of the time that doesn't even seem to matter, not like it does with everyone else. That's what Michael likes about Ryan: he treats Michael like his, like his homeboy, not like Michael Phelps The New Mark Spitz But I'd Rather Be The First Michael Phelps. He asks Michael to (pesters until Michael will) go eat some scorpions off a street in Beijing because he wants to go chew on some scorpions. Not because he has motives or designs or any of the things his mom has warned him about in potential friends.



Ryan finds a spare couple of hours (how he finds spare time Michael doesn't know; it's a possibility he wasn't aware existed during the Olympics, before he tripped and fell nose-first into being friends with Ryan Lochte) so they go to a street that is full of vendors selling what is best called not food but weird ass shit on sticks. While Ryan looks for scorpions Michael eyeballs the starfish, the centipedes, the gaping crowds of Asians with cameras snapping pictures with wild abandon. The dark, smoggy air is full of strange spicy smells and the white of flashing bulbs. After a while Michael does like Ryan: pretends to be a German named Gustav who makes his living by impersonating American Olympic swimmers, Except that, Ryan says, Your name is Olof, I already called Gustav. This doesn't meant that people don't take pictures; it just means that they're laughing while they do it, and that they leave quicker, which Michael is totally fine with.

"Hey," Ryan says. Michael is watching a fat, wrinkled woman stir-fry a pan full of grubs with ruthless and efficient jabs of her chopsticks; he is more than happy to turn away, slightly sick to his stomach, until he sees the two sticks that Ryan is shoving into his face. "Found 'em."

The scorpions are a kind of transparent goldy sandy color. Michael, who has not been sick since the age of eleven and has never seen a plate of food he didn't want to make friends with, wants to hurl. "I'm not touching that."

"Your loss."

"I'm okay with that. I'm so okay with that. Ryan, don't. Seriously. Don't. You don't know where that's--Jesus." It's too late. Ryan crunches a scorpion off of a stick, and chews slowly, brow creased a little, like he's a food critic or something, and Michael really wants to throw up.

"It didn't have very much taste," Ryan says at last, once he's swallowed and taken a swig of water from Michael's bottle ("You can keep it. No, you can keep it"). "No big deal. Like an extra-crispy chicken nugget."

Michael asks the only question he feels equipped to ask: "--are you eating the rest of them?"

"Why, you want one?" Ryan grins and holds out a stick. He gives it a little shake and the scorpions' tails shimmy, flaking fried bits of--of--scorpion out onto the cobblestones.

"Get that away from me."

Ryan ends up giving his remaining scorpions to some awed-looking Japanese girls. He writes on their t-shirts, Best wishes from Gustav & Olof JEA JEA JEAAAH!!!!, and Michael asks him if he's drunk, or if he's on any banned substances, and Ryan says, "Michael Phelps did you just ask if I was on a 'banned substance,'" and Michael has to admit that he did, which makes Ryan laugh all the way back to their hall. "No but really," Ryan says outside of his door. "Have you ever smoked?"

"No," is Michael's answer.

"You and me, buddy, after the Games." This is one of the things that Michael likes about Ryan: he says the most ridiculous things with a perfectly straight face, and almost no inflection in his quiet surfer/skateboarder/apparently stoner voice. "We are gonna get blazed."

"Drug tests," Michael says, along with some other things that are mostly stuttered and make no sense.

"If you do it like, once it doesn't show up. Chill out." Ryan unlocks his door. "Well, night I guess."

"Night."

"Unless you want to watch some porn."

"Thanks but I think I'll pass." That is one of the things that Michael does not like about Ryan: sometimes it's impossible to tell when he's being serious. Not that he would watch porn with Ryan Lochte anyway.

"Next time then."

"Sure," Michael agrees, with the understanding that both of them understand that he is lying. He goes to sleep, he wakes up, he wins eight gold medals. (Ryan wins two golds and two bronzes.)


Michael doesn't think of having a "favorite medal," but he knows his favorite presentation ceremony: the 4x200. He likes looking over at Ryan and seeing his face in a ridiculous shit-eating grin, or even better, when his mouth is compressed in a straight line but the squint lines around his eyes are carved in deep--which means he's trying not to smile at this patriotic and very serious moment, except that he wants to because he's just thought of something incredibly inappropriate, like Bob's back hair or even just the fact that he has been threatened with suspension if he ever wears a grill to a medal ceremony while representing the United States of America. (When they're waiting to walk to the podium, like good kids making a line at school, he nudges Michael in the shoulder and pulls an inch of it out of his pocket. "Should I--" "No." "Okay." Ryan can tell when he's being serious: really serious, not just Lil Wayne in the iPod serious. Even his mom can't tell that, all of the time.)



After the Games, Michael flies home to Baltimore and lackadaisically tours enormous houses with an attentive blonde real estate agent. When they have time Whitney or Hilary or his mom come with him; his female relatives make intelligent comments about floor space and kitchen layouts, while the real estate agent tries to focus him on "A three-foot flat screen would look good on that wall," but neither approach works very well.

hows it going bro? Ryan texts him on day four of the Michael Phelps House Hunt, which has not become a TV special despite NBC's wishes to the contrary.

im goin crazy, Michael writes while the real estate agent is saying something cute about how many people he could fit into the jacuzzi in the master bathroom.

come 2 the g spot! im srs, im so bored haha, not like in CHINNAAA

Michael and Ryan invite each other to visit pretty frequently, usually whenever the weather's bad or Ryan wants to hide his skateboarding wounds from his coach. They never do, though, which is weird because Ryan is his best friend, and if Michael isn't Ryan's best friend he knows he's probably at least made it into the finals.

But this time, Michael says u 4 rl? cuz i would. He types it out cautiously but doesn't give himself time to worry about it before he hits send.

im for real! go get ur hot booty on a plane mr phelps!!

"Thanks," Michael says after the real estate agent has finished her sentence. "I'll, I mean, thank you, but I've gotta go. I'll get back to you. Thanks." He backs out of the bathroom, drives back to his mom's house, talks to Bob on the way ["Go ahead, Mike. You deserve a break," which is probably the first time in Michael's life that Bob has ever wanted him to take a break], books a ticket for the next day, panics because what if that's too soon, calls Ryan ("Get down here bro. Just let me know when to get you from the airport and I will be there. I have nothing to do with myself. Nothing." Michael recognizes the tone in his voice: the weird uncomfortable release of tension after you get done with something like the Olympics, where you go into every day with ramped up adrenaline and unrealistically high expectations; it's a big damn crash back into normal life, where you have time to skateboard or go househunting or whatever, and there aren't thousands of people watching your every move, waiting for you to fuck it all up), and something like that, he's on his way.


Ryan meets him by the doors. To Michael's surprise, Ryan has a duffel bag over his shoulder. "Surprise! We're going to Puerto Rico!"

"What," says Michael.

"Puerto Rico," answers Ryan. "Little island. They speak espanol and shit and I don't think they care about the Olympics all that much. So like, beaches. Swimming. In the ocean. And shit." He trails off, looking at Michael with half of a Ryan Lochte smile, eyebrows up a little bit, waiting for Michael to do his token resistance before complete (unless eating a deadly insect off a stick is involved) agreement.

"Sounds good." Michael decides to cut out that part. Like Ryan he has nothing to do with himself; less, maybe, because Ryan has hobbies. He skateboards, he draws dumb little comics where a pair of goggles turns itself into like, a pony which goes running off through a field of daisies which are actually pimp canes. Michael swims. Occasionally he gets wasted out of his mind, frequently alone in his bedroom with his car keys hidden, because that is one mistake he is never making again. "When's the plane leave?"

"In fifteen minutes."

Michael stares at him for a second, then lets it go. "Okay." They check in and run to the security point, where Ryan uses his straight white teeth and the crinkles in the corners of his eyes and three of Michael's autographs to bypass the entire line. They skid up to the gate just as the attendant is calling the last passengers.

"Meant to be," Ryan grins, with half of his mouth like all of his smiles. Michael's willing to believe him. It's dark when they fly over San Juan. Ryan's fallen asleep, legs spreading out into the aisle and face smashed against the wall, so Michael watches the lights close in by himself. The small plane lands with a minimal bump and Ryan jumps awake, eyes all big and scared. "Where are the snakes," he yelps; Michael doesn't know if he's joking or half-asleep but either way, it makes him smile. There's a car waiting for them at the airport. They throw their bags into the trunk, Ryan says "Vamanos!" to the driver, who is too well-paid to laugh at him, and they drive out into the night.



"You would want to go someplace called Crash Boat Beach."

"It's a nice beach. I could have gone for Gas Chamber Beach."

"That exists?" Michael says, moderately horrified.

"Gas something." Ryan pushes his sunglasses back up his nose. "Are you ready yet, Princess?"

Ryan puts a tube of sun block into his backpack, one of the little ones that Speedo throws at him every time he sneezes. "Shove it, Lochte."

The beach isn't crowded when they ("Finally," Ryan complains. "You take longer to get ready than my ex girlfriend.") get there. Michael spreads out his towel, an extra-long one that he can almost fit his entire body on. Ryan leaves his in a heap and goes charging off into the waves. One catches him right in the face and he goes under, flailing playfully at the water. Michael follows him more slowly, enjoying the feeling of the sun pressing into his shoulders and even the swim trunks hanging around his knees. He walks out until the water comes up to his waist and then dives under a wave. It's clear and blue, almost like a pool, except for the salt that it leaves on his lips. Ryan pops up next to him and shakes the water out of his hair: it sprays in all directions, like Michael's dog after a bath, and is left sticking up in strange half-curled formations.

"Lookin sexy, Lochte."

"Don't you know." Ryan rubs his hands through his hair, which makes it look, if anything, worse. "This is how I get the ladies. Right here."

"I bet." Michael takes a breath and lunges into the water, straight for Ryan's legs. He knocks him under and they wrestle, Ryan swearing a lot and making even more empty threats. Michael saves his breath for fighting, until Ryan pantses him and throws his swim trunks towards the beach.

"Don't start things you can't finish, Mike."

"Ryan."

"I warned you."

"Get them."

"No." Ryan shimmies backward in the water. Somehow they've gone far enough out that Michael's toes can barely touch the sand.

"I will get you."

"While you're naked?" Ryan ducks into the water and freestyles easily away, and Michael doesn't know whether to chase him or the trunks, which are being tugged ever closer to the beach--for someone as tall as Michael, this could become a problem very quickly, unless he wants to flash all of Train Wreck Beach or whatever it's called.

Unless he catches Ryan and makes him get them.

Decision made, Michael tears off after Ryan, who's splashing around more like a crazy person than an Olympic gold medalist and world record holder. But Michael will catch him either way (because Ryan is Ryan and Michael is Michael Phelps) and he does, wrapping his hand around Ryan's ankle and hauling him back. "Asshole," Michael says. "Get my fucking bathing suit."

Ryan laughs and wiggles, kicking at Michael's foot. It's pretty clear that he's not going to unless drastic measures are taken, so Michael grabs the hem of his shorts and hauls them down. Ryan grabs at them but it's too late. Keeping the grip on his ankle, Michael twirls Ryan's shorts around his head like a lasso. "Truce, truce," Ryan gasps, the dimple in his right cheek the only sign that he isn't serious. Michael shakes his foot. "Watch yourself, Lochte. I've got a good grip." "I know all about your grip," Ryan says, "nice and tight, starting off slow and then getting faster--" "What," Michael chokes. He drops Ryan's foot; Ryan kicks water into his face and tries to grab the shorts; Michael disagrees with this idea (his own have beached; the only chance he has of getting out of the water with his dick covered is hanging on to Ryan's); and is left trying to manage both shorts and his naked, slippery-when-wet best friend. Ryan gets him into a headlock and drags him over backwards, one leg half-wrapped around Michael's waist as he tries to hang on.

That's when Michael feels it: Ryan is at least half hard.

Michael drops the shorts. Ryan snatches them off the tips of his fingers. Reflexively, Michael lunges for Ryan's arm. They grapple. Ryan's still doing his half-smile eyes-laughing thing, like he hasn't even noticed; Michael isn't totally one hundred percent sure that he's okay naked ocean wrestling a guy with a stiffy over his swim trunks, but he is not in the mood to rock Crash Boat Beach with his cock out so he makes himself get over it. His hands slip down Ryan's sides. Ryan wiggles and Michael digs his fingers into the skin, gets his arm around Ryan's chest.

"You're not getting them back, Phelps!" Ryan's out of breath; whether that's from the fighting or the, the other thing which Michael Phelps is not paying attention to. At all., Michael doesn't know.

"Ryan, just go get my shorts off the beach and we can stop this."

"Who says I want to stop?" Michael can't tell whether Ryan's joking or not; or, he's obviously joking because he's Ryan, he's always joking, but Michael can't see his face so he doesn't know how Ryan's joking. At himself (he's not a fifteen-year-old! he has to have noticed the stiff dick!), at the situation (he stole The Greatest Olympian of All Time Michael Phelps' bathing suit! then he got a hard-on!) or maybe, as they half-float half-balance there, out past the breakers on a Puerto Rican beach, Ryan pressed up against Michael's chest and Michael's arm over Ryan's, right over his heart which he can feel beating against the inside of his wrist, maybe he's being serious. Maybe he doesn't want to stop. Michael holds him, their legs half wound together, and feels the hard curve of Ryan's ass against his thighs.

Maybe Michael doesn't want to stop, either.

At the exact moment of this realization, Ryan gives an almighty lunge, breaks free and tears for the shore. Michael knows he's not going to catch him, this time, and he doesn't try. He walks out of the water, waves splashing around his feet, picks up his shorts, and puts them on. Ryan's lying facedown on his [Michael's] towel, his cock, whatever its current state of hardness, safely out of sight.

"Get off of my towel," which is the least, the absolute least that Ryan can do right now.

"Mine's all sandy."

"Because you threw it down like that. Get off." Michael's serious.

Ryan moves, rolling over on his back. He shades his eyes with his arm but Michael can still see the blue. For a second Michael's afraid that Ryan's going to cross the one uncrossable line of their relationship--when I'm serious, really serious, Ryan, you have to listen--but then Ryan shrugs. He shakes the sand off of his towel, lies down, and goes to sleep, face turned away.


By dinner they're back to normal. They eat kabobs from a street vendor; Ryan tears into his chicken with a carnivorous kind of fury while simultaneously trying to interrogate the man behind the grill about any local specialties that he doesn't automatically serve to tourists. It isn't easy, since the guy doesn't speak English, but it takes Ryan a pretty long time to admit defeat. Finally he shrugs, orders another kabob, and they walk down the street towards the hotel. It's pretty--palm trees, sand, white plaster houses and red flowers the size of Michael's hand when he spreads all of the fingers out. The sun's going down so everything feels slow and calm. Michael catches himself looking at Ryan out of the corner of his eye (his brow, the straight line of his nose) and realizes that it's nothing new.

Michael's hungry again by the time they get home so they sit out in the courtyard, which isn't technically part of the hotel's restaurant but the wait staff are really chill (or impressed by Michael's overgenerous tips) so they don't argue, just bring Ryan a beer and Michael a glass of water. The table is so small that it struggles to fit both of them. Large plants with dark, shiny leaves hang all around them; laughter and music drift out from the open awnings of the restaurant. They talk, which is nice: Michael's accustomed to having a relationship with Ryan's voice, but it's better to have the face to go along with it; a lot of the time Ryan's voice has no change from Hey man I just had the worst week of my life to I had a dream that you were wearing a pink dress in the 200 IM finals. To know the difference you need to see the skin move (or not move) around his eyes and his mouth.

"Want to go out later?" Ryan asks once the food's arrived. "Puerto Rican rum. You know."

"Maybe tomorrow. I'm tired."

Michael expects this point to be argued, and is mostly prepared to go do the rocking out with his cock out that he was not so happy to do earlier, but Ryan shrugs and leans back in his chair, legs spreading out even farther under Michael's half of the table. "Me too. Fuckin Olympics take it out of you, man."

"And the jet lag."

"Fuck the jet lag."

Michael swallows a mouthful of rice. Ryan steals a grilled carrot. "Take the vegetables," he offers.

"Sure." Ryan eats the carrots, peppers, and Puerto Rican stuff that Michael can't identify, not bothering with a fork.

"I'm not as hungry as I thought I was."

"You feeling okay?"

"I'm good. Just tired."

"Want to go to bed then?"

"Okay," Michael says, not worrying about how it sounds.

After they finish Michael's second dinner, he leaves a pile of bills on the table and they go back to their room. Michael's turned away from Ryan, digging a clean pair of boxers out of his bag, when he hears the snap of a lighter.

"Guess what I got." Ryan sounds unbelievably proud of himself.

"You didn't."

"Damn right I did."

"When?"

"That kabob guy. I asked if he had any scorpions, I was just like, joking but then he pulled out the spliff so I guess that was the code or something and I figured Jesus wanted us to get high tonight." Michael turns around. Ryan's holding the kabob vendor's joint into the flame of the lighter. It catches and he sucks in a breath, cheeks hollowing out. He coughs a little bit and holds it out. "Come on, Princess Phelps."

"I don't know, Ryan."

"It's fine. I told you, once every couple months and there's not enough THC in your system and shit."

"I don't have a great record with, you know."

"Please. I know the drug codes in and out, bro. I am an expert in drug codes. I wouldn't fuck around with this. You know I wouldn't."

"Yeah, I know. It's just--"

"You don't have to." Ryan lies down on his bed. "I am happy to smoke this excellent weed all by myself."

"Fine. Move over." Michael gets on the bed next to Ryan and takes the joint.

"Suck in the smoke. Hold it in. Then breathe out."

Michael does, before he has time to think about it. He chokes on the smoke and coughs hard, eyes watering. "Jesus fuck that is awful."

Ryan tells him to try again (he likes tequila now, doesn't he? what was his first shot like?), so Michael tries. He doesn't cough the second time but it doesn't feel any better. Ryan looks happy though, and as much because of that as because of the idea of getting high (he's heard that most people don't feel it their first time anyway), Michael keeps going. Ryan gets progressively higher, but Michael still doesn't feel much. After a while Ryan breaks out in an uncontrollable fit of giggles, which sounds seriously freaking weird, so Michael stubs out the joint instead of passing it back; Ryan's too busy rolling around on the bed, howling with laughter, to notice.

"Bro, you know the only thing we're missing, right?" Ryan shakes his arm.

"What?"

"The porn. Remember. We were supposed to get blazed and watch porn. You said. Back in Beijingggg."

"Kind of." Maybe the weed did do something, because while Michael doesn't feel like staring at the sky or trying to be all high and profound and shit, he does pick up the TV remote and flick open the pay-per-view porn menu, which is not something he would usually do alone, much less lying on a bed in Puerto Rico with a giggling man who got a boner while they were playing slip 'n' slide in the ocean. "Asian or Latin?"

"Asian, baby! Jeah!"

So they watch Asian porn. Ryan keeps giggling and starts giving commentary, the Suck-it-girl kind which Michael, inasmuch as he has ever thought about what would happen if he decided to watch porn with a friend, expected, but also voices when one of the actors isn't enthusiastic enough, and a critique of one girl who he decides is the worst porn actress in history: She looks like she's about to choke on that dick and the guy's smaller than Peirsol, Does she even know how to give a handjob cuz it looks like she's gonna break it off. The combination of the porn, which has never really been Michael's thing anyway, and Ryan's high-ass self is not sexy at all, so he just laughs at Ryan and the expression of pain and extreme boredom on the one girl's face every time she has to go near a man's cock.

"I'd slap a bitch if she ever looked that bored with me," Ryan declares after the credits have started rolling and cheesy music has replaced the forced sexual noises. "Or ever tried to give me a handjob like that. That's the problem with girls though. I mean. I like, love girls. But they just do not know what to do with a cock."

"Not always." Michael leans back on the pillows. "But they can you know, acquire the skill."

"It's still not the same."

Michael is not completely sure he's good with the direction Ryan is turning this conversation. "I guess not," he says carefully, because he might have admitted to himself that he possibly occasionally checks out Ryan (maybe even the ass along with the dimples and the dumb smile things around his eyes) but there's a long way from that to you know. comparing techniques across the genders.

Then Ryan grabs his dick through his shorts. Michael starts to punch him in the face but somehow that turns into grabbing a handfull of his curly impractical hair and dragging him into a kiss instead. Ryan still tastes like the pot, which he is not into, but when he tries to pull back Ryan chases him down with his tongue, all the way to Michael's neck and onto his chest. "Stubble," Ryan mumbles into his pec. "Sexy."

Michael just lays there, looking down at Ryan's hair as he licks and mouths (and giggles, when the stubble scratches his face) down his torso. There's a lot to cover but Ryan's enthusiastic, so Michael figures it would be mean to stop him and fuck. it does feel go so fuck, he might as well go along with it.

"Wait, fuck--Lochte," Michael says when Ryan's tracing the Michigan M with his tongue, "you're not going to--"

"Fuck no man, I'm not gay." Ryan winks and pulls down Michael's shorts, slowly, and then wraps his hand around the base of Michael's dick which is, to his surprise, hard.

"Fuck."

"You like it like this, right--" Ryan says. He starts off slow (hand a little too tight but fuck, Michael is not complaining. He was right: maybe Michael's been missing something all these years; girls don't know what to do in comparison--they don't have the years of solitary, focused, and intense training which Michael knows damn well is the way to the highest block of the medal podium, where Ryan Lochte is going in Michael Phelps' Handjob Olympics) and something in Ryan's almost-too-tight grip and the way he looks straight up at Michael, nothing embarrassed or cute or confused, drags Michael's concentration in so tight that he's coming before he knows it.

Ryan wipes off his hand on the sheet. "Was that a jeah?"

"Jeah." Michael lies there, half propped up on the headboard, and stares. Ryan's flushed and his dick is standing straight up against his stomach. "Do you want me to--" Ryan's on top of him before he finishes his sentence, with a lot of messy tongue and low, dragged out fuck shit fucks when Michael takes hold of his cock. The angle is weird but everything else feels natural. Easy. Ryan closes his eyes and groans into Michael's shoulder as he finishes.

Then he rolls off. And goes to sleep. Which would be something else that makes Ryan Lochte better than any girl that Michael's slept with.



When Michael wakes up with Ryan drooling on his arm, both of them naked, it should probably be awkward. But Ryan's just not an awkward kind of guy: his first movement is towards the half-burned joint, which he lights and takes a long pull from. He hands it over. Michael sucks in a lungfull. "So," he says.

"What?" Ryan fishes around on the floor for a shirt. "Fuck. I want a cheeseburger."

"Don't know if you can find one here."

"There's gotta be one somewhere. Come on, Mike. Up and at em."

So they go looking for cheeseburgers in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Ryan's half-Spanish/half-English/half-arm waving language gets him offered three more bags of weed, but no cheeseburgers.

"This shouldn't be hard. Where's the McDonald's, bro."

"Not here."

They end up back on the beach, where both of them manage to stay clothed: Ryan rents surfboards and starts trying to teach Michael how to ride, after twenty minutes of Michael freaking out about what happens if I break my leg? and Ryan rolling his eyes to Bro, chill the fuck out. Michael's not that bad, which is nice, because he gets the feeling that Ryan expected him to be terrible at it. They surf and cheeseburger-hunt (and exchange sexual favors across a gradually broadening range) for the rest of the week; Ryan ends up buying more weed, but Michael limits himself to the rum, which makes for some interesting times: Ryan gets a very chilled-out, let's-come-then-pass-out high, and Michael is the kind of drunk where he wants to run to the beach and go skinny-dipping. (One night, Ryan actually falls asleep sitting on a curb while Michael's running around looking for a dumpster to pee behind.)

Michael makes Ryan flush his unsmoked weed down the toilet before they go home ("That's a crime, Princess." "Is it as bad as smuggling it onto a plane?" "There are different kinds of crime." "Yeah, but I'm talking about the kind you get arrested for." "Okay, bro, I'll let you win on this one.")



Ryan ends up coming back to Baltimore with him. Michael drags him through tours of the houses, which he actually deals with pretty well: the real estate agent (whose name Michael can never remember) ends up like, falling in love with him, and Ryan knows, which is awkward for Michael, especially when Ryan asks her out. He's joking. She doesn't know.

So, because Michael actually does want a house, and because he thinks she's the kind of bitch who'd hold a grudge, he makes (by threatening to call Us Weekly with an anonymous tip about Gold Medal Hottie Ryan Lochte's drug habits) Ryan go through with it. He comes dragging back to Michael's (mom's) house looking miserable, with a cougar-tinted lipstick smudge on the collar of his t-shirt.

"Dude," he moans, "never again."

Michael laughs at him, but kisses him anyway.

"It's the least you can do," Ryan says later, all messy-haired and serious/not-serious on the air mattress on Michael's floor that he's been theoretically sleeping on. This is how they end up having sex (actual sex) for the first time. While Ryan is panting on top of him Michael feels sorry for every girl he's ever banged. After the buttfucking, partly because it hurt like fuck but mostly because Ryan didn't seem to notice, Michael freaks out; Ryan doesn't get it (it wasn't his ass); which is how they have their first fight.

"Don't you take anything seriously?" Michael doesn't mean for that to come out the way it does: a little bit unsure, a little bit needy--the opposite of what this part of their relationship's been so far, where they're still friends over shared appreciations for Lil Wayne, X-box 360s, and big-ass cars, only now they get off together, too, because guys aren't complicated like girls, who after a while start to get attached and then cry when it doesn't work out.

"Who says this shit is serious," Ryan says. He jerks on his pants. "I'm goin back to my hotel. Let me know when you stop like, girling out."

Michael's pretty sure he's not girling out. He doesn't want to cry at all; he just wants to punch Ryan right in his pretty fucking nose.


"Where's Ryan?" his mom asks the next morning. She's getting ready for work; Michael's making pancakes, scrambled eggs, and bacon, the only things he knows how to cook.

"Hotel."

"He has a hotel room?"

"Yeah."

"Did you boys have a fight?" Michael isn't totally sure how much his mom knows about him and Ryan. He doesn't want to get into it now. Not even a little bit.

"Have a good day at work," he tells her.

She doesn't push it. Ryan would have.

Michael eats his food and calls Bob. "I want to get in the pool."

"You're still on your break. We talked about this." Bob hangs up.

Michael flips off his phone, puts on his Speedo under a pair of shorts, and jogs to the municipal pool he hasn't swum in since he was fourteen. It's mostly how he remembers it--there's a big yellow water slide, weeds growing half-heartedly against the chain link fence, and a Swim At Your Own Risk sign. All of the kids are back in school so it's empty, except for a couple of old people swimming sedate laps. Michael dives into the deep end and tears through the meters until his arms feel like Jell-O. He feels disgustingly out of shape so he keeps swimming, stroke stroke breathe stroke stroke breathe. When he hauls himself out of the pool the old people are gone and he's decided that he is not calling Ryan. He is not texting Ryan. He is not running to Ryan's hotel and knocking on his door. Ryan started this whole fucking thing with his boner and his dick-grabbing; he wanted a guy, not a chick who was going to cling-wrap herself to his cock, and so he can fucking deal with it.

[Michael's lived for most of his life with his mom, his sisters, and Bob. He knows he's not gorgeous. He's never been one of the cool kids. But living twenty years, give or take, like that--you get used to it. Everything else is a bonus. Michael's good, he is actually good, with himself, his family, his coach, his dog. And the pool. And five or six million a year. It's enough for him.]

When he gets home Michael takes a shower, walks Herman, signs a couple of autographs on the way, and fires up Grand Theft Auto, the original one. He visualizes Ryan in the place of every ho he runs over. He's got an appointment with the real estate agent so he goes, and decides on the spur of the moment to buy the house she shows him, because she looks a little embarrassed that her professional integrity was threatened by a stoner Olympian. Who didn't even win eight gold medals. (Or at least that's what Michael tells himself.)



A couple of weeks later Speedo has an event thing to celebrate the US swim team's success in Beijing. Michael's obligated to go, and bring along his agents' extensive list of stock responses to stock questions. Somehow, Michael manages to not think about the possibility that Ryan's going to be there, but of course he is. The photographers want to take lots of pictures of them and the journalists want to ask them lots of questions about how their friendship's going now that the Olympics are over.

"We're great," he grins. "We actually went to Puerto Rico together. He started teaching me how to surf." And take a dick up my ass.

"Was he any good?" the reporter asks Ryan.

"He was! Dude, he was like. a natural." Ryan smiles his spacey smile. At Michael, not the journalist. "Jeah jeah jeah!"

Michael smiles back, before he realizes what he's doing. It's like their first morning after; Ryan refuses to let situations be awkward, which is also like the morning after his date with the real estate agent when he walked out instead of you know. dealing with it. Sometimes you have to let things hurt a little bit, which Ryan's never been interested in doing (for anything other than swimming and his skateboard). Sometimes things are going to be uncomfortable. But right now's the wrong time. Michael knows that. He's the Michael Phelps brand, for god's sake. Now is not the time.

But Ryan Lochte isn't a brand. met me in the broom, Michael's phone vibrates at him.

broom?

bathroom, obvi phelps

It's a bad idea. On a lot of levels.

"I'll be back," Michael tells the agent who's been shepherding him through the press call.

It turns out that Ryan found a different bathroom than the one Michael was thinking of--up a few floors and around a few turns. He texts almost-comprehensible directions after Michael skulks sketchily around the main bathroom, trying to ignore speculative looks from members of the press corps. He's leaning up against the wall by the sinks when Michael pushes in the door.

"How's it goin, dude?"

"All right," Michael answers.

"So, I been doing some thinking."

"Okay."

"And I think I know how to like, make this work."

"Make what work?" Michael isn't particularly interested in letting this be easy for Ryan.

"You know, man. This." Ryan gestures at his dick. Michael laughs. Ryan looks a little bit hurt. "Uncool, man. I'm trying to be serious here."

Michael almost feels bad, which he shouldn't. "Okay."

"So, I know the like, sex or whatever was a pretty big step. For you. And I know it totally hurt. Like, a lot. I've got a gay cousin and he gave me all the details."

"Ryan, seriously?"

"Didn't you wonder how I knew what I was doing? But whatever, that's not the thing. Mike, to like, keep our friendship which I totally value, and also the fucking, which I also value, because it's kind of hot, I am totally willing to let you fuck me." Ryan sticks his hand in his pocket and pulls out a condom. "Look, I even came prepared."

Michael stares. "Here?"

"Why not? Nobody's going this far away from the free buffet." He wiggles the condom. The foil crinkles. "It's got your name on it, big boy."

Michael Phelps (the man) is about to make a very big mistake for Michael Phelps (the brand) when his agent walks in. "Michael, you need to get back downstairs."

"Did you follow him or something?" Ryan asks. "Jesus fuck. He's a grown man."

Michael appreciates it but he goes back downstairs anyway. Ryan, who has made the condom vanish into the pocket of his baggy jeans, follows; he whines via text to Michael for the rest of the press call. The second to last one reads thank jzs its ova meet me l8r k.

my room, Michael says back.

damn i just got a semi is the last one.


Ryan shows up on his doorstep with a half-empty six-pack of Coronas in one hand and a bottle of lube in the other. "I started a lil early," he says, offering Michael the Coronas. "It's good to be like, relaxed."

Michael opens a bottle with his teeth; it's his favorite/only party trick, but Ryan's seen it enough times to have stopped being impressed. Show off, he mouths. They stare at each other for a few minutes. Michael thinks, Fuck.

Then they do. He doesn't remember who made the first move, but it doesn't matter. Their clothes get lost real quick but Ryan doesn't take off his diamond-encrusted skull bling. His skin is sweaty and most of his hair has grown back. "Don't go slow," he says when Michael's going to slow down, take it easy, make sure that everything's okay. Michael goes slow anyway; he remembers what it's like. Ryan's head rolls back and his eyes squeeze shut and his fingers dig into Michael's shoulders as Michael inches, centimeters in. "Are you--" "Fuck me." Michael still doesn't, until Ryan's twisting and moaning and touching himself. (Michael's competitive. He wants Ryan's first time to be better than his was.)

"I didn't think I'd like that," Ryan whispers into his neck after they've both come, Ryan first and Michael second: he wants the world to remember this sequence, which is the same as it was a certain other time.

"That's cause I'm better in bed than you." It's obviously the right answer.

"Fuck you, Phelps."

"Not until you can show me you learned something."

"Fuck you, man." Ryan's grinning.



"We're cool, right?" Ryan asks the next morning, after they've showered, dressed, and exchanged see-you-laters.

"We're cool."

"Sweet." He smiles, all the way, eyes almost scrunching shut. "You still haven't hit the G-spot this summer."

"I thought I did last night." Michael's kind of ridiculously happy right now. He's almost afraid Ryan's going to notice, but then maybe Ryan's that happy, too, with the way his lips are stuck smiled out to the side. "But yeah. If I'm still invited."

"You're always invited. I got room. And you need to learn to skateboard, bro."

"I want to get surfing first," Michael admits.

"Then we can do that." Ryan does something new then: he leans forward and presses their mouths together, gently and carefully. "But now I gotta go. Fuckin meeting."

"See you then."

"See you, Mr. Phelps." He steps out in the hall and walks away. Michael watches him go. At the end of the hall, Ryan blows him a kiss. Michael smiles and blows it back.
Tags: ,

DIVE LIKE CRON, MAN, LIKE CRON

ps. i love you, and will read this when i am not so tired. but. i made the facial/verbal equivalent of !!!!! when i saw this, ok!

pps. HAVE FUN, BB. :-*

YAY MY OTP!!!

This had me LOLling at all the right parts. Nice!

Yup, Mikey and Ry-Ry are defs my Beijing OTP, too. I'm glad you laughed! :D

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That's pretty much the aim :D

Ryan Lochte is such a gift, I love that kid.

OH MY GOD THIS WAS SERIOUSLY WHAT WAS MISSING FROM MY LIFE AND I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW IT

The way you write the progression of their relationship here is just so natural; it's not like they're the Greatest Love Story Never Told but like they're two guys who swim together and kind of act gayish in interviews around each other. Ahahaha and you included scorpion-eating and jeahs and Asian porn. A+ as far as I'm concerned THIS ALL REALLY HAPPENED.

Re: Ryan Lochte is such a gift, I love that kid.

HAHA I WISH? Unfortunately now I look at them and actually think, not that they're having sex per se, but that at some point there was at least a little bit of UST. PHELPS IS SO REPRESSED IT'S KIND OF UNAVOIDABLE, amirite.

Also, I'm so glad that you thought the progression of the relationship wasn't totally random, unbelievable, and completely out of left field. That was really my no. 1 concern with this fic--because I mean, they bro out for 95% of it and the the other 5% it's like, HI WE'RE BANGING, MAYBE RYAN LOCHTE YOUTUBED BRO RAPE AND TOOK IT LITERALLY? (although, on consideration, I don't think comparing the relationship I wrote to Bro Rape is totally without foundation. just, read Lil Wayne and Yung Joc for Dave and Jack Johnson and omit the black dildos and it's pretty much. there.)

Shoot. You're a genius. I want more. Guh?

Thanks, bb! I want you to write cerebral and blazingly intelligent fic of any sort (preferably involving the Zlatan as Mary Sue concept you posited--?), so maybe we could work out some sort of trade. :p

OhhhRahh! fucking rocks - thanks for the fic

Thank youuu and it was my pleasure ♥

OMY GOD. I loved this. it was perfect.

I'm glad you enjoyed! And thanks so much for the comment :D

Pretty much :D Ryan's such a stoner goofball bro that it would be a pity not to write about him.

Jeah Puerto Rico! Good one!

Jeah jeah jeahhhh! And a jeah to your icon, too--mm. No idea what it's from but I could get behind that team, if you know what I mean.

JESUS. RYAN LOCHTE. AMAZING. This is totally meant to be a compliment: you sound just like him.

I figured Jesus wanted us to get high tonight

OMG. I knew that this was a solid gold medal effort when I read that line. I do like the progression, and I need Ryan Lochte in my life and I swear I won't cling (I'm lying) and Phelps is done right. He sounds young, but not absolutely retarded, and the use of jeahs was spot on. JEAH. I love you and please to write more. This is the way to say good bye to America. Olympic pron.

I DID RESEARCH (READ: WATCHED LOTS OF GAY ASS INTERVIEWS; MY HARDSHIP, LET ME TELL YOU IT) SO I COULD REGRESS MY DIALOGUE TO THE APPROPRIATE LEVEL! I'M GLAD IT WORKED. NOTHING IS TOO DIFFICULT FOR FAITHFULNESS TO THE SUBJECT.

I'm also very glad that the progression worked. Because that was my biggest red flag for this fic--that they were too bro-y, not enough with the sexy time! for the sexy time! to make any sense.

This is absolute brilliance. ♥

Thanks! I think brilliance is too much of a compliment for a fic where the protagonists speak mainly in grunts and profanity, but I'll take it anyway ♥ ♥

Somehow I never really felt guilty for liking porn based on "children's books" (aka HP), but now I KNOW I'm going to hell for liking RPS :o)

This was F***ing fantastic! I actually love the roughness of the fic and how ridiculously male they are :o) So funny, so HOT ;-)

HA! A NEW ONE! Glad to help with your corruption, bb; Olympics were actually my first foray into RPS, too, albeit back during Athens. Since then I've embraced the hell-going wholeheartedly. AND I HOPE YOU DO THE SAME

This was so awesomely brilliant! I lost track pretty early of how many times I cracked up laughing, and I love how you incorporated the characters' voices and trains of thought right into your prose. This isn't one of my favourite pairings, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading :)

Thank you so much! I don't usually try to be funny, but I think it would have been harder to write those two fools as anything serious. I'm glad you enjoyed reading, and thanks for taking the time to give it a try even if it isn't your go-to pairing :D

Holy crap, this was pretty much the most awesome thing I've read in a long time. I think I swallowed my tongue from laughing.

THANK YOU. I THINK YOUR FICS ARE PRETTY AWESOME, TOO (ESPECIALLY THAT ONE ABOUT JOHNNY CASH AND THE BUS), SO BASICALLY I SWALLOWED MY TONGUE WHEN YOU COMMENTED ON MY FIC. SORRY IF THE CAPS LOCK IS EXCESSIVE OR IF I'M A STALKER!

Oh my god, this is totally amazing. seriously, i don't think i'm coherent enough to put my love for this fic into words.

but i really really liked it. =]

Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it ♥

This is spot-on. and wonderful.

This is so good and funny and perfect. T_T God, your Phelps and Lochte are adorable.

Thank you so much! They're too easy. (I don't mean that exactly how it sounds.) (Except that it's probably true.) But seriously, they have such good friend-chemistry in real life that the only hard part about writing this was making them do more than bro out.

AWESOME! you definitely put alotta effort in it! LOVES LOVES LOVES!

Aha. Actually, I didn't! This was the easiest thing I've ever written. Thank you, though! I'm glad it at least seemed like I did. (But really. I didn't edit at all, practically, so I'm afraid to go back and look at it. I think I would DIE OF SHAME from the typos alone)

Brilliance. Absolute brilliance.

This is great, seriously.

I really love the end.

Thanks! I'm glad that the ending worked for you; I had a hard time coming up with something to close it out, so I felt like I just bitched out with the blows-kisses-down-the-hallway thing but. hey. whatever.

Seriously fantastic. One of my favorite characterizations thus far. Your Ryan was awesome and your Michael was great too. Wicked. Hope to see more from you

Thanks so much! I had a lot of fun with Ryan, especially, so I'm glad you liked him--I was actually worried that some of his dialogue was incomprehensible? but then I guess that's kind of true to life, so. :p

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Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it :D

dear annia,

i want to cling-wrap my love to this fic's cock. it was AMAZING. so many favourite lines, so many laksjdf LULZ moments and i love how casual it all is. also, that struggling scene in the sea? HOT ASS.

i'd totally prostitute something for more of this fic. your ryan is SPOT ON.

Exceptions to the cling-wrap cock rule will be made for you. I'm so so glad you liked this, bb ♥ I seriously had a blast writing it; it's um, nice to write something without wanting to slit your wrists over the keyboard in hopes that the word gods will accept your offering and allow you to write 500 words without wanting to rip out your hair and strangle yourself with it, which is what I've been feeling like lately. Ry Ry and Phelpsy are just so naturally LOLicious that I think it would be impossible to work yourself into a lather over them.

This was just awesome. :) You totally nailed Lochte's personality and Michael's too and it just seems to easy and relaxed between them in the whole fic. Which is exactly how they come across in interviews.

Glad you enjoyed it! I had fun with Ryan, especially; he's such a stoned-out bro. They have good chemistry naturally, obviously, which makes it easier, I think? I didn't have to come up with my own way for them to relate to each other. They just...bro at each other and actually do say "jeah" and don't take it too seriously. Which is good.

you're a total natural. i thoroughly enjoyed this.

Thank you! I had a lot of fun writing it :D

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