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 Ellie's Birthday Present (Phlochte)

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this modern glitch.
Ravenclaw
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PostSubject: Ellie's Birthday Present (Phlochte)   Wed Aug 22, 2012 4:51 am

This is kind of terrifying because this is the first time that I have written any of them and it is also for Ellie.

Happy Birthday! (and I hope you don't hate it. xD)
__________________________________________________________________________________

Everything had started out relatively harmlessly, which should have been a big, flashing warning sign.

The Olympic swimming team was taking a break from training. Ryan was sitting by the pool, talking animatedly to Nathan Adrian, who seemed to be listening attentively to what the older, more experienced swimmer had to say.

Michael had been sitting off to the side, his headphones on and his music turned up. He was zoning out, caught in his usual swimming mindset, when he saw the exchange taking place. Watching Adrian, he realized that the relatively new, fairly naïve swimmer actually appeared to be paying attention to what Ryan had to say.

Deciding he should warn Adrian against this plan of action, Michael paused his music, slipped his headphones off, and walked over.

“And most of all,” Ryan was saying, “you just gotta be yourself, man. You can’t let them change ya, got it?”

“Right,” Nathan said, a serious expression on his face. Michael wanted to roll his eyes. He would bet that if someone handed Nathan a notebook and a pen, he would be writing every word of this down.

“What are you trying to do to the poor kid, Doggy?” Michael asked, plopping down next to the two.

“I have a big interview coming up,” Nathan explained. “Ryan was just giving me some tips for how to deal with it.”

Michael burst out laughing, and Nathan looked a bit confused.

“Sorry, Nathan,” Michael said. “If you’re looking for interview advice, Ryan here is the absolute worst person to go to.”

“Hey!” Ryan protested. “That’s not true! I’ve got mad skills with the interviewers. They like my sense of style and personality.”

“In other words,” Michael explained, “he comes off looking like a douche, but for some odd reason, everyone puts up with it.”

“Everyone just wants a piece of Reezy.”

“Everyone but the people with an ounce of brains in their head,” Michael responded jokingly.

“So I shouldn’t take his advice?” Nathan asked, frowning slightly. “I mean, it sounded like good advice, and Ryan has lots of experience…”

“What’d he tell you?”

“Speak clearly, don’t say anything stupid, and be yourself,” Nathan dutifully reported.

“In other words, nothing he actually does himself,” Michael said. “It’s good advice, and Lochte here could use some of it himself…”

“I’m good at interviews!”

“Oh, really?” A grin started to creep onto Michael’s face, and Ryan should have known to be wary of that look. That was the look that said an idea was churning up in Michael’s head. It was the look that meant Ryan was wandering straight into a trap if he let Michael’s idea run its course.

It was a look that Ryan didn’t have enough common sense to take notice of, even after having been friends with Phelps since 2003.

“Really,” Ryan said firmly.

“Prove it.”

Ryan looked at Michael. “How do I do that?” By this point, he knew that he was wandering into dangerous territory, but he was didn’t care. Ryan saw the challenge in Michael’s eyes, and his competitive nature wouldn’t let the matter just sit.

Michael smiled a wide, predatory grin that made Ryan’s stomach flutter. He pushed away the feeling, attributing it to nerves.

“I bet you,” Michael started, “that you can’t go for the next month without screwing up at least one interview. You will stumble over your words or you’ll say something really stupid…”

Ryan was game for that. That was something he could easily do, and Michael was stupid for thinking he couldn’t. “What are we betting?”

Michael hadn’t thought that part through. “How about the winner gets to decide once this is all over? It can’t be anything that would put the loser’s career or life at risk, and it shouldn’t be anything too harsh…”

“I can help,” Nathan piped up. “I’ll be the judge of whether the punishment is fair, since you two are both a bit biased.”

“Sounds good,” Ryan agreed. “You’re on, Phelps.”

“This is going to be so much fun,” Michael said, sticking his hand out for Ryan to shake. The two sealed the deal, and Michael wandered back off to his corner, his headphones back in place.

“Why do I feel like this was a tremendously bad idea?” Nathan asked, looking between the two older swimmers.

Ryan didn’t respond. He was already thinking of what he would ask for when he won.
__________________________________________________________________________________

Outside the pool, Michael had always liked Ryan. He was a guy with a lot going in his favor; he was attractive, good at swimming, and a consistent friend.

He was not, however, a good interviewee. When Ryan answered a question, the words always seemed to spill from his mouth. It was almost like Ryan didn’t care if what he said made a single bit of sense, as long as the silence was filled and the ending was punctuated with one of his trademark grins that should have looked stupid, but didn’t.

Michael thought his friend acted like he was dumb as rocks around interviewers, but people seemed to love him, anyway. For all the people calling Ryan a douche, there were just as many, if not more, singing Ryan’s praises because of his individuality and chill nature. He was called charming, and Michael could see why. If the people listened to what came out of Ryan’s mouth, they would have thought he was a stoner or a beach bum, not an Olympic swimmer. Ryan had this way of making it work, though. He was Ryan, and it was hard not to love him.

Michael had a bet to win, though, and he knew it should have been a piece of cake. Ryan was constantly stumbling over his words during interviews, and catching one instance should have been simple.

For the first week, Michael watched Ryan’s interviews like a hawk, expecting that Ryan would flub up at least a few times. Michael was waiting and watching, listening to Ryan answer the same stupid questions in a trillion different interviews.

Ryan didn’t stumble once.

Michael realized he should have known better.

Ryan didn’t take much in life seriously, so it was no surprise that he usually didn’t put much effort into the interviews and press conferences that Michael was always carefully prepped for.

When Ryan was competing, though, it was like a switch was flipped in his brain. The easygoing, “whatever happens happens” guy was gone, replaced by a determined, fierce competitor…

One who apparently cared so much about beating the incredible Michael Phelps that he was actually bothering to pay attention to how he was stringing sentences together.

By the end of that first week, Michael realized that this was not going to be nearly as easy as he thought it was going to be. He was not going to be able to be hands off about this, relying on Ryan to trip over his own feet.

Michael was going to have to create some waves if he wanted to slow down Ryan enough for him to win.
__________________________________________________________________________________

Michael started out small.

Ryan was doing some interview with some swimming website that Michael had never heard of. The interview did not really matter; it would probably go up on YouTube later, but it wasn’t going to get a ton of attention from anyone.

It was the perfect interview to screw up a little bit.

The interviewer was a young man in his early 20s. His camera crew was not so much of a camera as it was a young guy with an inexpensive camera and a tripod. They positioned Ryan right in front of the wall on one of the poolside chairs.

It was easy for Michael to sneak behind the interviewer. It was not like the guy was paying much attention; he was worried about the fact that he was getting to interview THE Ryan Lochte, and he seemed a bit caught up in making sure he wasn’t going to screw it up.

Needless to say, he was not paying much attention to his surroundings.

Ryan, on the other hand, saw as Michael slid into place. Michael was wearing his suit, looking at the water, pretending he was actually going to start swimming. He wanted to have an excuse to be there if the interviewer actually did start paying attention.

Finally, everything was set up and ready to go. The questions started up, and Ryan was handling everything smoothly. When Ryan really started to get into the swing of things, Michael started going through the motions of stretching his arms and legs.

The movement drew Ryan’s attention. He watched Michael, though the interviewer was positioned so that the clueless man had no idea he was no longer the focus of the Olympic swimmer’s attention.

Michael was incredibly thankful for tunnel vision.

Once he knew he had Ryan’s attention, Michael started making the most ridiculous faces he could manage, which, with his oversized ears and large nose, was not difficult. Ryan looked incredibly confused at first. This was hardly standard Michael Phelps behavior. Ryan seemed a bit distracted as he answered the interviewer’s next question.

It wasn’t enough, though, to get him to stumble. Ryan figured out quickly what Michael was up to, and he kept as straight of a face as he could manage for the rest of the interview.

When the interviewer was packed up and gone, Lochte walked over and smacked Michael lightly on the shoulder. “What was that about?”

“Don’t know what you mean,” Michael said, grinning slightly. “I was just getting ready to swim.”

“Yeah, right.” Lochte didn’t buy that for a second. “That’s cheating, you know.”

“Nope. The rules just say you have to screw up. Nothing there said I couldn’t make things more interesting.”

Ryan looked at him, frowning slightly. Michael was right of course, and Ryan should have seen this coming a mile away. However, he figured he should at least try to stop Michael. “Text Adrian. He’ll decide. He’s judging this thing, right?”

Michael pulled out his phone and typed out a text. A minute or two later, his phone buzzed. He opened the message and smirked. “Adrian’s on my side. I can distract you however I want.”

This did not bode well for Ryan, and he knew it. He wasn’t going to let it hold him back, though. Ryan Lochte did not let anything hold him back. This little gimmick of Phelps’ just made him more determined. After all, he was used to playing the underdog when he was competing with Michael. He could still win this.

“Fine. I’m still going to win this,” Ryan said confidently. “I’m going to bring the heat. Jeah!”

Michael rolled his eyes. “Keep tellin’ yourself that, Doggy.”

“Oh, I am. Phelps, you’re going down.”

Although he didn’t say anything, Michael couldn’t help but mentally fill in on me.
__________________________________________________________________________________

The next week went by much more quickly than Michael would have liked. There were only two weeks left, and he had gotten nowhere. Michael tried to pull all of the tricks that usually grabbed Ryan’s attention and knocked him off his game, but nothing worked.

Michael knew he was probably going about this the wrong way, but he did not know how else to make this work. He had mimed a fucking blowjob while Ryan was being interviewed, for pete’s sakes, and it did nothing but made Ryan grin goofily at him.

He was starting to feel that Ryan was enjoying making Michael Phelps look ridiculous.

So, Michael went back to the drawing board. He couldn’t help but feel that distracting Ryan was still the way to go, but the more he thought about it, the more he realized that it was inevitable his plans would fail.

Everything that he was doing Ryan was seeing from a distance. It was easy to just ignore it, because there was something closer to focus on.

Michael was still stuck in the mindset that Ryan was a pushover. After all, Phelps knew that if someone tried that on him, it wouldn’t work. Why would it work on Lochte?

Michael thought it over, and he came up with a plan that he thought would be much more effective.
__________________________________________________________________________________

With one week left, Michael finally put his plan into action.

Ryan and Michael were eating lunch when they were approached by a camera crew, asking for an interview. Michael was prepared to say no, but Ryan jumped in and agreed—he was always a sucker for talking with the public, signing autographs and doing interviews as much as he could.

They had been sitting on opposite side of a booth, but the cameraman requested that they move to the same side so they could fit the interviewer into the shot. Michael ended up pressed up against the wall, with Ryan sitting closer to the camera.

The interview was very casual. The first few questions were not very difficult, and Michael handled them with ease.

When it was Ryan’s turn to answer a question, he felt something brush up against his leg. He ignored it at first, figuring that Michael must have accidentally bumped up against him. They were awfully close. With two men over six feet tall squeezed into the tiny booth, there was bound to be some accidental contact.

It happened again, though, and Ryan started to become less sure about his original assessment. Ryan found it difficult to keep his focus on the interview when Michael kept moving his fingers around on the skin of Ryan’s leg, putting just the slightest amount of pressure on the skin right above Ryan’s knee and moving up Ryan’s thigh.

Ryan knew that it was all part of Michael’s plan, and he tried to ignore the tingling feeling as Michael pushed up Ryan’s shorts to trace the letters of his name on the inside of Ryan’s thigh.

“Ryan?” the interviewer repeated.

Ryan blinked. “Oh, uh… sorry. What was the question?”

“We had a question from our viewers about you two and how you get along outside the pool. Michael said that you two are close friends. Would you agree?”

“Oh,” Ryan repeated, feeling incredibly stupid. “Um, right. Yeah. We’re friends.” Ryan looked over to Michael, expecting some sort of smug smirk, but Michael just wore a friendly grin.

The interviewer nodded. “And your competitiveness doesn’t get in the way?”

“Oh, no,” Michael said, lazily drawing circles on the skin of Ryan’s thigh, inching upward bit by bit. “What happens in the pool stays in the pool. Sometimes, our competitive nature even brings us closer.”

“Are you referring to you two being teammates for your games of spades during training camp?”

“Yup,” Michael said, smiling. “That’s definitely what I meant.”

“We both like to win, especially Michael,” Ryan said, his tone slightly pointed.

“I’m good at it,” Michael teased, grinning slightly. “Ryan makes me work for it, though.”

The interviewer looked back and forth between the two. “Well, that’s all the questions I have. It was nice chatting with you guys, and we look forward to watching you throughout the rest of the year.”

“Nice talking to you, too!”

They stopped the cameras, packed up, and left. When they were gone, Ryan and Michael got up out of the booth and walked out. The entire time, Ryan was glaring at Michael.

“I won,” Michael said simply when they walked out onto the street.

“You were practically groping me! How was I supposed to focus on an interview when your hand was like… two inches away from my dick?”

Michael shrugged. “I stayed within the rules. I won fair and square.”

The walk back to the pool was short, but it was spent mostly in silence. They arrived back a bit early; the rest of the team had gone out to lunch somewhere else, and probably would not be back until later.

Michael plopped down by the edge of the pool and let his feet dangle in the water. Ryan stared at him for a second before joining him.

Finally, Ryan broke the silence. “I don’t get it. That was a bit far to go just to win, wasn’t it?”

“There’s no such thing.”

“Yeah, there is,” Ryan responded. “You wouldn’t cheat or do drugs or anything to win at swimming, would you?”

“Doing steroids is a bit different from touching your leg,” Michael said wryly.

“I dunno, it’s all chemicals, right? Science is Adrian’s thing.”

Michael raised an eyebrow. “So you’re saying I drugged you.”

“YES! Uh… no. Sort of?” Ryan frowned. “I just know it wasn’t fair.”

“We can text Nathan and see what he says…”

“No.” Ryan knew that he had technically lost, based on the original rules set. “Fine. You won. Whatever, man. What do you want?”

Michael was silent for a moment. “You actually think I did that just to win, don’t you?”

“Well, yeah,” Ryan said. “Why else would you do it? Everyone knows you hate to lose.”

“Doggy, you’re an idiot,” Michael said. Before Ryan could react, he leaned in, placing a small kiss on Ryan’s lips.

“Wha--?” Ryan started, looking completely baffled.

Michael pulled his legs out of the pool and got up. “I like you, stupid.”

Ryan just gaped at him. Rolling his eyes, Michael said, “Don’t worry about the bet. I got what I wanted.”

“Oh.”

Ryan was used to being just a little bit slower than everyone around him, but he was feeling especially sluggish. In hindsight, what happened probably should have made sense. Michael was not the most outgoing person, but he did spend more time with Ryan than he did with anyone but his mom and his sisters. Michael was constantly texting him. He actually removed his headphones before a race when Ryan wanted to talk to him.

There was so much stuff that Michael only did for Ryan, and Ryan figured that was just part of being friends. Michael rarely hinted that it was anything but friendship.

Or maybe he did? Ryan didn’t know. If he did, Ryan never picked up on it.

Not until Michael fucking Phelps kissed him.

Feeling like he should probably say something, Ryan said, “Er… thank you?”

Michael laughed at Ryan’s facial expression. “I’m going to go put my suit on now while you think.”

He took off, and Ryan was left to stare out at the water of the pool.
_______________________________________________________________________________

Michael went back to the locker room. He unlocked his locker, pulling his suit out and starting to strip. He eased his suit on and was about to turn back around to head to the pool.

He was surprised to see that Lochte was standing in his way.

“You could’ve just told me,” Ryan said, his arms folded in front of his chest.

Michael shrugged. “You learn best by doing.”

“True.” Ryan walked closer. “I think I should do some more learning.”

Michael was surprised, but he wasn’t going to complain.

“Sounds good to me.”
__________________________________________________________________________________

The rest of the team came back to the pool not long after. Nathan had gotten a text from Michael saying that he and Lochte were done with the interview, and Michael had won the bet. When Nathan heard a banging noise in the locker room, he went to make sure everything was okay.

He saw that Michael had pushed Ryan against the locker, which confused him. Michael had won the bet. Did Ryan react badly or something? Why was Michael reacting so aggressively?

When Michael started kissing Ryan senseless, everything clicked, and Nathan realized that Michael was not going to kill and/or maim Ryan. Nathan decided it might be best if he left to warn the others so they did not intrude…

After he snuck a little glance.

The End

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PostSubject: Re: Ellie's Birthday Present (Phlochte)   Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:16 am


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