Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ficlet: Liukin/Johnson | Need

Title: Need
Pairing: Nastia Liukin & Shawn Johnson
When: In Beijing, athlete’s village apartments.
Rating: G/PG
A/N: Totally unbeta'd :( Forgive any and all mistakes. Please be kind!


Need to be Next to you - Leigh Nash
Been running from this feeling for so long
Telling my heart I didn't need it
Pretending I was better off alone
But I know that it's just a lie
So afraid to take a chance again
So afraid of what I feel inside

But I need to be next to you
Oh I, oh I
I need to share every breath of you
Oh I, oh I
I need to know I can see you smile each morning
Look into your eyes each night for the rest of my life
Here with you, near with you, oh I
I need to be next to you
Need to be next to you

Right here with you is right where I belong
I lose my mind if I can't see you
Without you there's nothing in this life
That would make life worth living for
I can't make it if you're not there
I can't fight what I feel any more

Cause I need to be next to you
Oh I, oh I
I need to share every breath of you
Oh I, oh I
I need to know I can see you smile this morning
Look into your eyes each night for the rest of my life
Here with you, near with you, oh I
I need to be next to you
I need to have your arms next to mine for all the time
Holding for all my life
I need to be next to you
I need to be next to you
Oh I, oh I
Need to be, need to be next to you
Share every breath of you
I need to feel you in my arms, baby, in my arms baby
I need to be next to you


As the door closed she pulled her complimentary iPOD headphones from her ears. The song quietly faded to black. She blinked a few times to get her bearing; finally the weighted glare of the cameras finally lifted from her. She could relax. Her knapsack slipped from her stocky, but oh-so-very petite frame as she began to dust her hands off from the excess chalk that still clung there.

Shawn wrinkled her nose. A few hardened calluses were already resident between the webbing of both her hands, nestled at her thumb and forefinger. She couldn’t help but pick and prod at them as if they were some scientific phenomena. But Shawn’s attention was drawn from her hands towards the soft moan of a door opening.

A bunned nest of gold poked from the recess of the bathroom soon followed by the sinewy form of her roommate. Soft green eyes warmly regarded her along with a welcoming smile.

It was so different from the pristine stoic picture she painted in competition. But no one else saw this side of her roommate. Shawn was one of the few that held this honor of knowing more than what the cameras shown. But being a roommate adds another layer of intimacy the outside world would never know.

“Hey you.”

The dulcet tone of her roommate’s voice broke her reverie. Shawn knew she was staring; quickly her eyes lowered to her feet searching for words that she had hoped were scribbled on her worn sneakers. Because at that moment, for no rhyme or reason, she felt her throat constrict. But Shawn forcibly lifted her gaze and managed to utter out,

“Nas…. You’re here.” Shawn stated the obvious; as if realizing that she amended her statement in rapid-fire succession, “Course you are, you just asked me a ques…” a pause was given when she realized she was rambling she huffed out, “Hey.”

Nastia looked at her questioningly, a thread of concern slipping onto her serene features.

“You ok? Not coming down with anything are you?” Nastia added, “Need me to get the nurse? I was about to head off for a bath…”

God I hope not. A wide grin greeted Nastia, “Me? Please.” Shawn flexed her bicep, “… Solid. Feel. Nothin’ fazes me.”

The delicate beauty chuckled. Her eyes lingered over Shawn’s frame before they flicked upwards and met Shawn’s gaze. Nastia casually walked over, closing the gap that rested between them and rested her hand on the taut muscle. “Oh… yeah… so studly, Shawn.” She grinned then pulled her hand back.

Shawn’s pulse quickened while Nastia was near her; compounded with the fact that the warmth of Nastia’s hand still radiated even after it left her flesh. It was only after the older teenager looked away that Shawn let loose the breath she didn’t realize she held. She watched Nastia move towards her side of the room – the Russian-born gymnast moved with simple elegance. Shawn envied that. Every movement looked effortless. She on the other hand, felt bulky.

Shawn Johnson was the adorable, yet stocky sweetheart of America, the anointed one to take the mantle of the Golden Girl for gymnastics. Terms that Shawn had grown accustomed to but never learned to like.

“I didn’t expect you’d be back,” commented Nastia .

“Already throwing me out, Nas? And here I thought we were connecting…” Shawn placed a hand on her chest, mock-pouting, “Was it me?”

Nastia stuck her tongue out and lobbed a pillow at Shawn, hitting her square in the chest. “Dork. I just meant I thought you’d be with your mom and dad,” she laughed.

Shawn caught the pillow successfully. She hugged it to her chest and buried her face into it. There was a faint smell of perfume – jasmine, maybe? Shawn assumed that the fragrance was something Nastia used – so like her, so unlike herself. Shawn inwardly reprimanded herself at that thought then hauled her body towards her bed, crashing ungraciously on to it.

“I, uh, Mr. Chow just had me train a bit more and uhm, I had you know, obligations and… ,” shrugged Shawn, attempting to not look at Nastia as she spoke, but her words were cut short when her roommate edged in.


Shawn nodded slowly. While Nastia Liukin was her teammate and good friend, the older teen was her rival; she didn’t want Nastia to feel as if the world and its media no less, were on Shawn’s side solely. Which to be frank… seemed like the case. Because everyone was in Shawn Johnson’s face.

With her back facing Shawn, Nastia answered, “I thought you were great,” there was a significant pause, “Immensely cute…” the taller girl murmured, then glanced over her shoulder and added with a smirk, “…Chipmunk cute, really.”

Shawn’s cheeks had been burning. She was glad that the room they shared was poorly lit. It hid that infernal blush. And she just knew she was blushing. What Shawn had a hard time with was the reasoning to why she was.

“Oh, really?”

“Mm, yeah.”


“So…?” Nastia questioned, daring Shawn with her eyes.

“You’re so not cute,” sputtered Shawn; she tried desperately to recant that, but Nastia’s features gave a hint of hurt.

Nastia lifted a shoulder and absently rubbed her forehead, “Yeah… it’s my quote: Cro-Magnon like forehead, huh? At least that’s what I read online…somewhere.” she sighed and chuckled, “See… I don’t think they understand that I can’t get rid of it.” Nastia then beamed a smile, pointing towards her teeth, “I fizhhed zhis tho. I was hoping that would have upped my cuteness factor.”

Shawn furrowed her brow then shook her head, “No no… it’s not what I,” she sat up looking intently at Nastia, “…You really need to stop looking online. Really. I mean… it’s just where people get together and decide to stalk other people. Seriously, like… like those fanfic writers. Come on!”

That drew a half smile from the taller girl, followed by a stifled chortle. Still clothed in nothing but a wrap-around towel, Nastia crossed over towards Shawn’s space and settled herself on the edge of the younger teen’s bed.

Nastia stared at Shawn, nibbling on her lower lip trying to stymie a threatening outright laughing fit. After brushing a few errant strands from the younger gymnast’s face, she stated, “I wonder what goes on in your head – after all you’re always smiling.”

She had stiffened slightly at Nastia’s gesture - her stomach knotted. Shawn hoped that it was because she was hungry. But the back of her mind a voice cried out softly that it was much more than just hunger pains.

Shawn forcibly lifted a brow and playfully prodded, “always? Are you admitting to stalking me Nastia Liukin? Oh. Em. Gee. That’s oh my God, if you didn’t know.”

Nastia laughed body-checking Shawn. The blonde shifted her gaze down towards her feet, “It’s hard not to look at you Shawn. You’re…infectious.”

“Okay wait I thought I was the cute Chipmunk?” gushed Shawn. “You make me sound like a disease.”

“Hey, it’s better than being Big-Forehead girl.”

Shawn frowned, “…You’re not…”

“Cute?” Nastia grinned, “I know, I thought we settled this argument?”

“You didn’t let me finish. So, no.”

“Okay then…”

Without pretense, Shawn reached for Nastia’s hand. She squeezed, assuring the older girl and mostly for herself – The girl, her friend and rival had affected her on a level she couldn’t comprehend; she didn’t want this feeling to stop. Whatever it was.

Shawn cleared her throat and offered plainly while a heavy hue of rose began to dust her cheeks, “If I were a guy, not only would me being in your room be a very bad thing, but…you’re hot. I mean…smokin’ hot. The fact that you’re so flexible too, has got boys riled up. Or so I’ve been told.”

Nastia wrinkled her nose, “Yeah… I didn’t need to know that.”

“But since I’m not of the dangly bit species… this is me telling you,” Shawn took a breath, “I think you’re extremely beautiful, what you do makes me just catch my breath. You push me to be better every single meet. You make me better.”

Shawn dared not look back towards Nastia at this point, fearing that she’d see that stoic, indifferent perfection staring back at her. So she continued headlong…

“It’s because of you is why we’re where we’re at. Just you and me,” she drew up her courage and lifted her eyes meeting Nastia’s own and short of bearing her soul, softly echoed those simple lines from the song she heard not too long ago,

“Nas…I need to be next to you.”

Shawn wasn’t sure how long they sat looking at each other. Nor at how long the quiet had blanketed them, but in a blink of an eye, she felt her body engulfed in warmth. She was in Nastia’s arms. She was slowly losing herself in the embrace. But Nastia was the one to break it.

Quietly, Nastia rose from Shawn’s bed and headed towards their en-suite bathroom. The younger gymnast could hear her heart beat ring in her ears. Nastia hadn’t spoken and Shawn didn’t know what to do. She had offended Nastia. She must have.

“Nas… I didn’t mean to--”

Nastia paused in her trek and glanced over her shoulder. She easily silenced Shawn with just a look – the very same, patented look she used in competition. Softly she offered a coy remark, “I need you with me too.”

Shawn inhaled sharply.

It was followed soon with a smirk, “…I need someone small to wash my back.”

Shawn blinked and huffed, “You are such a putz, Nas.”