Monday, November 3, 2008
RPF - Liukin/Johnson/Sacramone (1/?)
Title: Just Something... (1/?)
Fandom: RPF - USGWT
Pairing: (Conflicted) Liukin/Johnson/Sacramone
Disclaimer: This isn't real. I own nothing.
Summary: For the sake of story (or perhaps lack there of) let's just say that everyone was together on the later stretch of the tour. Not entirely sure where this is headed, but it's a stab at RPF. Rip it apart if you like.
“There's something about her huh?”
The Tour – final leg.
The emotions were the same; the friendship just as tight knit and epoxied as it ever was. For the first time since the Olympics, members of the both the Beijing and World 2007 teams were reunited. It was a familiar, heart-warming sight that greeted the young Iowan native as she entered the pavilion where their performance would be held.
The group huddled in a loose circle, all clad in warm-up attire, all animatedly chirping. Each character filling their role appropriately. Sam was sprawled next to Alicia and Nastia – probably talking about everything and nothing at the same time; they were close – they’d always been close.
Next to Alicia was Chellsie who would occasionally be glancing their way then elsewhere, particularly towards the Old Guy of the bunch – Joe. Chellsie offered a candid smile at him. And he replied with a toothy grin. Shawn wished that they would just cement whatever it was that was going on between them.
Her eyes continued onward; next to Chellsie, Shayla hovered about drifting every now and then to Sam, Alicia and Nastia. Shayla was another cog of that group, she was close to them, but also had a life of her own. Shayla began catcalling the members of the Men’s Gymnastics team that had joined the mashed-up troupe. Shawn shook her head amused at that. Shayla, she reasoned, was one of those erogenous zones ready for a scritch from anyone willing to give it to her. Not that Shawn would know about such things. Why should she?
I’m Shawn Johnson. Ultra Q-T pie extraordinaire… Innocent, naïve… young.
She sighed heavily and her eyes continued to roam. Bridget entered with a Big Flyer Red-Wagon in tow. From the looks of it, Shawn assessed that it was full with today’s lunch. Bridget had already adopted a defensive posture, even going so far as to pull out a martial arts-styled battle cry as soon as anyone neared the wagon. That was ultimately, very Bridget-like.
Absently her eyes drew back towards Alicia and Nastia; she didn’t want to watch them, but she didn’t want to not watch them.
Sam had obviously said something funny, because she saw them laugh; Shawn’s brows knit tightly. Since this tour began, she felt like she’d lost footing with the two people she had grown implicitly fond of; then again, did she ever even get to that plateau to be called BFFs (she cringed at that term) with them? After all, it had always been Sam, Shayla, Nastia and Alicia – the older girls. The Fantastic Four.
But…Her eyes remained focused on her two friends. Shawn decided a long time ago that both Nastia and Alicia brandished two different types of beauty. Both types she learned to appreciate.
Alicia harnessed an inner fire with passion for what she did; it was difficult to not look at her. Harder still to quell the need to be next to her just to bathe in the spell Alicia wove. Shawn acknowledged that because Alicia was one of the eldest members of the team, she was definitely the most alluring with her womanly curves. But a simple truth rung out with finality… Alicia Sacramone was devastatingly attractive and everyone didn’t hesitate to proclaim that as gospel.
But as sure as Shawn was with her sexuality, (which she really wasn’t)… She loved Alicia as deeply as a friend can for another.
Nastia had shifted from her position catching Shawn’s attention. The blonde rose to her feet in with an easy fluidness of a dancer. Shawn’s head tilted slightly to one side, observing her one-time roommate. She was tall at least in comparison to Shawn, long limbed, and imperially elegant with her gestures. While Nastia didn’t have the exotic looks of Alicia, she held her own. Her beauty stemmed from that quiet intensity when she competed then slipped from her when off the podium. Nastia was just as much of a goofball as the rest of the team was.
Shawn liked that about Nastia, she melded both worlds; just one thing over countless she liked…
A faint smile touched the corner of her lips before a disembodied voice said, “It’s not a competition.”
She glanced abruptly over her shoulder and was met with the cutting profile of Valeri Liukin. His arms were crossed, his stance planted. Valeri’s gaze had been affixed to the floor where his daughter was, who’d already begun to run through her routine.
“Hi Mr. Liukin…I don’t think I…?” questioned Shawn as her smile waned.
“Always in competitions – always by yourself. It’s not a competition, no meet,” Valeri stated disjointedly, which oddly made sense. His hand rubbed genially at his chin, “So why are you standing here alone, Shawn?”
Shawn’s glance shifted from Valeri back towards the floor, then down to her flip-flop dressed feet. One foot began to scuff at the flooring. Her hands stuffed into her USA hoodie pockets. At the sound of familiar laughter she lifted her gaze and found Nastia and Shayla looking like they were in the middle of a tag-you're-it game, before Nastia ended up getting tackled by Alicia from behind. Irritably Shawn fought to tear her eyes from the play.
“I just… sort of,” shrugged Shawn, “…get distracted, sir,” she beamed her smile, “You know me…Teenager – too much on my mind – I get all deer-in-the-headlights.” She pantomimed pausing in place with wide eyes and open mouthed before she grinned, “No big.”
Valeri turned his ever-observant gaze on to Shawn. It made her inwardly cringe. He nodded after a while accepting her statement. “If that’s all…”
Shawn slapped on the effervescent Shawn-smile for good measure.
“You’re a good girl Shawn,” said Valeri and then reached out to give her a loose hug about her shoulders and added, “Nastia… just has a lot going on right now.”
Shawn stared at Valeri, touched with a look of confusion and unease on her face. She shook her head quickly and motioned with a jut of her thumb to the floor, “I should…”
He nodded – his gaze steely and unwavering on the floor; his daughter definitely inherited that look from Valeri.
“Sure, go on… and,” Valeri turned his attention briefly back towards Shawn, “…remind Nastia this is practice.”
Shawn jogged off with a bob of her head hearing that familiar edge in Valeri’s voice. The man was all business when it came to Gymnastics.
As she neared the group, Shawn was greeted with a series of, “Shawnie! ShawnJohn! Shawn-Jizzle! Woot, da Mighty Mouse!” She wrinkled her nose at each nickname. All terms of endearment, all she didn’t mind. They each engulfed her in a hug or gave her head-noogie, even Alicia joined in; when does she never? Alicia had a penchant for possessive grapple-hugs and a smacking of her lips to whatever body part was available for her to kiss. She loved doling them out at a whim.
Shawn always looked forward to the Alicia-smotherings. She felt comforted in the woman’s supportive arms and melted easily into the embrace; they came few and far between now that the Olympics and training had ended.
She didn’t want to think about that. To know that the road they traveled on for so long together was ending at the next bend. That was too much to take. Shawn breathed in, noting the faint scent of vanilla and cinnamon blanketing Alicia’s flesh, it was all about the here and now. Shawn will hold on to it as tight as she could before being forced to let go.
She liked that smell it was so Alicia… a melting pot of striking differences that made sense.
Shawn couldn’t help but try to nestle further into Alicia’s arms; as if feeling the quiet need… she felt the older woman’s arms grip about her smaller frame, tightly. A soft murmur touched her ears, “Babygirl.” For a little while, the world was right again.
But Alicia had been the first to loosen her grip and grudgingly the hug ended. And there was Nastia, quietly waiting in the wings.
Nastia had no nickname for her, nor was she ever truly, physical with her. It was always a simple…
“Hey Shawn,” softly said and accompanied with that brilliant smile and a quick, yet all-encompassing hug, then nothing more as she readied to breeze past her like she’d always been doing lately.
Shawn was a little troubled by that. The media had fostered their bond as rivals; they realized that they needed to defend each other and themselves from all the speculation. They were friends, and that friendship further grew at Stuttgart and she thought it solidified at the Olympics. But since the advent of the tour, it seemed…changed. Then again, her priorities ran opposite of what Alicia and Nastia did.
This was just Nastia’s thing, though. She seemed to refrain from being overly affectionate in public. But... Shawn’s logical mind argued that she’d seen clips and been a witness of Nastia being tackled by Sam and Alicia in tandem…in public. There was an instance where it looked like Alicia nearly planted her lips on Nastia’s own at nationals, televised no less – Shawn found herself YouTubing that. Moving it frame by frame, studying it, studying them…wishing... It bothered her that she yearned to see more; it bothered her even more that she had wished she were a part of that intimacy. It was her secret, her quiet guilt.
And when Nastia and Shayla were consistently whoring it up for mug shots on the tour, it didn’t help Shawn’s insecurities. Just the two of them, that’s how it went. That’s how it’s been.
Shawn was jealous. She needed to know that she ranked somewhere higher than how Nastia saw her… hell… even how Alicia saw her. Why didn’t she fit anymore?
This time before Nastia moved from her and without any hesitation, Shawn’s hand caught at the crook of the taller gymnast’s arm, stopping her. Nastia glanced curiously back to Shawn, meeting her gaze.
“Shawn?” Nastia asked concerned.
Nastia’s eyes were flecked with specks of gold and tawny among a sea of jade. Shawn never really saw that before. It was soul-rendering…
…and suddenly felt herself drowning in them.
Oh Cheez Whiz.
A spate of dizziness blanketed Shawn – it felt like vertigo. Shawn gave her head a little shake to clear her mind; it hadn’t worked, “Your dad,” she managed out, “…He kinda said t-to stop goofing off ann..d…”
Something was wrong, Shawn inwardly wondered why Nastia’s gaze changed from concern to frantic, then Alicia’s voice was sharply ringing out calling for her. Shawn’s gaze tracked Nastia’s and Alicia’s features, but they grew hazy and then…