#1 shisus disciple (sweetshisus) wrote,
#1 shisus disciple

a gold medal in douchebaggery.

fandom: exo
pairing: yixing/luhan (exo-m)
rating: NC-17
genre: AU
wordcoun6: 4227
summary: yixing and luhan are competitive rivals on the chinese olympic swimming team, constantly finding ways to undermine each other's accomplishments and throwing snarky comments at each other during practices. finally, one day, the tension comes to a head. what happens next is a shock to both of them.
written for: my bbcakes sora :3

Swimmers, are you ready? The loudspeaker crackled once, and then a light humming static enveloped the stadium. Yixing could almost taste the anticipation in the air, the muffled terror and the vibrant passion that had brought them all to this moment. Losing was not an option. It would never be an option, not for Yixing, anyway.

On your mark. Go! The horn sounded with a loud blast that nearly shattered Yixing's eardrums, even with half his head submerged in water. The chlorine itched his nose and his goggles were on too tight and he was starting to go numb from the cold, but it was all so routine Yixing barely flinched. He was a swimmer. An Olympic swimmer at that. And this race was going to be so easy Yixing could almost feel the weight of gold in his hands.

It was Yixing's second race of the Olympics, and his first time there. As one of the younger members on the team, he felt an immense pressure to prove himself in this race. The day before, he had swum the last leg of the 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay, and nearly lost the edge his team had built up. But somehow, he managed to push ahead and win gold for his country. Even as the swimmers stripped their suits off and wiped the water off themselves with towels to gear up for the innumerable amount of interviews that were to come, Yixing couldn't help but feel that he had cut it too close. Far too close, as his teammate, Luhan, continued to point out all night. But he'd shut Luhan up. He'd bring home gold, and this time, it wouldn't be a close shave at all.

Yixing was flying now, slicing through the water with even strokes. This was his race; his coach always reminded him that the 200 meter breaststroke was his strongest race, and Yixing couldn't agree more. His mind went blank as his muscles worked of their own accord, weaving imaginary patterns across the water surface. But now Yixing was paying attention to the wall up ahead, and he did a quick spin around and then he was off again.

Each slap of his feet against the wall was a steady beat, a melody Yixing knew all too well after 13 years of swim practice. Every day after school, starting from his time in primary school, he would hitch his duffel bag over his shoulder and make his way to the local pool. He'd dive in, relishing that cool dewy sensation all over his body and the familiar smell of chlorine. He was 16 when he was recruited, then too young and too inexperienced to make it past the Olympic trials. But he had been training for 4 years for this glorious moment, to make his parents proud.

It was his parents he thought of now as he reached out for the wall. He emerged from the water, panting and struggling to catch his breath as oxygen raced through his lungs, and looked up at the clock. With a dull thud, he watched the electronic board shuffle and reveal his name next to a shiny yellow #2. Second place.

Yixing blinked in disbelief. This couldn't be right. He had swum his absolute best, and everyone knew he was a lock-in for gold. How could he have lost? When the board shuffled again to reveal the times, Yixing had to suppress the urge to scream. He had been 0.02 seconds behind the first place winner. 2 hundredths of a second behind. Just not fucking good enough. Yixing pulled his cap off and slapped it into the water, blinking back tears.

This couldn't be happening. He kept repeating it to himself even as he pulled himself up from the water and his teammates surrounded him to give their congratulations. It couldn't be happening. He couldn't have lost, not to the American with the flat feet and the kind of silly looking face. He just couldn't have.

As he stripped his suit off in the locker room and struggled with the towels piled haphazardly in his locker, he could hear his teammates whispering behind him. Even with his back turned, he could hear Luhan's voice, slightly higher-pitched and almost melodic if Yixing could ignore the crap that was surely spewing out of his mouth.

Luhan had been Yixing's rival since the minute they both entered the local pool. They had grown up nearly side by side, in the same neighborhood, and Luhan had always been his only contender in everything, from school to girls to swimming. When they both passed the trials, Yixing had stalked forward to civilly congratulate Luhan, who only nodded and refused to shake Yixing's hand. Even now, Luhan always found ways to undermine Yixing's accomplishments, and Yixing, who wasn't the quickest at snarky responses, found it difficult to retaliate. Surely, Luhan was saying something miserably mean and cold-hearted. Of course he was. Yixing slammed his locker shut and made his way out of the room before he could hear whatever his teammates were muttering about.

As he stood on the podium accepting his medal, Yixing had to suppress tears. His parents had flown in from Changsha all the way to London, an expensive but worthwhile trip, they had told him over the phone. He scanned the crowd, looking for their faces, but he couldn't quite find the comfort of their smiles. The silver medal felt heavy against his chest, a burden almost, because it wasn't gold. Yixing swallowed but could still feel the lump in the back of his throat. Second place isn't second best. It's losing.

He took a step off the podium to congratulate the gold medalist, who gave him a goofy smile and said xie xie with a terrible accent. Yixing nodded and turned, and his coach was behind him, enveloping him in a hug and whispering in his ear, You did good, kid. Don't beat yourself up.

Then his parents were running toward him, his mom grinning so hard he could swear it had to have hurt. She threw her arms around him and he finally let out the breath he had been holding. I'm sorry I didn't win, Mom-- But she was shushing him and crowing about how he did the Zhang family proud, about how her son was an Olympic medalist. His dad was more reserved and gave him a hard handshake, his eyes crinkling with joy. For the first time since the Olympics had begun, Yixing smiled.

The pool felt different when Yixing was just a spectator, sitting on the sidelines watching his teammates hop into the pool. He almost felt restless, like if he got into the pool, he might feel more comfortable than being here on a cold bench next to his coach watching others win gold.

Today was the 100 meter butterfly, and two members from his team would be swimming, including Luhan. Yixing had to suppress the urge to curse Luhan, pray he wouldn't win so he would know how it felt to be a loser. But Yixing wanted the glory as much as Luhan did, and a gold medal for his country meant more than one-upping Luhan, even if the petty side of Yixing wanted nothing more than to see Luhan fail.

The familiar loudspeaker static crackled across the stadium, and the count began. On your mark. Go! And they were off, speeding through the water like darts. Yixing kept his eyes focused on the second lane where Luhan was, and the third lane where the American who had beat him the day before was. Luhan would win gold, because Luhan was perfect in every way when it came to swimming. He accepted nothing less than the absolute best. He gave it his all, but unlike Yixing, it was enough. In spite of himself, Yixing was sitting up now, leaning forward against the railing, watching with anticipation as the race progressed.

The last 25 meters were coming up now, and Luhan had less than a second's head start on the American. The stadium was deafening, with people shouting and screaming and cheering all at once. Then the swimmer's hands were coming up to slap the wall, and the electronic board was shuffling the times. With a thud, Yixing realized that the American had won gold again. Luhan had slipped to 4th place. Yixing stared at the board in disbelief. How could this happen? Yixing heard his coach mutter under his breath. Yixing searched the water for Luhan's face, and the crestfallen look on his face was so familiar, so reminiscent of Yixing's own stare into the mirror, that instead of feeling glee that Yixing had bested Luhan, Yixing felt sorry for him.

His coach was running down the stairs now and Yixing followed him into the locker room, where Luhan sat in a circle of his teammates, sobbing hysterically into a towel. It was painful to watch Luhan break down, a constant paragon of professionalism and poise reduced to a blubbering mess. Luhan was wiping his eyes furiously with a towel now even as he choked back a sob, and he said, his voice thick and muffled, I need to change. I'll see you out there.

His coach opened his mouth to say something, but Luhan let out a guttural Go! and everyone but Yixing scattered. Luhan continued to wipe his eyes, and when he realized Yixing was still there, he glared at him and spat, What the fuck do you want?

Taken aback by the hostility, Yixing sputtered, J-just to see if you're okay. Are you-- But now Luhan was standing up, reaching to grab a fistful of Yixing's shirt and slam him against the lockers. He was furious, Yixing could tell, his eyes so fiery Yixing could feel them boring a hole into his head. And he was also way too close. Yixing's breathing slowed as his eyes traced the contours of Luhan's face, his perfect nose and his thin lips and his bright eyes. Luhan's body felt warm against his, his muscles felt taut against Yixing's chest. Yixing felt disembodied, like he couldn't breathe or he was breathing but not properly. A jolt ran through his body.

Get. The fuck. Out of my face. Luhan leaned into Yixing's stomach only to step back. Yixing finally caught his breath and sidled past Luhan, looking back just once to see Luhan collapse onto the bench and sob again.

Yixing took a sharp left and found himself in the bathroom. As he washed his face with cold water and stared into the mirror in front of him, it hit him with a sharp pang what he had been feeling before. He had only felt that way once before when he was young, about his best friend, the beautiful girl who had lived next door to him, who had frequented the pool with him and Luhan. He had only felt that way once before, when he spied on her in the locker room, stripping down to nothing to slip into her swimsuit. Her body was thin and lithe and Yixing had felt that same jolt run through his body, the same sensation of breathlessness.

Holy fuck.

part two
Tags: exo-m, fic, luhan, multipart : gold medal, yixing
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