Chapter Seven

As far as Chazz was concerned, Friday couldn't come quick enough. He felt like a child; he'd even pinned up one of those little home-made calendars, counting down the days as he very helpfully crossed them off the moment each one dawned. Monday, then Tuesday, and suddenly, it was Wednesday, and that meant that there were only two days left to go.

While Chazz Michael Michaels practically bounced about his life, Jimmy MacElroy was having a decidedly harder time of things.

What really didn't help was the fact that secretly, he suspected Coach of knowing exactly what it was that he'd arranged; ever since he'd called Chazz on Sunday, he'd been pushed ever harder with his routine – it didn't seem to matter anymore that Jimmy wasn't competing to win, not as far as Coach was concerned. He practised the blonde as hard as he could, constantly pushing the disguised boy as far to his limits as he dared go. MacElroy fell harder, span faster, skated with more precision... Everything about his routine that could be bettered, was.

"No stone must remain unturned, Jimmy. You want to shine so that when you fall, the hearts of your people just wrench for you," Jesse was saying from the sidelines as the blonde figure skater span into quite an ugly and painful-looking sprawl across the ice.

"What stones?" he asked as he pulled himself up with a wary glance about the rink that they'd rented out; had one of their competitors come in with a scoop of gravel when they hadn't been looking? His mind calmed when his scan of the ice came up clear – he must have meant metaphorical stones, of course. The moves and the routine!

"Jimmy!" came the bark of the coach from the dancer's side, "Back to work!"

And so, the skater turned back to the ice as Jesse turned his unbelieving eyes on his life partner, "You haven't told him yet."

Of course, it wasn't a question. It would never be a question. Ever.

Robert heaved a defeated sigh, glad that Jimmy was too distracted to hear a word that they were saying. "If you mean Michaels... then no, I haven't. Why would I?"

"Oh, I don't know, maybe because those two have a date on Friday? And don't make that face. Of course I know – you think Jimmy doesn't tell me everything? They'll go out and Chazz will find out and he'll run away – you know these boys. Think about this, Rob. Jimmy will go wrong at the Games, he'll be so–"

"It doesn't matter because he can't place. They'll test him."

Jesse scowled as he was forced to give up his argument – in something almost akin to a strop, he pushed away from the railings and went to sit in one of the higher rows, pulling on the fingerless gloves that Robert continually berated him for; what good were they for warming your hands if they didn't even cover them?

Of course, the dancer's salute of a middle finger that he'd learnt from Chazz showed his partner exactly what they were for.

Somehow, the blonde had managed to convince himself that he was doing this for his friend's sake; it nearly worked, actually – telling himself every night that he didn't like Chazz like that and that he was only doing it because he knew that his ex-partner might be lonely... It very nearly worked, and that was the honest truth.

And yet... as the day came closer, he couldn't deny the churning of his stomach that seemed to take him over every time he thought of Chazz. He couldn't ignore the way that he'd fumble his routine every five minutes when the face of the lone wolf and the man who'd once stood by him happened to cross his mind.

And above all else, he could not deny the fact that when Friday night came, he practically raced about his little flat to get ready. It wasn't like the first he'd ever been on – the one with Katie. No, this was something very different to that. Here... he felt confident. Maybe it was that he wasn't entirely himself; maybe it was that this was his best and only friend... whatever the case, he couldn't be sure of the truth.

Maybe it was just that he wanted more of what had happened in the changing rooms, and he was just too scared to ask for it.

He didn't know.

But that didn't stop him from getting ready and piling the makeup on as though his life depended on it.

It took an hour-long visit from Jesse to make him tone it down just a little bit.

Chazz stood in front of his bathroom mirror, arranging and rearranging his jacket before finally deciding that he didn't look so bad. Of course, he never looked bad – he was Chazz Michael Michaels, sex addict. He had never looked bad in all his life, and that was the cold, hard truth of the matter. But for some strange reason, it really mattered tonight that he looked perfect.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5...

...56, 57, 58, 59...

...82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88...

...99, 100.

He laid the Verticoli back into its chest before going to brush his teeth, ignoring the strange little bounce in his step that had absolutely nothing to do with sex addiction.

So it was that Chazz ended up taking his very male ex-partner out on a very awkward date. Nearly half of it was filled with the older man staring at the German figure skater who was incapable of doing much that wasn't flushing angrily at her plate.

It ended with a flustered Janine making her excuses and going to leave – she was stopped, of course, by Michaels' tongue that was simply relentless in its attempts to make her stay.

But she didn't, and the only comfort that the addict really had left was the knowledge that he would see her tomorrow when she won the gold.

AN: This is back due to popular demand... I've had some issues with college and general health, which is the reason for the long delay since I first created this fic - thanks for the support, everyone. :) Anyone who's still with me out here, thanks. This could all be wrong because I typed it up in a bit of a rush on four hours' sleep - I'll probably edit it another day. I think that Chapter Eight will be the last one, so look out for that. Don't worry, though - anyone that likes this, I've already found ideas for my second Blades fic. I'm pretty excited about it! Thanks for all your patience. MsQueenling. x