Fandom: Figure Skating RPS
Pairing: J Weir/S Lambiel, JW/E Lysacek, JW/SL/EL
Warnings: threesome, fantasy violence, explicit sex, strong language
Summary: AU from Kings on Ice in March – while in Moscow, Johnny is attacked by a creature he only thought existed in nightmares. Infected by the vampire his only hope is a group of Vampire Hunters, but some of them think it would be easier to just kill him and be done with it. With more enemies than friends he struggles for his life as well as his humanity.
Links to other Chapters: Ch 1 | Ch 2 | Ch 3 | Ch 4 | Epilogue
Artist: beadslut Art only post.
Mixer solookup Mix link
Chapter 2 Finding the Way
A slow, regular beeping was the first thing that made it into his awareness as the world gradually came back. This time when he opened his eyes he was not in a tiled white room; the room was still white, but it was a sunny cheerful room that seemed to be full of flowers. He was half propped up on what seemed to be a mountain of pillows and there was an IV in his arm and it seemed to be a perfectly normal hospital room.
"Johnny," said a very familiar voice and he turned his head to see his mother sitting right next to him.
It was something he had been dreaming of ever since the nightmare began and for a moment he didn't believe it was real.
"Mama?" he said very quietly, voice barely above a whisper.
That was it for his mom it seemed, she instantly stood up and leant over him, kissing him on the forehead and smoothing his hair from his face as if making sure he was real.
"Oh, my sweet baby," his mom cooed over him, "I was so scared I was never going to see you again."
Johnny had been scared of the same thing, so very, very scared and he could barely make himself react as if his mom was really there. How Patti had got to Russia and where exactly he was were questions that crowded into his head, but all he needed was right there in front of him. He tried to reach back, at which point his side hurt and he remembered very distinctly why he was in the hospital in the first place.
"Now just lie still," his mom told him and he could tell she was on the verge of tears, which didn't help his own equilibrium, "Evgeni told me that the doctor said you're going to be sore for a while, but there's no permanent damage."
Patti sat back down again while slipping her hand into his, but he still didn't know what to say. His brain simply didn't seem to be working right and coherent thought was evading him.
"I have something for you," his mom said, clearly having a similar problem and then she dived into her handbag.
What she pulled out was very familiar and Patti slipped it into his hand and patted his fingers: it was his chain with all his charms. It had fallen off some time during the attack and he never thought he'd see it again.
"They found," Patti said haltingly, "they found it ..."
The raw emotion was right there on his mom's face and he couldn't hold his feelings in anymore. He burst into tears as the tension he had been unable to express for days suddenly exploded within him and then his mom was cradling him in her arms and she was crying as well and it was all one big mess. He didn't care that his side hurt or that the light in the room was too bright or that he had no idea how he had come to be where he was, all that mattered was the comfort of Patti's arms as they held each other close.
He couldn't bring himself under control for a long time as all the fear and pain came pouring out of him. With Yuri and Zhanna he had had to be brave and strong, with his mom he could let it all go and Patti held him until he finally stopped shaking. Then she helped him sit back against his pillows, wiped his face for him and gave him a little drink of water. He felt as if he was about five again when his mom would look after his scuffed knees and make it all better with a kiss and a hug.
"You're safe now, Sweetheart," Patti told him as he played with the chain now entwined around his fingers, "I won't let anyone hurt you."
And the funny thing was he knew it was true. Not that she knew what she was up against, but Johnny was sure if a vampire walked through the door that very minute, his mom would take it on as if it was nothing more than a rude waiter in a restaurant.
"Thank you," he said, his voice sounding far quieter than he had thought and hoarse from all the crying.
"It's in the job description," Patti said and gave him a small smile, covering her hand with his own again.
They stayed like that for a while, just looking at each other and Johnny could see the question in his mom's eyes.
"Do you feel ready to talk about it?" Patti eventually asked, but very gently, as if ready to back off instantly if need be.
He didn't really feel ready for anything, but it didn't seem fair to just say no. It wasn't as if he could just blurt it all out, but he had to say something.
"I got lost," he said after taking a very deep breath and he looked down at his fingers to keep himself focused; "I don't know how, I was only going to the address Tara gave me. I ended up in the alley, so I turned round and there was this man."
The memory of the vampire Peter filled his mind and he had to stop for a moment.
"I tried to get past him," he said, using another deep breath to brace himself, "but he grabbed me."
Patti's fingers tightened on his.
"I felt something stab into my neck," he continued, which was at least true, but he couldn't just tell the truth.
In that moment he realised that he was afraid what would happen and who might be listening and he took the only decision he could.
"That's the last thing I remember," he said, not looking up, because he knew his mom could spot him lying a mile away. "I don't know what happened after that. I kind of remember the police station, but I don't know how I got there."
When he dared glance up, he was not sure if Patti's expression was relieved or horrified.
"You don't remember anything at all?" she asked gently.
He just shook his head.
"How long was I gone?" he asked, he was a little shaky on how much time had actually passed, so it wasn't a total bluff.
"Oh, Sweetheart," Patti said and Johnny knew that voice all too well, it was his mom's I'm-going-protect-you-now-whether-you-li
Since it was easier than actually talking about it, he did not protest, which in retrospect probably wasn't a good thing, because his mother frowned when he just accepted it.
"So," he said, trying to cover the awkwardness, "how did you get here? Last time I called you were definitely at home."
That seemed to appease Patti a little at least and she gave him a rather strained smile.
"Evgeni called me as soon as they realised you were missing," Patti told him, finally looking as if she might be relaxing a little bit; "he's been amazing. When I said I was coming over he told me not to worry about booking anything and had the ticket sent to the house, and he insisted on putting me in a very nice hotel. He and Stéphane have been making sure I don't do anything silly like running off into Moscow to try and find you myself."
"Stéphane?" Johnny found himself asking; that he had not been expecting.
"He's been wonderful as well," his mom explained and there was that kind of faraway, happy look in her eye that seemed to happen to people who had been in Stéphane's company too long. "While Evgeni has been running around demanding people do something, Stéphane has been keeping me sane. He really is a very charming young man and he's been very worried about you."
That sounded like Stéphane all over, but Kings On Ice was still supposed to be going on and both Evgeni and Stéphane were supposed to have been skating, so he had no idea what could be going on there.
"He's been waiting with me since they brought you in," Patti revealed and Johnny had to stop himself looking around the room to see if there was a stealth space zebra hidden anywhere. "When they brought you to the room, though, they would only let one of us sit with you."
Johnny nodded; that sounded like most hospitals he had ever been in. What was also the same was the awful hospital gown. The one he was wearing was blue with white flowers and was possibly the most hideous and uncomfortable thing known to man. He pulled at it absently and then heard his mom gasp as he revealed the top of the cross. It was then he realised he wasn't supposed to remember it and the gasp was likely for him, not because Patti was shocked.
"Darling," Patti said, reaching out to him, but he pulled the gown away from his chest anyway and looked down as if he did not know what he would see.
"There's a cross on my chest," he said as if it was a shock.
"Johnny," his mom said and rubbed his arm, "try not to worry; it's just an ordinary tattoo."
He looked up at her and did his best to look confused.
"The police think whoever took you did it," Patti told him gently, "but they don't know why. When we get home we can get it removed, if you want?"
If there was one thing Johnny knew it was that the cross was never coming off, but he just sat there for a bit and pretended to think about it. He pulled the gown away again and looked down and then set his features in a determined expression he knew his mom would recognise.
"At least it's pretty," he said and gave her a small smile.
That, he knew, would put her off at least until they got home and had a chance to talk properly. He could not keep this from his mom for long, but he really didn't want to deal with it while in Russia, besides which, Patti was an even worse liar than he was. He would have said more, but he made the mistake of moving again and managed to catch his side completely wrong, which made him gasp in pain. At that point all control was wrested from him as Patti decided it was time to let the doctor know he was awake and everything occurred that went with that. The two good things that resulted, since he hated being poked and prodded, was that a nice nurse gave him something for the pain he had managed to find and Stéphane somehow made it into the room.
With a very nice drug in his system he felt much better and managed a real beaming smile for his Swiss friend. He managed one for Evgeni when he turned up as well, but he honestly couldn't have told anyone what they talked about. All he really remembered was it had to do with skating, because everyone was definitely avoiding the subject of his kidnapping. There was also food at some point, not bad food at that and then he managed to drift off to sleep. It was more than a little surreal, but much better than having to answer awkward questions.
"I don't remember," Johnny said for the fourth time in ten minutes, but the police officer was still looking at him as if he didn't believe him.
"You can tell us nothing?" the detective asked again.
"Look," he said, finally losing his temper; "a man attacked me in the alley, that's the last thing I remember until I found myself staggering down the road. I do not remember anything else, it's all a blank."
In his anger he half sat up and his side complained and he found himself sitting back with a gasp. It was his second day in the hospital and the previous day he'd managed to avoid a proper chat with the police thanks to the drugs the doctor had him on. However, the officer had been there first thing that morning after breakfast and he'd been talking to the man ever since. Yana had taken Patti out to buy some things, because Johnny knew that, at the moment, having his mom in the room when a police officer was asking him questions would not have been a sensible idea. Patti was in a very, very protective mood.
"This interview is over," Evgeni said very efficiently and the detective looked as if he was going to argue, but one look from the Russian skater had the man standing up.
Evgeni really did know the right people to get everything sorted smoothly and Johnny was incredibly glad, but it didn't make him feel much better. He was lying to everyone and it was driving him crazy; no matter what the press tried to say about him, he was a very bad liar.
"You need to relax, Johnny," Stéphane said, fussing over him as usual as the police officer left the room; "the pain will lessen."
When his mom wasn't there, Stéphane seemed to have appointed himself a similar role.
"I can't," he said, feeling the tension through every muscle.
Stéphane looked distressed on his behalf; it sliced through his heart.
"I will get the nurse," Stéphane said resolutely and went to stand up, but Johnny put his hand out to stop him.
"It won't help," he said simply; the pain in his side was not really his problem.
Evgeni was hovering by the door looking worried.
"If you are in pain," his friend said, "the staff can give you something.
That actually made Johnny laugh; there was no way anyone in the hospital could help him.
"No they can't," he said, feeling like he was about to break.
"Johnny," Stéphane said, touching his arm gently, "why are you torturing yourself."
It was too much; he just couldn't do it.
"Because I'm lying," he said bitterly, "because I've been lying since the moment I woke up."
That made both the other skaters look at each other and Stéphane finally looked back at him with those beautiful, sensual eyes.
"Why, Johnny?" his friend asked ever so gently.
It was a question and a half and Johnny didn't know if he wanted to answer it, but he had started now, he could not go back.
"Because if I tell the truth they'll either lock me up for being insane," he said quietly, "or for being a monster."
He knew it would not explain anything, but the words were stuck inside, all he could do was look at Stéphane. Taking a breath, he let the truth rise to the surface; he let what was inside out and the room became uncomfortably bright in his vision.
"Am I a monster?" he asked, not knowing the answer.
"Oh my god," he heard from Evgeni and Stéphane just stared at him.
He had seen what he was; he knew what he had to look like, eyes glowing from within, skin ghostly pale and lips too red to be natural. If he opened his mouth Stéphane would be able to see his fangs, but he just lay there.
"I was attacked in that alley," he said, needing to explain even if it made no difference; "but he wasn't a man. He bit me and then the other people came, hunters; they killed him and took me. They tried everything they could to save me, but inch by inch I kept changing; that's when they did this," he pulled down his top so the edge of the cross was visible. "It didn't completely work though; I'm stuck somewhere in between. They, the hunters, didn't know what to do with me; they kept me locked up, so I escaped. That's when I was shot."
He stared at the ceiling not knowing what else to say as he let himself fade back to being human. It was possible he had just alienated the two people who were helping him the most aside from his mom.
"You are a vampire," Stéphane said quietly, and didn't sound as if he was about to freak out, which was one plus.
"Kind of," he replied quietly, not looking over.
Evgeni swore colourfully, which Johnny was well aware was much better than his Russian friend going quiet.
"Do vampires had to worry about bullets?" Stéphane asked next and sounded genuinely confused, so much so that Johnny finally looked back at his friend.
It was typical of Stéphane to be looking at the details and not the big picture.
"Not usually," he said, hoping it helped underline the difference between himself and the creature that had attacked him, "but like this I'm human. I'm only," he paused, almost unable to say it, "not," was the word he settled on, "when I look different. I..."
He touched his side, wondering how to explain further, at which point he realised it didn't hurt. That made him look down and then twist to see if he was imagining it, but there wasn't even a twinge.
"Oh," he said as it began to dawn on him what had to have happened.
He had noticed that he often felt stronger after letting his vampire nature out the couple of times Yuri had asked to test it, but it had not registered what that might mean.
"Johnny, what is the matter?" Stéphane asked and when he looked round, Egveni was watching him worriedly as well.
"I think," he said, more than a little surprised, "I healed. It must have been ... when ... just now ... it doesn't hurt anymore."
He was honestly shocked; he hadn't really expected that, although it was undeniably obvious when he thought about it. His shock took away the anxiety and fear for a little while and he just stared at his friends, not really knowing what to say. It was one of those sink or swim moments and he could feel them all standing on a knife edge where the situation could go either way.
"Do you need blood?" was the question from Evgeni asked and broke the rather awkward silence.
"Yes," he said, since that was one fact he knew without a doubt, "just a little."
"Do you need an open vein?" his Russian friend was nothing if not direct.
This time he shook his head.
"A cup is fine," he replied, trying to treat the conversation like one about skate guards or something similar.
It worked of a fashion.
"I will get you some," Evgeni said, clearly using the need to help to cope with this new revelation, "and then I will see about getting you out of here. I do not think you wish to have this condition known."
Johnny could only agree; the last thing he wanted was for more people to find out.
"Thank you, Zhenya," he said as Evgeni walked resolutely towards the door.
His friend just gave him a nod; it seemed they were okay for now. That just left Stéphane who was sitting there looking at him with an unreadable expression on his face.
"What?" he asked, possibly a little defensively.
Then, before he could even react he found himself being hugged; definitely not what he had expected.
"You have such bravery," Stéphane told him, embracing him as if he might never let go, "I am once again amazed."
Johnny didn't really think he was being brave, in fact he felt more than a little out of control and he had just managed to dump the whole mess onto his friends as well. He did, however, manage to give a bit of a hug back.
"Now," Stéphane said, when they finally parted, "I wish to understand so that I may be of assistance. Please tell me whatever you wish while we wait for your mother to return."
It was kind of pushy and all kinds of sweet and so terribly Stéphane that Johnny found himself starting to talk, and once he'd started he couldn't stop. He continued even when Evgeni returned and handed him a small cup with a very familiar liquid in it.
All Johnny wanted to do was go home. He loved Russia, he really did, but he needed familiar surroundings and a place where he could forget the fact he was not quite human for a while. At least he was out of the hospital, which was one thing to be thankful for, but he really didn't want to be in a hotel. It was a very nice hotel; Evgeni had seen to that, but it was definitely not home. However, it did have a very nice shower, which Johnny had spent a good half an hour under, just enjoying the hot water. Stéphane and his mom were in the main room ordering them some food and Johnny hoped that it would be about time to eat once he was finished.
Looking at himself in the mirror he decided his hair needed cutting; it was beginning to look messy around the edges. The natural wave was making it curl at the edges where it was drying. The hotel robe was fluffy and comfortable and he considered putting on some clothes, but then decided that could wait. When he opened the door he wished he hadn't because the first thing he saw was a gun and it was pointed directly at Stéphane and his mom was sitting next to Stéphane on the couch. He froze as he recognised Anton.
He had to fight with himself not to attack; his instincts were screaming to do something about the threat and his vampire side didn't really understand vulnerability.
"Please don't hurt them," he said in very careful Russian.
He flicked his eyes around the room; it was the whole team from the alley and all of them were holding guns, including Zhanna. The woman did not appear overly happy with him, but then he had taken advantage of her at their last encounter.
"You try anything he dies first, she dies second," was the simple response from Anton.
"They have nothing to do with this," he said, barely daring to breathe let alone move.
The hunters were dangerous people, he knew that, he had lived with them for days and he was well aware that they did what they had to. He was not about to let them do anything to Patti or Stéphane.
"We're not here to hurt anyone," Michal said simply, "we're here to make sure everyone stays safe."
There was a chinking sound and Johnny felt his blood running cold as he saw the chains in Zhanna's hands.
"No," he said and finally stood up straight.
"We are taking you back," Michal said as if it was nothing bad.
"I will not live in a cage," he said with a shake of his head; "I will not go back."
He looked Michal in the eyes.
"If you want to treat me like an animal you can put me down like one right now," he said, speaking the words slowly and clearly.
He did not want there to be any misunderstanding; he was never, ever being caged like that again, he couldn't stand it and he had to make them realise that. Maybe they did not understand what he was, but he was not going to be a specimen in a glass jar.
"Put on the restraints," Anton said and waved his gun at Stéphane and Patti in threat.
When the gun went near his mother, Johnny lost the control he had. Stéphane being threatened he could cope with; Stéphane knew that there was more to this than simply gangsters, but his mom was just terrified and the threat was too much. He let the vampire out, fearing harm to his mother more than her seeing what he really was, and he moved, putting himself between Anton and Patti. The gun went off as Anton panicked and he felt the bullet hit him in the upper chest, but he did not go down.
"Anton, no!" Michal's voice cut through the confusion and Anton backed off.
"Johnny," he heard his mom say and when her hand touched his back the pain finally made it into his head and he slowly fell. "Oh my god, Johnny," was his mother's response to that.
"Mama, it's okay," he said, or tried to, and he saw Zhanna's eyes open in shock.
It seemed that the hunters did not know that Patti was his mom. He would have kept his head down, eyes out of sight until the wound healed, but he dared not let the hunters out of his sight. With his vampire nature in the forefront he could feel the wound healing, even though his hand was covered in blood where he was gripping his chest, and he could not return to normal until it was no longer dangerous. He heard his mother gasp as she knelt beside him on the floor and he had to look at her.
"Oh, Johnny," his mom said, reaching out to touch the side of his face, "what happened?"
There was a very rapid conversation going on in Russian, but Johnny kept his attention on his mother.
"You wouldn't believe it, Mama," he said quietly; "I'm not sure I do."
Patti glared at the hunters.
"What did you do to my son?" she demanded and Johnny was sure that Michal and Zhanna understood even if the other two didn't.
"They didn't do it, Mama," Johnny said, placing a hand on his mother's arm; "they saved me, but they think I am dangerous."
His mother's face took on an expression he recognised all too well; there had been several people over his career who had been on the receiving end of that face. When she stood up and stepped around him he tried to reach out, but the bullet hole was still not completely healed and he failed to move fast enough.
"If you want my son you will go through me," Patti said, standing resolutely in front of him; "I've never met a gentler soul."
"Mrs Weir," Michal said, but Johnny could already tell the man was in for a tongue lashing at the least, "your son is infected by a vampire; the effects for the future are unknown."
It wasn't the greatest English, but Johnny didn't think that would make any difference to his mom.
"You're waving guns around," Patti said, placing her hands on her hips in a very familiar gesture, "you are the dangerous ones."
"Look at him," that was Anton, but it was in Russian so Johnny knew his mom wouldn't understand it.
"I am not a monster," he growled in Russian through gritted teeth, "I'm a human being."
The wound in his chest hurt and he could not let the vampire go, but he did not care how ridiculous his statement might sound; it was true.
"You are a vampire," Anton spat back.
"No I'm not," he replied, willing the hole the bullet had made to close.
"There is no guarantee you will not become one of them," Michal said in what Johnny thought was supposed to be a reasonable tone.
"There's no guarantee you won't become a monster either," he replied and slowly forced himself to his feet.
It only hurt a little and Patti was still resolutely standing in front of him.
"You have to come with us," Zhanna said as if it was the only logical conclusion.
"I am not coming with you," he snapped in English, because it annoyed him.
How these people did not understand he had no idea; he could not live like that.
"I will not be a prisoner," he said, calming himself down, "I will not live like that."
Anton looked as if he was going to start waving his gun around again.
"If you point that at my mother I will not be responsible for my actions," he said, switching back to Russian, and he meant it; his instincts were all over the place.
"And you say you are not dangerous," was Anton's not overly unexpected response.
"I never said that," he replied, since he was under no illusions that he was the same old Johnny, "but so are you and you have a gun."
He did not like Anton and he flicked his attention back to Michal.
"I will not go with you," he said simply, going back to English so his mom could understand, "so you have two choices, you can leave, or you can kill me now and deal with all the press and publicity that will bring. Trust me, it will not be quiet, at the moment I'm front page news."
It was the only card he had; the hunters had them out numbered and out gunned and about the only thing he had going for him was the fact he would be missed.
"You must understand," Zhanna said, appealing to him, "you could be a danger to those you love."
Patti took his hand and held on.
"Johnny is no danger to anyone," his mom said firmly.
"Yuri," Zhanna continued.
"Yuri doesn't have a clue," he interrupted before the woman could try and guilt him into anything. "I heard what he said about me. He has no more idea what I am than I do. I don't want to hurt anyone, I just want my life back."
His chest was barely aching anymore, so he slowly let the vampire fade from his body. Unfortunately he hadn't figured in the stress on his human side and the moment he let the powerful night creature retreat he wobbled precariously. Before he really knew what was going on, Stéphane was on one side of him and Patti was on the other holding him up.
"Crap," he said very pointedly, wanting to swear in a more meaningful manner, but curbing his tongue because his mother was there.
It only took a moment for his head to clear and his equilibrium to return, but the last thing he had wanted to do was show weakness. Perversely, when he looked back at Michal the man's expression had changed, but not for the worse. Finally the lead hunter seemed to be looking at him as a person rather than a problem.
"You will not reconsider?" Michal asked, finally putting his gun back in its holster.
"You and I both know this could be indefinite," Johnny replied simply; "would you agree to be locked up, maybe forever?"
"You cannot be thinking ..." Anton began almost instantly.
"Enough," was what Michal said loudly and firmly, "this discussion is over. Put your weapons away."
Kirill and Zhanna did as they were told almost instantly, but Anton took a while and only complied when Michal glared at him.
"Yuri said you wouldn't come," Zhanna said and her eyes held the hints of betrayal.
They had almost been friends, at least Johnny liked to think that, but he had shattered that by what he had done. He was sorry for that, but there had been no other way.
"Yuri is a very knowledgeable man," he replied, feeling guilty. "I'm sorry for what I did to you, but I had to run."
For once he was glad Patti wouldn't be understanding a word of what was going on. When Zhanna looked surprised at the apology he realised quite how much he had damaged their relationship. When the shock cleared from her expression, however, there was more understanding there.
"You could have hurt me," she replied after a moment, which he suspected was the closest he would get to an acceptance of his apology.
"I'm not made that way," he said, since he didn't want to leave it hanging.
"Yes you are," Anton said, having to stick his nose in.
"I said enough," Michal said before the conversation could descend any further, "we're leaving."
When Michal walked up to him, Johnny was not sure how to react and he really didn't expect the man to pass him a small piece of paper.
"Yuri asked me to give this to you," Michal told him as he took the folded note. "I hope for both out sakes we never have to meet again."
Johnny just nodded, he was totally onboard with that sentiment. He stood there watching as the hunters left, not really believing it was happening until the door clicked shut and then he opened the note.
I tried to persuade my colleagues that coming after you was folly and, since you are reading my note, I can only assume they have discovered the truth of this. I hope you are feeling better. From my calculations you will require a quarter of a pint of blood a week to make sure your metabolism remains stable and make sure you up your normal calorie intake; you need it now. Below is my email address, I would be most grateful if we could correspond from time to time. You are a unique individual and your condition may be of help in treating others in the future. Do not worry about it for a while, however, go home and take time to recover.
He laughed, a somewhat hysterical sound, at Yuri's calm, Russian practicality and then he found himself being gently sat on the couch. Patti was moving aside the hotel robe and looking for the wound in his chest that, of course, wasn't there anymore, but he didn't have the heart to stop her.
"It's healed, Mama," he said quietly as she wiped the blood away with some tissues from the table.
There was blood all over the robe and he could see some on the carpet, but he knew for a fact his body no longer even had a trace of the wound. It was the same with bullet tract that had been in his side; there was a small scar there, because it had started healing naturally, but under the dressing he had been pretending not to get wet, there was nothing else. He pulled off the fake bandage he had replaced after his shower since it was now irrelevant.
"I knew the moment you were conceived," Patti said, looking in his eyes, "that you were never destined for a normal life. I felt it with every fibre of my being. I made a deal with God that day: as long as he never took you away from me I would love you with all of my heart forever. You've always made that so easy, Johnny, and I don't think anything will ever change that."
The last lingering thread of fear in his heart snapped as he heard that and, as his mom embraced him hard enough to almost break his ribs, he all but sagged in relief. The worst was finally over.
Johnny was well aware his mom did not want him to leave her sight, but her room was only next door and she looked like she needed sleep. It took him half an hour after they had finished dinner to convince her that sleeping would be a good thing, but eventually he managed to gently make her go to bed, at which point he collapsed on the couch in his room and just stared at the ceiling for a while.
"You should sleep as well," Stéphane said after a little while and Johnny finally looked up and realised his friend was still standing there.
In his need to see to his mom he'd almost forgotten Stéphane hadn't gone back to his room.
"Yeah," he agreed, but he had a nagging suspicion he wouldn't be able to sleep.
He was tired, especially after the events of the evening, but his mind felt annoyingly awake. He climbed to his feet and padded over to Stéphane.
"Sorry about almost getting you killed," he said, giving his friend a hug.
He felt guilty about forgetting about Stéphane as well, after all they had all been involved in the evening's disaster.
"Life is more exciting around you," Stéphane told him with a small smile.
It was not one of Stéphane's devastating smiles that made people hold their breath and swoon at his feet, Johnny had felt the power of those before, but it was still delightful and Johnny felt himself overcome with the desire to kiss the lips that made it. Before his mind caught up with his impulses, he found himself doing just that. His brain kicked in a few seconds later and he drew back, startled.
"Sorry," he apologised immediately at Stéphane's rather shocked expression.
Contrary to popular opinion in some circles, they had never been anything but friends.
"Do not apologise, Mon Ami," Stéphane said immediately, ever the gentleman, "it was a nice kiss, but forgive me, I did not realise you felt this way about me."
"Um ... I ..," Johnny said, trying to explain himself and failing; he'd been sitting on that particular desire for some years now, "fuck," just about summed up his mental state.
Stéphane gave him a very innocent look.
"You appear confused, Mon Ami," Stéphane said with a small smile, "perhaps you expected me to be someone else?"
"No," Johnny said instantly and realised he had been goaded into admitting the truth by Swiss politeness.
He closed his eyes and took a breath, trying to work out what was going through his head.
"I've been a little bit in love with you for years," he finally decided that admitting the truth was the only way to go. "I thought I'd buried it."
"Ah," Stéphane said as if he understood completely, "but your new condition has brought such things to the surface, n'est ce pas?"
It was a very succinct explanation of what was going on, so Johnny just nodded. He definitely did not want to put Stéphane in an awkward situation. The last thing he wanted was to frighten his friend away with unwanted advances, although he had noticed in the past that Stéphane was very hard to spook, which he hoped would help.
"Then, Mon Ami," Stéphane told him with a smile, "I must confess that I too have admired you from afar. I find that almost losing you has sharpened those feelings somewhat and I have, for some days, been considering your virtue."
It took him a few moments to process the flowery language, but Johnny got there in a couple of seconds. In that instant he also realised why his brain was awake and the signals it sent south began to wake his body up as well.
"Does that mean you wouldn't object to fucking me through the mattress at some point in the near future?" he asked as he felt renewed need flow through him.
There was a little voice at the back of his mind telling him that he didn't do casual relationships and asking him if he knew what the hell he was doing, but he wasn't taking a whole lot of notice of it. He did realise that this probably had something to do with his vampire nature, after all he had had it explained on several occasions that vampires were very sexual creatures, but that didn't stop it being real.
"If that is what you wish, Mon Ami," Stéphane said, smiling a little wider, "I believe it can be arranged."
Johnny decided in that instant that he had a firm yes and now was 'in the near future' and let go of his inhibitions, grabbing Stéphane and stealing another kiss. This time Stéphane kissed back.
They more stumbled into the bedroom than actually walked, while Stéphane divested Johnny of the clean robe he had put on after trying to get rid of the blood covered one and Johnny did his very best to pry Stéphane out of his jeans and sweater. It was neither graceful nor seamless in its execution, but they somehow made it onto the bed naked, eventually, and Stéphane climbed on top of Johnny without so much as asking permission.
Johnny was breathing hard, cock already very much interested in proceedings and demanding attention where Stéphane was very deliberately rubbing their bodies together.
"You are beautiful, Johnny," Stéphane said, making his groan with a particularly long, slow grind of his hips, "I think perhaps I should show you how much that turns me on."
It was amazing how Stéphane could get away with saying things that out of another mouth would have sounded ridiculously corny.
"Yes please," was about the only reply in Johnny's head.
When Stéphane began running his tongue along the cross on his chest, Johnny almost came undone there and then. The cross underlined his near failure, it marked his shame and his fear, and yet Stéphane seemed to be drawn to it. The Swiss mapped it out with his tongue and his lips and Johnny whimpered under the attention. Somehow his skin felt twice as sensitive, twice as receptive to any touch where the ink was bound into his flesh and he clutched at the bed sheets, his muscles twitching and making him writhe. Stéphane was taking him apart and he hadn't even so much at touched a nipple and Johnny was all too aware that there was no longer any pressure on his cock.
"Stéphane, please," he eventually begged; he needed something more, anything, absolutely anything.
He wasn't used to being reduced to begging this quickly, although lately he hadn't been used to anything but his hand and the odd dildo, so all was fair really. He was pretty sure he was going to go mad if Stéphane didn't do something else soon though.
"Do you have..?" Stéphane began to ask, seemingly happy to oblige.
"Small case," he interrupted, pointing wildly at where his luggage had been stacked.
All his things that he'd had waiting for pickup in his last hotel's luggage room had been transferred to this hotel, for which he was suddenly infinitely grateful. He wanted Stéphane so badly at that moment that he would have been happy with no protection and hand lotion from the bedside table, but it was always better to be safe when possible. The moment Stéphane climbed off the bed he wanted him back, so he wound his fingers in the sheets and tried to think of anything but going after him and leaping on him like it was the most fantastic idea in the world. It gave him a hint that he might be a little more desperate than he had thought.
"You came prepared," was Stéphane's comment after opening the case.
"Yes, fuck, get back here," Johnny replied, not caring that Stéphane had probably just found his favourite toy which he had packed because skating with Stéphane and Evgeni always made him horny.
Given that Stéphane did indeed come back to the bed without even teasing him, he guessed his desperation was showing all too clearly. He honestly wasn't sure if it was anything to do with his new vampire side, if he needed some sort of physical confirmation that he wasn't a monster to be afraid of, or if he just really, really needed sex, and right about then he didn't care.
"Through the mattress?" Stéphane checked with a small smile.
"God yes," Johnny replied and spread his legs in a very wanton manner.
The lube was cold and Stéphane's fingers were very insistent, but it was just what he had asked for, so he all but purred in delight as Stéphane touched him. He hadn't had a human partner in quite some time, but he liked toys enough that his body was well used to being opened and Stéphane barely had to try to get two fingers into him. His ass just gave in to his desire and all but sucked Stéphane's fingers inside; he was so ready for this. Stéphane seemed to think so as well, because, after only a short while and another finger, Stéphane was climbing between his legs and pushing them up and back.
He could not take his eyes off his lover as Stéphane ripped open and unrolled a condom onto his ample cock, before smearing it generously with lube and moving forward. Johnny literally hummed with pleasure as Stéphane slowly lined up and pushed into him. He threw his arms over his head and grabbed the pillow as he forced his body to relax and allow the penetration. His ass was tight and a little resisting, possibly he had been a little too eager, but he didn't care, relishing the feeling as Stéphane filled him.
"Johnny?" Stéphane asked, voice taught with arousal.
All he could do was mumble something that he hoped was encouragement in return. He felt so human and just a little vulnerable as his body complained at the too fast assault, and it was wonderful.
"More," was what he said when he finally managed to make a coherent sound.
For a few seconds he began to think there was no end to Stéphane as his lover continued to push into him. He was pretty sure Stéphane wasn't that big, but it sure felt like it; it had really been far too long. Since he had asked for more, Stéphane seemed determined to give it and he barely had any time to adjust as Stéphane began to move. It was slow at first, careful and gentle, but he had made his needs rather clear and the pace began to build quite quickly. As far as Johnny was concerned it was magnificent.
It took only a few thrusts for his body to become properly used to the whole idea and then it was pleasure all the way. They were both flexible and strong and after some particularly long and demanding strokes into him, Stéphane dragged his hips up, angling him on the bed and drove into him even deeper. His nerves turned to fire as Stéphane bullseyed his prostate with about as much force as possible without it being painful and he was pretty sure he said something, but he had no idea what it was. His brain and his body were on different planes of existence for a few moments and he just wanted it to go on and on.
The major advantage of being Olympic athletes as far as Johnny was concerned was stamina. Stéphane pounded into him with no signs of being tired or needing to stop and it was exactly what he wanted. It took all the focus off his thoughts, off what had been happening and allowed him to just exist in the moment where the physical wiped away his higher brain.
Johnny could feel his orgasm building; it was like a tidal wave growing on the horizon and he knew without a doubt it was going to wash him away. He had never felt so raw, so open, so needy as he did then; his whole body screamed in want.
"Stéphane," he said, trying to say something, but he really didn't know what.
His hands were gripping the top of the mattress and he could feel himself slipping closer and closer to losing control. As he arched his back, taking Stéphane in as far as physically possible, his senses sharpened and the night came alive. He couldn't help it, his vampire side slipped its bonds and want overpowered everything. He had grabbed Stéphane, pulling him down and wrapping his legs around his flexible lover and his fangs were slicing into Stéphane's throat before he could stop himself.
Pleasure overwhelmed him as the blood hit his tongue and his orgasm hit his body at the same time. For a fleeting second Stéphane's mind was open to him and he felt the spike of ecstasy ram through his lover's body as well, carrying them both away on a tide of physical bliss. He didn't even know when he stopped biting or what he did after he had, not for what seemed like a long time as his mind and body floated in a sexually replete haze. In fact, he didn't really register anything at all for ages, except the warmth of Stéphane on top of him in their intimate embrace.
It was only when Stéphane moved, pushing away from him on wobbly arms, that his brain kicked back in and what he had just done came crashing down on him. Suddenly he was terrified; he was just what Anton said he was, a monster, a monster who could have just killed his lover. The vampire was back in the box, but he could still taste blood in his mouth and the fact that Stéphane was moving and seemed to be okay was a wonderful accident.
"Mon Amour," Stéphane said, sounding more than a little dazed, "I do not believe I was ready for that."
Johnny didn't know what to do; Stéphane's tone was not accusatory, but that didn't stop the panic in his head.
"Are you okay?" he eventually decided was about the only thing that made sense.
"Mais oui," Stéphane said, apparently completely oblivious to Johnny's panic, "I am flying high. I had not imagined that being bitten could feel so incredible."
Johnny remembered being bitten, he remembered how his body had responded as his mind quailed in terror and he did his very best not to totally freak out. Even as he looked at Stéphane's neck, the two neat little holes were already scabbed over, but they glared back at him, revealing his shame. Stéphane smiled at him in a bleary, high kind of way, leant down and kissed him gently and then climbed off, flopping onto the bed with little of the grace he had shown during the rest of the evening.
"I'm sorry," Johnny blurted out and Stéphane finally looked at him properly.
"Oh," Stéphane said as if catching up with what might be going through his head. "Do not look so worried, Mon Amour, it was not bad."
"I bit you," was all he could find to say, which was very obvious and very stupid, but it was all that was in his head.
He sat up and wrapped his arms around his knees.
"But it was good," Stéphane said, sitting up beside him.
"I could have killed you," he said, disgusted at his own lack of control.
Stéphane placed a very gentle hand on his back.
"Non," his lover said very firmly, so firmly in fact that Johnny found himself turning and looking; "it was a love bite, Mon Amour," Stéphane told him as soon as his lover had his attention, "I have given them myself on occasion."
There were so many things wrong with that statement that Johnny did not know where to begin.
"I drank your blood," he said, stressing every word, "how many love bites have you ever given to do that?"
"I am not a vampire," Stéphane pointed out and Johnny was pretty sure that was what he had been trying to make very clear.
It was infuriating; Stéphane seemed to be wilfully missing the point.
"I ... you ..." Johnny did not know what to say first.
Stéphane knelt up and took his face in two hands, looking directly into his eyes.
"I was expecting it," Stéphane said very clearly and made him completely freeze.
His thoughts all fell over each other as that fact settled in his brain.
"But you said you weren't ready," he said, feeling a little bit slow and stupid.
"You misunderstand, Mon Amour," Stéphane told him with a smile; "it was far more intense than I could have imagined, that is what I was not ready for. You have already explained to me that vampires are creatures drawn by sex and blood and that your bite is not infectious. It was logical to assume that you might bite me when we made love. I would not have agreed if I had not been ready to allow it. It was spectacular, Mon Amour, so you should not worry."
Johnny wished he could.
"I had no control," he confessed, well aware that he had just let go and allowed his vampire to take over.
Stéphane kissed him gently.
"It was your first time," his lover told him gently, "I believe you will need practice. I think we should definitely make sure you get it, ne c'est pas?"
It took Johnny's panicked brain a couple of seconds to catch up with that and then he laughed. Stéphane was making a joke; the son of a bitch was actually joking about it and it took everything for him to stop the laugh becoming a sob. His whole life seemed to be a rollercoaster, from high to low and back again and he didn't know if he could deal with it.
"I think perhaps," Stéphane said, gathering him into his arms and pulling him down towards the bed, "that you need to sleep."
Johnny didn't have the heart to tell his lover he was wide awake, he just lay there, let Stéphane cover them both with the sheets and then shut his eyes. He lost himself in the beating of Stéphane's heart, its rhythm strong and true, and it was hours before he actually fell asleep.
"I am coming with you," Stéphane said simply and made Johnny's brain do a back flip to catch up.
"I'm going to my parent's place," he pointed out, not sure if Stéphane realised what that meant.
"Oui," Stéphane told him with a smile, "and I look forward to seeing the rest of your family again; it has been too long."
Clearly Stéphane did know what he was getting into.
"Mon Amour," Stéphane said and gave him a little kiss, "I would not abandon you at a time such as this. Zhenya has already replaced me on the tour; I will be by your side."
Johnny felt a bit teary eyed. It had taken another five days before all the red tape had been cleared up and the powers that be had finally decided that Johnny was allowed to go home. He had stuck to his amnesia story and Evgeni had pulled the right strings, but it had still taken time to get the bureaucracy out of the way. He was truly grateful for a friend like Evgeni, who had, frankly, made sure he didn't have to worry about anything except eating, sleeping and answering a few questions. Even with Kings on Ice going on, Evgeni had somehow managed to be in whatever place he was needed; Johnny was more than simply impressed.
With the press hanging around the whole time and Johnny not really wanting to have anything to do with Moscow for a while at least, he, Stéphane and Patti had remained in the hotel. The fact that he and Stéphane had slept together that first night in the hotel had been more than obvious to Patti the next day, Johnny had seen her notice, but she had not commented immediately, especially when it had become clear that he and Stéphane were apparently trying to stay as close as physically possible without actually being indecent throughout the whole of that day. They had both always lacked personal space needs when around each other since they were boys, but it had been a bit more than that. Patti had then made sure he wasn't setting himself up for a fall by having a quiet word that evening and then left them to get on with it.
Johnny wasn't sure what he had expected and had just accepted the comfort for what it was. Stéphane had taken great pleasure in teaching him that he could indeed have sex without defaulting to biting his partner and they were definitely closer than ever, but there had been nothing concrete. He had noticed Stéphane's pet name for him change from 'Mon Ami' to 'Mon Amour', but he hadn't expected Stéphane to drop everything to accompany him back to the States.
"I don't think I deserve you," he said, feeling somewhat over emotional.
He threw his arms around Stéphane, because it seemed like the right thing to do and he clung on for a bit. Stéphane being Stéphane of course hugged back and they stayed that way for quite a while until there was a knock on the door.
"Johnny," he heard Patti call, "are you ready; the car's here?"
He didn't really want to let go and he didn't want to brave the press and go out in public where he would have to put on a mask and not cling to Stéphane like a lifeline, but he could be practical when he had to be.
"Let's go," he said, pulling back, but linking his fingers into Stéphane's.
He'd have to give up that eventually as well, but he wasn't letting go until he actually had to. They had to get to the airport for security checks and everything, so there was no time to delay. He just hoped they were all together on the plane or he was probably going to end up causing a scene.
There was one thing that had been bothering Johnny all the way home. He didn't know a whole lot about vampire interactions, but he had seen enough movies to make him nervous and there was one thing really causing him anxiety. His dad and Boz were there to greet him, as was his aunt, but that wasn't the problem, they were people, he could deal with people, the one he wasn't so sure about trotted down the hallway as soon as they entered the house.
Vanya with his big dark eyes and serious little face wagged his tail and barked as he came down the hall and then just stopped. He was a few feet away and he just stared and Johnny didn't know what to do. It was obvious the little dog knew he was not the same and for a moment they simply looked at each other. Vanya turned his head on first one side and then the other before he yipped and then wagged his tail again and bounced the rest of the distance between them.
Johnny was so happy as when he bent down his tiny dog jumped into his arms that it completely cracked his composure. As he stood back up he could already feel tears in his eyes and he felt the sudden need to get away. He was breaking down and he didn't want everyone to see it.
"Sorry," he just about choked out and ran for his room, cuddling Vanya to his chest.
He climbed onto his bed, curled up and began to cry. The fact that Vanya still recognised him, still loved him meant so much to him that it just broke him. The little dog knew he was different, knew something had changed and yet still recognised him and it made all the difference. Humans didn't see behind masks, humans could be fooled easily, but animals saw in an entirely different way and for the first time Johnny actually felt real. If Vanya thought he wasn't a monster he had real hope.
Patti came and found him about half an hour later. Vanya greeted her by jumping up and down and barking happily as she sat down on the bed and Johnny did his best to smile.
"How are you feeling, Sweetheart?" Patti asked and gently tucked a stray strand of hair behind his ear for him.
"Shaky," he replied quietly, "frightened, but better."
His mom smiled at him in her usual calm way and then leant forward and kissed him on the forehead.
"Vayna doesn't think I'm a monster," he said hesitantly, almost afraid to voice what was going through his head. "I thought ... I thought ..."
"You thought that what those people tried to tell you might be true," Patti finished for him, taking his hand and stroking his fingers in a very soothing manner.
"People are so easy to fool, Mama," he said, feeling so very vulnerable.
"Not those you love aren't," his mom told him, petting Vanya as the little dog snuffled against her arm. "I know you, Johnny, and you have a gentle soul. That is what brought you through this, what will keep you safe."
They hadn't really had a heart to heart about the whole vampire thing, Johnny hadn't known what to say and Patti had given him the space to think it through, but right then his mother's faith in him was like a fierce hug. It made him feel better and stronger and just a little braver.
"I hope so, Mama," he said and managed a small smile.
That seemed to satisfy her for the time being.
"Now dinner will be ready in another half an hour," she said, kissing him on the forehead again. "Everyone is downstairs wanting to see you, but they're not going to bombard you with awful questions. Stéphane is doing great at holding his own, but I think it would be good if you came down to eat and helped him a bit. Do you think you can do that?"
It was as close as his mom was likely to get to telling him that he had to do something while she thought he needed space, so he smiled and nodded.
"I must be a mess," he said, knowing that his eyes were probably all puffy from the crying, "I'll clean up then I'll be down."
That earned him a much bigger smile.
"You're doing well, Johnny," Patti told him in a very kind and motherly tone, "no one expects you to be your normal old self. Just remember we all love you."
"Thanks, Mama," he said and he felt like he might cry again and had to blink it away.
"I think I'll go help Diane finish dinner before I set us both off," his mom said with a sniff and then climbed to her feet.
Johnny eventually walked down the stairs fifteen minutes later, trying to put a brave face on things. He felt nervous and there was a sick feeling in his stomach, which was ridiculous, because this was his family, but he couldn't help it. He let Vanya go at the bottom of the stairs and the little dog ran straight to his dad, jumping into his father's lap like a little missile.
"Huh, I've been abandoned," he said in a very dramatic tone, because it avoided having to wait for someone else to say something.
"You can cuddle me instead," Stéphane said with a very cute little eye flutter.
For that Johnny actually managed a real, full on smile.
He'd had a few interesting moments with his family over the years; he'd never really been normal in the scheme of things so he'd never been boring, but this felt a little more monumental. There was no plan in his head how to tell them the truth yet; it wasn't as if he was just letting them know that all their suspicions were true and he was gay. That conversation, which he remembered very well indeed, seemed like a cakewalk compared to trying to explain his current situation. It wasn't as if he was only revealing something about himself, this was something about how the world worked that was hidden for a very good reason.
Still at a loss to know how to deal with it all, he walked across the room and decided to take Stéphane up on his offer quite directly. He plopped himself down in Stéphane's lap and made himself comfortable, causing Boz to roll his eyes and Stéphane and his dad to laugh. It was just what he was after.
When dinner was served, the first course was uneventful, with everyone making small talk and Stéphane explaining why Swiss Chocolate was so wonderful. Johnny tried to be as close to his usual self as he could, but he was worrying a little too much to be the life and soul of anything, so he let Stéphane chatter on cheerfully. Of course he never knew when to leave well enough alone.
"I'm a vampire."
Johnny wasn't sure he'd meant to say it, but it just popped out. He'd been thinking it and trying to work out how to break it to everyone at the table, but clearly his mouth was ahead of his brain. They were in the middle of desert and he brought the whole table to a halt.
"Well that wasn't quite how I expected you to say it, Sweetheart," Patti said and broke the awkward silence, "but well done for getting it out in the open. Would you pass the cream please?"
He passed the cream like a good boy and waited for the other shoe to drop as everyone accept Stéphane looked at him and Patti liked they'd gone mad.
"Did you say vampire?" Boz finally asked, spoon hovering above his plate and threatening to drop apple pie right back in the bowl.
"And is vampire a new look you're trying out?" Boz asked, and his brother looked thoroughly confused.
This time Johnny shook his head.
"Pointy teeth, aversion to bright lights, blood," he said as nonchalantly as he could manage given the circumstances, which wasn't really much of the kind at all.
It wasn't exactly a well thought out explanation.
"This is a joke, right?" was the next tentative question, so he shook his head again in answer to that.
"I was bitten by a vampire who was then killed by vampire hunters and they stopped me becoming a monster with this," he said in one big rush and moved his shirt a little so the top of the cross was visible for a moment (it was almost become a habitual gesture).
Someone had leaked a picture of the cross to the press, so it wasn't like the whole world hadn't seen it.
"So you remember then?" his dad asked in his usual gentle tones.
"Everything," he replied with a nod, "the amnesia story was just the easiest way to stop people asking stupid questions."
Stéphane gave him a sympathetic smile and reached out to take his hand under the table.
"Vampires bad like Dracula or not so bad like Twilight?" Boz asked and the references made Johnny wince, but he could see why his brother might have used them.
"All bad, all very bad," he said firmly, because he wanted there to be no doubt. "Vampires are evil and they want humans to eat, have sex with or turn into more vampires, or possibly all of the above. I was very, very lucky."
Stéphane squeezed his fingers.
When his Aunt Dianne stood up, he thought maybe he had finally gone that one step too far for his family to accept, what he didn't expect was Dianne to walk round the table and then quite deliberately hug him.
"It must have been terrifying," she said, holding him tight and all he could do was hug back and do his very best not to burst into tears again.
He'd done a hell of a lot of crying recently and he'd just about had enough of his emotions betraying him.
"Yeah," he said, hoping his voice didn't sound too thick when he was finally released.
"Vampire hunters?" Boz asked, which was just the distraction he needed. "There are really vampire hunters."
Johnny nodded, trying to focus on memories of Zhanna and Yuri and the others, rather than anything else.
"They keep the population down," he explained, trying to make it sound as if he was talking about the weather or something equally as innocuous. "The hunters I met were mostly decent people."
His mother made a disagreeing noise at that.
"They were just trying to make sure everyone was safe," he pointed out, even though half the table would not understand what he was talking about.
"They tried to drag you off at gun point," Patti replied, clearly not a fan, "and they shot you, twice."
Johnny couldn't argue with that.
"Anton shot me twice," he said in half agreement, "and Anton's an asshole. If it wasn't for them I wouldn't be here, I'd either be dead or trying to eat people in Moscow."
He did not like that the hunters had tried to take him back, but he did understand why they had done it. They were fighting a war, one they couldn't win, and from their point of view their actions had been right.
"Twice?" his dad sounded shocked.
The fact he had been shot and slightly injured had been in all the news, but of course no one had found out about the second incident.
"The first time I got shot I was escaping," Johnny explained, hoping that he wasn't making things worse, "the second time was when the hunters tried to take me back from the hotel. They finally saw it my way, but not before there was an accident. When I let the fangs out I heal, so I don't even have a scar for the second time."
He saw Boz's eyes light up with curiosity when he said 'let the fangs out'.
"Yes, Boz, real fangs," he said and didn't make anyone ask, he allowed his vampire form to come forward.
It still frightened him a little, but Stéphane had been a big help in moving him towards accepting this other side of himself. The fact that Stéphane had declared Johnny's vampire face to be inordinately sexy several times and made sure the point was hammered home with physical proof, had helped enormously.
"That is so cool," Boz said with genuine awe in his voice.
Johnny actually felt himself blushing. So far everything was going far better than expected.
End of Ch 2
On to Chapter 3