Spoilers: End of season 3?
Warnings: Likely egregious mis-use of ice skating and hockey terms.
Word Count: ~2,800 (this chapter)
Summary: Solitary and notoriously difficult ice skater Kurt Hummel famously failed in his attempt to win the first gold medal for the new sport of Similar Pairs Skating. Popular and charismatic Blaine Anderson needs a fresh start after an injury prematurely ended his promising hockey career. Sparks fly when these two seemingly polar opposites meet, just not the kind of sparks that Kurt’s coach was hoping for. Are they really as different as it seems? And can they put aside their personal conflicts and help make each other’s dreams come true? AU based on the movie The Cutting Edge.
A/N: So...this isn't the next story I planned on writing, but then there was ICE SKATING! And The Cutting Edge is one of my favorite movies, so... Today has been a heavy news day and I wasn't sure it this was the right time to start posting something new, but I promised earlier this week that I would post today, so here it is. I hope you enjoy!
I'm at unchainmylove.tumblr.com if you want to come visit!
Disclaimer: Sadly, I do not own Glee, The Cutting Edge, or anything else you might recognize.
XXII Olympic Winter Games - Sochi, Russia - February, 2014
"Horrendous. My bowels are clenching that was so mind bogglingly atrocious. You're going to be the laughingstock of the U.S. Olympic team with moves like that. In fact, your skating is so bad the International Olympic committee just called and rescinded their decision to include Similar Pairs skating in the Games. We might as well all go home."
Kurt Hummel glided across the ice to the boards in front of his coach, dragging one foot behind him to make a "T" shape with his skates, until he came to a stop. He leaned over and put his hands on his knees as he fought to catch his breath. He could hear that Sue was still yelling about the ineptitude of his skating, but he was so used to her abuse that he was able to tune her out.
The sound of ice scraping caused him to look up and he watched as his skating partner, Chandler Kiehl, came to a stop and cowered beneath Sue's laser-like gaze. He and Chandler had been skating together for a year and he still wasn't able to look Sue straight in the eye.
"Are you listening to me Porcelain or has all the hairspray you use finally gummed up your eardrums?" Sue bellowed as she settled her hands on her hips. "Or maybe you think you're so good that you don't need my help anymore? Is that it? Are you God's gift to boundary-pushing ice sports now?"
Kurt's eyes moved past Sue to the stands, where several other skaters and coaches had gathered to watch their little drama unfold. One would think they'd have had their fill of Hummel/Sylvester fights by now, since clips of her berating him had been some of the first videos uploaded to youtube.
A familiar anger bubbled up in his chest as he felt those eyes on him. They all wanted to see him taken down a peg. They were all waiting to see him fail. "Well one of us is the face of the Similar Pairs movement and it certainly isn't you. But then you never ranked high enough as a skater to be the face of anything, did you?" he smiled coldly, a thrill of satisfaction running through him when the narrowing of her eyes indicated a direct hit. Sue hated being reminded that she'd never finished on top of the podium at a national or international level.
"You listen to me my little ice princess. I don't care at all about your pathological need to impress daddy or your desire to win a gold medal so that you're asked to prance around as grand marshal of the gayest of all gay pride parades. All I care about is that you don't embarrass me out there by travelling during your sit spins or by missing the entrance on the second throw jump. I know that there are those who claim you're the prodigy who's come to lead us into a new era of figure skating, but all I see is a bad attitude, lazy habits, and hair so flammable that you should wear a sign saying 'no smoking within 100 feet'. You're a pain in the ass and the reason I get up every morning and attempt to learn the art of the voodoo doll, so do us both a favor and get your ass back out on the ice and take it from the top. Long Program. Do it. Now." Sue's voice got louder and louder with each sentence until, at the end, her voice boomed out across the ice as if aided by a bullhorn.
Kurt could feel the whispers of the spectators and just knew that somewhere up there someone had their phone out and was recording their lovely encounter for the internet. Great. Just what he needed. Another video showing ice diva Kurt Hummel sparring with his coach. He glanced over at Chandler, who was studiously avoiding his gaze and knew he would find no support there. He was alone, as usual. Suddenly he'd had enough. He pushed away from the boards and skated backwards towards the center of the ice. "I haven't travelled during a sit spin in ten years and that throw jump was perfect except for the fact that Chandler can barely skate with you watching him, let alone land a jump, so it looks to me that the problem here is with you and not me," he called out, disdain dripping from every syllable. "If you want to see the long program again I suggest buying the recording of us at the National Championships, where you can see us place first despite the fact that you didn't bother to show up at the event. Was it vodka that time or did you go back to one of the golden oldies like gin and tonic?"
Kurt turned with a flourish and skated to the break in the boards where he stepped out onto the cushioned mats that surrounded the skating surface. As he placed guards over his skate blades and walked alone off towards the locker rooms he heard snickering drift through the building, but he couldn't bring himself to care.
"Another round for the bar. I'm paying!"
A cheer went up from the people gathered in the smoky Russian sports bar not far from the Olympic village. Blaine Anderson, who had just made the generous order, leaned his elbows back on the sticky, varnished wood of the bar and wrapped his ankles around the posts of his stool. His coach would kill him if he found out that he was drinking the day before the big game, which would determine if the U.S. hockey team would go on to the gold medal game or not, but he figured one or two beers wouldn't hurt. He glanced up at the big screen TV that was showing the Canada vs. Sweden game and clapped loudly when the Canadian goalie made a spectacular save. His team would face off against Canada for the gold medal if they both won their games, but for now he could root for them and his two Vancouver Canucks teammates who were out on the ice with maple leaves on their chests.
The round of beers was delivered and the small group of people gathered around him held their bottles up for a toast. The man sitting beside Blaine (who he vaguely remembered as being a luger from Italy) clinked their bottles together and smiled seductively.
"Are you worried about your big game?" he asked as he ran his eyes slowly up and down Blaine's body.
Blaine felt a flicker of interest at the bold perusal and let it show in his eyes. "Not a bit. I'm the best or haven't you heard?"
"Yes, I've heard this." The luger raised an eyebrow as if to say he'd heard that Blaine was the best at many things.
The luger was cute and Blaine was definitely interested, but before he could respond with a flirty comment of his own, an American flag floated down from above him to cover his face. He pushed the flag aside and looked around to find a few of his teammates, who had just come in from outside if the snowflakes still lingering on their shoulders were any indication. He sent a look of regret to the luger, who shrugged and mouthed "Next time" before sliding off the barstool and walking away. Blaine ordered a round for the new arrivals and they settled in at a nearby table to watch the game.
To say that Blaine was the most popular member on the U.S. hockey team— both amongst the public and his teammates — would not be an over-exaggeration. He had always exuded a charm that drew people in, while at the same time always seeming to be the steady center of whatever chaos surrounded him. He had initially been a little apprehensive about being an openly gay athlete on a professional sports team, but except for a few minor incidents, things had gone surprisingly well. His teammates had been a little standoffish at first, but then they'd discovered that he was the best wingman a guy could hope for. He was good looking, friendly, polite, a snazzy dresser, and a total gentleman, which meant that he attracted the women in droves. And once the women figured out that he wasn't interested, his friends were there standing at the ready to step in and ease their disappointment.
Of course, women weren't the only ones that Blaine attracted, which made him happy. He was well known on the team for having an almost never-ending stream of guys at his beck and call. They never stayed around for long (by Blaine's choice), but while they did there was a lot of fun to be had.
The second period of the game ended with Canada up by two goals and the ice resurfacing machine trundled out to do its work, so Blaine took the opportunity to make a trip to the restroom. As he was heading back to the table he saw a figure leaning against the wall, waiting for him. For a second he thought it was the luger, back to follow up on the earlier promise, but as he drew closer he saw that it was Patrick, the cute Australian ski jumper he'd had a moment with during the Opening Ceremony.
Patrick straightened up as Blaine approached and wasted no time in pushing him back against the wall and leaning down to devour his mouth. Blaine was feeling slightly hazy from his beer, so he pushed into the kiss a little more enthusiastically than he might have normally. Their lips moved together hungrily in the kind of hard and filthy kissing that comes from knowing that you have limited time in which to make your point. Before things could progress too much further, though, Blaine heard a cheer rise up that indicated the game was back on. He broke away and smiled as Patrick panted out an invitation for Blaine to come back to his room later for some private fun.
Blaine smiled confidently and slipped the pro-offered slip of paper containing Patrick's room information into his pocket. As he made his way back to his table he stopped by the bar and ordered another round. He'd owned the Olympics so far and it looked like things were only going to get better.
Welcome to NBC's coverage of the final night of the inaugural Similar Pairs Skating competition. The ladies competed last night, with the team of Smirnova and Turov from host country Russia taking the gold. Tonight it's the men's turn to make history.
As everyone knows by now, the International Olympic committee voted two years ago to add Similar Pairs to the Sochi Games, which left the international skating federations scrambling to put together official teams in time. Probably the most famous Similar Pairs skater is Kurt Hummel, from the United States. His father, U.S. Congressman Burt Hummel, was instrumental in garnering support for adding all-male and all-female pairs to the sport of ice skating and led the effort to get the Olympic committee to vote on its inclusion.
Kurt was already well known as the Pairs Skating — now called Mixed Pairs — National Champion in 2012 with his partner, Santana Lopez, but rose to greater fame when he dissolved his partnership with Lopez to help build the U.S. Similar Pairs team. Considered a wunderkind in the skating world from a very early age, he is known for his flamboyant style and flammable personality, which is often on display when he butts heads with Sue Sylvester, his coach of more than 12 years. We've already seen a few examples of their tempestuous relationship during these Games and the increasing tension between them has some people speculating that this might be their last competition together…
Kurt finished his flying spin and moved into the footwork sequence that had Chandler mirroring his movements on the other side of the ice. When they met in the middle they would do side-by-side triple axels before the music changed and they headed into the slower-paced middle section of their program. He forced the muscles in his face to relax, letting no sign of the effort and concentration he was exuding show. He'd heard from some fellow skaters that they sometimes slipped into a trance-like state on the ice during competitions, where their minds let go and muscle-memory took over. He'd been trying his whole career to find that state of nirvana they described, but like the phantom "runner's high" that he had still never experienced, he doubted it actually existed; tonight it had never seemed so far away.
For some reason, that night he wasn't feeling quite right in his skin. His costume seemed too tight, his skates too loose, the sounds of his blades against the ice too loud. He could feel the stares of everyone in the arena and it felt like they were lasers burning a hole clean through him.
He locked eyes with Chandler and gave the soft vocal prompt that would allow them to synchronize their jumps. He skated forward and leaped.
The gasp from the audience was actually his first indicator that something had gone wrong. His mind hadn't yet wrapped itself around that fact that he had popped the jump and not completed the required three-and-a-half rotations. In fact, he'd be surprised if he'd completed even one rotation. He'd missed the jump. The jump he'd had down cold since he was seventeen. There was no way they would make the podium without getting credit for a synchronized triple, so that meant that they would have to find another place in the program to try again or basically give up and go home. A mid-program change like that would require improvisation and mental flexibility, neither of which were exactly his strong points.
He tried to regroup, but he could barely hear the music over the sound of years of Sue's scathing criticisms echoing in his ears. Luckily, the slower part of the program gave him a chance to formulate a plan and whisper it to Chandler, who acknowledged the change with a tiny nod of his head. The music switch up again and they sped around the rink gathering up momentum. Their biggest throw jump would come next, followed almost immediately by the second attempt at the triples.
Kurt skated in close and put his hands on Chandler's waist, getting into place for the throw. He felt the muscles in his limbs bunch and release as he put all of his strength into lifting his partner and throwing him up and out into the jump. He had barely even let go when he knew something had gone wrong. Then, instead of the crisp sound of Chandler's blades hitting the ice, there was a thud and a broken off yelp. And instead of bouncing back up onto his feet after the fall, Chandler sat on the ice gripping his knee, a grimace of pain on his face.
Kurt felt the world cave in around him as he skated to Chandler's side. He searched the crowd at the side of the ice until he found Sue, but she wouldn't meet his eye and turned away in disgust.
It was over. He had failed.
Welcome back to U.S.A. team hockey. No one expected the U.S. team to advance this easily and if they win tonight, they'll be going on to play for the gold medal. Most of their hopes are pinned on right wing Blaine Anderson, who is in the middle of his second season as a Vancouver Canuck. Anderson is on track to become the most valuable player of these Games with 15 goals — including a hat trick in the game against the Czech Republic — and 12 assists so far. The home team Russians aren't about to lie down without a fight however, so the game is expected to be a physical one…
…One minute remaining in the third period and team Russia is ahead by one. Blaine Anderson, who has already scored in the first period and has an assist in the second, is just seconds away from finishing out his penalty for interference. And the penalty time is over and the U.S. team is back up to full strength. Anderson quickly rejoins the line-up. Carrington has the puck and passes to Anderson. Gorsky tries to take it from him, but… Goal! The U.S. has tied up the score with just five seconds remaining with a goal by Blaine Anderson. The…wait a minute, it looks like Anderson may be hurt. He took a pretty vicious hit from Sergei Alekseev and went head first into the boards. He doesn't seem to be moving. Coaches and medics are rushing out onto the ice now and the referee has called a penalty on Alekseev for checking from behind.
We'll keep you apprised of Anderson's condition as the night goes on, but the mood here in the arena is very somber. Team U.S.A has tied the game up, but at what cost?