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Do You Believe in Miracles?

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America skated lazily around the now-empty arena, the faint shushing of his blades on the ice drowned out by the ringing in his ears. Whether it was the echoes of the crowd from that afternoon, or from the current celebration in the Olympic Village, he couldn't be totally sure. He just knew that they had won. And he was so goddamned proud. His team -- just a bunch of kids, really -- had defied everyone's expectations and beaten the supposedly-invincible Soviets. Call him a sap, but he sure did love an underdog. And in the grandest of traditions, they had done it in the most American way possible: through hard work and solidarity. Through many acting as one.

He was so lost in his thoughts that he didn't hear the squeak of the pneumatic hinge on the arena's door, or even the slam from the door falling shut again. It was the soft clink of another pair of skates on the ice that finally cued America in to the fact that he wasn't alone anymore.

Across the rink, Russia stepped out onto the ice and began his own circuit at an easy, leisurely pace. The way America figured it, he had two choices: he could either slow to match Russia's speed and maintain the distance between them, or keep his own and eventually catch up. He grinned to himself, and pushed against the ice a little harder.

In less than two laps, America had caught up with Russia and fell in beside him, giving him a generous arm's length of space. For some time, he and Russia simply skated around the arena, eyeing each other warily.

"Good game today." As was usual between them, America was the first to break the silence.

Russia nodded coolly. "It was…very exciting. I am sure you are well pleased."

"Oh, it's not over yet. We still have the game against Finland." America tried to hold back a smile, and failed miserably.

"But this is merely, hmm, a formality?"

"Nah, they're a good team. It'll be…exciting, like you said." America glanced over at Russia, a smirk still playing around the corners of his eyes. "Don't look so down. You could still get the silver, depending on how your game with Sweden goes."

"I believe the gold medal is not yet out of my reach." Russia's usually bland half-smile took on a slightly sharper, calculating edge. "This tournament, it is a…how is it called…round robin, yes? The way the points are added, you are guaranteed nothing. When you lose to Finland -- "

America laughed, sharp and surprised. "You know, that's what I've always liked best about you. You're so positive."

Russia merely grinned back. "I have history on my side. I can afford to be positive."

For some time, quiet held in the rink, except for the hissing of the two pairs of skates. When America finally did clear his throat to speak again, the echoes were startlingly loud.

"I, uh." He coughed into one hand, awkwardly. "I almost thought you weren't gonna show this year. What with your…other involvements." America's eyes darted to Russia's face again, judging his reaction.

Russia gave him nothing. "And miss the chance to show the strength of our Union, the love our athletes hold for their homelands? I would not allow it. Besides, the Olympics is for friendship! I find the idea of boycotting them…terribly unfriendly. How would you call it? Ah, a 'dick move.' Something only a child or a total bastard would do."

America ground his teeth inside his smile. "Oh, hey, speaking of children, that reminds me. I was gonna ask: why are you wearing girl's skates?"

Russia looked down at his sleek black figure skates, working over the translation in his mind. "I do not understand. These are ice skates for a man."

"Hate to break it to you, but hockey skates are for men. Those are girl skates."

Russia had slowed his pace, and America began skating in quick circles around him, making a show of his speed and agility. A dark look flashed across Russia's face, before he relaxed back to his normal expression of innocent confusion.

"I am sure these are also men's skates." Russia smiled brightly, and began drifting closer to the side of the rink, slowing even further until he was merely gliding on his own momentum. "Regardless, they do have advantages."

"Like what, being girly and slow?" America did a quick turn, and resumed his circles, this time backwards, cutting mockingly close to Russia's still form.

"Like toe picks." Russia planted one foot with a sharp tick. Faster than the eye could follow, his arms shot out and he grabbed America by the back of the collar of his bomber jacket. America's jaw clicked shut painfully, his hockey skates scrabbling for traction as he was yanked off-balance and thrown heavily into the boards.

America felt his breath leave him in a whoosh as his back slammed against the clear plastic that separated the stands from the ice. Before he could recover, Russia was on him, a hot weight pinning him in place from knees to shoulders.

"You think you've won already," Russia snarled. His fists tangled in the front of America's jacket, nearly lifting him off the ice. "That you will always win, you foolish, conceited…." And with a growl, he crashed their mouths together.

***

This wasn't the first time in the last thirty-odd years that their relationship had taken such a turn, nor was it even the first time that Russia had been the one to initiate, but this time was definitely different. To call what they did "kissing" would be to imply affection or tenderness, and nothing could be further from the truth. Normally, their physical contact was just another battlefield for the Cold War to be fought on, each vying viciously for supremacy, the giving of any pleasure merely being secondary to exploitation of weakness. Basically, just biting each other's faces, but nicely.

Only this time, Russia realized that America wasn't biting back.

He shifted his hands from America's collar up to tangle in his hair (he could only imagine how silky it would be without the gloves in the way) and used the new grip to wrench America's head back farther, to an almost-painful angle, so as to more deeply claim his mouth.

America sighed (sighed?) in response, and draped his own arms languidly around Russia's hips.

Russia pulled back, making a wet popping sound as they separated. "What is...wrong...with you?" he panted.

America blinked at him, glasses askew and face flushed, the picture of western hedonism. "Nothing's wrong. Why would you -- "

Russia cut him off, renewing his assault. He met little resistance. America simply...gaped for him, almost inviting his attacks. He was just so soft, (so warm) so yielding….

Russia broke off again. "Why aren't you fighting back?" He shook America 's head roughly a few times for emphasis, and felt some of his (lovely, golden) hairs rip free in his fists. Gritting his teeth, Russia braced himself for some sudden and painful retaliation, but again, nothing. America merely gave a low moan and began sliding down the boards, legs apparently unable to support his weight any longer. Russia huffed out an exasperated breath of his own, and after some manhandling managed to get America more or less standing again, propping him in place by shoving a thigh between his legs. America groaned louder this time, rutting himself mindlessly against Russia's leg, his cries echoing (thrillingly) embarrassingly in the empty arena, hands scrabbling for a grip on Russia's shoulders, tugging against his scarf.

Russia batted his hands away, irritated at the (intimate) touch, and seized America by his shirt front again, driving him back against the boards. The top few buttons of America's shirt popped free, and if Russia remembered correctly, didn't he have a sensitive spot just...so? He leaned in again, barely dodging America's open (delicious) mouth, and focused instead on a point on his neck just behind his ear. From there, he began a punishing combination of wet, sucking kisses interspersed with slow licks and sharp, short bites, specifically choreographed to reduce his (enemy lover ENEMY) to a defenseless jelly. It worked, he thought to himself, as America mewled and ground against him, but at what cost? From his current position, his senses were completely filled with his...opponent. The heat radiating from his body, the rough tide of his panting, the salty tang of his skin, the subtle musk of his hair, the hardness of his not-inconsiderable (erection) force of will....

Russia jerked backwards as if burned, holding America at arm's length. While he gasped for breath, willing his heart to slow its treacherous thunder, America...wriggled...slowly, humping the air between them. After a few moments, his (blue, so blue) eyes drifted open again.

"Whassa...." he gasped. "Why'd you -- "

"Shut up!" Russia surprised them both with the volume of his own voice. "You are not...taking this seriously!"

America blinked at him, then smiled. "Aww," he purred, sliding his hands up Russia's arms in a way that made the hair on the back of Russia's neck stand up, "didn't mean to hurt your feelings, big boy, just -- "

The slap across America's cheek contrasted sharply with the total stillness that followed. For a few tense moments, they merely stared at each other. Then, the dazed look on America's face hardened, and Russia felt relief at the return to familiar ground -- that is, until America's fist connected solidly with his temple.

Yes, definitely familiar ground.

This time, when their lips met, teeth clacking together, it was as much from America's pulling as Russia's pushing. They snarled and growled, cursed and scratched, and Russia (finally) felt himself stirring in response, his conscious mind still buzzing from America's left hook. A bright flash of pain cut through Russia's daze, followed swiftly by the familiar taste of blood -- America had bitten his tongue, and fairly badly judging by the way his mouth was filling. Russia leaned back to spit a mouthful of blood on to the ice, mildly disappointed that it didn't bounce quite the way he'd imagined it would. Looking back to America (he had learned well the dangers of turning his back for too long), Russia's breath caught. He was still smiling that same over-confident grin, but this time with a feral edge, and a streak of Russia's blood smeared over his lower lip and chin. Whorish perfectly balanced against bestial.

Russia groaned softly, his perceptions fuzzing at the edges again, this time from the suddenness of coming to full arousal in the span of a few heartbeats. Struck with the compulsion to taste the both of them at once, he licked a long swath up America's neck, leaving a pink-tinted trail in his wake, and began (desperately) working at the fastenings on America's jeans.

"Stupid, vain cowboy...." he snarled into America's ear, momentarily baffled by the large buckle on his belt. America chuckled and pushed Russia's hands out of the way, popping the belt open with one fluid motion. "What a slut," Russia growled, deftly slipping the buttons of his greatcoat free and tugging it open, "what a degenerate you are, that such a motion comes so easily to you."

At this, America gave a full-throated laugh, and another lazy roll of his hips.

"And stop fucking laughing!" A quick jab to America's solar plexus (gently, gently) left him bent double and half-draped over Russia's arm, his glasses slipping from skewed to lost entirely, clattering to the ice and spinning away into the gloom of the rink. One more little push, a quick twist, and a good solid shove had America turned face-first into the boards, pinned by Russia's forearm across the back of his neck, stuttering in an attempt to regain his words.

"Je-heesus Christ, man...."

"I wonder, sometimes," Russia mused, yanking America's jeans down to mid-thigh, "if you don't cling to your precious religion only so that you can have something to blaspheme against." He fumbled one-handed with his own flies, and swallowed his sigh of relief when he felt himself spring free. For a moment he paused, enjoying the contrast of the cool air of the arena on his heated sex, the precarious tilting feeling of anticipation. Then the world tipped a few extra degrees, and Russia pushed himself, firmly and inexorably, into the hot gap between America's thighs.

America groaned, low and shaky, puffing out soft clouds of condensation on the plexiglass. Russia stilled briefly, (savoring) gathering his thoughts, mesmerized by the advance and retreat of America's breath, the scrabbling of his splayed hands, fingertips pressed bloodless and pale on the scratched plastic. He kicked at the outside edge of America's foot, relishing the metallic chime of their skate blades striking together, and America shifted, bringing his legs closer together and squeezing around Russia's cock. Taking a firm grip on America's hip, he gave an experimental thrust. It was tight, (wonderfully) almost painfully so, with only the barest slide of sweat to ease the friction. And the heat of him...it just seemed to roll off America in waves, liquid and blistering.

Russia began a languorous rhythm, as much in an effort to keep from losing himself completely in sensation as to torture America. It was almost a joke how much America hated what he called “the long and slow”, how he positively writhed for more stimulation. But that was America for you, all rush and gluttony and now now now. It baffled Russia, how it could ever be that fate should have marked the two of them as...whatever it was that they were. Even the term “rivals” seemed far too generous -- Russia had learned over a dozen centuries of harshness and cold and hardship to discipline himself, school his heart and mind into a blankness unparalleled by all but his finest logicians and chess masters, until strategy was all that remained. America, on the other hand...well, he was barely more than a child, to begin. An impetuous, demanding brat who seemed so confident that anything that he should ever wish for would simply be handed him for nothing more than a flash of a smile (though, in fairness, America was correct frustratingly often in that assessment, so who was really to blame?). He was too selfish, too mercurial, too brash to understand words like “impossible” or “defeat” in any real sense, least of all as they applied to him and his whims. But look at where it had gotten them, in the decades since the Great Patriotic War. Airplanes and flight had leapt ahead to spacewalks and Moon landings; dusty, unassuming math and physics professors had given rise to ever-faster computers and the dreaded atomic weapons. And because America set the pace for all of these innovations, he was of course the world’s golden boy. America’s hand seemed to be on everybody’s shoulder, his voice whispering in everyone’s ear. Through it all, Russia had to exert himself to his very limits just to hold his own, to make sure his friends were still his first and foremost. So, for all his clowning, America couldn’t really be as stupid as he liked to play...could he?

" -- ey. Hey!" America sounded frustrated, so he must have been trying to get Russia's attention for some time. "Earth to Russia! Are you even listening?"

Russia looked up from where he had buried his face against the back of America's neck. He hadn't even noticed the change from America's normal litany of sex noises, he'd been so deeply caught up in his own thoughts. That was a bit...alarming.

"What is it?" He did his best to sound irritated instead.

America twisted in Russia's grip, craning his neck to give him an accusatory stare. "Aren't you gonna..." A quick flick of his eyes down, then back up again, told as much of a story as was needed.

Russia hummed, chewing thoughtfully at the sweat-dampened hair along America's nape. He drummed the fingers of one hand (tingling gently from the punishing grip on his hip, there will be a lovely set of bruises there tomorrow), then the other (cool, solid boards, must stay anchored somehow).

"No," he replied deliberately. "No, I don't believe I will."

"...Fine." America huffed. "Fucking selfish...communist ideals only go so far, huh?" He shifted, and Russia watched the ghost of America's handprint on the plexiglass fade, even as his shoulder began to jerk, double-time, as he stroked himself.

Russia resumed his previous pace, admonishing himself not to be so careless this time. It was vital that he stay focused (thrum of his pulse, so quick now, against teeth), to pick something (soft press of his testicles at the end of every stroke), anything (gentle drag of downy hairs along cock) to keep from being swept away again. Very well, Russia decided. If America thinks that he does not listen, then Russia will concentrate on his voice. America chattered away through sex as he did most every other activity, though perhaps it was a bit more...satisfying in this context.

Though as luck would have it, America had gone suspiciously silent. His normal stream of equal parts pleading, wordless moaning, nonsensical commands, and profanity had tapered off into a repetitive muttering that Russia couldn't quite make out. Russia leaned in closer, under the guise of licking America's ear, willing himself to be as quiet as possible and straining to hear....

"...USA...USA....USA...."

"Idti yebatʹ sebya!" Russia grabbed America by the hair again and smashed him face-first into the boards. He felt as much as heard America's nose break, a wet and lumpy crunch that ran right up his arm, at precisely the same moment of America's cry of completion.

Russia stumbled backwards, chest heaving, his rage dissipating as suddenly as it had seized him. Feeling strangely disconnected, he watched as America slid to the ice, unconscious, leaving a smear of red on the boards that eventually joined the thicker, stickier streak of white lower down. He fleetingly thought to go check on him, make sure that America wasn't injured too badly. Maybe at least try to clean the mess so that some poor groundskeeper would not have to. But Russia could not bring himself to move any closer to America's crumpled form.

It dawned on him then, in a flash of humiliation and a clench of nausea, just how expertly he had been played. The hockey match aside, Russia realized, he had been beaten in every possible arena tonight. Even America’s mangled face...just another point against him, evidence that Russia had lost. Not that their bosses, or even other Nations would chide him for his viciousness or coo over America for his injuries; no, he healed far too quickly for that. America would almost certainly be fine, unblemished, flawless again by the time he returned to his hotel room. He wasn’t the type to spread rumors, anyhow, so this horror of an evening would most likely remain between them. Their little secret.

But that was the point, wasn’t it? That Russia would know. And so would America, and it would be in his eyes -- the smugness, the mockery, the memory of Russia’s loss of control -- every time they met from now on. All this time, Russia had been trying to beat America as he would any other opponent, by playing a longer game, trying to read moves and think ahead. All America had to do, it seemed, was turn the game so that he was beating himself.

Bastard.

Eventually, Russia turned and began to make his way to the arena exit, tripping over nerveless feet and almost falling to one knee on the ice as he did so. He picked his way across the rink in slow and toddling steps, the way children do before they have learned to skate. Though he was fairly sure that he wasn't crying, he was having trouble catching his breath, and he barely had the presence of mind to button up his trousers on his way out, let alone to make an attempt at straightening his coat and scarf. His mind whirled, too many thoughts pulling him in too many different directions to focus on any one.

The only thing he knew for certain was that he'd be damned if he would go to Los Angeles in '84.