title: swim fan
fandom: DC comics, Summer Olympics
characters/pairings: Michael Phelps, Garth/Dick
rating: G/Teen
warnings: real person fic
summary: A meeting is arranged.
notes: i don't own anything represented here, least of all michael phelps, who belongs to himself and is in no way associated with this. no disrespect is meant; on the contrary, this is inspired by the respect his abilities demand.
for rithy, though this isn't quite what she wanted. still, damned inspiring bunnies she tosses out... also, i wish i could resist the urge to give fics cheesy titles, i REALLY do, but i can't. woe.

It was such a simple thing that started it, and it was really stupid, too, but once it got into his head, he couldn't get it out. Just one of a dozen interviews he had to get through and endure, and for the most part, he ignored what the talking heads said, but there was one line...

I bet you're almost as fast as an Atlantean!

It came down to one word: almost.

Once the word got into him, he couldn't get it out. Almost. It was a taunt! And Michael had only one way to respond to taunts. He left Beijing with his mother and sisters, leaving them in Baltimore. He had some obligations to fulfill, some of which left him in New York for one day. It was only a day, so at first he was afraid that he wouldn't be able to swing it, but fate was with him, like always. He got an invitation from the Atlantean embassy for lunch, to congratulate him for his accomplishments. He had no idea why he was being invited, really, but it didn't matter because it was exactly what he wanted.

He showed up at the embassy with his coach in tow, looking exactly like he always did. Sweats were good enough if he didn't plan to be in them long, after all, though he didn't fail to notice the look the receptionist gave him. The embassy itself was impressive, appropriately decorated with fishbowls and strange rocks that seemed to come from some sort of alien world. In a way, they did. Probably, most people walking through those halls thought about what kind of place the people of Atlantis came from, and what, if anything, they could have in common. Michael, though, as always, could only think of one thing. He could smell the pools. They were different from the pools he was used to, of course. That was obvious from the smell. The humidity of the air tasted fresh and clean, no chlorine. Their pools were used to help hydrate the Atlanteans, so chlorine wouldn't be good. Instead, the scent was definitely salty.

He was shown to a reception room, and then left alone with his coach for a little bit. The woman who showed them here... he wanted to ask if she was Atlantean, but he wasn't sure if she'd be offended or something if she wasn't. He wasn't even sure what an Atlantean looked like. They were sort of human, right? Someone on the team once had even joked to him about it, if maybe he was part Atlantean. How would anyone really tell? Was it even possible? Of course, he never bothered to consider it, since he didn't have any need to question his mother.

There was no doubt that he knew who he was.

His coach was talking, just making background noise, really. Something about the food they'd be served. Atlanteans were vegetarians. Lots of salad, probably. Michael wasn't paying attention. The smell of the water was making him antsy. It wasn't that he wanted to swim, so much, though. There was a reason he was here...

"Excuse me."

The voice was smooth, elegant, and slightly formal. They both turned in unison to face the Ambassador from Atlantis. His suit was tailored a bit differently than the normal fashions, with no lapels and a silk shirt underneath, both in shades of deep blue. He looked... strong, yes, but relatively short, about a half a foot shorter than Michael. The only truly remarkable thing about him were his eyes. Even though Michael was far more interested in his body, he couldn't help but notice his eyes.

"I am sorry to have kept you waiting. It is a great pleasure to offer you hospitality. It has probably been said already, but the whole world, even those of us from under the sea, applaud your accomplishments this past week."

His speech sounded perfectly genuine and unrehearsed, and left Michael feeling like he'd be much more comfortable if he had his mother with him, but he actually wasn't that interested in pleasantries, anyway. "Thanks, that means a lot. Especially from someone who likes the water as much as I do."

The man's purple eyes lit up with amusement, which was just barely expressed by a small smile. "Perhaps... even more!" His coach laughed, but Michael was just feeling challenged.


"My name is Garth Shayeris. Please make yourselves at home here." His coach quickly introduced himself, but he only managed to get the Bob out before Michael cut him off, convinced that was invitation enough.

"So, Atlanteans must swim pretty fast, huh? About how fast, you know, generally?" he asked sharply.

The Ambassador, Garth, gave him a funny look, and Michael knew. He was itching for it now! This guy definitely wanted to see. Wanted to know if Michael was as fast as people said, and seeing that, Michael wanted to prove that he was even faster! "Well... to say Atlanteans in general... we're as varied as all races, after all. Most Atlanteans, though, I would say, can swim fast. We're physiologically adapted for moving through the water." He gave Michael a once over, taking in his long torso, relatively short legs, and long hands and feet. "Then again, we're adapted to swimming underwater, in the ocean. Not pools, necessarily. And swimming at the surface, of course, is different."

Michael licked his lips. He knew that, of course. He wished he could stay underwater for the length of the pool, if possible, just to see how fast he could really go through the water, but it didn't matter. Part of the challenge was in the strokes used, too. Sports were defined by rules. Swimming was swimming, though. Adapted for moving through water? That was Michael! "What about you? Are you fast?"

"Michael!" Bob hissed. "This is -"

"I am flattered you would even ask," Garth smoothly cut him off. He looked briefly across the room. Four or five servants has slipped in to set up the table for lunch. "I would not like to make presumptions upon your time, of course."

"That's no problem at all. We've got lots of time," Michael boasted quickly. Or challenged. It all depended on how Garth took it.

It was exciting to see that his first reaction seemed to be pleasure. He gave the servants at the other end of the room another brief look, and then he smiled and gestured toward the door. "In that case. It would not hurt to hydrate."

He directed Michael off to the back, down a hall they hadn't been in before. It was darker back here, so it was perhaps an area that only Atlanteans used normally. He opened a door at the end of the hall, letting Michael in first. Inside, there was a large pool, lit from under the water. Other than those lights, there were some low lights highlighting alcoves along the wall, but there were no other lights.

"I hope this is not too... primitive for you. It is the largest pool we have here," Garth said amiably.

Michael shrugged, indifferent. It wasn't a pool designed for speed, but it'd be the same pool for both of them, so that didn't matter. "Where can I change?"

Garth waved his arm indifferently ahead of them, and proceeded to start to take off his suit. Michael blushed, and turned his back, heading for one of the alcoves. He wasn't able to feel modest about his body, not in his line of 'work,' but he still undressed fast, and slipped into a jammer suit as fast as he could. He turned, half expected Garth to be naked, but he wasn't. He was wearing a tiny, tiny Speedo... one that barely covered him. In fact, it might not hold out. Garth's skin, too, had a kind of quality in the low light. His body might be entirely hairless, it was hard to tell. Michael sort of wanted to touch him.

"Are we ready?" Garth asked smoothly, ignoring the way Michael was staring.

"Are you fast?" Michael asked quickly, narrowing his eyes as he continued to assess.

He missed the amused twitch of Garth's lips as he was checking out his glutes. "If you are concerned about the pace..."

"I want to test myself, you know? Atlanteans are supposed to be faster than humans, right? Or... wait, you guys are human, aren't you?" Michael asked, genuinely confused about the terms. He looked human, except. Well. In some very subtle ways, not.

Garth actually chuckled a bit. "Well, let us test you out, then," he said, wiggling his eyebrows a bit as he looked Michael over. "There is probably one faster than I am. But only one, most likely." He nodded to the pool, and Michael licked his lips. Yes, this was what he wanted.

They took positions on the edge of the pool, further away from each other than if they were in an official pool, and the edge was made to look like rock, so it wasn't quite as fancy, but they were diving into the same water, so he had no complaints. He should have had Bob record them, though. He couldn't see Garth perfectly, but he just had a racer's sense of it. Maybe while they were cutting the water, Garth wasn't at any great advantage, but the way he entered, his turns, the way his whole body moved underwater.

Yeah, he regretted it, not getting that taped. He played it over in his head, but he only caught a few glimpses through the water. Garth didn't need to cover his head, either, and he could see without goggles.

He definitely needed to track down some footage. He needed to watch that, a lot, over and over again. He could definitely win next time, but even more, he just wanted to study it. As he sat in the green room for the boring talk show, he stared down at his hands, memorizing the feel of Garth's skin when he had generously allowed Michael a few touches.

He wanted to do that again.

The familiar sound of someone raiding his refrigerator greeted him as he came out of the shower. He wrapped a towel very loosely around his waist, and pushed his wet hair back, but otherwise, he left his skin wet. Leaving watery footprints as a trail behind him on the stone floors, he went into his kitchen to greet his usual guest.

"No matter how deep you dig, you will not find pepperoni," he teased.

Robbie pulled his head out of the freezer, grinning. "Fudgesicles. Why do you never have Fudgesicles?"

Garth rolled his eyes in a very Because I'm no longer ten sort of way, and then slithered past Robbie, practically losing his towel. "If you're looking for something good to suck on..." he purred, loving the dirty way that Robbie grinned at him. "Well." He pulled out a fruit pop.

Robbie pouted, looked down Garth's body, and then took the pop. "So, how was Phelps?"

Garth coughed a bit, choking back a laugh. "Sorry, should I have invited you to lunch so you could see for yourself?"

Robbie made a cute face as he looked up at the ceiling and sighed, "Well, obviously, yes, but since you didn't, tell me, what did you think? Is he worth all the hype?"

"Are we talking about sex or swimming?" Garth tried to clarify.

Robbie gave him an odd look, which made him resemble the boy Garth had first known. "Either! Why are you teasing me? Just give it up!"

Garth raised an eyebrow suggestively. "Ah, I thought you would enjoy it more like this... Well. What can I say? When it comes to swimming... I was in the water at the same time, so I didn't really get a chance to evaluate..."

"You could feel him in the water," Robbie instantly interjected. "And you could see him through the water better than you could see him out of it." He crossed his arms over his chest, pouting.

Garth laughed. "All right, I admit it. He is the best formed landwalker I have ever seen. He moves through the water almost as if he was born to it. It was... impressive."

For a moment, Robbie was silent, and then he narrowed his eyes. "But you still beat him?"

Garth's lips twisted. "I did win our race... just barely."

"Were you trying to win or trying to check him out?" Robbie asked devilishly.

"I accomplished both," Garth shrugged, winking.

Robbie digested that for a moment, and then he stated clearly, "You know, I could make the Chinese gymnastics team look like a bunch of kids doing cartwheels."

"I will require proof of that, of course," Garth nodded.

Robbie started out his confirmation of that assertion by taking Garth by the waist, and twisting their bodies so they ended up on the floor in a neat pile, but Garth wasn't going to be satisfied until he had seen all that Robbie had to offer.