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Silver in the Morning

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Like so many things in Johnny's life, it seems like a good idea at the time.

There comes a time in every man's life when he has to man up. Get back up on the horse, so to speak. Throw himself out in the dating scene. Stop drinking himself to sleep in front of the TV, alternately yelling at and guiltily jerking off to LaRusso's late-night commercials, and start the first days of the rest of his life or whatever-the-hell.

(It's not a fucking crush. He can almost hear Kreese's voice in his ear from all those years ago: Are you really like that, Johnny? No. No, he isn't. He's just ... he'd tell himself he's lonely, except he knows real men don't get lonely; he's horny, is what he is, and he's goddamn tired of sleeping alone, and if watching Daniel's lean, graceful body on the screen does things to him, no one's gonna know.)

He just ... hasn't been with anybody in a really long time.

So. Dating.

He's been out of the scene for a while. These days, from what he hears, it's all swipe this and swish that, FacePage and GrindBook and whatever the hell. Computer shit.

Hell with that. Johnny Lawrence picks up dates like a real man. At bars. Drinking, like god and country intended. He's a good-looking guy, right? He can at least pick up some hot piece of ... whatever and have someone warm in his bed tonight, something better than his hand and a twelve-pack and a cold piece of pizza.

... And if there's something specific he wants, someone specific he wants, what's he gonna do about it, huh? He's a little more honest with himself after a few beers and a corresponding few overpriced bar shots; he's always been more of a straight shooter with himself after a few beers at home too.

Straight shooter. Ha.

What's he gonna do, walk into Daniel's car dealership like, Hi LaRusso, it's me, your old high school bully. Oh right, you don't remember me? All Valley '84, ring any bells? No? Well, I'm here to kiss your—I mean kick. Kick your ass. Bring it, LaRusso.

Hmm. Maybe that last shot was one shot too many. Not that he's drunk, exactly. It's just that things get a little tangled up sometimes, when he's had a few too many.

Things tangle up and he can remember the way it felt to grab hold of Daniel's bunched-up gi and throw him to the floor, all those years ago. He can still feel the heat of Daniel's body. He lives, he lives in those old fantasies, guiltily hidden away between his stepdad's nagging and Kreese teaching him how the world really is rather than how he wants it to be.

"Another," he announces, dropping his fist on the bar.

"Yeah, I think that's about your limit, buddy," the bartender says.

"Limit?" He can't help laughing. "You think I'm drunk? Me?"

"You can't sit up straight on that stool and you just told the coat rack that you were going to kick its ass on the way back from the restrooms, so yeah." The bartender has brought an identical buddy, and both of them lean forward in sync over the bar, sliding back and forth, merging and then sliding apart again. Rude. "Just settle up your tab and head on out for the night."

"The hell I will, I came here to pick up a hot chick and I'm not going home alone."

The bartender snorts. "Hot chick? You know you're in a gay bar, right?"

"Fuck you, no I'm not." He's been in and out of bars all night; how is he supposed to remember that kind of thing?

"Look, man, I don't want trouble. You leave now and we don't have to have any. I'm cutting you off."

"You know who I am? I'm a—black belt in, in kicking your ass. Personally." He thinks maybe this would be more effective if he stood up, but he's not really feeling the standing up right now. Maybe in a minute.

"Do I need to have Bruno come over here and talk to you, friend?"

There's movement beside him, someone settling onto the stool next to him.

"Hey there," a voice says, and it's a man's voice, but it's—soft, it's warm; it's gentle.

He hasn't had gentleness directed at him in a really long time. There is some part of him that turns toward it, uncurling a little, like some kid that thought he was gonna get hit and got a hug instead.

Wow. Depressing thought.

"Do you have a ride home?" the gentle voice is asking, the face sliding sideways and merging and coming apart again. People keep doing that tonight. So rude.

And he's—not drunk, not exactly, no matter what Bartender Mussolini says, but there's something familiar about that voice. He just can't quite put his finger on what it is. It's kinda dark in here, but he can see just enough of the guy next to him to get that it's a slighter, shorter man. Dark hair. His type exactly: slight brunettes. No wait. Not guys. Usually. Not since—But hell, he came out to pick up a date, didn't he?

"Yeah, sure I got a ride home," he says, giving his best sexy smile. "You want a ride in a '91 Firebird, babe?"




Like a lot of things Daniel's done in his life, it seems like a good idea at the time.

He's been trying to get back out into the dating scene since the divorce finally went through. And wow, man, dating has changed a bit since the '80s ... but so has he. This time he's swiping on both the WLM and the MLM profiles; he's more or less come to terms with that aspect of himself. (Bisexual, Daniel. Like Sam keeps telling him, it isn't a dirty word.) He's a little more enlightened, a little more modern; and Amanda's still great, they're still good friends. He doesn't understand men who can't be friends with their ex-wives. If you were good enough friends to get married at one time, you're still going to be friends after the divorce, right?

Anyway, so. Dating. He's at this little hole-in-the-wall gay bar meeting an OKCupid date, but the date never shows, so he nurses along a couple of drinks and chats with the bartender until the big blond down at the end of the bar starts to get belligerent.

So Daniel heads over there to defuse things, because that's what he does, right? Like Mr. Miyagi taught him. You don't win with your fists. You win with your head and heart. Daniel has an ability to fight that other people don't, so he has an extra responsibility to step in on behalf of the other people around him.

He slides onto the seat next to the guy—good looking, about Daniel's age. There's something unbearably sad about him, just drinking alone in a gay bar while couples go home around him, and maybe that's what draws Daniel to him, much more than the fact that the guy is, indisputably, hot in a slightly craggy, over-the-hill version of Daniel Craig kind of way.

And familiar, but Daniel can't quite put his finger on it. He feels like he knows this guy. Maybe the blond guy came into the dealership at some point. After the mention of a Firebird, it seems more likely.

"Tell you what," Daniel says, resting his chin in his hand. He likes the guy, and he doesn't even know why. It just comes, a wave of fondness and affection, like they knew each other in a past life or something. "You give me your keys, and I'll drive you home."

The guy brightens up all over. It's like he wears his emotions on his whole body. It's unbearably endearing, and Daniel finds himself grinning even when he has to throw an arm around the blond's chest and help him off the stool. Which is ... not a bad position to be in. The guy feels like he works out.

"Keys?" Daniel says, and the blond digs them clumsily out of his pocket and hands them over. He's at least managed to attain some kind of equilibrium, though Daniel regrets having to let go. Maybe this could be the start of something. Maybe it was meant to happen, him coming in here tonight, lousy date and all. Mr. Miyagi might say so.

"Car?" Daniel prompts, and the blond does one of those all-over perking up things again. He's been just staring at Daniel, a dopey, kind of fascinated look, like he's trying to place Daniel's face. Once again, Daniel finds himself drawn to the nagging familiarity of the blond's face.

"Car," the guy says, and leads the way, striding in an exaggerated kind of way that almost causes him to run straight into the door. Back at the bar, the bartender gives a small sigh.

"Whoa, hey." Daniel can't help laughing a little, catching the guy's arm.

The blond turns and looks at him—looks down at him, he's not that much taller, but just enough that it makes something tighten in Daniel's belly. It's one of the things he likes about dating guys, down in some secret and private part of him. He's fought his whole life to be taken seriously, but come to find out, he really likes making love to people who are big enough to pick him up.

But it's not the height difference. Something catches between them, and their eyes hold for a minute, and he does know this guy, he's almost sure of it. The blond is staring at him as if Daniel's eyes hold the answers to all the secrets of the universe.

"What's your name?" Daniel says.

"John," the blond mutters after a moment, breaking eye contact.

It's stupid, Daniel knows, but still, after all these years, he still thinks of Johnny Lawrence when he hears that name. It's the first thing that comes to mind, probably always will be: his first high school crush on a guy, and he didn't even know it at the time. He got the intensity, but not the reason. He finds himself wondering what Johnny's doing now; he especially has thought about it since separating from Amanda. Has thought about reaching out. See what Johnny's up to these days.

Heck, probably married with two kids and a nice white-collar job. Johnny probably wouldn't even recognize Daniel if they saw each other after all these years, though Daniel likes to think that he would.

"I'm Daniel," he says, and gives a little tug on John's arm, leading him outside into the cooler air. He feels a slight tension, like a sharp shock passing through John's body, but John comes easily enough. "So where's this Firebird of yours?"

It is a Firebird, and it is one sweet ride, or at least it was back in '91. Daniel can tell by the timbre of the engine, as it roars to life, that it could use a tune-up. But it's still a solid car.

"Hey," he says, nudging John, who is half asleep in the seat next to him. "Where do you live? I need to know whether to make a right or a left out of the parking garage."

"I ..." John begins, and then just gazes at him. Under the parking garage lights, he looks sleepy and wondering and ... awed, almost, like he can't believe Daniel is there in the seat next to him. It's not the look of someone who is looking at a stranger. Maybe Daniel reminds him of an old boyfriend.

"Apartment?" Daniel prompts. "House?"

"I," John says again, and seems to stall out. Daniel knows it shouldn't be cute, but it is, somehow, and he feels another of those semi-instinctive, chest-clenching waves of fondness.

Oh yeah. There is something about this guy. There could be something here.

"How 'bout we go back to my place? I've got a spare bedroom. You could sleep it off there."

And John just nods, lazy and willing, like he'd follow Daniel anywhere.




Daniel misses the house he used to share with Amanda, but the new place is nice, and better for just one person. It's a condo, and there's a shared pool and a private side entrance for residents, which he now keys his way into, helping John along. John almost fell asleep in the car, but he seems a little more awake now, and he starts to pull back at the side door, giving Daniel a strange look. There's a resurgence of the belligerent attitude from the bar.

"I invited you up, remember?" Daniel says, and that seems to do it. John relaxes and goes along, leaning into Daniel a little bit on the way up the stairs.

As Daniel lets them into the third-floor condo, John leans over and kisses him.

It's a scrape of beard stubble; it's the taste of whiskey and cigarettes and spearmint gum, and Daniel sinks into it immediately, almost instinctually. Oh yeah, oh god yes; there really could be something here. Even as drunk as John is, he's still careful, like he thinks Daniel will pull away if he's not.

Which Daniel does, after a moment. Somehow John's hand has found its way to his waist, and Daniel's hand is in John's hair, which is just as fine and soft as it looked under the bar lights. When Daniel pulls back, there's a quick flash of hurt on John's face.

"Whoa, hey, let's get the door shut first, okay?" Daniel says, laughing. And John grins; it's a smile that is overwhelmingly sweet, full of the same awe as in the car—you're here, you're with me—and there is some part of Daniel that could very easily fall in love with that smile.

He kicks off his shoes by longstanding habit and shuts the door. John's hand still rests at the small of his back, and Daniel doesn't try to push it off. "It's not big," he says, taking the lead on the way inside. "Living room here, kitchen there, as I guess you can see. Bedrooms there and there, mine and the—guest bedroom."

He has to catch himself; he almost calls it the kids' bedroom. Which it is, when they're here. Of course there are clean sheets on the bed, it's not like someone else couldn't sleep there, but it suddenly feels not quite right to give it to a man that he—well—

That you want to fuck, Daniel. Be honest with yourself.

Where else, then? In my bed?

Well, why the hell not? Daniel is a single adult, an adult who went to a bar tonight to pick up a date, no less. And yeah, he was hoping at the time that his date would come home with him.

He just never expected this sloppy-drunk blond who has now swayed his way over to the kitchen island and collapsed onto a stool, and is now looking around a bit owlishly, as if he's starting to wake up.

"Water," Daniel declares. "For both of us." Though he, personally, only had about two-thirds of a mojito. "Do you want something to eat?"

"Sure," John says. He rests his chin in his hand and follows Daniel around the kitchen with his eyes. "This isn't a dream, right? I mean, this is really happening."

"Yeah, it's real," Daniel says, filling a large water glass that is regrettably covered with cartoon snowmen; it's one of the ones he bought for the kids. Oh well. "And your hangover will be too. Here, drink this. Ham sandwich sound good?"

"Sure. Yeah. You eat that kind of thing? All nitrates and shit." John has one hand loosely curled around the water glass, but he's mainly just watching Daniel. "I would've thought it'd be all green tea and sushi."

Daniel isn't quite sure how to take that. Okay, this guy's clearly from a working-class background, he picked that up back at the bar, but he doesn't want this evening to turn into some kind of class-warfare bullshit. He feels, as he sometimes still does, a little bit of disconnect at the shiny marble countertop and brand-new furniture in the condo. It's so far from where he started out.

"No," he says with a smile. "I eat ham. And McDonald's." He opens a loaf of bread onto the marble countertop. "Actually, I haven't had anything to eat tonight except appetizers. I could really go for a sandwich too."

So he makes ham sandwiches and they eat them at the kitchen island, one on either side, and damn it, even that's familiar, like he's spent time with John before with something like this, like a physical or metaphorical barrier between them.

A counter, he thinks. The dealership. Gotta be.

And he would have been married to Amanda then, so he wouldn't have noticed John's collarbones above his T-shirt, or the flex of John's throat; the strong fingers, the sure way that he handles the ... sandwich, Daniel thinks, almost laughing at himself as he looks down at his own. You're getting horny over the competent way a guy eats a sandwich. You need to get your rocks off real bad, Daniel LaRusso.

But ... he's always had a thing for competence. It was one of the things that drew him to Amanda, back when he was young and they were both in that fresh, wild flush of new love: the way that she ruthlessly and easily handled the clients at their nascent business. And now, looking at John, he feels his entire body tingling with the thought of those sure, strong hands on him, laying him down on the bed. He can feel exactly how John might do it, just as clearly as he can feel the burn of John's stubble on his throat, the whiskey-tinged kisses brushing against his skin from his shoulder to his mouth.

He swings down from the stool to refill their water glasses and get a couple of aspirin from the drawer.

From behind him, at the kitchen island, John says, "Why did you—?"

It hangs in the air.

Daniel turns to look over his shoulder. "Bring you back here?"

John hesitates. Nods, after a minute. It's like there's some other question lingering underneath.

Daniel smiles. "I'm not trying to take advantage, if you're thinking that. I have a spare bedroom where my kids sleep when they're here. I'm divorced," he explained, seeing the quick flash of John's eyes, a sudden sharpening of the drunk, spaced look. "I'd like it if you'd join me in my bedroom. We can just sleep. I'm okay with whatever you want to do." He lays down the aspirin with a click in front of John's hands, lying loose on the countertop. "Except for taking these. Not negotiable. Call it a gift from—" He flashes a quick grin. "Dr. Miyagi."

Mr. Miyagi was always a stickler for taking prompt and efficient care of strained muscles and other training injuries. You will not make yourself a better fighter by hurting yourself. Care for you. A tap to Daniel's chest and then a light touch to his forehead. Care for your body. Care for others.

So he watches John take the aspirin and then slide down off the stool.

"My bedroom is through here," Daniel says, and John gives him a quick flash of that vulnerable look, a dart up and down of his eyes, and follows him into the bedroom.




Johnny is in Daniel LaRusso's bedroom, and they're both stripping down in the half-light coming in from the kitchen. He's less drunk than he wants to be, and more drunk than he thinks he should be, and there's an awful sense of unreality twisted up in the whole thing. Daniel Fucking LaRusso did not just take him home. Daniel doesn't—Daniel isn't—

Daniel is sitting down on the opposite side of a queen-sized bed with silk sheets and setting an alarm clock. "Sorry," he says, and he sounds genuinely apologetic. "Work. Do you, uh—we can just sleep, if you want to. I'm good with that, I'm just saying. I'm also good if—"

He doesn't get any farther, because Johnny lunges across Daniel's stupid silk-covered bed with thirty years of pent-up horniness and takes Daniel's mouth with his.

Just like at the door, he feels the moment when Daniel just gives, sinking into his kiss, tilting his head back and going soft and pliant. Johnny finds that there's one part of him—fueled by alcohol and Kreese—that's just thinking, You little fucker, did you ever even WANT to win, or was all you ever wanted someone to put you in your place? And at the same time he knows it's not true; Daniel has never been that simple, no matter how simple Daniel looks to other people.

And that's a thought, isn't it? Other people see Daniel and just see the nice guy, the family man, the guy on all those TV commercials.

But Johnny knows a side of Daniel they don't. He knows the sassy, snarky little shit who doesn't have any idea how to lose. And now, with his mouth wrapped around Daniel's and his hands curled in Daniel's hair, he thinks, I finally found a way to win, you son of a bitch.

There's just a little too much Kreese in that. Too much booze. Too much resentment. Daniel's eyes snap open as Johnny's hands twist in his hair, and in that sharp, startled, hurt look Johnny sees his entire past laid out like a map, all the way back to the look on Ali's face when he broke her radio.

His reaction to that look now is deep and visceral and fierce.

This isn't what I want this to be.

He uncurls his fingers, and takes Daniel's mouth again, and this time he is all too aware of what a precious gift this is: Daniel LaRusso, in this bed with him, somehow, miraculously. He might be dreaming this. He has to be dreaming this. And if so, he's going to make it as good as possible.

He pulls Daniel toward him on the bed, and Daniel comes with him, drawn along like Johnny's hands are grappling cables. And it is hotter than Johnny Lawrence believed possible to have Daniel sprawled on the bed beneath him, not because Johnny laid him out but because Daniel wants to be there.

Johnny is still a little fuzzy around the edges, though the food helped a lot, but in this instant he feels clearer than he's ever been. He looks down at Daniel's face, mapping out the little changes, the way Daniel's jawline has sharpened since high school, the fine lines around his eyes and mouth.

Daniel at seventeen was cute. Daniel at forty-five is a fucking dynamo.

"John—" Daniel begins. Johnny lays his hands on Daniel's shoulders, and pushes Daniel against the bed, and Daniel's neck arches back and he looks up and Johnny can feel all too clearly where their hips are pushed together and Daniel is hard as a rock. Daniel could throw him off with almost no effort and somehow that's making Johnny hornier than he thought possible, because Daniel wants this. It's not about fighting this time. Everything Daniel is giving him is willingly given.

God, Johnny thinks. He's having sex. With a man. Kreese would shit himself.

Kreese can jump off a cliff for all he cares right now.

He might be hornier than he's ever been in his life, but he want with everything in him to make Daniel happy.

He bends over to kiss Daniel's mouth and neck and cheek, feeling Daniel shudder under him. Kissing a man isn't that different from kissing a woman. But it's Daniel, and somehow that makes all the difference.

He sits back and strips off Daniel's boxers in one hard pull. And now he's got a naked, erect guy on the bed under him, and it's absolutely killing him.

... well, naked except for the T-shirt that Johnny has an awkward feeling he doesn't know how to get off of Daniel in a sexy kind of way. He stretches up and pulls off his own, stripping it in a way that shows off his muscles a little bit. His legs are still straddling Daniel's hips, and Daniel looks up at him with a slack look of absolute sexual abandon.

"Nightstand," Daniel says. He takes a deep breath. "Uh, lube. Condoms. If you're ... okay with that."

"For me?" Johnny says, and some small vestiges of annoyance manage to penetrate through Daniel's sex haze, enough for him to frown a little. "Right. You want me to—right."

Daniel wants Johnny to fuck him.

It can't be too different from a chick, right?

Daniel's right, he's got a nightstand full of sex stuff. Wow. Johnny dips up a double fingerful of the goopy stuff, and Daniel obligingly lifts his hips and Johnny, not sure quite what to expect, dips his fingers in.

He's prepared for something kind of vaginal-like feeling. What he's not ready for is Daniel jerking all over and bucking his hips up, hitting Johnny in the abdomen with his wet, ready cock. The feeling of Daniel clenching around his fingers is literally the hottest thing that has ever happened to him.

"So not to be dumb about this," Johnny says, as he pushes deeper with his fingers and Daniel makes a faint, gasping whine in the back of his throat. "But—so, let's just assume I'm used to vaginas, mainly, and if you've got a dick and I've got a dick, and mine's in you, what is yours going to be—"

"John," Daniel gasps out in a voice that cracks in the middle. "Women have a—oh god—clitoris, located somewhere other in the vagina—please for fuck's sake tell me you have some general idea of—you have two hands, I don't care where either of your hands is but—ah—don't stop—"

"Quiet," Johnny says, on pure reflex, and Daniel abruptly and shockingly shuts up. His dark eyes are blown wide with arousal that hits Johnny so deep it almost makes him come right there, not even touching himself, his cock down along his thigh in the middle of Daniel's silk sheets.

But he's not going to.

Jesus Christ, he just made Daniel LaRusso shut up. And Daniel is under him, staring up at him with that look, and after all these years, after all these times that all he could think of was making Daniel crawl for him ... now, when it's real, when it's actually happening, all Johnny can think of is making it good for him.

"Ready?" he asks, in a throaty voice, and Daniel just nods, a single convulsive jerk. Oh right, Johnny told him to shut up. Well, Johnny's not complaining. Not right now.

Johnny rolls one of Daniel's condoms onto his cock, with Daniel's eyes following him the whole time. He rubs another handful of lube down the length of it, gasping aloud from the sensation. He has no idea if this is how you do it, really should probably have at least looked up some porn or something beforehand for tips. But as out of his depth as he feels, he wants to make it nice. Wants Daniel to like it.

And then he does the thing he's been fantasizing about since he was seventeen, and pushes into Daniel Fucking LaRusso's naked ass.

Daniel jerks all over, throwing his head back and clenching, and Johnny has to lock everything down—right, all those lessons in self control were good for something—to keep from blowing his wad right there.

"Hurts?" he asks, a little hoarsely. He's never done this before, and also, he's bigger, and he's aware of it, right now, with Daniel's hips tilted up against him, as intensely as he's ever been aware of it with a woman.

"A ... little," Daniel says, a breath hissing out between his teeth. He catches Johnny's wrist, and his fingers dig in—strong fingers, shockingly strong, even after all these years. "Don't stop."

God, Johnny has fantasized about pounding him, bending Daniel over any available surface while Daniel whimpers and begs for mercy. Daniel is whimpering, all right, but those little sounds in his throat make pounding impossible, because about two good thrusts would have Johnny coming right there. Instead he pushes in slowly and steadily, learning reserves of patience he didn't know he had, especially while he's half-drunk and acting out a sex fantasy he's still not completely sure he isn't imagining.

He props himself up with one arm and curls his other between them, wrapping it around Daniel's upright and straining dick. It's not the most comfortable position, but then suddenly he realizes that under the circumstances, he could put Daniel in whatever position he wants, and once again the possibilities come pretty close to blowing his mind and a few other closely associated things.

He sits up, pulling out, and Daniel arches up after him with his sex moans changing to a groan of "Hey, wait a minute."

Johnny takes him by the shoulders and puts him back down. "Didn't say you could talk yet," he says, and kisses Daniel's throat. Daniel sucks in a breath and stares at him. His hips give a little involuntarily jerk.

Johnny turns him, flipping him over on the bed. Daniel goes, and Johnny's not too far gone in his own groaningly intense sexual high to notice how Daniel just sags into his hands. Daniel's ass is turned up for him now, and this is better; it only takes him a minute to get the angles right, and like this he can push in and wrap an arm around Daniel and grip Daniel's cock while propping himself on his other arm. Daniel's body flexes against it, the whole length of him.

Daniel's cock is all wet down Johnny's hand; he's just about there, and so is Johnny, and there's no point in trying to push it too hard and too far. That's where Johnny goes wrong, where he always goes wrong.

So he dips his head and kisses the back of Daniel's sweat-damp neck, and mutters, "I'm going now," and feels Daniel jerk in his arms. It's not quite simultaneous, because Daniel is still jerking rhythmically when Johnny crashes back down, but it's ... it's pretty damn close.

Daniel's well-stocked bedside table has a box of Kleenex too, so they clean themselves up. Johnny finds himself strangely reluctant to look, not wanting to see what's in Daniel's eyes now that they're no longer clouded by a sex haze, but Daniel rolls over and gives him a look that's soft before leaning over to gently kiss and tongue at Johnny's mouth.

He just. Isn't used to this.

They settle down with Johnny curled up against Daniel's back, one arm over Daniel's waist and his face buried in Daniel's hair. It's a one-night stand, he thinks, closing his eyes as he presses his face into Daniel's smell. He'll be up in the morning, probably wake up long before Daniel is awake because he'll need to take a piss, and he'll just get up and slip away, out the door. No problem.




The high-pitched beeping of the alarm clock rouses Daniel out of a dream of being strangled in a too-tight karate gi. He finds out why as soon as he opens his eyes; he's wrapped up in his fast-asleep one-night stand from the bar, whose arms and legs are wrapped around him as if, even in his sleep, John just wants to press every square inch of skin onto Daniel's.

Daniel writhes out of John's grasp enough to turn off the clock, and then he rolls over, his face a few inches from John's. The morning sunlight is shafting through the window onto John's face as a golden-lashed eye cracks open.

And by the light of day, with a night's sleep behind him, Daniel finally recognizes him.

"Johnny!" he yelps, flinging himself out of bed and nearly going down flat on his back on the carpet beside the bed.

He picks himself up as Johnny Lawrence—Johnny freaking Lawrence—half sits up and blinks blearily at him from under a thatch of slightly overgrown blond hair. Then Johnny seems to catch up to what's happening, too, because he gives a little yelp and vaults out of bed the other way, gets tangled in the covers and smacks his head into the wall and then scrambles to his feet, taking on a defensive stance.

"Johnny," Daniel says, a little bit breathlessly, because it's all too easy to let his mind flash back to just a few hours ago—to his entire body melting with pleasure, and Johnny's kisses prickling hot down his throat and chest.

"LaRusso," Johnny says. He coughs. Clears his throat. "Did you ... drug me?"

"Of course I didn't! What kind of question is that?"

"I don't know!" Johnny's eyes dart all over the place. "Where am I? Is this your place? It is. I don't—do this."

"One-night stands?" Daniel says. "Or sleeping with me?"

They stare at each other, and there is too much truth in their eyes for last night to be anything other than what it was. It's pretty hard to pretend when Daniel is wearing nothing but a slightly stained T-shirt, and Johnny is completely naked.

There is a moment when they could just do what they've been doing ever since they were teenagers, and fight. Johnny's fists are up, and Daniel can feel his own blood rising hot to meet it.

But maybe punching Johnny was never what he wanted to do.

So instead he drops his fists and grins and straightens up. And very slowly, Johnny lets his fists lower and straightens a little, dropping his gaze and half-parting his lips—the lips that Daniel knows very well now, their taste and their feel and the light prickle of stubble edging them.

And then Daniel starts to laugh. It's just a quick riffle of laughter, but there's a quick twitch of Daniel's mouth that breaks, just for a moment, into a full-on grin: that warm, sideways grin he remembers from last night, when Johnny was nothing but a flicker of memory, a hint of familiarity that even thirty years and a marriage to someone else hadn't entirely dimmed.

—and Daniel thinks maybe, just maybe, he wasn't wrong last night. This could be the start of something. It could have been thirty years ago, if they weren't both too young and too closeted and too stupid to figure it out.

"Want to get breakfast?" he says, and after a minute, Johnny nods.