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So Deep in My Heart (That You're Really a Part of Me)

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There's something tickling the side of his face.

Jonny groans and reaches to brush whatever it is away, but the fluff just springs back into place. It takes him another few moments to place what's under his fingers - curly hair.

"The hell?" he mutters, and he tries brushing it away again. Nope, definitely curly hair, and it's definitely attached to him. He briefly considers rolling back over and ignoring everything until morning, but in the end he hauls himself out of bed (which seems taller than usual, what the fuck) and trudges towards the bathroom.

He ends up in the kitchen instead, and after a moment's observation, he realizes it's not even his kitchen.

"Kaner? Kaner, what's going on? Why am I at your place?" There's no answer, and standing alone in someone else's empty apartment isn't the only bit that feels off. "Not funny, buddy. What did you do to my voice?"

Sure enough, his voice sounds off again, a little too high, a little too emphatic, and Jonny rummages in the fridge for some Gatorade. He catches a glimpse of reflection in the door of Kaner's microwave as he straightens up, and he drops the bottle.

Now that his brain's logged this apartment as Kaner's, not his, it's easy enough to find the bathroom. When the light flicks on, blue eyes stare back at him from the mirror.

"No way," Jonny says, and he slowly turns his - Kaner's - head from side to side, watching the muscles in his face and neck shift. He licks his lips; it tastes wrong. His left wrist feels too stiff and his legs and stomach look too skinny and his hair still itches, damnit. Jonny scratches the back of his neck with nails that are too long and uncomfortably ragged.

"Okay," he says slowly. "Okay, this is not good."

It's almost four in the morning, but he still tries to call Kaner, swearing under his breath as he forces sleep-heavy fingers to tap out Kaner's passcode and scroll to Jonny's own contact info.

Kaner doesn't answer. Of course.

"Oh man," Jonny coughs. "What the hell. Oh man." Freaking out isn't making his body look any less like Kaner, though, so Jonny flops down on the couch, rubs at his eyes, and does his best to take deep, steady breaths. His heart's racing, but when he splays a hand on his chest, the weirdness just makes him more tense. It's not even that it's unfamiliar; he's spent a ridiculous amount of time with Patrick Kane, a lot of it in locker rooms. He knows very well what Kaner's bare chest looks like. The feel of it's new, though, still and solid under his palm.

Kaner's palm.

Kaner's calloused, warm, skilled palm.

Jonny grits his teeth and starts his usual morning exercise routine. He's halfway through when he realizes that he's getting uncomfortably sweaty. He's going to have to shower when he's done.

He ends up running through the routine twice.

Jonny checks the phone for any missed calls, tries to call Kaner three more times, paces in front of the en suite bathroom and wills the phone to buzz in his hand. It doesn't work. Finally, he chucks it onto the bed and runs a hand through his hair. His fingers catch on a tangled curl. "Oh fuck," he breathes. "This is so fucking bad."

The sweat's cooling, tacky salt on not-his skin, and the thoughts that brings are almost as bad at the thought of getting naked. Practicality makes the choice for him - a shower. A quick, frigid, awkward shower with the least amount of scrubbing possible, but a shower nonetheless. Jonny hooks Kaner's thumbs in the waistband of Kaner's boxer briefs and stares at himself in the mirror. At Kaner in the mirror. At Kaner with sleep-tousled hair and exercise-flushed cheeks and sweat-matte skin and his underwear stretched out and low across his hips and straining ever so slightly against his growing bulge.

It's unspeakably attractive.

Jonny swears again, rips his hands away from the elastic waistband like it's red hot, and rushes out of the bathroom.

"Okay," he says, "I can do this." It's not like it's his hormones reacting here, right? It's Kaner's body that's turned on. So Kaner's an egomaniac - that's not Jonny's fault.

(Briefly, he thinks about his own body, his real body, but that only makes the blood rush downwards even faster. Jonny's not sure what to make of that.)

Standing outside the bathroom, panting, isn't helping anything, so Jonny takes a deep breath, drops his underwear, and flings himself into the shower without looking away from his feet. The water is freezing when it hits his back, but that's a good thing - gives him something different to curse at. Soon enough, his skin's prickled with goosebumps and his muscles are tense for a completely different reason. He grits out a smile and grabs the soap.

That turns out to be a mistake, because while it looks like a non-descript bar, it smells like Kaner. Which is obvious, because it's Kaner's soap. Of course that's what he smells like. Logic doesn't stand a chance against Kaner's (Jonny's? Both of theirs?) libido, though; Jonny slaps a hand over his eyes and thinks of Canada.

That's when the front door slams. There are footsteps pounding closer, and Jonny barely has time to peer out around the shower curtain before someone falls into the bathroom.

"Oh thank fuck," the person gasps. "You don't know how happy I am to see you, man."

"Kaner?" Jonny holds his breath.

"Yeah, yeah," Jonny's body sighs, "it's me. You're Tazer, right?"

Jonny nods, but he's scowling, and he twists the water off with way more force than necessary. "What the fuck did you do?"

"Me?!" The relieved, helpless smile Kaner'd been wearing when he tumbled in drops away completely. He gapes down at Jonny almost comically. "The hell is that supposed to mean?!"

"It means I want to know why I'm stuck in your stupid body."

"How am I supposed to know? I mean, what did you do? Why am I stuck in your stupid body?"

"You better not have been screwing around," Jonny hisses. "I've been trying to call you all night, and that body is not yours to do whatever."

"Jesus, what is wrong with you? I was sleeping!" Kaner grabs a towel off the rack and hammers it into Jonny's face. "You're the one who's naked."

"I..." Jonny starts, but there's no easy way to explain that he was exercising to stop himself from taking advantage of Kaner's body with Kaner's body, so he just snaps his jaw shut and wraps the towel around his waist instead.

Kaner sniffs. "That's what I fucking thought."

"Shut up," Jonny groans. "The last thing I need right now is a headache from your dumb ass."

"My dumb ass?" Kaner rolls his eyes. "Have you looked in the mirror? You're the one who gets stuck in doorways."

"It's called muscle."

"It's called being a freak."

"Have you seen the size of your chin?" Jonny snaps. "You're not winning any beauty contests, buddy."

Kaner stays silent. Instead, he just drops his mouth open and stares at him blankly.

Jonny frowns. "Stop it."

"No, this is you. This is you on the ice, you caveman," Kaner says, and then he makes the face again.

Jonny tries to keep glaring at him, but can't help it - he laughs. He laughs and laughs until Kaner's laughing too and his sides hurt and he's sinking to sit on the closed toilet and bury his face in his hands. "Oh shit," he says, "we are so screwed."

"Could be worse." Kaner shrugs. "Could've traded bodies with a Sedin."

"Optimism. Great."

"Hey man," Kaner says with another shrug, and he sways to hipcheck Jonny's shoulder. "You get to be the 2008 Calder winner for a while. You're living the dream."

"Just what I've always wanted," Jonny groans. He should really stop himself, but the whole situation's so fucked up and he's tired and sore, so he lets his head loll sideways to rest against Kaner's side. The cold cotton of his t-shirt blunts the slap of how unfamiliar this body feels against Jonny's cheek.

He feels more than hears Kaner's sigh. "How long have you been up?"

Jonny grumbles, "Since four."

"Okay, get up." Jonny doesn't move, and Kaner knees him just this side of gently. "Seriously, I need my fucking sleep. If you're gonna take my body, you need to take care of it."

"I didn't take your dumb body."

"Take, borrow, whatever. You've got it, so own it."

"You are messed up in the head."

"Like you're one to judge."

"Is that some sort of-"

"Nope," Kaner cuts in, "we're not doing this right now. We're going back to sleep."

Jonny stands up, but he doesn't move from there. "We're in each other's bodies, Kaner. How is sleep the answer?"

"Because I'm fucking exhausted, asshole," Kaner says.

Jonny really doesn't have a good argument against that.

After they get to the bedroom, though, and Jonny's ducked into the closet to put on a pair of Kaner's sweatpants, Kaner doesn't look like he's ready for sleep. He looks wired, instead, a bundle of nerves snapping and misfiring by the side of the unmade bed.

"Uh," Jonny says slowly, "bed?"

Kaner jumps a little, like he honestly forgot Jonny was in the room too, then he flicks his eyes between Jonny's face and rumpled comforter. "Right. Bed." He bites his lip.

Jonny frowns. "What's your problem?"

"Just... you know." Kaner vaguely waves his hands towards the bed, and Jonny's frown deepens.

"I can go sleep in the guest room."

"No, I'm not saying that. This is the comfiest bed, but it's... uh..."

"You don't have to go sleep in the guest room, either."

Kaner blinks at him.

"It's your bed, dummy," Jonny points out.

"Yeah, but-"

"And it's huge. Way bigger than a baby like you needs."

"Fuck off, I'm perfect," Kaner grumbles, but the awkwardness is seeping out of him bit by bit, and once his elbows hit the mattress, he pretty much collapses.

For a moment, Jonny just lets himself look, lets himself take in the image of his body sprawled in Kaner's bed like it belongs there, like he belongs there. He pushes that idea down. "At least take off your shoes, you heathen. You're gonna fuck up my ankles."

Without opening his eyes, Kaner huffs, "Blow me."

Tempting. "Shoes," Jonny says.

With absolutely no grace, Kaner drags his heels against the mattress until his running shoes slip loose and he can kick them free. One of them ricochets with a thud off the wall.

Jonny socks him in the arm. "You're breaking shit."

"It's my shit to break," Kaner says, and socks him right back, but it's half-hearted at best.

Kaner's energy seems to spring right back into existence when Jonny sits down on the bed, though, judging by the way he tenses and jolts away.

"Okay," Jonny says slowly, "what's going on?"

Kaner glares at him. "Really?"

"Aside from the obvious."

He doesn't expect Kaner to answer, he really doesn't, but Kaner's face kind of... scrunches, like he's trying not to cry, and Kaner mutters, "Fuck."

"What is it?"

"It's... man, I screwed up, okay?"

It shouldn't make Jonny's breath catch, because Kaner's sitting right here in front of him, and his body doesn't look damaged or anything, but he still has to force himself to ask, "What did you do?"

"I didn't hook up with anyone," Kaner says in a rush, "but I did... um..."

"You did...?"

"I... fooled around."

Jonny has to quash down a sick twist of betrayal at that. "You lied. You just said you didn't-"

"I didn't pick up!"


"Fuck." Kaner bites his lip far harder than Jonny ever has and blurts, "I jacked it, okay? And now it's all weird, because you're here, but you're not here," he smacks his chest at that, tugs briefly at the worn cotton over his heart, "and... and I didn't even mean to."

"It's not- wait." Jonny swivels on the mattress to peer down at him. "How did you not mean to?"

Kaner goes red, licks his lips - once he gets his body back, Jonny's never going to be able to do that again without remembering the way his tongue twisted when Kaner was in control of it - claps a hand over his eyes, and groans, "I woke up with... shit happens, you know. And I was half-asleep. I didn't realize how wrong it felt until I was way into it, and by then I was..."

He could cut Kaner's story off at any point; Jonny's not actually mad at all. It's not like Kaner was expecting to wake up the owner of a different cock. So he got morning wood and just did what Kaner does. No real harm done. The proper thing to do would be to put him out of his misery, let him know that there's nothing to feel guilty about and that nothing between them has to change, and get some sleep so they can better figure out how to deal with this... this this once the sun's up.

That's not what Jonny does.

It might be the chemicals in Kaner's body, the different balance of hormones or something, that makes him more impulsive, or maybe Kaner's confession has just struck too close to thoughts he's kept tucked away for too long. Whatever it is, it lets Jonny's curiosity pilot his mouth long enough to ask, "What was it like?"

Kaner freezes. "Um. What?"

"It was different, yeah? Different enough to notice without... without looking." Jonny pauses. Breathes in deep. "How... uh. How was it different?"

Jonny's not sure what he expects - Kaner getting giddy that Jonny's willing to listen to his exploits for once, maybe - but it definitely isn't rage blotting hot across Kaner's forehead and neck in uneven patches and him snapping, "Don't make fun of me, asshole. I already feel like shit about it."

"I'm not making fun of you, Kaner," Jonny growls right back.


"Fuck off, I can't be curious?"

"Not about this!" Kaner hauls himself up on one elbow high enough to shove Jonny's shoulder hard. "This is my corner of weird, okay? You've never wanted in before - you don't get in now just because of..." His hand flails awkwardly between their chests. "This."

Jonny's already reeling up to shove him right back and hopefully drive that angry flush off his face, but there's a hitch in Kaner's voice that snares him. He goes back over the words in his head and slowly, slowly, lets himself hope. "Wanted in on what?"

Kaner's still sputtering below him, still red; now that Jonny looks closer, it might be as much embarrassment as anger. "What?"

"You said," Jonny says, cautious and precise, "that I never wanted in on your weirdness before. What weirdness, Pat? What am I missing out on?"

There's a full moment, silent and beating, where Kaner just stares up at him with that same slack expression he was using to mock him earlier, then Kaner sets his jaw, mumbles, "Fuck it," and pulls Jonny down by the back of his neck and into a messy kiss.

For the first time, Jonny sees Kaner's smaller size as an advantage - it makes it easy for him to half-roll, half-slump down, push Kaner flat on his back, and not worry about crushing him when he presses into the kiss more firmly. For his part, Kaner lets out a startled noise and whips his face to the side and away. "Jonny," he pants, "what the fuck?"

"You're an idiot," Jonny says with a grin, and he grips Kaner's chin, so wide and so familiar and so wrong, and drags their mouths back together. Kaner lets him get away with it for a few seconds, then he closes large hands over his hips and flips them over.

"I'm an idiot," Kaner says. "What are you, an innocent victim?"

"Yeah," Jonny replies, and he goes to bite at Kaner's lips, but Kaner pulls back, props himself up, way up, on shaking arms, and rolls his hips down.

"Oh my god," Jonny gasps without meaning to. He slides his hands to cup Kaner's ass - it feels so much bigger than it ever did when it was his own - and arches up into the friction. Kaner's grinding lower against him, pressing them together from navel to knee, and Jonny has to scramble to pull Kaner's tee shirt off before it gets trapped between them. The catch of skin on skin is unlike he ever imagined. Briefly, he wonders if it's the lack of pads or the fact that he and Kaner have switched bodies that makes it so much different. Then Kaner's mouthing down his neck, lips dragging, nipping the jut of his collarbone, and he doesn't have enough brain power to focus on anything but that.

"Kaner," he sighs. "Pat. How long?"

Dark, sharp eyes look up at him. "How long what?"

He pinches Kaner sharply in the ribs - a ticklish spot, he knows from experience. "Don't be dumb."

"I'm not being dumb," Kaner says, and bites hard at the base of his neck. He can barely make out Kaner's "I'm being not a fucking mind reader," over the rush of want that evokes.

The only thing he can think to say is, "Do that again." Kaner does, biting hard enough to bruise, and Jonny's hands scrabble over his back. Faintly, he thinks that Kaner knows this is a turn-on for his body. Someone's done this to Kaner before. It's enough to make him grit his teeth and push Kaner back long enough to fully ask, "How long have you wanted this?"

Kaner should be blushing almost comically. Jonny knows the expression Kaner's wearing well enough to know that if Jonny's body could manage it as well as Kaner's does, his face would be pale, but his cheekbones would be stained pink. Jonny smiles. "That long?"

Kaner just nods.

"Good," Jonny says. He reaches up to trace one finger along the curve of Kaner's ear, waits for the shiver to run through him before he adds, "Me too."

"Jonny," Kaner whines, and then he's all over him, tucking his arms under Jonny's back to heft him up bodily and kiss him, wet and sloppy. Jonny looks at his fingers, watches them twitch against the tan spread of Kaner's shoulders, and stops trying to think.

It's easy enough to enjoy the sensations if he doesn't think about how weird they are. There's nothing wrong with the image of his hands shimmying down his own sleep pants - he's seen it from first person thousands of times, after all. And he's thought about his hands groping along Kaner's softly toned sides, wiggling their way over the bony arcs of his hips and down, it just... wasn't from this side.

"Kaner," he gasps as a palm presses down on his cock, "Pat. I want you."

Kaner's too busy tugging Jonny's sweatpants down clumsily, tongue prodding at his own upper lip, to actually listen. Which Jonny doesn't have much of a problem with. Except.

Except this normally repressed part of his brain keeps nagging at him, and he thinks he should stop ignoring it. Fumbling is nice - a garbage goal is still a goal - but there's nothing better than those moments where it's like he and Kaner can read each other's minds, or like they're two limbs on the same body. They just connect.

Jonny grabs Kaner by the wrists and, in his best captain voice, says, "Hey."

Kaner looks up at him, startled, brown eyes wide with worry and thin lips rubbed red. Jonny swallows.

"Pat. I want you."

"Kinda what I was working on," Kaner grunts.

"Not like..." Jonny huffs and lets go of Kaner's wrists in favor of clasping his face. "I want you. Not just this. Okay?"

Kaner grins lop-sidedly (and jesus, does it always look that stupid when Jonny smiles?). "Yeah? Seriously?"

"You think I'd say something that stupid unless I meant it?"

"Don't front," Kaner laughs, and he leans down and squishes their noses together. "No one can resist my sexy."

If he punches him, Jonny reminds himself, it'll just be damaging his own body.

Kaner shifts to nose under his jaw, and Jonny's annoyance evaporates. "I... you know... um. Me too. The wanting you thing." Kaner's hand slides back down Jonny's stomach at the same time his teeth find Jonny's earlobe. "I really do."

And that, Jonny decides, is more than enough talking for the night.

The first touch of his hand to Kaner's dick is kind of a shock - he knows what to do, of course, but he's used to having more direct feedback as to how good it feels. There's something off in the way it feels to the touch, too, like the heel of his hand is too sensitive and the knobs of his knuckles aren't hitting the right places. Judging from the way Kaner drops to rest on his forearms, licks into Jonny's mouth, and lets out a low whine, though, he's doing okay.

"Okay" has never been okay in Jonny's book.

He focuses on flicking along the head on every upstroke, and when precome starts leaking, he pauses to press the pad of his thumb in firm circles and spread the moisture.

"Jesus," Kaner gasps, "are you always this easy?"

Jonny chooses to answer by licking behind Kaner's ear.

"Okay, okay," Kaner says, and his hands are twitching uselessly near Jonny's head, "you need to stop."

Jonny smirks. "C'mon, you out already? I expected better."

That gets Kaner moving, smacking Jonny's hands away and pushing his knees between Jonny's. "Can I fuck you?"

Jonny can't think of an enthusiastic enough response, but Kaner must take his silence for nervousness, because he starts babbling. "I mean, if you don't want to, that's cool, but I just really want to fuck you. Or you can, you know, fuck me instead. I just don't know if you've done this before, and I have, like, a lot. By myself. I'm not a slut, okay? I just, I know what I can take, and I think I can take this, or I guess I think you can take this, since you're me and all."

"Kaner," Jonny chuckles. "Shut up."

"Is that a yes?" Kaner nudges Jonny's legs further apart and runs one hand down to cup his ass.

"It's a yes."

Kaner lets go of him long enough to fist-pump the air. "Awesome." Then he's scrambling off the bed and tearing open his nightstand, and a strip of condoms smacks down cold on Jonny's stomach.

"You're so crude," Jonny sneers.

"You love it," Kaner says confidently, and he waggles a half-full bottle of lube at Jonny before flipping open the cap.

He's right. Doesn't mean Jonny will tell him that he is.

Instead, he spreads his knees and digs his heels into the bed.

"Just so you know," Kaner says, "you are seriously my favorite person in the world right now."

Jonny nods, and it's like a starting gun. Kaner drizzles lube over his fingers, his palm, Jonny's balls, and pets slick and cool over the span of skin behind his sack before teasing close to the entrance. He walks two fingertips over and in just slightly, tugging ever so gently at the rim, and Jonny clutches at his shoulders.

Kaner grins. "Check this out."

Then there are two fingers deep inside Jonny, twisting slick and easy, and it's overwhelming, but it doesn't hurt at all. "You weren't joking," Jonny groans.

Kaner curls his fingers and dips the tip of a third in. "Yeah, I've done this a lot. You're good inspiration."

Jonny chokes.

"You are so possessive," Kaner laughs. "I can't believe I get off on it."

That just makes Jonny choke more. "Pat. Pat, you're insane."

Kaner's third finger slides in, and he rubs mercilessly, making Jonny buck and curse. "This is so cool," Kaner says, awed.

"You fucking egotist."

"Not that, dickhead," and he thrusts in hard enough to push Jonny's whole body upward. "It's cool that it's you. Better if you looked like you, but it's still cool to make you... you know, to make you let go. To get to you."

"Kaner," Jonny pants, "you're never not getting to me."

"That's even cooler," Kaner says, and he slips his fingers out with no warning. By the time he's done snagging a pillow and nudging it up under Jonny's hips, Jonny has a condom packet ready for him, crumpled sweaty in his fist, and he tears it open before handing it over. It's almost mesmerizing to watch Kaner put it on; physically, it's Jonny's hands and Jonny's cock, but the quick, short strokes are pure Patrick. Kaner leans down and kisses him out of his daze. "Okay," Kaner breathes, "ready?"

"Always am," Jonny says, and he means 'always have been'.

Then Kaner's pressing in, guiding himself with one hand and clutching over Jonny's ribs with the other, and Jonny can't think anymore. He's done this before; well, not this, exactly, but he's experimented in the privacy of his own apartment. So, he should have been ready for what this would feel like, but he's not. He's not ready for the way his toes are flexing without his permission, the way his hands won't let go of Kaner's head, the way his breaths are synchronizing with every swivel of Kaner's hips. It's like he's only in control of his eyes, and even that's just barely. He can feel his tongue creeping out over his lower lip, and the way that makes Kaner's eyes go wide is addictive.

"Is this okay?" Kaner says, almost pained. "Can I... go?"

Jonny's nodding and pulling Kaner's head down simultaneously, and their open mouths brush over each other without fully connecting. Kaner draws back slowly, pushes in less so, and Jonny's chest itches with how good it feels. It's almost painful when Kaner thrusts hard, almost too much, but as soon as he pulls back, Jonny wants nothing more than to feel that way again. He hitches his knees up higher, wraps his arms around Kaner's neck, and licks at whatever bit of shoulder or chest is closest at any given moment.

Then it's like he has the hiccups, only more violently and mostly in his head, and when he comes back to himself, he's braced up on shaky arms and he's staring down at Kaner. At a rumpled, tousled, currently-being-fucked-and-looking-exactly-like-Jonny-always-imagined-he-would Kaner.

"Holy shit," Jonny coughs. "Kaner? Kaner, is that you?"

"Jonny," Kaner growls, and he bucks his hips up hard. "If you don't keep going, I will straight up murder your face."

Well. Like he needed more motivation.

The familiarity and newness mingle in almost euphoric ways - Jonny didn't realize before how much he missed his own hands, but now that they're hoisting Kaner's hips up and forcing him further onto Jonny's cock, he appreciates every muscle and tendon for working exactly the way they do. This body got him here, got him Kaner spread and willing, sighing and gasping about how bad he's wanted this, how he'd let Jonny do this whenever and wherever, how he's going to blow him after every loss and twice after every victory (and Jonny's mind is destroyed by how much he wants that). He's so glad this is his body.

And he's so glad that is Kaner's body clenching hot and perfectly tight around him, and when Kaner moans, "Jonny, fuck, please," against his lips, Jonny sucks the noises right out of his plush, wide mouth and comes.

Jonny works straight through his orgasm, pounding erratically between Kaner's slack legs. The overstimulation threatens to make him stop, but right when he thinks he may have to concede that he is not, in fact, a gay sex wunderkind and jack Kaner the rest of the way, Kaner curls up almost onto his lap and comes across his own belly.

"Oh my god," Kaner exhales, and he smears one hand through the mess, spreading it on his skin. "Holy crap, we have to do that again."

Jonny laughs. "Obviously."

Awkwardly, Kaner manuevers himself up on one arm and slugs Jonny in the ribs. "Fuck off, it wasn't so obvious an hour ago."

"Kind of was. We just didn't know it yet."

Kaner gapes at him. "Do you even know English? That's the opposite of obvious. That's the goddamn antonym of obvious."

The only proper response, Jonny decides, is to roll his hips - he's still in and still hard enough to make it work, and it does work; it shuts Kaner up.

Jonny pulls out long enough to switch to a new condom (and finger Kaner roughly, just because he can) before they go again. It's full-fledged morning by the time they turn into bed for actual sleep, and even then they waste long minutes kissing and petting lazily. Kaner's tucked up against Jonny, nuzzling at what promises to be a truly gruesome lovebite on Jonny's chest, when he murmurs, "Hey, Jonny?"

Jonny strokes down Kaner's spine and hums.

"If we wake up switched back, I promise I'll take care of your morning wood again."

Jonny slaps Kaner's ass. He gets a nip to the bicep in return.

When they wake up, they're still in their proper bodies, but Kaner takes care of Jonny's "predicament" anyway.