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nothing fades like the light

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It’s normal for Johnny’s nights to stray from what he expects, alcohol has a tendency to do that, take him to places he never expected to go (usually shitty dive bars where everyone is after a fight) and having him talk to people he would never have any interest in talking to sober. Daniel hardly drinks at all, though, his routine in the evenings has been basically the same for the last seventeen years and he generally likes it that way. Responsibilities do that to grown men their age, but Daniel is starting to realise that Johnny has never really seemed to buy into the whole ‘responsibilities’ thing.

So, it’s weird for Johnny, sure, that test driving a car had ended up with them in a bar, then another bar, then sitting on the beach in the dark, passing a Jack Daniels bottle back and forth, but he goes with it because that’s what you do when you’re a little drunk. It’s weirder for Daniel, acting like this, like a kid, when he’s felt like a full-grown man since he was about nineteen. Though, it does make some kind of strange sense that it would be Johnny to get him drinking whiskey out of the bottle on Santa Monica beach and not really thinking about the car that needs to be taken back to the lot - he’s felt like a kid around Johnny since he walked into his dealership a few weeks ago. Literally, from the second he saw him he’d felt his stomach twist up with nerves and can remember clearing his throat as if his voice was going crack when he spoke.

Johnny leans back on his hands and feels the sand between his fingers, he digs his fingers into the satisfyingly cool grains to ground himself, feeling warm and pliable. Daniel is looking over at the water and there’s a little drop of whiskey on his lower lip when he moves the bottle away from his mouth. It’s goddamn annoying, actually, how well he’s aged, or how little he has. He’d noticed it before, obviously, because of those stupid fucking billboards and the TV ads, but he hadn’t fully appreciated it until they were up close in the bar in the light of day. It’s even worse, better, in the low light from the city behind them. 

“Did you ever think about me after high school?” Daniel asks. 

“Did I ever think about you?” Johnny asks it derisively, but he’s stalling for time. 

Yes, he had thought about him since high school, not constantly, just every once in a while. He thought about that day on the beach, he thought about Halloween until guilt twisted his stomach into knots, he thought about that time he’d had a dream about them kissing and woken up with come in his boxers, he thought about that swift kick to the face that had ripped Cobra Kai right out of his hands.

He shrugs, “Sometimes, I dunno… You made it kind of hard not to with those fucking commercials.”

“I mean before those, dick,” Daniel says, “I thought about you a couple of times - wondered what you were doing after school, y’know… We never really talked after the tournament.”

‘After I watched your sensei almost kill you,’ Daniel thinks but doesn’t say. The thought of Johnny’s purple face and the tears in his eyes when he got his breath back on the ground still pops into his head sometimes, he can remember it as if it was yesterday. Had Kreese been like a father to Johnny like Mr Miyagi had been to him? Daniel can see himself spiralling down after a betrayal like that.

“I went to college for a semester and quit, then came back here,” he takes the bottle out of Daniel’s hand and takes a swig.

“That’s all you’ve got to say about the past 30-some years?”

“You writing a book?” Johnny hears himself snap. Talking about the trajectory of his life, especially compared to golden boy next to him, makes his skin itch. 

“Okay, fuck me, then,” Daniel rolls his eyes but his irritation doesn’t have the bite it normally has, tempered by alcohol. 

Johnny leans back more and stretches his long legs out, “Yeah I thought about you a couple of times.”

“In what capacity?” Daniel looks over at the little twitch in Johnny’s cheek and the way he looks away from him and down at his shoes. He doesn’t understand why that would be a loaded question, not at first. It would only be loaded if Johnny had thought about Daniel in the same way he had back in high school on those couple of occasions that he allowed himself to indulge in really noticing how good looking he was. He was a dick, but he was good looking, there was no getting around it. 

In the years since, Daniel had hoped he’d got ugly; aged terribly, started balding, maybe. He hadn’t, of course he goddamn hadn’t. He looks over at him in the dull light and feels his fingers tingle with the strange urge to touch his blonde hair. 

‘Chalk that up to the alcohol,’ he thinks, and looks back over at the turning waves. 

“I don’t know, wondered what you were up to…” his tongue is loosened enough to be honest, “wondered if you were still pissed off about what happened back in high school.” 

Daniel is quiet when he thinks about that. No, he’s not pissed off about it, not anymore. Anger has never served him well, he’s gotten pretty good at letting go of it, actually, until recently. As much as Cobra Kai might still bother him and as much as he might not understand why Johnny is bringing it back up again, in the years since graduating it had been hard to blame kid Johnny for what he had done after seeing what Kreese was capable of.

But he’s gone quiet thinking about it and Johnny feels a knot in his chest.

“I wouldn’t blame you if you were,” he shrugs and thinks about taking another swig but doesn’t; he can feel himself on the line between a little drunk and very drunk and he’d rather not cross it just yet, not when anything is liable to come out of his mouth. 

“No, I stopped being pissed off about it pretty quick,” he shakes his head, “we settled it right? And you even had the balls to hand me my trophy.” 

“I’m surprised you noticed,” Johnny remembers the fanfare for him that night - everyone equally as happy to see Daniel win as they were to see him lose.

“Course I did, you were crying.”

Johnny scoffs, “I wasn’t fucking crying.”

He was. He was crying when he handed him the trophy and sobbing when he got home, locked himself in his room, still feeling phantom constriction around his neck. 

“Nothing wrong with crying, man.”

“Yeah, well, I wasn’t,” Johnny lies again. An obvious lie, they both know it. When they meet eyes, Daniel smiles a bit in amusement - it’s not mocking at all, Johnny swears she can see a warmth in his eyes that he struggles to look back at. 

They don’t speak again for a moment. Daniel feels a little swimmy headed. He can’t remember the last time he drank straight liquor. 

“Shit, I think I need a cup of coffee,” he presses the heels of his hands into his eyes and tries to get himself together.

Johnny turns over the bottle in his hands, feeling that familiar tingle in his cheeks, “Yeah, me too, c’mon.”

His knees crack when he stands up and Daniel wobbles a little when he does, “Fuck, how are we gonna get the car back to the lot?”

Holding up the keys, Johnny makes a face like he doesn’t get the question and treads the soft sand back towards the street.

“No way, Johnny,” Daniel protests, putting on that stern voice that Johnny thinks must work on some people.

“I handle my booze a little better than you, princess, don’t worry,” Johnny smirks to himself, walking ahead.

Daniel swears again, knowing he’s doing something very stupid, but doesn’t protest. 

They’re back at Johnny’s place soon enough. It wasn’t even a conversation. They had spent all day together and they’re still not done and as quickly as that fact occurs to Johnny he forgets, because Daniel says something that makes him laugh as he leans his shoulder into the front door to open it. 

He makes coffee when they get inside. Johnny can feel Daniel looking at his apartment, judging it, mentally comparing it to his own palace and he decidedly keeps his back to him so he doesn’t see any signs of snottiness that will piss him off. It is weird to have him in his place. Before, he had mostly existed in a little time capsule in his mind, 18-years-old and far away - that was why those ads had felt like such an invasion at first, like Daniel LaRusso was stepping into his home after 35 years and throwing the shittiness of his living situation into relief.

“What’s with all the VHS’s? You don’t have Netflix? Hulu?” That’s the only thing he comments on, leaning on the kitchen counter with his arms crossed. Johnny’s place is a total bachelor pad, and while he questions the decor, a small, guilty part of Daniel does feel envious of the kind of freedom he has. His own place with his own stupid movies, no attachments, no one to let down. 

“I’m not paying like $10 a month for movies I already have,” Johnny finds a couple of clean mugs in his cupboard, “and I don’t know what the fuck that second thing was - are you having a stroke?”

Daniel snorts and shakes his head at him. The laugh shows his teeth and Johnny pointedly looks away while he pours out the coffee. He looks exactly the goddamn same, really; he’d always looked younger than everyone else back in the day and it’s a trait he’s carried into adulthood. Johnny wishes he could stop noticing, he wishes he could stop getting flashes of Daniel leaning on his locker at school with a cocky smirk and his scrawny arms crossed like they are right now, he wishes he couldn’t remember exactly how it had made his stomach tingle so he’d had to force his face into a scowl.

“Here,” Johnny hands him the mug and tries to clear his head. It’s harder with a little whiskey buzz, more tempting to just let that tingling feeling sit in his gut and warm him from the inside out. He’s always had trouble resisting his impulses, he runs hot, he knows that, so it’s hard to have the sense to stop looking at him so much when Daniel looks up at him with those big round eyes over his mug.

“I like your place, Johnny,” he says politely, glancing around.

Johnny scoffs and leans on the counter beside him, “You are drunk.” 

“I’m tipsy,” Daniel defends, “that drive back sobered me up plenty.”

“You loved it,” Johnny smirks a bit and elbows his arm, “you need a little danger, LaRusso, getting kinda square in your old age.”

“Fuck you, man,” Daniel looks up at him with some amusement.

“I’m serious, what’s with this hairstyle?” 

“What’s wrong with my hair?” Daniel looks genuinely offended then and it’s definitely not adorable. 

“Just a little flat, isn’t it? Didn’t it used to be all wavy and Italian?” 

“I didn’t know you paid that much attention to my hair,” Daniel teases and runs his hand through it self-consciously. He sees Johnny’s adam’s apple bob like he’s hit on something and it strikes him how close they are. Whatever deodorant Johnny uses smells good. ‘Why is he so tall?’

“You obviously spent enough time on it,” Johnny sips his coffee as if it will sober him all the way up and erase the stupid, stupid thoughts he’s having while standing close enough to Daniel that their arms are touching.

‘Stop noticing him so much, idiot, stop it,’ he tries to mentally berate himself. 

“I didn’t! It just fell that way,” Daniel laughs, feeling warm in the cheeks. 

“Bullshit,” Johnny smiles in a familiarly lopsided way. 

‘What would it be like to kiss him?’ Daniel thinks and feels a strange mix of panic and excitement that he had the thought at all. The booze, must’ve been, had to have been. 

“Sorry, I was effortlessly handsome,” Daniel shrugs a shoulder. 

“Pretty,” the correction is like a reflex, it slips out of Johnny’s mouth before he has a chance to catch it.

‘Fuck.’

“Pretty?” Daniel keeps his tone light and quirks his eyebrow as if his heart isn’t fucking hammering. It’s not just that he said it, it’s how he’s looking at him. They’re standing too close - it’s suddenly stifling hot.

“Yeah,” Johnny shrugs, “I’d say you were more pretty than handsome.”

‘Did you think that back then? Were you looking at me and thinking I was pretty?’ 

Were? Past tense?” He’s joking, but his voice comes out rougher than he expected it to. Johnny meets his eyes then, glances down his face to his lips and back up. Daniel burns under the scrutiny. 

Something is happening, Johnny realises, this isn’t just them being friendly anymore. He recognises this charged feeling, like there’s electricity in the air, it’s just the last person he’d ever expected it to happen with. He should back off, he should make a joke and back off and call it a night. 

But he doesn’t, he answers Daniel’s question with a shake of the head. He’s had a lot of people look up at him like Daniel does then, wide-eyed and waiting for something to happen, but it’s never made him feel so fucking dizzy that he could pass out. 

Then Daniel kisses him and Johnny kisses him back right away. No hesitation, no thinking, like it’s the most natural thing in the world. They both put their mugs down blindly and Johnny's big hand grabs Daniel’s slim hip like he had thought about him doing too many times and Daniel slips his fingers into Johnny’s hair, finding out it’s as soft as it looks, as soft as it looked when they were goddamn 18.

His heartbeat thuds in his ears when he moves his body into Johnny’s and leans up into him and he makes a little noise he can’t stop when Johnny’s arm loops around his waist and pulls him higher and tighter, until he can feel the still very firm planes of Johnny’s stomach against his. For once, they don't think about the past, all that happened between them, it falls away when they touch and share body heat and breath. The time that's past doesn't seem like that much anymore, it feels like they're just snapping back into place again, picking up where they left off on the mat. 

They fall into a perfect rhythm, kissing just hard enough, Daniel's soft lips and gentle hands keeping Johnny's desire to grab and nip in check. 

They pull apart to breathe, a second to reconsider that passes before Johnny puts a hand on his jaw and pulls him in again. Heat unfurls low and Johnny finds himself totally lost in it; Daniel’s lips are exactly as plush as they’ve always looked, and it feels stupid that they didn’t do this thirty years ago, that they weren’t doing this all along. 

“Fuck,” Daniel breathes against his lips and pulls back just a little. It's only when he presses their hips together that Johnny realises he’s much harder than he thought he was. Not that he can give it any thought, because Daniel is hard too, he kisses him again and grinds up against him and Johnny’s brain is static. 

‘Jesus, what about your wife?’ Flashes through Johnny’s head eventually, burns in red letters on the back of his eyelids then fades. He doesn’t care, not like he should, not like he’s supposed to, because Daniel is pushing his tongue into his mouth and touching the tip of it to his own and his body feels solid and warm against him. 

In the back of his mind, Daniel knows he’s going to feel guilty about this eventually, but the feeling isn’t hitting yet. All he can think about is the sensation of Johnny holding him fast, the heat of his mouth on his own. Being so hard is making him dizzy, he can feel his zipper rub him and all he can do is grind up against the hard line of Johnny’s cock in his jeans. 

Later, maybe he’ll chalk it up to temporary insanity that he reaches between them and unfastens Johnny’s jeans. He’ll pretend to himself later that he was far drunker than he is when he pushes down his worn boxer briefs and puts his hand around his dick. 

There’s a clunking noise mixed with a hissing gasp when Johnny’s head falls back into the door of the cupboard behind him. He closes his eyes, because it feels insanely good to have his hand on him, and because he thinks he might be dreaming and it’s about time to wake up. Daniel’s thumb runs over the head though, he collects his precum on his palm and pumps him and it never feels that real in a dream. 

‘Don’t come right away, don’t come right away, he’ll have one up on you forever.’ 

He looks down at Daniel jerking him off like he’s definitely done it before then up at his face, which makes a more intense shot of pleasure go through him. His eyes are half-lidded as he watches what he’s doing and his cheeks are dusky and flushed.

Johnny brushes his fingers over his cheek and touches his lower lip with his thumb, when they meet eyes, Daniel pushes out his tongue a little just to lick it with the tip and Johnny realises how much he doesn’t know Daniel at all. He’s really good at this, he’s so effortlessly fucking sexy it would be annoying if it weren’t turning him on so much. 

“Did you ever think about this?” Johnny asks him because he can’t help himself.

Daniel just nods, “Yeah,” he picks up the pace and Johnny can feel his ball tighten as he pushes him closer. 

“Me too,” he seals his mouth on his with the confession and tugs Daniel’s slacks open. When Johnny palms him through his briefs, he shudders, pulsing at just that contact. 

‘It’s Johnny. Johnny Lawrence. Johnny Lawrence has his hand on your dick, Johnny Lawrence is pushing your underwear down.’

And then his hand is around his cock, and Daniel feels heat bloom from his face down to his toes. Johnny is slouching, so they’re nose to nose, gasping against each other’s mouths as they work the other off quick and frantic, as if they go slow the spell will be broken and they’ll realise they shouldn’t be doing this.

“Fuck, Daniel,” Johnny squeezes his eyes shut and presses his forehead against this; Daniel realises with a thrill that’s the first time he’s ever heard him say his first name. It almost makes him finish, something as simple as that. 

“You’re gonna make me come,” Daniel manages to get out, breathy, and reaches his free hand down to try and stop Johnny’s wrist.

“Good,” Johnny doesn’t stop, Daniel doesn’t either, though his pace falters, “I want you to come all over that nice dress shirt.” 

Daniel moans aloud and his brow furrows; Johnny can’t help smiling a little at the reaction, it goades him on, “You look really good like this, you know?” 

Another strangled noise escapes Daniel’s throat; Johnny’s voice vibrates through him and makes his dick jump in his hand. But the awkward position is starting to become frustrating, crossing hands and occasionally knocking knuckles. 

“C’mere, Johnny,” Daniel knocks his hand away and gets some enjoyment out of the horrified expression that crosses Johnny’s face for a second. The trip to the couch is torture, but Johnny lets himself be moved, he lets Daniel push him down to a seated position and watches with heat in his eyes when he takes his pants all the way off and climbs into his lap. 

It’s a good thing Daniel takes the initiative and wraps his hand around both of their cocks, because Johnny’s brain is barely working anymore. He just grasps Daniel’s thighs and feels his heart hammering in his chest at the pleasure of his weight on top of him. It feels good, his dick against his, hot and wet, pulsing.

“You look good like this too,” Daniel says and the raspiness in his voice really does something for Johnny. He’s right there, any second, he’s going to come, “you’ve always been so fuckin’ hot.”

Ah, shit,” his hands tighten maybe too hard on Daniel’s thighs when he comes, lost in the movement of his hand and his praise, the feeling of the tip of his dick against his own. It rattles through him like it hasn’t for a long time, making his back arch and his teeth clench, vision going for a moment. Daniel watches him, his hand stutters for a second and he forgets how close he is himself while he watches the look on Johnny’s face and feels the power in his hands where they grip him.

Johnny gets his breath back for a moment, and looks up at him hazy. He pulls him down to kiss him wet and messy with one hand and moves the other between them to wrap around his cock and work him off at a frantic pace. 

“Oh my god,” Daniel screws his eyes shut, feeling it build so quick it’s almost too much. When it hits, it rattles him, the waves of it cresting, then ebbing then cresting. He comes over Johnny’s t-shirt more than his own in the end, but he doesn’t seem to care, just works him through it with a firm, insistent hand until it’s too much. 

The pain in his knee from having it bent like that for too long brings Daniel back to reality when he finally gets his breath back. He looks at Johnny, leaning back on the couch, chest rising and falling in heavy breaths. For a second he’s worried that expression is going to turn to disgust now they’ve both got it out of their system. It doesn’t though, he looks tired and satiated, and even a little bashful. 

“So that happened,” Daniel says, hearing himself sounding dumb and redundant when he climbs off him and puts his underwear and pants back on.

“Uh, yeah,” Johnny nods and fastens up his jeans; an awkwardness settles between them then, because neither knows what the fuck to say. 

‘Are you alright? Was that alright? Are you going to tell her? You shouldn’t tell her,’ Johnny thinks of saying, but none of it seems very helpful, he just watches Daniel tuck his shirt in and notices the wet patch on the front. 

“I better uh - you know - get going,” he runs a hand through his hair, but it’s a mess. 

“Yeah, course,” Johnny gets up and feels a little tremble in his legs from how good that had just been, as if they had actually fucked and not just jerked each other off like teenagers in the locker room. 

He goes with Daniel to the door and realises with an uncomfortable turn in his stomach that he wishes he wasn’t leaving. 

Daniel doesn’t want to go either. But he’s the one who hasn’t disregarded all responsibilities. 

He holds out his hand to Johnny and feels stupid doing it - shaking his hand with the same one that had just jerked him off, but Johnny takes it, breathes a little laugh out of his nose, and shakes it anyway. 

“If you want the car you can come by tomorrow and sign the papers,” Daniel opens the door. 

“Yeah, I do, thanks,” Johnny had totally forgotten about the car, “see you.”

“Bye,” Daniel smiles a little, polite and friendly and totally counter to the way they had just been with each other. When he closes the door behind him, Johnny finds himself standing there for a long moment with his hand still on the handle. The smell of him lingers in the apartment, Johnny can still taste him in his mouth. Fuck. 

The soft knock on the other side makes him jump because it’s so unexpected. When he opens it and it’s Daniel, he’s surprised, even though there’s no one else it could be in that time. 

“I don’t like driving when I’m over the limit,” he says, his heart racing again because now he’s nervous, afraid of getting turned away and afraid of why it feels so hard to leave. 

Johnny nods and opens the door for him to come back in, “Smart.” 

The door is no sooner closed again than Johnny has Daniel’s back against it and kisses him, softer than before, forearm next to his head against the door as he leans towards him. Daniel immediately reciprocates because he can’t help it and he needs to feel Johnny’s hair between his fingers again.

“I can stay the night, right?” He asks against Johnny’s lips and he nods.

“Yeah, you can.”