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what kind of man doesn't

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It was late when they got into Parsippany, and Daniel acted like an uptight dick about turning on any lights, so he really shouldn't be giving Johnny grief if he knocked into things as he tried navigating a house he'd never been inside before.

“Shh,” he hissed at the foot of the stairs. “We gotta be quiet, I told you. Louie says he's a really light sleeper.”

“You are the one doing all the talking,” Johnny whispered back, because the point needed to be made.

“This wouldn't even be an issue if we'd arrived earlier. You and your stupid detours—”

“Toll roads are un-American and I hate them.”

“Oh and fleeing to Canada the moment you're a little inconvenienced is so American.”

Johnny had no response he could make to that, so he put Daniel in a headlock. They banged into the wall a couple times in their struggle and fell against the stairs.

They were in a dark house that held only some old man asleep down the hall, and Johnny was only human, so once he got Daniel's arms under control, he dug his knees in against the stairwell and covered his mouth. It was a foolproof technique for ending arguments, and one he'd been perfecting for a few days now. Johnny was a quick study at some things, the important things.

He kissed him long and slow, until Daniel stopped pushing against him and started smiling. Then he put his head back and looked down at him and whispered:

“There's like, a guest bedroom in this place, right? We're not sleeping on a sofa?” Not that he wouldn't take eight hours with Daniel lying on top of him, but on a spectrum of good to great, he knew which he preferred.

“Oh, there's a bed,” said Daniel brightly.



He led Johnny up the stairs to a small bedroom, and then left him there to go putter around checking on his uncle and performing other mystery middle-of-the-night house-sitting chores.

Johnny absently stripped off his shirt and jeans and socks and then wandered the room, looking at the photos on the wall.

It was always kind of weird, seeing other people's families; his own was so small, and aside from one small photo album his mom had, he'd never seen many photos of extended family. But Louie LaRusso had a ton of photographs.

Some were black and white, and the people in them wore strange old suits and dresses, with weird hair styles and stern expressions. It seemed like there were a lot of people, too. He wondered if Daniel ever felt weird, looking at these kinds of photos, being an only child after generations and generations of big families. A river of people stretching back through the years and across continents, slowly dwindling down to just he and his cousin in a tiny state in America.

Daniel's mom was in one of the more recent, colored frames. She was young and very pretty and very sixties with a pixie cut and short dress, standing arm-in-arm between two dark-haired men. Her eyes were lit up, smiling wide at the camera: Daniel's smile.

“That's my mom and dad,” said Daniel behind him. “I mean, and Uncle Louie.”

Johnny glanced over his shoulder to see him set a pair of glasses filled with water down. He come up behind Johnny and pressed a kiss to his bare spine.

He looked back at the photograph, eyes now going to the man on Lucille's right, who looked – “He looks a lot like you.”

“I look like him, you mean.”

“Same difference.” It was all about perspective, he supposed; Daniel was Johnny's, so the man in the photo looked like him. “How's your uncle? Did he wake up?”

“Briefly. I told him we were here just so he doesn't freak out if he hears someone walking around in the middle of the night.”

This made Johnny reach out past Daniel and test the mattress for squeaking – and immediately regret doing so because of the look that came over Daniel's face right after. He withstood the obnoxious leer, by which he meant he turned and pinned its owner to the bed.

“I suppose,” he said between dragging kisses, hands slipping up his shirt to palm smooth skin, “we should probably go to bed.”

“Yeah,” said Daniel, clearly not listening. He struggled up onto his elbows, trying to get his plaid shirt off while also somehow pulling Johnny over him. It was so amusing, Johnny wasn't even going to help him prioritize. He liked it when Daniel's brain stopped working; it was like watching a trainwreck without having to worry about casualties.

“Been a long day and all,” he continued, ducking his head to nuzzle his neck. He ground down against him briefly, enjoying the whimpering noise Daniel made.

“Mm, so long,” he said in unthinking agreement. He'd managed to trap his own arms in the shirt. He huffed in frustration against Johnny's ear.

Johnny popped back up to give him the most chaste peck he could manage and said, “Okay, so goodnight.”

And then he rolled off of him and over onto his side and pretended to go to sleep.

It was a miracle they didn't wake the uncle up during the wrestling match that followed.



The morning announced itself with a weight on the bed next to him and a thoughtful munching sound. Johnny peered through his lashes at the boy sitting cross-legged next to his face, digging through a box of plain Cheerios. Johnny shut his eyes again.

“I caught that,” said Daniel.

“'Cause you're a creep,” muttered Johnny thickly. He rolled onto his front and slung an arm over Daniel's lap, determined to go back to sleep.

But Daniel did not take the hint.

“So, talked to my mom, told her I'd arrived and that Uncle Louie was fine, yadda yadda,” said Daniel, digging a hand into his box of cereal. “And she was kinda upset.”

Johnny made a vague questioning noise: not too worried, because if Daniel was telling him this through a mouthful of dry cereal, it couldn't be that bad.

“Apparently Mr. Miyagi came home. And he called her, looking to talk to me, which is when she found out he hadn't driven me here, so.”

Johnny cracked open his eyes and looked up at him. The punk shrugged like, no big deal, but his mouth was pinched against a pleased smile.

“Oh,” he said slowly. “Really?”

Daniel rolled his eyes. “Don't start.”

“Oh, I'm gonna start, and I'm not gonna stop,” he said, lunging up over him, squashing the cereal box and ignoring Daniel's squawk of protest. Johnny dug between them for the box and tossed it to the side, spilling Cheerios across the bedspread and carpet. “So your sensei came home, huh.”

Daniel sighed.

“Your sensei came home and was wondering where you were,” he continued, lying heavily on top of him. “And little did he know, it turned out Daniel LaRusso was off across the country being super dramatic, what a shocker—”

I'm super dramatic?” he said, eyes going wide in outrage.

“—going, oh, poor me, no one loves me. Getting abducted by a pervert in the desert should show them.”

“I mean,” he said, with a sly smirk; sliding his leg places it had no business going this early in the morning, “I kinda did get abducted by a pervert in the desert, but I think it worked out alright. I think me and the pervert are going to very happy together.”

Johnny had no response to make to that except to violently tousle his hair. Daniel shut his eyes and made a face.

He rolled off him and settled on his back again, closing his own eyes. They had no road to travel today, and he was going to sleep in, Daniel.

Daniel still didn't get the message, though, because he kept talking in his ear. “So, uh. What do you think about sticking around for a few days? Taking a breather before you head back home?”

Johnny smiled a little. He put a hand behind his head and said into the warm, waiting darkness of his eyelids:

“Yeah, guess I could stay in one place for a little while.”